Monthly Archives: December 2011

Easy Shmeezy Latkes

Seriously there is something about hand-grated potatoes for latkes that makes them extra special. And it is as easy to make them as shown. Promise!!

Is a round chanukiah kosher?

Letter from a reader:

My  5 year old daughter made a round chanukiah today, and my husband came home and told me straight away it wasn’t kosher b/c you have to be able to distinguish right from left. I have NEVER heard anything of this sort before–I knew the candles all have to be the same height except for the shamash which needs to be differentiated somehow, but this? (And btw you can still light left-to-right…mostly.)

Anyhoo, b/c it is a little kid I’m not terribly worried about it halakhically, but I am VERY curious as to what others have heard about this…and perhaps other traditions or (possibly?) chumrot.

So, readers, weigh in….

Moving On

It’s always hard when other people move on with their life, and leave you in the dust. Sometimes it’s friends getting married first, having babies first, graduating first. Other times it’s a lot more painful – an ex spouse moving ahead with their life and settling down anew with someone else.

I remember the day clearly when I got the call that my ex was moving on. It was a while after our Get (a year probably), but extremely soon after our civil divorce was granted. Like, within hours.

We had both had time to grieve our marriage and I knew he was dating again – the kids kept no secrets no matter how much they were told to stay quiet. I had started to date, but I wasn’t fully invested in it. I just wasn’t ready.

He gave me the courtesy of calling me first to let me know that he would be telling the kids that night – he had them for dinnertime – that he was engaged and would be getting married. I wanted to wish him mazel tov, but the words stuck in my throat. I had an hour or two until he was going to pick the kids up from my apartment and I couldn’t say a word to them. I also couldn’t fall apart in front of them either.

The minute they left, I called up a friend to vent. I was in tears. It wasn’t about me still wanting to be with him – that ship had totally sailed. It was about the fact that how could he be ready to move on with his life, when I was still alone and, truthfully, still grieving for our 12-year marriage. And it was too soon. And who is she, will she be nice to my boys? Yes, there was also “what does she have that I didn’t?” – but even as I was thinking that, I knew it was irrational.

I am glad I heard the news from him, and not from the boys. He did the right thing by calling me first. When the KoD  and I got engaged, I did the same thing. It’s common courtesy and it should not be discounted.

The day they got married was a tough one. The boys were not at their wedding as it happened abroad. But they talked about it. It hurt. I hadn’t yet met my Mr Right and here he is all happily married and posting wedding pics on Facebook.

Looking back I wish I hadn’t wasted all those tears. Look who I found! I met my KoD a few months later and my life has been sunshine and roses ever since (well, apart from the immigration saga). But when you are not the first to move on it really does hurt. It isn’t necessarily logical, it’s visceral, it’s painful,  but it does pass.

Carded…for medicine!

My little ChatterBox has a cold, his poor little nose is all red and sore, and he keeps sneezing. We ran out of cold medicine – I had brought it with me from Canada where the selection of OTC meds is far superior to the selection here.

Firstly I couldn’t find any chewables for my 9 year old. Seriously – do they expect them to have liquid meds until they are 12? That’s ridiculous. I need to plan a trip to Montreal just to load up on Children’s Advil Cold and the adult version too.

I got to the cash register to pay, and they ask me my birth date? What? “We need to ensure you are over 18 according to FDA regulations”. LOOK AT ME, do I look like I’m under 18 looking to drink baby tylenol in order to what, get high?

Shaking my head.

Bye Bye Coffee

In an effort to combat this pesky RLS that I have, I have been cutting down on caffeine. I am down to one cherished cup of the heavenly brew at 6 am. That is it for now, and next week I cut that out.

I am cranky. I want the decaffeination to be working immediately. I want to see  an improvement, but it is early days yet. I need to be patient. Yet, I am not sleeping, I have all but cut out my favourite beverage, and I WANT RESULTS NOW!!

I have been hearing suggestions for acupuncture and acupressure and yoga and meditation. I am reading everything I can on RLS (in my oh-so-abundant (NOT) free time – and I am concerned that all the dietary changes I might make will have had no effect other than to give me CBS. (Chronic B*tch Syndrome).

By 7 pm I am dying to crawl into bed. I am yawning up a storm. I am only 38 and I am falling apart!! I took a sleeping pill the other night to help break the cycle but I didn’t like how I felt the next day so I won’t be repeating that.

This RLS is an annoyance and an aggravation that I could deal with so long as it didn’t affect my sleep. But it does. And that leads to the CBS….although I am really trying hard not to be kvetchy. (The whining about how I neeeeeeed cofffeeee noooooow doesn’t count, KoD, ok?? I am mourning the loss of a dear companion)

With sleep, I can do anything. Without it, I feel like a used dish-rag. Before anyone suggests melatonin, I have no problem falling asleep. It’s stopping the legs from moving in my sleep, or jerking, that I need to do. Those movements are so sudden they wake me up over and over again.

I have a family member that also suffers from RLS / WED and he has been a tremendous help. At least I know I am not alone. I also wonder whether the surgery I had recently has anything to do with this…

Anyhow, I just threw supper into the crockpot (Meat Chili) and must eat some lunch and get back to work. Send some sleep vibes this way, ok? and have a coffee (or seven) for me.


How do you sit back and watch someone you love make a mistake? When you KNOW that this thing is wrong on so many levels? When you know that your opinion will fall on deaf ears even if you give it, when you know the person’s heart is set on this path to what you see as self destruction and torment?

It’s something that I struggle with as a parent too – you can only guide your kids so much, at what point do you sit back and let them make their own mistakes so they can learn from them? At what point or which type of situation do you step in and give voice to your oppositional opinion?

As a friend, a parent, a sibling, a lover – is it our job to just support even if we don’t agree? Do we keep our mouths closed if not asked for our opinion? Do we only voice our thoughts if asked? Should we support a friend / family member even if they take a different path?

Lots of rambling thoughts for a Saturday night….. is unconditional love really unconditional??

Of Sleepless Nights and Flooded Basements

Life is hectic these days – when isn’t it? But I do feel I have been neglecting my blog. Paid work must come first, however. I worked this week, we filmed on Sunday and on Tuesday (so. much. fun) And there were parent teacher conferences this week too. And open houses for high school…. This is practically the first minute I have had free this week, and I am choosing to spend it with you!

Firstly – we set up some awesome Best of Kosher Awards over on my work website. Go on over, nominate and vote for your favorites in each of the ten categories for 2011.

Secondly – this week I was diagnosed with RLS – Restless Legs Syndrome. I haven’t slept well in weeks, every time I get into bed, or even when sitting for longer periods of time (driving too), my legs would start to hurt, ache, feel as if they were itching inside the skin, and I would be filled with the need to move them immediately. Apparently this annoying and painful leg issue has been interrupting my sleep pattern – it’s why I wake up in the morning feeling totally unrested. I finally dragged myself to the doctor, where he confirmed it was RLS, and prescribed a medication. Which I haven’t taken. I want to try alternatives first before I get hooked on a drug that is also used to treat Parkinson’s disease. It has been suggested to me to cut out caffeine (oh the horror), alcohol – that’s easy as I don’t drink, and to wear support hose. Yes, at the age of 38 I am considering wearing support hose – next you will see me in curlers and a housecoat!! Shudder!

Was it raining where you are last night? It was thundering here like crazy. At around 9.30 I went down to the laundry room to empty the dryer. Folded towels, did what I had to do. Said good night to the two teens whose rooms are in the basement, got my hugs and kisses, and got into PJs. 20 minutes later “Ima, KoD, come quick, there’s water in the basement”. I figured it was a little trickle – I had *just* been down there. Torrents of water were flowing into the laundry room, into L’s room, and trickling from there into Squiggy’s room. TORRENTS of muddy dirty water.

I wanted to cry. In fact, I think I did. KoD shlepped out the wet vac and together he and the big boys started to try to clean up. I ran over to friends (threw clothes over the PJs) in the pouring rain to borrow another wet vac and a pump that can attach to a hose and pumps the water out. OMG was that pump a godsend.

Of course, the menfolk wouldn’t really let me help, and both sons at different times told me to go to bed as I wasn’t needed and should try to get some sleep. But how could I go to sleep when they are all up and working hard?! At 1 am I caved. I went upstairs and tried to sleep. RLS wasn’t letting me. I wonder if stress makes it worse? Anyway, the boys shlepped their mattresses upstairs to the living room to sleep, and fell into bed soon after me. KoD packed it in around 2, but went down repeatedly in the night to check on things.

This morning the rush of water had abated, the laundry room concrete floor was dry yet filthy, but the boys’ rooms were squelchy. I hate the feeling of stepping on sodden carpet. We borrowed fans, and KoD wet vacced the carpets – and everything is slowly drying out. Tonight we are all zombies – I managed to squeeze in a nap today – the six am wake up was a killer!!

It’s been a rough week – but I look around me and know that I am blessed. Our oldest, whilst helping KoD with the wet vaccing, said to him “this is a great bonding experience” – wonderful that a 16 year old could see the positive in something that upset me so much.

Anyway, that’s my update. I am so looking forward to Shabbat I cannot even begin to tell you!!

I am going to try not to leave it so long between blog posts in the future, but bear with me.

Misleading, don’t you think?


We were at Costco, stocking up for the long winter ahead, and couldn’t find the kosher meat and chicken. They moved it. We asked the floor manager and he redirected us.

The refrigerator case in front of the treif bbq chickens is now home to Kosher meat. How many people are now going to assume that those BBQ rotisserie chickens are Kosher? They need to rearrange their floor plan once more!

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