Joe is the youngest of five, in an Irish-Catholic family from Detroit. I am the oldest of two, half Jewish, from the suburbs of New York by way of Connecticut and Ann Arbor.

His family intimidates the hell out of me.

When Joe was growing up, he had to eat exactly what his mother cooked. Every night. Sometimes he got to choose what kind of canned vegetable they would have with dinner. As a child I frequently ate cereal for dinner, because that’s what I wanted, although we ate most of our meals at Zingerman’s deli.

Last Saturday we went to Joe’s sister’s house, because his oldest sister, Kitty, was visiting from her home in Alaska.

We had pasta for dinner because his brother-in-law was carb-loading in preparation for a half-marathon the next day. He’s also the CEO of some company. His wife, Joe’s sister, is the CFO of a different company.
The other brother-in-law was wearing a hat with the name of his rugby team. His wife, another of Joe’s sisters, also plays rugby. She also played on the Detroit team of the only national women’s football league in history.
His 10-year-old niece, a competitive gymnast, was gearing up for a meet.

I should point out that Kitty, in her fifties, is a professional ski instructor who recently battled cancer and walked to the hospital for her chemotherapy.

As for Elliot and myself, the latest additions to the family? He had a sore throat, and we had to cut the evening short because I developed a bad case of diarrhea.

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I am not normally an over-the-top relationship person. I do not have my relationship status posted on Facebook. I would never dream of using a couple photo as my profile picture. Ever. I do not use baby talk. I don’t make out in public. I don’t ever say “we should make this a couples thing!” In fact, I am vocal in my hatred for couples.

And I do not send cutesy text messages back and forth all day long.

Today, however, I was feeling inspired, and sent Joe a text message that said “I love you.”

The response? “You’d better.”

Today after I picked Elliot up from school, he asked me: “Have you ever heard the story of King Midas?”

“Yeah, I have,” I said. “Did you hear it at school?”

“It’s in the reading corner.”

“Did you like the story?”

“Yeah, it’s pretty good,” he said.

“Did you get what the moral of the story was?”

He thought for a minute. “I don’t know.”

“Well, what’s the lesson that King Midas learned?”

“Oh! Yeah! Never listen to spirits when they ask you if you want to make a wish.”

“That’s a good one,” I said. “But what else?”

“Umm, don’t wish that you can turn things into gold!”

“That’s good, you’re getting there,” I said. “Why don’t you want to wish you could turn things into gold?”

“Oh! Yeah! That’s the lesson! Don’t hold your daughter’s hand when you’ve wished you could turn everything you touch into gold and it came true! Because then you’ll turn your daughter into gold!”

“What about don’t be greedy?” I asked.

“Huh,” he paused. “No, I don’t necessarily see that.”

Tonight, as I was cutting Elliot’s toenails, I discovered a tiny pebble that had been lodged under one of them. I flicked it into the sink.

“What if that was a magic pebble?” he asked.

“Do you think it was a magic pebble?”

“I think it was,” he said.

“So what do you think is going to happen?”

“The whole house is magic now.” He turned his head away from me and whispered, “House! I wish for sixty six tongues!”

This morning Elliot told me that he’d like to start taking karate again. I told him I thought that would be fine, but also that I think that we should get him into a team sport that he can play in school. Here is what he said:

“Maybe. But the thing is, my strengths are really more things like robots, technology, the body, math, albegra… alge… algebra. That kind of thing. I’m just not really interested in standing around in a field playing basketball. I’m not that kind of guy. I have better things to do with my strengths.”

The argument is pretty air-tight. Except for that basketball being played in a field part. We’ll have to set that one straight before some 5’11” second-grader does.

Me: Hey! Nice work, senor!

Elliot: Hmm… Spanish. Let’s try to talk in English, just for this morning, okay?

——–

Me: We’re going to go to the seed store.

Elliot: Downtown Home and Garden? That’s the opposite of my jam.

Yes. I know. I am living in a glass house and throwing stones. I am a cobbler and my children have no shoes. I am a community strategist and professional blogger who doesn’t update her personal blog.

Baby, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I’ll get help, I swear I will.

Here, I love you so much I got you this:



Now take off your pants.

I would like to introduce you to the greatest male hat model in the world. His given name is Semen, a Russian-Jewish name that means “Heard by God”. The name that his parents gave him after moving to America (but only when they boy was nine years old and the coincidence became known to the family) is Paul.

Paul knew from an early age that he wanted to be a hat model. Even as a toddler, he would put his diaper pail on his head and stare at himself in the mirror for hours.

The world of hat modeling was already a competitive field for women. But when Semen/Paul took to the studios of major catalogs and websites, he cracked the field wide open. Male hat modeling would never be the same.

I got the chance to interview Semen/Paul, and I asked him for the stories behind some of his most famous hat photographs.

"Although this was a particularly challenging hat, mainly due to heft, I just thought about the warmth and joy that it would bring to a pimp on a cold Newark night. I think I really nailed it."

"This hat reminded my of my grandfather. I tried to channel his spirit in the modeling. He killed many dissidents."

"Oh! Ha ha ha ha. I could never forget this one. This hat was very fresh. When we went to shoot the photo we realized that one of the fox's ears was still twitching! Heh heh. An intern had to whack the thing in the head with a bat, just to be sure. Whew! That was a very funny day."

"I had just finished the second season of The Wire on DVD, so the timing of this shoot could not have been more perfect. I really got into the character's head. This was a very intense and very personal photograph for me. It's quite raw. Visceral."

"Another from the same series as above. This was a very emotionally draining shoot. I had to access a part of me that I hadn't touched in a long time. I had to dig very deep."

"You know how sometimes, in magazine fashion layouts, certain accessories are listed as 'model's own'? Which is because the model was already wearing such a fabulous accessory that the stylist just HAD to use it in the photo shoot? That's what happened here."

"This was a photo shoot for charity. A special design for the Shriner's Club of Saskatchewan."

"I feel that this image speaks for itself."

Hello friends!

I am really busy today, but I will share this link with you so that you can discover a new artist and watch a lovely little movie.

Have a great day.