Friday, December 30, 2011

My 2012 resolution

I am not big on lists, even though I should get into a habit of making them.  I don't think I have ever written down my next year's resolutions, which I mentally make about every other December.  Being as disorganized as I am, half the time I forget to make them in December and end up scrambling first week of January or not doing them at all.  I decided to break away from that habit, and actually document what I wanted to achieve in the coming year.  There were lots of important things, such as paying more attention to the kids, becoming more organized, losing weight, ridding oneself of guilt.  It would include not only the goals, but the important milestones and ways of achieving them.  It would've been a very good list, even if never followed.

Only at some point between thinking about it and writing all of that down, I got re-inspired by The Bloggess.  I started thinking as to what was it that I really wanted in 2012?  And I decided I wanted to feel happy.  Somehow between taking care of my wonderful kids and a new bigger house and work and finances and all things that life threw my way this year, I forgot about being happy.  It somehow slipped away, almost by choice.  And yes, to be happier I need to become more organized, lose weight and feel that I am a better mother than I am now; I know that it won't happen by itself.  But the main focus should not be on the steps to happiness, but on happiness itself. And if it requires not only taking care of big stuff, but doing silly things that brighten up the day?  Well, I am up for that challenge! 

I will try my best to silence the voices telling me that once one declares the intent of being happy, all kinds of hell breaks loose.  Because I need to be happy, and if I don't try, I never will be.

Therefore, there is only one resolution on my list this year:  2012 should be the year of being

                  Furiously Happy!!!

Wishing everyone happy, no, furiously happy and healthy 2012!

And if you never read Bloggess, I suggest adding this to your list of resolutions!

(Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess, being furiously happy, which could be hard to see because she is wearing a wolf. But she is, trust me.)


Where I admit to being a musical Grinch

I think my relationship with jazz music has been well documented on this blog.  I don't like, at all, in any way, shape, or form, period.  The only music I dislike as much as jazz is Christmas themed music. Unlike jazz, I do not object to Christmas music out of my musical sensitivities.  On the contrary, it all begins rather lively and teeth-grinding-free around Halloween, when every station in the nation (even those who only yesterday were advocating to "Tie Your Mother Down" and taking a "Highway to Hell") starts playing Christmas music.  However, at some point in early November I realize that I am listening to the same 10 songs again and again, day in and day out, and that's how it's going to be until December 26th.  And it looks like it simply cannot get worse, musically-wise.   Seriously, folks.  It has nothing to do with religious intolerance on my part because if I had to listen to my the Best of Queen album all day long for two months, I would most likely develop a strong dislike for classical rock.  (No, that's blasphemy and will never happen, but you get the point.)

Well, remember how only in the last paragraph I said that things couldn't get any worse, and of course I was wrong?  Well, it was also well documented that I have a cubicle neighbor with a penchant for jazz.  I don't think I have ever heard him play Christmas songs.  And now, after months and months of torturing me with Norah Jones and the like, he decided to try something new and tuned into one of those stations that play nothing but those ten Christmas songs.  Only there was a different spin on them.  They all sounded jazzy, i.e. incredibly sad and depressing. Why did the singers sound so sad if "it's the best time of the year"?   Even Jingle Bells sounded like a story of two forlorn lovers separated by cruel fate.  Yes, this was as bad as it gets.

I have been waiting for December 26th this year like I have never been waiting for it before. It meant the end of musical torture and the beginning of auditory freedom. I hoped and waited only to be laughed at by cruel fate and radio DJs.  Folks, it is now December 29th, and Christmas songs are still playing almost nonstop in my neighbor's cube.  Is there an end in sight?  Only time will tell.  Yet I learned another valuable lesson:  it could always get worse.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sub-cry for help

Co-worker, looking in my trash can:  Wow that is a lot of candy wrappers!
SubWife: (evil glare)
Co-worker:  No, really, that IS lots and lots of Milky Way wrappers!
SubWife:  Apparently, not everyone is eager to see 2012...

Is the guy is suicidal and that was his cry for help?  Should I get involved?  Let me ponder this over chocolate; I've heard sugar helps brain activity.

P.S. Pointing to someone how much chocolate they have consumed takes the "fun" out of the fun size candy.  Really.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Sub-Cake or where I pretend that I can bake

It is Chanukah, so naturally I am blogging about Sukkot, when I took the whole 9 days off, we had our own sukkah this year and had been expecting friends over for dinner.  Suddenly I found myself in an unusual position of being able to experiment with food and having volunteers to be experimented on.  (Unlike my family, guests couldn't opt for cream cheese sandwiches at the sight of unknown food.)  It was a perfect opportunity to try Suburban Correspondent's upside down cranberry cake.  It had everything I was looking for in a recipe:  it was easy; it came highly recommended; it had cranberries in it; and being from Suburban Correspondent, it had a potential for good blogging fodder.

Honestly, I don't know why I keep bothering with the last requirement.  Firstly, life keeps on throwing blogging fodder my way ALL THE TIME.  Fodder that would make you laugh, cry or remain uninterested - I have it all in my life.  If only I blogged about it.  Which would be, "secondly." Probably because I have so much fodder thrown my way, I can't find time or energy to produce a readable blog entry.  Actually, any entry.

But there it was, in all of its perfection - easy, tasty, cranberry-filled cake with high potential for blogging fodder.  I was sold.  That night, after I made three gazillion side dishes, soup, main course or two and a super hot pepper dip, it was finally time for cake baking.  SubHub, exhausted from watching me cook all night, slowly made his way into the kitchen only to restart the conversation we have been having for the past 8 years.

"Wow, what a mess."  "Yeah, I know.  I am almost done," I replied.  Then SunHub followed with a friendly suggestion I heard only three hundred times before, "Why don't you clean up as you go along instead of leaving it till the end when you are so tired?" "The counters ARE clean," I countered.   I'll spare you the details of this dialog because it deserves a post, if not a book, of its own.  That time it ended with SubHub taking a mercy on his hapless wife and washing a few pots and pans.  And, as the genre would require it, SubHub went off into the sunset feeling he had performed his duty and saved him damsel in distress.

The next day I, after the guests at SubCasa were souped and main coursed, was about to serve the dessert.  Fortunately, I had enough sense to try the cake before experimenting on my guests serving it.   The first cranberry I tried tasted a bit off.  "Wow," I thought, "those are some spicy cranberries."  This phrase was also off, so I repeated it again and again in my brain before finally realizing how crazy it sounded.  Spicy cranberries?  I took a big bite of the cake and felt my mouth on fire.  To my credit, I must say I never blamed the recipe or Suburban Correspondent.  Or SubHub, even though everything  that goes wrong is his fault. Unfortunately, not that time.  I had no one but myself to blame.  I tried to retrace my steps on the night of baking.  The only logical explanation I had was that the knife I had used for cutting up very spicy peppers for the dip was also used for cutting up margarine for the cake.  I knew I washed it, with soap, but apparently that wasn't enough to get rid of their aftertaste.

So I went in, fessed up to everyone who would listen, from the guests to the neighbors, about the importance of cleaning the knives after very spicy peppers.  We had a good laugh, at my expense, ate jello or lollypops or equally horrific backup dessert, some of the guests probably vowed to never eat in my house because I couldn't even wash my cooking knives properly.  

A few days later SubHub, while chowing on the very spicy cranberry cake, fessed up that during the clean up time he found a small quantity of unidentified goop on the otherwise clean counter, right next to the pan with the cake, so he just threw it in the pan thinking it was dough, or lemon peel, or something that truly belonged in the cake.   Which we now, of course know, to be the ground up super duper spicy peppers. "It's not even that spicy, I don't know what all the fuss is about," said the man who finds jalapeno peppers mild.

And I learned several valuable lessons, the most important of them that it is always husband's fault.  Even if all the evidence points in another direction.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Is the sooner always the better?

For the past four and a half years, since my now 7 year old daughter started attending nursery, I am puzzled by some aspects of American educational system.  In particular, I do not understand the need to start as early as required.  I might have blogged about this before, but as my now second child is in preschool, my perspective has not changed much, quite the contrary.  The more I see and know, the more puzzled I get, and the firmer I believe that something is seriously wrong.

A bit of a perspective.  I am a product of a Soviet educational system.  From everything I know, Soviet system resembled most educational systems in Europe.  We started school pretty late by American standards - 7.  While there was 1 year of preschool, it was not mandatory (though most attended).  The preparatory for school work consisted of the last two months in the year teaching us how to use glue and scissors and count.  That was about it.  A good number of students - and my pool might be a bit skewed as I went into a specialized school with children more academically gifted or who had well connected parents - have been taught at home how to read before they started first grade.

In my case, I have absolutely no recollection when and how I learned to read.  I just know that I could some time around 6.  The family tradition states that it was my grandmother who taught me during a summer vacation I spent with her.  I am stressing the point of not remembering learning to read to point out how painless the process was.  I am sure that if it had been very hard, I would have some recollection, as I do about other things, which happened at the same time of my life. Funny enough, quite a few people with the background similar to mine, also have no recollection of learning how to read.  I am hardly unique.  Those who learned how to read at school, did this rather quickly.  Alphabet was introduced in September, and by winter time we were reading stories.  Those who had problems reading were just reading slower than expected, not unable to recognize letters or sounds they made.  By the end of the first grade, everyone could read, albeit at different speeds.  Being an avid reader was source of pride.

Now enter American schooling system.  The mandatory age of school enrollment in the state of New York is 5.  Being enrolled in some form of preschool since 3 is almost universal.  And while in the USSR all we did at that age was playing in the sandbox and having story times, here a three year old is starting a serious preparatory work of getting ready for school.  Abilities to sit (one of the most important skills here), listen, pay attention, hold a pen or pencil properly, and draw within the outline get stressed all the time.  This is also the time when alphabet and numbers are introduced.  Among many other topics.  Being ready for school is stressed beyond belief to the parents of the 3 and 4 year olds.  Child's inability to recognize letters at 4 is considered a major problem.  And I can't blame pre schools for being overly ambitious because schools expect this level of preparedness from kids as young as 3. 

And I know this from the personal experience.  My daughter started learning alphabet before she turned 3.  At four she went to a pre-school, affiliated with the school of our choice. She had a hard time sitting through a circle time.  She had a hard time memorizing letters.  The concept of a letter representing a certain sound was very hard to grasp for her for the first half of the school year.  My very bright, independent daughter was a candidate for being left behind.  Eventually we realized that the problem lay not only in my daughter's ability, but also in the teaching style.  (The teacher, in her all-American attempt not to discourage the child, gave the same cute reaction to both right and wrong answers.  So DD, who at home had a 90% success rate in letter recognition, could barely recognize half the letters when asked by her teacher. The kid figured that being wrong was cute, and cute is important to many four year old girls.)  I knew there was nothing wrong with our child.  After all, I did not recognize letters at 4 either.  Nevertheless, we went through the entire evaluation by the Board of Ed, at the teacher's recommendation, only to hear from every specialist that the child is either hitting her milestones or exceeding the average.

At the same time, I started doing some independent research on the net.  I had looked over many, many articles on child development, and none of them listed letter recognition as an important milestone until 5, most were listing the age of 6 and 7.  Quite a few thought that most children younger than 6 are not developmentally ready to be taught alphabet, and introducing material too early is not only of little benefit, quite often it is harmful.  I am talking about articles written by child psychologists, not entries by mommy bloggers like myself.

So what do we have here?  Child psychologists feel that teaching how to read (and write, and count) before the age of 6 is useless and potentially harmful.  Parents who are frantic that their child is an educational failure even before the child starts first grade and consumed with guilt that they haven't done enough to prevent this.  Children who are stuffed with material they are not ready to comprehend at the expense of playing and spending time outside of a classroom.  So why do schools and the Board of Ed are pushing reading so early?  What is the rush?  Who is gaining from this system, which is ill-suited for everyone involved?

As I said, I often ponder that question.  When I see my 5 year old son having a hard time with alphabet, and every night we do homework reminds me of Lenin's "One step forward, two steps back."  When I hear my co-worker describe the horrors of doing math with his otherwise very able 5 year old daughter, who simply cannot grasp the concept of addition just yet.  When I see how my daughter, who not only caught on, but is now one of the best readers in her class, is not attempting to read anything on her own, beyond classroom assignments.  When I hear and read the same complaints from parents pretty much anywhere I go: shabbat lucnhes, PTAs, afterschool acitivities, blogging or Facebook.  When I calculate that the skill it took me and my peers only months to acquire, is taking my children 3 years on average.  When I wonder whether high school drop out rate has anything to do with starting too much and too early and killing the interest in learning before it has a chance to develop.  When I hear that the Board of Ed once again stresses the importance of 3 R's and considers standardized tests and introduction of these subjects at an even earlier age.

P.S.  I am not trying to put down the entire American educational system here.  I am also not trying to show Soviet system as the ideal.  G-d knows, there were many things in that system I wouldn't want my children to experience.  What I am suggesting is following our children's best interests and educating them at the good time for them.  For some kids it would be learning to read at home, because they are ready earlier than their peers.  For most, starting later than 4.  Much later.  And what should they do in preschool between the ages of 4 and 6?  Let them play in the sandbox.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

For sale: SubWife, integrity included

I am currently thinking of ways to sell out, or to be more precise to make money off a blog, this blog or any other.  The problem is I do not know how to do it.  I know that the best way to attract traffic is to blog about topics that can interest people or in which one has expertise.  The only expertise I possess is in the field of not for profit accounting.  Even if I do generate some traffic with exciting topics such as "The pros and cons of half year convention in depreciating assets" and "The schedule of functional expenses: truth or fiction?" what can I possibly advertise/sell in conjunction with this?  Coffee?  Or a device that every five minutes starts yelling, "Wake up, CPA!  You are on active accounting duty!"

So far I am considering affiliate relationship with sites like Amazon.  Which means I might be reviewing things I buy there.  Which I do in real life, a lot.  And I would never give falsely positive review for monetary gain.  Unless it's huge, but what are the chances of that happening?

Sigh.  I don't like combining business and pleasure, but in this instant business might actually push me to do more blogging, which I like, but somehow put on the back burner for many reasons.

Thoughts?  Should I dedicate a separate blog to this?  Or keep doing it here and scare one reader that still remains?

Monday, October 3, 2011


My cover was blown last week.  A piece of advice to those who blog anonymously - decline the "remember password on this computer" feature.  Because one day your husband's computer wiz friend may come to your house to help with some computer-related thingy and discover that you are Subjugated Wife.  And he may do this in front of SubHub, who is not big on self deprecating humor or jokes at his expense.  And even though SubHub may know for years the name of your blog and associated with it email account, etc, etc, etc, he may still not be 100% comfortable that his wife calling herself "subjugated," albeit semi-publicly.  And SubHub may be even less thrilled with his friend now knowing that you call yourself "subjugated."

If are lost by now, I don't blame you.  It was, I mean it could potentially be an uncomfortable mess.  And then you may find yourself mumbling things like "tongue-in-cheek" and "almost inactive," while quickly excusing yourself from their company.

Now that I've typed it, I am wondering whether this is being read by The Friend and whether I should edit it.  And while it wouldn't bother me one bit if some man in Timbuktu reading this blog accidentally finds out my real name, a real life acquaintance finding out is a completely different story.

So now I am faced with several options.  1) Abandon this blog.  I doubt, with my blogging activity of the past year, anyone would truly notice.  2) If I were to do #1, that would probably mean abandoning blogging altogether in the foreseeable future.  Even though my readership is very small, at least I know that a few people are still reading it.  I don't have the resources to invest in the new blog.  I don't have time to either regularly write or work on increasing readership.  And I am not above admitting that blogging into the empty void does not appeal to me.  I know, vanity.  3) Pretend that nothing happened.  Which is probably the most accurate description of the event.  After all, The Friend came to help and had no intention to snoop. As I have found out on a few previous occasions, I am not as anonymous as I thought and hoped.  And I doubt that The Friend would run around putting up posters all over the 'hood identifying me.  Or even if he did, it very unlikely would stir any interest or would result in public recognition.  But  a girl can dream stranger things have happened, that's for sure.  (I am still wondering whether The Friend is reading this right now and whether this post can cost SubHub a friendship.)  So even though the whole thing might be in my head, it already is affecting my blogging.  4) Feeling relieved that finally my secret is out and I no longer have to hide is not even an option for reasons that include Jewish guilt, Soviet upbringing and others that are too complicated and more appropriate for other media, such as a case study for Psychology Today.

So there, I am thinking.  Knowing myself, I would not post anything for the next 3 weeks or months, and by the time of the next post, would forget the whole thing.  But then again, stranger things happened.

(And if you have this song stuck in your head for hours, you can thank me in the comments :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

DS scissorhands

It was back to school time at SubCasa the past couple of weeks.  New teachers, new classes, new supplies, lots and lots of shopping.  Even tears, lots of tears.  But not from the kids; unlike their mother, they are troopers.  What can I say - I am a worrier.  I worry about everything.  And my children's future worries me.  And I worry that DS's third year in school might be the year that will break the proverbial camel's back (not that I think he is a camel, but his two previous years in schools - two different schools - left much to be desired). And, upon finding out that DS didn't get the Hebrew teacher that would be a perfect fit for his personality, I broke down.  DS worries me.  A lot.

And then there's secular studies teacher whom I still didn't get to meet.  Hopefully soon.  Actually not.  Hopefully no sooner than the PTA.  But with whom I had already conversed once. 

SubWife:  DS, how was your school today?
DS:  Good.
SW:  How was your English teacher?
DS:  Good.
SW:  Do you like her?
DS:  Yes, she came again.  (DS sounded a bit surprised that she came back. What did he do on the first day of school???)  She is very nice.  She said she will call you.  (He is so naive, he thought it was a good thing.  Ah, the innocence of the young.)
SW:  Oh...

And she did.  My mind raced through all possible scenarios of what a 5 year old could have done to deserve a phone call to his parents on the second day of school

Turns out the whole thing was over nothing - DS gave himself a hair cut in class.  The teacher called to apologize.  She really was very nice and very capable of dealing with DS.  She was amazed at how well I took the whole thing - and yes, I did notice the new haircut before the phone call.  She just didn't know about 1) what kind of possibilities I had running in my head only several minutes before the phone call and 2) that DS gave himself a haircut only two months ago and we got used to his bold spots and uneven bangs.  She also mentioned that it was not uncommon for kids to cut their hair when given scissors, but in all her years of teaching, it has never happened "in the first week of school."

So basically, we got a WINNER!  A CHAMP!  Where do we collect the medal?

Monday, September 5, 2011

My psychomusical disorder

There are times in my life when I feel so overwhelmed with whatever happens to overwhelm me at the moment, that I frantically start searching for ways to express my frustration  Healthy ways.  Mostly.

I have yet to come across a piece of literature, with which I have found immediate connection;  that upon reading it I felt that awesome revelation that "yeah, finally, I have found someone who gets it, who feels exactly like I do only with significantly superior writing skills!"  Maybe I did as a teen and forgot, but I think experience that groundbreaking would be something to remember.  Music, on the other hand, is totally different.  I find that it speaks directly to the soul, especially the hurting soul.

Normally, my tastes in music are pretty old fashioned: classic rock and classical music.  Wailing damsels in distress are not my cup of tea (Yes, I am speaking to you, Norah Jones.  (And a side note within a side note - I am totally taking the page out of the Bloggess' book and attempting a blog war with a celebrity.  Yes, Norah Jones, I am still talking to you.  And I am also breaking all the rules by putting parenthesis within parenthesis, for which I will get an eternity of grammar lessons with a Jesuit professor in my afterlife.  Wolverines!!!)

BACK FROM THE SIDE NOTE:  Neither am I fond of screaming till they are hoarse male performers.  Yet in the times of my own distress I found myself drawn to Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Meatloaf and some other, rather uncharacteristic musical choices for me.  Listening to THE SONG that for some inexplicable reason speaks to me NOW, I feel as if I am becoming one with the song, and somehow this feeling makes things better, if only for a few hours.   

Today was one of those days - not terrible, but frustrating - when I found myself frantically searching YouTube for the perfect expression of my mood.  (I am sure that this disorder will soon by identified by AMA, and I humbly request that it is named after me.)  I failed to found one.  My beloved Queen's "I want to break free" and "Going Slightly Mad" seemed to lack frustration.  Meatloaf was not loud enough.  P.O.D. just too full of life.  "Comfortably Numb" made me want to get drunk, and so full of promise "Dazed and Confused" still didn't do the trick.  Have I reached the time of my life when rock just doesn't do it?

On the bright side, I haven't listen to so much music in a long, long time.  And discovered in the process that I am not so desperate that I would give Norah Jones a try. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

You might never look at my gefilte fish the same.

With great sorrow I must inform you of the passing of our beloved Goldie Sub.  She was a good goldfish.  We took good care of her, but she lasted only a day longer than last year's goldfish.  She passed away three days before the kids noticed that she was gone.  Yes, she was that precious.  DD burst into tears upon discovering of Goldie's untimely demise, to be quickly joined by her brother, who I, quite honestly, thought was doing it just to keep his sister company.  Later on, over HoneyNut Cheerios, those two had the following conversation:

DD:  But we took such good care of Goldie.  Why would she die?
DS:  Yeah, why would she die?
DD:  How could she do this to us?
DS:  I know!
DD:  I had to work so hard and win so many games to get her!

The kids have progressed to the anger stage.  Though I still think that DS is angry just to keep DD company.  But overall I think they'll be fine. 

I, on the other hand, am wondering:  who are these cruel people distributing goldfish  - without any care instructions  - to preschoolers, knowing perfectly well that 95% of those fish will die within a week.  I am afraid that my anger stage might last much longer than my kids'.  Seriously, camp folks, can't you just stuff those kids with painted sugar instead?  Or at least send along some goldfish recipe?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Where I manage to spoil more than one movie ending

Spoiler Alert!  As the title suggests, I will spoil the ending to Gosford Park.  Also, as one might deduce from the title of the post, there will be other spoilers.  If you are a fan of criminal investigation series, you should consider yourself warned.

On a friendly suggestion, I embarked upon watching Gosford Park.  All in all, not bad.  The problem?  Absolutely predictable ending.  Not because of the overused plot line, bad acting or any movie-making fault.  Simply because of the casting.  One MUST know that if Helen Mirren (or any other actress of her caliber) is cast in the seemingly secondary role, there will be a big revelation about her character, which would explain why Helen Mirren would agree to play it.  The longer the movie goes, the more shocking the revelation.  In the case of a mystery movie, the longer this "something" is not revealed, the more likely Helen Mirren's character is the murderer.  

The same goes for criminal investigation series.  The more famous the guest star is, unless he is quickly killed off, the more likely he is involved in the murder.  For example, the minute I saw Sheryl Lee in Lie to Me, I knew she would be the evil wife of a nice and honest politician.  Otherwise, they would cast a complete unknown. 

Which kind of sucks.  Because these actors end up being the victims of their own fame.   Too bad.  Because their acting would never give the ending away.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Go to sleep, sweet little baby, go to sleep....

Yes, yes, I do remember posting something about posting more often.  Right around that same time my youngest decided that sleeping is for suckers and now refuses to do it.  Seriously, it seems that this child is never going to sleep normally again. 

She has been going to sleep relatively easy for months.  There were weekly or sometimes twice-weekly occurences of not falling asleep until 10.30-11.  (I normally do not let them cry it out and would take the kid out of the crib after about 5-10 minutes of crying.)   There were also episodes of her waking up in the middle of the night - fully alert - and not going back to sleep until 2-3 hours later, which usually meant climbing all over me and demanding attention. 

But I believe - and don't quote me on that since after having three kids my memory is gone - it hasn't ever been as bad as it is now, with any of my kids.  Take today, she had gone to bed at 3 a.m.  And only because hubby went to bed at around 2 and that's when she finally broke down and settled for the (keeping my fingers crossed) night.  I had attempted to put her to bed three or four times prior; all of these attempts ending in her very loud screaming.

We have tried various things.  We tried to let her cry it out, which I personally hate.  After several hour and a half screaming sessions, with screaming getting progressively louder and louder every ten minutes, we had to take pity on our neighbors, our nerves and our child and end the sessions.  Seemed like all that screaming didn't make her tired even one bit.  Eliminating daytime napping did nothing.  Once, after sleeping for only 6.5 hours the night before and no daytime nap, this child still wouldn't go to bed at night until 12. 

It is now at a point where she would only go to bed if at least one of us is in bed, preferably both, and even that is no guarantee of success as I usually conk out before my head hits the pillows and she climbs out soon after.  If we do manage to put her to sleep before us, she wakes up in the middle of the night and climbs all over me, saying "Mommy, mommy," which could mean anything from being thirsty to requesting my hand over her body to being bored.  Yes, sweetie, I am aware that entertainment options for toddlers at 4 a.m. on a weeknight are very limited.

Needless to say, the nighttime sleeping battles leave little time for blogging or simply unwinding.  It could all be a mental handicap, but I simply cannot do chores effectively or relax at night with the little one still on the loose.  So I end up begging her to go to sleep.

So what was the point of this post?  Getting this off my chest?  Posting something?  Getting HELP?!!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What were they thinking

I'm on Weight Watchers.  Again.  Unofficially.  I start every Monday since the end of Passover, only to fall off the wagon by Thursday.  Recently I have become even more efficient and some weeks last only until Monday night.

I am persuaded it is not my weak will, but faulty WW system.  Seriously, let me walk you through this.  The allowed daily food points are allotted based on current weight and work like this:  you starve for a few weeks, drop some weight, hopefully, and as a reward you lose one point worth of food for every ten pounds lost.  Imagine the horror of losing 60 pounds!

What were they thinking?  Where is the incentive here?  If WW offered unlimited cheesecake or ice cream or eclairs or preferably all three, I could see myself following through.  Otherwise, it's like I starve only to starve even more once I lose the weight?  It's like you get punished and not rewarded for actually following the diet.  Why would I do that?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Love letter to one's own blogging

Goodness, I miss blogging.  I didn't realize how much until about a week ago.  I really, really miss it.  It might sound pathetic, but, for reason poorly understood even by me, it was an important part of my life for about two years.  And old habits die slowly.  At any given time I am compiling a post or two, at times coming up with a rough drafts, but, as you can see from the recent activity, the posts rarely materialize.

I guess many things are at fault here: turns out that as children grow older, they need me more, and not less; the immediate gratification of Facebook, which I vowed not to use not so long ago; discipline and organization required for regular posting - among other things - has almost completely disappeared; dwindling comments, which I see in any other blog I regularly read; discovery of Dancing with the Stars by your truly, among some other shows.  (Yes, Maxim Chmerkovskiy, I blame you for he downfall of my blog).  Overall, it seems that only half of the blogs on my Reader have posted an entry in the past six months, and only a very few still post regularly.  Pretty much everyone has reduced the frequency of posts.  Is there something cyclical about blogging, or is blogging dying?

Well, I hope not.  Because as pleasurable as The Body of Proof is (and I really mean shirtless Maxim Chmerkovskiy - I can practically smell excommunication) (OMG, that was so unintended, I really meant Dana Delaney's show, and it could've just as easily been Lie to Me or Parks and Recreation), the satisfaction of wittily written post, even if no one comments on it, is far superior.  And, as a wise person have advised me, one must nurture the inner self.  In my case, it's writing, no matter how poorly it is done.  So I am making yet another attempt to revive my blog.

Wish me luck. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

10 resons why life with arthritis is so good

1.  You get to use medicine named after the guy who is either happy in an old-fashioned kind of way or very comfortable with his sexuality. 

2.  Rubbing Bengay in your eyes is fun to watch for those around you.  You, on the other hand, can't watch yourself being funny because - well, you have Bengay in your eyes.

3.  After all the pain, the only thing that keeps you going is the thought of lamb kabob at your Dad's birthday party.  After doctor's visit you find out it's off limits.

4.  So is stinky cheese.

5.  And beer.

6.  Carpal tunnel in right hand and arthritis in left, make sweeping the floor an unforgettable activity.

7.  You get to relive your childhood by having your significant other dress you in the morning.

8.  You finally have a fair chance at competing with 60+-year-olds in getting a spot for Celebrex commercial.

9.  If you got $1 for every time someone said you are too young to have arthritis, you could afford all those Celebrex co-pays!

10.  At least it's not lupus!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Dedicated to the Fashion Week, Tommy Hilfiger and Nice Subway Strangers

It's Fashion Week in NY.  Did you know?  I only found out this Thursday under peculiar circumstances...

My closet ate two of my skirts and countless number of tops.  It's true and it can happen to you if you are not vigilant and stuff your closet with everything: from bags of old clothes prepared but never quite given to donations to ill fitting shoes you are not ready to part with to confiscated toys.  Somewhere in between the bag of unmatched children's socks and an old pillow are my missing clothes.  But to find them, I would need to organize my closet, so for now I am doing without.

The absence of skirts coupled with the fact that quite a few of my other skirts have salt and snot stains on them - winter, I know you are here! - resulted in having nothing to wear one fine Thursday morning.  Frantically going through every piece of clothing I own and rejecting them one by one - snot, too small, too summery, too dressy, salt, snot, yogurt, snot, too small, wore just yesterday, damn it, I should've left 5 minutes ago!!!!- I finally came to a piece that resulted in a "maybe".  It was kind of summery, somewhat ill-fitting (yes, I gained weight like I do every winter and summer and fall ) and a jumper to boot, but running 15 minutes late made the "maybe" piece a winner.  In retrospect I realize that even my closet exercised a better sense of fashion by refusing to consume this jumper.  But maybe my closet just got overly fastidious, after all it was Hilfiger! 

Despite my unseasonal garb, the entire day went just fine.  Going back to work, the subway was overflowing with people, but I don't think that it's fair to blame my jumper for it.  As I squeezed myself between two people who insisted on standing close to the doorways, I came standing right in front of a seated guy about my age.  "Asian," I thought, so I figured that I had about 50% chance of getting his seat at Delancey, only three stations away.  Yes, racial profiling in NY subway system is so rampant, it's appalling.  As I was shamelessly calculating my chances to get his seat, our eyes met and he uttered the unicorn of subway phrases, only few of the riders claim to have heard and scientifically proven to be non-existent.  "Would you like a seat?"

 I was caught a bit off-guard.  I was not pregnant - did he know something I didn't? - or sick or elderly.  But then my instincts kicked in and I said, "Sure!  You are being awfully nice.  Thank you."  "He must be getting off next stop," I told myself.  He did not.  I stubbornly pushed away the obvious.  "He must be a REALLY nice guy," I thought.  We passed Delancey, and my benefactor was still standing only a few inches away from me.  I looked at my jumper, my protruding stomach and remembered slightly greenish tint on my face from watching Interny till wee hours the night before; all the dots connected and I could no longer deny it.  "The nice SOB thinks I'm pregnant."  As this thought entered my mind, I glanced to the left and saw my neighbor studying pictures from the Fashion Week shows.  "Is it Fashion Week?  Again?  (Sigh.)  I am so out of vogue.  (Deep sigh.) I bet this fashionista would never wear a jumper that made her look pregnant, " I sulked.

And then another thought entered my mind.  "Too bad for her."  I got a seat in an over-crowded subway car.  Half of those well dressed fashionable women were getting killed by their high heels and poked in the ribs by neighbors' elbows.  And frumpy and pregnant looking me was comfortably sitting.  Right then and there I made a decision to upgrade the jumper to an all-season regular.  With that thought I peacefully drifted off to dream about fashion, jumpers and Interny.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Quote of the month - February 2011

This is more appropriate when the elections will heat up, but I re-discovered it today, so I am posting it now.

Cколько правды в глазах государственных шлюх.

Юрий Шевчук

Rough translation, "There is so much truth in the eyes of political whores." Y. Shevchuk

Friday, January 21, 2011

Finally, update

Remember how I was gushing in the not so distant past about finally finding movies hubby and I both enjoyed? Yeah, scratch that. Turns out that after seven years of marriage, I still haven't learned how to interpret certain words, phrases and body language of my significant other. I mistook his hearty laughing for, you know, enjoying a comedy. How could I? But I feel it was an honest mistake anyone could have made, well, anyone married to SubHub that it.

When the initial shock - and I am hardly exaggerating - wore off, I had asked him what exactly was wrong. Turns out, nothing in particular. He was just "disappointed". I pressed for details, but alas, couldn't squeeze much more than I already did. Hence, I am left to guess. Was it the lack of depth in acting? Could the actors not convey the deep and conflicting feeling of their characters the way Pluto did when he was stripped of his "planet" status? Or was the plot not as intriguing as the M Theory? The suspense is just killing me. And if I wasn't able to tell a difference between him liking and disliking comedy, is it possible I had misread some other things? (Insert an obligatory joke about SubHub regularly faking it because I won't make it as a sacrifice on the altar of marital harmony...)

And now instead of hope in finding common entertainment, my heart is heavy with invisible and unproven black matter. Yes, we've been watching "Universe" again, how did you guess?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sub-learning disability

DD burned her hand yesterday. Nothing major, but definitely not pleasant. She didn't even cry, and now I know why. She was nursing an evil plan in her cute little head.

DD: Mom, could you please write a note to my teacher that I cannot do my reading homework tonight because I burned my hand.
Me (stifling a laugh): But sweetie, you don't read with your hand.
DD: But I need to point!

Evil, I tell you, in Tiger Mom terms. Me? I'm proud, in a way. It was inventive!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


It only took seven years of being married to find a bunch of movies that both me and hubby can agree on watching together. There are a few he will compromise and watch with me (You've got mail), there are some I would compromise and watch with him (Independence Day), up until recently we have found only 2 movies both of us could watch without feeling that one of us had to give in - How to Steal a Million (still praying it won't be remade, ever) and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Most other times, we end up with "Elegant Universe", "Universe", "Life on Mars", you get the picture. After watching so many of these, I feel like I personally have witnessed the formation of our moon.

A few weeks ago we were looking for a movie for our in-laws, when we stumbled upon a collection of old French comedies. We finally found something we both enjoy! (We are no polyglots, these movies are dubbed in Russian)

So far we have seen three movies. One was pretty good, Les Comperes, one so-so, and the one we saw last night was just great. (I believe it was remade in the US, but so far I haven't seen a single decent remake of a good French comedy. So many of great movies have been completely ruined or just turned into an easy to forget mediocrity.)

Hubby and I both adored the movie. I highly recommend. And the vet steals every scene he's in.

We better find something else, real soon. Because I have been spoiled now by these movies and the thought of another "universe" movie makes me want to cry.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Eternal hope

While DD was out of the house, DS got into her candy stash, almost completely destroying it. Well, it wasn't that big to begin with, but still. Upon DD's return, I informed her of the terrible loss that befell her. DD, a generous and forgiving spirit, had the following conversation with her brother.

DD: DB, you can't take my candy without permission!
DS: I am sorry.
DD: This time I forgive you, but don't ever do anything like this again. (This child starts sounding a lot like her mother. Poor kid.)
DS: Okay. (momentary silence). You got more candy?

No, I don't think he was thinking about asking permission this time either.