This just in from the National Weather Service…

A severe winter storm, defined as a ‘bomb cyclone,’ is hitting the eastern United States with the tenacity and chutzpah (balls, or nerve, for lack of a better term) of mr t’s thumbs in a tweetstorm with lil’ kim. Be warned, the ‘bomb cyclone’ is not fake news. Caused by a portentous plummet in (air) pressure proportionately parallel to mr t’s popularity, millions are now bracing for snow, ice, bone-chilling winds, and record-breaking low temperatures. This is not your momma’s Nor’easter.

The folks residing at the Manors are particularly preparing for calamitous cold conditions. “Last weekend, we saw 2-3 inches of snow in the bedroom alone,” said one resident, declining to be named. He went on to state, “We rescue one or two people a season in the hallways and on the steps, which typify tundra-like temps through March, as a rule.”

The shovelers, seeking a way to make an honest buck, were disheartened to see the beach towel blocking the snow entry

Apparently, a jet stream of cold air naturally penetrates the recently remodeled residences.  Winter storms gravitate from the upper reaches of the atmosphere to the lower levels of the living quarters. It’s spectacular to observe.

“Perhaps record-breaking is the new normal,” said a young med student, who refers to her apartment as the ‘igloo on 2.’ “No need to worry about the small refrigerators. You can preserve perishables and slides from the lab, just about anywhere there’s a window! You don’t get that everywhere, you know?”

Another resident looks at the positive side of life, saying, “With this level of cold, we need less coffee to stay awake! The early morning wind gusts in the bedrooms have the kids flying out of bed to get dressed and ready for school where it is at least safe and warm each day. Tooth brushing is never as welcomed as it is in the austere conditions of winter.”

One couple quoted said, “We are thankful for the balmy bathrooms as a respite from the bleak bombogenesis that comes naturally with each unit. Most often, we sup in there to prevent our food from freezing up. A nice tablecloth can really dress up the closed lid on the loo. Candles add heat romance and help us to keep the magic of our relationship alive!”

Young kids enjoy the ski-lodge conditions, making extra money shoveling snow indoors. “We charge just a fiver for each apartment. We can really cash in with a storm like Grayson headed our way,” said one teen leading a group meeting of the cleanup crew. “I mean, the apartment folks, they shovel the walk-ups outside and stuff, but no one comes indoors like we do! We’ll have college costs and the new iPhone covered after ‘Gray.'”

Mrs. Rosenblatt, in R4, says, “My bursitis, oy, she will be acting up again with a pressure drop like this. At least I know I won’t have to ice my shoulders. I just put my rocker near the window as I knit and I will be frozeny-fine in no time flat. Who needs 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off. It’s too much to think about. My doc can’t believe how lucky I am!”

Climatologists and rheumatologists alike have begun ascending on the apartments at the Manors, delving deep into the unusual weather pattern methodology and pain treatment analysis. “Rapidly warming oceans cheap as shit insulation and wearied windows are definitely having their way with the people populating this uniquely beautiful Tudor,” said one scientist from the Council on Oceanographic Laboratory Discoveries (COLD).

Climate scientists fervently favor this life-saving acronym when prepping for an arctic anomaly like Grayson: COLD: Clean clothes, Overheating, Layering of clothing and Dry clothing. Mrs. Rosenblatt further states, “On most days you can run into any neighbor schpatziring in our gotkes (running around in our long johns). I recommend this place to all my menopausal friends. A nice hot flash is easily abated with this chill.”

Mr. Rosenblatt says, “For this, we pay rent? Oy vey.”

One family yeah, it’s us is gleefully leaving for warmer climes very soon.

Yiddish Proverb:

A fool doesn’t age and cold water doesn’t spoil. A nar vert nit elter un kalteh vasser vert nit kalyeh.

      

      

      

Good luck, bad luck and perspective

I already have so much to be grateful for in the early moments of 2018. Here is the down low on good luck, bad luck, and perspective. Now, you may think, Lisalah, this you call luck? Take a read… you may see me as a klug (wise) or a meshugenah (crazy) momma. I’ll let you be the judge.

Yiddish proverb:

Even for bad luck, one needs luck. Tsum schlimazel muz men oich mazel hoben.

My angels. Mi mlakhim.

Bad Luck: My Mrs., she has been sick for days with cooties that have held her respiratory system hostage — knock you out on your @ss kind of sick

Good Luck: I have been off from work for the holiday, so I was able to allow her to rest and get better while the shana maidelehs (sweet Little and Big) were off for winter break

Bad Luck: My Mrs. has been so sick, she has not been able to help us prepare for our upcoming move (Yes, goodbye Manor! We found our way out — more to come on that)

Good Luck: She was not in the car when we were struck hard by another vehicle while driving, smack-dab in the front passenger side (airbags deployed and all) The irony here? We were headed to a warehouse scratch and dent sale for the washer dryer we need… Oy, this was not the scratch and dent we had in mind. 

Bad Luck: We started the New Year with a bang crash, a car crash (see above) and already, a trip to the hospital/shmospital

Good Luck: Me, my kinder, we all got up and walked out of the car. So did the woman who hit us. I checked, not a scratch on them. I counted their fingers and if it wasn’t 8 degrees outside, I would have counted their toes too. I watched them sleep peacefully last night.

Bad Luck: My body is sprained, head to toe, after quite the jolt. My left foot looks like a lot like my Aunt Frieda’s foot did oh so long ago. It’s a swollen and distended appendage that stays the same circumference from my calf down to my toes… A cankle would be a welcome sight and a sign of improvement

Good Luck: This too will heal, and I am here to tell the story of how one split second can change everything you know as true in this world

Have you found ways that good luck and bad luck are intertwined? Tell me, won’t you?

Until next time, stay safe, stay present, and stay healthy my friends. Hold those loved ones closer, and may we all have a Happy New Year in 2018.

A bei gesunt. As long as you’re healthy.

      

  

 

 

52 Smiles

Look at me! I’m #50 in the project! Photo courtesy of (c) Ben Bowens Photography

Yiddish phrase:

Lichticheh punim. It literally means a big, happy face that is lit up, from smiling!

Those of you who read this space, know how I feel about smiling. I am still in the midst of my experiment (with very good results) in The Chaos of the Smile Theory. Apparently, photographer Ben Bowens felt similarly and set out on a mission to capture 52 Smiles in 2017.

While he was doing his thing, I did a little of my thing, an interview. Here it is:

1. How old were you when you first picked up a camera? I can remember playing with my family’s Polaroid camera when I was very little, maybe 6 or 7. I’ve always been interested in art and photography and my parents were good about letting me explore with paint and drawing, etc. I got my first 35 mm camera when I was in college and used it for my fundamentals of photography class where I learned about the magic and frustration of the dark room. In addition to that camera, all throughout college, I always had a digital camera on me just in case I wanted to take a quick picture. The same is true now, only my camera costs way more and it’s usually accompanied by two additional lenses, a flash, a cleaning kit and extra batteries!
2. What are some of your favorite things to photograph? I love to photograph people in their element. I’m a very hands-off photographer when I do portrait sessions. I like to settle on a location and let my subjects explore it on their own. Kids are great at being authentically expressive in new places. They wander around, pick things up, taste things, etc. I love to get photos of those little moments and I think most parents appreciate it, too.
3. How did 52 Smiles come about? 52 Smiles was a project I thought about during 2016. The presidential election was super depressing and it seemed like every week a major figure from pop culture died (We lost Princess Leia and Prince!). I felt a lot of negative vibes during 2016 and I just wanted a reason to smile again. I figured if I could take a picture of someone different smiling and share it every week (52 weeks in a year, 52 smiles, you get it) I would be doing my part to make 2017 a little bit brighter.
4. What/Who inspires/fascinates you? Why? I draw a lot of inspiration from Instagram. People I don’t even know, but whose accounts I follow and marvel at on a daily basis. There are some really talented photographers in the city of Philadelphia and around the world. I just try to emulate the techniques or visit the locations they’ve been and try to match some of their work or take photos to make something my own. 
5. Five years from now, you’ll be…. Possibly in another city, doing another job, surrounded by different people. Who knows! Looking back to the last 5 years, I don’t think I could’ve predicted that I’d be handling communications for the ACLU of Pennsylvania and running my own photography business. I have some ideas, but I guess you’ll just have to stay tuned and see where it all goes.
6. Can you share with us a few of your favorite/most memorable photos? Maybe, a little blurb too?
My girlfriend standing on the beach in Wildwood holding her sandals during sunset. It doesn’t get much better than that. Everything about this picture is my favorite. The lighting, the reflection, the subject. Everything.
I’ve heard and read that Cairns represent many different things to different cultures. They can represent love, or be used to mark the spot where a loved one died, but for me they represent balance. I took this picture during a getaway in Martha’s Vineyard where I was desperately trying to re-balance my life. I think this picture sums up that journey and that time in my life.
I often see things I want to photograph when I’m driving or don’t have my camera and the image will stick with me. Every morning during my commute up I-95 I used to see this smokestack blowing god knows what into the atmosphere from one of the many factories that dot the Philadelphia landscape and just in front of it a tree stood defiant to the toxins. I didn’t quite capture the image from my mind (mainly because that would require me to have a tripod on the middle of a 4-lane highway), but this was the first time that I went out of my way to track down a photograph and I was very proud of myself for following the idea.
It was my 33rd birthday and we hiked around Yosemite. Everyone was clamoring to take the iconic sunset photos of half-dome at glacier point and this girl just walked out beyond the barrier and sat on the edge of the cliff. She looked so peaceful and unfazed by the true majesty laid out before her.
7. With 2017 wrapping up, and 52 smiles coming to an end, what’s next for Ben Bowens? My girlfriend suggested that I take pictures of doors around Philadelphia. I think I might give that a go. It’s probably easier to convince a door to take pictures than my camera-shy coworkers.
8. What’s more important, your equipment, or your eye to the world? I think both go hand in hand. Without one, the other is useless. I can’t count the number of times I’ve said “I wish I had my camera” because I saw something I wanted to capture.
9. Where is home? Home is where the heart is. My heart is currently in Philadelphia.
10. Did you study photography? I took fundamentals of photography class my freshman year of college. It was all black and white and required 35mm film. I also took fundamentals of digital photography class in 2010 at Project Basho it was also all black and white, but all digital.
11. How important is Photoshop to your final images? Photoshop is essential to my work. I shoot in RAW and use the program to process my photos. I think “Photoshop” has a negative connotation associated with it when it comes to photography because it implies that an image has been “doctored” or altered in some way, but I think of it as the darkroom for digital photography (see also: Adobe Lightroom). Photographers in darkrooms are constantly altering their photos with burning and dodging, over-exposing or under-exposing techniques. The digital programs of today are basically streamlining that process.
12. Lastly, if you had one wish? It would be to somehow quit my job, risk-free, and travel the world photographing any and everything I could find. Got $1 million laying around I can borrow??? 🙂
Your contact info: Ben Bowens, Instagram @benbowensphoto, benbowens.com, info@benbowens.com, 267-838-0620
So my friends, may you all end this year and start the new one with your very own, lichticheh punim!

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.

      

      

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, I promise!

My kinder (Big and Little) and me, we went for a nice walk in the ‘hood with our boychik (little boy), Gatsby. It was a gorgeous autumn day, not too cold and filled bright with sunshine. They were hesitant. A bit groggy from the previous nights’ festivities. Yes, I did the dreaded mom-fail move: I bribed them.

“Come with me to walk Gatsby and I’ll get you both vanilla steamers at High Point!”

Before I could say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, shoes, socks, coats and a, “We’re ready to go, Mommy! Aren’t you coming?” Here are a few snaps for our jaunt. What a lucky momma I am!

Yiddish proverb:

Never promise something to a child and not give it to them, because in that way they learn to lie.

Keynmol onzog epes tsu a kind aun nisht gebn es tsu zey, vayl in dem veg zey lernen tsu lign.

Dressed and obsessed with chicken bones, he’s ready to walk…
Fun in the autumn leaves heaps
The stop at High Point Cafe, for some Vanilla Steamers with whipped cream, as promised… who’s missing his momma here?
Ahhh… lovely cuppa for kinder! Worth the walk! I wonder why they look so pensive? Nu?
Always, we make friends along the way…
The beauty of nature’s own design — priceless.
      
      
  

The well-worn path to the fridge

Now this guy, he is a fresser and a nosher

To say my kinder (kids) like to nosh (snack) is like saying the Pope, he is Catholic. Who doesn’t like a nice nosh (little something to eat….). My Little, she will even quote ‘Winnie the Pooh,’ and ask, “Can I just have a little smattering of something.”  Now, no Jewish momma even this atheist Jewish momma is going to want to hear the geshrei (cry, moan scream) of hunger from their babes. Essen, bubbelah (Eat Sweetheart). It’s what we grew up hearing. You’re tired? Eat. You’re sad? Eat. You’re angry? Eat. You’re __________ (insert any feeling, emotion, TV show, a brand of car, celebrity, a sign of the zodiac, etc. and the answer in a Jewish home is always, EAT!) Eat. Stuff those emotions down your throat with a nice shmear (a robust portion of cream cheese) and lox (smoked salmon) on a bagel. Mind you, before dinner, Little, she had a nice plate of lox

Noshers and fressers (those you can eat freely and copiously, no reserve!). That is what happens on movie night in our apartment. And last night, was no different. Vey iz mir (OMG), it’s a non-stop fridge free-for-all, where they stare like a deer in the headlights with the refrigerator door wide open — as if a spell has been cast upon them. Let me share with you a bissel of the essen (little of the eating) that transpired. 

First, a nice meal. All of us sitting down together almost civil. Gatsby, he is circling, waiting for the crumbs to fall. We had a healthy, organic, vegan meal of Nona’s homemade lentil soup, bean burrito’s, roasted cauliflower, carrots, hummus — a nice spread albeit a little windy for all. We decide to rent Cinderella, the new-ish one. Dim the lights, roll the show, and…

I’m hungry (in unison)! Can I have something to eat?

Mind you, we barely finished the dishes. And so, being Saturday night and all, we live big! The girls, they each have an ice cream sandwich (the very best of sandwiches in my book). Cue the film. Take 2!

I’m hungry (in unison)! Can I have something to eat?

Something healthy, I cry…

My little, she brings the bowl of carrots over to the sofa and they crunch, munch and chew. Once the bowl was empty:

I’m hungry (in unison)! Can I have something to eat? Can we have another Ice Cream sandwich?

No madeleh.

Can you make these bisquits?

No sweetheart. I’m not going to potchke (to fuss, and/or cook) in the kitchen now, after already making a nice dinner. Are you f**king kidding me?

Can I have that cake from Thanksgiving? 

Not bloody likely! How about a squeezy-yogurt, honey? Breathe they’re just kids and they are growing

The squeezy-yogurts are from the freezer, so this should buy us at least ten minutes of movie time. Tick-Tock. Tick-Tock.

My Little, she then shouts, “Can I have a pickle?”

Sure.

Big chimes in, “Me too?”

Of course.

I gotta let you know, they killed that entire jar of pickles. Gone. Gornisht. Bubkas left.

On a normal day, this Jewish momma would be thrilled with a nosh of roasted cauliflower…

Little, she is still whimpering and is about to ask Alexa for the phone number to the department of childhood injustices, when she opts for a bowl of roasted cauliflower. I warn her that her belly is going to really start to make tsuris (trouble) for her and us. This is just too much. And this combination, oy, her kishkas (intestines) will be in an uproar. Now, you must remember, She’s got pipesOne bowl of cauliflower. Two bowls of cauliflower. At least this is some healthy sh*t she is eating!

Big, she starts stirring are they even watching the movie? and opens some almond butter granola bars before anyone notices. So of course, Little, she now wants some jalapeno blue corn chips.

ENOUGH! THE KITCHEN IS CLOSED! Itisafter10pmatnightandyouhavenotstoppednishingWearegoingtowatchtheendofthismoviebrushandflossourteethandgotobedTherewillbenocryingoutformorefoodYouareeatingoutofboredomorhabitormaybeagiantmomfailonmypartDoyouevenknowwhatishappeninginthismovieNexttimewewatchamovieitisonesnackOnesnackandthatisitOneDoweallunderstandJesusChristYesAtheistJewssaythistoo

And then, not ten minutes later, in bed, our Little, she says: MommyEma (an endearing term for us both), my belly hurts. No smoking gun here…

       
      
      
  

Oh, she’s got pipes

My Little (bottom left of the picture), she’s got herself some pipes, alright. Girlfriend can scream. She can shriek so much better than like Jamie Lee Curtis (nicknamed, the Queen of Scream) in any of the Halloween movies… It’s as if she is channeling some kind inner demon, that can reverberate at only the loudest volume. It starts from the tip of her toes and amplifies at the top of her lungs, barking, bellowing, clamoring … And yes, there are biting bouts of bonelessness, punching, and kicking that add to the happening that is a Little tantrum. Dear neighbors on all sides, above, and below, please accept my apologies for the ongoing mellifluous Mayday moments that travel freely through our thin walls. It’s no doubt, meshuggeneh (crazy) in here at times.

But there is a bigger problem that rocks me to my very core. Me and my Mrs., we do not know why our caged bird sings… Sure, there is a mishmash of anger, sadness, drama, fear, stress, exhaustion, hunger, and irrationality that we all experience every day since mr t took office from time to time. But she’s seven. How bad is life when you are seven? What kind of tsuris (trouble), plagues and misfortunes are stirring in the mind of my shana maideleh (sweet little girl)? Do I seek an exorcist so that Mrs., Big and I don’t get evicted completely bleed out from our eardrums? We are shreknt (frightened, terrorized).

There is no question that when my kinder (children) hurt, I hurt. You see, as I am certain you wise caregivers already know, this special performance nearby residents aside is saved only for us, her mishpocheh (family). Yes, we are safe enough to go all batsh*t cray-cray on to let your hair down. But it is a real shondah (shame) that we can’t crack this nut code and offer solace to my maidel (cutie-pie)

What is wrong? What happened? Are you angry honey? I don’t know. What happened honey? I don’t know. Little, can you stop screaming? I don’t know. Sweetie, please listen to mommy. No response. Did somebody hurt you? No. Did somebody hurt your feelings? I dunno? Are you sick, wounded, have we somehow scarred you for life tired, shaken, scared, hungry?

IWANTCHINESEFOODANDWEAREN’THAVINGCHINESEFOODSOIAMNEVEREATINGAGAINANDWILLFINDAWAYTOGETMYOWNCHINESEFOODANDYOUCANTHAVEANYBECAUSEIWON’TSHAREANDIDON’TWANNATAKEASHOWERORPUTONMYPAJAMASBECAUSEIWANTCHINESEFOODNOWNOTTOMORROWORNEXTWEEKENDANDISOMEHOWBELIEVETHATYOUDONTLOVEMEBECAUSEIDONTSEEANYCHINESETAKEOUTANYWHEREANDITHINKWESHOULDHAVEICECREAMEVERYDAYISTHATSOWRONGICECREAMEVERYDAY?ANDCHINESEFOOD!

Okay, sweetie. Come with me so I can leave the room and not lose my sht all over this place we can talk more privately. You are right. We are not having Chinese food tonight. I am sorry that makes you mad and sad. And, this behavior is not okay actually it is quite impressive. If you think that acting this way will get you an Oscar or an Emmy a trip to the Chinese Restaurant, you are indeed batsht cray-cray incorrect. Now, are you really throwing a fit over Chinese food? Please know you can tell mommy or Ema absolutely anything in the world about anything and everything, and we will always love you. Always! If I could crawl inside you and see what it feels like to be my Little right now, I would. I want to help you. And you cannot act this way. Okay? Okay, mommy. I’m sorry.

Take some deep elevator breaths and calm down. ( I do them too.) Good. Now Little, is this behavior you are sharing a good choice? No mommy. Is this behavior showing kindness to your family or community?  No mommy. What is the one rule we have in our family? Be kind, mommy. Can we leave the bathroom where I am doing everything humanly possible to not go all meshuggeneh and scream louder than you and Jamie Lee Curtis combined go into the living room with everyone else and be kind now? Yes, mommy

BIGTOUCHEDMYLEGONACCIDENTANDTHENITHOUGHTIWASGOINGTOFALL BUTIDIDNTANDIREALLYTHOUGHTIWASSOISTOPPEDMYSELFFROMFALLINGANDTHENICRASHEDINTOTHEWALLWITHMYELBOWANDTHATREALLYHURT ANDITHOUGHTIWASGOINGTOSEENONATODAYANDTHENYOUSAIDWEARE NOTANDIREALLYWANTTOSEENONAESPECIALLYBECAUSEMYELBOWHURTS SOMUCHANDNONALOVESUSANDGIVESUSTREATSANDITALLSTARTEDWHEN BIGTOUCHEDMEONACCIDENTANDWEDIDNTHAVEANYCHINESEFOODTHE OTHERNIGHTANDNOWITHINKWEMAYNEVERHAVECHINESEFOODEVERAGAINANDTHATSALLIREALLYWANTANDIMTIREDANDNOBODYLOVESMEWHENI SCREAMANDYELLANDKICKLIKETHISWHYDONTYOUJUSTGIVEINLIKEI PLANNEDITHOUGHIWOULDWINBYNOWSOIMGONNAKEEPYELLINGANDGO BONELESSANDBROOKETHENEIGHBORTHATLIVESDOWNSTAIRSCANHITTHE CEILINGALLNIGHTBECAUSEIMNOTSTOPPING!

Consequences for such a performance? No TV. No iPad. No allowance. No play date. Obviously, no Chinese food. No solutions. Nothing works or phases my Little. Oh, she is a strong woman in the making! Somebody, help me?

Enter bathroom scene. Repeat. Oh, how I love this kid of mine!

Yiddish proverb:

If you have nothing to lose, you can try everything. Aoyb ir hot gornisht tsu farlim, ir kenen prubirn alts.

      

      

      

      

LEGO LAND is a big win for all!

My littles and me, we went to the LEGOLAND Discovery Center. We are fortunate, it is only about 15 minutes away, and it opened this past summer. My Mrs., she has been taking the shana maidelehs (sweet girls) time and time again.  She was off on a photo shoot, so I had some time all to my kinder (kids). The air, it was a bit nippy, so they wanted to stay inside. Truth be told, I was hesitant. I mean, I love LEGO’s as much as the next momma except when I step on them barefooted and scream like a meshuggeneh (crazy person) but to make a whole land of them? I had my doubts. I made sure to keep my shoes on, no matter what the policy!

To say my Littles love coming here is an understatement. They chattered excitedly the whole car ride over about the pirate ship, the ninja training, and about how they were going to be my guides and show me absolutely everything. I was feeling excited through their passion and a bissel ( a little bit) of osmosis.

Waiting in line for the ride in on the Imagination Express…

We have annual passes for 3 of us I am mostly always at work during such fun, and despite being a Star Wars special weekend, we got in rather quickly. It was lively and crowded inside. Despite the parties of people, it felt like a safe place to be playing.

Yup, we got the red car!

I couldn’t take photos during the Imagination Express ride in our red car — I was having too much fun taking part in the giant laser game we drove through to get inside. We all had a magic wand equipped with a red laser to score points at every twist and turn of our giant LEGO car adventure.

Once inside, the colors, the shapes, the LEGO sets and play stations for all levels… eye candy in every direction. My Big, she met up with life-sized LEGO friend, Andrea, while my Little, she hung tight with Emma. I could tell we were in for an afternoon of colorful, creative play — exactly what we all needed!

The vibe inside was festive, albeit magical. The girls, they ran over to the big LEGO pirate ship of Pirate Adventure Island. Momma got to sit down and watch had to stay back, and no joke, I was happy. You have to take your shoes off to enter the Pirate Adventure Island. Short of passing a kidney stone or a festering flesh wound, nothing, I mean bubkas hurts like stepping on a random lego brick in bare feet….

Playing on Pirate Adventure Island!

The girls, they ran, jumped, slid, screamed, squealed, climbed, scurried, hoisted, heaved and hurried themselves up, down, and all over that ship. About 45 minutes later, they were tuckered out, damp, and ready for our next juncture.

So we made our way to the LEGOLAND version of Philadelphia! They built this city… They built this city out of on rock -n-roll LEGO’s. Miniland is AMAZING! Literally, the entire City of Brotherly Love was scaled down, brick by LEGO brick.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art, complete with the “Rocky Steps”

While searching for Yoda and the Star Wars Ninja’s for the scavenger hunt, hidden amongst our town, we saw the Art Museum and the famous Rocky steps. We strolled over to City Hall, and I thought about setting up a LEGO soapbox but held back. We were playing! And I ranted fairly well enough yesterday…

Philadelphia, City Hall

We went to LOVE Park and saw Robert Indiana’s famed statue, and even made out Claus Oldenberg’s, Giant Clothespin on Market Street.

LOVE Park

The lights dimmed, and our city center skyline filled the night. Behind us, on boathouse row (not pictured) fireworks erupted like the fourth of July! It was nothing less than stunning!

The city lights at night!

After our walkable Philly adventure, it was time to relax a bit. We headed to the 4D movie theatre. There were four shows playing and we walked into one of them timed oh, so right.

Movie time, in 4D: That’s 3D adventures, plus environmental (rain, snow, wind, etc) effects!

I was mesmerized!

The movie was 12 minutes of pure fun and adventure. After the film, we knew it was time for some serious LEGO ninja training. We stretched and headed over to the Ninjago Training Camp. All three of us excelled, with the sharpest of moves, skills, and mind. Who knew we were such talented Ninjas in the making? I’d show you, but then, well, you know…

Extra Ninja training for my Little
and extra Ninja Training for my Big

My Little and Big, they are strong, proud ninja’s through and through. I will not bat an eye if they are asked to be in the next LEGO Batman movie… We all wished we had cupholder hands rather than opposable thumbs, and left with great memories of fun times in LEGOLAND.

Yiddish Proverb:

When you look to the heights, hold on to your hat. Ven ir kuk tsu di keyts, haltn aoyf deyn hut.

This post is a totally unsolicited and true review. We paid our own way, and will gladly do it again. We love it here and since we don’t have cupholder hands, we give it a hefty 5-star, thumbs up review! Have you been a LEGOLAND Discovery Center?

     

     

This is not what I wanted to write today

Today’s post has been literally hijacked by yet another deadly mass shooting, here in the good ole U.S. of A. I was going to write a lovely piece about our trip to LEGO Land with my kinder (children), and fill you in on how Nutcracker practice is going — but that will come at another time. I am seething and crying all at once — and I refuse to go numb. We need action. Notorious RBG would demand it, and so would Edie Windsor!

Tweet from Mom’s Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

Congress, you are inept I am beyond mad and I have had enough. The chain of green is a stranglehold that must end. Held by the very prosperous purse strings of the National Rifle Association (NRA), you now have lined your pockets, profits, and proceeds with payola: and it is nothing less than blood money. Your ‘trump card’ use of the Constitution and our ‘right to bear arms’ has shifted quite precariously from guns for a trained and able military to guns for killing the sport, crime, suicide, and the obstruction of passing laws to protect us, the people, from fair and just gun legislation.

THIS MUST STOP

Guess what? Prayers, thoughts, and joining of hands in unity don’t do jack-sh*t do not work. The deadly mass shooting in at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs was the worst deadly gun massacre since the last one, in Las Vegas, just a few short weeks ago. In fact, take a look at what is now becoming the shameful and violent legacy of American gun culture:

  • Sutherland Springs, Texas: 26 killed November 2017
  • Las Vegas Nevada: 59 killed October 2017
  • San Francisco, California: 3 killed June 2017
  • Orlando, Florida: 5 killed June 2017
  • Ft. Lauderdale, Florida: 5 killed January 2017
  • Burlington, Washington: 5 killed September 2016
  • Orlando, Florida: 49 killed June 2016
  • San Bernardino, California: 14 killed December 2015
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado: 3 killed November 2015
  • Roseburg, Oregon: 9 killed October 2015
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee: 5 killed July 2015
  • Charleston, South Carolina: 9 killed June 2015
  • Isla Vista, California: 6 killed May 2014
  • Ft. Hood, Texas: 3 killed April 2014
  • Washington, DC: 12 killed September 2013
  • Santa Monica, California: 5 Killed June 2013
  • Newtown, Connecticut: 27 killed December 2012
  • Brookfield, Wisconsin: 3 killed October 2012
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota: 6 killed September 2012
  • Oak Creek, Wisconsin: 6 killed August 2012
  • Aurora, Colorado: 12 killed July 2012
  • Oakland, California: 7 killed April 2012
  • Seal Beach, California: 8 killed October 2011
  • Tucson, Arizona: 6 killed January 2011
  • Manchester, Connecticut: 8 killed August 2010
  • Huntsville, Alabama: 3 killed February 2010
  • Ft. Hood, Texas: 13 killed November 2009
  • Binghamton, NY: 13 killed April 2009
  • Dekalb, Illinois: 5 killed February 2008
  • Omaha, Nebraska: December 2007
  • Blacksburg, Virginia: 32 killed April 2007
  • Salt Lake City, Utah: 5 killed February 2007
  • Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania: 5 killed October 2006
  • Goleta, California: 6 killed January 2006
  • Red Lake Indian Reservation, Minnesota: 9 killed March 2005
  • Wakefield, Massachusetts: 7 killed December 2000
  • Honolulu, Hawaii: 7 killed November 1999
  • Fort Worth, Texas: 7 killed September 1999
  • Atlanta, GA: 9 killed July 1999
  • Columbine, Colorado: 13 killed April 1999

Did you know that after every one of this horrible massacres, gun sales go up?

It is most definitely a GUN ISSUE

mr t said, “a very deranged individualhello pot, meet kettle did this. He went on to say, this shooting “is not a guns situation” and that “it is a little too soon” to be talking about gun violence. TOO SOON!

Another lone, white gunman took his own life after killing and injuring droves of innocent people. He walked into a church, dressed in black and armed with a Ruger AR-556 semi-automatic assault rifle. He sprayed the crowd as they prayed, with bullets. His background included violence and domestic abuse, a dishonorable military discharge. He should have never had that gun in his hands.

We need to expand background checks for every gun purchase. We need to talk about mental health while stripping us all from the Affordable Care Act and we need to put away the party rhetoric and start saving innocent lives. We must condemn the violence that happens all too often. Oh, and btw, two-thirds of all the gun deaths in the US are suicide. Yes, suicide.

We must remind Congress, that they work for us.

Congress, We the people, we need you. We need to stop the NRA, who is currently spending ridiculous sums of money, lobbying, on a new bill to make mass shootings even easier. You see, the NRA, they are worried about our hearing. WHATTHEFCK There is a new legislative plan they are forcing down our throats, and it is called, get this, the SHARE ACT (Sportsman Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act, H.R. 3668) Bundled in this bollux of bullsht is the Hearing Protection Act. What’s that? I can’t hear you. I just came from the shooting range. To protect your ears from the sound of bullets killing, felons, domestic abusers, criminals, gangs, and anyone else, can get silencers. Imagine Las Vegas, Sutherland County, or any of these acts of horror if, in addition to magazines and semi-, or automatic rifles, they had no sound. None.

Please, do what you can to turn this awful tide of violence and terror and move it in the other direction. Today, go out and VOTE. Here are two trusted organizations that are trying to help, and I have joined.

Mom’s Demand Action for Gun Sense and Everytown for Gun Safety. Please, help us. Donate, volunteer, VOTE. Help us stand up to Wayne LaPierre and his NRA and win back our safety, health, and well-being. I have my kinder (children) to protect, and your kinder too.

Yiddish proverb:

The eggs, they think they are smarter than the chickens. di eggs, zey trakhtn zey zenen smarter vi di tshikanz.

To life! L’chiam!

     

     

   

Notorious R.B.G: you are my hero!

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 do.

A wonderful read for all ages!

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

 

      

      

      

     

On Sunday it was summer

Without some outdoor play, they are both like vilda chayas (wild animals).

      

  

Spartanomics

  • noun

the science branch of knowledge projection of fear tsuris (troubles) concerned with the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services buying the stuff you need today, tomorrow and the next day for your family.

  • verb

Meshuggah (crazy) behaviors or actions, that oftentimes arise with heart palpitations creatively as the direct result of the scarcity of means, in order to achieve certain common and normal ends. Huh? ex.: We need to brush our teeth, we still, really!!! have no toothpaste… Achh!

BTW, my Mrs., she is a BeautyCounter consultant. Click here to see how you can get safer personal and beauty products to help keep you and our world healthier.

Take a look at this photo. I walked into our bathroom the other day, and this is what I saw, no joke! From our loo to your eyes. I ran for my magical iPhone to snap this baby. And with this, comes a tale. After all, you that is why you are here …

Did you know, that when you run out of toothpaste, you can actually cut the tube in two or three parts, and have enough toothpaste to last a normal family of four at least five more days? Did you also know that when the deodorant thingy-mah-jiggy-holder falls from its container and bounces on the bathroom floor a few times and lands in the corner, a linty, hairy mess, you can remain odor free for about two weeks more, if you pick it up, wipe away the yuck, and rub it under your arms? Two weeks! And, that pump in the shampoo bottle… when that stops pouring out perfect spurts of soapy suds-making, you can lengthen and lusciously lather for days, maybe even a week if you take it off? The little straw itself holds two days worth of ‘do-cleaner! Then, the bottom of the bottle, don’t get me started! It’s robbery! In Yiddish, we call this, aroizgevarfeneh (pronounced ah-royz-geh-varf-ehn-uh). It literally means thrown out, wasted.

Extrapolate this scenario out across your personal purchases: think about the sunscreen, moisturizer, conditioner, make-up (like I would know, Nu?) caulk, paint, glue, … wait, don’t. It’s too upsetting to think of the money we’ve all put in the landfill left at the table. Look at this little Yiddisheh gem:

It is not so good with money, as it is bad without. Es iz nit azoi gut mit gelt es iz schlect on dem.

Living in the frugal lane, we’ve learned some very good money-saving tips and ideas. We’ve  all worked to change our anti-penny-pinching ways many years ago. It’s all good. And we’ve argued and cried learned and grown. Vey iz mir (OMG!), it is madness if any of you let the above actions go unnoticed! Think conservation! Teaching the kinder (children) about resources and savings, everyday environmentalism and, well spartanomics!

Big and Little, my kinder…

My glass is always half-full. Now, I think it may be even more full than I ever imagined!  What I do know:

To make promises and to love don’t cost any money. Tsuzogn un lib hoben kostn kain gelt nisht.

So try these tips. See if you save. If you have tips for us, please! Do tell! My Mrs. and me, we are trying desperately to save our money for a home. Alevai! (It should only happen!) These small humans we are raising, Little and Big, they cost a fortune! And, yes, these shanah maidels (sweet little girls), they are indeed priceless.

      

     

 

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.

      

      

      

     

 

Rubber Ducky, you’re the one

No rubber ducks, not one, were injured in this photo. This, I can assure you.

Appropriate Yiddish phrases for this post:

A fool goes to the baths and forgets to wash his face.  A nar gait in bod arein un fargest zikh dos punim optsuvashen.

When the streets are muddy, the cobblers rejoice. Az s’iz in droissen a bloteh, frai’en zikh en shusters.

What’s really going on in the photo? Fun with potholes in the streets of Philadelphia… (Ellen, I promised you this, remember!)

 

   

 

Detective G is turning up the heat

It has become even more evident in our immediate vicinity, chickens are being slaughtered at a pace that far exceeds anything resembling normalcy. It’s cuckoo. Bones are strewn about the pavement, the grass, the bushes. Those that leave these skeletal remains behind are becoming cavalier; downright cocky. Gatsby’s nose knows a nice nosh (snack) exactly where to find the latest crime scene. No ruffled feather goes unturned while he is patrolling the roost.

As his sniffer snarfs, the clucked remains are quickly unearthed, exposed. We pace the pavement, seeking answers. Where before he found entire grilled chicken breasts, wings, a sprig of celery, dare I say, special sauce; now only blanched bones, clean cartilage lay before his paws.

Careful, this may be a sight to keep away from young eyes

The unlawful cockerel crooks have upped their game. Their hunger shows and they are getting sloppy. Gatsby, my lone detective dog, is determined to stop this flock of felons if our neck of the woods is ever to be free from dreck (litter) vindicated. It is his passion unless you are a passing squirrel or a fleeting feline and he forgets his mission to chase you and fits his penchant poultry palate.

They are toying with him, taunting

Nary a strut about the ‘hood goes by without a need for his deputy sidekick (me or the Mrs.), to extract the nasty osseous matter from his tight-lipped lips. I’ve explained about the proper protocol in bagging evidence. How he needs to be clean and methodical or we’ll have another OJ Simpson on the loose, despite the power of DNA. He prefers his way. Every thigh, neck, breast, leg, and wing carefully clenched in his canines. He will eat his way through thick and thin, unrelenting and stoic until the pecking peccant perps are reduced to jail-bird status. He knows why the caged bird sings, and he is waiting for the music. He was not born to kvetch (complain), but to serve.

The world is becoming safer for all fine feathered friends

Perhaps as the season turns, the sun lies low in the sky and the dark of night comes about earlier and earlier, Detective G will get to the bottom of the bucket this constant putrid poultry perversion lurking and littering our residential roads and pathways. Wish him luck as he continues his beat in search of truth, justice, and the American way, well, that means nothing anymore with our government a peaceable kingdom. He will make the streets safe again for all fine feathered friends, for his eyes see beauty in all things fowl.

Appropriate Yiddish phrases for this Post:

The eggs, they think they are smarter than the chickens. Di eyer viln zayn kliger fun di hiner.

May your bones be broken as often as the ten commandments. Zolne dayne beyner zich brechn azoy oft vi di Aseres-Hadibres.

And the kinder, they feel safe, knowing Gatsby is in control of our hood

Now, my dear neighbors and friends, we all share this world. Please stop littering! Oy vey iz mir!

      

      

      

     

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).

 

Linky’s:

      

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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.

    

      

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.

      

      

     

      

 

Putting it on some greens

Cake, ice cream, pizza, and mac-and-cheese has been the menu of late. It’s been a birthday party bonanza around here, with my little party divas. I am one lucky momma getting to attend as well as escort my maidelehs (little, sweet girls). Such fun!

This one, she always marches to the beat of her, well, her own putter…
Earlier that same day, Big, she lost two teeth. Didn’t shake her game up at all
This foursome was tough to beat
The beauty of the 19th hole…

I think we played about 43 holes, sans any attempt at golfer know-how and etiquette. If it weren’t for cuteness, it could have been a real problem.

If you’re going to do something wrong, enjoy it. Az me est chazzer, zol rinnen fun bord.

Enjoy all! L’chaim. (To life!)

      

    

Aside

101 things I can’t believe I have already said this summer

The summer sizzle, she has started! When I saw the temps hit 101, oy vey iz mir (oh em gee), I had to document it for you all to see. Me, I like the heat. You will not get a complaint from me from heat and humidity… cold, that’s another story altogether. And in the heat, we get a bissel meshugeneh ( a little bit crazy). It’s hard to believe the things that have come from my mouth, in these short, early days of summer.

  1. Absolutely no licking your sister or Gatsby — in fact, you really should not ‘lick’ anyone at all
  2. How many times do I need to tell you both that your feet should not be on the walls?
  3. There footprints on the walls in every damned room in this crap apartment
  4. Talk with your big girl voice
  5. No dribbling in the house, we have neighbors to consider
  6. Please, just roll the ball
  7. Do you want me to bring the ball downstairs and give it away?
  8. I do not think you should have a jar of Kalamata olives for breakfast
  9. Step away from the Kalamata olives
  10. What is the one rule we have in this family? That’s right, be kind.
  11. Really, you are slowly killing me Was (insert kicking, throwing, not sharing, yelling, ignoring, having a tantrum) that behavior kind?
  12. Can you try using your utensils during meals?
  13. Today, I am not going to mention anything about using utensils
  14. Can we try to have just one meal, where everyone stays at the table, in their seats, the whole meal, utensils or not
  15. Do you even hear my effing voice when I speak?
  16. Just fuc*ing answer me I know you heard me speak, so can you just fuc*ing answer me kindly respond?
  17. Do you know what it feels like to be ignored?
  18. R-E-S-P-O-N-D-!
  19. You do not need to cry, just answer so I don’t go batshit crazy and start throwing things
  20. My girls, if being tired were a valid excuse for making bad choices, mommy and Ema would be miserable asshats grumpy and unkind all of the time
  21. Why are you frustrated, honey? kill me, or stick a hot poker in my eye
  22. Who used magic markers on this white table What is the definition of mental illness?
  23. Honey, please put something underneath your paper when you draw or color
  24. Why is the table purple and blue?
  25. Please think your answer through before you speak — lying is not kind
  26. Well, then who colored on the table?
  27. Who remembers what mommy and Ema say about licking? (please note: she just licked the soy sauce bottle on the table at the Chinese restaurant I am completely useless
  28. Quiet, happy place Quiet, happy place (repeat over and over in hopes of finding a quiet, happy place)
  29. Little, please leave Gatsby’s teeth alone — he is trying to sleep
  30. If he’s growling at you do you want him to go all Cujo on you, what is he trying to tell you, honey?
  31. I don’t think Gatsby want’s to wear your bike helmet right now sweetheart – maybe just the pearls
  32. Has anyone brushed their teeth today because these toothbrushes are bone dry, and your breath reeks of hummus?
  33. Yes, you have to brush the wiggly-giggly teeth or the tooth fairy will not visit for a couple of nasty, food covered, smelly, grungy teeth, blech!
  34. Can you both try to stay in the bathroom while you brush your teeth
  35. Girls, should we be walking around the apartment while brushing our teeth?
  36. Please turn off the water while you brush your teeth
  37. What does mommy say every time about conserving water for the planet, girls
  38. Look how Jesus H. Christ hard you are running the water
  39. Do you want your children to have water (yes, I did go there) to brush their teeth?
  40. Big, brush longer — sing an entire Adele song in your head
  41. Little, enough brushing already!
  42. You really only need to spit once or twice when rinsing
  43. I counted 17 rinse/spits — toothbrush down — step away from the sink
  44. Why is there a crap load of toothpaste on the floor each and every damned day of my life
  45. Let’s put on some sunscreen girls
  46. It’s time for more sunscreen girls – because we want to protect you
  47. Why are you standing in the refrigerator?
  48. Please, girls, do not drink your water with the refrigerator door open
  49. Your glass of water will not get hot if you keep it by your side during dinner
  50. What does mommy say shut the damned fridge door already about conserving energy for the planet earth?
  51. Do not drink your water like Gatsby would, honey, you have opposable thumbs for a reason
  52. (Epic spill) Oy, it’s only water — grab a towel
  53. Be nice to each other, you are shvesters (sisters)
  54. Do you know how lucky you are to be shvesters?
  55. After cleaning every damned pot, pan and dish in the kitchen How on earth can you be huuuuuunnngry?
  56. Why do you say that like you’re about to cry? Say it normally, in your big girl voice
  57. Drink a glass of water and let’s check back in together, in 20 minutes or so
  58. Quiet, happy place Quiet, happy place (repeat over and over in hopes of finding a quiet, happy place)
  59. What did I say about drinking your water with the refrigerator door open?
  60. Nope, it hasn’t been 20 minutes yet
  61. When I say no licking, that includes the refrigerator door handle someone, save me
  62. Okay, but think about what you want BEFORE you open the door of the refrigerator
  63. Fine, have some olives — yup, as many as you like
  64. No, you cannot eat them on the sofa
  65. Because we eat food at the table
  66. Because I SAID SO (yep, I said that too)
  67. Gesundheit! sneezed into my f*cking mouth — ugh! Sneeze into your elbow, please sweetie
  68. Uh-oh, cough germ warfare game on into your elbow too, honey
  69. Please don’t pick your nose
  70. Even when you turn away, mommy can tell that you are picking your nose
  71. Because I can
  72. Now, go wash your hands so we all don’t get sick
  73. STOP! Should you be jumping on the sofa especially when we have a f*cking trampoline in the living room?
  74. Does this look like the playground (well, minus the trampoline – apartment life)?
  75. Get on the trampoline girls and jump some of that energy out
  76. Okay, then read, color, call Nona,  split the atom, cure cancer, write letters to Sen. Toomey or put on a show for us
  77. Yes, we will put our phones down when we watch your show — now go and practice in your room
  78. We were just talking while you both were rehearsing – remember how we talked about how sometimes, mommy and Ema, we need time to talk to each other?
  79. Grown up stuff
  80. Why are you standing on the sofa?
  81. Okay, let’s just think before we jump on someone without them expecting it
  82. Oh for f*cks sake Ema, are you okay?
  83. PLEASE! breathe Kindness includes not jumping or ramming into each other or us
  84. Maybe I am the one who is batshit bonkers and no noise at all comes out of my mouth Does anyone in this house HEAR ME when I SPEAK?
  85. Quiet, happy place Quiet, happy place (repeat over and over in hopes of finding a quiet, happy place)
  86. Yes it is the weekend
  87. No sweethearts, mommy stays home today! It’s a family day!
  88. Maybe we can get ice cream today
  89. Not really, most of the time ‘maybe’ means ‘yes’ because mommy and Ema crave ice cream nightly, it is our equivalent of a nice bottle of red
  90. Let’s walk Gatsby, you can bring your scooters
  91. Of course, you have to wear your helmets
  92. Yes, you need more sunscreen – that was hours ago
  93. Because it is mommy and Ema’s job to take good care of you
  94. Everybody, please pee before we go
  95. It will be a nice walk, I don’t know how long
  96. Are you really going to scooter in those gladiator boots I’m meshuggeneh (crazy)?
  97. Come here girls, give me a big hug
  98. Ewwww! Did you just LICK my underarm?
  99. Ema, text me when we can should come back!
  100. Take all the time you need, honey
  101. I love you all to the moon and back, to infinity!

She (and by she, I mean me) should go crazy and run around through the streets. Zi shoudl geyn mshuge aun loyfn arum dirk di gasn.

      

      

      

 

Through Gatsby’s eyes…

You have got to be kidding me. I stayed here, the entire meal. Quiet. Waiting. Under Little’s chair. I mean we all know she is not the neatest of eaters. I’d starve to death under Big’s chair… The kid eats macaroni like it’s popcorn? She holds a fork in her left hand and picks up the food with her right. That kid has the style that I admire! Surely something is gonna drop. Wait! They can’t be clearing the dishes already? Say it ain’t so? Wait! Wait! What about me?

The food is cooked in a pot and the plate gets the honor? Shpeiz kocht men in top un koved krigt der teller? 

    

Summer: Leaps of faith

The greatest mistake is fearing to make one. Di greste grayz iz mura tsu makhn eyn.

This one, he’s fearless!

This is what summer is all about.

      

    

My faith in humanity is restored!

I came home from work, and the pain in my neck was excruciating. On a scale of 1 – 10, it was a 46 (that should only be my age). Ugh! My shana maidelehs (sweet little girls) were so excited to see me; Gatsby, my furry boychik, was jumping and barking at my feet.  My Mrs., she could see the pain in my eyes and she gently kissed me on the check. Heroes welcome for certain.

Apparently, a note was left at the front door entrance to our apartment building to my attention. Big, she was very excited to tell me all about it. Someone found something of mine in the parking lot… call a phone number and they will give it to me. I had no idea what that could be and I had no intention of finding out immediately due to my ‘pain in the neck‘ neck pain. My family, they went out to a birthday party for Little’s friend — I wanted to go, but without full body cooperation, I listened to the siren song of the sofa calling my name. Gatsby and I snuggled in tightly, arranging my head just so, and I asked ‘Alexa’ to play Rachel Maddow as I closed my eyes.

A little bit later, I heard a ping on my phone, so I took a look-see. I noticed a few notes in my Facebook messenger. Delving a little deeper, there was yet another note for me from a person I did not know. It was brilliant! Take a look at this:

Someone found my wallet, and wanted to return it to me! All of the sudden, I remembered Big’s excitement and put 2+2 together… I lost my wallet.

Wait, I lost my wallet? I never lose my wallet? Nu? When did this happen? Where? How? Obviously in the parking lot…  

My penchant for the penny-wise is so strong, I only reach cash/card if I really have to make a purchase. I met a friend for coffee today, but that’s a luxury, so no wallet. I didn’t even know I lost it!  This could have easily been disastrous! 

I dialed up my very kind neighbor right away. She was so sweet and caring. She said she was eagerly waiting to hear from me and she hoped I wasn’t going crazy looking for this missing wallet… Wait, I lost my wallet? I never lose my wallet? She was at work, but her hubby was home and would be happy to deliver my missing property. I insisted that I go to him – It was the least I could do! Gatsby and I ventured across the parking lot. As we made our way, it dawned on me that the previous day, me and this boychik, we walked to the local coop for some dog food and treats. My wallet must have fallen out of my pocket on the way home… I lost my wallet?

I pressed D9 and the most delightful man answered, in a British accent too! He buzzed me in the doorway and came straight away, with my red wallet in hand. As he handed it to me, he reached out his hand and said, “My name is Jim.” I happily took his hand in mine and smiled, gushing gratitude! He bent down and played with Gatsby. These two people who found my wallet, Kristy, and Jim, they are mensches (good people filled with honesty and integrity). And, they like my Gatsby. Dog people are good people! ❤

I love a kind human!

Today, in a world filled with chaos, hate, divisiveness, terror… I experienced the ultimate in human kindness. I saw proof that people, all people, can choose kindness.

A little bit of light pushes away a lot of darkness. A kleyn bissel fun likht pushiz a vek a plats fun finsternish. 

Kristy and Jim, thank you for my light.

I lost my wallet… My Mrs., Liz, Biz, Nona — it’s official. I’m a true part of this family! Expect a lost/stolen iPhone next, and, wait, where did my keys go? Oy vey. (OMG.)

Shalom, Ahava, and Simcha. Peace, Love, and Joy. May you all find some kindness today and every day!

      

     

      

He’s Gone… I got him!

After the run, my Gatsby is tired. Thank you, Benny!

He’s meditating on whether a flea has a bellybutton. Er klert tsi a floy hot a pupik.