The Secret Ingredient


Intention. It’s the heart of every act – the secret ingredient. Know what it is and you can’t go wrong; fool yourself and you’ll get what you really asked for anyway. For instance, my husband and I didn’t marry for love – we were too morbid for that. I married him because he offended me with his crude sense of humor. Plus, we both listened to hellish music and loved beer.


Twelve years later, we sound like a couple of truck drivers as we drag ourselves out of bed at five in the morning to do suicide jumps, complaining about the horrible workout music – all to keep our guts from reaching whale status. Modern day honeymooners. Bang-zoom-to the effin’ moon.


I have to say, until I had children, figuring out other people’s intention was not my forte. It could be as plain as the mole on their face and I would hold out for some noble, underlying motive. I was once that idiot who would scrounge around my pocketbook forever for a pan-handler asking if I had any spare change. My husband, on the other hand would say, “Yeah, I have plenty,” and walk away.


Children, with their innocence and their inexperienced lying, especially my guys – always make it clear – get the object of their desire. At all costs. Everybody’s expendable – most of all…siblings. Besides, what could be more noble than a straight line to having your needs met, right? And just because they’ve learned how to look like they’re suffering from an excruciating broken heart, doesn’t mean I have to fall for it. At least not every time.


They don’t fool me. Maybe one day they will – but not today. I know what their intentions are and to be fair, I do a daily check on my own. When I’m scrounging for cash (because you know I ain’t gonna ask my husband for spare change) just to get a lousy haircut, I do remind myself. Why we’re on a low budget; why I deal with haggard hens who’s sole purpose is to be a nuisance; why I’m mutating into the obatarian I vowed I’d never be – because I didn’t want to get a dog.

Obatarian, by Katsuhiko Hotta


The Headset Mic


I said, “Madonna.” The group of second graders said nothing. He said, “Britney Spears” and they laughed and nodded. Word association when it came to the headset mic. He’s their teacher so I guess he was more in tuned to current icons. Sorry, Madonna – here’s the radar and there’s you, way the f*ck over there. Whatever. I’m just happy that Hannah Montana is at zombie status.


But I should update my celebrity catalog. I find myself saying things like, “You know the actor who played the douche bag in that movie with the fat guy from Super Bad?” I can’t remember actors names. But it’s really not my fault – celebrities have such unmemorable names these days. So do bands. Not like “Triangle Sweat.” That’s the name of my new band. Thanks Kim.


Along with time, money and putting on their clothes correctly, my boys still have no concept of age. Then again, their father acts his shoe size, why shouldn’t they? Well – Samu is still wearing pre-school sizes, so he’s good.


Zuki asked me my age the other day, and when I answered he said, “You’re older than Grammy?”


“No Zuki, you count the tens – sixty is more than forty.”




You see why I think he might be going to summer school this year?


And then this morning, while walking Samu to school, we saw his classmate/Cub Scout buddy across the street. The kid was with a teenage-ish girl who I wasn’t sure was his aunt or cousin. So I asked Samu, because he can be nosy like that.


“I think that’s his grandmother.” He said.


Seriously. The girl was wearing faded capris and a teeny t-shirt, she looked like a broomstick with a ponytail.


“Samu – that is NOT his grandmother.”


“Well, she’s not his mother so, she must be his grandmother.”


……let’s hope he stays away from genetic engineering.

“I’m wearing a tie, so now I’m OLD!”

Mommy and Goliath


Last year, around this time, I was wigging out about the impeding summer break. Fretting over two whole months of maintaining reading levels while keeping my two monkeys busy enough that they wouldn’t choke the crap out of each other. This year? I’m counting down the last days of school – down to the millisecond – and I have no summer plans. I am done with planning.



This summer is going to be Summerish. Hot and lazy. Fun and spontaneous. Since Samu’s school is anti-field trips, we’re going to go on one every day. It’s going to be ridiculous – like his school. Ugh.


The Department of Education. Sometimes I wonder how we put our children in their hands.



Even McDonald’s is organized to reach the same standards for all their…whatever you call them (it’s not a restaurant. Restaurants serve food). But the DOE? Oi, vey. How does a department that’s obsessed with Common Core allow two public schools, separated by a mere four blocks, to have drastically different learning environments?


With “Common Core” a kid is ensured the same math curriculum should he move from Pennsylvania to Idaho. But if his family moves across the boulevard, he goes from a dozen field trips to one; two gym teachers to none and art, music, book fairs, evening concerts, baseball outings to – a crippling stomach virus. The education system isn’t concerned with consistency, content, instruction or even children. All they want is nickels and dimes and million dollar bills.


If I weren’t on the PTA, I’d be as blind to it as most parents are. It’s enough to make me wish I had taken the blue pill. Like glancing into the backdoor kitchen of your favorite Chinese restaurant on Mott street and seeing how your food looks before they smother it in black bean sauce. I’ll just have tea, thank you.


In dealing with the education hierarchies, I’ve learned, there’s never a simple yes or no answer. And if an answer makes sense, then it has to be put in writing so that it doesn’t – because it has to cover everybody’s ass from a lawsuit. Like an anti-depressant commercial, Lexapro can alleviate your anxiety because it might kill you, maim you, make you attractive to idiots and purple in the nose but sign the consent form before you forget why you’re taking it and it won’t be our problem.


Of all administrations, the DOE epitomizes a giant of giants – Goliath himself with armor that hasn’t been washed in months and no underpants to speak of. If you don’t get your shot right between the eyes and drop the giant on his face, you’re bound to be a slave for the rest of your kid’s educational life.


Take it from me, if you got issues, talk to other parents before you approach the administration.


With that said, I proudly announce that Samu – our very own monkey of a troll (or troll of a monkey) – passed. The Gifted and Talented test and the audition to the School of American Ballet. I know right? When just today his teacher spoke to me how instead of practicing his penmanship, he was drawing Angry Pigs.


For this summer, I may not have a plan – but if these boys keep up their antics by the time they’re ten, I’m sending them to camp. In Israel.


Samu's spare time, arranging "Angry Pigs" and photographing them
Samu’s spare time, arranging “Angry Pigs” and photographing them



Here She Is


After all these years, my husband broke down and gave me a baby girl for Mother’s Day. Just when I was about to call him a bastard for waking me up at 7:36 am on a Sunday morning to take a three minute piss – all the curses were cut short when I caught sight of this baby girl waiting to be cradled in the arms of her new mama.


Here she is:






I named her Sono-Maureen after my late sister. My sister was the most self sacrificing, beautifully patient storm of a mother I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. Some people are instruments – channels for a greater good – and I have no doubt that she was one. It’s fitting, that she should arrive as one, on this day.


After noodling for hours with our newest addition, Zuki asked for a hug. Sensing some jealousy, I thanked him for the guitar and he responded, “I didn’t buy the guitar for you, Daddy did. But if it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t be a mommy and that means you wouldn’t have it as a Mother’s Day gift. So really, this is my guitar.”


Next year, I’m going to encourage the Breakfast in Bed and say, “Technically, this is your mess – you clean it.”

Every Once In A While


Every once in a while, the good guys win. Justice prevails. You get to fill your lungs without feeling that pinch from that thorn in your side. Every once in a while.


I’m not one to tolerate excuses, so I won’t give any but I did have a thorn (or two) in my side. Petty, little selfish thorns that grated my inner peace like someone chewing meat with their mouth open.


One of them got taken care of – for now. I’m inwardly dancing with joy; enough to write this post, anyway. Life can be encouraging when you finally see a mother-fucker get her just desserts.


Deep down, I know that everything gets washed out in the end so why did I let these “miserables” get under my skin? Well, the answer is, because it takes so damn long before the rinse cycle drains. It’s always just about when I’m ready to lose faith, the wench gets dealt the hand she’s been giving.


I kinda have to smile. From ear to ear. Okay, I do a little dance and maybe shout it from the rooftops. Or at least Tweet something. I shouldn’t gloat, but it’s only for a little while. There are plenty of wretched people who are going to take their place and it’s just a matter of time. And believe it or not, it makes me less hateful because I can’t believe they are so miserable to occupy their energy to pick a fight with the likes of me.


There once was this woman who was messing with the first guy I was serious with. She used to prank call me at three in the morning. Seriously – that takes discipline. I don’t get up at three in the morning for anything. Except to let out some gas. Anyway, when she finally got him all to herself, she inherited all his debts, too. He filed for bankruptcy shortly thereafter. How do you like him now?


That says something about me, too but I assure you, that was the last time I got caught with the dregs of society. I’ve learned my lesson and learned how to ignore their trap. They can spin their contemptible webs all they want, I won’t set a foot near their little games. And look at me now – I married a tattooed bass player!


As I say goodbye to one nemesis, another has already taken her place. Is it New York or is it me? This mother tells her five-year old son to beat up Samu and then threatens to call the cops when Samu pushes him back. I’d like to see the cops reaction when they see the perpetrator is a troll. The mother screams hysterically at me and I all I can do is stare at her. Wait for the rinse cycle. Every once in a while.