Another lesson learned

In order to understand this blog, you need to look at for the back story. Suffice it to say that I avoided replacing one of Dad’s aides for one year because I didn’t think that personality issues should decide whether a person has a job.  Especially in this economy.  But there were other issues.  And when push came to shove, I had to choose Dad’s comfort above all.

We committed to pay for her kids’ immigration processes.  We overlooked so much.  But with a heavy heart, I made a decision after one year of wishing the problem away.

Not too long after the agency promised me that the aide would be re-assigned, I received this text from the aide:

“Seasons greetings to you and your family.IT was my pleasure working with you dad for over ayear.I am sure you had a wonder ful xmas with your family. I do not have money, or know anyone of influence that can take a persons job and by doing so take bread out of their family’s mouth, what I do have is my truth, honesty,and integrity. I have endured seven(7) months bulling, harassment and spitefullness at the hands of [the aide whom Dad adores]. Anyway goodluck with the Wolf in sheep clothing Re [aide whom Dad adores]. WITH time you will see the truth.All the best to you and family.with love [fired aide]”

It is over a month since I received this email and it remains a dagger in my heart.

What I did was right but not fair or moral to everyone.  And I have to be good with that.

When breaking the law is just business as usual

I have at least 3-4 bad parenting moments every day.  But my aim is to teach SOS that life is governed by a set of rules:

  • if you do something, then you live with the consequences;
  • never, ever, implicate someone who is innocent;
  • if you want to dance, you have to pay the fiddler;
  • if you feel guilty at night, then you need to apologize to someone in the morning;
  • if you’ve done something bad, you have to own up to it and try to make it right; and
  • if you lie, it only postpones the inevitable reckoning and aggravates anyone who would have been sympathetic to you.

SOS asked me about LIBOR and what exactly was being manipulated.  I tried to explain it simply and, to be honest, I was marginally successful (that is to say, inept).

I have been thinking about the Federal Reserve’s expressing concern 3 or 4 years ago, the Bank of England’s having to answer to Parliament, and a venerated international banking institution’s being rocked to its core.  And, there are many banks under scrutiny.  Then I read an article about the cheating, self-dealing and insider-trading done by Wall-Streeters that are just part of business as usual.

This week, I paid a sick amount of money in life insurance, long term care and disability insurance.  Am I a schmuck?  Are all these institutions houses of cards waiting to collapse and shatter my dreams and hopes of providing for my family?

I am tired of people cheating with my future.  If you want to mess up your life, hell, it is your life.  But when what you do affects POB, SOS and me, just be careful never to meet me in person, because, if you are putting my family at risk, I am capable of anything.  Anything.

Something. Anything.

Some days (ok, weeks), I feel in suspended animation, waiting for a sign, a direction, something.  I don’t think it is just me alone; the news, the economy, the pundits all talk about uncertainty and the absence of bold action.  Universal stagnation.

The Eurozone has been on the verge of collapsing, or recovering, for months.  Every day, European leaders are frantically accomplishing nothing while “contagion” threatens to spread.  

And who let Cyprus into the euro-zone?  Aren’t Greece and Turkey still fighting over that island?  Does it really need a bail-out or did it just get in line because it didn’t want to be left out of all the fun?

And, of course, we on the other side of the big pond are frightened and our markets volatile and businesses unsure. 

So we sit.  And we wait.  This is like watching a documentary on the Black Death Plague in slooooooow moooooootion. 

And the Supreme Court doesn’t often hand down a landmark decision that also tosses a curve ball into a presidential election (ok, other than in 2000) and so the Supremes are teasing this out to the very last day.  Ok ok ok, Messrs. and Mses. Justices, we all agree that you are so fabulous and powerful.  Now, give us the f%@#ing decision, ok?

So we sit.  And we wait.  And I wonder why some of the Justices don’t like broccoli so much, and why that seems absurdly relevant to the court decision. 

And then there is Taxmaggedon: the economic cliff that our nation slides off on January 1, 2013.  We spent too much on our national credit card and still no one wants to admit that, first, we need to pay the bill and, then, we can shoot the spendthrifts.

So we sit.  And we wait.  And I wonder why every event has to have a catchy (or actually not-so-catchy) name in order to signal that it is a big deal.  Taxmaggedon is apparently catchier than “elected officials not doing their jobs and compromising for the good of our nation and our economy”.  I think “Operation Nero” might be better, althought Congress is playing with something other than its collective fiddle.

And then there are Syria and Iran.  Syria has a vague “window of time” until it implodes with civil war.  Iran has a vague “window of time” before it can explode a nuclear bomb.  What should we do?  And when?

So we sit.  And we wait. And what does a window have to do with time, anyway?  And if it turns out we blew that window with Iran, do I really need to keep saving for retirement or going to the gym?

I could go on.  (No, really, I could.)  And I fear that either the resolutions that won’t come or, if they do, they give rise to more questions and more uncertainty.  

Sooo, I’m sittin’ and I’m watchin’ and I’m waitin’ . . . .


Sometimes it is ok to wish away a day

I know that each day is a gift, but some days, you wish you had the receipt so you could exchange it for a better day.  Today was one of those days.  Humbling, tender, sad, crazed, scary, and ultimately safe at home with my beloved family.  It was not about too much work, which is a blessing in this economy, but a lot of other things which, suffice it to say, sucked.

I went out with a colleague to commiserate over a glass of wine about mutually horrific days.  Afterwards, I was thinking about the blessing of coming home to my family.

And this Dan Fogelberg song started an endless loop in my head — “I have these moments all steady and strong, feeling so holy and humble.  The next thing I know I’m all worried and weak, feeling the world start to crumble. . . .”

Happiness is having loved ones who will abide you when you are all holy and self-righteous and shore up your foundations when you are feeling about to crumble.

It is a moment to be thankful for the spirituality gained from a day’s worth of testing one’s sanity.  It is also a moment to go to sleep, with rejuvenating cream slathered on, and promise yourself you will never have such a shitty day again.

Martin Buber meets Scarlett O’Hara.  I am feeling a cosmic shift toward the drain. . .

The Test

COB (colleague of blogger) is tired of my doom and gloom. (Really?  I thought it part of my magnetic personality. . . .)

And that, in and of itself, is shocking, since COB was discussing that the end of the world could occur on December 21, 2012.  Something about the Mayan calendar, Nostradamus and planetary alignments. Not that COB BELIEVES it, or anything.  But he was just putting it out there.

Probably to stack the odds before he dared me to be hopeful and cheerful for one month.  ONE MONTH.

In case you didn’t read carefully enough, I was challenged to be hopeful and cheerful for one month.  (COB is a poker player and probably has side bets on whether I will sink into despair in 5 minutes, 10 minutes or 2 weeks.)

I think it is funny that people are talking about the end of the world being in 21 months away, since Japan lies devastated (and its nuclear rods laid bare) by an earthquake and then tsunami, Libya is in civil war, Bahrain and Yemen are in chaos, the Ivory Coast is a bloodbath, we are in two wars, our deficit is out of control, the recession hasn’t ended for most Americans and we have a dysfunctional Congress, and on and on and on.  Sounds like the end of days now.

BUT, I digress, comme d’habitude.

Back to sweetness and light and kumbaya.   A dare is a dare and I have my pride.  So, forget the images of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Forget images of breadlines during the Depression.  Forget the daily carnage for an acre or two of oil fields.  I am going to be happy, hopeful and cheery, Gosh darn it.

So, here is what I did today to make good on the dare:

  • When I was at the gym, I didn’t tell the stinky man that he was curling my nose hairs, as we took turns on the same machine.
  • I made sure that all elderly, infirm or pregnant people on the bus had seats.  (Yes, I know I am too pampered to hang with humanity, but the recession hasn’t ended.)
  • I swore to POB (partner of blogger) that I would take a time-out from the 24-hours news REcycle, where the object is to scare us more than to provide information.  (Note to self:  If Wolf Blitzer or Anderson Cooper is at the nuclear power plant in Japan, it can’t be releasing THAT much radiation.)
  • I kissed and hugged my son, as I asked G-d (and whomever else with power over these things) to protect him from the chaos.

Not bad for my first few hours of Blogger-High-On-Happiness.

Long Island — Heaven on Earth? Or the Other Place?

My son has visited his grandmother’s graves.  They are on Long Island.  Sometimes, as parents do when they have no answers to children’s questions about love and loss, we say, “Nana and Grandma are watching from Heaven.”   About two or more years ago, I had to tell our son that a family friend — family, really — had died and — well, er, um — gone to Heaven.  “Does that mean he is buried on Long Island?” our son asked.  I responded that while some people believe that Long Island is Heaven on Earth, we in Manhattan think of it as a place to keep and honor the bodies of our dead loved ones, but that Heaven was not a place on Earth and surely not on Long Island.

Fast-forward to this week of vacation in rainy Montauk. Yes, on Long Island.  Heaven on Earth to some (not us, especially in the rain). Today is Day 3 on the road to Utopia.

For a retreat for the rich and even-richer, my experiences in the Hamptons and Montauk today were particularly democratic.  All of us thought we would be around a pool or at the beach.  But the weather is the great equalizer.  We stood cheek by jowl and vied for tickets at the local movie house or a table at the local pizzeria.  You may be a titan of industry when you are in NYC, but here, HERE, in the RAIN, don’t even THINK of trying to take THAT table in the greasy pizzeria.  I did offer a chair to a woman with a particularly large number of diamonds on her finger because the weight of them seemed to make her list to the left in a most unbecoming way.  Tragic deformities of wealth.  Good thing we are not at such risk; we will have good posture.

Julianne Moore was browsing the Montauk bookstore with her husband and daughter.  Of course, her children’s books were on display.  Since she was a lead in the movie, “The Kids Are All Right,” I wanted to kiss POB (partner of blogger) to show her that women of a certain age with children can still feel love and passion, even though she portrayed some of us as insipid, mousy individuals.  Ok, some relationships, gay or straight, are that way.  But, it would be great if a major motion picture about lesbians wasn’t a feel-good movie for straight people.  Am I ranting?  Ok, so I am ranting while staying on some people’s version of Heaven.  Is this the closest I will get to the Pearly Gates?  Oh, boy, am I in deep shit.

I also went to the gym in East Hampton, because the stress of staying in Heaven while it rains was getting to me.  A woman started to talk to me in the locker room.  Apparently, even in Heaven, I have “schmuck” written on my forehead and a magnet for random strangers.  She was telling me that she needed to work out, rather spontaneously, because she was upstairs at Citarella and some woman continually bumped into her in a rude manner and then blamed her.  Apparently, she thought I was staring at her bizarre work-out “costume” (ok, she was right).  I looked around for the Court of Judgment and listened for those trumpets, because since this is Long Island, and therefore, Heaven, there must be a divine court of justice.  Hmmm.  Must be on vacation until Labor Day.  Back just in time to render judgment on me for Rosh Ha-Shanah.  My timing is impeccable.

The other thing I realized is that Long Island cannot be Heaven because I recognized some business people who said they would see me in Hell, and given their business habits, I believed that they, at least, would be THERE.

Gosh, I would love a relaxing beach vacation.  Anyone know where I can find one?

Rand Paul, the Prophet with the Pitchfork

That crazy Tea-Party-er is good for America.  You’re thinking: some crazy person is guest blogging.  Nope.

Rand Paul is a false prophet.  He is rationalizing our nation’s three-decade long drift into a selfish, ego-centric theocracy.  He is giving us a way to rationalize and even celebrate our nation’s screw-your-neighbor-because-it-is-your-G-d-given-right hypocrisy.  Yes, if we listen to him, we will surely perish.

He lays bear the essential pathos of the Tea Party movement — the fight for white supremacy and control over diminishing resources.  Neo-Nazis and Neo-Klansmen with an apocalyptic rapture.

I am over-reacting, maybe?

  • He said that the President’s criticizing British Petroleum was un-American.  Does being American mean I have to applaud and support corporate greed that despoliates the earth? (Psssst, Randy, BP is headquartered in Switzerland to avoid US taxation).
  • Then he drew a line in the sand — saying that an individual’s right to be a racist is improperly impinged upon by the Civil Rights Act.  (If a black proprietor refused to serve a white man, I don’t believe Mr. Paul would be so sanguine about the protections of the Civil Rights Act.)

No, I am not overreacting.

After thousands of years of human civilization and evolution, it still all boils down to the epic battle between good and evil.  On one side of Mr. Paul’s line is our common humanity and sense of decency, justice and fair play.  All the things that — we say — define us as Americans.  On Rand Paul’s side of that line, there are only Freud’s id, chaos and brutality.

Good versus Evil.  Yes, it is that simple.

Out at Work

I “out”ed myself today at work — not as a lesbian [remember, I am here, I am queer and I am over it] but as a blogger.

While I didn’t give away the site, apparently some of my coined phrases, like “schlepic” — in the passages I cut and pasted for a colleague — can lead straight to this blog.  So, the secret is out.  I will never be on the Supreme Court as a result of my writings.  That’s okay.  First, I am not qualified.  Second, I am one of the few New Yorkers who doesn’t look so good in basic black.  Phew, intellectual and sartorial disasters averted.  Our nation is safe again.

Although, come to think of it, I would dispense justice, tempered with mercy.  As in, “would you like extra fries with your LAST meal?”  I fear that most people would be horrified if every opinion from the bench started with, “Schmuuuuuck, what were you thinking when you . . . ?”  I would imprison people who tortured the words of laws or statutes beyond all recognition to fit their desired ends as violations of the Geneva Convention.  You know, the Geneva Convention, the so-called “quaint” doctrine discredited by Dick Cheney and his highly educated legal “scholars”.  Just using fancy words doesn’t make an idea good; it just makes it high-fallutin’ bullsh@t.  But I digress.  See, I would get on a roll and mayhem would ensue in my court room.  Maybe I should get the Presidential Medal of Honor for having the patriotism not to seek a judgeship.

Anyway, today was a regular day without many gross things to report.  Other than the fact that the Virginia governor forgot that slavery was part of Virginia history.  That’s like a Texan forgetting the Alamo, for G-d’s sake.  But the governor’s omission did hit an impressive trifecta:  gross, idiotic and inflammatory.

And then there is the mining company that put profits ahead of lives and now 25, possibly 29, miners are dead. I think Lady MacBeth found that blood stains your hands forever.  That crazy Bill Shakespeare.  Our very own Elizabethan Nostradamus.

Starvation in the Sudan is at a humanitarian crisis level.  (There are so many centers of humanitarian crisis, wouldn’t it be easier for the UN to list where there ISN’T a humanitarian crisis?)  We really should think about how lucky the majority of us are in this nation (and remember and help the less fortunate).  But, tea party-ers are crying over taxes, which most of them don’t pay anyway.  Children starving in the Sudan.  Spoiled Americans are protesting a functioning government that protects their liberties and provides a safety net from starvation.  Let’s put these two concepts on the scales and balance them.  Ok, why are the tea party-ers still talking?

Associate Justice 40andoverblog of the United State of America.  It has a nice ring to it.


I am trying to change some things in my life.  Change is hard; change is scary.  In fact, people sometimes back away from change they need and want because the unknown is scary.  I know I do. 

If we all went boldly where we have not gone before, then there would be no such saying as, “hey, at least it is the devil you know,” as cold comfort for maintaining the status quo. 

Which begs the question, just because you know how bad it is now, is it possible to have a social contract with the devil (ok, that’s an oxymoron) that the evil will not get worse or different? 

And isn’t there one devil?

If we have come to accept that change is needed, then that means we have accepted that the status quo is no longer tolerable. 

We voted for change.

If change is hard in one’s personal life, then change is excruciating on a national level.  But we voted for change because the status quo is no longer tolerable.

We voted for change.

Believe in change because you have no contract with the devil you know.

We voted for change.