Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I Like Jeremiah's Idea

In the comments section of my last post, Jeremiah had a good idea: the question behind my post could be the premise of a plausible independent film. He stressed "independent."

Does that mean that no studio would care to join forces with me?

Does that mean that it is the story of an independent blogger after all, that no match can be made in blogland?

Truth is....NOTHING. I have no personal stories to share and so I'd hoped that perhaps one of you might've heard something or come across a story about bloggers trysting and maybe taking it further, ie. trysting " 'til death do they part."

Apparently, some of you folks have suspicious minds. "Is Pearl hinting at something personal?"..."Is Pearl keeping back 'the whole story'?"... "Is PsychoToddler Pearl's long-distance paramour?"

Nothing to be suspicious about. I lead a boring -- but happy -- life, interspersed with some personal blog posts. Yes, I consider myself sort of friends or long-distance acquaintances with some bloggers, but that's it. But somewhere deep down, my subconscious must've been trying to set me up for something it considered exciting.

The other night I had a dream. Yes, Martin Luther King and I both had a dream. His had to do with racial justice; mine had to do with a blogger who was at some social gathering where I was, and apparently said blogger was trying to woo me, so much so that I believe that the social gathering turned into an engagement party of sorts. An engagement party for me...and the blogger. All along in this dream, I was thinking, "But I'm happily married....!"


The dream niggled at my thoughts. Why this blogger? Why this dream?

And I began to wonder about such a scenario -- not in my life, but in others' -- and that led to the premise of my last post. Which apparently is now the possible premise of an independent film...if there are any takers out there?

There are people who, no doubt, discover that life and love can co-exist in blogland. Whether they expressively seek this new love out, or just stumble upon it, I'm sure that somewhere there also already exists a blog or a bulletin board/forum where bloggers can write about loves lost in real life, and loves found in blogland.

* A personal note to Dr. Bean: PsychoToddler was only a temporary diversion. Please take him back. He's all yours. As for Cruisin' Mom, she can be yours too...for the price of a babka!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Something To Ponder

Have you heard of any bloggers who have left their spouses and/or significant others...FOR A BLOGGER?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Learning Any Which Way

My boys LOVE LOVE LOVE GameCube. They play games for one, they play games for two, they trade in games that they tire of.

GameCube can be the cause of many distractions, many parent-child disagreements in our home.

Why not just take it away from the boys? you ask. Truth is, I do, from time to time, but always end up giving it back at the end of the day or a few days later.

And I've just decided that there's another reason I can't take it away for good -- at least not from my six-year-old. And why is that?

Because...he learns a lot from GameCube.

Like what? you ask.

Well, for starters, he learns hand-eye coordination; he learns about high tech and how to make things work for you. In playing certain games, he learns all about sports, specifically current hockey and baseball players. He knows names of players, of teams, knows their stats, and more importantly, learns geography.

On Friday nights, while sitting around the Shabbos table, we often play Geography. We go around the table and everyone says a place name using the last letter of the last place name given by the prior player.

My little guys thinks of the most obscure places! I wonder how he knows of them -- my husband pointed out to me this weekend: GameCube. Because my son knows team names, he knows what city these baseball and hockey teams play in, eg. Anaheim, San Diego, Detroit, he stores the names up to use in future Geography games.

It is a wonderful game, and all of us -- ages 6, 9, 11 1/2, 45 and 46 -- play and enjoy it thoroughly!

So...could I interest you in GameCube to start...and then perhaps a game of Geography?

Friday, October 27, 2006

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Women in Tights

So...is this image saying matter-of-factly that tights please people, ie. men and women... Or is it a request, "I want tights, please" ?

In my case, it's a bit of both...

When I was a child, I wore cotton or nylon tights of all patterns and all shades. The unfortunate thing is that the nylon ones would run easily, and the cotton ones would pill. I remember sitting in class at school, plucking at all these little pills on those leggings!

And because I was tall and leggy, it was often difficult to find the right length of tights. And when I did, I also had to be assured that the hosiery wouldn't shrink. Oftentimes, I sagged big time in the crotch area; the tights weren't sitting flush, as they should, and it was uncomfortable. I always imagined that if someone were to throw a tennis ball against my tights, I could've bounced the ball right back to the pitcher, using the material's tension in the way the tights sat on my body, a few inches below where they should have.

I never danced ballet or jazz when I grew up, so I never had tutus and leggings or tights; and I never took great notice of the superheroes wearing their tights, save for Catwoman and perhaps Robin, in his dorky outfit.

But I'm grown up now. And I've decided that I love tights. So much so that I had to go to a nice local store and sort through their display of tights and buy myself a few pairs.

I went for basic black. No patterns. Just stark black with a shimmer from the Lycra.

I've been wearing tights now for the past three days. I almost don't want to take them off! Yes, they keep my legs cozy in this early fall-early winter weather we've been having of late. But it's more than that...

They give me superpowers. Call me Catwoman. I can purr and meow now with the best of the other tights wearers in the world. I can slink down a catwalk -- okay, maybe not in spiked heels, but in a comfortable-looking and comfortable-feeling pair of shoes -- 'cause my tights are just about ready for anything.

Tights make me feel sexy. They make my legs look flawless. They make my legs look longer. They make me walk straighter. They make me feel self-assured.

Okay, nylons are good too-- patterns and prices abound -- but give me a pair of tights and I swear, it's like I'm wearing a "second skin."

If I go so gaga over a pair of tights -- especially a pair that fit! -- imagine what a pair of ankle sports socks with pom-poms do to me...!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

An E-mail I Received Today

I dreamt that I went to Heaven and an angel was showing me around. We walked side-by-side inside a large workroom filled with angels.

My angel guide stopped in front of the first section and said, "This is the Receiving Section. Here, all petitions to Hashem said in prayer are received." I looked around in this area, and it was terribly busy with so many angels sorting out petitions written on voluminous paper sheets and scraps from people all over the world.

Then we moved on down a long corridor until we reached the second section. The angel then said to me, "This is the Packaging and Delivery Section. Here, the graces and blessings the people asked for are processed and delivered to the living persons who asked for them." I noticed again how busy it was there. There were many angels working hard at that station, since so many blessings had been requested and were being packaged for delivery to Earth.

Finally at the farthest end of the long corridor we stopped at the door of a very small station. To my great surprise, only one angel was seated there, idly doing nothing. "This is the Acknowledgment Section," my angel friend quietly admitted to me. He seemed embarrassed.

"How is it that? There's no work going on here?" I asked.

"So sad," the angel sighed. "After people receive the blessings that they asked for, very few send back acknowledgments.

"How does one acknowledge HaShem's blessings?" I asked.

"Simple," the angel answered. "Just say, 'Thank you, Hashem.'

"What blessings should they acknowledge?" I asked.

"If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep ... you are richer than 75% of this world.

"If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish, you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy.

"And if you get this on your own computer, you are part of the 1% in the world who has that opportunity.

"Also .....If you woke up this morning with more health than illness ...... you are more blessed than the many who will not even survive this day.

"If you have never experienced the fear in battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation ... you are ahead of 700 million people in the world.

"If you can attend a shul meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death ... you are envied by, and more blessed than, three billion people in the world.

"If your parents are still alive and still married, you are very rare.

"If you can hold your head up and smile, you are not the norm, you are unique to all those in doubt and despair."

Ok, what now? How can I start?

If you can read this message, you just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking of you as very special and you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all. Have a good day, count your blessings, and if you want, pass this along to remind everyone else how blessed we all are.

"Attn: Acknowledge Dept.: Thank You Hashem!

"Thank you Hashem, for giving me the ability to share this message and for giving me so many wonderful people to share it with."

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Fashion Sense

I was sorting through my daughter's dresser drawers and bedroom closet today, seeing what still fit and what didn't. She has A LOT of clothes and as my husband says all the time, "You have to get rid of stuff for all the new stuff [many of which are gifts] that comes in. Otherwise we'll have to buy another house."

Some of the stuff I just made a judgment call on and removed and bagged to pass on to a friend for her daughter. About others I announced, "This doesn't fit you anymore."

My daughter piped up, "Oh yes it does." And she proceeded to put it on over whatever she dressed in this morning.

This scene kept repeating itself with each new item of clothing that I held up for inspection. "Oh yes it does." Another article of clothing went on.

After a few minutes my daughter was wearing a short sleeved sweater, under a turtleneck sweater, with a vest on top, and a housecoat on top of that, and a summer dress over her pants.

Talk about the layered look... Talk about trying to convince me to keep her stuff... Talk about a creative way to argue one's point....

Talk about a fashion sense...

Child # 4

Notice the "before" pic of me, taken almost a year ago, before Pearl and the family even considered getting another dog.
But it was this pic that drew them in. I was still Snoopy in that period of my life.

Since the family got me in January, I'm now known as Max.

Yay, Pearl finally posted a recent picture of me. I threatened to pee on her Persian rug if she didn't!

She got a new camera phone, took some pics and took longer to try to figure out how to download them to her computer and then on to her [really cool] blog.

Aren't I cute? I can hear you saying "Poo, Poo, Poo" as opposed to the more familiar Jewish "Pu, Pu, Pu"...but that's okay, 'cause I am a shih-poo after all, and sometime ago, Pearl blogged about me after taking me for a late-night walk one day and announced that I'm not really a shih-poo, but rather a three-poo. Guess you figured that out, too!

So...was I worth the wait? Talk about puppy dog eyes...

Friday, October 20, 2006

A Violin Speaks

If you ever need to have a good cry, but the tears won't necessarily come, tune in to this performance by Itzhak Perlman -- the theme from Schindler's List. Unless you are made of rock, you will be weeping.

It is a magnificent piece of music, scored by John Williams, a master of movie soundtracks. Perlman, like always, makes his violin speak...and sing...and cry.

Shabbat Shalom. May there be peace in your homes and in your lives.



Hi, guys. It's Max -- formerly known as Snoopy. If you read Pearl's blog religiously, you already knew that. If not, let me explain very quickly.

Pearl and her family adopted me. My given name was Snoopy. She decided I'm not worthy of being called Snoopy. She asked child # 3 to name me when he saw a photo of me -- he didn't know yet, nor did his siblings, that I was about to enter their lives -- and he said I looked like a "Tyson." Pearl decided it wouldn't be good luck to give me the name of their dog who died last year, so she told her son that name had already been taken and to think of another. He chose "Max." And it stuck.

I may be a little snoopy, keeping my nose close to the ground and sniffing/snooping around for clues, but I'm more of a max. I live life to the max; I have energy to the max; and I'm the sweetest pooch to the max.

I've come to like Pearl's family, especially Pearl. She calls me her baby or child # 4 and I refer to her as the mom I never had. I follow her all over the house, and even find her behind closed doors. She does get mad, though, when I push open the bathroom door without knocking and just sit there, staring at her, watching her go about her business. I know it's rude and all, but she watches ME go about MY business, too.

In any case, I like my family; I like my yard; I like my neighborhood; and I love the canine connections I've made around here. On a good day, I might just see half a dozen of my pals. Of course, they're not always as excited to see me as I am to see them. But I really do have lots have pals, and if you don't want to call them pals, then at least consider them acquaintances. I'm VERY friendly and could easily become the neighborhood Welcome Wagon. (TM)

[Max had me edit his post and I informed him that he MUST insert a (TM) there. I once learned the hard way, when that trademark wasn't used in the nicest way in a manuscript, that a trademark is not meant to be presented in a poor light. But that company went to the extreme; my company was no longer able to use the trademark at all in our books.

So I'm glad that Max listened to me and put in the copyright symbol; I don't want the company coming after me and my blog!]

Let me name some of the cool dogs 'round here:

Phoebe (#1) -- Maltese (my girlfriend!)
Phoebe (#2) -- Poodle
Terry -- Schnauzer/Terrier
Oriel -- Shnauzer
Wilson -- Shih-Tzu
Riley -- Wheaten Terrier
Tyler -- Poodle
Cody -- Poodle
Rolex-- Pug
Tiffany -- Pug
[Rolex and Tiffany are not siblings, but come from the same breeder and the owner wanted each dog to have company, so that's why he got two. They replace his pug, Brisket, who passed away earlier this year. Our pug, Tyson, and Brisket, were often mistaken for each other...just because they were both so overweight.]
Jasper -- Westie
Pugley -- Pug
Chiclet -- Pug
(also owned by same owner; Chiclet is a young pug, and a companion to the older Pugley)

There are other dogs that I know -- by smell, of course. Pearl complains that she only knows the dogs' names, not the owners'! Is that good etiquette, she wonders? Who am I to tell her about good etiquette? I lift my leg and pee wherever I get a chance!

In any case, I know that Phoebe is my girlfriend -- how do I know, you ask?

She dances and prances all around me and wiggles her tushy in my face when she sees me. If that doesn't mean she wants me, then what does?

But even though Phoebe is my girlfriend (supposedly the girl-next-door -- except she lives three houses away from me), I could always stand to see some pics of your pooches if you'd like to share them. Maybe I'll know somebody around here who's available for your pooch. No, not me.

Hey, what a great idea: MAX, THE SHIH-POO SHADCHAN (matchmaker). They say that if you make three matches in this world, your place is set in the world to come. I'd like my place to be set with a sheepskin-rug-trimmed bed, lots of snacks and a professional pooper-scooper! Someone who follows me around heaven, cleaning up after me. I'm not sure that Pearl will get up here to do the job!

Can you imagine if I, Max the shih-poo, made a match between a neighborhood dog and one from across the country? I'd be saying "Canine-a-hora" and I'd be dancing a "canine-a-hora!"

I want to see your dog pics, and I know you want to see mine, but because I'm all black, with dark brown eyes, I'm hard to photograph -- I sort of get camouflaged all the time. I'll try to get Pearl to snap a recent and decent one of me, so you can all see how I've changed over the past several months since the family welcomed me.

I now send a hearty bark your way and will head over to my bed to sleep. I thank you for your time and hope we someday get to meet -- and not in heaven either. Although I am planning to meet five people there.... [Please forgive Max. He thinks he's funny. The last bit refers to Mitch Albom's book title, The Five People You Meet in Heaven.]

Thursday, October 19, 2006

You Talkin' to Me?

Pssst! You wanna go shopping with Pearl? She'll show you how to shop for bargains, how to buy and return merchandise if family members don't like it, and how to just be a shopping diva.

Truth is, I'm NOT a shopping diva; I'm not a diva and I don't like shopping. But I do like bargains and grabbing some great finds.

I don't care to shop for myself and find it easier to shop for others, usually going to a store looking for a particular item for someone and buying up items I don't need but that might come in handy.

Although I don't care to shop, I do like the thrill of perhaps hearing THE VOICE.

"The Voice?" you ask. "Are you hearing things, Pearl?"

No, I'm not hearing things, I don't have imaginary friends, and no 6-foot-tall white rabbit named Harvey has taken up residence in my life.

"Phew," you say. "You had me worried there for a minute. I thought that perhaps because you go to bed so late 'cause you're on the computer, you don't get enough sleep, and the result is that you're hearing voices."

But yes, I'm sometimes driven by the Voice.

This is the voice that, in Jerusalem, said to me many years ago, "Hey, habibi, you like me? You have Canadian or American dollars to spend on me?"

A pair of dangling earrings with coral pieces was speaking to me. How did those earrings know that my cousin had just given me a coral necklace to keep? It would be a perfect match -- one made in Jerusalem. But I wasn't wearing the necklace right then! But I figured that Israelis are forward and make assumptions, and this pair of coral earrings was no different!

And then there was that time in Miami, when I was browsing. Simply browsing in the ladies' section of the department store I was in. I heard a "Psst" and looked over to a rack, where a gorgeous, multicolored cotten-woven sweater was waving me over.

"Hey, lady. You want to have a multicolored sweater such as myself in your wardrobe? You'll really light up a room when you walk in, and the bold and bright colors will make you feel good. Happy, happy, happy. That's what I, as a representative of the Liz Claiborne industry believe anyhow."

How could I resist? Guess I'm a pushover for a pullover!

Not too long ago I was browsing in ladies' wear and heard my name. This time it was a beautiful, black cashmere wool skirt, with assymetrical embroidered hems, doing the calling. I approached, then slowly backed away. Beautiful, yes, but pricey too.

I circled the area some more and felt myself being called back. "Try me, try me...you might like me."

Now I don't just hear the Voice, I talk back, too! "I do like you. That's the problem. I like you too much, but I don't like your price tag."

"But I'm on sale. And I'm your size. And I'm the only skirt like this left. Isn't it destiny that we should be together?"

What could I do, but listen to these smooth-talking skirt? I tried it on, twirling in front of the three way mirror in the change room, and loving how the bottom flared out. I knew this skirt was a show-stopper, and I just had to have it.

The Voice had won me over again.

Last night, the Voice beckoned me again, as I was rushing through a Sears store. This time it was a wine caddy doing the talking.

"You know you want me. I'm just the right price, marked down twice. I'll fulfill all your needs -- um, all your bottles' needs. I'll help keep your dining room clean of bottles on the floor in the corner, and I am rather eye-appealing, don't you think?"

I walked away, managed to go a few short steps, then turned back to the Voice. He was still talking. "Look, take me home, let your husband check me out too. If you don't like me, you can always return me."

Now the Voice had a point. I guess he knew me well. I am notorious for buying and returning merchandise after second thoughts.

"Deal or no deal?"

I shouted, "Okay, okay. But if I change my mind or my husband doesn't want you, you get sent back...understood?"

The Voice said, "I don't think you'll send me back. I'm gonna wine and dine you!"

Well, I got home with the box, and lo and behold, the Voice hadn't been that upfront with me. He never said that he had to be assembled...and with lousy instructions, too.

Soon my voice, and my husband's voice could be heard: "What kind of ****** directions are these!? Where the **** does this piece go, and this piece?"

The Voice was chuckling and said, "Oh, stop WHINING. The frustration will pass, but the beauty will remain..."


So I guess the point of telling you about the Voice is to remind you that shopping can be quite an experience. You browse and suddenly you're being summoned by something or other. When I get comments or compliments about a purchase, I often tell the person, "It spoke to me, " or "It called out my name."
Sometimes you've just got to listen to that voice...

Especially when it drowns out your own!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

GameCube Gets a Hechsher

Last evening, I was in the kitchen, which overlooks our family room. My 6 1/2-year-old son was happily and busily beginning to play GameCube while I got dinner together.

Suddenly he pipes up. "This game is Kosher."

"What?" I repeat, just so he'll repeat his comment.

"This game is Kosher."

"And how do you know that?"

"It has an R."

[Explanation for those who might not get this kid's mind: one of the Kosher U.S.. symbols is a U inside an O, and it stands for Orthodox Union. My son noticed an R inside an O somewhere on the game screen and interpreted it to mean Kosher.

Okay, okay...so it was funny at the time.]

Monday, October 16, 2006

Too Many Secrets -- Part 2

Remember this? Remember you wanted to know what secrets I have to tell? Guess you were wondering if I had any good, juicy gossip to share, or tantalizing, wicked family tales to reveal.

No particular secrets per se to share. Actually I do have secrets, but I CAN'T share them with you, or you, or even YOU! (Randi) Why? Because we are told to keep secrets, and they are not meant for curious eyes or ears.

Psst! Can you keep a secret? How many times in your years of growing up were you asked that? How many times did you say you could keep a secret, yet told the first person you could whatever that secret was?

Shhh! It's a surprise. Don't tell anybody. I'm sure that over the years people wanted to let you in on surprises, be they related to parties or gifts, and the information was just sizzling inside you, in anticipation of the surprise and reactions to it.

I'm only telling you. Don't tell a soul. Promise? Sound familiar? How'd you do with that promise?

Often it's easy to tell secrets. It's harder to keep them. When I was growing up and my friends told me what they deemed secrets and they told me to tell nobody, I understood that they meant my peers. But secrets were like poison to me, and like a pot that begins to boil over, the secrets wanted to spill forth from my mouth. Did I tell my peers? No. But I often, at my discretion, told my mother.

Yes, I did. I didn't perceive it as not being able to keep a secret. My mother was my mother, not another kid at school. In my eyes, my mother didn't count, so to speak.

My mother is not a gossip, nor was she ever. She has always maintained her discretionary distance and respected my privacy. She is the one who always told me to look out for certain friends or certain relatives who would probe for information, looking for secrets and ready to pass them along.

Because of my mother's wonderful character makeup, I deemed her "safe." I would share information that others might've shared with me, just because she was my sounding board, a receptacle for my information, so to speak. She would not judge the people that I was telling her about. She would just listen, take it all in, nod and do nothing with the information I'd disclosed. How much better a person can you find to keep secrets safe?

As the years passed, I just didn't want to learn any more secrets. But they were told to me anyway. And instead of sharing some with my mother, I shared them with my journals. If those pages could only talk....

Secrets are a means of information. In essence a means of power. The power to control...and the power to hurt. And for that reason, I have grown up surrounded by secrets and the common phrase: Don't tell Mom/Dad/brother/brother/sister-in-laws/nieces/nephews/aunts/uncles.... They don't need to know. They shouldn't find out.

In many, if not all the cases, these secrets have not been about power, but about protection. We were continually protecting one another from the pain of knowing something hurtful or challenging, upsetting or angering. Major family medical and personal crises were guarded, monitored with protective hush-hush attitudes. We did not want to hurt others, we did not want to add salt to wounds; we did not want to bear bad news and see reactions.

For a long time I thought this was only my family's practice, but I married and saw similar practices in my husband's family's or in-laws' families. I began to recognize the practice in friends' families, too.

The secret was out!

We are often not alone in the way we live our lives, in the way we treat those we love and in the way they treat us. We have mirror reflections throughout the world -- people who have secrets just like we do, people who reveal their secrets just like we do.

The personal life of every individual is based on secrecy, and perhaps it is partly for that reason that civilized man is so nervously anxious that personal privacy should be respected. -- Anton Chekhov

The face is the mirror of the mind, and eyes without speaking confess the secrets of the heart. -- Saint Jerome

Friday, October 13, 2006

Babs Meets Yentl


I've decided I really love YouTube. Can you tell? No, really...can you tell?

Splitting Hairs

And now for your viewing pleasure:


Musical Interlude

I love this song. I love this rendition of the song.

Find someone you love, and listen closely to the lyrics -- I hope they prove to be true for you, as well.


Exercise. Shop. Eat. Repeat.

I'm a Curves gal. Not that I have any of my own that bear much attention, but I'm a paying member of Curves, seeking some nice curves to call my own.

Before I was a Curves gal, I was a Women's Fitness Club gal.

Before that, I was a Jewish Community Center gal.

Before that, I was an active kid.

So let's start at square one: active kid. What does that mean, or rather, what did it mean for me? It meant I ran, I walked, I rode my bike, I ice skated, I sort of swam. Nothing physically demanding, just basic.

And probably after coming inside the house from doing that basic running or riding of my bike, I'd have a snack. I'd drink some juice. I refueled, so to speak.

When I was a Jewish Community Center gal, aside from several years of volunteering with special needs adults in a social-recreational program, I used to go to fitness classes. And I used to jog a bit or power walk. And I used to swim a bit.

And after finishing my volunteering session or my workout session, what did I do? I went into the cafeteria and bought a snack. And bought some juice. I refueled, so to speak.

Now the Women's Fitness Club is situated in a large, suburban shopping mall. The few times I went to the club, I'd do fitness classes, or work out on the different circuit machines.

And what did I often do before or after my session at the club? I'd parade around that mall, step in and out of stores, finding bargains and making purchases. Here I was, supposedly going to lose a few pounds, instead picking up pounds of purchases along the way. Is that considered a good workout?

These days, my workout locale is a strip mall. Curves is located near a wonderful Kosher bakery and a gourmet chocolate store. Mmmm.... But I stay at my end of the mall, making sure my path doesn't cross with those two wonderful specialty food emporiums.

But also nearby my workout is a large supermarket. I often work out, then drive (not walk) over to the next strip mall where the supermarket is located, go in and load my buggy up with essentials, and often some not-so-essential essentials! It is funny when I pass a woman who'd just been in the Curves working out when I was. Her buggy is just as full as mine.

Nonchalantly, I strain to look what no-no's she's hoarding in that aluminum-and-steel cart. Who am I to talk, though? I've just done a 30 minute circuit, a five-minute warm-down, and I'm buying junk food!?

Oh, not for me, you should know. Never for me. Always for my three kids. That's right (WINK, WINK!) -- JUST for my three kids.

So over the years I've noticed a trend re. my exercise habits -- either I'm exercising opening and closing my wallet after exercising, or I'm exercising opening and closing my mouth....when I eat the junk food that I BOUGHT FOR MY THREE KIDS!

Hey, I discovered a new and improved form of physical exercise: SHOP 'TIL YOU DROP!

But I think I ought to get over my work-out-then-shop-or-eat habits and try this ideal form of exercise: RESISTANCE TRAINING!

Monday, October 09, 2006

...Next Year Again, G-d Willing

I grew up in a household where things were not taken for granted. It took hard work, mental or physical effort to achieve certain things. Some prayer and mazel thrown in for good measure.

Good health was never taken for granted because health issues abounded. Medical emergencies, some more serious than others, are part of my memories of childhood and adulthood.

It is for that reason that whenever I kissed my mother and father, and wished them a good yom tov -- whether Pesach or Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur or Sukkot -- or even a good birthday or anniversary or Mother's Day or Father's Day, both parents, primarily my father, always said to me, "We should be able to wish each other the same...next year again, G-d willing." When we finished the second Pesach seder, or broke the Yom Kippur fast, or lit the Chanukah candles on the last night of Chanukah, it was "We should be able to do this...next year again, G-d willing."

My parents were with us for the second day of Sukkot. Upon leaving my home, my parents and I wished each other a good Yom Tov and then we each said, "We should be able to wish each other the same...next year again, G-d willing. We should be able to do this...next year again, G-d willing."

The calendar year is a cycle -- twelve months pass, one after the other. Seasons pass, one after the other. We take the months and the seasons for granted.

The Jewish calendar is also a cycle -- the months pass, holidays come and go, the seasons change. We take the months, the seasons and the Jewish holidays for granted.

Life is also a cycle -- the calendar years pass, the seasons come and go, milestones and celebrations greet us, and unfortunately, sometimes so do difficult and sad times.

And although life stares at us -- and we stare back, hopefully being able to smile as well -- we should never take it for granted.

Each and every one of us should learn to say, "...next year again, G-d willing."

No Easy Feat

A man decided that life would be more fun if he had a pet. So, he went to the pet store and told the owner that he wanted to buy an unusual pet. After some discussion, he finally bought a talking centipede (100-legged bug), which came in a little white box to use for his house. He took the box home, found a good location for the box and named his new pet Sheldon.

He decided that he would like to take his new pet to the synagogue with him. So, he asked the centipede in the box, "Sheldon, would you like to go to Shul with me today? We will have a good time."

But there was no answer from his new pet. This bothered him a bit, but he waited a few minutes and then asked him again, "Sheldon, how about going to Shul with me and receive blessings?"

But again, there was no answer from his new friend and pet. So he waited a few minutes more, thinking about the situation. He decided to ask him one more time, this time putting his face right up against the box and shouting, "Hey, in there! Would you like to go to Shul with me and learn about The Lord!?"

A little voice came out of the box........................

"I heard you the first time, I'm putting on my shoes!!!!! "

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Too Many Secrets

...of course you want to know what secrets I have to tell , but if I told you, they wouldn't be secrets anymore -- now, would they?

Friday, October 06, 2006

Is It Just Me?

I know my thought patterns are sometimes offbeat, and I see the world through an interesting, colored lense...but tell me -- Is it just me?....or as you unpack your sukkah decorations and put them up, do you think that these decorations are like X-mas decorations?

I mean, I've lived in this house for three years, and my previous house for nine years. My oldest child is eleven and a few months; my youngest is 6 1/2 years old. I don't have any sukkah "family heirlooms" to speak of, but when I see the pieces of artwork we've laminated, pieces that have withstood the rains and winds of fall, as they sat proudly on the sukkah walls, I equate them with X-mas decorations...that get unpacked year in, year out, and then packed up again year in , year out. Some of these tree and room decorations, along with family stories, get passed on to younger generations.

I dated my children's artwork that we use for our decorations. So it's a pleasure for me to sit and view work done by my 6 1/2-year-old who was 2 1/2 when he drew or colored in a picture.

They continue to bring home more developed, sophisticated works of art to use as sukkah decorations, but my eyes skim the familiar, sometimes faded, pieces on the walls, and my heart is warmed...

Wishing you all a chag sameach, a happy holiday. Remember your cue: "Sniff (the etrog) & Shake (the lulav)!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I Want To Be a Pooch Pal

Welcome to the neighborhood. An area where the houses stand large and tall, the lawns are beautifully manicured with very tasteful landscaping, expensive vehicles sit in garages and dogs abound.

For some reason there are a lot of white poodles, Bijons, malteses and the like where I live. And then there's our MAX -- a black dog who doesn't truly fit in 'cause he's just a blend of breeds. But he's smart, and he's sweet, and he's very friendly -- of course he takes after his owner!

Well, this morning, I was out walking the dog. The neighborhood was quiet, as children had already left for school, grownups had already left for work, stay-at-home moms had already left for their health clubs and coffee with girlfriends. I took Max to a nearby park, to let him off the leash and romp freely. In the distance I spotted a woman walking a little white dog.

Not to be mean, nor sound condescending, but I just knew she was a nanny. There are a lot of them around here...just not at my address, nor has there ever been one, nor will there ever be one! And this woman was definitely a nanny. I just figured that her [human] charges had left for school and now she was left with a canine charge for the day, aside from household duties.

As she's walking the dog, another woman -- whom I also figured to be a nanny -- passed her, and she also had a white dog. The two women stopped to chat while the two dogs sniffed each other. Max charged off, ready to check out the canines, but I called his name and he so nicely stopped, turned around and raced back to me.

As I watched these two women and the dogs, I thought, "Wouldn't that be nice? To be a nanny for a dog, or I prefer to call it 'a pooch pal.' " I'd get room and board -- and a salary, and days off -- just for looking after a coochie-poochie.

As it was time for me to leave the park, I started walking to the path, where the first woman was. Max immediately headed to sniff out and bounce on the dog, who...by the way....was wearing a little pink t-shirt with a knot at the end. Imagine a teenage girl tying a t-shirt at her navel; yup, that was the pooch. And I began to talk to the woman who was indeed the nanny. I asked if the kids were at school; oh, no, they're married. So this woman looks after a household and a very spoiled, but beautiful Bijon named Phoebe. Not only did Phoebe wear a t-shirt, she also had a raincoat that the nanny was carrying. She told me Phoebe doesn't go in the rain without it, and the sky did look ominous.

When I asked where this eleven-year-old princess slept, the nanny told me, "In an antique bed beside mine. My employer bought twin beds, and they're side by side. Phoebe sleeps beside me right in the middle." I was also informed that Phoebe gets groomed every three weeks. It is true I have to admit; she did have beautiful curly hair -- um, I mean fur -- done up in a fashionable doggie way.

I was impressed by the patience that this nanny/pooch pal had with the dog. She didn't mind carrying her from the park to her house, along with the dog's raincoat, and bags for going potty. Although I saw Phoebe as spoiled, I did figure she is old, she paid her dues, she's now behaving like some Hollywood vamp who likes attention. And she's getting it.

So I'm appealing to you, my readers, if any of you need a pooch pal/dog nanny -- and no, I don't just mean a dog walker 'cause, of course, anyone can do THAT job -- you know where to find me. And I come with great references. Just ask Tyson -- oh, wait, you can't ask him anymore! Okay, just ask Max; he'll tell you how nice, friendly, helpful, considerate I am to him. "Won't you, Max?.... Max?...MAX????"

My Favorite Time of the Day...or Rather, the Night!

It is now 2:30 a.m. I am going to haul myself off to bed, away from this computer, where I've just spent the last very long while making editorial changes to something I'm working on. I not only will haul myself off to bed, but will also throw myself into bed and fall asleep post-haste.

But before I do that, I will shuffle into my children's rooms, peeking in on them as they sleep, these quiet little children who can do no wrong when settled for the night.

My oldest son makes nocturnal noises, sometimes like a wild animal in distress, as he clears his throat in his sleep. Scary, when I first hear it, but slowly I accept the sound as his. I lean over to gently kiss his cheek.

My younger son, who shares the bedroom, lies under a smattering of blankets -- a Blue Jays fleecy blanket, as well as a quilt from the crib ("Cowboy Blankie"), a quilt that has been used by all three of my children.

Sometimes when I look in on this little one, he is on his tummy, or rather on his knees, with his tushie up in the air...just like a baby in a crib. Other times, he lies swaddled, but with those small toes peeking out from a kicked-away blanket. I cover his feet, kiss his brow and step away.

My daughter is like a princess in her room, with her queen size bed and its many blankets and cushy and plushy decorative pillows. These days, she opts to sleep in the lovely day bed in her room. Perhaps the smaller space makes her feel cozier, is a better fit, for this girl of mine. She is no longer a princess in a queen size bed, but rather a little birdie in a nest of blankets and pillows and warmth.

I stroke her cheek and slip away.

My serene family. My sense of peace. My children at sleep...