Monday, December 31, 2012

Welcome 2013

When we last left our intrepid blogger, she was certain that this was a sprain and nothing to be too concerned about. Ah, not so, grasshoppers. The crack radiologist who supposedly read the x-ray on Monday lived up to the description. He missed the big honkin' crack that ran right into the joint AND the bone chip spur thingee next to it. Makes me wonder if the anyone even looked at the damn thing on Monday.

I got the call early Wednesday morning that someone had actually looked at the x-ray and thought it might be  good thing if I came back. Not so fast, little grasshoppers. There was no room at the intake on Wednesday and I had to wait until Thursday before I could see an orthopedist. All this on private insurance, too. 

Thursday, Cousin Laurie came over, announced she was going to iron my hair before I set one foot out the door, then took me to the orthopedist ...who was running a bit behind. When Dr. Tigger finally bounded into the room with the new set of x-rays they'd just taken, I took one look at them and said, "Uh oh," and he said, "Nice fracture you have there."  For G-d's sake, even I saw the big, honkin' crack. How did they miss it on Monday? I'm not really sure I want to know.

So, now, I am the bearer of lovely purple cast. I go back in two weeks for yet another set of x-rays and if everything is knitting nicely, I'm outta the woods; if not, Tigger will put  plate in to shore it up. This is the 4th time I've fractured this wrist, but I have perfect faith in my ability to knit bones better than I knit sweaters. At least, I've been far more successful at the former.

When I'm not rocking back and forth in a corner feeling sorry for myself, I've been following the fiscal cliff debacle with more disgust...almost as much disgust as I feel for the gun nuts who want to arm our schools. Columbine, by the way, had an armed guard and we saw how well that worked.

There was an interesting piece in the New York Times this morning, Let's Give Up on the Constitution, by Louis Michael Seidman, calling for the cessation of devotion to that document "with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions."  He goes on to say,

The two main rival interpretive methods, “originalism” (divining the framers’ intent) and “living constitutionalism” (reinterpreting the text in light of modern demands), cannot be reconciled. Some decisions have been grounded in one school of thought, and some in the other. Whichever your philosophy, many of the results — by definition — must be wrong. 

Sounds a lot like orthodox Judaism v. reform….and while my visceral reaction was a resounding, “No way!” I have to tell you, the column stopped me dead in my tracks. Is my thinking too limited by my belief that the fundamentals of the Constitution are correct and should be used as a litmus test for the formation and passage of laws in this country? Can one dispense with parts of the constitution and rely on Congress to adjudicate in the best interest of the population?

As archaic and flawed as the Constitution is, and it is both, the last four years have demonstrated the answer is clearly, no, they cannot be trusted. Congress has amply proven the priorities of individual members are more fundamentally dictated by individual pocketbooks and the needs of the nation be damned. It would seem that the Constitution provides restraint where the passions of a divided Congress run amok. Is it not better to have to pass throught the hoops before an ill-conceived amendment is Prohibition...than to allow Congress full control over the passage of law?  As cumbersome as the process is, I prefer the system of checks and balances weighed against the aged and often obstuse piece of parchment we call the Constitution. I don't trust Congress enough to take away that yardstick.

On the other hand...and isn't there always another hand....the inflexibility of that piece of parchment gives rise to the ongoing brain freeze with the second amendment. The inability of Congress to entertain rational thought on the topic of assault weapons makes one long for a president decisive enought to just construct a bill and ram it could and most certainly would work both ways.

So for my New Year's resolution, I am resolving not only to lose a zillion pounds and run a marathon (not) I am promising you, gentle readers, that I am going deepen my understanding of Constitutionality. Hell's bells! If I 'm going to constantly harp about the thing, the least I can do is to get more ducks for my row!

Wishing you all a happy, healthy, prosperous, and wonderfully adventurous New Year!

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Don't believe everything Congress tells you...
2013 will continue to grow the economy. I have spoken.


Monday, December 24, 2012

No Intro Today.....

No intro today...

Some of you might remember that's the traditional intro to lazy, but alas, that's not quite the case today. I was minding my own business this morning, rolling the trash down to the curb, when my feet departed the ground, ending with me doing an upside down a turtle with the trash bucket on top of me. Luckily nothing came out...of the bucket, but not so lucky I used my right hand to break the fall. 

So here I sit in a Starbucks in Woodbury, waiting for the appointed hour to see the doctor with a very patient Handy Andler [that's me!] typing. Personally, I think Handy's being here is some kind of karmic reward. BIG GIANT karmic reward.

----Hold everything-----I just got a call from urgent care that they can x ray my wrist right now instead of waiting the two and a half hours. We're on  our way back.


Well, the good news is seems not to be broken but it is Christmas eve and the radiologist probably won't give it his final seal of approval until Wednesday. In the meanwhile, I am to baby this thing [Simultaneous translation: she obviously can't cook or do dishes or do housework or anything more strenuous that stirring soup.] So off to Walgreen's for a wrist brace. Would that someone had prescribed something for the screaming pain, but alas......


Okay, it's not broken so it's a little blog being slowly pecked out at the keyboard. This is significantly painful. Almost as painful as the blog entry I started last night. 

The Indomitable PK
Losing Pat Kaplan to cancer last week is a blow to our entire extended community. PK was a force to be reckoned with when it came to making magic happen. There are institutions in the town that would not be there without PK's dogged fundraising and over-sized determination that they should survive....including me. PK's mom died the night before Steve and we spent that year of Kaddish sitting next to each other at morning minyan...often to the rabbi's dismay....but much to my relief. Our personal history may have been checkered with our arguments, but somehow we managed to remain friends...supportive friends.I will miss her late night emails when neither of us could sleep. (I confess it would be interesting to be in the room when she stands before the Throne....and before G-d can say a thing, she demands, "What exactly were You thinking?") Pat's memory will most assuredly be a blessing to her family, her friends, and to all whose lives she touched. I will miss her. 

Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Make sure you have someone on autodial for emergencies. 
You wanna be able to press a number and yell HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
and know someone will yell back, "OK!"

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Second Amendment ~ Part 3: Enough is Enough

When we last left the WP’s discourse on the Second Amendment, part 1 and part 2,  20 little kids and 6 educators in Newtown, Connecticut were alive and well and starting a new school year. 

It was, however, with the firm belief that nothing was gonna change the sides of the battle even after the Sikh Temple massacre on August 5th – 6 dead...that the NRA was going to continue to hold We, the People hostage, and that we were doomed to a never ending battle between sane gun laws and the right wing gun-nut fringe. We, the People, already knew the Sikh Temple would not be the last word on shooting sprees for 2012. That one was followed by:

                  Texas A&M on August 14th – 3 dead,
                  Accent Signage here in Minnesota on September 27th – 5 dead
                  Brookfield, Wisconsin salon murders on October 2st – 3 dead,
                  Portland, Oregon mall shooting – 2 dead

and finally, the horror of Sandy Hook School – 6 educators and 20 little kids dead from multiple gunshot wounds fired by a guy with a history of mental illness with a mother (who he also killed with multiple gunshot wounds to the head) who kept semi-automatic weapons in the house…all legally purchased and registered.

Now, even the President, a guy who just signed legislation permitting people to carry handguns into National Parks, says something must be done. 

People, the Second Amendment is about militias and protecting a fledgling nation. It is not about collecting AK-47 and Bushmasters or Glocks for fun. It’s about the right of the people to form an army, not about selling sawed off shotguns from the backs of pick-up trucks behind a gun show. Saturday recorded the highest number of gun sales in a single day. What does that say about us as a nation? Frankly, the answer, whatever it is, has got to be really scary.
Bushmaster .223 assault rifle

There is no reason for anyone in this country a weapon that discharges dozens of bullets in a matter of seconds. A Bushmaster is a weapon designed to kill people, not Bambi. And it did a fine job in Newtown, Connecticut.

A lotta people still point to the assault weapons ban of 1994 that expired in 2004 as a law with no teeth and less impact. That might be because it did nothing to make illegal owning assault weapons manufactured or purchased before that date. That was locking the barn after the horse has been stolen; that law was intentionally impotent, and that is not what we need.

Now it seems some politicians are quickly backing away from their “no gun law” stance. It took the deaths of 20 kids and 6 adults trying to protect them to make some of the nutball faction decide this is worth a second look.

Remember, folks, the Lanzas' guns were LEGAL, purchased LEGALLY and registered LEGALLY. It’s not enough to license, register, do background checks or any of that bullshit time wasting nonsense. The rapid fire magazine toting guns have to be banned. Those weapons must be removed from the hall closets, the bedroom nightstands, the basement rafters and any place else some person thinks they are safely stored when, in fact, they are not. 

Oh, maybe this is the point I should mention that on December 5th, right here in Minnesota, a 2-yer old was shot and killed by his 4-year old brother while they were playing with their dad’s loaded handgun. No loaded gun kept where little kids can find them ever goes off accidentally. I know you can’t legislate stupid, but you can sure make it harder to be stupid.

There was an interesting piece in the New York TIMES the other day that explored the recent unease with rapid fire guns in Newtown. Apparently, owning them and shooting them near town was not exactly an unknown event. The article, In Town at Ease With Its Firearms, Tightening Gun Rules Was Resisted is worth the read. This is a town that knew there were automatic weapons in its midst, didn't like it, ….and chose not to pursue the issue.

Would things have been different if they had? No one knows, but maybe it’s finally time to find out if finally passing gun laws with teeth would. 

But even if the world's strictest gun law is passed, you will never, ever be able to say these kids and educators did not die in vain. They did. They were sacrificed on an altar of right wing hubris that should’ve been dismantled after Columbine (1999)  but was not. If We, the People do not rise up against the NRA and the rest of the pols who think owning automatic weapons is okay, we will see this parade of corpses again and again and again.

Wifely Person's Tip O'the Week
Now is the time to contact your congresspersons 
to let them know your stand on gun control.
Silence is not an option. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

There's A Part Of Me That Wants To Say.........

Third night of Hanukkah - Chag Urim Same'ach!

Well, while we're dangling over the fiscal cliff, I was a bit busy blowing snow. Hard to believe just a few short days ago I was reveling in the humid heat of Delray Beach and last night there was a coat dripping water on the foyer tiles. It was so bad (how bad was it?) I broke out Steve's old L.L. Bean ski coat...the big yellow one that matches Daver's....because I needed a longer coat because I was getting soaked through to the skin every time I walked out the door in mine. Blowing snow in the wind really does require snow pants and I can't find mine. 
11 pm and still snowing

Last year, I started the snow blower once...and that was just to make sure it was running. Sunday, I blew out the driveway twice, shoveled the deck once, and made a last pass on the front walkway at 11:00 PM in hopes I could get out to walk her dogness in the morning. 

Alas, not to be. The plow buried the end of the drive and I had to fire up the snow blower to get through the curf so I could put the trash out. I was doing this at 5:45 AM, but not to worry; I wasn't the only one out there. 

Don't get me wrong; I'm not complaining. Snow blowing with that monster blower is a breeze. The driveway, which is a triple wide, took less than a half hour to clear. In fact, I walked the sucker across the street and did my neighbor's sidewalk in like 10 seconds. I figure it was easier the calling the ambulance since he looked like he was going to give himself the big one with the dinky blower he's got. It is such a zen experience and so relaxing that I would recommend it to anyone who wants to be one with a snowfall. That is if you can ignore that little tiny petrol smell and you remember to put your ear muffles on. 

And for a few minutes, you can concentrate on the simplicity of straight lines and NOT on the obstructionist politics continuing on in Washington. Or on the new building push in Israel. Or the riots in Cairo. Everything else just fades into the background when your only object is to move snow out of the way. 

And then, I get the paper and look at the headlines, and I just wanna shoot myself. Did we not just have an election where the electorate made it pretty clear that We, the People want Congress to cooperate and stop the obfuscation and obstinacy? Seems to me that even the minute polls on disgust level were pretty high in the 80-90% range. Were the congresspeople all lying drunk on the house floor when this was going on? Clearly, they weren't exactly paying attention.

No one party has the lock on stupidity, cupidity, and lividity; ownership here in on both sides of the aisle. Grow up, people. This is not junior high and we're not posturing about how to improve cafeteria lunches. You are playing with people's lives and livelihoods! And not for the benefit of We, the People, either. Right now, all I hear is how you need to get the deal done next week so you can go home for Christmas????????????? How about you need to get the deal done so millions of Americans can continue to pay their electricity bill AND their income taxes?

My childhood friend, Rhoda from North Bellmore, got it right in one when she posted on Facebook: 
"There's a part of me that wants to say to Obama - 
who gives a shit what they want?"

President Obama addressing Congress
We need to address the deficit. Simple things, like raising the Social Security cap, would stave off a number of disasters. Closing loopholes AND raising taxes on incomes over $250K would be an easy adjustment...but for the Norquistites who play into the hands of the greed monger. It's time to consider who is paying for the running of this country and making sure that the burden is shared equally across all economic strata. 

No, folks, this is not communism or socialism. This is social justice. This is making sure everyone pitches in according to their means. It's time to stop the bullshit and get down to business. 

Congress, if you cannot reach a deal by the first of the year, not only aren't you going home for Christmas or New Year's Eve, you are staying at your desks until you reach a deal, or We, the People will accept all your resignations on January 1st because clearly none of you are fit to represent us.

Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Getting more than 8"....of snow, that is?
Dig out about half-way through the storm, then again when it tapers off. 
It's just easier that way.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Our Force of Nurture at 90

I just got back from Florida....and boy, are my arms tired. My arms, my ears, my brains. Come to think of it, just about all of me is tired. It was a crazy busy weekend....Mom turned 90. She was so excited when I walked through the door, she fell over. ...Not to worry...nothing broke. 

My mother is a force of nature. Beyond all odds, she and my dad just marked their 69th wedding anniversary in November. But more about that in a bit.

My mother was the second born to Ben and Bessie Simon in Brooklyn, New York on December 1st, 1922. Ben and his brother had a butcher shop. My grandmother was a chic and fashionable socialist because her husband made sure she was. Grandpa was a butcher; there was always food on the table. But, suddenly, in 1936, Grandpa Ben developed kidney stones and, from complications that everyone has a theory about, passed away, leaving Bessie with 3 kids and no income. Of course, one might think Uncle Labeh would've helped to feed his brother's widow, but  apparently not. He pretty much left them to starve. Grandma Bessie, on the other hand, decided that would never do, so she bullied her way over to Orchard Street, got the goods, and opened a small shop in what had been my mother's bedroom. From an early age, my mother learned to make lemonade from lemons, to never say die, and to stand up to injustice. Those early lessons continue to serve her well.

A bookkeeper's job at Blum Folding Paper Box was more than just a job. She met this guy Sid there. The way she tells it, she told him in no uncertain terms that he couldn't date her and the switchboard operator at the same time. He opted for Helen Simon. The rest, as they say, is history....and her-story. He got drafted, went to basic training, came home on a furlough, got married, made my mother a camp follower in places like Louisville, Kentucky, then went overseas. Mom moved back to Grandma Bessie's until Dad came home from the Battle of the Bulge and the bridge too far at Remagen with his telegraph key still in his pack. 

[I have that alligator bag!]

They moved to Manhattan, lived a madcap Manhattan life in the same building as Shuster from Superman, and stayed there until my brother came along..and they went back to Brooklyn for bit until their radical co-op, Bell Park Gardens, was ready.

From Brooklyn to Bell Park Gardens in Queens, to North Bellmore further east on Long Island, they kept moving to bigger places for a growing family. Mom stayed home and did mom things. Oddly, my friends liked my mother. They hung out in our kitchen. She was the keeper of information. And her popularity went beyond the kitchen. The regional director of our youth group, USY, asked her to go to convention as an advisor. I was horrified. My friends were thrilled. She went.  I sulked. I made sure I was on a different bus to Atlantic City and a different floor at the hotel on the boardwalk (FYI: that's pre-casino AC) and I avoided her as much as possible...except when I needed something from her suitcase that I couldn't possibly fit in mine. 

Mom is one of those supportive moms even when you fight tooth and nail and declare everlasting animosity. Well, that's part of being a daughter. And as loathe as I am to admit it, I learned from her....and I delighted when my kids considered Bubbe's house their second home. Every summer was a month with Bubbe. Mom was running the financial end of a tennis club in those days, so the kids went to tennis camp as soon as they could hold a racquet. 

Shabbat at the Rodney
Thanksgiving was at the old Rodney on the beach in Bal Harbor. Relatives galore and mom in her element organizing stuff. Watching her with our kids was an education. Why wasn't she this nice when we were growing up? She finally explained that grandkids were a dividend, and after she's spoiled them rotten, she could just hand them back to us. Some kind of divine justice.

My mother is many things to many people. She always looks for the bright side...when she's not predicting incipient doom for my father. She loves unconditionally....when she's not explaining what I can improve at any given moment...these days, mostly my choice of shoes.  She is unfailingly patient...except when she wants the stick thing from the thing on the desk or in the drawer...she's not sure which but look and you 'll see it. She is a believer in the good of all humankind...unless you're a Republican (like my dad) in which case there's no hope for you whatsoever. People always ask how my mother is doing. I think that's because she has a Rolodex in her head and she remembers the smallest details about people and lives and and their families. 

But most of all, she's my mom. Oh, okay. She's Bruce's mom, too. And she is a force of nature and nurture. She's been the stabilizing presence in our lives. She's the rock when we need a rock, and the pillow when we need a place to lay our heads, if only for a moment. 

And this weekend, she was the birthday girl, surrounded by her friends in shul and later at a small dinner party in her honor. My brother and I were actually in the same room at the same time...a rare occurrence even though we talk on the phone weekly. At that table sat my dad, his sister, my mom's younger brother and his wife, close friends from Delray Beach, and worth a special mention - the son of our first next door neighbors in Bell Park Gardens. As Artie's mother, Juliette (z"l) babysat my brother so I could arrive, my mother would babysit Artie so that his sister could arrive in the same room at the same hospital two months later. 

Helen Simon Schwaidelson is many things to many people, and loved by them all.  
But to us, she is Mom.

Happy 90th, Mom. And here's to many more. 

Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Take a moment to appreciate your parents.
Remember: without them, you wouldn't be here.