For my 40th birthday (just about 7 years ago), POB (partner of blogger) gave me an iPod.  There is new, souped of version of this dinosaur called “iPod Classic”.  Just like those “classic” Chryslers with all the conveniences of modern technology but with the fins and the chrome edges.  It was amazing in its time and, just seven years later, its limitations are quaint — in that way that a lop-sided homemade cake is really so, so, so, “homey”.

Then, it wore out  as iThings are designed to do after 360 charges. So, it stays planted in its iPlayer for music when we are in the house.

Then, we got something for the gym.

And this doesn’t really hold a charge anymore.  And so I get iRate at the gym when the battery idies on me and all I have to watch is the 24-hour-news-recycle to pass the tortuous 30 minutes on a constant-sweat machine of choice that day.

Ok, so then we got one that had more “juice” for the family.  But we didn’t know about the iDeath that happens after 360 charges (don’t leave an iPod in a charger or re-charge willy-nilly).  So this iDevice splits its time between two places: the kitchen, and, after hours, in SOPOBAB’s (son of POB and blogger’s) room so he can listen to audio books and then go to sleep to the music of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong (yes, SOPOBAB is an old soul).  This requires TWO iBose systems for its two iHomes.

Ok, that was not enough, so we got two, TWO, iTouches.  Two iTouches. SOPOBAB has dinosaur, bird, football, baseball and hockey apps so he can play, too. (Our child cannot conceive of a world with typewriters, dial-up connections, Basic 8 computer languages.  Thank G-d, he loves real, honest-to-goodness books.)

The batteries are draining too quickly.  So we are probably going to get another one.  Oy.

Then we got an iMac.  [picture not included because of iMalfunction] [imagine iPicture here].

THEN, a MacBook Pro.

Now, an iPhone.  Not for me.  For POB.  Cool and groovy.

But I am a little iParanoid that our dependence on Steve Jobs is getting addictive.  But I really hate PCs since Microsoft Vista came out and ground our PC to a halt even for simple tasks, like say, logging on.

There was a time when there was no “I” in “team” (but there IS an I in family, which stinks for the metaphor).  Apple will get rid of that problem by creating the iTeam (who knows if that is true, but one has to believe that something like that has to come out in order to continue the mind control and advance the global domination).

In life, you pick your battles.  Steve Jobs, you win. iLove you and so does this iFamily.

New Year’s Resolutions

I am feeling pressure to make New Year’s resolutions.

In order to meet with social approval, they must be lofty, require some form of ascetism (as in, give up chocolate), be kumbaya in nature (donate more time and money) and not be too challenging to those in ear shot.

But I am not so generous, socially conscious or loving.  I am in my ME moment.

So here are my unsociable New Year’s resolutions:

  1. I will make sure every sweating person at the gym wipes off the machine after use or I will call out that person.
  2. I will eat chocolate once a day — and not that healthy dark chocolate stuff, but the milk chocolate with some hazelnut goo inside.
  3. I will spend money on “glam” things — going gray naturally requires more accessories than one might think.
  4. If you ask my opinion, I will give it to you.  So, chances are, if you are asking my opinion, I am going to tell you not to do what you want to do.
  5. If you look like hell, I will tell you.  Even if you don’t ask.  Let’s call that “my idiosyncratic charm”.
  6. I will try to do a head stand.  No world peace.  Just something manageable with six spotters and a personal trainer.
  7. I will drive into the countryside to reaffirm my disdain for bugs and other things “natural”.  I will come home to NYC and kiss the dirty pavement.
  8. I will love my family — the ganza mishpocheh — and friends more and deeper than last year.
  9. I will do something totally cool and groovy.  (Stay tuned.)

Happy New Year everyone.  Be careful what you say to me or ask me in 2011.

~ Blogger

um, I guess I wasn’t what you expected

When you have a blog, you can see the searches that people do that get them to your site.  Well, one person searched “what do i need for a vaginal steam bath” and got my blog.  Whoever you are, I am really sorry, but I DID post the article.

I hope the putrid concoction of herbs works for you.

~ Blogger

Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland

Today was the truest snow day ever.  18 inches of snow in New York City.  Stalled car and buses every where.  Blizzard-scale winds that made me believe in Mary Poppins.  Law firm offices closed.  Let me say that again.  LAW FIRM OFFICES CLOSED EVEN AS THEY TRY TO MAKE BUDGET FOR 2010.  Now, that, THAT, is saying something.  I live in the City and there was no way I was going to make it to the office except by walking, and the blizzard-scale winds would have taken me way off-course.  The Upper West Side of Manhattan is not even plowed 12 hours after the last snowflake fell (don’t they realize that we vote with our ballots and pocketbooks?  Has anyone noticed the UWS demographic has changed????)

POB (partner of blogger) was supposed to go east to the beach with our son (SOPOBAB) and his cousin, our nephew.  Oh, I think Mother Nature is a teeny tiny bit stronger than the sheer will of POB.  Although Mother Nature won, she was bruised and hospitalized.  Anyway, my beautiful prizefighter POB thought that we needed to go sledding.  I thought we needed to drug the boys (just kidding, for all the Child Protective Services personnel who read this).  How else do you keep two rambunctious 8 year-old in check?

So, a-sledding we went.  A winter wonderland.  Sheer, treacherous beauty on West 108th Street.

As I was fretting about the absence of protective gear while trying not to fall down the hill at scary velocity (I remember all too well flying down the hill with SOPOBAB when he was a littler kid.  I also remember buying another life insurance policy the following day, because SOPOBAB would bounce, as children do; I would not have survived another run.)

But, then, life has a way of keeping it all real.  A child, whose family apparently fell on hard times (they must have been slumming by spending year-end at home), stated with disgust, “There isn’t even a hot chocolate shack!” If that were my child, he would be enrolled at military school tomorrow.  Yes, I am passing judgment (and also stating a fact).

Toto, I have a feeling we are not in Aspen anymore. It was so pathetic and sad at the same time that I couldn’t, simply couldn’t, take a picture of the spoiled brat who uttered that line.  Ok, I almost did, but G-d intervened and the battery of my camera failed.  Lucky kid, but karma, as we know, is a boomerang.

BUT, THE BATTERY DID NOT DIE BEFORE I GOT A PICTURE OF A SARTORIAL/PSYCHO-SOCIAL TRAGEDY.  Before I share this vignette, I will note that my own outfit could remind a person of Pippy Longstocking — everything was mismatched in that way that you wear whatever will keep you warm.  In fact, I was wearing a serial-killer hat (depicted in every artist sketch in an all-points bulletin) that made me look particularly deranged and very much like a predicate felon.  But that isn’t what I am talking about.

I am talking about an outfit that could scar a child for life.


Later she yelled at her son who is out of control as he sled down the hill, “watch your kepilah [head]!!!” as if summoning G-d to deliver her from this pagan ritual that assimilation has thrust upon them. The only saving Grace is that this the Upper West Side of New York, with a Jewish population larger than the whole of Israel.  So, we understand.  Because was heard these humiliating stories from our parents as part of their own, very personal, Exodus stories.

A bastardized adage still holds true:

One person’s winter’s wonderland is another person’s proof that Hell DOES freeze over.

A wish for a New Year and a New Beginning

A dear friend posted the following on her FB page:

The homeless go without eating. The elderly go without medicine. The mentally ill go without treatment. Troops go without proper equipment. Veterans go without benefits that were promised to them. Yet we give billions in tax breaks to the wealthiest 2% of Americans — those who need it least.

Reminds me of Tracy Chapman’s 1988 song, “Why?” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4bBff9aBRw)

Why do the babies starve
When there’s enough food to feed the world
Why when there’re so many of us
Are there people still alone

Why are the missiles called peace keepers
When they’re aimed to kill
Why is a woman still not safe
When she’s in her home

Love is hate
War is peace
No is yes
And we’re all free

But somebody’s gonna have to answer
The time is coming soon

Amidst all these questions and contradictions
There’re some who seek the truth

But somebody’s gonna have to answer
The time is coming soon
When the blind remove their blinders
And the speechless speak the truth

In 2011, let’s try to judge our success not by the toys we have but by the success of the most needy or vulnerable in our society.  Surely, this nation was founded upon the frontiersman’s rugged individualism.  But most people stop there (in a self congratulatory way) because they forget that the sentence doesn’t end there. This nation was founded upon the frontiersman’s rugged individualism AND community-giving that sustained the frontier settlements in harsh times.

There is a portion of our society that thinks that the fact of one’s wealth proves his or his entitlement to it.  They forget the parents or grandparents who struggled to provide them with everything, the teachers who taught them, the bosses who took interest in them and, the importance of that mercurial of all things, luck.

Wealth is not yours alone; it belongs to many whose efforts culminate in the success of you.

Space Travel

Ok, no more “t’was the night before” parodies.

Today, I introduced my son to Star Trek: The Next Generation.  He thought it was cool but couldn’t believe that Star Trek (at least the original series) preceded Star Wars and — Heavens!! — The Clone Wars.

He loves the look of the Starship Enterprise (I think he will be disappointed with the original series’ ship) and wanted to learn about all the classes of starships (there are websites cataloguing the fictional fleets of human and alien ships — who knew?) and he had a field day looking up warp drives and matter/anti-matter things.  (I guess; I didn’t look because my eyes glazed over with all the data.)

My son was ready to watch the entire Star Trek: TNG marathon today; I was not.  Not only would I be a lazy and bad parent, but when you watch shows as a parent, you notice the sexual innuendos, etc., that never before fazed you.  And you wonder about the overtly sexual costumes (especially on the original series) and wonder how much is lost — or found — on the kids.  The episode we saw featured an incident with the Farenghi — a misogynous species (they don’t talk directly to women and women aren’t deserving of clothes).  As a parent, I wasn’t so sure that the writers did enough of a job smacking down these creatures for their hatred of women.  And, of course, time-honored feminine wiles saved the day.  So cliché.

But the thing that made it all worthwhile?  My son thinks I know A LOT about space travel now and wants me to watch every Star Wars: The Clone Wars episode to discuss insights.

Wow, do I have much studying to do.  Yet I will boldly go where I have never gone before if only to be a heroine in my son’s eyes.  “Lay in a course for the Alpha Quadrant, my young son, Warp 5.  Engage!”

Christmas at the Gym

With apologies to those who know the meter of this song — I only absorb it from pop culture”

T’was the eve of Christmas day,
And all the Jews at the gym
Were either balding or gay.
Here everyone is calm,
Absent the buff and beautiful
Was truly heavenly balm.
On Chaim, On Yonkel,
And Jews galore
We watch as muscles struggle to the fore!
And now we need a shpritz
for at this gym — oy! —
how the Jews did schvitz!

Ode to Christmas, from a Jew

T’was the night before Christmas,
all through the homestead,
Every Jew was thrilled! Friday morning in bed!
Hooray for Christmas every Levite rejoiced,
Beat ’em or join ’em that is the choice!
So the Jews, they wassailed,
they caroled and they hailed.
Jesus is born! Jesus is born!
Not a doctor he be, his mother forlorn.

Zero sum game.

The lame-duck Congress finished a busy month that had me on the edge of my seat.  Really.  I believe in New START, DREAM Act, 9/11 First Responders Bill, and the repeal of DADT.  I was glad for the middle class tax cuts, but enraged over the need for tax cuts for high-income earners (and I am a high-income earner) because it contributes to the deficit that faces a fast-approaching day of reckoning.

Think what you will about these initiatives and deals, but one thing upon which I hope people of good will can agree is that the passage or defeat of any legislation is not a “win for Obama” or “win for the Tea Party” or win for [fill in the blank]”.  It is about us, our country and our future.

Someone told me something transformative years ago.  In a loving relationship, it should not be about who is right, but rather about whether both people are happy (or okay) with the outcome and remain committed to each other.  A loving relationship is not a zero-sum game.

Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, Sens. Reid and McConnell, please consider our national interest ahead of ideology, what is best for our country rather than best for your political futures.  It is okay to have an “evolving” view; I promise I won’t call you a “flip-flopper”.  Stagnant views are short-sighted and doomed to defeat.

Most of us learned not to throw mud in the sandbox when we were five.  Time you all learned, too.

Spa Treatment for EVERY part of the body

So I was ready to say some Northeast-snobbish things about Southern California when I read about the new vaginal steam baths with pungent vapors being introduced in SoCal spas.  Then I read that it is a centuries-old Korean tradition (http://articles.latimes.com/2010/dec/20/health/la-he-v-steam-20101220).  So I will be more respectful than I might otherwise have been if it was just something kooky that Californians thought up.  I am not sure I would sit for one.  .  .  .


Vaginal steam bath finds a place among Southern California spa options

A Korean treatment for the vaginal area is said to aid health and fertility. What’s missing is evidence.

December 20, 2010|By Sari Heifetz, Special to the Los Angeles Times

Pungent steam rises from a boiling pot of a mugwort tea blended with wormwood and a variety of other herbs. Above it sits a nude woman on an open-seated stool, partaking in a centuries-old Korean remedy that is gaining a toehold in the West.

Vaginal steam baths, called chai-yok, are said to reduce stress, fight infections, clear hemorrhoids, regulate menstrual cycles and aid infertility, among many other health benefits. In Korea, many women steam regularly after their monthly periods.