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Break a Leg!

“Break a Leg.” It refers to what well-wishers  tell people in show business before a performance.  “Hey, break a leg,” is kind of a good luck message to actors, a group of people who tend to be quite superstitious!

But in actuality, nobody ever asks for a broken leg, do they?

Several months ago, I posted about my newly engaged couple.  I explained at the time that I would be blogging less than usual due to the busy schedule of preparing a wedding while working full time as a music therapist. My writing passion would have to take a back seat.

No Such thing as Vacation from Writing:

But as writers know, we never do turn around and throw our writing passions to the back seat. Instead, we keep a back seat slot in our mind,  and every time something big or interesting happens, we jot them down or file them away in  our brain for future writing or blogging material.

Which is what I’ve been doing the past few months. My blog topics of  grandmothering, mother-in-law-ing and adult parenting may have fallen on the back seat of my writing caravan. But my thoughts about how to make sense of the joys, oys, pain, suffering, ups, and downs of daily life, have continued on while various personal issues came to the fore.

Stresses and Stumbling Blocks:

One such event was when one of our married sons had a scary (but temporary) medical situation. The situation is treatable and he’s on his way to recovery, thank G-d, but throughout that ordeal, I developed ways of dealing with difficulty, coping with adversity and seeing the good in whatever G-d sends us.

As the weeks of the engagement continued on, my elderly father became ill and my siblings and I  helped my mom make some decisions regarding care at home, feeding tubes and rehabilitation care. My mom and siblings who live near my parents in NY are the major deciders and effectors of events related to my father. One sister who lives in Baltimore, and I who live in Los Angeles, made several visits to NY to pitch in with my father, in whatever ways that we can.

Giving a Speech to the new couple

Giving a Speech to the new couple

Life is good; G-d is kind. Daddy is getting better. We are all healthy from the flu, bronchitis, and even strep. Our son is getting married the the most adorable girl around. And Daddy may even attend the wedding in a wheelchair. Yay! These  were some of my thoughts during the past several months throughout the major and minor stresses of our lives.

Hey – This wasn’t in the plan!

And then, just when things were settling down, and our family had traveled to the NY area for the wedding and various festivities before and after the wedding date, something happened to me. Something that solidified all the thoughts about the previous events of the past months.

I broke my ankle.

Yep. Right there, in Brooklyn, New York, where my parents live and where my husband and I were relaxing. This was after completing all preparations for the upcoming wedding to take place in Lakewood, New Jersey, I left the house to take a short walk to visit my dad in the rehab center. I slipped  on the ice, and twisted my right foot, thereby breaking the ankle in 3 different parts of the bone.

Did I mention that it was 1 day before the wedding?

This: One Day Before Wedding

So at that very moment that I took that leisurely walk, twisted my ankle, landed on the sidewalk writhing in pain, and felt the strongest, most powerful sharp pain run through my foot, threatening to take my breath away, I thought of several things.

  1. No, no, no, no! This cannot be happening!  2. Get me to the hospital. Fast. Something is very wrong with my foot. 3. G-d, please take away this pain, or let’s just turn back the clock to five minutes ago.

As I phoned my husband on my cell phone, tried together with him unsuccessfully to hop on my good foot  back to clear ground, sat down in defeat and simply called Hatzala EMT’s,  my thoughts of the past several months began to coalesce.

Could it be Denial??

But I wasn’t conscious of those thoughts at that time. At that time, if you were a fly on the wall following me around those early hours on the freezing cold sidewalk, in the ambulance gurney, and at the ER while the first doctor examined me,  you would have heard comments as such coming from my mouth:

To the Hatzalah EMT at the scene of the accident: “Listen, I have my son’s wedding tomorrow night. Okay? So please tell me that this is just going to be a sprain of my ankle. Right?”

Or, to the doctor who examined me before sending me for an x-ray in the ER:

“Remember, my son is getting married tomorrow night, so you cannot admit me for surgery. Got that?”

Or, recounting the moments before the turn of events, to any random person listening:

“I was all packed and ready to go. Everything was ready. I just wanted to visit my dad in the rehab center. This wasn’t part of my plan!!!…”

I note when speaking to others who have had similar experiences that these things often occur when “everything is packed,” or they were “all ready to leave, and just had to run one more errand…”

For my experience, it seems that these thoughts that everything is packed and all is well, are what may have sent me on that last minute “Just one more thing” walk down the street.

Happily Every After!

Yes, the fabulous wedding took place.

Yes, I attended the wedding the next night, wearing a cast up till my knee. Yes, I enjoyed every moment of that wedding (thank you, Advil, Percocet and other friends of mine!), including wheeling myself around in the scooter or knee-walker that we obtained for that purpose.

Scooting and Dancing

Scooting and Dancing

I may have broken my leg. Our show, our wedding was a smashing success,  and the couple is thankfully happy, so yes, in actors’ jargon we broke a leg.

But after all the music quieted down, and caterers cleared the ballroom, and the last of the guests left the hall, the realization of G-d’s running of the world twisted its way in a skidding but definite fashion from the back recesses of my mind, all the way toward the front.

A Lovely Party

Remember cliques? Those little groups that formed in high school, usually amongst girls?

Cliques were when little clans of two or three girls would gather in hallways, bathrooms, lunchrooms and the gym.  Anyone who wanted to enter their exclusive group was given a non-verbal look that said loud and clear, “you’re just not cool.”

Fast forward to a group of 30-something women (never men – they are just not into cliques!). These types of scenarios occur with adults as well, unfortunately. Snobbishness, exclusionary behaviors, talking only to folks from one’s inner circles and not trying to expand horizons and meet new people. Intolerance, prejudice, elitism. It’s all there.

But last night, I saw none of the above. peacesign

Last night my husband and I had an amazing, warm and fuzzy experience at a lovely party. Continue reading

Blog Bytes from the Rabbi

Today was one of those days that most Californians felt really blessed to be living in a terrific climate. With 85 degree temperatures, blue skies and zero humidity, our family and neighbors had the pleasure of comfortable walks to our Synagogue and other venues today in celebration of our weekly Shabbat/Sabbath.

California Sunshine

California Sunshine

Continue reading

Positive Transformation

“What a Wonderful World” – A song recorded by Louis Armstrong (1968), and written by Bob Thiele and George David Weiss.

That’s how I feel right now. I feel positive, upbeat, and in a generally good mood about life.

I see trees of green…….. red roses too
I see em bloom….. for me and for you
And I think to myself…. what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue….. clouds of white
Bright blessed days….dark sacred nights
And I think to myself …..what a wonderful world.

The colors of a rainbow… pretty the sky
Are also on the faces…..of people ..going by
I see friends shaking hands…..sayin.. how do you do
They’re really sayin……I love you. Continue reading

Different Strokes for Folks

This Land is Your Land

This Land is My Land,

From California

To the New York Island

From the Redwood Forests

to the Gulf Stream Waters

This Land is Made for me and you….

A song from the 1940’s  by Woodie Guthrie, and one that I sing to my elderly clients very often as a reminiscence tool. This tune is so popular that a friend of mine R. Seidel, RMT – – has revised the lyrics and composed new ones for a fun song teaching young kids to identify their eyes, nose, ears, etc. I have used it for many a sing-along with young pre-school kids in my work.  Here’s how  part of the song goes: (sung to the tune of “This Land is Your Land”)

This hand is your hand; It has five fingers; Wiggle them around now; And feel them tingle; Raise them above you; And then below you; This hand is yours and only yours.

This foot is your foot; It has five toes; Wiggle them around now: Do your socks have holes; Tap them on the floor now (tap, tap, tap..); Now make them stop; This foot is yours and only yours” (copyright 1994- R. Seidel, RMT)

Now that’s a powerful statement for any kid to hear – especially in song. Keep your hands to yourself. Keep your feet to yourself. They are yours. G-d gave them to you to enjoy, use and treasure. You are blessed.

I think one of the most important things in raising kids (not my job anymore) and in nurturing grandkids (I love that job these days) is enhancing their self image, making them feel good about themselves and helping them realize their specialness and uniqueness.

We all are different. Each one of us has a unique way of seeing things – doing stuff, and handling life. That’s a great lesson for children – and for adults to remind ourselves of each day.

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