Monday, December 31, 2012

Ricki's Bed

   One of the perks of having a son-in-law who\se occupation is doing refurbishing and construction work is that sometimes well-to-do clients give him their "old" furniture. And sometimes he gives that almost-as-good-as-new stuff to us.
   So tonight I returned home at 11 pm, only to find my exhausted son-in-law schlepping  (dragging) new beds up the three flights of stairs to our apartment.. He had mentioned a few days ago that he could give me a new bed for what used to be Ricki's room, a room that "Y", my current army son, uses on weekends. I jumped at the chance, because the old bed was absolutely decrepit.
    However, the biggest drawback to the old bed was its weight. It had a built-in drawer that made it extremely heavy. And in Ricki's narrow room, moving the bed a bit (to clean) was a real chore. Cleaning thoroughly beneath it was nigh impossible, and I only attempted that once a year, before Passover. To move the bed meant removing my computer and it's table from Ricki's room, and then pushing the bed from side to side in the narrow half-a-room-sized space. And even like this, there was an inch or two of floor space that I could only clean by throwing water under the bed, and trying to swish the dirt out with the flow of water.
   But tonight my son-in-law had already dismembered the old bed, and the room was empty, the new bed not having been put in yet. There was, obviously, a whole pile of dirt and dust on the floor, and I went to get the broom. I wondered if maybe I would find in the dust pile on of Ricki's long-last golden earing.
   No such luck. Only the last remains of some candy wrappers.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Haveil Havalim #392 - End of 2012 edition

  Again I am hosting “Haveil Havalim”, a roundup of posts from the Jewish blogsphere, carnival style. Founded by Soccer Dad, Haveil Havalim is a carnival of Jewish blogs — a weekly collection of Jewish & Israeli blog highlights, tidbits and points of interest collected from blogs all around the world. It’s hosted by different bloggers each week and is organized by way of our facebook page.. [The term "Haveil Havalim," which means “Vanity of Vanities,” is from Koheleth, (Ecclesiastes) which was written by King Solom.] Any blogger wishing to be a part of this needs to join the facebook group, and there he can check each week who is hosting and to whom you need to email your weekly posts. (When submitting posts, remember that they should be from the last week.)

[Disclaimer: My posting of Havel Havelim does not mean that I agree with every viewpoint of these blogs.]

Judaism, Torah
Then from the blog "ThinkJudaism" we have two posts, one by Yitzchak Sprung,
'Is Tanya Heresy?Rambam wants to kill Chabad" . As you might expect with a title like that, he received some rather angry comments…..
   And the second entry from "ThinkJudaism" is one by Gene Matanky , titled "A response toRabbi Sacks: survival of the religious".

   Ever-prolific Batya of Me-ander (and Shiloh Musings) sends us
"I Have Nothing Against English………. ". an interesting comment on store signs.

    Jacob Richman posts New Video: Learn Hebrew Phrases - Cooking and Baking on his blog "Good News From Israel" and it is a real Hebrew lesson for any who need it.

   I (Rickismom of "Beneath the Wings") give you a look at how women want it all, in "Feeling Young, Looking Older"

Best of 2012
   Finally, I want to end this edition of “Haveil Havalim” with a special feature: posts considered by their authors (or others) to be their "best post" of 2012.
Rivkah of Bat Aliyah submits "My Father Sent Me" On her journey to making aliyah.

Yosef of "This American Bite" presents a recipe, but much more than that.

  Batya (this time posting on"Shiloh Musings" sent me "Déjà Vu, The Bible: Did OurWaiting IDF Reservists Feel Like.... "

The "Best of 2012" submission of ThinkJudaism was "Why The Modern Orthodox ShouldSuffer The Most"
   In this post he asks why Pesach and Yom Kippur, the two most difficult Jewish holidays are the ones most adhered to…. And reaches some conclusions as a result.

   Finally my contribution for the "best of 2012" is "Perceptions of our Challenges"

I have a few nominations for "Best of the year: from

Thursday, December 27, 2012


  Thank G-d I did not gain this week- I stayed the same, which considering my overeating over the weekend, is good enough.  I probably managed that because this week I REALLY tried hard to keep to my plan,
[image: Drawing of swimmer.] 
  But my real progress has been with exercise. My aerobic walking speed has increased from 1100 steps in 10 minutes to up to 1200. And tonight I swam 50 laps-which I have done in the past, BUT the first 40 laps (my normal amount) I did in record time. Once it took me an hour to do the 40 laps (which equal a kilometer), and recently I managed to do them in about 56 minutes. Tonight I did them in 53. THAT'S progress!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Feeling Young, looking older

When I was obese, people used to tell me I had a "young face". Well, the last five to ten kilos (I have lost 75) have given me a LOT of wrinkles. But I knew that this would happen, and when I started losing I said: 
I can look young and feel old (staying overweight) OR 
I can look old and feel young. 

And I am glad I chose the second! 
I FEEL SSOO much younger. emoticon 

The only problem is that now I want to look young, too! emoticon emoticon  In spite of reading Batya's post...)

Sunday, December 23, 2012


   Mrs.-lost-75-kilos managed to break her diet royally over Thursday evening, Friday, and Shabbas.
   But just saying "I goofed", "I flopped", or the like is not going to prevent it from happening again, is it?

   So I tried to figure out what was going on. OK- there was emotional eating involved; I had a lot going on and a lot of stress.

Then I remembered how little an amount of sleep I got Thursday evening.

And due to heavy rainfall, I did not go walking on Friday.

  I was stressed out, and fell back on emotional eating. Then, not walking compounded the problem, as I find walking a good stress-reducer. And perhaps I am more "forgiving" of slips over the weekend.

1)     Have substitutes ways to deal with stress when walking isn't possible: reading, knitting, listening to music, dancing in the house, etc.
2)     Get my sleep – practically, by cutting down on computer time.
3)     Figure out some reward for keeping on track over shabbas.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Discount

    Ricki's water consumption had always been plentiful. She changed her clothes several times a day and bathed frequently as well. This was tolerable until about a year ago, when the water company added a higher tariff for "copious" water usage. And due to Ricki's frequent bathes, and the resulting high number of loads of laundry, we fit the criteria. Our water bill sky rocketed. I wrote the company a letter, explaining why it was not fair that we pay the higher tariff.
   This week, I received a letter from the water company. They have decided to give parents of children with special needs a discount. We just need to inform them if she is no longer living at this address.

    Unfortunately, You're a bit late, I informed them……


    Several weeks ago while walking one evening at dusk, I happened upon a small narrow park that runs between houses on either side for about five blocks. While it was a cute little addition to my list of "green" places to walk,  I didn't happen to return to it until this last Saturday.
   Saturday morning I had taken a nice walk, but knowing that I would be traveling after shabbas to a "final night of Channukah" get-together at the house of one of my sons, I decided that a little bit more calorie-burning exercise would be prudent.** And since my son was willing to join me, I was glad indeed to go walking.
   It just so happened that we walked to an area near the above-mentioned park, so I mentioned to my son that I have a cute place to show him. We reached it soon enough and he agreed that it was pretty nice. When we finally walked to the end of the stretch, and reached a city street, we were about to turn back when something caught my eye. I hadn't noticed it, in the dark, the first time I was there… but now I perceived that across the street, and a bit to the left, there seemed to be a small road leading steeply uphill.
   "Hey, look at that road- maybe there is a nice view from up there…"
   So the two of us traipsed up the hill, discovering a small park at the top. And from there we beheld  a magnificent view of Tel Aviv, and the Mediterranean beyond. (We were walking in a suburb of Tel Aviv.) So Monday I returned, camera in hand:
(picture: view of Tel Aviv)

   Oh, the title of this post, you are wondering??  We discovered this view because we had the spontaneity to check out that little road to the left…….

 (**On Shabbat I walk only if I feel like it, and at a slower pace than on weekdays.)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Losing Weight- For ME or My Ego???

   Although "Beneath the Wings" was originally a blog meant to deal with living with a teen with Down syndrome, my first post was about being overweight:

Yesterday on the bus... living fat.

Yesterday I was on the bus, and as I boarded, I automatically checked first to see if the one slightly-wider-than-most-seat was available. It wasn't, being occupied, ironically, by a waif-like wisp of a teenager. Of course. The single seats were taken as well. I like them, because even though they are a bit of a tight fit, I can relax when seated there, knowing that I am not infringing on anyone else's space. So I choose to stand, not feeling comfortable to squeeze in next to someone else. Luckily, a single seat soon was vacated, and I scooted over to sit down.

A few moments later, a woman who looks even larger than me entered, and sat down in a double seat. I even did a reality check: "Is she REALLY that much more overweight than me? Maybe I am underestimating my size?" (After all, I nearly ever look into a full-length mirror....) However, I decided that even so, she was definitely more overweight than myself. Then I wondered: Does she also feel frustrated by her weight? Is she afraid of infringing on others? Does she feel guilty for filling two seats? Is she feeling exasperated that others label her solely on the basis of her physical dimensions? (Which I was doing up to that point, I must confess.)

Amazingly, a thiny-minny teen soon filled the half-spot next to her. Was the overweight lady pleased to have someone next to her? And why do I care so much about whatever is going on in her mind?
   *     *     *     *      *   
That post was written over 5 years ago. In the interim, I have lost 75 kilos. I am viewed by others as having pretty much a normal weight. I certainly no longer get the type of snide comments, glances, and judgments that are part and parcel of the public life of anyone who is extremely overweight.

   But I still wonder over that last sentence from that post:   "And why do I care so much about whatever is going on in her mind?" Here are some thoughts:

   I believe that people who are overweight should try and lose weight. Let's face it, the quality of life, the state of our health, is so much better when we are thin. It is definitely worth the effort.
  Do I believe that I am per se a better person because I am not fat? NO. NO.  NO.  Yes, I have grown from the journey—but most of us have something in our lives that we grow from. That is what life is about, improving ourselves. So while I am a better, stronger person than I was 5 years ago, that is due to the changes in my personality arising from meeting a challenge, not to being thin in and of itself.

   And yet, I must admit that I enjoy the compliments I receive.

   In a way I feel a bit guilty for that, as if by accepting those compliments, I am validating society's warped view that sees people who are overweight as intrinsically inferior. (Yes, that sounds harsh, but often that is the message society is sending us.)   I want to be thin, in order to be as healthy and energetic as possible. As for my ego, I wish he would remember that my worth depends on G-d's opinion of me—due to my actions – and certainly not due to my weight (or lack of it….)

"Have You Recovered?"

    I was pretty sure I would never sit in our pediatrician's office again. With Ricki dead, and all the other "kids" being at an age above the 18-year-old cut off age for pediatricians, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that unless I would run into her doctor on the street, I wouldn't see her pediatrician. After Ricki's death I wondered what he would say if he saw me, but knew that it would be awkward for him, at best.  I am sure every doctor queries himself what could have been done different to prevent a death.
   Well, this afternoon found me sitting in his office, doing a favor for my daughter, whose son goes to the same doctor. Both He and his secretary asked me straight away "Have you recovered?"
   I answered "Yes", but thought to myself that it was a pretty stupid question. Ask how I am, how I am faring, yes. Recovered?!? Sorry, you never recover from the death of a child.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Walking for the Strangest Reasons….

   Today I took a long walk for a strange reason.... Today is one of the eight days of Hanukkah. And the traditional fare for the holiday,here in Israel are round circular jelly-filled doughnuts  calorie bombs.  
     Now I can do without jelly doughnuts; the other traditional food, fried potato "latkes" are much more tempting to me. However, one of the local coffee shops has complicated matters by making butterscotch doughnuts. And I love butterscotch... 
    So this morning, despite the forecasted rain, I took my favorite long walk, from my house to the ocean, and along the port area, JUST so I would burn off enough calories to enable quilt- free consumption of a butterscotch doughnut. A bit crazy, I know, but what the h-ll, even I want a donut for Hanukkah..... 

Oh, and I was rewarded for my efforts with a wonderful view of the storm clouds coming in, and a roaring wavy ocean!!!! 

PS : later I was dancing all around my kitchen : with all that sugar in my system I was ENERGETICALLY "flying"! LOL!!!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Motzai Shabbas Walk

Part One:
   Saturday evening ("motzai shabbas") I was feeling a bit blue. I felt like a pity party was coming to me. Hanukkah had started--- everyone seemed in a festive mood-- but me. 
   I missed Ricki. This is the first Hanukah we have without her. In addition none of my kids were here to celebrate the first night with us.... and in addition,  a certain member of the family had criticized me the whole day. (That was THEIR problem, but it was beginning to get to me.....) 

    Finally, I went out for a walk. After an hour, my mood started to lift. Slowly, as the endorphins flooded my system, my mood lightened.

What happened? Nothing. Ricki is still dead, my other problems continue. But I was glad to be taking care of my health. I was glad to get out of the house a bit. I enjoyed MOVING my body. 

When things go wrong we can drown in pity.... or get up and do what we can with the life that we have! 

Part Two:
    Back in October I blogged about falling a few times (replete with black eyes), and how I finally figured out that I was tripping over a certain too-loose (and therefore too-long) skirt. 
    So this last Saturday evening  I fell again.
    This last time I wasn't sure if I just didn't see an uneven part in the sidewalk (my Dad, RIP, always DID tell me to stop dragging my feet...)... or if my winter Sabbath skirt from last year (which is what I was wearing) is the instigator of this commotion. The skirt is a BIT lose, but not that much. Or so I thought. 
    I just may shorten all my skirts a few centimeters. [If I keep falling I just might risk doing a "humpty Dumpty" move and break something that will put me out of walking for a while.] 
    And of course, when I fell SOMEONE had to witness it (can't get away with falling unobserved, it seems). 2 young bicyclers across the street stopped, and as I got up asked if I was OK 
"I'm fine, I seem to do this every once in a while..." 
"Hey, watch over yourself. Take care..." 
Yeah, I better..... 

The Store Owner's Lie

[image: lady clothes shopping]
    I knew it wasn't true. And he was probably just trying to get a sale…
    I was out shopping for my last winter-wardrobe item, a nice skirt for the Sabbath.  I had even considered sewing myself one (years ago I had to sew EVERYTHING I wore…)… but noticing the prices in the stores I passed (in the cheaper Tel-Aviv area), I realized that I could possibly buy for about the same price as buying good cloth. True, the quality would not be as good, but I would be saving myself time.
   I entered a store that had some lovely skirts outside.
-"Do you have skirts in size 46?" (Note: Israeli sizing is different than American.)
-"46?!? But you are THIN! You need only a 44."  [Now he DID have larger sizes. It wasn't as if he was willing me into his largest size.]  It turned out that the size 44 skirts fit perfectly….

   OK, here's the rub: it could be that HIS skirts are marked smaller than true size, in order to give an ego push to the potential client. That's good marketing. (Although in another store I was a 42!)
 And the REAL rub: 44 is not "THIN". If I can barely fit into a few (and not all) one-size garments, I am not "thin".

   HOWEVER, there is a limit to how bad a lie can be. It needs to be half-believable… the store owner is not going to say I look like a twenty year old…

   And, quite frankly, I never even DREMPT, in my 61 years of life, that ANYONE, even a store owner drumming up business, would call me "thin"!!! NEVER!

(Me to myself:   "Thin?!? Really?!??? ... no... but on the way there!!!!"  ) 
PS: Even 95% of the way there!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Diet "Doughnuts"

[image: diet doughnut with a cup of coffee.]

   Friday morning was the last weekday before Hanukkah, and suddenly I realized that my husband and home-from-the-army-for-the-weekend-soldier-son would undoubtedly be expecting jelly donuts (Israel's typical Hanukkah calorie-bomb) after lighting the menorah Saturday night.
   Now I vowed NOT to fry doughnuts myself; they are too tasty (mine are) and way too fattening. But the store ones (mass-produced) are really not that tasty (too sweet). And besides, if I had even one of them, it would cost me royally- to the tune of about 400 calories.

   Then I remembered a recipe for "baked" doughnut. I dug it out, halved the recipe (knowing that leftovers would be tempting), and made some. I filled them with no-sugar blueberry jam.

   An admission: they don't taste like fried doughnuts. But I had added a bit of brandy extract (NOT brandy, just flavoring), and that, together with the blueberry filling, made them pretty good. Good enough to stave off complaints, and low-calorie enough that I could indulge in one.

   Sometimes the best way to diet is to walk around your yetzer hara (evil inclination), rather than hitting it straight on…..

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


    The other day I was walking with a friend, and as we crossed the street, she paused.  A moment later, crossing, she threw me this comment: "I always try and make eye contact with the driver before crossing." Frankly, I thought she was exaggerating a bit.
  I mean, even though walkers have the right of way, obviously it is better to be careful. I mean, if I am walking for my health, I certainly want to take the care needed not to get run over. But a car that has stopped for you has stopped, no?

  Not necessarily.

   Tonight (Monday PM), I went swimming, and felt GREAT! I even, finally after a year and a half of swimming, cut down my time for 40 laps (1 kilometer) from 60 minutes to 56. [Doesn't sound like much? Well, for over a year I've been trying to increase my speed with no success until now.] Walking home I felt energetic,
  As I was crossing a street, I saw the car that was coming brake to a stop, and as I started passing in front of him, he started accelerating. I gave a scream and he stopped, mumbling "Sorry".

[SORRY!?!?!? That's ALL?!?!?!?!]  

   I figure that he had stopped to look at his cellphone (or the like), and accelerated when finished, unfortunately without looking first (maybe since it was 11:30 PM).

Lesson learned: Make eye contact with the driver when crossing the street…..