Tuesday, September 29, 2009


It has been many years since we have been affiliated with any religious organization. Here in Arizona, though, we have found a community that is like no other. It is a small, growing community, having recently celebrated its first birthday. But whereas most synagogues/temples can be classified as Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, etc., Kehillah of Arizona defies description. Kehillah, in Hebrew, means community and Kehillah of Arizona is made up of the most extraordinarily warm, wonderful, talented, caring group of people. Led by our Rabbi Bonnie, a passionate, intelligent, spirited dynamo, our services encompass many features of all the branches of Judaism.

What was most extraordinary were our High Holy Day services. The machzors (holiday prayerbooks), written and compiled by Rabbi Bonnie, contained a treasury of prayers and teachings from every facet of Judaism and world views. The language was contemporary and meaningful to our lives now without taking away from the wise and profound lessons of the past. The Yom Kippur Haftorah was sung to original music by our magnificent choir. The choir sang much of the service to original music with the congregation joining in. Their voices must have been touched by G-d. Honors were given to as many different people as possible. Readings were shared by most of the congregation.

And just near the end of the Neilah service, while the Ark was open, the Rabbi asked anyone who wished to come up to stand in front of the Ark and offer a personal prayer, to do so. A long line formed and people went up singly or in couples or families, covered their heads with prayer shawls and offered their prayers while the Rabbi davened (prayed) quietly. We had never seen this or been offered such a chance and were quite overwhelmed by the graciousness and opportunity this presented.

To say that this year's High Holiday services touched us is the understatement of the year. We have found a Jewish 'home' with Kehillah, one which beckons with open arms, kind and generous hearts, warm smiles, and where there are many opportunities to practice Kehillah's core values. Thank you, Rabbi Bonnie and Kehillah friends for showing us a way back home.

Friday, September 25, 2009


I'm frustrated with the political and journalistic scene. The lunatics, screamers, whiners, ranters, ravers and liars all get front page coverage through the MSM. The MSM has abandoned it's traditional role of unbiased news reporting, investigative reporting, and truthful reporting. Factual accuracy isn't even in the equation anymore. The only real news reporting comes when there is a disaster, i.e. hurricanes, forest fires, and the like. What I want to see is someone on the major networks refuting, fact by fact, the gross exaggerations and outright lies put forth by the blowhards in Congress.

Enter Dr. Rachel Maddow on MSNBC (a cable channel.) The woman is brilliant. When she tackles major stories (every night) she has the facts and figures and quotes and videos to back up everything she reports on. She invites spokespeople from both sides of the issues to come on her show where she asks the questions no one else will ask and she does so with clarity, intelligence, and respect. She is the rare breed of journalist who adheres to the highest standards of the profession and for that I am thankful. I have abandoned the network news shows for the Rachel Maddow show because there I know I will hear true in-depth reporting and not prattling sound bites so prevalent on ABC, NBC, & CBS. (Ah, that other network is a non-entity.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I shop at several different grocery stores, supermarkets and a farmer's market. I am not your typical regular weekly shopper. And since we eat mostly vegetarian (at least 5 days a week) and keep a Kosher home, there is a lot of 'regular' food that just doesn't get on our shopping lists. But there are plenty of organic, 'green' and healthy items on that list.

I make lists of what we need: a list in the computer room where I remembered some items, a list in the bedroom where I remembered other items, a list in the kitchen. None of the lists is complete because I forget to consolidate them.

So, off we got to shop and I have a list of some things but not all. And as we back out of the garage we have to decide which store we're going to because not one of them carries everything we need. As we go through the stores I end up playing Russian Roulette with the grocery list I do have because I can't remember all the things on the other lists and all the stuff I didn't write down.

Inevitably, I pass stuff and think to myself "I'm out of that. I better get another one." Naturally, I find I have three more of the item at home. But the item I really needed did not get purchased.... not only because I couldn't remember that I needed it, but this wasn't the store where it can be purchased.

Sprouts, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's all carry different things. Our local grocers, Albertson's, Fry's and Bashas all carry different labels and different items in the same category. Why can't everything be in one place!!!! Planning shopping trips around here is almost as interesting as planning desert maneuvers.

Monday, September 21, 2009


To the whiners, ravers, and screamers:

1. If you have a job with benefits: What will you do if and when you are let go because your job is being outsourced overseas? Can you pay the COBRA without getting a paycheck? (Love your health insurance company?) COBRA means having to pay 100%.

2. Have you made the decision about where your kids will live and with whom should you get hit by a catastrophic life-ending disease? What if you are in a vegetative state before making such a decision? (Remember 'End of life discussion'?)

3. If you do come down with a major health problem, how sure are you that your health insurance company will pay all your bills (after you pay the huge deductible?) And how sure are you that your insurance will not be rescinded because "the problem was probably there before and you did not reveal it?"

4. If you have a health problem why is it that your doctor may prescribe what he/she thinks is the most effective medication to help you but some pencil pusher at your health insurance company denies coverage because it costs more than the ineffective one the company will pay for?

5. Why do you allow the health insurance company to deny payment for services you need based on their bottom line?

6. Why aren't you allowed to shop around for a better deal than the crap you're straddled with now without going bankrupt?

7. Why are the health insurance companies afraid of competition? I'll answer that one. Because competition would insure that their grossly huge profits would go down and the *&^ CEO would have to get by on several million dollars less than what HE takes home now.

8. If you lose your job and you cannot make your mortgage payments, do you expect your bank to understand and quickly help you to refinance to a lower rate? Not happening.

9. So, if you end up on the street, you become like so many others who have lost the jobs, health care and pride. Are you still going to shout "Get a job. I don't want to have to pay for your health care." You are now one of them.

10. If you are a senior citizen on Medicare, are you still going to protest against a public option? You are using the public option granted to seniors. Are you going to get rid of your Medicare to be true to your crazy rhetoric?

11. Do you like going through hoops trying to get your medications paid for when your health insurance company keeps denying payment?

Keep screaming, whack jobs. With a little bit of luck you'll get just what you deserve.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


It makes me crazy when things don't work. Things like printers, computers, bread machines, blenders. I have been printing signs needed for this weekend. All was going well until there was a paper jam. So, I cleaned out the jam, made sure there were no bits of paper left in the printer and thought that would take are of the problem. I finished the signs and shut down the printer. All is good, right?

Wrong! Now, today I'm trying to print some other stuff and I get paper jams, crookedly printed documents, and documents with extra ink smeared on them. I pull everything out, I dust the damn thing, I make sure the paper is in the tray properly, I check for any extra pieces of paper that might be stuck (none) and try again. The machine starts printing and it is screeching like a %^^&^* parrot! The paper is still coming out crooked and smeared.

Who do you get to fix the thing? I don't know any teenage techies in my neighborhood. Help!

Monday, September 14, 2009


Any day I get up on this side of the grass is a good day. But it's a great day today because it is my birthday and I've made it through another year. Even though the genes on my side of the family have not been generous in the "length of years" category, I plan on adding a lot more numbers to the one I reached today.

So, I say "Thank you" to my family and friends for all the blessings, good wishes, joy and happiness that have filled my life this last year. And, at this special time of introspection, "tsehuvah" and renewal through the High Holidays, I give thanks to the powers that be for all the goodness that has come my way.

And to all who read this blog, Jewish or not, l'shanah tova, may you all be blessed with a sweet and happy New Year.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


In the past week it has been proven beyond a doubt that many parents of school-age children failed miserably: failed in school, failed as parents and are failing at life in general.

Failed in school: Obviously never paid attention in class, didn't finish homework either on time or ever, didn't respect teachers, used disruptive behavior in class, thought every subject was boring and never gave a thought as to how this all would affect their futures.

Fast forward to failed as parents: Many became parents because "sex is fun" and, oops, had a kid because they were not bright enough to take precautions. Nevertheless, parents they are. And school is where they send the kids: 1) to get them out of the house, 2) because they are mandated to educate them and 3) to let the teachers raise the kids for 7 hours a day. These are the same parents who don't attend PTA meetings but scream, when the kid gets an 'F' for not finishing homework and being disrespectful and disruptive in class. And these are the same parents who wanted to "protect" their kids from our President even though they knew the speech was about staying in school, doing your homework, value your education so you can amount to something and be of service to your country.

What moronic idiot wouldn't want those things instilled in a young person's mind? The President's speech was benign, intelligent and uplifting. But the nincompoops who didn't allow their kids to listen just added to the ever increasing"dumbness" of many in this country and we all know which side of the aisle they are on. These children will become the nincompoops of the future thus insuring that their parents will indeed, have failed at life.

Thank goodness, there are those parents who think that schooling is a good thing, who encourage their kids to do well in school, to think critically, to respect their teachers and to value education....for these are the kids who will find the cures, clean the air, save the earth and be the peacekeepers. I'm hoping their numbers grow.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Unfortunately, I get a lot of forwarded emails that appear to be warnings of dire consequences, political claptrap, self-serving nonsense, and vile untruths regarding mostly Democrats, President Obama, computer viruses and other nonsense. They are usually loaded with lies surrounded by a few half-truths or sentences taken totally out of context.

I can spot these before my eyes blink. I inevitably go to sources I trust to double check on the veracity of these diatribes. And when I am certain as to the factuality of the email, I then let the sender know, in no uncertain terms, how gullible he/she is, and how intellectually dishonest it is to forward emails without checking to see if they are true.

I normally have a very intelligent email list but there are some who either have a trigger finger on the mouse or just blindly forward everything they get whether or not it's true. That's lazy and inexcusable. It perpetuates the falsities and serves to bolster the crazies who originate this crap.

It's time to get some self respect by not forwarding malicious, incendiary, and untrue emails just because they are there or just because you're too lazy to check them yourselves. Get a backbone and stop the whackjobs from spreading lies because if you don't, you become one of them.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


I am upset at what happened this morning. We were walking our dogs in the neighborhood, my husband with one several feet in front of me with our other dog. A large pickup truck was coming down the street toward us with 2 large bulldogs in the flatbed part of the truck. One took a look at our dog in front and jumped out of the truck. Only he was leashed inside the truck and ended up being dragged.

I screamed for them to stop the truck which they eventually did. But during the time of the jump and the stop of the truck, all I could envision was that bulldog going under the HUGE rear tire and being squashed like a bug.

The man in the passenger side of the truck got out, looked at the fallen dog, shook his head, picked him up like a sack of potatoes and heaved (as in flung or threw) the dog back into the truck bed.

I was livid. He never checked the dog to see if he was hurt, never did anything to comfort him, just threw him back. And in the cab of the truck there were at least 2 more dogs. I yelled at the guy, questioning how he could do that. They just drove away. How do you leash a dog in a bed of a truck with a leash that is too long, long enough for the dog to take a flying leap out of the truck? How can one be so stupid?

This episode really shook me up. I just don't understand how people can treat animals with so little compassion. I would hope the dog turns on him someday but the creep would probably kick the sh^* out of him. People like that should not have dogs or any animals.

Monday, September 7, 2009


I'm a Food Network junkie. I can't seem to get enough of the crazy shenanigans that go on every time I tune in. And I'm tuning in A LOT. I'm becoming ONE with the chefs. I can roll Bobby Flay's name off my tongue faster than a gulp of water. Or Mario Batali or Cat Cora. I love Flay's show, Throwdown with Bobby Flay, Iron Chef America, Giada at Home, Rachel Ray. I watch in utter amazement as these very talented chefs create incredible, edible masterpieces off the top of their heads. How do they keep this stuff straight?

But it's not just the cooking gems. I love Unwrapped with Marc Summers. All those familiar food stuffs from when I was a kid..........so that's how it's made! And Diners, Drive-Is and Dives with Guy Fieri....what a job!

And then there are the challenges with food chefs and pastry chefs from around the country vying for nice big money prizes. I watch them work while under the scrutiny of the judges sitting and watching their every move. Even my heart starts to race as the clock ticks down to the end. Oh, the pressure!

The thing is, most of the food cooked is stuff I wouldn't eat. Let's face it, the food isn't all that heart healthy. They're using lots of butter, cream, oil, bacon and that's just stuff I don't use in my cooking. I don't even fry. The fact that I eat mostly vegetarian accounts for my feeling that these foods look good and probably taste great but I wouldn't get near them. Besides, I do Kosher only so putting together some of the ingredients that they do is not in the cards for me.

Nevertheless, I am mesmerized by the action, the enthusiasm and the presentations. And, frankly, I have noted some cooking tips and recipes that I can play with for my own kitchen. I loved the contest to see who became the Next Food Network Star. My guy didn't win but the competition was fierce and really interesting.

So I am hooked on the network and hope that someday one of the shows will be strictly vegetarian and one will be strictly kosher. It could happen!!!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009


When I contemplated the upcoming surgery to my eye, I had the most awful pictures of what that involved creeping into my mind. Partial anesthesia administered with a needle, scalpel and/or needle coming in contact with the eyeball........yuck and ugh! The idea was provoking hyperventilation and high anxiety. But surgery was my only option if I wanted to keep my sight in that eye and it had to be done now.

So, ready to kick, flail and scream my way through this, I proceeded. I was gently anesthetized so that I was feeling nothing but was able to respond to questions and hear what was being said. My head was draped, it got very dark and I closed my eyes and waited. That is, I was sure I closed my eyes, both of them. But as the doctor performed his magic, and told me he was taking off a rather large amount of scar tissue, I wondered how he was doing that since I was sure I had BOTH eyes shut, tightly. Within a short while, the surgery was complete.

I was totally and completely astonished at what transpired which was not at all what I had anticipated. I saw nothing and I felt nothing. Absolutely nothing! I had no pain at all and have not experienced any since.

Relief is an understatement. Grateful for the skill of a brilliant surgeon, unending. And indebted to a GOVERNMENT-PAID HEALTH CARE PLAN. It works and everyone should have the option!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


The insurance companies are the ones who dictate care when they won’t pay for certain things. You need rehabilitation services? Naw, you only get to have a consult paid. That's it. You pay exorbitant monthly premiums and for what? Whatever the insurance company deems necessary, not your doctor, not your ailment, not your circumstances. How can they make such decisions, based on what?

And those idiots who don’t want health reform? They are happy with their own because they haven’t had a reason to use it. But let them come down with something where they need to be hospitalized or need an emergency room or doctor’s attention and then they’ll scream when they have to pay for stuff out of their own pocket. Send in the little insurance paper and watch it come back stamped DENIED.

Just pay the premiums and forget about the policy. When it comes time to pay, well you didn’t read the fine print, did you? These insurers have a terrific scam going. It’s no wonder they’re pouring millions into making sure you don’t have a choice.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


I am not fond of doctors, hospitals, pharmaceuticals or anything medical. And that is the understatement of the year! I have been in a situation where the doctor was completely inept. No need to go into specifics but it's a good thing I didn't bleed to death at home.

That is not to say I haven't had ANY good experience. My beloved "Dr. Bob" predicted and delivered a healthy baby boy after much hardship. His expertise, kindness and encouragement was beyond measure. And my carpal tunnel doctor was gruff but an expert in his field.

And thank goodness I haven't had any major medical problems to contend with. I eat a healthy diet, exercise (have 2 dogs), keep my weight down, take lots of vitamins and plan to be around for another 30-40 years in good shape!

However, things happen and I am scheduled for eye surgery momentarily. I'm bright enough to know that nothing is ever guaranteed. So I am approaching the surgery with enough anxiety to make my heart race. Try as I might, I haven't found a way to alleviate the palpitations. I am trying deep breathing, envisioning calm and serene scenes, and lecturing to myself about how well this is all going to go.

So far, nothing is working. But I'll keep at it until there is no more time to be apprehensive because the doctor is looking at me face to face!