Friday, February 26, 2021

Just Say No?

When I was a newly-minted mom, I had no problem saying no when my baby boychicks pushed the boundaries of safety and my own sanity. Before they could break a body part, wound a keppy, wedge under a sofa or climb onto a glass table, I said, "No!" Added in another, "No!" Punctuated it a third time with a nice strong, "NO!" A swear word may or may not have been attached to the command, depending on the degree of danger. In this way, I pretended to be in control and mostly kept them out of harm's way. Saying no was my best defense, my intro to disciplining the wild ones. I'd like to mention here that I wasn't home, parentally speaking, that time the eldest shoved a plastic bead up his nose. In any event, I've never been shy about saying or yelling no and repeating as needed. 

Could you say no to this punim?

Until Claire. How can I say no to this angel, as she crawls around, adorably getting into all kinds of trouble? When she grabs onto the bar cart and pulls herself up, is it wrong of me to say, "I'll take a gin and tonic on the rocks"? When she cruises the TV cabinet, hoists herself up via the wobbly plant stand, and nibbles on the speakers, is it wrong of me to say, "Look what you can do!"? Isn't it my right to marvel at her growing list of abilities? To praise everything she does? It's in my job description. I did my time saying no to this, no to that, no, no, no. I'm a certified grandma now. And yet, as my stunning daughter-in-law gently reminds me, along with the marveling and the praising, I need to start saying, "No!" to the 9-month-old whirling dervish . Chomping down on the marble coffee table or licking a leaf are the kinds of baby moves that apparently require, "No!" The other day, we had a practice session. "Non!" ChloƩ said, Frenchly. "No, little angel girl!" I said. "Don't say angel girl." "Why not?" "Because you don't sound serious." "How about, 'No, little angel girl, I'm serious.'" "Just say no." "One no? Two no's?" "One or two." "What about 10?" "That's too much." What can I say? I'm still learning.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021


Or at the very least, my own backyard.

There comes a time in every short Jewish gal's life when she looks in the mirror, screams briefly, and sees someone different. Her face looks weary. Her eyes look tired. Her hair looks unreasonably flat. When a gal, a short Jewish gal, let's call her the SJG, looks in the mirror and sees her own punim reflected back, as opposed to someone else's punim, say, Christie Brinkley's, that short gal starts to wonder if she can still be the same carefree short gal she used to be. Fine, she was never carefree, but her cares were so different. Is it possible to be the same person she was a year ago, pre-Pandemic, before she wore this mask, that mask, oops, that's your mask, not my mask? Can she look in that mirror, which needs a strong blast of Windex, and admit that she can't keep wearing the same mask, three weeks in a row? With all the wisdom she's acquired, not to mention all the hand sanitizer, can she continue to be the same gal she was before Sir Blakey telepathically inquired, "Why don't you ever leave the house?" Can she boldly go to Gelson's and remember it used to be her happy place, her homeland, and not the place where Insta-Carters block the aisles and she fears for her life? Of course, she can. She can and she will. At some point, there'll be some version of normalcy. Don't ask her when. She doesn't know. She hasn't even had her first vaccine. But anything's possible. 

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Baby Talk

Now that Claire is nearly 9 months old, she's "talking" up a storm. At this stage, her chatter, a joyous collection of squeals, squawks, grunts and astute political observations, remains open to interpretation. This morning, the family weighed in on what she expressed in a video her daddy shared.

"I heard Dada."

"I heard Grammala"

"I heard Uncle Scott." 

"I heard let me out of jail."

"I heard supercalifragalisticexpialidocious."

I'll let you decide who heard what. As my very wise Great Auntie Zelda, who, rumor has it, took the money and ran with the tailor, always said, "People hear what they want to hear." The true meaning of Claire's baby talk depends on the listener, and of course, the amount of caffeine and/or alcohol imbibed in one sitting. 

"I said Grammala."

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Serenity Now!

When the Yoga Gals gather on Zoom

On this one point, we lower the boom 

We want no noise, no audible sigh

No barking dogs, no volume on high

To achieve some Zen, we all agree

That silence leads to serenity 

So stay at home, no need to commute 

Say Namaste, but keep it on mute

Yoga With Tali

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Another Grandma For Peace

I grew up in the quaint little village of Westwood, admiring this classic War Is Not Healthy poster that hung on the wall of my childhood bedroom. From the time I was 9, the Lorraine Schneider artwork, a gift from my mother when she joined Another Mother For Peace, served as a daily reminder of hope and peace, inspiring me to dream of a better world. I wish I knew whatever became of my favorite poster. Longtime hubby and I have been together so long that he remembers the poster on my wall, too, and the other day, surprised me with a framed print. And now it hangs on my office wall, where I'm still dreaming of a better world.

Monday, January 25, 2021

A Nice Shot of Envy

"Dr. Schlepstein, thanks for fitting me in." 

"You're so welcome, my lil kugel maker."

"I've asked you not to call me that."

"Would you prefer Big Kugel Maker, on account of all the fressing you've been doing?"

"I prefer Rapidly Bitter Goddess."

"Okay, RBG, why so bitter?"

"I've come down with a bad case of envy."

"Envy? That's so unlike you. Usually you applaud everyone's success. You say, 'Good for you,' without a trace of sarcasm. But now, you're turning chartreuse, which isn't a good color for you, as I recall. So why, I ask you. Why?"

"Why? I'll tell you why, Dr. Schlepstein, if you promise not to charge me double."

"That was a billing boo-boo. How many times must we go over that?"

"A few more times, at least. Anyway, I'm a tad envious because some of my friends and relatives, no names mentioned, they know who they are, what with the Medicare card they keep flashing like a golden ticket, are getting the Vaccine, and I'm too young."

"Poor lil RBG, only 63. My heart breaks for you."


"No. You should be ashamed of yourself."

"My own therapist is shaming me? How is that helpful?"

"It's not, but under the circumstances, I'm making an exception."

"Dr. Schlepstein, I'm happy for them. I want everyone to be healthy and live a nice long life, free of tsuris. Still, I want the same for me."

"Listen, if I could give you a magic potion and make you 65, would that help?"

"I'd rather you give me a vaccine."

"Sorry, no can do. You'll just have to wait your turn like everybody else. Of course, patience has never been one of your strong suits."

"This is true. So, when did you get your shot?"

"I've been in line at Dodger Stadium since Tu Bishvat."

"Dr. Schlepstein, Tu Bishvat doesn't start till Wednesday."

"Fine. You caught me. Only since 5 a.m. today. My tush is numb. I need to pee. I'd kill for a bagel. I hate everyone in line ahead of me. Still envious?"

"No, actually. Thanks for your help."

"Anything for you, my sweet RBG."

"Bittersweet. That's me."

"Tell me something I don't know." 

Friday, January 15, 2021

Sixty Plus Three

The SJG @ 3

Since this photo was taken 60 years ago, I'm sure I've learned a few things, and yet, at the tender age of three, if you'd told me all the surprises and setbacks, struggles and victories, laughter and tears that awaited me, I wouldn't have believed you. I would've giggled, asked for a cookie, and then taken a nap. To sum up all the life lessons I've collected in the past 63 years would be tough, so instead, I'm going to narrow it down to three key lessons:
Almost everything is funny. 

Always ask for help.

Dance like everyone's watching.