Thursday, December 31, 2009


When I was younger, things seemed very simple. I either wasn't asked to be a reference, or I was asked to be a reference for someone for whom I could easily sing praises. Lately however, I find it hard being a reference. I think at risk of being thought of as a witch I have to politely decline to be a reference upfront, or suggest someone with a more glorious title.

95% of the time I just have to check off a couple of boxes, or answer a few multiple choice questions, or compose a generic letter concluding what an asset so-and-so going to be to the prospective place of employment/school. And the other 5% percent I hope ( and pray) that the check offs are leave room for vague answers, the multiple choice questions are very generic, and if I conclude my letters with just a ' please feel free to contact me for any further information' it won't look suspicious to the reader.

Because there are some people with whom I worked who were unfortunately mediocre-not bad, but not good, either; a somebody who was usually ( but not always) better than a nobody. And I was secretly relieved when they resigned. I don't want to provide inaccurate or inadequate information to the potential employer but I don't want to provide information that would be less than favorable, either. Agreeing to be a reference for someone implies that I'm on her/his side.

And so my 'new year's resolution' will be to try to go back to being blunt and transparent. Bluntness be a tad uncomfortable in the moment but it definitely eliminates nagging doubt in the future.

Happy new year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Back to work

It was bound to happen sooner or later. I had to go back to work. Surprisingly ( or maybe I just forgot the other times), it was hard to go back.

I knew this time around that I didn't want to leave a 6 week old baby and start working again. I hoped to go back when the baby was 12 weeks and I made an appearance at work on the day my baby turned 2 months.

In some ways returning to work after a 2 months absence is worse than starting a new job. I'm supposed to be in the know but I had to pause even before entering passwords to all the software that I use. Personnel changes, policy changes, all the work that for some inexplicable reason waited for my return, almost unrealistic expectations of the ones above me in the food chain for me to perform magic on reduced schedule. And I feel that I'm not the same person who worked there 2 months ago. I'm just a mom who works but who's rather be home with her baby, dropping off the older kids to school and picking them up from school on time...

In the two months that I've been home I've lost some of my immunity to human tragedy and most of my patience for frequent ignorance that is so common in my line of work. My commute became a time to reevaluate my career goals instead of just socializing with friends and family. Do I need a career? Maybe a job is good enough...

But at the end of the day, I thank Gd that I have a job that I can go back to.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Pros and Cons of taking kids to a wedding

Pro: quality time spent with kids
Con: while most spent that time attending the chupa

Pro: getting an opportunity to show off my kids
Con: not getting an opportunity to talk about them

Pro: kids eating dinner without any complaints about food
Con: portions aren't big enough for a kid and an adult with a healthy appetite

Pro: Having a built in excuse not to socialize while eating
Con: Having that excuse squirm on my lap most of the meal

Pro: fitting into my pre-pregnancy dress
Con: not realizing until after returning home from the event that just fitting into something might not be enough for the desired look

Pro: kids enjoying dancing
Con: the crowded dance floor necessitating this dancing to be done while being held by mom

Pro: finding comfortable high heeled shoes in the closet in less than 2 minutes
Con: shoe being only comfortable when no attempts are made at dancing with a child in hands

Pro: bribing the kids with some take-home-to-eat-later cookies and kids forgetting about them upon returning home
Con: husband discovering and consuming the cookies before I did

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mad drivers

I enjoy a fast ride as much as anybody but it annoys me when drivers check how fast their cars can go 0->60 on a residential street. On Friday, I was crossing my street with SiM when I noticed a Honda Odyssey zooming towards us. Thank Gd, he slowed down a bit, apparently realizing that at his previous speed he won't necessarily clear us.

I blessed the car and its driver as they passed us. To my amazement, the van soon pulled into one of the neighboring driveways. Apparently, the zooming madman is my neighbor and a father of a few kids. I wanted to share my thoughts on speeding with him but unfortunately by the time I finished strapping SiM into his car seat, the zoomer was gone.

What kind of urgency is there for these fast driving moms and dads? Do they think it's ok to speed on a residential street as long as it isn't their street? ( or in case of my neighbor, as long as their kid isn't walking on it?) Do they think at all?!


Thursday, November 19, 2009


this is not a post on to-pacify-or-not-to-pacify or any of its derivatives. It's just my reflections on something I saw...

Today I was coming home from a grocery store and towards me, on a narrow sidewalk, walked a woman with a double stroller and a couple of kids in tow. When we approached each other, I gave her way and in the process I noticed how tired, even spent she looked. I also noticed a happy-looking three year old with a pacifier in his mouth.

A three year old with a pacifier in his mouth. It made me think for the next two minutes it took me to walk home. A paci in a mouth of a three year old is like a pregnant stomach to some people. They feel compelled to comment, try to remove it (pat it in a pregnant stomach case), tell stories from their experience. But in both cases, NoOne cares for these displays of attention. I saw how tired the mom looked, and I think I know why the three year old had the pacifier.

In short, it's socially unacceptable for a stranger to solicit advise on, for example, use of laxatives to someone who looks constipated and it's just as unacceptable to give advice on pacifiers or/and prenatal demeanor.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mazal tov to Moishe Holtzberg

"Thousands Mark Anniversary of Mumbai Terror Attack, As Moishe Turns 3 Celebrating His Upsherin " reads one of the articles in VosIsNeias.

It's been a year since terrorists murdered close to 200 people in Mumbai including Moishe's parents and 4 other Jews in Chabad house, Hy'd. My memory of this event is very clear still. The horror, the disbelief, the relief unon hearing that Moshe was saved, praying and hoping against hope that there were survivors in the Nariman house.

So, thank Gd for little Moishe and happy birthday to him. Hashem should comfort the families of the victims. And in words of the hero, Sandra Samuel, her message to the world is "to carry on life, be strong and that's it."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What's your name

Today, while on my way to pick up Eh from school, I met one of my neighbors. She wished me mazal tov on the new baby, asked me how we both are.

As we were parting, I said 'Good to see you, Rivky!'
"Hmm... Rivky is my upstairs neighbor. My name is Malka.' my neighbor replied politely.

I apologized for my mistake and told Malka that from now on, I'll call her by her right name.
However, two hours later, to my great embarrassment I remembered having a little chat with Malka before that ended with 'Good to see you, Rivky!' and 'I'm sorry, I won't forget your name now!'

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I think I'll keep my day job

While on maternity leave and nursing, I have some free time to read, watch the cooking channel, or eBay. Sometimes I choose eBay.

While pregnant, I managed to eBay and purchase too many items. So at this point in my life, I tried my luck as a salesperson and attempted to sell some of my maternity stuff. I listed one of the maternity dresses that I bought in a lot. I didn't wear it because it wasn't my speed and used.

The dress sold for an obscene $70. Albeit new it costs close to $200, I described the dress as having minor signs of wear, and I was naturally excited that it raked in so much. My excitement was somewhat short lived. Here's a condensed story in form of emails...

Sally Hazel (SH): hi, I sent you an invoice earlier today with two different shipping quotes (2 different services). Please let me know if you didn't receive it for some reason. thanks, Sally
[Paypal indicated that buyer was from London. After I emailed her an invoice, I received a 'request for total due'. I sent the above email as an explanation of my invoice.]

Buyer (B): Hi, I am now confused. Did you send me shipping quote for the US or the UK?I am now in the US NOT in London. Let me know and I'll pay straight away. Many thanks, Violetta

SH: Hi, I sent you a bill for your London address. Please change your address on Paypal and I'll be able to send you another invoice. sorry for the inconvenience, Sally

B: [Requested total from the seller]

SH: hi, I cannot change the bill until you change your address. sorry for the inconvenience. thanks, Sally

B: Hi, I've changed the address but it won't let me change the country! so now it seems as though canal street is in the UK... Hmm... Does that work? Thanks and sorry for inconvenience..Violetta

SH: hi, please confirm your shipping address. paypal is giving me a hard time. thanks, Sally

B: [emailed her address]

B: Hi,I just received the dress and I am unfortunately not at all happy with the condition. What you described in the listing as 'minimal piling present under arms' is in reality heavy piling, especially over the right breast, in very plain view. I wouldn't have minded light piling under arms but I think the dress is not at all in the condition advertised. Please advise as I wouldn't have bid $70 for a dress in such poor condition. Many thanks, Violetta

SH: hi, Sorry you aren't' happy with the dress. I thought I described it accurately ( I even asked a second opinion before listing it). Please ship it back and I'll refund your $. Or you can drop it off in Midtown during business hours if that would be more convenient ( let me know and I'll give the the exact address).Thanks, Sally

SH: I just thought of something else. If the dress fits you- to save you the time of returning and me of relisting the dress- you can bring it to cleaners to remove whatever piling bothers you. I'll issue you partial refund. Let me know if that's something that'll work for you, thanks, Sally

B: Hi, I'm sorry but in the condition it is in I don't think the dress is worth half what I paid for it, even if drycleaner managed to work miracles.I can come drop it off tomorrow. Could you give me an address? Also, would you refund Paypal? Many thanks Violetta

SH: No problem, I'll refund your account as soon as I get the dress . but since I didn't hear from you yesterday and my friend who works on Lexington only works Mon through Fri, please ship it. Thanks, Sally

B: Ehhhr... It's Saturday tomorrow so you wouldn't be able to receive it by mail before Tuesday anyway?!? I find your inflexibility disheartening. Oh well.

SH: Shrug. I'm bending over backwards to accommodate you with a return of an item which is normally not returnable ...I wasn't able to reach my friend for exact address . I'll email you by Sunday with the address . Please return the dress by Mon between 9-5 business hours. Thanks, Sally

SH: My friend will be at work tomorrow from 8:00 till 5:00 with a break for lunch from 1:00 to 2:00. The exact address is ... You can call 212-...and ask for... - she will meet you in the lobby, if you do not want to come up. Thank you.

B: still awaiting your address for return. Please advise. I'd like to be done with this as soon as possible. Many thanks, Violetta

SH: I mailed you the address and Even her phone number yesterday. If I don't get the dress tomorrow I won't be able to take it back. Thank you, Sally

B: You have not emailed me anything yesterday. You said in your last correspondence with me that you would have sent me address on Sunday but you didn't.I DIDN"T, repeat DIDN'T, receive ANYTHING from you yesterday and I check my email several times a day.If this is a clever trick to avoid returning an inappropriately advertised item, then know that I will not hesitate in opening a Paypal/Ebay dispute and I will not hesitate in leaving you a negative feedback.Please advise as soon as possible as this is getting ridiculous.Violetta

B: I just saw this [the email with the address in the city] in my Ebay inbox. It was clearly sent today NOT yesterday.

SH: Please cancel this transaction [trying to recover the fee ebay charged for the sale that didn't happen].

B: Happy to cancel transaction after I receive the refund.Many thanks Violetta

B: Please advise Re: refund

B: I really think that as a gesture of goodwill you should have refundd the entire amount (USD 74.95).i'd like to remind you that had you been accurate in your description there would have been no need to return the item so it is really cheap on your part to not refund postage.

PS. I still await for the transaction to be cancelled and wonder why I felt any sympathy at all for pregnant cheep Violetta?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Expensive cheese

No matter how frequently and how carefully I try to cut my baby's nails, she manages to scratch herself. So for the most part of a 24 hour period, I keep her hands covered with special undershirts that have little mittens at the end (the proper name of this garment eludes me at the moment).

Whenever my baby's hands get released from their 'jails' they are a bit smelly. Last week, at the beginning of another round of let-baby's-hands-breathe, I apologized to the babysitter for baby's smelly hands and explained that I didn't wash them yet. But the babysitter wisely replied " No need to apologize. The baby smells like an expensive cheese...The smell is wonderful."

I instantly realized that she was right. I'm not a fan of expensive aged cheeses but everything about baby smells is quite delicious and wonderful. And incidentally, her nickname now is (Expensive) Cheese.

When I gave the baby her first official bath today, I told both of us that the cheese nickname may now have to be changed. But, I didn't change it just yet.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Someone recently asked me to read to them some of my compositions. So I did. And discovered that whereas some of my compositions are easy reading, others I had to read twice ( and if I wasn't there, I won't be able to tell what the compositions were all about).

Moral of the story: forget the spellchecker and just proofread.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The teeth of a gifted horse

One often wonders what goes on in people's heads when they choose to give a gift and then actually give the gift itself. Sometimes, the degree of an obligation to give the gift dictates the type of gift that's given. At times, it's the giver's personality, financial situations, closeness to the receiver of the gift, some combination of all factors, or some other reason that I can't think of now.

A few days ago we got a baby gift- one of our neighbors kindly gave us a Catimini (French. Expensive.) outfit. In size 2. And the top snap fell off as soon as the outfit was removed from the gift bag.

The conversation that followed a bit later included some of the following:

-How did you even accept the gift- you sit at home and don't open the door? (True statement, as I hibernate in my bedroom without opening the front door or answering my phone much.) What can I answer to that? I mistook my neighbor for my sister in law- something which neither one understood later. But once the door is open, it's rather difficult to say, Thanks for stopping by, but I don't accept any gifts, especially from you and especially something that I have to keep in my closet for the next two years AND remember to find it then and put it on my kid...

-The neighbor regifted this crap. It probably survived from one of her kids and it isn't worth much. We don't need any gifts in general and a gift like this in particular. Agreed. Most people regift and very few can do so gracefully...

-Why don't you go back to the neighbor and tell her that the snap fell off? Politely ask her where she got it and tell her you want to go and exchange it for a smaller size with a snap that would stay on for at least one day. I was embarrassed to admit that I'm too old for such tricks. Ten years ago I would've done it with a straight face but now I think it's better to donate this outfit or use it as a rag than go through the suggested routine.

-This gift reminds me of the one we got from your friend for Eh. She gave us a baby monitor when we lived in a rather small 1 bedroom apartment with the baby's converted-from-closet-with-a-window-room right next to ours. Yea, that useful gift came from a friend who lived in a similarly small apartment. And, she presented it as a gift from her whole family...If nothing else, these gifts are definitely memorable.

-Mommy, are we going to give this back to our neighbor? [Dear Gd, we shouldn't have such conversations in front of our kids! ] No, of course not! The new baby is going to wear it when she gets older. I just forgot to bring it to her room...

So I brought the bag with the outfit upstairs and kept it on my desk long enough to remember to write this post. Now I have to decide if it's ok to put it in the bag with some used clothes that I'm giving to a friend. After all, it's a Catimini.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Belly button...

Or rather the remaining piece of the umbilical cord Fell off yesterday, when Baby was exactly two weeks old:)

She's officially an individual with just her belly button to remind me that we were once One.

Friday, October 9, 2009

New Addition

She didn't arrive after hearing the shofar on Rosh Hashana...
She didn't arrive after fasting and praying on Yom Kippur...
She didn't arrive on either first OR second day of Sukkot...
And then, she was here on the second day of chol hamoed- bright and early, 4:15 in the morning- my brand new Baby girl:)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Bitter Sweet

Tonight, even though there was lots of tasty food in the house, I had the urge to get dinner from my favorite Carlos and Gabby. At the last moment, I decided to eat in, instead of taking it to go. Then, I was compelled to buy seltzer, just in case all that good food won't agree with me.
And then I saw someone with whom I was very close 15 years ago, a great friend with whom I lost touch even before she got married.

The reconnection was instant. It was as if we've never lost touch. Then, in a short conversation on our way back to our cars ( we both parked around-the-corner, one behind the other), she told me she was in the process of getting divorced. She didn't need my sympathy, my words of comfort. But this bit of news added bitterness to our happy reunion. There was my always down to earth, fun friend who always found a positive spin on things, just telling me simply that sometimes things don't turn out the way you wish they did.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My Garden - a long overdue update

After I posted a picture of plant cemetery, I actually took care of my little patch of soil which I proudly call my garden. Here are some long overdue pictures.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy Anniversary

Today is my off-the-boat anniversary. And though I always know it in my heart ( and put it on my work calendar for an official celebration), I wasn't at work to see it on the calendar so I wasn't the first one to congratulate my family...

My mom and my sister don't need any reminders and my sister expressed my family's combined sentiment so well that I'll just quote her:

"Happy Anniversary to our family! Thank you, our beautiful country, for giving us your shelter, your citizenship, and the ability to live as free human beings! G-d bless you and keep you safe!"

Friday, September 18, 2009

Memorial Service in a Nursing Home

Today at work, there was a memorial service for all the residents who recently passed away. It was organized by the sister of Bobbie, one of the diseased, and a good chunk of the service focused on Bobbie.

Bobbie passed away suddenly and very much unexpectedly. One day she was walking around and the next day she came up on the census as an 'expiration in-house'. Her sister brought a few of Bobbie's childhood pictures -both of them together, Bobbie happily munching something sitting in a high-chair, Bobbie in her father's arms, Bobbie proudly standing next to her mother. The sister told a few anecdotes about Bobbie and then asked others to speak.

Some staff and relatives of other residents spoke. There were a few times when I wanted to say a few words but in the end I stopped myself. What would I say? That Bobbie had an incredible memory and remembered me and my name after not seeing me for 2 years? That Bobbie wanted to be popular and pretty so she frequently said 'I hate you because you hate me!' and wore bright lipstick smudged in the general location of her lips? Or that Bobbie very much wanted to have a baby and/or be skinny (she was) at the same time and would often inform people that she was pregnant or on a diet? Or that Bobbie missed her sister (apparently estranged) and wanted to leave the nursing home saying almost every day "I'm leaving today. My sister is coming to pick me up!" Or that I found this memorial service to be a too-little-too-late-compensation of Bobbie's sister for a relationship that went sour for whatever reason. But all that would be just me passing judgement , not me giving tribute to Bobbie - unnecessary and somewhat out of place.

Instead, I listened to Bobbie's neighbors' memories of her...
One said succinctly: " I remember Bobbie. She wanted to marry me." It was his wishful thinking but a memory of Bobbie he firmly made up in his head.
A female resident said that she remembered that Bobbie used to have a very pretty bracelet.
And a resident who was really close to Bobbie came up and started telling a bizarre monologue in a flat sing-song:
This is how the story goes... Bobbie and I met in school when I was 4 and she was 3...We became great friends...And I miss her very much...

And he just walked away. But his strange sing-song was a true tribute to Bobbie and the last 3 speeches expressed how most of us felt - we missed Bobbie.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

SiM's first day in school

Today was SiM's official first day in play group. He was both enthusiastic and hesitant - happily packing his knapsack and saying that he is not going to school. Eh even told him a few times that he likes school, that he is going to play with lots of toys and he already knows his morah (teacher) [he met her last year when he 'walked' Eh to school every day].

Finally, Eh declared that she'll take SiM to school together with me. SiM happily put his mitzva note into his pocket, demanded to have his knapsack placed on his back, and off to play group we went.

SiM was the first one to arrive ( if you don't count teacher's grandson who was visiting for a day). He was just a tad hesitant entering into the play group's yard. However, he eagerly produced his mitzva note from his pocket and gave it to the teacher and was heading towards some toys in the back. Then Eh said that she's going to stay and play with him ' a little bit' and SiM went to sit down at a little table and play play dough with Eh and teacher's grandson ( thankfully, since it was quite empty, the teacher allowed Eh to stay for a few minutes).

When I came home from work and asked SiM how his first day in school was, he proudly informed me that he didn't cry. When asked if he enjoyed playing with toys and meeting new kids he said he did. SiM also confirmed that he is going to go to school tomorrow. And for the grand finale, he showed me a shofar drawing that he colored and decorated with confetti in school.

I felt relieved, content, and proud. Tomorrow is Eh's orientation and I hope and pray she'll continue to enjoy school like she did until now. And she'll come home from her first day of school with lots of positive things to say.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

ESL, Ulpan, whatever- just do it!

On Shabbat, Eh went to visit one of her friends. There, we met another little girl, ' a cousin from Eretz Yisroel'. This was exciting to me and I didn't hesitate to mention that Eh's cousin from Israel was visiting as well.

While the kids were playing, I asked Eh's friend's mom if she knew how to say 'slides' in Hebrew. She said that unfortunately she didn't speak a word of Hebrew. Then, I turned to cousin-from-Eretz-Yisroel's mom and asked her the same question.
Her reply? A proud "I don't know. I live in an American neighborhood and I don't need to know Hebrew..."

I jokingly told her that she's like the Russians on Brighton who live in the country for 20+ years and can barely speak a coherent sentence in English. She agreed with a serious look on her face.

I let the subject drop but it bothered me long enough to actually post about it.

What's up with all these people who don't bother to learn the language of the country where they live?! The babysitters who want to teach you and your kids how to speak Spanish instead of trying to learn from you OR your kids how to speak English... The cleaning ladies whose vocabularies year after year after year don't change much and include something like 'bounty, Windex, Ajax (pronounced a-Hoks), fantastic, lot-of-work-more-money'...The students and their families who pride themselves in learning in 'Eretz Yisroel' yet can't express themselves well enough in a grocery store and may ask for 'chicken's underwear' instead of 'chicken bottoms'?!

And there are many many more examples but unfortunately I must get to bed or else. In conclusion, I say the foreigners should drop the pride in their ignorance and attempt to learn a little. I hear it may delay the onset of senile dementia...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My big boy

Today, when the babysitter was saying her good byes for the day, SiM said bye and then said
" thanks Molly for taking me to park". It warmed my heart and I thought that he really is "I not baby, I big boy!".

Monday, August 3, 2009

I love him but he bothers me...

Thanks for your advanced comments. It was an experiment in typing and blogging during a meeting (with a somewhat undesireable outcome but that's what experiments are all about). Now, to the post...

Yesterday, Eh was trying to choose her PJs when SiM came over and started asking her " do you want this one or that one?". Eh ignored SiM for a bit but since inattention from Eh only resulted in continuous replay of the question from SiM, Eh finally turned around and gently moved SiM away from her closet. SiM started crying, insulted by Eh's obvious disregard for his company.

I picked up SiM to comfort him ( and get his PJs) and politely told Eh that SiM was just trying to help her and there was no need to move him in that fashion.

Eh stopped what she was doing, looked me straight in the eyes and said:
"Mommy, I love him but he is bothering me! I'm trying to choose my pajamas and he keeps asking me 'do you want this one or that one?'. I can't choose like that."

And yet again, I was reminded to practice and not just preach.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Motivational Speeches

In the morning, since SiM wasn't feeling well, I told him he won't be going to camp. Apparently, he didn't hear the whole sentence because he responded with " I don't want to go to camp".
"I don't like it!" was SiM's short reply.

A couple of minutes later, during my daily creative-writing moment, aka composition of mitzva notes I overheard the following conversation between Eh and SiM.
S: We are writing you mitzva notes for camp.
E: I don't like camp.
S: Why? Camp is So much fun!

Friday, July 17, 2009


In the nursing homes, every so often, one comes upon a resident who has ' no know family'. Sometimes, the resident's family members don't want anything to do with the resident, sometimes, it's the other way around. Then there are other reasons, but the result it always the same. When the resident moves on to the next world, his/her only family is nursing home staff.

A few days ago, a resident who was 101 ( one hundred and one) years old passed away suddenly, overnight. One day, he was wheeling himself around in a wheelchair and the next morning he came up on the list of expirations. This resident had no known family.

When the social worker announced the date and time of his funeral, I told myself I'll go. I thought the man must've done something right in his life if he got to live til 101. And, I also remembered how I missed a funeral of another resident and the regret I felt about it. This was my opportunity to make things right, my chance to do tshuva.

On the day of the funeral, the social worker reminded everyone of the place and time, 12pm, as well as 'he had no family' detail. I relayed the message to all my colleagues and when one asked if I plan on going I said "Of course. You can come with me, if you'd like."

At around 11:45, all of my coworkers showed up with fried chicken for lunch. My pizza-lunch-plans quickly became an urge to eat hot chicken wings, and off I drove (noticing in passing that a social worker and a nursing supervisor went out for a lunch date).

I took the wings to go as I had to do some erev shabbat shopping. As I headed back to work at 12:40, happily munching on the fries, I suddenly remembered the 12:00 funeral, good 20 minutes away. A horrible realization that I may have missed it struck me. It would take 20 minutes to get there, I have an appointment with someone @ 1 pm, the funeral may be over by then... I didn't really have a relationship with this resident like I did with the one from last year. But did I make the same careless mistake twice?

I decided to go for it, praying that I won't get pulled over for speeding. Thank Gd, after an uneventful ride I arrived to the parking lot of the funeral home. It was empty except for one car that was pulling out. Was I too late?

"You are late! But he's still there, go in, ' a nurse told me as she drove off. I think he was Jewish but his funeral took place in a catholic funeral home ( with all the consequences). I walked into a room, empty, except for an open casket. I paid my respects and said a prayer for a man who lived to be 101. And I walked back to my car feeling that I finally did right by my friend.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

How quickly we forget

A week ago (7/7/09 to be exact) one of my relatives returned to the States after long 'religious' travels all over the world, the last stop of which was the great country of Ukraine.
It's possible that one of the few readers that I may have actually hails from that great country and still has lots of fond memories associated with it.

My relative and family had lots of fond memories of that great country, too. However, as they observed strict dietary laws even in Ukraine, they seem to be delighted by things and foods that stopped exciting me looooong time ago (can it be 20 years?).

For one thing, they couldn't get enough of those mediocre tasting chocolate vanilla ice cream, aka Dixie Cups. Naively I asked them if they like such ice cream. They just said that in Ukraine, they used to get dairy ( chalav israel) ice cream one a year, for Shavuot ( holiday) and to eat ice cream whenever was a real treat! A real treat to eat Klein's Dixie Cups!

How many times did I pass by Dixie Cups without even thinking of them as Ice Cream? I'd be embarrassed to admit. However, the Dixie Cups are my new symbol of how quickly we get used to something that's good and forget how good we have it.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Birthday, America! 2009

Since it was shabbat, we didn't bbq.
Since I didn't think yesterday, Eh's patriotic dress was all stained ( from trying it on and keeping it on for the day:)) and not fit to be worn today.
Since I didn't have the insight to try it on before, my American flag bandanna didn't want to stay on my head.
Since I couldn't find my blue beads, my red-white-and-blue outfit became a red hat and white outfit combo ( which got me compliments for bravery -wearing all white with young kids around) but did little to bring my patriotic spirit across.
However, the American flag is proudly displayed in front of my door, I hear the fireworks from my window, and still feel the Independence day excitement in my heart!
Happy birthday, America!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Watch your mouth

I was driving with the kids on one of narrow local streets when suddenly the car in front of me stopped. Just like that, in the middle of the road. I patiently waited as, apparently, the driver had to receive something from an apologetic-looking pedestrian. Then the car continued standing in the middle of the street.

I'm all for stopping if and when needed but kindly move to a side! So, I honked. The car moved forward a bit and stopped. I honked again, a bit longer, more inpatient honk. The car inched forward again. BUT not to either one of the sides. Then I just didn't let go of the horn. It was passed kids' bedtime, I felt exhausted and annoyed. MOVE!

Finally, the car inched a bit more AND slightly to the left. And I was finally able to squeeze by. When I was finally able to see the driver (some oblivious local woman of unidentifiable age) I yelled into my closed window "Move over!" and then against my better judgement but with lots of emotion "Stupid!".

Then we stopped by a red light and Eh asked " what did you say mommy?"
"I told the car to move over so we can pass..." I answered hoping that my Jewish instrumentals were loud enough during my 'conversation' with a fellow motorist.
"Why did you say that?"
"I wanted her to move over so we can pass..."
"I just wanted to pass..."
"Why did you say 'stupid'?"

Oops... "It was a mistake. I'm sorry. I said 'stupid' by mistake..."

In response, Eh just laughed.

Monday, June 29, 2009

First day in summer camp

For a few months, when SiM, together with the babysitter, took Eh to her 'school', he asked to stay there. But, every time SiM was told that he was too young and would have to come back next year. Subsequently, when asked, he'd always say " I go cool [school] next year".

All this, and SiM's enjoyment of company of his peers and Eh's friends, made me sign him up for summer day camp.

The whole last week SiM enthusiastically talked about going to school ( as the camp was presented to SiM). This morning, SiM asked to get dressed right away, before breakfast. As soon as I packed his little knapsack, he asked me to put it on him [mommy, how you put this?], and thus, he proudly walked around the house. He even wanted to be changed with his knapsack on.

On the way to camp, every time I asked if SiM is excited about going to gan (camp), he eagerly answered yes. When we approached the camp, I told him that he'll have to say bye to me, his sister, and the babysitter and be in camp by himself. He obliged by saying bye to all of us and started up the stairs to the camp by himself. When we walked in he looked slightly cautious but still optimistic. I showed the counselor where his mitzva note and $ for tzdaka were. Then, a counselor picked SiM up and started carrying him away. My kid gave our a horribly loud 'mommy' and optimism was instantly replaced with fear.

As I quickly walked away with my baby desperately calling me in the background, my heart sank and thoughts that maybe he's too young for camp, etc rushed to my head. Eh asked why SiM cried and I calmly explained that it takes a while for a person to get used to new things.

When it was Eh's turn to go to camp, I stayed with her for ~5 minutes ( and the babysitter for another 15) so she can warm up to the place. Then, resisting the temptation x2 to check on SiM, I went to work.

When I came home, I asked the kids if they enjoyed camp today. Both answered with a happy yes. Eh reported that she met one of her 'classmates' in camp and though she enjoyed swimming, one of the pools had cold water in it.

When asked what he did in camp, SiM answered " I meet new friends." Big sister also asked him if he cried a lot. 'No. I cried a teeny tiny bit." Whew. I guess he is ready for camp after all.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Why I shouldn't blog in the evenings

The lights are on but nobody's home. For quite some time now I've been so fatigued (though not SO fatigued as to go to sleep before 11ish PM) that I felt I can't write anything decent, or even 1/2 decent. But I didn't want to forget some of the things that I wanted to write about so I saved them as drafts.

A few evenings ago I felt more awake than usual and decided to make one of the drafts a post. But all I did was change the title. Then I realized I'm in no writing shape, so I closed the computer and went to do something else.

The following morning I had the following conversation with a friend:
F: Your short post generated comments.
I: Which post?
F: From last night.
I: Facebook update?
F: Blog.
I: The birthday one?
F: Wedding.
I: ( In disbelief and a bit horrified) That was a draft and I didn't publish it!
F: Well, it got two comments already...

I rest my case.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Should I care

went to a friend's wedding. was disappointed to see some old 'friends'

Thursday, June 11, 2009

My baby's a big boy

For a few weeks now, my 'baby' became a 'big boy'.

"Are you my baby?"

"No, I big boy!"

"You little monkey?"

"No, I big boy."

"What's your name?"

"Big boy...(though he knows his first, middle, and last name)"

Being a big boy comes with certain privileges - using the potty, eating cereal with milk, wearing pjs without feet:) However, I didn't introduce the idea of a 'big boy' bed as my big girl made me realize that the longer a kid stays in the crib, the more chances you have of sleeping with fewer interruptions...

My big boy turned 2 a few days ago. He liked the presents hubby and I got for him. But I think he appreciated more the presents he got from his grandmas.

For SiM's birthday 'party' we went to the Prospect Park Zoo where SiM fed and petted the goats and the sheep, and even milked a cow:) The birthday celebration concluded with eating of SiM's birthday cake (supplied by grandma) and SiM loving the cake and tasting the candle.

My baby is already two...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The new cat on the block

I don't know about you, but I pretty much know all the stay cats who roam near my house. I even used to feed them my cholent (until I saw 2 huge raccoons in my backyard in January).

A couple of weeks ago I noticed a newcomer. He was different from all other cats-very scrawny, with dull looking fur. He looked so pitiful, I put out some gifilte fish that night. And every time I saw him, I felt pity for him.

Yesterday, while my sister and I were sipping tea on my 'front porch', I saw the new cat pass by. He became a topic of our conversation and suddenly my sis put words to my feelings. This cat looked so pitiful and disturbing because even stray cats here, in America (Brooklyn?) look well fed.

Something good to keep in mind before complaining about tough economic times...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

An antisemite next door...

I've been patronising the local nail salon for the past few years. I even know the names of the owner and a couple of the workers and wave hi to them whenever I just pass by.

Today, I came home early enough to pick up Eh and go for a mommy-and-me manicures. While in there, I decided to 'shape' my eyebrows as well. And right before my turn some teenage Jewish girl (or was she possibly in her 20s) paid $14 worth of services with a credit card. The owner made a big deal about that transaction -'we get 85c from dollar, next time bring cash', etc.

I thought that in such cases she shouldn't accept credit cards and followed one of the 'cosmetologists' to the back to get my eyebrows done. A couple of minutes later, apparently as soon as the credit-card-paying-girl walked out, the owner said "$14 pay with credit card, less tip. should bring cash. Jewish!" and some patron (later observed to be of African descent) responded " yea, that's how they get rich..." The conversation continued in the same tones for a few minutes.

I asked the cosmetologist taking care of my eyebrows, who also serviced the credit-card-paying-girl, if she wasn't tipped by the girl. And unless I grossly misunderstood the thick accent, she was tipped, from the same credit card. I also mentioned to her that the conversation in the front 'was not nice'. To her credit, the cosmetologist looked embarrassed.

As soon as I was released from the eyebrow shaping, I took my kid by the hand (who the whole time patiently waited to have to nails polished), paid for my eyebrows in cash ( leaving a cash tip for self and the kid before me), said that I no longer wish to paint mine or my daughter's nails in that place, explained to the owner in one G-rated sentence why I was leaving, and left.

I learned from a very young age that my nation is not a popular one. But until today, I still cannot believe the extent of stupidity of those displaying their dislike of my people...

Monday, May 25, 2009

#17 and I should start learning from my kids

A few days ago I noticed #17 on its way out (R upper molar). I squealed with delight and Eh immediately demanded SiM show off his new tooth, assisting him in opening his mouth...Oh, to be young again.

Today, after dinner, hubby was using a toothpick. Eh requested to have one. SiM said he wants one, too.

Hubby: It's only for adults who have teeth. Kids can get hurt using toothpicks.
SiM: I have teeth [priceless display of his bite].
Eh: No, you don't have a lot of teeth, I do [grimacy smile]!
I: SiM has a lot of teeth already [one must defend a kid who has 17th tooth on its way] but toothpicks are not for kids. Let's have a dessert...

Before dinner, the kids were playing in front of the house when SiM noticed one of the staring kids and followed the kid up her stairs. He followed it with a short conversation with the kid and her mom. All this followed by me having an actual conversation with the mom ( who incidentally asked me if SiM can talk - good thing he didn't realize that he wasn't understood). Then, Eh joined the excitement and conversed with the mom, too. Maybe soon, the kids would converse with us, too.

Lesson: Don't be too proud to learn from your kids? and remember that Gd helps those who help themselves?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Welcome to our block

For a while now I've been tempted to write a 'welcome to our block' series. Yet, I must contain myself as one of my neighbors occasionally reads this stuff. And since this post is quite benign, I decided to go for it.

B'H I live on this block for close to 2.5 years. There is a family man who lives a couple of houses down from me whose voice I haven't heard in all this time. He first left an impression on me when a couple of years ago, my car got stuck on the ice and this gentleman walked right by, got into his car, and happily drove off.

Well today I was coming home from a store, happily chatting with my kids while pushing their double stroller. I was about to cross the street when this gentleman pulled his car up right in front of us. I tried to move forward. He did the same. I politely stopped, waiving for him to go ahead. He stopped also, for some unknown reason parking at a hydrant quite a distance from his house). Since he didn't shut off the ignition, I felt compelled to tell him "we are crossing the street," in case he chose to start driving as soon as I stepped down on the street.

The man shocked me when he answered "good luck". I told him that we'll do our best and giggled at our first conversation. Only when I was walking up my stairs did I notice his wife pulling out of their driveway. The gentleman, it seems, politely gave her room to maneuver her vehicle.

This incident may be enlightening regarding his kids' affinity to stare. Though, as always, it may just be my overactive imagination at work.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A new tooth

During dinner, Eh whispered a secret to me. At first, I admit I didn't understand much, so I just "oh, yeah"d her. She knew that her secret deserved a better response than that. So she repeated her secret a bit louder. And to my amazement and slight anxiety I've learned that Eh is going to get a new tooth first because her top tooth is shaking. I checked it but didn't feel much. Hubby, on the other hand, confirmed that Eh's secret is a reality.

Apparently, that exciting for Eh event happened while she was on her outing with her favorite aunt.

My emotions re: this development are still mixed.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

No more naps

It's been a week since my big kid stopped napping in the middle of the day. It took some adjustment on my part (esp when it came to shabbat nap) but all in all, I'm enjoying our new schedule. I'm free to do as I please by around 8pm (unless of course SiM refuses to cooperate).

What do I do with all the time that I now have?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I am my neighbor

I have a neighbor who, when parked on the street, likes to repark his car closer and closer to her house. I used to think it a bit peculiar yet somewhat admirable -most people are too lazy for that kind of exercise.

Yesterday, I parked my car across the street from my house. About an hour later, when I came to unload the trunk, I noticed the same parking spot available on my side of the street. I ran like a woman who woke up a few minutes after the alternate-size-parking-street-cleaning-hours went into effect to repark my car. Once I unloaded the trunk and started walking to my house did I realize that I've joined my neighbor's exercise group.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Why I like working in health care

Today during rounds one of the big cheeses with a nursing degree made two comments. I thought these comments were remarkable enough to relay them to the rest of the department and to post on this blog.
1-"This man keeps having problems with his eye. He should see an ENT- an eye specialist."
2-"We have a policy for visitors and staff with flu-like symptoms. Plus, I read that they have an antibiotic for it already."
'It's a virus,' commented self and another nurse.
"Yes, so they have the antibiotic for it."

Hope so do you enjoy these comments as much as my colleagues and I did. And maybe you can even appreciate why I love working in health care. (Imagine if the health care was socialized? The fun would never end!)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Bad advice

My daughter was sick for a few days and I allowed her to fall asleep in my bed. She requested the same privilege a few days later, after she thank Gd felt better.

It was well past her bedtime and my patience was running low. So I told her I don't care where she sleeps as long as she stays in her room. I even suggested she put one of her pillows on the floor and sleep there. I heard noises from her room for some time. But I decided that it would be best if I just let her fall asleep without any further attention/distraction from me.

A couple of hours later, I was walking to my room with a cup of tea and noticed her door was wide open. And as I approached the door to close it, I almost spilled my tea on my firstborn, who lay sleeping in the doorway.

I guess as a parents I should keep in mind that kids to listen sometimes...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

On Gardening

When I was around 10 years old, my friend and I started collecting house plants. We used to take leaves, shoots, stems from any new plant we saw and plant them in our respective houses. We (not just my friend, but I, too) got so good at it, that at one point we each had more than 30 plants thriving in our houses.

Fast forward to now. I have 3 plants. An African violet and some small succulent plant are in the kitchen. The strategic placement of these plants on the left of the sink unfortunately did nothing for their well being. The are alive because they are tough and by the mercy of the cleaning lady and the babysitter. (I help them out periodically which I'm sure is better than no help at all?)

My third plant is a spider. They don't come any tougher. I try to take it outdoors during the warm months so it gets lots of sun and strength. A third of its leaves usually makes it through the winter... I took it outside earlier today. Hopefully, it's on the rebound as I type.

As far as outdoor greenery... A few years in a row, I used to have luscious grass around April. Joined by colorful flowers some time mid-May. All yellow around mid-July when I would inadvertently forget to water them. Believe it or not, it only takes a couple of hot summer NY days of water deprivation and the plants go limp, often irreversibly so...

Anywho, all of the above was just an intro to the following exciting news. My front lawnette is now ready to receive flowers ( and possibly tomatoes?)! The tombstones, together with the dead flowers and dry leaves, were respectfully relocated into trash bags.

Hope to report more good news any day or sooner!

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Most people took care of their gardens and front lawns by now.

But if you are a procrastinator, your garden may just look like a flower cemetery with unkempt tombstones sadly sitting in the dirt.

Credits: brother

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I'm not from Moscow

I was standing in the check- in line in the airport with my kids in a stroller, when some grandma stood on my left with an obvious attempt to cut in. I politely told her that I have two carts full of suitcases besides the stroller but grandma didn't seem to budge. When the line moved and grandma (periodically joined by younger generation who brought in luggage) tried to wedge in, I again said that I was in line in front of her. The man behind whom I stood confirmed that.

Grandma's reaction? In an Eastern European accented voice she told me "It's ok. Since I'm not from Moscow, you can push ahead!"

Normally, I'd respond in kind. But my immediate reaction was "how does she know?"... A second too late I realized that she didn't, she was just trying to insult me. But the moment was gone. Well, that and her advanced age. So I just told her that I didn't want to miss my flight, either.

When hubby and luggage joined me, I couldn't stop laughing recalling this story. And I also wondered that people don't seem to need much to be snobs. Who knows, maybe the senior thought that Nazi Hungary was much more superior to communist Russia? Who am I to tell...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Kids Holiday clothes

I do most of my shopping online. Convenient, easy, and I can 'hold on' to something and 'put it back' on the shelves lots of times with not much effort. Plus, the ease of comparing stocks of different stores. , and are not in my favorite links only because I enjoy typing the words out to complete the pleasure of my shopping experience.
I didn't really like Gap's selection this season...
Some of my choices from Gymboree (though after 3 years of devoted attention I cheated on Gymboree and didn't buy anything for my kids from there for Pesach. Possible explanation- while I was comparing/contrasting, I missed the sale):
My actual purchases from Janie and Jack (I didn't miss the sale):

The Children's Place (I somehow caved and actually bought these in the store):

[I'm still not sure about the pants but I think they are 'growing' on me].
I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I also bought a few items in stores that begged me to walk into them this past week while I was out buying lunch and/or groceries.
All and all, the only thing that's more fun than buying kids' clothes is seeing these clothes on your models, still clean at the end of a day:)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A useful sign

I was expecting a visit from my sister today around 6:30. When the door bell rang around 6:45 I opened the door right away, without checking first who was behind it.

Right behind the door stood a presentable middle aged lady with a suitcase. She smiled, greeted me, and said that her name was Yvonne. I smiled back waiting for an explanation for the suitcase. Yvonne just kept smiling. I asked her if she was looking for someone. And she said, still smiling, "I'm the baby nurse."

Yippy. Though SiM still insists on calling himself 'baby' ( except for the times when he uses the potty and proudly calls himself a 'big boy'), I didn't recall hiring anyone to watch him in the evenings. And since the date was still March 31, I didn't think hubby played an early April fool's joke on me.

"For the new born baby," added Yvonne. And as she said that my eyes caught a big blue balloon-like sign across the street. Whew! I directed Yvonne to the signed door while she apologized profusely for writing down a wrong address. She even asked me if the new mom is back home. " Not sure, just saw the sign, " I said. And as she crossed the street, I tried to explain to the kids who our unexpected visitor was.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Birthday Party - a personal ramble

Whenever I have conflicts with self and the stubborn voice inside tells something opposite of the polite/proper/necessary/civilized/etc voice, I know I should always listen to the stubborn voice. That voice usually takes good care of me when the civilized voice takes care of everybody else.

Tonight I attended a kid's bday party hosted by a one-time great friend. I didn't listen to the little egotistical voice. So instead I had 45 minutes to mull in my head how disappointing our meeting was as I drove home.

I tried to sort out what exactly ticked me off. I know it wasn't the fact that I didn't get the memo re: >3.5 heeled shoes - self and some senior citizen were the only 2 grown up women with flats on. When this was pointed out to the friend, I was told ' you know how my parties are.' 'Now I know' was all I can say.

Maybe that was it. I didn't know what I got myself into. Having an inkling is not quite the same thing as stepping right into something. And it's rather hard to find someone who wants to exchange small talk with you when you don't have the uniform on. I did succeed to have a quite pleasant conversation with the senior citizen (not once mentioning the only thing we had in common). As for my friend - we barely exchanged a few words. I know the hosts are usually busy, but that busy?

I didn't know how her parties were, and I no longer knew her either. Even if I put on my 4" Stewart Weitzmans (the skinniest and highest heels I've got), she and I wouldn't have much to say besides our mutual admiration for each other's kids and our assurances how much we missed each other/hope to see each other soon.

Another one of life's disappointments to note and get over with. And a lesson to listen to the little voice, politely excuse self from attending bday parties, and send gifts by mail.

Addendum (March 30th): I just got an email from Banana Republic with their 'most wanted' list. Apparently, 4" heels are in. Back to the cave I go.

Cleaning up and the cleaning lady

I try to clean up the house a bit before the cleaning lady arrives. Not that I'm embarrassed of my mess as such. I just want to be able to find some essentials which may be lost of months after the cleaning lady leaves.

Today I decided to forgo the usual clean up, and do some pesach and spring cleaning instead. The results were as follows:
-I collected 2 contractor's (big garbage) bags worth of clothing for donations. This did not include kids' clothes which I try to give away to friends and family. It included some (but not yet all) clothes in sizes I don't even remember myself wearing hidden in the depths of my linen closet. It also included some sweaters which I missed in the beginning of winter and also discovered in the bowels of my very spacious linen closet.

-Discovery of 2 shopping bags of fleishig storage containers, old unopened mail (TG no bills), and some professional publications. My cleaning lady who likes neatness as well as cleanliness apparently didn't mind all that being in before mentioned linen closet.

-4 empty kids' shoe boxes neatly stacked in the coat closet. She used to ask me if I need certain seemingly unnecessary items before discarding them, now my cleaning lady just neatly piles them away.

-2 smallish bags of clothing I purchased for my nieces. Thankfully, they are still the right size, but if I don't mail them within a week, they'll be for a wrong season (mailing things efficiently is a bit of an issue).

-2 Elmo costumes carelessly thrown in a pile on top of some shoes. Not sure if I should credit the cleaning lady or the babysitter. Either way, they were more efficient than me (even if not neat).

-A pair of new light corduroy pants in SiM's size. Just what I've been looking for! and perfect for Pesach.

-A huge Toys R Us shopping bag with miscellaneous stuff from my car, some old mail, and a fleishig container in the back of the coat closet (cleaning lady?).

-A throw pillow and 3 kids' blankets in the coat closet. Suspect the cleaning lady but can't say for sure.

Got to love spring cleaning!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Doctor's visit

Usually, Eh and SiM start making unhappy noises 50 feet away from the pediatricians office. However, last week Eh was uncharacteristically quiet (read she didn't cry) and SiM followed suit throughout MD visit. They both let the doctor listen to their lungs, check their ears, eyes, nose, and throat without as much as a peep (They didn't get weighed but I'm sure they wouldn't handled that, too).

On Tuesday, because I couldn't take my congestion anymore (read-parched lips, no voice, and nose used purely for decorative purpose) I decided to go to a doctor to finally get some antibiotics (an unfortunate necessity since I'm no longer in close contact with all my former MD/PA/NP friends). SiM asked to go with me.

He did ok in the waiting room. He asked to go to the car once we entered the exam room. But after my MD walked into the room, SiM started observing everything with fascination (while I hoped my blood pressure didn't go up just from being in the doctor's office as a patient). And the kicker- SiM accepted MD's hand and they walked out of the exam room ahead of me.

And today, my nose is functioning almost as new. Thanks Gd!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Shabbat guests aka the tales from CNN

Last week we had to guests on shabbat lunch - a wholesale distributor (wh) and a financial analyst (fa).

B'H, no one was allergic to the first course, the salads also went with moderate success, and even cholent didn't disappoint.

Naturally, the conversation drifted to the economy. And all the money flushed down the toilet (the process euphemistically called 'the bailout'). I think I mentioned that some of these companies should file for bankruptcy. FA agreed, WH started to protest saying that it would be unfair to millions of people who'd become unemployed if a company like GM would go bankrupt.
FA politely tried to explain the process of how a corporation files for bankruptcy. WH again expressed his concern for the working class. FA politely pointed out that a big corporation like GM should not be confused with a local bakery. Local bakery goes out of business - people lose jobs; GM files for bankruptcy - restructuring happens, most people keep their jobs.

WH: But CNN says that if GM would go bankrupt millions of people would lose their jobs.

Here even I couldn't take it and politely pointed out to WH that just because CNN reports something, that something does not become absolute or even vague truth.

The conversation became a bit heated ( and unshabosdik) after that. Neither FA, a subject matter expert, nor I, an observer who pointed out that just because a story is reported doesn't make the story true, can stand in a way of a CNN chasid's economics.

In the end we agreed to disagree. And five days later I still wonder why anyone still perceives CNN as a source of useful information.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I'll be wearing my work clothes, part 2

The other day, a nurse supervisor who typically wears street clothes (and lab coats on special occasions like visits from Dep't of Health reps) came in dressed in all-white uniform.

The natural question begged itself. So I didn't hesitate to ask if this supervisor, like most of us, neglected to do his laundry on time.

The man was much more pragmatic than that. Apparently, he had to go to court later that day. And he learned the hard way that if he showed up in court wearing his uniform, there was a possibility he'd get a chance to mention that he is a nurse. A nice nurse serving the local community. It seemed to work in his favor before and he was counting on it to work again. He just looked very funny but apparently it was worth it.

And there I thought that showing up in uniform outside of workplace was in bad taste...

Results to follow.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Today, when reporting to his aunt what he was doing SiM said "me eating meat balls".

I didn't make him meat balls for dinner! I made 'meanalls' and that's what I served everyone.

Before I know it, he'll start saying 'I'...

Monday, March 16, 2009

I miss my neighbors

Soon after we moved to the block we discovered that the middle aged couple who lived in a house not far from ours wasn't that friendly ( not the only ones, but the post is dedicated to them). They didn't really answer our greetings, and I remember hubby practicing assertiveness ( or just amusing himself) but saying "good morning" a few times until he's get an answer back.

Well, this couple moved. And into their house moved a family with a whole bunch of little kids. Those kids stare. And blatantly refuse all our attempts (mine and my kids) at friendship. The parental greetings are also scarce...

Well, yesterday I passed by a house that's rumored to be that to which the middle-aged-formerly-my-neighborly couple moved to. And to my surprise and disgust (or maybe just guilt?) I realized that I miss them.

With a regrettable delay I realized that I prefer middle aged snobs to younger (snobbish?) starers...

By the way, is starer a word?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Perfect smile

Apparently SiM's bottom left canine sneaked up while I wasn't paying attention. And now SiM has a perfect smile (the canines are in different stages of arrival but the smile is perfect non the less).

He also uses his new teeth for more practical purposes. On Monday, the first work day after daylight savings time, my alarm (SiM) and thus everybody else overslept. When the alarm did wake up, it wasn't with a customary "Mommy, awnt out!". I just heard him quietly singing Twinkle Twinkle and playing in his bed. I looked at the time. 8AM- my ETA at work but I couldn't drag myself out of bed. SiM wasn't demanding attention -why get up?

However, a few semi-awake minutes later I heard 'Me eat Potty Power...' No alarm could've worked better. I jumped out of bed in time to see SiM nibbling on the plastic cover of Potty Power DVD that I left on the dresser (now accessible to SiM) the night before.

I couldn't stop laughing for a few minutes. And every time I remember ' me eat Potty Power' I can't help but giggle. Who knows, maybe 'me' will help me get organized again...

Monday, March 9, 2009

Purim Sameach!

Today a colleague told (reminded me) that this year she told her kids to give a shalach manot to someone who doesn't expect it ( from you, or possibly from anyone else) - a nursing home resident, someone who's Jewish but isn't religious, a less popular neighbor... And not just give loads and loads to popular friends and family.

Just a thought. Happy Purim!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

On a happy note

Number 15 arrived ( about a week ago a little white dot appeared). I really should've blogged about that instead of 'proportions and observations' but better late than never...

Also, SiM insists on calling himself a baby. He knows his full name ( including last name) but apparently thinks that we use it in jest and that his real name is baby...

I: What's your name?
SiM: Me baby.

I: Thanks for listening to mommy, you are such a mitzva boy!
SiM: No, me Baby!
I: You are my mitzva baby?
SiM: Yea (wea).

I: SiM, thanks for cleaning up the toys. You are such a big boy! And Eh helped me also-my mitzva girl!
SiM: Eh-girl, me-baby...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Square root day

So geek squad is saying that today is a square root day- the month and the date are square roots of the year...
The previous one was 2/2/04 and the next one is...

Proportions and observations

The longer I work, the more burnt out I get.
The higher I move in the work place 'hierarchy', the more incompetence I encounter.
The more I earn, the more excrement I have to ignore (and/or tolerate). [And I'm not going to talk about taxes here...]
The more burnt out I get, the less diplomacy is found in my conversations and in-services.
The more Department of Health representatives I encounter, the less I want to deal with them.
The cumulative effect of stupid people and things they do makes me less and less tolerant of them.
I realize (with some remorse) that I don't really want to keep attempting to save drowning people, if they don't want to be saved. Let them exercise their right to die.
I can sometimes succeed in teaching people to do their paperwork properly. I don't think I'm very successful in teaching them to care for their patients. And the gap between good documentation and good patient care is plain scary.

My mood at work is almost directly proportionate to the quality of coffee/snack availability that day.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

To each his own

Hubby works with a non Jewish guy whose name is Jonathan. Hubby calls him Yonatan and apparently the man doesn't mind.

Today I overheard one of hubby's BP customers mention that Yoinoson did a good job, etc. I almost cried from stifled laughter. When hubby finished his conversation with the customer I asked if Yoinoson knows to respond to his name. 'Of course,' said hubby, 'he worked there for a long time. She even used to feed him sandwiches...'

Is food really the answer to most dilemmas?

Saturday, February 28, 2009

I can run but can I hide?

On Friday instead of my customary grocery shopping during lunch, I go to the Village of Lawrence to shop for Purim. Luckily for me, there is a parking spot right in front of the store, so I turn on my blinker, pause a bit ( just in case the driver behind me didn't realize what the blinker was for), pull up to the car in front of the spot and that the stupid girl driving behind me is practically on my bumper.

I put my car in reverse, still hopeful that with a few maneuvers I'll get into the spot. But I hear the girl nervously signaling me...I roll down my window and gesture to her that I signaled, and paused, etc and there is a spot and all. Not sure if I point to my head in the process... But after gesticulating I look in the rear view mirror and realize that at this point, there are a few cars behind the girl. In the Village of Lawrence, unlike the Town of Brooklyn, they have parking lots behind the stores (a nuisance with muni meters and all but still better than no parking), so I give up my pursuit of a convenient spot and move on.

Within a minute, I get two text messages, almost simultaneously. I have an uneasy feeling that someone spotted me. The first message says " Was it you?" and then the second one, unnecessarily clarifies " on Central Avenue".

Why, from all my trips to the village, should it be a Brooklyn moment during which I get spotted by one of my dear friends? Bashert, I'm sure...

PS When I asked my friend why she didn't honk hello, she just replied " and miss the entertainment?" I guess life in the village is a bit slow.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

I cleaned my car the other day and found this gem from a nursing home's news letter. Following are the new year's resolutions of some of nursing home residents:

-My New Year's resolution is to get my family together. I want to go back to live with my family. I also want to have a good relationship with all the people in my past and the ones I'll meet in my future.

-I want to smoke less and read more. I also want to have a good friendship with everybody here (at the nursing home).

-I want to smoke less, and I want my family to come more often. I also want a TV in my room.

-I want everybody to like me. I want to stop cursing and screaming, and I want to be a good person.

-I want to get well and be to able to function on my own ( this resident since went home).

-My New Year's resolution is to stop crying, be nice to everybody, and to stop wearing a lot of makeup.

-My New Year's resolution is to be nice to people and to get along with them. I also want to stop smoking.

-I want to become a better person and stop taking things that are not mine.

-My New Year's resolution is to go back to my own apartment with my family. I want to get well, and I thank everyone at the nursing home for helping me (the man unfortunately is a nursing home hopper and is still residing @ the same institution).

-My New Year's resolution is to continue not to smoke, and to have my kids visit me.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Grandpa Lenin

February is a black history month. And on February 2, the bulletin board of the mail lobby of my work announced this fact in Bold Black Letters with some obscenely (African themed?)colored trim, and the picture of our president in the middle.

Though similar displays appear on this bulletin board every year but this year it seemed strangely disturbing and borderline offensive. I attributed this uneasy feeling to possible lack of caffeine early in the AM and went on with my business.

Around lunch time, I noticed someone standing by the bulletin board, perplexed. To make a long story short, she told me that the bulletin board reminds her of the communists countries where the leaders picture was prominently displayed everywhere.

Bingo! That's what it was- the big red bulletin board with only one picture in the center (the shot above was taken a week later and even then, there was only one non-Obama picture on the whole board). It reminded me of my childhood with pictures, statues, busts, pins, and such of 'grandpa' Lenin in every public place.

Is this what this country coming to?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Time bomb

This song keeps making its rounds in my mental play list...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The unhealthy state of mental health institutions

Recently, Kings County Hospital's G (mental health) building made it to the papers because last year a patient died in the ER under guards' supervision and nobody gave much of a darn about it. One of the sad lessons- people in health care don't really care much about the sick ; they care even less for the mentally ill.

On my current assignment more than 50% of the residents have a psychiatric diagnosis. Many lead decent institutional lives and they are symptoms are controlled for months and even years.
Some become victims of the heavily regulated nursing home system. An in-house doctor, internist, decides that a patient is on too many psychotropic drugs and decided to reduce/discontinue some of them. The results are usually pretty quick. The resident starts seeing things, hearing things, think things, say things, or just act crazy. They a psychiatrist is called in to start the whole medication-adjustment process all over again.

In some instances, residents decompensate so quickly that they have to be admitted to a psych hospital. (Psych hospitals deserve a few entries of their own) And that's the reason for this post...
Here's a 'case study':
Time was admitted to a nursing home after 7 weeks of psych hospitalization for some 'unruly' behavior. When I first came to see him, he was a scary crazy man- talked to himself non-stop, looked through you if you addressed him, inconsistently followed basic conversation, the works.
After staying in the nursing home for less then 2 weeks he was hospitalized for some unacceptable behavior.

Tim was readmitted to the nursing home a 3 weeks later. He was almost unrecognizable- he looked physically healthy. His conversations not only became coherent but also very intelligent and pleasant. Tim was a new man, but sadly, not for long. After a month or so, his conversations became less coherent, he became more preoccupied and frequently inappropriate. Two weeks after the reappearance of his symptoms he was back in a psych hospital.

That hospitalization lasted a bit over a month. But based on the hospital paper work, they weren't treating his symptoms but rather 'managing' them. In hospital he received medication for agitation which was frequently given to him via injection ( to kick in faster). After weeks of such ' management' ( my guess is-hospital was hungry for some of Tim's insurance $), Tim was ready to come back to the nursing home.

Tim was readmitted early in the afternoon. I saw him in the lobby and welcomed him back. He thanked me. But as kept walking, he told me that I have a nice body " and a sharp mind" he added quickly. I told Tim he was inappropriate. He apologized but I wondered what exactly did they do for Tim in the hospital?

Half hour later I heard very loud screams and cursing in the lobby. It happens quite frequently, so I ignored the screams at first. My coworker said it was one of the residents who was upset about the new smoking hours. But the screaming continued on and off for 5 minutes. I decided to check out the situation for myself.

There were 2 EMS guys standing in the middle of a hallway. Near a wall, 2 female cops were trying to handcuff someone. That someone was Tim. He had a somewhat surprised look on his face, trying to tell something to the cops. EMTs looked sympathetic and even a bit embarrassed. The cops were just doing their job. And I felt physically sick.

It took a few minutes after Tim was handcuffed and put in a chair for the paperwork to be filled out. And then Tim was led away into the freezing cold in just a tshirt, back to the same hospital which didn't do much for Tim. Yet Tim had to pay for the incompetence of the doctors by being subdued, handcuffed, and humiliated, and be sent there for more 'management of his symptoms'.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


In HS, I had a halacha teacher who used to give us demerits for talking. Then there was an economics teacher with a minus-point system - get even 1 minus point and no matter how high your average is you won't be exempt from taking finals.

And today, after all these years, I felt like I was in high school again!

Because of some bizarre circumstances, some gullibility, and some lack of basic thought, I had to be in court today. The court room was exceptionally hot, the wait even more exceptional, and I ( naturally) didn't bring any reading material with me.

The court clerk was a rather mean woman ( possibly with a heartburn?) who kept yelling at people to behave as they should in court. At one point, some grandpa's phone went off, loudly, twice in a span of 2 minutes, so the clerk confiscated the phone, turned it off, and said she'll return it after grandpa is done.

By this point, over an hour passed. I was bored and tired of waiting for my lawyer to show up. Then, my chatty friend whose whisper carries ( and who came along with me to court) got a seat right next to me and started talking about something or other.

And I almost jumped when I suddenly heard the court clerk right in front of me saying "You two, step out!". I probably should've been offended, or try to say that I won't do it again. But I couldn't stop grinning while I took my coat and stepped outside. And I'm still grinning as I type.

PS As we stepped outside, my lawyer showed up and told me that I can go. I wonder if the people inside that court room learned a valuable lesson: if you talk in court room, you'll have to step out, and not return for the rest of the day!