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 Gatsbyin 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.
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.
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…
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
What a gutte neshumah, she is. What a good person with a big heart, she is.
Hello dear people! I’m plotzing (dying, falling over) over here. Su, from ethannevelyn.com, she nominated me for The Sunshine Blogger Award! Over here in ‘these internets,’ this is like an Oscar and I feel like Frances McDormand or The Shape of Water well not so much that! Look at all that glitter!
Su, this one is for you, and it comes from the heart:
Thank you so much! A sheyer veyner danke!
Now, the point of this lovely award is to get to know a bissel (little) bit more about the bloggers, in this case, me. So, whatever Su asks me, I will tell you all! Without further ado, I bring you much ado about me! ❤
Q1. Your blog’s name – why have you given this name to your blog? What’s in a name, right? In reality, the name of my blog is, Are we there yet? I just could never get it (the real name) to show up! No joke. LisaPomerantzster did, and despite all efforts right this heinous, tragic albeit fatal design flaw, I hit publish, and whoosh, there she was. I figured it was okay since it is also my email, should you want to write me? There was already a LisaPomerantz on Gmail, so I added the ‘ster’ for pizazz. Nu?
Q2. When did you start blogging? My very first post was on 9/23/14. It would be almost a full year until I wrote anything at all again. How lame is that Now, any time I can steal away, usually around 4 am when all are sleeping, is blog time.
Q3. What prompted you to start a blog? It was and remains to be, way cheaper than going to therapy. Not that I still couldn’t benefit from a few sessions, mind you I could write about anything and everything, share my shtik (spiel, act) spill my shpilkes (state of agitation, nerves) and hear back from people who not only took the time to read my little space in the universe, they commented! Good, bad or indifferent, YOU spoke back to ME! I was amazed, intrigued, and have made many wonderful friends on this journey! And, it is yet to be determined if I am even a little bit less, meshuggeneh (cray-cray)!
Q4. Name one favorite blogger that you are a big fan of right now. Mackenzie Glanville, of Reflections from Me
Q5. Why is she/ he/ they are your favorite blogger at this moment in time? Mac, to quote her directly, ‘believes everyone deserves a beautiful life.’ Her posts are about mindfulness, balance, moments in time, chaotic or blissful, and they always seem to arrive at the exact moment in time that I need them. That’s a gift for me! She’s authentic, true and speaks her values. How can you not love that? M’wah!
Q6. Where one place on earth would you go if you received an invitation to go traveling without money bring the limit? & Why? Heck, if money is no object, I can walk down the street a little easier! The Mrs.and me, we talked about one day taking the girls to some of the great wonders in the US — like the Grand Canyon, or Bryce Canyon. I love the red rock! And, that would allow for our the answer to Q8 too! Spain has been calling my name. I feel it. Costa Rica would be sweet. Anywhere in Italy, again. I must say, we like to be anywhere with our extended families too! I am very lucky that we all enjoy each other and have amazing family on both sides — we love to be with them all, wherever that is, as long as we are together.
Q7. What is your one favorite cheer up food when you are feeling down in the dump? Ice cream. Chocolate chip mint ice cream. Coffee ice cream. Did I mention ice cream? Oh, and I do not need to be sad to eat ice cream. I’m one of those people who cannot eat when I am down in the dumps, nervous, anxious, or upset. Oy, it’s a wonder I eat at all! Actually, it drives the Mrs. crazy!
Q8. What’s your one favorite thing to do with your family? How can I limit this to one thing! My time with my mishpocheh (family) is priceless. All things together are good, even the really crappy, whiny, tantrummy times. But I guess, I like it best when we all go on a family hike, or even or some family activism, like the Women’s March!
Q9. What is your dream job when you were young? I wanted to be an illustrator, living it up in NYC. I gave it a good go and had to begin the process of reinventing myself around ~1998.
Q10. What is your dream job now? Supporting my family is what’s really important. That is the stuff my dreams are made of! Because it is no easy task. Ich macht a labent (I’m makin’ a living.)Balancing the line between working too much and living at all… My dream job now, it would allow me to make enough to not worry so much, control my own hours, be my own big macher (boss), so I can see the play at school, run to the dance rehearsals, and grab a romantic lunch or two no, not Chipotle with the Mrs. in between. The important things.
Q11. If you can to give back to the world – what would that one thing be? Empathy. Our world needs a lot of empathy, especially now.
Thank you again, Su, for this amazing award! Now for the rules:
Thank the person who nominated you for the Sunshine Award andlinkback to their blog while you are kvelling (filled with pride)
Answer the questions the person who nominated you provided
Nominate other bloggers and give them 11 questions brain posers
Notify your nominees via social media and/or blogger love, the comment section of their blog
List the ‘rules’ and proudly display the Sunshine Award logo in your post
Drumroll, please! Allow me to introduce you all to these fabulous bloggers, my nominees:
Mazel Tov (kudos)my fellow bloggers! Grab steal swipe your award winning image above once it has all sunk in, answer these 11 questions and pay it forward! Also, if you are not into this mishegas (craziness), that is a-okay! Just know that I really think you are all awesome!
Q1. Do you have a favorite thing, person, dare I say, ‘muse,’ to inspire your writing?
Q2. Why did you start your blog?
Q3. Who is your hero (alive or dead, or even animated) and why?
Q4. What drives you meshuggeneh (nuts)?
Q5. What were you like as a kid?
Q6. Where is your happy place?
Q7. When it comes to gifts, would you prefer to give or receive?
Q8. What’s your very favorite song?
Q9. How would you describe that song to someone who cannot hear?
Q10. What would your pet say about you, assuming of course, that you have a pet, and it can talk?
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…
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.
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.
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. 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!
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.