Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Wonderful and Horrible and Wonderful

The President spoke to the UN today and something he said confused me.  He said, “Democracy cannot be imposed through military force.”  Which is true. But the word  “imposed” was disturbing. I thought that democracy was a choice that people or countries made by themselves... maybe in an election and maybe because of economics or technology.  But what is the alternative the President is suggesting.  And if he is saying it depends on what the people want, then why were we in Iraq or Afghanistan. Maybe I misunderstood.  But I am not going to waste my time on things that happen at the UN, although the NYPD has so screwed up the traffic that it is impossible to move anywhere on the East side-- even if you need to retrieve a car or get to your apartment.  Maybe it will be better when Obama leaves. Hopefully that will be tonight.

The staged reading of Gefilte Fish Chronicles, the Musical was fantastic both in Newburgh and in NYC. The cast and crew were at their best and the audiences were very receptive. They laughed and cried in all the right places.  So now, if anyone has a couple of millions, there is a show for you to produce.

Team Gefilte, Autumn 2013, New York

The most wonderful and the most horrible things happened to me yesterday.  In the wonderful category was the show and the reconnection with a dear friend. In the horrific category, I lost my phone.  It is important to note that I do not have a smart phone.  I have a relic of years gone by.  But it does have a keyboard, all my contacts and a keyboard that is big enough to type on.   When I realized it was gone, I was a bit panicked but happily, I did not have a melt down.  That didn’t happen until after we called the restaurant and the cab company.  Neither had any idea where it might have disappeared.  When something like this happens, you can not depend on the people who were not there, when you were there,  to be of any help.  It seemed to me that it made more sense to storm the eatery and look for myself.

When I was ready to go David suggested that I call my phone and see if anyone answered. As I mentioned, this is not a phone anyone would steal to use...except as a paperweight.  So that’s what I did. And someone did answer. And he was lovely. Unbeknown to us he found the phone in the cab this morning and called the first person on my contacts, Angie in LA. I did not know this because he called Angie at 6am LA time.  He was working in our neighborhood and we thanked him and told him we would be right over. 

When something like that happens you feel incredibly vulnerable.  And worse, since none of us know any important telephone numbers anymore, isolated.  I mean, family, friends and professional relationships -- no one.  You type their name, and the fone calls them for you.   It was only a few years ago, before I had a million contacts in my phone rather than my head, that I asked my cousin for her daughter’s phone number, and she didn’t know it.  This will never happen to me, I thought-- incorrectly.  Yes, it is convenient to press a button to connect with someone in your life. But connections should be much more important, shouldn’t they?

Anyway, it was terrific to have my phone and continue to press buttons all day. But I did start to memorize those numbers I want to keep in my head instead of in the cloud.  We’re just sayin’… Iris

Sunday, September 15, 2013

If Only A Tweet....

So I was wondering if Janet Napolitano, now that she’s leaving her position as Sec. of Homeland Security, will have to suffer the same humiliations and annoyance we all have to suffer at the hands of the illustrious TSA when she flies anywhere. Wait, here’s a better question:  Does she get to keep her security detail for the rest of her life?   And do we, the American public,  finance private security for the person who has never been inconvenienced by the decisions she made.

This blob, like so many others, will be different pithy thoughts about subjects with which no one has more than a little concern.  For example, a toilet that doesn’t work at a hotel.... oops, that’s not the topic, I meant Syria and how people Tweet about complicated subjects in less than 140 characters.  The simple answer is you can’t.  But if you did, what might you say:

Assad is a doody ball who cant tell the truth
Barack made Syria about him instead of humanity
Right and wrong is a cultural decision
We need to think about jobs in the USA
It’s about time Judy and Gwen are PBS nightly news anchors
Assad is really good at explaining his actions
Obama is not good at explaining his concerns
Maybe God won’t write Assad into the Book of Life
Maybe Obama should just punch Assad in the nose
Someone should have pinned Assad’s ears back
Not like a punch but serious plastic surgery 
People who look silly always want to use drop chemicals
Wasn’t Agent Orange  (or Napalm?) a chemical weapon

OK, I don’t understand Tweeting so I feel left out. That being said, it’s unfortunate that we are teaching a generation of children to have very short attention spans, to short cut conversation wherever they can. And not learn how to spell.  But then, why do they have to have to have long conversations, or know how to spell.  Maybe because communication is difficult enough without having some common ground -- like ‘words.’ And maybe it’s important to explain some things in detail -- hence, a longer attention span. Life is simply not simple enough to abbreviate all communication. 

I digress from the pith of this blog.  Today we iced 125 cupcakes.  They are all hot pink with hot pink sprinkles and hot pink icing.  We had a Brady family afternoon, but with a Dubroff edge.  Jordan tried to boss us all in Aunt Peppy fashion, and no one listened in like the rest of the Aunts. There was no singing a happy tune, and that would have been better, but all in all, it was most satisfying for just that short time to be happy go lucky.

We are without television so we have no idea what is happening with the Mayoral election in NYC.  This is totally frustrating because it was such a circus that it’s hard to miss the rest of the entertainment.  Oh wait, we can listen to the radio – on the laptop.  What a novel idea.  We might even listen to Obama address the nation, on the radio – on the laptop.  When was the last time anyone you knew listened to the news on the radio, instead of TV.... by choice?  
We just heard from the Spitzer HQ. Who cares. Now Stringer’s HQ. Who cares.  Now to Quinn’s HQ. (apparently she’s the best candidate but her consultants designed a campaign that presented her in such a way, that no one liked her.)  Now that’s pretty dumb.  Who cares? Well if we don’t care why are we listening -- it’s what former political junkies do.  Oops, now we turn to DeBlasio’s HQ. He’s probably going to win. I guess that’s something to care about. I’d tweet something clever but I don’t know how.   We’re just Tweetin’  … Iris

Monday, September 02, 2013

There's Something about the High Holidays

The Jewish High Holidays are fast approaching.  When you hear that don’t you get a visual picture of challah and honey sneaking up the road, almost breaking the land speed record.  Neither do I, but it was a better beginning than “It is almost time for the Jewish High Holidays.”  Actually, while not a religious person, the Holidays mean a great deal to me.  It was a happy time for my whole extended family.  Everyone talked about what they would wear to Temple, and where they would by it. Shopping was always a favorite topic for my Aunts and my Mom. (Although it was unclear whether she liked shopping or returning better.)

It was the time for us to get our dress-up clothes, our school clothes and our school supplies.  There was nothing quite as wonderful as buying book covers, note books, new pencils, paper, erasers, and rulers, wven if we didn’t use them.  What a joy sharpening your own pencil, turned out to be. 

Anyway, the Holidays marked the beginning of Fall and the opening of school. They were usually after school began, so we got off the two days of Rosh Hashanah and the one day of Yom Kippur.  Tina, my best friend, and I sang in a special children’s choir.  It was supposed to be a serious, sweet, children’s presentation of the prayers.  But we could never make it through without looking at each other and laughing.  So the Rabbi, who had a great sense of humor, stood us back to back.  Unfortunately, we could feel one another laughing and no matter how hard we tried, we always got the giggles.

The High Holidays are a time for reflection, remembering, forgiving, and getting yourself together to face another year and whatever it brings.  Let’s face it, some years are terrific and some really suck.  But until you are at permanent rest, you need to make it through the 365 days that lay before you.  For me, these Holidays are the time you figure out who provide a support system, who no longer belongs in the picture, who can make you cry, and most importantly, who can make you laugh.  Those are people you never want to go away. 

September, rather than January (which is too cold), is a great time for reconnecting or even reconciliation (which is often more difficult).  Let me share a story. A few years ago, on Yom Kippur, the Rabbi told a story about not being in touch with a good friend.  He never made the time. After too many delays, he reached out and learned the friend had passed away.  The story inspired me to call one of my closest friends. We’d  had a falling out and because we didn’t live near one another it was easy not to talk. For over six or seven years.  We are tight as a new girdle now. And have been since that phone call.  We couldn’t even remember why we hadn’t spoken for all those years.

There are a finite number of hours in the day and in our lives.  I have worked pretty hard to stay in touch with friends from elementary school, high school, college, work, and politics.  When you work on Presidential campaigns you see your friends every four years, sometimes every twenty years, because people have their own lives and priorities. Hard as it is to believe that I am not everyone’s priority, it’s true.  But every once in a while a person whose friendship was more than important, pops back in to reconnect. That happened to me this week. It has been a joy to get to know a dear friend all over again.  And it’s like dominos.    You start to think about everyone with whom you want to connect. So you try.  For me,  that’s what these holidays are all about.  Happy and a Healthy New Year to everyone with whom I have connected, and everyone who knows I have tried.  We’re just sayin’…. Iris