Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Look Back at (My) 2006...

January -- Acquired a new dog, Max.

February -- ?

March -- Youngest son turned 6.
My father was in serious condition in the hospital; as a result, I had to cancel a trip to California that I'd so looked forward to.
Published poetry in an American Jewish literary journal.

April -- I was "dismissed" from my job after being with the company for nearly 19 years.
My husband turned 46.

May --?

June -- My oldest son turned 11.
My parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

July -- My father celebrated his 86th birthday.

August -- My daughter turned 9.

September -- I turned 45.

October -- ?

November -- Started a diet under a doctor's care.

December -- Published an article in the Canadian Jewish News.
My father is in hospital with serious medical problems.

As you can see, my year has centered around family -- both my parents, my husband and my children...and our dog. It has centered around my livelihood (or seemingly lack thereof) of copy editing and editing. It has centered around celebrations. It has centered around my creative writing. It has centered among health.

My life in 2006 has been busy; it has been rich; it has met with disappointments and with simple and great pleasures; my life has had to deal with harsh realities of home life and work life; and as been taught to me over the course of many years, my life has understood that good health is first and foremost to everyday living. Not even with all the money in the world, are you the richest person...but with good health, you are indeed!

Let us all hope and pray for good health for each one of us, for each day to be better than the day that preceeded it, and for 2007 to be a bright and happy year.

Cheers, everyone. L'chaim!

Thursday, December 28, 2006


I like to do the limbo.

I don't like to be in limbo.

We are in limbo with/about my dear father.

Here is my father's head-related medical history. You will then understand what kind of head traumas he's had, and the long-lasting effects, and thus the seizures.

November 1981 -- brain tumor; benign. We discovered it as a result of a grand-mal seizure he had at night in bed. He went to bed with a severe headache that night. He had surgery to remove the tumor, was on anti-seizure medication for over a year, couldn't drive, but thank G-d made wonderful progress and a complete recovery.

January 2000 -- mild stroke; slight confusion and garbled speech.

April 2003 -- fell on my icy front steps; hit his head; suffered grand mal seizures; in intensive care during SARS crisis in Toronto; horrible time. Back on anti-seizure medication.

March 2006 -- suffered several grand mal seizures; rushed via ambulance to hospital emergency dept.; medical personnel thought he'd had a massive stroke; in hospital for 2 1/2 weeks; lots of confusion, some memory loss, weakness, but came back to us...walking out of the hospital, albeit now with a cane to help his balance.

December 2006 -- chest pains and general weakness; taken to emergency; chest fine; begins to have several seizures -- grand-mal and continual petit-mal seizures. HORRIBLE confusion, great weakness, sleeping constantly; severe memory loss. And in among all that, there is still the dear, sweet and gentle man who's concerned and worried about all those around him. With his many lucid comments shine his true personality, his base qualities!

Why is he still having seizures if medication is supposedly controlling them? Till they find the right dose, I suppose. Funnily enough, this is the same medication he first used 25 years ago after his brain tumor and the surgery to remove it.

But it is also anti-seizure medication, and at high doses, that lends itself to severe memory loss.

My father always says that he was reborn 25 years ago. He remembers the date of his surgery and thanks G-d every day and especially every anniversary of that do we.

Last night I was with him until just before midnight; in between his sleeping and the few petit mal seizures I witnessed, he spoke both with lucidity and also with confusion. In one of his lucid conversations, he told me how important it is to be a good person, but how it sometimes backfires on you. He told a story, reverting back to his mother tongue, Yiddish, of how in the war, when he was in Russia, he was trying to come to the protection of someone and the person who'd been attacking that someone attacked my father, beating him over the head with a stick...that led to severe injury, probably a concussion and the need for stitches.

I said, "Dad, that beating might've been the start of all your head troubles."

Twenty five years ago the doctors indeed said that a head injury received earlier in his life might've led to the growth of the tumor.

In any case, over all these years, there has been a buildup of fluid around the brain. It is this fluid that presses against certain nerves, and thus causes seizures. But with his cocktail of numerous medications he must take for his several ailments, one never knows how other drugs impact everything, too.

He went in to Emergency a week ago today, not feeling good, but knowing everything, being able to do just about everything, and being very much his own person. A week later, he is a synthesis of fragmented memories, little physical mobility and great confusion.

Will keep you posted....

If you can, please daven for Yaakov Arieh ben Chaya Malka.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

B'sha'ah Tovah

Please visit my friend at She has some wonderful news to share with all of you; I already knew for several weeks and am more than thrilled for her and her husband.

I wish them well, and G-d willing may they give birth to a healthy and happy child b'shaah tovah/at the right time.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Freak Me Out!

Long story short.

My father isn't well. He was taken into the hospital on Thursday afternoon with chest pains and weakness. He remained in the emergency wing all day and night and on Friday, after he was finally seen by a doctor, it was decided that they wanted to keep him in for observation...although it was determined his heart was fine.

When I spoke to my parents just before I lit Chanukah and Shabbos candles, they were still waiting for a room to be made available for my father and were still in some cubicle in Emergency.

It was going to be very difficult for me to get through Shabbos and not know one way or the other what was happening, but I was thankful on Friday night, after coming home from being invited for dinner, that there was no red light flashing on my phone indicating a call.

But last night, I had a bad dream and woke up with a start. After lying quietly, reassessing where I was, I looked closely at the time on my watch: it was approximately 2:12. I'd had a dream in which my father had two consecutive grand-mal seizures. I lay there, feeling disturbed, and wondering why I was having such a dream, when he'd gone in to the hospital this time because of his heart.

Yes, it was tough to get through Shabbos not knowing anything, and when I didn't reach anyone at my parents' home after Shabbos, I called my brother's house. My sister-in-law told me that my father had had a bad night, and had had FOUR seizures in the middle of the night! My brother was at the hospital with my mother.

Long story short: when I went to the hospital tonight to see my father, I went to the nursing station to ask if they had a record of when my father had seized at night. One seizure was recorded at being at TWO A.M.!!

I was rather freaked out. Yes, I've had some "in-tune" episodes with my mother primarily or my husband or some friends, but I think this topped them off.

I hope to G-d that I have a dreamless night. I hope to G-d that my father has a calm night..and a refuah shlema.

If you'd like to make a misheberach, his name is: Yaakov Arieh ben Chaya Malka.

Thank you.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Thanks, Ezzie, for steering me straight. For being so numbers-aware.

People, I was married on Sunday, December 19, 1993, not 2003 as I wrote in the last post.

Lucky 13

Sunday, December 19, 2003.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006.


Monday, December 18, 2006

One for the Blonde Jokes

It's okay to laugh at oneself. Better to laugh at oneself first, have people join in that laughter, than someone start by pointing out something about you, then starting the round of laughter. Self-directed laughter is somehow easier on the ego.

Okay, so I know I can laugh at myself in now.

And do realize that I am a natural brunette, have never been a blonde, nor do I aspire to be. But for a couple of minutes last week I became one of "them."

Now, I haven't talked about it on the blog, aside from a quick reference on the "what is sexy?" post, but I am working toward getting skinny, or at least skinnier than I am. After three weeks of a very stringent diet, under a doctor's care, I've lost between 18-20 pounds. You don't really see the change on my body yet, as you do on my face...but it's there. And as long as I can discipline myself (it's DAMN hard) to stick to the diet and not cheat, I'll be on it a few weeks longer, to get to my ideal weight.

That's the backstory. Here's where my temporary blondness came into play.

Last week, I was filling in a passport application because my Canadian passport had expired. I was busy printing away my address and then my vitals, and came to a sudden S T O P when I reached: WEIGHT. I did not know what to write. Do I write my current weight? Do I write what my goal weight is? If I write my current weight, the next time I travel, will they give me a hard time at customs because I am much skinnier than what I wrote? Will the customs agents be confused, looking at the picture of me taken around now, then looking at my face as I stand there before them?

I stopped filling in the application, ready to confer with my husband that evening, as to what to write for weight. Based on his reaction, I knew that my blond roots were showing!

Okay, everyone, on the count of three -- ONE...TWO...THREE -- now laugh with me. WITH ME, I said. Not AT ME!

Six and a Half Years Wise

"Don't forget to brush your hair," I called out to my 6 1/2-year-old this morning, as he was in the other room getting ready for school.

"I don't need to," he declared with a hint of annoyance in his voice. "It isn't picture day*!"

* Two weeks ago, I prepared him for picture day at school, putting mousse in his hair and combing and brushing his hair in place.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Just Because Bubbie & Zadie Asked So Nicely...

dear bubbie/zadie,

i wrote all about you in my article, but neglected to tell you of my own fond family memories of chanukah in my family's home.

being that i'm the only piano player amidst the family, every year, during the singing of "Maoz Tsur," i was called upon to sit at the piano and accompany the singing voices.

although we had several menorahs, my favorite one is my parents' that was in my mother's home while growing up. she also has a card with the words to "Maoz Tsur" printed on it, and it, too, comes from her home. it traveled across the ocean, along with the menorah, to a new country, a new language, a new life...but with old and familiar traditions in tow.

after lighting the menorah, singing the blessings and songs, we'd always go and eat latkes that my father would prepare on the electric fryer, when i was a kid. my brothers and i would eat, then play a bit of dreidel and eat the chocolate coins we got. we'd usually get a silver dollar too, on the first night of Chanukah. gifts and large gatherings were not our style; family and a warm, intimate setting superceded all that.

every year, we go to my parents at least on one of the nights to light together and enjoy each other's company. we take pictures of my parents with my children...and we hope to be able to do that for many years to come! and yes, i'm still asked to sit down and play "Maoz Tsur" on the piano.


Toronto, Canada

The Birthday Boy

My brother is turning 49 today. Happy birthday, big brother. Wishing you a healthy and happy birthday and year.

Hope everything is coming up roses for you and your gal...!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Bubbie & Zadie Want YOU!!!

“A good heart is like a pretty candle burning in the menorah. It can light up the world.”

Daniel Halevi Bloom believes that, and so does Zadie in Bloom’s recently published children’s book, Bubbie and Zadie Come to My House: A Story for Hanukkah.

The story tells of Bubbie and Zadie – Yiddish for Grandmother and Grandfather – a diminutive couple who, bundled up against the December cold, magically and mysteriously fly through the sky on the first night of Hanukkah. They visit children everywhere, bringing with them the spirit of the holiday through songs and stories. With laughter and warmth, they enjoy the children they visit, sharing the explanation of Hanukkah and partaking in the ages-old tradition of playing dreidel.

Like the weekly visit from the Sabbath Queen, and the annual Passover visit from the prophet Elijah, Bubbie and Zadie are happily welcomed into each Jewish home.

And it is only children who can see them. “You can see them if you use the eye inside your mind -- your imagination,” the little boy narrator tells us.

Before Bubbie and Zadie take their leave, the children in the story are invited to write letters and stay in touch with them.

Bubbie and Zadie Come to My House is the first children’s book to be published by Square One Publishers in New York. It is a newly revised and illustrated edition of the story, first published in 1985 by Donald I. Fine, Inc. Although the book’s been out of print for over ten years, and the accompanying audiotape hard to find, its publicity has continued to keep the story’s message very popular, and author Dan Bloom very busy. From his home in Taiwan, where he works as a journalist, Dan has been personally responding to the thousands of letters he’s received from all over the world – letters addressed to “Bubbie and Zadie.”

He started the letter-writing campaign in 1981; the book followed. Dan has received letters and e-mails from both children and adults, letters that talk about the excitement of the holiday, memories of family traditions, stories of the letter writer’s own grandparents. Adults have told Dan how meaningful the book is for them, how they’ve pulled it out each year to read aloud with family members. And Dan has answered each and every one of these letters.

It is the joy he gets from reading the letters, as well as “memories of my own wonderful Hanukkahs as a kid, and my sweet and dear grandparents” that has fed his enthusiasm all these years. And his determination to get the book republished came from the realization that he was getting older and that “if I didn’t do something soon, I would die one day and the book would disappear.”

Enter Rudy Shur, publisher and president of Square One Publishers. Last December, he recalls from his New York office, he read a New York Times article about this very special children’s book that had been long out of print, yet continued to generate hundreds and hundreds of letters from around the world written to “Bubbie and Zadie.”

The article, as well as the gentle persistence of Dan Bloom, drew Rudy’s attention to the book and the possibility of its reissue. Rudy explains, “For me, it was also the fact that I had never known my own grandparents, who had been killed in a concentration camp in Poland during World War II…. Around the time that I first spoke with Dan Bloom…I found myself a zadie for the third time… I felt it was time for me to open myself up to this story – as a publisher and as a person.”

Dan Bloom and Rudy Shur had found each other from across the miles. Then Rudy Shur found the very talented Israel-based artist Alex Meilichson, whose painting style he felt was perfect for the story. “There was no question that I had found the right artist for our version of the book. The question was: Could Alex produce twenty-eight paintings in eight weeks? The answer was: Absolutely.”

Meilichson, whose artistic style is influenced by, and reminiscent of, Marc Chagall and Manne Katz, uses brilliant, bright colours throughout this book. Bubbie and Zadie not only fly through the sky, they fly off the pages.

Bloom, who never met nor corresponded with the artist throughout the publishing process, is delighted with the artistry, layout and design of the new book.

In spite of the geographical distance between the author in Taiwan, the artist in Israel and the publisher in New York, “everything seemed to come together fairly well,” recalls Shur. “Communication began with e-mails from the author in Taiwan and continued that way throughout the process.” The result: an international labour of love. He explains, “I produced this book together with Dan and Alex out of love, above anything else…for grandparents to read to their grandchildren or for parents to read to their children, who may never have had their own special opportunity to know their own grandparents.”

Designed as a gift to be given by grandparents to grandchildren the first night of Hanukkah, this edition of the book invites both children and adult readers to write letters to the “Bubbie and Zadie” characters from the story. Each letter will be answered by return mail, free of charge, by the author, and also by some real-life bubbies and zadies from Bubbie and Zadies L’Chaim House, a senior citizen’s home nestled in the hills of San Rafael, California. Manny Kopstein, director of the home, is encouraged by the idea of authentic bubbies and zadies signing the letters as “Bubbie and Zadie.”

In many ways, the letter-writing aspect is what excited Bloom the most about having the book made available again. “The magic and loving feelings of the Hanukkah holidays, as passed down to me and those of my generation by our own bubbies and zadies when we were children, is one of the greatest gifts that can ever be given. And it’s wonderful that these elderly people now want to share the tradition of the holidays with the children by helping to write letters to them.”

Bloom hopes to be able to respond to “Bubbie and Zadie” letters for many years to come. He’d also like to see the book translated into Hebrew for the Israeli market. After that, the sky’s the limit. “And a movie for Hollywood... A live-action movie or a cartoon. It might take ten years, but that’s my dream.”

This writer has no doubt that with his exuberance, and with the magical help of “Bubbie and Zadie,” Daniel Halevi Bloom might just make that dream come true!

Children and adults can send their letters to:

Bubbie and Zadie’s Mailbox
c/o Square One Publishers
115 Herricks Road
Garden City Park, NY, 11040

Bubbie and Zadie also welcome e-mail letters at

Just to let you know, this is the piece that I submitted to the paper. The editor left it almost intact, and thankfully did not take away those personal details that I felt important to the story and to my style of writing.

Daniel Bloom was very pleased with the piece and the way it captured what he has been trying to do for all these years...on behalf of Bubbie & Zadie.

So why don't you sit down, perhaps as a family, as a single, or just as somone's child, and write to them, letting them know how you spend your Chanukah these days and how you recall spending them when you were young. Both children and adults are invited to write to Bubbie & Zadie, and will receive a response.

The Story Behind the Story

A couple of posts ago, I wrote about fear and how it can paralyze you, but that fear is often self-induced, as well. I'd delayed writing an article for a newspaper, and when I finally started to write, it just flowed and I was so pleased with the end result.

I started writing that article last Wednesday, late morning. I submitted it on Thursday, early afternoon. I was pretty sure I'd missed the Chanukah deadline that my article was most suited for, but the editor said he could only try to get it into the paper for it.

The weekly paper is already released on Tuesday; we receive our copy in the mail on Wednesday or Thursday. I'd looked at the paper's online site today and didn't find the article -- granted, at the time I forgot that the Internet edition only posts a random sampling of articles, not all of them. So I assumed my piece hadn't gotten in.

Our copy of the paper came today and about an hour ago I was just flipping through the pages, neared the end of the editorial pages, just prior to the advertising pages, and I silently said, "Awww, well I guess it couldn't get in this week. Hopefully next week it'll get in, while it's still Chanukah."

A minute later, that "Awww" became a "WOW!" There, on the page just before the advertising, was my name and my article...a full-page beautiful spread. I was thrilled! My eyes quickly scanned the piece to see just how much or how little had been edited is often the case for a writer (or, in my case, "someone who writes!"). There were only a couple words changed here or there and maybe a line or two removed. That editor had been very good to me and my piece.

Now, before I share the piece with you, I'll tell you a bit about how it came to be.

Two years ago, December 10, 2004, Robert Avrech of Seraphic Secret, had written a post about a Jewish journalist in Taiwan, Daniel Halevi Bloom. I was fascinated, and dropped Danny an email. And since then, from time to time, we send emails of greeting or articles and links that we think the other will enjoy. In an article about Jewish bloggers, Danny interviewed and wrote about me, just when I was in my early days of blogging. (December 15 will mark two years that I've been blogging!) He told me about a book he'd written and published, which was out of print, but which he'd hoped to find a new home for, and knowing that I worked in publishing, he'd asked for advice.

Well, Daniel Halevi Bloom, managed to find a new home for his book on his own. I told Danny that once the book would be released, maybe I could find a Toronto-based source to write for, so that I could give the book some Canadian exposure. The book was released, and my offer still stood. It was cleared with the publisher, it was cleared with the editor; it just took a bit longer to be cleared with my confidence!

So sit back now and welcome Bubbie & Zadie into your lives....

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Out of the Blue

As I've written in earlier posts, I've not been working full-time since early April of this year. I was let go from my copy editing job, where I'd spent close to nineteen years of my life.

Yes, I'm looking for full or part-time work, and once in a while I have a freelance project to work on, but otherwise I'm considered a stay-at-home mom, something new to me...aside from three six-month maternity leaves I'd taken for my three children.

So last night, my daughter -- of the "artiste" fame -- asks me out of the blue: "Eeema, do you like being a 'house woman'?"

Was that just a random error, or is she a bit of a politically correct feminist...not addressing me as a "housewife"?

BANANAS: aka A Mass Appeal Fruit

I received this email this morning. Thought I'd share it for the interest factor.

After Reading this, you will NEVER look at a banana in the same way again!

Bananas contain three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose
combined with fiber, a banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy. Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes. But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.

Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel better.

PMS: Forget the pills -- eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

Anemia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.

Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it the perfect way to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's
ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex England) school were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

Constipation: High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness

Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and chips. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The
report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.

Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the
lining of the stomach.

Temperature control: Many other cultures see bananas as a "cooling" fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand, for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.

Smoking: Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6 and B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of
a high-potassium banana snack.

Strokes: According to research in "The New England Journal of Medicine," eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death from strokes by as much as 40%!

So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrates, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and
is one of the best value foods around. So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, "A banana a day keeps the doctor away!"

If your roses are covered with Aphids, drape banana skins over the branches, I'ts amazing, but in a day or less, they are GONE! I've tried it, and I couldn't believe it, no more aphids, as long as I save my banana skins for the rose bushes!

Impressed? Well then, PASS IT ON TO YOUR FRIENDS!

Unzip a BANANA today!

Monday, December 11, 2006

An Artiste in the Making

That very funky behatted girl in the middle is my daughter. She recently won a city wide school contest sponsored by the Toronto Jewish Book Fair to design a book cover. Her age group, grades 4 & 5 had to design a book cover about a Biblical theme; she chose to do Moses in the basket amidst the bullrushes. From eighteen Jewish day schools and supplementary schools, from 500 submissions in total, she won in her category.

If you click on the photo, you can see it enlarged. Maybe you can make out her picture on the yellow board behind her; hers is the top left one. The voting committee loved her composition and use of color.

At one of the book fair events, she and the other two winners in the two other categories were called onto the stage and presented with lovely Jewish gift books and certificates. All art was displayed at the Leah Posluns Theatre throughout the 10-day-long fair.

My daughter, thank G-d, is rather creative. It shows in how she puts "her look" together; it shows in her artwork; it shows in her story and journal writing. Like her mother, she tends to be very detail-oriented, but in her case, it's turning out to be a good thing.

She sometimes claims she wants to be a fashion designer. Okay... but maybe she can become a dentist first!??? (to be read with a thick Yiddish accent and intonation!)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Fear Rears Its Ugly Head

Fear can be gripping.

It can make you sweat profusely; it can make you cry; it can make you tap-tap-tap your foot; it can make you chew your nails; it can make you shout and lash out at others; it can make you quiver and quaver.

Fear can make you S T O P in your tracks and simply paralyze you -- in your physical, emotional and mental abilities. Growth is thwarted, as a result.

I've suffered from many fears in my life, some more legitimate than others, some self-induced, some I've overcome, and some I'm still stuck in the mire with.

Whenever I overcome a particular fear, I'm thrilled. It's like "a small step for mankind."

This past week, I set aside a fear of mine and took some action. it wasn't immediate action; that would have meant that I took some action two to three weeks ago at least. But I did what I'd intended to do, albeit several weeks down the pipe.

Some time ago, I opened my mouth with a suggestion to somebody who'd re-released a delightful Chanukah book (food for another post) that perhaps I could write a piece for a local, Canadian Jewish newspaper, so that the writer would get some Canadian exposure. He liked the idea, his publisher liked the idea, and I posed an article to a particular editor of the paper in such a way that he'd like the idea. I said this article should be written, whether by his own staff member or by me. Of course I hoped he'd want me to write it. And even as I said, "Okay, I'll do it," I was afraid. Had I just bitten off more than I could chew? I couldn't help but wonder.

I've always told and continue to tell people "I write. I'm not a writer." Now some of you who know me might claim a difference of opinion, but who knows me better than myself?

And because I did think I had bitten off more than I could chew, I put aside this assignment, not ready to tackle it. I hadn't been given a definite deadline for the piece, but it would make sense that if it was about a Chanukah book, then it should be submitted in time for a Chanukah issue. I was even ready to throw in the towel, contact the editor early this week and give some lame excuse why I couldn't write the piece, but that I have some PR material and the book and that I could pass it on to a newspaper staff person to write the piece. And then I thought, I've given in to the fear already for a few weeks,and enough was enough, and just do what I'd planned to do.

And so I, who doesn't know much about journalism, contacted the publisher, the marketing person, the author, sent out some questions, and got some wonderful answers in return to help me write the piece.

I am a bit old-fashioned, and like to write my prose and poetry and ARTICLES in long-hand and later do them on the computer, so with lined paper in hand, and sharpened pencils (not pens!), I sat and began writing on late Wednesday morning, I believe, and finished and sent off my article by early Thursday afternoon.

I could've kicked myself; I'd probably missed the actual pre-Chanukah edition deadline, would be lucky if the piece would appear in the issue during the latter days of Chanukah. But moreso, I was somewhat unhappy because fear (of what to write, how to write it, how to start writing, how to "interview" my subjects long-distance) had struck, sucked me down for a while, and when it finally let loose of me, I was on a roll with the writing. It came relatively easy, felt as if I was just putting together pieces of a jigsaw puzzle to make the pieces fit evenly and correctly, and I actually enjoyed writing.

One thing I've noticed about my "journalistic" writing, in the few articles I've published over the years, is that I can never write boldly and coldly; everything I write has to have a human touch, a sense of warmth, a security blanket wrapped around it, which, at the same time is being wrapped around me. I hope the readers sense this style as I put it on the page. Perhaps it's my method of overcoming and tamping down the fear of writing for the public, of writing in styles that have not been learned, just exercised. Poetry is my thing; humorous essays are my thing; personal heartfelt essays are my thing; general interest articles are not.

Perhaps my fear makes me a better writer, makes me seek out how to leave a lasting impression on a reader. Perhaps my fear heightens my other senses, giving me a strong sense of clarity of what needs to be done.

In any case, my fear might've held me hostage for a few weeks, but on Thursday, when I emailed the editor an article that made me feel good, that fear was gone and contentment prevailed....

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Kiss & Tell

The other day, my youngest son made reference to "a sexy lady."

This morning, he prepared for "picture day" at school and was in my bathroom, where I was applying mousse to his hair. He noticed my makeup on the counter and then asked me, "Are you wearing lipstick?"


"Which one?"

So I pointed out the one I'd put on.

"Do you have other colors?"


"Where? Can I see them?"

And I showed him a few tubes of varying shades of copper, pink and red.

He pointed out one to me. "I think if you wear this one, you'll be a sexy lady."

(This son's name is Noam. After I went back to work after maternity leave, I was telling someone what his name was, and her immediate response was "to know'm is to love'm." It's "sexy lady" comments like these that help remind me of that!")


Wednesday Night Update:

Okay, so I took CM's question and posed it to Noam. He explained that to be sexy, a woman has to be skinny, has to dress nice and has to wear red lipstick. Wow, this 6-year-old kid thinks like an adult, doesn't he?

See, I've been watching what I eat lately, so he must hear the word "skinny" said pretty often 'round these parts. So when I first asked him what "sexy lady" meant to him, his initial reaction was "You can't be fat. When are you going to be skinny? A sexy lady is skinny."

Just now, I repeated the story to my husband as he kissed Noam good night. He asked Noam, "Am I sexy?"

"Yes," he responded without any hesitation. Then my husband asked him, "Is Eema sexy?"