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!

      

    

Start spreading the news

Shtik naches: Relatives who give you great pleasure and joy! From the top: Shvoger, (left) Shvester, me, (left) Little and Big. My Mrs., she took the picture.

Today’s post is a direct result of the single most, positive, life changing visit to Boulder, CO. We went to see my shvester (sister) and schvoger (brother-in-law) and had an absolutely wonderful time.  I cannot begin to thank them for their love, kindness, support, generosity, and of course, laughter. Oh, and Alex, my ‘budmaster’ from #FreshBaked, thank you too! You see, on my shvester’s birthday, her birthday mind you, they gave me the greatest gift of all time. The gift of feeling absolutely pain-free — no side effects, no cognitive impairment… medical marijuana in the form of CBD. I felt human for the first time in over three decades. A mitzvah (good deed) like no other. To my mishpocheh (shvester and schvoger), words cannot convey my love and gratitude.

To the tune of New York, New York please, maestro (tap, tap, tap, begin):

Start spreading the news, I’m human again
It’s been a life of chronic pain, now I feel great
This Philly based girl, has found a new zen
Right in the heart of Colorado, a legal bud state
I wanna wake up in a place where I’m pain-free
And find I’m living out loud, happy, carefree
Nerve pain in my neck, has won out, too long
I see why people up and move, near a dispensary
If weed could, help me along, with a pill and, not a bong
CBD my friend, makes me pain-free
If I can, feel good there
I should be able to, feel good, everywhere
It’s up to you, P.A., P.A.
I want to wake up, in a city, where I can get
CBD pills. Pain melts away. No high or munchies. Pain melts away!
If I can, feel good there
I should be able to, feel good, everywhere
It’s up to you, P.A., P.A.

Slang words for marijuana: green goddess, bud, grass, herb, weed, pot, wacky-tobacky.

Some links to learn more about medical marijuana:

Go in good health. Gai gezunterheit. And know this yiddisheh momma is gonna fight like hell to keep feeling this good. And to allow others to get relief too.

     

      

      

  

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.

      

      

     

      

 

…on many sides

Charlottesville. Trying to make sense out of a living nightmare is not possible. I am for free speech and civil disobedience, and that has not happened. mrt has been fanning the flames of racism, hate, and evil since his campaign that led to his election began. He has openly uncovered what lay hidden, dormant. He has ripened the corrupt causes of the neo-Nazi’s, the alt-right, the white supremacists, the Ku-Klux-Klan, and the racists who see “Make America Great Again” as a call to action for their heinous behaviors. They backed him, paid him, elected him, celebrated with him and see him as their leader. And mrt, he has mainstreamed these groups to normalcy; normal enough to come outside by daylight. To remove the sheets and show their faces. To act on their mission.

The “Unite the Right” rally, filled with racist, ethnic, misogynistic and anti-Semitic slurs,  turned deadly when a known Nazi-sympathizer from Ohio drove his Dodge Challenger, at a high-speed, into a crowd of people gathering to protest the rally. He killed Heather Heyer and injured close to twenty others. Heather, 32 years old, died standing up for what she believed in — fairness and equal treatment for all. She died opposing those that hold hate in their hearts. Additionally, two Virginia state troopers died in a helicopter crash while on duty. Three lives lost, and mrt stood in his bunker.

mrt, our tweeter-in-chief, said in his first statement, that he condemned hatred and violence “on many sides, on many sides.” ON MANY SIDES? ON MANY SIDESWTF

Many sides? I saw two sides. The white supremacy, in their full militant nationalistic glory, and the oppositionists, who came with peace and equality, to counter the hate.

Weak. Very weak mrt. You are a spineless excuse for a leader. You made no mention of your friends who gathered in violence, and they heard that loud and clear. They cheered you on. They know you support them. You have never been quiet to call out your enemies by name. They must be your friends. Two days later, after an immense public outcry, you were forced into a more acceptable media message, only after mentioning how well the stock market is doing. Your responses sicken me, as much as the despicable events of the weekend.

I applaud leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who teaches us all how we can never go back. She owns the shame of the Nazi Holocaust and apologized some 60 years later, after WW II. Today, in Germany, every child is taught of the atrocities that their native land carried out during Holocaust. Every student visits a concentration camp. They learn what was in their history and they work hard so that such vile behavior will never repeat.

mrt keeps his alt-right friends, Bannon, Gorka, Miller, close to the chest, in his inner circle. It shows.

I am a human being. I am Jewish. I am a woman. I am a Lesbian. I am a wife. I am a mother. I am saddened but remain positive that the turning point that KKK leader David Duke speaks of, has a very different outcome. I will continue to stand up strong, united against hate, in order to make this world a better place for my kinder (children).

mrt, you are #notmypresident. #yesyouareracist #neveragain