Saturday, May 28, 2011

“I Have Swimming”

Ricki would like to be EXACTLY like her friends. While Ricki begrudges me MY swimming evening (she always complains….), SHE proudly says each Sunday: “ XXXX (a friend) has swimming tomorrow. I have swimming too.”
If a friend has a brother getting married the next week, she will also go around talking about the upcoming (non-existent) wedding in the family.
I often wonder how the teacher manages to sort through truth and falsehood, and if she is aware that at least half of Ricki’s grand pronouncements are lies. I once heard that a mother told a teacher not to believe everything her special-needs student tells her. The teacher replied: “Fine…. As long as you don’t believe everything she says about class!”

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Exploring and Understanding Options

Suddenly yesterday evening Ricki turned to me and announced: “I want to be a Mommy.”
Suspecting that she was using the term “Mommy” for “grown up” or “independent”, I asked her WHAT she wants to do when she is a “Mommy”. Her list was long:
1) Cook for Shabbat
2) Cook soups, salads, borekas pastry
3) Clean house
4) Wear jewelry (“YOUR jewelry” is what she said)
5) Be the boss
6) Do laundry
7) Make gifts from crafts for her friends
8) Exercise class and swimming
9) Buy tape recorders
10) Visit her nieces and nephews
11) Make jewelry for her friends and nieces
12) behave properly
13) work
14) work in a store
15) have a bank account

So I decided that she needed to learn that there are SEVERAL options open for her future, each with their pluses, and each with their minuses. She can live here, (but that is a limited time choice), marry, live on her own, or live with girl friends. Each has benefits, and each has detriments. I pointed out to her, as I have before, that if she ever has children, the government would probably take them from her. I also pointed out that ALL of her list can be done even if she never gets married. I also made it clear that if she wants to do these things, and especially if she wants to live on her own or get married, she will need to learn a lot of skills.
At the end, she said “I want to be the Mom, and you the child.” (LOL, she wants POWER!!) I explained that I will always be her Mom, that she can visit me, and I her, but even if she will be living in an apartment with friends, when she will be an adult, she will be her own boss, not me.
And gee, that day is streaking towards us mighty fast…..

Monday, May 23, 2011


Before Passover I was so busy cleaning that most of my aerobic walking got put on hold. Then, after Passover (for the last 3 weeks, until yesterday) there is a period that Orthodox Jews do not listen to instrumental music. That included my trusty MP3 player. Studies have shown that people who walk to “aerobic music” (anything fast with a good beat) walk faster, and I can certainly vouch for the veracity of this.
So this evening, missing enough steps for my daily target of 10,000 paces, I headed out for a half-hour’s walk. This evening was pleasantly cool and not humid. I had my MP3 player set on “aerobic walking” play list, and set out.
What can I tell you? It was FUN! I would even say exhilarating, as I dodged past (and ran around) obstacles in my path.
Walking is FUN!

On my return home Ricki asked (as she always does) “How many steps do you have?” I told her “about 3,000”, and she replied “OOU-LA-LA, you are really nimble!”
-“Well, if you walk every day, you get nimble.”
- “I am also nimble!”
-“Well, if you’ll start walking every day, I’m sure you will be!”

And, indeed, I have been trying lately to get Ricki out walking more with me, and she has been, but she is far from participating on a daily basis….

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Defensible Borders

I usually don't get into politics here, but I felt that this really needed posting:

Lag B'Omer 2011

[video of Lag B'Omer]

This shows the singing at a Bonfire celebrating Lag B'Omer.

[image: watching the bonfire.]

Even my non-religious sons came to watch.

[image: bonfires]

This picture shows several bonfires on a hill nearby.

[video: grandson getting aqainted with ice cream]
He enjoyed it, despite reacting to the fact that it was COLD.

Friday, May 20, 2011

In a Split Second

I have been taking a ceramics course for over a year . There are many ways one can work with clay: rolling slabs and working with them, coil work, and fitting a slab over a mold are just a few. Using the potter’s wheel is another typical way to shape the clay. I have done the first three methods all of last year. I finally took the plunge after Passover (having no half-finished projects to continue on) and started learning to use the potter’s wheel.
Years ago I saw a demonstration of pottery making in a museum here, the potter using a wheel. I looks almost effortless, and within a few minutes one can fashion an entire pot. This is much faster than working with the other methods.
However, the downside is that it is not as effortless as it looks. A good degree of skill is needed, and while one can form a pot quickly, you can also ruin it totally in a fraction of a second. And often this damage occurs just when you are finishing the dish.
But aren’t a lot of things like that?
You can have a lovely friendship with someone, and one really thoughtless statement can ruin it.
One cutting statement can kill a child’s self confidence.
I am sure there are more examples, but I don’t have time to write more right now…..

The Soldier and the Seat

My husband I had to travel to Netanya yesterday by train. When we boarded, we discovered that all the seats were full. This is not surprising, because many soldiers return home on Thursday for the weekend. Fearing that my husband could fall, I called out: “Can someone give my husband a seat so that he won’t fall?” Someone did, and the soldier sitting opposite from him offered me his seat. I almost refused, but I could see on his face that he really expected me to sit. I smiled and said: “My son is also a soldier. He also would have gotten up. Thank you!”

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mommy Says What She Means, and Means What She Says

Two weeks ago on a Friday morning, I caught Ricki heating up two (!!) soy patties. I told her I didn’t allow, but she choked them down so fast that there was little I could do.
Than, a half hour later I caught her eating a THIRD one.
“OK, Ricki, you KNOW that I don’t allow, and you took anyway. Tonight at the Shabbas evening meal you can have bread and salads, but you will not receive any chicken.”
She looked quite unperturbed about the whole thing, but by the afternoon her tune was changing. She started grilling me periodically about whether or not she would be receiving chicken that evening, and ascertaining that the punishment would not extend to the noonday meal Saturday as well. I, meanwhile had hid the meat for both meals well in the recesses of the refrigerator.
By the time we sat down for the evening meal Ricki was well aware that I was sticking to the punishment, and she accepted it gracefully.
Fast-forward to today.
Yesterday Ricki had asked me to buy her some miniature popsicles, which I agreed to, as long as she asked permission before taking one, and if she threw the empty wrappers in the trash. Within less than 24 hours she broke both conditions. The second she left the house for school I took the box of ices, wrapped in a black bag, and stuffed it behind some other items in the freezer, where I know she won’t look for them.
Mommy says what she means, and means what she says.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Not Yet Crowing

Sunday morning I walked to the pharmacy to weigh myself hoping to have a nice loss, but not too confidently. I had “substituted” a lot this last week (see yesterday’s blog) and was afraid that maybe I would lose a minimal amount. But I actually lost quite well, even considering that I weighed myself before breakfast. But even though the scale read 94.6 kilos, I am not yet “crowing” about being under the 95 kilo mark. Why not?
Simply because my weight has been fluctuating too much. I often find that I can lose a lot one week, and stay pretty even the next, even though I am doing (as far as I can see) the same diet/exercise each of those two weeks. Apparently there are MANY things affecting the numbers shown on the scale, among them:
-weight of clothing worn
- time of day
-before or after meal
-amount of flids imbibed

So I want to wait at least one more week before celebrating the milestone of another 5 kilos gone, just to be sure.The important lesson here is that any one weigh-in is not as important as the general drift and direction of the scale's reading.
PS Just out of curiosity, I again checked my weight Monday morning, but after breakfast. It was 95.1 ----so I really am almost there! (Yea!)

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Extra 2300 steps…..

My basic weight-loss plan is to eat 1500 calories daily (allowing 2000 once weekly, on Shabbat), and to walk at least an average of 10,000 steps daily. Using this plan I have lost over 50 kilos in the last two and a half years. At first, this plan, kept faithfully, would yield pretty consistent results of about a kilo of weight lost each week. However, as the lbs started falling, the amount of calories burned per 1000 steps decreased, simply because I wasn’t carrying the same amount of excess baggage. Today I am AVERAGING about ½ to ¾ kilos off per week, as long as I really stick to my diet and exercise.
At one point (about a year ago), I tried to increase my rate-of-loss back up to one kilo weekly by increasing my daily steps to the vicinity of at LEAST 15,000 steps daily. That experiment did NOT work out, apparently my body felt “threatened” and it did not cooperate. As a result of this, on days that I have a REALLY high step count, I will allow myself a few extra calories. (I used to calculate one hundred calories allowed for an extra 2000 steps, but now I am “charging” 2300 steps for an extra 100 calories.) However, I try not to go over 1500 calories unless my step count is OVER 12000. Nevertheless, on a day which I do fall for temptation, and HAVE overeaten, I do often try to work in enough extra steps so as to balance things out. [But too much of this can be dangerous, and I know from experience that a week with too much eating will result in poor weight loss, even if I have been walking enough to supposedly cover the imbibing of extra calories.]
Last night I ate supper a bit earlier than normal, so at 11pm when I started home from a meeting I had attended, I was getting hungry. So I decided on the way home to get out and walk part of the way, in order to finish up the last few steps I needed to reach my mandatory 10,000 steps, as well as to make a bonus walk of at least 2300 steps. Why? Because I was dreaming of having some of the watermelon stuck in the back of my fridge.
For some reason no one in the family seems very interested in the melon, which I bought a few days ago. So as I contemplated whether I really should go over my 1500 daily calorie allowance, my inner voice was egging me on:
-“You know that this watermelon will spoil if someone doesn’t eat it, and you CAN walk enough to compensate.”
-“You haven’t had ANY fruit today, just lots of vegetables, and you DO need a healthy balanced diet.”

Both of these arguments are pretty valid, and in the end I walked the extra amount, and had a BIT of the fruit.

But now my conscience is telling me that I need to be more careful. Lately I have been doing too much of this substituting. A bit is OK. Variety and flexibility in an eating plan helps you stick with it. HOWEVER if I do this regularly, I am in effect accustoming myself to 1600-1700 calories daily. And what will be in 5 or 10 or 15 years when as an old lady I will NOT be walking 15000 steps daily? So if I really want to be honest with myself, I have to admit to myself that these “substitutions” are playing things on the side of risk. Indeed I should probably start trying to cut down my daily calorie level, at least two or three days a week, to 1400 or 1300.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Aerobic Walking and Kindness

[image: traffic light]

Anyone who tries to do aerobic walking in the city knows the problem: You want to walk non-stop for at least ten minute stretches, but almost no where can you walk ten minutes straight without running into a stop light. Now some traffic lights change quickly and you can walk around a bit while waiting. But… there are those where you wait for what feels like time without end to cross halfway, and then you get stuck in a little pedestrian traffic island for another eternity. [And often I get stuck on these islands with other people, and there is barely room to move, let alone pace around.. Furthermore, I am positive that as they notice me hopping from foot to foot, they assume that I am either VERY hyperactive, or simply absolutely out of my mind.]
To my good luck, the area east of my house is pretty residential, and there are no real traffic light problems there. Thus, I have several areas where I CAN walk aerobically if I so desire. But this morning I felt in the mood for a change, and headed off in another direction. About seven minutes into the walk I hit THE ( big bad - No, I shouldn’t call it that, it saves lives….) stoplight. So I crossed the street, amid pauses and pacing in place, trying to keep my almost-ten-minutes-nonstop-walk intact.
Then I got stopped by an old lady.
“How do I get to ‘Nechemiah’ street?”
Now I can’t pretend I don’t know; I was there 4 minutes ago. So I tell her, explaining exactly how to get there. Then literally ten paces further a second elderly lady stops me.
“How do I get to ‘Vishnitz’?”
Now Vishnitz is a bit further away, and it took a few repetitions of her question before I understood exactly where she was headed to. This time I definitely broke the aerobic stretch.
But I got a mitzvah (good deed). That’s worth a hell-of-a-lot-more than ten aerobic minutes…….

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Missing Comments

Blogger was unavailable for several hours Thursday night and Friday (if not longer). Several comments on Thursday's post got wiped out by blogger. I just want those who posted comments to know that I was not the one who did the deleating.....


Ricki and I were returning from a routine doctor’s check-up appointment Wednesday afternoon. We were on a seat in the bus which faces backwards, directly opposite another double seat. Facing us was a teenager, busy looking through her purse.
Suddenly Ricki held her arm next to the young lady’s arm. “Hey… we have the same!”
And as the teen commented “Gee, I didn’t notice…” I also perceived what had hitherto escaped my attention: Ricki and the young woman indeed had nearly identical jackets. (Only the collars where different.) [And since Ricki’s jacket happens to have come from a thrift store we visited in Estes Park two years ago, this was really quite a coincidence!]
Ricki was tickled pink to have the same clothing as the teen on the bus. I was more pleased that she had been so alert as to make the observation which we “normal” people had missed…..

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A Family Tradition

The other day I joined “D” and “Y” in the park, along with a few other relatives for a barbeque. The idea had been “Y”’s, and the fact that I would be coming had the bonus (for them) that I would help pay for the ingredients! I agreed to go, just to have the chance to spend more time with my sons. Now that they are living out-of-town I see them much less.
In the middle, they and their cousins played some soccer, and I joined in. At one point I managed to steal the ball from “D”, and I chortled “D, Isn’t it true that you NEVER thought I could do so well?”
As the afternoon drew to a close, we started packing up. I reminded my boys of the family tradition (from my side): When leaving the park, pick up ten pieces of trash.
After a minute, one of my sons commented “Mom, you are picking up trash that WE didn’t leave!”
“I know! That’s the tradition! We leave the park CLEANER than we found it.”
* * *
Recently I have complained bitterly to the neighbors, more than once, that the children of the building leave a mess of food wrappers outside. The parents seem to agree with me, but the situation has continued as before. To me, this can only mean that the parents have NOT trained (and are not teaching) their offspring to be careful about littering. In addition, I have noticed that many in my community are grumbling about the inconvenience caused by the long-overdue recycling program which our town has finally started implementing.
Excuse me, but is the planet ours? And how in the world can a religious Jew throw trash onto the soil of the holy land? I just don’t understand. My non-Jewish parents raised me to respect and appreciate nature. Why chareidi parents don’t is beyond my comprehension. If you believe that the land is holy, and that G-d gave it to us, shouldn’t you do the minimum to keep it clean?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Independence Day in Israel

Today is Independence Day in Israel, a day which is very different than most “holidays” here. Almost all holidays here are based on religion, and usually include prohibitions of traveling by car or bus. Independence Day is not like that.
So today Ricki doesn’t have school, but she does have an activity program from 10 AM to 15:00. This suits me fine, as I am planning a noon-time activity with some of my older children, and it will be a bit easier if Ricki does not join us. HOWEVER, that means that she will need to come home on the bus by herself. Now, she is very familiar with this bus line, but on the way to her activities I again pointed out where she gets off and on the bus.
I mentioned that she gets off on street “XYZ” and she said “XYZ”??? “I don’t know that street!”
I replied “Yes you do. When we get there I will show you and you will remember that the bus stop is there. You just don’t know the NAME of the street.”
Sure enough, when she we reached the corner of “XYZ” street, she said “The bus stop is here!” I pointed to the street sign, and asked her “And what is the name of the street?”
She smiled a big grin as she realized what XYZ street was, and where it was. She had been reassured that she IS familiar with it.

Postcript to today’s post:
Ricki made it home fine on the bus. Then she phoned me every half hour to hear when I would be arriving home.

Monday, May 9, 2011

“You Look 20 Years Younger”

Late last summer while walking I met a friend of mine (a fellow special-needs mom) standing outside her house.
She had been amazed at the change in me, and I encouraged her to get out and walk as well. But her children are younger than mine, and I doubted that she would actually do so. I was wrong. Last week I was out walking a bit later than usual, and I ran into this lady, as well as another young mother of a child with Down syndrome. They were obviously out “walking” together.
The first one said, “WOW, Rickismom you look great! You look 20 years younger!” Her companion quipped, “Nah—22 years younger….”
Then the first one told me that when she saw me out walking in August, it was like a “knock on the head” for her, and she has been walking almost every day since then. This pleased me even MORE than the compliments. To realize that I have helped make a positive change in a friend’s life and health is TREMENDOUS!!!!
PS I expected to look older as I lost weight (and I probably still will, with excess skin forming wrinkles), but I always said "I'd rather LOOK old than FEEL old." But in the meantime I guess my good health (and the choice* of more fashionable clothes)adds up to my looking younger, despite the wrinkles.

* Once I had to buy whatever I could find in my size. Now I can CHOOSE.

The “Eyeglasses” Serial Story- Installment No. 7 (or 8…)

[For previous “installments” just type “eyeglasses” in the search box above….]
For over a month Rickie has fairly consistently been wearing her glasses at home, but not to school. The teacher has NO clue as to why this is, nor do I. Finely last week, on Wednesday evening, I offered Ricki a substantial prize if she would wear them to school for three days.
Thus, when I noticed Ricki wearing her eyeglasses on Thursday morning, I was glad to see that my bribe was working, as she left for school, lenses perched on her nose.
However, my joy was short-lived, vanishing quickly when she arrived home in the evening glass-less.

- “Ricki, where are your glasses?”
(Repeat three times)
-“Ricki, you will not get supper until you tell me where your glasses are.”
-“I threw them away”
(mini explosion on my part……)
-“Ricki, WHERE did you throw them? When? When waiting for the car or at school?”
-“While waiting. On the sidewalk. The cleaner took them….”

I decided that Ricki needed to learn that eyeglasses are not “disposables’ and telling her that I was VERY angry, I informed her that I would not speak to her for the remainder of the evening, and I didn’t. Ricki was impressed (for once), and upset.

Finally, to make a long story short, I went to search for the glasses, and Ricki showed me exactly where she threw them. They were not there, but there WAS a note :
FOUND: a pair of glasses. Details at phone # XXXXXXX

The glasses where returned. They are bent and need fixing, but hopefully we will get them back today. Ricki claims that she will not throw them away again, and that she will wear them to school. We’ll see….

Friday, May 6, 2011

Are you over 50?

Last night at swimming I talked (afterwards ) to a woman who wants to lose weight, but feels "hopeless".
Suddenly she asked me: How old are you? Over 50?"

Yes. DEFINATELY. (I'm tickled pink that someone thinks I look 50.....) This winter I will be 60.(I am a bit amazed by that. I don't "feel" "60" )

Yes, you can lose after 50.
You can change after 50.
Even if you are post-menopausal, you can lose.

And if you do, you will SURELY FEEL younger.....

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Clean Clothes Kid….

Ricki has been a bit more concerned lately with the appearance and cleanliness of her clothing. This is obviously a good thing. The downside is that instead of spot cleaning any small stains, she simply runs and changes her clothing, and tosses the “dirty” stuff into the laundry basket. And since she is NOT being so conscientious about keeping her HANDS clean, this has led to her changing outfits at a VERY rapid pace.
In short, she is inundating me with laundry.

So in an effort to stem the deluge, I have started teaching Ricki about the care and washing of clothing. Besides talking about sorting dirty articles into “lights” and “darks”, and the different types of machine cycles, I mentioned in passing that OVERwashing clothing is as detrimental as leaving it dirty.
Fast forward a few days. Ricki is down to about three changes daily, and we are at Ricki’s exercise class. I am talking to her teacher as we wait for the entire group to arrive. Suddenly she starts bemoaning how her teen changes her clothing 3 times a day, often after only about an hour.
I had to grin at that;
GEE, Ricki is NORMAL!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I noticed Ricki looking a bit furtive about what she had in her school bag. I checked, and it was something that in actuality I allow. Then I noticed:
The key to the front door was missing.

Sometimes Ricki takes the key out of the front door, planning to place “contraband” outside so that I won’t notice. However, to have the door locked without the key being there is DANGEROUS, as leaving the apartment in case of an emergency could be held up by searching for a key.
Certain that Ricki had taken the key, I started grilling her, and got nowhere. Finally I put a spare in the lock, and we went to sleep.
Several hours later I heard Ricki’s married sister entering. She and her husband are temporarily living in a room on our roof, and I had not noticed that she had gone out…. Taking the key with her.

In the morning, first thing I did was apologize to Ricki. But I feel bad about the mistake…..

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

That’s My Daughter….

One day a few weeks ago, when I was in the midst of the pre-Passover flurry, an incident happened that is just SO TYPICAL of Ricki.
Being that Passover was only a few days away, Ricki’s school was already on vacation break, so she was entertaining herself by listening to some CD’s. In addition, she was pleased to have her nephew, “O”, with her in the living room.
“O” is about one and a half, and is a cute, inquisitive soul. His mother asked me to baby-sit him for about two hours, which I agreed to. I looked the salon over to see that it was baby safe, and returned to my work in the kitchen.
After a few minutes, I realized that I needed an item from the grocery store, and asked Ricki to please pop over to the grocery, and buy the item. She grumbled a bit about having to stop listening to the CD, but finally agreed. I gave her the shopping list, and went back to work. I heard her leaving the house, and I checked that the door was shut.
About five minutes later, my husband walked into the front of the house and suddenly asked “WHERE is ‘O’?”
We quickly searched the flat, and realized within moments that he was NOT in the house. Ricki must have taken him with her to the store!
My husband flew down the stairs, and “joined” Ricki and “O” in the grocery.

You think Ricki didn’t know that we would disapprove? She BEGGED us not to inform her sister (“O”’s mom)…….(But of course we did….)

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Other Side of the Story

After yesterday’s post, I feel that I want to tell you all something a bit more positive about my daughter. And there is definitely what to tell. Over Passover (and before), Ricki was a good deal of help. When I was cleaning the kitchen for Passover, she told me that she wanted to help. So I let her clean the lower shelves, and she did a VERY good job of it! After she finished, I only needed to check them; they were clean as new.
Also, the lack of leavened goods over Passover means that LOTS of potatoes get consumed… and that means peel, peel, peel….
And Ricki peeled twenty potatoes at a time for me, more than once. And again, she did an excellent job of it!
But what impressed me most was that I noticed a more mature level of conversation on her part over the holiday. She asked quests pertinent, caring questions, such as “Did you sleep well?” She seemed a bit less self-centered, and expressed herself more clearly.
I think that she is maturing (at least SOMETIMES)!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Pillaged Goods

Lately Ricki has taken to walking to school on her own (rather than waiting for her ride). An occasional walk to school I feel is safe; consistently doing so could lead to her easily being targeted, and I want to prevent this. So today as she left the house, I warned her to “wait for Rafi” (her driver).
After a few minutes, I glanced out the window to check that she was indeed on the corner. She was- wearing my relatively new skirt. Besides being upset at the very idea of her heisting my clothing, I was positive that if she wore it to school it would be returned in shreds. It is a skirt of (suitably lined) sheer material, and it is a bit long for me. [ie., since Ricki is considerably shorter than I am, even if she wore the waistband around her neck, it would still be dragging on the floor.]
I was still clad in my pajamas, so I did not have the option to go down to her, and I called for her to come up. She refused. I called Rafi and begged him: “Please don’t pick her up. She has my skirt on.” So I called to Ricki that Rafi would not pick her up in my skirt, and she should come upstairs and change. So my 16 year old teenager changed skirts ON THE SPOT (IN THE STREET) to my horror. (I admit that she did it in a modest way, pulling on her skirt over the borrowed one, and then removing mine, but it STILL is not what you want your daughter to do on the street…….) SHEESH!
I flew downstairs to get the skirt (by now I had managed to get clothed decently), and called Rafi to check if he would by chance be making a second pass. He said he would try. After several minutes, I realized that he probably wasn’t going to make it, so I started walking Ricki to school. (Normally I wouldn’t mind the walk, but Ricki walks so slowly that this would count as lost time, not sport walking.) In the middle Ricki wanted me to carry her school supplies (which where quite heavy), and I suggested that she remove them from the fancy plastic bag she was carrying and put them in her near-empty made-for-schoolbooks-backpack. There, I explained, on her back, she would feel the weight less.
As she opened her schoolbag, I noticed a wrapped package. I queried Ricki as to the package’s contents, and the answer was not forthcoming. Balking to answer me was a clear sign of guilt, and I told her to show me the contents. She refused, but at that moment Rafi pulled up alongside us. I made it clear to Ricki that she could go with Rafi only after parting with the contraband. Rafi interjected a slightly exasperated “Come on, Ricki, I don’t have all day”, so she tossed the box my way and entered the cab.
At home I examined the box and found a one-year-old level child’s toy which I had been storing on the back porch, wrapped in contact paper left over from covering my kitchen for Passover (which had also been on the porch).
Was she planning to play with it or give it as a gift? Who knows……
Never a dull moment here…….