Sunday, December 28, 2014

This Time I'm Serious

It's New Year's resolution crunch time.

That means I'm just days away from someone asking, "What is your New Year's resolution?"     

I might as well play a recorded response: I want to lose weight.  I want to have more patience.  I want to keep more of my thoughts to myself instead of blurting them out.  I want, I want, I want. Yet, I don't do, over and over again.  

This time around, though, I was honest with myself.  The average resolution isn't going to cut it.  I'll never do it, and once again I'll have failed at this task.  Perhaps I could have success with a resolution that would be not only beneficial to me but also enjoyable for me.  I'm far more apt to do something if I know I'll have fun doing it.  But what would this resolution be? 

As I was chewing on that, David and two of our girls, Allison and Amy, went out to dinner.  I sat down in a relatively pensive mood and began to unwind when the girls spoke about the great after-Christmas sales at the mall.  Allison said she picked up a few things and took out of her purse a new bottle of charcoal-colored sparkly nail polish.  

I said, "Ooooh so pretty, I wonder what it would look like on my hand," and she asked me if I'd like to try it out.  I said "No thanks."  Then she asked David if he'd like to try it on.  For those of us who know and love David, we found his response rather surprising.  I would've expected him to say, "NO," like I did, even more emphatically.  It's not generally his way to push the gender (or any other) limits when it comes to setting a new fashion trend.  He never went for the ear gauges, ripped jeans or tattoos.  It's T-shirts and collared shirts all the way, and there's no pink, lavender or Bahama prints to be found anywhere in his closet.

But, he extended his hand.  Allison chose his pinky for the royal treatment.  Then she asked if he'd like a second coat and, once again, he offered up his pinky.  He even posed when Amy took a picture to prove he did this, because we all know that at some point, he may deny it.  I caught him looking at that shiny fingernail later on, too.

And then I realized that David's willingness to go with the flow was far better than mine.  Since I view him as more rigid in his ways than I am, his playfulness was a real wake-up call.    

I've decided that there's no better time than now to have some fun and to take myself a little less seriously.    

This is the first New Year's resolution that I'm really serious about.   

Sunday, December 21, 2014

'Tis The Season

Believe it or not, I'm actually going to be disappointed when my holiday shopping is done.

I think the key for success for me was the combination of a positive attitude and starting early.  I was determined to have fun, even if it killed me, and to give myself enough time to think long and hard about each person on my list and what I thought he/she might like.   

And one other detail made the shopping manageable, which was staying organized. This is usually a challenge for me, but not this year, thanks to Excel.

Aaaaah, Excel.

As you all probably know by now, I'm very UN-savvy when it comes to navigating some of these computer programs, but I'm kind of hooked on Excel.  I see it has great potential when it comes to keeping track of things, so I've been trying to weave it into my routine whenever it makes sense. Buying what felt like a zillion gifts for my loved ones was one of those times.

So every day that there was shopping activity, I updated my spreadsheet.  It has made all the difference in the world to use this format vs. a Word document, which wasn't nearly as efficient, fun or gratifying. 

But my appreciation for this season is what separates it from seasons past, when I waited too long to start shopping and then viewed it as a chore.  This year, however, I discovered I can use the time shopping to reflect on how lucky I am to have such great family, which is growing by leaps and bounds with significant others and their families.  I can also use the time to mourn those we wish were here with us, who should be here with us. 

I will be excited when everyone opens their gifts, and I will also be thinking about the refined half-smile Matthew had when he was opening his, most likely uncertain what he'd find underneath the wrapping, but not even waiting to find out before he'd blurt out, "Thank You."

This gift-giving time of year has been the most enjoyable in recent years. I know people say that commerciality undermines the religious aspect of the holiday(s), but I'm going to override that for now in favor of utilizing our time in the most meaningful way possible.

For me, it's thinking special thoughts about each and every one of the people I love. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Not Again!

Where the heck is my car?

Every single time - and I mean EVERY single time - I leave a store at the Promenade at Sagemore (an outdoor shopping mecca in Marlton), I panic because I have no idea where my car is. 

I am at the Promenade often, as it is located directly across from my workplace and just five minutes from home, and it is one of the most comprehensive go-to places for anything and everything that I enjoy shopping for vs. the obligatory milk and eggs or mildew removal cleaning products. 

Yet, I can't seem to figure out how to enjoy stress-free parking there or anywhere else other than a select few stores or malls. 

The only foolproof method I have devised to keep track of the whereabouts of my car without too much effort into the thought process is to park in the same general vicinity every time I frequent a particular place.  For example, when I go to Shop Rite, I try to park along the line of the "Pharmacy" sign; when I go to Cherry Hill Mall, I look for a spot at the Nordstrom's entrance along Haddonfield Road; when I go to Moorestown Mall, I search for a space outside Lord & Taylor facing the road which isn't Rt. 38. 

Even if I am going to Macy's at Cherry Hill Mall, I find it's worth my time to park in my usual place at Nordstrom and walk through the mall than park at Macy's and try to wing it when it's time to go.
The reality is that when I have finished shopping, I don't want to then BEGIN looking for my car.  

Back to the Promenade.  Once I leave J. Jill, I want to get home.  I am usually cranky, annoyed that I bought something I most likely didn't need and most importantly, I have to go to the bathroom, quickly. That's probably why I left the store in the first place.  I don't want to spend 15 additional minutes (if I'm lucky) searching for my car while hungry-for-a-space drivers first laugh and then curse at me for leading them on, aisle after aisle.     

Part of the problem in not finding the car is that it's charcoal gray, just like half the others out there, and although it will sound when I hit my electronic remote, I have to be fairly close to it for my SUV to react.  That means I may wander aimlessly for a period of time before that click on the remote yields results.

At times like these, I miss the days when I drove around in my "Cohen-mobile;" that is, my parents' car with a big box on the roof that said "Cohen-for-Council."  This eyesore came out a month or two before the primary/election and even though everyone made fun of me, I was the first one to find my car after a midnight movie.    

I have tried over the years to remind myself to pay better attention to where I've parked BEFORE I enter the store, such as what street I'm facing, where my car is in relation to my destination, or to jot down a number or landmark on paper or in smart phone - you name it, I've THOUGHT about it.  

But here I am at almost 55 years-old lamenting about this issue as if it's new, when I am in reality frustrated by the same predicament today as the day I got my license, nearly 40 years ago. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Never A Dull Moment

Some things are expected when I visit my mom at Spring Hills Assisted Living, and some are not.

Here's a snippet of what I expect to hear from my mom's friends :  discussion about the weather, a critique regarding menu options, whose kids or grandkids came to visit, and what management should be doing but isn't.  The same conversation could be had on any day of the week, which for some might seem rather mundane; yet, to me, while very predictable, is often quite pleasing.     

This past Friday afternoon, however, I was hit with the unexpected. 

It was a chilly day, and my mom and I were sitting around the fireplace, along with a dozen others.  I was sipping tea; she was having coffee.   One of the gentlemen there - the Elvis Presley of Spring Hills - asked how my coffee was. I told him I'm having tea, not coffee. He said he finds that tea drinkers are relaxed and peaceful people.  He then asked, "Are you that way?"  I said I hope so. 

He went on to say that he thinks tea drinkers also smoke pot. 

Wait a minute, Elvis. Where are you going with that?

Before I had too much time to wonder, he asked, "Have you ever smoked pot? " 

WHAT????  In front of my mom, he had to ask? 

I felt her eyes immediately move from Elvis to me, sporting the  infamous Florrie LOOK that has kept all her kids on their toes for many, many years.

When I fumbled my way around the question, he said something like, "What I meant to say was..."

Whew! I was relieved, but confused at the same time.  What could he have meant to say that came out as a question to me about whether I had ever smoked pot? 

He never did finish the sentence; he just refocused on sitting next to his wife, who looked asleep on one of the four recliners. As he walked in her direction, another woman 2 recliners over from his sleeping wife patted her thighs, whispering in to him that she'd like him to sit on her lap and she'll keep him warm. 

WHOA. This place was hopping.   Elvis not only put me on the hot seat, but he found himself there as well.  He's smooth, though...he sat down between the two women and closed his eyes.

Before long, we were face-to-face again at Shabbat Services, where the surprises kept on coming.

A woman walked in to the makeshift sanctuary smiling from ear to ear, stating she had just met her great, great granddaughter, who was one week old.  The rabbi said he hadn't come across anyone else with that distinction, until now.  She even stood up and did a little dance, which said it all.

This announcement required doing the math, because she seemed far too young to be the eldest of five generations.

I started to try to figure out if it was possible, but then I just had to stop, and laugh.    

Who could ask for better entertainment?