Sunday, December 31, 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.
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 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 date...as 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
Please visit my friend at http://tenlikoach.blogspot.com/. 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
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.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Monday, December 18, 2006
Okay, so I know I can laugh at myself sometimes...as 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!
"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
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.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
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 email@example.com.
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.
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 out...as 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
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"?
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
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 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. Okay...so 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
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?"
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?"
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Our dog is special to us, but he's not unlike any other dog. So can someone please explain this canine habit/ritual.
What is with this circling about five times in the same place and then settling down? I was lying on our bed the other day, and Max jumped up to be with me. He circled a spot a good half dozen times, then lowered his body to it. Not a minute later, he jumps up, moves to another spot on the bed, does the same, and settles. Again, not a minute passes before he's doing it a third time. Finally, ah...FINALLY...he finds an agreeable place, lowers himself and settles in for the long run -- or at least till I get off the bed: whichever comes first.
And as long as we're on the topic of canine questions...
What's with the habit, but in Max's case, not a regular one, of doing his business somewhere outside, then hoofing/kicking his legs backwards? As I said, Max doesn't do it all the time, in fact, rather infrequently. Tyson, the pug, did it just about every time he did his business.
If I keep noticing any other "MAXims" I'll post about them...
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
It's very clear that they're DEFINITELY in need of a copy editor/proofreader!
• Excellent knowledge of grammar, spelling and punctuation is required as this position is the quality control point between creative/production and printing.
• Must be extremely detail oriented and able to work within set, tight deadlines at maximum efficiency. Must thrive in a fast-paced work environment. Must be organized and able to arrange a daily work schedule based on priorities. Must be flexible in regards to scheduling and be able to shift priorities quickly. Must meet deadlines.
• Must be able to work independently as well as with a team and be a self-starter with initiative. Must be a team player, excellent communicator, amiable, flexible and someone who enjoys working in a fun environment (sense of humor encouraged). This position will occasionally require evening and/or weekend work.
• Extensive knowledge of Chicago Manual of Style preferred. Must be sensitive to advertising copy and use this "filter" when reviewing work.
• Must be able to follow the established process for work flow.
• Ideal candidate must have a college degree in English, journalism, or related field or equivalent work experience.
• 35 years' experience as a proofreader/copyeditor; additional related experience helpful.
• Agency experience preferred but not mandatory.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
My three children and I have somewhat of a routine whenever we say goodbye or goodnight to each one. I usually say "Good night, I love you," or "Goodbye, I love you." My children top that with "I love you more." Then I say, "I love you the most." To which I hear something like, "I love you the best...." I respond, then hear something from the other like "I love you the tallest.... I love you in the morning.... I love you at night... I love you in China.... I love you in India.... I love you every day...." This goes on and on till one of us stops the volleying of "I love you's."
My youngest son, over the year, has expanded his repertoire: "I'll love you when you're dead... I'll love you when you're with Hashem... I've love you when you're a cloud in the sky..."
Today, however I got the sweetest final retort, before he walked out the door to go to school: "I love you wherever I go, [even] when you're not there!"
Canada is a step ahead of you, and so Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated in October. Interestingly enough, though, I really don't know any Jewish Canadians who celebrate the day. Why is it a bigger deal in the U.S., for Jews and others?
In any case, I'm sure you'll fill up with chicken and turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie and pecan pie and roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes and whatever else makes us your family's or friends' traditional Thanksgiving meal.
So, as long as we're talking about food...
It occurred to me the other day that I display certain habits when I eat certain foods. Not necessarily GOOD habits, mind you, but more like quirky ways to eat these foods. Let me illustrate.
I was eating shelled sunflower seeds -- not right out of the pack, but I put them in a small bowl, and proceeded to eat them like an anteater attacking his enemies, seeing how many I could stick on my tongue at once, my face in the bowl.
Of course, it was rather late at night, and nobody in the family was around to watch me. I don't imagine I would eat sunflower seeds this way with an audience.
I began to think of other foods I eat in particular -- read: PECULIAR -- ways.
Pizza. I love pizza, and the cheesier it is, the better! I will bite into a piece, then start wrapping the cheese 'round and 'round my finger. Again, not usually done in public.
Back when I was in junior high, I sometimes would go to a bakery near my school after school, or even during lunch hour. I'd buy an eclair. In those days, the eclairs were filled with whipped cream, not custard or just plain vanilla-type pudding. I would not, could not share my eclair. It was a special treat just for me, and when I'd get home I'd rip open the paper bag it was in, and use it like an underplate. I'd take one bite out of the yummy pastry, and then I'd start dipping my finger into the whipped cream -- over and over again -- until the cream was gone and just the flaky-dough dessert remained. Again, nobody could watch me eat like this. I was aware of how King Henry VIIIth I must've looked, being gluttonous and eating my pastry in an uncouth way.
As a kid, I'd often put Cheerios on each finger and eat them that way, one at a time.
And of course, I'd swish Jell-O type desserts in my mouth and then proceed to gargle, which angered my lovely, "yekke" mother.
I'd bite the ends off of licorice sticks and use the licorice as a straw.
And it was always a treat -- still is -- to get a beef bone with marrow in a bowl of soup. The soup would disappear quickly, and I'd gnaw on the bone and noisily suck up as much marrow as I could.
And yes, when I was young...and still very SKINNY...I used to take the ends of a challah loaf and sop up the sauce/gravy from veal roasts and roast beef that my mother would prepare, the sauce dripping onto fingers and chins and kitchen counters. Not a pretty sight!
I do know how to eat nicely, regardless of what you may think, based on the above information. Invite me for a meal and I'll prove it to you. Just don't give me chopsticks; I am still a shlemazel when it comes to using those, and simply can't.
Many of you may be saying "Ewww, what else does Pearl make a spectacle of when she eats?"
And I ask, "What food/drink items do YOU have a weird way of eating? Do you eat that way in public, or only in private?"
Monday, November 20, 2006
The car horn in my Honda Civic sounds like a sick duck. The car horn in our Honda Odyssey minivan doesn't sound much better. In other words, these are not horns to be taken seriously. It's the loud cursing inside the interior of the vehicle that accompanies the beeps and bleeps and honks that I emit that might have more impact...were my windows rolled down!
This morning I did the first shift of getting my kids to school. As I entered the school driveway, a car ahead of me suddenly decided to stop a bit over to the side. Although it was my friend's husband, I gave a honk to indicate my annoyance that he'd suddenly stop and make me have to maneuver around him. I didn't knew if he saw me or not.
But while I was parked in the appropriate drop-off spot, letting my kids out of the van, my friend's husband drove past and gave a double honk. Was he answering my single honk? I first wondered. Then I realized that his must've been a greeting honk, as if he were saying "Hi, Pearl. I want to say good morning to you."
That's when I realized that he must've misinterpreted my annoyance honk for one of greeting, as well.
That's when I realized that I need to personalize my car horn and its honks for different occasions.
When I'm annoyed at another driver, or drivers, my horn should sound like an elephant about to charge through the jungle.
When I want to greet somebody, my horn should sound like Glinda the good witch's titter.
When I want to get someone's attention -- to let them know that they can move into traffic ahead of me, or that the light signal has changed color -- my horn should sound like Slyvester Stallone's raspy "Yo!"
And if I'm just cruising aimlessly, happily along city streets or country roads, the horn honk should sound like a "Yee-haw!"
I do know that you can personalize car horns to play bits of songs -- perhaps when the mood strikes me to hit my horn, one day you'll hear Donna Summer's "Bad Girls" bleeping and people will indeed get out of my way!
Until then, if you hear a duck honk behind you, or beside you, take a good look -- no doubt it'll be me waving hi...or giving you the finger!
Friday, November 17, 2006
The 18th of November
A "mazeldik" date
Belongs to someone special
So don't be late...
In wishing her a happy birthday
It's her 51st, you know,
No wonder Cruisin' Mom
Has that special glow
It's the reflection of all those lit candles
Sitting upon her cake
She's more than half a century old
In life, there are no double-takes!
Let's hope she gets what she wishes for
With every candle that she blows out
Now don't ya'll forget to write her
And give her a birthday shout.
If anyone knows Carrie Fisher
Do share the news with that gal
Maybe she'll also give a shout-out to Randi
And they'll soon become great pals.
So, to our birthday girl, CM
Your friends in blogland say,
"Hope your birthday 's wonderful
In every special way!"
Happy (early) Birthday, Randi.
In case I've never told you in my nearly-two years of blogging, I am a COUPON QUEEN! I'm a notorious collector of cents-off coupons or two-for-one, or whatever else I get.
Does that make me cheap? Not at all.
It makes me practical...to the point that I sometimes say to my husband who goes shopping and ends up buying something that he shouldn't have -- "Thanks for buying that. But YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE! I have a COUPON for it!"
People are amazed at what I save on, how much I save, and sometimes my husband tells people in this way: "This grocery was on at such-and-such a sale price. Pearl had a coupon for such-and-such an amount. At the end, the store had to pay Pearl!"
In any case, I cut all kinds of coupons that I think I might eventually use, and I trek them around either in my purse, or in a shopping bag. But I don't always stand there in the supermarket and look through them. And yes, sometimes the dates expire on them and I haven't made use of the coupons. Oh, well, the intention was there.
Which brings me to good intentions and the subject of this post: an easy mitzvah.
Knowing that I won't always use a particular coupon, but I cut them out all the same, I realize I can share them. Yesterday, I was in the supermarket and there was a frum man in the checkout ahead of me; I saw he had a particular item in his cart, and I knew I had a dollar-off coupon for that item but would probably not use it. So what did I do? I offered and gave it to the man! And he was most appreciative.
Not too long ago, I did the same with several diaper coupons I had in "my collection." Now my children haven't been in diapers for several years, so why did I even cut out those coupons? I don't know really, but maybe it was just G-d prodding me in the right direction to do a mitzvah -- I gave those coupons to a frum woman pushing a buggy in the supermarket, in which there sat a baby and toddler. I figured she could use them. And she was most appreciative.
So in essence, I am able to do a simple good deed by cutting out coupons. It never occurred to me when I pass these coupons along that I am doing it in order to perform a mitzvah; it is just my (thankfully) G-d-given nature to share, be friendly, and do nice things. Certainly not to earn brownie points. But yesterday, in particular, after I gave the man the coupon for Kleenex (tm), I realized I'd made him happy, I'm made myself happy, and in the long run made G-d happy.
So, people, get out there and start collecting coupons. You never know who you might just end up helping with a $1.00 off coupon for I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! (tm) or a 75 cent coupon for Pampers (tm) Wet Wipes or a $2.00 off coupon for Oil of Olay(tm) skincare products!
Thursday, November 16, 2006
I'm not a morning person, but I love mornings...contrary to this image.
I love the heavy sigh of my children as they roll over in bed and try to cover up with blankets even though it's time to get up for school.
I love the steam of the shower and the wonderful acoustics of the bathroom that allow me to belt out some American standards as I'm soaping up.
I love the dog getting up from his doggie bed and stretching his paws languidly in front of him.
I love opening the shades and peeking out to determine the weather.
I love the crisp air outside that tinges cheeks and noses with natural rouge.
I love the dewey grass, fresh from Mother Nature's body mist.
I love walking the dog and seeing the neighborhood slowly wake up: cars being warmed up, school buses hurrying past, children and parents hustling each other out the door en route to school, seagulls circling overhead seeking breakfast.
I love taking the kids to school and seeing them anxious to get to class or play with friends.
I love sunny mornings.
If it's a drizzly, ugly morning....
FORGET ALL OF THE ABOVE.
If it's a drizzly, ugly morning....
THAT IS MY IMAGE AT THE TOP OF THIS POST.
Monday, November 13, 2006
We were at my folks' house yesterday--the house I grew up in-- and our kids were with us. At some point, my daughter was downstairs in the rec room -- does anyone even have a rec room anymore, or just a family room or entertainment room?
In any case, my daughter runs upstairs very excited about something she wants me to see downstairs. I ask what she wants. She said she wants to know what something is. I say I can't come downstairs, to just tell me what it is or bring it upstairs.
"I can't bring it upstairs. It's plugged in."
So I try to envision the rec room and what she might be referring to.
She continues. "It's black and has a round thing on it (at this she describes it with her hands)..."
It hits me. A black rotary telephone. Our original black rotary telephone. My parents' telephone that they got when they moved into the house in 1958. (We were a one-phone family for many, many years.)
And I start to laugh. My daughter -- my children -- are not familiar with rotary telephones. Then I began to think of what else they've missed out on in the years they've been around: b&W TVs, typewriters, life without any kind of remote control, life without a microwave, record players, eight-track tapes, etc. They even learn how to tell time via digital watches! And kids learn to tie their shoelaces later on in their young years, when you can no longer find sneakers in their size with Velcro fasteners.
To that end, I think we should have some kind of survival show for kids, introducing the use of these appliances, electronics and tchochkes that they are not familiar with in their everyday lives. Let's watch them concentrate, get frustrated and try to figure out how these things work.
And if they run into trouble, let them use that black rotary telephone and DIAL INFORMATION!
Update: I was telling my husband tonight at dinner about this post. He corrected my error; my daughter KNEW it was a telephone, but she did not know how to USE it because it is a rotary one.
So my husband guided her in how to use it...and he had her call his cell phone, which he had with him. She could see the process ...or should we call it ''progress"?
My husband also reminded me of a nephew of ours who, a few years ago, saw me take an ice tray out of the freezer and he asked "What is that?" Even at age 7 or whatever he was, he was not familiar with a simple ice tray. Why? Because he had the type of refrigerator that provides ice cubes and ice water right in the door!
Sunday, November 12, 2006
I remember when I was in grade six ("sixth grade" to you Americans!) my English teacher tried something in creative writing. It was a springboard, as it were, for a photojournalism assignment.
Along the ledge in front of the chalkboard, she laid out several b & w pictures torn from magazines and we were to write a brief headline and piece about that photo.
I don't recall exactly what I wrote, but I do know it had to do with loneliness, and children, as it was a photo of an empty playground with an idle swing.
I've always loved photos and captions and trying to combine the two. There are always contests sponsored by magazines and newspapers to do exactly that: give a header to a photo, or a bit of dialogue to the people featured in a photo.
And I'm a fan of GOOGLE images...always searching for just the perfect one to accompany my blog posts.
So why don't we try an exercise, just like I did in grade six? You don't have to write a story, but you can write a header and/or a brief description to the pic.
These free-for-alls don't always work in blogs, I've noticed. People are hesitant to participate oftentimes. But I just want to experiment a bit, so let me have my fun!
Here are my contributions to the photos above:
re. top b&w photo: "A penny for my thoughts!"
re. top colored photo: "No, honey -- you're not supposed to close the Murphy bed with me still in it!"
re. Groucho: "Hmmm...and I thought he really meant that I should bite the bullet."
re. artsy image: "Psst...aren't we a couple of bad asses!?"
You may comment on these images or link to your own in the comments and entitle them or add some commentary.
Over a year ago, I worked on /freelance copy edited this book. It was quite a challenge for me.
I am not a native Yiddish speaker, and you could even say I'm not a Yiddish speaker, but I understand quite a bit. But even my father, whose mameloshen would've been Yiddish and then Polish, did not know all the expressions I had to verify. He explained to me that many of the expressions were regional -- so, if you lived in Lublin, you might've cursed differently than if you lived in Tarnow.
Go figure -- "gei in drerd" ("go to hell") would have to be phrased differently, depending on where you lived. In my mind, "drerd" is "drerd"!
In any case I was at the Toronto Jewish Book Fair last Sunday, looking at books on display, and spotted this Epstein book. It looked familiar to me at first, but I was a little "fermisht" and it didn't register that I'd worked on it. I picked it up and riffled through the pages and then it hit me -- yup, this book was my baby. I had a hand in it. G-d, I hope I did a good job with it.
...if not, Lita Epstein will be cursing me -- left, right and center!
So why not pick up this book if you can...and put it to good use. I'm sure you have friends and family members on whom you can try out these expressions! :)
Friday, November 10, 2006
I can add; I can subtract; I can multiply; I can divide; I can figure out percentages. I can decide if a price I see on a tag or label is a good buy.
But that's about it.
Talk numbers to me -- I'm lost.
Talk investment returns -- and I'm befuddled.
Talk measurement conversions -- and I screw up with a recipe.
Is that why I married an accountant? I wonder.
And no, not ALL accountants are boring people, contrary to their reputation!
Monday, November 06, 2006
...aka When a Spelling Error Just Won't Do!
The following job posting is available for the 2006-2007 school year:
Jewish Studies Middle School Half-Time Position
Requirements: Knowledge of Hebrew Language Arts, Bible Studies, Denim, T'fillah and Oral Law
C'mon, people, hire me already. I will edit your work before you post it for all the world to see!
"It's the law!"
(Denim is actually supposed to say "Dinim"--which means Jewish laws)
Saturday, November 04, 2006
* Extra Sensory Persuasion ... for the sake of this post!
How often have you found yourself saying, "Great minds think alike" when you find yourself having the same idea as another person. You might reach for the phone to call someone, and just then your phone rings and it's that person at the other end. You might decide it's high time you write a note to a friend, and before you attempt to write one, you go to your mailbox and find a note from that friend waiting for you.
I have always had that "psychic" relationship with my mother. I can forever hear her saying, after I've said something, "How did you know I was going to say that?" or "How did you know it was me on the other end of the line?" or "I was just going to call you" when it's me who calls her.
Surprisingly enough, I have that rapport with my husband, too. Even when we were dating, I "clicked" with him in more ways than one. "How did you know I was going to say that?" became a common refrain between us.
Tonight I had another taste of our connectedness. My husband went grocery shopping after Shabbos, in preparation for a light supper we're hosting tomorrow night for family.We'd decided he was going to buy sugar waffle cones -- something we never buy -- because we have ice cream at home, and that would make for a nice dessert.
When he was gone, I realized that waffle cones are rather big, thus take a lot of scoops per cone, and we probably didn't have enough ice cream to go around. So I decided to call him with a change of plans. Only problem was that his phone didn't get picked up and I was forced to leave a message. I said that perhaps instead of cones, he should buy waffle cone cups instead so it would be more appropriate for the amount of ice cream we have, and maybe some strawberries or berries to cut up on top and whipped cream to decorate with. (we've never bought waffle cone cups, and it is once every several years that we buy whipped cream)
Well, he came home, dropped off some bags, then went to the van to get more. As I unpacked the first bunch of bags, I saw a can of whipped cream. And I thought, "Good, so he got my message."
He walked into the house again and I said, "Good, I see you got my message."
"The one I left you. I was afraid you didn't hear it."
"I didn't check for messages.... I want to show what I got.... I decided instead of waffle cones to buy waffle cups. It'll be really a nice dessert." And he pulls a box of these out of a shopping bag.
"And I didn't buy them tonight, but I thought we could buy strawberries or berries tomorrow to put on top. I did buy whipped cream, though."
Another coincidence for the books.
I asked, "Did you really not listen to the phone message I left?"
"Please listen to it!"
I announced then, "There's a reason Hashem put us together!"
Friday, November 03, 2006
Fluency in French is an asset, as is membership in/designation from The International Ass
No wonder this job is called PUBLIC AFFAIRS ASSOCIATE...!
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Whitney Houston filed for divorce from Bobby Brown...
What the heck brought you two together? What the heck was keeping you two together for 14 years amidst the drugs, the alchohol, the arrests...basically, the nasty entertainment headlines?
Enough is enough.
Link to http://www.paulsadowski.com/birthday.asp and find out interesting and little known facts having to do with your birthdate. And while you're at it, link to http://www.paulsadowski.com/Numbers.asp and find out interesting and little known facts having to do with your name.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
I hope you took my advice from several hours ago and reviewed some of Seraphic Secret's earliest posts.
There will be a quiz tomorrow.
Due to technical difficulties -- *&%$%^#%^!!!!! -- Robert is unable to post.
In the meantime, why not read some of Seraphic Secret's older posts? Why not start at the beginning? Rediscover the early days of this warm and wonderful blog.
Please make certain to have tissues handy. You might just need them....
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
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....!"
AND THEN I WOKE UP.
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
Saturday, October 28, 2006
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
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
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
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...
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
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.
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
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
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!