Monday, November 29, 2004

Procrastination and Chocolate

What, you may ask, has one have to do with the other?!

It's personal thing, I think. For me, chocolate is the trailer for procrastination.

We all know that I have a big shindig coming up this week. Three days of partying and feeding 40 plus people for each meal. The occasion? NED's Bat Mitzvah. Today was to be the day I started to prepare. So why, when I had the car and a beautiful sunny day to get out and shop and get my act together, was I home organizing closets?

What is wrong with me?

I must admit that I feel tremendously accomplished. My girls' closets are neat once again, and we can all find clothes to wear in the morning, instead of yelling there isn't anything to wear or we can't find anything. Even DB went through his clothes before I took him back to Yeshiva - poor kid has grown so fast none of his last year winter wear fits him!

Online shopping time!

So although I didn't procrastinate everything, I am not much closer to being prepared for the Bat Mitzvah.

And get this: I cannot bring anything to the synagogue kitchen until after there first takes place a brit on Wednesday morning. I just spoke to the grandmother and caterer of the new baby. She informs me that the brit might have to be postponed because the baby is jaundiced. THAT MEANS I won't be able to do anything in the kitchen until after the Brit - whenever that is!!

"Man plans and G-d laughs."

Should I start to hyperventilate now?!? Or just keep procratinating?!

I'm gonna push myself now to make a shopping list just for the Thursday night party. That will be something. Then tomoroow, after I come back from my Torah class, I'll call my Mommy and we'll do the rest over the phone!

Maybe that's my problem, I need my Mommy to help me do this. She's at my brother's in Jerusalem. I had to share her...

Oh, and the chocolate? It's churning in my belly. Angry that I ingested it, even if it was heaven while in the act!

Tomorrow is another day.

Less chocolate, more productivity... Too high of an expectation?

Hope not!

Stay tuned...

Sunday, November 28, 2004


So this is what I've been thinking about.

You know that feeling that sometimes you are better friends or think that you are better friends with someone than you really are?

Or you thought you were important to someone or that you were someone whose friendship they valued?

Moving to Israel has really turned into a "I-guess-you-really-know-who-your-good-friends-are" test when hearing about people visiting from the States.

Sometimes we hear about their visit when we bump into them on Ben Yehuda street in Jerusalem.

Sometimes we get a phone call as they are leaving for the airport.

Sometimes we get the call three days before they leave wondering if we want to drop everything and run to see THEM before they leave!

Sometimes we get the call that they are in Jerusalem and want to take us out to dinner.

Sometimes we get the call that they want to come to Chashmonaim to see us and see where we live.

And the best is when we get the call before they come and tell us that they want to stay with us. And/or when they call and accept our invitation for a BBQ and a ride to or from the airport.

Could this really be a test of who your good friends are?

I want to think not, but I wonder...

On that note, after sharing a wonderful Shabbat with 7 of our NCSYers and our good friend Shimmy (who called before he came to Israel and is staying with us for the week!), we drove into Jerusalem to see some friends from Boston - I'm not going to tell you which category they fall into! I was so happy to see them and I hope they were happy to see us too. But who knows?

We then drove over to the Renassaince Hotel to see a good friend who was here with the OU convention. And of course, we saw everyone there! Only one of which called us to tell us she was here...

So that's where I'll end. Because although it was great to see familiar faces from the Old Country tonight, it left me wondering.

Do I mean as much as I thought I did to people?
And how do I know who my real friends are?


Shavuah tov - a good week!

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Gobble Gobble

Thanksgiving is the only American holiday that I miss!

I have the world's best memories of Thanksgiving spent at Uncle Marty and Aunt Susie's house in Mamaroneck, New York. Up until the time I began to keep Shabbat and kosher, we drove up there from Frederick every year!

I remember hot chocolate and those little marshmallows waiting for us with yummy fresh hot brownies. Kicking back, watching movies.

We talked about going into the city for the parade but never in all those years actually did it! Slept late, woke up to the parade on the TV. Waiting for the Rockettes. Remembering my years in marching band. Snuggling with my uncle and cousins on the couch.

At the end of the parade, Santa Claus arrived in his sleigh to welcome in the winter season. "Ho-ho-ho!", he'd yell out. And then he'd climb off the sleigh to meet and greet those lucky enough to be standing nearby. One year, as we were watching Santa get off the sleigh, he stood up, and his pants fell right down. I am not joking! My uncle and I saw the whole thing, and to this day, we call each other right when Santa comes out and watch to see if he's going to keep his pants on!

Can't watch the parade in Israel :( No television. This is the one day of the year that I wish I had TV and I could watch the parade live.

More Memories...
Watching old movies: GiGI or Sound of Music!
Turkey dinner - mmmmmm! yum!

I am so thankful!
I am thankful for my family
my friends.
Those people that know me and love me no-matter-what!

I am so blessed. Surrounded by love! Then why am I still stuck?

Happy Turkey Day!

To quote my Aunt Susie, "Gobble to ya wobble"

Checkin In

Still alive here!

Always writing too late, and too tired to finish a sentence.

Wanna write -
Alot on my mind

Mom and Dad here! comfort...

Shimmy here! comfort...

Rabbi Kosman, Sima and Shabsi, Buci, and Sam here! comfort...

Surrounded by love!
I am blessed.

Such a rich life.
Can I appreciate it enough?

What was the quote? "Some people have alot money and some people are rich, which one are you?" Something like that!

I feel rich! And blessed.

Saw a beautiful rainbow yesterday. The whole thing from one end to the other. I was standing under it. I could almost reach out and touch it.

It was a sign...

Don't know what for, but I know it was a sign for me to see!

I appreciate my husband.

Bat Mitzvah in a week. Sheva Brochot tomorrow.

Cooking and Baking like crazy!

Surrounded by love, I am so blessed!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

It's still raining!

When we first moved here, someone said to me, "When you make aliyah, there are two things you never complain about. One, when it rains, and the other, when your husband has to travel for his job!"

I'm not complaining!

It's getting colder... my kids have forgotten Boston winters. They think it's freezzzing here! They've bundled with hats and scarves.
How many days can I put off turning on the heat?

Mom and Dad are coming tomorrow. I'm excited for the kids! DB wants me to take him out of school.

I have to drive into Jerusalem in the morning (oh, it is morning! I better get some sleep!!) to pick up two turkeys. I've made the ice cream, the mandel, the cookies. Now all I have to make is the soup and the turkeys for Thursday night (sheva brochot). Then I have to start really thinking about Bat Mitzvah!

I should sleep now.

Busy rest of the week.

Feeling better today, the gloomy rainy days make it hard to keep smiling...

But I only need to remember that the rain is a blessing!

Monday, November 22, 2004

My Grumpy Day

I felt like a grump all day.

Nothing went my way - or at least it felt that way.

First, I struggled with NED to stay home and not go to the mall with her friends (whom I knew they wouldn't end up going anyhow - they never do what they plan...) Today was the only day I was going to be able to dedicate to helping her write her Dvar Torah/speech for her Bat Mitzvah. She didn't have school today because they were up late last night for the culmination of Chodesh Irgun (a month long crazy marathon for Bnei Akiva).

Trying to reason with NED is like...I can't even think of a metaphor. She's just such a simple, literal child. You can't exagerrate when you speak to her, you can't use metaphors. You have to say exactly what you mean and then usually have to explain that in simple terms. It's exhausting!

When I finally got her to calm down and get started in writing, the first thing she could think of when I asked her what was the one thing she remembers most from the speeches her friends have given, she said, "The thank-yous". So that's where we started.

I don't want this to be my speech. I need her to own this. I need for her to know and understand whatever she's going to say, even in it's simplicity.
We finished the speech. It needs a little tweeking, and she'll have to read it over a couple times to understand for herself what she wants to say. But it is very short and to the point.

But ooohh! Was it like pulling teeth! When she looks at me with a blank stare...
Most of the time she'll admit, "I didn't understand what you just said." Boy! What a trial on my patience!

Then I went to pick up ELY and friends for playgroup, but only ELY was at gan today. Had to go to another gan to pick up another kid. So it was only the two kids (instead of four) today. One of the kids came over later - and the dynamic between these kids is not so great. So then I had to break up petty little stupid, "He's copying me." "He's not sharing" "She's not letting me sit there."
I had no patience for that!

Then ELY couldn't find her new ballet shoes Ari brought back from the states. At that point I completely lost it on an almost 5 year old about how irresponsible she is! I was a goner!

Made the huge mistake of taking NED clothes shopping in Kiryat Sefer (a very religious neighborhood up the road) after dropping ELY off at ballet (with shoes too small on her!) The store was swarming with little rude kids pushing and knocking clothes on the floor. Mother's not paying attention or not caring. Kids trying to peek into the dressing room while others tried on clothes. What's with that?!?!?!?!

As we were leaving the store and a little kid - couldn't have been more than 7 years old, began to push NED as we were going down the steps. I lost it! I did something that my daughter didn't realize I did. And I won't admit to her. I only feel a little bad about doing it. Remember - I'm having a grumpy day!

I said to the kid, "Ma ze?" (what's this/ what are you doing?) "Ayze chutzpa" (what a chutzpa.) And when we got to the bottom of the steps and he cut right in front of us, I stuck out my foot.... and tripped the kid! He went flying and I didn't care! I just walked away without another word. NED thought the kid tripped himself and I felt justified!

Hummpfff! I'd had enough!

Came home, made pancakes for dinner (forget about thinking healthy!) and tried to feel productive by cleaning the clutter off a book shelf and reorganizing the books.

And now here I am. It's almost midnight. Ari just got home. And I just want today to go away by going to sleep.

Tomorrow is another day.

OK OK, I know I sound like a kvetch. I'm entitled.

Here's a happy thought: It just started raining!! Thank you Hashem!

Good night :)

Sunday, November 21, 2004


A crazy two weeks ahead.

I'm trying not to get anxious. I'm trying not to sweat the small stuff.

But somehow I have no fingernails left anymore?!

I want it to be fun. Don't want anyone to think I'm not OK, because I really am.

But maybe deep down....?

Meaningful and simple - my motto for the next two weeks.

Out-of-town special visitors.

Sheva Brochot.



Bat Mitzvah.

Gotta put polish on my nails...

Have a happy day :)

Saturday, November 20, 2004

I hate curfew!

To clarify: I hate setting curfew and then waiting to see if my kids will keep or break it!

When they were little, they were so diligent. They listened. They did what we asked. They responded when we counted. They cared what we said. They were obedient. No arguments, just did it.


And now, they answer back. They grunt. They pout. They slam doors. They whine. They yell, "But Imma!" They come home late and yell back, "It's not fair!"

When you were almost 12-years-old, did you have a curfew of 11:00 PM? How about 1:00 AM at 15 years?

This place is crazy! These kids don't get enough sleep.

And I have no control.

Then I start to question myself. Why is it so important for them to be home early when they want to be out with their friends. I remember very well wanting to
break curfew and many times actually doing it. The social pull is so strong. They have so much fun and are making lifetime memories for themselves.

But at what expense?

No matter! I hate curfew and I just want my little obedient, sweet, homebody children back.

Would this have happened even if we had stayed in Boston?

I wonder....

Friday, November 19, 2004

My little Israeli

Well, almost!

I have said since we arrived here over one year ago, that I will know that my ELY has really adjusted when she starts playing with her babies in hebrew.

Well, it's happened!

The other day, as I lay in bed not wanting to get up, I could hear ELY in the living room playing. She had her dolls all lined up and was talking to them...or with them?

When I realized I couldn't make out what she was saying, it was because she was speaking in hebrew!

Her hebrew is simple. Like, "come" and "let's play" and "are you ok?" Small and simple sentences that she has for sure picked up in gan. She even rolls her "rrrr's".

It's very sweet. And she doesn't like to be caught speaking it either. I guess she doesn't have the confidence yet.

I did, though, hear her voice loud and clear, yelling something in hebrew, to her gannenet (teacher) when I went to pick her up from gan. She knows how to get herself heard when she needs to!

Thought I'd share that happy thought.

:) Happy Day and Shabbat Shalom

Thursday, November 18, 2004

It's raining, It's POURING!!

And I mean pouring!
Thanks G-d it's raining in Chashmonaim.
Really coming down.
At one point today, I couldn't see the house across the street.
The streets are flooded.
And the Israelis are panicking!
They get out their umbrellas and hats and scarves. It's still only about 60 degrees Fahrenheit out there!
Water is rushing down the street.
We're still waiting for our basement to flood.
So far so dry!!

This was one of those rainy days that in the states you'd stay home and read a book or stay in bed.
I stayed home.
But I didn't stay in bed or read a book.
I baked challah for Shabbat.
I baked a double batch of chocolate-chip cookies.
I made baked ziti with cheese for dinner.
And I washed a lot of dishes.

Ran out this evening to buy paper goods for Sheva Brachot next week. Great prices in Kiryat Sefer - the next city over. I get to use my creative touch when setting a table. It's fun!

Although I'm happy it's raining, I hope it stops by tomorrow morning.
I'll be taking MB into Jerusalem to the physical therapist. She has scoliosis. If she does her exercises, they say she won't have to wear a brace. I like her PT. She's an English-speaking Israeli and very thorough and tough. She pushes MB.

After PT, I wanna go to Machenay Yehuda - the outdoor market. Great deals on fruits and vegies. A lot of fun too! Excites the senses! The smells, colors, sounds, and textures of the market are fabulous.

Then I promised MB I'd take her shopping for something new to wear to NED's Bat Mitzvah. Gotta be home by 4 PM to pick up Ely from playgroup.

So you see why I don't want it to rain tomorrow. Too much outside stuff to do. On the other hand, we only have to worry about rain getting in our way a couple times a year, so I guess I can deal!

Thank you Hashem for the rain!
It's a real blessing!

Over 1000 overnight!

Look at that counter! How'd that happen?
Who's reading this thing?
I feel so loved.
Gotta keep writing.
And you..
Keep reading!
Thanks for coming...

Monday, November 15, 2004

Something Positive

There is so much one could complain about in Israel. Unfortunately, it's easier to complain in general than to look at the positive. And then we run the risk of speaking Loshon Hara (gossip) about our homeland.

So even though I have a million things on my list of things to do today (OK, I'm exaggerating a little), I needed to pay attention to a positive that just happened here, and write about it.

I don't know why I bother really. Making dinner these days is unnecessary. Except for the fact that Ari will not eat pasta every night - which is the easiest to make - I have to make something he'll eat. No one these days is home for a sit down dinner time. The big girls are running in and out to activities for Bnei Akiva (youth group) and their own afterschool things. DB is in Yeshiva, although last night when I was kvetching to him, he offered for me to come pick him up, "I'll eat your dinner's Imma." ELY is happy with a bowl of cereal. So why do I bother?

I think I bother because most of the time I enjoy cooking (or is it eating I like?!), and I do like to make nice meals for Ari. So last night I defrosted the ground meat, put a up a pot of water for the corn on the cob, and a pot for the pasta - baked ziti with meatballs and corn, was the menu. I knew I would have leftovers, but then I wouldn't have to cook twice this week. I had the onions chopped and the oil heating to make the meat when all of the sudden, all my gas went off. Three pots on the stove and no gas. I groaned!

The way gas works here is you have gas "balloonim" as they are called. Gas tanks. We have two for our stove and Ari's grill. The last time Ari was in the states and the gas ran out, I figured out, on my own, how to turn one off and the other on. This time, since Ari was still at work, I found the flashlight, went outside and turned the tanks off and on. But when I tried to light a flame again on the stove, nothing happened.
I remembered the last time I ran out of gas on my dryer, which is a separate tank, I asked the guy to check my other tanks - he said they were full.
Not quite! Mistaken!

So I called the gas company immediately and told them we needed two new balloonim.

Ari had frozen pizzas from the toaster and NED and MB had baked potatoes from the microwave. Just as good, I guess. Just not as fancy...

This morning, I tried to call the gas company again, after leaving two messages last night.
No one answered. I went to the shull (synagogue) for some Torah learning and when I got home, there was a guy with a truck and my two new and full balloonim! What service! Not only that, but since Tuesday is the actual day of their delivery to our area, and I called special, I would usually have to pay a "special" extra rate. The guy was the same guy who came last time and said he checked these balloonim. What he thinks happened is that the balloonim, which are situated within lots of overgrown brush from the empty lot next door, was being held done by roots that had grown between the holes on the bottom of the tank. When he went to lift the tank last time, he thought it was heavy, but really it was being held down.

Their mistake! No "special" extra rate! He came in and made sure the burners turned on before leaving and said, "l'hitraot" (goodbye) as he left. (And, by the way, this entire interaction with the gas man was done in hebrew! Go me!)

What service! And now I can finish frying the onions which have been sitting in oil since last night (is that healthy?) and finish making dinner!

Gotta recognize the positive!!

Have a happy day!

P.S. Happy Birthday to my old friend Ari from Chicago (not my husband)! You are now officially in your late thirties! :)

What's happened since last Tuesday?

My last post was last Tuesday. What have I been doing since then?

I kept hoping I would get responses to my "Introduce Yourself" post, but got very few. Thank you to those who did respond.

When I last left you I was going shopping with NED in Jerusalem. Did that. And we were successful. We found an adorable skirt and sweater set at Topline in the Jerusalem Malcha Mall. We then drove into the city and parked in my usual parking lot to avoid getting any tickets. Parking there - in a back alley, off of Rechov Mesillat Yesharim (Rechov=road or street) - is 8 shekel for the first hour and 6 for every extra hour. Worth it for me when I don't know how long I will be out and about. I'm still fighting some parking tickets I received for broken meters.

Great shopping in Mercaz HaIr (city center). Especially for modest clothes for me and the girls! Very exciting! I walked past one store front and loved what the manican was wearing. We went in, the saleslady took it right off the manican, I tried it on and bought it. I have finally found the store with my taste in clothes. YIPPEE!!

NED and I met "brother Levi" at Burger's Bar off of Ben Yehuda. They make the best burgers in town! You have to wait a bit for them to be made fresh, but when they're done, yummy! They also make fresh potato chips. We had a great visit. Hopefully Levi will be able to come for NED's Bat Mitzvah. I am sending him a package tomorrow with some instant soups and chocolate. I love sending Levi packages to the army. Wherever he is based, he'll get it and be so appreciative. (He's now outside Beit Lechem (Bethlehem).

The rest of the week? I don't remember what happened. I know I baked a double batch of chocolate chip cookies on Thursday and a pan of Banana Chocolate chip bars to take with us for Shabbat.

For Shabbat Ari and I went to Kochav Yaakov. A very lovely - and affordable - community near Ramallah! We felt no effects from being that close though. DB, MB and NED opted to stay on the yishuv with friends. We took only ELY with us. On Shabbat afternoon she stayed with our hosts to play with their children while Ari and I walked around a bit. She felt very comfortable with us leaving her with strangers. (But they were nice strangers, with children her age!) Thank G-d she's a well adjusted child.

Today I drove Ari to work and then went to Neve Yaakov to meet with friends to discuss plans for Sheva Brachot which we will be making for Rabbi Kosman's granddaughter the week before NED's Bat MItzvah. I think I'm crazy! What did I volunteer to do again? The soup, turkey and cookies? When am I going to do all that?

And now, our good friend Shimmy is coming to visit and we'll have some of our NCSYers over for Shabbat when he's here. It will be loads of fun and I will need a break after it all...except, Ari will be leaving for the states :(

I'm rambling and not writing my best. Instead of doing all the things I should be, I'm gonna go to sleep! I should be doing something... but what first?

Hang in there with me. I'm trying.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

My day

Before I wiped the dirt off my feet and climbed into bed, I thought I'd quickly check in.

I had a very nice morning with my husband. He awoke in time to go to Shacharit (morning prayer service) and to take Ely to gan. Over breakfast, we looked at the calendar and organized in our heads and on the calendar, the comings and goings over the next couple of weeks. He then went back to sleep and I tried out my hebrew skills by going to the local cellphone place to have the kids' phone fixed. I quickly ran into our mini-shuk (outdoor market) for pamelos and artichokes and into the flower nursery for mums to plant outside.

Today was playgroup here at our house. Tough dynamic with three boys and my Ely, but she manages. She has learned to play Spiderman more than house!

And then, because I had Ari at home recuperating from his trip and able to be with Ely, I was able to drive to Jerusalem for a meeting. Last year I volunteered myself to be on the NEFESH planning committee. NEFESH is the International Organization for Orthodox Mental Health Professionals. Don't know how many of you know that besides being a professional mom, I also have my Masters in Expressive Arts Therapy. I haven't worked here yet, but will soon be looking. Every year NEFESH has a conference. This past January, I was lucky enough to have the international conference be here. I contacted the chairperson, asking if I could help at all and I was asked to join the planning committee. It has been a great way to break into the professional world here.
This December, will be the International conference again, but in Baltimore this time. I am not going. Mostly because Israel has an annual conference. And that one is in Febuary. I can't do everything!

The meeting was good. I enjoy putting on my professional hat once and awhile. They asked me to present on expressive therapies again. (I presented at the conference here last year.) Don't know yet, what I will do.

Came home, ate an artichoke and fell asleep on the couch. Ari had already fallen asleep putting Ely to bed. NED was at calligraphy class and MB was in the basement studying for a test with two friends. Didn't speak to DB tonight, I wonder how he is...

And now, time for bed. The girls are all asleep and the house is quiet. Before I eat chocolate because I'm tired, I'm going to sleep.

Tomorrow is shopping with NED in Jerusalem and meeting "brother Levi" for lunch.

Hope yours was a productive day!

Layla Tov (good night)!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

A sweet Ely diddy

Getting Ely dressed for gan this morning.

She was wearing her new ballet shoes Ari brought her from the states and I was telling her that she could only wear them in the house.

For some reason she thought to say, "Hashem (G-d) is in the house too. Hashem is everywhere."

I hugged her and said, "You are so lucky you have Hashem in your life. He loves you."

To which she responded, "Hashem is in my life and in my heart. Wanna hear my heart?"

So I listened to her heart and answered, "Yep, I hear Hashem in there!"

"I do too," she answered with a smile.

Have a happy day :)

Quick check-in

My hubby's home!!!
He arrived safely, took a cab home, showered and then out we went with the kids for kosher KFC for a birthday dinner. Ari's 39th. Great to have everyone together again!
After my emotional morning of swallowing some pride and being put in my place (I'll have to write more on that later - just remind me, it's good stuff!), I finished my laundry, cleaned off the kitchen table, found the Happy Birthday tablecloth, cleaned up our bedroom and ate some chocolate.
That was my day.
And now, since my hubby is home, DB is at Yeshiva, and the girls are snug in their beds, I'm going to do the same - and it's before midnight!
Tomorrow is another day!

Sunday, November 07, 2004

When my babies get sick

Ely has a cold again. (Ely is my almost-5-year-old.)

When she was a baby, before she even turned one, Ari and I had been to the ER with her over four times. She had high fever, lethargy, and sometimes vomiting. We'd take her in, wait for hours, she'd be poked and pushed, x-rayed and catheterized. Each time it was only a virus, not a bacterial infection (which we would be thankful for!).
Each time, though, I would become paralyzed, unable to move, waiting for the next cough or vomit. Holding her in my arms, wanting her to be better.

When she was about a year, we had her blood tested. My mother-in-law had been diagnosed with a rare immune deficiency, and suggested we have Ely checked out as well. My pediatrician agreed and we began what became a monthly trip to Children's hospital for bloodwork and exam from a immune-allergy specialist.

Diagnosis: Transient Gamma-globulin Immune deficiency. Lots of big words for a little girl. Basically, she was highly susceptible to viruses around her, but would hopefully, eventually outgrow it.

Treatment: not too much. Make her wash her hands a lot. Keeping her home from playgroup or the park wasn't an option. The doctor suggested antibiotics as a proactive treatment, but I wasn't into it. I chose, instead, the wait and see game.

And so, I spent the next couple years, recognizing the symptoms as she would get sicker, but now knowing when she was sick enough to have to take her to the ER. Thankfully we have only had to take her to TEREM (urgent care) here once for an ear infection.

When we made aliyah, we found the name of a specialist. I took Ely for the routine bloodwork, which had learned to become very brave for, and saw the doctor the following week. According to him, her transient disorder has left. And I must admit that she (poo-poo-poo) has not gotten sick as often over the last year or so.

It always feels, though, that she gets sick when Ari is away.

Last Shabbat there was a little girl playing here from her gan that was coughing - the same cough Ely has now. I'm sure her exposure in gan to all the sneezing and coughing kids has led us to where we are today.

Even with her one-a-day vitamins and chewable vitamin C, she's coughing.

She hasn't stopped. Even in her sleep she's coughing.

I wish I could help her. I gave her some cough medicine, but it doesn't seem to really help. She's in Ari's bed, which means I don't know how much I'll be sleeping tonight.

I hate when my babies get sick. I become paralyzed waiting for them to get worse.
I feel so helpless. I only want them to feel better. I feel guilty that I should have been able to protect them. I feel selfish, not wanting to have to change my plans for them to stay home from school.

When my babies get sick, I become the Mommy.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Please introduce yourselves!

One more thing before I try sleep.

I have been writing here now for 3 months. I know someone or someones (is that plural for more than one someone?) has been reading or at least visiting because my counter keeps increasing. I rarely get comments, which is OK.

But I would love to know who you are.

Who reads these things?

Do I know you? Would I like to know you?

Do you have any questions for me?

I know one of my brothers told me he couldn't get his computer to write a comment without going through a whole sign up process.

I'm just curious who's out there reading?

So if you still don't want to comment publicly, that's ok.

But would you mind PLEASE (mom always taught me to say please!) just sending me a quick email to let me know who you are. The mystery is killing me!

You can email me at

Appreciate it.

Now, I MUST sleep!

Here, but away

I’m here. Have been here all week.

But haven’t been able to write much over the last couple days.

Not sure why. No material? No thoughts? Highly unlikely.
Writer’s block? Maybe.

So here’s some practical news:
I’m taking the kids, against their wishes to Neve Yaakov to be with Brother Matthew and family for Shabbat. It’s not that my children don’t want to be with their cousins, but they are teenagers and right now they would rather be with their friends. So while I still can, and they are letting me without too much protest, I am taking them with me. Ely and I always love going. She has my niece who is her exact age, and I don’t see or hear from her the whole time. They are in baby-doll and dress-up heaven!
My kids have fun once they are there. It’s just getting them there.

I do half the cooking and bring all our own linens.
My job is desserts and side dishes. Tonight I made chocolate-chip cookies, pineapple upside down cake and mint frosted brownies. I made a potato and apple kugel and kishke for the cholent. Tomorrow I make the stir-fry and purple cabbage salad.

We will bring some of the new games I brought from the states. If my brother will let them, the kids will love playing.

So that’s my news. Ari will be home on Monday, please G-d.

Maybe then I’ll go to sleep at a normal time.

Shabbat Shalom!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Back to Reality Israel

I drove to Talpiot, Jerusalem this morning to take my car in for it’s 30,000-kilometer check up and oil change. I purposely drive into Jerusalem so I can go shopping while waiting for my car. No other reason! The IMAGA hat factory is right up the hill and I always get a great deal! And today was no exception.

But I digress. I only wanted to write a quick one tonight. I want to try to sleep more than 4 hours.

Today was my first real day back in Israeli society. Dealing with drivers on the road, store clerks ignoring me (NOT at Imaga!), my inability to communicate with store clerks, trying to get the drivers to stop for me at the crosswalk, standing in line without being acknowledged, not understanding what people are saying around me.

Being in the States was comfortable for me. I could be myself. I could shmooze with anyone who would listen. I could answer the store clerk. I could communicate my thoughts. I’m restrained here. I can’t communicate. I feel stupid.

I received a call tonight from a woman selling group tickets to a theatre in Tel Aviv. Right away she could tell my Hebrew wasn’t so great. And she said in her broken English, “I wanted to sell you tickets, but all the shows are in Hebrew. Learn Hebrew and then next year I’ll call back.”
I thought, “Gosh! I hope I’ll be able to understand by next year!”

This is really hard for me.

I have so much respect for my children. Every day they sit through classes with their limited, but getting-better-everyday Hebrew. I don’t know how they do it! They are incredible!

I know it’s normal and if I’m motivated (which I am), it will get better. But right now…it’s really hard!

Good night,
Wish me good luck sleeping…

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Bat Mitzvah planning

I am officially in the mode.

The planning and preparing for a Bat Mitzvah mode.
I have done this before. Twice.

A Bar Mitzvah for DB in which I cooked for over 200 hundred people all by myself (OK, with a lot of wonderful helpers).

And a Bat Mitzvah for MB where we cooked and ate in a house that wasn’t even ours. (Long story short: we were about to move to Israel and had sold the house that Friday morning. All our furniture was out, but the new owners were nice enough to let us use the house for the meals. We borrowed tables and chairs and made a very nice time of it.)

Now, I’m trying to plan a simple and cost-effective Bat Mitzvah in still unfamiliar territory. NED is simple, so planning is easy. But it’s so easy to get carried away in new and creative ideas. I have to keep reminding myself what is important.

NED is giggly with excitement. I find that as long as I’m telling her what’s going on day by day, she feels included and is happy. I can tell she’s getting nervous though. She doesn’t do well up in front of crowds. (She stopped half way through a speech at DB’s Bar Mitzvah and started crying. She couldn’t finish out of pure embarrassment.) We’ll see how she manages being the center of attention now…

MB was the first Bat Mitzvah in my family. My brother who has lived here in Israel for over 10 years, made a Bat Mitzvah in June, but kept it VERY low key. They didn’t even send out invitations. They had a meal in their home for family and very close friends. The Bat Mitzvah girl didn’t speak. It was a modest and meaningful celebration for my neice.

This is NED’s celebration, not mine. If I want her to have meaning in becoming a Bat Mitzvah, the perspective has to be constantly kept in check.

I’m trying to hold the balance. Somewhere between meaningful and modest, and fun and creative. And on a very limited budget.

So tomorrow after I take my car into Jerusalem to get serviced, I need to finish the invitations and start thinking menu.

I just continue to make decisions and run them by Ari. Full steam ahead…

Simple and meaningful.

Fun and creative.

Monday, November 01, 2004

How "Should" a Parent React, 101

I, by no means, have the perfect curriculum for this class! I don’t even think I would get a very high grade. But I would like to think that I would get an “A” for at least trying!!

When DB was very little, Ari and I learned very quickly that he would react to a fall or a boo-boo by looking at our faces first to see our reaction. So when our son fell, which he did very often – forehead first – we would cheer, “YAY!” and clap our hands. He rarely cried and maybe that’s why he’s such a tough kid today. Our reactions were what helped him gage his own.

Fast forward to today: The teenage years. Reacting has become even trickier. My challenge has been to try to figure out how much to take seriously. And it’s always hard. Like the time MB kept telling me that she couldn’t see the board in 5th grade. I thought it was because her best friend at the time had just gotten glasses and she wanted them too. I kept putting her off until I finally decided to take her to the eye doctor so he could tell her she was making it up. Much to my embarrassment, the doctor confirmed MB’s concerns. She indeed needed reading glasses and still uses them today! But how was I to know? It’s like the old Aesop’s fable, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” I used to call my kids, Peter!

Last week when I was relaxing (well, actually shopping) in Baltimore with my family, NED called me and said, “Imma, you have to do something about my English substitute teacher.”
My first reaction was, “Why?” And then I thought to myself, “What would you like me to do from here?!”
NED continued to tell me that her teacher had locked her and her classmates in the classroom. My next reaction was, “Did you tell your father?” to which she answered, “He said you take care of school stuff and I should wait until you get back to talk to the teacher.” (Deep breath. Should I start here or wait for another time to comment on this one?!)
So today was the day to make the phone call. I first called another parent that I knew (and who spoke English) from her class. They had heard NOTHING from their daughter. But recommended I call the school nonetheless. I asked my neighbor how to say, “locked the door” in Hebrew and made the call. The principal, lucky for me, was on a tiyul (hike/trip) with the students today and I was told to call back tomorrow.
When NED got home I decided to try to clarify exactly what happened one more time.
And it’s a good thing I did. Because it wouldn’t have been a good scene had I reacted the way I wanted to when she told me the teacher was locking her in the classroom! It turns out that a) the teacher was in the classroom with them; b) the students had decided that they were done learning for the day and had begun to pack up their book bags and leave the classroom without the teacher finishing the lesson or dismissing the students. Important, conveniently left out information, don’t you think?
“But school was over, it wasn’t fair. She should let us leave. Not lock us in the room.” You have to be able to hear NED’s urgency when saying this!!
And so, I gave her a quick talk about not leaving class before the teacher is done her lesson, and never to walk out of class before she is dismissed. (That’s not to say that I agree with the teacher’s method of locking the door, of course.)

Saved by not reacting with the same urgency as the child on that one!

Another quick one was the phone call I received tonight from DB at 10 PM, when he suddenly realized he didn’t have any clean socks for tomorrow.
Me: “Are you saying you want me to bring you some clean socks, now?!”
DB: “Uh, yeah. My socks are nasty!”
Me: “I don’t think so. Borrow a pair.”
DB: “OK, I guess I can do that.”
One of the good things about the yeshiva DB is in, is that it’s only about 15 minutes away. On the other hand, it’s only 15 minutes away and why can’t I drive out there at 10 PM to bring him clean socks that he forgot to pack for himself!
I told him I would bring him a pair when I was out tomorrow.

Saved again by not reacting with the same urgency as the child on that one!

Reactions. Parenting is all in how you react.

I wish my reactions were A+ material every time!