Saturday, December 31, 2016

About Hope for the New Year


      You might already be familiar with the poem, Desiderata. (Italian for "desired.") I adore this Max Ehrmann piece and carried a laminated copy of it in my wallet for years until it finally fell apart. Desiderata is about hope and the real world. New Year's Eve seems like the right time to read it again. Love to you all in 2017.


    Desiderata

    Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
    and remember what peace there may be in silence.
    As far as possible without surrender
    be on good terms with all persons.
    Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
    and listen to others,
    even the dull and the ignorant;
    they too have their story.
    Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
    they are vexations to the spirit.
    If you compare yourself with others,
    you may become vain and bitter;
    for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
    Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
    Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
    it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
    Exercise caution in your business affairs;
    for the world is full of trickery.
    But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
    many persons strive for high ideals;
    and everywhere life is full of heroism.
    Be yourself.
    Especially, do not feign affection.
    Neither be cynical about love;
    for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
    it is as perennial as the grass.
    Take kindly the counsel of the years,
    gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
    Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
    But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
    Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
    Beyond a wholesome discipline,
    be gentle with yourself.
    You are a child of the universe,
    no less than the trees and the stars;
    you have a right to be here.
    And whether or not it is clear to you,
    no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
    Therefore be at peace with God,
    whatever you conceive Him to be,
    and whatever your labors and aspirations,
    in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
    With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
    it is still a beautiful world.
    Be cheerful.
    Strive to be happy.

    Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, 1927


Friday, December 30, 2016

The Future is Now

Me one year ago in my pajamas.

A year ago I participated in a writing exercise called Future Me. I wrote a letter to my future self and uploaded a photo of me from that day. Yesterday, I received the letter from me from a year ago. As I read though my ideas about what I thought I would be looking back on, at first I felt let down. Had I accomplished everything I had set out to? Nope. Is that okay with me? I think it is.

When I read through the paragraphs again, I realized that save for a few of short-term goals (that are turning into longer term goals), what I was really reading was a love letter to my life. The people, places and projects that were important to me a year ago are still important to me now, if not more so. I have consistency but still have room for new adventures and experiences.

That year-ago future has arrived today. I'll take it.





Thursday, December 29, 2016

Halt, Who Goes There?


In recovery, we often talk about a concept called HALT. It's an acronym for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. The idea being that to stay clear of emotional danger or bad choices, you shouldn't let yourself get too hungry, too angry, too lonely, or too tired. Whenever you're feeling freaked out, or down, check yourself for these issues and then you'll know what to remedy to bring yourself back into balance. This seems like an idea that could help all you non-alcoholic/addict people out there too.

Hungry? You've had lots of practice solving this problem. Have a banana or break into that old, flattened out Lara bar you keep in your bag for emergencies just like this.

Angry? Anger isn't bad as a feeling it's only bad as an action. Do some weird jumping jacks in your cubicle or write out your feelings in long-hand, pen to paper.

Lonely? Call three people and ask how they're doing. Then listen to how they're doing.

Tired? Up your sleep game. If you're having a hard time falling asleep, Bob recommends this: "So you just blink your eyes super fast, as fast as you can while you count to 100. It makes your eyes super tired and they want to close and then you just fall asleep." I haven't tried this myself yet but the kid swears by it. Even a little disco nap would help a little.

If you find yourself wanting to flip off that guy in the Toyota Solara that cut you off in the fast lane or you're about to buy those suede boots you really can't afford because you're anxious - HALT it up.

Yes, I'm being sort of bossy but it's only because I love you guys.











Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Hold On


The end of the year has been hard on most of us. We're losing friends and plenty of famous folks who feel like our friends. The holidays had bright spots and other spots that were less bright. Joy can be tough to come by and when we finally get it, can feel a bit like clutching sand. I have done an excellent job of compartmentalizing things in order to keep on keeping on and now I feel I am dangerously close to running out of compartments.

For my birthday my mom got me a fuzzy throw blanket that lives on our couch. Bob and I sit under it watching TV. Jeff uses it scrunched up as a lap desk for his computer. Teddy may be romantically involved with it. The day after Christmas, I did the best thing I could think of. I bought another one. More warmth. More fuzziness. A hug disguised as a blanket.

I recommend this purchase.











Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Winter Night



Winter nights in Southern California mean batting practice. And it's grand.



Monday, December 26, 2016

Another Hanukkah Miracle


Saturday night was the first night of Hanukkah. Our menorah fell apart last year and I forgot to buy a new one until Friday and it won't be here until Tuesday. Jeff and Bob got creative and made a menorah out of LEGO. They used Play Doh to hold the candles in place. (A genius idea from Aunt Jen.) Worked perfectly.

It might also be the only menorah that can double as a Ninjago Rock Roader.™

Stay tuned for a dreidel made out of a radish.

Happy Hanukkah.





Sunday, December 25, 2016

Smacksy Sunday Links

My Christmas gift from Bob.

One simple phrase that will change your thoughts.

Brilliant techniques that will calm stressed kids. (Or stressed anyone, really.)

The most historic restaurants in Paris.

Tiny underground rooms hidden in manholes.

And a live reindeer cam.

Happy Christmas, Hanukkah, Sunday.






Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Very Last Minute


"Mom? Are you stressed out?"

"Not particularly, why?"

"Because in Trader Joe's you kept whispering to yourself, 'Don't freak out. Don't freak out. Don't freak out.'"




Friday, December 23, 2016

7th Annual 99 Cent Store Holiday Shopping Trip *Spoiler alert for immediate family


It's back! Bob's annual 99 Cent Store holiday shopping trip happened. Here are the results...

MeeMee (my mom) - 3-wick candle. "There's three strings so it'll be super bright for her."

Mr. Rosenberg - Ceramic puppy bank. "This is perfect for dad. Puppies are his favorite thing."

Ba-Jan (Mr. Rosenberg's mom) - Cookie scented candle in a ceramic vase. "This is good because it smells like cookies. Obviously."

Aunt Jen - Large purple candle. "It even smells purple."

Pops - Carton of Whoppers candies."Pops really likes these. Well, I actually don't know if he really likes these but I really like these and maybe he'll feel like sharing."

Aunt Jill - Strawberry scented candle. "Because it smells like popsicles and she'll like it."

Me - Undisclosed item. (Bob put it in a gift box and only he and the checker at 99 Cent Store know what's in there.) "I think you'll really like it. I'll warn you though, it might not last very long. It's cool but it's pretty cheap because, you know, it's from the 99 Cent Store and everything."



Thursday, December 22, 2016

If You Were Here Right Now


If you were here right now...

I'd get you to help me wrap presents.

We'd make up choreography to my favorite Christmas song.

I'd show you the earrings I always wear all through December. They were my grandma's. They are tiny gold wreaths she bought from the Avon lady.

I'd heat up some eggnog for you.

You could stuff a pack of baseball cards into Bob's advent calendar.

I'd tell you the histories of the different ornaments on the tree.

I'd give you a piece of this great homemade caramel that Rebekah made.

We could walk Teddy around the block and look at the holiday lights.

You would wonder aloud at how I can drink this big cup of coffee right before bed.

I'd tell you my new favorite joke that was relayed by my friend Alexandra's son.
"What did the zero say to the eight? - Nice belt."

I'd get Mr. Rosenberg to show you his impressions of the Peanuts kids dancing.

You'd ask me to play the piano for you and I'd say yes but then I'd get self conscious and ask you to sit in the kitchen while I played in the living room.

You could tell me about your favorite holiday memory while I finally fold that giant pile of laundry that's sitting on top of the dryer right now.

We'd watch Holiday Inn.

Wish you were here.






Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Doppelgangers


Yesterday, one of my girlfriends told me that she believes I resemble Disney Tinkerbell Water Fairy, Silvermist.

The checker at Bristol Farms asked if I'd ever been told I look "just like Valerie Bertinelli."



I was watching a Holiday on Ice special last weekend with a friend in the hospital. A nurse walked in and let me know how much I look like Nancy Kerrigan.



Some Halloweens back, I was dressed as Princess Leia with the cinnamon roll hair buns. A passerby mentioned that I looked less like the Princess and more like Bjork.



The waitress asked me who I was told I look like. I answered, "A lot of different people." "No, not a
lot of people, just Diane Lane," she answered.



"You have Catherine Zeta Jones' eyebrows," said the woman in the pharmacy at CVS.



I was followed at a party by a stranger who did not believe I wasn't Jean Tripplehorn.


"You've got sort of a Marcia Gay Harden thing going on, don't you?" asked the dude at the post office.

A young woman in line at Pavillions leaned over to me, "My friend says you look like the woman from The Good Wife (Juliana Marguiles), but I don't really see it."


A woman at Cafe Gratitude asked my friend if I was Lisa Vanderpump of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. (I'm actually not.)




I once had a commercial callback to play a photo double of Andie MacDowell's left eye.
I didn't book it.



I'm thinking I look more like this no-makeup selfie I took holding the camera at the height of the moon.


Who do they say you look like?


Monday, December 19, 2016

It Happens


You know when you're really tired and you think you're taking a video of your kid doing his baseball homework to send to his coach as directed but then realize that you shot no video at all but instead took a single photo?

It's been a long day, folks.


Friday, December 16, 2016

C/C/P


I do most of my holiday shopping online because chair/coffee/pajamas. Today I went out to some actual stores in the neighborhood. Some = Two. I went to two stores. I found these holiday cards for Mr. Rosenberg to give to his co-workers. I also found that two stores was more than enough in-real-life shopping for me. I bought a few things and quickly returned home because chair/coffee/pajamas.



Thursday, December 15, 2016

Killer Doughnut


I can now say I have had the most ridiculous injury of my life.
I am not a regular eater of doughnuts but I grabbed one as I left the PTA meeting yesterday morning.
I took a quick bite as I turned my car out of a parking space.
Instant pain.
Then blood.
I had cut my bottom lip open on a glazed old-fashioned.
No, really.
A pointy edge of the doughnut pierced my lip.
I howled and dropped the doughnut in my lap.
I used the fancy flower napkin it had been wrapped in to stop the bleeding.
Consider this a public service announcement.
I was attacked by a pastry.
It could happen to anyone.
Or maybe just me.




Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Mr. Popular


Ted has been coming with me to the assisted living to see Miss Trudy this week. The one time I showed up without him, his fans were disappointed. The sweet British lady who lives in the memory care area, loves him especially.

"How old is Teddy, then?"

"He's seven."

"Seven. I like older men."

"He's a good one."

"He's a very handsome dog. How old is he?"

"He's around seven."

"Seven? Why that's a very good age, isn't it?"

"It is."

"And this dog, what's his age?"

"He's about seven."

"Seven. He's older then. A little like me. We'd make a fine couple he and I."

And Teddy adores her.



Monday, December 12, 2016

A Call From the Future


I just had a Facetime call with Mr. Rosenberg. He's in Beijing where it's already tomorrow. Tuesday looks good from here.




Sunday, December 11, 2016

Smacksy Sunday Links



Light your own life - managing holiday stress.

This piece about compassion and the election is still fresh, one month later.

Trendy food words that we still can't pronounce.

This Spode china is made with 22 pairs of hands.


Happy Sunday.



Friday, December 9, 2016

Five Days Later


While Mr. Rosenberg was outside hanging the lights on the house, Bob and I finally decorated the tree that's been standing in the living room since last Sunday night. We used no discretion. We loaded her up with every ornament in the bin. Plus beads. Plus this wired fuzzy striped long pipe cleaner kind of stuff. We listened to Christmas music. We ate a few gingerbread things. But still.

It's like I left the front door unlocked and the holidays have let themselves in without me noticing. It really doesn't feel 'tis the season for me yet. I think that's why we may have decorated the tree a little frantically. We threw everything we had at it, hoping just one more glass angel, one more clothes pin Santa Claus would be the thing to finally make us sit back and say, "Yes. At last. Now it's Christmas-time."  It hasn't happened yet, but it will.

And when it does, we'll be ready.





Thursday, December 8, 2016

Epiphany


"Mom? I don't feel good at all."

"What's going on?"

"My stomach hurts really bad. I had a barbecue beef sandwich for lunch at school. Maybe it's food poisoning."

"Well, a lot of your friends have had the stomach flu this week, so it could be that too."

"Mom! I'm gonna barf!"

"Here's a bowl and a towel!"

* * *

"That seemed awful, honey. How are you feeling now?"

"Mom?"

"Yeah, babe?"

"I think I want to be a pescatarian."




Wednesday, December 7, 2016

About Endings


Perhaps you remember my friend, Miss Trudy. She is the neighbor who became my friend. She moved into an assisted living almost two years ago and did well there. She ate meals with others in the dining room and with physical therapy was able to get out of her wheelchair and use a walker to get around her apartment. She was happy and she was no longer alone.

At the beginning of last summer she developed a serious infection that required hospitalization, surgery, and another stay in a skilled nursing facility. After a few months, she was able to return to the assisted living but never quite hit her stride again after her return. She wasn't interested in General Hospital anymore. She didn't want to go on outings. She stopped reading her romance novels. She missed her husband who died some years ago and talked about looking forward to seeing him "on the other side of this mess."

In late November, she gradually stopped eating. Nothing sounded good. On Sunday she asked me to bring her See's candy. Chocolate is her favorite. I brought her a half pound box of truffles. She took one bite and handed the candy back to me.

"You keep it," she said.

"Are you sure?"

"I don't even want chocolate anymore... I guess this is serious."

Tuesday night I sat with her and we watched a couple of Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel while we waited for a meeting with the admissions nurse from hospice. Miss Trudy had seen all of the Hallmark movies before at least three times but she wanted to watch them again. They all had happy endings. She especially liked the one about Mrs. Claus going alone to New York City to try to find "Christmas magic" to bring back to Santa at the North Pole.

The hospice nurse interviewed us to see if Miss Trudy would be a candidate for hospice. She asked questions about her mood, her pain level, and her advanced directive and religious preferences. Miss Trudy would begin to answer a question, get tired, sigh, and then look at me to finish the answer. I signed some paperwork. Hospice will start coming everyday now.

Tonight I went to see her and I brought Teddy with me. First he stopped to say hello to all of the residents in the lobby, making his way from one person to the next, collecting pets and hugs. When we entered Miss Trudy's room, Teddy went straight to the lounger she was sitting in and lay down on her feet.

A staff member came and took her blood sugar - it was quite low. Another staff member came with dinner and tried to coax Miss Trudy to eat. She refused. After they left, she drank a few sips of orange juice and we watched the local news together in her too warm room.  "You are a very good boy, aren't you Teddy?" she said. "You're just the best boy."










Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Step 2


Clearly, this is going to be a long-ish process. Day 2 of the tree and Mr. Rosenberg was kind enough to put some lights on. Of course, it's pretty at this stage, but I'm thinking by the weekend we'll have her all dressed up. Watch this space.



Monday, December 5, 2016

Tree in the Buff


We got our Christmas tree last night and for the first time ever, I did not get it home and immediately decorate it. It's been sitting here, looking pretty in front of the living room window, but it's naked. I'm moving slow but enjoying it even in its au natural state.

I'll pull it together over the next few days.

Getting the tree always reminds me of my Gram Melva. I shared this story years ago, and I'll share it again now.  Click here to read, "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Melva."



Sunday, December 4, 2016

Smacksy Sunday Links

Fog under the apple trees.

Why patience is more important than your busy day.

What the oldest people in the world eat every day.

Simple hospitality.

What it takes to open a bookstore.

What's your relationship with coffee?

And a dog who loves fringe.

Happy Sunday.



Saturday, December 3, 2016

Smacksy Saturday Photo: Holiday Retro Bob


Christmas 2008



Me and J.R.


Tonight was Mr. Rosenberg's company party at a nightclub in Hollywood. When we got there, the line to get in was wrapped around the block so we crossed the street and went to a restaurant for dinner. We returned to the party an hour later when the line was shorter. I met a lot of people whose names I couldn't hear. I smiled and shook hands with some folks and drank two cranberry and sodas. Everyone was very nice. I learned that everyone at the office actually refers to Mr. Rosenberg as "J.R." This was news. A number of people actually said to me, "So you must be Mrs. J.R."

How did I not know that Mr. R had an alter-ego?






Thursday, December 1, 2016

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

World Records


"Both your little brothers are sick? Isn't that kind of weird?"

"Yeah, kind of. Judah was barfing."

"A lot?"

"Sort of."

"I wonder what the longest barf ever was."

"Yeah! I bet it was super gross."









Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Matter of Taste


I can't remember experiencing this so drastically before but  - I can't taste anything. I've got a ridiculous sinus infection and it has totally taken away my ability to enjoy the taste of food, delightful food. I first noticed on Thanksgiving when I had a piece of pecan pie and I thought something was wrong with the pie because it wasn't sweet. At all. That pie is 300% sugar so it finally dawned on me that the pie was fine and I was to blame. Even Altoids are now curiously weak.

I also can't smell anything. This is annoying and potentially dangerous in the event of a random gas leak or small stovetop brushfire. I do have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors so I'm probably safe.

You can now consider yourself updated on a few of the symptoms of my sinus infection. (Lucky!) I left out a few other details because I am a nice person and also I like you.

It's been weird trying to figure out what to eat. What would you eat if you couldn't taste anything?





Monday, November 28, 2016

In the Soup



Mr. Rosenberg: Alton Brown is messing with me. I know he's one of those snarky, know-it-all, smart ass kind of guys. How am I supposed to follow a recipe if he's doing his joking thing? The recipe says I should heat mirepoix and then 'sweat.' It's not even funny, even if it's accurate.

Me: 'Sweat' is an actual cooking term. When you 'sweat' an onion, you heat it until it starts to release moisture.

Mr. Rosenberg: If you say so. Okay, then what the heck are 'Grains of Paradise?'

Me: Yeah, I don't know about that. I'll Google it... looks like it's a type of peppercorn.

Mr. Rosenberg: Is it common?

Me: I've never heard of it.

Mr. Rosenberg: I knew he was messing with me.





Sunday, November 27, 2016

Smacksy Sunday Links



All the things you don't need for a perfect holiday.

What your breakfast says about you.

A woman who builds tiny houses for birds.

This guy made me laugh so hard.

And a goat in a duck costume.

Happy Sunday.



Saturday, November 26, 2016

Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanksgotten


The next best day after Thanksgiving? The day after Thanksgiving. Bob and Mr. Rosenberg have the day off and that's fantastic. I spent the day in my pajamas and that is outstanding. And best of all?
Pie for breakfast.
Pie for lunch.
Pie for dinner.
Thanksgotten.



Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving-ed


Bob made place cards for the Thanksgiving table. On the inside he wrote what he is thankful for about each person. It was a fun way to start off dinner. And pie was a fun way to finish off dinner.

Thanksgiving was terrific.

Also I may have had too many mashed potatoes.



Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving Is My Favorite


Yes. I crossed the pre-Thanksgiving pie finish line. Shattering a large glass bowl on the kitchen floor slowed me down a little but I made it. We'll have a crowd here tomorrow and I can't wait. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I have much to be thankful for.

And I'm thankful for you guys. Thanks for hanging out here. If you're American, have a terrific holiday. If you're not American, have a terrific Thursday. May I suggest some pie?