Friday, May 30, 2008

A Digital Picture Frame

In general, I am against bragging about anything gashmius (physical) in this blog. After all, if someone reading this CAN’T afford the same item, it is not very kindly on my part to brag about it. But just this once, I will. If you would want such a frame, but can’t afford it, please forgive me.
A few weeks ago, at about the same time that my son was to return from the US, I discovered that there is something in this world called a digital picture frame. I was immediately taken by the idea, and asked him to pick one up for me. He refused, saying that it was a terrible waste of money, and was definitely not worth buying. Another child, who had seen such a frame by an acquaintance, echoed the same thoughts. So I asked my husband to bring one on his return from an overseas trip. We contented ourselves with a simple version, a less-expensive option. (The resolution is a bit weak, but OK.)
So now I have it set up in the hall. It has lovely pictures from Colorado (like the one at the top of this page), and pictures of the children/grandchildren. I was careful not to include any pictures that ANY of my very religious sons might protest.
And I love it. I suppose I will be more nonchalant about it after a while (but perhaps not; I always enjoy my computer’s screen saver). However, it is hard to imagine not loving pictures of the grandchildren. And the pictures of Colorado mean “family” to me as well. The beautiful views of G-d’s creation are a reminder of the lovely summers I have spent there, particularly the last. So this frame is a little bond linking me to my present and past. Now to me, that’s a good deal!

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Several classes form Ricki’s school had a special program today. Her class and another one, as part of the program, did a dance. Ricki’s aid said that she wanted to go home for those hours, and that I should bring Ricki home. So I did. The dance was really pretty simple, and Ricki did quite well (except when she snuck in a wave or two to me).
At the end of the program, they let Ricki dance by herself on the stage. Afterwards a bunch of girls (not from her class) were “cheering” her: RICKI! RICKI! I lifted a hand and said “You can stop right there. She REALLY doesn’t need this….” I don’t mind a bit of praise, but when it is done in an “overboard” manner, it is just so patronizing that I can’t stand it.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Prejudiced for Girls

I am embarressed to say that I have one older son (not so religious) who enjoys playing the computer game GTA. I do not like it. First, it promotes disrespect of the police. In addition,I feel that it has violence to an extent that it can numb one’s sensitivities. He claims that when he’s playing, he pretends to be killing terrorists. Well, I STILL don’t like it. Killing, even of terrorists, should not, in my mind, be a “game”. Such games destroys the fineness of the soul. (Why I let him play it anyway is a different matter. The lesser of two evils…)
Something weird came to my attention. On rare occaision, Ricki stands aside, viewing this. And if my son is shooting he might hit a woman. If he does so, Ricki will pipe up right away: “Not the girls. Only boys”. This puzzles me. Does she identify with them? Maybe it is almost “real” to her? For sure I have to check this out. (And anyway, I want to get this away from HER eyesight at least.) What do you think?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Long-Ago Trip to the Galilee

Sometime soon Ricki’s class at school will be having their big yearly trip, this time to the Galilee area. Ricki’s aid can’t go, so I will have to fill in for her. Thinking about this today reminded me about a trip I took some 30 years ago. Our “seminary” school had a trip to the Galilee. One of my classmates, “Chaya”, was blind. When we got out of the busses, the “guide” looked at Chaya and started mumbling something about Chaya not being able to go; it might be dangerous. After asking a few questions, I realized that his fear was misplaced (he was seeing “blind”, not “Chaya”). I took responsibility for her. I had read a fair amount about blindness, and knew how to guide and describe things to someone with visual impairment. And, indeed we had absolutely no problems. In fact, the only one in our class who DIDN’T wet her feet crossing a certain pool by rock “stepping stones” was Chaya. The class united in insuring that. I am glad that we had “Chaya”, not “blind” as a classmate.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

I was Thrilled

I was thrilled when my son, recently arrived from a few months stay in the US, sat me down last week to practice his English. First, I was happy to see how well his ability to understand the language has improved since his previous return from America half a year ago.
Secondly, he basically was picking my brain for some family history. I am lucky that my parents took the time to record as basic family history. I think that it is an important thing to do, unless, perhaps, you really are verbal about it, and pass it on verbally. I have yet to engage on such a project (who has the time?). So I was extra pleased that my son picked my younger years and my parents’ families as a topic to practice his English with. I had the definite pleasure of feeling that it mattered to him!

Friday, May 23, 2008


Summer has arrived, and so have the ants. They have surfaced exactly at their favorite haunt from last year, a kitchen shelf full of small items, which is difficult to consistently keep clean. No surprise that this shelf is their “hangout”. So I thoroughly washed the surface, hoping to make it clear that they are unwelcome company.
Well, these persistent creatures (or their friends; I killed most of the first batch) reappeared the following day. Despite the fact that the shelf was spotless. So today I applied spray.

But just take a look at what we can learn from the ant. Our sages say, “Lazy one, go watch the ant…”. But I think that there is a lot more that we can learn from them. First, they are persistent. They don’t give up very easily. They have great memories… they knew exactly where to go, didn’t they? They work well in teams, and communicate very well with each other.

That’s a pretty good list!

Just don’t learn from them to be pests, OK?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

When Knowing is Not Enough

Ricki’s Dad is returning from overseas, arriving in a few hours. After he had been gone about a week, Ricki started bugging me “When is Daddy coming home?” So I explained. Despite repetitive descriptions and elucidations, she didn’t seem to be “getting it”. This puzzled me, as she has a very good sense of time, and knows the days of the week thoroughly. Finally I realized that the problem was probably not that she didn’t understand the answer, but she wanted a different one.
So I decided to at least give her a sense of control. I drew a timeline, and each day she moves an attached magnet to the appropriate day, one forward. Immediately she stopped asking when her father would return. Not only did she understand, but she felt a sense of participation in bringing him home.

Don’t we all feel at times that we want to ask G-d something again, because we desire a different response? It can be so frustrating when we desire a specific answer, and G-d “somehow” decides to overwrite our script of “how things should be”.

But G-d is not Rickismom. HE never gets tired of the request, and will listen to us again and again. Wishing us all happy answers, Rickismom.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Sometimes it easy not to notice progress… especially if things still need improving. But yesterday and today I noticed. Ricki is (Thank G-d) getting better.
I was in a stationary store with her yesterday, and while she touched nearly everything, she also listened when I said “Put it back, I am not buying that.”. She didn’t throw a moaning and groaning scene either. A definite improvement over a few months ago.
Today I was on the bus with her, and she didn’t make faces at anyone, and when I saw a friend, and told Ricki that this lady is a friend of mine, she actually said “Hi” instead of growling. And her homework sessions have been much better the last few days. She’s even been taking grater care not to jiggle her hearing aid (which makes her squeck)….
Now if I can get her to bed….. Oh, she said “OK”. !!

The “blind dollar”

I saw an article on the US news, saying that the courts have ruled that it is discriminatory for the US not to adapt dollars for the use of the blind. I opened the “discussion” page, in order to post that here in Israel, bills have been easily adapted for the blind by the use of raised shapes.
I was amazed at how many people were posting against any adaptation. It would cost MONEY (oh, the “g-d” of money!).I could not believe the small-mindedness of these posters. It was very disheartening to read. If that is the way most people in America feel, I’m glad I live here. People are misinformed here. Budgets are tight. There is discrimination against the mentally impaired. Here in our town physical access for the disabled is very poor.

But at least we are working on it. No one doubts about the need for the situation to improve.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Belief (Emuna)

A friend recently asked how can one keep one’s belief. Especially if one has had times or situations of hardship.

The first question is not “Why do the good suffer?” One can not even begin to approach this question unless you have established a belief in G-d. Why do I believe in G-d? I simply look at the world—the Rocky Mountains, the eco system, the hexagons in a beehive, the endocrine system…..and I simply do not believe that it can be an accident. If it was all from evolution, why do we not see more fossils of the non-adaptive, not plausible forms? No, I am convinced that there is a G-d. The odds of such an intricate world being created by chance is so infinitely improbable, that compared to it the US lottery should be a cinch to win.
Once I believe that there is a G-d, THEN I can ask why does He let man suffer. Why does He allow evil people to crush others? Why does He allow a world that seems to make no sense? And how can we have “religious” people who are so imperfect?
My basic view is that G-d did not give us any guarantees about life being good, being easy, or being “just”. I can hope in an afterlife that will “even” things out. I can try to behave the way I feel G-d wants. At least I have the satisfaction that in this way I am trying to make the world a better place. Other’s don’t? So I am not perfect either. We all need to work on ourselves. And lucky are those who do.
The “religious” fellow who acts poorly may not truly believe in consequences to his actions (probably because he was brought up to “do” certain customs, but deep belief was not really taught). Or it could be that he has personality problems that are interfering with his knowledge of what is right (which happens to all of us at times, to some degree). Religious belief can help me act better, but it can not force me to do so. I can pay for membership in a gym, but if I do not exercise my spiritual muscles, they will stay flabby, despite the “gym” membership.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Starting the Day Out Right

This morning, as I was returning home after taking Ricki to school, I was treated to a real treat.

No, not iced coffee.
Nor chocolate.
Not even a good book.

Simply, three people passing me on the street gave me a moment of time.
-The principal of Ricki’s school smiled and said “Good Day”
-Her geography teacher (who I have never met, but have talked numerous time to by phone) said, approaching me: “You’re Ricki’s mom, right? I am so impressed by the way you adapt her materials…”
- A third teacher, not one of Ricki’s, but the daughter of a neighbor: “Have a nice day…”

How much time did these “goodies” take? Under ten seconds each. A smile. A short word. I wish I could say that I do the same more often than I do….

Telephone and Gear Shift

I would like to share with you two small vignettes of Ricki from the weekend.
The first is after-the-fact. We had noticed that one of the two portable phones was misplaced. I had heard it ringing in Ricki’s room, but couldn’t see it. On Friday, one of my sons wanted to sleep there (other activities going on in the house made napping in his own room impossible). I was afraid that the portable would wake him up. So I turned on the “locater” button, to try and locate (what else?) the wayward handset. We looked and looked. Behind Ricki’s bed, under her blanket, etc. Suddenly I had a hunch, and opened her “trinkets and precious objects” drawer, and there it was. (After all, her brothers keep phones –cellular- in THEIR drawers, don’t they?)
The second vignette occured on Saturday afternoon. We were all sitting around chatting, and Ricki was playing “driver”. With a plastic plate for a stirring wheel, she was turning hairpin corners, etc. Suddenly she reached out with her right arm to “switch gears”. We were bowled over with her originality!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Do Not Stand Idly

This morning I had the chance to fulfill the “mitzvah” (good deed) of “Do not stand idly by your brother’s blood”. I will need to preface this with a bit of information.
I live in a community where the crime late is probably the lowest in the world. In addition, the residents are helpful people in general. It is common for young children (say age 5 up to 9) to stand on street corners, waiting for an adult to “cross them” the street. At 7:45 AM, and at 13:00, the hours that these children are going to and from school, the streets are full of adults and teens, and this is really pretty safe. I, for example, would have no fear of Ricki being molested during those hours (also because we HAVE talked about strangers), and after crossing her the last corner* I let her continue on her own.
Now I personally have my qualms about after 8:00 AM. Then the streets are not full of other children and teens, and any who are still about are intent upon arriving to school, as they are late. But since we are a very low crime-rate community, parents sometimes get too complacent or unaware of potential dangers, even if they are unlikely to occur.
But this morning was something entirely different. I took Ricki to school a bit late this morning, because her brother’s return from America had attracted many friends, and she was up enjoying the merriment until a ghastly hour. (I plead the fifth.) In order that she not be a complete zombie in school today, I let her sleep extra late, and let her be a bit tardy. On my way home there is a corner with a stop light. Since the street to the right is not a busy one, and I need to go right, I usually do not cross at the stop light. Instead, I turn right and cross the road further along, where the street has no stop light, and is usually empty. Why stand waiting for the light to change, when I can do it quicker, and just as safely, further down?
But as I was turning right, I noticed two tiny children waiting at the stop-light corner. So I did not disregard them , but backtracked, and waited with them. We crossed together. But frankly, it is beyond me how in the world can someone send such young children (age 3 and 4?; 4 and 5?) on their own. Are they THAT sure that the child won’t jump into the street? That they will wait for the light? That no one will accost them? I only regret that I did not try and get their name/ phone number from them, or even walk them back home, and give their parents a piece of my mind.

*We are still working on her crossing streets safely. She is not 100%

A Look from Outside

Today I guess I got a view of how others see me. Sort of. (The "sort of" I’ll explain soon.)
Near our grocery store lives a family that has a daughter with some kind of mental impairment. Often I see someone (I don’t know if it is a hired worker, or an elder sister?) walking with this older teen to somewhere. It could be she is even over 20, meaning that she is probably setting out towards a closed workplace. Otherwise I assume that she is going to school. The problem is that this teen is almost always very belligerent, and obviously upset about something. I can only assume that this family has checked out their options, and are working to make the situation better for both themselves and this young woman.
And I admit, I think to myself, “My G-d, I hope that Ricki..” (who has a belligerent side) “…won’t be like that in 6 years.” As much as one reads about the loveliness of “diversity”, I prefer, definitely, that Ricki will be congenial and happy.

Don’t I wish that for all of my offspring?

And I will divulge that yes… I do have thoughts of “Gee, how does that poor family manage with this?” It sounds very close to the pity I would not want to receive from others.
Sort of.
Why “sort of”?
Because I don’t see the family as “unfortunates”. I see them as a family coping with a challenge. And I am sure that they have benefited as well from the experience.

But I do hope that they are working on improving the situation.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I guess G-d will Have to Manage on His own (Without my help)

Someone by the name of Lori Borgman wrote an excellent inspirational article for mothers of children with special needs. (You can see the entire piece at ) But I am going to quote just a bit and take it in a completely different direction.
I Quote:
“Expectant mothers waiting for a newborn's arrival say they don't care whatsex the baby is. They just want to have ten fingers and ten toes.Mothers lie.Every mother wants so much more.She wants a perfectly healthy baby with a round head, rosebud lips, buttonnose, beautiful eyes and satin skin.She wants a baby so gorgeous that people will pity the Gerber baby for beingflat-out ugly.She wants a baby that will roll over, sit up and take those first stepsright on schedule (according to the baby development chart on page 57,column two).Every mother wants a baby that can see, hear, run, jump and fire neurons bythe billions.She wants a kid that can smack the ball out of the park and do toe pointsthat are the envy of the entire ballet class.Call it greed if you want, but a mother wants what a mother wants.”

My comments:
There is something else mothers often want. They want that their children should share their ideals, beliefs, and aspirations. And very often, children decide at some point to go off on a tangent that their parents never dreamed of. I know that I did it to my parents. I was raised to believe in college, honesty, and love of nature. And while I still love nature, and try to be honest, my lifestyle is much more closed that that of my parents. I once asked my mother how she “dealt” with that, and she said: “The bird doesn’t fall that far from the nest.”
And it is indeed true. I am amazed at how similar I am to my mother, despite my differences from her.
And now it is my turn to cope. Two of my sons are planning to move away from home soon. They claim that it is to be able to have friends over late at night, but I know that in truth it is because they do not want to live with all the restrictions that an orthodox Jewish life entails.
My first reaction was: “I have to protest! Silence is consent!” Thank- G-d I had the common sense to NOT do that.
My second reaction was: “Is it my fault?” Well, maybe 5%. The other 95% I refuse to bill myself for. But, what difference does it make that it isn’t my fault? On judgment day, it will make a difference. Not here.
My third thought was: “Will the neighbors feel that it is my fault?” Here I decided to actively decide that I needed to be concerned with the opinion of G-d, and not of man.

And through it all:
The answer: I can’t. I guess I will have to let G-d defend himself.
And continue to love my sons for all the good things that they ARE.

I guess G-d will Have to Manage on His own (Without my help)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Frustration (or I Wish They Would Think)

Doing the mind-boggling (yes, it is mind-boggling at 1 AM) work of preparing Ricki’s materials for school can be SO frustrating. For example, when:
1) Today I called the “Ethics” teacher for her lesson plan for tomorrow. It turns out there is a test. It’s a shame I didn’t know. It’s even more of a shame that Ricki will barely have any time to review the material. And above all this means that I will be up late preparing the test. (It’s not for nothing that I stay awake to all sorts of ludicrous hours…..)
2) Yesterday a regular class was cancelled and a student teacher taught. Is it too much to ask that when this pupil hands in her lesson plan to her instructor a week in advance, that I could get a photocopy? I need the main points of the lesson to enable me to prepare the materials Ricki will need. Otherwise she will probably obtain scant benefit from that hour of instruction.
3) The teacher did not have time to prepare her lesson until the night before, which I understand. But understanding will not compensate for the fact that Ricki could not be primed for that lesson.
4) The last one is one of my “favorites”. Thank G-d it rarely happens. I stay up late Sunday night, preparing materials for Ricki, The next morning, groggy-eyed, I arise in order to be sure that Ricki will get to school on time. Then, whether for good reason or not, the aid comes late. (Let’s judge her favorably, and say it is always for good reason, as I am sure it is.) The end result is that the hour I prepared the materials for has come and gone, and Ricki has sat in on a class not meant for her. For what was I up late the night before?

These are, thank G-d, not frequent events. And I am sure, that with all the good intentions in the world, they WILL happen at times. Teachers are human, after all (despite doubts on this point by their students). They sometimes are tired, ill, or dealing with unusual circumstances. I just want to keep these kinds of slip-ups to a minimum.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Lessons’ Lesson

Today, being Monday, Ricki should have gone to her after-school dance and exercise classes. It is the one thing she does on a regular basis with other girls who have Down syndrome, and it is the highlight of her week.
However, today she didn’t go. Her homework hadn’t been done. At least not early enough.
Now often Ricki dilly-dallies with her homework, and Mondays are no exception. Often I have had to prod her to get the minimum amount of homework done. Warnings that we are running late, will need to take a cab, etc., seem to fall on deaf ears until I make it quite clear that we are almost at the “Cinderella momemt”: too late to postpone any further.
Today I was much more low-keyed. And I insisted that ALL her homework be done. In the end, even she saw that it was too late to go. I gave her something fun to do (she HAD done her homework), and hope that she learned today that there will be no more prodding nor forgiveness for studies not taken care of.

Kudos to Ricki’s School

This morning I received a phone call from the office at Ricki’s school, an hour and a half after the school day began. Ricki was on the line.
- “What is Sarah’s (the aid’s) phone?”
- I told her, and heard it repeating it to the secretary.. Then she hung up.

The aid had not arrived, apparently. Yet there are several things going on here:

1) They had Ricki talk to me (life skills). They didn’t even demean her by getting on the line later to check that the number was correct.

2) In her previous school, where they TALKED about how they wanted to include Ricki, would call me in hysterics if the aid was 15 minutes late. They made it clear that it was MY problem, and that if she would not be arriving immediately, I would have to come and return Ricki from school. Here they waited an hour and a half, and even then, it was THEIR problem.

So even though we don’t celebrate Mother’s day in Israel, I guess I did receive a gift, didn’t I?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Make it Relevant!

One of the things I am working hardest on lately is to make Ricki’s studies relevant to real life. While I want her to learn a bit of general information (Paris is in France, teeth have crowns and roots)… that is not enough.
Rather than try and fill her up with more and more “general” knowledge, I am trying to use her studies to accomplish two more things:
To enable us to work on vocabulary, writing sentences, sequencing, and the like. This does not need any special genius to work out.
The second task is harder: to draw from the topic to other, similar topics that she needs to learn. (For example, when studying the mouth, the text stated that the nose “checks” food by smell. I was able to use this as an excuse to deviate to the topic of food spoilage and safety.) Finding topics that are learnable in a school environment, which have some connection to the topic in class, and which are practical, needed items, can be challenging. But when I am able to pull it off, I feel that I am REALLY utilizing inclusion to its fullest.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Memories are very powerful. We can cringe in memory of a bad word said to us, or a misdeed that we regret each and every time it surfaces from the depths of our mind.
And to the contrary, happy memories can be a balm. There are people who deal with pain using positive memories.
Last summer I went to visit my parents along with Ricki. We had a wonderful time; it was a true rejuvenation for me. And since I can not repeat such a trip (certainly not yearly), I have utilized other methods to enhance the after-effects: I have put pictures from the trip as the wallpaper of my computer, and have placed a few pictures from the trip in my room. In addition, I have my mother’s embroidery to feast my eyes on as well.
Now the challenge is if I can create further good memories with my actions, both for me and for others. Lets all try and take the time today to create a positive memory for someone we love.

PS A few hours after I posted this, AISH HATORAH's Lori P. posted a blog on this topic (a similar topic), and a nice one to boot. I just wanted to note that I did not copy from her. Her blog is very well done, on how our reactions are what our kids will remember.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Second Picture

Yesterday Ricki had a field trip. She was very excited by it, especially since she would be taking her camera.
About a year and a half ago, I bought a simple camera for Ricki, to use for school trips and the like. I fiqured that at age (then) eleven, ALL the girls in her class would have a camera, and she should not be an exception.
Now this did have its drawbacks. I pretty much trusted her to watch the camera, but was afraid that she would let friends use it who might not be carefull. But the real problem was that any trip, no matter how short, inevitably meant that a whole roll of 36 exposures would be shot.
Yesterday, as I handed her the camera, I told her that she should only shoot pictures that were “really nice”. She asked if she could photograph me. I obliged. Then she turned her camera downwards, and took a second frame, this time of the floor.
- “Ricki why did you do THAT?!?”
- “Oh, that was a picture of Este” (her imaginary friend).

When she returned home she had actually only taken about 16 shots. The question is, how many of them are of real people, and how many are of “Este” and the floor?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


Now for my real blog for today.
Today on my return home from taking Ricki to school, I did my regular grocery shopping. As I approached the dairy products refridgerator, I realized that I would need to wait. Someone else was there picking out what they needed. The person before me was an elderly man, so I stood a bit to the side to let him choose without feeling the pressure that someone else is waiting.

I waited.
And waited.
And squashed the impulse to ask if he needed help.

It seemed like a long time, but it was surely only about 2-3 minutes.

If I can wait 2 minutes for my micro to warm up my coffee, I guess that I can wait 2 minutes to let someone live with a bit of dignity

Playing G-d

I would like to add a further note about the guidlines of who to treat in the event of a pandemic.
Any generalizations and assumptions made by this committee are just that. I know plenty of 85-year olds and almost-85 year-olds who are healthier than people 15 years their junior. And we have plenty of “important” people, I am sure, who have chronic illnesses.

Now I can imagine some of my more liberal readers thinking:
“Well, society has to protect itself. We need to protect those who are more needed by society. This is only a last-resort list.”
Yet, the problem is, we are letting people who are not G-d play G-d. In a crisis, they will need to do their selections quickly. Amazingly articulate and healthy 85 year olds may be refused care, while abusive individuals will receive treatment. And I suppose that people who fail even two criteria will get treated, if they have enough money to bribe the staff.
Unfortunately man does not have the capacity to know all, as G-d, and I fear the day that they will play such a role.
And I still find telling the guideline’s priorities, in lumping the mentally impaired along with anyone with low statistical survival rates.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Pandemic Guidlines

What amazes me most is that they had the guts to print it. Or maybe it doesn’t take guts, because they know that everyone will agree with them

I am writing about the newly released guidelines who not to treat in a pandemic. It boils down to those who are most likely to not survive long term… and one other group. Yup, you guessed it: the mentally impaired and disabled. So if you had any doubts about the reality of where America stands, have no doubts.
Just as a devil’s advocate, I add an idea here. Criminals are not included in the cut. So by US doctors, it would seem that the criminals, terrorists, and murders are more deserving of life than a healthy 20 year-old supermarket bagger with Down syndrome. If that is not discrimination, than what is?

Saturday, May 3, 2008


My husband is traveling soon to visit his parents. He of course thinks of little else. I know that when I visited my parents last year, I was totally submerged in thoughts concerning my impending travel. Now that it is my husband traveling, I am rather nonchalant about it.
Now to be fair with myself, part of the difference in my attitude may be that I had not traveled in something like 15 years, whereas my husband visits his parents at least once every two years. Despite that difference, I believe that we are going to react more emotionally to things that affect us personally. It is a proven fact that we are more likely to notice articles in the news that are about topics which concern us.
I remember how when Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, everyone around me was very concerned. I was aware of the danger, living in Israel, which was being threatened with missiles. Be that as it may, my psyche was much more involved, day-to-day, with the birth of my son which had occurred at the same time.

This all leads me to s further point. We have all heard stories of people who do extraordinary acts of kindness to others. I wonder… could it be because these people have managed to feel the needs of others as their own? The ability to tap into the mind and wishes of another would, it seems, predispose one to act in accordance to a new set of priorities.
The difficulty, is, of course, “How do we get to the level where we feel where the other person is?”
Perhaps we must start simply. We must try, at least with family members, to try and imagine THEIR mind-set. This may help us be more empathetic and receptive to their needs.

Only One Week?

Gee, it is only one week since Passover ended and the dishes got put away. It seems already a “long gone” event. I guess the shift of attention (after a month or more being centered on preparations for the holiday) to other, more everyday concerns, adds to the contrast and makes the holiday feel more distant than it is.

Friday, May 2, 2008


Today I spent most of the afternoon putting my kitchen back in order. (I’m 95% done.) It is nice, of course, to have these normally somewhat jumbled dishes sitting primly in order, as if awaiting a beckoning call. I admit that I don’t often straighten them up.

Sometimes the dichotomy of my life strikes me as rather strange. Half of my time is filled up with domestic chores: cooking, laundry, and the like. Much of the second half I am working at a very intellectual pursuit: adapting materials for Ricki’s studies, and studying with her. I adapt materials at a very high level, and considering that I am working in a language that I am not fluent in, this is no mean accomplishment. Yet, in actuality, many women find themselves in a similar ship. I think that the challenge is to realize that all of these facets need to intertwine and interplay to create a fused whole. A diamond has many sides and faces.
We can not ignore one aspect of our lives, just because we find another part more fun, fashionable, or supposedly “dignified”. Because, in the end, our success will not be measured by the money we earn, or the position we held, but by the hearts we have won and held and soothed.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Default Faults

This week an amazing thing happened. Somehow my Office “Word” got smart. You see, most of the pages I develop for Ricki’s schoolwork need to be done in “landscape” orientation, not portrait. I was always exasperated that I could not (or knew not how to…) set the “default” orientation to landscape instead of “portrait”.
Then, low and behold, this week the pages started opening by default in landscape orientation. ("Eureeka!" was my initial response.) The problem is, the first ten times or so that I opened a new page, I needed, of course, portrait mode. Now I have to get used to it. The other day I printed a picture and it came out way too large. A one-third width of a portrait page would have been OK, but one-third of the landscape orientation was way too big. (I couldn’t see the bottom of the page, so I didn’t realize nor remember that it was “landscape”.)
So even when you get what you wish for, it can sometimes not be what you envision…….