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".


 - 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 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)


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......