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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Six Ways to Chill Like a Baseball Fan

A few days ago, I took two of my grandsons – ages 9 and 6 – to a baseball game. On a hot day we packed up some snacks, mitts and drinks and headed off to the ball park to watch the Los Angeles Dodgers play the Atlanta Braves. I got to spend a few hours of quality time with my grandsons and it was fun chilling out a bit from the stress of the work week. And the kids? They had a blast rooting for their team and just enjoying America’s pastime.

Ballgames get us to relax.  And heaven knows, we all need to relax and chill out these days. Adults are so uptight about politics and news. People argue on social media and shout their opinions to anyone who will listen. These days,  either you’re angry and on the offensive or you’re upset and on the defensive. Either you’re furious with everything Trump does or says or you’re thinking that his critics are too harsh.

And will this tension ever stop? The mental health of our collective society is in jeopardy. Seriously, it should be mandatory for people to go to ballgames regularly. Baseball is America’s pastime and it brings out the best in people.

For our family, baseball  games elicit positive associations of family togetherness.  My husband, a baseball fan since childhood especially enjoys relaxing at the game.

For the past four or five years we’ve taken some of the grandsons. The kids are into it, and my husband enjoys sharing  his love of his childhood pastime with them.

While my husband and I get an outing with the grandchildren full of quality time, their parents get some alone time at home. It’s win-win.

With much of society bickering  and fighting these days about politics, I believe we could  learn a thing or two from baseball fan behaviors. Here they are (in no particular order).

  1. NO ONE INSULTS THE HOSTING TEAM:  At our game, Dodgers played the Braves.  Even if you’re a fan of the opposing guest  team you may want your team to win, but you don’t go crazy if they don’t and you certainly don’t start insulting those on the host team.
  2. SCREAMING IS OKAY, EVEN EXPECTED: You can scream your lungs out and chant in your loudest voice, and nobody will stop you. How cool is that? Cheering, screaming, booing, yelling are all par for the course. Everyone is chill about it. Nobody gets offended or uptight.
  3. NO ONE ACTS LIKE SORE LOSERS: At the end of the game, when the winner is announced, everyone accepts it and heads back to their cars. Yes, they may feel disappointed if their own team didn’t win, and may try to analyze what went wrong, but still they for the most part they rejoice in the winner.
  4. RULES ARE FOLLOWED: As much as the atmosphere is light-hearted, the rules of the game are followed to the tee.
  5. LIFE SLOWS DOWN FOR A FEW HOURS: Baseball is a slow and almost boring game, but that’s just what makes it so relaxing. You can space out for a few minutes and then get up to speed on what’s happening by looking at the scoreboard or asking your seatmate.
  6. NO ONE SHAMES OR BAD MOUTHS THE PLAYERS: You don’t hear people ditching out dirt on the team’s pitcher or batter. People are just nice. No one gets political about baseball. When playing ball, we just play ball

Okay, there are exceptions at times to this good behavior, but for the most part, baseball is a game where everyone is just nice and just chills out.

And there you have it. Six things to learn from baseball fans. Imagine if Democrats and Republicans treated each other the way two opposing fans watching a baseball game treat each other. Imagine that.

Now let’s chill out at the political game …Scream all you want…just no more fighting! And to prove that you’re a real baseball fan – let’s sing the baseball song!

And here’s a song: (to the tune of “Take me out to the ballgame”)

Let’s just chill -let’s not argue

Let’s have fun and not fight smilingface1

Dems and Repubs let’s have each other’s backs

Hoping the Donald turns Cracker Jack

Try to root root root for the Trump team

Stop all the anger – a shame!

For it’s 1-2-3 and then 4

Years

Until he gives up his game!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Farewell to Challah: An Open Letter

Dear Challah,

After many weeks of deliberating on my relationship with you, I’ve decided to say good-bye to you. I am putting this letter on a public forum in the hopes that others may also gain insight in what works for them.  I think it’s crucial that I finally address our co-dependent relationship. Hopefully, this will be the first step toward my recovery.

First, let me say that I appreciate all you have done for me over the years. Every Friday night at our Shabbat table, since my childhood, you’ve provided me with comfort, warmth and excellent taste. As my father would make the blessing on the bread with our entire family around the table, then cut you into even slices, and pass around a piece to each one of us, I’d wait with my mouth watering and eyes glazed with love.

Then, invariably, after everyone took their first bite, the compliments would flow. First my father would praise my mother for baking you so perfectly. My mother would smile and shrug, and kind of humbly say, “Oh it’s the new oven” or “It’s my friend’s recipe.” But we knew she was just being modest. You were great. Maybe she brought out the best in you, but still you were great and we all knew it.

Truth is, you were special and you excelled on your own, without anyone to help you out.  Your recipe was quite simple and accessible that when my mother bought me as a wedding gift a Kitchen Aid mixer, I learned quickly how to bake you almost as well as my mother.  Yea, I compared myself to my mother when around you, which was also a problem. But still, I felt good baking you so well and of course you were yummy to eat.

Your ingredients were so basic and earthly: flour, oil, eggs, salt, sugar, yeast. So even when you had a bad day and didn’t turn out as well as other times, you were still great to have around. Soft, sweet and tasty. The best comfort food around.

Over the years we’ve become attached at the hips – (mine, not yours).  I’d eat one piece, then two, then three. My mother would look at me with that expression of “control yourself, there’s a whole meal ahead of us.” But I was on a roll and I couldn’t stop. Back then, it didn’t matter that gefilte fish, chicken soup, brisket, salad, chicken and potato kugel were to follow. I wanted you and only you. I was willing to share my stomach with the others, but you came first.  Your aroma was enticing, your flavor and texture were wonderful. But you became addictive and  your calories were  way beyond my allotment for a meal.

These days I’ve evolved and have become more introspective than I was back in the day. But at some level, I’m still that little girl. I may tell myself that I’m big and grown-up and I can eat “just” one piece and stop. I may try to convince myself that “come on, just have the crust or end of a piece and stop right there.” And here’s the thing: I really like you. I think you are good.

But you don’t work for me. At least not right now. Dear Challah, no matter how many times I promise myself that I will just have one small challah roll (the equivalent of a few points on Weight Watchers) or just one end piece, I always go back for another. And another.

You’ve been calling my name for so long that I hear your voice calling out “Eat me, eat me…I’m here for you…” every week at our Shabbos table. I’m a mother and grandmother and I still find you very seductive.

I can no longer succumb. I have to say good-bye. Just as an addicted alcoholic says, “One drink is too many and a thousand is not enough….” I say the same about you.

“One slice is too many, and a thousand is not enough.” You are an addiction and I must let go.

A few weeks ago, I was at a wedding and a friend and we made a pact. We both promised ourselves that we would not eat the challah bread at the wedding. We were going to hold back, and just eat the meal. No challah for us. Well, it didn’t work. I found myself washing my hands, making the blessing and then eating it. I didn’t ask my friend if the pact worked for her, but for me, it was a no-go.

And so dear Challah, in spite of my efforts to cut down, to use portion control, to enlist a buddy to do it together, nothing has worked for me. Our relationship has become toxic.  We need a separation. I need to make that difficult decision to not even have a tiny piece of you. Because as much as you arouse those warm and fuzzy feelings of childhood, and as much as I adore you, our relationship is not working out well at this time.

I say this all with sadness. I admit you are delicious, charming, charismatic, warm and inviting, but I can no longer hang around you. Ironically, I can still eat your cousins – certain kinds of whole wheat breads and matzoh. For some reason, I am able to have them in my life in moderation. But not you.

You – my dear challah – I can no longer have you in my own life. Not for now.  Not when you’re clothed in whole wheat, spelt, white flour, or poppy seeds. Not your water recipe, nor your egg recipe. Not your raisin toppings, nor your sesame seed toppings. Not your round ones nor your oval shape.

None of you. I say good-bye.

Good-bye Challah. Farewell.

Your friend,

Miriam


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!


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