Monday, May 26, 2008

Did you ever know that you are my hero?

Recently I decided to add another bit to my blog: quote of the month. It was not intended as a current quote, but just something short and funny I would find during that particular month and would like to share. Little did I know that it would create a huge amount of pressure towards the end of May to find a new June quote of the month.

To paraphrase a character in one of my favorite movies, You've got mail, you can find any advice to any situation in Godfather, the movie. I personally side with not Godfather, but with The Simpsons. Coincidentally, but not surprisingly, the first quote was from them. I decided not to be redundant and look elsewhere for the June quote. So in search of the new quote, I went high and low, came up empty-handed and went back to The Simpsons. And I was not disappointed! I found this little gem in almost no time. I don't know when they aired it, how old or recent it is, and what was the occasion/topic, but I really like it, so much that I am not waiting for June 1 to put it up. It describes my political mood perfectly. Please check it out. ------------------------------------------->

And to honor the original quote, which is pulled down not because I like it any less than two weeks ago, but because the new one is so timely, I will add it to this post.

The quote of the month of May: Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It's what separates us from the animals ... except the weasel. Homer Simpson

Sunday, May 25, 2008


The new trend now is to outsource as many functions as possible to foreign countries, mainly India. It started with manufacturing, then shifted to customer support and IT, and now everything possible and seemingly impossible/unimaginable/illogical is being transferred overseas.

So now I had a brilliant idea. Looking over at the three remaining candidates for the U.S. Presidency (with the fourth announced a few hours ago by the Libertarian party, sigh, who doesn't even need to be seriously considered), I realized yet again that not a single one of them appeals to me in the role of the president.And I know many, many people who come November will not be voting "for", but rather "against." My idea is as follows: if US cannot produce a decent candidate, maybe we should outsource this job of President to India. Yes, I do realize that the Indian candidate is not likely to produce more inspiration, but he/she will not likely to evoke as much animosity as all most candidates. He/she might not be that great a president, but hey, after twenty years of bad presidents, people's expectations are really low, and it seems very unlikely that the American-born President will be good either. And the most important thing? We will be saving tons of money because the Indian contractor will surely get the job done at the fraction of the cost and will not ask/require benefits and perks American candidates have come to expect from this office.

So let your prejudices go, think with your fiscal head and support my new campaign:


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Do you know where your children are?

Finally, the common sense prevailed. The court had concluded that FLDS children were taken from their homes illegally.

It is hard to imagine what these people went through. Few things are worse than losing your children, and it is hard to imagine the trauma the children had experienced from being separated from parents. I do not condone the practice of marrying off young girls to old men and polygamy as a whole. I find the practice of expelling young boys (to decrease the pool of men looking for wives) into the world they hardly know without any tools for survival simply horrific. It is hard to justify marrying off underage girls, and marrying them (or anybody else) again their wishes is simply reprehensible. Having said that, what the state of Texas did to these families is even worse. What they were planning to do is incomprehensible. From all the statistics and research, it is quite obvious that to end up in foster system is a fate much worse than being married at 16 (provided the bride consented). Saving these girls from teenage pregnancy within marriage would be substituted by high likelihood of teenage pregnancy outside of marriage. Who wins?

Then why was it done? What purpose would be served if the government succeeded in taking the kids away? It was evident that there was more to the story than protecting underage girls from early marriages; otherwise, why would the government take boys and very young children?

I am happy that the polygamists prevailed. Otherwise, it would put many people, myself included, in danger of losing kids without due process. It would give the government unreasonably broad permission to take the children and then sort out the facts. As is, government is too involved and trying to gain even more control over people's private lives, families and children.

As for the state of Texas, that money could've been so much better spent on children that are in real danger of abuse and children in foster homes. But hey, that wouldn't be so exciting, wouldn't it?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What brought you here

Completely stealing Dawn's from BECAUSE I SAID SO idea, I decided to post some of the more interesting keywords that brought people to the pages of my blog. Many times it seems inexplicable as to why my blog came in the search to begin with... So here they are, in the reverse order of weirdness, without changing/adding/deleting anything, spelling including:

mcgonagall and dumbledore's marriage and children-harry potter - AHA! I knew that he wasn't, not that there's anything wrong with that.

fungal cream for lotta fungus - can fungus spread through Internet contact? Is bad spelling/improper word usage contagious?

nasty "athlete's foot" - a matchmaker in me thinks "lotta fungus" and "nasty athlete's foot" would make a nice couple, don't you?

jewish husband comes home after seeing his mom feeling guilty and starts fights with his wife - looking for a transcript of your therapy session? Not here.

I yelled at my kids and am feeling guilty - my friend, you landed exactly where you need to be, if looking to start a support group. If you were looking for solutions, then maybe you should get the therapists' number from the guilty Jewish husband picking fights with his wife.

subjugated by Sarah - who is Sarah? I am reasonably confident that SubHub's name is not and never was Sarah, but who knows for sure?

who was galileo's wife - how should I know? Ok, just checked. (Consider this public service.) Daughter? Check. Another daughter? Check. Son? Check. Married? Never.

ways to satisfy one's wife - I am not an expert, but picking fights with her after visiting your mother is not the way to do it.

wife "going to the gym" - I guess the search on satisfying your wife wasn't very successful, otherwise why would she be "going to the gym"?

name of all night of prayer of subjugation - what do you pray for in the prayer of subjugation?

confessions of a bad wife blogspot - SubHub, why were you searching for my blog?

wife make me wear diapers - Sorry, man. Must've been one tough week. First "gym", then nasty fungus and now diapers. Will it ever end? Makes one understand why Galileo never married...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Maybe you should try the arab quarter...SATC (warning: this page will bring you to the picture of immodestly dressed women.)

SATC billboard were banned from Jerusalem and Petakh Tikvah. So comforting to know that the sense of decency still can prevail somewhere... As a side note, I do not appreciate the sub-text of the article, i.e. how ridiculous religous of Israel are. Well, it is CNN afterall, and one cannot expect much from them.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I do not understand

My screaming embargo had come to a screeching half after two weeks (or was it only one week? I seems such a long time). Kids literally have been crazy today. DD awoke very early today, and I have begged her not to wake up DS. She was allowed in my bed under one condition: she was to lie down quietly, stay their quietly and under no circumstances bother DS (which in my book is the same as being and staying quiet, but who knows...). I knew I couldn't count on promises made by a three-year-old; what I didn't know was that the first thing she would do after climbing into my bed would be throwing her legs up on her brother. It all went downhill from there.

All three of us were walking around lacking sleep, getting on each other's nerves. Kids would constantly bicker with each other over anything and everything and do every possible mischief under the sun. I wanted to write that they would do mischief when I turned my back to them, but we were at a point when they stopped waiting for me to turn my back and openly defied everything I asked them to do.

So around 11 I made a first attempt to put them down for a nap. I didn't count much on DD to fall asleep, but after 45 minutes DS was nowhere close to falling asleep either. As I was about to take him out of his crib, he did something that defies (adult) logic, and something I am still trying to comprehend. He threw his favorite car out of his crib. As Murphy's Law would have it, he threw it smack in the corner, where it got stock between the wall and the leg of the crib. The minute he realized that his favorite toy was gone, multiplied by his lack of sleep, he started wailing. I fumbled for ten minutes with the broom, accompanied by his loud crying, and I believe at that point I broke my own embargo on screaming. Sigh... So here's what I don't understand: why would anyone, rather intelligent for his own age and beyond, throw out something he likes and wants to plays with? And cry afterwards for eons? Why? Why? Why?

Long ago (about the time I got married, probably) I gave up on trying to understand men. They rule the world, and I think it is no wonder that the world is such a sad state (Please do not take this as Hillary endorsement!). What else could be accomplished by species, allergic to following any instructions, yet too embarrassed to ask for directions? (I am persuaded that GPS was invented by one frustrated wife.) Or the species unable to figure out why the cheese hasn't melted on an ice cold lasagna? But I still haven't abandoned hope of understanding my children.

So any ideas? Why would DS throw his toy out only to miss it five seconds later? Is it a glimpse of his wife's future?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Don't go changing

Day Care Center my kids go to has seen a lot of changes in personnel recently, with a quite a few new teachers coming in. We probably don’t know half of them in face because we pick up our kids so late in the day when only one or two babysitters stay to supervise the kids. Our son’s group got a new afternoon babysitter/teacher, but we haven’t actually met her until very recently, and of course under peculiar circumstances.

When SubHub went to pick kiddos last night, he discovered that our little man had dropped a huge stink bomb in his diaper. He often does that right before he’s picked from daycare/we need to leave/we are in the middle of dinner with guests/he had his diaper changed three minutes ago. Long story short, his timing is almost always off, as if he senses when changing his stinky diaper would cause the most amount of disgust, inconvenience, and loss of appetite. (On the other hand, good dieting idea! Though I’m afraid that I would be so distraught by the loss of appetite that I might double up on emotional binging. Still, worth exploring.) But, thank God, everything works in that department, so I am not complaining.

But back to daycare. Hubs was in a rush and started looking for someone to change DS. He asked another teacher in the room where DS’s babysitter was. She looked at him a bit strange and asked who DS (insert the name) was. When hubs pointed at the little stinker, the teacher said that she didn’t know the whereabouts of his babysitter. Hubby thought to himself “Newbie”, but was a little ticked off that this new babysitter didn’t volunteer to change DS herself (something she was supposed to do in the absence of her colleague). He was about to ask her to do just that, when he was distracted by DD. And thank God!

DD was pointing to something on the street, and hubby noticed a double-parked car in front of the entrance. Then he saw DS’s babysitter entering the room with a diaper and changing him. He saw that other teacher chasing two older boys and promising to leave without them… As if in a slow motion, pieces of the puzzle started coming together. That other teacher was not a teacher at all, she was another parent picking up her kids from daycare!

When SubHub told me this story I asked him to describe that woman to me. That’s when I realized to my horror (and maniacal giggles) that she and I are well acquainted, and we often bump into each other on the street, at day care, while grocery shopping and during social events. She usually picks up her kids an hour earlier (when and if I pick them up), and that’s why my hubs never met her there. Even though SubHub doesn’t know this woman, she knows me and the kids (at least in face) and can easily make all the necessary connections. Imagine the embarrassment every time I would see her!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Patience, young Antonio!

I will not bore you with my usual “kids got to me”, “life’s hard”, “I am exhausted” blah blah blah stuff. Sometimes I make even myself nauseous with all the whining. Just thinking about the number of people who would give up five years of their life to live like me and have children like mine should make me a little more grateful for what I have. Yet I whine. But I refuse to whine about whining; after all, one has to draw a line somewhere.

This post is actually about my cooking. I have mentioned several times on this blog that I enjoy cooking. That is not entirely true. It’s not the cooking itself that I love; I like feeding people. It makes me feel good. I don’t really know why; maybe, I subconsciously hope that if everyone around me gained weight, it would make me look slimmer. Desperation is a powerful motivator, what can I say. But this time I was making food for people who I hope will never get fat, my kids. Since Friday afternoons before Shabbat are so long now, I need not to only worry about what they’ll have for breakfast while I am at work, but also lunch. This Friday I decided to treat them with baked ziti.

So I started cooking Thursday night. It was pretty late by the time I managed to boil water, and I was anxious to call it a night. When the pasta finally seemed done and before I drained it, I took one piece to taste to make sure it truly was cooked. I barely waited enough time for the ziti to cool off, taking an educated risk of burning my tongue by hot pasta, but I definitely didn’t expect what happened next. I bit into the very hot ziti, and all of a sudden instead of a burned tongue I felt my lip and chin getting burned. The water from inside the ziti (something I didn’t think was there and never thought to check for) squirted onto my face, making me scream with pain and scaring SubHub in the process. It didn’t look so bad immediately, but when I woke up the next morning, I had an ugly blister on and under my lip.

It all would’ve been worth it if the ziti came out fine. (I know, I am a masochist.) Since I was tired and burned, I decided to bake the ziti with cheese Friday morning, reasoning that I didn’t have to prepare kids for day care and would have plenty of time if only I got up at the regular hour. Ha! Ha! And another sarcastic HA!!!!! When did I ever wake up to give myself enough time for anything? I was rushing like a maniac in the morning, and when the time finally came to make ziti, I was already 10 minutes late for work. But one cannot compromise when it comes to kids’ nourishment. I made ziti, leaving SubHub specific instructions of when the oven should be turned off.

When I called from work, very puzzled hub said that he followed instructions, but didn’t understand why the cheese hadn’t melted. After a brief investigation, we concluded that I must’ve pressed the wrong button and actually never cooked the ziti. After initially warming up the oven, I must’ve pressed the “stop” instead of the “start” button on my toaster oven. What led me to this conclusion? The dish was cold to the touch, for crying out loud, coming out of supposedly 350 degree oven. So Hubs put the ziti back where it belonged, actually turned the oven on, and afterward kids reportedly liked it. When I came home, I saw the remaining of very well eaten bakes ziti on the table and…horror of all horrors… it was all white! As in NO TOMATO SAUCE WAS POURED ON IT!!! In my haste I forgot to add the sauce I so painstakingly prepared!

So now I am wondering. Is my cooking so horrendous that kids didn’t feel the difference between a normally prepared baked ziti and the sause-less? Or they don’t actually care and would eat anything as long as it is sprinkled with cheese? In that case, I want 2 years of my life spent making their food “just right” back!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Paper or plastic?

I have been browsing parenting book section on Amazon when my eye caught a topic of active discussions. The topic was dedicated to raising children, and the original poster presented the following question: why raise children in a certain religion when it seems much more preferable to not indoctrinate them with any religious teachings; once children are old enough, let them make the choice about which religion to follow, if any any.

Obviously, the question was presented by an atheist. (As a side note, he was quite sure that if the children are presented with such a choice without any influence from prior religious teachings or observances, they would, of course, come to conclusion that there is no G-d and all religions are phony.) Quite honestly, I had the same question growing up. I was brought up in an atheistic, at least officially, society, but during every Christian holiday saw my Ukrainian neighbors going with their children to church. I always wondered: why do they drag their children with them? Don't they realize that their beliefs are false and anti-scientific, etc, so why indoctrinate the children as well? If adults choose to believe religious nonsense - let them do it, but I felt that they should've left their kids alone.

Ok, so here's the difference. I had these thoughts when I was 12-14. I think even if I didn't become religious, I would've reached some emotional and intellectual maturity that would allow me to realize this: people who truly believe see no other alternative. And of course, now that I am on the same side of the debate, different religion, but similar issues and questions, the answer seems all too obvious to me.

But before, please let me rant a bit here. I am sick of people treating religion as some sort of personal choice, a little more serious than the choice between paper and plastic in the supermarket, but a lot less serious than the choice of profession. I have seen this time and again, across the border: from my non-religious family, my Catholic co-workers, on the Internet and, really, pretty much everywhere. When people find out that I wasn't brought up observant, the most common question is : how did you decide that being Orthodox is for you? There are many variations of the same question: when did you find yourself? what in particular appealed to you? have you considered other religions? are you doing it for your husband or to get married to him? To me, all of the above are more a statement than a question: your choice of religion was brought on by a personal preference, by something that you found appealing; there had to be something that made Judaism look attractive to you.

Initially, yes, there were things that I liked, and they made me ask the questions. But ultimately, whatever seemed attractive would not have carried me very far for very long. After all, other religions had their attractions as well. What made me commit was the realization that this is the truth, the ultimate truth, about the world, the universe, people, G-d, Creation, you name it. The truth was there. After that realization and a lot of learning and investigating, all the laws were easier to accept and follow. Because if this is THE truth, then there is no other choice. My beliefs and my actions must be consistent.

Once my colleague had told me that he would not have been able to be Orthodox. His reasoning was that there were only two days in the week-end: one for errands and the other one for social life. If one of these days would always be dedicated to Sabbath observance, when one cannot drive, do everyday work and is "stuck in the house", then the other day would be automatically dedicated to errands. So what about social life? Even though I have a big mouth, at times it is hard to give a good answer on the spot. I told him something lame, though true, about my social life never being so full after becoming observant, about community, etc., but I knew all those answers weren't good. And at the end my colleague,whom I honestly wasn't trying to convert or persuade, said that Orthodox lifestyle will never be for him. Now looking back at this incident, the answer is so simple! If I truly and honestly believe that it is against G-d's will for me to drive on Sabbath, then what's there to talk about? Between my desire to see my buddies and fulfilling G-d's commandment, commandment wins hands down! Who am I to argue with G-d, Creator of the Universe? You don't have to believe that Judaism is true to see how simple this logic is and how little sense my former colleague's statement makes. We don't have to agree on what the truth is to conclude that following what one deems to be true simply makes sense. I think this is something that anyone truly believing in any religion and G-d would understand, but I happen to know that Catholicism for this guy was just something to do if the social life allowed, a bunch of nice rituals and Christmas.

So back to the original question. Because my beliefs for me are more than just a personal choice and I am sure that they are true, I would not dare to withhold this truth from my children. Furthermore, I would feel obligated to share it with them together with the reasons for why it is the ultimate truth. So hopefully for them it won't be a matter of personal choice, but following one's conscience and behaving consistently with their beliefs and what they know to be true.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Summer's in the air...

I think I have finally figured out at least part of the reason why allergies get worse as the weather gets warmer. It is actually quite simple. You see, as it gets warmer, people start perspiring more, and some of them still haven't discovered the existence of deodorants. So G-d mercifully stuffed our noses to protect them from these awful smells. My allergies fortunately only started bothering me while many of my co-workers have been suffering for some time, so I am still susceptible to the BO's. Probably not for long...

But it makes one wonder how people lived before deodorants, every day showers or baths. Many history books say that people and cities smelled badly, but at this day and age it is hard to imagine how badly they reeked. Once again, thank G-d, and may we never find out.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Education of SubWife

I have lived in US for the past thirteen years, and I think I have adapted well. But every now and then certain facts/things/cultural info come to my attention that are completely new to me; the info that anyone natural born knows, but no book ever mentions because, like I said, everyone is supposed to know this before they stop wearing diapers. Maybe they give out this info in labor rooms, but unless someone tells you, you won't know or deduce it.

Today was one of those days when I found out something new. What is this pearl of American fashion wisdom (or maybe universal fashion wisdom, I am just no aware)? That pink and red don't match, and to be more precise they clash. And according to my American born and raised friend, with whom I had an honor to go kids' clothes shopping, this piece of fashion truth (?) is very common knowledge. Well, they didn't teach that in ESL classes, high school or college. It wasn't on my citizenship exam. Quite frankly, I was shocked, and my friend was shocked in return that I didn't know. In any case, tt would've never occurred to me on my own! I am quite sure I didn't dress DD or myself this way because I am not a big fan of pink and like red even less, so at least I didn't traumatize my little fashionista that way. But if no one had ever told me, it was only a matter of time until my child would commit this fashion faux pas because of her mother's ignorance. Basically, I was a ticking fashion bomb.

So thank G-d for my American friend who detonated this bomb in time. But I still don't know if it's just me, the poor uneducated in fashion foreigner, or someone else didn't know this either. Is this an American mishugas or a universally held standard of beauty? Your feedback would be very much appreciated.

P.S. I am pretty sure that DD has a pink and red striped sweater from Children's Place. What's up with that? You can wear pink and red in one piece, but a skirt/shirt combo with those same colors is a no-no? Am I being too logical about this? Someone please educated me!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Patience, young Jedi!

Before I had children, I thought I had lots of patience. I could deal with the most obnoxious client without losing my cool, I could discuss with our landlord for forty five minutes as to why portable washing machine of the 21st century was more than a bucket with a motor, and could babysit 6 kids several nights in a row without raising my voice even once. After I had DD, my belief in my never-ending patience only got stronger. After all, it is hard to lose it when the kid is less than one.

And then, with that mistaken assumption, I entered the world of a parent with more than one child. Within the first week of DS's birth, I realized that I am not so thick-skinned after all. After DD tried to touch baby's eyes and feed him her cereal repeatedly, I found myself raising my voice more and more often. And even then I could remember thinking that it was just a phase and will pass. After all, I was Miss Patience.

And then, DS reached the age when he started understanding things, and the myth of my patience along with the remnants of that patience, were completely shuttered. Hard and cold truth was shown to me: I have no patience. At all. I thought that I did because no one had ever tested it so thoroughly. Lately, and I must have blogged about it before, but once again I didn't know the lows I could reach then, I find myself screaming all the time when dealing with my children. Not just raising my voice, but shrieking with that disgusting high pitch that makes flowers wilt, husbands wince, myself nauseous and kids... it make my kids laugh. Which makes me yell louder, and them laughing harder, and thus the vicious circle is born.

Why am I yelling? After all, I have discovered that it is completely ineffective, especially at this point when it turned into a background noise for the kids. Do I have no self-control or at the very least self-respect? Why do I find myself in the middle of another mess, probably quite normal for the children of their age, nauseatingly screaming before I even give myself a chance to think? Because if I gave myself a chance to think, I definitely would've come up with something more effective. After all, I did take parenting classes, read parenting books and exchanged parenting techniques with more educated/experience parents. I have no answers.

And now, when they are falling asleep and I am typing away this entry, I feel miserable. I feel like a total failure as a mother and a human being. I know it will pass, but for now it is there. It might seem like cheating or taking and easy way out, but if there were a pill out there that would force me to keep my mouth shut for the first 10-15 seconds after I discover another mischief, I would take it. Simply for the benefit of my kids. But I am not aware of such a pill, so I have to find another answer...


This one is a true confession. Oh, no. I haven't murdered anyone, but I have been thinking about murders, well, not real ones. Ok, here's the reason why I will probably never amount to anything in life. When ambitious people think about ways to further their careers, philanthropists think of ways to save the world, gluttons think of new ways to satisfy their appetite, I think about this. Ready?

Have you ever read Agatha Christie or watched Murder, She Wrote? I have been a huge fan of both and the genre over all. But then I always had this nagging question: how did these supposedly regular folks like Miss Marple or Jessica Fletcher come across so many murders in a just few year span? Statistically, one is very unlikely to come across a real murder in her entire life unless she is a cop, ER doctor or nurse, or lives in Detroit. Not a single one of these is true for either amateur sleuth I mentioned. The only other option that would make sense is that these ladies were serial murderers and killed all those folks. And had an amazing power of persuasion or/and a personal relationship with the chief of police to frame someone else. Even if I am wrong, think about it. Especially in Murder, She Wrote, Jessica lives in a very small town. After all the murders that took place during the eleven year run of the show, the town's population should've gone down to three people: Jessica, chief of police and the doc. Because everyone else would've been either murdered or jailed for murder! Think about it: people move to these small towns to avoid crime and THERE! someone is murdered! And the next week again, and again, and again, until the show goes on hiatus. I guarantee you, in real life there would be no one to murder in season two because every one else would've moved back to Detroit, for their own safety (whether to avoid being murdered or caught for it).

I feel better after I got this off my chest... Feel free to judge...

Friday, May 2, 2008


I have good news and I have bad news.

Good news is that American pre-teens and teens actually read books, for pleasure. At least they are expected to if the subject interests them enough. That’s what a certain company is counting on by signing a seven-figure deal with Miley Cyrus (for those not in the know, like myself only two weeks ago, Miley stars in some extremely popular Disney show). The deal is for publishing Miley’s – ready for bad news? – memoirs! Let me repeat this – 15-yr old girl. To write memoirs. For seven figures. Unless that 15-yr old found cure for cancer, fought the Nazis or did something otherwise remarkable (and starring in a show that is almost a guaranteed success is not remarkable in my book), what is there to write about? The age when she was potty-trained? Which diapers her parents preferred for her? The pain of losing baby teeth?

Well, I know enough to realize that she actually won’t write the book, somebody with more writing talent and life experience will… Nevertheless, I find it pretty disturbing… Expecially that it is an almost guaranteed best-seller.