Friday, April 29, 2011

“Don’t Be a Sucker” – But at What Price?

One of my biggest pleasures is when my married sons come to spend a shabbas (Sabbath) or holiday with us. However, as their families grow, they have been coming less often. Also it was drawn to my attention that the guest room was not really all that comfortable. One problem was the lack of good ventilation; the other was the bed. So when I cleaned the porch off that room before Passover, I removed a lot of things, providing for the possibility of some breeze in the room. Next I needed to dismantle the old bed and buy a new one.
Dismantling the old one was a bit problematic, as the screws in the bed were irregularly shaped, but eventually I found and bought a screwdriver that could do the job. Then I managed to get “Y” and “D” here one evening to dismantle the bed and haul it downstairs for disposal. By this date, it was two weeks before the Passover holiday. With the old bed having been disposed of, I could finally order a new one. I was sure that it would take only a few days to arrive, as most appliances and furniture do.
Imagine my disappointment when the store owner informed me that while he would TRY to get me the bed before the holiday, he could not promise. Not having time to research other possibilities, and fearful of postponing the order to a later date (by which time delivering in time for holiday guests would be impossible), I reluctantly ordered the bed despite the uncertainty of obtaining delivery in time for Passover.
About a week later my married daughter heard this sad story, and she immediately flew into action. As she grabbed the phone to call the store, she told me “Mom, if you don’t bug them the beds that DO arrive will go to whoever pesters them. Don’t be a sucker!”
Well, she called the store, threatening to cancel the order, and “lo and behold”, the bed arrived the next day. Minus the mattresses. The mattresses were “supposed” to arrive the same day.
Early the next morning, someone from our family called the store, yelling at the secretary, saying that we needed the mattresses for guests arriving that very same day. This was a lie.
I can understand that my daughter pestered the store in order to get the bed delivered. But since when does “not being a sucker” entitle one to lie and not be a “mentsch” (decent person)??????

So I quickly called the store back. I apologized for the fact that the secretary had been yelled at, and explained that we did NOT need the mattresses the same day, only in time for Passover. And did she know WHEN the mattresses would arrive, by any chance?
The lady informed me that the mattresses had already left the factory, and would arrive that day. Which they did.
Yes, you don’t need to be a “sucker”. But you still need to be a decent, considerate person.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Getting Up, Keeping On

Well, as I expected, I gained over Passover—3 kilo! But I am already back on the “bandwagon”. I hope to lose the weight as fast as I gained it.
I have several posts to write, but they will have to wait because I want to get enough sleep. ENOUGH of 4 hours a night…..

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Two Sides

Remember the “Cracker Fiasco” of a few days ago?
Well, the funny thing is that just about one day before that incident; Ricki was eating some bread in a carefully designated area of the house. I was concerned lest crumbs of chometz (leaven) fall on the floor and get blown by the wind into the areas of the house that had already been cleaned for Pesach (Passover).
Now Ricki has an odd (and irritating) “custom” to turn her plate over whenever she has finished eating. So as she neared the end of her meal, I warned her not to turn her plate over, that doing so would scatter crumbs all over the house.
Her reply was “I am not a tiny little girl.”
“OK,” I thought at the time, “I had that coming to me. She DOES understand.” But that understanding did not help when a day or two later she was hungry and wanted crackers….
The state of the human being, the conflict between knowledge and desires…..

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Rule Number One: Admitting That We Have No Control….

The First Step in the “twelve steps” is admitting that we are out of control.

Before Passover, knowing full well the family “custom” to (over)eat chocolate during the pre-Pesach (pre-Passover) days and during the holiday itself, I bought several bars of the finest Swiss type with trepidation. I knew that these bars of “instant energy” were a potential diet bombshell, especially as I was running at that time on about 4 hours of sleep nightly.
The question was, why should I buy at all?
Well, Orthodox Jews take seriously the command not to eat leaven over the holiday (unfortunately the command to guard one’s health seems less critical at this juncture), and the types of food available with a really good kosher certification (for Passover) are somewhat limited. (Especially for those who also do not consume legumes over the week.) I wanted to have good treats to give the grandchildren, and my husband might very well see non-purchase of an essential like chocolate to be grounds (almost) for divorce…..
So I ate some before Passover, and although I was eating much less than once, it was surely enough to cause a dent in my plans not to gain over the month. I realized that sleep-deprivation and stress were factors in play, and consoled myself that once the holiday entered, these factors would fall by the wayside, and I would be able to get my eating under control. After all, salads and vegetable soups are great Passover foods, not just matzah with butter.
So the holiday has started, I have returned to having time for aerobic walking, and I discovered to my horror, that my consumption of fattening foods has stayed out of control.
Finally last night I admitted to myself step number one: I am powerless over the Swiss bars. So I passed them on to someone else to distribute to the grandchildren.
This does not mean that I am perfectly in control already. The lack of many of my regular diet “substitutions” has still made dieting this week very difficult, but I am beginning to get a semblance of normal intake.
BTW, I am able to withstand the cooking chocolate OK. It is only the special Passover Swiss luxuries I am unable to resist. At least I won’t have them around AFTER the holiday. But I am well aware that the failure to properly exercise my mental “SAY NO” muscle is dangerous, and I must tread VERY carefully in the weeks ahead (this week too) in order to prevent a backsliding to those pre-diet days when overeating just seemed uncontrollable. I must relearn to say “NO!”.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pre-Passover Update (Fiasco # 2 ) (and #3….)

Someone asked how she got hold of the “chometz” (leavened food). Simply, it was hanging outside the front door. I had no idea that she would dare bring it into the house. So after the cracker fiasco, I hid the pitot ( a less crumbly type of bread) that we were planning to eat over the Sabbath, Well, she FOUND them and again ate in the living room! After that I hid them better, but also made sure to wake up before she did Saturday morning!
Finally, tonight I sent her downstairs with a few crackers, telling her not to reenter the house until she was finished. Again, she disobeyed me, and came in, but I caught her right away and sent her out again.
The interesting thing is that she does understand, theoretically at least. Today we took an early morning stroll (oh, so nice to get out after three days in the house!), and I asked her where she thought we would be eating pitot today, in the salon or on the roof. She replied “on the roof”.
-Because it is chometz.

So she does understand. She just has trouble with her desire to eat.

Sounds like someone else I know who understands that chocolate before Passover is just as fattening as all year round but who nevertheless has had 1 ½ bars over the last three or four days……

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Starting Off One’s Day….

For those of you who are not familiar with what Passover (“Pesach”) entails for an orthodox Jewish housewife, I will need to explain or you will not understand my post today.
On Passover, we are enjoined not to eat leaven, and we take this commandment seriously. VERY seriously. In the weeks before the holiday, we clean our house from all leavened materials (bread, crackers, etc…, including all the crumbs that get everywhere over the course of the year….). Then when the house is finally clean, we cover our kitchen with clean material (foil, paper, etc), get out special Passover dishes and pots, and cook up all those delicious holiday meals that our guests are eagerly
Yes, it is a LOT of work [This is the major reason I have been blog posting so little. I have several unwritten posts waiting for me to find the time….] However, it is also gratifying to see the house clean, and of course the family gathering over the holiday are what makes it all worthwhile.
Well, basically my house is “Kosher L’Pesach” (clean for Passover” already. Yesterday I cleaned the living room, and the kitchen is also basically done. Today I need to clean my refrigerator and get out the special Passover dishes from their boxes.
Last night I was up late, finishing to cover the stove and the living room table. But I gratefully realized that Ricki doesn’t have school today, and I could sleep until 7 am.
So this morning at six thirty Ricki woke me up and asked about breakfast. “Soon” I mumbled, and turned over to sleep for another half hour.
After awakening, I got dressed and was about to prepare my morning “Start Off the Day” cup of coffee. Then I noticed.
Cracker crumbs.
In my “kosher L’Pesach” living room.
It seems that Ricki had taken breakfast into her own hands. And the result was an armchair full of crumbs (even underneath the cushion), crumbs on the floor, and on a pile of plastic chairs that I had “checked”. I even found a piece under the dining room table.
The result? A sleepy bleary eyed mother did not start off her day with coffee. My day started off today with sweeping, cleaning, and washing the salon floor.
Ricki, puzzled, said “But Mom, you did the floors yesterday!”
Yea. Before the “cracker fiasco”.
HAVE A NICE DAY! I will. (I’m just happy she didn’t go into the kitchen…).

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Chocolate Splurge /A Ricki Story

I am tired, overworked, and sleep deprived. Result? Splurged on chocolate yesterday. I promise myself that today I will be more careful, and will get more sleep as well.
Yesterday evening I cleaned the stove for Passover. (In the meantime I will cook my either microwave or slow cooker…) This morning Ricki entered the kitchen, and noticing the stove was minus the burners, asked “Can I use the stove?” I replied that no, she couldn’t.
Realizing that a fried egg was not an option, she accepted things gracefully, and simply queried “So WHAT will I eat today?” I suggested a grilled cheese sandwich, and she promptly went to make one with the sandwich toaster.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


I am busy cleaning for Passover. It is a lot of work, but at the same time I am gratified to get to all those cleaning tasks which I shirk off most of the year.
However, all of this takes time, and as it is my day is pretty full. So some of the extra cleaning time has come at the price of a lot less on-line time. The rest has come, due to few other options, from some of my exercise/walking time.
The result? I am hungry as can be. All those lovely “feel-good” hormones released from aerobic walking are missing, and I am simply ravenous all day. But I am holding on…..