Friday, November 30, 2007


It is late and I am awake! I was asleep until Rocky decided to get off the bed and then return. For some reason, when I am asleep, he doesn't use his stairs to get up on the bed. Rather, he comes to the side of the bed and "harrumphes" until I hear him and pick him up. By then, of course, I am awake. If only he wasn't so cute.

Those of us lucky enough to have animals to share our life will understand. Pets enhance our life by giving us true, unconditional love. When you come home they are at the door wagging their tail and letting you know you are the most important person in their life. Imagine, if you will, your spouse standing at the door shaking all over with glee because you have returned home. Now that takes a great deal of imagination.

I'm not certain I would allow my husband to wake me in the night and help him back to bed. It's not that he doesn't love me...he just is not as effusive as Rocky or Bullwinkle in showing that kind of love. If only we humans could show our loved ones how excited we are when they return home, in the same way our pets do. Marriages would certainly never be dull. Perhaps more of them would last longer.

Late night thoughts are not always as profound as we think when we look at them in the morning, but here goes.

Wouldn't life be better if we stopped complaining and instead felt grateful for every moment we are given on this earth. Without complaining we could turn a bad situation on it's ear and see it for what it truly is, nonsense. We need to remember that our thoughts create our reality. What we put out into the world comes back to us.

Think how wonderful it would be to let the people we care about that they are IMPORTANT to us every day. Without them their would be a hole in our soul. We need to remember that they are our blessings in life, not things. How easy it is to get off track and forget that it's our loved ones that count more than a new bag or piece of jewelry or a car. I think if we have all our needs and some of our wants...we should be grateful.

Material things can never give us love. But somehow they have become more important all the time. Our vision has become skewed. We have forgotten how the simple joys in life can fill us with happiness.

I was born 2 years before the "baby boomers". We lived on the near west side of Chicago. Like most families in that era, we lived close to one another. Our extended family was usually only walking distance, sometimes as close as the stairs. When I would come home from school in the afternoon, I would run into the house and let my mother know I was home and immediately go upstairs to my Grandmother who always had a glass of milk tea and a game of Casino for me.

Those memories are tucked away deep in my soul and if I need a lift I reach for this memory. On terribly hot nights we would sleep out on the porch or even better take blankets down to the lake with all the other incredibly warm people, spread our blanket and sleep like babies with a cool breeze coming off Lake Michigan.

I remember my Cousin Mel and I sitting on the front steps and watching the old Palmolive Beacon go around. We lived close enough to downtown to see it. To us it was like magic, this wonderful light in the sky that would make this enormous circle every couple of minutes and then be back in our vision. Of course the Palmolive building is no longer in Chicago and the beacon stopped years and years ago. But the memory of if lingers and fills me with delight.

Holidays the entire family gathered at one of our homes. Our mothers always brought something to add to the extraordinarily large dinner. I remember the night my Aunt Ida was bringing the Challah's and handed 2 bags to my Uncle Bill, one with the Challah's and one with the garbage that was to be thrown out.

Of course, the garbage ended up at our house and the Challah's in the garbage can. My Uncle Teddy and Aunt Eve would arrive and Uncle Teddy would announce "okay, we can eat now". Our homes were incredibly small, but somehow there was always enough room at the table for everyone and everyone pitched in.

After dinner the adults would play penny poker and tell dirty jokes. We were always sent out of the room to play our own games. What the adults didn't know is that we would sneak up the back stairs to hear their jokes. It is amazing how tame they were compare to the jokes of today.

We were such innocents. Life was simple and easy. Doors were left unlocked until my Dad went to bed at night when he would "lock up". I remember on very cold Chicago nights how many times my Dad would find a homeless man and usually give him the coat off his back, but not before he brought him home to have a hot meal with us.

Money was always tight, but we never needed much, just one another. How lucky we were. Perhaps that is why we have always been able to make do and the youngsters of today just can't. They don't know how to struggle or accept "no" for an answer. They need the newest gadget or the newest pair of sneakers.

We hear of Bar and Bat Mitvahs and Sweet Sixteens that cost hundreds of thousand of dollars. What is wrong with us. How are able to teach our most precious commodity, our children, the value of hard work or for that matter, that it is people that matter not things.

So now that I have come back to almost where I began, it is time to say good night. Time to go to bed and hopefully in my dreams see all those that I have lost and remember them and our life then.

Sweet dreams,

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

New Friends

A couple of weeks ago I received an e-mail from an e-mail address I did not know. I wrote and asked "who are u"? "How did you get my e-mail address"? The response I got was "I don't know how I got your address". So we played a little "Jewish Geography". No connection but obviously we were meant to meet one another.

She is an extraordinary woman. Stacy is involved in so many community projects and not just from the sidelines, but right in the middle of the huddle. I believe G-d meant for her to come into my life to get me more involved in important community projects.

We are going to meet face to face this coming Monday and I am so excited. For without ever meeting her, she has become someone very important to me. Someone who has already blessed my life with her presence. For many years I worked full time so I didn't get too involved in anything other than Opera. I was a docent for Lyric Opera of Chicago for many years. I would go to the various chapters and talk about the operas of the upcoming season. Additionally, the night of performances restaurants that offered a package (dinner, lecture and bus to the Opera house) would have me come to give that evenings' lecture.

But my joy was "Opera In The Classroom". We would go into classes from 2nd to 6th grade once a week for 4 weeks and teach the children about the different vocal ranges, the vocabulary of opera, tell them the story of an Opera and the last week, we would bring costumes and the children would pantomime to the musical excerpts that they had heard the previous week while the story of the Opera was told. It was a very special time in my life.

Once again, I have to opportunity to get involved in something and hopefully bring some joy into other peoples lives by just being there. Most people don't realize that when you give of yourself, you receive blessings ten-fold back. I believe that Stacy has come into my life to help me give of myself and somehow bring joy and happiness to others.

Thank you the G-d of "no coincidences" for bringing me Stacy. Even though we only know one another through e-mail right now, I just know we are going to be friends forever. It is extraordinary how blessings work...just like miracles they are around us all day. every day. All we have to do is look for them.

Truly blessed,

Monday, November 26, 2007

Giving Thanks

It has been quite a while since I have written anything. Today seems like a good day to write. We just celebrated Thanksgiving. It should be a time for reflection not just a day we stuff ourselves with food. My feeling is every day should be a day to give "thanks". Just opening our eyes in the morning is a really good reason to give thanks. The alternative is not good.

Or as my southern belle sister-in-law says, when asked how she is, her reply is "above ground". I realize that many of us have great hardships in our lives, or are lonely, or broke. However, I've learned that it is easy to is hard to be thankful when it seems as if the sky is falling.

I've also realized that we bring into our lives what we desire most. If we want to be happy we have to be happy. There are days when this is simply not easy. But if you wake up determined to be happy today, put a smile on your face and sometimes just pretend to be is very likely that by the end of the day you, truly, will be happy.

I believe we create our own reality. The more good feelings we put out, the more we will get back. It is important to not allow negative people into our lives. The reality these people create is negative and therefor they are miserable and who wants to be around misery.

Many years ago I read a book called "The Magic of Believing". It came into my life when I needed something to believe in. I soon came to realize, I needed to believe in me. Once I did, my life changed because I had changed, at least something in my brain had changed the way I looked at life.

I had a neighbor who never learned that "how are you?" is usually a rhetorical question, unless it's your mother or best friend asking. She always told you the worst things that were going on in her life. This was a woman who was married to terrific man, they had all their needs and I'm certain almost all their wants. Yet, she was always miserable. They had just come home from a 3 week vacation to San Francisco and Napa Valley. I saw her outside and said, "how was your trip"?

Her reply was, "how could it be...I have to make the reservations, I have to do the packing, I have to get us to airport and check us in, I have to get us to the hotel and check us in and then I have to do it all over again to get home". Her husband was blind in 1 eye. I said to her, "Ellen, Ronnie (my husband) has 20-20 vision and I have to do the same thing". So you see, dear reader, it is all in our attitude.

We can choose to have a great day or we can choose to be miserable. For me, I will always choose the great day...even if it isn't so great, I will make it so. I choose to be thankful for all I have. I choose to keep my palm open in giving and therefore good things come back to me. I choose to remember the people I love and keep them in my prayers. I choose to be happy!