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. 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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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!)

 

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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.
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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!

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Yiddisheh Momma Feels the Christmas Magic!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yiddish Proverb:

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

Zie gezunt! Be in good health.

 

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