Tag Archives: Christmas

Leo DiCaprio and I Are Both Revenants

Leonardo Dicaprio Revenant


If you would have told me that a week before Christmas, I’d be imbibing with my ex-boyfriend’s ex-wife, while sitting on the edge of her bathtub in a bathroom in her townhouse in suburban New Jersey, while watching her apply make-up and do up her hair before meeting her boyfriend, I would have said that there was a better chance of finding out that I was adopted and that my biological parents were Gladys Knight and any one of the Pips.

I sat on the edge of the tub and we chatted about hair products, and the kids. I laughed quietly to myself because I felt like I was eight years old, watching my mom ready herself for a night on the town. I used to hang out with her mainly because I was avoiding going downstairs, knowing that my brother was walking around with his underwear on his head trying to shock the babysitter.

Drinking Pinot Grigio while talking to the ex-wife’s reflection in the mirror was just another surreal moment in a scroll length list of surreal moments that had occurred over the last two years since her ex-husband and I broke up.

Most people can’t get their heads around the fact that I’ve continued to nurture my relationships with the Girlfriend Mom kids but then when I tell them that I’ve rock climbed, and broken bread with their mother, the ex-wife, they’re positively flummoxed and judgy.

I was hesitant reaching out to her years ago. Some of it was out of loyalty to my ex, and some of it was fear. I never had an ex-wife in my life and I wasn’t exactly sure how that dance went; or what to wear.  

Then it slowly occurred to me that I didn’t owe anybody anything, loyalty or otherwise, and I had to do what was right for me and my quest for keeping those that I loved in my life, no matter what the cost, or how scared I was.

This quest was a bit like the one Leo DiCaprio takes in his recent movie, Revenant. Stay with me here.

Leo plays a fur trapper, and when he’s attacked by a bear, he’s left to die by his own hunting team. While I’m no fur trapper (nor was I attacked by a bear and left to rot) a part of me died after my break-up, leaving me alone to find a way to maintain my relationship with my team member’s kids. Leo and I were both explorers as we discovered new land. I was a friggin’ pioneer on my expedition.

Along our journey, Leo and I both found ourselves navigating uncharted territory under harsh conditions. My conditions were more of the emotional variety, while his included swimming in icy rivers and eating raw bison liver. You say tomato, I say tomahto.

He had to cauterize his wounds, which I’m sure was awfully painful. However, my unimaginable grief, and betrayal was no less painful. Thankfully no burning of flesh was necessary.

What kept me going (like Leo) was sheer will. In my case, I also had the love of two kids. It was a question of survival for both Leo and myself, and our determination to thrive. I can’t speak for him, as I haven’t seen the movie, but I sure as hell have thrived.

One of the definitions of a revenant is that of a sentient being returning from the dead with the goal of terrorizing the living. An ex-wife and an ex-girlfriend are talking in a bathroom. That could be terrorizing to some, no? Muahahaha buahahaha.

My Segregated Apartment Lobby Redux

The holiday decorations are up once again. I didn’t think it was possible, but the powers that be have stuck it to the Latke bunch once again.

December 2013

My Segregated Apartment Lobby Redux





December 2014

My Segregated Apartment lobby






Therefore last year’s post still applies. Unfortunately.

I walked into the lobby of my apartment building, and was visually assaulted by the following display. The separation couldn’t have been clearer or louder.

I almost laughed. Almost. I wanted to scream, “You’re kidding, right?” Doesn’t anyone else find this offensive? Does anyone else see the crude metaphor?

Clearly Mr. Silverstein, of Silverstein Properties, doesn’t partake in the decorating plans for his building. Most likely he’s too busy buying up more of New York. I wonder what he would say to this gross example of Jews v. Christians.

Separation. Why? Isn’t this what’s wrong in the world? Where is the inclusion and togetherness? Instead, I see, ‘You’re people in that corner, and youse people in the other.’

Jewish props on the right, everyone else on the left. Perhaps I’m being oversensitive, but what the hell. Unless I’m standing in line, at will-call, outside a theater, and there’s another line for ticket purchases, I don’t want to be directed to one side of anything.

Would it have been so difficult to combine the two religious and cultural paraphernalia? Can we not show the wide range of tenant beliefs in an apartment lobby? Why not put that ginormous Menorah alongside the ginormous plastic tree; the flames aren’t real, so no chance of a burning bush happening.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we promoted acceptance and tolerance with Christmas trees and Dreidels, living side by side in peace and harmony.

This is New York City, the largest melting pot this side of the Mississsippi. Why encourage divisiveness? To add insult to injury, there’s a carpet runner that extends from the front desk to the front door, acting as a low pile dividing line.

Since Channukah came butt early this year, why couldn’t the Festival of Lights have some solo stage time and then bring in the tinsel and glass ball part of the show.

I give up. I’m only one person. Even if I threw myself on the low pile carpet runner in protest, I doubt that it would do any good. Instead, I think I’ll use the backdoor.

Nicely done Silverstein.


My Apartment Lobby Has Been Ghettoized

I walked into the lobby of my apartment building the other day, only to be visually assaulted by the following display(s).


Xmas_RiverPlaceThe separation couldn’t have been clearer and louder. I almost laughed. I wanted to say (out loud) “You’re kidding right?” Does anyone else find this offensive? Does anyone else see the crude metaphor?

Clearly Mr. Silverstein of Silverstein Properties (the owner of my building) doesn’t partake in holiday decorations or he’s too busy buying up more New York real estate. I wonder what he would say to this gross example of Jews and Christians.

SEPARATION. Why? This is what’s wrong in the world? Where’s the inclusion and togetherness? Instead it’s, ‘You’re people in that corner, and youse people in the other.’ Perhaps I’m taking this too seriously, but what the hell, it’s the holiday season. Hey Jewish people, you’re props are on the right, everyone else bear left. When someone directs me to one side of anything, I naturally feel segregated, singled out, and as if I’m going to be getting on a specific train that those fortunate souls on the left side are not. Okay, maybe that was a bit dramatic. Maybe not.

Would it be so fucking hard to combine the two religious and cultural paraphernalia? Can we not show a congregation of different beliefs? Why not put that ginormous Menorah alongside the ginormous plastic tree; the flames aren’t real, so no chance of a burning bush happening.

Isn’t this what we’re all fighting for, a collective consciousness. Wouldn’t it be nice if we promoted acceptance and tolerance, where Christmas trees and Dreidels lived alongside one another in peace and harmony.

This is New York City for crying out loud. The largest melting pot this side of the Mississsippi. Where’s the friggin’ brotherly love? Why would my lobby want to encourage divisiveness? To add insult to injury, there’s also a carpet runner that extends from the front desk to the front door, acting as a low pile dividing line.

What if a resident celebrates both holidays? What if they come from a mixed marriage or a blended family? What box are they supposed to throw their dry goods donation in? Why make people choose?

Not for nothing but since Channukah came butt early this year, why couldn’t the Festival of Lights have some solo stage time and then bring in the tinsel and glass ball part of the show.

Is there something more sinister going on in my building? Do I need to watch my back? And my front? The scene in my lobby does not scream Happy Holidays. Instead, it reminds me of every long car trip that my brother and I ever took. “Stay on your own side or I’ll hurt you.”

Nicely done Silverstein.



What Are You Buying Your Child For Christmas?

One of the most frustrating and annoying things about being a Girlfriend Mom (and there are many) is the part in the show where my objections for this thing or that thing, falls on deaf ears.

My boyfriend bought his son, against all of my concerned and acute protestations, a mini Cross Bow complete with arrows as well as an automatic pocket knife for Christmas. Ho, Ho, are you friggin kidding me?! When we first laid eyes on these delicious and safe items at the trashiest flea market in the state of New Jersey a few months back, it took my boyfriend several attempts to even activate the automatic spring which opens the switchblade. His son couldn’t do it at all. But definitely buy it for him. Maybe he’ll mangle one of his fingers so he’ll never play the violin again. He doesn’t actually play the violin but isn’t my boyfriend going to feel like a sack of shit if one Spring day his son decides that he wants to learn but now he can’t because he only has three fingers!

Oh, and my boyfriend informs me that the knife is self cocking. You know what else is going to be self cocking? That’s right, you and your eight fingers because in teaching your son how to work the goddamn knife, chances are you’re going to slice off some of your own fingers in the process (I saw how nimble you were at the store) and I’m boycotting your stupid and irresponsible purchases by denying you any and all forms of cocking.

The child is fourteen and we live at the beach. What for fuck sake is he hunting that he needs a Cross Bow, mini or otherwise? When did a Cross Bow become a toy? When I was a kid, it was called Archery and I learned how to work a bow and arrow in summer camp. Come to think of it, we also took Riflery. I was nine. Okay, maybe that wasn’t such a good idea. The point it, I was supervised. What the hell happened to Nerf? I can just see my boyfriend’s son and his little friends taking target practice at each other (because they saw it on Tosh.O or Jack Ass ) or at poor innocent Bambi.

I am apoplectic over this. It doesn’t matter what I say because my opinions mean diddly squat. When I asked my boyfriend what possessed him to buy these weapons, that he had refused to get the last two times we were all at the skank mart, (I have got to stay home from now on) he said that he got them because his son really wanted them. I had a fit. Kids want guns and fast cars, does that mean that you buy them a suped up turbo charged Maserati and put a Glock in the glove compartment next to their AAA membership card? I told him that he’s not his son’s friend, and that I didn’t think this was good parenting. I was working on instinct folks because as you know, I don’t have children of my own, and I don’t know how this shit works. I thought he was being irresponsible. He didn’t flinch. I felt proactively ignored by him and swept into a corner. Wait for it. All together now, “And no one puts Dani in a corner.”

I have no idea what other couples do when one parent wants to buy something for their child that the other parent (or Girlfriend Mom) thinks could kill them, an innocent bystander or a raccoon. But unlike other parents, who supposedly have equal say in what they put in the hands of their children, I do not have that luxury. I am not one half of the dynamic parent duo. I am not the biological mother. I am not a Stepmom. I have a voice but my boyfriend can decide whether he wants to listen to that voice, because he will ultimately have the final say. And those them there are the facts.

I do not like being ignored, nor do I like to feel less than. But this is when I must let go, because it is beyond my control, and ultimately it is not my responsibility. My boyfriend will take responsibility for his actions, and it’ll be between he and his ex-wife. I wonder how she’ll feel about her son acting out The Hunger Games in her back yard.


"Holy Menorah Moshe"

In honor of the first night of Chanukah, which begins tomorrow, I’m re-posting this adorable tale from last year. I know it borders on lazy, but I’ve got Latke’s to make and Gelt to buy. And it’s not like anything has changed. It’s as timely now as it was 12 months ago. Sad. But true. L’Chaim.

I live in a small beach town in New Jersey and the holiday season is upon us, as evidenced by Christmas trees strapped to car roofs, and strings of lights on every friggin thing that’s not moving. I get it. But what seems to be forgotten is that this holiday season also includes Chanukah. Or that kickass of all Jewish holidays, ‘the festival of lights’. All I know is that as a kid it meant eight guaranteed presents! It’s a cliche but, compared to the pomp and pageantry of Christmas, the festival of lights kind of blows.

However, as an adult, I’ve come to dig the ceremonial candle lighting, now that I finally understand the meaning of Chanukah (it was lost on me until I had to explain it to my boyfriend’s son) And now, as the Girlfriend Mom, I spread the guaranteed eight presents tradition to the kids. Who’s their best Jewish friend now? My boyfriend’s son lights the candles, and it touches me. Deep down now I know that he does it because the matches and fire ignites his inner pyromaniac.

Where was I? Oh, yeah, my beach town. Lawn decorations are in abundance, as are those on porches and in storefronts. Those Christians sure do love ginormous inflatable Santas and nativity scenes. And god bless. If someone wants to inflate a baby Jesus, who am I to judge. I do not live in a Jewish neighborhood, although there is a teeny tiny temple tucked away between two teeny tiny streets, that was all but invisible until Hurricane Sandy took down some very large trees. Lo and behold, there is a Temple in my quaint little beach town. But my question is, would it be too much to ask to see just one inflatable Menorah?

People’s own homes are one thing, to each his, or her, own, but what about in public stores and restaurants? It feels strange not to see Menorah’s in the windows, or a friggin’ Dreidel. It’s unfair, especially since Chanukah usually starts before Christmas (as it does this year) or overlaps with Christmas, as it did last year. There’s a Jewish deli on one of the corners in town, and there’s bubkis in the window.

All holidays should get equal stage time.

Full disclosure. Accepting a Christmas tree and decorations in the house where I live with my Portuguese lover has been a process. Truth be told, from a style and taste perspective, I’m not a fan of standard fair tree ornaments or holiday pillows. I do like the lights, though.

Further disclosure. We, my Jewish family and I, used to celebrate Christmas. We were those reformed Jewish families that you might have heard about. We lived in a two bedroom apartment and my dad always brought home a tree, whose top branches brushed the ceiling. I never questioned this and I certainly didn’t question the Christmas presents under the tree. These were in addition to the eight Chanukah presents. Of course some of those Chanukah presents were things like, socks, gum, saline solution for our contact lenses, pencils, and film for our Instamatic cameras. You know, the fun stuff.

As the years marched on, our humungoid Christmas tree was downsized to a Chanukah bush. I never really understood that. The bush part I mean. Like a burning bush? Unbeknownst to me and my brother, daddio was slowly finding his Jewish roots, and we were slowly losing our Christian Christmas. If you were to ask my mom why we celebrated Christmas, she’d say that it was never a religious celebration but rather an opportunity to decorate. And wrap. The woman is an expert gift wrapper.

Away went the glass balls, that would break if you breathed on them the wrong way, and the tinsel. Gone were untangling the lights to be hung around the tree, that often brought about cursing, and stomping out of the living room screaming, “Why are we doing this? We’re Jewish!”

Out with the old, in with the artsy and whimsical ornaments, usually made out of wood, or clay. We had moved to a bucolic country town, and my mom thought that stringing popcorn and ornaments made by the Amish were less ‘Chistmassy’. She was in friggin denial.

By the time I was in college, Christmas consisted of stacking presents in an antique rod iron  sleigh. Mom was channeling her country chic-ness. My dad had had enough of trees and bushes. It didn’t feel right celebrating Christmas, so we found our way back to a Menorah, and only a Menorah.

Cut to present day. My brother married an Italian and Scottish woman, and my nephews now celebrate Christmas, just like my brother and I did when we were their age. And now I celebrate Christmas (just the decorating part) with my boyfriend and his kids. It’s an ongoing process of acceptance, in spite of my upbringing.

This is what couples do, right. I’m sure Katie Morosky and Hubbell Gardner (“The Way We Were”) celebrated Christmas and Chanukah. Of course they ended up divorcing, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t over a game of Spin the Dreidel.

If I can light the candles in my new bicycle Menorah, then my boyfriend can hang his climbing Santa, that rings, sings, rattles and shakes. Because we’re practicing tolerance and love here.