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Throwback Thursday


That’s me on the bottom.  The little head.  When you’re the third child, there ain’t a whole lotta pictures gettin’ took!

rabinowitz 1967

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An old dog. Draw your own conclusions.

If you scroll down to the bottom of my blog you’ll see the line “If forty’s the new thirty, someone forgot to tell my thighs.”  (and my uterus, but that’s another story.)  True, there was a time before penicillin, and indoor plumbing, and cosmetic surgery – when being in your forties meant you were officially OLD, while now, being in your forties means you go to spin class, wear short shorts, and read Twilight with impunity.  But being in your forties isn’t all roses, prune juice, and junk mail from AARP. There’s a dark side to being forty something. Dark. Dark. Dark.

Here goes:

1. You think everyone is 20-something, because they all look so young.  They you realize they are thirty-something, and you only think they’re 20-something because you can’t believe that you look 20 years older than a 20-someone does.  But you do. (more…)

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My husband. 1974.

Just a little gift for the New Year.  Bar Mitzvah boy supreme.  And yes, his father wore a matching flocked velvet tuxedo, pink ruffled shirt, and bow tie.  I love the 70’s.

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The 40th Anniversary Edition of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

You know you’re old when your childhood faves are now retro cool.

This was brought home to me the past few weeks by two very different events: meeting and interviewing the original cast and director of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, in honor of their 40th anniversary (yikes) and the release of the Ultimate 40th Anniversary Collector’s Edition, and going to see Duran Duran – the seminal band of my High School years, on their All You Need is Now tour at Madison Square Garden. (more…)

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One of My Arty Farty Photos

I am never going to love my body just the way it is, and that’s OK.  Let me explain:

Yesterday, I read this post about a woman struggling with her post-baby body.  What struck me about the piece was that this struggle is new for her. She talks about how she never had body image issues until she had her second child.

Wow.

I cannot remember a time when I did not have body image issues. Well, maybe that’s not completely true – I distinctly remember a time in fourth grade when I was sashaying up the school steps in what I thought was a fashion-model way, when I realized to my horror that I wasn’t alone – my teacher, Mrs. Richardson was there watching. “You are quite the fashion plate!” she said. And while I had no idea what that meant, I knew it was good.  And I sashayed even more.

But that was it.  The last moment in memory when I wasn’t embarrassed by or self-conscious about my body. (more…)

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Lots of college students spend a year abroad.  I spent two years as a broad.  In Paris, in my twenties.  And lately, I’ve been reminiscing all about it.  See, I’m planning a trip to Paris next spring with my mother and my daughter.  And it’s been so long since I’ve been there.  And I SO didn’t have a husband or children when I lived there.  It was a lifetime ago.

A time when I was still Hip – hey I was living in Paris and working as a singer.  (OK, A Bar Mitzvah Band singer….but still.) A time when men under the age of 70 – hell, under the age of 30 – routinely checked me out and asked me out.

Yeah, like I said, that was a long, long time ago.

And it wasn’t because I was all that attractive, either.  I was just…other.  Just as we New Yorkers think that Parisian women are sophisticated and exciting, so did the French find it glamorous that I came from “zee beeg Apple.”  And just as American men find the French accent sexy…well, need I say more?

Back the, the French still LIKED us. They acted like they didn’t sometimes.  The ugly American idea was around.  But overall, they thought we were cool. (again: long time ago) Back then,  they learned much of their American culture through movies, and were convinced that New York was full of thieves, rapists, and drug fiends, but that the rest of Americans lived like characters out of 90210.  My friends were constantly asking me if I’d seen this movie star or that, and if it were true we only drank white wine.  They wanted to know if I’d seen cowboys, and were the refrigerators really that big.  Did I surf, they asked.  And once, someone even asked if it were true about the alligators in the sewer system.

The French seemed to think that I should know everything about every state in the Union.  When I tried to explain that being a New Yorker is not the same as being a Nebraskan or South Carolinian — and least of all a Californian, they looked at me in a dazed way and asked if I’d ever been to Miami.

It’s funny to me, that I was so “exotic” back then.  Because now, well, not so much.  I’m a mom, a blogging mom, kind of a cliche, in a way.  (Although Beccarama recently had a great post that I’d like to subtitle “Power to the Mommy Bloggers”)  Laundry, school buses, playdates, Gymnastics.  Not exotic.  Not at all.

That’s why sometimes I do crazy things, like Pole Dance, or Trapeze. Because even though I love my husband, I love my kids, and I love New York…I sometimes miss being that exotic creature:  The American who Spoke Fluent  French.

I miss Paris.  I’ve tried to keep part of it with me: I shop in small food boutiques.  I wander into Agnes B. now and then. I eat my salad after my entree.   But the truth is, New York is where I belong.  With my family is where I belong.

I’m looking forward to showing my daughter Paris. To introducing her to my French friends.  But even when I was there, I was still a  New Yorker.  Case in point: one time on the metro, some  man tried to stick his hand into my purse.  “Move your hand, or lose your hand,” I said in French.  You can take the New York woman out of New York.  But you can’t take the New York out of the New York woman.

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Pirate cutout Not too long ago, I went on a cleaning binge.  One of the things I threw out was a poster-sized blow up of a picture of me from my wedding.  My husband had blown up pictures from several different stages of my life to decorate the room in which he threw me a surprise 40th birthday party.  The party now being mymble-farrumph years ago, it seemed time to toss the giant blow up of my face.

The porter in our building, however, didn’t see it that way.  He could not throw it away.  First, he brought it back to our door. “You must have thrown this out by mistake,’ he said, handing it back to me. I assured him that, no, I just didn’t really want a giant blown up picture of myself.  Still, he couldn’t throw it away.  It just seemed wrong to him, he said. It was my wedding picture.  He kept it in the building’s staff room for months until one of the other doormen finally got tired of looking at me, and threw it away himself.

And now, as my parents contemplate selling their country home, and I go about cleaning out the rooms in which my children have spent every summer since they were born, (and my family has spent every summer for the past 25 years) I know just how he felt.  I don’t really WANT  four hundred and ninety-seven scribbles drawings from my twins’ second summer at the house, but somehow, it seems wrong to throw them away.

Let me first say, I am not a hoarder.  And not: I am not a hoarder in the creepy “yes I really am a hoarder I’m just so far gone that I don’t know it” way that the real hoarders on that A&E show mean it.  I’m really not.

Two or three times a year, I have my kids go through their toys and saved school work, and together, we do “keep or throw.”  We’ve gotten rid of LOTS of things that way.  And given away a lot, too. “Throw,” more often than not mean “give away.”  My wardrobe is in constant overhaul mode.  Anything I haven’t worn in two years is OUT. I regularly go through the medicine cabinet and toss anything that’s out of date. Getting rid of things is not the problem.

It’s just getting rid of these things.

There’s the pink bathing suit and coverup set my daughter wore the summer she was two.  I’ll never forget her strolling onto the patio with it on and then carefully taking off the robe, thinking for a moment, then taking off the bathing suit, and finaly heading into the bow-up kiddie pool.

I know I’ll always have the memory.  But I kinda want to have the suit, too.

Or what about the endless paintings my kids did in their summer at the Parrish Museum Art Camp.  This being The Hamptons, my then five year olds didn’t just paint, oh no, they went to visit Jackson Pollack’s house, and then went back to camp and made paintings inspired by his work. Seriously.

I can’t throw those away.

There are the “Welcome Home Daddy” signs they made, and then took to the train station, where they stood on the platform, he in his pirate costume, she in her tutu,(that’s them in the picture) waiting for Daddy to come out to country after working all week in the city.

There are finger paintings, and birdhouses, and bath toys, and doll strollers.

And it all brings back so much that I can’t bring myself to give it away.

Of course I know it’s ridiculous.  I know I can’t hold on to their babyhood forever.  But maybe, just maybe, I can hold on to the physical evidence of their babyhood just a little bit longer.  And maybe then, if I’m really lucky, they’ll stay my babies a little bit longer too.

Original Post to NYC Moms Blog.

Nancy Friedman write about momming, aging, and her 20 year quest to lose same ten pounds, at From  Hip to Housewife.

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