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Monday, January 28, 2013

Hurricane Donna 1960

When you are born, and live a few blocks from the ocean, the beach has a strong influence on your life.  You spend your childhood digging, wadding, and splashing.  You meet your friends, you tan, you date, you study, and you dream, at the beach.  Sand is everywhere,  on your skin, in your clothes and hair.  Growing up at the beach is unique.  Everyone comes to visit you. Everyone including hurricanes, snow storms and nor'easters. They are a different animals here.

It was the early days of a new school term.  It was raining.  In those days you wore plastic rain hats with brims that tie under your chin.  I went to school walking the few blocks from my apartment building.  The school was new and lovely.  I don't remember who I walked with, but it was a large complex and there were many children going to school.

I was in the 4th grade.  I remember the teacher being tall and strict. I spent the whole day looking out of the window. We did a class lesson about storms. There was heavy rain and howling winds and the sky was a night sky.  At 3 the teacher dismissed the class.  There was my mother standing in front of the building with an umbrella and rain hat.  This was unusual.  My mother had driven the few blocks to pick me up.  My mother never drove in bad weather.  She said there was a hurricane coming, and we needed to be home.

At home, I began my watch, from my bedroom window. They would name the hurricane Donna.  We lived on the third floor which presented a wonderful view of the bay on the left and the ocean on the right.  I loved all weather.  I have always and will always be humbled and awed by the power of nature.  The weather channel and I are great friends.

It rained and howled, and the sky was black.  The bay rose and I watched it come across the grass.  The ocean dominated the boardwalk, and drive and in Donna's fury the Atlantic ocean met the Jamaica bay.

I watched people in small boats paddling down the street.  The cars, long before computers, sat in feet of water, only to dry out and be used again.  There was no transportation, no school... Just the glory and destruction that is nature.  I sat at the window and I watched. I was nine years old and I never forgot Donna. Sitting by the window, watching moments of my life, living by the water.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Famous Sayings Nobody Ever heard Of

A saying is an often stated observation regarding a common experience, an adage.  Some are funny, some true, and some ridiculous.  I thought I would share a few favorites, and how and when they are used.

" Horses heads are bigger let them worry".  This was a favorite of my husband's grandmother Bella.  She lived well into her 90's so you have to respect the philosophy.

" With relatives, you get mad then glad".  This was from Bella's son Dave, my father in law. It was true for him much of his life, until he got very ill, and sick of his family.

" A father's not a mother".  This is one of my favorites.  It is from G.G. and won many an argument with my father-  What do you answer in return?  I also think it is true.

" He is short? He will stand on his wallet".  This comes from my dating years when I would meet short wealthy men and refuse to date them.  G.G. strikes again.

" The higher the fewer".  This is from Star Trek the Next Generation.  It drove my children crazy, because they never knew what it meant.   It was always good for a laugh.  Also " Chickens on the roof"-  see above.

" Revenge is a dish best served cold", and " A fool and his head are soon parted".  These are both Klingon proverbs. Both are true, and funny.  Especially spoken in the original Klingon.  KEPLACH

Finally, " Don't pee on my foot and tell me it's raining"  I am a big fan of Judge Judy Schindlin and this is one of her favorites. My grandmother used it as well.  The translation is I am nobodies fool, so don't try to fool me.

I hope you will add your favorite sayings to my list.  Sometimes you just have to bow to the absurd, beause " It is what it is".

Monday, January 21, 2013

Head and Shoulders Knees and Toes

                              Head and Shoulders knees and toes, knees and toes
                              Head and shoulders knees and toes, knees and toes
                              Eyes and ears and a mouth and a nose
                              Head and shoulders knees and toes, knees and toes...
                                                                      That's what hurts

If you asked my grandmother Anna how she was on any given day, she answered- how could I be?  I am doing the best I can. I heard this response all of my life.  It is only now I understand it. In my previous life as a kindergarten teacher I sang the "Head and Shoulders" song.  I included hand motions, and I played the song on my guitar.  Everyone had fun.

I never dreamed the song would describe my aches and pains.  The knees and toes problems I leave to grandpa.  I can cover the rest.  When did all of this happen?  I discussed this with my friend and doctor, and he said " the body is breaking down".  Breaking down? Well can't we fix it?

I chipped two back teeth eating soft food.  Why is this happening I asked my friendly dentist.  " Well you know, it's an age thing".  I take pills, vitamins, I exercise, and do accupuncture.  I try to get enough sleep/ eat healthy and think positively. 

I think I should have spent more time singing,  " If You are Happy and you Know it Clap Your Hands". If only I knew.

Friday, January 18, 2013

People Age but not on T.V.

My mirror lies.  It does not lie all the time, but it lies enough to convince me I can leave the house each morning.  It chooses  not to show me the newest shadows, sags and wrinkles.  My mirror and glasses conspire to protect me.  They are my team, and my team keeps me going.

Department store mirrors, they tell the truth.  They see hundreds of people so they show no loyalty.  The truth is harsh, always has been.  The lights are too bright, and the mirrors show multiple angles.  Not easy... I HATE store mirrors.

What does all this have to do with T.V?.  I saw a commercial for Billy Crystal's new movie.  Boy- he looked old.  I have seen "When Harry Met Sally" many times.  Billy is funny, cute and young.  On my T.V. he remains as youthful  as the first time I saw the movie 1989.  Billy Crystal and I do not socialize.  I have not seen his gradual aging.  He looks so old!

He might be looking at his T.V. at me, and saying,  Judy when we first met watching  "When Harry Met Sally", you looked much younger.  This is sad Billy very sad.  I watched the "Sandy" benefit concert.  The music fabulous, the rockers, as the commercial says more rocker then rocking chair?  Old rockers not that attractive.

Some people have improved with age.  It is a short list.  Marlo Thomas still lovely.  Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits, adorable in his 60's, better then when he was a child star.  Richard Gere, more handsome then ever.  Then there are those who never age. Cher, Joan Rivers, Carol Burnett, good doctors they do not need lying mirrors.

I recently reunited with friends I have not seen in 40 years,  We all recognized each other.  Good make-up, good genes, good luck.  There is one more catagory I will call the look of love.  This is for your relatives and closest friends.  When  you love someone the mind plays kindly tricks for you, and you never really age. Well Billy you need to stay in reruns of movies, and photographs, that way you will always stay Forever Young!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Baby Hugs

One year ago,  Grandpa and I sat at a basketball game, starring at the cell phone. We were waiting for our " Pea" to be born.  You were a lovely baby.  You continue to be  a beautiful child.  We celebrated your first birthday.  It was a small, intimate, festive and fun afternoon. Your parents hosted,  and a few friends and relatives attended.

It was, as always, the baby that touched my heart. She puts out her arms and reaches towards me, and asks to come to me.  I hold her.  She is soft and round and warm.  She puts her head on my shoulder.  We play a silly game.  She tries to take off my glasses, and I shake my head and say " not my glasses"! She laughs her baby laugh, and shakes her head.

I kiss her and hope she never lets me go.  I know she will, but she will return.  She will be walking soon, and she may not want to cuddle or be held so much.  Today there were so many baby hugs, and they made me feel loved, and fulfilled.

                                                      Happy Birthday little darling.
                                                         Grammy and Grandpa love you forever...

A Baby Girl Is...   thanks Connie

A baby girl is...
eyes that mesmerize,
drawing all time, energy and focus
to her unique attractions.
Smiles and giggles,
bringing more thrills,
pleasure and satisfaction
than any amount of money can buy.
Sweet, soft,
feminine baby fragrance...
inhaled happiness.
Growing, changing,
in your eyes appearing
more beautiful every day,
your baby girl is all that,
and so much more.

By Joanna Fuchs

Friday, January 11, 2013

Everything I Needed To Know I learned At Maj Jongg

From wipedia

Maj Jongg is a game of Chinese origin, dating over two thousand years ago.  It is said to have originated by a royal who was in seclusion.  To keep herself amused she invented a game, to be played with her maids.  She carved domino shaped tiles of ivory and bamboo.  For centuries Maj Jongg remained exclusive to the royale class.  The penalty for commoners caught playing was decapitation.  However, around 500 A.D. the penalty was lifted.  The game spread through out the world.  It came to the U.S.A. in 1920 by Joseph P. Babcock.  Maj Jongg surged, then tapered off, resurging again during the Geat Depression.  Inexpensive forms of recreation were sought after,.  people wanted more mental agilty, and escape from their problems.

That said, I really like playing Maj Jongg .Of the five players in my game, four have sets from their mothers.  The fifth player now has a beautiful new set, with jokers that say her name.  All the racks are red for good luck.  My mother played Maj Jongg in our apartment building.  The ladies were the parents of my friends, and neighbors.  There were light snacks, and coffee served.  The games were chatty.  The women were happy for a night out.  I remember the clicking of the tiles on the table, as you said the tiles names, one crack, two dot, south.  My mother had two substitute players, Irving who was married to Esther, a player and me.  I was used to fill in if a player was late.  Irving was a good player.  My father had a problem with a man playing Maj Jong, it was too feminine.  He would have accused him of being gay but the world did not exist in that context yet.

We moved, but the games continued with new players. My mother brought the set to the catskills on vacation.  There were always willing players. On a recent cruise Maj Jongg was being played.  The players were the " real deal".  They were men and women screaming at each other in Chinese. There were no cards, or racks. I was told there was heavy betting going on.  I was the uninvited, I could not watch.

I married, bought a house and played Maj Jongg on the block. The women all had sets from their mothers. Conversations were personal.  We knew who was pregnant, and who  hoped to be.  We discussed deaths, taxes, and teachers.  We talked about each other and everyone else.  We compared grades and salaries.

Now I play with dear friends.  There are light snacks and coffee.  We are mostly concerned with health issues, new babies, and the troubles of our children. As much as life changes it remains the same.  The Maj Jongg tiles click on the table as you say their names, one crack, two dot, south.

Dedicated to the ladies of Maj Jongg

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Next Real Housewives Of Long Island...

I read an article about Melissa Gorga, a player on " The Real Housewives Of  New Jersey".  She has been married for 8 years and is writing a marriage advice book.  WOW!  8 whole years, with the same partner.  I have been married for 40 years - Do I have a book deal?  A T.V. show? Am I a celebrity?  Andy Cohen are you listening?

I came up with an innovative idea for a new reality show.  I would feature my BIG family.  Each week the cameras would focus on a particular branch, and do a two hour special about them.  After a season of this, the audience would vote on the episode and family they would like to see more of.

Sadly, I do not think the relatives would participate.  We are all too normal, well mostly normal, most of the time.  There are lawyers, teachers, therapists, a doctor, salesmen, computer experts, writers, a social worker, personal trainer, and administrators.  Does the viewing audience want to watching loving, successful people?  I think not.

Just imagine the possibilities. I could sell children's books, cookbooks, wine, design jewelry, and make rock videos.  Maybe I can be on "Dancing With The Stars".  I better hurry I hear Max my favorite is leaving the series soon.  Personally, I believe I am well qualified to be a "Housewife".  I have no acting or singing ability.  I love to give advice.  I have an opinion about everything.  True, I do not wear high heels, or fake eyelashes, but I could learn.  We do not live a lavish lifestyle.  Well maybe if the show soars in the ratings, I will.

Sorry Melissa, I will not be buying your book.  I will not even borrow it from the library.  Housewives do you know what a library is?  We have lots of them on Long Island.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Walking My Dog At Six A.M.

I wake up too early. Long gone are the days of sleeping late.  I am still on school time, and so is Stormy, my Havanese.  He is usually woken by the paper delivery.  The paper is thrown at my garage door, thump. Sometimes it is the noisy sanitation workers. They have loud conversations shouting directions to each other, while emptying the neighborhood bins.  Maybe,  it is because it is so quiet outside, that every noise is amplified?

I throw on clothes, and creams and feed and walk Stormy.  It is around 6:00 A.M. there are very few cars on the road.  Stormy is wearing his jacket, and I have on a jacket, scarf, hood and gloves.  Leaving the house is easy. My body is warm and I am layered to go...  It is still dark.  The night lights are all on and the moon is still out.  It is almost full, but cloudy.  I wonder if it my eyes,  or  the weather.  All of the stores are closed, with the exception of the convenience store.  It provides drivers and walkers with their first cups of steaming coffee.  People leave with newspapers under their arms.  Maybe they have noisy garages too? 

There are two bus stops and sometimes people wait.  They talk on their cell phones, sometimes they say hello.  Stormy is so happy and excited, sniffing and searching for food scraps he should not eat.  He enjoys the romp, free away from the house.  I am starting to feel the cold, hurry Stormy.  We are on our way home now.  The sun is beginning to come up.  The sky has turned to purple mountains, blue and grey.

I am cold and getting colder.  Stormy runs to our door.  He is eager to enjoy the warmth, and his toys and treats.  Later, we will walk again.  Thanks Stormy, I would not want to spent this time with anyone else.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

My Favorite TV Shows, Since I Lost My Mind

I am a loyal TV watcher.  It is my dirty little secret.  As an only child, I never felt alone, thanks to my TV.  My dog Lassie was loyal, and obedient ( like Stormy).  My brothers were Beaver and Wally Cleaver.  I did wonder why my real mother never wore her pearls to breakfast/ I sang with the Partridge family, and danced with Where The Action Is, it was at 4.  The TV was always on in my house.  My father watched football, my mother watched old movies.  My obsession,  old 50's sci fi movies.  Radiation was always creating giant monsters, in black and white.  The handsome brilliant scientist, in suit and tie, and the beautiful assistant in heels, saved the world.  Sometimes they saved it in English, sometimes Japanese.

Mr. Spock was my first true love. Not emotional but logical and loyal .At least he was not sleeping around with the aliens like Captain Kirk. When the kids were small, I was on hiatus. I was working full time and going to graduate school.  I could not devote my time to TV.  One exception was Sue Ellen's wardrobe, at South Folk. I was planning a Bar Mitzvah and I wanted to know what she would have worn to Jon Ross's event.  That was the outfit I wanted.

Now retired I have returned.  My daughter says I watch obscure reality.  My current favorites  are  "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo".  I loved "The Beverly Hillbillies" in their time, and this show is no different. This is how the poor people live.  When the mother June, made tomato sauce out of margerine, and ketchup, I felt compelled to mail her a Weight Watchers, eat healthy cook book, but I didn't.  The family went shopping at the local dump, then mud wrestling, now that is entertainment.

My lovely friend B, a lady of taste, education and good judgement ( really), introduced me to " Dance Moms",  The return to Oz, and the wicked witch Abby.  No she is not green, but very mean.  " I will get you and your little dancers too", she cackled in P.A.  I also have a fondness for  "Sister Wives".  They practice an interesting religion that grants multiple wives, and tons of children. Why would intelligent, attractive women choose to share their husbands four ways? " Big Love", was a better show, but this is reality.  Strange and stranger.

Top on my list is " Toddlers and Tiaras". What are they thinking in the South?  The same mentality that has brought us Miss America, and playboy bunnies, have brought little girls and a few boys, to strut, strip, and shake for strangers approval, and a five dollar crown.  The kids cry and beg not to be tanned, permed, plucked, and bleached, but the parents persist.  It is for their careers!.  Lawyers, doctors, professors, I think not.

Finally sometimes, I just want a snack.  There is Maury, Jerry, and all the judge shows.  I have recently discovered, Gypsys, and Cheerleading.  Maybe I should I consider returning to work?  Maybe I can be a TV critic, the world  needs more of those...