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).

     

    

      

      

 

Mary Tyler Moore taught me the “F” word

You're gonna make it after all...
You’re gonna make it after all…

Yes, she did. The ‘F’ word in question is feminist, and she was the first  feminist for this alta kocker (old fart) of a baby boomer, to witness and learn from, on TV. She very easily and seamlessly showed the world, and young madelahs (girls) like me yes I was a young kinder, that you can be a woman and do things differently. It was okay.

As a little pisher (kid), I grew up admiring and dreaming of becoming ‘Mary Richards.’ I know, you’re thinking, Mary, she’s a shiksah (non-jew) with a cute little turned up nose… and me, a Yiddisheh momma? Well, at the start of every episode, she tossed that hat up into the air, and knew, she was ‘gonna make it after all.’  She was a smart, single woman in the ’70’s, living alone and carrying a big job at WJM-TV. She demanded respect, and was incredibly kind. A true mensch (good person). Once, she bumped into her desk, and actually said, “excuse me.” I’ve done that. Really! I have channeled Mary Richards and her kindness, and I have brought the Rule of Kind to our home.

I remember the very first episode, when she interviewed for the job of TV producer. Mr. Grant (Ed Asner) was giving her a real tough time and she flat-out stood her ground and stated that he should be asking her about her qualifications, not her personal life. Zing! Ah-ha moment. Click. Save.

Over the seven years her show spanned, she taught me about equal pay (and we are still fighting that fight) for women in the workplace, birth control, being single and having sex, not conforming to society’s view of women — married with children, dressing differently (yes, the very first member of the pantsuit nation), mixing skirts, dresses, and pants in her wardrobe both for work and for play. All the while, I baby sat and ich macht a labent (made a living), as pint-sized pishers did. Click. Save.

As I mourn Mary Tyler Moore, and Mary Richards, I sure hope she meets up with Chuckles the Clown in the big TV studio in the sky. Perhaps one of the funniest episodes ever, Chuckles Bites the Dust, where Mary really lost her sh*t couldn’t contain herself. He worked down the hall from the studio and was killed by a rogue elephant when he was dressed as Peter Peanut. The gang kept relentlessly making jokes and Mary was appalled. Then at the actual funeral, the sermon began it finally hit her and she laughed louder and heartier then ever before. It was comedic genius and showed fear of the ever after simultaneously.

*Video courtesy of You Tube

Mary, wherever you are, I hope you can laugh. For your life looked easy to us, but it was much harder than ever imagined. Go find Chuckles, and laugh, and know that you made a real difference in the world that is so very important today, especially today, in 2017. RIP MTM, and thank you for your wisdom, comedy, and insight.

The only true dead, are tose who have been forgotten.  di bloyz ams toyt, zenen di vas hobn shoyn fargesn. 

Long live on Mary…

L’Chiam! To Life!

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Minimalism is Fun: Take a look

Okay, so in 2017 I (hopefully we) have replaced ‘Frugalism’ for ‘Minimalism.’ It admittedly has a nicer sound, nu? You agree? Frugalism has such a negative connotation – as if one is a tightwad. Minimalism and its glorious way, appears to offer more of a choice, well at least to me. In fact, there still is no choice. It’s what’s gotta be…

So, in a pure minimalistic bent, take a look at a beautiful outing with friends, to IKEA of all places. For those of you who have kinder (children) and don’t know, IKEA is the poor person’s Disney World. Admission is free. Climate is always appropriate. Each room brings with it a new and exciting adventure to explore, pretend and play. Whether mattress hopping, imagining living or working in each showroom, or playing hide and go seek in the ‘grab it yourself’ warehouse, it is fun for all ages.

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Oh, and ice cream (which is really frozen yogurt) is only $1. Add to the fact that on Monday through Friday, kids eat (meals, entire meals, nice meals) for free… And in this past year, they have taken that famous Swedish meatball and turned it all millennial! Yes, it now comes in a gluten free, vegan version! This is no joke!

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What is not to love about IKEA? Keep your glass half full and take a nice visit.

If time is money, I don’t have any time. Oyb tsayt iz gelt, hob ikh keyn tsayt nit.

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To the moon, and back again

A little break on the way to the Tolerance Statue
A little break on the way to the Tolerance Statue

In this space, many a time, I have spoken ill of my kinder (children) and their need to gai schluffy (go to sleep) on their own and in their own room. Last night, the first sleep over of 2017, had our Little and Big’ with their own Little E. and Big M.’ in tow. Sibling birthed besties! Literally, friends ‘in/out of utero,’ ‘of/for a lifetime.’

Let me preface this bubba meisah (a bit of a tall story) with the fact anecdotal evidence that up until now, and for three short months shy of nine years, the Mrs. and me have been a part of some irrational scientific lab experiment on sleep deprivation. I gotta say, our ‘sleep banks’ and our ‘regular banks’ are probably equally underprovided…

I have so many girls to look after!
I have so many girls to look after!

Knowing that our Little shana madelah was going to be the cause of the majority of any anticipated schluffy tsuris (sleep trouble), we started our adventure with our first hike of 2017. We had two cars, 4 girls 8 and under, and Gatsby (a barking meshuggeneh boychik on a leash) and headed off for the beautiful trails of the Wissahicken. A little fresh air, a new trail and a New Year! Surely we were finding our true north early in the year. We chose to head over to the Tolerance Statue, Mr. William Penn himself, in full-marbleized regalia. 2017 is going to need a lot of ‘tolerance,’ more than usual given the unfortunate circumstances of our hacked democracy. The weather was perfect, the lighting gorgeous and the adventurous state of the girls was scary thrilling!

These ‘explorer kids’ ran, chased, scaled, and reached for the stars as we made our way to the statue. There was a lot of joy on the trail that day, as everyone who passed was filled with smiles and well wishes for a Happy New Year. It felt quite lovely. The maidelahs and the boychik felt the holiday spirit too as they giggled and climbed. Wink. Wink. Nod. Nod. The Mrs. and me thought for certain that we were golden; a promising quiet night with 4 sleeping beauties, nestled snug in their beds.

Home Alone. Popcorn is cooking
Home Alone. Popcorn is cooking

We filled their tiny bellies with pizza and ice cream, the entrée of all sleepovers. We brought out the trampoline for some additional arduous, aerobic activity, then stoked up the TV with Home Alone, the original. The smell of buttery popcorn wafted through the hallways of the Manor, a nice nosh (nibble) for a movie. It was a night of memory making, a simcha (cause for happiness) over these beautiful friendships.

Entertainment: Home Alone, the original
Entertainment: Home Alone, the original

Hugs, kisses… “Goodnight girls! We love you to the moon and back again!” Oh, how naïve we were.

The Bigs, they had their books to read and set off to our bedroom to quietly read. Our Little, she flipped a switch and began an award-winning melt-down, complete with alarming geshrei’s (screams like Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween), stomping feet and kicky legs too! Totally expected. The Mrs. spent some time in the room with them. I came back from walking boychik and headed for my tour of duty.

Many hours later, I lay motionless in the dark, essence of oils diffusing ‘balance’ into the air, two sleeping Bigs and two wide awake, albeit loud, Littles. It’s time for the Mrs. again. Soon after, I am called back in for a song. The Mrs., she cuts it off at a song. So Little E. requested a ‘lullaby’ that her mom sings her each night. Oy vey…

So, I pull out my very best lullaby. Like a jackrabbit, Little E., she jumps up and says, “That was good, but the one my mommy sings goes like this.” She sang proud and strong, and with the largest, wiggly-jiggly toothed smile shining by the light of the diffuser. It made my very tired, post-tantrum, miserable kinder (child) smile too.

From that moment on, they held hands, smiled, and fell fast asleep. Long night, but completely adorbs all around. Oh how I love these girls!

And chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. Another nice nosh...
And chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. Another nice nosh…

Gut-yor (A good year) for all!

Yeder kind offers zeyer eygn eyntsik talant fun glik tsu di velt. Every child offers their own unique gift of happiness to the world. – Russian proverb

 

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I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME ROAR

A pertinent anthem to play as you read along. Thank you Helen Reddy. I needed you today. Oh, and Mr. Orange-Elect, I am woman! You are going to have to deal with that!

 

I am woman, hear my voice

I’m not giving you much choice

Mr. Orange, I will make you understand

‘Cause you’ve said some nasty stuff

And you can’t shut up enough

You’re a narcissistic, evil preaching man

 

Oh yes, I am shrewd

And there’s many more like me

We all know you are lewd

We know just who we see

If we have to, we can make your life hell

We can march

(March)

We can protest your hate

(Protest your hate)

We are women

 

I am Jewish, hear me now

And I never will allow

Your alt-right lovin’ staff appointees to succeed

“Cause we’ve seen this all before

We’ll not back down or ignore

Your swampy tycoon cabinet, it will just recede

 

Oh yes we are smart

By the millions you will see

We will not tolerate hate

Or a Muslim registry

If we have to, we will make your life hell

We can march

(March)

We will protest your laws

(Protest your laws)

We are women

 

I am lesbian, proud and strong

Married with children, can’t be wrong

And you can’t take that from anyone, not me

‘Cause we earned our rights today

By the Supremes, we’re out, we’re gay

Mr. Orange-elect, we will not be your prey

 

Oh yes, we are LGBT

And you know someone like me

We will not let you steal our beautiful families

if we have to we will face anything

We are strong

(Strong)

We have equality

(Equality)

We are women

 

I am woman

I am invincible

I am Jewish

I am invincible

I am Lesbian

I am invincible

We are Women

 

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For richer or poorer…

Our bubbelah's (sweethearts)
Our bubbelah’s (sweethearts)

In December, on the very day that follows jolly ol’ St. Nick, traipsing (trudging) soot through the Manor, schlepping (hauling) holiday gifts aplenty, the Mrs. and me, we will be legally married for three years. We’ve been together for just shy of 19 years. There was a bit of lag-time before the Supremes sang out to the world that we are in fact, equal. That our love counts too. Hey, that it happened in my lifetime! Pthui, pthui, pthui… So what, our engagement was long (16 years), and we had a couple of kinder (kids) out-of-wedlock. Nu?

Now, like all of you, we live through sickness and health, for richer or poorer… And what I have learned is that ‘poorer’ carries so much more in definition. Oy vey iz mir (Woe is me)… Poorer doesn’t always refer to insufficient bank funds. Sure we are shy of green and becoming quite the frugalista’s. We are actually quite rich in our poverty! Let me tell you three ways how:

Sleep. They say, a nacht on shlof iz di gresteh shtrof (a sleepless night is the worst punishment). Well, how about 3,285 of them! Yes, our kinder (kids), sweet shana madelahs (little girls) that they are, they lack the skillset to gai shluffin (sleep) like normal children without us mommas in tow. Often times, as we try our best to lull them to slumber, you can hear either the Mrs. or me mumble under our breath, “FCKITY F#CK FCK, will you please just go the F%CK to SLEEP!”

This is a far-reaching problem. It means neither sitter, grandparent, family member, sleep doula, nor even Mary Poppins herself, can lay them down for the necessary night’s worth of zzzz’s. Co-sleeping wee-sized infants have grown into co-sleeping small humans. They stand tall as trees, long limbs kicking, elbowing and stealing our snuggly quilt nightly. Our oversize king mattress, well not so much.

Our sleep bank and our cash bank look all too similar. Oy.

Yes, I co-sleep in their bed too.
Yes, I co-sleep in their bed too.

Kid-free zone. I’m talking about ‘alone time.’ Adult time. For schmoozing (talking), to catching up, binge watching Grace and Frankie or Orange is the New Black while spooning on the sofa. Even having actual time to talk about our dear kinder with each other. Taking in ‘a nice meal’ together, when we are both showered, dressed like we put in some sort of effort in the game, and totally tantrum free.

Thankfully, the Mrs. and me, we have some truly remarkable friends who have recognized our severe insufficiency in the kinder-free’ zone and have started with sleepovers. Big, she loves the sleepover, and Little, well, she is trying the best she can. We are not quite there. Last night’s pick-up (mid- Downton Abbey, season 6, episode 3), and todays screeching fits, outbursts and hysterics are proof.

Time. Not great bits of it mind you, but an occasional late slumber, where my body awakens because it’s met some sort of natural and healthful internal quota. Grabbing a shower without a cutie little punim (face) opening the curtain and asking, ‘do I know where her shoes are,’ or, ‘do you have any money.’  Uninterrupted time to poop, alone. Yes, I said it. That would be f#cking amazing.

So my Mrs., as we tackle the richness of poverty in our lives, please know we are in it together, for now and forever. That alone brings me such nachas (joy, pleasure), no gelt (money) can ever buy. I love you my sweet. And those kinder, kaynahorah (warding off the evil eye), they are happy, healthy, wonderful, meshuggeneh (crazy) girls.

Wow, I am rich.

Hnah lebn. Das iz nit a kleyd repetitsye. Enjoy life. This is not a dress rehearsal.

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Have I got an idea?

We are practicing climbing walls and fences, you know, in case we should need such a skill
We are practicing climbing walls and fences, you know, in case we should need such a skill

Dear Mr. President, can I call you Barack?

I mean I do feel that close to you. You are my president and the president of my family. You and the Supremes actually are responsible for making us visible, and I am forever grateful for your wisdom and intellect. You have done so much good for us all. I am so proud to have you and Michelle as our Potus and Flotus. Oy gevalt (woe is me), how I could go on and on?

But given the current situ at hand, I feel I should be less verbose and strike my point early. Things are batshit crazy in our country feel a bit unsettling with the impending Mr. Macher (scheming social climber) Elect’s upcoming inaugural. So I got to thinking. You know that phrase; I think it’s a Cherokee Proverb (we won’t tell Mr. Macher T that, it will just anger him further), “Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes.” Well maybe, as you and Michelle are packing up your things, you leave behind one pair of shoes in the Potus closet.

Maybe, just maybe, he’ll try them on. And like Cinderella, whose shoes forever changed her life, your Potus powered ‘kicks’ that you have been ‘commander-in-chief-ing’ around in for the past eight years will do something magical for the mystifying Mr. Macher T. Perhaps when he laces up, and potchka’s (keeps busy with no clear end in sight) about in the oval office, he will sense your compassion, empathy and willingness to hear and be open. Possibly, right in those moments of strolling in your very experienced and authentic set of shoes, he will f*cking quit his narcissistic and sociopathic ways and get a clue better understand the feelings, perspectives and emotions of we the people…who are all searching for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness together.

Michelle, she doesn’t need to leave any pumps or even sneakers behind, for I just learned that Mrs. Macher T will not be living in the White House. We should only be so lucky for the rest of this meshuggeneh (crazy) clan.

Now, a lot is riding on this shoe idea, but given the circumstances that stand before us, we have to start somewhere. And, it may be easier than taking out the Electoral College.

Thank you Barack, for all you have done and continue to do every day. I welcome any ideas you may have towards passing the baton with the same set of leadership, integrity, morals and ethics that you bring to the party each and every day. You Barack, are a true mensch (decent, good and honorable human being).

Very sincerely yours,

Lisa

Di shich fun oreman’s kind vaksen miten fisel. The shoes of the poor man’s children grow with their feet.

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