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….

I feel giddy

What a difference a day makes…

You know, today, life feels just a little bit different. The grueling dark and dismal days of February are behind us. (Do you think I need to mention that there are 2+ inches of the powdery stuff on the ground right now and the kinder (kids), they have another 2-hour delay? Don’t get me started. The barometer – it goes up and down so often my head is spinning, no easy task for one with chronic nerve pain in my neck… I digress in the tsuris (troubles) when I promised you giddy. Here, let me share:

  • Two days ago, Mikey, he made me so happy! You know, Michael Cohen? After starring in 10 Years a Thug, he’s seen the monster and came out on the other side, telling the world that he is a “racist, a conman and a cheat.” If you don’t know who ‘he’ is, think Agent orange, 45, mrt…
  • Mikey, he also hinted to us all about further financial fraud and investigations into cooking the books going down in New York. I always loved NY! As I type and you read, Oh, sweet history! Farklempt (all choked up)? Me too! Michael, he is now oysvorf (an outcast, unpopular) in the cast of reality show players that have overtaken the White House.
  • On this very same day, Agent O was shmying around (strolling aimlessly) kibbitzing (butting in) about out the Art of the Deal in Viet Nam. Curiously, he never made it to Nam when the country called for him. I’m just sayin’? I sure hope his bone spur didn’t hurt too much while standing for smiley photos with fellow unscrupulous badman.
  • And, like Christmas in February, the day that kept giving continued. My heart skipped a beat (in a good way, not in an A-FIB way) when HR 8 legislation finally passed! This is a bipartisan law that requires background checks for ALL gun sales (I know? Like this wasn’t already a law?). It took 6+ years to get to this safer space in gun-mania (Sandy Hook was the catalyst. Such a shondah (senseless shame), this tragedy… and so many others that followed). One small step…  One big victory.
  • Then yesterday, I read Netanyahu, another thug among gonifs (thieves) is going to soon be indicted for corruption, and so much more… BiBi and Agent O, they are friends. Birds of a feather… Perhaps they can share a cell, saving room for cast members?
  • Today is March 1 and (despite the snow I must shovel before heading to work) that means Spring, extended daylight, and warmth will soon arrive. Insert smiling, happy Momma here.
  • Sunday, my Big, she turns 11. Oy vey, how’d that happen? On this same day, Little, she has a math and artwork event with school at the famed Barnes Museum. Can you feel me kvelling (bursting with pride)? It’s not a hot flash – I swear.

May it just keep on getting better for us all! My glass is certainly half full. Are you giddy too? Please, let me know why.

Yiddish Proverb:

Be Happy! Zei mir frailich!

Some great folks I like to share with….

from a fog


The excitement is brewing…

Forgive me now my friends, for I am writing while in a fog. No, not like I’m ‘in brown study’ or a deep within a place of inner mindfulness. I’m not even feeling pensive. I am literally in a fog. It is Sunday morning. Gatsby woke me up so he can bark about town in our muddy excuse of a backyard.

Time is now sacred. While he prances and bandies about barking and I hurriedly wait for him to do his business, I must ready the french press yes, the effing Chemex, my darling Chemex broke again for my ritual nectar of the gods I guess here, in the morning hour, I believe, more like in a mythical way, but believing nonetheless. You see aside from Mr. Barky Pants, my house is quiet. The din is long done and I can literally enjoy my cuppa French Roast in all of it’s piping hot aromatic delicious glory. There is never a need to reheat at this hour. It is divine. It’s my ‘me time.’

I set the kettle to boil, and ready the parts of the press for the exciting addition of the gritty grounds of goodness. I open the coffee drawer, where the beans rest by night, expecting the explosive burst of smoky darkness and indulgent scent to tease my nostrils. No scent save for the acrid smell of a wet and muddy Gatsby?

G-O-N-E-!

Now, I know we had it yesterday and all of the proper preceding yesterdays. I was more than certain we were not living sans bean. Where could they be? I search. I sleuth. I seek.  I sadden. Surely this travesty of coffee injustice can’t be real? I pinch myself, checking for a nightmare of the grandest proportions. OUCH! A bluish, purplish bruise begins to form on my arm.

I cannot awaken the Mrs., for that act alone will startle the process of a blissful balanced morning. Little and Big will arise, volumes will blare. I’m not yet prepared for the whining, bickering or boisterousness that can at any moment, start our day.

Your great happiness is based on the warmth of your heart.

With my tail between my legs, I once again look in the stark, coffeeless cabinetry. I pull, dare I say it, a tea bag please my tea loving friends, take no offense. I let the hot water surround the floating bag of contained leaves. I am startled by hints of raspberry when I desperately seek the bold intensity, and surprisingly low acidity of my morning Frenchie. Tall, dark and musty.

I see now that this day can only improve.

Yiddish Proverb:

If you are going to eat pork, eat the best kind. Ez men est khazer zol rinen ariber del bord.

L’chaim! To life! This very beautiful life.

 

Some great folks I like to share with….

 

good grief

she wept, cleansing tears
at least I hoped they were so
they seem unending

flowing liquid streams
sorrow, like a tsunami
emptying in waves

compounding her pain
fresh sadness on top of old
fossils ‘neath her heart

all words feel hollow
burdens carried, she is still
her world, it is dark

i know there is light
i’ve felt the warmth on my back
it has filled my heart

come, sit next to me
we can gaze at the sun, stars
feel joy, dream with me

 

 

Yiddish Proverb:

Gold glitters even in the mud. Gold gliterz afilu in di blote.

 

Some great folks I like to share with….

On the first night of…

On the eighth crazy night, when the Menorah was ablaze with the miracle of Hanukkah… Oy, we should only make it to the eighth night! Nu, at least they make good birthday candles too.

On the first night of Hanukkah, my kinder, they said to me, “When will we go get our Christmas tree?”

On the second night of Hanukkah, the maideleh’s, they asked for Santa, so I asked my Mrs.,  “Please! Pass me more Mylanta?”

On the third night of Hanukkah, this came from the mouth of my Little, “What’s with those latkes burning on the griddle?”

On the fourth night of Hanukkah, Big, she said outright, “This is what happens for eight crazy nights?

By the fifth night of Hanukkah, the menorah was buried on the shelf. Mensch on the Bench has nothing over that meshuggeneh elf!

By the sixth night of Hanukkah, we did homework and gai schluffin; the mention of dreidel sent the kinder a-runnin’

By the seventh night of Hanukkah, our Christmas stockings were all lined up. Hanukkah, jeez… why am I dreying my kup?

By the eighth night of Hanukkah, clearly not going as planned. Us Jews, we must schmooze and do a total re-brand.

So for all who may attempt the menorah with delight, have fun, nosh on latkes, and to all a good night.

Yiddish proverb:

If grandma had a beard, she would be grandpa. Oyb di bobe volt gehat a bord, volt zi geven a zeyde.

That’s Hanukkah in a Christmas world. All is good.

A bei gezunt! In good health!

Some great folks I like to share with…

The puzzle that is time

Where does the time go… 24/7 is our new normal? Oy, fraig nisht (don’t ask). Eighty-one years is the average age of life on this planet in the U.S. its probably much less with mrt at the helm to live. If you’re a man, you get an average of 78.7 years. How many heartbeats? How do we spend our time? What makes us happy? What constitutes a life well lived? These answers change from person to person, and I have been doing a lot of mulling this over of late. So much so, my head hurts (se tit meer vay der kop).

Everyone’s road is different. Life, it is filled with zillions of invisible tugs of war, pulling and tugging at us — some good, some not so much. Sometimes we fly through tsuris (trouble) with ease, other times, we need more agility — extra adeptness, newfound compassion, empathy.

Can we get balance among the commotion? When do we know what feels good and what hurts, pains us? What about ethics, morals, values, pain, conflict, money, love, empathy, gratitude, compassion…is there a pattern? There is no manual, I do know that…

If our time is finite, we probably should handle it with care. Even when our email is full and voicemail is no longer accepting messages If our energy is fixed, we should do our best to expend it wisely. If we crave healing, we should actively seek restoration. If we desire love, let the heart sing. Can we afford to bargain at this table? I don’t think so… and yet I know I have danced along the ledge. I was young, pained, not yet so wise… So what? (Iz nu?) 

Tseitn derlaibt! Oh, the times we have lived to see! 

May there be many more tomorrows for us all…

Shvesters

My recipe (note, I’m no cook!):

  • Do work that is meaningful
  • Follow your heart
  • Always, always, always, be kind to others
  • Live out loud

 

Are you living your life well?  It’s never too late to change things up a bit. Tell me how you do it?

 

The week that was… different

Spring break and we have been counting the days to our trip to see my mishpocheh (family). We’ve had four Nor’easters in 3 weeks, snow up to my tuchas (tush, derriere) and all too much tsuris (troubles, stress, woe) filling our minds. The thought of 80-degree weather, sunshine, swimming, and laughing my ass off with my shvester (sister) until we literally wet ourselves was naturally the stuff of dreams… like unicorns, L.O.L surprise dolls, and glitter falling from the sky. And the kinder (my girls), they love seeing their Aunt, Uncle, and Cousins more than anything!

A blast from the past! From the top, schvoger, shvester, me, little, big

T minus two days, and the fever, she burns through my Little. A temperature of almost 104She had complained of a tummy ache, and like all good Jewish-atheist momma’s, I told her to sit on the potty. She has had so much junk food of late, a good poo would be a relief like it would for all of us. She tried, my madelah (sweet girl). We watch The Greatest Showman on the telly.

This is my magical cocktail, keeping me safe. TY Ilaria! Notice how my cup is marked — no sharing with the sickies — my glass, half-full

T minus one day, fever sticking around like gum underneath the table in a diner. Lethargy and skin as pale as fine porcelain said porcelain will play a role very soon. We plan, we pack, we share the news of germs and we try to stay positive. We watch The Greatest Showman, then we snuggle off to bed, my Little wrapped tightly in my arms. A few tired hours pass and we all awaken to a fountain of vomit. Nothing really says love more than getting thrown up on, and only worrying about the helpless, unhappy, scared little patient in your arms. We clean her up. Big, she helps us to change the sheets and blankets. The Mrs. presses the ‘sanitize’ button on the wash cycle.

There is a strange calm in the air, with a scent none too pleasant. Little, she fell fast and hard to sleep, again tucked close by my side. I could hear the soft crying moans from Big, realizing that we wouldn’t be taking that big ol’ jet airliner in a few hours time. Tears roll down my cheeks, silently. At 4 am I text my shvester, our friend who was to stay with Gatsby. We are a no go. Ix-nay on this oliday-hay.

Has the world ended? No. Are we grateful that we only have a petite passing pathogen that will eventually vanish? Of course. Are we all desperately disappointed? Big time.

Day of. I let all three of my girls sleep. I promise my Big that we will find a way to make it fun. That we will take turns taking her out of the sickly house and have some well-earned fun. I speak several times with my mishpocheh. My schvoger (bro-in-law), he punches frantically in the keyboard to see if we can squeeze out different dates of travel, salvage our trip. We have teary-eyed FaceTime calls. So many plans they had in store for us! Vey iz mir. (oh my effing G). 

Gatsby, so happy

Little, she cries for my Mrs. to stay with her, so Big and I make our way into the world. We have a nice nosh (little something to eat) at Starbucks. And head to the movies in a gray, teary day. We see A Wrinkle In Time. The woman at the ticket sales booth is 803 years old if she is a minute. In the past, she has given me the senior rate, to my dismay. Today, she again rings us up, 1 senior, 1 child. I feel the dark cloud above, rather than reveling in the 8 dollar savings. f*ck it and enjoy the show with your daughter

We had a lovely afternoon and decided Little, she would have been afraid in this movie. We bring home a vast array of popsicles (they used to call them poppa-sicles) for the sick one, in hopes of getting her to eat/drink. We learn of the day spent in (and close to) the porcelain seat, now the excrement exodus from the southern region. Oy. This reaffirms our tough decision. We watch The Greatest Showman. 

Little finally wakes up with no fever and no symptoms. We convince her of just one more day indoors. The 24 hour, fever free rule — to keep the rest of humanity safe.

photo by my Mrs., hair by my Little

Her hair has begun to form dreadlocks. We all fear the brushing of that mop. The Mrs., she starts round one, and Big, me and Gatsby head out the door to explore our new ‘hood. We walk for an hour, in hopes of better hair days. We have such a good time! Gatsby is loving the spring and leaving pee-mail messaging around for all his new friends.

We open the front door to a geshrei (shriek, loud, unearthly Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween cry). At least another hour goes by, and I am summoned so Big can get out’a dodge with the Mrs. Armed with a brush, conditioner, and really bad TV, I sit with my muse. It will be 4:45pm before I claim victory. Her head, like a BP oil spill, finally combs through. We did it.

Later that night, we watch The Greatest Showman. Who knew our spring break, our circus, would also be our groundhog day. Aud-o, Steve-o, Max, Vic, we love and miss you all so much.

Yiddish Proverb:

A mensch tracht un Got lacht. Man plans and God laughs.

 

From The Greatest Showman:

‘Cause we’re dreaming with our eyes wide open.

So come alive!

And of course, a bei gesunt. As long as you’re healthy! Stop by tonight! The Greatest Showman, 8pm.