Key Karma

Image c/o Bill’s Lock & Key

Did you know February 14-20, 2021 was Random Acts of Kindness Week?

I was the lucky and happy recipient of a recent act of kindness!

On a recent drive from New Jersey to Maryland, Hubby used his own set of keys to drive my car. It’s habit for me to grab my keys when leaving the house, so there I was with an extra set “just in case.” We don’t usually bring our dog Lucy, but decided she’d join us on this adventure.

We stopped at a rest stop in NJ where Hubby and I took turns escorting Lucy to “do her business.” Habit again–approaching my car, I took my keys out, but then stuck them in my coat pocket when I remembered they weren’t needed. Lucy didn’t love the hand-off, and practically pulled me off my feet trying to follow Hubby inside the rest stop. I bet you can guess where this is going.

It wasn’t until we reached Maryland that I realized my keys were missing! We re-traced steps and searched the car to no avail. I called the only place we’d stopped on the road and–guess what?--my keys were at the rest stop! The manager had them in his possession and would be working the next day at the same time we’d be driving back to NJ.

A woman had found them in the parking lot and turned them in! An act of kindness for sure! We surmised that when Lucy anxiously tried following Hubby, my keys fell out of my coat pocket. The woman left her contact info because she had the foresight to remove one of the car key fobs. Her intention was to turn that car key into a dealer who would then locate the car’s owner–us! Wasn’t that above and beyond?

On our return trip home, two things happened. The first is that we retrieved my keys. Whew! The second is that we found out the name of the thoughtful woman and–hon, get this--her last name is same last name as my oldest childhood friend and one of my dearest friends in New Jersey! Isn’t that an interesting coincidence?

So, shout out to good karma, random acts of kindness and thoughtful people!

And SHOUT OUT to Stephanie Brenner for stopping at the rest stop, finding my keys, turning them in, and mailing me the other car key fob! THANK YOU!

Hon, have you been been the recipient of a random act of kindness? Have you been the kind person? I’d love to hear about it.

Humorous Contradictory Covid-19 Rules

I actually squealed when I found out The Book House in Millburn received a shipment of puzzles!

These “Covid-19 Rules” made me laugh. Shout out to my neighbor, Risha Walden of Walden Interiors for posting these on a local email chain.

The Covid-19 Rules:

1. Basically, you can’t leave the house for any reason, but if you have to, then you can.
2. Masks are useless, but maybe you have to wear one, it can save you, it is useless, but maybe it is mandatory as well.
3. Stores are closed, except those that are open.
4. You should not go to hospitals unless you have to go there. Same applies to doctors, you should only go there in case of emergency, provided you are not too sick.
5. This virus is deadly but still not too scary, except that sometimes it actually leads to a global disaster.
6. Gloves won’t help, but they can still help.
7. Everyone needs to stay HOME, but it’s important to GO OUT.
8. There is no shortage of groceries in the supermarket, but there are many things missing when you go there in the evening, but not in the morning. Sometimes.
9. The virus has no effect on children except those it affects.
10. Animals are not affected, but there is still a cat that tested positive in Belgium in February when no one had been tested, plus a few tigers here and there…
11. You will have many symptoms when you are sick, but you can also get sick without symptoms, have symptoms without being sick, or be contagious without having symptoms. Oh, my..
12. In order not to get sick, you have to eat well and exercise, but eat whatever you have on hand and it’s better not to go out, well, but no…
13. It’s better to get some fresh air, but you get looked at very wrong when you get some fresh air, and most importantly, you don’t go to parks or walk. But don’t sit down, except that you can do that now if you are old, but not for too long or if you are pregnant (but not too old).
14. You can’t go to retirement homes, but you have to take care of the elderly and bring food and medication.
15. If you are sick, you can’t go out, but you can go to the pharmacy.
16. You can get restaurant food delivered to the house, which may have been prepared by people who didn’t wear masks or gloves. But you have to have your groceries decontaminated outside for 3 hours. Pizza too?
17. Every disturbing article or disturbing interview starts with ” I don’t want to trigger panic, but…”
18. You can’t see your older mother or grandmother, but you can take a taxi and meet an older taxi driver.
19. You can walk around with a friend but not with your family if they don’t live under the same roof.
20. You are safe if you maintain the appropriate social distance, but you can’t go out with friends or strangers at the safe social distance.
21. The virus remains active on different surfaces for two hours, no, four, no, six, no, we didn’t say hours, maybe days? But it takes a damp environment. Oh no, not necessarily.
22. The virus stays in the air – well no, or yes, maybe, especially in a closed room, in one hour a sick person can infect ten, so if it falls, all our children were already infected at school before it was closed. But remember, if you stay at the recommended social distance, however in certain circumstances you should maintain a greater distance, which, studies show, the virus can travel further, maybe.
23. We count the number of deaths but we don’t know how many people are infected as we have only tested so far those who were “almost dead” to find out if that’s what they will die of…
24. We have no treatment, except that there may be one that apparently is not dangerous unless you take too much (which is the case with all medications). Orange man bad.
25. We should stay locked up until the virus disappears, but it will only disappear if we achieve collective immunity, so when it circulates… but we must no longer be locked up for that?

Midnight’s Gift is a Poem

Midnight the Barn Cat is a good hunter.

Midnight caught this mouse, too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last week, Midnight brought us a present.

After feeding him dinner, there was something next to his water bowl. What was it? A mouse? But wait–ewww–it was only half a mouse!

Wasn’t that thoughtful? Though we aren’t fond of half-eaten mice, we recognized that Midnight thought this was a grand gesture. In honor of the deceased, I wrote:

Mouse Eulogy

 

Mouse, fleet of paw,
Loved to eat weeds.
He never broke the law,
and followed seed leads.

 

He built a warm den,
and watched for foes
But Cat stalked, and then
Chomped tail and toes!

 

Now resting on a mat
Next to the back door,
Mouse is a gift from Cat
To us, the Kibble Store!

 

 

According to info on Pet First, cats don’t “do this because they are mean, vicious creatures.They do this based on instinct.”

Cats have sharp teeth, retractable claws, cushioned paws, night vision and the ability to sneak up on prey quietly. All of these qualities are adaptations which allow them to efficiently capture prey. Even after all of this time, these adaptations and instincts are still fully intact. These are instincts, they are not actions which can be taken out of them. This is who they are.

Cats are often raised by their mother who teaches them essentially how to survive on their own. Catching prey is one of the acts learned from their mother. The mother will often begin teaching them by bringing back dead prey for the kittens to eat. Then, she will bring back a harmed mammal, still alive, to teach her offspring how to kill for themselves.

Once the kittens are old enough, they will go outside with their mother to learn how to hunt on their own.

They see us, the humans, as rather inexperienced hunters. This is why they are bringing back their dead animals to us. They are trying to teach us how to hunt like they do. Sometimes, they may also be bringing you a gift so you are able to eat the good raw meat like they do.

Next time your cat brings you a dead animal as a gift, although easy to do, do not become angry. Your cat is doing what he thinks is best for you. This is essentially his way of telling you he loves and cares for you.

Awww-sweet Midnight…unless you’re a mouse!

“Amazon Dating,” Parody as Performance Art, Part 2

Morgan and co’s Singles Satire is getting more buzz every day! They turned their logo into a GIF. Click here to see the”Amazon Dating” site. 

On Adweek,

Dog, Cat, Mouse–Caught!

The Immobile Mouse!

The temperature was dropping, the water in the bowl had turned into a block of ice, and Midnight-the-Barn-Cat was looking skinnier than usual despite being fed twice a day. So, just like in my post “Cat and Mouse and Chipmunk,” I played cat and mouse–I became the cat and the cat became the mouse. Caught!

Outside, Midnight wants to be seen and acknowledged, but not picked up and pet. He’s like a tiny jaguar:  prowling, pouncing, hiding and hunting. He’s a very good hunter! Inside, Midnight turns into a mush, lifting his chin for scratches, cuddling contentedly on my lap, and squeaking when he’s had enough. Purr and squeak!

Insert the mouse.

Living in an historic house, you get used to mice in the winter and insects year-round. Good thing I’m not afraid of little animals and won’t kill a spider. If the lifespan of a field mouse is a few years, then the mouse in our house should get a world record because it’s been wintering here for about eight years. When Lucy spots the mouse, she does nothing! Her nonchalance says, “Oh, it’s you again. Please, help yourself to my food,” which is why I thought bringing Midnight inside would accomplish two things:  he’d warm up and the mouse would high-tail it out of here. Wrong!

I started composing a poem in my head about the dog, cat, mouse situation. I got as far as “Dog peeks, cat squeaks, and mouse sneaks.” “Can’t resist” and “coexist” were floating around along with “warm house” and “cheeky mouse,” but then…

there was the mouse being watched over by Midnight! Caught!

Upon inspection, I couldn’t tell if the mouse was immobile because it was in shock or because it had internal injuries. There were no bite marks or scratches. My guess? Midnight thought it was a toy. Then again, he is a good hunter. I picked up the mouse, warmed it, pet it, talked to it–eyes so shiny eyes and paws so tiny–and set it free outside. Poor thing! 

I thought the mouse matter was put to rest, but then…

…A DIFFERENT mouse was rooting around in Lucy’s food bowl!

“Midnight? Where are you!”

Bandit Alert! Raccoon Caught Mid-Theft!

Midnight at the Suburban Watering Hole.

In my recent post, “Suburban Watering Hole,” I was unsure if wet paw prints on the back deck belonged to an opossum or raccoon. It turns out they belong to both! How do I know? I happened to witness a raccoon eating from Midnight’s bowl! The bandit was caught red-handed–or should I say kibble-handed?!

Five funny things I observed:

  1. The raccoon didn’t eat from the bowl; instead it scooped up pawfuls of kibble and then brought them to its mouth to eat. So people-like.
  2. When I opened the door and said “hello,” the raccoon paused to check me out. It wasn’t really afraid, but then it was unsure and ran off. So curious. 
  3. The minute I closed the door, even though the raccoon could see me through the window, it returned. So determined. 
  4. Midnight wasn’t afraid of the raccoon at all! He sat and watched as it ate the remainder of his dinner. And the raccoon didn’t feel threatened by Midnight. So neighborly. 
  5. The raccoon was fluffy and many shades of gray. It’s “mask” fit perfectly over its eyes. So pretty.

You never know what you’ll see in the Wilds of New Jersey! 

Suburban Watering Hole

Midnight at the Suburban Watering Hole.

One water bowl. So many sippers!

Who knew Midnight’s water bowl would attract so many animals? On any given day, I expect one, two, or even three stray cats to stop by. And sure, Lucy our barking, rambunctious beast (Midnight’s view of her), laps Midnight’s water, but why does she have to inhale the cat kibble, grab the dish, take a bite out of it, and scatter it willy nilly in the yard? Hon, I digress.

Back to the bowl.

I suspected extra visitors when the water in the bowl started, mysteriously, appearing dirty every morning. Who was washing paws or taking a bath in the bowl? Not the blue jays, who squawked and fought for a nibble of kibble during the day. Could it be mice? Chipmunks? Groundhogs? Foxes? Wild turkeys? Our neighborhood coyote?

Then, one morning, footprints were imprinted in the planks! “Aha!” I said, “Raccoons! So, I turned to authorities on the subject–umm, I mean the KidLit Twitter community–and asked,

“Are those footprints more than circumstantial evidence?”

“That raccoon was framed! If the pawprints don’t fit, you must acquit!” answered @BrobergMatthew.

(Hmm…much chin scratching.)

Later that night, I attempted to catch the culprits by flicking on the outdoor light. Who did I see but two opossums circling the food dish?! Not just any two opossums, but one enormous opossum mommy and her joey. The mommy was about the size of a twenty pound dog! Looking up the size of female opossums, I found out females aren’t that big. So, now I wonder…

…Do daddy oppossums take their joeys out for a midnight snack?!

BOYZ II MENORAH VIDEO, Fresh, Funny and Filled with Holiday References!

Hon, if you haven’t seen the new “boy band,” BOYZ II MENORAH, check them out! So funny!

MTV.com’s  wrote about this season’s hottest Chanukah song.

CHARLIE PUTH, JOSH PECK, AND ZACH BRAFF COLLABED ON THIS SEASON’S HOTTEST HANUKKAH SONG

THE TRACK? ‘A WEEK AND A DAY.’ THE BAND? BOYZ II MENORAH. YOU’RE WELCOME.

When it comes to Hanukkah songs, well, there aren’t many. But thanks to a hilarious new boyband formed by none other than late night host James Corden, we now have a Jewish boyband called — wait for it — Boyz II Menorah. Furthermore, the group — which consists of Charlie Puth, Josh Peck, Zach Braff, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and yes, Corden himself — just dropped the hottest Hanukkah track maybe ever. Sorry, Adam Sandler.

The song, titled “A Week and a Day” premiered on last night’s (December 19) episode of The Late Late Show with James Corden. And along with it came an epic music video that celebrates the joyous holiday in all of its eight-night, latke-filled, gift-giving, dreidel-spinning glory. “Girl, it’s that special time of year, the Festival of Lights,” James begins in a soft R&B whisper. “But ain’t no light shine brighter than the one in your eyes.”

It wasn’t long before the rest of the guys chimed in, wearing matching all-white outfits reminiscent of some our our all-time favorite ’90s boybands. “Got a week and a day of love for you this Hanukkah, girl,” Peck sings. Then, the Superbad actor takes over. “Got a week and a day to show you how much I care,” he croons. And of course, there’s nothing quite like hearing Puth’s silky smooth voice singing about how the girl that he’s into “shines brighter than any menorah.”

The rest of the video is full of a variety of other references to Hanukkah (and even Judaism, in general), including bagels and lox, Manischewitz kosher wine, checks written out for $18 (the numerical value of the Hebrew word “chai,” which means “life”), and even a shoutout to Judah Maccabee from the original Hanukkah story.

The bridge is arguably the best part, though, when each boyband member puts their own twist on the traditional Hanukkah blessing.

BuzzFeed Brisket Battle

Hon, guess what…

…I’m going to be in a BuzzFeed video where the subject is Jewish moms rating each other’s brisket. OY!

When it comes out in a couple of weeks, I’m either going to be laughing hysterically, crying with embarrassment, or both! If you never hear from me again, it’s because I’m hiding under a rock. Permanently! Here’s the skinny on the experience.

I heard about the opportunity for Jewish moms and brisket, and since my youngest and I have laughed while watching many a BuzzFeed video, I figured why not reach out? After learning that I had to bring a cooked and sliced brisket with me to the set, I called my mother-in-law for her recipe and the butcher for the meat.

I’ve cooked many briskets in my life, but none were as good as my my mother-in-law’s. Cecile makes a delicious brisket (along with many other dishes), but there’s one problem when asking her for a recipe—measurements! She knows the right amount of ingredients to use by eye, so you have to ask, “How much paprika should I use? A cup? A tablespoon? A teaspoon? A pinch?” Then there are the steps! So many steps!

When the brisket was cooked and cooled, Hubby got to work slicing. I carried the very-well-wrapped dish with me on the train from NJ to NY. I thought, if the train breaks down, I’ll have food for a bunch of people, but no forks!

The BuzzFeed office is cool. Really cool. Funky murals-large snack area-red-walled conference room-signs I wanted to Tweet-cool. I was older than every single employee, so when a woman walked in who looked to be about my age, I said. “You must be one of the Jewish moms!” She was.

Soon, five of us along with accompanying hubbies, uncle, and a friend were kibitzing (Yiddush for talking.) Shout out to the other moms, Helene, Jen, Marci, and Shannon, who were as nice as could be. We were called to the set one at a time to try each other’s food, but here’s the rub. The thing that makes the videos funny is when you’re a little mean about the food you’re trying.

Some of the questions asked were:

  • Do you agree to be completely honest?
  • What does this piece of brisket say about the person who made it?
  • What is this dish missing and what would you add to it?
  • What rating between 1 and 10 would you give it?
  • Would you serve this to your family?

I felt so bad after saying I would not serve one of the dishes to my family* that I said to the director, “Wait! Stop! Can I make a disclaimer?!” 

“Sure, make a disclaimer,” he said.

I looked straight into the camera. “I like everyone I met today! Please don’t take any of this personally!” 

*What I didn’t say and maybe should have, was that when my triplets plus a younger child were little, and I was perpetually exhausted and running around like a chicken with no head, any food made by someone else was wonderful! So who am I to be so picky? OY GIVALT!

I thought about the whole experience some more and, you know what? If the other moms didn’t like my brisket and wouldn’t serve it to their families, I’m okay with that because:

  1. This was all in good fun,
  2. each of our families loves our cooking and,
  3. it’s not like the winner gets an all-expense-paid vacation. You know what the winner gets? Bragging rights!