Friday, January 22, 2016

The Lowdown On the Download



The first book I ever felt the need to hide while reading was Go Ask Alice by Beatrice Sparks. Now this is going back over 40 years, but if I remember correctly it was about a girl who smokes a joint and then becomes a raging slut and heroine addict, which as we know, is what happens to people after they take a hit of pot. (Side note, 20 odd years later I sat down with my daughter, then 13 and gave her the book hoping for a deep mother and daughter discussion. She took one look at it started laughing, and went back to watching Intervention, where I believe a crack addict mother of 4 was preparing to go to rehab.)  Anyway, we passed that book around in 7th grade each of us taking a turn reading it at night away from our parents prying eyes. I of course took it to heart and assumed there were drug "pushers" on every corner just waiting to get me hooked on marijuana. Who knew the first drug connect I would have would be a Jewish psychiatrist in her mid fifties, my hook up for Ambien. But, that's another story...

The next book I felt that I needed to read in secret was called Coffee, Tea or Me, a book about stewardesses and pilots and though I didn't TOTALLY get what was going on, I knew I wanted IN! I also knew my mother probably didn't want me reading about people having sex on planes so, that was read at night, with doors shut, and the sound of the TV droning on from my parent's bedroom.

Through the years there were others read in secret such as: The G Spot, Good Vibrations, Living With An EMO Kid, The Emotional Eater's Repair Manual and finally, Deep Breathing Through Divorce. Yes, we've come full circle. Now, however, my reading life has changed drastically. With the advent of the kindle I can be sitting on the beach with friends reading about the benefits of liposuction vs. exercise and no one will be the wiser!

My point is, you can now read whatever you want and no one needs to know. You don't even NEED a kindle, you can download books onto your PC if you want. Which brings me to my book, "There's Been A Change Of Plans."  A friend of mine bought it as a kindness to me, and her son got quite concerned seeing mom reading a book on divorce. Dude, KINDLE! I can totally understand that some people don't want to ride the subway, sit at little league games, or wait for the dye to cover the gray at the salon, holding a book about divorce which they feel is another way of yelling "MY LIFE IS IMPLODING!"

 I personally don't see it like that. I see reading a book on divorce as telling the world, "I am trying to understand the process by which some woman half my age is going to get all my stuff and I am going to be living in a one bedroom condo with a cat named Mr. Meow." I think it is very proactive. Still, if you are not totally comfortable with it...DOWNLOAD!

Not to mention, downloading a Kindle book is usually a third of the price of the hard copy. Then when you are done, it disappears into your cloud, which, I have no idea what that is, (does ANYBODY really understand the cloud?) but I know it's better than stacking them up on your nightstand until your bedroom resembles a Hoarders episode minus the rat carcasses.

Anyway, do yourself a favor and learn to download books. Right now I am going back and forth on my iPad between Eat Yourself Skinny, Complete Idiot's Guide to Menopause and The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, titles all telling you how full my life is right now.  Thanks to my Kindle, I will soon be a  skinny menopausal woman with a very clean house.
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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Doesn't Play Well With Others


Today I was privy to a phone conversation that has left me in a complete state of amazement, I mean talk about shock and awe. You tell me what YOU think...Much to my dismay at 7:30 M's phone rings. Yes 7:30. This Morning. On my day off. Apparently it was his friend confirming that there was a foursome ready to go for a 9 am tee time. This is what I heard:

M: Yes we are meeting at 9. B and H are playing with us, you've never met them, but they're great guys, it will be fun.

See? I am still in total disbelief. Is this guy really committing to a 4 hour golf game, plus lunch and a scotch or 2 with two guys he's never met? Ladies, correct me if I'm wrong but crazy right?

If this was me, and I called my friend to see if we were still on for a day of, let's say shopping as opposed to a physical activity, because she works out like a fiend but I only do Pilates twice a week, and by Pilates, I mean I lay on the reformer and move my legs around in between sips from my coffee cup, and she said "Oh, my friend Lisa will be joining us, you will love her she's really fun," intense panic would ensue.

Thought process:  What? Lisa? Who is Lisa? How did you meet her? Do you like her better than me? Is she fatter than me? OMG Is she skinnier than me? What kind of hair does she have, long, short, thick, thinning? (please thinning, please thinning) Is she going to wear makeup? Does that mean I have to wear makeup now? OMG, will she be wearing skinny jeans and  boots with heels? You know my arches have been killing me and I am only wearing flats right now. Does she accessorize? Will she be carrying a Louis Vuitton purse or a Kate Spade while I shlep through the mall with my fake leather FOSSIL? Necklaces? Bracelets? Those trendy double rings that the cool kids wear? What about an infinity scarf casually tossed around her neck looking like it belongs there? (Last time I wore an infinity scarf I chose an unfortunate beige gauze one and apparently I had it a little too tightly wrapped because a woman  I hadn't seen in a while ran up to me and said, "Oh  my God, what happened to you?" thinking I had either been in a car wreck, or had my thyroid operated on.)

Is she married? What does her husband do? How long have they been married? Are they happy? Do they do stuff together and take romantic anniversary trips that she's going to tell us about and I have to appear interested in? Do I HAVE to pretend to be interested in the wineries they visited in Napa?Do they hold hands in public? How did they meet, UGH don't tell me they're high school sweethearts.
Where do they live? Does she have one of those homes where everything looks effortlessly in place? Vases with LIVE flowers? Photos artistically framed and actually HUNG on the wall as opposed to buried under takeout menus in the kitchen junk drawer?

Does she have kids? Where are they? Girls, boys? Are they in MENSA? Training for the Olympics? Working in fabulous jobs in huge exciting cities? Harvard grads?

Why, why? Why does SHE have to come?

I know it sounds like I'm a little insecure, and in reality I did have an experience in 7th grade that left a mark on me. See I had a best friend from school, Rachel and a best friend from Temple Sunday School, Susie, and one time I made the drastic mistake of introducing the two at my birthday party at Shakey's Pizza. Before I knew it, neither one was answering my phone calls and Susie was taking summer vacations with Rachel's family, while I spent MY summer watching the Mike Douglas show in the morning and eating Now and Laters all day long. That's why I try not to introduce my friends to each other as I know they will end up spending the day eating Cobb salads and browsing through Nordstrom's together while I'm at home playing Candy Crush and wondering where the hell IS everyone?

Anyway, I just wanted to share this phone call with you because I know we're all on the same page here. I guess it just boils down to the fact that men are so weird, right?






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Thursday, December 17, 2015

ex wife new life: Don't Quit Your Day Job

ex wife new life: Don't Quit Your Day Job: Well I did it. I wrote a book. I sold a book. I am a published author. The day my book came out was one of the highlights of my life. My ...
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Don't Quit Your Day Job


Well I did it. I wrote a book. I sold a book. I am a published author. The day my book came out was one of the highlights of my life. My facebook blew up! I had like 22 comments. WOOT! WOOT! I realized this was the beginning of a new life. I knew that by the end of the next week, I would probably have to give my boss the very sad news that I will be resigning. For one thing, it's not fair to be needing so much time off for book tours and television appearances. I mean I suppose I could try and work remotely, but I will be in so many different time zones, LA, New York, Europe (what time zone are they on over there?) that it only seems prudent to begin thinking about who could replace me.

I began to think of what I could do with all the income I would now have coming in. Probably time to put in that pool I've been wanting, but wait, do I really want to go through that messy process, when most likely I will probably have to sell my house soon anyway, when I move to California after I am offered my own talk show? Gosh, so much to figure out and plan, woe is me, the life of a successful and highly in demand author.

By the end of the week, I think I sold 43 books. To put this in perspective my parents bought 24 and I bought 10. I kept checking my phone to see if I had missed any calls with Los Angeles or NYC area codes. I did once but it was GoDaddy wanting me to renew my domain name. Ellen, Tyra, The View...they were not contacting me as I had anticipated. (And anyone who knows me knows that one of my goals in life is to be on the Ellen show...ugh SO CLOSE!)

My publisher kept pushing, "You have to sell, you have to market, you have to PUSH!" I contacted a literary publicist, who wanted 12K to get me into an online magazine. I wrote a blog post and put a link to my book in it. I got comments like "Shameless book promoting, nothing else." Ack! I'm sorry, I'm sorry, they made me do it!

Finally, finally, I was asked to talk on an online radio show. Now we're cookin! I thought. The morning I called in I had my whole speech prepared. I would talk about the devastation of divorce, how debilitating it can be, how to pull yourself up from the depths and reinvent yourself, how good your next phase of life can be. The radio host introduces me and as I get ready to launch into my inspirational monologue she says, "We're gonna play a game! I'm going to read lines from your old blog posts and you complete the sentence!"  WHAT?  I stumbled, and faux pas'ed my way through it
with a lot of dead air. I could tell she couldn't wait to get rid of me as she introduced her next guest whose subject was "finding cheap flights." Ugh. Never again.

I decided that was it. I wrote a book and had it published. So? My publisher had all but disappeared now. My parents had my book on every shelf and coffee table in the house, it was almost creepy. "You did it" I told myself. Now focus on your REAL job and maybe you will be the recipient of the 5$ Starbucks card for a job well done this week. THIS is your future, your safety net, your income BTW. Move on.

And I did, until...one night I woke up with the best idea...it was actually an idea for a fiction novel (my first go at fiction!) and within moments I was at my computer putting it together, watching my protagonist come to life, laughing at all the predicaments she was going to find herself in. That's when I realized, like I'm sure you have many times, I can't stop writing. It's not a job, it's a way of breathing, it's as much a part of me as my thinning hair and my size 9 AAA feet.

Why do we do it? It's not to become rich and famous and have our books made into movies so that we can meet Meryl Streep, my idol. Yes, I know Cheryl Strayed did it, but I'm really beginning to think, you know, it's not the norm. We do it because it's in us and we have to let it out. Recently I had a session with my beloved writing coach and I said "I am 55, and petrified. The time is slipping away and I have so much I want to write and say, I'm afraid I won't get it done." "Use the panic" she said "And write!"

So I have set a new goal for myself, to have my fiction novel done by my birthday this year, which is August 9th. That means writing on weekends on evenings, in the wee hours of the morning to get it done. I'm very proud of my book "There's Been A Change Of Plans" insert shameless book promotion here, and I wonder can I love my new baby as much? Time will tell.

Why do we do it? Because we have to, because we are not whole without it. And because, maybe, just maybe, you know Ellen will friend us on Facebook and see that we wrote a book, and then...
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Sunday, December 6, 2015

Brand New Boyfriend, Same Old Family Means Holiday Fun

Ahh, the holidays. The festivities, the pine tinged air, the twinkling lights, the carol singing, (Please do not knock on my door after 5 PM and start singing carols I will either open the door and laugh my ass off, or depending on how it went at work that day and how many glasses of wine I have downed since returning home,  I may start crying and ask you all to come in and explain Google Analytics to me, because I have been at my job for a year now and I STILL DON'T GET IT and it's getting very tiring pretending I do.) Trust me, you don't want any part of that...so move along please. Anyway, the holidays... Fun right?

When my kids were little I LOVED the holidays, Hannukah, Christmas...BRING IT!  Now, if you've read my book, There's Been A Change Of Plans,  you know that we are Jewish but that we also loved Christmas. How can you not? It's fun! It's Santa! It's happy songs! Of course when my kids were in school, the school was politically correct in doing a "Holiday Show" as opposed to a "Christmas Pageant", but really isn't it all about Rudolph? Am I the only one who tears up when singing Frosty The Snowman? Yes I know "He'll be back again someday," but when? I need reassurance damn it!

Also, I'm going to come clean here and say I love gifts.  When M asks "What do you want for Hannukah this year?" I don't reply "Oh I can't think of a thing." Everything! I want everything! Remember that mug with the cats all over it I saw last Spring in the local gift store? I want it! Remember that bracelet with the little wine glass charm hanging from it? I WANT IT! I want it wrapped. I want bows. I can't help it. I love gifts. You will never see the words "NO GIFTS PLEASE" on an invitation I send out, more like "YES BRING ME STUFF!" Sorry, but there it is.

Anyway,  I can tell you that as much as I  love this time of year, divorce can throw a wet blanket on it, and if you are divorced then you know what I'm talking about. The first divorced Christmas/Hannukah is killer, it may be all you can do to go through the motions, putting up the tree, with the same beloved ornaments you've  had since before the kids were born. You may remember your first little tree as a married couple, before there were little people around made from the two of you. How proud you were of it when your family came over and you all sat on your little apartment floor drinking eggnog from dixie cups. Now, the decorations cause you to break into  spontaneous tears, the strands of lights are a pain in the ass that you don't want to deal with instead of a happy beginning to a season of love and laughter.

The next year is a little easier and then perhaps the next year, you are not alone in facing it. Maybe you have started seeing a special someone, and maybe this is when the family will gather to give him a good going over. As excited as you are to have a new person to share your family and children with, it may not be all smooth sailing. You cannot control the way your family will act and you cannot control the things your new partner may say or do.

For instance, the first time I brought M to a holiday dinner, it was at my house for Thanksgiving. It was going pretty well, the kids were keeping their distance but my sisters and parents were being cordial. My dad and I  removed the turkey from the oven and then from the huge roasting pan that I had used for Thanksgiving turkeys for the last 20 years or so. My mother took her rightful place at the grease filled roasting pan, where she would create the gravy that the whole family dreams of all year long. Suddenly M was there standing next to her and before I could get to him, as if in slow motion, I saw him open his mouth and heard him say, "Oh let me do this, I'm a gravy aficianado!"

Well, time stopped. The room went silent. My father stopped carving. In that instant I was not sure how we could go on from there. My mother, all class and tact as always, stepped away and said "Oh please, have at it!" But we knew, this was bad. Very bad.

Guess what? By the end of the dinner all was well and since then my mother has returned to her rightly position as gravy goddess and we laugh about it now.

There will be moments. It is not easy bringing a new person into family traditions. My big tip for you is DON'T PUSH IT. You can't make everyone accept your new person YET. He has to earn it and if he is the right person he will. Sending your kids to their rooms because they ignore him or choose to keep their distance will only make them resent him. Having him jump in and participate in family traditions may make your family wary. Time is on your side, and use as much of it as you need...as THEY need.

M and I have been together for years now. Our families come together now for the holidays, my parents, his mother, our siblings, our 7 kids. It will happen if you let it— naturally.

Now, I need to get back to my Xmas list. I must try and remember... which gift store was it that I saw the cat mug...





Friday, November 13, 2015

Marriage, Divorce And A Good Gastro Doc



Sunday morning I woke up and as I lay there feigning sleep so that M would get up and make the coffee, I knew something was special about the day, but I couldn't figure out what. Typically, this happens after I allow myself an Ambien the night before. For those of you who may actually be able go to sleep like a normal person, Ambien has the tendency to make you do weird things that you won't discover until the morning. I have walked into my kitchen the morning after an Ambien, to a scene that looks like the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity had a rager on the counter next to my fridge. There may be an open tub of garlic hummus, a melted frozen chocolate covered banana, a ripped open box of Special K cereal and Trader Joe's mango slices smeared all over the counter. It makes me eat a lot of weird things before I fall asleep, and when you combine that with my Netflix subscription, well, I don't think anything else needs to be said. Total devastation.

The point is, I woke up and knew something was different about the day. I immediately ruled out the worst possibilities, was I late for work? No it's Sunday. Is it mammogram day? Nope, it's Sunday. Then it came to me...the day was what would have been my 35th wedding anniversary. There we go, that's it.

To think 35 years ago, at the age of 20 I thought I had it all figured out. I would get married, be a wife, wipe down my kitchen cabinets with Murphy's oil soap on Monday mornings, learn to cook, eventually have kids and drive carpool. Nothing to it. But as I came to find out, there's A LOT to it, more than you can realize as you are walking down the aisle, looking forward to the sushi appetizers you insisted upon, even though your dad hates sushi and he's paying for it. It's YOUR day, you only get married once right? RIGHT?

Um, maybe not so right. My marriage would have been 35 years old, my divorce is about four. When you are getting married you tend to see only the good in your soon to be spouse. He has good teeth. His table manners are impeccable. He's funny. He's super nice to my mom. When you get divorced, you see only the bad. You remember the arguments, the slammed doors, the days of angry silence, the almost impossible task of dealing with the kids without crying at the dinner table.  You remember the total unraveling and you think "It's his fault" "It's her fault" "If only" etc.

Just as I wasn't prepared for the reality of being a wife, I was definitely not prepared for the reality of being an EX WIFE. The anger sits below the surface of your gut, you will think it's heartburn and you will go to a gastro doc (It's not just me right?) and you will tell him your dad has Barret's Esophagus and you think you have it to and after some tests he will say no, you don't have it YET. Get a grip. But it's there, gnawing, burning, until one day...blissfully, it's not. And that's the day you are no longer just an ex, you are a person with a whole new life ahead of them. It may not be what you expected, but it will be fabulous because you will make it so.

Eventually,  you may see that thinking of your ex no longer makes you want to fall into a chair and cry your eyes out. It may even bring a smile to your face. And you may think of him fondly, and you may hope he is well, that he is happy even. And then life goes on, and you will fill it with wonderful people, and happy times.

In the meantime, if you want the sushi appetizer, insist on it. I mean it is your day after all...

My first book "There's Been A Change of Plans" available here
Come on! It's only 3.99 to download!




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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

It's All There In Black And White


So,  the day is almost here. Saturday my book, There's Been A Change Of Plans—A Memoir About Divorce, Dating And Delinquents, is being released on Amazon. And needless to say I am beside myself. Also, I am petrified, because as I was writing it, it didn't really occur to me that people would actually be READING it. It's sort of like when I wrote that email to my sister about how fat my stomach looked in a tankini and then mistakenly sent it to my real estate client.

I mean, do I really want my kids to know that I was stood up on my first Match.com date at a tiki bar, where I showed up in my new Anthropologie shawl?  (Remember? They had a brief resurgence a few years back.) Does the world really need to know that my gynecologist asked me to "Please remind me next year to use the extra long speculum?" No, nobody needs to know that, but...there it is.

When I recently read the finished product, I remembered WHY I began to write it. The book begins with the day that changed my life forever and I remember it like it was yesterday. And I also remember the day that I realized I had to file for divorce. The game was over. I remember sitting on the edge of my bed and feeling totally alone. My friends were all married, in fact right that minute, as I sat on  my bed wondering what was to become of me, they were all home preparing dinner for their husbands and children. Salmon or steak, that was all they had to worry about, (in MY mind), not gathering cell phone records, and bank statements.

I began to search for answers, for help, for comfort. I ordered books by the dozen seeking advice on how to get through each day— how did other women survive this event that I perceived to be the end of my life in a way. One person wrote about meditation. Tried it. Discovered a two inch long hair on my ankle and got super paranoid. One woman wrote about her husband leaving her for another woman. Yes yes!! She gets me!! She went on to talk about how she and her two little boys moved into her parents apartment on Park Avenue and she was able to resume her career as a wife on a top show about lawyers on CBS. Phew!

See what I'm saying? Where were the poor shlubs like me, who hadn't ever worked, decided to get married instead of going to college and had four children who's world had just come crashing down, but whom I did not have the strength to guide into a new one? And then I realized there must be others out there like me. Somewhere, there had to be another woman who was sitting on her bed thinking WTF do I do NOW. And so I began to write, and it's all there. Every bit of it.

So, I guess my point is, this book is for all of those women, (and anybody who likes a good laugh)
who think their life is over,  because I want them to know that it is just beginning. Sure it sounds like a cliche, chin up, new beginning, blah, blah, but it really IS! Is divorce devasting? Yes. It is devastating and crushingly sad. There will be days that you think you cannot go on, and then your little boy will stick his head into your bedroom and say, "Mom I'm out of socks" and you won't say, "Wear flip flops" like I did. You will rise up, and you will wash his socks and you will go about your life, and it will get easier and better and then one day it will be fucking great and you will be so proud of yourself. You will reinvent, you will find new passions, you will thrive.

So...anyway, THAT'S why I wrote it. As soon as it hits, I will post the link to facebook. I hope you will let me know what you think.
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