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, 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 20, 2014

Rashi Mincowicz, Of Blessed Memory and SITM

"Unimaginable heartache" is what my friend Rachel just told me when I mentioned the sudden passing last week of Rashi Mincowicz. z'l.  She was 37.  Married and a mother of 8 children.  It was a huge shock.  She was named for her grandmother who also passed away at the age of 37.  She ran a Chabad house.  I can't even get into what that means, but it's all good.  Clearly she had beautiful taste - look at this photo of her and her beautiful family.

But the style is just the surface.  She wrote a beautiful email to her family last year when her aunt passed away regarding how to deal with loss of a family member that has been shared with the public.  And it is very deep.  Way deeper than the beauty you see on the surface in the picture above.

Rashi lived in/near the town of Alpharetta, which is where Phish played numerous times.  So I recognized that right away.

Her children have no mama.
Such sadness.
Look at that sweet little baby next to her.

Do what you can and support them to help with household help.

Music isn't the thing we do when someone passes away in the Jewish tradition, but I am posting this anyway.   A lot of special people go to see Phish.  And they were all right near Rashi at the time in Alpharetta.  They play Silent in the Morning (SITM).  I don't know what the words mean exactly but it's a pretty tune.  So, I dedicate this to Rashi Mincowicz whose neshama (soul) should have an aliya in shamayim (have an honor in heaven) and continue to glow, sparkle, and offer "resounding echoes" of bracha (blessing) to her family.

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.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

If Not Now, When?

It is lovely to see Pete Seeger quoting Rabbi Hillel's famous words.  There have been so many posts all week about Pete.  He was a giant.  I was grateful to have said to him directly:  "Thank you."


Thanks Pete Seeger.  We'll be seein' ya.

Pete Seeger at the Strawberry Festival in Beacon, NY June 2010  Photo by yours truly

Monday, January 27, 2014

I Must inquire, Mr. Salinger, can you still have fun?

Today is the 4th anniversary of J.D Salinger's death.  Us Jews call it a yahrtzeit.  Even though he wasn't Jewish, Salinger's father was.  Close enough.

You should watch the documentary about him.   You really should. I liked it.  Then again, I am no film critic.  I told a friend that I watched it; she said she heard it got bad reviews.  I don't care.  I liked seeing all the interviews.   I liked envisioning eating popcorn made with brewer's yeast with Jerry, which is what he did with one of his young girlfriends.  That would've been fun.  But then again that never would've happened cuz I wasn't a good writer.  As such, Salinger wouldn't have been terribly interested in me. 

Here is my own sweetness at the library last week.  I hope he and all of my kinderlach will love Salinger's many works.  And that they will read more than just Salinger (which is what I basically did in high school.  That and Cliff's Notes for the rest of the stuff).  And that they will be better writers than me.  

And why the blog title, you ask?  Cuz I was listening to Wilson from 12/31/91 today, a show I should have been at in Worcester when I was a college sophomore, just after the prime of my wannabe Salingeresque youth, but wasn't.  And boy is that Wilson so much fun.  The blog title comes from Wilson.  A lot of modern-day Holdens have enjoyed that one.  Please me have no regrets that one comes straight from my baby Levi's mouth.

Which leads me to the whole Wilson-Seattle football team thing that Trey got going.  I love these guys.

Here's a look at Wilson from last summer.  The very day when Levi, the sweetness above, was born.  Not like Trey knew that.  But hey, it's all connected.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Salinger's 4th Yahrtzeit Approaching

On January 27th to be exact.

Which is 1/27.

For those of you who have followed my antics here, you might recall my fondness for the number 127.

Here's one time I mention it.

Here's another, earlier, time I mention it.

It's a lucky number for my mother.
Her first name is Sarah.
127 is the age when our biblical matriarch Sarah passed away.
It's the number when you add up its digits gets to 10.
And who doesn't love a perfect 10.

So, why is it that I missed that Salinger passed away on 1/27?
Read about my fascination with Salinger books.

J.D. Salinger drawing that appeared on the cover of Time Magazine

I just finished watching the Salinger documentary from last year
All Americans should see this.
We all loved and love Catcher in the Rye.
You may think I am biased, since my college advisor and favorite professor, Stephen J. Whitfield, appears as a commentator in the film.
But I loved this movie even before I saw him in it.
No, I didn't know he was in it.

I do believe strongly that the sporadic release of Salinger's remaining works from 2015-2020, as noted by the film, will play a strong role in creating positive energy in the world.

It is a good thing!

There is no doubt in my mind that larger questions of religion and God existed for Salinger.  His Glass family practices a religion, after all.  Seymour commits suicide.  Salinger's father was Jewish and he helped to liberate the camps.  He served as a counterintelligence officer soon after the war.  He tried catching Nazis.  He married a former Nazi and soon divorced her.  I wish I could have had Jerry Salinger over for a shabbes dinner at our house.  I think he would have liked my challah.  I hope he would have had fun.  I just had some popcorn with brewer's yeast on it.  Good stuff.  But what about warm chocolate babka?  That would be good, too.

Forget about the music I love affecting so many Americans for the good.  (for the moment, at least!)

J.D. Salinger's books affected so many Americans for the good.

And, disturbingly, as noted in the film, they affected not just one but 3 Americans for the bad in their assassinations or attempted assassinations of famous people.   That concerns me but as Salinger said to his fans, he isn't a therapist.  He did good for the world by writing what he wrote.  And it will be so exciting to read the rest of his goods in the next decade.  The Glass and Caulfield families will finally rise to their fullest potentials in American literature.

I imagine little Suzy Greenberg, a girl who said she wants to be a sociologist but it was suggested she should get checked by a neurologist, must've read Catcher and related to Holden just as much as the next girl.

I loved reading about the Glass children (was it Franny or Zooey?) when we lived in New Haven, envisioning myself on the very platform I used to ascend when I commuted to Manhattan from there in 2003.

Thanks, Mr. Salinger.
This blog post comes from a good place and the best of intentions.
I only claim to be an ideas person who wants good in the world.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Bar Mitzvah Standard Stuff and Jam Cruise 13

Next year, Jam Cruise will celebrate 13 years.  They just came back from their 12th voyage, and I am looking at all the fun photos from this music festival on a boat.  I doubt I will be able to make it to next year's voyage, but I am calling it here and now that "Celebration" by Kool & the Gang, which was the go - to Bar Mitzvah song of the 80s when I was attending those parties, should be played.

I just read about some dude in the New Yorker who runs some really successful marketing company and he just had a Bar Mitzvah party for his company.  So it's not like I'm the only one who thinks up these good ideas.  Difference is that guy is a gazillionairre with marketing finesse and I'm not.

The happy memories of dancing away to Celebration are making me smile...and that's what important!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Nursing my Baby is a Real Privilege

Not only have all of my babies nursed successfully, but I love to nurse.  I am really fortunate in this regard.
I missed it during the 6 year break between Ezra and Levi, but time allows you to forget and the memory got hazier with each passing year.  

So it was like seeing a really good old friend again when I had Levi.  All the warm fuzzy feelings came rushing back with nursing baby #4.  Going back to La Leche League meetings is so enjoyable!  Chatting with my sister Reba about how much we love nursing our babies is a real happy thing.  

And now Levi is nearly 6 months.  Gd willing I will have many more months to nurse my baby.  I like nursing this size baby.  A newborn is more challenging.  Time is flying and I hope I can ride this wave for as long as possible.  

The skin that you think you might see and think is my naked body is definitely not a breast.  And even if it were, what you see in a typical fashion magazine is a lot more risque.  But still, if you know me you know I strive for modesty and that doesn't look like breast to me.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

School Notes Purge: Both Sides Now...It's Life's Illusions I Recall

"Moons and dunes and ferris wheels." - Joni Mitchell

Here's a bunch of stuff I recently purged from my elementary school files.

From my first summer at camp, summer 1981.  I loved this stationary so much!

This stationary is still blank.  Nistar will use it this summer.  

This was from a friend who had a boyfriend in 5th grade.  I stopped getting letters from her after a while.  Years later I found out my mother had intercepted.  She saw that this might have been a bad influence.  

More boyfriend talk but my mom didn't intercept Lauren's letters.  I wonder why. 

And from the school year around this time. 

Looking back I know I was sheltered, innocent, and good-natured.  I was scared of anything too sketchy and trouble-making.  When I heard of public high school and that it was like a "jungle" where people forced you to do drugs, I was pretty scared.  I am glad I was the way I was.  I did ok in school and I had nice friends.  I'm pretty happy about that.

I saved so many notes and papers from my childhood.  Over the years I have been whittling them down.  I keep thinking I should save them for my children and grandchildren. Um... Seriously, Rach?

Now that I have memorialized these items in perpetuity (or, for as long as Blogger exists) I feel sortof ok with trashing my stuff. 

And even if these pages are deleted, I really don't think I benefited from saving all they stuff.

As is often the case when I purge of stuff I have zero use for, I feel lighter and  freer.  New energy can flow in.  Speaking of which it is time to get to the gym and do some sun salutations.  Namaste to the recycling guys for picking up all my extra paper this week!