Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Make-up Job

   Well, I needed a good make-up job today, after getting a few questioning glances in synagogue over the last few days.
   You see, on Saturday I made an effort to get out and do a bit of walking, walking an hour each way to the national park, along with my son "Y". On the way I managed to trip and smash my face rather royally into the sidewalk pavement, gaining some deep black-and-blue marks on my chin and cheek. (My knee also got banged up, but isn't visible to public view.)
    The curious looks I received when I went to synagogue to hear the shofer (ram's horn) were probably because I looked like a battered wife! At least I was dressed well! For the holiday I purchased a new skirt with a BELT! This is the first time in my adult life wearing a belt. A real "shechyanu"! (A "shechyanu" is a blessing said on holidays for having "reached this time and season".)

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Masking Tape

    My husband entered the kitchen, and seeing the masking tape on the counter, asked "WHY is the masking tape here?!?" I answered that I had found it in the trash, that someone had thrown it out.
   "WHO did THAT?"
    "Well, it can't be Rina…."

      In the past she was always our first suspect, as she often threw even valuable stuff out such as:
- A watch whose battery died (she assumed it was broken, until I taught her otherwise….)
- Excess food she had taken got pitched out if she heard us coming her way…..

    We now  need a different culprit. (We figured out that it must have been our almost-three grandson……)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Haveil Havalim #376

A blog carnival is a round-up of blog posts, sort of an internet magazine.  Haveil Havalim is the most veteran of the Jewish blogger carnivals and probably one of the longest running blog carnivals there is.

Haveil Havalim, the international jblog carnival, was established by Soccer Dadand was then  run by Jack. Today it is run via the facebook HH page

. The term “Haveil Havalim” is from Kohelet, Ecclesiastes, which was written by King Solomon, who built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and later on got all bogged down in materialism and other “excesses” and finally realized that it was nothing but  “havel” (“vanities”).

    I have always been hesitant about hosting Haveil Havalim, as I may be asked to give publicity to blogs which I disagree with. Please note that I DO NOT NECESSARILY AGREE WITH ALL THE BLOGS PRESENTED  HERE!

Jewish Thought/ Torah Discussions

   Yitzchak Sprung of  "Think Judaism" discusses what type of philosophical mess we are getting into when we label someone a "heretic", in "You’re an Apikores!". Read, and be forewarned…….

Educational/ Holidays
Jacob Richman delivers a wealth of resources that can be used for educational purposes (relating to the holidays) in  "Good News from Israel:Educational Stamps, Websites and Videos for the Jewish New Year" posted at the blog "Good News from Israel". Now is my chance to publically say "Thanks!" to him. I used resources from his blog more than once in preparing materials for Ricki.
    And finally, I (Rickismom) give you a post "Blaming Ourselves",
  (at this blog, Beneath the Wings), touching on how we try to rationalize every tragedy .

Political/ Current Events
   She also shares a telling clip from the Democratic Convention  in "Shiloh Musings: Elul, The Month of Repentance:American Jews, Please Stop Worshipping The Democratic Party!" Both are posted at Shiloh Musings.

Life in Israel

Ima2seven presents  "Stranger in a strange land…" posted at "Ima 2 Seven". An interesting look at life as a "returning" immigrant.

    Ever-prolific Batya  presents  "They Sure Didn't Have These When I Was a Young Mother" (and she's right!) and also mourns the end of swimming in "Sad, Season's End". Both are posted at me-ander.

    Ben-Yehudah presents  "Pre-Shabbat Inspirational StoryAnd Music!" posted at  Esser Agaroth. As he noted in his submission, this is "Something positive and upbeat "!

    That's it for this edition, I hope we will pick up in amount and quality in the coming weeks.
   With the Blog Carnival up and running, submitting posts there to Haveil Havalim is easy. Just be sure to register and sign in first. In case the carnival site is not working, go to our HH facebook page for information of who is posting and how to reach them. (Next week, Jennifer of "Adventures in MamaLand" will be compiling this roundup (and if the carnival site is not working, you can FB message her)!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Child with Down syndrome kicked off American Airlines

I am writing as the Mother of a teen with Down syndrome, and I have flown with her trans-Atlantic 4 times. Twice was on American Airlines. They were nice, and helpfull, but then we were not in first class. We had no real problems.
1) It is incumbent on the parent of a special-needs child to prepare their child in advance of a flight. I explained to my daughter Ricki well before the flight about passports, watching luggage, etc. I also brought plenty of stuff to keep her occupied.
2) Rather than sit first class, I recommend actually sitting in the back- near the water, near the toilets. Also this way the child can get up a bit when needed.
  There is a difference in claims about whether the child was disruptive or not. I have a BIG suspicion that behavior the parents are used to, and view as non-threatening (like  talking to himself)was viewed with suspicion by the staff. I also suspect that the airlines did not want a special needs child in first class. Assuming that he would be sitting by his parents, I can only say "SHAME on them!"

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

How Are You?

    I get asked that a lot lately. I tend to reply "OK", because I am. I am functioning pretty much like normal.
    In fact, the first two weeks after Ricki's death, I felt that I felt "Too good". I wondered how in the world could I feel so good with Ricki gone? Was I NORMAL?!? Eventually I realized that I probably hadn't really internalized the fact that Ricki is gone. But last week and this one have been a different story. I can smile at a friend, or GRIN when my son arrives from the army (bless them, they are sending him a lot lately….). I appreciate a humorous blog post…. And yet, most of the day, my heart is not 100% into things. I'm missing the zest, the spring in my step. It seems that 90% of THAT has been siphoned off somewhere….

BTW, I'm NOT complaining. I am just describing my new (temporary) reality.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Blaming Ourselves

    One thing I noticed during the "shiva" (mourning) week, was the tendency of people to blame themselves, for something, at least. My husband blamed himself for the tragedy because he hadn't been praying with a minyin in the synagogue, I wondered after so many comments of "you did all you could for Ricki" if I hadn't neglected her siblings on the way, and her friends wondered why they hadn't visited more….
    Now it is all good and proper to make an accounting—a spiritual one—when things go haywire, but…. It seemed to me that something else is involved here as well. I suspect that our yetzer hara (evil inclination) is VERY inclined to make us take the blame. WHY?  Because we like to think that our lives are in our own hands.
    I remember when Ricki was born (I was age 40+ at the time), SEVERAL of my friends asked how old I was. (To the extent that I felt as if someone had hung a sign declaring "OVER FORTY!!" on my door.)  It was as if I could see the wheels turning in their minds, trying to figure out if they were "safe" or not. We try to prevent personal tragedies. And when there is a practical thing we can do, we should. (For example, taking the time to talk to your kids about "stranger danger"**)
    However, we often get so caught up in protecting ourselves, that we start looking for "cause and effect" that really has no bearing on the case at hand. That's because if we can figure out WHY something happened, we can protect ourselves and seemingly stay in charge of our destiny. And the yetzer hara LOVES this, because it deters us from viewing the real truth that the ONLY thing we can rule over is ourselves. We cannot prevent tragedies, we cannot control those around us. We are loathe to admit that in reality, G-d is the one running the show, and even being a "true believer" is no guarantee that tragedy will not strike.
    And, by the way, this realization and INTERNALIZING that G-d is the one in charge, is the crux of our avodah (spiritual work) for Rosh HaShana (the Jewish New Year).

** BTW, "stranger" is a poor choice here. Usually perpetrators of child abuse are people the child knows. It is imperative to teach children to be wary of adults who act strangely:
1)     Ask them to keep a secret from parents
2)     give gifts
3)     ask for help
4)     touch covered body areas