My Favorite Bad@ss Painter, Frida Kahlo

Yes, I’m, doing my best Frida!

As the summer continues to play out, and the US Women won the World Cup, AGAIN, I think it timely to introduce you to one of my very favorite painters of all time, Frida Kahlo. Why now? Nu? Like RBG, Frida is my hero. Born on July 6, she would have been 112 today. That is slightly older than me.

Frida was a brave and mighty girl who grew to be a revered painter and overall bad@ss Mexican woman. I just know that if she were alive today, she would have given that gonif (thief) mrt, a well-pointed barb or two for his deplorable and despicable treatment of Mexicans, and all immigrants everywhere. I’m trying very hard to stay focused and not go off on this topic when concentration camps are surpassing summer camps and conditions are horrific.

Frida’s childhood inhabited the chaos of a dictatorship sounds familiar during the Mexican Revolution. Such timing taught her to be outspoken about her views and values sounds familiar. By her early 20’s, she was a proud member of the Mexican Communist Party I am a proud, card-carrying member of the ACLU. She was never afraid to use her voice to speak out for her heritage, and her country sounds familiar.

At the age of 6, Frida battled polio. From then on, she was plagued with health issues. As a teen, she was severely injured in a bus/trolley accident. Her legs, already weakened from polio, were gravely damaged as a metal handrail crushed her pelvis, fracturing her spine, legs, and feet.

(c) Frida Kahlo Foundation

After the accident, she was left bedridden and wearing a medical corset around her torso. She began to paint to beat boredom. Her mom, she had a special easel made so Frida could paint while lying on her back. Such a mitzvah! (good deed). She did many self-portraits, and later asked famed Mexican painter, Diego Rivera, a K’nocker (big shot), to critique her work. In time, they married and their stormy relationship, and fiery moods and tempers filled many a canvas for Frida.

Yiddish Proverb:

If we cannot do what we will, we must will what we can do. Aoyb mir kenen nisht ton vos mir veln, mir muzn veln mos mir kenen.

Never farfaln (hopeless, lost), Frida always brought her own personality, chronic pain, relationships with men and women, miscarriages, medical procedures, and deepest feelings into her paintings. She also managed to add female strength, grit, and empowerment. Her work always spoke about indigenous culture, nature, gender, class, identity, and race in Mexican society. She painted her view of the world around her, her reality, for all to see. This is why she vehemently opposed being labeled as a ‘surrealist.’

Frida is revered for her naive, folky style, bright, bold colors, her love of Mexican culture and many portrayals of the female experience from a feminist perspective. She is a hero to many more than just me. She is an inspiration for many artists, people with chronic pain and disabilities, the LGBT world, and women everywhere.

Quotes from Frida Kahlo:

Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?

I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.

There have been two great accidents in my life. One was the trolley, and the other was Diego. Diego was by far the worst.

At the end of the day we can endure much more than we think we can.

Frida, she died way too young. She was only 47. Such tsuris (troubles, grief), always. She was found dead by her nurse at 6 am on July 13, 1954. It is said that she died from a pulmonary embolism. Gutinue (OMG), just imagine what more she could have accomplished if she were other-abled! She never once kvetched (complained) or let her illness, chronic pain, or disabilities stop her from living her life to the fullest.

Frida, her glass was always half-full. She lived every day with strength, dignity, and pride. May we all be so lucky. May I follow her bad@ss lead.

A bie gezunt. Go in good health. 

 

Some great folks I like to share with….

Mindfulness, Mammography, and Me

Living in the moment sure has its ups and downs. The news cycle not going to go there, life, work, kinder (kids), the Mrs., all present their own unique challenges and opportunities. Hell, even the weather these days is hard. But, despite it all, I am trying my best to show up with intention. I breathe and practice mindfulness, while being as present as one can be with a smart phone and a chaotic life. There is however, one time where I strongly recommend leaving your mindfulness in the dressing room. It’s when you go for your annual mammogram. After recently experiencing my yearly squash-fest, I thought it right to share. Nu?

So I’m wearing my fresh little cloth gown, open in the front for obvious next steps, and I am called into the room with the gargantuan techno-seer of all things boob. A very pleasant technician named Linda shares niceties with me as she readies her mammoth monster for action. “Come this way,” she says, as she guides me in for my first “close-up. Let’s do the left one first.” Being the liberal I am, that works quite well.

Quiet, happy place. Quiet happy place.

Now, I am not one to complain at all, but in the department of mammary glands, the women in our family must have been out to lunch (more likely folding laundry) when actual bosoms were dispensed. There are men walking around in the street with more cleavage then we have (collectively). Not that there is anything wrong with that, mind you. But being small, resembling an 13 year-old boy, makes this ordinary, yet necessary procedure rather extraordinary. Stars, fireworks, skyscrapers, and everything…

As I cautiously inch over her towards Linda, she begins to literally pull skin from my left facial cheek (I think my ear lobe was stretched in there too) to the bottom of my rib cage. Linda (whose hands must have been pre-chilled), she wants some breast to image. How can I blame her? She pulls my taut skin tighter and tighter, as she begins to electronically close the gap on the two plates of glass that are squeezing the stuffing out of me. “Don’t breathe! H-O-L-D!” As if breathing was even an option? I hear a noise, feel a real zetz (a strong blow, or punch)  of radiation pulsate through my soul and realize this would be the exact right time to not be mindful. To check out. Think funny thoughts. Go to my quiet, happy place (where is that again?).

As Linda released the confining compression case, I looked to the floor to see if a pool of blood had formed. I half expected to break a rib. “Let’s do the left angle view now.” Yup, the angle. Great. I’m on it. At this point, my head is turned in such a way that my aching neck begins to twinge. “Raise that arm up. Closer. Closer.” I had no idea ones belly button could move diagonally? Is it possible that she is also checking my thyroid? IS Linda that good? Oy vey iz mir. ( oh, woe is me.) “Don’t breathe! H-O-L-D!” I definitely felt more radiation this time. She must have seen something. That was a zetz alright! I begin to sweat. Sweating while she is forcing all of the derma on my left side into the glass crushing chamber of boob makes for one slippery slope. Is it a hot flash? Is it fear. Is it because of the radioactive blast she just unleashed to snap my picture.

“Okay. Let’s do the other side.” Linda, she says this cheerily.

Gentlemen who may be reading this, just imagine Roadrunner and the Wile E. Coyote. Roadrunner always has a handy Acme anvil that always flattens our Coyote friend. Well, take your (rhymes with klutz) …, and place them in a vise in order to understand yet another thing us women must endure.

I’ll spare you the details of the right side. You know, Lather, rinse, repeat. UGH! I feel as though I experienced as much radiation as Meryl Streep did in Silkwood. If you recall, she was zetzed pretty good. Where is that special shower and the metal scrub brush. I’m doused! I may light up like a firefly at dusk.

I head back into the dressing room and observe my ruby-red torso in the mirror. Singed, albeit tattooed by the vicious radioactive scrunch and crunch machine, I reflect on how this procedure had to be invented by a man. As I put my clothes back on, I ask Siri, and don’t you know, Raul Leborgen from Uruguay thought up this special compression technique for capturing cancer.

With my inside voice, I thank him. I open my curtain and head to the exit. A bowl of chocolate adorns the desk at check out (a woman’s touch), and I am fully assured that as my two go, we are cleared for another year. Mazel Tov (kudos and yahoo!) to me and my girls!

Women, make sure you do this! Mammograms save lives. It’s a boobemysah (old wive’s tale) that it is painful, unless of course your bra has no cups, hasn’t bought a vowel, or was burned in the sixties…

 

Yiddish Proverb:

If you are healthy, you are wealthy. Aoyb ir zent gezunt, ir zent raykh.

 

Some great folks I like to share with….

 

 

How this Memorial Day is a little bit different

This week, we lost yet another vet to the Vietnam Nam war. Yes, you read that correctly. The Vietnam Nam War.

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In the wee hours of Friday morning, May 24, this soldier surrendered his last courageous breath, with the love and comfort of his dear wife by his side.

War, it knows no end.

His family watched him wither down from a strong and able man to a frozen, frail, quiet shell. Stilled, but not by choice. Agent Orange stole his last years.

PSP. Progressive supranuclear palsy. A degenerative disease involving the gradual deterioration and death of portions of the brain.

I wouldn’t wish such horror on anyone. A shonda (shame).

And like the Marine he was, he was strong, stoic, stalwart, and brave to the very end.

Yiddish Proverb:

A shekter sholem iz beser vi a guter krig. A bad peace is better than a good war. 

This Memorial Day, I am especially aware of how war, it affects us all.  The wives, brothers, sisters, moms, dads, children…

There is another Yiddish saying we should all think about as we poke at each other with such capricious hostilities. It translates to something I truly believe to be true:

If one soldier knew what the other thinks, there would be no war.  

Rest In Peace, Captain Joseph T. Drennan III, United States Marine Corps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caught in a dream

Look, up in the sky… It’s a bird? It’s a plane? It’s a Yiddisheh momma?

Oh, the stories my brain can tell. Have you ever been caught in a dream? You know…when you lay your weary head down on your pillow. Those horrendously heavy eyelids thud shut, and you actually fall asleep, and watch the same recurring movie dream over and over again. It’s like my own personal Groundhog Day during REM only less annoying and much more personalized. Night after night, the same dream. Day after day, thinking about this same dream. Has this ever happened to you?

For me, as I slide into deep rest albeit temporarily, I magically become a superhero, very similar to Wonder Woman only less cleavage, in fact, by less, I mean none. I fight evil and wrongdoing for our planet, these government gonifs (thieves), my mishpocheh (family), for my kinder (kids) and for my Mrs. I am sleeping proof that one can be an absolute awe-inspiring superhero, even without the great ‘chest-al’ divide. And, thanks to the dark skin and bags (one might even say, luggage) around my eyes, I have a built-in mask! Nature, she’s a real hoot and works in mysterious, magical ways.

Appropriate Yiddish proverb:

If you want your dreams to come true, don’t sleep. Aoib ir viln deyn khlumus tsu kumen ams, ton nit shlofn.

So, back to my dream (as I so often do). Smart, I am! Equipped with the knowledge and wisdom of RBG, and the wit, timing and dance moves of Ellen DeGeneres. Oh, and have I got writers. Such good writers! I must channel Shonda Rhimes, Aaron Sorkin, and David E. Kelly in the wee hours when I’m not waking up to wee. I look like me, with only the very sleek and stylin’ cape  (it helps keep me afloat). Strong? Look out! As I soar skyward, flying, I am carrying a tachka (big) boulder around with me, and with ease! I’m not even a bit out of breath. What’s with the tachka big boulder?

Flying, I travel through the brisk night air, guided by the light of the full, brilliant moon. Leaving my suburb-ified city, I seek and find offenders and bad actors. When I land, have I got a mouthful? I advise, warn, counsel, check, tell off, call on the carpet, tell a thing or two, draw the line in the sand, and then, and only then do I offer a proper Yiddish proverb. Why, because a good Yiddish quote, given at the exact right moment, it’s like bread for the hungry!

This Yiddish Proverb:

Truth is heavy, therefore few care to carry it. ams iz shver, deriber veynik zorgn tsu firn es.

So by day, I feel what the world offers. I soak it in like a sponge, absorbing the wrongs, evils, deceits, and denials. And mitten drinnen (in the middle of everything), I hide my superpowers and carry on. But by the marvelous light of the moon, I am a respectful force to be feared, like Golem (a Yiddisheh savior), on behalf of all that I hold true, care for and love.

Look out. Look up. Here I come! ❤

So what are you dreaming about?

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….

I feel giddy

What a difference a day makes…

You know, today, life feels just a little bit different. The grueling dark and dismal days of February are behind us. (Do you think I need to mention that there are 2+ inches of the powdery stuff on the ground right now and the kinder (kids), they have another 2-hour delay? Don’t get me started. The barometer – it goes up and down so often my head is spinning, no easy task for one with chronic nerve pain in my neck… I digress in the tsuris (troubles) when I promised you giddy. Here, let me share:

  • Two days ago, Mikey, he made me so happy! You know, Michael Cohen? After starring in 10 Years a Thug, he’s seen the monster and came out on the other side, telling the world that he is a “racist, a conman and a cheat.” If you don’t know who ‘he’ is, think Agent orange, 45, mrt…
  • Mikey, he also hinted to us all about further financial fraud and investigations into cooking the books going down in New York. I always loved NY! As I type and you read, Oh, sweet history! Farklempt (all choked up)? Me too! Michael, he is now oysvorf (an outcast, unpopular) in the cast of reality show players that have overtaken the White House.
  • On this very same day, Agent O was shmying around (strolling aimlessly) kibbitzing (butting in) about out the Art of the Deal in Viet Nam. Curiously, he never made it to Nam when the country called for him. I’m just sayin’? I sure hope his bone spur didn’t hurt too much while standing for smiley photos with fellow unscrupulous badman.
  • And, like Christmas in February, the day that kept giving continued. My heart skipped a beat (in a good way, not in an A-FIB way) when HR 8 legislation finally passed! This is a bipartisan law that requires background checks for ALL gun sales (I know? Like this wasn’t already a law?). It took 6+ years to get to this safer space in gun-mania (Sandy Hook was the catalyst. Such a shondah (senseless shame), this tragedy… and so many others that followed). One small step…  One big victory.
  • Then yesterday, I read Netanyahu, another thug among gonifs (thieves) is going to soon be indicted for corruption, and so much more… BiBi and Agent O, they are friends. Birds of a feather… Perhaps they can share a cell, saving room for cast members?
  • Today is March 1 and (despite the snow I must shovel before heading to work) that means Spring, extended daylight, and warmth will soon arrive. Insert smiling, happy Momma here.
  • Sunday, my Big, she turns 11. Oy vey, how’d that happen? On this same day, Little, she has a math and artwork event with school at the famed Barnes Museum. Can you feel me kvelling (bursting with pride)? It’s not a hot flash – I swear.

May it just keep on getting better for us all! My glass is certainly half full. Are you giddy too? Please, let me know why.

Yiddish Proverb:

Be Happy! Zei mir frailich!

Some great folks I like to share with….