Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Purim Poem 2010

I dunno about Purim this year...

I love Purim but I love the spirit of it, not the competition. I can't stand the neighbors showing off their six daughters all matching in some costume I saw for $29.95 in the party store and giving out 65 shalach manos that cost at least $10 apiece.

I mean, yeah, I've been doing themes since I was two and I have pictures of all eleven of us (parents and the siblings) all dressed matching, but they're in costumes we made ourselves and with a theme we worked on together as a family project. It wasn't about my mother showing off her brood to her friends, it was about us kids getting together for a day of creative fun.

There was no pressure as a kid. Purim was pure fun. Sure, I lost my cool when a sister wore our "secret" costume to her purim masquerade a few days before the actual unveiling and I got mad if a brother wanted to be a soldier instead of the garbage collectors we were doing that year, but still, it was all in good fun.

Then I get married and have my own kids and I'm learning what Purim is all about in the adult world. My FaceBook home page is FULL of my friends obsessing over their themes and costumes and the last item that MUST go into their mishloach manos. I'm starting to feel inferior and even a tad resentful that my husband won't allow me to blow my last three paychecks on fancy chocolates no one likes and bottles of wine. Oh, and three Sundays baking Boston cream pies and Biscotti. (Please, I'm kidding)

Just as a by the way- for those friends who are baking- don't bother. If you have kids under the age of ten in your home, everything homemade goes right in the bin. I have a three year old baker here too and I know EXACTLY what goes into your cookies. Snot sweat and more snot.

So not my thing.

Which is not to say I don't go a little crazy.

I am a perfectionist after all and I do want my kids to look good and I want to be proud of whatever presentation we decide to give.

So while my mishloach manos isn't anything special (think everything that was ten for a dollar in the supermarket) and our costumes are pretty basic (black hat, shabbos vest, cane, and money necktie, or in my daughter's case, a pillowcase stuffed to look like a bag of money) the one thing I pride myself on every year is my poem.

You liked it last year, so here's the one we're doing now! (Our theme is Monopoly)

Money money years ago
It started with a king,
He ruled 127 countries
And monopolized everything.

He threw a party for all his subjects
But then his queen refused to dance,
So he shut down her accounts
And said “You lost your Chance.”

When his deed hit him hard,
He sent out a new bill
Said “I’m looking for a Queen,
Vashti’s place to fill.”

Girls from all over the country
Basked in Hagai’s makeups and scents
They were banking on this to get rich quick
And would spare no expense.

Esther had all the properties
Achashverosh wanted in his wife
He took one good look at her
And signed the dotted line for her life.

But although he kept asking her
“A penny for your thoughts”
Esther kept her identity secret
And wouldn’t allow it to be bought.

It may have bothered the king greatly
But soon he had troubles of a capital order
Mordechai found two traitors
And the king had them drawn and quartered.

Then all was forgotten
When Haman proposed his new endeavor
With moneybags as a bribe
He hoped to be rid of the Jews forever

But Achashverosh didn’t much like the Jews
And so gave Haman the Royal seal
Said “Business is business”
And “I’ll fund the whole deal

Haman set a lottery
He let the die cast the date,
Though he didn’t credit the actions the Yidden took,
When they found out about their fate.

When Charvona came to teller,
Esther asked for a fast,
“For three days of davening I appeal,
Before the king’s patience I’ll tax

“I’d treasury your company tonight,” Esther said,
“And please make Haman aware.”
The king was interested in her offer,
And promised he and Haman would be there.

The King asked for her trust,
Begged her to get the worries off her (community) chest,
But “Please come tomorrow night”
Was Esther’s only request.

Buy night Achashverosh couldn’t sleep,
And called for Haman’s advice,
“I need to give someone a bonus,
Give me an idea that’s nice.”

So he expressed a fanciful vision
Weal-the king means me of course!”
But when Haman heard he’d be leading Mordechai
It was like a Railroad hitting him at full force!

His daughter re-vault-ed him in public,
He didn’t much like this game,
And when he had to run to Esther’s party,
He thought he was going insane.

Only one thing had him laughing all the way to the bank,
The thought of cashing in Mordechai’s chips,
So he rushed in to his private party
With a confident swagger in his hips.

When the party passed Go
Eshter laid her cards on the table
“This man has been nickel and dimeing you!”
And she told Achashverosh all she was able.

Obviously, Haman went to Jail,
And he was given free parking on a tall tree.
He and his family hung high above the boardwalk,
For all Shushan’s residents to see.

With the flip of a coin, our nation was saved,
Their mazal was changed in a blink.
Haman was gone, the gezeira was over,
From rags to riches in a wink.

All the Yidden Sell-ebrated,
Once the news got around,
Hashem performed a huge nes,
And the Jews were now safe and sound!

Today we give Mishloach manos, we eat a seuda
And are “b’simcha adei ad”,
And of course we do matanos l’evyonim
Giving dollars “l’chol haposhet yad”!

So this is the story across the board,
What the megilla has to say.
Take note and remember it well,
And monopolize the day!

A Frelichen Purim!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Week's Worth of Posts

Yeah yeah, I'm still around. Just too extraordinarily busy to post.

But there are a lot of things I should have posted about so today I'm playing catch up.

I think the first thing I should post about is my trip to Montreal.

Last Sunday I flew out there with my daughter (on her first Birthday!) for a speaking engagement. HB was adorable! She flirted with everyone in the airport and ate delicious dirt off the floors as she crawled around for the hour that we waited to board our flight.

Then, once on the plane, she looked fascinated out the window until takeoff when I had to sit her facing me on my lap. I was afraid she'd scream as the plane went up, but she was really really quiet and alert and as the plane lifted and there was that slight drag that pulls you back into your seat, HB dozed off. The drag pulled her body down to me and she gave into it and closed her eyes. It was so funny!

So she slept through the entire ride and when we landed I woke her and we breezed through the airport because I had no luggage save for one carry on.

We met up with the woman who came to get us from the a-port and she took us to my grandmother's flat about fifteen minutes away.

Then my grandmother spent the day spoiling us both rotten. We had a HUGE lunch that only a grandmother can set up and then we went out to buy HB a new snowsuit because her great-grandmother was SCANDALIZED that she wore JB's old navy blue one.

So one MAGENTA snow suit later we went back home to take a nap before the big event that night.

We left right on time, fifteen minutes late and spent the whole way arguing with the GPS that was supposed to get us there but didn't recognize the address no matter how many different ways we tried putting it in.

We got there in the end (the place was only ten minutes away and we followed printed instructions) but we spent an extra fifteen minutes ranting at the stupid GPS about why it didn't work. My grandmother had specifically given my grandfather's car for a car wash that day because she was set on taking his car that night because it had GPS. So of course when the GPS didn't work she was devastated and on the way home we drove right through a three foot deep slush puddle to punish it.

The party was thrown by an organization called Ezras Cholim. The organization is like a referral agency- they help patients navigate all the red tape there is in the medical field and get them into great doctors that would otherwise have waiting lists as long as my arm.

I've been to lots of parties but this one was awesome. The auction was downstairs and upstairs, since it was in a rented wedding hall, the caterers set up the chairs around small tables so the whole setting was very cozy and not as "speechy" as most other events where the chairs are lined up in straight rows.

My grandmother sat down at a center table that had a big reserved sign on it and whenever someone came to tell her it was a reserved table she proudly said, "But I am Tzeepi Caton's Grrrrandmozzer!" (She's French)Of course when someone told me to leave I did so very politely. Then later when I was called up to speak I totally enjoyed the look of horror on the same lady's face.

It happens to me all the time. It's not like a wear a sign announcing who I am when I get to an event and I don't tell anyone who I am until my speech because otherwise my whole night gets killed with all the people who MUST come over and talk to me. So it was much easier when a group of ladies came to my table and politely told me shove off, to just apologize and wheel HB away.

The speech was beautiful. I spoke and showed off HB who was smiling and waving and so not intimidated. (She gets that from me!) I think that HB was the hit of the night. People left talking about her, not me. :-)

Of course we got home really late (the GPS again) and then the next morning I had to wake up really really early to make my flight home.

But alas, the weather in New York was awful and they weren't allowing any flights in so my 11:00 and my 1:30 flights were cancelled and HB and I got to spend another whole day with Babby.

The 3:30 flight did go in the end so we got to the airport early and flew through check in but of course since the whole airport was backed up, I waited an hour in customs and by the time I got out my flight was boarding so my husband had to make do without the Peter Heering liquer he wanted me to pick up in Duty Free.

HB was good on the flight back as well although she didnt sleep but I was antsy and anxious to be home already.

This is why I charge so much for bookings- Two cancelled flights and my day is killed- I charge for my time more than for my speech.

We landed at 5 and at 5:05 I was out of the airport wiating for my ride. No one told me that my ride was making a stop in some hick town on the way home and that they'd get lost and that I'd be sitting with a cranky, hungry kid on my lap and that my toes would be in agony from my (adorable but) pinching boots and that I'd come home a full two hours later than I was supposed to.

But by 8pm I had both kids bathed nad fed and sleeping and I would have loved to sleep too but I had a wedding to run to which I ran to and then ran back from and fell into bed and was asleep before my head hit the pillow.

Then there was my speech for Project HOPE in Monsey this past Motzei Shabbos. HB came along again because there was no way the husband would agree to watch her and JB for the night. JB cried when I left- my speeches don't particularly make him very happy.

HB cried in the car - so me and the husband are even I guess. Although JB was sleeping by 10 and HB was up till 12 when we got to leave the party and then she screamed again at 1:30 when I woke her up to bring her into the house.

But anyway, the party was stunning! They had the whole place decorated with butterflies like the cover of Miracle Ride. It was in someone's home and was set up so nicely. There were a few rooms set up with chairs and large video screens where the speeches and program were shown. HB crawled around my legs as I spoke and I picked her up towards the end when she started chewing on the wires and I was afraid of either a blackout or electrocution.

I stayed late to sign some books and smile a lot at people I didn't know.

The best part of the evening was meeting my longtime friend and "editor" Chany L. who has worked with me on both my books and has read every piece of writing I have done in the last two years and gave me excellent feedback on everything.

We'd never had an opportunity to meet before that night and being that she lived in the area, she dropped by the speech and we got to meet each other in person for the first time. We both agreed that each other were adorable but she might have been lying- I'm not. :-)

By the time we got home I was a zombie and when my husband heard me come in he woke up and told me what a miserable night he had with JB. I smiled pleasantly and told him "welcome to my life." He'd never handle doing this every day with both kids. He told me that I couldn't make enough money for him to babysit ever again and I informed him that when it's your own kids it's not called babysitting. Then he went back to sleep in a huff. Oh well, at least I have some extra money now to buy that new pair of four inch heels I had my eye on.

So I think that's really most of what I was supposed to blog about recently.

Oh, and I didn't get to meet our frequent commentor Brochi because she had a baby Thursday before my Montreal speech! Mazal tov to her and her husband!

Im going to attach some pics of HB in Montreal and more pics of the tzitzis I made for JB last week. His upsherin is in three days and I wasted five hours apeice on each of those pairs, which is why I had no time to post. Hey, he deserves them! We're shaving his HEAD for this! And besides, he only gets to turn three once!