The Recurring American Nightmare

How is this even a toy? Vey iz mir…

Mr. President, members of Congress, legislators, and elected officials,  f*ck your thoughts, prayers, flags at half-staff, and hollow condolences. Your inertia is astounding and I am angry. Columbine. Marshall High. Sandy Hook. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Our kinder (children) are dying. What is it going to take to get you to make change?

The constant misinterpretation of the Second Amendment is reprehensible. Bloated white men in high offices are allowing young white males to steal childhood, eternally changing families before our eyes.

How is it that anyone outside of a highly trained militia, can purchase a gun meant for nothing less than mass destruction and terror?

In these United States: you must be 18 years of age to vote in an election assuming you have the wherewithal to register to vote and muster up the energy to actually show up at your place of polling.

You must be 21 years of age to legally by alcohol. Most states, including Florida, have zero-tolerance alcohol laws when it comes to alcohol purchase and consumption. ZERO TOLERANCE. As a kid growing up in sunny south Florida, we, all of us, had fake ID’s that made alcohol purchase easy.

In many states, just like Florida, at the tender age of 18, you can purchase a rifle, shotgun or, say, for example, a militaristic style, long-gun, like the AK-47 or the AR-15. In many other states, in full support of American gun culture and hunting, you can be as young as 14. Fourteen.

You can be hormonally challenged by a newly-formed pimple, bullied or rejected, and/or filled with normal teenage angst, and still legally purchase a long gun for hunting. This is not the 1800’s, and most of us are no longer ‘Pa’ from Little House on the Prairie, desperately trying to track and kill a bison for the winters’ feeding of one’s family.

In most states, including Florida, you must be 21 years of age to buy a handgun the kind that shoots only 1 bullet at a time.

I am in full support of gun safety background checks, like the majority of this country. However, now is the time that we all must come together, parties aside, and ban all semi-automatic weapons sales. Ban all assault weapons. They are not the fabric of our rich American history. Yet history, they are certainly making.

We cannot dare become numb or normalize these massacres. Nor will banning all semi-automatic weapons stop these horrific acts of terror. But it is clear that we cannot and must not sit back and watch.

If change cannot come from the top down, then we all must rise from the bottom, up. As adults, moms, dads, caregivers, it is our job to protect our kinder (children).  This #MomDemandsAction

Yiddish Proverb:

What will become of the sheep if the wolf is the judge? Vos vet vern fun di sheps aoyb di volf iz di rikhter?

     

      

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!

      

      

      

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! 

 

      

      

      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I AM WOMAN, the musical resurfaces

Tonight is the eve of the 1 year weirdest year in my lifetime anniversary of the Women’s March, where pink pussy hats bopped atop millions way more than those who attended the inauguration of marching women (men and children too), across the US and in countries around the globe. We gathered in protest of violence and sexual harassment, for reproductive rights, gender equality, and quite frankly, against our new president (little p) and his band of bad men. We were and continue to be, a viable, visible force of peaceful people saying wtf just happened looking for answers and questioning truths. One dizzying, nauseating year later, what’s changed? We went from strong women proudly marching to women governing and legislating. We ran for office and we are winning! This weekend, get your walking shoes on. “Cause we still have some work to do my friends.

I’ve got my walking shoes on… so hear me ROAR!

#metoo #blacklivesmatter #neveragain #muslimregistry #strongwomen #weshowedup #resistmrt

Nu? This mr t, he has me farklempt (all choked up) with his evil and hatred. Not too long ago, I wrote a post, I AM WOMAN HEAR MY VOICE. Well, I’ve taken it to the stage folks. Please, bear with my (awful) voice as I stumble through my own, personal feminist anthem.

Please feel free to sing along. If only to cover up my voice! Vey iz mir…I’m meshuggeneh (crazy), but I am so motivated to peacefully make a change. (I said peacefully, not notefully!) Because Never Again, is now folks. 

Great big hugs and love to Mackenzie for her gorgeous participation and support! And Kristin, where would I be without the bug you put in my ear? And to all of you brave, men, women and children who showed up, and continue to show up in protest. That’s what I’m sayin.’
Why’d I do it? Well, I am trying hard to teach my kinder (little kids) to be brave, not perfect.
Hey, mr t, I Am Woman, and you, little man, are going to have to deal with that!  Tell me, did you march? If so, where? And most important, everyone VOTE.
      
       
    

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.

       
      

Sandy Hook, I promise!

December 14, 2017, will mark the 5-year anniversary of one of the most solemn and horrific moments in our unrelenting lack of #GunSense in America. The school shooting at Sandy Hook. To honor those students and teachers, and everyone else we have lost to gun violence, I am reblogging this post.

Those boys and girls of Sandy Hook were in first grade, just like my Little. Please, take a moment, a very uncomfortable moment and think about all of the lives we lose senselessly due to our loose, lax and well-lobbied for laws around out of control gun purchasing in this country. Please also watch this 1 minute video, from the folks at #TheSandyHookPromise. You really need to. After, please share. C’mon moms! We need you.

Thank you. May we be strong enough to make the changes we need to here in America.

#EverytownForGunSafety #MomsDemandAction #WearOrange #TheSandyHookPromise

Early Saturday morning, I woke up after having climate change nightmares. These were not just hot flashes — I had real nightmares about the life of our planet. Think the Lorax, on crack. I wrote a post, Blog, Shmog: An Interview Today, poking some acerbic wit at mr t, orange-in-chief, and then I left to head over to the Wear Orange March. This march was not about global warming. It was the about senseless gun violence in our country. Yet another topic t won’t touch. After all, the NRA, they own him.

Hadiya Pendleton, 15 years old, was shot in the back. Gunned down while standing inside Harsh Park with her friends in Chicago in 2013. Just one week earlier, she performed live with her school band at President Obama’s (second) inauguration. Her murder occurred less than one mile from the Obama’s Chicago home. Hadiya, an honors student, volleyball player, band member, daughter — her future was bright in so many ways. The cause of death: shot by mistaken gang rivalry. The shooters, gang members, they told police that she was standing with people they thought were from a rival gang. It was a mistake. Michelle Obama attended her funeral. By that January day in Chicago, she was already the 42nd murder by firearm. A real shonda (shame) for her, her family, our world.

The gates of tears are never shut. Di toi’ern fun treren zeinen kain mol nit farshlossen.

Saturday morning was cool, raining. Hadiya would have been 20 years young on June 2 of this year. Her birthday now represents National Gun Violence Awareness Day across our country. Her brightness is now the color orange, the same color worn by hunters, so as to be seen and not shot. It is the color of gun violence prevention. Less than 100 of us gathered. Many moms held laminated photos of the children they lost to gun violence. We all talked. I told them I was there for Hadiya, and for the Sandy Hook Promise. When we failed all of those children and their teachers who gave their lives protecting them, I knew I had to do more. I couldn’t just sign a petition and call Senator Twomey’s office again. I had to enlist in the fight.

In the US, gun violence kills 93 people every single day — almost 34,000 lives per year. That includes murder, suicide, and accidental death. In Philadelphia, last year our number was 278. Almost 1 life per day. These numbers are stunning, but they must not leave us hardened. We must work harder than we ever have before.

Our kinder (sweet children) deserve better. Hadiya dreamt of going to Northwestern University. She wanted to become a pharmacist, a journalist, or a lawyer. She was a good kid. Hadiya, she deserved better.

Guns are a very large problem in this country. I do not think that our founding fathers had gang members, mental illness, violent domestic abuse, accidental death and suicide in mind when they created the second amendment. I believe there is some good legislation out there (SB 501 for stronger gun control rights) that needs enforcing, and I believe there are some horrible laws on the books (SB 383 that arms school staff, teachers, and boards). Vey iz mir (OMG), we need to make some drastic changes.

Last I checked, we were ONE human race. How can we all begin to walk with empathy and love in our hearts? When will we begin to embrace all of our very unique and beautiful differences, instead of fearing them? I will do that for Hadiya. I will do that for all of those families from Sandy Hook. I will do that for everyone affected by senseless gun violence. We need to do that for all the kinder (children).
Please join me.

Death doesn’t knock on the door (and warn you of it’s impending arrival). Toyt tut nit klapn aoyf di tir.

Live every minute of every day.