Thursday, January 31, 2008

Waste Not, Want Not

My parents used to always tell me when I became a mother that I shouldn't eat off my kids' plate if they didn't finish a meal. Did I listen? Nah...!

It kills me to throw food out and I've always been that way. I can't even say it's survivor mentality because I didn't go through a war of any kind, thank G-d. My parents never instilled a real guilt in me if I didn't finish my food; I was just a slow and somewhat picky eater when I was young and my mother would keep reminding me of that.

I think I just "knew", as a daughter of a survivor, just how precious food was and still is.

But it occurred to me last night, after I'd eaten a FEW pieces (small, or not) of homemade pizza, that I'd finished the last two pieces on the tray because "I didn't want them to go to waste."

So the pieces might not have gone "to waste" but they certainly go "TO WAIST" -- MINE!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Lice Ain't Nice

They're in the lice-removing business
Tuesday, January 29th 2008, 4:00 AM

They're the lice ladies of Brooklyn.

A network of a dozen Orthodox Jewish businesswomen has developed a specialty in nitpicking — a profession rooted in Jewish tradition, the women say.

"They say Jewish men make good husbands," laughed Abigail Rosenfeld, who charges about $100 a head and works solo out of her Kensington home. "Jewish women are known to be nitpickers."

These days, the best technique involves less picking and more of a combination of combing and the use of various potions.

The women — who live in Borough Park, Kensington, Flatbush and Marine Park — have known each other for years and have worked together on lice outbreaks across the borough.

Lice are tiny parasitic insects — adults are about the size of a sesame seed — that live among hairs, most commonly on the head, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nits are their eggs.

"Everybody here has a lot of kids, so [the louse infestation] spreads faster," said Susan Sherman of Borough Park, who's been nitpicking for years and is Rosenfeld's best friend from high school.
Sherman recently started LiceBGoners, employing 16 people and charging $75 an hour for a treatment that lasts an hour or two.

Rosenfeld also offered a more serious explanation of her community's specialty. The women have experience checking food for bugs, which aren't kosher.

"Do you know how many bugs you can find in dates and figs, lettuce, celery?" she said.

Because lice are not particular to the Jewish community, the lice ladies' fame has spread far and wide. Sherman tended recently to a family in Connecticut who hailed her as a lifesaver.

Adie Horowitz, of Marine Park, who runs Manhattan-based Licenders, recalled another reason Orthodox women got into the delousing profession about 10 years ago. "There was a tough strain coming in from Israel," said Horowitz. "Now all the lice are resistant to the poisons."
The Lady Bug, a good friend of Rosenfeld's, credited her as a master nitpicking teacher.
"Abby was the first one to develop the method," she said. "She should have patented it, but she didn't."

Rosenfeld's method, developed about 10 years ago, involves repeated combings, first with hair coated in conditioner and then with baking soda. The lice ladies use various versions of a stainless-steel comb with closely spaced teeth to do their work.

"We're social workers and psychologists for panicked mothers," said Dalya Harel, of Lice Busters NYC, who's been nitpicking for more than 20 years and employs eight people.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


My youngest has unintentionally, unwittingly coined a new word: "Shan"

Some weeks ago, I thought I was hearing things.

"Eema, shan I finish my homework now?" "Abba, shan I give Max his supper?"

When I first asked, "What did you say, Noam?" he repeated it again. And again. And again.

It began to grow on us, even though it's absolutely wrong. I don't correct him too much on it anymore simply because I like to hear him use the word.

"Shan": another word for "should"; derived from "shall" and "can".

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Out of the Mouths of Babes

The fads that interest my children these days are rather different than what was interesting to me in the late sixties and early seventies in my pre-pubescent years.

My youngest, who will turn 8, G-d willing in a couple of months, went through his POKEMON cards phase. "Abba, can we buy a pack after school?" "Eema, I promise this will be the last time I ask you for a pack." How many times did we hear that refrain?

Yes, we bought him a limit. We bought him a collector tin and special cards that went with it.

These cards were traded back and forth between friends, but my kid (not always so wise) would even trade some of his new, crisp cards for dog-eared, weathered-looking other cards. We tried to teach him how to do a wise trade, but he's his own man.

Perhaps shul isn't the place for the POKEMON cards, so what did the kid do? He put his cards in a Torah Cards collectors portfolio. We would tell people at shul, "Do you want to see Noam's Torah Cards?" And he'd reveal what was really between the covers, beaming wholeheartedly.

Yesterday, I realized that he hasn't touched his cards in a LONG, LONG time. His collectors portfolio sits on our front hallway bench from the last time he took it to shul to show his friends.

I made a remark: "Noam, you haven't played with your POKEMON cards in a long time."

Noam: "I know.... I can sell them on eBay."

Me: "Who told you that?!" (hiding the laughter)

Noam: "Nobody."

So maybe Noam isn't the best at trading cards, but eBay you'd better look out for this 7-year-old. I'm really curious as to what he'll want to price these cards! The sky's the limit...

Friday, January 25, 2008

I'm Still Here...

...just rather busy and preoccupied these days with a number of things.

Among those things, my mother-in-law had some serious surgery and a prognosis one doesn't generally care to hear. She's currently recovering in hospital...

I have a bar mitzvah to plan for late June and have done nothing yet. Yes, I know the date, I know the venue, I know the type of meal I want, but I've not done anything aside from formulate some random names for guest lists. Planning a long-awaited simcha is never easy, but when illness is hovering in the background, it's really not easy.

I am on a contract till the end of February supposedly, but am crazy busy currently meeting deadlines and making sure that the 7 textbooks (university/college level) I'm responsible for as a production editor will make their printer dates with all the necessary information pertaining to the text appearing in the text as it should. I've been doing a fair bit of weekend or late-night, at-home overtime work to meet these deadlines and I'm simply wasted!

I'm busy with my kids and their homework and carpooling and...

To sum up, I'm here, but I'm not here. I tune in to some of your posts, but not all. I tune in to your posts some days, not others.

I want to write something witty, something creative for you, but it's not there -- at least not at the moment.

What is pretty consistent in my life right now is a sense of anxiety -- there's so much going on, coming at me/us from all different directions, it's tough just to keep up.

I can't wait for my Shabbos nap; in a way, I can't wait for my contract to end. I want to reclaim a sense of self, some true "me" time...and my husband and I have to be able to find some true "we" time, as well.

And hopefully I'll soon be able to reclaim a sense of "blogger", as well.

In the meantime, you can catch all my reruns in the right-hand margin. The archives take you back to December 2004. Why not start there and reread my words from the beginning? See if I wrote differently back in the early days of my blog, if my tone was different, if my humor was funnier?

Perhaps if you reread my early stuff, you'll realize you're sorry that you only began to tune in to me and my blog in May 2007 or -- GASP! -- even later than that; you'll realize you were missing a good thing from the start.

One can always wish, can't they...?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

I've Got a Name

Since mid-December 2004, I've been better known as "Pearlies of Wisdom" or "TorontoPearl" or simply as "Pearl" to you readers.

When I decided to start a blog and told my husband as such, he said, "Just don't use our last name or full names" and for the most part I've honored that. Sometimes I did use my kids' names but rarely, and perhaps once or twice I might've let my husband's name slip out...almost as if I was testing the waters of truth.

But I've decided that there really is no reason to not reveal my full name. It isn't as if I've name-dropped to bad-mouth friends, family or community members. And if you happen to read this and have figured out it's me writing this blog, then you get 10 bonus points.

My husband is nearly asleep at a little after 11:30 p.m., but I just asked him if he doesn't mind if I remove this cloak of secrecy after three years, and he said no. "Just don't give our address." Okay, I think I can do that.

So, for all of you out there who've never corresponded with me personally and might never have found out who "Pearl" is...

Drumroll please....

Will the real Pearl Saban, nee Adler, please stand?

Will her husband, Ron, please stand?

Will her eldest son, Avi, please stand?

Will her middle child, daughter Adina, please stand?

Will her youngest son, Noam, please stand?

Will her dog, Max, please...sit!?

And if you behave yourselves, perhaps I might even post a family photo in time.

In the meantime, it's very nice to meet you.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

In Need of Serious Davening/Praying...

Someone very dear and close to our family is in need of your prayers...and everyone else who can put in a good word with Hashem/G-d.

She wasn't feeling well for a couple of weeks, was taken to emergency on Sunday, was diagnosed on Monday, and underwent serious surgery on Tuesday.

The prognosis is not very positive...

Please daven for Liora bat Leah.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Billy Preston Sings the Real Version

Link to Billy Preston doing the song, "Nothing from Nothing" -- that song title AND FOOD were the inspiration for my last post.

Billy Preston Sings "Noshin' from Noshin' Leaves Noshin' "

Good morning, blogging world. Wake up!! It's January 1, 2008!

Happy New Year, whether or not you actually go out and celebrate the changing of the calendar page. Yes, many of us follow the Jewish calendar, but we live in a secular world, and we incorporate the two worlds. Rosh Hashanah in the fall season and New Year in the winter season.

There was a time -- long, long ago -- when I'd go out and mark the date with friends/family and a party, but I'm an old married lady. I work 9-5, I'm tired, I have 3 kids, I'm an old lady...I don't always hear the striking of the clock at midnight. Last night, I was exhausted, and went to bed at 11:45.

What kind of holiday spirit is that? Not even wanting to peek around the corner to the New Year. I'd rather peek at what's behind my eyelids in the land of Nod.

But even without official celebrating, I celebrate...just like countless others do.


By buying lots of nosh food to mark the last few hours of the year.

An aside: Huh, what's up with that? People make
resolutions to lose weight with the start of the New Year, but they're stuffing
their faces in the final hours of the old year?!

They shouldn't be eating, they should parked on
treadmills and rowing machines and body balls doing the right thing, and getting
a head start on their resolution.

But back to my story -- like Seinfeld's famous episode,
with a slight twist -- "It's a story about NOSHIN'..."

I got to the supermarket at about 4:00 p.m. (having gotten out of work early) and it was a madhouse. Of course, people need to stock up their rations for New Year's Day, when the supermarkets are closed. But first and foremost, they are stocking up for New Year's Eve!

I looked into shopping carts (you can tell a lot about people that way) and saw: dips, and crackers, and fruits, and vegetables, and frozen foods -- perfect for appetizers -- and multiple baked goods, and chips and other snack food, and pop, and bottled water, and ice cream, and....

I looked into my shopping cart and saw: a sushi tray, a large (just-stick-it-in-the-oven-and bake) pizza, a bag of cheese curls, a bag of barbecued tortilla chips, a tray of six rainbow-sprinkle doughnuts, a couple bags of nacho chips...oh, and two packages of cold cuts (a ration for New Year's Day).

No, no...these nosh items were not meant for me (okay, maybe a few nibbles here and there), but foremost for my children...who like treats and nosh food just as much as the next kid (and their mother!).

So laden down with nosh and a couple of rented DVDs, we prepared to greet the strike of midnight. Only, it was solely the kids who did that while watching "Hairspray"; their elders were snoring like chainsaws...

I guess the moral of this post is that this coming December 31st, when you look at what you're serving or eating that evening, and you realize that a lot of it is junk food, you'll....

...remember Pearl and her story about "NOSHIN' "! And then you'll say, "Okay, the diet starts tomorrow!"