Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My “Schizophrenic” Teen

Yesterday morning, Ricki was in a great mood. She was ready to leave for school on time, and was looking forward to her day. As she was leaving the house, she asked me to “come here”. When I did, she gave me a big kiss and a hug.
But like any teen, her moods change, and by the evening she was screaming at me that I dared limit her to 3 slices of bread (instead of my desire for 2 and her demand for 5 slices) as part of her supper……

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Perfect Match?

The “perfect match” is Ricki as a (supervised) babysitter for her nine-month old nephew. Today I had to babysit my grandson, and all I had to do was supervise Ricki. She latterly gave him a “song and dance”, as well as hours and hours of play. She wore him out. I became tired just listening…….

Friday, August 27, 2010

Elul, a Shofer, and the Air Conditioning

I live in a building that is attached to a shul (synagogue). This has some disadvantages (mostly due to bored boys who exit the building without supervision), but there are several advantages as well.
For years, I especially enjoyed living over the shul during the Jewish month of “Elul”. During Elul, in preparation for the days of repentance, there is a custom to blow a shofer immediately after the morning services. (A “shofer” if a trumpet-horn-like instrument made from the horn of an animal (often a Ram). The distinctive trumpting of the shofer-horn rose from the windows of the synagogue, I am knew that the days of introspection were here.
But now Elul is more than half over, and it could be a different month, or so I feel. Why? Because the shul now has air conditioning, the windows are closed, and I don’t hear the shofer at all. I don’t begrudge them their air conditioning; it is so hot that it would be callous to begrudge them that comfort. But I miss the shofer. So in an effort to get into a mood for introspection I am substituting with Rabinical lectures on my MP3 player, but it just doesn’t effect me the way the shofer used to…..

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Three Topics: The Conversation / The Picnic Lunch/ Update on "Frustrating"

A friend of mine who is blind comes regularly to my library of English books; she reads them using an electronic “reading machine”. Recently when she was here, Ricki came into the living room as we were talking. Ricki knows that my friend is blind; we have talked about it before. But this time Ricki started talking to my friend. She wanted to know why she wants to borrow books, and she answered my friend’s questions about when school starts again (next week, by the way).
This was a better conversation than Ricki has had with anyone for a while. Usually when people start to talk with her, she scowls and acts very rude. I suspect that the simple fact that my friend did NOT speak to her in a condescending tone, or give an opening statement of “Oh , she’s SO cute…” made all the difference.

PS Addition:
I mentioned that my friend is blind because I suspect that the reason Ricki responded well to her was not due to Ricki's perception of my friend as being disabled, but rather due to my friend's ability to treat Ricki as she wishes others would treat her: without condensation. Today another friend of mine was here for the library, and she also spoke to Ricki nicely, and got the same appropriate type of responses.


And a change of subject:
[image: a pigeon eating out the center of a loaf of bread.]

I saw this pigeon having a “picnic lunch” the other day in the park.





Update “Frustrating”:
Last night at the pool I found something that HAS changed for the better recently (since I increased my step count): my endurance. Only a month ago at the pool I did 25 laps, and even those were only about ¾ in crawl stroke. Since I was too winded to do the entire lap in crawl, I finished them all in a slow side stroke. The next week I did 30 laps, also about ¾ in crawl, in about an hour. Last week I did 30 laps in about 45 minutes. Last night I did 40 laps, ALL of them entirely in crawl, in an hour and 5 minutes. And one of the young thin women there (she was swimming in the same area as me, but about twice as fast) complimented me on my swim style and perseverance……
[Gee, isn’t it amazing how the compliment of someone you don’t even know can make you feel like a diamond?]

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Frustrating....

I have recently (over the last two weeks) increased my step count from 10000 steps daily to, at least temporarily, 15000 steps daily. This has not been easy; it is hot and humid here. I have continued my diet,checking portion sizes, yet I find that I am still losing the same 1/2 to 2/3 kilos weekly. I had hoped for more.

OK. I understand that fat is becoming muscle, etc. But a wicked voice inside my head asks HOW will I beable to maintain my weight loss when I am NOT walking 15000 steps daily? I can't keep the pace up forever, the time involved is too much for long-term maintenence. I guess that this is a "bridge" I will have to cross when I reach it.....
[When I weighed forty kilos more than today, I could lose a full kilo weekly without exercise. Now that I have lost almost half of my excess weight, I have to be above 10000 steps daily to lose on a 1500 calorie diet. When I lose more, will I have to walk even MORE to continue losing???? Or go below 1500, which is difficult for me....?????]
But of course the main point is to continue eating healthyly, and to keep as active as time allows.....Every half kilo lost is a step in the right direction......

Monday, August 23, 2010

Motivation: an Interesting (I think) but bit more time-consuming post....)

What will be time-comsuming about this post is the ten minutes needed to watch this video clip. But please do, and then read on below.....

If, as what this video asserts, pure monetary/ prize-type rewards don’t work in cases involving higher cognitive tasks, maybe we should be paying more attention to what DOES work. Even in our intellectually-impaired children. True, they will be doing mostly the simpler type of tasks where prize-type rewards work, but I think that the other types of rewards need to be pursued by us as well:
-autonomy
-mastery
-purpose

* Autonomy
What teenager doesn’t want to be his “own boss? And I have news for you: so do teens with intellectual impairments. The more we can show our child that skills will help them be autonomous, and the more autonomy that we give them as they work, often we can get better results. Often I find that Ricki will work better on a project (that she IS capable to do alone), if I let her know that she HAS the abilities, and I leave her alone for five minutes (even setting a timer), and let her work alone, saying I will return when the timer rings.

* Mastery
Few things are as motivating as realizing that you are competent at something. I know that Ricki HATED sewing until she developed her skills in sewing, and then suddenly she began to enjoy it. If your child can fry an egg, except for one small part of the task, try and teach him the final part, so that they will gain full mastery. A good way of teaching new skills is to “backstep”. [To do this, list EVERY SINGLE part of the task that needs to be learned, in order of performance, and start with the LAST step first. (And move backwards step-by-step as he learns…) This gives the child/young adult a realization that this study will lead to mastery.]

* Purpose
Our special-needs population also enjoys having a purpose to their job, and a chance to do a good deed. Try to give them chances where they can help others.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Again…..

Ricki has lost her glasses again. Yes, AGAIN. She claims that they fell off when she looked downstairs from the railed-in window, and the glasses fell three stories and broke.
I found no glasses below (whole or broken), so I don’t know WHAT to think. Now she is pestering me for a replacement (she DOES need them), but in the meantime I’ve lost the prescription, so I will have to contact Ricki’s eye doctor…..
In the meantime, I checked with the eyeglasses store if they have a copy. (Our former store always did, but this new store is MUCH cheaper....). They don't.
The saleswoman asked why I bother to buy the glasses if they get lost so quickly. Well, the fact that Ricki can barely read without them... and she can't read her watch at all (and I am TRYING to teach her to read her watch this month)....resupplying Ricki is simply not an option. But I AM letting her sweat it out for a few days......

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Acceptance???? I’m Not Sure

Recently I read a post about acceptance of our children and their intellectual disability. A commenter mentioned that his parents truly “accepted” his sister (who has Down syndrome), and the example he gave was their non-chalance about her “belting” out a song in a restaurant.
Quite frankly, I was upset by the assumption that acceptance means letting your child act inappropriately.
I am happy with my daughter and have no trouble with her disability (well, almost no trouble; let’s be honest….). However, not withstanding that acceptance, I wouldn't let her belt out a song in a restaurant. People are paying money for a nice evening need not be accosted with noise. IF a child does something off the wall, has a meltdown. etc, yes, other patrons should understand. But to encourage behavior that is disturbing others is no big mitzvah (good deed) in my eyes. I would not tolerate such behavior from my other children, why should I tolerate it in Ricki? If I would, am I not sending her a message that she is less responsible for her actions, and less capable of controlling them than my other children?

What do YOU think?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Special Exposure Wednesday- The Photographer (Number 2)

[images: Ricki taking photos]



You will find more of "Special Exposure Wednesday HERE.

Update: Walking

[images: the walking path in Park HaYarkon]


In this morning's post I mentioned a local park and its walking path. This afternoon I took Ricki to the same park by way of two buses, and later we walked along the walking path to a station where we could take one bus to reach home. Although it was already dusk, the path is both well light and full of walkers/bikers, so it is safe. (Again, I am talking about central Israel, not the US.) They even have reflective green patches implanted in the pavement to mark it.
This evening the path was even more populated than in the morning. I noticed one runner going top speed with a prosthetic leg, and there were (besides several individual bikers/walkers/runners) several large groups of runners. As one group passed I heard the "leader" telling everyone "Hey, its one kilometer here; do those in back hear me???"
By the time we reached the end of the 40 minute walk Ricki was complaining bitterly, but she survived.......

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Two Short Vignettes

This morning in order to get in a good 2 hour walk I headed towards the opposite direction than my usual one. I walked to the nearest shopping center, a half-hour walk that I already do occasionally, and from there across the Maccabbiah bridge over the Yarkon River. The area around the bridge has been fixed up, and on the other side what years ago used to be a dirt path to the nearest park has become a paved walking/cycling path. This path is a good path for a walker in a lazy mood- it is LEVEL. And it has another big advantage: it is almost entirely in the shade.
The path was pretty busy this morning, mostly with cyclers, one or two roller-bladers, and a few walkers. Then I saw someone coming in what looked like a sleek low-lying race car coming my way. I realized within seconds that this was a special bicycle propelled solely by hand movements for the disabled. How fantastic! It turns out that there where about 6 disabled people biking along at a good clip, one even using one hand.
Now I ask all of you who are NOT getting any exercise (even twenty-thirty minutes of walking): What in the world is YOUR excuse???? If we have a healthy body, let’s take care of it!
* * * *
On my arrival home, I stopped in the grocery store. First I peered in the fridge wondering for the umpteenth time why in the world he doesn’t carry any cold bottles of diet drink…. But realizing that my budget will benefit if I wait and drink at home (I HAD 2 bottles of drink with me, but had already polished them off), I didn’t complain. I just purchased two milk and wearily climbed my stairs. On opening the refrigerator, I was greeted with the sight of some six bags of milk, several fruit yogurts, and about 4 tubs of cheese. Ricki , very pleased with herself, announced that she had gone to the grocery to save me the work (and buy herself a treat as well). Of course I made Ricki return the enormous purchase, which she did, rather grumpily, muttering under her breath about how mean I am……

Monday, August 16, 2010

The “Tzedukka” Lady

[Note: “Tzeddaka” means charity.]
There are several people who collect charity in our neighborhood, on street corners, or by going dor-to-door. Many are “regulars”. But one is special.
This “tzedukka lady" sits under a sunshade outside the house of an important Rabbi who lives about a five minute walk from my house, near the shopping district. She has obviously impaired hands, with stumbled fingers. But what you notice most about her is her smile. She is always thankful for what she receives, and will ask you how you are, giving you a 1000 carat smile. Thus I never feel that she is a “taker”, but rather a “giver”. I am sure that she collects much more money than those “collectors” who scowl.

And what about me?
Won’t I reap better results if I smile? No, I don’t collect money. But I suspect that I will catch more good will from my children, more positive reactions, if I present with a smile rather than a frown…..

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Haveil Havalim #280

Haveil Havalim #280 (jewish Blogshpere Carnival) is up HERE. This posting does not imply endorsement of any of the views expressed.

The Missed Picture

Yesterday morning as I was taking my early morning shabbas stroll, I saw a cat sitting in the middle of the street. (He was able to sit there patiently and fearlessly as the streets in our town are closed to vehicular traffic on shabbas, except for emergencies and medical necessities.) Scattered around him, eating crumbs from the street, were about 5 or 6 pigeons, each at a decent distance from him, He was hungrily eying them; they were keeping their distance.
Of course, I don’t carry a camera on shabbas, and as has often occurred in the past, this is invariably when I notice the best shots. Sometimes I can get a close approximation of the shot the next day, but more often I can’t. just as I don’t carry my camera on Saturdays, I also don’t have my MP3 player on either. I suspect that not having my MP3 player on makes me more attentive to my surroundings and hence more likely to notice good photo opportunities………..

Saturday, August 14, 2010

SOOC (Straight out of Camera) Saturday: Search for the Sun

[Image: flower seen from sidewalk level]

I found this flower growing sideways in a search for the life-giving sun......

Friday, August 13, 2010

Privileged Class?

I have noticed something strange. When ever my married sons come to visit for the weekend, I invariably cook nicer and fancier foods for shabbas (the Sabbath). The question is “why?”. I mean, aren’t the children living at home and my husband equally deserving of the same things?
I suspect that part of it has to do with the fact that when there are more “eaters”, it gives me more flexibility in the number of dishes I can prepare and expect not to be loaded with an inordinate amount of leftovers. And, as much as I hate to admit it, part of the “extra” cooking has to do with my pride and wanting to impress/please my daughters-in-law. And occasionally it has to do with the pleasure I get when one of my married sons is served a home-made favorite food, one of those gastronomic triggers of memories of “home”. A final reason is that usually the “couples” will come at the time of a holiday, so there is the added impetus to cook something special for “yom tov” (the holiday).
But my son who is in the army is home for most weekends as well. And he has also moved up to the “privileged” class. I am more likely to bake homemade challahs (loaves of bread for the Sabbath), and I am more likely to bake pizza for Thursday evening dinner than I am when he is not coming. Just as with his older brothers, I enjoy seeing his face light up when he sees that I am baking challahs. But here I feel that a big part of it has to do with the fact that I feel that after a week or two of army victuals, he is entitled to some treats. But there is, I think, a third reason as well. Every weekend, at least some of the small jobs I have asked other members of the family to attend to (but which haven’t gotten done), suddenly get taken care if. The life of a soldier has made him much more aware than his siblings that “If you don’t do your part, the whole group suffers….”. If my soldier-son can’t do it himself, he can usually convince his brothers to do their share of the household’s running. So I really look forward to his coming for the weekend (I would ANYWAY, but this makes it even more so….), and I naturally react accordingly.

Serial Killer

For all of you reading about the "Israeli" serial killer, I would just like to note that he is NOT Jewish.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Envy/ Happiness

[image: a mountain spring]

Usually I write my blogs in the evening, and time them to be posted at the crack of dawn (Israeli time) Originally this was because I didn’t want my dear mother to see the absolutely unearthly hours I was staying up to on the computer….. But lately I have been getting more sleep (though still not quite enough….). But I have in general retained the system of writing in advance a bit.
Yesterday I had nothing really to write (except something that involves talking bad a bout someone, so I dropped the idea….), and the hour was late enough that I decided to forego a post for today.
But this morning as I was taking my usual early morning exercise walk, I decided to try to walk somewhere different (being bored by all of my more regular routes), especially since I had forgotten my MP3 player at home, and didn’t even have that to keep me “entertained”.
So I walked over to a nearby neighborhood, and I discovered an area almost from a different planet. Instead of the three storey buildings in my area, here there were villas and duplexes. Every house had at least one car in front, and most had exquisite exteriors and/or gardens. IE., it was definitely an upper-class section of the city.

Enter envy.
“Oh, it would be SO nice to have a house like that….”
“Gee, I wish I had a car (and license).”

Our sages say that “He who has 100 wants 200”. And it is true. Here I am, living quite well by my community’s standards, but the lure of “more” still pulls at me. Amazing.

But then I noticed how every house had buzzer systems to provide security, and I pondered just how happy these people with what I assume is a “we-can’t-afford-more-than-two-kids-and-a-dog” way of life. In their old age will they be happier than me? And today with the pressures in business, are they happier than me?

We would like to have it all: successful husband, perfect kids, nice house, 2 cars, smiling grandchildren, etc, etc. But then life intervenes, with illness, special children, financial uncertainty, and more.
So how do we reach happiness? With our attitude. The way we view life, our ups and downs, will effect our total happiness more than any material objects. So here are a few good attitudes to cultivate:
1) Enjoy what you have. The luscious sweetness of an apple, the soft hair of a child on your cheek. Enjoy it if you can walk down the street pain free. Not everyone is so lucky.
2) Be happy for your neighbors good fortune. If your neighbors (brother, etc) has something nice , be happy for him. Even if you don’t have that object, be happy that he does. Why not? He didn’t steal it from you!
3) Try to see something good, some benefit you are receiving, even from “bad” experiences.
4) Notice the beauty of G-d’s world around you. Stop and “smell the roses”!!

OK, I’ll get down from my soapbox now. Have a NICE day!!!!

PS I posted the picture was to share with you a bit of the world's beauty. A free gift!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Special Exposure Wednesday- Sewing

[Image: Ricki sewing a "teddy bear" together.]

One of the things Ricki has definately learned this year in school is sewing skills. She used to not enjoy sewing very much, and it was the only class she disliked at school.
But by year's end, she had come to enjoy sewing lessons, and her sewing skills have improved remarkably.
Here she is sewing a pre-cut craft "teddy bear" together. Unfortunately the materiasls used are very weak; I doubt it will hold together for very long.....
(PS Don't worry about the dressing on her hand, it is a self-applied ministration to a miniscule "sore".)
You will find more of "Special Exposure Wednesday HERE.

Update

This morning (Tuesday), I didn't take Ricki to the suppermarket with me, explaining that only really big girls (ie., clean) can go.
Well, when I returned I discovered that she had folded all the laundry (a lot), and did a pretty good job of it as well!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

One of the Not-So-Pollyanna Days

Yesterday was one of those days when I ALMOST wondered why in the world did I bring Ricki home from the hospital 15 years ago…... Note that I wrote “almost”.
In the morning I had ceramics class, and since we were the only ones there, I brought Ricki along. I had talked to her about how we were going to make REAL dishes, and she would need to agree to follow instructions. But the morning was too long for her, and after an hour and a half working nicely, Ricki got into a very antagonizing mood. At one point she took a paintbrush and swiped my shirt with it. Luckily the paint was washable, but on the spot I gave Ricki a severe “consequence”.
Later at home, Ricki attacked lunch as if she had just finished a Yom Kippur (24-hour) fast, which she had not. I had even purchased her a snack when she was at ceramics.
Later I realized that I had not given Ricki her concerta (Ritalin) medication on time that morning, so I gave her the benefit of the doubt regarding the day’s misbehaviors. And since she was scheduled to go to exercise class this afternoon, I gave her the dose, even though it was late.
At 5:30 in the afternoon when we left for exercise class, and to make a long and sad story short, on our arrival I discovered that Ricki had made in her pants. Aklthough a friend urged me to clean her up (a bit) there, I felt that Ricki needed to get the message clear as clear can be, that “accidents” result in losing out on fun activities. So we left immediately, to start the trek home.Not wanting Ricki to feel that her accident had earned her a valuable taxi ride, I opted to wait for the one-every-20-minute- bus. Well, it arrived after 50 minutes, chock full, and sailed by without a pause. At that point I took an expensive cab home.
Oh yes, and Ricki left her eyeglasses on the floor at the gym.
PS. : But she behaved wonderfully in the evening. I wonder if it was due to regret or all that Ritalin running around her system late at night......

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Way to Education: Shortcuts Don’t Do It

A) When Ricki was younger, I used to study with her almost on a daily basis. We would review school work, as well as progress in study areas I had set as goals. This year I took pretty much a vacation from teaching Ricki. Instead, I have been doing more housework, as well as taking the time to care for my health: walking, swimming, etc.
But now I am trying to slip in a bit of study time here and there. Whether it is time spent cooking, cleaning, or pure book study, there is no substitution for it.

B) When it comes to educating Ricki as regards behavior, and extracting from her better conduct, there is no substitution for a good behavior modification plan, and taking the time (and contributing the energy) to carry it out. It isn’t easy. But every gain made makes it so apparent that the effort is called for, and worth it.
Ricki wanted to watch computer yesterday, but at 4 PM (when I wrote this post) I still had not allowed her to do so. I insisted that she pick up every miniscule scrap of paper that she has left behind her bed, and that she do her chores, etc.

When parenting any child, but even more so, a child or teen with special needs, “remote control mode” just won’t do the trick. You have to stretch yourself to do and give more.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Lovely Weekend

[image: a not-so-good picture (she hadn't combed her hair yet] of Ricki dressed for Shabbas.]

Except for the heat, we had a lovely weekend. One of my married sons came with his family, and we all enjoyed the visit. My son mentioned to me: “Not only are you thinner, but you get out of the chair faster!”
I ate a bit too much, so Saturday night I hit the pavement (went walking), in an effort to burn off a few hundred calories…….

Saturday, August 7, 2010

SOOC -Tiberias

[image:flowers by stone wall]

A street scene in Tiberias

You wilkl find more of SOOC (Straight out of Camera) HERE.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Insomniac/Guests

Wednesday evening, when I went swimming, Ricki refused to go to sleep until I returned. Ricki has lately been more and more dependent on me being at home, and on the computer (which is next to her bed) in order to fall asleep.
And while she was waiting, she had a long phone conversation with one of her sister-in-laws, who had just happened to phone. Ricki even reliably passed on to me the message that one of our married couples want to come this shabbas, despite the heat.

I think I am going to have to rearrange my schedule and not be on the computer in the evening.....
Easier said than done......

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Exercise is Not a Dirty Word

HERE is the main news of the day.....
This morning I was out walking and I met a friend of mine. She told me "I saw you from a distance, and I was thinking: 'Is that Rickismom or isn't it....?'" And yesterday I went shopping for a few more articles of clothing, and again, it was so fun having a range of things to pick from, in a normal store (not the super-duper over priced "Big sizes store").
I have also started swimming on a weekly basis, having paid for a years pool subscription, where the number of people is limited, and no kids are allowed. (I generally like kids, but in the pool I don't. Too often they do crazy and dangerous things like jumping into the pool without looking who they are clobbering, and flailing arms and legs all over the place, hitting others.....)I am writing down how many laps I do in what amount of time. I hope over the next 11 months to see a definite increase in my stamina.
Many people who are overweight view exercise as a dirty word. I have tried, often in vain, to get overweight friends out and moving, however the inertia seems to be overwhelming for many.
Exercise is not a dirty word.
Exercise can add years to your life. Aerobic walking (fast enough that you can still talk, but not sing) in ten minute (or more) increments has been shown to decrease:
-Death
-Heart attacks
-High blood pressure
-Osteoporosis
-Diabetes
-Varicose Vein problems
As well as whatever I forgot about ………

DON’T WAIT UNTIL YOU FEEL LIKE EXERCISING, GET OUT AND DO IT, AND I QUARANTEE THAT WITHIN A WEEK YOU WILL FEEL SO MUCH BETTER THAT YOU WON’T WANT TO STOP.
I have discovered that exercise DECREASES my appetite [I once saw a medical study proving that all exercise decreases appetite EXCEPT for swimming, because the body heats up (which it doesn’t when swimming).] Don’t count on exercise to help you lose weight. But do count on it to help you feel MUCH better. (But be sure you have good sock-absorbing shoes if you are going out to walk……)
Don’t debate, don’t question, just DO!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Special Exposure Wednesday- Ricki at Ceramics Class

[image: Ricki rolling out clay]
Ricki went with me to ceramics class this week and joined in. She did pretty well, except that she wanted to do MANY types of decorations to each item, and paint it many colors, leading to a visually overload clutter of colors. SIGH. I was good and kept my mouth SHUT!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Walking, Memories, and Regular Life


Today I am not giving you any big messages, just a few verbal “snapshots” from my day.
Although it is still sweltering hot and humid here, this morning there was a bit of a breeze, and I felt like walking. And the main reason is because I had a place I wanted to see. On Sunday, I had walked to the farthest extension of the main street next to my house, a 5 kilometer round trip walk. But later I had looked at the map, and I suddenly realized that I had come to within about 4 blocks of the place I had rented when I was a new immigrant here in Israel, some 36 years ago (early winter 1974). I decided on Sunday that within the week I would meander over to “ HaBiluim street” in Ramat Gan (a suburb of Tel Aviv). This morning I had the time, energy, and desire to carry that resolution out.
So armed with TWO bottles of ice water, a hanky to wipe the pouring sweat with, and a bus card just in case I discovered “on the way” that the trip was too hot/exhausting, I embarked. [I also grabbed my cellphone so my husband could phone me when he discovered that I had been missing for too long (in lieu of contacting the police)…… LOL] On reaching the start of “HaBiluim” street, I recognized NOTHING except for a single large building that had existed in that area 36 years ago. The entire area had been built up, modernized, and several parks had been added. (Back in 1974, there were numerous unbuilt lots in the area.) However, on reaching the far end of the street, where I had lived, I discovered that the two-story house still was there, albeit with renovations.
It is strange revisiting a place where you once lived. I felt a connection to the place (even though it had only been a half-year rental), and it brought back several memories.

* * * *
What memories? Here are a few:
1) One morning we awoke to the sound of the mooing of a cow. Amazingly, somehow, a cow had strolled over from somewhere to our front lawn. Mind you, we were living in the middle of the Tel Aviv metropolis, and one building from the freeway…..No, I do NOT know how it got there……
2) How we (I rented together with two other young women) were invited to share a Passover seder with a family in the neighborhood. And when I had tried to buy Challah bread for the shabbas before Passover (which unknown to me at that time, needed to be ordered well in advance, as it was too close to the breadless holiday), the (non-religious) store owner looked at me like I was absolutely crazy, and asked if I really thought that he had no fear of G-d.
3) How I used to walk many Saturday afternoons from our house to the “national park” about twenty minutes away. I remember posing there (on a weekday) for a picture on a rock, pleased at the weight I had lost not too long before. And I purchased nearby my first cream for athelete’s foot…. And that makes me pause and wonder at the capacity of the human brain to remember……
* * * *
(Back to the Present)
Once I had reached Biluim street, I decided to make the extra 15 minute push over to the national park. (Many women from my town ride there to walk on its straight and scenic sidewalks. I doubt that many walk TO the park!) However, on my arrival, I decided that it was too hot to walk on the many unshaded parts of the paths around the park, so after snapping a few photos, I started my return trek to home, hoping that I wouldn’t regret it halfway there. And thankfully, the walk back was actually pretty easy.


PS Later in the morning I took Ricki shopping for some blouses, and she behaved very well, accepting my more emphatic “no’s”…. However,I also caught her throwing chicken bones from lunch on the floor again this afternoon. She is currently picking them up. SHE doesn't know it, but after I get off the computer, she is going to have a half-hour moratorium from the computer as a punishment.]

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Dire Threat

A few days ago, Ricki saw her older sister cooking two fried eggs for herself, and decided that “If she can, I can.” Explanations that her married sister’s repast was unhealthy fell on deaf ears, as did our insistence that Ricki limit herself to a single portion of egg.
Yesterday morning she again consumed two eggs, and I sat her down for a serious talk. She seemed to begin to understand.
Fast-forward to the evening hours. I had not prepared soup, as I often do; it was simply too hot; and I settled for a bowl of cereal for supper. Ricki has not yet been willing to even TRY cereal, and wanted an egg. I refused, and to enforce the statement, I discretely closed the gas main to the stove. On discovering that I had somehow tampered with the stove, she fiercely uttered her dire threat:
“Tomorrow morning I will NOT have an egg, because you wouldn’t let me now! I will NOT!!!”
I confess my sins. I burst out in laughter. (“The devil made me do it…”*) When Ricki asked why I was laughing, I lied and said that I was thinking of something.. What else could I claim????

*the Smothers brothers

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Unexpected.....

An Unexpected Update....
I am updating on the hearing aide campaign. Unexpectedly, Ricki is suddenly not interested enough in borekas to wear her hearing aid, and my turning the disc player off (because it is too LOUD) hasn't helped either. So either she is in a "I'm the boss and I will do as I like mood, OR I will have to rethink tactics. I will wait a day or two to see how things develop.....
The Unexpected Blossom
About ten weeks ago I purchased several plants to have around the house, adding some beauty and green. Of the three, one promptly died (I have the opposite of a green thumb….), but the remaining two have survived. On is a riot of tiny red flowers, the other is a non-flowering lovely purplish-green leafy plant. Or so I thought. Suddenly today I noticed that the leafy plant was sporting a blossom, one that was totally unexpected. A pure gift, given gratis.
[image: Plant with blossom (and in the background Ricki’s old stuffed teddy bear stuck into her nephew’s unused car seat….)]


Sometimes life sends us surprises. Some appear to be good ones, and others “bad”. We may be only slightly surprised, we may be shocked. Part of maturity is learning that we are not always the one “calling the shots”, and learning to roll with the tide and waves that engulf us.
And sometimes we get a simple unexpected gift.
Do you have any that you would like to share?