Friday Fictioneers: There But For the Grace…

Life has been a swirl of amazing travel and incredible moments these past 6 weeks. I’ve missed my Fictioneers group, but have been swallowed up in hours of holding and loving my new grandson, Amitai Shelev (mommy minus the m + tie). He is amazing and my heart is filled with him… and the heaviness of leaving him, in just a few days. I can’t share photos, but check out my Tales From the Motherland FB page (nudge nudge- hit Like while you’re there, for good luck) and this post, for more.

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction challenge, lead by our fearless leader, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields at Addicted to Purple. Writers from all over the world add their 100 words. Visit her blog for more details. I recognize the wall, in this photo… I’m pretty sure it’s in (or was) Vancouver, BC, near where I live. If not, somewhere close; I’ve seen it. I felt a jolt of sadness in seeing the photo prompt this week; it made me think about the loss of things that are precious. As always, honest, constructive feedback is always welcome.

© C.E. Ayr

© C.E. Ayr

There But For the Grace

“Don’t stare, love; let’s go.” Maria pulled her daughter’s hand, but the child stood firm. “Come, the market will close soon and we won’t have food for the week.”

“Mama, why are they taking it down? How will we remember?”

“Lower your voice; we shouldn’t speak about these things.”

Shelley’s large brown eyes watched the bulldozer as the beautiful murals crumbled.

“But mama, we will have nothing left! Why?”
“There are no more creatures in the seas; the wall is a hard reminder of what the Ministry has done.” Her mother leaned close and whispered. “Come, the market is closing.”

(100 words, exactly)

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GIPYHelp Me Reach My Goals! I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 800 likes in 2015. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, LeBron James does! Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email,  no spam.  ©2015  Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

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(A Long and Slightly Rambling Post That Serves As:) The Best Apology Ever

In the past several weeks, have I:

Written something?    Um, nope.

Read something?      Nope. Maybe a few sentences before I fall into a coma each night.

Take a shower– other than the kind you take just to cool off in the Israeli summer heat: cold and brief?          On occasion, when the need is clear. By clear, I mean, when the sweat from walking out the front door and half a block has begun to smell.

Eat regular meals or sleep more than 2-3 hours at a time?    Not happening.

Read emails… books… blog posts…?    In very limited quantities, and by that I mean hardly at all.

Unless you haven’t seen the Facebook updates on my Tales From the Motherland page, you may have thought I’d dropped off the planet.    No, not that either.

I am in the beautiful city of Tel Aviv, Israel, and aside from some initial brief adventures, I’ve done little to explore this vibrant city. I always find time to meander around Old Jaffa, and I took a few hours to see the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, a gorgeous museum which is very worth the time and effort. I wandered down to The Port one evening when I first arrived; I’ve gone swimming in the beautiful Mediterranean and wandered some of the streets, but for the most part, I’ve spent most of my time in a few small blocks and in a small apartment with lovely views of the date palm outside our balcony.

In some ways, that means I have experienced more deeply what it’s like to be one more resident of this place: getting a coffee, riding the bus, shopping at the corner grocery store (no easy task, when you don’t speak Hebrew!), trying to get things done before Shabbat starts each Friday afternoon–– and the grocery, and pharmacy, and cafés close. Cinemas and popular restaurants pay a penalty and stay open for the Sabbath, but my daughter observes these days of respite and we have all of our food cooked and chores done by sunset on Friday, to use through Saturday evening. For the past two weeks, every day has felt like Shabbat–– a lazy, stay at home groove that we are finally getting on top of.

I apologize for disappearing. I’m sorry that I haven’t kept up with things like Friday Fictioneers; I haven’t read much news; I haven’t read blogs that I follow and really enjoy–– and when I have, I’m so late for the party, that tables have been cleared and the lights are dimmed. I’m the last one in the empty room, leaving my comments–– because I want you to know that your work does touch me, that I have slipped out of my cocoon and done something… else.

Yes, I’ve been in a warm and lovely cocoon for the past many weeks. It’s this small apartment in Tel Aviv, where my daughter and her fiancé live, and now where my beautiful grandson lives. We have been sequestered here for two+ weeks now, as we ease this lovely little person into the world… a world that he arrived in on August 4, 2015, his grandfather (my husband) Smart Guy’s 54th birthday.

This time together, these first days are exhausting; they are sweeter than sweet; incredible in their simplicity and miraculous in ways that I had forgotten while raising my own three miracles. Two weeks ago, this small human was only a curve on my daughter’s small frame. He was a complete unknown–– we did not know his sex, he had no name, we knew we would love him/her, but even that was abstract. A day or so before she gave birth, my daughter told me with authority, “I don’t feel like a mother yet; I don’t think I’ll love this person right away–– I need time to know them.” I smiled. I didn’t say anything; I knew she was wrong.

Now, our lives swirl around this small person. He cries and we all want to ease his worries. He nestles against my neck, against my cheek, by my side, for hours each day; if I move, he moves closer. I can’t sing enough; I can’t whisper his name enough. I lose an hour, two, sometimes three holding him close to me, as my daughter tries to rest and he naps happily in my embrace. He turns to my voice; he looks at me as I sing to him, and I feel such a huge love that I am startled.

I have loved my own three children. I’ve watched them come into the world, and I’ve watched them grow up in it. I’m watching my youngest go out into that world in three short weeks. I thought I knew what this cocoon would feel like, that I remembered. I thought I was prepared. But the memories aren’t as huge as the moments back in this world of sweet new smells, tiny sounds and enormous love.

I took refuge in a fish tank down the hall... whenever I needed to just breathe freely...

I took refuge in a fish tank down the hall… whenever I needed to just breathe freely…

For two long days my daughter labored. It was surreal, agonizing, disappointing, spectacular, and life changing. Suffice it to say, that as the wife of a surgeon in the US, I have become jaded. I am admitting that, so please spare that point later. I have had excellent medical care whenever I’ve needed it. I have grown accustomed to doctors I know well, in clean shiny hospitals, where everyone sanitizes their hands and certain things can be expected. Giving birth here was very different. Watching my child, my first baby, pushed to “hurry up,” ignored when her contractions made it too hard to get up and move around–– in a tiny room with two other women laboring as well–– all while I stayed awake, for 60 hours, dozing for only brief times, on the corner of a bed, or on the floor–– it was humbling, and awe-inspiring and life-changing and huge in so many ways, that the words I type are entirely inadequate.

The incessant beeps and the magical whoosh...

The incessant beeps and the magical whoosh…

My girl has always been independent; she has always been determined. Her Hebrew name means Lioness. I gave her that name at birth, because it was clear in her first hours that she was just that. She has lived up to that name in every way. It’s ironic that her own first cub was born at the start of August, a Leo. However, in the two days that she labored in the hospital, to deliver this baby that now fills our days with so much joy, I watched my girl shine in ways I could not have imagined. Determined not to huff and puff or yell, she hummed through each contraction. “The sound travels from my throat to my center, to the baby,” she told me. And so, as we all tried to get through some very difficult hours, some of them even traumatic, it was as if my girl sang her child into the world. Other laboring women would stop by our room to listen; they touched my arm in the hallway and told me that this sound comforted them. I rubbed many of their backs, and sat with some as they labored, and my daughter hummed. I felt such pride and love, watching my daughter work to bring her own child into the world– staying focused on what she wanted for her body, and her child, despite countless distractions and barriers. We tried to block out the incessant beeps of monitors, and were lulled by the magical whoosh, of the baby’s heart beat.

And so, when I stood beside her in those final moments, urging her to “push!”–– Telling her to find that sound, to hold her focus, despite her exhaustion, despite others urging her to numb the contractions and rest, I knew she could. She did. She hummed; she pushed; she was the strong woman she has become, and then, her child slipped into this world, and we were all quiet and gentle. We welcomed him peacefully, joyfully, with reverence.

I felt a visceral jolt when I saw him. He looked so much like my eldest son that I was taken back 23 years, instantly, and my heart beat faster; it swelled with love. As the hours passed, he looked more and more like his mother, my baby girl, so much so that holding him against my shoulder I was transported back, over and over. Moments of sweet memories, blurred with the moment we were all in. The sweetest smell, a new baby. It carries me back to when I held each of my own babes, and I felt like all of life’s best things were right there in my arms.

It isn't always this pretty...

It isn’t always this pretty…

At 52, getting up every three hours is very different than it was when I was 27 and my first baby suckled from me, hour after hour. Then, the exhaustion was overwhelming, but infused with the heady sense that only I could do what she needed. Nursing is hard work. It is not as natural and easy as so many women are lead to believe, and my daughter has struggled to make this work. It requires extra hands, and unwavering support… through the night, through the long, hot days. Her fiancé is working full time and also in grad school. Like her own father, her partner can’t be there to do this. I remember so well how overwhelmed I felt when my husband, who was in his medical residency at the time, working 80+ hours a week, could not get up and fix it for me. Make this baby sleep, I wished… as I watched him sleep through her cries. Now, I am here to help that same child, a new mother, with these early days. We are lucky. My husband and both of my girl’s brothers, were able to fly here and be present when their nephew and grandchild came into the world. We all circled around him in his first 24 hours and each wanted to hold the tiny boy who is now a member of our family. We all were awed at his delicate fingers and long feet–– oh, those feet! We all held him as if he was the most delicate spun glass… and smiled as he opened his eyes to see us.

His name means “truth with equanimity:” Amitai. It rolls on my tongue; it dances through my dreams, when I drift off for short hours. I hold him close and know that when I leave he will not remember me. I will come back a stranger. The pediatrician expressed “shock” at his alertness. He stares at us, tracking us and gazing into my eyes with his deep blue ones. I want to believe he is taking me in, as I memorize each exquisite element of his tiny face and body. I want to believe he will remember my voice: singing Somewhere Over The Rainbow, Edelweiss, Beautiful Boy (John Lennon), and whatever other sweet song comes to me, in those precious moments––– even Jon Bonjovi’s Livin’ On A Prayer sounds lovely, in the late hours, holding my grandson.

But like so many things with motherhood, these hours are fleeting. This sweet boy will not remember me, probably not for years to come. Each visit, a journey that takes a long 24 hours of travel, and a week to recover, will be a new introduction. He will forget my songs, and nestle in other arms in my absence. My daughter will send me photos, and let me see him on Skype. But these days and weeks in this private cocoon, with my daughter, her fiancé, this small child, and I, are sacred and permanent. I have been reminded that a child is a miracle, each one a new human being in this world, who has endless potential and possibilities before them. Each child deserves to be held, loved and sang to. So many are not, but this small boy is. And this time is everything right now.

So, this is the best apology ever. I have been caring for my child. I have been witnessing her bring her own child into the world. I have been loving that baby, my first grandchild, every minute that I can. When I leave, he will be exactly three weeks old, and I will have held him each of those 21 days. I will have sung to him, each of those days, and told him that we are here to fill his life with love. I know I will ache when I board that plane; the 20 hours flying home will feel like 50. But, these days in this cocoon are everything right now, and I can think of no better apology, for dropping off the edge of my usual world. There will be time to write, time to read, to shower, to eat well and sleep well, later… when I am dreaming of this sweet baby’s smell, his tiny hand clutching my finger, these wonderful days of becoming a new family, of falling in love. When my world gets bigger again…

Minutes have become hours have become days... all a lovely blur of time

Minutes have become hours have become days… all a lovely blur of time

Please note: there are no pictures here. My grandson’s parents have asked that I not post his picture in my blog. Grr. I have to respect this request and so there are no pictures of him here. I would tell you he is exquisite, especially lovely, that his expression is alert well beyond what you’d expect from a 14-day old baby, but I would sound like the bragging Grammy that I have become. You might want to stop by my Tales From the Motherland Facebook page; to hit Like and see what’s posted there. Really, do it. There’s something in it for you, wink wink.

Wish Washy, highly emotional ramblings of a tired mind: To my fellow bloggers, who have created a world of support and creative energy, that sustains me, please accept this apology. There are so many bloggers I enjoy and whose work I read, or who read my work, but these are the folks who are really there for me in a steady way: Jen, Jennifer, Carrie, Cathy, Audra, MikeHeidi, Stephanie, Susan, Lisa, Amy, Rochelle, Susan, Brenda and Suzanne, you are the best! Thank you for taking the time to read my work, pretty much every time. If I write it, I know you will come, and that means so much to me! Thank you for your kind comments and lovely support. I save your posts and will get to them when I can, but I so appreciate your wonderful presence. It’s hard to believe that 4 years ago, I had no blogging community (I was just getting started), and now I think of so many of you, on a regular basis.

To my friends and family: you have been such a wonderful source of support. Thank you! It is not easy to be away from home for 6 weeks… if I had some romantic notion that it would be, I was wrong. There, I said it. I’m homesick. I am so thankful for and to: My kids: Middle Man and Little Man and their wonderful accomplice, Emmy, and my husband, who had to ride sidecar but did it graciously and lovingly. I missed sharing our wonderful rental with you, but so appreciated all of your help! Shayne, we couldn’t have done it without you! To my sister, Kristen, and my aunts Cokie and Pat, my uncle Bob; cousins Amy K, Damia T, Tracey T, Kim, Stephanie; my good buddy Marc F; to Ruth and Mike; to my nieces Charlotte, Ashlee and Julia and my nephews Ben, Scott and Justin, and dear, dear friends: Marybeth, Daryl, Mary Ellen, Rosemary, Nora, Valery, and here in Tel Aviv, Miri. And finally, to my new family members: Sasha, Tanya and Roni–– All of you: you guys have been incredible! The hours of sweet private messages, long chats, loving congratulations and words of encouragement and thanks (for all my on-going updates) has been just what I need during the many hours that I’ve been sitting in this small apartment. You have helped me stay awake, keep cool, and be present. I really do look forward to your emails/chats, which remind me that I have a whole other life, outside this little guy’s finger… which I am currently wrapped around. I am so grateful to you all.There are lots of other wonderful friends and family who have sent love and well wishes too, but the folks I’ve mentioned have gone above and beyond in their efforts to keep me connected.  And I apologize for these run on sentences and pathetic punctuation. It’s enough just to write.

Truly, my cup and heart runneth over

*    *     *GIPY

Help Me Reach My Goals! I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 800 likes in 2015. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, LeBron James does! Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow

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What I’ve Learned Watching My Children Grow Up… or Lost In Translation

Currently Featured on Huffington Post So please feel free to shoot over there and give me some sugar!

I was a first time mother here, and this little girl just had her first baby!

I was a first time mother here, and this little girl just had her first baby!

“I wasn’t born your mother.” I said this in another post. It seems like a no brainer, but somehow, between the time they exit our stretched-out, forever-changed bodies, until the time they begin to actually look and act like adults themselves, or have their own children, this message is lost in translation. Our kids think we are their parents, and there was nothing before. It’s not hard to see why. We live our lives in a complex dance in which we generally lead, and they follow. We’re not their friends, but their mentors and guardians, their caregivers, their cheerleaders, their parents. By the time they’re adults and starting to see things a little differently, these roles are seared on their brains, and we hope, their hearts. It’s nearly impossible for them to comprehend that there was really a life, or that we were a person B.C. — Before Children.

But we were — people B.C. We were once children, in similar shoes. We grew up and had our own challenges and experiences. We fell in love; we probably had our hearts broken. We went to school and eventually had jobs; we learned to pay bills and navigate life. We loved our parents, or didn’t, but inevitably had our own challenges there. We all went out there and had a single pivotal relationship that led to our role as parents.

I can’t speak to being a father, so I’ll stick to what I know best: I’m a mother, a good mother; but I was not born one. I had an entire life before this. As my three kids: a daughter, 25, and two sons, 23 and 18, venture into the grown-up pool, they’re asking more about how I managed those passages. I was not born a mother, and that fact is coming back to the forefront, as I’m challenged to rely on what I learned B.C.

Inevitably our kids venture out into that big world, and it can be helpful for them to see that we ventured too. Sure, the world has changed a lot since then, but despite any differences, we had to navigate many of the same things. Hearts break the same way; pain is pain. The “real world” can be overwhelming and scary, certainly challenging at the least. Money must be made; bills must be paid, and their lives unfold and take form, just as ours did: bit-by-bit- trial by fire.

Who is more uniquely qualified to advise and bear witness to their journey, than us? We have known them since conception. What mother can’t still recall the amazing intimacy they felt with their babies, even before birth? We, as parents, if we are clear about boundaries and open to truths, care in a way that takes in who they were, who they are, and who they aspire to be… balanced against the razor sharp edge of what we hope for them.

I thought I was in my groove with baby #3, but no one gets out without some scars...

I thought I was in my groove with baby #3, but no one gets out without some scars…

As I’ve entered into this new phase with all three of my children, I’ve discovered a powerful truth that has been exposed over the past few years with my daughter, in particular, but more and more with my sons as well: We all have our own journey, but while we may have traveled the same road for much of that journey, we did not necessarily take away the same meaning, lessons or message. As I hear my kids label and describe their experiences: as siblings, as our children, and as their unique selves, I’m hearing that they were on the same ride, but often translated events and relationships very differently.

An example: I was raised in the Christian faith. I was raised weakly in that faith, at best, but Christian nonetheless. In my 20s, I fell in love with and married a man who was Jewish, and eventually we had three children. When my husband asked that we raise our children in the Jewish faith, honestly, I gave it little thought; I said yes. I took a conversion course, didn’t convert, but threw myself into being the best Jewish mother I could be. We went to temple; we had friends in our synagogue; we celebrated the Jewish holidays, and we raised our kids to identify as Jews. I taught them the Sh’ma (link), the holiest prayer in our faith. To do that, I learned it first, and embraced it — believing that I could not truly teach something that important, if I didn’t feel it. In fact, four years ago as I sat beside my dying mother, in that moment when she was taking her last breaths, I instinctively sang the Sh’ma. My mother was not Jewish, but that prayer felt like the only thing to say in that moment. All of this to say: I believed I was raising my children as Jews, and that I was doing a really good job of it. For the record, I believed in and felt everything I was doing, as a Jewish mother, authentically. It wasn’t forced.

Flash forward 22 years, and our oldest child, our daughter, decided to move to Israel. That would have been hard enough for her father and I, and the rest of our extended family, but because I never converted, and Jewish identity is determined by matriarchal bloodlines, my daughter was not considered a Jew in the eyes of Israel — something required in order to gain citizenship. She embraced her faith fully, and spent some time living in the Orthodox community. Hard does not begin to cover that decision and its impact on all of us.

However, as she went deeper into her journey, I was stunned to hear her tell me, more than once: “You and dad didn’t really raise us as Jews.” By conservative standards, this is true; I can’t deny it. However, over time these comments and her perspective took on a more challenging and painful tone for me. This indictment strikes at the heart of all I’ve done, all I’ve given up of my own family history and identity, all that I believed I had done to raise her as Jewish. How could she say this, let alone believe it? And so, after we’d had a few difficult arguments, and after I’d stopped feeling defensive and hurt, and finished licking my wounds … I began to listen to what she had to say. That was when I realized that the lessons we hand to our children, the messages we believe we are giving, and sometimes the very experiences that we all shared together, are not always seen and experienced the way we intended or believed they were delivered. As she shared her thoughts, it became very clear that my girl had digested some things very differently than I thought I’d served them.

As we began to share more life stories, and lessons, woman to woman, this theme came up over and over again. The stories she’d told herself, or the ways she’d interpreted shared experiences: whether they have to do with faith, her relationship with her siblings, her role in our family, gender issues, how she thought we saw her — countless things, were very different than the messages I thought we were sharing.

How did my endless efforts to infuse our family with Jewish values and tradition, become a life without God or religion? When did difficult, but normal, sibling issues become painful lessons about men and women? When did their father’s efforts to get home and read bedtime stories whenever he could — translation: occasionally — while I did every “Mommy and me” class, drove to soccer/dance/religious school/was class parent/PTSA/chaperone/ad finitum, become “Dad was always doing things with us; you didn’t really like that kind of thing?” That last one landed like a slap across my face, when one of my children expressed it — stated as a fact, without any tangible anger. When did my constant belief in each of my children and their infinite potential translate to a lack of encouragement? It boggles this aging mother’s mind.

And so it had to happen: I had to look at these twists in the road, with my almost adult children, and accept that their interpretations do not always match mine. This has been a jumping off point to begin forging new adult relationship with them. Recently I have listened more carefully to their stories, their versions of our shared journeys, and I’ve tried to sit with what they have to say. I’m working on letting some things go, and speaking up only when the gap seems important. I’m trying to accept that somehow some things were in fact lost in translation. If I didn’t say it right, or they experienced it differently, I need to accept that this is where we landed — right here, in this new reality.

I try not to take it personally, though it’s really hard sometimes. I did tell my girl not to ever tell me I didn’t raise her or her brothers as Jews again. It’s not true. It’s true within the constraints of the new life she has chosen, but it’s not a cold hard fact. I have set her and her brother straight on a few key details that needed setting straight, and I’ve shared the truth, that while they may have taken certain lessons differently than we intended or hoped, the way things truly happened can not be re-written, we simply experienced them differently.

The truth is: her brothers were boys, and they acted like boys. They didn’t always do things the way she wanted or would have liked, and they were sometimes insensitive. But, they also loved her enormously and were there for her. She didn’t always do things the way they wanted, and she was sometimes insensitive as well. No matter how much my middle son has interpreted his role as middle child, as less fair, less, less, less than his siblings, it’s never been true. No matter how much our youngest believes that we don’t have as much faith in his abilities as we had in his older siblings’, that’s not true either. I have favored each of them, at various times in their lives, or in moments when they might have needed it, but I have loved each of them fully and without limits.

Nothing I did as a mother, or my husband did as a father, was intended to hurt our children, or leave “scars.” It may sound cliché, but we all did our best. The fact that our children translated some things differently, the fact the our very best of intentions and our deepest hopes of imbuing our children with certain truths was not always received as intended, leaves us all in a uniquely new world, as we all approach each other on adult levels.

As a mother, the journey has been on a fairly predictable path for the past 25 years (no matter how unpredictable young children and teens seemed in the moment), but now, all bets are off. My daughter is expecting her first child any day, and she too will learn that translating the enormous, complex ball of emotions, dreams and hopes we all have for our children is not always a clear path. We do our best, and hope it all works out in the end. I listen patiently as she explains childbirth to me, knowing that in the next few days, her perceptions may change. I smile when she tells me the latest on how babies should be cared for. Her baby will spit up, and cry, and poop, and eventually smile, just like mine did. In a few weeks, she will have just an inkling of how much I love her, and how much I have always wanted to do my best. It will be joyous to watch her take those first steps down this path.

I was not born their mother, and more than ever before, I am drawing on that fact, my history B.C., to tap into their worlds — where they live now. I am drawing on who I was when I wasn’t their mother, to understand how they feel now, and how we’ll all go forward. We’re not lost, we’re all just working on a new translation.

Update: On August 4th, Smart Guy’s 54th birthday, our first child gave birth to her first child. A gorgeous baby boy. He is beloved and I am a grammy.

Follow me on Twitter– LeBron James does! Share your thoughts; please leave a comment!

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GIPY

Throw me a morsel; Help Me Reach My Goals! I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 800 likes in 2015. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, where I’m forced to be brief. Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, with no spam.  If you see ads on this page, please let me know. They shouldn’t be there.  ©2014  Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

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Switching Things Up…

I’m switching things up today on Tales From the Motherland… I have a brand new, original piece featured on Huffington Post right now. If you are supporter of this blog, and my writing, please stop by HuffPo and show some support. Hit Like, Share, or leave a comment… hell, feel free to do all three! I could use the support of the piece. I am so grateful that the editors continue to publish my work, but it all comes down to stats in the end. So, please take a moment and go check out the new piece: 10 Things To Do Or Know When You’re A Tourist In New York City. I appreciate any and all support, and also understand if you choose not to. Thanks!

Just follow the magic link:

10 Things To Do Or Know When You’re A Tourist In New York City

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Friday Fictioneers: Only This Golden Moment Matters

I have been absent, and missing my Friday Fictioneer friends! However, it has been a very hectic few weeks: traveling to NYC, visiting friends and family on Cape Cod and in Boston and then getting to Israel. It’s VERY hot in Tel Aviv, and we are still waiting for a baby. I reassure my daughter that babies come when they’re good and ready… preparation for all the years when our kids determine so many other things, but she is tired of waiting. Alas. So I saw this beautiful prompt and have grabbed a few minutes to write. Thank goodness the inspiration came instantly.

Friday Fictioneers is a wonderfully eclectic group of writers from all over the world, who write a story, 100 words or less, in response to a weekly prompt. Please visit Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog Addicted to Purple, to learn more. Join us or just enjoy the other stories! As always I welcome honest, constructive feedback is welcome. Please leave a comment.

© G. L. MacMillan

© G. L. MacMillan

Only This Golden Moment Matters

As he swirls the amber liquid in the glass, Gerry’s thoughts wander.

He hasn’t seen his ex-wife and kids in three years. There was a time when that would have mattered.

His daughter is getting married, he heard, but Gerry knows she won’t ask him to walk her down the aisle. His son has joined the marines; he salutes others, not his father. Any love that Mary Alice once felt for him is dead, like their marriage.

It all mattered once. Not now. This golden glass, this buzz, the warm feeling in his legs–– that’s all that matters now.

(99 words)

*dedicated to all of the families who struggle with addiction, alcoholism, and loss. 

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GIPYThrow me a morsel; Help Me Reach My Goals! I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 800 likes in 2015. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, where I’m forced to be brief. Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, with no spam.  If you see ads on this page, please let me know. They shouldn’t be there.  ©2014  Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

Posted in Honest observations on many things | Tagged , , , , , | 46 Comments

Peru or Bust

Dawn Quyle Landau:

I am currently in Tel Aviv, Israel, awaiting the birth of my first grandchild. Just three years ago, our family was on the trip of a lifetime, to Peru– including Machu Picchu and the Amazon. While I have plenty to blog about right now, I go thinking about all the changes we’ve been through since that trip, and thought it would be fun to share those posts again. Many of you were not following Tales From the Motherland then, so enjoy; it was a magical few weeks!

Originally posted on TALES FROM THE MOTHERLAND:

Note: There is NO way I could share the details and wonder of our recent trip to Peru in one post. No way. So, I’ll start with the beginning and share the rest over the next few posts. After a full month off, I’m working to find my groove again. Please be patient.

I don’t do re-entry well. I never have. For two and a half weeks as I travelled around Peru, I thought of titles for posts, ways to start them, how I would describe what I was seeing and experiencing. For those two+ weeks my writer’s brain worked out how to express all that I was taking in. Yet now that I’m home I’ve found myself unable to focus, and put thoughts to page. My head has been slow to re-engage in the “real world” of daily life here.  I’m still processing amazing things we saw, amazing things…

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Putting Your Best Foot Forward at BlogHer’15

 

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Note: All feet were photographed with permission. No feet were hurt in the making of this post.

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I’m a shoe girl. Some might even suggest I have a problem… perhaps a small addiction.  I prefer to view it as a deep appreciation for floor-level aesthetics. Admittedly, I’ve been known to meet new friends, based on their shoes. That may seem a tad petty to some, but I would argue that you can tell a lot from shoes; they’ve rarely steered me wrong. I’m not a hater; I don’t judge. I do like some shoes more than others, and I tend to be interested in the people who wear them, but I’ll give any shoes a chance. Let’s be honest here, I’m not alone in my pedal-ardor. (Yes, I did make that up). I know that there are other women who enter Nordstrom’s shoe department with the same glassy, possibly drooling expression. There are plenty of women who spend much more on their shoes and have a much bigger shoe collection than me, and, there are plenty of women who don’t. But in the big picture, I don’t feel any need to apologize for this. To each his own shoes.

Last year I was totally new to the BlogHer experience, a complete BlogHer virgin. I had no idea what I was doing and found a lot of it daunting. My hotel was a few blocks from the Conference Center; I didn’t know anyone; I was a deer in the headlights all weekend– but I had a great time, and left ready to return this year.

This year was a very different experience from BlogHer’14, in San Jose; in so many ways! I came prepared, having downloaded the mobile app, connected with people on-line beforehand, and ready to hit the ground running. I learned last year that shoes are very important–– there’s a lot of walking at the BlogHer conference! This year there were more people, more networking, more choices, and shoes beyond my wildest dreams! In addition to comfort, your shoes say something about you, and the women of BlogHer bring it! It was clear that attendees put some serious thought into their feet. Pedicures in every color, shoes in every shape, size and style!  It only took me about an hour at BlogHer15 to start gawking.

Then… I started taking photos. Some people remembered me from last year: “Oh, you’re the shoe lady!” (Um, not really…) Most I had to start fresh with: Excuse me, can I take a picture of your feet– “My feet?Well, your shoes? This is BlogHer; these ladies are open and curious– willing to play along. Many asked right away if I blog about shoes– they are also a savvy, sassy group. No, not really… but for BlogHer I do, I told them. Others were confused, unsure, or simply unwilling to go along– “My feet look horrible!” (None did). “Oh, I don’t have a pedicure.” (Who cares? Not me!) But most smiled and planted their feet together; a few posed for good measure–– again, sassy! Groups of women moved in together and shared their collective foot portraits. The few men I asked, were amused, but game. A New York security guard was stoopified: “Uh, you wanna take a picture of my shoes? Like these shoes? There’s nothin’ special about them, but sure.” I gave him my card, but something tells me he won’t be trolling the internet for the shot of his feet!

Admittedly, I had a much better time at BlogHer15– for several reasons beyond shoes:

  • I wasn’t new, and so I wasn’t as overwhelmed. I had a game plan and it worked well for me. A little planning goes a long way at BlogHer Conferences.
  • I was honored and really thrilled to receive a Voices of the Year award from She Knows Media and BlogHer. It’s a gorgeous trophy, and the VOTY’15 awards (find them all here) were really diverse and interesting this year! Loved the Always’ Like a Girl Campaign (it made me cray) and Sport­ England’s Girls Can ad (lit a fire in me!), and the First Moon video had us in stitches! It was a fabulous VOTY ceremony, all around, but made even better when I finally met and sat with Katrina Ann Willis of Table for Six– I’ve followed her blog for ages, and we were looking forward to finally meeting in person. Sitting next to her and Julie Tarney of My Son Wears Heels (who can rock a pair of heels almost as well as her son), was butter cream icing on the cake!
This is a sweet prize to take home!

This is a sweet prize to take home!

*I might have been a wee bit disappointed when we went out to the main hall and my piece On My Father’s Birthday, A Letter To The Man Who Killed Him, was not mounted on one of the sleek boards that so many other award-winning posts were on. My face might have fallen, as I searched each board with Kelly and other VOTY honorees… I might have wiped away a single, dejected tear… My piece was on a small screen that flashed through the posts way too fast for anyone to read… Ok, maybe I was very disappointed, and maybe I sound like a big ungrateful baby, but just bein’ real here. Ultimately, the trophy went a long way in fixing that brief moment of silent temper tantrum.

 

And even more reasons:

  • I was smart about my shoes and didn’t get any blisters. Praise.
  • I danced like a maniac for hours at the #McDBlogHer closing party, and had the best time with the kool folks from WordPress. Those kids can dance! *I am old enough to have been every one of their parents, so I can say “kids.”
  • I was interviewed by Danielle Barnett Herzog of Martinis and Minivans, for a new TV show Moms Everyday– And even if my interview goes nowhere, because I’m an older mom and I think they were more interested in the young thangs, it was fun and cool to do it.
  • This is key: I had friends coming this time. Emily from The Waiting and Kelly from Are You Finished Yet kept me company all weekend, and added extra fun. Emily and I met in person last year , but it was great to finally meet Kelly as well. It was awesome to see Julie Christine of Fabulous Blogging/Fabulous Life? (and trust me, she can really help you blog fabulously!) and meet the hot husband and gorgeous baby she’s had us drooling about. Alex was a delight, and little man is the yummiest little guy every! Didn’t get to see much of them (because they’re wild and crazy ladies) but brushed shoulders with Aussa at Hacker, Ninja, Hooker, Spy and fellow VOTY, the gorgeous Hedia of Gunmetal Geisha.
  • I made lots of wonderful new connections and had a blast with: Julie at My Son Wears Heels; Lucy at My Life as Lucille; Chrissy at Quirky Chrissy; Molly of A Mother Life; my buddy Tonya at Women Do Everything (and she’s expanding, to do everything!) And drum roll please… I was totally surprised and psyched (read, screamed like a banshee) to meet Samara of Buick in the Land of Lexus… and yes, she’s as interesting, sexy and dynamic as you imagined–and hella nice person as well.
  • These are all ladies I’ve shared with on line for years– or just got to know, but either way, it was epic to hang out and add 3 dimension to my online crushes and fantasies.
I was excited to finally meet Katrina Ann Willis at BlogHer'15

I was excited to finally meet Katrina Ann Willis at BlogHer’15

I’ve read posts from others who think BlogHer sucks, or who feel like it’s all hype, but for me–– in my 2nd year, it only got better. I learned a lot at the sessions; I enjoyed the opportunities to meet and connect with other bloggers; I had a blast in NYC, and I had fun with new and old friends alike. I may always feel a little bit out of the loop; that’s my baggage, but overall, I found BlogHer15 inclusive and inspiring.

And, again… there’s the shoes. Last year I was shyer; I wasn’t sure how to approach people. I didn’t give out my card to every person I met or every person whose feet I photographed. Some of those people found my post anyway, and some of them found me this year: “Hey! You photographed my feet last year, but I couldn’t find the post! Can I have a card?” (Here’s the post from last year, find your ’14 feet) This year, I handed them my card and told folks to check back in a few days; so here it is: This post is a “share the wealth” post. It’s as sisterhood of BlogHer’15 shoes thing. Find your feet in the post and leave a link back to your blog in the comments. Which feet are yours? Share a few words: tell us about your blog if you want, how you felt about BlogHer’15, or something about your feet. Those feet got you to the conference and they probably left tired and sore–– give them some recognition! And thanks to each of you for playing along and letting me take a snapshot of your tootsies!

An epic dance off with the kool kats from WordPress, me, Kelly and Emily

An epic dance off with the kool kats from WordPress, me, Kelly and Emily

Final note: this post would have been up days ago, but sometimes shit happens. After hours of typing, loading photos, adding links, editing (yes, this was cut down), the wifi at the crappy quaint Cape Cod hotel I’m staying at, crashed… and at 2:15am, I lost this entire post (because I thought I’d hit save draft, but hadn’t) and had to start all over. Labor of love, folks. LABOR of love!

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GIPYThrow me a morsel; Help Me Reach My Goals! I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 800 likes in 2015. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, where I’m forced to be brief. Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, with no spam.  If you see ads on this page, please let me know. They shouldn’t be there.  ©2014  Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

 

 

 

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