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]

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.

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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!

 

 


Mazel Tov! It’s another….DIL!

I have not been posting or writing for the past few weeks, because things got really busy and exciting in our household. And since it’s really hard for me to stay away from blogging, I’ve finally broken my abstinence to appear here on these pages and share with you the reason for the excitement in the Hendeles home.

Our son became engaged! (did you figure it out from the headline??). Seriously, my husband and I now have another (#3 so far! – Thank G-d), daughter-in-law, or DIL as I’ve referred to these lovely girls who have joined our family the past six or seven years.

This post is dedicated to my DIL’s – including the newest one, who put up with me in the following ways:

1. They put up with me, or more specifically, they put up with the fact that I write about my experiences as a MIL. True, they have no choice (sort of), and although I let them see material that is particularly about them (which is very rare), it still has to be pretty hard for a DIL to know that every time her little toddler son spills his milk, her MIL will write a lesson and moral about that event.

2. They put up with our (my husband and my) sons, and even more so, they treasure them. It’s quite humbling to realize that the effort one puts into raising children really pays off as all the things that we thought were irresistible (and even the stuff we didn’t find so irresistible…) in our children, are also endearing to someone else!

3. They merge so seamlessly into our family and extended family, that it almost feels as if we’ve known them for so many years.

For this and so much more, I’m feeling blesses to have this young couple (and of course the others!) in our lives.

Mazel tov, and may all of us share happy occasions in our families…..


The 7 Habits of a Successful Zaidy

Mazel Tov! It’s a Zaidy!

What? Am I changing my title? Writing a new book? Having amnesia?

None of the above (yet), actually. I just decided to write about my perception of what it must feel like to be a Zaidy. Of course this is only guess-work, as one can never know what another person is feeling. Yet, still I tend to observe behaviors and patterns. Therefore,  based on my “research” on the various Zaidies (grandfathers) that I have known, I have reached a conclusion.

Here are the 7 habits and theories of successful grandfather-hood.

Disclaimer: The examples below are purely fictional. Any resemblance to a grandfather in a reader or even this blogger’s life, is purely coincidental.  And yes, this disclaimer is absolutely honest and sincere! (notwithstanding previous post “disqualifying disclaimers”)

* Zaidies take pride in their  Zaidy-hood. Just as grandmothers feel happy and proud to be in that new status of doting on her grandchildren, and spoiling them rotten, so do grandfathers. This is quite interesting, especially keeping in mind that men are from Mars and women are from Venus (or is it the other way around? I forget…). But in this case, grandfathers are equally crazy about their grandchildren, and relish the time they have with them – just like their female counterpart, the Bubby.

*A Zaidy has no qualms about being or feeling old. Unlike the Bubby, who likes to remain young and cool, the Zaidy is not interested in that sort of thing. In fact, the Zaidy ages quite UNgracefully in his role as Grandfather. He gets white hairs, wrinkles on his forehead and a pot belly, faster than one can shout the words, “Mazel Tov!” at the bris or kiddush for his first grandchild.

*A Zaidy has zero patience for diapering his grandchildren. If he was the kind to diaper his own kids when they were small, consider those skills completely forgotten. Once he puts his official Zaidy cap on, he loses all abilities to place velcro over plastic of the diaper. Finished. Kaput. Done. Don’t expect it and all members of the family will be happy.

*The best way to get a Zaidy to relax is to put a grandchild on his lap. Even if the Zaidy is eating lunch on Shabbos, or doing work at his desk during the week, or otherwise occupied, he will be most agreeable to having a small child interrupt his activity and will smile, coo and wink at that child.

*Zaidies love telling stories of their own childhood to all who listen. Good listeners often include the grandchildren. This penchant for storytelling begins around when the moms and dads of said children leave the kids with the Zaidy for babysitting. Said children are to be found on Zaidy’s lap when parents return,  well taken care of, well-storied, and well educated. No comment on the status of the cleanliness of clothes or mess in the home.

*Zaidies love to teach, to instruct, and to pass on skills. Whatever skills their own children resisted are given a “second chance” to be integrated into the next generation’s psyche. So for example, if Zaidy’s own children hated astronomy, Zaidy has another chance with his grandchildren, and he buys his first grandson a telescope at the first opportunity.

*Zaidies get quieter as they get older. The more talkative the Bubbies get, the quieter the Zaidy’s become.

There you have it – The 7 Habits of Successful Zaidy-hood. (and of course the old adage that “all  generalizations are false”… applies here – for those who find this post highly generalized!)


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!


On Bubby Births and More

This week my good friend’s daughter gave birth to twin girls! Double Mazel Tov! What a simcha! Also, my niece had a baby girl, and my other niece had a baby boy! Double mazel tov there too! Thank G-d for all these Mazel Tov’s.

Meanwhile, I am  kind of (read: very very) excited about a personal Mazel Tov! – the release of  my book that tells the story of my birth as a Bubby! Five years ago, a Bubby was born; I became a grandmother. Not the first and not the last, and certainly not the only Bubby who was excited to become one (although it sure seems like that, from the way I tend to talk about grandmother-hood!). Nevertheless, I am a Bubby who decided to write about my perceptions, insights and funny stories  vis-a-vis my married children,  grandchildren, and adult children. Those writings —-and more —- evolved into the book, Mazel Tov! It’s a Bubby! – to be released on September 5, 2012, please G-d, in book stores.

And on September 11, the Bubby (that would be me) will be speaking at her good friend’s house at: 171 North Fuller Ave. in Los Angeles – from 7:30 to 9:30 pm. to promote her book, to sign books that people purchase beforehand from stores, and  bring with them, and to have some books on hand for those who want to buy over there (at a 15% discount while supplies last). Refreshments will be served. Please RSVP – by September 6,  if you plan to attend, at my grandmother/baby gear gemach website — at info@lababygear.com. 

What could be interesting about being a Grandmother? Well, to answer that question, one would have had to read the Binah Magazine which chronicled my birth and growth as a grandmother over the past five years.  And now – Mazel Tov! It’s a Bubby!   is a sequential collection of those stories in the order of how I experienced them, as well as many additional stories and topics that have never been published before.

I feel passionate about this topic, and look forward to meeting you all at the book signing, as we  share and explore the joys and oys of being a mother, mother-in-law and grandmother!

Mothers, mothers-in-law, grandmothers, daughters, daughters-in-law are all welcome!

Shabbat Shalom and Shana Tova!


Simchas and Stress

This morning I woke up feeling charley horse, achy, and with a sore throat. As I reached for the Advil, I wondered why I was feeling this way. True, I had attended an out-of-town  family wedding the night before, and yes, I had traveled quite a bit the past few days both by plane and by car. But I didn’t do much exercise to warrant all the achy feelings; aside from a little bit of circling around the bride in a joyful dance, I didn’t exert myself too much. I didn’t drink any wine, so no excuse for a feeling of a hangover, and I didn’t even stay up too late.

So why was I feeling this way? Well, to quote my friend, a Bubby: “traveling and simchas are always exhausting.” (a Bubby quotable quote!)  There is just no way out of it.  If every day, we have the usual stress of work and the phenomenon called life, then when we travel on vacation, and/or when we participate in family occasions, we have a unique form of stress: SIMCHA STRESS.

Simcha Stress:

This unique form of stress- (for those planning it, and for others who are close to those who are planning the event), manifests itself in  heartache or physical aches. Simchas, which are supposed to be happy occasions, are peppered with little annoyances and bumps in the road. Simchas, which are joyous weddings, engagements, bar mitzvah’s, and graduations are often accompanied by deadlines, pressure, lists, shopping, expenses, and endless details that cause lots of tension.

Simcha – which means “happy” in Hebrew, produces anything but simcha, for many. But at the end of the day, no one is changing the word, “simcha” to “lachatz” which means pressure in Hebrew. Nope. No one is saying, “hey, can you come to my lachatz next week to be held at the Hilton Hotel?

 Time to Smile:

No Jewish person on the East or West Coasts is inviting their friends to their wonderful Pressure Party. Not any time soon.

You see, even though I have experienced my share of stress amidst simchas in the past (including the achy shoulder that I have right now!), I still feel that no Jewish family should be without a steady stream of simchas – happy occasions — in their life.

Stress and all. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Time to Count our Blessings:

I believe that simchas are what keeps us going. Simchas are the water that G-d sprinkles on our souls to fertilize our spirits to grow and soar. Simchas give us that message that G-d loves us, that life is good, that we are blessed, and that it is okay to feel happy and celebrate.

Simchas are times to socialize and accept mazel tov wishes.

And most of all, simchas teach us priorities, and help us realize what is really important. Even when little things go wrong and glitches arise, we keep our simcha as our goal — our families’ and friends’ happiness and joie de vivre.

Because when it all comes down to it, we can deal with a little bit of burnt chicken, canceled guests, and rain on the outdoor ceremony. After all is said and done, we can rise above the little inconveniences and feel gratitude to G-d for providing us with loving families, children, and grandchildren with whom to plan and celebrate simchas (and pressure too!)


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