| Everything’s Coming Up Rosen

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



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



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



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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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Who am I?

Posted on 07 July 2016 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen



So this is what it’s like to be a writer: sometimes you get stuck. Here’s the deadline and you’re staring at a blank piece of paper, and the current political scene — to which you are addicted and pulsing to writing about – is off limits. So instead, you open the latest e-mail from a friend, with a link to a recommended book and you don’t even peek into the content. You fall in love with the title — well, actually, the subtitle: “My life as a Pretender.” The whole title is Reckless: My Life As A Pretender by Chrissie Hynde, founding member of the rock band The Pretenders.

I do a little Googling and You Tube-ing and now I know Chrissie Hynde. But I only have less than 24 hours – and no time to find and read her book. And it wouldn’t matter because “pretending” is something I think about often and about which I find myself in frequent conflict.

I have sadly concluded that one cannot get though life without having to tarnish one’s sense of authenticity.

Unless you are Henry David Thoreau and willing to live the life of a hermit, then the very act of comingling with others demands a degree of self restraint — zipping up your lip, and engaging in occasional activities that don’t comport with your desires or your sense of self. You see yourself as this “good” person: a friend in need, someone who talks the talk of walking in the shoes of others, empathetic and kind. But in order to be totally true to that image, you are often called upon to ignore your base thoughts and/or feelings in order to fulfill the larger “calling” of your self image. Therein lies the seeds of ambivalence.

So, you don’t say some of the things that are on your mind, that you truly believe, because those “things” can be construed as “negative,” and transmuted to “hostile.” And sensitive people don’t “cotton” to their perception of “criticism.” So you retreat to your “turtle” persona crawling into your shell, exhibiting your most charming “yes” smile – saying one thing while thinking another.

Do we call this “lying,” “self protection,” “kindness” – or inauthenticity? I’m still trying to figure it out and still trying to find an acceptable balance which will help me to be the “good” person I aspire to being, and also the real person I absolutely need to be. The fact that therein lies a conflict keeps me mindfully aware that – after all these many years — I am still trying to figure out who I am.

And I often conclude that I – like many others – am not one monolithic person, but rather a tangle of many me-s.

But, aha! Soon will come the day when our thoughts will be read by the progeny of “Siri” and her counterparts – and nothing that comes into our heads will be off-limit for reading by anyone so inclined. Add that to the list of scaries in the year 2016 – as if we didn’t have enough to worry about.

But you know what? Life is good!


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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: You can go home again

Posted on 02 June 2016 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen



Was it the red rocks? Was it the New Age-ism surrounding us? Was it our history? Was it the place where we stayed? Was it our mutual yen to get away? Was it the incredible freedom to be our totally uncensored selves? Or was it a mish-mash of all the above? Who cares! What it was was our version of five days of perfection.

The last time I saw Ivy, almost 30 years ago, we had tripped cross country together when she decided to move to California to be near her parents, after her live-in relationship with my son had ended – amicably. (Neither has since married – happily.) When we parted, we promised each other a version of a “do over,” when she reached the age that I was then (we’re 30 years apart). We’ve kept in touch, though unseen. Good people keep promises, if good luck be with them.

We met at the Phoenix airport, her salt and pepper hair braided Indian style slung over her left shoulder and rippling to her waist. Yep! That was Ivy. And for all the incessant picture taking that we did, no one was there for the moment we first spotted each other and hugged like the long lost souls that we were.

With apologies to Thomas Wolfe, you can go home again, or that is to say, you can recapture the bliss of those long ago moments. Well, we could, and did. Ivy, the artist/yoga-teacher/health food specialist/positive-energy-seeker, was the official log-burner on chilly nights at our temporary home at the Oak Creek Terrace Resort in Sedona. There we warmed ourselves by the fireplace and splashed in the double Jacuzzi, swung on the double swings on the top terrace in the morning sun, and toppled a few times in the double hammocks as we stared mesmerized at the creek waters hissing in speedy movement across the rocks at the lower terrace. We giggled a lot, too.

But we came for the reds and managed to find them while walking and hiking trails daily that spirited us to heights we couldn’t believe possible. Me … an ol’ lady, dragging up those trails. Wow! And one day we spent on a flat mesa, way high up, with not a soul in sight, hugged by Cathedral Rock, or was it Bell Rock? Chimney Rock? Thunder Mountain? Whichever one, it felt cozy and protected, emitting vibes of harmony and peace … oh, yes, love, too.

A hike on the path to the Buddhist Stupa in Peace Park, where we each engaged in our own style of meditation, topped off that day of soulfulness as the rains burst out of the clouds just as we closed the doors to the car. “Car-ma” indeed.

There were the eat places, greens and beans and soy in a myriad of iterations, and, once, a sneaked-in hunk of bison for the abs and brains, in garden settings with obsequious monk-like staff And oh, BTW, Ivy had sworn off liquor and I don’t drink alone, so no booze.

So throw away your anti-depressants, say good-bye to your shrink, book your flight to Sedona, and hide the TV remote when you get there. If you’re not smothered in constant bliss during your stay, I will eat your boarding pass.

As for Ivy, same time next year. I don’t have 30 more in me.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Mother stuff and more

Posted on 05 May 2016 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen



This is about mothers and sons, and aging and mental health, and who knows what else. Sometimes stuff comes up when I write a column and I get surprised at how it ends.

Today, I received the following email from my son, who is very edgy as he approaches his 60th birthday this month. In the subject line, he wrote, “For Your Next Column.” How fortuitous! In his usual cryptic tone, he wrote, “The concept of ‘How could this come back to haunt me in the future’ only seems to come with age.”

And in my very cryptic tone, I responded, “What are you talking about?”

To which he responded, “When you’re young, you don’t think of the consequences of your actions.”

Well, duh! Did he think he discovered the origin of life?

There followed some reminders to him of his youthful follies, and a subtle vague response which led me to believe that he actually did not want to follow that path. Why then, did he bring it up? Perhaps, his Peter Pan persona is faltering as he faces the reality of actually coming face-to-face with being twice the age of the hippie slogan “Never trust anyone over the age of 30”.

You might remember from your history books, or from real life, what it was like to live during my son’s “coming of age” – in the turbulent 1960s – the burgeoning of Rock & Roll, the explosion of the drug culture, Woodstock, Vietnam protests, civil rights upheavals, political and racial assassinations, convention riots, all of which make today’s political porridge seem tame by comparison (so far). And so, we never went much further than his musing about youthful poor judgment (a mild description of the blatant behaviors of his and too many other kids of that era.)

But time slogs on at its sure-fire pace – slow or speedy depending on your vantage point, and there are different, though, in some ways, similar, triggers fueling the behavior of young people today. The major difference, however, is that everything they do is indelibly recorded for eternity – and, sure as shootin’, they are not thinking that some of it ‘will come back to haunt me’.

All of which makes my participation in the support group called My Generation held at the Faulk Center For Counseling in Boca Raton (www.faulkcenterforcounseling.org) such an enlightening experience. With a mix of high school teenagers and older adults sharing their stories, and many of their now extinct (adults) or current (kids) customs, experiences and relationships, the interaction results in a greater understanding and acceptance of each other, and provides an educational and emotional high for each age group.

And, since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, this is a reminder that physical health is dependent on mental health, and that society needs to recognize and respond with equal drive to the concerns of each.

Since Mother’s Day is upon us, another reminder, that mothering (indeed, parenting) is the most important job any of us have, and as the stimuli around us become ever more potent, the job becomes ever more difficult and more demanding of attention. So, let’s hear it for the moms, as well as the kids who actually consider the consequences of their actions – now or whenever.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Adventure revisited

Posted on 07 April 2016 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen



Bet you never heard of Cades Cove, an enclave in the Great Smokey Mountain Range in Tennessee, pioneered in the 18th century by Cherokee Indians. Wikipedia has recorded its rich history, but nowhere is there any mention of the 1987 adventure of Ivy and Emily, rolling blissfully in the lineup of haystacks placed in the heart of this mountainous retreat … hundreds of haystacks deftly linked together like railroad tracks, for what possible purpose remains a mystery to this day. It does not matter.

What does matter is that Ivy, at age 30, and Emily, at age 60, spent a few hours off the trail rolling, lolling, giggling and squealing like 6-year-olds, sniffing the tangy, earthy scent, enduring the stray strands of dry twigs adhering to our warm up suits, (it was November) inebriated with mountain air and becoming completely mindless in the ecstasy of the moment —two city girls — women — who had never before been up front and close to a haystack. Okay, so it wasn’t sex. But some experiences come damned close.

When we came down from our high, walking toward the car to continue our road trip from Westchester County in New York to our Los Angeles destination, it went like this:

Emily: “Ivy, when you’re 60 and I’m 90, we’ll have to do something like this again.”

Ivy: “That’s a promise.”

Ivy had been my son’s live-in girlfriend. They broke up amicably and she decided to move to California to be close to her parents who had recently relocated there. She packed up her tiny Honda Civic, with her art supplies and personal effects, and mapped out her solo route to the left coast.

Ivy,” I said when she announced her plan to me (she and I had become buddies). “Do you really want to take that trip alone?”

Are you kidding? I’m dreading it. I wish I could find someone to go with me.”

Thus, we became the two generation, cross-country travelers of the late ‘80s. That trip has already been recorded in all of its quirky iterations, stops along strange by-ways, plans made and tossed, and remade, sketching the richness and diversity of people, culture, landscape and noteworthy encounters.

Twenty nine years have since passed. Ivy and I have kept in touch. For the curious, neither she nor my son have married – much to the betterment of any who might have succumbed to either of them. Both are happy in their singlehood, but that’s another story.

The e-mail I received from her a few weeks ago said, “Emily! We waited 29 years. My parents aren’t well. Who knows what next year will bring. I don’t want to wait another year to keep our promise. Let’s do it NOW!”

And so, plans were made. We’re meeting in Phoenix in May en route to Sedona, a different one of our enchanted places. Ivy is in charge of finding the haystacks. If that doesn’t work, there are plenty of mountains to climb.


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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: My b-a-a-d

Posted on 03 March 2016 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen



It was a Saturday night and I was “frolicking” with a group of friends when my smart phone signaled that I had received a text. I tell you that I am obsessed about not answering those damn gadgets in a social situation. To me, this is the height of rudeness. Nonetheless, something made me take a quick glance at the screen which told me in a nanosecond that Justice Scalia had died. I could not squelch my initial reaction, which was an audible, “Yay!” bringing a number of friends to my side to share what seemed to be my good news.

I tell you this in the spirit of a confessional. It is one of those moments of which I am not proud. True, the good Justice had handed down decisions that were completely anathema to me, and sent me virtually screaming in the dark, trying for a split minute each time to fathom the rationale that would arrive at a place so far beyond the range of what I considered to be rational.

And then the media – overjoyed at the prospect of being diverted from the Trump Travesty – began to expose the Life of Scalia and my closed mind began to open. In a typically narrow-minded political vise, I had not bothered to view him as a person, but saw only one side of the man and made my judgment according to my ignorance. People do that, and it’s so wrong.

I began to see him as a principled man of high intelligence and humor who just happened to see things from a perspective different from mine – but nonetheless an honest one. Was I an “originalist” as regards the interpretation of the constitution? I had given it some thought as major SCOTUS decisions were highlighted by the media, but my thoughts were fleeting as life continued to “happen.”

But that’s for another treatise. The fact that Scalia’s judgment had national consequences that I found to be abhorrent is what living in a democracy is all about. The fact that I could not separate the man from his views is scary in this time of political parody and lack of civility – and I do not want to fall in line with political haters. The more I looked into the life of Antonin Scalia, the more I could admire his qualities as a human being who felt as passionately about his views as I do about mine. Mankind is not monolithic. We are all “many people” in one body.

We talk about tolerance all the time. We talk about acceptance. We talk about coming together. We talk about compromise. These are the high values that truly make America great. It is worth noting that the Roman Empire fell into decline as onlookers cheered the gladiators for their fierceness at dirty fighting.

And so, with all due respect, and a lesson learned, I can acknowledge with sorrow, the demise of a patriot and one who was true to himself. May he rest in peace.


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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: LOVE Again — 2016

Posted on 11 February 2016 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen



It’s “Love-Time” again, so get your pen and paper and prepare to take a short, simple quiz.

Here it goes: Finish the following sentence: “Love is ….”

Expand on your answer as you see fit and e-mail your response to me (See email address above). With your permission, I will include it in my next column, or in next year’s LOVE column, depending on how many responses I get.

And, yes, there are all kinds of love, and infinite degrees of intensity that the feeling engenders, and that’s what makes the subject an intriguing study, as well as a great dinner-party go-around at the table.

The big secret is that “real love” needs to begin with self – non narcissistic, “whole- self” – love. If that does not exist, I know some “shrinks” I could recommend. You cannot love someone else if you don’t truly love yourself.

I am always fascinated by the variety of ideas people express on the subject, all of them, no doubt, reflections of their personal experiences. Those of us who are engaged in pursuing self-awareness (or mindfulness, or a high level of consciousness) agree that the experience of “love” – all kinds – is the ultimate goal of human achievement, a concept which is the root thesis of most religions.

Love: Follow it and see the patterns change. It is like a piece of dough that begins with one ingredient and gets added to, reduced, blended, rolled, flattened and shaped. It is wiggling, bouncy, euphoric and constrained. It reaches out and pulls back. It is gentle and it is violent, giving and demanding. It is lustful and phlegmatic. It is the sustenance of the world and yet its chemistry can be venomous. It is a spot of mercury, darting, volatile, fusing and breaking into bits and pieces. It is open and closed, a release and a prison. It is agony and glory, darkness and sunlight, distance and touch … and, mostly, joyous.

As one who has experienced the entire range of love-feelings – and as one who has advanced in chronological years – it is pure happiness to report on “love” in the senior years. Some people call it “cute,” condescending to the belief of youth that those feelings experienced during the teenaged and early 20s and 30s cannot be duplicated many decades hence. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! (I joyously report.) And thus – another celebration of Happy Valentine’s Day.

Here are two of several legends about Valentine’s Day: Valentine, a Roman priest, was killed because he attempted to help Christians escape from a Roman prison as they were being tortured and beaten there. Yet another popular version of the legend states that while in prison Valentine, or Valentinius, fell in love with the jailer’s daughter who visited him during confinement. Before his death, Valentine wrote a farewell letter to his sweetheart from the jail and signed “From your Valentine.” The expression became quite popular amongst the love struck and is still very much in vogue.

So here’s to the good St. Valentine, may his love-aura be spread – and may you live in lovingness all the days up to and beyond the 14th.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: The past is our present

Posted on 03 December 2015 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen



What would you think of a belief system that states that talking or thinking about the past has no value for the present? “The past,” it says, “is a canceled check. You can’t buy anything with it.” The present, it says, “is a check to be cashed to buy the future.”

Lovely words, indeed, but they mask the problem that exists with the acceptance of aphorisms (a terse saying embodying a general truth or astute observation) as dogged pronouncements of absolute truth. By defending the value of recognizing and mining the past, we do not, as those words suggest, diminish the larger importance of the present.

And we can always find an aphorism that abjectly states a contrary case, i.e.:

A man cannot free himself from the past more easily than he can from his own body.” –André Maurois; “The past is not a package one can layaway.” –Emily Dickinson; “The past lies upon the present like a giant’s dead body.” –Nathaniel Hawthorne; “The obstacles of your past can become the gateways that lead to new beginning.” –Ralph Blum; “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.” –Soren Kierkegaard; “Study the past if you would define the future.” – Confucius; “The past can’t hurt you anymore, unless you let it.” –Alan Moore; “If you want the present to be different from the past, study the past.” — Baruch Spinoza. Bless us, Google will show you over a thousand of these – and I picked from them.

The past, to me, represents the foundation of the present. We are who we are as a result of who we were. That is to be acknowledged and respected, and even nit-picked, in order to understand ourselves better. This does not mean we are dwelling upon it, but rather seeing it as one piece of the puzzle that is self.

When thinking or talking about the past, we can still exercise our golden right to choose which of the elements we wish to consider. But if, when considering the past, it continues to inflict pain, then we still have the present to confront it, to learn from it, and to find ways work out the process of diminishing that pain.

Since we eternally dwell in the present, we are currently living in the time of the year when we would do well to continue our thoughts of giving thanks and giving back to our communities, for all the good things we have – the people we love who love us back, the freedoms we have in this country that do not exist globally, and the ability we all have to choose positive thoughts and actions, and to pursue proactive paths of healing. In this way, the past becomes our present.

With holidays on our tail, we can remember the good ones with nostalgia and we can use those memories as a blanket to wrap around our present. The bad ones we can choose to expunge because “life is a river of choices.” I choose to wish you all the best of holidays surrounded by love and thoughts of peace.

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