Posted by Chava Tombosky
When I was seven, I experienced my first Hockey King’s game. I have gone to several games over the years but have never actually witnessed the Kings win. Yet I still continue to go because- A) I like Hockey players when they use their little sticks to beat the other team up- B) I enjoy wearing a scarf C) I have a very fond King’s memory that will stay with me always, and that has given me a true love for the Kings, even if I’ve never got to witness them win.
Every year growing up there was one project in our home that required Lloyd the painter to use his talent. One year my mother painted her room a wine color. Another year, Lloyd came to put up my Laura Ashley wallpaper. And when the outside of our home was a crusty white with black trim that clashed with our burgundy carpet installed to match the burgundy bedroom, my mother decided to have the house painted a dusty rose, which under the sunlight turned out blushing pink on a good day and a mauve purple on a grey day. Although we lived in a tract housing development in the suburbs, which had strict rules about keeping the formation of the tract looking matchy-matchy, our home stuck out like a sore pink thumb. Think Lady Gaga at a pep rally. Lloyd may have been color blind, but there was one thing he came through with each year, and that was tickets to see the Kings for my dad who loved the sport.
We owned Purple hats and T-shirts and when I turned seven, my dad decided to take my brother and I to see the game. Finally my t-shirt would be color coordinated with my house. I remember Lloyd in particular, because he always wore a white jump suit, had white hair, and white paint all over his hands and the creases of his wrinkled face. But when we would meet Lloyd at the King’s game, his white hair was slicked back a shiny silver, his wrinkled face was clean, making it look like he ironed his skin with expensive facial scrub and he wore his black leather jacket that made him look like a cool sports fan instead of a painter. Aside for one or two fingernails etched in chalky pigment, his hands were spotless, which had me muse over what wonder soap he used and where I might find some on days we did finger painting. It was also odd seeing him without a ladder.
It was the first time I had ever been to a stadium to watch hockey. I was fascinated by the ice, and the sport and the idea that because I was going to watch the King’s play, that would be the closest I’d ever get to participating with royalty, which had me thinking myself as a princess by proxy. I remember being incredibly overwhelmed by the massive room and the many seats filled with so many fans. Mostly I was excited over the cola and hotdogs. (Back then we didn’t keep kosher- so trafe dogs were okay.)
After we stood in line to get our refreshments, my father turned to my brother, who was five at the time, and myself, who was seven and said- “wait here, I’ll be right back.”
You’ll be right back? He’ll be right back? Was he serious? Wait here- with all these strangers in this massive place? Lloyd left with dad too. Lloyd the painter was not very responsible either, it seemed. I kept thinking about my face plastered all over milk cartons, and wondered how my mother would take the news that her two only children were taken by some random drunk King’s fan. Scared would have been putting it mildly- I was completely panicked. And now that we were considered royalty, the odds of our kidnapping seemed to double. I remember grabbing the white tiled wall that lined the chaotic stadium lobby and clutching on to my brother for what seemed like many, many, many minutes. My eyes darted all over as thousands of shoes walking in a million different directions swarmed around us. We were like two innocent wide-eyed puppies in the eye of a tornado’s crowd storm.
Finally my father came back to our “spot” and said, “We’re all ready to roll. Let’s get our seats.” I spent the next half hour lecturing my father on the dos and don’ts of taking small children on field trips to large places that had many adults who mother warned us were all seething with kidnapping ideas. Now I could put stadiums and Halloween on my list of things to be fearful of. We were already just getting over newsbreaks of kids finding razor blades in their Peanut Butter Cups- it seemed like one more fear my seven year old body now needed to adjust to. He just laughed it off, promised me to not tell mom, and continued sipping his coke.
Where did he go? What was so important that he felt the need to leave us all alone for what seemed like hours? Kid time is like dog years, four minutes can feel like four hours. I begged him to tell me where he went. He didn’t even come back with a snickers bar! He just kept smiling. Lloyd smiled too, and I wondered if they had secretly left us in the stadium alone to bet on which one of us would be taken first.
Finally the Kings came out in their purple suits and skated their way to the middle of the ice. Just as the game was about to start, the scoreboard lit up with this awesome announcement “Kings would like to welcome Ava and Jacob Shallman to the Stadium!” There we were on the video feed- my father was brimming with pride and Lloyd was so excited that they had pulled off the surprise of getting us mentioned in front of 18,000 people.
Of course the King’s lost that night- but I didn’t care, I was in love with this team because of the memory it gave me of my irresponsible father risking his own kids to surprise them with the greatest moment of their lives.
This past week, I was invited to attend the King’s game to see my two brothers perform in honor of Jew pride day at the Staple center. Jew pride day at a stadium is about as exciting as it gets. It’s even better than Menorah lighting at the mall. They arrange to sell kosher food, and invite a Cantor to sing the national Anthem. And on Jewish pride night, while sitting in that echo making stadium while viewing the large space filled with thousands of people, our little corner of Yarmulke wearing fans seemed smaller as ever as the minority factor sunk in to a staggering degree. Yet, even so, I felt lucky to have “been chosen” that night as the acknowledged King’s minority. And this time, instead of being scared of getting kidnapped- I watched my two brothers on stage as their band Purdue Avenue performed in the middle of the Staple Center welcoming my favorite team. The scoreboard highlighted them and video fed their incredible performance throughout the entire room. It was without a doubt the most exciting event- and I felt privileged to watch my brother’s bring down the house with their awesome concert.
I struggled with whether to go to this event, as I am not supposed to listen to live music as a result of this year being my year of mourning. But I thought about my dad, and how much he loved the Kings, and how proud he would have been to see his two boys play their music at the Staple center. Technically I shouldn’t have gone, but let’s face it, this sort of thing doesn’t happen every day, and I’m pretty sure my dad would have been annoyed had I not gone to support my brothers’ big night.
I of course brought my own hot dog from Jeff’s, which I smuggled in while every other rookie Jew stood by to purchase tuna fish sandwiches for seventeen bucks at the “Kosher Offering Stand.” I also got there really early, and waited ninety minutes for the King’s to score their first goal. After seeing my brother’s perform and watching the game for an added two hours I got sleepy from inhaling so many salty peanuts and one to many beers, so I cut out of the game twenty minutes early, figuring I wouldn’t miss much, since let’s face it, I love the King’s, but they never win. AND then it happened- and I missed it, that’s right, history was made that night- the King’s scored and they were victorious. The King’s won on Jew pride night no less! So of course now I’m left thinking, that I might be the one fan who jinxes these mighty skaters with the pucks and sticks and oversized jerseys, which is why next game I will be coming to see the one team I should have had more faith in dressed in loyal fan royalty as Princess Di on a purple float surrounded by amethyst jeweled crowns and bedazzled ice skates as I eat my twenty dollar turkey sandwich from the Kosher Offering Stand, which I will NOT complain about.
To hear my brother’s music check out this link: http://www.myspace.com/purdueavenue http://www.myspace.com/purdueavenue
11.18.13 at 9:03 am | To be afraid, means that you are unwilling to see. . .
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9.1.13 at 9:31 am | To be afraid, means that you are unwilling to see. . .
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January 25, 2011 | 9:12 pm
Posted by Chava Tombosky
Recently I have wondered about the reality of dreams as I have had three recent episodes where I have woken up a few short minutes before dawn in a literal jolt- we’re talking heart pulsing, hair raising, body sweating with anxiety sort of experience. The actual dream is hazy yet the participants are vivid and real. I dream of my father, and he looks sad because he is distant from me. He smiles a somber smile, the kind he used to give me when he felt disappointed or remorseful over events he had no power to change. He wipes my brow and hugs me and just as he is about to let go of my consciousness, I am jolted awake. I can literally feel his presence to the point that my nose plays tricks on me as I try to convince myself out of having the ability to smell his scent until the light shines outside and it seems to dissipate leaving me in emotional tears. I know this experience is real, because my husband validated it when he caught me in the wake of one.
I feel as though I am part of an audience watching a movie, and pleasantly surprised by the events on the screen. Events, that I was clearly responsible for creating. After all, I was the writer and the director of my own dream, yet I felt as distant from it as if I were completely removed from the experience and rather than forming my dream, the dream formed despite of me- almost like a separate entity.
I was the writer and the director of my own dream, yet I got so consumed in the events I was dreaming of, that I still experienced surprise, fear, and curiosity as the dream unfolded. Maybe this was validation that this particular dream was really real! Could there be a possibility that we are humans who have another mindful side to ourselves we are completely unaware of that is at play to tap into another vortex? Are we so clouded by our own ego, that we don’t even realize the restless truth awaits to be unleashed inside our fragile minds that can create different ideas we never thought possible during our “awake” hours? Maybe it is possible that there are unconscious events occurring while we sleep that are happening in other worlds at the same time colliding into our own? I know this all sounds very Harry Potter like, but I couldn’t help but wonder if the dreams I dreamt were manifestations of greater events and not just my own sub-consciousness translating my inner stress.
I mentioned this dream to my brother- to which he responded- “Oh My G-d, I too had the same dream- and on the same night!” Finally the reality that this occurred in more than one of us, well I felt so legitimized, so- so validated. Of course he was mocking me and followed it with “um, you’re nuts”.
But I was convinced that this occurrence was something deeper, something more at real was at play. Also, I’d really like to prove to my brother that I’m not crazy. I gave it a lot of thought, and decided that although I am not a scientist or a philosopher, I thought I’d take a crack at explaining my phenomenon just so I don’t have to yet again hear from my brother how necessary it is that I show up to some therapist’s office claiming I’m a crackpot who needs medication.
There was a recent scientific experiment done by a Nobel laureate involving teleporting DNA. “A French team headed by Luc Montagnier, previously known for his work on HIV and AIDS, took two test tubes, one of which contained bacterial DNA, the other pure water. After the test tubes were surrounded by an electrical current, analysis showed that an imprint of the DNA was detectable in the water. The outrageousness of this claim echoes a finding from over a decade ago that water has memory.” (Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/intentchopra/2011/01/spirituality-is-the-new-scienc.html#ixzz1C4225DKb )
So now according to science, there is a real creative consciousness in the world able to duplicate itself. There is a power beyond our own understanding at work. The idea that our dreams could have its own DNA as well can’t be too far off. Isn’t creation limitless in our own minds? After all, if we can think it, we can create it- that is if it fits into the confines of physics. But according to this particular experiment, even physics was superseded when it came to creation. Consciousness completely overrides time and space according to this experiment. It’s a pretty big leap, but if water has memory for creation, surely our own brain’s memories, which is made up of creative DNA and water can have their own conscious memories and duplicate other’s memories as well in other realms, like in our dreams perhaps?
Which takes us to my next theory- (skeptics brace yourselves) could it be possible that my dreams are a manifestation of something more real- something between the here and now and the eternal and forgotten? Maybe somewhere between all of it, there is a real space, a real place for which our conversations with the other side, our past everlasting connections and memories live and continue to forge and grow.
Maybe it is possible that my dream experience is not just my own subconscious at work, but rather my father trying to connect with my inner psyche from his place in this universe that we cannot see, a creative consciousness which might exist based on Luc Montagnier’s findings. Maybe the electrical current in our brains that is transmitted during our sleep awakens our memories to duplicate themselves into manifestations of real connections with other worlds. Maybe there is a real consciousness in the world, which has the ability of being duplicated during sleep to tell me that he is hurting just as much as I am and that he too misses my physical presence as I miss his. Or maybe it is my subconscious at work merely trying to make sense of my recent loss. Then again, maybe I am just living in my own imagination and tomorrow night I will wake up jolted by seeing Voldemort or Lex Luthor because I have been forced to watch too many fantasy movies geared for eight-year-old boys.
I don’t know what this dream meant, or how or why it occurs, but I am comforted in knowing, deep in my sleep, we can meet, and it is there my father and I will reside together forever- or until they can duplicate our dreams and memories in a pool of water and Disney manages to come up with the coolest ride attraction ever…- Until then, hey, we can always dream, right?
January 9, 2011 | 9:12 pm
Posted by Chava Tombosky
This weekend marks my one-year anniversary for “My Big Fat Jewish Life” blog. Oh well there are so many people to thank. Who shall I start with first?
I’d like to thank the Journal for allowing me to write down every event in my life as thousands of people take witness to my ever-growing neurosis and constant anguish.
I’d like to thank Jay Firestone, the web designer, who created this beautiful column- Jay you are a talented fellow Pittsburgher, and I thank you!
Rob Eshman, thank you for believing in me enough to allow my posts to be included in your paper.
Last year when I attended the Jewish Federation’s cocktail party at the Luxe introducing their new Executive Director, Jay Sanderson, it was never my plan to walk away with a blog. Rob Eshman was the M.C at the event and I marched right up to him and said, “I’d like to write for the Journal.”
I had just finished writing one of my scripts (that I had just so happened to have pitched to Jay only five months prior while he ran JTN (Jewish Television Network) -
and felt I wanted to share some of my billions of thoughts that pass through the gates of my brain, to which Rob responded- “How ‘bout a blog?”
“Perfect!” I responded. Little did he know, I had no idea what in G-d’s name a blog was. I only knew one thing, I didn’t care if a blog meant I would have to stand on top of a wooden log while I wrote essays starting with “B” words, I would still do it.
Of course it wouldn’t be a real blog if not for my family members who live in constant fear that their names may appear one day from my holy pen. Especially my husband, who is constantly saying “Chava, don’t write this one down.” Or “Can we just keep this event between us?” That and- “Chava- please don’t tell people we’re on vacation.”
I’d like to thank the many people I may have offended for not telling me I have offended them- causing me any unnecessary obsessing.
I’d like to thank the food channel for providing the many recipes I may have used and written about on my “Friday Food Day” columns early on.
I’d like to thank Facebook for being one of my many portals to getting my blog into the hands of my incredible readers.
I’d like to thank Apple, Google, and Kinko’s, who has put up with my constant ramble and have continued to support me with photo copies, my Macbook, and getting my articles read across the globe.
Many people ask me, what is it like to have a blog? How often do I write in this blog? What is the point of having a blog?
Having a blog is like having a newborn child. It is an ever-pressing obligation. No matter how often I feed it, it is still there waiting for another feeding several hours and days later. It needs a lot of attention, and occasionally loves me back with words of affirmation, or criticism that can leave me up all night thinking about how to respond. Sometimes I have to change it, it can get messy if I find a mistake. And relatives are afraid it might spit up something on them they will have to explain to friends and co-workers later.
More importantly it is my portal to immortality, and I am forever grateful to every reader who has wasted a few minutes out of his/her day to entertain themselves with my obsessions, fixations, and observations.
I am very excited to announce I will be launching a brand new website that will be featuring all of my crazy ideas including my films, some more essays, and my up and coming events.
I’d like to thank the very talented Roy Sivan, owner of LA Website Designs, for his incredible genius in making my website, and am very grateful for his work. It’s still a work in progress, but figured I’d mention it so I can promote myself, because that’s what bloggers do.
This blog has been a great way to get to get to know my readers and myself. It has also sparked other creativity that I am hoping to share on my website. Stay tuned for more news on my upcoming memoir entitled “Life Outside The Teacup” and my new “Hit” Single entitled “Eternally Hopeful” that I wrote and collaborated with Bentzi Marcus from Eighth Day band and the very talented Hannah Defore- an incredible up and coming musician who is much younger than me, yet has already written a ten year plan- I of course have no idea what I’m doing ten minutes from now let alone in a decade. (I say “Hit Single” as if I’m Whitney Houston getting ready to launch some song that fifty billion people will buy. This is my way of looking like I have a track record at being good at something other than writing about the lottery and my obsession with coffee. It might be a full on album, but I am hoping to keep expectations low, so when I do come out with the full album, everyone will really want to hear it and assume my ten year plan is also under way.)
Thank you all again, for your continued support and for allowing me to thank all of you without having to wear a sparkly dress or walk down some red carpet. (I am actually dressed up in a fancy gown while I write this essay- just for my own self-esteem and effect.)
Most importantly, thank you to G-d for allowing me to be His gateway in sharing the many thoughts, ideas, and experiences that has been afforded to me- even if some of them could have been orchestrated with a little less drama, and a little more forgiveness. Hopefully I will be pardoned and exonerated, and G-d and I will finally see eye to eye towards one another- instead of our usual banter where he works on messing with me, while I spend all day trying to justify Him like a Lindsay Lohan publicist on this blog. It’s a dance, and writing it all down is all part of it. I wouldn’t mind writing about some awesome experiences this upcoming year instead of some tragic ones. G-d willing, poo poo poo- (This is me kissing up to the evil eye.)
Thanks for letting me share my 98th entry! Two more and I can finally get to the one hundred mark.
Lastly, thank you to Lindsay Lohan for allowing me to use your name as a constant metaphor this year.
(This is the part where the music comes up and cuts my speech off. There are actually several more paragraphs to this essay but you can’t see it, because we’ve gone to commercial.)
January 5, 2011 | 12:05 pm
Posted by Chava Tombosky
“Mommy, my friend Zari got some ticket that has promised to win him a billion dollars.”
“You mean a lottery ticket?”
“Yes- it’s going to win him a billion dollars!”
“You said that already. But it’s not going to win him that much. It probably won’t win him anything.”
“But mommy- please please please can we call Zari as soon as we get home to find out if he is now a billionaire?”
Upon arriving home from school my 8 year old son, obsessed with hearing if Zari had the winning numbers for the mega million drawing, spent a half an hour trying to get through to the Goodman’s house until Zari finally picked up the phone. Meir was so sure his friend was going to be a billionaire and obsessed over this prospect for so long.(In eight year old time- long is twenty minutes, this thirty minute window had meant his waiting had already gone into century time.) When he finally reached his friend with gushing excitement I thought his imaginary bubble of outrageous expectation might pop. Of course Zari was not a billionaire, he did not have a winning ticket, and my poor eight year old was left with nothing but the thought that his friend of five years might have sold him a bill of goods.
Trying to salvage what was left of my poor child’s disappointment I suggested we take a little trip to 7-11. You know the place that sells Laffy Taffy’s, Slurpees, and SCRATCHERS? I was having a nostalgic moment of remembering the first time I had learned as a child of the possibility of money coming easy to me if I just chose a few random numbers or scratched the right ticket. The possibilities of success just seemed endless! The key word to that sentence is endless- as in it never actually happens. (Except to mean people, which was already discovered in my other article “Winning the Lottery is a big failure”.)
But seeing my child’s fallen face, I couldn’t help but get swept away in his innocent belief that had overtaken me once so long ago. The next thing I know I am reminiscing over the scratchers my father bought me, I’m getting farklempt, I see my kid’s tears and there we are buying ten bucks worth of cardboard paper, just one scratch away from our possible destiny. Of course, I also bought one mega million ticket. And I wasn’t a total failure as a parent, I made my kid use his own Chanukah money to buy his scratchers. This is the same child who has saved seven years worth of Draidle gelt and has not spent a penny on anything except his obligated ten percent to charity. He is working on saving every last dollar during his childhood so when he’s older he never has to actually work, and he can invest it in his billionaire plan.
“Meir, what are you going to do with all your money once you’re a grown up?”
“Ma- I told you, I’m gonna buy a house.”
I figured if he was going to lose ten bucks, it would hurt so badly, that this little adventure could not and would not possibly turn into a gambling obsession. He would still understand the meaning of working for money and spending it wisely. I was so safe on this one.We walk into 7-11, I turn to the Arab and say- “Three scratchers, one mega million.” It was like a slow motion moment. From the second my kid handed him the money to the instant those scratchers were put into my hand- my kid turned into a junkie. He was popping out of his skin. He was practically climbing the Laffy Taffy aisle like some crack addict hopped up on heroine.
“Give it to me, give it to me, give it to me…”
I told him we’d go home, sit down and have dinner and then enjoy our scratching together like a family. He was convulsed with irritating nagging for the next fifteen minutes until we arrived at home.
“Give it to me, give it to me, give it to me….”
I began to grow concerned. These lotto tickets had better NOT win, or I will have just committed my eight year old to gambling anonymous. They take away your mommy title for that sort of thing. I was sure child protective services was on to me, and we hadn’t even taken out our jagged edged quarter yet. Finally we sit down and he gets to the scratching. I of course am still in reminiscent mode and remembering my first scratching experience with my dad. Tears come into my eyes, I am having such a sweet moment with my own son until- he throws it on the floor.
“Give me another one.”
Scratching resumes, again music plays in my head, and I am right there with my dad, I’m eight slurping a cherry coke and eating my snickers, and-
“Give me another one, this one didn’t work, where’s another one?!!.”
Finally the last ticket. He scratches all the numbers off and I am thinking, we are home free- cause this new bonding time is just not measuring up to my childhood memory. Meir seems obsessed to a degree that looks volatile. I am beginning to question my ability as a parent, and my father’s ability as a parent. I’m picturing headlines “Mother gets arrested for exposing her kid to absurd expectations- eight year old boy caught running a casino.”
This kid is so gonna lose, I’m so happy I don’t have to do this again with him, this ungrateful psycho little-
“Mommy, I think I won, I won! What does this mean? These numbers are matching- right?”
“You won. Oh you won alright. It means you won ANOTHER TICKET.”
And so the obsession for the next forty eight hours resumed as to when we were going to hit 7-11 (like we’re some sort of mafioso) for our “free” ticket. My husband walks into the door. He’s really happy to be home until he gets wind of my child’s panhandling for a ride to 7-11. The begging, the imploring, the suffocating soliciting, this kid is worse than Jimmy Baker and his wife Tammy Faye put together. Oh the graveling.
Meanwhile, I am left feeling secretly disappointed that none of these scratchers won us squat except for another trip to 7-11. I mean, I’m still having my own nostalgic childhood moment in my head, and wouldn’t mind a few hundred dollars for a spa day, or a new sofa, or an ice cream maker. Yes I am concerned I’ve turned my child to the dark side, but I can’t help but wonder if my own mega million might just, just might be a winning ticket.
Finally the next day, I take him back to 7-11 for his free ticket. We resume the same experience and his shaking and eyes dilating create growing concern- especially to my husband. We scratch the ticket, I am so hopeful this time it is a dud. And of course, my son’s eyes widen as the last number is scratched out only to realize he has NOT won anything.
“I can’t believe I lost. Can we go back to-”
“Meir I think you’ve learned your lesson. Gambling doesn’t win.”
“Wait, there’s still hope. There’s still one more ticket-Mommy, you have a mega million ticket-”
All eyes turn to me. For the next few hours Meir implored us to go online and check to see if our ticket was indeed the winning one. The begging and pleading escalated to a high degree, to which I finally hear my dear husband say-
“Meir, this has got to stop you surely won’t win, cause tickets are not the way to earn money. It is called gambling, and you will never ever ever make money that way. “
“Dad- you are wrong- that’s exactly how I have always made money- isn’t that draidle game gambling?”
To that my husband turned to me with that mega million in his hand. (How he got it in his possession still evades me to this day- remind me to hide my goodies next time.) I recognized that look, it was the “I gotta teach my kid a lesson for all time look-” And then he held that ticket, that mega million ticket, that ticket that I could have won, that I could have bought a new sofa AND an ice cream maker with, and he tore it up into a million little pieces. (million is good for something, turns out.) My kid’s eyes swelled a few tons larger, he looked at me, and tried to find any hint of disappointment in my own gaze. I hid it as best as I could- I’m good like that, and Meir let out a disheartening sigh. The next day after the lotto fiasco was over. Robbie and I were feeling like really good parents. While we were expecting a call from child protective services to give us the “parents of all time” award, Meir came home from school with this announcement:
“I have been selected as the kid of the week with the best behavior and for my reward, the Rabbi gave me a Mega million Lottery ticket.”