Friday, December 28, 2007

It's official - I am crazy!

I am always frustrated and disappointed when taking pictures of kids. No matter how good my camera is, my skill is sorely lacking when trying to capture their funny faces, interesting moods or peculiar interactions. I always look at the end result and wonder why it looked like a pale copy of what was really going on at the time of the shot.

Here’s one example. Last night I was up until some ungodly hour, I think about 2.30 when I climbed into my bed to discover my cutie (or eggplant if you wish) son lying smack in the middle (leaving me two slim wedges on either side) with his hands under his head. He looked soooo cute (or eggplanty) and peaceful, as if he were lying on a beach getting a tan. As I lay down next to him, I was full of disappointment that I could not capture him at that particular moment. Firstly, I could and most likely would wake him up with the flash; secondly, I could wake up dear husband with the flash and/or baby crying, and thirdly, getting out of bed at 2.35 a.m. to take a picture of the kid who could wake up and take the entire house with him was just plain CRAZY.

And then I remembered, I left the light on in the kitchen! Ta-da. Excuse!!!! I quickly slid out of bed, got the camera, adjusted the flash, made a test shot in the completely dark living room and almost forgot to turn the lights off in the kitchen. Then I quietly climbed onto my bed (as quietly as my rather sturdy frame allows, of course) and prepared to make a shot. I knew I only had one chance at it. Herein lies the problem: it is very hard to take a picture in almost complete darkness. The LCD screen doesn’t show anything, I can barely see what I am doing, the bed wiggles under me, and to add to the list of problems I had to rush before I came to my senses, put the camera down and went to sleep. I had to ride the crazy wave before it was gone. So I took the first available position and snapped. The picture was OK, but definitely didn’t catch everything that it could. I think a few more seconds of proper positioning would definitely produce a much, much cuter shot. Now you would look at the picture and say: did you just go through all of the trouble to capture this? You ARE crazy.

In case you are wondering, I did wake the baby up, though not completely, and I think hubby stirred in his sleep. Then the baby repositioned himself on all fours and fell asleep that way. OMG!!! Yet another great shot! My hands trembled, crazy ideas rushing through my head, but my common sense came back and I went to sleep. Maybe there is hope for me after all.

P.S. Hubby was not surprised at all to find a camera in my underwear drawer. I guess I did wake him up or he is already used to my crazies…

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Identity crisis

I am not big on routines. Every single book on parenting tells us that routines are good for kids, for parents, for peace in the family, and ultimately for all humankind and planet earth. No use, I still don’t do well with routines. But when you do something every day of the week, every week of the month, some routines are accidentally developed whether one realizes it or not. Since my husband started night classes about two months ago, putting the kids to sleep shifted to the realm of my responsibilities. Before long, I routinely sang “My daughter is a cutie pie, cutie, cutie pie” song of my own creation while putting PJ's on her. And she would routinely say that she is not a cutie pie, she is a girl! And I would concede that yes, indeed she is a girl, very cute girl, and she would reply, “No, I am not cute.” We would go back and forth for a while; you get the picture.

Yesterday instead of her name, I sang, “Baby, baby is a cutie pie” when putting his PJ's on, to which she immediately responded,” “He is a not a cutie pie, I am.” You don’t appreciate things until you are about to lose them. I decided to explore the topic and asked her, “Isn’t your brother cute? You know, I could have two cutie-pies.” But she kept on insisting that her brother wasn’t a cutie, she was. Then I finally asked her, “If he is not a cutie pie, then what is he?” Without losing a beat she said, “Eggplant. (Maklazhan, yes, with an “M”)” I almost fell on the floor. When my giggles somewhat subsided, I asked her, “Why eggplant?” “Because he is a boy.” Aha, now it makes sense.

The funny thing is that we barely use this word. I rarely cook eggplants and they are never served in the playgroup. The only time she hears this word is when we read with her “My first dictionary book.” I think that there’s some connection in her head – pie is food, so is eggplant … and eggplant happens to be masculine in Russian, hence good for a boy. (I think I developed a severe case of toddler logic.) Otherwise, I am at a complete loss as to why she named him that way. Hope the name won’t stick though because Mom is still Guillermo.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

My baby's first dictionary

Mommy - multi-functional piece of equipment with many features, some not discovered yet. Came without a manual. Favorite features so far: feeding, cuddling, kissing, and tickling … did I say feeding? I like that a lot. Software/hardware bugs quite evident. Severe sound volume issues when under stress. Battery leaves something to be desired. Spare batteries not offered by manufacturer. Obviously model developed in a rush to meet some arbitrary deadline.

Papa – similar to Mommy, only less features and shorter fuse. Digs riskier fun. Still haven't figured out all functions. Came without manual too (what is it with the shortage of manuals?). Major software flaw: is not open to house redecorating ideas. Exterior and battery life very durable.

Sister – partner in crime. Model still under development, but previews promise many fun features. Battery life – limited only by Mommy and Papa. Major drawback: often fights for the same limited resources: toys, Mommy, etc.

Grandma - the enabler. Features similar to Mommy. Battery life – indeterminable due to limited exposure to the model.

Grandpa - the weakest link. (According to Grandma, the missing link...hmmm.)

Baby – ME! ME! ME! An absolutely wonderful, flawless device brought to bring fun to the otherwise completely uneventful Mommy's day. I take my job very, very seriously.

Playgroup - a place where all my talents are fully appreciated and where I am the boss, though not everyone caught on yet.

Lego - favorite toy of masochistic parents.

Papa’s computer – the forbidden fruit.

Sharing – who came up with that crazy idea?

Whining – the shortest and surest way to get things done.

Pacifier - not a fan, though fun to take away from Sister and have her chase me around the house. He he.

Cereal – tastes best when eaten off the floor.

Floor – adds unique gourmet flavors to anything eaten off of it. Similar tasting results cannot be achieved in controled environment.

Cookie – preferred method of re-fueling. Thank you for the reminder. Coo-kee, coo-kee, Mommy, more coo-kee.

Food leftovers - look really good on a carpet or smeared on the table. Liquids are perfect for washing hands.

Salt/sugar/spices – good for spicing up the decor.

Silverware/toys/clothes/insides of any unlocked drawer – all fine decorating ideas.

Audio tapes – yet another good decorating choice.

Timeout – a place where I go when Mommy/Papa battery runs low or when house decorating ideas clash with that of Parents'.

Clothes – optional.

Diaper - a party pooper. Should be optional. Thick disposable underwear that stands in a way of true fun. Explosive ones are particularly entertaining for Mommy. Why does she so stubbornly resist entertainment?

Diarrhea – effortless fun. Gives the most amount of entertainment for your buck. Will do even at the risk of getting a red bottom. That's how much I love Mommy.

Medicine - no, thank you.

Bath – water! Water! Water! Must pretend not to enjoy at first or otherwise might be taken away for misbehaving. Cannot give them more weapons.

Washing hair – necessary (???) evil.

Time between my bath and my bed - the best time to relieve myself. I either have a very fresh diaper on, and Mommy has to chase me, AGAIN, to change it. Or I don't have one on yet - need I say more? Not that I talk…

My own bed – WHAT???!!! Have you been consorting with the enemy? Also, see Sharing.

Sleeping – next to Mommy? Mmm, mmm good. Have to check up on her a few times every night though. Cannot be too careful.

Wake up time - the earlier the better. Time when Mommy is particularly unkempt and grumpy. Why would she possibly be tired if I provide so much entertainment?

What else could I possibly do to maximize Mommy's fun? Suggestions welcome.

Friday, December 21, 2007


The media’s prayers have been answered once again. Another Spears girl have made the news. Everyone is supposedly shocked, if we choose to believe our news sources. I understand the confusion, the rage, the demand to take her show off the air, but one thing I do not understand is this supposed shock. What precisely is so shocking? That a sixteen-year-old has a steady boyfriend? Or that they have sex? Or that a female who regularly engages in sex got pregnant? Or maybe, that instead of getting a quiet abortion, she decided to risk her career and keep the baby?

Which one of those is shocking? Dating for teenagers has long become a norm. While not encouraged and probably not as wide-spread as many believe, teenage sex is not out of the ordinary either. If we accept all the things leading to pregnancy as normal, then pregnancy, as a natural consequence of dating, should be viewed as normal too. But noooooooo, that is taking it too far. To me – that is hypocrisy. To me – that particular attitude is shocking. The parents’ message that is given to girls seems to be as follows: I know that you guys are dating for a while, I trust you to do the right thing, but if you choose not to (and statistically you are very likely to not do the right thing), make sure the neighbors don’t know and you don’t get knocked up.

Personally, I find the whole situation tragic. 16-year-olds should not be having kids for many, many reasons. They should not be having sex and they should not date. But since parents are unable to stop their kids from dating, the only responses they can offer are either denial or the sheepish, “As long as you are using protection…” Some choose to trust their kids, and if it works, then wonderful, but I personally don’t see how a teenage boy with raging hormones could be trusted in this particular area. I don’t blame parents, their job is particularly hard nowadays. Maybe, nothing had changed over the years, but the world where I grew up seemed to be so much more innocent and chaste.

But back to Jaime Lynn. Media should just leave her alone and should stop making sensation where there is none. (For goodness sake, they are already discussing what maternity clothes she should wear.) The recent statistics that teen pregnancies are on the rise went almost unnoticed, at least in comparison to the news about the other Spears sister. But one particular teenager's pregnancy is causing the raucous - simply because she is famous and has a famous sister. Pregnant sixteen-year-old is hardly uncommon or newsworthy. Let her be and deal with the consequences of her actions in private. And stop being so shocked, it’s annoying.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Know what I mean?

This past Sunday I had a very unwelcome guest, vertigo. It came all of a sudden, without much warning and turned me into a completely useless lump from around 2 p.m. until the next morning. I was in bed until 7.30, still feeling pretty bad, though better than in the afternoon. Hubby had a night class from 8 to 9.30 and really didn't want to miss it, so we decided that he would go. And if I needed him to come home, I would call him.

I tried not to call, I really did. Hubby left at 7.50, and the minute the door closed behind him, the vultures sensing my weakness (I mean my sweet darling children seeing that I do no object) started taking our home apart. I tried to stop them, but every time I got off the couch, I would get severely nauseous. I fought with them (I mean I tried to educate them about proper behavior as much as I could), but all in vain. I thought that if I only had to endure this for another half hour, I probably could do it. When I looked at the clock, it showed 8.05. Uh-oh, he was only gone 15 minutes, and I had hour and a half to go...

I resolved that I'd let the kids do their worst (I mean I would let kids be kids) and pretend that I didn't notice (I mean beam at them with approving smile). But I would not call. I would not succumb. I would prove to the world that I could do it. When they fought (I mean had differences of opinion), I didn't notice. When they sprinkled the floor with cereal and raisins (there's no PC substitute for that, is there?), I didn't notice. When I heard them taking out all the silverware, I didn't notice. When they took turns sitting in the utensil drawer and subsequently broke it, I didn't scream too loudly (I mean I beamed with pride). When they went to the bathroom and I heard water running, I realized that warranted getting off the couch. There they were, in the bathroom, with our silverware, some of my cooking utensils and the wooden dough-roller - all on the bathroom floor. And there he was, wet from head to his navel, my love and pride and only son, sticking the before-mentioned silverware into the radiator where it was completely irretrievable. My other love and pride and only daughter was cheering him on. Ughhhh! (I mean, oh my). I looked at the clock, and it was 8.35. There was no way I could tolerate this for another hour when I already suffered (I mean enjoyed my kids' antics) for about eternity and a half. I called hubby. He tried to persuade me to tough it out a bit longer, but after my short and poignant sob story he decided to come back and save our last teaspoon.

While waiting for him, I went back on the couch. The kids, one of them half-naked by now, started jumping on me in retaliation for closing the bathroom (I mean because they wanted to spend quality time with their mother). I repeatedly asked them to stop since vibrations made me even more nauseous. Eventually, I broke down and started sobbing, saying things like, "I cook for you, I clean your bottoms, I buy you clothes and toys. But when I am sick and need something from you..." "Why can't you have pity on your mother?" etc. I didn't really wail for a long time because just like kids who can cram 50 different mischiefs in 15 minutes, I can fit 20 different complaints in just under a minute. I am gifted, what can I say, and I practice religiously.

In the middle of my wailing, my daughter interrupted me rather unceremoniously, and said, "Calm down. Stop crying. I SAID CALM DOWN. What's the matter? I am here, why are you crying?" There was something shockingly familiar and even more shockingly unpleasant in her voice. It reminded me of, I don't know, a neighbor, a teacher, or hmmm myself? I sat in complete shock until hubby came home and sent me to bed.

The result is more or less like a MasterCard commercial. Making apartment habitable again - 1 hr, fixing broken kitchen drawer - 15 minutes, buying new set of silverware - indeterminable, learning to be more sympathetic when your kids cry over seemingly minute things - priceless.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

First haircut

Our boy had his first real haircut. The one before doesn't count because poor thing was so scared, we barely touched his hair. Now his hair is cut so short, I honestly couldn't recognize him at first. Absolutely different, though still enormously adorable face. Well, you won't see it in this picture...
...he will no longer be able to do this, and his sister's hairclips are safe, at least until he figures out how to destroy them...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I found the key to happiness

I once again resolve to squash every positive thought that comes to my mind because having good thoughts attracts something negative. Therefore, I have arrived to the only logical conclusion: the key to happiness is a state of perpetual misery.

Today I went grocery shopping, and was very relieved to see the final number on the register to be about $30 less than usual and $40 less than expected (I bought take-out, something I normally do not do). I was very delighted and mentally thanked G-d. All was well in the world... that was until we got home, and hubby realized that he had a parking violation ticket stuck to his windshield...$115...

As a side note, how desperate and miserable does one have to be to work as a parking violation officer, or whatever the official name of their occupation is. I can't think of any other occupation that would be so universally despised. Can you?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Look what I got for my birthday!

My birthday was in October. I didn't really know what I wanted: I didn't want jewelry, I didn't have time to read books and clothes/shoes I would buy anyway if I saw something I liked because liking something in my size doesn't happen too often. Then we went to Home Depot, and I saw a thing I wanted for a long, long time, and hubby wouldn't even consider getting it. No, not the new drill, or the power saw. I am not that kinda gal. What I wanted was the new shower head with extended cord, so that I could wash children's dirty bottoms without getting my head wet and/or without getting it the bathtub with them. Yes, I am a romantic at heart.

Since it was my birthday and he didn't get me anything, hubby acquiesced. I won! We picked out the best shower head we liked (by far not the cheapest), took it home, and it sat in our closet for the next two months. Finally, the nagging worked (yay!), and hubby installed it Friday morning a week ago. When I came from work, I was duly impressed, but that Friday afternoon was VERY hectic, and I ended up not taking a shower before Shabbat. (Don't tell me it never happened to you.) When I asked hubs how the new shower head worked, he said he hated it. The pressure was really low and he couldn't adjust the direction.

I told him that water pressure was very important to me, almost as much as hubby's happiness, so if he hated the shower head, then I didn't want it either. Without further ado, hubs took it off first thing Saturday night. I never even tried the darn thing. I went on line to find something better, and discovered that due to the Federally mandated filter, all of these shower heads had low pressure. The only solution was to find one that didn't glue the filter in as well as the one that we got.

Hubby didn't waste any time and the very next Monday headed to Home Depot, and came back with a new drill. He said that he actually saved money, because we were still $10 better off after the returning of the shower head. Whatever...he could've saved us much more money by not buying it, but I decided to not be picky. After all, he was kind of spending money already spent.

And then, about two days later, it hit me. That money was earmarked for my birthday present. I got a drill for my birthday!!! A drill!!! Me, that is all thumbs got a drill!!! Well, I know what he is getting for his birthday - a mink coat (shoot, can't afford), a purse, a skirt, a bra, pantyhose, and if all fails, tampons! Just something he cannot use!

P.S. I confronted hubby with this, and he said that he already saw the irony at the cash register and was surprised it took about a day and a half for it to hit me. I am usually much faster than way. So we are looking for alternative gifts now... Hopefully we will figure it out before his birthday; otherwise, plan A is still in effect.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Chanukah is over, actually it was over on Tuesday. I await it with great anticipation, mainly because of the donuts. For eight days and nights I turn into Homer Simpson and unpack nightly packages from bakery with trembling hands. And then I indulge.

So, after eating about three dozen of the bakery-made donuts by day two, I had obtained a recipe that was simple yet delicious from the my kids' daycare center owner, and of course I made two or three batches. I don't remember exactly since I had severely OD'ed on powdered sugar and blacked out a few times. Thank you, Mrs. V for your wonderful recipe! Now my butt resembles a giant donut that is big enough to feed a family of four for about a week. Again, thank you, Mrs. V...

And that how it always ends: I wake up the first day after Chanukah with sugar withdrawal symptoms and tremendous amount of self-loathing. Why did I need to eat all those donuts? Why?

Just went on a scale. D'oh!

Side note: I do exaggerate, though only a bit...

Friday, December 14, 2007

One way or another I am going to find you...

How's that for irony? I am so disorganized that I cannot find my organizer. How will I ever get organized without it?

I really need to know, who are you?

My mom got sick. Her throat was really bothering her, and when we spoke Sunday night, I could barely recognize her voice. Mom didn't get better over night, and on Monday, she called her boss, and gave the (extremely unusual for her) "I am not coming in today" shpiel. After explaining for a few minutes why she was not coming in, mom was ready to hang up the phone, when the supervisor asked her, "Guillermo, is that you?"

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I'll get home, eventually

We just bought our first car. My mother-in-law came from Israel, and I was still on maternity leave. On a whim, my husband and I decided to show her Manhattan at night, and without further ado we packed up a diaper bag and left. I figured that we didn't really need directions since I commuted to and from Manhattan every day for the past four years. That was our first mistake of many. I didn't drive, so one-way streets or timely giving of directions were concepts very foreign to me at that time. "Why can't you just turn here?" or "Just back up a bit" (on a highway to enter missed exit) were comments all too common for me. My husband, on the other hand, was completely unfamiliar with Manhattan, and this was his first time driving there.

Between the two of us, we ended up in New Jersey instead of Manhattan (don't ask, that night I found out that once you enter a tunnel, you can't turn around or back up). My husband was getting worried since we were in an unfamiliar place during dark hours. I, on the other hand, was in a very joyous mood to finally get out of the house where I was couped up with the baby for the past 6 weeks. And I had complete faith in my hubby.

There was nobody to ask for directions, and calling anyone didn't make any sense since we didn't even know where we were. So we drove around to find a gas station. After pointlessly driving for 15 minutes, I was overcome with a particularly severe case of verbal diarrhea and started singing, "I'll be home for Christmas"(it was the first week of November.) To my surprise instead of getting annoyed, my husband cracked a smile. I didn't really know any other lines to this song, so I carried on for a few more minutes, and then we found directions.

Today I went to the pharmacy, and while standing in line I heard this same song on the radio. The line was long, so I finally heard the last lines of it: "I'll be home for Christmas, if only in my dream." Thank Heavens hubby didn't know that song either! LOL

As a side note, this was supposed to be a short post. Why can't I make them like that? They always come out long...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Welcome winter

And so it begins...

I love winter. Only not the New York winter, the real one. In my mind NY winter is not real - it's not really cold, but I wouldn't call it warm either. The weather is completely unpredictable, and I never know how to dress in the morning. My main complaint about it is that there is no snow, and even if we are lucky to get a few inches, it turns into sleet and ice within two days. And I hate ice.

Now that I have kids, my love affair with winter is cooling off. Especially when the landlord, not I, controls the thermostat, and the apartment is more often than not unpleasantly chilly. They say it is healthy, but I would take comfort over health on any given day. Also the kids tend to get sick much more often in the winter. While there's nothing more fun than staying at home and cuddling with the baby guilt free, I feel so bad for my babies when they are having hard time breathing at night or can't nurse because they are congested.

This winter (thout it is not officially winter yet) is not an exception. My daughter just stopped coughing, and not too soon. I was getting a bit tired of telling the neighbors that we didn't get a new dog. This time I resisted temptation of taking her to the doctor, just in case. There was no fever or anything else wrong with her other than runny nose and a cough that sounded like a really big dog barking. This time of the year, we go there, wait for an hour in the room filled with sick kids, pay $20 just to be told that there isn't much the doctor could do for a cold, and then get my kids really sick from some other kid in the waiting room, repeating the vicious circle. I think I'll pass this time, unless it gets really bad. The website said to give it three weeks, it has only been one.

So while the daughter is getting better, I am waiting for the baby to get sick. I have given up on trying to instill some basic ideas about hygiene into my kids. No matter how many bottles of juice I prepare for them, they end up fighting for the same one. Even if they are not fighting, one of them decides to "share" with another one ("Look, hon, isn't this cute, she's/he's sharing, aww...Wait, it's gross, eww"), compare the consistency of each other's chocolate milk, or stick their little fingers into the sibling's soup. So I gave up... long ago...and now am waiting for the baby to get sick from his sister's germs. The minute I decide that maybe we have dodged the bullet this time, I hear my little one barking exactly like his sister. No, Mrs. Markowitz, we REALLY didn't get a dog. Sigh...

Therefore, I declare today to be the the first winter day in our household, and I don't care what the scientists or weather people say. Why? The apartment is once again cold, both kids are sick and whiny, both had a fit when I left for work, and to top it all off I got a UTI. Nice... Oh yeah, almost forgot, and they both wiped their noses on my sweater, black sweater, and I noticed only when I came to work, naturally in my boss' office. For those who don't know, the first time I show up for work in the snot-ornamented sweater is the first winter day of the year.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Eat that, Galileo!

Yesterday I got a clear (another) proof that European education is superior to American. Much, much more superior. I don't think that you would find even one 10-year old in Russia and probably all former USSR (we are talking about healthy ones without any learning disabilities) that would be puzzled by the question about the shape of the Earth. Any normal pre-teen regularly attending school would know that Earth is round, as in not flat.

Not so in the States. I was checking my email yesterday, when I saw the headline that one of the hosts of the View, talk show for women, didn't know whether earth was round or flat. Normally I try to avoid celebrity news, and get most of my news from the headlines. But someone, regardless of their celebrity status, not knowing the shape of the earth warranted reading the article and watching the video clip. I also thought that there could be some liberal media bias, twisting the words of the openly faithful Christian. Not so, they actually didn't twist it at all. Sherri Shepherd did not know whether earth was round or flat. If her son asked her about it, she would actually have to research the answer. Her reason for not knowing a basic scientific fact? She never took interest in it. She was more concerned about her ability to feed her son, not with the shape of the earth.

Uh-huh. This is the information she was supposed to learn from the earth science in junior high. If at the age of 13 she needed to concern herself with feeding her kids, then I guess she had a valid excuse. I mean, if I got knocked up at 12, I probably wouldn't care if the earth was round or flat either and probably wouldn't pay much attention in class. But she didn't. She had her first kid at 38. And not taking interest part? Most people don't particularly care about math, but everyone knows that 2+2=4 (unless you are an acountant, then the answer is open to interpretation). To me there's no difference between not knowing the former or the latter. Both are very basic, and knowing them is a must regardless of your personal interests. (As a side note, I shared the news with my husband. He told me he was so shocked, he was thinking about this the entire next day. And it takes a lot for hubby to get so shocked.)

That same woman was under the impression that NOTHING predates Christianity and argued with Whoopie Goldberg that Greeks threw Christians to lions. If we believe Sherri, those unfortunate events happened over three centuries before the birth of Jesus. Who were those Christians worshipping then? And the woman had the audacity to announce and defend those ignorant views on public television! That reminds me my fahter's business trip to the deep Russia where someone told my dad that Jesus was Russian. The woman was shocked and appauled at the suggestion that her deity could have Jewish roots. It's one thing to be a faithful believer. It's completely another thing to be an ignorant believer.

So the question for me is: what do kids do in American schools that some of them manage to graduate without knowing some basic scientific facts? I really need to know because I have one starting school next year...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

This is why I could never be on time.

11.30 pm It all started last night when both of my kids decided to stay in bed with me.

10.30 pm (correction) Actually, it started even before that: we needed to lend our extra mattress to my brother-in-law, and a rail had to be reinstalled on my bed, which took up some bed space. When three people are sleeping in a bed for one, that extra space really counts.

12 am When the kids woke up in the middle of the night and fell back asleep, for some inexplicable reason my husband refused to transfer my daughter into her own bed, and I was afraid to wake up the spoiled brat whom we call our son. So I ended up sleeping with both of them. They both slept terribly - the baby likes to have his space, which was terribly lacking last night, and my daughter was coughing all night long. All of this translated into no sleep for mommy.

7 am When my cell phone/alarm went off, the kids were wide awake (damn that daylight savings thing), so to win a few more minutes in bed, I gave my cell phone to my son.

7.05 am He had the most beautiful smile when he was entrusted with my phone.

7.07 am Two minutes later he reminded me why I don't entrust him with that thing too often. He threw it in the space between the wall and the bed, and started saying, "Fell down, fell down" with complete amazement. I guess they didn't teach them the basic laws of physics in the playgroup: if you throw something down, it falls down, not up!

7.10 am So I got up and tried to retrieve the phone.

7.15 am Finally it occurred to me to use the broom (I was sleepy, OK?), and ten minutes, ten precious morning minutes later, the phone was in my hands, and somehow the baby got it again. Whatever...

7.25 am Though I had a terrible headache and already survived one moring adventure, I was still on track time wise. I gave the kids cereal, and they ate nicely together. I periodically was checking on them, and all was well.

7.50 am When I finally dressed myself and was ready to leave, I saw my little one with the empty bowl in his hands, and a smile that could not possibly mean anything good. I looked down and saw that leftover of his cereal was all over the carpet. I hate that carpet, so the fact that it was now covered in chocolate milk didn't bother me. The fact that I needed to clean it up before hubs saw the mess did bother me a little.

7.55 am So I frantically ran around the house trying to find broom. I knew that I left it in the kitchen, but it was not there. It wasn't in the living room, in either bedrooms, I even checked the bathroom. No broom.

8.05 am In the mean time I yelled at the kids to stay in one place so that cocoa puffs would not spread all over the house. If I tried to control the weather, I would get similar results.

8.08 am The cocoa puffs were now all over the house, and still no broom in sight. I asked the kids if they knew where the broom was, and my daughter told me that it was in the bedroom, same bedroom I searched four times before. I asked her to get it, and she said, "No". I guess our teenage years arrived early, yay for us! I asked again, and finally I got the teenage, "OK, mom" with the obligatory rolling of the eyes. What the ___?! To paraphrase my friend Sally, where was I when that sweet little creature turned into a teenage monster?

7.35 am (flashback) Turned out baby decided to retrieve a few more things from under the bed, and the broom was still there.

8.10 am Finally I had the broom and tried to sweep up soggy cocoa puffs from the carpet, and that didn't work at all.

8.15 am After unsuccessful and frantic 5 minute sweeping, all I got were five or six puffs. In the final stage of desperation, I started picking them up by hand, and got it done much more efficiently. Actually, my little one helped to pick up two of puffs without me asking. At this point I could no longer be mad at him for not staying on the couch.

8.25 am Finally, I put on my coat, look at the clock and I realize that I am half hour late.

Sigh. I got up on time...

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Be quiet, Halle!

In the recent few months it seems impossible to go on any news website without seeing something about Halle Berry finally being pregnant. The mother-to-be (or is she technically a mother already?) is beaming with happiness and tells anyone who wants or doesn't want to hear all the details about conception, pregnancy and their plans to have more kids in the future. She reminds me of the Energizer bunny, who keeps going and going and going... Shut up already!

I love babies and think pregnant women are absolutely adorable. I LOVE hearing the details of pregnancies, and although mine weren't easy, I am very truly happy for any woman who doesn't suffer during hers. I love it when women want to have more children (for all the right reasons, of course). Overall, I enjoy these conversation, discussions, and baby stuff shopping. However, I don't know anyone in my circle of friends and collegues who would talk about it nonstop to anyone who would listen, i.e. talk about their pregnancies as much as Halle Berry does. And honestly, it gives me creeps. Not only because I think that some details should be left private, and not only because too much of sweet and adorable is somewhat nauseating. And no, I am not annoyed, I actually can relate. When I was in the same position, that's all I wanted to talk about and constantly had to stop myself, not always successfully. Why? It's just that when this much attention is drawn to any one event, something is bound to go wrong. Ok, maybe not bound, but has a very high likelyhood.

I truly and honestly and most sincerely wish Halle and her baby all the best. I don't care if news about her perpetuate on all the websites, after all I don't have to read them. I only wish that she would become a little more discreet, for her own sake.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Joys of cooking for children

My daughter's nose has been stuffed for some time now, so I decided to make life a little easier for her. I wanted to spray it with saline solution so that she could breathe at night. She agreed, which in itself was strange, probably because the little girl herself was fed up with her misbehaving nose. The whole thing backfired as usual. I completely forgot that little children should be administered drops of saline, sprays are for adults. And of course I sprayed her. Poor things started crying right away, solution went straight into her throat, and a few minutes later she threw up. I felt like the worst person in the world. I tried to help, and had only done damage.

Next morning she seemingly forgot about this episode and was happily eating jello after lunch. I asked her if she liked it. She very, very happily said, "Yes, mommy I like it." Then five seconds later out of the blue, again, very very happily,"Today I am going to throw THAT up!"

Good thing she was only talking about jello, and not something I actually labored to cook. And, thank goodness, she didn't throw up.

Friday, November 30, 2007


I found out today that we definitely have a Russian child. Hubs recalled the conversation he had with my daughter this morning. He gave her orange juice for breakfast.

DD: This is my beer.
DH: Really? You know, good girls don't drink beer.
DD: Mommy drinks beer. Mommy is a good girl.
DH: Mommy is not a girl any more.
DD: (complete and utter surprise. We've been going over genders for the last couple of months and she finally got the distinction between men and women, whom she calls boys and girls.) (Then defending her mom) Mommy is a girl! (short pause) Mommy is not a girl?
DH: Mommy is a woman ("tyotya").
DD: Noooo. (complete disbelief)

When I spoke on the phone with my daughter a few hours after this conversation, the first thing she had asked me was, "Mommy, do you drink beer?" and then, "Mommy, daddy is a man, you are a woman, a good woman, my brother is a baby." Then I asked her, "What are you? A girl?" She was not longer sure. Actually, I think she was sure, she just wanted to answer in a way that wouldn't disqualify her from having a drink now and then. LOL! If that isn't wise, in a Budweiser kind of way, I don't know what is!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

No more ads!

I have decided to remove all the ads from my blog, at least for now. I just didn't have enough energy to filter out all the smutty and porn site ads that Google kept on putting on my pages. And, like I said before, my integrity is not on sale. It is for premium price buyers only. And earning $1.31 in the past two months is far from my idea of premium. So goodbye Google ads. You won't be missed, not by me.

For girls only.

I open my mail on Monday, and what do I see? An invoice for lab work in the amount of $210!!! What??? The invoice is for the visit to my ob/gyn 2 months ago. As far as I know, the only test that I had done was Pap smear. I can't tell from the lab's coding for which tests they are billing me; I just see two lines with weird acronyms (NUC ACD doesn't say much to me). In any case, even if they did perform some other test - $210??? For what? Did they discover a gold mine in there and want their cut? Or maybe, it's uranium, which would explain "nuc" in coding. Would that making me a walking time bomb? Quite accurate, not bad for a simple lab test.

THA-A-AT's why it's so expensive.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Straighten yourself out, young man

I had a group meeting today with one of the bigger people in our company. One of the guys present there was a newbie and fresh out of college. While at the meeting, he got a little too comfortable in his seat and looked like he was on vacation sipping margaritas and not talking business. I found it very hard to resist the comment, "Sit up straight, for goodness sake." You know what stopped me? No, not the fear of spoiling my working relationship with this guy, and not the fact that I would look nasty in front of other people. I didn't say anything because it sounded like something my grandmother would say.

Goodness, what is happening to me? Why am I getting old so fast?

In my defense, I actually stood up for the little guy in that meeting. The big man couldn't remember his name and constantly called him something else, so I said - IN FRONT OF THE BIG BOSS - "Don't worry. He called me Dorothy for two years." FYI, Dorothy is NOT my real name. And nobody ever called me that.

Where's that flushing sound? Yep, right here...

Monday, November 26, 2007


Saturday night we went out to buy a few things for the kids. At the end of the trip I suggested to treat the kids, who behaved reasonably well, with going to the family restaurant and ordering pancakes. I am holding Sally Hazel partially responsible because her going out to eat with the well-behaved child story was partially the inspiration for this trip. Also, I was going back to dieting on Monday, and this was my last chance to get pancakes for a long, long time, like a week. (I rarely stick with the diet for more than a week). Somehow, on Saturday night, a week seemed to be too long to be pancake-deprived. Just don't tell my husband that eating out was for me, not the kids, and we'll all be fine, OK?

My daughter was excited, but the baby fell asleep on the way to the restaurant. We gently woke him up, and despite of my fear that he will be extremely cranky, he was quite happy and smiley. All was well. That should've been my first hint that things will not go so smooth. Nothing that starts well and without any hiccups ends well in our house. Nothing... I need a bump here and there for comfort, just to know that I am fulfilling my quota of annoyances in small areas, not in major ones. But on Saturday I was lulled in a false sense of security by pancake anticipation. I have my faults, OK?

We were seated in comfy seat next to the wall. This was very convenient because the kids couldn't run out on us. The walls also had big mirrors, so the baby took the lead and started entertaining himself by making crazy faces. I will not describe in great detail, but only a mother could find chewed up food poking out of his mouth cute. You had to be there; on the other hand, my husband who was there, didn't find that to be cute at all. OK, like I said, you have to be a mother.

Then we ordered. I ordered soup, of course, to mask the real reason why we were in the restaurant. I knew there would be leftovers of pancakes from kids, there had to be... (You don't need to say this, I know I am pathetic and desperate, OK?) This was when the real fun started - waiting for food to arrive. My daughter, the frugal one, started stuffing my bag with packages of Equal and Sweet'n'Low, no matter how many times I had asked her to stop doing it. The baby got way too hyper and started jumping up and down in his seat, getting cuter and more annoying by the minute. At some point he even started squealing with delight. When the food arrived, kids barely touched it - they were too busy making monkey faced in the mirror. I think I swallowed my soup in record time, ditto for hubby. We asked the waitress to pack everything else in the doggy bag to take with us. But not before I indulged in some pancakes. Oh, sweet memories...

Overall, I would call this trip a success. 1. - We went out to eat, which we didn't do in over a year, probably even more. 2. - Even though kids misbehaved, no one got hurt, and no serious damages to the restaurant took place. 3. - I got to eat pancakes while still officially on the diet, he he. 4. - Leftovers, always good. 5. - The only people I really feel bad for are not my husband and I. They are two women who sat behind us, who most likely were taking a break from their own kids. They came to relax, not to watch other kids' antics and being flashed with our camera. I give them full credit, they didn't give us the evil eye even once, something I probably would have indulged in if I were in their place. On the other hand, my kids provided those poor women a reminder as to why they had to get out in the first place and served as an antidote for feeling guilty. Public service, if you look at it closely. The only serious down side - hubby got hearburn.

At the end hubby said that next time we are eating out alone. At the rate at which we are going out now, I think "next time" we will be eating apple sauce in the nursing home. But one shouldn't be too picky, right? OK, I'll take mine strawberry flavored, and preferably with pancakes.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Did I just say that?

Out loud? In front of my boss? Did I?

We were discussing some coding for fixed assets in our general ledger - sounds cool, right? - when the boss asked my colleague if she wanted to take the lead on that project. He said that the project wasn't very exciting, but someone has got to do it. I don't know what came over me - maybe overeating during our Thanksgiving lunch, maybe dieting prior week reduced the blood flow to my brain, or maybe I was just being too myself in anticipation of a day off. Long story short, I said, "Boring? I didn't know we had exciting projects here. How come nobody told me about them?" The boss looked at me in astonishment and said, "Well, what about this project and this. And you just did this wonderful research for us." At least he was getting that I am somewhat (ha ha) joking. I said that I don't find accounting particularly exciting, I just do that for a living."

Then he referred to the research I had done for him on recording deferred rent - don't yawn! We discussed it for a while, some of us not fully comprehending as to why the higher accounting authorities made certain rulings, and how it was impossible to understand what the ruling was in the first place. That's when I said,"You see what happens when you have a room full of people excited about accounting? They make rules that nobody understands or wants to follow. I bet no one on FASB board has a personal life." At least my colleague smiled...

Did you hear that flushing sound? Yep, that's my non existing career and any possibility of having it going down the drain...

Friday, November 16, 2007

SOMEBODY find me SOMEBODY to file

My last few weeks at work were completely hectic and dedicated to preparing and filing our taxes. Our organization is quite complex. Even though we are not for profit, we have about 8 subsidiaries, some active, some not, and I have to file 15 tax returns in total. I worked my behind off to understand (doing it for the first time for our company), prepare and file them, staying overtime, skipping lunch, etc. But I wouldn't be me if I didn't do something that would make this process even harder, something completely dumb, something that would put the icing on this cake. In other words, even if the process were a smooth one, I would find a way to make it harder - and the process was not smooth at all...

Not for profit tax returns are quite intensive. On top of it, IRS has decided that organizations of our size have to e-file, no paper returns are accepted. There's a lot of info that needs to be reported on, some of it has little to do with numbers. One of such pieces is the compensation of key employees and other five highest paid employees of the company. For some odd reason, the higher ups or the Board decided that this info (available for public inspection on the Internet to anyone curious) is classified and cannot be shown to peons like me. So all the numbers have to be entered into the software by me, except for this "sensitive" info, which must be entered by HR consultant. There is one problem with this: the system shows a diagnostic error if some of the info is omitted, which prevents return to be e-filed. My boss was somewhat freaking out about the whole e-filing business and was very anxious to see that error-free diagnostic page. So on one of the returns in the lines where the sensitive info had to be put in, I had entered the officers' names (thank G-d that the names of the big wigs in our place are not a top-rated secret), but for their titles I put in "somebody" and for their salaries I entered "51,000" to be corrected later by HR. So the diagnostic page was finally error-free.

Fast forward a couple of weeks, and the HR consultant is tied up in some very important meeting. The compensation numbers are finalized 48hrs before the final deadline, and turns out that I am entrusted with inputting not all, but some of the sensitive info on some of the returns. I enter the info, I adjust the numbers, and I happily e-file. On my way to my manager's office I feel the pit in my stomach - I realize that I didn't check our biggest return prior to filing. Yes, I checked it prior many, many times, but I didn't after I entered the sensitive info. I had meticulously checked every single page of every single return, except for this one. And as Murphy's law would have it, the one return I didn't check was the one that I really should have. I somehow forgot to do this in the filing frenzy, mainly because the returns did not have to be printed out. But, I went on reasoning in my head, what could possibly change, the number tied out, right? And then it hits me and the pit in my stomach doubles its size every few seconds: on our biggest and second most important return I only changed info that affected the numbers. Pages that were purely informational were not changed - they were initially supposed to be taken care of by HR, not me, and I didn't make a note to correct them when the plans changed.

This is a major disaster. I immediately call the tax software company, and they can't help. I call IRS, and they can't help either. Once e-filed, the return is filed, end of story, the only option is to amend. So there, the tax return available for public inspection showing all the big bosses (except for the three highest) titled "SOMEBODY" (yes, in caps) and earning less than... well peons like me. I don't know what to do, and my supervisor is gone. Three frantic calls to his cell phone go unanswered, and I am not ashamed to admit that I was on the verge of crying.

I wrote this post on the day of filing, and honestly didn't know if I would have a job next week. I was hoping and praying that the whole thing would blow over. So here's the update: the next day we e-filed the amended return, and hopefully the one with a lot of "somebodies" will not make its way to the public. At least that's what IRS says, but I have grown sceptical about the government promises. I was actually recommended for the award for my hard work on the taxes. But I keep on wondering, did they recommend me before the "somebody" boo boo or after?

Monday, November 12, 2007

I am the Rock

There are few things in life I dislike as much as professional wrestling. I find everything about it either dumb or revolting: larger than life characters, steroids, and, of course, the appeal to the smallest common denominator. Even the name "wrestling" is a misnomer. Some call it soap operas for men. Well, I have a problem with men who like soap operas, sue me! I plan to pass on this attitude onto my children. I should say planned.

Thursday night. Everyone is exhausted. The kids' day is coming to the end, and they have nothing to lose by behaving like wild animals. My night, the busiest night of the week, is only starting. The kids are playing their favorite (and wildest, no coincidence here) game: they take turns climbing on the windowsill and then jumping off it on my bed. I am tired of begging, yelling, threatening, etc for them stop and put on their pj's. I am currently folding laundry in hopes that at least one of them will wear himself out, so that I have to tackle only one toddler. At some point the game is modified, and the kid whose turn is to climb on the windowsill is no longer waiting for the other one to get up. So far no one jumped on any body parts, but I know that it is only a matter of time. I give a warning, and they calm down a bit. Two minutes later the baby is completely exhausted, and cannot get up any more. He is lying face down on my bed, motionless and quiet, his arms and legs spread out, looking like a little star from the top. I love the view, and take a few moments to enjoy it before attacking him head on with a fresh diaper and pj's.
That's when his sister decides to try her luck in professional wrestling and jumps right on top of him. I don't know what's wrong with these kids, but they both found it immensely entertaining. Needless to say, my daughter got punished, and I got a shock of my life because what my precious, gentle, sweet little girl did looked EXACTLY like WWF commercials: it was extremely dumb, unsafe, and ugly to look at. But at least it was unscripted and for real. Oh, and no steroids...

Thursday, November 8, 2007

What's the deal with the boxes?

To answer the question posed by Sally Hazel, here's the saga of the boxes. This is also a cautionary tale to the young and naive as to why you should never do anything nice for your mother-in-law. Unless, of course, you are my husband and you mil is my mom.

This all had started about a year ago when we went to Ikea. I will never forget that day because that's how this mess, which is still not over, has started. Walking in the isles, I had noticed the fake flowers of the unimaginable beauty and unspoken girth. They were very tall and quite voluminous in the petals department. Hubs and I immediately decided that those were the flowers for us. We had also found a nice vase to go with them. When my mother had seen these flowers in our house and liked them, we had decided to get them for her birthday.

Time had passed. We have been enjoying these polyethylene Smychka (who comes up with these names???) beauties and getting many compliments on them. Little did we know that trouble was just around the corner.

Some time a month ago hubs realized that his parents' 30th anniversary is coming this November. This called for a gift. Since my in-laws live on another continent, bless their hearts, getting them a gift is no easy feat, but we were determined. And then we both had an idea: why don't we send them the same flowers we and my parents have? You could almost make a case that it's a family tradition by now. And having Ikea in Israel, it should be a piece of cake to order them.

Except that I don't speak Hebrew, at all. (And somehow getting my in-laws an anniversary gift slowly shifted towards my list of responsibilities.) So I found the website and for about two hours pressed on every link to find these flowers. However, no appropriate vase was in site, I meant on the site. I even figured out how to put these things into an order basket, but couldn't go any further without understanding the text. The next step was to hunt down the Hebrew-speaking hubby to translate for me, pick out some vase and help me finish the order. That took about a week (no comment). When we finally got together to do this, I was in for another surprise. The script on the Ikea site was kind of weird and hubby had trouble reading it, which prompted the not so wise question, "Do you even speak Hebrew?" I think any reasonable person would understand it was a joke and not an attack on his abilities and manliness, right? When we finally placed the order, I breathed the sigh of relief and thought we were done.

Wrong! Next day I got an email saying that the minimum order for shipment is 10,000 shekels, which was about $2,000, which was about $1,925 more than I was willing to pay for the gift. They apologized for the invonvenience and said that they were looking to have our business in the future. Yeah, I can see that happening.

You know, sometimes you get hung up on the idea. When all your guts are telling you to abandon it, you keep on going after it time after time, simply because it is your idea and you want to see it through to the end. Do not ignore your guts, because the end could be yours. Hubby got so hung up on this particular idea for the gift, that we decided to go physically shop in Ikea (since neither American nor European sites would deliver the Smychkas for any kind of money) and then mail them to my in-laws. We got to Ikea, hubby painstakingly picked out the best 5 stems that looked the "freshest", and yes, I see the irony, I get it, the flowers are fake. We didn't find the vase to our initial disappointment. As of now, I can't thank Heaven enough for it, and soon you will see why.

Next Monday, I took the flowers with me because who else would be responsible for mailing these silly flowers to Israel, other than me? Who would be dumb enough to undertake this task? Now to the boxes. Since the flowers are long and we didn't want them arriving all wrinkled, we needed to find a long and somewhat wide box. I went to the post office and requested one. That's when I found out the ugly truth - boxes of this size are not permitted for international shipping, period. The max length is 36 inches, and the max girth is 79. The only thing that could fit was the document tube, which was not wide enough to fit all five stems, but at least it was long. So I brought one to the office and tried to put all the flowers into it, realizing that there's not way they would all get in there. I needed the second box. So the next day I went to the post office and got it. I didn't have time to pack the flowers that day, and left everything on my desk.

When I came in the next morning, the flowers and the boxes were gone. On the one hand, I was really upset, on the other hand, it meant the end of misery. That's when my co-worker asked me why I put my flowers into her vase. What????? Why would I do that? Okay, so the flowers were still there, someone just put them in a vase on the desk located pretty far from mine, and THREW OUT THE (fill in the blank) BOXES!!!! Now I had to find time to go to the post office, AGAIN! Needless to say, I was fuming for about an hour. I am over it now, but I hope for my sake and the sake of the person who threw out the boxes, I will never find out who had done that horrible, horrible thing.

For now, the stupid flowers are on my desk slightly annoying me every time I look in their direction. There's no way they will get to Israel on time for the anniversary, so there's no need to rush. I get a lot of compliments for them, which for some reason irritates me even more. Some day, when I regain my sanity and patience, I will mail them out. But for now I am entertaining the idea of selling them and saying that they got lost in the mail. Would it be too dishonest?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Macho, macho man

Last week when it rained, I went straight home from work instead of picking up the kids. I was in the kitchen fixing dinner when hubby and kids came home from the daycare center. The first thing that came out of my daughter's mouth was, "He hit Gidi!" After grilling my hubs and daughter for the details, I think I had somewhat recreated the crime scene. Please bear in mind that neither one of my witnesses were reliable: hubs picked up the kids 60 seconds after the episode, thus his testimony was pure hearsay, and my daughter's excited and joyful recounting of events consised of only five words "He hit Gidi","bump" and "toy". So here's what probably had happened: my son was playing with some toy, Gidi came and tried to take away the toy, and my son without thinking twice hit Gidi smack in the forehead. Poor child got a bump on his head the size and color of a small orange.

I thought it was just awful. I could never imagine myself being a bully's mother. I come from a family that is known for their love of books and all things peaceful, not for their fists. And now I am slowly coming to grips with the fact that my son might be less like them, the peaceful bunch. Who he is taking after is open for debate - I have my ideas, but to the mother of the kid, who also happens to be the owner of the daycare center, all these reasons and ideas don't really matter. Her little boy just got hit hard. (Just for the record, she was very understanding, but if these things keep on happening, especially to her own offspring, we might need to look for different babysitting arrangements.)

I wish the above thoughts were the first ones that came to my mind. But no...the first one was, "Thank G-d the boy can stand up for himself!" and some sense of pride, since Gidi is twice my boy's age. I am somewhat ashamed of these thoughts, but a part of me wishes that I were ashamed a little more.

Of course we had a talk that we cannot fight, even if someone is taking away our toys. But I am just not sure how much of that lecture was or could be absorbed by 18-month old mind. I am bracing myself for more of these episodes, and quite honestly I do not know how to handle them.

Okay, I got to go and beat the daylights out of a scumbag who stole my boxes (true story).

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Mr. Jim has left the building

Or has he?

When I came back to work on Monday, the smutty book was gone. I had a slight hope that maybe the secretary had thrown it out, but no, she didn't. Which means that someone has taking it and the smut is spreading around the office. How nice. Now two people acquainted themselves with these works of art.

As a result of Mr. Jim post, somebody on Google ads decided that the ads they post on my blog could get a bit racier. So the ads jumped from pacifier and diaper bag ads straight to the ones where guys prostitute their wives (there was more than one! ew). What gave Google the idea that a fundie like me would want to have a link to swinging and porno sites right next to the post decrying the loss of decency and propriety at the workplace? So now as I am posting, I am avoiding the buzz words, like s-e-x and others, and seriously considering taking Google ads off. It is not worth losing personal integrity over 3 (yes, three) cents they have earned me in the past three weeks. (And please do not read this as a request to click on any ads.) Google can keep its dirty p-o-r-n money, the entire three cents, since I am somewhat sure that it has got to be one of the smutty sites that generated the revenue. I am a strong believe in Murphy's Law.

As a side note, I think I am losing my grip. The thing is my boss' name is Jim, and it took me almost 24 hours to notice the irony. Oh well, getting old, I guess.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Innocence lost - 3 act (media circus) play with the epilogue.

Ok, here is why I am ticked off at J.K. Rowling and the brouhaha surrounding the announcement about Dumbledore.

Act 1 – Coming out.

First of let me say this: I do not care if Dumbledore is or isn’t gay. It wouldn’t make a difference to me even if I found out that he at one time was attracted to Mrs. Norris. For that matter, I don’t care whether McGonagall prefers girls, whether Umbridge is into S & M, or why Hagrid is obsessed with dragons. This is not why I read Harry Potter. I am quite sure that parents who brought their kids to the Q&A with J.K. Rowling didn’t bring them in for the enlightening sex ed talk either. Most of them came to talk about wizards, spells and magic, and instead were treated to a coming out party for Dumbledore. It is not about homosexuality at all; I would be just as upset if she revealed to the audience full of children that Dumbledore had an affair with a female professor. By doing this, Rowling robbed parents of the decision only they should make: when and how to talk to children about sex because I am sure many a conversation, for which adults might not have been prepared for, happened on the way home. All in all, this was not appropriate for the audience and the setting. The same info could have been revealed on Rowling's website, but then it might not have generated as much media attention, which brings us to...

Act 2 – The media reaction.

And then media jumps on this news as if there is nothing else to report and milks it for weeks. 17,000 children, who have died of starvation on the same day Dumbledore came out, didn’t make the news (that is already mundane), but the new antics of Britney Spears have, and so have the outing of a fictional character. Again, for days! (By the way, all of this is based on the CNN news website coverage, maybe some other sites exercised more common sense, though I doubt it). And all those pro-gay rights orgs’ praising Rowling's heroic fight to stop prejudice? Seriously, if the fictional character’s coming out helps to further your cause, then I… I don’t even know what to say then, other than DUMBLEDORE IS A WORK OF FICTION, NOT A REAL PERSON! PEOPLE GET LIVES!!!!

Act 3 – Innocence Lost (This is where I get preachy).

I think this entire Carnegie Hall episode is just one event in our society’s trend. We no longer treasure innocence. Just yesterday, I went clothes shopping for my kids in Children’s Place and Baby Gap where many shoppers come with their children. What kind of music did the stores play? I was there only for two songs, but one of them was mainly made up of one sentence, “I’m not the kind of girl who give it up just like that.” And the second one was “These boots are made for walking,” about a guy who is/was cheating. What did Baby Gap play? “I think we’re alone now” about teenagers hooking up. Why, why is that appropriate for young under-teen ears??? And it is not accidental, because last time I was in these stores, they were playing the same songs over and over again. Since those are chain shores, someone up there in corporate decided that this music fits the stores’ images and attracts young shoppers and their parents. What else did I see on my shopping spree? Low-rising jeans and low-rising underwear for 9 and 10-yr-old girls. Any surprises that some kids start being sexually active before they hit teen-age years? (in case you are wondering, I find this VERY disturbing.)


One of the main achievements of modern age, at least in the industrial world, was introducing idea of childhood, that children have special psychological needs and are not simply small adults. Now we are ruining this achievement by introducing them to things that are too adult, like violence and sex, way too early and see nothing wrong in that. And I think this is a loss, a tremendous loss.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Mr Jim is in the office.

Just as I started worrying that I will have nothing to write about other than my kids' antics (no lack of material there), somebody provided me with a very interesting blog entry. (You see, you worry, and good things happen, so once again I am resolved to not having any good, happy thoughts.)
For the past two weeks, someone at work has been bringing their old books, mostly fantasy and mysteries, and leaving them on the lunchroom's counter for grabs. I have browsed the selection, and didn't find anything to my taste. But little by little, all the books except for one have been taken by people.
When I came into the lunchroom on Friday for my morning cup of coffee, I noticed that there were two books on the counter, one of them I was the mentioned above reject, and the other one was lying face down. When I turned it over, I understood immediately why it was lying that way. The title said: "The best of American Erotica 2003". Hmmm.... I had to share the news with our secretary, and she immidiately checked out the table of contensts. Unlike me she wanted to give that somebody the benefit of the doubt. Maybe, she said, it was fiction with this name. Table of contents didn't show much, so she opened the book at random and started reading it out loud. Not a good idea. She read half a paragraph, then stopped mid-sentense and bursted out laughing. "Apparantly, some people call it Mr. Jim."
Later in the day I popped into the lunchroom twice to fill up my water bottle. Maybe it's my dirty mind, but I saw two different people have the same absent-minded smile while they were waiting for their lunch to warm up. I think it's either Friday having its effect on people or they have seen the book too. Maybe even more than seen.
When I spoke to our secretary, I said I didn't understand why someone would bring such a thing to work. It was bad enough that someone read such stuff and thoroughly enjoyed it for four years, but wishing to share this with co-workers is another story completely. Can you spell inappropriate??? I don't want to have a debate on what's art and what itsn't here, but based on that half a paragraph I was read aloud, I can attest that there's no redeeming literary merit to those works of fiction, and if this is the best of American erotica, then Americans should stick to other genres.
Secretary and I chatted for a few minuted entertaining thoughts of who actually had brought this smut into the office. Is it the same person who brought the other books in or someone different? Is it a prank? And in the middle of that conversation, I realized that whoever that is, I still have to work with this "someone," and that could be anyone. And that made me think, is it safe to stay late? At any rate, now I have an excuse not to, hehe.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Just thinking...

Why is it that every time I have a good, positive, grateful thought, especially about my marriage, I am being tested within 24 hours of this thought??? This past Sunday I thought, “Wow, I am so lucky to have a husband like mine. He is so nice and thoughtful and a big helper around the house.” Guess what? We had a huge fight the following day, pretty much over nothing, and that “nice and thoughtful” hubby was let's just say not as nice and not quite thoughtful. And that happens every single time I have these thoughts. I am already afraid of feeling good about our marriage because it inevitably turns on me. The happier the thought, the worse the fight. It’s like somebody is asking me, “Do you still feel good, positive, and grateful when things are not as peachy?”

Just yesterday I mentioned to a friend that I no longer feel the anxiety I felt about six months ago, and guess what – it’s rearing its ugly head once again, only for a different reason.

Maybe, all of it has nothing to do with my thoughts. Maybe, hubby and I just fight too much, and I am anxiety-ridden emotionally unbalanced woman, and the happy thoughts I am having are so rare, that from the statistical point of view these events (happy thoughts and bad things) are bound to coincide. And maybe I am right, and somehow there is a correlation, so no happy thoughts for a while…

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Update on the worst mother of the event post:

My husband told me yesterday that his friend and his wife really liked our gifts, even better than all the others, primarily because we gave them toys. He sent a special thank you to me, since he knew I picked out the gifts. So maybe this friend doesn't dislike me after all.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Dumbledore is gay, not that there's anything wrong with that.

Rumors, speculations and tabloid articles surrounded Dumbledore his entire life, the biggest of them, of course, about his sexual orientation. Last Friday all these rumors were put to rest by J.K. Rowling, the woman behind the Harry Potter book series, when she publicly admitted that Dumbledore actually was gay. The move, long expected by Wizarding sexual minorities during Dumbledore’s life, was met with mixed feelings. Gay and Lesbian Association of the Wizarding World issued a statement condemning J.K. Rowling’s last statements. They spoke to us through their attorney, the famous Wizard Rights Lawyer Hermione Granger-Weasley, explaining their stand on this issue. “We at GALAWW don’t care who she is, but J.K. had not right to do this. Coming out is a very personal experience, and no one should be outed without his consent, the way Dumbledore was. We demand an apology!” Some say that consent was not needed since Dumbledore had been gone for some time now. “Not so,” says Granger-Weasley. “Dumbledore continues existing on some level in his portraits. He’s still capable of feeling full range of human emotions. He should have been asked, or better yet permitted to come out on his own terms.”

Some in the Wizarding community have welcomed the news, some are still in denial. Fleur Weasley, who thought she knew Dumbledore well, says, “Eet finally all makes sense. Eet explains Dumbledore’z obsession with Snape. Eet also explainz why neither one of them had a steady girlfriend or made a pass on me.” Indeed, few bought the story of Snape’s undying love of Lily Potter, and many suspected it was a cover for another affair, possibly with one of the Black sisters. Few were prepared for the truth. “Dumbledore and Snape’s relationship was not something I would describe as a “true love”, and at time Severus felt stifled, even trapped, but they were committed and loyal to each other until the very end,” says the portrait of yet another former headmaster of Hogwarts, Phineas Nigellus Black. Rita Skeeter, in her recently published biography of the great headmaster, has noticed the pattern even before the above facts had come to light. See page 509, “If you follow Dumbledore’s history as a headmaster, you can see that he preferred dealing primarily with boys. No girl was ever discriminated, but look at the list of his favorites – James and Harry Potters, Sirius Black, Severus Snape, need I go on? I don’t want to dirty his good name, but has Dumbledore ever taken a special interest in a female student, even the most talented one? Of course not.”

A source close to Dumbledore’s portrait has agreed to speak to us on condition of complete anonymity. “Dumbledore feels betrayed, even violated. J.K. was the only one who knew the truth, and Albus thought his secret was safe with her. Muggles are already preoccupied with the technical details of Wizard sex, and now these statements will just throw grease on fire. Her timing couldn’t have been worse.”

So what does Ms. Granger-Weasley have to say to J.K.? “Jo Rowling has turned into the over-protective mother who is sure she always knows best. The books are completed, Jo, let us Wizards have our own lives, let us make our own decisions, learn to let go! Write another book, for goodness sake!” Some say J.K. should apologize, but will she? “Not likely,” says Granger-Weasley. “We haven’t found a way for Muggles to communicate with the portraits yet, so I think personal apology is not coming Dumbledore’s way any time soon.”

Sunday, October 21, 2007

And the award for the worst mother of the night goes to...

Yep, you guessed right, to yours truly.

What happened? Well, let me start from the beginning. My husband has a friend, who I suspect doesn't like me. I don't particularly care since my interactions with this person are very limited and I admit that the entire thing could be in my head. But this friend just had a baby, and we were invited to the celebration and religious ceremony. Since the invitation came less than a week before the event and I was under a tight deadline at work, I had to get a gift last minute (I actually tried to get it beforehand, but that's another story). I spent about 45 minutes trying to pick a perfect toy, all the while saying to the baby I have never seen, "Just because I don't like your daddy or think that he doesn't like me, doesn't mean that I have to get you a bad gift. I'll be the bigger person." (It's not as hard as it seems given my weight.) Finally I made my selections, and got in a very generous and celebratory mood. After all, the child is a blessing, and maybe the guy doesn't dislike me after all.

Because I had to finish something at work and because I couldn't possibly pick a gift in under 45 minutes, I arrived at the event about half hour late. I hoped that I came just in time and was about to go home, but it turned out that the celebration hasn't even started. Our kids were already exhausted and misbehaving. We split the kids thinking they would be easier to manage that way. I got my daughterm, and we decided to go to the second floor, which was packed with other women. My daughter wanted to see her daddy downstairs, so I managed to find a seat in the first row right in front of the balcony. Of course she had to lean over, so I was holding her very tight. The bar of the balcony barely reached her chest, and once again, I was holding her tight. So here's what happens at the event that runs an hour late and is packed with women who have very little going on in their lives and at the present time have nothing better to do than to gossip. It really is inevitable, like a law of physics. Well, almost.

My daughter was having fun watching my husband and her brother, I was holding her tight (I feel the need to repeat this yet again), trying to tune out all this talk in Farsi or whatever language all these women were speaking, when all of a sudden I heard a bark coming from my left. An elderly women started yelling at me from what seemed out of the blue, and please notice the reason for yelling, "Take her down!!! Don't you realize you are making people across from you nervous?! They think she might fall!" In my state of tiredness and complete ignorance when it comes to Farsi, I didn't realize that I was a topic of conversation for some time. And yeah, throw the kid down for all I care, just don't make people across from you nervous. So insensitive of me! Of course I put Naomi down and poor kid got yelled at when she tried to get back. As I was struggling to keep her in my lap, some woman from across the room came over and in a much nicer voice tried to tell me that what I was doing was probably dangerous, and head is heavier than body, and from where they were looking my daughter was almost all the way out. I knew I should've been nicer since the woman was polite and probably genuinely concerned and probably doing something I would've done myself, but I honestly couldn't convincingly fake gratitude. I gave her my most fake smile, thanked her and realized that we are probably better off downstairs. (Later at night I entertained the thought of finding the woman and apologizing to her, but I didn't find her, and I was also afraid that I might make things worse if she decided to give me another lecture.)

At that time hubby realized he couldn't control the baby and handed him off to me. Even though my son had complained all the time that he wanted mommy, he couldn't quite let go of daddy, who needed to pray. I tried to catch the baby a few times, and the last time my baby tried to sneak into the door after his dad, I caught his arm. Then I tried to pick him up, but the baby tried to wiggle his way out, so it looked like I raised him by one arm, which was also terribly twisted. And of course the entire episode had to be witnessed by another bunch of old ladies who also had nothing to do during the waiting time. And of course, they thought that a mother who is dumb enough to pick up her kid the way I did, wouldn't understand that they were talking about me, even though they were all raising their arms and pointing to their shoulders, to my kid and me. Oh, they are soooo conniving, so covert, they should work for KGB, CIA or Mossad. What a shame such gifts are lost on gossiping.

At that point, I couldn't take it any more and had nothing better to do than to go back upstairs. At least there were rooms without people where I could hide. Of course, the kids had the mind of their own and went to the room with the balcony. Of course, by that time it was already nine, the kids were exhausted and tried to take the place apart. Had I known the event would start this late, I would have kept them home. Luckily for me, they lost interest in the event unfolding downstairs, and simply tackled and scratched each other and tried to stick their fingers in the closing doors. A few time I was tempted to say to the onlookers, "You see, I actually have two kids that I could throw off the balcony, not just one." I guess it's payback time for all the bad thoughts I had pre-kids about parents unable to control their offspring. Sometimes they really are uncontrollable.

Finally, the praying was done with. I told the hubby that I wanted to get out ASAP, or as soon as the ceremony was over. If I could, I would have left eons ago. After another agonizing fifteen minutes with overtired kids, we finally went home. I was surprised that hubby saw things my way, and didn't think I was exaggerating. He was also annoyed about the delay, since he had to rearrange his schedule for nothing, really. He would've made the event without extra hassle since it started over an hour late. And my mood was genuinely spoiled. I spent entire day at work uncomfortably dressed, went very out of my way to get the gifts, tortured my kids and myself...for what? To be judged by the bunch of old women and leave in much worse mood than I came in with? Next time, I am staying home.

Monday, October 15, 2007

If all fails, use Murphy's law?

Last week my baby got some bug. He would throw up for no apparent reason and had diarrhea. In all other ways he was absolutely fine. This lasted for about three or four days. Then it stopped, but for the next 2 days he refused to eat and drank very little. At some point I noticed that his diapers were kind of dry. Then my folks took the kids for about half a day. When we picked them up, I asked when their diapers were changed, and mom mentioned that the baby didn't really need a diaper change for more than 6 hours. His diaper was completely dry. I got a bit worried. That day he started drinking normally, drank 2 bottles of chocolate milk and a bottle of juice. And still, his diapers were dry, for two consecutive days ... Of course I went on the Internet and found out that all of his symptoms pointed to UTI (urinary tract infection), which in kids could present with unusual symptoms, such as fever, little urination (as opposed to peeing every five minutes in adults), throwing up, refusal to eat, squirming and diarrhea. My guy had all of the above, except he wasn't running a fever and not particularly irritable, though he wanted to be held all the time. Immediately I thought of calling my pediatrician. Then I remembered that I have a best friend who is going through pediatric residency, and called her instead.

She said to give the baby lots of fluids and see if anything happens. She suggested not calling the doctor since he seemed fine. The doctor would not be able to do anything any way until the morning. So I tried to bribe my son with chocolate milk, cola, anything he might want to drink, but he refused. And he wasn't peeing. Then he took off his pants, and I thought, oh good, I won't put PJ's on him. Maybe if it's cool in the apartment and he's without pants, he might get cold and pee. I waited fifteen minutes, he still didn't pee. I took off his shirt, leaving him wearing only his diaper, and felt like the worst mother in world, since it was cool in the apartment. Still, dry diaper after fifteen minutes.

And then I had a bright idea. Ingenious, really. I should make Murphy's law work for me. You see, every (literally, every) time we leave the baby without a diaper, no matter for how short a period of time, he pees somewhere. He is really fast that way. It was supposed to work like this - if he wouldn't pee in his diaper, the baby definitely would if I took it off, so it would be harder to clean him up. So I took off his diaper quite excited about the idea. Still, the baby didn't pee. I gave up. My idea didn't work and Murphy's law didn't work, and if Murphy's law didn't work, nothing would. My disappointment was huge... I thought I discovered an equivalent of electricity, or at least something just as useful in everyday life. I already saw myself giving seminars on "Making Murphy's Law work for YOU", writing books, and overall improving people's lives, one disaster at a time. And there, my own idea didn't work for me. I was also quite worried that the baby didn't pee at all the entire day. Resolved to take the next day off and take him to the doctor, I went to get his diaper. When I got back to the room fifteen seconds later (again, literally), my son turned our living room upside down. I saw clothes thrown all over the floor and every other surface of our living room, toys everywhere and lo and behold three puddles on my kitchen floor, only one of them urine. The other two were...well, did I mention the baby had diarrhea?

So the lesson learned - you cannot use Murphy's law to your advantage, otherwise, it wouldn't be Murphy's law. It will still get you when you don't expect it - in my case I had to give up on the idea before it worked. Ironic, right? I immediately called my friend (I HAD to call her, even before I cleaned, right?) to tell her that Murphy's law worked a little too well for me and said that the only thing missing in this story was my husband, somewhat of a neat freak, at least in comparison to me. It would be a complete Murphy's law if he walked in right now, in this mess, when the entire day our apartment was more or less neat. He always complains that he never can come home and see a neat house; if he walked in that minute he would see more than the usual suspects - toys and clothes - on the floor... He probably would go crazy. But G-d in his infinite kindness had mercy on both of us, and my husband walked in three seconds after I cleaned up the poop. After I told him what had happened, he was so happy that it wasn't him cleaning that stuff up, he only laughed and didn't say anything about trashed living room - phew.

I think the idea of making Murphy's law work for you needs a little tweaking here and there before being marketing to the public, right?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Ten things I wouldn't know if I didn't co-sleep

If I didn't co-sleep with my children, I would probably never know...
...what it feels like to have three people in the bed meant for one.
...that I would have to justify my sleeping arrangements to everyone starting from my parents ending with the janitor in my pediatrician's office.
...that some (read: all) people who don't co-sleep are very judgmental.
...that a 15 pound baby could take up more space than a 200 pound adult.
...what if feels like to be spit up on.
...what it feels like to be peed on.
...what it feels like to be thrown up on.
...what it feels like to be happy that no one have pooped on you. Yet.
...that there's a good chance that I am a closeted masochist.
...that I could be happy to be woken up at 4 a.m. by my baby because it would give me another chance to cuddle with him/her.
...what it feels like to be woken up by my baby's kisses.
...what it feels like to be woken up by a very small fist hitting you straight in the eye (now the preferred choice of waking up mommy because she makes such a funny squeal when punched in the eye...)
...that my daydreaming would be about sleeping alone in my bed.
... that I would spend around $857 on professional advice trying to figure out how to win back my bed from the kids.
...that I would sabotage our efforts to win back my bed.
...that I would be obsessed with the word "bed".
...that I would be so sleep-deprived that I wouldn't see the difference between ten and twenty.
...that not seeing a difference between ten and twenty does not make you a bad accountant.
...that I would use any opportunity, no matter how short, to jump into bed if no one is there.
...that knowing all of the above ahead of time, I still would co-sleep.

Friday, October 12, 2007

First impressions

I am applying to schools for my daughter now. Someone had told me that I would be able to say a lot about the school based on their application. It is true, and quite honestly I am not impressed. In one school, they asked me so many questions just to mail me out the stupid form! So if they didn't like my maiden name, they wouldn't have sent me the application?

And then there are the applications themselves... Reading through them, one cannot but think that no one put much thought into the questions and no one is concerned that for most parents this is the first real encounter with the school. I guess nobody told them that first impressions really count. In my humble opinion, only questions that matter should appear on the form - if the question is not relevant in deciding whether the child gets to step 2 - the interview - why ask it? And if those questions are relevant, then quite frankly I would be disgusted. For example, why should it matter whether the child's parents are married/divorced/deceased? One school had only two options for the marital status of the parents: married or divorced/separated. What if a parent is widowed - need not apply? And then there are questions you would like to answer truthfully, but know that your application will be tossed if you do so, so you lie, pretty much just like most other applicants.

One application asks for the picture of my child. Why? Are they afraid I might sneak in a different child for the interview? Or do they run the picture through Interpol to make sure the 3-yr-old is not involved in any terrorist activity/drug smuggling/human trafficking? What's next - blood sample and fingerprints? And that particular school doesn't even guarantee you the interview, so what are they going to do with the pictures of kids who didn't get to that step? Post them on the Internet under the "Look at the losers who didn't merit an interview with our elite school"? And once again - does the picture help them in weeding out students not eligible for the interview? Do looks matter? Should I then go for the full disclosure and send my own picture as well, so that the school can decide ahead of time if they want a mug like that associated with their unblemished name?

The whole process would be extremely annoying (as opposed to just simply annoying) if not for one school, who simply did away with applications. They just take down your name, phone number and simply set up appointments to meet with prospective students. Just for that they have scored points in my book.