TRAPPED IN MY SPORTS BRA AND OTHER HARROWING TALES

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on WordPress but I’m considering doing more of it again so I thought this would be a good opportunity to start. As some of you may know, I just published my second book – “Trapped In My Sports Bra and Other Harrowing Tales.” It’s actually the book I thought I’d write first, but then the pandemic happened and I published “Gained a Daughter But Nearly Lost My Mind: How I Planned a Backyard Wedding During a Pandemic” instead.

Trapped is a compilation of stories about lots of things; parenting, getting older, the band Phish (a little random I know but trust me, they are good stories), love, loss, and other stuff. So far, the book has gotten great reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. I hope you will consider purchasing it for yourself, your sister, your bestie, your mom (it’s a great Mother’s Day gift), actually anyone who could use a laugh. And that doesn’t mean just women, lots of men enjoy my stories as well. As I mentioned, you can purchase the books on Amazon, https://www.amazon.com/Trapped-Sports-Other-Harrowing-Tales/dp/1956867279/ref=tmm as well as the Barnes and Noble website and some bookstores.

Here’s an excerpt from the parenting chapter.

I THINK MY SON IS A CIA OPERATIVE

It took me a while to figure out that my son is in the CIA.

I’m not sure when they recruited him – possibly as early as elementary school. That’s about when he stopped talking. I don’t mean that he went mute; he just stopped sharing details. About everything. Maybe at that point he was just practicing for his future career in the CIA. I’m not sure how young their trainees are. 

As he got older, all the other moms in his friend group seemed to know what was going on with the kids. Except me of course. Little things, big things; I knew nothing. They would assume I had heard that the kids were going to a ballgame or the movies. But, if I didn’t hear if from them, I didn’t hear it. It was a little embarrassing at times. 

Occasionally, the CIA lifted my son’s ban on sharing, and I would get some small nugget of information which I cherished like gold. 

By the time my son started college he was an advanced CIA operative. He claims to be a math major but who really knows? It’s entirely possible the math thing is just a cover. Or maybe he’s taking college classes while he’s working for the CIA. That would make sense since the university he allegedly attends sends us a tuition bill every semester.

Last spring I discovered that he’d been dating a girl. Since October. Which is a long time to not mention you’ve been seeing someone. We found out accidentally through one of his brothers.

Youngest son (whose name I won’t mention because I don’t want to blow his cover) does call home a fair amount. More often in fact than his older brothers did when they were in college. And I appreciate that a lot because I love hearing his voice. When he calls, I have to frequently check to make sure he’s still on the line. Because there’s a lot of dead silence. I do my best to carry the conversation but eventually I run out of questions, and we say goodbye. 

Here’s a typical conversation: 

Me – How’s it going?

Him – Good

Me – What’s new?

Him – Nothing

Me – Get any grades?

Him – No. (apparently there are no grades ever at this school he attends)

Me – How are you feeling?

Him – Fine

Me – Anything else to report?

Him – 

Me – Are you still there?

Him – Yeah

Me – Okay. Thanks for calling, Love you.

Him – Love you too.

By the way, he does mention when he needs money. Apparently the CIA doesn’t pay that well or my son has an off-shore bank account we don’t know about.

MY CIA boy’s girlfriend is definitely NOT in the CIA, and we have actual conversations where she fills in a lot of blanks. When I first met her, I had a ton of questions. I was a little worried I’d scare her off but it luckily it hasn’t happened.

For the record, it’s not like my older boys tell me everything. They most certainly do not. I’m on a need-to-know basis which means they tell me what THEY think I should know. But they wouldn’t qualify for the CIA. And that’s okay because one CIA operative in the family is enough.

Breaking News: Away Luggage to be Rebranded as Stay Luggage

The popular luggage company Away has decided to rename itself Stay until the pandemic is over. In addition, their Everywhere Bag will now be known as the Nowhere Bag.

A spokesperson for the company said that the name changes “reflect the current situation” and will “help our consumer better relate to our products.” She also stated that “Since we are all stuck at home, Away just seems like a silly name.”

In a press release, the company formerly known as Away stated that “Stay luggage will enhance the housebound experience. They are perfect to use as storage for your pre-pandemic size clothing, as well as holding everything you need for a staycation. Our superior handles and wheels make them easy to roll from room to room so you can change quickly back to your sweats after each Zoom call. We have even added an optional bottle rack if you want to use them to store wine and other alcohol for your virtual class reunion, your work team’s virtual happy hours or after a multi-hour conference call.”

One happy customer named Natalie said she is loving her brand-new black Stay case and has been using it as both a footrest and a coffee table. She commented that “It’s just so versatile and comes in a wide array of colors to match every décor. In fact, I see no need to ever take it out of the house.”

The company spokesperson said it’s unclear what will happen when the pandemic ends. She suggested “perhaps we will have two different lines at that point: one for people who wish to resume travel as well as those who do not. It’s really too soon to say.”

Other luggage companies are expected to follow suit.

Breaking News: Local Residents Bring Class Action Suit Against Bakery for Making Them Fat

A local bakery has been named in a class action lawsuit for causing massive weight gain among the town’s residents. The bakery, called Sweets R Us, is owned and operated by residents of the town.

One woman, who wished to only be identified as Jill, said that when the pandemic first started, she ordered a cake for her husband’s birthday. As time went on, her family began ordering cakes for everything: Mother’s Day, graduations, days with the letter “y” in them, etc. As did many other people in town. Her husband added that “The cakes made us all happier.”

Another woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, said that she had been a size two, as were most of her friends, prior to the lockdown. In the lawsuit, she claims that she’s gained at least twenty pounds from treats purchased at the bakery. The woman said that with gyms closed, “The weight came on at an alarming rate.” When asked why her gluttony was the bakery’s fault, she said that it was because their cakes were “Just too good to resist. If they had only been mediocre, I wouldn’t look this way.” She said she was grateful that at least she could wear a mask when she went out so no one would know it was her.

A mother of three sons said that she was going to join the class action suit, but not until after her oldest son’s wedding because she had ordered a two-tiered wedding cake from the bakery for the occasion. The mother of the groom said, “I mean, I want the day to be as special as it can be given the circumstances. Even though nothing in my closet fits me because of them and I have no idea what I will wear, I want my kids to have an amazing cake.”

The owners of the bakery said they could not answer questions about the lawsuit because they were “too busy taking orders and baking.”

Further details will be reported as they occur.

 

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Old Fashioned Summer on Tap for Kids—Parents Trying to Cope

With most summer camps cancelled and social distancing recommended, it’s going to be a long summer for parents and kids. In fact, it’s going to resemble old fashioned summers of days gone by.

Many parents are pretty horrified, not knowing how they will entertain their kids, especially if they have to work. One mom of three school-age children said, “I think I will probably lose my mind and need years of therapy to undo the scarring that will occur from months of hearing ‘I’m bored’ from my kids and listening to them fight.” She continued on to say, “The pool in our development is closed and they can’t play with friends or even see their grandparents. What the heck am I going to do?!”

She’s not the only one asking that question. A mother of twin ten-year-old boys who she described as “high-energy” said she was thinking of letting them “roam wild” all summer while she worked from home as an attorney. The woman, who wished to only be identified as “Martha” said that she assumed her sons would “return home when they got hungry” and added that she would provide them with a guide on which berries were “safe to eat” if they felt like living off the land.

Other parents were more sanguine about the situation and said they felt that this was a unique opportunity for their offspring to experience a super boring summer, like the ones they had when they were kids. A local mother of four said that she never went to camp and spent her summers reading in the backyard by herself. The woman said that although she was lonely, the experience helped her develop her skills as a writer. She added that after a dull summer, her kids would be more appreciative of camp, vacations and all the fun they usually get to have. She added that, “If we all survive, this will probably be character building in some way.”

A dad of a 12-year-old girl said that his daughter had become so distraught when she found out that her camp was cancelled that she had been “crying in her room for days.” He added that, although he understood the camp’s position, he felt that “listening to a tween girl sob nonstop” was something you had to “experience to understand.”

There are online support groups for parents who need help dealing with the current summer crisis; losingmymind.org is one where parents can vent and share stories and tips for staying sane during the upcoming months.

Further details will be reported as they occur.

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Breaking News: Parents Come up with Contingency Plan for Cancelled Camps

Some summer camps have already been cancelled. Others have still not announced their plans.

But for parents who have been counting on their children being gone for most of July and August, there’s an alternate plan they are considering; dropping their kids in the middle of the woods.

The idea came to one mom a few weeks ago after she had spent the day trying to help her ten-year-old twin boys with their schoolwork. The mom who has been working from home full-time during the pandemic, said that she felt it would be “good” for her sons to “experience nature and fend for themselves for a while.”

Other parents seem inclined to agree. One dad with three camp age children said that, although at first he thought leaving his kids in the middle of nowhere sounded “a little like Lord of the Flies,” he got on board quickly after he imagined the entire summer with his kids home, not able to see their friends or go anywhere. The father, who only wished to be identified as “Dan” said that he and his wife needed “a break.”  He added that of course they would be “sending their kids into the woods with provisions but in keeping with the camp spirit, no electronic devices.” Dan added that, “In any event, it’s not more dangerous than sending my kids to a place where they could contract the coronavirus.”

Other parents seemed less sure about the woods idea but as one mom stated, “Another two months in the house with my kids might change my mind. And since my kids have spent so many summers at camp, maybe they can use skills they’ve learned, like archery and woodworking.”

Further details will be reported as they occur.

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Breaking News: Influencers Go into Hiding After Followers Turn on Them

Several major social influencers have gone into hiding after many of their followers have seemingly turned on them. Their offence? Flaunting their wealth, privilege and square footage during a pandemic.

One influencer, who wanted to give her side of the story said, “People are just so touchy. I had no idea they would get mad at me for unboxing expensive gifts from luxury brands while they were losing their jobs and using my connections to get tested for the virus when others who were way sicker than I was couldn’t. I thought those videos were a lot of fun.”

The influencer, who didn’t want her name or location disclosed,  also said she didn’t understand why people seemed annoyed when she moved her family, including her nanny, to a huge house in the Hamptons, possibly exposing others to their germs. “It’s not my fault that some of my fans live in tiny apartments while I am in a 10,000 square foot rental with a pool. I thought people would want to continue to see how totally awesome my life is, especially now that their lives are falling apart. I really thought I was helping humanity, sort of like doctors and nurses.”

Wiping away tears, she added, “I apologize if for some reason I may have upset anyone and I hope that Chanel will still continue to send me free stuff.”

Other influencers as well as actors have also felt a backlash for behavior their fans are deeming “insensitive.”  One award winning actor, who posted pictures of himself quarantined inside his palatial estate said, “This is just as hard for us as it is for regular people. I mean, we are in the same boat as the rest of the world. So what if our boat is a little bigger and we have a captain and several state rooms with walk-in closets? Geez. We get bored just like everyone else.”

One young woman explained why she was so angry at the influencers she had previously admired saying, “They just don’t understand what the rest of us are going through” and added “For their own sake, I hope they lay low for a really long time.”

Another former follower said that he felt strongly that “The entire influencing culture is going to be cancelled and that doing good is going to be the new showing off. At least I hope so.”

Further news will be reported as it occurs.

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Passing Over Passover?

Not too long ago, we celebrated Purim. Well, I didn’t actually go to hear the Megillah reading because I was trying to social distance. But I ate several hamantaschen so I’m counting that as celebrating.

And as sure as summer follows spring, Passover follows Purim.

I will admit that, for a variety of reasons, Passover has never been my favorite on the Jewish hit parade of holidays. Maybe I’m just looking for an excuse to get out of doing it, but I think the coronavirus qualifies as a really good one.

First of all, my two fridges and pantry are already full. I stocked up so that I could avoid the grocery store if need be. Turned out to be a good idea since now that we are all self-isolating, I’m trying to go out as little as possible.

Last week, when I was at my kosher butcher, I noticed he had a lot of boxes in the back. He said it was all Passover stuff and I groaned. I mean, I always groan when I see Passover food but now my groaning is for reasons other than usual the I-hate-turning-over-my-kitchen. And since I usually use my second fridge as a staging area for Passover, I have no idea where I would put all the K for P food. I can’t handle any more chaos in my house right now. My youngest son still hasn’t finished unpacking all the stuff he brought home from college.

I have a group of college friends with whom my family celebrates the first night of Passover. Each year we alternate houses. This year it’s my turn to host so I dutifully sent out the invitation a few weeks ago. But now what? Are we actually going to be celebrating together? It’s looking highly doubtful.

The way I see it, we are living the story of Passover. We’ve got the wicked Pharaoh and we have a new plague that’s looking like a doozy. And if we are living the story, do we really need to go all out and buy all that Passover food and change dishes? (Okay maybe a few macaroons wouldn’t hurt.)

I think there might be a special dispensation for pandemics. I may check in with my Rabbi on that one. I’m not saying we won’t celebrate Passover; I’m just saying we will keep it low key and do what we are able. Read from the Haggadah, drink the four (or more) cups of wine, have some discussions and call it a day.

Perhaps we will do what schools and businesses are doing and host a virtual Seder. My husband likes to create a Passover game show (we even have buzzers and prizes) and going online could be a challenge, but I’m sure it’s doable.

Meanwhile, the holiday is still several weeks away so I suppose we have some time before we figure out what we will be doing.

Whatever we decide, I’m just hoping the coronavirus passes over all of us.

Stay safe.

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Things People Over 50 Really Talk About




Now that I’m getting older and no longer have kids at home, I’ve had more time to hang out with other people around my age. And I’ve noticed that there are certain topics which we talk about. A lot.

One of those topics we like discussing is first-floor master bedrooms. If you are not yet over 50 and you don’t know what I mean (or you’re a freak of nature like J Lo) please allow me to explain.

At some point, we begin to realize that our limbs are about ten minutes away from falling off. No, I don’t mean literally; I just mean that our bodies are starting to show wear and tear. A good friend of mine recently fell down the steps and broke one ankle and sprained the other. Yes, I realize that people of all ages fall but it seems to be more likely to happen when you’re older. And when we do fall things seem to break more easily and heal more slowly. Another friend had back surgery for a disc problem. And yet another friend fell on a wet floor and broke two vertebrae in her back. This was all in the past year. And it’s not like I have so many friends. Either my friends are unusually clumsy or this is the start of a trend. Or both.

Basically, we are coming to the realization that we aren’t as spry as we used to be. My 28-year-old son and his fiancée have been talking about rock climbing in the Alps for their honeymoon. I can’t even. Forget about rock climbing; climbing stairs is starting to feel like an adventure for me.

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This is not an activity for me

It’s not like I’m planning on moving at this moment in time so that I can have that first-floor master bedroom, but if and when I move, my comfy bed will be within easy reach.

My friends and I are also really big into numbers because all of a sudden numbers have become super important in our lives. Like our cholesterol number, blood pressure, blood sugar, and for the guys, the all-important PSA number which lets them know the health of their prostate. Ask anyone my age or older what their cholesterol is and I guarantee they will have a ready answer. It’s sort of, but not exactly, like knowing a baseball player’s batting average.

Another topic empty nesters talk about is cold weather vs. warm weather. Many of us feel that once hot flashes are over, warm weather is better. We are sick of winter. We’ve done the winter thing for decades and we’ve decided it’s not great. So we dream of sunny skies and warmer temps. Although climate change has made the winters more bearable with less snow and ice, we still don’t like it. (I realize there are some of you who feel that the higher the snow and the lower the temps the better, but I’m talking about most people and not you.) I have fallen on ice and can tell you it’s dangerous (refer back to earlier section about the perils of falling). We aren’t sure when we will go south or whether it will be for a little bit each year or permanently but it’s definitely there on the horizon. Some of it depends on when we retire.

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Photo by Jonas Ferlin on Pexels.com

Which leads me to another subject the not-so-young-anymore like to discuss; retirement. We assume that at some point our kids will stop bleeding us dry and we will be able to retire. They will graduate college and get jobs with health plans and 401k plans. When you’re young and foolish, you talk about your kids learning to walk and talk. We brag about ridiculous things like grades, sports awards and college acceptances. When you’re older, all you want is for them to be financially independent. And happy. Right. We want them to be happy as well.

Something people my age also seem to talk about is grandkids. If we don’t have them yet, we want them soonish. Or at least eventually. That son I mentioned, the one who is getting married this summer, made a comment to me that he imagined continuing to travel after he and his bride have kids because (get this): “How hard can traveling with kids be?” I want grandkids so that I can play with them and he can enjoy travelling with them.

Another favorite topic we love talking about is how different our kids are than we were at their age. They actually use their vacation time, travel more and seem to be better at balancing work and play time. They may whine a lot but they are also more self-confident and seem to know what they do and do not want. In truth, we are a little bit envious and in awe of them.

Of course, there are plenty of other things my friends and I talk about: aging parents, politics, travelling, hobbies, etc. But whatever the topic, I like that we are figuring it out together and using each other as resources and sounding boards. It makes this getting older thing a whole lot easier.

Rise of the Resistance-Not a Political Post

My husband and I were in Orlando (he had a conference) and we figured we would use the opportunity to check out the new Star Wars world, Galaxy’s Edge, at Disney Hollywood Studios.

We had been forewarned that the main attraction, Rise of the Resistance, was pretty difficult to get into (there are no fast passes). So we got up pretty early (by vacation standards) and were at the park by 7:00. Apparently, everyone else had gotten the same intel as we had and there were already a gazillion people there. There were kids still in pajamas. When we had younger kids, we never could have done it—there would have been a rise of the resistance that was not Disney related.

There is a virtual queue for the ride and we got our boarding group — 129. Since they only guarantee numbers up to 117 will get into the attraction, we were hopeful but not sure we’d make it in.

We made our first stop, Starbucks, and then headed over to Galaxy’s Edge, which immediately sent me into a panic. It wasn’t the park’s design or getting confronted by Storm Troopers but at a clear disarray around Rise of the Resistance, which we were told was because the ride was down. Our hope of getting into the ride suddenly seemed as hopeless as the bleakest moments for the Rebellion and the Resistance in the Star Wars movies. With heightened concern about our fate, we set out to explore Batuu, the setting for the park, which is pretty amazing. No detail is spared. It’s worth seeing even if you don’t get to do the rides (or choose not to). img_1428We waited on line for the other ride in the world, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and, since we got on the single rider line, the wait wasn’t too bad. The ride is being part of a crew of six in the cockpit of the Falcon on a smuggling run and having to defend the ship, crew and cargo every step of the way, with a few leaps into hyperspace for good measure.img_0991

We got to see Chewbacca, Rey and unfriendly Storm Troopers walking around, and sampled some blue milk (blue on purpose as opposed to food that’s been in my fridge too long), which I’m told Luke drank in the first Star Wars movie.

After Galaxy’s Edge, we walked through Toy Story Land, another new part of the park, and then headed to Muppet 3D. It’s a must do attraction for anyone in our family just as It’s a Small World is when we are in the Magic Kingdom. I still love the muppets and as I age, I find I identify more and more with Waldorf and Statler (the cranky and sarcastic old men Muppets). We returned later to Toy Story Land so my husband could ride the Slinky Dog Dash coaster and we could ride the (tamer) Alien Swirling Saucers together.58e55b0d-c6fc-4163-acaa-9fa4fb02fc19

We lunched at the Prime Time Café, one of our favorite Disney restaurants, that reminds us of our childhood kitchens. The Formica tables in one of the dining rooms actually has the exact pattern that was on the bathroom counter in the first house in which I lived in Brooklyn.

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Throughout the day we checked our Disney World app – more honestly, I asked my husband every five seconds – to see what boarding group Rise of the Resistance was up to. When I set my mind to something I can’t be distracted.

Around 5:00 pm. we saw that they were finally close to our number. Yay! So we went over to Rise of the Resistance ready for action. However, when we got there we discovered there was a 90 minute queue for the people whose numbers had been called. Yikes!!! At 7:00 a.m. or even 10:00 a.m., when I had (a little) pep in my step, I could’ve possibly stood on line for 90 minutes. But at the end of the day, when my Fitbit registered close to 20K steps and my back and hip were hurting, it wasn’t really doable for me. I didn’t know what to do. I’ve had back issues for a while now. I’ve done PT. I do yoga and stretches daily and use heat and ice and take Advil. It is what it is and I’m grateful it’s not worse.

Not sure how to proceed, Mike (not how he spells his name in Aurebesh, one of the local languages), a helpful greeter at the front of the queue suggested we speak to a nearby Guest Relations representative. I asked her if I could sit down somewhere while my husband stood in line for the two of us and then I could join him when it was time to ride. They said no; there was no way to join up with him. They kindly offered me a wheelchair. I declined because it felt like fraud. And because it felt icky. I may be there some day when I need one but yesterday did not feel like that day. I figured I would just skip the attraction (I was honestly doing it more for my husband) or I would sit down on the ground every few feet. But Disney being Disney, they assessed my situation and decided that wasn’t acceptable and… they just let us go in without any further wait. That’s one of the reasons I love Disney. They try to make things better.

So—the ride. Yeah, it was pretty cool, although at some points I felt like I was in the clutches of Nazis. The little boy behind us was whimpering while his parents tried to reassure him that it wasn’t real. But I imagine it seemed real to him. I thought about what my grandparents must have felt like when they were in Auschwitz when they were there longer than the 20 minutes Rise of the Resistance lasts, it was most assuredly real, and there was no gift shop. There are several different components to the attraction; it’s part ride and part interactive theater. You walk through some of it and ride on a transport and an escape pod.img_1455

It was worth the effort and I’m glad we got to do it. I highly recommend the ride but if you have little kids, I would suggest prepping them or if they are fearful, not subjecting them to it at all. It’s not worth having to get up with them when they have nightmares.

All in all, it was an awesome day and we are even considering going back with our adult kids in the not to distant future.