Growing up in Manhattan, I didn't need to drive. But after three years of living in Michigan, where buses and subways were no longer at my doorstep, it was time to learn. I passed my driver's test (because it didn't require me to parallel park), and bought a used red-and-white Plymouth Reliant K. My parents quickly insured my purchase with something they knew I would need to support my fledgling skill set - a AAA membership.
This past December, I wrote my (secular) New Year's Resolution article for the Jewish Week called, "Live Like a Movie Star.". In that article, I made a commitment - in print - that I would stop thinking about myself as a coach who just happens to write a column of careless musings, and to start regarding myself as a real writer.
Ten years ago, I was the overwhelmed, under-rested, barely-bathed mother of newborn twins. Getting out of bed was a daily challenge, staying awake past 6 pm was even harder. So it was a rare and much-needed treat when my friend Wendy and my cousin Amy came over for dinner and a night of gabbing and girl-talk.
"You must be exhausted," Wendy clucked with compassion.
"I'm fine." I lied.
"How are you getting through the days?" Amy asked, her voice filled with rachmanos.
While I was secretly hoping that Kate and William might need a keynote speaker for their big day, I was not surprised that my invitation to the royal wedding never arrived. I can also say that, as a cheerful and frequent host of many Shabbat dinners, I am far from astounded when my family gets invited out to usher in the Sabbath around someone else's dining room table.
Imagine driving your kids to drop them off for a month of sleep-away camp. Imagine that the energy in the car is a combination of anxiety and excitement, anticipation and celebration. These are the times that normal parents bring up benign conversational topics to pass the time, such as “do you think you’ll be in the same bunk as Sammy again?” or “Remember to stay out of the poison oak on the overnight.” Nothing deep. Just idle chatter.
My ten-year old daughter Sophie paid homage to my recent birthday with the best-worst birthday toast I could imagine: “Happy Birthday to the world’s greatest mom – and to the world’s best grandma one day!”
When it comes to country music, I am parve. You won't catch me downloading any Willie Nelson, Carrie Underwood or "Country" Hootie songs on iTunes, but I also didn't roll my eyes when my husband Michael happily happened upon our new minivan's XM radio station playing all C&W, all the time. Yes, when it comes to country music, y'all could say I'm parve.
I am writing this while lying face-down on a table at the elegant Green Massage Spa in Shanghai's World Financial Center. There is a fuchsia flower floating in a black lacquered bowl on the floor as a retreat for my eyes, and a petite lady with deceptively aggressive elbows is digging into the kinks in my upper back. Since the staff frowned upon me bringing my laptop in for the Signature Thai-Style Massage, I am writing this in my head. And as my dainty, deft masseuse finds all the right knots in all the usual spots - THAT'S IT! - she announces, "You very bad."
What you are about to read may contain graphic descriptions and disturbing recommendations. Reader discretion is advised.
Within 90 seconds of entering my hotel room at the Baltimore Hilton for the 2010 Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education (PEJE) Conference, I realized that something was wrong: my laptop was missing.
Eleanor Roosevelt famously remarked, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Nobody, that is, except for my nine-year old daughter Sophie who sat next to me at the breakfast table gleefully mastering a week’s worth of New York Times math puzzles, while I thumbed through the Arts and Leisure section, looking for the latest gossip on my favorite TV show, GLEE.
“Mom. Mom. MOM!” Sophie interrupted my reading. “Can you help me with this one?”