Thursday, January 29, 2009

Grandma passed away...

My grandmother (father's mom) passed away this Tuesday and was buried yesterday. I don't really know what else to write at this point or if I will ever address this again in my blog.

Till later...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Simply amazing

Last week I went to Amazing Savings to pick up a few activities for kids. Thinking that I would only get a thing or two, I didn't get the basket or the cart. Pretty soon I realized how silly the notion of getting only one thing in Amazing Savings was, but the store was about to close, so I couldn't get the basket even if I wanted to. I made my way to the register right behind a woman with three or four items, which were scattered all over the counter. There was a kid wailing in the background, "Mommy, I want it, I want it, I want it."

As the cashier was straightening out the paper roll in the register, the woman in front of me turned slightly my way and started talking to me and the cashier. "You know, kids nowadays are not taught manners. (She was obviously referring to the wailing kid.) Their parents need to teach them not to push people, to be polite, think of others." I just stood there biting my tongue. The woman kept on looking at me and the cashier waiting for support, but she was getting luke-warm smiles. She reiterated, "You know, children should be taught manners."

At the same time, I was standing there clutching in my arms ten-odd items hoping not to drop any. All she needed to do was to move hers a bit to the left and free up some counter space for me. The woman was too busy to be polite because she was giving a lecture on manners.

I don't want to vilify this woman. I don't think most of us are blameless in the judgment department. I know that I am not. She eventually realized that her manners were lacking, and even in her judgment she was a lot more polite than most. This is just a friendly reminder that G-d has a sense of humor.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

We're simply the best

Like I said earlier, I read all instructions, manuals and labels, especially when bored. Sometimes it brings unexpected findings. Here's what I read this past Saturday while waiting for tea to brew. (I substituted with caps the name of the company and product to build up suspense.)

"Now you can enjoy a refreshing, naturally produced PRODUCT with traditional great taste.

For over four decades, OUR COMPANY has been combining the highest standards of quality and the finest ingredients (please note the plural, it will become important later on). Each bottle is supervised from beginning to end...

By serving OUR PRODUCT to your family and guests, you're making a statement. You're saying that you serve only the best and you accept nothing less."

And now for the conclusion. What is this great product that shows your friends and family how much you care if you serve it (and how much you don't care if you serve something else)? It's seltzer. Plain seltzer. And the main and only ingredient: carbonated filtered water.

Apparently, we've been drinking the finest, the most supervised and the most traditionally tasting water on earth without even knowing it. Mmm, mmm, good...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Pools and Hot Tubs Warning

If your children use pools, you must read this.

Update: I have forwarded this link to some of my co-workers and received the following reply from one of them: "My friend's daughter died from this. She was 17, 5'7" 160 pounds, not just children need to be careful."

Let it snow

Snow, snow everywhere! And I love it, I simply love it! As SubHub points out that’s because I don’t drive. True, but still there’s something magical about waking up, looking out the window and finding the normally gray and dull Brooklyn winter landscape covered in a while blanket of snow. It makes me feel refreshed, it puts a smile on my face and a spring in my step, and it energizes me better than coffee. It’s so white and pure and clean and beautiful. Ahhhh. (Am I a closeted neat freak? Must shoo away this thought.)

I know that in all likelihood, by the time of my night commute the snow will turn into a brown disgusting mush, and SubHub will complain how hard it was to drive all day long, and the floor in the house will be much dirtier than usual (there again, did you see that? Another thought on neatness just crept up). But I am from the part of the world where snowless winter made just as much sense as a vegetarian steak, so I need a certain amount of this white stuff for mental health (or whatever is left of it) preservation.

So let me enjoy it now and bask in its beauty. Because soon this whiteness will pass and the magic will be gone. And you will be able to drive your cars without any hassle whatsoever (hahahaha, get it? Driving in NYC? Without a hassle? Real funny…ok, ok, maybe not so much. Obviously, the last two snowless winters took their toll on my mental health.)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Let's keep this between us, okay?

These are just kids being kids and I guess parents being parents.

DD asked my Mom for a drink. When Mom started pouring, DD said that she didn't want it in a cup, she wanted a bottle. Mom said, "But your father doesn't let you use the bottle any more." DD, without missing a bit, "But we won't tell him."

Last night SubHub and I were watching The Best of Nature - 25 Years. (Actually, we only went through the first 5 minutes or so and decided that the predators in action theme provides poor entertainment.) In the very beginning there was a scene where a light colored monkey was walking and jumping on the ground shot from the monkey's back. I couldn't shake the feeling that I have seen this before. In a few minutes it hit me: that monkey is a dead ringer for DS when he's wearing his beige PJs, which by coincidence he was wearing that same night! Apparently, mediocre great minds think alike because SubHub was thinking along the same lines! (too bad I couldn't find this tidbit on youtube)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

With assistants like these...

I usually avoid Russian businesses if I can help it. That goes first and foremost for doctors who started practicing back "at home". It is not because I think that Russian doctors are inferior (sometimes they are) in their knowledge and skill. Mostly, it is because of their bedside manner and overall customer service. For a myriad of reasons, political, economical, social and cultural, the concept of customer satisfaction in USSR was pretty much nonexistent and customer service largely depended on the character and upbringing of the service provider. Once these people moved to the US, one would think that wanting their business to succeed would give them enough motivation to change their ways. For many business owners it is so, and for just as many it isn't.

Well, we made one exception in the "avoid Russians like a plague" rule when we chose a Russian pediatrician for our kids. We really like her, and she was highly recommended: she is a good doctor, kids like her, our views on antibiotics and vaccinations generally agree, and she is a very, very polite and nice. Obviously, her office is staffed with Russian receptionists because many of her patients' parents tend to be from Russia. I have heard complaints about them from my friends, but never experienced anything truly negative myself. Most of the time, they were nice to me and my kids. Well, until last week.

SubHub had to take DD for a check up, and the doctor had asked to check DD's vision. The assistant put DD in front of a table with letters, and asked her to name them. DD knows alphabet, but gets letters confused. In addition, for unknown to me reasons, yeshivas start teaching kids Hebrew alphabet ahead of English, so even though DD is absorbed in learning the alphabet, it is not English alphabet that she learns. The assistant administering this test remarked to my husband, "Shame on you. The girl is four years old and doesn't know the alphabet!"

What can I say, this assistant was lucky it wasn't me there with my daughter. While generally I try avoiding conflict, some things deserve an immediate response. The comment was definitely completely inappropriate and rude. Multiply that by the fact that a certain percentage of kids have developmental delays, and this receptionist could have offended a parent of a child incapable of recognizing letters for reasons other than parental laziness and neglect. (I am not even going to go into the whole topic of when children should start learning alphabet etc. or whether a 4-year old is developmentally disabled if she cannot memorize letters. )

I was and still am pretty irate about the whole thing and even thought of calling the doctor herself and complaining. But this receptionist has worked there for years, her manners, comments and all. I doubt anything would come out of my complaint. My only decision here is whether this incident requires changing doctors or not. I am thinking not yet, but it's strike one...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

On blues and such

Wow, I can't believe I am that behind on posting. Oh well, life...

I believe the people have spoken on the issue of blue baby vs. blue man. And it hasn't cleared anything up. Although the poll showed 2 votes in favor of the blue man vs. 5 votes in favor of the creepy baby, I have received three comments in the original post favoring the blue man. So I added them to pro-man votes, thus making it a tie (that's if you don't count my vote, which is obviously in favor of the blue man, making him a clear winner). So after a long and painful process of soul searching that lasted about two and a half seconds, I have decided to satisfy everybody: I am leaving both pictures in.

So there, not only everyone should be happy, it seems that the blue man and the blue baby actually made friends and are now sharing their exasperation over my endless confessing (which is not even true because I haven't posted in a while).

So stop rolling your eyes, ok, SubHub blue man?