Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Ruined Gift

Yesterday I went to the post office to pay my electric bill, and while there noticed that they were selling some new stamps in honor of the 200th year since the death of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov. The stamps were being sold as part of a package, replete with booklet and a disc of songs from followers of Rabbi Nachman. The item was a bit pricey, but since I know someone who would REALLY enjoy the gift set, I bought one. On arrival home I put it on my deep freezer in the hall, so as to remember to send it over to the intended recipient.
After my mid-day nap I emerged to the front hallway, only to discover the remains of the booklet. The stamps were gone, and the disc was missing. Well, I blew my top! This is the second ruined gift in two day. I hollered at Ricki to produce the disc and the stamps. The disc she quickly brought me; the stamps I have not recovered. Often Ricki unwraps gifts she sees on the deep freezer, which is bad enough. This was a step further: the taped booklet will remain mine, as it is no longer in a condition to give.
Color me furious……

Monday, September 27, 2010

Finally, A Picture

[image:Our Succah this year]

The red curtain is an attempt (rather poor one) to keep the sun's heat at bay.

A Trip to “Sefari” and the Missing Puppet

Today I took Ricki to the nearby zoo, called “Sefari”.[ It is thus called because the zoo is located within a wider (enclosed) area built to remember the terrain of Africa, replete with several types of animals, including Ostrich, hippopotamus , various types of deer, etc. (No predatory animals, however…there is a separate enclosed “lion” area.)]
In the center of the park there is a full zoo, and at its entrance, several stores. I noticed someone selling hand puppets there, and having a VERY soft spot in my heart for puppets (for what you can do with puppets, see HERE) I purchased a large “Ostrich” puppet for my own use. In addition I bought three cheaper “sheep” hand puppets for the children of my three married sons, as gifts for sometime in the future. The lady offered to “store” the puppets in her store while we toured the zoo, but I turned her offer down, afraid that the purchase (and picking up our package) would slip my mind if anything unusual happened on our way out.
We enjoyed the zoo tremendously, all in all. Ricki and I both especially loved the lemurs. However, as we were watching the hyena, I suddenly noticed a mouse emerge from a pile of rocks right under the hyena’s nose. “Oh, OH” I said to myself, “he is ‘in for it’.” And he was. The hyena pounced on the mouse, jumped back, and pounced again. He then turned him over and swat at him again. Then he proceeded to devour the rodent. Ricki, as all the children there, became hysterical, and she pulled me away, crying. A bit away, I pulled out the Ostrich puppet, and she talked to Ricki about how she was scared by the hyena, etc. I was glad I had the puppet with me.
Later, reaching home at 3:30, I hastened to make a quick lunch, while Ricki unpacked her bags. The sack with the puppets I stashed away safely, forgetting that one of the “sheep” had been appropriated by Ricki en route to our home, and was with her stuff. Ricki finished unpacking, and (at the moment unknown to me) lazily tossed the bag out the window (rather than walk to the trash ten steps away). Later as I unpacked my stuff, I saw I had only 2 sheep, and remembering that Ricki had possession of one, demanded it’s return. Her hand flew to her mouth, and she dashed out the door. But some lucky child, seeing a “discarded” puppet on the sidewalk, had already walked away with it.

Now I am left with the problem of which of Ricki’s nephews will NOT receive a puppet……..

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Pictoral Explanation (Special Exposure Wednesday)

Note: For more of "special exposure Wednesday, go HERE. My "special exposure Wednesday " picture is the one of Ricki with her decoration (below).

Knowing that many of my readers are not familiar with the sukkot (tabernacles) holiday, I thought I would explain a bit. Monay I toke this picture of the moon; you can see that it is almost full.

When the moon is full, on Wednesday evening, the 7 day holiday of Sukkot starts, which will be followed by an eighth day, "Simchat Torah". (Outside of Israel, the holiday is a day longer.) During sukkot, we dwell in a "booth" (succah)(see HERE). This is a structure, usually with wooden walls, and a ceiling that is made of plants, and is porous. For roofing, usually one uses either plant leaves (like from a palm tree), or woven mats of reeds or bamboo sticks:

Here is a sukkah in preparation (our neighbor's), before the walls have been finished, or the roofing laid:

Here are some sukkot in various stages of preparation:

Here is Ricki with a decoration that she made for the succah):

And here is a miniture play sukkah Ricki made:

Another decoration that Ricki made:

The final picture of our sukkah will come later this week.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Just in Case

Remember last week’s post about Ricki losing out on her exercise class because we returned home when I noticed that she was bra-less?
Well, just in case any of you wonder about the effectiveness of such “consequences”, hear this. Today Ricki ambled up to me about an hour before we had to leave for her class. She said: “I have my bra on. Today I am NOT going to miss my lesson, like yesterday (last week).”
As we left the building though, I noticed that she had her shabbas shoes on.
“Ricki, you know I don’t allow. “ So she dashed upstairs and changed her shoes and we set out for her class.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sukkah Chain, Fancy (Magic Marker Monday)

[image: Ricki holding the sukkah-chain (paper chain to hang in a sukkah)that she made.]

[image: Close-up of the chain. It is made from a roll of wide ribbon, cut, and formed as any simple chain. Then every other loop, a dangling loop is added, but the dangling loop is not round, made by overlapping the edges, but flattish, with the edges flat against each other (making sort of an elongated balloon shape). To the bottom a pommegranete shape is stapled.]

You will find more of "Magic Marker Monday" HERE

“If You Continue On like This…….”

Maybe it’s a hangover some Yom Kippur* resolution to be more responsible. I don’t know. It’s not as if it all happened today, but today the difference was pronounced.
My youngest son often feels, quite correctly, that he is the one who gets stuck with all the work around the house. After all, he is the only one living here day-to-day who has the physical ability to do certain jobs, so they fall on him. In addition, he has certain siblings who take advantage of him, so sometimes he really feels picked on. As a result, he often leaves bigger jobs for his brother to do when he is on leave from the army. But THAT sibling has made it clear to both me and his brother, that he can not be the only “doer” around the house. He has certain things he needs to get done over the weekends, and he can not (and should not) need to manage all. As a result, I have taken on certain jobs that the boys used to do (like big grocery shopping buys), and try to leave for them only those things which are really difficult for me. And I have been wondering if when the youngest son enters the army in a few months, if he will suddenly become as responsible as the army made his brother.**

With the above as a preamble, let me note that I have noticed some improvements in my youngest son’s attitude as late. However today it was VERY obvious that a change had occurred.
I set out this morning after sending Ricki off to school on my morning aerobic walk, to be followed by running errands as the stores opened. I arrived home 2-1/2 hours later, shlepping all sorts of objects, including the morning buy of dairy products from the local grocery. I saw my youngest, and mentioned that I had finally managed to buy a replacement for the broken shower head in the bathroom. Without skipping a beat, he asked me for it, and went to attach it. I went to the kitchen, meaning to put the yogurts into the fridge, but could not locate them. Finally I discovered them it the refrigerator, courtesy of my son who had noticed them on the counter. Then five minutes later, he threw something into the trash, and noticing that it was full to overflowing, quickly grabbed it and went to empty it out (a good three stories below).
As he returned I quipped: “Hey, if you keep acting so responsibly, I’m not going to be able to say that the army changed you for the better….”
His reply: “You can always hope it will make me even BETTER….”


*(Yom Kippur is a Jewish holy day, when we try to repent our bad deeds and improve for the future. This year Yom Kippur was yesterday.)
** Mind you, I know I won’t get too much help from the youngest when he is on leave; he is planning to go the route of a combat soldier, and I know that combat soldier trainees typically arrive home exhausted on weekends…..

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Shaddow shot Sunday

[image: shadow of sidings on a bridge]

You will find more of shaddow shot sunday HERE

Friday, September 17, 2010

“Oh, Don’t Lose More, You Look GREAT”

That’s what a good friend of mine told me the other day. The comment came after a long ten minute “HOW did you do it?” talk. I’m not sure WHY she said it; after all, at 110 kilo I am not exactly anorexic! LOL!
But I have to disagree.
And here are three reasons why:
1. As long as my BMI is in the grossly overweight category, or even the moderately overweight category, it would be healthier to keep on losing.
2. As long as climbing up the stairs is slow, even without groceries in hand, I need to lose. And I would like to get to the point that I can go up with a moderate grocery buy without too much effort.
3. I am still very limited in clothing which I can purchase. Not every store has my size. I want to reach a size where if I see something fetching in a store window, that I have a reasonable chance of finding that item in my size.

To all those fasting tonight and tomorrow (Yom Kippur), have an easy fast! And “gmar chatimah tovah”!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mommy Means What She Says

The other day Ricki and I set out for her exercise class. On the way I noticed that she was wearing her “good occasion “ (shabbas) shoes. These are the ones that she promised that she would not wear on weekdays if I purchased them. Then I realized that Ricki, when changing clothes, had taken off her bra as well. I didn’t wait for “three counts and you’re out”. Two were enough. We returned home, and since that would entail missing the bus we were waiting for, she would just have to forgo her class. I am NOT going to pay $10+ for a taxi because she didn’t put on her bra.
Of course, Ricki physically tried to prevent me from returning home, by pushing me and blocking the way, but within 3 minutes, as she realized that I was NOT going to back down, she gave up and returned home with me.

It can not be emphasized too much: Our children need to know that we mean what we say. Yes, sometimes we can make exceptions, sometimes we can be flexible,…. But in general, the message that we need to give is that if I said it, I meant it, and I intend to enforce it…..

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Special Exposure Wednesday: the babysitter/ more from the park

[images:Ricki at the park; Ricki holding her nephew (helping me to watch him)]

For more of "special Exposure Wednesday, go HERE.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Motivation, Discipline, and Willpower

On Sunday’s post a good friend commented:
“I wish I had your motivation and discipline!” Also, many times I hear people say “I wish I had your willpower” or “I haven’t got the willpower….”

Is “willpower” some magical entity that G-d has blessed me with? Hardly. For over fifty years I also put on weight nearly non-stop. And sometimes I wondered to myself:
“WHAT can I do to get the willpower I need?”
“WHY am I unable to stick to a diet?”

Today I think I know the answer.
It is not a matter of willpower.
Changing our lives involve motivation.
The question of course is, how do we get/stay motivated?

I think that the big factor in continued motivation is learning not to lie to ourselves. I am writing here in regards to weight loss, but this would apply equally so to any area we want to change, whether it be stopping smoking, not spending hours on the computer, or anything else.
My original motivation to really work on losing weight came due to the leg and knee pains that 80 extra kilos were causing. The pain was continual, and thus hard to ignore. That is pretty good motivation. In addition, the regular wish like any woman to look good and feel good, to be viewed as “worthwhile” by others factored in.
But comes the day that you “forget” the pain, “forget” the desire to be thin, or to conveniently ignore it. When a luscious piece of chocolate cake is set on the table before you at some celebration, we so often eat without seemingly thinking.
I suspect that what we really do in such cases is that we lie to ourselves (chose any that apply):
-Just this piece won’t count…
-I am losing so much, I feel so good, I am getting compliments, so I am doing GREAT (even if I eat the cake).
-I will have just half a piece and stop. (This may be true and sometimes allowed, but it may be an outright fib. YOU know….)
-For supper I’ll eat only 150 calories (or tomorrow I will eat 400 calories less). (Again, this MAY be true, but more often it is not….)

In order to stay motivated, we need to be on the lookout for these self-deceptions. Let me give you an example:
Last week was a two-day holiday here, followed by the Sabbath. That meant three straight days with a total of at least six-seven festive meals. And probably cake mid-morning. I made a conscious choice that I was not aiming to lose this last week, that I would allow myself a BIT extra. But I intended to keep that “bit” a definite small amount. Enough to enjoy the holiday and have a few treats without doing too much damage. I intended to keep track of my intake and be sure to stay within a 2000 calorie per day limit, so that hopefully I would just not loose, but NOT gain.
However, on the holiday I did overeat more than I originally intended to, probably because I did NOT count the calories. I lied to myself. How?
I took the premise “I can have a bit extra and not gain”, but I ignored my plan to implement safeguards. That was self-deception. I see it now, and thus I need to plan active measures not to repeat it again as other holidays occur this month.
Yesterday morning I almost didn’t weigh myself (I usually weigh myself on Mondays), but I caught the unsaid lie:
- If I don’t weigh myself, I can ignore the weight gain that surely occurred.
So I went to the scales to face the truth. Because only by being honest with myself can I make honest choices.

I have to be honest enough when I reach for something not on my eating plan, that I am choosing overweight, pain, and tiredness.
And when I stick to my plan, I am choosing weight loss, good looks, less pain, more vitality, health, and a strengthening of my spiritual “I can say ‘No’ muscles.”

Put that way, it is not that hard to choose the healthier way.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Rather Violent Reaction

Yesterday was a fast day, and rather than doing what I should have been doing, I opted to spend more than the usual amount of time on the computer. Ricki was upset by this, and actually started yelling at me. When that didn’t work, she kicked me. When THAT didn’t work (and only brought a calm warning of eminent withdrawal of ALL privileges), she stopped.
I handled it well, but I am shocked that she would attempt to kick me!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Rushing By.....

Well, the three day weekend (2 day holiday followed by Shabbas)was long, but it brought a rest I was sorely in need of. I did get some walking in. I allowed myself ONE of each of the two fattening deserts, but had some extra cake as well. So I will probably gain some this week. The good news is that I ate a fraction of what I would have in former years.
My step daughter mentioned how she had gotten some exercise in by going over to the national park to say the tashlich prayer near a lake.I often make that walk, and it takes me an hour and ten minutes to get there. From her house, which is about 10-15 minutes from here, it would take me 55-60 minutes to walk to the national park.
And there is the rub. It took her all of half an hour. Also, last night as I was out walking, other walkers just kept speeding by me. It is sort of hard to feel that you are out being victorious and active and atheletic when everyone else is overtaking you.....
Of course, I would like to see them put on that kind of speed carrying 40 extra kilos.....

Of course, why in the world do I have to compare myself to others??????? Do I have to be "better" than the next guy to have self worth?????
I am competing against MYSELF, and improving MYSELF.

But I am beginning to understand the walkers who get in so many more steps than me. They are not walking all day, only faster.

Hard to imagine that I myself may very well be speeding along like that in another year. We'll see......

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Jewish New Year

I don't know if I will have time to post/what to post Between now and Wednesday evening, which is the start of the Jewish New Year. So this week may very well be almost post-less.

May we remember that we are like clay in the potter's hands.

"The World is the Lord's"

(PS I will not be posting on Thursday or Friday, until at least Saturday evening.)

Monday, September 6, 2010


[image: snoppy "happy" dancing]

I DID it! I wanted to reach below 110 (kilos) by Rosh HaShana (the Jewish New year, which is later this week), and I DID it! This means that I have lost one half of the weight I want to take off!!!!

(Now I just have to keep it off during all the holidays this month.! ... ) (And I WILL!!!)

Oh, The Injustice of it All!

Ricki wanted to take her ceramics to school. But since we had packed them to give to her friends at exercise class, and I was afraid of breakage (as well as causing envy in her classmates) I had told Ricki a BIG “No” already yesterday.
At seven o’clock this morning I noticed that Ricki had darted out the front door for a second. I shortly thereafter peeked outside to check what contraband she had deposited there, and managed to quickly confiscate and hide the bag. Ricki noticed, and I reminded her that I HAD said “No”. She gave a scowl, and went hunting for something different.
Shortly afterwards, I realized that she had “acquired” a bag with a gift I have set aside for one of my grandsons. I made her hand the contents over, allowing her to retain the bag. She was already, at this point, rearly missing her ride to school, and I sent her quickly down, breathing a sigh of relief. I had had a trying morning with her (all of the above is about a third of what went on), and was gratefull that I had managed to stay civil and calm.
Then I noticed: One of the items from the gift bag had disappeared from the table. I flew downstairs, demanded the smuggled goods, which Ricki gave over very reluctenly, muttering euphamisms about controlling stupid mothers, and shaking her head over the injustice of it all. I grinned and wished her a good day…..

"Magic Marker Monday" - Ricki's pottery

[Images: Rosh HaShana dishes made by Ricki in pottery class, for apples and honey, and for Pomegranates .]

You will find more of "magic marker Monday" (and a cool post on disabilities ("shooting stars") HERE.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Dishes and the Soldier

Several years ago I purchased a new set of dishes, having been assured by the saleswoman that the pattern I had chosen was “standard” and could always be added on to later.
Fast forward to this week:.
With the Jewish holidays quickly approaching, and in anticipation of having guests, I realized that my by-now-only-three-table-settings-left dinner set just would not do. Having been informed already by the local dealer that NO design stays available for so many years, I called the company to find which outlet of theirs has the biggest selection, in hope of possibly finding something similar or compatible to my present three place settings. I was told that my best bet was to go to their store in the Tel Aviv central bus station. So on Monday I traveled by the 54 bus to the central bus station, where I had never been, intent on running several errands while there. Of course I attended to all other matters before going to the ceramics store, knowing that to haul a set of place ware around while shopping would be foolhardy, to say the least.
In the end, I purchased 2 sets of 6 settings, and from there all I had to do was go to the bus stop of the 54 bus for the ride home. I will make a long story short. I ended up shlepping back and forth, up and down, and back and around again carrying two weighty boxes. The handles of my bags were cutting deeply into my fingers when the information desk I had tredded slowly to was closed, “out to lunch”. I was ready to burst into tears, frustrated, and in pain.
“Do you need help?”
Of course. A soldier, so much like my 20 year old. Someone who has learned in the army that you look out for the guy next to you. That you can’t just look the other way.

Eventually I made it home, and the dishes have been reserved for “shabbas”use; the old 3 settings are being used for weekdays. But the soldier is the one who made my day, simply by caring.

The "Haul" of Pottery, and the Aftermath

This morning I had my ceramics class instead of the usual Monday class. It just so happened that several items I had made were ready (they had been fired), as well as all the items Ricki had made during the two sessions that she had joined me during the summer break. Knowing that the ceramics teacher was planning last week to bake the pottery, I took a large study bag today to class in order to take the “haul” home.
On reaching the house, I set the bag down on the dining room table and went to pour myself a glass of ice water. (We are still waiting for the “cooler” fall weather to arrive….) After that I went to take a nap.
* * *
The red mesh bag of pottery lay open on the table, broken pieces of my specially-for-Rosh-HaShana (Jewish New Year) honey dish scattered, the ceramic dish I had worked on so long ruined. I bitterly regretted not having stored it in a safer place, knowing that if Ricki would discover the bag, havoc might well ensue in her eagerness to examine her own pottery work. Every single piece I had worked on for the entire month had been demolished, one way or another.
* * *
I awoke, and bitterness at the broken pottery filled me. Then on sudden impulse, I turned to my right, and saw the firmly closed pottery bag stored next to my bed. Just before falling asleep, I had asked my husband to bring me the bag, afraid that Ricki would get into it. Those fears, faced just before drifting to sleep, triggered the nightmare above. Thank G-d, the clayware is intact.

PS: Sorry I didn’t take pictures yet. Hopefully next week…..

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Special Exposure Wednesday- The "Musician"

[image: Ricki "playing" recorder]

I caught this shot of Ricki, lying down, and "toting" away on an old recorder.

You will find more of "Special Exposure Wednesday" HERE.