Monday, December 31, 2012

Ricki's Bed

   One of the perks of having a son-in-law who\se occupation is doing refurbishing and construction work is that sometimes well-to-do clients give him their "old" furniture. And sometimes he gives that almost-as-good-as-new stuff to us.
   So tonight I returned home at 11 pm, only to find my exhausted son-in-law schlepping  (dragging) new beds up the three flights of stairs to our apartment.. He had mentioned a few days ago that he could give me a new bed for what used to be Ricki's room, a room that "Y", my current army son, uses on weekends. I jumped at the chance, because the old bed was absolutely decrepit.
    However, the biggest drawback to the old bed was its weight. It had a built-in drawer that made it extremely heavy. And in Ricki's narrow room, moving the bed a bit (to clean) was a real chore. Cleaning thoroughly beneath it was nigh impossible, and I only attempted that once a year, before Passover. To move the bed meant removing my computer and it's table from Ricki's room, and then pushing the bed from side to side in the narrow half-a-room-sized space. And even like this, there was an inch or two of floor space that I could only clean by throwing water under the bed, and trying to swish the dirt out with the flow of water.
   But tonight my son-in-law had already dismembered the old bed, and the room was empty, the new bed not having been put in yet. There was, obviously, a whole pile of dirt and dust on the floor, and I went to get the broom. I wondered if maybe I would find in the dust pile on of Ricki's long-last golden earing.
   No such luck. Only the last remains of some candy wrappers.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Haveil Havalim #392 - End of 2012 edition

  Again I am hosting “Haveil Havalim”, a roundup of posts from the Jewish blogsphere, carnival style. Founded by Soccer Dad, Haveil Havalim is a carnival of Jewish blogs — a weekly collection of Jewish & Israeli blog highlights, tidbits and points of interest collected from blogs all around the world. It’s hosted by different bloggers each week and is organized by way of our facebook page.. [The term "Haveil Havalim," which means “Vanity of Vanities,” is from Koheleth, (Ecclesiastes) which was written by King Solom.] Any blogger wishing to be a part of this needs to join the facebook group, and there he can check each week who is hosting and to whom you need to email your weekly posts. (When submitting posts, remember that they should be from the last week.)

[Disclaimer: My posting of Havel Havelim does not mean that I agree with every viewpoint of these blogs.]

Judaism, Torah
Then from the blog "ThinkJudaism" we have two posts, one by Yitzchak Sprung,
'Is Tanya Heresy?Rambam wants to kill Chabad" . As you might expect with a title like that, he received some rather angry comments…..
   And the second entry from "ThinkJudaism" is one by Gene Matanky , titled "A response toRabbi Sacks: survival of the religious".

   Ever-prolific Batya of Me-ander (and Shiloh Musings) sends us
"I Have Nothing Against English………. ". an interesting comment on store signs.

    Jacob Richman posts New Video: Learn Hebrew Phrases - Cooking and Baking on his blog "Good News From Israel" and it is a real Hebrew lesson for any who need it.

   I (Rickismom of "Beneath the Wings") give you a look at how women want it all, in "Feeling Young, Looking Older"

Best of 2012
   Finally, I want to end this edition of “Haveil Havalim” with a special feature: posts considered by their authors (or others) to be their "best post" of 2012.
Rivkah of Bat Aliyah submits "My Father Sent Me" On her journey to making aliyah.

Yosef of "This American Bite" presents a recipe, but much more than that.

  Batya (this time posting on"Shiloh Musings" sent me "Déjà Vu, The Bible: Did OurWaiting IDF Reservists Feel Like.... "

The "Best of 2012" submission of ThinkJudaism was "Why The Modern Orthodox ShouldSuffer The Most"
   In this post he asks why Pesach and Yom Kippur, the two most difficult Jewish holidays are the ones most adhered to…. And reaches some conclusions as a result.

   Finally my contribution for the "best of 2012" is "Perceptions of our Challenges"

I have a few nominations for "Best of the year: from

Thursday, December 27, 2012


  Thank G-d I did not gain this week- I stayed the same, which considering my overeating over the weekend, is good enough.  I probably managed that because this week I REALLY tried hard to keep to my plan,
[image: Drawing of swimmer.] 
  But my real progress has been with exercise. My aerobic walking speed has increased from 1100 steps in 10 minutes to up to 1200. And tonight I swam 50 laps-which I have done in the past, BUT the first 40 laps (my normal amount) I did in record time. Once it took me an hour to do the 40 laps (which equal a kilometer), and recently I managed to do them in about 56 minutes. Tonight I did them in 53. THAT'S progress!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Feeling Young, looking older

When I was obese, people used to tell me I had a "young face". Well, the last five to ten kilos (I have lost 75) have given me a LOT of wrinkles. But I knew that this would happen, and when I started losing I said: 
I can look young and feel old (staying overweight) OR 
I can look old and feel young. 

And I am glad I chose the second! 
I FEEL SSOO much younger. emoticon 

The only problem is that now I want to look young, too! emoticon emoticon  In spite of reading Batya's post...)

Sunday, December 23, 2012


   Mrs.-lost-75-kilos managed to break her diet royally over Thursday evening, Friday, and Shabbas.
   But just saying "I goofed", "I flopped", or the like is not going to prevent it from happening again, is it?

   So I tried to figure out what was going on. OK- there was emotional eating involved; I had a lot going on and a lot of stress.

Then I remembered how little an amount of sleep I got Thursday evening.

And due to heavy rainfall, I did not go walking on Friday.

  I was stressed out, and fell back on emotional eating. Then, not walking compounded the problem, as I find walking a good stress-reducer. And perhaps I am more "forgiving" of slips over the weekend.

1)     Have substitutes ways to deal with stress when walking isn't possible: reading, knitting, listening to music, dancing in the house, etc.
2)     Get my sleep – practically, by cutting down on computer time.
3)     Figure out some reward for keeping on track over shabbas.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Discount

    Ricki's water consumption had always been plentiful. She changed her clothes several times a day and bathed frequently as well. This was tolerable until about a year ago, when the water company added a higher tariff for "copious" water usage. And due to Ricki's frequent bathes, and the resulting high number of loads of laundry, we fit the criteria. Our water bill sky rocketed. I wrote the company a letter, explaining why it was not fair that we pay the higher tariff.
   This week, I received a letter from the water company. They have decided to give parents of children with special needs a discount. We just need to inform them if she is no longer living at this address.

    Unfortunately, You're a bit late, I informed them……


    Several weeks ago while walking one evening at dusk, I happened upon a small narrow park that runs between houses on either side for about five blocks. While it was a cute little addition to my list of "green" places to walk,  I didn't happen to return to it until this last Saturday.
   Saturday morning I had taken a nice walk, but knowing that I would be traveling after shabbas to a "final night of Channukah" get-together at the house of one of my sons, I decided that a little bit more calorie-burning exercise would be prudent.** And since my son was willing to join me, I was glad indeed to go walking.
   It just so happened that we walked to an area near the above-mentioned park, so I mentioned to my son that I have a cute place to show him. We reached it soon enough and he agreed that it was pretty nice. When we finally walked to the end of the stretch, and reached a city street, we were about to turn back when something caught my eye. I hadn't noticed it, in the dark, the first time I was there… but now I perceived that across the street, and a bit to the left, there seemed to be a small road leading steeply uphill.
   "Hey, look at that road- maybe there is a nice view from up there…"
   So the two of us traipsed up the hill, discovering a small park at the top. And from there we beheld  a magnificent view of Tel Aviv, and the Mediterranean beyond. (We were walking in a suburb of Tel Aviv.) So Monday I returned, camera in hand:
(picture: view of Tel Aviv)

   Oh, the title of this post, you are wondering??  We discovered this view because we had the spontaneity to check out that little road to the left…….

 (**On Shabbat I walk only if I feel like it, and at a slower pace than on weekdays.)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Losing Weight- For ME or My Ego???

   Although "Beneath the Wings" was originally a blog meant to deal with living with a teen with Down syndrome, my first post was about being overweight:

Yesterday on the bus... living fat.

Yesterday I was on the bus, and as I boarded, I automatically checked first to see if the one slightly-wider-than-most-seat was available. It wasn't, being occupied, ironically, by a waif-like wisp of a teenager. Of course. The single seats were taken as well. I like them, because even though they are a bit of a tight fit, I can relax when seated there, knowing that I am not infringing on anyone else's space. So I choose to stand, not feeling comfortable to squeeze in next to someone else. Luckily, a single seat soon was vacated, and I scooted over to sit down.

A few moments later, a woman who looks even larger than me entered, and sat down in a double seat. I even did a reality check: "Is she REALLY that much more overweight than me? Maybe I am underestimating my size?" (After all, I nearly ever look into a full-length mirror....) However, I decided that even so, she was definitely more overweight than myself. Then I wondered: Does she also feel frustrated by her weight? Is she afraid of infringing on others? Does she feel guilty for filling two seats? Is she feeling exasperated that others label her solely on the basis of her physical dimensions? (Which I was doing up to that point, I must confess.)

Amazingly, a thiny-minny teen soon filled the half-spot next to her. Was the overweight lady pleased to have someone next to her? And why do I care so much about whatever is going on in her mind?
   *     *     *     *      *   
That post was written over 5 years ago. In the interim, I have lost 75 kilos. I am viewed by others as having pretty much a normal weight. I certainly no longer get the type of snide comments, glances, and judgments that are part and parcel of the public life of anyone who is extremely overweight.

   But I still wonder over that last sentence from that post:   "And why do I care so much about whatever is going on in her mind?" Here are some thoughts:

   I believe that people who are overweight should try and lose weight. Let's face it, the quality of life, the state of our health, is so much better when we are thin. It is definitely worth the effort.
  Do I believe that I am per se a better person because I am not fat? NO. NO.  NO.  Yes, I have grown from the journey—but most of us have something in our lives that we grow from. That is what life is about, improving ourselves. So while I am a better, stronger person than I was 5 years ago, that is due to the changes in my personality arising from meeting a challenge, not to being thin in and of itself.

   And yet, I must admit that I enjoy the compliments I receive.

   In a way I feel a bit guilty for that, as if by accepting those compliments, I am validating society's warped view that sees people who are overweight as intrinsically inferior. (Yes, that sounds harsh, but often that is the message society is sending us.)   I want to be thin, in order to be as healthy and energetic as possible. As for my ego, I wish he would remember that my worth depends on G-d's opinion of me—due to my actions – and certainly not due to my weight (or lack of it….)

"Have You Recovered?"

    I was pretty sure I would never sit in our pediatrician's office again. With Ricki dead, and all the other "kids" being at an age above the 18-year-old cut off age for pediatricians, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that unless I would run into her doctor on the street, I wouldn't see her pediatrician. After Ricki's death I wondered what he would say if he saw me, but knew that it would be awkward for him, at best.  I am sure every doctor queries himself what could have been done different to prevent a death.
   Well, this afternoon found me sitting in his office, doing a favor for my daughter, whose son goes to the same doctor. Both He and his secretary asked me straight away "Have you recovered?"
   I answered "Yes", but thought to myself that it was a pretty stupid question. Ask how I am, how I am faring, yes. Recovered?!? Sorry, you never recover from the death of a child.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Walking for the Strangest Reasons….

   Today I took a long walk for a strange reason.... Today is one of the eight days of Hanukkah. And the traditional fare for the holiday,here in Israel are round circular jelly-filled doughnuts  calorie bombs.  
     Now I can do without jelly doughnuts; the other traditional food, fried potato "latkes" are much more tempting to me. However, one of the local coffee shops has complicated matters by making butterscotch doughnuts. And I love butterscotch... 
    So this morning, despite the forecasted rain, I took my favorite long walk, from my house to the ocean, and along the port area, JUST so I would burn off enough calories to enable quilt- free consumption of a butterscotch doughnut. A bit crazy, I know, but what the h-ll, even I want a donut for Hanukkah..... 

Oh, and I was rewarded for my efforts with a wonderful view of the storm clouds coming in, and a roaring wavy ocean!!!! 

PS : later I was dancing all around my kitchen : with all that sugar in my system I was ENERGETICALLY "flying"! LOL!!!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Motzai Shabbas Walk

Part One:
   Saturday evening ("motzai shabbas") I was feeling a bit blue. I felt like a pity party was coming to me. Hanukkah had started--- everyone seemed in a festive mood-- but me. 
   I missed Ricki. This is the first Hanukah we have without her. In addition none of my kids were here to celebrate the first night with us.... and in addition,  a certain member of the family had criticized me the whole day. (That was THEIR problem, but it was beginning to get to me.....) 

    Finally, I went out for a walk. After an hour, my mood started to lift. Slowly, as the endorphins flooded my system, my mood lightened.

What happened? Nothing. Ricki is still dead, my other problems continue. But I was glad to be taking care of my health. I was glad to get out of the house a bit. I enjoyed MOVING my body. 

When things go wrong we can drown in pity.... or get up and do what we can with the life that we have! 

Part Two:
    Back in October I blogged about falling a few times (replete with black eyes), and how I finally figured out that I was tripping over a certain too-loose (and therefore too-long) skirt. 
    So this last Saturday evening  I fell again.
    This last time I wasn't sure if I just didn't see an uneven part in the sidewalk (my Dad, RIP, always DID tell me to stop dragging my feet...)... or if my winter Sabbath skirt from last year (which is what I was wearing) is the instigator of this commotion. The skirt is a BIT lose, but not that much. Or so I thought. 
    I just may shorten all my skirts a few centimeters. [If I keep falling I just might risk doing a "humpty Dumpty" move and break something that will put me out of walking for a while.] 
    And of course, when I fell SOMEONE had to witness it (can't get away with falling unobserved, it seems). 2 young bicyclers across the street stopped, and as I got up asked if I was OK 
"I'm fine, I seem to do this every once in a while..." 
"Hey, watch over yourself. Take care..." 
Yeah, I better..... 

The Store Owner's Lie

[image: lady clothes shopping]
    I knew it wasn't true. And he was probably just trying to get a sale…
    I was out shopping for my last winter-wardrobe item, a nice skirt for the Sabbath.  I had even considered sewing myself one (years ago I had to sew EVERYTHING I wore…)… but noticing the prices in the stores I passed (in the cheaper Tel-Aviv area), I realized that I could possibly buy for about the same price as buying good cloth. True, the quality would not be as good, but I would be saving myself time.
   I entered a store that had some lovely skirts outside.
-"Do you have skirts in size 46?" (Note: Israeli sizing is different than American.)
-"46?!? But you are THIN! You need only a 44."  [Now he DID have larger sizes. It wasn't as if he was willing me into his largest size.]  It turned out that the size 44 skirts fit perfectly….

   OK, here's the rub: it could be that HIS skirts are marked smaller than true size, in order to give an ego push to the potential client. That's good marketing. (Although in another store I was a 42!)
 And the REAL rub: 44 is not "THIN". If I can barely fit into a few (and not all) one-size garments, I am not "thin".

   HOWEVER, there is a limit to how bad a lie can be. It needs to be half-believable… the store owner is not going to say I look like a twenty year old…

   And, quite frankly, I never even DREMPT, in my 61 years of life, that ANYONE, even a store owner drumming up business, would call me "thin"!!! NEVER!

(Me to myself:   "Thin?!? Really?!??? ... no... but on the way there!!!!"  ) 
PS: Even 95% of the way there!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Diet "Doughnuts"

[image: diet doughnut with a cup of coffee.]

   Friday morning was the last weekday before Hanukkah, and suddenly I realized that my husband and home-from-the-army-for-the-weekend-soldier-son would undoubtedly be expecting jelly donuts (Israel's typical Hanukkah calorie-bomb) after lighting the menorah Saturday night.
   Now I vowed NOT to fry doughnuts myself; they are too tasty (mine are) and way too fattening. But the store ones (mass-produced) are really not that tasty (too sweet). And besides, if I had even one of them, it would cost me royally- to the tune of about 400 calories.

   Then I remembered a recipe for "baked" doughnut. I dug it out, halved the recipe (knowing that leftovers would be tempting), and made some. I filled them with no-sugar blueberry jam.

   An admission: they don't taste like fried doughnuts. But I had added a bit of brandy extract (NOT brandy, just flavoring), and that, together with the blueberry filling, made them pretty good. Good enough to stave off complaints, and low-calorie enough that I could indulge in one.

   Sometimes the best way to diet is to walk around your yetzer hara (evil inclination), rather than hitting it straight on…..

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


    The other day I was walking with a friend, and as we crossed the street, she paused.  A moment later, crossing, she threw me this comment: "I always try and make eye contact with the driver before crossing." Frankly, I thought she was exaggerating a bit.
  I mean, even though walkers have the right of way, obviously it is better to be careful. I mean, if I am walking for my health, I certainly want to take the care needed not to get run over. But a car that has stopped for you has stopped, no?

  Not necessarily.

   Tonight (Monday PM), I went swimming, and felt GREAT! I even, finally after a year and a half of swimming, cut down my time for 40 laps (1 kilometer) from 60 minutes to 56. [Doesn't sound like much? Well, for over a year I've been trying to increase my speed with no success until now.] Walking home I felt energetic,
  As I was crossing a street, I saw the car that was coming brake to a stop, and as I started passing in front of him, he started accelerating. I gave a scream and he stopped, mumbling "Sorry".

[SORRY!?!?!? That's ALL?!?!?!?!]  

   I figure that he had stopped to look at his cellphone (or the like), and accelerated when finished, unfortunately without looking first (maybe since it was 11:30 PM).

Lesson learned: Make eye contact with the driver when crossing the street…..

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Neutering of the Holidays

[image: petite fours]

    I know that my title is really a bit overdone, but the fact is that we (Americans, Israelis, Christians, and Jews) have seemed to lose all contact with the essence of our holidays.
    Last week brought all the "black Friday" sales in the US.  With large lines.  I heard that some stores were already open on Thanksgiving (pity the employees…). And in Israel the gastronomic excess of the Hanukkah holidays is already abundant.  As I pass the donuts display in our local grocery, I wonder who is already willing, a week and a half before the holiday, to start downing  jelly donuts.
    Now I'm not saying that giving gifts is bad, nor eating holiday delectables. But things have blossomed entirely out of control.
   This week I bought the weekly woman's magazine, as I often do.  There was already a holiday recipe section, replete with fancy cakes and exquisite decorations.  And, naturally it was a dieter's nightmare. I immediately vowed that I would not even try ONE dish, they were all way beyond the pale as far as my eating plan is concerned. But what bothered me more was the elaborate amount of work that nearly all the dishes entailed. We are raising a generation of young women  who not only have to be a size XXS, but who work full time, raise a family, AND are expected to be able to bring gourmet deserts to the family party. 
   At what price?
   Is Hanukkah really about fancy gifts, fancy chocolate petite fours, and designer tables? None of these things are bad or evil in and of themselves. But taken together, the emphasis on doing something that will "WOW" our guests, impress our relatives, etc. can oh so easily be overdone. And I myself am not immune to this. But we are taking this just way too far.
   Wouldn't be better to spend two hours baking cookies with our grand-kids  rather than cooking up delicacies that are way too fattening and cholesterol-ridden anyway?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

“Haveil Havalim” #387, The Thanksgiving/Ceasefire Edition

    Again I am hosting “Haveil Havalim”, a roundup of posts from the Jewish blogsphere, carnival style. Founded by Soccer Dad, Haveil Havalim is a carnival of Jewish blogs — a weekly collection of Jewish & Israeli blog highlights, tidbits and points of interest collected from blogs all around the world. It’s hosted by different bloggers each week and is organized by way of our facebook page.. [The term "Haveil Havalim," which means “Vanity of Vanities,” is from Koheleth, (Ecclesiastes) which was written by King Solomon.]

     The site that runs blog carnival has been fuzzy at best as of late and has left those of us hosting relying on writers to join the Facebook group and check there for whom is hosting and to whom you need to email your weekly posts. You can still try to submit them through the Haveil Havalim websitebut I wouldn't count on it….
  When submitting posts, remember that they should be from the last week.

[Disclaimer: My posting of Havel Havelim does not mean that I agree with every viewpoint of these blogs.]

   The picking this week were pretty slim. I quess we were all either in air-raid shelters, or trying, after the cease fire, to move on with our lives..... I dunno......anyway, here goes:

The War, Missiles, and the Ceasefire
     Batya Medad, of Shiloh Musings  gives us, from earlier in the week,

     Ima2seven gives us an interesting commentary, "How Are We Doing?", at her blog Ima 2 Seven.


     I, "Rickismom", touch on a facet in the personal life of a soldier, in "My Son Y's 'Diskeete'", and a remberance (and comment on weight loss) in Four Years, and the Journey

Next week's host is undetermined, it's not too late to volunteer......

Four Years, and the Journey

    Gee, it is hard to believe that tomorrow it will already be 4 years since my father's death. It seems not so long ago that we shared a summer together with Ricki in the Rockies. And now both of them are gone.

   Human relationships can be so complex. I KNEW my Dad loved us. Of that I had no doubt. Yet even so, I wanted his respect, his approval. I pushed myself to be perfect to gain an accolade from him. What I did not know at the time was that he, through no fault of his own, could not verbalize his approval. His experiences as a soldier in World War 2 had crippled his ability to do so.
  I discovered all this after his death. I was able to accept that, and move on. And that moving on, that escape from the urge to be perfect, helped me, and was an important part of my weight-loss journey. (Oh boy, do I wish that he could see me today!)
    [ I think that almost all people with a serious weight problem have some underlying emotional issues. Overeating is an addiction, and as such, it is giving some "benefit" to the over-eater. For weight loss to be achieved and maintained, the over-eater needs to find other, non-food alternatives to deal with life's ups and downs. They will need to discover and tackle the underlying emotional issues.]

   But what I remember of my Dad  today  is his quiet strength. His desire to stand up and stick out his neck for what is right, despite the costs. His love of the beauty of nature, whether it be the vistas of the Rockies, or an underwater cave at crystal river, Florida (where I SCUBA dived with him).
     I wonder if he and Ricki are having a good chat up there in heaven…….tonight I miss them both…..

Thursday, November 22, 2012

OrEl 's Call

    My Grandson OrEl was sitting in the living room with his mom, eating lunch. Suddenly, out of the blue he looked skyward (because his mother always tells him that Ricki is in heaven), and cried out: "Ricki! Come home, to Grandma!"  He repeated himself… paused… and concluded with an "Uuff (shucks),… she isn't coming….."

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


   I have been trying to still lose a smidgen more, but not, it seems, hard enough. The scales have been staying very stubbornly (not nice of them) at 76 kilos. Two weeks ago I was VERY good and lost a bit. This last week I was 95% good—but Friday evening, when visiting my DD, decided that I could allow myself a bit more than normal.
   And all week I paid the price for that bit. Even though I thought that I had really been OK at that meal, allowing myself a bit more, but not a lot, a sneak peak on the scales (I usually weigh –in on Wednesdays) showed a possible GAIN. GRUMP… I should, at the most, not have lost, and remained the same.
   So two strong weeks of dieting were slaughtered by one itzy bitzy tiny desert???!? NOT FAIR!
   Then I stepped on the scales this morning. Shocked, I got off, moved it, and jumped on again. I got the same reading.

 A kilo down.
75 kilos lost in total.
My original goal.
Lowest I ever weighed in my teen-adult years…

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sarah, Chaim's Mom

I met Sarah several years ago, when her son (who has Down syndrome) and Ricki were going to the same "play therapist". Ricki's appointments were always right after her son, and since he had a tendency to refuse to leave after his session (driving his Mom absolutely crazy), I saw a lot of him. Eventually Sarah learned more effective ways to deal with him, and Ricki also stopped this therapist, so I saw Sarah only rarely. During the year or so that I saw him weekly, Chaim always tried to impress Ricki, and she played the "cool and collected" teen girl. Sarah, however, has little contact with the local Down syndrome organization, always saying that she sees no reason to add a "label" to her child. So today when I saw her and Chaim waiting for a bus, I smiled and went over. "How are you? Chaim, you look great….." Then she queried as to how Ricki is doing. Ummmm… gosh o gollies, she hasn't heard yet; it figures, she not in contact with the other "Down syndrome moms"….. "I'm sorry to tell you, but Ricki passed away three and a half months ago…" I spent the next five minutes reassuring her that it was OK that she had asked, that I am OK (well, fairly OK…), and explaining what had caused Ricki's death. It was a bit burdensome to deal with her shock. But I'm sure this will occur more than once. But "Chaim" looked great…..

Monday, November 19, 2012

My Son Y's "Diskeete"

As soldiers have all over the world, Israeli soldiers have a "diskeete"; an identity ID chain. A constant reminder to him that he may need to lay down his life for his nation (in which case he will be identified by the diskeette). One day my son came to me. "Mom? Remember the ID necklace with the diskeette that you had made for Ricki once?" [I certainly did. I had it made when she was relatively young, during a period that Ricki was disappearing on her own a lot. I wanted to be sure that she had her address and phone on her. So I went to a jewler, and asked that he prepare a chain with a diskeete, with Ricki's name, address, and phone.] "Yes, I have it." "Can I have it?" It turns out that many soldiers place their girlfriend's diskeete (or a guess, a copy of it) alongside their own. Yitzchak wanted to put Ricki's ID card next to his, to remember her with. And he has.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Zahava's Dash

HERE is a great post from "Mrs. Treppenwitz" about waiting out air raid sirens. Worth reading....

the DASH

I am happy to have lost enough weight that if an air raid siren sounds when I am out walking, I am thin and fit enough to DASH for cover!!!! (usually about 45 seconds to the nearest building and up or down a floor....) (which means I may need to forgo the Yarkon walk for a while.....)

Facebook and Your Soul

A lot of my friends have been posting pro-Israeli videos and photos on facebook, and a few I have passed on. Many ask that we click "Like" to show our support for the young men prepared to risk their lives for their fellow country-men's safety, and I readily do. But RARELY, here and there, I see posts that disturb me: "Make a hell-fire in Gaza" "Wipe Gaza off the Face of the Earth" EXCUSE ME?!? Yes, we have to stop the rockets. And yes, we have the right to target military objectives. And yes, the Gazans choose Hamas. But since when are we going to let the complete disregard that Hamas has for innocent civilian lives (of even their own people, never mind ours…) CONTAMINATE OUR souls?!?!?? Are we really willing to sink down to that level? During World War 2, a Jew asked his Rabbi, "How can I praise G-d for making me a Jew?" The Rabbi answered: "You are thanking G-d that you are not like those (inhuman) beings…." My readers who are fellow Israelis, be proud enough of a Jew not to become a shadow of a man.

On the Israel Defense Forces and Civilians

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Fatal Flaw: Male/Female

   No, I am NOT saying that differentiation of the sexes is a fatal flaw. However, both men and women have a fatal flaw that can lead to death in a missile attack.

On Thursday evening I was walking near my house when I thought I heard the air-raid siren. I told my friend who was with me, "Come, let's at least get under a building".
-"But no one else is!"

I was the only one on he entire street who took any type of shelter from the unexpected siren. (It was unexpected, being the first in our area.). With women especially, our fear of being laughed at can kill us.....

  The fatal flaw for men is their curiosity with all things military.  I understand that the two men killed earlier that Thursday had not gone to a safe room, but went to watch the action, thus they were exposed.

   Let's NOT give a victory to Hamas. Please do what it takes to stay as safe as possible.

Friday, November 16, 2012

More Missiles/ Hamas

     No siren in my neighborhood, but my SIL was outside near one of the places I often frequent... and when he heard the siren, having no place to hide, he saw the missile fall.  His comment:
   "Frightening and awesome at the same time...."
    I can do without any awesomeness, thank you.....

*   *   *   *   *  
HERE is a video about Hamas and their se of children as war shields.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

OK, Now I live in Missile range......

   My best friend and I walked today from reading power plant to Jaffa. Then took the 240 bus home. 
    As we got off the bus we heard air-raid sirens. (In the end the missiles landed about a half-hour walk from where we got on the bus.) Great! Now I live in a potential war zone. How does one take a shower if, when the siren goes ,you have about one minute and 15 seconds to get dressed and go down 4 flights of stairs????

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sunday, November 11, 2012


   This evening I traveled to Jerusalem for the wedding of a friend's daughter, but somehow I made a mistake. There is no wedding at that hall tonight. That's a three-hour mistake! .

   Not only that, but I was missing the exercise I had planned on getting dancing at the wedding. So upon arriving home, I pulled out a list of music videos some friends had given me. One called "Footlose "  looked good, so I tried to copy the steps. Suddenly there were the jumps. "Jumps!?!?"
I tried.

I jumped.

    I didn't manage to jump very high...but it WAS a jump. Probably my first in thirty five years...I was so thrilled I did several more!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Balancing Act

        Someone commented to me: "Rickismom, I feel for you trying to balance your religious heritage while working to maintain your weight loss."  Yes, part of it needs balancing. It is a religious precept for me to eat Friday night and Shabbat day a meal with bread, fish, and meat. (And when my husband is not feeling well, I need to fit in the calories of wine or grape juice that we drink to sanctify the day as well.)
    BUT other things (like donuts and fried potato latkes on Hanukkah) are only tradition. I could very well, theoretically, eat salads all of Hanukkah week.
    HOWEVER (AND THIS IS A POINT I WANT TO MAKE HERE) for the long term haul, I feel that to lose weight and maintain that loss, one needs to make their way of eating LIVABLE. And that means OCCASIONALLY enjoying certain higher-calorie foods, especially on holidays, family gatherings, and the like. It has to be done VERY CAREFULLY (or you will pay the price later....).  (For example, I was not careful enough a month and a half ago during the fall holidays, and it has taken me a good 5-6 weeks to get back to where I was.... although this process may have taken longer since I am dealing with a lot of stress right now....)
    What does being very careful entail? One, you need to try and keep the "damage" to the minimum, sometimes substituting ingredients, using less oil, etc. One can also increase activity level to reduce the damage.
    But sometimes one needs to swallow (pun intended) that loss of weight for a week or two, because being able to live normally, enjoy family and holidays, will help give us the will to stick to our full plan the remaining 90% of the year. And I would rather loose slowly, even very slowly, than feel after three months that "I can't take this anymore" and throw the towel in completely!
(OK, I'm getting down from the soapbox....)
PS. The upside is that after several months of staying on a diet, your tastes in food change, as well as the quantity. This Hanukkah, when I allow myself a potato latke or two,  (or maybe even three???), it won't come close to the amounts I ate 4 years ago (and here I plead the 5th….).

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The HARD Days….

   I was going to call this post "The Bad Days", but thought better of it. Some days seem bad, but then, if I look at all the great things in my life, it is hard to call a day "bad". (And if you are not homeless/powerless/freezing in the cold like many of the people on America's East coast, there is plenty to be grateful for….)
   But besides that, those tougher days are sometimes just the thing we need to get us to where we need to be. As an example, pains in my leg got me started, after years of willy-washing about, to SERIOUSLY lose weight.  Sometimes we need someone to act TRULY atrociously for us to wake up and see how destructive they are to us. (And by the way, this happened to a friend, not to me, this week.)
   But with all that said, hard days are difficult. Even if we grow spiritually and/or emotionally from them. And if we are trying to lose weight, the stress can be toxic. So what can we do? A few ideas:
1)     Find ways to decrease stress that are practical, and work for you. I listen to soothing music on an MP3 player, or go for a walk…..
2)     Find friends who support you rather than hinder you. Decrease time spent with negative people (when possible)
3)     Don't tell yourself negative things like "I can't take this". Rather, encourage yourself :"I am strong enough to survive this…". Envision yourself in your mind as one who can change, grow, and be happy.
4)     If the "bad" day is caused by a situation that can be changed, try and take steps, concrete steps, to do so.
And, PS:

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Chucking Out NEW Clothing?!?!????

    Now, it just so happens that a few items of the clothing I am sending away to charity are new. How did THAT happen???
   One item was a jacket I bought Ricki at an end-of-the-season sale at the large sizes store. It is too big for me. But the rest???
   Well, it happened like this. This last spring, at the end-of-the-season sales of winter clothing, I purchased about 8 items, being sure to buy things that were a bit too small. And yes, they fit me now. However, when trying them on, two items struck me as rather ugly. Yes, they fit, but I didn't like them.
   I guess I was SO happy to be able to purchase end-of-season stuff  NOT in the "big size" store, at cheap prices, that I was not too careful. I could keep them, but I won't. The days of me wearing things I don't like just because they fit are over. And besides, I have enough items which I DO like, or things from last year that can be altered. And I have purchased a few new items this week as well. What I really noted today was that the style of clothing I wear has changed. I used to wear loose flowing clothing, and over-blouses, to "hide" my weight.Today I feel that this style makes me look heavier, and I am tucking my blouses in, and using more of a form-fitting tailored cut of clothing.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Fun of Chucking Out Clothing

    What's so fun about chucking out old clothes?
     Well, in reality I am giving them away to charity, AND they are not so old. They are simply, a year or two after purchase, too big.
    You see, today I tried on my clothing from last winter, and had to choose what to keep and what is too big to use. What's fun is seeing how much I have lost over the last year…. And two years…
      I also had an OOLLDD blouse from years ago that I had saved (for "when I loose weight") which two years ago was still too small on me. Somehow I overlooked it last winter, and now it is way too big.
   Yeah, I feel great!

Friday, October 26, 2012

At a Wedding- Progress to Normal (Non-Obsessive) Life

   I went to a wedding last night. Due to being busy, I had not gone" walking" (my regular exercise) yet. So I decided that after taking the bus to Jerusalem, I would walk to the wedding hall (about a 35-minute walk), and back afterwards. That would give me the minimum. I even took an umbrella with me in case of rain. 
    However I did not know that Italy's prime minister would be arriving at the hour of my bus trip, so due to security measures (ie. road closures), the normal 1 and a half to 2 hour trip took a good three hours. So I ended up taking a taxi to the wedding hall, in order to arrive at a half-way normal time. 
I ate supper at the wedding, a bit over my normal amount, but still not really over-indulging. As those around me dug into the fried foods and a full 250-calorie bread roll, I felt absolutely NO deprivation at the low-calorie choices I made. 
And of course I loved the "Gee, I almost don't recognize you!" comments...... 

    But what struck me was my ability to eat normally, like a normal (healthy) adult. I was able to allow myself an extra stretch for a special occasion , knowing with confidence that the stretch would not lead to a binge. Also I was able to pat myself on the back for deviating from my initial plan of walking to the hall, without qualms. I was able to allow myself some flexibility. 

     Now this post is NOT about allowing yourself to exercise less or overeat a bit (although it may darn well look that way!). Early on in my weight-loss journey I could NOT eat at a wedding- - if I started, stopping was too hard. But today I have the confidence that I will stay on an even keel, that I will be careful without being obsessive. IE, NORMAL living! 
     And I DID walk back to the bus station after the wedding, passing the "harp" bridge on the way! 

     But do you want to know what was the best part of the evening? I was able to dance and dance and dance and dance without stop, without let-up, without feeling that I'm about to have a heart attack!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I Only Miss You When.....

   I heard the song "I Only Miss You When I'm Breathing" (of Jason Derulo), and although this is NOT a Jewish / religious song, parts of it really resonated with me. If you hear the entire song, you understand that its subject is a romantic one--- but I took it to my "place". I am planning to make a full "remembrance" video on Ricki in due time, but today I fiddled around and did this half minute clip.



-when I put on perfume and you are not here to ask me to freshen you up as well...
-when I hang laundry up and I see that I do NOT have to buy more clothespins, because you don't hang the laundry, and don't drop the pins...
-when I saw a pretty umbrella for sale today and I thought how you would LOVE one like that...
-when I see the laundry room, no longer overflowing with your clothes (because any little stain would make you rush and change clothes, head to toe)...
-when I open the jewelry box and see the ceramic stars you made for me....
-when in the supermarket I am not afraid to buy meaty hot dogs, fearing that you will mix them up with the pareve ones (and make my pots or microwave non-kosher )
-when I open the refrigerator and notice that the ten tomatoes I purchased are still intact....[Ricki could consume 4 or 5 (or more?) a day]
-when I hear music in the street (from a celebration) and you are not here to dance with me...
-when I set the table Friday evening, and you are not here to help....(AND there is one place less).
-when we sit down to eat on Friday evening, and you are not here to hide the humus, to ensure that you get it before your brother...
-when I use scotch tape and there is still tape in the holder ....
-when on Friday evening we sing a psalm that contains her name and she's not here to yell (at the point her name appears) "Ester!!!", her sister's name.

Corrected-thanks to Anonymous

   A big thank-you goes from me to "Anonymous", who wrote in the comments that I could ask to have Ricki remain on my ID card. I went today to the office (interior ministry), and explained that I want Ricki to stay on my ID, with the word  - z"l  -(deceased) added after her name. They agreed, without any problem what so ever.   I suggested to the lady that in the future they ASK people what they prefer, rather than choosing on their own not to include....

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Fancy Purse Shop

    I used to hate clothes shopping. Purchasing articles other than clothing is usually fun. But there are exceptions.....
      One of the times I also felt really out of place would be when I went to more "high-end" stores. These stores get a lot of browsers, who make quick exits once they hear the price. And in reality, I usually avoid these stores because of their high costs. However, I DO have good taste (read "expensive"), and sometimes the extra cost is worth it. So I have entered such stores more than once.
   And here is what happened, as often as not. I would be rather shunned by the store owners, as if my overweight was a limit on my purchasing ability….
   However, as I have lost weight, and dressed nicer, I have noticed subtle changes in staff attitudes.
   But yesterday I came to realize that it involves more than the sellers judging me by my weight. Because yesterday, I went into a higher-end store, looking for a specific object. But I came there after going to Ricki's grave, and I was carting around with me an un-fancy bag, made of cloth, to hold the heavy containers of mosaic tiles which I used to "draw her a picture". I didn't look like I had the money. So the clerks sort of ignored me. But even so, the vibes I was receiving were not as bad as the ones I received as a fat lady…… 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Happy Ricki's Birthday

I really appreciate all the lovely comments written to my post a week ago.
      Yesterday I went to Ricki's grave, and I took the heart and flower of stones that my son had placed on her monument, and I placed around it mosaic mini stones to add some color.... for her birthday!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Poor Birthday Gift

   I lost my Israeli ID card sometime recently, and since I need it to withdraw any large cash sums from the bank, I really needed to get a new one. My last one was not so old; I had recently gotten a new one, fearing that I might have trouble sometimes proving my identity, due to the change in my appearance due to weight loss,  (The old ID card had a photo from the year of one of my heaviest weights.)
  However, much to my displeasure, since Ricki is no longer alive, and no longer a "citizen", her name does not appear on my "offspring" page of the ID. Now if I was running things, I would have her listed, with an addendum that she has died.
   But is isn't like that.
   They simply erased her from my ID, as if she had never existed at all. Like even less than a whiff of perfume. What a terrible thing to do on what would have been her 18th birthday. Color me sad…..

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Walk in Jerusalem

Note : The pictures here where not taken yesterday. I do not use a camera on the Sabbath!
   I spent shabbas this week in Jeruslem, at my son's house. Early Friday evening, eager to get a bit of walking "in", I stepped out of his house into the crisp Jerusalem air. Living as I do on the humid coastal plain, I love the cool crispness of Jerusalem's evening. The setting sun cast a amber-ish glow on the buildings, which themselves are all made of beige-colored Jerusalem stone. The streets were quiet as the area I was walking in was largely religious, and cars are not used on the Sabbath (except in health/safety emergencies).
    Then in the morning I rose early to walk to the Kosel (Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site), about an hour's walk away from where I was staying. The early morning streets had few occupants, but slowly became more populated as the minutes passed, with early risers going to synagogue for prayers. As I neared the old city, I saw more tourists, and more Arabs, being nearer to the Arab side of the city.
   I entered the old walled city by way of Jaffa gate, and walked around the Armenian quarter to reach the Jewish quadrant. 

[Picture (from Wikipedia): David's citadel, and the walls between the citadel going towards Zion gate. I walked just inside of these walls (the citadel s close to Jaffa gate)]

 When I reached near Zion gate and passed it, I could see the massive graveyard that is on the Mount of Olives spread out before me, beyond the far side of the ancient walled city.
[Picture: Ricki, nearly two years ago, in this same area, with the Mount of Olives in the distance.]

   The Kosel plaza was cool, still being in shade. People were praying quietly. One woman was walking between the worshipers (on the women's side), offering wiffs of scent-filled plants.
[Photo, Ricki nearly 2 years ago, at the Kosel plaza.]

  After finishing my prayers I returned to Jaffa gate through the old city (rather than along it's borders). At 8:30 some of the Arab merchants were already opening their stores to catch early morning tourists.
   Then I walked up Yaffo (Jaffa) street, which is closed to all traffic (except for a streetcar which does not operate on the Sabbath. On reaching Davidka square, I turned right to walk through the Geulah section and down to the Sanhedria area. The city was rapidly awakening, and the sun shone brightly in the strikingly blue sky.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Ricki's Birthday Celebration

    Next Tuesday is the date of what would have been Ricki's eighteenth birthday.   We always celebrated her birthdays with joy, with pleasure at watching her grow into her teens. For several years she wanted a birthday "crown" as children in pre-school use. As she got older, I convinced her that teens celebrate birthdays differently. I also bought her gifts befitting her age.
   I know that I want to visit Ricki's grave on her birthday. But I do not want the day to be a sad one. [Even visiting a grave can have an element of creativity. When my son visited Ricki's grave he put stones on her grave, as is the custom. But he laid them out in the figure of a heart and a tree…..] I want to mark her birthday as a celebration of how happy we are to have had her in our lives.  I have yet to think exactly how I will do that……
   But I know that one thing I would appreciate  would be if my regular readers would share on that day something that they learned from the blog about  Ricki, that they enjoyed, that surprised them, or the like.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Weight-Loss Black Eye

    Now it would certainly be an acceptable query to ask "What in the world does weight loss have to do with black eyes?"  

So here is the answer:
   Saturday night I discovered to my horror that not only had the thingamajig that hold the toilet seat to the ceramic seat broken, but that when the seat had broken previously, I had neglected to buy (as I generally do) a replacement thingamajig ("pin"?) so as to have one available NEXT time as well. AND I was expecting a daughter in law for the holiday (sundown Sunday to sundown Monday)… buying a pin PRONTO was clearly mandatory.
  So although I knew I would not be able to purchase one nearby, hardware stores in our town being closed for the holidays, this was not really a problem. I wanted to get an hour walk in on Sunday, before the holiday, so I would make the half hour walk to the big shopping area just outside our town at a good aerobic clip, and back and forth would give me my hour of exercise. So I set out…..
   As I neared the store, I suddenly found myself face down against the sidewalk, having tripped over something, although I could not identify WHAT. Someone from a passing car (that stopped) answered my "I'm OK" with  a pointed observation that my face was bleeding. I had a gash, and they graciously gave me water to wash up with, and a tissue to use to apply pressure. I checked the wound in their side-view mirrors, and determined that I could survive without further treatment for an hour. So I completed my quick shopping spree (checking for bleeding every few minutes), and on the way home stopped in at a quick mini medical service ("TEREM"). They glued the gash together, but the doctor warned me that I would have a black eye as a result. And yes, by that evening I definitely had one, which grew over the next two days to this:

   So WHAT (you may still be wondering, does this have to do with weight loss? Because two weeks ago I ALSO fell, as well as a few days ago (although I managed to escape that second fall with no more than some bruising to my shoulder and knee). And every time I was wearing the SAME skirt. The same bit-too-loose skirt that needed repeated hitching up. So since I have NOT fallen while wearing other skirts, I am NOT running to a neurologist, but am finally chucking out the old skirt.
  So treat yourself to new clothes as you lose, rather than opting for a black eye (or two or more).