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

[breadcrumbs]

No More Complaining About the Weather!

In NY where  it gets cold in the winter and hot in the summer, people don’t really talk much about the weather. Over there, where the leaves shed from trees in the fall and the flowers bloom in the spring, nobody talks much about it. They don’t complain. They don’t boast.  They are grateful for the pleasant seasons and are quiet when the not-so-good climate changes come around.

The only time someone might bring it up is if they address a practical concern such as how to dress for the weather. Or someone might grab the topic  as an anchor in order to politely redirect an unpleasant conversation, as in “Ummm, how’s the weather down there?”

But here in Los Angeles, we talk a lot about the weather.

When it’s sunny, we boast and gloat. When it’s chilly — that means 60 degrees or below — we complain.

And when it rains – and boy does it rain in a typical winter of December through February —  the conversations begin in unison while putting on boots, rain jackets and other gear.

girl-with-umbrella

 

As we bundle up, dramatically pulling a scarf around neck, we share  with friends how we either love — or hate– the rain.

And then came The Drought. No rain for five or six years. Yeah, a trickle or a tease here and there. And maybe a few short ten minute showers, but for the most part? Nothing. Nada. Grass turned brown. The air was dry. The reservoirs dried up.

We conserved water. We set our sprinkler timers to spray water one or two times per week. Or we ran the hose around the lawn for a few minutes only. We took shorter showers, loaded larger and fewer washing machine and dishwasher loads.

Instead of chatting calmly to each other about the weather, we listened to the experts warn us: If we used too much water from our starving reservoirs, we’d be fined.

We silently hoped, wished and even prayed for rain.

Now, after five or so years, we  finally have some serious rain.

And…something interesting happened.

People stopped complaining.

For one, it’s no longer politically correct  to whine about the nastiness or draft. These days,  no self-respecting Angelino after experiencing the drought would complain about rainy weather.

But the real reason we don’t complain about rain anymore is that we’re happy. We genuinely appreciate that rain, the freshness, the feeling of water coming from a higher Source.

Once we lose something we miss it.

And then if we are lucky and blessed enough to have that lost thing or experience returned to us, we value it. We know that good things in life are not to be taken for granted.

We realize that there are some things in life that we just cannot take for granted,  can’t control or hold onto forever.  At the end of the day, we don’t have control over every facet of our destinies.

We can lose stuff in the blink of an eye. We saw that with the rain.

We may have personal instances where we lose things in our lives and then are fortunate to have those things returned.

A lost item is found. Someone without a job finds a good one. An ill friend is cured.

A stream of bad fortune in life is followed by some happy occasions: An engagement, a marriage, a new baby.

Bad times  become good. Things in our lives improve.

When I broke my ankle three years ago, I was in pretty bad shape.

Buzzzz…ohhh. it tickles

For the better part of a year I dealt with surgeries, bed rest, and pain. Finally, after almost nine months, the physical therapy began. And when I was once again able to walk, I was thrilled.

As the pain lessened, and my limp lessened and then disappeared, I felt gratitude for every step I take on firm ground.

Till today, I wear comfortable shoes and have banished most high heels but I don’t care. Three years after I broke my ankle, I remember the pain and anguish I suffered. And I will (almost) never forget to be grateful  for the miracle of a working ankle.

Nowadays when it rains here in the Hollywood, you’ll hear people saying, “isn’t it great?” or “don’t you just love this weather?” Or  “Oh, yes, G-d knows we need it,” or “We prayed for this.” Because even if people hate cold weather no one would express that during these days of rain after drought.

Let us look around us at all the blessings we have today. Things are far from perfect. G-d knows, our country has its arthritis and its bones are aching. Many are without jobs. Families and friends have stuff that’s going on in their lives that makes things hard for them.

But let’s open our eyes and ears for the good that comes our way. When we do get those showers of blessings, let’s embrace them.

Let’s sing in the rain how happy we are.

Let’s show empathy for those who have less in some areas. Let’s have courage to try to improve the lacks in our own lives.

Just yesterday I heard the radio announcer predict rain for today and the weekend and although I was tempted  to vent, complain, kvetch and rant, I stopped myself.

Instead I say:

Bring on the rain!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


It Takes a Village – Endless Kindness

Stuff to Be Kind

By M. Hendeles (lyrics); A. Kaufman (vocals, recording); Jana Stanfield - music

Last week my husband sponsored  a kiddush reception for all our friends and relatives at our synagogue on Shabbos. The reception was a come and go type of event and the purpose was to give thanks to everyone  – our entire community, friends, relatives and acquaintance –for their help to our family and especially me during my recuperation from several foot surgeries the past 9 months. Now that I’m doing much better and walking, we wanted to give public thanks to Hashem as well. Many friends showed up and it felt good to have a tangible way for closure to an period in our lives that was challenging. During those months, I lost the ability to walk and get around. But I also discovered a lot of love and kindness around me.

One of the things my husband said during his short two-minute blurb or speech was that people came through for me in our community in amazing ways. And “just when Miriam was about to lose it, someone always came through by visiting, cheering her up or cooking a meal…” I laughed at his wording; did I really “almost lose it?”  He was trying to convey how much everyone really helped out and in his effort to do so, he may have exaggerated a bit about my situation. But did he exaggerate? I thought about it for a minute.

No, he did not exaggerate.

Truth is, when I thought about it, I realized that yes, I did almost “lose it” many times. I recall the time I had a serious meltdown on my way to the bathroom when it took me ten minutes to get there and everything was hurting me. I began to cry hysterically and my thoughts revolved around things like “I’m dying, they’re not telling me, they’re keeping it a secret from me, but I’m really seriously dying…”

Shortly afterward, a friend texted me “hey, Miriam can I bring you an Ice-Blended from the Coffee Bean?” A light in the darkness is how I viewed the text and I answered “Yeah, I’d love that…”

Things like that happened throughout the time of my ups and downs and complications. There was the friend from NYC who was visiting her own children in LA where I live, and she came by to visit, bringing me needlepoint projects to do. She also brought CD’s of classical music spanning composers from Bach all the way to Rachmaninoff. Listening to that music over the next few weeks made me feel like I was back in music school, and took my mind off my pains and complaints.

ACTS OF KINDNESS

Other friends cooked for us huge  gourmet meals (did I mention my husband and I are empty-nesters and we are only TWO people?), and still others went shopping for me. I received constant texts from friends to the tune of “Miriam, I’m at Costco – what do you need?” or “I”m at Target, can I get you something?” or “I’m going to the market tomorrow, call in an order and I’ll pick it up for you..”

One friend came by and played her cello for me, and another friend sent me a bunch of you-tube clips of Brahms  symphonies and sonatas so I could divert my mind to something outside my own pains. Just to cheer me up.

My daughters-in-law ran errands for me, and brought the kids over to visit and watch videos together with me. One DIL brought me a book of crossword puzzles and some friends sent balloons and flowers and cards. On Shabbos afternoon, friends and neighbors came by to keep me company, and while I had my leg raised on 8 or 9 pillows, these friends shmoozed, laughed, listened and cared. It was truly magical.

When I needed to go to the doctor, and my husband was at work and couldn’t drive me, a friend or relative would come by and give me a ride. Our community has an organization called Bikur Cholim  which provided drivers for me when I needed a lift.

What did all this teach me? The power of love. The power of giving. The importance of visiting someone who is not well. The creativity that one can use when trying to help someone else. Whereas some people are cookers, others may be drivers, and yet others may be visitors. Some just wrote emails or texts and others called to check in. There’s no one way to do a kindness. It’s all good.

Thankfully, now I’m better and I am on the other side of fence, helping others when I can. I’m able to drive, walk, cook and visit others. I feel so blessed to have reached this point. But I will never forget the feeling of helplessness of needing, because that feeling of “losing it” is the rock bottom that made me appreciate the kindness even more so.

While I was in bed, I did some composing, and one of the songs I wrote is featured at the beginning of this post. I hope you enjoy it. It’s called:

“Stuff to Be Kind” – lyrics composed by yours truly

Vocals by Arthur Kaufman; and Music by Jana Stanfield (“If I were Brave”)

 

 


VWB – Very Witty and Blogless

For this post, VWB is moving away temporarily from Virtual Writing Buddies…to Very Witty and Blogless.Today I’m going to brag about my friend, Beth J.writinggroup

Beth J does not have a blog  (yet), while being  an accomplished writer and one of the original members of our writing group.

Beth has contributed some hysterical grandmother anecdotes for my book, which I dutifully camouflaged for the sake of anonymity.

Beth J. (to be distinguished from my other Beth friend, Beth F.) is witty and funny.  Her feedback is always spot on and she is an asset to our group. As a special educator at Conejo Academy, elementary schools and high schools,  she is the go-to person for tough questions about best practices in special and general education in our city.

Beth is active in Aish Hatorah, is a terrific cook, and a great “eema” of seven (mother of 7 is her moniker).

Thanks Beth for the great input you give to our group!


Paying it Forward

I’ve been feeling very fortunate lately for a variety of reasons. Maybe the word is blessed. Not that everything in my life is rosy. There is definitely room for lots of improvement.  What I’m referring to is a certain sense of calm and peace of mind and acceptance that I don’t think I had when I was younger. Continue reading


You Get What You Get…

Yes, you get what you get…and you don’t get upset! That’s the chant I’ve used with my music therapy groups of children when I passed out instruments. When some of the kids were a bit disgruntled with the particular maraca or bells they were handed, I used that chant as a reminder.  In fact, my own grandsons use this chant on each other.

“Hey, I got it first! You get what you get! Remember?” — he says to his cousin who has just laid claim to a truck or car that he felt was HIS.

“Everything we need to know in life has been learned in kindergarten” is a saying that keeps popping up in my mind’s eye when I realize how valuable these childlike lessons are.

It is all about my choices and perceptions of my lot in life.

I realize these days how God gives each one of us exactly what we need in life. I could pine and wish for that trip to Israel or Europe, but hey – it’s not happening yet. I could choose to be envious of those who take monthly getaways with their spouses. But I don’t. Instead I’m content with the lifestyle that I have.

I could decide to detest that person who somehow racks up all that mileage and manages to take a cruise to Alaska during the summer. But I don’t. I’m happy for them, and even happier for me for being healthy thank G-d, and able to stay comfortably in one place without traveling.

I could also be extremely jealous of said acquaintance whose husband has a job that enables them to get vacation more often than my own husband’s 3 weeks per year – which are mostly taken up by Jewish Holidays. But instead I tell myself that someday – when G-d means for this to happen – we will afford such a trip.

Similarly, I could be resentful of those who seem to have such an easy time staying slim, (okay, okay I’m a bit angry at those people). I could be mad at those who seem to be so calm, cool and collected and rarely (never?) raise their voices. I could find fault with these people because that would be an easy way for me to put them down (in order to raise myself). Instead, I choose to be happy with my lot.

You get the idea. It’s all in our perceptions. It’s all about how we see things. The cup half empty? Or the cup half full?

It is our choice to either be content with our lot, or not. We might as well appreciate our lot in life for what they are: gifts given to us by God, to be used. Not to be compared with others.

We get what we get. Great chant to sing – from kindergarten up to any age!


It Takes a Village

As I contemplated what topic to write about today, one word kept coming into the forefront of my mind. Gratitude.

Gratitude, and appreciation:

To Hashem (G-d), to my family, my dear husband, my parents, my friends, acquaintances, community members and so many people. To my publisher (Israel Bookshop), editor, and their wonderful, pleasant and capable staff.

A famous person once (ahem – was it Hilary Clinton?) said “It takes a village,” and that expression rings true today for me.

It’s only Day 2 of my book being on the market, but already I have learned so much from the experience. I know that I will learn more, and I am ready to take that ride. But for now, I’d like to share my appreciation and warmth for all the people (too many to list) who have traveled this journey with me (whether they realize it or not!) to where I am today.

I never intended to write a book.  When I began to write down my thoughts and ideas over the years, I was simply making sense out of what I was seeing and taking stock of what I was learning. I guess that is what we writers do. We figure things out, and write them down. That has been my process. Then we start seeing themes and topics that keep playing over and over. And that is when we suddenly think something along the lines of:  “hmmm, maybe there is something here…let’s see how it goes.”

And so – if we are wise, then we tighten up our themes, learn more, write more, try, try, fail, fall down, get up, ask for help, listen to that help (well…most of the time!), and see what works. And also see what does not work.

For each person the process is different. As human beings, and particularly as parents and grandparents, we acknowledge that every one of our children and grandchildren has his or her own process, and journey to travel. What works for one may or may not work for the other.

I guess what I’m saying here is that I am so grateful to Hashem for helping me find my niche. For helping me find my path, and continue to find that path. Included in that “path” are all the people, events, ideas, mistakes, corrections, trials, errors  in my life the past years.
At this time of year, its seems auspicious to be grateful, take stock of the past, and to move forward in the future. I have so much work ahead of me. In all my roles, thank G-d as a woman and in our relationships with others.

And now…. I’m going to get to the point now, and conclude with several big THANK YOU’s.

THANK YOU…..

To my husband for supporting me through all this (forgive me if this sounds like the Academy Awards – Oscars — oh well..)

To all the people who phoned and/or wrote me warm and wonderful Mazel Tov and Congratulations emails and texts the past few weeks, especially yesterday – I thank you.

To Hashem for making this all a reality.

Because in essence, “Mazel Tov! It’s a Bubby!” is a book about our relationship to G-d, to ourselves and to our fellow human being.

Thanks! And Shabbat Shalom, Good Shabbos and all the best!


Shein, Voyl, und Klug

The Yiddish phrase – “shein, voyl, und klug” – in the title represents what my grandmother always said about us: Beautiful, good, and smart. And guess what? She wasn’t even prejudiced. She meant every word, and it was true! Her grandkids (us!) were the best…(at least in her unbiased opinion).

By contrast, my husband’s aunt would see any child – whether it was her own grandchild or that of someone else, and she would say, “A Leiben Auf Dem Kup” -which means, “I love that head…”

I was reminded of these two approaches the other night when I went to an event of a good friend of ours. The people hosting the event had their grandchildren there, and these kids (even though they were not my own grandkids), were admittedly very very very (many very’s here…) cute. I won’t say whose kids they were because the mom (and grandmother!) will kill me (well not literally, I guess..)

Anyway, I digress.

I was so enamored by these children. Their chein (charm), their beauty, their personalities. Now, may I add “poo,poo, poo” (Yiddish for “knock on wood” – check the glossary, k?)

I thought of my husband’s aunt who was able to enjoy other people’s kids. Thank G-d, I am able to see the beauty and charm in any child – children are precious, and I find them so irresistible. I love kids. I identified with my aunt-in-law who always gave cookies and treats to anyone who came into her large house. She loved all children.

It made me realize that this is one way I have possibly surpassed my grandmother’s somewhat primitive outlook of “only my kids are the best…”

It’s okay sometimes (most of the time)– and commendable — to appreciate others, as well as ourselves. It makes for good relationships and a more colorful life.


Subscribe to Blog!

Would you like to be notified of new posts? ENTER YOUR EMAIL HERE please and then look out for an email to CONFIRM your subscription.

Proud Member of Midlife Boulevard

Proud Member of Midlife Boulevard

Community

View Past Posts

WP-Backgrounds Lite by InoPlugs Web Design and Juwelier Schönmann 1010 Wien