Wednesday, July 9, 2014

This Divorcee Believes in Marriage


This weekend I attended an amazing wedding. The groom was handsome, the bride beyond beautiful. They are a perfect couple, both of them upbeat, fun and adventurous. (Normally, I hate people like that but since they are young, I’m giving them a pass.) I learned two things about myself from this experience, 1. It turns out I DO like little pieces of filet covered with parmesan cheese on a stick and 2. I want my daughter to get married, like tomorrow.

Now this may sound strange coming from a woman who is divorced, especially one who was left for a younger model with way better hair.  Sure I went through that  “Men suck” phase where I basically started off every conversation with, “Hi. OMG I hate men don’t you?” One time I was sitting at a friend’s house and her husband walked into the kitchen, opened the refrigerator and said “We’re out of milk,” before retiring to the den. I was like “OMG you don’t have to take that abuse! How can you live with someone like that? Get your stuff. You are so outta here!”

Thankfully for all concerned I’m over that now. You can all stop hiding from me in the grocery store. I promise not to run up to you with my cart anymore, yelling “This is great! Men suck! I can eat whatever I want!” with tears running down my face as I load it up with Chardonnay and salt and vinegar chips. Ahh...good times...good times... 

Anyway, I had to ask myself why do I feel so strongly about marriage for my daughter? (BTW I have two daughters, one in late twenties, one in early twenties. This is directed to the elder of the two...don’t even think about it Haley.) Of course one reason is that I see myself in a beautiful gown walking her down the aisle. Yes, Jewish mothers walk their children down the aisle. We are not about to be left out of anything where we can wear an expensive dress and have everyone look at us. Also, I will be gliding down the aisle to the theme song from Out of Africa. Not open for discussion Meredith.

The other reason, is that even after a gut wrenching parting from my husband of 27 years and a divorce that left us both crying in the judge’s chamber, the fact is...I still believe. I still believe in marriage, I still believe in the institution and I still believe it is more than just a piece of paper. I believe it is the foundation of our society and yes, I believe that ALL people are entitled to experience it.

As I have said  before in previous posts, we are not the same people at 50 that we are at 20. However our kids are getting married later then we did. Women are working at the same level as men with just as much intensity and focus. Couples are sharing the child rearing and home chores. It’s no longer “I do this” and “You do this,” it seems to be more of a “WE do this together.” The newly married couple I met this weekend seem to know each other very well, have been together for a few years, have the same goals and respect each other’s individuality. They are in their early thirties. These kids, I believe have a fighting chance. Also, they put a lot of thought into marriage and what it entails.

I on the other hand was in College, on my way to a Spanish test that I did not study for, and was thinking “Oh crap, is this Mexican casserole night in the cafeteria? I think I just want to get married and chill.” I turned on my heels, called my boyfriend/husband to be, said “Come get me,” and withdrew from school. The rest is history.

So, yes I believe in marriage and I believe this new generation has a shot at getting it right. They know each other better, they have more life experiences, they have goals and aspirations that they tackle as a couple. They get it.

In the meantime my daughter keeps her dating life on the down low, however, if there are any gentlemen out there between the ages of 30-35, looking for a true life partner, a mother in law who loves beef on a stick and who will be bringing him his bride to the tune of Out of Africa, feel free to contact me.

*Originally printed in Huffington Post Divorce 07/07/2014

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Monday, June 30, 2014

Uncoupling Can Lead to Newcoupling

So I’m sitting here reading People Magazine and don’t ask me why - it usually depresses me. Once I get past the photos in the front of celebrities with their beautiful children touring Disney Land, Fiji or a fantastic city in Europe I stop on the Book Picks and that of course depresses me because I am not on it. (My agent is in Hawaii right now but when she gets back I know our phones will be ringing like crazy!) Then I get to the stories about people who have changed the world by climbing a mountain in the name of curing hunger (Not sure exactly how that gets people fed, but, still they did it ) or became instantly rich and famous by blogging about cupcakes. Sigh.

Then I find something that sort of makes me laugh; Gwyneth and Chris may be recoupling. According to People, they are not totally sure they are getting back together but one source says, “They love each other and if the romance comes back, they’ll go with it if it feels right.” That is sort of like the time that Tony Magill told me in sixth grade that he would give me his id bracelet IF he could get it back from Cathy Malone and IF Gwen Mixer turned him down. That’s a lot of if’s. Frankly, based on how that all played out, I don’t hold out much hope for the Paltrow/Martin recoupling.

Here’s what I make of this, life became a bit of a drag because they have Apple and Moses and life is no longer one big party. Maybe at night Chris is feeling a little needy and Gwyneth is like “Come on honey, I just got the kids down and I want to write about gluten free scones on GOOP, and then he rolls over in a huff and watches Breaking Bad on his ipad with his headphones on. (Oh wait, I’m getting me and Chris mixed up.)

Still you see my point, it’s loving the other person when the romance is on low that makes and keeps a marriage. I should know, I’m divorced. 

I know how those years can be and I know myself and many others who could not weather the storm of what I like to call THE UNDER YEARS - under stress, under rested and under sexed. If you, like so many others find yourself single after this period of time, fear not. There is hope for happiness and it comes in the form of your second relationship.

I have been in my second relationship for five years, following the end of my 27 year marriage. I cannot tell you how different it it. We eat dinner together, sometimes I make it, sometimes he makes it sometimes we eat tuna sandwiches. During dinner we talk. Yes talk. There is no one asking us to cut their meat or if they have to eat that gross broccoli that makes them barf. 

Later we might take a glass of wine and sit outside and talk some more. We never run out of words, and there is no hurry. No one to tuck in, no homework to check, or in my son’s case no court ordered community service to be driven to. (Total misunderstanding, really.) It may sound quiet and it is. It is pure heaven.

At first I thought, “If only I could have talked to my ex like this, we would still be married.” But that’s the thing. We can’t talk to our spouses like that in the Under Years because there is too many things pulling us in too many directions. Jobs, kids, finances. Sometimes by the time you hit the pillow, talking is the last thing you want to do, well, ALMOST the last thing.

 I now wonder if perhaps we weren’t meant to have several meaningful relationships in life. Are we the same people at 55 that we are at 25? Most likely not. I am glad I was the person I was then, I have four beautiful kids and I would not have changed those years for anything. I am glad I am the person I am now, as well. It would be perfect if this person could have that person’s full eyebrows but all in all I am happy with myself.


The person I am with now is a true partner, a best friend, a soul mate. We have seven children between us, the youngest being 21. I look forward to many weddings, grandchildren, and family celebrations of this combined family we have made. More than that, I look forward to all the things we have yet to say to each other and the happy times we will share. So please, don’t despair if you are facing an uncoupling. Look forward to part two.

* Originally published June 24, 2014 in Huffington Post Divorce

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Give me PEE-ce

Now that I am in my fifties I have discovered things in life that I cannot live without. Netflix , Spanx, hummus and vodka all make the list. Of course I have also discovered things that I could live very nicely without: Dr. Phil, green juice, low rise jeans and tapas (Seriously? Give me a plate of food!) are stand outs on this list. Due to an experience I had this weekend my new NUMBER ONE THING I CAN LIVE WITHOUT is absolutely, without a doubt, I’d rather eat sugar free sherbet than have to deal with: the bathroom attendant. In other words, I have to pee, now get the fuck out.

This weekend I was in Chicago which is awesome. I love the hot dogs. I love the stores. And I love the trendy restaurants. So there I am in one of these awesome places filled with beautiful city dwellers,  enjoying my second cocktail when the call comes and I need to use the facilities. Plus it was very windy on the walk over and I’m pretty sure all my hair is blown to the left side of my head leaving the right side just a few thin wisps like a newly born baby bird. I head upstairs to the bathroom and open the door to find a large woman guarding the stalls. On the counter is a variety of perfumes, mints, HAND TOWELS, and a glass jar with dollars in it. Did I wander into the Nordstroms make up department by accident? WTF?

“Hey baby,” she says, “You can go right on in to number five.” WHAT? To make matters worse, I am the only one in here right now, meaning any noises that emerge from behind these stalls are coming from me. She knows it and I know it. I begin to sweat as I take a seat. I open my evening clutch purse, (aka my old Fossil shoulder bag with the strap ripped off) and begin frantically searching for change. Will she take a debit card or do I have to leave there with my hands dripping wet? Is there any way of sneaking a paper towel from the wall dispenser and running out? All I can find is a quarter, a nickel with a piece of gum from 1998 stuck to it and three pennies. I am in hell.

Then I start getting sort of mad, I mean what is she doing that I need to pay for? I can pick up my own towel, and I promise not to use the perfume which I’m sure has been sitting there for years and has turned into some noxious stinky shit that will make me smell like Mrs. Javitz my third grade Sunday school teacher. Frankly, unless I yell “Come wipe me!” I think this should be a free visit.

Then the heavens smiled above me. I heard a huge commotion, giggling, etc. I emerged from my stall to find three girls in prom dresses  primping in front of the mirror while the attendant was plying them with towels and hand cream. I made my move. Threw some water on my hands, grabbed a paper towel and ran out of there as if I had just stolen something from a jewelry store. Phew.  That was a close one.


I returned to the table looking worse than when I left due to the profuse sweating and the fact that I did not stop at the mirror to fix my feathers. I then did the only thing I could, ordered another cocktail and tightly crossed my legs.
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Thursday, May 1, 2014

I'm Toast

Every day it becomes increasingly clear that aging involves more than taking a Glucosamine Chondroitin pill with my lunch. (The creaking of my knees can be heard three reformers down in  Pilates class, and every session my instructor says, “Ew. Amy is that your knees?”) Still, I forge ahead and fight the daily fight of trying to eat only protein and perfecting the art of drawing on my disappearing eyebrows, making me look like Witchipoo from H R Puffenstuff.

This is how my day starts: I wake up and immediately tell myself, “I will not eat toast for breakfast.” I go to the refrigerator and take out two hard boiled eggs. I peel them carefully, and slice them into perfect little rounds. I salt and pepper them. I sit at the table and chew each slice. I tell myself “Good for you eating protein for breakfast! Now this will hold you over until lunch when you will eat lettuce with tuna.You go girl!” 

I then head into my office and turn on my lap top anxious to get a full day of writing in. I pull up a fresh screen and stare at it for about three minutes. I then log onto Facebook where I take an IQ test, and a quiz to see what type of tree I am. From there I go to Craigslist looking for a job that pays a lot of money but where you work from home like one day a week. This whole process takes roughly thirty minutes. I then realize I am starving. I go to the kitchen and make two pieces of rye toast. I think from here we can guess that the lettuce with tuna is not happening either.


Clothes shopping has also produced new challenges. First of all, why do I continue going into Anthropologie? What is actually happening to me in that dressing room as I try on see through peasant blouses and billowy long skirts that look adorable on young girls but make me look as though I should be hanging laundry in a shtetl? Is there some kind of weird gas or something they release making me tell myself that “OMG this is SO me” only to get home and realize there is no way I can leave the house in these garments? Also I have stock piled wall sized letter A’s wrapped in bright fabric and a million little bowls with painted peacocks on them. I have to stop going in there. Seriously.

On the upside, life is pretty good right now. I love my little waterfront house, and I love M even though he insists on making the bed every morning (Meaning I have to get out of it,) and refuses to watch any of the Housewives, which I totally do not get. My kids are doing pretty well, still finding their way but, finally those pesky legal issues seem to have subsided. At times I worry about my financial future but then remind myself that of course eventually my book will sell, it will become a blockbuster movie and I will meet Meryl Streep, so that usually calms me down.

So perhaps this is the part of life where I decide I am content yet hopeful of good things that may come my way, mainly becoming a published author, a close friend of Jon Hamm, and at some way later future date, a grandma, or at least a mother in law.  I will certainly contemplate this today, over coffee in my peacock mug and two pieces of sourdough toast.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

50 and Fro-Yo

The other day I came face to face with fifty. By that I mean I came to terms with it, accepted it, conceded, and dealt with the fact that I am no longer “around fifty” I am 53 and overdue for a bone density test. During Pilates my knees sound like Fourth of July fireworks. Also, whereas I used to be obsessed with commercials for sexy new perfumes and face creams, I am now way more interested in the ads for Fosamax and Cymbalta. What? Possible dry mouth, and diarrhea? But I won’t wake up counting the hours until I can go back to bed? Okay, I’ll take that sweet deal.

Anyway, the way it happened was this: I was on my way home from spin class wearing the bike shorts my ex wore when he competed in an IronMan triathalon fifteen years ago and a Nike sports bra that is so old I think it was from the time I was in Aerobics class,  doing routines to “Let’s Get Physical” by Olivia Newton John. I mean the swish is long gone on this thing. WIthout getting too graphic here, the word BRA is being used loosely as I pretty much have to jam my boobs up into it and then hope I don’t see them later peeking out around my lap as I pedal away to TIMBER.

Suddenly I needed frozen yogurt, from the self serve place where I like to get a small cup, fill it half way with NATURALLY TART and then add like four cupfuls of chocolate sprinkles and a quart of hot caramel sauce. I knew that if I first went home and showered I would end up eating half a box of Cheezits and a Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich and most likely after washing that down with a diet Dr. Pepper I would never make it to Menchies, and my body was really craving it. Therefore, there was a huge decision to be made. Do I actually go into a food establishment with sweat rings around my nipples or do I miss out on one of the few things besides Chardonnay and Mad Men that help me keep my mind off the fact that I only get six more years of alimony. It dawned on me right then, I don’t care what people think of me or my sagging bike shorts or sweaty boobs. I WANT YOGURT! I went in and loaded up. So, that is one way I know that I have come to terms with fifty. Ice cream over vanity. Here are a few other ways I think prove I have accepted the fact that I am definitely well into my sixth decade:

  1. I now stand at the Publix checkout after I have paid the bill going over my receipt like a radiologist viewing a bone scan. The line builds behind me but I don’t care, I have to make sure I got the BOGO on my Oreos.

  1. I will virtually try on any type of underwear that promises to hide back fat. Even if I       see that it is constructed with what appears to be toilet paper and Elmers glue I never lose hope. This could be the one.

  1. When I go out to dinner, instead of laying my purse on an empty chair or on the floor next to me I clutch it close to me on my lap and realize now it’s only a matter of time before I start sneaking sugar packets into it.

  1. I now say, “Will you share something with me?” when I am out to dinner as if later, I am not going to go home and eat a bowl of Honeycomb cereal while watching Millionaire Matchmaker.

  1. I invariably will tell my sister during one of our long distance cell phone conversations that “I’ll call you right back, I can’t find my phone.”


Believe it or not, I find there is a freedom in admitting to yourself that you are pretty much middle aged now, and it is more than eating yogurt in sweaty gym clothes. You can do what you want when you feel like doing it, (within reason, you don’t want to end up on Dateline or anything,) with the knowledge that those who love you will love you just as much with a little caramel sauce on your chin and even a tiny bit of back fat.

*Originally published on Post 50 Huffington Post 4/9/14

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

PRESSING MATTERS

I am sitting in my office where I am supposed to be writing 1. a book 2. an article on the most over the top wedding items ever and 3. an interview I did with Frank a ten year old dachsund.   I am just about ready to get to work but first things first.  I have already checked Facebook, done some creepstalking on an old boss, and liked 3 funny pet videos.  I checked my Twitter though not sure why as still not really sure what it's supposed to be doing. I googled Season 7 of Mad Men to see when I need to set my DVR as well as season 3 of VEEP.   I am debating going to TJ Maxx for sports bras at some point today.  I am the only one wearing collared GAP t-shirts at Pilates.

I am ready to buckle down and get on with my business, but there are still some nagging thoughts keeping me from penning my masterpiece and researching swan ice sculptures.

1.  I ate two Eggo waffles less than 30 minutes ago.  Why am I still hungry? I want cheese.

2.  In today's world would Don Draper be an advertising exec?  Do we still have those? Would he be in AA?  Would he be in rehab for sex addiction?  How can I meet Jon Hamm?

3.  Why didn't Mick Jagger's girlfriend L'wren Scott just ask Mick if she could possibly borrow the money to bail out her business and pay him back later?

4.  What exactly is Obamacare and do I need it and if so where do I get it?

5.   How do I get off the GILT website...I can't afford anything on there and I have already unsubscribed twice?

6.  What is the fake crab in the Publix sushi made of?  Should I get some for lunch or eat left over spaghetti?

7.  What time does TJ Maxx open?

Okay.  Now I'm ready.

Meet Frank, a 10 year old dachsund with a mind of his own!...

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Ramblings from a Golden Retriever Mom

Unconditional love.  Sure, we say we love our partner/spouse unconditionally, and we mean it.  We love you unconditionally, unless....you get too fat, contract halitosis,start telling knock knock jokes at dinner parties, suddenly decide it’s fun to push the cat in a stroller, take up rock collecting, get a Smart car,...well, you get the idea.  There may be stipulations to the unconditional love thing, or in other words, unconditional love may come with a few conditions.

And yet, true unconditional love is possible.  I know this because I have experienced it every day for the last 28 years.  How? you may be asking.  How does a person like me who considers bad breath grounds for couples therapy, find love that can endure through the years with no questions asked?  The answer is both simple and heart breaking, at times bringing such tremendous joy it’s all I can do to not run down the street shouting it at passersby, while other times causing a pain so deep it can bring me to my knees.   It’s simple.  I am a mother.

I am the very proud mother of four.  As a Jewish cancer-phobe I wake up every day and immediately do a quick role call. Yes, everyone is okay, they are all healthy, thank G-d.  There was that one terrible scare we had when my son J, then two years old, had swollen lymph nodes going up and down his neck. What I knew was a deadly case of childhood leukemia, turned out to be a raging case of Impetigo, contracted when he was playing in our koi pond and then ate this  Pizza Lunchable without washing his hands.  As my pediatrician Dr. Yusk explained, eyeing  me accusingly, “It is an infection from dirt.  From being dirty.  From not washing.”  I felt like the mother in Coal Miner’s Daughter.

“But Dang it Doc,” I wanted to say.  “I do the best I can with these four younguns.  Raising em all by my lonesome self, “ which wasn’t really true.  I had a husband at the time, but he did travel now and then on business.  In any case, other than the usual childhood illnesses, we have been lucky.

I have been reading little snippets here and there, (being a blog writer has made it impossible for me to read anything over 500 words in one sitting,) about Tiger Mom, Amy Chua.  She makes some very good points and her children certainly have proved her success as a mother.  In fact it made me look at myself and ask did I over-love?  Did I want their road to be so smooth, so flat and effortless that I ran ahead filling in the pot holes before they hit them?  Am I in fact, Golden Retriever Mom?  I want to run and play and lick you when you cry and growl at anyone who dares to cross you, whether you get an A+ or a C-, or worse.

From the time they were born my basic instinct has been to protect.  Protect from harm, protect from pain, protect from second grade teachers who send your son to the office for saying “vagina” on the playground.  Really Ms. Kettering? Yes it was seventeen years ago but I haven’t forgotten, plus he was just explaining that he doesn’t have one. Is it my fault he was brilliant beyond his years? Nor have I forgotten the coach who didn’t put him in the game when we went to the baseball championships at Disney World, nor have I forgotten my eleven year old daughter falling to the ground in tears on the lacrosse field when she missed the goal that would have sent her team to the state championship. My kids have long forgotten these moments and have gone on with their lives, I however, just can’t seem to get past them. When it comes to my children, I hold a big freaking grudge and every painful experience they suffer seems to leave a gaping wound on my heart. 

Of course as kids get older, saying vagina on the playground can turn into more serious trouble.  How can I forget the night, when, just as I had fallen asleep, there was a knock on the door.  Standing there were two police officers.  First thought?  This cannot be good.  Second thought?  I hope my boobs are not hanging out from under my tshirt.  They were simply inquiring if my son had made it home safely, and would I mind checking.   I thought, now this is why I live in a gated community, everyone keeping an eye out for each other.  I peeked in and saw my 18 year old darling boy, fast asleep, safe and sound.  I reported back to the officers, "Yes he's here, sound asleep!  Thanks for checking. Goodnight!"  They then asked if I would mind stepping outside to inspect his vehicle.  Whenever a cop uses the word VEHICLE you know you are screwed.

"We think your son may have been involved in an accident involving property damage."  I started to argue that there is no way that sleeping boy in there could have done anything like that, when I noticed black tire tracks coming from the gate leading into my driveway, where my sons' car sat with 2 flat front tires and a piece of concrete stuck to his bumper.  Case closed, but in his defense....SEE?  This is where I struggle!


In any case, they are grown now and what’s done is done.  I am totally guilty of not making them toe the absolute line and of trying to right their wrongs so they could just go about their merry way.  Did I do them any favors? No, probably not. If I could go back and do it again would I have been a stronger parent? I like to think so.  Could I possibly love them any more than I do at this very moment? Not a chance. I may not roar, but just thinking about them sure gets my tail wagging.

(reprint from Huffington Post Women's section March 15, 2014)

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