The chaos of the smile theory: An Update

Smile. Schmaichel.

Smile theory therapy. Yup, you read that right. Today, I am 6 months in, and still on task. I share with all of my fellow humans, my smile therapy cause, and update, in the hopes that the contagion of a smile, made by seeking eye contact and sharing with any and all individuals and groups I encounter, will elicit a return smile.  May those strangers, knowingly or unknowingly, share that smile forward throughout their day. May this much-needed therapy for me, have a similar effect for those that carry on, unaware that they have been smiled upon… and may the smile spread across the world, like the butterfly effect.

It works. Even our ice cream contagiously smiled back upon open!

Smile a bit in traffic at your fellow drivers if they can look up from their smartphones. Let that car edging out of a parking lot, get out in front of you, even though you may miss the green light. Hold open that door for those behind you. Wave and say hello across to the people walking across the street from you. Let’s act differently. Let us all smile a bit more and share some contagion that needs no doctor.

Six months ago, I made a conscious start while I walked with my Gatsby. Five out of five complete strangers smiled back at me and wished me a fine morning. As total unknowns, we schmoozed (talked) about the beautiful day ahead, the cuteness of my pup, the way the sun felt so nice on our backs.

Those butterflies, they know…

The butterfly effect is the concept that small causes can have large effects. 

And remember, just when that caterpillar thought the whole world was over, what did she become? A butterfly. A meshuggeneh (crazy) flight pattern, some lovely flowers to flutter by, freedom, and a touch of sunshine on her wings.

The bitterest misfortune can be covered up with a smile. Dem bitersten mazel ken men farshtellen mil a schmaichel.

I gotta happily report back to you, 9 times out of 10 okay, some days, it is 7 out of 10, most people smiled right back at me. Me! They didn’t know me from Adam who the f*ck is Adam anyway. But when we locked eyes, and I let out my inner Mona Lisa, bam! Like a ray of light that shines through your window and warms your soul, these beautiful perfect strangers lobbed back some pearly whites right at me. Priceless!

Smile. Schmaichel.

My hope is that this therapy will reach you, wherever you may be residing. And may the effect linger, lovingly and empathetically, to all in its spell. We all may be able to heal this shit show of a vulnerable, unhappy world after all. So, can you try this too? Too much is going on. As people, we need to heal. Are you in with me? Let me know how your smile therapy goes. Please. It can’t hurt. Nu?

  See how good that feels! 

 

      

      

      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I AM WOMAN, the musical resurfaces

Tonight is the eve of the 1 year weirdest year in my lifetime anniversary of the Women’s March, where pink pussy hats bopped atop millions way more than those who attended the inauguration of marching women (men and children too), across the US and in countries around the globe. We gathered in protest of violence and sexual harassment, for reproductive rights, gender equality, and quite frankly, against our new president (little p) and his band of bad men. We were and continue to be, a viable, visible force of peaceful people saying wtf just happened looking for answers and questioning truths. One dizzying, nauseating year later, what’s changed? We went from strong women proudly marching to women governing and legislating. We ran for office and we are winning! This weekend, get your walking shoes on. “Cause we still have some work to do my friends.

I’ve got my walking shoes on… so hear me ROAR!

#metoo #blacklivesmatter #neveragain #muslimregistry #strongwomen #weshowedup #resistmrt

Nu? This mr t, he has me farklempt (all choked up) with his evil and hatred. Not too long ago, I wrote a post, I AM WOMAN HEAR MY VOICE. Well, I’ve taken it to the stage folks. Please, bear with my (awful) voice as I stumble through my own, personal feminist anthem.

Please feel free to sing along. If only to cover up my voice! Vey iz mir…I’m meshuggeneh (crazy), but I am so motivated to peacefully make a change. (I said peacefully, not notefully!) Because Never Again, is now folks. 

Great big hugs and love to Mackenzie for her gorgeous participation and support! And Kristin, where would I be without the bug you put in my ear? And to all of you brave, men, women and children who showed up, and continue to show up in protest. That’s what I’m sayin.’
Why’d I do it? Well, I am trying hard to teach my kinder (little kids) to be brave, not perfect.
Hey, mr t, I Am Woman, and you, little man, are going to have to deal with that!  Tell me, did you march? If so, where? And most important, everyone VOTE.
      
       
    

Oh, she’s got pipes

My Little (bottom left of the picture), she’s got herself some pipes, alright. Girlfriend can scream. She can shriek so much better than like Jamie Lee Curtis (nicknamed, the Queen of Scream) in any of the Halloween movies… It’s as if she is channeling some kind inner demon, that can reverberate at only the loudest volume. It starts from the tip of her toes and amplifies at the top of her lungs, barking, bellowing, clamoring … And yes, there are biting bouts of bonelessness, punching, and kicking that add to the happening that is a Little tantrum. Dear neighbors on all sides, above, and below, please accept my apologies for the ongoing mellifluous Mayday moments that travel freely through our thin walls. It’s no doubt, meshuggeneh (crazy) in here at times.

But there is a bigger problem that rocks me to my very core. Me and my Mrs., we do not know why our caged bird sings… Sure, there is a mishmash of anger, sadness, drama, fear, stress, exhaustion, hunger, and irrationality that we all experience every day since mr t took office from time to time. But she’s seven. How bad is life when you are seven? What kind of tsuris (trouble), plagues and misfortunes are stirring in the mind of my shana maideleh (sweet little girl)? Do I seek an exorcist so that Mrs., Big and I don’t get evicted completely bleed out from our eardrums? We are shreknt (frightened, terrorized).

There is no question that when my kinder (children) hurt, I hurt. You see, as I am certain you wise caregivers already know, this special performance nearby residents aside is saved only for us, her mishpocheh (family). Yes, we are safe enough to go all batsh*t cray-cray on to let your hair down. But it is a real shondah (shame) that we can’t crack this nut code and offer solace to my maidel (cutie-pie)

What is wrong? What happened? Are you angry honey? I don’t know. What happened honey? I don’t know. Little, can you stop screaming? I don’t know. Sweetie, please listen to mommy. No response. Did somebody hurt you? No. Did somebody hurt your feelings? I dunno? Are you sick, wounded, have we somehow scarred you for life tired, shaken, scared, hungry?

IWANTCHINESEFOODANDWEAREN’THAVINGCHINESEFOODSOIAMNEVEREATINGAGAINANDWILLFINDAWAYTOGETMYOWNCHINESEFOODANDYOUCANTHAVEANYBECAUSEIWON’TSHAREANDIDON’TWANNATAKEASHOWERORPUTONMYPAJAMASBECAUSEIWANTCHINESEFOODNOWNOTTOMORROWORNEXTWEEKENDANDISOMEHOWBELIEVETHATYOUDONTLOVEMEBECAUSEIDONTSEEANYCHINESETAKEOUTANYWHEREANDITHINKWESHOULDHAVEICECREAMEVERYDAYISTHATSOWRONGICECREAMEVERYDAY?ANDCHINESEFOOD!

Okay, sweetie. Come with me so I can leave the room and not lose my sht all over this place we can talk more privately. You are right. We are not having Chinese food tonight. I am sorry that makes you mad and sad. And, this behavior is not okay actually it is quite impressive. If you think that acting this way will get you an Oscar or an Emmy a trip to the Chinese Restaurant, you are indeed batsht cray-cray incorrect. Now, are you really throwing a fit over Chinese food? Please know you can tell mommy or Ema absolutely anything in the world about anything and everything, and we will always love you. Always! If I could crawl inside you and see what it feels like to be my Little right now, I would. I want to help you. And you cannot act this way. Okay? Okay, mommy. I’m sorry.

Take some deep elevator breaths and calm down. ( I do them too.) Good. Now Little, is this behavior you are sharing a good choice? No mommy. Is this behavior showing kindness to your family or community?  No mommy. What is the one rule we have in our family? Be kind, mommy. Can we leave the bathroom where I am doing everything humanly possible to not go all meshuggeneh and scream louder than you and Jamie Lee Curtis combined go into the living room with everyone else and be kind now? Yes, mommy

BIGTOUCHEDMYLEGONACCIDENTANDTHENITHOUGHTIWASGOINGTOFALL BUTIDIDNTANDIREALLYTHOUGHTIWASSOISTOPPEDMYSELFFROMFALLINGANDTHENICRASHEDINTOTHEWALLWITHMYELBOWANDTHATREALLYHURT ANDITHOUGHTIWASGOINGTOSEENONATODAYANDTHENYOUSAIDWEARE NOTANDIREALLYWANTTOSEENONAESPECIALLYBECAUSEMYELBOWHURTS SOMUCHANDNONALOVESUSANDGIVESUSTREATSANDITALLSTARTEDWHEN BIGTOUCHEDMEONACCIDENTANDWEDIDNTHAVEANYCHINESEFOODTHE OTHERNIGHTANDNOWITHINKWEMAYNEVERHAVECHINESEFOODEVERAGAINANDTHATSALLIREALLYWANTANDIMTIREDANDNOBODYLOVESMEWHENI SCREAMANDYELLANDKICKLIKETHISWHYDONTYOUJUSTGIVEINLIKEI PLANNEDITHOUGHIWOULDWINBYNOWSOIMGONNAKEEPYELLINGANDGO BONELESSANDBROOKETHENEIGHBORTHATLIVESDOWNSTAIRSCANHITTHE CEILINGALLNIGHTBECAUSEIMNOTSTOPPING!

Consequences for such a performance? No TV. No iPad. No allowance. No play date. Obviously, no Chinese food. No solutions. Nothing works or phases my Little. Oh, she is a strong woman in the making! Somebody, help me?

Enter bathroom scene. Repeat. Oh, how I love this kid of mine!

Yiddish proverb:

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

      

      

      

      

This is not what I wanted to write today

Today’s post has been literally hijacked by yet another deadly mass shooting, here in the good ole U.S. of A. I was going to write a lovely piece about our trip to LEGO Land with my kinder (children), and fill you in on how Nutcracker practice is going — but that will come at another time. I am seething and crying all at once — and I refuse to go numb. We need action. Notorious RBG would demand it, and so would Edie Windsor!

Tweet from Mom’s Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

Congress, you are inept I am beyond mad and I have had enough. The chain of green is a stranglehold that must end. Held by the very prosperous purse strings of the National Rifle Association (NRA), you now have lined your pockets, profits, and proceeds with payola: and it is nothing less than blood money. Your ‘trump card’ use of the Constitution and our ‘right to bear arms’ has shifted quite precariously from guns for a trained and able military to guns for killing the sport, crime, suicide, and the obstruction of passing laws to protect us, the people, from fair and just gun legislation.

THIS MUST STOP

Guess what? Prayers, thoughts, and joining of hands in unity don’t do jack-sh*t do not work. The deadly mass shooting in at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs was the worst deadly gun massacre since the last one, in Las Vegas, just a few short weeks ago. In fact, take a look at what is now becoming the shameful and violent legacy of American gun culture:

  • Sutherland Springs, Texas: 26 killed November 2017
  • Las Vegas Nevada: 59 killed October 2017
  • San Francisco, California: 3 killed June 2017
  • Orlando, Florida: 5 killed June 2017
  • Ft. Lauderdale, Florida: 5 killed January 2017
  • Burlington, Washington: 5 killed September 2016
  • Orlando, Florida: 49 killed June 2016
  • San Bernardino, California: 14 killed December 2015
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado: 3 killed November 2015
  • Roseburg, Oregon: 9 killed October 2015
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee: 5 killed July 2015
  • Charleston, South Carolina: 9 killed June 2015
  • Isla Vista, California: 6 killed May 2014
  • Ft. Hood, Texas: 3 killed April 2014
  • Washington, DC: 12 killed September 2013
  • Santa Monica, California: 5 Killed June 2013
  • Newtown, Connecticut: 27 killed December 2012
  • Brookfield, Wisconsin: 3 killed October 2012
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota: 6 killed September 2012
  • Oak Creek, Wisconsin: 6 killed August 2012
  • Aurora, Colorado: 12 killed July 2012
  • Oakland, California: 7 killed April 2012
  • Seal Beach, California: 8 killed October 2011
  • Tucson, Arizona: 6 killed January 2011
  • Manchester, Connecticut: 8 killed August 2010
  • Huntsville, Alabama: 3 killed February 2010
  • Ft. Hood, Texas: 13 killed November 2009
  • Binghamton, NY: 13 killed April 2009
  • Dekalb, Illinois: 5 killed February 2008
  • Omaha, Nebraska: December 2007
  • Blacksburg, Virginia: 32 killed April 2007
  • Salt Lake City, Utah: 5 killed February 2007
  • Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania: 5 killed October 2006
  • Goleta, California: 6 killed January 2006
  • Red Lake Indian Reservation, Minnesota: 9 killed March 2005
  • Wakefield, Massachusetts: 7 killed December 2000
  • Honolulu, Hawaii: 7 killed November 1999
  • Fort Worth, Texas: 7 killed September 1999
  • Atlanta, GA: 9 killed July 1999
  • Columbine, Colorado: 13 killed April 1999

Did you know that after every one of this horrible massacres, gun sales go up?

It is most definitely a GUN ISSUE

mr t said, “a very deranged individualhello pot, meet kettle did this. He went on to say, this shooting “is not a guns situation” and that “it is a little too soon” to be talking about gun violence. TOO SOON!

Another lone, white gunman took his own life after killing and injuring droves of innocent people. He walked into a church, dressed in black and armed with a Ruger AR-556 semi-automatic assault rifle. He sprayed the crowd as they prayed, with bullets. His background included violence and domestic abuse, a dishonorable military discharge. He should have never had that gun in his hands.

We need to expand background checks for every gun purchase. We need to talk about mental health while stripping us all from the Affordable Care Act and we need to put away the party rhetoric and start saving innocent lives. We must condemn the violence that happens all too often. Oh, and btw, two-thirds of all the gun deaths in the US are suicide. Yes, suicide.

We must remind Congress, that they work for us.

Congress, We the people, we need you. We need to stop the NRA, who is currently spending ridiculous sums of money, lobbying, on a new bill to make mass shootings even easier. You see, the NRA, they are worried about our hearing. WHATTHEFCK There is a new legislative plan they are forcing down our throats, and it is called, get this, the SHARE ACT (Sportsman Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act, H.R. 3668) Bundled in this bollux of bullsht is the Hearing Protection Act. What’s that? I can’t hear you. I just came from the shooting range. To protect your ears from the sound of bullets killing, felons, domestic abusers, criminals, gangs, and anyone else, can get silencers. Imagine Las Vegas, Sutherland County, or any of these acts of horror if, in addition to magazines and semi-, or automatic rifles, they had no sound. None.

Please, do what you can to turn this awful tide of violence and terror and move it in the other direction. Today, go out and VOTE. Here are two trusted organizations that are trying to help, and I have joined.

Mom’s Demand Action for Gun Sense and Everytown for Gun Safety. Please, help us. Donate, volunteer, VOTE. Help us stand up to Wayne LaPierre and his NRA and win back our safety, health, and well-being. I have my kinder (children) to protect, and your kinder too.

Yiddish proverb:

The eggs, they think they are smarter than the chickens. di eggs, zey trakhtn zey zenen smarter vi di tshikanz.

To life! L’chiam!

     

     

   

Notorious R.B.G: you are my hero!

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 do.

A wonderful read for all ages!

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

 

      

      

      

     

Finding the laughter

You can always count on Little to make Big burst into laughter!

This is one tough world we live in… but who am I to tell you that? I wake up each morning and cautiously look at my smartphone, one eye opens at a time, and already, I get discouraged.

Stuff yourself with hope and you can go crazy. Fun loiter hofenung ver ich noch meshuggah.

Grateful? Mindful? Of course! Every day I remind myself of the good. And yet still, there is so much bad in the news, in the world, in our lives, in the lives of our friends. So what to do? I must find the laughter. Share the laughter, and add to the contagion in the chaos of the smile theory.

Laughter is heard farther than weeping. A gelechter hert men veiter vi a gevain.

So here’s a little story to share:

Right before school started, the Mrs. and me, we needed to get the kinder (kids) leggings and jeans. We went to Old Navy, you know, the cheap version of Gap? We found quite the sale, which better fits our frugal finances of $0 per month on frocks and finery. We found about 8 -10 pair, a shirt or two, and we were only lighter by $30-some dollars (That’s a -$30-some on the master budget spreadsheet). Not bad. Don’t you know, when we got home, the first pair my Big wants to wear has a dime sized hole mittendrinnen (smack dab in the middle of) her tuchas (tushy, butt, derriere)? I dry the tears and promise to sew this slit and salvage the day. After all, I am of the age that literally had to take Home Economics in school (feminism, oy vey). What part of baking brownies and crocheting toilet paper roll covers made that class economics? Oy, a whole other blog post right there. Needless to say, I made a promise.

Smiles and laughter, contagious!

A needle and thread were tough to find in our little flat, so two weeks later, I finally remember to make a trip to the local pharmacy. For $4.95, I buy a small kit to fix the leggings that were $1.99. Little, not caring a bit about the rip on the rump, had already worn them to school. Big, she has been hock mier chinik (banging on my tea kettle, yammering on and on) for me to make the fix.

It doesn’t cost anything to promise and to love. Tsuzogen un lib hoben kost nit kain gelt.

This morning, it was the first thing I set out to do. These pants, shmata (rags) no more! I make a nice hot coffee and place the new sewing kit, and the lacerated leggings all in arms reach. Gatsby, he is securely settled in my lap in support. Children nestled all snug in their beds our bed. I begin.

Threading a needle is a tad bit more difficult than I recall. Glasses on. Glasses off. Like Karate Kid, I repeat this mantra. At 654 months old, home ec or not, it took me over 25 minutes to put the blue f***ing thread through the teeny, tiny needle. Less than three minutes of sewing said slit, and I’m done. My Big, she is still sleeping. I almost want to wake her to see the joy on her shanah punim (beautiful, radiant face). I know she will wear them immediately.

Silliness spreads the joy!

I get up and proudly look in the mirror who the h*ll is that wrinkly old lady with gray hair?   (Glasses on. Glasses off) as I brush my coffee tinted breath. I laugh. Maybe this gray coif is the silver lining of optimism I need.

I hope you all laugh today, and continue to find the laughter. We need it.

      

      

      

     

 

Rubber Ducky, you’re the one

No rubber ducks, not one, were injured in this photo. This, I can assure you.

Appropriate Yiddish phrases for this post:

A fool goes to the baths and forgets to wash his face.  A nar gait in bod arein un fargest zikh dos punim optsuvashen.

When the streets are muddy, the cobblers rejoice. Az s’iz in droissen a bloteh, frai’en zikh en shusters.

What’s really going on in the photo? Fun with potholes in the streets of Philadelphia… (Ellen, I promised you this, remember!)