Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Where do Science, Philosophy, and Religion all Exist as One?

Only in one place.

In Gamehendge.

We have the great Icculus to thank for recording the story that talks about this land.

Apparently the land is in danger, if you take this sticker I purchased a few years ago at all seriously.

And today the Prince of Music (that's Levi to the layman) joins the cause with his Fly Famous Mockingbird shirt.

You may think it's Adar with my silliness, but it's Elul and it's time to get out into the field because there is where science, philosophy and religion sits right in front of us as one.  

I personally can't see it, so maybe it's time to read the book.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Pre Rosh Hashana Music in Philly with Shlomo Katz

An intimate concert leading up to Rosh HaShana with quality people, holy words and tunes of inspiration.  What more could we ask for on a Monday night?

The very special Shlomo Katz visited our neighborhood tonight with Pey Dalid as his last stop in America on the way back to Israel.  He shared songs and stories.  He gave over melodies (niggunim) from R' Shlomo Carlebach.  He brought down words of Torah in the name of the Alter Rebbe, Rav Weinberger, the Izhbitzer Rebbe and more.

Thank you Lisa and Michael Wachs for opening your home and bringing Shlomo to town.  Thanks also to Ben Weitz Photography for allowing WholePhamily to post your photos of this special evening.  Not only is Shlomo musically talented, but he is good friends with our very good friends (all former Bronx residents).  So there is no more apt place than to share what we enjoyed tonight than on WholePhamily.  We are all connected.

Ganse mishpucha mamish!

Shlomo talked about the idea of repentence - tshuva, the theme of the month of Elul leading up to Rosh haShana which is in just a couple of weeks.

He said that the Alter Rebbe said that choosing to have compassion on your own soul (neshama) is the first step towards tshuva.

Shlomo then talked about his own rebbe - Reb Shlomo Carlebach.  He said in his name that Reb Shlomo gave over a Torah in the name of the Izhbitzer (yeah, a lot of giving props there).  All year I am fixing the things that I did wrong, but in Elul I am doing tshuva for all the things I did right but I could have done so much better.

He continued on the idea that I'm already keeping shabbat, I'm already eating kosher food, I'm already sending my children to Jewish schools.  But the idea is that you could be even more plugged in and going deeper and doing things with more meaning.

This is the idea of "Bina" which has the same gematria (Hebrew letter numerical equivalent:  Jewish numerology) as the name of this month :  Elul.

Shlomo said that this gematria is 67, and my add is ...1967 was an important year in our history.  This was the summer of love, the summer of be-ins, psychedelia, and the birth of the modern day hippy.  This connection is so relevant because, ultimately, Shlomo Katz was playing inside a room of many Jewish hippies, both young and old.

The dream of the 60s is alive and well.
Well, a little more polished, and the free love thing didn't really work out, but the ethos is here.
Well, at least the music is, and really the music is what is at the core.

He then continued with some Torah from Rav Kook.  When you have compassion for yourself and start doing tshuva you start to lose the fear of death.  Rav Kook also stated once that he is Rebbe Nachman.  Pshhhhhhhh.  What is THAT all about???

Last but not least is a short video I took.

Shlomo said he felt totally welcomed and at home at the Wachs family home.

I couldn't agree more!

Feeling pretty grateful that this happened, that Stango was able to make it after a long day hard at work, that I met some lovely people and saw some friends from the hood, and that I made the effort to slap it all here on to this corner of the Internet.

Time for a Tweezer Reprise, if you ask me!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

This is Phish Couch Tour

If you ever were curious about what Phish couch tour looked like, look no further.

Oh.  Waitwaitwaitwaitwait.

(so embarrassed I'm such a silly one I put 7/3/14 and not 8/3/14 not like anyone is gonna actually search for that video, right? or notice my mistake in dates?  Not like this is going into any database, PHEW!!!)

Do you know what couch tour means?

Sorry again I apologize.
This isn't a Phish blog.

me and Trey Anastasio on couch tour (photo taken 8/3/14)

My favorite band is so generous to Live webcast their shows.  Usually you have to pay.  Sometimes we buy the shows and watch.  Tonight is the last night of their summer tour.  Unofficially called Deep South Tour.  Or at least that was the poster Mike was holding earlier tonight.  (sorry, can't find the pic someone tweeted of it...yeah I know dems da breaks).

Anyhoo it's a free show tonight.  Not live music but I know what some of you fellow landsman and women are thinking.  That's ok, everyone's entitled to their thoughts.  I'm entitled to my actions.  Let's leave it at that.

So incredible that their last show of the Summer Tour is in Alpharetta, GA.  As we know this is where Rashi Mincowicz z'l may her memory be a blessing, ran her highly successful Chabad house.  Let's think this show is for her.  Even though I doubt the musicians know her story.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Fiddy Cent and Portlandia....HOLLA!

As you know I don't like to post bad language here, but today at the gym the familiar spin tune "In Da Club" by the rapper/hip hop artist 50 Cent came on, and it reminded me yet again why going to spin class keeps me checked in with current music.

How timely, since Mr. Curtis Jackson was all over my Instagram feed today.  I'm not gonna research it, but my guess is he has a new album out.  He was on Good Morning America this morning.  No, I didn't watch it.  Yes, I saw some photos on Instagram.

I really love the beat of "In Da Club" and despite the cursing, here is the video which I have no idea what it looks like.  View at your own risk.

Remember when I mentioned my friend's husband Chad, who referred to this blog as hyper liberal?  If I were uber liberal I wouldn't post the lyrics to this tune, which I'm not.  But maybe it is pretty liberal of me to post this video.

So I will state again:  View at your own risk.  Not exactly wholesome stuff.

This week I finally started catching up on this season's episodes of "Portlandia," and while it is all so ridiculous, and I mean that in the best of ways, one of the funniest sketches is when Fred talks about how he missed hip hop.  And then he gets all academic on Carrie and learns all about hip hop.  That's how I feel:  I missed hip hop, too.  All 25 years of it.  I was busy with figuring out how to transcend my Phish newbie status by studying the Helping Phriendly Book.  I think I have graduated.  More so than Fred, at least I knew that it originated in NYC.  More like da Bronx.

Seriously.  So ridiculous.  So funny I want to pish in my pants.

Which leads me to Eminem's new tune, "So Far."  Gotta love how he samples the classic Joe Walsh tune "Life's Been Good" whose riff is so familiar to me, having been reared on classic rock.

Eminem sings (?) about staying true to his roots.  He likes staying in Detroit, eating Hamburger Helper, and just wants to be a normal dude shopping in his local grocery store (Kroeger).  Gotta respect that.  Though it would be healthier for him if he ate more healthful options and shopped at an organic market.  Point being, he isn't all about the shmancy food delivered on silver platters despite his success.

Again, lots of cursing, but he has a good message:  he's got the fame but he wants to just be true to his humble roots.

Here's the original tune it samples, which is along the lines of what I listened to in high school before I got to the better stuff later in life.

Back to Portlandia, I had the good fortune because of Instagram this week to meet (online) the very lovely Kittee Bee Berns.  She is a Portland resident, blogger, vegan, cookbook author, clothing maker, and overall funky hip person.  Her design style, from what I can see of her online photos, is vintage 50s inspired.  She knits (I think?), wears cool glasses, and takes colorful gorgeous photos of her life.  She's the real deal indie-sassy-funky-DIY type (not to label or anything)  and I told her that we decided numerous years ago that a move to Portland wasn't going to happen for us.  She gave me an infusion of creative energy that I simply rarely get to see and experience while living in the suburbs where the focus is on the soccer mom life.

Just when you thought you heard it all and thought I was hyper liberal, check out this lovely LV Damier zip around wallet I found today.  And gosh darnit if I wanna still wear flowers in my hair, I will.

Good Shabbos, homies.  Time to holla about some delish home baked challah.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Volvo Station Wagon

My freshman year college roommate pulled up in one on the first day.  My first friend had one growing up.  My husband did, too.  Some of my earliest memories are of riding in the back of my childhood friend's rust colored Volvo station wagon with the bench seats facing each other.  It was probably a 1976 model.  Nothing replaces the unique look and feel of a vintage Volvo station wagon.  I'm not the only fan:  check out what these people had to say about it.   If you add on college decals, bumper stickers or, today's incarnation, magnets, you've got yourself one nifty vehicle.

Here's one I spotted around town recently. 

I wonder if I am supposed to blacken out the license plate.  I would but I don't know how to do that.  I don't know whose car this is; just saw it around town.

My personal preference is to see dancing bears or skeletons adorn the bumper of a vintage earlier than this example (which I am guessing is a '92 model.  Someone correct me if I am wrong), but it is still a lovely specimen.

And naturally what type of music sounds best coming out of a Volvo Station wagon?  You got it.  Some good ole Jerry.  For some reason I just don't think hip hop works.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Long Time Gone for a Baby To Nap

As my poor sweet baby cries away in his crib because he is so tired and can't continue sleeping without his mama by his side, I am grateful for this video I took just yesterday of him playing so peacefully.  He is engaged, interested, and curious.  He is human and healthy!  So grateful.  So not grateful for the sleep-deprived state we are both in at the moment.

Never saw CSN in concert.
Always wanted to.

That video is from the famous Woodstock concert you might have heard about.  It's the one my parents couldn't make due to my mother being pregnant with my brother.  At least that's the joke we always say.  No way my dad would have hung out with all those hippies.  My mom was busy singing along with Peter, Paul, and Mary and my guess is that if she was hanging out with other people at the time, she might have gone.  Reba's mother-in-law went.  So, that counts, right?  She still carries her ticket around in her wallet!

You know what they say, Man plans, Gd laughs.  The irony the irony.  They say things skip a generation?

Which reminds me there is a fun-sounding family and kids gathering this Sunday in Philly called Kidstock at Liberty Lands.  Just in case you had any pre-conceived notions that I might be a (cough, cough) hippy, no real earth mama would let her baby cry this long during the day to get down for a nap.

Since you asked, no that isn't a Moby Wrap, but good guess.  It is a NeoBulle and it is from Switzerland.  There are many, many wraps out there and the babywearers of the world are grateful for the Moby and its popularity!  Full disclosure:  I am not even terribly a huge wrapping geek, and only own 2 wraps!  The serious mamas out there are fully stashified and I am far from that.  But, I *am* in the market for a nice dressy slate or gray wrap for shul, so be on the lookout next time you see me at your friendly neighborhood synagogue.

BH.  Sleeping baby.

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Key to Good Hollie

Hollie is what my Grandpa Al called the traditional Sabbath bread also known as challah.  You know, that gutteral "ch."  Hollie to me is actually Holly, who is a new friend of mine.  (Hi, Holly!)

This week is the first Shabbat after Passover and an old but only recently popularized custom is that of the "shlissel challah" or , key challah.  The idea is that you bake a challah in the shape of a key, or, alternately, bake a key directly into the challah.  One of the explanations given is that the key will open up the gates of heaven for the next 7 weeks until the holiday of Shavuot, which commemorates the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. 

Early this morning I remembered the shlissel challah, whipped up some dough, and even got the big kids to shape some loaves.  Glad they fit it in before the bus. 

I wonder if Grandpa Al knew of this custom or learned about it during his youth at Chaim Berlin Yeshiva.  For some reason, I doubt it.  But I know he would have chuckled at the joke my dear husband Stango offered up this morning as I pulled out the last loaves from the oven.  Something that I should do more often.  Shlissel while you work. 

no keys in here, but these are the loaves shaped by the 3 children shown above.  Nistar's is the top.  Ezra's is the bottom left, with help from his big sis.  Eli's is the bottom right.

Kinderlach's challahs baked and finished product

will be needing this spare house key!

for those who care about sepsis, indeed we wrap the key

I do the traditional three strand braid

wow, I had a manicure last week!

peekaboo, I see you, key!

I braid from the center.  See the key?

moving right along...

almost there
I flipped it over after braiding
I also shaped one in the shape of a key.  I brushed the loaves with an egg-oil-chopped onion-salt mixture.  Yummy onion taste, thanks again to dear Leah Shemtov for that tip

Whelp, that's all folks.  Thinking of Grandpa Al, and Grandma Martha, all of blessed memories, since I mentioned Grandpa Al above.  Hope they enjoyed my handiwork!  Good Shabbes to everyone on the planet and in the past in the future and all the energy bodies everywhere.

Here are my Grandma Martha and Grandpa Al, at my bat mitzvah, sitting in center.  Other dear family members include, from left to right, by couple:  Aunt Evelyn and Uncle Murray , Aunt Henny and later husband Dave, aforementioned Grandma Martha and Al , and Grandma Mayme and Grandpa Archie .  May all their memories be for a blessing.  Miss all these good people.  What a nice representation of families.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Xanadu For Getting Your Spirits Up

My old colleague James Altucher is to thank for reminding me today about how much I loved the movie "Xanadu."  He posted eloquently about a topic I thought about lately:  heroin.

I guess it's out there more than ever because of Philip Seymour Hoffman's recent tragic death.  Or because of the article in the NY Times last month entitled "Prescription Painkillers Seen as Gateway to Heroin."  Could also be due to my conversation with a doctor friend who specializes in addiction, who has seen time and again the quick slippery slope people fall down into heroin addiction once their doctor prescribes them painkillers.

James' thoughts are how to produce a natural high similar to that created by heroin.  He has a lot of good points:  stress-out for short periods of time, working out, socializing, eating at least a modified paleo diet, hot spicy foods, fewer grains, sex, laughter.  Sounds about right.

Painkiller addiction scares me.  Opiates scare me.  I tried to avoid the Percosets after Levi, but I figured they couldn't hurt if I took them for just a couple of days.  That was 2 days too many and the after-effects lasted more than a week.  No thank you.  Let's not get into too many details, shall we?

Nancy Reagan was effective with her brain-on-drugs campaign, by keeping kids like me far away from street drugs in high school.  But 1980s Reaganomics also made the drug companies stronger.   Today we hear stories of problems with on-the-spectrum kids taking Ritalin and Adderall these days (remember last year's national story about a kid who committed suicide in conjunction with his Adderall addiction?) and adults taking OxyContins.  People don't take these drugs seriously enough, and yet off-label drug use is rampant.  Are pharm parties real or made up?  I like to think high schoolers are smarter than that, but it is pretty easy to access stuff which is powerfully addictive due to our nation's licensed doctors who write prescriptions.  And then they freak out over issues of marijuana legalization.  I don't get it.  It's all about money in the end. We live in a Capitalist society, I guess is what people argue.

Back to happiness and Xanadu.  I loved dance and rollerskating, so as a child of the 80s, I naturally loved this movie that flopped at the box office.  Of course I was already in love with Olivia Newton  John because of Grease.  My cousin bought me the record for this movie because she knew how much I loved it.  Back then I didn't appreciate the architecture used in the film, but the Pan Pacific Auditorium was a Los Angeles architectural icon that was destroyed in a fire in the 1980s.

Like James, I listen to the theme song from Xanadu (and watch the awesome choreography) and feel totally pumped.  I hope you do too!

Xanadu was filmed here.  source:  Wikipedia

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Rainbow Hamentaschen? Go for it!

If you're a Jewish mama like me, you've seen these rainbow hamentaschen trending on Facebook these past few weeks.

From Kitchen Tested

What can I say?


The recipe itself as well as my friends who have ventured into this den of self-inflicted pain echo the same warning signs. They take time.  They aren't easy.  And that's all I need to conclude that they are not for me.  No ounce of Jewish mothering guilt will get me there.

I love to bake, but I dread the annual hamentaschen baking.  My mom didn't make them growing up, so I decided it would be a good thing to share with my kids.  But, yet again, I learn that my mother was a very smart person back then (she's still very smart).  Every year when the hamentaschen either open, ooze out their jam, make a sticky mess, or any combination thereof, I utter the same thing:

You Nasty Expletive  *@A#  %*^ three-cornered Eastern European Purim cookies.
You jerky Haman's pockets.
May there be an ugly curse on you, Haman's Ears.

So, while these rainbow hamentaschen look stunning, this year I will enjoy the hamentaschen that everyone else made from the shalach manos packages we receive.  And I will eat them with a smile.