Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The bus seat partner

Today Ricki and I were returning from her swimming lesson, by way of bus. She wanted to seat separate from me. She likes the independence, so sometimes I agree to sit elsewhere. At first it seemed that she just wanted the extra empty seat for her bag. But as the bus started filling up a bit, she moved the bag to allow others to sit. She saw a twwn get on, and asked her “Want to sit with me?”
Well, the teen was amazing. Even though she was with a friend, she caught on that Ricki wanted company, and told her friend “I’m sitting here.” She talked very nicely to Ricki. Five bus stops later we alighted; the teen waved, and went to join her friend.
The nicest thing is that she did it all very naturally, and not in a “Pity party” way.

Good for Her!
(And good for Ricki to show a bit of initiative!)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Computer Glitch

Today I spent much of the day trying to deal with a computer glitch. In order to fix something, I had deleted my printer, and when trying to reinstall it, the program decided that my main disk had no empty space (not true at all!). Eventually I got everything working, but felt quite frustrated at the waste of time.
I suspect my husband felt that it was an “avoidance of work” on my part, since my kitchen is still in a state of post-Pesach havoc. (I had put the special Passover dishes away, but had only arranged to arrange about two thirds of the regular dishes. The rest were strewn around VERY haphazardly.)
Yet the reality is that Ricki’s return to school means my return to adapting materials….which is impossible without a good graphics program/ scanner/ printer/computer.

And you can add “time” to that list, which means that tonight I will not be tackling those dishes, either. Geography of France is awaiting my “touch”.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Thoughtful Gesture

Tomorrow Ricki resumes school after a two-week “holiday” break. The pause in studies has left her a bit hesitant, a touch disconnected with the reality that tomorrow morning it is “get up and go” as usual.
So it was with great pleasure that I witnessed a tiny act of thoughtfulness and wisdom:
Ricki’s teacher (regular classroom) called her up this evening, to ask how her vacation had gone, and to mention that classes resume tomorrow morning.
Ricki bragged of course about how much she had helped (today she actually did). It all was a good way of “priming the pump” for tomorrow.
Well, I DID enjoy this! (See previous post.) Thank G-d, the family pitched in and helped. (Two teenage sons peeled one day no less than 60 potatoes… there being little else appropriate in the way of starch for Passover.) All of our married children came at one point or the other during the seven day holiday, and I had time to read four books!

I hope to recommence posting regularly now that Passover is behind us.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Today I bought vegetables for Pesach. Now, since we don’t eat any bread, rice, or legumes on Passover, I needed to buy a not-inconsiderable amount of vegetables, because what else will there be to eat?

Later, as I was putting the produce away in the fridge (some of it…), I paused.
“You realize that you are going to peel all of this in the ten days ahead? OK, so the family will help. MOST of it….

Yes, I will.
It is my privilege, opportunity, and pleasure to host my married sons and their families for parts of the holidays, so I am going to ENJOY this!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Rushed Countdown

Well, it is already less than a week before Pesach (Passover), and cleaning is moving ahead full steam. I am actually not doing too badly (schedule-wise). This is possibly due to the fact that my printer is broken, so I am not tempted to make worksheets, books, or the like for Ricki. (I am not going to make them if I can’t print them!)
The most frustrating thing are the teens who somehow expect good solid meals even though I am presently kitchen-less. (The kitchen is between regular and Pesach state.) It seems to me that sandwiches are fine!
We were at the seamstress again, and she was nice and understood Ricki’s need for privacy! Also, I went shopping a bit with Ricki, and for once she was well-behaved. Progress!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Salad Maker

My daughter Ricki has the attribute that many of us do: she knows what she SHOULD eat, but doesn’t apply it so well. For most of us, this means trying to eat healthy, yet occasionally (or more often) eating something we know is not a good health choice. Then more often then naught, we will feel guilty, and try again.
Ricki has a unique approach. She will announce that she is going to eat “healthy”. She then prepares a salad, and some other food. Then she will eat the other food, and and decide that she is “too tired” to eat the salad.
What is exasperating about this is that the vegetables, after she has made the salad are often unusable and unappetizing for others to use. Sometimes she adds too much oil. On occasion she concocts salads with extra, strange ingredients. And if one tries to stop her (“You know you will not eat the salad in the end…”), she swears in all seriousness that THIS time she will.
She WANTS to eat right, but somehow it just doesn’t go.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Fitting

I went with Ricky for a fitting of a new dress I am having sewn for her. It was our second visit to this seamstress. At the first, when we were ordering the dress, Ricki was not on good behavior. The lady tried to cajole her to stand straight, but I could see that she was not willing to use a firm tone with Ricki, and instead offered her sweets. I was non too pleased, but decided that considering Ricki’s behavior, and her not knowing her, it could pass. Today Ricki also was not 100%, but was a bit better. The lady brought the basted dress for Ricky to try on. The problem was, that her son (age 6? 7?) was in the room. Finally I asked, “You want her to try the dress on over her clothing?!?”
“No. of course not.”
“Then your son has to leave the room.” (DUH. I thought it was obvious!)

In our society, where women are very modest, a thirteen year old would never try on a dress in front of a boy. The only reason I can think of for her to expect Ricky to go ahead and try on the dress was because she views her as a young child due to her “specialness”. Well, I certainly wasn’t going to go for that!

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Smart and the Didn’t Think

The Smart
I took Ricki to the hairdresser today to get her hair cut (her sister doesn’t have time lately). She was last at a hairdresser before her brother’s wedding several years ago. Even though I assumed that she had forgotten, she hadn’t. She knew just what to do, and asked me about what wedding we would be attending!

The Didn’t Think
Ricki ruined an album full of photos today, because she took it in a plastic bag to her exercise class- - - - along with a popsicle.

Are We Thankful for What We Have?

In Orthodox Jewish communities, everyone is busy with cleaning for Passover. It involves a lot of work, and often late nights. Women tend to demonize it a bit.
But let’s think back and look. Are any of your family members in the hospital? Do you have money to buy matzahs? Are you free of worry over a possible blood-libel, as Jews used to worry about at this time of year?
If these, and most of the other areas of our lives are intact, I think we need to count our blessings and stop complaining about the work.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Recipe Book

Some women get shoes or dresses for Yom Tov (holidays); I buy books. So I went late last week to buy books to treat myself with during Pesach (Passover), which will arrive in two more weeks. In addition, I bought a Passover cookbook. [Anyone who knows me and books will ask “Why so early? Won’t you dive into them before the holiday?” The answer is that from now to Passover I will be too busy to go shopping. I manage to stay away from the books by putting them up in the boxes with my Pesach dishes where they are rather inaccessible.] The cookbook I allowed myself to peek into, because I would need to buy the needed ingredients if I planned to use the recipes.
Now a note on me and cooking... I don’t mind on occasion spending time and energy to cook something nice, especially if it is for holidays, and if guests are expected. Other then that, I usually go for simpler foods, simply because of time limitations. Also, even on holidays I will only fiddle around with a few things, because if I am cooking for a large crowd, I have limited time and energy. (Especially since I will want to dive into a new book as soon as possible….) This is surely true on Passover, when nearly everything has to be made from scratch, since few foods are produced for Passover with an excellent kashruth (kosher) supervision. You shouldn’t think my family starves on Pesach. My standard repertoire of Passover dishes, besides soup, fish, and meat, include various salads, eggplant spread, mayonnaise, and apple jelly.
So even though I have one very good down-to-earth Pesach cookbook, I purchased another one, to give me some new ideas and variety, including even a few fancier things for Yom Tov (the more important days of the holiday).
Well, I must say I was a bit disappointed in the end. Almost everything in the new cookbook was fancy (few normal recipes), but worst of all, several calling for ingredients I would not use nor obtain for Passover. (Many called for margarine or butter. I have never even HEARD of Passover margarine. Butter I can get, but it makes the food “milky”, which is not suitable to use along with meat meals, which are customary on Yom Tov.) Add to that the fact that 95% of the meat recipes all called for an oven, and I don’t have a kosher for Pesach meat oven. I am hoping tomorrow to take a second, closer look at the book, but I think I will need to stay with my standard fare and down-to-earth cookbook, which I do certainly enjoy.
But then, if I get one or two really good ideas, and suitably impress my daughters-in-law, maybe it will be worth it? (But then what will I do with the awful pride that will result…?)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A Mom’s Worry

A young woman came to borrow a pregnancy book from me today. I was a bit surprised, as she is really only finishing her first month, and most women are a bit shy to share the news with non-family members so early. She was definitely nervous. She looked at Ricki, though, and didn’t get a “fright”. (Some pregnant women do….) This lady was concerned about eating right, not overdoing things, etc. I gave her a few pointers, like stay away from “natural” drugs as much as she would regular ones. Then I told her “I can see you are nervous. Know that worrying about your kids is part of the package. We all worry, we let our kids take normal risks (like class trips), and we learn to live with it.”
I remember the first time my oldest step-daughter sent HER oldest on a school trip. She called me up and said "now I understand...."