There’s something about my birthday drawing near that always makes me feel like putting the proverbial pen to paper to do a bit of soul-searching. In 2009, it resulted in a blog post about musical influences, and in 2010, it resulted in a mind-spill of self-reflection.
Now here I am in 2013, trying to figure out how to mark my latest trip around the sun (in writing, anyway – the real-life celebrations are being taken care of as I write this…). I’ve been tossing a few ideas around in my mind and brainstorming with a few of my closest friends, and what you’ll find below is a result of that process. Since my son turned nine last week (and because nine fits nicely into 45, but we all know the first reason sounds much better…), I’ve divided the list into five categories with nine items each, mostly in random order. I’ve included a slew of links to relevant old blog posts, and just for fun, I’ve linked almost every instance of the word “poetry” (or variations thereof) to a different poem of mine, so be sure to check those out too. You can hover over each link to read its brief description.
About me: (more…)by Liza Rosenberg
On this, your special day
Not quite your forty-third
I think of all you mean to me
And try to find the words
I’ll write about the enemies
Of distance and of time
Of how we seem to beat them
(And how I made it rhyme)
I think of all the games we’ve played
That spawned a name or two
The adventures we’ve already had
And those still yet to do
I think of all the secrets shared
Through more than twenty years
The joys and inside jokes
And a fair amount of tears
You never fail to make me laugh
And rarely make me cry
It only seems to happen when
We have to say goodbye
And so on this, your special day
I look back on all we’ve done
On everything we’ve shared
The laughter and the fun
I think of all I wish for you
A wish without an end
A wish that all of yours come true
For you, my special friend
Every year in the days leading up to my birthday, I enter a period of self-reflection. I look back on the events of the past year and think about how they may have reshaped my life. In the years before we had our son (who arrived just over a week before my birthday back in 2004), I would often see my birthday as a milestone that marked another year of failing to achieve our goal of having a child, and of course, everything else just seemed to pale in comparison. These last six years with my son have been a gift that knows no bounds, and every birthday celebration of mine is now intertwined with the joy that his birth has brought me.
But I digress. The past year has been interesting, to say the least. I went from having two part-time positions in technical writing to becoming a full-time freelancer, having successfully managed to lose both jobs within weeks of one another. I’m certainly enjoying the variety that being a freelancer brings, not to mention the freedom to make my own schedule and do more of the writing that I actually enjoy (such as the pleasure I derive from writing poetry – a relatively new hobby, or the essays I submit to various anthologies); it also means that I have to work harder to ensure that I include social interaction with others. Of course, whatever my gripes might be with this new situation, it’s still infinitely better than my life before, when I was coming home every evening at 7:30, miserable and unable to find a satisfactory home-work balance. Now, my office consists of the corner of our blue, L-shaped couch (which is now at least several centimeters lower than every other part of the couch), and I’m trying to figure out which cappuccino maker to purchase (suggestions are welcome!), given that good coffee is missing from my life these days almost as much as good opportunities for social interaction. And, while I currently have a rather healthy load of writing projects, I’m always on the lookout for more, so feel free to give a shout if you think you’ve got something I might be interested in (end of professional plug). (more…)by Liza Rosenberg
The little boy – he’s six today; oh how the time does fly
The days that pass so quickly; the months that just rush by
Even now, I gaze in awe, unable to believe
The little boy in front of me, tugging at my sleeve
I take him in my arms, this little boy of mine
As I pull him close, his eyes begin to shine
A swirling of emotions; they take me by surprise
Overcome by love, and tears that prick my eyes
Less than seven years ago, we thought the dream had died
We thought we’d reached a journey’s end and God knows how we tried
But then somehow against all odds we managed to succeed
And suddenly “we two”, had turned into “we three”
To say my heart would burst – it sounds like a cliché
Mere words seem so inept for what I want to say
A thousand dreams could not foretell the love I’d find within
A thousand lights would pale, if held against your grin
And so my little boy, I wish the world for you
Your every heart’s desire, your every dream come true
And all I ask of you, my child, is hold me in your heart
Whenever we’re together; whenever we’re apart
At the Little One’s brit milah celebration, the Husband surprised me with a birthday cake of my own. My son was supposed to have been born on my birthday, but when the contractions began on the evening of May 26th, 2004, I knew that our birthdays were not going to be the same. He popped out shortly after 2am on the 28th, just over a week shy of my 36th birthday. Which means, of course, that today I’m 41 (and that my favorite blogger in Ireland is recovering from her birthday, which was yesterday – happy birthday, Beth!).
In honor of my 41st birthday, I’ve decided to take on the rather mammoth writing task of sharing 41 songs that either take me back to a specific point in time or have somehow made an impact on my life – both for better and for worse. I often receive requests to revive 80s Music Video Sunday (though most of the requests seem to come from Benji. Funny, that…), so while this is going to be a bit different, I hope you enjoy it.
Here it goes, in no particular order…
Hey! Coming up with 41 songs that have impacted your life is not easy! It’s not a matter of simply listing songs I like – there has to be a reason, there has to be some meaning, some memory. And, since I also decided that I don’t want to recycle too many 80s Music Video Sunday songs, I’ve automatically disqualified a multitude of old faves. So, after wracking my brain for days to come up with a full list of 41 new songs, I’ve only managed to come up with 35. Therefore, I’ve got a challenge for you. For those of you who know me – or those of you who think you know me, I’d love to know what songs make you think of me? What songs take you back to some experience we may have shared? I’m waiting…
A special thank you goes out to the friend who actually managed to get me a copy of Lionel Bastos’ song “Thank You”, mentioned above as song number 7. You’re amazing!by Liza Rosenberg
The celebrations began two days ago with a field trip. As the Little One’s birthday falls on Shavuot this year (which begins today), we opted for an alternative sort of birthday party, taking his entire pre-school to the Old Courtyard at Kibbutz Ein Shemer. The kids harvested wheat, made flour (a very practical skill, no doubt), went for a tractor ride to the fields, and made rolls, and because it was the Little One’s birthday party (kudos to me for creating an invitation that included both wheat stalks and Ben 10 – the current object of my son’s affections), he was the star, always chosen to help with tasks and demonstrations. And, during the course of this wonderful, magical morning, there was one moment that stood out above all others, one moment when I knew with absolute certainty that this was my son. The look of pure joy on his face as the baby calf suckled away on his fingers left no room for doubt that my boy was just like me.
I’ve written a lot about the Little One here over the years, and in honor of his fifth birthday, I thought I’d share five of my favorite posts.
Last year’s birthday post for the Little One can be found here.
My original plan here was to post a clip of Danny Kaye singing his wonderful children’s song “I’m Five“, but hours of searching have proved fruitless. I did, however, manage to find a version of Robin singing it on the Muppet Show. The song begins at the 3:37 mark and is approximately one minute long.by Liza Rosenberg
In honor of my 40th birthday, I’ve decided to share 40 facts about me that you may or may not know…
1. My favorite colors are hunter green and burgundy.
2. My first pet was a gerbil. His name was Ninky. My second gerbil was Harvey.
3. I was born with a bilateral choanal atresia. This means that I was born without air passages leading from my nose to my throat.
4. I was also born with thin bands of skin tissue over both eyes.
5. I was also born without tear ducts.
6. All of these defects were fixed before I left the hospital after I was born.
7. I was in an incubator for the first two months of my life.
8. When I was nine, I had to have surgery on my nose because the air passages created when I was born had begun to close up.
9. Both of my parents are left-handed. My brother and I are both right-handed.
10. I throw a Frisbee with my left hand.
11. I’ve eaten frogs’ legs. They do taste like chicken.
12. I played Little League baseball/girls’ softball for ten years. My favorite position was first base, though at one point or another, I also played at second and third bases, shortstop, and pitcher (in softball). I’ve also played the outfield.
13. I traded away my Snoopy pencil sharpener to get my first baseball glove.
14. When I was in fifth grade, I won a pre-Thanksgiving archery competition. First prize was a 20-pound turkey.
15. I was born in Brooklyn, NY, and lived in Staten Island, NY until I was six years old.
16. I missed my kindergarten graduation when we moved.
17. One of the earliest memories I have is being in my grandparents’ synagogue in Brooklyn when an elderly woman – Mrs. Goodman – fell down a flight of steps. I can still remember watching her being carried up the steps.
19. My mother once had to take me home from a birthday party because I was petrified of the clown. I still don’t like clowns, though I no longer run away screaming and crying at the sight of them.
20. I was in the Brownies, and I still remember the song we sang at every meeting. I never made it to Girl Scout level. I do, however, like Girl Scout Cookies, especially Samoas. I do not like Thin Mints.
21. I liked Hebrew school. Enough said.
22. I can’t ski. I was in the lowest level at Maple Ridge Ski School, and they had to bring in a private instructor because I couldn’t keep up.
23. I’m a sucker for certain accents, and have even gone out on dates with guys just because they had these accents (though not since meeting my husband, obviously).
24. I’ve never been really drunk, nor have I ever been stoned. I’ve never had a hangover.
25. One of the first R-rated films I saw was “Animal House“.
26. When I was six years old, I wanted to be a boy because I was always being picked last for sports teams during recess. Then I became better than the boys.
27. I was always a tomboy, and have never been a girly girl. I’m still not.
30. I grew up with the wife of one of our local bloggers, and have been friends with another local blogger since meeting in the bus station in Schenectady, NY when we were teenagers.
31. My parents took me on the NY subway when I was a little girl. I believe they very nearly crapped themselves when I pointed out a black man and said, “Look, a robber.”
32. My friend Sheri and I refer to a certain period of our lives as “the geek years”. Today, Sheri is gorgeous, successful, and very hip. I, on the other hand, am still stuck in the geek years. And I still use the word “hip”.
33. I cried when my sixth grade social studies teacher – Mrs. Tolar – made me stay after school on my birthday.
35. I hate being the center of attention, and more often than not, I blush when given any kind of compliment.
36. I know at least three other people who also have birthdays today. One of them is my brother-in-law.
37. I knew I was going to marry my husband two weeks after we started seeing each other.
38. I never sleep on the train during my commute, no matter how tired I am. I’m more concerned about drawing attention by snoring than I am about missing my station.
39. If I could have lunch with any famous person, it would probably be Bill Bryson, whose writing style not only keeps me in hysterics, but also influences my own style. At times, his writing inspires me to keep writing.
40. I still have no idea what I want for my birthday.
Four years ago today, everything changed. The Little One pushed his way into the world, hijacking our lives and our hearts. I spent a good part of those first few weeks crying, usually when I set eyes upon the little guy, but often while watching random television commercials as well. Officially, I chalk it up to the hormones that were raging around my body, but there’s also a big part of me that believes I just couldn’t get over our great fortune, that we’d finally, finally managed to have a child.
I was almost at a loss, really. After nine years of trying, failing, trying again, suffering, agonizing, here we were. One epidural, four units of blood and four units of plasma later (because god forbid I should have an easy, uneventful birth with no nearly fatal surprises), the race was suddenly over. And it was strange. Strange that everything we’d been through was now behind us, that we were no longer struggling to achieve what so many others around us had achieved with relative ease. Strange that the battle that had been with us constantly, the struggle that had been the very center of our lives, was now a moot issue. I can’t even begin to describe how that felt, to realize that we no longer had to deal with this all-consuming saga that seemingly affected every aspect of our lives, every decision we had to make. Every. Single. One.
Not only had we finally succeeded, but with the Little One, we hit the jackpot, far surpassing our wildest dreams. We have a warm, intelligent, charming little boy with a marvelous (bordering on devilish at times – where did that came from…) sense of humor, a twinkle in his eye, and a smile that makes his whole face light up. And, while there are certainly times when we’d be happy to auction him off to the highest bidder (or perhaps pay someone to take him), we are very much aware of how truly blessed we are to have this beautiful little boy in our lives, especially today, on his fourth birthday.by Liza Rosenberg
Free Sample Personal Astrology Profile for Liza
Birth Date and Time….. June 5, 1968 12:01 PM
Birth Location…………. Brooklyn, New York
Sun Sign……………….. Gemini
“Section 1: How You Approach Life and How You Appear To Others – Modest, unobtrusive, and often rather quiet or shy, you are a person who is content to be in the background or to serve as an assistant, in the supporting role rather than in the lead. You are quite humble in your own assessment of yourself and you have a very strong perfectionistic attitude, with a tendency to be overly self-critical. No matter how well you do something, you always see the flaws in it and how it could be improved. Often you will simply refuse to attempt something because you feel you cannot meet your own high standards.”
So, do you think it’s accurate?
Apparently, I’ve got the same birthday as Draco Malfoy. Lovely.by Liza Rosenberg