Frappuccino with a side of anti-semitism!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:15-04:00 April 10th, 2017|anger management, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, family, hate crime, holiday, Life, religion|

Happy Passover to those who celebrate. Chag Sameach to those who might know Hebrew. It translates into “joyous festival or holiday”, now you won’t have to look it up. The holiday starts momentarily and I hopped on a plane last minute with my kids to celebrate with Grandma and other family members. Anyone who knows me knows I am not religious, at all. I consider myself a “food jew” because I love Jewish food and make pretty darned good rugelach!  Well, today I felt more Jewish than I have felt in a really long time, and sadly it came out of the worst possible ugliness anyone should ever experience.

The Seder Plate!

I was picking up some last minute items for dinner, my two oldest along for company. They bribed me with their presence by weaseling out frappuccino’s from Starbuck’s. I’m a sucker, I know, but they are a pretty powerful team when they want something. There happens to be a Starbuck’s in one of the most religious areas near Grandma’s (it’s near a Synagogue), so I double-parked with my hazard lights a-flashing, while the boys ran in to get their drinks. There were plenty of cars doing the same thing, so even though I was blocking a lane partially, I wasn’t the only one. I was surprised when a very fancy black Rolls Royce (also a very chi-chi neighborhood) pulled up behind me and started laying on the horn. I mean, really honking! Everyone else went around, why didn’t this guy?! I was then totally and completely stunned, when the car pulled up next to me and the very distinguished looking, gray-haired passenger rolled down the window and screamed “Move you f#$ing Kike! You Kike!” I sat there in disbelief that someone could be so offensive, so horrible, and so angry! I hadn’t done anything personally to him, but the venom he spewed and the look in his eyes when he screamed that disgusting word at me, left me paralyzed for a good few minutes. It was in those few minutes I became overwhelmed considering every insult ever thrown at anyone for being different, and I got angry, really angry. Then I got sad, and then I got love, when my boys came back to the car and I told them what had happened. They were both shocked and both said how sorry they were that I had to experience that, and then they got angry too. We talked about the ugliness that exists in the world still today, and how we have to find a way to be a more accepting people. My middle suggested I write about the experience, so here I am, about to break Matzoh with family and friends and I will revel in the gefilte fish and the matzoh balls. I will also take pleasure in knowing that the man in the Rolls may be driving around in a fancy car but he will always be an angry and ugly human being. Chag Sameach!

Stay well.

Here’s one case for NO separation of “Church & State”!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:16-04:00 March 14th, 2017|activist, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, broadway, civil rights, Creative, creativity, death, donation, education, elections, family, grief, gun violence, hate crime, inspiration, Life, loss, mental health, motivation, nyc, politics, prayer, relationships, religion, sadness, school|

I don’t talk much about politics in this space, although if you have been a reader of this blog, you can pretty much gauge what side of the dais I would sit on. Don’t worry, this post isn’t going to be about politics….really, well, not really, but sort of, maybe a little bit. This post is going to be about theater, drama, comedy and friendship. I went to theater the other night with a group of friends, to see a play that was written and produced by friends, and it had equal parts comedy and drama. The play is called “Church & State”, and it’s in previews now at New World Stages. While I was watching the play, I was struck with imagery of a heated tennis match, because my emotions were being slammed across the net between laughter, anger, fear and sadness. In less than 90 minutes, I was moved to a point of paralysis. Yes, moved so emotionally, that I couldn’t move physically for a few minutes after it ended, because I was taking it all in and letting it wash over me. I was having varied experiences, mind you. I had just watched a play that someone I know wrote and someone I know produced, and it was good. I mean, not just like “Oh wasn’t that sweet” kinda good, I mean “Holy crap, that was impressive” kinda good. And, the content was just so relevant, and important, and crucial to the current state of affairs of our country and our communities, that I wanted to get up and holler that something needs to be done!!! So here is my holler, GO SEE THIS PLAY!

Powerful new play!

I can tell you that this play is about a lot of things including politics, but also faith, speaking your mind, marriage, community, and death. I can tell you that this play is already making an impact and it hasn’t even opened yet! Politicians and celebrities are not only coming to see it, but some will even be participating in panels throughout the run of the play to further conversation about the controversial subject matter. I guess I’m being a little vague on purpose here, because I want to protect the power of the play and if you go in knowing too much, it might color the way you receive it. Even thinking about the play now, I get choked up! Of course, you can click on the link above and learn a little more about it and what inspired it, or you can take a chance and see something that will undoubtedly leave you thinking, if not shaking just a little bit.

Off my soapbox!

Stay well.

 

Totem Tamers wishes all who celebrate Rosh Hashanah, a sweet new year!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:21-04:00 October 2nd, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, childhood, children, church, family, food, gratitude, holiday, inspiration, prayer, religion, stress, stress relief|

This is one of the good holidays in the Jewish religion, not that any are bad per se, but this is definitely a happy one. I am not religious, I am spiritual, but I guess I would call myself a “food-Jew”, because I actually really like gefilte fish, and I make great rugelach. I actually wrote about my rugelach in an old blog post, feel free to go back to it here https://totemtamers.com/religion-in-a-rolling-pin/. You can read about my rolling pin that was handed down, that is easily a hundred years old. That’s my religion. Or you can just marvel at this season’s rugelach waiting to be demolished over the next week!

My grandma in my heart and my heart in my dough!

My grandma in my heart and my heart in my dough!

Yes, that’s a butter heart that appeared in the dough as I was making this batch of rugelach!

This is rugelach before...

This is rugelach before…

This is rugelach after...

This is rugelach after…

I always make specialty flavors, which is definitely a departure from how my grandmother taught me, but I know she would be impressed!

There's Whitman's sampler, and then Selma's Sampler!

There’s Whitman’s sampler, and then Selma’s Sampler!

So yummy, and you should smell my house!! I don’t care what religion you choose, or don’t choose for that matter, just be kind and share sweetness! Who wants?

Stay well.

A muslim-american, african-american, and caucasian-american all walk into my house….

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:47-04:00 January 18th, 2016|activist, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, childhood, civil rights, Equality, family, friends, friendship, holiday, inspiration, Liberty, Life, mental health, parenthood, parenting, racism, religion, stress, stress relief, Uncategorized|

and THAT my friends is part of Dr. King’s dream. This is just a cross-sampling of the kids that come over to hang out and play video games with my kids. And it’s awesome, because in those moments, it’s only about whose player has better stats or who has annihilated more zombies. There’s no question of religion or race, it’s just kids being kids, and that has to be attributed to all the work Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., fought for and ultimately died for. On this day, when we get a break from school, many get a break from work, maybe we will have a nice brunch or go to a movie, take a moment to acknowledge that we have indeed come very far. Then take another moment and consider how far we still have to go. Thank you Dr. King, for your dream, for sharing it, and for inspiring many to be better human beings.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Be the dream!

Stay well.

It's a day of faux-giveness!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:57-04:00 September 23rd, 2015|anxiety, anxiety relief, bikram yoga, childhood, Life, pope, religion, stress, stress relief, yoga|

Faux-giveness: the act of pretending to let go of something that was done to you or done by you, simply so you don’t have to carry around the ugliness of guilt or anger every day. Because we all know, you don’t forgive Dumb Debbie Sue* for stealing away your boyfriend at recess that day, no matter how many years ago it was. Because we all know you’ll never forget the horrible feeling you had when a teacher accused you of cheating. Nothing ever came of it because (a) you didn’t cheat, and (b) he had no proof anyway.  Because we all know when anything has happened to hurt your children, forgiveness is nearly impossible. From the parties where everyone was invited except your child, to the auditions where your kid isn’t chosen, to the girl that broke your son’s heart for the first time, there is no forgiveness there. There is only faux-giveness. I will tell myself that Dumb Debbie Sue deserved Stinky Pants Stuart* because in fact, he did have stinky pants and she was definitely dumb. I could rationalize that the accusatory teacher was having a bad day, but really, when Facebook suggests that teacher as someone I might know, I am immediately back in that moment (20 plus years ago) with him pointing his finger in my face, and no, I don’t forgive. I could explain that maybe the parents sent the invite to the wrong address and weren’t maliciously excluding my child, that the casting director doesn’t know true talent when she sees it, and that I know my son will love again, hopefully a hundred times over. This is all faux-giveness, because we have to go on, because we have to function, and if we didn’t let go of all the crap that mires us down on a daily basis, we would be a miserable society (well, more miserable anyway.) And no, I haven’t forgotten about myself and my own transgressions leading to my personal faux-giveness for the things I have done, not only to others, but to myself. I faux-give myself for letting those Peanut M&M’s fall out of the sealed bag that was tucked safely deep inside the closed pantry, and into my mouth. I faux-give myself for all the horribly inappropriate comments and jokes I’ve made at the expense of others because there was laughter involved and laughter makes everything better. I faux-give myself for cheating occasionally during Awkward Pose in Bikram class, and blaming my knee when I don’t go all the way down. I faux-give myself for all of it, because I am only human, and that little ounce of faux-giveness is what helps me make it through my day, every day. Forgiveness is hard, really hard, and I admire anyone who truly has given it and/or received it, but for me, for now, and for ever, I will faux-give, because I can’t ever for get.

Stay well.

*names have been changed to protect the not so innocent. 🙂

PS:I realize you might be wondering why “faux”, and besides the obvious lingual pleasure, the truth is that I will once again let M&M’s fall into my mouth, and I will not always complete the postures in Bikram, and so it’s not a total forgiveness because the behavior is repetitive.

PPS: The other component to this whole rant, is remorse. I think forgiveness may be easier to achieve and offer, if the offending party is actually sorry for their choices or their behavior, and that includes ourselves. I’m not sorry for the M&M’s. There I said it!