Contact Me

Any time - drop me an email
miriamhendeles@gmail.com
1-323-243-7116

Contact Me

Any time - drop me an email
miriamhendeles@gmail.com
1-323-243-7116

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A Tale of Two Trips – Part I of II

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A few weeks ago I traveled to New York for a quick one day/one night trip. While there I visited my mom and my oldest son and daughter-in-law and kids, which was wonderful. But my main agenda on that short trip was to meet a new person who happened to be my son (#4)’s friend, whom he’d been dating  for a few months. They were getting serious and he wanted me to meet her.

I was a little jittery, and also excited and hopeful. My son had dated for marriage for awhile and we were thrilled that he had found his match. Everything seemed to click. I could tell from his voice stamp and his tone that he was completely happy and content.

All my feelings mixed together formed a big blob of nervousness.  Somehow that general nerve blob colored my travel experience and translated that experience into Bad Trip.

In fact, when I arrived in NY and my sister picked me up from the airport the next morning, she noted that all I could talk about to her in the car was how exhausted I was and how long the trip was.

The fact that I was there in NY for an exciting reason was lost on me. I was in a bad mood. I was nervous, anxious and worried. And unsettled.

So, what was so bad about this trip, you ask?

Well, one factor in the trip’s difficulty was its length. The sheer flying time cross country should be about 4 1/2 hours from west to east. But this trip was different.

In our attempt to get a ticket in a short amount of time, we rushed into getting an inconvenient ticket arrangements with not one, but two stopovers.

Since we had little mileage left for use at the time, the only normal direct ticket was about $800. In our effort  to find tickets for me to go meet this wonderful girl on a short notice, my son (who shall remain nameless – isn’t it great to have several sons so one never knows which one I’m talking about?) picked  the only itinerary that was available for a decent price. This itinerary was one with a stopover in Phoenix and another stopover in Charlotte, NC.

So at 5:45 pm on a Wednesday evening I took an Uber to Long Beach airport to wait in line and then fly to Phoenix.

Now a little geography here: Long Beach airport is about 35 miles from Los Angeles where I live. Yes, that’s right. Part of the allure of this wonderful cheap inexpensive ticket was that it flew out of the doo-hickey airport of Long Beach which is about the size of my backyard.

Wonderful airport and very quick service, but hello. It took the Uber (my second son, by the way, ) 90 minutes to get me there from LA in rush hour. And that was with using the carpool lane!

And by the time I got there, I had just about 15 minutes to get my boarding pass, go through security, wait on line and then board.

Finally, I was the plane – all was well, we took off, we landed  a little less than 2 hours later and then we deplaned.

The new gate to depart from Phoenix to Charlotte was about 20 minutes away by foot on those moving sidewalks or whatever they are called. And so I lugged my luggage across Phoenix airport, around and around until I found my gate.

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I checked my second boarding pass (yup, I had 3 altogether, isn’t that cool?) and the plane was to take off 3 hours from then.

Hmmm. I took out my food that I had taken along and ate some of it, being careful to ration, because it had to last my full journey across the  U.S.

At 11:15, we got called to get on the plane, and luckily I had a “priority” seating marked on my boarding pass (cost me $12 at the kiosk – best $12 I ever spent). This meant that after First Class folks, I was invited on to the plane to load my hand luggage in the still-empty overhead compartments. Such luxury.

My good mood about my priority seating was aborted by the sudden drop in temperature on the plane bound for Charlotte. This flight was about 4 1/2 hours and for some reason it was freezing cold. I had to wrap myself in my light jacket that I had taken with me and was still shivering. I could barely sleep.

airport-sign

I asked the flight attendant for a blanket because I saw some of the First Class folks use blankets. No blankets anymore, I was told.

Anyway, after 4 1/2 hours on the plane to Charlotte, we landed, got off, and it was even colder in the airport. The airport was beautiful with white, wooden Adirondack chairs for lounging, and lots of outlets for charging phones and ipads. The accents were a bit hard to understand so that was a little annoying but the main issue was that I was freezing.

By then it was 6 a.m. North Carolina time (same as NY? are we almost there yet?) and I still had to walk across the airport to the departing gate (far!),  wait 2 hours in the airport (yes, I checked my crumpled boarding pass) to be called up to board “Prory  boarding” which is Charlotte accent for “priority boarding” I realized after asking, “excuse me? excuse me? did she call our group yet?”

Anyway, finally we were on the last leg of the journey across the good ol’ USA and I was headed from Charlotte at 8:15 am.

Destination: La Guardia Airport – so says my crumpled boarding pass.

When I landed in LGA, I turned on my phone and saw a few texts from my sister. I went outside and noticed how warm it was (everything is relative compared to that plane with no blankets), and I started to look for my sister.

I found her. She found me. I got in the car.

It was 10 am. It took us 45 minutes to get to Brooklyn, to my mom’s house. Just enough time to freshen up before having the meeting we had planned the trip for in the first place.

Total flying time: 8 hours.

Total waiting time in 4 airports (Long Beach, Phoenix, Charlotte, La Guardia) – 6 hours

Total driving time to and from airports on each coast (2 1/2 hours).

Listen – you do the math – I’m too tired! But basically, in that time…I could have flown to Israel, right?

Oh – and in case you are wondering, I loved meeting my son’s friend (who is now my future daughter-in-law!). I traveled back to California the next day on minimal sleep and only had one stopover.

I was cranky as ever, came down with a lousy cold and had to take erythromycin to get rid of my bronchitis.

Mazel Tov! Stay tuned for the next installment of…..A Tale of Two Trips – Part II. Over there, I will discuss another trip – one which I had an entirely different experience than the one in this post.

Hint: The next trip (also no-frills and quite long) was sooooo much more fun! Hmmm. I wonder why.

See you at my next post….sooner than later!

 

 


SCHOOL DIARY #1: First Day of School Jitters (and how to deal)

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My grandson who is seven shared with me the other day that he is “scared” of second grade. Now mind you he’s a very bright student and a confident child…(Spoken like a true grandmother!). But still, he expressed what many of us feel each year as the summer winds down and the new year –with the first day of school and other firsts — creeps up on us.

Fear. Worry. Concern. How will things go?

All beginnings are hard, our sages tell us. As a teacher of high school, I have my own share of jitters in the weeks leading up to the first day of school. Will my students do well? Will they behave? Will I have a good lesson planned? And so on.

I shared how I’m also nervous, but not to be a student. I’m jittery about the first day of school (in a few weeks) when I will be an teacher after a 6 year hiatus from that job.

In the 1980’s and 1990’s, I taught music in various settings. Between 2000 and 2009, I taught high school English in a local high school. Then, in 2009, I “retired” from teaching, partly due to burnout and partly to focus more on my writing career, my grandchildren, and my music therapy career. Sounds like a lot, and it was.

And now, I was approached by the principal of a small school to take on several English and language arts classes. This teaching job of approximately eight lessons per week will be on top of my already full load of music therapy patients.

As I told my grandson, I’m nervous. Why? Several reasons, but mostly because beginnings are often difficult and it’s relatively normal to have butterflies in our stomachs when starting new things. New auditions. New rehearsals. New roles. New anything.

So what do we do when we are worried about starting something new?

We draw on our old experiences and remind ourselves what we did right. And do more of that. In my case, I took out all my materials from years ago, and sorted through it all.

Things are different these days. More material online. Communication between administration, I’ve noticed, is less on paper and more via email and text. Grades are posted online. And students have computers in the classroom.

Kids have things to worry about too. Will they make friends, will they understand the material, and will they get picked in sports? Among other things.

This is also the time before the Jewish New Year, when we pray for a happy new year and lots of good things to come. A  certain amount of concern and vigilance is in order. 
 
Maybe it’s a healthy sign for us to have some degree of anxiety at this time. That motivates us to pray, to prepare ourselves for the High Holy Days.

How do you get motivated to do the preparation necessary for good beginnings? Do you have any sense of fear or anxiety when starting new things? How do you cope?


On Storms and Earthquakes

East Coasters have storms. Hurricanes, tornadoes, rain, snow, blizzards. They get it all. The wind, the downed power lines, the trees fall, the electricity goes out, and the basements flood. It’s bad.

Here on the West Coast, we get earthquakes. No warning. Suddenly the earth shakes, and bookshelves go flying, dishes fall out of cabinets, picture frames collapse, dressers fall down, freeways fall. It’s bad.

G-d controls the world, and natural disasters are part of our world. What do we learn from them? How do we prepare? There are ways to prepare ourselves for natural disasters, and we would be wise to listen to the experts and take those steps, for long term preparation for earthquakes. Short term preparation for when a hurricane is coming.

But at the end of the day, there is not much we can do. We have to trust that G-d runs the world. G-d will take care of us. Can we control our storms within ourselves? Can we control the earthquakes within our pysches? Can we control the tempest that rules us when we are upset, angry or anxious? These are questions I often ask myself.

These are things I can possibly control and work on. My character traits, my behavior, my actions, are all facets of my life that I know I can take charge of – and aim to quiet the roaring within me, and stay calm and relaxed.

That it the ultimate goal – for me, and probably for each one of us – taming the tempest within our souls.

The aftermath of a recent storm, Hurricane Sandy – has created many problems for the Northeastern  U.S. – lack of power, lack of water, schools are out, subways are not running, gas stations are low on fuel. Lots of issues. How do they —- and we— remain calm when the storm has calmed, but the anxieties remain? That is the question. My heart goes out to those in the East Coast, and I pray that they can handle their tests that are coming to them in the future days with calm and resolve. I know they will. East Coasters are tough!


First Day of School for Grandma

There used to be those jokes: You know you’re a redneck when….
My feeling today was: I know I’m getting older when….

I had no clue about the start of the school year. Yup. This week was the start of the schools in our neighborhood, and I didn’t even know anything about it until today. For the first time in almost 30 years, I didn’t think about school supplies, admission cards, backpacks, or teachers. For the first time in a long time, I found out in casual conversation that – oh yeah, today was the first day of school.

My daughter-in-law mentioned to me that her son is starting school today. Then, I perked my ears and eyes up and did notice kids walking home from school in uniforms at the end of the day. I guess I needed to pay attention!

So how am I celebrating this newness of the school year this year? I do have to commemorate it – if only for old times sake. I know. I will buy my grandsons who are starting yeshiva a special picture book that was just released this week!

The book, “Moshe Goes To Yeshiva” is about a little boy who starts school (you figured that out, didn’t you?), and his mom is all anxious about how he will fare. The boy is fine and prepared, and all pumped up. But then when the mother pulls away from her child, he clamps up and becomes afraid.

A great book to  read to kids before school starts (or once school starts too…), and prepare the child for the beginning of school. All beginnings are hard, and this book can ease the transition.

Well, that’s my Grandmother perspective and take on  beginnings, newness, and first day of school.

So, I know I’m getting older when the main focus of the first day of school is going out to buy a book for my grandson!

Happy reading for me and for other grandmothers! Much luck in the coming school year for all the children!!


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