Tuesday, December 24, 2013

T'is Almost the End of Another Season of Discontent

I do not pretend that it catches me the same way, but I understand men's obsessions with sports.  The drama.  The excitement.  The athletic grace of of three hundred pound man running in what's known as the "open field", trying to find a little skinny man to throw to the ground.

Yes, it was that time of year.  The last Jets home game of the season.  And I am contractually bound by marriage to attend at least one game a year or else I am considered an unfit, unloving wife.  Whatever.

So there I found myself at the new Meadowlands, formerly known as Giants Stadium Even Though the Jets Play Here Too.  Whatever, don't bother, it isn't worth t.

The Jets were playing the Cleveland Browns, a team even more known for its ineptitude and suckiness than the Jets.  As an added bonus, they are also the team which Ezzie roots for.  And the team was out of playoff contention so all the angry fans are done at this point.  And what the hell, it was supposed to be 70 degrees so at least we wouldn't freeze our asses off.

So we set out as a foursome, David and I, and our good friends Steven and Jennifer (names may or may not have been changed to protect the innocent) to the game.  Ground rules were simple.  We were not getting there 14 hours early in order to set up a grill, eat meat and drink beer at 11 in the morning.  We were going to get there regular time, like right before the game, to cut this torturous experience as short as possible.

And so it was.  We arrived to our spot at 12:15, cranked out one beer apiece (hey, tradition is tradition right?) and then headed for our seats.

Now understand.  David's family are season ticket holders for a very, very long time.  They have really good, low seats in the middle of the stadium on the same side as the Jets team.  In the olden days, you could watch Red Ryan's stomach jiggle when he walked.  Now we have new, svelte Rex Ryan and I swear the jets really know how to ruin all my fun.

Here are some snippets and observations from the game:

Celebrity Row or Celebrity Zero.  Unlike Basketball and Hockey games at Madison Square Garden, which are literally teeming with famous people, no one shows up to football games.  And even if they do, you can't see them.  people who do show up are all angry white guys with green jerseys on in 20 year old puffer jackets.  Meaning that people watching is at an absolute low at football games.  bad times.

Actual Conversation that took place during the game:

Me:  who is that number 11, he catches the ball really well.  And he's a little due.  I like that.

David:  Jeremy Kerley.  He does it all.

Me:  Curly, like curly fries?

Him:  No.  K-E-R-L-E-Y.  Kerley.  Like Jeremy Kerley, number 11 on the Jets.

Me:  Well, I like him anyway.  Though it would be cooler if his name was curly like curly fries.

Steven:  You should see his beard.  It's magnificent.

Insert Rant Here.  Late in the game it started to drizzle rain, which led to an interesting debate among fans in our area as to whether the super bowl, which is being played in the Meadowlands this year, should ever be played in a cold city like New York if there's no roof on the stadium.  Yawn.

Wouldn't we be better off if everyone spent more time debating stuff like, how can we fix our economy?  Or fix our government?  Of make a health care law that actually makes sense and works?  Instead we debate if the world would end or not if it snows during a football game.

Ezzie Must Be Sad.  After taking a 10 to zero lead to start the game, Cleveland completely fell apart after.  The Jets tied the game before halftime and crushed the Browns in the second half of the game.  Some guy who never caught a touchdown pass all season caught two and the incredibly intriguing Geno Smith also ran for a touchdown.

Why intriguing you ask?  I'm glad you did!  He's a rookie the Jets picked to replace the incredibly hot but also incredibly awful Mark Sanchez.  And he's had a bad season.  But when he looks good he looks good.  So he'll probably get 2 or three more years of playing time while the team figures out what they have and then by the time they realize he sucks, the will have wasted those 2 or 3 seasons.

(By the way, the prior paragraph were words of wisdom espoused Sunday by Steven and David.  I take no credit for this in-depth analysis of things I don't care about.)

So in the end, Ezzie must be very sad this week, I managed to get through my wifely duties unscathed (thank you Jennifer for being there for me) and the jets season will be blessedly over next week, which means David and I can actually do shit on Sundays without him telling me he can't do anything because he won't miss the Jets (until, of course, the weather warms up and then he plays gold on Sundays, but that's a conversation to have in the spring.  Oh and PS, don't feel too bad for me, I get my stuff too).  And everyone celebrated the win as if it meant something (after all the season really ended with last week's loos when the jets fell out of contention for the playoffs).

Did I learn any valuable lessons?  No.  Did it totally suck?  No.  The truth is I'll do just about anything with David and our friends and be happy (except, of course, being pitted on some sort of island or enclosed area and having to participate in some sort of Hunger Games-like fight to the death.  That probably wouldn't be too cool.

And since the Knicks absolutely suck this year, I don't feel the need to go to too many of those 41 games at home this season.

Anyone have good tv suggestions?






Monday, December 16, 2013

Just One Line

One single, pink line.

It started with an innocuous statement.  Just a flippant mention of a problem.  And a suggestion as to what might be causing that problem.

A suggestion that would, if true, change everything. 

One line vs. two lines.  A second pink line which is the difference between my world staying the same and everything changing. 

One single pink line.

I don't even know how to feel.  Happy?  Sad?  I just feel numb.  Like the promise of a whole new world has just been held out to me and pulled away by ever cruel fates.

But I am not ready, right?  isn't that my mantra?    Is anyone ever really ready?  Yesterday I would have wanted the answer to be "negative".  But that was before someone said to me "maybe you are pregnant".

Four words.  A life altering event.  Maybe you are pregnant.  Maybe your body is preparing to form a human life and bring it into this world.  A daughter.  A son.  My child.  David's child. 

Not ready?  Who is ever ready?  Maybe this is life's push to you.

One single pink line.

The difference between yes and no.  Between things going back to the way you claim you want them and life changing course forever. 

I look at the prophet.  Stare at it.  Wonder how long it takes to change.  Will it change?  Willing it to change.  What about the second time through?  How many times does it take to be sure? 

Then I cry.  Cry not in relief, as perhaps I would have yesterday.  But crying for what could have been. 

And now the tears are all gone and I'm numb.  Because that's all it was, just one single pink line.

Things can continue as they were.  Because after all, I'm not ready right?  I'm not ready to stop my fun and put my career on hold.  I'm not ready to raise a child.  Not ready to...just not fucking ready.

Except all of a sudden that feels like a lie on my lips.  Because I am ready.  And now I know I am.  Because the feeling of.....loss....that I am currently feeling tells me that I am ready. 

One single pink line.

The difference between nothing.  And everything.

And I hope this numbness goes away.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Never Mind the Cold, Here Comes the Love

It's cold out as I carry the bags to the car, piling all the crap in.

 It's early in the morning.  And it's annoying.  And it's cold.  But there won't be time to leave work, go back the the apartment, load the car and make it to my in-laws for Shabbos.  So instead, we'll load the car before we go.

It's early.  And it's cold.  And I was up early packing in order to get it all in the car so early on this cold Friday morning.

And then it strikes me.  Where am I going?  To a place where I feel warm and safe and full of love. A place where no one sits in judgement of me if I come to the table in a hoodie.  A place where the conversations are ones that I can actively take part in.  A place where i am surrounded by family.  True family who love me and accept me for who I am. 

What the hell am I complaining about???

So yes, it's cold outside.  And packing is annoying.  And having our stuff sitting in a car all day is not great for wrinkle free wear.  These are life's little inconveniences. Stress on little.  These should be our biggest problems - cold weather and annoyance - on our way to love.

So as I shove the bags into the trunk, cold air condensing in front of me and a nice 10 degree wind-chill cutting through the down, a warmth starts radiating through me.  It is a warmth that can only come from inside - generated by positive feelings.  A warmth that, I daresay, has become more routine than new in the last two years.

Unlike all that you hear or read about people and their "new" families, I love going to my in-laws.  I love my parents in law, I love my sister in law (one of them anyway) and my brother in law too.  It's nice to be surrounded by that - by people who kid with you and bust your balls and you know it's all in good fun.  It's all the things I missed out on growing up. 

So it's me - getting a second chance at family.




Thursday, December 12, 2013

Because I Promised

It wasn't like it is today, all snow covered, slippery and cold.

The weather was glorious.  No, that isn't quite right.  GLORIOUS!!  Between 65 and 88 every day.  Sun capped, breezy.  The sky as blue as the Pacific is in my dreams.  We stayed in beauty (his parents place  VERY snazzy).  We ate splendidly.  We saw two of my brothers (one in Yeshiva for the year [plus] and one recently married and "learning" there for a year). 

We ate donuts for Chanukah - donuts that you inject with your own flavors.  Through a tube.  A tube!! what will these Israeli's think of next i wonder.

Chanukah - a magical time there.  Very festive.  The city lit up.  The Diet Coke cans with Menorah's on them.  And yet 80 degrees.  Score.

We travelled a few days.  We went to Masada and Ein Gedi.  we floated in the Dead Sea.  We jeeped in the Judean Hills.  We walked through the Muslim Shuk.  We ate.  We went below the Kotel into the tunnels to the original city of David's Temple.

People say it's magic there.  And it is.  Not just for learning or whatever.  For everything.  Going there refreshes the soul.  The mind.  The body.

We floated in the Dead Sea for almost an hour.  Most people go in and out.  But as i lay there, half submerged in greasy salty water, staring at the hazy mountains in Jordan, I found within myself a peace - the type of peace I have not felt in a really long time.  A peace that carried over on the ride home, as the sun was setting, through the lighting of the candles, and the meal at some restaurant or another.  To the nighttime when (and I wont ever really talk about this stuff here but fuck it) we made love together in that greatest of cities in the world.

If I forget thee, Oh Jerusalem....

I won't forget.  And we are already talking about our next trip - maybe even this summer. 

Because it's hard to feel magic anymore.





Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Holiest of Lands

I have just returned from a week in Israel.  Do I even have to mention that it was awesome or is that just a given???

Details to follow. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Second Post In One Day!!!

Not really a post - just an FYI.  I have guest posted on FreedomofFlight!  It's my first guest post ever and pretty damn awesome if you ask me.  Check it out.

#Guestpost #newtrend

What Does This Say About Me

So I am a sucker for all things survival and naturally wild.  If you are a show on Discovery, NatGeo etc., and you are about surviving or living on a desert/snowy plain/dense woodland/rainforest/remote island then I am watching you.

I'm watching Naked and Afraid, Man Vs. Wild, Dual Survival, American Blackout, the one with Les Stroud (Survivorman), the one where the guy lived alone on a Fiji Island for 90 days and killed a wild goat (Naked and Marooned), any show about people living in Alaska (Yukon Men, Alaska State Troopers, Life Below Zero) shows about Main Game wardens (North woods Law), then I am your (wo)man.

I am fascinated by nature and wilderness.  I think there is something truly awesome about living on your own (or in a small group) and surviving on your wits and skill and natural resources.  About knowing how to build a fire, knowing how to find shelter.  Knowing how to hunt and fish and survive.

Now granted, I enjoy it conceptually much more than practically.  When we vaca in the woods, we sleep in a cabin, not a tent.  I do not bath in rivers, I take hot showers.  I love to hike and swim but I also like sleeping in a down duvet. I'd rather choose between two bags than flint or knife.   #Ilikegirlstuffmore.

So what does this say about me?  No really, I'm asking.  I have no idea.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Friday Morning Ramblings and Links

Things we have learned over the course of the last week or two:

Bullying is Bad.

Duh. 

But perhaps less duh in the violent, manly world of professional football.

There is never an excuse for a child to call another child a half ni**er.  Or to tell them they are going to fucking cum in their mouths.  But I suspect these things are happening in professional sports, on the fields and courts, every day.

Part of being a professional athlete is being mentally tough - not just physically strong.  David tells me "trash talk" is part of sports.  I have heard it with my own two ears at Madison Square Garden - especially when the Knicks and the Celtics played.  I assume it happens in the locker room as well as the court.  So while I do not in any way condone bullying in the real world, I don't think sports is really the real world.  I think  it's a fantasy world where people are paid a lot of money to hot other people, or throw a ball in a hole.  and to intimidate mentally and physically. So perhaps the rules are not quite the same as the real world.


Being a Jewish Woman has an In balance in the Religious world.

Also duh.  Except, of course, for religious apologists, who say it's not that we are different it's that we are more "sanctified". 

I say BS.  I say women are held up by lunatics wielding a get like a sledgehammer.  I say there is never a valid excuse for withholding a religious divorce from a woman after a legal divorce has been finalized.  I think to keep a woman from remarrying is a sin.  or should be a sin - and would be if perhaps women were allowed to have positions of importance in religion.

I've heard people say there's another side to this story making the rounds about the woman who wrote the article in the paper.  I read the article.  I don't quite believe her story 100%.  I think she made up the quotes.  I'm sure she isn't completely innocent of wrong-doing.  Maybe she refused to go to the mikvah or she spit in his food.

But in the end, it doesn't matter.  There's still no excuse for punishing someone for 3.5 years.  And no one steps forward to do anything.  Where are the rabbis?  Oh yea, they are too busy banning music concerts, books and other stuff and protecting child molesters.

Humans of New York.

Hopefully by now most or all of you know about the fantabulous experience that is Humans of New York and the very cool Brandon.  His book just came out and it's already a best seller.  I think you can easily follow him if you are a facebooker.  Definitely worth doing.  His photo journal of the people of New York is both inspiring and heartwarming.

Brandon was a bond trader who lost his job and came to New York with the goal of taking 10,000 pictures of regular New Yorkers.  He posted them on a website called Humans of New York.  Soon after, he started asking them questions and posting their responses along with their pictures.  And the next thing you know, he's a cultural phenomenon.

Although Completely Politically Incorrect, How Can You Not Love Lululemon's response to the Lawsuit.

Workout/Yoga apparel company Lululemon was sued by women who claimed that the yoga pants they bought were see-through.  The company's response was classic:

These pants aren't meant for you to squeeze your fat asses into.

I know, I know. it's terrible.  After all, we mustn't objectify women and make them into things instead of people.  But really?  How many people do you see squeezing themselves into clothes that don't fit them?  is that really the designer's fault?  My Lulu's aren't sheer when I wear them, but if someone bigger than me stuffs themselves in, yea, they might stretch to sheerness.

Where Do I Get My News about all kinds of cool shit?

Gawker.com, craveonline.com and Deadspin.com, of course.  If you want to know stuff about stuff, that's where it's at.

Cool Story About An Orthodox Jew Making a Kiddush Hashem (see I know some Hebrew stuff).


This story makes me wonder - Are we really at the point in our society where doing such a small act of kindness is really such a big deal?  Extra points because he's wearing a Kippah and looks like he does shit like this every day.

Also wouldn't be surprised if that woman who make everyone dance before her double mastectomy was Ortho as well.  Anyone know?


Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Movie Review Wednesday - Evil Dead Remake

History first:

Anyone who is a horror aficionado of any ilk will of course know the Evil Dead series from the '80 - starring Bruce Campbell as "Ash".  Evil Dead, the sequel Evil Dead 2 (more of a remake than a sequel) and the hilariously awesome Army of Darkness make up the Evil Dead trilogy.

Evil Dead/Dead 2 are the original "Cabin in the Woods" story  - Band of teens/20's come to a cabin in the woods, find The Book of the Dead and unleash an evil force which, after talking all of their souls, will bring Hell on earth.  Blood and gore and foul mouthed demons follow.

Army of Darkness is same theme - except replace the Cabin with sending Ash back in time to Arthurian England  - literally fending off an army of the dead with a chain saw attached to where his arm used to be and a sawed off shotgun.  Yup, pretty badass.

Upshot - What made the Evil Dead series so awesome was despite the really really really low budgets of these movies, director Sam Raimi made them scary and gory but loads of fun.  Bruce Campbell is hilarious as Ash - fighting off sick demons but with humor too.  There are buckets of blood, gore, foul language and just the right creepy funny balance.  And chain saws, lots of chain saws sawing off limbs infected by evil.  Oh and the creepy demon locked in the basement of the cabin (like cabins in the woods ever have basements).

Which brings us to the 2013 remake of Evil Dead, which I watched the other night on Demand.

It is produced by the same geniuses who did the original movies.  It also follows a very similar story line: Young people join each other at a cabin in the woods to help a heroin addict get clean.  One jackass unleashes the book of the dead and wham bam, thank you maam.  Blood, gore, sawed off limbs and chainsaws. And a creepy demon in the basement.

Here's the difference.  The remake is a straight horror/gore fest.  The producers have taken out the humor which made the original story so...freaking cool.  Instead they have gone with the wave of straight horror which followed - From Amityville Horror to Friday the 13th, to Halloween to the Living Dead to Saw to Paranormal Activity. 

What made evil dead different was its comedy - accomplished later in the film series Scream (at least the first one was good) and to a lesser extent the highly overrated Cabin in the Woods (helmed by genius Joss Whedon).  This new one could have been any standard movie - just not the Evil Dead most people know and love.  Which didn't stop it from getting good reviews. 

On a happier note, they are making a sequel to Army of Darkness - the funniest horror movie ever made. 

And that is something to get excited about.


Friday, October 18, 2013

The Many Faces of Anonymity

Ed's Note: Thank you Robyn for inspiring this totally depressing post.  As an aside check out Robyn's extremely depressing powerful blog!:

The world is full of a collection of so-called "characters".  People who just don't fit into the normal bounds of "good society".  People who, at their worst, make you want to cross the street lest their foul auras somehow shine directly on you.

There are meth-heads, trannys, people who reek of beer at 7:00 am.  Street hustlers, hookers, the mentally diseased, crack heads, pot smokers, drag queens, pickpockets, hoodlums, three card monte dealers, tatted up punks, overly pierced.  You see them and wonder how you are all descended from the same gene pool.

Your gene pool.

You, who would never associate with such a bizzare mix of the masses.  You, all bottled up, buttoned down and presentable to the outside world as the "Normie" you are.

You who instead let your wildest side come out anonymously on the internet.

Who are you?  Why are you here?  You are seeking release.  You are seeking torture.  You want to inflict pain.  You need to "come out" in some way that you cannot adequately describe, not even to yourself. You need to escape the harsh decrees of your leadership/wife/husband/society.

You, normal one, who escapes into a faceless place where you can gloriously be anyone or anything you want.  A place where the power of your words is more important than the color of your skin, your sex or your hygiene.  A place where you are anyone other than your normal self.
 
Anyone.  Anything.
 
You pretend that its all a game.  Just a release.  This isn't really who you are, simple a manifestation of your boredom.  This person who likes to manipulate or watch or perform - this isn't the real you.  This is just a "game".  You don't really like to manipulate faceless strangers.  you don't really like to say hurtful things.  This is all meaningless fun.  Shits and giggles.  The real you, love able ol' you, would never really do this. 
 
Who are you?  Who am I?  Which is the real us? 

I have seen many blog-debates centered on anonymity.  They all run the same arguments over and over.  If I an anon, does what I say really matter since I am hiding?  And the arguments run back and forth and they are all missing the point.  People are hiding because they are here to be someone else.

I already see all the comments:  "That's totally not true.  I'm anonymous because I'm worried about my shidduch prospects."  Or "because of work".  Or "because".

but think about that for a second.  If you cannot properly express yourself in "real life", what does that say about you?  It says to me that you are hiding something somewhere

[Ed's note:  I am not speaking from my high horse.  I am anonymous because i am hiding too.  I don't want people to know who I am.  But I don't pretend different.]

Hiding.  We do it so that we can be free.  If only for a short while and if only in a very limited capacity.  Free within the confines of the World Wide Web.  Free to be different.  Free to be wild.  Free to laugh.  Free to talk dirty.  Free to do all the things that your society/religion/spouse doesn't let you do. 

But in the end, you log off with the knowledge that whatever you have just done was all in good fun. That the thumbtacks you stuck in someone's brain are not real world problems for you to deal with.  That whatever happens online stays online.  And you can go back to your regularly scheduled program with the knowledge that you haven't done anything wrong - that those slight tremors of guilt you feel will be gone before you open your eyes to face the following morning.  Back to your bottled up, buttoned down and presentable world where all the freaks of nature are just a passing annoyance to your perfect day.

Until the next time you put on your mask.

Monday, October 14, 2013

This Relationship Is Under Renovation

For as long as I can remember, there was Tova and there was me. 

We were the Bobsey Twins. She was my wing-man. She was the Wilson to my Tom Hanks. She was the only person in my life who meant anything at all.

 Our relationship was forged in fire.  The fire only survivors who have gone through Hell, and returned, can ever truly understand.  We were bonded by pain and suffering and need.

When my life changed, that need changed as well.  I started to view my relationship with Tova as having certain unhealthy components for me.  I was changing.  My relationship needs were changing too.

We had a huge fight, followed by a prolonged period of absolute silence.  She got married. I wasn't invited to the wedding.

As I have previously written, I have always assumed my relationship with Tova was over.  We had drifted too far apart to ever require the same level of connection we once experienced every day. 

Feast or famine.

Several months ago I ended up chatting with her while I was away on business for a few days.  It was pleasant and empty.  All the jokes and insults felt recycled.  All the topics were drab. It was as though all of the color had leaked out of the Portrait of Us.

And since then we have been talking in drips and drabs - in G-chats and emails and some phone conversations.

And the truth is, I have noticed that at least a bit of color has dripped back in.  We still struggle to connect as we once did, but that might be a by-product of the change in both of our circumstances.  I'm married.  She's married.  I'm working.  She's back in school. 

Everything that made us...US is no longer.

But maybe, just maybe, the pendulum is swinging back the other way.  Maybe, while we can never be where we were, we can be in a different place than we are.  Truthfully I don't know where this path with Tova is going to lead.  It is beyond my powers of sight.  But we both seem interested in giving it that old college try.

So for now the road crews are out. The lights are on.  Double pay is in effect.  And the signs are out:  "This Relationship Is Under Renovation". 

Let's hope the crews can do a good job.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Rollin' In Hotlanta

So there we are -  in my beautifully re-done living room - a bunch of discarded wing bones, assorted meats and empty Corona bottles lying around; watching the Jets play an up, down, up, VERY down and magnificently up game.  By the time the plates were cleared and the celebration over, it was after midnight.

3 take-aways from last night

 - The Jets won and are doing better than anyone expected.

 - Rex Ryan lost a TON of weight.  he looks good.

 - Sports is a lot like life.

I have nothing to add on points one and two.  Unlike basketball (love) and hockey (tolerate for the sake of my marriage) I don't really enjoy football.  Too much violence.  Too much standing around.  Too many rules.  Too many things happening that I don't understand (apparently a pancake isn't on;y a breakfast food).  And lap band surgery is clearly a wondrous thing. (I guess I did have things to add on points one and two after all.)

But sports as a life analogy.  I know I'm not exactly coming up with an original thought here.  It's been used to death.  but that makes it no less true.  The adversity, the highs and lows.  The way you deal with adversity and the lows.  Being mentally tough. Doing your job for the sake of team glory as opposed to selfishness.  All of these things are true.  Repetition makes that no less so.

In the aftermath of victory, I had myself my first really solid sleep in almost a week (12:30 to 6:30).  My brain feels 35 mph slower today, which is a good thing.  Because my brain's been absolutely fried and I've been living in a fog.

Sports as life.  Like work, it's a team effort.  It's about winning (making money the right way), not about any individuals glory. 

Sports as life.  Ups and downs.  and Ups.  And downs.  Sports announcers talk about a team "weathering the storm" and hope they respond to that.  And you know what, that's 100% correct.  That's what life is like sometimes.  How we weather the lows.  And how we respond to them.  It's not always milk n' cookies.  Sometimes it's fire and brimstone. 

I've been experiencing a number of crazy emotional swings of late and no, they aren't hormonal.  Just good, old-fashioned crazy-ness.  It happens. Even to normies.  So especially to the damaged. 

And the key is to realize they come.  And then to weather the storm. 

And the question is how to we respond.  Do we let the other team run us off the field 9another sports term!!) or do we fight back with everything we have (war analogy)?  Do we lay down or do we stand up?

Rah rah rah!  All good.  Life is good.  But it's a fight.  Sometimes every day.  Like sports.  It can be enjoyable, it can be tough and it can suck.  All of the above.

But last night it was all good.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Once Upon A Time - In Metaphor

Once upon a time, life was like the first mile of open highway on a summer road trip - full of endless possibility.

Once upon a time, life was the first step into a dark, wet cave- full of unnamed terror and despair.

Once upon a time.

The journey is a endless march.  Sometimes a slog, other times a quick trot, boundless and full of energy.

Once upon a time, the journey.

The road forks.  It dips.  It bends.  It's flooded out, the bridges washed away.  It's muddy. 

But then the sun breaks out through gray clouds and the road becomes straight and dry and easy.

Once upon a time, the journey eases.

In my life, the journey has been more arduous than easy.  I don't remember a time in my childhood when i looked at life as the road trip.  My life vision has always been the cave, with all of its requisite blackness stretching out to infinity. 

Until finally, a dramatic turn of events.  A parental demand to clean up or get out.  A therapist who understood. David.  The triumvirate.  My triumvirate.  My life raft. 

My salvation.

So yes, I struggle. I fall.  I sometimes fail to see the golden road.   The road is muddy, the bridge washed out.

I am human.  I am about as far from ideal as one can be.  I fall as hard as concrete.  I blaze like dry tinder wood.  I allow the devil in my head to pull the strings of my sub-conscious and turn me inside out.

But I get up, too.  I strive.  I succeed. 

Though sometimes I may very well fail to see it, my life is not a serious of failures.  My life is a success.  It is a series of victories strung together like gallery lights strung across a festive backyard.  Maybe a bulb or two in the string have extinguished, but still the whole gives off a soft, warm glow.

I won't let the devil in my head win out.  I won't let me destroy what I have worked so hard to accomplish.  I know I am not perfect.  I know I will fail sometimes.  But I also know that I don't quit.  I am a fighter.  I will battle on until I have no more battle inside me.  And that will be enough.  That will have to be enough.

Once upon a time, the light breaks through the gray clouds and burns a path to follow.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

An Update In Snippets

And so it goes. Time churns.

A season passes.  Another begins.   

Busy busy, always busy.  A whirlwind, a dervish.  A river flows away from me, always running.  No peace.  Time moves on. 

Scattered thoughts.  Nothing sticks in my head. Sleepless nights, heavy lidded days.  Time moves away from me.

A season has passed.  Did I enjoy it?  Did it simply happen to me.  Do I even remember its supposedly warm embrace upon me?

Why do my thoughts always seem so fragmented?  Why am I always tortured?  Where is the peace that I seek?  Or perhaps I don't really seek want it.  How I love/hate all of these moving parts.


Weren't it for life to be easy?  Or maybe it is easy.  Maybe I'm the one who isn't easy.  Perhaps I need the chaos, the torture.  Am I the type who thrives on it?

Sleepless nights.  Only now, my brain won't shut off.  It whirs like a kinetic top, always in motion, always goading.  Always attempting to lead me astray.

It it my brain?  Is it me?  Why can't I ever just be happy? Why do I fight it so hard?  Endlessly fighting.  All that energy spent on things.  Wasting, always wasting.  always seeking something I don't need.

A season passes and another begins.  What does it hold for me?  Happiness, sadness?  Torture?  Something else? 

Time churns.  So do the wheels of my brain. 

Sigh.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Providence

So there I was, on the train, minding my own business when my eyes strayed to this:


 I mean, who knew Heineken was running an ad campaign just for me?  And who said they could use my slogan?

Still, I think it's kinda cool.  Only one thing kind of made me thing?

How did everyone have kids prior to 1873?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Repentance

I have been doing a little reading over the last few weeks - and i must say I'm confused.

 It is that time of year.

Repent, ye sinners all.

People are all talking about how they will repent.

Everyone is in full swing of repentance.  New Years is over - Yom Kippur is coming.  We need to fix ourselves.  Get better.

Be better.

And I think that is wonderfully noble.  Bettering oneself is always a good idea.  And if motivated this time of year that's fine.

Except.

Except then they list all the ways they plan on repenting:

Thou shalt not watch TV.
Thou shalt not watch movies.
Thou shalt certainly refrain from listening to the Devil's music.
Thou shalt stay away from US weekly.  (And certainly Cosmo.)
Thou shalt cover they knees and elbows.
Thou shalt not go on the internet (except, of course, to blog about repentance).

Wait, what??

People lie.  They steal. They treat each other like absolute shit.  They twist.  They hurt.  They destroy.  They pervert their souls in ways that never see the light of day.  They hate baselessly.  They manipulate.  And they are vicious.

But what do they repent?  Is it their true sins?  Heavens no.  They don't watch TV. 

As if refraining from watching The Bachelorete is going to be the difference maker.

Here's my opinion - take it with a grain of salt.

We have gone completely off the rails.  We have lost our way.  People no longer can see between the forest and the trees. 

We are so micro focused on stupidity and nonsense they we have let the real issues and challenges completely pass by with no reprisal.

You want to repent - great.  But what for?  For secretly loving Miley Cyrus and her twerkingness?  That's what's going to send hell fires your way?  But calling your roomate a bitch, or mistreating your spouse -  No need to repent there?

Honestly, it makes me sick.  I don't blame the people who write this.  This is what they are being told is important.  You are a horrible person, not because you steal from your clients, but because you look at the internet.  It isn't the fact that you treat people awfully, its the fact that you don't wear tights in summer.  Flip flops with no socks.  Where is the logic in that?

Better yet, where are our leaders?  WHO are our leaders?  Why are girls being taught that they are dirty because they listen to Beyonce but not a true moral code?

So yes, by all means repent.

But think first.  Don't just do./

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Book Of Genesis

 - Adam and Eve didn't last a day before they sinned and were thrown out of Paradise.

 - Cain killed Abel in cold blood.

 - Noah was a drunk who fell off the wagon the second he was able to get his hands on some alcohol.

 - Abraham lied to kings. He threw his first born son out of his house seemingly with intent for him to die in the desert.  He also attempetd to murder his beloved son.

 - Sarah forced Abraham to throw said first born child out of the house.  She also wasn't so nice to the help.

 - Isaac lied to kings.  He also had a soft spot in his heart for his evil son.

- Jacob was a thief who loved one wife more than the other.  And he let them know it.

 - His beloved wife, Rachel, stole from her father and then lied to him.

 - His daughter, Dina was a rebel who used to sneak out of the house and hang out with bad boys (I can relate!).

 - Simon and Levi were mass murderers. 

 - The brothers as a whole conspired to murder Joseph.

 - Reuben may have slept with his father's wife. 

 - Judah slept with his daughter in law who was posing as a harlot. 

So endeth the Book of Genesis.
*****************************************************

When I was younger, in my teens, this information would have made me hate it all so much more.  These are the matriarchs and patriarchs?  This is who we are supposed to look up to?  Killers, liars thieves and drunkards?  Get me away from this.  Further away, I should say.

But now.

Now I take a different lesson, one which may be slightly off the beaten path but certainly apropos for the time of year.

To strive for godliness is certainly noble.  Perhaps even praiseworthy.

But to err...

To err is decidedly humanNo matter how great a human you may be.

So for those who bemoan their lack of ability to become one with their God...
For those who fear that they have fallen too far.......

Remember.

Remember the Book of Genesis.

And take a lesson from our forefather.

Happy New year.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Summer. Finally.

So here we are.  Labor day weekend.  This was, by far, the most intense summer of my life.  And I gotmarried last summer

work was a bear this summer. Translation = no upstate getaway.

And we were supposed to have this monster 5 day vaca - Thursday through Monday.  but guess what?  Worked all day yesterday.

But by god, we are packing up the car.  And we are going.  And it's gonna be great.

Seeya next week bitches!

I'm out!

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Randomness of Tragedy

There was a horrible tragedy in my old neighborhood over the weekend.  A young child died in a very terrible accident.

It's not about fault or blame or what could have been prevented.  It's just a mind numbing .....dullness of emotion that comes along with hearing such tragic news.

I didn't know the child or his family.  That doesn't matter.  I think everyone who heard the story is feeling it today.  Just the utter....randomness of the loss. one minute there, the next gone.  Not a drawn out, protracted sickness.  Just a quick accident, a few days of suffering and then death of a young child.

Honestly, I can't really process how things like this happen.  Not in fairness or unfairness or randomness of the world way.  Just that a young soul was here and is now gone.  How should i react to that.

I can't react.  it just hurts me, a complete, unrelated stranger.

I can't even imagine what the family is going through.  Honestly, I don't even want to.  it makes me feel ill.

No real point here.  I'm just trying to process the best way I know how - by writing about it here.

Soon, we will all continue on  - move along folks, nothing to see here.  But a family will have a hole in it - a hole that, I imagine, will never fill.  A hole that will provide pain for that mother and father's natural lives.

I can't imagine it.  I don't want to imagine it.

A child.  A precious life.  Gone in the rush of a propeller blade. 

I can't even write anymore.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Blast From The Past - Part II

There he was, standing on the subway platform.

 I couldn't place him at first.  The way my mind works - first thing that registered was his extra few pounds, the fewer hairs on top of his head. His crumpled suit coat, crinkled shirt, his worn shoes.  I knew him but I didn't know from where.

And then it hit me.

He was the one I spent four days with the second time I was temporarily thrown out of my house.  His greasy apartment in Brooklyn.  His oily smile.  Whispered instructions under filmy covers.  The price paid for half a week's rental.

All this in the span of about five seconds. 

I broke out into a serious sweat.  Just flushed and dripped right there on the train platform - hundreds of people milling, crowd noise disorienting.  And there he was, reading his paper, waiting for a train to somewhere-  maybe that little rat hole in Brooklyn.  Or maybe he'd moved on up to City digs.  Either way, my past confronting me on my evening commute.  I felt the sudden urge to pass out.

And then it happened.  He looked at me.  Right at me.  Through me.  No recognition, not even a flicker, in his dull, muddy brown eyes.  Just another four nights.  Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

And just like that - I smiled.  Another test, another victory. 

I am not her anymore.

**************************************************************

There are forks in Life's Path.  Sometimes we make decisions about which road to follow, sometimes we just pick one.  But the all have consequences.

I don't know how my life will turn out - I guess no one really does.  We plan, we try, but life happens.

But I still realize, despite the seeming randomness of it all, i have to keep trying.  I have to keep fighting.  Life is a grind.  Choices are a grind.  But, to keep the analogy going, I need to keep grinding it out.

***********************************************************************

I got off the train, walked to my apartment, and got dinner going.  The world didn't end.  David didn't suddenly decide to divorce me.  My mother didn't pop out of the fridge, laughing and calling me a dirty whore.  Everything was just....the same. 

Grinding.  Winning. 

Slow and steady wins the fucking race.

Moving on.

Still, I did double check the platform this morning when I was going to work.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Oh For Blog's Sake, Just Blogging Blog

Had a very interesting conversation with a fellow blogger recently on blogging.  Or, more specifically, the why of blogging.

People blog for a variety of different reasons ranging from egotistical (though, arguably that's what Facebook is for) to a misguided belief that they are interesting (though, arguably, that's what Facebook is for), to therapeutic (yours truly!!), to making art (for those really gifted writers anyway - oh how I hate them), to making political/other STATEMENTS (!), to giving over wise (and sometimes less wise) words and ideas and on and on and on.

Truth be told, whatever the reason you blog, you have the right to say whatever you want.  Tis still a free country and all that.  But that doesn't mean you should blog

Because I'm nice like that, I just thought I'd drop some do's and don'ts to help people avoid blogging misadventures (complete with footnotes, below.  Yes, footnotes!!  I'm excited.)

 - If you feel the need to post a recipe, make sure it doesn't suck

This one's pretty self explanatory.  But Lord God, if I spend an hour putting together your crappy food, I'm going to be mad pissed at you after.

 - If you have to tell us every detail of your day, for crissakes embellish!

I hate to break it to you, but your life is boring.  all of our lives are boring.  We are regular folk living regular lives - devoid of action, adventure and intrigue.   So if you feel you have to tell us every little detail of your life, please, please please feel free to make shit up.  Which sounds better - "I took the bus again to work today." or "I sat next to this freaking hottie on the bus this morning and he so chatted me up the whole ride.  As I was getting off he begged me for my number but since it's Elul, I didn't give it to him."? 

A or B ladies?  Exactly. (1)

 -  If you have a serious problem, don't blog about it expecting good advice.  Everyone here is more fucked up than you are.

Again, relatively self explanatory.  But seriously, asking anonymous people for advice on your very real world problems? No way man.

 - If you have a humorous, sad, enlightening exciting story to share - DO IT.

Now you are getting it peeps.  This is what we want.  We want to know about the wonderful thing that happened which caused you to really re-think life.  Or the way you helped that old man.  Or how some random stranger helped you.  This is what it's about.  Entertain us!

 - Don't talk down to us.  We might be freaks and geeks, but we are all smarter than you think. (2)

Another pretty straight forward rule.  We are aware how smart you think you are.

Except you aren't.

So there. (3)

 - If you are giving us fashion advice, then you better be a freaking fashionista.

Because if I get laughed at on the street because I believed you when you said baggy jeans were back, I will find you, no matter how anonymous you are, and it will go badly for you. (4)

 - If you are writing a blog about geeky nerd shit - then call it my blog of nerd shit that no one cares about.

Seriously, give us a warning so we aren't forced to read your10,000 word treatise breaking down a fight between Superman and Batman. (5)

 - On the other hand please post every one of your bad date stories.

Bad date stories rock.  Readers cannot get enough of them.  Just a straight out fact of life.  They are always funny and/or horrifying.  And I mean that in a good way.


 - If you are sharing thoughts on the Torah - please explain all terms you use thoroughly.

We may be smart, but we are also uneducated in certain areas.

 - Be raw, honest and heartfelt.

Yes, yes and YES!  This is what blogging is supposed to be about.  You.  Honest and raw.  That's what makes you interesting.  Not stories of climbing Everest with nothing but three quarts of motor oil and some gauze pads.  But your emotion.  Your thoughts.  Your true self.  Let it out.  Your anonymous. 

We don't know who you are, but we still want to know you.

 - If you re-read your post, and it seems to be incoherent and slightly "off", perhaps the proper button to press is "delete" not "publish".

(6)

 - If you write about personal stuff, and you give out a contact email, don't get all pissed off when people contact you afterwards.

Blogging 101 peeps.  People may actually connect with you.  It doesn't make them pervs or jerks.  Deal with it.

 - Finally - If you have something to say, say it clean.

Don't beat around the bush.  Tell us what you really think.  But for fuck's sake, proof read it for spelling, grammar, punctuation etc.  Your crap is bad enough without all the errors in it.



(1)  In no way, shape or form do I endorse you lying on the blog.  But making the story more interesting can't hurt.  Right?
(2)  Except the dumb ones.
(3)  Yes, that is my tongue sticking out at you.
(4)  No, really, I will burn your house to the freaking ground, bitch.
(5)  Yes FrumGeek, I'm talking about you.  But totally lovingly, of course :)  And we appreciate your honesty of title.
(6)  Yes, believe it or not, every single person is judging you.  And when you write whacked out shit it's going to make us mark off another check in the Crazy box.

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Wayward Daughter

Ed's Note:  Someone emailed me to tell me that this past weeks Torah reading was about the Wayward/Rebellious child - suggesting I write about it.  Because I am bigger than most, I will go out on a limb and take that suggestion in the most non-insulting way possible.  I'm pretty sure that's how it was meant.  Tact people, Tact.




"Mamma told me, when I was young
sit beside me - my only son
and listen closely
to what i say
so it can help you, son,
some summer's day..."

Paraphrased from "Simple Kind of Man" by Lynyrd Skynyrd.



They say that the love of a child for a parent can never be as true as that of a parent for a child.  A child's love is selfish - it's about want.  Whereas a parent's love is completely selfless - it's all about the child wanting nothing in return.

But what if the parent doesn't love the child?

Am I wayward if I am not a daughter?  Am I rebellious if I am just in my cause?  All these years later, does it even matter anymore?

All this time later - I don't love her.  I won't ever love her.  However, I don't hate her either.  We are in a place.  A good place a bad place.  A place. 

But that's the end of the story, not the beginning.

"Why can't you be more ________?" she asks her.  "She's such a good listener.  She behaves so nicely.  She doesn't ask so many questions.  Just behave better and mommy won't have to punish you."

_____, of course, is the older sister.  The prize.  So gorgeous and so well behaved.  So vapid and spoiled.  So lost.  She married "well", she produced a child, two children now, and I'll wager she's already used her allotted number of weekly nail spa treatments and it's only Monday. 

Perfection.  A true totem to look up to - married a wonderfully vapid and dull witted guy who cares more about the cut of his suit than the God he wears his black hat for.  Having an affair with some other guy at least two decades before she's even old enough for a mid life crisis.  Already mistreating her little girl with veiled barbs and cut downs from her perfectly glossed, smiling mouth.  Oh how that little girl will hate her some day.

But enough about her.  This is about the Wayward daughter.  The one who rebelled.  The one who refused to follow the path.  And she didn't rebel like her older brother - the one who was able to follow the "party line" on the outside-  keeping his little coup de tat's to the backrooms.  No, this one had to go "whole hog" - to eat [non-kosher] and drink [and drug] and steal [from their wallets] (yea, I looked it up - thank you Artscroll).  This one didn't pussy foot around, keeping one foot in each world. 

This one was wayward.

And the sins piled up.  And the home situation deteriorated.  And this evil had to be eradicated from the world.

Except.

Except this rebel wasn't executed.  This rebel was, finally, shown a little love.  Tough love, perhaps.  But love.  And instead of spitting at it, she chose to try and find a way.

The Wayward   Prodigal Daughter.

This is the story.  I've told it before.  You've heard it before.  It gets old, doesn't it?  Redemption from the pit of despair.  Yada yada yada.

But as it recedes behind me, each day it gets further and further away, it still can appear in my mind.  You never know what will set off a memory.  A movie, an ad, an email about the Wayward Child.

But that's what my journal is for.  To have a place to capture these thoughts when they come spilling out, a bucket for the sewage that will bubble up to the surface when my mental and emotional sump pumps fail.

The Wayward child.

The Prodigal child.

I have gone from one to the other. 

Can't wait for that Torah portion.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Climbing Up The Walls

"I am the key to the lock in your house
That keeps your toys in the basement.
And if you get too far inside
You'll only see my reflection.


Do not cry out or hit the alarm,
You know we're friends 'til we die.

And either way you turn
I'll be there
Open up your skull
I'll be there
Climbing up the walls

It's always best when the light is off,
It's always better on the outside.

So lock the kids up safe tonight
And shut the eyes in the cupboard.
I've got the smell of a local man
Who's got the loneliest feeling.

That either way he turns - I'll be there
Open up your skull - I'll be there
Climbing up the walls.
"

(Radiohead - Climbing Up The Walls)


Note: I read a blog post recently which made me think of this song, which I used to think was about the lunatic in your head but have come to realize is about loneliness. 



I met a woman recently who, because of a confluence of events, lives alone in a small room because her house was totalled by Sandy.  She told me that living alone, in a confined space, has made her bonkers.

I read a blog post about a person who, through a confluence of events of their own making, also lives a very solitary life.  And also appears to be going bonkers.  Or as Roger Waters would say it - Over the rainbow.  Toys in the attic.  Crazy.

Hugh Grant's best role (not saying much, I know) was Will from About a Boy.  Great movie.  In it **MINOR SPOILER ALERT** Will learns that "no man is an island", a cosmic shift in his mindset.

No one is really meant to live alone.  No one is really supposed to face all their troubles and unwind their burdens without some aid.  A shoulder to cry on.  A rational mind to discuss things with. 

And the longer one lives alone, the deeper their problems root in their own minds.  Or:

And if you get too far inside
You'll only see my reflection


There are monsters all around.  Child molesters, murderers, people who just want to harm us for their own benefit.  Ofttimes we cannot protect ourselves against their randomness.  But can't we at least protect ourselves from...ourselves?

I've got the smell of a local man
Who's got the loneliest feeling


And no, I'm not talking down to people who aren't married.  I didn't suddenly find a way to be un-lonely.  Even in my darkest periods I had Tova and David as a friend and maybe one or two others if for no other reason but to shout "woe is me" to the heavens and have them look sympathetic.  (As an aside, why David still chose to marry me after this behavior is up their with those mysteries such as the Loch Ness Monster, the Yeti and Bigfoot.)

You don't need to have a significant other to not be alone.  Friends, family.  They are there fore for you if you let them in. 

You choose to be alone on your own. 

Sometimes you do it because, deep down, you know you need to bottom out.  And you don't want your friends watching you disintegrate before their very eyes.  And honestly, that is noble (if not a bit dumb).  Tearing yourself apart, for whatever reason, is not a pretty scene.

But other times, and worse, you systematically shut off each and every relationship - close down to every hand offered in friendship or even love. And you don't even realize you are doing it.  And before you know it, the phone isn't ringing, the text isn't buzzing.  You truly are what you wished for - alone. 

And that's when the wheels start flying off.

Without sounding boards to bounce things off of, you start taking your own advice.  And you make stupid decisions.  And you start wallowing in self-pity.  And you develop body issues which you deflect by casually writing about how everyone is always telling you how mad hot you are - while bemoaning how un-hot you feel you are.

Mixed up, muddled up, stuck up.

And either way you turn
I'll be there
Open up your skull
I'll be there
Climbing up the walls


But it's not their fault.  It isn't that "all people besides me are dumb" or "the real one for me will fight their way through all my defenses". It doesn't work that way.  That's the attitude of a person who takes only their own advice.  Who has lost a grip on reality.  Who is sinking deeper and deeper into the types of despair that lead to very dark places.

Loneliness is a terrible thing.  I have many times in my life felt completely alone in the world.  But i wasn't, not really.  and that kept me out of the abyss  - which is truly bottomless.

I feel for the lonely.  But I also decry the ones who do it to themselves. 

For the deeper you root in your solitude, the harder it is to climb back up the walls.



Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Finding Zen

When you work with your family, Husband included, it's difficult to take a mental health day by calling in sick.  After all everyone knows you are lying. 

So yesterday, I went with "I need a mental health day".  Worked like a charm.

After all, the last two months have been a scramble of late nights, high pressure, big deals and, hopefully, success.  So everyone is really coming down off a pressure high at work anyway.  It's as though everyone is moving at half speed.  Yea, we'll get to that next week (or month).  No hurries, man.

After the wink, wink, cough cough call, I called an old friend, recently married, who lives in my old "'hood".  I asked her if she was interested in a beach day (she's a member at a beach club not far from where I used to live).  We used to do that a bunch when we were taking summer classes together (which is how two very different people became friendly to begin with).  Lucky me, she had free time and a current club membership.  Good times. 

So we got our tubs of ice coffee and headed for the beach.  2 chairs, an umbrella, a beach towel and some Floyd later, all was looking fine.  The water was gross looking (a ton of seaweed had washed up on shore, covering the first 20 or thirty feet of water and shoreline in green) but the view was still beach-y, the sand was white and the sound of seagulls was in my ears.  I closed my eyes, waiting for Zen.

And then, it happened.

They started showing up.  First in drips and drabs.  Then in droves.  Jewish women.  In all states of dress and undress.  Yakking loudly about shit and nonsense.  My lord there were even two Shadchanim ladies, comparing notes, in full bullhorn voices!  I promise I am not making that up.  Mentioning names and talking about people right there, surrounded by 200 gossiping Jewish ladies.  unreal.

Reality ensues.  Zen is gone.

And so I spent a half-heartedly good beach day with my friend, who other young married ladies kept coming over to and yakking with, getting some nice rays, sipping good coffee and trying to drown out the droning of Yentas all around.  By 2:00 it had gotten bad enough that I considered going to say hello to my mother.  But, like nausea, the feeling passed.

It's always nice to get away.  And this isn't an anti-Jewish rant.  It's just that Jewish women have no idea how to relax.  Getting your nails done three times a week and eating lunch with your friends while repeating the same gossip isn't relaxing

Girls, try something different.  Try shutting your mouths and opening your eyes.  Try looking out at the water and imagine what's going on underneath it.  Watch the sea birds taking flight over the open water.  Try finding your own Zen.

And, at a minimum, keep the volume down so I can find mine!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Random Observation

Despite all my strides and self-improvements, I still don't do well when I'm alone for long periods of time.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Darkness Falls??

" 'Cause here we are
We are shining stars
We are invincible
We are who we are


On our darkest day
When we’re miles away
Sun will come
We will find our way home
"
(Carry On - Fun)

Invincibility.

When do we stop feeling like that?  Is it the first time we find out there's no tooth fairy?  Does it happen later when we get into that first car accident?  First time someone we know gets cancer?

Youth happens and then it's over. Some of us are lucky to still feel invincible at age 25. 

Others have lost that at 14. 

***************************
Sometimes it sucks to be me.  Because for all the good, I have this habit of falling into periods of funk, or depression, that I call the Darkness.  Screw invincibility, at least let me feel the happiness.

But here I am.  Not even at the quarter century mark.  I have a husband whom I love and a great, happy life with him.  He has given me not only the gift of love, but, by extension,  the gift of a true family as well.  I have a great, exciting job which is both fulfilling and never boring.  (Well, almost never.)

And here I am, Friday morning and life is grand.  Our company closed a huge deal Tuesday and David and I were out of there like comets Wednesday and Thursday.  We spend a sun drenched day by the pool and a water logged day on a shopping spree.  I got a new bag from Furla, new flats from Tori Birch and a number of clothing articles from various other stores.  What makes a girl happier?  No, really, what????

What a transition process.  I still haven't gotten to that point yet where the Darkness, or at least it's evil brother Doubt, no longer creeps in.  That point where I don't have to worry that it's coming, even though none of the tell-tale signs exist.

I lost my innocence a long time ago.  I can never get it back.  And that loss, along with all the trash which stuck to me like dust to a broom, has created a hardness in me - a sense of being too jaded for my own good. 

Perhaps I will never truly ever be able to let go completely of that hardness.  Perhaps I'll never be able to say with a straight face that I no longer fear the Darkness.

Bad stuff leads to distrust.  I have trust issues.  Some people here, the one's who have reached out,  have observed them in me on different levels.  I don't think I can ever make them go away.  They hover around me, like the spirits of the dead, as though I am their gateway back to this world.  And that lack of trust is not only in people and their deeds.  it's in myself too.  And life.  And the rouge waves and sudden squalls that life invariably throws at you when you are expecting smooth sailing.

But my newer experiences have left me with a new belief too.  That despite it all:

On our darkest day
When we’re miles away
Sun will come
We will find our way home.


I no longer believe that I'm supposed to live a miserable and unhappy life. While I know miserable and unhappy things will happen, they happen to us all, I think that perhaps I am destined for an...ordinary life.  And that's a good thing.

Now all I need is that perfect winter coat for this season......



Friday, July 26, 2013

I'm Totally NOT Complaining But

I just read this post by Wandering Arbitrator and it hearkened me back to those very special times when Tova and I, just at that breaking point, would just pack a bag, jump in a car and go....somewhere.  Anywhere.  With whatever funds I could steal from my house (I don't think my mother ever realized I was stealing from her purse.  She probably assumed she spent more on lunch than she realized.) 

And drove.

That feeling when you jump on The Thruway/95/Route 17 with no real destination in mind, radio blasting, windows rolled down, screaming along with Pink Floyd ("Careful with that ax, Eugene, AHHHHHHHHHH"), The Smashing Pumpkins ("Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage"), The Allman Brothers ("but I'm not gonna let them catch me no, not gonna let them catch the midnight rider") and countless other open window road songs.

And it's all windblown hair and new-mown grass and teenage angst in the car, as the road opens and the temperature suddenly drops as a summer storm blows through.  The thrill of pulling into a dingy diner and ordering drinks among the very people your parents don't ever want you to associate with.  Checking into a flea bag motel and debating for ten minutes if you can touch anything in the room and pleasetellmetthatstainonthesheetisn'twhatIthinkitis.

But it's also pulling off the road at Tochahowika State park (yes I made that name up) and randomly hiking some trail or finding a lake and just jumping in.  It's lying on a field of grass, maybe under the most magnificent tree you have ever seen, and reading a shitty mystery novel that is just the thing.  It's laying on a short stretch of rocky sand which makes up a "beach" on the shore of North South Lake or wherever you happen to be.

It's about not having a care or worry in the world, at least for two or three days.

These are the things you do when you are young and unhappy and unattached.  When it's you and your best friend vs. the World.  And for once, the World isn't winning.

I miss this. 

I know, I know.  What the fuck Cymbaline.  You are married and happy and you have certainly upgraded your ability to stay in places where the only flea is when the red Hot Chili Peppers are performing on TV. I'm not complaining. really I'm not. 

But that doesn't mean I can't miss something from a different part of my life.

Te other day I wrote about lost youth.  i certainly wasn't writing about my own shitty childhood.  i was speaking very generically.  But when you are 40 and marred with 4 kids, you are still allowed to miss those care free days no?

I have much less to miss.  I don't miss fighting with my mother, indoctrination in school, hanging with the wrong sorts of people, doing drugs or screwing too much.  But dammit, i miss impromptu road trips with my only friend at the time.  And sometimes i miss my only friend too.

Tova and I started talking again.  It's not the same, nor will it ever be.  We are both of us in different places now.  We are both in better places now, mentally and physically.  Our friendship was fed by pain and suffering and with that gone its fire, while still glowing embers, lacks the fuel to become the fiery bonfire it once was.  We both recognize this and I think we are both ok with it.

Monday and Tuesday are big days for us at work.  A 2 month long explosion is culminating.  After that, hopefully David and I will be falling prey to the siren's song of the open road. 

The only difference is that we now book in advance.



Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Adulthood

Ed's Disclaimer - I am obviously not referring to my own shit ass childhood.  Just a regular, run-of-the-mill one.

Remember when you normies used to wish for the day when you were an adult so that you could:

Be taken seriously?
Buy beer?
Have a voice?
Get married?
Have sex?
Have a job?

Seriously dude, what were you thinking?  (Well except for the sex part)

Being a child is awesome.  You have no worries, real worries anyway.  Your biggest concern is that pesky math test you have next Wednesday.  You get to go to sleep away camp in summer and be with your friends up in the greatest place on earth, the mountains.  You hang out in pizza stores, go to movies.  make out in the backs of cars.

And we trade it in for....what exactly?  Working all day, the stress of an endless cycle of bills, worrying about this.  And that.  Oh and that too.

"Youth is wasted on the young."

Obviously there's nothing more important that having a family (unless, of course you are an elitist douchebag who fucked up priorities).  I get that.  Having babies and raising your kids.  That's the best there is.  The ultimate life has to offer.

The question is, why do we rush to get there?

Recently I've been exploding at work.  Suddenly there are a million things suddenly going on.  There are deals to do, documents to read.  Meetings to attend.  Money to borrow. Properties to look at.  Everyone is running, running.

I can't say I don't enjoy it, because I do. This is what i dreamed it would be like and it lives up to expectations.  But is this really a better life than the one we leave when we enter childhood?  Really?

Everyone spends their lives rushing.  Rushing to grow up.  Rushing through to summer.  Rushing through school.  Rushing to get married.  To have babies.  To get a promotion/ then you look up and you are in your [20's] [30's] [40's] [other] and wondering how you got here.  Where it all went.

I don't want to wonder where it all went.  I want to live out each day better than i lived out my childhood.  i want to know that, in the end, I did all i had to do - lived all I had to live.  Loved all i had to love.  Not in terms of workplace success, but life success. 

But these are just words.  Because I know, despite my noble aspirations, that life intervenes.  That we get tired.  And overworked.  And our babies demand too much of our time and our attention.  That we lose productivity.  That at some point, curling up in bed and falling asleep to the TV or a book becomes more inviting than going out with friends.  I know this will happen (unless of course you are a pretentious douchebag).

So in a nutshell, adulthood seems to kinda suck.  As much as it is the ultimate goal.  It seems so much gets lost upon the road.  But maybe that's the thing.  Maybe we aren't meant to live the life we want.  rather, we live the one we need.  The one that contains the most important things, despite what that might take away from the rest.

Quite a realization to come to.  But perhaps comforting in a way too.  Because you can't ever be at peace until you know who you are.

Now if you will excuse me, adulthood is calling loud from the conference room down the hall.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Devil Inside



Recently I've been thinking about the secrets people keep.  The little devils inside of them which they don't show the world. 


He sits there, clean cut and well kept. He's smart, he's funny, he's successful. He's all that and a pile of poker chips. The girlies all swoon when they see him coming.

Inside...he's a monster.

She's gorgeous and well dressed in her tight clothes and and brilliant, white smile. She's the queen of the ball, the dame of the dance.

Inside, she's a horrific witch.

**********************************************************************

I had a conversation with someone recently where he espoused his philosophy about the existence of a class of people which are just...superior.  Basically, he's a frum Nazi.  Except when you call him on this, he laughs and tells you you are a naive little fool who refuses to see the truth of the world.

The Devil Inside.

We all have one.  It manifests itself in different ways.  But no matter how it comes out in you, the Devil cuts a hole in your soul and bleeds out goodness over time.

Slow, unrelenting time.

The devil's in no rush.  He has many methods.  But the most tried and true is simply to outlast you.  Wait until your resistance weakens, waits until you aren't looking.  And then the Devil strikes quickly, much like a snake.  An unleashing of quick energy, followed by the slow death by poison.

The Devil Inside.

No one's really immune.  I'm not immune.

 Jews call it the Yetzer Hora.  Other call it the devil sitting on your left shoulder.  The bad angel.  Vices.  Whatever you call it, it sings in a siren's voice.  Like water torture in your brain.  It is always there, oft times a low hum, others a thunderous roar.  It wears you down.  Like waves against a deteriorating rock face.  Like Andy Dufresne and his prison cell wall.  Pressure and time.

"That's all it takes is pressure and time."  Eventually most of us break.  Eventually we become the bitch.  Or the monster.  Or that "sin" that you have been working so hard not to do.

Everyone has a devil.  That's just a part of being a human.  Don't fight me on this.  Change the word "devil" to "inclination".  Ah, now you are smiling and nodding your head.  You see it too.  "Oh, so it was the devil who made me finish the chocolate cake last night.  No wonder I was so powerless to stop him."  "Oh so it was the devil who made me check out porn on the internet last night.  No wonder I was forced to...."

The devil comes in many forms.  Most of them are part of the normal course of life.  After all, we all have our battles to fight.

But.

But some of us truly are monsters underneath.  So rotted out inside that there is barely any humanity left.  And it's even worse when they see it.  And embrace it. 

The sociopath does this. 

And sometimes the sociopath lives a "normal" life, gets married and leaves his vicious mark only on his immediate family.  His poor wife and children.

Other times he walks into a school and kills children.

The Devil Inside.

Embraced, ignored or feared, he is always there.  Bearing down on you.  Pressure and time.  Most people don't have the tools with which to fight him.  Many don't want to fight him.

But the worst of the lot are those who welcome him with open arms and a warm embrace.




Monday, July 15, 2013

To The One Who Knows Everything

You are young.  You are inexperienced.

Yet you spout philosophy and world view like a man who actually has some knowledge of these things.  Like a man who has accomplished.

I am no longer engaging you in back and forths on this subject.  Instead, I do what I always do, I put them down on paper.

You say the pursuit of money is a noble goal - the American dream.  I say Bullshit.

You say you want to give women up and focus on this dream - just have some casual stuff in the interim.  Yet you claim to be a pious Jew.  I say you are one of the most full of shit people I have ever met.


Money.
Get Back.
I'm all right jack get your hands of of my stack.

Money
It's a hit.
Don't give me that do goody good bullshit.



Let's take a look at what some of the great ones think about the Pursuit of The Almighty Dollar:

Solomon (Paraphrasing) - Um yea - Tried it.  It sucked. 

My Dad - People who want to make a lot of money always, without fail, want more.  It becomes an obsession.  The problem is, at some point it becomes harder and harder to make more money legally.  So they start cutting corners.  And they can always justify it in their own minds.  It is truly a perversion of Judaism.

Yet who do we remember? 

Gordon Gekko - talking about how greed is good.  And greed works.  And too much is never enough.  Yet no one seems to remember Michael Douglas [SPOILER ALERT] being led away in handcuffs at the end.

Here's how I see you now

You are an insufferable person.  You think you know things.  You think your minor success has made you special.  You are like those asshole hedge fund guys I sometimes have the displeasure of spending time with  who all think their good timing and luck has somehow made them into a pack of geniuses.  Or the Johnny Come Lately real estate guys who took no ones advice and got stuck holding the bag in 2008.  They now own hundreds of thousands of square feet of empty warehouses in Arizona or vacant land in Florida.

But worse.  You hurt people.  You do it under the guise of "honesty" and "saying it like it is".  And to your credit, you have a thick skin.  Because when I say it like it is to you, it seems to bounce right off. 

But human beings - it doesn't bounce right off.  And that's where you get lost.

Money = Happiness.  I'm not saying money doesn't make your life easier.  I'm not that naive.  But don't foolishly believe it buys happiness.  I was born into a wealthy family.  I didn't attain happiness for 21 years. 

But you, Mr. Twister, will simply say I am the exception that proves the rule.

I can't fix you.  No one can.  You will either learn these painful lessons through failure, or you will continue to grow into a misogynist monster.  In which case, it's your wife I pity.  She will suffer at your hands while you believe them to be the tools of Gods. 

It's not too late for you.  There is plenty of good in you.  It is just buried underneath your misguided ideas.  I really hope that one day you come to see the error of your ways.

Money isn't the end all and be all.  It is a means to an end.  But when you make it your life, when all else falls out side your dark cloak of greed, you soul becomes an evil misshapen thing.  And that is the direction you are going in.

Luckily you know it all - so these words are merely those of a foolish child who doesn't quite get you.

Except you know I get you.  Perhaps even better than you get yourself.

So don't do it for me.  Hell, don't even do it for you.  Do it for her.  Your future wife. For her soul.  And maybe, just maybe, you will be able to peer through the curtain of selfishness you have created.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Homage To The Heroine

There are so few of them.

The givers.

The ones who give you every single little piece in themselves, asking nothing in return.

They listen.  They access.  They cut right through your bullshit and give you the answers - and sometimes even the tools - to help you.

And your answer:  "Why would I pay a therapist, I have you as a friend".

Selfish bastards.  Don't they know the price you pay to be who you are?  The soul squeezing pain that is required to save a human's psyche?  Even if they did know, would they care?

**************************************************************************

The heroine knows all this.  Yet she marches on, day by day.  Giving herself to them - at great cost, ye holders on, to herself.  At great psychological sacrifice. 

Living  a life without peace so that others may find it

Others.  Wounded teens.  Broken adults.  She is the great repair-er of broken toys.  Of souls.

Why does she do it?  Because she can?  No, because she has to.  She has a gift.  Perhaps the greatest gift there is.  She can save lives.  She can make the future better. In some ways, she's literally Superman, spinning counter-clockwise around the world and fixing the past.

The Heroine.

Superman.

Fixing wounded souls, one at a time, while rending her own into pieces.

She's currently "on a break" from the saving business.  Focusing on her own family.  Her loved ones.  Lord knows she deserves it. She deserves all the happiness in the world.

But I know.

And she knows.

Soon there will be another broken toy.  Another damages soul.  And the heroine will once again don her cape.  But no mask.  She doesn't toil in secret, but out in the open.

****************************************************************

I don't know where we go when we die.  I know what I'm supposed to believe.  But I don't know.  But here's what I do know. if there is an afterlife, then we will find the Heroine there - laying in a sea of tranquility - surrounded not by the broken toys, but by those who love her truly.  Perhaps even those who have been fixed. 

Paying homage to a true superhero.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

When That Fat Old Sun In The Sky Is Falling, Summer Evening Birds Are Calling

I love the "country". 

I love trees and grass and the warm sun on my skin.  I love lakes and rivers and streams.  I love finding a waterfall in the middle of nowhere and jumping under it, carefree, and feeling the strong massage of its rough hands.

I love summer in the country.

I had almost forgotten how much.  But then he did it again.  He surprised me with a three day trip Upstate.  He brought friends too. 

And we did all the things I love.  We boated on a lake.  We hiked.  We swam.  We climbed.

Sometimes reconnecting with nature is as important as anything else.  We live in a world where its technology 24/7.  Everything we do, even our electronic toothbrushes, seems to revolve around the whirring and beeping and flashing of gadgetry and science.  I am all for it. 

But I'm also all for leaving it.  Three days - no tv.  Little email.  No blogs.  No headaches.  But I did sit under a huge shade tree and read a book.  I did lay back in a little boat, close my eyes and feel the gentle rocking. 

Last minute trip, pretty crappy cabin.  Crappy, serviceable.  Slightly smelly perhaps.  Ideal.  Perfect. 

We built a fire in the fire pit in the front yard each night.  Sitting around it, drinking American made beer, talking and laughing.  With the people I truly care about in this world. 

Staring up into a sky filled with millions of stars giver you a perspective that staring at a screen with millions of bytes just cannot. 

No, I'm not ready to run to Walden Pond, killin' my own food and dodgin' bear.  But I do think that, in some ways, these trips back to nature (including, of course, tropical paradises) give me an emotional and spiritual lift that nothing else quite can.

And yes, when we came home, it felt good to come back into a nice air conditioned environment (the cabin's reliance on so-called "summer breezes" was quite a fallacy).  But that good feeling still pales in comparison to the feeling I get when I jump off a wooden dock and plunge into the cold waters of a beautiful lake, surrounded on all sides by nothing.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wham, Bam, Thank You Maam

There's nothing cooler than being shaken awake at 7:00 am Sunday morning, told to quickly pack, and being hustled out to the car, where your friends are waiting to go on a surprise 3-day jaunt.

Thank you David and Crew.

#HappyAnniversaryPresent

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Rules Are In Place For A Reason

Ed's Note:  Upon my re-read of this this morning (I wrote it very late last night), I find it to be very rambly and dumb.  I'm letting it stay in because I'll want to re-read it one day and feel embarrassed for myself.  Consider yourselves forewarned...

When I started this journal, I found that Blogger is filled with people who want to tell their stories.  Or just to talk.  That is, in fact, the whole point of Blogger. It's Facebook for the verbose.

So I made a rule early (and for those of you who "know" me, I have a bunch of rules for Blog-World) - I am not going to get sucked in and start following a hundred different blogs.  For one thing, it's incredibly time consuming.  For another, I didn't want to have to deal with the politics of it - ergo:

X reads my blog.  I know X reads my blog.  X asks me if I read hers.  I hem and haw and eventually say no.  X is now insulted because, after all, she reads mine.  Now X stops reading mine. 

And so as a general rule, I follow almost no blogs.  Which isn't to say I never read them.  Or that I don't occasionally peruse.  But I do not religiously check and read or follow.

All this by way of introduction.

In my humble opinion:

Everyone has the right to put their thoughts and opinions out there.  So long as what you are writing is offensive to others, go crazy.  You can choose to write whatever you want.  And people have a choice to read it or not. 

But that's the thing.  It should be a choice - not an obligation.  I shouldn't feel bad because I'm not interested in your cute little kittens, the soup you made this morning, how many pounds of torque your Porsche gets or how much weight you gained over the holidays.

Sure, you have the right to write...but I don't have an obligation to read.

I say this because it goes both ways.  I have chatted with people from here who clearly never read my journal.  And it doesn't matter to me.  i never asked if they did and i certainly never asked WHY they didn't.  I don't care.  My journal is for one person and one person only.  And she's writing these very words right now.  (It's me, dumbass)

I admit it.  There is some really great stuff out there.  Some very moving, some brilliant.  Some entertaining. 

But.

But plenty of bloggers can't write for shit.  And they have nothing original to say.  Or they are repetitive (like me!!!).  Or they are sermonizing in every post.  Or they find themselves posting almost every day to keep an audience.  And all of that is totally fine. 

Write dear boy, write. 

Write until your fingers seize up.  Write until the computer tells you your storage capacity is used up.  Write and let your ideas and thoughts flow out of you onto the page for anyone who so chooses to see.

But don't expect people to read.  Your work is out there.  If people want it, they will find it.  Let them choose.  Don't pressure them to.

And for the record, this post isn't about any one person.  Or about how "wonderful" my journal is.  I have had more than a few emails telling me my blog is shit.  It's offensive.  I'm a whore.  And so on and so forth.  (I am a big fan of getting knocked down a few pegs, lest one begins to think too much of oneself.)

What's my point, you ask.  Good question.  As I read this, I can't quite remember - It's sitting there, just little strands I'm trying to pull on.  Ah yes, here it is.  The rules.  My rules.  They are in place for a reason. 

Know in advance that chances are i don't read your blog.  i don't know the name of it and i cannot tell apart your kittens.  I don't religiously refresh your feed every ten minutes to see if you wrote anything new or to see who may have commented.

But does that mean we can't be friends?

Friday, June 28, 2013

Summer's Thunder Time of Year...The Sound of Music In My Ears

Summer thunderstorms bring back a rush of memories:



 - Summer in the country. In the distance, the horizon suddenly darkens. The wind starts gusting as the temperature drops ten degrees in a matter of moments.  The squall is on you before you have a chance to make it to cover.  Flashes of lightning, so blindingly white as the crack of true thunder echoes in you ears.

 - Thunder at home.  Hiding in my room.  The thunder outside dimmed only by the thunder of pounding hands on my door, the thunder of my mother shouts.  The insults the screaming.  Punching the wall.  Pain.  Ragged knuckles.

 - Summer in the country  - laughing in the rain.  Running through a wet field, kicking up puddles with my bare feet.  Lifting my face to the rain and letting it cleanse me - inside and out.

 - Lightning at home.  I.  Hate.  You.  Did she scream it?  Did I?  Did it really happen?  Did it happen 100 times?  Who was the bigger person?  Wrong question.  The right one is who was the smaller person?  Who should have known better?  Who should have loved?

**************************************************************************

When I'm in the burbs, and a storm is blowing in, my first thought is to go out to the porch, the deck, the yard.  I'll sit on the steps and watch it make it's slow progress.  First the sky blackens, then distant flashes and rumbles.  The wind blowing leaves around in empty spaces.

As you might have realized about me, I'm given to great bouts of contemplation.  I like to reflect on things - the good and the bad.  In some ways it's a good thing.  In others, well let's just say some dark things aren't really good to dwell on.

Yet, there I sit, watching the approaching storm.  And my mind will be blown back, with the wind, to certain places, certain spaces. Sometimes the room is light.  other times I'm in such a black place that I feel a sudden dread, one which cannot be attributed to a sudden flash of light or a clap of sound.

And it's in those moments, when I'm back in dark places, and I'm working them through, that I truly find out what I am.

Who I am.

How far I've come.

And where I still need to get to.

Because I know, despite the progress, that the retreats back into the black past mean I haven't yet gotten to where I need to be.  And while I'm not sure I'll ever truly be there, I know that I keep trying.  And the more I try, the more I succeed.  Maybe on day one you can only punch the wall once, but after a while your hands no longer feel the sting.  Such is progress.

*******************************************************************

So the clouds darken, the wind picks up as the temperature drops.  The skies flash and boom.  And I'm remembering my trip to the mountains with David and my friends from two summers ago.  And the memory is delightful.

And that's progress.