Notorious R.B.G: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Today should be a National Holiday! My hero, the Notorious R.B.G turns 86 today! Happy Birthday, Ruthie! You make this world a better place every day, and for that, I am very grateful. You had the guts, grit and the sticktuitiveness to fight inequities so early in the game. You are a visionary, an inspiration, a strong and mighty woman and you clearly and concisely speak your voice for all to hear. Thank you, Happy Birthday, and may you have many more healthy years ahead. ❤

In your honor, I happily re-run this post of mine, where I salute you, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as my hero! I am certain I am not alone.

This is me, doing my best RBG. Perhaps we could be shvesters?

Tell me a story about a young girl, born in 1933 during the height of the depression, growing up facing antisemitism, blatant sexism, and inequality, and I’ll know you are talking about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, my hero. Oh, Ruth, you are one powerful Yiddisheh momma that dares to live every day #livingfearlesslyauthentic. Let me tell you about her.

Nothing ever did or will stop her. If she disagreed, you knew about it. If she ever wanted something to change, she stood up and fought for it — and that is still true today. She lives and breathes strength, integrity, and elegance. She stands up for equality when others don’t even recognize the discrimination. She is a graceful heavyweight, a leader among all leaders, and at five feet tall, 84 years old, she heads up the liberal wing of the Supremes. She makes me proud to be a woman, a Jew, a feminist, an activist, a mom, and a human being.

Fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you.

— Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice

Joan Ruth Bader was born to Jewish immigrants and grew up in Brooklyn, NY. Her sister died when she was just a toddler. Her mother, Celia, always stressed the importance of education (Celia was a very good student, graduating High School at 15, yet her family chose to send her brother to college. It was a time when sons were valued and daughters were meant to find husbands.). As a mom, she wanted more for her daughter. What momma doesn’t? Celia noticed that many girls in her class were named Joan, so to quickly avoid any tsuris (trouble), she asked her teachers to call her Ruth. She brought her to the public library often, where Ruth consumed Nancy Drew books, realizing that Nancy was a young girl in charge, who thought for herself (perhaps we add this series of books to our collective daughters’ gift lists? Nu?) both in her mystery solving and in her relationships. Ruth’s dream of becoming a lawyer was underway and early signs of Notorious R.B.G had begun.

  • Ruth was an excellent student (she listened to her momma, like a glikt shana maideleh (good girl)). Sadly, her mom died the day before her high school graduation
  • She went on to attend Cornell University, where she studied in the bathroom stalls, hiding from parties and social activities — she graduated as the top-ranking female student in her class
  • At Cornell, she met Marty Ginsburg, whom she would later marry. Ruth was demoted from her job for being pregnant. Marty and Ruth gave birth to a bouncing baby girl.  Everyone said she belonged in the kitchen, and at home with her daughter. Marty and Ruth knew better.
  • Marty ( a successful tax attorney in his own right) was supportive, unlike many men of their generation. He understood Ruth was no balaboosta (organized and efficient home-maker). He handled all of the traditional ‘mommy’ roles. Middle-of-the-night feedings, cooking, cleaning, baking, and tending to the kids… he was proud to do these things so that Ruth can later become the Notorious R.B.G. that we know and love.
  • She attended Harvard Law school and was often ridiculed by the dean for being a woman, taking up a man’s spot.
  • Marty took a job in NYC and Ruth transferred to Columbia University, where she graduated tied for top honors in her class.

She had a law degree and top honors, but being a woman, wife, mom, and a Jew made her dreams of becoming a lawyer very difficult. To say she became passionate about women’s rights and gender equality would be an understatement. After co-founding the Women’s Rights Project for the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), Ruth went on to fight six landmark cases on gender equality before the US Supreme court.

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History gave a species of praying mantis the name llomantis ginsburgae, after RBG. They say this species has a neckplate similar to the fancy neckwear Ginsburg wears at the outcome of a verdict. It is also based on how the insect was identified by her female genitalia – a nod to RBG’s lifetime fight for gender equality and women’s rights. Please note, this is a praying mantis I happily found on my car, not the newly, super cool RBG version.

President Jimmy Carter appointed RBG to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. She served there for thirteen years. President Bill Clinton, looking to increase the diversity on the highest bench in the land, appointed her to the US Supreme Court. She joined the Supremes as only the second female Supreme Court Justice (Sandra Day O’Connor was the first). She refers to the former justice as her “big sister.”

RBG battled colon cancer in 1999. She fought off pancreatic cancer in 2009. In 2014, she had a stent placed in her right coronary artery after feeling uncomfortable while working out with her personal trainer. Yes, she can probably kick a*s and take names in any gym she enters.

As for the name, Notorious R.B.G., that comes for her feisty and fiery dissents. A meme virally toured the social media realm, comparing her rap star Notorious B.I.G.

On retirement, at 84, she is a self-proclaimed flaming feminist litigator and is showing no signs of losing her efficacy or her memory. Take a look at this recent tweet from our own twit-in-chief, and you know she still is a powerful force.

Guess who you think I wish would resign?

Ruth, I admire you and hold you in the very highest regard. You influence my life and my decisions, and I know this world is a better place because of you. Thank you for all you continue do.

Soon, you will be a Lego friend! Tonight, my family, we will celebrate you. I love you, Ruth! ❤

A wonderful read for all ages!

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

 

 

Some great folks I like to share with….

 

 

 

 

I used to sing in the shower. Now…

Ice cream at Bredenbeck’s, after the summer dance intensive recital

Today friends, let me paint you some pictures with my words. Imagine summer as kinderlech (children): bathing suits, swimming pools, hopping through creeks, jumping in puddles. Sleep-overs, scooter rides, hiking, and biking. Ice creamy treats, baking and make your own pizzas. Slides, swings, and sunshine (the scorn that is sunscreen). Dirt, mud, and coils of chlorine tangled pony-tails. Board games, LOL doll surprises, and dance routines. Hula hoops, watermelon, movie nights and popcorn all at the sofa, vey iz mir (woe is me). Being a kid in the summer is magical.

Now, let’s look at this very same season as Muters (Moms): The kinder, they are joyful and giddy from playtime with friends, family, each other. They get hungry, hangry and eat every edible morsel in the pantry and fridge didn’t I just food shop?. They are oysgematert (drop-dead tired) from days packed with fun and frolic and yes, some fighting and varfing (tantrums). Some nights, they even ask to go to bed! Pools, beaches, showers, hair… Towels, oy, they are everywhere. And, they have so many wardrobe changes each and every effing day daily, they would give Cher in concert a run for her money… The grob vesh (dirty laundry) piles high daily. This, not so magical.

Doesn’t everyone hula-hoop in this kind of outfit? Nu?

Enter the brand new, very expensive, broken, cockamamie (ridiculous) washing machine. Broken not once, not twice, but three times since its inaugural installation in January yes, of this same year, and yes, if you would like to, please see the irony of that other inaugural installation event. It broke again on the 3rd of this month. Today, if you’re counting and you better believe I am counting marks day 15. Customer service mishaps, lost parts orders, summer vacations, and dirty laundry from floor to ceiling.

Slumber with besties

Now, in the big scheme of things, nisht geferlich (not really so terrible, we are alive, poo-poo). Worse things can do and will happen. The Mrs., she has already taken some 80+ pounds of laundry to the laundromat I chose food shopping.

Why are you looking at me? I don’t even wear clothes.

So now, I offer you this picture: I am fully clothed, save for a belt and sneakers. I walk into our shower. There is a small lump of laundry littering the floor near the bench. I turn on cool water and grab the bar of Fels-Naptha Laundry Soap. I wash my jeans while wearing them. This is the emmes truth (I swear its true). I peel them off for some interior suds-ing, give a good rinse, then squeeze, spin cycle style. Next, my T-shirt. Suds on and scrub. Take it off, rinse, and scrunch. Undergarments follow – you get the idea. I am finally in my birthday suit (no need to picture that — this is not on of those stories). I tend to the lump of things already on the floor… then finally, I can clean me. Please know, this dramatically increases my hygienic routine. I used to sing in the shower, now I feel like Ma, from Little House on the Prairie. As I load the dryer with my freshly cleaned items, I give the evil eye to the washer. Feh! (expression of physical and emotional disgust).

Like Ma, in Little House on the Prairie, I enter my modern stream…

Allegedly, the fix-it-people are coming tomorrow – between 8:54 am and 11:54 am who gives times like these? — emmes truth. I think I will do another load in the morning, again… 

Yiddish Proverb:

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

So, how’s by you?

Laundry, shmaundry… A bei gezunt (As long as you’re healthy).

 

The scorn that is sunscreen, and other stories

So serene… but if you look closely, to the right of the reflection in the water, you will see the baby gator. Momma gator is sure to be watching us all.

Sandy beaches, sunshine, and just a bissel (a little) rain each day. Turtles, alligators, dolphins, fish, frogs, deer, baby gators, seagulls, ibis, lizards, and sandpipers.  Spiders the size of my hand, definitely not for the weak hearted. Family, cousins, and even a baby! Five kinder (sweet children), four magnificent mommas, and ice cream beer, wine too! All, in our happy place, Bald Head Island, just off the coast of North Carolina. Together never felt so good!

Jewish Proverb:

“No matter what happens, travel gives you a story to tell.” Keyn enin vos khapanz, arumforn git ir a dertseylung.”

This is one, very big and scary gator

My Big, she talks about when she was in the ocean with baby C and his momma. The baby, he fell from the force of the wave riptide and was whisked up in the air, hanging by his hand his arm remarkably stayed in its socket lovingly held firmly in his mom’s grip. Baby C, clearly farshluggeneh (shaken, mixed up), then declared, “It is ag-gwa!”

Boorivkah: Yiddish for Blueberry!

My Little, she liked it when they all dressed up in the big blue bubbles and ran out on the golf course for pictures and videos. G, a kleineh kinder (small, little sweetie) clad in his blown-up blueberry, and almost lost inside its great girth big, he is not, literally rolled down the steps from the porch to the patio. He got up, blueberry suit as savior, fartootst (confused and bewildered), he looked at my Little and said, “That was so awesome!”

My Little…

We heard from the Tanta’s (aunts) that our Little, she shared bragged, well she boasted, hell, she was kvelling (bursting with pride) her talent of being able to burp on command. She proved it, right then and there, too. The boys all broke into bursts of giggling. Me, and my Mrs., we were just grateful that she didn’t share the curse word she knows that rhymes with ‘truck.’ Oy vey iz mir. (Woe is me.) Our miniature komish (comic) in the making. Big, she read books to them all and tended to all of us the kinder like the mommelah (little mother) she is. 

K, he can Hula-Hoop like a champ

K, nearly 7, doesn’t understand why, if we have Baldhead, and we all can be there together, why is he now waking up in California? And us in Philadelphia? Smart, he is!

G, as a young buck

G, he told us stories about each animal, fish, insect, bird or reptile we encountered. Between books, school and the Kratt brothers (from the Wild Kratts TV show), this boychik (little boy) absorbs it all!

baby C, no filter

Baby C, he exudes cuteness. My Mrs., she has plans to kidnap him. But please, do not tell his mommas.

Even s’mores were ready for our last night together, post blueberry run!

Now the Tanta’s, they are both shitterayn (able to cook delicious food without a recipe) no, I am not calling them bad things! I am complimenting them. Not a bad word at all! Each day, they would potchki (poke around) adding a little bit of this and a little bit of that in the kitchen. Gourmet snacks, meals, and picnics would appear before us, ready to be devoured. I did the laundry to make up for my lack of kitchen capabilities, however, please know that I am inspired!

Thankfully the Tanta’s had colored sunscreen for their faces…

Kvetching (Complaining): across the board. All five kinder had been varfing (throwing, as in throwing a tantrum) each and every time we slathered their skin with sunscreen.  Enter curse word that rhymes with ‘truck’ here, now, as often as you like. Honestly, the geshries (screams) and moans that would come from these kinder, one might have thought we were coating them with alligator food and letting them out to stroll by the lake, alone! It was a painstakingly tough production for us all and anyone in earshot. And don’t you know, their gentle, smooth skin, like a babies tuchas (tushy, bum, butt), has been saved, despite the struggles. 

Genug is genug! (Enough is enough!) You HAVE TO WEAR your sun shirt, your hat, your sunglasses, and we MUST re-apply sunscreen every 80 minutes!

“It’s time kids.” They got all broygis (pissed off, angry a real shit-fit).

We heard: “Putting sunscreen on is so boring. What if ___insert cousin name here_________ gets to the pool first? Why is it so thick we did apply it with a putty knife? You just put it on one minute ago! Yes, I did put it on my face already. You did that leg. The sun isn’t even out. Maybe we should only swim at night? Is there moonscreen too? Is it dry yet? Can I PLEASE go back in the pool now?” Imagine me explaining the depleted ozone layer,  our dangerous proximity to the sun and its harmful effects to our derma, the largest organ in our entire bodies. Scott Pruitt, climate change…Oh, I went off. Oy! 

Little and Big, my mighty girls!
My Big,… that is childhood

My Mrs., she loved the shoals and tide pools over by Cape Fear yes, like in the movies. The small, waveless swimming holes were so much fun. It was calm and soothing sitting and swimming in nature-made pools, free from the pull of the full moon, fish swimming around our ankles. We all walked on the beach and collected shells. Big, she made drippy sand castles. Little and K stood atop boogie boards. G, he did too — even though he is slight enough to walk on water. I was bound and determined to find a sand dollar in its entirety – Bubkas (no such luck). Next time…

We also took a nature walk. Get a load of the size of this fairy house! Whoa…

One of my most cherished times was biking with Big and K to the ice cream shop. The rain had stopped and we wanted to ride bikes. The others took the golf cart. We were rain free and riding through puddles on the way there. I led the way, K was to stay in the middle and on the right side of the path, Big, she rode caboose to help keep K in line. To K’s surprise, we beat the cart-full-o-family through Middle island and to the docks. To our surprise, he arrived in one piece. We all had the most delicious homemade ice cream beer when the clouds burst open. The amount of clean water pouring from the sky was stunning. The three of us rode back to the house, happily drenched in the deluge. We joked about needing soap and shampoo, and not needing any sunscreen. K, electrified by the sugar high, puddles and heavy rains, rode his bike as if he were drunk, swerving right and left. Just as our cart-full-o-family drove up, K pedaled himself straight into a tree on the side of the road. Remarkably, not a scratch on him. No head injury. No flesh wounds. (Knocking wood)

K and Big, beach bound
And we loved our pool time

And I think we all enjoyed the pure, carefree, childlike fun and love as the kinder played, frolicked, fought (well they are real kids you know), laughed, and made collective memories. This was priceless.

And the photos and videos we all took made Nonna (Italian for Bubbe, which is Yiddish for grandmother) so happy. This trip to BHI was palpably different for us all because of our very tangible lack of Nonna and PopPop (grandfather, Zaideh). PopPop has, well, he has a farshlepteh krenk (literally, a chronic illness) and was recently moved to a nursing home, a much safer place for him and our Nonna. His decline has been so fast, like a lightning strike or the blink of an eye. His placement made it too soon for Nonna to make the trip. Everyone understood and felt her spirit there with us every moment of our days. We will continue to fill her heart with stories of the nachas (joys) we all experienced. These kinder will help to heal her heart and she does not need to apply sunscreen to take them in and ours too. 

Waiting for the first ferry back to the mainland
Me and my Mrs., bashert (soul mate)

A bie gezunt. (As long as you are healthy.)

 

 

Global sigh of relief!

Little meditating…

Today, I am relieved, ecstatic, joyful, delighted, and kvelling to learn that all 12 boys and their soccer coach are rescued, safe and sound. The collective global sigh of relief is holding me up and getting me through the rough parts of our world. There really are heroes in the world. We need to celebrate them!

 

Big was dancing…
And oh, how they played…
Oh, how they play…

Hold your kinderlach (children) closer today, and every day.

 

Yiddish Proverb:

Troubles overcome are good to tell. Ibergekumene tsores iz gut tsu derseylin.

 

Makin’ Memories!

My Mrs. — my Bashert (destiny, as in soul mates), that is some view I had! ❤

As many of you know, we had a bit of tsuris (trouble) this past spring break, when everyone got sick, save for Gatsby and me. Everything was ferkokt (all fucked effed up) Plans were canceled, tears were spilled along with other bodily fluids … Well, we finally got a re-do on that break, and this time, we headed to Boulder, Colorado to see my shvester (sister) and shvager (brother-in-law). I hope you can see how much fun we had! I am so very lucky…

My kinder, my shvester, and my shvager, perched on steps of pride with the kinderlech
Great company, food, music, dancing, and fun! My ballerinas were mesmerized by the break dancers…
Chautauqua Trails — The Flatirons, what a beauty to experience!

The fresh smelling air, the sights, the sounds of nature, all were as glorious as this shot which doesn’t even begin to capture what our senses absorbed. We all need to be good to our planet to preserve such a treasure. A shtik naches (A great joy) for us all to revel and relish.

Climbing… climbing…

As an important note, I think we only stopped 7 or 403 times to utilize our new unicorn bandaids for various blisters and to add a bissel (little) bling!

I spy with my little eye, a wabbit! In this photo, he may be ‘actual size!’

Some of us were Terrified of back bear sightings — we stumbled into this tiny rabbit while hiking. A little later we saw a very big deer, resting in the shade. She was unscathed by our presence. Of course, we were then terrified of ticks and Lyme’s Disease and inspected our kinder like Jane Goodall and her gorillas in the mist. On our way down, we spoke to a couple that saw a few baby black bears (Oy vey!) playing, on their hike, higher up. Luckily my kinder won’t likely read this post for many moons, if at all Feelings of shpilkes (fear, pins, and needles) in our group?  ‘Spot on!’

Living and loving ‘in the moment’
Farmutshet (worn out, exhausted) A little bit tired after that hike…
How lucky am I to catch this shot of Little jumping and Big waiting?

Never too tired to swim, and the water is never too cold when you are kinderlech (young children). Besides, there are two hot tubs to choose from to warm up if you need to! The water was actually quite comfortable in temp. Nothing stimulates the soul, activates the appetite and allows for sweet slumbers, like daily swimming. And the scenery, it couldn’t be more beautiful. 

And my shvester follows suit!
“I told you, only the girls are allowed in here…”  TLM*

If he knew the words, he would have said, “Loz mich tsu ru! (Leave me alone!)” I had to look them up! He is one proud uncle, who gets a kick out of these maideleh’s (sweet little girls), and, he loves his ME time! Nothing wrong with that! ❤ While we swim, he aerobicizes and lifts, solo style. 

We learned how to throw a Frisbee, and catch it too!

With the patience of a saint, and an overwhelming need to play, she taught us again how to throw and catch a Frisbee. I really think we have it now! For me, just running freely, throwing, hiking, swimming and playing, without severe or any repercussions, shows the proof in the pudding from living so close to the dispensaries! Medical or recreational, cannabis works for chronic nerve pain (and so much more)! I see why people up and move to feel better. Mrs.? 

“I wish we could stay longer…”
“I wish we could stay longer…”
We had so much fun! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, Aud-o and Steve-o! ❤ ❤ ❤ We love you so much!

We all had a blast. It was good to get away from our daily grind and take in new perspectives and sights. Needless to say, I was verklempt (all choked up, emotional) for the entire bus ride to the airport, and even during the frisking, she didn’t even know me! at the airport check-in … and, for a few more hours too. My shvester, she is a bit on the magical side. She is loads of fun for us all, and together, we laugh, and laugh and laugh until we pee ourselves. No joke! And for me, to have a body that can feel so good, priceless.

Abi gezunt! As long as you’re healthy!

The Yesterday Special

The simplicity of the set and the costumes were stunning!

The Dance Recital was yesterday. Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Act I, and disciplines of modern, jazz, ballet, hip-hop, and tap, artfully and passionately performed in Act II. There are *two days/nights a year that I smile so wide, from ear to ear, that my jaw actually hurts by nights’ end I can, and have, thrown out my neck and back from experiencing such profound naches (joy). It’s because I am kvelling (oozing with pride over) over my girls, their friends and all of the dancers who work so hard every day to practice, grow, glean their art and perform it on the stage.

Spring! I have captured Big air-bound, and toes pointed! *Yes, I am that mom that used her iPhone to capture this moment… Es khoolempt zakh meer (I’m dreaming)!

Big, she has a grace and elegance that clearly is woven in her own personal strand of DNA. If all goes well, she will be on pointe oy, the feet, they will hurt in the fall. She is in pursuit of her dream. From the moment she could walk, she was twirling on her tiptoes in tutus. Fear? Never. She holds a comfort on stage that suggests she was meant to be performing.

My Little and her fellow ‘grass-mates’ of summer, dance with Persephone. Little is the second one from the right… and if I used a flash in this stolen moment, you could see them better

Now Little, she is following in the ballet leaps of her shvester (sister). She is dancing with her besties in class and on stage. I am watching her skills develop. Together, the shvesters are constantly dancing and leaping about — At home, they choreograph their own shows and put them on for me and the Mrs. We get tickets and directions that phones and flash photography are not allowed! These kinder (children) make me so fraylekh (happy) it is so true, 99.999% of the time. What? I’m human. Little, still only 7, has fun on the stage, and perhaps the performance itself is not quite as important. That in itself carries its own brilliance, for fun and childhood lead to greater learning.

And here is Autumn. Big is the one closest to us, in the front.

My Mrs., she tirelessly schleps (drives, rushes, and hauls) these kinder to and from dance classes, rehearsals, performances. Hairpins, bun makers, costumes, leotards, tights, ballet shoes… oi vey iz mir (woe is me!)! It’s a lot. On any given day, you can find hundreds of at least 12 bobby pins on the floor in the laundry, the sink, the car, the steps leading to our front door in our house. This is the emmas (truth)!

Could these little ballerina’s be any cuter? My kinder were there, what feels like minutes ago… And in the blink of the eye, these girls will be the new leads.

Me? I delight in my Monday nights when I get to pick up Big on my way home from work. I always get there around 5:30, knowing full well the class will go until 6. Spending time in the dance studio, spying in through the window and watching the process unfold is good for my soul. I welcome the congenial camaraderie of the cabal of caregivers making these same rounds. The chatter, the signals we share that show how we are a community holds yet another layer of priceless-ness.

And today, the day after the big night, our house is a disaster mess. Only Gatsby has food and even that is minimal. Bobby pins are strewn everywhere. The laundry, she is one tall mess, and we all have a bit of a pounding, massive ballet hangover. Gevalt (help), we are exhausted!

Yiddish Proverb:

Gebroteneh teibelech flien nit in moil arein (If you want something, you have to work for it).

A great big, heartfelt Mazel Tov (kudos, congratulations, thank you) to all who work so hard at the Wissahickon Dance Academy! ❤  *The Nutcracker is the other day where I grin like the Cheshire Cat! Get ready, auditions will be in about ten minutes…

A bei gezunt (Good Health to you)!

 

Captions

I’ve been a bit quiet of late, and yet I still have so much to say… Join me as we walk around our new neighborhood. The weather is good and we are exploring!

A heart that loves is always young. A hartz az lib iz shtendik iung.

There is nothing more spring-like the falling of pink snow from the trees. Perhaps unicorns come next? Look, how my Little, she eats up this moment! As thick as that pink snow that lies upon the ground is the pollen that is filling my throat.

 

Shpilkes: (Ants in your pants) That feeling my Little one gets when I ask her to sit, for just one small second, at the library… Big, she welcomes the opportunity.

We have the very best newly refurbished library right around the bend from us! What a gift.

 

A meowing cat can’t catch mice. A kas vos m’yavket ken kain meiz nit chapen.

Those green eyes, they caught me curbside as we walked by. This guy had no shpilkes, stopping for a photo.

 

We were potchki-ing (poking, looking) around for some plants for the yard, and look at the maidelah’s (sweet girls) I spied, with my own little eye.

We simply couldn’t decide yet. I think we need to draw a plan, and we must involve hydrangea.

 

A story without a moral is like a meal without a sweet dish. A mayseh on a moshi iz vi a moltsayt on a tsimes.

Did you know, I can get these girls to walk Gatsby anywhere if there is ice cream involved! Nu? It’s win-win for us all! We walk a mile, we nosh (grab a snack), we walk another mile. Then me and my Mrs., we get the benefits of tired kinder (kids) and tired pooch.

Shvesters… (sisters…)

Spring has sprung! And, it’s almost as lovely as the joy of seeing these two being so happy to be together. I’d like to say that happens all of the time I’d be lying through my teeth, but I’ll take it when I see it!

 

Where does it lead to? Vas iz dir takhlis?

Said Gatsby, never… He is just happy to be outside and surrounded by his mishpocheh (family). As for me, I feel the exact same way!

 

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

My nephew, Benny, he taught my Little that fortunes from a fortune cookie will only come true if you wet them, stick them to your forehead, and let them dry until they fall off. Well as you can see, she bought into the dream! I love the added lip action, for drama!

So, what have you been up to? Do tell!

 

 

Modern dinosaurs

violent winds swirling
roots torn, spines fractured, broken
history in ruins

fallen, decaying
casualties of climate
in a world, denying

I speak for the trees
cadavers among the flock
modern dinosaurs

Yiddish phrase:

A young tree bends, an old tree breaks. A yung baimeleh baigt zikh, an alter brecht zich.

As we near the end of earth month, please, can I ask you, speak for the trees. Plant one, or many, for momma earth. She needs our help. Trees, they are like the chicken soup for the air.

 

 

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?

 

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)!

 

And the rich, they get richer…

My portrait of the “Hooded-Zuck”

And by ‘they,’ I mean the ‘hooded-Zuck’  and his crowd of gonifs (thieves). Et tu, Zuck?

My question to us all, will we continue to share on Facebook?

Yiddish Phrase:

He who has money, has the whole world! Ver es hot gelt, hot di gantsah velt!

Mr. Facebook himself, the big macher (person of influence), took a trip to DC, probably wearing his old Bar Mitzvah suit to meet with the house and the senate. His tie, ferkokt (crooked, amiss), his apology, a bit meh (so-so, or like the bleating ‘baa’ of a sheep). He left unscathed and probably privacy policies will remain unchanged.

Facebook, with a user base as big as a continent, has really f*cked with mishandled our privacy information. Forget this ‘free service’ we are getting by showing our ‘proud momma’ monumental moments, our every Insta-share, dishing and #hashtagging our favorite restaurants and movies that we google-mapped to get to… He is laughing all the way to the bank in this brave, new, technological ledge that we are teetering upon. We are definitely not in Kansas anymore This my friends, is the very dark and dirty side of tech. D-A-T-A. The new four-letter word.

My Gatsby, he is alert and watching (when not barking)

Believe me, I know because we have our Gatsby that not everyone the dog barks at is a thief  (nit yederer oif vemenhunt bilen iz a gonif), but something here, it ain’t kosher is not right. It’s veshtunkina (smells foul, bad).

Zuck allows us to think that we get all of this loving and lovely connection for free. What a price we are paying now. mrt is our president. Democracy, as we knew it is shot. Our elections have been meddled, *ffed stolen by boy-pal Vlad. Oh, and Cambridge Analytica, a data mining company, hired by mrt’s campaign thugs, now owns all of our personal data or at least over 87 million of us the number they’re telling us anyway. One might even think, he should pay us? Nu?

Now I know, I am as guilty as the next momma. I hit next, next, next until I found ACCEPT. Yup. We all did. We ACCEPTED. We were naive. We were eager to share, like, and find our friends. We wanted to kvell (ooze with joy) over our kinderlach (children), kvetch (complain) about our tsuris (troubles), and voice our meynung (opinion) over current events.

I wasn’t part of Cambridge Analytica, but a friend was? Gonifs…

And Facebook, the schnurs (beggars, moochers, leeches) are now collecting every single thing about us… every single thing. Will we change? Will we quit? Can we quit? Does it matter now?

Please tell me what you are doing about this DATA dilemma. The bitter irony, as I hit publish, this goes to Facebook. Maybe Mark, maybe he will read this…

 

 

Random views from the past couple of weeks

Yiddish quote:

When children are young; their parents talk about how smart they are; when parents are old, their children talk about how stupid they are. Ven di kinder zaynen yung, dertselyn di eltern zeyere khokhmes; ven di eltern zaynen alt dertselyn di kinder zeyere narishkaytn.

Oy vey iz mir, may they stay young! May we all stay young(ish).

And another one for all:

Time is more precious than money. Di tsayt iz tayerer fun gelt.

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.

Notorious R.B.G: HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Today is a day of infamy! My hero, the Notorious R.B.G turns 85 today! Happy Birthday, Ruthie! RBG, you make this world a better place every day, and for that, I am very grateful.

In your honor, I happily re-run this post of mine, where I salute you, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as my hero! I am certain I am not alone.

This is me, doing my best RBG. Perhaps we could be shvesters?

Tell me a story about a young girl, born in 1933 during the height of the depression, growing up facing antisemitism, blatant sexism, and inequality, and I’ll know you are talking about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, my hero. Oh, Ruth, you are one powerful Yiddisheh momma that dares to live every day #livingfearlesslyauthentic. Let me tell you about her.

Nothing ever did or will stop her. If she disagreed, you knew about it. If she ever wanted something to change, she stood up and fought for it — and that is still true today. She lives and breathes strength, integrity, and elegance. She stands up for equality when others don’t even recognize the discrimination. She is a graceful heavyweight, a leader among all leaders, and at five feet tall, 84 years old, she heads up the liberal wing of the Supremes. She makes me proud to be a woman, a Jew, a feminist, an activist, a mom, and a human being.

Fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you.

— Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice

Joan Ruth Bader was born to Jewish immigrants and grew up in Brooklyn, NY. Her sister died when she was just a toddler. Her mother, Celia, always stressed the importance of education (Celia was a very good student, graduating High School at 15, yet her family chose to send her brother to college. It was a time when sons were valued and daughters were meant to find husbands.). As a mom, she wanted more for her daughter. What momma doesn’t? Celia noticed that many girls in her class were named Joan, so to quickly avoid any tsuris (trouble), she asked her teachers to call her Ruth. She brought her to the public library often, where Ruth consumed Nancy Drew books, realizing that Nancy was a young girl in charge, who thought for herself (perhaps we add this series of books to our collective daughters’ gift lists? Nu?) both in her mystery solving and in her relationships. Ruth’s dream of becoming a lawyer was underway and early signs of Notorious R.B.G had begun.

  • Ruth was an excellent student (she listened to her momma, like a glikt shana maideleh (good girl)). Sadly, her mom died the day before her high school graduation
  • She went on to attend Cornell University, where she studied in the bathroom stalls, hiding from parties and social activities — she graduated as the top-ranking female student in her class
  • At Cornell, she met Marty Ginsburg, whom she would later marry. Ruth was demoted from her job for being pregnant. Marty and Ruth gave birth to a bouncing baby girl.  Everyone said she belonged in the kitchen, and at home with her daughter. Marty and Ruth knew better.
  • Marty ( a successful tax attorney in his own right) was supportive, unlike many men of their generation. He understood Ruth was no balaboosta (organized and efficient home-maker). He handled all of the traditional ‘mommy’ roles. Middle-of-the-night feedings, cooking, cleaning, baking, and tending to the kids… he was proud to do these things so that Ruth can later become the Notorious R.B.G. that we know and love.
  • She attended Harvard Law school and was often ridiculed by the dean for being a woman, taking up a man’s spot.
  • Marty took a job in NYC and Ruth transferred to Columbia University, where she graduated tied for top honors in her class.

She had a law degree and top honors, but being a woman, wife, mom, and a Jew made her dreams of becoming a lawyer very difficult. To say she became passionate about women’s rights and gender equality would be an understatement. After co-founding the Women’s Rights Project for the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), Ruth went on to fight six landmark cases on gender equality before the US Supreme court.

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History gave a species of praying mantis the name llomantis ginsburgae, after RBG. They say this species has a neckplate similar to the fancy neckwear Ginsburg wears at the outcome of a verdict. It is also based on how the insect was identified by her female genitalia – a nod to RBG’s lifetime fight for gender equality and women’s rights. Please note, this is a praying mantis I happily found on my car, not the newly, super cool RBG version.

President Jimmy Carter appointed RBG to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. She served there for thirteen years. President Bill Clinton, looking to increase the diversity on the highest bench in the land, appointed her to the US Supreme Court. She joined the Supremes as only the second female Supreme Court Justice (Sandra Day O’Connor was the first). She refers to the former justice as her “big sister.”

RBG battled colon cancer in 1999. She fought off pancreatic cancer in 2009. In 2014, she had a stent placed in her right coronary artery after feeling uncomfortable while working out with her personal trainer. Yes, she can probably kick a*s and take names in any gym she enters.

As for the name, Notorious R.B.G., that comes for her feisty and fiery dissents. A meme virally toured the social media realm, comparing her rap star Notorious B.I.G.

On retirement, at 84, she is a self-proclaimed flaming feminist litigator and is showing no signs of losing her efficacy or her memory. Take a look at this recent tweet from our own twit-in-chief, and you know she still is a powerful force.

Guess who you think I wish would resign?

Ruth, I admire you and hold you in the very highest regard. You influence my life and my decisions, and I know this world is a better place because of you. Thank you for all you do.

A wonderful read for all ages!

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

 

      

      

 

Meshuggeneh, American style!

The L.O.L. Surprise! Dolls in action, with sharable wearable too!

My Mrs., oh, she is a wise one; and can she spot a deal? A million years ago, or maybe it was just ten minutes, the kinder (children) were still in diapers (nappies for my friends across the pond). As crunchy, granola environmentalists, we would vehemently argue debate about the value of cloth nappies, vs. disposable. Hot water and detergent use vs. landfilling. And point for point I lost there was just no easy answer. Long story short, My Mrs., she purchased some swanky ‘n ‘spensive nappies for the tender tuchas’ (butt cheeks) of my Big and my Little. After paying what easily felt like a gazillion dollars for literally, shit holders these wonder cloths, she assured me they would pay for themselves and then some when she sells them. It’s a wonder I didn’t plotz (collapse) right then and there… Nu? Along the way, she had purchased a prized, rare, limited edition cloth poopie-holder print it was just Tye-dye, very Jerry Garcia that started a bidding war! Vey iz mir (OMG), she made some $350 on that one (1) golden cloth, shat in by my madeleh’s (sweet girls). She made hundreds more on the rest of the lot… she was right, I was wrong and people, they are simply meshuggeneh (crazy)!

Photo, courtesy of my Mrs. and a little tweak or two…

Fast forward to today. Welcome to a world run by little plastic babies, no joke. LOL surprise. Have you heard of these? I’ve been working on the side on a startup that is in dire need of life support. How we didn’t think of these babies, oy, gives me a migraine…  A perfect sphere. Wrapped tightly, securely in plastic. Unpeel each layer to surprise and delight everyone who watches. Crack open the orb, more plastic wrapped surprises don’t get me started on the environment again. Every layer unearths pure, childlike wonder. It’s nothing but nachas (pleasure, joy, gratification) in enough plastic to choke Flipper it’s own carrying case. Big sisters, little sisters, pets, and charms. These babies have more shoes and accessories than I do! And their own latte cup holders. They are absolutely positively adorable. For this, I gladly handed over $9.99 USD. Oif tsulaches (as luck would have it) they unlock hours of blissful play and imagination for my Big and my Little?  Not to mention, they turn colors if you freeze them?

On to the meshuggeneh part… Mrs., so enthralled by our new family additions, so interested, she gets pinterested… Turns out, there is a market of collectors scouring the globe in search of rare LOL babies. Little, she is in custody of one LOL Kitty Queen, a truly magnificent species. Marked ‘Ultra Rare,’ she holds the beauty and grandeur of the Grand Canyon, only smaller and more portable. Silver, sparkly hair, pink kitty ear headband Accident? I think not, pink latte to-go cup, pink high boots, and the biggest, sweetest eyes on her coffee colored creamy skin. A lichtikheh punim (beaming, happy face) for all who see her. Turns out our Kitty, she is retired. I’m working my tuchas off, trying to eke out a living, and Miss Kitty, she’s retired? Nu?

Handsome, and a little guilty, No?

The Mrs., she tells me, Miss Kitty could bring in about $175 buckeroo’s! WHAT? Meshuggeneh? We tell Little, Miss Kitty is worth a lot of money. If we sell her, she can get two new ones. But first, we must find her missing pink boot she apparently has no value without her footwear. True story. In a plot-line like Cinderella, Miss Kitty Queen is shy one boot. Mittendrinnen (in the middle of) we are packing and moving, and all of us, we are looking for a boot, 3/8″ of an inch tall. I fear the worst. I look at Gatsby, and he looks away, showing me his very guilty, yet handsome look. No, it cannot be. We pack, we move, we sort of begin to unpack. Now a few weeks go by. The girls, they are playing downstairs when Little, she lets out a geshrei (yell), “I found her other boot, Ema!”

Mrs., she snaps a pic, uploads, and in minutes, $140. Meshuggeneh? That is life in these United States….

Random shot of Little, without her two front teeth. Nothing to do with this post, just sharing!

Yiddish Proverb:

If luck plays along, cleverness succeeds. Az di hatslocheh shpilt, gilt ersht chochmeh.

Please know my friends, no LOL dolls were hurt during this post, nor provided to me for my glowing review. They are just loved and cherished by my girls. I give them a 10 out of 10! This is the most fun I have had since I was ages 3+. If I were a kid, my pockets would have been filled with the littlest ones, and I do see a pet on the list that resembles my Gatsby. Just sayin’.

     

     

     

 

Without words today

Yiddish Proverb:

Talking comes by nature, silence by wisdom. Geredt kumt fun natur, shtilkayt durkh khkhmh.

My kindred spirits, waiting for Big to drop a morsel off of her plate
Getting ready for 4D: glasses, coats and hand sanitizer
But Mommy, my ‘posable thumb works better than my fork
A little piece of a really big sky
I had to include at least something from the Women’s March! #strongwomen
Chocolate and a journal… heaven!
Go, dog. Go. Do you like my hat? I do not like your hat.
This toy pistol, found under my car really shook me. How are these even available as toys? And we wonder why things like #Parkland happen.

A bei gezunt. Go in good health.

 

That’s it. Period.

Guess what… this a not a political rant or a thumbs down to the tsuris (troubles) our world is facing due to mrt kind of passive aggressive of me, eh?. This is a girls story. My Big, she is growing up. Born not ten minutes ago, yet my shana maideleh (sweet little girl) is soon to enter double digits. She is gaining wisdom, confidence, curiosity and her own personal identity, wrapped in a blanket of kindness and love. Oy, here I am kvelling (enthusiastically bursting with love and pride), again…

Big and Little, so grown up!

I should probably show a Georgia O’Keefe painting right about now because I am going there… Periods. Girls are getting them. There is chatter. We have chatted. And we are doing everything we can to keep it positive, normal and free of shame as we begin to prepare for this milestone gallstone kidney stone. She’s got two moms — this should be a walk in the park for us, right?

But I gotta say, she just learned to ride a bicycle. Am I ready for the menstrual cycle?

Which of course got me thinking about my own very strange, first-period experience. It was the Saturday of labor day weekend, 1976 and I was thirteen. We lived in south Florida and it was hotter than hell in a sauna on those particular September days. School had begun in August and I had welcomed the 3 days off. The Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon played on every TV in our house. I went to pee, and there it was – the small red blot. It was more of a dot than a blot. Definitely a dot. I was rattled I wanted to write, ‘mortified’ but you’ll soon see, my father’s name is Morty. Some of my friends had already gotten their periods, so I knew time was not on my side. I read Judy Blume’s, Are you there God, It’s me, Margaret, a few times by now.  I just did not want it to happen. Gay avek (get lost, go away)!

So I very inconspicuously left that bathroom, and quietly went into my room with Buttons, our poodle, and my closest confidant. I closed the door and sat on the floor quickly putting my legs up on my bed. I went vertical, in what I now know was a yogic shoulder stand. I was upside down. Dammit, I was going to send this period back where it came from… Surely if I stayed this way, there was no way for the ‘flow’ of Aunt Flo to wind its way, well, down. Why had no one else tried this? I was brilliant! Buttons agreed.

Day 1: After the initial spatter, I was fine. Feeling positive that I had this entire situation well under control, laughing with Jerry Lewis. Buttons, she was just happy we were staying in the air conditioning. Day 2: Coasting. Not even Dexter could find any blood spatter. I stayed on the phone, watched the telethon, Buttons at my upside-down, side. Day 3: WTF What happened to physics? How could this happen to me? I was in a shoulder stand for three solid days! I was as invested in this endeavor as Jerry was in raising money. I had to do something. I had to call my mom… Ugh!

They were at the tennis club. This was all pre-smartphones. I picked up my princess phone and dialed the club. Max, who manned the front desk and was 90-years-old if he was a minute, answered the phone. He paged my mom. Yes, called her by name over the loudspeaker and told her she had a call. Kill me now, before she picks up. A bolt of lightning. Divine intervention. Thankfully her doubles match was over and I wasn’t too much of a burden. I told her I didn’t feel so good and could she please come home. That was all I said.

Inside Red Canna, 1919 Georgia O’Keefe (c). I had to put it in…

Instantly, she screamed across the entire restaurant, “Morty! Lisala got her period! Let’s go!” They came home, my father teased me incessantly and my mother handed me a futon-sized bedroll and called it a maxi pad. She said, “You know everything, right?” I mumbled, “of course I do” and slinked, head down, in shame, into the bathroom where this nightmare began. She added, “Be careful of the sheets at night, from behind the locked bathroom door.

Later, on that dreadful night, they took me out to dinner an alleged celebration at The Rascal House where they embarrassed me by telling everyone in line, the waitress, the guy who brought the pickles, the other guy who cleared the dishes, the cashier, that I just got my period. Wasn’t it bad enough that everyone could tell I had a mattress between my legs? I prayed for invisibility well before Harry Potter had the cloak.

Needless to say, things got way worse before they ever got better, and there will be more stories, to share, I am sure. And I never wore white pants again.

Who doesn’t love a nice carousel ride

Last week, I was invited with my Big to go with her to Diana Circle. It’s like the happy, hippy, feminist version of Girl Scouts no judgment here, no cookies to sell either. They are an empowering, safe, and inclusive group that celebrates modern young girls as they experience their own, unique rites of passage. In a world filled with mixed messages, misogyny, double standards, a stunning amount of sexual harassment, and thankfully, oceans of #strongwomen in #pinkpussyhats marching the earth, I am so very grateful to Tara R. and her spiritual girl-guidance. She helps us to help our kinder (kids) embrace life, take the bullshit by the horns and grow up to be strong, healthy, and proud women.

At the previous gathering, one of the older girls got her first period and she was celebrated in a beautiful and moving way. The Mrs. and me, we are trying our very best to do right by our kinder. May they never be shamed for their bodies or their natural bodily functions. May they embrace the challenges of growing up as their uniquely beautiful selves free from adolescent misery and filled with love, connectedness, and honesty. A way I never knew was possible until a decade or so of therapy.

And friends, I leave you with this Yiddish Proverb:

No one knows whose shoe pinches except the person who walks in it. Keyner veys nit vemen der shuckh kvetsht, nor der vos geyt in im.

Nu? What’s your first-period story? Share with us and we all become a bissel (little) closer. Here’s to #mightygirls becoming #strongwomen!

      

      

      

Kvelling, by photos

Kvelling. It’s a verb. It means to be extraordinarily pleased or happy! We have our ups, we have our downs, but this week has been filled with a lot of, much appreciated, extraordinary happiness! I hope the same is true for all of you!

Working hard at what you love comes easy when you love it — I’m kvelling!
Frog and Toad — I love those guys (and she is reading, to me… I’m kvelling!)
“Mommy, can I learn to type on my computer, please!” Yes, I’m kvelling!
Forget Godot, we’re waiting for Barbara! Yes, kvelling! ❤
Watching the E-A-G-L-E-S fly! Kvelling for the underdogs! We moved to the big screen shortly thereafter!
Who’s kvelling more? Me looking at my boychik? Or Gatsby, dozing in the rays of sunshine?

And the Yiddish proverb I leave you with this week is:

Love your neighbor, even if he plays the trombone! Libh deyn khbr, afilu aiob er fyeses di trambone.

      

  

 

 

 

 

The chaos of the smile theory: An Update

Smile. Schmaichel.

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

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

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

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

Those butterflies, they know…

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

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

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

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

Smile. Schmaichel.

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

  See how good that feels! 

 

      

      

      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2018: Two weeks in

These past couple of weeks have left me verklempt (overcome with emotion). We’ve gone from tsuris (troubles) to nachas (joy) and back and forth a few times over. But hey, all is good. No kvetching (complaining) here… still quite grateful just to be… In my glass-half full world, the temples are gray, yet the mind is still childish (es iz groi di pai’eh un narish di dai’eh). Now look, sit! Enjoy some shots.

Ice crystals on the car window, early morning… sometimes, cold is beautiful. Who knew?
New Years Day T-Bone… not in the plans. And in one second, the car becomes bubkas (worthless, nothing, zero)
My left foot… this boot is made for walking? Oy! I needed this like I need a lochen kup (whole in my head)!
Okay, we can do this! And my bubbaleh’s (little one’s) , they are better than fine ❤
Blech! We had to have one more vermin sighting, right before we left… I was going to put a little chalk outline around him for management, but then I threw up (brechen) a little in my throat before I could do it…
Me and my Mrs., and that smile of hers. Gets me every time! Now that’s a “we have a new home” smile! Shana punim (beautiful face)!
My first cuppa in our new home… Mornin’ joe
Gatsby is the ruler of his domain, and after a squirrel, or a bird, or a piece of sky???

So friends, for today and this week, may you all be a mensch (decent and honorable person) and may you only run into mensches.

     

     

Eat a little, ess a bissel!

Normally, I say to my Gatsby, “Ess a bissel eppis, tatelleh,” (eat a little something, my darling boy. Then I feed him his 5,6,7 times a day nosh (meal). I always thought nothing is too good for my boy, until this happened! Oy vey…

Big is wrapping the injured hand of Millie, while our cute, but very guilty Gatsby, looks on… Millie, she smiles like all Wellie Wishers do!

Camille and Willa, American Girl Wellie Wishers, arrived from dear friends for Channukah for Big and Little. Nachas! (Joy!) Clearly, they love them! They take them everywhere and play with them non-stop. As a review, 10 stars out of 5! These dolls are a perfect size, easy to play with, less fear about ruining their well-coifed hairdo’s, and a lot lighter on the ‘wallet inflicted pain’ than their taller cohorts command. (This review is my own. I am not paid for my opinion. I should only, one day, be so lucky! Pooh, pooh)

One minute we are playing ‘Simon-says’, and the next minute, Camille (nick-named Millie) goes from 10-fingers-perfect to nine-OMG! One furry bruder (brother), guilty with his ‘jaws in the finger jar!’ Chicken bones are very nice, but the fresh, full-flavored fingers of a new Wellie doll, dee-lish! I look, I run, I scream, “DROP IT!” Out pops a very little, doll finger.

One minute we are playing ‘Simon-says’, and the next minute, Camille (nick-named Millie) goes from 10-fingers-perfect to nine-OMG! One furry bruder (brother), guilty with his ‘jaws in the finger jar!’ Actual size, less than 3/8 of an inch.

We recovered the damaged doll digit and somehow managed to save the injured soul of my Big, who did everything possible to successfully keep her emotions in check. I promised her I would soon perform a much-needed fingerectomy on dear Millie. I would reattach the pummeled pointer with the very best of my Jewish-doctor abilities. She knows I am a well-trained tinkerer, I fix things. I will make Millie whole.

Yiddish proverb:

When I am eating, everyone can go to hell! Ven ich ess, ch’ ob ich alles in dread.

Gatsby, he thinks, his only crime is getting caught! Lucky for him, he is so darned cute.

Caught, finger in mouth

Wishing everyone all the best the holiday season has to offer! Health, happiness, and prosperity! ❤

  

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.

       
      

Yes, I promise!

My kinder (Big and Little) and me, we went for a nice walk in the ‘hood with our boychik (little boy), Gatsby. It was a gorgeous autumn day, not too cold and filled bright with sunshine. They were hesitant. A bit groggy from the previous nights’ festivities. Yes, I did the dreaded mom-fail move: I bribed them.

“Come with me to walk Gatsby and I’ll get you both vanilla steamers at High Point!”

Before I could say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, shoes, socks, coats and a, “We’re ready to go, Mommy! Aren’t you coming?” Here are a few snaps for our jaunt. What a lucky momma I am!

Yiddish proverb:

Never promise something to a child and not give it to them, because in that way they learn to lie.

Keynmol onzog epes tsu a kind aun nisht gebn es tsu zey, vayl in dem veg zey lernen tsu lign.

Dressed and obsessed with chicken bones, he’s ready to walk…
Fun in the autumn leaves heaps
The stop at High Point Cafe, for some Vanilla Steamers with whipped cream, as promised… who’s missing his momma here?
Ahhh… lovely cuppa for kinder! Worth the walk! I wonder why they look so pensive? Nu?
Always, we make friends along the way…
The beauty of nature’s own design — priceless.
      
      
  

The well-worn path to the fridge

Now this guy, he is a fresser and a nosher

To say my kinder (kids) like to nosh (snack) is like saying the Pope, he is Catholic. Who doesn’t like a nice nosh (little something to eat….). My Little, she will even quote ‘Winnie the Pooh,’ and ask, “Can I just have a little smattering of something.”  Now, no Jewish momma even this atheist Jewish momma is going to want to hear the geshrei (cry, moan scream) of hunger from their babes. Essen, bubbelah (Eat Sweetheart). It’s what we grew up hearing. You’re tired? Eat. You’re sad? Eat. You’re angry? Eat. You’re __________ (insert any feeling, emotion, TV show, a brand of car, celebrity, a sign of the zodiac, etc. and the answer in a Jewish home is always, EAT!) Eat. Stuff those emotions down your throat with a nice shmear (a robust portion of cream cheese) and lox (smoked salmon) on a bagel. Mind you, before dinner, Little, she had a nice plate of lox

Noshers and fressers (those you can eat freely and copiously, no reserve!). That is what happens on movie night in our apartment. And last night, was no different. Vey iz mir (OMG), it’s a non-stop fridge free-for-all, where they stare like a deer in the headlights with the refrigerator door wide open — as if a spell has been cast upon them. Let me share with you a bissel of the essen (little of the eating) that transpired. 

First, a nice meal. All of us sitting down together almost civil. Gatsby, he is circling, waiting for the crumbs to fall. We had a healthy, organic, vegan meal of Nona’s homemade lentil soup, bean burrito’s, roasted cauliflower, carrots, hummus — a nice spread albeit a little windy for all. We decide to rent Cinderella, the new-ish one. Dim the lights, roll the show, and…

I’m hungry (in unison)! Can I have something to eat?

Mind you, we barely finished the dishes. And so, being Saturday night and all, we live big! The girls, they each have an ice cream sandwich (the very best of sandwiches in my book). Cue the film. Take 2!

I’m hungry (in unison)! Can I have something to eat?

Something healthy, I cry…

My little, she brings the bowl of carrots over to the sofa and they crunch, munch and chew. Once the bowl was empty:

I’m hungry (in unison)! Can I have something to eat? Can we have another Ice Cream sandwich?

No madeleh.

Can you make these bisquits?

No sweetheart. I’m not going to potchke (to fuss, and/or cook) in the kitchen now, after already making a nice dinner. Are you f**king kidding me?

Can I have that cake from Thanksgiving? 

Not bloody likely! How about a squeezy-yogurt, honey? Breathe they’re just kids and they are growing

The squeezy-yogurts are from the freezer, so this should buy us at least ten minutes of movie time. Tick-Tock. Tick-Tock.

My Little, she then shouts, “Can I have a pickle?”

Sure.

Big chimes in, “Me too?”

Of course.

I gotta let you know, they killed that entire jar of pickles. Gone. Gornisht. Bubkas left.

On a normal day, this Jewish momma would be thrilled with a nosh of roasted cauliflower…

Little, she is still whimpering and is about to ask Alexa for the phone number to the department of childhood injustices, when she opts for a bowl of roasted cauliflower. I warn her that her belly is going to really start to make tsuris (trouble) for her and us. This is just too much. And this combination, oy, her kishkas (intestines) will be in an uproar. Now, you must remember, She’s got pipesOne bowl of cauliflower. Two bowls of cauliflower. At least this is some healthy sh*t she is eating!

Big, she starts stirring are they even watching the movie? and opens some almond butter granola bars before anyone notices. So of course, Little, she now wants some jalapeno blue corn chips.

ENOUGH! THE KITCHEN IS CLOSED! Itisafter10pmatnightandyouhavenotstoppednishingWearegoingtowatchtheendofthismoviebrushandflossourteethandgotobedTherewillbenocryingoutformorefoodYouareeatingoutofboredomorhabitormaybeagiantmomfailonmypartDoyouevenknowwhatishappeninginthismovieNexttimewewatchamovieitisonesnackOnesnackandthatisitOneDoweallunderstandJesusChristYesAtheistJewssaythistoo

And then, not ten minutes later, in bed, our Little, she says: MommyEma (an endearing term for us both), my belly hurts. No smoking gun here…

       
      
      
  

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.