Sunday, May 27, 2012

Fashion Facts from a Non-Fashionista

Dear Fashion Industry,

We’ve never had a great relationship and with each passing year, I find I like you less and less.  This afternoon, against my better judgment, I spent time with you in the hopes that I won’t have to continue to fight with the contents of my closet each morning as I prepare to go to work.  However, that plan didn’t exactly pan out as I expected.

Based on today’s experience, let me tell you a few things that you don’t seem to understand:

  1. Some people don’t like to shop and don’t have unlimited funds to spend on clothing,
  2. Not everyone has the body of a tween or teen, most of whom want and can afford to wear everything skin tight.  Some of us need a little wiggle room in our clothing.  That means that we’d like the waistband of our pants to sit on our waists.  (That’s why it's called a waistband.)  Can you make some pants like that?  Please?
  3. It doesn’t mean, however, that a size large needs to have sleeves that are six times longer than the sleeves on a medium or that shirts need to come down to our knees.  A little extra room in the shoulders and the overall width would be very helpful.  Do you think you could do that?
  4. Not everyone looks good in crew neck tee-shirts (even if they come in 37 different colors).  Can you possibly make some square neck and/or v-neck tee-shirts, too?
  5. Some people like relatively plain clothing.  Do you think you could make some shirts without sequins, ruffles and embroidery?  Pants without sequins, studs and zippers at the ankle?  And purses without fringe, studs and metal rings all over?  Lots of people would thank you for that.
  6. Polyester, rayon and nylon do not breathe.  Therefore, they’re not especially good fabrics for summer clothing.  Cotton is really good for summer fashions, but it needs to be weighty enough so that the clothing—especially the white pieces—aren’t sheer.
  7. If you’d be so kind as to add a dash of polyester to the cotton, the clothing can go into the dryer without shrinking.
  8. Some of us would appreciate summer dresses with short sleeves.  Sometimes the office is just too chilly for sleeveless and, believe it or not, most 40-somethings I know don’t wear dresses with spaghetti straps. I know, you’re incredulous, but believe me, it’s true.
  9. The average American woman wears a size 14.  Therefore, you probably should make that the middle of the bell curve.  Maybe then size 14 garments  wouldn’t sell out so quickly leaving lots of teeny tiny sizes on the racks at sale time, which is extremely frustrating for all of us average size women.
  10. One final thing, Fashion Industry:  Can you do something about the music?  I’m not saying that you need to play easy listening tunes or Muzak, but I don't need to hear it from the street as I approach the store, and something with a little more melody and a little less beat at a significantly lower volume would be great.
No, I’m not ready to throw in the towel and head to the Alfred Dunner racks, but a little cooperation from you, Fashion Industry, would be very much appreciated.  Thanks for your consideration.

~ JanetheWriter

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Journey Continues...

Dear The Mums,

I know that sending yahrzeit notices is a routine administrative function in synagogues, especially when they’re as big as Temple Shaaray Tefila, but do they really think that I need a reminder about yours?  Really?!  Here’s the thing you’ll love, though:  The letter I received yesterday from Shaaray Tefila says that your name will be read at services on Friday, June 1, and the letter I received today from Temple Emanu-El says that your name will be read at services on Friday, June 8.  I guess it’s the same principle as celebrating two days of a holiday to make sure that you get the date right.  No worries on that front: I’ll be at Shaaray Tefila on June 1, and Daddy will be at Temple Emanu-El on June 8 so we’ve got you covered.  And you know Amy…she does her own thing when it comes to anything that looks or feels even remotely “religious.”

There are a few other things you might want to know – if you don’t already.  The "bridge ladies" are trying to find a date to get together again during mid-September, and when I wrote back to tell them which dates could potentially work for me, one of the dates that doesn’t work conflicts with a meeting of the TST Ritual Committee on which I now serve.  Like mother, like daughter...

Also, I assume that you know that Debbie Bravo’s leaving at the end of June to become the senior rabbi at Sue Feldman’s congregation.  I’m sad…but I’m sure this is a good opportunity for her, and hopeful that she and I will stay in touch.  Two years ago at this time, we spoke every day.  When I was in the city, she’d call after every visit with you to give me a report and check in on the rest of us.  I’m not sure how we made it through those long days, but I’m sure that we couldn’t have done it without her and everyone else who called, visited, cooked, texted, emailed, posted messages on Caring Bridge, and otherwise helped us absorb the shocks of that bumpy road.  I was just thinking the other day about the “concert” in your hospice room on one of the first days after you got there.  It might have been the day after Shavuot, but I don’t remember exactly.  What I do remember is the singing…  Jacquie on the guitar, Sally, Flo, Randi, Debbie and whoever else happened to be there at the moment.  We sang all your favorites:  Jerusalem of Gold, The Impossible Dream, America the Beautiful, We Gather Together and lots of others.  I hope you heard us and could enjoy the music.

Daddy’s going to the June 16 gala honoring both Debbie and David so you will be well represented.  I considered going, too, but I’m having “nip and tuck” surgery on June 19 so just want to lay low during the few days beforehand.  It’s a same-day procedure—under general anesthesia—to clean up the incisions and put the finishing touches on last year’s 12-hour surgery.  I expect that everything will go as planned and I’ll go back to work the following week.

In other news, Amy’s business has taken off like wildfire and she’s collecting clients faster than Albert C. Barnes collected art.  Ian is a Little League superstar with multiple games each weekend.  He plays catcher and when he’s at bat often hits well enough to bring a few players home.  He’s going to baseball camp this summer and, if Amy let him, would toss a ball around all day long. 

As always, there’s lots more to tell, but I need to go fix some dinner.  I’m sure you already know most of what I’ve reported here, but in case you didn’t, I just wanted to keep you up-to-date.  And, of course, you know I don’t need any reminders about your yahrzeit.  Not a day goes by that I don’t think of you, miss you, and wish you were here.

~ Boo!

P.S.  A “baby rabbi” will start at temple on July 1.  He was ordained a few weeks ago in New York and in my mind, he’s sort of like the new king in Egypt, with you playing the part of Joseph:  “A new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.”  But, as it says on the tee-shirts from the temple’s 40th anniversary:  “The journey continues…”

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Lingering Remembrances of Loss

Two years ago today, I posted two separate messages on my mother’s CaringBridge site.

In the morning on May 19, 2010, I had this to say: 
As many of you already know, the last few weeks have been difficult for my mother.  During this last week in particular, her condition has deteriorated significantly and she has, despite medication, been in considerable pain. Yesterday, acting upon recommendations from both her oncologist and her long-time internist, my father, my sister and I agreed that it is now time to follow her wishes and make arrangements for her to enter a hospice facility.  Accordingly, we met at length with a hospice nurse, and within the next few days, we expect that my mom will be moved to Haven Hospice at JFK Hospital in Edison (right across the street from her beloved Temple Emanu-El).  In the meantime, she is resting comfortably in the hospital, and we, too, are comfortable knowing that we are abiding by my mother’s wishes.  

Many of you know, too, that the Festival of Shavuot, which began last night, is my mom’s favorite Jewish holiday.  As Rabbi Bravo wrote to a few of her own colleagues yesterday, “Diana would have wanted us to celebrate this holiday, just as she loved Torah and let it be her guide through life.  Ironically, she went into the hospital on Pesach, and here we are on Shavuot.  Her family and I decided that just as she lived her life by the Jewish calendar, so is she planning her end of days in a similar way.”
By evening, our 11 days of family time in hospice had begun:
This afternoon my mother was transferred from Robert Wood Johnson to the hospice facility at JFK Hospital in Edison.  When we left her, she was (as she has been for the last few days) unresponsive, but resting comfortably and in no pain.  The speed of her deterioration on all fronts during the last several days has been notable and somewhat startling, even to a longtime family friend who has been together with us frequently during the last seven weeks.  Having said that, we have reassessed our earlier thoughts regarding visitors, and would prefer that only family, clergy and close friends visit.  We want your memories of my mother to be filled with laughter, happy times and much goodness.  We are, of course, grateful for your outpouring of care and love on this site and invite you to continue to share your thoughts with us.
Of course there are sweet and happy remembrances, but today, it is May 19, 2010—a surreal and difficult day—that was at the forefront of my thoughts and memory.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Color Me Red

Today was a gray, drizzly day in New York City.

To brighten it up, I added a little red to my wardrobe.

But this is the red I really wanted to add to my day.

So that's where I'm going now...with this other little bit of red.