The Best Motto

Gd, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannon change
Courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

You woke up this morning - Congratulations! You got another chance!

Monday, December 21, 2009


As previously mentioned, MBS and MNM know me as Papi. MBS, being a big girl, understands that her cool aunt also goes by another name; for MNM it is a bit of a different story.

So, a few days ago, a family friend, who, in the best traditions of our community, also happens to be the mother of MBS’s favorite classmate, came to Beloved Sibling’s house to pick up her progeny. In the process of doing this, she also informed Blondie that she knows his aunt Barb – which information was completely indigestible to our big boy. After being informed of this amusing incident, I asked him if he knows who Barb is – blank stare. “It’s I, SiM”. With a superior, I-do-not-have-patience-for-this-nonsense-young-lady-look, Beloved Nephew very firmly told me “you Papi!”; case closed.

A little while before that, he was playing with my wallet and came upon my NRA membership card. “Ducky” –was his exited observation. “No, sweetie, that’s an eagle.” “No, ducky!” “No, big boy, that birdie does not look like a ducky at all”. “Ducky!” Now I just have to inform NRA that apparently their seal was changed.

And, in slightly related news, a love seat in the living room received a serious kicking yesterday after Golden Delicious bumped herself on it. “You no hurt Eh, you bad boy!” – were the admonishing words that accompanied the kicks.

Friday, December 18, 2009


The following story also took place shortly after MMM made her glorious entrance into this world.

Yours truly was walking back to the office after a satisfying meal when she got a phone call from Beloved Sibling. The Very Important Matter of Shopping for Mini Mini Me was discussed. All of the sudden, in the middle of the conversation, I saw a familiar face attached to a familiar hairdo that was approaching me from the opposite direction. The hand attached to the body with the familiar face waved at me and the mouth on the familiar face cracked a smile.

I got really excited. “Nechama – I thought – so happy to see her since she moved to New Jersey a donkey’s age ago!” :”Uh, uh, uh, guess whom I just met on the street!” – was my happy squeal into the receiver. Of course, my poor sister was at sea, so I just wished her well and hang up. Nechama stopped, but did not hang up on her phone call. I just stood there, smiling like an idiot – I really was that happy to see her. She continued chatting and after a first polite smile did not really pay attention to me.

OK, she did not see me or hear from me in a long while, but she was my sister’s friend, for goodness sake! What happened to her? Finally, she reluctantly finished her call and decided to waste some rudimentary conversation on yours truly. And, boy oh boy, it was way beyond rudimentary; it was stifled and cold. We wished each other Shana Tova, of course, and then I, in very exuberant tones, told her about the MMM’ arrival; very un-exited reception. Then I asked her if she was working in the area; she just looked at me with a slight disdain before confirming the fact. I offered to exchange phone numbers (so we could stay in touch somewhat); again some kind of very cold and put-down compliance.

Finally, after about two minutes of this nonsense (and her offer of meeting for lunch one day, which I knew would never materialize), we wished each other the best for the remainder of Sukkot and the coming year, and I returned to the office. Her behavior continued to baffle me, though; again, granted, I did not see her for a very long time; but such drastic change? What the heck happened to a warm, exuberant, down to earth, wonderful Nechama? Needless to say, I did not say anything to my sister; she, of course, did not ask, being busy with the new baby and all.

I, on the other hand, while relegating this dumb incident to the back of my mind, could not give it a complete and proper rest. Another disappointment, in a long line of disappointments; well, people do change, and usually not for the better. And only after about two or three weeks of those musings the condemned by enviro-wacos invention of Thomas Edison flickered to bright light in my head. OMG (as the modern generation likes to summarize it), it was not Nechama at all! It was Odette, or Violette, or whatever Frenchified nonsense name her parents gave her! The girl who was introduced to me by my friend Ellie; and which friendship left me nonplussed, since Ellie is a very warm and sweet person, and Odette is so clearly not! If my fried brain would have recognized her as Odette, it would have steered my body to the opposite side of the street, and only then commended to one of my hands to wave in a non-committal greeting! At that point I did share the story with my sister – and man, did we laugh!

And that is why, Boys and Girls, Ladies and Things, your humble servant would never make a reliable eye-witness in court!

Thursday, December 17, 2009


G-d bless this country!

Happy Chanukah!

To all my Jewish brothers and sisters, regardless of your religious affiliation (or the lack of such) I wish a happy and joyous Chanukah (however you would like to spell it)!

Here is to remembering the true meaning of this wonderful holiday, to miracles, to our spiritual survival, to the peaceful light of the Menorot, and to the fantastic taste of sufganiyot and anything fried in olive oil!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Mozart - Symphony No 25 (Remix)

Another dabble with the classics that I found enjoyable (picture including)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Karl Jenkins conducts Palladio

Have been crazily listening to this for the past four days; gorgeous!

Friday, December 04, 2009


I had the supreme privilege of growing up in one of the worst anti-Semitic countries in the world under one of the most anti-Semitic regimes in recorded history: Communist Russia. Most of my childhood memories associated with those privileges are not very pleasant; but some things were so illogical as to border on the bizarrely hilarious. This is one of them.

Like any Jewish parents worth their salt, so to speak, my parents wanted to give their children, especially girls, musical education. In the high hopes of that happening, a piano was purchased when yours truly (an oldest child) reached the age of five. As a side note, a memo to all the parents out there – I am all for broadening your child’s horizons and giving him or her music lessons; but, unless there are prodigies on the scale of Mozart, signing up a five-year old for serious music lessons is a serious waste of your time and money. But hey, according to one of my psych professors, every parent by default experiments on the first child – due to the lack of experience. So, my poor parents learned their lesson after few months, and the piano was relegated to the status of just plain big piece of furniture for the time being.

Fast forward a few years; I think at that time the hopes for my brother to become a musician were dashed, but in my case they were still strong; plus, my younger sister was about to be engaged as well. This time, because there were two of us, hiring a tutor was not feasible, and our parents decided to enroll us in the music school. So, our poor Mom was forced to haul us from one school to another to another to another – only to be told, again and again, that her daughters have very little or no talent what so ever and will not be enrolled.

That statement may be true in my case (my musical talents are rather mediocre); but in the case of my sister it was nothing more than a bold-faced lie. Beloved Sibling is graced by The Heavenly Father with many talents, and being a great musician is one of them. So, what gave? Well, apparently, the latest directive in Moscow at that time was not to enroll “blackies”, especially of the dreaded Jewish variety ones, in the music schools, especially – GASP – in the capital.

Finally, a music school was found outside of the city boundaries (at that point we did live on the outskirts), and they were more than glad to take us (even me with my mediocre abilities). However, due the unfortunate circumstances of us wasting all this time inside the city boundaries, all the piano classes were full. Our Mom was given a choice of enrolling one daughter in the violin group and another one for the cello. My memories are hazy as to why precisely we ended up with what we ended up (I think it was due to size), but in the end, my sis went for the violin lessons and I went for the cello ones.

And so it came to pass that, due to the bizarre idiocies of the Russian comrades, we both ended up learning how to play not just one (because eventually both of us took piano lessons), but two musical instruments.

Monday, November 23, 2009


One very fine day during Chol Hamoed Sukkot, when MMM was a teeny tiny newborn; yours truly, overly excited by becoming an aunt yet again, went shopping. Remembering the copious salivating three months before at Daffy’s upon discovering that these fine retailers carry Absorba and Vitamins, my feet automatically carried me four blocks in that direction.

I was extremely successful – both in acquiring outfits in record time and preventing myself from buying half the store. So, off to the cashiers I trotted. Right in front of me there was an Israeli lady; and when it was her turn, she decided to inquire from the saleslady and the neighboring manager as to the absence of a Jewish child from the humongous billboards hanging right above the cash registers – the said billboards containing the prerequisite black, “Latino”, “Asian/Pacific Islander”, and a token “white” child (at least two of those were “females”). I just burst out laughing – I enjoyed this so much! She was asking two women whose male relatives, I can bet my last savings, were participating in the Crown Heights riots back in 91!

Upon exiting that fine establishment I was stopped at the traffic light by yells and screams – what the heck? At first I could only hear “Stay down! Stay down” from somewhere in the middle of a hefty throng of people. Before the light changed, the picture became crystal clear. Remember our senile Mayor’s idiotic decision of closing the car traffic at the busiest part of Broadway and making it a pedestrian only zone, completed with tables, chairs, and umbrellas? Well, one of those idiotic umbrellas was knocked down by a strong gust of October wind, in the process knocking off a pedestrian as well. At first, the poor woman was just trying to get up (and probably just shake off the whole sorry episode), but, given the overpopulation of ambulance chasers and the attached mentality, people were suggesting to her to stay down. As I was crossing, I saw a police car approaching to investigate: here goes few million out of busted city treasury! Car drivers, watch out for "brownies"!

Friday, November 20, 2009


Or What Are We Celebrating Again?
You always know far in advance when any holiday, even a “minor one”, is coming: there are sales coming up! Then you get the grumbles if your office is open, and few office weasels who would try and get off regardless; after that, UPS and FedEx would call up to make sure you are open; and, finally, on the day itself, you just wake up, perform your auto-pilot morning routine, and then wonder for a few minutes as to why the subway is so pleasantly empty from the yelling and spitting little and medium-sized animals, uh, I mean inner city school kids. AND then the forbidden invention of Thomas Edison goes on in your head: it’s Veteran’s Day!

This year Veteran’s Day celebrations were especially lively, due, of course, to the reign of our illustrious Chairman, erm, President. The terrorist attack at Ft. Hood, I mean “man-made disaster”, I mean “alleged man-made disaster”, as we can not jump to conclusions so prematurely. The Sun King, I mean, Barak Hussein (Sun King should please forgive me for such insult to his memory), and his lady fair could not find time in their extremely busy schedules to visit till the actual Memorial Service, at which point they presented a wonderful pictures of grief; plus, Partei Genosse, I mean, the President, delivered a very appropriate and almost fantastic speech. Meanwhile, George and Laura Bush paid a visit to Ft. Hood right away – but did it quietly (and without cameras).

The saddest conclusion of Ft. Hood massacre, aside, of course, from horrible loss of life, was the horrific picture of our almost total vulnerability due to the cancerous miasma of so-called multiculturalism and political correctness – especially when it comes to the practitioners of the religion of peace.

Fast-forward to the day itself. Of course, our office was open – our company is pretty stingy with time off. I actually remembered what day it was, and was extremely happy that my dawdling did not go all wrong, and I got my “Home of the free because of the brave” T-shirt before lunch.

Lunch time; your truly is in the elevator together with a usual assortment of representatives of other offices. There were two ladies from a French company who kept yammering about what the heck today is, and why there were no e-mails from France, and why nobody is calling today, and why there is no mail, and then came the masterpiece! “Today is an Armistice anniversary, right?” “Right.” “So, wait, Americans are celebrating our holiday?” “Who knows?” Meanwhile, there was a whole bunch of other people in that elevator, who, judging by their looks, could not care less what we are celebrating and how; only that they were forced to work when the mail and banks are closed. I just could not listen to this idiocy, never mind travesty, and probably had a murderous expression on my mug. Finally, when we were approaching the lobby, and the American employee could not clarify to her French colleague as to the Veterans of which war are we saluting exactly, I exploded and barked “all of them”; nearly adding “ungrateful ignoramuses, all of you!”
And then I left the building and saw few people with flags who were obviously just leaving the parade; and then I saw the soldiers themselves. I dearly wanted to approach them and just shake their hands and thank them – but my idiotic shyness stopped me. I hope some of them saw my T-shirt.

So, belated, but most sincere, cyber salute to all of you, Ladies and Gentlemen, Veterans of all the wars defending ours and other ungrateful jerks’ freedom! From one (but not lonely in this) very grateful and appreciative of her freedom American! May Heavenly Father watch other you and your families and grant you the victory over all our enemies, foreign and domestic!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Reagan at Brandenburg Gate - "tear down this wall"

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the fall of this wall (which our esteemed so-called President will not be attending). We need somebody channeling Reagan - now more than ever...

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


This short story took place one fine evening few months ago.

During the elaborate ceremony otherwise known as Mini Beloved Sibling’s Preparations For The Night we were watching a clip of Barney’s show in Radio City. They were singing something about loving special people in our lives; in the middle of this MBS turned to me with the sweetest smile on her face and told me in no uncertain terms “You are special, Papi!”

Later in the night, while I was decompressing in my humble abode, Beloved Sibling informed me via telephone conversation that Mini Not Me, who sometimes speaks during sleep, was mumbling something about “pak” and other enjoyable things; and in the middle of this slumber monologue he very clearly said “Papi”.

To use the old overused expression, my cup have truly runneth over.

Friday, October 30, 2009


Anyone who knows me personally can attest to the fact that I am a firm believer in the old-fashioned paper and pen missives. As a result, I have a whole collection of stationary, post cards, greeting cards, ect., etc., etc.; and shopping for those things is second in pleasure only to shopping for books (especially when everything is housed in one place). But sometimes the experience turns out to be bitter-sweet.

For one, I still get a little sad when I see something addressed to grandmother – because I will never buy it again. I also get strangely contemplative when I see something for either husband or wife – and no, it is not because I am not married.

You see, aside from getting my parents Birthdays and Anniversaries cards from myself (and my siblings), I used to be my parents’ (especially my Dad’s) secretary and get all this stuff for both of them as well, because my Dad is a typical guy when it comes to these matters, and my Mom was always afraid to due to the lack of English comprehension she would get something not necessarily appropriate.

As a result, a little while ago, while shopping for Birthday card for a friend born in August is suddenly dawned on me that had my parents stayed together, that August would have been their 40th Wedding Anniversary; and that led to the contemplation of what the celebration would have been like. I also remembered the 25th Anniversary I have put together for them almost single-handedly (my siblings were in camp), and how happy I was while doing it. And I also remembered the 30th, and how I decided to not throw a party because things were a bit iffy at the times.

What can I tell you – life does give you strange-shaped lemons once in a while; and this time I had no desire to make lemonade.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I found this last week while cleaning out old documents. I do not even remember how old this little piece is, but none-the-less, the message is timeless. Apparently, Pollyanna did have the right outlook on life.

"The Right Perspective

As you might know, the head of a company survived 9/11 because his son started kindergarten.

Another fellow was alive because it was his turn to bring donuts.

One woman was late because her alarm clock didn't go off in time.

One was late because of being stuck on the NJ Turnpike because of an auto accident.

One of them missed his bus.

One spilled food on her clothes and had to take time to change.

One's car wouldn't start.

One went back to answer the telephone.

One had a child that dawdled and didn't get ready as soon as he should have.

One couldn't get a taxi.

The one that struck me was the man who put on a new pair of shoes that morning, took the various means to get to work but before he got there, he developed a blister on his foot. He stopped at a drugstore! to buy a Band-Aid. That is why he is alive today.

Now when I am stuck in traffic, miss an elevator, turn back to answer a ringing telephone - all the little things that annoy me - I think to myself, this is exactly where G-d wants me to be at this very moment. Next time your morning seems to be going wrong; the children are slow getting dressed; you can't seem to find the car keys; you hit every traffic light; don’t get mad or frustrated; G-d is at work watching over you. May G-d continue to bless you with all those annoying little things and may you remember their possible purpose."

Monday, October 26, 2009


Due to the recent festivities in the Beloved Sibling’s household, both MBS and MNM were exposed to sugar cubes in an attractive packaging. The said attractive packaging produced a strong desire in both munchkins to consume the said sugar cubes. So, Papi was given an official request to obtain the objects lately in vogue.

Papi agreed and promptly forgot – the disadvantages of the middle age coupled with the unfulfilled need for the visit to the local supermarket.

Lo and behold, few nights ago MNM asked me again for the dratted sugar cubes. I apologized for not getting them before and added (truthfully) that I have not been to the grocery since the official request was issued. The apology was graciously accepted, and the request not only repeated, but clarified. Apparently, I am now dispatched to obtain Spiderman sugar cubes for the neffie pooh and Hello Kitty sugar cubes for his older sister!

Friday, October 23, 2009

"Belle" :)

Surprisingly enjoyable

Friday, October 16, 2009


Fashion/On The Lighter Side Edition

Everyone who knows our family knows that we are very punctual people and hate being late to anything. Hence, yours truly was the first to arrive on Kol Nidre Night (and even had the dubious honor of entering through the men’s entrance and opening up women’s).

After I finished Mincha, there was not much to do but wait and observe the new arrivals. And it struck me once again, not with a vengeance, but strongly enough: how come ladies in this community look like they have been taking wardrobe tips from Beau Brummell? Inasmuch as I know for a fact that there is very little interest in history amongst them in general and practically none for the English history, especially the Regency Period in particular, who is channeling the late unlamented dandy? Because about ninety seven percent of ladies attending (including the younger generation) were wearing stark, unrelieved black; about two or three of them wore pure white; and yet about seven more were in black and white. Only about six other people (including yours truly) were wearing some other colors (mainly grey, olive, and brown). And, of course, the next morning it continued in the same venue, aside from two very refreshing-looking young ladies, one of which was wearing a leather suit.

In a momentary flight of fancy I got a strong urge to inform the assembled honorable matrons that Brummell was credited by historians with simplifying the male mode of dress, not female; and then I realized something else. Apparently, there is a new rage to wear plumages in one’s hair (mainly made from feathers of small birds, but faux flowers or fruit are also popular). I suppose those fanciful hair ornaments were meant to counteract the black/male simplicity.

On the personal note, a la Cher Horowitz, I am happy to report that I broke in my off-white Vera Wang flip-flops.

I also managed, once again, without fail, to fall asleep during the Rabbi’s speeches, and during the chazzan’s repetitions, so, when Birkat Kohanim came along, the reference to dreams was very fresh.

On a serious note, it was a very uplifting day, and I profoundly hope that The Heavenly Father accepted all our prayers and sealed all of us in the Book of Life.

Friday, October 09, 2009


I have a brand new niece, thank G-d! She is the most amazing baby in the world right now – that is my unbiased opinion, I am sticking to it.

Aside from being around a pound bigger than her older sister, and therefore having more cheeks, she bears a striking resemblance to Mini Me at that age. Mini Me, on the other hand, graduated to striking resemblance to Beloved Sibling.

In light of these developments, the editor of this blog (yours truly) is thereby changing the given designations. Mini Me is to be called Mini Beloved Sibling, or MBS; Mini Not Me is to be abbreviated as MNM (to save typing efforts), and the newest addition is to be called Mini Mini Me, or MMM.

PS: Both parents are doing fine, mother being (understandably) on the tired side, and father busy playing with new toys (like assembling bassinets and getting excited over candy trays). Newly minted older (and more responsible) siblings are undecided, but very happy to have Mommy back.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Vladimir Cosma - La course à l'échalote

Good memories from strange childhood...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Happy Anniversary to our family! It has been exactly twenty one years since we landed on American soil. Thank you, our beautiful country, for giving us your shelter, your citizenship, and the ability to live as free human beings! G-d bless you and keep you safe!

Friday, September 11, 2009


In memory of:

All the emergency workers: police officers, fire fighters, and EMTS.

People who perished at the World Trade Center

People who perished at the Pentagon

Passengers and crew of:

American Airlines Flight 11

United Airlines Flight 175

American Airlines Flight 77

United Airlines Flight 93

In memory of all US soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq; may The Heavenly Father grant their families a measure of peace.

May the full might of G-d’s wrath descend on the enemy of my people and my adopted country – the murderous jackals and snakes who lost their humanity and have no ability to respect and cherish human life as G-d’s creation!

May Heavenly Father never turn away from us; may He always protect us and watch over us!

G-d bless America!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I have a fun club; it consists of two members: Curly and Blondie.

They do not care about my hair do, unless it is to play with my hair while sitting on my shoulders. They do not care about the lack of makeup on my face - they just love to play with the contents of my makeup case. They do not care that I am fat - they just know that it is hard to push the swing if I am in it. They do not care about my unfashionable wardrobe - they just like the pictures on my T-shirts, and love when we are wearing matching colors. They never criticize me for wearing flip-flops - but they always know which shoes by the door belong to me (and they love to wear them). They do not criticize my taste in music - they just love to sing and dance with me, and I even taught Curly how to twirl. They do not criticize my taste in books - they just love when I read to them while we cuddle on the couch. They do not care about my poor career choices - they just know that I go to work most of the time, but visit them in the evenings, on Shabat, and on Sundays. They do not care about my lack of money - they love the little presents I buy for them, and they are perfectly content to just play with the stuff I cannot afford while in the store and just ask me to come and buy it for them another time (whenever I have money). They do not criticize me for my messy apartment - they just love to visit and explore. They do not care about my haphazard cooking skills - they just love my pasta.

In their eyes I am Papi - the height of cool! The person who takes them on the most adventurous journeys to places with huge windows that serve ice tea and cookies, three-stories candy stores, toy stores, and park with sand by the water; and the only person who takes them to all these on the mysterious and noisy choo-choo train!

I will tell you a little secret, my yummy and delicious gnomes - you are my absolutely favorite people too. May Hashem bless your fluffy Jewish heads!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


This is going to be the two-hundredth post (another mouthful) to my blog. Again, another little milestone, and this time I would like to dedicate it to my adopted home, United States of America.

All my well-learned and well-versed friends can scoff at what I am about to say and proclaim me an ignoramus and a heretic; so be it. But there are some eerie similarities between USA and my people (meaning the Jews). Twenty one years ago (heck, I am getting old), when I first started studying Judaism in a hot and dusty little Italian town of Ladispoli, my first teacher, may he rest in peace, brought to our attention the glaring difference between USA and all the countries south of our border.

The first settlers to what is now my home came here mainly to worship Heavenly Father in the best manner they saw fit; the rest just came for easy riches. The ones who came here to serve Him prospered, became an independent country, prospered even more, and eventually became the super-power and the world's richest country. All ones who came for the riches did not prosper and ended up in the "third world countries" category.

Before the Pilgrims, there was only one precedent in history where people settled in a specific place in order to serve G-d and prospered beyond belief. That was when the descendents of Jacob came to the Holy Land. True, Jews followed a direct order from G-d conveyed by the greatest profit that ever lived, and English Protestants followed nothing more than the calling in their hearts, but there is nothing else in history even closely approaching this! When else did a group of people come to settle in a new place so that they can properly worship Him?

Both Jews and Americans are hated practically by everyone else in the world; they are called Little Satan and Big Satan respectively by the leaders of the most brutal and murderous cult in the history of the world (yes, I mean the members of the religion of peace).

Another interesting lesson, this time from my seminary arsenal: when we were discussing the lamentable tendency of the ancients towards idol worship, our teacher delivered a fascinating statement - Christianity is idol worship for us, but not for the rest of the world. That concept was smoldering for a while in the back of my mind till I had a chance to acquaint myself in certain fashion with American Christians.

Only American Christian politician would go to Israel to express solidarity even if the so-called President is openly anti-Israel and anti-Jews. Only an American Christian journalist would post her New Year’s resolution with number one being "to pray for Israel". Only an American Christian would write an open letter to PM Netanyahu telling him that he is not alone and that millions of Americans are praying for peace in undivided Jerusalem.

"Nation under G-d", "all men...are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights" - these are the words on which this country was build. I remember reading a comment of an Aussie blogger, asking an American blogger as to the meaning of Thanksgiving - "is it like a special family get-together? and if so, why so close to X-mus?" Only in America do we have a special holiday where we have a family get-together in order to give thanks to the Creator for all the blessings bestowed on us (very Jewish concept).

And one of the biggest historic ironies and episodes of poetic justice, in my eyes, was when Ferdinand and Isabella, may they burn for eternity, gave their blessings to the expedition of Christopher Columbus while they were busy expelling the Jews.

These ramblings bring me to this year's Independence Day. The celebratory spirit was pretty thin in my heart - from the fact that I no longer lived in the house with wonderful firework observation roof to the disgusting shenanigans of the malignant narcissists in the White House and Capitol - what was there to celebrate?

But there is always hope, the power of prayer, and the kindness of The Heavenly Father. G-d bless America!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Sunday after Shavuot came out with a mixed promise of rain and sunshine, and the unbeatable desire to sleep. But the labor of love called, and I took out Mini Me on the outing to our favorite "pak".

It proved out to be another adventure filled Sunday with my favorite niece. As usual, her stubborn delicious fluffy Jewish head succumbed to Morpheus on the way there, which gave me few minutes to read my book and surreptitiously collect the disapproving stares - where are the envirowacos when you need them? Yes, her Maclaren (plus she in it) occupies around half the space of one of those fruitcakes with a bicycle, but earns waaaay more dirty stares. What gives? After all, we are traveling according to the "green" guidelines (sarcasm intended).

She awoke few minutes after we disembarked. Upon observing the ever thickening and darkening clouds, I asked her if she wanted to go to the park or the book store. "Pak" was her resolute answer. So, off to the park we went - right into a little skirmish.

There was a whole bunch of young activists positioned at most of the corners and by all the major entrances on the block. Somehow I knew they did not collect signatures to support troops or hand out invitations to the next tea party. Upon closer inspection I spied "DNC" clearly stamped across their uniform t-shirts. Approaching closer, I heard something about "healthcare reform". And then I reached one of them, who approached me with an opening salvo of "you supported Obama..."; it was a statement of fact, and not a question. That was the clichéd final straw: “I? Support Obama? I wish he would drop dead!" Thus shocking the poor, wide-eyed product of systematic brainwashing by the likes of Lee Bollinger and Ward Churchill, we proceeded to the park; and yours truly could feel few pairs of eyes drilling holes in her retreating back and sending her death rays. OK, Barb, note to self: next time just tell them to buzz off if you have one of your young charges with you. After all, you never know when it would escalate to more than death ray looks; and for the record, I do not want him dead (why should he become a martyr?); but that is a separate discussion.

After we arrived at the park, we had a grand time snaking in the grass, running around, and swinging. I also had fun by surreptitiously photographing Curly, who was not in the mood to be thusly immortalized, so I also got a few great shots of trees and sky.

Shortly after, the said sky started producing moisture otherwise known as rain, and I finally persuaded Mini Me to go to the book store. Of course, she decided to balk at her plastic rain cover, so I had to really run, which is really a fun activity when you try to run in the rain in flip-flops while pushing a stroller.

In the book store (B and N, of course), I was entertained by a wonderful spectacle of polite gentleman also running, this time in front of the woman with the stroller (yours truly), so he can get the last table at the cafe, so the above-mentioned woman with the stroller should scramble in order to find a place where she can feed the child in the stroller - who said that chivalry was dead?

After the snack and the fascinating visit to the ladies, where Mini Me always points out at the changing table with "this is where you changed me when I was a teeny tiny baby, Papi" (all of half a year ago), we made our way into the children's department. Once there, we started by reading her beloved "Olivia". Unfortunately, that did not last long. She started running around and exploring the "pricier" parts of the department. Long story short, we left the store laden with a magnetic doll with an interchangeable wardrobe, plush panda (which was declared Mini Me's new best friend), and a plush chipmunk for Mini Not Me. In between horsing around and trying to lighten my wallet, she also tried to play with other kids there. Unfortunately, the couple that she tried to engage (and their parents) proved to be on the snobby side. Their loss - Curly is a fantastic company (never mind her favorite auntie).

On the way back she kept hugging her new panda - maybe it really is her new best friend? She also kept insisting that we were on the wrong choo choo, and should get off immediately; I think she got overwhelmed by the amount of people on the said choo choo, but interesting diversionary tactic none the less. When Mini Not Me was presented with a chipmunk, another adult proclaimed him to be a hamster. Only the next morning, when I was doing my neurotic routine by cleaning my bag and incidentally discovered the ticket belonging to that animal did I find out that is was guinea pig! Go figure! As of press time, this animal has a permanent living space in Blondie’s bed, and goes by the name of chipmunk anyway.

America, the Beautiful

G-d bless my country!

Monday, July 06, 2009


On Monday night, I was babysitting for the beloved sibling. Since both munchkins completed their nightly ritual with the parent of their choice, I somehow assumed that I would have a quite couple of hours. Ha!

Around five minutes after the departure of beloved sibling and sibling-in-law, in the middle of a leisurely dinner, I heard the dreaded "Mommy"! The soft tones of that call pointed at Mini Not Me. Yours truly ran upstairs to discover Beloved Nephew in total distress. "No, Mommy! Uh (want) Mommy!" Mortally afraid that his bellows would wake up older sister, I evacuated Blondie downstairs (against his initial vehement protests).

Upon arrival into the living room, Mini Not Me perked up right away, demanded to be released, and proceeded to the bookshelf, from which he plucked a book and asked me to read it. On each page of this book (which was about the life on the farm, by the way) he found something that he wanted Papi to purchase for him. In between trying to explain that those purchases require a farm, or at least a much larger property than the one presently occupied, I was trying to coax him to return upstairs. The main theme was: "let's go to Mommy's bed and watch cakes (cooking channel)". No dice; finally we were able to reach the middle ground, and Mini Not Me agreed to go upstairs and watch something on the computer. OK, Papi, baby steps (pun intended).

So, I fired up YouTube and showed Blondie some kind of cartoon clip. In the middle of the presentation he visibly lost interest and was trying to request something else; after removing his pacifier I realized, to my pleasant amazement, that he wanted to go to Mommy's bed and watch cakes! Pursuant to this request, I took him to the bedroom, put him on Mommy's bed, and was about to look for remote control when he politely asked to be put down into his bed! Then, it was business as usual: blankey, bear, penguin, chipmunk (don't ask); after which he just requested my presence in the room, rolled on his side, and went to sleep! Ah, the logic of the young!

Thursday, June 25, 2009


When they were babies, they were both on the baldish side, especially Mini Not Me, whose head had almost as much hair as his knees. Now they both have beautiful heads of hair, representing, among many things, interesting genetic mix. Mini Me's hair is light brown, with golden highlights and crazy curls, which (if she lets) can become beautiful ringlets. Mini Not Me, on the other hand, is dark blond, also with golden highlights, but pretty straight (with occasional curl thrown in for fun). As a result, they are both called Fluffies, but only Mini Me is called Curly; Mini Not Me, on the other hand, is called Blondie.

Like any decent American kids, they spent a decent amount of time traveling in cars. For Mini Me, it is Aba's car and Mommy's car; for Mini Not Me, it is Aba's car and our car.

Mini Not Me has very interesting color recognition system: he knows black; everything else is either orange or purple. "What color is Mommy's car?" "Our car is orange (or purple, depending on his mood)". In mundane reality, the said car is white.

My purse is considered by both of them something of the equivalent of the Aladdin’s cave; therefore, as soon as I show up, they usually proceed to turn it upside down and start hunting for treasures. Sometimes they get a surprise - something they did not see before; but usually those are the same items over and over again. That does not really deter them, as those items are usually the coveted prizes (it may also have something to do the fact that I have a “Princess Belle” wallet and “Play With Your Food” Calendar); but anything, even without obvious pictures, is fun and fair game. One time Mini Me got a hold of my wallet, emptied it of all contents (and believe me, it was quite full), and arranged everything into the known only to her sub-categories. Another time, when we were on the subway coming home, and she was getting a bit cranky, I, in a fit of desperation, took out my key chain and explained to her the meaning of every single discount card attached to it (again, I have a pretty decent number of those). She perceived it as a game of recognition, and now periodically likes to take that blessed key chain (which in itself is a Hogwarts crest) and name all the cards. On another subway trip, in the similar circumstances, I took out my calendar and just went over the pictures, explaining what was on it and how fruits and veggies were arranged to resemble the subject. She again perceived it as a legitimate reading material, and few times I spotted her filching that effing calendar out of my bag and reading it. Mini Not Me, on the other hand, once filched out my Politically Incorrect Guide to Constitution and attempted to read that one.

On our last outing, I noticed an interesting thing about Mini Not Me: he sits in his stroller with one leg bent at an angle and its ankle on the opposite knee. The first time I perceived somebody sitting like this was back in Moscow, when they were interviewing some English speaking foreigner. I have no blessed idea who that dude was or what the interview was all about, but that relaxed posture was burnt in my mind as an example of a free Westerner. And now Beloved Nephew, all of two years old, is sitting exactly like this in his stroller! All I can say is “thank G-d” – for many, many things.

Mine Me, as noted on many previous occasions, is a great member of our club (the club of oldest sisters, that is). She takes her responsibilities very seriously. So, one time, when I was giving both of them a bath, I saw her performing our "scrubby" song and routine on her brother - she was bathing him, using the song I composed for her, again in a fit of desperation, when she was less than eighteen months old. Let me tell you something - moments like this are more precious than rubies.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Thank G-d, this year we had an improvement in weather over the last three ones, the first rainy night non-withstanding (another hint?)

Personally, I had a very enjoyable Holiday, highlights of which include:

A very enjoyable first meal with great friends, where I met another couple who, of course, knew my sister. It's amazing, but usually when I introduce myself as "Sally's sister", it works about ninety five percent of the time, and everyone knows what I am talking about and immediately claims to see the resemblance. We started an evening with champagne, which turned out to be a little mistake, as overtired ladies became slightly sleepy, but it did not really diminish our enjoyment at all. Aside from great food, there was a great conversation and a lot of jokes. Plus, ladies got a chance to entertain themselves by observing the gentlemen, who, after being politely begged not to discuss politics, switched to wine and steaks, which they discussed with great enthusiasm for about an hour; after which they switched to matters concerning human anatomy and physiology.

First morning brought a chance for an extra bonding experience with Mini Not Me. I came in early (for a Yom Tov) to assist the beloved sibling in taking her beloved progeny for Birkat Kohanim. Mini Me was not in the best of moods; and finally I was dispatched to the place of worship with Mini Not Me (in case they would actually do everything according to schedule). Sure enough, beloved nephew and yours truly walked in just as Kohanim were saying "Baruch Ata..". We made it by the skins of our teeth. In the absence of the older sister, Fluffy behaved admirably, and answered "Amen" very sweetly (and when he was supposed to). On the way back we took a little detour in order to walk around our glorious neighborhood and look at the "beautiful flowers". It was also an opportunity for Mini Me to have a little bonding time with Mommy (who was obliged to take her to a different place of worship).

Then it was a great lunch with different friends. The food was also fantastic, and the company delightful and blessedly devoid of annoying people. Plus, LPC was there, and we were very glad to see one another. The general conversation was very pleasant in general due to the above mentioned absence of idiots.

The rest of the meals were spent with family and accompanied by usual family scene.

The recurring amusement of the hour was connected to my shoes. In case I did not mention it before, I am an epicurean when it comes to clothes and shoes, as in they need to be comfortable first and foremost; all the other considerations come after. In lieu of this, I usually wear flip-flops for about eight months out of twelve. High degree of comfort is paramount when purchase is contemplated. Price usually comes as a second consideration - necessary evil. Cuteness comes third (but still important). So, thanks to e-bay, I was in possession of a very comfortable and extremely cute pair of Vera Wang flip-flops (and I swear, the fact that they were Vera Wang had nothing to do with my acquisition). They looked quite ordinary if not for one important detail: they were decorated with fair imitation of the De Beers diamond. The amount of stares I got! Apparently, not only is it pass nicht to wear flip-flops in the Heilige Flatbush, those jewels basically slaughtered everyone I have encountered on the streets.

And, just to add additional excitement to the Holiday, George went after my Shavout bouquets - poor kitty was nutritionally deprived and decided to supplement his diet with fresh vegetation.

On the serious and sober note, I kept thinking about true meaning of this Holiday, how we perceive it, and there are we really on the spiritual level. That thought actually entered my mind few days before; it was supplanted for a little while with the usual excitement and a sense of peace that always comes with finishing all the preparations and lighting the candles; but then it came back. We are chosen by The Creator for a very special and unique mission; and on Shavout we re-experience the time when we were given "tools" to fulfill that mission. But where are we today?

Most of our brothers and sisters are non-observant; moreover, have little desire or inclination of even exploring the rich and unique treasures for observance and preservation of which their ancestors were brutally slaughtered by tyrants and angry mobs again and again. Our communities are full of, not to put too fine a point on it, shettel mentality. The situation in Israel brings tears whenever you try to dwell on it, and most of it is the result of Jewish actions, not our enemies’. Our religious educational system is thoroughly corrupt and rotten to the core; and the latest pedophile scandals are just one of the bitter examples. Our youngsters, imitating their arrogant, uneducated, and narrow-minded parents, themselves are narrow-minded, uneducated, and full of chutzpah. There are way too many single people and way too many divorces - and this time, you cannot blame feminists for it; the blame lies squarely on the shoulders of the so-called community leaders, who turned a seemingly natural process into a circus of monumental proportions. There is constant strife between different religious factions other the matters of absolutely supreme importance - like who wears a hat and how. The communities and individuals who are supposed to educate and lead the next generations to Torah are, again to put it mildly, not up to the task. And, the most painful of all, we are plagued by the curse that landed us in this exile to begin with - there is too much baseless hatred. Maybe we are supposed to fall to the 49th level of tumah again, like we did in Egypt, before the ultimate redemption comes? May Our Heavenly Father show us the way! L'Shana Ha'Baa be Yerushalaim!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Karate Kid classic scene

Here is to all underdogs and to winning against bullies!

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Part 5

Today, despite the severely inclement weather (OK, torrential rain definitely qualifies as that in New York), I was determined to go out during my lunch break. Of course, I had to take into account the proximity of the destination; for which I had two choices - library of coffee shop. For reasons known only to The Creator, I decided on the first.

So, here I come, slightly resembling a drowned rat, holding my dripping Muggle umbrella in one hand and a book I wanted to return in the other. I approach The High Priestess, I mean the clerk, greet her, offer her my book and my apologies for it (the book) being slightly on the damp side. She Of The Supreme Power Does Not Great a Mere Mortal or Smile in Return. Instead, she looks at me with a straight face and intones the following: "Ma'am, I have to warn you, if you will bring books that are Too Wet, you will be charged for damaged books."

Yours truly, slightly taken aback by this display of Supreme Logic, automatically reaches for the self-defensive humor: "So, now I will be charged for the natural disasters and acts of G-d?"

The High Priestess, aka the clerk, does not appreciate or, for that matter, understand the mere mortal humor. She looks at me unblinkingly and repeats with the same intonations: "Well, Ma'am, I wanted to warn you that this time is OK, but next time you will be charged for a damaged book."

I just collected my receipt, thanked her (again with a smile), and departed for the reserve shelves. But here is my question: how did she know that I am a right wing Jew face? Because, let's face it, right wingers are always blamed for the results of the natural disasters, and Jews are always blamed for the results and for causing those disasters to begin with. Again, to quote Goshka, "Life!"

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


“Love is something you can only find in a movie for the adults” – our Dad used to kill me with that phrase every time he vetoed a late movie:)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


One pretty fine Thursday afternoon, I left work and boarded the Lexington express (one of the “best” lines in MTA) with the intention of visiting Fluffys after work (yea, my sis too). Unfortunately, judging by the early signs, i. e. more than usually crowded platform, I got the feeling that this subway ride is going to be even more fun than usual.

Unfortunately, my predictions ended up being true; the only bright spot in the whole debacle being a seat I had wrestled. Finally, at Bowling Green, we were informed that the train was not going into Brooklyn, but turning back. A huge wave of disgruntled humanity exited the train, carrying yours truly along. By now it was over an hour after my departure from work, and I realized that I will not see Munchkins that evening. So, after arranging with my sister for a rain check (or is it "MTA is run by morons" check?), I decided to try and enjoy the evening.

First on the list was, of course, food. So, I trekked to the one of the two kosher establishments in the area. Imagine my disappointment when I realized that it closed down since my last visit downtown. Then imagine the unpleasant feeling when I realized that it was closed down by the Department of Health. Needless to say, the hunger pangs disappeared.

Further examination of the sky revealed more than few clouds (a good chance of torrential rain), so the excursion to our favorite "pak" was scrapped as well. Disappointed, but not deterred, I went to the bookstore.

Upon arrival at that fine establishment, I decided to visit the least pleasant part of it - the ladies room - before visiting more pleasant ones. As my luck would have it, that coveted place was being cleaned. For some unfathomable reason I decided to hang around and wait for the cleaning lady to finish. That turned out to be a slight miscalculation on my part.

So, here I am, just perusing the cookbooks and not-too-surreptitiously observing the progress of the cleaning. Meanwhile, the other ladies ignore the sign and barrel on. They were stopped and directed to the men's room by the enterprising cleaning personnel. At this point I decided to ignore the cookbook and observed the fun.

Sure enough, first adventures female soul knocked on the door, ascertained that the men's room was empty, and went in. Immediately after this, a man wanted to use the facilities. I warned him just in time. While he was waiting, another guy showed up, and they had to wait together. The second arrival even complimented the first one on his being a gentleman (the rest of this conversation would be better off to remain unpublished).

Finally, the adventures female exited, and the waiting males entered. Meanwhile, the cleaning lady was still busy cleaning the ladies' and directing everyone to the men’s. Yours truly continued to peruse the cookbooks, direct the hapless of both sexes, and generally observe the entertaining tableau.

The last female - non-adventurous, but desperately in need, since she was pregnant - beseechingly looked at me before I had a chance to open my mouth and offer my guard services. I assured her that I will not allow anyone of the male persuasion to enter the coveted facilities, and she disappeared there with a grateful smile. About three more males were stopped in their tracks to the bathroom till the pregnant woman emerged. She was profusely grateful, and even offered to do the same services for me; she also warned me that the men's room was really in a disgusting shape.

Since I accidently walked into three different men's bathrooms prior to that memorable evening, I did not need any additional warnings. I just thanked her with a big smile and returned to my observations and my cookbooks.

Finally, the cleaning woman finished her job, at which point she decided that she is going to preserve the integrity of the said job and not allow anyone into the ladies room for another half an hour. Few more brave female souls wanted to visit the coveted place and were also directed to the men's! At which point my capacity for entertaining oneself (and my patience) ran out, and I point blank asked her why I cannot go into the ladies’ is she was done. To which she replied to me in Spanish and again pointed to the men's! Wrong language, hon!

For those of you who know my political pet peeves, English as a national language is one of them; and I refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of Spanish here in any shape or form. So, when she compounded her nonsensical behavior by speaking to me in Spanish that was the end of Ms. Nice Girl. I told her that I do not speak Spanish, but I can see that she is done with the ladies', and I am going there, sign or no sign. She added some more annoyed phrases (I am sure also very complimentary to yours truly), and huffily removed the sign, after which she proceed to finally clean the men's. To give her credit, the bathroom was thoroughly cleaned.

After that adventure, the rest was a bit anticlimactic. I visited all the favorite sections of the store; found one book which I wanted to acquire as a present, and of which, of course, they only had one bedraggled copy; got some cards, most of which I did not need; refrained from getting a coffee in view of the recent events, and finally decided that MTA probably sorted out their mess, and I can go home.

The last was too optimistic: I ended up waiting for the train for about twenty minutes, after which it arrived stuffed like a sardine can. Needless to say, I came home late and hungry (thanks, sis, for feeding me).

To summarize this pretty typical for New York evening:

I have spent more than four hours in total in order to reach my humble abode; was treated to 9,667th demonstration of MTA's incompetence and stupidity since our arrival to this fair city; spend about six dollars for absolutely no logical reason; realized for the 666th time that eating at home is better than in a typical kosher establishment; appreciated again the idiocy of Mayor Bloomberg in his refusing to build public bathrooms in New York; was treated to the 1000th demonstration of general human idiocy in performance of the queen of the hill routine; and, finally, while perusing the cookbooks, I came to the realization that I am a fairly decent cook myself and can have my own cookbook - at least on the level of the ones I was perusing. So, in the future, my blog would feature the additional segment of recipes.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Or My Short Response to Barack Obama

Tuesday night, arriving home at the un-G-dly hour of ten forty eight pm, after a relatively uneventful day at work and a very enjoyable evening spent with beloved sibling and munchkins, I came to a strange conclusion: the night is young, and going to sleep just to be refreshed for the next workday is passé.

So, in accordance with this plan, I spent about half an hour playing America's favorite sport: flipping the channels on my TV remote. On the thirty fourth minute I realized that I will probably not see anything even remotely worthwhile, so I decided to finish my latest Netflix arrival. That was "Music and Lyrics", and I highly recommend it as a very sweet, light-hearted, feel-good with happy ending romantic comedy; plus, it had very enjoyable musical numbers in the style of the 80s music (OK, I am getting on in years).

After finishing the movie, I decided to play a bit on the Youtube; another very pleasant and time consuming activity, during which I found a music video of Sara Brightman singing "Harem". Sue me, but, despite the objectionable words due to the objectionable subject matter of this song, I actually enjoy the music and the beat (hey, nobody said that I was sane).

Next morning, while trying to wake up in the shower after half the night spent on those home entertainments, I was suddenly struck by this freaky connection: the movie and the song represented something diametrically opposed.

Now, a lot of people more gifted than yours truly already wrote brilliant summaries and responses to Obama's latest round of Muslim bootlicking, excuse me, attempts at diplomacy. But here is my short and not humble two cents worth of personal opinion.

Despite the fact that our non-esteemed supposed President went to Ivy League schools, and yours truly went to "Dura" college, I am firmly convinced that I am more knowledgeable in history than he is, even though I majored in psychology. All his claims to Muslim achievements are in error; whatever they supposed to have brought to civilization was brought by other nations and other religions. And even though thousand years ago they were better at medicine than the Europeans, come on! Even I am better at medical knowledge than the people who were convinced that you can heal wounds by the means of a fried field mouse. And they, by the way, made significant advancements since then; as apposes to the supposed beacons of civilization who only know how to torture and kill practically with their bare hands, but not to heal.

But Muslims always were, are, and will be famous (or infamous) for their elaborate harems and the entire culture attached to it (although that also was invented before their time).
Americans, on the other hand, are famous for their constant and almost unwavering hope for a better tomorrow. The Kenyan bastard stole that concept, trivialized and cheapened it in his campaign. But the concept is alive and well.

Other countries also make movies that have a happy ending, and that extol the healing power of love, friendship, art, and hope; but somehow, American movies are still the best and mostly unique in that regard.

And that, my friends, is the ironic connection that my head made when it was trying to wake up while being shampooed.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


Part 4

Today, I decided to visit the little stinking (literally and figuratively) library branch next to my office. And since I have a "reader's crisis" for about a month now, I thought I would just peruse the paperback section, especially mystery and romance, to see if anything would inspire me, or at least call my name.

Few years ago Signet reprinted almost the entire Agatha Christie collection, and there is a fair to certain chance that you can find at least one or two of them on the shelf - library pages did not have a chance to destroy all of them, and half of them were not stolen yet. Sure enough, the mystery section did not disappoint, and I found a good number of Christie books there.

Of course, as Murthy's law would have it, the one I really wanted was damaged (it started on page 43); so, being my usual idiotic self, I decided to take it to the clerk, so that she could "depreciate" this book.

My turn came pretty quickly. I plopped my selection on the counter and gave her a damaged book first with a short explanation. By her facial expression I quickly realized that she thought I was returning it damaged; I explained the situation again. She checked it, confirmed that it did, indeed, start on page 43, and then politely asked me if I wanted it. I just replied with "no, thank you." "Ah, I understand, it is damaged, so you do not really want it". And she put it aside, on the pile of freshly returned books.

Oy, gevalt!

Monday, June 08, 2009


Editor's note: Due to the usual circumstances beyond my control, this post appears today, as opposed to yesterday.

Happy Birthday to my delicious nephew! May Hashem bless you, with your smart eyes, professor's head, pinchable checks, huggable everything, and mischievous smile!

Love you much!

Hugs and kisses,

Your Papi

Friday, June 05, 2009

Scent of woman - Tango

A fantastic scene from a great movie


Today is National Doughnut Day!

Happy Holiday to our brave police forces and all the doughnut lovers across the country!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


My Memorial Day weekend was basically uneventful.

Aside from the fact that meteorologists miscalculated for a change, and instead of cool and breezy we had warm and pretty muggy weekend, I had a nice Shabat, spruced up by another visit from Mini Me and her Mommy.

On Sunday we finally made it to "pak" on "tchu tchu" train. To Papi's everlasting delight, it turns out that now the newly renovated "pak" station is fully accessible. Hurray! Maybe I will try and persuade Mini Not Me to come with us as well (or rather, hope that he will last without Mommy for more than half an hour). Either way, G-d help me!; even though I am really looking forward to it. Our time in the "pak" was delightful as usual, but unfortunately cut a bit short by the rain. Also, since our last visit, Mini Me seemed to adopt one of her parents' idiosyncrasies, and refused to go on the grass barefoot. Pity! On top of that, she almost lost her Tigger from her adorable yellow croc; to which I suggested relocating Tigger to my bag, and solemnly promised her to watch for him till we get home. She kept checking to make sure I actually do have him, but forgot to claim Tigger at home. So, I still got him in my bag; and I just gaze at him with a warm fuzzy feeling in my heart.

Then, on Monday, it was the beginning of a long and torturous process of cleaning my apartment (punctuated by some dopey TV re-runs). As I said, pretty uneventful.

There were ad for sales everywhere I turned my head. I even got an e-mail from some kind of adult toy company about their special for Memorial Day. A lot of people were enjoying barbeques, long weekends, extra sale opportunities, and fine weather. Memorial Day is also an official start of the air-conditioning season. What travesty!

My neighborhood is noted for precious few flags displayed on private houses. Is it because it is mainly populated by minorities, immigrants, illegals, and "extra religious" people? Mind you, all of them enjoy the blessings offered by this country (legally or not), but none of them are willing to acknowledge it. At best, they are oblivious; at worst, they are disgustingly hostile and hateful. My favorite expression "ungrateful swine" readily comes to mind.

I wanted to get a T-shirt that reads "Home of the Free because of the Brave"; naturally, with my organizational skills, it will materialize on Veteran's day. But the sentiment is in my heart.

So, here is to all the American brave who have fallen in the fight for freedom; for them the antiquated notions of bravery, honor and patriotism were not just empty and meaningless words. This survivor of Communist hell and grateful American patriot salutes you!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Editor's note: this post was originally slated to appear on May 18. Due to the circumstances beyond my control (as in I actually had to work) it appears today instead.

OK, here is another weekend update.

My weekend tale started Friday night at the house of the friend where I usually get into "discussions". This time she had over "family friends" whom I met before, and who got themselves imprinted on my memory due to the extreme chutzpah displayed by their "baby". Anyway, I was determined to keep my tongue firmly behind my teeth or occupied with food only.

That resolution lasted till the conversation topic veered in the general direction of education, at which point the matriarch of the family uttered the brilliant phrase about math not being necessary for the general education since "you hardly use it anyway"; and about two minutes later history was relegated to the same pile. At which point my tongue could not taste the soup in peace and decided to speak in defense of math (forget about history) to the tune of it being beneficial to the occasional exercise of your brains. Yea, right! That opinion, though seconded by our hostess, still remained in minority. Few minutes later Pater familias enquired about my present occupation; upon hearing that I work as an office manager in an architectural firm, his wife promptly proclaimed that that is the reason why I think math is necessary! I just clarified that my job is purely administrative, and has nothing to do with architecture, but that did not really deter her; few minutes later the conversation progressed to makeup. Oy, gevalt! Who was it that claimed that we are the smartest nation?

Next day, Mini Me was full of anticipation: she had a play date with one of her friends from playgroup. She was feeling very grown up, and even expressed the desire to have cholent (in her mind it was: have meal=eat cholent, then go to her friend). The let down came way before dessert: friend's father knocked on the door with the deflating news that the friend had fever, and could not possibly receive guests. Poor Mini Me! So, as a consolation, I offered her visit to George. The said invitation was graciously accepted, and Golden Delicious spent a part of the afternoon in my humble abode visiting with George and exploring the fascinating world of my strange possessions.

On Sunday, plans to have an outing on "chu chu train with single stroller" somehow ended up cancelled, partly due to the inclement weather, and partly due to Mini Not Me being extra cranky. So, both sets of delicious checks and their owners were packed up into the double stroller and we departed on an exciting expedition to a wonderful place called Dunkin Donuts.

On the way there we spotted a lot of trees, cars, beautiful flowers in different patterns, and different birdies. Once there, I was obliged to buy them their favorite donuts: chocolate frosted with sprinkles (blech). Mini Me, for reasons known only to her, decided that on that particular day she wanted pink, not chocolate, frosted with sprinkles; the arrival of a large group of new costumers deflected her from that particular thought, thank G-d.

Anyway, after about fifteen minutes at DD, the combined influences of consumed sugar and some forced inactivity on the way there produced extra lively behavior on the part of the Gnomes. Of course, the one person in the entire store to give them repeated dirty looks had to be another religious Jewish woman. What gives?

After exiting the store, I offered an excursion of the exiting South Brooklyn; which offer was met with very enthusiastic approval. So, up the Flatbush Avenue we went. On the way we saw couple of very "interesting" stores (oh, to be young again); one store, however, was interesting to me: it advertised itself as psychic shop, but was definitely a voodoo store. The stuff you find in your neighborhood!

Finally, we came to a big shiny store (known to adults at Target). Munchkins immediately spotted the soda fountain, so I had to deflect their attention somehow, and offered them iced tea. "Are you guys OK with one cup and two straws?" "Yes, Papi; yes, Papi; we want two cups and two straws." So, two cups it was. Of course, while I was waiting for them, Mini Not Me succumbed to Morpheus. Mini Me, after having two sips from her cup and observing for a bit through the floor to ceiling glass the fauna of the neighborhood, graciously agreed to take a tour of the store.

The said tour began with a "toilet that was flushing by itself!” Then we progressed to ladies accessories, where Golden Delicious had a blast trying on hats and sunglasses, and checking out handbags and wallets.

After a considerable chunk of time spent of those exercises, we went to the next level. There, Mini Me selected two sets of dishes (for her and her little brother), after which she had a great time trying on all different kinds of kid furniture for size. She even wanted to check out a dresser, at which point I had to disappoint her by pointing out that I cannot possibly plunk it down from the top shelf. She took it in stride, and decided to borrow my camera instead. Later, while I was reviewing the shots she took, I realized that she actually put some artistic thought into it. She took pictures of: her sleeping brother, her empty place in the stroller occupied by her set of dishes, the chair she was eyeing with intent to buy it with her brother's set of dishes in it, and Papi (the most flattering part of her).

During these activities Mini Not Me woke up. So, the final part of the tour was conducted for the benefit of both of the Gnomes, with the end purchase of: a Princess Coloring book with paints, Elmo sticker book, a cute set for baking cupcakes, and I honestly do not recall what else. Mini Not Me was not being extremely discriminating and basically expressed a desire to acquire about half of the toy department. Mini Me, on the other hand, had her heart set on a beautiful doll house, completed with dolls and furniture. I had to solemnly swear that as soon as I get a better paying job, I am coming back and buying her that doll house. She promptly agreed to that, and then refused to budge anyway. So, the cupcake set was actually her graciously accepted consolation prize.

After returning home, she proudly showed Mama all the purchases, after which she made her royal decision to dedicate the new dishes to "burgers and hot dogs" meals as opposed to "cheese" meals. And after that she proceeded to make cupcakes for all the known to her members of the family, present of absent.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Just feast your senses.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Thank you for watching over us!

As you know, four black Muslims (surprise of surprises) were arrested for planning to blow up two synagogues in Riverdale and to shoot military planes at the New York Air National Guard base at Stewart Airport in Newburgh with Stinger surface-to-air guided missiles. Basically, to use their own words, they "wanted to do something to America" - and the Jews, of course.

The propaganda machine, otherwise known as the media, and the cowardly, corrupt, and dumb politicians are already hard at work trying to downplay the whole thing. Headlines do not blare about Muslims and blacks, just "four men" or "four suspects". They are quick to emphasize and reiterate that those four are not really connected to any organization, were under observation for a year, therefor presented no real danger, and, most importantly, they are not very bright (yea, as opposed to Mohammed Atta, who had an IQ of 175 and was a long time Mensa member). As usual, am I very disgusted, but not surprised.

And, most importantly, right now I really do not care about those gutless bastards. I am just very grateful to Him.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Recently, Retired General Colin Powell decided to get up and offer some unsolicited political advice.

Since the respected retired warrior showed his true colors a long time ago (at least to me), I tried to basically ignore his latest rant. But there was one vignette that caught my attention.

He blobbed something to the tune that somebody (I do not remember precisely if it were conservatives, or GOP, or some other related entity) should realized that Americans want more government control in their lives, not less.

With all due respect and admiration, general, people who do not or cannot control their lives (or, at least the overwhelming majority of aspects in their lives) are not free people. They are slaves. Believe me, I know! That is one of the many lessons offered to us by The Old Testament in relation to the Exodus from Egypt and subsequent events. And that is also one constant I observed in many people from step-mother country.

Just something to mull over in your time free from endorsing the enemies of this country, general.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Babylon 5: End of the Third Season

One of the best parts of the whole series, in my opinion. How come warriors like Sheridan only get crazy fans if they appear in science fiction?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I love opening the Internet with my first cup of coffee and perusing the headlines offered by MSM or Yahoo. It is especially entertaining on Monday mornings. Yesterday was no exception.

For starters, some entity or other, very influential and informed, published a list of ten countries whose occupants were the happiest. Unsurprisingly, USA did not make the list.

Hum, let's see. The productive part of us works pretty hard (hardest in the world, by the way). After that, three branches of government confiscate a nice chunk of it (from 25% to infinity) in order to support their own bloated apparatuses, all manner of deadbeats (homegrown and imported), around twenty millions of illegals and their progeny, unwashed hippies masquerading as intellectuals and college professors, hardened criminals on death row who bleat to all and sundry about the social injustice done to them, blood-thirsty thugs from UN, and all kind of other assorted ungrateful swine on our soil and around the world. If we protest this highway robbery, we are locked up in the federal pen (together with the above-mentioned murderers). Lately, we also managed to accumulate enough psychos and idiots masquerading as registered voters to end up with the Executive and Legislative branches we have today. We are dubbed "The Great Satan" by the most blood-thirsty mass murderers alive today. Anything to smile about? For me personally, and I am sure for millions of my fellow Americans, the fact that we are Americans is in itself a blessing. With G-d's help and blessing, we will overcome the above-mentioned menace as well.

Another bit of news: Miss California may lose her crown due to (insert the list of assorted nonsense). The truth is: she dared to speak against one of liberals' holy cows; which opened a floodgate of the vicious attacks by those self-described defenders of human rights. Burt Prelutsky, being his usual blunt self, added a great vignette to this: she is white, blond and blue-eyed. If she was black, her statement would not have been such an issue. As of "press time", Donald, for whatever reasons, deemed Carrie Prejean worthy of her title. The said piece of news makes me rejoice to no end: not as a fan of Miss America pageant, but as an American citizen.

The other piece of news from last week was not breaking, judging by the way it was covered (or, rather, not covered) by the kissers of Obama's behind (otherwise known as the media). Somewhere in the depths of the State of Louisiana an American citizen was stopped on the road by the police and detained for half an hour on suspicion of being a right-wing extremist. His horrible crime? A pro-Constitutional bumper sticker, O Horror Of Horrors! The witch hunt is officially on!

Lastly, His Holiness decided to visit the Holy Land and utter His Esteemed Opinion to the tune of there would be no peace in the Middle East if we do not have a Palestinian State (on the land currently belonging to Israel, aka The Little Satan, of course).

Previously, I already offered my opinion in regards to the utter cowardice and stupidity displayed by the heads of the Catholic Church. Allow me to re-iterate some pertinent points. One: how about first you guys clean your own house, which at the present is infiltrated with homosexuals, pedophiles, and homosexual pedophiles. Two: show some self-respect. Half-Kenyan, half-Muslim bastard agrees to speak at Georgetown only after all the references to what you call The Son are covered, and you do not boo. Self-same bastard, who claims that is it above his pay grade to save unwanted children who miraculously survived abortion (and if I am not mistaken, abortion is a serious abomination in your estimation) is invited to speak at Notre Dame; your simple flock is protesting (vehemently); the heads of Notre Dame (and their superiors) do not boo. I am not even starting about the religion of peace, from whose members' behinds your heads are due to be extracted surgically. Three: if you attack fiction books, at least read them first: in my humble opinion the biggest threat to you comes not from Dan Brown, never mind Harry Potter. The biggest threat comes from Philip Pullman, and he himself was surprised at how little he was picked on. Finally, contaminate your souls a bit and read Harry Potter. It will teach you the beauty of standing up to your convictions no matter the personal cost, and the bravery and the purity of soul necessary in order to fight and defeat the True Evil.


Finally, our fair, smelly, and overcrowded city was blessed with a gorgeous spring weekend! So, yours truly was finally able to fulfill the many requests of Golden Delicious, and take her out on an outing "on tshu tshu train in a single stroller".

Sunday being The Mother's Day, sibling and munchkins went to visit Yummy (Grandma) and give her "balun" and flowers (and straighten out her apartment a bit). So, Papi was dispatched to chateau de soeur to prepare for the big event. Apparently, Mini Me was really fired up about our proposed trip already, because she kept postulating about trains, Papis, and single strollers. Mini Not Me, being a perfect sponge, also expressed a burning desire of taking a trip on the chu chu. Mini Me, with all the authority of the older, therefor more informed, sibling told Mini Not Me in no uncertain terms that Papi is taking the single stroller, and there is simply no room for him.

In the end, when we were saying our good buys, Mini Not Me got upset, which made me upset also. In my defense I can only say that I am sure he was just parroting his big sister, and would have been loudly demanding "Mommy" about five minutes into the train ride. I actually came up with a plan for the next Sunday. I will take my neffie pooh first, walk to the subway, take a train, and ride to the next accessible station; at which point I can get off, board the train going in the opposite direction, and deliver him safely to Mommy. Hope it works!

Here are the highlights of our trip:

Mini Me succumbed to Morpheus on the way there, despite very serious assurances of her not being tired (our standard family trait).

We visited the new shopping mall at Columbus Circle, where a statue of a very tall and very fat naked man attracted her attention. "It is so funny, Papi!" As usual, she showed an impeccable taste and succinct way of expressing herself.

We took a walk along the Central Park South, where we encountered many, many horseys, some of them with pom poms on their heads; the source of strange stink was also explained as "horsey poopy".

Papi, being an eternal optimist, decided to check if we can go to the Central Park Zoo on Mother's Day (which also happened to be the first decent spring Sunday) without waiting too much on line. All I can say is: Thank G-d Mini Me did not figure out what was happening; and, needless to say, that activity was scratched off the list.

We obtained a cute balloon from a group of Russian musicians (whom I met last fall), who moonlight (or is it sunlight) as the kiddy entertainers in Central Park. I was not recognized, and got one of the best compliments ("I would never have pegged you as a Russian-speaking").

We also made a little round around the duck pond and saw duckys and turtles. Unfortunately, due to the fact that ALL the lawns around the pond had the "newly seeded" enclosures around them; and I did not feel like setting a bad example and breaking the rule ( like a lot of people appeared to be), the pond lost its appeal pretty quickly, and we had to move on.

Mini Me, for reasons known only to her, appointed yours truly her Official Balloon Carrier (aside from her Official Stroller Pusher). Unfortunately, on the way to our next destination, half of the balloon did not survive (for which I am blaming passing smokers).

Next stop was Dylan's Candy Shop (sorry, Candy Bar). This place is very dear to our hearts, because it witnessed her first independent steps! Anyway, I was not there for over a year; it looks like they have renovated in that time and became a three-(instead of two-) floor establishment. They have really great decor, which includs stairs made to look like globs of something see-thorough with all different kind of candy stuck in it. Unfortunately, great decor did not include the elevator. Go figure!

The main battle in Dylan's was to persuade Mini Me that not all sweets displayed were kosher; the lesser battle was to persuade her that she does not need a stuffed bunny for $20. My sweet girl eventually put the bunny back and allowed for kosher substitutions. We also got a big bag of Jelly Bellies for Mommy for Mommy's Day; I was pointing at the jars and explaining the flavors, and she was telling me if, in her august opinion, that particular flavor and color was worth it. She also got a smaller bag for her brother. After that we visited the cafe (very sunny and brightly decorated), where I was obliged to purchase her an over-priced Coke. At least half of that Coke miraculously came back to the chateau, where it elicited my sister’s suspicious glance and an even more suspicious question of “what precisely it this?” While in the cafe, Mini Me sampled everything we bought, making wise suggestions as to whatever or not her younger brother would be able to eat it, due to his as yet not full complement of teeth.

Next stop was the Disney Store, where I was obliged by my word of honor to purchase a "horsey" (otherwise known as Princess Carriage with Horses decorated in the revolting shade of pink). Why I was obliged to give my word of honor will remain a secret.

In between our stops, we walked for quite a while (or rather I was walking and pushing Mini Me in the stroller). During our travels we observed goodly amount of "goggies", babies, "baluns", fountains, and funny sculptures. We also saw a store with Kalla Dresses and another store with funny chandelier, and yet another store with very old furniture. OK, we were walking along Madison and Park avenues; but I love the way all those stuffy designer and other establishments were reduced to such simple descriptions.

Papi was also reminded, rather forcefully, that she is a bit out of shape (G-d willing, gym membership is coming as soon as certain aspects of personal life are resolved next month).
On the way back I decided to dispense with good manners (please forgive me, Mom and Dad), and simply barrel my way though the subway car towards the seat, in order to avoid having to apologize to Mini Me's parents again for cursing in front of their impressionable child. Once we arrived at our destination, three black women (without any signs of wheelchairs, canes, or strollers), pushed ahead of me into the elevator. I was not able to outmaneuver this unholy trinity because I felt bad for another woman with the stroller, who came the elevator ahead of me, and was also pushed aside. Just wondering - what would happen if three white women with no apparent need for the elevator pushed ahead of the black woman with a stroller?

I also needed to haul the stroller with Mini Me in it up the stairs twice. Both times I have encountered a decent amount of indecent jerks. I also encountered two young guys who went out of their way to help me. Both were younger than I, which leaves me hoping that chivalry is not dead. Both also wished me a Happy Mother's Day.

Upon our arrival back at the chateau, Mini Me shared a Big Secret with Mommy: her tooth was shaking. Our big girl!

She also had a candy party with her little brother, which resulted in a great deal of noise and a lovely tussle.

Over all, the aching bones and muscles were totally worth hearing that she also confidentially told Mommy that she went to "a museum with Mickey and candy, and she drunk Coke".

Thursday, May 07, 2009


For some time now I have been suffering from pretty frequent heartburns. So, at a certain point, I got myself a big bottle of Tums and stuck them in my bag.

This morning, I was performing my usual everyday neurotic routine - I was cleaning and organizing my purse. Today's round also included my cosmetic bag (which I do not do every time). Being true to my neurotic nature, I checked the expiration date on the Tums. Guess what? The date is November of 2012. Now, you can call me fanciful or superstitious, but was it a sign from Heaven?

Ah, what wonderful news! Even if he is not impeached or thrown out because of his true place of birth, it's still a good omen to me. Thank you, Hashem!

Monday, May 04, 2009


Last Thursday morning, our office building super personally delivered very important memorandums to each and every tenant. The memorandums, of course, were in regards to the swine flu. Aside from the usual nonsense, theybasically copied and pasted the advice from the CDC website, which recommended the following:

Covering nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing and sneezing, and then discarding that tissue; thoroughly washing our hands with soap and water (alcohol also seems to be effective); trying to avoid contact with sick people; and (the gem) if you become sick, CDC recommends you to stay home.

Not to be outdone by these genius actions, that same afternoon our director of HR sent everyone the following e-mail:

"Everyone -- There has been much in the news this week about Swine Flu. Flu viruses spread through person-to-person or other close contact. It can take up to five to seven days to become sick after being exposed. We encourage everyone to take precautions and maintain good health habits.

If you are ill – flu or otherwise – we encourage you to stay home. We appreciate your wanting to come in to get work done. However, when you’re not feeling well, typically you don’t function at your best. Just as important, you increase the risk of spreading germs to others in the office.
Here is a link to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that offers tips on stopping the spread of germs at work: "

Now, here is my five cent question to all of this: we only get fifteen work days off for the entire year that includes vacation, sick leave, personal leave, mental health days, etc. So, who is going to compensate us for extra time off: benevolent Obama Administration?

And speaking of that magnificent entity (our government, that is), as this little piece "goes to print", there were no news, breaking or otherwise, about quarantine of anyone recently returned from Mexico, or, at least temporarily, curtailing communications with that extremely advanced country.

Brilliant!! Another job well done!!!


Here is my latest weekend update:

Friday night was spent in an almost pleasant company in my friend's house (the one where I usually end up "exchanging ideas"). Almost pleasant, because there was another space cadet from a very long line of space cadets present at the table.

The conversation was revolving around mutual friends and acquaintances (which gave me a peaceful munching time, since I could not care less about that), and then, out of the blue, the space cadet made a joke about a teleprompter, which had to be explained to the hostess. The rest, to use a cliché, is history.

I am not going to recall all the nonsense I was subjected to; I also decided not to "engage", since I am apparently just very entertaining, because I am "so passionate" about it. Basically, the idiotic conversation gave me another glimpse into the psychology of total obliviousness that plagues most of the American-born voters, even educated professionals capable of using their grey matter for tasks other than controlling the functions of the body below the neck.

Which brings me to a dismally rainy Sunday, on which I was hoping to take Mini Me to a long-overdue outing. Alas, that did not happen. I also had no motivation to get out of bed (sorry, sis). Basically, I arrived at Casa Del Munchkins in the afternoon. Inspiration struck on a whim, and I offered an outing to DD, which was met by an exuberant enthusiasm on the part of Her Royal Highness; His Royal Highness had to be coaxed a bit.

On the way there, we sang, observed busses and cars, and also commented on trees in strange colors (otherwise known as trees in bloom). Once inside DD, they were actually well-behaved angels about five minutes longer than originally anticipated (and despite being snubbed by another family with two kids). Each of them got their own serving of iced tea and two different kinds of donuts with sprinkles (from which basically only the frosting and sprinkles were eaten).

After a period of decent behavior, the joy of childhood (plus the consumed sugar) won over, and they proceed to show their extreme exuberance, which included laughing, running around, making faces into the windows, taking pictures of strangers - otherwise known as having plain, clean fun. After about ten minutes of this, they had to be evacuated and conveyed back to Casa Del Munchkins. On the way back, despite the rainy weather, they also managed to have fun, which included playing pick-a-boo through the plastic rain cover, kicking the same said cover, and tussling with each other. Oh, they joys of childhood!

Upon arrival, Mini Me organized a game of hide-and-seek. According to her rules, people hiding are told where to hide, which worked fine for Mini Not Me; in the case of Papi, they had to look for her long and hard, and she did not even have to use lots of imagination (just hide behind the same closet couple of times). Ah, the logic of toddlers!

After that, my sibling expressed a longing for a really creamy Mac-and-Cheese. After I volunteered to cook it, she confessed to locating a recipe and even boiling water (before succumbing to Morpheus). So, yours truly, with an enthusiastic assistance of Mini Me and under a watchful eye and periodic yells of neurotic brother-in-law, managed to concoct a very cheesy and somewhat creamy Mac-and-Cheese. Baby sister was in transports of delight, which in turn left yours truly delighted too.

After that is was bath time, when Her Royal Highness gave Her August Permission to be scrubbed by her humble servant at the accompaniment of our popular "scrubby" song.

Basically, another case of slight exhaustion with a warm fuzzy feeling inside; which, of course, brings us to Monday morning and closing the circle of stupidity that began Friday night.

The usual excitement associated with traveling on public transportation during a rainy Monday morning was compounded by strangely glaring looks of one of our recently promoted Senior Associates. On top of that, big boss decided to sort the mail during my unforgivable absence for a lunch break, which resulted in, among other things, longer process of sorting the invoices and his written instructions to yours truly on the fact that a particular piece of mail did not belong to our office (after he opened it).


Wednesday, April 29, 2009


By now it is the official breaking news: swine flu is the official threat from sea to shining sea, and there is the first official confirmed death from it in the United States.

Swine flu is believed to have originated in Mexico. Great! Wonderful! Fantastic! Another present from the general direction of America-hating banana republics; one in the long line that includes bed bugs (which, by the way, together with malaria, are effectively controlled by DDT), pushy America-haters who are busy waving our flag upside-down, drug-resistant TB, shady work ethics, amazing ability to leach off every single social program we have (to the significant determent of American taxpayers), MS 13, total disrespect for our culture, and people devoid of manners on New York subway (just to name a few).

Our government officials, in their infinite, bottomless wisdom, are screening all arriving from Mexico. HOW ABOUT PEOPLE WHO ARRIVE ILLEGALLY? WHO SCREENS THEM?

And for the love of all that is holy could you please, please start deporting the illegals and secure the damn south border!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


As mentioned recently, Fluffies need a bit of re-adjustment to the presence of Papi in their lives. Last night was still marked by that lengthy process, as a result of which they refused the performance of any part of nightly ritual by yours truly, piteously crying for Mommy of loudly demanding her presence. There was even an uttering to the tune of "don't want to show Papi burger we made ‘cause Papi is stupid".

At a certain point in the evening, Mommy went to for a long overdue night out with friends, and it was Papi and Abba against 2 American Gnomes. My brother-in-law belongs to the old school of Jewish parents so aptly described by the similarly old joke about Italian mother, Jewish mother, and a bowl of soup. For those unfamiliar with this gem, he was basically feeding them second dinner. After this ceremony was concluded, I politely inquired if His Royal Highness, Mini Not Me, would condescend to accompany his humble servant to The Sleeping Chamber. "No, Mommy!" - at which juncture he was scooped up by his father and removed to The Sleeping Chamber without Royal Permission.

Mini Me, due to her late nap, was left in my custody. So, I politely inquired if Her Royal Highness would like to listen to something read to her. She graciously agreed. Her brother, upon hearing my suggestion, all of the sudden also expressed the desire of my humble company and my reading. Alas, he was carried upstairs. So, it was just Golden Delicious and her Papi.

She chose her books. We had another riveting discussion about the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple and "the bad people" who effected that destruction. After the requisite number of books was read and discussed, I reminded her of her promise to go upstairs to her Sleeping Quarters. She duly kept her word. But on her way she kept up very intelligent discussion, even showing me a hole in the wall left by the "geniuses" who delivered her "Big Kid Bed". She also kept wishing good night and blowing kisses.

Those seven minutes spent in reading, discussing, and receiving "Big Kisses" was sheer heavenly pleasure. There are simply no other words to describe it. Exhaustion, frustration, hunger pains - all disappeared in a puff of smoke. The innocent and, believe it or not, unconditional love of a little child in return for your attention, however minimal, is truly more precious than rubies.