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!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

If it makes you happy...

I'm not too good with remembering to bring food/lunch to work. I was in 7th food Haven when I worked in a place with a kosher cafeteria. When I switched assignments, I first managed with 2 pieces of whole wheat bread and/or cereal and until I discovered a (relatively) local pizza shop. Soon after that I started eating there almost exclusively.

Recently, I realized that my constant pizza trips became visible. But at the same time Sheryl Crow's song 'if it makes you happy, it can't be that bad' came to mind. I felt somewhat comforted -weight gain isn't the end of the world...

Then I remembered that Sheryl Crow also advocated to use one square of toilet paper per bathroom trip in her effort to be earth friendly. That idea is so darn bad it couldn't make anyone ( including Sheryl) happy. EEeeW!

So I switched to burgers and burritos.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

On cooking, part II

Thanks to one of my coworkers, I've discovered a relatively local kosher grocery where I shop on Fridays during lunch. 2 Friday's ago I found peeled and pre-cut butternut squash there which I bought with a plan of making a cream of squash soup the following Sunday.

Sunday came and went. Then Friday came again. The squash was still in my fridge, alive (whew) but sadly uncooked.

Sunday again. But my hopes of cream of squash soup were still not realized. And mom came to visit. In conversation she mentioned that we traditionally cook rice with pumpkin and raisins and things. I immediately realized why my butternut squash was so resilient ( whereas other fruits and veggies often didn't survive half the time in my fridge. Strange how even veggies know who can make better use of them...)!

I immediately told my mom that I have some butternut squash in my fridge. Mom kindly offered to cook the rice for me (squash being the next best thing after pumpkin).
In short, we had a very delicious Tu B'shvat dinner of rice with squash, salad (also made by mom from rescued veggies), and lots of fruit. My mother also cooked complimentary vegetable soup for the following day (my fridge had lots of stuff that needed rescuing, I guess).

The lesson- whenever a parent visits, do not be shy to mention what's hiding in your fridge.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Before I forget

They are finally here!Tooth number 13 (top L canine) came about 10 days ago, and number 14 (top R canine) a few days ago.

A couple of days ago, in celebration of the new teeth I found strength ( or probably because I had none) to let my SiM stay (cry, read books, watch cartoons) in bed in the morning for approx 30 minutes while I slept a bit more. When I finally got him out of bed close to 7 AM he told me " Mommy, me crying bed..." He didn't accuse, just stated the facts. And I felt a bit guilty about my 'extra' half hour of sleep.

I also figured out ( now that I'm feeling better) that last week's severe chills were probably mild flu symptoms. Thank Gd for the flu shot!

All non-believers, take it from a converted non-believer--flu shots help and are definitely worth some mild side effects that may come along.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Last Wednesday was a snow day. It was also a recycling collection day. The sanitation people showed up early on Thursday and randomly collected some paper and cans.

It's Tuesday night and it snowed. And my dilemma is quite simple. Do I put out 1.5 weeks worth of recycling in hopes that since it snowed today, tomorrow would be a regular garbage pick up day? Do I not take out the recycling because there is snow on the ground and the sanitation department is going to be busy with snow removal tomorrow ( a preferred option @ the moment since I don't really want to get dressed and to the whole garbage-day-prep routine)?
OR do I just remind myself that the whole recycling routine is hubby's chore and let him have his own dilemmas (the best option yet, if I pretend to forget that today is hubby's bday and it would be a nice gesture on my part to take care of the Tuesday evening 'routine')?

And naturally the best case scenario would be if hubby won't notice that the recycling isn't out tonight and tomorrow, before work I'll take care of the whole thing as a happy-birthday-good-will-gesture.

And because I put so much thought into it, something tells me the recycling won't be picked up after all...Time shall tell.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Road Rage

I don't like bad mannered people and I don't like bad mannered drivers. And in my younger days I used to show bad mannered drivers exactly what I think about them. But now I'm a mom of two. I don't return favors to those who cut me off, don't let me merge, etc. I just keep driving, listening to Bloomberg radio.

Today shouldn't have been different. Except the passenger of a car that tried to illegally pass me on the left, as I was waiting at a traffic light, cursed me out in Russian, and I saw an ugly russian face glare at me. If I was cursed in English, I'd laugh it off and let it be. But that face and russian language...

Unfortunately, at that moment, I forgot that I'm a mom of two. I pulled up evenly to that ugly woman and told her that as a russian cannibal she should mind her own business. Cannibal's driver didn't take well to it and, to continued cursing, edged in even closer to me. Cannibal looked so enraged, for a second I thought she'd spit at me. And then the light changed and the mom of two didn't let russian cannibals pass her.

I was definitely ahead and then, I heard an unpleasant scratching noise. The cannibal was in front of my car before I got a chance to put on my blinker. This time she was cursing and yelling in Russian. And telling her husband, the driver, to call the police.

I got out of the car, trying to see if there were any pedestrian witnesses. I asked a couple of people (who happened to be Jewish) standing on the sidewalk if they saw what happened. At this point, Russian cannibal started screaming that now jews will start fabricating stories. I had a weird flashback to 6th grade where one of my Russian classmates got upset at me for some reason and started yelling 'go back to your Israel!'...

The cops didn't show up for over an hour. In the mean time, I got the chills and sat shivering in my car with the heat full blast. The cannibal woman was unpleasant and unreasonable throughout. It wasn't just her yelling, cursing, and seeing red. She was filled with so much hate that she was willing to pushing her husband whose insurance would go up, as long as I'd get punished...

Thank Gd, with help of hubby, the driver (amid cannibal calling him stupid) and I (can't even list all the names the cannibal called me) settled right before the cops arrived.

I know this accident was more their fault than mine. I wanted the police report to prove it. But sometimes it's not as important to be right as it is to be practical. Thank Gd the accident just bruised my car and my ego. And I hope and pray that I don't let myself be provoked by a cannibal again.