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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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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


41 Questions Never to Ask a DIL

milhoodladies2

 

Awhile back I composed a PDF of 10 things MIL’s are doing that drive their DIL’s crazy. People who subscribed to my MIL site downloaded that list for tips on how to relate to their daughters-in-law.

That list covered things MIL’s do, as in behaviors, comments,  and so forth. Recently, I’ve noted that there are people who interact through asking questions. They may consider questions as  harmless, or as a sign that they are being interested and supportive.

Or – they may want to camouflage their criticism or judgment by framing it into a question. After all, they’re just asking, right?

Well, that’s downright sneaky and wrong.

You see, when relating to a DIL questions are  rude and intrusive. And when it comes to mothers-in-law vis-a-vis DIL’s you do NOT want to be intrusive or even inquisitive. In fact, questions that MIL’s ask have no right answer.

And the DIL knows it. Whatever answer she gives is already wrong. She’s being put on the spot, and it is not okay.

Over the years, I’ve spoken to many people – mothers-in-law, daughters-in-law – who have told me their experiences. Also, I have observed interactions between MIL’s and DIL’s, and I’ve compiled a list in my head. And now, I’ve put them down on paper – well on computer. Here they are for your mother-in-law-ly reading pleasure.

So – if any of the following questions happen to pop into your head, banish them from your mind. If that is not possible, then banish them from leaving your lips!

1. What are you cooking for dinner?

2. Why do you travel so much?

3. Why don’t you serve ____ for dinner because it’s healthy?

4. Why does (name of DIL’s toddler) still suck his thumb?

5. Why is  (name of DIL’s infant) cry all the time? Could it be colic?

6. How much weight did you gain in pregnancy? (Trust me – it HAS been asked).

7. Are you having any more children? (Yep – it’s been asked)

8. Do you like that gift that I gave you?

9. Can I buy you some new clothes? (implies you don’t like her taste).

10.  Did you ever read _____ parenting book?

11. Where are you going? (when they ask you to babysit).

12. Why do you never (or rarely) call?

13. Why do you never come visit?

14. Can I (we) come over in 5 minutes to visit?

15. Why do you raise your voice at your children?

16. Why are you punishing _____ (name of child)?

17. How come your family hasn’t helped you out?

18. Where did you get that outfit you are wearing?

19. How much do you earn at your job?

20. Why do you work when you have little children at home?

21. Why don’t you go out and get a job?

22. What are you planning for the dinner party you’re having?

23. Did you send out thank you cards yet for the wedding gifts?

24. How come you can’t be satisfied with less like we were back in the days?

25. Why did you give the child that name?

26. What school will you send your children to?

27. Why is_____ (name of child) so shy around me?

28. Why does _____ (name of child)  always have his nose in a book?

29. Why doesn’t _____ (name of child) get more fresh air?

30. Why don’t your kids play more sports?

31. Why don’t your kids read more books?

32. How come your kids aren’t athletic (or any other positive adjective)  like ____ (name of cousin)?

33. What in the world do you do all day?

34. How come your windows are so dirty?

35. What? You use paper dishes? Such a waste of money?

36. Why don’t the children wear those hand-me-downs that I gave you?

37. Why don’t you use that gorgeous china that I bought for you?

38. Where did you get that hideous couch?

39. How much did you pay for _____?
40. How much do you pay your cleaning lady?

41. Why isn’t ____ (name of toddler) toilet trained yet?

…..You get the idea!

Any questions YOU would like to add to this list? Please share them below!


Playing the Name Game

newbaby1

 

Yesterday at the bris of  our grandson, after the mohel performed the ritual circumcision, we heard the name  announced.

The naming of Jewish babies is performed at the bris which is on the 8th day of the baby’s life.

Our son and dil named their child after my father-in-law.

One of the first decisions parents make when they have a child is the name. For each of our children, we made that decision, and now it was our own children’s turns. The parents decide what to name the child, put it on the birth certificate and keep it secret ( barring some leaking and hinting) from everyone else until the naming at the Bris.

But throughout that time, there is sometimes  a temptation for the grandparents (that would be me!) , i.e. the  parents of the adult children (me again!!)  to drop hints with opinions about what they think the name should be. Ahem! Obviously, this kind of commenting can add to the tension that is already in place when a new baby is born.

Me, I may have a big mouth regarding many topics, but regarding in-laws and names, I have to say I’m  pretty cool about it.  My motto has been for the past seven years since I became a Grandmother (can’t believe my oldest grandson is already in 2nd grade!)  and mother-in-law (to 3 wonderful young ladies)  is to refrain from interfering – especially regarding names (and plenty other things too!)

I TRY REAL HARD TO KEEP MY MOUTH SHUT

Truthfully, I believe that it is really none of my business to mix in to this decision. That’s one fo the many things I talk about on my blog and on my in-law website. I also discuss in-law relationship topics in my Grandmother book, which was published two years ago.  This kind of self-control is  all part and parcel of dealing with children-in-law in a positive manner.

So when our children had another baby boy last week, I tossed aside my expectations.

In our Jewish tradition, we often name after a family members. While Sephardic families name after the living, we, as Ashkenazik Jews have the custom of naming after the deceased.

Some background:

You see, my husband’s father had passed away almost 14 years ago, and none of our 4 other grandsons, ages 2 through 7 – has his name. One of my daughters’in-law’s own father has the same name as my father-in-law, so they consider it superstitious to use a name when her own father is still alive and well. And my other daughter-in-law named her first two children after her own grandfather and father, who recently died.

Come on, it’s been 14 years. I wanted my husband to have the pleasure of a little guy named for his father.

And at the rate we were going with boys in our family, I figured the next one will get my father’s name. So I could see both sides of the coin. On the one hand, it would be nice to have the little guy named after my dad. But on the other hand, I could understand the need to honor my father-in-law’s name.

So…when they named the baby today and called out his name, I thought:  How apropos!

GIVE PEACE A CHANCE

All we want is Shalom - Peace!

All we want is Shalom – Peace!

 

Me? The one who preaches about being a nice mother-in-law? No way.  I understood. To me, the peace and love in a family that understands and respects the adult children’s decisions is more importatnt than what name is chosen.

I consider myself blessed to have children who thought things through  about what would be the most correct thing to do. They wanted to do something that would provide me comfort soon after my father’s passing, but yet they wanted to honor my father-in-law’s memory as well.

In the end, they chose well.

They chose the name that was meaningful for my mother-in-law who is still going strong at 94, and for my mother, who gave her blessing to them to do what they felt comfortable doing. (as my mom said, “My husband was one to give in to others, so it’s fitting that this was the choice…”)

I only hope the peace in our family will spread to peace in the world. We REALLY  need it.

Photos – courtesy of Publicdomainpics.net


It’s All About Networking

Networking. Relationships. Social Media.

Carol Tice of the "Freelance  Writers' Den"

Carol Tice of the “Freelance Writers’ Den”

That’s what it is all about these days – when it comes to learning and growing in our personal and professional lives.

Recently, I realized the power of networking when I was invited byCarol Tice of  the Freelance Writer’s Den to come meet her at a local coffee shop in Los Angeles. Carol lives in Seattle and was going to be in LA for the weekend and  asked all her LA subscribers to join her at the Starbucks to talk shop.

Continue reading


On Pretzeling and Rejection

Recently I submitted an article to a  charming,  cool, witty, and inspirational website.

Sorry - not our style

Sorry – not our style

Said website is one that I have been  dying to get accepted to for the past umpteen (about 4 to be exact) years.

I have written countless articles on varied topics,and sent them in to a friend of mine who works at said chic website.

And  in spite of my passion and efforts to twist myself into a pretzel in order to get published by this cool, witty, charming, and inspirational  website… it has not happened. My work has not been accepted by them.

“Sorry, we find that your writing style is not for us…” (ouch!)

“Sorry, we don’t think this will work for our website…” (double ouch!)

“Thank you for your submission but we regret…” (triple ouch!)

Aargh! Continue reading


Picture Panic

As grandmothers and mothers-in-law, we often find ourselves in a tizzy.

Oh no! The kids did this…

Oh my goodness – what are they thinking?

It’s really not okay that they did this, that or the other thing.

I myself have been known to create drama out of simple innocent acts of those around me. Usually it takes a few hours or maybe a good night’s sleep for me to realize that I really need to chill out. Or, in other cases, we “work it out,” and all is well. Continue reading


The Ultimate Friend

Saw this somewhere on a Group that I follow:
“G-d doesn’t use an iPhone but He is my favorite contact.
He is not on Facebook but He is my best Friend.
He is not on Twitter but I follow Him nevertheless.
He doesn’t need internet yet I am connected to Him,
And although He has a massive communication system,
He never Un-Friends me, nor does He put me on hold.”
As I shared this on Facebook (the app that is on my blackberry), and then jumped at each of the “Likes” I got while browsing the internet, I decided I have a ways to go before integrating the essence of the above quote.

C’est la vie. It’s all about the process.

 

 

 

 


Stay Out of It…or not?

The question often comes up for many of us whether or not to get involved. Recently, I attended an evening class with some members of my synagogue, and we got into a somewhat lively (read: heated!) discussion. A particular scenario was described in which one woman’s daughter noted that her classmates were breaking a particular rule. The question for this woman was whether or not to counsel her daughter to report on the classmates.

Well, rather than discuss that back and forth of the various women in the group regarding this discussion (did I mention it got heated?), I will relate something that happened with my 4-year old grandson. (you thought I could go for one entire post without boasting – I mean describing him? Well, think again!).

And from that story of my grandson, we can (hopefully) glean some insight into how we, as adults can act.

Anyway, my daughter-in-law described to me the following conversation between herself, the Mommy and my (darling) grandson:

Child: Two boys in school today were fighting so badly, and were not letting Mashiach (the Messiah) come! I was so worried, and I tried telling them to stop fighting.

Mom: So did they stop?

Child: No, (looking sad) – they didn’t. They kept fighting and fighting.

Mom: So what happened?

Child: I tried more, and they still didn’t listen. So I told the teacher and she got them to be friends again.

My daughter-in-law then proceeded to explain to her son how G-d is proud of him for caring so much. But G-d really wants him to take care of himself – first and foremost.  Maybe those boys didn’t listen to him. It’s okay. He can’t change that.  As long as he is always nice to his friends (which he is…), (and doesn’t get hurt by the bullies? — is what this grandmother was thinking silently..??)

I’m not sure what else she told him, but it sounds like that was a powerful message for one 4-year old guy!

And I choose to take that message with me for my own everyday life!


Practice Makes Perfect

After almost two weeks of non-steady blogging, I have some ‘splainin to do!  Well actually, instead of excusing or explaining why I have not been consistent about  my daily blog, I will move forward and reflect on what I have learned during that time. Yes, it was a very busy time for this Bubby. Busy cooking, entertaining, cleaning up, planning, hosting, and eating. But through it all we had lots of fun, and I like to think I learned a few things along the way.

Last week when we visited the California Science Center with all of our grandchildren, we saw an exhibit displaying the various forms of animals.One of the points of the display was to demonstrate how many of them perform quite high on intelligence tests and games.

Are animals really just as intelligent as humans? I honestly had my doubts about that exhibit in general, because it claimed that dolphins, crows and dogs and several other animals  are excellent at problem solving, communicating and other skills. For example, we watched on video a chimpanzee perform a numbers game with 100 percent accuracy. The exhibit demonstrated  how chimpanzees are cognitively able to memorize the placement of  a sequence of up to 9 digits that a computer lays out on a screen in specific positions.

Well, our grandsons played the same numbers game, and so when three generations of Hendeles members – ranging in ages from 4 to 59 — tried out the task, we were only able to perform up to 5 or 6 digits on the screen with perfect accuracy. That was in the five minutes that we stood at that exhibit and played the game. (We actually got quite engrossed — that-is me and the 4 and 5 year olds!– but my other sons were rushing us – “come on already….we have to move on…”)

I’m guessing that had we stayed there for another 10 or more minutes, our skill would have increased to similar to the chimpanzees. (or maybe not? hmmm) ..Even the sign next to the exhibit stated that the chimpanzees had a LOT of practice.

So practice makes perfect – is the way the saying goes.  But actually,  we humans don’t strive for perfection. That’s what I keep telling myself when I cook my eggs, run out of the house, and forget about them, and then wonder why I burnt the eggs for the third time in several days. (What’s that smell? I think when I walked into the house today after a myriad errand-running.)

Yes, it’s  not about perfection. It’s a matter of getting it more or less right most of the time. The food is delicious (that’s what they told me most of the time), the kids are happy (except when they are fighting), the adults are relaxed (more or less), and the Bubby is having a blast with all her nachas (all reading Bubbies may fill in the parenthesis here). The air conditioner broke last week (only the upstairs unit that-is!), but did work for most of the holiday. And now it works again!

My housekeeper decided not to show up a few times the past week (“sorry Mrs. Miriam, yo no puede trabaja pour usted manana…”) . But that’s okay. She showed up last week on Friday, and sent her sister-in-law another time (and a friend another time, and a cousin another time). So that’s more or less okay. Look – who asked us to need those cleaning ladies as if our lives depended on it??

It is how we perceive it. If we perceive it as an OY experience, then that becomes the reality. But, if we perceive it as a growth and learning experience, then that makes all the difference.

Practice Makes Perfect. Shmerfect!   And just like the chimpanzees, we can achieve our goals with lots of practice.  But – more appropriate to thinking, creative humans — not necessarily to perfection.  3 out of 4 – that’s 75 %! Now let’s try for 9 out of 10?  Go for it!

Have a great Fall 2012!


Fuhgettaboutit!! (and other great techniques!)

I have some friends and acquaintances whose initials of their first and last names are CC. Some even have the middle initial C, making their name CCC. A few of my friends are speech and language pathologists whose credentials are CCC. (Certified….something or other…I”ll google it later!). But, today’s brief topic is a different type of three C’s.

I read it on a 12-step list of concepts, relating to my struggle with overeating…and my powerlessness over food.  Rabbi Dr.  Abraham J. Twersky, expert in relationships, self esteem and addictive personalities, talks about it in all his Torah-oriented books. It has become one of my mantras for living and self-growth: I didn’t Cause it. I cannot Cure it. I cannot Control it.

There, you have it. The next time someone in my life’s comments or behaviors are particularly irksome, annoying, or inappropriate to me, I can simply accept the reality that I cannot fix others. I can only change myself.

All very simple sounding, and quite obvious. Yet this quotable quote  is a reminder to me to focus on myself in growth, and “fuhgettabout” the others’ annoying stuff —- because I can’t do a thing about it anyway!

Okay – off to do my day now! Have a great and productive day!

Remember the CCC’s! They can really help out in a pinch!


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