My Favorite Bad@ss Painter, Frida Kahlo

Yes, I’m, doing my best Frida!

As the summer continues to play out, and the US Women won the World Cup, AGAIN, I think it timely to introduce you to one of my very favorite painters of all time, Frida Kahlo. Why now? Nu? Like RBG, Frida is my hero. Born on July 6, she would have been 112 today. That is slightly older than me.

Frida was a brave and mighty girl who grew to be a revered painter and overall bad@ss Mexican woman. I just know that if she were alive today, she would have given that gonif (thief) mrt, a well-pointed barb or two for his deplorable and despicable treatment of Mexicans, and all immigrants everywhere. I’m trying very hard to stay focused and not go off on this topic when concentration camps are surpassing summer camps and conditions are horrific.

Frida’s childhood inhabited the chaos of a dictatorship sounds familiar during the Mexican Revolution. Such timing taught her to be outspoken about her views and values sounds familiar. By her early 20’s, she was a proud member of the Mexican Communist Party I am a proud, card-carrying member of the ACLU. She was never afraid to use her voice to speak out for her heritage, and her country sounds familiar.

At the age of 6, Frida battled polio. From then on, she was plagued with health issues. As a teen, she was severely injured in a bus/trolley accident. Her legs, already weakened from polio, were gravely damaged as a metal handrail crushed her pelvis, fracturing her spine, legs, and feet.

(c) Frida Kahlo Foundation

After the accident, she was left bedridden and wearing a medical corset around her torso. She began to paint to beat boredom. Her mom, she had a special easel made so Frida could paint while lying on her back. Such a mitzvah! (good deed). She did many self-portraits, and later asked famed Mexican painter, Diego Rivera, a K’nocker (big shot), to critique her work. In time, they married and their stormy relationship, and fiery moods and tempers filled many a canvas for Frida.

Yiddish Proverb:

If we cannot do what we will, we must will what we can do. Aoyb mir kenen nisht ton vos mir veln, mir muzn veln mos mir kenen.

Never farfaln (hopeless, lost), Frida always brought her own personality, chronic pain, relationships with men and women, miscarriages, medical procedures, and deepest feelings into her paintings. She also managed to add female strength, grit, and empowerment. Her work always spoke about indigenous culture, nature, gender, class, identity, and race in Mexican society. She painted her view of the world around her, her reality, for all to see. This is why she vehemently opposed being labeled as a ‘surrealist.’

Frida is revered for her naive, folky style, bright, bold colors, her love of Mexican culture and many portrayals of the female experience from a feminist perspective. She is a hero to many more than just me. She is an inspiration for many artists, people with chronic pain and disabilities, the LGBT world, and women everywhere.

Quotes from Frida Kahlo:

Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?

I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.

There have been two great accidents in my life. One was the trolley, and the other was Diego. Diego was by far the worst.

At the end of the day we can endure much more than we think we can.

Frida, she died way too young. She was only 47. Such tsuris (troubles, grief), always. She was found dead by her nurse at 6 am on July 13, 1954. It is said that she died from a pulmonary embolism. Gutinue (OMG), just imagine what more she could have accomplished if she were other-abled! She never once kvetched (complained) or let her illness, chronic pain, or disabilities stop her from living her life to the fullest.

Frida, her glass was always half-full. She lived every day with strength, dignity, and pride. May we all be so lucky. May I follow her bad@ss lead.

A bie gezunt. Go in good health. 

 

Some great folks I like to share with….

Mindfulness, Mammography, and Me

Living in the moment sure has its ups and downs. The news cycle not going to go there, life, work, kinder (kids), the Mrs., all present their own unique challenges and opportunities. Hell, even the weather these days is hard. But, despite it all, I am trying my best to show up with intention. I breathe and practice mindfulness, while being as present as one can be with a smart phone and a chaotic life. There is however, one time where I strongly recommend leaving your mindfulness in the dressing room. It’s when you go for your annual mammogram. After recently experiencing my yearly squash-fest, I thought it right to share. Nu?

So I’m wearing my fresh little cloth gown, open in the front for obvious next steps, and I am called into the room with the gargantuan techno-seer of all things boob. A very pleasant technician named Linda shares niceties with me as she readies her mammoth monster for action. “Come this way,” she says, as she guides me in for my first “close-up. Let’s do the left one first.” Being the liberal I am, that works quite well.

Quiet, happy place. Quiet happy place.

Now, I am not one to complain at all, but in the department of mammary glands, the women in our family must have been out to lunch (more likely folding laundry) when actual bosoms were dispensed. There are men walking around in the street with more cleavage then we have (collectively). Not that there is anything wrong with that, mind you. But being small, resembling an 13 year-old boy, makes this ordinary, yet necessary procedure rather extraordinary. Stars, fireworks, skyscrapers, and everything…

As I cautiously inch over her towards Linda, she begins to literally pull skin from my left facial cheek (I think my ear lobe was stretched in there too) to the bottom of my rib cage. Linda (whose hands must have been pre-chilled), she wants some breast to image. How can I blame her? She pulls my taut skin tighter and tighter, as she begins to electronically close the gap on the two plates of glass that are squeezing the stuffing out of me. “Don’t breathe! H-O-L-D!” As if breathing was even an option? I hear a noise, feel a real zetz (a strong blow, or punch)  of radiation pulsate through my soul and realize this would be the exact right time to not be mindful. To check out. Think funny thoughts. Go to my quiet, happy place (where is that again?).

As Linda released the confining compression case, I looked to the floor to see if a pool of blood had formed. I half expected to break a rib. “Let’s do the left angle view now.” Yup, the angle. Great. I’m on it. At this point, my head is turned in such a way that my aching neck begins to twinge. “Raise that arm up. Closer. Closer.” I had no idea ones belly button could move diagonally? Is it possible that she is also checking my thyroid? IS Linda that good? Oy vey iz mir. ( oh, woe is me.) “Don’t breathe! H-O-L-D!” I definitely felt more radiation this time. She must have seen something. That was a zetz alright! I begin to sweat. Sweating while she is forcing all of the derma on my left side into the glass crushing chamber of boob makes for one slippery slope. Is it a hot flash? Is it fear. Is it because of the radioactive blast she just unleashed to snap my picture.

“Okay. Let’s do the other side.” Linda, she says this cheerily.

Gentlemen who may be reading this, just imagine Roadrunner and the Wile E. Coyote. Roadrunner always has a handy Acme anvil that always flattens our Coyote friend. Well, take your (rhymes with klutz) …, and place them in a vise in order to understand yet another thing us women must endure.

I’ll spare you the details of the right side. You know, Lather, rinse, repeat. UGH! I feel as though I experienced as much radiation as Meryl Streep did in Silkwood. If you recall, she was zetzed pretty good. Where is that special shower and the metal scrub brush. I’m doused! I may light up like a firefly at dusk.

I head back into the dressing room and observe my ruby-red torso in the mirror. Singed, albeit tattooed by the vicious radioactive scrunch and crunch machine, I reflect on how this procedure had to be invented by a man. As I put my clothes back on, I ask Siri, and don’t you know, Raul Leborgen from Uruguay thought up this special compression technique for capturing cancer.

With my inside voice, I thank him. I open my curtain and head to the exit. A bowl of chocolate adorns the desk at check out (a woman’s touch), and I am fully assured that as my two go, we are cleared for another year. Mazel Tov (kudos and yahoo!) to me and my girls!

Women, make sure you do this! Mammograms save lives. It’s a boobemysah (old wive’s tale) that it is painful, unless of course your bra has no cups, hasn’t bought a vowel, or was burned in the sixties…

 

Yiddish Proverb:

If you are healthy, you are wealthy. Aoyb ir zent gezunt, ir zent raykh.

 

Some great folks I like to share with….

 

 

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.

img_5125

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caught in a dream

Look, up in the sky… It’s a bird? It’s a plane? It’s a Yiddisheh momma?

Oh, the stories my brain can tell. Have you ever been caught in a dream? You know…when you lay your weary head down on your pillow. Those horrendously heavy eyelids thud shut, and you actually fall asleep, and watch the same recurring movie dream over and over again. It’s like my own personal Groundhog Day during REM only less annoying and much more personalized. Night after night, the same dream. Day after day, thinking about this same dream. Has this ever happened to you?

For me, as I slide into deep rest albeit temporarily, I magically become a superhero, very similar to Wonder Woman only less cleavage, in fact, by less, I mean none. I fight evil and wrongdoing for our planet, these government gonifs (thieves), my mishpocheh (family), for my kinder (kids) and for my Mrs. I am sleeping proof that one can be an absolute awe-inspiring superhero, even without the great ‘chest-al’ divide. And, thanks to the dark skin and bags (one might even say, luggage) around my eyes, I have a built-in mask! Nature, she’s a real hoot and works in mysterious, magical ways.

Appropriate Yiddish proverb:

If you want your dreams to come true, don’t sleep. Aoib ir viln deyn khlumus tsu kumen ams, ton nit shlofn.

So, back to my dream (as I so often do). Smart, I am! Equipped with the knowledge and wisdom of RBG, and the wit, timing and dance moves of Ellen DeGeneres. Oh, and have I got writers. Such good writers! I must channel Shonda Rhimes, Aaron Sorkin, and David E. Kelly in the wee hours when I’m not waking up to wee. I look like me, with only the very sleek and stylin’ cape  (it helps keep me afloat). Strong? Look out! As I soar skyward, flying, I am carrying a tachka (big) boulder around with me, and with ease! I’m not even a bit out of breath. What’s with the tachka big boulder?

Flying, I travel through the brisk night air, guided by the light of the full, brilliant moon. Leaving my suburb-ified city, I seek and find offenders and bad actors. When I land, have I got a mouthful? I advise, warn, counsel, check, tell off, call on the carpet, tell a thing or two, draw the line in the sand, and then, and only then do I offer a proper Yiddish proverb. Why, because a good Yiddish quote, given at the exact right moment, it’s like bread for the hungry!

This Yiddish Proverb:

Truth is heavy, therefore few care to carry it. ams iz shver, deriber veynik zorgn tsu firn es.

So by day, I feel what the world offers. I soak it in like a sponge, absorbing the wrongs, evils, deceits, and denials. And mitten drinnen (in the middle of everything), I hide my superpowers and carry on. But by the marvelous light of the moon, I am a respectful force to be feared, like Golem (a Yiddisheh savior), on behalf of all that I hold true, care for and love.

Look out. Look up. Here I come! ❤

So what are you dreaming about?

Notorious R.B.G: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Today should be a National Holiday! My hero, the Notorious R.B.G turns 86 today! Happy Birthday, Ruthie! You make this world a better place every day, and for that, I am very grateful. You had the guts, grit and the sticktuitiveness to fight inequities so early in the game. You are a visionary, an inspiration, a strong and mighty woman and you clearly and concisely speak your voice for all to hear. Thank you, Happy Birthday, and may you have many more healthy years ahead. ❤

In your honor, I happily re-run this post of mine, where I salute you, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as my hero! I am certain I am not alone.

This is me, doing my best RBG. Perhaps we could be shvesters?

Tell me a story about a young girl, born in 1933 during the height of the depression, growing up facing antisemitism, blatant sexism, and inequality, and I’ll know you are talking about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, my hero. Oh, Ruth, you are one powerful Yiddisheh momma that dares to live every day #livingfearlesslyauthentic. Let me tell you about her.

Nothing ever did or will stop her. If she disagreed, you knew about it. If she ever wanted something to change, she stood up and fought for it — and that is still true today. She lives and breathes strength, integrity, and elegance. She stands up for equality when others don’t even recognize the discrimination. She is a graceful heavyweight, a leader among all leaders, and at five feet tall, 84 years old, she heads up the liberal wing of the Supremes. She makes me proud to be a woman, a Jew, a feminist, an activist, a mom, and a human being.

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

Joan Ruth Bader was born to Jewish immigrants and grew up in Brooklyn, NY. Her sister died when she was just a toddler. Her mother, Celia, always stressed the importance of education (Celia was a very good student, graduating High School at 15, yet her family chose to send her brother to college. It was a time when sons were valued and daughters were meant to find husbands.). As a mom, she wanted more for her daughter. What momma doesn’t? Celia noticed that many girls in her class were named Joan, so to quickly avoid any tsuris (trouble), she asked her teachers to call her Ruth. She brought her to the public library often, where Ruth consumed Nancy Drew books, realizing that Nancy was a young girl in charge, who thought for herself (perhaps we add this series of books to our collective daughters’ gift lists? Nu?) both in her mystery solving and in her relationships. Ruth’s dream of becoming a lawyer was underway and early signs of Notorious R.B.G had begun.

  • Ruth was an excellent student (she listened to her momma, like a glikt shana maideleh (good girl)). Sadly, her mom died the day before her high school graduation
  • She went on to attend Cornell University, where she studied in the bathroom stalls, hiding from parties and social activities — she graduated as the top-ranking female student in her class
  • At Cornell, she met Marty Ginsburg, whom she would later marry. Ruth was demoted from her job for being pregnant. Marty and Ruth gave birth to a bouncing baby girl.  Everyone said she belonged in the kitchen, and at home with her daughter. Marty and Ruth knew better.
  • Marty ( a successful tax attorney in his own right) was supportive, unlike many men of their generation. He understood Ruth was no balaboosta (organized and efficient home-maker). He handled all of the traditional ‘mommy’ roles. Middle-of-the-night feedings, cooking, cleaning, baking, and tending to the kids… he was proud to do these things so that Ruth can later become the Notorious R.B.G. that we know and love.
  • She attended Harvard Law school and was often ridiculed by the dean for being a woman, taking up a man’s spot.
  • Marty took a job in NYC and Ruth transferred to Columbia University, where she graduated tied for top honors in her class.

She had a law degree and top honors, but being a woman, wife, mom, and a Jew made her dreams of becoming a lawyer very difficult. To say she became passionate about women’s rights and gender equality would be an understatement. After co-founding the Women’s Rights Project for the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), Ruth went on to fight six landmark cases on gender equality before the US Supreme court.

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History gave a species of praying mantis the name llomantis ginsburgae, after RBG. They say this species has a neckplate similar to the fancy neckwear Ginsburg wears at the outcome of a verdict. It is also based on how the insect was identified by her female genitalia – a nod to RBG’s lifetime fight for gender equality and women’s rights. Please note, this is a praying mantis I happily found on my car, not the newly, super cool RBG version.

President Jimmy Carter appointed RBG to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. She served there for thirteen years. President Bill Clinton, looking to increase the diversity on the highest bench in the land, appointed her to the US Supreme Court. She joined the Supremes as only the second female Supreme Court Justice (Sandra Day O’Connor was the first). She refers to the former justice as her “big sister.”

RBG battled colon cancer in 1999. She fought off pancreatic cancer in 2009. In 2014, she had a stent placed in her right coronary artery after feeling uncomfortable while working out with her personal trainer. Yes, she can probably kick a*s and take names in any gym she enters.

As for the name, Notorious R.B.G., that comes for her feisty and fiery dissents. A meme virally toured the social media realm, comparing her rap star Notorious B.I.G.

On retirement, at 84, she is a self-proclaimed flaming feminist litigator and is showing no signs of losing her efficacy or her memory. Take a look at this recent tweet from our own twit-in-chief, and you know she still is a powerful force.

Guess who you think I wish would resign?

Ruth, I admire you and hold you in the very highest regard. You influence my life and my decisions, and I know this world is a better place because of you. Thank you for all you continue do.

Soon, you will be a Lego friend! Tonight, my family, we will celebrate you. I love you, Ruth! ❤

A wonderful read for all ages!

What a gutte neshumah, she is. What a good person with a big heart, she is.

 

 

Some great folks I like to share with….

 

 

 

 

International Women’s Day 2019

I must confess. I have a vagina. Surprised, you’re not. I know. But, unlike many, in this gender-biased world, I make $0.80 per dollar, pay more for dry cleaning, am expected to stay home with the kinder and (I would love that!) and go off to work to bring home the kale and fry (more like pan sear) it up in a pan.  I’m an activist and a feminist. I have leaned-in and been pushed out. I have fought the struggle of invisibility and found my voice in the process. I been sexually harassed and can yell, #metoo, like too many others. I do not, in any way, hate men. But people, c’mon. A little balance here would be nice! Alevai (may it only happen)!

March 8th, International Women’s Day, is a day celebrated globally, for over 100 years. This day is for honoring the successes of women culturally, socially, economically and politically as we pave the path to equality.

Truth be told, us women, we are underrepresented just about everywhere, and I can’t see that changing any time soon.  Status quo? I say, N-O. NO!

As my hero, RBG, says in answer to the question, “When are there enough women on the Supreme Court? When all 9 seats are filled by women!” (Currently, sadly, only 4 out of 113 total Justices have been/are women. Source: Rutger’s Center for American Women and Politics.)

When we look globally, the picture is not much better. Women live in poverty, don’t have adequate food or water, they are grossly under-educated, under-employed, if allowed to even work, and are victims of domestic abuses, genital mutilation, and subordination.

To quote our beloved former FLOTUS, Michelle Obama:

“The Future of our world is only as bright as the future of our girls.”

Happy International Women’s Day today. Look around you. Are there women in the boardroom, in the government, in science and technology, in the media coverage? Can we say there is equality in our employment structures, wealth, leadership?

Please, make a difference. What can you do to make it so we live in a world of gender equality? Women’s rights and equality are not simply a ‘women’s issue.’ The way I see it, equality is a human rights issue.  #BalanceforBetter

Yiddish Proverb:

Breasts adorn a woman and make a man look ugly. Brusts batsirn a froyaun makhn a mentsh kukn myes.

 

Some great folks I like to share with….

I feel giddy

What a difference a day makes…

You know, today, life feels just a little bit different. The grueling dark and dismal days of February are behind us. (Do you think I need to mention that there are 2+ inches of the powdery stuff on the ground right now and the kinder (kids), they have another 2-hour delay? Don’t get me started. The barometer – it goes up and down so often my head is spinning, no easy task for one with chronic nerve pain in my neck… I digress in the tsuris (troubles) when I promised you giddy. Here, let me share:

  • Two days ago, Mikey, he made me so happy! You know, Michael Cohen? After starring in 10 Years a Thug, he’s seen the monster and came out on the other side, telling the world that he is a “racist, a conman and a cheat.” If you don’t know who ‘he’ is, think Agent orange, 45, mrt…
  • Mikey, he also hinted to us all about further financial fraud and investigations into cooking the books going down in New York. I always loved NY! As I type and you read, Oh, sweet history! Farklempt (all choked up)? Me too! Michael, he is now oysvorf (an outcast, unpopular) in the cast of reality show players that have overtaken the White House.
  • On this very same day, Agent O was shmying around (strolling aimlessly) kibbitzing (butting in) about out the Art of the Deal in Viet Nam. Curiously, he never made it to Nam when the country called for him. I’m just sayin’? I sure hope his bone spur didn’t hurt too much while standing for smiley photos with fellow unscrupulous badman.
  • And, like Christmas in February, the day that kept giving continued. My heart skipped a beat (in a good way, not in an A-FIB way) when HR 8 legislation finally passed! This is a bipartisan law that requires background checks for ALL gun sales (I know? Like this wasn’t already a law?). It took 6+ years to get to this safer space in gun-mania (Sandy Hook was the catalyst. Such a shondah (senseless shame), this tragedy… and so many others that followed). One small step…  One big victory.
  • Then yesterday, I read Netanyahu, another thug among gonifs (thieves) is going to soon be indicted for corruption, and so much more… BiBi and Agent O, they are friends. Birds of a feather… Perhaps they can share a cell, saving room for cast members?
  • Today is March 1 and (despite the snow I must shovel before heading to work) that means Spring, extended daylight, and warmth will soon arrive. Insert smiling, happy Momma here.
  • Sunday, my Big, she turns 11. Oy vey, how’d that happen? On this same day, Little, she has a math and artwork event with school at the famed Barnes Museum. Can you feel me kvelling (bursting with pride)? It’s not a hot flash – I swear.

May it just keep on getting better for us all! My glass is certainly half full. Are you giddy too? Please, let me know why.

Yiddish Proverb:

Be Happy! Zei mir frailich!

Some great folks I like to share with….

The Top 7 Tag

I am so very fortunate. Kelly, over at daydreams of a mum, has tagged me to take part in the Top 7 Tag! (Please, if you have not already, check out Kelly’s home in the space at the link above. You will be glad you did! <3) Now, with seven being my favorite number, dare-I-say, my lucky number, how can I not? I should have such good luck (Az a yor ahf mir).

So, without much further ado, here is a little reflection and some hopes and dreams:

My top 7 Posts from 2018:

  1. Invisibility: Here is our real story: About one million years ago or at least a couple or so decades ago, we both arrived at our first meeting for women with eating disorders.
  2. That’s it. Period.This is a girls story. My Big, she is growing up. Born not ten minutes ago, yet my shana maideleh (sweet little girl) is soon to enter double digits
  3. 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.
  4. I am woman, hear me roar… The musical resurfacesNu? This mr t, he has me farklempt (all choked up) with his evil and hatred. Well, I’ve taken it to the stage folks. Please, bear with my (awful) voice as I stumble through my own, personal feminist anthem 
  5. Detective G is turning up the heat: Gatsby’s nose knows a nice nosh (snack) exactly where to find the latest crime scene. No ruffled feather goes unturned while he is patrolling the roost.
  6. Happy New Year, from the Jewish AtheistThe 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? … and best of all, I reunite with my mom and dad
  7. The Yesterday SpecialThere 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)

7 Things I absolutely Loved in 2018:

  • Any and all visits, trips, and phone calls with my Shvester (sister) and her beautiful, big-hearted, loving family
  • Talking with my parents: reunited and it feels so good
  • My kinder (kids) performing in the Nutcracker
  • Hearing the beautiful sounds of laughter from my Mrs. (my heart skips a beat)
  • Watching Little ride her bike for the first time (Thank you, Shvester!)
  • The happiness of Big getting her very first pair of pointe shoes
  • Reading! Novels, fiction, non-fiction. Just escaping the news and chaos of our world, life in the magic of books, books, books

7 things I am looking forward to in 2019:

  • The impeachment and/or jailing of the 45th if you can call him president of these divided states of America, and his entire crew of gonifs (thieves and criminals)
  • Seeing my Mom and Dad after a long, long time
  • Going out on dates and laughing with my Mrs.
  • Celebrating special birthdays with my Shvester and Shvoger
  • Dare I say it, saving more (anything is more than $0, so the bar is low)
  • Weekly, and sometimes more, coffee klatches with my crew, to vent, stay sane, and laugh a little
  • Staying present and gentle, inside and out

7 Great Bloggers to Check out (and, Tag, you’re it!):

  1. Meet Jo, from A Rose-Tinted World
  2. Shinjini at Modern Gypsy uses art and word to work through life
  3. Noleen rocks, at Miller in the City
  4. Suzanne at Expat Life With Chicken Ruby is so real and hysterical
  5. Enda is always sharing the magic over at Endastories
  6. Kate on thin ice is looking at the positives this year
  7. Katie at Mummy in a TuTu is always heartfelt

Thank you for the tag, Kelly! M’wah!

And to all of you, L’Chiam! (To Life!)

 

Some great folks I like to share with….

spot

There is always hope if you’re looking for it
appearing, a small
spot, barely noticeable
and not invisible
first her favorite
blouse, soon after, all were marked
stained, indelible
they never noticed
that damned spot, always there
incriminating
blind to the color
draining from her tear-stained skin
silence deafening
the stain permeated
‘neath their nose, quiet despair
inside, broken torn
timeworn agony
like a sudden storm, violent
forcing her hostage
immobilized, frail
crushed by sounds, smells, memories
past and present swirl
unsympathetic
the onerous spot survives
emotions echo
I see you, hear you
let me tend your battered heart
allow me to love you
there was radiance
joy filled the spaces between
darkness, the path awaits
for you are brave, strong
pleasures will surpass torment
love will prevail
My Yiddish wish for you all:
May you never know from such pain and troubles. Ken ir keynmol visn fun aza tsuris.
Some great folks I like to share with….

 

from a fog


The excitement is brewing…

Forgive me now my friends, for I am writing while in a fog. No, not like I’m ‘in brown study’ or a deep within a place of inner mindfulness. I’m not even feeling pensive. I am literally in a fog. It is Sunday morning. Gatsby woke me up so he can bark about town in our muddy excuse of a backyard.

Time is now sacred. While he prances and bandies about barking and I hurriedly wait for him to do his business, I must ready the french press yes, the effing Chemex, my darling Chemex broke again for my ritual nectar of the gods I guess here, in the morning hour, I believe, more like in a mythical way, but believing nonetheless. You see aside from Mr. Barky Pants, my house is quiet. The din is long done and I can literally enjoy my cuppa French Roast in all of it’s piping hot aromatic delicious glory. There is never a need to reheat at this hour. It is divine. It’s my ‘me time.’

I set the kettle to boil, and ready the parts of the press for the exciting addition of the gritty grounds of goodness. I open the coffee drawer, where the beans rest by night, expecting the explosive burst of smoky darkness and indulgent scent to tease my nostrils. No scent save for the acrid smell of a wet and muddy Gatsby?

G-O-N-E-!

Now, I know we had it yesterday and all of the proper preceding yesterdays. I was more than certain we were not living sans bean. Where could they be? I search. I sleuth. I seek.  I sadden. Surely this travesty of coffee injustice can’t be real? I pinch myself, checking for a nightmare of the grandest proportions. OUCH! A bluish, purplish bruise begins to form on my arm.

I cannot awaken the Mrs., for that act alone will startle the process of a blissful balanced morning. Little and Big will arise, volumes will blare. I’m not yet prepared for the whining, bickering or boisterousness that can at any moment, start our day.

Your great happiness is based on the warmth of your heart.

With my tail between my legs, I once again look in the stark, coffeeless cabinetry. I pull, dare I say it, a tea bag please my tea loving friends, take no offense. I let the hot water surround the floating bag of contained leaves. I am startled by hints of raspberry when I desperately seek the bold intensity, and surprisingly low acidity of my morning Frenchie. Tall, dark and musty.

I see now that this day can only improve.

Yiddish Proverb:

If you are going to eat pork, eat the best kind. Ez men est khazer zol rinen ariber del bord.

L’chaim! To life! This very beautiful life.

 

Some great folks I like to share with….

 

good grief

she wept, cleansing tears
at least I hoped they were so
they seem unending

flowing liquid streams
sorrow, like a tsunami
emptying in waves

compounding her pain
fresh sadness on top of old
fossils ‘neath her heart

all words feel hollow
burdens carried, she is still
her world, it is dark

i know there is light
i’ve felt the warmth on my back
it has filled my heart

come, sit next to me
we can gaze at the sun, stars
feel joy, dream with me

 

 

Yiddish Proverb:

Gold glitters even in the mud. Gold gliterz afilu in di blote.

 

Some great folks I like to share with….

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….

I have hope …

Yiddish Proverb:

If things are not as you wish, wish them as you are. Aoyb das iz nisht vi ir vilt, vil zey vi ir zent.

I have hope.

I have reason to be a bissel (a little bit) hopeful my friends. Many of you know, I can kvetch (rant) who me? about the tsuris (troubles) this country, my country, faces daily with senseless gun violence. Finally, the tides are turning in the right direction. Hard work with great organizations like #MomsDemandAction and #EverytownForGunSense had thousands and thousands of supporters hockin meir in chinik (banging on the tea kettle) and the noise went straight to our elected officials.

There is good news in the fight against guns. We were heard. The Federal Government (yes, this very government), is making way to ban bump stocks. For those of you living in safer climes (it should only stay that way), a bump stock is an evil, technical gizmo that when attached, makes an automatic rifle or a gun, fire faster, for an outcome that ensures a greater loss of life.

After countless, senseless, violent gun atrocities, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) will finally take the necessary (and legal) actions to ban these horrific firearm accessories.

Do I want more? You bet I do. Do I think they should ban (all guns) automatic rifles? Magazine clips? Should anyone who purchases a gun have to go through a thorough background check? Nu? Is it okay that it is harder to buy a decongestant at the local pharmacy than it is to buy a gun in the US?

This victory, I will take with pride. The people are speaking out. Together, we will continue to do the work to make this world a safer place for my kinder, and for yours.

Last week, I was driving home from a school meeting, and I stopped to see this memorial of t-shirts. Each shirt represents a Philadelphian, a person, gunned down and killed by illegal guns. I stopped the car, goosebumps on my arms. I walked over to see the shirts, read the names. I paid my respects.

There are just too many. Like a baby, I cried, as the sky darkened over this harsh display of lost lives.

A couple of weeks’ back, the police, ambulances, and fire trucks, sirens blaring, they all came careening down our street. They stopped in front of our house? WTF? What was wrong? What had happened? Yellow police tape rolling out, flashlights scouring the sidewalks and road.

Apparently, a young, maybe 14, 15-ish-year-old boy, shot himself in the hand too close for comfort up the street. Who knows what he was trying to do, or with whom. As choices go, smart, he isn’t. As the ambulance sped off, I hugged my kinder, my Mrs. even tighter.

Yiddish Proverb:

As long as a person lives, the entire world is too small; after death, the grave is big enough. Azoy lang der mensch lebt iz im di gantse velt tsu kleyn; nokhn toyt iz im der kever genug.

Zai gezunt. Go in good health.

Look out NRA. We are going to #BreakThePattern

I have hope.

 

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…

How on earth will we talk about this?

As I was adding the final touches for this post, these two were listening and watching, “We Are The World” on YouTube, circa 1985. How fitting…

Yiddish Proverb:

What will become of the sheep if the wolf is the judge? Vos vet vern fun di sheps aoyb di volf iz di rikhter?

My kinder (children), they truly feel the anxiety in our home. They soak it in as they happily leap from the yellow school bus and cross the entryway into our home. They see it when I return from work each night. I am literally wearing the news on my punim (face) – and it is not a good look.

Big and Little, they know about deadly gun violence because they see me put on my orange cloak of activism and fight for gun sense laws (no guns makes the most sense to me) with Moms Demand Action. They hear my spiel (talk, like “please, don’t hang up…    on…     me!) pleading with complete strangers about conceal carry reciprocity and bump stocks, week after week.

But now, tragedy, it strikes daily. How can their naive and tender, trusting souls take in all of the madness when I have trouble simply not crying at the office or pumping the car with gas? Smart people who study such things, scholars, they say we need to tell our kinder in real-time, as the bad things occur. They say that when they hear hard/tragic news from us, the people they love and trust most, they can best take in the inconceivable and somehow still feel safe.

Feeling safe. Aside from my day job, isn’t that what I am here to do? How can I promise protection for my maideleh’s (sweet girls) in a world that can kill you while learning, praying, playing, watching a movie, doing yoga? I have read that we only tell them what is absolutely true. Live in the moment. “You, my sweet bubbelah’s (babies), are safe here, now.”  No promises that you cannot absolutely keep. Truth.

Yiddish Proverb:

Who owes her the hole in the bagel? Ver ouz ir di lokh in di bagel?

My father, he used to explain things to me and then say, “Capiche? (Understand?)  I did (well mostly), but he wasn’t hurling around huge concepts like anti-Semitism, racism, nationalism, white-supremacy. At eight and ten, hatred, violence, and grief are ‘tough to swallow’ dinner table topics. Allow them time to think, ask questions. As many questions as they need to ask. Always answer with honesty and reassure them of the many people around them, in addition to us, who are also safe havens for them. 

This past weekend, we even developed a ‘code word’ for our family after reading the news story about a little girl in Arizona who thwarted her would be captor in a potential kidnapping with, “What’s the code word? If you are picking me up, what’s the code word?” Be prepared.

And this, all of this is what I call a shondah (a shame, pity).

Tomorrow, Thanksgiving, people all over America will be getting together to celebrate, sup, break bread and nosh together. Many families have been as divided as those gonefs (thieves, dishonest people) on the hill in DC. Many topics are now more taboo than ever before. Politics and sports are out. Perhaps sex is a safe, go-to conversation? Wishing you all, a safe, loving and enjoyable time. And, may we all find a way to unite. Capiche?

L’Chiam! To life!

Invisibility

Yiddish Proverb:

How many will listen to the truth when you tell them? Vi file veln hern tsu dem ams ven ir zogn zey?

Truth time.

My Mrs. and me, we did not meet at a book club. Yes, we read To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and yes, we loved it (in fact this is a book everyone should read, especially today). We even convinced our friends to name their first daughter Scout, and our first pug was named Atticus Finch. If at some point in our lifetime together, we told you that this is how we met, I am sorry. We weren’t quite healthy enough to speak our truth. Thankfully, we are now well over the stigma and only want to help where we can.

Here is our real story: About one million years ago, or at least a couple or so decades ago, we both arrived at our first meeting for women with eating disorders. We were at one of the very top treatment centers, The Renfrew Center, in the suburbs of Philadelphia. As the young therapist unlocked the door and turned on the lights, not one of us in the group made eye contact. We scuttled about uncomfortably searching for a seat that could somehow feel safe. Everyone stared at the floor. No one made a sound. Occasionally, one could hear a belly growl or the sounds of digestion. If pins were to drop, we would have heard them. And after what felt like hours of bone-chilling silence at a call for introductions, the person who is now my Mrs., she said, “Oh, okay. I’ll go first.” 

Slowly, painfully, we made our way around the room. Not one of us admitted sickness. Not one of us ‘needed’ to be there. The very long, often unbearable road to health and wellness had begun. 

You might say, Lisalah, why now? Why are you telling us this? The answer, as always, is in the eyes of my Big and my Little. We want desperately for them to hold on to the joys of childhood and develop a strong foundation of self-confidence, self-worth, and self-esteem. We are trying to raise our maidelehs (sweet girls) to be brave and mighty, rebel girls as they grow up in this harsh, misogynistic world. We also want them to become women who have a healthy relationship with food. Imagine that! Eating, breaking bread, a nice nosh, all such an important part of our life in terms of sustenance, social interaction, nurturing, and sensuality.

To the caregivers of all of the beautiful kinder that are out there, please know that children, they have ears that hear what you, relatives, friends, teachers, coaches, say, even whisper. With social media, unhealthy messages are persistent for vulnerable children and adults. Know, be on the lookout, be prepared. Catch it early. Eating disorders are one of the mental illnesses that have a 20% mortality rate. That is too high. I vividly remember that day in 1983 when Karen Carpenter lost her battle to anorexia nervosa. Understand that you have an ally in me. No stigma. No judgment.

Today in America, over 30 million people of all ages and genders are suffering from an eating disorder. Suffering — that is a kind word for it. As a person in full recovery, this stat, which is on the rise, makes me so profoundly sad. I know the loneliness and sorrow that fills their people-pleasing, loving hearts and souls. I know the pain and overwhelming lack of self-worth that comes from seeking invisibility first hand.

I write about this today for three reasons:

First, so many people, caregivers, parents, and patients all, live in denial. It’s easy to look away, and say, “Nope, not me.” “Not my kid.” “They’ll grow out of this.” If you suspect your child has an eating disorder, learn about eating disorders. Educate yourself to what may be ahead. Talk to your child openly with compassion and empathy. Listen. Love. DO NOT make your talk about appearance. If you say something like, “…you are nothing but skin and bones…” you can easily validate that they are on the right path. This disease, and it is a disease, affects the mind too. Emphasize to them that it is not their fault.

Second, the holidays are fast approaching. Group meals, big meals, family gatherings will feel threatening, frightening to the eating disordered person. They will avoid it at all costs. They will feign sickness, volunteer, say they are eating with friends, all in an effort to avoid the Festivus you are so eagerly awaiting.

Third, you must act compassionately and quickly. Your silence can be deadly. My eating disorder was a cry for help, screaming as loudly as I could scream — a young woman with no voice.

Here are some important things to look for in your child/friend/neighbor:

  • Any weight changes, up or down
  • Differences in eating patterns, like avoiding family meals, or an inability to eat with others
  • Pushing food around the plate; excessive use of condiments; you may even notice the family pet gaining weight
  • New dietary regimes like vegetarianism; fear of certain foods, obsessions with other foods
  • A dramatic increase in physical activity and exercise
  • Going to the bathroom immediately after a meal; spending a long time in the bathroom
  • Missing food that may be hidden away for another time, or eaten when alone
  • Mood and social activity changes
  • Distorted sense of body image; wearing big or baggy clothing
  • Thinning or brittle hair
  • Digestion or bowel issues
  • Abnormal blood counts
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dehydration
  • Insomnia
  • Tooth and gum problems (often times the dentist is the first to notice)
  • Fine hair growth over the body

If you see these symptoms in your kinder, offer your compassionate heart. Be a loving, nurturing part of the journey. The causes of eating disorders, as the layers of an onion, are so complex. Genetics, environmental, psychological and cultural issues all come into play. Emphasis on diet, looks and body shape only add to the dangerous mix of complex behavioral issues lurking in our society.

I had an eating disorder from the age of thirteen. I sought help, at 32. A lot of damage was done in between those years. It was an excruciating battle to overcome what I believed was ‘my very best friend.’ No number on the scale ever offered satisfaction. Tied in with anorexia, as it oftentimes is, was a major depression. I desperately wanted my outline to get smaller, lighter until it, until I, disappeared. Nothing less than that would be deemed a success.

I had an ‘entire team of people’ trying to help me, help myself. I had a therapist, medical doctor, nutritionist, and psychiatrist, all specializing in my illness. I even spent several months outpatient at a clinic. I called it ‘food camp’ and ‘my unfortunate incarceration.’ At 35, I had to re-learn how to feed myself. When I had to use the bathroom, I had to leave the door wide open and sing the entire time I was in there.

I had never really tasted a food, any food until I was 40. Yes, you read that correctly! The Mrs., and me, we went on a bike trip through Tuscany. We were both finally healthy and happy — new foods and flavors danced in my mouth in a way I had never experienced. Nu? So this is what people have been talking about?

Over time, a great deal of damage has been done to my body. I have had multiple painful gum surgeries to stop the gum recession in my mouth from acid reflux caused by not eating and from throwing up. Too much diet soda led to kidney stones. Malnutrition and missing periods for years at a time led to infertility and brought on early osteopenia and osteoporosis. I even have bone loss in my mouth and jaw.

I am so very grateful I figured out, with a great deal of help, that I was worth the fight. We are proof that this awful disease can be overcome successfully.

Yiddish Proverb:

Love is sweet but it’s nice to have bread with it. Lib iz zis ober es iz feyn tsu hobn broyt mit im.

 

 

 

Hello. Yeah, it’s been a while.

Yiddish Proverb:

Hob ich a zorg! Zoll ich zorgen! Why should I worry! I should worry.

I want to thank so many of you who have reached out to me to see if I am okay. I am one lucky Yiddisheh momma, feeling such love and support around this globe! And, please know, I am okay. I am as okay as one can be, as a woman, a lesbian, and a Jew in these ‘guns blazing’ United States. I am out of my mind with worry over the upcoming mid-term elections, and I have a very important 4-letter word I would like to share with everyone. VOTE.

Vote like your life depended on it because it does. Vote for the kinder (children) who will inherit this madness we leave behind. Vote because your voice, it needs to be heard. Vote in solidarity against the racism, rhetoric, lies, hate, bias, and bigotry. Vote for those whose lives were stolen in Pittsburgh, in Jeffersontown, in too many towns to list.

VOTE.

That’s all I got right now. Nu, voos zugt eir gits? What the good word?

It’s My Coronation Day!

Hi all. It’s time for a little parody. Yesterday, it was my Coronation Day! I got a new crown. Well, not so much like the one Elsa got… mine was more in tune with the rather labor intensive dental version… Please read this along with the tune, “For the first time in forever,” from everyone’ fave, Frozen. Thank you, Disney!
Hey, Queen!
[Anna:]

The pain is tremendous, I can’t ignore My ear, jaw, and neck have gone to war Who knew how much pain a tooth can generate? For years I’ve dealt with pain pitfalls Hit me with more, I’ve got the balls Finally, I will deteriorate!

Dr. A!

Dentists are actually real live people They can be totally strange I’ve never been more ready for a change!

‘Cause for the first time in forever There’s some novocaine in sight Though I’d rather it be never I’ll be staring right at that bright light Can’t tell if I’m scared shitless or gassy And I’m sure I’ll soon be broke ‘Cause no matter how or whatever A root canal’s no joke! I can’t wait ’til this tooth is all done! I’d really rather… go and have some fun
Well, here she is, my crown. A Dental Tiara!
Trying to fathom this crown and all Doctors appointments are no windfall Where’s ‘plan B’ for problems just in case? Starting to feel the numb kick in Beginning to drool right down my chin This gives new meaning to meeting face-to-face And then I walk back into my life Which is totally bizarre I feel like I’ve been hit with a crowbar ‘Cause for yet another time in this forever There’s more novocaine in sight Though I’d rather it be never My endodontist is a delight! (a true mensch) My thoughts are just totally crazy When I think of this circumstance And for the first time in forever I’ll give the lottery a chance [Elsa:] Your roots are gone, your tooth is dead Get that vision of your Visa bill out of your head Stay numb, don’t feel, don’t let them know For others, this would be fixed with a good Bordeaux [Elsa:] But it’s only a few a months [Anna:] It’s only a few months [Elsa:] The pain you’re in’s a drain [Anna:] The pain you’re in’s a drain [Elsa:] Tell the doc’s your budget ain’t champagne [Anna:] Ain’t champagne [Anna:] For another time in this forever [Elsa:] Stay numb, don’t feel, don’t let them know [Anna:] I’m gonna wear a crown [Elsa:] Remember, for some it would be solved with a Bordeaux [Anna:] I’m gonna wear a crown! [Elsa:Stay numb, don’t feel [Anna:] A chance to wear a crown! [Elsa:] You’re no champagne [Anna:] I know it will finally be over, So it doesn’t have to be today ‘Cause no matter how or whatever how or whatever… A Crown will make my day!
Yiddish Proverb: When a toothache comes, you forget your headache. Az es kumt tsonvaitik fargest men kopvaitik.
A bei gezunt! Be healthy friends!

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!

Love has to win, right?

Be Happy. Love Wins.

The other night, as a family, we watched, An American Girl Story – Melody, 1963: Love Has To Win. It’s a short movie about social injustice and racism during the Civil Rights Movement of the 60’s. Melody, age 10, just like my Big,  is a character in the line-up of American Girl dolls and the story of her experiences during this turbulent time in our American History is incredibly important and powerful. We all four, plus Gatsby, snuggled in on the sofa and dimmed the lights.

Melody is immediately likable. Smart, witty, creative, friendly and principled, she is a young African-American girl attending school in a sea of Caucasian students and staff. Her mom provides her with a strong faith for a brighter future. That passion effervesces in all Melody does. Her grandpa, he is a bit more cynical realistic? about this world.

At school, during the Pledge of Allegiance something I had to recite every morning in public school growing up, Melody stands atop her desk and cries out, “The Pledge of Allegiance is a lie. It’s a lie!” It may not be this line verbatim, but that is the gist. Melody clearly did not feel that she had the same liberties as her white classmates and she was not afraid to share that sentiment out loud.

Her heart, fragile and so compassionate…

While not showing actual violence, the movie did weave in some real-life, heinous acts of racism, moments in time that no one can be proud of… Police brutality, and the one that brought my Big to her knees, the brutal bombing of the church in Birmingham that killed four young black girls. We had to hit pause, up the lights and do our best to explain why such vile, repugnant behavior existed? Exists. My Big, her sobbing was real. She felt the pain and it cut through her big, beautiful, loving, compassionate heart like a knife through butter.

We let her cry it out as we talked about the way things were; the way things are now. The work that still needs to be done. The kinder (kids), they know from #MarchForEquality, #BlackLivesMatter, #WomensRights, #GunsDown, #MomsDemandAction, #NotOneMore… They have been read to and read about Dr. Martin Luther King. They are floored that anyone could be judged or mistreated for the color of their skin. My Little, she even asked if mrt was going to do anything fix racism. Oh, do not get me started on the man that uses the N-word and hangs with white supremacists.

Was it the very best movie ever? No. Yet all told, this movie served us quite well. It sparked a very provocative conversation about racism, skin color, slavery and a lot of the other things that are brought out by hate, misunderstanding, and bigotry in this world.

That 10-year-old Melody, she is a positive force and a role model for strong, mighty girls. Her rebel-girl spirit really got through to my 10-year-old maideleh (little sweet girl). This is why love has to win… it must. This momma is counting on it.

Yiddish Proverb:

For your children’s sake, you would tear the world apart. Fer kinder tsereist men a velt.

Have you talked about racism in your home with your kids? Maybe Melody needs to visit your place, too. Nu?

 

I used to sing in the shower. Now…

Ice cream at Bredenbeck’s, after the summer dance intensive recital

Today friends, let me paint you some pictures with my words. Imagine summer as kinderlech (children): bathing suits, swimming pools, hopping through creeks, jumping in puddles. Sleep-overs, scooter rides, hiking, and biking. Ice creamy treats, baking and make your own pizzas. Slides, swings, and sunshine (the scorn that is sunscreen). Dirt, mud, and coils of chlorine tangled pony-tails. Board games, LOL doll surprises, and dance routines. Hula hoops, watermelon, movie nights and popcorn all at the sofa, vey iz mir (woe is me). Being a kid in the summer is magical.

Now, let’s look at this very same season as Muters (Moms): The kinder, they are joyful and giddy from playtime with friends, family, each other. They get hungry, hangry and eat every edible morsel in the pantry and fridge didn’t I just food shop?. They are oysgematert (drop-dead tired) from days packed with fun and frolic and yes, some fighting and varfing (tantrums). Some nights, they even ask to go to bed! Pools, beaches, showers, hair… Towels, oy, they are everywhere. And, they have so many wardrobe changes each and every effing day daily, they would give Cher in concert a run for her money… The grob vesh (dirty laundry) piles high daily. This, not so magical.

Doesn’t everyone hula-hoop in this kind of outfit? Nu?

Enter the brand new, very expensive, broken, cockamamie (ridiculous) washing machine. Broken not once, not twice, but three times since its inaugural installation in January yes, of this same year, and yes, if you would like to, please see the irony of that other inaugural installation event. It broke again on the 3rd of this month. Today, if you’re counting and you better believe I am counting marks day 15. Customer service mishaps, lost parts orders, summer vacations, and dirty laundry from floor to ceiling.

Slumber with besties

Now, in the big scheme of things, nisht geferlich (not really so terrible, we are alive, poo-poo). Worse things can do and will happen. The Mrs., she has already taken some 80+ pounds of laundry to the laundromat I chose food shopping.

Why are you looking at me? I don’t even wear clothes.

So now, I offer you this picture: I am fully clothed, save for a belt and sneakers. I walk into our shower. There is a small lump of laundry littering the floor near the bench. I turn on cool water and grab the bar of Fels-Naptha Laundry Soap. I wash my jeans while wearing them. This is the emmes truth (I swear its true). I peel them off for some interior suds-ing, give a good rinse, then squeeze, spin cycle style. Next, my T-shirt. Suds on and scrub. Take it off, rinse, and scrunch. Undergarments follow – you get the idea. I am finally in my birthday suit (no need to picture that — this is not on of those stories). I tend to the lump of things already on the floor… then finally, I can clean me. Please know, this dramatically increases my hygienic routine. I used to sing in the shower, now I feel like Ma, from Little House on the Prairie. As I load the dryer with my freshly cleaned items, I give the evil eye to the washer. Feh! (expression of physical and emotional disgust).

Like Ma, in Little House on the Prairie, I enter my modern stream…

Allegedly, the fix-it-people are coming tomorrow – between 8:54 am and 11:54 am who gives times like these? — emmes truth. I think I will do another load in the morning, again… 

Yiddish Proverb:

If you have nothing to lose, you can try everything. Aoyb ir hot gornisht tsu farlirn ir kenen prubirn alts.

So, how’s by you?

Laundry, shmaundry… A bei gezunt (As long as you’re healthy).

 

The Big Dig

Detective Gatsby is on it, again. Readers of this space, you know very well, that something ‘a-fowl’ has been going on in our community. Long ago, the Great Gatsby uncovered many a capon caper, finding bones, breasts, thighs, and wings, scattered and strewn about on our daily constitutionals. Sometimes, with his mighty schnoz, he would locate bbq sauce or ketchup, even fries to accompany his hidden haul. If you are new here, please stay, have a little nosh (something to eat), enjoy yourself proceed with caution. The paltry poultry that has been uncovered is not for the faint of heart.

I know I smell chicken. I know it. It’s in the air. I will find you…

Courageous as all-get-out, secure in his forensic anthropology degree, and led by his hunger for justice and all things edible, even the most disgusting and vile things you can imagine while walking outdoors, G has been sinking his teeth happily habitually into brand new evidence. He now knows why all of the chicks want so desperately to cross the road nirvana and why the caged birds sing tweet.

As you can see, G has been participating in The Big Dig, only to uncover glass, bottle caps, material, empty bags of chips, plastic straws, and yes, chicken bones. Oy, my yard… don’t get me started…

Apparently, right in our own backyard, there has been a major unearthing of evidence. It is all beginning to make sense. The dirt is there yes, that is our mess of a yard from our four-legged boychick (little sweet boy). While uncovering the cadavers of said cockerels is his favorite pastime, G has realized the problem is bigger than (cooked) birds and their petty parts. While focussing primarily on pullet and cock-a-doodle-doo, even Gatsby realizes the real tsuris (trouble) in town is L-I-T-T-E-R.

Some findings… pretty disgusting of us

Philadelphia, in many ways, is and has been ‘Philth-adelphia’. Clean, they are not. Untidiness is all too often a way of life by too many who have seemingly bypassed trash cans mothers and Kindergarten lessons, leaving a trail of drek (trash, detritus), Hansel and Gretl style, in their wake. Litter begets litter. Trash begets trash. What kind of shlemiel (loser) has the chutzpah (balls, nerve) to leave their crap for others?

So my Mrs. and me, we have taken to grabbing an extra bag full of bits and scraps as we saunter about our shtetl (‘hood, village) walking our boychik. With Little and Big in tow, we are furthering the valuable lessons of rubbish removal and how we can be grateful for and feel good about a clean neighborhood. Further research us bloggers thrive on this stuff reveals a movement in Sweden where we may be headed should the midterms turn to sh*te called Plogging. This Nordic influence is as amazing as IKEA and is beginning to take the world by storm (btw: IKEA just opened in India this week), spreading to the UK, Germany, France, Thailand and hopefully here in the US too.

Plogging: Scandinavian word meaning to pick up litter while jogging in groups, making is socially fun and fantastically praise-worthy. This word comes from the fusion of the Swedish words “plocka” (picking [up]), and “jocka” (jogging). See, more than just Yiddish here!

So, for a while now, as we are out an about, walking the boychik, picking up his poop, we also shlep (drag, haul) and bag the drek of others, in hopes of beautifying the community and raising the bar on the ‘dump and run attitude (addy-tude in Philly slang)’ of our brethren. Thank you, Sweden!

Spent, after a full day of sleuthing, eating, pooping and plogging. Gei shluffin (go to sleep) Gatsby

Whose with me? Let’s go plogging! Alevei! It should only happen!

Yiddish Proverb:

In a good apple, you sometimes find a worm. In a shainem epel gefint men a mol a vorem.

 

My Pandora’s box

I was me, just me
feeling colors, touching dreams
seeking solace, warmth
imperfect, monstrous
not enough, absolutely
forever a stain
in stillness, silence
excruciatingly loud
and, I became whole
photographs pale, old
yesterdays and tomorrows
sadness mixed with joy
curiosity
fire, beauty mixed with evil?
the box, a siren
Pandora provokes
hornet’s nest, a quandary
dare I uncover?
peace, a gift, awaits
living fearlessly, present
genuine and strong
I am me, just me
feeling colors, touching dreams
seeking solace, warmth
Yiddish proverb:
The smoothest way is full of stones. Di smudast veg iz ful fun shteyner.
A bei gezunt. Go in good health!
 

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.)

 

 

Global sigh of relief!

Little meditating…

Today, I am relieved, ecstatic, joyful, delighted, and kvelling to learn that all 12 boys and their soccer coach are rescued, safe and sound. The collective global sigh of relief is holding me up and getting me through the rough parts of our world. There really are heroes in the world. We need to celebrate them!

 

Big was dancing…

And oh, how they played…

Oh, how they play…

Hold your kinderlach (children) closer today, and every day.

 

Yiddish Proverb:

Troubles overcome are good to tell. Ibergekumene tsores iz gut tsu derseylin.