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. Be warned, the ‘bomb cyclone’ is not fake news. Caused by a portentous plummet in (air) pressure proportionately parallel to mr t’s popularity, millions are now bracing for snow, ice, bone-chilling winds, and record-breaking low temperatures. This is not your momma’s Nor’easter.

The folks residing at the Manors are particularly preparing for calamitous cold conditions. “Last weekend, we saw 2-3 inches of snow in the bedroom alone,” said one resident, declining to be named. He went on to state, “We rescue one or two people a season in the hallways and on the steps, which typify tundra-like temps through March, as a rule.”

The shovelers, seeking a way to make an honest buck, were disheartened to see the beach towel blocking the snow entry

Apparently, a jet stream of cold air naturally penetrates the recently remodeled residences.  Winter storms gravitate from the upper reaches of the atmosphere to the lower levels of the living quarters. It’s spectacular to observe.

“Perhaps record-breaking is the new normal,” said a young med student, who refers to her apartment as the ‘igloo on 2.’ “No need to worry about the small refrigerators. You can preserve perishables and slides from the lab, just about anywhere there’s a window! You don’t get that everywhere, you know?”

Another resident looks at the positive side of life, saying, “With this level of cold, we need less coffee to stay awake! The early morning wind gusts in the bedrooms have the kids flying out of bed to get dressed and ready for school where it is at least safe and warm each day. Tooth brushing is never as welcomed as it is in the austere conditions of winter.”

One couple quoted said, “We are thankful for the balmy bathrooms as a respite from the bleak bombogenesis that comes naturally with each unit. Most often, we sup in there to prevent our food from freezing up. A nice tablecloth can really dress up the closed lid on the loo. Candles add heat romance and help us to keep the magic of our relationship alive!”

Young kids enjoy the ski-lodge conditions, making extra money shoveling snow indoors. “We charge just a fiver for each apartment. We can really cash in with a storm like Grayson headed our way,” said one teen leading a group meeting of the cleanup crew. “I mean, the apartment folks, they shovel the walk-ups outside and stuff, but no one comes indoors like we do! We’ll have college costs and the new iPhone covered after ‘Gray.'”

Mrs. Rosenblatt, in R4, says, “My bursitis, oy, she will be acting up again with a pressure drop like this. At least I know I won’t have to ice my shoulders. I just put my rocker near the window as I knit and I will be frozeny-fine in no time flat. Who needs 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off. It’s too much to think about. My doc can’t believe how lucky I am!”

Climatologists and rheumatologists alike have begun ascending on the apartments at the Manors, delving deep into the unusual weather pattern methodology and pain treatment analysis. “Rapidly warming oceans cheap as shit insulation and wearied windows are definitely having their way with the people populating this uniquely beautiful Tudor,” said one scientist from the Council on Oceanographic Laboratory Discoveries (COLD).

Climate scientists fervently favor this life-saving acronym when prepping for an arctic anomaly like Grayson: COLD: Clean clothes, Overheating, Layering of clothing and Dry clothing. Mrs. Rosenblatt further states, “On most days you can run into any neighbor schpatziring in our gotkes (running around in our long johns). I recommend this place to all my menopausal friends. A nice hot flash is easily abated with this chill.”

Mr. Rosenblatt says, “For this, we pay rent? Oy vey.”

One family yeah, it’s us is gleefully leaving for warmer climes very soon.

Yiddish Proverb:

A fool doesn’t age and cold water doesn’t spoil. A nar vert nit elter un kalteh vasser vert nit kalyeh.

      

      

      

52 Smiles

Look at me! I’m #50 in the project! Photo courtesy of (c) Ben Bowens Photography

Yiddish phrase:

Lichticheh punim. It literally means a big, happy face that is lit up, from smiling!

Those of you who read this space, know how I feel about smiling. I am still in the midst of my experiment (with very good results) in The Chaos of the Smile Theory. Apparently, photographer Ben Bowens felt similarly and set out on a mission to capture 52 Smiles in 2017.

While he was doing his thing, I did a little of my thing, an interview. Here it is:

1. How old were you when you first picked up a camera? I can remember playing with my family’s Polaroid camera when I was very little, maybe 6 or 7. I’ve always been interested in art and photography and my parents were good about letting me explore with paint and drawing, etc. I got my first 35 mm camera when I was in college and used it for my fundamentals of photography class where I learned about the magic and frustration of the dark room. In addition to that camera, all throughout college, I always had a digital camera on me just in case I wanted to take a quick picture. The same is true now, only my camera costs way more and it’s usually accompanied by two additional lenses, a flash, a cleaning kit and extra batteries!
2. What are some of your favorite things to photograph? I love to photograph people in their element. I’m a very hands-off photographer when I do portrait sessions. I like to settle on a location and let my subjects explore it on their own. Kids are great at being authentically expressive in new places. They wander around, pick things up, taste things, etc. I love to get photos of those little moments and I think most parents appreciate it, too.
3. How did 52 Smiles come about? 52 Smiles was a project I thought about during 2016. The presidential election was super depressing and it seemed like every week a major figure from pop culture died (We lost Princess Leia and Prince!). I felt a lot of negative vibes during 2016 and I just wanted a reason to smile again. I figured if I could take a picture of someone different smiling and share it every week (52 weeks in a year, 52 smiles, you get it) I would be doing my part to make 2017 a little bit brighter.
4. What/Who inspires/fascinates you? Why? I draw a lot of inspiration from Instagram. People I don’t even know, but whose accounts I follow and marvel at on a daily basis. There are some really talented photographers in the city of Philadelphia and around the world. I just try to emulate the techniques or visit the locations they’ve been and try to match some of their work or take photos to make something my own. 
5. Five years from now, you’ll be…. Possibly in another city, doing another job, surrounded by different people. Who knows! Looking back to the last 5 years, I don’t think I could’ve predicted that I’d be handling communications for the ACLU of Pennsylvania and running my own photography business. I have some ideas, but I guess you’ll just have to stay tuned and see where it all goes.
6. Can you share with us a few of your favorite/most memorable photos? Maybe, a little blurb too?
My girlfriend standing on the beach in Wildwood holding her sandals during sunset. It doesn’t get much better than that. Everything about this picture is my favorite. The lighting, the reflection, the subject. Everything.
I’ve heard and read that Cairns represent many different things to different cultures. They can represent love, or be used to mark the spot where a loved one died, but for me they represent balance. I took this picture during a getaway in Martha’s Vineyard where I was desperately trying to re-balance my life. I think this picture sums up that journey and that time in my life.
I often see things I want to photograph when I’m driving or don’t have my camera and the image will stick with me. Every morning during my commute up I-95 I used to see this smokestack blowing god knows what into the atmosphere from one of the many factories that dot the Philadelphia landscape and just in front of it a tree stood defiant to the toxins. I didn’t quite capture the image from my mind (mainly because that would require me to have a tripod on the middle of a 4-lane highway), but this was the first time that I went out of my way to track down a photograph and I was very proud of myself for following the idea.
It was my 33rd birthday and we hiked around Yosemite. Everyone was clamoring to take the iconic sunset photos of half-dome at glacier point and this girl just walked out beyond the barrier and sat on the edge of the cliff. She looked so peaceful and unfazed by the true majesty laid out before her.
7. With 2017 wrapping up, and 52 smiles coming to an end, what’s next for Ben Bowens? My girlfriend suggested that I take pictures of doors around Philadelphia. I think I might give that a go. It’s probably easier to convince a door to take pictures than my camera-shy coworkers.
8. What’s more important, your equipment, or your eye to the world? I think both go hand in hand. Without one, the other is useless. I can’t count the number of times I’ve said “I wish I had my camera” because I saw something I wanted to capture.
9. Where is home? Home is where the heart is. My heart is currently in Philadelphia.
10. Did you study photography? I took fundamentals of photography class my freshman year of college. It was all black and white and required 35mm film. I also took fundamentals of digital photography class in 2010 at Project Basho it was also all black and white, but all digital.
11. How important is Photoshop to your final images? Photoshop is essential to my work. I shoot in RAW and use the program to process my photos. I think “Photoshop” has a negative connotation associated with it when it comes to photography because it implies that an image has been “doctored” or altered in some way, but I think of it as the darkroom for digital photography (see also: Adobe Lightroom). Photographers in darkrooms are constantly altering their photos with burning and dodging, over-exposing or under-exposing techniques. The digital programs of today are basically streamlining that process.
12. Lastly, if you had one wish? It would be to somehow quit my job, risk-free, and travel the world photographing any and everything I could find. Got $1 million laying around I can borrow??? 🙂
Your contact info: Ben Bowens, Instagram @benbowensphoto, benbowens.com, info@benbowens.com, 267-838-0620
So my friends, may you all end this year and start the new one with your very own, lichticheh punim!

Oy mama! The mouths of babes!

Big as a Cook, Little as a Polichinelle, in The Nutcracker! ❤ This momma is kvelling (bursting with pride and joy) as they dance the Christmas classic

So last night, I had a wonderful talk with my kinder (children) that I would love to share with you. Oh, they are so funny, so knowledgeable, so wise… It all started with Santa, and it went something like this:

Little: Santa brings presents to everyone who is young and everyone who is old.

me: Well, how old are you when you are young?

Big: Like, 20 and under. 20 and under is young.

me: So Max and Benny, they are old? (cousins, my loving nephews)

Little: Well, no. Definitely, beneath 29, you are young. Just beneath 29.

me: So what are you when you are between 30 and 69?

Little: What do you mean?

Big: You’re a middle person. You and Ema are middle people. (I was somewhat relieved to know my own kinder do not think me an alta kocker (literally an ‘old shit’ more commonly, an old fart))

me: How old do you think Santa must be by now?

Little and Big: He is at least 80 or even 100. We can probably ask Mrs. Claus. She would know and tell us the truth.

me: How does this whole present distribution thing work for Christmas? How does Santa give presents out?

Big: If you are mean, there are no presents.

Little: And if you are a little bit mean, you only get like one or two presents. Mostly coal presents or whatever they call that. What is coal?

And, it was on the eighth crazy night, when the Menorah was aflame with the miracle that is Chanukkah

me: What does ‘mean’ mean?

Little and Big: (forgive me, but this was a jumbled free-for-all in reply) Like when you exclude people or say insults about them. If you kick, slap, bite or scratch people, that is mean. Scratching people with a sharp rock would be mean. Pinching is very mean. Robbers steal things, and that is really mean. Like people who find money or credit cards on the floor and don’t return them to the people who lost them and instead they use it for themselves, like stealing it – that is mean. Stealing is definitely mean.

me: Who do you think of when you think of someone who is mean?

Big: Umm, I know a good one! (dancing around the living room) The President of the United States! He is mean!

me: Why is the president mean?

Big: He always insults people, especially people he thinks are not nice to him.

me: Will Santa visit the President on Christmas?

Little: No! I don’t think his kids will get a visit from Santa either. Well, maybe Santa will bring teeny-tiny presents for his kids if they get anything at all.

me: What makes Santa so kind?

Big: (now dancing with every reply) He has a VERYVERYVERYVERYVERYVERYVERYVERY big heart <3. He is really nice. He makes gifts all year long for everyone in the whole world. That’s all he really does all year. Then he delivers them to everyone who is kind.

Little: And then he sleeps for like 3 weeks ’cause he’s so tired from making all of those toys and delivering them around the world. And his heart ❤ is so VERYVERYVERYVERYVERY big.

I’m making some of this stuff up. Did you know that? (devilish smile in tow)

Big: The president, his heart is only VERYVERYVERYVERYVERYVERY BIG for himself and his money. He loves his money and himself. His heart for other people is too tiny, veryveryveryvery tiny heart.

me: Is there any way we can make the world nicer, and have more people kind, like Santa?

Big: (still dancing and twirling around the living room) We can spread joy by being kind and happy. It will then spread all around the world so everyone can feel it!

me: Is there a way we can make the president nicer?

Big: Do you mean Donald? Donald Duck? (awkward pregnant, pensive pause) Mommy, I want to call him Donald Duck instead of the president.  I don’t really know an answer for that, mommy.

Little: He needs to get a bigger heart. His heart is way too small for a person. Tiny small. Like this small (imagine hand gesture of pointer and thumb just about touching).

me: If you had one wish for the world, what would it be?

Big: That Donald Duck wasn’t the president of the United States.

Little: That everybody was kind, and I had candy. That’s two wishes, I know, but I’m little, so that’s okay.

Well, this Yiddisheh momma can feel the live magic of Christmas spirit in the house. As a Jewish atheist, I’m alright with that.

me and the Mrs., we need to zug gornisht (say nothing) because as you can read above, the kinder, they are always listening…

Happy, healthy holidays to all of you! A bei gezunt. As long as you’re healthy.

Yiddish Proverb: 

If the world will ever be redeemed, it will only be through the merit of children.

Oib di velt vet verren oisgilaiszt, iz es nor in zechus fun kinder.

       
      

Sandy Hook, I promise!

December 14, 2017, will mark the 5-year anniversary of one of the most solemn and horrific moments in our unrelenting lack of #GunSense in America. The school shooting at Sandy Hook. To honor those students and teachers, and everyone else we have lost to gun violence, I am reblogging this post.

Those boys and girls of Sandy Hook were in first grade, just like my Little. Please, take a moment, a very uncomfortable moment and think about all of the lives we lose senselessly due to our loose, lax and well-lobbied for laws around out of control gun purchasing in this country. Please also watch this 1 minute video, from the folks at #TheSandyHookPromise. You really need to. After, please share. C’mon moms! We need you.

Thank you. May we be strong enough to make the changes we need to here in America.

#EverytownForGunSafety #MomsDemandAction #WearOrange #TheSandyHookPromise

Early Saturday morning, I woke up after having climate change nightmares. These were not just hot flashes — I had real nightmares about the life of our planet. Think the Lorax, on crack. I wrote a post, Blog, Shmog: An Interview Today, poking some acerbic wit at mr t, orange-in-chief, and then I left to head over to the Wear Orange March. This march was not about global warming. It was the about senseless gun violence in our country. Yet another topic t won’t touch. After all, the NRA, they own him.

Hadiya Pendleton, 15 years old, was shot in the back. Gunned down while standing inside Harsh Park with her friends in Chicago in 2013. Just one week earlier, she performed live with her school band at President Obama’s (second) inauguration. Her murder occurred less than one mile from the Obama’s Chicago home. Hadiya, an honors student, volleyball player, band member, daughter — her future was bright in so many ways. The cause of death: shot by mistaken gang rivalry. The shooters, gang members, they told police that she was standing with people they thought were from a rival gang. It was a mistake. Michelle Obama attended her funeral. By that January day in Chicago, she was already the 42nd murder by firearm. A real shonda (shame) for her, her family, our world.

The gates of tears are never shut. Di toi’ern fun treren zeinen kain mol nit farshlossen.

Saturday morning was cool, raining. Hadiya would have been 20 years young on June 2 of this year. Her birthday now represents National Gun Violence Awareness Day across our country. Her brightness is now the color orange, the same color worn by hunters, so as to be seen and not shot. It is the color of gun violence prevention. Less than 100 of us gathered. Many moms held laminated photos of the children they lost to gun violence. We all talked. I told them I was there for Hadiya, and for the Sandy Hook Promise. When we failed all of those children and their teachers who gave their lives protecting them, I knew I had to do more. I couldn’t just sign a petition and call Senator Twomey’s office again. I had to enlist in the fight.

In the US, gun violence kills 93 people every single day — almost 34,000 lives per year. That includes murder, suicide, and accidental death. In Philadelphia, last year our number was 278. Almost 1 life per day. These numbers are stunning, but they must not leave us hardened. We must work harder than we ever have before.

Our kinder (sweet children) deserve better. Hadiya dreamt of going to Northwestern University. She wanted to become a pharmacist, a journalist, or a lawyer. She was a good kid. Hadiya, she deserved better.

Guns are a very large problem in this country. I do not think that our founding fathers had gang members, mental illness, violent domestic abuse, accidental death and suicide in mind when they created the second amendment. I believe there is some good legislation out there (SB 501 for stronger gun control rights) that needs enforcing, and I believe there are some horrible laws on the books (SB 383 that arms school staff, teachers, and boards). Vey iz mir (OMG), we need to make some drastic changes.

Last I checked, we were ONE human race. How can we all begin to walk with empathy and love in our hearts? When will we begin to embrace all of our very unique and beautiful differences, instead of fearing them? I will do that for Hadiya. I will do that for all of those families from Sandy Hook. I will do that for everyone affected by senseless gun violence. We need to do that for all the kinder (children).
Please join me.

Death doesn’t knock on the door (and warn you of it’s impending arrival). Toyt tut nit klapn aoyf di tir.

Live every minute of every day.

      

      

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

      

      

      

      

LEGO LAND is a big win for all!

My littles and me, we went to the LEGOLAND Discovery Center. We are fortunate, it is only about 15 minutes away, and it opened this past summer. My Mrs., she has been taking the shana maidelehs (sweet girls) time and time again.  She was off on a photo shoot, so I had some time all to my kinder (kids). The air, it was a bit nippy, so they wanted to stay inside. Truth be told, I was hesitant. I mean, I love LEGO’s as much as the next momma except when I step on them barefooted and scream like a meshuggeneh (crazy person) but to make a whole land of them? I had my doubts. I made sure to keep my shoes on, no matter what the policy!

To say my Littles love coming here is an understatement. They chattered excitedly the whole car ride over about the pirate ship, the ninja training, and about how they were going to be my guides and show me absolutely everything. I was feeling excited through their passion and a bissel ( a little bit) of osmosis.

Waiting in line for the ride in on the Imagination Express…

We have annual passes for 3 of us I am mostly always at work during such fun, and despite being a Star Wars special weekend, we got in rather quickly. It was lively and crowded inside. Despite the parties of people, it felt like a safe place to be playing.

Yup, we got the red car!

I couldn’t take photos during the Imagination Express ride in our red car — I was having too much fun taking part in the giant laser game we drove through to get inside. We all had a magic wand equipped with a red laser to score points at every twist and turn of our giant LEGO car adventure.

Once inside, the colors, the shapes, the LEGO sets and play stations for all levels… eye candy in every direction. My Big, she met up with life-sized LEGO friend, Andrea, while my Little, she hung tight with Emma. I could tell we were in for an afternoon of colorful, creative play — exactly what we all needed!

The vibe inside was festive, albeit magical. The girls, they ran over to the big LEGO pirate ship of Pirate Adventure Island. Momma got to sit down and watch had to stay back, and no joke, I was happy. You have to take your shoes off to enter the Pirate Adventure Island. Short of passing a kidney stone or a festering flesh wound, nothing, I mean bubkas hurts like stepping on a random lego brick in bare feet….

Playing on Pirate Adventure Island!

The girls, they ran, jumped, slid, screamed, squealed, climbed, scurried, hoisted, heaved and hurried themselves up, down, and all over that ship. About 45 minutes later, they were tuckered out, damp, and ready for our next juncture.

So we made our way to the LEGOLAND version of Philadelphia! They built this city… They built this city out of on rock -n-roll LEGO’s. Miniland is AMAZING! Literally, the entire City of Brotherly Love was scaled down, brick by LEGO brick.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art, complete with the “Rocky Steps”

While searching for Yoda and the Star Wars Ninja’s for the scavenger hunt, hidden amongst our town, we saw the Art Museum and the famous Rocky steps. We strolled over to City Hall, and I thought about setting up a LEGO soapbox but held back. We were playing! And I ranted fairly well enough yesterday…

Philadelphia, City Hall

We went to LOVE Park and saw Robert Indiana’s famed statue, and even made out Claus Oldenberg’s, Giant Clothespin on Market Street.

LOVE Park

The lights dimmed, and our city center skyline filled the night. Behind us, on boathouse row (not pictured) fireworks erupted like the fourth of July! It was nothing less than stunning!

The city lights at night!

After our walkable Philly adventure, it was time to relax a bit. We headed to the 4D movie theatre. There were four shows playing and we walked into one of them timed oh, so right.

Movie time, in 4D: That’s 3D adventures, plus environmental (rain, snow, wind, etc) effects!

I was mesmerized!

The movie was 12 minutes of pure fun and adventure. After the film, we knew it was time for some serious LEGO ninja training. We stretched and headed over to the Ninjago Training Camp. All three of us excelled, with the sharpest of moves, skills, and mind. Who knew we were such talented Ninjas in the making? I’d show you, but then, well, you know…

Extra Ninja training for my Little
and extra Ninja Training for my Big

My Little and Big, they are strong, proud ninja’s through and through. I will not bat an eye if they are asked to be in the next LEGO Batman movie… We all wished we had cupholder hands rather than opposable thumbs, and left with great memories of fun times in LEGOLAND.

Yiddish Proverb:

When you look to the heights, hold on to your hat. Ven ir kuk tsu di keyts, haltn aoyf deyn hut.

This post is a totally unsolicited and true review. We paid our own way, and will gladly do it again. We love it here and since we don’t have cupholder hands, we give it a hefty 5-star, thumbs up review! Have you been a LEGOLAND Discovery Center?

     

     

The Harry Potter Festival!

It must be wizards… but what is a Yiddisheh muggle like me to know? Every October, Harry Potter and friends land in Chestnut Hill, a stone’s throw from us, where the whole town is magically transformed into Hogwarts. Even the local train station!

Friend of Hedwig?
Here’s Hedwig!
Yummy chocolate frogs…
Yes, eat the whole thing!
Ron’s car! The one that can fly…

4 Privet Drive
Wait, I have a letter for Harry too!
We even hung out with the Dursley’s!

Butter Beer, Diagon Alley, Sorting Hat stations, Bertie Bott’s every flavor beans that taste like vomit, grass, and boogers… Quidditch anyone?

and besties…

“There are all kinds of courage,” said Dumbledore, smiling. “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”

It was a day filled with wise wizards, witches and witty bits of Potter wherever you looked! What’s not to love?

And in Yiddish:

Fraynds. Mishpocheh. Mishpocheh. Fraynds. Friends. Family. Family. Friends. ❤

     

     

    

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!)

 

   

 

Detective G is turning up the heat

It has become even more evident in our immediate vicinity, chickens are being slaughtered at a pace that far exceeds anything resembling normalcy. It’s cuckoo. Bones are strewn about the pavement, the grass, the bushes. Those that leave these skeletal remains behind are becoming cavalier; downright cocky. 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.

As his sniffer snarfs, the clucked remains are quickly unearthed, exposed. We pace the pavement, seeking answers. Where before he found entire grilled chicken breasts, wings, a sprig of celery, dare I say, special sauce; now only blanched bones, clean cartilage lay before his paws.

Careful, this may be a sight to keep away from young eyes

The unlawful cockerel crooks have upped their game. Their hunger shows and they are getting sloppy. Gatsby, my lone detective dog, is determined to stop this flock of felons if our neck of the woods is ever to be free from dreck (litter) vindicated. It is his passion unless you are a passing squirrel or a fleeting feline and he forgets his mission to chase you and fits his penchant poultry palate.

They are toying with him, taunting

Nary a strut about the ‘hood goes by without a need for his deputy sidekick (me or the Mrs.), to extract the nasty osseous matter from his tight-lipped lips. I’ve explained about the proper protocol in bagging evidence. How he needs to be clean and methodical or we’ll have another OJ Simpson on the loose, despite the power of DNA. He prefers his way. Every thigh, neck, breast, leg, and wing carefully clenched in his canines. He will eat his way through thick and thin, unrelenting and stoic until the pecking peccant perps are reduced to jail-bird status. He knows why the caged bird sings, and he is waiting for the music. He was not born to kvetch (complain), but to serve.

The world is becoming safer for all fine feathered friends

Perhaps as the season turns, the sun lies low in the sky and the dark of night comes about earlier and earlier, Detective G will get to the bottom of the bucket this constant putrid poultry perversion lurking and littering our residential roads and pathways. Wish him luck as he continues his beat in search of truth, justice, and the American way, well, that means nothing anymore with our government a peaceable kingdom. He will make the streets safe again for all fine feathered friends, for his eyes see beauty in all things fowl.

Appropriate Yiddish phrases for this Post:

The eggs, they think they are smarter than the chickens. Di eyer viln zayn kliger fun di hiner.

May your bones be broken as often as the ten commandments. Zolne dayne beyner zich brechn azoy oft vi di Aseres-Hadibres.

And the kinder, they feel safe, knowing Gatsby is in control of our hood

Now, my dear neighbors and friends, we all share this world. Please stop littering! Oy vey iz mir!

      

      

      

     

Helping Hands

It’s been an ‘all hands on deck‘ kind of week. School is in full swing, dance lessons are back, and as they say in this Yiddish Proverb:

If you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm.  Aoyb ir alts darfn a helping hant ir vet gefinen eyner in di suf fun deyn orem.

Take a look at my kinder (Sweet kids) and their hantalehs (hands) at work play!

They were so fascinated by the typewriters! They didn’t want to leave! Azoi!

Shana Tovah to all who celebrate! May it be a sweet and happy new year ahead for us all.

    

      

Summer lovin’ had me a blast…

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

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

Our very happy Gatsby on return! My boychik…

Travel in good health! For gezunterheit! We did!

     

        

      

      

Easy ways to make cleaning fun so children will want to help you

Greetings all! I hope you are enjoying the weekend. I am very happy to share with you today, a post from guest blogger, Nicole Gardiner. Nicole, she is very passionate about topics related to home improvement, cleaning, and organizing. All things, we  could use help with. As we get ready for school to begin, I thought you all would enjoy and learn from Nicole. Let’s all find our inner “Mary Poppins” and make clean up fun, “Spit-Spot!” 

If you are spending your entire weekend doing house cleaning chores, then you might want to consider involving the rest of the family in the housework. Teaching your kids to help with the cleaning chores will not only help you to cut the time it takes for everything to be done in half but it will also teach your kids to be responsible and organized adults. Of course, no one likes cleaning chores and for your kids, there are definitely things which are way more fun. However, there are a few tricks which can motivate your little helpers.

Turn everything into a game

If you want to get the attention of your kids, you must know how to make the cleaning chore more fun. And the most common thing which children think when hearing the word fun are games. If you can turn every chore into a game, you are guaranteed to catch the attention of your young cleaners. Make an effort to come up with different missions for you children to complete and make every chore a competition. This is definitely a fun way to make cleaning more pleasant.

 

Turn up the music

Have you tried this method? It is guaranteed to make the cleaning chores more fun not only for your children but for you, too. Blasting the radio with the new hits of the station is a fun way to pass the cleaning time faster. If you want to involve your children in the cleaning, you can let them choose some of the songs on your house-cleaning playlist. You can be sure that if your kids are having fun, they don’t care what they are doing in the meantime.

Buy them child-size tools

Often cleaning tools are way too big and uncomfortable for your children. To make everything more personal and fun, you can buy them tools which are smaller and more appropriate for their age. Having their own equipment will definitely make them more excited next time they are tackling the house chores.

Give only age-appropriate tasks

Despite the fact that you can teach your children to be more responsible by having them to help you with the house cleaning, you should choose the chores that suit their age. That doesn’t mean that you should give them a task which they can finish in 1 minute and let them rest but you can’t expect from a toddler to do the job which a 10-year-old does.

Give rewards

One of the most fun ways to motivate any child is to promise a reward. It doesn’t have to be something big but the idea of getting a reward after completing a chore is one of the best tricks to get your children to be interested in cleaning. Rewarding with a favorite snack or a day by the pool is more than enough to motivate your children to help around the house.

Cleaning is not something adults like, so we can’t blame our children when they don’t feel motivated to help us around the house. However, learning how to handle basic house cleaning chores can help them tremendously when they become adults. Helping around the house will not only cut the cleaning time in half but it will also teach them how to be more responsible and organized. Those are qualities which every adult should possess. If you use those simple methods you can make the cleaning chores a bit more fun for your children and get them motivated to help you around the house.

The whole world is on fire, and grandma, she is mopping the floor. Der ganster velt iz aoyf fayer, aun nannalah, zi iz maping di shtik. Nu?

Thank you, Nicole!

      

    

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!

      

     

      

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!

Linky’s:

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A girl can dream, nu?

I wish... I wish...
I wish… I wish…

Color me a baby boomer, but I can’t help but wonder if we wouldn’t be in this mess if The Love Boat and Fantasy Island were still on TV. I mean, that’s were all of the ‘B’ rated celebs went off to, right? Nu?

Folkh mikh a gayng! Like that’s gonna happen!

Well Mr. T-elect, as you think about repealing the Affordable Care Act for me and my twenty million friends who rely on it, I offer you this lovely and wise Yiddish proverb:

May all your teeth fall out, except for one. And in that one, you can have a tooth ache.

May ale deyn tseyn faln aoys, akhuts far eyn. Aun in az eyner, ir kenen hobn a tson veytik.

Linky’s:

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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!

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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!

 

Linky’s:

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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.

Linky’s:

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The sun shines on everyone for free.

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Less is more.

Less stuff, please

Spend less, how?

Do it…

Memories mean more.

Always.

Clean out, share. Give.

De-clutter, free the brain.

Start anew. Now. Today.

Happiness is there for the taking.

 

Not really much more to say.

 

The sun shines on everyone for free. Di zun shaynt far itekhn umzist.

 

Linky’s:

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Presence vs. Presents: A wordless Wednesday

My Bashert (my heart)
My Bashert (my heart)
What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul! And this family can laugh!
What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul! And this family can laugh!
The love of eating goes deep, shows early, and can't be taught. Hymie's whitefish salad!
The love of eating goes deep, shows early, and can’t be taught.
Hymie’s whitefish salad! TDF…
Frayndshaft (friendship), nothing like it!
Frayndshaft (friendship), nothing like it!
Shep naches (get such pleasure from) these faces...
Shep naches (get such pleasure from) these faces…

What a wonderful couple of weeks we have had, this holiday season. We are so rich with love! ❤

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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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Popular Yiddish Phrases that apply to Mr. Orange Elect

No mom, I don't think we should read the news anymore. You get too upset...
No mom, I don’t think we should read the news anymore. You get too upset…

We the people, of these disenfranchised and divided states of America, lay uncomfortably in wait for the passing of the baton from President Obama to Mr. Orange-elect ( I will not say his name). In thinking of positive ways to come to grips with this most unfortunate outcome, I am seeking solace in my inner ‘glass half-full’ / Mary Poppins approach to life. Please allow me to share with you, some very popular Yiddisheh phrases that coincide with the strangest turn of events in political history, and my lifetime. We’ll turn this into an opportunity to learn some Yiddish!

  • He that cannot obey cannot command. Er az kenen nit folgn kenen nisht bafel. We are clearly not in Kansas anymore. No disclosure of tax returns. Cancelled announcement of how he plans to divest his global businesses and their inherent flow of green. What ‘conflicts of interest?’ Chats with Vlad, and the Prez of Taiwan, like there is such a thing. Oy gevalt (geeze louise!)! 
  • If we all pulled in one direction, the world would keel over. Ayob mir ale puld in eyn riktung, di velt volt kil iber. White supremacy. Muslim registry. Women. LGBT. Disabled. Jews. Latino’s. Kaynahorah (a saying to ward off the evil eye), may he be all talk, because this is sounding all too familiar my friends. 
  • A chip on the shoulder indicates wood higher up. A shpon aoyf di axl indekeyts holts hekher aroyf. Daily security briefings? So last term. He’s smart, so smart, that this is a waste of time. He needs a security briefing like he needs a loch en kop (hole in the head). Oh, but he does need time to continue to produce the Celebrity Apprentice
  • Don’t approach a goat from the front, a horse from the back, or a fool from any side. Du zalst nisht tsugang a tsig fun di front, a ferd fun di tsurik, oder a nar fun keyn zayt. Congratulations to those of you who hired this man.
  • When you grease palms, you ride. Ven ir shmirn palms, ir for. The US intelligence community has come out in force, before, during and after the election results, to let the American people know that Mr. O’s bro, Vlad has absolutely, positively, and undeniably, hacked our democracy to sway the election in favor of the unfavorable. Nu? (So?) They played us like a violin.  Mr. O, he says this is ridiculous, it’s all a bubbeh meisah (an old wives tale). Hacking, shmacking…
  • Not everyone who sits in the seat of honor is master. Nit alemen vas zitst in di avekzetsn fun kvud iz bel.  The electoral college needs to officially vote to make Mr. O-elect the president. And, go-no, before the vote, they are asking to be ‘briefed’ further on this hacking business from the same US Intel community that Mr. O is snubbing. Hmmmm…
  • Surrounding yourself with dwarfs does not make you a giant. Arumik zikh mit dvarfs tut nisht makhn ir a riz. Look who plays in his sandbox? Vlad, Sarah (did she see this all this spying and hacking from her house?), Bannon, Tex-Rex, David Duke, Jim Crow? Gutinue? (OMG!) 
  • He who praises himself will be humiliated. Er vas shilus zikh vet zayn khiumileyitid. Billy Bush. That’s all I need to say here.  
  • You are smart, smart, smart – but you are not so smart. Klieg, Klieg, Klieg-Du bist a nar. Yup. Yuppers.
  • L’Chiam! To life! Because we must end on a positive note. And that’s a wrap for today. 

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Friendship: Wordless Wednesday

Ver gefinen a getray fraynd, finds a austr. Who finds a faithful friend, finds a treasure.

Wanna ride on the friend train?
Wanna ride on the friend train?
Arts, crafts, friends...a good day indeed
Arts, crafts, friends…a good day indeed
Movie night at the Manor. Now playing, ELF!
Movie night at the Manor. Now playing, ELF!
No mom, I don't think we should read the news anymore. You get too upset...
No mom, I don’t think we should read the news anymore. You get too upset…
Yes! These new dresses have excellent twirlability!
Yes! These new dresses for the shvesters (sisters) have excellent twirlability!
Wasp's up?
Wasp’s up? There’s no place like home…

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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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