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.

 

RIP, Edie Windsor. You are my Hero

*video courtesy of You Tube and Huff Post Live

Last week, the world lost an awe-inspiring hero for supporters of LGBTQ civil rights. Tiny, tough, lusty and outrageously fierce, Edie Windsor was the main plaintiff in the case that made it all the way to the Supreme Court, United States v. Windsor.

You see, Edie and her same-sex partner Thea were together as a couple for 40 years. After an absurdly long and loving engagement In 2007, they loudly and proudly said, I do,” in Toronto, a place where gay marriage was both safe and legal. Thea died two years later, in 2009, leaving her entire estate to her spouse, Edie, in the form of a revocable trust. But you see DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), and the people who built this hateful excuse of a law specifically defined ‘marriage’ as deliberately excluding same-sex couples. They couldn’t see ‘us.’  They went so far as to say that the term ‘spouse’ only refers to that of a ‘man and a woman.’

Edie filed taxes after the death of her lifelong love, and justly claimed the federal estate tax that allows exemptions for surviving spouses. The IRS not only barred the exemption, they forced her to pay $363,053 in taxes. Quiet and demure never described Edie. She boldly set off on the battle of a lifetime. All of us in the LGBTQ community, we were with her every step of the way. After forking over all of Thea’s loot to the government, she filed a federal lawsuit for a full refund of the nearly $400k, stating DOMA was unconstitutional, unfair and singled out legally married, same-sex couples.

Windsor fought to overturn DOMA where non-sensical legal language stripped equality from life as she and many others of us knew it. Oral arguments were heard in March of 2013.  On June 26th of that same year, ‘the Supremes’ sang out in favor of love. This court, in a 5-4 decision (thank you, Justice Kennedy! Please never, ever retire), affirmed that DOMA was unconstitutional “as a deprivation of the liberty of the person protected by the Fifth Amendment.”

In my household, as in gazillions of same-sex households across the US, it was the feeling of sheer, unfettered joy. Phones rang, hearts throbbed, hugs, kisses, and high-fives could be heard in most major metropolitan areas where we believed we would be safer far and wide, and we were all alive with the promise of equality happening right before our very eyes.

Book the hall, call the caterer, hot-damn, we were going to be legal. In this lifetime. In our lifetime.

Once, when my Big, she was about two, maybe three years old and she asked us to see our wedding pictures. We told her we weren’t married. She asked why, and we looked at each other and said, the law, it doesn’t allow us to marry. She started to cry. We told her that despite the law, love wins.

Edie will be remembered as a powerful trailblazer in the long history of the gay rights movement. A queen in the Yiddish fight club! I am forever grateful for her, and all the others before her who went out on a limb and stood up for what is right. The positive outcome of her battle against the establishment has led to many happy and loving nuptials with similar ridiculously long engagements. (Ours was a mere 17 years… and we married legally in 2013)

Edie, you will be missed. Thank you for giving me and my mishpocheh (family) the gift of equality and acceptance in a time where we are tested, challenged, and opposed daily. Your giant heart gave out on you at 88, but we can still feel your pulse of hope. You will live on in our hearts each and every day. We carry your torch proudly and hope to keep moving our case for equality, justice, and authenticity forward.

My deepest sympathies to your surviving wife and family that are left behind. You left a tacca (big) set of shoes to fill, and you have proven that love does win.

To make promises and to love don’t cost any money. Tsuzogn un lib hobn kostn kayn gelt nisht.

My Mrs., Big, Little, I love you! Ich hob dier lieb!

     

 

 

Summer lovin’ had me a blast…

 The last trip of the summer holidays had us off to Boulder, CO to see my mishpocheh (family). Here are some of our favorite pics…

And boy, did we ever! L’Chaim! (To Life!)

Our very happy Gatsby on return! My boychik…

Travel in good health! For gezunterheit! We did!

     

        

      

      

…on many sides

Charlottesville. Trying to make sense out of a living nightmare is not possible. I am for free speech and civil disobedience, and that has not happened. mrt has been fanning the flames of racism, hate, and evil since his campaign that led to his election began. He has openly uncovered what lay hidden, dormant. He has ripened the corrupt causes of the neo-Nazi’s, the alt-right, the white supremacists, the Ku-Klux-Klan, and the racists who see “Make America Great Again” as a call to action for their heinous behaviors. They backed him, paid him, elected him, celebrated with him and see him as their leader. And mrt, he has mainstreamed these groups to normalcy; normal enough to come outside by daylight. To remove the sheets and show their faces. To act on their mission.

The “Unite the Right” rally, filled with racist, ethnic, misogynistic and anti-Semitic slurs,  turned deadly when a known Nazi-sympathizer from Ohio drove his Dodge Challenger, at a high-speed, into a crowd of people gathering to protest the rally. He killed Heather Heyer and injured close to twenty others. Heather, 32 years old, died standing up for what she believed in — fairness and equal treatment for all. She died opposing those that hold hate in their hearts. Additionally, two Virginia state troopers died in a helicopter crash while on duty. Three lives lost, and mrt stood in his bunker.

mrt, our tweeter-in-chief, said in his first statement, that he condemned hatred and violence “on many sides, on many sides.” ON MANY SIDES? ON MANY SIDESWTF

Many sides? I saw two sides. The white supremacy, in their full militant nationalistic glory, and the oppositionists, who came with peace and equality, to counter the hate.

Weak. Very weak mrt. You are a spineless excuse for a leader. You made no mention of your friends who gathered in violence, and they heard that loud and clear. They cheered you on. They know you support them. You have never been quiet to call out your enemies by name. They must be your friends. Two days later, after an immense public outcry, you were forced into a more acceptable media message, only after mentioning how well the stock market is doing. Your responses sicken me, as much as the despicable events of the weekend.

I applaud leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who teaches us all how we can never go back. She owns the shame of the Nazi Holocaust and apologized some 60 years later, after WW II. Today, in Germany, every child is taught of the atrocities that their native land carried out during Holocaust. Every student visits a concentration camp. They learn what was in their history and they work hard so that such vile behavior will never repeat.

mrt keeps his alt-right friends, Bannon, Gorka, Miller, close to the chest, in his inner circle. It shows.

I am a human being. I am Jewish. I am a woman. I am a Lesbian. I am a wife. I am a mother. I am saddened but remain positive that the turning point that KKK leader David Duke speaks of, has a very different outcome. I will continue to stand up strong, united against hate, in order to make this world a better place for my kinder (children).

mrt, you are #notmypresident. #yesyouareracist #neveragain

     

      

      

    

 

Aside

101 things I can’t believe I have already said this summer

The summer sizzle, she has started! When I saw the temps hit 101, oy vey iz mir (oh em gee), I had to document it for you all to see. Me, I like the heat. You will not get a complaint from me from heat and humidity… cold, that’s another story altogether. And in the heat, we get a bissel meshugeneh ( a little bit crazy). It’s hard to believe the things that have come from my mouth, in these short, early days of summer.

  1. Absolutely no licking your sister or Gatsby — in fact, you really should not ‘lick’ anyone at all
  2. How many times do I need to tell you both that your feet should not be on the walls?
  3. There footprints on the walls in every damned room in this crap apartment
  4. Talk with your big girl voice
  5. No dribbling in the house, we have neighbors to consider
  6. Please, just roll the ball
  7. Do you want me to bring the ball downstairs and give it away?
  8. I do not think you should have a jar of Kalamata olives for breakfast
  9. Step away from the Kalamata olives
  10. What is the one rule we have in this family? That’s right, be kind.
  11. Really, you are slowly killing me Was (insert kicking, throwing, not sharing, yelling, ignoring, having a tantrum) that behavior kind?
  12. Can you try using your utensils during meals?
  13. Today, I am not going to mention anything about using utensils
  14. Can we try to have just one meal, where everyone stays at the table, in their seats, the whole meal, utensils or not
  15. Do you even hear my effing voice when I speak?
  16. Just fuc*ing answer me I know you heard me speak, so can you just fuc*ing answer me kindly respond?
  17. Do you know what it feels like to be ignored?
  18. R-E-S-P-O-N-D-!
  19. You do not need to cry, just answer so I don’t go batshit crazy and start throwing things
  20. My girls, if being tired were a valid excuse for making bad choices, mommy and Ema would be miserable asshats grumpy and unkind all of the time
  21. Why are you frustrated, honey? kill me, or stick a hot poker in my eye
  22. Who used magic markers on this white table What is the definition of mental illness?
  23. Honey, please put something underneath your paper when you draw or color
  24. Why is the table purple and blue?
  25. Please think your answer through before you speak — lying is not kind
  26. Well, then who colored on the table?
  27. Who remembers what mommy and Ema say about licking? (please note: she just licked the soy sauce bottle on the table at the Chinese restaurant I am completely useless
  28. Quiet, happy place Quiet, happy place (repeat over and over in hopes of finding a quiet, happy place)
  29. Little, please leave Gatsby’s teeth alone — he is trying to sleep
  30. If he’s growling at you do you want him to go all Cujo on you, what is he trying to tell you, honey?
  31. I don’t think Gatsby want’s to wear your bike helmet right now sweetheart – maybe just the pearls
  32. Has anyone brushed their teeth today because these toothbrushes are bone dry, and your breath reeks of hummus?
  33. Yes, you have to brush the wiggly-giggly teeth or the tooth fairy will not visit for a couple of nasty, food covered, smelly, grungy teeth, blech!
  34. Can you both try to stay in the bathroom while you brush your teeth
  35. Girls, should we be walking around the apartment while brushing our teeth?
  36. Please turn off the water while you brush your teeth
  37. What does mommy say every time about conserving water for the planet, girls
  38. Look how Jesus H. Christ hard you are running the water
  39. Do you want your children to have water (yes, I did go there) to brush their teeth?
  40. Big, brush longer — sing an entire Adele song in your head
  41. Little, enough brushing already!
  42. You really only need to spit once or twice when rinsing
  43. I counted 17 rinse/spits — toothbrush down — step away from the sink
  44. Why is there a crap load of toothpaste on the floor each and every damned day of my life
  45. Let’s put on some sunscreen girls
  46. It’s time for more sunscreen girls – because we want to protect you
  47. Why are you standing in the refrigerator?
  48. Please, girls, do not drink your water with the refrigerator door open
  49. Your glass of water will not get hot if you keep it by your side during dinner
  50. What does mommy say shut the damned fridge door already about conserving energy for the planet earth?
  51. Do not drink your water like Gatsby would, honey, you have opposable thumbs for a reason
  52. (Epic spill) Oy, it’s only water — grab a towel
  53. Be nice to each other, you are shvesters (sisters)
  54. Do you know how lucky you are to be shvesters?
  55. After cleaning every damned pot, pan and dish in the kitchen How on earth can you be huuuuuunnngry?
  56. Why do you say that like you’re about to cry? Say it normally, in your big girl voice
  57. Drink a glass of water and let’s check back in together, in 20 minutes or so
  58. Quiet, happy place Quiet, happy place (repeat over and over in hopes of finding a quiet, happy place)
  59. What did I say about drinking your water with the refrigerator door open?
  60. Nope, it hasn’t been 20 minutes yet
  61. When I say no licking, that includes the refrigerator door handle someone, save me
  62. Okay, but think about what you want BEFORE you open the door of the refrigerator
  63. Fine, have some olives — yup, as many as you like
  64. No, you cannot eat them on the sofa
  65. Because we eat food at the table
  66. Because I SAID SO (yep, I said that too)
  67. Gesundheit! sneezed into my f*cking mouth — ugh! Sneeze into your elbow, please sweetie
  68. Uh-oh, cough germ warfare game on into your elbow too, honey
  69. Please don’t pick your nose
  70. Even when you turn away, mommy can tell that you are picking your nose
  71. Because I can
  72. Now, go wash your hands so we all don’t get sick
  73. STOP! Should you be jumping on the sofa especially when we have a f*cking trampoline in the living room?
  74. Does this look like the playground (well, minus the trampoline – apartment life)?
  75. Get on the trampoline girls and jump some of that energy out
  76. Okay, then read, color, call Nona,  split the atom, cure cancer, write letters to Sen. Toomey or put on a show for us
  77. Yes, we will put our phones down when we watch your show — now go and practice in your room
  78. We were just talking while you both were rehearsing – remember how we talked about how sometimes, mommy and Ema, we need time to talk to each other?
  79. Grown up stuff
  80. Why are you standing on the sofa?
  81. Okay, let’s just think before we jump on someone without them expecting it
  82. Oh for f*cks sake Ema, are you okay?
  83. PLEASE! breathe Kindness includes not jumping or ramming into each other or us
  84. Maybe I am the one who is batshit bonkers and no noise at all comes out of my mouth Does anyone in this house HEAR ME when I SPEAK?
  85. Quiet, happy place Quiet, happy place (repeat over and over in hopes of finding a quiet, happy place)
  86. Yes it is the weekend
  87. No sweethearts, mommy stays home today! It’s a family day!
  88. Maybe we can get ice cream today
  89. Not really, most of the time ‘maybe’ means ‘yes’ because mommy and Ema crave ice cream nightly, it is our equivalent of a nice bottle of red
  90. Let’s walk Gatsby, you can bring your scooters
  91. Of course, you have to wear your helmets
  92. Yes, you need more sunscreen – that was hours ago
  93. Because it is mommy and Ema’s job to take good care of you
  94. Everybody, please pee before we go
  95. It will be a nice walk, I don’t know how long
  96. Are you really going to scooter in those gladiator boots I’m meshuggeneh (crazy)?
  97. Come here girls, give me a big hug
  98. Ewwww! Did you just LICK my underarm?
  99. Ema, text me when we can should come back!
  100. Take all the time you need, honey
  101. I love you all to the moon and back, to infinity!

She (and by she, I mean me) should go crazy and run around through the streets. Zi shoudl geyn mshuge aun loyfn arum dirk di gasn.

      

      

      

 

My faith in humanity is restored!

I came home from work, and the pain in my neck was excruciating. On a scale of 1 – 10, it was a 46 (that should only be my age). Ugh! My shana maidelehs (sweet little girls) were so excited to see me; Gatsby, my furry boychik, was jumping and barking at my feet.  My Mrs., she could see the pain in my eyes and she gently kissed me on the check. Heroes welcome for certain.

Apparently, a note was left at the front door entrance to our apartment building to my attention. Big, she was very excited to tell me all about it. Someone found something of mine in the parking lot… call a phone number and they will give it to me. I had no idea what that could be and I had no intention of finding out immediately due to my ‘pain in the neck‘ neck pain. My family, they went out to a birthday party for Little’s friend — I wanted to go, but without full body cooperation, I listened to the siren song of the sofa calling my name. Gatsby and I snuggled in tightly, arranging my head just so, and I asked ‘Alexa’ to play Rachel Maddow as I closed my eyes.

A little bit later, I heard a ping on my phone, so I took a look-see. I noticed a few notes in my Facebook messenger. Delving a little deeper, there was yet another note for me from a person I did not know. It was brilliant! Take a look at this:

Someone found my wallet, and wanted to return it to me! All of the sudden, I remembered Big’s excitement and put 2+2 together… I lost my wallet.

Wait, I lost my wallet? I never lose my wallet? Nu? When did this happen? Where? How? Obviously in the parking lot…  

My penchant for the penny-wise is so strong, I only reach cash/card if I really have to make a purchase. I met a friend for coffee today, but that’s a luxury, so no wallet. I didn’t even know I lost it!  This could have easily been disastrous! 

I dialed up my very kind neighbor right away. She was so sweet and caring. She said she was eagerly waiting to hear from me and she hoped I wasn’t going crazy looking for this missing wallet… Wait, I lost my wallet? I never lose my wallet? She was at work, but her hubby was home and would be happy to deliver my missing property. I insisted that I go to him – It was the least I could do! Gatsby and I ventured across the parking lot. As we made our way, it dawned on me that the previous day, me and this boychik, we walked to the local coop for some dog food and treats. My wallet must have fallen out of my pocket on the way home… I lost my wallet?

I pressed D9 and the most delightful man answered, in a British accent too! He buzzed me in the doorway and came straight away, with my red wallet in hand. As he handed it to me, he reached out his hand and said, “My name is Jim.” I happily took his hand in mine and smiled, gushing gratitude! He bent down and played with Gatsby. These two people who found my wallet, Kristy, and Jim, they are mensches (good people filled with honesty and integrity). And, they like my Gatsby. Dog people are good people! ❤

I love a kind human!

Today, in a world filled with chaos, hate, divisiveness, terror… I experienced the ultimate in human kindness. I saw proof that people, all people, can choose kindness.

A little bit of light pushes away a lot of darkness. A kleyn bissel fun likht pushiz a vek a plats fun finsternish. 

Kristy and Jim, thank you for my light.

I lost my wallet… My Mrs., Liz, Biz, Nona — it’s official. I’m a true part of this family! Expect a lost/stolen iPhone next, and, wait, where did my keys go? Oy vey. (OMG.)

Shalom, Ahava, and Simcha. Peace, Love, and Joy. May you all find some kindness today and every day!

      

     

      

Swimming Upstream

Guatemalan worry dolls… been working them in over time

Hello, my friends. I have been quiet of late — very unlike me, I know. It has been a hell of a couple of years weeks. First, strep throat knocked us all to our knees. One by one, we fell. Despite hand washing, Lysol wipes and new toothbrushes, we were coated with cooties and all swilling shots of penicillin. Strep is literally, like swallowing a brick. Not fun times as an adult — I can only imagine the pain for my kinder (children). Gatsby was literally, the last man standing. Vey iz mir (OMG, but worse), it was bad. 

What followed in the aftermath was tougher to bear than the bacteria-baked bricks… Our, my journey of late has been tough. No harder than the next person mind you… of that I am well aware. Still difficult, nonetheless.

I have been living the plight of the salmon. (Not the delicious kind that ends up atop your shmear (cream cheese) on a toasted everything bagel…) I’m talking about the astounding event where the momma fish like any other but the mother would do this leaves years of comfort in ocean dwelling, genetically alters its very form to seek out and return, upstream, against the tides, waterfalls, bears, and all odds, to the roots of their birth. Without google maps, these salmon, they locate the exact freshwater stream of their birth, to lay the eggs of a new generation on the gravel river beds. And then they die, knowing the kinder are well-tended and will carry on.

These salmon, they are fighters. They are filled with courage and defiance to do what they must do — to follow their core. They are the definition of #rebelgirls and #strongwomen. They defy all limitations and persevere, despite obstacles, predators and sheer exhaustion. They do this because they have no other choice but to be true to themselves and those they love. 

This Yiddisheh momma has been #livingfearlesslyauthentic, much like the salmon. I swam hard and long. I reached my freshwater riverbed, and I spoke my truth. I did so for injustice and all that is unfair. I did so for my Mrs., my Big, and my Little. I did so for ME. And I truly believed that:

If you lie on the ground, you cannot fall. Az mi ligt oif der erd, ken men nit fallen.

What I learned, was that you can still fall. That the truth is not always enough. That there are so many who can easily look away from truths. That so many can label, misrepresent, smear (very different from a nice shmear), and lie. And that the latter group that can win. And that in itself can be mentally and physically crushing.

My silence is over. My quiet has passed. I still grieve the loss, nurture my courage. I will become whole again. After all, I have two shayneh maidelehs (sweet little girls)  that must know that despite everything, it is always an obligation, to tell the truth. That we must always stand tall and respectfully fight, not only the injustices that we face, but those of our fellow humans too. I have learned in no uncertain terms that the battles that surround us are much larger than we know. That the work ahead is complex.

And despite my loss, I would stand up again, and risk the same fall. My Mrs. and me, we will raise two mighty girls with voices to engage and take a stand for their sisters and brothers who need them.

Injustice won this time, a shonda (crying shame). But this particular salmon, I am not rolling over and playing dead.

A liar tells his story so often that he gets to believe it himself. A ligner hert zikh zeineh ligen azoi lang ein biz er glaibt zikh alain.

Plus, I know karma is a bitch for all nogudniks (someone on the wrong side of the law).