On Baby #2

The jealousy peaked when the second round of pregnancy announcements started to roll in. By then my daughter was 2 and I was 37, but neither my husband nor I had broached the subject of a second child. Instead, my tactics were cheap, comments lobbed at inopportune moments: I mentioned my (old) age and boy names I liked, and reminded him that we had to “get it done” before we left Europe, our temporary (family-friendly) home. When I got salmonella poisoning from eating bad chicken, I secretly hoped my symptoms meant I was pregnant. My husband prayed they didn’t.

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Our avoidance of the discussion, followed by our inability to agree on trying for another, was heartbreaking. It seemed to symbolize some fundamental rift in our marriage: Almost everyone we knew had — or was trying for — more than one child. Why couldn’t we handle it, too?

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I wrote this whopper for The Cut. Please read on here.

The Ambivalent Expat

I wrote a piece that I feared would offend everyone I know about life as an expat in Vienna. Luckily no one has written me hate mail who was offended has told me so! Yay!

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(Life as an expat: Lots of dirty baby clothes. No dryer.)

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When my husband and I moved to Vienna, Austria, two years ago, we were frequently set up on friend dates. This is par for the course for a new expat — someone hears that you’ve moved to some faraway city, and their coworker’s cat’s former owner’s cousin always knows someone who — can you believe it? — just happens to be your neighbor. No matter how outlandish the setup — they were born-again Christians or Hassidic Jews, they were hated by the very people who’d put us in touch — we always went.

After these meetings, I would invariably turn to my husband and say: We’d never be friends with these people in real life.

Real life: this was my phrase. Not in New York, where I had lived for 12 years, or the vague back home, but in real life, as though I had skipped a track and found myself in a different, parallel universe.

Read the rest on Medium!

xoxo

Happy Pesach! Or As I Like to Call It, Thanksgiving.

As most of you know, Passover is all about deprivation, although of a lesser kind than at Yom Kippur the Jews’ exodus from Egypt. It is about getting drunk and sitting through the most drawn out, hunger-inducing meal of the year eating a lot of crackers Matzoh, and forcing asking the youngest child to open the front door for a ghost or a stranger Elijah. It is about spending a long, boozy evening with your extended family, or if you live abroad, your four wonderful Jewish friends.

Over here, at our house, we also think of it as Finding Your Spouse Day.

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We think of Passover as a kind of Thanksgiving, a moment to reflect on all we are thankful for — or as a kind of Christmas (well, not as Christmas because we’re Jews, but some equivalent holiday where magical things come true and you get lots of presents, and no, Hannukah doesn’t count). In any event, it’s a significant, beautiful holiday for us. Our favorite. Proof that Hashem love and the internet are real. That one’s bashert might exist.

This morning (and by “this morning” I mean 5:30am when the sky was utterly black) when I looked at our daughter (who, by the way, has decided to no longer sleep through the night because I made an official declaration that she was doing so), I thought, Why the hell won’t you sleep through the night anymore? Thank God for Passover (minus the enslavement and exodus), because without it, you wouldn’t be here!

Seven years ago, when I still had my nice, pre-baby figure was a lonely, single New York City girl, I was Seder-less. A wonderful friend urged me to host a goy Seder. I did. Then I wrote about it. Fast forward many, many years and a random man across the world read it and wrote to me.

And now we are three.

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The short version of this story is here.

The longer one (complete with an incredibly embarrassing video) is here.

The original piece is here.

The moral of the story is: write about being single and someone might take pity on you and marry you Passover really is about finding (or, you know, giving birth to) your chosen people.

May it be a happy, healthy, beautiful one for you and yours. Next year, in Brooklyn Jerusalem!

xo

PS: We’re bringing the little lady to her first Seder tonight. Wish us luck.

 

 

 

I Finally Wrote Something With My Baby Brain

Oy, oy, oy Hello, hello, hello!

Thanks, beloved readers, for forgetting I had a blog your patience. It only took me six months, but I finally turned the computer back on birthed something other than a baby. You can read it over at the fabulous Mother Sugar. It’s about, among other things, whether this little lady in her LGTB shoes should appear here, on the blog, or let’s be honest, on Facebook anywhere else online.

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I’d love to argue with you about it hear your thoughts.

xo

Well, Hello!

I forgot this blog existed I’ve been so absent! I’m so sorry. Mea culpa. Je m’excuse. I’ve missed you.

I can explain. I swear. I’ve been doing absolutely nothing very busy.

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Also, I’ve been unfaithful writing for another blog. You can read the whole explanation for my absence here.

Now that this news is out in the world, I’ll be puking without shame writing more about it.

I’ve been so touched by the comments on the site and would love to hear from you, too.

xo

Facebook Knock-Up

I’m delighted to share the news that I have a new piece up on the lovely online site, The Faster Times, all about how boundary-less life is on Facebook.

(I’m a loser awesome when it comes to screen shots, but that’s the piece on my computer. Also that teeny tiny photo is from 1999 2010. So is my bio, by the way.) The essay was prompted by someone asking me a totally normal totally inappropriate question on Facebook. If I were even more of a exhibitionist journalist, I’d share the wedding photo in question (you have to read the piece to know what I’m talking about). Thankfully, my husband stopped me I have my limits.

Read it here! Let me know what you think.

xo

I Am My Own Yenta

Many of you know that I met my husband because of a piece I wrote for The Forward in 2008. Now the paper has made a short video about our epistolary/hurricane/cross-continental romance, which means that David will become the first goy Jewish movie star and I will become a beacon of hope for single Jewish girls everywhere.

Watch it here! A huge thank you to Nate Lavey and Blair Thornbourgh, who made the short and wrote the story. We are dying of embarrassment  love it!

PS: Notice the menorah in the background during the interview. Totally unintentional strategic.

xoox

Yes, That’s Us.

We made the Vows column in The New York Times! We are dying of embarrassment thrilled. (David has coined me the “shyest lover of attention” he’s ever met.)

To be frank, David and I can hardly believe we made it under the Huppah at all. When we came home from our four-day-long hurricane wonderland first date last August, I told my friends that if I had known how it would all go down (no power, no running water, no phone, no flushing toilets), I would never have let a total stranger who had written to me out of the blue and could possibly be a total psycho David sleep in my bed, protect me from bears and falling trees, hang out with my parents  read Crossing to Safety to me in the dark.

A shot from the hurricane. I took this after David moved a tree trunk out of the road.

Although David’s education alone would have gotten us into Vows (he totally outscores me), I actually had to force the poor New York Times fact checker to read the How We Met portion of the “application” (really, it’s an application, and really, I kept him on the phone and waited while he went through it: “It’s very eventful,” he finally admitted). Anyway, you can read The Times’ very lovely version here. You can read my original hereAnd you can read the piece that got it all started hereI have often said that if I could go back in time and tell that lonely and confused 29-year-old that one 900-word essay would eventually garner her a husband, she would never have believed me.

xoox

April, Recapped

Oh, David April. You almost gave me a coronary were life-changing.

We began the month innocently enough, with a weekend jaunt to the Alps.

Garmische-Partenkirchen, otherwise known as, a movie set.

It snowed for 12 hours and this was the result in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (otherwise known as a Hollywood set). Might as well have been January. Anyway, we walked around for about 23 minutes two hours, ate an incredibly weird meal while staring at a painting of a man cuddling a goat, and got back on the train. After devouring Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, I read Torch the whole way (loved both, pick them up now). (Or better yet, if you live in New York, get them here.) David read some crazy German thing about words.

The next weekend, we visited dear friends in Berlin, where I drank way too much finally got to speak English to someone other than David! Berlin is like Williamsburg on steroids. The hipster factor made me gag realize I need some new (old) clothes; that said clothing needs to be brown, grey or beige; and that I need to wash my hair less frequently.

Beer on the street. Pretty much sums up Berlin.

(Apparently I was too inebriated most of the time to take any more pictures.)

Then my adorable, darling parents came for a visit. They spent their early thirties in London and Paris, so they came over to recapture their youth. They were here for six days and already know more about Munich than I do. (I wish that could be crossed out, but it’s true.) Here they are eating and enjoying beers at an old Commie hangout called the Alter Simpl. Given that my mother is a Red Diaper Baby, she felt right at home. My dad just loved the schnitzel and Schwarzbier.

Mom chatting, Dad (sort of) listening, as per usual.

I also found out that I’m going to be on the Contributors Page of O: The Oprah Magazine! More on this later, but my parents and David took turns acting as photographer. (I’m pretty sure David’s pics won out.) I hated every single picture about 95% of them, and the ones I did like — like the one below — were unusable because I was, as usual, blabbering and moving my arms around while the shot was being taken. On a related note, apparently I have a stripes problem.

I think I overdid it on the stripes.

And then the man proposed. Or rather, we proposed to each other (I did go to Oberlin after all). I mean, I sobbed. We had about 32 seconds to enjoy it before we left for Vienna. (FYI: In reading this over, even I’m starting to loathe myself — Berlin! Vienna! marriage! — so please know that April was a sort of unusual month. Usually we are really boring at home watching Smash and talking about how it went from so good to so bad so quickly. Can someone please explain that random Bollywood number?)

Anyway, so Vienna, gorgeous Vienna, like Paris only in German, once the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, now just a very sweet, very civilized place to live. Also, it placed first (in a tie with Vancouver) for most livable city in the world.

So now it’s May 1 — the workers holiday here in Germany — and we are exhausted and I have about $4 $44 in my bank account. David just spent the morning napping and I’m nursing a sore throat with cardamom tea. But we are so happy to be home. (Case in point on the boring factor: David is working on an article for some academic publication. He just turned to me and said, “How do you say ‘The big hairy dog saw her’ in French?” This is verbatim, people.)

And lastly: I’m not huge on cyber announcements, but I was blown away by the love we received after “announcing” our engagement on Facebook. When you write things like this, you’re never quite sure who is reading what and how they feel about any of it, so it was sort of overwhelming to hear back from so many, even in the form of a thumbs up. The world is both very big and very small, and for a girl living out across the ocean from so many people she adores and relies on, people who have been her community for decades now, the internet is sort of a miraculous thing.

Much love,

Abs xoxo