My Crazy Love

Not too long ago, while I understand that multiple personality disorder is a serious disease, I would exasperate my husband, by accusing him of having just that malady.  It started as a result of a major injury to my foot, during which time I was in a steel boot, and pretty much immobile for several weeks.

I called him Josephine the Plumber when he unclogged the drain.  I referred to him as Martha Stewart when he set up the party for my daughter’s track team, for a pre-competition carbohydrate binge.  He became Emeril Lugasse when he actually did the cooking for that party.  He walked through the kitchen with a hammer in his hand, and suddenly transformed into Tim, the Toolman, Taylor.  He had some major gardening to do, and he went out there with a rake looking very much like Mr. Greenjeans, of Kaptain Kangaroo fame.

While he drives like Mario Andretti, opines like Bill O’Reilly, and has rituals like Sheldon Cooper, I never had to condemn him for channeling Frank Sinatra, Fred Astaire or LeBron James (although he would like to think so of the latter).

Sometimes I wish he would break out into to song.  I think he’s done it once.  And I would LOVE it if he didn’t make it seem like a chore to dance with me at an affair.  We share a lot of common interests, like sports and comedy.  I love him, whoever he is at the moment, and I have for a very long time.  In fact, we’ll be married 32 years in September (if I don’t kill him first)!

To Mommom

Originally written May 22, 1995, edited July 16, 2014


She boasted of seven grandchildren, of whom I was the youngest and 16 great-grandchildren.

She didn’t like cow, she preferred beef.

She made knock-out stuffed cabbage, kreplach, cinnamon bar cookies, myena and cottage cheese pancakes, and she did so in armed services amounts.

She kept a special place in her end table drawer for all of our toys when we came to visit.  Mostly decks of cards.

She was the best back-scratcher.  Ever.

She always had broad shoulders and open ears.

She knew.

I didn’t get that one last chance to say goodbye to her and thank her for all of her love and wisdom over the years.  I never let her know that I would always carry a part of her with me, even though I think she knew.  She never gave me the recipe for oats, peas, beans and barley soup.  I think she did that on purpose, to make me experiment in the kitchen.

I didn’t want to grieve selfishly by saying that “I could have” or “I should have” been more attentive in the last few months.  It was a choice I made, albeit a bad one.  It really didn’t matter if she heard what I had to say, because I don’t think she even knew who I was anymore.  It was my need to tell her anyway, and I didn’t do it.  So I tell her in silence.  I hope she hears me and I hope she forgives me.

It is my belief that when someone dies, they are only gone if they are gone from your heart and mind.  I believe that whenever I think of Mommom, she’ll be thinking of me.  I know I’ll think of her when I’m in the kitchen, or when one of my kids asks me to scratch their back.  I keep her bagel man on the end table in my living room.

And I have her ring.  I would drive her crazy telling her how much I loved her jade ring until she finally got tired of hearing it and on my sixteenth birthday, she gave it me.  It was hers for forty years before that.  I’ve had it for over forty years now.  I still love it.

I remember our shopping trips before I would go ways to summer camp.  I never did get her to buy herself a pair of jeans.  It just wasn’t her, though she never said a word to me about how ratty mine were in the 1970’s.

She called me “bug.”  It was her special name for me, derived from “Judy-Bug,” which I imagine came from ladybug.  My cousin Emily took it a little further, calling me “Doodle-bug,” and then eventually just “Doodle.”  I’m a grey-haired, middle-aged woman, who answers to the name “Doodle.”

I could never argue with Mommom.  I could only discuss.  The minute our personal opinions crept in, we were doomed.  And as hard as I tried, I couldn’t joke with her.  Her sense of humor was on a totally different level.  I didn’t care.  She was always there for me and the best listener as I navigated through my teenage years.  Mom and Dad “didn’t understand.”  I’m not sure Mommom did, but she listened.

When my kids were born, she had some remarkable advice, for a woman who had never had any children of her own.  I remembered some of those phrases when dealing with child-rearing issues, and I still use them:

“Daniel may be your first child, but remember, too, that you’re his first Mommy.”  We were both strangers to our new roles in life.  Or, “the baby has a big world to grow into,” reminding me to stop at times, and remember to look at the world through their eyes before I deal too hastily with a situation.  Mommom was wise that way.

I post this in 2014, twenty years since she is gone.  I’ll always carry a part of her with me, besides the jade ring.  And while I don’t know how to make the soup or the kreplach, what I did gain from her is priceless.  I will always miss her.

25 Random Things

About five years ago, Facebook was throwing around a “note” that everyone was posting, in which they were to write 25 random things.  At the time, I wasn’t sure if it was supposed to be about me or the world around me.  Funny how my life hasn’t changed that much in five years.  I wanted to add that post to my blog so I would have it as a part of my tools when I try to piece all of this together…

25 things

February 3, 2009 at 10:29pm

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

(To do this, go to “NOTES” under tabs on your “PROFILE” page (you may have to add the tab by clicking on the + sign), click on “Compose New Message” and paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.)

1. When I grow up, I want to be a Broadway star. The challenge I face is that I’m already old, and I’ll probably never grow up, but I can dream, can’t I?

2. I’m finding it hard to think of one random thing, let alone 25. In the past few years, I’ve learned to live in the moment, and during most moments, I can’t afford to think random thoughts!

3. If there were no ramifications to my actions, I would most likely eat, drink and be merry… mostly eat… mostly chocolate…

4. Sometimes I look to the heavens for answers, but I get easily distracted by the cloud formations, trying to figure out what they look like. Hence, I seldom find answers, and often come upon a whole new set of questions. The last time I could really identify a cloud formation as anything, is was smooth jazz riff… and that was the morning after my cousin died. Then I had some real questions.

5. I’m not the boss of you. In fact, what you do or say is none of my business. I am only responsible for my own words and actions. (and since my kids are both over 18, I’m not responsible for their words or actions either).

6. Someone asked me to name my five best days. Here they are, in no particular order: my wedding day, the day I gave birth to my son, the day I gave birth to my daughter, February 4, 2006 and tomorrow.

7. I have a short attention span. Is it 25 yet?

8. I wasn’t a cheater in school. I tried to rely on my own academic ability and creativity. Having read other “25 things, I’m suddenly finding myself resorting to plagiarism, but then they do say that is the highest form of compliment. So, Miami isn’t for everybody.

9. When I was young, I never dreamed of a beautiful wedding day. I never had intense career aspirations. I just knew that I wanted to be a mom, and I also knew that I would be pretty good at it. I’m 50 now. I had a beautiful wedding. I crafted a career in non-profits based on my creative and cognitive ability, and have done well… but I was right… I am a pretty good mom! Dreams do come true.

10. Having grown up in a house full a boys, and a neighborhood that mirrored that, I learned to appreciate as well as play sports. I could always be the ninth guy on the baseball team. I could always fill in as the fifth on a basketball team. Through sports, I learned how to focus, that practice makes better (not perfect), that team sports teaches valuable lessons for later in life, that nothing beats good hotdog and some popcorn at a Marlins game, and that watching golf on TV makes for good naps.

11. If Ella Fitzgerald married Darth Vader, she’d be Ella Vader. How’s that for random????

12. If you add sour cream to a cheese sauce, it makes it very creamy. I talk a lot about food.

13. I have always wanted to have a real green thumb. There’s something about nurturing plants… (reminds me of my grandmother… one of the many things she did well with her hands.) Right now, I am painstakingly caring for three pineapple plants, eight different herbs, five stag horn ferns and a homestead full of landscaping that the rain G-ds have forgotten.

14. There is something soothing about being awake for the sunrise. The peace and quiet heralds a sense of hope (that is if the dog doesn’t wake us before the sun comes up). A new day can mean anything can happen.

15. I have made a list of the fifty states. So far, in my lifetime, I have visited 27 of them. I have 23 more to go, and then I’ll start on the National Parks. That’ll keep me busy for awhile.

16. Is it 25 yet?

17. Dark chocolate has flavonoids and anti-oxidants. Dark chocolate is lower in fat than milk chocolate. Dark chocolate is lower in calories than milk chocolate. I love dark chocolate.

18. I remember reading Erma Bombeck’s essay, “If I had my life to live over again…” I’ve had a lot of time and clarity lately, to think about how I would change her list. I wouldn’t. I might add to it, I might tweak it a little, but she had the right idea when she said she would take her shoes off earlier in the spring and put them back on later in the fall. Instead of marking time, her life lesson was to enjoy the ride a little more. Nothing is THAT important that a little dark chocolate on your tongue and some sand between your toes can’t fix.

19. Whoa oh oh— listen to the music.

20. Haagen Dazs is better than Weightwatchers (oops– there’s that food thing again).

21. Most of the time, I choose to be a Tigger rather than an Eeyore. Those that know me best prefer to define me as Judy rather than Hortense.

22. When I was a kid, I had one brother who referred to me as Herkimer J. Mouth, one brother who referred to me as Yak, and a grandfather who was constantly asking me, “Judith, do you ever stop talking?” So why is it, when I’m painfully close to completing this project, do I find myself at a loss for words?

23. Always wear good boots for hiking, sunblock on the beach, a sweater or jacket when its cold (or long underwear, depending on where you are), and a smile on your face. You’d be amazed at how glad you’ll be in the long run for each one.

24. There are friends who pass like ships in the night, who meet for a moment, then sail out of sight, with never a backward glance of regret– friends we know briefly and quickly forget. There are other friends who sail together, through quiet waters and stormy weather, helping each other through joy and through strife, and they are the kind who give meaning to life.

25. Thanks for letting me share, its 25.

I still want to be a Broadway star, but my niece is giving that a shot;  I stole number 24 from Mary Dawson Hughes; I still hate Miami; I still love dark chocolate; I still talk a lot; I still love sipping my coffee at sunrise; I miss my cousin’s sweetness and kindness, almost as much as the musical world misses his remarkable musical talent; and most importantly, I’m no longer afraid to think of random thoughts.  In fact, at my age, I think that’s all that’s left!