Sunday, December 26, 2010

Alternative Medicines and Therapies

On MSNBC there was an article about a study documenting cases of adverse reactions to alternative (like “natural” and homeopathic) medications. The main danger was discontinuement of needed conventional treatment for illnesses (which sometimes led to death), but adverse reactions where not unheard of. As the MSNBC article said: “Unlike conventional medicines, whose side effects are tracked by national surveillance systems, there are no such systems in place for alternative therapies.”
We live in a society that expects medicine to have an answer to all our ills (even as we often simultaneously abuse our bodies with inactivity and horrendous diet, cigarettes, etc). Let us face the fact that medicine does not have an answer to every problem. HOWEVER, the medical and drug industry does try to give treatments that are effective, and effectiveness is proved not through word-of-mouth, but by controlled studies.
I have written about this subject before (three years ago), HERE.
(Please read this previous article if you haven’t yet.)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Not Freaking Out (or overeating) When Under Stress

As some of you have commented, I was pretty much AWOL from online-life this last week. Lots has been going on here lately (no connection to Ricki), and I have been not only busy, but under a lot of stress.
When the situation arose one of my first fears was that the tension would trigger an overeating binge. Many overweight people, myself included, have used food as a comfort measure in times of stress, not withstanding the ultimate discomfort overweight causes. A true addiction.
So I immediately decided to try and pre-empt the overeating urge by actively seeking out other alternate coping measures. One was to load my MP3 player with good music.
But I discovered another, terrific “way to deal with stress” tool for dieters. On Sunday someone said something that REALLY got me upset. My stomach was “in knots”, and it was taking all of my willpower not to head for the frozen cake in the freezer. But I had a class I needed to go to, and I headed out the door, deciding to walk to the “main drag” in order to get the remainder of my 10,0000 daily steps in. Within 5 minutes I felt happy, healthy, and calm. Ans as an additional bonus, I was AWAY from the food…..
Brisk walking is good for you. Not just physically, but emotionally as well. Try a few turns around the block next time you are upset…..

The Babysitter

Ricki was helping me babysit her nephew the other day.
Overheard was the following monologue (the nephew’s vocabulary is still limited to ‘Mom” and “Dad”):

I’m reading you a storybook…. Look how nice!... See the mommy in the chair?.... This is a good book, right?....No, look HERE….[reads some of the text]….Don’t cry, Mommy is returning soon…..[reads a bit more text]….See, it’s a nice book isn’t it?......Look at this!...[a bit more text]…..Do you like the book?...

Monday, December 13, 2010

My Great Sons and an Innocent “Chanukiah” Story

[Note (terms): “Chanukiah” is the Hebrew term for the menorah lit during the holiday of Hanukah.]
“D” and “Y” are no longer Torah-observant, although they are polite enough to keep many things when they are at home. I knew that when they would be here on leave, they would light a Hanukah menorah, but I wanted to encourage them to do so when in the army as well. So I made for each of then a nice chanukiah from ceramics, one of “spinning tops” design for “Y”, and a “Jerusalem” one for “D”. “D” seemed touched, and promised me that he would light his, while “Y” just basically said “Nice!”, without commenting on any use. I surely didn’t pressure them, nor ask further. (I don't have a picture of "Y"'s menorah, "D"'s -which was nicer- you can see HERE.)
Fast-forward a few weeks later to Hanukkah. I had already noted that “D”’s chanukiah resting on the computer table in the boy’s room, and thought to myself “Well, I quess “D” was trying to be polite, but I never asked him to lie….So much for his promise to light….” When “Y” arrived home for the weekend, I urged him to ready his chanukiah, so his father wouldn’t feel burdened by the need to prepare his as well as his own. After a few moments, he reappeared with D’s menorah, sheepishly stating that he couldn’t find his. Of course I wondered to myself how much could he like the carefully crafted homemade chanukiah if he had lost it already?? But of course I made no verbal comment…..
Several days later, for the last night of the holiday, “D” finally arrived home from the army. I told him to ready his “chanukiah” , as I had told his brother a few days previously. “I can’t,” he said, “I’m sorry to inform you that I broke it by accident at the base….”

“D” HAD taken “his” chanukiah” to light… just the wrong one. And “Y” couldn’t find his because “D” had taken it. Innocent of all charges……

[PS. I promised Y a new menorah, to replace the one his brother broke, and gave him a choice of design... he chose "autos"!]

Rain and Walking and Shecheyanu

Thank G-d. we have rain. That's one "shecheyanu"*
Despite the rainy weather, I got out to walk (Sunday), although my aerobic steps were a bit slow, as I was afraid to slip on wet pavement.

We also had 50 knot winds.
Finally I am able to wear some of all those new winter outfits I bought myself.....GRIN. Another shecheyanu!

* "shecheanu" is a Hebrew blessing made (amoung other things) on happy occaisions, and on wearing new clothes. In this blessing we praise G-d for enebling us to reach this milestone or event. In addition, when something long-awaited arrives (like today's rain), we may make joke about saying "shecheyanu".

Magic Marker Monday- Candle Art

This was a project Ricki did on Hanukah,but similar things could be done for any occaision celebrated with candles.
Ricki took black poster board, put smiley stickers on it (made it much nicer, and it was HER idea to add them....). Then we added cut-out shapes of candles.Finally on the candles she added various regular and 3-demensional stickers.
You will find more of "Magic Marker Monday" HERE.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Winds Blow

Winter has arrived in Israel at long last. Despite the cold and VERY strong winds (50 knots in some places), no one is complaining as we need the rain so desperately.
This morning before waking Ricki I turned on the heater in the bath, and for breakfast I made her favorite breakfast, pancakes. Not surprisingly, she left the house in an excellent mood, the best I’ve seen her in for ages. I sent her downstairs a few minutes early to be sure that she wouldn’t miss her ride… and 7 minutes later she entered our building to ask “Where is he already?”, and missed her ride. Now she will walk to school on her own (it is not far, and in Israel it is much safer than in the US). I hope it won’t rain for just 15 minutes because if she opens her umbrella it will turn inside out in a moment…..
* * * * *
My new soldier-son “Y” will find out today where he will be serving for at least the next half year in the army, possibly in a “supportive” role (and later he may switch back to a regular combat soldier as he had originally requested). However, instead of being in the “Givati” section , he may be in the parachutist’s section. (Not that they do much parachuting, in general they are regular combat soldiers…) As he gets up this morning I will sadly inform him that a soldier from that division was seriously injured last night , foiling a terrorist infiltration attempt. In a house somewhere in Israel, the winds of trouble are blowing. May this soldier have a speedy and easy recovery.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Getting a PhD in Life

[image: My wonderful son "D",bareheaded, lighting the Hanukah menorah]

Very few of us get through life without some big challenge- and often more than one. A few days ago I turned 59 (I can’t believe that I am almost 60!), and as I look back on my life, I feel that I am working towards my PhD. Looking for a spouse was course 101 in emuna and bitachon (belief and faith). Having a child drop out of high school and almost “go off the derech” ( choose a different way of life style than us) was another level- class 201. Ricki’s birth was 301, and the fight for her inclusion, which was a bitter and long battle, was 401. Having several children truly become irreligious was already a masters. And a certain ongoing trial which I deal with , I feel, is my coursework towards my PhD in life. And I have learned a lot. In fact, as I told one of my older children recently, I am absolutely astounded at some of the choices I made 15 years ago, and I pray that if I were to be faced with similar problems today, my reactions would be much more empathetic, assertive, and sensible.
Simply said, life is never perfect, and we have the chance and ability to grow and improve our midos (character) as we travel along.
[image: The lights, the last evening of Hanukah.]
Last night as I gazed at the Chanukah lights, I thought that this is one of the real messages that the holiday has to bequeath to us. There are often battles… and there is no Pollyanna promise from G-d that if we do His will, our lives will be easy. But those brightly burning lights can remind us of the flame of our soul, the strength that G-d implanted within us to persevere, and to hope, to struggle, and to grow, as (quoting Rav Salanter, who quoted the shoemaker working by oil-lamp light), “As long as the light burns, it is possible to fix.”

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Movie Performance

On Sunday evening I took Ricki to one of the innumerable films playing at various locations in the city as entertainment for Chanukah. I knew in advance that I would not be “missing” anything if I would skip this Orthodox- filmed play. The quality is so far below that I am used to, growing up in America, that I am invariably disappointed. But Ricki enjoys these plays (even if she often doesn’t really manage to comprehend the plot), so I took her. But something strange happened in the middle.
In this film, a supposedly very religious teen prays sincerely to G-d, and lo and behold three miracles occur by the end of the film. Not one, but THREE. [As an aside, I am wondering how educational these films are. Do we really want to raise a generation with such an infantile attitude towards G-d? I mean, I hate to say it, but “miracle on demand” is not the way G-d generally runs things. And if you grow up thinking that it is, will the first time hitting a “brick wall” of seemingly unanswered prayer not totally derail their belief system????] Anyway, back to the movie- at one point the heroine breaks out in a song of emmuna and betachon (fervent belief), and this umpteenth rendition of the time hit much of the older teen audience as ludicrous (which it was), and they started laughing. Ricki, however, was crying. She understood that the other protagonists in the story were ill, and she was crying for them. I was stuck by the opposed responses of the “normal” teens and of Ricki., and pondered why it should be so. The answer is obvious. Everyone else was 100% sure that this is only a story, and one which they understand will “work out” in the end. The producers would NEVER let the ill teen character die. A happy conclusion is a forgone conclusion.
In Ricki’s case, the blurring of comprehension between what is true and what is fictional makes it all much more “real” to her. And she doesn’t understand that the producers have a miracle tucked up their sleeves…..

Monday, December 6, 2010

Chanukah Magic Marker Monday

Ricki happened to be home yesterday, so we had extra time for crafts. She had made a few days ago a candlestick from plaster (a doubled mold, pieces stuck together with more plaster). Yesterday she painted it red and then with red sparkle. And a small jug she painted blue. Later she added stickers to that.
Later that night we went to see a filmed play, and my blog on that will have to wait until (at least) tomorrow, as it is VERY late and I have to get to sleep!
You will find more of "Magic Marker Monday HERE.

Friday, December 3, 2010


PS, Unrelated to this post. I want to express concern and admiration for the firefighters in the Carmel region. They are true heros.

As I have mentioned before, I like the song "hero" by Maria Carey. (Even though most of her videos are absolutely obscene...) Here is a video of the song. Below it I have typed the words , with additional comments on my own for dieters. PS. Even though this video just shows her singing (no nude scenes), it does obviously contain Kol Isha (woman singing) and is not suitable for Orthodox Jewish men.

THERE’s a Hero (“HERO”) (song of Maria Carey)
There's a hero If you look inside your heart (Diet is only going to work if YOU change)
You don't have to be afraid Of what you are (OK, I’m fat, but I am created in the image of G-d)
There's an answer If you reach into your soul (Yes, there IS an answer)
And the sorrow that you know Will melt away (You don’t have to live with recriminations)

And then a hero comes along With the strength to carry on (G-d can give us strength)
And you cast your fears aside (Don’t even allow yourself to voice your doubts. BELIEVE that you WILL change)
And you know you can survive (Life is still good and enjoyable. A diet is not a prison term)
So when you feel like hope is gone (because you didn’t lose this week)
Look inside you and be strong (Just keep going)
And you'll finally see the truth That a hero lies in you.

It's a long road (Losing 75-80 kilo won’t happen overnight)
When you face the world alone (NO ONE can do it for you. You have to do this for YOURSELF)
No one reaches out a hand For you to follow (You are often alone, and “no one sees”, and YOU have to be your own policeman)
You can find love (For yourself, even when you are not perfect)
If you search within yourself (You will discover true love for yourself, which means protecting your health)
And the emptiness you felt Will disappear (You will see that you WANT to live healthily)

And then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside
And you know you can survive
So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you'll finally see the truth That a hero lies in you. Lord knows Dreams are hard to follow
(It won’t always be easy)
But don't let anyone Tear them away (even the nay-sayers, even our own doubts)
Hold on There will be tomorrow (YES I WILL SUCEED)
In time You'll find the way (Bit by bit, lb. by lb)

And then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside
And you know you can survive
So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you'll finally see the truth That a hero lies in you
(Yes, I am a Hero!!!! I CAN DO IT!)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy Channukkah!/ Special Exposure Wednesday

I had hoped to have a picture of Ricki doing channukah crafts for "special exposure Wednesday",, but we never got around this week to crafts (yet). So here are two more pictures of Ricki from our recent trip to Jerusalem:
[images: Ricki in the old city of Jerusalem

You will find more of "Special Exposure Wednesday" HERE.
And finally, in honor of Channukah which starts this evening (Wednesday evening), a hanukkah menorah which I made in my ceramics class:
[images: two views of chanukiah, Jerusalem motive]

Monday, November 29, 2010

"No, I Won't Forgive You"

Yesterday I played "Tough Mommy" (my husband calls it "Broncho-busting mode").Ricki was in a very bad mood. I later realized that once she had eaten supper, she calmed down),but this was before that. She was intent on taking eight (!) slices of bread for supper, and I was not willing for her to stuff herself in that way.I agreed to two-three slices. Nor was I willing for her to take soya (in addition to the soup). I simply stood by the stove, guarding acess to the forbidden foodstuffs, and waited for her to realize that I wasn't going to give in, even if she would call me names, threaten to hit me, etc. She finally gave up, but continued calming me names, telling me to "shut up".
I ignored her, and sat down to eat my supper with her. As she calmed down, she suddenly started apologizing.
"No, I won't forgive you..." I claimed (though in my heart I did). I felt that she needs to learn that spitting and name calling will not be overlooked.
n Yes, it was tough. But I have found that a few tough days like this does wonders in influencing subsequent behaviors. Tonight Ricki on HER OWN took only two slices of bread with her egg.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ther Workbook

Already for a week and a half, Ricki has been acting (on the whole), much better than in the preceding several months. On one day, I happened to do a lot of activities with Ricki, and I noticed an increase in good behavior. Noting this, I was cautiously hopeful, and tried my theory out on subsequent days. And I was correct: the busier I could keep Ricki, the happier and better-behaved side of her showed. Just tonight she was fighting with her father. I went in, and fished out an activity book, and minutes later she had forgotten the argument and was happily at work on the booklet.
So if you have kids who are misbehaving, ask yourself: Are they bored?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Pink Schoolbag

The other day I sent Ricki downstairs to meet her ride to school. I checked from the window to see that she wasn’t making a detour to the grocery store, and that she crossed the street carefully. Then I went back to the task at hand. A few minutes later, I went again to the window, to see if her ride had arrived. Then I saw IT. A pink schoolbag.
Ricki has somehow gotten hold of a schoolbag which was definitely not hers. I was surprised; people usually don’t leave bags lying around, even if they have to make a quick dash to do something. There is too much risk of someone calling the bomb squad (and the bag getting shot at). But there Ricki was, prancing happily on “her” corner, with a lovely pink schoolbag. I told Ricki to leave it alone, but she was not in the mood to listen. And I knew that if I would go downstairs, Ricki would only run away ahead of me, walking to school on her own. So I called her driver and was about to explain to him NOT to let Ricki enter the car with the bag, that it wasn’t hers. Suddenly the 9 year-old owner of the bag turned up, extracted her possessions from Ricki (who readily returned it), and walked off to school. (Bet she doesn’t leave her bag lying around in the future…..)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Special Exposure Wednesday: Ricki Making Hot Beads

Ricki was sick last week, so we had a bit of extra "together" time. She made Hot beads for fun.(To see her creations, look back at Monday's posts.....)
You will find more of "special exposure Wednesday" HERE.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

An Important Message To Parents of Future Israeli Army Inductees/ PS to Yesterday's Post

[imgage: a poor picture of "Y" in uniform]

[image: A better picture, which Ricki's older sister took.]

My son “Y” is back already from the army for a one-day leave. They apparently want to send him to a course, and will be “really” starting with him in a few days. After two VERY BORING days, he was relieved to be sent home. [He will be treated in the meantime like a “jobnik” (desk-worker) inductee, and will only start his combat tour of duty in about half a year.]
When I asked him if he felt like a “pin cushion” (after receiving MANY vaccinations), he laughed and said “Yes!”. Then he added that they had also taken a blood sample for bone-marrow matching.Then he added:
- “But it’s voluntary; not all of the soldiers opted for it.”
- “Why in the world would they refuse?!?”
- “If they are afraid of needles…or, they want one needle stick less….”
- “But we’re talking about the chance to save a LIFE!”
- “Nu, some of them are spoiled little children…..”

So parents, please be sure to inform your soon-to-be-inducted soldiers to be sure to not opt out of this important mitzvah (good deed).

PS to Yesterday's Post:
Yesterday she did NOT throw clothespins when bringing the laundry in. But I suspect that she realized that we were watching.

A Punishment, Threatened

Sunday afternoon I had to pop over to Ricki’s pediatrician, in order to pick up the needed papers for her prescriptions for the coming month. No one else was home except for Ricki’s married sister who lives on the roof (meaning that in emergency, someone WAS home), and Ricki wanted to come with me. However, she was not dressed, and I had no intention of waiting for Ricki to get dressed, especially as her doctor’s office is literally less than half a block away. [I would be back within fifteen minutes , maximum.] Also, Ricki had (SIGH, Roll my eyes) thrown ICE CREAM out the window (and onto the formerly neighbor’s laundry), and I had decided that her staying home was a fitting punishment. Ricki was none too pleased , and decided that she would go to a neighbor. Not wanting to let her “punishment” be turned into a prize, I informed her sternly that I don’t allow, and if she will not be in the house on my return, she will be confined to her bedroom for most of the evening.
It worked. She was at home when I returned. She realized that I meant what I said.
Progress is being made!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Continuation of the Clothespins Saga….(written Sunday night)

As I have often mentioned (last time being this last Thursday), Ricki has a penchant for throwing things out the window. On Saturday afternoon I was alerted to her bombarding the sidewalk with nectarine slices by the unbelieving surprised cry of a witness to the act from below. She couldn’t fathom (judging from her tone), who could do such a thing….At least I was appraised of the situation as it started, and was able to put a quick stop to the felony.
Now Ricki LOVES to hang up laundry, but when bringing it in, she is often too lazy to put the clothespins in their basket, and simply lets them drop the three floors to the sidewalk. (I hope she never hits anyone with them.) So this evening, Ricki volunteered eagerly to hang up the floor-cleaning rags, only to discover, to her horror, that she couldn’t, because she had apparently earlier today chucked most of our clothespins to the sidewalk. She sheepishly went to collect them, and happily returned, bearing an armload of clothespins.

Now it will be interesting if I leave the rags on the line until tomorrow afternoon, and let Ricki bring them in… if she will again let the clothespins fly, or if she has a new respect for the value of keeping them and storing them in their place.

Magic Marker Monday: Hot Beads

Ricki worked on hot beads this last week. First we finished off the last of the bigger-sized ones:

Then she attempted the small size for the first time. (I helped with the teddy, but the frame she did 95% on her own.)

You will find more of "Magic Marker Monday" HERE.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


My two strapping teenage sons just walked out the door five minutes ago. One (D) is returning to his (relatively safe) service as a driver in the army. The other (Y), brimming with the excitement and hope of a youth headed for a “man’s job”, is entering the army today as a soldier in “Givati”. This means that for the next three years he will be a member of Israel’s front-line troupes, as well as a lifetime of reserve duty. The next few weeks will be extra-intensive as he competes for the privilege of entering an elite unit. As a mother, I try and ignore the worries and fears that pop up in my head*, and center my thoughts on just loving the two of them.
I remember how the first few weeks in the army radically changed my first soldier-son (D). And I wonder how well Y will take the initial training period, and how he might change in the upcoming weeks.

*(Don’t ask me how I will deal with my fears if a war breaks out.)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Screw That Wouldn't Screw

I have a chair- one which could possibly be called an armchair- in the corner of my living room. This was purchased at a used-furniture outlet about two years ago. I was happy to have a slightly less extravagant chair (ie., not a real padded armchair), because the difference in price was tremendous. I really do not have the extra cash for an armchair right now (if at all).
About two months ago I noticed that some of the wooden pieces were separating, and asked my 18 year old (strong, muscular) son to fix it. He and a friend tackled the job, but after about half an hour, called it “quits”, and declared the chair a hopeless case. I was not so willing to give up, and left the chair in place. A few days later I approached the chair with an attitude of “Why didn’t it go for them?” I quickly figured out that a certain precursory straightening of a second board was needed, and after that I managed to glue and hammer the chair into working state.
Early this week Ricki must have made a flying superman leap onto the armchair, as she managed to break the wooden board that supports the seat cushion. However, on closer examination, I realized that one of the supporting bars needed strengthening as well, or it would soon come out of place. So yesterday I bought the hardware, and in the evening asked my son again to do the “man’s work”. (I mean, he DOES have stronger muscles than me.) About a half-hour later he reported failure.
So this morning I went to check out exactly what had been done. Several screws were half-in , but other then that, the job was pretty good. The screws just needed further insertion, and one more strengthening metal corner added. However, on trying to insert the screws further, I realized that strength alone would not work. So I again asked myself “Why isn’t this going?” I suspected that the screw driver was a smidgen too small, and I went to exchange it. Sure enough, with the correct size screw driver, the screws went in full length. I added on the extra corner, as well, and later today I will hopefully buy the needed board.
So why did I succeed when my son didn’t? A big reason is I see the “fixing the chair” as a big savings, and in essence the difference between having a chair to relax in on Shabbos morning (with a coffee and a book), or having an empty corner instead. My son saw “fixing the chair” as something keeping him from his computer game….
But in addition, I think that the stopping to ask myself “WHY isn’t this working?” on both occasions saved the day. Lots of time in life we try to accomplish certain things, and it just doesn’t go the way we want it to. It might be our diet, a problem with a child, a critical relative, or whatever. It could be that often the “cure” would be to stop back and ask ourselves “WHY isn’t this working….?” Once we see THAT, we can design a new plan of action that hopefully will accomplish what we are aiming for.
[note: I published a different post earlier this morning. If you are arriving here from a blog list to this post specifically,you might want to click on the blog name to get the whole blog, including the earlier post from today.]

I Think That I Was A Bit Too Exasperated….

I’ve had it with Ricki acting like a bomber plane. You name it… almost anything she finds inconvenient is “throw-out-the –window” material for her. When bringing in the laundry from the line, she is more likely than not to chuck the clothespins downstairs, rather than take the extra three seconds to deposit them in the clothes-pin basket. She also regularly bombards the sidewalk with soy patties, bread, and tomatoes .
Tuesday I made meatballs for lunch, but Ricki was hungry before they were ready, and tried to sneak two breaded soy patties out of the freezer. I caught her, telling her that if she wanted soy, she was limited to ONE, and she would forfeit the soon-to-be-ready meatballs. Her reaction? She went to the porch, locked the door, downed one patty, and threw the second out of the window. Thus, she thought, she would still be eligible to get meatballs, because she *doesn’t* have the patties…
I immediately informed Ricki that she had just eaten her lunch, and would not be receiving meatballs. Her reply to this was that she was STARVING. Well, I guess that I was a bit too exasperated, and I told her “Well, if you REALLY are hungry, you can go downstairs and get that soy…”
So she did.
I just hope that she at least brushed it off before consuming it…
Color me chagrined….

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

As per Request: Ricki's Photos (Special Exposure Wednessday)

By popular request, this week I am posting the pictures RICKI took (see "Special Exposure Wednesday" of last week).
[Image:This is a view of the Mount of Olives.]

You'll find more of "special exposure Wednesday" HERE.

[Image: The Cardo, Jerusalem]

[Image: The Restored "Churvah" synagoue.]
(The Churvah was destroyed by the Jordanians in 1948. It was recently rebuilt.)

Saturday, November 13, 2010


I had tried all week to watch what I ate, but was not 100%. I wanted to walk extra to "make up" the extra calories, but I was VERY stern in calculating any slip-ups. The end result was that even extra walking on Wednesday and Thursday was not enough. So I hit the pavement early on Friday morning, and figured that I could get out again in the evening if needed. It WAS needed (if I want to lose a full kilo this week), but felt unwilling to do so, not Friday night, and not Saturday. I didn't even do my regular Sat. AM walk, but took a REAL vacation. I felt a bit fed up with walking, watching every bite, etc. Maybe I felt that I just wouldn’t walk enough to loose a full kilo this week, and felt bad enough about that to “give up”.
This scares me a bit. Actually, it scares me a lot. If it continues, it is the way back to weighing a whopping 150 kilos. And that is something I DO NOT want.
However, I was careful about not overeating, and I feel confident that tomorrow I will be out walking as regular, and yes, watching every bite. I think I just needed a (slight) break. But that “vacation” means that I may not loose this week. (I am pretty confident that I will not gain. I WAS pretty good.) However, the bigger damage is the weakening of the feeling that I will do what I need to lose, no matter if I am in the mood or not. I really need to keep that feeling that weight loss is one of my priorities. I need to remember WHY I am doing this, and the loss if I do not continue. But I WILL continue. I am NOT stopping now. OK, I had a weak two days, but I am not going to let that mild slip-up become an avalanche. NO WAY!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ricki Taking Pictures -special exposure Wednesday

Ricki checking how her photo came out. Location: Jewish quarter, old city, Jerusalem

Find more of "special exposure Wednesday HERE.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

"Independence or ___________?????"

I have friends with teenagers with Down syndrome who need to be reminded constantly to let their children be more independent. I don’t need the reminding, Ricki does it for me. She simply chooses independence, and if I am stupid enough not to realize in advance what she is likely to attempt, and prepare her for it, then she is running a big risk.
Whenever we go to her exercise class, she alights from the bus in a hurry, and walks ahead briskly, in order to walk on her own. And if I manage to keep apace with her, and arrive at the building’s elevator before she disappears within, she will give me dirty looks and scowls.
Last week was a time that she definitely beat me, but something unusual occurred. When I arrived a few minutes after Ricki, she was NOT there. I called her name repeatedly, and received no reply. I quickly checked the floor above, and ran down the stairs, checking each floor with a glance, including the parking area beneath the building. Then I quickly glanced outside on the ground floor, but still no Ricki. By this time I was terrified that some pervert had dragged her to some corner and assaulted her. I then ran back up to the floor where the class is held, but Ricki was not there. A moment later, she emerged from the elevator. It seems that she had gone to the bathroom, and had either not heard me calling her name, or had chosen not to reply. I of course roundly berated her for the scare, trying to impress on her that near-empty buildings can be very dangerous places.
Fast forward to today (Sunday). Ricki and I went for a day of sightseeing in Jerusalem, followed by a visit to several of my grandchildren in the afternoon. The first thing I did with Ricki on arriving in the city was to treat her to a breakfast in a bagel restaurant…..a real adult type of thing. While there, she indicated that she wanted to freshen up in the bathroom, so I instructed her how to ask the waiter where the restroom was. It was not on the premises, but down a hallway. I was then saying the grace after the meal, and indicated to Ricki via hand gestures, to wait a minute. But she wasn’t having any of that, and out the door she went.
I gulped.
I remembered last week.

I let her go on her own.
And she was back within a few moments, beaming with victory.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Postscript to Yesterday’s Post

On Friday morning, after writing my post, I went to town to run a few errands. As I was doing so, I happened to pass a store (“Elegant Paris” in Bnai Brak) where I had skeptically entered two months ago, to see if maybe they had anything in my size. Why skeptically? Because it was a “regular” store, not a self proclaimed “big sizes” one, and I fully expected the saleslady to either hiss or mournfully inform me (as I have experienced in the past) that they had nothing in my size. But she didn’t (making me feel rather “normal”), and on that occasion I had found a good under blouse just perfect to complement a-way-too-revealing-mesh top bought in the “big sizes” store.
So yesterday, I wandered in, on whim, to see what they had. And they had plenty of things just (barely) my size. And in addition, they charge a price much cheaper than the “big sizes” store.*
However, what impressed me most was when I was considering whether to purchase an item that I was unsure of, the saleslady said “If you’re not sure, don’t buy it. I don’t want you to walk out with something you won’t be happy with…” In the end I bought the same design in a different color, and walked out content indeed. I know where I will go FIRST next time I am aiming to purchase clothing….

* Last time I was in the big sizes store, I heard a lady asking the saleslady why they were SO expensive. She replied that all the extra material costs money… Um…. The extra ½ meter (at most) of cloth costs them 20-30 shekels, and the price gets marked up by at least 70-100 shekels…..The obvious truth is that if their customers can not go elsewhere, it is easy to mark your prices up……

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Burst Bubble (or the Ups and Down of Shopping)

A lot of women (99.99 %???) enjoy shopping. I also do, as long as I am shopping for dishes, silver, jewelry, books, toys, etc. Clothing is another story. For years, shopping for clothing was a torture. Finding anything in my size was nigh-well impossible, and what there was available was invariably expensive. Often I had to purchase items I did not really care for, simply because I had no time to sew, and these items were the only available things I could find. Shopping for clothing was a big reminder of just how overweight I was, how I was way beyond the norm. And how society has no place for the overweight individual.
Recently, as I have managed to lose weight (44 kilos so far!), I have found that shopping for clothing can be fun. In certain stores, I can find things in my size, and in a few there is a real choice. My only problem with these outlets is that many of them design clothing that is not modest enough for the dictates of Jewish law, and I will need to supplement the items I purchase with under-blouses, alter too-open necklines, line see-though sleeves, etc.
[In one store, when I asked if they didn’t have a “basic blouse” available for me to wear when trying on their short-sleeved sweaters, it became apparent that ALL of their blouses (in addition to their other things) had a low, dipping neckline. I asked the saleslady, “I have a question for you. I know that as a non-religious lady, you are not concerned with the “modesty” of the low neckline. But in winter, aren’t you COLD with half of your upper chest exposed???!???” (Her answer was that they wear scarves with it. This, to me, sounds like a very difficult way to stay warm. It seems to me that a scarf would slip, fall, not cover well, etc.) Why a winter sweater needs a dipping neckline is beyond me…….]
Anyway, after buying early this week several items at two specialty “big size” stores, I set out to purchase some turtleneck under-blouses and a few simple winter blouses to supplement my purchases.
And that is when my bubble burst.
If I dreamt that I am nearing a normal size, that I am in the very upper range of normal, I was wrong. I wear a size 2X, and I found shopping yesterday very hard and discouraging. I went to one store where I have never been to, but which always advertises that they have “big sizes”. The largest they had was a 48. Another “big sizes” store (per advertisement) has to size 1X. And a third, advertising that they carry up to and including size 3X had nothing in 3X, and a choice of TWO items in size 2X. I refused to capitulate and buy either of these two options. I didn’t like them, and I am FINISHED with buying items I don’t like. If necessary, I will somehow make the time and sew what I am missing. (But I am hoping that one of the better “big sizes” stores that I know will have what I need as the weather gets colder. They simply didn’t get their full winter range in yet…..)
So while I feel GREAT about what I have lost so far, last night’s shopping expedition was a callous reminder that I still have a long way to go. But that’s OK. I’ll get there!

Frozen Yogurt

This is my standard 1:00 noon snack before my nap(except in winter). I eat lunch later. You need a good strong blender stick for this. This has about 200-250-300 calories, depending on what fruits or additives you use. Made with low-fat yogurt, the calorie count is not bad, considering that you get lots of dairy and (in the fruit version) fruit.And drunk with a straw on a hot summer day, it is soothing and very satisfying.
Fruit version:
-2 half-frozen 0% fat diet yogurts (or frozen completely then both defrosted together for 45 seconds in the mcro at high strength, then sliced)
-one or two fruits (depending on type and amount of calories available for this snack-meal), such as peaches, pears, kiwi, strawberries, blueberries
-optional: (if you have the calories for it) 10 almonds or wheat germ (both are good at helping to prevent dementia)
-3 packets of artificial sugar substitute
BLEND in a big glass with a blender stick.

Non-fruit version)
-2 half-frozen 0% yogurts
-1 half-frozen diet 0% fat pudding-yogurt ("maadan" in Hebrew)
-2 packs sweetner
-1 teaspoon coffee (optional)
-a FEW almonds or walnut (optional, depending on calories wanted)
-a bit of water (3 Tablespoons), as the frozen pudding is thicker....
Blend with blender stick

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The “What in the World am I going to do With all Those Dates Left Over from Rosh HaShana” Cake

A fairly easy cake to make if you have a blender/food processor. NOT dietetic. Very freezable.

1 margarine (200 gram –about 7 ounces) (best to soften a bit first, and slice into thinish slices)
1 jar applesauce (700 gram- about 25 ounces)
6 eggs
100 gram (3.5 ounces) of peeled nuts (walnuts, or almonds)
30 dates (about)
2 grated carrots
4 cups sifted flour
1 teas. salt
11/2 cups sugar
¼ teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon ginger
2 teas. cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
2 envelopes (ie., 20 grams) baking powder

De-seed the dates, and check for infestation. In a food processor, put the checked dates, applesauce, eggs, nuts, and margarine. Process until the margarine, nuts, and dates are well blended into the liquids. Add the grated carrots and mix in (not blend), and set aside. In a bowl, put the sifted flour, sugar, spices, salt, and baking powder. Stir to mix. Add into this the “wet” mixture, and stir. Pour into greased oven tray and bake about 45 minutes at 150 degrees centigrade (medium heat), until done.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Short and Sweet / Over 22,000 steps

Well, our trial with the buzzer alarm was short and sweet. Last night Ricki announced “I don’t want it. It wakes me up…..”
Although last night I let it go, this morning, on further reflection on the issue, I think that I am going to have to act a bit more firmly than I have until now. I think I will institute some type of prize as an incentive just for wearing the alarm. In addition, I think I need to sit down and explain the alarm's importance, and if necessary, give a punishment if she will not agree to comply and wear it.
* * * * * *
Yesterday morning I decided to walk to a park that is about a forty minute walk from our house, and there walk on their “walking path” for an hour. I particularly like this walk, as the park is downhill from us, and the walking path is level. The total of about 100 minutes walking is just right, and from the edge of the park I can take a bus which takes me to a minute’s walk from the house. So yesterday I did the sweet hike, and even walked an extra little bit. But upon reaching the bus station, I was in for a surprise. My fare had somehow been lost, and I would have to return home (tired, and going uphill) on foot. So I saved $2.5, and gained nearly 4000 extra steps. I followed this up with a shopping trip, and lots of housework….eventually totaling an exhausting 22,000 steps!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Bedwetting, Continued

Last night Ricki dawdled no end, so by the time that she crawled into bed, she was TIRED.
So it came as no surprise that she refused to go to the toilet (before going to sleep).

“No toilet, no buzzer alarm” was my reply.

(Groan)… a few choice words about how she feels about Mommy (hereby censored....)… and she trudged to the bathroom.
EUREKA! One battle in this war won……

Monday, November 1, 2010

Bedwetting and Alarms

Ricki is a bed wetter. As I have mentioned before, this has little to do with her Down syndrome, and much more to do with the tendency of everyone in the family (besides me) to sleep VERY DEEPLY.
However, the other kids (those who did bed wet) stopped fairly early (on the whole), as they had a burning desire to get beyond this. That desire seems to have been lacking in Ricki. She simply apparently had little reason to make the extra effort. (Yea, I know, I tried prizes, I make her do all the work of taking off wet sheets, etc.)
I once tried an alarm system (which worked exceptionally well with my other bed wetters), but Ricki was scared to death of the noise, and point blank refused to wear it.
Once she had a problem of wetting in the daytime as well (only when at home, out of the house she felt the need to be OK.). That has decreased to a much lower level due to a consistent withdrawal of privileges whenever she wets at home, the withdrawal giving her enough reason to “get her act together”.
It has actually always amazed me that it seems so hard for her to internalize the idea that life would be a lot easier if she would make the effort needed not to wet, not to throw papers on the floor, and not to throw stuff behind her bed. (Because in all of these cases, she is the one who has to do the cleanup eventually….)
For several years I have been taking Ricki to a doctor, who hearing from me that alarms don’t work with her, tried various medications (often prescribed for bed wetting), usually to no avail.
Finally, at our last visit to the doctor, I suggested that HE tell Ricki to use an alarm.
It worked.
She not only has agreed to use the alarm, but she requests it if I forget.

Maybe she finally got tired of waking up wet.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Please Follow me With Blooger

Please, if you are on blooger, use the “follow” to link to me. Many of you may have noticed that I have been posting a bit less often as of late. And after much soul searching, I have decided to officially become a less-than-once-a-day blog.
I simply can not keep up the pace of :
study/fun with Ricki
time for walking/swimming/ceramics for myself
blogging and wasting time on the computer

Something has to give, and blogging is the obvious choice. (And even more, watching interesting but realistically non-important videos and the like that friends send me.) I also will not be following many blogs. Sorry, but it’s you or family. But I do plan to post a few times a week, as I feel that a view of life with a teen with Down syndrome is a bit unique, and to share encouragement towards weight loss with others. (Plus of course, the occasional “Israeli” posts, pictures, and completely off-the-topic ones.)
Usually when I write a post like this (which I HAVE done in the past, I end up with ALL sorts of good posts, and continue full speed. But that has always been at the expense of more important things. So I really have to set my sights on what is important to me and my life.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Thoughts on RivkA, Life, and Death

RivkA of Coffee and Chemo was niftar (died) this morning. And while most of her friends realized that baring an open miracle, she would not be amongst us much longer, it was still sad to hear the news. And a bit of a jolt.
You see, we always try and push thoughts of death away. Death is not convenient, and definitely not popular. We would all like to imagine that we, and our loved ones, will live forever. But illness and/or death suddenly rear their head, and remind us that we are oh so fragile.
We can not choose when we die. We do choose how we live.
RivkA faced adversity with courage, and grabbed life with both hands, “fighting the good fight”.
For those of us left here on earth, let us grab life and do something meaningful with it. How much of our live do we squander on unimportant things??? Let us try and be there a bit more for our families, to keep our long-range goals in view, and to remember that we are not here forever.
Baruch Dayan Emet (this is a traditional Jewish condolence…)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Diet, Aerobics, and Feeling Good

For much of the last week I had been busier than usual, and had not had time to go on long aerobic walks. I DID get my minimum steps in, going to stores, running errands, and even marching in place while washing dishes. But this was not the “wind in your face” swift walking of aerobic exercise.
I missed it. I found that without the aerobics, I was much hungrier in the mornings, and was in a low mood. It has been shown that exercise causes a feeling of well-being. I believe it!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Pictureless “Special Exposure Wednesday”

I was fully intending yesterday to take a picture of Ricki for “special exposure Wednesday”. But I didn’t manage.
You may wonder why I could not accomplish such an easy task. To be brief, I forgot to give Ricki her Concerta (a type of Ritalin) for her ADHD yesterday morning. She was at school until about threeo’clock and within minutes of her return, her behavior reminded me that she was not medicated. But by then by then it was too late to give her the medicine….
She was terrible. She hit a girl in school, and took all afternoon and evening to clean up her room, because she spent 95% of her time either eating or starting up with others in the family.
So sorry, no picture this week.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ricki TRIED to Tell me….

Last week I missed my regular swimming group on Wednesday, due to the hospitalization of a family member. So yesterday evening I went for an extra, “make-up” session. The rules at this pool is that if you miss for a valid reason, you can have a free additional session, but not if you simply decide not to come. Well, I was confident that I had a valid reason.
Of course, they accepted my reason, but said in surprise: “There was no swimming last Wednesday. Something needed fixing in the pool. Didn’t you get a phone call?”
I replied that I had not, and was rather upset. (I mean, I was astounded at the “coincidence” that I didn’t go –since I NEVER miss going—due to the trip to the emergency room, but scared that a different time I also might not hear if the pool is closed.) I gave them my phone number (again), wondering how it happened that they “blew it”.
Then I remembered. Wednesday afternoon Ricki told me “No pool”. I assumed she was asking if she is correct, that there would be no swimming class (hers) that Thursday. I replied, that yes, she was correct, there would be no swimming this week.
Now I suspect that Ricki was given the message, and tried to tell me. She just didn’t speak a full sentence.
Note for those following my exercise/wt loss. I have slowly over the last three months gone from barely managing to do forty laps in over an hour to doing 40 laps in 54 minutes, easily.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Relief Too Soon

Yesterday I was very relieved to have rescued my new clothing from Ricki. Besides the silver vest, she had stashed in her bags a beige top with lace trim, which I also rescued. But when I went to but it away at noon, I discovered that the lace trim was badly torn.
I didn’t even wear it once.

It’s not that important. I need to keep it in perspective.
The good side is that these shenanigans of Ricki swiping my clothing is only because as I lose, I am nearing her size…..

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tears / Tussle at the Door

A family member who Ricki habitually fights with has been hospitalized (nothing serious, just a preventative treatment), and Ricki has been in tears due to this person’s albescence.
“Why?” I asked myself. “Why should the cat miss the dog?” I figure that there are several possible reasons:
1. She is bored without her daily adversary
2. She actually misses them
3. She loves playing drama queen (and she DOES!)
4. She understands that this is the proper “script”.

I personally think that all of these reason factor in, suspecting that number 4 is the biggest…….

Tussle at the Door
After staying up ridiculously late last night catching up with 4 days of email etc, I set my clock late enough to barely get Ricki up and out to school. However, even before the alarm rang, I heard her getting up and prepared. I told her that I would get up later, in time to send her to school, and set the alarm for later. But I was awake, and after a few minutes, I got up anyway.
As I walked to the living room, Ricki pointed to the front door. “I have my bags ready outside.” She said.
Why outside? As I reached for the door handle to check why she had placed the bags outside in the stairwell, Ricki blocked my way. “I don’t want you to see…”
Gee, she does it every time, giving herself away. (Thank G-d….)
I acted unconcerned , but moments later zipped out the front door to check the packages there. Ricki scurried out behind me. As I was inspecting one bag, finding her swim geer (which she does NOT need at school), I noticed that she had grabbed a smaller bag, and was hiding it behind her back. Apparently there was “worse” contraband there. I had to wrench the bag from her by force (she could theoretically just dart downstairs with it), and discovered inside my new silver vest.
While I managed to salvage my new clothing, eventually she grabbed the swim gear back, and only parted with some of it due to my threats. She managed to flounce downstairs with the rest despite my threats of repercussions to come, disgruntled at my interventions.
I was left rather defeated (temporarily). I need to think of a fitting and effective punishment/plan.
GRUMP. I’m too tired to think, and I have no choice…..
I think that listening to my evil inclination and staying up late was the start of this debacle. I have to think up a good punishment/plan here, too….

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Rocky Mountain High

My son obtained for me a MP3 copy of the song "Rocky Mountain High" (John Denver). People who haven't ever been to the Rocky Mountains are likely to think that this song is talking about drugs. But it isn't. Some people, me included, get an emotional "high" from the mountains. The two dimensional pictures you see in the video can not give you the feeling that being there does. The vast spaces, the rustle of the wind in the aspen trees, the roaring of water tumbling over stones in its downward rush towards the inspiring (in those whose heart is open to it). I came to believe in G-d as a result of my encounters with the awesomeness of G-d's world.
So now when out walking the pavements of the city, I listen (among other things) to “Rocky Mountain High”, and my heart aches for the quiet and fresh air of the mountains, and for the family that lives there.
[Originally I was going to post this tomarrow, but I want to share it today. So forgive me if I don't post tomarrow!]

Special Expiosure Wednesday: Golden Oldie

Sorry, but again an old picture of Ricki. (I haven't been taking many pictures of late...)

This is Ricki in third grade. She was two years older than her classmates. (A year later she jumped up to sixth grade to her age level, when she switched schools.)Note the dangly earings.....

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mamma Rochel and the Amazing Human Mind

“Mamma Rochel”, the matriarch Rachel, was buried on the way to Bethlehem. (Today is the anniversary of her death.) Now what has that to do with the mind? And isn't this an interesting painting of the monument?
The brain is bombarded by innumerable amounts of stimuli at any moment, and our minds manage to filter out a lot of the extraneous stuff, while simultaneously noticing things that this person is interested in.

The above public utilities closet (one of several variously-painted ones in our town) is painted with a picture of the grave of Rachel. It is located next to Ricki’s swimming class, and I pass it weekly. Yet I never noticed it. Late last week as I was walking one morning, I strode past it, suddenly noticing it, and remembering that in a few days we would be marking the death of the Matriarch. Since I was unencumbered by my usual post-swim class thoughts of "Gee, glad the lesson is over, lets get home and do XYZ...", my brain allowed me to notice this non-relavent stimuli....

Monday, October 18, 2010

On a Babel of Language

A week and a half ago we read in the synagogue the Torah portion [for explanation, see HERE]containing the story of the Tower of Babel.. Well only a few days later, we had our own mix-up of languages.
Ricki was playing with E___ , the son of her older sister. Her older sister was busy in the kitchen, and Ricki was talking a mile a minute with E___ . I wasn’t really paying attention, but suddenly Ricki’s sister called out:
“Ricki, how many times do I have to tell you that E___ does NOT speak Yiddish!??!”
Ricki was trying to speak Yiddish to him (the preferred language of the children of one of her older brothers), which definitely hampered communication. Not only because E___ does not understand Yiddish, but Ricki (in spite of her belief to the contrary) does NOT speak Yiddish. (She “babbles” something that sounds a bit like Yiddish, but is really just a mumble-jumble…) But usually the children she “babbles” to are young enough that they don’t mind. After all, the non-verbal attention and communication is still there….

Sunday, October 17, 2010

“I Want to Live HERE!”

With sundown at about 5 PM, our Friday evening shabbas meal finishes early. And since I had not had time in the morning for a walk, I headed off after the meal with Ricki to visit a friend of mine, thus not only having the joy of the visit, but getting some exercise while both going and returning. My friend lives in a lightly more upscale neighborhood, as as we entered the area, Ricki ogled the houses. “I want to live HERE”! she exclaimed, and minutes later as we passed another house, with recessed lights along the front steps of the apartment building, Ricki nudged me: “Look at that!”
Now I am not immune to desiring luxuries, but I have the understanding that certain things cost more many than I wish to spend, or can afford to. I had the feeling that Ricki did not really understand that. When I mentioned that the houses here were expensive, she simply countered with a “But I WANT to live HERE!”
We reached my friend’s house, which is not flashy on the exterior, but is self-designed and quite nice on the inside. After the visit, as we were leaving, Ricki started: “Mom…”
I knew what was coming.
“I want to live HERE.”
Just to be sure that I was reading her right, I asked her, “Do you want to live here WITH or WITHOUT the whole family, me, Dad, and everyone…?”
“With” [ WEW! RELIEF!!!]
So I tried to explain that we can’t afford it, and that we have a VERY nice house, and our house is neared the buses and nearer the stores…
It didn’t work.
“Mom, I want to live HERE…..”

Anyone have a manuel on teaching a teen with Down syndrome that she can't have it all? (Something a lot of the rest of us have trouble with.....)

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Flue Vaccination and Friends

Yesterday afternoon I took Ricki for her yearly flue vaccination, and she coped with it very well. She held my hand, but that was about it. Of course beforehand she wheedled out of me the promise of some ice cream…..
On the way home we met one of the girls from the class she had been “included” in through eighth grade. I mentioned to her that Ricki needs visits from her former classmates, and she was very surprised to hear that no one has been coming over. Besides promising to come herself this shabbas, she promised to get the word around.

Update: Ricki waited all shabbas for her "friend". She never came. How sad!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

With Compassion

[image: Sunrise this morning.]

From the morning prayers:"[Blessed be He] who who illuminates the earth and those who dwell upon it with compassion...." We thank G-d for the gift of the fireball that lights up our world. And may we also thank Him for the compassion that He shows us each day, for the miracles we see (like the rescue of the miners), and for those we are unaware of.....
The miners were underground for 69 days. Everyone was thrilled at their rescue, and their ability to see and hug their families. May I remind my readers that the family of Gilad Shalit have not spoken with their son for over four years.......

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dipping Into Our Own Reserves of Strength

Note: I have been posting a bit erratically lately… having put into action a decision not to “sweat it” if I don’t have what to post….
Chilean miner Florencio Avalos, the first of 33 trapped miners to be rescued, hugs President Sebastian Pinera and his sonat the surface of the San Jose Mine near Copiapo, Chile late October 12, 2010. An accident trapped 33 miners for more than two months more than 2,000 feet below the surface.  UPI/Chilean Government/HO Photo via Newscom
I am sure that everyone reading here is thrilled for the rescued miners from Chile and their families. Let us just hope and pray that the escape route stays clear and that ALL of them (and the six rescue workers now with them) make it to the surface. The bravery of the rescue workers, who willingly have put themselves into the same potentially lethal position, is staggering.
Note that all of the miners have been on a strict diet, to maintain a weight low enough to fit into the capsule. I haven’t heard of any who found it “impossible”. Isn’t it amazing that when our life is on the line, and WE REALIZE IT, dieting is no longer an “option”.
If those of us who are overweight would truly internalize that our lives are also hanging in the balance, that we face discomfort, disability, and early death due to our overeating, the urge to overeat is much easier curbed.
People are calling the miners heroes. (Though to me, it is the rescuers who are the prime heroes.) (Although the miners certainly deserve credit for managing so well and helping each other.)
You can also be a hero. Stick to your eating plan. (Or if you are facing different challenges, face and deal with them.) Today. Tomorrow. For sixty days.

Special Exposure Wednesday-another Golden Oldie- GULP!

You will find more of "special Exposure Wednwesday" HERE.

Picture: Ricki getting up the nerve to pet a pony (GULP!)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Morning in the Mall--- and Thank G-d for Good People!

Two days ago Ricki managed to break the plastic supports which hold the small shelves for shampoo in place in the shower. (She probably grabbed the shelves for support for some reason.) Anyway, there being two stores that carry those shelves in close proximity to the local shopping center, I decided to walk over and see if they carried replacement parts. It turns out that in one store they hope to be getting replacement parts in next week. While in this store I purchased a few plastic baskets to use (hopefully) later this week to arrange and make order in Ricki’s clothing closet.
After this, I went to the second store, hoping that maybe they had replacement parts for the shelves on hand, but the salesman was not helpful at all, so I left without purchasing anything.
My last stop before heading home was to be the shopping mall itself. I wanted to check a few stores which I suspected might carry my clothing size, and to compare the prices between these stores. Later this week I plan to throw out my oversized clothing, and to decide what I need to purchase later in the month, before the cold weather hits hard (probably in about 1 ½ to 2 months from now).
In one store there were several items on sale, and I decided to try them on. This took a while, but when I finally finished, I had chosen two skirts. And that was when I realized that my nylon bag which I had been carrying my change purse in (including my credit card) was missing.
I hurriedly backtracked, but not finding the bag anywhere, I took a cab home (I told the driver that I would get money from the house on our arrival). On arriving home I was informed by my family that the card and bag had been found, and my son arrived home from picking it up a few minutes later.
Someone found it and turned it into the mall’s “Lost and Found”, not leaving their name or anything. They saved me a lot of anguish and probably monetary loss as well. (Isn’t it terrible that we consider it lucky and not par for the course that it was returned?) Anyway, right then and there I asked G-d to give that good person a nice day today….

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Israeli Driver Hits Palestinian Youth: What would YOU have done?

If any of my non-Israeli readers are puzzled how an Israeli driver could be callous as to hit a teenager, read THIS to understand. The culprit, truely, are those who encourage teens to throw stones.

The Fight Between Desire and Knowledge

The other evening I was preparing soup for supper, and Ricki walked in , asking if she could eat a soy patty. I agreed, but indicated that if she did, she would need to choose whether to eat bread with the soy or with the soup. She said “Oh, I’ll save it for the soup.” I was genuinely surprised at this, being a very rare occurrence of any ability by Ricki to postpone gratification, or to even attempt to forego unneeded calories..
However, if I thought that Ricki was making progress in controlling her eating, I was astounded when she unabashedly served herself 4 slices of bread to eat with her soup (before I intervened).
What was interesting was to see the interplay between her knowledge that overeating is bad, and her desire to overeat. A real tug of war. But she was not as adapt as most of us in camouflaging our indiscretions…..

Friday, October 8, 2010


[image: the number sixteen]

Gleaned from Wikipedia:
Sixteen is the fourth power of two. For this reason, 16 was used in weighing light objects in several cultures. The British used to have 16 ounces in one pound, the Chinese used to have 16 liangs in one jin. In old days, weighing was done with a beam balance to make equal splits. It would be easier to split a heap of grains into sixteen equal parts through successive divisions than to split into ten parts. Chinese Taoists did finger computation on the trigrams and hexagrams by counting the finger tips and joints of the fingers with the tip of the thumb. Each hand can count up to 16 in such manner.

Sixteen is the minimum age for being allowed an official beginners driver's license with parental consent in many U.S. states and in Canada.
Sixteen is the minimum age for getting an adult job in most states and provinces across the globe.
Sixteen is the minimum age that one can drop out of school in most states of the US (however, restrictions apply and vary depending on state).
In the United States, female sixteen year olds earn the right to privacy laws surrounding OBGYN practices.
Sixteen is the age of consent for many jurisdictions around the world.
For its "coming of age" significance, this age has inspired the titles of many songs, such as "Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen", "You're Sixteen", "Sweet Sixteen", "U16 Girls" "Sweet Little Sixteen" and "Sixteen Candles
Sixteen is the minimum age to get married with parental consent in many countries.
Minimum age at which one can donate blood with parental consent in many states.
Minimum age at which one can obtain a 10 year passport in the United States and Australia.
Minimum age at which one can join the Armed Forces in the United Kingdom.

Today is Ricki's (Hebrew date) 16th birthday! Of course, she won’t be joining the armed forces in Britain, nor getting a driving permit. But she IS coming nearer to being an adult.
For weeks lately, she has been claiming to be “21” ,”22”, and once even “31”. (Amazing how we are NEVER satisfied with our age! The young want to be older, and the old, younger……..) Last night we finally prevailed on her that she is 16….

Last year I bought her cosmetics (foot/face cream) which she really doesn't use), not wanting to purchase a ball! This year I bought a grown-up gift that she is more likely to enjoy: Jewelry.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Trials and Tribulations

I forgot to give Ricki her Concerta on Tuesday. (Concerta is a long-acting type of Ritalin, used in her case to help deal with her second diagnosis, that of ADHD.) It was my mistake, and I paid the price! Tuesday afternoon Ricki had a dental appointment, and Ricki was constantly prodding me, trying to get my ire up. She would sit with her feet up on another seat, or lean over and stick her elbow into my shoulder. She behaved so poorly that she exhausted herself and went to sleep early. (All through this I tried to react calmly, spelling out consequences for continued repetitions, etc.)
The one good part of the day was when we walked back to the buses, a good fifteen minte walk. For once it wasn’t hot, and we saw a really gorgeous sunset……

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Special Exposure Wednesday-Ricki's the Photographer

As I mentioned last week, recently I went to the zoo with Ricki. While there, she took some pictures. After taking several, she sat down and erased the poorer shots. Here are some of the good ones!:

[image: looking at the crocs]

You will find more of "special exposure Wednesday" HERE.

Slander…..On Her and Others

Hebrew terms for those not aquatinted with them:
Lashon Hara
– Saying some thing bad about another person, even if true. This is usually forbidden by Jewish law, except in some cases, like when it is needed to prevent someone else from getting hurt/cheated/wronged/etc.
Motzai Shem Ra-Saying something bad and FALSE about an other person. This is even more serious than “Lashon Hara”

The Post:

Saturday evening, Ricki was caught doing something bad (I can’t remember what, but it was no big deal). When we cornered her about it, demanding a confession, she started preaching to us: “It is forbidden to say “lashon hara”, I don’t want to say Lashon hara! My teacher said that it is forbidden!”
However, the next morning, when the “victim” was someone else, oh was it a different story! Ricki, a big fan of fried chicken cutlets (“shnitzl” in Hebrew), had swiped a piece and-a-half from off the pan lid where the cutlets for lunch had been warming up since early that morning...
As I entered the living room, Ricki burst out “I saw Issac and David (her two brothers) take shnitzl yesterday before they left!!”
Unlucky Ricki. The shnitzl had been warming up from only in the morning. Any missing pieces had been snatched in the previous hour, and her brothers were FAST asleep. So I told her off for that juicy little bit of “motzai shem ra”, indicating that if she wanted to avoid lashon hara, this was were she could start…..

Monday, October 4, 2010

The REALLY Good Babysitter

Now my married daughter would never leave Ricki as a REAL babysitter for her 10 month old nephew, but she does call her up to play with my grandson when my daughter needs a break from the baby’s kvetching.
Over holidays, on of my daughters-in-law, watching Ricki play with the baby, told my daughter “Gee, you have it ‘made’!”
My daughter laughed, and smiled. “Yes, when he is driving me nuts, I call Ricki up to our room, and she plays with him non-stop. Within half an hour she will tire him out, and he’ll fall asleep like a log…..”

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Teens and Down syndrome

As I have mentioned before (in reference to “would I cure her if I could?”), our teens change, and we continue to love them. (Even if they are, at times, a pain in the _______.) (Sorry!)
But I have terrible news for all you parents with cute little smiley kids with Down syndrome: they ALSO become teens. Really ornery, “I-hate-you-Mom” teens. Don’t think that they remain “little kids” forever. They don’t. They are NOT “perpetual children”. They are teens, and later, adults, with a limited intellect. And just as all teens strive for independence from their parents, and for respect as an adult, so do our growing teens with Down syndrome. But since they DO have an intellectual disability, that independence is harder to receive, and society as well treats them as children. This makes the fight much harder, that much more bitter, and therefore perhaps more rocky than with your average teen.

But the flip side is that a lot of things you may have been working on for ages suddenly “click”, and they really can learn to do an amazing amount of things. More than you ever dreamed when you were first told by the doctor that this precious child has Down syndrome.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Who’s That Lady With Ricki????

My youngest son came up to me the day before yesterday, and said “NOW I really know you’ve lost weight….”
What’s the story? He was coming from his room to the front of the house, where I was sitting (back to him) with Ricki. He thought to himself: “Who’s that lady with Ricki?” for a moment, before realizing that it was me.


Exercise and Being Consistent

This morning (Thursday), I went walking for about an hour and a half. Although it was a bit warm, it was good to get out and stretch my legs. Last week on Saturday I also went walking, but 50 minutes was more than enough for me. I felt tired and “out-of-sort”. Now why would that be? I normally enjoy walking…
I suspect highly that the difference between the two early morning walks was due to the days leading up to them. This week I had gotten out and walked every day, including Wednesday, even though it promised to be a busy day in the kitchen. In contrast, I got very little walking in the end of last week. The result, apparently, was the lethargy I felt on Saturday morning.
Exercise, done regularly, should make you feel good and energetic. But keep the habit up. The on-and-off path just isn’t as rewarding.

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.