Friday, April 30, 2010


Ricki used the computer yesterday. Then, in the evening I sat down to write my blog for today. But where was the file? All three and a half megabytes were in the recycle bin. YIKES!
In addition, there where 68 documents waiting in the line for the printer (actually, 2 documents each waiting for 30+ copies…..). Luckily the printer (which I always keep nearly empty for just this reason) was out of paper. I have already set up a separate user name for her, but many of her disks don’t work well on her section. So I end up letting her use mine, wishfully thinking “Well, come on, what will she do already?”

Now I know.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Walk With Me To Jerusalem!

[image: Pilgramige to Jerusalem]

I am planning to make a goal challenge on Walker Tracker (see sidebar) to walk (virtual walk) from the Tel Aviv area to Jerusalem for the Shavuot Holiday! (in the days of the Temple, people from all over Israel walked to the Temple for the holidays.)You are all invited to join me. Click on the sidebar ( "Join Me on Walker Tracker") to join, and when I creatate the competition I will send you an invitation to join the group "Walking" to Jerusalem.(If you already are on walker tracker, leave your user name from there in the comments to this post.)

The Three Plans

I noticed on Tuesday on America’s MSNBC news an article about how people who have lost weight are often disappointed with their lives, resulting often in regain of the weight. I quote:
“In a small study presented at The Obesity Society’s annual scientific meeting last year, researchers identified several key elements that lead to weight gain after weight loss surgery. A recurring theme from the study participant interviews and questionnaires was that weight loss could lead to disappointment. In turn, disappointment — whether from the amount of weight lost not meeting a patient’s expectations or that weight loss didn’t fix their problems — can lead to chronic frustration and weight regain, the bugaboo for all folks who have managed to shed pounds. …….While the study focused on those who'd had bariatric surgery, the findings can be applied to those who lost weight through diet or exercise as well, says lead author Lee Kern, clinical director for Structure House, a residential weight loss facility in Durham, N.C. …..‘Anecdotally, patients say they feel better and are happier and studies support that,’ says obesity researcher Dr. Charles Burant, director of the University of Michigan’s Metabolomic and Obesity Center. ‘[Weight loss] puts a spring in people’s step. But to say it puts a strut in their step might be going too far.’”

Reading this can give one pause. Why should I lose weight if I am not going to be happier as a result? The answer is, obviously, that NOT losing weight will lead eventually to further health problems and a possible earlier death. To me, that is certainly reason enough. I am hoping that as I lose my knee pain will get better. What this study is saying, is that I can’t assume that all my problems will disappear if I loose weight. My knee pain will probably get better. It may not disappear altogether.
I suspect that the statistics (of those satisfied with weight loss) for people who exercise regularly will be better. People who exercise and lose are going to feel better than the person who simply had surgery. First, exercise pumps our system with endomorphines, and secondly, the self-esteem that comes from sticking to a plan can not be obtained through surgery.
The bottom line of the MSNBC article is:
“The message is straightforward: focus on the positive aspects of weight loss, such as health and mobility improvements and increased energy. ‘It’s the benefits over time that are important,’ says Structure House’s Kern. ‘The dream life is fantasy, whether you’re fat or skinny.’”
Actually, what they are saying has already been said by Jeane Eddy Westin in The Thin Book . She mentions that to lose weight successfully, we need a three-pronged plan:
-a correct eating plan
-an exercise plan
-a mental attitude plan

We need to learn to value ourselves for all our good attributes (not in SPITE of being fat, either…). We need to want to lose weight for our health and well-being, not for what others think of us. We need to be able to allow ourselves to be imperfect at times, and to set aside time for ourselves. [For example, part of my weight-losing plan is my weekly ceramics class. I don’t have to loose weight to “deserve” it. I am allowed fun, because everyone needs something fun (NOT FOOD) in their lives.]
So if you are trying to lose weight, make sure that you are moving forward on all three fronts.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Special Exposure Wednesday-The window-washer

[image: Ricki cleaning our window with cleaner and a rag]
Ricki has been a real pest for the last few days. She has been in a "lets see how to irk/disobey Mommy mood, and it has taken a lot of effort on my part to draw lines at incorrect behavior. Today I decided to be a bit proactive. After lunch, I informed Ricki that she was going to learn how to clean windows, so that she can clean her windows when she is an adult. She actually enjoyed the task (as I thought she would, and for once in the last few days we had some positive interactions.
But when I informed her that the BEST thing to clean windows with is newspaper, she was incredulous! She didn't believe me, until she tried some and saw that I was correct!
You will find more of Special Exposure Wednesday HERE.

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

Every society has its stories. From fables of Aladdin to Johnny Appleseed, who doesn’t love a good tale? And of course, we all know that any story, particularly those that we tell children, will have a good and happy ending. (In stories, last week’s atrocity of bystanders leaving a man to die on the street, without even thinking to call 911, would never happen…).
Did you ever wonder how these tales affect the way we look at life? For example, when something “bad” happens to us, illness strikes, a loved one dies… our first reaction is generally disbelief, and the feeling that “it wasn’t meant to be like this…” Somehow, we expect our lives to play out like a “happy ending”, with all tribulations easily taken care of within the two-hour period that a movie lasts.
And what about the way we look at ourselves? In legends, the hero has the ability to solve all problems. In the end, everyone but thee villain will be happy and content. But in real life, we can’t always make it so: our special-needs child (and “regular” one too) are still susceptible to attacks on the street, aging parents will not always have the finances to help grown children who are struggling through a tough period, and real parents are sometimes too tired to be the so-wise-so-patient parent that abound in our stories. And when was the last time you saw an overweight heroine in a movie? In fables, heroes are perfect, and we often expect ourselves, as people, and as parents, to be so as well.
And finally, what about the stories we tell OURSELVES, within our mind? There, will we believe in our ability to change and achieve? Or are we (as many do) assuming failure, inability, and stagmentation?
So today, let us accept that life is not always a fairy tale, and acknowledge ourselves as imperfect creatures. NOT that this allows us to stop trying. If you have a special-needs child that needs to learn about “stranger danger”, so make a plan when and how to do that. And if you are on a diet, make an eating/exercise and stick to it. [And if you have trouble with sticking to the plan, you may need to revise it. See HERE and HERE.] Even if you succeed only 90%, well that’s pretty good. Can we, WITHOUT INSISTING ON PERFECTION, envision ourselves as dealing with our troubles and difficulties, in a positive, productive way? So make yourself a hero- a believable, normal everyday hero- TODAY.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Yikes! You are all going to think that I am a pessimist, obsesed with death. I am not. (REALLY!)
But Friday morning I heard that a friend (my age, under my weight, but not thin) had died. My first suspicion was that her death was weight-related. So today when walking in her neighborhood, I stopped to check if the death notice gave any hint of whether the deceased had a chronic illness,died in an accident, etc. I gather from the notice that she probably had cancer. AS IF THAT MEANS BEING OVERWEIGHT IS LESS OF A DANGER, HUH?
But I got a second message from the picture: See the lovely red blooms from the overhanging plants? Well, there are hard days (death notice); there are easier days (flowers). Both are part of life. So if you are having a hard day, just hunker down and wait for the flowers to bloom.
       As someone commented, Meirav was indeed a very special person, although I knew her in a rather passing way. I do know that she was the instigator of a high school course teaching future music teachers to work with children who have special needs.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

My Dear Daughter, So Mature/Immature

Sometimes Ricki seems almost schizophrenic, not in personality or mental state, but in the erratic nature of her maturity. Thursday was a perfect example.
I was incredibly busy on Thursday. Expecting extra guests on Friday night and Saturday morning, I darted out of the house, planning to combine my hour health walk with a trip to the cheapest supermarket sandwiched in the middle. But I did not take into account my nature to be an exacting comparative shopper, nor the crowds that are normal on Thursday in the grocery store, especially in the month after Passover. I reached the checkout counter rather late, and the lines at all the cashiers were absolutely huge. When I finally reached the cashier, an old gentleman from the line next to mine swooned in a near faint, and naturally all business ground to a halt as the staff of the store took charge of the situation. Finally I got out of the store and home, but by then the morning was shot. This meant that my tasks for the day had not gotten done, and if I wanted the house to look normal for my arriving guests on the marrow, I would have to be organized, and exert maximum effort and time. The problem was, Ricki had a swimming lesson scheduled for that afternoon, eliminating another good chunk of time. Thus the idea was hatched.
What idea? I decided that Ricki, having been prompted by me several times to undress/dress on her own before and after class (my having done this in order for her to be able “some day” to go swimming on her own) - was ready to attempt it in real life, without Mommy hovering in the wings. I took her by taxi to the pool**, sent her in alone, and continued by taxi to do a few necessary errands.
I returned to the pool a few minutes after her class ended. The teacher was full of praises for my daughter. She had behaved admirably, and had managed entirely on her own. Such maturity!
Then from the pool, Ricki joined me as I ran to do a final errand in the shopping district. As we were walking to my destination, Ricki requested that I purchase a cassette tape from a store just ahead of my destination. I refused, having decided that Ricki really needs to learn that not every trip to the shopping mall will result in a purchase of extraneous items for her. We reached our destination, and when my back was turned, Ricki disappeared. I was not really that scared. We were about a seven minute walk from home, and Ricki knows the way back perfectly. I figured that she was bored, and went home, but I would of course call home in a few minutes to check (and to inform my husband to talk to Ricki about leaving without notifying me….).
Than my cell phone rang. A woman called me, saying that she had found Ricki. Ricki had given her the phone number at home, and my husband had supplied her with my cell phone number. Within moments, Ricki had rejoined me, and we started the walk to home.
As we strode forward, Ricki inquired if I had any special activities planned for the evening, and stated that she had some nice tapes she wanted to hear. Then she added “I don’t want to show you.”
Sudden realization of what had transpired over the last few minutes hit me with a thud. Ordering my daughter to open her swim bag, I discovered three cassettes and two CDs. I had to return them to the store, only glad that I had not only discovered the theft, but had not returned all the way home before doing so.
My "schizophrenic" daughter: so mature/immature. It simply floors me…..

**This is a private pool with a private teacher; there was no chance of her running into strangers without women who know her being present.

SOOC Saturday/Sunday -Living on the Brink

[images: a Raven eating a bird carcass in the middle of the street.]

I caught this image while out walking. At first I took from a distance.I noted that every time a car approached, the Raven would fly away at literally the last minute, promptly returning when the "coast was clear". Then I came closer, trying to get a close-up, but the bird was apparently more scared of me than he was of the cars, so he stopped mid-meal. So after several minutes of trying to catch a close-up, I backed off a bit, until he returned.
Now why did I post this gory picture? Not just to have what to post. Oh no. We who are overweight, may think that we are not as stupid as the raven, who is striving to finish his meal on a busy street. He is living "on the brink". And so are we. If we stray from our eating plan, risking our health (and life) for a piece of tasty cake, or some ice cream, are we not also tempting fate?

PS. Can you imagine the stares I got as I was attempting to get this close-up? When the raven was away, it looked like I was simply trying to photograph the carcass.I mean, who in their right mind photographs bird carcasses?????

Find more of SOOC (Straight out of the Camera) HERE.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Special Exposure Wednesday-the Trip , and Russian menus.....

[image: Ricki holding purse.]

Ricki went on a trip yesterday, along with a friend from her former gradeschool. This young lady does a lot of volunteer work with special-needs children, and whenever there is a trip, she tries to arrange for Ricki to join in the fun.
Ricki took her camera (I can't post the pictures she took, as I am sure that her friend would object to having her photo on the net), and took several pictures (including friends, highways, and close-ups of her nose.....). [I only upload to my computer the normal pictures....] This picture her friend took of Ricki.
When I opened the camera to upload the photos, I discovered that Ricki had managed (somehow....) to change the menu language to Russian. It took me a bit of time to fiqure out where to change it back. If it had been any language with words similar to English, it would have been easier, but Russian, being written in a different alphabet all together, was problamatic. Luckily there were pictures of flags by the language command, so I was able to fiqure it out. [But for once, I realized the frustration that non-English reading Israelis must feel with all the electronic menus in English.....]

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Finally, a Morning at Home

Today being Israel's independence day, Ricki has off from school.
Ricki is home on a weekday morning, not Shabbas! So, even though she is going on a trip later today, I spent an hour with her organizing her stuff, putting stuff away, as well as packing for the trip. ["No, Ricki, you will NOT take your photo album on the trip!"][She would take half the house with her if I let her. She is learning VERY slowly that we take to other places ONLY the items we NEED.] The opertunity to orfanize her things was a G-d-send. Now my living room is MUCH less cluttered.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Remembrance Day

In Israel, Remembrance Day, when the fallen soldiers of the country are mourned, is much more observed than memorial day in the US. First, rare is the family that does not have a son, a cousin, a neighbor, or a close friend of the father who has passed on in a war. We are a small country, and the toll has been high. And since nearly every family has some member in reserve duty at least (if not active duty), the unspoken fear of wives, fathers, and mothers hovers in our consciousness.
Thus, the general “custom” of standing at the time of the memorial sirens is very much observed, and woe to he who does not stand. There is a problem here, however, in that the chareidim (ultra-orthodox) do not generally stand; reportedly because the standing is a non-Jewish custom. This has caused a great antagonism against them, especially since many chareidi families have sons who do not serve. And this backlash is rather understandable.
I have my own way of showing respect: when the siren sounds, I recite psalms. I feel that a deed in the memory of the soldiers is worth much more than just standing. I think it would be nice for today to try and do a good deed for some else, in memory of those who gave so much for their country and people.
PS. Last Monday, when I pointed out to my ceramics teacher and to Ricki’s dance teacher (both of whom are NOT “religious”, let alone chareidi) that the next class would fall on Remembrance Day, both insisted that the class would be held as usual. I was rather surprised, as both of these are “fun” activities.
I guess when one’s livelihood is affected, it is harder to “toe the line”.
[But if I had been the teacher telling non-religious people that class would be held as usual, who wants to bet that they would have accused me of not caring?]

Saturday, April 17, 2010

SOOC Saturday (night) - The Old and the (not to be Equated) Discarded

[image: 3 chairs]
The chair on the left is one of several recently installed on our city sidewalks for use by the elderly (it has engraved on it part of the verse instructing us to respect the elderly - Leviticus 19:32). When I was out walking earlier this week, I noticed two additional chairs, waiting for the garbage disposal. This moring the additional chairs were alreay gone....
[You'll find more of SOOC HERE.]

Friday, April 16, 2010

Ricki’s Unexpected Diet

As I have mentioned before, Ricki LOVES bread, and can devour numerous slices at a sitting. I do my best to stop her, but this is a task requiring GREAT vigilance. But since Passover, Ricki has, unexpectedly been eating moderately.
No, she hasn’t decided to diet. She simply doesn’t know WHERE the bread is. My new kitchen has two shelves built in under the work bench, which didn’t exist in my old kitchen. So Ricki doesn’t even THINK about looking there for the bread. We are cautious to make sure that she doesn’t see us taking bread in or out, and are hoping to get her used to a new way of non-eating.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

One Day, One Hour at a Time

I woke up on Wednesday morning on “the wrong side of the bed”. I really don’t know why. I had gotten a pretty good night’s sleep and Tuesday evening I had taken “an evening off”, having decided that I needed some R&R, and that ALL the tons of things I need to “get to” could wait.
So by all rights, I should have woken up rested, refreshed, and “rarin’ to go”. But I somehow, wasn’t.
Than I saw Ricki scoot by me with a bottle of drink hidden behind her back. Understanding that the bottle was being hidden for I reason, I insisted on examining it, and discovered that she had pilfered soda drink (which I only allow on Shabbas (the Sabbath) from the newly-arrived supermarket delivery carton. I insisted that it be returned, and helped her prepare a low-calorie alternative. After that, we had a few other squabbles over her breaking certain rules, but I held my ground, and she, with sulky resentment, capitulated. I sent her down to meet her ride, waved at her from the window (getting a smile and wave in return), and went to drink my second cup of coffee.
As I drank, I tried to analyze my mood, its causes, and come up with a solution. I was concerned, as my gut impulse reaction was to nosh. Get that energy level up. Feel good… temporarily. But my mind was screaming at me: “NO! You are NOT going to do that, you KNOW you don’t want to walk that path.” My second choice would be to put on some music, but for religious reasons, that option is also out for another two weeks.
Maybe I’ll call a friend? And burden THEM with my bad mood???? No.
Go out walking!! That will get your mood up!
Probably. But soon, not yet.

In the end, I puttered a bit around the house. I mulled over a comment left on Monday’s post: “She'll always control your lives in a way her siblings don't and won't”. And I decided while maybe it has a grain of truth, in the end it is not true. Eventually she will be in a group home, in all probability. I will be concerned with her, always, but that is true of Ricki’s siblings as well. And in the meantime, yes, she is a handful, but as this morning showed, she can be held to limits if I use a firm hand.
Eventually, within the hour, my mood lifted. I have often found that just waiting a bit of time, and going on with life, can help grey moods. As they say in Alcoholics Anonymous, "Just Keep on Keeping On". So whether it's a diet, a problematic kid, or simply tons of stuff waiting to get done, Give it time. Take life as it comes, a day, and an hour, at a time.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Special Exposure Wednesday-Golden Oldie #2

This is a picture of Ricki in Kindergarden, listening to a story.

Find more of "special exposure Wednesday HERE.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"I Don’t Want to Speak….”

I mentioned previously that there is a rather bossy and overbearing young lady in Ricki’s class at school. (After that previous incident, Ricki and I had a long talk about who she needs to listen to, and who not...) I have even heard, with great satisfaction, Ricki telling her over the phone, “You’re not my mother.”
Recently, another mother from the class mentioned to me that her daughter also has problems with this older girl, and that she suspects that the classmate might sometimes get pushy physically.
So I investigated, quizing Ricki: “Does S____ever touch you?”
“Does she ever push your classmates?”
“I don’t want to speak slander….”

There is a lot of emphasis in our school system about not speaking slander, this being a prohibition in the Bible.("Don't be a tale bearer....") I wish there was MORE of an emphasis about personal space!

Monday, April 12, 2010

“I’M The Boss Here”

Whenever Ricki acts sassy, my husband will rhetorically ask, “Who is the boss here, you or me?!??”. So it was no big surprise to me when Ricki suddenly announced yesterday evening at the dinner table, in a moment of self-assertion, “I’m the ‘boss’ here!”
I laughed, and commented, “Ricki as long as your father and I are controlling the money, I think we are the ‘boss’.”
But she didn’t understand (or didn’t care to), and just reiterated: “I’m the boss!”
“Well, Ricki,” I replied, “you ARE the boss-of your body. No one is allowed to touch you without your permission.”
I mean, she DOES need to know that she IS the boss there! Let her feed that self-assertion where it will be useful!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Enough Sleep….

Ricki has been getting, in general, more sleep lately. I have been warning her every evening when her bed time is imminent, and making sure that she gets into bed on time.
Lately Ricki has been behaving better.
Is there a connection? For sure.

Now, I have to work on MY lack of sleep.

Maybe I should import MY Mom…...
Maybe I should make my health a bigger priority????

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Going Away for Passover??? / The "Easy" Option

All of a sudden, all the family members who did not help me before Passover are “suggesting” that next year we “go away” to a hotel for the holiday. They are intimidating that the expense will not be that much greater, and my life will be a lot easier.
Well, first of all, the expense of going away would be considerable, and I doubt very highly that the expenses of the home-grown holiday are anywhere NEAR those of a hotel for the holiday. But I have many other reasons to prefer staying home.
1. My grown sons, who are nor religious, would never join us in a chareidi (ultra-orthodox) establishment. So if I make Pesach (Passover) at home, they eat kosher-for-Passover, which they wouldn’t otherwise.
2. The nicest part of the holiday is having my children and grandchildren as quests. Why should I give up my holiday pleasure?
3. Cleaning for Passover gives the house the cleaning it usually desperately needs….

Just because some people are feeling guilty is no reason for me to go away for Passover.
Ah, you say “It would be easier…”?
Yes, it would.
But who says I want easy?

Dieting isn’t easy.
Raising Ricki isn’t always easy.
Raising her siblings SURE wasn’t easy.
Being honest isn’t always easy.

Lots of things are not easy. But “easy” isn’t always the best. Not by a long shot…..

So if they suggest again going “away” for the holiday, I will have to say “Definitely NOT”

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Thrown-Away Earring

The main gift I bought Ricki for Passover was a necklace and two earrings made of colored crystals. The second I noticed this set in the shop, I realized that Ricki would LOVE it, and purchased it despite the slightly inflated cost. And I was not wrong about her loving the set. She chose this set to wear all Passover, every single day. But on one of the last days, I noticed Ricki throwing one of the earrings into the trash. On questioning her why in the world she was doing so, she replied that the other half of the pair was missing. I warned her that we would undoubtedly find the missing piece eventually, and then she would be sorry for having thrown this one out. She did not listen to me, and I did NOT fetch the earring from the trash. I decided to let her “live and learn”. Now we found the missing piece of jewelry, but Ricki seems rather complacent about it all. Now I am regretting letting the first half of the pair go to the dumpster, it’s a shame on the money, and it seems that Ricki didn’t learn a thing…….

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Fresh Start, A Renewal

I was out walking yesterday, and found out (no big surprise) that the last three weeks have left me fatter and more out-of-shape.
Passover is considered a “time for renewal”. But I am hoping that this post-Passover season will be. As we step back from the hectic days that have passed, we have a chance to make choices that will enable us to live the way we want to: healthily, caring for others, and coming closer to G-d.
Update: This morning I walked further, faster, and with more ease. The thing is to get out and DO what you have to, and let the hard things grow on you AS YOU DO THEM. I saw a lovely quote once. A lady exercised every day. She had a piece of paper , written on it: "One day you are not going to be able to do this. Today is NOT that day!"

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Special Exposure Wednesday- the Dancer-Actor

A few weeks ago I caught several pictures of Ricki dancing to the soul-searching HiSheAmdah music I love:

You can find more of "special exposure Wednesday HERE:


Well , Passover is over (even if my kitchen isn't completely reorganized yet, and today I am planning to re-start walking and watching my diet!
Also, the late sleep-in mornings are finished; Ricki returns to school today! I think she was a bit bored at the end of Passover (no grandkids around the last few days), and she is more than happy to be returning to school....

Friday, April 2, 2010

Mid-Pesach (Passover) Post

Ricki has been weathering Passover rather poorly. She has bad stomach upset (probably from downing her Matzot too fast, without chewing them), and unlike those who left Eygpt, she has lice. (A VERY treatment-resistant lot, I hate to add….)

And now a list of low-calorie (relatively) things to spread on matzah:
White cheese
Cottage cheese
Grilled eggplant mixed with a BIT of mayonnaise or oil
Soft-boiled egg
Horseradish with beets
A bit of grilled salmon blended with a BIT of mayonnaise.

I have all of these available.
So G-d I ask you (tongue-in-cheeck-question),
Why do (homemade) chocolate spread and butter taste SO MUCH better????

And how am I supposed not to overeat when I am 90% of the holiday standing in the kitchen?
I am praying I break even and didn’t gain. Whether I did or not, Passover will soon be over, and hopefully I will be back to normal soon.

PS .Passover has been GREAT! 2 sets of grandkids were here for the first day, and today more are arriving!