Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy 2005

Once again, it's very late - or early in the morning, depending on how you look at it.

I know I'm not going to get the chance to write tomorrow before Shabbat. So I wanted to write real quick now and wish myself, my family, my friends, and all those strangers I have not yet had the opportunity to meet, a safe, healthy, meaningful and fulfilling beginning of a new calendar year.

2005? How did that happen?

5 years ago I was recuperating from giving birth to my Ely. I wanted to be home before midnight, New Year's Eve, just in case the earth exploded. It didn't.

Life is so short people!

Don't blink, you might miss it.

Appreciate what you have, perform good deeds, surround yourself with positive people and experiences.

Love. Say it. And feel it!

Hug and hold.

and Smile!!


See you next year...

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

One quick side note

I have received several comments from readers I am unable to answer directly to, either because they wrote as anonymous or there was no link to them.

I want to say thank you for your comments. I truly truly appreciate them. (especially my biggest fan, BB!)

To the person who thinks they know who I am and asked if I went to a college starting with the letter "T," I have an email address to which you can write to me privately so we can figure this out further.

I have loved writing here so much, I am very overdue in writing the monthly family updates I have been personally sending out to over 200 family and friends since we moved here a year and a half ago. This is so much more fun and a heck of a lot easier!

Thanks again for coming and reading. I hope Sarah Smile has made YOU smile!

Now, to sleep...

A "blind" good deed

I have found here in Israel, that when I do a mitzvah (a good deed) I feel so much better about it than I did in the states. Can't explain why. Haven't taken the time to really think about it. But that is how it feels.

Even more so, when I took the time and went out of my way to help a blind woman with a seeing eye dog cross the street and find her bus stop this past Sunday.

I ended up in downtown Jerusalem in search of that 'perfect' wedding gift. I needed something to bring to the wedding of Russia meets France (more on that on a different post), because I knew that if I didn't give them something of meaning now, I would probably never see them again. I wanted something Judaica, but I knew a mezuzah or challah cover wouldn't work. I thought I might give them a nice wall hanging with the words, bless this home, or something like that.

I parked in the very full lot at the bottom of Ben Yehuda. Who says life doesn't go on in Jerusalem? It's almost impossible to find parking anymore, thank G-d!

I walked into one Judaica shop on a side street of Ben Yehuda, but found the prices too high for my wallet. I got the idea to call one other person from my ulpan class to ask if he wanted to go in with me on a gift. He agreed. So I continued on...

As I walked along busy Jaffa street, I noticed the many different nationalities of people walking by me. I assumed it was the X-mas holiday that had brought so many visitors to our homeland.

I turned the corner onto Ben Yehuda and almost walked into a very tall, striking woman with a beautiful dog by her side. She was standing on the corner calling out,"Slicha" (excuse me), trying to get someone to answer her. I came around to her side and said, "Kain? Efshar la'azor lach?" (Yes, may I help you?)

She turned to face my voice and asked if I knew where the number 13 bus stop was. I looked around and said I was sorry, but I did not. At this point she realized I spoke English (Don't know if it was my Hebrew or the accent, but people can tell I don't speak Hebrew very well!) She asked me in English if I knew where there was an Aroma coffee shop on Jaffa street, because the bus stop was right in front of the coffee shop. I quickly peeked around the corner and saw the coffee shop and bus stop she was referring her to.

"Yes, I see it." I told her. And I have to admit here that I honestly felt in that split second, "I hope she doesn't ask me to help her. I don't have time, I won't know what to do. This is scary."

"Can you help me get to the bus stop, please?"

"Of course, I could," I found myself answering, and she took my hand. I led her to the corner to cross the busy street. And suddenly, I found myself starting to cry.

The reality of what I was doing was huge! I was leading a blind woman and she trusted me - a perfect stranger - to lead her across a street and to a bus stop she couldn't even see. I suddenly became aware of every step and turn, telling her that we were waiting for the cross walk light to change, that we were stepping down and crossing Jaffa, that we were turning right, that there were a group of people blocking the sidewalk ahead of us. I loudly called out to the people to move, to be aware that there was someone trying to get by. I told her to be carefully of a beggar sitting on the corner.

We passed a pizza shop and she said, "Mmmmm, the pizza smells so good. The smells here are wonderful."

The tears were rolling down my cheek. What was G-d telling me?

We came to the bus stop. I banged on the metal walls so she could feel where we were. I assured her that we were at the #13 stop. (And now I'm wondering if I should have waited with her to make sure she got on the bus safely. Oh well.)

She thanked me for my help.

I thanked her for the opportunity. And I meant it!

I walked away, feeling very good about myself and very aware of the good deed I had just performed, but felt even more thankful for the gift this blind woman had just given me!

I felt humbled. Put in my place, of sorts.

I am spoiled.

I take too much for granted.


**Stay tuned for the story of Russia meets France - or was it the other way around?**

The Abba has landed!

Thanks be to G-d! Ari has arrived home safely! A little (actually a lot!) worn out from the traveling, but happy to be home!

As I write this I have my whole family asleep under one roof. I feel a sense of wholeness right now that I haven't felt in a long time (at least 2 weeks!)

Ari arrived home in time for us to whisk the two big girls off to the orthodontist. If for no other reason than to help pay the orthodontist bills, I need to get a job! We will be putting Dr. Josh's kids through college - no question! From the doctor's office, we drove to DB's yeshiva to pick him up. Our family custom has become that before Ari leaves, he and I go out for dinner alone, and when he returns, we go out as a family. This gives us uninterrupted time - away from phone and computer - to hear stories from his trip. The children are mostly old enough (Ely is usually off playing in the corner) to enjoy and understand his travel experiences. I love to watch my 3 older guys listen and laugh as Abba tells them of the people he met, or the weather he experienced, or the sights he saw.

DB received permission to sleep at home tonight, I will take him back to yeshiva in the morning. The girls were tucked into bed by their Abba, the house is quiet and I feel content. I can feel the male energy back in the house and I feel safe.

It's a deep inner feeling.

I appreciate the moment.

Tomorrow we face the ins and outs and complications of life, but for now...

it is blissful.

I am blessed and I am thankful!

Now, about helping the blind woman cross the street:

Tuesday, December 28, 2004


Ari comes home tomorrow.

I have a husband. I have a father for my children. I am blessed and I am thankful!

I/ We need him home!

re-entry is always difficult.

10 days of life to catch-up on.

something always gets left out.

expectations reappear.


Just come home safely, we'll deal with everything else, gratefully!

My favorite part of my day

OK, so I didn't write anymore about all my bullet points from last night. I meant to and will try to expound on some of them soon.

For now, though, I want to say I had a special stay-at-home-and-play-with-Ely-alone day.

I picked her up from gan, let her play in the park for a little and then decided on the way home that it was so beautiful outside that we would have a picnic on the grass for lunch.

Today was Dec. 27th (it's after midnight) and it got so hot sitting out in the sun that Ely went back inside to change into a short sleeve t-shirt (sorry to all of you freezing your little behinds off in the US!!)

Inside the house was freezing, so Ely set out a towel on the porch - she decided the grass was to "prickly" - helped me make the tunafish for sandwiches and carried our plates outside. The sun was luscious!!

She laid down on her belly and told me about her day in gan.

I appreciated the sun.
I appreciated the time with Ely.
I appreciated my ability to stop for 10 minutes and have a picnic with my daughter.

That picnic was the favorite part of my day!!

P.S. I had a special surprise visit from an old friend who I found out has been here for the same amount of time we have been here. (My kids call him "Daddy". It's a great story! but for another time...) Ari saw his parents at a wedding last night and gave Ari their son's phone number here. I called and he had time to come visit. That 2 hour visit was my second favorite part of the day! :)

Good night...

Monday, December 27, 2004


I have so much I want to write about my fabulous, exciting, busy day, but am just way too tired to write now.
Here are some bullets to help me get started writing tomorrow:
- english classes arranged for DB and NED
- brunch with my good friend Chayyei Sarah - boy I needed that!
- bargaining with shop keeper on Ben Yehuda - nice wedding gifts
- helped a blind woman cross the street and get her to her bus stop. I cried and thanked her for the opportunity!
- picked up cousin yaakov. drove him half way back to yeshiva
- made dinner for girls
- wrapped present
- brought Ely to ballet and made arrangements for her to go to a friend's after
- got dressed - too dumpy, no stockings to match, which earrings?
It didn't matter!
- picked up Don and wife and drove to wedding
- NEVER show up to a wedding in Israel on time!!!
- Weird wedding!! Russia meets France
- I'm home and need sleep!

Sunday, December 26, 2004

An old saying...revised

"If Momma ain't happy, ain't no body happy" - It's an old saying. Not sure where it came from, but I believe it to be very true!

After this past Shabbat, though, I'd like to revise the saying to, "If child ain't happy, Momma ain't happy!"

My 15-year-old, DB is going through typical teenage angst on top of being a new oleh (immigrant) in a new school. But, to me it feels so much worse. This is a kid who rarely ever complained about anything, got along with everyone and acclimated to any environment. Suddenly, he is expressing himself.

He unsettled.
He told me he can't express himself at school. He doesn't have much in common with the other boys.
The learning is hard.
He cried.
I wanted to, but knew I had to stay strong.
So I closed my door after, and haven't stopped crying for him.
Always when Ari is not here.
Ari will think I blew things out of proportion when I try to explain it to him. He will say I am creating a crisis.
Ari wasn't here.
He wasn't here to witness our son hiccuping in tears trying to express himself clearly to me.
He came to me. DB came to me Friday night on his way out the door and said, "Imma, I need to talk to you."
I sat up.
He started to cry.
His Rav asked him if he talks to girls. My DB didn't lie. Now he wishes he did lie. Because now he thinks they don't like him.
He's a good kid! Anyone who knows him knows that!
He's a mensch. He's not trouble.
The poor kid just wants to be able to learn gemorrah!
It's effecting his self-esteem.

And I? I feel so helpless...

I just don't know what to do.

I'm feeling the teenage angst....all over again!

Friday, December 24, 2004

Tummy ache

I made NED stay home alone today while I went to Ein Gedi. She has been complaining of a stomach ache for four days. Dr. Dad always said that stomach aches are the biggest complaint from children.
So I left her home and as I was sitting by the Dead Sea I made a doctor's appointment. Took her tonite.
Doctor checked everything. Said all internal organs are fine. It must be a virus.
If it's not better by Sunday (she's already missed two days of school) make her pee in a cup and take it to the lab.
Then he asks, "Does she complain a lot? Does she do it to get out of going to school?"

In front of NED what was I supposed to answer?

"I don't know. I'm not sure." Was the best I could do.

When I was her age, unless I was hemorrhaging, I went to school.

How to be sympathetic, yet know what's real?

I don't have the answer...

Uh-Oh, I found a new habit...

Ein Gedi Spa
1 hour + drive to the Dead Sea - Yam Hamelach
If I drive, I don't vomit!
Great uninterrupted talking - watch the views
from green to tan - desert.
Only 55 shekel to enter the spa (my neighbor gave me a receipt for one free entrance!)
For 55 shekel you get sulfur bath - private men's and women's, apply-your-own-mud area - separate men's and women's, a tractor (they call it a tram) to the beach - not separate, or a quiet corner to soak in the suns rays and shmooze with a friend.
For an extra 160 - 230 shekel you can get a massage,
Oh man, are my toxins released now.
I can feel them flowing...
Awesome massage.
Floated in the sulfur pool - stinks but feels amazing. And don't shave before you go.
Talked and talked and talked.
laughed and laughed and laughed.

Just what I needed. Just what she needed too.

Two friends - like sisters - with traveling husbands.

No reason not to return again and again and again!!

I love Israel!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Why do I blog?

My Big Brother (BB) left me a comment asking if I write for you or for me.

I haven't really formulated it all completely in my head yet, but I will give you what I've got up there for now.

I love to write. I have been keeping journals since I was in 7th grade. My very first entry was written on a Friday night, actually. I had just come back from Friday night roller skating at Skater's World. The journal entry was all about when (I'll change the name so I don't possibly embarrass someone) John Sherry, whom I had a huge crush on, asked me to couples skate with him. I had been waiting for weeks for him to ask me, but when he finally did, I skated straight for the girls bathroom, locked myself in a stall and cried until my best friend, Lori, came to console me.

I found my journal to be my closest confidante. It was the only "pair of ears" I could trust back then! And boy did I talk it's ears off!!

I wrote regularly for over 8 years. In college, it slowed down, and then picked back up again after I got married and started having children. I wrote with a group of amazing women - I wonder where they all are today - in a parenting writing group for 3 years, I think. I have journals full of stuff about my kids when they were little.

And then, somehow after I wrote my Masters Thesis, I lost the interest to write. It wasn't that I didn't want to, it was just too much effort and I was afraid to read what I had written. My thesis was largely based on writings from my old journals and I found that whole experience, albeit empowering, really hard to remake. I know this doesn't make much sense. I guess this is the first time I've really thought about it and it's not 100% clear in my head either.

So I'll move on.

When I found out about this blogging stuff, I thought, hey, I can keep in touch with my family and friends in the states and express myself creatively at the same time. Being "witnessed" in my writing makes it much more validating. I think that's why the comment section is so nice. As I have written before, I know people are reading because my counter is going up, but I don't always know who.

I have slowly begun to "meet" other very interesting people through my blog. I love the creativity of words and find that I'm not the only one who enjoys expressing herself through the written word.

So, BB, in short, I write for me and you. I write because it helps me and I enjoy it. And I write because it helps you (to be in touch with me and to know what and how I am doing) and (from what I read and hear) you enjoy it too!

I miss my family.
I miss my friends.
I feel close to them here.
I can tell my story here.
Little by little I can make sense of my world through my writing.

On a lighter note...

I'm off to the Ein Gedi Spa (at the Dead Sea) tomorrow with my "oldest friend" living in Israel. We've known each other since 2nd grade. It's time for some girl bonding (and relaxing!) I guess it's not all bad when Ari is away! :)

I'll let you know how it goes.

Thanks again for coming and reading.

And, as always, feel free to let me know you came!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

I missed it

I always complain to Ari how life is so short and we have to run to spend time with our kids - especially when it comes to putting them to bed at night!

When Ari is away, I have double duty. I need to be putting Ely to sleep at the same time that I have to be helping the big girls with homework or other stuff they need. It's always hard and something or someone always looses out.

Tonight it happened.

Someone else might say that Ely lost out. But I feel and KNOW that I lost out!

Ely was ready for bed - in PJs, teeth brushed, face and hands washed. She climbed up into her bed (she shares a bunk bed with big sister MB) and chose her book to read. (you probably guessed which one!)

Just then NED asked me to drive her to her calligraphy lesson. I usually make her walk, but she wasn't feeling 100% today and I promised to take her when she asked me earlier.

I told Ely to wait for me in her bed and I'd be right back to read to her and say shema (night prayers).

Ely asked, "Are you coming right back? In two minutes?"

I assured her I would be right back and she should stay in her bed until I got back. MB was doing her homework at the kitchen table, so I quickly drove NED to her lesson.

But I missed it. And I knew I would.

When I got back, Ely was asleep. Not even 5 minutes and she was sucking away on her thumb. I feel jipped! She will tell me in the morning, too; how I didn't read her a book and will have to do so before she goes to gan.

But I missed it. I missed my baby falling asleep. I missed the opportunity tonight to say Shema with her, to thank G-d for her day.

I missed it and now I feel sad.

Life is too short and too fast. Gotta grab the moments.

On the other hand, I got to spend 5 quiet minutes with NED in the car...

Gotta look on the bright side, I guess.

Don't miss your moment today!

The "day off"...

I drove into Jerusalem right after dropping Ely off at gan this morning to meet my sister-in-law and the Camp Shoresh tour group, from Frederick, Maryland - my hometown - at their hotel.

I sat for breakfast with Rabbi Kosman and Uncle Sam. Like Home. Comfort people, even more satisfying than comfort food!

The group had a couple hours to rest, so Phran and I went shopping. We walked to the center of town and bought a couple new skirts. Had lunch at my favorite vegetarian restaurant, Village Green, and then walked back to the hotel. We took only one small detour to Marzipan to introduce Phran to the yummiest bakery in Jerusalem! Once back at the hotel, I was able to see Rabbi Kosman again and do small favors for him, like show him how to use his cell phone and run around the hotel looking for a pen that works. I so appreciate being able to do such things for people I owe SO MUCH MORE to!

It was off time for me.

When I came home, though, I was welcomed by two sinks full of dishes, clothes piled high, and stuff everywhere. WHen Ari is away, I don't care as much... Tomorrow I put the house back together.

But I appreciated the "day off!"

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

My baby is going to be 5

Ely will, please G-d, be 5 years old in 2 weeks. We now only celebrate hebrew birthdays (except mine which falls out on a fast day. The kids OK'ed that).

I'm really having a hard time with my kids growing up. Have you figured that out yet?

Tonight as I was reading her a bedtime story she sat up and said, "Can you pause a moment? I need to get a drink."

Pause? That's such a big girl word.

Then she laid back down, put her thumb in her mouth and listened as I finished the same book I read to her almost every night - "Go Dog Go." She doesn't seem to ever bore of hearing it!

I'm thankful...

Good night!

(I hate going to sleep without my husband here...)

Women are nuts!

I just came from getting a manicure. I've been trying to find a place in my neighborhood to get a decent manicure. I have written before how a good manicure does well for my self-esteem. I am in my late 30s and yet I still bite my nails. Disgusting habit, nervous habit, painful habit - call it what you want, but I have been trying to stop for years and years. The only way to keep me from biting is by getting a weekly manicure. In the states, I would walk down my street and have the choice of over 4 different manicure places on one block. Not so easy here, or at least I haven't found a decent place yet. There is a russian woman who goes house to house on the yishuv, but I wasn't pleased with the manicure I got from her.
Today I paid more than I have in years for a manicure at a boutique type place in Modiin (the 'big city' down the road). The treatment was awesome, but she did a lousy job putting on the polish - I could've and would've done a better job myself. But it was the treatment that made it worth it.

That brings me to my title. I had what manicurists call a paraffin treatment. Basically you dip your hands in - or in my case today, they painted it on with a paintbrush - HOT WAX!! That's right, hot wax was spread on my hands, then covered with plastic wrap for 10 minutes, then peeled off. My hands right now are tushy soft! But when I think of the fact that I did it...

I must be nuts!!

I continue my search for that perfect manicure...

Monday, December 20, 2004

Over 2000

By the way, even though I get very few responses from my readers, which I still can't figure out why, I know people are reading because somehow I jumped to over 2000 hits in only two days!

Thanks for coming here. Hope you get what you came for!

Moving on...

It's 3 am. I fell asleep with Ely at 8 pm. That's 7 hours of sleep, more than I usually get in one night. I'm wide-awake now! It's cold and quiet in the house now. I can hear cars passing by on the road outside the yishuv. The only other sound is the hum of the ceiling fan, my typing keys and a random MOSQUITO! What? How come there are mosquitoes in the house in this cold?!?!

I just turned my itunes (80's station) on very low so it wouldn't be so quiet in here. Amazing modern technology - I can turn on an Internet radio station on my computer while I'm working and listen to music from my high school years. "Oh Mickey you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind, hey Mickey!!!" :)

I miss my husband. I would call him now; except our portable phone is dead and I couldn't talk quietly enough in the living room where our Internet phone is. Our entire living space is very wide open and I'm afraid I would wake the girls. I hope Ari remembers to buy a new phone. Ours just burnt out. Maybe it was from being dropped on the hard tile floors a billion times? Who knows, but this is highly inconvenient! How we become accustomed to modern technology...being able to have a private conversation on a portable phone.
Did I tell you we have only had two phones in this house since we started renting it one and a half years ago? One in the living room and one in the dining room (if you can call them that!) It was simple, there were only two working phone jacks and it would cost a fortune to run more lines. Since it was only a rental, we dealt. Having a portable made it a little more manageable. But now... it's so restrictive!

OK, I can hear you saying, “Stop complaining. People are dying of real diseases; there are real tragedies out there!”

And you are right! So I'll move on...

What I originally intended to post here was a conversation I had with my son on Saturday night. So if I haven't bored you until now and you are still on.

This is basically how the conversation progressed with my 15 year old DB.
Sitting at the table after making havdalah (the prayer we say on a candle, spices and wine to separate the Sabbath from the weekday) DB started the conversation -

DB: Did you buy a new candle at the candle factory in Tzfat?
Me: No, we don't need a new one yet. When we do, we'll go back up to Tzfat. We can't spend money just to be spending. We are running out of money.
DB: Abba (hebrew for Father) doesn't make a lot of money?
Me: No, he makes an Israeli salary and I need to get a job.
Me: That's another reason it's hard to live here. It’s hard to live amongst people who seem to have a lot more money than we do. (I was speaking about living on this yishuv) It makes you feel like you have to have what they have. 'Keeping up with the Joneses' is what they call it.
DB: (with a little sarcasm) So why don't we move to Neve Yaakov? (Neve Yaakov is the ultra-orthodox, somewhat poverty-stricken neighborhood on Jerusalem where my brother lives)
Me: I don't want to live in Neve Yaakov. I wouldn’t fit in there. We wouldn’t want to live there.
DB: Just like I don’t fit into Nehora (his Yeshiva).
Me: what do you mean? There are guys like you there. They’re not all weirdoes. (I knew that was what he was implying)
DB: Yeah, guys that were put there like I was by there parents (I’m thinking’ NOW you have an opinion? Why couldn’t you have had an opinion when we were looking for schools?! But I didn’t say that!)
Me: Oh, you mean parents who want their sons to have a decent education? (He knew what I was implying. We were not satisfied with the education he was getting from the school he was in last year – he wasn’t either, but it’s hard because most of his friends from the yishuv are still there.)
DB: (stopped and looked at me) Yeah, I guess. But they are trying to make us charedi there.

**I wish I could explain the label charedi easily. It is an abbreviation for the Hebrew phrase, “Those who tremble before G-d”. Otherwise derogatorily known as the ultra-orthodox.**

Me: Why do you say that DB?
DB: They are. Rav Grxxxx (the Rosh Hayeshiva or head of the yeshiva) gave a talk last night and said that Internet is evil, SMS is bad and that parents who let their children use them are murderers.
Me: (I wasn’t surprised, but not upset to hear that the rav would say this) Well, DB, I agree with him in part. Everything G-d has given us can be used for the good or abused for the bad.

Ari chimed in here. He was packing for his trip and I couldn’t get him to sit down and be apart of the convo. I needed him to be there, but he just couldn’t sit. At this point though, he came to the table and said, “DB, you know that Abba could not do his job if he didn’t have the Internet. You know that most Jewish kiruv (outreach) organizations out there depend on their access to the Internet. There are Torah classes you can download off the Internet, etc. People are becoming interested in Judaism from the Internet. There is a lot of good out there. And you also know how much bad there is, also. It’s up to us as your parents to make sure you’re looking at the proper things and to instill in you the values to do so when you are not in out home.”

At this point DB was starting to get upset. He is such a deeply sensitive and passionate kid.

DB: But he called you murderers. Why would he say that?
Me: Because, I think, if a parent allows their child to look at inappropriate things, they are like murdering their children’s souls. I agree with that. There is so much out there that damages our souls. Listen, DB, all through your life, you will here people say things that you don’t like or that doesn’t make sense to you. When that happens, you need to come to us. We are your parents. We are here to help you understand the world. You are at the age where you are beginning to form your own opinions. But if there is something confusing, then you need to know that you can come to us, and we will help you understand. I think you should go back to your Rav and tell him what we have told you. You can, I think, respectfully tell Rav Grxxxxx that you disagree with what he is saying to an extent.

I remember when I was in seminary, straight out of public school, and I sat in a class where my teacher told us that non-Jews were bad and that we shouldn’t socialize with them. I was so upset! My best friends were non-Jews and they were some of the most wonderful people I knew. I also knew that my hometown Rabbi, would never have said anything like that! I went to my Rosh Hayeshiva and told him how upset I was. I requested that he tell his teachers to be more careful and more aware of who they were teaching to. I spoke my opinion, and he heard it. The teacher apologized to me. Why she said such a thing to me, now, is irrelevant. My point to DB was that I spoke up.

Getting DB to speak up is tough. I don’t know whether it is because he is a boy, or shy or insecure? I want him to be able to go to his Rav and say, “I respectfully disagree with what you said.”

Our conversation continued and became about how I was sure he has friends today who are doing, watching or looking at things that he knows are inappropriate. I explained how he will begin, if he hasn’t already, to find himself in situations that he knows he shouldn’t be in. And it will be up to him to decide whether he will follow or not. He will make mistakes – just like I did and his father did. But hopefully they won’t be dangerous or stupid mistakes. Choices and consequences – my motto.

So that was basically the gist. He was in tears. I was feeling so helpless that I couldn’t protect him anymore. I was missing and still am, our hours spent on the rocking chair when he was little. He loved to snuggle and read books with me. Rocking back and forth, back and forth!

This growing up thing stinks! No one told me having babies was going to lead to this!

How did my parents survive?!

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Still waiting for your response...

How can it be that only two readers of my blog have had a similar experience as me and were kind enough to leave me comments? I am truly appreciative to those two who did, in fact, I have found a new blog to read from one of them. I have even found blogging4dummies, which will hopefully teach me some new tricks in my blogging repetoire.
But I was really hoping for some more insights. And was thinking in my quietness over Shabbat that maybe I would have to start another blog that was completely anonymous. I would use that space to vent, and not really care whether anyone read it or not. It would be a place for me to write my deepest and darkest, without upsetting my hubby. It's a thought.

Meanwhile, Ari is off again. I took him to the airport tonight. I am left with unfinished household business to take care of myself; school issues for all the kids; unmade plans for next shabbat; laundry still to do; and a family email update to write.

The one best thing about Ari not being here, is that I can make french toast or pasta or even eggs for dinner and the kids won't care. DB goes back to Yeshiva tomorrow, and so it's just me and the girls. Lonely and quiet, but a heck of a lot easier!

I will try this week to see friends and maybe even spend a day at a spa.
Keep checkin' back here, I'll update as often as I get the chance.

And if you are so inclined to read my last post about my dilemma and make a comment, I would really appreciate it!
Happy day :)

**P.S. Right after I posted this, I saw that I had received yet 2 more comments, which I must add were very helpful. Thanks to you for your comments!!**

Friday, December 17, 2004

Differences-in Conflict

My husband doesn't like it when I blog about my personal stuff - like my craving for chocolate and my feelings of being stuck. Don't know why really.
I've always been the kind of person to wear every emotion and thought on my sleeve. If you are not my favorite person, you will know it from me. If I'm feeling grouchy, you will know it, too. If I'm stuck, I'll tell you.
(This all, of course, contradicts Grandma Rose's saying, "No one wants to be around a *#^tch." Which I think about all the time!)

- Ari likes scary suspense movies. He will not watch anything where people, or animals die of natural causes. I won't watch anything that I have to cover my eyes for. I prefer not to have to think and after the movie is over, walk away feeling good. (I remember going to the theatre in the States to see the movie TWISTER - which was a good movie, actually - when I walked out I was so shook up that I thought a twister would touch down on me any minute.)
- Ari loves sushi. I won't eat anything raw, including meat, which he also loves!
- Ari likes to sleep. I don't have time to sleep.
- Ari prefers Jewish music. I don't!!
- Ari likes to work with noise all around him. I need quiet.
- I need to write and talk about my weaknesses, my frustrations, my stuckness. Ari prefers to supress them.

So I am in conflict. I would like to write more about what is really on my mind, but Ari prefers I don't.

"It's my blog," I tell him. But I don't want him to be embarrased.

I imagine there are other bloggers out there with the same or similar dilemma.


Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Home Alone

I'm alone in the house for the first time in a month!

And I don't know what to do with myself first.

Eat chocolate.

Ari is at work and he took the car so I can't drive anywhere. DB went back to yeshiva - nervous about that. Eat chocolate.

MB and NED went to a neighbor's Bday party. Ely went to Rafi's house.

Home alone.

I can’t deal with it.

***This is the fourth post in one sitting. I have a lot on my mind and I haven’t had time to write in awhile***

I gotta vent cuz I’m having difficulty dealing.

My kids are getting older and don’t want to be around home anymore.
They would rather go to a friend’s house.
They’d rather be anywhere, but here.
OK, I exaggerate. But that’s how it feels.

I tell them to be home at a specific time, and then they call and ask if they can come home later.

I have my idea of the “perfect, smoothly run” home life and the kids come along and do their own thing.

They’re not disrespectful; they’re appropriate most of the time.

But they just go and don’t want to come home. Am I doing something wrong? Everyone says I’m such a good Mom? Why haven’t I created a home they want to bring their friends into? Is it only because we don’t have a TV? How can that be? You mean if we got a TV, they’d bring their friends here? Are Ari and I that embarrassing?

How come I’m always made to feel like I’m asking the impossible? When I ask them to come home it’s because I’m trying to create responsibility, structure and limits.
I’m worried about my kids, and I don’t know if I even have to be. I look around and I see my friends with seemingly healthy, well-adjusted kids one day and the next, they’re acting out, violent, rebellious. That scares me.

Am I connecting properly? Am I listening enough?

It’s hard to know what’s real and what’s just complaining.

They’re flying the coup and I’m not dealing with it well at all!

I’m all over the place with this.

And I’m losing sleep over it too. I’m afraid to sleep because I don’t know what tomorrow will bring me.

I don’t want my kids to leave me. I want them to need me forever. I want them to not be able to function without me. I want them to be babies and helpless.

It was oh so easier then…

I hope they’ll be OK.

G-d help us! and me, too!

Another quick Ely diddy

I'm sad to admit that we haven't been to the kotel (western wall) as a family in a long time. I don't remember the last time. Tonight we went for the last night of Chanukah. (Scroll down for a little more on this...)

As we were walking down to the Kotel tonight, Ely perked up and said, "Can I have some kesef (money) so I can give it to the lady?"

(There are usually women collecting money for poor families.)

She sat on a chair and watched the activity around her until I told her it was time to go kiss the kotel. I picked her up and explained that I would take her to kiss the kotel and then she should close her eyes and talk to Hashem; asking Him anything she wants, or to say thank you for anything.

She closed her eyes and stretched out her hand for a kiss. She then leaned into my ear and whispered, "I said thank you Hashem for saving me."

Don't know what she was referring to and I didn't think to ask her at the time. It was her moment.

But sweet, nonetheless.

Thank G-d for little Ely!!

Happy 12th Bday, NED!

My little girl is 12. Today is her English birthday, her hebrew one was the day of her Bat Mitzvah. As I heard her tell a friend on the phone, "My hebrew birthday fell out on my Bat Mitzvah day."

I've got an even better NEDism. Ready for the simpliciy of this one?

We were walking through the Old City tonight. Our annual (it's only our second year, really) walk through the streets to admire the beautiful burning menorahs of Chanukah and find our way down to the Kotel (western wall). Two young girls passed us - post high school age - speaking loud enough for us to overhear their conversation. One said to the other, "I sat for hours thinking about who I am." A typical conversation for this age, not unlike the ones I had 'back then.'
Ari was walking on one side of NED and I was on the other. Ari smirked, "Did you hear that?"
NED answered before I could, "Yeah. 'Hours thinking about who I am.' How retarded. How can she not know who she is?" NED was serious.
I laughed and asked, "Do you know who you are?"
NED answered, "Of course I do. I'm NED. She's stupid."

It's that simple!

Happy Birthday to me, too. 12 years ago I gave birth to a 9 pound, 3 ounce pink cheeked, huge baby girl. 18 months after her sister. She was my comfort. She was a sweet baby. Easy going and mild-tempered...(What happened?!)
NED's birth started me on my graduate school career.
12 years ago...

I’m done!

I am so done!

- No more guests.
- No more entertaining.
- No more cooking.
- No more setting the table, then clearing, then washing the dishes, then putting them away, only to take them out again for the next meal.
- No more worrying if there’s going to be enough food for everyone.
- No more meals for more than my immediate family.
- No more washing sheets and towels.
- No more having to keep my bedroom door closed all the time.
- No more making sure my kids are on their best behavior.
- No more having to be “pleasant and gracious.” (That’s from my Grandma Rose, the one who said, “No one likes to be around a #*#tch!)
- No more smiling and pretending like I’m so happy to have all these people in my house.
- No more cleaning up after other ADULTS!!!

I’m so done!

DB goes back to Yeshiva tomorrow – we’re all a little sad about that.

The girls go back on Thursday.

Ari leaves Saturday night.

I get my massage on Monday morning! (Sunday morning, if I can make it sooner!)

I’m thankful for the simcha of celebrating my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah. I'm thankful for all who came to celebrate.


I’m done!

Friday, December 10, 2004

Bye Mom and Dad

My Mom and Dad left Israel tonight and I'm sad. It is really hard for me to let them go. This time more than last year.

My mom is getting older. And she is fighting it!

My parents have a beautiful relationship. They are by no means perfect, but they are role models for me and Ari.

They are honest, they are real.

My mom is such an awesome help in the house. My laundry is done, I have food in the freezer. My Dad washes dishes and helps to clean up around the house.

I am by no means as neat and orderly as my Mom. But I have learned a heck of a lot from her.

When we dropped off my parents at the airport tonight, my father hugged me and said, "You are a great mom and a great wife." I never got that from him as a kid. And now, well, it is so wonderful to hear it!

I am truly blessed. I have a healthy relationship with my parents and siblings. I have a husband who loves me and acknowledges how much we can work on ourselves every day. I have children who understand that I would do anything for them.

Now, I just need to believe in me more.

I'm sad tonight. But I guess it's partly a happy sad...

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Shopping in Jerusalem

We set out this morning - me, my mom, my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law, her husband and her son - at 10 am, on our way to Jerusalem for a day of shopping. We would start in Talpiot at the Imaga Hat Factory and then depending on the weather, either hit the shops on and around Ben Yehuda street or go to the Malcha Mall. The rain fell on and off all morning...not allowed to complain!

We had a successful shopping trip to Imaga. I "didn't need" anymore new hats, so I left without anything. We decided the mall was the better weather choice.

I have decided once and for all that I am a very patient woman! I need to be.

Two hours in the mall.

Kosher food court.

I didn't buy a thing.

Money money money. My children are my treasure!

exhausted, too big, too small. too expensive, how much is this?

I'm going to sleep...

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Chanukah Sameach - NOT a Chag

I had two awesome Israeli moments today. Both were lessons taught to me by Israeli men, one wearing a kippah, the other not.

The first was given to me by the non-kippah wearing money changer behind the glass window in Modiin. I came to him with the $40 my good brother left us in the glove compartment (a take-yourselves-out-to-dinner present).
This handsome, seemingly secular Israeli took the money and said, "This is all? 40 dollars?"
In hebrew, I responded, "That's all I have."
"Do you have children?" he asked.
"Yes, I do." I wondered where he was going...
"Then what else do you need? This here," he lifted up the dollar bills, "is only paper. You have children. That is your treasure."
"You are right," I was humbled.
"People put too much emphasis on this paper. They forget what is important."

I couldn't believe what I was hearing. This guy was reminding me of what is important. Amazing lessons. And all in hebrew!

The second lesson was given to me by the guy at Marzipan, the yummiest kosher bakery in Jerusalem! Located near Machene Yehuda (the outdoor market), MB and I always stop there after her physical therapy appointments which are right next door...We got our gooey cinnamon rugelach and wished the guy a Chag Sameach. Very quickly he corrected us. He told us that in Israel we say, "Chanukah Sameach" (Sameach means HAPPY), because Chanukah is not a Chag. In Israel, a Chag is a Yom Yov like Sukkot or Pesach. So we just say Chanukah Sameach. With a humble smile, we wished him a Chanukah Sameach and understood the correction.

You never know who will teach you what in this country...

Chanukah Sameach

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


That's how I'm feelin'!

Like I have a mad hangover!

If memory serves me this is what happens everytime I've made a simcha.

I just crash.

My body moves on no sleep and barely any food (that's the best part!) for days and then when it's all over, I crash.

I feel groggy and heavy and tired. Craving sugar.

Keep moving. I have to keep moving.

Clean up, clean up.

Chanukah is coming...

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Bat Mitzvah tonight

It all starts tonight.

Trying to remember to breathe

Have fun

be calm
Don't sweat the small stuff

Smile, no one wants to be around a __________ (fill in the blank!) Grandma Rose used to say this with a word I can't write here.

Little details

Simple and meaningful

be patient

smile :)

Mazal Tov!

Thank G-d for Smachot! (happy celebrations)

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Checkin in... again

Making lists, checking things off

Getting there...

Keep on going.

Simple and Meaningful!