| Everything’s Coming Up Rosen

Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Live to be 100?

Posted on 04 May 2017 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

OK, I promise … this is my last column of comment on my age. I’ve got to get beyond the miracle of having lived 90 years and acknowledge that, having made it this far, I would kind of like to go the distance another 10 years while remaining in the shape that I’m in. There is sooooo much in this world that is in seismic upheaval, and, by golly, I’d really like to see how it turns out. Yes, I guess I am greedy.

Those driverless cars, for instance, are coming, and I want to be in one that drives itself—what a long way from the old non-air-conditioned jalopy I grew up with! Then, there’s the 3-D printer and its effect on every aspect of our economy, which doubtless will emerge strong in the next 10 years. And what a turn from the old mimeograph machines that left ink on my hands as I turned out class assignments in the 50s.

I want to live to see a slow-down in the results of climate change – and ways that cheaper and cleaner energy will give the planet a chance for good to conquer evil.

And OMG—I just this minute received a text that told me about a new device the size of a tissue box that can harvest drinkable water from thin air.

All this coming in the next 10 years? So, speaking of texts – let’s go back to the innovations during the past 10 years as in Smartphones, Apps, You Tube, GPS, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, selfies, Alexa, Google, Uber, Airbnb. And I’ll bet you could add another full page of lists of changes within the past decade that I didn’t mention. Oh, what a difference 10 years can make. And we haven’t even touched on politics and the sad escalation of lack of civility.

But, see how one can so easily become diverted. I had planned, in this column, to answer the question everyone has asked me: “What’s your secret – of 90 years still on your feet?” And my answer, alas, will be of little help to anyone. It is simply: just plain good luck, as well as the fact that I don’t much like the taste of booze or coffee, or tobacco – and that spinach, broccoli, kale, and just plain water, have far more palate appeal for me. I consider that “luck.”

That, aided perhaps by a few pieces of wisdom gathered throughout the years: I have learned to distinguish between reasonable and realistic expectations, and have trained myself to go for the realistic ones. And, for its universal appeal that covers the main ingredients of a healthy life, I go for the serenity prayer despite that I am not especially prayerful: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.

Live to 100 — in good condition? Hmmmmm.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: The tree – and my very big birthday

Posted on 05 April 2017 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

My realtor’s car pulled into the parking space designated No. 606 and we both emerged from the vehicle, I – staring into the lipstick red blooming bougainvillea tree, demarking the end space in that section of the lot – immediately fell in love … with the tree. I didn’t need to see the apartment. I wanted to live near that tree. And to add to such largess, its twin sister stood straight and tall only feet from the front door.

With a short cursory look around, “I’ll take it” were the very words my realtor had hoped to hear. Within weeks, my precious “stuff” slinked easily into 1450 sq. ft., after having been surrounded [by additional stuff] and overstuffed into 3500 sq. ft., and I felt like twinkle toes.

That was almost three years ago; and, alas, the parking lot tree has since lost its bloom, its branches dry as a cadaver, standing sentinel over my parking space (which I never use since I have a garage). Every time I looked at it, I felt like crying. Every time guests parked there, I wanted to engage them in a hugging ceremony with me. Dead as the proverbial doornail, it might have been in a Vermont forest in mid January.

I mourned my tree for months, ambivalent about its presence. How long do you keep a dead body in full view? The sun burst on it, the clouds rained on it, but there it stood, motionless, bare and desolate.

And today, as I hauled my garbage to the dumpster abutting the space – OMG! — my tree was gone, a mere stump of it still snug in the earth. I stared at the emptiness and I heard my Ibis chirping nearby. I watched the mother duck-in-residence waddling in front of her babes on the parking lot. The scene was funereal.

Then, I had an out-of-body experience. Some other me – not the one I thought I knew — walked around among the various flowers and bushes in the community with a pan and a clipper and a trowel. I collected a variety of colorful flowers into the pan, pulled out a stool from my garage (I have an old cranky back that doesn’t take well to bending.) dragged my water hose to the spot, doused the earth around the stump, and proceeded to plant flowers around it. And, boy, did that make me feel good!

And here’s the thing. I wanted to write a thoughtful, insightful, philosophical piece about reaching my 90th birthday this month. I wanted to list everything I learned about life, to dispense my wisdom and advice, to pontificate on “my secrets” of longevity and to extoll with infinite gratitude the randomness of just plain good luck. But, instead, I wrote about my dead tree, and the joyousness of living flowers in its place.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: My annual rant

Posted on 02 March 2017 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

I am a positive person, actually an optimist. I am not a complainer. If the soup isn’t hot enough, I don’t send it back; I slurp it anyway. If the gardener allows the branches from my trees to bend over onto the walkway, I take a pair of clippers and prune away. If the cashier at the dollar store checked out one dollar too many, I tend not to go back for my dollar. Two dollars? Maybe! If “they” predict rain on my beach day, I go anyway, knowing how wrong “they” can be. And when friends lie prostrate on the floor kicking and screaming about the election, I bring them a drink of water and a cold wash cloth and say, “Give it a chance.”

But here are two irritations that just won’t go away – and I AM complaining this time. Both have to do with noise. My hearing has recently been checked, and, for a tottering senior, it functions remarkably well. So I get seriously agitated with loud noises that interfere with my ability to hold a conversation.

The first culprit is the leaf blower. This may seem like paranoia, but I am certain that the Leaf Blowers Union has a schedule of my activities, and that the most persistent of them is assigned to me on a daily basis. My location doesn’t matter as long as it has a tree with falling leaves. Having a philosophical chat, or engaging in titillating gossip on anyone’s back-yard patio or even the most prestigious hotel grounds in any state, province or outlying other-world country, inevitably signals the arrival of “the leaf blower” followed closely, on my part, by a series of non-modulated “what”s?

The above is what I call an active transgression. The noise abatement issue that is more treacherously passive occurs in restaurants all over the world at the most popular hangouts. Of course, if you are European or South American and you are accustomed to dining more towards the midnight hour, you might not feel the stinging resentment of paying outrageous prices per person to scream at your companions or to play the ping pong game of “what, what and what?” By that hour, when your choice of entree has already been ingested to the max with no remaining pickings, the crowd has thinned, the service help anticipates release, you can get away with whispering conversations.

But for those of us who prefer to dine at the socially acceptable hours between 7 and 8 p.m. any day of the week — forgetaboutit!

Dismissing the probability that you have already waited beyond 10 minutes for your reserved table, once you are seated and anticipating a pleasant catch-up conversation with your companions, you will be wishing for a megaphone and/or hearing aids — that work.

But, I was warned early on that life is not fair. In a desperate appeal to higher educators, I offer to support any noise abatement program on your campus that can come up with what should be a simple solution, given that men have gone to the moon, and automobiles are now running without drivers.

So until someone takes me up on my offer, you will find me in the aisles of Publix, where shopping is indeed a quiet pleasure, purchasing ingredients for healthy meals at home – often with friends – and on track for becoming the hostess of the year.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Love again in February

Posted on 02 February 2017 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

How many ways are there to talk about love without being repetitious? That has been my annual challenge for over a decade. So my angle this year is condemnation of the very loving intent of the sacred Golden Rule — “Treat people the way you’d like them to treat you,” which is the modern interpretation as posed by GRO (www.thegoldenrule.net). Actually, if we follow that directive blindly, we are committing an act, in some instances, of extreme selfishness.

Wait wait wait! Before you throw me into the pyre, hear me out.

Certainly, there is the desire to be treated with respect, but the word treat in this context covers a plethora of peopled interactions, some of which are multi-layered. Example: A boyfriend presents his long-time “main squeeze” with a huge bunch of flowers for a romantic occasion. She had spoken to him of her allergies to flowers, but he wasn’t exactly into listening. In this instance, he was treating her with the love and kindness he would have wanted reciprocally, perhaps in a more gender-appropriate offering. It was received with feigned appreciation and the recognition that he hadn’t heard her.

What she had really wanted from him was to have been heard. Sure, she could then have told him the truth and, this time, be heard; and she may well have done so, but there’s that little nuance of wanting to be treated (listened to) the first time around.

Being heard is really a metaphor for being known. People in close relationships want to be known by the important people in their lives, as in, “Hey! This is the real me – the me I want to be loved for – not the me you love because you have fantasized some combined ideal of me and who you want me to be.” This, of course, is taking the flower tale to an extreme, but there are so many similar situations where people with good intentions treat others without any emotional input into how that other person really wants to be treated.

Quick story: My sister and I had a bachelorette apartment in Manhattan eons ago. We shared laundry chores. I’d fold hers and place the items neatly in her drawer. She’d flatten mine on top of the dresser. I fumed every time I had to fold and place my items in my drawer. One day, I found her taking her items out of her drawer, and she turned to me, saying, “I hate the way you fold my stuff, and I hate how you put them away for me.”

We laughed. We straightened it out. Neither of us had “done unto” the other the way each of us wanted to be “done unto.” We loved each other, but we had gone our own separate ways for so many years that it took time for us to really get to know each other again.

The word love is bandied about carelessly and sometimes meaninglessly. To really love someone is to know the essence, the soul, the inner workings of that person; to know and to accept all that, and to make it a part of who you are.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Bye Bye 2016

Posted on 29 December 2016 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

Twenty sixteen – departed and gone

A year that was quite a phe-nom-en-on

Dominated almost entirely by Trump

His rallies, his tweets, his life on the stump

Sanders and Hillary left to examine

The reasons they bore an “Electoral” famine.

But way back in Jan. we were warned of great harm

When Korea detonated its hydrogen bomb

Alas, the unthinkable happened in Flint

With poison in water that wasn’t mere lint

The death of Scalia you may still recall

Caused McConnell to render an epic-long stall

There won’t be a Justice replaced on the bench”

A decision he made that was deeply entrenched

Blacks feeling threatened at home by the cops

In Dallas cops killed – it just never stops

In Brussels and Paris and Istanbul, Nice,

Munich, Berlin –What happened to “peace ?”

In England they voted to “Brexit” E.U.

The planet’s unsettled – as changes accrue

But – the Cubs won the Series – after waiting so long

Then elections took place – so many, so wrong!

Was it Comey, the emails, or working white men?

Hillary lost – millions seek Zen.

Castro’s demise caused some celebrations

Congressional forecast: “lotsa in-ves-ti-gations”

December’s the month that was chock full of news

Much of it fake – a trend – causing the blues

Transition appointments – the top of Trump’s list

Perry- in charge of the place that he “dissed”

Hacking by Russians to skewer the election?

Trump opts for nukes for greater “protection.”

But the market is climbing – to peak at its top

Who can predict its inevitable drop?

Conflict of in-ter-est questions arise

In ’17 – it’s certain – we’re in for surprise!

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Good will towards man

Posted on 01 December 2016 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

Peace on earth. Good will towards man,” is probably the most favorite saying spoken or quoted during the Christmas holiday season. Even, it is said, the most liberal secularists who reject Biblical Christianity love to use this phrase and claim it as their own.

The “peace on earth” part, hopeful denial of reality that it is, is an eternal prayer that has yet to be answered. Certainly it is an aspirational “good,” and, though it may remain unanswered in all of our lifetimes, there is no more worthy goal for humankind despite that as individuals, it is a condition beyond our control.

So I have concerned myself with that which is within our control as individuals: “Good will towards man.”

Has there ever been a time when “good will towards man” is as far from the ‘collective consciousness’ as it is today? Well, probably historically, there has been, but I want to stay with the now. The residual “spill” from our recent past national trauma lingers in all the wrong places — in the hearts of those stuck in a mindset of righteousness, in people who sneer at the concept of being non-judgmental in a world filled with human beings who are more than one dimensional.

Many of us have difficulty with the concept that another person can have a belief system in total opposition to our own, with equal sincerity and purity of heart, and that such a person can indeed perform acts of kindness and can make positive contributions to their community.

This is what makes “good will towards man”such a challenge.

I am aware of how this past election cycle has torn families and friendships apart, and has caused serious rifts in some marital relationships. And, despite the innate wisdom of the mantra “Let’s agree to disagree,” the issues and circumstances for many of us were so deep-gutted as to have been symbolic of the very core of our beings. And disagreements along political lines can be perceived as rejections of who we are in the “I am what I believe” modality.

Somehow, we can more easily disagree about sports teams, movies, books, art, taste in clothes or home furnishings, or even, in the abstract philosophy than we can about politics, without impugning the basic character of another person.

So, in this relatively short–lived seasonal spread of overt loving and good cheer, I am “putting out” the hope that we can extend good will to the folks who voted whichever other way from your vote, that they did. And a reminder: This doesn’t make them bad people.

So, ho, ho, ho — it’s time for some levity. Here’s to a wonderful Christmas, Chanukah and whatever else you celebrate this month, and here’s to some serious “good will towards man.”

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Month(s) of thanks

Posted on 03 November 2016 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

It’s almost over, folks. While the turkeys are skittering around looking for hiding places, we know that soon — very soon — phase one of our 21st Century “long national nightmare” will be over. Thank you, God, for that. But no matter how the election turns out, our many wounds will take time and attitude adjustments, before effective healing can take place or certainly before any of the promises of national salvation can even begin to come to fruition. It will be a time for serious auxiliary leadership to emerge with a plan to bring us together.

And for all the jabs we’ve sustained and the dire attributions of the diminished power of the United States on the world scene, we can still lay claim to our “greatness.” Thankful we can be, every day, that we are not living in any of the many war ravaged countries that can no longer sustain its people. Thankful we can be, every day, that our constitution guarantees that we can witness a regime change without bloodshed (we hope). Thankful we can be, as we stare at that half empty glass, yet we are able to see its half fullness. And thankful we can be for anyone and anything that can still make us laugh – no matter what.

And thankful indeed we can be for our sense of touch when offered by a friend or loved one to soothe a painful body or heart; for water still running and available at the turn of a faucet (we are praying for you, Flint); for the sight of a wild sunflower, a palm tree, an orange grove, a full moon and our Florida sun (when it is not hiding) and its sometimes frothing, sometimes calm, but still always there, ocean; and for mountains and summits beyond Florida and sources of transportation to get to all the “beyond.” Thankful we can be for a schoolyard of screaming kids and for loving grandparents still trying to learn to text; for old photographs borne of film (what’s that?) that remind us of the good old days; and for our freedom to respond with a polite ”no, thanks” as needed. Thankful we can be for the good people who show up to help during disasters and the good people who just show up; for the people devoted to all the “cures” of body, mind and soul; the sounds of music in private places and acoustical buildings, and in outdoor venues soaring into the airways, and lifting our spirits, that in some cases, inspire our dancing feet; for poetry, good and bad; for storytellers and painters with words, and brushes, and on stages; for people who run things and make things, and repair things, and imagine new things, and offer new ideas … and for people who protect us and our things, and for the lives of people no longer here, but whose legacy make our own lives meaningful. Grateful we are, too, for the mistakes we’ve made from which we have learned many a valuable lesson, and for the freedom to make more of them without having to live in fear; for the off-button on remote controls; and for broccoli, kale, smoothies and chocolate. And, we are oh so grateful for humility, forgiveness, choice and hope.

Happy Thanksgiving to all. Add your own gratitudes and keep them in mind all year.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Wake up — It’s October — and I don’t have any rants

Posted on 05 October 2016 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

School is routine already. Vacation picture albums are stashed with the others which, after you’ve flashed them umpteen times on your smartphone, some will morph into hard copies, and you won’t look at them again until the next time you move.

You might take one last trip to see the turning of the leaves, but most likely you won’t. Instead, you will remember the last time you did. You might marvel at the fact that the ocean water is still warm and wonder if it has always been warm in October; and, if not, what’s up with that?

You might smile initially at the ubiquitous orange and black wherever you go, but will get sick and tired of it before Oct. 31. If you are planning to indulge in Halloween festivities for adults or kids, your creative brain has been cooking for a while. And somewhere within your soul, you have become aware that 2016 is on its last legs and that what you have to look forward to for the rest of this year is serious shopping, holiday parties, and, in some cases, the loneliness of being far away from family, and a few reflections on the overall quality of your life choices.

Maybe you’ll purchase some new spiffy seasonal clothes. Or, you will go into the back of your closet and, voila, come out with some “OMG, I forgot I had this. I haven’t worn it for 100 years.”

You are happy that daylight-savings time, which usually terminates in October, doesn’t end until the first week in November. Sunshine and light, after all, are one of the reasons for being in Florida.

You will be happily ensconced in your favorite chair for the return of Sunday and Monday night football, unless, of course, you’re like me, an aberrant, and couldn’t care less about football.

And you are prepared for the every four-year October political surprise that will emerge at the end of the month, but you won’t change your mind, no matter what about how you plan to vote. You are registered to vote, right? It’s not too late to request an absentee ballot in case you have an aversion to standing in line. In Broward County, call 954-712-1903. In Palm Beach County, call 561-656-6200 to have your ballot sent to you. Do it NOW.

And here’s the big event for which you will need to make preparations. It’s the post-election let-down. Well, sure there will be some immediate chatter about what happened and why, but the high theatrics are likely to subside. We’ll go back to murders, car crashes, rape, corruption, predictions about the holiday, retail economy and political grand-standing (and most likely paralysis) regardless of who wins. But the big question is – what will happen to the Donald Trump show, if he wins or if he loses? Will we face serious withdrawal symptoms if he becomes presidential? Or, if he slinks back into limited notoriety, what will we do for entertainment?

Yes, I know. This is serious stuff, folks, but if we lose our sense of humor, then all is lost.

Hail to October, the beginning of the end of another year and a good time for reflection on the year, so far.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Smartphone-itis

Posted on 01 September 2016 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

Surely, you know it’s a disease. Of what proportions is unknown, as of yet. Will it show up in the genes of the next generation – and to what extent? Will human fingers mutate? This is also unknown. Some addictions, we know, pass down through heredity. So many words, so many articles, columns, books, discussions have been written on the societal “effect” of the smartphone. When do you not use it?

For me, the impact clicked when looking at the iconic over-the-top cartoon showing a car with “Just Married” emblazoned all over it. The bride, still dressed in her flowing gown, the groom in his groomsman’s attire, are leaning on the front car bumper as close to each other as strawberries and whipped cream with nary a sign of recognition of each other. Both are busy with their eyes lowered as they text (to each other?)

As with most impactful technological innovations, there is the good and the bad. It is wonderful to be able to communicate at an airport, to have the GPS lady lead you through mazes of unfamiliar miles to your destination, to be able to give a heads-up text to your significant other who is in an important meeting that can’t be interrupted, reporting that you won’t be there on time because of a flat tire. And it is great to get answers to the endless answers to questions about pure trivia from Google, like who played the lead in a 1972 movie, and to receive the myriad “alerts,” and, well, you know I could fill pages with this.

But the dislocated ability to confront people eye to eye says something important about relationships, as does the misguided need to respond to every signal. When the phone rings, why must it be answered immediately if it’s your sister and you are lunching with a friend or at a dinner party table? Yes; it’s good for emergencies, but not every “Hello. How are you doing?” is an emergency. And then, when you whip out pictures of your kids or grandkids or greats — about whom most of your surrounding companions care not a whit – is that an act of cluelessness or narcissism? The sheer discourtesy of being inattentive to your immediate surroundings speaks to misplaced priorities.

Personally, I am offended when people place their phones in plain sight in social situations – unless they declare some kind of expectation of an emergency. Perhaps, it’s my age, but it is not hard to remember a time when folks called on land phones and left messages when you weren’t home. They weren’t expecting an instantly gratifying response.

Many colleges have done serious research on the effects of slavishness to smartphones in regard to relationships. I’ve checked out several and learned of a predisposition towards feelings of rejection on the part of romantic partners when phones are used excessively. Google “smart phones and relationships.” You’ll be amazed at the abundance of scholarly interest in this.

Yes, yes, times are a-changing… but fast.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Time for ‘voter’ school

Posted on 04 August 2016 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

I received the big envelope today — the one with a bunch of names, some of which ring a bell, others of which pull a blank – my “test” of citizenship. It’s my ballot for the local primary elections on Aug. 30 and my instinct is to put it aside and pray for the gods to fill it out judiciously for me. (Call your Supervisor of Elections if you haven’t received yours – Broward County : 954-712-1903, Palm Beach County: 561-276-1226)

Unless you’re a “party regular” or actually pay attention to the junk mail ads you get, how would you know what to believe? These people are a sea of faces with important jobs. But are, nonetheless, mostly invisible to the majority of us, including me – a political junkie – who is still faced with the dilemma of executing good choices.

Unless you make primary voting the focus of your life or you are an integral part of the inner circle of the party of your choice, you will be hard pressed to find the resources required to make informed decisions. You can tap a friend or an acquaintance, a person “who knows,” whose judgment is in alignment with your own, and copycat his or her choices, or you can follow the editorial lead of a newspaper of choice [The Observer Election issue is Aug. 25]. You can Google individual names and make judgments based on their experience, background and the position they take on issues, or you can go down the list, guessing and marking names as you used to do with multiple-choice tests in school.

www.vote411.org is a good source sponsored by the non-partisan League of Women Voters, providing information on candidates and the election process. In preparation for the Aug. 30 primary, the league has contacted each local candidate requesting that they complete questionnaires with biographical information and their positions on issues. Voters who go to this website enter their address and it shows only candidates who will be on their ballot. They can compare candidate information and even print out a ballot with their choices.

So while the kids are stocking up on their school supplies, buying new outfits and reconnecting with friends they haven’t seen all summer, it would be a good idea for you to go to “voting school” [to get informed] this month. Do you even know what district you are in? Decide on who you want for state attorney, state senator for your district, circuit judge for your judicial circuit … There are several groups on several ballots, county court judges, school board members, the office of sheriff, property appraiser, supervisor of elections, amendments to the Florida constitution and questions on local ordinances.

Boring? It may not be fun, folks – but it is the bedrock of our democracy which is the ultimate greatness of our country. If we don’t make it our business to become informed about our local governance, then we will no longer have legitimate “griping rights.” Granted — it’s not as exciting as national politics, but this is where it all begins folks.

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