Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The One Where She Says 'Adios' To Her Ass

My favorite Homer Simpsonism is when Bart says to Homer:
"Daaa-ad, I'm tired of your half assed attempt at being a good father."
to wit Homer replies:
"Hmmm, I was using my whole ass."

****************just click the links to follow along**********

That, my bloggy friends is the way I feel about 2008. It was using its whole ass. And I, for one, am glad to see it go.

I have been in a funk lately - since about Halloween. Nyaah, who am I kidding - I've been in a funk since like 2007. This year has just beaten my spirit.

You happy 2008? Yeah, I'm talkin' to you, 2-oh-oh-effin8! You think you're all "ooh, I'm a big happy new year with all my curvy roundness and potential prosperity...Just wait all you revelers - go blow your noisemakers and drink your tiny bubbles - You'll wish you were gonna party like it WAS 1999..." and BLAMMO!

First you took my wonderful dad.
Then you took my Thyroid (D.A.C.) and parathyroid glands (apparantly by accident)
You left me without a voice, numbed my extremities, and solemnized my spirit.
You made me think about friendship and what that really means all the while sending your own unique 2008 brand of whoop-ass their way. (for anyone who is counting - 3.5 divorces, a couple of admitted (or discovered) addicts, 2 cases of cancer, one brain tumor, and one death).

Am I just wallowing in my own self pity? Or, as my oldest friend Cheryl (literally 5 seconds ago)tells me, that although I am depressed and feel intense sadness - it makes me all the more capable of feeling joy and real happiness as well. I guess so and I hope that is true. Extreme emotion on either end of the spectrum is draining. And, quite frankly - I am tapped out.

But- in my effort to fight back you gave me this. This other place I call home. It all came to me in a dream back in February of this shitty year. Aroused from a pain killer induced slumber - I woke up with my first post and wrote it in about 22 seconds. Literally. I could call it my new hobby, or addiction, or obsession - whatever. But this is a place where I can vent and share - no reprisals. I like this place, and if some don't understand it - screw 'em.

2008 brought us a year frought with political tumult and economic cirisis and Olympic excitement of epic and historic proportion.

2008 also sent me here- which totally didn't suck in any way shape or form (other than the frickin' roosters and all that cock-a-doodle doo-ing) .

2008 also filled me full of laughter and joy of the parental kind. My girls are wonderful and I always take 50% of the credit for them (guess who gets the other 50%?). And although they are not perfect - they are damned near perfect. And, they are getting older and more challenging and scaring the shit out of me on a daily basis. And sometimes I am such an ass-mom. I've really got to resolve to watch my temper and my sharp tongue as regards the girls. I should be more aware of how my words effect them. (thanks Sunny, for posting something so deeply personal and making me think. Hard.)

So good riddance to you - you shitty year. I say 'Adios' to this ass of a year - and I resolve to say 'Adios' to my big fat ass (and belly and thighs)as well.

Let's raise our cyber glasses , get ready for the what will inevitably be another year full of the unexpected - and to that I say "Cheers!" And when you're nursing your cheap champagne hangover tomorrow morning while watching the Tournament of Roses Parade followed by hours of college football - do what I am doing. Wishing you all a happy, prosperous, healthy and simple 2009.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Friday's Favorite Foto - Holiday Edition

Hope everyone had a wild Hanukwanzamas!
And your children enjoyed their gifts as much as mine did.

For more Friday Foto Fun - pop on over the Candid Carrie's !!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The One in Which She's Been There, Done That

I've seen this floating around and I decided to steal borrow it. I've been having a tough time coming up with original , thought provoking material lately - so I 'd thought I'd use this 'Been There Done That' device and stir up a martini the creative juices in my blogorhythms. This is the time of year when bloggy friends are coming up with meaningful content ...Christmas wishes, and memories and good will toward men....but I am lame and as such I am doing this instead.

What you're supposed to do is:

Things you've done: Bold
Things you want to do: italicize
Things you haven't done and don't want to - leave in plain font

1. Started your own blog. ('re here aren't you?)
2.. Slept under the stars. (as in really slept or passed out? either way , I'm in on this one)
3. Played in a band - or musical. (loved performing!)
4. Visited Hawaii. (just last October!)
5. Watched a meteor shower. (and a lunar eclipse, and a solar eclipse through the little hole in the paper gadget)
6. Given more than you can afford to charity. ( in the spirit of the season, aren't we all supposed to italicize this?)
7. Been to Disneyland/world - (Both- going next month for the little one's 5th bday).
8. Climbed a mountain. (in a car, van, aerial tramway, bus..but never in the literal sense)
9. Held a praying mantis. (eeeewwww, bugs)
10. Sang a solo. (reference #3)
11. Bungee jumped. (no frickin' way)
12. Visited Paris.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch. (I am using the word 'art' quite loosely here)

15. Adopted a child. (maybe some time later in life...but not now)

16. Had food poisoning.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
18. Grown your own vegetables. (I actually have a rogue lima bean plant right now)
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train.

21. Had a pillow fight. (complete with flying feathers and everything!)
22. Hitchhiked.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill.

24. Built a snow fort ( I grew up in the Boston area...)
25. Held a lamb. (the real deal, not just the chops)
26. Gone skinny dipping.
27. Run a Marathon. (no frickin' way)
28. Ridden a Gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse. (does solar count?)
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Hit a home run. (are we being literal or figurative here?)

32. Been on a cruise.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors. (if New Jersey counts...)
35. Seen an Amish community. (no toilets? seriously?)
36. Taught yourself a new language. (if you count jibberish )

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied. (everything is relative)
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing.
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David.
41. Sung karaoke. (loudly, sometimes drunkenly and pretty well, I might add)
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant. (does Dunkin' Donuts count?)
44. Visited Africa.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight. (I.Love. the. Beach)

46. Been transported in an ambulance. (Xmas eve 2006- gallstones)
47. Had your portrait painted. (only if they can get my good side)
48. Gone deep sea fishing.
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling. (and I don't deep water well, so this in and of itself is quite a feat)
52. Kissed in the rain. (romantic!)
53. Played in the mud. (and I don't do dirt well, either)
54. Gone to a drive-in theater. (When we were kids, we used to all the time - do they even have these anymore?)

55. Been in a movie. (I was an extra in a Jon Cryer movie)
56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business.

58. Taken a martial arts class. (does watching Kung Fu Panda like 67 times count?)
59. Visited Russia.
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies. (no- but ate plenty of them)
62. Gone whale watching. (but I have visions of rough seas and hurling and the romance seems to escape this idea)
63. Gotten flowers for no reason.
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma. (now , they won't take it)
65. Gone sky diving. (are you outta your frickin' mind?)
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp. (chilling and reviling and I actually vomitted)
67. Bounced a check. (who hasn't ??)
68. Flown in a helicopter. (are you for real here? this is swirlgirl we're talking about)

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy. (I have saved a few books for my daughters)

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
71. Eaten Caviar. (NY's Eve tradition for me!)

72. Pieced a quilt. (hubby's grandma was a master quilter and we all have personalized ones)
73. Stood in Times Square.
74. Toured the Everglades.
75. Been fired from a job.
76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London.
77. Broken a bone. (4 fingers on one hand at the same time)
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle. (not even on a non-moving one)
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
80. Published a book.
81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car.

83. Walked in Jerusalem. ( I know I should want to - but I have NO interest in doing this)
84. Had your picture in the newspaper. (several times)
85. Read the entire Bible. (same at #83)

86. Visited the White House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating. (no way - jews don't hunt unless it's for a good bargain or a good bagel)

88. Had chickenpox.
89. Saved someone’s life. (once I rescued a girl from a swimming pool)
90. Sat on a jury. (had jury duty but was never impanelled)
91. Met someone famous. (can you say rhymes with Blorge Gooney?)
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one. ( I really wish this one wasn't in bold)
94. Had a baby. two wonderful little girls
95. Seen the Alamo in person. (I would like to see more of Texas than just Dallas)
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake.
97. Been involved in a law suit.
98. Owned a cell phone. (don't we come prewired these days?)
99. Been stung by a bee. (stepped on one once)

So- I've been there and done a lot of that...How about you??

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday's Favorite Foto

I love little girls' imaginations. The way they play and act like grown-ups when they think nobody is watching them.

and then, just when they realize they are playing to the camera....

They go and do something like this!
Yup! That's how we "tea party" around here!
Lips down and pinkies up!
for more foto fun - go visit Carrie's place

Friday, December 12, 2008

Do You Hear What I Hear?

So my sisterbestfriend had these little thingies taken off her vocal chords the other day. Nothing to be that concerned about (?)...she has had a strained hoarsey voice for several months now - and went to a ENT who stuck something up her nose to see and 'Voila' ...nodules on her vocal chords.

About 40 years ago - our dad had this too. He had to have them removed and couldn't speak for a few days. We called him 'Frankenstein' because he had a scar that went practically from ear to ear and little sutures that resembled the bolts that were on the monster. Then, he had to go to a therapist to learn how to talk correctly - - from the diaghragm not the throat. Maybe that's just about the time Daddy developed and perfected 'The Poppy Face' - a scowly lowered brow menacing look that could capapble of extracting the truth out of even the most verdant liar. In those days...they cut you open for this type of procedure. Nowadays - they go in through the nose and snip*snip - it's over in less than an hour.

So my sister had this done on Wednesday. The rule was she couldn't talk for 48 hours and then has to be on vocal bedrest for about two weeks. And, if you know my sister - not talking is harder than , I don't know - not breathing!! The. Woman. Likes. To . Talk. Add to that she talks for a living, and not just for sport and she has a cell phone where her ears should be - and this will be the longest 48 hours in her life!

So we make a plan - since she can't talk...she can either just blow into the phone - or better yet, she can *beep* once for yes and *beep*beep* twice for no.

So I call her and ask her if how she is feeling (*beep*) if she got good drugs (*beep*beep*) and if this no talking thing is killing her (*beep*). I realize that in order for this 'beeping' plan to work, I have to ask questions answerable with a simple yes or no answer. Having failed miserable at that - since , to me, nothing worth asking is answerable with a simple yes or no - I decide to email her.

I write that for me it would be no problem and how I would love not to talk to anyone for two weeks....she responds that she would rather not listen to anyone for two weeks. Ha-Ha!!

So then it got me thinking (which is always a dangerous thing)- as to the difference between speaking and talking and the differences between listening and hearing...I like to think of myself as someone who speaks and listens rather than someone who simply talks and hears. No offense to my sisterbestfriend - but she talks more than she listens.

If there was one gift I could give my children - it would be the gift of listening. That means really taking an effort to hearing something, comprehending, processing, paying attention - whatever you want to call it. That means not formulating your next sentence in your head in mid-conversation...that means not asking a question unless you are willing to wait and hear the answer...that means being patient....that means caring...that means empathy....that means everything.

To listen well, is as powerful a means of influence as to talk well, and is as essential to all true conversation Chinese Proverb

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Phun With Phood

"Hey baby, where you 'bean' all my life?"

Just another trip to the clean plate club with the occasional dip in the hot water and a touch of seasoning along the way!

...for more photo fun, pop on over the Carrie's place!

What's Up With This Thing?

Hey Blogger -
Why won't you let me post any comments today?
I'll be good, I promise! (fingers crossed behind back)

It's like you have something against the second part of the alphabet or something. I seem to be able to comment on A thru L of my daily reads...but not the others.

So to all of you who did not receive a comment from me today - and I know how that just wrecked your whole fricken day (the not getting my comment part) all I have to say is:

"awww", "that slayed me!", "what about the others?" , "very clever" , "wish we had smell-a-vision", "bah-humbug", too bad those mice don't sing like Alvin and his 'munks so you could make some big money", and "that's what I call a brain fart".

Maybe that's been the problem all along. All of my eleventy billion readers (thanks Anna for teaching me how to do that!) have had trouble leaving comments ...and all those advertisers who want to send me free stuff to test and give away can't visit me because Blogger has it out for the second half of the alphabet! I need to change my name from swirlgirlsrealname to something that starts the letters A-L.... any suggestions?

...tune in tomorrow for some photo phun!!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The One in Which She Has to Represent

Each year at some point in my life, I have had to be the one to check the calendars. The token, if you will. The wiser on the subject. The Chosen One. All eyes will look to me to whip out my handy calendar of customs and practices and see what is what and when. Whether it be a school function, a soccer practice, a PTA meeting, a meeting for work(when I actually did things and got paid for doing them) - I am the one who was the gate keeper to all things Jewish. Even here in the cyber meeting world - I have been called upon to "represent" for my peeps. And, as I am forever channeling my inner Linda Richmond - I will do so with as much seriousness as I do most things.

Hell, I can't get through a day without letting out some self-deprecating humor or a good yiddish expression. Or ten. Oy Vey - see? There I go again.


This was a typical conversation with me and my calendar in the days of yore...

Me: "We can't have that meeting on that Tuesday after 5:00pm in September, it's the first night day of Rosh Hashana"

n.j.. Boss* "but my calendar says it is on Wednesday.

Me: " Yes, n.j. Boss, it does - but the Jewish calendar is lunar, with each month beginning on the new moon. And the rest of the world operates by the solar calendar. This is because a Jewish "day" begins and ends at sunset, rather than at midnight. If you read the story of creation in Genesis Ch. 1, you will notice that it says, "And there was evening, and there was morning, one day." From this, we infer that a day begins with evening, that is, sunset. Holidays end at nightfall of the date specified on most calendars; that is, at the time when it becomes dark out, about an hour after sunset. And, the Jewish day begins at sunset the night before the day of the holiday. When the mathematical calendar says that a holiday starts on Wednesday, it actually means that the holiday starts on Tuesday night. So in actuality we can't have that meeting until Friday because Rosh Hashana is a two day holiday and ends Thursday night....

n.j. Boss: {{crickets}}

me: "...and don't ask me why sometimes the holidays are in September and sometimes in October...and how sometimes Christmas and Hanukah coincide and sometimes they are weeks apart. I was never very good at the Metonic system......"

n.j. Boss: oh jesus mary joseph swirl girl - when can we schedule the meeting?

me: ...I'll consult the Talmud and get back to you on that n.j. Bossman.

For observant Jews who work in the secular gentile world, this can be problematic in some years: if all of the non-working holidays fall on weekdays (as they sometimes do), an observant Jew would need to take 13 days off of work just to observe holidays. This is more vacation time that some people have available. But don't get me wrong - sometimes this came in handy. We got to take the regular national holidays as well as the important Jewish holidays off from work!



So let's start with Hanukah, since it is coming at us faster than a bunch of jews lined up in front of the Two for One Sansibelt sale at Jacks for Slacks in Boca Del Vista .....(self deprecating jew joke) - Contrary to popular sitcom folklore, we don't all move to Florida (a.k.a. God's Waiting Room ) when we retire, and suddenly wear polyester stretchy pants. We don't all talk like Seinfeld's parents, suddenly find orange an attractive hair color, and play mah jong. Well, some of us don't anyway. ( I fear it's a genetic predisposition..)

Anyway - Hanukah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a holiday to commemorate the rededication of the Temple desecrated by the Greeks in ancient Syria a wicked long time ago. According to the story - when the Greeks , led by Antiochus and his hoard of Greek guys blew into town, they oppressed the Jews ( oy, vat else is new?) by trashing their 'hood, prevented them from practicing their religion - and even sacrificed pigs in their Temple. Now- a Jew named Judah Maccabee didn't like those Greeks gettin' jiggy with the piggy in his house - got together with his boyz and decided it was time for the 'throwdown'! The Jew crew defeated the Greeks and it was a mitzvah. But, when it was time for the rededication of the Temple, legend has it that there was not enough oil to light the menorah , or candelabrum, which was supposed to burn throughout the day and night. Miraculously - the little they had lasted 8 days and 8 nights. (such a deal-and you know how we jews like a good deal!) Hanukah celebrates that miracle of the lights, not the victory over the Greeks. We're a peace loving people y'all.

Most people know Hanukah, not because of its religious significance (it really isn't that religiously significant to begin with) , but because of its proximity to Christmas. In fact, the only religious ceremony is the lighting of the menorah itself. The whole gift giving thing is a relatively modern answer to the Christmas tradtion of gift giving. (can you say 'jealous much'?) And while all of you out there need additional square footage or another garage just for the boxes of ornaments, the prestrung Martha Steward artificial spruce and the inflatable Rudolph and Frosty yard snowglobe...we get to go into the cabinet over the fridge (that is reserved for stuff you don't use because you can't reach it) pull out our menorah (and we usually have two or three homemade firetraps from preschool) and a box of candles- and maybe a little dreidle ; a game whereby contestants spin a square wooden top to win some (really gross tasting) chocolate coins a.k.a. Hanukah gelt.

Sounds festive doesn't it? We might even get crazy and fry up some Latkes (potato pancakes) - and this year, because we've been very, very good...we'll serve those with applesauce and sour cream! Wheeee!

On the first night of Hanukah around here - after we've lit the 1st candle on the Menorah, opened one present ('cuz we have 8 frickin' nights of this my friends) kids like to put on their the Burl Ive's claymation classic of...(uh, not for us) hop in the car (sans carseats and seatbelts)... pop our favorite carols into the c.d. player- (no wait, we don't have any of those.)..and drive around the 'hood checkin' out Christmas junk, er um , sorry - I mean decorations! ***

So there you have it. 2000 years of history and tradition as interpreted by your favorite (or perhaps your only) cyber Jew! If you think Hanukah was fun...just wait until springtime for the interpretive dance of the Pascal lamb and the Matzoh!

* n.j. stands for non-jew
**much of this post was, um adapted from the site Judiasm 101.
***and no it's not okay to have a tree or lights or decor when you don't celebrate Christmas people. Blue and white lights hanging from your eaves and mailbox do not mean Hanukah. If you put up lights and junk, how will Hanukah Joe know where the Jews live? How would he know whose sliding glass doors are open so he can sneak in and leave some gelt and a dreidle under the pillows of good little kinderlach? Huh? I guess he could wait until Christmas Eve, and just got to the local Chinese restaurant and movie theaters. Because that's what Jews do on Christmas Eve. Gotta Represent.

Oh yeah- and let's send a Chchchchchchappy (summon up all yer phlegm folks, we are a very phlegmy people- what , with all those years of walking in the desert and all) Birthday to my sister in Florida! She is not retired, and does not have orangey blonde hair (yet)...and I wish I could celebrate her 48th with her!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday's Foto

I don't know why- but I just love this picture. Maybe it's because my girls are fearless and I am full of fear. Maybe it's because my girls it's because they have an uncanny ability to scare the shit out of me. ("Be - put your foot to the let them go up there with no shoes?...okay, that's far enough!) Maybe it's because their sense of wonder and discovery is just what it should be - childlike and unsatiable.

For more Friday foto fun, hop on over to Carrie's place!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

We Bad ! Fo Shizzle! Yeah Boyz!!

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Have a Hip Hop Hanukah

the Hip Hop Hanukah Hora is Happenin!

visit the SITS girls for more holiday fun.

the video is up there 'cuz I am so BAD that I can't get it to be down here.....

for some more {hicup} holiday cheer - check out the Good Little Swirls and Boyz over there to the right....Linky Love to all.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy SITSnukah

******BREAKING NEWS******
The Grand Prize for tomorrow's Merry SITSmas is:
YOUR Blog Featured as our Friday Favorite and....
A $200 Target Gift Card!

That's 3/4 of the way to a Wii-eeeee!

I am not sure what else I have to do - hope it's not sharing my fondest Christmas memories, 'cuz- uh, I'm Jewish.

so how 'bout some channeling some Hanukah love SITSas!!