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Tossed Salad Friday

~~ Overheard from a neighboring bathroom stall: “Don’t touch that! There ain’t enough soap in the whole wide world to clean that off you!”

~~ Overheard: “Then he repeated it but I still had no clue. That’s when I figured he was having a stroke.”

~~ Overheard: “I can’t look away. It’s making me cry. But I can’t look away.”

~~ The remark above was made by someone nearby while I was touring the 911 Museum in NYC. My husband and I had put off visiting because of all the usual associations that make everyone uneasy. Two friends from law school days hadn’t gone, either, and when the subject of a joint visit was broached, I was in.

The day was a gorgeous one (reminiscent of September 11, 2001), and the company supportive of each other. We took a guided tour where we learned much more than the museum’s markers alongside the artifacts and displays revealed. For instance, this artwork is called Trying To Remember the Color of the Sky; these squares represent both the people lost in 1993 and 2001 as well as individual shades of blue in the sky that fateful day.

We sobbed at the little pajamas of a child flying on a doomed jet, marveled at the composure and bravery of first responders (and the sacrifice of the canines), and paid our respects to a lost classmate. We looked around at the thousands of photos on display, stopping to conjure up a bio from time to time. I was crushed by the beaming photo of a lovely bride who had called her husband that morning to tell him she was pregnant.

As I looked at face after face frozen in time, I became plagued by just one thought: could any person there ever imagine that when she or he faced the camera that the photograph would end up in a museum?

If you haven’t visited, and you’re in the vicinity, do go to the museum. Just don’t go alone. Be with someone who will offer a shoulder if you need it and be prepared to do the same.


~~ The day was still sunny and warm when we emerged, and we needed to bring our moods back into the positive sphere. So we decided to eat (these are my kind of people, after all). We asked until what time the café above the museum was open, and with 30 minutes to go, we headed there. It was an inviting space with just one problem: it was an eatery without food! Making our way back down, one friend said to the guard who’d answered our previous inquiry, “They have no food!” He grinned and replied, “You asked what time it was open until; you didn’t ask if it was still serving.”

~~ The four of us set out for a nearby Italian restaurant, but we couldn’t find it. Our phones took us on a ridiculous loop-de-doop as we alternated between laughing and feeling frustrated (and maybe a tad foolish). We ended up getting the scoop from passersby: the restaurant was nearby, but on the third floor. That explained it — we never raised our eyes skyward!

~~ Walking along the boardwalk the other day, I remembered a woman who told a story on herself that made her a candidate for the shallowest person ever. Seems she used to walk this boardwalk regularly, looking scruffy and sweaty, and “always passed a lot of the same people.” So when she got invited to a party at the catering chateau on the boardwalk, she made sure she looked as swanky as possible. Then she stood at the window of the establishment for hours, waiting for a boardwalk walker she recognized to spot her in her spiffy attire and sleek grooming. “Can you believe nobody I recognized even looked at me?” she whined. Yeah, I can believe it.

~~ When there are cop cars in front of Trader Joe's and an employee yelling at customers to stay away, I'm going to take that as a sign from the universe that I don't need an avocado all that badly.

~~ Congrats to the St. Louis Blues. I detest your city but I respect your team. That’s why I rooted for the Blues instead of the Bruins — I respect Boston but I detest that team. (Explanation provided upon request.)

~~ Uh-oh. I didn’t know. Did you?

~~ I’d love to wish you a “happy” Flag Day or whatever you say to commemorate this day, but ever since that chump of a man humped the emblem of our country, I have a hard time conjuring it with pride.

Maybe this will work?

~~ Just when you thought that no person in their right mind would say _____________, tRump says it. Our Constitution is in shreds and the majority of our residents are emotional wrecks from his graft, chaos, lies, criminality, and sheer stupidity. Steve Bannon told us destruction and devastation was “the plan,” and as it unfolds, please do two things: contact your Congressional Rep and Senators every day to insist they take him out, and repeat morning, noon, and night: “THIS IS NOT NORMAL.”



Dasvidaniya. Have a great weekend.

Tossed Salad Friday

~~ Overheard: “What kind of sick idiot says he knows three people who died from what my mother has?”

~~ Overheard: “It was very sweet. Like buy the dentist a new Tesla sweet.”

~~ Overheard:  “If my husband did that, I’d be a widow.”

~~ Hearing a tale of a divorced spouse paying for a life insurance policy where the ex is the beneficiary reminded me of a story. It occurred in the mid-1980s, before I learned to never represent just one side of a divorced couple in a real estate transaction.

I was retained by an apparently bright and calm woman named “Janice.”  Everything proceeded smoothly throughout the transaction, until Janice and I sat down at the closing table with “Mr. Janice” directly across from her.

During the closing’s entire 90 minutes, Janice glared at her ex-husband and repeated, sotto voce, “I hope you die.

Without pausing to breathe or sip water, Janice droned on and on and on:  “I hope you die.  I hope you die.  I hope you die. I was stressed to the core and everyone else at the table was equally unnerved.

“Janice, I know this must be stressful.  We can find you another room to sit in,” I said. She never answered me or took her eyes off her ex. “I hope you die,” she snarled.

I suggested/pleaded, “Janice, this is not productive.  Do you want to step outside for a while and calm down?” “I hope you die.  I hope you die. I hope you die,” she repeated, shaking her head no.

She nodded or shook her head in response to questions, paused to listen when I explained documents, and signed everything I put in front of her,. But mostly she chanted, “I hope you die.

When the closing concluded, I grabbed my fee, file, and briefcase and bolted out the door. Darn it but curiosity got the better of me, so I waited for Janice to exit.  As she walked down the corridor, I semi-elbowed her into an empty office.

“Please tell me what the heck was going on in there.  My nerves are frayed from you whining on and on and on. You must really, really hate that man.”

She looked at me quite calmly, reverting to the bright, composed woman she was prior to that 90-minute torture session.  “I’m really sorry,” she said, gently patting my arm. “You know, of course, that when all the debts were paid and things were split, I only walked away with $15,000 from the sale of this house. But the judge in my divorce ordered that ex-husband of mine to maintain a $100,000 policy on his life.  So I HOPE HE DIES!  That’s the only way I come out ahead.”

~~ A few weeks ago, I shared a snapshot of some awesome socks that I loved and a wonderful, generous friend bought them for me! I am so excited to wear them and to cross my legs strategically in the proper company.

In the spirit of the universe providing, I am going to gush over these today:

~~ A mother is driving herself a bit batty, worrying about whether she’s doing enough and if what she is doing is best for her child. “I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing,” she laments. We reassure her that no one really does know, and that parents have been playing it by ear ever since Adam and Eve. Her child is a teen, so said teen’s demeanor is erratic (hello, hormones and stress). The conversation wasn’t about me, so I didn’t interject how I bought this book many, many years ago when trying to puzzle out a parental conundrum:
See? Nothing’s changed. Parents are still confused and flummoxed. We just do the best that we can and hope we cause no lifelong harm. (The book was published in 1991. If it’s still in print, I recommend it.)

~~ I know a woman who told her kids on more than one occasion, “Save it and tell the therapist I’ll pay to undo all the things you think I did to you.”

~~ I’m not making light of either therapy or teenage angst, but I sure am trying to say that if we’re lucky enough to want and get  kids, we need to realize that we’re flying blind — talk to others and you’ll see.

~~ I’m at yoga, doing a pose on my right side that seems fairly simple to me, but was confounding the woman to my left. Hmm, I thought, she must be a real newbie because this is easy. BAM! Yoga and its disapproval of ego immediately kicked my ass: on the left side, I couldn’t get the pose at all, despite the teacher trying to coax me.
~~ She used to be a Democrat, my friend said, so she was surprised when someone she hadn’t seen in years said she was now a tRump supporter. “What? Why?” The response is sickening: “Because I believe in G-d and my country.”

~~ As promised, I’m going to share my thoughts and observations on the economy. I’m a reader of research and numbers and an observer of people and their predicaments, so take my words as you will: The economy is sluggish at best and any growth sectors are way below the rosy predictions of tRump & Co. I’ve recently read about the “art bubble” that may soon burst, but I don’t give a rip if that aluminum dog Steve Mnuchin’s dad bought was overpriced. I am concerned about the housing bubble and the looming threat of student loans and sub-prime auto loans. Income inequality is an ever-widening chasm, and the tariff BS needs to cease. (Although there are some “I don’t care about politics” people who might get off their duffs if avocados start costing $5 apiece.) If workers, producers, and consumers continue to be used as pawns in tRump’s international pissy-fits, we’ll buy less, make less, and hurt more. I know there are conservative and libertarian economists who are actually chortling in glee awaiting a recession, banking on it to push us towards a free market. But the banks own people’s house, cars, and future prospects, and they will get theirs one way or another. What will the average Americans get? Older and poorer.

~~ Holy cow, this has been a hell of a week. Nobody ever heard of Vietnam and it was too far to travel for a war, weather changes on both sides, and don’t believe the things you hear if I tell you not to do so. If you’ve bristled at my calling tRump a grifter, what do you call it when taxpayers foot the bill to haul his adult kids around Europe? These people are (allegedly) rich, superfluous, and totally undeserving of a million dollars’ worth of limos etc. on our dime. But I love how the Brits and so many on the continent protested his presence and policies. They took to the streets and now it’s our turn.




Dasvidaniya. Have a great weekend.

Tossed Salad Friday

~~ Overheard: “My kids say they are going to put ‘You know, you can freeze that’ on my tombstone.

~~ Overheard: “It’s not good news when your mother-in-law buys a one-way ticket to come visit.”

~~ Overheard: “My son-in-law says my haircut is the worst he’s seen.” “Is your daughter OK with him talking to you like that?” “He says she agrees with him.”

~~ Overheard while on a line: “In the old days, you could say ‘I forgot my coupon’ and they might give the discount to you, anyway. Now they make you show the coupon on the phone and then embarrass you by saying, ‘That’s already been redeemed.’ You think they’d be nicer to someone who shops all the time.”

~~ Overheard: “I asked him if I really looked like someone who cared about her appearance, and the asshole actually answered me! I said, ‘Sure, you never hear me, but this time you did!’”

~~ I carry a little pad and pen in my purse to jot down items I want to write about here or in my magazine. I walked away from the woman who made the declaration about her appearance and was writing it down when she moved towards me. “Are you a reporter?” she wondered. “No, but I am a writer, so I’m just jotting down an idea for a story.” “Oh, wow,” she marveled. “Writing is a lot harder than it looks.” I smiled as she walked away, but I really should have followed up: How easy does writing look, and where do you see all this easy-appearing writing happening?

~~ An acquaintance was telling me how she fell down a flight of stairs and broke her finger. “The ER doctor couldn’t believe I broke a finger, saying that by all rights I should have broken a leg or an ankle or something. ‘No one’s going to believe you when you tell them how it happened,’ she said. And she was right! Everyone at work looked at me real funny when I said I fell down the stairs and broke my finger, so I probably should start telling people I broke it bowling or gardening or cooking. What do you think?” I voted for cooking, just because I was in a puckish mood.

~~ Back when this blog started — 2006 — I heard the heartbeats and the drumbeats of the depressing recession that exploded nationwide by 2008. Then my gloomy posts were based on the observation of my Long Island neighbors and my real estate clients, plus conversations with others connected to the real estate market. Now I’m going to start writing about this seemingly robust economy by looking at it through what I read and hear in my current environment. The edges are fraying, folks, and the people on the fringes are tumbling away.

When I look at stocks, I see valuations that are based on fantasy, and when it comes to the bond market, I see investors making more money short-term than long term. Both are unstable. When I talk to older people, they are worried about their inability to pay for the doctors they need because they opted for cheaper premiums/higher deductibles (or co-pays). Too many of them are also carrying student loans for their long-graduated kids, and thanks to high credit card balances, they can’t refinance the school debt so easily. Couple that with all the slimy loans associated with the for-profit colleges our Department of Education adores, the smarmy sub-prime and under-regulated auto loan business, the unctuous payday lenders too many drivers turn to in order to keep their cars from being repossessed, the countless companies cutting employees while stocking up on contractors, along with the out-of-whack prices of homes, and I’m not seeing a smooth path ahead. That’s without even touching on the anger boiling over due to income inequality, the damage from climate change, and the havoc resulting from tRump’s peevish trade wars. Take this for what it’s worth, because as I said in 2006-07, I sure hope I’m wrong. However, my gut says I’m not.

~~ Speaking of guts, the only one that 45 has is from cheeseburgers. Since he needs to be shielded from seeing John McCain’s name on a battleship, how petrified will tRump feel when his name is on an indictment?



Dasvidaniya. Have a great weekend.

Tossed Salad Friday

~~ While out to dinner last weekend, a woman of advanced age was seated just in my line of sight. Soon, the hostess escorted an equally mature-looking man towards the table. As they drew close, the man exclaimed, “Oh, wow! Thanks for seating me next to the prettiest woman in the restaurant!”

My heart melted.

~~ Overheard: “That photo? That was taken when I was married and weighed 110 pounds. I used to channel Madonna. Now I channel Kathy Bates.”

~~ Overheard:  “Grandma told me not to talk to the boys who can’t make eye contact. It’s still good advice.”

~~ Sitting on the train back from NYC, two women seated behind me were having a conversation. One woman’s boss was pressuring her to take a new position in another department, telling her it was a great opportunity. But she knew he wanted her out of the department because he was afraid she’d someday take his job. Her companion urged her to take the job because, no matter the reason, she’d be “getting more money and more exposure to the big bosses.” Three “buts…” later, the wise sounding companion became louder and more intense. “Screw him! You are holding yourself back!  No one will give a crap in 20 years whether or not you gave your boss the satisfaction of booting you out and away from him. Just because he’s as an ass doesn’t mean you should be a bigger one!”

~~ The reason I was on the train was because my husband and I had a lunch appointment. Of course one of our old cars wasn’t working, and we couldn’t risk a big trip with the other, so we took the railroad. When we arrived at the station, there was zero parking to be found anywhere, so we had to drive to another station. The stress was building, as we knew someone was waiting for us, and of course, the traffic slowed. Many tension filled minutes later, we made a train that got us into the city almost one hour late for our rooftop meeting.

Re-reading that last paragraph, I realized that it comes across as very bland and boring. I haven’t conveyed the pressure, the strain, the anxiety, or the tension that gripped us (OK, mostly me). Knowing it was all out of our control made no difference (again, to me, not Mr. ItIsWhatItIs). I fretted about how discourteous we’d seem and also worried about how late we’d return home. The dogs would be hungry, I had a lot of work to do…. The alarm bells in my head were all firing at once.

Then it hit me: I’m on a train with a book in my purse. How often do I get almost an hour to read without any other tugs on my time? And so I opened the book and almost immediately read a quote from Carl Jung: I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.

I laughed out loud. You got me, Universe! You riled me up and calmed me down just for your own amusement, didn’t you?

~~ I never knew where my given name came from. My parents said they’d “heard” my first and middle names “somewhere” and liked them; they wanted to be creative with their first-born child. I never met anyone else with either name until college, when a woman with my middle name told me she was named after the winner of a beauty contest whose likeness was displayed on posters in the subways the year before she was born.

Could I have been named after a Miss Rheingold? My parents said that could very well be where they heard my middle name, and so that became a part of my personal story.

Decades later, I’m conversing on Twitter with someone who remarks that her friend shares my first name. I ask if she knows where the name came from, and — like a bolt from the heavens — she tells me about an actress from my parent’s part of Brooklyn who achieved modest movie fame in the years before I was born!  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lita_Milan

I am definitely accepting this as part of my life story, as my parents can’t dispute it. And in conjunction with the subway story, it appears likely they would confirm how I came to be named after a hometown big screen flash in the pan and a beer beauty!

~~ How much WINNING can this country actually stand?





Dasvidaniya. Have a great weekend, and while you do, please remember all who gave everything for the USA!

Tossed Salad Friday

~~ Overheard: “I swear he’s as ugly inside as she is on the outside. What a pair.”

~~ Overheard:  “I didn’t call him a ‘jackass.’ I just told him that someone in the office called him that, but still he’s mad at me.”

~~ Mom to kid in Trader Joe’s: “You don’t get anything just because you want it. You have to need it.” Poor kid. Imagine being dehydrated before mom will give you a drink?

~~ My kids haven’t been teens for a while, so my contact with teenagers has been limited. I hear all the old-folks-talk about “kids these days,” but I always take in my day kind of stuff with a grain of salt. From now on I’ll take it with a barrel of salt, as I encountered the kindest person on the train the other day who looked to be about 15 or 16.

Long story short, I semi-lost my footing passing between cars and took a random seat to await the next station. “Are you OK?” my seatmate (the teen) asked. I assured her that I was and told her my plan for when the train stopped moving. She nodded and put her earbuds back in. 

When the next station arrived, I stood. She stood as well, saying, “I’ll walk back with you.” I smiled and assured her I was fine, and she smiled in return. “Please don’t be mad. I’d want somebody to make sure my mom was safe on the train.”

“Tell your mom she raised a wonderful kid.”

~~ During a get-to-know-you conversation, she asked what kind of writer I was. When I told her, she wondered why I didn’t write books.  I gave her my stock answer: “I love words but I don’t have any novel stories to share.”

Her response was different from what I usually get: “So why don’t you write about real people? I’m sure you could think of some really interesting people to write about if you tried. C’mon — who appeals to you?”

Despite her curveball, I was quick on the draw. “People whose biographies I’ve read and enjoyed.”

That, in a nutshell, is why you shouldn’t ask hack writers why they don’t publish novels. There’s just no upside for either of us.

~~ The yoga teacher was giving out instructions to improve the pose we held. I was in the zone as she suggested torso straightening and tightening techniques. However, I lost my zen and burst out laughing when she advocated for the class to “flap your thighs!”

~~ It was evident the woman was having a tough day — she sighed loudly and often. I asked what was making her so sad. “I need a new hip but I can’t afford it.”

Was she not insured, or did she have a high deductible? “No, I have good insurance. I mean I can’t afford to take months off for surgery and physical therapy. I’m a solo wedding photographer and I stand 10-12 hours every Saturday and Sunday. I can’t maneuver around the ceremony and between dancers with a walker, and if I use a wheelchair, I’ll cut off the tops of people’s heads.”

I commiserated, then walked away, once again aware that as bad as you think you’ve got it, someone has always got it worse.

~~ Want to get rich and soak the taxpayers? Start a religion.

~~ I’ve been at Defconn 4 ever since tRump finagled his way into the White House. Now I’m at a 5 or 5.5 because of his clear defiance of the law, his enablers’ blatant disregard for both ethics and the will of the people, the saber rattlers pushing for war, and the barefaced boldness with which women’s rights are being dismantled. If a man buys an assault weapon, it’s his unchallengeable and unassailable Constitutional right. If a woman and her doctor decide to terminate a pregnancy, one or both of them should expect to be jailed, despite the law permitting abortion.


Dasvidaniya. Have a great weekend!

Tossed Salad Friday

~~ Overheard: “I had that generic testing done for the breast cancer gene.”  (She said generic twice more, so she didn’t know the word was genetic.)

~~ Overheard: “Seriously, I wish they’d stop scaring us with the measles hype. They just want to make more money on the vaccine so they are making up fake outbreaks.” (She wasn’t wearing a MAGA hat, but she was carrying a tote bag from a casino in Atlantic City.)

~~ Overheard from one of a series of restroom stalls: “Woo-ee! This f-ing toilet just royally flushed my ass!”

~~ She tells me she’s very concerned about her neighbor’s daughter, a woman in her early 30s who “just can’t seem to find love and is becoming quite depressed.” Apparently being a graphic artist isn’t as fulfilling as finding a man, I’m told, and the neighbor never lets her daughter forget that.

Did I know anyone eligible for the daughter? Puzzled, I ask, “Don’t you have a son about her age? Is he seeing anyone?”

She looks aghast at me. “Oh, no, no, no, I don’t want this woman to date my son. Who wants a depressed loser and a nagging mother-in-law in the family?”

~~ For the first time in more than a dozen years, I took a vacation that exceeded 48 hours in length. We flew on Cheapo Air and stayed at a Cheapo Inn so we could visit my son and his partner (and my grand dog) in North Carolina. It was so worth it!

Here they are:

We visited the NC Museum of Art. Among the many enticing and intriguing works on display were those of Wim Botha, a South African artist. His creations included ones made from Styrofoam and florescent lights; my favorites were ones made from bibles and encyclopedias:

We saw Krispy Kremes being made (NOT at the museum). It seemed to fascinate my companions, all of whom feasted upon the freshly made products:

We cheered with my newly adopted people — a room full of Hurricanes’ fans as they sent the NY Islanders to an embarrassing sweep!

A dead body was found in a car at the Racist Diner next to the Cheapo Inn. Until the gender was known, we prayed it wasn’t the forlorn looking woman we encountered on the inn’s steps in the wee hours. Once it was known to be a man, we wondered, could she have killed the guy who seemed to be semi-lurking nearby?
Before departing, the news reported that the suspect arrested was not a woman.

We learned the first identified European Jews in the Raleigh area were named “Mordecai,” just like Esther’s uncle in the story of Purim. Yet please don’t pronounce it like Uncle Mor-de-chai when in Raleigh — it’s Mor-da-key there, ya'll!

We encountered a dish I’d love to serve on for those very special occasions:

Speaking of dishes, we came across vegan friendly restaurants everywhere:

I bought a pin and admired some socks:

The NC Museum of Natural Sciences was fun:

Unlike cold, dreary New York weather, we enjoyed 80+ degrees every day!

~~ Mother’s Day is this weekend, as you know. The ads and signs everywhere proclaim that mom wants flowers, pajamas, chocolate dipped strawberries, a new weed-wacker (maybe it’s a NC thing), lobe-stretching diamond encrusted hoop earrings, and dinner at every eatery that supplies forks and spoons. I am quite sure that some moms want presents, but I know many others who really want time. Those that are with their kids all day, every day want some time alone, while those that rarely or barely see their children want just to be in their presence.

Happy Mother’s Day to all those who possess a mother’s heart. Birthing and paperwork don’t create a nurturing, loving person, but a giving nature and an accepting spirit always does. Thanks to all who encourage and shelter me — I cherish you all on Mother’s Day and beyond.

~~ So shooting immigrants is funny, losing money is being successful, and defying the U.S. Constitution is now a prerogative if you’re the Russian-aided con man in the White House?

Dasvidaniya. Have a great weekend!
(and Hurricanes)

Tossed Salad Friday

~~ It’s terribly overused, but as long as I find it amusing, I hope you’ll excuse my having fun with politics’ newest cliché:

~~ Overheard:

~~ Has this ever happened to you?

~~What was most upsetting was that

~By the time you read this, we may be at war against (or on behalf of) Venezuala.




Dasvidaniya. Have a great weekend!



Tossed Salad Friday

~~ Overheard: “I told him that it wasn’t a good idea. I’m gonna rub it in his face when he fails.”

~~ Overheard: “No, I don’t do yoga. I just love the pants.”

~~ Overheard: “I’m probably not going to get the job. I could tell because the guy doing the interview checked his phone at least a half-dozen times.”

~~ A yoga student tells the teacher she’s “so tired.” The teacher inquires, “Are you the kind of tired where you need sleep or where you need peace?”

Just as I was trying to digest this gem of a question, my mind jumped to an old joke my dad liked to tell. “Know why the bicycle yawned? It was two-tired.”

~~ “I read your blog about Passover. I have a funny but embarrassing story about a Passover dinner to tell you,” he says. “I’d been dating a Jewish woman for about six months, and she invited me to a seder at her house. Things were going OK until we got to the part where you take some horseradish and spread it on the matzo with the apples and nuts. I was starving, so I ladled it on pretty thick and took a bite.
This was my first taste ever of horseradish — so I gagged and then reflexively spit it out. But I didn’t spit down — I spit across. Right into her uncle’s mouth, which was open because he was just about to say something!

“Later, I found out her uncle was going to warn me that the white horseradish I chose was very hot, but instead he began to choke a bit and look repulsed. My girlfriend’s brothers were laughing hysterically, and her aunt and mother looked very pissed.

“After I apologized, it wasn’t mentioned again. But the only ones who really were nice to me as we were saying goodbye were the two brothers. I’m positive no one in that family cared that we broke up before Memorial Day.”

~~ Speaking of Passover, have I mentioned how much I detest it? I abhor it with the light of a thousand suns and the ferocity of a million rapid rats. Of course, I loathe Passover only .00000001 of how much I hate what tRump is doing to the country, and I am less disgusted with Passover than I am with pollution, crime, malice, cruelty, and other offenses. But I really, really, really harbor bushels of animosity towards Passover.
Why, you may wonder, don’t I just abandon the dietary restrictions and eat whatever the hell I like? I certainly don’t honor the majority of the 613 commandments in the Torah, so what’s the big deal if I forsake risen wheat? The question is legit, but I guess there’s a part of me that feels principled remembering the affliction of the ones who came before. Yeah, let’s go with that, because it sounds much better than my voluntarily submission to yearly anguish.

~~ Last week, a woman says that she’s not celebrating Easter, but will instead be celebrating the following week. “I’m Greek, you know.” I reply, “Oh! Kalo Pascha!”

She looks shocked and slowly says, “You’re…….. Greek………..? You …… look ………. um, um………. maybe………. Oh, I don’t know. What are you?”

I smile and start to answer, but she grabs my hand and cuts in. “Lord, I am so sorry! Who asks, ‘what are you?’ That’s so rude. I mean, I wanted to know how you know Greek, but you were being nice and now, listen to me, I am so rude.”

I took my hand away and placed it on her shoulder. “I’ll make it easy. I’m Jewish, my family came from Eastern Europe generations ago, and I have a wonderful Greek friend. I don’t think you’re rude, but that was some reaction!”

Her relief is palpable and her grin is wide. “Thank you. My husband says I talk too much, but it’s nice you don’t think I’m rude. Tell your friend I wish her ‘Kali Anastasi.’ You know what that means, right?”

Fortunately, her baby started to cry at that moment and I waved goodbye to her and the friend who introduced us. Her husband was right. And E, if you’re reading this, her wishes are for you!

~~ If you didn’t do anything wrong, what do you have to cover up? If you don’t have foreign business interests or illegal tax dodges, why are your returns off limits? If you’re so freaking smart, why would you go to any lengths to shield your transcripts? If you possess the “world’s best memory,” why can’t you remember anything to do with you stealing an election and running roughshod over the U.S. Constitution?


Dasvidaniya. Have a great weekend, rejoice at the end of Passover, and enjoy a Happy Easter if you’re celebrating!

Tossed Salad Friday

~~ Overheard: “I am all about the awkward transitions.” Wouldn’t that be fun on a tee shirt?

~~ He texted me that if I wanted to change the date, he was OK with that. “I’m flexible,” he wrote.  “Good,” I replied. “Inflexible people are often snappish.”

~~ The yoga teacher suggested we place our intention for the day (or our life) into our heart, where we would thereafter have an “intentional heart.” I love this concept.

~~ I’m editing a story on an event with the partial title “Dock Day.” My editing software objected and wanted to substitute “Dick Day.” Excuse me? Anyway, that’s not an event. It’s every frickin’ day.

~~The other day, in a public establishment, I saw two women treat a woman of color with barely concealed disdain and then fawn over a pre-teen white girl. When one of the women turned her dazzling smile on me and said, “How may I help you, dear?” I pivoted on my heel and took my business elsewhere.

~~ Passover starts tonight, and somehow my spouse and I have ended up alone on the first night for probably the first time. I adore his company, so I’m not sad, but I admit to becoming nostalgic as I set out to write today’s blog.

On the first two nights of Passover, Jews everywhere sing a song about all the miracles that enabled our ancestors to escape enslavement in Egypt. The song is named for the chorus, “Dayenu,” meaning “it would have been enough.”  As in, if only the Red Sea had parted, we would have been satisfied, if the divine supplied our needs in the desert for forty years, it would have been enough…

Today, “Dayenu” serves as a reminder that I have already received so much from so many who have shaped and encouraged me. While I drive forward, my rear view mirror is cluttered with faces that I’ll never have the privilege to see again. The radio may be bleating today’s news, but my inner ears hear voices long silent. 

As in most families, holidays are what bind mine together. It’s also when we clearly see who is no longer sitting at the table. Some are feasting at tables far from home while others are taking part in an otherworldly seder tonight. My friends Alan and Jill aren’t making Hillel sandwiches with their loved ones, relatives of the previous generation won’t be with my cousins slurping matzoh ball soup, and my husband’s family won’t be gathering in Arizona to eat his aunt’s just-short-of-toxic cooking.

Looming largest for me on Passover is the absence of my parents. I remember fondly how my mother’s eyes sparkled as she looked at her gathered family. As my father said the blessings, the worry lines around mom’s eyes diminished and her physical woes didn’t drain all the color from her face. She was radiant in the candlelight and contented in the esprit de Smith family.

My mother made it to a lot less Passovers than my father, dying just short of the holiday. For another decade, my dad continued eating his way through seder meals, having actually never met a repast that didn’t fill him with pleasure.

My last pleasant memory of my dad involves Passover.  Though suffering from the effects of a stroke and brain surgery, he presided over a picnic-style seder my family created for him in the hospital rec room. Though the table was covered in institutional plastic rather than my mom’s gorgeous linens, my father basked in the glow of his family as he garbled his way through the blessings and ravenously ate forkfuls of his last real meal.

Sigh — the Passover tables of my mind are long gone, but the memories will have to be enough.

~~ Oh, yeah. Every Passover, we retell the story of the Jews’ exodus from Egypt and the clutches of the evil Pharaoh.


Dasvidaniya. Have a great weekend, a Zissen Pesach, and/or a Happy Easter!

Tossed Salad Friday

~~ Overheard: “The house looked really nice but that damn agent knew I won’t buy a house on the odd-numbered side of the street.”

~~ “It was a very awkward situation,” according to a friend. “Her dad made passes at me for years and I always told him no way. Now he’s dead, and she thinks I’d be a great person to say a few words at his memorial. I either lie or say ‘[dad] was a dickwad.’ So I tell her I get anxious about public speaking so I need to decline.”

~~ How lucky am I that my husband is both handy and limber?

~~ The woman in the nearby dressing room is singing softly. It sounds like the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction,” but then the words become clearer: “I can't get no grill reaction, I can't get no grill reaction, so I fry and I fry and I fry…” What the hell?

~~ She wonders if I can help her out of a legal jam. I tell her that I’m retired, but she says that’s OK because the person suing her is retired as well.

~~ “Is that an original concert tee?” she asks about the vintage 1978 Steve Martin shirt I wore to yoga. “Yes,” I respond. “It’s part of my I’m so old collection.”
I searched for the tee online. There’s one on eBay for $199.00 and a few for under $20. I wonder what the expensive one is made of, because mine is about the thinnest cotton that exists. If it was any slighter, I wouldn’t need a TSA scan at the airport.

~~ Wednesday’s yoga teacher is as big a space geek* as I am, so we awaited the press conference to reveal the black hole photos before class started. As we gushed over seeing something “for real” that was heretofore only presented as an illustration, we began pondering the universe (as one does when given the opportunity).

I mused that since cosmologists and astrophysicists use today’s hi-tech equipment to look back into history — to say, see a star that exploded many years ago — was there a civilization in our future looking back at us? More than that, supposed the teacher, what if they were actually moving us around in some kind of amusing galactic game?

* According to the NY Times, space geek isn’t the right term. A lay person who gets excited by doings in the cosmos is an astrofan, but no way in hell I’m one of these:

~~ I just finished reading Us Against You: A Novel by Fredrik Backman.
I’m a fan of his writing, so a novel about hockey was doubly appealing. It was a bit dark, as human lives often are, but it was compelling in its use of hockey as the thing that both divided and united two towns tucked away in Nowheresville. If you’re not a fan of the sport, don’t let that put you off. It’s just a leitmotif — what this novel is truly about is what lies beneath, alongside, or far, far away from cruelty, deceit, and the mindless anger of a mob. The characters are compelling and the writing is outstanding. I recommend it highly.

~~ Don’t you wish you were as rich as Magic Johnson, so you could chuck it all in such a classless way and not be impacted one iota?

~~ When asked yesterday about Wikileaks after the arrest of Julian Assange, Donnie the Conman claimed he really doesn’t know boo about them. Remember when tRump said "I looooooooooooooove Wikileaks"? He likely said it more times than he professed "I love you" to all three wives and five kids.

Dasvidaniya. Have a great weekend.



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