The Test: 42 days later

Remember the challenge posed by The COB (colleague of blogger):

Can I be wildly cheerful and hopeful for a month?

(subtitled, “can I arrange for DNA dialysis for a month long infusion of Mary Poppins’ genes?”)

Let’s review how I did:

  • I started singing show tunes; The COB kept correcting my rendition of the verses and made some snarky comments about my ability to carry a tune.
  • I tried to twirl and toss my hat like Mary Tyler Moore; there is no room to twirl in the streets of NYC.
  • I ran around the secretarial bay near my office because I believed the kids’ song, “happiness runs in a circular motion”; I got dizzy.

I don’t think I got the point of the exercise. But I did loosen up a little (okay, a teensy bit).

The New Me (In the Test, Day 7-ish)

It is hard to describe how I feel as I watch the events unfold around the world, but let me try:

say you are in a bath (reading a book, sipping red wine in the hypothetical awesomely fabulous Manhattan apartment) and you pull the stopper to let the water drain.  At that exact second, you hear a big BANG from somewhere.  So what do you do?  You put the stopper back in the drain and shiver a little.

Powerless and with shivers of fear.  (FYI:  I don’t live in the hypothetical fabulous apartment, I am drinking an unfortunate Sauvignon Blanc (I don’t even like white wine) and I have no time to expand my intellectual acumen (maybe when my son is 10).)

In truth, I never thought anything was out of my control until TLP (the little prince) was born.  Now, I worry about the world after I am dead because (I hope) he (and his children) will still be alive. THAT makes what we do now even more important.  Because we all know that the harvest reaped in two generations will be directly related to the seeds we sow now.

My mom always believed that if you can’t change the big things, then start with the little things, but you must always, always, strive to repair the world (tikkun olam) — תיקון עולם

Here is the difference between Mom and me.  Mom just did things.  I, first, need a whole new outfit and work-out regimen.

Did you think I could stay so serious and not deflect my fears, hopes and dreams by lapsing into (sometimes, forced) humor?  DO YOU KNOW ME?

Sooo, deflectors are engaged.

One has to have strength to repair the world, no?

Ok, so let’s critique my old gym regimen, also known as, NP2 — “no pain, no pain”:

  • 3 times a week, get on the stationary bike for 30 minutes, but quit after 25 minutes.  Don’t even break a sweat.
  • Think about doing sit-ups. Hyper-ventilate about the anxiety of dealing with my expanding midriff. Suck in my stomach and do something else.
  • Do push-ups because I actually can do them.  And not the girl-y ones, either.
  • Do back muscle exercises because I don’t want to stoop too much in my dotage.
  • Talk to some people, less now that some gym friends have moved to other locations.
  • Notice the time and realize I have to get home.

There was a time when I could suck in my tummy, arch my back a little and my stomach would be flat and my breasts “perky”.  One cannot leave on memories of prior glory.  Starting tomorrow (because I am drinking wine and might hurt myself if I tried it out now):

My new, Spring, regimen, also known as SPB2 — “some pain, but buff”:

  • Buy some new outfits for my new gym state of mind.
  • Do Michelle Obama arm exercises because we all deserve to look like we could go sleeveless on national TV.
  • Do something cardio for 40 minutes. And actually break a “glow” but no sweat because I am becoming more genteel (and eccentric) as I age.
  • Stop watching the TV because next year Oxford English Dictionary will declare “pundit” a synonym of “idiot” and people who watch pundits “vidiots”.

I promise, Mom, in the midst of my self-absorption, I won’t forget about tikkun olam.  For your grandson and your great grandchildren.  For everyone’s children and grandchildren.

תיקון עולם

The test: day 4 or 5 or so; Purim

I was at a Purim party at the synagogue.  At Purim, kids (of all ages) dress in costume.  I am not sure why, although in the Story of Esther, King Ahashverosh has a party at which Esther (with the help of Uncle Mordecai) saves the Jews from death at the hands of evil-doer Haman.

It was primarily a kids party with associated adults expected to dress in costume, as well.

The theme of the costume party was “under the sea.”  I put on an old blazer that I used to wear to the office, over a t-shirt, sweater and jeans.  So, I came as a lawyer and lawyers are often referred to as sharks.  So it was a come-as-you-are party for lawyers.  The one time being a lawyer has been an advantage.

One of the rabbis asked, “how goes your month of cheerfulness and optimism?”

Uh oh, CLERGY is reading my blog.  Actually, that may, in a convoluted way, validate my sometimes sanctimonious attitude.

Wow, this month of optimism and cheerfulness is getting really, really awesome.



For the record, THE COB (THE colleague of blogger) felt bad that I wrote that he is the colleague worth writing about. 

He was happy that I wrote it, but he is being self-conscious about the obvious implication as to all of our other colleagues.  So, he wants me to retract it.  And I want to retract it, too, since it was a short-lived thrill for him and now it is over.


The Test: End of Day 2.

Ah, ’tis the Spring of my Content.  (Apologies to Willy Shakespeare.) Because the Test continues.

COB (colleague of blogger) felt bad that I thought he was stacking the deck against my being upbeat for one month (the Test), so he was in and out of my office all day saying cheery and pithy things.   He also wants to be known as THE COB, because there can be no other colleague who merits mention in the blog.  Well, he is right about that.

I am trying, really.

But there is so much static interference.

Yet, I didn’t curse the man who crushed my arm by swinging open a door and catching my arm. The EXCRUCIATING pain only lasted a few minutes and the bruise is not so bad.  So, I remain cheery and hopeful and am spreading that karma like a boomerang, I tell you.

I am waiting for POB (partner of blogger) for our Wednesday night date.  I arrive early and sit at the bar. The drunk man at the other end (who is talking too loud to be ignored) is pontificating to his poor date about 1888 Germany being an example of an evolved society. Funny, how it devolved into chaos and demagoguery in just a few, short decades. But I digress.

Ok, so I am being grateful for all that I have and now I hear the drunk man claiming that, although he is Caucasian, he is Indo-European because we all descended from that part of the world.  So, now he gets to go off on Indians and Europeans.  Whoa.  He needs to stop, because even I am offended and our family fled Germany and Central Europe.

But using his theory, he can rail on whomever because we all came from Adam and Eve.  He, on the other hand, definitely came from apes or, possibly, the ever-adaptive rodent family.

Ok, a history book is committing suicide every minute this guy speaks.

I am good with his being pedantic, insufferable, and patronizing because I am focusing on the good in the world notwithstanding the current chaos. So, THE COB, you haven’t won this bet yet.  I am in a good place.

But I am drawn again into his conversation because his date is countering his ramblings with a little fact checking. Mobile Google is awesome. She is in solid fighting form now that she decided there is no future in him.   So, if I could paraphrase, “Dumb@ss, you got your facts from reenactments on the History Channel”.

He realizes, too, that this date is going nowhere.  So, he says he is rich. Dude, you need the wealth of a Saudi prince to save this date and she sounds like she has too much pride for that anyway.  Good for her.  Tragic for you.

Now this is adding to my month of contentment and karmatic equanimity.  Boy meets girl, gets drunk and offends everyone within earshot.  Girl ditches boy with facts, fabulous diction and perfect grammar.  Boy tries to get girl back with money.  Girl gets the check.

In full disclosure, I negotiated a clause in the Test that I could think about the people, not only in Japan, but all over, whose lives have ended, or been upended, by natural and man-made disasters.  So, in the midst of my ramblings, I don’t forget about them and their suffering.  I hope that relief comes in time.

The Test, Day 2

COB (colleague of blogger) came into my office to test my resolve to be hopeful and content for the next 29 days.

He came in and talked about his commute from hell, and a deal we lost to a firm that undercut our very modest pricing.  Then he told me about his friend’s blog that has way more followers than mine and provides a day-by-day  exercise and eating regimen to an awesome body in one year.  She is 23 years younger than I am and I don’t think our realities of “awesome body” achievement can be the same.

But I feel hopeful and happy.  I put on moisturizer this morning so my wrinkles are muted.  I brought in make-up in case I am so moved to spruce up my look.  And I haven’t yet spilled my coffee all over my tan slacks.

Is this an awesome start to the day or what?

Click to hear the Seeker’s rendition of Kumbaya: