Saturday, March 29, 2008

Other shoe dropping

Yes, this is the winter of my discontent, physically and emotionally. To further exacerbate the stress, my body seems to think it's in hibernation mode from the cold so it keeps adding pounds to store body heat. Gah!

Last week, I joined a weight-loss group at school. Younger colleague had the brilliant idea to install a scale and logbook and we all get to privately weigh-in weekly and set our own goals. The 30-something gals are bouncing around celebrating their first-week successes while I take the boots off, step on the damn flashy new-age scale, and discover I gained two pounds. I now owe the kitty money. This can be as challenging as managing my IRA.

Looking for consolation, I turn to my online meditation of the day and find this ...

The Autumn of Life

The autumn leaves can dazzle us with their magnificent colors: deep red, purple, yellow, gold, bronze, in countless variations and combinations. Then, shortly after having shown their unspeakable beauty, they fall to the ground and die. The barren trees remind us that winter is near. Likewise, the autumn of life has the potential to be very colorful: wisdom, humor, care, patience, and joy may bloom splendidly just before we fall to the ground and die.

As we look at the barren trees and remember our dead, let us be grateful for the beauty we saw in them ....

Now, with all due respect to the anonymous writer, I get the point. However, I've got so many barren trees outside my window right now that I'd rather concentrate on those two mums I bought for Easter. Jenn is saving my emails for after I die while my spiritual guru is reminding me that the autumn of life doesn't last long.

I think it's time for a vacation. Maybe an online dating service. If I have to go out, I'd like to go out with a bang.

Pardon the pun.

Spring Collage Berkshire Living

I went through the apartment this morning snapping photos which pretty much sum up the landscape and the ambience
of the last few months. Welcome to my world ...

Looks so 'Norman Rockwell', doesn't it? Except for the fact that last week was Easter and I'm still shoveling snow.

If you noticed, I'm shooting in black and white to match the mood. The storm coat is ten years old and I think it's grafted itself onto my skin permanently. The boots are Canadian and have kept my feet warm and dry since November. My toes refuse to recognize heels, hiking boots, or sneakers; they won't know what to do once the snow has melted. And neither will I.

Here's the elixir that's kept me going through snow and sleet, wind and rain, bronchitis, flu, and family crises ...

Who would have thought that cough drops and alcohol can add a bit of color to a rather monochrome existence? Hey, if you think I need to get a life, come up here and help me shovel and then we'll talk.

I'm ready for Spring, I swear. In fact, last weekend as I bought Easter eggs for the grandkids to dye, I deliberately stared Old Man Winter in the face and brazenly purchased these ...

Yes, it was a bold political maneuver. I told the Old Man that someone had to go. He was prolonging this whole season way beyond reasonable expectations. I want change. I want color in my life again! I want to wake up and smell the roses, or a couple mums. Dare I hope for Spring?

Excuse me while I go scrape the snow and ice off my car windows.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Purim Party

There are moments when your heart catches in your throat and past and present meld. I had such a moment tonight when I opened my email and found this photo of Sophie, proudly wrapped in a crocheted pink cape which my mom had made for Jennifer long, long ago. Suddenly, I was looking at my daughter at the age of six.

David was taking the girls to the synagogue for a Purim celebration and it looks like pink was the color of the day. Hannah seems to be sporting one of her princess dress-up gowns.

We move from Purim to the Easter bunny this weekend. I found out that there is an American Girl musical in a nearby theatre tomorrow so I'm treating Sophie to the show and then a sleepover. The tricky part will be the secret delivery of baskets and goodies to the girls' house while I have Sophie under my wing. I hope the Easter bunny has a teleportation device.

The girls look so old-fashioned in these photos, like they could have stepped out of a country house in Poland or Russia a century ago. Again, I see so much of my mother in their faces and yet, I'm sure their paternal grandmom sees glimpses of her past too.

Purim baskets, Easter baskets. Giving and receiving.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Ides of March

It was a very good day. Daughter treated me to a massage at a local spa where I wore my birthday suit and a smile, entrusting myself to the gentle hands of a therapist. I looked in the mirror and accepted who was there, a woman whose body had changed through the years. Her image may have changed but her inner self was still true to form.

Sophie and Hannah, bedecked in lovely girly-girl dresses, took me to lunch and brought their dolls. We had cake and pie for dessert including one candle on my coconut cream pie. Hannah's enthusiastic rendition of Happy Birthday, Babci, informed the other diners that this was, indeed, a special day. Our waitress also had a babci, and joined in the singing. Here are two quick snapshots from Jenn's cell phone ...

The girls hand painted and then framed two original works of art for my gifts. Later, their daddy gifted me with one of his signature miniatures, a sweet pear to hang in my kitchen. One birthday netted three framed masterpieces!

The west-coast clan sent me e-cards: a gassy monkey from Ben; two friendly rabbits from Olivia, and a glad-we're-family card from baby Iris. They had asked Iris what she wanted to say to Babci on her card, and she said "thank you."

Thank you, kiddies, for making it a grand day. Sophie is sleeping in my bed as I write this - what better way to end Babci's birthday celebration than with a sleepover?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Let's face it

Here I am on the eve of another birthday, a year away from Medicare and certainly ready for Weight Watchers. It's been a hard year but nothing's been nipped and tucked.

In the meantime, Jenn and her 35-something mommy bloggers are playing the self-portrait truthiness game and I took a peek. Here's how the game works: you dare a fellow blogger to take a candid photo, no make-up, let it all hang out, and post online. What I saw were a lot of beautiful faces who don't have a thing to hide. These are cute patooties but somehow they need to be reassured. Ah, youth. Not only are these women cute, they are bright and witty too.

I've decided to play their silly game and give some advice ...

Don't worry about middle age: you'll outgrow it.
--Laurence Peter

I have everything now that I had twenty years ago, except now it's all lower.
--Gypsy Rose Lee

Let me share a few more ...

Just remember, once you're over the hill, you begin to pick up speed.
--Charles Schulz

When it comes to staying young, a mind-lift beats a face-lift any day.
--Marty Bucella

The trick is growing up without growing old.
--Casey Stengel

If you carry your childhood with you, you never become older.
--Abraham Sutzkever

Everyone is the age of their heart.
--Guatemalan saying

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

She lives

Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.

—Mark Twain

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Birthday girl

It's Olivia's fifth birthday, my little fellow Piscean.

I've been told that she's spending a very special day with her mom and other grandmom, having a grown-up tea at the American Girl store in Seattle. I wish I could be there and can imagine her sweet face lighting up for the occasion. Olivia is a sunny and shy child and, as runner-up to big brother, Ben, it's sometimes hard for her to be the one in the spotlight. Today, however, is her special day.

She had another special day this past Christmas, learning how to make pierogies with her dad. I love that my son has kept the Polish family tradition of pierogies at Christmas. My mother was the keeper of the secret recipe and it took many a Christmas eve after her death for Joe to master the technique (the secret's in the consistency of the dough and mom never wrote her exact ingredients down). Pierogies are little stuffed dumplings usually filled with meat, potatoes, cheese, cabbage or fruit. Think ravioli, more oval, and no tomato sauce. Pierogies are a labor of love and take lots of preparation and usually a full day in the kitchen, pots of boiling water steaming away, waiting for the little stuffed pockets of dough to be plopped in for several minutes and then drained. Best served sauteed with butter and onion. Mom would make 75-100 at one sitting. Looks like Olivia has taken kindly to the task.

Tea with with mommy; pierogies with daddy. Life is good.

Happy Birthday, Liv! Your Babci and east-coast cousins send their love. xxoo