Angst on a Shoestring

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


So This is Christmas..

"so this is Christmas
and what have you done
another year over
a new one just begun"

When I hear John Lennon's Happy Christmas (War is Over) it gets me to take personal inventory. As sappy as it sounds, it does make me think how good I have it. The first time I heard Band-Aid's Do They Know it's Christmas? I actually got my father to take me out to buy it. Talk about a shocker.

As I got older and more jaded, stirring those feelings of wonder became harder for me. But I always made sure to put money in the kettles and give to charities. Now that we have a child, we've been stepping up our commitments to others. This year, we did take a break with my DH on disabilty and my flagging stamina. Usually we're delivering food or packing meals. Buying gifts for Operation Santa.

So here's some ideas if you'll looking to make a difference.

Keep A Child Alive helps deliver ARV (antiretroviral medicines) and treatments to children with HIV/AIDS in Africa.

The Salvation Army has been at the forefront when it comes to comforting those in need.

HungersiteThe Hunger Site along with the other organizations under their umbrella, help by feeding people, teaching literacy and providing health care.

Heifer International is probably the most commonsense approach to helping a community thrive. Besides, where else can you give a gift of bees and be considered a hero?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Oh No, It's Christmas, Again..

Well Gentle Blog Reader, whether you like it or not, the holidays are upon us. Who the hell thought 24 hour programming of "Holiday Favorites" was a great idea? I always wondered about the suicide rate and if it increases. And being Jewish there's not a whole lot of "Holiday Favorites" for my people. The Dreidel Song hardly makes up for it. I do however have some interesting choices for Christmas music on my iTunes list.

I was raised Catholic and converted when I married my dear beleaguered hubby. So he's not really nostalgic about being excited about Santa, or straining to hear sleighbells and hooves pawing on the roof.

Christmas brings about a lot of mixed feelings for me. The past 20 years or so, I felt like I was overcompensating somehow to gain approval from my parents. I would buy all sorts of great things and the reaction from them was less than overwhelming. So the older I got, and since I was now in my own home and away from them, we buy much less. What do you buy for the people that have everything and appreciate nothing? (believe me, I could write volumes about this subject alone)

I do feel pangs of guilt when it involves The Boy. He gets Christmas and Hanukkah gifts. And my inlaws do make him feel very wanted and loved. When I take him to my parents house, well, I've been to more livelier wakes.

So folks, if the holidays depress you and lord knows it gets to me, do something for someone else. Volunteer at places that serve meals for the homeless, take new toys to a shelter, deliver meals to the homebound. Cause as low as you may feel, as lost and hopeless as you think you are, there's always someone that needs your help.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005



georgejohnGeorge and John's shared taste for the absurd.

As I was thinking of something to write, I noticed that December 1st was the 4th anniversary of George Harrison's death and John Lennon's 25th anniversary of his murder is December 8th. The Boy is very into the Beatles and into their solo works as well. So bearing this in mind, permit me, Gentle BlogReader, to re-post a memory from my other now defunct blog.

Wednesday, December 05, 2001
Our son Alex is a seasoned Beatles fan.
At 3, he knows which one is singing, who plays what instrument,
who is the smart one, the cute one, etc. He likes to come into my office to visit, and his favorite toys are my McFarlane dolls of the Fab Four from The Yellow Submarine.
Who he chooses to play with, brings an assortment of questions:
"Where's Paul, mommy?"
"Oh probably somewhere in England."
"Paul plays guitar mommy?"
"Paul plays bass guitar, yes Alex."
"Where's Ringo? He have rings, like the big one they wanted in da movie?"
'Yes honey."
"Where he at?"
"He's probably touring with his band."
"Hey Mommy."
"Yes Alex?'
"Where George at? What he doing? "
"Oh, he's not been feeling so good honey." ( this changed from a bad man hurt him)
"Mommy. (The question I dreaded was coming)
"Yes Alex?"
"Where John?"
" John's not with us anymore. John's in Heaven, Alex."

So I made the choice to tell him some of the truth..That a very sick man hurt him and John didn't make it.
But we still have his music to enjoy and he's always alive when he think about him or listen to him or watch him in movies and on TV.

Come Friday morning, Alex the frequent midnight visitor to our bed, is huddled between us and the cats.
The alarm goes off and KYW tells us George passed away. I felt a twitch deep inside. Not the same sense of loss when Lennon was killed. More of a feeling of he's not in pain anymore. Alex stirred awake.

"Yes Alex? You awake now?"
"Mommy, who died mommy?"
"George honey. Remember mommy and daddy said he was very very sick. Well it was his time to go hon."
"He died."
"Yes Ali, he died."
"Bad man didn't hurt him..why he die?"
"Well Alex, sometimes people get very sick, sometimes they get better. But sometimes they don't. It's part of that whole circle of life thing we've talked about, member?"

He nods and props his chin on my chest while I stroked his hair.

"Yea Alex"
"George go to Heaven."
"Yes, he did honey."
"Hey Mommy."
"John in Heaven?"
"I would think so, Ali."
"Then he be with his friend! They be together..All day"

With that he slides off the bed and torments my husband in the bathroom.

I quote my friend and officemate Denise here:
John was ripped from us, George floated to the ground.

Denise and I have frequent girl giggle sessions about watching A Hard Days Night as kids and as women. We both were more attracted to John and George than Paul or Ringo. One of my favorite scenes in AHDN is when George is being interviewed by that teen show, hosted by Susan the trendsetter. I loved seeing it when it was at the Ritz on the big screen again. Those big dark eyes flashing on screen.

I always felt George had the ability to laugh at himself more so then the others. Rent The Rutles out to see what I mean.

I've been listening to various Beatles, Rutles, offshoots since Friday.

We can also take a lesson in grace from George. He accepted his fate and though he fought a good fight, he opened his arms to death and a change of worlds. I cried while I read about his Last Supper with Paul and Ringo, how they laughed and recanted stories from their shared history.

Thanks for letting me write this out. The Beatles as a group and as individuals have always been a part of my life. They were my musical point of entry.