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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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!


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!


Fresh Starts – and a Happy Birthday Wish!

I can’t believe it is September already! Never mind that we (I!) have been counting down the days till date of my book’s release. Never mind all that.  Let’s forget about my book for just a moment (as hard as that may seem for me to do! Oy).

Let me take a big breath. Breathe in. Breathe out. There.

This is a time for introspection.

Even though, I – the grandmother – completely forgot about school starting last week, only to be reminded by my little grandson, “Omi – I started school today!” — still I feel the newness in my bones. The fresh start of the month of Ellul. The time to introspect, take stock of the past year, regroup for the New Year, and pray to the One Above for blessings in our lives.

It’s the month that school starts – that awesome place of newness that we grew up returning to every year – day after Labor Day! That amazing chance to start fresh every year with our new school supplies, new resolutions to do our homework, keep our books nice and neat, pay attention in class, study hard, follow directions….you know – all the “right” things.

And for me – this time of year is that special time that our family celebrates my mom’s birthday. My mom, may she live till 120 in good health and nachas – was born on first day of Rosh Hashanah in Bremen, Germany many years ago (I’ll be a good girl and won’t write her age, even though my mom is not shy about her age). My mom thank G-d defies her age; she is youthful, vibrant, active in many community and family activities, and is even a techno-computer-savvy grandmother.

Every year, our family has a tradition. We send my mother 2 cards in the mail. She gets them – a New Years Card plus a Birthday Card on Erev (day before) Rosh Hashanah – wishing her in advance a happy New Year, and also a Happy Birthday.

Some of my siblings and siblings-in-law write long, humorous and touching; amazing and creative poetry for my mom to read on Erev Yom Tov, and then to savor after shul on Rosh Hashanah itself. I write long, mushy and funny prose. (maybe this year, I’ll try a poem for a change…)

So here’s to a fresh start, Mom. A new year again. A happy and blessed New Year. Nachas from all the kids, grand, great grands, etc. Thank G-d!.

Here’s to my mom- my biggest fan, the one who dares to write cute comments on my blog, even if she has to keep changing her screen-name  so that people don’t realize it’s my mom! (just kidding!!). To the one who has already read my entire book – the one I sent to her from the pre-release carton that came for family only. To the one who validates me, compliments me and believes in me.

I love you, Mommy! Happy Birthday!


Shein, Voyl, und Klug

The Yiddish phrase – “shein, voyl, und klug” – in the title represents what my grandmother always said about us: Beautiful, good, and smart. And guess what? She wasn’t even prejudiced. She meant every word, and it was true! Her grandkids (us!) were the best…(at least in her unbiased opinion).

By contrast, my husband’s aunt would see any child – whether it was her own grandchild or that of someone else, and she would say, “A Leiben Auf Dem Kup” -which means, “I love that head…”

I was reminded of these two approaches the other night when I went to an event of a good friend of ours. The people hosting the event had their grandchildren there, and these kids (even though they were not my own grandkids), were admittedly very very very (many very’s here…) cute. I won’t say whose kids they were because the mom (and grandmother!) will kill me (well not literally, I guess..)

Anyway, I digress.

I was so enamored by these children. Their chein (charm), their beauty, their personalities. Now, may I add “poo,poo, poo” (Yiddish for “knock on wood” – check the glossary, k?)

I thought of my husband’s aunt who was able to enjoy other people’s kids. Thank G-d, I am able to see the beauty and charm in any child – children are precious, and I find them so irresistible. I love kids. I identified with my aunt-in-law who always gave cookies and treats to anyone who came into her large house. She loved all children.

It made me realize that this is one way I have possibly surpassed my grandmother’s somewhat primitive outlook of “only my kids are the best…”

It’s okay sometimes (most of the time)– and commendable — to appreciate others, as well as ourselves. It makes for good relationships and a more colorful life.


Playing By Ear

Some things in life are meant to be planned. As the saying goes, “if we fail to plan, we plan to fail.” For example, dieting, traveling, teaching, concert performance, and public speaking are pursuits that require planning. Preparing one’s food for a nutritious diet, organizing a travel itinerary ahead of time, writing up lesson plans, practicing one’s music repertoire, and composing a speech are ways that can help one achieve the strongest results.

Yet, other situations in life  call for playing by ear, improvising and figuring things out as one goes along.

Or better yet, some people are not that great at planning. They prefer to have a loose plan and then kind of wing it when the time comes. Just figure things out as we go along. Kind of make it work.  Continue reading


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