My Favorite Bad@ss Painter, Frida Kahlo

Yes, I’m, doing my best Frida!

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

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

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

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

(c) Frida Kahlo Foundation

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

Yiddish Proverb:

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

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

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

Quotes from Frida Kahlo:

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

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

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

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

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

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

A bie gezunt. Go in good health. 

 

Some great folks I like to share with….

A pain in the neck

 

the cold rain descends
salty tears glisten the cheeks
daunting pain; it returns

hard rains beat, thud, thud
brilliant pink hues flourish
sun — distant, absent

hourglass sands empty
pain — there is no good time for it
find joy; it is there

 

 

Yiddish phrase of the day:

Veytik in di haldz. A pain in the neck.

My neck that is… And for all of you, L’chai’im (To Life)!

 

Start spreading the news

Shtik naches: Relatives who give you great pleasure and joy! From the top: Shvoger, (left) Shvester, me, (left) Little and Big. My Mrs., she took the picture.

Today’s post is a direct result of the single most, positive, life changing visit to Boulder, CO. We went to see my shvester (sister) and schvoger (brother-in-law) and had an absolutely wonderful time.  I cannot begin to thank them for their love, kindness, support, generosity, and of course, laughter. Oh, and Alex, my ‘budmaster’ from #FreshBaked, thank you too! You see, on my shvester’s birthday, her birthday mind you, they gave me the greatest gift of all time. The gift of feeling absolutely pain-free — no side effects, no cognitive impairment… medical marijuana in the form of CBD. I felt human for the first time in over three decades. A mitzvah (good deed) like no other. To my mishpocheh (shvester and schvoger), words cannot convey my love and gratitude.

To the tune of New York, New York please, maestro (tap, tap, tap, begin):

Start spreading the news, I’m human again
It’s been a life of chronic pain, now I feel great
This Philly based girl, has found a new zen
Right in the heart of Colorado, a legal bud state
I wanna wake up in a place where I’m pain-free
And find I’m living out loud, happy, carefree
Nerve pain in my neck, has won out, too long
I see why people up and move, near a dispensary
If weed could, help me along, with a pill and, not a bong
CBD my friend, makes me pain-free
If I can, feel good there
I should be able to, feel good, everywhere
It’s up to you, P.A., P.A.
I want to wake up, in a city, where I can get
CBD pills. Pain melts away. No high or munchies. Pain melts away!
If I can, feel good there
I should be able to, feel good, everywhere
It’s up to you, P.A., P.A.

Slang words for marijuana: green goddess, bud, grass, herb, weed, pot, wacky-tobacky.

Some links to learn more about medical marijuana:

Go in good health. Gai gezunterheit. And know this yiddisheh momma is gonna fight like hell to keep feeling this good. And to allow others to get relief too.

     

      

      

  

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!

      

     

      

Dear onabotulinumtoxinA, I really miss you

It’s been some seven months or so since we last, well, hooked- up. You, me, Doc M., the hospital. It was, well, magical! I know you felt it too. You, so helpful, so giving. I miss your touch. That extraordinary effect you have over me.

For those of you not in the know, I’m talking about Botox. Not the ‘wrinkle-relaxer’ to iron-out the multitude of well-earned, effin’ lines that surround my mouth and eyes kind of Botox. Oh no, I’m speaking of the genius who figured out that if you inject actual botulism, a poison, strategically and methodically into the muscles of people like me who suffer chronic pain (cervical dystonia, and occipital neuralgia), it will deaden the pain. Deaden the pain. Three such beautiful words.

May you never experience such pain and troubles. Ir zolt mir nit visn fun ken tzar un tsuris.

Botox, you quiet my nerve signals, as they are effed up not so hotsy-totsy. When they are screaming to my brain, “OUCH, spasm, contract, OUCH,” your prickly approach allows my body to function, to feel like me. With you, I like me. Without you in my life, the pain gets so unbearable, that the contents of my body empty completely.  Yes, both north and south partner up on this exercise in exhaustive depletion. This, in turn, causes dehydration, additional spasms, contractions, and OUCHES! Not the big-O I am seeking.

onabotulinumtoxinA, Botox, your injectables, make me closer to fine. You complete me. The biggest problem in our relationship — what most people fight over, gelt (money). The dreaded pharma co-pay. You see, your precious vials, while worth every cent my love, cost $1200. Since insurance makes us ‘go dutch,’ our chance encounters run $600 USD.  Together, we need Dr. M. and his wise, slow hands. The best neurologist a tier 3 kind of practice according to insurance, even though he is in my effing network in the city of brotherly love unites us. The ambiance of our darkened medical suite, the cost of the tincture, the scent of the isopropyl alcohol — can you hear the clamorous Ka-ching that distances us?

Don’t worry about it! Zok nit kin vey!

This is how my Mrs. and me, we approached this dilemma for the first nine months. Feel better. Life will be good. Until those credit card bills come thudding through the post. You or groceries, school, rent, life. It’s too expensive to exist. That puts our union, our relationship, in the varbotn (forbidden) category. This is not the frugalista, Yiddisheh momma speaking. This is a true pharmaceutical reality that divides our picture-perfect match. We are no better than the Montagues and the Capulets. A star-crossed pair. A schadchen (marriage broker) couldn’t make me a better match, find me a better find.

So, my dear Allergan, this is an open plea for help. You, your Botox! It works, I am your advocate! Your ambassador. A walking, talking example of Botox in action when I am lucky enough to be under your spell. Help me help you to help me feel better. I can be a better mama, a better spouse, a better worker, a better activist, a better all around human being on the planet. Your unique power to deaden the pain in quarterly injectable, installments, is no less than miraculous. No heavy opioid side effects. Instant ability to operate heavy machinery and make important life decisions. With you by my side, the pain, she is very manageable. Sleep is greatly improved. Appetite is back. Together with my occipital stimulator,  I can almost consider myself to be, dare I even say it,  N – O- R – M – A – L. 

Allergan, Botox, Dr. M., hospital. Until we all meet again. There is no shame here. Only love.

“Good night, good night! parting is such sweet sorrow, That I shall say good night till it be morrow.”   William Shakespear, Romeo and Juliet

Zie gezunt. Be healthy. Be well. 

 

     

      

      

Oh. Oh. Uh-oh.

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This is Lisa.

Lisa suffers from very bad pain in her neck.

You can’t always tell. She hides it very well.

Lisa has chronic occipital neuralgia.

Poor Lisa.

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Her kinder (children), they like to walk dance on Lisa’s (mommy’s) back to help her.

This feels so good for Mommy.

Such good kinder they are!

Lisa loves her kinder so much.

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This is the Mrs. with our kinder.

The Mrs., she is so good to Lisa.

The Mrs. rubs her neck and back for her when she is in horrible pain.

Lisa loves the Mrs. so much.

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This is Gatsby.

Gatsby is a good little boychik (boy).

While the Mrs. rubs Lisa’s neck, Gatsby chews.

What a good boy Gatsby is!

Lisa loves the Great Gatsby so much!

img_7305

Oh. Oh.

Uh-oh.

Gatsby chewed Lisa’s glasses while the Mrs. rubbed her neck and back.

Gatsby ate the sides and broke through the lenses with his puppy teeth.

Gatsby is a mischievous boychik (boy).

Lisa loves her very adorable, yet mischievous boy Gatsby, very much.

Even with this killer watch dog, those thugs came after us!

Poor Lisa.

Lisa’s glasses are dreck (crap) now.

Lisa’s glasses make everything look as if she is looking through a snow globe.

How nice of Gatsby to make everything Lisa looks at, look like she is looking through a snow globe.

 

Oif tsalochis. As luck would have it… Lisa is tardy for a trip to the ophthalmologist.

What a good boy Gatsby is!

Zie gezunt! Be healthy, be well!

 

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Swimming Upstream

always upstream, oy vey
Always upstream, oy vey iz mir

It’s been a fucking lifetime few weeks now of life as a salmon, swimming against the tide of bureaucratic bullshit on numerous life levels. Paperwork perdition. Righting wrongs, with only a small success to keep my spirit motivated. I fear losing some of my much called upon ‘glass half-full’ skills. I’ve been a salmon so long now, I cannot even appreciate a nice nosh (snack) of lox and bagels with a shmear…Oy vey iz mir.

  • IRS: the Mrs., and me, we filed our 2015 tax return in February of 2016. Twenty-one days is what the website said. I’ve always been an early filer. I pay what we owe and I look forward to our return. Never have we as a family been so in need of said gelt (money) from the return than this year. Please understand, as of this writing, it is now mid-September of 2016. That’s 21 days plus almost 7 months, and still going. Talk about red tape! I’ve spoken to my accountant more times than both he and I care for… Maybe he even blocked my number by now. I’ve gone many a day to irs.gov, clicked on ‘Find my refund’ (the fact that they have that as a button option, I’m just sayin’) and get the same message every time: Your tax return has not yet been processed. I called the IRS back in March of this year and found a live person, who was kind and apologetic. I let him know my story and he searched high and low, keeping me on the phone for almost 3 hours. He found out that my return was placed in some holding purgatory for those who have had experienced identity theft!

My heart pounded, “What, someone stole my identity and has my return?” “No, it was just a random pull”, he replied. “Let me see what I can do to get this processed for you”. I took his name and badge number and felt we were on our way. He said, “Call, and just ask for me by my badge number.”

That was March. Now, I dial the many IRS numbers I have amassed, and get 85+ different prompts, all of which I have tried, and none of which lead me to an actual live person. I fear for my badge-numbered friend. I go through the ‘find the status of my refund’ prompt, and nu, I get: Your tax return has not yet been processed. I called the phone number of the local IRS department, and I got a recording saying, ‘This phone number does not offer phone support.What the fuck! I even tried the phone number for the hearing impaired. After all, even the IRS would be nice to the hearing impaired, right? Not so much. When the machine picked up, it let out a blaring sound, like a ship at sea (warning poor schlemeils (fools) like me, mere salmon still going upstream) to move aside. My right ear, it still rings. And yes, dejectedly, I am still swimming.

photo by @willowandsage1 follow on instagram
photo by @willowandsage1 follow her on instagram (the Mrs.)
  • Botox: As many of you know, I get Botox injections (no, my face is like a google map!) to assist in chronic neck/head pain, cervical dystonia, etc. Due to the cost prohibitive nature of this treatment, Allergan, the company that makes the injections of botulism that relieve the pain to passable life levels, offers a subsidy for those who are green-gelt impaired. An incorrect diagnosis code has bolloxed my Botox, leaving my pain plan in a perpetual place of purgatory, like the above referenced tax return gelt (loot). I call, I write, I beg, and I remain without treatment. No one should know of such pain. If you want to click here or here, you can learn more about how wonderful Botox is for my chronic pain.
Getting un-towed, not so easy
Getting un-towed, not so easy
  • The Car Tow: So as not to be deemed a total whiner, let me tell you now, this one ends with a Mitzvah (in a win, a good deed)! My Mrs., she had a lovely day at the shore with friends right at the end of the summer. She left early to get there and got home late in the evening, making memories of fun and laughter with good friends, Little and Big. She arrived back at the Manor and there was not one parking space available. In fact people were parked sideways, on the grass, and in the fire lanes. Half asleep, I grumbled, “Leave the car in the stairway spot. There are no signs saying ‘no parking’ and you can move it in the morning.” She awoke to a car towed and the start of a fight with the 4th management company to take charge here at the Manor since our sojourn began. We talked to Katrina, the new manager. She could give two shits about us or our car. We begged for her to get the car released as she did for two other families before us.  I contacted Katrina’s boss. No response. Our car was gone, and we needed $200 to free it from this unfortunate and unnecessary incarceration. This timing, it was not so good for us in the gelt department. The next week, we searched under sofa cushions and on the floors of our cars to scrape by — no joke. The fight, it continued. Went on for weeks. The neighbors, they all complained. We did not relent, and we finally got word, today, that we will be credited $200 towards next month’s rent. Azoy! (Huzzah!)

There’s more, but this seems like just enough. End on a good note.

Tsum shtain zol men klogen nor nit bei zikh zol men trogen. Better pour out your troubles to a stone, but don’t carry them within yourself. So, I’m pouring. Thanks for reading! 

Wishing you all a tsuris (trouble) free time. A bei gezunt (Be in good health).

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