Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Bombablizzard

I know snow is pretty - until you have to shovel it, trudge through it, be cold from it and when it turns that particularly ugly grey black on city streets, well then it's not so pretty.  I do not see the point of skiing either, though I have been on numerous ski trips and locations - I have mastered the Black Diamond of Ski lounging but not for this girl the Michelin man inspired outfit, Herman Munster shoes and being hurtled down a mountain on what amounts to long toothpicks, after being lifted up the mountain on a cold bar that defies me to keep my center of gravity with the outfit described and my cupcake padded buttocks.  I feel some guilt as the boys would like to go snowboarding or at least attempt it - they are at that age when they still like snow as it means school closings, snowball fights and hot chocolate after sledding.  However, that guilt only extends to thinking about what lovely family friends would like to take them on their trip while I sit at home.

Now that we have established my lack of enthusiasm for the powdery stuff, boy would that have taken on a different meaning in the late 80s say hello to my little friend, I do get a kick out of watching the sheer madness that sets in as the weather forecast starts to call for flurries, to accumulations to blizzard.  

It is a run on water - umm when I lived in NYC I never drank bottled water.   The tap water in NYC is best in the world, taste and quality, and unless you are living in not visiting an apartment in the Tenement museum the pipes should mostly be ok.  However, in the 'burbs though in much closer proximity to that wonderful reservoir that goes to NYC I somehow wound up with this water though tested fine it tasted ewwww.  Brita and stuff will not work - it has a non- NYC water after taste.  So I too of course must make a run on water (am convinced that Poland Spring is my favorite because they probably open a tap somewhere in one of the 5 boroughs and fill these jugs up).  

Then there is of course the need for milk, eggs and bread and other sundries.  I have lived in NY and somewhat remember the blizzard of 1978, well slightly I was 11 and I remember massive mounds of snow that I slid down and made hiding places in with my friends, the black dirt from being pushed into these mounds did not seem to bother any of us - we were 11, school was out, life was good.  I remember the other blizzards that are of course trotted out every time a new one comes near.  Though slightly guilty of over buying I will say I do not go crazy - if I could survive the loss of electricity for over 5 days of Hurricane Sandy, a blizzard hitting here is pretty unlikely to have me eyeballing my husband as a giant turkey leg worthy of Henry VIII.   

I love watching this  - we are New Yorkers, tough, gritty, excellent in bad situations but snow that is our kryptonite.   It brings out the hoarder in all of us even those with small apartments where the 14 rolls of toilet paper now will have to be covered and used as a some sort of bookshelf.  

This one sounds pretty nasty - but I have to remind myself that it is the Northeast, I would never choose to live in Florida and it is winter.  It is not like May and this is happening.  We got off fairly easy this year after last year when it felt like it snowed every other day.  The kids ran out of snow days ... what kind of cruel and evil force deems that children can run out of snow days in this area ? What those 2 extra days would suddenly bump our issues with some schools from bottom of the test scores into the top ???? 

This is the first time in many, many years that I remember them shutting down the subway - that's freaky for a New Yorker  - I mean the thing is underground.  I think we all treat these storms this way partially because as New Yorkers most of us thrive on Type A reactions and to be on the move   - the thought of being home for say more than a day without having to do something, even if it's just cooking said purchased eggs, sends us into slight tremors like an alcoholic heading to Utah.    So as I, and many of peers, prepare to work from home tomorrow (ahh that helps me not have to plan all those other things I will try and fill every other moment with while stuck in house) I say let's do like my favorite meteorologist, Lonnie Quinn, roll up our sleeves and watch it all unfurl.   I always know it's a bad one when he rolls up them sleeves -- 

Monday, January 19, 2015

What will people remember about you

Last week a good friend of my mom's died suddenly.  She was in her 80s and while I know people do not like to hear it that is not young - it is old.  That word should not be so negative that we try and say things that "well it's not old for today's day and age" -- yeah actually it is.  Yet it is not a bad thing or even a good thing it is both and it is neither.  If you live to that age or older without being incapacitated, able to enjoy life then it is good to remember you have that many years of good moments to celebrate.  I for one know I am getting older - I do not want to lie or pretend about my age because who am I really fooling?  I know how old I am and what experiences would I cut out of my life with the years I shave off exactly.  It also does not make her death any easier for those around her.  

This weekend we also are surrounded by news of more and more horrifying deaths, over 2200 in Nigeria, the Charlie Hedbo killings, more rapes and deaths due to isis and their followers.  I am totally aghast when terrorists take "credit" for their actions.  How about all the money from the training camps and weapons be used to try and build your people up - oh yeah that's scary to them because then people may not want them - such is the price of democracy and of people's choices there and all over.  We all have had people that have been elected who we could not disagree with more but they were the choice that was made - I got to live with that.  I should not feel afraid of death for not choosing them.

On Monday we celebrate Martin Luther King day.  A man of many contradictions - he was not a saint nor should he have had to be.  He was not flawless nor should he have had to be.  He did not want more than equal opportunity ... not more just equal.   He did not want to be treated differently but treated with the respect so easily enjoyed just by being born looking unlike him.  His non-violent approach in the face of violent opposition is what we remember more than than those perpetrating the violence.  We remember and feel his actions and acknowledge their triumph over those who tried to stop him in the name of hate.  We remember!

All of these events which stem from the personal to current events to history got me thinking - what do I want to people to remember about me.

For those who knew me personally and as friends I hope they remember me for laughter - I love to laugh and I am dropping modesty to say I am pretty funny (I remember my Dad for this trait).  I want them to remember me for being a true friend someone that they got a tissue from, shared a good meal with, a bottle or two of wine, music and book discussions and who accepted them for who they were and loved them for those things.  I hope they think of the moments we shared and are glad to have had me in them.

For those who knew me casually I want to be thought of as someone who gave everyone a chance to be who they were and a helping hand when needed.  A person who respectfully disagreed with them and who admitted when she was wrong more often than not.  

I want my boys to remember me the way they call me now "best mom ever" - who put them before everything else in her life while teaching them to do the same for those they love.  I want them to think of the times I showed them that I needed to do things for myself so that they too would be empowered to do things for themselves that made them happy.  May they remember my cooking, my excitement about learning new things, my love for them and may they pass it along.

Maybe people will think of this blog and the fact that it shared how much more alike we are because of our differences.  That we fuck up as parents, lovers, friends  - that we get mad and hold in hurt - that we want more than just the ordinary.

I of course want those lovers of my past who meant something to remember that when they looked in my eyes they saw the greatest version of themselves (a line that still makes me swoon even after many years of having been said to me) and what they could be.  May they fondly remember a touch and a kiss and oh ok let's face it I do want them a little wistful for not having more time with me  .. but who doesn't want that ???  

My mom's friend who passed away is someone who I think back on with a smile because she always had one - she was a great mom to 2 really great people who in turn carry on that warmth she gave off when she walked into a room.  

Dr.King for me is a man who showed the world that your name and your non-violent actions will carry through history much more than those who act with disgrace .. we do not celebrate those whose minds are not free enough to allow others to be free also.

I will remember the victims of terror attacks, of children killed in the line of fire by a war that seems to have forgotten that it is not the answer and most of all I will remember to enjoy life beside people who are not like me, or just like me or part of my life because old or not eventually we will all be but a memory so let's make some great ones while we are still here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I am just me (je suis moi)

I am relieved to see that we have not totally gone numb, cynical, shrug shouldered when atrocities happen.  That as a world murder still shocks us into taking a moment to not only weep but take stock of what we have.  This past week has really been an emotional rollercoaster in many ways for me. 

I did not read Charlie Hedbo - full confession I had not heard of it before - but I was still appalled at seeing 12 people killed over it.  The response was swift and mostly universal .. sadness, anger, staunch defense of free speech for a few days and then of course there are the people whose sole existence is to write or tweet or speak publicly in a way that just antagonizes or disagrees with whatever is happening.  

Of course there is also the opportunity to blame the jews (to some groups they are responsible for everything), to blame past christian acts (yep atrocious), blame the lack of religion in the staff (irony obviously lost on this group), attack the lack of "taste" this magazine often showed, misunderstand satire for editorial and of course those Muslims .. well you know them they are just all about blowing up the joint.  

I am angry even if I did not have to like, agree with or even know the magazine to be able to defend it's right to write.  I am tormented by the idea of pulling down social media sites that are obvious jihad/hate rants because it is a slippery slope to know when it is yelling Fire in a crowded area vs yelling I hate Firefighting equipment in a public area.  For all those who think that you cannot make fun of men who once roamed the earth or currently are in power - you must be weak and doubtful in your belief,  incredibly so because if a mere cartoon can make you this defensive boy you are standing on some serious thin paper that you think is a soapbox.  You can choose to not support these publications and you can even protest them but why do you think your belief trumps any other's right to have a different one???

I am not Charlie - I am not Ahmed the police officer who was gunned down  - I am not the brave muslim shopkeeper who helped hostages taken by the fanatics.  I am a woman whose family left a country that had no tolerance for any dissent or freedom of speech.  My father's cousin was jailed for multiple years for telling an anti-goverment joke among other college friends, one was not a friend and reported this to the secret police and within hours he was arrested, "tried in a special tribunal" and sentenced along with his friends for this.  A joke ... that's it ... among young people who did not like the government or agreed with it's policies but were just using laughter to hide their sadness at the state of affairs. 

So as much as David Duke or people like him offend me they have the right to write whatever their small minded, hateful little heart desire - as much as I do not agree with many of the teachings of multiple religious leaders they have the right to preach 24 hours a day until either of these crosses the line and goes from editorial to call to action with instruction on death.   There must be checks and balances in place though for identifying these that are more than just rants and threats lest we do exactly what they do - censor dissent just because it is unpalatable to us.  

I am just me - a mom who wants what every mother wants to have a world that her boys do not have to fear in - a world where the preachings of hate are not the only place that welcomes them because life seems so lost ( like many of the recruits of any fanatical religion get drawn to ) - a place where they can be who they are without being judged by their appearance and most of all a mom who wants them to grow up in a world that spends more time on kindnesses, music, laughter, art, books, sharing a meal and appreciation for one another than one where people are gunned down for daring to be irreverent.  Believe if you need to or want to in whatever deity of choice you have because if that gives you comfort no one mocking it can take it away. 

I am also one of millions who think the killings like isis and boku harum (who just killed over 2200 people in a day and then took a kidnapped 10 year old and made them into a suicide bomber) so let us ask for not only rallies for the victims of that sad day, memorials for those killed in 9/11 but bring back the girls who were kidnapped and put an end to the reign of terror. 

We all need to keep writing, talking and yelling that we want peace and prosperity over doctrine of intolerance. 

I am me .. and I thank you for just being you. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Back to the Future

I am a big movie lover and always have been.  I distinctly remember going to the movies to see Back to the Future, after all the DeLorean, Michael J Fox and going to one of my favorite eras in time (the 50s - yes the movie 50s because they look ever so cool) was big draw for me.  I liked the movie. Then they came out with Back to the Future 2 and I liked that movie too.  After all the idea of going far forward in time was appealing - a future that was not all apocalyptic as most movies are about the future.  Even now let's face it while we smile at the ever constant flying car that is in pretty much every future based movie it is usually a world dark, grey, destroyed by each other/aliens/wars/ diseases and of course some sort of zombies may make an appearance.   I guess showing us a place where we fixed our then "ozone hole" issues, helped one another move beyond war to more peace, discovered a way to fly far enough to possibly even understand alien lifeforms is not what movie makers thought we wanted to see, then and now, with few exceptions. 

So Back to the Future 2 is unique, a gem in that respect.  There is still sun after all and people may be dressed differently but they are no zombies to be found.  The future in that movie has flying cars and the ever cool hover boards.  They have sneakers that have some pretty cool abilities.  There are  video calls, flat screen TVs and yeah the self lacing shoes.  The year that Marty lands in is 2015.  Wait whaat?????

That seemed so far, so futuristic to me (and obviously the screenwriters) at the time the movie came out.

So here we are -- yeah we have flat screens, skype/facetime, sneakers are good but my boys will tell you self lacing would be a huge bonus and we barely are scraping up electric car technology never mind the flying ones.  It is the future - I know this could turn into a Nietzsche discussion - is today the future if it is today - to the point of total mind blowing exhaustion.

The future - where we have damaged the environment but not to the extent where we live in grey skies with Wall E looking for the last living plant.  Speaking of Wall E - mean girl moment  alert - every time I see that movie then see the grossly obese by choice (yes by choice because they choose to have such bad eating habits vs someone with some sort of disorder that makes them that size) on one of those motorized scooters I am reminded of the Wall E people who no longer walk because of their size (art imitating life).

The future - where the media likes to make us believe we truly hate one another but in reality as boring as this snippet would be to report we actually have more in common and want to accomplish than not.

The future - where 2015 is not really futuristic and yet it is.  Cell phones and laptops and tablets (oh my) are really amazing and a huge opportunity fraught with danger too.  They are the future in a way Marty in the 50s, or even the 80s when the movies were made,  would have not imagined and will seem so obsolete when kids have iwatch like devices that you speak to in say 5 years replace these from today.

I think the Back to the Future movies are fun because it reminds us that we are all products of our past which we always look on with nostalgia and we are responsible for our future which we often view with a twinge of nervousness.  It is good to not forget though that we need to always come back to the present because that is where we need to take advantage of what we learned from the past to make the future better.

So you can buy a hoverboard, yes you can for like $40,000 at this time, and velcro is pretty close to self lacing shoes but the most important thing I hope for is that the future keeps looking more like this movie then the others .. on our planet that we love, without zombies, developing and growing rather than just surviving.

Gotta go Doc is revving up the DeLorean on my on demand, streaming smart tv...