Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Special Exposure Wednesday- Babysitting

[image: Ricki feeding her nephew a baby bottle]
You will find more of "special exposure Wednesday HERE.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Drink/Umbrella

Today as Ricki was waiting for her ride to school, she started walking back towards the house. Afraid that she would miss her car, I asked what she wanted. I heard her answer “a drink”. I exasperatedly asked her what in the world was wrong, as she HAD a two-liter bottle. After several repetitions, I realized that she was saying that she wanted an UMBRELLA. (The words “drink” and “umbrella” rhyme in Hebrew.)
“But Ricki, its SUMMER, and you don’t NEED an umbrella.”
“Oh…”, and she returned to the corner.

Sometimes we think we are hearing others, and know what they want. It isn’t always so…..

Monday, June 28, 2010

The New Eyeglasses- Steps to Independence

[image: Ricki thinking "I did it myself...]

I was supposed to pick up Ricki’s new eyeglasses yesterday morning, but they were not ready. Having gotten up early to walk, I took a good nap in the afternoon, and overslept a bit. I woke up about an hour before I needed to leave for a meeting I was attending in the evening. As I got up, Ricki came to my room (she is always careful NOT to WAKE me…). She enthusiastically informed me that the “eyeglasses store” had called to inform us that Ricki’s glasses had arrived.
-“Umm, Ricki, I really don’t think that I have time to get them now.”

Pause. I could see on her face that she REALLY wanted the glasses today. She needs them. But Ricki, after only about a half-second said “So I’ll go by myself to get them!”

And why not? Ricki has an excellent sense of direction, and having been at the store twice, I had few doubts that she could locate it. And the purchase had been paid for already.
So I warned her to cross the street with someone (after all, she WASN’T wearing her glasses), and to return straight away. And she did.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Drink

Yesterday mid-day until the middle of the evening, we had no flowing water. A pipe had burst on shabbas, and unable to fix it then, we had turned off the main water line to the apartment, in order to stop the geyser erupting from the sink in my older daughter’s bedroom.
We caller a plumber on Saturday evening, who came within an hour, did his work, collected his fee, and left. The “Problem” was solved.
While all this was happening, I was busy finishing a novel I had started to read LAST Saturday. [I was able to excuse my not "diving" into post-shabbas work (like washing dishes and doing some laundry)because there was NO WATER. (GRIN. Anything to be able to read.....)] So Ricki went about fixing her school bag for today without any encumbrance from me.
Apparently (or at least such I suspect), Ricki, deciding that there was no water in the pipes, went off to the service porch to take a bottle of soda. There she happened on a glass mug owned by her brother, which contained a can of drink, and she requisitioned it in the name of thirsty students with Down syndrome.
Late last night, I noticed that my pen-bag was missing, and went straight to Ricki’s school bag to see if they had been pilfered by my dear daughter. There I discovered the drink, and Ricki’s older brother (the one who is in the army, and who is older than the owner of the can),smiled and said “That is Y____’s decorative jug.” Then he quipped: “I would have LOVED to see Ricki’s teacher’s expression when she would see Ricki extracting ONE LITER OF BEER from her bag!”
I have to admit, so would I…….

Saturday, June 26, 2010

SOOC - my excuse for no aerobic steps yesterday

[images: sunlight streaming from behind clouds]

Yesterday I took my camera along for my early-morning walk. The result: No aerobic steps recorded. IE, I must have stopped at least once every 10 minutes to snap a shot. But the first one here, I think, was worth it.
You'll find more of SOOC HERE.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Never Blasé

No, this is NOT about texting and driving. (Although, as an aside, a sign said: “If you want to meet G-d, just text-message while driving….”)
By profession I am a nurse, although I have not worked in the field for years. But recently my step daughter graduated nursing school, and has started working as a nurse. (I am very proud of her.)
One day recently, she worked a night sift, and in the early morning, on finishing her shift, she text-messaged me that 2 of her patients had died the previous evening. She apparently felt the need to share that angst with someone who knows the feeling.
Now I was not working as a nurse for that long to have experienced many deaths on my shift. But I do remember each time. And I remember the “hit-the wall-while–running-full-speed” feeling that knocks the air out of you when a death is unexpected.
And I also remember several years ago, when every victim of a terrorist attack was mourned over, and haunted us for the remainder of the day. Today I suspect that this occurs to a lesser degree. The battering of our hearts with the media, and the need to be able to function, have taken their tool.
So I text-messaged my step-daughter back, hoping that death never becomes blasé for her….

The Bossy Classmate

Of course, one of the problems with special education is that the other students ALSO have an intellectual disability, and this sometimes creates problems. A case in point:
After quizzing Ricki several times, it appears that a girl in her class has been telling Ricki NOT to wear her glasses. This girl is very bossy, and it is hard for girls to resist her opinion. So Ricki stuffs them into her overly-packed school bag. No wonder they break so often. Only good point: this girl is old enough that next year she will not be in Ricki’s class…..
But I now REALLY have to talk to the teacher……

PS This morning Ricki asked "NU.....???" (a yiddish expression), and asked when her glasses will be ready.I told her that they would be ready (hopefully) on Sunday. "I see you need them. But will you WEAR them at school?"
-"You know, S_____ (the bossy girl) is NOT your mother!
-(bashfull smile)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Oh, What an Expensive Vacation!

Ricki came home Tuesday afternoon, bursting with excitement from her day plus away from home. She did however, whisper in my ear: “I missed you. I missed you a lot.”
The only downside was the expense. Her suitcase came back torn (she claimed that a classmate did it accidentally), and her glasses were gone. Yeah, her week-and-a-half old glasses. So all in all, it worked out to be a rather expensive day and a half…..

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Special Exposure Wednesday- Golden Oldie #5

[picture: Ricki singing in the graduation from kindergarden.]

Here in Israel, the regular schools are drawing to a close, repleate with all sorts of end-of-the-year celebrations. This reminds me of years ago, when Ricki finished kindergarden. Her teacher that year gave her TWO parts in the production, saying "let her shine at what she is good at."
[image: Ricki puting a prop in place during the production, perfectly.]

At that time, integration was still pretty new in kindergardens, and most of the parents were amazed at Ricki's abilities to participate. What they didn't know was Ricki was already half-way to reading already!

You will find more of special-expose Wednesday HERE

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ricki’s Vacation

Yesterday and today, most of the girls in Ricki’s class are on a school-sponsored “get away” of a day and a half. She was very excited about the trip, and helped me pack for the time she would be gone. She is growing up. She didn’t even phone to say “Good night”, which I suspect means that she was (is) having a darned good time.
And here at home? Well, yesterday evening was pleasantly quiet- no arguments, no watching the bread (that she not take six slices). But we missed her anyway…..

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Phone Bill and the Disappearing Discount

Here in Israel, parents who have a child with “100% disability” can usually get a small discount on their phone bill. We have gotten this, but suddenly this phone bill, I noticed that the discount was missing. An inventory of the last few bills showed that it had been stopped about half a year ago.
I understand that they need to make sure that we still need it, but I would have liked to have been warned/consulted/informed. But I guess that is asking too much…..

Losing Weight Is FUN!

Lots of time you can hear dieters bemoaning the fact that it is a “life sentence”. And yes, it CAN be hard at times. But I want to remind you that losing weight, in big increments, at least, is FUN!
I went earlier tonight to a wedding* and danced. And danced. And danced. And didn’t get out of breath. It was FUN.
And since I am now used to small portions, I took a small portion of side dishes, and a normal one of meat, and I DID NOT FEEL DEPRIVED. And I didn’t even WANT more!

*For those wondering, after yesterday’s (Sunday's) post: The more comfortable dress was also hot. So I wore the flattering one (and NOT a comfortable one that is way too big). Thank G-d the air conditioning worked…..

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Sprint

[BTW, Friday’s post on the eyeglasses has an update for anyone who is following the “saga”.]
This morning I went out walking later than usual, having stayed up to all sorts of unreasonable hours last night. [This often happens on Saturday nights, as I sleep more than usual on Shabbas (Friday evening and Saturday day).] In addition, I was in demand as a babysitter, so I had to be home by 8:15, which meant that I only would have time for a twenty-minute aerobic walk. I was comforted by the knowledge that I am going to a wedding this evening, and will be able to up my step-count by dancing.
However, a shorter walk, later in the day, meant that my best walking path would cross a major thoroughfare, and I would have to stop for the traffic light, or walk in circles until it changed. But that is OK, I do it regularly. However, as I approached the intersection, from a slight distance I could see the way in which the traffic was flowing, and knew that in a few moments the pedestrian light would be green. So I started running. The light changed, and I continued my sprint, crossing the street in time. This is the longest sprint I have made in 40 years. And it felt easy. And I didn’t feel like an elephant.
You know, that feels GOOD!
Also, as a postscript to my post of 2½ weeks ago I am happy to say that an hour’s walk is now the same as a 45 minute one used to be, although part of that may be because I am walking at earlier (cooler) hours.
In short, progress is sweet!

Now my only problem is to decide whether to wear a flattering dress that I had saved from years ago (which I can just now fit into again), but which is a bit too hot for this weather, or a more lightweight outfit that is so-so. Pride and vanity, or practicality????? I’ll have to choose…..

SOOC- Nature Scenes

[image: view of coast from a high hill.]

This is another picture from last week's trip. (See HERE) One can see the coast in the distance, but I should have set my focus on that, and not on the bark, which I was using as a "frame". Too bad.

And here is a better shot, from my daily walk: [image: close up of flower.]

You will find more of SOOC HERE.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Eyeglasses, Continued

After several days wearing her new eyeglasses (see last Wednesday’s post), Ricki suddenly decided yesterday morning not to wear them. I didn’t make a fuss about it, and when she came home from school yesterday, she put them on right away. So I assumed that after a morning without glasses, she realized that she REALLY does need them.
Wrong. She went to school this morning WITHOUT the eyewear. I will have to ask the teacher if a classmate is criticizing the glasses, or ???????


Update Sunday Morning: She Happily wore her glasses to school this morning.....So what happened Friday morning, I don't know. I Guess I will have to chalk it up to teenager contrariness......

“I Won’t Steal Anymore”

Most of us don’t like changes in our routines, and neither does Ricki. In addition, if the situation is a new one, it can be the source of a lot of stress for her. So I was not surprised when Ricki promptly threw herself in my arms for a hug as she returned home yesterday.
You see, there was a massive demonstration today, near her school. Traffic had been blocked off, and Ricki’s driver had a lot of trouble ferrying everyone home today.
After she calmed down a bit, she told us that there had been a “demonstration”, and that the police had showed up at her school. Then she added in a whisper:”I won’t steal anynmore…”
No wonder she was petrified!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Makeup and Cosmetics

Yesterday Ricki got into my makeup. It is not the first time that she has experimented with cosmetics. (See HERE and HERE.)
I saw her hiding something behind her back, a sure indication that she is up to some type of forbidden mischief. As she saw me approaching, she realized that her time with the “goods” was VERY limited, so she quickly extracted some eye shadow from the bag and swiped a purple swatch across her neck, and then would have applied it to her mouth, but by then I had, in a rather strong-arm way, intervened. She grumbled, as usual during any spat with me, that I was being “cheeky and insolent”. [Our sages say that “He who disparages another, defames with his OWN defect.” Oh, how true!]
Later in ther evening, she had been listening to a tape and was in a better mood. She asked me to turn on the computer for her, and I agreed, with the provision that she first clean up her room. [ie., pick up the books she has thrown behind her bed, the junk between her bed and the computer table, and the dirty laundry from the floor.] As she was attacking the mess, she came across the set of creams and body-care products that I had bought her over half a year ago for her birthday.
(See HERE.)
Suddenly, the creams (which much to my disappointment, had hardly been touched since their acquisition) looked VERY interesting to Ricki. She was examining them one by one, and looking at an instruction page I had written for her at the time of their purchase. I hesitantly approached her and asked “Do you want me to explain to you how to use them?” And she actually agreed to listen. For once in a long time we had a lovely mother-daughter moment. Gee, maybe she WILL eventually grow out of the “teens”!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Special Exposure Wednesday- The Exercise "Dance"

[2 images of Ricki "dancing"]

Ricki was in a real good mood the other evening, and while "dancing" did all sorts of pushups and exercises.
You'll find more of "special exposure Wednesday" HERE.

The Hike

Today I climbed up to a cave on this hill- as difficult as any of the hiking I did in the Rockies' but at least I wasn't out of breath! (Altitude difference....)
I gave myself credit for 1000 extra steps, since most of the hike involved pauses to gauge footing placement, waiting for the woman in front, etc., and short start-and-stops don't register on my pedometer, but I definately MADE those steps!
Unfortunately, the cave we were hiking to was a real disappointment (maybe there were stalagtites further inside, but our guide didn't take us there....). The group I was with was of women my age, and I was able to keep pace with most of them, and better than many. Unfortunately, this trail was NOT appropriate for many of the women, who really had a tough time.
As we reached the parking lot, I saw a bunch of teens in some type of pre-army program, and some were groaning at the idea of scaling the hill. I piped up: "If I can do it, you can!", and I got a rosing roand of applause in return (LOL)!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Laundry, and the Teen

Another aspect of what I posted about yesterday is that Ricki is eager to do things that make her feel grown up. Paramount seems to be hanging up laundry, or taking it in.
Whenever Ricki notices that there is laundry to be hung up, she will do so. And, if she sees laundry already hanging up, she will bring it in (even if it is not completely dry…). One day last week I had to hang up some laundry to dry three times, because Ricki kept “bringing it in”. But there HAS been progress. Ricki used to invariably chuck out the clothespins as she removed the washing from the line. But last week I threatened that I would confiscate her walkman if any more clothespins disappeared. Since then, she hasn’t tossed any out.
So can anyone explain why I had to threaten her? Why in the world were my explanations not enough?????

Monday, June 14, 2010

Try So Hard to Play for Her “Audience”

We all, on the whole, care about what others think of us, and sometimes do things because we know that others will see what we are doing.
Ricki, in this respect, is no different from the rest of us. She wants people to approve of her, especially if they are important people in her life (like her classmates and teacher).
Thus Ricki will often go to great trouble in the evening to prepare her 10:00 snack for the next school day. Invariably, this will consist of salad, fruit, and a yogurt. Ricki will banter about how healthy the food is, and how her classmates will approve. However the next morning she will invariably pack into her school bag (in addition to the “health snack”) a chocolate-spread sandwich. Then, at day’s end, the fruit and salads will be returned, in a rather inedible state. Thus it seems that for Ricki, like for many of us, the emotional side wins out over common sense in the end. Apparently she can kid herself about her “healthy” snack, and satisfy her stomach all at once……

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I Found What to Post About

Last night I was wondering what to post about. One of my sons had been here with his family over shabbas (the Jewish Sabbath- Friday afternoon-to Saturday Night). And last week my daughter and her husband had returned to temporarily live in the room on our roof. So we all had a busy and enjoyable weekend. But all this does not necessarily make a post interesting enough for anyone outside of the immediate family.
One thing I thought about mentioning was that on Friday night, Ricki joined me (rather than saying “No, I am too tired…”) as I accompanied my son and his family back to the residence they had borrowed to sleep at. (They “swapped” apartments with a friend.) And in the end, Ricki was energetic the entire 40 minute walk. How? Simple. We let HER push the baby carriage (and she did an excellent job, as well).
But the real “Yes, that is what I will blog about” came late Saturday evening. I had delayed clearing the table in order to catch up on some computer activities (in the way of a good procrastinator….), and on exiting the room at eleven PM, I discovered that the table had been cleared, in its entirety. And that was NOT a small job.
Ricki, my check-stealing, throwing-glasses-in-the-trash-teen, had, unasked, seen a job that needed doing, and DID it.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

SOOC- The Eye is Better Than a Camera!

[2 images of a street in the early morning light.]

These two photos showed me this week how inadequate the camera is at catching real life.
One morning as I was walking EARLY (sunrise time)(in order to beat the heat) I took these two photos at different parts of my walk. In real life, I could see the street, but the sky had a special "sunrise glow". With regular settings, I caught the "glow", but the street looks black. With special low-light settings, I caught the street, but the "glow" is gone........

You can find more of SOOC (Straight out of the camera) HERE

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Missing Check

A few days ago I took out my checkbook, and discovered, to my horror, that a check was missing. I had written the previous check just the evening before, and suspected that maybe I had accidentally torn out two checks instead on just one. However, as I was reaching for the phone, to cancel the check, I had an idea. I checked Ricki’s school bag, and sure enough, there it was, along with my bus pass and health insurance card.
I was NOT very pleased……….

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Coriander and Parsley Condiment

For once, I am making a departure from the normal, and am sharing a recipe with you.

-one bunch (about half of a “chaslat”-bag) of Fresh Coriander (“Kusbarah”) (about 50 grams BEFORE stems are cut)
-one bunch of fresh Parsley(about 50 grams BEFORE stems are cut)
-juice of 1 lemon
-1-2 T.olive oil,
-1 tomato
-Salt and pepper to taste

1) Wash fresh greens thoughly
2) cut each bunch of fresh greens just below the leaves, saving the leafy part and discarding the lower stems
3) blend all ingredients except salt and pepper in a blender
4) add salt and pepper to taste

This condiment is especially good with techina, but I also enjoy it on bread and cheese, or along with fish or chiken.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Eyeglasses- Special Exposure Wednesday

[image: Ricki getting her eyes examined.]

About a month ago, Ricki had left her glasses on the floor, several times, until the inevitable happened: someone stepped on them. At least the lenses stayed intact, so I only had to replace the frames. Than, a few days later, Ricki threw the glasses into the trash. Unfortunately she neglected to inform me of this for about 24 hours, by which time the expensive eyewear was well on its way to a landfill.
So I decided that first off, Ricki needed to have her eyes checked. I assumed that her prescription had perhaps changed, and the “wrongness” was bothering her. Secondly, I waited a week. I let Ricki experience for a week what life is like without glasses.By the end of seven days, she DEFINITELY wanted her glasses. In the end, her prescription stayed the same. I can only assume that perhaps they felt “hot” (sweat accumulating under them….).
You can find more of "special exposure Wednesday" HERE

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

An Easy “Mitzvah”

A “mitzvah” (literally: commandment) is a good deed. And I garnered a very easy one yesterday…..
Yestreday morning I decided that I have to switch my morning walk to an earlier hour. Until now I have been walking after Ricki leaves for school, thus leaving the house at 7:30-ish. Yesterday I tried walking BEFORE Ricki awakened, leaving the house before 5:30. The difference in the heat and humidity was significant, and I am going to try and accommodate this change into a differently-arranged daily schedule.
Anyway, since I felt GOOD while walking, I was going at a pretty good (for me) clip. But as I “whizzed” by a street cleaner, I said a strong “Shalom” (hello). I saw him raise his head in surprise, and smile.
One word.
So easy.

So easy to help someone start the day off a bit nicer…..

Monday, June 7, 2010

Least You Think That All is Perfect in OZ after Friday’s Post

Oh, Ricki is SO much like any other teen: as unstable and unpredictable as flowing water. Today we went to pick up a new pair of eyeglasses for her, and on the way home I stopped at a store with her. When I refused to purchase more that one item for her, she became very angry. She called me “inconsiderate, and stalked home.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

SOOC - Falling Blossums

[image: tree trunk with blossum around it.]

I noticed this tree when I was out walking early last Saturday morning. In our town the streets are closed to traffic most of Saturday (except for emergency vehicles), so there was a lush, undisturbed circle "disk" of fallen blossoms around the tree. However, I don't use a camera on Saturdays, and the scene Sunday morning was a bit less impressive.....

You can find more of SOOC (Straight Outr Of the Camers HERE.

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Different Shopping Expedition

Yesterday I went shopping with Ricki. Her shabbas skirt had several holes, and her reserve skirt is not enough for the day plus of “shabbas”(Friday evening and Saturday until dark, the “sabbath”). So we searched through the stores for something that looked nice, and we found, at a reasonable price. But best of all, is that Ricki BEHAVED. Anyone who has read my posts from two years ago (like THIS and THIS)knows that Ricki generally was NOT a well-behaved child on shopping trips. But yesterday she listened to me, accepted my decision not to buy her a drink (she HAD one in her bag), and didn’t argue with me no end about various things. After buying the skirt, I bought her a watch, and a pair of shoes, which had not been part of my original plan.
Coming home, as we climbed the stairs, Ricki turned to me and said , “Thanks Mom for going shopping with me and buying me this stuff.” I was VERY VERY pleased!

The Umbilical Cord Revisited

This is an added insight to my previous post HERE.
This week, when Ricki and I were returning from her dance class, she walked ahead of me, always checking to be sure that I was following. Her hair was unkempt, and I asked her to tie it back with a band, but she refused. When we reached close enough to home that I KNEW that she could arrive on her own with no problems, I found a place and sat down. Within moments Ricki appeared, questioning me, and insisting that we continue. I explained that I had no intention of walking with her as long as she looked like a Medussa.
She balked, hemmed, and hawed, and finally gave in. We walked home together. Well, almost together. Miss “independent” was five steps ahead.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Negative Reaction Trap….

About two weeks ago I found that I had gotten locked into a battle of wills with Ricki. Her behavior was becoming increasingly obnoxious, and I was often slipping into the “band-aid” approach of simply reacting negatively.
[As parents, many of us slip from time to time into a sort of “automatic” mode, where one’s interaction with one’s child can escalate to a seemingly never-ending scenario of misbehavior, punishment from the parents, and resulting anger (causing further misdeeds) on part of the child.]
Finally it got to the point that I realized that things could not continue on in this manner, so I sat down to draw up an intervention plan. I made a very basicprize system where Ricki can earn up to about 25 “stars” a day, which can be redeemed for presents on Tuesday afternoon when the star store is open. So far it has been working very well, and not only is life easier for me, but Ricki herself seems to be relieved that she is in a calmer, less angry mode.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Special Exposure Wednesday- The Stars

[image: "points" sheet, play stars, and "star" box]

For about a week I have been giving Ricki "stars" for good behavior, and yesterday I got out the stash of prizes that could be purchased with them. Later in the day, she was a bit digruntled when I told her that the "star store" is open only once a week. More on this, G-d willing, tomarrow.

[image: Ricki with star box, not terribly happy....]

You'll find more of "special exposure Wednesday HERE.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

For Once I Understand My Husband (a bit)

I have been urging my husband to get out and do at least a little bit of walking, for the sake of his health. He lives a VERY seditary life, and the inactivity tells on him. The problem is that he, like most non-walkers, sees walking as this HUGE hurdle to overcome. When your feet hurt, and knees ache, it is hard to believe that getting out and pounding the pavement will make you feel better. And I have been reassuring him (and any other non-walkers who care to listen), that walking is invigorating, and enjoyable. And that is the way I felt until this week.
Up until the middle of last week, I have been walking about 7000-8000 steps daily, usually from a 45 minute walk plus my daily activities. Now I am trying to get in at least 10,000 steps daily, and to do that, my daily walk needs to be extended to about 75 minutes. I thought that it wouldn’t be much harder. I was wrong.
On a 45 minute walk, I can usually work it that the harder part is in the beginning, or the middle, with no big hills in the last 15 minutes. I can’t do that with the 75 minute treck. And, frankly, after 45 minutes I feel completely worn out….
However, I am (without promising) going to give it a month’s try. I am hoping that I will acclimate to the increase. Do any of you have experience in upping activity levels and how long it takes to adjust?

The Moral of the Story

Yesterday I had gotten a bit less than my minimal amount of sleep. I had planned a nap into my schedule, but on coming home from ceramics, I was late and there was a lot to do. So, in order to have time in the evening to do some housework, and to exercise, I skipped my midday nap. I quickly made lunch, as well as a pot of soup for supper. Thus I would be free in the evening to fold the laundry and do another needs-to-get-done-already task.
So what happened? I was too tired in the evening to do anything.
Moral of the story: take care of your body, because if you don’t, it just won’t cooperate……