House Tour

Martin celebrated his 75th birthday a couple of weeks ago. Elliot and his family came in as did Martin’s sister.  It was a great weekend hanging out at home, playing in the snow, playing dress up with the girls.. We were all sad to say goodbye. A couple of days later our son called to Face Time.  “Leah wants to see your house,” he said.  She piped up from the background, “I want to see your kitchen. Where is Grandpa?” Actually, “Where is Grandpa?” was likely the first question.


So began our impromptu FTHT — Face Time House Tour. Kitchen first where I  reminded Leah that she and her sister had finger painted at the kitchen counter during their visit.  Then on to the living room, stopping for a bit of art education. I showed her a floral still life passed down from my grandfather to my mother and then to me. Painted by A. S. Baylinson, a Russian artist who was fairly renowned in his day, I pointed out the red and yellow flowers; we played find the circles. After the livingroom we headed upstairs to the room she and her sister usually sleep in. Leah wanted to hear the music box that isn’t really a music box but a painted china figurine of Beatrix Potter’s Jemima Puddleduck. We also needed to wind up the Rabbit Mother rocking her bunnies to sleep.

Returning to the kitchen at the end of the tour, Leah said, “I miss you, Aviva.  “I come to your house soon?”  “Yes, Sweetheart,” I replied.  “You’ll come to my house soon.” Oh how a brief FTHT  leaves tiny footprints upon the tour guide’s heart.



photos courtesy of Debra Darvick


















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What I Say ≠ What It Hears

I’ve never achieved the Millennials’ facility of thumb texting. I hold my phone in my left palm and “type” with my right index finger.  It is cumbersome and time consuming. More often than not, I use voice text.

This has led to a lot of chuckles and a near-disaster or two.  I still have no idea what I said that my phone heard as “F… the apple.” Very glad I proofread that one before hitting send. Sometimes, for humor’s sake, I leave them as is, accompanied by what I actually dictated. Low bar for laughter but these days any source of levity is welcome.

Yesterday my friend Iris thanked me for teaching her a new term although she didn’t know what it meant. “Hi, Iris” is what I said. “Air Irish” is what was heard.  Which got me thinking: a new airline? Airborne four-leaf clovers? Lacy curtains on the clothesline?

Last week we attended a wedding in Denver. In an email to someone I referred to it as a “simcha,” the Yiddish word for a happy occasion such as a wedding or Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebration. My phone heard “sim card.” There just might be a tenuous link between a simcha and a sim card. The former definitely generates a lot of memories. 

Just for kicks, and if you’d like, send me any of your recent “Air Irishes.”  I’ll share them in a future column.



          from the simcha, photo courtesy of Martin Darvick

photo of texting girl: Texting” by Ed Yourdon is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.







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Cute as a Button

I was visiting with some young friends and their son. He is three and adores remotes.  At one point during my visit he told me, “I am a button man.”  I figured that was somewhat akin to being a car guy. I told him that I love buttons and had a collection of them.  His beautiful blue eyes grew rounder in excitement.

“You have buttons?”

“Yes,” I replied. “I  even wrote a story about buttons a long time ago.  Maybe my next visit I’ll read it to you.” I don’t know how we got were we got next, but I commented that I had a button on my jeans.  Max asked, “What does it do?”

And then it hit me. Max’s interactions with buttons have nothing to do with clothes and everthing to do with remotes. Dressed in pull-over sweatshirts and pull on pants, and zippered parkas, where do kids today encounter buttons except on keyboards and remotes?

I still might read him my story one day but I’ll probably bring my button jar. Otherwise he may well get quite confused.


If you’d like to read the story, head over to Grandparents.


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An Incongruous Honor

Martin and I realize that this playground was named in honor of someone special to the Royal Oak, MI community. We still couldn’t help but laugh at the incongruity.

I guess it’s best to stay off the mood swings.


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