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Posts Tagged ‘Holidays’

It was almost midnight on Valentine’s Day. After two flights and running through Dallas International, Bob bought me a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup at a gas station outside of Dulles. This is my absolute favorite candy, so nobody can say he isn’t a romantic! Bob isn’t the flower and heart-shaped box of bon bons kinda guy… still, this feminist never aspired to be treated like a queen, or a princess for that matter.

I thought about a lunch table conversation we had a few days earlier with the Love Bug. Her Dad, the Groom, was schooling her on the difference between “Real” and “Not Real.” She is only four, so I was thinking a little magic might be in order, but he was serious. Dinosaurs are tricky, since they were real, but aren’t around anymore. Of course monsters are definitely NOT real. And then we came to princesses.

The Groom explained about cartoons. I remarked that a certain guest at the wedding actually worked at Disney. The Love Bug brought up Pochahontas – which as we all know was really a Native American princess of sorts. And then the Bride chimed in with Princess Kate, so as much as this generation of parents would rather their daughters play sensibly with gender-neutral toys, sometimes little girls just have to be pretend princesses.

In fact, Aunt KiKi (aka Ms Cait) looked just like a princess on her wedding day last week.

In REAL news today, a princess in Spain will not be going to the tower, uh jail.

A Spanish court on Friday acquitted King Felipe VI’s sister, Princess Cristina, of charges that she helped her husband evade taxes, in a case that shamed the royal family. Her husband, however, Inaki Urdangarin, was given a jail sentence of six years and three months for siphoning off millions of euros between 2004 and 2006 from a foundation he headed in the island of Majorca.  https://uk.news.yahoo.com/verdict-due-spanish-royals-fraud-trial-041850122.html

It’s always hard to return to the Real World after a vacation. No more swimming in a warm pool, followed by a warmer hot tub. No more bocce ball. And since we had scheduled some tile work for this week, I am stuck at home. Trying to return to this time zone, doing laundry, catching up with myself. And yesterday I made the mistake of watching a “so-called” press conference.

To use a British term, I was gobsmacked! Mr T toyed with the press and our allies like that killer cougar, P-45 the King of Malibu, who is stalking the hills of LA. “The “P” comes from Puma concolor, the species whose common names include puma, panther, catamount, cougar, and mountain lion.” http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/02/13/lions-of-los-angeles

You’ve seen how a house cat plays with a mouse I’m sure, just imagine this puma killing an alpaca. Mr T smiled and teased the reporters, threw out blatant lies, and pontificated to his heart’s content. He won’t tell us what he’s going to do with that Russian ship, he said with a gleam in his eye.

This cannot be real. Am I the only one frightened by his rhetoric, his stupidity, his apparent need for self-aggrandizement. We have a wild, uncontrollable, narcissistic president who would be king, and Princess Ivanka needs to school him, and tell him he has no clothes.

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Today is the next to the last day of Hannukah! How is this possible? I haven’t made latkes yet, or baked dreidel cookies. Times like these make me think about time; like why is the trip driving home always faster than the trip going to a place. It was the exact same amount of miles, it just seems faster.

Anyway, welcome to the seventh installment of Ada’s Yiddishisms. This one is about time, in a way:

Farshlepteh krenk

A drawn-out illness, neverending…

My niece told me about a TED Radio Hour podcast about adaptation, so yesterday I listened to it while I went through some motions at the gym. This I do on a regular basis so as to avoid a farshlepteh krenk. http://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/455904076/adaptation

It was fascinating, and since I now have to put prednisone drops in my eye every four hours, my ears perked up at this story. A boy was born with cancer of his retinas (stay with me now) so that by the age of 13 months he had to have both eyes removed. He was blind and the first thing he did in the NICU after surgery was climb out of his crib and explore his room!

His TED point was that his parents never treated him as if he was special. They let him grow like a normal boy and explore his world. And so he naturally adapted to the darkness in the same way bats get along flying at night, echolocation – “…the sonarlike system used by dolphins, bats, and other animals to detect and locate objects by emitting usually high-pitched sounds that reflect off the object and return to the animal’s ears or other sensory receptors.”

In other words, he naturally adapted as an infant by clicking his tongue.

What does this have to do with a neverending illness you might ask? It made me think that some parents might immediately do everything in their power to shield that blind baby, to try and make his world carefree. They would emit sympathy from others, he would be labeled, classified and codified.

Some parents create a sickly child, where there is none.

Still, this month is the neverending season of joy, right? If you happen to be going through something hard right now, just remember that December can amplify those feelings. And that it is only one month, 31 days. And we are halfway there. And the second half goes faster!

Let’s hope you don’t come down with an illness, even a short one, over the Holidays, but if you do these two Jewish doctors will be working on Christmas day. L’Chaim!

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Ada has been trying to give me politically correct Yiddish expressions. When I called her yesterday she was at Red Lobster with her 90+ year old posse of ladies who still lunch. Was it someone’s birthday? “No,” she told me, “just because.” But she didn’t want to put her ancestral heritage out there in the blog world in a bad light; “I know many more that are curses,” she said “but I don’t think they are nice for the iPad.” Sometimes Yiddish can be naughty. “Like what?” I had to ask.

Vaksn zolstu vi a tsibele mitn kop in dr’erd un dis fis aroyf!

May you grow like an onion with your head in the ground

and your feet in the air!

Cursing out other people has a long history from those three wise women visiting a princess at her birth to Shakespeare. Now he was a genius at it, and I imagine Queen Cleopatra was pretty savvy at downgrading her handmaidens. One of my favorites since moving South is, “Stick a fork in him, he’s done!” Usually this is said slyly from an older woman to a young girl who has been betrayed once too often. Likening one’s straying/playa/boyfriend to a turkey will always make me smile.

But Jewish history is such that cursing had to be done in a smart way. After all, you’d be hauled off to a gulag or worse if you said the wrong thing to the wrong Gentile. Maybe this is why Jewish comedians like John Stewart and Seinfeld are so popular. Centuries of practicing the elegant put-down has twisted their psyche into the rhetoric of rebellion. It’s almost like they can’t help but see the world through a funny lens. It’s a coping mechanism, we laugh so we don’t fall apart.

The hook to this particular saying is that at first, it sounds like a compliment. We start out like a soothsayer with “May you grow…,”and finish with a one-two punch. Much better than, “Go jump in a lake.” It’s prophecy of the malignant sort. If your native language wasn’t Yiddish in fact, you would probably not get it. You might even say, “Thanks.”

So next time that clerk is too busy talking to someone else to even look at you, or that red car with antlers on it almost pushes you off the road, or yet another political robocall arrives to your landline, just smile and think about the noble onion.

And if you’re baking holiday cookies today, may you have a glass of wine at your elbow next to the butter! From this little Jewish Leprechaun I could plotz!IMG_3532

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Good Morning folks. Sorry for sleeping in but I’ve been exhausted lately, how about you? I once thought that by marrying into the Jewish faith I’d get out of all the Christmas hubub. But as my psychologist brother Dr Jim reminded me, I should feel lucky since I have two holidays to celebrate!

That was the story of my young life; one birthday party in NJ, then over the Delaware Water Gap we would go to another birthday party with my birth family in PA. To Nell’s credit, she did make it seem like having two Christmases, and two birthdays was really special. Double the fun. Later, I realized it was the Flapper’s way of keeping me in her life.

So my question of the morning is, “Do you ever feel like you are overwhelmed with too much to do and not enough time in the day?” Have three people invited you to their holiday parties on the same night, and you just learned your child volunteered your cookies for the Christmas party at church the next morning? It’s no wonder psychologists say depression shoots up this time of year – we are on a treadmill of presumed happiness. Just to help you out, I give you another Ada Yiddishism:

Mit ain toches kent mir nicht zizen af tsen uriden

This is one of my favorites, and if you’re from the NY area you might recognize one word, pronounced “Toockes.” Loosely translated it means,

“With one behind you can’t sit on ten toilets!”

Stellar right?! This little saying hits so many of our buttons: the need to please; the desire to be perfect; wanting to avoid conflict. Or just plain needing to be cloned so we can sail through this joyful season. Oy Vey! But what if you take a deep, cleansing breath, and think about just one toilet – maybe it’s a fancy new one where you wave your hand to flush and the seat is always down? I love it.

My other little trick that Bob taught me is, I don’t have to apologize…or go into long, lengthy explanations about why I can’t do something like volunteer to clean up after the school’s holiday party, or corral the Kindergarten kids before the Tree Lighting in town, or well you name it. He once told me that men do NOT do this! Men will just say, “No,” and they might add, “Scheduling conflict.” Practice this phrase ladies – “No. scheduling conflict.” The more you say it, the easier it gets!

As for me, I’ve discovered the wonder of online shopping this year. Don’t judge me readers. At least Hannukah is early which is actually helpful, it forces you to multi-task. And anyone who knows me knows I’m purely a one-task-at-a-time girl. Anyway, this month is all about the kids, right?Turning them into little, civilized mensches despite and amidst crass commercialization. But I have faith, as long as I have a toilet nearby.

Here I am going to only one wedding as the Flower Girl. Even though I had three older sisters, only one was married during my gypsy years between NJ and PA. Thankfully. IMG_3502

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Good Morning Yiddish fans! And Happy second day of Hannukah. As a lapsed Catholic, I tried to compete with Christmas for my kids. I’d have Santa leave a present, I’d wrap up something big for the first and last night, and continue to wrap smaller presents for all the nights inbetween. We played the dreidel game with M&Ms. I fried latkes, potato pancakes, because there is always a special food item associated with each Jewish holiday. I really really tried…

Needless to say it was a mistake. There is no competing with Christmas as I learned after attending Rockefeller Center’s Holiday Extravaganza with the Bride when she was about 7 years old. Walking up Madison Avenue, tears streaming down her face, because Hannukah wasn’t even mentioned. They had a camel on stage, but no menorah. “It was ALL about Christmas!” she wailed. And I was stumped since I love the Rockettes and expected her to love it too. Which leads me to today’s expression:

Vos ahfen lung iz ahfen tsung

Which means, “What’s on his mind is on his tongue.” We all know someone like this. They are childlike in that every thought gains expression; on the Monopoly board of their mind, words tumble out, they do not pass Go at all, and sometimes this lands them in Jail.

As we age, this kind of short circuitry may happen more often. We forget social cues, our super ego steps aside and we say whatever pops into our head. Doctors call this a disinhibition, as if the filter in our brain is too full, so all our thoughts tumble out without mercy. Ada’s husband Great Grandpa Hudson is notorious for this. At 90 years of age, of course it’s allowed and amusing at times.

Like that Jim Carrey movie “Liar Liar” about a lawyer who can’t stop telling the truth, thinking aloud can be an affliction. Maybe this is part of Trump’s appeal. He is saying what his followers would like to say, only they know it would sound horribly fascist, except wait, Trump is saying stupid things so maybe their bigoted belief system has merit? This morning even Dick Cheney denounced Trump’s rhetoric. Will wonders ever cease?

I no longer try to compete or fight with Christmas. Here we are at the hospital “Holiday Party.” Note the beautiful red and green holiday wreath behind us!

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The house is empty today. No Legos on the floor, Puffins on the table, or Love Bug saying “Nana!” The kitchen is clean, towels are washed and the bed sheets have all been changed; Bob went into the hospital for a full day of meetings. Great Grandma Ada called to ask me how I feel, and I said, “Strange.” I was just getting used to children’s laughter and smiles. To cuddles for no particular reason. My back however, after picking up a red headed 25 lb Buddha Baby monkey time and again, was telling me another story. Yesterday was spent on a heating pad.

Today it’s not entirely quiet, the drumming rain on the roof is soothing. It’s a good day to write while the mountains are shrouded in fog.

Giving Tuesday is really a day of reflection. Before the holidays move into high gear, and just in time for year-end tax deductions, many of us tithe to the charity of our choice. You may remember that I have a special place in my heart for the Salvation Army. And no, it’s not because of Guys and Dolls, or their irresistible red buckets. The Salvation Army showed up in the Flapper’s life when she needed help and was too proud to ask for it. They knocked on her door in our Year of Living Dangerously, when the Catholic Church turned its back.

But this week is also highlighting Climate Change in Paris. World leaders have gathered to pledge an end to carbon emissions, to try and stem the tide of extreme weather and drought. And just like Bernie Sanders has pointed out, climate is interrelated to conflict, and is directly responsible for  hunger and forced migrations of people due to environmental degradation and natural disasters.

If temperatures rise by only 2C, then millions more people would be affected across Central America, Africa and Asia. If temperatures were to rise between 4C and 5C, the map becomes covered in hotspots – suggesting a semi-pemanent food disaster in many parts of the world. WFP executive director, Ertharin Cousin, will not predict the cost of providing humanitarian food aid on a much larger scale, but accepts it is likely to be many tens of billions of dollars a year. “Climate change has the potential to reverse the whole development path,” she says.              http://www.theguardian.com/environment/cop-21-un-climate-change-conference-paris

When Bob returns home, we’ll talk about giving to some different non-profits today. Like:

The City of Light has stood up to terrorism by hosting the COP21: UN Climate Change Conference following November 13. But the news I found most hopeful was the back-door dealings of President Obama and Putin. I don’t need to know what was said, if any agreement was reached. Both men could save face by staying behind a beautiful French silk curtain. Iron curtains are so last century. Because we need both of our countries to lead in this global struggle for Mother Earth.   IMG_3508

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Yesterday was my day to drive home, just in time to kick off 2015 with Bob and a few friends. And what did I return to last night after two weeks away? Just a totally revamped linen closet; it seems he has expanded his organizational skills beyond the pantry. I better not stay away any longer.

On my last day in Nashville, the weather continued its the cold and rainy trend. But inside, we were warm and cozy living La Vie Jolie. We’d been invited to brunch by a friend of the Brides, another physician, who is a French Canadian, who married a Floridian… Yes, after so many days with a toddler you begin to sound like Dr Seuss himself.

So we were two Grandmeres, two Mamans, and two toddlers, and of course one two month old baby boy. Mimi made crepes. I watched with enthusiasm and saw that it’s all in the wrist. There were fresh strawberries, blueberries and raspberries along with Nutella and whipped cream. They were delicious, n’est ce pas!

Crepes are soul food for the Bride, like the quesadilla is for the Love Bug! But the creme de la creme of this delightful morning was the unexpected topping. We drizzled maple syrup over our crepes; because they are Canadian, and the Bride was born in the Berkshires (pretty close to Vermont), and because we love maple syrup, and maple cream and maple sugar candies and anything mapley really. Bien sur!

That afternoon, our little household napped, et bien, le petit prince fell asleep on my shoulder. Make no mistake about it, though you may not want a toddler to take a car nap, since everyone knows these are not as good as a big/girl/bed nap, a two month old can nap anywhere, at anytime! While they were dreaming, I was watching a mischievous girl change slippers in an old man’s apartment and a gnome travel around the world.

Can you guess the French movie? A neighbor, who paints like Renoir, saves the day.

Aujourd’hui Bob has installed Rosetta Stone on his new computer, which took some work. I can hear him speaking French into his headset. I think the world must be telling me something. May this New Year bring you all great health and happiness. Au revoir mes bebes! I will see you again soon!
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