my son lives in australia

My son lives in Australia.
Or he might as well.
The time zone is different, the landscape is foreign and you can’t get there without a long flight.
Others tell me when I moan about missing him that I should be so proud. He established his life, full of close friends, various interests and a great job. He is independent and thriving.
Besides he picked a location that you will love to visit.
But pride and visitation rights don’t fill the void in my heart.
Like all young children, but this one in particular, he started out clinging to my hip, preferred being carried to walking. I used to think he would crawl back into my womb if given that option. His playground grew larger as he slowly learned to gain confidence and independence, and then took all that to a new level, opening himself up to the world like a flower to the sun. His desire to be his best self and find out brings him the most joy took him far away to a place of beauty, passion and awesome landscapes. A place where people sing and dance in the streets and play music everywhere. Australia it seems has lots to offer his ever expanding and creative mind. My husband and I live in New England, an often cold, and consistently mountain-less landscape devoid of the inspiring awe with nature he seeks, unless you consider the Atlantic Ocean the full monty.
Australians are the lucky ones. They live full time with the most loving, curious, creative, humorous, open, sensitive, joyful person I know. While I’m only able to get him part time. Fortunately, he calls and texts often.
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Lady MacBeth has nothing on me

Lady Beth

Always purging, going through drawers, organizing, discarding, getting rid of… in preparation for moving some day. I dread having to do it all at once.

I think I’m ready to go.

Just need lots of boxes and a professional mover.

Closets are down to a bare minimum, as is each drawer. I’ve organized art work, photos, and all the china. My clothes are pared down, only things I love remain in my closets and drawers. My children’s memory boxes are tidy and neat.

Lady Macbeth may have made washing her hands an obsession, but Lady Beth has made preparing to move an obsession…

 

Jewish Holidays

Somehow the Christians hired a far better branding firm to promote their holidays than the Jews. The Christians got fun-filled holidays, the Jews got oppressive ones.

Two cases in points:
Easter vs. Passover and Christmas vs. Chanukah
Easter
Brand manager mission: Put a smile on every kid’s face.
Execution:Chocolate Easter bunnies, a parade with beautiful hats and bright pastel colored clothing, a hunt for chocolate covered eggs, foods like ham and mashed potatoes, songs about rebirth.
Passover
Brand manager mission:Stress out families
 Execution:boring Haggadah to be read responsively forcing kids to speak perfect English AND Hebrew at young ages, a hunt for matzoh, foods like chopped liver, gefilte fish and brisket, songs about slavery and freedom.
Christmas
Brand manager mission: Create a warm and happy feeling.
 Execution:gifts like a new pony, foods like lamb and mashed potatoes, gift wrapped presents flowing under a decorated tree, songs of the savior’s birth.
Chanukah
Brand manager mission(in modern age only): Make Jewish kids feel almost as happy as those who are lucky enough to celebrate Christmas.
Execution: gifts like books and clothing, foods like potato pancakes and brisket once again, games like spinning dreidels, songs about war and victory.

My Memory is Going — I forget names most of all. Names of peripheral people in my life, movie stars, sports figures. I forget what I came to find in a room or a kitchen cupboard. I’m leaving water running, stoves on. I forget if I just showered or not and who I just told myself I needed to e-mail. Minutes before. Short term memory is going. The notes I leave myself are essential to my day. Day after day I forget and then the next day I test myself to remember what I forgot the day before. It’s a game I play with myself: George Clooney, Alex Cora, Claire Danes, Daniel Day Lewis, Gary Oldman, Robin Wright, Ron Paul, Chuck Todd, Jim Acosta… In order to trigger my memory, I make an association to another person or thing. Like to get to Alex Cora the Red Sox Coach think: core fills the ball. Can’t remember who I had the conversation with, though I remember the conversation word for word. Retracing my steps until I figure it out who I spoke to is another frequent game. Sometimes I use the wrong words, like asking my husband for a q-tip when I meant a tooth pick. I’m mixing up left and right (not a good thing for a yoga teacher). On the positive side I do love when I remember the things I’d previously forgotten. This achievement brings a smile to my face. BINGO. Welcome to 60. My sharpness is waning alongside the banks of anxiety that greet each encounter of forgetting something that I should be able to remember.

Mountains Are Like Walls

 

Mts are like walls
They make me feel claustrophobic
Mts are big, tall and fierce
They scare me
Mts are steep and rugged
They cause me fear
Lakes are flowy and open
They bring me peace
Oceans are wide and reflect the sun or moon
They bring me joy
Pools are blue and bright
They make me happy
Evergreens are  full of life
They make me feel protected

A woman’s guide to a girlfriend break up or something a man will never experience

A woman’s guide to a girlfriend break up or something a man will never experience

I loved my hamburger, we were best friends.
I ate one every day.
Then one day I introduced my hamburger to cheese.
They got along famously and became best friends.
I was pushed aside, no longer important.
It hurt for many years, my calls unanswered, my attempts futile.
But as the years marched on I became a vegetarian.
I learned to love new healthier foods, and felt better and better.
I let go of the need for beef and ultimately wanted only the best for the
hamburger and it’s sidekick: cheese.
Forgiveness is a bitch, but it’s the only thing that ever cured a hurt.
And since it works both ways, I hope those I’ve pushed aside forgive me too.

60, the age of letting go and holding on

At the age of 60 I let things go while holding on tight.

I let go:

old love letters from boyfriends decades ago

thousands of redundant photos of our kids and other people’s kids

friends who serve no purpose

dreams of accomplishments that no longer have meaning

self criticism

I held on:

our kids who live near and far away

my husband who makes life worthwhile

family and close friends

mental and physical health

 

Death: The Ultimate Deadline

I hate deadlines, but I’m quite good at keeping them.

If it’s an event, party or just a holiday family dinner, I’m all over it months in advance: planning, organizing, my e-calendar in full tilt describing each day’s chores until that day comes . “Go time” appears to others as effortless right down to the finest detail. I sweat from the minute I know the final date until the day of reckoning when I drink too much wine and let it all flow.

So it should be no surprise that my house is beyond organized, alphabetized, not a thing out of place, not a place without a thing, nothing wasted, nothing useless, all in view and perfectly arranged. No opaque boxes in the attic to store things I don’t need or want.
As my kids have grown and left the nest I purge more and more, the opposite of the nesting one does when starting a  family. I want to make sure all my possessions land with someone who will love them when I’m gone. Death, you see, is the ultimate deadline, and I’m already preparing EARLY,  like 40 years early.
In the end of my life I will have given away or sold everything I now own. All my possessions will be spread far and wide, with 100-year-old me sitting in a chair that’s already claimed, surrounded by my loved ones, ready to meet my maker.

It Takes a Community

Moving is easy, building a community is hard.

I say this, though I’ve really never truly moved as an adult, it seems easier to just rent homes all over the country without pretending to fit in somewhere new. In this way you won’t feel the sting of feeling like the outsider. Nor the pain of letting go to a home you’ve lived in for your entire adult life.
My home base is my community. I’m an insider here. We raised all three kids in this tony Boston suburb. I know everyone I need to know, including the mailman, the local State rep., the police chief and the local barber who gave each of my boys their first crew cuts. That and literally thousands of local residents who I know from my children, my neighborhood, temple, volunteer world, to name a few.
On my morning walk to the local coffee shop, I wave to my hair dresser, my husband’s trainer, our car mechanic, the neighbors who saw my kids grow up, and everyone in between. I know their cars before they wave, unless they’ve traded up to a Tesla. I feel like George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life, running through Bedford Falls announcing “Merry Christmas you wonderful old  Building and Loan” as I recognize every inch of my walk over 25 plus years, blanketing each phase of my life and the lives of our kids.
“Move to Boulder”, people often say, live near your 2 kids who moved away. “Stop your bellyaching about how you miss them and move there”. For one thing we have one son here in Boston. Why leave him when he is the one who stayed? He’s the loyal son, and as the eldest, most likely to take care of us.  But more prescient is the fact that this is my community. Friends don’t need to be replaced, they go where you go, as I’ve learned. If they are worth keeping they are worth keeping from any distance. But a community does not grow quickly, it takes years and years to build.  If I had two or three lives, I’d surely build a few communities, moving every 25 years. Time would work in my favor here.
I imagine as you grow very old, your community gets smaller which makes it easier to move closer to your kids who live far away. They, and your grandchildren, become your prime focus, especially after your spouse passes on and your closest  friends die off. Besides you won’t want to travel like you used to.
Sometimes after a few glasses of wine, or worse yet, a martini, I imagine the courage to do something out of character breaking through that comfort zone. What might that be? For me, it’s buy a home with my better half somewhere out West: Colorado or maybe even the warmer spots of Santa Barbara or San Diego. I’ve certainly had it with winter, in this one and only life.  But then I sober up and take my dog for a walk in my hood.