Saturday, December 30, 2006

Best of '06

This is just a quick little toss off post which ties into the one that I'm doing in Central Snark today - sort of a best of 2006 in Music, for my little weekly Saturday Spin. I mean it's all a matter of taste, I just love combing these lists for artists that I don't know and checking them out.

This link is to a non-commercial radio station that I have mentioned here before - and it is the listeners' polled favorites. I think some of mine are missing, let me go take umbrage with this list while you get us a cup of coffee and we'll meet back here.

Anyway, the link is HERE

Enjoy your day and Happy Almost New Years ~ WooHoo!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Who Am I?

I've been mulling lately. What exactly am I writing about? Should I be more edgy, more direct? Blog about something. But what? Change my style. Did I have a style to begin with? It's sort of barraging me at every turn. As I look at my profile I see "a blog about simplicity and the maddening search therein". That's it! That's what I'm talking about, did I mean that when I wrote it? Maybe. Is that what my blog is about...or is that what I'm about? Do I convey that in my writing? Oh I'm rambling - maybe my blog should be called Rantings of a Loon.

You know, I've heard my absolutely most favorite lyrics in a song that I've heard in I don't know how long and they are "Maybe it's not that you burn out, but that you finally just endure". I won't give away by whom just yet as I may use him on one of my Saturday Spins on CENTRAL SNARK. So do we just endure and keep doing something? Whether it's blogging on the most superficial level or to work, or on the deepest human levels, to marriage or to parenting. I don't mean this in a depressed way, but sometimes we just endure something and we sail along into the everyday rhythm of it and that's not terrible. Anyway those lyrics just killed. Absolutely great.

So this is my...drumroll please - 100th post! Maybe that's what has me all milestonistically introspectively looking through the blogoscope. I want to have something worth sharing, I'd like to get back to what that is. It's just hard to define sometimes. Do you really want another funny smart ass 30something, okay, okay 40something year old blogger dishing about their life? There's a lot of them or us out there.

Maybe I'll just keep it simple or go mad trying.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Twas the Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas
and this family of four
had baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies
and were eyeing one more.

The Christmas Story marathon
played on the tv all night
and served as the backdrop for the
brother and sister to fight.

The brother finally collapsed
in a heap on the floor
when they heard the jingling
of bells outside of their door.

The Dad cracked the door
as the Mom felt fluish
and there sat Santa looking puzzled
"you know with Christmas story playing,
you don't sound Jewish".

The Dad pointed up to
the mezuzah on the door
and to the dreidl still spinning
from Chanukah on the floor.

They gave him a plate of soufganiyot
or jelly donuts to you
The mom wrapped a blanket tighter
did we mention she had the flu?

Then we heard Santa exclaim as
he drove out of sight
Never mind those cookies and milk
It's these donuts I like!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Strolling down Third Avenue

There was a Youth Group get together at Tali's school last night and she wanted to go. So I managed to rouse myself and drive her into the city. It was two hours of basketball/soccer fun capped off with ice cream sundae making. So with two hours to kill and a veteran at wasting time, I hit the streets.

First stop - Starbucks. Now the Sunday Times staring me in the face was tempting and for a brief moment I went into a daydream mode in which I was sitting for two hours of undisturbed latte sipping and paper reading. Then I thought, you know walking would be better exercise and so latte in hand, I hit the streets. The other thing was that I didn't have my little reading magnifiers and would have spent the whole time looking for big pictures.

But it was in Starbucks that the overhearing of conversations started. When you are alone, you can't help but listen or well, hear what's being said. It started with the poor barista not knowing what hit him when he attempted to fill the highly specialized order of Mr. and Mrs. Truman Snooty. Overheard of their conversation:

Mr. Snooty: "Is that okay now darling?"
Mrs. Snooty: "Well it could be warmer. I'm not going to be a brat". This after two go-rounds with her drink.

They then went on to dish about some annoying contractors or people "in the trade" and "trade discounts" and blah blah blah. The whole time looking down their little upturned noses which is difficult when neither of the Snootys exceeded 5'2" in height but they were real pros at it.

Onto Third Avenue and stroll along hearing snippets of conversation of the passers-by:

"Just got back from Monaco"

"the kid bought her Gucci boots, they're not even best friends"

"the prenup is golden"...

Well such is life on the guilded coast of Manhattan's Upper East Side. Certainly a different set of concerns and outlook on life than little ole me has. Could I be happier to just be me after that stroll?!

Reeling from the pretensions that threatened my ears at every crosswalk, I dropped into Urban Outfitters to begin the waste of time. Lots of cute shirts priced at about $40 bucks. Don't get me wrong that's not expensive per se, but for something that would be a schmatta after one wash, I don't think so. Up another level for some more browsing nonetheless - like to see what "the kids" are wearing. As I make the descent and stop to look at some tee shirts, a couple is having a discussion - the repurcussions of which will haunt the poor sod all weekend:

She: "What do you think of this?"
He: "Nice, listen why don't I just meet you at the Martini Bar"
Slightly annoyed She: "Where?"
Flirtatiously coy He: "You know the one that we just passed. I'll be right there. I want to catch the game" This last part pleadingly.
Annoyed but Resigned: "Okay, bu..." something in her tone said "you'll pay for this"
But he had already planted a kiss on her cheek and was taking the stairs two at a time for the nearest exit.

They'll learn, you're better off not forcing each other into these no-win situations. Kids.

I really could go on and on, the vignettes played out one after the other. I mean even the more common than dirt Bed Bitch and Beyond wasn't safe from the assault of the attitudes of entitlement. But look at that, only moments to spare - two hours gone like that!

I flew back uptown in time for the alotted pickup and found Tali blissfully enjoying her night out. Some of her classmates are from the entitlment that I mentioned. None of the kids seem to care. Tali finished off her sundae and we headed to the car.

Heading over the 59th Street Bridge, I have never been so glad to live in Queens.

Friday, December 15, 2006


Or as we say during such holidays "Chag Sameach"!

Here's a little spiritual message to start the Holiday with because, well, it's not for sale at Macy's. This is Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, spiritual leader at NYU Center for Jewish Life, discussing this week's parsha, which is the portion of the Torah (Bible) which gets read in synagogue services on Shabbat. The rest is fairly easy to follow.

Although not specific to the celebration of Chanukah, it is a nice message. It makes me feel peaceful listening - couldn't we all use just a little of that right about now? I thought so. And because of my own day going haywire and in the interest of time, I am just posting this YouTube message in the link below:


To my fellow observers of the Miracle of Lights - Shabbat Shalom, Chag Sameach and a Happy Chanukah!

For a little light humor, head on over to CentralSnark for our own little Chanukah Party and a different take on the game of dreidl.

Monday, December 11, 2006


I came across a hint of this quiz at PIA'S - I believe she may be the party girl type...or something. I followed the trail to one of her friend's and what the heck, I took the quiz. Who writes these? So below are "my results". I didn't know how to live or love until now. My responses or commentary are in bold mixed in. Now excuse me whilst I go randomly master gently loving - or actually get ready to pack up my kids' backpacks for school.

Playful, kind, and well-loved, you are The Peach.
The Peach Responds: Why thank ya kindly.
For such a warm-hearted, generous person, you're surprisingly experienced in both love and sex. The Peach Responds: Ooh I'm blusing. We credit your spontaneous side; you tend to live in the moment, and you don't get bogged down by inhibitions like most women your age. The Peach Responds: Living in the moment also helps when you hate to plan. If you see something wonderful, you confidently embrace it. Responds: Is that debit or credit?

You are a fun flirt and an instant sweetheart, but our guess is you're becoming more selective about long-term love. REPLY: Why yes, the longer I'm married. It's getting tougher for you to become permanently attached REPLY: Wait til I mention that over breakfast to my husband of 11 years; and a guy who's in a different place emotionally might misunderstand your early enthusiasm. Ugh, pass the milk. You can wreck someone simply by enjoying him. REPLY: Am I using him as a trampoline?

Your ideal mate is adventurous and giving, like you. But not overly intense. Your intensity is causing a glare on the computer screen, do you mind?

DREAD: The False Messiah

CONSIDER: The Loverboy, The Playboy, or The Boy Next Door REPLY: Now you tell me!

Link: The 32-Type Dating Test

Friday, December 08, 2006

How many fingers am I holding up?

So today I go on a spree of making doctor's appointments. The easy ones first - eyes for me; Julian requires an exam for school as well, dental checkup for me, ditto the kids. Luckily I get the eye doctor for this very evening. Nothing interesting, I'm still holding steady with the magnifiers from the drug store (or a nice equivalent thereof). Except now I need to add 1.00 for watching TV and folding socks I guess, to the 2.50 for reading. The doctor puts whatever drops in your eye to make sure you don't really need a seeing eye dog, and out the door you go.

Except my vision is just slightly blurry. I comfort myself that I could drive home with my eyes closed probably. But first I must stop off at the Pharmacy to pick up my prescription which prevents me from turning into a werewolf.

Before I get to the pharmacy though, I must first cross Queens Blvd. a/k/a "The Boulevard of Death" (I kid you not) but take additional comfort in the fact that my hearing seems to be a bit keener with my vision blurred and I may at least hear the tires screeching as they gun in my direction.

At the drugstore, I decide to see if I can find the newly prescribed magnifiers just this side of fashionable. I succeed and head to the counter with my original pair on my head, the two new pairs, and bloodshot eyes picking up my anti-depressant. The pharmacy assistant seems to go gingerly with me, even calling me dear. Do I look like I need coddling?! Well actually, I look like I need help to my car.

I remember after I pay that pathetically, I have decided to buy SlimFast shakes to knock off a few pounds before my company's Holiday party next week. I've never tried the stuff but figure it couldn't hurt. So back I go into the aisles with my blurred vision looking for it. I think I see something, but alas it is Prune Juice - which I mutter aloud - "prune juice". At this precise moment, the pharmacy assistant walks by and smiles.

"Sure", I think he's thinking - "talking to herself". I continue in my quest and make my way to the counter to pay, along with some battery operated tea lights as you never know when there'll be a blackout and these would set a more relaxed tone to the disaster.

Let's hope it doesn't occur in my blurred vision ride home.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Book Recommendation

Isn't this funny? I have wanted to share this book and had it saved as a draft. Now along chugs Diesel with his Make Diesel Read a Book - Lamest Contest Ever, a post requesting reading recommendations. Don't ask how this is a contest for I am not clear on that part. Don't ask why I can't be more clear. Well you could, and perhaps my typing a certain child's nine page story for school has something to do with my clarity (or actually lack thereof) at this late hour. Oh, but I digress. Back to books.

Diesel, I am recommending Dear Mrs LaRue - Letters from Obedience School by Mark Teague. I recommend it for a number of reaons, namely, it is one of our family's faves. Also, when read with the proper French accent whenever you say Mrs. LaRue (not because we think she's French, but because it makes Julian laugh), it's a real joy. Lastly, if this doesn't tickle some funny bone, I just know that your children will gladly take it off your hands. In fact, I recommend this as a family read-together book.

There is not one of you who visits here, as a matter of fact, who would not benefit from Ike's tale of woe. So please go out today and read it. And for those with dogs - or cats, needing a little special something for the list for the upcoming holidays - what are you waiting for?! Also, if you have a book for Diesel, stop by and read up and get to recommending!

Now then, where last we left off in this tale, those Hibbins cats...

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Happy Birthday Tali!

The hits just keep on coming.
Happy Birthday to my little girl, Daddy's little Noopsie, Julian's princess...our very own natural treasure.

So let's take a stroll down memory lane. It's just about nine years ago right about now that you started your birth journey. My water broke just as I finished the Sunday New York Times which was rather considerate of you. I once commented when you were about two years old how you remember everything. And you replied "then there was water and I was coming down", and I said to Daddy, "my G'd, she remembers being born!". Although you were probably talking about being on a water slide, it would not surprise me if you were talking about your birth. You were a little old soul from early on. A studied pair of eyes that took in EVERYTHING. Aunt ShooShoo commented when she visited us in the hospital, "look how she follows our voices - Genius!".

So tomorrow is your birthday and we will continue our celebrations throughout the weekend. But on this first day of December, your ninth birthday, I wish for you this:

1) good health;
2) that no woe shall ever be more than your leaves tee can handle;
3) that you'll always be as spunky as you are today;
4) that you'll work hard to achieve your best;
5) you'll forgive youself when you've done your worst;
6) you'll always have that pragmatic but kind heart;
7) happiness in who you are;
8) knowledge that your family could NOT be more proud of you than we already are;
9) that the light that shines forth from you will never diminish.

Tali, a girl like you comes along once in a century. I will have to borrow a line that our friend Doug used to describe your droll outlook. I didn't say it but I know that I've felt it in my heart since the moment I first held you on my tummy -

"A girl like you is more rare than a unicorn and more precious than gold."

Happy Birthday, sweet girl. Dream big.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Procrastinatation**Clap Clap Clap** 101

You go first
I go second
Starting with...

Above is sing-songed to the tune of the Concentration clapping game.

Oh these are the weeks that will try a procrastinator's last nerves, but I seem pretty calm. Julian's birthday was yesterday, Tali's is on Friday. Thanksgiving just passed. Who has time for all this planning? Exactly!

But you know what? It all works out. I am sort of a slacker in the New York mom's department. I think, "hey, let's have a party at home to celebrate both birthdays this year". Then I mention it to a couple of friends weeks in advance...then all of a sudden it's a week away. Crap, did I call anybody else - because you know sending out actual invitations would be too conventional and well, time consuming. D'oh - work those phones. Hey look at that, everybody can make it that I call. The beauty of these in between birthdays. Nobody is ever away during this time of year. People are in between holidays so everybody is staying put.

Now what about the drummer? I saw an ad for a DRUMMING CELEBRATION in a local paper about a month or so back. I have it right here. I emailed the guy...he emailed back. Then the trail goes cold. So I call him tonight. We chat up about what the Drumming Celebration would entail and it sounds nice to me.

Drummer Guy: So when are you having the party?
Me: Well, this Sunday (sheepishly).
DG: Joking - Haha, yeah the party's going to start in half an hour.
Me: Haha, actually it started about half an hour ago, but there's this uncomfortable could you grab your drums and come over?

It's not much less absurd to the planners of the universe than that scenario. Hey he's a musician, he should know how to go with the flow. As it turns out, he has engagements on Sunday but could come towards the end of the party. In my mind's eye, this is how it's supposed to work out anyway. His other engagement is at a children's hospital for 50 kids. I say that's a) more important for him in terms of need for his service and b) more lucrative as well. So he'll come and do a party wrap-up at our place.

Everybody's happy! I know that I would drive an anal person insane, but that's why I'm not married to or am not best of friends (shall we say) with anal personalities. Not that there's anything wrong with being that way. I just am realistic as to how frustrated you might be in such a friendship. Better you should hear it from me.

Now back to those lists...

craft supplies - check.
strobe disco light for freeze dancing - check.

See you at the party. About 2-ish?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Happy Birthday Julian!

There is a favorite Thai proverb that I have on a paper that I come across every now and again. I was cleaning out my desk drawer yesterday and there it was:

Life is short. We must move very slowly.

Today is Julian's fifth birthday!
Five years have gone by in the blink of an eye. Yet if I look back, a lot has gone into those five years. Funny that.

I just looked down at him as he slumbered away in his bed and thought...five years ago, you weren't quite ready to be born yet. Now here you are sleeping, hopefully a good night's worth for school tomorrow. We'll bring goodie bags and cupcakes to the classroom and celebrate. We'll have a party this weekend for you and Tali. But for today on your fifth birthday I wish you this sweet boy:

1) Good Health;
2) Happiness;
3) For life to be kind to you;
4) For you to achieve all that you can;
5) For you to derive as much joy as you give to others in life.

You most certainly have brought happiness into every life that you have touched. When you were maybe one years old, Tali wanted to look up your Chinese horoscopes on a PBS site for the children's show, Sagwa. Yours said, "When you walk into a room, people smile". This fit you so perfectly then and it still does today. Your warmth surrounds you and shines into whatever space you are in.

I know that I smile every time that you walk into whatever room I am in. Who could ask for a greater blessing?

Happy Birthday ChooChoo - here's to many more happy celebrations.

And now for your favorite part - L'Chaim!

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Happy Thanksgiving to all. Enjoy your day and to those of you spending it alone, there's always room at my family's table. Truth be known, they'd never notice another person is there. In the meantime, if you're looking for a little Thanksgiving entertainment, head on over to THE SNARK today.

But most of all - Happy Thanksgiving.

Safe travels.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Administrative details first - I'd like to thank my human friends here and in the family that voted early and often and made my win a hat trick in SAR'S CAPTION CONTEST! Sar, I think it's time to cook up a little (or big) template tag for the blogs to display. And this is going on my resume.

I have to say a special thank you to WEIRSDO as she left a link on my post about my robot yesterday to the Elbot link below. She thought that Elbot seemed happy with his robot lot in life, and I'm guessing would make me feel good by extension. I don't know if he did, but he was a good conversationalist - I am apparently somewhat average as humans go. He'll tell you. Put any preconceived notions about robots aside when you visit, or you will likely be insulted. Elbot does not suffer fools gladly. How would I know you ask? Let's just say, Elbot and I had a nice chat. We understood each other. He can be a bit snarky. Hey, I think a trip to CENTRAL SNARK is in order for him!

I am all about spreading the word of understanding of our fellow human beings and robots! So please, in that vein, go visit ELBOT. and tell him G sent you. And try not to use the words maybe...or perhaps.
Go on now, but be warned - he will try to keep you chatting.

Monday, November 20, 2006


This is a sad tale - a tale of a misplaced robot. She is struggling to find her place in this world. She doesn't know where that place is, she just knows it is not in this seat at this desk.

She sits at her office desk and answers in her head to her coworkers' queries. The answers are never printable in a family blog. What comes out of her mouth sounds intelligible enough and satisfies the office drones. They leave her office door. Sometimes she gives them the her head and says "now bugger off", which makes her smile. They think the robot is pleasant. Sometimes she gets up, does a deep breath and stretches and looks out her window. And dreams of going out to the car and driving to her real job which will not suppress her creative spirit.

In this new job, the robot knows she will showcase her real talents not some programmed ones that she has been trained to perform. She is a robot though and realizes we are all programmed in some way.

So while she is at her desk and writes and visits on human friends' blogs, she on some robotic fundamental level feels bad that she is doing so. After all, she should not be doing this on company time as this is not what she is paid to do. She is such a contradiction this robot. She rationalizes that it sparks her creativity and thus makes her own job more productive. Some of the humans read and leave words on the robot's blog.

She wonders if they suspect that she is really a robot. She doesn't think that they mind.

Friday, November 17, 2006

If It Weren't for Bad Luck...

That's right, brother, I'd have no luck at all.

Well, had a little work done on the house last year. Looks quite nice, if I do say so myself. But apparently it's not the form part that's problematic. Oh no, it's the function. Of course, we can't be sure of this apparently until part of the floor is ripped up (how much we won't know until the plumber comes for a visit tomorrow) . What's that? Just have the contractor come back? Well, if a Malaysian guy named Sunny (about 5'9", 165 lbs.) shows up in a green van, call me. He was last heard from on the way to the airport and a little hint - we're not the only ones looking for him so he may be a little hasty in his presentation.

You know, I make it a point to not use expletives in print on my blog. In print - it's there waiting to come back and bite me in the ass-trology chart, yeah. At least the utterances will just fly away like a $20 bill on a windy day being handed to the toll collector (there's that aforementioned luck). So I'll allow you to insert your own %^&*@# expletives if you'd like in the comments.

Or alternately, you could go vote for me in SAR'S CAPTION CONTEST. I'm looking to make this week a hat trick, how's about helping a dame down on her luck.

Oh brother can you spare a dime?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Sure, you're saying, "I could be wrong but wasn't she just squawking about her birthday in July?". Well yes, that's true. But if you had paid attention (and I may just do a trivia quiz to check), I talked about my other birthday HERE. Okay, I see you're warming up - yes, my Jewish birthday. That's right - the day that I converted to Judaism, eleven years ago on the 25th of Cheshvan on the Jewish calendar. And that my friends, is today.

You know, when you look at life in retrospect, it sometimes is as if you are watching an old super eight film of yourself. I see it all passing through my mind. The coldish gray day - colder then it's supposed to be today when Scissors and I went to Brooklyn to go before the Bet Din (Jewish Court, comprised of three rabbis). A lot of living goes on in eleven years and a lot of water's passed under that bridge. Yet it was only yesterday.

Conversion to Judaism really requires of one a feeling inside that this is who I am. And I think of the story of RUTH in The Torah, in which she said to her mother in law, "your people shall be my people and your G-d shall be my G-d." I have never felt any question in my mind - "What have I done, is this right?". Oh that is not to say I don't wrestle with faith, I most certainly do. But what I know is that my family is Jewish, we live in the largest Jewish community outside of Jerusalem. When I am outside of New York, I am not home. My roots for my family are firmly planted here. We love to visit and see family and friends but we love to come back to our home.

I know there are various labels ascribed to Jewish factions - "Oh he's Conservative. Him? Modern Orthodox. They're mishigosh (Yiddish: crazy) - Reform". Our family blends all of the traditions so beautifully into the thread of our lives and we consider ourselves just that - living a traditional Jewish life. As in the story of Ruth, I do cherish my mother in law in many ways. She has been and always will be my Jewish parent. She's also a tough character.

That's okay, she's met her match in me.

So join in my simcha(Hebrew: joy) and we'll sing a round of simon tov/mazel tov (Hebrew: good sign/good luck) and make a l'chaim (Hebrew, in this usage - a toast).

To life my friends, to life.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Lady In Black

INTRO: The following is a story that I concocted that plays off the post my daughter has done today in MUFFINLAND. You may read her real life account there. You may also vote while you are there for a new moniker for me if you care to do so in her sidebar. I like "G" just fine but she thinks I need something a little more evocative. Okay now onto the story...

The little girl started off as a student in Suzuki Violin at just about five years old. She didn't really enjoy the beginning classes as they didn't even play the violin at first. She was impatient to make her instrument speak. But their teacher, Mr. Sam was lively and fun and that kept her going. It was as if she knew that she was ready to begin playing the instrument. She was right. She quickly moved from one book to the next surpassing the students who started before her.

As she grew a little older, she was afforded a bit more independence. Since she was at music school from 8:45 am until 1:45 pm (with time off in between certain periods for good behavior), it began to feel like home to her. Plus she had made many friends who sought her out during free time.

During one such time, she and her friends began a game of hide and seek. They weren't bad children, just a little bored with energy to burn - a bad combination for confinement indoors. On this particular day, there was a visiting orchestra from a school in Manhattan which was to perform in the concert hall at noon. But the children's playing led a woman dressed all in black to chastise them - "Where are your parents!". As she turned to see where they might be, she tripped and fell and was helped up by some people seated nearby. It seemed she had sprained her ankle.

The children meanwhile had made a hasty departure to go to their next class which was cancelled. The little girl's mother had a sense it was time to check to make sure that she was in her class and found the six children roaming the hallway. She redirected them to the concert hall to see the visiting orchestra perform. The orchestra played as they sat up in the balcony and the girl's mom applauded a little too loudly for the likes of this orchestra she thought. Then a door swung open and out hobbled a figure - it was her - THE LADY IN BLACK! The one who had yelled at them.

As the woman sang, her eyes scanned the audience and seemed to rest right upon the little girl (or so the little girl thought). She slunk down in her seat ever so slightly whispering to her mother "can't we go now?". Her mother just quieted them and they stayed until the end of the performance. The Lady in Black sang but it seemed that she winced in pain with each high note that she hit. After the performance, she was taken to the hospital where the sprain was actually a break. Although it was casted and she seemed to recover, she always walked with a bit of a hobble.

The girl continued on in her musical studies and never gave The Lady in Black another thought. The Lady in Black continued on with her now awkward gait and never forgot that girl with the blue eyes and her insolent stare. And that's where their paths parted until...

...years later, the girl after much hard work and dedication was to audition for a place at THE JUILLIARD SCHOOL in Manhattan. She awoke early that morning to give herself time to get there without worries. As she waited outside the office of the Director of Musical Admissions, she reworked intricate pieces in her head as she was wont to do. Just then the door swung open and out came the director of Admissions at Juilliard!

Their eyes locked as they shook hands and for the first time in years, the girl thought of The Lady in Black from long ago.

She raised her violin to her chin and set her gaze upon the woman and began to play. The director instinctively rubbed her ankle as she sat back in her chair to listen.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Calls from the Road

I had always worked in Manhattan until about two years ago. At that point, my company opened a new office on Long Island and I transferred there. I can't say that I don't miss the city. But what I surely don't miss, is rushing to the train station in the am and getting packed into one of the most crowded train lines in the city in the morning rush hour. However, it was during these train rides that I did most of my reading.

The upside of course is that I just get into my climate controlled vehicle (you just don't want to ever feel that rush of heat that slaps you in the face at 8:00 am on a sweltering August day in New York City subways). I shudder to recall. Plus I get to listen to the radio or a cd or both on my rides. Oh and nobody presses over from their seat onto mine, or makes rude gestures, or starts proselytizing or collecting spare change - I drop them off at school first.

Then there are the Calls from the Road. These are the calls to my Mom (that's where we coined the phrase) whereby we discuss what's going on in the family, what's happening with the kids and a general regaling of the week which invariably has us laughing. In this evening's call, there were several threads of discussion but our finishing one was about woman and hormones and the joys of womanhood. I was recounting how my daughter (who will be nine shortly) can be so obstinate and difficult on certain days - like it's not even her. Hey wait a minute...the thought hit me like a bolt of lightning. Oy vay, it's the start of hormones coursing through her little body. Which led to a discussion about what it used to be called in days of yore.

My mother: "My friend is visiting",
Me: "the curse"
My mother: "No that's getting married".

Haha. She still has that vaudevillian sense of humor and she's 82. And we chuckled on some of the old wive's tales and before you know it, I was pulling up to my house.

True, me mum's hearing may be going or is it gone? She's a bit stiff in her gate, but she's always good for a laugh or two. We do enjoy our Calls from the Road.

Listen for it coming to an NPR station near you.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

What Color is Your House?

I'm not big on political blogging for a number of reasons - namely I am no pundit. But also I find the vast number of political blogs are so far left or right that it makes my head spin. It's a safe bet that when you return to my humble abode, all talk of politics will be put away with last night's dinner dishes (I should hope).

That said - it is the midterm elections and we'll wake up tomorrow with either a Red House or a Blue House, no in between. Well that's not exactly representative of the house that I live in - we're a mixed marriage in terms of politics. Although we agree on many key issues and have grown closer in viewpoint over the years, I still get "liberal" lobbed over the net at me and my husband ducks as I throw "right winger" at his head. Neither of us exactly fits the labels and are somewhat moderate in many cases. Our differences, however, are not in our fundamental beliefs - those we share and use as a springboard from which to provide a spiritual basis for raising our children.

One thing my household is united in politically (as is the case I believe for a large percentage of the American public), is the feeling that we need change. How that change is going to be effected is anybody's guess. Not such an easy task. Our country and our world is on a very precipitous perch right now and we're feeling a bit downtrodden. Where do we go from here? How do we bring about a conversation of how to resolve some of the wrongs going on? There are no easy answers no matter what your views are.

In that vein, a blog titled PATH TO PEACE has been started. It is set up by blogger(s) anonymously to "ensure that it does not have a hidden agenda for furthering the cause of any party, group, or individual". Well that sounds refreshing. It really seeks to create a dialogue from which to explore options of how to proceed as a country, as a world towards peace.

The sight has a proposed "International Bill of Rights" and asks whether you would endorse it. Considering a good deal of rhetoric and close-mindedness from both sides of the aisle, I say a blog like this is a breath of fresh air.

I'd like to believe it would be this simple and I'm willing to put the skeptic in me aside, perhaps with the breakfast dishes.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


ONCE UOPN A TIME, there were two girls who met in a funny land where words connect people. It is called The Blogosphere. They met at a place called WAKING AMBROSE (a blog, near as they could tell , that was dedicated to some dead cranky old man) where they became fast friends. Their names were NEVA and G, but they called each other "NBFF" which stood for New Best Friend Forever! They were silly like that. They each met a lot of nice people in this Blogosphere, and Neva had been friends with SAR - a real life belle, who encouraged her to visit Doug's place. The girls had each been shy to join in the fray that occurred daily at Doug's but before long G exclaimed to Neva "hey I can be as sarcastic as the next fellow" and Neva responded in her best Groucho Marx voice, "Well move over and let me talk to the next fellow"! From that day forward, they shared lunch in CENTRAL SNARK.

Long fairy tale short - the day came when the NBFF's would meet The Belle of the Brawl - Sar!

First G drove to Neva' s house and they hopped into Neva's super fast hotrod because as NBFF's they had a lot in common, like being late, and they had to drive really fast like 80 or 140 MPH or something pretty quick anyway. While Sar waited for her hotrod friends to arrive, she sipped coffee and dreamed of new threads to adorn her lovely self with. She was very sweet and didn't even hate the NBFF's when they were late-ish. She was gracious that way - a real belle!

Finally the three girls met! It was as if they had been friends for a long time and in many ways they had. They had a nice lunch together which seemed to stretch out a long while. When they told the waitress how they met, she acted like the three were celebrities. In all fairness, the three girls were pretty much the most excitement the place contained. They were so animated in their conversation and laughter.

After a lot of fun and silly picture taking, they parted reluctantly and promised to keep in touch. This fairy tale has a very happy ending because both Sar and G got homemade cookies from Neva as she is very nice like that. And they all went to bed that night with smiles on their faces and fond memories of a day spent with great new old friends.


Friday, November 03, 2006


Look at that gorgeous Fall Day. I'm not working today. I won't be home for most of the day either. This could only mean one thing -

A road trip, if you watch the video that I linked to, will include smoking, drinking, shoplifting, and making rude gestures to truckers. Come on, what do you take us for? A couple of teenagers?

The most exciting part of the trip is that we'll be having lunch with somebody known for her:

Did you guess? Well stroll through CENTRAL SNARK where all the details await you.

I'm sure you're doing something equally exciting today, so you know, enjoy work or whatever.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

"You're my blue skies..."

This day started off pretty cranky in these parts.

Yup, started off raining, kid tantruming, having to go to two separate coffee establishment due to long lines or indecsive minds, evil office assistant playing Muzak which promptly had me envisioning myself dropped into a depression ad..."There she sits at her desk, the post that she just wrote disappeared, how can she recuperate from losing the only shards of brilliance her day would hold...". Back to the bad day - getting tapped on the bumper by somebody who was having a problem comprehending the Universe's Alternate Merge Theory and thus almost ran me off the road. When I did get out of the car to check, instead of finding a menacing smartass behind the wheel, I found a sweet young woman who very apologetically said "I had no idea that I hit you, what can I do?". I do feel slightly bad that my response wasn't something more comforting than "learn to drive".

The evil office assistant gets on my nerves for reasons such as the following interaction. When a coworker comes back in from the outdoors she feels the need to ask "Still raining?" even though the sun is shining brightly through the windows.

Hold on! The sun is shining! Holy Moses, that means I'm supposed to be happy! Hope springs eternal.

Have a nice day now.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


We interrupt the inertia of this blog at this very moment, to bring you a very important announcement. Today kicks off NaNoWriMo! No sillies, it is not another Jewish Holiday that I'm trying to slide in under the radar. What's that? You in the red - "Why didn't I bring this to you sooner"? Well, I am a procrastinator and very rarely see the value of something until it is upon me or perhaps, has even run me over.

Okay - you in the back, "What the heck is NaNoWriMo?". Heh heh, funny. No, "it is not where the detainees from Gitmo are being transferred". Well had you paid attention and been following along at one of the baddest MUTHA'S blogs around, you would have known that it is National Novel Writers Month!

Here's the lowdown - 30 days, write every day, yada yada yada - you've got yourself a 50K word novel at the end. No I did not say published - as if. Okay, every link above explains it just a tad better and with a bit more detail.

But since it starts today, I just thought it would be a valuable tool for every budding writer out there (not me of course).

Well, come on what are you waiting for? Wipe the Snickers remnants from your face and head on out!

I've got a plot to consider for the novel that I'm not writing.

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

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'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.

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...