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Lessons from the Subway 

Last week, I turned 59. 

This week, I got on a moderately crowded Orange Line car, and a young man near the door promptly offered me his seat.   A few hours later, when I boarded a slightly-less-crowded Orange Line car for the return trip, another young man did exactly the same thing. 

Astonishing.   In a lifetime of riding public transit, I can recall only one other instance of being offered a seat, when I was struggling with several heavy grocery bags.   More memorable are the times when I really needed a…

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The Bear Facts 

I am pleased to report that during my 10 days in Montana, I was not mauled by a bear.

This happy outcome is not what I was led to expect.  Bear warnings are everywhere in western Montana. This sign greeted us as we drove to Missoula:

There is a bear warning at every trail head:

This second one, to be fair, focuses not on bear avoidance, but on which kinds of bears one is allowed to shoot.

And then there is this throwaway line, in the instructions pinned to the fridge at our VRBO.   The hosts explain that it is…

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Why can't a Jewish girl from Queens write a C&W song? 

Midway through our Montana vacation, after a lovely day of hiking, Steve and I thought it would be fun to go out and hear some music.  We searched online and found a brewery about 10 miles outside of Missoula which featured a singer-songwriter from 5:30 – 8:00.  So off we went.

The beer was excellent. The music was awful.   The food was revelatory.   We ordered a “pickle flight:”

All I can say is: if you haven’t tried Pop Rocks on a  pickle, you haven’t really lived.

Steve, whose repartee is usually as…

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Mother of the Bride, Part 3 

The central signifiers of a traditional Jewish wedding are the canopy and the glass broken under the heel of the groom.  You probably know this even if you’ve never been to a Jewish wedding because of the wedding scene in the musical Fiddler on the Roof, a revival of which is currently taking Japan by storm (many thanks to my brother, Howie, for bringing this to my attention).   

Here is the wedding scene from the very first Japanese production, featuring the great Hisaya Morishige, who apparently played the…

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Mother of the Bride, Part 2 

When Steve and I got engaged, 34 years ago, we had all sorts of ideas about the kind of wedding we’d like to have.  These ideas included a tent in my parents’ backyard, a Klezmer band, and a potluck meal brought by friends.   My parents vetoed these plans one by one.  There were not enough bathrooms in the house to comfortably service the guests (and there’s no way we could ask Aunt Rose to use a port-a-potty).   It would be hard to find a union Klezmer band (and since my dad’s CPA firm served the…

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Mother of the Bride, Part 1 

For the first time in my life, I have a handbag that matches my shoes. 

This is because my daughter is about to get married, and I am trying to be a Class Act.

Shopping for a Mother of the Bride dress was an unusual treat:  my life doesn’t offer many occasions for wearing fancy duds.   I started at consignment and vintage shops, which offered some interesting options.   This one was a little dowdy:

This one was not:

I almost picked up this little number on a trip to LA:

In the end, I went to the shop where I buy…

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Recipe Notes 

My whole family loved this dish – even the kids, who are terribly picky, and have avowed never to let a vegetable cross their lips.  They didn’t even notice the onions and the garlic!   Will definitely add this to the rotation.   – Aimee from Wisconsin

My Cuban grandmother made this recipe all the time.  Use long-grain rice instead of basmati if you want real authentic flavor!   Also, use green bell peppers instead of ginger, yellow onions instead of scallions, and salt instead of soy sauce.    Perfect.  – J

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The Rules of Engagement 

This blog post is a plea for guidance.

Like so many people my age, I am swimming in uncharted waters.   Norms have changed.  There are rules of engagement, but I no longer know them.   There is a whole new set of symbols and signifiers, brand new to me at midlife.   I have no choice but to deploy this new language, but I know I do so at my peril, constantly at risk of miscommunication at best, of giving offense at worst.

I am talking, of course, about emojis.

Some time ago, my children patiently explained to…

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