Why is there so much hate in the world?

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My heart, it hurts, a lot.

Help me; I feel a bit discouraged today. I’m not my usual sunny self.

My kinder, Little and Big, are growing up in a culture that is so riddled in hate. And it is growing overwhelmingly, and at warp speeds.

Me, I’m out looking for the fairies tossing pixie dust, playing harps (really cool ones), planting trees and lighting the path to eternal sunshine, love, peace and happiness? Others, they put on vests voluntarily and enter crowded airports and tourist hot spots, or purchase firearms and forever change what safety means.

Such brokkh (disaster and misfortune) I refuse to get used to!

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Hate, the worst of the four letter words, is learned and it spreads like a contagion.

I have a friend whose family came here to visit, leaving from the very same Turkish Airport that the terrorists blew up, less than 24 hours later. Someone was shot in our parking lot just a few weeks back, and just minutes before, he killed another human being.

I’m sorry, but moments of silence and prayer are bullshit not cutting it for me. I do not mean to offend those who believe, but there cannot be a God whose plan is that we strategically pick each other off the planet to see who wins; most often, one by one — and too often, en masse. Poo, poo, may they all rest in peace…

Why the hell can’t we find a way to all live in peace? Is that so farshlugineh (crazy, irrational, mixed up)?

Did we just throw away our moral compass?

How did the bar get so low?

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This post is filled with questions that I do not have the answers to. What I do know is that:

  • I’m all for gun control, background checks and mental health checks
  • I don’t think my neighbor, or yours for that matter, should have the right to bear arms. I have shpilkes (panic) when I consider that he or she may – what if my shana madelahs (sweet little darling girls) are there for a play date?
  • Color me crazy, but mental health is and should be valued as highly as physical health, whether you want a gun or not
  • I think we all should feel safe going to school, the movies, a dance club, the airport, at work and anywhere else the fuck we want to go
  • I think everyone should be able to pee without showing a birth certificate
  • I want to love out loud, fearlessly

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Do we have the chutzpah (balls, yes balls) to make change out of this unconscionable tsuris (troubled, mayhem) of a world?

Won’t you help me? Please? My kishkas (intestines) are in knots at the thought of us not joining together with empathy in our hearts. Don’t we all deserve so much better than this? For the kinder (children), we make it better?

Alevai (It should only happen)!

Das hartz hat mir gezoght (My heart told me) it would.

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What to blog about when so much of the news is, well, simply awful?

She captured summer in one shot
She captured summer in one shot, My Mrs. willowandsage1 on IG

I think it time to share some pure, unadulterated happiness. I know I could use it. The broadcast news has been filled with unconscionable horrors of hate and evil. Politics and nogudniks (very, very bad people), making America great again, hah! Oy, don’t get me started — Violence, assault, guns, gorillas and alligators, another mass shooter. Hate and evil, have I mentioned that? Too much tsuris (pain and suffering) in our world…

Well, who is up for some good, old fashioned, hedonism? A kvell-fest, if you will!

Today, I share with you three joyful things in hopes of paying it forward and spreading some love and bliss, in a world that could use it. Here goes:

Fairy house in bedroom. Please keep snack in kitchen (mice). We sleep in our moms room, so you are safe. Question: What is your name? Write name here. Thanks, Luka and Neko
Fairy house in bedroom. Please keep snack in kitchen (mice). We sleep in our moms room, so you are safe. Question: What is your name? Write name here. Thanks, Luka and Neko
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A snack fit for a fairy! Now they put out two snacks, two cups and they were left a note from Lily and Lucy Twinkle…
  • Fairy Time: Little and Big, my shana madelahs (sweetheart daughters), have taken magical thinking and play to new levels here at the Manor. Inspired by a lovely friend, , at a first-time sleepover (for Big), they now write notes to fairies, welcoming them to our home, leaving them presents alongside a nice nosh (food and drink). What Yiddisher momma wouldn’t encourage a guest or two to ess a bissel (eat a little)? Yes, each night they craft a catered fairy affair. It’s just about as adorable and childlike as one could hope for as summer vacation starts off. Childhood should be filled with beautiful moments like this. Memory making material that brings such nachas and pure giddiness to us all. And, the added touch of surprise and delight for the fairies can’t hurt, nu?
Look at that punim (face)! How can you not love him?
Look at that punim (face)! How can you not love him?
  • The Great Gatsby: About a month ago, our family grew. After the long pain and suffering from the loss of our two wunder-pugs, Atticus and Eli, Little and Big, they convinced the and me that a puppy would make us feel better. Such wisdom from my kinder (kids). Enter Gatsby. A kockeputzi (mish-mash) mix breed we rescued, filled with the love and affection we so needed. His momma was a Pekinese/Pug and his Poppa, a miniature Dachshund. What we get is a beautiful boychik (little boy) puppy who has stolen our hearts, and is helping us to heal. Gatsby is a mechaiyeh (absolute pleasure) that has made our flat at the Manor feel like home. He is a real D-A-W-G. Very un-pug-like! He fetches, digs, burrows and buries bones around our apartment. He barks, chews and has a mischievous, impish little face. He is smart as they come, and takes us all outside for family fun. And, he is a cuddly little love has filled our hearts.
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Shvesters, and Gatsby ❤
  • She found her Niche: I’m talking about my beautiful Mrs. here, who is fast becoming an incredibly talented, self-taught, photographer. Let me kvell a bissel (brag, boast and shout about how talented she is, a little) about her now. She has always had an eye, my Mrs. For style, for fashion, for color, for creativity. Goldeneh hendts (literally, golden hands) she has. And now, she is putting it all together and letting her camera speak for itself. I’ll stop talking now and share some photos. Follow her on IG at willowandsage1.
Look at that lighting and styling. Nu?
Look at that lighting and styling. Nu?
with Nona, does it get any better?
with Nona, does it get any better?

 

Ah, a kvell-fest feels good. Always time to kvetch (bitch and moan complain) later…

A bei gezunt. As long as we’re healthy!

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Botox Day: A Story in Pictures at the Hospital / Shmospital

Back, at last...
Back, at last…my glass is half full
Oy vey. This I have to wear?
Oy vey. This I have to wear?
Hospital, shmospital
Hospital, shmospital
Over here Doc. I'm here. It's me! C'mon.
Over here Doc. I’m here. It’s me! C’mon.
Doc is asking for me!
I heard my name. YES!
Ready, set, go
Ready, set, go
In 3 - 5 days I'll be better...
In 3 – 5 days I’ll be better…
This morning, waiting for the Botox to kick in
This morning, waiting for the Botox to kick in

Coming soon: a better parent, wife, sister, friend…

 

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What are the Teachable Moments on Zoo’s and Animals in Captivity

Big and Little, at the Philadelphia Zoo, a few years back
Big and Little, at the Philadelphia Zoo, a few years back

We are all talking about it, the tragedy, a real shonda (shame), that happened this week at the Cincinnati Zoo.

  • The world lost Harambe, a western lowland silverback gorilla, critically endangered
  • A crowd of people witnessed a horrific killing
  • The zoo is feeling the heat of anger for their decision, the loss of a dear friend, and a meaningful failure in conservancy of this species
  • A little boy hopefully learned from a very painful lesson
  • and a Mother is being vilified around the world

Many witnesses at the scene say that the beautiful silverback gorilla was acting in a protective manner. Actually protecting the curious boychik (boy toddler) who climbed over and through barriers to fall 10 feet into the den of Harambe.

Harambe, he held the boys hand as the crowd screamed in fear, panicked at the situation. Harambe helped the boy pull his pants up…

Who knows? Nu? But as a mom, a parent, a caregiver, we have all had that fleeting flash of time, where we have lost sight of our kinder (kid(s)), when our hearts beat loudly in our chests, and our throats could barely swallow. Thankfully, kaynahorah (the evil eye was not with us) our outcomes were different. Relief delightedly poured over us at the safe sighting, of our wee ones.

This mom is no different from is. She had that same split second stint in time.  But hers resulted in a tragic, global loss. A farshtunken (stinky, smelly, awful) outcome, no matter how you see this.

At our home, me and the Mrs., and Little and Big had a conversation about the zoo event during dinner. Big was visually disturbed. She hid her face with her hands. Screamed, “No! Why?”

Little, a real animal whisperer she is, was pensive, quiet. Then, she spoke. I asked her again to repeat it the next morning:

Some things we talked about further:

  • Zoo animals are not pets, nor are they tame in any way
  • Some view zoos as wonderful institutions of conservancy and propagation of endangered species
  • Some view zoos like “Black Fish”

Either way, whatever your point of view, talk to the kinder (children). Hear their views. Share yours. Reinforce the importance of:

  • Listening ears
  • Mommy’s (enter appropriate caregiver title here) always have your best interest at heart
  • We need to be gentle, tender stewards of this planet we live on

We will miss you terribly Harambe. We all tear a cloth in your honor. I know here in our house, we hope that conservancy work continues. That this beautiful creature that was Harambe, has a legacy.

And for this momma, who is now broken and battered, we wish you some peace and clarity from a crushing visit to the zoo.

A bei gesunt (We should all live and be well).

 

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Have you Ever Been to Wonderland?

photo courtesy of willowandsage1
photo courtesy of willowandsage1

Talk about waiting for the weekend? This one, we have anticipated since Big and Little danced the Nutcracker this past winter. The arrival of the spring dance recital officially kicks off summer. With an abrupt flip of the temps from 50’s to 90’s (it wasn’t a hot flash – because everyone felt it) overnight, summer, she played along nicely. This year, the show was Alice in Wonderland. Little, was a sweet little blue bird, with a feathery tail and little yellow beak. Big, she was a Cheshire cat, complete with a tail, ears, and a glow in the dark smile.

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My kinder (kids), they have been persistently practicing every plié and pirouette since January. The Mrs., she spends countless hours in the ballet studio, watching magic happen and a few too many meltdowns, mittendrinnen (usually Little, in the middle of everything). I know my bubelah’s (loving term, like darling or sweetie) have been grand jeté -ing and pas de chat -ing every single night and day. Check with the downstairsikah’s (neighbors below us) here at the Manor. Oy vey, don’t ask.

This Yiddisher momma was kvelling (blushing with bliss) in both the afternoon and evening shows. You know what, intentionally, I looked around at the other spectators. Clearly, I was not the only one captivated by the hard work, talent and stick-to-itiveness of every kid and young adult on that stage performing. Whether they knew it or not, everyone was kvelling. Just like the Cheshire cats prancing on stage with young Alice, we were all grinning from ear to ear. We did not fall down any rabbit hole. We were not dreaming. We were witnessing the enchanted way dance instructors magically connect with students and put on a masterpiece.

Over-kvell: Smilin' like a Cheshire Cat!
Over-kvell: Smilin’ like a Cheshire Cat!

I spent the intermission massaging my jaw from over-kvell; smiling with too much abandon. As the lights dimmed, jazz, tap, modern, and hip-hop artists confidently seized the stage and left us all spellbound. Bravo. Mazel Tov (hooray!) to each and every one of those girls and boys that got up and strutted their stuff on that stage. Big, my shana madelah (sweet girl) stormed the stage to Cheerleader with her fellow dance mates in beginner hip-hop. This dance, the entire semester, she kept every move a secret, so she could surprise me at the recital. Surprise me, she did!

It’s so clear to me that these kids, my kinder and all of the students participating, enjoy every step on the footpath to learning the art of the dance. Great big thanks to Nancy Malmed and all of the wonderful teachers at Wissahicken Dance Academy.

In addition to cultivating talent and skills, you are all providing my kinder moxie, in a world that likes to steal it from them. Thank you for that.

Priceless.

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I found real Truffula Trees!

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I walked during lunch and what did I see?

The rarest of rare — some Truffula trees!

Happy and kvelling (oozing with joy) the Lorax must be

Just knowing there still are some Truffula Trees

Those Once-lers have lost, the battle is done!

Thneeds aren’t needed. The Lorax has won. 💜

 

Priceless.

 

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Learning to Live Lean, Lean on and Lean In as two moms and two girls

Subtitle: Not a diet

Maple Acres 2

This has been a tumultuous year (or two) in our family. Loss. Pain. Change. Fear. Panic. Anxiety. Surgery, job loss, death, sweet soul-mate pet losses, friend loss, financial insecurity, personal insecurity, moving out of our home, living week to week, working two jobs, missing my family, start-up sorrows, sleep deprivation…and now, just for fun, lets add mice (of which my partner has the greatest of phobias) in our new humble abode…okay. Bring it on…this is life and we all have our proverbial hand of cards to play.

It’s been messy. It’s been tearful. Well ‘F’ that—we’ve sobbed enough tears this past year; but not enough that they don’t keep flowing. It’s been– the kind of year where you can truly recognize what family means and who your friends are.

Through all of this, there must be some lesson that can help me to redefine what success and failure actually mean. This requires lowering the volume on the often loud, and thunderous narrative that takes place in my head. You know that voice…I am trying with all of my might, wit and Mom-superpowers to fully grasp that feeling like a failure and failing might actually be two different things.

As a family, we’ve had to change a lot about how we live each day and exist in today’s ‘ca-chinging,’ credit card culture. Frugality does not come easy for all. So very hard to do when you have two adorable, loveable and well deserving girls (insert that failure feeling here). So hard to do when it hasn’t always been the way we’ve done our life. When prior salaries have had different places to insert a comma.

Enter the new world of our frugal-foursome, wear we live lean, lean on, and lean in.

Live Lean:

  • Slash the budget and stop the hemorrhage. This requires tremendous discipline in thought and outcome (and the realization that we are still bleeding)
  • Cut the cord—goodbye Comcast, hello Netflix
  • Control has to win over convenience, which is really just a luxurious money suck—Eat home, brown bag lunches, snacks and beverages, avoid quaint coffee culture
  • Sell the house—downsize, move, rent
  • Kill the guilt that fuels spending and brings on a different kind of guilt—make memories, give experiences, learn to live well with less. Discover the joy, contentment and happiness in ourselves and with each other

Lean On:

  • Seek ways to continually course correct our new ‘lean awakening’, leaving senseless squabbles behind
  • Share the burden of stresses that I hold so deep and internal
  • Recognize that ‘thrift maven’ may come in stages for those of us that are more ‘spendy’ and ergo, less frugal

Lean In:

  • Control what I can control
  • Always lead by example
  • Keep my ‘cup half full attitude,’ even when I question the what exactly is in the cup
  • Work hard and make the time to play hard—it’s just as important
  • Set goals together for a purpose, because some may just find the simple act of saving for savings sake boring

Are we better? Are we fixed? No. Are we always on the same page? No. But we are wiser. And with that wisdom, there have been moments, sweet joyous moments of pure bliss.

There’s no going back. Yes, we would like some more financial stability. Yes, we would like less pain, and most certainly (and quickly!) an absence of vermin. But for now, we are where we are and we are constantly becoming who we will be. We are a beautiful work in progress.

We know together that one cannot buy good parenting or good partnering. Frugality and discretion won’t change our love for one another as we walk the path less purchased. We will definitely stop along the way to welcome the happiness in the small moments as they appear.

More to come on this, I am certain.

Out, damned mice.

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