Friday, February 25, 2011

It Takes A Friend

I've been a little witch-y (substitute the first letter with a b) lately, and it took a dear friend to put it all in perspective. She stopped my whining, pointed out the error in my logic, and gave me a firm kick in the tush.

Hello, that's what friends are for. To love you even with your warts. To say you're okay, but you're not really okay, so chill.

Just wanted to shout out my appreciation to a dear one. Thank you. I'm lots calmer now, can focus much better, and I'm actually smiling. Like, right this second.

If you don't have at least one dear friend who will tell you off, then you are not living right. Get one. It means the difference between sanity and evil. Light and dark. Being able to function in the world around you. In fact, get two.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My Second Biggest Fear

My biggest concern when I'm riding my bike around town is getting hit by a car. In fact, I've taken to riding on the sidewalk out of fear, and most people in this town accept it, knowing there are no bike lanes.

Wouldn't you know it - today as I entered the cross walk on my bike, it happened. My second biggest fear. It was an accident, but it wasn't me who got hit. It was the sweet woman who stopped her car in accordance with the California vehicle code that requires all cars give the right of way to a pedestrian. That would be me. The pedestrian.

While I didn't get hurt, I had the trauma of seeing it all up close. I saw the car that hit hers speeding along and knew it would not stop. In fact, it didn't stop until it kissed her backside. The poor woman who got rear-ended is 72 years old, and when the nurses from the nearby convalescent home came running out to ask her if she was alright, she couldn't answer. When she told them her age, it was enough for them to call the paramedics.

So I stuck around, gave both parties my name and number, gave my information to the police, talked back to an uppity fireman, and make a quick pit stop in the bank. Then it was back to life as normal. But not really. It haunts you to see two people hurt like that. The sweet lady in the car that stopped, and the devastated woman in the car that didn't. Makes me to grateful to the One Above to be alive.

Monday, February 21, 2011

How To Waste Two Hours

Some time back a friend of ours gave us a VHS copy of "How To Marry A Millionaire." Our VHS didn't work, so we tossed the movie in a box and moved on with our lives.

Well, guess who's got a working VHS? So last night, I stumbled, literally (Pesach cleaning is gonna change that) on the movie and decided to watch it. Imagine, 52 years on planet Earth and I've never seen Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable and Lauren Bacall act so bad you could spit. Talk about frustrating.

Maybe people in the 1950s didn't care about film editing, or quality, because I found this classic to be obnoxious. Hello - what's with the 2 minute freeze frame on airplane propellers in the scene soon followed by Marilyn and Burgess Meridith on the plane? Oy vey - what a waste of celluloid.

Let me guess - William Powell was either desperate for money or blackmailed into starring in this bomb. Okay, I sound angrier than I really am. The clothes were amazing, and while the storyline was stupid, it was enjoyable to see certain actors when they were young. Frankly, Marilyn Monroe was pretty funny.

But the next time I feel like wasting my life - it won't be watching some stupid movie!

Being Aware

It just so happens that two of my sons had the day off, simultaneously, on a national holiday. Today is President's Day, an ode to both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, and I looked forward to taking my boys to the Holocaust Museum.

A little morbid, yes, but educational all the same. And the Holocaust Museum by us is small, fettered with windows throughout and easily negotiable via an iPod you dial into to hear the narrations.

It's Black History Month and this museum has an exhibit in honor of the black soldiers who liberated the death camps. I wanted my kids and I to see that.

It turned out to be 4 panels dropped from the ceiling with quotes from black soldiers talking about how they were unprepared for what they saw. The tag line was "Liberators But Not Free", which I thought was appropriate, considering the US Military was segregated into white and black units.

I would have liked to have seen more about the black liberators. White soldiers were for sure freaked out about the death camps, but black soldiers, used to being discriminated against because of their color, saw first-hand what white people did to other white people. They had to be really freaked out.

We stayed to listen to a survivor recount his tale of horror, and then I took my boys out to lunch. Yes, I could eat after all that. So could they. Thank you G-d for the freedom to do so.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

What A Surprise

My husband is a big fan of Popular Science magazine, so when someone on was offering his 40 year old collection of the magazines for free, guess who jumped on them? My husband.

So one day, minding my own business, I noticed the cover of the magazine from the 1970s featuring an article by Werner Van Braun and I freaked out. That was the Nazi V2 rockets guy - writing in Popular Science. Talk about gross.

Then my husband tells me that Werner VB and all his Nazi cronies made our space program happen, which, in truth, I knew. But to see his name in my own home on a magazine as American as apple pie! I get that he worked for the man, both here and there, but there, the man was a mass-murderer.

Werner Van Braun had a guest column in Popular Science. Wonder if he ever mused about all the Jews who were murdered making his rockets. I'm gonna guess he didn't. Necessity makes strange bed fellows indeed.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Thank You Boss

I just want to say one thing: who ever invented peanut butter chocolate balls should be given an extra share in Heaven, because they make me very happy.

I went to a "L'Chaim" last night, an engagement party for a happy Jewish couple. But it's more than that. It's a screaming cake, cookie, candy with a small platter of cut veggies eating fest. Man, the one place on earth I love being but really should avoid.

So I loaded up a plate with cut veggies, dip, and said peanut butter balls. Went back for a refill - didn't deviate from the menu. Drank sparking water, went back a third time.

Woke up this morning with such a stomach ache, and believe me, I earned it. But my feelings about peanut butter balls has not changed. If you invented peanut butter balls (and I'm including Reese's), may G-d bless you, and grant you and yours wonderful tidings. Because peanut butter balls make people happy. And that's a big mitzvah.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Feeling Kinda Poorly Now. . .

Lately, I've been feeling nauseous. Not pregnant nauseous, but suck down a whole can of real coke nauseous. Not sure what it means.

So when there was a big kiddish at shul yesterday, I really had to think about what to eat. And the choices were amazing.

So I limited my intake, drank a lot of water (okay, a little coke as well) and went home to wash for bread. Didn't eat my normal body weight plus then either, and last night had a simple salad.

Still felt nauseous afterwards. Whatever. It's all good.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

He Did It Again!

When I'm riding my bike out in the street, I generally pay more attention to the world around me, since the on a bike, that world is slightly more lethal. And you never know where G-d will take an opportunity to tell you something.

Like when I was coming off the subway car. I found myself following right behind a rotund woman shepherding a bike, heading in the same direction as me. Which seemed kinda weird because rarely are there other bicyclists getting off my stop, and here was one going in the exact direction as me (once off the subway car, you can go either left or right, arriving ultimately at one of two different streets).

In one smooth move, she rolled her bike onto the escalator. Following her lead, I did the same. Simple, eh?

Not for me. Usually I pick up my bike and anchor the front tire a few steps above me to avoid being pulled back by the weight of the bike. Stupid, but whatever.

Thank you G-d for letting me know how to do it right. I'd just like to mention it's been about 5 months that I'm taking the bike on the subway, and now I get the message? Not complaining, just wondering. . .

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


There's a scene in the movie "12 Chairs" where Mel Brooks' character, suddenly screams out "headache!" Well, that was me today.

I recently found out that I have a blood condition called thrombocythemia, where my body produces too many platlets. It also produces too many migraines as well. I take baby aspirin everyday, and that literally cuts my migraines from daily (or twice daily), to once every 4 months.

Today, my migraine was a doozy. In fact, it didn't stop, so I had to climb into bed at 3:30 pm and lay there, eyes closed, until nearly 7:30 pm. Four hours lost to homework, children, husband and a bar mitzvah. I was devastated.

And scared. I thought my head would explode, and of course, thoughts turn to brain tumor. But I realize that there's another reason for my pain. Stress. Teaching 12th grade high school girls physiology is literally killing me. Or less dramatically, giving me headaches.

So I have two choices: either I de-stress myself or I quit. Food for thought. Which reminds me, the last time I ate was 8 hours ago and I'm starving! Feeling better already.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


This past Shabbat, lunch was sponsored by a group of people in honor of a recent wedding. It's called a Sheva Brocha - a meal for the bride and groom. It was set up as a buffet. In other words, an "eat-a-thon."

For those of us not blessed with will power (this should actually be written in the first person), these events are a cause for alarm, and truly uncomfortable if you forget to wear an elastic shirt. There is literally food flying everywhere, and no one is concerned if you eat off their plate. In fact, in you don't, they'll move it from their plate and put it on yours.

Afterwards, I stumbled home, changed into something more comfortable (read: mu mu) and fell fast asleep. Remarkably, I stayed FULL until this morning. All this nutrition information doesn't seem to be making a notch in my brain or my belt.

Oh dear. Oy vey. Sigh.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

More Subway Stories

My dear friend is Chinese-American, and when she told me that tomorrow begins the Year of the Rabbit, I knew that meant Chinese food to celebrate the new year. So off I went in the morning to pick us up a kosher Poo-Poo Platter, of which I believe there is no equivalent in real Chinese ethnic fare. At least my friend had never heard of it.

With the food securely placed in my backpack, I hit the underground, dragging my bike along. I sat down on a bench and prepared to wait the next few minutes for the train in quiet meditation. Then along comes a commuter, sits down right next to me and proceeds to take copious amounts of quarters from her pocket, all the while exclaiming joy with peels of laughter.

Frankly, I didn't want to turn around. Better I not know what's going on. I mean, maybe she robbed a bank and my knowing about would make me an accessory after the fact. But that wasn't it. My new found friend had gone to the right ticket dispensing machine to buy her day pass. Not only did she get the pass, but all her money back and then some.

The woman sitting on the other side of her asked if it was the dispenser closest to the wall. Yep, the newly rich woman replied. Ah-ha, the woman replied, the very dispenser that was stuck and wouldn't accept money a few minutes ago had given up it's load to one lucky lady.

It was like Vegas, only 30 feet underground. Buried treasure, I might add. Once again, all good.