Oh the quotes I remember

Ich hob dir lieb! I love you!
Ich hob dir lieb! I love you!

You know, sometimes, forgetting, it’s a good thing. Not when you are searching your brain for a missing word mid-sentence, or for the name of the person quickly approaching with open arms. Then, it’s a little scary — am I already an Alta cocker (old fart) losing my marbles? Oy vey. Some memories, good or bad, come rushing back at you with a smell, a sound, a familiar face, a feeling in your gut (shpilkes), or reading a great post about a national movement to battle body image for young girls.

Please know , that this post was inspired by Allison at Mad House Mom. She wrote an amazing post, Be Real (istic) in early February that dislodged the floodgates that fed (that is some effing pun) my inner voice as a kid. Hell, this voice was feeding me well into my thirties before I started fighting back. Before I wanted to fight back. And it was some battle.

If you are a woman in this world, chances are pretty damned good that you have had a bout of feeling a bit ‘less than’ throughout your life. If you grew up as a people-pleasing perfectionist, that sponged up all the dysfunction in a family to make it all seem okay, well let’s just say, that really sucks that is meshugenah (crazy) making.

Having mr t in the big office, bragging about ‘grabbing women by their ‘pussies’ (this has happened to me) after popping a few tic-tac’s; suddenly earning 21.4 cents less per dollar isn’t your biggest worry. How do I parent and protect my girls, my babies from what can be a cruel world?

Here are just a few doozies that broke the damn dam for me:

“Both girls, they’re too fat. I’ll allow two cookies a year. One on Christmas, and one on Easter.”  Our pediatrician said this to my mother with my shvester (sister) and me in the room when I was 5, maybe 6 years old. The age of my Little. A doctor really said that in 1969.

“Lisa, come here. Look in the mirror with me. When you put your legs together, you should be able to see three perfect diamonds. This is a problem.” My mother, she brought me into her ‘dressing room’ in the summer of 1974. I was wearing my, “I’m Lisa. Fly me.” t-shirt. You baby-boomers may remember this overtly sexist campaign from Delta, that actually sold the allure of the flight attendants as an absurd, racy extension of the actual airline. I had on my favorite matching yellow shorts. I saw no diamonds in that room, wall-to-wall mirrors, showing every possible angle of ‘diamondlessness.’

1979, said to my parents by a person I had never met, as we stood in line at the Rascal House for dinner: “I had no idea you had another daughter, Morty? I only knew about your sports all star!” Then my mother interjected in a very faint whisper, after looking from side to side to make sure no one of stature was listening, Lisa likes to paint. She’s an artist.” Insert shame here.

Lisala, you're cheeks are a little chubby, no?
Lisala, you’re cheeks are a little chubby, no?

 “I apologize, my daughter is wearing her glasses today, and I just   don’t know why? Then under her breath, she looked directly at me and sneered, Why would you do this to me?”  Mom again.  We were meeting for dinner, maybe 1987-88? For the record, I was at least 25 years old, my glasses were brand spankin’ new and my eyes were irritated from a flight from Philadelphia to Miami earlier that day. She spent the rest of that evening with her back to me. Never once looking at me or speaking to me during the entire meal. 

“Don’t you ever share food with her again, she has cancer. You’ll catch it. When you go to the bathroom, in her house, don’t sit on the seat. In fact, try not to go at all.” 1986, mom again. We were  in NYC and I took a bite of dessert from my most favorite aunt   in the entire world. At this point, she should have been pleased   I took a bite of anything at all. I would go days at a time eating absolutely nothing. Seeking invisibility and gauging my worth  by the numbers on the scale.

“Lesbians, like Martina (Navratilova), have a genetic mutation, just like retarded people. That’s why she is gay. It’s the mutation.  And, she is obviously the man in the relationship.” This gem, also from my mother, was declared over dinner at the TGI Friday’s in the Princeton Market Fair, NJ. Circa 1992-ish. ‘Dear old dad’ went on to pontificate about how she (Martina) disgusted him, and he couldn’t even watch her play tennis. Don’t you worry Martina, I defended you from this incompetence.

These couple of quotes, just the tips of the iceberg that tried to sink me like the Titanic. My dear friends, don’t you for one second be sad for me. I am alive and well, living and loving a life free of toxicity. My Mrs. and me, we met at a group for women with eating disorders. Good luck / bad luck. We worked through our shit hard in therapy before having little ones.

We do our best and bend over backward to raise our shana maidelehs (sweet girls) with love, respect, and self-esteem in a world that tries too hard to steal it from them. They will never hear what I heard or be subject to the pernicious parental spiel (empty jabber, talk) that formed my invalidating inner voice.

We want for them to learn to love themselves first and foremost. To know they are loved by us, no matter who they are, what they do or how they look. They will understand the value of being a good person on the planet, helping others and living a life with empathy and a strong voice. They will learn how to take their space and own it. We will not let them succumb to the vile sexist and misogynistic messages of the media, or mr t. That the ‘P’ word (perfect) only sets you up to fail.

We want to build their house on a strong foundation, ready to weather the storms that blow in and out of our lives. Mighty girls become brave women.

I wish that I could have pain instead of you my child. Mir zol zayn far dir, mayn kind.

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The Problem with Pee-Gate

No matter who you are, or how you identify, please don't leave the next person high and dry.
No matter who you are, or how you identify, please don’t leave the next person high and dry.

No matter who you are, or how you identify, please don’t leave the next person high and dry.

Let the record show that I have not been paid to write this piece, although truth is, that would be both helpful and nice. I am not a political reporter or a journalist. I am, however, one very outraged Yiddisheh momma who cannot just sit idly by while mr t and his alt-right, uber-conservative (pun intended) regime of discriminating desperado’s, steal away the basic rights and needs of transgendered students in this country, who’s only crime is that they want to pee safely. Yes, this is about peeing. Whether you sit, stand, hover-over, wipe or shake it off, we are in the midst of Pee-Gate. Who knew such tsuris (troubles) would plague us…

Pee-Gate is about ignorance fear, stupidity lack of knowledge, the lawlessness inequity of separate but not equal, bigotry, closed-mindedness, insecurity and what can very easily become an unnecessary increase in violence against, and suicide rates amongst, the LGBTQ community.

My President Obama, he banished the bathroom backlash by bestowing Title IX in the way it was created as law:

Title IX is a landmark federal civil right that prohibits sex discrimination in education. Title IX is not just about sports; it is a prohibition against sex-based discrimination in education. It addresses discrimination against pregnant and parenting students and women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs. It also addresses sexual harassment, gender-based discrimination, and sexual violence. Sexual violence includes attempted or completed rape or sexual assault, as well as sexual harassment, stalking, voyeurism, exhibitionism, verbal or physical sexuality-based threats or abuse, and intimate partner violence.

(this is straight from the website, knowyourix.com)

My Barack, he said, let the transgendered kids use the bathroom of their choice. He didn’t do this because he was a nice guy (he is) or wanted to make trouble (he didn’t). He said this because he knew we already have a Federal Law on the books. Unlike mr t, Barack knows the law and the rights created in the Constitution. C’mon people, Tricky-Dick Nixon made Title IX a law back in 1972! That was 45 years ago, and Nixon!

Now for the outrage. This divisive and discriminating act of hatred and bullying towards the transgendered community in our educational system is based on the idiocracy that all transgendered youth (and grown ups too) in our country are perverse and have deviant motives when they need to pass water. This very small-minded thinking from the highest office in the land only boosts bullying and hatred to the most malevolent and malignant levels. mr t’s reversal is his first real attempt to hold true, his campaign claims against the entire LGBTQ community. It is an outright attack and I will not stand by and watch.

Milania, if you are truly standing tall against bullying as first Lady, then please leave your golden penthouse now and get the hell up and shout! Your husband is the biggest, baddest, bully in the bunch. Step down from your trophy wife status and stop him. You are a mom for christ sake. How can you let him attack our nation’s children this way? Put aside his misogynistic treatment of both you and Ivanka, the daughter-wife-in-chief, and start championing your cause. The kinder (children) need you.

The school that my Big and Little attend have non-marked bathrooms because you know what, we all gotta go. There are no issues as diverse students, teachers, staff, and caregivers all pee proudly and safely.

Please, join the resistance against this very dangerous policy by mr t. Join with positivity and hope as we demonstrate to the world leaders that our children’s lives are on the line. Protest peacefully, make calls, write letters, sign petitions, and send emails. You don’t mess with our kinder (children), mr t. 

We are supposed to leave the world a better place than when we entered it. mr t, I say to you:

A fool goes twice where a sensible person doesn’t even go once. A nar geyt tsvey mol dort vu a kliger geyt nit keyn eyntsik mol. 

In your case, many more times than twice. Oy vey!

L’Chiam! To Life!

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Springtime In February

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Constant joy is a great mitzvah (a good deed). Keseyderdik freyd iz a groys mitzvah.

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It’s abundantly clear to me, that the very best parts of this life are unplanned little moments spent with those you love. Make sure you are present so you can catch them.

 

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The Great Gatsby

“I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.”
“I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

No dear friends, this is not the one by Fitzgerald. Not a cast of characters living in lavish mansions in the fictional town of West Egg, Long Island. No prosperity, debutantes, elaborate parties, or even idealism.

Our Great Gatsby, he does have many parallels. He is quixotic as his namesake, contains obsessions by us humans of our furry, four-legged boychik (little boy) and his unconditional love of us, decadence, after all, he is the boy king in our little apartment castle, and he holds the American Dream of finding love. And as for the cast of Characters, you have me, the Mrs., Big and Little, living life in the Manor and working our asses off to reclaim our slice of the pie.

“If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him.”
“If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
"My life has got to be like this, it's got to keep going up."
“My life has got to be like this, it’s got to keep going up.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
“I wasn’t actually in love, but I felt a sort of tender curiosity.”
“I wasn’t actually in love, but I felt a sort of tender curiosity.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
“I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.”
“I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Handle every stressful situation like a therapist. If you can’t eat or play with it, pee on it and walk away.  Shepn yeder stressful situatsye vi a terapist. Aoyb ir kenen nisht esn oder shpiln mit im, nor pi aoyf es aun geyn avek.

Gatsby, our little rescue boy, saved us as well.

In dog we trust.

 

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Poems, home and perspectives

Big's Poem
Big’s Poem

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. My shanah maidehlahs (little sweet girls) made Valentine’s for their classmates, their teachers and for me and my Mrs., and Gatsby too! When I came home from work, I was stunned by the artwork left for me to see, the prizes of love. Notes, cards, pictures, 2 boxes of Egyptian Licorice Tea (OMG!!!) and a bag of black licorice. They know me well.

I read Luka’s poem and I couldn’t help but tear up. I cried I bawled Her perspective is so different from my own growing up. My only wish is that Little and Big, my beautiful kinder (children), may we do our very best to do right by you, always and forever.

My poem at 8 years of tender age would be very different:

When I Think of Home

by Lisa

When I think of ‘home’ I think of cleanliness and order

When I think of ‘home’ I am not allowed on my bed until 8pm

When I think of ‘home’ my sister is wisely absent

When I think of ‘home’ I smell the stench of pine-sol

When I think of ‘home’ I think of disappearing

When I think of ‘home,’ I am unhappy

When I think of ‘home’ I think of entering through the garage

When I think of ‘home’ I hear the voices that tried to shatter me

When I think of ‘home’ I think of the dis-ease that was enabled

When I think of ‘home’ I see rooms not to be entered

When I think of ‘home’ I think antiseptic and sterile

When I think of ‘home’ of think no life lives here

When I think of ‘home’ I am dirty and wrong

When I think of ‘home’ I don’t matter as much

As the things we acquired or the rooms we can’t touch

To all the kinder (children) everywhere, live out loud, make a mess, make beautiful and loving memories. That little ones, you so deserve.

You know what? After a good cry, your heart is lighter. (Az mi veint rich ois, vert gringer afn hartz)

Thank you my friends, for letting me share. To dare to be open and vulnerable among you.

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Sleep! My Sunday Photo

Peaceful coexistence
Peaceful coexistence

Gatsby is clearly on the lookout for Little or Big, before he goes shluffy (to sleep).

When a lion is sleeping, let him sleep. Az a leybt shloft, loz im shlofin.

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The date night we stole, right in our own home :)

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Today dear readers, I share with you a bissel (little) geshikte (story). Last Friday, on my drive home, I called my Mrs. with passion and enthusiasm for a fun-filled weekend, only to be greeted with a flattened voice, you know the kind I mean. The tone alone spoke volumes, expressing how, “I should have known to come home hours ago to take care of these meshuggeneh kinder (crazy kids) of MINE.” I hung up the phone, I knew I had to pull out some big stops in order to inflate the deflated love of my life. What to do? This was winter doldrums mixed with too much news and reality — she had a terrible case of the election dejections

Flowers? Too expensive for the outcome. The smile would be fleeting, and they would, well, d-i-e. More sadness we did not need. Chocolate? Ice cream? Too much risk involved in me being the bearer of the sweets…oy vey (WTF!). I was almost home.

I turned into the Manor, pulling my up every ounce of creativity from my frugal induced brain. Wait, I know! Friday night is movie night in our home. After dinner we snuggle in our pj’s and all watch a movie usually the same effing kid movie, chosen after a long, drawn out, award winning tantrum from both Big and Little on who picked last, buttery popcorn smells wafting through the air. Blankets and hugs. I walk in and announce:

“Tonight! Tonight my little maidelehs (sweet girls), Mommy has a great idea!” This movie night will be extra special! You two get to watch your very own movie on the big screen, and Ema and I, we will watch a ‘mommy movie’ in our room!

Only the faintest hint of a smile was let out by my Mrs. It was subtle, like the Mona Lisa, only less so, but I know I saw it. In unison, these girls let out a geshrei (loud, piercing scream), you would think I told them a shreklickheh (horrible, terrible) thing, like there is no Santa Claus, or ‘we’ are the tooth fairy. The waterworks and the screams together — What were the neighbors thinking? My plan did not account for such a reaction. The Mrs., she walked off in a sullen sidestep as I tried my best to quiet the teeny, mighty troops.

After finally convincing them that we are only six (6) inches away, separated only by a thin uninsulated wall, they gave us a brokkheh (blessing). Finally, I had heart palpatations for a good reason!

My Mrs., she questioned a stifled, should we really do this? I said f*ck yes! The kinder are learning everything about relationships through ours. If we don’t model how we need alone time, that we value alone time, what kind of relationships will they have? And where will ours go? She nodded, we hugged. The kinder watched us, tried to listen. I said, “Zugg gornisht! Der kinder!” (Shush. The kids can hear us!)

We ate, cleaned, popped, buttered, salted, and split ways. What did Elsa sing in Frozen?  “For the first time in forever…” echoed excitedly in my ears.

We headed to the bedroom. It had been soooooo long, the tv could no longer locate the chromecast do-hickey. I struggled with our looming IT issues. Rebooted the cable router, flipped the switches on and off. Unplugged and re-plugged. I heard the loud sound of the clock ticking away in my ears. We finally grabbed a laptop, signed in to Netflix and had time enough left to watch episode 1 of, The Crown. 

We snuggled, we smiled, Little and Big kept running in to check on us, as we watched a show for big people. The kinder, they giggled and laughed at our selection. We smiled and hugged and watched on. It was a wonderful evening after all. The girls felt empowered, we felt like ‘we’ mattered, and my Mrs., she had a really beautiful smile as we snuggled closely.

Guess what my friends, today is Friday! 🙂

And to you, my Mrs., Ich hob dir lieb! (I love you!)

 

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