How this Memorial Day is a little bit different

This week, we lost yet another vet to the Vietnam Nam war. Yes, you read that correctly. The Vietnam Nam War.

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In the wee hours of Friday morning, May 24, this soldier surrendered his last courageous breath, with the love and comfort of his dear wife by his side.

War, it knows no end.

His family watched him wither down from a strong and able man to a frozen, frail, quiet shell. Stilled, but not by choice. Agent Orange stole his last years.

PSP. Progressive supranuclear palsy. A degenerative disease involving the gradual deterioration and death of portions of the brain.

I wouldn’t wish such horror on anyone. A shonda (shame).

And like the Marine he was, he was strong, stoic, stalwart, and brave to the very end.

Yiddish Proverb:

A shekter sholem iz beser vi a guter krig. A bad peace is better than a good war. 

This Memorial Day, I am especially aware of how war, it affects us all.  The wives, brothers, sisters, moms, dads, children…

There is another Yiddish saying we should all think about as we poke at each other with such capricious hostilities. It translates to something I truly believe to be true:

If one soldier knew what the other thinks, there would be no war.  

Rest In Peace, Captain Joseph T. Drennan III, United States Marine Corps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I never do this, but hey, why not?

No joke, I have always resolved not to make resolutions. But now, today, this minute, everything I know as real and true is so farshlugganeh (crazy, mixed up, downright nuts), I figured, why the hell not! I know! Already, you’re discouraged. Just stick with me a minute. In a true to form, ‘Castanza-ian’ way, a little WWGD (What would George Do) might actually make sense. Is that so wrong?

Yiddish Proverb:

When the time comes for you to live, there aren’t enough years. Ven di tsayt kumt far ir tsu lebn, zenen nisht genug yorn.

I think I can see 2019 from here… #shankyoupets

In an effort not to redo my entire life, I’ve stuck to five important well I think so things to help ring in the continuing saga and clusterfu#k that was 2018 the New Year, 2019. And please, don’t worry too, too much… I’m not going to shmie around (wander aimlessly) into another hopeless, political rant.

  1. Do my very best to stay healthy in mind and body. I see the snow on my roof and I know, at 668 months old you can do the math, I need to take good care of me so I can be here to watch my kinder have kinder (children have children), should they ever be allowed to leave the roost. Gutinue! (disbelief) Like this, it could ever happen? I will continue to eat healthfully and mindfully, exercise daily and keep control of my farcockteh (effed up, literally, all crapped up) neck pain. I will feed my soul with books of fiction and nonfiction over bouts of frenzied social media usage. And I will be present with the beautiful people that surround me and give me hope.
  2. Continue the Chaos of the Smile Theory, because we all really need it! Smiles, like yawns, colds and STD’s, they are contagious. Smiling is a nice and easy way of passing along some TLC to our fellow neighbors. If I can be a zeisah neshumah (sweet soul) and, pass it along to others, maybe, just maybe we can build some much-needed love and trust in this world. Slapping a smile on this punim (face) as I type! Can you feel it?
  3. Never stop doing random, simple, nice things for others. Basically, I’ll be a mensch (good-hearted person). As I enter a building, why not hold the door open for others? When I see someone trying desperately to leave a parking lot, I will wave them in front of me and into my lane of traffic. What fun it will be to randomly buy an ice cream cone or a coffee for the person behind me in line. I must continue to pick up litter as I walk my Gatsby. I will remember to bring the love of my life a beautiful flower, a drawing, a poem, a morsel of dark chocolate. I’ll take a mensch over a nogudnik (I bet you know this one!) any day of the week, wouldn’t you?
  4. Send daily thoughts of light and healing to Ruth Bader Ginsburg. One tough cookie, my hero is! And I know, she has made it this far without me. Beating cancer, sexism, glass ceilings, and did I say beating cancer? Three times now — kaynahora (pthui-pthui, keep away evil and harm). It can’t hurt for me to send waves of love her way. Some role model she is, for our sweet maideleh’s (little girls). Stay healthy Ruthie!
  5. Stay fierce, frugal and have more fun! Life, it’s hard. No smoking gun here… It comes with its built-in, brutal knocks. But as far as I know, this life is all I’ve got. Nu? As things come hurling their way at us, at me as they often do, I will find the inner power to work harder and care for my delightful, deserving family. Penny-wise is now, simply wise. We are running lean and will find new ways to run leaner.  WTF? Challenge accepted. Game on. And, if this is as good as it gets, I will add fun, play, sparkles, glitter, joy, and laughter wherever and whenever it is humanly possible. We girls, we just gotta have more fun!

Fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you.

— Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice

So, that is it my friends.
I am sincerely wishing you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous year ahead. C’mon 2019! I’m reading, willing and able! A bie gezunt! Go in good health!

Some great folks I like to share with….

Yiddisheh Momma Feels the Christmas Magic!

This is the emmes truth ( I swear, this is true… poo-poo). On the days leading into the Nutcracker performances, I did not know if my little family was going to make it. My Mrs., she had been schlepping (hauling @ss all over creation, the maideleh’s (our sweet girls) all over the place. Dress rehearsal here, performances there… Were the bags packed? Did they have their ballet shoes? What about the special red ones? Extra tights? Hair bag? Makeup? Snacks? Water? Oh, the waterworks… tears flowed like geysers. Moses, he would have had some rough time if he had to part our personal familial ocean… He was the guy who parted the red sea, right? The stress. Tension. Where on earth were my frailech kinder (light and joyful children)? I couldn’t wait for them to leave already.  We were all a mess. Insanity alone, it would have been a welcomed friend to this meshuggah (crazy) way of living.

From top left, Little getting ready before the show, soldiers, those damned bobby pins, dancer for the Chinese segment

When they finally left (I’m sorry, I love you all to the moon and back), I grabbed my boychik, Gatsby, cuddled him tightly in a fetal position on our sofa, and burst into tears. Tidal waves. Tsunamis. Remember Holly Hunter in, Broadcast News? That was me. Scheduled, routine, bawling and blubbering. A total, inescapable breakdown.

Some 15 odd minutes later, I dried my prolific puddle and looked around our fairly new home. WTF? We weren’t robbed. We weren’t tossed by the feds? We’ve been ‘Nutcracker-ed.’ A bare refrigerator and laundry taller than me which is not saying much, I suppose. Tchaikovsky had no idea when he created his masterful score that one day, my life would be farshtunkeneh (a crazed, chaotic mess).

Nu? In times of stress, this momma vacuums. It’s not wine, and certainly, it’s not chocolate. There is no glamour, but it is aerobic, efficient and usually very necessary. Just ask my Mrs. She has even found me vacuuming outdoors nope, not a shop vac to be found on multiple occasion(s). On, in, or around our sofa alone, I found, recovered, hoovered, at a minimum, 3,497 bobby pins. Yes, I counted. Really. Heading toward the loo, another 317. Stairs? Don’t ask. If these pins had value, I would be swimming in riches! Dancers need (hair) buns. Ergo, the bobby pin glut.

Many hours later, and after a necessary shower, I was ready to leave for the show. Our house, me, I had regained some small sense of order. The Mrs. reported that the kinder, they had a great dress rehearsal. Then all the ballerinas and their respective tightly wound caregivers went out for burrito bowls from Chipotle to nourish their dancin’ feet.

From left, Big as Nutcracker doll, party girl, getting ready for the Russian dance, $#@! bobby pins…

I did my mandatory voluntary ushing job and then made my way in the dark to our seats. My heart, beating to the Dum-da-da-dum-dum, dum-dum-dum of the music. Before long, my face would hurt from smiling. This may be my purest form of kvelling (boasting and gushing) Big, she comes out on stage first with two other dancing, party girls, friends. Her smile, lichticheh (lit-up, radiant) She is so frailecheh (happy) on stage, in costume and dancing. She is free as a bird. 

Little, she marches out in her group.  They are soldiers who fight the dreaded mice. I make a note to talk to the head of the dance school about the guns; Oh, and I verbalized it a bissel (little). I mean, right?

She looks out at the audience and makes a smirk like only she can. I laugh out loud and radiate happiness okay, so that was a hot flash. She puts up quite a fight with her dancing mouse partner. That’s a shana punim (beautiful face) with a simper no less.

Big, aside from a party girl, she is also the Nutcracker doll and a dancer in the Russian scene.

These sweet kinder, they have been practicing since September. They are dancing alongside professionals — The Donetsk Ballet, from Ukraine. Folg mikh a gayng! That’s no small task! Someone pinch me already!

It’s a week later, and I am still hearing Tchaikovsky music. I can still see every move my maideleh’s (sweet babies) made on the stage(s). I can be found smiling, beaming with full on myofascial pain — practically lockjaw.

Oh, this Yiddisheh momma is feeling the Christmas spirit like never before. Wishing all of you who celebrate, a very, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Nachas (joy from others accomplishments, like your dancing kinder) and mitzvahs for all and to all a good night!

Yiddish Proverb:

When you teach your daughter, you teach your daughter’s daughter. Ven ir lernen deyn tokhter, ir lernen deyn tokhter tokhter.

Zie gezunt! Be in good health.

 

Some great folks I like to share with….

On the first night of…

On the eighth crazy night, when the Menorah was ablaze with the miracle of Hanukkah… Oy, we should only make it to the eighth night! Nu, at least they make good birthday candles too.

On the first night of Hanukkah, my kinder, they said to me, “When will we go get our Christmas tree?”

On the second night of Hanukkah, the maideleh’s, they asked for Santa, so I asked my Mrs.,  “Please! Pass me more Mylanta?”

On the third night of Hanukkah, this came from the mouth of my Little, “What’s with those latkes burning on the griddle?”

On the fourth night of Hanukkah, Big, she said outright, “This is what happens for eight crazy nights?

By the fifth night of Hanukkah, the menorah was buried on the shelf. Mensch on the Bench has nothing over that meshuggeneh elf!

By the sixth night of Hanukkah, we did homework and gai schluffin; the mention of dreidel sent the kinder a-runnin’

By the seventh night of Hanukkah, our Christmas stockings were all lined up. Hanukkah, jeez… why am I dreying my kup?

By the eighth night of Hanukkah, clearly not going as planned. Us Jews, we must schmooze and do a total re-brand.

So for all who may attempt the menorah with delight, have fun, nosh on latkes, and to all a good night.

Yiddish proverb:

If grandma had a beard, she would be grandpa. Oyb di bobe volt gehat a bord, volt zi geven a zeyde.

That’s Hanukkah in a Christmas world. All is good.

A bei gezunt! In good health!

Some great folks I like to share with…

Happy New Year, from the Jewish Atheist!

The Jewish Holidays… whenever the kinder (kids) ask about them, usually, historically, the answer is, “Some group of people hated us [Jews], so we ran, and through some miraculous, super-hero-like mumbo-jumbo maneuvers, we made it, we survived, and so, we ate!” Ess a bissel. Eat a little! Nu? Jewish history in a nutshell.

Please know if you are new to this site, or even if you are a regular I love you both I may throw in some beautiful, robust Yiddish language to better turn a phrase, and yes, I was raised Jewish, I do have serious doubts about all organized religion the man behind the curtain, and tend to live more on the side of humanism. But this is not the slippery slope we are headed down on this day. Don’t get me started…

L’Shana Tova. Rosh Hashana. Happy New Year! This, I can revel in! For Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, is a time of reflection usually with a nice brisket, some noodle kugel, and apples, all drenched in the sweetness of honey, creativity, thoughtfulness, and questioning about any and every thing around. Well, that is just another day around here. This is behavior (hopefully) we all do every day, as people on this planet. This process of inquiry and self-examination is what goes on in my head each night as I lay in bed, thinking over the day, and listening to the soft hum of the maideleh’s gay shluffen (sweet girls sleeping). 

No question, I’ve been reflective, and that reflection quite coincidentally has led up to this holiday, this New Year.  Tsuris (troubles)? We all have our fair share. Time? We are all racing against the clock of inevitability. Some days the tick-tock is louder than others. Some days, it is rather deafening.

Yiddish Proverb:

In a quarrel, leave the door open for reconciliation. Az da krigst zikh, krig zikh azoi du zolst zikh kennen iberbeten.

I am an adult most, well, a good majority of the time and I am in control of my thoughts, my behaviors, my actions. So, to continue in my daily efforts to lead a life of compassion, empathy, and mindfulness, and to raise good kinder who are always listening, always watching and learning, I made a very big move to change things. To heal.

Hi Mom and Dad,
It’s been a long time, and I want you both to know that I have been thinking about you and hope you are well. Today’s world is filled with so much chaos – thought perhaps we could all use a little peace. Peace is good.
xo
L
And I hit send. In a very short time after, I received this:
Dear Lisa,   We too have been thinking about you on a daily basis for a long time.  Mom got up this morning and told me she had a dream about you last night. She does not remember the dream-all she remembers is she hugged you.  Yes, it has been too long. Let’s not waste any more precious time. We love you.  Mom and Dad
The ganseh mishpocheh (the whole family) has grown. The gift of nachas (joy). ❤
Yiddish Proverb:
When things go right, you become rich. Ven es gait gleich, vert men reich.
A bie gezunt. As long as you’re healthy… And, go call your mother!

The scorn that is sunscreen, and other stories

So serene… but if you look closely, to the right of the reflection in the water, you will see the baby gator. Momma gator is sure to be watching us all.

Sandy beaches, sunshine, and just a bissel (a little) rain each day. Turtles, alligators, dolphins, fish, frogs, deer, baby gators, seagulls, ibis, lizards, and sandpipers.  Spiders the size of my hand, definitely not for the weak hearted. Family, cousins, and even a baby! Five kinder (sweet children), four magnificent mommas, and ice cream beer, wine too! All, in our happy place, Bald Head Island, just off the coast of North Carolina. Together never felt so good!

Jewish Proverb:

“No matter what happens, travel gives you a story to tell.” Keyn enin vos khapanz, arumforn git ir a dertseylung.”

This is one, very big and scary gator

My Big, she talks about when she was in the ocean with baby C and his momma. The baby, he fell from the force of the wave riptide and was whisked up in the air, hanging by his hand his arm remarkably stayed in its socket lovingly held firmly in his mom’s grip. Baby C, clearly farshluggeneh (shaken, mixed up), then declared, “It is ag-gwa!”

Boorivkah: Yiddish for Blueberry!

My Little, she liked it when they all dressed up in the big blue bubbles and ran out on the golf course for pictures and videos. G, a kleineh kinder (small, little sweetie) clad in his blown-up blueberry, and almost lost inside its great girth big, he is not, literally rolled down the steps from the porch to the patio. He got up, blueberry suit as savior, fartootst (confused and bewildered), he looked at my Little and said, “That was so awesome!”

My Little…

We heard from the Tanta’s (aunts) that our Little, she shared bragged, well she boasted, hell, she was kvelling (bursting with pride) her talent of being able to burp on command. She proved it, right then and there, too. The boys all broke into bursts of giggling. Me, and my Mrs., we were just grateful that she didn’t share the curse word she knows that rhymes with ‘truck.’ Oy vey iz mir. (Woe is me.) Our miniature komish (comic) in the making. Big, she read books to them all and tended to all of us the kinder like the mommelah (little mother) she is. 

K, he can Hula-Hoop like a champ

K, nearly 7, doesn’t understand why, if we have Baldhead, and we all can be there together, why is he now waking up in California? And us in Philadelphia? Smart, he is!

G, as a young buck

G, he told us stories about each animal, fish, insect, bird or reptile we encountered. Between books, school and the Kratt brothers (from the Wild Kratts TV show), this boychik (little boy) absorbs it all!

baby C, no filter

Baby C, he exudes cuteness. My Mrs., she has plans to kidnap him. But please, do not tell his mommas.

Even s’mores were ready for our last night together, post blueberry run!

Now the Tanta’s, they are both shitterayn (able to cook delicious food without a recipe) no, I am not calling them bad things! I am complimenting them. Not a bad word at all! Each day, they would potchki (poke around) adding a little bit of this and a little bit of that in the kitchen. Gourmet snacks, meals, and picnics would appear before us, ready to be devoured. I did the laundry to make up for my lack of kitchen capabilities, however, please know that I am inspired!

Thankfully the Tanta’s had colored sunscreen for their faces…

Kvetching (Complaining): across the board. All five kinder had been varfing (throwing, as in throwing a tantrum) each and every time we slathered their skin with sunscreen.  Enter curse word that rhymes with ‘truck’ here, now, as often as you like. Honestly, the geshries (screams) and moans that would come from these kinder, one might have thought we were coating them with alligator food and letting them out to stroll by the lake, alone! It was a painstakingly tough production for us all and anyone in earshot. And don’t you know, their gentle, smooth skin, like a babies tuchas (tushy, bum, butt), has been saved, despite the struggles. 

Genug is genug! (Enough is enough!) You HAVE TO WEAR your sun shirt, your hat, your sunglasses, and we MUST re-apply sunscreen every 80 minutes!

“It’s time kids.” They got all broygis (pissed off, angry a real shit-fit).

We heard: “Putting sunscreen on is so boring. What if ___insert cousin name here_________ gets to the pool first? Why is it so thick we did apply it with a putty knife? You just put it on one minute ago! Yes, I did put it on my face already. You did that leg. The sun isn’t even out. Maybe we should only swim at night? Is there moonscreen too? Is it dry yet? Can I PLEASE go back in the pool now?” Imagine me explaining the depleted ozone layer,  our dangerous proximity to the sun and its harmful effects to our derma, the largest organ in our entire bodies. Scott Pruitt, climate change…Oh, I went off. Oy! 

Little and Big, my mighty girls!
My Big,… that is childhood

My Mrs., she loved the shoals and tide pools over by Cape Fear yes, like in the movies. The small, waveless swimming holes were so much fun. It was calm and soothing sitting and swimming in nature-made pools, free from the pull of the full moon, fish swimming around our ankles. We all walked on the beach and collected shells. Big, she made drippy sand castles. Little and K stood atop boogie boards. G, he did too — even though he is slight enough to walk on water. I was bound and determined to find a sand dollar in its entirety – Bubkas (no such luck). Next time…

We also took a nature walk. Get a load of the size of this fairy house! Whoa…

One of my most cherished times was biking with Big and K to the ice cream shop. The rain had stopped and we wanted to ride bikes. The others took the golf cart. We were rain free and riding through puddles on the way there. I led the way, K was to stay in the middle and on the right side of the path, Big, she rode caboose to help keep K in line. To K’s surprise, we beat the cart-full-o-family through Middle island and to the docks. To our surprise, he arrived in one piece. We all had the most delicious homemade ice cream beer when the clouds burst open. The amount of clean water pouring from the sky was stunning. The three of us rode back to the house, happily drenched in the deluge. We joked about needing soap and shampoo, and not needing any sunscreen. K, electrified by the sugar high, puddles and heavy rains, rode his bike as if he were drunk, swerving right and left. Just as our cart-full-o-family drove up, K pedaled himself straight into a tree on the side of the road. Remarkably, not a scratch on him. No head injury. No flesh wounds. (Knocking wood)

K and Big, beach bound
And we loved our pool time

And I think we all enjoyed the pure, carefree, childlike fun and love as the kinder played, frolicked, fought (well they are real kids you know), laughed, and made collective memories. This was priceless.

And the photos and videos we all took made Nonna (Italian for Bubbe, which is Yiddish for grandmother) so happy. This trip to BHI was palpably different for us all because of our very tangible lack of Nonna and PopPop (grandfather, Zaideh). PopPop has, well, he has a farshlepteh krenk (literally, a chronic illness) and was recently moved to a nursing home, a much safer place for him and our Nonna. His decline has been so fast, like a lightning strike or the blink of an eye. His placement made it too soon for Nonna to make the trip. Everyone understood and felt her spirit there with us every moment of our days. We will continue to fill her heart with stories of the nachas (joys) we all experienced. These kinder will help to heal her heart and she does not need to apply sunscreen to take them in and ours too. 

Waiting for the first ferry back to the mainland
Me and my Mrs., bashert (soul mate)

A bie gezunt. (As long as you are healthy.)

 

 

Its Wednesday, I wish…

I wish… I wish…

Technically, it is July 4th, Independence Day in the states, and I couldn’t be farther from feeling patriotic, proud of my country or the people who are running it. Truth is, our country scares the shit out of me daily frightens me in a way I have never before experienced.

Today, I welcome the day off with my family. I welcomed sleeping in a bit, relaxing. But I am not feeling very red, white or blue — well, blue only in the sense of a deepening sadness. Human dignity and freedoms are now being stolen daily. The immigrant crisis, where children are being separated from their parents and sent to ‘camps’ technically for purposes of law! WTF and the parallels to the atrocities of the Holocaust haunt me. Please, dear friends, we cannot have another global miscarriage of morals, ethics, and values. Please, hear the cries, feel the pain. Act. Scream. Shout at the top of your lungs.

I move forward only by seeing the cries of injustice rallied far and wide. I hold strong and hard in my belief that we, the greater we of like minds, fairness, civility, compassion, and empathy can right this veering ship.

We must hold on this holiday, more than all others, the belief that the people of our world can and will come together and change the confluence of attitudes and events that are swirling together like the perfect storm. We have to raise the bar on just about everything in the world on human rights. We all need to care.

#NeverAgain #NotOneMore #NeverForget #MeToo #BlackLivesMatter #CivilRights #LGBTQrights #MomsDemandAction #Vote #worry #gunsense #Immigration #MuslimBan #SupremeCourt #Antisemitism #WomensRights

Yiddish Proverb:

I wish I could have the pain instead of you, my children. Mir zol zeyn far dir mayn kinder.

Friends, be safe. A bie genzunt. Go in good health.

Makin’ Memories!

My Mrs. — my Bashert (destiny, as in soul mates), that is some view I had! ❤

As many of you know, we had a bit of tsuris (trouble) this past spring break, when everyone got sick, save for Gatsby and me. Everything was ferkokt (all fucked effed up) Plans were canceled, tears were spilled along with other bodily fluids … Well, we finally got a re-do on that break, and this time, we headed to Boulder, Colorado to see my shvester (sister) and shvager (brother-in-law). I hope you can see how much fun we had! I am so very lucky…

My kinder, my shvester, and my shvager, perched on steps of pride with the kinderlech
Great company, food, music, dancing, and fun! My ballerinas were mesmerized by the break dancers…
Chautauqua Trails — The Flatirons, what a beauty to experience!

The fresh smelling air, the sights, the sounds of nature, all were as glorious as this shot which doesn’t even begin to capture what our senses absorbed. We all need to be good to our planet to preserve such a treasure. A shtik naches (A great joy) for us all to revel and relish.

Climbing… climbing…

As an important note, I think we only stopped 7 or 403 times to utilize our new unicorn bandaids for various blisters and to add a bissel (little) bling!

I spy with my little eye, a wabbit! In this photo, he may be ‘actual size!’

Some of us were Terrified of back bear sightings — we stumbled into this tiny rabbit while hiking. A little later we saw a very big deer, resting in the shade. She was unscathed by our presence. Of course, we were then terrified of ticks and Lyme’s Disease and inspected our kinder like Jane Goodall and her gorillas in the mist. On our way down, we spoke to a couple that saw a few baby black bears (Oy vey!) playing, on their hike, higher up. Luckily my kinder won’t likely read this post for many moons, if at all Feelings of shpilkes (fear, pins, and needles) in our group?  ‘Spot on!’

Living and loving ‘in the moment’
Farmutshet (worn out, exhausted) A little bit tired after that hike…
How lucky am I to catch this shot of Little jumping and Big waiting?

Never too tired to swim, and the water is never too cold when you are kinderlech (young children). Besides, there are two hot tubs to choose from to warm up if you need to! The water was actually quite comfortable in temp. Nothing stimulates the soul, activates the appetite and allows for sweet slumbers, like daily swimming. And the scenery, it couldn’t be more beautiful. 

And my shvester follows suit!
“I told you, only the girls are allowed in here…”  TLM*

If he knew the words, he would have said, “Loz mich tsu ru! (Leave me alone!)” I had to look them up! He is one proud uncle, who gets a kick out of these maideleh’s (sweet little girls), and, he loves his ME time! Nothing wrong with that! ❤ While we swim, he aerobicizes and lifts, solo style. 

We learned how to throw a Frisbee, and catch it too!

With the patience of a saint, and an overwhelming need to play, she taught us again how to throw and catch a Frisbee. I really think we have it now! For me, just running freely, throwing, hiking, swimming and playing, without severe or any repercussions, shows the proof in the pudding from living so close to the dispensaries! Medical or recreational, cannabis works for chronic nerve pain (and so much more)! I see why people up and move to feel better. Mrs.? 

“I wish we could stay longer…”
“I wish we could stay longer…”
We had so much fun! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, Aud-o and Steve-o! ❤ ❤ ❤ We love you so much!

We all had a blast. It was good to get away from our daily grind and take in new perspectives and sights. Needless to say, I was verklempt (all choked up, emotional) for the entire bus ride to the airport, and even during the frisking, she didn’t even know me! at the airport check-in … and, for a few more hours too. My shvester, she is a bit on the magical side. She is loads of fun for us all, and together, we laugh, and laugh and laugh until we pee ourselves. No joke! And for me, to have a body that can feel so good, priceless.

Abi gezunt! As long as you’re healthy!

The Yesterday Special

The simplicity of the set and the costumes were stunning!

The Dance Recital was yesterday. Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Act I, and disciplines of modern, jazz, ballet, hip-hop, and tap, artfully and passionately performed in Act II. There are *two days/nights a year that I smile so wide, from ear to ear, that my jaw actually hurts by nights’ end I can, and have, thrown out my neck and back from experiencing such profound naches (joy). It’s because I am kvelling (oozing with pride over) over my girls, their friends and all of the dancers who work so hard every day to practice, grow, glean their art and perform it on the stage.

Spring! I have captured Big air-bound, and toes pointed! *Yes, I am that mom that used her iPhone to capture this moment… Es khoolempt zakh meer (I’m dreaming)!

Big, she has a grace and elegance that clearly is woven in her own personal strand of DNA. If all goes well, she will be on pointe oy, the feet, they will hurt in the fall. She is in pursuit of her dream. From the moment she could walk, she was twirling on her tiptoes in tutus. Fear? Never. She holds a comfort on stage that suggests she was meant to be performing.

My Little and her fellow ‘grass-mates’ of summer, dance with Persephone. Little is the second one from the right… and if I used a flash in this stolen moment, you could see them better

Now Little, she is following in the ballet leaps of her shvester (sister). She is dancing with her besties in class and on stage. I am watching her skills develop. Together, the shvesters are constantly dancing and leaping about — At home, they choreograph their own shows and put them on for me and the Mrs. We get tickets and directions that phones and flash photography are not allowed! These kinder (children) make me so fraylekh (happy) it is so true, 99.999% of the time. What? I’m human. Little, still only 7, has fun on the stage, and perhaps the performance itself is not quite as important. That in itself carries its own brilliance, for fun and childhood lead to greater learning.

And here is Autumn. Big is the one closest to us, in the front.

My Mrs., she tirelessly schleps (drives, rushes, and hauls) these kinder to and from dance classes, rehearsals, performances. Hairpins, bun makers, costumes, leotards, tights, ballet shoes… oi vey iz mir (woe is me!)! It’s a lot. On any given day, you can find hundreds of at least 12 bobby pins on the floor in the laundry, the sink, the car, the steps leading to our front door in our house. This is the emmas (truth)!

Could these little ballerina’s be any cuter? My kinder were there, what feels like minutes ago… And in the blink of the eye, these girls will be the new leads.

Me? I delight in my Monday nights when I get to pick up Big on my way home from work. I always get there around 5:30, knowing full well the class will go until 6. Spending time in the dance studio, spying in through the window and watching the process unfold is good for my soul. I welcome the congenial camaraderie of the cabal of caregivers making these same rounds. The chatter, the signals we share that show how we are a community holds yet another layer of priceless-ness.

And today, the day after the big night, our house is a disaster mess. Only Gatsby has food and even that is minimal. Bobby pins are strewn everywhere. The laundry, she is one tall mess, and we all have a bit of a pounding, massive ballet hangover. Gevalt (help), we are exhausted!

Yiddish Proverb:

Gebroteneh teibelech flien nit in moil arein (If you want something, you have to work for it).

A great big, heartfelt Mazel Tov (kudos, congratulations, thank you) to all who work so hard at the Wissahickon Dance Academy! ❤  *The Nutcracker is the other day where I grin like the Cheshire Cat! Get ready, auditions will be in about ten minutes…

A bei gezunt (Good Health to you)!

 

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! ❤

  

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.

       
      

Helping Hands

It’s been an ‘all hands on deck‘ kind of week. School is in full swing, dance lessons are back, and as they say in this Yiddish Proverb:

If you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm.  Aoyb ir alts darfn a helping hant ir vet gefinen eyner in di suf fun deyn orem.

Take a look at my kinder (Sweet kids) and their hantalehs (hands) at work play!

They were so fascinated by the typewriters! They didn’t want to leave! Azoi!

Shana Tovah to all who celebrate! May it be a sweet and happy new year ahead for us all.

    

      

BHI, our happy place

Still energized and grateful for these wonderful memories of our holiday together.  Thank you, Nona and Pop Pop! Bald Head Island, NC. 

A nice holiday with family! A fayn ium tub mit mishpocheh!

     

      

    

 

Happy Chrismakah! Merry Channamas!

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Tonight is a very special night across the world. The stars have aligned, along with the Jewish (a lunar calendar) and Christian calendars. Christmas Eve and Hanukkah (nobody ever spells this holiday the same way twice) started in sync. Perhaps, this mitzvah (good happening) is a sign, a good omen for the upcoming New Year? I know I would like that. Nu? Who wouldn’t?

Wishing you all, the happiest of holidays, no matter what you do or don’t believe. May the New Year be filled with health, happiness, love, and empathy for us all.

L’Chaim. To life!
(more…)

Wordless Wednesday: Let’s have fun!

Butterfly birthday...flutterby
Butterfly birthday…flutterby
In the 'hood
In the ‘hood
Toga Party!
Toga birthday party for E and Z!
Mini toga's too
Mini toga’s too
The Minotaur waits in the maze
The Minotaur waits in the maze at the Goddess toga party
Me and Little
Me and my Little

The kinderlech (children), they should play and be happy! Us too!

 

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Round Challah for a Sweet Year

Very soon, it is Rosh Hashana, and Jews around the world will be celebrating the Jewish New Year. My very Kool friend at KoolKosherKitchen has an amazing blog filled with goodness, and this special favorite, the round challah. The twist here, this challah is gluten free. Azoi! So happy New Year all — it should only get better. L’Shona Tovah my friends, and M’wah!

koolkosherkitchen

We are getting ready for Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, and we are baking traditional round challahs that symbolize the cyclical nature of life, the end which is also the beginning. There are two statements in this sentence that fall into the “everybody knows” category. However, as everybody knows, most of the things known to everybody are not exactly the way they seem. Let’s take them one by one.

Time flows. People impose their own markers on it arbitrarily, for their own convenience. In fact, there are four Jewish New Years prescribed by law (Mishnah Rosh Hashanah 1:1), and Rosh Hashana actually means “the Head of the Year” rather than New Year. In the Gemorrah (Rosh Hashana 8a) it is stated that Rosh Hashana is the anniversary of creation – Happy Birthday, Adam! It isn’t called New Year anywhere; it is called The Day of Remembrance…

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Mother’s Day: A new lifetime of uncompromising love

image

With Mother’s Day right ‘round the corner

Looking back, I was quite the performer

Be perfect, keep smiling

Underneath I am dying

It’s a wonder I made it out stronger

 

Look Mommy, Ema!
Look Mommy, Ema!

Growing up with maternal unwell-ness

And he who’d simply abide and acquiesce

While worthy of love

I fell under the thumb of

The source of my own hell and unique stress

 

Mental illness is still quite the conundrum

With stigma, best we steer clear away from

Listen up dear ol’ Dad

‘Cause it makes me so mad

For her life deserved a happier outcome

 

As the one tossed out underneath the bus

There’s a matter we all should discuss

A pill could have fixed it

He instead nixed it

And I am the one they mistrust?

Look. I'm a tree!
Look. I’m a tree!

 

Well the Mrs. and Me, don’t dare parent like thee

For we’re building foundations as strong as the trees

Mighty girls we are rearing

Whose personae we’re cheering

Love and happiness are what we foresee

 

As I look at our kinder each day

I’m kvelling in every which way

Prouder? I couldn’t be

That’s fact, actuality

Nothing could possibly take that away

 

Dear Little and Big, always realize

The love from your momma’s only magnifies

It will never, ever leave you

No matter what you may say or do

For you both make our hearts, super-sized

image

P.S.

Little and Big, please make bedtime go smoothly

Your mommalah’s can’t stand each night, you’re acting so rudely!

The crazies, please end them

We’re tired of bedlam

And yes, we still love you both, hugely

image

Wishing all the Momma’s and kinder-caretakers a very Happy Mother’s Day!

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Thank You so much Su, from EthanEvelyn.com! #FabFridayPost
Thank You so much Su, from EthanEvelyn.com! #FabFridayPost

 

Bloggers Pit Stop #22
Proud to be at the Bloggers Pit Stop #22
TY domesticatedmomster!
TY domesticatedmomster!

A Spring Break Thank You

We are on our way!
We are on our way!

I guess one true sign of an exceptionally great time, is the tears being shed as that special occasion is coming to a close. Me, the Mrs., and der kinder (the kids) just had the time of our lives with my shvester (sister) and the whole mishpocheh (family). Moist eyes were all around in our rental car as we pulled away from the street and headed to the airport.

To be fair, we were not necessarily verklempt (crying and being overly emotional) because we were leaving, but because we were all so happy to have had such a wonderful time together. Maybe a bissel (little bit) because of the geographical shlep (haul, as lots of luggage, across the miles) that divides us, and knowing that time together is so precious.

Aud-o, Steve-o, Max-o and Vic-o, we have no words that can begin describe our love, admiration and sincere thanks to all of you (Benny, we missed you and wished you were there!). I’m kinda getting misty now, as I write, so let me kvell over (show off)  some pics of my family.

Little was never far from her cousin
Little was never far from her cousin
Dreams really do come true!
Dreams really do come true!
Mickey Mouse Ice Cream before Fireworks!
Mickey Mouse Ice Cream before Fireworks!
Ready, steady, go!
Ready, steady, go!
Dressed to kill!
Dressed to kill!
Bonding moments
Bonding moments
Catching some men's tennis
Catching some tennis
Making new friends
Making new friends
a little down time for the littles
a little down time for the littles
Date night!
Date night!
The University Club!
The University Club!
Looking for our airplane
Looking for our airplane
Drawing airplanes; top image by Little, bottom image by Big
Drawing airplanes; top image by Little, bottom image by Big

A sheynam danke (Thank You very much)!

It’s Bedtime, by Santa

bed 2

Dear Big, mostly Little

It’s Santa you see

To talk about something not so great

Can it be?

 

By day you are both so mighty, so strong

I was hoping this nightfall report was all wrong

By watching, I noticed the shtick and the struggles

For Ema and Mommy who only want snuggles

 

bed 1

Those 8 crazy nights flew by without a tussle

But Santa you know, has so much more muscle

My powers cover the actions of naughty and nice

You may just get gornisht; you’re rollin’ the dice

 

By mail I’ve read of the things on your lists

Your chutzpah dear kinder must cease and desist

Something must change when you climb into that bed

A time filled with shpilkes and unneeded dread

 

Please know shaineh maidels, that I’ve got your number

After brushing and flossing and primping for slumber

When the last pages of book is read and completed

Your Mommies, the neighbors, are all quite depleted

 

Kicking and screaming is never okay

It’s a shandeh especially at this time of the day

You must stop the geshrei-ing and crying you see

And drinking so much that you just have to pee

bed 3

I know you’re not hungry; your belly is fine

Your eyes do not hurt; oh jeez, stop that whine!

Even boogers need rest at the end of the day

So leave them alone in your nose, okay?

 

Life in the Manor was quiet, serene

Before you two pishers came on to the scene

From now on kinderlech, no more meshugener making

Or your tchatchkes and presents will be mine for the taking

 

Be little mensches, close your eyes and gey schluffen

Leave the rumpus behind and there’ll be no more noodgin’

Nod off, conk out, cop some z’s, that’s my wish

Bubelah’s please, tuches ahfen tish!

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Frugal Schmugal

from Luka
from Luka

The holidays are headed our way, no bones about it. While I do not care to keep track of how many shopping days are left until Christmas, I do know all too well, how many days left until payday. And that is just an icky, new feeling that I must get used to. We managed through those eight crazy nights of Hanukkah; I suppose the big red-suited man will let us fly by too.

from Neko
from Neko

Please, do not for one moment feel bad about us! We are doing the very best we can right now, and I know we are not alone. Tough times, tough measures surround us all. We are very grateful for what we have, and more importantly, who we have surrounding us with love, joy and support both during the holidays, and year round.

Thankfully, Little and Big don’t really ask for a lot. They never have. We are just in ‘Living Lean’ mode, and with that, will come a special frugality to the season that should not be misconstrued as ‘Grinchism.’ We got through it last year, and I guess that means we should be even better at it by this year? This year, the Mrs. and me have not even argued about a budget. We both know its bubkes.

The boys, with Santa
The boys, with Santa

I love the holidays, as viewed through the eyes of Little and Big. I grew up on latkes and menorahs – a jelly donut was a big deal for my Big and me. Of course, a purple tree, blinking lights, ornaments…it’s a huge WOW!

On Christmas Eve, Toffey will spend the night. We will make egg-free cookies for Santa (sorry big guy, Little is allergic) together – a few for him, a few for us. A ‘nice nosh.’ We will sup together. And we will all wake up early in our jammies, and see the surprises that Santa has left for us after his magnificent voyage across the world.

Here at the Manor, luckily men have been outside working on all the chimneys in our building for the past several weeks. I expounded on all the ‘white lying’ of the season by telling the girls that they are readying them for Santa, his elves and the reindeer. Yes, this haimish’a Yid buys in. I hear the bells ringing on the polar express and love the look on their little joyous faces on Christmas morning.

Here is what I don’t so much love:

  • The lack of sleep – in fact, my sleep bank may very well mirror my…well, you know
  • We have less charitable giving to offer this year
  • We cannot yet get the girls, us, an addition to the family in the form of a new pug. We are so very grief-stricken by the tremendous loss of Atticus and Eli.

Here’s what I do love:

  • My kids get to celebrate both Chanukah and Christmas, so the magic of the white haired man rocks in this house
  • When I asked them what they got last year from Santa, they had no idea – but they did remember the experiences we made together and the joy of the people we shared them with
  • Toffey is making a beautiful tradition with us on Christmas Eve, and he swears up and down, and sideways too, that he never, ever sees or hears Santa come in at night with our haul

So, frugal schmugal. We do the very best we can. We make memories, not bills. We enjoy the time-shared.

Wishing all of you, the very best of the holiday season!

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Oy Vey, It’s Nutcracker Day!

Nut 1a

Way back in September, when school first started and the chaos of a summer’s day turned just a tad bit more orderly, after school ballet began for Little and Big. What also started was The Nutcracker practice. It seemed crazy to be hearing the ‘Dum da-da-Dum-Dum-Dum-Dum-Dah,’ when just moments before we were splashing in the pool and schvitzing on a walk in the woods. The color of the summer still glowed, like the tans on the wee ones (despite massive amounts of sunscreen applied thick as spackle). And tonight, in the blink of just one eye, is the first performance.

nut 4a

As old Saint Nick is setting his Google maps ready for the minyan of reindeer led by sir Rudolph himself, we prep for several dress rehearsals, a school show, and two ticket-wielding performances.

 

This is serious stuff for Little and Big; and a gargantuan effort for Ema, who packs snacks, waters, books, crayons, toys and and schleps 4 days a week to pull this off. Despite the mishegas of after school extracurriculars, this show brings the discipline of every Sunday afternoon until now.

 

See the big deal is, that hoNut 3aused under the roof of the (dance school) Wissahicken Dance Academy, is a non-profit organization called the International Ballet Exchange (IBE). Professional dancers of the Donetsk Ballet of Ukraine come to the US to perform each year, with and beside my Little and Big! I’m kvelling as I type! My wee ones on stage with the big Ukrainian machers…pinch me!

 

It’s a meshuggeneh time around here. Two moms and two girls clearly get our panties in a bit of a bunch as show time nears. Hairdryers blow. Curling irons curl. Outfits are laid out, and usually argued about. Friends, family, mishpocheh gather outside the theatre. Butterflies dance in our tummies (it’s just us Moms with the kishkas twirling – the girls know no fear or performance anxiety).

nut 2a

And tonight at 6:30 pm, as the lights dim, the curtains rise and the music begins; you will see the naches on my face as I grin from ear to ear for both acts. While my littles perform, with the littles of others and the bigs of the Ukraine, my world is just about perfect.

 

 

 

 

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Quote

This year on Thanksgiving, to quote my Little, we took a do-over. Because chronic pain knows no dates, no holidays, no plans, not even the hopes and joys and dreams of little ones. Grandpa still arrived and swept my Littles and my love off to the theater to see the Peanuts movie. A lovely treat,  complete with lazy-boy recliners and plenty of pretzel nuggets. A good time had by all.

I stayed home to a mixture of brecching, gripping the porcelain pot, mixtures of meds, and an uncomfortableDo-Over ‘sleep.’ It happens. It’s out of my control and it is what it is. It’s a shonda when it affects my children, my family, but we will survive. When it comes, I cannot muster any of my mommy SuperPowers. Chronic pain trumps Super Mommy every time.

I wake the next day, somewhat better and in need electrolytes. Stiff, dehydrated, sad, and rallying. After all, this glass stays half-full. I know that today we can do it all over again today. Little said so, and Big agreed. I should probably wait another day, but I don’t.

That’s family. The kinder, the mishpucha. Love. That’s what I have been and why I am forever thankful, despite my lot.

Love, gratefulness, and thanks, isn’t that what this Holiday is all about anyway?

Wishing you all a happy thanksgiving, whatever day you celebrated.

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