Notorious R.B.G: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

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

In your honor, I happily re-run this post of mine, where I salute you, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as my hero! I am certain I am not alone.

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

Tell me a story about a young girl, born in 1933 during the height of the depression, growing up facing antisemitism, blatant sexism, and inequality, and I’ll know you are talking about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, my hero. Oh, Ruth, you are one powerful Yiddisheh momma that dares to live every day #livingfearlesslyauthentic. Let me tell you about her.

Nothing ever did or will stop her. If she disagreed, you knew about it. If she ever wanted something to change, she stood up and fought for it — and that is still true today. She lives and breathes strength, integrity, and elegance. She stands up for equality when others don’t even recognize the discrimination. She is a graceful heavyweight, a leader among all leaders, and at five feet tall, 84 years old, she heads up the liberal wing of the Supremes. She makes me proud to be a woman, a Jew, a feminist, an activist, a mom, and a human being.

Fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you.

— Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice

Joan Ruth Bader was born to Jewish immigrants and grew up in Brooklyn, NY. Her sister died when she was just a toddler. Her mother, Celia, always stressed the importance of education (Celia was a very good student, graduating High School at 15, yet her family chose to send her brother to college. It was a time when sons were valued and daughters were meant to find husbands.). As a mom, she wanted more for her daughter. What momma doesn’t? Celia noticed that many girls in her class were named Joan, so to quickly avoid any tsuris (trouble), she asked her teachers to call her Ruth. She brought her to the public library often, where Ruth consumed Nancy Drew books, realizing that Nancy was a young girl in charge, who thought for herself (perhaps we add this series of books to our collective daughters’ gift lists? Nu?) both in her mystery solving and in her relationships. Ruth’s dream of becoming a lawyer was underway and early signs of Notorious R.B.G had begun.

  • Ruth was an excellent student (she listened to her momma, like a glikt shana maideleh (good girl)). Sadly, her mom died the day before her high school graduation
  • She went on to attend Cornell University, where she studied in the bathroom stalls, hiding from parties and social activities — she graduated as the top-ranking female student in her class
  • At Cornell, she met Marty Ginsburg, whom she would later marry. Ruth was demoted from her job for being pregnant. Marty and Ruth gave birth to a bouncing baby girl.  Everyone said she belonged in the kitchen, and at home with her daughter. Marty and Ruth knew better.
  • Marty ( a successful tax attorney in his own right) was supportive, unlike many men of their generation. He understood Ruth was no balaboosta (organized and efficient home-maker). He handled all of the traditional ‘mommy’ roles. Middle-of-the-night feedings, cooking, cleaning, baking, and tending to the kids… he was proud to do these things so that Ruth can later become the Notorious R.B.G. that we know and love.
  • She attended Harvard Law school and was often ridiculed by the dean for being a woman, taking up a man’s spot.
  • Marty took a job in NYC and Ruth transferred to Columbia University, where she graduated tied for top honors in her class.

She had a law degree and top honors, but being a woman, wife, mom, and a Jew made her dreams of becoming a lawyer very difficult. To say she became passionate about women’s rights and gender equality would be an understatement. After co-founding the Women’s Rights Project for the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), Ruth went on to fight six landmark cases on gender equality before the US Supreme court.

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

President Jimmy Carter appointed RBG to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. She served there for thirteen years. President Bill Clinton, looking to increase the diversity on the highest bench in the land, appointed her to the US Supreme Court. She joined the Supremes as only the second female Supreme Court Justice (Sandra Day O’Connor was the first). She refers to the former justice as her “big sister.”

RBG battled colon cancer in 1999. She fought off pancreatic cancer in 2009. In 2014, she had a stent placed in her right coronary artery after feeling uncomfortable while working out with her personal trainer. Yes, she can probably kick a*s and take names in any gym she enters.

As for the name, Notorious R.B.G., that comes for her feisty and fiery dissents. A meme virally toured the social media realm, comparing her rap star Notorious B.I.G.

On retirement, at 84, she is a self-proclaimed flaming feminist litigator and is showing no signs of losing her efficacy or her memory. Take a look at this recent tweet from our own twit-in-chief, and you know she still is a powerful force.

Guess who you think I wish would resign?

Ruth, I admire you and hold you in the very highest regard. You influence my life and my decisions, and I know this world is a better place because of you. Thank you for all you continue do.

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

A wonderful read for all ages!

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

 

 

Some great folks I like to share with….

 

 

 

 

International Women’s Day 2019

I must confess. I have a vagina. Surprised, you’re not. I know. But, unlike many, in this gender-biased world, I make $0.80 per dollar, pay more for dry cleaning, am expected to stay home with the kinder and (I would love that!) and go off to work to bring home the kale and fry (more like pan sear) it up in a pan.  I’m an activist and a feminist. I have leaned-in and been pushed out. I have fought the struggle of invisibility and found my voice in the process. I been sexually harassed and can yell, #metoo, like too many others. I do not, in any way, hate men. But people, c’mon. A little balance here would be nice! Alevai (may it only happen)!

March 8th, International Women’s Day, is a day celebrated globally, for over 100 years. This day is for honoring the successes of women culturally, socially, economically and politically as we pave the path to equality.

Truth be told, us women, we are underrepresented just about everywhere, and I can’t see that changing any time soon.  Status quo? I say, N-O. NO!

As my hero, RBG, says in answer to the question, “When are there enough women on the Supreme Court? When all 9 seats are filled by women!” (Currently, sadly, only 4 out of 113 total Justices have been/are women. Source: Rutger’s Center for American Women and Politics.)

When we look globally, the picture is not much better. Women live in poverty, don’t have adequate food or water, they are grossly under-educated, under-employed, if allowed to even work, and are victims of domestic abuses, genital mutilation, and subordination.

To quote our beloved former FLOTUS, Michelle Obama:

“The Future of our world is only as bright as the future of our girls.”

Happy International Women’s Day today. Look around you. Are there women in the boardroom, in the government, in science and technology, in the media coverage? Can we say there is equality in our employment structures, wealth, leadership?

Please, make a difference. What can you do to make it so we live in a world of gender equality? Women’s rights and equality are not simply a ‘women’s issue.’ The way I see it, equality is a human rights issue.  #BalanceforBetter

Yiddish Proverb:

Breasts adorn a woman and make a man look ugly. Brusts batsirn a froyaun makhn a mentsh kukn myes.

 

Some great folks I like to share with….

good grief

she wept, cleansing tears
at least I hoped they were so
they seem unending

flowing liquid streams
sorrow, like a tsunami
emptying in waves

compounding her pain
fresh sadness on top of old
fossils ‘neath her heart

all words feel hollow
burdens carried, she is still
her world, it is dark

i know there is light
i’ve felt the warmth on my back
it has filled my heart

come, sit next to me
we can gaze at the sun, stars
feel joy, dream with me

 

 

Yiddish Proverb:

Gold glitters even in the mud. Gold gliterz afilu in di blote.

 

Some great folks I like to share with….

I never do this, but hey, why not?

No joke, I have always resolved not to make resolutions. But now, today, this minute, everything I know as real and true is so farshlugganeh (crazy, mixed up, downright nuts), I figured, why the hell not! I know! Already, you’re discouraged. Just stick with me a minute. In a true to form, ‘Castanza-ian’ way, a little WWGD (What would George Do) might actually make sense. Is that so wrong?

Yiddish Proverb:

When the time comes for you to live, there aren’t enough years. Ven di tsayt kumt far ir tsu lebn, zenen nisht genug yorn.

I think I can see 2019 from here… #shankyoupets

In an effort not to redo my entire life, I’ve stuck to five important well I think so things to help ring in the continuing saga and clusterfu#k that was 2018 the New Year, 2019. And please, don’t worry too, too much… I’m not going to shmie around (wander aimlessly) into another hopeless, political rant.

  1. Do my very best to stay healthy in mind and body. I see the snow on my roof and I know, at 668 months old you can do the math, I need to take good care of me so I can be here to watch my kinder have kinder (children have children), should they ever be allowed to leave the roost. Gutinue! (disbelief) Like this, it could ever happen? I will continue to eat healthfully and mindfully, exercise daily and keep control of my farcockteh (effed up, literally, all crapped up) neck pain. I will feed my soul with books of fiction and nonfiction over bouts of frenzied social media usage. And I will be present with the beautiful people that surround me and give me hope.
  2. Continue the Chaos of the Smile Theory, because we all really need it! Smiles, like yawns, colds and STD’s, they are contagious. Smiling is a nice and easy way of passing along some TLC to our fellow neighbors. If I can be a zeisah neshumah (sweet soul) and, pass it along to others, maybe, just maybe we can build some much-needed love and trust in this world. Slapping a smile on this punim (face) as I type! Can you feel it?
  3. Never stop doing random, simple, nice things for others. Basically, I’ll be a mensch (good-hearted person). As I enter a building, why not hold the door open for others? When I see someone trying desperately to leave a parking lot, I will wave them in front of me and into my lane of traffic. What fun it will be to randomly buy an ice cream cone or a coffee for the person behind me in line. I must continue to pick up litter as I walk my Gatsby. I will remember to bring the love of my life a beautiful flower, a drawing, a poem, a morsel of dark chocolate. I’ll take a mensch over a nogudnik (I bet you know this one!) any day of the week, wouldn’t you?
  4. Send daily thoughts of light and healing to Ruth Bader Ginsburg. One tough cookie, my hero is! And I know, she has made it this far without me. Beating cancer, sexism, glass ceilings, and did I say beating cancer? Three times now — kaynahora (pthui-pthui, keep away evil and harm). It can’t hurt for me to send waves of love her way. Some role model she is, for our sweet maideleh’s (little girls). Stay healthy Ruthie!
  5. Stay fierce, frugal and have more fun! Life, it’s hard. No smoking gun here… It comes with its built-in, brutal knocks. But as far as I know, this life is all I’ve got. Nu? As things come hurling their way at us, at me as they often do, I will find the inner power to work harder and care for my delightful, deserving family. Penny-wise is now, simply wise. We are running lean and will find new ways to run leaner.  WTF? Challenge accepted. Game on. And, if this is as good as it gets, I will add fun, play, sparkles, glitter, joy, and laughter wherever and whenever it is humanly possible. We girls, we just gotta have more fun!

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

So, that is it my friends.
I am sincerely wishing you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous year ahead. C’mon 2019! I’m reading, willing and able! A bie gezunt! Go in good health!

Some great folks I like to share with….

How on earth will we talk about this?

As I was adding the final touches for this post, these two were listening and watching, “We Are The World” on YouTube, circa 1985. How fitting…

Yiddish Proverb:

What will become of the sheep if the wolf is the judge? Vos vet vern fun di sheps aoyb di volf iz di rikhter?

My kinder (children), they truly feel the anxiety in our home. They soak it in as they happily leap from the yellow school bus and cross the entryway into our home. They see it when I return from work each night. I am literally wearing the news on my punim (face) – and it is not a good look.

Big and Little, they know about deadly gun violence because they see me put on my orange cloak of activism and fight for gun sense laws (no guns makes the most sense to me) with Moms Demand Action. They hear my spiel (talk, like “please, don’t hang up…    on…     me!) pleading with complete strangers about conceal carry reciprocity and bump stocks, week after week.

But now, tragedy, it strikes daily. How can their naive and tender, trusting souls take in all of the madness when I have trouble simply not crying at the office or pumping the car with gas? Smart people who study such things, scholars, they say we need to tell our kinder in real-time, as the bad things occur. They say that when they hear hard/tragic news from us, the people they love and trust most, they can best take in the inconceivable and somehow still feel safe.

Feeling safe. Aside from my day job, isn’t that what I am here to do? How can I promise protection for my maideleh’s (sweet girls) in a world that can kill you while learning, praying, playing, watching a movie, doing yoga? I have read that we only tell them what is absolutely true. Live in the moment. “You, my sweet bubbelah’s (babies), are safe here, now.”  No promises that you cannot absolutely keep. Truth.

Yiddish Proverb:

Who owes her the hole in the bagel? Ver ouz ir di lokh in di bagel?

My father, he used to explain things to me and then say, “Capiche? (Understand?)  I did (well mostly), but he wasn’t hurling around huge concepts like anti-Semitism, racism, nationalism, white-supremacy. At eight and ten, hatred, violence, and grief are ‘tough to swallow’ dinner table topics. Allow them time to think, ask questions. As many questions as they need to ask. Always answer with honesty and reassure them of the many people around them, in addition to us, who are also safe havens for them. 

This past weekend, we even developed a ‘code word’ for our family after reading the news story about a little girl in Arizona who thwarted her would be captor in a potential kidnapping with, “What’s the code word? If you are picking me up, what’s the code word?” Be prepared.

And this, all of this is what I call a shondah (a shame, pity).

Tomorrow, Thanksgiving, people all over America will be getting together to celebrate, sup, break bread and nosh together. Many families have been as divided as those gonefs (thieves, dishonest people) on the hill in DC. Many topics are now more taboo than ever before. Politics and sports are out. Perhaps sex is a safe, go-to conversation? Wishing you all, a safe, loving and enjoyable time. And, may we all find a way to unite. Capiche?

L’Chiam! To life!

Notorious R.B.G: HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Today is a day of infamy! My hero, the Notorious R.B.G turns 85 today! Happy Birthday, Ruthie! RBG, you make this world a better place every day, and for that, I am very grateful.

In your honor, I happily re-run this post of mine, where I salute you, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as my hero! I am certain I am not alone.

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

Tell me a story about a young girl, born in 1933 during the height of the depression, growing up facing antisemitism, blatant sexism, and inequality, and I’ll know you are talking about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, my hero. Oh, Ruth, you are one powerful Yiddisheh momma that dares to live every day #livingfearlesslyauthentic. Let me tell you about her.

Nothing ever did or will stop her. If she disagreed, you knew about it. If she ever wanted something to change, she stood up and fought for it — and that is still true today. She lives and breathes strength, integrity, and elegance. She stands up for equality when others don’t even recognize the discrimination. She is a graceful heavyweight, a leader among all leaders, and at five feet tall, 84 years old, she heads up the liberal wing of the Supremes. She makes me proud to be a woman, a Jew, a feminist, an activist, a mom, and a human being.

Fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you.

— Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice

Joan Ruth Bader was born to Jewish immigrants and grew up in Brooklyn, NY. Her sister died when she was just a toddler. Her mother, Celia, always stressed the importance of education (Celia was a very good student, graduating High School at 15, yet her family chose to send her brother to college. It was a time when sons were valued and daughters were meant to find husbands.). As a mom, she wanted more for her daughter. What momma doesn’t? Celia noticed that many girls in her class were named Joan, so to quickly avoid any tsuris (trouble), she asked her teachers to call her Ruth. She brought her to the public library often, where Ruth consumed Nancy Drew books, realizing that Nancy was a young girl in charge, who thought for herself (perhaps we add this series of books to our collective daughters’ gift lists? Nu?) both in her mystery solving and in her relationships. Ruth’s dream of becoming a lawyer was underway and early signs of Notorious R.B.G had begun.

  • Ruth was an excellent student (she listened to her momma, like a glikt shana maideleh (good girl)). Sadly, her mom died the day before her high school graduation
  • She went on to attend Cornell University, where she studied in the bathroom stalls, hiding from parties and social activities — she graduated as the top-ranking female student in her class
  • At Cornell, she met Marty Ginsburg, whom she would later marry. Ruth was demoted from her job for being pregnant. Marty and Ruth gave birth to a bouncing baby girl.  Everyone said she belonged in the kitchen, and at home with her daughter. Marty and Ruth knew better.
  • Marty ( a successful tax attorney in his own right) was supportive, unlike many men of their generation. He understood Ruth was no balaboosta (organized and efficient home-maker). He handled all of the traditional ‘mommy’ roles. Middle-of-the-night feedings, cooking, cleaning, baking, and tending to the kids… he was proud to do these things so that Ruth can later become the Notorious R.B.G. that we know and love.
  • She attended Harvard Law school and was often ridiculed by the dean for being a woman, taking up a man’s spot.
  • Marty took a job in NYC and Ruth transferred to Columbia University, where she graduated tied for top honors in her class.

She had a law degree and top honors, but being a woman, wife, mom, and a Jew made her dreams of becoming a lawyer very difficult. To say she became passionate about women’s rights and gender equality would be an understatement. After co-founding the Women’s Rights Project for the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), Ruth went on to fight six landmark cases on gender equality before the US Supreme court.

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

President Jimmy Carter appointed RBG to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. She served there for thirteen years. President Bill Clinton, looking to increase the diversity on the highest bench in the land, appointed her to the US Supreme Court. She joined the Supremes as only the second female Supreme Court Justice (Sandra Day O’Connor was the first). She refers to the former justice as her “big sister.”

RBG battled colon cancer in 1999. She fought off pancreatic cancer in 2009. In 2014, she had a stent placed in her right coronary artery after feeling uncomfortable while working out with her personal trainer. Yes, she can probably kick a*s and take names in any gym she enters.

As for the name, Notorious R.B.G., that comes for her feisty and fiery dissents. A meme virally toured the social media realm, comparing her rap star Notorious B.I.G.

On retirement, at 84, she is a self-proclaimed flaming feminist litigator and is showing no signs of losing her efficacy or her memory. Take a look at this recent tweet from our own twit-in-chief, and you know she still is a powerful force.

Guess who you think I wish would resign?

Ruth, I admire you and hold you in the very highest regard. You influence my life and my decisions, and I know this world is a better place because of you. Thank you for all you do.

A wonderful read for all ages!

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

 

      

      

 

That’s it. Period.

Guess what… this a not a political rant or a thumbs down to the tsuris (troubles) our world is facing due to mrt kind of passive aggressive of me, eh?. This is a girls story. My Big, she is growing up. Born not ten minutes ago, yet my shana maideleh (sweet little girl) is soon to enter double digits. She is gaining wisdom, confidence, curiosity and her own personal identity, wrapped in a blanket of kindness and love. Oy, here I am kvelling (enthusiastically bursting with love and pride), again…

Big and Little, so grown up!

I should probably show a Georgia O’Keefe painting right about now because I am going there… Periods. Girls are getting them. There is chatter. We have chatted. And we are doing everything we can to keep it positive, normal and free of shame as we begin to prepare for this milestone gallstone kidney stone. She’s got two moms — this should be a walk in the park for us, right?

But I gotta say, she just learned to ride a bicycle. Am I ready for the menstrual cycle?

Which of course got me thinking about my own very strange, first-period experience. It was the Saturday of labor day weekend, 1976 and I was thirteen. We lived in south Florida and it was hotter than hell in a sauna on those particular September days. School had begun in August and I had welcomed the 3 days off. The Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon played on every TV in our house. I went to pee, and there it was – the small red blot. It was more of a dot than a blot. Definitely a dot. I was rattled I wanted to write, ‘mortified’ but you’ll soon see, my father’s name is Morty. Some of my friends had already gotten their periods, so I knew time was not on my side. I read Judy Blume’s, Are you there God, It’s me, Margaret, a few times by now.  I just did not want it to happen. Gay avek (get lost, go away)!

So I very inconspicuously left that bathroom, and quietly went into my room with Buttons, our poodle, and my closest confidant. I closed the door and sat on the floor quickly putting my legs up on my bed. I went vertical, in what I now know was a yogic shoulder stand. I was upside down. Dammit, I was going to send this period back where it came from… Surely if I stayed this way, there was no way for the ‘flow’ of Aunt Flo to wind its way, well, down. Why had no one else tried this? I was brilliant! Buttons agreed.

Day 1: After the initial spatter, I was fine. Feeling positive that I had this entire situation well under control, laughing with Jerry Lewis. Buttons, she was just happy we were staying in the air conditioning. Day 2: Coasting. Not even Dexter could find any blood spatter. I stayed on the phone, watched the telethon, Buttons at my upside-down, side. Day 3: WTF What happened to physics? How could this happen to me? I was in a shoulder stand for three solid days! I was as invested in this endeavor as Jerry was in raising money. I had to do something. I had to call my mom… Ugh!

They were at the tennis club. This was all pre-smartphones. I picked up my princess phone and dialed the club. Max, who manned the front desk and was 90-years-old if he was a minute, answered the phone. He paged my mom. Yes, called her by name over the loudspeaker and told her she had a call. Kill me now, before she picks up. A bolt of lightning. Divine intervention. Thankfully her doubles match was over and I wasn’t too much of a burden. I told her I didn’t feel so good and could she please come home. That was all I said.

Inside Red Canna, 1919 Georgia O’Keefe (c). I had to put it in…

Instantly, she screamed across the entire restaurant, “Morty! Lisala got her period! Let’s go!” They came home, my father teased me incessantly and my mother handed me a futon-sized bedroll and called it a maxi pad. She said, “You know everything, right?” I mumbled, “of course I do” and slinked, head down, in shame, into the bathroom where this nightmare began. She added, “Be careful of the sheets at night, from behind the locked bathroom door.

Later, on that dreadful night, they took me out to dinner an alleged celebration at The Rascal House where they embarrassed me by telling everyone in line, the waitress, the guy who brought the pickles, the other guy who cleared the dishes, the cashier, that I just got my period. Wasn’t it bad enough that everyone could tell I had a mattress between my legs? I prayed for invisibility well before Harry Potter had the cloak.

Needless to say, things got way worse before they ever got better, and there will be more stories, to share, I am sure. And I never wore white pants again.

Who doesn’t love a nice carousel ride

Last week, I was invited with my Big to go with her to Diana Circle. It’s like the happy, hippy, feminist version of Girl Scouts no judgment here, no cookies to sell either. They are an empowering, safe, and inclusive group that celebrates modern young girls as they experience their own, unique rites of passage. In a world filled with mixed messages, misogyny, double standards, a stunning amount of sexual harassment, and thankfully, oceans of #strongwomen in #pinkpussyhats marching the earth, I am so very grateful to Tara R. and her spiritual girl-guidance. She helps us to help our kinder (kids) embrace life, take the bullshit by the horns and grow up to be strong, healthy, and proud women.

At the previous gathering, one of the older girls got her first period and she was celebrated in a beautiful and moving way. The Mrs. and me, we are trying our very best to do right by our kinder. May they never be shamed for their bodies or their natural bodily functions. May they embrace the challenges of growing up as their uniquely beautiful selves free from adolescent misery and filled with love, connectedness, and honesty. A way I never knew was possible until a decade or so of therapy.

And friends, I leave you with this Yiddish Proverb:

No one knows whose shoe pinches except the person who walks in it. Keyner veys nit vemen der shuckh kvetsht, nor der vos geyt in im.

Nu? What’s your first-period story? Share with us and we all become a bissel (little) closer. Here’s to #mightygirls becoming #strongwomen!

      

      

      

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.

 

      

      

      

     

Busy, Shmizzy: Eat Together for a Better World

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gatsby, on the prowl
Gatsby, on the prowl

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

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

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

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

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

A bei gezunt (Live and be well).

 

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RIP, Edie Windsor. You are my Hero

*video courtesy of You Tube and Huff Post Live

Last week, the world lost an awe-inspiring hero for supporters of LGBTQ civil rights. Tiny, tough, lusty and outrageously fierce, Edie Windsor was the main plaintiff in the case that made it all the way to the Supreme Court, United States v. Windsor.

You see, Edie and her same-sex partner Thea were together as a couple for 40 years. After an absurdly long and loving engagement In 2007, they loudly and proudly said, I do,” in Toronto, a place where gay marriage was both safe and legal. Thea died two years later, in 2009, leaving her entire estate to her spouse, Edie, in the form of a revocable trust. But you see DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), and the people who built this hateful excuse of a law specifically defined ‘marriage’ as deliberately excluding same-sex couples. They couldn’t see ‘us.’  They went so far as to say that the term ‘spouse’ only refers to that of a ‘man and a woman.’

Edie filed taxes after the death of her lifelong love, and justly claimed the federal estate tax that allows exemptions for surviving spouses. The IRS not only barred the exemption, they forced her to pay $363,053 in taxes. Quiet and demure never described Edie. She boldly set off on the battle of a lifetime. All of us in the LGBTQ community, we were with her every step of the way. After forking over all of Thea’s loot to the government, she filed a federal lawsuit for a full refund of the nearly $400k, stating DOMA was unconstitutional, unfair and singled out legally married, same-sex couples.

Windsor fought to overturn DOMA where non-sensical legal language stripped equality from life as she and many others of us knew it. Oral arguments were heard in March of 2013.  On June 26th of that same year, ‘the Supremes’ sang out in favor of love. This court, in a 5-4 decision (thank you, Justice Kennedy! Please never, ever retire), affirmed that DOMA was unconstitutional “as a deprivation of the liberty of the person protected by the Fifth Amendment.”

In my household, as in gazillions of same-sex households across the US, it was the feeling of sheer, unfettered joy. Phones rang, hearts throbbed, hugs, kisses, and high-fives could be heard in most major metropolitan areas where we believed we would be safer far and wide, and we were all alive with the promise of equality happening right before our very eyes.

Book the hall, call the caterer, hot-damn, we were going to be legal. In this lifetime. In our lifetime.

Once, when my Big, she was about two, maybe three years old and she asked us to see our wedding pictures. We told her we weren’t married. She asked why, and we looked at each other and said, the law, it doesn’t allow us to marry. She started to cry. We told her that despite the law, love wins.

Edie will be remembered as a powerful trailblazer in the long history of the gay rights movement. A queen in the Yiddish fight club! I am forever grateful for her, and all the others before her who went out on a limb and stood up for what is right. The positive outcome of her battle against the establishment has led to many happy and loving nuptials with similar ridiculously long engagements. (Ours was a mere 17 years… and we married legally in 2013)

Edie, you will be missed. Thank you for giving me and my mishpocheh (family) the gift of equality and acceptance in a time where we are tested, challenged, and opposed daily. Your giant heart gave out on you at 88, but we can still feel your pulse of hope. You will live on in our hearts each and every day. We carry your torch proudly and hope to keep moving our case for equality, justice, and authenticity forward.

My deepest sympathies to your surviving wife and family that are left behind. You left a tacca (big) set of shoes to fill, and you have proven that love does win.

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

My Mrs., Big, Little, I love you! Ich hob dier lieb!

     

      

      

      

 

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.

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An interview with my Little

Yes, she is upside down!

I’d like to interview you, honey. What would you like to talk about today? Ummmmmm. What is an interview again? Oh. Well, my sister went to a sleepover party. And my two moms and me stayed home and had fun. In the morning, I colored when my mom did her work.

Self-portrait in crayon, circa 2017

She is coloring as we schmooze, so I ask her, “What do you like to color best?” Usually (said adorably as ‘lusually’) a picture for somebody. Like a gift.

Do you know what you want to be when you grow up? Previous answers have been a teacher, a librarian, a dancer…  A puppy trainer! Because I love puppies and doggies and Gatsby.

My kinder (children) Daisy, Gatsby, and Big

This is so true. All last weekend, she played ‘Daisy,’ a girl puppy. As I played fetch with Gatsby, I too played fetch with my new pup, Daisy! What do you like most about dogs? They are snuggly and really cute. And lusually their nose is wet.

What do you like most about Gatsby, our boychik (little boy)? I like him because he is cute and I love him. And I like the way he eats. And I also like him because I like when we walk him and play with him.

My shana maidelah

What do you like most about school? I like being with my friends and playing. I like it because it has lots of nature and we play a lot.

Ok, I’m done talking. I forget everything else. Oh, and mommy, I love you!

But honey, I have more questions… and she is gone, like the wind. I hope you enjoyed our snapshot in time.

Oh, are you ever a clever child! Oy, a gezunt dir in kepele!

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The date night we stole, right in our own home :)

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Today dear readers, I share with you a bissel (little) geshikte (story). Last Friday, on my drive home, I called my Mrs. with passion and enthusiasm for a fun-filled weekend, only to be greeted with a flattened voice, you know the kind I mean. The tone alone spoke volumes, expressing how, “I should have known to come home hours ago to take care of these meshuggeneh kinder (crazy kids) of MINE.” I hung up the phone, I knew I had to pull out some big stops in order to inflate the deflated love of my life. What to do? This was winter doldrums mixed with too much news and reality — she had a terrible case of the election dejections

Flowers? Too expensive for the outcome. The smile would be fleeting, and they would, well, d-i-e. More sadness we did not need. Chocolate? Ice cream? Too much risk involved in me being the bearer of the sweets…oy vey (WTF!). I was almost home.

I turned into the Manor, pulling my up every ounce of creativity from my frugal induced brain. Wait, I know! Friday night is movie night in our home. After dinner we snuggle in our pj’s and all watch a movie usually the same effing kid movie, chosen after a long, drawn out, award winning tantrum from both Big and Little on who picked last, buttery popcorn smells wafting through the air. Blankets and hugs. I walk in and announce:

“Tonight! Tonight my little maidelehs (sweet girls), Mommy has a great idea!” This movie night will be extra special! You two get to watch your very own movie on the big screen, and Ema and I, we will watch a ‘mommy movie’ in our room!

Only the faintest hint of a smile was let out by my Mrs. It was subtle, like the Mona Lisa, only less so, but I know I saw it. In unison, these girls let out a geshrei (loud, piercing scream), you would think I told them a shreklickheh (horrible, terrible) thing, like there is no Santa Claus, or ‘we’ are the tooth fairy. The waterworks and the screams together — What were the neighbors thinking? My plan did not account for such a reaction. The Mrs., she walked off in a sullen sidestep as I tried my best to quiet the teeny, mighty troops.

After finally convincing them that we are only six (6) inches away, separated only by a thin uninsulated wall, they gave us a brokkheh (blessing). Finally, I had heart palpatations for a good reason!

My Mrs., she questioned a stifled, should we really do this? I said f*ck yes! The kinder are learning everything about relationships through ours. If we don’t model how we need alone time, that we value alone time, what kind of relationships will they have? And where will ours go? She nodded, we hugged. The kinder watched us, tried to listen. I said, “Zugg gornisht! Der kinder!” (Shush. The kids can hear us!)

We ate, cleaned, popped, buttered, salted, and split ways. What did Elsa sing in Frozen?  “For the first time in forever…” echoed excitedly in my ears.

We headed to the bedroom. It had been soooooo long, the tv could no longer locate the chromecast do-hickey. I struggled with our looming IT issues. Rebooted the cable router, flipped the switches on and off. Unplugged and re-plugged. I heard the loud sound of the clock ticking away in my ears. We finally grabbed a laptop, signed in to Netflix and had time enough left to watch episode 1 of, The Crown. 

We snuggled, we smiled, Little and Big kept running in to check on us, as we watched a show for big people. The kinder, they giggled and laughed at our selection. We smiled and hugged and watched on. It was a wonderful evening after all. The girls felt empowered, we felt like ‘we’ mattered, and my Mrs., she had a really beautiful smile as we snuggled closely.

Guess what my friends, today is Friday! 🙂

And to you, my Mrs., Ich hob dir lieb! (I love you!)

 

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Oh. Oh. Uh-oh.

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This is Lisa.

Lisa suffers from very bad pain in her neck.

You can’t always tell. She hides it very well.

Lisa has chronic occipital neuralgia.

Poor Lisa.

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Her kinder (children), they like to walk dance on Lisa’s (mommy’s) back to help her.

This feels so good for Mommy.

Such good kinder they are!

Lisa loves her kinder so much.

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This is the Mrs. with our kinder.

The Mrs., she is so good to Lisa.

The Mrs. rubs her neck and back for her when she is in horrible pain.

Lisa loves the Mrs. so much.

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This is Gatsby.

Gatsby is a good little boychik (boy).

While the Mrs. rubs Lisa’s neck, Gatsby chews.

What a good boy Gatsby is!

Lisa loves the Great Gatsby so much!

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Oh. Oh.

Uh-oh.

Gatsby chewed Lisa’s glasses while the Mrs. rubbed her neck and back.

Gatsby ate the sides and broke through the lenses with his puppy teeth.

Gatsby is a mischievous boychik (boy).

Lisa loves her very adorable, yet mischievous boy Gatsby, very much.

Even with this killer watch dog, those thugs came after us!

Poor Lisa.

Lisa’s glasses are dreck (crap) now.

Lisa’s glasses make everything look as if she is looking through a snow globe.

How nice of Gatsby to make everything Lisa looks at, look like she is looking through a snow globe.

 

Oif tsalochis. As luck would have it… Lisa is tardy for a trip to the ophthalmologist.

What a good boy Gatsby is!

Zie gezunt! Be healthy, be well!

 

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Minimalism is Fun: Take a look

Okay, so in 2017 I (hopefully we) have replaced ‘Frugalism’ for ‘Minimalism.’ It admittedly has a nicer sound, nu? You agree? Frugalism has such a negative connotation – as if one is a tightwad. Minimalism and its glorious way, appears to offer more of a choice, well at least to me. In fact, there still is no choice. It’s what’s gotta be…

So, in a pure minimalistic bent, take a look at a beautiful outing with friends, to IKEA of all places. For those of you who have kinder (children) and don’t know, IKEA is the poor person’s Disney World. Admission is free. Climate is always appropriate. Each room brings with it a new and exciting adventure to explore, pretend and play. Whether mattress hopping, imagining living or working in each showroom, or playing hide and go seek in the ‘grab it yourself’ warehouse, it is fun for all ages.

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Oh, and ice cream (which is really frozen yogurt) is only $1. Add to the fact that on Monday through Friday, kids eat (meals, entire meals, nice meals) for free… And in this past year, they have taken that famous Swedish meatball and turned it all millennial! Yes, it now comes in a gluten free, vegan version! This is no joke!

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What is not to love about IKEA? Keep your glass half full and take a nice visit.

If time is money, I don’t have any time. Oyb tsayt iz gelt, hob ikh keyn tsayt nit.

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I’m feeling a little ‘Pre-Inaugeral,’ You?

This picture illustrates how I feel post election, pre-inaugeral. Yes. I'm definitely a little pre-inaugeral.
This picture illustrates how I feel. Pre-inaugeral. Yes. I’m definitely a little ‘pre-inaugeral.’ I’d like to be re-inaugeral.

“Are we going to lose our insurance with Mr. t-elect,” The Mrs. said as she sobbed into the phone.

“Honey. We may. But at least we know they will offer free conversion therapy!”  (whaaah – whaaaaah)

“No really, it’s a shanda (real shame, scandal) what can happen. It’s starting already.”

 

“What does ‘pre-inaugeral’ feel like?”

It’s like, you know.  When you look at at him and his cabinet. You see a crowd of people, and not one person among them. A groyse oylem un nito uyn mentsch.

 

“Are you going to watch it, next week?”

“I thought a lot about this. Yes. I must. Nancy Pelosi says it is her job to be there. Hillz will be there. I must watch. I must know.  It is history. Who would have believed it? Ver dolt dos gegleybt?”

 

“Will we be okay?”

“If the world will ever be redeemed, it will be only through the merit of the children. Oib de velt vet verren oisgelaizt, iz es nor in zechus fun kinder.”

 

Here we go.  A bi gezunt. As long as you are healthy.

 

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I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME ROAR

A pertinent anthem to play as you read along. Thank you Helen Reddy. I needed you today. Oh, and Mr. Orange-Elect, I am woman! You are going to have to deal with that!

 

I am woman, hear my voice

I’m not giving you much choice

Mr. Orange, I will make you understand

‘Cause you’ve said some nasty stuff

And you can’t shut up enough

You’re a narcissistic, evil preaching man

 

Oh yes, I am shrewd

And there’s many more like me

We all know you are lewd

We know just who we see

If we have to, we can make your life hell

We can march

(March)

We can protest your hate

(Protest your hate)

We are women

 

I am Jewish, hear me now

And I never will allow

Your alt-right lovin’ staff appointees to succeed

“Cause we’ve seen this all before

We’ll not back down or ignore

Your swampy tycoon cabinet, it will just recede

 

Oh yes we are smart

By the millions you will see

We will not tolerate hate

Or a Muslim registry

If we have to, we will make your life hell

We can march

(March)

We will protest your laws

(Protest your laws)

We are women

 

I am lesbian, proud and strong

Married with children, can’t be wrong

And you can’t take that from anyone, not me

‘Cause we earned our rights today

By the Supremes, we’re out, we’re gay

Mr. Orange-elect, we will not be your prey

 

Oh yes, we are LGBT

And you know someone like me

We will not let you steal our beautiful families

if we have to we will face anything

We are strong

(Strong)

We have equality

(Equality)

We are women

 

I am woman

I am invincible

I am Jewish

I am invincible

I am Lesbian

I am invincible

We are Women

 

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For richer or poorer…

Our bubbelah's (sweethearts)
Our bubbelah’s (sweethearts)

In December, on the very day that follows jolly ol’ St. Nick, traipsing (trudging) soot through the Manor, schlepping (hauling) holiday gifts aplenty, the Mrs. and me, we will be legally married for three years. We’ve been together for just shy of 19 years. There was a bit of lag-time before the Supremes sang out to the world that we are in fact, equal. That our love counts too. Hey, that it happened in my lifetime! Pthui, pthui, pthui… So what, our engagement was long (16 years), and we had a couple of kinder (kids) out-of-wedlock. Nu?

Now, like all of you, we live through sickness and health, for richer or poorer… And what I have learned is that ‘poorer’ carries so much more in definition. Oy vey iz mir (Woe is me)… Poorer doesn’t always refer to insufficient bank funds. Sure we are shy of green and becoming quite the frugalista’s. We are actually quite rich in our poverty! Let me tell you three ways how:

Sleep. They say, a nacht on shlof iz di gresteh shtrof (a sleepless night is the worst punishment). Well, how about 3,285 of them! Yes, our kinder (kids), sweet shana madelahs (little girls) that they are, they lack the skillset to gai shluffin (sleep) like normal children without us mommas in tow. Often times, as we try our best to lull them to slumber, you can hear either the Mrs. or me mumble under our breath, “FCKITY F#CK FCK, will you please just go the F%CK to SLEEP!”

This is a far-reaching problem. It means neither sitter, grandparent, family member, sleep doula, nor even Mary Poppins herself, can lay them down for the necessary night’s worth of zzzz’s. Co-sleeping wee-sized infants have grown into co-sleeping small humans. They stand tall as trees, long limbs kicking, elbowing and stealing our snuggly quilt nightly. Our oversize king mattress, well not so much.

Our sleep bank and our cash bank look all too similar. Oy.

Yes, I co-sleep in their bed too.
Yes, I co-sleep in their bed too.

Kid-free zone. I’m talking about ‘alone time.’ Adult time. For schmoozing (talking), to catching up, binge watching Grace and Frankie or Orange is the New Black while spooning on the sofa. Even having actual time to talk about our dear kinder with each other. Taking in ‘a nice meal’ together, when we are both showered, dressed like we put in some sort of effort in the game, and totally tantrum free.

Thankfully, the Mrs. and me, we have some truly remarkable friends who have recognized our severe insufficiency in the kinder-free’ zone and have started with sleepovers. Big, she loves the sleepover, and Little, well, she is trying the best she can. We are not quite there. Last night’s pick-up (mid- Downton Abbey, season 6, episode 3), and todays screeching fits, outbursts and hysterics are proof.

Time. Not great bits of it mind you, but an occasional late slumber, where my body awakens because it’s met some sort of natural and healthful internal quota. Grabbing a shower without a cutie little punim (face) opening the curtain and asking, ‘do I know where her shoes are,’ or, ‘do you have any money.’  Uninterrupted time to poop, alone. Yes, I said it. That would be f#cking amazing.

So my Mrs., as we tackle the richness of poverty in our lives, please know we are in it together, for now and forever. That alone brings me such nachas (joy, pleasure), no gelt (money) can ever buy. I love you my sweet. And those kinder, kaynahorah (warding off the evil eye), they are happy, healthy, wonderful, meshuggeneh (crazy) girls.

Wow, I am rich.

Hnah lebn. Das iz nit a kleyd repetitsye. Enjoy life. This is not a dress rehearsal.

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Have I got an idea?

We are practicing climbing walls and fences, you know, in case we should need such a skill
We are practicing climbing walls and fences, you know, in case we should need such a skill

Dear Mr. President, can I call you Barack?

I mean I do feel that close to you. You are my president and the president of my family. You and the Supremes actually are responsible for making us visible, and I am forever grateful for your wisdom and intellect. You have done so much good for us all. I am so proud to have you and Michelle as our Potus and Flotus. Oy gevalt (woe is me), how I could go on and on?

But given the current situ at hand, I feel I should be less verbose and strike my point early. Things are batshit crazy in our country feel a bit unsettling with the impending Mr. Macher (scheming social climber) Elect’s upcoming inaugural. So I got to thinking. You know that phrase; I think it’s a Cherokee Proverb (we won’t tell Mr. Macher T that, it will just anger him further), “Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes.” Well maybe, as you and Michelle are packing up your things, you leave behind one pair of shoes in the Potus closet.

Maybe, just maybe, he’ll try them on. And like Cinderella, whose shoes forever changed her life, your Potus powered ‘kicks’ that you have been ‘commander-in-chief-ing’ around in for the past eight years will do something magical for the mystifying Mr. Macher T. Perhaps when he laces up, and potchka’s (keeps busy with no clear end in sight) about in the oval office, he will sense your compassion, empathy and willingness to hear and be open. Possibly, right in those moments of strolling in your very experienced and authentic set of shoes, he will f*cking quit his narcissistic and sociopathic ways and get a clue better understand the feelings, perspectives and emotions of we the people…who are all searching for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness together.

Michelle, she doesn’t need to leave any pumps or even sneakers behind, for I just learned that Mrs. Macher T will not be living in the White House. We should only be so lucky for the rest of this meshuggeneh (crazy) clan.

Now, a lot is riding on this shoe idea, but given the circumstances that stand before us, we have to start somewhere. And, it may be easier than taking out the Electoral College.

Thank you Barack, for all you have done and continue to do every day. I welcome any ideas you may have towards passing the baton with the same set of leadership, integrity, morals and ethics that you bring to the party each and every day. You Barack, are a true mensch (decent, good and honorable human being).

Very sincerely yours,

Lisa

Di shich fun oreman’s kind vaksen miten fisel. The shoes of the poor man’s children grow with their feet.

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When things go wrong, as they sometimes will…

"To all the little girls watching...never doubt that you are valuable and powerful & deserving of every chance & opportunity in the world." —Hillary Clinton
“To all the little girls watching…never doubt that you are valuable and powerful & deserving of every chance & opportunity in the world.” —Hillary Clinton

I had to memorize that poem in grade school, and recite it to my class. I think I now know why. The poem is called ‘Don’t Quit,’ and was written in the late 1800’s by Edward A. Guest. Obviously, good old Ed had the awareness to realize that someday, here in the good ol’ U. S. of A., we would be in need of an optimistic verse to deal with the overwhelming feeling of doom and gloom from the tsuris (worry and woes) caused by the 2016 Election.

A baizeh tsung iz erger fun a shlechter hant. Ikh mura mir itst hobn beyde. A wicked tongue is worse than an evil hand. I fear we know have both.

Don’t quit. Seems easy enough. Bat-shit crazy things happen Truly bad things happen all the time. I can be heartbroken, scared, stunned and angry as fucking hell, but I won’t quit. I can’t. I have two shana madelahs (sweet little girls) who need me to energize and focus all of these emotions and inspire them into action.

What we have ahead of us is the fight of a lifetime. And my Mrs. and me, we are in it to win. We know what progress and hope feels like. We will know it again. Because we have to… Because we can’t live in a world that is so hostile, albeit anti-woman, anti-people of color, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT, anti-disability, anti-religious freedoms, anti-climate, anti-fucking freedom and liberty and justice for all.

Our battle will be one of civility. We will sign petitions. We will write letters. We will march bravely and peacefully in protests. We will use our voices. I will use my words. And we will continue to vote. Most importantly, the Mrs. and me, we will be role models to our dear bubelah’s (sweetheart girls). We will model kindness, empathy, hope and respect – things that everyone deserves in this world. Even the man whose name I cannot yet type or say aloud who won the election. We understand democracy.

“This loss hurts. But please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.” —Hillary Clinton

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We will fight because this world belongs to my daughters and your daughters – and all of the kinder (children).

“To all the little girls watching…never doubt that you are valuable and powerful & deserving of every chance & opportunity in the world.” —Hillary Clinton

Di velt zogt a vertel: besser mit a klugen farliren aider mit a nar gevinen. The world has a saying: better to lose with a wise man than to win with a fool.

We have a fool. Please prove the world, and me wrong. I would love nothing more than to be very, very wrong about the tsuris (troubles) that are ahead for us all.

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will… don’t quit.

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UPDATE: The Rule of Kind

Silly shvesters
Silly shvesters

A Kinder Kinder 

I thought now a good time to provide you all with some good, hard data anecdotal evidence on how we are doing as a family, with our one, single, solitary family rule: BE KIND. Some of you may recall this inspired post meant to get our little mishpocheh (family) out from under the tiny terroristic grip of Big and Little’s mood swings, urges and tantrums and back to the matriarchal quasi-control of the mamelehs (me and the Mrs.).

It was mid-August. It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. We were feeling the worst of the heat, reeling from the weariness of endless pool days and we had hit the ceiling on late night movies. The kinderlech (kids) and the Mrs. had become nocturnal. By the time I joyfully strolled up the Manor steps after a hard days work, it was batshit crazy with a capital BAT all hell had broken loose. We had grown accustomed to our tsuris (troubles). It was pure mishegas (insanity and chaos).

Dos leben iz vi kinderhemdel—kurts un bash. Life is like a child’s undershirt—short and soiled.

Shvesters and goodies
Shvesters and sugar

Be Kind. How f@cking hard is that to do? I knew we could do it. I believed. The first coupla’ weeks were exhausting and awful filled with tears, apologies and repetition of our golden rule. Be Kind. Be Kind. Be Kind. Be Kind. Be Kind. Be Kind. Be Kind.

Siri, How long until something basic, simplistic, and all encompassing becomes a damned habit?

It’s a shondah (pity) how my Little and Big, such sweet little maidelahs (girls), put each other through fisticuffs, scuffles, scrapes and screeches. Glass shattering screams, pushes, slaps and hair pulling. (It’s almost as if they had watched old reruns of Dynasty from the ’80’s?) I cried me a river. So did the nextdoorikeh’s (neighbors).

Time went on, as it does. We stuck to our one rule. Be Kind. Be Kind. Be Kind. Be Kind. Be Kind. Be Kind. Be Kind. Patience. We had such effing patience! We were so very, very virtuous with all of our patience. And then, it started. 

  • Listening ears, they listened
  • We heard ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’ fairly consistently
  • ‘I’m sorry’ flowed from their tiny little mouths appropriately and sincerely
  • Random acts of kindness happened without begging, yelling, nudging, cajoling any parental prodding
  • When Little ate all of her marshmallows before the hot chocolate was ready, Big happily handed her a handful of hers
  • When Big cried about not wanting to take a shower, Little volunteered to take one with her
  • They shared
  • If one was in need, the other helped
  • When one hurts, the other says, Vu tut dir vai (where does it hurt)?
  • If we said clean your room, they did it together

It was working. Be Kind. Be Kind. Be Kind. Slowly and steadily our kinder (children) began to treat each other as if we were not behind the walls of the Manor, but as if we were in public and on their best behavior! They began to give one another the benefit of the doubt. My little bubbelah’s (term of endearment) were becoming menches (good, respected people) to one another. Loving shvesters (sisters), friends.

Shvesters plotting
Shvesters plotting

Now, I do not for one minute want you to think that we are all hotsy-totsy and blissful over here. We still have plenty of our moments. We will always have work to do and we still can be kinder, gentler, nicer and more empathetic. But so far, dos gefelt mir (this pleases me) very much! I’m kvelling (oozing with pride)!

Be Kind. Zeit gezunt (Be healthy)!

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The Great Pumpkin: Wordless Wednesday

Linus: “Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere. He’s gotta pick this one. He’s got to. I don’t see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one. You can look around and there’s not a sign of hypocrisy. Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see.”

The Great Gatsby 'Tail-o-meter' at work
The Great Gatsby ‘Tail-o-meter’ at work
We got 'em Moms
We picked ’em Moms
I think we've been here before
I think we’ve been here before
Potter. Harry Potter.
Potter. Harry Potter.
Is it Hedwig?
Is it Hedwig?
All play an no work make us Miquon Kids!
Even work is play with Little and Big!

Altz iz gut (all is good)!

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Wordless Wednesdays: Clever Children

Oy, A gezunt dir in kepele! Are you ever a clever child!

If we keep eating the jelly beans in the back, Mommy and Ema will never notice
If we keep eating the jelly beans in the back, Mommy and Ema will never notice
Learning some new dance moves from our new friends Fara and Mercedes
Learning some new dance moves from our new friends, Fara and Mercedes
So long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, goodnight...
So long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, goodnight… Thank You O’Malley’s! ❤
I don't want to smile. I want to be grumpy and I will be grumpy all day
I don’t want to smile. I want to be grumpy and I will be grumpy all day
Charlotte's house flooded...
Charlotte’s house must have flooded Mommy…
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Mommy, look at me…

L’Shona Tova! Happy New Year!

 

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Bedtime, in 4 hours or less

It somehow energizes them...
It somehow energizes them…

I know, you’ve been thinking, Lisala, it’s been so long since you shared your parenting perceptions and insights. Sure, a nice rant, a beautiful pic, sweet tender mishpocheh (family) moments. Today, we revisit bedtime. How on earth do you get the kinder to gai shluffin (the kids to go to sleep)? Well my readers, I offer you our thoughtful child rearing insights, in the form of a song. Hum along if you like, to the tune of Let It Be, you know, by the Beatles:

 

When I find myself in need of slumber

Trying to act sensibly

The whole world feels chaotic, fretfully

Retiring Big and Little takes too long

I doze off first expectantly

The kinder, they’re nocturnal, devilry

Empathy, empathy

Empathy, come and see

What, like our bed is the only bed on earth?

Their own room is so beautiful; come and see

 

I wake up to the sound of squealing,

Maidelahs have taken all control

The Mrs. voice is loudly fuming, testily

I muster up some words of wisdom

Pleading with veracity

Yet my babble is not in sentences, regrettably

Remedy, remedy

Remedy, eventually

We need a two bedroom like we need a luch in kop (hole in the head)?

They’ll sleep in their own bedroom, eventually

 

My Mrs., she chortles at my jabber

The kinder loudly laugh and giggle

Reveling in my senseless banter, splendidly

Minutes have slowly ticked to hours

Empty threats thrown about with leniency

We’re a helpless parent fail, professedly

Sleeplessly, sleeplessly

Sleeplessly, hopefully

Other kids go the fuck to sleep without such a gantseh megillah (long drawn out story)

Tomorrow night will be so much better, hopefully

 

Sleeplessly, sleeplessly

Sleeplessly, hopefully

Other kids go the fuck to sleep without such a gantseh megillah (long drawn out story)

Tomorrow night will be so much better, hopefully

 

Well, you know what they say:

Der shlof iz der bester dokter. Sleep is the best doctor.

Is there a doctor in the house? Oy vey iz mir.

 

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And then, in a flash, My Little was Six

How on earth…

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Six years ago tonight, our second, known to you as Little, sailed into this world, our world, like greased lightening. She was truly ‘herself’ from the moment she took a breath outside of the warm comforts of uterine living. When she ‘eye-spied with her little eye,’ Big, her shvester (sister) it was love at first sight. We were two proud mommas (I of course was much less sore, stricken only with awe and true love at the strength, power and beauty of my Mrs.). It’s one of the benefits listed on the gay agenda when  a lesbian couple – sharing clothes, shoes and birthing.

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My Little, what to say… She speaks her mind and she claims her space. Sure, she learns and emulates Big, but she is not at all afraid to look outside the box, color outside of the lines and speak her mind, all while singing a merry tune, real, or made up. This girl, she has pipes. She can croon with the best and if cultivated, may just be the next Adele. She will anthropomorphize any object in hand into a family and immediately play imaginary games.

My Little, a sweet little jokester
My Little, a sweet little jokester

Dogs – don’t even get me started. Oh how she tortured loved our two pugs, Atticus and Eli, as they watched our family add two-legged creatures begrudgingly. Enter a room and Atticus was dressed in pearls and a bike helmet while Eli sported an outfit from any of the American Girl dolls. Oy vey, they tolerated loved her well. And now Gatsby, poor Gatsby… let’s just leave it at that.

Ready, steady, go!
These boots were made for…swimming?

My Little has style and flamboyance that is all her own. She embraces her spirit and wears it well and out loud (apologies to neighbors on all sides, up and down). She is a boisterous life force that can fill a space with her oomph and enthusiasm. She fills my heart!

Today, my Little bubelah (darling), she is grappling with getting bigger, older (like I don’t know from this). She has said several times this past week, “I’m gonna turn six, but after that I’m not doing it anymore. I don’t want to go to college. I just want to stay with my mamas.”

My girls...
My girls…

Join me today in this simcha (joyous occasion) as we celebrate my Little! L’Chaim! (To Life!)

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