Sunday, December 31, 2006

So I'm driving to mom's house today and I see all these flags at half-mast. Who are those for? I wondered. James Brown? Saddam? And then I remembered President Ford.

Speaking of Saddam's death, I saw a slide show available on MSNBC (did NOT click on it). I saw a picture of Saddam + noose on the cover of a paper at mom's. I'm sure it's on TV, too. I mean, c'mon people. I must say, I got a small measure of satisfaction over reports of his defiance. I'm no fan of Saddam Hussein, but it's a drag they turned his death into a media carnival. I'm glad he was belligerent 'til the end.

In other random news, the kids all wanted to go outside the other day. They started running out, and I yelled, "Wait! We'll all go out together!" Then I belted out "Yes, we will allllllllll go ouuuuuuut together..." (a la Billy Joel's "Goodnight Saigon.") I felt like such a cool ba'al teshuva mom, but nobody was around to hear me. At least, nobody who'd get the joke.

Today I took the kids to Publix, and they needed to use the bathroom. With Zalman in my hip carrier, I proceeded to use the potty, too. I'm usually very successful with the toilet/baby maneuver, but not this time. My skirt got in the pishy toilet. So fun.

And speaking of Zalman, he's 6 months old and on the verge of crawling. He rocks on his hands and knees and sorta swims around the room. He makes all these great squealing noises. Yaakov noted that he sounded like the whale mothership from Star Trek IV. I agreed. When I took him to the pediatrician, the doctor asked me what kinds of sounds he was making. I gave him Yaakov's assessment. "Really?" he said. "I like Star Trek, but I never saw that one. Then he proceeded to make all kinds of whale sounds at the baby. I love

I have guests coming (in t-minus 10 days) and I haven't done much. I did try to buy towels at Wal-Mart for them. They were very soft - Egyptian cotton. I put them in the washing machine and one of them shedded (shed?). The moral of the story? Caveat Emptor - at least, at Wal-Mart.

Wishing y'all a great 2007.

Friday, December 29, 2006
Barenaked Ladies.

The Rebbe gave a sicha once explaining klipah.* Why is the Jew so attracted to it? The Rebbe explained that the klipah purposely makes itself appealing to the Jew. For when the Jew acknowledges the klipah, he gives it tremendous chayes**. The klipah then thrives on this holy Jewish energy.

Which leads me to my problem:

There's a strip gentleman's club on my route to school. I hate it. Why does it have to be there? (Well, where else could it be, considering the aforesaid?) Every day I try to ignore it. This, too, gives it chayes. Because I acknowledge it's even there.

Of course, the building is all dolled up. It has an electronic sign describing its famous bachelor parties. It has big balloons streaming from the roof (and, lately, Santa and his entourage). The kids all oooh and ahhh over it when we pass. They
fix their precious eyes on the lights and balloons, giving the klipah way more than it deserves. I hate that part the most.

I wish it would just go away.

* loosely translated as unholiness or evil.
** life-force

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

I just told Yaakov some crazy secrets. Like, 5 secrets I've never revealed to anybody. It was so liberating.

Thank you, Yaakov, for always being able to lovingly "grok" all my hairy-scary stuff.

I love you.

Monday, December 25, 2006
Big Brother is Watching...

Whenever I order from Amazon, they send me an email recommending other books I might like. "We notice customers who expressed interest in ... have also purchased ..." They remind me of recent books I've looked at. It creeps me out.

When they send their "buy stuff" emails, I usually ignore them. Look, Amazon, just because I ordered a self-help book doesn't mean I want 6 more. But today I got a recommendation that rocked my world. I really want this book! It's 36 bucks - oy.

Anyway, thanks to Amazon's tracking system, I got a list of subjects that Yaakov and I have either browsed or purchased from.

.NET Active Server Pages All Categories C & C++ Windows Programming C#Careers Client-Server Systems Cognitive Psychology Database Management Systems Databases Emotions & Feelings Fantasy Historical Internal Medicine Internet Literature & Fiction Motivational New Age Personal Transformation Self-Esteem Software Development Success United States Visual Basic Web Site Design Windows

(Aren't we cute?)

Thursday, December 21, 2006
Rosa Re-visited?

Recently, in Jerusalem, a woman was riding a bus. She was asked by a Charedi man to give up her seat. She refused. A brawl ensued.

Read the article. Tell me what you think.

This is so great. I hope it doesn't get tied up in bureaucracy.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Body Issues:

Chaya, at the tender age of 6, is talking about her weight. The other day she wasn't interested in eating, because "she didn't want to get fat." This - of course - made me terribly anxious. I told her we weren't leaving until she ate lunch. Then she changed her tune. "I'm not eating because I'm not hungry," she insisted. She finally had a pita with cheese.

I'm not sure where she's getting this from. I'm on Weight Watchers, but I tell her that mommy is losing the baby weight. I don't feel like I'm sending her unhealthy messages about weight or body image. But maybe I am? Weight Watchers requires constant involvement. Counting points, reading nutritional information, measuring portions. For me, it's a fun way to stay healthy. Maybe she sees it differently?

Her teacher is overweight. Really overweight. She's commented on that to me before. "Morah Sheina is fat." Her pre 1-A teacher was also really big. Maybe this has something to do with it, too.

Yesterday, at a shul event, I was talking to a good buddy of mine. We were commiserating how we've been eating non-stop. We were both disgusted with ourselves. Chaya heard us.

Or maybe she's hearing it from her friends? Yesterday she told me that on christmas a man comes and brings presents to people's houses. I mean, where did THAT come from? Kids somehow pick up on everything. Maybe she's getting it from society at large?

I'm planning on talking to my pediatrician about it, but I'd love some advice from parents out there. Have any of you dealt with this?

Sunday, December 17, 2006
Put on your yarmulke...

It's time for chanuka.

Today the family came for our annual chanuka party. The burmuelos made their debut - I wasn't impressed. The latkes, however, were scrumptious. Yaakov made them.
We went through an entire bottle of oil.

The kids hit paydirt. Lots of Thomas the train stuff for Srulik! Chaya got a "twister" game - perfect for her. Rivky got a mini drawing easel. Zalman got clothes and this crazy electronic ball thingy that lights up and plays music. He's in awe. It's not something I would've personally picked, but whatever. Toys for a 6 month old shouldn't require batteries. A few gifts discreetly made their way into the "give-away bag."

Yaakov and I got a 100.00 gift certificate to a fancy schmancy steakhouse, courtesy of my mom. She even wrote on the card she'd babysit for the night. Really nice.

We had a lot of fun. I'm totally zonked.

Gam zeh ya'avor.

I had a friend whom I had to let go of. She would tell me, quite bluntly, the most vicious gossip. One truthful piece is devastating. The information causes me so much anxiety, I've considered talking to a therapist.

This trait of hers - the lashon hara - is a wart on the nose of a princess. She's truly enchanting. She's beautiful, kind, and a wonderful mother. She's smart, interesting, and a fabulous cook. She's always doing chesed for people, including my own family.

I truly think there's something mentally awry. Like people with Tourette's. I can't understand how such an otherwise beautiful person could spew such filth. I have gently tried to tell her that what she says is inappropriate, but she plows right on ahead anyway.

She and I had a special relationship. In many ways, she's like an older sister. Our backgrounds are remarkably similar. We also have unusual interests in common, and would exchange long emails about them.

There are many times when I've wanted to reach out. I read scholarly essays on a mutual passion - it kills me that I can't mail them to her. Tomorrow I'll attempt making burmuelos for the first time, she would love to know that! But I won't go there. I can't ever open my heart to her again.

It makes me very sad.

Friday, December 15, 2006
Dear Rivky,

I can't believe you're 5 today. Where has the time gone? What a big girl you've become!

I love watching your performances! I love all your energy! I love all the things you've been drawing, lots of rainbows and family pictures. You're a magical kid (and so sweet, too).

Even though you get cranky, demanding, and whiney, I can relate. I get that way too. Yet you are so often cooperative and helpful as well. You stand so patiently as I braid your hair every day. And when I ask you to stand back (so I can look at you), every day is the same. You do a couple of ballet moves for me, waving your arms and singing. You look so shiny and aidel, with your plump cheeks and happy braids. I feel so proud that you're mine.

I'm so blessed to have you, my erev chanuka baby. Happy birthday, dolly - I love you!


Thursday, December 14, 2006
This blog is run by the ZIONIST MEDIA!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006
I don't care if I'm Jewish...

I think this is great!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Lo Aleinu.

Last night I went to a lecture about sexual abuse. It's a super high anxiety topic for me. Even blogging about it makes me anxious. But I learned some things that are so important, I wanted to share them.

#1 Talk to your children. Tell them their bodies are made in G-d's image and no one can touch them. Use age-appropriate language.

#2 Make your kids feel safe with you so they can speak to you about issues.

#3 If, G-d forbid, your child comes to you and tells you they're a victim, don't overreact, don't freak out, just be calm and take appropriate action. Tell the child how much you love her and IT'S NOT HER FAULT.

#4 With love and support, childhood victims can grow into healthy adults.

May G-d protect us all.

Monday, December 11, 2006
Should I stay or should I go?

I am filled with doubt. It's very hard for me to make choices.

For example: I got rid of my cleaning lady on Mondays and Wednesdays. She is SO slow. She takes about 45 minutes to clean my kids' bathroom. What was she doing in there? I cleaned it in 6, and did a decent job, too. I didn't get to mop yet, but I will. Nonetheless, I ask myself if I made the right choice.

Every decision I make is plagued with doubt. Shopping takes a very long time for me, whether for clothes or groceries. I'll stand in front of a pasta display trying to figure out what noodles work best for us. I'll ponder the price/quality between regular vs. generic dish soap.

I often wonder if I am doing the right things for my kids. Sometimes I'll take action and then immediately ask Yaakov, "Did I do the right thing?" I don't feel confident that the choices I make are okay.

This doubt permeates to the very core of my life. I wonder about vital choices I've made. Other people might say "It's done already, let it go." But not me. I ruminate.

I hate this about myself.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Your Five Factor Personality Profile


You have high extroversion.
You are outgoing and engaging, with both strangers and friends.
You truly enjoy being with people and bring energy into any situation.
Enthusiastic and fun, you're the first to say "let's go!"


You have medium conscientiousness.
You're generally good at balancing work and play.
When you need to buckle down, you can usually get tasks done.
But you've been known to goof off when you know you can get away with it.


You have medium agreeableness.
You're generally a friendly and trusting person.
But you also have a healthy dose of cynicism.
You get along well with others, as long as they play fair.


You have medium neuroticism.
You're generally cool and collected, but sometimes you do panic.
Little worries or problems can consume you, draining your energy.
Your life is pretty smooth, but there's a few emotional bumps you'd like to get rid of.

Openness to experience:

Your openness to new experiences is medium.
You are generally broad minded when it comes to new things.
But if something crosses a moral line, there's no way you'll approve of it.
You are suspicious of anything too wacky, though you do still consider creativity a virtue.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006
The "N" word.

You know, the one Michael Richards used. His comments were Nasty. They've become Notorious. Me? I think it's Narrishkeit.

Why? Because people are discussing the symptom and not the problem. The problem is racism, and xenophobia. And the bigger problem is that people want to wave their Tolerance Wands and make it all go away.

I think it's high time that we admit to our racism. We all have it (My grandparents would drink John Kennedy's bathwater yet lock their car doors in a schvartze neighborhood). I think it's time to say it's okay to have feelings. I don't buy this knee-jerk liberal crap where everybody has to love everybody (sorry, Jesse Jackson).
People sometimes feel uneasy around people who are different, and I think that's normal.

However (!!!), moach shalit al halev. Feelings must be tempered by the mind. We should examine them, understand them, and act appropriately. Ideally, we want our feelings to be virtuous - but ultimately, ha maisseh hu ha-ikkur. Action is the main thing. You got that, everybody?

(Brought to you by your favorite kike.)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

My Weight Watchers "Complete Food Guide" does not have a listing for oatmeal. It does, however, have a listing for opossum.

Monday, December 04, 2006

That's what Rebbe Nachman of Breslov recommended: a person should talk to Hashem each day in her own words.

So this morning, while walking home, I had a chat with Him. I started wondering what people would think of me, if they saw me in my therapy session with G-d. Maybe they'd think I was crazy. "No," I thought, "They'll think I'm saying mishnayos bal peh." But that works only for the Jewish observer. "I know! They'll think I'm talking to someone on a bluetooth!"

That made me feel better.

Saturday, December 02, 2006
Embracing Leah.

In the book of Bereishis (Genesis) there are many unions. Adam and Chava, Avraham and Sara, Yitzchok and Rivka.

This week's parsha discusses Yaakov and Leah. Yaakov wanted to marry Rochel. He worked for Lavan (Rochel's father) 7 years to marry her. But Lavan gave him Leah instead. Since the bride's face was covered, Yaakov was unaware of the deception until it was too late. The commentaries on this event are many and deep. One states that this is a metaphor for all marriages.

Each of us goes into a marriage thinking we know whom we're marrying. We think we're marrying the one we want, the one we worked for. We all think we're getting Rochel. But the truth is, our partner comes into the marriage with his/her face veiled. The true person, the "Leah," is only revealed within the safety and intimacy of marriage. Only then do we see who we really got! Then we realize the "Rochel" we married is more deep and intense than we ever imagined.

The key is to go into marriage knowing this.

p.s. Rochel Leah, this one's for you.