Posted by Chava Tombosky
This year I spent my birthday in the airport. I had arrived at the gate one whole hour early. Lucky for me I married a man who has an internal clock that keeps me on time despite my reckless ability to manage my schedule. We decided to take a cab with a newfound friend and when we arrived at the airport, our friend invited us to spend the extra hour in the admiral club. The admiral club is a place that strategically places prettier chairs near tinted windows, which tricks you into believing you are not about to fly in the sky forty thousand feet above land. They also serve free coffee- and have showers incase you get sweaty during security check. I mean who doesn’t love free juice? So off to the admiral club we went.
We were having so much fun getting to know our new friend, that by the time we arrived at the gate, the plane had taken off. We are probably the only people in the history of the world who have managed to arrive an hour early to the airport only to miss our flight. When you miss your flight, you immediately assume that you missed the bad plane- you know the one that was sure to crash. Of course being that I am superstitious and concerned that G-d may not find me the most acceptable human being, I toyed with the idea that the plane we were now scheduled to get on four hours later would be the one scheduled to crash. Last year I spent my birthday witnessing death, so I just assumed this year I might spend it dying.
I have had a serious fear of flying ever since that one time when at the beginning of take-off as we reached 13,000 feet, the plane took a major nose dive and we fell several thousand feet, while my husband looked up at the ceiling and mockingly said “Watch out for oxygen masks!” The plane leveled off and eventually the pilot got on the speaker telling us he was sorry for the “dip” (more like a pummel) but that he was avoiding a collision with another plane that did not come up on the radar. Comforting, I know.
Meanwhile the rest of the passengers sat glaring at my husband for joking about non-existent oxygen masks. He of course claimed he just got excited about pulling on the strings on either side of those yellow cups.
Last year I was invited to a fundraiser that had featured a hypnotist. I had a few shots of tequila, the room was really dark, and before I knew what was happening my friend Nomi shoved me on the volunteer panel to be hypnotized. I had never been hypnotized before, and I was a little too tipsy to be concerned about it. Little did I know that I would be dancing a Lady Gaga number, speaking in some made up Martian language, and screaming to the hypnotist to give me back my red scarf that had been my grandma’s heirloom.
Once again, this was not funny. Well it was to everyone else, but not to me. (Okay it was a little funny to me- but honestly; I don’t remember any of it, so how funny could have been already?) At the end of the show, because of course I was the best thing that could have happened to this hypnotist, I was feeling really overwhelmed and pretty upset- mostly over the scarf. In an effort to revive me back into a good place, the hypnotist agreed to hypnotize me one more time, but this time I could choose to get over any fear that I wanted. I of course asked him to help me get over my fear of flying.
After worrying about getting on the next scheduled flight, I decided to reach into my psyche and practice my hypnotic trance. I closed my eyes and began to recollect my thoughts. I remembered the last essay I wrote about having some perspective and trying to see everything for the good, even if it meant needing a good kick in the pants at a fundraiser nightclub, a few of shots of tequila and months of hindsight. Who knows, maybe this was the best thing that could have happened, because we got four extra hours in the admiral club-, which of course meant more free juice. We even got a great friendship out of it, and spent the next four hours bonding with someone we never would have gotten to know if not for missing our flight.
I even found out that our new seats on the “non-doomed flight” were actually closer to the front, which is where I prefer to sit, because if I do go down, I’d like to be the first one with the passengers from first class to die. That way if they try pulling their “first class” status on me when we get to heaven I have leverage. Hey they paid more for their seats, yet still managed to die first- so who’s the winner now? (I also believe that being in the back is where all the bad people sit.) So when I got bumped up to the head of the plane on the second flight, I had a good feeling that this was going to be the best birthday flight EVER!
I have flown several times since my hypnotic episode, and can honestly say that I have flown like a total champ. There were no clammy hands, no sweating buckets, no running to the lavatory- I was cool as a cucumber and completely at ease. That was, until we boarded this particular flight.
Within minutes of getting settled into our seats, row 14, the Pilot came over to us and said, “In the event of an emergency I just want to confirm that you and your husband are willing to open the emergency door that you are seated next to and help everyone off the plane first. In other words you are willing to board the plane last.” (Ya I got that.)
Uh- hello, do I look capable of being calm in the event of an emergency? And speaking of emergency, now I am completely convinced that I have missed my plane for the very purpose of sitting on this plane, which is the doomed flight that God has clearly perfectly orchestrated for my husband, the Superhero to help everyone off the burning airline. NO hypnotist was gonna help me now.
Despite the flight being smooth, and the fact that I was sitting on the wing of the plane giving me the choicest air flight equilibrium, meaning the least amount of turbulence- I still couldn’t calm down at all. I became mildly panicky- okay I was sweating, and began to fantasize about that freakin shower in the admiral club. I couldn’t get comfortable. All I kept thinking about was how hard it might be to open that exit door. I couldn’t stop staring at the aluminum handle as the condensation from outside started dripping all over my lap. I could feel the cold wind coming in through the cracks and believed that going down was pretty much inevitable. My body shook in a cold sweat as the tiny air holes from that fan above my seat blazed passed my face and through my bones the same time cold clouds squeezed their way through the emergency exit door. I was probably hallucinating with fever. They didn’t even give me a blanket. I am going to save everyone when we go down- and I can’t even get a pillow- or working headphones? And where’s my kosher meal? I know airlines stopped serving them, but they can’t get one lousy bagel for the emergency crew?
I was sitting in important prime real estate, told I would have to be on call in the event of a crash, and feeling very vulnerable, when the pilot got on the PA threatening several more lavatory runs. No hypnotist could possibly prepare me for what I was about to hear. “Brace yourselves, there will be ALOT of turbulence, please stay in your seats. Do NOT get up!” The pilot did not make it sound calm and cool and collective and rational. He sounded panicked. Do you know what it’s like flying with a pilot who is more paranoid than Charlie Sheen? The seat belt sign kept beeping and beeping reminding me of that other “B” word we can’t say out loud on flights anymore. (Bomb) Oh stop- don’t say it! I settled into my seat like a wild animal settles into hunger and tried my best not to utter the “B” word just in retribution- but then I remembered my Lady Gaga abilities and Poker faced it.
Finally after bracing myself for the worst crash in the history of all plane rides, the turbulence ended up being no more rocky than the “It’s a Small World” boat ride. After twelve hours of traveling, we had finally landed safely. I went home and took two showers, and remembered that on this birthday I learned the greatest lesson of all- next time if I ever miss a plane because I want free juice, I’d better be prepared to pack myself a hypnotist, put on a Lady Gaga costume and learn how to work the emergency exit handle. More importantly, I have promised to spend this year not imagining myself as some tragic magnet that God strategically places in the event of emergencies- but rather the girl that gets bumped to another flight that gives her more legroom with a better view. Still, I wouldn’t mind a blanket in the event of an emerging unexpected circumstance.
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March 11, 2011 | 6:51 pm
Posted by Chava Tombosky
“I think it’s time. The end is here,” unexpectedly replied my aunt Sunday afternoon one year ago. That day I had gone to visit my uncle and aunt hoping to bring joy to their home. My uncle had been ill for nine months and fighting for his life. It never dawned on me in my wildest dreams, that I would be holding my cousin’s hand as she said her last goodbye to her father on that very same March day. My aunt held her strength as my beautiful cousins, three girls, valiantly and respectfully witnessed their father take his last breath.
March 7th, 2010 was the day that marked Uncle Doug’s passing. March 7th is a hard day for me to forget, for it is my birthday. What does it mean when you witness death on the day of your birth? At the time, I wondered how this event would become relevant to my existance. More importantly, I wondered why I had been chosen to experience this loss on the very same day that I was celebrating my birthday. Sometimes those answers only come to us after time has been on our side and we can reflect back to moments in our lives that has changed us deeply and yet inspired us at the same time.
I can still remember my sweet aunt’s force of calm that she imbued within all of us on that sacred day. There was no screaming, no pouring of melodramatic emotions, just a poignant stillness of acceptance that my cousins and my aunt embraced with grace, dignity and courageous strength. They cried with poise and honored his passing with humble reverance. It was only four months before my own father’s passing, and as I reflect back to that moment my uncle’s soul departed from this earth, I am prompted to recognize the rolemodels that I had the privilege of observing on that sunny March 7th day that modeled the same strength I would need to preserve.
After spending much time with this, I have come to see that day as one of the greatest gifts of personal transformation. That day I was forced to see life with delicate ever evolving awe. My aunt and cousins prepared me for my own loss that I would inevitably be facing only four short months later. Having my uncle’s yartzheit on my birthday will forever link me to them in a very intimate way as we will forever share the celebration of life and the paradoxic humbling observance of loss. In honor of my birthday, the day that recognizes my own unique contribution to the world, I’d like to share it by recognizing my uncle’s contribution that clearly was the beautiful legacy he left behind- four beautiful women who in their own unique way have paved the path in helping me embrace my own loss, which I am forever grateful for.
**This year’s essay is written in memory of my uncle Doug Marks, father, husband and artist and the many lost in today’s tragic Japan earthquake.
March 1, 2011 | 8:13 pm
Posted by Chava Tombosky
This year I am contemplating my Purim costume. Purim is the time to pretend you are someone else, and hope that no one recognizes you as you scarf down your fourteen hundredth serving of candy corn. This year I am slightly traumatized. Why you ask? Because every single year my family takes the Purim costume experience to an epic level. We have known to be pretty much the coolest family on Purim. Our costumes are always interesting, elaborate and really funny. I once came as Marilyn Monroe while my husband sported a Love Guru get up. See what I mean? Epic.
However, last year, Purim was on a Saturday night. Apparently, Jews don’t party on Saturday night. After eating and praying all day on the sabbath, suddenly Jews get lazy. Well of course we went all out. I wore some Pirate of the Penzance get up, my kids were AWESOME- I had my mini pirate played by Meir, Mordy went as Batman, and Yehudis went as the Jonny Depp character in Alice and Wonderland. And for the piece le resistance- Robbie was a full on GLADIATOR. He even bought a six pack.
We were epic.
Then came the reveal. We got out of our car, like a slow motion character scene from “Purim, the Movie” and entered the Synagogue. you know that bad dream we all have as teens where you walk into school and everyone is staring at you because you are the only one who has walked in naked? We walked in, and we could have been naked, because we were the only losers who dressed up. At first we walked through the room and strutted our stuff, you know, cause we were epic. But then we began to notice that no one hardly cared. They sort of stared at us like we had just landed the moon. Suddenly my thumbs up to everyone turned upside down, and I was staring at a hand gesture that now looked like an L, pointing out that I was one big fat LOSER.
I didn’t have fun, we didn’t get to party after. There was no music. I didn’t even bother placing our pictures on Facebook, for fear that I’d have to relive yet another night of total embarrassment- thinking we were probably the only loons who had decided to put on a wig and sport leather.
What were we thinking?
What were we thinking? I’ll tell you what we were thinking- we were thinking that Purim is a time for a little fun. People get with the program- plan your costumes this year and pass the freakin candy corn!
Here are a few ideas my friends have recommended we go as this year:
The judges from American Idol- because folks have said I resemble JLO and Robbie resembles Randy Jackson when he says the word “Dog”.
Lady Gaga and her band (in which case I will be handing out omelettes in everyone’s purim baskets.)
Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter from the King’s Speech. We do not stutter, but we can start to.
Maybe we’ll just do what normal people do and dress up like modern day Super hero rock stars- such as Charlie Sheen and his several Goddesses. I have already ordered the Adonis plasma to be Fedex’d by Esther’s party. If you want your Purim basket, please don’t hesitate to mention our epic Tiger blood.
February 20, 2011 | 12:24 pm
Posted by Chava Tombosky
This year I attended the 2011 International food and wine festival at the Baron Herzog winery. I had no idea what to expect. All I was told was to come with my appetite, that food would be a plenty and wine lessons would be given. (Not whine lessons, wine lessons.)There were stations all over the winery to sample the latest gourmet dishes and Kosher wines from every region of the world. Upon arriving I was given a small plate with one wine glass. I had a purse and came in with a coat. This was bad planning. For four hours I carried a plate with a wine glass, a purse, and a coat. (The whining had commenced.)
I was overwhelmed by the amount of food stations there were. I was astounded by the expensive ingredients served. I was sampling every red and white wine in the room. I ate eight hundred dollar truffles shaved on my fettucini that had a lemon zest and cilantro garnish. A spoonful of this deliciousness cost more than my child. Most importantly, I was carrying a very small, very teeny, very little plate. What does one do in this tenuous situation? Oh the stress, the pressure, the anxiety… How was I supposed to cope with a plate the size of a yarmulkah? How many samples are too many? Do I take three small servings of bite size goodness, and then get in line yet again for another helping? Do I just load the entire plate with every-single artichoke caviar potatoe latke, braised duck, and Indian chocolate truffle and call it a night? Is it dessert first, dinner second, dessert and dinner simultaneously? Where’s the handbook?
Do you know what it’s like to be a Jew while standing in a buffet line? I couldn’t decide if it was like being in a cafeteria in a Kibbutz or a rations line at a DP camp. The pushing, the shoving, the yentas complaining-
-”Oooh what’s that? Don’t eat that- I don’t like that…yich- Here try this…”
I felt like I was at a bar mitzvah with fourteen Bubbies and their sisters.
Questions raced through my mind. Where’s the Bar Mitzvah boy? Should I have brought a gift? Is it okay to take two tamales wrapped in lamb, since one small serving was smaller than the slice of carrot you put on gefilte fish? Us Jews are used to being served huge portions. I can still remember my first week of marriage, where I had one huge pot and made forty-seven servings of spaghetti.
There were two of us.
So much of this night was foreign to my inner compass. I had never been served such good food without a table, a waiter, or a menu before. I thought of different contraptions that would have made this evening a little easier. A wheelbarrow, a dolly, a doggy bag, a coatrack?
And then I finally made the decision. I didn’t care how trailer park I looked, I ate and sampled EVERY single station. At first I was a little timid. You know, I looked around, saw what other’s were doing, fancied their plates. Assessed the situation, and then I just went in for the kill. I didn’t care who was watching. (Of course the wine helped). I ate more fish, meat and chocolate than a gluttenous Queen on the night of her inauguration. I ate alright, and do you know what I also came to realize?
You can shove a lot more than you think on one teeny, tiny, little, iddy-biddy plate if you’re caring around a coat and a purse.
Here’s to seeing, swirling, sniffing, sipping, and savoring! (That’s wine language for us classy folk who aren’t afraid to load their food plates like professional hoarders.)
(No actual Bubbies were harmed during this buffet wine festival experiment. Reporters are still assessing the location of the Bar Mitzvah boy.)
February 13, 2011 | 10:30 pm
Posted by Chava Tombosky
Being that I lived in Pittsburgh for eight years, it became a rule, a religion, almost a commandment to root for the Steelers. I had no affinity for any team at the time, so it became easy to get invited in the wave of fans that so valiantly and loyally supported their home team. Pittsburgh is a small town. Everyone knows everyone else. I wasn’t going to live in a small city and be the outsider who wears anything but yellow and black, possibly causing myself harm as a result of being a renegade. We supported the Steelers so much, we even had former Steeler teammates over for Friday night dinners. Steve Avery became a regular Tombosky guest and a dear friend. We’d compare rings, and I noticed his was much larger and blingier than mine, which I was okay with, because he was a coveted Steeler player battle scarred with a knee injury to prove it. I got full on swooped up into the excitement of Steeler fanatacism. My husband and I relished in excitement over our home team getting to the Superbowl this year. I am a loyal fan, forever dedicated to the yellow and black. I am faithful, dedicated, unwerving….that is, until this past Sunday.
Last Sunday I decided to head over to my Bubby’s house to watch the Superbowl. We ordered the usual goodies, spicy hot chicken wings, cold cut sandwhiches on rye and an assortment of other high cholesterol bad for you snacks. My grandmother has been watching football for forty-five years. She can still remember sitting in the bleachers with her father, my great-grandfather when she was nine years old as she watched the Bears play the Green Bay Packers. When she learned the Packers were headed to the Superbowl, she called me with tears in her eyes reminiscing about the first time she ever watched them when she was nine-years-old with her dad. She told me about that cold day in Chicago and how Grandpa bought her peanuts as they shared wonderful bonding moments in the bleachers gazing at the field goal. I was lucky enough to know Bubby’s parents, my great-grandfather and my great-grandmother. They both died when I was in my twenties. Great-Grandpa was 99 and great-grandma was 103! Bubby was the only person over eighty who would walk out of the Synagogue during Yizkor because both of her parents were still alive. After hearing my grandmother speak about the Packers with so much love, guilt crept into my heart as I felt myself questioning my loyalty to my former home team for the first time.
Bubby sat with her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren as she explained every nuance of her favorite game, and relished in telling us every detail and backstory regarding the two teams who played a feirce and close battle. “I love the Packers because they are owned by the whole city, not by one rich mogul who calls the shots and exploits our American game.” She became feirce every time the Steelers would “steal” the ball or “fight dirty” as her Greenbay players got injured on the field.
My nine-year-old neice and my eight-year-old son sat at her feet jumping for joy every time the Packers scored a touchdown. Suddenly the room was polarized, with my entire family sitting on one side of the yardline and myself sitting solo rooting for the one team that was falling behind by 6 points. Questions started creeping into my heart….should I switch loyalties? Can a fan do that? Is that against the sportsmanship law? What would my mother-in-law think of me? She’s lived in Pittsburgh her whole life, I could possibly damage our relationship. She might not fix my favorite meat stew if she finds out I have left the yellow and black for the green and taxi cab gold. And what about Steve Avery? He damaged his knee for me. The only trace of injury I’ve incurred is after Superbowl heartburn from too many buffalo wings.
I had an entire family forever loyal to the Steelers. Cousins, brothers and sister-in-laws, a whole town counting on my commitment and here I was questioning my dedication and allegiance. I was polarized and feeling like a duplicitous fan. To the outside world, I wore black and yellow, but in my heart as I watched Bubby smile from ear to ear as the Packers held that football, tipping the scale to victory, it became evident, that a little piece of me was smiling inside my heart. I felt more guilt than the Verizon guy feels when he has to justify his success as a result of getting paid actual dollars to say “Can you hear me now?” And then it hit me. Technically, I was born in Wisconsin, which meant that technically, Greenbay was my real home team. Technically, rooting for the Steelers meant I was a traitor, like the backstabbing A.V guy who ruined Fergie’s moment at half time by messing with her mic. How could I live myself, how could I look at myself in the mirror if I didn’t try, didn’t work on, didn’t stand up and do the honorable thing and admit that I was born to be a Packer’s fan? Not only was I born to be a fan, it was my duty! It was my obligation! This obvious reckoning crept up on me in the final quarter, and I finally enjoyed the game and the Packer’s victory with great enthusiasm.
The only question that remains now is- how do I tell my mother-in-law?
**Fun Fact: (From Wikpedia) In August 2008, Espn.com ranked the Packers as having the second bestfans in the NFL. Subsequently, it was the Steelers who finished ahead of the Packers as number one, in having the best fans. As a result of this year’s game, Chava Tombosky may have managed to tip this scale back to the Packers as having the number one fan base, which she promises to spend the rest of her life apologizing for.
January 31, 2011 | 1:41 am
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
January 25, 2011 | 10:12 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 | 10:12 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.)