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: