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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