Monday, December 31, 2012

Obligatory Post 2012

Yup, end-of-year post--the obligatory blog post that talks about the review of the last year & what the hopes (resolutions) are for the New Year.  The events of 2012 for me & my family (both blood & blended) have been quite tumultuous to say the least.  From getting a house ready to sell, to selling, to moving in together--2012 was a very big year for all of us.  Adjustments all around--we are still figuring this thing out.  But over all it has been a good decision & as my son said, he is used to his "step" sisters being at the house & that when they aren't, it feels weird.  Good--that is what we're working towards.  

winter at the beach
A good example is what all of us did a few days ago (yikes, this vaycay has flown!).  We went to the beach for a few days.  Not so big a deal when written like this but we had 11 people at the beach!  BFF(J) & family, us (blended, less one skid), & two friends of skids.  I think it was a good time for everyone & we managed to fit all 11 of us around the table for a "family" meal.  And we all experienced the beach in the winter--some of us a little more than others--BFF(J)'s hubby decided that he had to wade up to his knees in the water---brrrr!  Like I said--this is an example when things work in the new family--there are many other examples when things don't quite, but hopefully there will be less & less of that into 2013....

So 2013....

My hope for us is that we continue to grow together as a family & that the bumps along the way get less & less bumpy....

A Happy & Healthy New Year to ALL!!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Watching From the Sidelines

It's actually come to this--who'd a thought it?  I'm sidelined watching my recently separated friend, K-Lily play the singles game!  Ah, grasshopper, we've come full circle!  How zen, how funny!  She sent me a text today asking for sex advice.... I'm flattered that she is seeking me out--I'm such a wanton hussy!  Or I guess that my earlier life as the mistress of 50 first dates assumes that I'd had a lot of sex....idk, but here I am the zen master with my own little grasshopper.  Just makes me giggle a bit.  And as she is regaling me about her new exploits with a guy she met online, I just have to sigh a little wistfully because I remember those times when my married friends sat transfixed by my very own exploits with the likes of the Bull...remember him? Her remark to me was the following, "Married sex wasn't as much fun!"  OK, there is something to said for that as I did have a lot of fun playing Samantha from SATC for a while but after having been on both sides of the fence I would disagree with her.  The excitement is certainly an aspect---but it does get tiresome. Yeah, case for the grass is always greener, etc., etc.  But given the choice, I like things just the way they are. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Community Comes Together

“It was a fine cry - loud and long - but it had no bottom and it had no top, just circles and circles of sorrow.”
― Toni Morrison, Sula


 After the horror at Sandy Hook, it hard to even imagine how people up there can even come to terms with what happened at this elementary school.  And I am compelled to write about it with a little frisson of hope.  It hits very close to home for me, as I work in a small, community elementary school in Baltimore City that is often an open & welcoming place for everyone.  We grieve for these children & staff at the school & think about the "what ifs" at our own little school.  The thought of something like that happening makes my heart leap into my throat & my eyes fill.  It shakes me to the core.  

But the hope comes from what my little school did on Saturday for the kids & parents in our community.  Saturday was our Winterfest.  I thought as I got ready to go over to the school that there is some trepidation in opening the doors wide to allow folks in after the tragedy up north--fleeting but the worry was there. 

Instead, my "blended" family all jumped in to participate.  We all manned craft booths & games--Xing Fu was in charge of the bean bag toss & my son was setting up the snowman bowling pins.  My stepdaughters helped with crafts.  It was a wonderful & joyous sight to see--the community out & enjoying being at our school and even Santa made an appearance. I think we all had an amazing time--it felt good to give back & even though we grieve alongside the folk in Connecticut, we also realize that we must push on & demonstrate that overall people are kind & generous.  Thank you to everyone who sent toys to my school so that the kids could all take home a new toy & to those who came & made our little slice of Baltimore City Public Schools a joyous & festive place to be. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


All the stepmom articles, books, etc., love to point out how difficult the holidays are for blended families & I guess I'll get my real taste of that this year pretty soon.  Right now, I was thinking about how a smooshed family such as ours looks at the various celebrations out there.  My son & I are Jewish & light a Menorah, which we are currently doing in or window that looks out on all of the Xmas lights that I discussed in the last blog post.  But Xing Fu's kids are Christian so do we put up a tree, hang tinsel around the house & sing Christmas carols?  My ex is Christian & we never had a tree, deciding that his parents' house was enough tree & Xmas for the kid. I always bought a wreath--not one that was decidedly Xmassy, but one that sorta said, "Happy Holidays."  We did the latkes & Hanukkah at our house.  So at least he had both traditions.  Now, in our new family dynamic, we discussed the tree possibility & decided that since his kids weren't going to be around for Christmas, who would appreciate it anyway?  And, we don't have decorations for it either. I still hang the wreath, though.  I like how it feels celebratory. So, the decision was no tree & no decorations.  But, conundrum!  When do we pass out the presents?  And are they Christmas presents, Hanukkah presents, or some other variant like Kwanzaa? Hence, Christmakwanzakkah.

What will be our celebration?  There's Yule.  Which I just learned about at a Paula Poundstone show last Saturday.  Couldn't have planted a better person in the audience than this dude! He celebrates Yule.  Not the yule log but the celebration created by the Germanic peoples & apparently celebrated by neopagans.  It falls on the 21st (the end of days if you're a Mayan) & runs through January 1st. Of course Yule was integrated into Christianity so there are remnants of course--the yule log, e.g.  Yule is really a celebration of the solstice so that could be a fun time to have our family celebration....

Then there's "Festivus...for the rest of us." Created by the Seinfeld folk--Festivus is generally celebrated on December 23rd. There's the aluminum pole as an direct opposite to holiday commercialism, the airing of grievances, the Festivus Dinner, & the feats of strength. So here are a few other celebratory options.  Now we just have to choose a day to exchange our gifts & have a feast.... 

If I see one more potato latke I'm gonna brechen...made 60 latkes for my son's Christian school so they could experience a little Jewish culture.  Not a bad thing--there are about 10 of us making them so all of the boys can try.  Oy, the smell in my house!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Lights or Chanukah House, You Decide

Chanukah House on Greenspring Ave
I'll start this post with the disclaimer that I'm not a "Bah! Humbug!" kinda gal.  OK, now that I've said this, I want to have a discussion about Baltimore.  Or rather, suburban Baltimore County.  For many years, 11 to be precise, I lived near Pikesville--a decidedly non-Christian area of town for those in the know. It is often referred to as the shtetl Pikesville if that helps you see what I mean--lots of schuls & Saturday walking Jews. In fact there's a very real enclosure that surrounds a great deal of Pikesville if you know where to look.  There is actually, a line, or cable that outlines the area connected via telephone & electrical poles that is part of the "enclosure" or eruv in a Jewish community.  See this link for more information on eruvim And this post is all about dividing lines as you will see.....In my old neighborhood it was a rarity to see Christmas lights.  Yeah, there were a few scattered hither & yon, & it was fun to see the neighbor up the street really do it up big with all of the blown-up Xmas carousels, Frosties, & Santas all over his front lawn & very out of place, but generally, it was pretty quiet in that neck of over the river & through the woods.  Except Hanukkah House--now that place is spectacular!! On Greenspring Ave, close to Smith, there is a sight to see--the Jews' answer to extreme Christmas lights display.  But, other than that, well, not much except the Hanukkah car that is on Northwest Citizens' Patrol with the menorah lit on top.  Either way, Christmas is just not that big in my old stomping grounds.   Which brings me to my big move almost 7 months ago.  Yikes!  It's been that long already!  Anyway, there is an invisible line right about at I-83 that seems to divide my old neighborhood with my new one--Towson/Lutherville-Timonium. One side is Jewish & the other is Christian.  OK, that is a GROSS overstatement but when you've moved from one side to the other as I have recently, well it is kinda glaringly obvious.  And I do mean glaringly--those Christmas lights all over my new neighborhood burn!  My eyes!  They are burning the Jew outta me!!!!  I have counted the lit reindeer along Bellona Ave & Thorton Rd & I gotta say, they are multiplying like electricity through a cable---little Christmas rats!  ACK!  Now if it would just snow then the
Xmas Reindeer in Timonium
lights would be very nice.  The reflection on the snow, the time of year---you get my snow drift...
But I live on the Christian side now--I'm a (deer) Jew caught in the Xmas lights....but I insist, I'm no Bah! Humbug! I swear!