J’s Poems


ellipsis (Photo credit: zachstern)

(poetry by no. 2 son – elementary age)

I am……..

I am…….

Fuzzy and curly like a lamb……

I am tender and delicate

Like lamb’s lettuce…..

Green, and just picked…..

Growing in the fields……

Like Aslan’s mane,

I am

Thick, luxurious and unforgettable as I run through the mountains……

I am as annoying as a ticking clock, unending, tic, tic, toc, toc…….

Like a radio shock jock, that’s how annoying I am!!!!!!!!!

I can push the envelope over the edge, and you with it!!!!!!!!!

I am as smart as a seasoned professional Indie film critic –

Working at Cannes!!!! I am so smart I understand why my brother disagrees. I am as funny as a comedian spouting jokes at the Improv.

But sometimes, I can be as quiet as the moon as it orbits…

I am as wiggly as a hyperactive caterpillar …

In a boring history class. I am so curly, so fuzzy, so tender, so delicate, so thick, so annoying, so pushy, so edgy, so smart, so funny, so quiet, so wiggly…







By J

5B 12/6/06



I am …………………………………………………………………………………… 1

Sounds Poem………………………………………………………………………2

Blue Gurgles……………………………………………………………………….3

Fish in a Bowl………………………………………………………………………4


Morning ……………………………………………………………………………..6

Love Knows…………………………………………………………………………..7

Love is a Box of Courage…………………………………………………..8


Blue Gurgles

Blue gurgles

In its soup.

Red roars

With laughter and can’t stop.


Orange quacks like a duck





Fish in a bowl

The sea

Like a rainbow

Quiet water

Gold, Yellow







Black & White

Barks at Night

Like to eat

Licks my feet


Love is a Box of Courage


Love is a box of courage,

Joy is a dance of hope.

Secrets remember friendship.

Envy is the song of laughter.



Morning is the color of orange,

Afternoon reminds me of the sun.

Evening lives in hiding,

Night wears a thick cloak,

Dusk friends are always there.

Dawn remembers its melody.


Rain Dreams About Clouds

Dogs dream about the moon,

Cats remember the sky.

Leopards move like the wind,

Eagles are the promise of tomorrow.

Swans slide like the mountains,

Snakes are a sign of earth.


Love Knows

Sadness is the color of water,

Happiness wishes for tomorrow.

Anger knows about deception,

Surprise moves like a quiet cat.

Joy wears a tee-shirt.

Disgust shows us about our fears,

Fear has a pocket of bullets.

Sammy’s Candy Bar

English: A Snickers candy bar, broken in half.

English: A Snickers candy bar, broken in half. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


SAMMY’S CANDY BAR – another story by no. 2 son.


Mrs. Harris gave me and my friend, Max, this big box of candy. I was helping her with the dishes and laundry, while Max cleaned the table for dinner and vacuumed the floor. That candy looked mighty delicious. I looked through the big box of all sorts of candy and couldn’t decide what to eat first. I picked a giant chocolate candy bar and quickly unwrapped it. I was about to take a bit bite of the candy bar, but my dumb dog, Sammy, snatched it from my hands.


Sammy ran away with the candy bar and I tried to catch him. I chased him all over the yard and through the neighbors’ yards too. I tried to catch him but didn’t succeed. Sammy can run faster than I can. I saw Sammy swallow the bar. He looked kind of sick. I know chocolate can make a dog very sick. It can even kill them. Then all the sudden, Sammy fell over and he passed out. I had to perform CPR on him. I learned about CPR in a class not too long ago, but I never learned to do it on a dog. I hoped I was doing it right. I pumped on where I thought his heart was. I put his head back, cleared his mouth, moved his big tongue out of the way. Then, yuck, I had to do mouth to mouth resuscitation. Boy, Sammy really had bad breath. It worked! Sammy licked my face. I was so happy, I hugged and hugged him, even if he is a stupid dog, we love him. Sammy got up, he was obviously feeling better, and the big chocolate bar didn’t seem to do any permanent damage to him. Well, he did leave a big

Boy, Sammy really had bad breath. It worked! Sammy licked my face. I was so happy, I hugged and hugged him, even if he is a stupid dog, we love him. Sammy got up, he was obviously feeling better, and the big chocolate bar didn’t seem to do any permanent damage to him. Well, he did leave a big present in the neighbor’s yard, but we don’t like that neighbor anyway. They always have loud parties on the weekends and leave their beer cans in the street.


Sammy started to run. But this time I was holding onto his leash tightly. I tried to slow him down, but I couldn’t. But I wasn’t going to let go. Sammy is so dumb he could run in the street right in front of a car. Suddenly, and I really don’t know how this happened exactly, but I was holding the leash and I could feel myself going up with Sam. Up, up, up, we go. I could see my house, and then I couldn’t see it anymore. At first, it was sort of fun, and I wasn’t scared. Then I saw an airplane. I could read the writing on the plane, it said “Jet Blue Airlines.” I looked closer and I could see some faces in the windows of the plane. I saw Marlon BrandoHumphrey Bogart and some others that I couldn’t quite recognize but I am sure I have seen them on Turner Classic Movies.


I waved, and they waved back. Sammy barked. He must have been saying hi. I started to feel cold since we were so far up. I told Sammy I wanted to go home. It was getting close to dinnertime and I was hungry. I didn’t get to eat any of that candy Mrs. Harris gave to Max and me. Sammy seemed to understand me, and down we go. We land in my backyard. Everyone is in the house getting ready for dinner, so no one sees us. Sammy tried to get in the door as I walked in. We don’t let him in the house when we eat as he has a tendency to try to help himself from the table. Sammy got a pat on the head, and I went to wash my hands for dinner. And no one discovered our adventure. I wonder if I should go tell Max.


The Birds, the Bees and Viagra


Viagra (Photo credit: Janex & Alba)

(my futile attempts at sex education)

Like many parents of pre-adolescents, I faced this new stage with trepidation. Could googling parenting sites along with intensive Starbucks group therapy equip me to confidently provide sensitive, informative answers for those discomforting questions about you know what – the birds, the bees and things that go bump in the night? Do all these tiresome efforts at enlightenment guarantee (your tween returned minus shipping and handling) the hapless parent will receive an anointing from on high to discuss awkward, embarrassing material without letting on, before God and the astute eleven and twelve something crowd that you truly are awkward and embarrassed?

So, there I stood, armed with petals of parenting wisdom committed to memory. I eagerly devoured sacred words gleaned from the holy books of the numerous mommy war gurus available on Amazon.com. In full-fledged denial, I underestimated the difficulty of this aspect of child rearing. Of course, I would not stammer and sputter like my parents did. I imagined the comfortable adult to thinks he’s adult talk we would have.

I broached the subject with my husband. “I think it is about time you and Matthew had a man to man talk about things he needs to know,” I suggested.

“Why?” he countered, never looking up from his laptop.  There’s nothing I can tell him. Matthew already knows everything.”

“He just thinks he does,” I argued. There was no response. Perhaps it would be better to talk about this some other time.

Matthew, my almost twelve-year-old rummaged through the refrigerator frowning. “Mom, what’s Viagra?” Excuse me self-help deities, but that one isn’t in the books. What answer doth drip from your honorary Ph.D. sanctified lips on that one? So, abandoned to my own devices, I did what any sensitive, caring, intelligent, honest, open-minded, modern parent would do.

“Go ask your Dad,” I replied. I opened the dishwasher and began to stack the dinner plates on the lower shelf. Matthew trudged down the hallway to his dad’s office/den/pigpen.

“Mom,” I heard loudly, less than thirty seconds later. “Daddy told me to ask you. He can’t talk to me right now. He says he is really busy. He says he has important work he has to finish up right now,” my son informed. “Then Daddy shut the door and locked it.”

I carefully lifted the delicate-stemmed wine glasses, the five I still had left of the set of six, and set them down on a dish towel placed on the counter. “ So, what’s your Dad doing now?” I probed.

My gangly boy tattled gleefully, “He’s watching TV and playing air golf.” Matthew licked his peanut-butter covered fingers.

Ok, so dear hubby slammed the ball back into my court, or at least it was now on my side of the net. “It’s something you’re too young to understand.” I proffered. He volleyed back an eye-roll. A collective curse on whoever decides to air these “sensitive” medical ads prime time. Next, I employed the Corrie Ten Boom tactic. If you’ve read the well-known book, “The Hiding Place,” you may remember a part where young Corrie asks her father what “sexsin” means. He tells her that just as her suitcases are too heavy for a young girl to carry onto the train, some things are too heavy for her to carry and he would carry them for a little while longer for her.

My almost 12-year-old wasn’t going to let me off so easy. He assured me his own newly-muscled arms were (duh) capable of carrying any heavy burden, as long as it wasn’t the household garbage. I took a deep breath and tried to approach it from the medical angle. “When people get older,” I was winging it here, “they sometimes have problems when they…”

“When they what, Mom?”

“When they want to be close and…”

“Why, old people don’t want to have a baby, do they?”

“After a certain age, women can’t have a baby,” I instructed. Matthew still thought Mom and Dad only “did it” twice, once for each child.

“I know. You wouldn’t have another baby, would you? Joshua would sure hate that,” he said.

“It’s not likely,” I mused.

“Yeah, you’re too old,” he added.

“Thanks,” I replied.

“I didn’t mean you were really old, Mom. I just meant you were sort of old,” Matthew explained. “Know what I mean?”

I knew exactly what he meant.

“So, Mom, you know, really old people…you mean like Grandma and Grampa…you mean they still do that? Like when you hear all that noise? Like the mattresses?”

“That’s correct.” I told him. I blew my nose so I wouldn’t burst out laughing. We have a relatively new and rather expensive mattress that passes the “no squeak” test, despite occasional vigorous usage. But that time at the motel sleeping on a not-quite the same quality mattress, and we thought the kids were asleep and, well you know…

“I know, people don’t just do it to have babies, they do it…” he trailed off.

“Because they love each other and want to be close,” I finished.

Matthew made exaggerated smooching sounds as he hugged himself, “Because they want to be close,” he mimicked me.

“Does something happen to their (children’s common word for private areas) when you get older?”

Matthew’s pre-teen mind already had some idea what this medication was supposed to accomplish. Somehow, he had arrived at the conclusion that when a person got older, their uh…necessary equipment shrank and Viagra effected a return to normal size. He really wasn’t too far off the mark. I fumbled in my attempts to clarify the matter, taking comfort that at least he didn’t decide to discuss this with grandma.

Employing every bit of acquired wit and wisdom to get through this conversation with my oldest, memories of another time, another place and a similar conversation sprang into my conscious awareness. I cringed at the replay of my mother’s stuttering attempts at sex education, and my triumphant teenage skill in driving her to utter humiliation, never to bring up the subject again. You see, long, long ago (nearly 30 years) and far, far away (the opposite coast) a conversation went something like this:

Mother: you know …down there. (shamefully)

Me: Down where? (innocently)

Mother: You know what I mean. (flustered)

Me: No I don’t. What do you mean? (triumphant)

With this in mind, I realized that whatever was dished back at me, I deserved. Still, I plowed on. He had this puzzled, yet determined look on his face that told me the drive was spinning and files were being accessed. “So, what you’re saying, if you’re old, you need to take Viagra to get a rerection?”

“That’s called an erection, not a rerection.” I corrected.

“I understand now,” Matthew added, satisfied. I turned to go back to whatever I was doing. “When I get older, am I going to have hair down there (pointing to the appropriate area) like Daddy does?” he added.

“Yes,” I answered.

“That’s disgusting,” he curled his lip like he does when broccoli and cauliflower are served.

“I’m sorry. There’s nothing I can do about that.” I smirked and turned to rinse out the sink.

“Mom, can I ask you something else?”

“Sure dear,” I groaned.

“Mom, what’s a yeast infection?”

Ode to Kim: A Story of Racial Healing

Corvette Stingray

Corvette Stingray (Photo credit: kenjonbro)

This story doesn’t exactly have a happy ending, but it has some heart-warming aspects to it, so please keep reading.

My best friend in elementary school was named Kim.  Kim, if by some miracle of heaven and social media you are reading this, may blessings and every good thing be upon you now and eternally.  We moved in the middle of second grade.  I was the new, shy kid, and Kim was outgoing and popular, but we quickly became inseparable on the playground and everywhere else.  We were frequently over each other’s homes.  I remember how Kim, (who was required to clean her plate prior to being excused) would feed her unwanted dinner items to her dachshunds Paula and Puffer surreptitiously under the table, and her family wondered why the dogs were getting so fat while Kim remained so skinny.  We were partners in crime.  Kim’s parents thought that I was the bad influence, as I had the bigger mouth (surprise, surprise) but Kim had the stronger personality.  As one of the few more intellectual and academic students, I was the brains of the operations, while Kim was the guts.

Kim had an annoying younger brother, just like I did.  I remember one time Puffer had peed on the tile floor at the bottom of the carpeted stairs.  From our hidden perch behind the railing, we watched with eager anticipation as little brother John Jr. took his last step off the stairs and slid into the difficult to notice puddle.  We roared as John lay helplessly on his back, his clothing soaked in Puffer’s urine.

While my family was crazy, Kim’s parents were unbearably strict and punitive.  One day Kim sassed her grandmother, who lived with them, and her parents gave away Paula as punishment.  I understand that Kim was born when her parents were both just 19, and if you did the math, you could probably figure out why they got married so young, as a premature baby does not weigh almost eight pounds.  They wanted to ensure that Kim had the education and opportunities that they never had.  And Kim’s dad worked very long hours to support their family, while her mother was the playground aid at our school for a time, sold Tupperware and had other part-time gigs.  I recall Kim would get a spanking if she ever got a “C,” which was frequent, and perhaps only less frequent because I let her copy my homework and sometimes helped her with assignments.  Kim wanted to cheat off me for tests, but that plan failed because the teachers had already separated our desks so we wouldn’t talk so much or pass notes.

I remember the time we combined our meager allowances in fifth grade so Kim could buy a $5.00 ring to make her “cheating,” boyfriend Gordie jealous.  While I was busy with swimming lessons, Kim’s mother signed her academically apathetic daughter up for a Latin course during the summer, despite her vigorous protests.  Kim, the immutable mediocre student, was told she would need that course to prepare for medical school.  Perhaps the only reason they let me stick around was that they hoped that my success in the classroom would rub off on their daughter and she might absorb by osmosis the disciplined study habits they assumed I possessed.  But they were in error on this account, as I never studied for any class until college, unless you count seventh-grade Algebra, and that studying didn’t do me any good.  Usually, I brought magazines or other preferred reading material, hidden inside my notebook, to keep me occupied while the interminably monotonous teacher droned on.

Kim was able to convince her parents to allow her to attend Camp Kaufman, a Jewish camp, two summers in a row with me, even though Kim’s family was not Jewish.  All that comes to mind about camp is the insatiable mosquitoes, the painfully uncomfortable beds, reading Archie comic books under the covers by flashlight after lights out and a girl who stole a bunch of our stuff.  But the food was wonderful, and we stuffed ourselves with the donuts which we were allowed in place of a real breakfast on Sunday morning and rejoiced over the sumptuous Friday night chicken dinner with all the accouterments.  I remember the awkward mixed dances, where the beautiful and charismatic Kim had the boys lining up to ask her to dance, while I sat out many of the songs.  We played lots of pranks on our hapless teenage counselors, who were far more interested in checking out the counselors on the boys’ side than keeping tabs on their young charges.  One time we dug all the counselors’ underwear and unmentionables out of their foot lockers and threw them up on the ceiling crossbeams.

Camp Kaufman required that all campers attend religious services weekly.  There was a Friday night Shabbat service for the Jewish majority, and a bus was provided that shipped the others to either Catholic or Protestant church on Sunday.  Kim received permission to join the Jewish group, and we both sang in the choir.  Kim had a lovely, lilting Soprano voice, and we had great fun practicing harmonies together.  “Bim bam, bim bim bim bam, bim, bim bim bim bam.”  They put on a camp wide talent show.  Kim sang, “A Taste of Honey,” and was crowned Miss Kaufman Camp.

The summer before I started seventh grade, or Junior High, which has currently been relabeled, “Middle-School,” we moved again.  My parents were concerned that our local Junior High was rife with a gang called, “the Stonies,” and they wanted to move to an area with a better school system.  Perhaps this was the working of the divine hand of protection for me, as Kim’s harsh home environment provoked her to rebellion, and once in Junior High, she got into drugs, sex and rock’n roll in a big way.  Well, perhaps just drugs and sex.  And in my youthful adulation and loyalty, I know I would have followed Kim down the yellow-brick road or anywhere else.  Our new home was perhaps a thirty-minute drive away, and we kept in touch by phone.  I spent the night at Kim’s house when I was 14, and it was the only time I tried marijuana, with Kim and some of her friends, and thankfully, I didn’t like the experience.

Following high school graduation, Kim opted for a job at the phone company rather than college, and when she turned 18,  escaped her oppressive home and moved in with an older man who was still married, much to her family’s consternation.  But there was nothing they could do about it.  I went to college and we lost touch.  A few years later my dad ran into her at a grocery store, where he found Kim working as a checker.   So much for the summer Latin class and her parents’ dreams of a doctor in the family. We caught up.  Kim informed me that she had gone the “freak,” druggie route for a number of years, and she was done with that.  She had dropped a lot of LSD, smoked a lot of dope and drank heavily for a while.  Kim believed these practices had ruined her once delightful voice, and perhaps her cognitive processes to some extent also.  She related she had also gone through scores of lovers in the few short years following high school graduation (she didn’t even use the more neutral term, “boyfriends.”)  She told me her dad said to her, “Kim, I don’t know what to think.  You’ve been to bed with everything except a black guy and a woman.”

Now Kim’s dad was racist, having grown up in the South somewhere.  He didn’t hate people because their skin was a different color, but he expected them to stay in their place as janitors, maids, and guys to mow the lawn.  He certainly didn’t want his daughter dating one.  And this was during the 1970’s. Kim’s latest live-in relationship was a polite, soft-spoken and very black mechanic named John, who she met when she took her car in to get fixed.  Suspicious, I questioned Kim as to whether John was just another attempt to piss off her dad, as I thought this would be counterproductive, and it wasn’t fair to exploit a nice guy like John.  “Oh, no, of course not,” Kim insisted.  “John is different from the other men.  He is like my best friend.  We are talking about marriage.  He really is a great guy.”  And besides, Kim always had a fairly new and well-maintained car to drive, something John picked up and repaired.

John really was a great guy.  Since the possibility of marriage was on the horizon, he decided he needed to win over Kim’s family.  Kim’s younger brother liked him and her mother was reluctantly civil.  Even Kim’s dad wasn’t going to demonstrate poor manners and say anything nasty to his daughter’s boyfriend to his face.  You can imagine what he was saying behind his back. Boyfriend John ignored dad John’s gruffness, and was unfailingly respectful and friendly, even if it was one-sided.  Then boyfriend John discovered he could bond with dad John through their shared love of cars.  One day Kim’s dad came home with a new Corvette Stingray without previously clearing this extravagant purchase with his wife.  Kim’s mom had the mother of all meltdowns.  But the deed was done, and the shiny, new Corvette sat in the driveway.  Kim’s dad spent hours polishing and fretting over his baby and looking into the latest techniques of pushing its power to the limit.  Boyfriend John offered to work on his future father-in-law’s car for free and even got him parts at his discount.  They spent hours together making the Corvette the most souped up, testosterone laden, vehicle on the planet. Dad was stoked. Kim’s dad apologized to the boyfriend for his previous chilly response and admitted that even at the advanced age of 40, he could still learn a thing or two.  Dad didn’t like the idea of them “living in sin,” and if John wanted to put a ring on it, he had dad’s blessing.  Some of the relatives might not be happy, but that was their problem, not his.

And they all lived happily ever after.  Don’t we wish?  Once it became apparent that dad’s affection for John was genuine, and not a ploy to obtain free labor, Kim dumped “great guy,” John, moved out and moved on.  In 1981, I left the East Coast, never to look back.  Kim and I lost touch, and I never discovered what became of her.  Did she marry?  Have children?  Get her life back on track?  I sincerely hope so.  I will never forget my dear childhood friend, the freckle-faced playground queen with long, sweeping, golden-brown locks and pure, angelic singing.

A Taste Of Honey
Written by Ric Marlow and Bobby Scott

Winds may blow over the icy sea
I’ll take with me the warmth of thee
A taste of honey
A taste much sweeter than wine

I will return
I’ll return
I’ll come back for the honey and you

I’ll leave behind my heart to wear
And may it e’er remind you of
A taste of honey
A taste much sweeter than wine

I will return
I’ll return
I’ll come back for the honey and you

He ne’er came back to his love so fair
And so she died dreaming of his kiss
His kiss of honey
A taste more bitter than wine

I will return
I will return
I’ll come back for the honey and you
I’ll come back for the honey and you!

In My Heart I Wake Up in Israel

Old city, Jerusalem - Photo taken from the roo...

The old city, Jerusalem – Photo taken from the roof terrace of the Austrian Hospice of the Holy Family in the Muslim Quarter of old Jerusalem, looking towards the south. In the foreground the silver dome of the Armenian Catholic church “Our Lady of the Spasm”. Before this church is the Fourth station of the Via Dolorosa. In the background, left side, the golden Dome of the Rock. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How blessed is the man whose strength is in You, In whose heart are the highways to Zion!  Psalm 84:5
Used by permission of the author, Tanya Glover
America-the land of freedom
Freedom of expression
Freedom of and from religion
Freedom to the point they will allow

You can be Christian and that is okay
You can be Jewish and that is okay
You can be Muslim and that is okay
Anything in between is not acceptable

Believe in God or Don’t
Just don’t tell anyone your views
America says you will be accepted
They lie

You love Israel and people wonder why
Is it because you are Jewish?
Is it because you believe that the land gets you closer to God?
Or is it because you are free to hold the beliefs you feel comfortable with?

I love Israel because I am connected to it
It rolls through my veins
I love Israel because it welcomes not just my people, but all people
I can go there and be agnostic, atheist and anything in between

Israel loves me because I am Jewish and part of the land
Israel loves me because I love it and that is unconditional
Israel loves me because I am unique, just like Israel is unique
Israel loves me because it loves all people no matter who or what they are

I may be in the United States but I carry Israel inside of me
I may be in the United States but I know that across the ocean are my brothers and sisters
I may be in the United States but my siblings in Israel love me because I am me
I may be in the United States but in my heart, I wake up in Israel every morning

My heart yearns to be among people who accept me for who I am
My mind yearns for the knowledge Israel has to offer me
My soul burns to stand on the land of my ancestors
My body shivers each time I think of touching the Wall

Israel is my destiny…..

~Tanya Glover

Ode to Jerusalem, City of Peace

Jerusalem, city wall (west)

Jerusalem, city wall (west) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As our Creator decides upon a name for a man, for a woman or for a city, he imparts, with the breath of his mouth, a spark of his own essence, a piece of eternity. He spoke the name “Jerusalem,” unto his chosen city, and exhaled his divinely crafted destiny upon her. The lips of heaven touched earth, and this place on earth would bear their imprint eternally.

Jerusalem, the city of peace; is this some sort of divine joke? Our forefather, Avraham, (his name means “the father of many,”) was an elderly, impotent man with no progeny to honor his name, inherit his wealth, or carry on the story of his faith. Just imagine the gossip around the local water hole. “There goes old Avi.” They shake their heads.

Another comments, shielding his eyes from the searing summer wind, “Sure, with his body as good as dead, his seed dry, you think he’ll be a daddy anytime soon?”

“No, he’ll be a father of many; many tribes, many nations even.” The men explode into such laughter they spill their water and one laughs so hard he falls off his donkey onto the scorching desert sand below.

Within the supernaturally gifted name of Jerusalem, lies buried the hidden key to her destiny, and perhaps, also the destiny of those who love her. Ancient Hebrew letters were pictographs, much like Egyptian hieroglyphs. Each letter tells a story, and together the word pictures are like frames of a documentary film.

“Yerushalyim,” is the Hebrew word for Jerusalem. Its Hebrew letters are, “yod,” “resh,” “vav,” “shin,” “lamed,” “yod,” and “mem sofit.” The first letter, “yod” is a divine hand, reaching from the heavens above to the earth below. “Resh,” represents the head of a man, or the leader of a kingdom raised above others. The “resh” can also represent a wicked man, a “rasha,” that strays from his spiritual home and divine destiny. “Vav,” is a nail or a tent peg that had to be strong enough to secure a tent dwelling against the harsh desert winds and sandstorms. The “shin” portrays tongues of fire of supernatural origin. A “lamed” is a teacher, or a shepherd’s rod or staff. We see another “yod,” the presence of the divine hand reaching down yet again. A “mem” is a picture of flowing water, and a mem sofit, a final mem, expands the image to one of eternally flowing water.

These disparate images can be fitted together like a puzzle, and a clearer picture emerges. The divine hand reaches down from heaven to the earth below and opens up a channel of interaction between eternity and mortality. Then, we see a kingdom leader. Will the divine hand lead the kingdom? Will a man who submits to heaven rule it? Or, will a wicked man or a tyrant lead? A ruler may shepherd his people to the bush that burned, yet was not consumed, or will he draw his people into evil and the resulting destructive flames of judgment?

The raging fires have burned themselves out, and the city appears a barren, wasteland. There is no life, no place for life to take hold, and no sustenance to nurture life. There is only death, to the East, to the North, to the South, and to the West. But wait, all is not lost! At the end of days, the divine hand reaches down again and causes water to flow upon the dry, burnt land. Flowing water floods the land and it is washed, cleansed by a pure stream. Springs burst forth from the depths. The earth yields the choicest fruit and the mountains drip with sweet wine. The peoples hear and come from afar, to drink of the springs, to be fed by the fruit, and their hearts will rejoice in the wine. And all the peoples of the earth will come up to the City, to be touched by the divine hand. They will no longer hunger, nor thirst, for food and drink shall be plenty. And they will wander no more, for their shepherd shall guide them.

With thanks to Bill Bullock of The Rabbi’s Son for his insights, and research from http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/.

The Gettysburg Redress: What Abraham Lincoln Might Speak to this Generation Concerning Freedom

President Lincoln writing the Proclamation of ...

President Lincoln writing the Proclamation of Freedom 18444u (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(This was written for a contest to write something about President Lincoln, using 272 words or less, for Lincoln’s birthday.  It was a very challenging assignment.)

What decree of heaven has permitted these decayed bones to stand whole before you, I cannot speak.. my time is short. Truly, a more glorious miracle: You, the children of my heart’s travails flourish freely upon brave, blood-stained soil. Freedom, battered both by great tyrants and petty tyrannies, yet endures.

Listen to my words, few and pitiful.

Providence has not permitted me offspring of my flesh to continue upon this earth. Yet, I cherish and would guard you, as if my own progeny, born in freedom and for freedom, that the vision of freedom be reborn in each generation. That is our task – to labor unto freedom – in pain and sorrow persevere. Guard with diligence the wells of Liberty’s pure waters, inherited due the sweat and angst of our forbearers. Guard your inheritance that liberty may spring up anew in each age, and not be polluted and muddied.

Courage brought your fathers and mothers to this land. Even those carried against their will remained to join in the building.

Courage, diligence, hope.  I leave you with these.

A Four-Year-Old’s Guide to Racial Issues

A four-year-old’s guide to race relations.  I  grew up in a mostly white, mostly Jewish suburb outside Washington, D.C.  The only black person I knew was our maid, Lottie, who came weekly to

Day 98_ support

Day 98_ support (Photo credit: Frerieke)

clean our house.  One day I informed my mother,  “Lottie is black because she doesn’t wash.”  My mother was really shocked and burst out laughing when I said that.  What do you expect for a four-year old?  She corrected me, “Oh no, that is not right.  People are born with different color skin, just like you have brown, curly hair and your friend Essie has red straight locks.  Essie has freckles and you don’t.”

Now nobody in our family smoked, but Lottie was a heavy smoker.  Although my family did not allow anyone to smoke in our home because they disliked it and especially because I had asthma, you could smell the residue of smoke on Lottie’s clothing, and it was in her hair and breath.  I am sure she took several smoke breaks outside during her work day.  So, I interpreted that smell as lack of cleanliness.  Putting two and two together, Lottie’s unusual smell and her different skin tone made perfect sense to a preschooler.  May we not approach people in the same simplistic and errant manner now that we are grown-ups.

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Stunt Thinking: A New Extreme Sport?

Thought Bubbles

Thought Bubbles (Photo credit: Michael Taggart Photography)

I know people who love wild roller coaster rides, and the more adrenaline producing the descent, the better.  Some enjoy thrilling, yet dangerous activities like hang gliding or less dangerous but too strenuous for me hobbies like water-skiing or crossing the street without looking both ways.  I won’t even watch Fear Factor.  Sushi is my favorite food, but I don’t go for the uni or the other more challenging menu items.

So, I am taking this course called, “Stunt Writing,” and the idea is to explore something unfamiliar or outside your comfort zone and write about it.  I like the quote of Eleanor Roosevelt the instructor shared, “Every day I do something I am scared of.”  But the assignment was not as scary as it appeared at first.  The instructor, Erin Jourdan, a graduate of San Francisco State‘s MFA program, shared that her stunt was visiting a shooting gallery, and she even took along a skillful, experienced marksman for support and assistance.  So, it wasn’t going to be so bad; I wasn’t going to have to eat something horrible or go parachute jumping.  Some chose as their stunt reconnecting with old friends, visiting religious services they were unfamiliar with or examining a painful time in their past in hope of discovering healing and closure.  It was a lot less “stunt-like,” than I imagined.  When I think of a stuntman/woman, I can see someone jumping off a cliff or diving into shark infested water.  Soaring off creativity cliffs or diving into waters of shark-infested ideas is more my idea of risk-taking.

One thing I’ve learned is that if I believe I have received some sort of inspiration for a wildly creative original idea, someone has already thought of it first.  Look, with more than seven billion people on this earth, its bound to happen.  I remember how difficult it was to try to find a name for my husband’s former business.  Every available clever, unique, yet applicable name was already spoken for.  And that was 25 years ago.  I was trying to help my son and his potential business partner with the same, and days of brainstorming could not yield anything both unique and attention-getting.  So finally it happened.  I thought of ZynByn (pronounced Zine-Bine.)  Since so many domain names are already either in use or squatted on in hopes of a sale, many well-known company names are made up, such as Google and Zemanta.  But ZynByn is a sort of typically slurred, fast speaking pronunciation of the Israeli slang phrase, “zayin b’ayin.”  Literally, a zayin is a weapon, but colloquially it refers to the male organ.  You can see how this understanding might have come about 🙂it is not profanity, but something akin to the English slang, “your equipment.”   “Ayin,” means eye.  So the phrase could be translated, “a penis in your eye,” which might be spoken when your boss or your mom tells you to do something and is a shorter replacement for, “and you and what army are going to make me do that?” Israelis with their anti-hierarchy cultural bent apparently do not evidence a great deal of respect for either bosses or moms.  I was so excited that I emailed darling son my thoughts immediately, expecting a happy and grateful response.  But it was not to be.  “Mooom, why do you always have to think of something cutesy and humorous?”  Then his erstwhile business partner picked something that was rather boring and number one son was okay with that.  At least he didn’t tell me, “zayin b’ayin.”

However, I googled, “stunt thinking,” and it doesn’t exist.  Yeah!  “A year of writing dangerously,” (book title) and, “A year of thinking dangerously,” (blog title) are both out there.  “Stunt-Blogger/ing is also nothing new.  I heard of an interesting contest among wine-bloggers, an interest of mine, where one blogger would pick a theme, and entrants would write on that theme as it relates to wine, even peripherally.  Following voting, the winner would pick the theme for next month’s contest.   Wouldn’t it be fun to have a contest where entrants randomly get assigned to write a post for another entrant’s blog, sort of like picking a topic out of a hat?  Maybe that’s already been done too?

So, how about, “Think Without Fear?”  Perhaps, “A Day of Fearless Thinking?”  Someone already did that.  But we can do it too; imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  In googling, “Thinking Fearlessly,” I came up with this interesting post:  http://www.innovationexcellence.com/blog/2010/02/20/thinking-fearlessly/

Okay, so what is your most outrageous thought?  What thoughts would you explore if you had nothing to fear?

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A Page of The Asperger’s Chronicles

I Think I Love You

I Think I Love You (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This essay was written for my Behavioral Economics Class.  It was supposed to be 500-800 words.  That is really difficult and a challenge to write a bunch of stuff and then have to delete it down to the bare bones.  They give you a break and allow 880 words; but if you go over, you cannot save and submit your essay.  Makes sense, as the graders don’t want to receive tomes.  But (don’t tell anyone) I sort of cheated.  A couple times I used dashes and other ways to link words together without a space and so stay under the minimum.  Where there’s a will and a bit of chutzpah; there’s always a way.

Intro:  I understand this assignment is supposed to be a structured essay with citations.  There was a time when I did this well, but it has been thirty years since college. So, if my style of conversational tone and humorous outlook bleed too much and deviate from the parameters – oh well.  Now that I am old, I can wear purple and do just about anything else I want.

I am the mother of an 18-year-old with Asperger’s.  Joshua * is a high school senior headed to University in the fall.  That teens are stubborn is common knowledge and one hardly needs a research study for documentation. Teens with Asperger’s are all the more stubborn due to their difficulty adjusting to social environments, awareness of thoughts and feelings of others and sensory difficulties. This is counterproductive, because acquiring social thinking skills and accepting feedback from capable mentors may be the difference between (1) a young adult who completes their education, becomes gainfully employed, lives independently and enjoys relationships (2) a 35-year-old who plays video games all day, still lives at home and whines on social media about how unfair the world is.

So, while an overall goal for my son prior to leaving the safety and support of home is to help him grow into a (1) and avoid the fate of a (2); one current goal is to work on his appearance self-monitoring.  Joshua is meticulous about hygiene in the area of his bodily cleanliness and clothing.  However, he is recalcitrant in regard to shaving regularly and completely, dressing appropriately and keeping his enviable curly, golden brown locks styled or trimmed. Could a new decision=changed default preferences?

There is a history of behavioral techniques that either did not work or would not be feasible long-term.  Hence the meme, “If you know one kid with Asperger’s, you know one kid with Asperger’s.”  Predictably, a lot of trial and error; hit or miss is involved.

Once the family was preparing to go out to dinner for my husband’s birthday.  Dad asked Joshua to shave and change his appropriate-for-lounging-around-the-house-but-not-for dinner-at-a-nice-restaurant clothing (even in casual Southern California.)  “Why does it matter?  I’m not hurting anyone,” Joshua insisted.  Dad explained that if Joshua failed to comply, he could stay home.  That seemed rather harsh, but Roland* has never been the disciplinarian, and when I got in the car, Joshua was triumphantly there too; ratty shirt, loose sweatpants, unshaven.  Josh knows his dad makes threats and rarely follows through.

Details about the facial hair:  A nice, well-maintained beard or even the two-day growth look which the Millennials consider sexy wouldn’t be problematic.  However, Joshua sported a patchy mess plus thick sideburns that haven’t been in style since I was in high school.

Research demonstrates that a teen is more likely to listen to a friend if they tune out family suggestions. So, I enlisted his best pal Will* to apply peer pressure.  “Dude, those sideburns went out in the 70’s.  This isn’t the Partridge Family.”  This was to no avail.

The next day I was shocked to see Joshua in the bathroom, electric razor in hand.  I waited until he was finished as I didn’t want to interrupt the flow of this magical moment.  “You look great!  I love to see your handsome face. I guess you got tired of the face fuzz?  I tried to sound casual.  “No,” Joshua replied.  He pulled some bills out of his pocket.  “Dad gave me $50.”  Perhaps this is stretching the parameters of Dan’s research a bit, but we know that when you pay someone for something that they would (or should) do for free, you have to pay them adequately.  But Joshua’s dad wasn’t thinking about the long-term implications of his incentive (read bribe.)  Once a financial reward or penalty is employed, withdrawing it can lead to a worse situation (daycare example).  Totaling the pain of paying, Josh needed to shave twice a week, which would add up to $100 per week, with a yearly expenditure of almost $5,000.00  At that rate, we could either afford to pay our son’s University tuition or keep him cleanly shaven.

Ready to tear my own hair out in frustration, a flash of insight appeared.  A few days ago I picked up Joshua wearing a hastily donned knit top from one of my thinner incarnations.  Currently, I am over fifty, carrying at least twenty-five extra pounds; and that is being generous.  Although hidden from sight, except for my son once he entered the car, Joshua expressed his displeasure, repeatedly with disgust,  at how unattractive my extraneous matter appeared over tight-not-so-skinny jeans, and evidenced discomfort with proximity, insisting upon a change when we arrived home, and that I agree to not subject him to such offensive exposure again.

I propose an experiment; a contractual arrangement.  Mom will cover the muffin top as long as Joshua achieves/maintains a presentable appearance according to negotiated standards.  However, if Joshua fails to comply with the grooming code, mom won’t either.  Instead of picking Josh up at the train, mom will meet him outside his last class.  No need to purchase materials for this research project; I have a closet full of size eights to stretch over my fourteen frame.



Ariely, D. & Norton, M. I. (2008). How actions create—not just reveal—preferences. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 12(1). (Working paper version.)

Recognition of faux pas by normally developing children and children with Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism

S Baron-Cohen, (Essayist’s note: the first author is comedian Sasha Baron-Cohen’s first cousin, and an adult with Aspergers.) M O’Riordan, V Stone, R Jones… – Journal of autism and …, 1999 – Springer

“Growing up on the Spectrum,”  By Lynn Kern Koegel, Claire Scovell LaZebnik (Feb 23, 2010), p. 162

Parenting a Teen or Young Adult with Asperger Syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder): 325 Ideas, Insights, Tips and… by Brenda Boyd (Oct 21, 2013)

The Parent’s Guide to College for Students on the Autism Spectrum by Jane Thierfeld Brown, EdD, Lorraine Wolf and Ph.D. (Jan 10, 2012)

Thinking About You, Thinking About Me by Michelle Garcia Winner (Sep 2007)

Socially Curious and Curiously Social: A Social Thinking Guidebook for Bright Teens and Young Adults by Michelle Garcia Winner and Pamela Crooke (Mar 1, 2011)

Social Fortune or Social Fate by Michelle Garcia Winner and Pam Crooke (2011)

https://www.socialthinking.com/‎ Michelle Garcia Winner.

Warning – by Jenny Joseph. When I am an old woman I shall wear purple