Posted by Mihal Levy
Mexico City has now legalized gay marriage. What is wrong with Los Angeles? And they had the Roman Catholic Church to deal with, we have Orange County.
According to the AFP, Javier Lozano Barragan, a Mexican cardinal, stated earlier this month that homosexuals and transexuals “will never make it to the kingdom of heaven.” But, at least they have Mexico City now, Los Angeles…that is another story.
Whether one is for gay marriages or opposed, freedom for all should be an important issue we take a look at, and should have nothing to do with the sexual preference of a person. It disturbs me how California is considered a liberal state with nothing that liberal about it.
We say we believe in equality for all, but is that what we are putting out there?
So, now not only can you cross the border for some inexpensive trinkets, leather goods and reasonably-priced seafood, you can tie the knot with the one you love, without judgement (until you return to Cali, of course)...just don’t drink the water.
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December 24, 2009 | 5:06 pm
Posted by Mihal Levy
It is the day of the eve of…you know.
I can’t believe it is already that time of year. Where did 2009 go? And where was I the whole time it was passing me by?
The busy shopping, Hallmark-driven town stops for one night a year. Three hundred and sixty four days of madness and one day of silence. Traffic stops after everyone has made their way to the malls for last minute gifts, Trader Joes for cheap floral arrangements and other grocery stores for last minute items for dinner. After everyone has made it to their respective homes or family members’ homes, all is calm, all is bright.
That is when I just want to head out and drive on a traffic-less road. I don’t know where I would go, but just the thought that I could get there in no time is appealing.
The next day we have plans, of course. A matinee of Alvin and The Chipmunks (at my son’s request) and dinner out at an open establishment. Kosher deli?
Although I am not a big fan of stillness and enjoy the hustle and bustle of a busy city (not a busy mall), it is nice to see the town slow down for twenty four hours. Whether you and your family are enjoying a matinee and Chinese food, or if you do celebrate X-mas, it is time out of the daily grind. An enforced time out…which is often needed.
When I was younger, it was just another day. As I got older, it was time away from it all. So, whatever your plans are and however you are spending your day, enjoy.
If you are celebrating, then have a merry celebration. If you are like me, then see you at the movies!
December 23, 2009 | 3:00 pm
Posted by Mihal Levy
When the hubby’s away, it’s the little things I miss most.
It is the things I don’t think about until he is gone. (And he was gone for three weeks, so I had plenty of time to think about it. He is often gone and on the road as a professional guitarist…but some things you just never get used to. (I guess that is a a good thing in this case.)
So, I have compiled a list of the things I have missed:
1) Showering with the door closed and not having to worry about where my three year old son is at all times, or if he has decided to open the front door…again.
2) Sleeping in. Although this does not happen often and is quite rare, in fact. Even the odds of it happening are appealing when Hubby is home.
3) Leaving the house sans son and small suitcase each day filled with essentials including a water bottle, a juice box, goldfish crackers, a children’s cliff bar and thirty or so of my son’s favorite Disney cars, which can really weigh a bag down.
4) Having someone else be the “bad” guy sometimes as well. “Mommy, you always say no.”
“Go ask Daddy, he will probably say the same thing.”
5) Quick excursions away to important places like the grocery store and Target are shorter and cheaper. “Ok, we will stop at the Toy department when we are done and you can pick something out.”
6) The reassurance that I am not losing it when I think I am.
“What do you expect, Honey. Of course you are going to burn the macaroni and cheese. You can’t make it while you are writing, building a lego pyramid, answering calls and folding laundry at the same time. You can’t do everything!”
7) Having my two favorite guys in my bed; a big one and a little one. (Because when Dad comes home, it is hard to for my son to go back to his own bed.)
8) Help with the heavy-lifting (see previous post: “Mr. Rogers Never Lived in My Neighborhood” about unhelpful neighbors). And someone to remind me that I do not need to lift all eight bags of groceries at once.
9) Daddy is there to put the racetrack he got for Hanukkah together, when Mommy can’t figure out what goes where.
10) To pick us up when we are stranded and stuck on the way to Disneyland, having to hitch a ride home with chatty Tony the tow-truck driver, ex-cop. (See previous post: “The Happiest Place On Earth Is Not.”)
It is also good to have Hubby home for obvious reasons, as well, but these are a few that stood out.
December 21, 2009 | 3:00 pm
Posted by Mihal Levy
A rabbi who is an expert on dating and sex? Is it just me or is that an oxymoron?
A particular rabbi, not to mention any names, has made a killing off of his ‘expertise’ about how to romance a woman, why men cheat and what it is like to be a superstar (of course piggy backing on anyone and everyone in the news and then selling their ‘secret tapes’). Besides his own description of himself, who made him the expert? I really want to know.
Was it that the Orthodox community shunned his ideas of sexuality and ‘dating’ that he had to move on to the secular community?
Merriam-Webster defines ‘expert’ as having, involving, displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience. And what experience does an Orthodox rabbi have dating anyway?
In the Orthodox world, dating involves a few dates of shomer-nagiya (non-touching) with good conversation and a connection, before an engagement is announced followed by a shotgun wedding. In those few dates, there is usually (unless Love-and-Dating-Expert Rabbi is an exception to this rule) questioning about the future, familial goals and getting to know each other, not in the way secular people do.
I am not saying that this way does not work for some poeple, but it does not make a rabbi the expert on secular dating. So, I decided to write a letter to this said Rabbi and you know who you are.
Dear Love-and-Dating-Expert Rabbi,
I have read your books, believe it or not. I also have heard of you in the news way more than I care to. I guess the saying “no publicity is bad publicity” thoroughly applies to you.
If a major star dies, you are there with secret tapes. If a sports figure cheats on his wife, you are there with your expert advice. Now, it is my turn to advise you. So, please sit back and listen, or read or have this read to you by your assistants/ghost writers (however you choose to do these things).
Please include a disclaimer in all your expertise from now on that states, “This is only my opinion, the opinion of a rabbi that adheres to strict kosher laws in the kitchen and the bedroom. My opinion limits me to my experience alone, who has not experienced the secular world through secular eyes.”
With this disclaimer, I may even purchase further books with your name on it.
I do not consider myself an expert in the dating field just because I have dated, therefore do not think that it is fair for you to assume the role due to your differing circumstances.
So, do us all a favor and stop playing expert in a field you know nothing of. I am sure your wife would say that you are a romantic guy if we ever asked, but the truth is…we are not asking, even though you care to keep sharing with us how things should be. The world is not black and white, but gray.
And you probably did not know this, but- you don’t have all the answers. Watching a baseball game doesn’t make one a baseball player, but a spectator
...so maybe you should rethink your title…I’m just saying.
December 18, 2009 | 3:00 pm
Posted by Mihal Levy
There are two kinds of people in the world: those that send you a birth announcement with a catalog and order form from their multi-tiered pyramid business, and those who do not. I would just like to meet more of the “do nots.”
I am beginning to think the world is not round, but in fact, muti-tiered instead. I don’t know how many friends I have left that are not trying to sell me Arbonne, Tupperware, kitchenware or some high-potency energy drink and vitamins. I am starting to wonder if they truly see me as a friend or a potential tier on their great big pyramid.
Almost every stay-at-home mom I come across sells some product earning her promotions and free items. For once, I would like to walk into a mommy group where moms do anything but belong to a pyramid scheme. I am afraid to even get close, not knowing if I am the next potential victim tier.
It is happening across the globe (the multi-tiered globe). Even my own family members are trying to sell to me. Just for the record, I am not biased, just victimized more times than I can count on both hands and feet. For once, I would like to know that I am befriended for reasons other than being a potential money-making friend. I am not perfect, but I make a better friend than a salesperson, trust me. And it is not saying that I am such a great friend, rather just a poor salesperson.
Even when I was single I was approached. Maybe there was a sign taped to my back that read instead of “kick me,” “mutli-tier me!” that I was unaware of. But, whoever put it there…haha, it is not funny.
I must have even had this sign on my back when I met a guy one lonely single night at a bar in Beverly Hills. (If I knew then what I know now, I would have realized that meeting a man at a bar was probably not a man that I would want to date, anyway.) But, of course, I gave him my number- he was handsome (in the dim lighting and after a few sips of my drink); what else do you need to know when you are single. We agreed to meet for drinks at a hotel in the east valley the next night. In the lobby, of course. (Why I agreed to meet at a hotel, I am not quite sure, but know it had something to do with being single, young and out of my mind.)
I showed up at the lobby and there he was along with the rest of the “Pre-Paid Legal” scheme convention. And yes, he was part of it. I thought we were meeting for a date, but apparently so did the two other girls that showed up right behind me for their date as well. Of course I left soon after, realizing that he had brought us there to join in the pyramid scheme. Pre-paid legal services? What will they think of next? Pre-paid music services? I would probably sign up for that one, though. Maybe I will even start my own pyramid scheme. You never know when you could use a live band. But, I am getting off topic here…
I have come to the realization that I have MTSD (Multi-tiered Stress Disorder).
When I received my friend’s birth announcement with her mulit-tiered catalog attached, I had no clue how to respond. “Hey, congrats on your baby and I will take two stock pots and a seller’s home starter kit.” Maybe it is just me and I haven’t joined the new movement of BAHM (Bored-at-Home Moms).
Now I would just like to meet more moms who don’t sell multi-tiered products. I have no problem with mothers that sell things, just not when it involves sabotaging friendships, or friendships under false pretenses.
Business and friendship truly do not mix. If I am ever looking for a place on a tier, I will let you know. But right now…I’m just looking for more mommy friends…tierless ones.
December 17, 2009 | 3:00 pm
Posted by Mihal Levy
For Hanukkah I decided to treat my son to a special time at Disneyland. And although we have annual passes, this time would be different. We would spend the night at a local hotel in Anaheim and head to Disneyland again the next day.
My son was elated. We got up early and packed our bags. I called one of the hotels closest to Disneyland to book a room before we headed out. As I was about to give the reservationist my credit card number, he interrupted, “You know, we have plenty of rooms available tonight. Why don’t you just come down and book it when you get here. That way in case your car breaks down, you won’t be charged for the night’s stay.”
I thought this was very kind of him, but being the perfectionist I am, I insisted on giving him my credit card number. He said he would hold a room without my card. What could happen? I was not going to change my mind about going to Disneyland. And my car did not have any problems. But, ok, I told him I would probably see him around noon.
My son was more excited about staying in a hotel than he was about Disneyland. I was excited too, I must admit. It was great to get away for a night and do something different, fun and with my son of course.
We headed down the five freeway and were making good time. No traffic. It was a beautiful day. All was well…until the brakes seemed a little high.
I didn’t think anything of it, at first. Shortly after passing the Commerce Casino, not a fabulous part of town, I felt the car begin to quiver. I still thought maybe it was nothing. Perhaps it was just my imagination? Had that reservationist put into my head that my car would breakdown and now I was reacting accordingly. Just as I started to calm down, the car started to lose power and came to a sudden hault as the check engine light came on.
Panic kicked in as I thought I wouldn’t be able to hit the brakes before we stopped into the backside of the semi in front of me.
I managed to stop and the car seemed to power up again, just long enough for me to head off the first exit and out into the beautiful industrial area of Commerce.
I decided to make a quick right, so I could pull over at any given moment. And there it was- a service station.
Being the daughter of a mechanic, I know a thing or two about cars. For one, mechanics love when women roll into their shops. (What was the second thing again? I forget.) It gives them an opportunity to make up for lost sales they could not make earlier in the day (My dad was the exception to the rule. He was probably the last honest mechanic I have ever known.) I wish that I could say my expertise in car repair (by being the daughter of a mechanic, of course) has saved me from being taken advantage of by many cheating mechanics, but I can’t.
So, enter Joe, the owner of the gas station dressed in oil and dirt stained jeans with a gray short sleeve polo shirt that was actually clean, with a tag that read “Joe/Owner.” He came over to the driver side of my car as I pulled up. He said there was a fifty five dollar charge just to check the car and that he would be able to get to it in fifteen or twenty minutes since he was “pretty busy.”
I am not sure what he was busy with exactly, because all three stalls were empty, the only cars in the area were mine and the one that two other mechanics were sitting in and drinking coffee and smoking (hopefully their own car and not a customer’s, unless the customer did not mind the coffee stains and smell of cigarette smoke).
I got out of the car and grabbed my son. We sat on the pavement outside the shop, since there were no chairs (well ones that we wanted to sit in). Joe tried to make small talk. I interrupted and asked if he could get to my car as soon as possible. He got the hint and headed over to the counter where he immediately began acting busy.
Finally Manny and Moe (I don’t know if those were their names, but I named them…they were always together), came out of the parked car and walked over to my car…together.
My son and I watched as they drove off in our car. Umm. I hope it was for a test drive, a short one. No one said anything, they just got in our car and took off? I could not help but think of the scene from Ferris Beuller’s Day Off, where the parking attendants take the car on a joy ride. My daydream was interrupted as they pulled back up around the corner. I realized that my car was just not cool enough for a joy ride and was not in working condition anyway, perhaps the reason they came back so quickly.
Fast forward to two hours later, Joe had diagnosed my car. All I heard was “Blah blah blah…can’t do it until tomorrow…blah blah blah…around $500 for parts and labor approximately.”
Approximately? Does that mean anywhere between $500-$1000 approximately? I did not know what was worse 1) That we would have to spend the night in Commerce? or 2) The approximately $500 part? (Even two days at Disneyland did not cost that much, souvenirs included.)
So, I did what any strong confident woman would do…and called my husband (who was in Michigan at the time on tour with American Idol). He ordered us a tow truck and we decided we would be towed back to our own mechanic, who hopefully had something different to say. That way we could sleep in the comfort of our own home, not some motel in Commerce or the Commerce Casino (hmmmm, might have not been that bad.)
Tony, the tow-truck driver saved us. He was an ex police officer. (He mentioned this a few times during our ride back, which made me feel confident that he had latched my son’s car seat correctly into the truck.)
Tony chatted the whole way. My son was in awe that he rode in a big truck and for the first time and could see out the front windshield without anything blocking his view. I was ruminating. (What else is new?) I could not stop thinking about the premonition from the reservationst this morning about “car trouble.” What are the chances of that actually happening? Was he psychic?
Tony dropped us off at home and continued with our car to the nearby station from our house. (Thank you, Tony, for brigging us home safely.) My son could not stop talking about how much fun he had and what a great day it was. I could not wait to get back home and swallow a bottle of advils, ok, a couple (of pills, not bottles).
I was happy that my son had a great time and even happier to be back home. It made me realize that home is actually the happiest place on earth after all.
December 16, 2009 | 3:00 pm
Posted by Mihal Levy
Helping is overrated, at least that is what Mr. Nice Neighbor thinks.
I am all for women’s liberation and believe that women can hold open their own doors and carry their own shopping bags, but just because we can, doesn’t mean help wouldn’t be nice. (And holding the door for anyone is just plain polite.) So, after my trip to Old Navy followed by grocery shopping to feed a small army (I still don’t quite get the concept of buying for my son and I only), I had enough for the day and headed home.
I parked in front of my place and decide to grab all the bags at once, as well as my son. Why? I haven’t figured out the logic quite yet, but I believe if I had more than one trip home, I would have to leave my son alone for a few minutes and don’t know what kind of mischief he could get into during those thirty seconds I was gone. So I hauled eight or so heavy bags including a winter wardrobe for my son, a gallon of milk, bottles of water and all the other essentials.
As I headed out of the car and took two steps, I had to place the bags down to take a break. I looked ahead of me and it seemed as though home was miles away, but it was just a few yards. Just as I picked up my groceries to begin the trek again, my son chimed in, “Uh Oh!”
“Uh Oh, what?” I asked, as I waddled and grimaced all of another three steps.
“I need peepee. Hold on peepee, hold on peepee…don’t come out.” He repeated. (I knew I should not have kept asking if he needed to go when we were out and just taken him to the restroom.)
As if on queue, my neighbor appeared. I dropped my bags in relief. Great, a little help, that would be nice. But instead of stopping to help, he waved and muttered, “Have a nice day,” as he strolled by.
I am flattered that he thought I had it all under control while panting a measly two steps from my car, but I assumed he would ask if I needed help anyway. As I have grown accustomed to say, “No thanks, I’m good,” I would’ve thrown the groceries at him and replied, “Uh…Yeah!”
This was not the first time Mr. Nice Neighbor ignored me or my situation. When my son was about a year younger, he fell and scraped his knee on the curb and again I had groceries strewn all over the sidewalk as I ran to pick up my son. Mr. Nice Neighbor literally stepped over my groceries and walked home. But, of course when Mr. Nice Neighbor’s son was playing out front and almost ran into the street to get his ball, I stopped him. Looking back, maybe I should’ve let him run into the street after all.
So, I did what any good mother would do and carefully picked an egg out of the carton to throw at Mr. Nice Neighbor’s door. Well, no, not really, but I really wanted to. I picked up the important things first; Old Navy shopping bags, my purse…and my son and rushed towards my front door, with the rest of my grocery items hanging out, and on the curb.
Luckily we made it in the nick of time. My son headed straight to the restroom. I ran out and grabbed the remaining bags, two in one hand and six in the other. I waddled quickly this time.
I don’t know what day Mr. Rogers was talking about when he sang, “it’s a beautiful day for a neighbor,” but today wasn’t that day. I am just glad we made it home in the nick of time with all grocery items in tact…and ourselves.
December 11, 2009 | 6:33 pm
Posted by Mihal Levy
Although Hanukkah is not the holiday of questions, I still have one. I know why this night is different than all other nights. But, if a little bit of oil went a long way, oh so long ago…why must I purchase vats of oil for a deep fried supper tonight? I’m just asking. Shouldn’t a little go a long way? After all, a miracle happened where a little oil lasted for longer than expected. Perhaps to keep with tradition, using less oil would be a more appropriate way to celebrate the holiday? Aren’t there plenty of things to enjoy that aren’t fried? Ok, maybe not many, but still.
Every Jewish holiday revolves around food, every holiday for that matter come to think of it: Memorial day-barbeques, 4th of July-barbeques, Presidents Day. (Ok, maybe not Presidents’ Day.) But, Hanukkah is exceptional as it revolves around a vat of oil. Everything during Hanukkah is deep fried. Myself included. By the time Hanukkah roles around I feel like I’ve been deep fried, dipped in batter and deep fried again.
When I was younger, I could not wait for Hanukkah (maybe it had something to do with the gift-giving), but today I wait hesitantly with a bottle of Pepto Bismol on hand. Why is it that when you are sixteen, you can down a whole pizza and liter of soda, fast forward to your thirties and just the thought of greasy foods sends one into an acid reflux frenzy?
Acid reflux or not, I join in the holiday fun. Because, in the words of Tevye (Fiddler on the Roof), “Tradition, Tradition! Tradition!”