Monday, December 6, 2010

The home wrecker

Below is a cautionary tale of one woman's quest for health and fitness, her downfall and subsequent conclusion that exercising is evil. (No, wrecking home does not refer to her physically falling and destroying her home because she's so heavy. That's what Burger King is for.)

One of the things I had promised myself this year was to exercise more often. That's when I came across Kathy Kaehler's book on fitness and how to incorporate it into our busy lives. I had no idea who Kathy Kaehler was or that she could wreck my home, but the book was only $2 used, had good reviews and covered topics I was interested in. Apparently Kathy is a personal trainer to many Hollywood stars and regularly appears on the Today show. So if you read this book, follow it religiously, in about 70 years or so you will look like Jennifer Aniston . Or not, but I don't think by then you'll care.

I kind of like the book; it has some interesting, but not groundbreaking ideas. I am still upset that reading the book on fitness doesn't automatically make one fit. Seriously, what's up with that? I paid my $2, where are my buns of steel? But moving on. (By the way, does that count as moving?) The book was written over ten years ago, so I decided to check out whether Kathy has her own website and whether she shares some newer ideas there.

Well, little did I know that this innocent act of satisfying curiosity would ultimately bring my downfall. Of course Kathy has her own website. She is still alive and well, trains celebrities and has a few workouts on her website for the obscure people of the world. Somehow, I ended up clicking on the wrong thing and all of a sudden my computer started BLASTING the message from Kathy about exercise during stressful times. Yeah, I can use some tips on dealing with stressful times. And then it started, the beginning of the end. Turned out stressful time = considering DIVORCE, being in the middle of DIVORCE, being post-DIVORCE, and never been married, but still freaked out about the possibility of DIVORCE. Out of the first 30 words out of Kathy's mouth, 20 must've been DIVORCE. I tried to lower the volume, but wasn't quick enough. SubHub entered the living room, a bit shaken up and freaked out. He didn't say a word, gave me THE LOOK, then turned around and left.

So now, five days later, SubHub is still labeling everything in the house as "mine" and "hers", just in case, and has an emergency bag packed up, also just in case. (Okay, that is a joke. JOKE!) And I learned a very important lesson. Exercising never produces healthy results. Look where it got me, and I only attempted to start!

Thank you Kathy Kaehler for wrecking my home! I will be sure to turn to your exercise videos in my time of "high stress," which might come thanks to you.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Are you talking to me?

If one reads enough of mother-oriented materials, a few common themes emerge: disciplinary problems, staying home vs. working, breastfeeding freely vs. bottle feeding without prejudice. One will also find that there are themes that are either rarely or almost never covered. Which boggles my mind because I am sure I am not the only going through these issues, but rarely would I find something in parenting blog or magazine on the matter.

But back to the recurring themes, because there's one that has been bugging me for far too long. I am sure you are familiar with the story: the alpha woman gets pregnant, alpha woman decides that her career is too valuable to abandon, something bad/terrible/sad happens or she sees the light and the alpha woman decides to slow down, reduces her hours/finds a job with more life/work balance and the alpha mom, her spouse and her offspirng are all happier than they ever were. Lesson learned: money is not everything, career is not that important, large house/fancy car are not equal substitutes for sanity, happy balance is the best.

Well, here's my beef with this story. I work, and I work full time. I work with all kinds of women, many of whom are moms. I have seen only one alpha woman that fits the description of the story in 12+ years I am in professional workforce. The rest of us? We are not doing it for kicks, or because career is so important to us, or because a 5 bedroom mansion is just too small for our family of four, or because that second Mercedes doesn't pay for itself, you know. We do it because we have to and more often than not we have no other choice.

Every time I read about suggestions to scale down the spending so that I can stay home or work part time, I want to grind my teeth. We don't buy, but rent. Eating out less would mean growing my own vegetables. Our case is by far not the worst. Most women work because their husbands' earnings alone wouldn't pay the bills. End of story. More ironic is that even with two working adults many people financially struggle.

And then I hear the famous line about working part time. Really, the best of both worlds, right? You work a little, make a little money, see more of your kids. Yep, agreed, the best of both worlds. If you don't need full income from your job. If your employer won't scale down or take away the benefits due to reduced hours. And here's the biggie: if this option is available at all. Most employers are very reluctant to allow present employees to scale down on their work hours. If they do, they often reduce the pay, but not the workload. In case of layouts part timers are often the first to go. And being allowed reduced work week requires constant negotiation and re-negotiation and living with the threat of it being taken away. And that's when one already works. Finding a new part time job with decent pay and working conditions is almost impossible.

But that doesn't stop these articles. And suggestions about making do with less. Or reminding us that children are more important than careers and the precious time we spend away from them cannot be made up later. And the first steps/words/milestones we miss cannot be done over. As if I or any other working mother wasn't painfully aware of that. Who are these people writing for? Some clueless, oblivious to their children's needs, insanely successful but still pretty dumb career women? If these people exist in nature, how many are there to warrant that many articles?

Friday, November 5, 2010

The origins

A few days ago I was passing by my Indian co-worker, Pinter. (Pinter is not his real name and he is not married to Sue Ellen Mischke.) He was eating lunch at his desk, but upon seeing me, motioned for me to come to his desk. Turns out he ordered a kosher falafel from one of the new kosher places near work. Somehow, every time someone non observant or not Jewish on the floor orders kosher, they feel the need to share this with me. I don't mind, I find it peculiar, but cute. Though I do feel somehow responsible if their meal does not meet their expectations.

This time, I could breathe with ease because we had a very happy customer. Pinter was widely smiling and asking me whether I had tried falafel from the new place. "It's very good,"declared Pinter. He described in detail the contents of his pita and commented on crispiness of the falafel balls. "It tastes just like falafel I had growing up." I had no idea that falafel was known in India. I was sure that the dish was of Middle Eastern origin, and also vaguely remembered a conversation with another Indian co-worker where falafel was mentioned, but as a newly discovered food. I was about to unleash all of my thought process on the poor Pinter, but something made me proceed with caution.

"Did you mother make falafel from scratch?" seemed reasonably safe.

"No, we usually bought it." How odd. I think his falafel was getting cold because I could sense the anxiety in Pinter's voice. But I couldn't let go. I had to find out which provinces in India were privy to the secrets of falafel making. Look, I never finished - ok, even started - War and Peace and must fill in the blanks in my primary education.

"Did it taste the same? Was it also in a pita?" I pressed on.

We got back on Pinter's favorite subject, I guess, though I am not sure whether it was his childhood or food, because all of a sudden he started reminiscing completely forgetting about the danger of the perfectly crispy falafel balls turning soggy. He described in great detail the falafel of his childhood, which oddly enough was very similar to the one he was eating right now. Then he seamlessly switched to other memories from childhood and finished with, "We were the only Indian family on the block." Waaaait a minute. What???

And then it hit me. I completely forgot that Pinter was born and bread in Boro Park, the heart of Jewish Brooklyn. He must've told me this a hundred times... Next time I talk to him, I must not forget that he lives in Monroe and does not commute from New Delhi... It would also be nice to bring the guy sufganiyot come Chanukah time. He must miss them like crazy...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I always suspected they weren't quite human

DD: DS, let dress up as people!
DS: Yes, let's!
Me: Aren't you people already?
DD: (exasperated) No, like different people.

Yep, that's what we have at home. Different species aka children.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

They get their own day now?

The editors at iVillage produced a study in anticipation of Mother-in-Law’s Day next Sunday. The study found that 28% of women reported a “terrible” or “bad” relationship with their hubby’s mom. And when it comes to kids, the feelings were even stronger — 76% said they would never seek parenting advice from a mother-in-law. 83% said they would never ask for relationship advice from their mother-in-law, and 94% wouldn’t seek advice on their sex life from her.

The question that I have is who the heck are the 6% who would seek advice on their sex life from the MIL? How does one broach the subject? Why would one assume that husband's mother possesses some privileged information in this area? Would you have to report back the successful implementation of advice? The questions are numerous, and they are all very disturbing.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

A spare one to keep in the trunk

There's an ongoing joke in our house about me being purchased by SubHub for $60 at the time of our wedding. Meager $60. If you take into account that $60 was the selling price of the wedding band, NOT what he paid for it, SubHub got a very good bargain. But like with any too good to believe deal, there are some minor (or major) defects in the product. I say, still a good investment; he says, he should've asked for buy 1, get one free deal. He's Sephardi, you see. But I digress...

Last week I overheard SubHub on the phone. "You should make sure she's soft, but sturdy. Hairs should be silky, not hard. Try pulling them, they shouldn't come out. Hold her in your hands, she should feel comfortable. Don't get a cheap one; they are more trouble than they are worth."

So naturally I am wondering whether SubHub was doling out dating advice. I wouldn't put it past him. The only thing that's troubling me - SubHub thinks the guy should pay around $10, not much more than that. I thought I was the cheap model. Am I that easily replaced???

P.S. For those overly concerned with women's rights, SubHub was giving advice on buying a paint brush. And referring to brush as "she" because they were conversing in Russian.

You are only as old as your kids make you feel.

I'm too traumatized for the proper intro.


Me: Kids, why don't you play in pretend daycare? You could pretend that your dolls and bears are children. DD could be Miss E, DS could be Mr. C.

DD: (enthusiastically) Yeah!!! And Mommy can be Sandra!

DS: Yeah, Sandra!

(The kicker is that Sandra is a cleaning lady in their daycare...)

Me: (trying to salvage the situation) Why Sandra? Why can't I be another teacher?

DD: Because only old people can be Sandra. Sandra is much older than Miss E, and all other teachers are younger...

Yes, sweetie, nice save! Sandra is only 20 years older than Mommy... If you click on the link, you will detect a pattern here.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


1. I guess one way to avoid getting spam comments is to not write any new posts, so there, you spammers, I win!!! Sort of...

2. The holidays here are progressing, one more week, and we are done. On the one hand, sad (holidays, excitement, guests!!!), on the other hand - too much togetherness does not make the kids better behaved, the heart grow fonder, mosquitoes less agressive or a waist line to shrink.

3. I am afraid we scared off the one guest we managed to lure into our sukkah :(

4. Sukkot was and still is my favorite holiday, hands down. For the past couple of years, for reasons beyond our control, enjoying it became very hard. This year, however, for the first time in three years, I got my Sukkot back! Almost literally. It also came as a surprise, quite pleasant at that!

5. I am declaring October a scream-free month, parenting wise. Anyone care to join?

6. I need to write this one because if I don't, I won't have 7 points, and the Universe will stop making sense or exist in the way we know it. OCD much? Oh, shut up! (It's not October yet and you are not my kid, so I can yell if I want to...)

7. I wish I could say that after the holidays I will be back to my original programming, but for a few months before holidays there was no original programming to speak of. I guess priorities change, responsibilities take over, and FB is very, very alluring and time consuming.

Ok, happy rest of the Holidays to all those who celebrate! (Oh, no... Does this count as #8? O.M.G. I do not want to wake up in tomorrow's Universe.

Yours truly,


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Aren't we all human?

DD and I were still on the subject of human beings today. Progress is slow in SubCasa, what can I tell you. This morning she asked me, "Mommy, are we all human beings?" To which I replied, "Yes, we are," thinking she was talking about SubFamily. DD was more globally oriented, and asked, "We are all human beings? Even boys?"

I didn't have the heart to tell her the truth - that the jury is still out on that one - plus, this is something she should figure out on her own. So I quietly nodded while her brother was busy combining hanging upside down with bothering the baby, throwing down toys, making wild noises and destroying something, over which he would endlessly cry only five minutes later. "Yes, sweetie, even boys." DD is pretty bright, just reread her question if you need proof. Do you think she bought it?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

No issues with setting boundaries here...

My baby is (finally!) starting to talk. She now regularly and clearly says 5 words, and not so regularly and only semi-clearly another 5 or six. But her unclear vocabulary is growing every week. However, should I be concerned that out of the "regular and clear" five, two are "no" and "no way"?

Monday, August 30, 2010

The one where SubWife is too tired to come up with a title

A few weeks after one of my soliloquies on the topic of "Mommy is also a human being and thus needs to eat, sleep and rest" (if you insist, no I am not proud of it), DD and I are talking about her camp. DD is telling me about one of her counselors, and I inquire, "Is she a young girl? A teenager?" To which DD replies, "No, she is a human being."

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hell hath no fury like a baby scorned

Our baby finally started to walk. Yay for us!!!

A few weeks ago the following happened: she would make two steps and would plop back on her tush. And she would do this over and over and over again. In the middle of this exercise her brother picked up a toy she was playing with and made a run for it. Baby got visibly mad and screamed. The she got up, made her two standard steps, shook a bit unevenly, held her balance and made two more steps. No, she did not catch her brother, but she set a record!

And also sent a clear message: nobody puts the baby in the corner! Or takes her toys away. Unless they can make more than four steps, but she's working on it!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A day at the office

Today I got a refresher course in business ethics and office conduct. Here are my findings/reminders:

1. a) Craving a drink @ 10.30 am is not a good sign.
b) Chances are, it will only get worse with every passing hour.

2. I don't care what Ms. Manners says, some emails must remain ignored and unanswered. Or printed out and burned. But still unanswered.

3. a) Getting into a fight with your boss is not a good career move.
b) Winning said fight is even worse.
c) Letting your boss walk all over you is not good for your career either.
d) Whatever you decide, you are screwed.

4. a) Spitting in your adversary's coffee, no matter how justified, is not considered professional conduct.
b) Too bad.

5. a) When it comes to work, have no loyalties except to yourself.
b) Because your "teammate" can turn on you in a matter of seconds for reasons known only to him.

6. a) Venting feels good.
b) Unless your boss overhears you venting.
c) About him.

7. Being "proactive" and "thinking outside of the box" are concepts for department meetings/pep talk only. When it comes to actual work, doing it SALY is encouraged, preferred and expected.

8. a) Learning to know when to shut up is priceless.
b) Never learning it is more entertaining.

9. Remember, you are an accountant, not a brain surgeon. Don't take your work so seriously. Nobody outside of accounting department does any way.

10. a) If you want that drink - 10.30 or not - just get it.
b) Those who say 10.30 am is too early for a drink must have never had a bad day at the office.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

You can't always get what you want

There are times when one wants something very, very much. It seems good, right and almost perfect. And then it doesn't work out. For days, months and sometimes even years, one might wonder why that thing never materialized. And while one will never know the real reason for why, at times G-d in his mercy gives one a glimpse of what would have happened had that thing ever come into being. And then one sighs a deep sigh of relief, counts one's blessings and murmurs to oneself, "That was a close one."

Today I got one of these glimpses into the possible present/future. So now I feel a huge surge of gratitude because:
1. If I got what I wanted then, it more likely than not would've made me very, very miserable. For a very, very long time.
2. I could've been left guessing about "what if" and "if only's" for the rest of my life - but I wasn't. That chapter is closed. I am extremely grateful for the sense of closure.
3. Hopefully, when next time I won't get what I really, really want, remembering this will soften the sting of disappointment.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Die, spam, die!!!

So after getting quite a few spam comments, I caved in and did something I absolutely hate doing to those few who leave comments on my blog. I find it very annoying to have to enter word verification when I leave a comment on other blogs. However, I felt I had no choice as spam was starting to get out of hand. Well, to make long story short, it didn't help.

I keep on getting spam comments. Sigh. It looks like the only options left are either ignoring spam or moderating the comments. Moderating I like even less than word verification because I can only moderate late nights from home, which kills discussions of any sort. (Though those haven't been happening lately, hmmm....)

Any ideas out there? Any preferences from my 4 loyal readers? Please leave a comment though you'll brave the word verification for that, which is still on.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

You just can't win.

So there I was thinking that I am doing this great thing for my family by force feeding them fruits and vegetables. Turns out - I was stuffing them with pesticides. If you are too lazy busy to check out the link, here's the list of the produce containing the largest amount of pesticides:





Domestic blueberries


Sweet bell peppers

Spinach, kale and collard greens



Imported grapes


Incidentally, this so-called dirty dozen represents about 90-95% of all produce that we buy. I remembered reading somewhere that farmers' market produce, even if non-organic, is usually lower in pesticides, so I visited one such market. I did expect the prices to be higher, but didn't expect them to be that high. Given that we already spend significant amount of money on this on a weekly basis, I just can't afford to triple that amount. And if I go organic - forget it, I just can't. So what do I do? Stick to avocados and grapefruit? Or do I still serve this chemical laden stuff?


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Equality, my aunt Fanny

It occurred to me recently that if I were a man, I would make a darn good husband. I make a decent living (not great, but decent), am not obsessed with my career and value family time much more than earning points with my bosses. In addition I do 99% grocery shopping, 90% of the cooking and laundry, 100% of getting up to the kids in the middle of the night, do fun stuff with children, pay the bills, get kids ready for school in the morning, set up all appointments, talk to the teachers... I even clean sometimes! Yes, there's an issue of not being able to use any tools or fix anything in the house, but I think the above qualities would more than make up for this shortcoming. Any woman would want to marry me!

While as a wife I am very much mediocre, if not worse. My cooking and baking are decent, but nothing out of the ordinary, my organizational skills are sub-par and my housekeeping skills could make a grown man cry. And I don't make up for these shortcomings with good looks or sunny personality. I am lucky SubHub puts up with me.

Sometimes life just doesn't seem fair, does it?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

10 thing one shouldn't do on 4 hours of interrupted sleep

1. Climb Everest - may trip and fall.

2. Take a hot bath - may fall asleep and drown.

3. Handle dangerous equipment or substance - may maim oneself.

4. Argue politics - likely to lose patience and get into a fight.

5. Make jokes - you almost certainly will misjudge how risque the joke is.

6. Perform open heart surgery - if you are a surgeon and I need to explain this one to you, please surrender you license, ASAP.

7. Write a blog entry - ahem, they are not as funny.

8. Drive - driving drowsy causes just as many accidents as driving under the influence of alcohol, 'nuff said.

9. Do housework - no serious danger unless handling dangerous substances, but seriously, go get some sleep and clean tomorrow. It will be there tomorrow as no one will do it for you anyway.

10. Parent .

Sunday, June 20, 2010

'Till death do us part.

Upon discovering that the home made muffin he was eating was made out of whole wheat flour:

SubHub: Whole wheat? Are you trying to kill me?
SubWife: No, I am actually trying to prolong your misery.

Apparently swift death is better than long life with me, since I was asked for the next batch to be made from bleached all purpose highly processed white flour, chocolate chips and lots of hydrogenated oils.

(Photo courtesy of

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Baby Pollock

Baby is trying to assert her independence and refuses to be fed. SHE WANTS TO DO IT HERSELF!!! NOW!!! This new development (actually not so new, I am just behind on blogging) limits the foods we can give her as she clearly cannot feed herself with a spoon. Yogurt is out. So is cottage cheese. And soup. And apple sauce. Or any kind of jarred baby food. If she gets her chubby fingers on edibles of this sort, anything within a 3 foot radius can and will be covered in the mentioned above food.

But her food adventures don't stop here. With fruit and berry season upon us and limited access to other art supplies, Baby explores her artistic side with whatever she can find on her plate. Her technique needs some improvement, as it mostly consists of taking fistfuls of berries and smearing them all over herself and her booster seat; on the other hand, something similar worked for Jackson Pollock, or am I mixing him up with someone else? (Original title of this entry was baby Warhol... Thank you wikipedia for setting me straight.)

Exhibit A: White is so boring! The booster seat obviously needed a touch of color. Enter blackberries!

Exhibit B: Who picked these clothes for me? Let's add a drop of avocado to bring out the pink in the shirt and blue in denim, shall we? (Note from Baby's future editor: It required special dedication to get avocado on her knee. I am still wondering how she had done it while being strapped in a chair with a tray table over her lap.)

Exhibit C: Baby in white - sitting in her white booster seat covered in yogurt could not have been located. That should add value to it upon discovery.

Exhibit D: Inspired by Lady Gaga, baby covered in red raspberry tidbits and juice. Since raspberries stain like crazy, photo op has been canceled in favor of Baby's clothes preservation.

I have a feeling that Baby will get a strong following after this post. Let me assure you that we are ready for fame, so don't hesitate to contact me for the piece of Baby's art. Our prices are not cheap, but fair given the talent we are dealing with here. To her critics I have this to say - hold your horses. She is still a young and developing artist, and I assure you she is working on her smearing technique DAILY! Let's pray that SubHub and his penchant for neatness won't squash the budding talent here.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

More of that jazz

About six months ago I've made a huge mistake. No, I did not develop a crush on Will Arnett. What would give you that idea? (Will, if you are reading this, leave a comment!) I had done something much, much dumber. In a casual conversation with a co-worker, who happens to be my cubicle neighbor, I have mentioned how much I hate listening to jazz, especially the one featuring female singers who are sadder than the sight of a terminally sick puppy and life without love combined. (Norah Jones, I know you are reading this and sweetie, I just cannot reciprocate your adoration for my talent. Nothing personal, but the year you won Grammy was one of the musically hardest for me.) Anyhow...

Guess what? Any office drone with a few months of work experience and an ounce of common sense knows what happens next. Almost immediately the guy starts listening to jazz. Featuring women who lost their will to live, but not their desire to whine sing about it. Nonstop. All day long. Very loud. Whine, whine, whine. Making me lose the ability to form full sentences.

However, I strongly believe that whatever happens, happens for a reason. To combat this auditory assault, I listen to my iPod, which has music on it only due to SubHub's kindheartedness and faulty earphones Due to the incredible laziness circumstances beyond my control I just can't ever find time to load anything on my iPod other than a few parenting lectures. At some point in the past, SubHub discovered the sad state of my iPod and took pity on me loading several Sting albums. (Sting, if you are reading this call Will Arnett, I've heard he's a huge fan!) SubHub also swiped my earphones in the process, but who's counting, right? So now, every time my musical nemesis turns up his volume, I take my iPod out and - miracle of miracles - my heart immediately fills with love for my husband. Who knew torture could be good for marriage? (Masochists, don't answer that.)

This stronger bond with SubHub, though, does not deter me from endlessly Googling "how to sabotage HP speakers without getting discovered."


Now this is the jazz I can listen to!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

No matter how you look at it....

DD, DS and I are on our way from the park. Kids are happily talking to each other, when DS suggests, "I am Kipper, DD, you are Arnold, and Mommy, you are Pig." DD, "No, I am Kipper, you are Tiger and Mommy is Pig." They went about it several ways, but either way I ended up being Pig.

Clearly, I am Jake. On the other hand, Pig makes one mean chocolate cake :)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

PSA: skirt length and public transporation.

This is a public service announcement coming from your local prude.

Ladies, when you wear skirts that don't cover you knees while sitting down, you are exposing a lot more than you think. Those skirts almost always ride up and leave very, very little to the imagination. So little that anyone sitting across from you will know the color of your underwear. If that is the desired effect, then knock yourselves out. I would bet, however, that most of the women are clueless about this. They think that their skirt is not showing more than desired because it's not that short and covers the knee when standing up.

I could be wrong, of course, and in the age of bikinis no one cares about this. However, personally I would be petrified if I found out that half the F train car, filled with strangers with whom I ride pretty much every morning, has seen a whole lot more than I thought or cared to show. And would want someone to tell me.

So there.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Do as your mother does, or maybe don't.

Supper in SubCasa, and mac'n'cheese is on the menu. DD is playing with a string of cheese. I am putting a fork in my mouth and for some reason macaroni on my fork lose balance and start to fall off. At the same time SubHub, who is not paying attention to me, notices DD with her tongue stuck out trying to catch her string of cheese and says, "DD, why are you playing with your food? Do we eat like that? You should see how you mother eats and eat like her, " just as I catch macaroni with my left hand and quickly shove them in my mouth, the entire handful in one shot. OK, I never claimed to be perfect. SubHub did.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Hopefully back

Wow, it's been this long. Life just gets in a way of blogging, I guess. This past month children and FaceBook and the discovery of Arrested Development have been taking up more of my time than usual.

We interrupt our current programming to give you the following message. While I was typing the first paragraph, my baby got into her butt cream and tried to eat it for supper. True story. I wouldn't mind much because I, even after two kids before her, I still haven't figured out what to feed a toddler who only has eight teeth yet eats more than my 4-year-old and who is too old for baby food yet too young to eat regular supper with us. However, butt cream is $18/10 oz and never goes on sale; hence, I object. Generic vaseline, however, is another story... So yeah, that's why I shouldn't be blogging, like, ever, or my kid will end up with irritated bottoms and a mask of zinc oxide on their face.

So it would be very natural to dedicate this post to my kids, but I won't. Instead I will stop right here because the baby is finally at this cute to the nth degree stage that won't last forever, and I just can't miss it for blogging! I could, however, miss it for Facebook or Arrested Development.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Why are we doing this again?

Thoughts brought on by acute hunger while being on Weight Watchers:

Damn, I shouldn't have lost those fifteen pounds - I would've had another point.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The SubOne who laughs last laughs best

SubHub needed new swimming goggles. Since the kids were still on vacation, he took them with him to Modell's. According to SubHub, there was only one model of goggles, and since he was desperate he bought whatever they had. Those goggles, which were replacing sleek and good looking pair, were huge and covered half his face, which made him look like a cross between a geek and a pilot. When I came home from work and saw him try those goggles on, I must've laughed for five minutes straight. I could barely catch my breath.

SubHub took this reaction stoically and was not at all surprised. He said that kids reacted in the same way when he tried goggles in the store. The older two were rolling on the floor and the baby attempted jumping out of a car seat. "Do you know what they said when they finally were able to talk?" asked SubHub. I had no idea.

"Papa, you look just like Mommy."


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Que Sera Sera

Was asked today by DD who found out that she cannot marry her brother.

"Mommy, when I am a kallah (bride), who is going to be my chassan (groom)?"

If only we knew, sweetie...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I believe (?) I can fly...

Passover is over. With it comes some sort of sadness, but this time it's not for the holidays that are over.

It's probably no secret to anyone who knows me or who reads this blog that my housekeeping is lacking and my standards are kind of low. Not terribly low - while working full time, we almost never eat take out, husband and children have clean clothes, dirty dishes are not piled up to the ceiling and the house is habitable- but not very high. Some chores get postponed for months if not years. I never feel this more acutely as before Passover. As most of my friends are busy spring cleaning, I settle for some mild form of decluttering and basically Pesach cleaning my living room, dining area and kitchen. I don't believe that Passover should necessarily equate to spring cleaning and have very good reasons for not doing it during that time. After all, I am an accountant by profession and the months of February through April happen to be pretty busy for us. However, with Pesach there are some deadlines that one must meet. When spring cleaning is done on one's own schedule, well, it kind of never gets done. At least in one shot.

So what's up with sadness? This Passover I made a commitment to 1) rejoin Flylady AGAIN and try to stick with it, 2) to keep my dining room table, kitchen counters and sinks clean at all times. Sounds like not that much, right? Only that I found myself washing dishes and wiping counters almost nonstop all the time. I mean it - except for the times when we ate/slept/went for a walk, ALL THE TIME. And that's only part of the kitchen and dining area! Towards the end of the last day, I gave up and left some silverware and cups unwashed. But I have done it all the other seven and a half days, and have housewife's eczema to prove it! The most annoying part? This kind of forced me to neglect kids' room a bit and when I walked in today, I found a mountain of clothes piled up on the rocking chair. How??? And in only two days???

That's when the sad realization hit me. Basically, if I want my house neat at all times (not just when kids are in bed and no one actaully appreciates semi-neatness), I will never be able to really rest or do anything other than clean. There will always be something else to do. And, while the house will most likely be much neater than now, working this hard is not a guarantee that it will be really neat. This doesn't sit well with me. At all.

So I am sad. And depressed. And finishing horrible Passover chocolate (it's Swiss, but the lowering of pure cocoa % actually makes it taste very cheap, though cheap it isn't) because tomorrow I am also starting Weight Watchers. And thinking that maybe my old self that didn't notice and/or wasn't bothered by disarray was better than the new/older me, at least for blogging and socializing purposes.

Ahh, I already miss holidays.

Friday, April 2, 2010

My annual Passover rant

Last Sunday I went grocery shopping and picked up a brief guide to Passover products in the supermarket. I quickly leafed through it when one section caught my eye: baby food. This year, to my great disappointment, the only certified kosher for Passover baby food is some foreign made fruit mush with added sugar. This is the first time I have seen refined sugar added to baby food. So naturally I wanted to see what the guide would say about baby food, which was not certified and whether some of it would be acceptable to use during Passover.

It might have been the fumes from Windex during Passover cleaning or exhaustion or my natural working mother defensiveness, but one sentence, actually one word in that section, ticked me off real bad. I quote,

"Ideally, it is best to (gasp!) prepare baby food at home using a blender or food processor."

Guess which word (gasp!) @#$%ed me off?!

Gasp? Gasp?!!! Excuse me? I was not reading an article or a blog entry or an essay on the topic. For goodness sake, I was consulting some very simple product guide. How dare they gasp at me and all the other mothers who are looking to buy baby food? What the hell? I understand and respect their recommendation, but what's up with the attitude? I was looking for mashed bananas and butternut squash, not crack cocaine!

Here's the newsflash for those MEN who have compiled the guide: I am reading your guide to (gasp!) only find out which products I can and cannot use during Passover, not to subject myself to the your judgment of my mothering/cooking skills and definitely not to the pitiful attempts at sarcasm from individuals who not only (gasp!) never made baby food themselves, but probably wouldn't even know how to plug in a food processor let alone use one, (but whose mothers - no doubt - busy as they were with Passover preparations still found time to make their own baby food, so why can't the modern women?) Gasp...

Here's another newsflash: if I (and all other women you are gasping at) made my own baby food - as I often do - all the time, as well as other products that I am perfectly capable of making myself instead of buying ready made, your kashrut certification revenue would greatly suffer. So would your employment and ability to come out with sarcasm- laden guides.

So here's a suggestion: when you prepare next year's guide, you will think about the last time YOU (not your wives) made baby food, how much you contribute to Passover preparations (vs your mothers and wives), how much you need your organization to generate revenue and raise contributions, and then make your buying recommendations for kosher consumers respectfully and (gasp!) keep your gasps to yourself? And if your compulsion to gasp overtakes you and becomes unbearable, you will express it in the blog post or - even better - in a private journal, away from exhausted female eyes?

Just a suggestion.

Then again, Windex fumes are thinning out, so I might look at this very differently a week from now...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Every breath you take

Wowie wow wow! It has been almost three weeks since my last post! Wow! Time flies!

Well, this one will be short.

My obsession with home early pregnancy tests (EPT) had reared its ugly head once again, which prompted SubHub to utter one of his funniest lines ever. (Actually there were two lines, but I don't remember the first one exactly because the second one was soooo good.) He looked over my new super-multi-mega-pack-SubWife special edition EPT purchase and uttered, "Every time you pee, it costs us five dollars."

Little did he know that it's $5 on sale and including super-multi-mega pack discount...

(The first line - I think - went something like, "You know, you don't need a pregnancy test to pee, you can go straight into the toilet?"

So I declare this line to be the quote of the month! (or with the say my posting goes, it might end up the quote of the decade.)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I would like a side of air with that

I met a friend whom I haven't seen in a while this past Purim. Amid the sugarfest that Purim inevitably becomes, we somehow got on a conversation about the evils of sugar and processed carbs. Her point was, if I understood correctly, that many health-related evils are directly or indirectly related to sugar consumption. In order to be healthy one must completely eliminate all refined sugar and simple carbs.

I am not a big defender of sugar or white bread. I definitely could stand to lose quite a few pounds and eliminating sugar would help. However, I am just not buying the theory that all the evil is rooted in sugar. (I will also admit that few things in life are as satisfying as a freshly baked still warm white bread with a cold glass of milk. So yeah, I am biased.)

On the other hand, there are many other theories that blame other foods for all the ailments humanity suffers. There are those who say that dairy is evil; others say that it's actually meat; then there are those who claim that the only healthy lifestyle is avoiding all animal-derived foods. It doesn't stop there. One of my colleagues, citing numerous studies, said that fruit is to be avoided because it is high in sugar and whole grain Cheerios is bad for you. It doesn't end here because there are evils lurking in the form of salt, caffeine, alcohol, hydrogenated oils, not to mention preservatives, pesticides, coloring agents and other man-made chemicals.

Where does that leave me, if I were to follow every advice? Initially I wanted to say "with spinach", but there's E. Coli, then I wanted to say "cucumbers", but someone told me that the seeds in those could be bad for some people. Then I thought of beans, but men - how much beans can one consume before becoming a menace to society? (The answer: not much.) So that leaves me with an empty plate and stomach. Which would make advocates of the very low calorie lifestyle very happy. But not me...

Full disclosure: the post was written while drinking fully NON-decaffeinated Irish Breakfast tea and home made raisin cookies most definitely baked with sugar.

Monday, February 22, 2010

8 Things I would like to tell our auditors

I remember being a newbie auditor and a sense of terror I felt at my first few audits. That sense of terror was quickly replaced with being constantly overwhelmed by the amount of work and manager's questions and comments. That's why I am very surprised at how annoyed I am with our auditors this season. Let's make this clear - few companies like being audited, and we are no exception. Audit always generates extra work for everyone involved. It is a normal part of the job, however, and everyone tries to get through it with a sense of humor and in good spirits. This year, though, we have been blessed with a particularly "talented" bunch; everyone on the floor is grinding teeth. Hence this post...

1. Know your schedules. And their names. If accrued expense in not the schedule of vouchers paid during the year, that's because it DOESN'T BELONG THERE.

2. You are at a client. I don't know what the latest copy of In Style magazine says, but skirt (or pants) is not optional.

3. I can't prove to you that our subsidiaries don't have separate payroll accounts. The same way I cannot prove to you that dragons don't exist. You'll just have to take my word for it. AND REVIEW YOUR PAYROLL TESTING. You know, the testing you have already completed.

4. I don't care what your lead sheet says and why. You deal with your working papers, okay? and leave me out of it.

5. Whether the column is included in the total can be resolved by a simple arithmetic > the procedure involved while footing this schedule > the procedure you have already performed as part of your testing > the procedure that requires zero accounting background.

6. I don't care if you were a member of Beta Alpha Psi in college. If you can't find a balance on the bank statement, maybe accounting isn't for you.

7. I don't begrudge you stupid questions. I begrudge you the know-it-all attitude while asking them.

8. How many times can you ask the same stupid question? Please don't answer.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Real men do cry

I took the kids to the doctor past Monday. Multiple shots were involved. Baby needed three vaccinations and a blood test, DS needed one vaccination and DD two. Since I took the kids by myself, I wasn't completely thinking things through. Otherwise, I would've made DS take his shot first. Alas, the baby went first and her crying and screaming made DS even more paranoid about getting vaccinated. But that's not what this post about.

As the baby was writhing and screaming and doctor and I were busy restraining her, all of a sudden we heard DS loudly crying. Before I continue, I must reiterate that DS is very macho, as macho as boys come; but there he was, standing in the corner, wailing, using his little fists to smear his tears all over the face. "I...don't...want...Baby...hurt or cry...please more shots..." Both the doctor and I were on the verge of tears. That is until we had to restrain DS for his own vaccination, but that is a whole different story.

I guess it is true then that underneath all that macho outer layer, there is a sensitive core trying to get out. I'll just try to remember this next time I have to deal with an adult macho.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Extremes meet

I am becoming very, very, very seriously annoyed with the far right. Very. Very. Annoyed. It seems like one must adhere to the set of very particular beliefs in order to satisfy Rush Limbaugh & Co and earn one's right to be called a Republican or Conservative. Here are just some examples:

If one is pro-life, but is not opposed to the morning after pill - they are not Pro-Life enough, and even worse than liberals.

If one voted for McCain, but doesn't hate Obama, one is not Republican enough, and is ever worse than those damned liberals.

If one questions the was in Iraq , then one is an anti-American ingrate who cannot possibly be a Republican and thus is worse than the liberals.

If one opposes death penalty - for any reason, one is not a true Conservative and worse than the liberals.

And G-d help the one who thinks that Universal Health Care might be a good idea - that person is a lost cause, a Socialist and possibly a dirty anti-American Commie. Which is of course worse than being a liberal, but only marginally because all liberals are closeted Commies.

But here's what I find particularly ironic. I still remember the Commie times in Russia, and all of this - those who are not completely, 110% ideologically with us are against us/those who are not like us cannot possibly be patriotic/those who have different beliefs are looking to or already are actively destroying our beautiful country and must be the agents of the enemy - very painfully reminds me of those Commie times. Yes, there obviously are differences, but as far as I am concerned the extremes have already met.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Mysterious Affair at SubCasa

Okay, now after the badly written and depressing to boot post, something light and fluffy, courtesy of DS.

He has been asking me for a week to make cheesecake, and I finally obliged on Sunday. We all had a piece last night, and when DS asked for seconds, I told him that he could get another piece in the morning. Of course, the first thing he did upon awakening was to make sure that the cheesecake was still there. I was in my bedroom when bewildered DS stormed in there. "Mommy, the cheesecake got spoiled!" I thought he was referring to the crack in the cheesecake and hoping that DS didn't drop it in his attempt at cheesecake poaching. I rushed into the kitchen and didn't see any signs of foul play. The aluminun pan with the cheesecake was safely standing on the top shelf of the fridge. Then DS opened up another 9x13 pan and said, "See, mommy, cheesecake got spoiled! It turned into chicken!"

Sunday, January 31, 2010

So you think it's funny?

I was on the train recently when I overheard - and trust me, it was impossible not to - a conversation one young girl was conducting on her cell phone. She very excitedly was retelling how one of her friends got so drunk at some party that on his way home he was stopped by a cop driving in the wrong direction on the one way street. To make the story even funnier - for the girl on the cell that is - it was the street where the guy lived and knew very well. The guy was so drunk that he could barely answer cop's questions - the girl was practically giddy with laughter talking about it. At the end, since the guy was practically two houses away from his home, the cop let him go scot-free. At that point I thought the girl would pee her panties with excitement. "Can you imagine? So drunk blah, blah, blah, hee hee hee."

This was one of the very few times in my life when I had a very strong urge to either yell or shake or do something to a person I did not know at all. I didn't think that there were people over the age of 13 who thought that drunk driving was hilarious. It's as if we don't know how many people get killed or maimed by drivers like this girl's friend. I find it hard to understand why the cop let this guy off the hook. Hopefully, the guy learned a lesson, but if he didn't - I pray he doesn't injure anyone after another party and gets stopped by a cop who is a bit less generous towards people who are careless with health and lives of others. But I might be hopeful in vain because it seems that cops care more about giving tickets to sober drivers standing at the pump while dropping off their offspring at the nearby school.

I might be hopeful in vain because few weeks ago our neighbor's fence got knocked down by a car that swerved out of control. If this were summer, or morning, or week-end or late afternoon, there would be children behind that fence. I shudder to think about the odds of their survival if they were there. The words "zero to none" come to mind. SubHub ran out to see what had happened and to offer assistance to the driver. The guy was not injured, but was so intoxicated, he could barely talk. He, however, had enough presence of mind to flee the scene of the accident. He was later apprehended by cops who told SubHub and a few other witnesses that the driver of the car would most likely not be charged with anything since there was only property damage. How about the fact that he was drunk? The cop only made a face and let people know that he was too busy for trivialities like that.

I wanted to blog about this story before, but every time I thought about the girl on the train or overly forgiving cops, I would inevitably get angry. I want to know what the heck happened to all the tough laws against driving while intoxicated? What is their purpose if cops let people caught driving drunk go left and right? Do we only enforce them when someone gets injured? Seriously, what the hell?

And now with Purim approaching, I decided to post this. Because drinking and driving is just not funny. And definitely not in the spirit of the holiday.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Her name was Lola...

SubHub came home a few days ago and told me that some guy tipped him off about a huge sale on paper goods. I wonder how the conversation even got to this point, but I could be wrong about male stereotypes and maybe some men actually are budget conscious and tell each other about the latest prices of chicken legs and TP. (Moshe, you are the only one I know.) But I digress.

The guy was perplexed by SubHub's cool reception of the news, so SubHub had to explain that we barely use paper/plastic goods. The guy was shocked. "So no disposables?" "Only cups." "No plastic plates?" "No, very rarely." "You MUST have a dishwasher?" to which SubHub replied, "..."

At this point I rudely interrupted SubHub's recount of the conversation with, "Yes, yes we do! Her name is SubWife!"

SubHub didn't find this joke nearly as amusing as I did. I wonder why. Then again, he didn't bring home any paper plates either.

Monday, January 18, 2010

There was once a dog

This is one of the best cartoons I have ever seen and now I have finally found it on Youtube. There are English subtitles, which unfortunately don't do justice to the original, but there are that many words to begin with. Hope you'll enjoy as much as I did.

Consumerist stole my post!

Ever wonder why baby products cost more - and often MUCH more - than their adult versions? And if there are no adult equivalents, then the one can be guaranteed to pony up a lot of dough for almost nothing. Examples? Just off the top of my head - baby food, formula, diaper rash creams, toys, children's books, clothing, shampoos, baby bottles, breast milk bags ... the list could go on and on and on.

On the other hand, this creates a bright business idea. Just add the word "baby" to your product - and voila! You can charge 30% more without any justification! Too bad, there's no accounting for babies, or I would get seriously rich seriously fast. Hey, there's an idea - Baby Accountant video series! Guaranteed to teach your baby how to count, use a spreadsheet, get comfortable with debits and credits, and as a bonus feature - how to defraud the government and your shareholders. We do not guarantee results, but if your baby doesn't show any interest in the above activities, he will definitely fall asleep!

Anyone willing to invest?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My Clueless/Die Hard moment

A friend and a fellow blogger Sally Hazel had posted today about mixing up Ecuador and El Salvador in a conversation. Something very similar happened to me, and I was wondering how to turn it into the post, so now Sally gave me an excuse and provided much needed inspiration.

A few weeks ago I was having a highly intellectual (insert: sarcasm) discussion with a friend about news and hostage situations in particular, and the topic shifted to the Stockholm syndrome. We discussed it for about ten minutes, and I had referred to the syndrome by its name probably a dozen times. After I hung up, all of a sudden I felt the insides of my stomach getting cold. To my shame and horror I realized that throughout the entire conversation I had referred to the condition as a "Helsinki syndrome". Yikes! And the person with whom I was having this conversation did not correct me either and let me make a fool out of myself over and over again. Wonder if she was stifling giggles on the other line. (For the record, I am sure she wasn't because she is super nice. I am really blessed with good friends.)

And now for the extra credit:

Why would SubWife make such a silly mistake???

Before posting this, I decided to Google Helsinki Syndrome, just to make sure that such a condition does not exist. Ta-da! I found the answer and the person to blame it on.

It's HIS fault.

I blame Alan Rickman! I had watched Die Hard just a day or two before this conversation, and in that movie they had gotten their geography completely wrong and indeed referred to the Stockholm syndrome as the Helsinki syndrome. Here's the quote from

The Helsinki Syndrome mentioned in the film is a reference to the real-world Stockholm Syndrome. Why it was changed in the film is unknown. Coincidentally, the newscaster incorrectly informs his viewers that it refers to Helsinki, Sweden (Helsinki is actually in Finland, while Stockholm is in Sweden).

OK, case closed, SubWife not completely crazy, moving on with life.

DDT - You are not alone

One of my favorites songs, which for some reason "speaks" to me today...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Would you like a menu?

I discovered tonight, to my great shame and embarrassment (which I of course had to share) that the kid who had been whining and crying and finally screaming for the past hour (and waking up every half hour for 2 hours before that) was NOT doing that because she was a) teething, b) in need of a good burp, 3) in pain, 4) needed a diaper change, or 5) simply trying my patience. She, actually, was hungry, a fact obscured by her refusal to eat apples with oats, lukewarm acceptance of cottage cheese and a look of disgust and contempt she gave me every time I offered to nurse her. Turned out the kid wanted real food. She wanted chicken and wouldn't settle for anything else.

Her whining turned into giggles as soon as she saw me taking a chicken leg out of the fridge. Now that she had filled her little tummy with the food of her choice and once clean kitchen floor is covered with pieces of half-chewed chicken that were previously smeared all over her face in a fit of gastronomical euphoria, my little carnivore easily dosed off without rocking, holding, nursing or a pacifier. And I am still up, feeling like a horrible mother who deprived her child of nutrition.

One would think that after experimenting on the first two, things of this sort wouldn't happen with #3. Alas, that's not true, or I am somewhat motherly challenged. To my defense I have to say that a) I feel terrible, b) bothered by her lack of interest in solid food, I have searched Internet for a good portion of the day trying to figure out how much a 10 month old should eat, c) unfortunately (or fortunately) she is the only child of this age I encountered, mine or otherwise, who would rather go hungry than eat something she doesn't WANT (but likes at other times, just not today).

Fortunately (or unfortunately) she's #3 and guilt won't keep me up much longer.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Out of the mouth of the babe...

DS, patting his protruding ribs and concave tummy after lunch, "I have a big tummy, just like Mommy and ___." There were quite a few other names, but I won't mention that...

Currently trying to decide whether to multiply this year's goal for weight loss by 3 or by 4. Baby steps are obviously not working.