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Gets all up in your grill pretty frequently

Irene Zion Archive

Irene Zion

Halloween at the Hospital

November 2nd, 2009
by Irene Zion

MIAMI BEACH, FL-

My friend, Melissa, and I dressed up to look silly when we went to the hospital on Halloween. We do it every year because the kids get a kick out of it and we really are up for anything to spice up the day.

(One time I really blew it dressing up on Halloween to go to the old folks home with Brooklyn, my Therapy Dog. I dressed to the nines as Raggedy Ann. I had it all, down to the red and white horizontal striped tights and red shoes. The residents at the home are four-fifths from Cuba and one fifth from Russia. Not a soul had any idea who I was supposed to be. It turns out that Raggedy Ann is an American phenomenon. It had always seemed so universal to me. They thought I was nuts, but they didn’t care, because Brooklyn was with me.)

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Irene Zion

The Flying Pedestal

October 17th, 2009
by Irene Zion

MIAMI BEACH,FL-

When my family moved to The Free Territory of Trieste, it was a time when people did not fly across the ocean. Flying was prohibitively expensive and rare. No one really believed that airplanes made with all that heavy metal could actually fly safely when they were full of people. It was counterintuitive. I personally still have trouble believing that those enormous things get off the ground at all. (And don’t even get me started on those helicopters from the mosquito family!)  Back then, everyone had the same reservations. We sailed across the ocean to FTT on the Saturnia. I suppose that if I had thought about it, I also would have questioned how a ship made out of metal that should obviously sink, could float. I’m glad I didn’t think about that at the time, or I would have worried my way all across the ocean.

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Irene Zion

TNB’s Literary Experience in Chicago, and How People Don’t Look Like You Thought They Would

September 29th, 2009
by Irene Zion

MIAMI BEACH, FL-

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 we had WAY more fun than you did, unless you were at the Whistler Bar at 2421 N. Milwaukee Ave in Chicago. TNB was hosted by The Orange Alert Reading Series, which allowed us to use their favorite awesome bar. The people who run the place make some atypical, kick-ass drinks. There was a lot of drinking.  That kind of thing happens in a bar.

The place was packed with people. There were easily four thousand people there, and it is not that big a place.  Probably Gina counted the people in the audience, so she might know the exact number, but seriously, who would keep counting after three thousand?  We had an accomplished videographer filming the whole thing. He is a Chicago native named Mike Weldon. He’s really hot, but I don’t know if he’s tied up with a significant other, or else I’d tell you.  He is also a filmmaker.  This is his website: http://www.youtube.com/MichaelJWeldon Mike shoots films, beheadings, weddings, live events, Irish funerals, just use your imagination!

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Irene Zion

I Paint What I See

August 28th, 2009
by Irene Zion

MIAMI BEACH, FL-

Sara and Ben were really good, dependable kids. Lonny and Timothy and Lenore were entirely different. They were dependable only insofar as you could count on them screwing up.  By screwing up I do not mean small things. These were kids who regularly required the involvement of the police.

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Irene Zion

Son of Cash for Clunkers

August 20th, 2009
by Irene Zion

MIAMI BEACH, FL-

I read today that beginning in autumn, the cash for clunkers program for cars will be expanded. There will be Federal rebates for clunker household appliances, such as washers and dryers and dishwashers and furnaces and air conditioners. This is all part of the congressional-authorized stimulus plan passed earlier this year. $300 million has been set aside for this so far. I have no doubt that more cash will be added. I have some ideas for other cash for clunkers programs. Perhaps all you readers can pitch in with better ideas.

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Irene Zion

The Lady in the Chair

July 24th, 2009
by Irene Zion

MIAMI BEACH, FL-

I volunteer at a local hospital once a week. I’ve been doing this since we moved to Miami Beach more than eight years ago. Normally I play with kids who have cancer. They play like any other kid, but usually they can’t get out of their beds because of all of the tubes and fluids going in and out. Usually I work with my friend Melissa. We think alike.

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Irene Zion

A Thousand Words: A Sort of Funny Death Story

July 10th, 2009
by Irene Zion

MIAMI BEACH, FL-

It had been more than a month of sitting by her bedside during the day and sleeping in a chair next to her in the nighttime. My mom was purposely starving herself to death. I was surprised just how long it takes to starve your self to death. My brother lived in France and in England and in Hawaii. He had visited a few months before. He told me that he wasn’t busy at the time and could stay and help, if I wanted. I jumped at his offer. I asked him to please stay because my mom really loved my brother to bits and didn’t like me at all. He stayed silent for a few moments and then he told me that he thought that it would actually be better for mom if she had his next visit to look forward to. Then he went back to England or Hawaii or France.

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Irene Zion

Flies

July 3rd, 2009
by Irene Zion

MIAMI BEACH,FL-

Recently, Victor and I flew to L.A. to see Lenore and Lonny. Victor and I go to LOTS of movies and we were not going to go 10 days without seeing at least a couple, especially in L.A. (the land of movie enchantment). Lenore does not usually accede to art movies. She acts as though she can’t read subtitles. I, personally, do not believe this. In any case, we convinced her to see Tyson, because it was in English. Even SHE had to admit that she was glad she went. It was a great film and no matter what you might think of Mike Tyson, you will not feel the same after you see it.

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Irene Zion

Blowback from the Amputation

June 18th, 2009
by Irene Zion

MIAMI BEACH, FL-

You might remember from an earlier story that I gave the go-ahead for my mom’s amputation. It wasn’t THAT big a deal. It was only ONE foot. (She had two, for heaven sakes. People use prostheses all the time. No one chooses to die instead of getting a single little foot removed, right?)

My mother was always changing her mind. There are hundreds of stories about her changing her mind. How was I to know she wasn’t going to change her mind for the first time in her entire life?

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Irene Zion

Hungry Sara

June 5th, 2009
by Irene Zion

MIAMI BEACH, FL-

Of all my children, Sara was the one who excelled in adventurous eating. The top two were only 14 months apart, so I can time when I learned this fact precisely. Lonny was all skinny legs and dead weight in my front carrier and Sara was no more than 15 months old.

Sara was playing in the bedroom with her imaginary friend, Jack, who lived under the bed. I was in the kitchen and thought to look in on her since she was unusually silent. She and Jack were usually quite boisterous.

As I entered the front hall I met up with Sara. Her mouth was all chocolaty and she was holding what appeared to be a Baby Ruth. She was chewing. She was smiling.

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Irene Zion

The Invisible Side of the Family

May 15th, 2009
by Irene Zion

MIAMI BEACH, FL-

My father’s family has been in Brooklyn since the 1600’s.  Seriously.  I’m pretty sure that if we had had a relative on the Mayflower, I’d know it, but we were here since soon after that.  Of course that is only Dad’s side.  Our other sides are pretty much Johnny-come-latelies.  In any case, it was inconceivable for my Dad’s family to imagine living anywhere but Brooklyn.  Forget another state, Manhattan wasn’t even in the cards.  Our two aunts and their husbands and kids lived in Brooklyn.  Our uncle, (horror of horrors!) was sent kicking and screaming to Pennsylvania by his company.  There was practically a wake over it. One of the things my father used to say was: “If you’re not in Brooklyn, you’re camping out.”

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Irene Zion

Life in Zimbabwe Today

May 1st, 2009
by Irene Zion

MIAMI BEACH, FL-

We just got back from a trip to Zimbabwe.  When the country was called Rhodesia, it was referred to as the breadbasket of all of southern Africa.  Think about it.  They were so prosperous that they not only could feed everyone in their own country, but all the countries in Southern Africa.  Obviously, Rhodesia had enormous social problems, but everyone could eat.

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Irene Zion

Blackboards, Cubes and Revelations

April 22nd, 2009
by Irene Zion

MIAMI BEACH, FL-

My family moved from Trieste to Brooklyn when I was eight. One day when I was ten and my brother was fourteen, my father was home early for a change. The phone rang and my Father picked it up. (If he hadn’t been home, well, those of you who read one of my earlier stories can ponder what might have happened.) The person calling was the principal of my brother’s school. My brother, Woody, was in trouble. This was unheard of. Woody was very, very good. As far as I know, he never got in trouble in his life. (We were different in more ways than this but it was one glaring difference between us.) It seems he was playing with a pair of binoculars during class. This was disruptive to his fellow students. The school would not put up with these sorts of shenanigans. There was strict discipline in Woody’s school.

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Irene Zion

Our Short Stay in Dubai

April 13th, 2009
by Irene Zion

MIAMI BEACH, FL-

I was really looking forward to seeing Dubai because I had heard so much about it. I had heard it was ultra-modern, the gigantic buildings, the man-made islands out in the ocean.   Let me tell you a little about it since I’ve been there to see it and you can decide what you think about it yourself.

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Irene Zion

African Butts

March 30th, 2009
by Irene Zion

MIAMI BEACH, FL-

Yesterday morning I woke up bright and early and took my dogs for a walk. I don’t have any pictures of my dogs’ butts, but they’re not African.  Everything was fine until I twisted my ankle and heard a loud snap.  This has happened before.  Twenty-five years ago it had been six weeks since Benjamin was born and I was ready to get back into shape.  I took Ben in his little infant carry seat to a gym and joined.  I was doing aerobics for less than six minutes when my ankle twisted and I heard a loud snap.  It’s that snap that tells you that you really messed up. I have always taken klutziness to a new level.  My ankle was broken and I needed a cast. They let me walk in that one.  At that time I had a standard transmission car. That clutch was a bitch. We have an automatic now.   The Doc told me that I have weak ankles and to stay away from ice-skating.  I was not ice-skating yesterday, I was walking, but apparently now I have to stay away from walking also.

I promised you some African butts, so I guess I’d better show you some.

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Irene Zion

The Party Began Before We Even Got to Africa

March 4th, 2009
by Irene Zion

MIAMI BEACH, FL-

We recently went on a trip to Africa.  Plane one:  three and a half hours to New York.  Plane two:  fourteen hours to Dubai.  Plane three:  ten hours to Johannesburg.  This does not include the waiting times between planes.  We all hoped to get some sleep, but it is not easy to sleep when your body says that it is daytime.  Victor decided that for the last flight, the ten hours to Johannesburg, he would insure his rest by taking a sleeping pill.  Victor had never taken a sleeping pill before, in fact, he rarely takes any medication except the very little prescribed by his doctor.

We were served a meal. (On these kinds of flights you are served meals on a regular basis. You eat these meals because they are right there in front of you. They taste like airplane food.)  Victor and I were sitting in the middle of the cabin in the middle of the plane in a four-seat row with our friends, Ken and Cindy.

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Irene Zion

Just a Little Bomb

January 22nd, 2009
by Irene Zion

MIAMI BEACH, FL-

There was a raccoon problem at Victor’s fraternity at Cornell.  Every night an enormous raccoon raided the fraternity’s garbage and made a huge, annoying mess.  The raccoon lived in a sewer pipe.  Victor always enjoyed solving problems, so he told his fraternity brothers that he would handle the raccoon problem.

His plan was to make a little bomb that he would place in the opening of the sewer, which would explode, making a large noise thereby frightening the raccoon into moving closer to some other fraternity.  Ba-boom, the garbage problem would be solved.
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Irene Zion

Out Flying Planes in the Park

January 15th, 2009
by Irene Zion

MIAMI BEACH, FL-

When my husband, Victor, was a kid, he and his friends frequently went to the empty lot behind the Brooklyn Children’s Museum in Bedford Stuyvesant, where they lived, to fly model airplanes. These were planes made from balsa wood, which were powered by a liquid fuel. One time, Victor’s plane landed badly and one of the wings was splintered. He tried to smooth out the wing with his knife.  All boys had pocket-knifes back then, as did Victor, but that day he was carrying his pride and joy, a miniature Hari Kari knife, which had a long blade with a wooden hilt.
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Irene Zion

Two Holdups

January 9th, 2009
by Irene Zion

MIAMI BEACH, FL-

(The First Holdup)

My mother was at the A&P.  That used to be a supermarket, I’m not sure if it still is.  She was buying groceries in broad daylight when four men with ski masks covering their faces ran into the store. They each had a handgun. They closed the front door and turned over the OPEN sign to CLOSED. They gathered all the people working and all those shopping and herded them to the back of the store.

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Irene Zion

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men Gang Aft Aglay

December 6th, 2008
by Irene Zion

MIAMI BEACH-

Okay, so when I wrote the story of the suckling pig that I cooked in 1973, many of my kids said they wish they could have been there.  I took this to mean that surprising them with a whole Miami-Cuban Pig Dinner for Thanksgiving would be a terrific idea. Since the Cuban Pig Dinner is traditionally a Christmas feast, I had some trouble finding a place that supplied them.  I asked my friend Keiko Fernandez who is half Japanese and half Cuban and lived in Miami most of her life, if she could find out for me.  She called her uncle.  He gave her a number of the very best place of all.  I called them and they were very nice.  There was a bit of a language problem since I learned French and Latin in High School and my attempts at learning Spanish have been disappointing.   Yes they had Cuban pigs, but the smallest one was 45 pounds.  There were 8 for dinner that night, so I thought a minute. Well,  since we need leftovers for the next day I thought it would work.
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