Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Resolute, Shmesolute

Back on topic I am having a SERIOUS case of the munchies.
(Yes, wiseacres, even though I am a professional musician I have never even TRIED pot so it’s not that.)
Today I added carbs to my pasta—butter beans, OMG!--extra peanut butter to my pumpernickel bagel and tossed back a few crackers to go along with my potato chips.
Whole wheat crackers and baked Ruffles, but still…
Not one salad or green thing the entire day.
Hey, it’s a snow day!
The shoveling (into my mouth) started this past week:
My darling Zachary turned 21 (legal! poopoopoo!!!) and whatsa good Mama do?
We took him to Altantic City.
At precisely midnight he ordered his first martini.

(I ordered one too—yummy yum—make sure they make it
with Bombay Sapphire…)

Then Sruli took him to the Blackjack tables.
He happily, eagerly, delightedly, gleefully, showed his ID to the bartender, the security guards and the dealers—that, of course, was the whole point.
And he won 15 bucks! (And walked away, smart boy.)
They have Wawa markets down the shore—my FAVORITE place to get food!
The mashed potatoes are amazing, and the Philly pretzels are so good even I stopped getting them—600 calorie (!) bastards…
Plus we were stuck in our tiny vacation shack. I know and you know that EVERYONE eats out of ennui…
Thank God we had to shovel ourselves into our driveway to park when we got back—the only exercise so far.
I also think that our new business venture is making me anxious so I eat to delay doing what I have to do, but I am also excited about it and I eat when I am happy.
Obviously this is not a good equation.
Ahh—and the New Year looms. Sruli is the Rabbi this Shabbos and I LOVE his sermons and Torah service—he really cracks you up and makes you totally rethink everything—he gives great shul.
That and the big boys will just be coming home from KlezKamp which means sleeping off an entire week of no sleeping, so I don’t think we will be going out a la New Year’s.
I am actually glad—the best kissing is done at home!
PLUS my fabulous sister-the-doctor just told me that the progesterone I still have to take (yes, you go have twins at 45 and see what meds light up your life) is causing my “distended abdomen.” No kidding.
As that New Yorker cartoon captioned recently over a picture of a woman doing the dishes in stretch pants while her husband is on the phone: Myrtle? She’s testing the tensile strength of Lycra.
Me too, this week, Myrtle.
Like in Atlantic City--sometimes you’re up and sometimes you’re down.
So-- my New Year’s resolution is-- be happy all the time. Won’t you join me?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Tuesday the Rabbi said No

On my cell phone is the friend of a friend of a friend.

We don’t know each other and she is already crying.

Here’s the story: She’s 45. Remarried after being divorced and alone for many years. She has an older daughter from her first marriage and a poopoopoo young son with her wonderful and very religious new husband who learns half a day in yeshiva.

They’ve been trying IVF unsuccessfully, they are considering a donor egg, IUI, etc, and they are very frustrated.

They really, really want another child.

The Rabbi said no.

The Rabbi said no?

It’s not the right time, said the Rabbi. Not for you all those treatments. Not now.

Fuck the Rabbi, I say.

Did you ask him his opoinion when you got divorced? Had your first child? Had your second?

She laughs softly, No.

Her husband learns in one of those kind of yeshivas.

We’re not in that place, she says.

Not in that place not to ask, she means.

I remember my urge to talk to my shul Rabbi when I got divorced. But he had been to my house many times with his family, and us to his. He’d been out with my then soon-to-be new husband and me for drinks. And talks.

Although he was Orthodox, he was enlightened and he knew that his fiats could really affect people. He counseled, he didn’t coerce.

He also knew that a breezily given yes or no isn’t helpful. It’s cruel.

I ask the woman if there was another Rabbi she could ask. You know, one that comes more from her side of the family.

She says yes, that she actually already has an appointment to see another Rabbi in the new year. With my husband, she adds, gently.

I am cheered.

That rabbi also said not now, but that was 5 years ago.

I am floored.

It was too bad, she goes on, too matter of factly. Then, when I was 40, it would have been easier. That’s what the doctors say.

That’s what the doctors say because it is TRUE.

I’ve been through IVF. I saw those charts where my age was at the very bottom next to 3% chance.

I had a lot of help—a lot—and poopoopoo my beautiful twins are 21 months today.

I went to the doctor first. My Rabbi friends gave me blessings on the way.

I bite back the urge to rail against the arbitrariness of it. The misogyny of it. That this kind of orthodoxy has become a cage, a club, and a wasteful way to live. That she isn’t the first woman, or even the second or third who I’ve heard come up against a Holyman who doesn’t have the courage to say yes. Show me one orthodox Rabbi these days who says yes!

But here she is, on the phone with me, still crying, but less so.

I carefully spell out my doctor’s name and give the number.

True she asked the Rabbi. But she also called me.

There is a chance.

Monday, December 20, 2010


Last night we celebrated a once-in-two-lifetimes event—a 50th Wedding Anniversary.
My Mom and Dad’s.
It was glorious—becovidike--honorable, fun and full of warmth. They had gathered the people who meant the world to them—and everybody they invited came—and so so happily: from
Israel, Arizona, Maryland, New Jersey.
The last was us. My big boys in sleek black trou and glossy button-downs.
Our baby twins: he in a black velvet vest and she, refulgent, in a black velvet dress with satin roses—and RED SPARKLY SHOES!
(My first girl!)
French bread, Cabernet, beet salad, steak, fries, chocolate mousse cake--oh yeah.
Three other couples there—old friends of my parents, had also hit this milestone. I wondered if they had gotten married 20 or so years ago like I did, instead of 50 years ago, if they would still be together.
Betcha at least one of them wouldn’t.
There’s an old Jewish joke that starts with a guy waking up on the morning of his 50th wedding anniversary—and he is crying hysterically.
His wife wants to know what’s the matter. He says: That very first night—oy--I wanted to kill you—but my best friend told me I’d get fifty years.
He sobs. “I’d be a free man today!”
My Mother had her role—housewife, Mommy, pretty and accommodating hostess. Daddy was the breadwinner, the intellectual, the instigator of community contact. Mommy couldn’t really have a career—it would interfere with Daddy’s vacations.
We three girls were groomed to model ourselves after Daddy now, growing up-- and Mommy, after we got married.
Of course it didn’t work out that way.
But watching them both, last night, speaking lovingly into the mic that we schlepped up two flights to the party room of the glatt kosher steakhouse—
I realized that there is something to the acceptance of one’s place on the gameboard.
That when you have a happy marriage, the world looks different.
That Daddy really thinks that Mommy is the most beautiful woman in the world, and even though he sees every Scarlett Johanssen movie, he still thinks so, and it’s really nice for Mommy.
That they are really great people who moved with the times to accept our new relationships because they value happiness and are not jealous with it.
That when you live with someone for fifty years and that person gets a kidney removal operation you sleep on the chair by his bed in the hospital and neither of you would have it any other way because you are always together.
That your friends are just your friends—not His friends or Her friends-- because at some level you are really one person, one unit.
That you are fused.
And I realized that it might take 50 years which is an awfully long time and there
are no guarantees in life but my parents have something which makes 50 years
and all the risk worth it.
Mazel Tov, Mom and Dad.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Eight Crazy Nights

1st Candle: We play for our absolute favorite senior citizens home EVER—we are regulars there, but there must have been some new residents.

I play my violin and sing my little Yiddish heart out. After the show an older lady comes up to complain to Sruli. He shleps me over. Lisa—this lady said you didn’t sing any Yiddish songs. Why don’t you sing a Yiddish song especially for her? She looks at us. “I don’t like Yiddish songs.” We stop. How about a Hebrew song? So I sing BaShana Haba’ah right there, just for her. “BaShana Haba’ah? Next year?” she says. “I need luck THIS year!”

A few minutes later an older man came over to complain that I didn’t play the violin.

2nd Candle: Two concerts— one at City College and one at yet another senior residence—yay! only encomium and eydlekeit.

Afterwards I crisscross the GWB twice in one horrifically trafficky hour to pick up babies and make it back to Family Chanukah party. Meantime

Sruli has a supervised (yes) visit with 16 year old daughter who tells him:

“she steals you from me, doesn’t let me speak to you for over four years even on the phone, lies to the judge, threatens me daily, fights with me physically, and now my mother gives me a new laptop for Chanukah and tells me I should love her.” The supervisor gives them an extra 10 minutes and they light Chanukah candles in the car-- together for the first time in 5 years.

3rd Candle: We play for the fanciest elementary school—Hogwarts in Long Island. My big boys come home for the night (Oy I am dreying from delight) and together we light-- as 20 month old Charlie Re say-- the “Chammika Candles.”

4th Candle: We play for an old shul with a new Rabbi and brand-new Cantor—5 blocks from where I grew up. It’s now a chulent of ethnicities, ages, and everything else—tough to make EVERYONE happy—but I must admit we rock the house. At the very end we sit on the in the middle of the dance floor with the remaining 10 kids skooched around us and play accordion and violin and sing. It was Sruli’s idea and it was magical.

5th Candle: We perform the service for a church in Englewood. Verrrrrrrrry loooooooong and sloooooooow Hasidic nigunim. You could hear a pin drop—just like back at the Young Israel of Scarsdale. Haha.

And I get to hear the word “chalice.”

6th Candle: We have sequential dentist’s appointments. My one and only filling (from when I was 12! Impressed?) is replaced with fancy white stuff. Afterwards, I go to the gym, drooling from one side of my numb mouth. Can’t eat, good for the diet.

7th Candle: My favorite: We play for a fancy synagogue in Queens—big Chanukah party. After the concert a woman comes up to me: “Oh! You were soooooooooo wonderful! But—there’s no toilet paper in the ladies room.” I tell her I will see what I can do.

8th Candle: We play our traditional Chanukah Concert for a senior residence in Westchester. Our big band includes “my son, the Baritone Sax player” poopoopoo, and his adorable friend the drummer. Zachary does a jazz version of Bay Mir Bistu Sheyn that leaves me crying with admiration and love. The residents eat him up. Seeing the juxtaposition of my physical future (decrepit and wheelchair bound) and my real future-- my strong and handsome and talented son (poopoopoo again) leaves me crying again—a Life is Beautiful moment that only a parent can have. I plow through my recently adopted atheism and thank God.

The last day of Chanukah we play for yet another senior residence and manage to make many people happy. I am truly happy—and not only because I have 2 days off before our next concert. That night in a lame-o attempt at girlish cuteness I up-end myself onto the sofa where Sruli is splayed—we had been flirting—and despite a week of latkes and fried everything and only one gym—the sofa stays totally put.

Now THAT’S a Chanukah miracle.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


For eleven years I made Thanksgiving for 45 people. This included 6 pounds of chopped liver (ok, so we like to have a little left over…) 5 pounds of grapes, 4 chocolate cakes and fruit pies, 3 turkeys, 2 enormous trays of mashed potatoes, and 1 very, very busy but happy me.

Both sides of the family came from DC, Philly, Boston, Manhattan and Queens and our little New Rochelle house rocked.

I guess I’m allowing myself to look back at it this year because for the first time I don’t feel the guilt or the pull anymore about that time in my life.

I—and we all—have moved on.

Today I was a guest at my fabulous “little” sister’s—the same one I used to put on the back of my bicycle and take to the playground when I was 15 and she was 2.

The dinner was yummy and elegant and our baby twins (dressed like Thing 1 and Thing 2) played non-stop with their big cousins Sarah, 6, and Goldie, 3.

I am thankful for the human ability to move on.

I am thankful for my 4 children—and for the 2 step-children I will get to

see as soon as their mother learns how to move on.

I am thankful that I still have healthy parents and fantabulous sisters,

and that we are a close family.

I am thankful to my best friend Sruli who lets me touch him whenever I want.

I am thankful for my energy, even if I am not so thrilled with my appetites.

I am thankful that I circulate within a world-class group of true artists

and thinkers and kindhearted friends.

I am thankful that I have enough income to live in a nice house with 2 cars,

a full closet, a full freezer and a full liquor cabinet.

I am thankful for the hundreds of Bar and Bat Mitzvah Moms and Dads, the Brides and Grooms, Rabbis, Cantors, Ministers and program directors who put their musical and life-cycle trust in me and my band.

I am thankful to the State of New Jersey for being more fun than the State of New York even though New York is cooler.

I am grateful to the Obamas for really really trying.

I am thankful that I am in a country where I can truly change things about my life that aren’t working, whether it be a marriage, a business or a philosophy, and so can you.

I am thankful for each new day—and each yesterday.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Routine Cleaning

Since last writing I have gotten a new car windshield for an inspection I thought was this year but turns out to be next November, performed my favorite Moishe Oysher song, ran a kick-ass Bat Mitzvah, partied on the Staten Island Ferry for the 50th (!) birthday of my super-cool friend who looks maybe 30, raked leaves with the babes running rampant, had dinner with the parents in Qveeeeens, and got my teeth cleaned.

This last item happened today.

It was not a good week for the thighs. Only 2 gyms and more than 2 binges.

A little too spread-happy with the peanut butter on the wheat thins.

A few too many chicken wings.

Extra chocolate-enrobed pomegranate blobs.

HALVAH. (oy do I love halvah!)

Too many after 10:30 dinners.

A gingerbread muffin from Dunkin.

Too many crunchies and not enough crunches.

Found myself lumbering (lumbering!) up the stairs.

But enough of the Torpor and Turpitude.

I am BACK. Gym tonight and everything.

And last night we found ourselves at Eddies-the-bestest-ice-cream-




Ok, I made Sruli get banana in addition to his rum raisin (who the hell gets rum raisin anyway?) so I could have exactly 2 spoonfuls, but that was it.

Anyhow—today at the dentist.

So the hygienist was at my teeth in a major way, with that Mr. Thirsty thing sucking up all my crud and me spitting every 5 minutes anyway, and I’m kicking myself for not remembering to Chapstick beforehand ‘cos one’s lips lose all succulence from staying open that long, and she is talking and talking.

And talking. She is in her “mid to late thirties” (who says that? Why can’t she just say 37 or something?) and she can’t find a man and she is despairing and she’s been working since she’s 16, and my babies (who were, G-d Bless ‘Em, adorably destroying the Lego table in the reception area under Sruli’s watchful eye) were sooooooo cute, and she is really ready to be a mom, and dating is a disaster I should know, and ridiculous besides, and girls today are so aggressive and she isn’t.

I couldn’t say anything for obvious reasons, and what is there to say anyway, so I grunted sympathetically. Oy. Nebikh, Mizkeyna.

40 minutes of this later, my teeth were done. She smiled in that semi-crazy way some women have.

I felt that rush of feeling very lucky to be me, and a second rush of wanting to be rid of her quickly, this woman with no good things about her, lest her

sad-sack cooties infect like the dental decay pictured in all the brochures around us.

We looked at each other one more time, “I ran the marathon last week,” she said. “The whole thing. 26 plus miles. I’m in good shape.”

Yes, she is.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


What is the cure for jealously? Maturity? Resignation? Spreading it around and being generally (but more evenly) jealous of more people?

Does anyone consider him/herself a jealous person?

I know lots of jealous people—not one of them I.

Until yesterday, when I was furious at Sruli, frustrated with Sruli, exasperated and exhausted and just wanted to yell and yell and make him stop talking.

We were working on plans for our new summer camp and it hit me that he came up with the fabulously fun daily schedule, the cool plan for associations with other businesses, the better email to send to someone important and the better strategy for dealing with another someone important. Oh, and the name of the camp, too.


I’m the one with the fancy advertising pedigree and a piano-top full of writing awards, idea awards—I mean, I actually got awards for ideas.

What do I do with this situation—and where do I hide the body?

I think being jealous makes you fat, too.

Stress, cortisol, it’s all bad.

Come to think of it, he comes up with lots of good ideas for our music business, too.

He observes, he learns, he puts things together.

He can surf the web like nobody else and found me English lyrics for this song I needed yesterday in 2 seconds after I had been searching and searching and kept getting this damned video of Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme.

He gets us fabulously cheap vacations.

I love hearing what he thinks about every single thing even if it’s a little too much about religion.

He has, naturally, come up with many wonderful diet solutions for me all of which would work if only I would really follow them.

(Eating wise mostly normal, BTW, but I am including one cider donut and one piece of blueberry pie, but it’s been a few days and I’m really, really eating much less. At today’s (excellent) Bar Mitzvah I barely ate and did not touch the yummy challah or the ice cream with a thousand toppings...)

I ask him every 10 minutes if I look thinner. He actually looks at me up and down before he gives his answer. It’s always a minimally optimistic yes.

He also found me free links to Mad Men, The Social Network, Sex and the City2 and a site that gets you amazing Coach bags for 66 dollars.

He also arranged for all my bills to be paid online and takes out the stinky diaper pail.

He will do anything for the babies, his daughters, my big boys, the dogs, the turtle, the fish and me.

His ideas are more advanced, his thinking more forward, and his philosophy more universal. He is really smart. The smartest person I know.

Which brings me to the smart way I figured out how to deal with it.

He works for me.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Big Brown Bathing Suit

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The big brown bathing suit vs. the little black dress. The all-you-can-eat Golden Corral vs. the elegant plate of sushi. The overweight children in floppy tops vs. the tween girls in sequins and Japanese straight hair. The Marine tattoos vs. the Prada eyeglasses.
One week in South Carolina vs. one afternoon at a Bar Mitzvah in New York.
Ah, but the palm trees!
The woman at the hotel water park was definitely no older than 30, but 300 pounds, I swear. The enormous bathing suit, chocolate brown, had that skirt thing attached, and inexplicably, a kind of gauzy overlay that drew attention to her massive bosom. Her gigantic and cellulite riddled thighs did not look disconnected from each other. When she walked, the friction between them caused a shaking that rippled over her entire body. She had a modern haircut and a relatively pretty face which was not distended the way some obese people’s are. Her son was young and thin. They were smiling and playing ping-pong.
I tried not to look when she bent over to get the ball.
Maybe it’s me, or maybe it’s everyone, but isn’t the thing you can’t stand most about yourself the thing you judge other people most with?
People in South Carolina are fat. Really, really fat, in a way that people in New York aren’t. When I worked in advertising and was sent to Tennessee, I now remember, I thought the women there were fat too—in a way I never saw, even in those Queens shuls that hosted the Weight Watchers meetings.
It’s a beyond fat, a gross distention of human proportions fat, a sick-smelling white feral fat. A I can’t really do anything or be taken seriously as a professional kind of fat.
A fat that makes sex horrifying and presentability problematic, to say the least.
And no way could she fit into any of those plastic armchairs.
I am on that continuum, somewhere between her and (hopefully closer to) the hot MILFs who were dancing to Sandstorm this afternoon at the Bar Mitzvah, trying to be closer and closer every day. And I want to say for the record that those very same dancing women are also women of accomplishment and education, who do not make a life tsittering over themselves but have managed to work control into their eating-- and only two of them are French.
I must also ruefully admit that no one else looked askance at that South Carolina lady in the big brown bathing suit, and that she seemed happy and well-loved enough.
Just as we were about to leave the water park, I noticed something on the floor—a driver’s license. I picked it up and had a bit of a shudder.
Did you know that in South Carolina you list eye color, height—AND WEIGHT?
I looked. 145.
Thank God it wasn’t her.
I found the owner soon enough and took one last goggle at big brown bathing suit.
I sure do feel thin in South Carolina.
But I don’t live there.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Friends—I don’t even know what got into me these last few days, but the rage with which I stuffed—no, really stuffed, not a metaphor—my face with potato chips on Sunday night, and on Saturday night must have come from an abyss of something very, very bad.

We were playing two absolutely wonderful (if I say so myself) parties. The first was the Halloween party at our resort (ha!) complex down on the Jersey Shore and I was a fiddlin’ witch, of course. The second was a fabulous Bar Mitzvah up at a beautiful shul in White Plains, NY, where I was a klezmer violinist and party girl.

(You know the old Jewish joke—from one God you can’t make a living…)

Anyway, since I go to a lot of parties and there is a lot of party food at these things, sometimes I win, and sometimes I lose. Of course losing means gaining, ha ha again.

The rage of which I speak carried over until about two hours ago, and it’s already Tuesday. I have been withdrawn and bloated, frustrated and phlegmatic.

I think the week of “trying to be better” eating-wise has given me at best a sense of hopelessness and at worst a sense of entitlement.

I lost my sense of control and I had that fat ugly feeling of oh just give up. I took my eyes off the prize. Which is that damned red dress from Lucky that I want to wear at some damned point in my damned near future.

Sorry to be so sorrowful, and worse, tedious, but this is very very hard for me.
I have such a wonderful life (poopoopoo) in all respects and maybe it’s greedy to also want to be thin (my Diet Center lady used to say “What, so you think if you lose weight and look great you’ll get cancer or something?” And she was not Jewish!) but I know that it’s important to me—and yet I’m not doing it! What is my problem???

BUT BUT BUT. Two hours ago my little Johnny Xylo and I were out on a moonlit balcony overlooking the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina ocean. We are here for a few days because Sruli found this ridiculously fabulous deal on a ridiculously fabulous resort and, well, here we are.

I was playing my banjo uke and he asked for “bucket” so, I obliged “There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza…” and when it was finished, he threw up his little hands and shouted “YAY!” and I just melted all over the floor.

Plus, Sruli said I looked thinner and gave me a squeeze.

So, life is wonderful again, I realize I was being an idiot, and I have a little more koyakh.
What a ride, eh?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ungeshlepte Krenk-- It never ends

You’re never going to believe this, but yesterday my landlord came over to fix our shower (for the fourth time), turned off the water in the house, dismantled the faucets and the shower head, knocked a huge hole in the wall—and collapsed of a heart attack.

He had to be carried out by the EMS.

The guy is 84 God bless him, but that same God forbids he should hire a real plumber to fix things so he wouldn’t have to shlep from the basement all the way upstairs with pipes and things. His sons came by later that night to make sure we had water (amazingly, and I mean AMAZINGLY, I had once watched him turn the water back on during one of his previous attempts at plumberhood) which was very nice of them—and him.

He, from all reports, is going to be fine-ish….

We have been shleping ourselves to the basement for weeks now to shower, and the holes in the kitchen ceiling certify that room to be, I believe, a kosher sukkah.

It never ends.

Also yesterday I went to traffic court (for the second time) to try to pay my penalty for talking on a cell phone while driving. I pleaded (plead?) guilty to the judge the first time but he actually winked at me (!) and told me that I had such extenuating circumstances

(I was taking Aaron to the orthopaedist and the Dr.’s office was calling and I was pulling over to take the call) that I should come back and plead not guilty.

So I did, BUT the officer was out sick so I have to wait for them to send me my rescheduled appearance in the mail. It never ends.

Sruli’s divorce proceeding never ends. One of my favorite people in the world is on a never-ending quest to have a baby, and my heart bleeds for her. A few friends are on Odysseys to find husbands. Another acquaintance can’t seem to let go of her zero-sum-game philosophy of life, and she is always losing.

Philo of Alexandria (20BC- 50AD, Sruli just looked it up for me, thank you) said

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is in the midst of a great struggle.”

Compared to the great struggles I feel humbly lucky, but my battle of the bulge is my pekl, my burden, and I was not a great warrior today. I backslid, because I was looking better and forgot that I have to keep at it keep at it keep at it because if I take my eyes off the prize for even one second, something bad is going in my mouth.

My beautiful step-daughter (whose countdown clock by her bed is set to her emancipating 18th birthday—NO ONE should know from this kind of hell) told me today that people who get really excited about a little thing like food are happy people. I love her even more for saying that to me, but I envy her for thinking that food is a little thing.

I had a waffle, half a wheat bagel, tuna salad, one of those Starbucks chocolate grahams, another multigrain bagel with jam, a chicken breast and 3 cups of quinoa with veggies from Trader Joes, and some frozen yogurt and 6 pomegranate-infused chocolate ball things . Last night I took my big boys to Patsys and we ate like you can’t believe.

My big boys are poopoopoo beautiful and run track so they can carbo-load. I give a little kvetch at the gym for a couple of hours each week so I can’t.

I guess I will try to internalize that stupid diet mantra—tomorrow is another day.

But really I know better—it never ends.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sorry for the inconvenience

My gym costs me ten dollars a month (!) so you can imagine that I don’t expect much, but it’s surprisingly great.

The locker rooms have marble sinks, powerful hot showers and bathroom stalls with a good ratio of in-swinging door to placement of commode. Both husbands (sequentially, of course) have frequently heard me lament the lack of space (in so many, many places from the Metropolitan Opera to Molly Pitcher’s Rest Stop on the Jersey Turnpike) to actually enter the stall before my pants/skirt/sweater/coat is in calamitous contact with the usually-spattered front of ladies’ toilets --yuck!

Anyway, the gym also has tons of cool equipment, hot Spanish guys in wifebeaters and tattoos, treadmills and stairmaster-type machines galore, and happily available 7.5 lb weights that I use to attempt Michelle Obama arms.

They only have one scale in the ladies locker room and I decided tonight that I would alight upon it (ha ha) in order to mark for real my progress or lack thereof.

It wasn’t in the main room so I scouted and as I approached, I noticed a handwritten

note scotch-taped to the top. It was from the management.

It said: “This scale works but it adds between ten or fifteen pounds to your actual weight.

Sorry for the inconvenience.”

Since last I blogged we have been insanely busy.

Saturday we played 2 Bar Mitzvahs—(herring, one tiny potato pancake, a few bites of chicken breast and really only two bites of prime rib, and a bowl of fresh fruit cup—BarM #1; and one tiny potato pancake, 2 bites of pizza bagel, one handful of curley fries, one pile of asparagus and green beans, and one scoop of chocolate ice cream with chocolate sprinkles and after I ate the sprinkles in the melted ice cream I dumped another huge spoonful of chocolate sprinkles over it and ate that too—oy it was already almost midnight—2 glasses of cranberry juice and one glass of Cabernet—BarM #2.

Sunday my friend came over with her fabulous new baby adopted from Ethiopia and we cooed for hours while my baby twins smiled with interest and respect. My chicken soup wasn’t ready in time so we got Chinese and I had chicken with broccoli and white rice and 2 big spoonfuls of sesame noodles. Had a waffle for breakfast—Lowfat, Eggo, whole grain. I also made one for the dogs—their FAVORITE food.

Monday we had a crazy day in the City with 4 appointments to see sites for our camp so I ate nothing all day except an iced coffee and then came home and ate tons of my chicken soup which, the babies agreed was “DEEEE-licious!”

I also discovered Turkey Hill brand low fat frozen yogurt. Had a bowl of banana split just now, but today also included tuna salad, a multigrain bagel, 2 plums, 4 or 5 Wheat Thins, chicken soup—and that is all.

I’m really gonna have to start—shoulda been doing this all along, duh-- carefully weighing myself, and carefully portioning out my food.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My fabulous sisters-- One, a Doctor! The other, a Professor!-- and I are making a 50th anniversary party for our parents. Actually, my parents are insisting on paying for it, which should be some indication of why my sisters turned out so fabulous-- we really got lucky with our Mom and Dad, I gotta tell you.

So-- sin
ce I don't have a real job, and because I do hang out at parties a lot, it is I who have been getting emails all day from Glatt Kosher restaurants all over the city proffering their menus and per person costs, with or without wine.

Israeli heirloom tomatoes with broccolini and roasted pine nuts!
Macadamia chicken with pineapple coconut drizzle!
Duck rillette with red onion marmalade!
Tuna tostada with mango pinwheels!
potato profiteroles!
and my favorite:
Molten chocolate cake (MOLTEN!!!)

Ay yay yay!

Sruli says if I get turned on like this, no diet on earth will hold me.

Last night we ran to go out because Aaron was home to watch the already-sleeping twins.
I was unbelievably hungry--I had just been to the gym--and I know its bad to eat at night
but I ate roast beef and turkey and tons of beans and things at the salad bar.

This morning I had that yucky feeling of needing to eat more because my stomach
was expecting it.

I HATE that feeling and I haven't had it for a whole week.

Today I tried to relax and had some Wheat Thins (less than a serving--BTW Wheat Thins are the best cracker ever invented) with some egg salad-- a small serving of Grape Nuts
(BTW Grape Nuts are the best cereal ever invented) and then a chicken breast
with veggies for dinner.

I did have some dark chocolate--I got this great big bar for 99 cents.
It was worth it just to hear the twins clamor for "shockit."

I don't understand people who don't love food. It's like they don't love life, or have passion, or enjoy things or can ever be truly happy. I don't even trust them.

Really good food, the anticipation of it, the sitting down for it, the first bites of it-- is, to me,
one of the only two great bodily pleasures.

Food is second, BTW, but this is a food blog.

So-- G-d Willing, my sisters and I are going to make a sincerely heartfelt, warm, musical, speechiful and nachasful party for our most wonderful parents, and we are going to have molten chocolate cake, oozing with happiness.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Housewife's Lament

"Oh Life is a toil
And Love is a struggle
Beauty will Fade
and Riches will Flee
Pleasures they Dwindle
And Prices they Double
And Nothing is How
I would Wish it to Be"

I sang this English Ballad all hepped up in a hot pink feather boa with a big band behind me--the audience laughing and singing along. It's called the Housewife's Lament and it's all about-- dirt.

Spent 3 hours (3 really solid hours!) cleaning last night while Sruli took the babies (and Zachary) to the Target Mall. You should see our Klez Off
ice-- it's glittery. You should see my living room floor-- it's glossy. Bags of stuff outta here. I feel 25 pounds lighter...
Speaking of which.

I'm really thinking before I eat, lately. Maybe because of this blog, but also because I'm beginning to notice how much better I feel.
Also that I was able to fit back into my Isaac Mizrahi skirt (from Target) after only a week.
I've been getting such nice encouragement from friends all over-- Thank You.

Today I went to Dunkin Donuts with Zachary for breakfast and I DID NOT
order anything other
than an iced coffee. Ok, I did take a few bites of the twins' wheat bagel,
but that does not count at all.
I had some yummy tuna salad and for a late dinner some rotisserie chicken and one entire bottle of fancy beer from Canada.

When I was at Diet Center, way waaaaaaay back when I was 26, alchohol was strictly forbidden.
I did 8 weeks of dieting where every single thing I was allowed to eat fit on the back of a business card. Carrots weren't on the list-- too much sugar. Broccoli too-- can you imagine? Too much sugar, in broccoli? Hard core. I lost 36 pounds and I am embarrassed to admit that I even had my bosses chasing me down the halls.
(Back then I guess there was no such thing as sexual harrassment)

Anyway, alchohol was forbidden. I didn't really like alchohol much back then, so it wasn't such a big deprivation. Now-- bring it on-- especially bourbon and red wine.

Aaron, my 15 year old, who is a Men's Health Magazine maven knows the caloric content of everything. I'm going to ask him to make me a list of all my foods. He already told me about peanut butter (100 cal per tablespoon) and olive oil (140 cal per tablespoon) and I was too depressed then to ask him anything else.

Ok-- enough lollygagging: Today, I also ate some leftover eggplant stew, one slice of pizza,
and 2 squares of dark dark chocolate with sea salt.

I've been drinking lots of tea-- made the Christopher Hitchens' way, according to his memoir.
Russian Caravan-- a tremendous tea.

Haven't been to the gym in 3 days-- but cleaning last night made me sweat
as much as watching Saeb Erekat on CNN during treadmill.
Hope to go tomorrow tho' it's Sisyphean, the gym.

Which brings me back to the Housewife's Lament:

"There are worms on the cherries and slugs on the roses
And ants in the sugar and mice in the pies
The rubbish of spiders no mortal supposes

And ravaging roaches and damaging flies...
With grease and with grime from corner to center
Forever at war and forever alert...
She lay down her broom, her apron she folded
She lay down and died and was buried in dirt."

Monday, October 11, 2010


Nothin' like goin' home to Mom's for Dinner.
My family is con
nected by some psychic fiber optics-- I mentioned to my parents that I will drop by with the baby twins-- I show up and my ENTIRE family is there!
What a party--
my fabulous sisters! My fabulous nieces! Chicken Soup! Roast Beef! Breaded Chicken Wings! Tofutti Cuties!
Queens food is the best in the world. Mom's food is the best in the world.
My parents are going to be celebrating their 50th Anniversary, G'W, this December.
It's an incredible modern-day achievement-- I won't get there.
I think the secret to a good marriage, besides the wife being a good cook-- I'm serious--
is that each respects the others' spheres-- and one of the pair is easygoing.
Think around to all the good marriages you know-- right?
There was an article in the Times about this, some years ago.
The happiest marriages are when she says something and he says yes.
The LEAST happy marriages are when he says something and she says yes.
The usual marriages are when everything has to be discussed.
Oy. (I have something to discuss with Sruli when I finish this...)
People, even grown up people, tend to put their parents in hazy boxes--
Dad's a workaholic, Mom's sweet and accommodating...
When they are always together they sort of both add up to one person.
" A Parents."
My big boys are getting to know my ex and me separately-- and it must be weird
for them.
I will say on the record that I have the best divorce of anybody I know-- and probably
the best divorce in NY.
I credit my ex first, then me.
The boys are relaxed and happy, poopoopoo, and they enjoy spending time
with each of us-- I can't even breathe with how grateful I am.
Sruli's ex is a liar and a thief who stole his girls and will not let us see each other at all
and it's been almost 5 years.
(600k can do that, apparently.)
But back to my parents and the family and the food.
I tend to let it all go when I'm there-- my Mom really IS a storybook mom who is
sweet and accommodating and I've always been very close to my Dad so it's kind of like
regressing into that "I am not responsible for myself" childpose,
which is, of course what got me into trouble in the first place.
ButI didn't do too badly, this time, there, in Queens.
My sister noticed that my sweater looked loose.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Meat and Eggplant Stew

Oh the deliciousness of the Farmer's Market! The roughly laid out bounty, the bright colors, those handmade baskets, vegetables that you swear you should eat more of, the wholesome Amish people, the mouth-puckering pickles and tomatoes and apples of every subset of every variety.
And the pies, YUM!
But-- since I know I will have to answer to you and the rest of the Mark Zuckerberg club (just saw "The Social Network"-- wow-- more on that later) I concentrated on the veggies with the one infraction of the ginger scone which I already apologized for last post.
Cube up 3 fresh eggplants-- I used 2 white and 1 purple
Put eggplant in colander, sprinkle with salt all around and let sit for half an hour
Slice an onion and sweat in olive oil on the bottom of a heavy stew pot
Dredge about 3 lbs of cubed chuck steak in flour seasoned with salt, pepper and paprika
Brown the meat in the frying onions
Add a half-cup of water to pot of meat and onions and cover. Cook for half hour.
Add one or two fresh cubed tomatoes to pot and
add eggplant and any other veggies you have:
I added a couple of yellow zucchini and 2 potatoes-- cubed again!
Stir all together grind some fresh pepper over it
and let cook for another half-hour til meat is soft and yummy.
Serve over whole wheat couscous.
I also had a couple of sips of beer.
This morning I ate a whole grain waffle and then
(Dunkin Donuts again!) a multigrain bagel with tuna salad
for lunch. Oh, I did have a few bites of a corn muffin-- VERY BAD.
Dinner was that stew-- and even the men in my family (almost everyone)
ate it all up!
At the movies tonight I ate the equivalent of a medium popcorn-- please
someone tell me that movie popcorn (no extra butter, yich, or anything)
isn't as bad as everyone says... and a handful or two of yogurt raisins.
This movie is takke fascinating-- the coldness and cluelessness of Zuckerberg, Facebook's founder is so bizarrely juxtaposed with this need to be loved and included.
It's such a modern tale-- bracketed by lawsuit after lawsuit. That must be such
a drag for him-- but it doesn't sound like he really has much of a life, frankly.
I spend much too much time trolling Facebook and most of my friends do too--
it has become our way of being friends-- and it is convenient as hell.
And the concept of posting every last thing you do-- and every last
thing you eat-- is a modern tale, too.
Luckily life still has farmer's markets.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Gonna eat you up!

I can't even tell you how many times I've said this to my little Johnny Xylo-- his round face with those blond angel curls, laughing pink cheeks and the sudden happy flash of white baby teeth, his big big blue blue eyes and his soft belly, strong calves and chunky feet--he is truly something substantial and dinner worthy. (So much for my not wanting to write about the kinderlakh...) Charlie Re, his twin and partner in making us so poopoopoo doubly blessed is much more delicate-- an even bigger mop of darker blond curls but a tiny little girly self that would barely do for a snack...
Ok, I eat her up too.
I don't know where this comes from, but I was PETRIFIED when my Aunt Jenny would come over when I was little and give me "bities." I SWORE then I would never do that to any child and, well, here I am.
Of course the babies love it, as did my older boys and if I did it to your baby he would squeal and love it too.
I just came from a gallery installation of Grimm's Fairy Tales brought to life in little peepshows of horror and I remember reading those Hansel and Gretel stories as well as "A Cavelcade of Witches" when I was about ten-- the only porn I was allowed--and there was lots of eating of little children and it was scary as hell.
Folk tales were created to scare children into being good-- and there is very little ambiguity of character: children=good, strangers/witches(see also stepmothers)/wolves=bad. So don't go into the woods by yourself and talk to that wolf in granny's clothing.
Being eaten up was the absoute worst thing that could happen to you.
Nowadays it isn't.
Nowadays I guess you only eat what you love and you love your children most of all.
Anyway, besides my babies, todayI ate:
One very delicious ginger scone (!) that I absolutely have been feeling yuckily guilty about all day...but it was fresh from the Englewood Farmer's Market from the Amish Country...
And organic...(?)
2 fried eggs in Pam and one small baked and naked potato.
One roll of tuna sushi.
One multigrain bagel from DD with a small shmear of jelly (REALLY didn't need that, Lisa)
I blueberry smoothie-- but medium is the new large and I had a small. (YAY!!!)
1 really nice salad with grilled chicken, some black beans and tomatoes with a very small portion of guac.
2 small squares of dark chocolate with sea salt--OMG is this a find!!!
A friend who hadn't seen me in a few weeks noticed that I looked "better."
Nothing Grim about that.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Two Bites Away

years ago when I was hot (as opposed to hot flashing like now) when people would say: oh, what's your diet goal I would say: I want to be two bites away from binging.
Right now I am less than one bite away, and the flim flam curtain separating me from total porcine-isitis is laughably and ironically thin.

Anyway, so many many things are happening that it's hard to concentrate on what I SHOULDN'T be doing...

We are still looking for a new place to site our groovy new summer camp. To this end I attended a freakishly fun "conference" of camp directors yesterday (didn't blog cos I was so exhausted from hiking around the 35 acres of gorgeousness, trying to make new friends in a completely new world, meeting impressively impressive people who really truly un-ironically care about children and delighting them, AND actually throwing a clay pot on a wheel which I haven't done since I was 15 at Camp Usdan) where they served a seriously generous breakfast and lunch (smoked salmon, quarter of a wheat bagel, salad, quarter of a chocolate croissant (sorry) 2 slices of turkey, one small shish of grilled chicken, more salad, one mini hamburger, tons of sushi (which no matter how much I eat has absolutely 0 calories no matter what you say) and (sorry, again) one tiny brownie and one half a chocolate chip cookie) and I realized that there are some jobs in life as well as some level of competence that I can never hold and never achieve.

Today we looked at more sites on the Upper West Side and I saw something I loved (a magical place, really) and one of its attributes is that it's on the 5th floor of a school with no elevator!!
Yay, tighter thighs!!

Happily we got to walk around the magnificent UWS on this magnificent day with the Baby Twins stopping traffic as ususal with their curly blond heads. I really feel blessed every minute with them. With my older boys too, actually--but I am superstitiously petrified to write good things about my poopoopoo children...

Met our slim friend who LOVES to eat but eats s-l-o-w-l-y and enjoys the company much more than the food-- there is definitely a lesson here-- and we went to this yummy shwarma place so including the shwarma-in-a-pita and a side of hummus (which I gave half of to Sruli) today I ate one-half a wheat roll with exactly 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, one half of an Eggo low-fat whole-grain waffle, 2 small slices of meatloaf with exactly 14 potato chips that make a 150 calorie serving like it says on the bag, lettuce doused with tahini from yet another falafel place (it's becoming a fetish, I know) and just now a few squares of 86% dark chocolate with some skim milk. Sruli gets me these DE-licious chocolate bars but other than that shoots me looks when I try to order too much "unnecessary" food at falafel places...

Trouble is, 4 days into this new "life happy plan where eating shouldn't be so important to you, Lisa," I still LOVE eating.

The good news is that even though right now I am not even one nibble away,
4 days into this I am already starting to take two bigger bites out of life. Really.