The Children’s Book I read often, as an Adult

Zen Shorts, By Jon J Muth

“Michael! There’s a bear outside!”  

Nu? Is this some opening line? The book, is Zen Shorts, by Jon J Muth. The bear, Stillwater, a giant panda that has appeared in the backyard of Karl, Michael, and Addy, much to Karl’s surprise. Stillwater (very Gatsby-esque) is wise, kind, and what I envision as an animal equivalent to the great Buddha. As the mensch (filled with wisdom and always takes the high road) of a Panda relates with each of kinder (children), a different and appropriate Zen tale is shared.

The first thing I love so much about this particular book is the illustrations. Beautifully simple, yet exquisite watercolor illustrations accompany each interaction of Stillwater and the kinder. The lighting and transparency of the moment in time displayed perfectly paints the puzzles and problems that we all, as humans on this very planet, face daily. Each Zen narrative Stillwater shares is shown with the stunning, yet elegant strokes of Japanese ink paintings. Re-examine your thoughts, habits, longings, ideas, and fears as this giant bear divvies out the possibility of new insight.

As Stillwater gifts each kinder (child) with an ancient anecdote (Zen meditation), I believe he strikes a chord that will resonate with all of us, and certainly touches me with every read.

To be clear, as I know it, Zen (literally, a Japanese word for meditation) is not a religion, faith or doctrine. It comes free of dogma and one need not believe in anything (kind of like this Yiddisheh mama) to practice, or even read this enchanting tale. It is so simple, that it is excruciatingly difficult for me to explain. One must throw away all thoughts of intellect to experience Zen. Sit quietly, free your mind and allow for your own self-discovery to begin. Zen is not at all about moral teachings; it is filled with how to think, and even more so, how not to think (turn off that cruel, inner voice. What voice? Exactly!).

Many a night I offer to read this book to my shana madalehs (sweet girls) in the hopes of passing along these freeing ism’s, especially today, in this world we inhabit. And just as often, I place this book in my backpack as I head off to work, to read again during a quiet nosh (nibbles of food) at lunchtime. It greatly helps me in resetting the disturbances of daily news alerts and chaotic headlines that incorporate ‘life as we now know it.’ 

I love and treasure this book.  I have gifted it to children of all ages.

Stillwater brings me solace, entertains my Little and my Big, and hopefully provides a foundation in ‘thought process’ that will help guide them through the mundane,  the shock-filled stories, and everything in between that composes the many stories of our lives.

As a disclaimer, no one has asked me to review this book. I was not paid or given a thing for this post. However, Stillwater has proven time and again, to be priceless. I simply wanted to share him with all of you.

Peaceful coexistence, Gatsby, and our Stillwater

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

This review is my own, I just wanted to share this very special book with you.  If you have something you would like me to review, just reach out! I am happy to help always.

 

      

      

    

Turns out, I’m insanely jealous

This Yiddisheh mama has a major confession to make. I’ve been holding this one in, so bear with me. It comes from a lifetime ago. You SAHM’s, like my Mrs., oh how I want to be you. Let me schmear (spread) some broad, sweeping caveats, loudly and clearly, that you, by far, have the single hardest job on the planet. 

Dem, ikh visn. This, I know.

You may find me to be the schmegeggy (doofus, idiot). Hours suck. Pay worse. Days are ongoing and relentless. Sleep? Vos iz dos? (What is that?) Tantrums, bickering, and ‘hangry’ (tired and hungry) whining. The driving, the traffic, the geshrei-ing (yelling).  There are enough scattered organic food scraps strewn across the car to easily feed a small city to enrage me. I am aware of the mistreatment and abuse you encounter. Selective deafness. Your voice sounds like the adults on any episode of Charlie Brown — Whaa whaa whaaa whaaaa whaaa… And, like the air they breathe, they take you for granted daily, hurling sweaters, trash, already-chewed gum, back-packs, boogers from their noses that they don’t ever pick, and whatever that was, that was stuck on the bottom of their boots at you on their way to play. Ewww. Disgusterous. The spills, messes, laundry, groceries and constant wardrobe changes. The lack of privacy and ‘me time.’ The lack of adult conversation. I feel your pain when a craft, carefully chosen with thoughtfulness and love, causes utter unhappiness, and you experience the ‘epic mom fail.’ Oy vey iz mir (OMG).

It’s this momma’s mishegas (craziness) for which I yearn. Who’s meshuggah (nuts) here? I know it’s me. I’m in awe of you and your daily sacrifices. I value you in ways society always overlooks. You have the charge of building little human beings that are kind and empathic in a world that is not.

To read more, please click here

   

     

     

      

      

Quote

Do you see us?

Do you see us? We are a family, just like yours.

It’s a slippery slope my friends and we are headed down the rabbit hole fast. The latest for me, my Mrs. and our shanah maideleh kinder (sweet beautiful girls) is our invisibility in the upcoming Census. It’s been announced that there will not be an LGBTQ count in the 2020 census. To be fair, that’s the way I roll, it’s important that you know that we have never been counted before. But after the stunning momentum from the Obama administration, the proclamation to love out loud with all the legal rights and freedoms from the Supremes, government agencies, lefty liberals, and this Yiddisheh lesbian, we were hopeful that following the next Census, our government would see us. And after they see us, they would work to find ways so that we wouldn’t always be under some threat, be it physical, emotional or legal. They would see us and allocate the resources that are so important to our LGBTQ community. They would see us and help.

Congressional Democrats (much too many for mr t to count on his tiny little hands), along with several government agencies (Health and Human Services, the Justice Department and Housing and Urban Development) have all requested that mr t’s administration counts the LGBTQ population in the next Census (2020). Figuring, ‘Hey, wouldn’t be a swell idea to better understand sexual orientation, marital status, family status, gender identity and the location, size and socioeconomic status of this population?  We are out ringing doorbells counting anyway?’ 

mr t and his slimy swamp mates, they say there’s no need for collecting data on us. A crowd of people, and not one real person among them. A groyse oylem, un nito ein mentsch. Their anti-gay agenda is clear as day, and I feel it as real as those hot flashes, vey iz mir (OMG). Gorsuch, poised for confirmation via the cowardly nuclear option, is an extreme threat to our civil rights for the next 4 to 5 decades. Well, you know what f*ck that? WE ARE HERE. You cannot erase us.

You may say, Lisala, what’s the big mitziah (problem)? I can’t speak for everyone, but you know how loud I speak for my mishpocha (family). Coming out, ‘being out,’ makes you leave the cloak of invisibility behind.

If you are straight, you don’t know from this tsuris (trouble). Your are counted. You count. You matter.

To read the rest of this post, please click here

M’wah! It’s worth the click!