the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Mom Dearest

Have you noticed that I have gone from writing about Sophia every day on my blog to writing my mother? Does this mean that my existence completely revolves around the woman I happen to be sharing my space with at the time?

Don’t answer.

In a week from today, my mother is going to retire from her job at Farrar, Straus, and Giroux Publishers.  She has worked with the company since before she was married, and has seen drastic changes in the publishing industry over the decades.  What does this mean to you, my dear blogger friends?  This means you have one more week to suck up to me, thinking that somehow I can help you get your sleep-inducing “memoir” read by the company’s editor-in-chief.  After that, you can stop reading this blog because I will be useless to you.

My mother does not like the Florida senior early-bird dinner lifestyle, but her friends have pressured her to sublet an apartment in “Century Village” in Boca Raton for three months this winter so she can try it out.  Yes, she has officially become like Seinfeld’s mother.

This creates a dilemma. Do I stay here during the winter while she is in Florida?

Am I ever going back to Los Angeles?

Is there a direct connection between me returning to New York and the immediate collapse of Wall Street?

Imaginary Phone Conversation Between Sophia and My Mother
a one act play by Neilochka

Mom:  How DID you live with him for so long?

Sophia:  Now do you see what I was talking about?

Mom:  And every night it is the same thing!  He watches All My Children, yelling at the TV, saying “Don’t do it, Erica!” and then he locks himself in his room for an hour, making all these weird grunting sounds, like a caveman.  What does he do in there?”

Sophia:  You don’t want to know.  If I were you, I’d get away from him this winter before he makes you crazy.  Go anywhere.  Go to Florida.

Mom:  I hate Florida.

Sophia:  Well, it’s your choice.  Florida in the sun or three long months with…

Mom:  Hola, Boca!  Will you come visit?

Sophia:  Sure.  And I won’t tell him!

The two women laugh.


Yeah, I know I am funny.   But, the only reason I have a sense of humor is because my mother is funnier.

After reading my last post, she bought me this as a gift:


  1. Jody

    First – oh my I don’t think I have ever been first! Yeah me!

    The answer to all your questions: Yes


  2. Roadchick

    Neil, your mama kicks ass!

    Boca is ok – I lived there for awhile. Let her go alone – the other snowbirds will make fun of her if you tag along. You can go visit for a few days.

  3. Anissa@Hope4Peyton

    Did she invite you to go? She may want to go alone and get her mojo on there, and having her son tag along would cramp her style. Just saying!

  4. Rhi

    If you had something to do with the market, I’m afraid you owe me A LOT of money.

  5. Dagny

    You said “Boca” and I instantly thought of Fran on “The Nanny” trying to ship her parents off to there.

  6. Twenty Four At Heart

    Come to Southern California. It rocks out here. And there’s lots of SUNSHINE. And hot people. And it’s fun!

  7. Jennifer H

    Imagine all the material you’d have if you were like Hugh Hefner, but with a blog. (Yeah, the blog might be the first thing to go…)

  8. piglet

    but, i thought you *liked* my memoir!

  9. headbang8

    There’s something deeply Freudian about that cheese. Why do the words Muenster Dearest leap into my head?

    Your mother is pretty amazing. No wonder you like women so much.

  10. All Adither

    Erica’s still alive?

  11. Maura

    I can’t even imagine. Oh, wait, yes I can — I currently live with my mom, too.

  12. sassy

    I love it – juist please, don’t become asnowbird before your time !

  13. teahouseblossom

    I read that all of the New Yorkers retiring to Florida has totally transformed what people think of nowadays as a “Florida accent.”

    Your mom’s new place sounds relaxing and heavenly. If you don’t want to visit, may I go instead?

  14. flutter

    Your mom rules

  15. stepping over the junk

    Oh Neil. I’ve been up since 5 for no reason at all and you just made my day. This was priceless. “Is there a direct connection between me returning to New York and the immediate collapse of Wall Street?” When you coming to Boston?

  16. blackbird

    You watch All My Children?
    Erica is definitely making a mistake.

  17. kapgar

    TJ’s Muenster! Yum!

  18. Caitlinator

    Well, I wouldn’t say the market immediately collapsed after you arrived. It probably started when you and Sofia started having marital problems. Blame Sofia!

    And, hey, if your mom wants to go live in Rat’s Mouth, Florida, you might as well stick around here in Rat’s Ass, New York. Just sayin’.

  19. better safe than sorry

    my parents used to go to florida for winters, but after my dad passed my mom stopped going, she actuals prefers the cold weather and she got herself involved in several senior groups, she’s always busy and always out. i vote you going to florida for a visit, maybe a week, not much more than that, she needs her space while she sorts out her retirement. i’d give new york a try without your mother, you need your space while you sort out your life. get out and meet some people, join some groups, do some volunteer work, it’s new york, there’s gotta be lots to do.

  20. sarah g

    …how is sophia?…

  21. always home and uncool

    Florida … for a place with so many transplanted New Yorkers, it still has no culture. Unless you count coke smuggling. And the Cubans have that covered.

  22. SciFi Dad

    The sad thing is, my wife and mother would probably have the same conversation. Although, actually, I think if my wife and I ever split up she’d get my family too… they like her a helluva lot more than me.

    (Interesting and useless sidenote: the Firefox spell check doesn’t flag helluva, meaning it’s in the dictionary. Sadly, it does flag sidenote.)

  23. Finn

    I have to defend the place I grew up — Boca is not just for old folks! We have Nordstrom! And Bloomie’s. And Louis Vuitton!

  24. sizzle

    I am not convinced you will ever return to LA except maybe for the Academy Awards.

  25. V-Grrrl

    Scifi Dad, Same here. Everyone in my family likes my husband better than me and feels sorry for him. I would be the one that no one wanted in a custody battle. Sigh.

    But I’m supposed to be commenting on Neil’s post here, so back to the task AT HAND which is: Neil, you spend ONE HOUR by yourself behind locked doors, grunting? ONE HOUR?

    This is worse than I thought. Much worse.

  26. maggie, dammit

    Shit. I have only one more week to write a book? SHIT SHIT SHIT.

    I love Trader Joe’s.

  27. Neil

    V-grrrl – I was trying to impress you with that subtle detail.

  28. Baroness von Bloggenschtern

    Arrgh! Muenster Cheese!

    This, I believe, is where Neilochka the Tchotzke and the Baroness part ways.

    At least in the cheese category. Please be advised that I will not be accepting any invites for fondue parties at your home. So very sorry, darling. Washing my hair.



  29. followthatdog

    ok, so is you mother going to start a blog? I like her already.

  30. TorontoPearl

    FOLLOWTHATDOG has a great idea: Elaine Kramer should definitely start a blog. “Kramer Kisses” or “Eloquence from Elaine” might be good choices for names.

    We would love to read her POV about “life with Neil” and “life after retirement” and “being busy in Boca”…

    Neil, even if you and Sophia don’t get along so well all the time, you really should be glad that your mom and Sophia can bond…even if only in a fictitious one-act play!

  31. Miguelina

    Ha! Your mom is hilarious!

  32. Miguelina

    …and yeah, when ARE you coming to Boston?

  33. margalit

    Yeah, WHEN are you coming to Boston? Miguelina and I live very close to each other. Hint.

    Your mom rocks. The Muenster? Priceless.

    And Century Village. Home of my great Aunt Lillian, my friend Amy’s mom and dad, my grandmother’s BFF, and every other NYJew that wanted to be a snowbird. I actually went and stayed there for a couple of weeks. You want to feel young and healthy? Go visit your mom in Century Village. But the place is HUGE. I think there are millions of NYJs living there! And a couple from Boston.

    I hope you stay in NY over the winter. My guess is that once your mom leaves, you are going to really buckle down and get some work done.

    As for LA? Ugh.

  34. Karen Sugarpants

    I’m certain your mother is 99% better than you. She rocks.
    Move to Canada!

  35. deezee


    You are not missing much in LA. We still have traffic, and summer is encroaching on Fall. The seasons should talk. If I were you, I’d kick back and enjoy NY.

  36. Astrogirl

    As a fellow native New Yorker, I have to say I truly wish you would stay. There’s so much more here than there – as far as the writing, plenty of successful writers live in NY. And you’re about to see the best season in NY – autumn is just awesome here.

    I agree with the other commenters – visit your mom for a week, but let her get the feel of whether she wants to stay there on her own. Plus, that means an apartment to yourself all winter. Woohoo!

  37. Peeved Michelle

    I don’t know what I have against Florida but a couple years I decided one of my goals in life was to never step foot in the state of Florida. Last year, my damn in-laws bought a condo there. This year, we are going for Thanksgiving. Life goal is FAIL.

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