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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Remodeling Mania

When we made the decision to renovate our kitchen a few months ago, it was a long time coming. I had fantasized for years about having a brand new kitchen with shiny appliances, fancy wood design and smooth granite countertops. Recalling the many magazines I had perused over the years, I knew it was going to be fun, even with the budget we had in mind.

As we said good-bye to our old kitchen which over time had developed the “distressed” look, we looked forward to newer, pretty ones…

Soon came the mess of the demolition. IMG_2245

 

But we were overall kind of  relaxed.

Then came the decisions. I recall telling the contractor, “I’m not picky. You lead the way, show me a few choices and I’ll tell you what I like.”

I never thought I’d be the type to fuss over paint color or wood design. At the end of the day,  I knew what I liked, what I didn’t liked, and I would make quick decisions and move on. Please don’t give me too many choices, I told the guy in charge. I have my life and as much as I was happy to have this new project in my life, I didn’t want to become too engrossed, obsessed, or materialistic.

Well, here we are, six weeks into the project, and as the saying goes, “the more belongings, the more worries.”  My husband calls them “first world problems.”

Last night I couldn’t sleep because I suddenly realized in middle of the night that maybe a few weeks ago when they did the electricity,  they didn’t put enough outlets near the counter. What if I want to plug in my laptop over there? I ran downstairs to check (true story) and sure enough there were two outlets in that area.

The other day I argued with the contractor because I want a built-in microwave  and he claimed there’s no room in my kitchen layout. He says I’d have to sacrifice cabinet space. He claims we “discussed it in the beginning.”

First world problems. Hubby is right. There are so many problems in the world now, and all I have to think about is my silly kitchen?

Today the discussion was about the color of the cabinets. I thought they were white and now they are looking off white to me. What’s going on?

The lighting. That’s the excuse they give. When the flooring came, I told the guy it was too dark. He looked at me like I was nuts.

The contractor talked me out of that worry pretty fast. I find that I’m very gullible these days. The bathroom tile came out the wrong color.

“Oh, really?” I say. “You mean it’s okay not to have a ______ (fill in the blanks) even though that was my dream? No room? Okay, okay.”

Truthfully, as I read this post over again, I want to delete it all change my attitude. To get my priorities straight. I don’t want to be preoccupied (forever) with granite, tiles, flooring, cabinets, and appliances. I don’t really enjoy this kind of stuff, but I am getting sucked into it somehow.

I really would love if all these decisions would be made for me by the guys who know better. But there’s that little voice inside me that wants to control, who wants to pick and choose.

It’s okay to pick and choose. It’s okay to enjoy the process, I tell myself. But when the process starts to take over my life, that’s not okay anymore.

After all, as my husband says, if these were my worst problems in life, I’d be pretty okay. And he’s right.

There are several things I’ve learned from this experience. One is that when I get overly engrossed in little things in my life, I have to take a step back and breathe deeply. It’s all going to be okay.

The other is not to judge those who are more materialistic, especially myself! It’s okay sometimes to like nice things, isn’t it?

Breathe. Breathe. Anyone have similar experiences where you have to take a step back and relax? Tell me about it in the comment section below.


Grandmother Prioritizing (and pacing too!)

If you were a fly on the wall during a discussion between another “proud grandmother” (pg) and me, this is what you would have heard:

Other PG –  It’s so funny – I find that even though my kids are grown, and mostly out of the house – I have NO time for anything. Continue reading


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!)


Shaking and Quaking

It happened at 3 am. My husband and I felt it. The rest of our house did not feel a thing. “It” is a rather common occurrence here in California.  It was an earthquake – short, sharp and quick, but an unmistakable earthquake. We know our earthquakes, and yes – this was a real one. Whew. No seeming damage. It’s over. Thank G-d. Continue reading


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