Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Watch out for the Goo Goo Muck

"When the sun goes down and the moon comes up
I turn into a teenage goo goo muck
I cruise through the city and I roam the street
Looking for something that is nice to eat.
You better duck when I show up...
the goo goo muck. "


Thanks PAVEL! Without your expertise, well I would still be sitting at my kitchen table listening to this song for the 854th time. All technical credit for this post goes to Pavel whether he'd like it or not.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

What's it all About?

I just read a post on a "Mommy Blogger's" blog that deals with her angst at someone swiping a picture from her flickr account of her child and altering it and posting it on this scum's blog in some mean way. Not sexual. Mean and stupid. Coward.

My first reaction was to run in and check on my sleeping children so to speak. You know it's a screwed up world. You know that. I know that. It's just, why would somebody do something so hurtful? I don't really know the players. It's not important. In the call and response, there was some discussion (maybe 1% of the comments) that indicated it's a big world on this here Internet and you shouldn't post pictures of your children in a public account such as flickr.

That got me to thinking. Well, in my true procrastinating style, I do have a flickr account, but I don't think I have any pictures in it. I do have pictures of my family in my blog but who the hell even knows me? But I can't say that I haven't thought about having posted the pictures.

Reading her account and as I read the comments, I felt a little bit sick, as if I had served my children up on a platter for viewing. I feel stupid and vulnerable. I share stories of my life because I like to write. The pictures that I have used thusfar are a little sideshow to the story. I feel that I have control and can shut the door whenever I like. But now I'm left with a lingering doubt about having identified any of us. It's not like anybody could find me in "a boro of NYC". Okay that narrows it down to about 8 million people. Close. It's just that I have shared my most precious treasures with the world. And sick bottom feeders like this can take a picture of a sweet little child and put a mean caption. Or take jabs at the parents for even sharing in the first place.

So here's the thing. I would shutter the place up yesterday if I felt that my family was compromised in any way.

For now I'll just put the chain lock on as I mull this crap.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Who Says New Yorkers Ain't Friendly?

The other night I had to do a little shopping. Truth is when is shopping really pleasurable anymore? It's always I need this and I have to get that - for the kids! Rotten kids, always wanting to be first. Me me me. I'm kidding, okay? Okay.

So I am in search of what would seem to be The Holy Grail - yes, a plain navy blue sweater, the finest in the kingdom. How about the school's requirement - navy? So I strike off in search of this. No go, but I did find pillow shams, a jacket for Julian and socks for me.

While I waited in line to pay, I noticed the man's cart in front of me had pillows, a wooden vase and a towel. Nosy? Just passing time. He turned to me and must have noticed my noticing and asked "nice vase isn't it?" I reply "Why yes, I was just admiring it". He brags as he holds it up "What do you think, probably go for about $60 bucks in one of the stores in the city"? Me, "at least". As a frame of reference, the city he refers to is Manhattan, we are shopping here in Queens.

It's a long line, this store is infamous for them, but I decide to make the most of it with Stuart. He then goes on to showcase his poetic side by reciting several haikus, the self described most devastatingly touching line ever written - "not because I wrote it, people have had that reaction."; I reply "Of course, that's beautiful". I must admit to not hearing half of it as he went into a raspy poet voice in a lower register as price checks were heavy in the air at the adjacent register. He seemed pleased that I liked it. He was suing whichever drug company puts out Lipitor.

He then went into standup mode and told me several of his own jokes. We talked about our heritage and found our commonality - we're both Jewish - he by birth, me by choice. Both of us have some suspect heritage - he suspects his was Irish (which is my heritage for the most part) and I suspect mine could have been Jewish. He was quite interested in the heritage thing, but we quickly moved on to sports. Stuart was a great baseball player in his time (he attempted to unload an official Mets jacket as we waited). Thankfully I had the foresight to answer in the negative when he asked if anyone in my family was into official baseball jackets. As a New Yorker, you just know where these type of questions are leading. Stuart was still in good shape, as he patted his tummy, at 66. Yes, he had a hairtrigger temper, but not like in his youth when he would not hesitate to knock an eight ball right between your eyes in a fight. Somehow I sensed that about Stu.

He gave me his card which he explained had Alex on it because his middle name is Alexander and if I ever wanted a baseball jacket, well to please give a call.

With further exchanged pleasantries, we parted. I don't know, Stuart's a lifelong New Yorker - seemed pretty friendly to me.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Bloggers' Picnic

If you go into the blogs today
you'd better go in disguise
If you go into the blogs today
You won't believe your eyes.

For every blog that ever there was
Is gathered there for certain because
Today's the day the Blogosphere has their picnic.

Ev'ry blogger who's commented
Is sure of a treat today
And our "friendly" CURMUDGEON HOST
Will savagely make you pay.

Beneath the trees where nobody sees
in a spiral of templates that once
were TOM&ICY'S
He's waiting there for his next victim.

Yes you think that they're RETIRING
or taking a break to GATHER STEAM
But Doug has taken the writer
and drowned them in a stream

So enter there and see who knows
the killer of the blogs is not Ambrose
but simply said that scallawag
who mimes him!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Yes, it is that time of year dear reader to start wearing socks again.

This may seem like no big deal to you, but one of life's little pleasures for me is when the weather hits warm enough a few days in April and then for the duration in May for me to go without socks. It's summer, it's carefree. Dress is casual for work. Life the way it almost should be. Then the calendar turns to September and I grudgingly spiff up the wardrobe a notch but I don't wear socks yet. Oh no. Has to be pretty cold for that - like today. So I have broken out a pair of socks. I must admit that I feel cozy and warmer, but slightly restrained and less carefree.

Wait a minute, what were we talking about again?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Cornsilk Blue Sundress

I was doing the final switcheroo of clothing today. You know, putting all of the summer things away and taking out all of the fall/winter clothes. It seems we're getting to that time of year when we need to be ready for any eventuality.

This is always a full day mammoth event for me. Because as we put away, we ferret out what is too small. Then we decide what goes to whom. Have to find out if Owen (my nephew) hasn't bypassed Julian. I've joked with Owen's parents that we might soon be up to the "hand me ups" with Owen giving his clothing to Julian. But for now, the really cool items go to Owen and then the other wearables go in the charity bag. Same with Tali. Her fabulous hand me downs go to Sara (my friend's daughter) and then the others to charity. Except Tali has begun complaining that Sara whines too much, especially when she doesn't like what she's wearing and doesn't deserve any of her hand me downs. She wants them all unequivocally to go to charity. She has me thinking. They're on the floor between the black charity bag and the bag I had out for Sara. Although Tali has already made up her mind, I'll sleep on that one.

Some things I can't help, they never get given away. Case in point - yellow soft as the day is long dress with a small guitar on the front from the Gap when Tali was about two. It's a size 2. I remember how she looked in it; it came down mid-calf. She still works her way into it and wears it as a jammy shirt with a soft pair of flowery cotton pj pants. It was one of those dresses meant to go through the ages with her.

Then there's the cornsilk blue sundress with yellow sunflowers. This was a hand me down from her cousin Amanda. The first year, it was too big. The next year, she wore with a white tee shirt beneath. The next year it fit pretty decently. This year she wore once or twice, but mainly used it to put on Julian when she played dress up. My Mom was visiting for that one and she got the best laugh she's had in a while watching that vaudeville act. Julian played it up too in full character. I'm laughing thinking of that.

I'm also shedding a tear because truth be known Amanda's life has not flourished as her sundress has. She is now thirteen and poised to enter those difficult teen years, except she's been having difficult years probably up to and after that pretty sundress made its way into our home. Her mother has withdrawn from all family contact, may or may not be using RX drugs for non RX uses and the children have lost contact with their lifeline. She has struggled in school and spent a large part of the past year out of school being homeschooled. Although by whom would be anybody's guess. She is apprently back in school this year. And I sat and shed a tear because I remember when she and her Mom on a girls' day out came to visit us after we first had Tali. She was only five and we have a picture of her smelling the beautiful multi colored mini rose bouquet they brought for us that day. Her long auburn curls and freckles captured so sweetly in the sunlight.

Amanda I hope you again smell those roses.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Come waste your time with me...

If I were half a blogger Part MMXXVII:

This episode finds our hapless unhip to the unwitting eye non-technie blogger trying to post a song to her blog. Had she succeeded she would have posted the song "Waste" by Phish. And you would be having your coffee and browsing through the list of "Essential Albums" as voted by the listeners of an Independent radio station that I listen to from Fordham University in New York, call lettersWFUV:

Bob Dylan, Blood on the Tracks
Bruce Springsteen, Born to Run
The Beatles, Abbey Road
The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
The Beatles, Rubber Soul
Joni Mitchell, Blue
The Beatles, The White Album
The Beatles, Revolver
Van Morrison, Moondance
The Clash, London Calling
Bob Dylan, Blonde on Blonde
Beach Boys, Pet Sounds
Paul Simon, Graceland
Carole King, Tapestry
Neil Young, After the Gold Rush
Lucinda Williams, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
The Rolling Stones, Exile on Main Street
Miles Davis, Kind of Blue
The Grateful Dead, American Beauty
Bob Dylan, Highway 61 Revisited
Derek and the Dominoes, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs
Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon
Allman Brothers, Live at the Fillmore East
Van Morrison, Astral Weeks
Joni Mitchell, Court and Spark
Simon and Garfunkel, Bookends
Crosby Stills and Nash, Crosby Stills and Nash
The Band, The Last Waltz
The Who, Who's Next
U2, The Joshua Tree
Steely Dan, Aja
The Band, The Band
The Who, Tommy
Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Déjá vu
Bruce Springsteen, Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ
Jackson Browne, Late for the Sky
Radiohead, OK Computer
The Band, Music from Big Pink
The Beatles, Meet the Beatles
The Rolling Stones, Sticky Fingers
The Grateful Dead, Workingman's Dead
Allman Brothers, Eat a Peach
Bob Marley, Legend
The Grateful Dead, Europe '72
Bob Dylan, Bringing It All Back Home
Elvis Costello, My Aim Is True
Emmylou Harris, Wrecking Ball
John Coltrane, A Love Supreme
George Harrison, All Things Must Pass
James Taylor, Sweet Baby James
Stevie Wonder, Songs in the Key of Life
The Who, Quadrophenia
Bob Dylan, Desire
David Bowie, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust
Bruce Springsteen, Nebraska
Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Four Way Street
The Rolling Stones, Beggars Banquet
Blood Sweat and Tears, Child is the Father of the Man
Counting Crows, August and Everything After
Bruce Springsteen, The Rising
The Rolling Stones, Let It Bleed
Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, Ella and Louis
Neil Young, Harvest
Dave Brubeck Quartet, Time Out
Elton John, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Meatloaf, Bat Out of Hell
Neil Young, Harvest Moon
Nick Drake, Pink Moon
Tom Waits, Closing Time
Radiohead, The Bends
Pink Floyd, The Wall
Tori Amos, Little Earthquakes
Van Morrison, Tupelo Honey
Talking Heads, Stop Making Sense
David Gray, White Ladder
Elvis Costello, Imperial Bedroom
Cat Stevens, Tea for the Tillerman
Eric Clapton, Clapton Unplugged
Frank Sinatra, Songs for Swinging Lovers
Johnny Cash, Live at Folsom Prison
Jefferson Airplane, Surrealistic Pillow
Joe Jackson, Look Sharp!
Joni Mitchell, Hejira
Fleetwood Mac, Rumours
Stevie Wonder, Innervisions
Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Laura Nyro, Eli and the 13th Confession
Little Feat, Waiting for Columbus
R.E.M., Automatic for the People
Ryan Adams, Gold

But alas dear bloggers, tis not to be...today.

Is your essential on there?

Now I'm up well beyond the curfew so I wish you all a good night and a good morning and a great weekend.

Now scoot on over to the THE SNARK where music continues to permeate the airwaves.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Board of Education You're Pissing Me Off!

ADDENDUM: Well it seems calmer heads have prevailed and the red tape has been cut through - for this round. I always know that it will happen, I just don't know how long it will take to cut. Thanks to all for your comments of support. I know that I am in the toughest school system in the Nation. That said, there is a good education to be had as long as you are an active involved parent. So thanks again (and maybe this will get Dr. Minnie Strator off my back). Have a good weekend all.


For the the uninitiated - I have two children. We live in a boro of New York City.

My oldest will be 9 and the youngest 5 (within the next 6 weeks so may as well get used to the new ages). A tale of two educations. I know many of you know the names but somehow I'd like this to be a bit more anonymous. Helps with the rant.

Oldest went to PS in our boro up until this year. The switch happened for a number of reasons. Driving the bus was the inability of Oldest to be challenged by anything they threw her way. Except it seemed in behaving. Her boredom drove her to distraction - artwork not always flattering, whatever she felt could fill the time. Through word of mouth and excellent test scores, Oldest has landed a scholarship to a private school. She is thriving and doing well. She has to wake up earlier which as you saw in our last post can be quite the challenge, but if I have to walk her over the 59th Street Bridge, she will not miss this opportunity.

On to Youngest. He has entered the fine NYC Board of Education this very year in Kindergarten. He has issues which need to be addressed in an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) to help him achieve the goals for the year. He has been in a pre-school setting for three years in a school that we loved. It is mid October and we are still ironing out wrinkles in the school's trousers. None of that is so troublesome. What is troublesome is when I go into the Office and see the Vice Principal in the Inner Sanctum busy being busy and so I just knock and enter to the surprise of her and the Principal. Oh Mrs. Lampshade, I know you must want to speak to me but we're having testing today which will start shortly. Well then I'll be brief. I go into my concerns to the nods of the sods with promises to "check into" and "deal with it" and blah blah blah.

The kicker is I get an email this morning praising how well Youngest is doing in blank blank (which I never even raised an issue with) and blah blah (also ?). I send an email back which basically says "don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining". I'm waiting for a reply.

So NYC Board of Education, I know you have a million kids to deal with but to me, mine is ONE IN A MILLION!

Let's cut through the red tape and deal with the issues at hand. Being defensive serves nobody, least of all - my child.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A Quickie

Just a quick little post. I need to get more sleep because many mornings I feel like above picture. I'll let you in on a little secret. In my family of origin, I have been known to be called "The Slug". Let's just say that I enjoyed relaxing. I recall my sister saying to me once, "You ought to write a book about wasting time". Well I thought that was a little unfair - so I knew how to amuse myself with little effort. So R, at your behest - now I just blog about it.

Thing is - ah yes, my kids are like me. The three of us in the morning are all like this little fellow up above. Tali gets up and even makes the effort to run through the kitchen and back into her bed. Julian burrows back under the blankets as he narrates the story "Leave him alone - he wants to sleep!" Me? I'm usually the one who Julian has come to burrow in deep next to. I can't get up yet, he's holding onto my hair. Which leaves one other person - the early riser, Mr. Scissors. The one attempting to roust this motley crew. Day after day we torture this man. Neither child has taken after him when it comes to this quality of being an early riser.

Look on the bright side Scissors, you have the choice of 2 1/2 baths until the rest of the crew awakens. We love you, just not so much in the morning. I promise things are looking up - I have that new alarm clock coming. You know the rubber mallet!

I better get to bed - 6:00 a.m. comes rather quickly, as does 6:15, 6:30...

Monday, October 16, 2006

This I Believe

I was with Tali in the car this afternoon enroute to her violin lesson when we heard the following on the radio. It is an NPR series of essays, entitled This I Believe.

In this particular essay a fourteen year old boy who has Aspergers Syndrome discusses what he believes. It was very moving and it started me thinking what I believe. It also started me thinking about Julian and his learning difficulties. When I hear a young man like this speak, it does make me hopeful that Julian will find his niche in the world. It seems in many ways that he already has.

Well I am in bed typing this (read on) with tissues scattered about, watery eyes and a red nose - sexy huh?

I am therefore off to count sheep. If you like, tell me what you believe in the comments. But by all means, when time permits listen to this essay. Gives you pause.



Thursday, October 12, 2006

Nice Breasts

I'm sure you'd like to keep them.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This goes for you guys also. Breast cancer does not discriminate. So if you haven't checked your breasts lately - do so. If you haven't checked your loved ones - what are you waiting for?

The truth of the matter is that my mother is a breast cancer and ovarian cancer survivor. Thank G-d she is here with us today. It is this family history that seems to have kicked me back into the 70 year old male category when I took THIS TEST. It really is a nice wake up call to see what you are doing wrong healthwise or perhaps in your case, what you are doing right.

In my case, I am not taking such good care of myself. I have not had a mammogram in...it's time for me to schedule one. Also post secret: I lie about doing self exams and only do them when I suddenly startle myself into the realization that I have not done one in...The truth is (I'm being truthful) sometimes I'm really afraid of what I'll find. I know that's not rational intelligent thinking. I know. My children are another story - I took my daughter to the doctor for a mosquito bite (that's what it amounted to). What's that Julian? Eyelash in your eye? I don't like the curve of that lash - get in the car, let's see what the doctor says.

Now then, this brings me into the current state of affairs. Yes I know, yesterday I was skipping and running through an apple orchard and today I'm going to talk about depression? How odd. That's why you should take the D train HERE. I have been thinking lately of a struggle I have been having with depression. You see it was vanity that sent me to the doctor because my medications seemed to have packed on some extra poundage as one of those lovely side effects. But the truth of the matter is that I really began to realize that this is depression we're talking about. I was not feeling great and the weight gain was the least of my problems.

I wrote a post about it and decided to stick it on the blog linked above. I don't know if I'll keep it or scrap it. I do know that I need to acknowledge the genetic factor and listen to how I am feeling. I guess if I am being truthful here, I don't really like the connotation or association of the word "depression". It makes me feel so, well, depressed. I feel stigmatized. That I am "crazy". Suddenly people will start looking into double meanings in my posts - signs of my deteriorating mental health. You know I am partially kidding, right? Who says you can't have a sense of humor about depression?

Would it kill you to laugh along with me on this one?

Monday, October 09, 2006


So off we went for our annual apple picking extravaganza yesterday. Yes there I am in the orchard sort of in action. We're having some problem with our picture downloads so the action shots may well have to wait.

Several posts back, my niece Caitlin talked about her and her sister Shannon's dessert dilemmas that they often found themselves in (as she writes about here. I shared that somehow this rang true for us when it came to apple picking season. Each year we would go off into the bucolic setting of an orchard "upstate", read 1 hour north of the city. The air would be crisp, the apples plenty and the children well behaved. Okay, usually the air is always crisp. Just kidding kids - it was lots of fun huh? Anyway, the sky would be the limit and we would pack up our bags with all the pickins of a day well spent in the clean air.

We would get back to the car, invariably an apple or two tucked into somebody's pockets and head home. Yes home. As thoughts of apple pie, apple sauce, apple betty and just apples danced through our head as we traveled "The Hutch" back to the city. What would happen in the ensuing weeks would be closer to reality. The apples would be placed in the downstairs fridge. We'd keep a supply upstairs to pack in lunches each day. Give some to coworkers. Some to Grandma. The weeks would drag on and we'd comment - "should we attempt the pie this weekend?". "Yeah we should shouldn't we?".

But look at that - another weekend come and gone. Now the apples had little by little dwindled down to the last measly batch which were only suitable for apple sauce or lobbing at the squirrels digging up holes in the backyard. In the interest of having something bountiful from our apple harvest, we'd make up a batch of apple sauce. And lob the last two at those rascally squirrels.

But this year is different. I can feel it. We're going to buy the frozen crusts so as to avoid the annual sabotage that has cursed our apple harvest.

Stop back in a week for a slice. In the meantime, stop over to muffin-land for a different take on the apple picking tour.

Little Footnote: It should be noted that no cows were harmed in the making of this post. The cow tipping reference is from the a song on a cd that we had playing in heavy rotation that day:LOU REED by The Little Willies

Friday, October 06, 2006

If it's the weekend...

I know, I know. Four days have passed without mention of a Holiday. Don't worry - everything's fine. That's because we have been preparing for the last part of this Holiday season called Sukkot which starts tonight (with Shabbat ~ the Sabbath) by constructing our sukkah. This is a really joyous and fun holiday and nicely rounds out the season of the High Holidays for us. We spent some time last night decorating and will finish today. Why there's a little sideways glance of the decorating committee in full swing.

So thank you all for your well wishes for the new year all along. If you're confused as to what the heck we still have to celebrate about, just click the link above.

Since it's the weekend, I know we all have something to celebrate? Have a great one and see you in the sukkah! By the way, Tali-muffin put up her own post about decorating the sukkah HERE

On a sidenote, but deserving of a post in and of itself is the very tragic incident in the Amish country this past week. The thought of this horrific slaughter has haunted my thoughts all week. One day, perhaps Tali and I will tell you of our family trip to the Amish Country and meeting Lydia Ruth. I could not close without mention of this tragedy and hope the poor people effected find comfort in their memories. Although how, I am not sure. Until then, please keep this community in whatever prayers or thoughts are a comfort.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Tali's biggest fan:

I was just going through some photos that are on a disk in the laptop. They're actually not recent - from last year. This one is Tali at her Third Grade Writing celebration. We are invited to listen to the children read their perfected writing piece to the parents and perhaps, grandparents. The hands in the photo are that of Tali's Grandma (my MIL, salami dealer, eternal source of aggravation to her son, the only person known to have brought herself back from a near death experience with Tylenol and a bedside glass of water - my MIL). None of that is important. The important part is her relationship with her grandchildren which in this case, are my children.

I love the proportion of the hands in the picture. That about sums up her enthusiasm for anything her grandchildren do in life. She could not be more proud of Tali if she actually were on the stage at Carnegie Hall. Which I am sure she fully expects to happen - only her version is "let her live - to be healthy". My MIL still earns a living outside of some small pension and social security through seamstress work(she would die if she knew I shared this so - you know). She works for a woman who has a shop in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the city - ask Pia - 10021. She works from her home though now and only occasionally - during the busy season. It is from this busy season, that she puts aside Tali's violin tuition which she has insisted upon paying.

The beauty is how their relationship just flourishes. Tali was so attached to Grandma - went crazy for her up until about four or five years old. She wanted sleepovers, etc. Then she went to school, made friends, started playing violin, in other words, developed in childhood. But Grandma expected it and took no offense. And anyway, there was Julian now wanting her attention too. The thing is Tali will still ask to go to Grandma's on occasion and who wouldn't as a child? She cooks them whatever they want when they walk in the door - from scratch. She plays Rummikub for hours with her, needlepoints, gets out the watercolors and they paint together. Really quite nice. The funny thing is when Tali (which rarely happens with Grandma) gets cross when Grandma has pushed too far. As in the other day. Tali went there after an indoor pool party and sleepover at my very good friend's. She was very tired and had napped at Grandma's. This was before the Holiday started Sunday night. Apparently, between rolling over, she was peppered with just a few questions - "Who was there? How is A's new apartment? Is it nice? Do the kids like it? What did you eat for breakfast? Where did you go for lunch?! Did Daddy pick you up? Where did he pick you up?" This I know because when Tali finally came to, quite cranky and I asked her one question - she said "enough of the questions, I'm sick of you and Grandma asking me questions!" Then went on to recount the above list of Grandma's. Grandma stopped, slightly widened eyes that displayed only mild shock and guilt on her part and without missing a beat asked, "Who's hungry?"

We all filed into the dining room.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


We are preparing for tonight's start of the holiday of Yom Kippur. I have attached a link with explanations of the Holiday here.I'm a little preoccupied getting last minutes Holiday details in order so I will wish all of my Jewish friends and family an easy fast and gamar chatimah tovah; and to all my non-Jewish friends and family peace and love and a good weekend.