Fact or Fiction?

Our Story

“This is a story that I’ve never told, I got to get this off my chest and let it go. I need to take back the light inside you stole” – Demi Lovato, Warrior

I remember feeling angry about lots of things when I was younger, like, remember that time I screamed about what I thought was unfair? You probably thought I was just this annoying kid who was naive, childish, stubborn and maybe even petulant and disrespectful.

My opinion mattered. You should have been listening to what I was saying.    

I remember feeling sad about a lot of things when I was younger, like, remember that time I cried and cried about something you couldn’t wrap your head around? You probably were irritated by the whimpering juvenile who you thought maybe just wanted attention, was too needy and maybe even aggravating.

My feelings mattered. You should have been more sensitive to why I was sobbing.

I remember feeling confused about a lot of things when I was younger, like, remember that time I asked about something you didn’t want to talk about? You probably were upset by the embarrassing topic wanting nothing more than for me to stop asking, not-so-silently begging me to just ask anyone else or better yet no one at all, to figure out these things by myself.

My questions mattered. You should have been more sympathetic and understanding.

I remember feeling vulnerable about a lot of things when I was younger, like, remember the time I was too quiet and kept to myself listening to slow songs on repeat? You probably were relieved to have a break from me and thought I was just being a moody adolescent you were finally not being nagged by.

My emotions mattered. You should have been more sensitive and affected by my reclusiveness.

Today I am older and wiser. I now know as an adult that you probably didn’t have the answers and that my many states of being were just as difficult for you to see and hear as it was for me to feel. However, you could have been better, more supportive and caring, more attentive, stronger and more determined to clarify or bring joy and less pain into my life. You could have, but you acted selfishly and not the way a person in the position to protect, or love tenderly should. You took our relationship for granted. You understood only what you wanted at that time and I am strong enough, I am certain enough today of who I am to say, I am better than you. I listen beyond words so that I can truly hear what others are saying, even if its shouted on the top of their lungs. I am better than you. I am sympathetic to the tears of others understanding that their emotions are justified. I am better than you. I am composed when others are troubled and have questions about uncomfortable situations because I know they need someone to make sense of things that often get muddled. I am better than you. I am loving and considerate and reliable, I am kind to those who are heartbroken, or feeling distressed because their worries may be paralyzing and their anguish is sometimes palpable. I am better than you.

As we get older, you and I, I see you for who you really were. It’s okay to not have answers. It’s just not okay to be quiet when someone needs to hear your words of comfort.  I understand it is difficult to help someone when you yourself may not be completely whole. It’s just not okay to let a person suffer if you know they need something, anything, you could have found to offer. A touch, a hug, a smile, the number of someone else that person could turn to. When you offer nothing but your silence or worse your biting tongue or accusations, you lose. You lose the opportunity to make things right. You lose the respect you thought you deserved, simply because you were older than me.

“There’s a part of me I can’t get back, a little who girl grew up too fast, all it took was once, I’ll never be the same…
Nothing left that you can say, cause you were never gonna take the blame anyway”. – Demi Lovato, Warrior

When the world needs better people, I look to the heavens and beg G-d not to take the good ones too soon. Forgiveness usually comes easy for me but not this time and I feel mostly sad for you, because even though our paths mostly don’t cross, when they do, I see that you’re damaged. You’ve done no wrong in your mind. You take no blame for anything. You and I? We are not the same, because I am better than you.

I Still Talk To Dead People, High Five.

And you probably do to. You just may not admit it. No, I don’t see them, and no, they don’t talk back.

Starting as a young child, I would talk to those who have passed this earth before me, sort of like an imaginary friend. I only talk to those I knew before and only when there (was) is a specific concern that call(ed)s for it. If I feel that person in life would have been there with helpful words to ease a certain situation, I sometimes reach out with a non-verbal convo.

BubbyFor example, I remember clearly my beautiful Bubby. Her skin was soft, her eyes a kind and sweet understanding blue and when she was buried on my 6th birthday (if my memory serves me well) it solidified the connection between us. She became my go-to friend or listening partner. When I was sad or angry or upset by something family-related, I would go to my room and talk to her, sometimes out loud (or more like a whisper) but most often in my head. It helped me sort out my feelings and release the heavy emotional burden I carried.

hands heartWhen my friend lost her mother, though I had only remembered her mother lying on the couch when I’d visit *never realizing she was ill, just thought she was always resting*, when I went back to pay my respects we had a “conversation” and I asked her silently to make my friend’s pain go away. It was awkward at a young age and I had no experience in comforting someone on that level, so I searched her mother’s features in my mind and begged her to make it better. Because in my mind, dead people had super powers.

In high school, there was a student struck down by a driver, hitting him while he was mowing his own lawn. Horrifying. Terrified to know these things could happen, even when you think you are safe on your own property, I sought out my Bubby’s face to make it better because I still had a weird concept of what happens to people when they die and this poor young boy needed someone. He was only a year or 2 older than me and all I could think of was to ask my Bubby to watch for him so he wouldn’t be so alone.

I have lost a few really close friends, mostly to illness. One friend in particular died after we were both married, had children, but someone I had known since we were in kindergarten. We used to talk on the phone all night and as teenagers shared many feelings about the future and things that frightened or excited us. He used to drive me home and we often took detours for nature walks or to a sports complex just to spend more time together. After he was gone I’d find myself “talking” to him. Things I’d think he would have appreciated or acknowledged or simply taken notice of, I would say a quick – hey, are you thinking what I’m thinking?

cloud heartThis past year, I had a friend whom I channeled more than any of those in the past. I felt like she would always have said something to help me with the struggle of balancing parenting while working from out of the home (an issue I deal with weekly). When I notice someone in need I can bring up her silent voice egging me on, convincing me not to be lazy but to take action. I know this is my yetzer tov, *positive inclination*, but it has her voice all over it. When I notice the pajama pants my daughter is wearing that she left for me on my front doorknob a few years ago, she reminds me to pay it forward. I never asked for those clothing that no longer fit her daughter but she thought of me, and I truly appreciated that random gesture of kindness. And now, about a year later after she left us, I have spoken to her many times and asked to give me strength as an emissary of G-d. I’m not cuckoo, I believe that G-d is the only one who can answer my bakashot, *requests*, but I can’t help but imagine that if there is such a thing as souls being G-d’s helpers I’d bet she is there making things happen.

high fiveSo I still talk to dead people. After all these years, so what? Lots of people have ways of coping with (or avoiding) issues that we find difficult. When there are stresses in life, or worries that we have no control over perhaps it seems we are powerless to make effective change. We need chizuk, *strength*, from things we find comfort in. As devout as I’d love to be, I wish I could have the memory to bring up certain phrases from prayer to balm the sores of sorrow, panic and fear, but I am not. Some people abuse food, some people exercise, some people garden, paint, play music, meditate or sleep it off. Me? I still talk to dead people, so there.

Our Tooth-Fairy Has Celiac & An Email Account (Apparently)

This is how we found out:

Paco (6 yrs old): Can I ask you something?

Mommy: Always

Paco: Can you wiggle my tooth?

Mommy: I’d rather not, can you? I’ll just look

Paco: See how it’s almost ready. Can you take it out after dinner?

Mommy: Why don’t we try right now?

Paco: Nope. I don’t wanna’ eat bloody food.

Mommy: Sounds like a plan.

After dinner, and a bath, and an episode of some robot-y program on Netflix – I finally convince him its time.

Mommy: Okay, here we go, ready?

Paco: Never

Mommy: Open up! Wider, say “eee” …okay open while you say “eee”, enter tissue…gagging…begging. DONE!

Later that night in bed we discuss how the tooth-fairy will come by while he is sleeping and take his teeth and replace them with shiny coins. Unfortunately the tooth-fairy got completely distracted, side-tracked, and tired and never showed up.

The next morning…

Paco: Mommy! Mommy!

Mommy: jsdfbrfqerf still sleeping erjjrwnf, what?

Paco: We need to send the tooth-fairy an email

Mommy: Wha?

Paco: She is too sick to fly here and bring me the money, so we need to email her

Mommy: Why is she sick?

Paco: She has coughs and can’t fly. And she has Celiac.

Mommy: Really. Wow. Okay, I’ll ask Abba ( daddy) to send her one. oops

Conversations with this guy never leave me without a smile. 

Force Fields are for Jedi (and moms)

Weird Stuff on Wednesday? It wasn’t until I started my “research”. So  enjoy and try to follow along.

Is this really a post about Star Wars? Or The Phantom Menace *to be exact…not really but sort of. 

From Wookipedia *and weirdly enough this is NOT the first time I’ve been on the site (inner nerd alert)* and also for a WSOW post (about cookie jars, maybe?)

Obi-Wan catches up to them, but is divided from his master by four force fields. When the force fields deactivate, Jinn and the Sith continue their battle while Kenobi remains divided from the battle by one force field when they all reactivate.

Having looked up ‘Force Field’ in Wikipedia – because we all know that’s where all the accurate information is stored…I came upon lots of various usages for the term force field.

What had me even going to that place anyways? – you know how it is – how the brain travels at warp speed taking you from one topic to another and then BOOMyou’re at the end feeling like you just solved quantum physics.

This is how it went down – The morning started off hopeful, a new day, shiny new opportunities for greatness, but then one thing led to another and yet another and it felt like there were all these outside forces that kept me from my original plan. Which was to get to work on time. Seems simple enough. Hearty laughter heard from the heavens…as I dealt with a child who missed the bus for the second day in a row, a stuffed up drain delaying my shower, traffic behind the slowest cement mixer on the planet, waiting for the train to pass, a near car crash – read: old lady with big ol’ mama glasses barely visible over the steering wheel honking profusely at the French man jay-walking across the street where he stops midway to scream at her for almost giving him a heart attack, and then the 10 minute wait behind the buses that kept me from driving the 2 minutes left to get to my office.  Brain-ache already before coffee. Ugh.

ff1

The term Force Field is used in neuroscience, chemistry, physics, was the name of a British rock band and even theme tune for a British game show called The Crystal Maze (pretty impressive – see above) and even fiction…(like in the Incredibles) and while they all mean different things they all keep to the same basic idea. It prevents or protects (which seem like antonyms – how is that even possible?) one from harm’s way or the path that leads to something unknown *in most fictional cases, something evil. However, there is this deep philosophical and perhaps metaphysical space I keep entering that is convincing me that all these forces MUST have been for a better higher reason for delaying me this morning. (ok – deep stuff over – but if anyone has any insight – please share).

ProShirt front MAnd because it’s Weird Stuff on Wednesday – how could I leave out the best part of all. I’m thinking about purchasing a special coat to ward of evil forces. (Of what I’m uncertain – maybe sweat?) – I don’t bike BUT, I may need to purchase the Forcefield Pro Shirt  – I probably will never own a motorcycle but is this a reason not to purchase a jacket of “armor” that body hugs me and protects my back – why shouldn’t I protect my back?  Plus – this shirt gives the illusion of having webbed muscles – who wouldn’t want that? No brainer.

Note To Self: The Dishes Are Not The Enemy

Well, that’s what I kept telling myself. And, yet, there they sat. Taunting me with their hard, stuck on whatever-food from the night before, when I finally threw my hands up and said, “I’m done” and fled to the next level where sweatpants awaited me. 

Is it laziness? I really don’t think so, and yes, I AM being honest with myself.  Because: I often stay up later than I want to, straightening the couch cushions or sweeping up crumbs from the counter and dust from the floor. I look at a sink of dishes and cringe, I really hate it. I do, so much so, that I avoid them, only making things worse than they seem. People haphazardly tossing their plates and cups in there making a pile larger than it really is causes me a nervous habit of staring and turning away, staring and turning away. The ongoing inner struggle, I hate to look at it, yet I just don’t want to get all up in there. I am short so my belly always gets soaked by way of splashing water hitting a spoon placed the wrong way or by some ‘funny’ child switching the tap to shpritz mode. I agonize over it until I can’t handle it for a second any longer and then I give in, wishing I hadn’t avoided it, screaming inwardly –  why didn’t I just soak them!?!?!

dishes

So I start – and about 20 minutes later I am covered in suds, having stuck my hands in the mucky water to collect the bits of leftover food blocking the drain, gagging from the stench and my belly all drenched. So I head upstairs to change out of my gross clothing and realize, the dishes are not the enemy…the laundry is.

@#$%*@!! And Then Some.

I am so angry at the world! I feel aggravated 90% of the time. I am beyond frustrated, upset and annoyed. I am livid and mean-spirited and have lost faith in people’s trust.

Every time I make a suggestion it goes unheard, turned down, and rejected. Then when everything falls apart, when the other side realizes they were wrong but too proud to admit it I sit here holding my tongue out of respect or because my mother always taught me that when you have nothing nice to say its better to say nothing at all. When in my head there is that little nagging voice that appears as it always does (oh, Conscience, you work in irritating ways) screaming, “You, Fool! I TOLD YOU SO!!!”

I am tired and fed-up and sick of the world screwing me. Screwing with me, making me think today is okay but wait, just wait for it, I can’t wait to mess-you-up tomorrow. Maybe this is why grandma was always so quick and snarky. Maybe because by the time you get really old and wrinkly you are so beyond seeing anymore silver linings it feels a heck of a lot better to stick your proverbial middle finger up at the world and everyone who does you wrong. Maybe, just maybe, the old saying is true, the older you get the wiser you become – I heard a well-respected rabbi once say, “okay, so, I don’t need to know everything“. The problem I guess is you either stick your head in the sand, become ignorant to the point of avoidance so that when you finally get to the age of retirement, all that garbage won’t have been festering so that you can look back and say, man if they only knew, or just deal with it. Maybe this is why people drink, to numb the senses, to blur the lines of reality so the ugly truth of some people’s natural rotten instincts to be obnoxious, boorish and downright abusive, disappears.

What I really need is to focus on those pinpoints of happiness, a smile or a hug here and there. A common courtesy or a simple thank you. A random act of kindness from a complete stranger who is more willing to give of his time and energy and patience when even those closest to you sometimes take you for granted or deny you thoughtfulness and caring. A look or a pat on the back or comforting squeeze on your shoulder that says, I know it stinks and I am here for you, when it feels like your world is falling apart.

In this world I guess it’s really important to give, give, give and pray that it means something in the end. Praying that there is reward for decent behavior and if I give it my all and act appropriately with good manners, proper speech, and look for ways to let go of the things I cannot change than perhaps, just perhaps this awfulness will rid itself from my path and I will be blessed with kindnesses in return.

Of course no one is perfect and maybe I have really high expectations, but I don’t think so. I generally give someone the benefit of the doubt, I look for silver linings, I am usually the first to apologize for the sake of peace, but as we say in Hebrew, ad kdei kach, which translates loosely as – up to a certain point. How many times can I forgive ill-behaved rhetoric? How many opportunities will pass me by because I wanted to see something through? How much more damage will it cause my sensitive soul to stay quiet and polite and let bullies with egos bruise me over and over again with their holier-than-thou attitude, tone and terrible conduct? Not much longer, I can guarantee that. Only when we get to the deepest level of sorrow or pain or suffering, do we finally come to our senses. When we see that a situation will not change, we must make a change in ourselves. We can wait for others to reach out but in the end, the initial need must come from within. The desire for something better must first reside within ourselves, then and only then will we have the ability to formulate new paths where there is a light at the end of that ugly tunnel.

photoWe need to recognize the signs that are ever-present. Just as I was in that awfully sad place, I passed this piece of paper lying there, encouraging me. All it takes is one idiot to convince another idiot to go along with a really bad idea. So, I was influenced and had let some (or many) idiot(s) turn me into someone I began not to recognize, spewing hateful, sad thoughts to others and for that I apologize. But then I saw this paper and laughed pitying myself. There was an actual sign, just lying there on the floor waiting for me to see how foolish I had been. How did I get so lost, and caught up in this mess? I took that paper with its blatant message and conjured it up throughout the day. I willed myself against the odds. The day was certainly filled with more drama and I bit back my grief and focused on the message.  When the work day ended, I got in my car with a sigh of relief, only to be met with traffic as far as the eye could see. It would make me an hour late getting home, an hour later sitting to help with homework and preparing dinner, an hour less to be with my children before bedtime. So I stopped the car for others, stranded because of the traffic, to share my ride home. 5 strangers sat trusting me to take them to our neighborhood, safely.

So I repeat: In this world I guess it’s really important to give give give and pray that it means something in the end. Praying that there is reward for decent behavior and if I give it my all and act appropriately with good manners, proper speech, and look for ways to let go of the things I cannot change than perhaps, just perhaps this awfulness will rid itself from my path and I will be blessed with kindnesses in return. Call it karma, fate, or the power of G-d.

Today ended well, as do most days. For this I am thankful. I am grateful for good health and sustenance.  I am reminded how precious life is when I hear about someone attempting suicide. I am thankful for strangers that stop to help a family struggling on a chilly night with a punctured tire. I am delighted that others seek my knowledge and respect my abilities. I am hopeful for better tomorrows.

Tell Me Something Good…

Sunday:

There is so much bad in the world today. I mean literally, today.  Murder, rape, starvation, abuse, terrorism, political scandal, prostitution, abduction, raging fire, sickness, divorce,  ugh the list goes on an on. That was just a snippet from news articles I read today until I finally put a stop to it. My brain and heart and eyes needed a break from all this awful negativity.

I wished there were more articles on good news than bad but alas the way to true journalism  I guess is exploiting ourselves as much as possible. So I searched and searched until I found a few things that lightened the mood.

These are some of the things that made me smile:

  • ‘Dad jeans are making a comeback’ according to The New York Times  fashion and trend section.
  • The Huffington Post added a video of a porcupine eating a banana – you can check it out HERE
  • Apparently, according to the BBC, if one is too fat – he can not live in New Zealand. Some would contend that this is bad news. But imho, it’s so bad that it’s good.
  • An affordable eye shadow has hit the market thanks to Lady de Cosmetic.
  • Two Prince Georges were born, but only one is an ass.

So there you have it.

Monday:

Today is a much better day. My son went to camp happily in his new t-shirt and shorts. I avoided reading anything newsworthy. I am having a decent hair day *which means my wig is washed and clean and soft and smells pretty, (girly-stuff-bla-bla-bla) and best of all I am starting to make time for blogging again. I cleaned more of the piles on my desk that I kind of just shoved into one massive pile.  I broke them down and organized them in a way that actually makes sense and that I can hopefully find something now when I need it.  I redecorated my little desk area so now it’s more functional. However, being programmed to look towards the right at my phone to find out the date and time is getting annoying since I moved the phone to my left.  Other than that its been…

…I was going to say quiet and then tons of people came into the office all at the same time!  It’s noon and I re-checked my incoming email to find some really interesting things (read busy work items)  I need to tend to. What happened to my chilled out planned day? Life is like that  –

A small story before I sum up:

Once upon a time there was a happy little monkey. The monkey wanted to play all day, lounge in the tree and eat bananas until her belly was full. There was only one problem. It was raining outside and this little monkey hadn’t mastered climbing trees when they got a bit slippery from the rain. She had 2 choices. The first was to make a new plan. The second was to go outside and try to climb the tree, even though she had been unsuccessful before. Both options had positive measures with possible positive outcomes. Whatever the monkey decided would be the right thing to do. Making the decision was that hardest part.

Often in life we are given choices or options and are forced to make decisions. With a positive attitude, any decision can made infinitely better from the get-go. 

Today I chose to bypass the news sites. Not because I am ignoring the problems that face the world today, but because I am giving my heart a break. To read such awful outcomes, to fathom that some people are choosing to destroy the lives of others, to contemplate the people of the world as a whole unit doing harm unto one another is too big a pill to swallow day after day. I want to enjoy the beautiful things, the happy moments, the funny and the absurd that we miss because of the negativity that eclipses them.

So here are the things today that made me smile:

I call this the grandmadillo:

Mike Wazowski:

Sad Ending but Inspiring and Always Makes Me Smile:

So with this I end with a message to show some love today. Make choices that help others, that encourage your loved ones, that make you a better person. Feel good about your place on this earth and help make it a better place for our children. Sending out wishes for peace and harmony to all those that struggle today with decisions not in their own hands.

Weighing My Options

Crossroads are never easy. What do you do when asked to do something you aren’t sure about? Decision making is difficult when it’s your own life and stuff is going down. But what happens when all of a sudden – someone asks something of you that you hadn’t considered before?

My first bit of advice is never commit to answering right then and there. Big questions deserve big time outs. People need time to process information before making rash decisions.

One of my many flaws is that I am quick to say, “yes, I can help.” I mean it with every fiber in my body. In my heart, I want to help, my brains screams: DO IT, and my hands and feet are ready and willing.

So when I was confronted recently with conflicting feelings – I was like a deer caught in the headlights. I was sort of just frozen and tongue-tied and some-how I managed to say that I needed to time to think about it.

It was the best decision I made.  Whats worse than saying no? Saying yes and then regretting it. I’ve been most fortunate in the times people have asked for my assistance. While I was always so willing to give of my time, energies and support to others, I sometimes neglected my own needs.  No one suffered besides me. Being kind has its rewards and what ‘they” say is true. What goes around comes around.

That having been said – it applies to the negative as well. Currently I find myself in a position where I am dying to say, I told you so. But it’s not nice to rub it in once the damage is done. I warned someone not to be so trusting. I begged them not to lend funds when they had financial struggles. And now, they are in heaps of trouble. They have asked for my help – not monetarily – but for advice. Advice is free when you are someone like me – but there is always a price to pay. Getting involved on any level now is sure to bring trouble rearing its ugly head in my direction. But can I turn away?

Looking at the larger picture, if I were in this person’s shoes – I would seriously hope there would be someone to hold my hand, ease my fears and pray for a positive outcome. I’ve always had my pulse on other people’s feelings and this is really hard for me. On one hand, I KNOW this person needs help. On the other,  I am willing myself to say no. I am at a crossroads.

The time has come to make a decision and instead of jumping – you know ‘they’ say the older you get the wiser you become – I find myself being more cautious than ever before. I am listening to my own advice; that inner voice, and taking the time to really think it through.

Sometimes I wish life was all rainbows and butterflies with rooms full of bowls of ice cream and buckets of peanut chews.  I wish I had an amazing sense of humor and a quick wit to get myself out of potentially sticky situations. But – that’s not me. I’m the one that took 3 days and then FINALLY had a comeback. I can not even count the times my brother face-palmed when I finally spit it out.

There is one consolation to all this. At least it wasn’t me. I am a very trusting person as well, in theory this problem may have been mine if I were in a state of tenderheartedness for someone’s sob-story. I am not the one in trouble and I have the answers this person needs. I just need to remember not to say, “I told you so”, which is going to be really hard. The reason for my hesitation? If this person really respected my opinion, they would have listened to me in the first place. They could have avoided this issue all-together, what makes me think they will listen now? Why should I spend my energies on someone who has proven not to listen to me in the past? I am a firm believer in the fact that G-d give us only a certain amount of words to use on this earth. I weigh my words very carefully and I wonder if this is an exercise in futility.

The Very Happy Ending. By cheriblevy

Welcome to story time kids. Sit down while Aunt Chubby tells a tale of Frustration.  This is a story about mind over matter. 

Once upon a time the naughty body clock woke mommy up at 5:45 AM. This made Mommy very grumpy, but as hard as she tried, she could not fall back asleep. Her eyes were so itchy and she kept rubbing and rubbing them. This was terrible, and left Mommy with very red swollen eyes. That sure felt awful.

She decided to get dressed in some of her favorite clothes. This would certainly make her feel better. She had a  long drive to work and there was a lot of traffic. This made Mommy grumpy again. She finally made it inside and sat down at her computer and began to work.

Then she realized that there was no ink in her printer. And then she remembered that her computer was also not connected to the main printer. Even though she complained and complained for weeks to the person in charge to fix it, she was still not connected. Wow, Mommy sure was grumpier now.

Suddenly her telephone rang and she had to rush back home and pick up her daughter at school. Nina, who was 8 years old needed to go to a new school for 3rd grade, where there was a special class to help her with reading and spelling. But when they got to the new school, all the Mommy saw was children running around, acting very wildly. The teachers tried to tell them not to scream, run, blast the music or interrupt the adults talking, but they just didn’t listen. That was really bad. Nina was frightened and thought this maybe was the worst idea Mommy ever had.

Afterwards Mommy took Nina back to school and hugged and kissed her and whispered in Nina’s ear that there was still one more school to see, not to worry. Nina felt better and hopped off to class with her friends.

Mommy had to drive all the way back to work. She was happy at least there was no more traffic. Even though her eyes were still very itchy and even started to water, she tried to keep her fingers from rubbing them. That would have been very dangerous. When she returned to her desk, Mommy thought all about their trip and felt a little sad for Nina but had more work to do, so decided to save those thoughts for later. She worked and worked and worked some more. At the end of the day, she knew she had to go food shopping. Too bad Thursdays were the busiest day in the market. She’d have to wait to find  a parking spot, navigate her way through the busy aisles, make sure she bought Nina’s special cookies in the lane for gluten-free items, and then wait in the very long line to pay, unload the groceries into the car, return the cart and drive all the way home. Once she got home, she’d have to unload the groceries from the car, climb the stairs, empty the bags and then start dinner for the children.   Even though it would very late, Mommy was planning on making pizza for dinner, that would make everyone happy.

Mommy was going to be really tired at the end of the day. Waking up so early and keeping so busy can make someone get grumpy, especially with itchy red puffy eyes, but it’s important to remember one thing. To Smile.

When we smile it forces us to feel happy. When we feel happy and share our smiles with others, it makes them happy. So kids, if you see someone having a grumpy day, all you need to do is smile at them to help make them feel better. Even if they say something like, “Your computer should be fixed by Sunday or Monday, or maybe even Tuesday”. Even if you don’t believe that’s true – you’ll feel better because the other person is smiling at you when they tell you. So the lesson for today is,  don’t worry be happy. Turn that frown upside down. Smile and the whole world smiles with you.  And when that doesn’t work, eat ice cream.

That Awkward Moment When…

Not that this happened to me (wink).

 

  • …you realize it was your chive-breath you kept smelling (but secretly blaming everyone else you spoke with).
  • …you notice the toilet paper dragging from the bottom of your shoe.
  • …someone else notices (before you) that you forgot to put deodorant on that morning.
  • …that your slip has fallen and is puddling at your ankles.
  • …your child loudly asks where your baby is while lifting your shirt and you’re not pregnant.
  • …you walk into the bathroom with the broken lock and find your principal sitting on the toilet.
  • …someone mistakens you for someone else BUT you don’t want to seem rude or you try for way too long to place the person when it hits you, you don’t actually know them. (And then the conversation ends with you saying, ‘”mmkay, bye-bye, keep in touch!”
  • …you’re typing a blog post and know that the word ‘mistakens’ is wrong but you repeat it again and again out loud convincing yourself it makes sense and that it sounds like a real word. (ALERT: FRIENDS reference: like ‘supposably’).

It’s no surprise that I often find myself in awkward situations and there is certainly no shortage of embarrassing situations I’ve been in either.

As it happens, I am not as organized as I want to be. I’m not programmed for neatness but a weird phenomenon is that I can’t handle when my desk at work is messy –I am always reorganizing my pencil/note/tape holder and rush to clear any lingering piles.

pencil cup

Wish I could say the same about the laundry. I am inundated and often want to take off one day a week just to get a handle on it.

Laundry

see the laundry back there, ignoring it as I look off into the sunset?

But, I know it’s my fault. At the end of the day, the last thing I have patience for is sorting and matching socks or trying to figure out whose white t-shirt is whose. I mean well but the fact is – I’d just rather NOT do it. In theory, instead of passing out at the end of the day and plopping on my bed scrolling through Facebook, I should be folding and switching those loads or washing and drying and putting away the dishes. I should be scrubbing the toilets and wiping down the counters. I should be preparing the children’s snacks for school the next day. Holy Mama – I’m tired even writing it all down, much less doing it all.

I always feel like, well if I didn’t have a day job, my house would be in perfect order – but is that so true given my lack of domestic abilities/interest in feeling like a maid? I wonder. Even on Friday when all the kids are out of the house and all I need to do is cook for the weekend – it takes me to the very last second of the day before the sun sets to get it all done. And then…it’s finally clean and organized and…then it’s not. For a minute or two, I cherish the orderliness. Then the little people start moving and there are cars and blocks and headless Barbie dolls and Bananagram tiles and a partial half-bent deck of cards all over the floor. Then the little people eat and I wipe the spills, change the shirt and pants for the 3rd time, sweep the crumbs into a corner because I lost the dustpan…somewhere on the first floor, I think. 

But I digress. The worst things I have encountered (because of my deficiency) as awkward moments go is when the teacher asks, “didn’t you see the note I sent home?” And my child is the one NOT wearing a white shirt for picture day. Then said child starts to cry so that I’d feel guilty enough to run home and get one of those t-shirts I left in one of the mountains of laundry. I have two choices at that moment.1) Blame it on the kid. (nooo, he must have taken it out of his bag before I had a chance to read it!) or 2) “yes, but you know? My life is so hectic, what with working and doctors appointments and errands and and and, so so so sorry, yes I know I always forget things, yes I know I should have put it on the fridge, yes that IS where I told you I put all the notes.”

And then it hits me – I remember seeing the note. On the fridge. I remembered to add it to my calendar on my phone so that things like this, my kid’s schedules, can be better managed, (too bad I added that note for the wrong day). I remembered to add it to the huge white-board in the kitchen nook where all other lists and reminders go. I just forgot to look at it.

Yeah, my life is busy and I ‘waste’ a lot of time doing things in maybe not the best most organized way. So my dishes wait until I am ready and my children learn some responsibility by folding and putting away their own laundry and dinner is sometimes served at 7 PM  So I’m not the best. However, my children are always clean. I clip their nails and make them eat fruit. On occasion I’ll serve vegetables with dinner. They all get hugged and kissed before bedtime. They all get hugged and kissed before they run to the bus stop in the morning.  They are truly loved and well cared for and there is nothing awkward about that.

I’m Right. You’re Wrong. Period.

I am not the king of Siam or a foreign diplomat or doctor or even anything remotely ‘important’ as far as my current job placement. Sure – people depend on me and I feel good about what I do day-to-day.

BUT  – when I get scolded for being late – EVEN THOUGH I SENT A TEXT alerting to the fact that I’d be late because my daughter needed a chest x-ray and blood work to see why she has been sick for the last 6 days – that makes me angry. Besides that I am entitled to take off time for my children when they are sick. Besides that – lead by example – if you take off or come in late for every little minor and major personal thing going on in your life – what gives you the right – (a higher pay scale and fancier title?) to tell me I can’t when something major is going on in my personal life.

I hate people who put up a show for others. I hate people who think they are better than me – and act like it. I hate when people throw me under the bus. I work harder for more people than almost everyone in my office and get paid the least. When I am told something in a tone that is offensive and unnecessary I get pretty worked up, but I know my place. I refuse to enter into a verbal disagreement with anyone – especially my superior – but I do need to vent it  – so here goes:

I don’t need to make apologies when I put my children before my secretarial job (even though its way more than that – blablabla). I don’t need to show off in front of others to me look better than I am. I don’t need to bring others down to make me look better. I don’t need to threaten anyone – ever *except my children if they get out of bed for the millionth time.

If I were a team leader I would be compassionate to those that seem like they are struggling with personal issues. I would want the members of my team to perform the best they could – because they were in a healthy – not hostile environment.

To prove my point. Another “boss” asked me about a project that he needed – when I told him I had to pause because some others exerted their authority (as usual) saying their project takes precedence – even he made a mock display of the other person’s attitude so it’s not like I am seeing things through hurt eyes. I would respect my employees and offer assistance whenever I could – I never get that but I am ok with that – we don’t need to be friends. But I would like more respect – I would like to think that after working with someone for 8 years that there would be a mutual understanding as far as mother’s needs goes – but I guess only when the big cheese isn’t around, it’s just so two-faced it makes me literally sick. 

So there. I feel better. But I am still angry this is the way it came about. I know I was right to do what I did. I feel only upset by the fact that someone thought it was okay to make me feel bad and threaten me.  How do these people get the job as ‘boss’? I am also a bit sad. Sad that I lost respect for someone who I need to work with. 

 

Now, Where Was I?

Aah, yes, reading the same paragraph over and over. I really hate that and yet – it happens way too often, but such is the plight of mothers the world over. 

As much as I am truly enjoying the book I am currently attempting to read – it never fails that someone or something needs my attention and I am forever going back over the same paragraph and sometimes even the same sentence. Generally I am a fan of repetition. I think it provides a better understanding of whatever needs repeating. The only way to get better at anything is to go over it again and again. 

Everyone knows that practice makes perfect. That’s why I don’t get upset when I am on a ‘diet’ and I eat a cookie or some french fries when there is a perfectly good peach or almond nearby. No matter how many times I begin my ‘diet’ I know myself better – but I also know I am willing to make a change, I am willing to try again and again and NOT beat myself up over it. 

Flashback:

When  Chubby was a young girl she was forced to take piano lessons. She hated practicing her scales and even though she knew it sounded lovely when all the right notes were hit, it pained her to practice. Until one day, her fingers flew over the notes so quickly that she was very pleased with the sounds she could make. The notes would reach the second floor of the house, smooth and melodious. Today Chubby knows that the reason she can type ‘fast’ is because her fingers glide over the keyboard as they once did over the ivories.  

We need to take lessons from our past and be able to apply them to our future. 

There are a few times in my life (so far) that I can point to and have that a-ha moment. I used to get upset at my mother if she gave me the finger – no not that one – the other one. The one that says, I know you are so impatient but you must wait until I am ready. Knowing that what I had to tell her was infinitesimally more important than whatever she was reading it would be excruciatingly painful to wait as I watched her eyes go from left to right over the pages of her book with the sad lady on the cover. You know the one, the lady with luxurious long fire-y red hair, her dress semi-exposing her ample bosom and a muscular looking male staring intently in her direction.  What I failed to realize was that it was HER time, she was lost in another world and she KNEW, just always knew, that whatever I had to absolutely tell her immediately before my head exploded, could actually wait. 

It was true most of the time.

I needed a pack of tissues. I couldn’t find my watch. I wanted to go to my friend’s house. I was hungry. I was itchy. I was tired. I needed her to test me on my spelling words…and so on and so on.

Now, as a mother – though I crave those few seconds I get to read – I always put the book down and never give my kids the finger. I may ask them to wait a minute – but in their world, I know how hard that is to do.  Did I learn a lesson in patience ? Not then, no way no how. I learned adults can be mean (as seen from a 10-year-old’s perspective). What I really walked away with? I learned that not everything I say is as important to everyone that can hear me, I learned restraint.  

Some of my Facebook friends may disagree with me, but then if you were not interested in reading what I had to say – why are we friends to begin with? At least half of those times, I walked away saying, “never mind, it doesn’t matter”. It did matter to me but clearly I got over it, *cough.

So even though it pains me to read the same paragraph over and over it would pain me more to think that my children thought I didn’t put them above everything else. 

 

“Chewing Too Much…

…Can Cause You To Be Tired.”

I overheard that 2 days ago from a student that likes to hang around my office…and it made me giggle and I jotted it down.

Of course the old Chubby thought, aah now it makes sense why I am always too “tired” to exercise… it must be all that chewing I’d done earlier when stuffing my gob. Then the new Chubby thought – but I’ve been eating popcorn and fruit – and I am still super tired at the end of the day, that can’t be right.

So I did a little research, and here is what I found.

Wanna’ lose weight from your cheeks? (No, that WAS a serious question – and apparently a thing for people).

“Chew gum. Not only can chewing gum calm your nerves and freshen your breath, but it can also help you lose weight from your cheeks. The repetitive chewing motion will help strengthen your jaw. The best part is, you won’t even feel like you’re doing any exercise. You can set a goal of chewing gum for just a few minutes after every meal.
*Just make sure not to chew gum so much that it starts hurting your jaw.” – That sounds like it would make me tired.

https://i0.wp.com/joltgum.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/jolt-gum-med-res-single-pack-spearmint-copy.jpgAnd then  I found this to kind of disqualify the statement: JOLT  energy gum.

From the HealthGuidance website:

“Weight Loss

First of all, if you’re concerned about your weight then one of the best ways to lose excess fat is to chew your food properly. It might seem miraculous that this can work bearing in mind that you are still eating the same amount of food but in fact there are several ways this works. First of all, by chewing your food longer you create the illusion that you have eaten more and this makes you feel fuller.– Side-note: that’s never happened to me. My mom used to get real upset about how long it took me to eat my dinner and I don’t call my younger self  ‘Chubby’ for no reason.

Basically, I found a ton of information about chewing and it was all related to TMJ or digestion or weight loss – not so much about it making you tired.

Lots of my research ended with the knowledge (as if I didn’t already know) that chewing basically causes jaw fatigue – not much else…oh well.

I wonder what other gems these kids are gonna’ come up with?

A Simpler Time

I recall growing up in a more wholesome, less complicated time. True – all the old people say that, in every generation.

Grandma Mildred would tell me stories how she used to get a Hershey bar for a nickel. A nickel? A nickel. When my dad was a child he’d walk home for lunch and grandma would make him a hot hamburger and home fries. Today it’s either a mom who works full-time sticking processed junk food like dunkaroos and sweetened peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in brown paper bags or the new age mom who manages to do a yoga class before the rest of the world wakes up,  packaging some organic alfalfa sprouts with quinoa and a side of free range egg salad in an pvc-free Tupperware.  There seems to be no in-between. I’ll readily admit that I fall into that first category and try to convince them to take at least one fruit or vegetable to even things out a bit.

I would spend summers, lazing around, figuring out what to do, playing with neighborhood friends, exploring nature around the block on my bike or across in the empty field. I collected fireflies in the evenings and kept them in a washed out jar with holes poked through the cap. I walked barefoot in the backyard. I won goldfish in carnivals and took them home in plastic baggies only to mourn them about a week later.

This evening my 8-year-old daughter wanted to know if we could get a turtle. I was quick with my response, “ew they smell”, while shaking my head no. I am not a pet person. Her face was sad. Even though I loved my goldfish and took extra care of them, washing their bowls when they got murky and feeding them just the right amount, I fear if I get my 10-year-old the hamster she wants, the turtle my 7-year-old wants and the dog my 13-year-old wants I’ll be cleaning up more poop than I bargained for. I’m a softie and I’ll probably give in to the turtle – but nothing with fur on it.

I often hear my kids begging me to watch one more episode of tv or to play one more level on the Wii or if they can play on my iPhone, and when I say no there are serious tantrums and raised voices. Then comes my calm voice of reason – there are other things you can do I tell them. Then come the stares and horrified looks as I suggest playing a game with each other or reading a book, or taking a walk or heaven forbid, helping me with the laundry. Sure I remember getting disappointed if there was something I wanted to do and my mom would nix it, but for the most part I sulked quietly after one slam of the bedroom door. I would listen to my radio or draw pictures or daydream.

Maybe I’m not remembering things clearly but in today’s fast paced world we need to remember to go back to the basics. When sometimes not stimulating the brain every 3 seconds can be a good thing.

why would ANYONE do that?!?

Wow. Gross. OMG!!!, Ew, ich, yuck.

Reading articles like the most recent one on eating one’s placenta on Kveller.com is the stuff that my section Weird Stuff on Wednesdays was created from. Seeing or hearing something so bizarre or funny that with a little research and a sense of humor on stuff that I find for lack of a better word fascinating.  I can’t even write any further without a little gag reflex.

Just because one CAN do something doesn’t mean one SHOULD do something! 

SPAM ALERT – I got an email from someone named Gonzalez, Gonzales – tip to you dummy, I ain’t clicking! Why not at least try a little harder to sound more convincing…eh?

#3. A very clear moment for me on Why would ANYONE do that?!? A friend recently posted a picture of a fellow (much like this guy) who was so pierced and tattooed that they no longer (*in my opinion) looked human! To me, and my simple clean , white bread world view on things, he looked like he was made up in a Sci-fi film.  I don’t get why people don’t stop abusing their bodies after a while and yes, I think it’s abuse! I agree to a certain degree, what each person wants to do with his own body is his own right, but I also believe that our bodies are just gifts from G-d and that He entrusts us with them  – it DOES sound contradictory, I know, but there is a fine line when it comes to Free Will and everyone needs to figure that out for themselves but to me it looks like mutilation. I don’t get it.

I’ll admit that there are a lot of things I just don’t get. On a really basic level – yes, there is a need for attention…most of the time.  Little kids are known for their jelly legs and drawing on walls. Teens are known for their piercing and tattoos. College students dabble in drugs and drink too much alcohol. Grown women eating their placenta, men who punch holes the size of golf balls in their ears and wear rubber tire looking earrings, and people who send SPAM mail – I Don’t GET YOU!!!

Do computer nerds just wake up one day and want to take revenge on all the cool kids that used to make fun of them by sending out virus mail cloaked in  ‘you’ve been selected to win my late aunt’s fortune,  just send me your bank info!” messages?

Do children who were neglected wake up one day and inject ink in their skin (for the sake of  “art appreciation”) just because they want to be seen?

You want to eat and bake with bugs (see The Cake Boss) or your own placenta? Okay – but why try to convince others that these are good ideas? I’m squeamish at the thought of ALL these things. Let’s vow to attempt at raising healthier children who don’t need to resort to these kinds of behavior.

I’m not saying my kids are perfect and I’m an awesome parent.  I’m saying,  let’s listen better to what’s really being said, especially sometimes when there aren’t any words. I am saying, let’s not do things that are so over the top/borderline mental JUST to be different, just to be seen or heard. Be great at something through hard work, determination and some humility. Be awesome at being just you! Even if that means, you look just like the next guy.

Yiddish 101, Oy Vey Zmir!

https://cheriblevy.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/oy_to_the_world_yiddish_jewish_hat-p148857610562908593qj8k_400.jpg

It was a long shot but I needed to take an elective in college one semester to round out my credits.  So there I was deciding between The Basics of Yiddish and Applications of Computer Science (or something random like that) and I decided to go for Yiddish.

Why? Well, I had one set of grandparents who were fluent and I often recalled thinking, man, I wish I knew what they were saying. My grandmother taught me how to count to 10. In elementary school I was in the choir and I learned a song in Yiddish and would sing it to my grandmother, upon request. So I thought I had some fighting chance since I already knew some words and some numbers.

As small private colleges go, some of the more random courses offered don’t always make it. In order for a class to survive there needed to be at least three students willing to commit to the course – which was coincidentally the amount of students that signed up.

I remember one other girl but not the other. The one I did remember? I giggled every time I thought of her name. It was Marina Shore.  She was a sweet girl, I think with Russian parents, and her name was all water based, though I never asked her I always wondered if it was done on purpose! In any event there we three sat on the first day.

Estelle Getty - Transformation - Beauty

The oldest woman on the planet came in to ‘teach’ us. She was as old lady as you can get. Watery eyes,  a soft wrinkled face covered in base that was a touch too orange and a powdering of blush applied in a straight, yet diagonal line across her cheekbone. She wore a very stiff wig (in Yiddish – called a sheitel) and had not such even penciled-in really thick eyebrows.

(She reminded me of the character Estelle Getty played on the television show, The Golden Girls). She wore her polyester vests over blouses with a bow tied at the neck. She had ‘bubby‘ shoes that looked like black sneakers for nurses with extra wide feet and the sandy brown hose that are not really nude and meant for supporting varicose veins.

To be completely honest, I can’t remember learning a single thing, or if the class continued after the 2 week trial period. However, there is once specific incident I recall vividly. There we three sat, waiting for the “professor” to begin. She looked over her coke-bottled bifocals into the book, she began in her heavy accented English to give us the assignment. She stopped mid sentence and her head bent lower and lower and even lower still, until it came to rest with her chin tucked away in her billowy blouse-y bow tie in the nose, in her chest. At first we thought she had been scanning the page. Then after a few minutes of eery silence we started to get nervous. I looked at Marina, she looked at me. Eyebrows raised in worry I whispered to her, “call her name”. She shook her head no and pointed at me to do it. So I called out. Nothing. I called a little louder, no response. Marina whispered that I should see if she was breathing. Suffice it to say I was a shtickle (a bit) nervous. So I slid out of those desks that are shaped in an ‘L’ and started to creep towards her. At first I tried to see if her body was  shifting the way it would if a person were breathing. I couldn’t tell. I looked at Marina and mouthed: WHAT IF SHE’S DEAD? Marina mouthed back, NOOOOOooooo, with a look in her eyes that really were saying, MAYBE? I gently placed my hand on her arm. Nothing. I called out ever so gently as I sort of rubbed the blouse-y arm. Sure enough the head began to rise. I jumped, retracted my hand, ran back to my seat and was back before she raised her head all the way up. Those watery eyes looked at Marina and then her coral lips said, “Nu? Vas is das?” Which translates as, “Hey, What is this?” basically asking us what was going on, what were we up to, why are we not doing what she probably thought she had told us to do. Yiddish is like that, one word means the gansa megillah (which means loosely translated as the whole story).  Like, I said, I can’t even recall if the class continued on and the only Yiddish I remember is probably what I grew up knowing. You shmear (smear) a bagel with cream cheese. You must act like a mentsch (proper person) and not a vilda chaya (wild animal).  I was always referred to as a shaina maidel and people were always pinching my cheeks while saying oy, what a punim!

Yiddish recipe for Passover Rolls

Now that the holiday of Passover is approaching the only Yiddish in our house that is being heard is the repetition of the 4 questions, which one daughter is trying to learn to impress my in-laws (who are of the same generation as my grandma).  Even though they won’t be at our Seder they promised an afikomen gift to her if she gets it. Practice makes perfect.  The one thing I know for a fact we’ll get right? My grandmother would make Passover Rolls dense as could be, but if you can read Yiddish, here’s a recipe you may enjoy. L’chaim!

She Knew It All

Well, that’s how she acted anyway. Ugh, every conversation had her sticking her nose where it didn’t belong and making definitive comments that sometimes didn’t make sense but said with enough confidence that others believed she might be right. I was so sick of it. I wondered if others felt the same way I did but it’s not like I’d indulge my desire by gossiping about her just to find out. She just wasn’t worth it. I didn’t want to ‘save’ her from herself, I didn’t care to be her friend, I didn’t want to be associated with her or mentioned even in the same sentence as her…it was THAT bad. But these thoughts made me feel like a bad person. Love your neighbor as you love yourself…problem was she always had good intentions…but she upset people with her actions and speech.

I was able to spend the majority of my time NOT in her presence so at least there was that. However, every single time she was around, she would loudly spew her opinions and make every one else feel small. I know the theory behind it. The Bully Syndrome, I call it. They have insecurities (though most don’t see it that way) and instead of feeling small themselves they pump themselves up by teasing others or acting overly confident and making sure their voice is heard.

Being a quieter person, I observe more than I indulge in a conversation. I say something when asked or when something witty or cute comes to mind. Sure I have insecurities just like the next person, but I never felt like I had anything to prove. I never felt like I needed to be louder than the next person, or make anyone feel small. I never understood why someone would need to do that to others.  Humans are complex characters though and none of us are wired the same. We are products of our environment and I didn’t know her history or her family life growing up so who was I to be making judgement calls on her? Perhaps she is damaged like most of us and never sought help. I’d like to think this is it.

Am I willing to help? No way, I am not touching that scorcher with a ten foot pole. She can be mean (without trying to be) and I am a sensitive girl, plus, like I said, I do not interact often enough with her to be warranted into inner circle status. Which is fine.

I generally get along with people and avoid confrontation so I’m not going to make a big stink. Even though she said something so hurtful to me in the last week, I am willing to move past it without dealing with it head on. I don’t think she even realizes that what she did was wrong, because she always thinks she is right.  Perhaps she uses this method as a defense mechanism. Perhaps her outrageous behavior is covering up her tortured  inner world. Or maybe she is just mean, I only took Psych 101 so I am no expert but what I do know? Negative comments and being a know-it-all is a turn off to others.

“There are spider webs in our unconscious minds. Every person alive today has his/her share of unrealized desires, fears, and latent projections”

So I am no better or worse than she is, perhaps, but I definitely handle my actions in a more appropriate fashion. I was raised in a blue collar family with a high importance on manners and proper etiquette and behavior. I know my place and when to speak and when to listen. She clearly doesn’t and I feel sad for her. But I also am upset that she gets away with it. She comes off as rude and often I feel others see her as a bully as well, the problem is no one is willing to step and try to ‘help’ her because we know we can only help someone if they ask for it.

Soon enough she may have so little friends that she may be forced to question her actions. Do I wish that on her? Absolutely not, but I’m also not going to risk my precious and sensitive heart and soul at her possible thrashings and verbal abuse.  I will pray for her that she learns her lesson and sees the error of her ways.

The one thing she didn’t know? How many people she hurt along the way.