Thursday, April 26, 2007
Parents are People, too.

I read about this Alec Baldwin episode online. I heard about it on the radio. I feel sorry for him.

I do not condone what he said. I do not support how he spoke to his daughter. But is there any parent out there who hasn't made mistakes? Which parent isn't ashamed at how they've treated their children at one point or another? Who would want their worst parenting moments shared with the entire world?

Just tonight I was yelling at my children to get away from me (as I attempted to make shabbos dessert). A small voice whispered, you're not speaking nicely. And I didn't speak kindly to Chaya earlier, either. Yeah, I've been plenty mean. I'm not proud. I'm just human.

And so is Alec Baldwin.

Monday, April 23, 2007
My Shikse Goddess.

When I lived in South Carolina (13 years ago!) my roomate was blonde and beautiful. When we would go out, men would literally turn their heads and stare. Now you might be thinking, "No Maven, they were staring at you!" Okay, I was beautiful, if you liked Jewish hippie girls. But trust me, they were looking at her.

She was fun and not too brainy, and wonderfully uncomplicated. She used to get stoned and go jogging (leaving me semi-comatose in our living room). I remember how she would braid her hair, or put it in huge red rollers. She had a sunshine tattoo on her leg, and she loved cocoa butter lotion.

I was never friends with a woman like her before. If life hadn't thrown us together, we'd never connect. We'd go to bars and she'd drink, while I'd try to find someone to play chess with.

She loved the beach, she loved clothes, she loved tchotchkes with suns and moons on them. She had never seen Star Wars (which I was forever convincing her to watch). And as much as I couldn't connect to her spiritually or emotionally, I had a little crush on her. I mean, for real, she was a total shikse goddess.

I miss her.

Friday, April 20, 2007
Hamotzi Lechem Min Ha'aretz:

Does anybody out there bake?

Here are my challahs:

Can you see the dough "strings" that pull from one braid to the next? Why does that happen? Am I not kneading enough? Too little? Is there too much humidity? Is it rising too long? Should I be singing a "challah niggun" when I put them in the oven? Also, the braids loosen - what's up with that?

And here's Srulik's - chocolate c
hip sprinkles.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Srulik is doing okay. He's running a fever, but he's in good spirits. The pediatrician is not concerned. We got a prescription in case he has another seizure. Our co-pay (!!!) was $93.00 - the insurance picked up over $100.00. Holy friggin' cow, right?

Thank you all for your well wishes and kind words. May G-d bless all children with good health.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007
The Ordeal.

Yesterday my 3 year old had a seizure. I've recounted the episode many times already; to doctors, specialists, family members, and close friends. I'm tired of telling the story. Suffice to say, it was frightening.

Srulik lost his ability to speak for a couple of hours, and also experienced some facial paralysis. He was in the hospital for more than a day, being poked, prodded, sedated, and tested. The very good news is, he came home tonight. He's back to his usual mischief. The neurologist thinks it was a fluke, but we have to keep an eye on him.

These past 36 hours have been stressful. I am drained both physically and emotionally. But I emerged with some good things:

1. Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital is excellent, if chas v'shalom you need to be there.

2. I am very blessed to have loving friends and family. They called, took care of my children, cooked us supper.

3. I am so very grateful that Srulik is okay, because I saw children there who weren't.

Sunday, April 15, 2007
Yom HaShoah.

Dear Readers,

Thank you for your emails on the "Jennifer" post. I want to clarify some things: Bizarrely enough, blogger was having some technical difficulties and the comments were disabled for that post. I did not turn them off, and I certainly welcome your input.

I am not ashamed for wanting to shelter my children. The bottom line is that Jennifer was discussing easter. I don't want my kids hearing about that. Period. For Jews, it's tantamount to idol-worship.

I know the subject is controversial, nonetheless, I decided to post it. I feel my integrity as a blogger rests on writing my truth. I've discussed many "hot" topics here: struggles as a religious Jew, anxiety, anger issues, overeating, racism, parenting challenges...the list goes on. I've been fiercely introspective in this forum, and I will continue.

I hope you'll continue sharing my journey - thank you.

Royal Bummer.

I have always been interested in monarchies. I find royal families fascinating. I like seeing how, historically, many royal families married into each other. I like learning about well-known families, lesser ones, and completely obscure ones.

I'm telling you this because I'm bummed that Will and Kate broke up. I am. It's true. I had high hopes for Prince William! He'd redeem that crazy Windsor family. He'd marry Kate and they'd live happily - and monogamously - ever after.


Thursday, April 12, 2007
I'm pathetic.

So I got a bulk email from another Jewish blogger about the Jewish blog awards. In my opinion, it was a thinly-veiled attempt to get nominated. But what do I know?

I've seen blogs
that have won and I'm not impressed. I hate how the Jewish blogosphere loves to kiss its own tuchas. As far as I know, I've never been nominated. (because if I was, I'd win, right?...Right?)

Somebody please tell me why I want one.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

She's the little girl who lives catty-corner to us. Our fence and her fence intersect. Jennifer is not Jewish.

Jennifer's family has puppies. Naturally, Chaya is very interested. They also have older kids, who play and talk roughly.

I never wanted to encourage a friendship between the girls, for many reasons. Mainly, because Jennifer isn't Jewish (send hate-mail to address at right). Our lifestyles are so different, I can't envision Jennifer influencing Chaya in a positive way. Last year a non-Jew lived right next to us, and she walked around in her underwear all the time. She talked about her boyfriends. She was 5. This is not okay.

Trying to shelter Chaya from Jennifer is very painful for me. I myself am open, curious and interested in all kinds of people. Chaya is the same. I don't want to give Chaya the impression that non-Jews are bad. I have a friend in the neighborhood who whisks her children inside when the non-Jews next door go out to play. I don't want to be like that. At the same time, I don't want Chaya and Jennifer getting too chummy, either.

We are very blessed to have a swingset. Whenever I take my kids in t
he backyard, out comes Jennifer. "Chaya!" Chaya runs to the fence and they have their schmooze. One part of me says, she's only a little girl! You're being unfair! Yet there's another part on high alert - ready to take my kids inside when their backyard gets too rowdy, or the conversation takes a wrong turn.

Erev yomtov we were outside, and all of a sudden Jennifer is talking about going to church. I could barely hustle my kids inside before their ears were full of colored eggs. I don't want my kids hearing about easter bunnies or church. I felt like throwing up.

I don't know how to treat Jennifer, either. I'm always cordial to her, but she knows I'm wary. I hate that I give off that vibe, and I hate that it's directed towards a little girl.

Today while Yaakov was mowing the lawn, he found a note pushed through the fence. He grimaced when he showed me. I sighed in great sadness. "I don't want to damage her," he said. "Me neither." "I don't want to damage Chaya, either," he added.

There's a French expression; "entre le couteau et le mur" - "between the knife and the wall." I think that about sums it up for me.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

(pic #2 is a bike with a mezuza)

Sunday, April 08, 2007
The Pesach Revue:

This pesach, Zalman took his first steps. He also ate chicken for the first time, and did well with all the food I lovingly chewed up for him. No go on the matzo (he barfed).

We made home-made potato chips fried in schmaltz, as well as "schmaltz and gribenes" - chicken skin fried in chicken fat (pesach keeps cardiologists in business).
I've consumed so much meat, it's not normal. I'm anemic, but maybe not anymore...

Today I ruined a whole pot of homemade apple-pear compote. I kept thinking, "I have to take it off the burner," and I kept getting distracted. Bummer. I also may have ruined the pot. Big bummer.

Yaakov went to play a gig for The King David Bikers (paging Wendy...). Someone in shul asked Yaakov to play. He said he would, only to find out later for whom. I told him to take a picture of the hogs parked outside.

Photos coming after yom tov - stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Zman Cheruseinu:

I had a thought at the first seder:

When I was growing up, sedarim were fun. OK, they weren't kosher. We barely read from the hagada. But we told jokes, and Mom made great matzo balls. There was Pop-Pop, in his satin yarmulke and all my cousins. Uncle Jay cracked jokes, and I read the 4 questions like a star.

Now Pesach has become serious business. We're religious. Now there is a certain amount of matzo we are required to eat. We have to drink 4 cups of wine. We read the entire hagada, and the seder lasts at least 5 hours. The preparations for pesach are laborious.

At the seder, we're in a good mood. We still sing and enjoy, but there's a lightheartedness that's gone. It's a religious and spiritual event, involving work and responsibility. Now my children read the 4 questions, in hebrew and yiddish. It's startles me.

I can't go back to the casual passovers of my youth, where we'd eat at restaurants (but avoid the breadbasket). I can't go back to the Maxwell House hagadas and the Manischewitz. I can't shake the line from the hagada that says, "If G-d hadn't taken us out of Egypt then, we'd still be slaves there now."

Sunday, April 01, 2007
Paging Ram Dass:

An old Jewish lady is in Tibet, climbing a mountain. She huffs and puffs, finally reaching the guru on top. Pushing her way through disciples, she marches up to him, yanks his ear, and yells...

"Hershel, come home already!"

(You might have to be Jewish to get this.)

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

fancymaven at gmail dot com