latest by jen

Both sides

On my drive home from work, I play a game sometimes. I choose a song to listen to on YouTube. When it finishes and when I get to a stop sign, I look through the suggested songs at the bottom and choose one. That’s the game. I typically get through three or four songs this way. (I have a 25 minute drive but not so many stops along the winding mountain roads.) I play this ...

The almost, so-very-lost, art of the letter

I’ve been finding letters. Long lost letters. Long saved letters. Long ago, written-by-hand letters. As and Es and Is strung together to form laughter and love and pain. Through my veins runs remorse then retraction as I read the letters aloud. Loopy script Straight uppercase caps Bubbled Oooos and lowercase bees All of them stamps of time and postmarks of personality Who knew then that you were a poet, dear Friend? Who knew that you ...

Turning away from evil

I had a dream last night. An epic, Joseph Campbell/ CG Jung type dream. The part I want to share with you involved a snake. Back off, Freud wanna-be. Before you go analyzing me, let’s take a journey together. It wasn’t really a snake — more like a supernatural serpent demon type thing — the body of a serpent but the head of a monster — that most everyone else around me was mistaking for an ...

I’m a zombie; really, truly, deeply

“As an immigrant, I feel both frustrated and grateful. Frustrated because I can’t communicate how and when I want to. Yet grateful for that fragile window of time in which I must pause. I have no other choice.” Read the full piece about how I really, truly am… a zombie.

Meditation on Yard Sales

I have a tendency to hold on. This tendency is so strong, I’m confident I will end up a haunting ghost in someone’s house when I go. I hold on to photographs, to letters, to my child’s sketches. I refuse to part with shoes I want to love but can’t because they give me blisters; nor can I say goodbye to the beat up stuffed animal I’ve had since sixth grade.  The t-shirt I received ...

Craving life

One of the major down sides of social media for me is access to second degree sadness. I just don’t need it. Sorry if that sounds cruel, harsh. But it’s true. I’m a sensitive girl already. I feel people’s eyes. Their frantic glances, their furrowed brows. I’m pained by the way they walk with their head down low. I’m frightened when their steps get heavy behind me. I’m deathly afraid of a silence that emanates ...

Don’t you remember you told me you loved me baby?

The first song I can remember singing in the shower started like this: “When I was young, I’d listen to the radio, waiting for my favorite songs When they’d play I’d sing along. It’d make me smile.” Do you know this song? Do you hear the tune in your head? Are you singing along with me? If yes, you’re already in on the joke. If not, play along for a few minutes. Humor me. The ...

RIP Blockbuster: A pop culture haiku

(This haiku was inspired by “R.I.P. Blockbuster, You Frustratingly Magical Franchise, You” by Kevin Fallon in the Daily Beast) == RIP Blockbuster Video By Jen Maidenberg == Neighborhood stop for high school dates rated PG. Press play. Then make out. ==

Genius in a bottle

I hit my head this morning. Hard. On the corner of the stackable washer/dryer in the very tight space that is my bathroom/laundry room. After the stars stopped spinning, I waited. What was I waiting for? A stroke of genius. My flux capacitor. The only thing that came was a golf ball size lump on my forehead. Lucky enough, I’ve remained conscious since and can see straight enough to write this post. But sadly, my ...

One compulsion leads to another

I wrote recently about this superpower I possess called synesthesia. How I see letters and words in full color. And how I am going to defeat fear once I manage to harness my power properly. It occurred to me this morning that my superpower might be the cause of quirky compulsions I also possess like the one that prevents me from listening to the Beach Boys in December, or drives me to listen to Van Morrison ...

Carl Jung said life begins at 40

Carl Jung, man … his words are a treasure box of quotes waiting to be mined for social media memes. I was looking on Google this morning for a passage he wrote in his autobiography — Memories, Dreams, Reflections — and in passing discovered the above quote, not at all on the topic I was researching. Nodding my head, I quickly downloaded the picture and uploaded it to my blog, eager to share it with ...

Hebrew Language Tip 135: Turn your curse word into a casual remark

What You Need to Know About Me Before You Read My Tip I like to curse. I think people who curse are cooler than people who don’t. I think people who don’t read blogs because the author uses curse words are over-sensitive. I used to have a blog called The Wellness Bitch. I like to scream, “Fuck,” really loudly when I stub my toe or drop something on it. When I say Fuck really loudly when ...

The internet has turned me into a distracted tree killer

The internet, while seemingly a solution to the problem of the environmental impact of paper, is in fact turning me into a murderer. Of trees. For the past decade, I’ve been an obnoxiously devoted supporter of replacing paper with screens. I’ve forsaken writing, receiving, and hoarding handwritten letters in exchange for emails. I’ve replaced the amusing 20 minutes I used to spend browsing the  greeting card aisles of the Hallmark store in exchange for working ...

What color is fear?

I have this thing. After half a lifetime of thinking it was either a special power possessed by only a select few, or a strange sensory birth defect that generally didn’t interfere with my life, I discovered it was a thing. With a name. Synesthesia. I see letters, and words, in color. Not all words, and not all the time — only particular words and only really when I pay attention to it. Months of ...

How to survive parenting when you’d rather be getting drunk

I love my children. But some nights — especially Thursday nights (the Israeli equivalent of Friday night) — I’d rather be out at a swanky city bar with friends on my way to a Friday morning hangover than hovering over the bathtub trying to convince a screaming five year old that I have not even put shampoo in her hair yet, let alone allow it to stream into her eyeballs. On nights like these, I ...

Whose writing do you want to make out with?

When I was a little girl, I would swing high on the swings next to Rachel or Lisa or Debbie who would be fisting two Twizzlers while simultaneously reaching with their feet for the moon. Rachel or Lisa or Debbie would say, “I love Twizzlers so much.” And I would say snidely, “If you love them so much, why don’t you marry them?” There is a period between the ages of 6 and 7 in ...

The yellow bowl

I am obsessed with my child’s memory of me of this moment of this yellow bowl. This inaccessible ceramic yellow bowl perched high upon a dusty refrigerator will one day be dusty, too — an image sitting in a drawer waiting to be opened in my child’s memory. Inside the yellow bowl are rainbow jelly beans, Polish lollipops handmade by a retired couple sitting at a railway station. There are remnants of chocolate wafers, too, ...

I’m no Katie Couric — but I really don’t want cancer

In order to be adequately prepared for a colonoscopy, you need to get to a point at which your poop looks like pee. It’s the one time in your life when yellow liquid shooting out forcefully from your butt is a WIN! I share this with you not to gross you out to the point of leaving my blog never to return, but in order to do my part towards colon cancer awareness and, like ...
  • Memory |
  • Philosophy |
  • Spirituality |

The after-taste of a dream

My dreams are poems Righting themselves upside down in Not-for-long Ville.   Still fresh with relief when I wake I take a pen so I may keep them.   But the poems fade faster than the dream even when I whisper, “Don’t.”   What’s left then, but last night’s dream, which…
  • Books |
  • Writing |

From the eyes of Mrs. Murry

Meg’s mother picked up the pair of brown tortoise shell reading glasses from the top of the bedroom dresser. She gently put them on and leaned in to study her face in the reflection. Cocking her head to the right, she removed the pair, placed the chewed earpiece in her mouth,…
  • Parenting |
  • Philosophy |

In this world, there is a fragile child

There is a cry lodged There at the farthest most upper reaches There at the roof of my mouth. There, its origin may be found in between There in between an exhale and an inhale There where an ujjiyai breath washes over it. There is not a wet cry There…
  • Dreams |
  • Family |
  • Mindfulness |
  • Parenting |

In the dark

I was one of those kids who was afraid of the dark. Now, when I say “one of those kids” I do pause for a moment and wonder what kid isn’t afraid of the dark. What adult isn’t still? I think most of us are afraid of the dark. Even…
  • Modern Life |
  • Religion |

When you don’t have anything to say

This time of year in Israel is often uncomfortable for me. I won’t say difficult, because it seems highly inappropriate to label anything in my life as “difficult” in the same breath as I speak of the Holocaust, of war, of fallen youth. But it’s uncomfortable. In very quick succession,…
  • Love |
  • Memory |
  • Music |
  • Writing |

Nostalgia sounds like …

“There’s an echo in the wind Makes me wonder where I’ve been”   The closest appliance to a time travel machine I’ve ever owned arrived in my mailbox today. I sold my yellow Sony edition at a yard sale over a decade ago. This one is a gift from a friend who…
memory header
  • Books |
  • Kibbutz |
  • Memory |

Give me your tired your poor your books

It’s no secret I love old books. I cry over them like they’re wounded, abandoned puppies crouching behind a garbage bin in the rain. Sometimes I rescue them, but then have no use for them. (Again, like puppies.) Often there’s a story behind the compulsion to save them. I’ll save…