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.

 

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!

 

 

The Saturday Simcha

Yiddish proverb:

Even in this world, one can taste the joy of paradise. Afilu in dem velt, eyner kenen tem di freyd fun ganeydn.

Today, was a mitzvah (nice thing, good deed) for our family. We went to my machatunim (in-laws) (no, they are not ‘those kind’ of in-laws — I am so fortunate) with kinder (children) and Gatsby in tow. We always enter wearing our own coat of chaos and clamor. The maideleh’s (sweet girls) cross the threshold of the doorway, and they are starving like we never ever feed them kind of starving. They are so hungry, they are challish (faint)Nona, she is always ready for them to ess a bissel (eat a little something). She even has choices. Within moments, they inhale large slabs of thick tomato pie. Their cavernous bellies yearn for more. Next up, olives. Gorgeous gourmet kalamatas, and giant green greek beauties stuffed with gorgonzola cheese. Still, the hollows of their kishkas (intestines) cry out, “more please.” One may surmise we only feed them at Nona’s house… Bagels, cream cheese? How about some tuna and bean salad? Nona, a sincere balaboosteh (gourmet cook, cleaner, gardener, caregiver, efficient and loving too — Martha Stewart, she would be impressed, and would learn a few things from our Nona) she whips it all up in minutes. Chips? Who wants chips? Finally, the rumbling bellies begin to bloat. Success.

All the while, amidst the boisterous banter, the barking boy and the pure joy of seeing and feeding her bubbellah’s (grandchildren), Pop Pop, he sleeps soundly in the front room — a den recently turned bedroom. There’s been such tsuris (troubles, worries, grief) with his declining health of late. Our Nona, with a heart of pure gold, she deserves a little frailecheh (happiness).

So once the din of lunch was complete, and the starvation was temporarily sated, Nona, My Mrs., Little, and Big left for some much-needed, light and happy time together. I happily stayed behind, with Gatsby and Pop Pop. And hopefully Nona, she knew he was in good hands/paws with us, kaynahorah (with some good fortune). She can for a time, take her nurse’s hat off and put her sun hat on. Feel the warmth on her back and in her heart.

After about an hour and a half, he woke up. We chatted a little. I brought him his medicine (because Alexa, she told me he had must take it), his lunch (which of course Nona had already prepared) and some fresh water. I helped with the TV channels when his large fingers couldn’t navigate the proper buttons, and Alexa couldn’t make out his voice, now fainter than normal. I gave him a yummy chocolate chip cookie. We watched some golf together, quietly. Talking, not so much.

A bit later, an explosion of noise was welcomed as they all poured through the front door. Smiles on happy faces. Squeals of love and hellos to their Pop Pop, now awake. Joy in their eyes. Joy in Nona’s eyes.

Our Nona’s joy, priceless. Happiness is found in the heart…

And you’ll never guess… The kinder, they were hungry, famished even. After a nice nosh (snack), we headed outside to play. Scooters, hula hoops, and fun.

Joy for Nona, priceless.

To all, a bi gezunt (be healthy).

 

 

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?

 

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.