Friday, September 29, 2006

What Are You Looking At?

...You talkin to me? Go ahead, knock this blog off my shoulder. Dare ya.

Just practicing my tough stance for fighting. Something about a brawl.

Okay okay - I'm Sar's guest today at the one and onlyBELLE OF THE BRAWL! Could I be more excited - not!

So go visit me there pleeeaase. I told her I had friends - people who knew people. It's a lie I know, but I wanted in and there was this qualifying questionnaire. No, really that's a lie - about the questionnaire. It's all above the boards. And guess what? Sar needs a guest for next week. I don't know if they'll be bloodletting, but it always looks like fun. Weren't all schoolyard fights as long as you weren't involved? There I go talking like a tough again, people might get ideas...

If you've happened to wander here from Sar's, it would have been nice to have a post proper up. But you know that family I was talking about over there? Funny thing is they make demands on me..."Sleep with me Mommy" No. "Tell me a story" okay "Just lay with me while you tell it" Alright - move over...

Five hours later after awaking in a twin bed with a small arm acroos my face, from a stress dream that (no surprises here) involves the New York City subway system (what I had to go through to get a Metro Card), I jump on the computer to put this word about my guest post in. What happened to the other parental unit? He looks pretty comfy in our bed right now.

So in the interest of continuing sleep and hopefully a dream that has rainbows and butterflies and lovely music and clean homes and organized filing systems, this post will have to do.

Sweet dreams.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Black Shirt

I do quite a bit of musing while driving. So this morning's musing surrounded around my new black shirt:

Ode to New Black Shirt

You will never again feel this fresh
Or have just this hue in your threads
You will be washed
Lose elasticity
maybe get a small hole and I'll still wear you

But you'll be comfortable
You'll fit me softly and perfectly
You'll end up as pj's when you get too faded
But that's when you'll be closest to my heart.

And that reminds me of my husband. Mr. Scissorhands. Relationships start off so new and fresh. You think things will never change from there. They do. Good times/bad times. The bond deepens, you gain a few pounds, he loses a few strands of hair. And here we are - seventeen years after first meeting.

Feel this cotton.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Must be Rosh Hashanah

The crickets are singing some of their last choruses of the summer.
The wind is blowing a nice soft breeze in through the window as I type.

Who shall live and who shall die?

Although the day was warm, the evening breeze is cool and crisp
Foreshadows an autumn nip in the air.

Who shall live and who shall die?

On Rosh Hashanah it is written
On Yom Kippur it is sealed.

And possibility and hope are thick in the air. For we Jewish people, this time of year is very spiritual. No matter your level of observance, I am sure that you can't help but reflect who you need to "get right with", what you may want to change, and then the deal goes down. Your fate is sealed for the next year.

Sort of like applying for a job or making a credit application. Only you wait for the disposition for a whole year. You don't really know until next year now do you? If you know sooner, well - that's not good news.

So if I may, Jewish or not - today may just be the day to think who have I offended, where have I been less than "impeccable with my word" as Don Miguel Ruiz states in the first of THE FOUR AGREEMENTS? ThanksNEVA for that one. And reflect. Alternately, if you go down to a moving body of water and throw some bread crumbs in, you can symbolically have cast your sins upon the water and fed some birds in the process.

Or you could just grumble that it's Monday and grab yourself a TGSL and think about it all on your way to work

Friday, September 22, 2006


We are closed in observance of Rosh Hashannah, the Jewish New Year. Wishing you a healthy and sweet new year. For some basic definitions and explanations regarding the customs of the High Holidays, please click HERE.

If you'd like to leave a Thanksgiving recipe, continue on to the All in the Family post that follows. A good year to all.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Well, things have been a little hectic of late. Did I mention I'd be posting daily, every other day? Good, I hope not. As my days blend into shoveling kids on buses, traveling from Queens to Suffolk County to Manhattan...I'm a little on the side of bleary in the eye. My family of origin - crazy lot that we are, have intermittent family emails going. They run hot - 20 to 30 a day back and forth then...cold - silence. Then back and forth. Out of one such bombardment, it was decided that all would turn up at my sister Susan's home for Thanksgiving (at her invitation of course). You see, it seems she has sold her house as her husband cooked dinner one evening (I digress) and this would be their last Thanksgiving at their lovely home that has hosted many a fun filled family gathering. My niece Caitlin emailed her plans for dessert below which I then just asked if she would make her offer to bring dessert into a post for this here blog. How sweet! Yeah, read on.

Without further adieu, let's give a nice warm Simply Said welcome to my niece Caitlin! Make it warm, I'm trying to talk her into starting her own blog!


My name is Caitlin Rush and my big sister's name is Shannon. Shannon is a senior at Amherst College where the bohemian environment serves to encourage her attraction to organic food and interesting recipes. I am a deferring Smith student, a fact which could be used to prove my tendency to delay or avoid even the most necessary of decisions.

Shannon and I commit to the simplest of ideas only after enduring the same amount of mental strain that most people reserve for buying a new car. We have to "test drive" every idea and possibility that pops into our head. A phrase that comes up too often when we are trying to accomplish something, "Well what if we...instead?"
Imagine that Shannon and I have offered to bake dessert for the Thanksgiving family dinner?

Shannon and I decide to bake a cake. As we flip through my Moosewood cookbook looking for a good cake, we decide to make something more interesting, like a trifle. However, one of us mentions that a trifle may look a bit ambitious. After discussing the various pros and cons of a trifle, we decide that the family would be happier with something more traditional, like a pie.

We'll then go to the grocery store for pie ingredients and walk back and forth in between the frozen food aisle and the baking aisle over and over again, trying to decide whether to buy a frozen crust or to make one from scratch. We'll call my mom, who will tell us to buy a frozen one.

We'll get off the phone and decide to do neither, screw the pie, and flip vigorously through the pages in my cookbook in the middle of the grocery store trying to find something else to bake. We'll decide on cookies. Shannon will want to make some interesting fusion of peanut butter cookies and macaroons, using Splenda and unbleached flour, and in listing the potential ingredients for these splend-nut-aroons, we'll call my mom to ask if we should pick up some baking powder. Mom will be exasperated with the two of us and say that if we're making cookies, we should make chocolate chip cookies. We'll get off the phone with mom and deliberate for a while the possibility of reviving the pie idea, until we remember the crust issue. We'll leave the grocery store empty handed, at 10:00 o'clock as the grocery store is closing, the day before we're supposed to leave, knowing that mom always keeps a 5 lb bag of chocolate chips at home... just in case.

Around midnight, covered in flour and amidst a destroyed kitchen, we'll throw our burnt cookies away and overpack our bags with three outfits and a wide selection of pajamas for the next day and go to sleep.

We'll stop by the grocery store again in the morning (ignoring the points and stares form the store clerks who angrily waited for our departure the night before so they could close up), and head straight to the frozen food aisle where we'll plan to buy three cheesecakes, pondering for half an hour whether to buy three plain, three different flavors, or two plain and a variety box. At this point Shannon will tell me to call dad for some input. He'll tell us to buy whatever, the Rushes love cheesecake, but to hurry up.

We'll end up choosing three plain, a variety pack and a strawberry, another thirty minutes later, ten of which Shannon and I will have spent in front of the pie crust section of the frozen food aisle where we fretfully discuss the possibility of buying the frozen crust and pie ingredients and baking the whole pie at Aunt Sue Sue's. At the checkout lane, Shannon will realize that she left her discount card in the car so she'll run to the car to get it, leaving me behind with one of the disgruntled cashiers. We'll finally pay and leave and arrive at aunt sue sue's two hours late (not to the surprise of any of our relatives, some of whom will have been waiting to see which cheesecakes, if any, we will arrive with, having been informed of our dilemma hours earlier by my dad, and some of whom will arrive after Shannon and I, having encountered various dilemmas of their own on their way to aunt sue sues), with hot cheesecakes, because we will undoubtedly either forget to buy ice, or decide we don't need it.


You mean you two don't make the cheesecakes yourselves?!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

It's come to this.

It was only a matter of time. You do your best to raise them well. You know they will fly on their own some day. I just wasn't ready for the day to be so soon. That's right, sniff sniff, Tali's started a blog!

Oh I know I've been careless for I'll never forget how she was drawn in when she first saw PANSI! She made me play it again and again. That should have been the tipoff. She walked by and would see the eye-catching art of David LaChapelle in MizB's header and casually ask "MIZ B?" Whenever she would read NBFF anywhere, she would say "Is that NEVA?" It started, where many bloggers linger - at DOUG'S where I believe a story inspired her to comment. It wasn't long before Doug had a little hanger on (without a blog). Well Doug, as you noted in my guest intro, now you are back to having only friends with blogs.

Nobody under the age of 13 can start their own blog on Blogspot. Fine with me, Tali can be found here in MUFFIN-LAND (name inspired by another of Neva's fab finds - MUFFIN FILMS).

I still haven't figured out how or if I can get rid of my profile from appearing on her blog as it seems we are inextricably linked in blogs as in life. That's fine as I like her under my protective wing. So stop by and say hi to the new kid on the block before I rethink the whole thing.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


I've been tagged by one of the readingest buddies in the blogs,KYAHGIRL!It had been and still partially is a crazy week, so I am getting my sea legs back so to speak, and will endeavor to get myself in the posting mode again. The meme is about books and I will say that I have always loved to read. Particularly I can remember during summertime as a child, when with nothing but our bikes and imaginations, my friends and I would take off for the library. Well we always brought a little mischief along just in case, but that's a story for another day. We would park our bikes outside and go into the cool hallowed halls of the library. I can still picture the children's section downstairs. We were avid readers of the Happy Hollister Book Series pictured here:

Now I know I was young when I was reading them eight or nine years old, but I always laughed at the characterization of Mr. Hollister "graying at the temples" at the beginning of each book and would read that aloud to my mother. They were just a little too perfect in my recollection, but we did enjoy that series and they passed around among our little posse. Then we would resume sitting on the porch steps before figuring out what next to play, whining "I'm boooored". No summer camp for us.

Before we go the meme itself, I'll preface it by saying that my memory is vague on details at times and I have gotten rid of quite a few books in past years because I just can't hold onto them, so this is truly those books that spring to mind - a book association, if you will.

No offense to all memeists, but I find these hard/silly to do as I will surely change my mind just as soon as I have saved the post. Having said that, here goes:

1) One book you have read more than once.
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding - LaLeche Leaugue International - what? I needed reinforcement with both kids. Whoever said it's the most natural thing in the world was not breastfeeding at the time. That and Charlotte's Web by E.B. White (most recently, a couple of years ago with Tali) springs to mind - one reference, one fiction (you guess which is which).

2) One book that you would want on a desert island:
That's easy - The Torah. There are a lot of characters and plot development that I need time to absorb, and I am sure there is a life lesson for any situation that might arise. Truth is I'd need a rabbi for interpretation - make him a cute one since we're on a desert island (no commandments against that).

3) One book that made you laugh:
Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut. I went through a period of reading one Vonneugt book after the next. I just remember reading this and laughing. At least, I believe it was this one. What was the one with the recipes? Well it made me laugh, maybe it's not the one I'm thinking of, but I laughed. This is what I allude to when I talk about the vagaries of memory.

4) One book that made you cry:
Most recently, The Human Stain by Philip Roth. Just a bit of a sad yet funny commentary on the lost souls of society woven so beautifully yet mournfully together. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but it did make me cry.

5) One book that I wish I had written:
On the Road by Jack Kerouac. I just loved the whole feel of the Beat Generation - so on the precipice of a cultural explosion. I'd love to have been a fly on the wall and written this one. I read this in SanFrancisco and Hawaii which was a lovely backdrop and brings back fond memories of our honeymoon.

6) One book that I wish had never been written:
Although technically described as a pamphlet or a text, it's close enough to a book to me and that is The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It was anti-semitic propaganda purporting to outline The Jewish plan for world domination published in the early 20th century. Although the feelings (and this text) are still alive and er, poison in the 21st century, I'd still prefer if this had never been "cooked up". It makes me sick to my stomach.

7) One book that I am currently reading:
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. This because my dear friend NEVA has thought enough of me to give it to me to read. I am enjoying its message immensely. Any book that can simplify my outlook on life down into four agreements can't be all that bad. Okay I oversimplify, but really the book gives you another scope through which to understand the source of other's communication and our reactions thereto.

8) One book that I have meant to read:
This is just crazy, but it doesn't say name the only book that you've meant to read, just one book, so that would be: The Only Dance There Is by Ram Das Ram Das is a Harvard Psychology Professor who became a psychedelic mind explorer but the book itself is based on his talks. He's a bit far out, but funny and with a positive outlook. I haven't gotten past the halfway mark, but I keep it nearby in case...

9) One book that changed your life:
Black Like Me by Howard Griffin This was long before I had read any of Richard Wright's books and was my introduction to the harsh realities of racism in America. I would not too much later come to see these harsh realities with my own two eyes. Frightening.

10) Tagging. That Ariel doesn't have a blog, but hey I know plenty of people, myself included, who would lend you theirs. No pressure - really. You could even answer one or two in the comments and I'd give you a pass grade. And WEIRSDO, again this is a kinder gentler game of tag. You could dispute whether I had actually tagged you or just brushed your sweater...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Hi Ho Hi Ho...

That's right - it's back to work. No, I'm not in construction. This is just what I will brandish if anyone actually expects me to work today.

Now in the vein of the great and talented
VILLAGE IDIOT, why don't you drop by and leave your favorite Work Song to inspire me throughout my first day back at the grind.

Have a wonderful day all!

ADDENDUM 9/13/06: No post, so just keep adding your songs or whatever you like...just remember I still have the big wrench here (which I just noticed looks like a big industrial G). That's me - always observing the obvious two days later.

Monday, September 11, 2006


The sign-up for this tribute was closed when I attempted it this morning. I first read about it at TRUTH IS FREEDOM. If you go there, Brian has all the relative links to the original project site. It is a wonderful idea that I would have liked to have included myself as part of, but I've read some beautiful tributes this past weekend (Brian has written an especially nice one). Bloggers have signed up to write tributes to those who were lost on that day. It is nice to see their individual lives memorialized.

September 11, 2001 - 9/11 - truly a date that will live on in infamy. As is customary on national holidays and as many did in the immediate aftermath of this tragedy, I am flying my country's flag in honor of those lost on that day.

But what a beautiful day it started off as. I was 7 months pregnant at that time and was commuting to work in Manhattan. I would take the QM12 Express Bus into the city on the days that I worked (I was always off on Friday). This day as many will remember was just a gorgeous September Day - the bluest of blue skies greeted me that morning. The bus ride was no different than other days - the bus making time in the bus lane on the Long Island Expressway (LIE)to the Queens Midtown Tunnel. Between Julian kicking madly in my uterus while I would try to read a book, I would look out the window at the city skyline and just ruminate about life with my hand reassuring Julian that he would be here soon. Then we entered the tunnel and it took us a long time to get through. Too long - what's going on?

We got out of the tunnel at very close to 9:00 and there were sirens screaming through the air. Police cars, fire engines speeding by. The unmarked official black vehicles. People were on cell phones on the bus with reports streaming in that a "commuter plane" had hit into the World Trade Center. As we crossed 34th Street and looked downtown, there was the thick billow of black smoke pouring out of the Trade Center. By the time I was walking to my office, people were out near cars, gathered near delivery trucks listening to radios - the second tower had been hit. By the time that I got to my office, I just sat in my chair dazed listening to the news on the radio. Some of my coworkers went downstairs to watch news on television, but I just sat there at my desk. I desperately tried contacting my best friend in life who works in the World Financial Center, to no avail. Thankfully by afternoon, I talked to her and she was okay and coming to meet me. My experience of that day was different than hers, I did not see things first hand. She saw workers plummeting to their deaths from her office building. When I met her, she was shellshocked.

I know I changed on that day along with millions of other people. I became more patriotic then and I remain so proud of this country now. Because I know when you say America it does mean a country of freedom, caring and helping those in need, despite what others would want the world to believe. I know that because that is who I am and I am an American and these were values that I grew up with and impart to my children.

My heart weeps for those who lost someone on that day. We must always remember - never forget.

This post is in honor of our fellow human beings who were lost on that tragic date. May their memories all be a blessing to those they left behind.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Hey, teacher, leave us kids alone!

Alright breathe deeply. It's only the first week of school and I have a meme due, emails to answer, no posts within spitting distance. That's not to mention all the things I was going to "catch up on". I felt as if I were the one in school here for a brief moment. Actually I am. Each September the knot in my stomach is reawakened by the knowledge that the dreaded procrastination gene is embedded in my children's' DNA.

Well Julian, he is just busy hosting tea parties in his new class - no homework yet. Kindergarten. But it's coming, oh yes it's coming. The good news is that he's settling in nicely to his new school and role as lower gradesman. He is already making a name for himself. That's my little mayor. Tali starts school tomorrow. She, on the other hand, had a homework packet over the summer of which she seemed to neglect a few unfinished details, say like - writing a story! With a bit of divine intervention FOUND HERE and some writer's cramp on Tali's part, the packet is complete.

And since the bus service is not in place yet for Little Miss Can't Be Wrong (you remember the Spin Doctors), I will be schlepping into Manhattan with her at 7:00 am. Scissors will get Julian to school.

And so goes week #2 of my vacation. So if I have not responded to emails or commented at your blogs, you are all never far from my heart.

Now then, if you'd like to sign up for Homework Helpers, please do so in the comments section. If you have a particular subject you'd like to volunteer for, please indicate that there.

I'd also like to recognize Icy of TOM AND ICY fame as inspiration in Tali's last story due for school - tomorrow. Tali enjoys following Icy's adventures out in the yard, (as do I) and so named the dog in her story Icy.

The good news may just be that I'll be back in work next week.

Monday, September 04, 2006

A Tropical Depression?

We're home.

Survived Ernesto. Well no big deal he was only a tropical depression - downgraded from a tropical storm. And a blackout.

Yesterday was our last full day of vacation. Call us weird. Okay, got that out of the way early, but I don't really care if it's sunny and 80. I mean it's nice and all but I just like to be on vacation at the beach. We were in Montauk. It is another place and time. Even sitting in the hotel room, you stare across the road at the ocean. And it was angry this week. Looking at it, I felt calm. I always do. So back to yesterday, Scissors said that he was going to take Julian for a walk into town (our secret weapon to tire him out which only tires us out it seems). As I write about this, the following song pops into my head:

Cakewalk Into Town by Taj Mahal

I had the blues so bad one time
It put my face in a permanent frown
You know I'm feeling so much better
I could cakewalk into town.

I love the blues - for perfect little choruses like that.

So while the boys cakewalked, the girls painted rocks. This was after we had been out for the day and it was sort of misty throughout. It was nice though. It was a stop and drive day. Ooh art show - today only. Stop - view - chat - drive. Ooh Scenic Overlook. Stop - look at map - run down hiking trail with Julian stop make our way back drive. Make it out to Lighthouse stop climb up steps ooh pictures climb down steps go down to beach stop. Admire the fury of the waters which are in such an exaggerated form today. The wind actually knocked Tali over. Hey she just wanted to feel the seafoam. Back to car regroup have quick snack drive. Scissors has in his head fish and chips drive go down by piers stop find a good place stop go in for fish and chips Drive. And that was our day. That's perfection for me - no schedule.

After some rock painting, Tali and I decide to watch a movie. I'm dozing off when pft - the television goes off. I wake up and the lights have gone out as well! We try them and look outside - lights out! Daddy and Julian!!! And it's raining! Hurry get shoes on and run out to car to go look for them. As Tali and I drive down Old Montauk Highway, here they come cakewalking back from town! Laughing along, not a care in the world! Pull over and haul the stragglers in.

We drive back towards town and lights back on! Scissors wanted to get Julian a souvenir sweatshirt and so we go to one of the shops. Long story short, lights go back out, we get the sweatshirt and when we get back to our room Scissors has "accidentally" shoplifted a pair of sunglasses that Julian had on. They were sort of Elton Johnish - kind of rosy with gemstones. He took them away from Julian and stuck them in his pocket to put back onto the rack (seems suspect I know unless you know Scissors - then it makes perfect sense) when the lights went out and it was black, except for the glow-in-the-dark dinosaur on the tee shirt on the wall. The store staff rescued us with a flashlight and led us to safety.

All in time for us to go home and finish painting rocks by tealight. You tell me the last time you did that on vacation!

Missed you all, feeling a bit rusty but it's good to be home.