Thursday, April 21, 2005

Erev Pesach

It's two days before we celebrate the Jewish holiday of Passover (Pesach).

There is calm and quiet in our house.

My in-laws are on their way.

I had such a full week.

I'll try to share with you later (not sure when though, but I have intensions to).

Wishing all my Jewish friends and family a very Happy Holiday of Freedom.

may you clean out whatever is cluttering up your life...

And to the rest of you --

a good week.

Smile :)

Monday, April 18, 2005



What do you do when you are feeling anxious?

What is making me anxious, exactly?

A lot to do, not much time to do it in.

How come things always get left to the end?

Do things always work out?

What to do first?

How to do it all?


How do you control anxiety?

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Consensus of opinion

It seems as though there is no consensus of opinion as to whether I should be waking up my teenagers in the morning.

It does seem that most of us were woken up by our parents, until we were away from home and had to get up on our own.

My mother called to remind me that she also had to wake ME up!

So I guess big brother gets my vote for the best answer:
As long as these kids are in my house, they are my responsibility.

My angel neighbor who I look to for so many things, including child-raising help (she has 7 children – the oldest is 22, who just had his first child, her youngest is 6), made an insightful comment today. She remarked that when kids are young they get up at ridiculous hours of the morning, ready to start their day with a smile. But as soon as they turn Bar or Bat Mitzvah, or the age that they know they have to accept responsibility upon themselves, they no longer can wake up in the morning. Our Yeytzer Hora (loosely translated as “evil inclination”) kicks in and suddenly plays the you-don’t-have-to-do-anything-you-don’t-want-to game.

This has been a bit of a stressful Shabbat. Too many kids in the house, maybe? Distinct differences in lifestyles and religious belief? Who knows.

Busy, busy week. I hope a productive one!

More responsibility.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Simple Parenting question

Just thinking:

Is it my responsiblity to wake up my teenagers every morning?

Or should I expect them to be responsible, wake up on time, do what they know they have to do every morning (wash-up, eat, pray, get dressed), and not bother them.

(And then get really aggravated when they don't do what I need them to be doing!)

A conflict of responsible parenting.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

What I have been thinking about

In no particular order…

- Eating chocolate and wondering whether it’s really bad for me? If we’re all gonna die anyhow, why not enjoy it while we are alive…

- My meeting with a fellow Creative Arts Therapist (which, we found out, is the same as an Expressive Arts therapist) in Tel Aviv. She attended my workshop and, it turns out, I called her a while back to find out about her work. Didn’t make the connection right away. I enjoyed meeting her – a very spiritual woman, who speaks my language.

- How much I hate taking boxes down from the attic with summer clothes and packing up the winter ones. Once it’s done, I love the organized feeling. But it takes me days to finish the project.

- Keeping DB busy and out of trouble while he’s on vacation. (It's almost 1 AM, and he is not home yet from going to Tel Aviv to see a movie with one other guy and two girls. Was that what I had in mind?!)

- Ari coming home and my being jealous that he got to spend so much time with my family.

- Thinking about land buying and house building. Talking to people who have built with this builder and are basically happy. Still being scared. (And Ari bringing back a book for someone at work who ordered it called “Embracing Fear”. I think I’m gonna read it.)

- People who barely know me telling me that I am hard on myself. You have to know me to say that. My closest friends have been telling me that for years. You have to know me for at least 5 years to say that.

- Driving to my cousin, Diana’s for a meet-the-women-who-have-been-so-good-to-her get together and being introduced to her Shaman friend who read all our energies.

Wild stuff.
He told me I had bear energy, which I was told once before when I was in graduate school.
BEARS love sweets; they are overprotective yet soft and caring. They will hold and cuddle, BUT get in their way, and they will swipe your head off with one paw...
He also told me that Ari’s energy surrounds me. And asked if Ari was younger than me. He is not. So he said Ari's energy was about 8 years younger than mine.
He also told me that I should use my warmth to start working and reaching out. Really wild stuff!!

- It’s starting to get hot. I hate hot!

That’s it for now. Big Shabbat coming up. Brother Matt and family are coming. I also invited one family for each meal in order to feel like I am helping those who have to clean and prepare for Passover – since I’m a spoiled brat and will be spending my Passover at hotels in the Galil and Dead Sea.

Thanks again to all of you who responded to my most recent “introduce yourself” request.

I feel loved.

Happy Day!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Wanna know what's worse than childbirth?!

Going to the dentist –

Getting a novacane shot –

Having your tooth drilled to fix an old filling –

Having to listen to the HORRIBLE high pitched squeal of the drill –

And feeling like you have a big fat lip for the next four hours!!!


I promise you!!

Shall I take a poll?


Forget about it!
So don't let me know you came. I've had over 100 more hits and only three "hello's" - not even a "hey" on my email.
I guess you're all too anonymous or too busy to let me know.

No bigee...

Thanks to those three (so far) who let me know. I'm dying to know who the anonymous NER NCSYer is, though!

the anonymous blog reading world - kinda spooky when you think about it!

Monday, April 11, 2005

Over 8000!

And still going.


You know what I would like? What would really make my day?

I would love to know who is reading this blog– even if I already know who you are.

I’m really curious to know how you came to read my blog, or what you think of it, or even a little bit about you. (And if you have your own blog.)

This blog world is so huge. I am intrigued.

You can leave me a comment or send me an email at:

With over 8000 hits, you can’t blame me for wanting to know who’s coming to visit!

So if you don’t mind, take a sec and let me know you came.

The stay tuned for some more “What I’ve been thinking about.”

Happy Day

Friday, April 08, 2005

The Beauty of Gush Katif

Yesterday my girls and I participated in a part of history - instead of watching it on TV!

There was a “Happening” for and with the women of Gush Katif. It was a day of dancing, singing, music, art, crafts and the selling of wares by residents of the area.

After we were picked up on our yishuv by a bullet-proof bus that was already half full of women from the Jerusalem area, we traveled the 2 and a half hour ride to Neve Dekalim, a thriving yishuv in Gush Katif.

I admit, it could have been a more uplifting day. I would have planned it a little differently – more unity and women bonding kind of stuff, but it was still great to be there.

Neve Dekalim is an absolutely stunning yishuv. There is a security entrance gate with a beautifully designed welcome sign. You can reach out and touch the Mediterranean Sea. Where there is no sand, there are trees and grass and exquisite flowers. The homes are orange stucco, modest and lived-in. The sunset was a gift to me from G-d - A huge orange ball melting into the sea, connecting me to the land.

What struck me more than anything were the children playing in their yards like any other place; mothers with babies in their carriages; families at the supermarket; teenagers hanging out in the street. People living there. This is their home.

How can it be taken away from them? Taken away from us?

I am not a political person, and don’t really know enough to stand up and have an argument with anyone, but if YOU think giving Gaza to the Palestinians is the answer for peace, then you haven’t been there to see for yourself what we will be giving away. It just doesn’t make sense to me. One action does not equal the other. There are synagogues and shopping centers, homes and basketball courts. Real life! Real Jewish life.

And the Arabs will no-doubt desecrate it all.

I received a newsflash on my cell phone today saying that Mofaz thinks we should leave the homes in place for the Arabs to move into, instead of demolishing them. It just makes me sick!

I will say again, I am not a political person and certainly not an activist. But for the first time I felt like I wanted to plant myself on the road and not move! Making them have to carry me away!

Trust me when I say you have to really see it to appreciate it!

In the end, I’m glad I went and took my girls out of school to go with me. Ely was super. Sometimes I think she doesn't realize she is only 5. MB felt the same way as I, as she planted herself on the grass and didn't want to get back on the bus. And NED? Well, she just wanted something to eat, because she was hungry! I hope someday she will appreciate the opportunity she was given to be there.

As we drove through the darkness, away from Neve Dekalim, I was left with a deep feeling of helplessness and pure sadness.

And the wish that there was more I could do...

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Humbled by my Five-year-old

Ely is at that, “What does that say?” stage.

She is beginning to recognize letters, but not ready to read.

She wants me to tell her what every sign or piece of paper says.

Which is easy and fun for me, until…

The sign or paper is written in Hebrew!

It’s very humbling to tell your 5-year-old, who is looking to you to understand the world, that you don’t know what the sign says because you don’t understand it!

Very humbling!

Another unexpected result of aliyah to Israel.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Here’s a good one…

This one is a milestone in the raising of my children - A circumstance that was bound to happen – sooner or later.

So DB called me last Wednesday and said that a group of boys were going to one of his classmate’s house for Shabbat. He was invited and wanted to go.

We were encouraged by DB’s desire to spend the weekend with boys from school. My cousins were coming for Shabbat, and I wanted him to be here, but he really seemed to want to do this.

Then he tells me that there will be about 25 boys, but no parents! That’s right. The parents were going away for Shabbat and leaving the boys to spend their time alone in their home.

No – DB was not going!!

I called my wonderful neighbor who has raised teenagers in Israel to ask her advice. She suggested I get the number of the mother to speak to, as if to introduce myself, thank her for having the boys and offer to send any food along. (And maybe get the guts to ask her what the hell she was thinking!!)

At first the boy was reluctant to give out his number. That made me very suspicious and I began having thoughts of “Ferris Beuller’s Day Off”. But after much prodding, the innocent young man gave over his number and told DB he didn’t want his mom to be bothered by too many parents calling.

I very kindly called the mother who assured me that these boys were a ‘good and responsible’ group; that she had had them over before; that they knew they would have to clean up really well; and that she and another mother would be doing the cooking. I offered to send challot (bread) and she accepted.

So Friday afternoon, close to Shabbat, I packed a bag of 8 challot (3 baked by me and the others from the bakery), a chocolate frosted chocolate cake, and some chocolate chip cookies, and sent my 15-year-old son on a bus to Jerusalem to spend Shabbat with 25 + boys from his class. Without adult supervision.

Against my better and suspicious judgment –

Fast forward:

After Shabbat, DB came home with an empty bag of food. And the word “nice” to describe the Shabbat. That’s it. No other details.

When my girls come home they give us every detail of the event. But with DB, we’re lucky to get, “nice.” My mom says, “Thank goodness you only have one boy.”

I don’t know if I totally agree, because sometimes his undramatic way is very calming. Maybe I need to work on his descriptions of things a little bit. And I guess I should help him to express a little bit more to give us information.

In the end, he’s glad he went. I missed him over Shabbat, but am very glad he went, too.

We hope that this apparent attempt to try to integrate himself more socially will pay off…

P.S. Any ideas from you guys out there of how to get more details from my son without nagging?!

Meeting at the school

Today I drove to Jerusalem to meet with the principal and guidance counselor at NED’s school. I wanted to express my concerns that NED comes home almost daily and emphatically exclaims that she “Is not going back to that school!” or “The girls are so mean” or “The teacher (or principal or girls) is/are always yelling at me.”

Our meeting consisted of me speaking mostly in English, the principal speaking to me in clear slow Hebrew and the guidance counselor speaking mostly in broken English. It worked out fine.

Want to know the bottom line?

When NED walks into the school, girls waiting with hugs and kootchys swarm her. All the girls adore her – according to the principal and guidance counselor – and is one of the most popular girls in her class. The grade above her has girls who baby her and love to take care of her. She is extremely outspoken in class and has done amazingly with her Hebrew skills.

So this is my question: How do children create within themselves such a low sense of self when they are loved just the same as the other children in the home.

Rationally, I know the answer, but it’s so hard for me to understand it within my own children.

Each child is so different. Each child processes the world around it differently. Each child understands the world differently. Each child needs differently.

So when NED hears “NO” to anything she asks for, she hears ‘She’s yelling at me’.

Academically, NED is doing better than she ever has in her school career. It’s the social stuff that is really messing her up.

Love. That’s what NED needs. Lots of love. More or differently than the others. But Love.

Positive reinforcement. A reward chart for when she can find the positive in her day. Reminding her that people do like her.

Ya know - it took me years to figure all this stuff out.

I admit, NED is my mirror…

Our meeting ended with the principal asking if there was any extra stress in the home recently.

Ha! Stress? Recently?

Where should I start?!

Sunday, April 03, 2005

What I’ve been thinking about…

I’ve decided not to get dressed this morning and instead force myself to write about what has been simmering in my head, in hopes that getting it out will allow me to move on.

So here it goes:

Ari is ready to sign on the dotted line to buy land, build a house and live out our lives for the next couple years (at least) here on our Yishuv in Israel.

I, on the other hand, am petrified.

What am I so afraid of? That‘s the part I’m not so sure of.

After weeks, maybe months, of talking about not being able to afford to buy or build here, my husband has come forward with information that we are indeed able to stay on this Yishuv.

Not that he was keeping the information from me – at least I hope that’s not the case! But it was that he hadn’t yet gotten all the information about how much it costs to buy and build, mortgages, and how it effected our savings and livelihood.

In addition to that, my parents have offered to help us, on the condition that we build for them a basement apartment that we can rent out until the hopeful near future when they are ready to make aliyah and come live downstairs from us.

Voila, it seems we can afford it. But I am still so afraid. I am afraid of there being hidden costs we don’t know about. I am afraid of what will happen month to month (which means I REALLY need to get a job now). I am afraid of being embarrassed to confront the people I told we couldn’t afford to stay here; because that is what I thought was the case.

I am afraid of getting caught up in the stupid details of building a house. I remember when we redid our kitchen in the States and I spent weeks trying to decide which knobs to choose. So I brought Ari to the store with me and in two minutes he made the decision and dragged me out of the store before I changed my mind. I was so particular with the color I wanted on the walls, which faucets to use, etc, etc. And I just don’t want to care. I don’t want it to become my obsession. I don’t want it to become my priority.

I don’t want a big house. I don’t want to be in the league with those people who look like they have a lot of money because they have a big new beautiful house.

I don’t want my kids to think they can have everything they want because we can build a new house.

I don’t want to be looked at and envied because we have a new big house. Now granted, ours won’t be as big as some of the mansions going up on this yishuv, but anything new is always beautiful.

A good friend reminded me that we are a family that uses our home to do mitzvot (good deeds). We have guests who sleep over, we have Shabbat guests for meals, we have parties for friends, and we enjoy having people in our home. And we need a home that is conducive to this type of lifestyle. It’s not like I will build a house, keep to myself and not open my doors. (The first important thing I will want is a screen door – so I can leave my door open and not worry about the bugs flying in!! See, I’m already starting to allow myself to think about it. It all costs money and really scares me!)

If someone said, “Here’s a modest house that you can buy, it has everything you want in it and it’s a great price. You can move in whenever you are ready,” I would be so much happier. I don’t think I would be as afraid.

But somehow this scares me to pieces.

I just don’t want to do it.
I’m too afraid.

And I don’t know how to reconcile it.
Ari is saying I’m the one who can’t make the decision and I guess he’s right.

But I can’t make the jump.

Have I always been a cautious person??

Is this that I’m being cautious?

I don’t think it’s that I don’t want to live on the yishuv. I’ve reconciled that there is no perfect place and if our kids are happy here, don’t mess with what ain’t broken.

So why can’t I just say ok, be excited and tell everyone we are here to stay?

That in itself scares me!

It’s just not my way. When we made aliyah, I wanted to float off into the sunset, while Ari was happy to be honored at a dinner. I don’t like to make big deals about these things. It makes me very uncomfortable. I’d like to think that it’s because I’m a modest person and not because I’m insecure… But I’m not sure about that either…

I don’t want to admit that I’m part of the “building on the yishuv” crowd. It’s just not me…


So I’ve written about it, but I don’t feel any better. The issues are beginning to become a little clearer, but I'm not ready to sign any dotted lines.

I better go spend my time looking for a job and figuring out our finances instead. Something tells me I’m going to have to just go with it, because I am so out-numbered: Ari, my kids, AND my parents are ready to do this!

I just need some time to get used to it.

Kicking and screaming…

And that’s what I have to say about that.

Friday, April 01, 2005

I live in the Middle East

Sand Storm Today

Sky was yellow


Blowing sand

Hot and Hazy, but not fog --


From the desert

Like I was in the desert

I needed my headlights to drive

I could see the ball of fire which was the sun, blocked by sand.

I live in the Middle East