Friday, December 30, 2011

PS to Previous Post “Silence Implies Consent”

This is a PS to my previous post. I noted that there has been a lot of anti religious reporting by the press. Here is an example. It is a small example, but if you multiply this example by the hours in a day, and the days of the week, and the years that this has been going on, one realizes that the end effect will be significant. This morning after I listened to the news update on the radio, I heard the speaker start talking about the situation in Beit Shemesh. I was interested in what he had to say, so I continued listening. Then I noted something interesting. When he talked about bad actions on part of the religious, it was said as a given fact. However, when he reported that a religious woman had been attacked by someone who was obviously anti-religious, the language suddenly changed: “She CLAIMED…” And of course the demonstration planned by the chareidim(ultra Orthodox) on Saturday night is against “PERCEIVED discrimination on part of the press”. Unfortunately, the discrimination definitely exists, as anyone with an open mind will see.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

No time...

I have a few ideas for posts, but no time to write! Maybe next week. Have a nice (and safe) weekend everyone.....

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Silence Implies Consent

As a Chareidi (strictly Orthodox) Jewish woman, I feel that I can no longer be quiet about the tumultuous events occurring in recent days in Israel. Let me preface my remarks with the observation that the blame for a lot of the anger seen on the part of the non-religious, often against ALL chareidim (ie, the strictly orthodox) can be placed squarely at the feet of the press, who have been very anti-religious in the reporting over the last several years. However, in spite of the previous observation, the behavior of the extremist group in Beit Shemesh is inexcusable. People who choose to live in the city, even in an Orthodox neighborhood, realized that it was part of a bigger, non-religious town, and any fool would realize that in such a case, sometimes people are going to walk through their streets in a less-than-modest attire. I HAVE YET TO HEAR OF A CASE WHERE SOMEONE BECAME MORE RELIGIOUS OR MORE MODEST DUE TO BEING SPIT ON/ YELLED AT/ CALLED “NAZI”. For example, my married daughter currently lives in an orthodox neighborhood, but dresses rather atrociously considering. However, when she attends her (orthodox) brothers’ smachot (celebrations), she takes care to dress better. Not because they demanded it. Because they DIDN’T, they let her choose how to come. She reciprocates their respect with respect for them. However, I DO feel that some people are now looking with eyes to erase ANY gender separation. Is the day going to arrive when I will no longer be able to go swimming, because separate hours for men and women at the local pool will be prohibited by law? There are a lot of ways that compromises can be reached. Stores in chareidi areas could have one check-out counter manned by a male cashier for those men wanting this. Companies desiring chareidi business should be allowed to make pamphlets/advertisements geared for this population (ie without pictures of women). I would like to see a lot more of “live and let live” from both sides. And, by the way, I would say this to the extremists: If someone is REALLY sure of his beliefs, he doesn’t need to force them on others. Let him be the good person his beliefs should lead to, and then others will see on their own the value of that way of life.

Monday, December 26, 2011

At a Bris...

I attended the circumcision of my newest grandson today...and lots of the women from my DIL's family literally didn't recognize me! Looking at the photos, I almost don't recognize myself! LOL!!!! I AM getting weight-loss wrinkles (I COULD blame them on my age, but I didn't have them two years ago. However, I would rather LOOK old than FEEL old!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Warm Scarf

As I mentioned in Tuesday’s post I caught Ricki dawdling on the way to school, so I am back to walking her daily. The first moring that I went with her (this was after about three weeks of NOT going with her daily, just on occaision), we were stopped by a woman. “Oh hello! Are you her mother?” After ascertaining that I really was Ricki’s mom, she launched into her story, that she often sees Ricki going to school on warm days with her woolen scarf, and that she has tried to convince her not to wear it, but she refuses. “She’s such a good girl; she just doesn’t want to disobey her Mother!” I laughed saying “No, it is NOT my idea. I don’t want her to wear the scarf either!” ( Lady to Ricki) “You have to wear what Mother says!” (Me) “Actually, she doesn’t. If it’s not too atrocious, and it is tnius (modest), she can choose her clothing. She IS a teenager, not a tiny kid…” Let me say that I value very much that this woman cared enough to try and convince Ricki not to wear something inappropriate. And, incidentally, the last week or so Ricki HAS been willing to go without the scarf and to wear a jacket instead of her bulky cold-weather coat. It could easily be that this lady’s comments to Ricki on the street over a period of a few days led to that. But judging from her reaction to my above statement, she probably thinks I am crazy (although I DID further hint that the issue here is for Ricki to learn to choose correct clothing). Even if I would force Ricki to look 100% when she leaves the house, that will mean that when she grows up she will start learning (very late…) what she is learning today.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Kashrut (Kosher) Capers

I have mentioned before (HERE) the problems of keeping a kosher kitchen when there is a developmentally delayed teen in the house. The problem of the spatula (see previous link) was solved by keeping the pareve one PERMENANTLY out of reach in an upper closet. And since most of Rickie’s cooking involves a few standard items, mix-ups between meat and milk dishes are rare. But lately Ricki has become bolder, and has taken to reheating lunch leftovers without permission. The result has been a few treifed-up (non-kosher) pots and pans. Of course she was told that she has to be more careful, ask, etc. But her new line in the kitchen lately has been “Get out! I can do it myself!” This is a bit worrisome…I want her to be independent, but I don’t want to throw out high sums for new dishes, either. But on the other hand, last night as she pronounced that I was an unwanted personage in the kitchen, she DID ask me if the soup she wanted to rewarm was meaty or milky. But she needs to learn to look for the marking on the dishes, not to be dependent on my input…..

A Kindness

[image: child with paper “crown”]
Ricki’s nephew came home today with a “Hanukkah Crown” from play school, as tonight is the first night of Hanukkah. But quickly we noticed that the staple had come undone. Ricki ran to get the stapler, restapled it, and joyfully handed it back to her nephew. Ricki was obviously thrilled to be doing something nice for someone, but I suspect that in enabling her to do him a favor, my grandson got an even bigger mitzvah (good deed). [image: hannukiah]
Hanukkah picture: another ceramic menorah and the first lights.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

At the Bus Stop (or, “You Never Know….”)

Recently I’ve been letting Ricki walk to school on her own. She leaves the house at an hour that the streets are packed with children and adults, and the walk is a short one. There is only one street to cross, and she knows the way perfectly. What could (reasonably) go wrong? Oh, never underestimate the ability of your kid to surprise you. Yesterday morning I pulled Ricki out of bed. She was sleepy, not surprisingly, as she is still not using the CPAP. But within a few moments she was wide awake, happy to be going to school as they had some type of pre-Hanukkah program planned. I was planning on spending the morning in Jerusalem, and pressed for time, I was only too glad that Ricki could head out for school on her own. 45 minutes later I left to catch my bus. And who did I find at the bus stop, head nodding? My sleepy daughter. Guess that’s the end of Ricki going on her end to school for a while. I just WISH she would wear the CPAP…..

Saturday, December 10, 2011

CPAP update

Ricki feels that the air flow fron the CPAP is too cold. So we got a humidifier, which warms the air. No go...
So I put a hot water bottle on the tubing. That didn't help either. Often she will fall asleep with it, but if she wakes for a moment, she will yank it off.
I am going to have to get her used to wearing it (starting with early evening hours), gradually. If nothing else works, I hope it will be easier for her in the summer, and if she gets used to it then, may carry on afterwards.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Again, the Fads

As reported here,the FDA has issued a warning about the hcg-containing diet fad. And EVEN if it would work, can one REALLY believe that they will be able to maintain a healthy lifestyle on 500-800 calories daily? Do people imagine that after losing weight on a fad diet, that they will be able to maintain that loss?
FACE IT! If you want to lose weight, and most importantly keep it off and feel good while doing so, you need:
1) An eating plan that takes in mind your likes and dislikes, your schedule, and preferences. (For example a diet advocating an big luscious (and yes, healthy) salad for breakfast is just not going to work if you have to be at work at 8AM, and you have kids to get to school as well….unless you adore old, wilted salads made the night before…)
2) An eating plan that takes into account basic nutritional balance, with fruits, vegetables, protein (including milk products), carbohydrates, and a smidgen of fat. People whose dietary preferences are WAY off (like they never eat fruit or vegetables, or dairy products) need to move in the direction of a healthier balance of food. People allergic to foods like milk will need expert advice from a good nutritionist on how to get the nutrients they need within a lower-calorie eating plan.
3) Some exercise weekly, preferably increasing gradually to a decent amount of aerobic exercise. Not only will this give you a (minimal) boost in weight loss, but you should be healthier and feel better as a result.
4) To allow yourself to be “human” (but just a BIT)- an occasional SMALL snack or coveted food, a small extra splurge on holidays (but you DO understand that this needs to be within reason…). If you never allow yourself a BIT of leave-way, eventually you will decide that the diet isn’t livable.


But if you adopt a sensible eating plan as outlined above, you can slowly lose weight, and feel good doing it. THAT is magical, believe me!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Playing “Aunt Loretta”

At some point this winter I am having a medical procedure done, and recently I had an appointment with my doctor about exactly what I needed done. Suddenly I caught myself playing “Aunt Loretta”.
My father’s sister, my Aunt Loretta, was a lovely person. She always greeted us with a wide warm smile, and never complained about the noise we children must have made. Her house, though tiny, was clean and neat, and her bathroom could have been an ad for the bathroom scent companies. She was an excellent cook as well. And yes… she was also grossly overweight.
Her weight never bothered ME… but I am sure that it bothered her. Why do I think so? Because she died of an illness that (according to my mother’s report at the time) could probably have been cured if she had only seen a doctor when the first symptoms arose. But my Aunt Loretta apparently played a “game” that many of us overweight people play. Tired of being viewed as ONLY “fat”, tired of being told that we need to lose weight, we avoid doctors. We visit them rarely, and dream of finding one who will treat us an intelligent person, despite our current inability to move past the addiction to food. (Many people are valued despite their character flaws, but overeating is oh so visible for all to see.) And when we finally DO go to the doctor, we often downplay any side complaints, suspecting that if we dare mention them, we will only be reminded by the dear doctor that it is our own fault.
So as I walked away from the doctor last week, I realized that I had downplayed an important concern, and was playing “Aunt Loretta”. I am still in the “defensive mode” when at the doctor; it being a well-ingrained habit after years and years of “overweight thinking”. What a mistake! Everyone, despite race, religion, sex, or weight, deserves to be treated cordially. Yes, one’s primary physician may need to courteously try to help his patient find the tools needed to live a healthy life. Asking if their patient is interested in referral to a weight-loss specialist or a dietician may well be in place. But it needs to be done in a sensitive way, in order that the overweight person, who needs that health care even more than the normal-weight individual, not run away.
But now that I am well on the way to a healthy weight, now that I AM making the proper choices, I CERTAINLY needn’t let this bad old habit of downplaying EVERYTHING at the doctor’s office continue.
So I made an appointment to see my doctor again, and I set the story straight.

Baby and Bathwater

Note: This post is a continuation from Monday’s post and the comments made on it.

Both Chaviva and Batya mention the possibility of change, and specifically of the need to improve ourselves. This is definitely true. But this in turn leads me to a different point, one especially relevant to any person who is trying to better themselves.
When we embark on a project to improve ourselves, whether it be giving up a bad habit, watch our weight, to become more religious, or to start a new positive activity, the tendency is to go full force. While drastic changes can get us places quickly, we will rarely stay there steadily and solidly as a result. True change involves a process, and THAT requires TIME. Also, the gung-ho method often boomerangs because we do not take into consideration who we are. We often try to imitate others, irrespective of whether their derech (way) is a good one for US.
1) The new baal teshuva (newcomer to Orthodox Judaism) is likely to take on many optional stringencies not required by halacha (Jewish law). In doing so he often bypasses opportunities where he (she) could use their skills and aptitudes for the good of the community and their own enjoyment. This may lead to the person waking up one day and realizing that they threw away an integral part of their identity and well-being. For example, a school might frown on guitar playing, because of the hippie connotations that follow it and because of the blatant sexuality of nearly all popular songs. But if this new baal teshuva would be encouraged to IMPROVE his playing skills, using orthodox music (and perhaps classical as well), he could continue to nourish the musical side of their soul.
2) Overweight people often ask me, when they realize how much weight I have lost, “So what do you eat each day?” My answer is this: that what I eat is not important. Each person needs a healthy eating plan, one designed to suit THEIR tastes and lifestyle.

Often we have a lot of dirty “bathwater” (bad habits) that we want to chuck out. But let us not chuck out the baby with it!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Answer to Chaviva

Chaviva asks: “Are you where you thought you'd be 10 years ago? Where you were when you were a senior in high school ?”
Well, Chaviva, for me this is two questions: a) ten years ago and b) when a senior in high school.
I was actually never a senior in high school. I finished high school in three years, and went to college for a year (in 1969-70)(before attending nursing school). I knew already that I wanted to be a nurse, and to live in Israel. I accomplished both. I also dreamed of having a family, which (thank G-d), I did. But I never would have dreamt of the difficult parts of my life which lay ahead, nor my future interest in special education.
Ten years ago, Ricki was young, and we were fighting for her right to inclusion. I would have never believed that we would make it all the way through junior high. And while I dreamed of losing weight, I could never have envisioned how liberating and life-changing that weight-loss journey would be for me.
Yet, in many ways I am the same: the love of music, reading, knowledge, crafts, nature (i.e. the Rocky Mountains...), and dance. The desire to connect with others. My sincere religious belief.
Yes, the world has changed enormously since I was in high school. Who would have dreamed of facebook back then? But, oh--- the days are not all that different when you get down to the way people think and act.

Friday, December 2, 2011

CPAP Adventures

Well, on Wednesday we finally received Ricki’s new CPAP. Now she has to get used to it. And we have two weeks to do so (we can return the machine within 2 weeks of purchase for a full refund).
Last night started out OK. But she was after a bath (with damp hair), and complained of the air being too cold. I gave her a warm scarf to wear around her throat, but she still complained. (Apparently a humidifier can be purchased that will help with this, but we will not be able to purchase one until next week.) Even so she wore the CPAP last night on and off as long as I was at the computer (which is by her bed). But she was half awake, and not pleased.

Tonight (Thursday evening), she point blank refused to wear the CPAP after a few minutes. Promises of prizes didn’t help. I was fearful of her developing a negative attitude, which, once set upon, would likely not change when the humidifier would be bought. So I decided to let it go for a bit.
Now, however, I saw that she was asleep, and tried to put the mask on her. She fought back a bit, but eventually I got it on her, and as I held her hands she quickly fell into a deep sleep. She wore it for about ten minutes, but then woke up and took it off.
Maybe tomorrow afternoon I will have her wear it a bit as she reads a book, to get more used to it.