Tracy Quartermaine is leaving General Hospital. And I am sobbing. Tracy Quartermaine is a fictional character on a soap opera and I am wailing. “No, Tracy Quartermaine, please don’t leave us! You’re breaking my heart!” To say goodbyes aren’t my strong point is an understatement. Guess what? Nobody likes goodbyes. A good friend’s mother passed away in Trinidad this week. The rituals following the funeral take two weeks. In Mexico, its nine days. In the Jewish religion, there is the seven day mourning period known as Shiva. We all have an extended mourning period to say good bye. We need that time to come to terms with absence and loss and change. And this doesn’t only apply when a loved one passes away. I recently finished the second production with the Community Synagogue Theatre Company. Since the last curtain came down, we have had an adult cast party, a cast dinner, an upcoming cast gathering to view the video, countless Karaoke nights, and a girls night out to say goodbye to one of our loved ones who is moving away. We adore each other. We miss each other. We can’t believe we are not going to see each other three times a week for eternity. But the days pass, and we get together less, and we work and plan vacations and deal with children and honor commitments and live life. Until the next time, when we will squeal, and embrace and scoop up children who have grown six inches in the last year and start all over again. Life will always include goodbyes. Some are temporary. Some are not. The trick is to not look back and be sad for what is gone, but to be grateful for what was here, to embrace what is happening now, and hopeful for what will come. Thanks for the memories, Tracy Quartermaine.
During the Passover Seder, the youngest capable child asks the four questions. Why is this night different than any other night? Why on other nights, do we eat chametz and matzo, but on this night only matzo? Why, on other nights, do we eat all vegetables, on this night only bitter herbs? Why on other nights, do we not dip vegetables even once, on this night we dip them twice. Why on other nights do some eat sitting, and some reclining, but on this night, we all recline? (I know, technically 5 questions). This is followed by a long answer involving sons, plagues, scholarly rabbinical commentary and multiplying fingers of G-d. A narrative that can be long and complicated and doesn’t really answer the questions. Not unlike life itself. A lot of questions, not many answers. It starts when we are babies, just learning to speak. “Why is the sky blue? Why do I have to wash my hands? What’s that? When is this new baby sister going back to her real mommy and daddy? What’s that? What’s that? Why? Why? But WHY?” It’s adorable. Until it isn’t. As we get older, we screen ourselves. We don’t want to appear nosy, rude, intrusive, uninformed, stupid. Worst of all, stupid. So we keep our mouths shut, we don’t ask questions, we don’t ask for what we need, we stumble around tripping over our own feet when all we have to do is ask someone where the %^*#ing light switch is. Well, I have some questions.
- Am I ever going to sleep again?
- Why do fools fall in love?
- What is that thing growing in my belly button?
- Why is the broken escalator always going up?
- Where the ^*%•*are the socks that keep disappearing from the laundry?
- What the hell is my husband taking about?
- Why do I say, “oy” every time I get up?
- What is jackfruit?
- What in G-d’s Green Acres is going on in my lady parts?
- Why, after almost 60 years of seders, did I have to google what the 4 questions are in English?
- Will the person who took my body and replaced it with my mother, please return it? No questions asked.
- How likely is it that that thing growing in my belly button grew around a cheese doodle crumb?
- Why doesn’t everyone think like me?
- Why aren’t jellybeans a fruit?
- Who let the dogs out?
- Why am I here?
- What am I supposed to be doing?
- Can I get a do-over?
- How do I get to someday?
- Why can’t someday be today?
- But, WHY?
I know, still adorable.
Like the Passover Haggadah, it’s all in the interpretation. We were slaves in Egypt, now we’re not. Thanks, G-d. Sometimes the endless questions are frustrating, sometimes though, it’s just another puzzle to solve. Another game. Who doesn’t like games? No, really, who? Really? But, WHY?On the Fence
We see what we want to see. What do you see when you look at these earrings?
They were commissioned by a woman who liked a bracelet I did, each section depicting a phase of life. These are called Work and Play. On the left, a couple falling in love and on the right, colleagues gathered to brainstorm ideas. But every single person who has ever taken the time to pick them up has seen elephants. Every. One. I made them. I know what they are supposed to represent. I do not see the elephants. My mom always nods and says, “look, honey, it does look like elephants.” No. No it does not. But there you go. We have a client who gives us chocolate bars every Tuesday, so a couple of weeks ago, I’m looking up milk chocolate in my Weight Watchers tracker. I find dark chocolate, low fat chocolate, unsweetened chocolate, everything but milk chocolate. Finally, there it is. Milk chocolate, 2 points for 2 ounces. Wow, not bad. I weigh one of the chocolate bars in the postal scale in our office and it’s an ounce and three quarters. Sweet! I eat the whole thing and track my two points. I repeat this for 3 or 4 days until the chocolate is gone. I am so happy! Until the next time I get on the scale. Huh. That’s odd. I gained a couple of pounds. That makes no sense! I was so good!!!! I shrug it off. One of those flukes in the weight loss game. Tuesday rolls around and oh, joy! It’s chocolate time. I grab a bar and as it’s hovering by my mouth, I think, “Imma check this in my tracker one more time. Just to be sure”. Yep, there it is. Milk chocolate, 2 ounces, 2 points! Oh. Hold up. That’s Milk, Chocolate, 2 ounces…WTF!?! Milk. Comma. Chocolate. Chocolate milk?!?! I’ve been looking at 2 ounces of @$^*%# chocolate MILK!? I would swear that comma was not there before! And who the hell drinks 2 ounces of chocolate @$”^* milk? I’m pissed. I’m muttering and swearing. I’m about to get all up in Weight Watchers face about this gross misrepresentation! When I finally wear myself out, I have to admit. I know how many points the &@$^*#ing chocolate is. I chose to see what I wanted to see. Cheap Chocolate. Now we can go through life seeing only what we want to, but the comma is there. Just because we don’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not gonna bite us in the ass.
I like to think I’m as bright as the next person, but truthfully, I’m either a complete moron or someone is gaslighting me. Seriously. Something really ridiculous is going on here and it’s driving me a little crazy, which as anyone knows is not a long drive to begin with. WTF, people! Let’s just start out by saying I’ve lost two train tickets in three days. Not just dinky little metro cards. Oh no! Monthly train tickets. With a metro card. That cost $365.00. Every month. Every single month. Except this month. This month it cost me $969.00. Because did I mention I’ve lost two? The first one on February 1st. Yep. I used it once to get into the subway, and when I I turned my phone around to take the ticket out of the handy little pocket I keep it in? Empty. Gone. Vanished. Empty out my purse, but never gonna find it kinda gone. Do I cry? No. I’m gonna suck it up. It happens. So I shell out another $302.00; I’m saving $63.00 because they don’t sell the kind with the unlimited metro card in Port, I have to go into Penn Station for that. F#%@&^* that. I’ll take the one they got. So now I’m real careful. I move my phone into a more secure part of my bag. I’m super-cautious when using my phone, always checking that my new train ticket with the very limited metro card is in the handy little pocket on the back of my phone. Uh huh. And today, when I leave work and take my phone out of its new very secure part of my bag and check the handy little pocket on the back of my phone? Gone. Vanished. I’m thinking it just fell out of the handy little pocket and is at the bottom of the very secure part of my bag! Yes! I see it! Oh wait. That’s the expired one from January, cause apparently that one sticks to me like glue. Really. It’s kind of hilarious, no? Do I cry. Oh yeah. Big ugly tears. I go back to my office to see if I lost it there, but I don’t see it and I’m about to miss my train, for which I do not have a ticket, so I empty my bag. Again. Nothing. Well, not nothing, cause there’s that &$”%^*-&$@^#*ing expired ticket from JANUARY! So after my sweet hubby calms me down, I decide to go to Penn Station so I can get another monthly with an unlimited metro card, which as it turns out is a complete waste of time because they don’t sell them there either. “The only way you can get that is through Mail and Ride”, he says. “I know that”, I say “that’s where I got mine, but I lost it.” I don’t tell him I lost it twice. It’s too embarrassing. So I pay another $302.00, take my new monthly train ticket with a not unlimited metro card and put it in my wallet behind my drivers license. A very safe spot. Expect now that I have to take it out umpteen times a day, let’s take bets on how long it takes me to lose my entire wallet. Namaste. NAMASTE
I’m walking around with a low grade terror that I can’t seem to outwit. It started last week, when I spent the day with my mom while she was poked and prodded at St. Francis. She is completely fine and was probably having a panic attack. Seeing a pattern here? I woke up Saturday with a relapse of the vertigo I thought was gone for good after a months long battle in 2015. It was not nearly as bad, and seems to be righting itself. So why am I so much more anxious now? I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. To wake up tomorrow or the next day and be incapacitated like the last time. So instead of dealing with the fact that I’m really ok and can function just fine, I’m terrified about the time when I’m not and I can’t. How do people do it? How do they handle chronic conditions that lie in wait without being scared all of the time? And how much of what I’m feeling is simple anxiety? How do I figure out how to stop borrowing trouble? To stop being so afraid that I’m going to feel bad, that feeling bad is all I’m doing? And the most important question…Why the ^*%# am I popping crazy pills if I’m still crazy?!?! Maybe I’ll embrace it. Maybe I’ll let my fingernails grow and wear tissue boxes instead of shoes. Or maybe I will take deep breaths and trust in whatever higher power is out there, trust that if I feel ok, chances are I’m actually ok. I’m ready for my close up, now….
Higher Powers, Reversible Pendants
As many of you know, I’m a relatively new member of my synagogue. I’ve been going to High Holiday services for years and finally decided that this was a community I wanted to be a part of. Periodically, if my family is busy or not around, I will go to Shabbat services alone. I love the ritual, the clergy, the music. But as welcoming as this congregation is, I still find myself feeling lonely at times. I don’t have the shared history of the elders, who have raised children and grandchildren here. I don’t have the comraderie of the young families, educating their children, celebrating holidays, preparing them for their bar and bat mitzvahs. I don’t mingle easily, so I don’t make friends easily. I feel just a touch out of place. But tonight, on the seventh night of Chanukah, towards the end of the service, everyone received a candle and the lights were turned down. The Rabbi lit a candle and then with that candle, lit someone else’s and the light was passed through the entire congregation until there was nothing but a sea of flickering lights. Sitting in the dark, I didn’t feel like the odd man out. I was just a light in the dark. And when we looked over to the windows all of those lights were reflected back at us, “so we know, the Rabbi said, that we are never alone.” And I held up my flickering light and tried not to cry big, ugly tears. There is someone behind me to light my candle. And I, in turn will light the candle of someone in front of me. Until it’s no longer dark. Oy, Am I Wishing on a Star, Reversible Pendant
Yesterday my boss brought in several jars of local honey. Apparently an employee’s daughter is a bee keeper, and because some of the hives are at his house, he gets a lot of honey. And I’m all, “ooh, locally sourced honey, so much better than the grocery store crap…blah blah blah.” Please. I buy the grocery store crap all the time. Ok. Not the point. I’m thinking I’m gonna bring a couple of jars home to my hubby. He eats a lot more honey than I do. And he’s been a little irritated with me lately. Nothing serious, but we’ve been arguing about nonsense a lot. He’s an easy-going guy, but there are times when he’s 100% sure his is the right way, and I’m such a stubborn ass that even if it is, I’m gonna argue about it. So I put my peace offering in my bag and I head for the train. I get home and he’s already a tad cranky because his back hurts, but I’m gonna make him so happy when I reach into my bag and pull out…two half empty jars of honey. You can imagine where the rest of the honey is. So now we’re yelling. He’s shouting about bolsas and plástico. I’m shooting back that obviously a plastic bag would have been a good idea, but these are canning jars, for @#%* sakes. He’s rinsing off the jars and I’m attempting to rescue what I can from the sweet swamp that is my purse. And there is honey all over the house. Literally. One bag and my favorite Vera Bradley wallet later, (don’t judge me, this is the perfect wallet!), things have settled down. Until this morning, when he wants to move the honey into a “clean” salsa jar and I tell him he’s crazy and we’re off. We stomp around a little, stepping into missed sticky spots on the bedroom floor. And when it’s time to say goodbye, we still swap a little sugar. Sweet.