Author Jennifer Weiner speaks up against fat shaming and bullying. 


img_3633Author Jennifer Weiner, spoke to a group of women at Franklin County Conservatory on November 2. The Jewish Federation’s women’s philanthropy group brought her to Columbus, Ohio.

Weiner, dressed in a cheerful blue dress, was friendly, compassionate, engaging, and hilarious.

This New York Times best selling author is talking to all women, but she resonates with the ones who don’t fit into a size 2.

Her first book, “Good in Bed” was all about an overly sized woman who delighted in sex.

She talked about how difficult it is to be overweight, and lonely in this society. But, she does it in a humorous way. She recalled how the first agent she interacted with wanted the character to only be 15 to 20 pounds overweight. And she wanted her to change the title because how could an obese woman be “good in bed?

Weiner also speaks to all sizes and shapes of women. ” What I like about her is her honesty .”

She was promoting her book, “Hungry Heart” that is a biography. She read excerpts from the book, which focuses on her less than perfect family.

Her grandmother, who is now 101, is a central character, and so is her mother, Francis, who discovered her true sexuality after her divorce. Getting used to her newly claimed homosexuality was difficult for the traditional family to accept.

Weiner also speaks to all sizes and shapes of women. ” What I like about her is how honest she is”, stated several avid readers.

Her fans in the audience truly love her. They thanked her for speaking up for them, being real, and honest. One woman tearfully told her how much she appreciated her speaking for her.

One questions asked was about how mothers can make sure their daughters don’t fall into the trap of hating themselves because they’re not the “perfect” shape. Wiener said she wished she had the answer for that. She thought one approach is to tell them over and over, “they’re beautiful from the inside and outside.”

“The Littlest Bookfoot,” is a children’s trilogy mixing mystery, adventure, and coming of age themes. Weiner mentioned that this book will turn into a television series or movie.

Considering it’s become socially acceptable to fat shame and bully, We all need someone like Jennifer Weiner to speak up for those made to feel less than.

Ghosts linger around my Passover table 


The Passover of 2016 was tinged with sadness because I couldn’t help thinking of my childhood.  My parents and grandparents faded from sight; one right after the other, mostly without warning.

Grandma was a small, stout lady, with a face that I can’t really ever forget because I look so much like her, especially in my 66th year. My grandfather, was short in stature, but high on everyone’s respect list. He had a head full of beautiful white hair.

I remember going along with my tall, handsome, adored daddy to pick them up at their apartment. My grandmother would have her coat on, and announce to my grandfather that “the machine is outside, and it was time to go.” Why she didn’t just refer to it as the car was a mystery to me. I do remember she wore red old-fashioned shoes, a longish skirt, and a long sleeve blouse. She always carried a  black purse that held Dentyne gum. She would offer this special treat randomly to all her grandchildren.

We’d arrive at my house where we ate the standard dinner we always ate at holidays, it didn’t really matter which one. Mom was in charge and she didn’t appreciate any help.

There was always chopped liver and matzah ball soup, my mother’s tie to her ethnic background. We’d all gathered around  the kitchen table, my grandparents sitting next to each other on one side, my mother, wearing her blue apron, always up during the meal serving us.  My father and

My dapper grandpa, Harry Zelivyansky

My dapper grandpa, Harry Zelivyansky

My Grandmother, Miriam Zelivyansky when she was young.

My Grandmother, Miriam Zelivyansky when she was young.

Marilyn, Mom, Dad and me .

Marilyn, Mom, Dad and me .

My sister Marilyn and I with my dad outside of Grandma and Grandpa's house,

My sister Marilyn and I with my dad outside of Grandma and Grandpa’s house,

L to R: Eileen, Dad holding me, and Marilyn.

L to R: Eileen, Dad holding me, and Marilyn.

two sisters and I would take our familiar seats. It was usually turkey, sometimes a roast, salad, sweet potatoes, and a vegetable.

The Seder I remember was not too formal. I do remember my grandfather singing some prayers. He had a beautiful voice that I can almost hear when I close my eyes and concentrate.

Little did I know that one day my grandparents and parents would be long gone, but their presence would always linger; they’re always around me, like a loving purple aura.

This year I particularly missed them all, but I’m grateful for the love that is still there.

 

10 reasons to hang out with a 2 year old child


It's my cooking grandson

It’s my cooking grandson

1.  Most little ones do not want to take time off of their fun day to sleep.

2.  Nature delights them: chirping birds, squirrels, dogs, and cats.
3.  Physical pain is easily healed with hugs and kisses.
4.  As far as they know, fanciful characters on TV are real friends. Example (Thomas the Train).
5.  They can greet you with smiles and hugs.
6.  Running and kicking a ball can put a big smile on their faces.
7.  The finest food is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
8.  A brownie qualifies as a surprise. It’s extra special if they stir the batter.
9.  Playing with a flashlight fascinates them.

10.  As far as they know, the world is a beautiful, friendly and heavenly place.

Why do you like to hang out with your grandchildren or nieces and nephews?

 

 

A humorous look at finding the Fountain of Youth: at the health club


Two years ago, I made a New Year’s Resolution  to exercise every day  and it’s stuck. Why? I like the high! It gets the blood to my head, releases endorphins. Half-way through I start feeling marvelous.

I look at exercise as an alternative to the FDA’s solution,  pills.

I had to find my own way until  I figured out a routine that suited me.

Seeking the Fountain of Youth at the high-priced Health Club

I’d been doing swimming aerobics at the health club pool for a while, but I thought, why not try for the heavy-duty exercise, the land exercise. Why not try a personal training group?

The first step was signing a contract, and handing over my credit card.

An extra $15o.00 plus monthly membership gave me entry into the newly formed group.

The second step was evaluating my fitness

The next day I headed up to the gym to get my fitness tested. I had to wear headgear that looked like a scuba mask to check my oxygen level on the treadmill. I carefully placed a little gizmo into my bra to record my heartbeat.

When I started by walking as fast as I could, the heart gizmo did not read my heartbeat. I went several times to a back room to put this heart monitor  closer to my heart and aging, sagging bosoms, but to no avail.

” I have another appointment coming, and you’ll just have to try tomorrow,” said the sheepish, red-faced  trainer who was about 19.

I  slowly limped out of the gym, thinking I was already a failure at land based exercise.

The next day, the gym manager, a shapely muscled 24-year old woman, figured out another way to detect my pulse. She read it off the machine somehow, or just made the whole thing up. I was glad to find out I wasn’t heartless or clinically dead.

Joining the personal training class

The next day I showed up bright and early to attend my first class. It was a variety of women of all persuasions. I was the oldest, but I wasn’t the heaviest! They all were running on the treadmills, so I joined them.

Then, the trainer rounded us all up to start our real exercise session.

The affable trainer, Greg, running the session was like a friendly drill sergeant. I furiously rowed on a rowing machine,  rapidly bounced a rubber ball off the wall,  held a plank position, and startled the entire gym when I awkwardly released the weights on a machine and sounded a loud clang.

The worst was the stair-stepper

I would only recommend the stair-stepper for people trying to get information out of a terrorist. They just have to make the thing automatically go really fast. I seriously feared for my life while on this contraption. As my heart began to jump out of my chest, I yelled,” How do I stop this damn thing.” After finding the emergency stop, I thankfully climbed off.

I did last about three months, and I did attempt things I thought I could never do again, like 100 sit ups, burpees, planks and push ups. My stomach was shrinking. I was proud of myself, but I wasn’t  looking forward to the personal training sessions. After a while,  I arrived later and later . Finally,  I didn’t come at all.

So after spending extra money, and torturing myself, I discontinued my contract.

What I needed to do was accept my age and have fun! 

I decided to try things like bike spinning, Zumba dancing, yoga,  running on the elliptical ( while I watch TV with my headphones), and lifting weights with Silver Sneaker (Medicare sponsored) exercise groups.

I also bike ride with my husband, take long walks in the woods, get down on the floor with my grandson and play like a two-year old.

To be truthful, I was never admired for my svelte figure. But I do believe the Fountain of Youth resides within yourself. The right exercise for you, and attitude are important parts of it.

I do have great blood pressure, and an athletic pulse. I have a lot of energy and feel great. Okay, I’m not at an ideal weight, but it’s been worse.

Taking those extra steps makes it possible not to keep 30 or 40 pills organized.

Bill Cosby’s betrayal


 

Anybody in their 60’s remembers Bill Cosby from the very beginning. He used to be very funny. He told entertaining stories about growing up in Philadelphia with “Fat Albert.”

His next memorable show was  “I Spy.” There he was playing a partner to Robert Culp, and he was the coolest spy.

He had a very charming rapport with children. He had a show for awhile where he asked them questions, Art Linkletter style.  Then, there was the Pudding Pop commercials. It made you go out and buy them up.

The final show was the “Bill Cosby Show.”  Back in the 80’s, many families looked forward to watching that show together. Nobody was DVRing back then, and it was a great loss to miss an episode.

Lately, I noticed he wasn’t funny anymore

In the last few years, when I watched his stand up on TV, I noticed he wasn’t funny anymore. It was mostly him preaching. I wondered what happened, but I attributed it to just not relating to the average person any more. He had to be worth millions.

Now, that I’ve found out how he victimized so many women I am flabbergasted. Why would he do that? In reality, he could’ve had all the women he wanted. Why?  So many women coming out against him is hard to ignore. Except Cosby thinks they’re all making it up.

And he’s suing 7 of them? My guess is he’s in complete denial. Somehow, he’s rationalized the whole thing.

Sexually abusing a person, man or woman, is unforgivable.

I feel sorry for his wife and daughters, but he deserves to go to jail. I wonder if his celebrity and money will get him out of it. Is there a jury who will convict him?

What do you think?

Women’s USA Team Wins the World Cup: You’ve come a long way baby! 


When I was growing up in the 1950’s girls didn’t play sports. It was the boys who played baseball, and did the boy stuff. Girls did lady like things like playing with dolls, rolling their hair in curlers, and dreaming of being secretaries, nurses and teachers.

My mother once described life to me by these words. “Daddies work, and mommies stay home with the kids. Sounded good to me. It took quite a while for me to understand that this wasn’t the most satisfying way of life.

I used to feel sorry for my father because he never had a son. Being a third daughter, I felt the responsibility of playing catch with him in the backyard. I also went to several Cleveland Indians baseball games with him.  Even though I knew he loved all his daughters, I felt guilty because I knew I’d been his last chance for a boy.

2015 Gold Cup winners

2015 Gold Cup winners

I am glad I had the chance to raise two daughters who had more dreams than me or their grandmother.  I always told them they could be anything they wanted to be, and they both surpassed my expectations.

Watching the women’s soccer tournaments made me smile

The ladies on this team are cool, confident, women. The way these young women have energy, talent and spirit makes me see how far the females have come since the 1950’s. It is really mind-boggling.

I was totally impressed with the goalie. Wow! That girl wasn’t letting many of those Japanese girls make goals.

How the USA team came right back after the Japanese team scored a second goal was truly exciting.

I am so proud of the USA Soccer Team!

You’ve come a long way baby.

Remembering my father (and mother) on Father’s day


My parents before they were married.

My parents before they were married.

I have a confession to make. Sometimes, I close my eyes in my bedroom, and pretend, only for a minute, that I’m back home in my old bedroom. I visualize where the bed was, my dresser, and the closet.  I think about where the other rooms of the house were situated and what they looked like.

Sometimes, when I’m remembering, I hug the pillow and remember how it felt to hug my parents. How comforting it was, and how safe and loved I used to feel with them.

I had a special relationship with both of them. I was the baby of the family and lived alone with them from the age of 13. I did miss having my two newly married sisters living with us, but I enjoyed hanging out with my old parents. We went out to eat a lot, saw movies, and attended the theater. (My old parents were somewhere in their late 40’s and early 50’s.)

Sometimes, I try to remember them talking in the kitchen on a Sunday morning. I can see my mother sitting at the table, newspaper not too far from her. (She loved to read that newspaper cover to cover.) My father is standing up, probably doing some chore. They’re talking about his job, or what they’re going to do in the future.

I can almost hear the comfortable din of their voices. She saying, “Hank, why don’t you get some blintzes from Solomon’s?” (We used to get blintzes from the local delicatessen every Sunday.) Before he ever left the house he would always give her a quick kiss. Before too long he’d come back with the scrumptious Solomon blintzes. All my mother had to do was heat them on the stove.

After we eat our blintzes, my father is going to go out and do outside chores like mowing the lawn or shoveling the snow. He might run some errands.

Sometimes, I’d tag along with him. I was crazy about my father. He’d talk to me like an equal, and was a good listener. He always made me feel loved and important.

He had a friend who owned a car wash, so about every weekend I’d go with him to watch the car get cleaned. I’d carefully watch the car go through the stages, while he kidded around with his friend. I could see that Dad could get along with everyone.

I had an acquaintance whose parents were divorced, and the father would take the kids somewhere special every Sunday. I didn’t know it was because they were divorced. (In those days people kept divorces quiet.) So, I kept pleading with my dad take me out on Sunday without my mother. He did it once. We went to the planetarium at the Cleveland Science museum. We looked up at the pretend stars in the planetarium and listened to the lecture. I loved having my daddy all to myself. (I only hope my mother wasn’t too hurt.)

My parents sometimes took me to a local amusement park, Euclid Beach. My mother would park herself on a bench and my dad would go on rides with me in the park. This was a big feat for him because he was really not too crazy about amusement park rides.

One time we got on a ferris wheel and before it started, he asked the ride attendant to let us off. Another time we were on an Over the Falls” ride and the power went out. We were stuck on the ride for about 20 minutes. I wasn’t worried cause I was with my dad. (Years later, he told me he was nervous about my mother being alone, and us getting stuck on the ride.)

My dad  always took time to get dressed for work as a Cleveland Policeman. After he shined his shoes, and put on his uniform with the golden badge, and completed it with his hat, he didn’t look like Daddy anymore; he looked liked a king. I thought I was the luckiest girl in the world to have such a good-looking, important father.

My parents were so close, that I can’t remember my father on this Father’s Day without including both my parents.

Happy Father’s Day to them both, wherever their souls ended up. If there is such a place, I have no doubt that they are together.