I AM WOMAN, the musical resurfaces

Tonight is the eve of the 1 year weirdest year in my lifetime anniversary of the Women’s March, where pink pussy hats bopped atop millions way more than those who attended the inauguration of marching women (men and children too), across the US and in countries around the globe. We gathered in protest of violence and sexual harassment, for reproductive rights, gender equality, and quite frankly, against our new president (little p) and his band of bad men. We were and continue to be, a viable, visible force of peaceful people saying wtf just happened looking for answers and questioning truths. One dizzying, nauseating year later, what’s changed? We went from strong women proudly marching to women governing and legislating. We ran for office and we are winning! This weekend, get your walking shoes on. “Cause we still have some work to do my friends.

I’ve got my walking shoes on… so hear me ROAR!

#metoo #blacklivesmatter #neveragain #muslimregistry #strongwomen #weshowedup #resistmrt

Nu? This mr t, he has me farklempt (all choked up) with his evil and hatred. Not too long ago, I wrote a post, I AM WOMAN HEAR MY VOICE. Well, I’ve taken it to the stage folks. Please, bear with my (awful) voice as I stumble through my own, personal feminist anthem.

Please feel free to sing along. If only to cover up my voice! Vey iz mir…I’m meshuggeneh (crazy), but I am so motivated to peacefully make a change. (I said peacefully, not notefully!) Because Never Again, is now folks. 

Great big hugs and love to Mackenzie for her gorgeous participation and support! And Kristin, where would I be without the bug you put in my ear? And to all of you brave, men, women and children who showed up, and continue to show up in protest. That’s what I’m sayin.’
Why’d I do it? Well, I am trying hard to teach my kinder (little kids) to be brave, not perfect.
Hey, mr t, I Am Woman, and you, little man, are going to have to deal with that!  Tell me, did you march? If so, where? And most important, everyone VOTE.
      
       
    

2018: Two weeks in

These past couple of weeks have left me verklempt (overcome with emotion). We’ve gone from tsuris (troubles) to nachas (joy) and back and forth a few times over. But hey, all is good. No kvetching (complaining) here… still quite grateful just to be… In my glass-half full world, the temples are gray, yet the mind is still childish (es iz groi di pai’eh un narish di dai’eh). Now look, sit! Enjoy some shots.

Ice crystals on the car window, early morning… sometimes, cold is beautiful. Who knew?
New Years Day T-Bone… not in the plans. And in one second, the car becomes bubkas (worthless, nothing, zero)
My left foot… this boot is made for walking? Oy! I needed this like I need a lochen kup (whole in my head)!
Okay, we can do this! And my bubbaleh’s (little one’s) , they are better than fine ❤
Blech! We had to have one more vermin sighting, right before we left… I was going to put a little chalk outline around him for management, but then I threw up (brechen) a little in my throat before I could do it…
Me and my Mrs., and that smile of hers. Gets me every time! Now that’s a “we have a new home” smile! Shana punim (beautiful face)!
My first cuppa in our new home… Mornin’ joe
Gatsby is the ruler of his domain, and after a squirrel, or a bird, or a piece of sky???

So friends, for today and this week, may you all be a mensch (decent and honorable person) and may you only run into mensches.

     

     

This just in from the National Weather Service…

A severe winter storm, defined as a ‘bomb cyclone,’ is hitting the eastern United States with the tenacity and chutzpah (balls, or nerve, for lack of a better term) of mr t’s thumbs in a tweetstorm with lil’ kim. Be warned, the ‘bomb cyclone’ is not fake news. Caused by a portentous plummet in (air) pressure proportionately parallel to mr t’s popularity, millions are now bracing for snow, ice, bone-chilling winds, and record-breaking low temperatures. This is not your momma’s Nor’easter.

The folks residing at the Manors are particularly preparing for calamitous cold conditions. “Last weekend, we saw 2-3 inches of snow in the bedroom alone,” said one resident, declining to be named. He went on to state, “We rescue one or two people a season in the hallways and on the steps, which typify tundra-like temps through March, as a rule.”

The shovelers, seeking a way to make an honest buck, were disheartened to see the beach towel blocking the snow entry

Apparently, a jet stream of cold air naturally penetrates the recently remodeled residences.  Winter storms gravitate from the upper reaches of the atmosphere to the lower levels of the living quarters. It’s spectacular to observe.

“Perhaps record-breaking is the new normal,” said a young med student, who refers to her apartment as the ‘igloo on 2.’ “No need to worry about the small refrigerators. You can preserve perishables and slides from the lab, just about anywhere there’s a window! You don’t get that everywhere, you know?”

Another resident looks at the positive side of life, saying, “With this level of cold, we need less coffee to stay awake! The early morning wind gusts in the bedrooms have the kids flying out of bed to get dressed and ready for school where it is at least safe and warm each day. Tooth brushing is never as welcomed as it is in the austere conditions of winter.”

One couple quoted said, “We are thankful for the balmy bathrooms as a respite from the bleak bombogenesis that comes naturally with each unit. Most often, we sup in there to prevent our food from freezing up. A nice tablecloth can really dress up the closed lid on the loo. Candles add heat romance and help us to keep the magic of our relationship alive!”

Young kids enjoy the ski-lodge conditions, making extra money shoveling snow indoors. “We charge just a fiver for each apartment. We can really cash in with a storm like Grayson headed our way,” said one teen leading a group meeting of the cleanup crew. “I mean, the apartment folks, they shovel the walk-ups outside and stuff, but no one comes indoors like we do! We’ll have college costs and the new iPhone covered after ‘Gray.'”

Mrs. Rosenblatt, in R4, says, “My bursitis, oy, she will be acting up again with a pressure drop like this. At least I know I won’t have to ice my shoulders. I just put my rocker near the window as I knit and I will be frozeny-fine in no time flat. Who needs 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off. It’s too much to think about. My doc can’t believe how lucky I am!”

Climatologists and rheumatologists alike have begun ascending on the apartments at the Manors, delving deep into the unusual weather pattern methodology and pain treatment analysis. “Rapidly warming oceans cheap as shit insulation and wearied windows are definitely having their way with the people populating this uniquely beautiful Tudor,” said one scientist from the Council on Oceanographic Laboratory Discoveries (COLD).

Climate scientists fervently favor this life-saving acronym when prepping for an arctic anomaly like Grayson: COLD: Clean clothes, Overheating, Layering of clothing and Dry clothing. Mrs. Rosenblatt further states, “On most days you can run into any neighbor schpatziring in our gotkes (running around in our long johns). I recommend this place to all my menopausal friends. A nice hot flash is easily abated with this chill.”

Mr. Rosenblatt says, “For this, we pay rent? Oy vey.”

One family yeah, it’s us is gleefully leaving for warmer climes very soon.

Yiddish Proverb:

A fool doesn’t age and cold water doesn’t spoil. A nar vert nit elter un kalteh vasser vert nit kalyeh.

      

      

      

Good luck, bad luck and perspective

I already have so much to be grateful for in the early moments of 2018. Here is the down low on good luck, bad luck, and perspective. Now, you may think, Lisalah, this you call luck? Take a read… you may see me as a klug (wise) or a meshugenah (crazy) momma. I’ll let you be the judge.

Yiddish proverb:

Even for bad luck, one needs luck. Tsum schlimazel muz men oich mazel hoben.

My angels. Mi mlakhim.

Bad Luck: My Mrs., she has been sick for days with cooties that have held her respiratory system hostage — knock you out on your @ss kind of sick

Good Luck: I have been off from work for the holiday, so I was able to allow her to rest and get better while the shana maidelehs (sweet Little and Big) were off for winter break

Bad Luck: My Mrs. has been so sick, she has not been able to help us prepare for our upcoming move (Yes, goodbye Manor! We found our way out — more to come on that)

Good Luck: She was not in the car when we were struck hard by another vehicle while driving, smack-dab in the front passenger side (airbags deployed and all) The irony here? We were headed to a warehouse scratch and dent sale for the washer dryer we need… Oy, this was not the scratch and dent we had in mind. 

Bad Luck: We started the New Year with a bang crash, a car crash (see above) and already, a trip to the hospital/shmospital

Good Luck: Me, my kinder, we all got up and walked out of the car. So did the woman who hit us. I checked, not a scratch on them. I counted their fingers and if it wasn’t 8 degrees outside, I would have counted their toes too. I watched them sleep peacefully last night.

Bad Luck: My body is sprained, head to toe, after quite the jolt. My left foot looks like a lot like my Aunt Frieda’s foot did oh so long ago. It’s a swollen and distended appendage that stays the same circumference from my calf down to my toes… A cankle would be a welcome sight and a sign of improvement

Good Luck: This too will heal, and I am here to tell the story of how one split second can change everything you know as true in this world

Have you found ways that good luck and bad luck are intertwined? Tell me, won’t you?

Until next time, stay safe, stay present, and stay healthy my friends. Hold those loved ones closer, and may we all have a Happy New Year in 2018.

A bei gesunt. As long as you’re healthy.

      

  

 

 

Eat a little, ess a bissel!

Normally, I say to my Gatsby, “Ess a bissel eppis, tatelleh,” (eat a little something, my darling boy. Then I feed him his 5,6,7 times a day nosh (meal). I always thought nothing is too good for my boy, until this happened! Oy vey…

Big is wrapping the injured hand of Millie, while our cute, but very guilty Gatsby, looks on… Millie, she smiles like all Wellie Wishers do!

Camille and Willa, American Girl Wellie Wishers, arrived from dear friends for Channukah for Big and Little. Nachas! (Joy!) Clearly, they love them! They take them everywhere and play with them non-stop. As a review, 10 stars out of 5! These dolls are a perfect size, easy to play with, less fear about ruining their well-coifed hairdo’s, and a lot lighter on the ‘wallet inflicted pain’ than their taller cohorts command. (This review is my own. I am not paid for my opinion. I should only, one day, be so lucky! Pooh, pooh)

One minute we are playing ‘Simon-says’, and the next minute, Camille (nick-named Millie) goes from 10-fingers-perfect to nine-OMG! One furry bruder (brother), guilty with his ‘jaws in the finger jar!’ Chicken bones are very nice, but the fresh, full-flavored fingers of a new Wellie doll, dee-lish! I look, I run, I scream, “DROP IT!” Out pops a very little, doll finger.

One minute we are playing ‘Simon-says’, and the next minute, Camille (nick-named Millie) goes from 10-fingers-perfect to nine-OMG! One furry bruder (brother), guilty with his ‘jaws in the finger jar!’ Actual size, less than 3/8 of an inch.

We recovered the damaged doll digit and somehow managed to save the injured soul of my Big, who did everything possible to successfully keep her emotions in check. I promised her I would soon perform a much-needed fingerectomy on dear Millie. I would reattach the pummeled pointer with the very best of my Jewish-doctor abilities. She knows I am a well-trained tinkerer, I fix things. I will make Millie whole.

Yiddish proverb:

When I am eating, everyone can go to hell! Ven ich ess, ch’ ob ich alles in dread.

Gatsby, he thinks, his only crime is getting caught! Lucky for him, he is so darned cute.

Caught, finger in mouth

Wishing everyone all the best the holiday season has to offer! Health, happiness, and prosperity! ❤

  

52 Smiles

Look at me! I’m #50 in the project! Photo courtesy of (c) Ben Bowens Photography

Yiddish phrase:

Lichticheh punim. It literally means a big, happy face that is lit up, from smiling!

Those of you who read this space, know how I feel about smiling. I am still in the midst of my experiment (with very good results) in The Chaos of the Smile Theory. Apparently, photographer Ben Bowens felt similarly and set out on a mission to capture 52 Smiles in 2017.

While he was doing his thing, I did a little of my thing, an interview. Here it is:

1. How old were you when you first picked up a camera? I can remember playing with my family’s Polaroid camera when I was very little, maybe 6 or 7. I’ve always been interested in art and photography and my parents were good about letting me explore with paint and drawing, etc. I got my first 35 mm camera when I was in college and used it for my fundamentals of photography class where I learned about the magic and frustration of the dark room. In addition to that camera, all throughout college, I always had a digital camera on me just in case I wanted to take a quick picture. The same is true now, only my camera costs way more and it’s usually accompanied by two additional lenses, a flash, a cleaning kit and extra batteries!
2. What are some of your favorite things to photograph? I love to photograph people in their element. I’m a very hands-off photographer when I do portrait sessions. I like to settle on a location and let my subjects explore it on their own. Kids are great at being authentically expressive in new places. They wander around, pick things up, taste things, etc. I love to get photos of those little moments and I think most parents appreciate it, too.
3. How did 52 Smiles come about? 52 Smiles was a project I thought about during 2016. The presidential election was super depressing and it seemed like every week a major figure from pop culture died (We lost Princess Leia and Prince!). I felt a lot of negative vibes during 2016 and I just wanted a reason to smile again. I figured if I could take a picture of someone different smiling and share it every week (52 weeks in a year, 52 smiles, you get it) I would be doing my part to make 2017 a little bit brighter.
4. What/Who inspires/fascinates you? Why? I draw a lot of inspiration from Instagram. People I don’t even know, but whose accounts I follow and marvel at on a daily basis. There are some really talented photographers in the city of Philadelphia and around the world. I just try to emulate the techniques or visit the locations they’ve been and try to match some of their work or take photos to make something my own. 
5. Five years from now, you’ll be…. Possibly in another city, doing another job, surrounded by different people. Who knows! Looking back to the last 5 years, I don’t think I could’ve predicted that I’d be handling communications for the ACLU of Pennsylvania and running my own photography business. I have some ideas, but I guess you’ll just have to stay tuned and see where it all goes.
6. Can you share with us a few of your favorite/most memorable photos? Maybe, a little blurb too?
My girlfriend standing on the beach in Wildwood holding her sandals during sunset. It doesn’t get much better than that. Everything about this picture is my favorite. The lighting, the reflection, the subject. Everything.
I’ve heard and read that Cairns represent many different things to different cultures. They can represent love, or be used to mark the spot where a loved one died, but for me they represent balance. I took this picture during a getaway in Martha’s Vineyard where I was desperately trying to re-balance my life. I think this picture sums up that journey and that time in my life.
I often see things I want to photograph when I’m driving or don’t have my camera and the image will stick with me. Every morning during my commute up I-95 I used to see this smokestack blowing god knows what into the atmosphere from one of the many factories that dot the Philadelphia landscape and just in front of it a tree stood defiant to the toxins. I didn’t quite capture the image from my mind (mainly because that would require me to have a tripod on the middle of a 4-lane highway), but this was the first time that I went out of my way to track down a photograph and I was very proud of myself for following the idea.
It was my 33rd birthday and we hiked around Yosemite. Everyone was clamoring to take the iconic sunset photos of half-dome at glacier point and this girl just walked out beyond the barrier and sat on the edge of the cliff. She looked so peaceful and unfazed by the true majesty laid out before her.
7. With 2017 wrapping up, and 52 smiles coming to an end, what’s next for Ben Bowens? My girlfriend suggested that I take pictures of doors around Philadelphia. I think I might give that a go. It’s probably easier to convince a door to take pictures than my camera-shy coworkers.
8. What’s more important, your equipment, or your eye to the world? I think both go hand in hand. Without one, the other is useless. I can’t count the number of times I’ve said “I wish I had my camera” because I saw something I wanted to capture.
9. Where is home? Home is where the heart is. My heart is currently in Philadelphia.
10. Did you study photography? I took fundamentals of photography class my freshman year of college. It was all black and white and required 35mm film. I also took fundamentals of digital photography class in 2010 at Project Basho it was also all black and white, but all digital.
11. How important is Photoshop to your final images? Photoshop is essential to my work. I shoot in RAW and use the program to process my photos. I think “Photoshop” has a negative connotation associated with it when it comes to photography because it implies that an image has been “doctored” or altered in some way, but I think of it as the darkroom for digital photography (see also: Adobe Lightroom). Photographers in darkrooms are constantly altering their photos with burning and dodging, over-exposing or under-exposing techniques. The digital programs of today are basically streamlining that process.
12. Lastly, if you had one wish? It would be to somehow quit my job, risk-free, and travel the world photographing any and everything I could find. Got $1 million laying around I can borrow??? 🙂
Your contact info: Ben Bowens, Instagram @benbowensphoto, benbowens.com, info@benbowens.com, 267-838-0620
So my friends, may you all end this year and start the new one with your very own, lichticheh punim!

Oy mama! The mouths of babes!

Big as a Cook, Little as a Polichinelle, in The Nutcracker! ❤ This momma is kvelling (bursting with pride and joy) as they dance the Christmas classic

So last night, I had a wonderful talk with my kinder (children) that I would love to share with you. Oh, they are so funny, so knowledgeable, so wise… It all started with Santa, and it went something like this:

Little: Santa brings presents to everyone who is young and everyone who is old.

me: Well, how old are you when you are young?

Big: Like, 20 and under. 20 and under is young.

me: So Max and Benny, they are old? (cousins, my loving nephews)

Little: Well, no. Definitely, beneath 29, you are young. Just beneath 29.

me: So what are you when you are between 30 and 69?

Little: What do you mean?

Big: You’re a middle person. You and Ema are middle people. (I was somewhat relieved to know my own kinder do not think me an alta kocker (literally an ‘old shit’ more commonly, an old fart))

me: How old do you think Santa must be by now?

Little and Big: He is at least 80 or even 100. We can probably ask Mrs. Claus. She would know and tell us the truth.

me: How does this whole present distribution thing work for Christmas? How does Santa give presents out?

Big: If you are mean, there are no presents.

Little: And if you are a little bit mean, you only get like one or two presents. Mostly coal presents or whatever they call that. What is coal?

And, it was on the eighth crazy night, when the Menorah was aflame with the miracle that is Chanukkah

me: What does ‘mean’ mean?

Little and Big: (forgive me, but this was a jumbled free-for-all in reply) Like when you exclude people or say insults about them. If you kick, slap, bite or scratch people, that is mean. Scratching people with a sharp rock would be mean. Pinching is very mean. Robbers steal things, and that is really mean. Like people who find money or credit cards on the floor and don’t return them to the people who lost them and instead they use it for themselves, like stealing it – that is mean. Stealing is definitely mean.

me: Who do you think of when you think of someone who is mean?

Big: Umm, I know a good one! (dancing around the living room) The President of the United States! He is mean!

me: Why is the president mean?

Big: He always insults people, especially people he thinks are not nice to him.

me: Will Santa visit the President on Christmas?

Little: No! I don’t think his kids will get a visit from Santa either. Well, maybe Santa will bring teeny-tiny presents for his kids if they get anything at all.

me: What makes Santa so kind?

Big: (now dancing with every reply) He has a VERYVERYVERYVERYVERYVERYVERYVERY big heart <3. He is really nice. He makes gifts all year long for everyone in the whole world. That’s all he really does all year. Then he delivers them to everyone who is kind.

Little: And then he sleeps for like 3 weeks ’cause he’s so tired from making all of those toys and delivering them around the world. And his heart ❤ is so VERYVERYVERYVERYVERY big.

I’m making some of this stuff up. Did you know that? (devilish smile in tow)

Big: The president, his heart is only VERYVERYVERYVERYVERYVERY BIG for himself and his money. He loves his money and himself. His heart for other people is too tiny, veryveryveryvery tiny heart.

me: Is there any way we can make the world nicer, and have more people kind, like Santa?

Big: (still dancing and twirling around the living room) We can spread joy by being kind and happy. It will then spread all around the world so everyone can feel it!

me: Is there a way we can make the president nicer?

Big: Do you mean Donald? Donald Duck? (awkward pregnant, pensive pause) Mommy, I want to call him Donald Duck instead of the president.  I don’t really know an answer for that, mommy.

Little: He needs to get a bigger heart. His heart is way too small for a person. Tiny small. Like this small (imagine hand gesture of pointer and thumb just about touching).

me: If you had one wish for the world, what would it be?

Big: That Donald Duck wasn’t the president of the United States.

Little: That everybody was kind, and I had candy. That’s two wishes, I know, but I’m little, so that’s okay.

Well, this Yiddisheh momma can feel the live magic of Christmas spirit in the house. As a Jewish atheist, I’m alright with that.

me and the Mrs., we need to zug gornisht (say nothing) because as you can read above, the kinder, they are always listening…

Happy, healthy holidays to all of you! A bei gezunt. As long as you’re healthy.

Yiddish Proverb: 

If the world will ever be redeemed, it will only be through the merit of children.

Oib di velt vet verren oisgilaiszt, iz es nor in zechus fun kinder.