life

You Say Its Your Birthday; Its My Birthday Too

Today was the magic day.

I hit 50.

Its a tired cliché to say it all went so quickly. Its rather like the vacation we are on now.  You plan and save and it all seems so far away and then voilà there you are.

I can honestly say nothing has gone according to any plan I ever had.  If it had, I would be single, living alone in a small neat house, surrounded by books and antiques.  There would be maybe a couple of cats for company.  And I would have lots of money.

As it turns out, I am happily ‘married’ to the most passionate side of my soul, have two spectacular children, three cats and one dog.  Our house is small, but decidedly not neat and the antiques are in short supply.  Money, well…I do have books.

There are many things I would have rather not gone through to get to this point in my life. Really – many things, but as the other really exhausted cliché goes, I wouldn’t be the person I am now except for those experiences. (Sometimes, I would like to have known that person – the one without the other stuff, but I don’t want to be visited by three creepy guys in the night on Christmas Eve just to see what might have been.)

But here I am, pudgy waisted, greying of hair and happier than any solitary life would have ever provided.  I have 50 years of life and wonderment to reflect on.

Bashert gave me a book of memories and letters from friends and family.  It is wonderful.  Its a treasure for me and those who read this and contributed will be getting thank you notes…eventually.

Bashert gave me a special memory today to put in a new edition. Get your mind out of the gutter, its not that type of memory (at least not yet – day’s not over).

We had been touring Colonial Williamsburg all morning.  We were tired and hot. Yoda had reached his limit and was getting a bit, shall we say vocally high pitched about something he could not have.  So we thought it best to come out of the midday heat and get some refreshments.

We stopped into Chownings Tavern for lunch.

Our waitress was quite delightful and quite the salesperson.  Before you knew it we were all quenching our thirst on some of the tavern’s homemade root beer and dining on the recommended house specialty sandwich (which I will not reveal because I am now going to rot for eternity because I broke the one kosher law I have kept since 1999, but man, was that sandwich worth it!).

We saved room for dessert, but before it arrived at the table, Yoda had to visit the ‘necessity’.  So up the stairs we went, with me explaining the entire way up that he was lucky it was in the house as the lavatories were outside back then, blah, blah, blah.

When we returned, a man appeared at the table side and proceeded to ask who it was who had the birthday.  Yes, they do this even in 18th century Williamsburg.

I was treated to a rousing rendition of “For She’s a Jolly Good Fellow” followed by a lovely tin whistle serenade of “Brian Boru’s March”.

They even brought out my piece of apple pie with a huge mulberry candle in the middle of it.  They let me keep the candle. Yoda asked if we can use it on his cake in a couple of weeks.  Cool.

The waitress then took our picture with our ‘shutterbox’, making sure to move all 21st century items out of the way first.  Except the visitor tags we were wearing and the San Diego Zoo baseball cap I was wearing and well..we have a great shot of the three of us to remember the occasion.

It’s a memory I will cherish. I’m smiling even as I write this.

Thank you, my love.

Here’s to the next 50 years. May the memories keep coming and may I remember at least half of them.

Huzzah!

Who Is She Today?

One might think that my daughter suffered from dissociative disorder, with all the personalities that spilled forth when she was a child.

One never knew at any given time who might pop out.

The woman who always checked us out at the grocery store was known to ask who she was that day.

Once it happened, there were generally clues, such as dress or demeanor as to who had appeared, but length of time the other personality made reside was always a guess.

In the morning she may have been Dorothy complete with gingham dress and ruby slippers, but by the afternoon she may have transformed into Laura Ingalls, with bonnet and pre-braces (the polite way of saying bucked toothed Melissa Gilbert).

Her personalities ran the gamut from Shira, Princess of Power to Atreyu, the Warrior of The Neverending Story.

Atreyu was actually pretty impressive. AURYN was an old peace sign on a leather string. Her costume was a one piece jumper that she could unbutton to show AURYN. She used an wide suede watchband of mine from the 70’s as Atreyu’s armband. Falkor, the luckdragon was a stuffed dog with floppy ears.

Once when I had to send her to her room she went in as a rather pissed off NeNé, but when I went to check on her a bit later, I found Sleeping Beauty asleep in her reading chair.

I think by far her best personality was Arielle, the mermaid.  My mom or sister, not sure which anymore, made her a mermaid outfit that she eventually wore slap out.  When she donned the magic costume, she also added her well worn Blankie as her long hair.

I would pin it under her chin and she would toss it back in the manner of Cher.  Arielle would then mount the rock jutting from the ocean and sing the most heartfelt rendition of “Part of Your World” one had ever heard.  I would wait with bated breath for the moment when she would rise up with the music crescendo.  I could see the waves crashing all around her.

She always put on a fabulous show.

NeNé began to integrate around age 6.  The other personalities made less and less appearances until I noticed they came no more.  Being someone different was now regulated to Halloween, theme days at school and costume parties.

I still have the little mermaid and Atreyu’s outfits.  I keep them stored with the last thin remnant of Blankie.  Every now and then I run across them when cleaning out closets.

All the organization gurus say that I should get rid of them, but I wouldn’t trade that closet space for anything.

As soon as I see those costumes, I am transported to the days of NeNé’s multiple personalities and the magic they created.  Sometimes I can even hear Falkor’s hearty laugh or the ocean crashing around me.  Magic indeed.  That was one psychiatric diagnosis I could live with.

Happy birthday, Munchkin.

Are you ready for some futball? I’m not.

I’m not much on soccer.

Last time I played was in sixth grade.  I was the goalie, but never understood why I couldn’t come out of my little box. I once ran the ball all the way down the field only to find the coach and all my team mates standing back with mouths agape. Yeah, my soccer career didn’t last long.

We tried putting our son in the YMCA league, but that didn’t work out either.  We spent the first four years of his life telling him to share and then told him he needed to get the ball away.  Very confusing.  He didn’t like staying in the little box either.

I must admit I caught the fever in 1999 when the USA women’s team marched to the World Cup finals.  My partner and I watched the match with two friends.  I think we scared them with our, shall we say, exuberant couch coaching and celebrations.

But there’s really not been much since then.

It’s been with dispassionate interest that I’ve been watching my friends’ exchanges on Facebook about this year’s World Cup.  I wasn’t sure if I was up to the same fever pitch as 12 years ago.  Outside of the US, I was clueless as to who was playing.

But there was something mentioned about a Wombat, Han Solo and a singing coach, so I my curiosity got the better of me when my partner suggested watching the match and I said why not?

We ordered some delivery chinese food, took up our places in front of the couch and readied ourselves for the game.

Ah, they were playing the Japanese team. It turned out to be Abby Wombach and Hope Solo.  It was far more interesting the other way.  Apparently, the coach does sing though.

We were all very enthusiastic in the beginning.  Then slowly we sort of drifted away.  Our son went back to his game of Bejeweled®, my partner worked on her writing and I dozed on the couch.

Its not that it wasn’t an exciting match.  It was filled with skill and speed.  A nail biter all the way to the last penalty kick.  And up to a certain point I was all in the “Go USA” zone.

Its just that it was, well – soccer.

I must apologize up front to many of my friends, some of whom are die hard fans and others actual players. Soccer is just doesn’t run in my blood.

To meet me in person, one might think I was in to all kinds of sports, at least you would have before my last few years of stress eating and the resultant non-muscle bulk up and ever encroaching grey hair.  But no, not a sports nut.

I’m more the High Holiday sort of sports fan.  I watch maybe a game or two of the World Series and the Super Bowl, but that’s about it.  I do enjoy a good Iron Man competition though.  How many of those stones could you lift?

Anyway, back to soccer or rather my disinterest in soccer.

Soccer is a game of speed, skill and courage.  I couldn’t manage a game now if my life depended on it.  Going upstairs in a hurry leave me breathless these days. I am in awe of those who can play.  It’s a stamina that is most amazing.

In other countries, soccer is the impetus of riots, something over here usually reserved for political rallies and rock concerts.  Me, I can’t see rioting over much anything except maybe the argument over the correct pronunciation of the word pecan or if there should be sugar in your iced tea.

Soccer just doesn’t float my boat that way.  All that running about, butting the ball with your head – just looks like an invitation for a major headache and broken bones. And what’s with only one break?

No, soccer is definitely not in my soul.

More power to you soccer people.

Just don’t ask for my card.

Just keep singing

I attended a funeral today.  A friend lost her valiant, last battle against breast cancer.

Jewish funerals are usually pretty cut and dry. The rabbi may say a few words, but for the most part, they follow a certain rhythm of traditional prayers and solemnity.  Family members rarely speak.

Today was different.

Her son sang a psalm to honor his mother that I shall not soon forget.

Alberta was a woman with a voice.  The kind of voice that brings to mind Ethel Merman. It was unmistakable.

Alex recalled his mother’s love of singing with that voice.  But unlike her grandfather, a professional opera singer, Alberta was not bestowed with so much melodic talent.  Nor was she the best at remembering the words to what she sang, be it prayers in service or popular music to her children.

She sang for the joy it brought to her soul. If she could not recall the words, she filled in with la-la’s.  She just kept singing.

Alex said he tried to find the perfect song that would summarize his mother.  And like with many things, inspiration and revelation come from unexpected sources.  Alex found his mother’s song playing in his car by random shuffle.

From Wicked – Defying Gravity:

So if you care to find me

Look to the western sky!

As someone told me lately:

“Ev’ryone deserves the chance to fly!”

And if I’m flying solo

At least I’m flying free

To those who’d ground me

Take a message back from me

Tell them how I am

Defying gravity

I’m flying high

Defying gravity

And soon I’ll match them in renown

And nobody in all of Oz

No Wizard that there is or was

Is ever gonna bring me down!

For all the struggles Alberta faced in her life, this truly was her anthem.  She was a woman who loved her family, community, friends and life. And she kept on singing.

It would do us all good if we just kept singing.

Keep belting them out Alberta. Nothing can bring you down now. Fly free.

Bravery

I think with age comes a certain amount of bravery.  Not necessarily the kind that will carry one through battle or make one suddenly go bungee jumping, but a kind that allows for a certain new approach to life.  My Mom always said once you reach a certain age, you just don’t give a damn about some things anymore.  I believe I’m reaching that age.

My sister can’t fathom that I am on Facebook.  I am notoriously private and shy.  But I’ve decided in my approaching advanced age, that if I can’t take a few chances then I’m not really in the world.

So, in light of that declaration these last few days before I have to return to work I’ve been doing some writing and daring to publish it on my tiny little blog.

I can’t figure out how to get more than one at at time published on one page, so I’ll leave one up and then change it out in a couple of days.  I’ll also publish friends and family if they will give permission.  So, I bravely ask that you check out the Writings page.

And also check out the photos page, there’s a great image done there!