Tag Archives: birthday memories

My Rebounder Caused Concern And Created A New Exercise Routine

12 May

For my 60th birthday, I wanted a rebounder. These little trampolines are supposed to be excellent for exercising. And I wanted something new to add to my ever-expanding exercise routines. If I get bored, I might stop my daily exercises and I need to continue exercising. It is good for my health and for my life!

I found the rebounder at a local Target. It came in pieces that needed to be put together. I will tell you now that putting together a rebounder is exercise in itself, and somewhat dangerous!!! There were all sorts of warnings about getting your fingers caught in the springs. That would really hurt!

My husband works on the rebounder.  My son was there helping as well.

My husband works on the rebounder. My son was there helping as well.

I was lucky, my husband and son agreed to put my rebounder together. But it was not an easy process. There were moments of extreme agitation and aggravation.   I had to help at several points. But for me, the most interesting and amusing part was listening to my son and husband as they put the rebounder together.

“Dad, I do not think it is a good idea for Mom to use this.”

“Yea, I am a bit worried myself.”

“I think she might fall and break something. She might hit her head on the ceiling or the floor.”

“I know, but she wants it, so what can we do?”

“Hey,” I interrupted their conversation flow, “I am standing right here. I hear you!” Not that it mattered to them, as they continued, worrying about how I would actually use the rebounder.

I finally said in frustration, “I am not going to just jump on it! I am going to start slow! I will do it correctly.”

It took a good 45 minutes for them to complete the task of putting it together. Pulling those springs and getting them in place took power and the three of us working as one. We successfully completed this complicated job. After it was finished, they put the rebounder in the basement for me, where I have a treadmill and other exercise equipment.

They did it! My rebounder is together.

They did it! My rebounder is together.

I did not get on it in front of them. They had me so crazed with their worries. I waited for a friend, who has a rebounder, to come over and teach me some of the moves to use on it.

At first it was really difficult. If I finished rebounding for two minutes, I felt successful. The first two weeks I used it, my legs felt like jelly when I got off. Walking up the basement stairs took effort!

Since the start, I have been using it at least twice a day. I use it as part of my kitten feeding routine. It started as kind of a joke. I have to feed our new kitten in the basement so that our older cat does not eat the kitten food.   I thought I would try out the rebounder when I went down to feed the cat. I did this several days in a row.

On Day five, I decided I did not need to use the rebounder, I would just feed the kitten and go upstairs. It did not work out that way. Once I started up the stairs, the kitten bounded up the stairs as well.   She was not going to eat if I was not there.

I went back downstairs and started rebounding, while the kitten went back to her food. The routine was now mandated. Instead of Rome burning while Nero fiddled, my kitten eats while I rebound.

For the past three months, I feed my kitten twice each day and so twice each day I use my rebounder. Now I  rebound about 10 minutes each session. It gives me about 1500 steps for my UP, so I win doubly!

I have started watching rebounding exercises online to learn new routines. I take my time and modify the routines to make them fit my exercise level. The voices of my son and husband are still in the back of my mind, so I make sure I do not do anything that might throw me off balance, or cause me to fall. However, even though my rebounder caused concern for my husband and son, it created a new outlet for exercising for me. One that I really enjoy!


Small Maple Table Reminds Me of When My Sister Was Born

28 Aug
The table in my basement family room in fall 2013.

The table in my basement family room in fall 2013.

When my siblings and I divided up the furniture and personal items we wanted to each keep from our parents and grandparents, I chose a small maple table from the kitchen in our house in the Catskills. It is not in great shape. But it expands to sit 6 people if you need extra seating. The legs are a little wobbly. The top is a little scratched. But for some reason, I love this table. So it became mine.

It arrived safely last fall. I immediately cleaned it and put furniture cream on it, as it had been really uncared for in the few years since our parents had passed away. We had not spent a lot of time in the Catskills after they passed, and all the furniture up there had been unattended. But now that is changing.

I knew this table once belonged to my grandparents, then it became my parents, all that time it had stayed in the Catskills. But now it is mine and away from the Catskills at my home in Kansas. I had no idea how long it was in the family. However, this table called out to me. It was something comfortable. It seemed to always be around.

A few weeks after the furniture arrived, I was looking at photos that my brother also had shipped out to me. And I found a special photo. Wow! There is part of the table next to my brother and me. We are about 4 and 3 standing in our grandparent’s bungalow before a birthday party in 1958.

With the maple table in the Catskills, summer of 1958.

With the maple table in the Catskills, summer of 1958.

My brother and I are very dressed up for the Catskills. I know it is a party because I have found other photos with my cousins and grandfather. I think it was my oldest cousin’s fifth or sixth birthday. And it could have been a double party because I have two cousins whose birthdays are just a few weeks apart, and they are the same age.

My Mom was very pregnant that summer. (I actually have a photo of her as well!) Soon after this picture was taken, my cousin’s birthday was in July, my parents left for the City. They needed to be near the doctors and hospital. So we, my brother and I stayed with my grandparents.

Finding that photo of my brother and I was wonderful! I have always loved this table, but this photo makes me even more aware of its family history.

I have become a bit obsessive about my parents and grandparents furniture. My sister might say, crazed. My brother would call me loony. And I accept these type comments. How can I not? I am. Part of me wants everything to go back the way it was when our parents and grandparents were alive. I realize I cannot do that. But in a little way, I try.

An example?   I have my grandmother/mother’s baby grand piano.   I have had it for 29 years. I love it. I played the piano as a child and adult. My daughter took piano lesson on this piano. Friends have enjoyed its lovely tone.

My Mom played as well. She studied at Julliard all through high school, but my grandfather would not let her go there for college. She went to what became “Douglass” instead to be a teacher. As a teacher she would always have a job, but not as a musician.

After my parents passed away I wanted two items that my grandparents kept on the piano. We have photos of that as well. And my siblings did not argue, they let me have them. The metronome made sense. It should be by the piano. But my grandmother always kept a vase from Japan on the piano. I believe my Dad brought it back when he returned from his service in the Korean War. Now I have both items on the piano as well.

For some reason, when I see these two items on my piano, mixed in with my items, I have a sense that all is right in the world.   I remember these two items from my childhood and it brings a sense of security. Finding the old photos reinforces memories I had, and brings back memories I had forgotten.

The photo of my brother and I with the little maple table comes from a time of my earliest memories. All my first memories come from that summer, the summer before my sister was born.   I remember my Mom pregnant and leaving to stay in the city till the baby was born. I remember staying with my grandparents in the Catskills and all my cousins. I remember my Dad coming to get us after my sister was born in early September, and my mom was back home.

I remember seeing my sister for the very first time. I remember thinking that she was really small and was not going to be able to play with us.

From that moment forward I have so many memories. So to see my brother and I with the table from that summer is an amazing find. The table brings back so many happy memories. I hope it provides my children with happy memories as well.

Remembering those who passed: Yom Hazikaron

5 May
My son thinking in the map of the communities destroyed at Yad V Shem.

My son thinking in the map of the communities destroyed at Yad V Shem.

In 2005, I took my children and parents to Israel for a family wedding and a three-generational trip. We hired a private guide, as my Dad had a heart condition, and I wanted the trip to be as easy as possible for him.   It was wonderful in that sense. Our tour guide knew all the downhill paths for my Dad to walk.

Although my daughter was in college at the time, my son was just in eighth grade. I was a little concerned about taking him to Yad V Shem and Mt. Herzl. But we went because it was important.

At Yad V Shem, the Holocaust Memorial, my son was uncomfortable, especially when we went through the memorial for the children who perished. But the map of Europe and the destroyed communities felt more comfortable. He walked through that section with my Dad. They stopped at Bialystok, where my Dad’s family had lived before coming to the US. And my Dad told him some stories.  My son sat and thought about what he had seen.

After that it was to Mount Herzl. To see all the grave of Theodor Herzl, who helped to establish a Jewish homeland, and  of young men and women who died fighting for Israel was difficult. My son asked a question, “Why are there some stones with no names, or no dates on them?”

These are the graves of people who came over from Europe, who survived the camps. The first thing they did upon arriving in Israel was to fight for survival again for the independence of the state of Israel. Unfortunately, many of them no one knew their name or their date of birth. Just the day they died.   This is what the guide told my son.

We continued walking through the cemetery to the graves of famous people, when I realized my son was missing.   I did not want to go yelling through a cemetery, but I was concerned. So we all split up looking for him.

Then I saw him putting stones on a grave. This is a Jewish tradition. We do not leave flowers, we leave stones as remembrances.. This is an old tradition, and I am not sure why. But I think perhaps as we return to dust, we become part of the ground. I could be wrong.

In any case, there he was putting stones on the graves of soldiers.

“What are you doing? Why did you leave us?” I demanded.

“Mom,” he said. “I am putting stones on all the graves of people with no names. I wanted to make sure someone remembered them. I wanted them to know someone loved them.”

My heart; my son. I still cry for these unnamed soldiers. And I still cry remembering the love in my son.

Yom HaZikaron. We will always remember.

My Birthday Sewing Machines

29 Jan

For my birthday my children bought me a new sewing machine.  I had been saying for two years that I needed one.  I would pass them in the store, see them advertised in a flyer, but do nothing about it.  It was an emotional decision.


The first sewing machine I used was a 1947 Singer portable that belonged to my Mom and Grandma.  It only could make straight lines.  In the beginning of my sewing career, it was fine; but as my competence grew, I needed something better.

My parents purchased a sewing machine for me as a sweet 16 birthday gift. I was so excited. It even made buttonholes! They also purchased a cabinet, so I could leave the machine out while working on a project. It was the best gift!


I used this sewing machine to make clothing for my grandma, mom, sister and me.  Once I had children, I made clothing and Halloween costumes for them.  I made curtains and drapes. I mended clothing.  Whenever my parents came to visit, they always had clothes that needed hemming or altering.

As the machine aged, my Dad would keep it going for me.  Once a year he took the machine apart, oiled every part and then reassembled it.  It was the best machine.  Then my Dad died.  And my machine broke.  And I could not sew anymore.

I talked about a new machine. But how could I ever replace the one that meant so much for me?  It had memories; it held love.

I took two sewing classes in high school. I learned to match plaids and design my own patterns.  I learned to make special seams and clean, well- sewn garments.  The lessons I learned in Mrs. Kilkenny’s sewing classes at North Bergen High School were the most practical. I have used these skills for my entire adult life.

My mom and I had a deal, whenever I made an outfit for her or my sister, she would buy me more fabric to make my own clothes.  I hated buying store bought clothes. They were never made well enough for my standards.  Where were the French seams, the good tight stitches?  I hated frayed fabric.  So instead, I made prom dresses, pant suits, even the dress I wore for my sister’s wedding.

I made dresses for my Grandma Thelma. She had scoliosis as a child in Europe and it was never corrected.  So one side of her torso was two inches shorter than other. I made her dresses so that no one ever could tell.

I made curtains for my Mom and Grandma.  And when I moved into my house, three months pregnant, I made all the curtains and drapes for my home!  I was crazed. I understand now I was nesting. But then it was an obsession.  And my sewing machine was there for me!

I made some of my maternity clothes. But once my children arrived, most of my sewing focused on them. I made dresses for my daughter and costumes for my son.

I made projects for their classes.  For a long time on the wall of the first grade class was a quilt I put together. I had each child sign their name on a square and quilted it for the teachers.  I made reading pillows, as well as, vests for a program.  If sewing needed to be done for school, I did it.

Then there was my son and daughter and their imagination. My daughter wanted to be gypsy or a princess.  My favorite costume for her was the Indian Princess, Tiger Lily, from Peter Pan. She watched the Mary Martin version over and over again.  And had to be Tiger Lily. So a costume was created.

My son needed to dress up as Pokeman as a dragon or a lizard. I was constantly making new outfits as his imagination soared.


When he was four, we took our children to see “Joseph and his Technicolor Dreamcoat.” My son was entranced. He was Joseph. I had to make him a Technicolor Dreamcoat. He wore it all the time!! I have saved that one.

There were new curtains for their room to match the changing décor as they aged: purple for my daughter, green for my son.

My sewing machine never let me down.

The last large project I finished was valances and shades for the basement family room/rec room.   I was working on new valances for the family room when my machine broke.  When my parents died.


But now I have closed up the cabinet that holds my broken machine. And on top of it I have placed my new portable sewing machine that my children got me for my 59th birthday.  Now I can sew again.

Two sewing machines purchased 43 years apart. But both purchased with love.  I am so lucky.