Leaving the grandchild


I’ve been gone from my grandchild for a week. I do miss him terribly.

It reminds me of the first time I left my three children when they were small.
I convinced my husband that we deserved a trip without the children. I had a babysitter I could trust, so I didn’t feel the least bit guilty. Not at first. But, as the week went on, I realized I had a big empty hole in my heart that the children filled.

Later, when they went to camp it was hard too. It did prepare me for the time they would grow up and leave.

Now, it’s been a long time since I had children. Like my mother always told me, “it’s like a dream.”

The Grandchild Brought It All Back
I feel fortunate to experience those feelings again. Naturally, I come in a very far second or third. But, his little smile of appreciation when he sees me brings those memories back. It’s nice to get a little piece of heaven again.

Advertisements

Remembering Life before air conditioning


Everyone takes it for granted, but I remember life without air conditioning. When I was a little girl, I  used to go to the pool to cool off.  It was a welcome relief. There’s nothing worse than being too hot in the summer.

We had a big fan upstairs in our unfinished 2 story house,  but I never felt a breeze from it. It made a lot of noise. We kept the windows wide open, but all that did was let you hear the neighbors next door talking, laughing, or arguing.  We had an unfinished porch and we’d sit out there when the sun went down. It gave a little relief.  I kind of miss the old backyard porch, but I don’t miss the unrelenting heat.

Ice was something we’d use. You’d put it across your wrist, or just in a wash cloth. I spent as much time as I could at the pool.

When restaurants started to get air conditioning, you’d go there to eat to escape the heat, and then  the mall.

Finally, my parents decided to install the air-conditioning to our house.  My allergies weren’t as bad, and I didn’t have to escape to the pool anymore. I could actually pull the covers up on my bed at night because I wasn’t so hot. I could stay inside more.

Like anything else, I got used to it. I almost forgot about the big fan and the misery. But not quite.

When my own children were teenagers, sometimes they’d say, “ I don’t like the air conditioning, open the window.”

I figured they really didn’t know what they were talking about. Just spend a few years in the miserable heat.

 

Air Conditioned sign

Air Conditioned sign (Photo credit: Caroline on Crack)

Do you remember life without air conditioning? Are you the type of person who doesn’t like air-conditioning.

 

 

 

A courageous girl, Anne Frank, would’ve been 84 today.


Cover of "The Story of Anne Frank"

Cover of The Story of Anne Frank

Today I found out that it would’ve been Anne Frank’s 84th birthday. Being Jewish, I was always haunted by the story of Anne Frank.  You can read her story in “The Story of Anne Frank.”

Anne was a young, Jewish girl who was forced to hide away with her family in Amsterdam,Holland. It happened during the Holocaust during World War II. The family found a hiding place above a factory, and successfully hid there for several years. Tragically, someone turned them in, and were ultimately captured by the Nazis.

Anne’s father survived, and went back and found her diary. It was later published and has been read by thousands. Why am I giving out these details? I’m thinking less and fewer people know about this diary. They used to teach it in high schools, but I”m wondering how true that is today. Can the young people of today relate to the words written by a young girl in the 1940’s?

It’s more real to me because I am going to be 63 years old. When I was born in 1950, the War had only been over for five years. It seemed very real to me. When I found out about this tragedy, it upset me. To think people would kill others because of their religion. Since that time, I’ve read hundreds of books about it, and heard survivor’s talk about it. I’ve accepted it, but it still makes me very sad.

In the early 70’s, I took a trip to Amsterdam and got a chance to walk through the hiding place that is now a museum. The space was so small. I wondered how 3 families could have survived there for so long. I looked out the window at the very same tree Anne longingly looked at from her hiding place. I was touched by the pictures of American movie stars of the 40’s that she had taped on the wall.

In her diary Anne stated that “I still believe people are really good at heart.” One wonders if she still believed this by the time she died, and directly experienced such cruelty. How did she feel when she got off the train at the concentration camp and realized people were starving and broken? What did she think when she saw the stacks of the gas chambers that killed her peers, neighbors, loved ones, and fellow Jews? (It wasn’t only Jews that died.) This all happened in a civilized society too. It’s very frightening.

How tragic it was that someone with such insight and talent died so young. She was never to know that millions would read her words. If it was a fictional story, she would have survived. Sadly, it was a real story; perhaps, she went to a better place. Who knows?

The real tragedy is that people’s cruelty to each other hasn’t ended. It continues. It’s been going on since the beginning of time. Somehow, good does win over evil. It takes a while, but it seems to happen.

The best we can now do is think about Anne’s advice “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

How many have ever been to The Anne Frank House? How has her diary impacted you? Please share.

A Valentine’s letter to my mother


Dearest Mom,

Happy Valentine's Day...

Happy Valentine’s Day… (Photo credit: Јerry)

I wish you were here. It’s almost Valentine’s day, and I still think about you. I thought you would live forever and you almost did. At ninety-one you finally gave in. I feel slightly guilty that I made you sign the paper giving the doctor permission to do that hip operation. I didn’t know you’d be signing your death certificate. I know you would never want me to blame myself. I do believe it was your “time to go.”

I figured you’d come through that like you did everything. You’d had a couple of  really bad breaks. You were a strong woman. You weren’t the type to feel sorry for yourself. Going blind at the end was very hard on you, but you “did the best you could.”

Things were starting to slip. Sometimes, you’d get things confused. One time, when we were listening to the radio, you asked me who was singing. It was Perry Como, your life-long crush.

[Portrait of Perry Como, New York, N.Y., ca. O...

[Portrait of Perry Como, New York, N.Y., ca. Oct. 1946] (LOC) (Photo credit: The Library of Congress)

You didn’t remember much about my childhood. That you’d nursed me through a staff infection for two years, that when I broke my shoulder, you’d made slings out of Cleveland Indian scarves. You couldn’t remember our family trip to Washington D.C. when I was 12.  It was like that part of our lives together never happened.

You rarely talked about my father. Not unless I brought it up. Remembering him was just too painful. I know you were hoping to see him after you died. But being the practical person you were, you didn’t believe that was going to really happen. Even though I’m just as practical, I like to imagine that you are together.

When I came to visit, we stuck with the tasks at hand. Walking down to the dining hall, taking a walk outside, and listening to that old radio station where they played all your favorites: Eddie Fisher, Perry Como, Bing Crosby, and all those singers from the 1940’s.

You still loved to go out to eat. It was almost like you were escaping from that independent living facility every time I came to visit. It was almost like we were partners in crime.

You loved to go to the beauty shop, and listen to the hair-stylists talk to their customers. It was the last place where you could feel like one of the girls.

In your old age you still cared more about me than you did yourself. You asked me if I wanted that extra dinner you’d ordered from the kitchen of the independent living facility where you lived. You asked me if I was comfortable sleeping on the couch overnight. You offered me sheets and a pillow. You tried your very best to be a good hostess.

You dearly loved all your grandchildren ( and great-grandchildren) and gave what you could to all of them. They were your hope for the future. Maybe your exterior seemed a little tough, but inside you were all mushy. You just didn’t let anyone know it.

When we went through your apartment, we found evidence of this secretive side: saved birthday cards, our old school report cards, photographs, engagement and wedding announcements and  programs from college graduations.

So, on Valentines Day I think of the one woman who loved me the most. When you died, you took my nickname with you. It isn’t the same if someone else calls me “Barbie.”  So, a part of me went with you. But, I’ll never forget you.

Happy Valentine’s Day mom.

Les Miserable


If you’ve never seen the Broadway play of Les Miserable, maybe you’ll appreciate this clip from a 10th anniversary special. These were all the professionals who played the main parts.

I did enjoy the movie, but I was a little haunted by all the big voices I was used to hearing when I saw it live. This play is a particular favorite of mine.    I’ve seen it several times. What do you think?

Why are our 21st Century Heroes so narcissistic? The Tipping Point for me: Lance Armstrong


English: Arnold Schwarzenegger in July 2003

English: Arnold Schwarzenegger in July 2003 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the old days that I remember, our heroes were strong, humble, and caring for others.  They did not make speeches about how great they were. This might explain why so many of us admire Barack Obama. The President

Lance Armstrong getting mobbed

Lance Armstrong getting mobbed (Photo credit: ShapeThings)

English: This photo depicts Donald Trump's sta...

English: This photo depicts Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

typifies old-fashioned behavior. He isn’t big on name calling, boastfulness, and he  loves his family. He’s not afraid to tell us that either. He also manages to appeal to our human positive side too.

In contrast to him, we have a lot of boastful narcissists continually taking the spotlight. It’s good to have a good self-image, but do you have to tell everyone else about it? Can you get outside yourself for five minutes?

Then we have members of Congress, who do nothing but argue and name call, and put themselves first. No wonder we’re all so discouraged.  If you ask me, they all need a good talking to about really caring about other people. What happened to respecting the office of President of the United States? People used to do that.

Media Narcissists

The latest media boastful heroes have been Arnold Schwarzenegger, Donald Trump, and now Lance Armstrong.

Donald Trump is the example of the professional “I am great person.” I think people are finally sick and tired of him. He is nothing but a bully. He does prove the maxim if you tell people how great you are, they will believe you.

I watched “The Apprentice.” At first I thought he was nicer than people thought. But, as time went on, I realized first impressions can sometimes be correct.  He operates by telling  people how great he is, makes them call him “Mr. Trump,” and basically sets himself up as a king.

He rewards the people who are the most competitive and cut throat like him. He fought with comedienne Rosie O’Donnell by calling her names.  He challenged the President of the United States  to supply him with proof of his birth. He said “if he does this, I will contribute to the charity of his choice.” Really?

Then we  have good old Arnold Schwarzenegger walking all over Maria Shriver by fooling around right under her nose. He’s another one who managed to convince us to see his movies and elect him Governor.  Why? Because he told us he’s great and people believed him. He is trying to come back. I don’t think he’s going to make it. I think he went too far.

Now, we have Lance Armstrong. A person we thought was admirable turns out to be a pathological liar and a  bully. During his Oprah interviews he proved that he has little insight on his poor behavior and how he hurt other people. I wouldn’t be the least surprised if he comes back like other people displaying poor behavior.  Personally, I’ve had enough of him.

Yes, I’m talking about Bill Clinton. A lot of people forget he was impeached for his bad behavior.   I wonder what happened to the girl he victimized. But everyone forgave him, and he’s more popular than ever.

Maybe one day, the tide will turn. Maybe one day we’ll get back to politeness, good behavior, and acting civilized.
What do you think?

Dental work bites your pocketbook: Why is it so expensive?


Cover of "My Dentist"

Cover of My Dentist

I have always had good health, and I am really grateful for that. But, one part of my body seems to be falling apart, my teeth. Maybe human’s weren’t meant to live as long as they do now-a-days. It seems like teeth go before the rest of our bodies.

My teeth have never been wonderful. When the tooth fairy was giving out teeth,  she must have given me the second-rate ones. Maybe she knew I wasn’t ever going to be rich and famous and didn’t need to be photographed. It might also have something to do with the inheritance I got from both my mother and grandmother. They both owned dentures which they faithfully soaked in Polident every night. Dental Implants, which stay in your mouth permanently, are an improvement.

To clarify, I am constantly brushing and flossing my teeth. I have said aloud to anyone who was listening, “I no longer have to take care of children, but I always have my teeth to keep me busy.”  I guess I’d be completely toothless now, if I didn’t do that. I know people without teeth, and it’s not a pretty picture. People shouldn’t have to go around looking like that because they’re financially strapped.

In my sixties my teeth have become very high maintenance.

When I was a kid, I went to a dentist who was continually putting silver cavities in my mouth. One time when a new dentist drilled my tooth I complained about the way the Novocaine felt. So, he let me go without it. I would  not recommend this. I will never complain about Novocaine again.

The silver cavities have been replaced with beautiful white ones because the original ones only last so long .Now, I need crowns on my teeth.  A crown protects your nub of a tooth. ( The dentist files down your tooth to fit the crown.) A guess they call them crowns because they’re about as expensive as the one of the  English  crown jewels. (Okay, I’m exaggerating.)

Unfortunately, I lost 2 teeth in the past couple of  years.  I was going to a dentist who was having some  emotional problems,  and he told me not to worry about my teeth that were  slightly wiggling and a little mushy.  I should’ve known better, but I listened to him.

By the time I got to a good dentist, it was too late.  I had to get them pulled by a fancy periodontist in a fancy office.  It was a surreal experience.

Cover of "Cast Away (Widescreen Edition)&...

Cover of Cast Away (Widescreen Edition)

mainly, because I used to have dreams that my teeth were falling out. When the periodontist was pulling out my tooth I must have  had the look of  panic on my face. He said, “at least I’m not taking off your arm.” This put it in the proper perspective.

If that wasn’t bad enough, he later did surgery on 3/4 of my mouth. He opened up my gums and got all the gunk out, then he sewed them back up.   It only hurt when he put those 3 fancy shots of Novocaine in my gums.  He did this surgery that was supposed to “save my teeth.” He even called to see how I was doing the next day. I found that amazing. How many doctor’s call you to see if you’re still alive?  I finally understand what being long-in-the-tooth means. More gum then tooth, and you’re getting up there in years.

It worked for a while, but  time is marching on. Not only am I now “long in the tooth”  but some of my teeth are just not going to last. I have a feeling there are more crowns in my future.

I visit the dentist every 3 months, and the periodontist on the alternate 3 months. These are like my closest friends now. No offense to them, but I’d rather be socializing with other people.

The crowns are so fancy that each of these majestic coverings is going to cost me over $1.000.00.a piece. Yes, I do have Dental insurance, but it doesn’t pay for the whole crown. Only 25%. Does that mean they only care about  1/4 of my tooth.

I think the dental profession is getting away with overcharging all of us.

 I personally know elderly people who will not get the replacement teeth because it’s just too expensive. This doesn’t seem right to me. Isn’t there something undignified about going around with your teeth missing? Besides, you can’t do much else when your past 90, but eat.

To be fair I’m glad we have dentists, periodontists, and dental hygienists
My dentist is so good that my kids still use him when they come to visit. He’s a very nice guy, and I don’t think he would be overcharging if he didn’t have to. I’m wondering if it’s the dental labs.

There’s nothing worse than a bad toothache. Remember Tom Hanks in that movie, Cast Away; he was deserted on an island and had to pull his own tooth out. I could feel his pain.

Why is it so expensive?

Don’t they know that times are tough? Does it really cost thousands of dollars to make those fancy crowns and implants? How much do they make on each sale?

Am I just a whiner? Is the cost justified? Tell me about your experiences.