Grandmother Dairy: “Snunch”

My eldest grandson wanted his own grandma day since his sister had one while he was in camp. I planned we’d hike at a county park and visit the nature center there.

In the car, we listened to his favorite cds by storyteller and singer, Bill Harley. When my kids were small, we often vacationed in Maine, driving from New Jersey. We discovered Bill Harley and became addicted to his wonderful stories and songs that appeal to every age. It is truly a delight to see how our son’s children, especially the eldest grandson, loves the same stories his father did. I’ve given many cds as presents—they are perfect for long car trips and truly engage the entire family. Between Bill Harley and the story telling from his father and grandfather, SY is learning to tell his own stories. He told his father, “I never get bored because I have so many stories and songs in my head.”

It was a hot day to be hiking so we chose a short trail, then visited the nature center, where we learned about nocturnal animals in a “night theater,” and then the playground. Returning home, I realized we hadn’t had a snack and it was nearly lunchtime. My grandson dismissed the idea to skip snack and just have lunch and suggested we have “snunch,”  to ensure we had both.

Later in the day, while waiting for his parents to arrive, we read books that I’d saved and were favorites of my kids.

Here are some titles they love at the moment:

Guji Guji by Chih-Yuan Chen.

The Paper Princess by Elisa Kleven.

The Bookshop Dog by Cynthia Rylant.

Solomon The Rusty Nail and Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig.

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen.

School starts next week. I’ll see them less and they’ll be tired after their school day. I can’t wait to hear their stories and read them more books.

photo-58 photo-57 photo-59



Posted in Books, Education, environment, Family, Grandchildren, Museums, galleries, Nature, Reading, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Iced Tea for ALS

They’re predicting 90 degrees today; a day to stay cool and hydrated. I’ll make a pitcher of sun tea outside and fill glasses with ice and fresh mint.

I won’t however, be dumping a bucket of ice cubes and water over my head. Unless you’re completely unconnected with social media, like my 80+ year old parents, you’ve heard about the Ice Bucket Challenge that has raised over $88 million for ALS.

No one has asked me to do so, which involves  thanking  the person who nominated you, passing the challenge on to three others, pouring the ice over your head, and finding someone to film it and post on YouTube for the world to see. Participants have 24 hours to perform the deed or donate; and many do both.

The “going viral” concept fascinates me. I  imagine countless other non-profit organizations worldwide are kicking themselves, asking why they didn’t think of this and wondering what they could create that could have the same impact and success as this ALS campaign.

Those opting to submerge themselves in ice seem to be having fun, and the challenge is bringing attention to a disease that many don’t know about. Facebook is full of videos of others—those who have the disease- that has no cure—and there’s no fun involved.  Other diseases need funding for research, as addressed in these blog posts by my friends Dawn Landau, and Chris Rosen.  And there are safety and health warnings after a few mishaps.

I support friends who bike, run, and walk for various causes. I give money (and a glass of water) to the college kids who canvass door to door, raising money for environmental groups. I buy Girl Scout Cookies. I support many local organizations and the arts.

Today, I’ll donate to ALS.





Posted in commentary, health, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments

Remembering the Children

Anticipating a few days at our lake house with one son and his family, I’ll spend a good part of today scurrying around collecting items we need, shopping and cooking. I’m envisioning our activities together and smile.

I’m thinking also about other grandmothers.

I’m thinking too about grandfathers, and mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, brothers and sister and cousins.

About those  girls kidnapped in Nigeria since April.

About the Syrian and Iraqi families displaced by civil unrest for whom home is a refugee camp. About Israelis and Palestinians divided by war, sending children to fight their neighbors.

About Michael Brown’s family in Ferguson, Missouri, and those of other gunshot victims.

I’m thinking about other peoples’ children around the nation and the world.

And I have no words.



Posted in commentary, Family, Grandchildren, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Grandmother Diary: Answering the Whys

I met my son about halfway between our houses to collect my grand-daughter, nearly 3. Her older brother is in camp for a couple of weeks and my daughter-in-law hadn’t found a camp program suitable for her. She’s been happy at home, helping her mother and playing with her baby brother. I offered to do a day of “grandma camp.”

As soon as she was buckled into her carseat, the “whys” began.

Why do I only have one carseat?

Why did I need to get gas in the car?

Why were the men working on the road? In the trees?

We were going to the local zoo and I decided I needed a stroller—the one piece of baby equipment I hadn’t accumulated. We stopped into Target and found an inexpensive umbrella stroller.

Why do you have to pay?

At the zoo, taking the stroller out of the car, I realized in my haste to get there,   I hadn’t noticed that the wheels were attached to the frame with those tough plastic ties.

Why can’t you put the wheels on?

Having no tool in the car to cut them, we proceeded to walk around the zoo, shortening  the visit.

The whys continued all afternoon. I loved answering them.

My favorite: Why is it taking so long for my birthday to come?  (She has a another month.)

I’ve already planned the outing for this week. I can’t wait to answer more whys.


Pushing the stroller

Pushing the stroller


At the zoo

At the zoo

Posted in Family, Grandchildren, Writing | Tagged , , , | 21 Comments

The Shabbos List: A Review

I have rather blogless lately; post-play, summer activities, who knows. Thankfully, my blog friend Miriam Hendeles,  has been very busy writing and took the time to watch the video from my play and write about it. Here’s her wonderful post.

Thank you, Miriam.




Posted in Friendship, reviews, Theater, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Madeline at 75

It’s a big birthday week. My mother’s 84th  a grandson’s 1st, and Britain’s Prince George also turning one.

This year also marks the 75th birthday of a very special little girl, beloved worldwide: Madeline. Immortalized by author/illustrator Ludwig Bemelmans , the character first appeared in 1939. The New York Historical Society is celebrating this classic (and the six books about her) and its creator.  bemelmans_flower_shop

My sister Naomi and I loved the book so much when little, we asked our parents to name the new baby, if a girl, Madeline. And they did.

Born in 1898 in the then Austria- Hungary, Bemelmans flunked out of school and failed working in the family hotel business. He arrived in New York in 1914, alone. He landed a job at the Ritz Hotel and began drawing, creating Madeline on the back of a menu at Pete’s Tavern in New York’s Gramercy Park.

I attended the exhibit with a friend, also a former educator and grandmother. We particularly enjoyed the reading room, where we plunked ourselves down on couches and read, noticing that at the back of each, there’s a list of all the places Madeline visits in the stories. Bemelman’s grandson John Bemelmans Marciano is continuing the legacy, creating Madeline and the Cats of Rome, Madeline at the White House, Madeline’s Tea Party and his latest, Madeline and the Old House in Paris

Of course the museum shop couldn’t be missed.

Rachelle as Miss Clavel

Rachelle as Miss Clavel

And there’s a little girl who’ll be getting a Madeline doll and a collection of books for her 3rd  birthday very soon. This grandmother can’t wait to snuggle up with her and read:

“In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines
Lived twelve little girls in two straight lines
In two straight lines they broke their bread
And brushed their teeth and went to bed.
They left the house at half past nine
In two straight lines in rain or shine—
The smallest one was Madeline.”



Posted in Books, celebrations, Family, Grandchildren, History, Museums, galleries, New York City, parenting, Reading, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

“Break A Leg”

With the opening of my play, The Shabbos List, tomorrow, friends are wishing me “break a leg.” Curious about the origin of the term, I did some Internet browsing.

Here’s a summary culled from various sites:

The idiom “break a leg” is said to actors instead of good luck, which is not said as it could jinx the performance and bring bad luck. Wishing an actor “break a leg” hopes a performance will be so well received the actor has to bend his/her knee in a bow or curtsey to acknowledge applause or that going on stage will give the actor the “big break.”

The phrase’s origins are unclear. Some link it to the Ancient Greeks, who showed appreciation of a dramatic performance by stomping feet instead of clapping hands. Stomping too hard could break a leg. Likewise, some say the term comes from Elizabethan times, when audiences stomped their chairs, leading to possible furniture fractures.

Some cite the Hebrew blessing ‘hatzlakha u-brakha’, meaning ‘success and blessing’, that was then adapted by the German World War I aviators into “Hals und Beinbruch,” meaning “break your neck and leg,” to wish a good flight. It coincided with the phrase “Happy Landings,” used by English and American flyers.

Regardless of its origin, I wish my cast and crew, “break a leg,” and also much gratitude for all the hard work and dedication that helped bring my words to stage.

Tickets still available:

Roy Arias Studio II, 300 West 43rd St. NYC


Posted in New York City, Theater, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 17 Comments