The Years Spin By and Now the Girl is 50

Dear Mom:

So I have moved 50 times ’round the seasons.

And my dreams have lost some grandeur coming true.

There were new dreams along the way.  Some of them still matter; some were fantasies of youthful exuberance and abject cluelessness.

I am not scared of growing older.  (Ok, I am not happy with droopy eyelids you gave me.)

And now I drag my feet to slow down time (or the circles, to keep the Joni Mitchell motif).  Really, to hold onto to the stories and memories of you, Dad and the older generation.  I look at the old pictures to remind me of the people who made me (for better or worse) the person I am today.  Those fallible, lovable and wildly eccentric (ok, our family once was poor, so I think we only qualify as “crazy”) people.

I am starting to forget some of the stories. Dad has forgotten almost everything. I can’t lose you any more than I already have.  And I need room to experience and remember the joys of your grandchildren, all three wonderful boys, and especially my little guy, SOS.

Years ago, when I imagined turning 50, I thought I would have security, maturity and direction in life.  And I fully expected that you would be telling me the story about my birth, as you always did.  Life doesn’t conform to expectations; they are really hopes and desires locked into a time and place.

Even though life at 50 is nothing as I expected, I feel lucky looking in my rear-view mirror and I am (cautiously) hopeful about the road ahead.

Ok, maybe I am scared a little about the road ahead.  I have to remember that I am strong and the road these past years hasn’t been a cake walk and I am still standing.  And I have to draw on the memories of those who made me strong without wallowing in the past.

But it is hard when you, my biggest cheerleader, are gone.  And sometimes, late at night, when the world is too much with me, I need a guiding hand, a loving voice, and my Mom who had lived through so much, quieting my fears.  I try to imagine you.  It doesn’t always work.

Tonight, we had a pre-birthday dinner.  SOB and I fought over the check.  (Could you tell her to let me win just a few times?)  SOB and I told the stories you would have told about SOB’s birth, BOB’s birth and my birth on our birthdays.  The same stories, over and over again.  And they get better with each telling.

One of the best stories concerns SOB’s birth.  Aunt Gertie, who had three sons, waited until you opened your eyes to storm into your hospital room and screeched at Uncle Leon [Dad’s brother], “See, Natie could give Elsie a girl!!”  Mom, you always said that was the most painful part of childbirth.

Have I mentioned recently how much you would have loved and adored HOSOB?  Such a pity you never met.  And I know you would be so happy that Cousin Gentle rounds out the crew.  I know, I know, why can’t Dallas be closer to New York?  You tell me, Mom.  You are as close as they get to the Big Guy.  Ask Him to work on plate tectonics or something.   See what you can do.

Mom, you are the missing person at every gathering, every simcha and every sad time.  And I miss your warm hand always reaching out to hold SOB’s or BOB’s or mine.  Even at the end, you always reached for us.

And we still reach back, hoping you feel us across the great divide.

I love you forever, Mom.

~ Blogger

The Future is Bright

I am executrix/administrator/trustee/attorney-in-fact for quite a few in the elder generation, whether alive and dead or, frankly, somewhere in between.

When ULOB died, he had no will.  So his only heirs at law were those immediate blood relations who survived him — SOB, BOB and me.   The word, “heir,” has a connotation that one sits back and someone unknown official throws money and jewels at such lucky heir.

Now, back to reality.  There was an apartment to clean out, assets to be gathered, debts to be paid and tax returns to be filed.  And that means that at least one person has to step up and seek appointment by the surrogate’s court as administrator.  Translation:  At least one of SOB, BOB and me.

I drew the short straw.  I don’t actually think we had a contest.  I think SOB and BOB met when I was in the bathroom and decided that I was in charge.  At least they apologized.

And so, I became the court-appointed administrator for ULOB.  The gathering of assets and paying of debts were not difficult.  Figuring out the fate of the annuities that named the two women of his life — AROB and POULOB — as joint beneficiaries, was harder.

SIDEBAR:  All I can say that if AROB and POULOB had both survived ULOB and I had to divide these annuities between the two — well, I would not think so kindly of ULOB.  AROB (z”l) made life less uncomfortable by predeceasing ULOB.

And then, there are three tax returns — one for the year in which ULOB died, one of ULOB’s estate and one that I have to file as the fiduciary of his estate.  Every one of these measures different periods and sometimes counts the same money.  “Whatever,” the three of us say, it isn’t going to bring ULOB back to life so we pay unto Caesar that which the Tax Code says.

Except we didn’t know much about ULOB’s finances.  I chose to continue using ULOB’s long time accountant to make sure we covered everything.  Continuity is important in these matters,  And, because ULOB’s accountant was probably older than ULOB, I also have a lawyer overseeing things.

I sent the stuff off to ULOB’s accountant and hadn’t heard in weeks.  I emailed the lawyer, wondering if perhaps the elder CPA had  . . . .  Luckily, he emailed me that day.  “I am missing social security and pension information.  Can’t do returns without them.  Also need 1099s through date of death.”

SIDEBAR:  ULOB never had very steady work, so who knew he had a [as it turned out, miniscule] pension?  And because I am also consumed with Dad’s taxes, I forgot about the 1099 for social security.  That was my oversight.

Aaargh.  The latter request was easy.  But what pension?  And the Social Security Administration?  The mail had stopped coming long ago.  Oy Oy Oy Oy.


I looked in ULOB’s decrepit files and figured out the pension source.  But I had to email my siblings.

From: [Blogger]
To: [SOB]; [BOB]
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2014 16:23:25 -0400
Subject: [ULOB]


So, I learned that [ULOB] got a pension from the Equity League.  Trying to get a 1099.  Also, on the phone with Social Security Administration for a 1099.  I am never being anyone’s executor again ever. [emphasis added]


I thought that was a clear statement of my intentions and future wishes.  In retrospect, I should have had a court “so-order” it.

Actually getting the 1099s were time consuming but not difficult (but absolutely bloggable –especially at the SSA office — at another time).  [P.S.: if anyone needs a guide through the morass, just call or email me.]

In four hours, I got both replacement 1099s.  In triumph, I sent an email to my siblings:





Thursday, March 27, 2014 12:51 PM


[SOB]; [BOB]

Went to the Equity League pension office AND the social security administration and got both missing 1099s!!!!!  I am basking the glory of a productive day.  (although not so productive from a career perspective.)



But still I do not want any more responsibilities, especially since managing the world of Dad (may he live to 120) is a constant project.  And then SOB, ever the protective older sister, sends me a reply email, gently quieting my fears about the future, all the while adding an additional burden:

[Blogger], Thank you for managing all Dad’s finances and [ULOB]’s will and finances.

I’m sorry but  I listed you as my executor, but don’t worry as we will both be demented and incompetent so you will be excused from the task. [emphasis added]




After a moment of shaking my fist at the screen, I laughed out loud.  SOB always brings me back to the proper perspective.  We will both be in our 90s (G-d willing) and then . . . who cares?  I will be executor.  No problem, SOB.  Bring it on.

The future is, indeed, bright and carefree, after all.



Tonight is a night of tradition.  In years past, we assembled, young and old, religious and not, to observe the Jewish rituals of Christmas.

First, we ordered in Chinese food.  And it wasn’t kosher in the least.

Sidebar:  Many years ago, there was only over-cooked Cantonese available. Then, we were blessed with Hunan and Szechuan.  And now, “Chinese food” is a term that includes the foods of all of the Asian continent.

Second, over dinner, we discussed which movie (at the local theater) we should see on Christmas day.

Sidebar: Until recently, there were no lines at the movie theaters, unless you lived in a particularly Jewish area, in which case you had to go to the movie theater in another neighborhood.  Also, no computers, internet or streaming movies.

Third, we searched the TV for something other than midnight mass from Vatican City or the Yule log.

Sidebar:  Remember, this was pre-cable/internet/Apple TV.  Channel 9 always had a marathon of the Joe Franklin talk show — it was low-budget and he wore polyester suits and had a comb-over.

Fourth, we felt bloated and restless because, even though we didn’t need to go to a store, just the knowledge that the store might be closed caused claustrophobic reactions among those assembled.

Sidebar:  It is like the anxiety-induced hunger pangs a day before the Yom Kippur fast.

Fifth, we discussed each Anti-Semite we ever knew and practiced our usual Easter refrain, “It was the Romans!”.

Sidebar:  It is amazing what happens when Jews feel bloated and unable to shop.  And it is never too early to sway public opinion and why wait until Lent?

There was a spring in my step as I came home — for ’twas the night before Christmas and we had tradition to uphold.  Imagine my reaction to the smell of cooking — COOKING — emanating from the kitchen. Oy. Tradition unravels.

First: we ate quinoa, tofu and chicken soup.  (These were options; not one concoction.)

Second: we discussed what we would watch on Netflix.

Third: we couldn’t agree on anything, so we channel-surfed THOUSANDS of channels and found nothing to watch except something about antelopes, pronghorns, and bears.

Fourth:  Enough said.

Fifth: Mere anti-semitism is so, well, quaint.  There are crazy people with nukes out there who hate lots and lots of people, all for the same stupid reasons.

But we still practice, “It was the Romans!

Merry Christmas to all.


The Garden Gnome

I work in Rockefeller Center.  You know, the place in Midtown with the humongous Christmas tree. That august, old, and beautiful tree that was alive before someone decided to kill it to decorate Rockefeller Center.  Soon it will be mulch.  But I digress (of course).

Being a New Yorker with some compassion for tourists, I try to walk around (as opposed to through) a snapshot taken by one tourist of others.  Sometimes, I even offer to take a picture of the whole brood.  And I don’t cut off the one with the biggest hair, just for spite.  (Who says I have been naughty this year?)

But being in Rockefeller Center in December is like living your life on a rush-hour subway car.

As quickly as I dodge one photo op of tourists, I am captured in another.  My face appears in so many photos of treasured memories of strangers.  I am part of their New York experience.  So close to them; just sooooo not a part of their family or experience.

I was just trying to steamroll them so I could get to the subway faster.

But now I am a part of their photo albums.  Short and with a beard (ok, the beard is fake.)

That’s Aunt Garden Gnome to you, thank you very much.


Whoa, I need a shave and a wardrobe consult.


One month ago, when I invited the “family” to Seder, there was some trepidation.

Why trepidation at just another annual ritual?  Well, here is a partial list of the invitees:

  • Dad (who is not the man he was prior to his brain injury), accompanied by his Guyanese home attendant who had never been to a Seder;
  • Shelly who is not romantically involved with Dad, regardless of what Uncle L thinks (we will get to THAT later);
  • Our g-ddaughters, who are not Jewish and one of whom has never cracked open the Bible (but she makes amazing Kosher for Passover desserts, so go figure);
  • My Uncle L, who having recently lost Aunt R just a few months ago, wanted bring his paramour of 25 years (will someone PLEASE shoot me);
  • My Aunt R’s blood nephew and his wife, who may not be so psyched to know that Uncle L had a side gig (a shonda — embarrassment — for the neighbors);
  • FOPOB who is not always emotionally or mentally “present” and SOPOB who is not always physically present;
  • Cousin Gentle, CB, SOB and HOSOB — thank G-d; and
  • my personal trainer who gave me good arms for my wedding dress.

So, bottom line:  lesbians, their baker g-ddaughter, an uncle, his lover, a Greek Chorus and a brisket.  La follie. Madness.

Ok, by the grace of G-d, my aunt’s nephew and his wife couldn’t come so we didn’t have to create even more lies about the state of affairs (pardon the pun) of the family.

Because Uncle L keeps white wine in his refrigerator for his paramour, I bought very good bottles of various white grapes. Only to find out that she likes red wine, but Uncle L won’t buy red because he thinks it doesn’t keep for long.

Sidebar:  Really, Uncle?  Dirt has thrived in your home since 1954.  New life forms and strains of antibiotics could be discovered in your slums-of-Calcutta-apartment and you are worried about whether red wine will go bad?  I know people draw lines in the sand but, but, whoa, that is really strange.

A second sidebar:  I asked S, Uncle Larry’s paramour (and our new relative), whether she had been to a Seder before, and she said she had been to four, to which SOS exclaimed, “wow, she has more Jewish connections than we thought!!”  Oy. Oy. Oy. Out of the mouths of babes, indeed, but, sometimes, a muzzle would work just fine.

Even another sidebar:  When will I stop calling her, “the paramour”?  Check back with me in 25 years.  A generation is a biblical time period and quite possibly after 25 years we will not remember that there was an “overlap” when Uncle L was with Aunt R.

I told S she was welcome in our home as long as she could handle loving references to Aunt R.  Wow, now that was a tense moment.

And I haven’t even talked about the preparation for the Seder or the Seder itself.  More anon.  Stay tuned (with pictures from SOB).



New Age Mom

So, a few weeks ago, the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition came out.  This, you might think, would be a holiday in a lesbian home.  But, sigh, we are here, we are queer and we are middle-age.

SOS is, however, a pre-adolescent boy.

SOS wanted to know whether we needed help going to the drug store.  Excuse me?  Our boy wanted to help with errands?

Maybe, like a caterpillar into a butterfly, our son blossomed into the son of G-d, as is every Jewish mother’s dream?

Well, no, the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition is on display and available at Rite-Aid.

“Dude, I will buy it for you, but you can’t show it to your friends, because we don’t have their parents’ permission, ok?”

“No, I am not ready to own it, E Mom.”

SIDEBAR:  When SOS was 8 years-old, he asked everyone he met to buy him that years’ swimsuit edition.  Just keeping the record straight.

“Ok, but you know I get it, bud.  Mommy and I think women are beautiful.”

“E Mom, no offense, but I cannot talk to you about this, OK?”

All right, too much information for my son.  I get it.  I am not going to bond with him by scoping out cute girls.  Although I could . . . .

We have to do this the cloak and dagger way.  SOS gives me an exaggerated wink and says:

“E Mom, do you need anything at the drug store?”

“Why, yes, buddy, I do.  Wanna come?”

We go to Rite Aid.  I browse in the lotions and potions area, totally worried that I don’t have a visual on my son who is perusing magazines with pedophiles.

It is amazing how drug stores have Valu-Paks of anti-aging lotions.  It is really amazing that a chain store succeeded where Vasco Di Gama did not.  Fountain of youth, aisle 4, and now in easy to use and re-fill containers.  Isn’t the modern world a wonder?

Alas, though, no Sports Illustrated.  Only Maxim’s, which would do the trick any OTHER weekend but NOT on the last weekend for the swimsuit edition.

We soldiered on to Duane Reade, where I dawdled again in the lotions and potions aisle and took a brief survey of all the processed foods one can buy these days in drug stores. Are processed foods considered a drug or a food under the FDA?

I went to find SOS after an eternity of inventory research at Duane Reade.  Maybe 20 minutes.  Apparently I didn’t dawdle enough.  Uh oh.

“Buddy, let’s go to a real book store and then I promise I will need a chocolate bar or a bottle of water on the way home, ok?”

At the book store, he was content with the animals of the Serengeti and the dynasties of pre-Communist China.

As promised, we returned to the drug store where I purchased things I didn’t need so that my son could marvel at the bodies of beautiful women.

We got home and I said, “you can go to your room if you want.  Just wash your hands when you come out.”

I am nothing if not practical.

Don’t worry, Pearl and Will, no magazines are coming to camp, except the G-rated ones.

My morning with Bessie and other things in a random day

I am sick (with the flu) and have been home almost all week.  The problem with being home (besides cabin fever) is that you notice every imperfection in your house, every age spot on your legs and those barely perceptible (to the naked eye) and asymmetrical droops in your breasts.

I was feeling pretty ok this morning.  And I needed to get out of the house.  And I was despondent over missing a Soeur reunion in Cancun.  And my bras didn’t provide the necessary level of support.  So, off I schlepped to the local mecca for women’s undergarments.  This is the place where, for decades (until her death), the Dowager Countess of Ladies’ Undergarments would cup your breasts in her hands and yell out a size and style and point you to one of the dressing rooms.  And if she determined that your current bra was ill-fitting, she would pitch a loud fit.  You had to have self-esteem or you needed to be high to deal with her.  I never went while the Dowager was alive.

POB and I went to here to get our undergarments of steel for our wedding dresses.  Bessie, an older Southern woman, helped us.  She noted that day that I was wearing “some kinda ratty bra.”

Today, I walked in and saw Bessie and strode straight for her and said, “you helped me with my wedding undergarments and I promised I would be back and here I am.”

“I remember you.  You was with a friend and you was both gettin’ married.”

“To each other,” I  responded, gently.

“You had a ratty bra that day, I’ll tell yoooooo.”

Sidebar:  OKOKOKOKOKOKOKOKOK, really?  She remembered?  And I was here to rectify that.  I was thinking that I wasn’t feeling better; I was just delirious.  And why do you think I don’t go bra (other than sports bra) shopping often, huh?  A little humiliation every other decade or so lasts a looooooong time.

I spent 90 minutes topless in a dressing room that others had no problem entering at will.  I must have tried on 30 bras.

Bessie commented on each:  “Now that one make you almost look perky!” “You don’t fill that up anymaw.  Betcha you did once!”  “Now, that is a beautiful cup on you!!

“But, Bessie, it is electric blue!!!”

“It don’t matter what color it is.  A good fittin’ bra is a good fittin’ bra.  You don’t turn your nose at a good fittin’ bra.  Not when we’s our age!!”

Pause.  We are NOT the same age.  I may be going on 50 but she is 70.  Wow, I really was delirious.

“I’ll jest put this in the buy pile.”  She walked away.  Ten bras (of varying colors; some electrically so, some not) later, she went to find matching bottoms.  I prevailed on nixing the dull blue and brown striped one that was almost like a bikini top.

“You a full-cut or a thong type?” She yelled for everyone to hear.  Of course, the entire conversation was for everyone to hear.

“How about we look at the matching bottoms and then I will decide.”

Bessie packed up all the things she decided I needed, less the bra that I would not, could not, buy.  “Now, send your friend on in here, hear?”

Wow, I needed a long snooze.

POB and SOS were doing G-d’s work, by having lunch with my Dad, so I could rest.  Or be delirious, whatever.

We arrived home at the same time and had a little rest hour.  And then POB and SOS set about making a cheesecake for SOS’s friend who is recovering from serious back surgery.  Our hearts were on standby to be broken if anything went wrong.  An 11 year-old’s undergoing serious back surgery is a parent’s every nightmare.  He came through like the champion he is.   And he wanted cheesecake.  “Then, give the boy a cheesecake,” said (and did) POB and SOS.

So we all hovered in the kitchen while POB did most of the heavy-lifting, SOS helped a little and I helped not at all.

SIDERBAR:  Hey, there needs to be a slacker in every family.  I proudly claim that mantel.  In fact, I “gold-medal” in it, without the need for performance enhancement drugs.  (It is a non-performing sport.)

Then SOS remembered that Cousin Gentle and he are going to visit a Sikh enclave in Queens tomorrow and he needed to learn, “hello”, “good bye” and “thank you” in Punjabi by tomorrow.  Cousin Gentle sent a link to a primer on Punjabi.

So, now, I sit in a warm kitchen with wonderful smells wafting through the air, blogging about my day and over-hearing my son practice words in Punjabi.

Yes, yes, I must be delirious.


Seder — a chance to mourn, a chance to laugh, and yes, a chance to sleep, perhaps to dream . . . .

Passover looms large in POB’s and my life.

For Jewish women, Passover is very complicated.  And writing about it is complicated, so this blog is complicated.   So sit back and pretend it is a Fellini script.

In our house, Passover is all about MOPOB.  Why?

Passover was MOPOB’s self-designated proving ground as a Jew by choice.  I remember the Seder I attended at MOPOB’s house.  MOPOB was stressed, as if the bubbes (grandmothers) of 100 generations of Jews were looking down at her wondering if she was using the right amount of chicken fat in the matzo balls.  That kitchen was way too crowded with all those mavens; a lesser person than MOPOB would have made a run for it.

In 2006, POB and I started having Seder for both of our families.  POB was desperate to have those matzo balls float (MOPOB’s receipe; and they did).  We had a rigorous discussion (MOPOB’s form of exercise) about an aspect of the Exodus story.  Then we all ate POB’s delicious meal together with family and friends.  MOPOB pronounced herself satisfied with POB’s and my hard work and how we melded two families’ traditions.  And shortly thereafter, she died.

Sidebar:  So, really, really, MOPOB, with that as a backdrop, how could Seder NOT be about you?

MOB didn’t really like all the prayers and stuff, but she loved having people around her table eating and talking and eating and having meaningful interaction (no idle chit chat at the Seder table).  And anything that tripped off MOB’s children’s tongues were quite possibly the most brilliant ideas theretofore uttered in the history of humanity.  So, it was all good.  For MOB, the most important thing was that, regardless of how everyone came to the table, everyone left that table as family, hugging and kissing (and there were no outrageous failures of tradition that would be shondahs for (i.e., embarrass us in front of) the neighbors).

Over the years, POB and I have gotten comfortable with our mothers’ looming large on this holiday.  The kitchen, though, gets crowded, especially when POB is making the traditional foods.  Her mother’s spirit hovers and my mother’s takes a magazine and sits at the counter and reads, ready to pitch in, but not really ever knowing her way around even her own kitchen (this for another blog).

And, as the years spin by, the elders have gotten, well, even older and a little more forgetful and a little more eccentric in their actions.

Sidebar:  If truth be told, age earns our quirkiness or idiosyncrazies (no misspelling here) the more refined term, “eccentric”.

I had arranged to pick up an extra table from DOB’s house. on Friday  He also bought some wine for us.

Sidebar:  Dad buys wine that is, well, barely usable for cooking.  But it was such a good price that he couldn’t resist.  “And who can tell the difference?” he asks rhetorically.  Dad, I am no connoisseur(se), but you buy rot gut wine.

Sidebar on sidebar:  FOPOB is no better.  He goes for the cheapest Kosher wine he can find.  One year, he told us not to buy wine because he was bringing wine.  He brought ONE bottle and he knew we were having nearly 20 people.  Are you kidding me?  Good thing I always buy non-kosher GOOD wine.  Clearly, we only serve DOB’s and FOPOB’s wine to someone on his or her fourth glass, because that person is too shiker (Yiddish, meaning drunk) to know the difference.

I arrived at DOB’s house around 1pm.  He decided that he will just come over early and hang out with us, while we are trying to put together a sit down dinner for 16.  Oh, goody.  But DOB is such a lovely guy and very lonely, so how could I not bring him along?  I called POB, who primed SOS to read books with Grandpa DOB.  Ok, they went through a survey of American history, and the origins of the Silk Road and it was only 2:30pm.  Time for reinforcements.  I called HOSOB, who is busy working on commissioned pieces of art.  But I know SOB was working hard at the hospital, so she couldn’t stop my asking HOSOB to drop the paint brush, shower and run over to our house to entertain the “boys.”  SOB might have stern words for me later for my having taken HOSOB away from his work, but that day it was better to ask for forgiveness than permission.

HOSOB, a fabulous member of the clan, came over and took over, leaving POB and me to our preparations.  At one point, DOB was tired and SOS needed a little more exercise so HOSOB took SOS for a walk.  (Some days, I think we really should have a treadmill . . . .)

Meanwhile GDJOB arrived with Kosher for Passover cakes (which were indeed FABULOUS).  As she walked in, she said, “I know you thought I was probably [DOB] . . . Ummmm [as she saw DOB seated]  Oh, hi, [DOB]!!”  Ah, yes, GDJOB, careful when you walk into our house, because as DOB gets older, his sense of appropriate arrival time can make you wonder whether he thought Passover was a lunch or dinner affair.  OOOOOOOOhhhh.  The first of many, many, uncomfortable moments chez nous.  Luckily, GDJOB had to park the car and run some errands.  She exited stage left, post-haste.  And we have a memory for the ages.

Fast forward . . . .   Seder time.

Sidebar:  Elders, children and the sandwich generation. Believers in one thing or another, non-believers and people just having a power nap before dinner.  There was one moment when I looked at my assembled family and remembered when they were the giants of my youth, when they were young and strong and idolized by my sister, my brother and me.  Wasn’t that yesterday?

We all sat to fulfill a commandment that binds the past with the present and the present with the future:

We will go, young and old; we will go, bored and snoozing; we will go, Jew, non-Jew and Atheists; we will go all together to observe the Passover ritual for we shall tell our children, on that day, G-d freed us from slavery, from the house of bondage.” 

Pretty profound stuff.  That is until I noticed my 80+ year-old uncle was already napping and drooling, and FOPOB had taken the whole bowl of haroset and started eating out of it with his spoon. . . .

Also, there is a personal corollary theme: 

We were not delivered from slavery to eat turkey and drink gross kosher wine.  We were liberated to eat a lovely marbled brisket cooked to perfection and delicious Cabernet that can stand up to a Yiddisha brisket.

We don’t follow the Haggadah religiously (as it were).  I like to make the Exodus story relevant to the modern day.  I pick the passages and copy the relevant pages so we can all read together and discuss.  I find portions of the story disturbing and don’t shy away from that.  There is a reason why Jews “tremble” before G-d.  The G-d of the Hebrew Bible is pretty violent and mercurial.  But we must observe the traditions, from generation to generation, even if one year, my theme was:  Saddam Hussein and G-d, compare and contrast.”  Yep, step away from the computer, lest a lightening bolt destroy you and your family.

Because of Arab Spring, SOS has become very interested in revolution and civil wars that inevitably follow.  So, in my preparation for the Seder, I read the Exodus story to find elements that spoke to heady days of freedom and the subsequent factionalism once the common enemy is vanquished.  There is a lot of turmoil following the Red Sea crossing.  The fluidity of the story is both a strength and a weakness — anyone can find something to support his or her thesis, whether for good or malevolence.

And of course, in addition to the usual “emblems of festive rejoicing,” we have our own:  (i) the Moses action figure (with detachable commandments for easy throwing); (ii) a watch symbolizing that we only have one hour before my sister takes the Haggadahs away and declares the ceremony at an end, and (iii) a bottle of the two-buck chuck my Dad will always bring and we will never, ever, drink.

We will fill in this second Seder plate as our tradition continues….

But for now, the matzo balls floated and that is indeed a blessing.


A zissin Pesach to all.

Bedroom Farce, Rated G

On weekend mornings, SOS and I often rough-house on POB’s and my bed — we wrestle, tussle, the usual.  (At other times, even POB and I can fit in a little tussle, but I digress).

The bed held up as best it could, for 12 years.  So, last night when SOS jumped on the bed to reach me for a kiss good-night, we heard a ◊craaaack◊ followed by a creeeeeak!!!!! followed by a THUUUUNK of a falling “decorative” wood brace in the headboard.

After assuring SOS that it was not his fault, I set about trying to repair the bed before it sloped into total collapse.  Mind you, this is no IKEA-born-to-break-in-three-months bed; this is — or should have been — a stand-up-to-kids, Odysseus-built-around-a-tree-trunk type of bed, notwithstanding its modern aesthetic.

After getting the mattress off, I saw that the hinges and the connectors were bent.  Ok, so this is not a bed deserving of any analogy to that in the Homeric epic.

POB just thought we should dismantle the whole thing, set it aside and put the mattress on the floor.  “I am too old to sleep on some kind of a FUTON!!” I exclaim, shocking even me.  “We are sleeping on a proper bed because we are going to fix it.  All I need is a hammer and screw driver!!”

POB dutifully brought a hammer and screw driver.  She is always doing sweet things like that, like the time she gave me enough rope to hang myself.

It is a heavy bed, as in more than our combined body weight.  We took turns heaving the pieces into the correct position while the other tried to hammer the pieces into the correct grooves.  Let’s just say I would be in traction if I hadn’t been working on my abs.

At one point, when POB was doing the heavy lifting job, I tried to get at the mangled joint.  That required that I slither between her legs — just below the knees — with a hammer, all the while sweating and panting from all of the lifting I had just been doing.

What are you doing?” POB screeeeeched in horror, as she was now in charge of holding up a really heavy bed frame. 

As if I needed to say this, but I did:  “Sweetie, this is not a novel attempt at seduction.  Right now I don’t care where I am relative to your anatomy.  I care that I am close to the mangled joint that I need to fix!!”  At that point, I realized I needed a pliers.  “Don’t move,” I told POB.

Since this is rated G (General Audiences), I will not repeat her response.

After I hit my fingers with the hammer and squeezed part of my finger in the pliers, I made the damage to the bed parts (they were then officially “parts” not a “bed frame”) even worse.  But the decisive factor is, well, I suck at home improvement.  Another lesbian myth blown sky-high.

The long and short of it is that we slept futon-style with the mattress on the floor.  And the bed frame company is sending someone up from its SoHo store to fix the mangled mess on Thursday.  If a gay man show up and puts the frame back together without anyone’s help, then I will give up my lesbian boot camp standard issue: hammer, pliers, screw driver  and variable speed drill (both with various size bits).

But I am keeping the toaster oven.

Absolutely Flabulous

I am working on my abdominal muscles.  But the leaner I get in front, the flabbier I get in the back.  What is with back flab?

I asked POB who is my oracle on things like this.  She said that back flab is, in fact, a topic of articles in those self-help/keep-it-real magazines.

Essentially, it is an aging thing.

It’s a little like the hint of Hadassah arms (fleshy upper arms prevalent among members of the Women’s Zionist Organization of America) that appeared one day four years ago.  No amount of tri-cep exercises can change it.  Hadassah arms are a real advantage when entertaining young children — they make excellent flapping noises when one is trying to mimic a bird in flight (what, you mean, you don’t often, and spontaneously, do avian impressions?)

Despite my best efforts at the gym and POB’s best efforts at feeding us healthy, lean foods, I have a vision of turning into Grandma Dora, with the house-dress, the Hadassah arms, the corset pushing her sagging breasts up to her clavicle, and the bra-strap hanging half-way down her arm.  And those old people shoes that were gentle on the bunions.  And wait, the stockings knotted at her knees.  Just the vision could trigger a fatal seizure.

I know, I know.  I started with back flab and ended up with corrective shoes.  From the Upper West Side, Manhattan, 2012, to Pelham Parkway, Bronx, circa 1969 in three paragraphs.  But maybe I am just overreacting.

But the back flab is seriously unappealing.