Finding the laughter

You can always count on Little to make Big burst into laughter!

This is one tough world we live in… but who am I to tell you that? I wake up each morning and cautiously look at my smartphone, one eye opens at a time, and already, I get discouraged.

Stuff yourself with hope and you can go crazy. Fun loiter hofenung ver ich noch meshuggah.

Grateful? Mindful? Of course! Every day I remind myself of the good. And yet still, there is so much bad in the news, in the world, in our lives, in the lives of our friends. So what to do? I must find the laughter. Share the laughter, and add to the contagion in the chaos of the smile theory.

Laughter is heard farther than weeping. A gelechter hert men veiter vi a gevain.

So here’s a little story to share:

Right before school started, the Mrs. and me, we needed to get the kinder (kids) leggings and jeans. We went to Old Navy, you know, the cheap version of Gap? We found quite the sale, which better fits our frugal finances of $0 per month on frocks and finery. We found about 8 -10 pair, a shirt or two, and we were only lighter by $30-some dollars (That’s a -$30-some on the master budget spreadsheet). Not bad. Don’t you know, when we got home, the first pair my Big wants to wear has a dime sized hole mittendrinnen (smack dab in the middle of) her tuchas (tushy, butt, derriere)? I dry the tears and promise to sew this slit and salvage the day. After all, I am of the age that literally had to take Home Economics in school (feminism, oy vey). What part of baking brownies and crocheting toilet paper roll covers made that class economics? Oy, a whole other blog post right there. Needless to say, I made a promise.

Smiles and laughter, contagious!

A needle and thread were tough to find in our little flat, so two weeks later, I finally remember to make a trip to the local pharmacy. For $4.95, I buy a small kit to fix the leggings that were $1.99. Little, not caring a bit about the rip on the rump, had already worn them to school. Big, she has been hock mier chinik (banging on my tea kettle, yammering on and on) for me to make the fix.

It doesn’t cost anything to promise and to love. Tsuzogen un lib hoben kost nit kain gelt.

This morning, it was the first thing I set out to do. These pants, shmata (rags) no more! I make a nice hot coffee and place the new sewing kit, and the lacerated leggings all in arms reach. Gatsby, he is securely settled in my lap in support. Children nestled all snug in their beds our bed. I begin.

Threading a needle is a tad bit more difficult than I recall. Glasses on. Glasses off. Like Karate Kid, I repeat this mantra. At 654 months old, home ec or not, it took me over 25 minutes to put the blue f***ing thread through the teeny, tiny needle. Less than three minutes of sewing said slit, and I’m done. My Big, she is still sleeping. I almost want to wake her to see the joy on her shanah punim (beautiful, radiant face). I know she will wear them immediately.

Silliness spreads the joy!

I get up and proudly look in the mirror who the h*ll is that wrinkly old lady with gray hair?   (Glasses on. Glasses off) as I brush my coffee tinted breath. I laugh. Maybe this gray coif is the silver lining of optimism I need.

I hope you all laugh today, and continue to find the laughter. We need it.

      

      

      

     

 

Busy, Shmizzy: Eat Together for a Better World

Folks, it’s time for a post update. We still fearlessly, tirelessly, endlessly march on, supping together in hopes of a higher purpose. Manners are hard to come by here at the Manor. This week I see that mac-n-cheese is still perceived and approached as finger food. Opposable thumbs do not impress our small humans. The Mrs., and me, our voices continue to make no sound at all to our giggly little, pierced ears who nosh (eat a little) during this very important nutritional act of derring-do. My glass, it stays half full yes, they spilled again, but I am using the metaphor now

and this is how we eat noodles
and this is how we eat noodles, in stereo with Cousin Max, at a restaurant no less, in public… Oy!

I’m always telling suggesting to the Mrs. about the importance of sitting down together to ess a bissel (eat a little). How we need to dine with the full mishpocheh (family). Studies by big machers (hot shots) like scholars and doctors all laud the big meal get together as the solution to practically all that plagues the planet (don’t get me started, oy vey iz mir).

Jointly sitting and supping brings benefits to the body, brain and overall ‘mini-mojo’ of our kinder (kids). A nice nosh (proper meal) together makes for little Epicureans that become ‘epi-curious’ eaters who will choose more fruits and veggies, and pick less fried foods and sugary beverages. If mealtime is conquered correctly, the consuming kinder (children) are less likely to kvell (be happy) over a ‘happy meal’ that is loaded with tasty toxins, added fats, oils and who the hell knows what other unsavory ingredients. They won’t hunger for the little tchotchkes (small, unnecessary plastic toys), that promote future gluttony and materialism. They will be less likely to become obese. That alone equals a healthier lifestyle with fewer illnesses. Kaynahorah (to ward off evils — like the big C, heart disease and stroke), all this magic with one familial sit down a day?

Wait! There’s more. Those same above-mentioned mavens add that clever conversation over a nice meal boosts vocabulary for our kinder (kids), which makes for stronger, happier readers. Nu? If you can survive manage regular family mealtimes as the kinder mature, higher test scores, better grades and overall academic performance are in your future.

Add an avocado to the meal, and you win top honors in Nobel nutrition.

Well, it is obvious that no maven of any sort has observed the goings on at our little corner of the dining room here at the Manor. The Mrs. and me, we do our best to offer nightly variations of healthy, overly expensive organic suppers while trying to stick to our frugalista rice and beans every night still ways. With you, I must be honest, dinners hock mier en chinikeh (drives me bat-shit crazy). Etiquette and decorum have left the building by this witching hour!

Things usually start smoothly. The girls, they clean up a bit and set the table when we beg, plead and bribe. They help bring out our food (beans and rice). We all sit, and the Mrs. and I, we ask open-ended questions like a job interview to try to get them to respond speak with us. They sit with their knees up, spread eagle (vey iz mir), and have clearly left their listening ears in the ‘OFF’ position. They seem to have their own form of communication that is specifically designed to exclude us. They use their fingers instead of utensils even for soup. In fact, just last night, I was prompted to wax eloquent on the beauty of our opposable thumbs and how they separate us from the animal kingdom in hopes they would just pick up a g-damned fork or a spoon and eat like humans.

Little, she has a tendency to lick random and incredibly disgusting things WTF. She gets up from the table an average of  267 times per meal. She may need more water, go use the bathroom, want something better to eat, have an undeniable urge to dance, jump on the trampoline, or simply incite an enormous giggle-fest with Big. And I won’t kid you when I say it, she ‘toots like a trumpeter’ at the table. My madelah (sweet little girl)!

Big, she started with the whole knees up posture. She may use a fork for a moment or two, then she will quickly resort to her more primal instincts and pick up everything with her fingers, especially condiments. She can tell a story or two during dinner, and get up to act it out, share via interpretive dance, or become totally taken in by the mishegas (craziness) of Little. This leaves the Mrs. and me sitting table-side for what must be days, weeks, months hours, getting all cobwebby, and stiff-jointed, waiting for her to finish the feast.

And mittendrinnen (in the middle of everything), Gatsby, will jump into any temporarily vacated seat, and make a quick and successful quest for any food sitting idle.

Gatsby, on the prowl
Gatsby, on the prowl

The shvesters (sisters) behavior has the Mrs. and me chugging the Apple Cider Vinegar (an excellent indigestion remedy) nightly, straight from the bottle. It’s a mitzvah (good deed) we don’t drink enough or at all!

Lo and behold, we will endure these rituals because we have put our trust in the big macher alrightniks (good people).

Charlotte, she will weave her nightly web around us. We make this sacrifice night after night with the promise that our girls will not engage in high-risk behaviors like smoking, drugs or sex ever, ever, ever. They won’t have depressed or suicidal thoughts. They will avoid bullies at school and online. They will be self-confident and self-loving and avoid eating disorders.

They will be strong, mighty girls who can lean in at any table. And they will have empathy and compassion, because each night, we do our best to make it through another make your own burrito bowl.

I wonder if there are any studies of what happens to us mom’s as we suffer go through this phase?

A bei gezunt (Live and be well).

 

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Auditions Today!

Nutcracker tryouts
Nutcracker try-outs

It’s September again; the stores, they started it first

Christmas, its here and now it’s time to rehearse

Find the nice tights, leotards; put buns in their hair

It’s Nutcracker tryouts — hurry, hurry, let’s prepare

 

Every Sunday from now, right up to those two special days

They’ll practice away in their sugarplum haze

We’ll leave other events early with a sigh or a pout

And arrive at the studio to grand jeté about

 

As the music is cranked our smiles quickly return

It’s Tchaikovsky we hear, so many new parts to be learned

The Littles and Bigs, they will dance with the Donetsk ballet

As they show the story of a girl, her gift and her dream in a magical way

 

My sweet little maidelahs making Yuletide traditions

Sharing steps with Ukrainian mavens, in Balanchine’s celebrated positions

A mouse and a cook for my Big this holiday season, My Little a polichinelle and a small doll

Two roles, two acts, and two costumes for each, making memories, having fun, above all

 

In theatre with stage sets that ‘wows’ every viewer, this Yiddisher momma, oy how I’ll kvell

Come one, come all, grab a seat and enjoy, such nachas can only make you feel well

The Holiday season is right smack dab on us; the emmes truth, we couldn’t be cheerier

Vas, like you have something better to do? Not when the Wissahicken Dance Academy is so superior!

 

A bei gezunt to all (You should all be healthy)!

 

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Wordless Wednesday: Play Children, Play!

Dedicated to beloved children's' book writer Anna Dewdney. Read a book to your kids today.
Dedicated to beloved children’s’ book writer, Anna Dewdney. Read a book to your kids today.
Shvesters
Shvesters
Look papa!
Look papa!
oh, I can do this!
Oh, Papa can do this!
Playing at tryouts
Playing at Nutcracker tryouts

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Spinach!

This vision of real life is brought to you by Big. No spinach was injured (or eaten) during this display. Big, oh how I love you my bubbelah (sweet girl)!

Spinach! I don't like spinach!
Spinach! I don’t like spinach!
It's not fair!
It’s not fair!

*Es nisht di khale far a moitse. Don’t eat the challah before you’ve made the blessing. (*McKay and Gabe, this is for you!)

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Swimming Upstream

always upstream, oy vey
Always upstream, oy vey iz mir

It’s been a fucking lifetime few weeks now of life as a salmon, swimming against the tide of bureaucratic bullshit on numerous life levels. Paperwork perdition. Righting wrongs, with only a small success to keep my spirit motivated. I fear losing some of my much called upon ‘glass half-full’ skills. I’ve been a salmon so long now, I cannot even appreciate a nice nosh (snack) of lox and bagels with a shmear…Oy vey iz mir.

  • IRS: the Mrs., and me, we filed our 2015 tax return in February of 2016. Twenty-one days is what the website said. I’ve always been an early filer. I pay what we owe and I look forward to our return. Never have we as a family been so in need of said gelt (money) from the return than this year. Please understand, as of this writing, it is now mid-September of 2016. That’s 21 days plus almost 7 months, and still going. Talk about red tape! I’ve spoken to my accountant more times than both he and I care for… Maybe he even blocked my number by now. I’ve gone many a day to irs.gov, clicked on ‘Find my refund’ (the fact that they have that as a button option, I’m just sayin’) and get the same message every time: Your tax return has not yet been processed. I called the IRS back in March of this year and found a live person, who was kind and apologetic. I let him know my story and he searched high and low, keeping me on the phone for almost 3 hours. He found out that my return was placed in some holding purgatory for those who have had experienced identity theft!

My heart pounded, “What, someone stole my identity and has my return?” “No, it was just a random pull”, he replied. “Let me see what I can do to get this processed for you”. I took his name and badge number and felt we were on our way. He said, “Call, and just ask for me by my badge number.”

That was March. Now, I dial the many IRS numbers I have amassed, and get 85+ different prompts, all of which I have tried, and none of which lead me to an actual live person. I fear for my badge-numbered friend. I go through the ‘find the status of my refund’ prompt, and nu, I get: Your tax return has not yet been processed. I called the phone number of the local IRS department, and I got a recording saying, ‘This phone number does not offer phone support.What the fuck! I even tried the phone number for the hearing impaired. After all, even the IRS would be nice to the hearing impaired, right? Not so much. When the machine picked up, it let out a blaring sound, like a ship at sea (warning poor schlemeils (fools) like me, mere salmon still going upstream) to move aside. My right ear, it still rings. And yes, dejectedly, I am still swimming.

photo by @willowandsage1 follow on instagram
photo by @willowandsage1 follow her on instagram (the Mrs.)
  • Botox: As many of you know, I get Botox injections (no, my face is like a google map!) to assist in chronic neck/head pain, cervical dystonia, etc. Due to the cost prohibitive nature of this treatment, Allergan, the company that makes the injections of botulism that relieve the pain to passable life levels, offers a subsidy for those who are green-gelt impaired. An incorrect diagnosis code has bolloxed my Botox, leaving my pain plan in a perpetual place of purgatory, like the above referenced tax return gelt (loot). I call, I write, I beg, and I remain without treatment. No one should know of such pain. If you want to click here or here, you can learn more about how wonderful Botox is for my chronic pain.
Getting un-towed, not so easy
Getting un-towed, not so easy
  • The Car Tow: So as not to be deemed a total whiner, let me tell you now, this one ends with a Mitzvah (in a win, a good deed)! My Mrs., she had a lovely day at the shore with friends right at the end of the summer. She left early to get there and got home late in the evening, making memories of fun and laughter with good friends, Little and Big. She arrived back at the Manor and there was not one parking space available. In fact people were parked sideways, on the grass, and in the fire lanes. Half asleep, I grumbled, “Leave the car in the stairway spot. There are no signs saying ‘no parking’ and you can move it in the morning.” She awoke to a car towed and the start of a fight with the 4th management company to take charge here at the Manor since our sojourn began. We talked to Katrina, the new manager. She could give two shits about us or our car. We begged for her to get the car released as she did for two other families before us.  I contacted Katrina’s boss. No response. Our car was gone, and we needed $200 to free it from this unfortunate and unnecessary incarceration. This timing, it was not so good for us in the gelt department. The next week, we searched under sofa cushions and on the floors of our cars to scrape by — no joke. The fight, it continued. Went on for weeks. The neighbors, they all complained. We did not relent, and we finally got word, today, that we will be credited $200 towards next month’s rent. Azoy! (Huzzah!)

There’s more, but this seems like just enough. End on a good note.

Tsum shtain zol men klogen nor nit bei zikh zol men trogen. Better pour out your troubles to a stone, but don’t carry them within yourself. So, I’m pouring. Thanks for reading! 

Wishing you all a tsuris (trouble) free time. A bei gezunt (Be in good health).

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Wordless Wednesdays: In the ‘hood

Slowwwww

Moo

clay

Baa

Dont grow up

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Pinkberry

My goal...
My goal…I should only be so good!

Far kinder tsereist men a velt. For your children’s sake you would tear the world apart.

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