Monday, December 31, 2012

Bill The Ice Cream Man

You could already hear the tinkle before the truck rounded the corner, came up the hill and parked itself –oh joy!—right in our driveway.

We—that would include Zachary, Aaron, Ilana and Toby—and any other neighborhood kids whose parents were as permissive—would actually jump up and down just like in commercials as we fished out our money and made up our minds.

Zachary, 8, would get a King Cone. Ilana, 3, ices, always ices. Aaron, almost 3, would get something Mommy picked out for him—usually an ice cream sandwich with three flavors inside. When baby Toby was still baby Toby she sucked on whatever Sruli got, which, of course, was ices, always ices, too. I, ever on a diet, got a Frozefruit, which, let’s face it, if you get the coconut, which of course was my favorite, was insanely fattening.

We had been happily waiting for close to an hour in the driveway;  Sruli and I playing music for all the kids, telling jokes, planning what we were gonna get “this time.”

We did this twice a week, in season, for the better part of 10 years. Ice cream night was a big deal.

Bill-the-ice-cream-man was white haired and smiley. And patient. He kind of matched his truck.  (He was always in Good Humor.)

And apparently he had been watching us too.

We had already moved out of the neighborhood a good 5 years when we saw him a few months ago at the old park—big hellos.

He asked me for my number. “I’ve known Zach now for many years, I watched him grow up,” he said. This was true. “I always saw how he took care of his brother and bought him and other children ice cream with his own money when you weren’t there.” This was also true. “I have a nice girl for him.”


“My wife and I want to have you all for dinner. Her family too. Are there any dietary restrictions?”

Wait. Won’t they just be serving ice cream?

So today we all went. Really. Because, IF she turned out to be the ONE for Zachary, how freakin’cool would that be—to be set up by your ice cream man? Already I was planning a milchig wedding brunch so we could park a you-know-what right inside our synagogue’s social hall—Candy Center Crunches for everyone!  Ices for Ilana and Sruli!

Well, Bill and the lovely Joan do NOT live in a truck. Of course I knew this, but I was a tad disappointed. So was Zachary I think.

The girl and her family were lovely, but she was not for Zachary, and maybe we all were a tad disappointed. I think.

But then—it got weirder.  As I started to talk to the Dad, and he began with the usual where do you live, etc., I said, “Well we lived in Englewood for a while until Sruli became the Rabbi of this CRAAAAAZY synagogue in North Bergen” and he shouted “Temple BETH EL?” and I shouted “YES!” and he said “I’m the president of the synagogue right up the hill from you!”

The synagogue that had been trying and trying to merge with us before Sruli came on board but our little band of congregants wouldn’t hear of it.

All together we were, this afternoon, at the house of Bill the ice-cream-man.

So he didn’t make the shidduch with Zachary and the girl, but he did get the parents together—we had LOTS to talk about and are planning—not to merge, ha ha!-- but to get together.

He really did something nice, that Bill. As did Joan. Something that people always say they’re gonna do, think they’re gonna do, really think they’re gonna do. One day.

Today, he went to a lot of trouble to set up a nice Jewish girl—from Barnard, yet!—with a nice Jewish boy he used to see out his window, summer after summer after summer.

Maybe, as the old joke goes, they were the only 2 Jewish people he knew.


After an elaborate lunch with plenty of wine, Joan went out of the room and came back with a big cardboard box.

Zachary had a King Cone. I had a Candy Center Crunch. (One of the biggest sellers, Bill told me.) Aaron was not there, but Johnny had an ice cream sandwich. Ilana was not there, but Charlie and Daddy had ices. Always ices.

Friday, October 19, 2012

To a Tea

When I was a little girl, my father had a Gemara Shiur-- a Talmud study group--of fellow professors. They met every Shabbos afternoon, about 15 men, and they rotated houses. When it was our turn the dining room table was laden—and I mean laden—with all sorts of goodies that my friends and I khalished over: seven-layer caked, sugar bowties, real bakery cookies with the jelly in the middle and colored sprinkles on top, fresh grapes and dried fruit, licorice, salty nuts, and my absolute favorite—chocolate covered almonds. All parve, of course.
My father would lead the shiur around that table, the enormous brown leather books open in front of all the serious men, a sea of sacred surrounding a profanely colorful spread.  All the wives would come too—and sit—with their own nosh—around the kitchen table, tsittering.
But here it is: at a certain point would come The Time To Serve The Tea.  Daddy would signal from the dining room and Mommy in the kitchen would jump up and Serve The Tea with all its fixins in frankly reverential silence. The women would wait, hushed. These were all their husbands and they did the same when it was their turn to host. Then—tea served—the tsittering would begin again.
Fast forward to when I was a young wife in Scarsdale. Robert organized a shiur, also with all the husbands we socialized with. As I set out the seven-layer cake, grapes, cookies, nuts and dried fruit I said, “Tell me when it’s time to serve the tea.”
Why, he said.
So that I can Serve The Tea.
He gave me a funny look.
“I don’t need you to serve the tea. I can serve the tea”.
He turned and started stacking up the china cups, got out the Chai, the Camomile the Peppermint, khopped the sugar bowl, and even cut up a lemon.
And just like that—I became not my mother.
Until… now. Maybe.
Every Shabbos afternoon after services we have a kiddish lunch here at the Temple. While I make the Friday night dinners for everybody, there are other people responsible for the Saturday kiddish. I’m grateful, because it’s pretty elaborate, with everybody sitting around the table-- Rosario passing plates and—hallelujah!--cleaning up.
Sruli has just finished doing services that started at 9:15 and he is the opposite of a morning person so by the time he sings V’shamru and makes Kiddish over the wine, designates the usual designee for the Challah, he plops down at the table. I take a plate, fill it with egg salad, regular salad and anything else I think he will like, and set it down in front of him. I keep an eye on, to make sure his water cup is full, and jump up when I think he needs seconds on the egg salad. I hustle to make sure the pepper shaker is within his reach. I carefully select a non-chocolate cookie and piece of cake for his dessert.
I throw some grapes on that plate, too.
Of course I also make sure to Serve Him Tea.
I’m a modern, educated woman who can support herself on the open market, runs a small business and deals with the world. All the women in this shul are modern, educated, and self-supporting. They are equal. They are wonderful and we have become friends. If I described how on tenterhooks my mother was (and IS—because she still does it!!) how alert she is, waiting for the signal to serve,  how careful to do it right—and how frankly elegantly she does it--they might laugh. Or worse, shake their heads.
Every time I serve Sruli, and it’s pretty obvious, every Shabbos afternoon at that kiddish,  I don’t say anything and none of my new women friends and congregants say anything.
But I see them watching. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Old Woman Who Lives in a Shul

Our living room sofas all face the same way. Mood lighting--- orange bulbed yahrtzeits. I serve mac and cheese in the milchig kitchen. Rotisserie chicken upstairs in the fancy fleyshig caterers kitchen. I use the coatroom to dry my black dresses. The kids scooter around a room with 40 foot stained glass windows. I sneak down the hall in my towel to the shower. Sometimes I run into the president of the board. Or the “prophet.” Sruli and I have midnight dates in the Rabbi’s Study. Tonight we are working on our computers and having tea and kichels.

We are living in a shul and Sruli is the Rabbi and I am the Rebbetzin and our kids are “The Rabbi’s sons and daughters.” To say that life has changed is…a ridiculous understatement. To say that my life is ridiculous is…not an understatement.

This past summer we were busy enough, what with the camp, shlepping to the camp, running the camp-- weekend gigs that got us home at 2 in the morning and we had to shlep to camp the next day—but who’s complaining?--- and 5 kids, 2 of them three. Camp was glorious—we love the new space in the East Village—enrollment doubled--and the kids and parents were clamoring for “just one more week!” The campers were completely delightful and delicious. I can’t even tell you the nakhes I got—watching them make friends with each other. But the biggest nakhes of all was watching my big kids really make the camp magical. It wasn’t just the classes they taught, it was the happy manic exuberance—one more all-out game of American Eagle—one more groovin’ shakin’ dance party-- one more race-around with everyone chasing—JUST to make the kids happy—just to delight them. And Aaron, getting up an hour early every single morning to run the subway pool from the Upper West Side.

Also Ilana was dealing with the last moans of craziness, which thankfully for all of us, is, after six insane years, amazingly over. She got out all her stuff (and I mean ALL—boxes and boxes and boxes and you can’t believe) but she marched into NYU a totally free young woman with a glorious future. Apparently, the night Sruli helped her move in, the elevator doors opened and there was a floor meeting already going on. Everyone stopped to stare at the new girl and Sruli smiled and said, loudly: Hi guys, I want you to meet my mother—and everyone cracked up. He’s great like that.

Of course the reason she moved in late was because we had just driven straight home from KlezKanada. Which was uniquely glorious this year. That lake—that lake! The carnival! Zachary’s Teenagers in Lvov! The Tish! Our KlezKids singing in Yiddish and little Johnny Xylo ringing his purple bell at just the right time in the hand-bell choir! It seems like a dream and it seems like it happened so long ago.

And then, the very next day it started—six weeks of hellacious hell—MOVING.  Packing, throwing out, boxing, shlepping and loading it all into the car.  Driving here to the shul. Unloading, shlepping and putting all these goddam boxes out of sight and into the tiny rooms here so they would be out of everyone’s way.  Two or more trips a day. Pack, load, drive, unload. We would fall into bed at three-in-the-morning ache-y and kvetch-y and miserable. I don’t understand how we got to own so much goddamned stuff. I did this every single day—every single day—for six weeks—except when we had gigs—that was like a vacation—with my heel-spur, yet, constantly killing me and my nerves completely raw. The only bright side is that my arms, while not Michelle Obamaesque, are nicer and a bisl ripped.

So now, here we are. Rabbi and Rebbetzin. It’s a riot. And I have to say, Sruli is a revelation. He was born for this. It’s like he has the best of the Talmud at the tip of his tongue, easily rolling off anecdotes, facts, halachic traditions. His sermons are smart, really smart—poignant, funny and filled with new thinking, modern thinking— he makes you forget sometimes that the Torah is over 3000 years old. He gets everybody singing. He is modest and gentle. He is welcoming. He blessed a seeing-eye-dog right from the Bima. (Coco BAS Menucha!) He dealt with a fight in the middle of Kabbalat Shabbat one time between the self-styled “prophet” and another, beloved congregant.  He did a brilliant job during the marathon that is the Hi-Ho’s—a trifecta of constant davening, sermons and fund raising. Tashlikh was magical. He held court at the parties in the Sukkah every afternoon and evening.  We did a kick-ass Simchat Torah with dancing for over an hour in the streets while he played and the disco lights flashed. He gets all the children to sing Adon Olam. He is always working now, always thinking about the shul, always preparing for Shabbos, for his conversion classes, his Judaism classes. We are starting a Klezmer Band next week, and hopefully soon—a Hebrew School.

And it’s cute the way he flips and re-flips his tallis over each shoulder constantly as he davens. The congregation eats him up and so do I.

Of course I am right there—making spaghetti dinners EVERY Friday night for everybody, arranging kiddushes, apple dippings, Dinners in the Sukkah. We perform a bit every Friday night. I am the children’s program director and resident storyteller and I meet and make sure to talk to everyone. I am also very much responsible for trying to grow the shul and the Hebrew School, Mommy and Me and Shabbat and all outreach to families is my responsibility. I enjoy every overwhelming second, but it is overwhelming.  

We are also playing Bar and Bat Mitzvah’s pretty much every Saturday afternoon and I (and, Thank God, Zachary) rush to get there first and set up so that Sruli can come as late as possible. Every day is an adventure.

The twins, by the way, think they are the luckiest children in the world. They live in a toy room.

There isn’t much privacy but then we’ve never been very private people. Our friends come to visit us and laugh. Even my parents laugh. Thank goodness.

I’m trying to calm down. I am trying to take care of myself. My stupid foot. I am trying to rid myself of unwanted belly fat. I am trying to toilet train the twins. I am trying to write.  I am trying to start work on next summer’s camp. I am trying to find yet another new home for Teddy, my beloved and gorgeous Pomeranian, who, barky barky, is not welcome here and who I need to find foster care for, ‘til Zachary gets an apartment next May.

I am trying to exult in this new, very weird, phase of our life.

I am the Old Woman who lives in a Shul.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Crime and Parentment

Say your kid is 17, and you get up, say at 3AM to say, get a drink and he’s not where he should be—say, in his bed, sleeping.
You call. It goes to message. Text. Nothing.
Now this is not the first time—ha!—this kid has ignored  frantic bleats from frantic parents.
Back up. He is a good boy, a good student, a hard worker, super talented, a big hit with his friends and adored by his adorable girlfriend.
With whom, of course, he was.
He strolls in, 6 AM, smiling.
His Dad calls me, apoplectic and out for punishment.
Grounded, grounded, grounded for two, no forever, no two weeks.
No boondoggling with his buds in the city.
Trouble is, grounding, and punishment doesn’t work. I am right. You know why I am right?
Because kids who get grounded, keep getting grounded. Like those piled up lifetime sentences of (lehavdil) criminals.
They just keep doing stuff they just got grounded for. They swap “grounded” stories with rueful smiles when they come to visit.
And what was really yucky was that this time I was gonna have to mete out someone else’s punishment because it was my turn to have him. You know, joint custody.
I got it down to one week. I was dreading it.  I thought he was dreading it. It was absolutely delightful.
We talked, he played with the twins, he played piano, played Wii.
We shopped, BBQ’d, planned for our family summer camp.
He went to a party with his fairy stepsister Ilana and her friends. (A technical loophole, I admit.)
He talked late into the night about Schopenhauer and the nature of things with Sruli—just like old times. He You Tubed his favorite TEDs for us.
I told him I wished he were grounded every week. He smiled ruefully.
Then, on Thursday, the mountains came to Mohammed. His buds from the city arrived in Englewood to collect him—the 17 year old driver had a spankin’ new license.
Of course I let him go.
He had less than 2 days of freedom before he started working—and I mean slaving—for our camp.
I don’t believe in grounding, I believe in talking. And I did have a talk with him.
About an hour after the reunited buds left, and, thinking again of that spankin’ new license, I texted him to see if he got back to the city alright.
Such a delightful week.
Safe and sound, he texted back.
Within 10 seconds.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Seven Days

Sruli’s Father passed away a couple of weeks ago and he didn’t want a shiva. He felt bad asking everyone to come and sit with him, trying to make small talk, trying to make him feel less sad.

I told him that I would add a no-obligation clause to the emails I sent out. He was still not convinced and still resisted. Strongly.

Wisely, Ilana wanted a shiva, so a shiva we had.

It wasn’t the most orthodox of memorials but it was wonderful. Lots of friends came. Lots of congregants from his shul where he is the High Holiday Cantor and Substitute Rabbi. A few from his “old” neighborhood, complete with black hats, wives with sheitels, and mumble-y cadences.

There was lots of cake.

I think it was healing but what do I know? Sruli is an inscrutable guy. He has a lingering love/hate with organized religion yet is seriously spiritual.

You should hear his sermons. Especially the one about God, the people of Israel and the Sabbath Queen. I bet in the history of sermons no Rabbi has ever said “ménage a trois” from the pulpit.

Once he told how his friends used to pass the ridiculously long hours in shul by playing the Chumash Game. You opened the book at a random page and tallied up the special notations. A rare cantillation mark was worth a certain amount. A large upside down letter Nun was worth a fortune ‘cos there were only two in the whole Torah and they appeared around only one verse.

Apparently his little friend Eliezer had a photographic memory and was unbeatable at the the bonus round of the Chumash Game. That’s when you declared a number of pages you would count from the originally opened page—counted and turned to that new page-- and took those points too. The kid had memorized the entire 5 books of Moses as well as that particular publisher’s pagination. Unbeatable. As Sruli told this story his congregation was howling with laughter. Of course right in that week’s parsha were the upside down Nuns.

It’s hard to run from all the stuff that’s inside you. Religion for him was endless—interminable days at shul, constant rules governing food, time, clothing, association, and thought.

A ménage of obligation, restriction, and boredom.

So he has plucked what is precious to him about religion—the kinder philosophies, the happier practices, and of course the magical mystical nigunim, the music-- and shoved them into his life.

The other day I was pushing the 3-year-old twins on the swings, practicing the Ma Nishtana (we will see how they do tonight!) —and, as the commandment commands, recounting the story of Passover, complete with musical interludes: “No no no, I will not let them go!” By the time I got to “Frogs here, Frogs there, Frogs just jumping everywhere” I was afraid Sruli would be annoyed that I was filling their head with narishkeit—myths, silliness. Charlie Re was enthralled. Tell it AGAIN Mommy!!!

I got home and told him, gingerly, that the kids loved the story of Passover.

Oh, he said. You must have told it better than I did. They didn’t like it so much last week.

Oy, do I love him. I don’t understand him, but I love him.

Maybe this is my shiva. Rest in peace, kind, and wonderful, Yosef Dresdner, HaCohen. I will take care of your son.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Esther and the Bride

Last week I actually went to a Bridal Shower—as a friend of the 22-year-old bride. She is technically my son’s friend, growing up in my house over the years during those long Shabbos afternoons, me the alt mom, getting the good stuff we never tell our real moms.

The party was very elegant, from the smoked salmon to the lemon-curd pie (which takes 3 painstaking hours to curd) to the jewelry on the mostly middle-aged ladies.

I sat on the floor while the bride opened her gifts—her super-frum aunt dutifully tearing the pretty wrappings into strips to make the “shower hat.” Each gift was murmured over approvingly by the ladies who were otherwise silent except when they kevetched about how difficult it was to capture the moment on their phone cameras: a crock pot, a pasta set, fancy knives, glass tumblers, another pasta set, a challah plate with a sterling silver inlay.

I got her a black, somewhat see-through, boudoir ensemble with matching thong panties from Betsey Johnson.

It was the only lingerie she got.


Back when it was my turn, I got TONS of that stuff. Granted this gathering had more Monsey and less Queens but geez. The men had been banned from the house for hours and this was billed as a girlsy afternoon.

Purim, yesterday, brought me back a couple thousand years. Esther, our beautiful heroine, was also preparing for her big night. And there was not one practical thing about it. It was 6 months in the oil of myrrh, and another 6 in perfumes and cosmetics. Beautiful linens and soft garments. Ok, so the Megillah says she didn’t indulge as much as the other harem girls, but there was no mention of crock pots, electric or clay.

It was all about sex. What happened?

I can’t even tell you how often people complain to me about their love lives. Both husbands and wives have confided over the many years about how the other was unskilled, unresponsive, or uninterested. How they lie there, unsatisfied, night after night. How embarrassed they were to even talk about it, how they didn’t even know how to talk about it, how, you know, everything else is great, but um, That.

I don’t care how much your husband likes your chulent; nothing is great if That’s not great.

I am no therapist but I have given, shall we say, tutorials, and I know all about being too busy and too worried and too stressed to make pleasing and pleasure a priority.

I also admit that I should be soaking myself in some figurative myrrh more often—in my case at the gym.

But That really matters to me. And besides, Purim is my absolutely favorite holiday.

So I want to tell the bride to be like Esther—make him so crazy from you that after one night he is forgetting about all the other girls, giving you a golden crown and up to half his kingdom.

Keep his royal scepter (ha!) pointing up.

Start from the bedroom, not the kitchen.

The bride’s mother winked at me afterwards. I knew I could count on you for that, she said.

Of course, I said. And I was not winking.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Palms, Pelicans, and Puke

We had been driving straight for eight hours—eight hours—all through the night, with a pathetic nap on the side of the road when we couldn’t keep our eyes lubricated—to get to Ilana’s KlezKamp friend in North Carolina so that his toddler brother could meet her toddler brother and sister.

It was our only stop on the way down to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

We were five minutes away from their house—five minutes.

And little Johnny went AAAH!-- and threw up all over his car seat.

And then—count to three—AAAH!—and little Charlie threw up all over her car seat.

I went AAAH!—and pulled over. I looked back at the two of them covered in puke, turned to Sruli, and busted out laughing.

So we spent the first day of our vacation at a local laundromat as I painstakingly stripped down the kids and Sruli painstakingly stripped down the car seats and everything cloth went around and around in the wash.

So the babies are sick. Ilana is sick. Sruli is sick. I am not sick, of course, but I am not eating anything (!) prophylactically.

Oh, and here in Myrtle Beach is the coldest it’s been in ten years.

Yet all in all, not too bad, because the hotel is beautiful, there are loads of palm trees, and we got a suite for insanely cheap (Sruli is a wonder at the internet), there is a ginormous indoor pool complex and the first night I floated down the Lazy River with Johnny on my belly.

Today we saw some pelicans on Murrells Inlet—just like in Nemo, Mommy!

And, on the way to the pelicans, Sruli stopped for not one—but two—bead shops while the babies watched Barney in the car. He sat right outside the parked car on a bench by the door of the shops, waiting for me, playin’ his bones.

Clickety clack clack clack.

The ladies in the shops were all tsihitst—what is that sound? Oh—they peeked through the shades—there seems to be a “gentleman” (they are so gosh-darn polite here in the south) doing something unusual right in front of our store.

Wait, said I blithely, bead shopping all the while, he will also take a solo on the sheep-dog whistle.

Sure enough: Wooo wooo wooo-eee, Clickety, clack, clack, clack.

The ladies stared at me. I found some lovely pink stone hearts to make Ilana earrings. Oh yes, I said, not looking up, I married him and had children with him. We are musicians, you know.

Tomorrow we plan to go to the Aquarium to see the sharks—just like Nemo, Mommy!—and then a major expense—Pirates Voyage which is like Medieval Times only with Pirates.

And meantime, city moms are calling to see if there’s any room left in our Presidents Week Mini-Camp next week. It all seems so far away—this Shabbos, Sruli is the Rabbi again, we have a freylikh Yiddish Dance Day at the JCC and a nice concert in Brooklyn on Sunday.

Yesterday on the lazy river, I decided I am finally going to do it— I’m going to St. Petersburg for my big birthday next year.

One makes momentous decisions when one is on vacation. Momentous decisions and mundane discoveries,

Like sometimes love smells like puke.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Nothing But All of Us

I think—I hope—the honeymoon is over, and my Fairy Stepdaughter and the rest of us can start the happily ever after.

The party we had planned for five and a half years, the planning of which had kept us going—and connected-- through the dark ages was, if I say so myself, a smash.

She was radiant in a (oy a shande!) short short black velvet dress with a very elegant beaded décolletage and high high heels. Her crown, her refulgent hair, curled and luxe.

People came from all over to share the poignancy—her KlezKanada homegirls and boys, school friends, as well as our friends, musicians, artists, professors, Yiddishists—and lawyers-- from Toronto and Boston and Syracuse and Philadelphia and DC.

Her friends spoke about how much they loved her. Aaron likened their siblinghood’s bond to a hydrogen atom or something that couldn’t be broken even by free radicals. Zachary composed a song, which he and Aaron performed.

And, in front of all her Ortho high-school peeps, who sat quietly listening for over an hour, grownup after grownup said she was their hero.

I spoke too, first about Sruli. About the hell and humiliation he went through and about how I wondered why—and how—as he watched every precious thing being taken from him, that he didn’t just jump off a bridge.

And how he was one of the lucky ones. Sruli’s friend from his law school days was there, too. This was the friend who took him in and let Sruli sleep on his couch for two weeks when the judge told him one fine afternoon that he had fifteen minutes to take his stuff from his house and get out. The friend had had the same judge. This friend, a successful tax attorney, looked out at the room. I haven’t seen my kids for six years, he said.

The Angels spoke. The musician angel whose voice broke as he talked about his own broken childhood. He had testified at the trial. The artist angel who provided the safe house on that fateful last night when her mother sent the police looking for her. The lawyer angel who brought her to court and whose passion and smarts are the only reason she is free today. I had to rescue the princess who was trapped in the tower, she said. Indeed.

And Sruli, the real Daddy from this fairy tale spoke and cried. I have never seen him like this and I hope I never will again. It was raw and ecstatic and naked and frightening. He thanked me—which I deserved, hey!—and held his daughter tight as he looked around the room at the village who helped raise his child from the dead.

Then a hora with an all-star band, really, and special sno-cone ices a la New Orleans, and then the DJ rockin’ the house. A party.

At the end of my speech I told everyone how for 6 years-- 5 lawyers, 4 judges, 3 police departments, 2 forensic psychiatrists, 2 court appointed supervisors and 1 multi-millionaire mother conspired to keep one little red-head girl’s life a nightmare until she turned 18.

I told everyone how, on that last night, she was barely one step ahead of the police and the court forensic whom her mother enlisted to forcibly commit her to a mental institution. An institution that would finally cure her of loving us.

I didn’t say how she might never have escaped that institution since the mother would have had complete control over her fate for the rest of her life (“Can you imagine what I had to do to my own daughter” she would say piteously, as her sedated and medicated daughter turned 18, and then 28, and then 38) and that’s what delusion and anger and immaturity and paranoia and a crazed sense of vengeance can do when it has millions to spend.

I told everyone that my fairy stepdaughter had run out without her shoes, her clothes, her stuff, her books, her papers.

She has no more trust fund. She has no money for college.

She has nothing. Except happiness, pride--and all of us.

And—for all of us—for our happily ever after--it is enough.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Hi Res

Two weeks into the New Year and already they’re telling me to give up. No way to lose weight. Gotta be superhuman to do it. My leptin is fighting with my ghrelin; my peptides and genetics are consigning me forever to shop in Women’s.

A pox be upon you. I am determined to be determined.

I once went to this diet guru who told me that she has to dress like a movie star every day. I guess it’s how she tells herself she’s worth it.

Growing up, my sense of worth came with mixed messages—as the daughter of a professor and scholar I felt it unseemly to focus on the superficial; it was embarrassing to be the kind of girl who “takes care of herself.” But I’m sure there was a bisl envy mixed with disdain for my glisteningly blonde friend who treated herself to manicures when she was only fourteen.

I discovered Neutrogena sesame body oil at a sleepover once—it felt amazing on my naked skin after a shower. But in the store I discovered that the bottle was like, 9 dollars and even later when I was making a fortune in advertising, I couldn’t fargin myself.

Of course, 3 pregnancies later and no body oil, guess who has stretch marks?

Meantime I’ve been getting up earlier and getting on the bike. I’ve been shlepping to yoga and risking all kinds of kooky injuries to mimic that tight-girl next to me. Who the hell can do the “Crane?” Jeez.

I consider myself an optimistic gal, though Sruli assures me that anyone who grabs the first possible parking spot like I do, rushes to get to a movie as early as I do, and bids as frantically high on Ebay as I do isn’t a half-fuller. Nevertheless I made him promise me that if I fit into a certain red dress (I know--me! Red!) by Valentine’s Day, he is going to take me someplace good. Overnight.

And I am trying to count my blessings: superficial—good hair, good skin, good teeth (poopoopoo) and the not so superficial—good health (poopoopoo) and to recognize that although age has brought a stubborn midsection, it has also granted a smiling patience. It has taken all of me a long, long time to get here.

I am going to try to be kinder to myself.

Neutrogena sesame body oil is $7.99 at Target. I am planning to spring for it.