Monthly Archives: August 2008

Crackaholic

I finally gave in to temptation and got myself a blackberry. I had been thinking about it for some time, and the kids have been telling me that my trusty little flip phone was about as passé as it gets. I had to go in to the store anyway because I didn’t like the package I had – no free texts, so I went to change that, and $49 bucks later and 2500 free text msgs a month later I have a new RED blackberry pearl. Does that make it a RedBerry?

 

So the boys are laughing at me hysterically because in their opinion I am a technological dinosaur. The salesman was a very helpful fellow – and he put up with my high pitch squealing when I realized that I could also get facebook on my crackberry, as well as GPS (now, now I have GPS??), Windows Live Messenger, GoogleChat etc and then I totally flipped when he told me I could also have my email on there too. It was such a rush. The kids kept asking him – does it have music playing abilities? A camera? They asked questions I never even thought to ask. Apparently I can also sync it with my computer…..like to figure that one out one day soon. It won’t recognize my Bluetooth but has speaker capability so I should be ok, hands free and all….

 

Then I got home. I could no longer access my voicemail, so I had to set that up again. Then I had to read the instruction manual – something I rarely do, but I want to use this phone properly or it’s a waste of the kids newfound respect for their technologically impaired mother. Of course one of them already asked if he could have my PC coz obviously my blackberry does everything for me, so the PC is obsolete then. Nope, I think not. For one thing, it’s mine. But setting this darn thing up has taken me 2 hours and I am so stressed and tired. I can begin to see that it will follow me everywhere…even into a relaxing bubble bath at the end of the day – what would happen if I missed a facebook update, or an email – would my life be over?

 

I have gone over to the dark side – will I ever be able to cross back?

Separation of Suits and Skirts

The mechitzah. Love it or hate it, it is part of the religious world. Men and women are to be separated at most events – davening, weddings, community meetings. In some communities it’s enough that the men sit on one side and the women on the other. In other communities there is one way glass, or thick wooden dividers.

 

From what I am given to understand, during prayer, it’s the men that must not look at the ladies, and not the other way around. I have been to a few shuls where the mechitzah is one way glass – so we can ogle the cute guys in the designer suits, with him having no idea that he is the centre of attention. I guess this is because men’s obligation to pray is much stronger than women’s so if we get distracted it’s not the end of the world.

 

Another shul I have been too has thick office dividers down the centre of the shul, very effectively separating the sexes. But when they do VeZot HaTorah – well, I can’t very well raise my pinkie to said Torah because I cannot see it. I cannot see who is davenning, or even if my sons are behaving, I can’t even see the rabbi when he is talking. I may as well not be there for all the spirituality I feel there.

 

Hopping on to a different shul. This one has the women’s balcony at a right angle to the men, with a very sheer net curtain that hides nothing. Bliss – I can see what’s going on in the service, who gets an aliyah, I can even see my kids put their fingers in their brothers ears……….but I can also which guys are checking out which gals, or even if someone is checking me out. Interestingly enough this shul has the least decorum – talking throughout leining, davening etc. Also in this shul they give my little guy the privilege of opening the Aron Kodesh for Anim Zemirot, and allow him and his brothers or other small boys to sing Adon Olam from the Bima. And I get to see it. They also have great kiddushim. Great mechitzah – terrible decorum. Again, no spirituality there.

 

Does being behind a mechitzah take away spirituality, or is it just the shuls I am frequenting? What is it like being a man on the other side of the mechitzah?

 

Really when I decide where to daven, these days it’s all about where the boys feel the most comfortable. In one shul with thick mechitzahs I know they boys will be watched by some of the men that we know, where as in the decorum-less shul they run wilder until they get a furious eagle eye from me. And there I am, stuck in parenting limbo, being that I am the opposite sex from my children. Very frustrating.

Is Tweety a lecher?

 This photo was taken last week in Lake George – i posted it elsewhere and got tons of comments about what the heck Tweety was looking at. Is Tweety the perv, or is it my friends’ minds? I would love to have your opinion….

Olympic Meshugass!

I actually listened to the rabbi’s speech today in shul, and most of what he said ticked me off. Maybe it’s just me, or maybe he is usually controversial and I never listened before.

 

First he talked about being Jewish – that in order to be counted as being Jewish one has to keep the mitzvoth. What? In my understanding if your mother is Jewish, that makes you Jewish whether you keep one mitzvah, 613 mitzvoth or none. I guess his point was really that if the Jews don’t keep mitzvoth there will be no Judaism left. But saying you are not Jewish if you do not perform mitzvoth was wrong. No wonder secular Jews sometimes feel alienated from organized religion, if this is the prevailing attitude,

 

Then he decided to lambast the Olympics, calling the amazing feats of athletic prowess “meshugass”, ridiculing the respect we have for people who can jump higher, run faster, dive cleaner etc. Apparently according to the rabbi, this is totally wrong. We shouldn’t admire anyone who obviously has these talents because it has nothing to do with who we are as Jews. We should admire people because of their Jewishness, their fear of G-d, their belief in Him, and their daily struggles in order to serve Him. Surely a person who is faster, can jump higher etc is blessed by G-d, surely these are G-d given talents? Ok, maybe worshipping them is too much, but how can anyone fail to see G-d’s gift in Michael Phelps’s swimming? There is something totally unworldly and beyond the norm in that. There were many Jewish Olympians this year – should we not be proud? Is the rabbi saying we should be ashamed to put any emphasis on physical accomplishments?

 

I am guessing that this rabbi, well into his 70s, has a different mind-set than I do, and sees evil and anti-Jewishness everywhere he looks. What I really hate about rabbi’s sermons is that there is no Q and A period after, that there is no arguing with his point of view. The rabbi speaks, the service continues, and I am left to stew with my thoughts. Of course, I could have discussed it with him after mussaf, at the Kiddush, but would he have spoken to me, a mere woman? Not just a woman, but one with an opinion too. Perish the thought! This Rabbi seems to be all fire and brimstone. I hate that.

Happy 12th Birthday Son #2!

Some wise man once said that having kids is like watching your heart walk around outside your body. It’s so true.

 

Sweetie, when I found out I was pregnant with you I was so concerned that all the love I had for your older brother would leave nothing over for you. It turns out this is a common fear with the second child, and totally unfounded. The minute you were born, in the brief 30 seconds I got to hold you before they swept you off to the NICU, I felt my heart multiply. I realized that I didn’t have to share the love I had for your brother, but that I had another chamber of love opened up in my heart for you, and subsequently for the brothers that followed.

 

Funny thing was, that throughout the whole pregnancy I was convinced you were a girl – I guess I have been wrong a time or two….i am so glad you are a boy!

 

You were born on a Friday, close to 6 in the morning. That’s still your favourite time of day.  It’s funny how you are always the first one up in the house, enjoying the peace and quiet of the place before all hell breaks loose as the brothers wake up.

 

As births go, yours was more or less straightforward, other than the fact that they induced you to be born early as the placenta had stopped functioning. I guess they were scared too, as there was standing room only in the delivery room ( I should have charged all the docs and nurses admission – would have paid for your bris), with me as the centre of attention for most of the time. You were 3 weeks early and they were worried that you would be severely underweight. (I look at you now as I think that and I chuckle to myself.) Interestingly enough as soon as you were born I ceased to exist in that room, and that there was a huge lesson in what a parent is all about. I was the vessel needed to bring you into the world, but once you were here, it was all about you, and I was relegated to second class status. (once it was determined that I was ok). I was just so thankful you were born breathing, and I knew you were in the best hands.

 

You were a scrawny little chicken, covered in the icky white vernix stuff. 5 lbs and change. Hardly robust, but bigger than they had expected. Your first 24 hours in the NICU was precautionary only, TG, although you did develop jaundice and stayed longer in the hospital than I did. You looked so cute with those special eye protectors while under the bili-lights. Looked like you were sunbathing on the beach! I had bought you a little cuddly sheep to keep with you under the lights – it looked huge next to you.

 

From the start you were easy going and laid back. You only ever cried for a real reason – food, change, discomfort, didn’t like your brother making your nose go beep beep! You have continued to be a source of much pleasure and happiness for me. Your cuddles are the best, I love that you still cherish being close to me. What surprises me is how similar our characters are. I know what you are going to do before you do it and it always freaks you out. You have no clue how I manage to figure that out. I just think about what I would do, and then I know! I also have eyes in the back of my head – I take all the help I can get.

 

You all are so different from each other, and I love the people that you are all becoming.

 

So sweetie, tomorrow, when you really turn 12, I will be celebrating too, I will be celebrating the blessings in my life, the gift of my sons who I love more than anything. Thank you for being you.

Friday Night Lights

 She strikes the match,

Her concentration as intense as the flame.

As the candle wicks flare

Her heart fills with joy.

She glances at the candles

Mini fires flickering together

She feels her soul overflow

Due to the happiness within.

She draws the flames

Closer to her, with both hands,

In the way of the age old tradition.

She covers her eyes and

She begins to pray;

For the safety of her children,

For their continued success in life,

For the health of the extended family,

And for her people at large.

She includes a special prayer

For the aged and the sick

And at this most holy of times

She whispers her most fervent wish.

That in the fullness of time

When the good Lord decides it’s right

That He will send her the person

To sing Eishet Chayil Friday nights.

A partner, a lover, a beloved best friend,

Someone to help her, nurture her,

Respect her and cherish her

A true soulmate, her real bashert.

She sets no physical parameters

In this, her heartfelt prayer,

She wishes only for peace and shalom,

She hopes He will help her get there.

One day she knows

She will light the same candles and

Pray the identical prayer

Then she will open her eyes

To find him standing right there.

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In Awe of Life (Bowing to pressure to repost…)

I never knew before

The power of a simple touch.

The merest whisper

Of your skin on mine

Made my senses spring to life.

That night on the beach

When we first met

The stars were in perfect alignment

The heavens smiling

Their approval on us.

I casually reached for your hand

And our worlds stood violently still.

The electricity leaped,

Shocking your heart and mine

Into stunned belief.

At that moment I knew,

I became yours and you mine.

The briefest hint of what could be

Gave me such hope,

The chance to dream

Of the miracle that could be us.

I gazed into your eyes

And felt your soul open itself up

And swallow mine whole.

 

Life can never be the same again.

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SOLITUDE

If wo/man is not meant to alone, then why is it so difficult to find the right “one”, and to keep him/her? I myself am single, I have a few friends who are in the same solitary state and it seems so many of our frustrations and so much of our anguish comes from being un-partnered. (Although I would rather be alone than be with the wrong one). Our lives are otherwise fulfilled – mine with my kids and my friends, my life is BH rich and full. Others have careers that drive them and keep them hopping. But most of us yearn for that special someone, that elusive person to share everything with. Someone to just be there for us unconditionally, and for us to return the being-there-ness. (I am tired, my words are not working as well as usual).

 

Apparently I am supposed to be happy that I was once married, that I had the chance at “true love” – now it is someone else’s turn, someone who has never been married. I have been told to take a back seat, not take a man who might marry someone who has never had kids. I guess my life is over in their eyes? I had my chance, it got messed up, so sad too bad.

 

I am just frustrated right now. There are things I love about being on my own – independence, not having to account for my movements (mind you the kids track me these days…..oy) but I would so love to have someone special in my life who would look at me the way my grandparents still looked at each other after 50 years of marriage. I want that. I want that deep and abiding love that transcends time, place and everything else. Am I fooling myself that I can find that again? Should I just quit while I am ahead?

Song thats in my head today

reading all the blogs about the nefesh b’nefesh aliyah flight on Monday is making me long to be HOME- this isnt a great recording, but this group and the song rocks!

This Ima rocks!!

 

We got back home safely (thanks to my “GPS”) a little while ago, and everyone (save me) just fell into bed and conked out! I did not get lost on the way, at all. The kids tried to convince me that I did, but they were wrong – they were just impatient. The drive there and back was fine – the kids were very well behaved in the car, if a little too chatty. There were hardly any incidents of fingers up other people’s noses, this time.

 

We had left the house before 7, but by the time we picked up our friends, filled up with gas and grabbed some cappuccinos it was 7.30. We made great time, getting to six flags just before 10.30.  I had decided to get flash passes which, for 10 bucks extra, allow the bearer to jump the queue and move to the head of the line for 5 rides. Some chumps end up waiting 45 minutes to ride a roller coaster. With 6 kids and 2 adults (one with a bum back) in our party the idea of waiting on line for that long just didn’t sit right. Seeing as this day was costing me my firstborn anyway, what harm could a few more bucks do?

 

Kid #2 had a hard time with this – he felt it was somewhat dishonest going up the exit ramps of each ride to get into it through the back door. He adjusted. But the looks that people gave us were not pleasant. They could have paid the extra money too. A lot of the lines did move quickly anyway, but it was fun to just waltz up to the front of the queue.

 

There was so much to see, so much to do, but we were very fortunate in that we managed to balance the crazy roller coasters for the bigger folk, with the sedate ones for the little kids and wussies. I am very proud to say that I rode the roller coasters with my boys. And apparently I scream like a girl. Such high praise!

 

They have a Wiggles-themed mini park there, and the littlest people in our party were in heaven. Their music is catchy, and I caught a really disgusted look from one of my progeny when he caught me bopping along to the music. Music makes me dance. What’s wrong with that? Oh, other people can see….. well, come on kid, it’s not like I dance like Elaine on Seinfeld, right? RIGHT??!!

 

Today, shehechyanu, I did something that we never have done before as a family. I took them to the park’s wave pool. I let them go swimming and wave jumping, and I even joined them in the water. No bikini pic – I didn’t bring a swimsuit, but went in in my clothes, having brought a spare ensemble to change into after. I had a lot of fun jumping waves with the little ones, and trying to figure out the most aerodynamic way of sliding down a water slide without getting stuck…. We never did it before because I guess it was too much of an irreligious activity. Well that’s what one of my sons said anyway. My girlfriend and I both stayed modestly dressed – I have seen religious women in bikinis with their hair covered – defeats the purpose – but we allowed ourselves to have fun with our kids without compromising our values. Was I overdressed compared to the thong bikini-wearing crowd? Yes, but I had my dignity intact AND my kids have told me they will remember this forever.

 

They had a lot of fun at the arcades, and all won or commandeered prizes. I won a few, yet they seem to have disappeared to the beds of the little people.

 

The one thing that disappointed me from the whole thing – there was a booth there for taking period photographs, you know when you dress up in 18th century garb, or as cowboys etc. I have been dying to do this for myself and the boys for years and today when I finally found a place that does it the boys refused. Point blank. I could have done it just myself, but what would have been the point?

 

We walked, we rode, we twirled, we screamed, we ate, we drank, we swam, we slid, we drove, we climbed, we dropped, we threw, we tossed, we posed, we smiled, we laughed, we hugged, we kissed, we ran, we hopped skipped and jumped. In fact, there is not much we didn’t do.

 

This was a wonderful experience for me as a mom, watching the kids have fun, trying to see it all through their innocent eyes. Lucky lucky them, for having a chance to do something out of the ordinary (for us), and to be old enough that they will remember this day fondly. (and yes, there are pictures to prove it. I am a camera snapping fiend).

 

So now with excitement out of the way, life turns to the mundane – back to school, job hunting, laundry…….