I love POB (partner of blogger).  She is the better half of my soul.  She is extraordinary.

She is also “at liberty” these days, since losing her job in a corporate restructuring.  To my mind, she can rest on her laurels and eat bon-bons for the rest of her life. I want her to be happy.  But recently, I think she needs to have a job for her sanity and well, frankly, for mine.

A few weeks ago, I learned from POB all about the scam of recycling plastic bottles.  The bottles are shipped to China (add to carbon footprint) where the process of recycling those bottles causes noxious gases to be released into the atmosphere (EPA would not allow such recycling in our country) and then the recycled product is shipped back to us (add to carbon footprint). All this, over dinner, after a long day trying to woo clients and bring in business.

Last night, we were at dinner at a restaurant with friends and POB had questions about the fish special.  Was it farmed? Was it certified as “happy fish” before it was fooled by bait and impaled on a hook?  Where was it fished? (as in, was it fished in a place that is overfished?)  I had an extra glass of wine that had a huge carbon footprint.  I felt bad but the wine felt good.

But it was really the other week that I decided that POB needs a job, ANY job, with or without pay.  POB announced over a gluten-free, nut-free and (dare I say) taste-free dinner that we should get one of those apartment-size composting kits so that we can create fertilizer and then drop it off at compost-receiving stations in Central Park.  That way, the parks will be greener and we will be, too.  Ok, ok, ok, ok, at age 47, I am composting nicely, thank you.  I will disintegrate enough just in time for the worms, etc. to break down the rest of my cells at my death.  POB is not mollified by the knowledge that I am in slow-burn compost mode.

What, am I not compost enough for POB????  At long last, has it come to this?

President Obama, Save the Date

Dear President Obama:

I know, deep down, in your heart of hearts, you are not anti-gay marriage.  In fact, I think you don’t understand why people draw the line in the sand on this issue.  Given what a mess heterosexuals make of marriage, who should care if more people want to get married and then pay the marriage tax, to boot.  If some crazy gays want to do this, then G-d bless, right?

But you’ve missed the point.  It’s about taxation.

People don’t want to subject us queers to the marriage tax because the problem in Washington is spending, not revenue.

How about if you have a special tax code exemption for us so we don’t have to see our hard-earned dollars go into social programs? Maybe speak with Majority Leader Boehner (and how come his name isn’t pronounce “Boner” anyway?) about this.  I am sure that he will drop his Defense of Marriage Act defense once he realizes the gay marriage is not back door taxation.  (Don’t even think that was a clever pun for those who are male.)

Look, the GOP standard bearers want to protect our lives and our incomes.  Why else would they not want us to serve in the military?  And not marry?  Well, aren’t we the unanticipated darlings of the far-right?

This is the triple negative political action play that is making my head spin.  But never mind the GOP.

Andrew Cuomo, Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton have all stepped on the bandwagon.  Now I know the Clintons aren’t running for political office anymore (maybe a seat on the Supreme Court . . . ).  But Cuomo figures by 2016, equality will be a non-issue.  And he is right.  But you are in the “here and now” where it is gutsy to be a sitting President and lead by example.

You’re in a tough spot.  Let me sweeten the pot.  POB (partner of blogger) and I are getting married next year.  We had planned it well before the vote because we just wanted to celebrate our family and friends.

There’s an invitation with Michelle’s and your names on it if you just say. . .

Yes, gays can.”


My son’s 9th birthday party

It is so hard to imagine that TLP (the little prince), is turning 9 years-old.  Because his birthday is in the summer, we have his party before the end of the school year.  So, today, we had a bowling party for him and invited his friends and family.  I think back to the days when he couldn’t navigate a mainstream class or party.   And then I see him connecting with his friends today.  Night and day.

The other night, POB (partner of blogger) took him to a pre-camp orientation meeting.  In previous years, these were unmitigated disasters.  Yet, this year, TLP was engaged, engaging and actually enjoyed the event.  POB told him how proud she was of how he navigated that social situation.  He replied, “Mommy, I have evolved.

Evolved, he has.  In so many ways.  Today, my young son is a gracious host, laughing and enjoying time with this friends and happy to see assorted cousins, aunts and grandfathers who all wore ear plugs to brave the event.  Night and day.

Yesterday, at the end-of-Hebrew-school picnic, another mother came up to me to tell me what TLP had said about what he learned at religious school this year.  (Generally, we like to give TLP space and not sit in on classes, so it is good to get information from the even more neurotic parents.)  TLP said, “I learned about the meaning of social justice and I am really happy that my moms can have more than a ceremony — we can all get married.”  (Yes, TLP refers to our 2012 nuptials as our wedding.) Night and day.

Back to today and the party.  The kids are screaming at a decibel level heretofore unknown in humans.  They are wild, obstreperous, very physical and sometimes even rude.  In short, they are normal 9 year-olds.  It is a two-hour party that seems to last for days.  POB and I need a nap when we get home.

So, as Gay Pride floats down Fifth Avenue, I celebrate all that I already have: an exhausting 9 year-old, a birthday party with his friends, an extended family who come to share these milestones and for Sunday night dinner, life-long friends, and my partner in life, POB.

Thank you, Governor Cuomo, because you made sure that, with your signature, the law recognizes the universality of our aspirations and the ingredients of our happiness. Night and day.


Pride, 2011

I have been glued to Yahoo and Google News for a week waiting for the gay marriage vote in New York’s Senate.  Tick tock, tick tock.  Apprehension turned to despair as Friday morning turned into afternoon turned into twilight.

POB (partner of blogger) and I went to synagogue for Pride Shabbat.  It was standing room only, as it often is, but there was something hanging in the air.  As we sang hallels (songs of praise) and chanted the ancient affirmation of faith, we knew that change was in the air.  The air was thick with anticipation, with hope and promise and maybe a little resentment that our love and commitments needed legislative legitimacy.  (Especially in a time where we don’t hold our elected officials in the highest esteem.)

The rabbi, who eschews modern-day devices on Shabbat, was not displeased to be informed by those on their gadgets about the minute by minute developments, which she dutifully conveyed to the congregation.  I think she also wanted to keep people seated as we all yearned to be at Stonewall on Sheridan Square (in mind if not in middle-aged body) to celebrate.  She told us that our services would conclude before the New York Senate vote was finished, and she reminded us that the Stonewall riots didn’t start until Saturday morning, after Jews were finished at synagogue, saying the Mourner’s Prayer for Judy Garland, whose funeral that day probably sparked the patrons of Stonewall to fight back against the police that night.

I have been a privileged white woman all my life.  I am Jewish, a minority for sure, but I live in New York City where the public schools close for our major holidays.  I wasn’t a second class citizen until I realized I was gay.  And then realized that there were groups in the country — and the world — who foisted every societal failing on our “evil” love: divorce, plagues, wild fires, floods, etc.   How evil could we be if we contribute more in tax dollars, charitable giving, cohesion of community, and frankly, good parenting than most?  And still these, these, “righteous” people wielded power over my life, livelihood, legal rights and happiness.

I wonder now why people were rejoicing when the Civil Rights Act was passed.  I think people should have been seething that degradation and abuse should have taken so damn long to be outlawed.

While I applaud Governor Cuomo, and those who voted their conscience on Friday, I am not grateful.  If I were grateful, it would imply that I received something possibly undeserved.  Actually, my anger at having to be “protected” is oozing from my pores.  “Why did anyone have this power over me in the first place?”

I am here, I am queer and, no matter what, I am too old to be at Stonewall celebrating anyway.

Pulling Up

I do pull-ups at the gym.  Apparently unlike other women.  The beefy, muscled boys love to give me pointers.

One trainer refers to the pull-up bar as a “girl”.  So when he sees me, he asks, “Did you visit your girl?” and “Did you do right by your girl?”

In what can only be described as an out-of-body experience, I respond, “Hey, I am always respectful to the girl.”  What middle-aged, white, middle class, Jewish woman talks like this? (Apparently, I do.)

“All right.  That’s the answer I wanna hear,” he says.

Ok, gym talk is nuts.  And, even nutsier? That I am talking the talk.   Imagine that.  Actually, DON’T.  It is too ugly.

My sister, weighing in at approximately 98 pounds soaking wet, comes over after doing a non-work-out on the elliptical machine.  She didn’t even break a sweat.  “It was the least I could do,” she says.  No lie. It is hard to imagine 30 minutes on a cardio machine and not one bead of sweat.  But my sister has always been exceptional.

She wants to try a pull-up.  I offer to give her an assist.  “I can do this,” she says as she waves me off and grabs the bar.  And then dangles helplessly like a fish caught on bait.  “I had no idea that this was hard!!”  This is clearly not the least she could do.  So, she kisses me and goes to the locker room for a shower even though not even a little sweat was shed.

But don’t mess with my sister.  She’ll drop you in 5 seconds.  She may not have abs of steel but she has a force of will that would humble professional boxers.


Our Family’s Idea of Father’s Day

To be fair, POB (partner of blogger) has more traditional notions of Father’s Day.  She invited everyone over for brunch and made a blueberry pie from SCRATCH (I know, I know, I am grateful every day that she doesn’t realize she can do better than me).

SOB (sister of blogger) and I took DOB (father of blogger) and HOSOB (husband of SOB) to the cemetery.  SOB and DOB really, really, wanted to go to the cemetery.  It scared me a little, because I feared something foreboding about needing to visit the dead.

At DOB’s age, it is like taking him to visit his friends.  For HOSOB, it was his first time meeting Mom. It was about time that HOSOB was formally introduced.

I rented a car.  A Mercedes.  I decided that it was important for our dead relatives to know that we are prosperous a few generations on in this country and that the “Vohrr” (as in World War II) was over as it concerns German products.

We schlepped to where most New York Jews are buried — Long Island. As we passed the Jewish cemeteries we made sure to say them in an old Yiddish accent, with the requisite throat clearing, “Achhhhem, Beth Moses Cemeterrrrry, dahlink”.  “Turn onto Vellvood [Wellwood] Avenue.”

First, we visited Mom.   Mom always packed a sweater in August and the day of her funeral was so bone-chillingly cold.  SOB and I still feel guilty that we left her in the cemetery on that January day.  And to add insult to injury, we left her all alone to fend for herself among Dad’s deceased family, also resident in the family plot. My grandmother never had a nice word to say about Mom.  And vice-versa.  Uncle Loud was, let’s just say, narrow-minded.  His wife was lovely, but she screeched when she talked.  My other uncle was a difficult guy.  We positioned Mom’s grave so that she would be closest to those she tolerated, loved even, in life.

There were stones on the graves (a Jewish custom to show the grave has been visited) except for the one difficult uncle.  Really, really, really?  My cousins visited the cemetery and put stones on Uncle and Aunt Louds’ headstones, our grandparents’ headstones and our mother’s headstone, but they couldn’t put a stone on our other uncle’s headstone?  The headstone is not even inches away from my grandmother’s.  In death as in life, the competitions and the divisions remain.

Then we visited Mom’s parents in the next cemetery over.  They have graves in the International Workers Organization plot.  All headstones are the same height in this plot, in keeping with its socialist and egalitarian ethos.  I remember that my grandfather’s headstone was laid, but we didn’t have an unveiling because Mom’s cancer came back shortly before her father died and she just couldn’t have a ceremony, for a gazillion emotional reasons.  So, more than ten years have passed and as I looked at the stone, I thought the stone cutters got part of my grandfather’s Hebrew name wrong. Oy.  This is a huge problem in Jewish tradition.  So I better do some research first before I call a foul.

We started the drive back to the City and blueberry pie.  My father tried to navigate us to Queensboro bridge (why pay a toll?) and started each wrong instruction with an “Achhhhem” eerily reminiscent of the old generation.  We got a little lost in Queens, which is like being in another country to the spoiled Manhattanites that are SOB and I.  I saw the Empire State Building and just started driving toward it.  Luckily, we didn’t have to swim.  We found the bridge.

We arrived in time for blueberry pie and all was well with the world.

Rushing, rushing, rushing

Today, I was just rushing.

Rushing here, rushing there. But getting nowhere, really.

I finally left the office and rushed to the gym.  I did a few exercises (because I was rushing, of course).  Pull-ups (pull-ups are good exercise when you don’t have time to do a full exercise regimen. I hate pull-ups. And all the boys think it’s really cute that a gray-haired, middle-aged lady can do pull-ups. (I can do about three sets of three, so don’t be impressed.)

I missed the uptown bus and hailed a cab because I was rushing home. I got out of the cab and rushed into my building because I was rushing.

I stop in my tracks.

Our coop [for those of you outlanders, a homeowners’ association] is having its annual shareholders meeting in the lobby. I gave the president my proxy but still I cannot walk through the lobby past all my neighbors toward the elevator. It is the grown up version of doing the morning walk of shame across the college quad after a night of beer goggling.

So, I CAN’T.

I am effectively locked out of my home until 9pm. My family is happily relaxing upstairs and I am left to loiter and hover.

Rushing to no avail. The story of today.

Tomorrow I will take time to smell the garbage (there are no roses in New York City).

Conversations with my father

DOB (father of blogger) came over for dinner. Just DOB.  No others to redirect the conversation when it, as it invariably does, turns to scatological matters.  And with my having an endoscopy on Friday, we would need the conversational fortitude of all family members to keep the subject, shall we say, appetitive.

I became a little desperate when I realized that the “regulars” for Sunday dinner were unavailable and it was just DOB and the three of us:  POB (partner of blogger), TLP (our son, the little prince) and me.

The excuses:

  • SOB (sister of blogger) was working this weekend at the hospital,
  • therefore, HOSOB (husband of SOB) had to stay home to feed SOB, and
  • Cousin Gentle and CB (Cousin Birder) were separately out of town.

All reasonable excuses; however, in the aggregate, totally unacceptable.

And POB, always a little afraid of what someone from my side of the family might say, stays in the kitchen and cooks.  She can hear everything and I can tell her displeasure by the increased numbers of needlessly dirty pots and pans that are left for me to clean.  Oooops. I digress.

For the record, DOB is a perfectly lovely man and he was a wonderful father. Now, let’s get to it.

He asked how I was feeling after the endoscopy.  Not waiting for an answer, he told me how lucky I was not to have a colonoscopy.  He has had over ten.  I mentioned that I am glad that he no longer has them (he is near 91) because I understand that the preparation for a colonoscopy is rough.  He started discussing all the things that could go wrong in the procedure, like a puncture of the bowel or whatever (at this point, I am not listening because I am deciding whether or not to lunge out of the window).

POB walks in because she felt an intervention was necessary.  She almost texted SOB at the hospital to rush over to run a Code Green (as in POB was turning green from the conversation) and save us from ourselves.  POB, G-d bless her, tried.  And failed.

DOB paused politely while POB tried to maneuver us away toward more common pre-dinner conversation.

Then DOB started to tell me that he thinks he needs a colonoscopy because — I tried to stop him there.  I don’t need the details. But his hearing isn’t so good, so he didn’t hear me plead for him to stop. Instead he alluded to discomfort, waiting for me to ask for more information.  I didn’t ask because if he tells me, I will surely lose my mind. He made more allusions but I wouldn’t take the bait.  This is a battle for my sanity.  If DOB realized the stakes involved, he wouldn’t push it (he is after all a lovely man and good father).  He would have walked into the kitchen and grossed out POB.

He moved on to the procedure he might have.  Sanity preserved — for now.

Of course, he said that if the doctors found anything, that given his age, he wouldn’t want any invasive treatment. Ok, ok, ok, ok.  You want to have a risky procedure at your age just as an information gathering exercise?  And torture your daughters, who will go with you and take care of you afterwards?


Just then, SOB called, as if she knew I was about to lose my mind.

So how’s it going over there?” she asked.  I imagine that her head was already in her hands as she was awaiting my answer.

Dad’s having some elimination issues.

OOOOooooh.  I am really sorry I couldn’t be there tonight.

SOB knows my sanity is on the line and she is my protector.  But there are sick patients in ICU.  There are just crazy people in my home.

“Dinner!!!” POB calls.  My salvation.


Meanwhile on the other side of town . . . .

Some back story (again).  TLP (our son, the little prince) asked BYP (beautiful young princess) to marry him two years ago.  BYP said, “Sure!!”  And they have been betrothed ever since the tender age of 7 years-old.  The Yiddish name for the relationship between parents of a married couple is “machertunim”.  The mothers are “machertenesters” and the father is a “shver” (not a really pleasant translation).

So, while I was having my well-documented endoscopy, our machertenester was having  laparoscopy to remove her not-quite-burst appendix.

How did we find out?  Our machertenester was emailing from her blackberry to tell us because they had to cancel our dinner plans for tonight.  Really?  Really? That was on your mind as you recover from surgery?

Laparoscopy, open-heart surgery, whatEVERRRR.  Surgery is surgery.

The emails went something like this:

“We have to cancel dinner tomorrow night.  I had my appendix removed this morning.”

[Blogger side bar:  I am thinking, WAIT, WAS THAT WRITTEN IN THE SAME WAY AS, “Sorry, we couldn’t get a babysitter”  ???????  Really, machertenester?   What, all of sudden, you like minimalist and Bauhaus in an emotional context?  Are you too assimilated?]

“OMG, what happened?”

“What do you mean ‘OMG what happened?’ You have an out of office message about an unanticipated absence! I am freaking out!”

“No, you can’t freak out because YOU-U-U had major surgery?”

“Not so major; it was caught before the rupture.  What did you have done?”

“Endoscopy, with Michael Jackson drugs.”

“And you thought you were going to the office after THAT?”

[OK, this conversation is going in the wrong direction.]

“Wait, we are talking about your almost disastrous brush with rupture, peritonitis and shock.”

I look up exactly what happened to Machertenester.  Ewwwwwwwwwwww.

(ruptured appendix)


“I’m fi-i-ine.”

“Should we take the kids? Do you need ANYTHING?”  [I am thinking if she said, “New cable box or blender” I would have gotten it for her.]

“We’ll check in tomorrow.”

Ok, Machertenester is a strong woman.

I don’t care if our kids marry.  She is my machertenester forEVEH.

The View From Inside

This morning I had an endoscopy. For stomach, esophagus and duodenum.  Not colon, thank G-d.

But first the back story. DOB (father of blogger) has horrible reflux.  SOB (sister of blogger) sometimes has bad digestive episodes, but she never complains.  DOB, however, does complain, but if you ask him, he would say that he just describes the sensations searing through his digestive system.

[You can tell that the family parses these distinctions at the dinner table because, after all, Jews can talk about anything with their mouths full.  A curse and a blessing, that tribal trait.  But I digress from my back story.]

Like DOB, like Blogger.  I try to be more like stoic SOB, but recently I had become concerned about the severity of the reflux.  I even went to a doctor last Friday.  SOB went with me, in case I did not present the key elements of my “case”.  (Doctors are that way.)  The GI Guy (gastro-intestinal doctor) lectured me on how I need regular check-ups and screenings.

All the time I am thinking, “you are a really nice man and come highly recommended but, GI Guy, if I don’t listen to SOB, why would I listen to you?”  But GI Guy is SOB’s friend and colleague and I didn’t want to make waves.

Maybe GI Guy is a mind reader because he suggested that I consider an endoscopy.  Or more probably, based on my sparse history of going to doctors, he must have realized that I must be concerned if I was in his office.  We set today as the date for a look-see down my throat.  Then, SOB reiterated the lecture about getting checked out regularly.  So, I asked her if she practices what she preaches.  Pause.  I told her that she was unashamedly hypocritical.

It is amazing what you can find on the internet.  Pictures of not so good results:


I thought the procedure would look like this:


But not exactly.


Anyway, enough back story.  Fast forward to this morning at 6AM. I picked up SOB in a cab and we went over to fancy shmancy East Side for the procedure.  But at 6AM, even the tony, tony neighborhoods look like hell:

Still, I am not so unnerved by this.  I figure a relaxant and then a tube and a few pictures and that’s that.  And there was a spa two doors down…

Ok, not so much.

Blogger is on a gurney (the first picture is to show off the pedicure) next to really enthusiastic GI Guy – it IS 6am and the civilized world is still asleep or at least in their jammies.  (SOB is in the room (and taking pictures).)

The anesthesiologist shows up.  ANESTHESIOLOGIST?????  He mumbles questions and we had a little Marx Brothers routine, where he asked questions in English mumble, SOB translated into English non-mumble and then I answered in Blogger-ese.  SOB then had to translate into doctor-speak.  It could have been the United Nations, except we were all speaking some dialect of American English.

Thank G-d for SOB. She gave me a good luck kiss on my forehead, but I knew she was staying right next to the anesthesiologist.  She is my bodyguard and I am hers.

In went the IV and the propophyl (the stuff that killed Michael Jackson).  I had to bite down on a plastic ring and off to sleep I went.  I was awakened after the “scope” and tissue was scraped for biopsies.

First question to GI Guy when I awoke:  Did you take pictures for my blog?

I stayed loopy for a while.  GI Guy’s assistant told me: Do not to resume normal activities (she doesn’t know that no one ever ascribes “normal” to anything I do); do not go to work; do not make any important decisions; and do not sign legal documents; do not make business decisions.  As if directed at me specifically, she told me:  Do not do anything that requires unimpaired concentration or judgment.  I don’t get it; that is how I live every day.

So, I went to sleep.  That propophyl is awesome.