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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Thumbs Up to 10 Blogging Buddies

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As we enter the New Year of 2016,  I thank a group of  people who enrich my life with their insights and creativity. They enlighten me with their humor and spirituality. And they inform me with their knowledge and wit.

Most of these women are  younger than me; some are older and a few are just about my age and stage. Whether they blog about parenting, spirituality, grandparenting, midlife issues, world events,  religion or anything else…their sharing of ideas online  has improved my life.

Without further ado, I wish a Happy 2016 t0 the following talented bloggers (listed below in alphabetical order).

1.

An Empowered Spirit. Cathy Chester

From writing and advocating for those who have multiple sclerosis to bringing a positive angle from events….to teaching us the value of friendship and love….kindness and creativity to her friends and acquaintances…to reminiscing about oldies in movies, books and culture…to sharing exciting happenings in showbiz and musicals…..and how to age with grace and love and humor, and mindfulness….Cathy’s prose always inspires, hits the spot. Her ideas expressed on popular sites  and her personal blog resonate with spirituality and her words sing with just the right tones and beats, encouraging us all to find the beauty in the everyday lives we lead. Cathy’s blog has garnered a great deal of public attention, winning numerous awards, especially in her capacity as an advocate for people with disabilities.  One of these days, Cathy and I will meet – hopefully sooner than later.

2.

Cycling Grandma. Lisa Winkler.

Lisa and I began as grandmother friends as we both have grandma blogs and found each other online. Pretty soon we were swapping stories and grandchildren cute antics through email and some posts. Eventually, we actually met IRL when Lisa came to Los Angeles last year. Lisa is a woman of many passions: bike riding (“cycling”), knitting, play scripting,  teaching, stimulating her grandchildren’s growing minds, reading, traveling, and of course writing (I’m sure I left out a lot!).   I consider Lisa a dear and supportive friend who has given me many tools and tips for coping in my personal and professional life.

3.

Empty House Full Mind. Sharon Greenthal.

Sharon is one of  the founders of  Midlife Boulevard, a community of women who blog.  I joined that group a few years ago and met some like-minded and similar-staged friends. Sharon’s posts on her personal blog and other online platforms cover versatile topics including being a “mentsch” in social media, dealing with empty nest syndrome, perspectives on marriage, relating appropriately to adult children, and appreciating the good in our middle aged lives.  Sharon’s subjects are relatable and timely but always with an original twist that keeps me entertained and enlightened.  Her material is a reality check reminding me to laugh, relax and enjoy the ride. Sharon recently  became a columnist on About.com as their  expert in young adult parenting.  Thanks, Sharon!

4.

Friend for the Ride. Barbara Younger.

Barbara, a fellow grandmother was one of the first people that I met as a blogger. Barbara ran a guest post of mine and the rest is history.  Recently when I had a health scare that related to  menopause, Barbara gave me the encouragement I needed (and everything worked out well thank G-d!). You see, menopause –and everything tangentially related to it – is Barbara’s niche and expertise. Barbara is a hoot and expresses  serious medical topics with refreshing humor and candidness. Barbara’s bravery and optimism along with the accurate information that she posts are what attracted me to her blog. Her stories about being a grandmother and mom who juggles the sandwich generation are always relatable. Thank you, Barbara for being there.

5.

Grandma’s Briefs. Lisa Carpenter.

Lisa’s blog struck me from the beginning as the consummate “Grandmother Blog.” I loved the way Lisa gave her grandsons anonymous “bloggie” names on the blog. (Check them out on her blog in the sidebar). Lisa’s sense of humor, down to earth writing and really professional layout are what got me coming back. Lisa’s recent subjects on her blog have been movie reviews, combatting weight gain around holiday time, and other family matters. Lisa is the coordinator of an event where bloggers contribute their best post in one spot. She calls it the Grand Social and holds it weekly, inviting other grandmothers to submit their links on any topic (even non-grandmother topics – just no sales).  Lisa loves traveling and can often be found visiting her daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren in nearby Arizona. Check out some of those fabulous photos and videos  she takes of her grandsons. Thanks, Lisa for the inspiration.

6.

L.ife in the Married Lane. Rivki Silver.

Rivki, SAHM mother of four, musician of too many instruments to count (clarinet, piano, saxophone and more) published writer, and performer,  blogs (in her free time…) a potpourri of ideas including Judaism, parenting, music, marriage,  motherhood and general “of interest” subjects.  Whether she’s covering serious or funny topics, Rivki’s writing is both engaging and gripping.  Check out some of  Rivki’s published posts and amazing you-tube videos where she articulates thoughts on spiritual growth and healthy priorities. Enjoy her musical selections such as “Ode to a Cosmic Carrot” that she’s composed and arranged. Rivki’s story about her spiritual journey and her gifts at combining technology,  spirituality and art with down-to-earth topics, inspire me to personal growth.  Thanks, Rivki!

7.

Nina Badzin, Writer.

In the beginning I read Nina’s blog to gain insight from an accomplished writer and blogger. I saw how vast her publishing experience was and I wanted to learn from her. But soon I realized that I was learning more about character traits and relationships than about knowledge on how to write. Nina has an intuitive sense of honing in on a theme and  is the go-to person for  how to navigate the complexities of social media;  I read her  friendship advice column and am amazed how spot-on she is. Nina seems to get so much done in a day that often I’m dizzy (in a good way) after reading her posts. From Challah baking groups to the myriad books she devours and reviews…. to the creative things she does with her cute kids, to her ambitious yet pragmatic outlook, I’m constantly inspired. But what I most enjoy about Nina’s writing is her solid voice with a sense of who she is and who she aspires to be. We can all identify with her  practical and sensible advice that always has a positive and hopeful tone. Keep teaching, Nina and thanks!

8.

Out of the Orthodox Box. Ruchie Koval.

Ruchie Koval’s blog’s title is reflective of her mission to bring Orthodox Judaism out of the box or to demystify the customs and practices of Orthodox Judaism for the Jews of all ages, affiliations and levels. Besides being the the author of the newly published book, Conversations With God,  her articulate posts offer perspectives on hosting unaffiliated guests for Shabbat meals  , a young Orthodox girl’s  conviction to wear a skirt for gymnastics, Orthodox Jewish women covering their hair after marriage, parenting, and relationships. Ruchi and her husband are the dynamic team who run the Cleveland program of Jewish Family Experience or  JFX, an organization for Jewish outreach. They, their seven children and staff  bring  Jewish people back to their roots through lectures, programs, entertainment and trips to Israel. With raw honesty and sincerity,  Ruchi breaks down complex issues into little understandable bites. Thanks, Ruchi.

9.

Rebecca Klempner’s Blog.

Rebecca Klempner, my IRL friend before my blogging friend,  was the one who got me motivated to get into blogging. She is the mother of four, science fiction fiend, and talented author of children’s book. Additionally, she has published anthology collections online and on the website Tablet magazine, and countless short stories and essays. A regular contributor to several print magazines and periodicals, Rebecca has become the go-to person in our community for knowing the ins and outs of the publishing world. Rebecca’s blog is about writing including her journey as a writer, her writing process, struggles and successes in composing essays and novels, news about her new publications, and general tips on writing for all of us readers. I always learn about the industry and the craft of writing when spending time with Becca or reading her blog.

10.

Renee Jacobson’s Blog.

Talented artist and painter, writer, blogger, lover of cute hats,  Renee and I met when she organized a Hannukkah Hoopla blogging event for a group of bloggers in December 2014. After that, we became fast Face-book friends (love that alliteration…) and Renee even painted a set of colorful canvases (!) for my new kitchen. Renee’s creativity in fashion, writing and teaching are only a small part of who she is. I’m happy to have met Renee online and look forward to meeting one day! Maybe you’ll come out to LA and give an art workshop. Who knows?

 

My wish for the coming year is that we continue to enjoy to gain inspiration through reading, writing and sharing our thoughts. Happy 2016!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


A Special Day with a Friend

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When fellow bloggie-friend and  commiserating grandmother, Lisa Winkler   contacted me a few weeks ago that she was coming to Los Angeles with her husband, I was thrilled.  She and I decided to fit some time in for each other. We exchanged a few emails back and forth – from what to pack (warm clothes? raincoat? layers?) to where we would meet (her hotel!) and what we should do (“whatever you want” – we each said!).

I’ve lived in LA for several decades,  almost my entire adult life. I love it here, and have many dear friends and family. But there is something special about getting together with  friends from the (freezing cold) East Coast. First, I get to show off LA’s weather! Listen, we may have earthquakes here, but nothing beats our 70’s climate in January.  Second, I get to spend some time taking friends and family around, something I love to do.

Being with people from the East Coast reminds me of my family, who I miss very much. Their weather may be cold, but their personalities are very warm.

And since Lisa (who blogs over at Cycling Grandma with her astute observations of the world) and I have never met, except for our online communication, this was a  chance for us to meet in IRL (that’s “in real life” btw!). I’ve always admired Lisa and enjoyed writing about her play awhile ago on my blog.

When I drove up and saw Lisa, I felt as if I was seeing someone I’ve known for more than just the few years that we’ve been emailing, blogging and corresponding online.  It was thrilling.

Oh! The chatting, talking, comparing notes. On and on and on. Whew. I had to be careful driving, because I was so distracted by the excitement of it all.

Our first stop on that Monday afternoon when the sun was shining (low 70’s during the day; cooler in the early morning), was the “Fish Grill” which is a favorite restaurant of mine. Grilled fish, tacos, fast-food, and fun ambience.

                                                 IMG_3061 Lisa and I had myriad things to talk about. From family, to kids, to married couples and of course grandchildren. Oh, the kvelling and the venting (come on, what do you expect when two middle aged ladies get together?).  We had lots in common: Talking about hobbies, writing, passions. You name it.

Our next stop after eating lunch  and snapping a picture, (“Ummm, do you mind taking a photo of us,” I asked someone at the next table.), we headed over to the Museum of Tolerance,  located near Beverly Hills.

The place was pretty empty that day except for a few school gatherings, and the patrons were overly eager to help us out (one interestingly – ahem – offered to show us the restroom, which we politely declined; “we’re good, thank you!”). Another one, later on in our trek, wanted to give us a ticket to use for the computerized exhibits. We told her we are not techno-savvy and declined that as well.

I chuckle at the irony of two ladies walking through a museum which evokes sadness and tragedy, and chatting about things that were not always relevant to the topic or mood.  But yes, we did explore a few exhibits.  Going through the museum triggered lots of discussions about our respective Jewish heritage and other stimulating discussions about our moms, dads and other relatives. Lisa is an accomplished playwright of “The Shabbos List,”  and  writer of people’s memoirs, so her knowledge of Jewish culture is rich and stimulating.

After the museum, we headed to Walgreens, where  Lisa picked up a few essentials she needed.  I dropped her off at the hotel and then with plans to get together for a bit the next day as well, we said good-bye.

Our second day together was equally wonderful. We drove by the LACMA museum (LA county art museum) and the Tar Pits and down Wilshire Blvd, while I, the tour guide (ahem, ahem) shared my knowledge, as if I was a born and bred Angelino (not).

We talked more about the weather (just kidding), and then headed over to The Grove, a charming out-door mall, and walked around a bit. Lisa and I sat outside for about an hour chatting, sipping  latte and the Special of the Day (Lisa ordered that one!) at the Coffee Bean at the Farmer’s Market (adjacent to the Grove shopping mall). Time flies and before we knew it, it was 4 pm and both of us had to be on our ways.

I then drove Lisa back to the hotel. All good things must come to an end.

Lisa’s visit was a welcome break from my regular routine of work and errands. Since I have a flexible schedule at work, I was more than happy to block out a few hours or more to get together. Lisa kept thanking me, but it was my pleasure really. And of course, being active and able to drive and get around without extreme fatigue is a treat for me. So Lisa gets the credit for giving me the opportunity for that.

Lisa and I already promised each other that the next time I’m in NY or NJ, we will get together! I’m already looking forward, notwithstanding the NY weather!

And please check out Lisa’s blog which features a post about the Los Angeles segment of her California trip.


Relatable Themes in “The Shabbos List”

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These days with social media videos, blogs, articles, you-tubes and memes coming our way, we have the advantage of  receiving lots of support from others. We also get information about current events, opinions and passions of other people. The downside is that sometimes we can become desensitized to important values, ideas and suffering of others, simply because we are on media overload. But occasionally, in spite of the avalanche of material coming our way, a particular missive affects us in such a profound way that we are surprised. It sits with us, stays with us, and we just can’t get our minds off of it. We relate to its theme. We get it, and we instinctively want to share it with all our friends.

This morning when I watched a taped play performance called, “The Shabbos List,” written by Lisa K. Winkler, I was riveted to the screen and related to the themes brought out by the story. “The Shabbos List” is about a Jewish family whose son goes to Israel on a BirthRight trip for two weeks vacation, and returns as an Orthodox practicing Jew, with full religious convictions. His family, who is not religious, has a hard time accepting their son’s metamorphasis, and his many new and strange restrictions. The story is about the conflict that ensues. Inner conflicts of the various characters are explored as each work through their own issues as mirrored through their son.

Lisa Winkler, writer, blogger, journalist,  mom, grandmother, cyclist, knitter, is a friend of mine, which is why I took the time to watch it.  I’m so glad I did. The play moved me and would likely touch others like me who are moms, grandmothers, sisters and brothers, Jewish or non-Jewish.  I think all who grasp the complexity of raising children to adulthood and watching the generation below us mature in the ways that they do  will appreciate the universal message in this story. Our job is to raise our children to the best of our abilities, with all our resources. Good genes, good schools, good friends, good influences are all part of the picture. But at the end of the day, all the helicoptering that we do doesn’t help; our children do not do everything we want them to do, or turn out as  carbon copies of us. Nor do we want them to be.

I identified with the parents, and empathized with the younger generation.  As parents we have visions and dreams for our children, whether we realize it consciously or not. These dreams may reflect what they carry through in their lives, or may not, but what about those kids who do follow their parents’ dreams and then regret it?

Happily, that wasn’t the situation in Lisa’s play, which made it a perfect play for me. One with an upbeat and positive tone, while exploring some real imperfections in attitude that we, as parents may sometimes have.

The play ran for three days in mid-July in Manhattan, and since I live on the West Coast, I missed it. Luckily, I was able to see the video viewing, and look forward to the show eventually coming out to LA or other cities. It would be a special experience for me to see this play live on stage with the same or new actors. The actors did a great job with their roles, with the help of a really good script.

Lisa, a first time playwright, may have found her calling. This is a story that should be seen.

For more information, contact Lisa at her Cycling Grandma Blog.


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