Friday, November 30, 2007
I don't have a teddy bear named Mohammed...

I think I understand the anthropological term "Cultural Relativity." We cannot understand different cultures, therefore, we cannot judge them.

Yet I'm very disturbed by the current situation in Sudan. Hello? What is up with this British teacher being imprisoned?

She let her students choose a name for a stuffed bear, as they studied animals and their habitats. The students chose the name "Mohammed." Yet she, the teacher, is condemned for it and rioters are calling for her death.

Um, wait a second here. The students chose the name. Maybe, instead of blaming the teacher, the parents could talk to their kids. Maybe they could tell them they feel it's inappropriate to name a stuffed animal after their prophet.

Or here's another thought: Maybe those kids loved their prophet so much, that they chose this popular Islamic name. I mean, for goodness sake! Why does everything have to be spin-doctored so much? Why does it have to be turned into something anti-Islamic? They chose the name because they liked it!!!

The good news is, many British Muslims are standing up for the teacher. Mohammed Akbar Ali, a community leader from Gillian’s home city of Liverpool, stated: “She is not a person who is radically trying to enforce her views. It is just an innocent mistake from a respectable woman.” Khalid Anis, of the Islamic Society of Britain, said: “This has no basis in religion. It is a political football and enough is enough.” And Muhammed Abdul Bari, Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “This is a disgraceful decision and defies common sense.”

I agree with those gentlemen. And I'll bet the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) would, too.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Chag HaGeula / Repubs got da Moola.

Tonight and tomorrow are Yud-Tes Kislev - Rosh Hashana L'Chassidus, Liberation of the Alter Rebbe. I have what to say about it, but I'm too tired.

Tonight there's a Republican debate here in Sunny Florida! My favorite is Dr. Ron Paul, but he won't win the primaries (my money is on Giuliani). More to say on the political front, but again, too tired.

I would like to somehow tune into the Republican debate tonight, but my priority is to attend a Yud-Tes Kislev farbrengen - if I stay awake.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Currently, the New York Times is running a feature about people who were wrongfully sent to prison. There were guys who were put away for 20 years, and then exonerated by DNA evidence. One of the men featured was in prison for 16 years, locked up when he was 16 years old.

It creeps me out. It makes me sad. All those years, taken away. I listened to their stories. I read their profiles. Some fared better than others upon their release. Most were psychologically scarred. Some were days away from execution. One man said that he knew G-d didn't give him things he couldn't handle.

I'm sure there's a deeper lesson to all this. We must be thankful for every minute we have. We should make the most of the opportunities G-d gives us, moment by moment. We're all here, and we're free.

I'm not linking to the article, because the New York Times is a little wonky that way. But as of now it's front page news, and well worth reading.

Saturday, November 24, 2007
Yud-Daled Kislev

In honor of the Rebbe and Rebbetzin's wedding anniversary...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007
EBT = Embarrassed Ba'al Teshuva.

Yesterday, while on line at the kosher store, I was behind someone with whom I am close.

I don't know her finances, yet suddenly, I had a feeling she would be using an EBT card. I felt terribly awkward. My suspicions were confirmed - and I felt even worse. Why did I have to be behind her? Then the noisy cashier was trying to figure out whether certain items could be charged on the card. I stood there feeling totally mortified. I wished the cashier was quieter. I wished there was more respect for my friend's dignity.

I remember when I was in 8th grade, and my stepfather was on his chemo-death march. As he slowly died of his cancer, my parents' finances unraveled. I became the recipient of a free school lunch ticket, something terribly painful for me. I always stood at the very end of the line - I couldn't bear if people saw my Scarlet Letter. And I'm guessing an EBT card has the same stigma. At least, potentially.

I'm at odds. A part of me wants to write the store an anonymous letter. Is that an appropriate response? I feel like the situation could have been handled more quietly, more gracefully.

Am I just projecting my own feelings onto things?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Life has become very hectic lately. I've been on the Hillary campaign planting questions to audience members.

Okay. That's not true.

I've been busy teaching Hebrew school. I've been busy feeling overwhelmed by my messy house and all my laundry. I've been busy cleaning up Zalman's puke.

Yaakov has been busy working 14 hour days.

I will be busy hustling together a Thanksgiving dinner that I'm not interested in making.

Today I will be busy going to a doctor's appointment for Srulik. Tomorrow I will be busy going to an upsherinish. Oh, I'm reminded! I have to buy a gift for the birthday boy. I'll be busy doing that, too.

I am busy helping with homework and bath time. I am busy trying to figure out what to make for supper every night.

Yaakov is busy mowing the lawn and fixing the cars.

I am busy thinking about what to do for Rivky's birthday in school. I am busy thinking about the family "latke party" we make every year.

I am busy every morning, trying to find clothes for kids to wear to school that are clean and neat.

Yaakov is busy filling in for my lazy ass when all I want to do is lay on the couch and be a vegetable.

Now I will be busy cleaning up Zalman, and the bowl of grits he just knocked on the kitchen floor.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Yaakov and Rochel, sitting in the tree...

Last night, Yaakov was eating supper and reviewing the parsha. He pointed out the manner in which the biblical Yaakov "met" Rochel. "See, as soon as he pushes the huge rock off the well, he goes and kisses her." We both started debating the finer points of the story. How is it that he kisses her before he's officially married to her? How come the first thing he does to her is kiss her? He doesn't even introduce himself!

Meanwhile, Chaya-super-spy overheard (never mind the fact that she's not even in the same room). "What?! Yaakov kissed Rochel?" Yes, he kissed her. "On the lips?" I don't know. "How come Rabbi T. didn't tell us this in school? I'm going to ask him tomorrow." She chirped on and on about it, until bedtime.

One part of me is a little bothered by all this. How I wish Chaya didn't pick up on every little thing! Yet, another part feels very okay. I think Chaya has some idea about men and women, anyway. She's seen Disney videos in the pediatricians' office. There are some kissing scenes, much to my chagrin. I guess If she's going to learn about it, better from Yaakov and Rochel, right?

As long as she doesn't figure out what the folks in Sodom were doing...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I got tagged by Wendy to do this "8" thing. Since I did not respond to my last "tag," I figured I'd give this one a go.

8 passions in my life:
  1. Yaakov
  2. All my kids, present & future
  3. Pregnancy & Natural Childbirth
  4. Yiddishkeit
  5. Doing Chessed
  6. Nurturing Friendships
  7. Writing
  8. Informed choices re: vaccination
8 things to do before I die (chas v'shalom):
  1. Travel Europe via Euro-rail
  2. Help Yaakov build a model-train room
  3. Marry off all my children
  4. Enjoy my grandkids
  5. Resolve my anxiety issues
  6. Learn acupuncture
  7. Go on the "From Lubavitch to Lubavitch" trip
  8. Meet Steven

8 things I often say:
  1. Baruch Hashem
  2. Oy, Gotenyu
  3. I love your tushie!
  4. Do your homework!
  5. Zeiskeit
  6. I love you, my son
  7. NO!
  8. Be tznius!
8 books I read recently:
  1. The Heroic Struggle - The Arrest and Liberation of Rabbi Yosef Y. Schneersohn - Rabbi Dr. Alter B. Metzger
  2. Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House - Valerie Plame Wilson
  3. The Menorah Story - Mark Podwal
  4. Mecca and Main Street, Muslim Life in America after 9/11 - Geneive Abdo
  5. Sefer HaToldos/Admur Maharash - Compilation
  6. Dovid Comes Home - Michoel Muchnik
  7. Once upon a Quinceañera - Julia Alvarez
  8. Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follett
8 songs that mean something to me:
  1. All the songs on Morah Music's Chassidisher yomim tovim CD set
  2. The Alter Rebbe's Niggun/Niggun of 4 stanzas
  3. She Moves On - Paul Simon
  4. The Rebbe Maharash's Niggun/L'chatchila Ariber
  5. Eyes of the World - Grateful Dead
  6. Plenty of Room - Uncle Moishy
  7. Only the Good Die Young - Billy Joel
  8. My Sister Rose - 10,000 Maniacs
8 Qualities I look for in a friend:
  1. Intelligence
  2. Emotional Maturity
  3. Trustworthiness
  4. Sense of Humor
  5. Depth
  6. Ability to give loving hashpa'a
  7. Discretion
  8. Nefesh Elokis
8 people I am "tagging":
  1. DinoMama
  2. Aidel Maidel
  3. Eden
  4. Frumhouse
  5. Pearlie
  6. Ayelet
  7. FunkyFrum
  8. Scraps
Sorry gang, I attached your linkies and then lost them. I don't have the energy to cut-and-paste them again! I hope you know who you are!

Thursday, November 08, 2007
Hi from the dish rag:

The New York trip totally sapped me. I've basically been a zombie since I've returned home. As usual, the house has fallen to the wayside. Zalman is sick. And last night I was sick too. I was up literally every 10 minutes with vomiting and diarrhea. It was like labor! Every 10-12 minutes I'd have my "contraction," and then I could lay down and recover. I finally vomited one last time around 6 am. Thank G-d, Yaakov worked from home and took care of all of us. So far, no more vomiting today, but plenty of the other...sigh...

Gam zu l'tova.


Zalman has Rotavirus. It's not fun. He's pooping a lot - foul, sickly smelling poops. And vomiting. Several times he's made a mess of himself, I've stuck him in the tub, and then he pukes/poops all over himself again. The worst is when he's sleeping, and he wakes up because he's vomited. He looks so disoriented, and I feel so sorry for him. I know he's exhausted from his ordeal. I feel so sad when he's vomiting, gasping and crying. I've done that, too. And on top of all this, he has hives.

Hashem, please just make him well.

Monday, November 05, 2007
Spirit in the Sky:

We just went to New York overnight for a wedding, and we flew Spirit because it was cheaper. We've never done this before, we've always flown JetBlue. I've come to the conclusion that it's worth spending a few bucks more to fly JetBlue, an airline with obvious class (and leg room).

Here's an example: Spirit has all these ways to get your money. They charge cheap fares, but nickel and dime you for everything else. Snacks, for example - not that we would be eating them. But to charge your passengers for them? No class. Having all these crazy baggage limitations and charging passengers for going over them? No class. Automatically adding in "traveler's insurance" and forcing us to join your $9 fare club? NO CLASS. Besides the fact that they overbooked their 6:40 am flight and bumped us up to a flight 4 hours later. Hello, we woke up at 4:15 in the morning to make that flight.

There's more to say about the amazing wedding and whirlwind trip, but I'm too tired and frustrated right now. I just had to rant about the airline I never want to fly ever again.

Say it with me: Four hours. La Guardia.

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

fancymaven at gmail dot com