Friday, December 27, 2013

It's the End of the Year, and You Want to Give Me Money.

Perhaps you missed the email.

I sent you another note reminding you about the end of the year, and well, you haven't responded yet.  I know you're busy so don't worry, that's why I'm sending you a third reminder.

You see, I know you want to give me money.  You just haven't gotten around to it yet.  And I hate to see you miss out on something I know you want to do, so I've taken it upon myself to remind you several times that the end of the year is rapidly approaching and well, time is running out.  I am certain you are just not aware of this fact so it is up to me to remind you.
Give cash.  Give checks.  But whatever
you do, don't give me coins.
They're too damn heavy.

I know you are a busy person.  I know you have other demands on your time and money.  Of course, you could be helping starving children in Africa, but have you considered the alternative of seeing just how your funds are spent and making an impact on one person?

A small donation could buy me a nice bottle of tequila.  A little more could buy me that new coat I've had my eye on.  Or perhaps, you're feeling generous and would like to fund a spending spree at Sephora, makers of all things good?  Throw in a couple more dollars and I may even treat my child to something nice too.  Or maybe not.  On second thought, I'll have a second fundraiser for that.  That would be diluting your generosity and we wouldn't want to do that.

In exchange for your end of year donation I will give you a letter which you can give your accountant, who will promptly tell you there's no chance in hell of deducting that from your taxes.  He might use big words like "fraud" and "scam".  Don't worry, this is standard procedure.  You will be grateful to him for opening up your eyes before you gave even more, and he will feel like he finally earned that high fee he's been overcharging you for years.  And me?  Well, I will be able to spend just a little more this year.  See how that's a win-win for everyone?

The best part of a gift to me is that it's a gift that keeps on giving.  In fact, if you're feeling particularly generous this year, I will thank you by personally calling you next year to see how we can outdo this year's funds.  Together, I know we can do great things.  That is why I'm sending you this third email.  Because I know you wouldn't ignore a note from me, so I am smiling imagining how grateful you will be for my reminding you about this wonderful opportunity before it's too late.  No one has your back quite like I do.

The good news is that the economy is in an upswing! Even my friend from Nigeria isn't asking people for money anymore.  Sure, you can chalk it up to spam filters but  I know it's because he's finally gotten himself out of the hole.  Surely if he can do it I can too.

So please, if you've found yourself reading one of my free articles and chuckling, remember how much it cost for you to get that laugh.  And consider giving back.  After all, if every person who read my articles gave just $3, my fundraiser would be over in an hour, and I'd have a whole $15 to spend at the casino.

Isn't that a good cause?

Remember, before you overspend your money on that big New Year's party you're going to black out for most of anyway, consider an alternative way to spend that hard-earned cash.  After all, don't others deserve to party until they black out too?

Just a few days left until the end of the year.  I know you'll do the right thing.



Sunday, December 1, 2013

Five Reasons to Celebrate Thanksgiving Abroad

As some of you know, this year we decided to have ourselves a little adventure this Thanksgiving. We like to call it the Great Thanksgivingukkah, Catalonia-style.

Many people drive for hours to see their family, or brave the airports to get stuck at snow-filled connections, just to see their family for a few hours.  This is, as many like to say, par for the course.

Thus, we decided what's a few hours of flying? It was time to celebrate the holiday outside the country!!!  Close your eyes, nap for a few hours and then.....hola, Barcelona!  See how easy that was?

Now, we knew Thanksgiving outside of the U.S. would have its benefits, but in hindsight they were even greater than anticipated.  So behold, our top 5 reasons to leave the country on Thanksgiving!

1) It's the cheapest time to see Europe.  For reals.

2) If you're visiting friends, you can still have Thanksgiving dinner!  We may have been thousands of miles away from home, but we were not without our turkey and marshmallow covered sweet potatoes.

mmm .... malvaviscos rosa y blanco
3) Better wine while you eat, and no football.  You can actually converse with the other guests without having them fall asleep on you!

4) Airports are packed with people flying within the 50 states - international flights? Not so much.  You'd never know we were flying on a holiday weekend!

5) And perhaps the best part of traveling abroad on Thanksgiving: missing Black Friday!  Instead of fighting with strangers in the name of consumerism, we spent our day visiting gorgeous architecture, taking a walking tour of a new city, learning some Spanish history, drinking fabulous coffee, and learning about fun local traditions such as Caga Tio, the Catalonian Christmas log you hit with a special Christmas stick so he poops out presents and candy.  (If you think we're making this up, read more about it here).  Strange to see a culture that brings out the squatting statuettes on the holidays.

Because we like you peeps, we'll spare you the picture of Hello Kitty and her pink turd, which means you'll have to take our word for it on this one.

Caga Tios, everywhere you look.  Every home has one.
A big thank you to our hostess with the mostess
So there you have it.  If you ever get a chance to have yourself a little Thanksgiving adventure outside of the U.S., take it! And unlike this year, you won't have to worry about what to do about Chanukah either.  Though if you do, get thee some Southeast Asian cauliflower/zucchini fritters, which taste just like the real thing. You heard it here first.



Monday, October 7, 2013

Single Mother Suffers from Rare Parenting Fog

Did you hear the one about the single parent who went cray cray?

Of course you did, that's old news.  In today's news, a single mama has a rare flash of clarity and suddenly realizes she cannot do it all.

While sources tell us others have recognized this for years, the inexplicable failure to recognize this earlier can be attributed to only one thing: Parenting Fog.

While not yet classified by the CDC as an official disease, anecdotal evidence suggests Parenting Fog can be a very real and dangerous condition.

Signs and symptoms of the condition may vary, but often include long commutes, fretting over school lunches, and volunteering for mystery steering committees at schools.  Parenting Fog should be strongly suspected when these steering committees are at an unknown school where their child does not attend.  Other common symptoms include failure to return calls and emails, asking questions over and over again (such as: "Who are you?"), and eating expired food while standing.

Now there are reports of an alleged antidote to the condition that must involve a very carefully concocted combination of friends, copious amounts of alcohol, and truffle mac and cheese.  Unfortunately, the FDA was not available to confirm this due to the shutdown of what can only be described as a large group of men and women collectively suffering from Parenting Fog at the same time.

Because really, that's the only plausible excuse for what is going on in DC right now.  

What we'd like to tell our thoughtless fearless leaders.
And with that, if you're looking for this single mama, she'll be relieved of her moment of clarity.

Should she suddenly disappear, you just might find her transporting large vats of mac and cheese and wine to our legislators down south.  






Thursday, September 12, 2013

Oversimplifying Politics

Four years ago, when Obama was first elected, we came home from work and asked a three year old mini if she knew what a President was.

"Yes!", she exclaimed! We learned it in school!

Excited that her school was taking on educational responsibilities we had clearly neglected, we rejoiced.  So we asked her, what was a President?

"He is a black man who lives in a white house."

Well, who are we to argue with that?

At the next presidential election, we brought her with us to the polls, let her pull the lever, and proudly wear the "I voted!" sticker.  We then colored in states red and blue together as CNN announced the results on TV.

So it shouldn't have come as a surprise that she was upset at not being able to join us at yesterday's New York Primary elections.  After promising she could come in November, we tried to explain what a Primary was.  This led to the inevitable question:
"Am I a Republican or a Democrat?" 
Oy.  Can't you just ask why Daddy and I got divorced again? That one was easier.

After trying to subdue her with assertions that you can't possibly know until you're 18, that's why you don't have to choose until you're that old, it was clear she wasn't going to take no for an answer.  So, in an effort to get everyone to sleep that night, we attempted to over-simplify politics for a third grader.
"Do you believe that any 2 grownups who want to should get married, even boys and boys and girls and girls?"
"Yes!"
"Do you believe the government should help you with money if you don't have a job?"
"Yes!"
"What about helping to pay for doctors and medicine?"
"Yes!"
"Will you pay some taxes from the money you make to help pay for these things?"
"NO WAY!"
Well, kid, we stand corrected.  You're more firm in your positions than most politicians today.  Happy voting.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Squeezing the Balloon

One wonders why it's been so long since we've posted.

Is it writer's block? Hardly.  Is it lack of subject matter? Nah, one subway ride alone per day is enough for subject matter in this here city.

Then what?

Well, as one friend puts it, we've been "squeezing the balloon".
 

It's simply really.  Do one thing and you have time to blog.  Do 10 things and.....you get the idea.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

It's May, and you know what that means. Oh wait, you don't.

It's a bit early for a Mother's Day post, but then again what better way to differentiate oneself! And yes, we realize this is strange written in the third person. No one's forcing you to read, is all we're sayin'.

Today is May.


First, you're welcome for sharing what we're sure is surprising news to y'all.
But second, we'd like to spend a few serious moments describing what May means to us as May will forever be inextricably linked to Mother's day.  See, we lost our own in early May. We remember the day she died. The day before she died. The cruelly beautiful and sunny Sunday that we tossed a shovelful of dirt into the ground. The cruel irony of burying her on the special day we had previously dedicated to the joy of drinking tequila. Sacrilege! And then, one week later, Mother's Day, which seemed at the time to be an unbearable punishment from the universe. 

Still, at the same time, it also seemed an appropriate time to symbolically acknowledge this loss. For that reason, we chose to unveil her tombstone on Mother's Day. That was one year later, one month past the official 11-month Jewish morning period, and though the constant, overwhelming grief had subsided, the intensity had not, and we recall wondering just how much longer that would take. 11 months was not enough. Who were these "forefathers" kidding? And while we were at it - why 11, specifically? Why not 6, or 12, or even 13, which is always a favorite number in Judaism? We couldn't help think that 11 was such an arbitrary number. Did they know something we didn't? Or were they just full of it, making it up as they went along - like the rest of us. Or - what if we were the stupid ones, what if we misinterpreted it and it was suppose to be years, not months?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Renovation Chronicles: Week One (Part 2)

This one is titled "we did everything wrong".

This is the post where we scream "why on earth did we possibly think this was a good idea!"  No, really.  When we thought this might be a little too big a project for one person, perhaps we should have listened. 

The token "during" shot

And now, the reality of living on the generosity of others (and their couches, trundles and sofas) for one, two weeks or more.  The reality of living like nomad with that unsettled feeling of no home base to go to.   The reality of royally pissing off the painters and the contractor before they even started because, well, apparently it IS too much for a single working parent to pack up an entire apartment solo so while everything was in boxes the boxes weren't exactly closed (we tried! The tape came undone with the heat overnight!), boxes weren't pushed to the middle of the room (we needed to walk around! plus they were heavy!), there were still some things on the walls (also super heavy!), and while the plastic mattress covers were on top of the beds, we hadn't actually put the mattresses in the covers (you try lifting a mattress by yourself! It ain't easy peeps!).  

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Renovation Chronicles: Week One (Part 1)

We are about to take you on an adventure.

Well, not really.  But we are about to go through our first ever "renovation" of our current home.  Why, you ask? Well,  the "let's throw it on and see" paint color we picked years ago didn't really work and it's time to admit that (note to self: dingy brown looks just like it sounds).  The giant holes of plaster in our walls where the paint has long since peeled are begging to be painted.  And for some strange reason people say after 10 years we should have painted again already.  And finally, if all that's not enough, we may have to sell someday.  You know, when the money runs out.

So there's your reasons.  Now in order to not horrify a potential buyer with the low standards we've had for years, we realized we'd have to at minimum paint, patch the giant holes of plaster in the wall, take care of those cracks in the floor, fix the outlet that's always burning out, and replace the molding shower caulk that was so eroded everything got wet all the time anyway.  And while we're at it, let's get some grown up furniture in here - you know, a dining table that isn't 15 years old and seats only two, a couch that isn't littered with tears and breast milk stains...you get the idea (Yes, we just said "breast milk stains". Get over it.)

No problem, we've got time on our hands right now.  Single working mothers have nothing but time on their hands.  Wait, what's that? They don't.  Huh.  Guess taking this on solo was probably not the brightest idea we've ever had, and after the first 24+ hours of this we're realizing just how in over our heads we are.  So where does that leave you?  Well, we figure at the very least our tales of annoyance over should entertain someone out there.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Bye Bye to an Old Friend

He was a  trusted friend for over 10 years.

Worked furiously to help me make mini's first birthday cake when we had no idea how to bake without eggs.  Helped us try countless cookie and recipes, letting us know which worked best.  Sat patiently while we worked on batches of frosting upon frosting, not caring that he was sticky and covered in cocoa powder everywhere.

He helped us with baby showers for friends and coworkers.  Helped mini eat healthy food when we discovered pumpkin protein bread, zucchini bread, and spinach muffins.  He brought warmth, comfort, tradition to every holiday, helping us with everything from hamentaschen to honey cake.  He was our secret weapon for the perfect apple pies at Thanksgiving, and homemade whipped cream.

It was because of him that oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for the doormen on Christmas and entertained children on playdates brilliantly for short bursts of time.

In short, he was always there when we needed him.

And then, suddenly......he was gone.  Just. Like. That.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

2013: The Year of the Month-Long Purim

Perhaps it's just us, but does Purim seem to have gotten hopped up on steroids this year?

The holiday is one day, yet it seems to have gone on forever.  In fact, the holiday has barely started and we're already Purim'd out.  How'd that happen?

We have some theories.



Exhibit One: Purim Carnivals going on for weeks.

For some reason, this is the year several people decided to hold Purim festivities on alternate dates in order to boost attendance.  After all, it's impossible to attend your school, synagogue, and local community center carnival all in one day!  So for practical purposes the dates were sandwiched before and after the holiday.  Of course, with Purim being redonculously early this year, the alternate dates fell over winter break, meaning no one would be around to celebrate, rendering the alternate date futile.  The solution? Push it back earlier.  The result?  Purim carnivals scattered from Feb 10th all the way to March 3rd.

Exhibit Two: Purim is super trendy this year.

For some reason, Purim was a hot topic this year.  Maybe it was the explosion of social media, generating Jew-envy amongst those forced to look at droolworthy picture after picture of hamentaschen on Pinterest.  Maybe it was the party and celebration invites being spread like wildfire.   Or maybe it was the intersection of Purim's relevance to current sentiments and values in our culture, inspiring articles such as Why I like Purim as a Queer, Secular Jew and this book on Jewish superheroes.  Regardless of the reason, you know it's trendy when secular entities like Bed & Bath and Slate are tweeting hamentaschen recipes.

Eclectic hamentaschen photos swept Facebook and Pinterest this year
#Purim was also hot topic on Twitter this year, with tweets every minute from all over the world.
We wonder if all the people tweeting this photo for #Purim even know who Haman was
Exhibit Three:  Increasing number of friends with children + Quality education in Jewish preschools + waitlists in public schools everywhere = more Purim costumes than ever before.

'Nuff said on that one.

What we'll be stylin' on Purim this year.  

So, to sum up, like the torture we endure when Christmas tzotchkes get put out before Halloween has even ended, Purim seems to be going the way of overkill as well.  We have to wonder, at what point does the holiday start to lose its impact?  That would be truly a shame, because it really is a great holiday.

Mini once asked us why we don't celebrate birthdays every day.  It would make every day special!  Or would it......

Simple, amateur hamantaschen.  Just right.
Happy Purim, peeps.  But not too happy, if you know what we mean.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

An Urban Dweller's Wish For Snow

What do New Yorkers wish for on a Snow Day?
While many suburban dwellers are hoping for no power outages and help with shoveling, here is what many New Yorkers are thinking when we hear of an impending snowstorm.

Behold, a typical New Yorker's wish for a perfect snow day:

Dear Mother Nature:

May it not snow on any day where we need to leave this island.  Or venture far in it.  

May it snow just hard enough for schools and offices to close, but not so hard that the delivery person can't make it here with dinner.   

May the really hard snow not start until after the liquor store closes.
May the snow stop by morning, so that the baristas can make it into work.

May it stay cold enough for us to enjoy a beautiful day sledding in the park, but not so cold that we freeze our butts off.  

May the supermarket not run out of mini marshmallows.

May people finally stop the meshuggas of naming snowstorms and put us out of our misery.

And finally, the ubiquitous wish of urban dwellers:

May we experience the joy of jumping in a fresh, white, fluffy pile of snow before it turns yellow.





Sunday, January 27, 2013

W.E.S.

Don't hate us! It's just a W.E.S.
There is an expression some peeps we know invented called "W.E.S." which is short for "Weakened Emotional State".  Quite a clever acronym actually, as no self-respecting male (or female, for that matter) wants to admit they've been rendered into a blubbering fool, obsessing over what's eating at them, dragging themselves through their days and spending whole nights on the bathroom floor.

So in the case of these particular peeps it allowed some guys to let each other know they needed a little extra attention in a way that wasn't emasculating.

Picture a typical scenario where Thing 1 might be trying to get the last beer, but Thing 2 saw him coming and beat him to it.

"Nice try dude, next time be faster"

Thing 1 sits down with a heavy expression and stares ahead at nothing.

"Dude. W.E.S."

Thing 2 quietly hands over the beer.

"Oh yeah, I forgot.  Say no more"

This scenario works quite nicely in many other settings too.  Substitute the beer for the last piece of cake, or the bigger half of the burger, the hot Swedish girl you just picked up in a bar....you see where this is going.

But most importantly, it reminds friends not to forget you.

"Let's call J-dog to join, he's in a W.E.S."

That said, we can imagine its implications beyond your immediate circle of friends....

"I'm so sorry I ripped off all your eyebrows.  I'm in a W.E.S., see....."

or

"Turtle abuse!? I would never abuse a reptile!  It's just a W.E.S...."

or

"Where are my pants!? Oh my goodness, W.E.S. has caused me to fall victim to wearing tights as pants...!"

It could even go so far as being an official police cause of crime.

"Yeah, I got a big car accident here.  Nope, no foul play here, just a bad case of W.E.S."

Yes this could be huge.  W.E.S. is a veritable trump card, a sort of "get out of jail free" card for friends to get a pass on being teased for a while.

Too bad our children haven't discovered it, as it sure would help decipher those times when you're not sure if they're just misbehaving/oppositional/defiant or if something really upset them.  Wouldn't it be nice if instead of wondering if you should or shouldn't be punishing them, they could just honestly tell you "It's not me, momma.  I'm in a W.E.S."

It's only a matter of time, peeps.  W.E.S.  You heard it here first.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Conversations with 7 year-olds

While it's commonly known that your "coolness" goes way down in your child's eyes the older they get, there apparently seems to be an inverse relationship between age of your child and amount of knowledge you have as well. The older mini gets, the less we seem to know.




Observe just one conversation on one walk home.  Mother and child pass a Chanukah menorah in the window of a bank.  It's New Years' Eve.

"Momma, they didn't take it down!"

"Well, honey, some people leave decorations for different holidays up until after January first".

"Then how come our building took down our menorah after Chanukah and the Christmas tree is still there?"

"Well, some people do that too"

"So, sometimes people keep the menorah up and sometimes they take it down after Chanukah?"

"Yes"

"But everyone keeps their Christmas tree until after January 1?"

"Pretty much, yes"

"So, if everyone keeps their Christmas tree up in their store after Christmas is over, how come not everyone keeps their menorahs up until after Chanukah?"

"That's a good question, kiddo.  I don't know".

She clearly does not like this answer.  She pauses to think, and a moment later her relaxed face lets on that she has moved on to other thoughts.  She begins jumping over seams in the sidewalk, noting that "the lines are fire".

She focuses on her game, clearly forgetting the serious thoughts she had earlier.

A few moments later.....

"Momma, how long will the earth stay?"

Damn.  The Christmas tree question was easier.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Nerd Mom's Guide to New Year's

Now that we have your attention, if you're reading this you've already got an interest you might or might not care to admit in how to spend new year's as a parent in a way that does not involve spectacular hangovers.  Not that we're against ringing in the new year gangnam style with spectacular hangovers per se (in grownups, that is!), it's just that they're somewhat harder to manage when you're flying solo on parent duty.

There are many ways to bring in a new year.

Typical resolutions we will NOT be making
After a 2012 that was more eventful than most, ours was spent in perhaps the dorkiest manner possible. Baking cookies on New Year's eve.  Making a new recipe for dinner that involved pureed broccoli and pureed cauliflower, and jumping for joy that mini actually ate - and liked it.

Letting mini finally stay up to watch the ball drop on tv - and then somehow not paying for it too much the next day.

Brunch with waffles we made, and the afternoon at the math museum (before you mock, if you are in New York, get thee to the math museum pronto.  And if you're not in New York you may want to consider a road trip with the kiddos. Seriously, peeps, it's quite awesome)

Now, going to a math museum, enjoying good company, and successfully getting your picky eater to eat vegetables, all with good company might not be your idea of a perfect new year's.  And to that we say...

Hence the title of this post, peeps.

We know at least some of you will relate.

Happy New Year everyone!
--------------------------

In housekeeping news.....while we're not making official UNresolutions this year, stay tuned for a little self productivity experiment coming along this month.  Meanwhile, please to enjoy the deluge of smoking cessation, weight loss foods, gym, car, job search, online dating and tax service ads you are about to get inundated with (why is this so? Answer in a previous post).