Thursday, November 24, 2011

Who Would Have Thought?

I addition to trying to walk at least 10,000 steps daily, I have often had the goal to do some resistance band and “weights” exercises every week. But usually I don’t keep it up.
For a while my only non-walking exercise has been my weekly hour swim. But the pool is closed for the month for renovations, so I decided that I must REALLY get some regular exercising in.
So yesterday I was exercising, and the last item on my to-do list of exercises was sit- ups.
No I have not been able to do sit-ups since I was in grade school. The most I could do was to slightly lift my shoulders off the bed.
But yesterday I got up to about a 45 degree angle, and boy did THAT feel GREAT!
Who would have ever guessed?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Warm Snack

Want a nice healthy low calorie snack that isn't COLD?
"Zap" a half grapefruit in your micro for half a minute. Sprinkle with sugar substitute.

Monday, November 21, 2011

“Mom, You Don’t Know”

I picked up the phone:
On hearing my son’s voice I starting chatting with him. Meanwhile, Ricki started having conniptions. When I finished the conversation and hung up, Ricki sputtered:
“MOM, you don’t know how to talk on the phone! You say ‘Hello’ ‘This is Ricki’! “

At her school, at my request, they have started learning how to make formal phone calls, like to arrange a doctor’s appointment.
Ricki caught me not following the script…..

Sunday, November 20, 2011

On Dangly Earrings and Leather jackets ….

Once upon a time, I could only buy whatever clothes I could find in my size, and there were not many. They were few and expensive. But except when I had time to sew, I had little choice, and sometimes was even forced to purchase articles that I didn’t even like.
As I lost weight, I reveled in the new experience of shopping with the knowledge that I had a CHOICE.
Now the clothing we wear is telling. Some women prefer sporty clothing, and some more feminine. What we choose to wear tells a bit about how we identify ourselves.
Suddenly, having a choice , I discovered that my tastes in clothing is changing. I am purchasing clothing that is more “young” than I used to. Then a month and a half ago I got daring: I saw in a store a pair of VERY LONG earrings, which I LOVED. But they were awfully long. But I got them anyway.
(And to tell you how much I LOVED them, consider this: Ricki one day took the earrings from my closet, and went with them to the living room. Then apparently she heard me coming in, and she “destroyed the evidence” by pitching them out the window! I discovered this all two days later, by which time one was lost forever. So I went back to the store and repurchased them. At least they were not expensive….)
The a few weeks ago I was in a store and saw a LOVELY leather jacket. And it looked lovely on me. It reminded me of coats I had always adored but could never fit into as a teen. So even though I am probably the only almost-60 year old lady in my town with such a coat, I bought it anyway.
I like the jacket, but unfortunately it DOES have connotations. Last week I wore it to a meeting with some friends and they quipped as I entered “Where’s your motorcycle?”
But I really was looking forward to my soldier-sons’s reactions. I imagined them complimenting my taste. The other morning one of them saw the coat, and his reaction?

“Hey Mom, where’s your Harley Davidson???”

But I am wearing it anyway.
I have a CHOICE.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


While in Colorado last summer, in addition to several hundred pictures, I took a few videos. Now when I downloaded the photos to my computer, I didn't see the videos, but was too busy at that time to fiddle with it. Then I simply forgot about them. Then this evening, when I used a different program (by chance) to "open" my camera card (to download a photo for tomarrow's post), I discovered the videos! And since I am hosting a "walk" to "the pool" on walker tracker, I simply HAD to post these! [video: one of the rivulets on the way to the pool.]

[video: the "pool"]

Friday, November 18, 2011

“Down syndrome?!?”

Sunday evening I was packing an overnight bag for Ricki and I, for our overnight stay in the hospital. As I was arranging our things, Ricki noticed the letter with the results from her first sleep study. It started with Ricki’s medical history, and she started reading it aloud.
With nearly every line she passed, digesting the imfprmation. Often she would ask questions.
“Heart operation??”
“Yes, Ricki, you had a small surgery on your heart when you were a baby.”
“You remember, when you were in the hospital this summer.”

“Down syndrome?!?!?”
“Ricki, you KNOW that you have Down syndrome.”

And she nodded her head.
Self acceptance.

That’s totally stunning!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Crembos* and Salads

[image: crembos, photo taken from Wikipedia]

[ *For non-Israeli readers, here is Wikipedia-based definition: Krembo (Crembo) is very popular in Israel, especially in the winter as an alternative to ice-cream. It comes wrapped in aluminium foil, and consists of a round biscuit base on the bottom and whipped egg whites cream from above, coated in a thin layer of chocolate. There are vanilla and mocha flavoured Krembos. In Hebrew, the word krembo is a combination of krem (cream) and bo (in it). The average krembo weighs 25 grams (0.882 ounces) and has 115 calories. ]

When I was in nursing school, I could eat ice cream in the freezing Illinois winter. I remember eating ice cream cones while trudging back to the dorm, through the snow, from the hospital. On arrival in Israel I was shocked to discover that half of the year one couldn’t (in those years) get ice cream in the winter; only crembos. It seemed to me a rather poor switch….
But it was my chilren who really introduced me to the confection. They urged me to buy them for shabbat, and for years we did. I came to like the coffee flavored variety.
But slowly over the last 3-4 years the family tastes have changed. Not only did the children grow, but as a family, most of us changed our eating habits and adopted healthier lifestyles.
People who are used to eating foods with high sugar and high fat content are often puzzled by their friends reaction to such foods as “too rich”. The “indulger” often can not imagine that there could come a time when these calorie-laden foods will no longer “call” him.
But if you change the way you eat and live, your tastes adapt. Foods that once seemed a “normal” treat not only cease “calling” you… they often become unappetizing. Or they become foods that you can enjoy… miniscule portions. [As an example, I remember that for me the minimum portion of chocolate used to be a 30-gram bar. Today I still enjoy (rarely) chocolate… but one or two cubes (maximum) at a time…]
And when you are watching your weight, a crembo is a pretty empty 115 calories. Give me a lettuce salad with pomegranate seeds over a crembo any day…..

This post is in response to Esser Agorot’s “Krembo Challenge

The Car Accident (not us!)

Yesterday was one of the first rainy evenings we have had this year, and the soakes-all-summer-long-in-motor-oil-streets were slippery. Ricki came into the house, after her ride home from the afternoon program, bursting with the news:
“There was an accident! I saw it! A car was hit and there was smoke! The car hit a pole….. 4 people were injured! A thousand were injured!”
Well, it was obvious that she had seen SOMETHING, but I never know how much to believe of Ricki’s reports. As I was wondering if there had really been anything serious, my son and law walked in.
“Boy, that was really some wreck down at the pole on the corner…”
But apparently no one was hurt. Certainly NOT a thousand. But most of her report was right on target.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Last night Ricki and I spent the night at the hospital, redoing her sleep study. This time it was WITH a CPAP machine.
It will be a week or so before we get the results, but I am sure that there was definite improvement. The question the study will answer is “How much of an improvement”.
The first hour and a half she could have been a 1960’s teen doing the “twist”. She turned, sat up, and was uncomfortable with the air flow. But gradually she became a bit used to it, and when she fell asllep, she really SLEPT. After we get the test results (and recommendations, we will need in all probability to buy a CPAP. But if she will wake up as rested as she did this (Monday) morning, it will be worth it.
Uut of course the big question will be if she will really wear it…..

Sunday, November 13, 2011

True Confessions

Wednesday evenings is my swimming night. A local health club agreed for separate “only women” hours, on condition that one sign up for an entire year. The price isn’t cheap, but at least it is clean, and the number of women (and only adults….) is limited. This makes real SWIMMING of laps possible.
However, with Ricki’s older sister upstairs, and her father asleep, Ricki is left to her own devices. There are people there in case of emergency, and her sister comes down to check on her occasionally, but in general she can do what she pleases.
Last week before leaving for the pool, I spoke with Ricki and we planned what she would have for “supper”. She had already eaten supper (the separate swimming hours are LATE), but she wanted some of the vegetable soup that I would be eating on my return. I showed her how on her food chart (see HERE)she definitely had vegetables to spare, but we agreed that based on her consumption of the day, bread was a poor choice. We agreed that 1 slice of bread with the soup was more than enough.
Thursday morning Ricki suddenly blurted out that she had eaten soya patties (yes, correct, in the plural) the previous night, as also more than 1 slice of bread. Her overeating inclination won out. But at least she was being honest. And I think that being honest is the first step towards self control.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday - Jaffa Beach Walkway

These two images were taken along the walkway which runs along the beach between Tel Aviv and Jaffa. I was hoping that it would be a nice scenic walk, and it is, except that it is really pretty short.

[image: shaddow of the railing along the Jaffo beach walkway cast onto the steps beneath]

[image: shaddow from the railing along the Jaffo beach walkway (and of me as well) cast onto the sand below.]

For more of "shaddow shot sunday", go here:

From Which Angle?

[Note: Even though this is written as if it happened today, it is from a previous date.]
I almost called this post “Ricki’s Bad-Mood Morning” (in contrast to my previous post on her “good-mood morning”- see HERE).
Ricki woke up, it seems, in a bad mood. That’s not surprising, as she has a bit of a cough. Seeing that she was on the argumentative side, I straight away gave her the daily dose of her psychiatric medication. She didn’t want it, but when I said that I would not speak to her until she took it, she acquiesced. Her hair was one big tumble of tangles, and I told her that SHE would have to brush the majority out; I would do a touch-up job at the end. She said that she didn’t know how, and only agreed to try when I locked the door and informed her that if she wanted to go to school she would need to look decent. Eventually she tried, and got out at least 85% of the knots on her own. By this time her medicine was kicking in, and she stopped her aggressive “trying to egg me on” behaviors.
I walked with her to school, and after a short aerobic walk headed home. I was in a hurry as I had several tasks to do. First and foremost I needed to take care of getting a “tofes 17”. I have a minor medical procedure in a hospital clinic coming up in about two weeks. The health fund’s doctor’s recommendation of the procedure, as well as the “invitation” (to an appointment date) from the hospital, need to be filed with the health fund in order to get a “tofes 17” (agreement of the health fund to pay).
Now the hospital had mailed me an “invitation” and a list of tests they want me to do, but it had not arrived. I phoned them again several days ago, requesting that they send a second copy, but it had also not arrived. So since I REALLY need to get started on organizing the requested tests, as well as to obtain a “tofes 17”, I had decided that TODAY was the morning I would obtain a copy of the invitation and file a request for payment from the health fund. I was so determined that I had decided that I would go to the clinic if necessary, to get a copy of the invitation.
Besides getting an invitation in the mail, one can receive it by fax. The problem is that I have email, but no fax. But a store nearby does have a fax machine, so I went over there to get their fax number:

“Sorry, but we are out of ink.”

So I called the health fund, and obtained THEIR fax number. I just prayed that they would print out the list of tests for me. I spent the next 20 minutes trying to get through to the hospital clinic, and finally succeeded. I requested that they send the “invitation” to the health fund IMMEDIATELY, as I would be going over there straight away.
I was about to dash out (Planning to eat breakfast on my return home), when Ricki’s school called. They were sending her home as she had apparently had a bathroom accident. So I ran to the grocery store (knowing that it would take 15-20 minutes for her to arrive), afraid that with things going as they were, I might not catch the store open later. On my return, seeing that Ricki had still not put in an appearance, I ate a few almonds to stave off my hunger. It might well be 11:00 until I would finish with this whole saga, if not longer.
Half an hour later Ricki had still not arrived. I tried to call the school, but couldn’t get through. After about 15 minutes of this I was wondering if I was going to have to walk over to the school, but then the phone rang. It was the secretary of the school, saying that in the end it seems that Ricki was clean (or clean enough), and they had not sent her. I quickly said thanks and dashed out the door. I was going to walk across town to the health fund (only about a twenty minute walk), to get some more aerobic steps in. Reaching downstairs I realized that I had forgotten my MP3 player, which makes aerobic walking all that more easy, but I certainly wasn’t going to return for it. I knew that if the health fund had for some reason NOT been faxed the “invitation” or if they didn’t get the list of needed tests, I would need still to go to the clinic, which could easily be an expenditure of two hours or more. I started up the incline near my house, and near the top suddenly remembered that I had forgotten to bring the doctor’s recommendation that I have the procedure (needed in order to file a request for a “tofes 17”)!

“Boy oh boy”, I muttered to myself, “did I get out on ‘the wrong side of the bed’ this morning!”, and I turned around to fetch the letter from my files at home.

In the end, the lady at the health fund was VERY nice. She searched carefully until she found the “invitation” that had been faxed to her from the hospital. She printed out the tests for me as well, so I did NOT have to go to the clinic.
Going home, I decided that I had gotten up on “the right side” of the bed this morning.
-Ricki had combed her hair fairly well
-Ricki was not dirty
-the invitation reached the health fund
-I had the MP3 player for my aerobic walk, as I had also grabbed it when I went back for the doctor’s letter
-the lady in the health fund had printed out the list of tests for me.

You see, it all depends on the angle that you take to look at things………

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Popcorn Story

I occasionally make popcorn for the family, including Ricki of course. If she is home I’ll make it in my pot that has a clear glass lid so that she can see it pop.
Not so long ago I noticed in the supermarket packed no-fat micro popcorn in SINGLE portion bags. I grabbed a box. The popcorn was good, and the 100-calorie bag has just the right amount. Excellent for a very occasional snack.
The other day Ricki caught me eating a bag, and begged me for some. So I told her that I would make her some. I got out a bag, popped it in the microwave, and soon enough it was ready. I even managed not to burn it.
The next morning Ricki informed me that she wanted to make some for school, but I refused, saying that she could take a sandwich and fruit as normal. Minutes later the stench of some VERY burnt popcorn filled the house.
A perfect example of my adage:
“If you don’t teach them HOW to do something, they will try it on their own, without instruction, soon enough…..”

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cure: Walk and Swim

I mentioned about two weeks ago (see HERE)about a pain I was having in my leg. While I had gotten some GOOD aerobic on that day, the ache still was definitely making it’s presence known. This Monday I finally got to the orthopedist. Now this orthopedist is quite good, but he his motto is always to “lose weight”. While his recommendation is VERY valid, it is a bit funny coming from him, as he is no skinny-minny himself. I used to weigh more than him, but today I sure don’t!
Anyway, as soon as I told him about my leg pains, he pronounced ‘The cure is to walk and swim.”.
“But I ALREADY walk, and swim an hour, doing 40 pool-lengths, each week. And I have had this pain for months.”
“HOW much do you walk?”
“At least an hour daily.” (surprise, surprise…)
So he checked me to see if the pain was coming from a spinal problem or a bursitis-type of thing. (It was the later.) In the end he gave me a different “cure”, as the previous one just wasn’t doing it……

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ricki’s Good-Mood Morning

Yesterday morning Ricki woke up, it seems, in a good mood. When she entered my room all dressed at 6:30 AM, she was wearing an outfit that was as miss-matched as can be. I suggested what she could change (this skirt with the red vest, or this vest with a black skirt, and she went to change without bellowing out any dragon-fire. When she returned a few minutes later, with a COMPLETELY different outfit, equally atrocious in appearance, again I made suggestions, and again she looped off with a cheerful nod. A few moments passed, and she returned again with an entirely different outfit. (Apparently she did not want to “give in” to my advice, but DID want to look “OK”.) This third outfit was not to my taste, but it was passable, so I praised her on getting dressed so quickly, and let the outfit pass.
After getting dressed, she trooped off to the kitchen to prepare her breakfast. She prepared a toasted cheese sandwich (eager to get a milk product into her diet). Hen I entered the kitchen (trying to reach the coffee-pot….) she proudly showed me her handiwork. Than she announced “I want to make an egg.”.
“But Ricki, you have already a toasted cheese sandwich!”
“That’s for school. This is for now….. but I will eat only one slice of bread, OK?” She then proceeded for the first time in recorded history to try and pour a reasonable amount of oil into the frying pan, rather than making a puddle of oil (over my protests), as she always does.

And all of this was done cheerfully, not in an argumentative way.
Then later, in the living room, she asked me to “write my foods” (see yesterday’s post).

Now all this doesn’t mean that she didn’t try and irk me once or twice during that one pre-school hour, but all in all, it was an excellent start to the day.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

“Write Down My Foods”

For the last few years I have been trying to teach Ricki what a normal diet is, using one of the older food pyramids as a basis. (The new one is I feel, not as clear to her.) I have printed out papers with the pyramid, with small recommended portion “triangles” which can be filled in as that type of food group is eaten. In addition, I have printed pictures of each food group beside the group.
[image: food pyramid/]

Rather than call it a “pyramid”, I call it the food triangle” (because it is only 2-dimentional on the page).**
For a while I had not been helping her record her food choices, because I realized that she was not trying at all to balance or limit her choices. She would talk about eating healthy, but when all was said and done, she ate whatever she darn well pleased. And I felt that bugging her about her choices would be a waste of time for me, being completely non-productive. Instead I centered on enforcing portion sizes (ie, 1 cup of rice rather than 2; 2 slices of bread as opposed to 4 or 5) as well as I could.
Suddenly on Sunday she requested from me to “write down my foods”. So I agreed, and at the same time I explained WHY one needs different food groups, there being different positive attributes to each group. She did OK in the morning, but overate tremendously at lunch at school (by her list of what she had eaten). This was compounded by her taking a huge amount of bread at supper. When she nudged me to record her food choices, I refused.
“Ricki, the food pyramid is to help you make good food choices. Today you did not try to make food choices, you ate EVERYTHING you wanted. You ate x-y-z-a-b-c for lunch, and several slices too many of bread this evening. We don’t need the food “triangle” to know that you overate, and I am NOT going to waste time just to document and mark that you are overeating. When you want to REALLY eat by way of the triangle, let me know.”
The yesterday morning she requested again, and I agreed. And she did very well all day, except for a late-evening egg and bread “snack”. But she did agree earlier to several reductions/substitutions in her diet. She definitely is trying harder.
I suspect that if I can keep her really well occupied after supper, we just MIGHT have a chance at making some improvements.

** This food pyramid is based on the one in the excellent book by Joan Guthrie Medlen (see HERE and for her informative site (lots and lots of special-needs info, and not only nutrition) HERE)

Too Late

I have a few good posts, but it is too late. I am working on getting enough sleep. Good night! (And I'm sure you'al understand!)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Nice Video on Portraits

With Thanks to Dave Hinsberger for posting this on his blog

Israeli VS Arab claims: How to Know?

Here is a very good post about Arab - Israeli claims.

The Kleenex Lesson

Ricki went over to the Kleenex box, announcing “At school I learned how to take Kleenex.” As she withdrew two tissues, she counted them off: “One – two - and NOT the WHOLE pack!”

I admit to feeling both pleased and chagrinned. For a LLOONNGG time now I have been telling Ricki that one or two Kleenex is enough, and she doesn’t need a wad of twenty tissues to blow her nose. So I was pleased that she was finally taking an appropriate amount.
I asked Ricki, “Why is it that when I told you this several times, you didn’t listen, but the teacher says it once and you understand???!???”
“Because she’s my teacher and I’m her pupil…”

I mumbled something about parents also being teachers, but I don’t think she was listening….