Monthly Archives: February 2014

AmyLand by Amy Berger

On a recent Friday, I taught an 8th grade science class and it was challenging. I thought about how a friend at my spiritual support group once described teenagers as “aliens.” After that day, I think she has a point. At least the beautiful pink and yellow-hued apple I ate during my 27-minute lunch ‘hour’ was delicious, so all was not lost.Is Juice or Smoothies Better?

On Monday of that same week, while I was schlepping my precocious 13 year-old offspring to various appointments, she says: “Mom, will you buy me a Vapor Cigarette?” I almost ran through a red light.

“A what?!” She continues: “You know, with a “vape” I can smoke fruit punch, or even just water.”

“Am I missing something here but why would anyone, underage like you, or over-age like me enjoy participating in such an activity?”

Dumbfounded, I clicked on the car radio and we drove on, listening to some overly loud, inaudible hip-hop song so I could drown out any thoughts on this (one of many) inane subject.

Tuesday was also high on our family’s Drama Richter scale: DD, above-mentioned daughter, needed two root canal surgeries. Two weeks ago, after the endodontist’s first foray into my child’s mouth, I was told by Hygienist Helen, everything will be “fine” as long as the Patient– chews on the other side until the permanent crown is in place and 2) the cotton does not come out.

Did I mention that the Husband neglected to advise me to schedule a appointment for DD to have the “restorative procedure” done on the new root, (or is it the new canal?) within ten days. Tuesday of last week, I received a hysterical call from the school nurse exclaiming: “the cotton fell out! The cotton fell out!”

Upon hearing of this traumatic incident (easily remedied, with Ibuprofen and a small piece of gauze) I called our dentist office and scheduled an official Cotton-Dectomy and tooth filling the very next day.

Speaking of teeth, upon returning home from an appointment with the ENT (stay tuned) for the very same child, we found our 60-pound Lab/Border Collie mix making headway toward her very own root canal.

Embedded in one corner of her ‘crate’, was an empty, 16 oz. plastic container of Duncan Hines™ Cream Cheese Creamy Home Style Frosting with teeth marks perforating the top.

“Mom, that container was half full this morning!” A path across our burgundy area rug from DD’s room to the dog crate was strewn with other assorted cast-offs such as wrappers from a frozen Klondike™ Choco-Taco , a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Cherry Frozen Confection ™ ,With Gum Ball Eyes!, as boldly noted on the front, and peanut butter M&Ms™.

At least the pup has good taste in sweets! Too bad, however, since up until that sugar binge, our lovable canine, Kimmy had the shiniest, whitest, healthiest

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teeth in the family. Do vets fill pets’ cavities? I mused as I cleaned up the mess.

Now, I must confess: the same icing polished off by Kimmy was used to frost a birthday cake for myself and three other loved ones. With all the drama in my life over the past week, or should I say year?, I decided to assemble an intimate group of family members (biological and spiritual) for a few hours of conversation, laughter and no technology devices.

After a couple of easy games, gallons of Hawaiian Punch™ , two home-baked cakes, and four choices of ice cream, the 18 of us (ages 8 to 78) had a lovely, loving afternoon. The party was indeed a great way to end another colorful week in AMYLAND.

Notes from AMYLAND

FFN is happy to welcome Amy Berger, a writer and teacher from Lakewood, California, to the FFN blogging team. Her new column: AMYLAND adds a fresh new voice to FFN.

By Amy Berger

Okay, God.  You win.  You’ve given me material, sent me messages of encouragement; last week, You even sent my dog, Kimmy, into to my office, carrying a pencil in her mouth!

It’s time to write again.

From the time my two-paragraph letter to the editor of American Girl magazine was published 47 years ago, I have enjoyed a love affair with writing.  In school, writing felt good; it was never an arduous task.  As life because more challenging, it became a visceral need.  Writing, like exercise, was an elixir for getting myself through each day.

After writing humorous letters to my twin sister about post-divorce-dating and watching her tumble onto the floor in hysterics, I knew I had a talent for touching another person’s life and even lifting a spirit or two, with only my words.  I am a results-oriented girl and my writing produces results.

Today, after eight years, I finally rejoined the California Writers Club. It was, not surprisingly, like coming home.  Remember that movie with John Voight and Jane Fonda?  Coming Home presented the story of a Vietnam veteran, readjusting to life after being wounded in the war.

Although I am not in a wheelchair like the movie’s protagonist, I have endured my own personal battle over the past six years.   Trauma, loss, disappointment; bouts with mental and physical illness: ‘gifts’ from the universe to form the True Amy.

Victory follows war for some people —right?  My victory was today’s CWC meeting.  Better than the ‘Half-Price Jewelry’ sale at Macy’s, I found my own sparkly gems in the eyes of club members.  Each man and woman I met today reflected some part of me; each person was familiar, brilliant, genuine and something rare in today’s haphazard world:  kind. 

Barbara trains puppies: I train my new lab/border collie every day.  Steve coaches track and field:  I have been a runner for the past thirty years.  Mindy attends Torah classes at the local Jewish Center—I had just visited my daughter’s new Hebrew teacher that morning.   

Sitting in the Los Altos Library meeting room, listening to my fellow writers, feeling the relaxed atmosphere, hearing the laughter, eating the yummy holiday sweets: all my senses were nourished by this special group of comrades. 

Thank you, God for opening the right door, after so many doors were closed over the past several years.   I always knew You were good at that.   You even included Pfeffer-Nusse in today’s experience: German-style Christmas cookies enjoyed by my husband during his childhood years in Iowa.  Those little half-spheres, covered in white icing, sat innocently next to several Pecan Sandies on the refreshments table. At this writing, my extraordinary family is sitting on the living couch in the adjacent room, watching TV.

They are watching a series called Heroes.   Regardless of the plot, about which I know nothing, I must admit that today, I met several heroes of my own at the Long Beach Chapter of the California Writers Club.

 Note: names have indeed been changed to protect the innocent.

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