Helping Hands

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

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

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

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

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

 

RIP, Edie Windsor. You are my Hero

*video courtesy of You Tube and Huff Post Live

Last week, the world lost an awe-inspiring hero for supporters of LGBTQ civil rights. Tiny, tough, lusty and outrageously fierce, Edie Windsor was the main plaintiff in the case that made it all the way to the Supreme Court, United States v. Windsor.

You see, Edie and her same-sex partner Thea were together as a couple for 40 years. After an absurdly long and loving engagement In 2007, they loudly and proudly said, I do,” in Toronto, a place where gay marriage was both safe and legal. Thea died two years later, in 2009, leaving her entire estate to her spouse, Edie, in the form of a revocable trust. But you see DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), and the people who built this hateful excuse of a law specifically defined ‘marriage’ as deliberately excluding same-sex couples. They couldn’t see ‘us.’  They went so far as to say that the term ‘spouse’ only refers to that of a ‘man and a woman.’

Edie filed taxes after the death of her lifelong love, and justly claimed the federal estate tax that allows exemptions for surviving spouses. The IRS not only barred the exemption, they forced her to pay $363,053 in taxes. Quiet and demure never described Edie. She boldly set off on the battle of a lifetime. All of us in the LGBTQ community, we were with her every step of the way. After forking over all of Thea’s loot to the government, she filed a federal lawsuit for a full refund of the nearly $400k, stating DOMA was unconstitutional, unfair and singled out legally married, same-sex couples.

Windsor fought to overturn DOMA where non-sensical legal language stripped equality from life as she and many others of us knew it. Oral arguments were heard in March of 2013.  On June 26th of that same year, ‘the Supremes’ sang out in favor of love. This court, in a 5-4 decision (thank you, Justice Kennedy! Please never, ever retire), affirmed that DOMA was unconstitutional “as a deprivation of the liberty of the person protected by the Fifth Amendment.”

In my household, as in gazillions of same-sex households across the US, it was the feeling of sheer, unfettered joy. Phones rang, hearts throbbed, hugs, kisses, and high-fives could be heard in most major metropolitan areas where we believed we would be safer far and wide, and we were all alive with the promise of equality happening right before our very eyes.

Book the hall, call the caterer, hot-damn, we were going to be legal. In this lifetime. In our lifetime.

Once, when my Big, she was about two, maybe three years old and she asked us to see our wedding pictures. We told her we weren’t married. She asked why, and we looked at each other and said, the law, it doesn’t allow us to marry. She started to cry. We told her that despite the law, love wins.

Edie will be remembered as a powerful trailblazer in the long history of the gay rights movement. A queen in the Yiddish fight club! I am forever grateful for her, and all the others before her who went out on a limb and stood up for what is right. The positive outcome of her battle against the establishment has led to many happy and loving nuptials with similar ridiculously long engagements. (Ours was a mere 17 years… and we married legally in 2013)

Edie, you will be missed. Thank you for giving me and my mishpocheh (family) the gift of equality and acceptance in a time where we are tested, challenged, and opposed daily. Your giant heart gave out on you at 88, but we can still feel your pulse of hope. You will live on in our hearts each and every day. We carry your torch proudly and hope to keep moving our case for equality, justice, and authenticity forward.

My deepest sympathies to your surviving wife and family that are left behind. You left a tacca (big) set of shoes to fill, and you have proven that love does win.

To make promises and to love don’t cost any money. Tsuzogn un lib hobn kostn kayn gelt nisht.

My Mrs., Big, Little, I love you! Ich hob dier lieb!

     

 

 

Summer lovin’ had me a blast…

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

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

Our very happy Gatsby on return! My boychik…

Travel in good health! For gezunterheit! We did!

     

        

      

      

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

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

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

Turn everything into a game

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

 

Turn up the music

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

Buy them child-size tools

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

Give only age-appropriate tasks

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

Give rewards

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

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

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

Thank you, Nicole!

      

    

The chaos of the smile theory

Smile. Schmaichel.

Smile theory therapy. Yup, you read that right. Today marks the day that I begin. I share with all of my fellow humans, my smile therapy, 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.

Smile a bit in traffic at your fellow drivers if they can look up from their smart phones. 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 do this differently. Smile.

I made a conscious start this morning while I walked with my Gatsby. 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 nice on our backs. 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 may be able to heal this shit show of a vulnerable, unhappy world after all.

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

Too much is going on. We need to heal. Are you in with me? Let me know how your smile therapy goes. Please. It can’t hurt. Nu?

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

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.

      

      

     

      

 

BHI, our happy place

Still energized and grateful for these wonderful memories of our holiday together.  Thank you, Nona and Pop Pop! Bald Head Island, NC. 

A nice holiday with family! A fayn ium tub mit mishpocheh!

     

      

    

 

Sunrise, Sunset

Sunrise sunset, sunrise, sunset!
Swiftly fly the years,
One season following another,
Laden with happiness and tears…

Songwriters: Lewis Bock Jerrold / Sheldon Harnick Sunrise / Sunset lyrics © Bock Ip LLC, Imagem Music Inc / Fiddler on the Roof

Sunrise sunset, sunrise, sunset! zunftang, untergang! zunftang, untergang!