A Tale of Two Shoes

Once upon a time I needed a pair of beige high-heeled shoes. I found two different pairs that I liked.

The pair on the left was very fancy and expensive. The brand wasn’t made by a typical shoe designer. It was new to the fashion scene. The shoes were shiny and bright. The mannequin wearing the shoes looked tall and pretty.

The pair on the right were made by a company that had been around for awhile. They were not as exciting or as interesting as the other pair of shoes. They were dull and uninteresting.

So I bought the fancy shoes from a fancy store. One night soon after, I wore them for the first time. The heels were very high, and I realized they weren’t very stable. The shoes were incredibly uncomfortable. The padding on the inside kept coming apart.

So I went back to the other store and bought the other pair of shoes. To my delight, they were very comfortable. And while they weren’t exotic or interesting, they were very well-made. The company that made them had been around for a while, and they obviously knew what they were doing. I wore them many times, for many years.

I couldn’t return the first pair. I was stuck with them. I never wore them again.

And so I learned that it’s better to stick with companies who know how to make shoes because they have been in the business of making shoes and understand how to make them than to go with a crazy new brand that should have never been an option in the first place.

The End.




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Dear Donny,

Can I call you that? Or Don? I’m trying, but I just can’t seem to call you your new name yet. President Trump just doesn’t seem to roll off my tongue that easily, but I want you to know that I’m really trying.

Anyway, you and I are both going to have a big weekend coming up and I just thought I’d introduce myself.

I’m turning 45 on Monday. You are going to be the 45th president tomorrow. Both of our exciting changes take place in January. Also, sometimes we both have really messy hair and we aren’t very good at brushing it.

I have three children. You have five children from three different women.

I am getting divorced, something I never thought would happen to me. You are becoming the President, something I’m pretty sure that you never thought would happen to you.

I’m still not sure that becoming President is actually something that you wanted to happen, but now that it is, you are looking at the bright side and all of the perks that come along with it. I was pretty sure that becoming divorced at 45 was not something I wanted to happen either, but I guess there are some perks that I am slowly discovering too.

I don’t really think I’m ready for dating apps, or dating in general, and don’t really understand how to properly interact with people in the singles scene. I don’t think you really understand your new job, or politics in general, or how to interact with people in the political scene. We both have a lot of learning to do.

Sometimes we don’t have a filter for our thoughts, and we say exactly what’s our minds.
We both enjoy social media- I occasionally like checking my Facebook account, and you seem to really love Twitter. We both need to be careful out there with what we say.

I am probably going to be moving to a new house sometime soon.
Hopefully, your family will be moving to a new house sometimes soon.

The world will be looking at you to see what you do with your new life and new job title. You have a lot of responsibility and people are wondering how you are going to handle all of it.

Sometimes I feel like the world is looking at me to see how I am handling all the unexpected and challenging changes in my life.  I don’t know about you, but I think it’s really hard to have so many people watching me.

Despite our different challenges in our new lives, we actually do have one same thing in common: my children. They are watching both of us.

They are watching us to see how we behave, and how we treat those around us. They want to see how we handle relationships with people that we have not necessarily gotten along with recently. They are watching to see how we speak to those who have different opinions or views from our own. They are watching to see if we can make compromises and learn to get along with people that we don’t always agree with. They are looking to both of us for guidance as to how to navigate through life.

So, really, although we aren’t going through nearly the same type of changes, I want you to know that we do have the same exact same personal responsibility to my children.

I hope I make them proud to be their mom, and I really hope you make them proud to be our President.




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2016 is over. A year which no one could have ever dreamed up, unless they were an 10 year old girl in 1982 and they were actually having a nightmare. “Mommy, Daddy, wake up! I just had the worst dream ever! Mrs. Brady and Jason Seaver were dead. And Willy Wonka died and then our whole country decided that one of his Oompa Loompas should be our president!”

So now we head into 2017, and while everyone is dragging their melancholy of the previous year into this new one, there are some things to look forward to:

1. Scandal is coming back. It’s about time. Olivia: We need you now than ever, girl.

2. What will the White House be like now with a president who has not one, not two, but three baby mamas? How does that work?

3. Megyn Kelly on NBC!

4. The Emoji Movie! Trust me, watch the trailer. It looks hilarious.

5. A possible “Harrison Ford was the killer theory”- I mean, she did just write a whole book revealing an affair he had when he was married. He was really good in The Fugitive. He knows how to run from a crime.

“What’s up for us in 2017?” we are asking ourselves now. Well, I’ll kill the mystery for you: 2017 is going to be every year. It’s going to be the same last year and every single year before that. Good things will happen and bad things will happen. A person will have their 15 minutes of fame; a new talent will be discovered; we will see a movie that will change our lives and we will read a book that will touch our hearts. We will fall in love with a new movie star and binge watch a new t.v. show. There will be a really catchy song that we can’t get out of our heads.

Tragedies will happen- there will be a plane crash with promising young people aboard. There will be a terrible train derailment. Tons of mass shootings. Our favorite childhood celebrities will be taken from us too soon. New diseases will be discovered and people will die before we can figure out a cure. New cancers will appear and we won’t know how to stop it from spreading. But people will live longer due to miracles and changes in technology.

Great things will happen to really shitty people. Horrible things will happen to really good people. Karma may or may not even it all out in the end. Politicians will argue over ridiculous things and block each other from making real, positive change.

There will be racists and anti-semites. There will be those who encourage them. There will also be those who will try and make the world a better place through peace and acceptance.

Really cool things will be invented. Technology will get more advanced than we could have ever imagined.

It’s going to be all of the same things, just in a different year. So what do we do? Just sit back and watch another year go by?

We could. Or, we chould listen to the lessons from those dearly departed entertainers from 2016:

Instead of asking yourself how much of your time is left, ask .. how ‘em how much is left of your mind. Take care of your mental health as much as you do of your physical health. Surround yourself with only good people.

Take these lies and make them true. Stop the blame game. Don’t justify things by saying “life is short.” Your life may or may not be short, but the ramifications from how you choose to live your life will go on for decades. If you want to do something risky, think about the consequences and if you still decide to do it, just own it. Don’t blame it on the universe’s unpredictability.

Turn and face the strange : We can’t deny that this world has gone a little crazy. By pretending it’s not happening or that its going to go away, isn’t going to do a damn thing. You need do something about it. Help us make some ch-ch-changes.

There is no life I know to compare with pure imagination.: Always make room in your life for make-believe. Never stop dreaming.

Take it easy: give yourself more time to relax. You don’t always have to live life in the fast lane.

Just say no to drugs: (Not really, but I gotta give a shout out to Nancy Regan in here somewhere.)

Sing in the rain: Focus on the positive, even when surrounded with sadness and disappointment. Laugh and be glad for the things in the moment, even in the face of despair.

May the force be with you: You are stronger than you think and braver than you might know. Believe in yourself.

You’re a shining star, no matter who you are. Shining bright to see. What you could truly be.


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The dressing comes on it.

If you are one of those people who are voting for Trump because of his economic policy, but admit that you don’t agree with his stance on most social issues, please remember:

It’s not like ordering a salad.  You can’t ask for those things to be “on the side.”  When you vote for Trump, it’s all mixed in together. There’s nothing you can do about it once it’s served.  You can’t send it back.

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Top 10 Things I Can’t Do Anymore Now That I’m Almost 45.

There are many, many things I can’t do anymore now that I am 2 1/2 months away from turning 45.  Too many to write, so I narrowed it down to the top ten things that I Just Can’t Do:

I can’t: 
1. Talk on the phone while grocery shopping. I can no longer multi-task. I will definitely forget to buy something if I’m chatting on the phone walking through the frozen foods aisle.

2. Drive in the dark: At night, unless a street is illuminated by a flood of lights, I just can’t see where I am going. Without lights, driving in the dark, I get disoriented and forget where I was going in the first place, or why I was going there.

3. Drink and drive: This does not mean that I cannot drink alcohol and get behind the wheel of a car. It means I literally cannot take a sip of a drink, any drink, while I am driving. This must be because my mouth is drooping, and has moved lower down my face. But I have to wait for a light and come to a complete stop to attempt to take a sip from my water bottle or I will simply spill it everywhere.

4. Recognize anyone: If you run into me and we haven’t seen each other in a while, I’m very sorry. I just don’t know who you are. (Although I will have a running checklist in my head for the rest of the day- do I know her from school?  work? children’s after school activities? was she a client? is she my child’s doctor?  Is she my neighbor? Was she my neighbor? Is that our vet? My dental hygienist?)

5. Park in a multi-level structure: I will never find my car again. Ever. Even if I write down the spot where I parked. Because most likely, I will forget where I wrote that information down.

6. Loud restaurants: I’d rather just stay home. I can’t hear you anyway.

7. Remember who I am calling or why I called them until they answer the phone: And then I’m still not totally sure, so I’ll look at my cell phone and pray that the name of the person that I called is programmed into my phone.

8. Understand today’s music lyrics: I can’t figure out who shawty is and why so many people sing about him or her.

9. Handle people who complain about problems they created. Or people who are constantly unhappy or negative. Or those who must put others down or to embarrass others simply to make themselves feel better. Or men going through mid-life crises. Or men who cheer on men who are having mid-life crises. Or shitty, absentee parents who choose their own selfish wants over their children’s basic needs.  Or women with no backbones.  Or millionaires who don’t pay taxes.  Or those who don’t believe in climate change or stem cell research. Or adults who act like children when they don’t get their way. Or those who think the world owes them something. Or those who have just absolutely fallen in love.. with themselves. Or people who don’t understand the meaning of the words ‘respect” or “kindness” or what it means to have “class.”

Ya know, now that I think about it, I think I just can’t handle most of the people anymore.

10. This election. This country. This male candidate who may be the face of our country for the next 4 years who is a proven racist bigot who hates women and mocks people with disabilities and who will have the power to appoint Supreme Court Justices who will most definitely overturn “Roe v. Wade,” and who will deregulate gun control, refuse to increase the minimum wage nationally, mess with gay rights somehow, and who will never go away, even when he is done with his term in office. Remember: even when Trump is out of office, we will be stuck with those anti-women, anti-gay, anti-minority Supreme Court Justices for the REST OF THEIR LIVES.





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The Amazing Race

Donald Trump and I agree on one thing: this country is a disaster. But the rationale behind our opinions differ greatly.

We are a country that revels in other people’s miserable lives. We watch shows like “Honey Boo Boo” and “Hoarders” and eat up every moment of the pain and tragedy that consume the lives of the people that are featured on these shows. We are not content with reality t.v. that portrays “real life.” Instead, we want to sit back and observe and laugh at those who are in awful “realities.”

We cheer for the “Dance Moms” and “Toddlers and Tiaras” where children are humiliated for higher ratings. We watch “The Bachelor” not to see who lives happily ever after. We really watch to see who has an embarrassing skeleton in their closet. We watch to see which contestant fights with others the most, or which contestant makes a drunken fool of themselves on national t.v.

We love tabloid drama. We love the Real Housewives, Duck Dynasty, the Duggars and the Kardashians. But we are not content to watch them be content. We want the bad stuff. We crave the scandals.

I am in no way implying that I am not part of this culture. In fact, I am absolutely, 100 percent guilty of contributing to it.

However, when people ask me how outraged I am at the latest Trump allegations, I have found myself saying no. What I’m more upset about is the outrage about the outrage.

The things Trump said and allegedly did are revolting. But let’s be honest: it can’t be surprising to anyone.

The most upsetting thing he said (to me, at least) was that he could shoot people on the street and he’d still get elected. Anything new or upsetting that may come out at this point doesn’t make me dislike him any more. I arrived at my own opinion a long time ago. Anyone who says that this Billy Bush tape suddenly has changed their minds about him has been in denial for a long time.

This election has never been about the issues. Instead, it has been about digging up the most horrible, disgusting things about the candidates and their families. It is an amazing race of who can find out the most dirt at the fastest pace humanly possible. It’s entertainment.

But that’s exactly what it should be here in the U.S.A. That’s what we, as a society, demand. It’s good t.v. It’s 24/7, around the clock, shock and awe. There’s a new scandalous revelation, comment, or theory every hour.

The Clinton email scandal was interesting and political. But it wasn’t sexy. Trump’s failed Trump University was controversial. But no one said pussy during the coverage of that particular issue.

None of us are watching the debates to hear about the candidate’s stances on the energy crisis. No one is glued to their couches to hear them discuss their views on global economics.

We want to watch them both look like idiots. We want to hear Donald shout out and interrupt Hilary. We want to watch Hilary roll her eyes at the camera. We want to watch rude, crude, offensive behavior. We want to watch a disaster in real-time.

So please, America: just stop. Stop feeding into the drama-on either side. No one is changing their minds now. No one is really undecided. We are all just feeding into the machines that re-affirm the support or hatred for one candidate or another.

You want to do something really shocking? Turn off your t.v.s when the angry rhetoric comes on. Try not to share the endless parade of idiotic news cycles. Stop cheering and clapping for the absolute degradation of a human being who for some reason really wants the thankless job of leading this nation.

And please- don’t pretend that you are watching the coverage or the debates to get more information on these two candidates to decide who to vote for. If you are really undecided, go read up on their political positions. Find out what their specific plans are on all of the important issues. Stop discussing groping and cheating and start discussing which of these candidates wants to help our soldiers or which one wants to help improve the state of education in this country.

One of these two contestants will get the final rose, and one of these two will get voted out by the tribal council.

If you really want to have your 15 minutes of t.v. fame- you have your chance.
On Election Day, get up and vote. Then go home and watch the returns. That’s reality t.v.

Because one of these people, regardless of how you feel, will be our next American Idol.




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The assignment for the teachers was simple: teach a unit to your students about bullying. We were given some standard slides to show our class (or power points. Whatever. I know, I’m stuck in the ‘80s.) And then we were told that we could add our own personal stories.

Lucky for me, I was a somewhat overweight child with a maiden name that could be pronounced “Ox.” I was a “smarty pants kid “that skipped Kindergarten and wore giant large-rimmed glasses that were later made famous by Mrs. Doubtfire.  I was going to totally nail this teaching assignment.

During a brainstorming session with the other teachers, one suggested we read a book called “Chrysanthemum” to our students. “Chrysanthemum” is the story of a young mouse (named Chrysanthemum) who gets teased about her name. Before reading the book, she suggested that we have the students each cut out a paper heart. While reading the story, each time Chrysanthemum is bullied, we would have the children crumple up the heart and then try to smooth it out again. By the end of the story, the heart is crumpled several times, and the paper is never as smooth as it once was. The lesson, she said, is that being mean to a person can have lasting effects, and that even with an apology, a heart may never recover.

“Um, I’m sorry,” I said. “I think that’s a lovely lesson and all, and perhaps I’m overthinking this a bit, but isn’t that sort of overdramatic? I mean, shouldn’t we really be teaching these kids about getting over bad shit that happens to them and not dragging around their childhood pain forever?”

Silence.  Crickets.  And then, “Alrighty.  Well,  is everyone else o.k. with this project?”

That’s me. The rebel teacher of the 4th grade.

Perhaps it’s because it’s that time of year where Jews have to feel bad about the pain they caused everyone during the past year. Perhaps it’s because we are in the middle of a political season where the candidates spend most of their time drudging up their opponents’ past mistakes. Or perhaps it’s because I have not personally had the greatest year of my own life.

Whatever it is, I’m feeling like it’s time to move on. The air is much more polluted with negativity and anger in this country than whatever it is that is eating away at our earth’s core. We wear our hatred for each other like it’s the latest fashion trend. We seem to be proud to show it off.

Our Temple has issued a challenge to it’s members this Rosh Hashanah season. Our rabbis gave each of us a rubber bracelet to wear this week. We have been told to start out in the morning by putting it on one wrist. Each time we complain about anything throughout the day, we have to switch it to the other wrist. The rabbis want us to be consciously aware of how many times we change that bracelet back and forth each day.  In this country, they said, we complain way too much.  In order to make things better here,  we need to try and stop it.

I know I’m part of the problem. I have changed my bracelet back and forth 25 times since 11:00 a.m. (Sample hour of my life: Why do people take so long in the g-damned bathroom at Starbucks? Are they taking a shower in there? How do I always manage to pick the longest check-out line at the grocery store? How is she so skinny? Doesn’t she eat? This traffic is so slow. I’m swear, I’m going to ram into the driver in front of me if she doesn’t just f*cking move.)

But rebel teacher or not, I feel that it’s better to teach these 9 year olds to deal with the bad stuff now so that they don’t carry around their anger forever. As my Rabbi told us this morning, the less we complain, the less toxic energy we are throwing into the universe. Focus on what you have, instead of obsessing about what you don’t. Focus on the good things in your life, however small, instead of incessantly talking about the bad.

So, I did my own little lesson on bullying instead of the Chrysanthemum lesson. Through role play, I gave the students scenarios in which someone was super disrespectful or obnoxious to someone else. The class had to decide how a situation could have been handled better. And at the end of each scenario, they had to look each other in the eye, apologize to each other, accept the apology, and move the hell on with their lives with the hope that the next person they interact with that day would be a little less of an asshole than the previous person. (or some nicer version of that.)

The lesson? Even with a crumpled heart, we have got to learn to stop complaining about the past. We have got to stop letting the hurt and anger consume us.

Move on. Get over it. Enjoy life. Move forward. Be happy. Stop complaining. To me, that is the lesson that we really want to teach our next generation.

And as for me?  I’m going to really, really try and keep my bracelet on one wrist as much as possible.


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