Not Again



On this winter day when Donald Trump seems to be in line to win his first primary along with his GOP opponents not being able to twist the truth around enough for their liking….. Amid all the vitriol about OUR president (whom I admire and respect) and our country being told to recreate the past, I would like to gently chime in about this moment.

I was brought up by a mother who has insisted we live in the present. No time for nostalgia. No time for looking ahead too far. That means that as much as she loves the house she has lived in since she was four, that she has little emotional attachment to her home. It means as much as you miss all who have gone, it is essential to make new young friends all the time.

It also means - that as good as things might have been in America before this moment, that we are so much better off right now than ever before. We do not have to recreate what once was. We are living in a moment with the most extraordinary opportunities ever.

We can appreciate our global community in ways that are more human and allow us to be more connected than ever, and that is good.

We can welcome all immigrants to our shores as we are all immigrants, and that is good.

A tall, beautiful, incredibly talented young African American man is leading his southern team to the Super Bowl with grace and confidence - and that is good.

The climate is changing and anyone who allows themselves to acknowledge those scientific truths is changing their behavior and agreeing to protect our planet, and that is good.

Gay couples can come out safely and marry and raise children and that is good.

Women can stand up and demand equal pay, and that is good.

Education and healthcare are on the table as an equal right, not a privilege - and that is good.

We have tools to create our personal histories and share them in so many inspiring ways, and that is good.

Our children are being inspired to create a world where we all respect each other and treat each other with dignity, and that is good.

There is still plenty of ugliness going on - but I still believe in manners. If we can stick with the truth, treat others with respect, and maybe open the doors for each other - I think this moment holds more hope than any single moment in the past. At least that is how I am voting.

"Make America Great AGAIN" No thanks.

Life in the Middle

_W4Q0737 I am not one to tell anyone how to parent, we all do our best - but I try  to point my boys in the right direction and teach them to dare.   I don’t put words in their mouths.  When you ask either of my children what my job is, they will say, “to protect me.”     That is not to say I am not cleaning up a spill or watching disasters in progress.   Just feels so much better when they make their own decisions - often right, sometimes wrong.  Learning from mistakes seems more important than never stepping on a crack.  I am there to protect, not to punish mistakes.

There is this famous scene from the great Harold Lloyd movie, Speedy (1928).     Lloyd goes with his girlfriend on a ride in Coney Island where everyone crowds into the center, the ride starts to spin and the goal is to remain in the middle.   To add to the challenge, there is a wild crab biting everyone in the ass.  I watched that scene with my son, Asher early Saturday morning, and for the rest of the weekend it kept resonating.

Heard from a friend who is having a really rough time.    It is hard out there, and it feels like when things are hardest,  and spinning really fast, you are getting bit in the ass the whole time.   Everything has changed.  It is supposed to change.  We are supposed to evolve and be challenged.  Still.   We need bridges between success and the next step.   Creatives foolishly struggle with the idea of savings.   When your greatest value is your own confidence and inspiration each day, it is hard to relate to how important money is, let alone how to hit the bottom and climb back up.   A lot of us got spoiled in the glory days of NY media.   Read about Kevin Sessums in the Times on Sunday where Tina Brown announced the obvious: “those days are gone.”  People who have lots of money never talk about it.   People who are really struggling can hardly talk about anything else.

Stephie always says the work leads to the work.  She is ALWAYS right.  Especially during transitions.    The work keeps you alive.  The works forces you to explore.  The work can astonish you and bring you to tears.  The work can destroy the biggest wall looming right in front of you.      The work got you here, the work will take you where you need to go. The work gets you in this little car that uses almost no gas and takes you over the bridge. The work is sometimes very generous, and sometimes pays with just a bowl of soup.   Hopefully the ingredients for that soup have just been picked from the field, mixed with herbs and spices, then drizzled with rich olive oil and dill flowers.

I think we need to find a way to support friends who need us without humiliation.   If  you admit failure, even temporarily, will your pond forever be polluted? Financially.   How is that going to work?  Can we kickstart friend’s lives?

I listened to this Fresh Air interview with NY Times reporter, Sabrina Tavernise in the middle of the night.    She talks about how the middle disappears during wartime and all you are left with are the radicals on either side. All the thinkers who consider the big picture take off. If you have time to listen to this interview, follow it to the end.  The final story is remarkable.

Once I was on a private plane from Cleveland to Chicago with some people who fly on the far right.   One of them lambasted me for considering both sides of an issue.  “You are either on one side or the other” he insisted.    “The middle is the place this country of ours has no future.”

He was wrong.   The middle is where we can all share this planet peacefully.  The middle is where you can help your friends get over that bridge.  The middle is the sweet spot Harold Lloyd was the last one to abandon.   The middle is where we meet our opponents to flip a coin.  The middle is where our children see our examples and learn to dare.

A friend was sending his oldest son off to fight in the Israeli army today and I wrote:  “What a beautiful young man Alon has grown into. Stay strong. Be safe. Peace must be somewhere on this earth. Find it.”





We moved for the 4th time in 2 years. Finally settling into a neighborhood in Boulder that feels as much like home as when I was growing up in Pittsburgh.

Two yellow sneakers found each other.

I bought them 6 years ago in this tiny shoe shop behind the great Dr. Sharshuka’s just north of Tel Aviv in Jaffa. The owner designed the shoes and had them made just for him in Spain. Then visiting the shop on a trip 2 summers ago, the first thing the owner said when I walked in was, “I have one pair left in your size. Are you okay with yellow?”

It reminded me of a morning years ago at the Museum of Modern Art in NY. I had a pass to get into a huge Matisse retrospective before the hordes of crowds descended. I was alone in these galleries filled with paintings that were all made in the same studio at the same time years ago, then scattered all over the world. I felt like I was interfering with their time to catch up.

“Where are you living? The Hermitage? Where is that?”

“ I live in this living room in NY, the owner has long fingernails and plays guitar. Hardly anyone visits me. It is really lonely.”

“Oh man, I have to smile all the time at tons and tons of people. My jaws hurt”

This was being hurriedly whispered in French before any of the visitors came in the MOMA galleries. Retrospectives are all about art having a reunion.

Which gets us back to all our stuff.

I love when our stuff gets all piled up and moved. When shoes that have gotten separated for years find their mate. When the cloth cover for the challah on Shabbat reappears now that we have a gluten free home. When the only thing you really care about are the pictures and the art. The rest is stuff.

For years I have had a two sweater a year rule. I love sweaters, so holding the line is a good idea. Each winter I would only allow myself to buy two sweaters, but I bought really good ones. After a dozen years, I had 2 dozen really nice sweaters. More than I needed. None I could let go of. So they all moved.

Along with all the other stuff.