I Have A Candy Crush

If you are anything like the gazillion people who use smart phones, iPads, tablets etc…then you probably spent a considerable amount of time today playing Candy Crush.

And I think that is awesome!

Here’s why.

My Aunt Sara lives across an ocean and many many miles from me in Israel.  The last time I saw her was at least thirteen (maybe fourteen?) years ago.  We talk perhaps a few times a year, usually before holidays and on birthdays.  To be fair, she always calls me to wish me a happy birthday and my mother has to call me to remind me to call my Aunt to wish her one. (I know – once again I am sucky).

Well, along comes Candy Crush and lo and behold her name regularly appears there so that I am regularly reminded that halfway across the world my Aunt and I have a shared passion (obsession?) for something.

I can confidently say that I have sort of established regular contact with my Aunt Sara through this remarkably addictive past time.

Now whenever I tap to play out my five lives, there is that cute little envelope in the upper left hand corner, usually containing a note from Aunt Sara giving me a life.  I do not necessarily request this life.  But, still,  she always make sure to give me one.  And, of course, I her.

In this way, I think of her more often than I would have during the course of my day.

Now to all you naysayers out there who are aghast that a game is needed to remind me of a relative I say – YOU HAVE IT ALL WRONG.  YOU ARE JUST PLAIN WRONG! So there.

The fact is there isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think about her or her family. That was before Candy Crush and continues to this day and I can’t wait for the day when I get to see her again.

Until then we’ll have Candy Crush.

The Rude

The other day this girl said something to me that was remarkably rude and obnoxious.  She did not think it was rude.  In fact, according to several people I know – who don’t necessarily know each other –  said girl bears a reputation for being rude and saying obnoxious things.

When I told one friend of mine what RudeGirl said,  she was eager to know how I responded.

“Nothing. Just stood there staring.  She thought that she was doing me a favor by telling me what she told me,” I responded.   It was true.  I was so shocked by what RudeGirl had just said that I did just stand there, mouth agape, while she continued to blather on.

And the truth is that even if I wasn’t recovering from the shock and awe of these rude comments, I still wouldn’t have said anything.

I don’t like confrontation – unless absolutely necessary – especially when it is someone I have to see often.

Though there are plenty of people in this world to whom I only wish to communicate with them via my middle finger.  And some of them I even do.

It took me a long time to learn some basic rules of diplomacy.  There are times when it’s okay to respond in kind. And there are times when it’s okay to remain silent while thinking evil thoughts about the person standing before you.

Lately though I’ve been wanting more and more to do away with the latter and I find it takes a lot out of me to keep from shouting more colorful comments to the more offensive members of humanity.

Which got me thinking about Iran and John Kerry – fyi, not a fan of either.  Like I said, I’m all for diplomacy. But diplomacy clearly is not working and will never work with this odious, offensive,  oppressive regime.  So there comes a time when you just have to give Iran the middle finger, kind of like what…well, actually exactly like what they are doing to us.  It’s not as if it’s going to make a difference in the outcome (and don’t kid yourself if you think it is  – cuz it’s NOT).

Not that I’m comparing RudeGirl to the Iranian regime…just saying that there comes a point when it’s okay to give The Rude right back.

Mall I Really I Want…

So now that holiday season is upon us, my time has come to curl up into a ball and dare not venture out until January 6.

It’s not that I don’t like this time of year…sort of…it’s just that  I hate the cold, the traffic to get to anywhere, and the long waits to purchase just about anything.

So it’s safe to say that I probably wont see the inside of a mall until sometime in January. A crazy concept for someone like myself who spent more time in malls during high school than attending class.  In fact, a few years after graduated high school, I finally admitted to my mother that it be might more accurate to say that I graduated from the Century City Shopping Center in the heart of Los Angeles.  This admission was during a visit to the aforementioned mall.

But as of last month, something changed when I visit the mall anyway.  As my fellow blogger, Larry at http://www.memyselfandkids.com noted, the mall where the recent shooting occurred was practically in his backyard.  And mine too. I regularly frequent this mall.  But what’s more, the shooter lived in my neighborhood.  In fact he lived two doors down from a close friend of mine and there is nary a day when I don’t pass by his house.

I’ve past by his house many times before the shooting and many more since.  Not out of morbid curiosity.  On the contrary.  I travel down that block because it is a street that I actually need to use all the time, for instance, to get to the mall.

I can’t help but wonder every time I walk into a crowded place, if someone is about to go postal.  Especially now, since this recent shooting hit, literally,  so close to home.

As the days go by, I keep learning that more and more people I know were in the mall at the time of the incident.

Two days after the shooting, I entered the mall shortly after it opened.  I got a cup of coffee and wondered to myself if the person preparing my drink was there that night. I had similar thoughts as I browsed through Nordstrom’s and The Gap.

About an hour after I entered, the alarm and sirens were going off and people were saying that it was the same alarm that went off the night of the shooting.  Sure some people hurriedly rushed to the nearest exit, including myself.  To be fair though, we were leaving anyway.

But remarkably, so many people made no effort at all and just went about the business.  After all, who would be stupid enough to pull off the same stunt so soon after the initial one.

Tata Tatas

Sunday night marks the fifth night of Channukah.  Together with my family we’ll light the assortment of menorahs we’ve amassed and created over the years and hope that the house doesn’t catch fire.  Maybe we’ll eat a latke or two.  But most likely none since we’re just not that into latkes.

Then I’ll go and get my self ready to go to a party.

This party is not a Channukah party.  I am the only one in my family invited.

How could I up and do this to my family on a holiday such as this?

I know it sounds like I am such a sucky person, so allow me to explain

I met Rachelle a couple of years ago when a fellow blogger, Larry, of the very entertaining and poignant www.memyselfandkids.com took the reins to form a writer’s group in our community.

In addition to Rachelle, Larry and myself, Frank rounds out the group and together we entertain, critique, laugh and schmooze.  Rachelle is our only poet.

Not to my credit, but I tend to not get poetry.  I often can’t relate to it or interpret the meaning of a given poem. But her poetry I get.  Her poetry is great.  It’s powerful.

See for yourself.  One of her poems is in the October issue of www.bluelakereview.com.

About a year after we first met Rachelle told us she would be going in for radiation to treat breast cancer.

During that time she wrote a poem the aforementioned poem.

A few weeks ago our writing group received an email from Rachelle.  She would be getting a double mastectomy come Monday December 2.

The night before she is throwing an “It’s Not A Pity Party, It’s A Titty Party” where she has big plans “to get sloshed and have a bra burning ceremony in the backyard.”

It should be duly noted that both Rachelle’s mother  and grandmother all had breast cancer.  In fact they participated in a study to check for any known gene.  But alas, Rachelle does not carry one, at least that modern medicine has yet to detect.

But Rachelle has graciously informed me that her new boobies will be able to hold themselves up on their own.  Go boobies!

I wish her the best of luck, the speediest of recoveries, and a successful and prolific career as a writer/poet.

And for her party Rachelle composed and plans to recite another outstanding poem which she allowed me to share with you all here.

Written by Rachelle D.

Written by Rachelle D.

Don’t Come Fly With Me

This is a post I wrote a few months ago.   Every time I recall the flight, the aggravation I feel toward this airline is as strong as ever.  I elected not to mention the airline since it seemed like a moot point…too many people I know have had similar experiences on just about every other airline.  It seems no airline is immune from stupidity, poor leadership and inept management.

Thursday afforded me another opportunity to fly the not so friendly skies and sit in the even un-friendlier terminal. After a two hour weather delay which was surprisingly NOT the fault of the airline, we finally took off on our cross-country journey.

Working for an airline, one would think, ought to require a certain type of disposition since it is a service-oriented industry.  And that may be true.  Just not for the particular airline I flew.  In fact, this airline  consistently ranks amongst the highest in customer dissatisfaction.  And delays.

As the first passengers were invited to board the plane – this group being the elitists, i.e. first class, business class, no class, and those who just happen to have a lot of mileage racked up –  my kids sat patiently, albeit eagerly, waiting for their turn to board and get settled into their seats with their video games and DVDs.

The practice on many airlines following the boarding of passengers with “elite status,” is that adults accompanying small children are then invited to board.

But. once again, not this particular airline.    The airline employee announcing the boarding, Inglorious  Gloria, as I came to refer to her, pointedly and snidely stared at me while I was standing with my children at the gate.  She proceeded to keep calling group after group never allowing the same allowances that other airlines make for people traveling with small children.

Fine, I thought. Let her be subjected to the howling, screaming and whining of my children until she announced our group could board.

Except my kids weren’t screaming, as I previously mentioned.  In fact they were perfectly well behaved.

Why can’t they misbehave and annoy adults when you need them to, I ask?

Recently this airline has been a hauling out a major public relations campaign.  On their outdated in-flight drop-down televisions they feature commercial after commercial boasting of their magnificent new fleet and all the exciting amenities it now offers, including more legroom,  individual televisions with an array of in-flight entertainment options, and sumptuous food.  Amenities its competitors had in place for several years.

Only this particular aircraft didn’t get the corporate memo.  And how could it?  It was a least thirty years old – a veritable fossil in the airline industry.

It would probably have been in better form to regale the passengers with all this information from the confines of one of its newer aircraft and not from one that is in need of being retired and sold for scrap.

Traveling on an airline I swore I would never patronize again, I found myself and my children back in the clutches of this horrific company through every fault of my own.

You see, almost a year ago, I booked a flight on this airline for one reason: the cost.  Airfare last summer (as it was this summer) was obscenely high.  Tickets on this airline were the cheapest – though far from cheap.

On the return, the plane was delayed.  Naturally.  Like I said, this airline ranks amongst the highest in delays.

The flight would turn out to be delayed for a whopping four hours.  And it had nothing to do with bad weather.  Only faulty plumbing.

Because one – ONE –  bathroom out of the five that the aircraft had was out of service,  the flight, it was decided, necessitated a delay.  After four hours it finally occurred to the powers that be that it would be alright to fly with just the four remaining functioning bathrooms.   Something the disgruntled passengers, myself included, had figured out three and a half hours prior.

The unapologetic staff, i.e. flight attendants, compensated the coach contingent with free headsets, though most of the passengers already had their own.  I did too but took their free headsets anyways just because.

I wrote the airline a letter (not my first time doing this, mind you) detailing the miserable ordeal and the imposition it was for me personally in that I was traveling with three children.   Not content to leave it at that, I also detailed for them the stark contrast between their airlines and other airlines who boasted better and newer fleets and a higher level of customer service and satisfaction.

But then a response, bearing an (insufficient) apology arrived shortly after with a four hundred dollar voucher attached to redeem within a year.

And I bit.

I made my reservation within the allotted time to claim the voucher and now I am left wondering if it  was at all worth it. The aggravation, the blatant nonsensical hostility of its clearly disgruntled employees, and lack of amenities compared to the competition, certainly have me second guessing my decision.

What’s A Green-Eyed Monster?

In my continuing quest to document my family’s history, I had an unusual conversation with my mother today.  I am trying to get a gauge on what life was like  for her growing up in a post-war Communist Eastern Europe.  So I have been asking her numerous questions that might seem silly or inconsequential yet have been churning out the most interesting observations.

“Did you ever see something that somebody else had that you wanted while you were growing up?” I was curious to learn the kinds of things that my mother wished she had received – the kinds of things other little girls had –  hoping to gain some more perspective on her upbringing and life.

My mother just sat there across from me nibbling her corn muffin and pondering the question.  I could think of hundred things I wanted when I was little that other kids had: bicycles, Hello Kitty pencil cases, various articles of clothing.

And then it dawned on me.

“Had you ever even experienced envy growing up?”

I knew the answer.

How could she have when there was nothing.

Nothing.

Nothing to envy.

Mom was probably the first  – or among the first- of the children born into her village following the war.  Her birthday is July 27, 1946 (sorry for letting the world know your age, Mom).  She was born a little over a year after the liberation of the Death Camps.

At the time, to be sure, nobody in her village in Negresti, Romania had anything,  save the clothes on their back.  Rich. Poor. Those labels ceased to exist and were replaced with survivor.  Everything in the village had been taken long before its residents were herded and shipped off to the concentration camps and slave labor.

So  the ones – the survivors – who actually returned, returned with and to nothing.  Even the non-Jewish population was left with nothing as the communists confiscated their possessions as well.

A child growing up into a society that had nothing and suffered as it had was content with the simple function of breathing. Materialism  and the gambit of emotions that entailed envy, was non-existent for a little girl or boy, even though the adults surrounding her did – in a previous lifetime – experience those feelings.

How could she have ever experienced such base and basic feelings of envy and jealousy, the way children typically do when she was the among the first to be born into a society that was stripped – literally – of every earthly possession and continued to struggle to regain its former self.

Nobody had anything.

Think about  how many things you wished for as a kid.  Now think about what it might feel like to not even have the capacity to experience those feelings, if you even can.

To Clean Or Not to Clean…

Usually when I’m staring down the great big stainless steel of an abyss that houses my dirty dishes I will look for a hundred and one other things to do instead.  Today is no exception.

So I’ve decided to procrastinate my dish-washing by thinking about my kitchen floor.

Wait…Bear with me.

A few years ago it was time to replace the kitchen floor.  The glue on the tiles was losing it’s capacity to stick so that every time I passed through the kitchen I would ultimately pick up another tile and inadvertently kick it into my family room.  I would then put the displaced tile in the  cabinet underneath the kitchen sink with the rest of the tiles that I had steadily amassed.

After some poor decisions involving an alleged interior designer who after two years has failed to live up to her end of the invoice and an alleged handyman who is and was anything but, we got a new and highly imperfect kitchen floor.

Back then I frequented various home improvement stores and looked at countless samples of stone, marble, wood, engineered…you name it.  Besides that certain look that I wanted, there was another quality to this floor that I had to have: It had to be easy to clean.

At the urging of the would-be designer, I went to a place  that specialized in tile and  settled on a grey 12″x24″ tile that apparently went with everything else in the kitchen –  including the dirty dishes in the sink.

“It is sooooo easy to clean,” the saleslady assured me as the order was being processed.  A peculiar statement coming from a  highly-maintained and surgically altered woman who probably couldn’t locate the mop in her own house.

“And it’s much thicker than the tiles you can get at the bigger chain stores,” Ding-dong designer added.

But so what?, I wondered.  If it’s a centimeter less in thickness does that mean I can’t walk on it?  I think Home Depot needs to weigh in on this seemingly raging debate.

And now as I sit on the floor with spray bleach and a toothbrush and a giant roll of paper towels , I’ve resolved never to do the following:

1. Work with anybody who calls themselves an interior designer (actually, I already resolved that two years ago).

2. Take cleaning advice from a woman who likely doesn’t know the difference between Tide and Swiffer.