Caught in a dream

Look, up in the sky… It’s a bird? It’s a plane? It’s a Yiddisheh momma?

Oh, the stories my brain can tell. Have you ever been caught in a dream? You know…when you lay your weary head down on your pillow. Those horrendously heavy eyelids thud shut, and you actually fall asleep, and watch the same recurring movie dream over and over again. It’s like my own personal Groundhog Day during REM only less annoying and much more personalized. Night after night, the same dream. Day after day, thinking about this same dream. Has this ever happened to you?

For me, as I slide into deep rest albeit temporarily, I magically become a superhero, very similar to Wonder Woman only less cleavage, in fact, by less, I mean none. I fight evil and wrongdoing for our planet, these government gonifs (thieves), my mishpocheh (family), for my kinder (kids) and for my Mrs. I am sleeping proof that one can be an absolute awe-inspiring superhero, even without the great ‘chest-al’ divide. And, thanks to the dark skin and bags (one might even say, luggage) around my eyes, I have a built-in mask! Nature, she’s a real hoot and works in mysterious, magical ways.

Appropriate Yiddish proverb:

If you want your dreams to come true, don’t sleep. Aoib ir viln deyn khlumus tsu kumen ams, ton nit shlofn.

So, back to my dream (as I so often do). Smart, I am! Equipped with the knowledge and wisdom of RBG, and the wit, timing and dance moves of Ellen DeGeneres. Oh, and have I got writers. Such good writers! I must channel Shonda Rhimes, Aaron Sorkin, and David E. Kelly in the wee hours when I’m not waking up to wee. I look like me, with only the very sleek and stylin’ cape  (it helps keep me afloat). Strong? Look out! As I soar skyward, flying, I am carrying a tachka (big) boulder around with me, and with ease! I’m not even a bit out of breath. What’s with the tachka big boulder?

Flying, I travel through the brisk night air, guided by the light of the full, brilliant moon. Leaving my suburb-ified city, I seek and find offenders and bad actors. When I land, have I got a mouthful? I advise, warn, counsel, check, tell off, call on the carpet, tell a thing or two, draw the line in the sand, and then, and only then do I offer a proper Yiddish proverb. Why, because a good Yiddish quote, given at the exact right moment, it’s like bread for the hungry!

This Yiddish Proverb:

Truth is heavy, therefore few care to carry it. ams iz shver, deriber veynik zorgn tsu firn es.

So by day, I feel what the world offers. I soak it in like a sponge, absorbing the wrongs, evils, deceits, and denials. And mitten drinnen (in the middle of everything), I hide my superpowers and carry on. But by the marvelous light of the moon, I am a respectful force to be feared, like Golem (a Yiddisheh savior), on behalf of all that I hold true, care for and love.

Look out. Look up. Here I come! ❤

So what are you dreaming about?

Notorious R.B.G: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Today should be a National Holiday! My hero, the Notorious R.B.G turns 86 today! Happy Birthday, Ruthie! You make this world a better place every day, and for that, I am very grateful. You had the guts, grit and the sticktuitiveness to fight inequities so early in the game. You are a visionary, an inspiration, a strong and mighty woman and you clearly and concisely speak your voice for all to hear. Thank you, Happy Birthday, and may you have many more healthy years ahead. ❤

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.

This is me, doing my best RBG. Perhaps we could be shvesters?

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.

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History gave a species of praying mantis the name llomantis ginsburgae, after RBG. They say this species has a neckplate similar to the fancy neckwear Ginsburg wears at the outcome of a verdict. It is also based on how the insect was identified by her female genitalia – a nod to RBG’s lifetime fight for gender equality and women’s rights. Please note, this is a praying mantis I happily found on my car, not the newly, super cool RBG version.

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.

Guess who you think I wish would resign?

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 continue do.

Soon, you will be a Lego friend! Tonight, my family, we will celebrate you. I love you, Ruth! ❤

A wonderful read for all ages!

What a gutte neshumah, she is. What a good person with a big heart, she is.

 

 

Some great folks I like to share with….

 

 

 

 

I feel giddy

What a difference a day makes…

You know, today, life feels just a little bit different. The grueling dark and dismal days of February are behind us. (Do you think I need to mention that there are 2+ inches of the powdery stuff on the ground right now and the kinder (kids), they have another 2-hour delay? Don’t get me started. The barometer – it goes up and down so often my head is spinning, no easy task for one with chronic nerve pain in my neck… I digress in the tsuris (troubles) when I promised you giddy. Here, let me share:

  • Two days ago, Mikey, he made me so happy! You know, Michael Cohen? After starring in 10 Years a Thug, he’s seen the monster and came out on the other side, telling the world that he is a “racist, a conman and a cheat.” If you don’t know who ‘he’ is, think Agent orange, 45, mrt…
  • Mikey, he also hinted to us all about further financial fraud and investigations into cooking the books going down in New York. I always loved NY! As I type and you read, Oh, sweet history! Farklempt (all choked up)? Me too! Michael, he is now oysvorf (an outcast, unpopular) in the cast of reality show players that have overtaken the White House.
  • On this very same day, Agent O was shmying around (strolling aimlessly) kibbitzing (butting in) about out the Art of the Deal in Viet Nam. Curiously, he never made it to Nam when the country called for him. I’m just sayin’? I sure hope his bone spur didn’t hurt too much while standing for smiley photos with fellow unscrupulous badman.
  • And, like Christmas in February, the day that kept giving continued. My heart skipped a beat (in a good way, not in an A-FIB way) when HR 8 legislation finally passed! This is a bipartisan law that requires background checks for ALL gun sales (I know? Like this wasn’t already a law?). It took 6+ years to get to this safer space in gun-mania (Sandy Hook was the catalyst. Such a shondah (senseless shame), this tragedy… and so many others that followed). One small step…  One big victory.
  • Then yesterday, I read Netanyahu, another thug among gonifs (thieves) is going to soon be indicted for corruption, and so much more… BiBi and Agent O, they are friends. Birds of a feather… Perhaps they can share a cell, saving room for cast members?
  • Today is March 1 and (despite the snow I must shovel before heading to work) that means Spring, extended daylight, and warmth will soon arrive. Insert smiling, happy Momma here.
  • Sunday, my Big, she turns 11. Oy vey, how’d that happen? On this same day, Little, she has a math and artwork event with school at the famed Barnes Museum. Can you feel me kvelling (bursting with pride)? It’s not a hot flash – I swear.

May it just keep on getting better for us all! My glass is certainly half full. Are you giddy too? Please, let me know why.

Yiddish Proverb:

Be Happy! Zei mir frailich!

Some great folks I like to share with….

from a fog


The excitement is brewing…

Forgive me now my friends, for I am writing while in a fog. No, not like I’m ‘in brown study’ or a deep within a place of inner mindfulness. I’m not even feeling pensive. I am literally in a fog. It is Sunday morning. Gatsby woke me up so he can bark about town in our muddy excuse of a backyard.

Time is now sacred. While he prances and bandies about barking and I hurriedly wait for him to do his business, I must ready the french press yes, the effing Chemex, my darling Chemex broke again for my ritual nectar of the gods I guess here, in the morning hour, I believe, more like in a mythical way, but believing nonetheless. You see aside from Mr. Barky Pants, my house is quiet. The din is long done and I can literally enjoy my cuppa French Roast in all of it’s piping hot aromatic delicious glory. There is never a need to reheat at this hour. It is divine. It’s my ‘me time.’

I set the kettle to boil, and ready the parts of the press for the exciting addition of the gritty grounds of goodness. I open the coffee drawer, where the beans rest by night, expecting the explosive burst of smoky darkness and indulgent scent to tease my nostrils. No scent save for the acrid smell of a wet and muddy Gatsby?

G-O-N-E-!

Now, I know we had it yesterday and all of the proper preceding yesterdays. I was more than certain we were not living sans bean. Where could they be? I search. I sleuth. I seek.  I sadden. Surely this travesty of coffee injustice can’t be real? I pinch myself, checking for a nightmare of the grandest proportions. OUCH! A bluish, purplish bruise begins to form on my arm.

I cannot awaken the Mrs., for that act alone will startle the process of a blissful balanced morning. Little and Big will arise, volumes will blare. I’m not yet prepared for the whining, bickering or boisterousness that can at any moment, start our day.

Your great happiness is based on the warmth of your heart.

With my tail between my legs, I once again look in the stark, coffeeless cabinetry. I pull, dare I say it, a tea bag please my tea loving friends, take no offense. I let the hot water surround the floating bag of contained leaves. I am startled by hints of raspberry when I desperately seek the bold intensity, and surprisingly low acidity of my morning Frenchie. Tall, dark and musty.

I see now that this day can only improve.

Yiddish Proverb:

If you are going to eat pork, eat the best kind. Ez men est khazer zol rinen ariber del bord.

L’chaim! To life! This very beautiful life.

 

Some great folks I like to share with….

 

On the first night of…

On the eighth crazy night, when the Menorah was ablaze with the miracle of Hanukkah… Oy, we should only make it to the eighth night! Nu, at least they make good birthday candles too.

On the first night of Hanukkah, my kinder, they said to me, “When will we go get our Christmas tree?”

On the second night of Hanukkah, the maideleh’s, they asked for Santa, so I asked my Mrs.,  “Please! Pass me more Mylanta?”

On the third night of Hanukkah, this came from the mouth of my Little, “What’s with those latkes burning on the griddle?”

On the fourth night of Hanukkah, Big, she said outright, “This is what happens for eight crazy nights?

By the fifth night of Hanukkah, the menorah was buried on the shelf. Mensch on the Bench has nothing over that meshuggeneh elf!

By the sixth night of Hanukkah, we did homework and gai schluffin; the mention of dreidel sent the kinder a-runnin’

By the seventh night of Hanukkah, our Christmas stockings were all lined up. Hanukkah, jeez… why am I dreying my kup?

By the eighth night of Hanukkah, clearly not going as planned. Us Jews, we must schmooze and do a total re-brand.

So for all who may attempt the menorah with delight, have fun, nosh on latkes, and to all a good night.

Yiddish proverb:

If grandma had a beard, she would be grandpa. Oyb di bobe volt gehat a bord, volt zi geven a zeyde.

That’s Hanukkah in a Christmas world. All is good.

A bei gezunt! In good health!

Some great folks I like to share with…

Invisibility

Yiddish Proverb:

How many will listen to the truth when you tell them? Vi file veln hern tsu dem ams ven ir zogn zey?

Truth time.

My Mrs. and me, we did not meet at a book club. Yes, we read To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and yes, we loved it (in fact this is a book everyone should read, especially today). We even convinced our friends to name their first daughter Scout, and our first pug was named Atticus Finch. If at some point in our lifetime together, we told you that this is how we met, I am sorry. We weren’t quite healthy enough to speak our truth. Thankfully, we are now well over the stigma and only want to help where we can.

Here is our real story: About one million years ago, or at least a couple or so decades ago, we both arrived at our first meeting for women with eating disorders. We were at one of the very top treatment centers, The Renfrew Center, in the suburbs of Philadelphia. As the young therapist unlocked the door and turned on the lights, not one of us in the group made eye contact. We scuttled about uncomfortably searching for a seat that could somehow feel safe. Everyone stared at the floor. No one made a sound. Occasionally, one could hear a belly growl or the sounds of digestion. If pins were to drop, we would have heard them. And after what felt like hours of bone-chilling silence at a call for introductions, the person who is now my Mrs., she said, “Oh, okay. I’ll go first.” 

Slowly, painfully, we made our way around the room. Not one of us admitted sickness. Not one of us ‘needed’ to be there. The very long, often unbearable road to health and wellness had begun. 

You might say, Lisalah, why now? Why are you telling us this? The answer, as always, is in the eyes of my Big and my Little. We want desperately for them to hold on to the joys of childhood and develop a strong foundation of self-confidence, self-worth, and self-esteem. We are trying to raise our maidelehs (sweet girls) to be brave and mighty, rebel girls as they grow up in this harsh, misogynistic world. We also want them to become women who have a healthy relationship with food. Imagine that! Eating, breaking bread, a nice nosh, all such an important part of our life in terms of sustenance, social interaction, nurturing, and sensuality.

To the caregivers of all of the beautiful kinder that are out there, please know that children, they have ears that hear what you, relatives, friends, teachers, coaches, say, even whisper. With social media, unhealthy messages are persistent for vulnerable children and adults. Know, be on the lookout, be prepared. Catch it early. Eating disorders are one of the mental illnesses that have a 20% mortality rate. That is too high. I vividly remember that day in 1983 when Karen Carpenter lost her battle to anorexia nervosa. Understand that you have an ally in me. No stigma. No judgment.

Today in America, over 30 million people of all ages and genders are suffering from an eating disorder. Suffering — that is a kind word for it. As a person in full recovery, this stat, which is on the rise, makes me so profoundly sad. I know the loneliness and sorrow that fills their people-pleasing, loving hearts and souls. I know the pain and overwhelming lack of self-worth that comes from seeking invisibility first hand.

I write about this today for three reasons:

First, so many people, caregivers, parents, and patients all, live in denial. It’s easy to look away, and say, “Nope, not me.” “Not my kid.” “They’ll grow out of this.” If you suspect your child has an eating disorder, learn about eating disorders. Educate yourself to what may be ahead. Talk to your child openly with compassion and empathy. Listen. Love. DO NOT make your talk about appearance. If you say something like, “…you are nothing but skin and bones…” you can easily validate that they are on the right path. This disease, and it is a disease, affects the mind too. Emphasize to them that it is not their fault.

Second, the holidays are fast approaching. Group meals, big meals, family gatherings will feel threatening, frightening to the eating disordered person. They will avoid it at all costs. They will feign sickness, volunteer, say they are eating with friends, all in an effort to avoid the Festivus you are so eagerly awaiting.

Third, you must act compassionately and quickly. Your silence can be deadly. My eating disorder was a cry for help, screaming as loudly as I could scream — a young woman with no voice.

Here are some important things to look for in your child/friend/neighbor:

  • Any weight changes, up or down
  • Differences in eating patterns, like avoiding family meals, or an inability to eat with others
  • Pushing food around the plate; excessive use of condiments; you may even notice the family pet gaining weight
  • New dietary regimes like vegetarianism; fear of certain foods, obsessions with other foods
  • A dramatic increase in physical activity and exercise
  • Going to the bathroom immediately after a meal; spending a long time in the bathroom
  • Missing food that may be hidden away for another time, or eaten when alone
  • Mood and social activity changes
  • Distorted sense of body image; wearing big or baggy clothing
  • Thinning or brittle hair
  • Digestion or bowel issues
  • Abnormal blood counts
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dehydration
  • Insomnia
  • Tooth and gum problems (often times the dentist is the first to notice)
  • Fine hair growth over the body

If you see these symptoms in your kinder, offer your compassionate heart. Be a loving, nurturing part of the journey. The causes of eating disorders, as the layers of an onion, are so complex. Genetics, environmental, psychological and cultural issues all come into play. Emphasis on diet, looks and body shape only add to the dangerous mix of complex behavioral issues lurking in our society.

I had an eating disorder from the age of thirteen. I sought help, at 32. A lot of damage was done in between those years. It was an excruciating battle to overcome what I believed was ‘my very best friend.’ No number on the scale ever offered satisfaction. Tied in with anorexia, as it oftentimes is, was a major depression. I desperately wanted my outline to get smaller, lighter until it, until I, disappeared. Nothing less than that would be deemed a success.

I had an ‘entire team of people’ trying to help me, help myself. I had a therapist, medical doctor, nutritionist, and psychiatrist, all specializing in my illness. I even spent several months outpatient at a clinic. I called it ‘food camp’ and ‘my unfortunate incarceration.’ At 35, I had to re-learn how to feed myself. When I had to use the bathroom, I had to leave the door wide open and sing the entire time I was in there.

I had never really tasted a food, any food until I was 40. Yes, you read that correctly! The Mrs., and me, we went on a bike trip through Tuscany. We were both finally healthy and happy — new foods and flavors danced in my mouth in a way I had never experienced. Nu? So this is what people have been talking about?

Over time, a great deal of damage has been done to my body. I have had multiple painful gum surgeries to stop the gum recession in my mouth from acid reflux caused by not eating and from throwing up. Too much diet soda led to kidney stones. Malnutrition and missing periods for years at a time led to infertility and brought on early osteopenia and osteoporosis. I even have bone loss in my mouth and jaw.

I am so very grateful I figured out, with a great deal of help, that I was worth the fight. We are proof that this awful disease can be overcome successfully.

Yiddish Proverb:

Love is sweet but it’s nice to have bread with it. Lib iz zis ober es iz feyn tsu hobn broyt mit im.

 

 

 

Hello. Yeah, it’s been a while.

Yiddish Proverb:

Hob ich a zorg! Zoll ich zorgen! Why should I worry! I should worry.

I want to thank so many of you who have reached out to me to see if I am okay. I am one lucky Yiddisheh momma, feeling such love and support around this globe! And, please know, I am okay. I am as okay as one can be, as a woman, a lesbian, and a Jew in these ‘guns blazing’ United States. I am out of my mind with worry over the upcoming mid-term elections, and I have a very important 4-letter word I would like to share with everyone. VOTE.

Vote like your life depended on it because it does. Vote for the kinder (children) who will inherit this madness we leave behind. Vote because your voice, it needs to be heard. Vote in solidarity against the racism, rhetoric, lies, hate, bias, and bigotry. Vote for those whose lives were stolen in Pittsburgh, in Jeffersontown, in too many towns to list.

VOTE.

That’s all I got right now. Nu, voos zugt eir gits? What the good word?