A Tribute To A Rebirth And A Death From The Past Week (VIDEOS)

Two events that happened this week touched my heart in different ways.  To pay tribute, I offer you this quick post.

Tribute

The entire free world knows by now that Stephen Colbert will be replacing David Letterman on The Late Show.  Like Jon Stewart said, I can’t wait to walk by The Ed Sullivan Theatre in Manhattan to see Colbert’s name on the marquee.

I know he’ll be dropping his The Colbert Report personae for the new show, and jumping back into his own skin.  Here’s one of the reasons why I love him so much: he brilliantly played his character to perfection. My favorite example of doing what he did best was when he was a guest on The O’Reilly Factor.

At the age of two, Mickey Rooney had already made his first public appearance in his parents vaudeville act. Multi-talented , Mickey could sing, dance and act, and so began the Hollywood legend’s long career.  I loved  him best in Boys Town with Spencer Tracy, National Velvet with a young Elizabeth Taylor and an older Mickey playing the real-life character, Bill Sackter, who spent more than 40 years in an institution and now experiences life and love for the first time in the movie, Bill.

Mickey also had a bit part in Breakfast at Tiffany’s as the offbeat upstairs neighbor of Audrey Hepburn, and joined other Hollywood legends such as Buddy Hackett, Sid Caesar, Milton Berle and Jonathan Winters in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

RIP, Mickey, and thanks for the entertainment.

I hope you all have a fabulous week.

A Short Open Letter From My Heart

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both 
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth..
Two roads diverged in a wood and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”~Robert Frost

There’s a line as a writer that you’re never quite certain you want to cross.  How much of yourself do you put into your work?  How much do you reveal of your true nature without crossing an imaginary boundary that might leave you open and vulnerable and breathless?

open letter heart friends

I’ve always worn my heart on my sleeve, risking the consequence of being hurt or misunderstood.  Telling others how I feel, and helping others however I can, always makes me feel good.

This is who I am.

Yet too many times I’ve felt the sting of rejection for reasons that still escape me.  The sting never quite disappears.

Despite feeling wounded, I am also blessed with friends who are as close to me as sisters.  Together we face the world with joy and laughter, year by year. We share our lives, and although we live far away we will always be connected.  I am not ashamed to say out loud that I love them.

open letter friends heart

The world can be a cold place.  Circumstances can change on a dime. Life continues to naturally move forward, and it’s difficult to see what won’t be, what is unattainable and what is lost. Things lie beyond your grasp.

New circles form, and feeling a bit left behind forces a new resolve to take stock and begin a new path.  Without bitterness, but with an open heart, this is a new journey that was meant to be.

So I decided to take that leap of faith by writing what is in my heart.  I am crossing that imaginary boundary, the one where I wear my heart on my sleeve.

Spring Is Here: How My New Bicycle And FitBit Will Help Me Feel And Look Better

“With the coming of Spring I am calm again.” ~Gustav Mahler

Spring Healthy Jenny Craig

Spring is finally here.  Almost.  The snow has melted at our house, and the temperatures may reach into the fifties today.

For us, any temperature above freezing is a cause for celebration.

I always look forward to the spring.  It’s a time of renewal, a time when the drab, dreary colors of winter are replaced with happy, vibrant colors.  Flower buds begin to bloom, birds migrate to the north and the warm feeling of sunshine renews our spirit.

Spring Healthy Jenny Craig

But somewhere between childbirth and midlife, when my body began to change again and again and again, I didn’t always look forward to spring in the same way I did when I was younger.

Gravity took over, and the pounds I put on were much harder to take off.  So when the calendar showed that spring was around the corner, I often dreaded shedding the sweaters and coats that hid the unwanted changes in my body.

Beyond dreading the physical changes, I was equally unhappy about being less active during winter.  My disability prevents me from running and walking far distances, and for the last year I’ve been working hard on getting pain-free motion back in my right arm while enduring a frozen shoulder.

As Tony Soprano used to say, “What are you gonna do?”

So this spring, despite the gravity, pounds and shoulder, I’m going to get my butt back on my new bicycle that’s been gathering dust in my garage for the past year.  I walk by it everyday, hanging upside down, glaring at me as if laughing out loud while saying, “Hey!  When are you going to get me down from here?”

Spring Healthy Jenny Craig 

I also love my new FitBit that challenges me to walk more every day.  I attach it to my bra in the morning after getting dressed, and I check it at night before I go to bed to see how many steps I took, how far I walked and how many calories I burned.

Thank you to my cousin Gabrielle who surprised me with my new device.  Wasn’t that thoughtful of her?

It also helps that I began the Jenny Craig program last December, because my clothes now fit me better, and I feel lighter and healthier.  I look forward to continuing with their program.

Spring Healthy Jenny Craig

My goal of feeling healthier seems more within reach than it did a year ago, so I am glad I began taking steps toward taking better care of my body.

What are you doing to feel healthier this spring?

*I received a free month on the Jenny Craig program and a discount on food for this review.  There was no compensation.  All opinions are solely my own.  NOTE: Clients following the Jenny Craig program lose, on average, 1 -2 lbs. per week.

 

 

 

My Day Of Zen: Being In The Audience For The Daily Show

At the risk of sounding ridiculous and terribly insincere, yesterday was one of the most memorable days in my life because I had the chance to be part of the audience for a taping of my favorite television show, The Daily Show.

The Daily Show Zen

Along with my brother and sister-in-law I spent the day in Manhattan’s Hells Kitchen where the studio is located, picking up our tickets, eating a leisurely lunch and then returning to the studio.

The Daily Show Zen

Jon Stewart has always been a favorite of mine since replacing Craig Kilborn on The Daily Show, changing its direction toward seeing the hypocrisy in journalism while also finding the emotion in key topical issues.

I continue to be impressed by how bright he is.  He has to be. Whether interviewing heads of state, renowned journalists, musicians or businessmen, Stewart always holds his own while keeping the interview entertaining and whimsical.

Yesterday I was not disappointed.

The Daily Show Ze

When I walked from the lobby into the main studio, my first steps felt as if I was walking onto hallowed ground.

Sitting in the front row, it was fun watching the crew and getting warmed up by the comedian Vince August. August engaged with the audience, using his own brand of humor to get us roaring with laughter.

NOTE: I should have thought twice before he asked me what I do for a living.  When I told him I write he asked me what I write about. When I told him disability (I should have said midlife; it’s funnier) he said, “Oh, good way to bring the audience down.” Then I added, “but about ability”, so he made a joke (I think I must have been nervous because I don’t remember what he said), and then he asked the audience to give me a round of applause.

Phew.

Jon Stewart is a regular guy, only he’s so much more than regular. When he first walked onto the stage, he graciously walked a few feet in front of us, asking us for any questions, telling us some funny stories, and after the show he came back to thank us for coming.

He’s a real mensch.

With his guest, Nate Silver, the statistician and writer who analyzes sports and elections (think Moneyball), Jon conducted an interview that let us in on the funny side of algorithms, while allowing us to see the human side of genius.

My one regret is that I didn’t have the nerve to say something I thought would be funny but complimentary.  It would have gone something like this:

“When you helped to induct Bruce Springsteen into the Kennedy Center Honors, you said Bruce must be the illegitimate child of James Brown and Bob Dylan.  I think you must be the illegitimate child of Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks.”

Do you think he would have laughed?

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Our Collection of Broadway Playbills Tells The Story Of Our LIves

Yesterday I posted Playbills from the 1966 and 2006 Broadway productions of “The Apple Tree.” My Wordless Wednesday post featured a very young and handsome Alan Alda in the 1966 version.

Broadway Playbills Magic

I originally wanted to post a trilogy of Alan Alda plays (Art, QED and The Apple Tree) but couldn’t find the Playbill from Art.  Yes, I am crazy about that Hawkeye, science-loving, happily married guy.

Broadway Playbills Magic

My husband is a collector of sorts.  He has cartons of 1960′s Topps baseball cards, piles of championship New York Knicks NBA programs and every T-shirt, sweatshirt, pajama bottom and baseball cap from The University of Wisconsin.

Playbills Broadway Magic

He also held onto most of the Playbills from Broadway shows that we’ve seen together since we met in 1985.  As I look through each cover, it reminds me of our life together, and the events that were happening in our lives at the time we enjoyed each show.

Playbills Broadway Magic

It’s no surprise how many Neil Simon plays we saw.  To us, he is a playwright extraordinaire: Brighton Beach Memoirs, Biloxi Blues, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, The Odd Couple (the female version – ugh), Barefoot in the Park (1996), Promises, Promises (2010) Rumors and Lost in Yonkers.

Playbills Broadway Magic

I love musicals.  When I was 8 years old my mother brought me to my first play, Fiddler on the Roof.  We sat in the third row orchestra, and I felt as if I lived in Anatevka.

Playbills Broadway Magic

I was hooked for life.

My husband always insisted he enjoyed only plays and didn’t care for musicals.  I couldn’t understand how anyone could feel that way, especially because he is so crazy about jazz.

I made the mistake of taking him to see Will Rogers’ Follies starring Keith Carradine when our friends were in town from Wisconsin.

Big mistake.  It was awful, and he kept reminding me of it.

Playbills Broadway Magic

But I remained undaunted, and dragged brought him to more musicals despite that debacle.  Les Miserables. Jersey BoysFiddler on the Roof.  Guys and Dolls. South Pacific. He enjoyed them all.

Need I say more?

Playbills Broadway Magic

The play that was the one of the most meaningful to me was The Producers. Growing up, my brothers threw barbs around that I later found out were quotes from the movie The Producers starring Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder.

When The Producers came to Broadway, my brothers and I decided to get tickers for the three of us and our spouses. We were excited to see Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick in the Mel Brooks zany comedy.

Playbills Broadway Magic

The show was a smash hit, and getting good seats wasn’t easy.  The best we could get were three seats in one row and three behind them.  My brothers sat in front of me, and I clearly remember that while I was laughing, I watched their heads and shoulders moving in every direction as they roared with uncontrollable laughter.

Broadway Playbills Magic

Broadway holds special magic, the kind that everyone should experience at least once in a lifetime. So if you decide to go, do me a favor. Get me an extra ticket, because I’m about due to see another show.

What was the best play you ever saw?

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Wordless Wednesday: Two Playbills and One Play, Forty Years Apart

In our collection of Playbills there are two from separate productions of “The Apple Tree.” They were performed forty years apart.  One starred the young, handsome pre-M*A*S*H Alan Alda; the other the adorable Kristin Chenoweth.

Playbills The Apple Tree Alan Alda

(Left to Right) Alan Alda, Barbara Harris, Larry Blyden, 1966

Playbills The Apple Tree

Kristin Chenoweth, 2006

Linking up with other Wordless Wednesday bloggers:
Wordless Wednesday
Wordless Wednesday @ The Jenny Evolution

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Two Videos That Help Us Do A Happy Dance To Celebrate Spring

What did I hear?  It’s spring?  I don’t believe it.  When I look out my window there’s still snow on the ground. The temperatures are in the forties.  I need more proof.

But it is late March, so I’m going to do my happy dance anyway (be wary, Elaine Benes) because I know that shortly I’ll be able to shed my heavy coat and sweater, walk outside, and feel the sun warm up my cold, winterized body.

I’ll let this movie mashup take it from here.  You’ll want to get up and dance!

I couldn’t end this post without a nod to my favorite commercial, one that’s always made me happy.  You can’t sit still during this one with Cary, Gene, Groucho and Twinkletoes.

Have a happy, dance-filled spring weekend.

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An Almost Wordless Wednesday: Two Special Couples Celebrate 62 Years Of Marriage

On this Wordless Wednesday, I raise a virtual glass of champagne to celebrate the anniversaries of my parents and my in-laws 62nd wedding anniversary. It has always seemed extraordinary to me that they married a week apart, and honeymooned a few miles from one another.

In the early 1950′s many couples honeymooned in “The Catskills”, a popular resort destination located in upstate New York. The Nevele and The Concord are no longer there. But our parent’s love have stood the test of time.

Happy Anniversary to our parents. We love you dearly.

Anniversary Mom Dad Marriage CelebrateLinking  up with other Wordless Wednesday bloggers:
Wordless Wednesday
Wordless Wednesday @ The Jenny Evolution

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Finding A Balance Between Work And Play (Or How I’m Getting My Groove Back)

This was an unusual week for me.  Not because there wasn’t a snowstorm, or because I finally found time to go shoe shopping.

Food Play Work

It was unusual because I went out to dinner three times.

When I was in my twenties and working in New York City, my friends and I would think nothing of dining out every night. We were young, and the world was our oyster.  Needless to say my bank account suffered from all of those pearls.

But that’s another story.

These days, my life is a busy one, filled with countless hours of work and the heavy demands of my personal life.

work playI’m not complaining because I love what I do, but sometimes my social life suffers.  That bothers me a lot.

So I’ve decided to take better care of my social needs by finding time to engage in the world outside of social media.

Yes, there are people who also exist outside of my laptop.  I vaguely remember that.

I love spending quality time with friends, family and colleagues.  I find true value in maintaining an equal balance between the deeply satisfying work I do and having an active and vibrant social life. 

It’s something I’ve been missing for awhile, and it’s time to get back into the game.  

This week, I went out one night with my nephew and son while they’re on spring break. Another was dinner with a dear friend I haven’t seen in a year, and another was a lovely romantic dinner with my husband.

Dinners from around the world – Mexican, Thai and Vietnamese -filled my stomach and my heart.

But wait!  I’ve been writing about being on the Jenny Craig program, so how could I enjoy three dinners out?

It was simple.  I was careful with my portion sizes, filled my plate with more vegetables than protein, and drank a lot of water.

I also planned ahead by time by stepping up my exercise routine.  My new Fitbit was a big help by forcing me to increase the number of steps I took each day.  That way, if I ate too many tortilla chips, a couple of vegetable spring rolls or drank a delicious glass (or two) of Spatlese, the total amount of steps I took would work in my favor.

When Judgment Day came, and I stepped onto the always-dreaded scale, I found out my game plan worked.

I was down another pound.

It feels good to know I’m taking baby steps toward taking better care of not only my physical needs, but also my social ones.

We all need to think of ourselves as a whole person instead of difference pieces that make up the whole.  We are born whole, and tending toward our health should always include taking care of our emotional and social needs, no matter how busy we are. We all deserve it.

How do you balance your work life with your personal one?

*I received a free month on the Jenny Craig program and a discount on food for this review.  There was no compensation.  All opinions are solely my own.  NOTE: Clients following the Jenny Craig program lose, on average, 1 -2 lbs. per week.

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