Friday, April 28, 2006
Who's the Boss?

Maybe you heard the Satmar Rebbe - Moshe Teitelbaum - passed away on Monday night. He was an Auschwitz survivor, and a vital part of re-energizing the Hungarian-Chassidic community in America after the war. His loss is immeasurable to his followers.

What's really sad is the battle waging between 2 of his sons, Zalman and
Aharon. Each claims that HE is the next Satmar Rebbe. They have been arguing for years in courts (a big no-no, as Jews are supposed to resolve legal disputes with a beis din). Less than 2 hours after the rebbe's death, the legal battle began anew. There were fistfights between the 2 camps at the rebbe's funeral. Can you imagine?

Reb Zalman resides in Williamsburg, the Brooklyn enclave of Satmar chassidim. He's the head honcho at th
e main Satmar shul there. Reb Aharon makes his home in Kiryas Yoel, a Satmar village in Monroe. He's the boss there. Both have their followers and factions. It wouldn't be so bad if there wasn't money and property (and power) involved. Not that I'm implying anything.

The late rebbe wrote in his will that Zalman should succeed him. You would think that would solve all this, right? But Aharon's side claims the rebbe had alzheimer's.

Now here's where I - as a Lubavitcher - scratch my head. If your rebbe says or does something, isn't that legit? Alzheimer's or no? Do you believe in your rebbe? We have our own politicking in Chabad too. People say some things that happened after the rebbe's stroke aren't valid. He couldn't talk, after all. I ask the same of my fellow Lubavitchers: Do you believe in our rebbe?

I know hashgocho protis - divine providence - applies to all of klal yisroel. How much more so does it apply to our righteous leaders, who embody us all? Let me tell you, this whole Satmar mess stinks. I'm curious to see who wins.

Believe me, it 'aint gonna be the chassidim.

Thursday, April 27, 2006
The Trouble with Srulik:

I stay home with my 2 and 4 year old. My 6 year old is in school.

It's not really accurate to say "I stay home." I go on a trip with them every morning until 12 or 1pm. We go to a playground, or grocery shopping, or wherever. I keep them good and busy in the morning.

Srulik normally falls asleep in the car (or shortly thereafter), around 1-ish. He'll sleep for 2 or 2 1/2 hours, and I'll have a quiet afternoon with Rivky. Well, Srulik has decided he won't nap anymore. He refuses to, even though he's loopy tired. As the afternoon wears on, he gets more and more nutty. He gets aggressive and in-your-face, he literally climbs on top of my head or slaps me. Or if I'm doing something like laundry or cooking, he's right on top of me and interfering. Not to mention the attacks on his siblings, like biting them or pulling their clothes (I thought he would tear Rivky's skirt yesterday). As he gets crazier I do too, and for the past week or so I've been yelling at him every afternoon. I know he's exhausted, and I do have compassion for him. But when he's jumping on top of me and slapping my face, it's hard to be nice.

Last night I made supper early for him and bathed him, so I could put him to bed at 5. Normally, bedtime is 8, but he had no nap and was out of control. I put him to bed and he popped right up again. I tried again at 6. Nothing doing. Finally, he went to bed at 7:30, and he was bonkers until then. (And the kicker is he woke up at 6am today!)

I was so drained from my harrowing afternoon yesterday, I didn't do any of my night-time tasks. I crawled wearily into bed at 8:30. Last time I checked, it's illegal to tie up a kid and sedate him. So if anybody has more constructive suggestions, I'd be grateful.

Maybe I need to be sedated!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006
The delicious morning:

Today, I did something I haven't done in years. Something that made me feel alive. Something that made me think; "I wonder if Rebbetzin Plony would do this?"

I went to the beach.

Mrs. Stein had my kids for 3 hours, so off I went. I had my bag all packed so I could run out the door as soon as my kids were gone.

I wore a housecoat, beret, and knee highs. I got to the beach, laid out my old tie-dye blanket, and plopped myself down. I sat in the sun and read my book about Ireland. I watched people walk by wearing things that showed how remarkably they accepted their bodies. I saw a guy - old as the hills - in a speedo.

I went into the water and just sat there, my housecoat infiltrated by sand. The waves crashed over me and splattered my sunglasses. The sun shone brightly and the salty air invigorated. I thanked Hashem for the beautiful moment, for the amazing ocean.

I kept feeling like I was doing something wrong, it was so self-indulgent.

Sunday, April 23, 2006
Refrigerator Feng Shui:

For pesach, we cleaned the refrigerator. All the magnets and stuff got stashed away. I just put some of it back up tonight.

Winners from the post-pesach fridge-a-thon:

- A rebbe magnet that has the opening of Ha Yom Yom on it.
- An R2D2 magnet
- A magnet with the names and phone numbers for the Brooklyn Ghetto Beis Din
- A picture of Yaakov with Breslov band Simply Tsfat (he gigged with them)
- A picture of Yaakov with Israeli musician Aaron Raizel (another gig)
- An artsy, blue picture of the rebbe's face hovering over the beis hamikdash, with energy lines radiating out of his head. It sounds weird. Maybe it is.
- A Calvin and Hobbes comic strip. Calvin is having a tantrum saying he hates everybody, and then says, "Nobody recognizes my hints to smother me with affection."
- A comic depicting a weary Moshe trudging across the sea, as Jews nudge him: "Are we almost there?" and "All this water makes me need to use the bathroom."
- A "vishinantam livanecha" magnet.
- A magazine clipping I cut out years ago, that says: "What I really grew up with was all this emotional behavior that was supposed to free people, but instead enslaved them."
- That famous picture of the rebbe and the frierdikker rebbe taken in Parksdorf, Austria.
- A magnet that quotes the iroquois confederacy; "In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations." It holds up the aforementioned photo. Get it? Seventh generation?
- An NYC transit authority magnet with all the subway lines shown.
- A magnet that reads: "Laugh in the face of angst!"


- Lots of my mom's freebie magnets from work, from the pharmaceutical vendors.
- A "south of the border" magnet, featuring the venerable Pedro. Sorry, dude.

What I want to know is, do other housewives re-arrange their fridge fodder? Or do I have too much time on my hands?


I have blogged about my mothers-in-law before. There's Yaakov's real mom who lives in Vegas, and step-mom who lives locally. Both women are very intense and have serious problems (not like I don't).

Yaakov has issues with calling them. He has issues with calling everybody. I think he has a phone allergy. Maybe it's a guy thing, I dunno. He's lost touch with a lot of special people because he refuses to pick up the phone. Thus, I'm the one has has to call them, otherwise it doesn't happen. I don't mind talking to them, but I resent being pushed into it due to Yaakov's phone aversion.

But I digress.

I called bio-shvigger on Friday to thank her for the lovely presents she sent the kids. Chaya and Rivky got matching Ralph Lauren purses, with make-up in them. Hello, we're talking about a 6 and 4 year old! They need hotsy-shtotsy RL bags? That's a bubbe for you! Srulik got a Thomas-the-Tank-Engine railroad kit. To be fair to my holy husband, he DID take pictures of the kids with their gifties, and emailed them to his mother.

This morning I got on the phone with step-shvigger - the weekly check-in. She's got some health issues going on, and some heavy-duty emotional stuff with her biological kids. I feel like listening to her is a major act of chessed. I feel so badly for the position she's in with her kids - we're talking DEEP pathology. Loving her is the least I can do, at a time when her own kids are unwilling to.

And speaking of that, my relationship with step-shvigger has intensified recently with the "L" word. One time, while saying good bye to her, she must have thought I said "I love you," because she replied, "love you too." I didn't bother to correct her. Since the misunderstanding, that's become the closer for our conversations.

I love and appreciate these women, and I think they feel the same towards me. I have known them both since before I was frum. They've seen a lot of growth in my journey from wookiee-hippie to frum-mommy. I think I'm much more caring now than I was in those days, and I'll bet they'd agree.

I don't think either of them liked me too much back then.

Saturday, April 22, 2006
Talking at the Table:

Last night Yaakov and I got to have shabbos dinner by ourselves. He considers himself a libertarian. I honestly don't understand how a frum Jew can think the way Yaakov does. I mention this to him every time we talk politics.

For example: gay marriage.

YAAKOV: It's not the government's place to impose morality on the people.
ME: But if marriage is a legal union in this country, then the government does have a say as to whom the marriage partners can be.
YAAKOV: Yes, but that's a moral issue. The government has a problem with gay marriage because they define marriage as something between a man and a woman, and not everybody agrees with that.
ME: But if people get to define marriage as whatever they want, what if some guy wants to marry his cat? Is that okay?
YAAKOV: (shrugging) So, let him marry his cat. It's not fair that gay couples can't get the same tax benefits as married people.
ME: So you're saying it's acceptable for financial reasons? What kind of reason is that to get married? That's not a marriage.
YAAKOV: I agree, it's not a marriage. But we're talking about separation of church and state. The state has no business mixing into people's personal lives.
ME: But the founding fathers' idea behind "church and state" was to protect the church, not the state!

I also challenged Yaakov on this whole morality business. I mean, what if somebody thinks it's morally acceptable to kill somebody? Does that make it okay? And what about laws in general? Don't laws generally come from a place of morality? Around and around we went.

At least we agreed on the apple pie.

Friday, April 21, 2006
Erev Shabbos.

It's so bizarre that pesach is over. I just took a second batch of bread out of my oven. In one moment, the house became chomeitzdich again. I don't know how to explain the weirdness of that sudden transition.

There is a custom, on the shabbos after pesach, to bake a key into the challah dough. This is not a Chabad minhag, but it's something I do nonetheless. The key is a "talisman" for livelihood, or sustenance. Since I left the Brooklyn Ghetto, I've used my key from there. The key was to the house of my chassidisher landlords - we rented the upstairs. I feel that key connects us to them, and I hope it symbolizes spiritual sustenance as well. Of course, the luck goes to the finder - we're having guests and I baked 8 challahs. Who knows who'll get the surprise!

My house is trashed. There's dishes to be washed, laundry to be folded, more food to make.
I was going to bake brownies, but I decided to recycle pesach produce into dessert. So I'm making an apple pie and a sweet potato pie. It's nice to be out of pesach and "back to normal."

Whatever that means!

Thursday, April 20, 2006
That's All, Folks.

After all that work, pesach has ended. It's hard to believe we put so much effort into something that lasts a mere 8 days.

Today I woke up to a heavenly smell. Yaakov was frying schmaltz and gribenes for breakfast, along with potato chips. For the un-initiated, schmaltz is chicken fat and gribenes are chicken skins. When I sat down to eat, I kept thinking, "What does this remind me of?" Then it hit me: bacon. A shining ba'al teshuva moment.

We heartily enjoyed our soup with matzo today and so did our guests. They ate so much, G-d bless them. They have a dairy kitchen, so the husband really chowed down. We have them every year, and each year he says, "Does this mean I'm fleishig now?" We always laugh and say, "Yes, for six whole hours!"

I'm taking a little break from tearing down the pesach kitchen. The part I am dreading is removing all the foil and tileboard countertops. Every year, water and stuff manages to seep underneath. I don't need to tell you how gross THAT is. Water has also managed to find it's way all over our kitchen floor. Yaakov thinks when he blowtorched the sinks for pesach, perhaps the fire loosened the plastic seals around the pipes. I'm scared to take off the plastic covering from the bottom cabinets. What wet, smelly monster is lurking there?

I have a ton of food left over. For shabbos I'm basically making challah and brownies. Everything else will be recycled from pesach (even the soup).

All in all, it was our best pesach yet.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Round Two:

The intermediate days of the festival have been fun. Sunday we went to a water playground and then swimming in Nana's pool. Yesterday we ran errands and went to a park. Today Yaakov took the kids on a bike ride while I cooked.

Today has been busy, cooking for the second half of yom tov. I'm basically making the same food I made for the first half. This time I made a shepherd's pie, with both sweet and mashed potatoes. I'm also going to make a fruit salad, with kiwi, bananas, and grated, raw beets.
Yaakov managed to gauge his finger while cutting up chickens. What a mess! Being the macho bass player he is, he super-glued it back together.

Tonight is shvi'i shel pesach, the night the Jews fled Egypt and crossed the sea. It is a custom for people to stay up all night and learn. Yaakov is napping now, gearing up for the long night ahead. Mommies are lenient about this - somebody has to take care of the kids the next day!

We have a custom to not wet our matzo except on the eighth day. All pesach we've eaten our matzo plain, not mixed with any foods or liquids. Thursday is party time. I'll be happy to eat nothing but soup with matzo in it all day long! I look forward to the last day of pesach with much gusto.

All pesach my kids eat very plain, healthful foods. Hard boiled eggs, chicken, fruits, yada yada. Every year I want to keep that energy going until after pesach, keep those fruity desserts flowing. Except I'm baking brownies for shabbos.

Oh well.

Saturday, April 15, 2006
Burning my chomeitz:

Every year, before pesach, Jews are supposed to burn the chomeitz they have left in their possession. Yidden gather 'round, making fires in trash cans or alleys, making fire fighters everywhere cringe.

There is a spiritual dimension to chomeitz. The way dough rises and becomes "puffed up" is a metaphor for our egos. So one of the spiritual themes of pesach is self-nullification. Matzo is a very humble food. To eat it is to physically consume humbleness.

Another pesach theme is to liberate ourselves from our own personal Egypt. The hebrew word for Egypt - Mitzrayim - is related to the hebrew word "constraint," or "boundary." Every year pesach offers us a spiritual channel for personal freedom.

With this in mind, I have a personal ritual when I burn my chomeitz. I write down character traits that are ego-related or constraining to my G-dly self. Then I tuck the piece of paper in with my chomeitz and hope the fire can help me destroy my own evil.

This year's list included:

- anger
- impatience
- obsessiveness
- being mean to Yaakov
- selfishness
- anxiety
- guilt
- fear

The worst of it is, I think I experienced every one of these traits over the 3 day yom tov/shabbos period. Here it is, pesach - z'man cheruseinu - and I'm STILL stuck in Egypt! I feel like I don't have the tools to get out. Or, on a darker, more introspective note, maybe I don't want to. We all get used to our pain and our baggage, to the point where it becomes morbidly comfortable. Probably the most rampant form of masochism ever.

In Egypt there were actually Jews who didn't escape. They were so entrenched in the Egyptian exile, they got left behind. I feel I was one of those souls. I feel like the residue of being left in Egypt has stuck to me through many lifetimes, and is part of the anxiety maven I am today. (And yes, re-incarnation IS a tenet of Judaism).

I might be totally wrong. I could have been one of the women who carried a tambourine out from Egypt, laughing at pharoah's army as they drowned. Still, I often catch myself humming a familiar line from an Indigo Girls tune;

"How long 'til my soul gets it right?"

Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Almost There!

It's really coming together. I just have a few more odds and ends to take care of before I crash out. I made 2 potato kugels tonight and boiled a bunch of eggs. I also planned a seder/yom tov menu:

- chopped (peelable!) endive with apples, carrots, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt
- avocado salad
- egg salad with olive oil and salt
- potato kugel
- chicken soup with chicken-egg-onion dumplings and egg "noodles" (thinly scrambled eggs cut into strips)
- some kind of chicken. I'm making 4 chickens for yom tov so I have no idea what I'm doing yet. Mango chicken might be one.
- sweet potato puffs with ground walnut, onion, and pineapple
- watermelon balls

I read a great recipe in the pesach cookbook about making ices using pineapple, banana, and lemon juice. Throw the fruits in the food processor, then stick it into plastic cups and freeze them.

I don't think I'm that ambitious.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Uh Oh.

Iran has nukes.

Monday, April 10, 2006
These aren't the droids you're looking for...

So there's this scene in one of the Star Wars movies where R2D2 gets zapped. This blue light starts electrocuting him, running through his robot synapses. Then he falls over. CLUNK.

That's what I feel like right now.

When I get overwhelmed, my brain starts to fry. I basically atrophy, because there's too damn much to do. I don't know what to do next, so I just freak out. Yaakov is very good in situations like this. He'll chug along, task after task, doing whatever needs doing. Not me. I just clunk.

I thought I was going to buy produce tonight, but I can't. I'm too tired. Too overwhelmed. I'll do it tomorrow. And after I buy the produce, I'm going to Dr. Han - my wonderful acupuncturist. She's going to needle away all my sciatica, while I nap (and drool) on her table for half an hour. I cleaned so much today, I'm in so much pain.

Help me, Obi Han Kenobi, you're my only hope!


Right before pesach is a very weird time. We're not in pesach yet, but we're not in chomeitz-ville either. We're caught in an eerie netherworld of rice cakes, cheese, and soy milk. I still have that chicken I made before shabbos, but nobody seems interested (and after all I went through!).

Today, with G-d's help, Margarita is coming to help clean the kitchen. Tonight, Yaakov will kasher and cover it. Tonight I will buy my pesach produce. Is this really happening? Are we almost there? Tomorrow morning, at this time, I could be busy making a potato kugel. Far out!

This is the first year my kitchen will be ready 2 full days before yom tov. Normally Yaakov and I are frantically cleaning the kitchen the night before pesach, and he's kashering at 5 in the morning. Then I cook like a maniac all day. We practically hate each other before pesach. Then the seder rolls around, and we're totally wiped. This year, I said "no more." I made sure to take things slow and steady. Getting cleaning help for pesach is the greatest thing I ever did.

Tomorrow we'll enter another kind of limbo. The processed food kind. Food that is kosher l'pesach, but that I wouldn't serve on pesach itself. Apple sauce. Potato chips. Food to keep my kids happy while I'm peeling away in the kitchen.

I do allow dairy into my home on pesach, something my mashpia told me to do when Chaya was a toddler and I was pregnant with Rivky. You thinking readers might ask, "What's the difference between processed dairy and processed potato chips?" My kids don't need potato chips. But if Srulik couldn't have a milk bottle, he'd be in BIG trouble. Besides, I can make my own potato chips.

I don't have a cow in my back yard.

Sunday, April 09, 2006
Adventures of a Yiddisher Mammeh:

Friday morning I bought 3 chickens. I wanted to cook one for shabbos, and have extra for erev pesach. They all had the same package date and seemed to be the same in general - CHK dark meat. I came home and stuck them in the fridge.

Later that day, when I opened the first chicken, it smelled a little off. I kept smelling each piece, and each smelled a little worse. The third piece was a little green underneath, and smelled horrific.

Yaakov came home shortly thereafter, and I had him smell it. "EWWW!" He declared, and went back to the store with the chickens (I didn't even bother to open the other two). He came back about 20 minutes later, chickens in hand. He said the storekeeper smelled it, the butcher smelled it, and another employee smelled it. They all said it smelled just fine. I burst into tears. "No way, I'm calling the Rav." So, trembling and snuffling, I picked up the phone.

When he answered, I cried even harder. I felt like this little shtetl bubbe, calling on her Rabbi to find out if her chicken was kosher. He asked why I was crying - was it because I lost the money? I explained I just felt it was so wrong, and unfair, and what was I going to do about shabbos dinner? "Come get chicken from me," he said. That made me feel like a mercy case and I cried even harder.

I cried all the way to his house. He opened the door to see a disheveled housewife, schlepping her chickens. I felt like an idiot. "Here's more chicken," he said, pointing to 3 packages waiting for me. "Is your wife here? I want her to smell it." Rebbetzin Plony emerged from the kitchen. "It does smell off," she said. She opened a second package. "This one smells bad, too." The third package she thought was okay. She asked if I minded if we took it to the balabustes next door to smell.

The ladies next door thought the first 2 chickens were bad as well, but agreed that the third was fine. So I kept the third, and gratefully took two chickens from the Rav. I offered to pay, but they wouldn't let me.

I went home wondering what Rav Plony must think of me, coming to his door crying over chicken. But this morning I thought, "He's the Rav. People tell him all kinds of personal things. We all ask him halachic questions pertaining even to the most intimate aspects of our lives. What's a lady with chicken problems to him? I'm not the first woman to break down in his presence. And if he thinks I'm nuts...?

It's probably true.

Thursday, April 06, 2006
Schmoozing with the cleaning lady:

This is the first year I've ever had cleaning help for pesach. Thank you, G-d. Thank you, Margarita.

So she came today and we're both cleaning, and she started to clean a picture of the Rebbe. She asked me about him. We spoke in spanish. Despite only 2 years of it in high school, we communicate fairly well.

So she asked if he was "el papa," to which I responded that he didn't have any children. Then she said, "no, like "el papa de los Catolicos." Then I realized she was asking if the Rebbe was the Jewish pope. I laughed. How could I, with my limited spanish, explain what a Rebbe is?

So I said, "Yo soy una Lubavitcher, y el rabino esta "el papa" de los Lubavitchers," (Silently cringing for comparing the Rebbe to the pope. I didn't know how else to make her understand). "Lubabeechers?" She raised her eyebrows.
"Si, estas muchos Judeos, pero todos los Judeos no estas Lubavitchers." "Ahhh," she nodded. "Y todos los Judeos no estas religiosas." "Si," I said.

I tried to explain how he loved all people, not just his own flock. Everyone was precious to him. I cursed my lousy spanish as I tried to extoll the virtues of my Rebbe to her.

If it was better, I would have explained how a rebbe is like a spiritual bridge between a person and G-d. I would have tried to explain the chossid-rebbe relationship. I would have tried to tell her about Moshiach, and the Rebbe's campaign to spread the 7 Noahide laws - the Torah's commandments that apply to all nations. If I could have, I would have told her how the Rebbe was not just the Rebbe of Lubavitch. He was - and he remains - the Rebbe for the entire world.

Yet I think that even if my spanish was muy, muy bueno, Margarita wouldn't get it anyway.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006
This article ANNOYS me:

It's about people having a greater variety of food choices on pesach. Like somebody was writing about quinoa sushi. Hello? You can't forego sushi for 8 days? Your life will come to an end if you can't have faux cake and cookies?

You know what we have for dessert on pesach? FRUIT! Peeled fruit! Watermelon balls, yum! Frozen bananas! Frozen grape juice pops! I have never boiled sugar before pesach. I have never made my own potato starch, no way. You want dessert? Have a fruit.

You know what we eat for 8 days? Chicken! Meat! Matzo! Schmaltz and gribenes (I think my cholesterol skyrocketed just by typing that). Potatoes, potatoes, potatoes. Carrots, beets, cucumbers, eggs galore and more (Our favorite: thinly sliced egg strips in chicken soup). Nothing from a box or can. Everything washed, peeled, and made with love.

I am excited if variety means more Jews will strive to keep a kosher pesach. I suppose this has a good side. And the double chocolate mocha cookies mentioned DO sound more appealing than my frozen bananas. But I feel that keeping pesach unvarnished is what makes the holiday stand out.

I mean, I saw kosher l'pesach noodles for sale. For crying out loud! Noodles? You can buy kosher l'pesach pizza. I mean, come on, folks! IT'S ONLY 8 DAYS!!!

Pesach is not supposed to taste like chomeitz. Pesach should taste like pesach, dammit!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Jerry, wherever you are...

I know yer laughing!

Monday, April 03, 2006
Waging the Food Battle:

There's this lady who comes to Rav Plony's Monday morning shiur. She feeds her toddler the most beautiful food. I mamesh envy her good eating habits. Last week she was feeding her daughter grits. She confided that she mixed a fruit and vegetable vitamin powder into it. This week her daughter was eating a fruit leather (you know, the kind you buy at the heath food store, made with REAL fruit). Then her daughter had a cheese stick. Then she had a bowl of avocados.

There was a time, back in the good ol' days, when I was a vegetarian. When Chaya was born, I vowed to never give her white flour. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

When Chaya started playgroup, I asked the teacher that she shouldn't be given food-colored treats, blah blah. If someone is having a birthday, okay. I didn't want her to feel excluded. But I didn't want her eating garbage all the time, either.

I made quinoa muffins. I made sunflower seed patties. I used to bake beautiful carob and spelt desserts for shabbos, until Yaakov put his foot down. "It's dessert! It's supposed to be junky!"

My favorite story is how I once made kamut-flour pasta for supper. Yaakov was horrified. Even I didn't like it. We put the pan of noodles in the alley, to feed the poor, hungry cats. It was a freezing Brooklyn winter, but those cats wouldn't eat it, either.

Chaya goes to school, and they serve lunch there. I'm pretty sure she eats it. Rivky, G-d bless her, loves to eat (she happily hums while eating). Srulik, on the other hand, barely eats at all. I'm lucky if he even eats dinner. I think he's surviving on soy and cow milk (I have to wash the cow milk bottle in the bathroom, boo hoo).

I just don't know what to feed them! Fish sticks, sometimes they'll eat, sometimes not. Same with tuna. Same with everything, basically. I'll make them something and if they're not in the mood, forget it. Srulik went through a banana phase, where he ate one every day. I was thrilled! Then he got over it. I'd like to give them yogurt, but they end up just playing with it and making a huge mess. Rivky is always happy with a bowl of corn flakes and soy milk, but how healthy is that?

I'm not as hard-core as I used to be. We're not organic anymore, but we still have healthful suppers. Once a week we have tofu, and I make soy dogs and brown rice, and fish. Most of the week we eat pareve, and save fleishigs for shabbos. But I'm finding that my kids aren't eating what I make. Srulik and Rivky won't touch the soy dogs, and none of the kids will eat the tofu. I keep thinking that they'll eat what I serve them, but they simply don't. Chaya's idea of a good supper is noodles with ketchup. (Mr. Heinz reassures, "a GREAT source of lycopene!")

I had an epiphany: I want to make suppers that everybody is going to enjoy. Tonight I made REAL hot dogs (ok, chicken-dogs, but fleishig hot dogs instead of soy). I served them with mashed potatoes. And green beans (only Yaakov ate them). But they did eat the mashed potatoes and hot dogs! Even Srulik ate two of them.

One time a mother told me that she served her kids fleishigs every night for supper. I was aghast. "Yep," she said. "My kids love it - and they go to bed happy." I'm beginning to wonder if she was onto something. Especially since I'm noticing how much Srulik loves fleishigs. Pesach is a major fleishig holiday, so I'll see how he does. It's just expensive.

My kitchen is fleishig, so I can't cook dairy. After pesach, though, I want to get one of those sandwich maker thingamajigs. I want to make them grilled cheese. They'll love it! And I think they can be cleaned with a damp paper towel, no sink required.

I'm tired of making beautiful suppers that nobody eats. I'm tired of trying to make them eat my health food. I just want them to eat, period.

Sunday, April 02, 2006
Just Keep Truckin' On...

So I cleaned 4 bookshleves already for pesach. Only 4 more to go. One shelf I cleaned today has about a million pamphlets (that Yaakov collected over the years in shul). Okay, I'm exaggerating. There's probably about 300. Every year I dread cleaning them. I try and tell myself, "What an honor, to clean installments of the Alter Rebbe's Shulchan Aruch!" But I have a lousy attitude about it, nonetheless. The good news is, the bookshelves look nice. They seem to glow with their pesach cleanliness.

Yaakov finished cleaning the freezer. Our pesach chicken and me
at is now inside, and I'm paranoid every time the kids get near it. Srulik opened the freezer and I went bonkers.

I didn't have the heart to clean more bookshelves today, so I started on our bedroom. I'd like to finish it tonight. I hope we'll be able to rent a steam cleaner this week to clean the carpets - especially after Rivky spilled her slurpee all over it today.

Rav Plony called this morning, asking if we needed financial assistanc
e for pesach. He called about 20 minutes after Yaakov and I went over our budget. I told him I thought we were going to make it. "Are you sure?" he asked. I told him I was pretty sure. He said we could call if we thought we needed.

In other news, guess what Yaakov discovered in our laundry room? (If you don't recognize our friend, I'll give you a hint: there's a Phish song with the same name).

Check out the ears on that guy!

My Photo Name: Fancy Schmancy Anxiety Maven
Location: Chutz l'aretz - Outside of Brooklyn

fancymaven at gmail dot com