Friday, March 11, 2005

The Youngest "Bubby" I Know

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Mentioning grandmothers in my last post reminded me of something I learned about last weekend when I went to see the Kosher Komic, Ayelet, perform.

The event was held in a social hall at our shul, also referred to in an earlier post as "a little city." It was a sea of women from all parts of the city, from many walks of life. I got to see relatives I don't normally see, women I haven't seen in years. Among these women was someone I'd known many moons ago through a mutual friend. We'd gone to the same day school, but she was a year ahead of me, and in my brother's year. Yes, I'd run into her several years ago with a brief "Hi, how are you...? Where do you live? Who did you marry?" You know the routine questions asked when you reunite with a face from the past.

So this time when we spoke I got a little more information, an update from her. "I had a grandchild two weeks ago!" I threw a mazel tov her way, made some more small talk and went back to my table, thinking about her grandmotherhood status. After the show, we exchanged goodbyes and I wished her lots of naches on her grandchild. I got another tidbit of info. "Oh, it's not my first grandchild. I have another, a two-year-old."

I hope I was not standing there, my mouth agape like a fish out of water! She is not yet 45 years old and has a second grandchild; her first grandchild was born when she was my age!? I couldn't get around that fact.

Yes, I know the trends among the Orthodox: marry young, have children young, and the pattern repeats itself with your children. But it wasn't the case for me: I didn't have children young, I HAVE YOUNG CHILDREN!

I think it's a beautiful thing that this woman has not one, but two grandchildren. I certainly missed the early boat on the grandmotherly status she has, but I'm glad I caught the boat -- to marriage and parenthood -- before it set sail.

The Grays Are Coming... The Grays Are Coming!

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Hey, A Simple Jew, this gray's for you!

Each time I look in the mirror, I'm starting to see less brown, less auburn and more gray. A sign of aging? A sign of wisdom? Or just a sign that I'd better start to seriously consider coloring my hair? Aren't I a good mom that I didn't even suggest that maybe it's my kids giving me that new shade? No, wouldn't even consider that option...or would I?

As it is, I'm probably ten years older than my children's classmates' parents, and if I'm not older, then they also have children in their early and mid-teens, not just kids younger than ten. I don't want to show up at a school function one day in the not-too-distant future and be asked, "Who is your grandchild?"

So, gray friends atop my head, stay alert, be on the lookout. 'Cause one of these days, you might just not recognize yourselves in the mirror!

Jetsgo is a No-Go

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Wow, I woke up a few minutes ago to the radio news that Jetsgo, a discounted airline, based in Quebec but flying out of Toronto to points beyond, has gone belly-up. Today for some is also the unofficial start of Spring Break. So can you imagine the havoc that is at the Toronto airport today for people who booked flights with this airline. I don't even want to imagine the chaos that awaits them when they get to the terminal for their anticipated flights.

Apparently the signs for the airline are already gone, there are no representatives manning the ticket counters, and I just couldn't even link to their website when I tried. Either they've dropped it off the Internet or traffic to get to it has clogged the system.

There are several ironies to this entire thing.

One of them is their branding line: "Pay a little, fly a lot." Well, I guess that even paying a little wasn't enough!

Another irony is that they have continual deals to try and grab you. Currently it was a 1 cent sale -- you could fly westbound and pay only a penny for leaving the a chunk in airport and airline taxes, which no longer made it a penny. A couple weeks ago, it was a 1 dollar sale -- same premise, only a dollar to leave the city for points westbound.

Another irony is that yesterday, specifically when I heard a Jetsgo radio spot ad, I was kicking myself in the tuches for not planning a future trip with the airline; today I was thanking G-d that I hadn't.

For several weeks, I've been online seeking out the best flight deals to travel to California in the early summer -- it is an expensive flight any way you plan it, any airline you go with. A few weeks ago, I happened on this Jetsgo site, and saw they were offering a $1 promotion that was expiring at 11:59 p.m. that night -- I was on the computer after 11:00 that night. I found a "great" deal that would've run me just under $300 + cancellation insurance, but I couldn't commit to it because the trip for me was too far off. I thought maybe I'd pay and then find a better deal elsewhere. But since that time, I've checked elsewhere, and everything is more expensive. Even Jetsgo flights were over $100 more after that specific date. So daily I would see flight prices and then reprimand myself as to why I hadn't booked with that super special.

So you can understand why today I was thanking G-d that I hadn't!

"...I'm leavin' on a jet plane..." Hey, Peter, Paul and Mary, Jetsgo is no longer the way to go.


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Here, people, is the recreated post from yesterday afternoon, the one that vanished into the blogosphere, headed for parts unknown. Perhaps it is not as eloquent as the original was -- I warned in an earlier post that it was a cheap knockoff!

I have three lovely children, thank G-d, but I do not like to talk about them too much. No, it doesn't have to do with "ayin harah" but it has everything to do with not liking to brag...about anything! Once in a while, I offer up some story of an antic or some witticism spoken by one of the three -- people, as evidenced, always appreciate a good story about a child -- but generally I don't. Yes, I'll praise them to their faces, or even to their teachers and grandparents, but I'm not interested to sit and compare notes with friends/strangers/sisters-in-law about the trio's accomplishments.

But I will dedicate this post to my seven-year-old daughter. For the most part she is a lovely child, a delicate and fine child. But sometimes we've considered changing her name to REVA because of her desire to be argumentative and feisty. I didn't know that PMS can kick in at his young age! Poopoopoo, she is a pretty little girl with crystalline-blue eyes that draw people in (when she was an infant and just a few weeks old, a male friend warned us to sign her up for a life in a convent: that's how attractive her eyes are), and with her smattering of faint freckles across the bridge of her nose, there's a wholesome, natural look to her. Perhaps there's a Ralph Lauren print ad in her future...? Any agents out there?

This child has more fine art talent in her little finger than I have in my whole hand. What a pleasure it's been to watch her artistic renderings develop over time. I used to watch her progress in kindergarten from the beginning of one week until the end of the week. At the week's onset, she'd be drawing stick figures. By week's end, those stick figures were lucky to have detailed additions to their "wardrobes" and "facial features"!

It's the details that are astounding...and upon first examining her "portfolio"--read: countless of scrap papers lying all over the house -- one does not see the details. But look a little longer, and you're amazed at what's she's depicted.

A couple of examples:

Two weeks ago, she was at the kitchen table drawing a ballerina, and I was at the sink washing dishes. She began to talk to me about ballet slippers and I listened with half an ear as she continued to talk and draw. The next morning, when I looked down at the picture that had been abandoned on the table, I indeed could see a beautiful ballerina there, and my daughter had also drawn ballet slippers...but not just any kind of plain, flat ballet slippers. She drew Giselle-like ballet slippers with ribbons running up and around the legs.

A few weeks before that, I told her to make a picture for someone at work, a designer from the art department. All I told her was that he has two teenage daughters. She chose to do a pen-and-ink "tchikchuk" (Hebrew for "extremely quickly"), and I thanked her for it and told her I'd give it to the designer the next day. I had it on the seat next to me in the car and when I finally parked and moved to get out of the car, I looked closely at the drawing. She'd drawn a baseball cap on the designer, a bikini on his wife, one-piece bathing suits on his daughters and in between each of them was a surfboard, stuck in sand, with the ocean waves behind them. All this in pen-and-ink.

Granted, her drawing and love for drawing works for and against her. While she should be doing homework, she's doing portraits of the family and displays them in her gallery: on the refrigerator door. When I tell her to stop drawing and start doing schoolwork, she pacifies me, "Mummy, it's a picture of you!"

And when she hands me these pictures, I'm most flattered. I've got on very funky clothing (I don't even own any funky clothes). I have great hairstyles, and pouty lips, which are always smiling. I have long and beautiful Maybelline-like eyelashes. But best of all, I'm skinny!!!

I do hope that this daughter of mine will continue to grow in and develop her artistic abilities for many years to come. After all, I could stand to have countless more of those "I'm skinny" portraits hanging in my gallery!

Anyone Need an Editor?

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A short while ago, I helped play sounding board for my hubby who will be giving a d'var Torah at seudat shlishit at one of the shuls we attend. It's a smallish shul with lovely members who are more of a family than a congregation. The rabbi and rebbetzin are outstanding people who welcome many different people into their minyan, while still guiding the congregation in an Orthodox fashion. This shul is a far cry from the other shul -- the small city -- that we attend. Given my choice, I prefer the small shul, the intimacy of it all, the "no-airs-about-them" members.

Anyhow, so hubby will be doing a dvar Torah and tonight I got a sneak preview earful of it. It's goo..o...o..o..d. But then, together we worked on making it "gooder." And my editing tools came out, my resourceful use of Internet, my pointing out the obvious and eliminating the unnecessary.

I felt I was back in university, taking my Jewish Studies courses, writing an essay for my Rambam or Modern Jewish Civilization course. And it had been a long, long while since I was in Jewish day school/Jewish high school and wrote any kind of Torah-related paper, so helping my husband with this was a great pleasure for me -- enlightening and fulfilling.

I told my husband that I can expand my freelance editorial clientele: I can continue to edit romance novels and business-related materials, and at the same time edit rabbis' sermons and laymen's dvar Torahs. What a zechut (merit) that would be, huh?

Editing and Rewriting Out of Necessity

Blogroll Me!, I just want to say how upset I was with you today-- actually yesterday (it's already after midnight). I took about 25 minutes out of my lunch hour at work to write a beautiful blog about my daughter, and when I went to post it, the system behaved uncooperatively, and I lost my labor of love. I tried to retrace my steps, but to no avail. You were acting wacky,, and you didn't even give me warning signals. You sure weren't yourself yesterday, or even last evening, when I tried to comment on other peoples' posts. Suddenly you were telling me there were no such blogs?

Sure, I will recreate the piece in my next post, but oh, how uptight and annoyed I was. Don't you realize that my memory fails me? That it falters when it tries to recall the literary spool of thread I'd unraveled on your site? What I'd offered you was an original; now you'll have to settle for a cheap knock-off.

Do look after yourself, -- there are a lot of people out there who rely on you, who need you in their lives. Don't fail us -- or me -- again...!