Thursday, October 27, 2016

A Mikveh is a bath. A mitzvah is not.

So here I sit, in Ohio.  No!  I am not sitting in that room.    My room is more like this one:

Now, before you go all gaga, it's a hotel in Central Ohio, not a suite on a river cruise.   And this building is FULL of millennials.  I feel so old. 

And I am not here for fun - I am here for the funeral. 

Yes, I decided to make the journey.  

So here I am, eating what I want.  Watching what I want.   Wearing what I want.  Not closing the door.   I am enjoying this way, way, way too much. 

So, why did I decide to go to the funeral?

Well, it's the proper thing to do. 

One of my Ohio friends, Max, who doesn't know yiddish as well as he thinks he does, proclaimed over the phone that my coming was a ceremonial jewish cleansing ritual. 

"That you are doing this is a real mikveh!"


"A MIK-veh, a mikveh." 

For the uninitiated, a mikveh is a cleansing ritual that conservative and Orthodox Jewish women take after their menstrual cycles so they can sleep with the husbands.  Reform Jewish women simply go to lunch with their friends, or bridge club. 

In Shaker Heights, in my youth, the Stone Family - that owned American Greetings had a large modern house west of Warrensville Center Road.  The house, built in the late fifties, had a swimming pool in the living room, which was used for the combined mikveh and bridge club, one day a month, and by invitation only. 

Max's problem is that he confused "mitzvah" - a good deed done without want of recognition - with stanky Hoo Haa. 

I had to ask the nagging question.  "As in a 'bar mikveh'?"  I wanted to see how far this would go. 

"NO!  Silly.  It's a bar mitz-VAH.  I'm talking Mik-VAH - you know, a good deed and a celebration."

I then explained that he meant MITZ-VAH.  "A bar mikveh would be a bunch of 13 year olds gathering for a ceremonial bathing - like at the country club pool in summer."


"And no, this isn't a mitzvah." said I.  This is doing the right thing for my late co-worker.  A Mitzvah would have been driving back here when she was alive and holding her hand while she was in hospice.  

So coming back is about her.  But it's also about me.  I need to do this for me. 

Funerals honor the dead, but as the last six months have taught me, they are really about helping the living to carry on.  

And I need to do that, for me. 

So, here I sit.  In a motel full of millennials, a Diet Rite Mandarin Orange Diet Soda and living large for the moment.  For on Saturday, we grieve.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Should I stay or should I go?

Word from the Ohio's came down on Saturday morning that my beloved former co-worker, Becky, has died.

She was only 58.

When I started working at the Statewide Trade Association in 1993, Becky was there.  We had a lot of laughs.  She was an excellent person, a hard worker and she had the luck of Job.  But she kept plugging away.   She was good at what she did and she was good to work with.

This past summer they discovered that she had a gliboblastoma, a brain cancer as ugly and cruel as it sounds.  About eight weeks ago she had an operation to remove the tumor, and they were able to get most, but not all.  Shortly after surgery, she had a stroke, and for the past seven weeks, bit by bit the cancer took its toll.

Former coworkers have kept me in the loop.  I knew that the end was near for her on Thursday of last week.

Now that the memorial service has been nailed down, Cookie is really torn about whether to just send condolences, or to go and grieve.

She was a good person.  She deserves this act of respect from me.  She earned it.  But frankly, Cookie is exhausted - mentally and physically from the past couple months, and another short range trip with hours of travel time isn't first on my hit parade.

Its an eight hour drive to get to the correct Ohio, then its another hour and a half from there to memorial service.

At the same time, I would feel very odd not being there.

I can get into the hotel that I love.  But there is an Ohio State game at home that weekend, and that means that all manner of idiots will be about.

But mostly, I am sick of going to funerals and memorial services for people who have cut down in life too young, damn it.

I have to ponder this, damn it.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

And then there was Rhonda...

This ad reminds me of one of my step mothers.

Cookie had many.

With a father who was married more times than Elizabeth Taylor Hilton Wilding Todd Fisher Burton Burton Warner Fortensky, its easy to get confused.

One of his wives was very nice.  Make that two.  Or was that second woman just a woman who was in and out of his life?  No, I think it was the second "Mary", Unibrow Mary, as we used to call her.

As I have said before it was a mind boggling parade of floozies.

But the "artiste" stood out.  Her name was Rhonda.  "Ronnie to my friends." She was very tall, had been a "dancer" and would brag about how she loved culture.

To one of my cousins she reported said "I just love, love the Boston Pops, Public Broadcasting, and - if I may - loved listening to the Longines Symphony when I was a child."

My cousin, having been born in 1938, was just a few years older than Ronnie at the time, and said "The Longines Symphonette?  Like on the radio?"

To which Ronnie answered "Yeah,I just imagine all those society people in the concert hall listening to them, like I was in my house."

My cousin hadn't the heart to tell her that the "Symphonette" was recorded in a studio and was an advertising gimmick.  "I didn't want to 'bust her bubbles, y'ah know?'"

Rhonda was also a lover of wigs.  In the three months that she was married to our father, I don't think anyone saw her real hair.

My mother met Rhonda once, at a school function when she came with my father.  "Cookie's dad wanted me to wait in the car.  And I said 'like a common dog?'"

It was an art open house and I remember my mother's response.  She turned her head to my father and raised her left eyebrow.  That was all.  My father turned red as raw meat.  

"Rhonda, there is nothing common about you," said my mother.  "Let's get you a cup of punch, right over here and chat..."

When it was time to leave, my mother shook Rhonda's hand and said that she enjoyed meeting her.  Rhonda, who was wearing what I have come to call her "hillbilly hair" (A woman's mullet down to her waist) smiled and said  "Yeah.  Me too."

In the car home my mother said "If your father's wife Hee Haw ever offers to drive you anywhere do not get in the car with her.  Is that understood?"


"Because, that's why."

Well, that opportunity never came to pass because Rhonda and my father went their separate ways when my father came home about a week later to find the silver gone, Rhonda's clothes gone, and a note, which I my mother told me "explained why she was leaving and signed in a lipstick kiss."

Why did she leave?

"Because, that's why."

Why did Dad tell you what was in the note.

"Because he did, that's why."

Sometime later, the divorce was final, and the silver reappeared.  And Rhonda was not spoken about, mainly because it was a matter of weeks before "Sharri" ("That's Shar-ri, with an i...") appeared, and the who cycle repeated itself.

Years later when my father was married to the last of wives, a miserable shrew who we call "Shark" (and who is still out there, somewhere, stalking her next piece of prey) we found one of Ronnie's wig cases.  Inside was a wig - brittle with age, and a rats nest of a mess.  I thought about keeping it, but what I do with it.  We also found a newspaper clipping, brown with age mentioning "Randy Ronnie" and naming a club in Cleveland's Short Vincent block.

I showed it to my mother, and she asked why I had kept it.

"Because, that's why."  

Saturday, October 22, 2016

I hate costume parties

The next door neighbors are having a Halloween Party a week from today, and I really am not in the mood.

It's been a rough year to begin with, and "fancy dress" parties are not my idea of a good time.  Maybe its my personality type, INFJ, or just being an introvert, but they overwhelm me.  Especially STRAIGHT costume parties.

At gay Halloween parties, all bets are off, as are the good taste sensors.  If this were a LGBT Party I could go out, buy a purple sweatshirt, run it through the wash with chlorine bleach to make it a lovely shade of Lavender, then write DYKE CHARM SCHOOL ADVISER with a black Sharpie on it.  Slap a couple pearl button earring and a fake pearl necklace and *BOOM*, done.

But at a straight party, a) No one would get it, or b) there would be an offense taken.   And since we have to live with these people, I can't run that risk.

My other issue is I can't shave off my goatee.  I have had one since 1985, and this incarnation has been on my face since 1991.

So, I have chosen to go as the most boring man alive, and second Presidential debate superstar, Ken Bone.  I'd only have to shave off the chin whiskers, I could keep the mustache, a red sweater and khakis.

Last year, the husband went as the next door neighbor's dog and won a prize.  But the dog has died, and it would be in bad taste to go in the same costume.  I though about spraying it down in snow like flocking, then he could go as the dog's ghost, but that would be in bad taste.

IN OTHER NEWS, guess who Cookie was grocery shopping with today?

United States Senator Babs Mikulski (D-MD)!  Well, we weren't shopping with her, but she was shopping when I was shopping, so we were shopping together in that sense, but we were on the same salad bar, and in the same check out line .  Babs, in my world she lets me, not you, call her Babs (to you she is "Senator")  is about 4'9" tall.  She's adorbs!  Anyhow I mentioned to Bab's that my friend Lori, from Massillion, worked for her in the eighties and we had a nice chat.

This goes on top of my meeting the man who will take her place after the upcoming election, Chris Van Hollen, last week at a neighbor's function.  Chris is a doll.

Add that to fact that the husband I hang out at the same neighborhood joint as former Maryland Governor Marty O'Malley, and Cookie is in the thick out of it.

So anyway, that's my check in for the moment.  

Sunday, October 16, 2016

This whole Donald Trump thing... really working Cookie's last nerve.  Really.

Now the Creep is sowing the seeds of a fixed election.   So now all of web toed cretins who support Trump, think Putin is dandy, are now willing to resort to violence to over throw any election result that doesn't put their man in the White House.  And that's treason.  And Cookie wants no part of that or them.

Well, of course its fixed - more people hate, despise, recoil and eschew him than support him.  In that sense, the election is fixed because the majority of voters refuse to elect him.

The man is simply repugnant, vile, off putting, smell and just plain gross.

And don't even get me started on his deformed penis.  You just know that he has one.  Shriveled up like a stale Cheetos.  Dripping something nasty and incurable.

He just makes you want to do one of two things:

1) Vomit



Damn it.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The weekend that Cookie had more Pussy than any time in his life

Well folks, Cookie has never done acid, but I would expect that the past 24 hours is as close to it as he'll ever get.

And, Cookie can honestly say that he has never had so much pussy.

And pussy is everywhere.  We all have been exposed to a whole lot of pussy, haven't we.  Not a question, it's a fact.

I can't get away from pussy.  Every place I turn is pussy.  Pussy in the papers.  Pussy on the Internet.  Pussy on network TV.

Can you fucking believe it?

Talk about surreal.

While Cookie is one not to say I told you so, but I did tell you so.  People like Donald Trump cannot help but shoot themselves in the foot.  They are so enamored with the dulcet tones of their own voices that they just can't shut their yaps up.  And when it comes to talking about something you love as much as pussy, well, the Donald cannot be expected to contain himself.

There is a down side to all this pussy.   Kind of ruin's Donald Trump's chances of being president.  Doesn't it.

And I know how we feel about that.

You just know that Angela Merkel is breathing a sigh of relief.  Can you imagine Donald Trump on their first meeting - not reaching out to shake her hand - but popping a few Tic Tacs in his mouth and then making a grab for pussy?

Sure, he's got absurdly small hands, but that just meant that when he would have reached out and made a grab for that British Prime Minister Theresa May's pussy that he would have had to exhibit some finesse.

And that is something Donald Trump has shown us he has in spades.  Finesse.  You could hear it in his voice when talked about Nancy O'Dell's furniture needs:

Trump: "Yeah, I'll show her some furniture."

Now we did not see him doing anything when he said that, but we heard the people on the bus make that WHOOOA sound, so you know that those pussy grabbing hands made a grab at his crotch.

Cookie has heard a penis called many things, but never "furniture".  That's a new one on Cookie.

And I just can't imagine his first meeting with Queen Elizabeth when he makes a grab for her pussy.  He'll already be bent over in a deep bow.

Not only that, but the makers of Tic Tac's are now begging for us to forget the connection between Trumps mouth and his appetite for Va-gee-gee.

However Mentos is just thankful that Trump never discovered that they were the Fresh-maker.

All in all, there are twenty-seven world leaders who are women, and they are all shaking their heads at the stupidity of some American's for backing this boob.  And they are all thanking their God that he'll never make a grab for their genitals, or ask them for a Tic Tac.

And who would have thought in the 2016 election that Billy Bush would be THE Bush in this election.

Finally, there is my new hero on the Right, Ana Navarro.  Ana Navarro is a take no shit, take no prisoners breath of fresh air.  She put Scottie Nell Hughes in her place. And bless her for taking the word pussy away from men and giving women the right to say it.  Damn, now that's a woman I can get behind.

Friday, October 7, 2016

First Class Cold

Well, you may have been wondering what Cookie has been doing.

To be honest, not much. I have come down with the cold that you get after flying.  Bother.

Monday I went to the doctor and he seemed concerned, but declared it NOT a sinus infection, but a common cold.  He did give a flu shot, which made me feel miserable for a day.  But I saw the doctor.  That's the point. I am on the road to Wellville.

Every cold follows this pattern: day one, tickle in your throat; day two, runny nose: day three, stuffed up head; day four, cough in your throat; day five fits of coughing - and - days 6 through 30 fits of coughing that do nothing for you.

Based on this calendar, I am on day five.

And oh, the good news just keeps rolling in.  (Blogger needs a sarcastic font.)

A friend from high school died from liver failure.  He wasn't a drinker or drug user, but they think it might have been hepatitis.  Anyway, he ignored the symptoms thinking it would go away and by the time he got to the doctor he was too far gone treatment or transplant.

Look folks, if something is wrong with you, for God's sake go to the doctor.  Failing to do so isn't going to result in it clearing up on its own.  Save yourself.  If not for you, for the people who love you.

Now if you will excuse me, I am going to slather Vick's Vapo Rub on the bottoms of my feet - its the only thing that stops the coughing.  

Saturday, October 1, 2016

That Commuter Train Wasn't the Only Thing That Went off the Rails Yesterday

If you are a regular follower of this blog, then you know that I have lost my lost my mother in 2010, my father in law in 2014, and my mother in law in 2016.

Last week, it was my brother.

Then, four days later, our sister in law (widow of the Husband's late brother) lost her brother to cancer.

Yesterday, my mother in law's beloved dog Chloe died.  Chloe had been living with my sister in law.  She was a lovely dog, loveable on so many levels.

Today, Cookie is sitting in the Delta Sky Club in an airport waiting out a three hour layover to get home.  I am recovering from yesterday's funeral for brother, and I am drinking like a fish.  What do I care, it's free.

Yesterday started out as it should.  People dressed for the funeral, my sister in law's family members were there - they are from the west coast.  Cookie's family was represented myself and Older Brother.
Because we were raised Jewish, Sister in Law arranged for a "Rabbi" to do the funeral in conjunction with her church's minister.

Before said funeral, we met the minister and the rabbi who was wearing a cowboy hat, who seemed nice enough.  But the Rabbi was wearing a cowboy hat.  Both Cookie and older brother wanted to speak, so we introduced ourselves.

Right after introducing himself by name, said Cowboy Rabbi identified himself as a Messianic Rabbi.  
Now for those of you who don't get the American Jewish "thing", in a nutshell, we work out of the old testament, with three main schisms (in order of adherence to the Torah, which is Orthodox (the most), Conservative (the middle ground) and Reform (the most liberal).  Notice I didn't say Messianic.  That's because to a Jew, the Messiah hasn't come.   To Messianic Jews, Jesus is the Messiah.  Think Jews for Jesus.

And do you think that Cookie grew up in a Jews for Jesus household?

Oh, Hell no.

So the minute after he said that he was Messianic Rabbi, the trolley into the unknown started down the tracks.  And where it stopped, not I, my older brother or our East Coast Niece (ECN) knew for sure.

Jewish funerals are simple and short.  A prayer, the life eulogy, eulogies from those who knew the deceased, a closing prayer followed by seven days of being told to eat.

We made it through the eulogies - Cookie managed to "keep it together" until the end of the eulogy when I wept, and hard.

That was when Messianic Cowboy Rabbi took Cookie into a bear hug and announced that the eulogy I gave was the most loving that he had ever heard.

At that moment, Cookie, Older Brother, ECN and her husband knew that the funeral train was about to go off the tracks in spectacular fashion.

What followed was twenty minutes of ranting and preaching and personal testimony from Cowboy Rabbi about how he and father and mother came to know "Jesus."

We were forced to listen about his father's death, his mother's death, his underground belief in the Messiah, "Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ."  He shrieked into the microphones, stomped his cowboy boot, slapped his thigh.  He was so consumed with the spirit that I could have sworn Billy Sunday was back from the dead.

Between his yelling and weeping, we all became very uncomfortable.  It was so personal that it caused Older Brother to turn around and say "I wasn't aware that this service was about Cowboy Rabbi

I answered back "Maybe should should bill him for the therapy session."

Finally, ECN got up, went to the pastor at her mother's church, who reeled in Cowboy Rabbi, who apologized for being moved by the Holy Spirit.

Cookie is convinced that had he been left to his devices, snakes would have been brought out for us to handle.

Finally, when it was over.  I went outside and had a good scream.

I wish I would have had the presence of mind to get my iPhone out and tape his ramblings, but I was so shocked by his denouncement of LGBT rights that I just sat there controlling my rage.

When West Coast Niece, WCN, came out she looked visibly shaken.

"Now I know why Dad didn't want a memorial service."

I had to get out of there and left to go back to my hotel and a shower.

So now I sit in an airport lounge, in Salt Lake City, wondering if any of these people would have felt different.  Or if they would have sat enthralled while Cowboy Rabbi gave his testimony.  Or would they have been as appalled as I was.

Right before I left the funeral home, Cowboy Rabbi came up for another cringe worth hug.

Where are you from, he asked.

I told him and he said "Really, I am headed that way.  Maybe I will look you up."

"You do that, partner," I said.

Yes, you just try it.