Thursday, December 28, 2006

Hair Today Gone Tomorrow

When LO lived in the orphanage in China, they shaved her head. On the day that I was blessed with her as my daughter, her hair couldn't have been 1/2 inch long. Because of this, I have always had a hard time cutting her hair. (It also doesn't help that she has the most beautiful straight, jet black, silky, shiny Asian hair!)

She has always been fond of her hair and I have to giggle at how many times I have found her standing in front of the mirror admiring her hair. So it came as a surprise to me when she talked about cutting her hair. Apparently she was influenced by another friend who had just cut off several inches of her hair.

This was the perfect opportunity for me to bring up Locks of Love, the organization who makes wigs for children who have lost their hair due to medical reasons. The minimum donation is 10 inches and while I wasn't sure I could sell LO into cutting it that short, I was pretty sure I could sell her on the idea of helping a child who was sick. As soon as I explained to her about the organization, she immediately said she wanted to cut her hair and has been asking me if we can cut it every day since then. And so tonight we had her hair cut. Her ponytail was just shy of 12 inches. I'm so proud of her and the fact that her compassion is stronger than her vanity.

6 Weird Things

Raggedy Mom tagged me with this meme...

"According to the rules... Each player of this game starts with the "6 Weird Things about You". People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave a comment that says 'you are tagged' in their comments and tell them to read your blog!"

As if being Chinese and Jewish wasn't weird enough....

  1. I like to change the sheets in my bed EVERY day. I just love the feeling of clean fresh sheets.

  2. My grandparents owned several Chinese restaurants when I was growing up yet I don't know how to cook. (But thanks to making a lot of Shabbat dinners, I am learning!)

  3. I have a degree in theatre and got a "D" in math in college. Ironically I work in a very math-intense industry (Actuarial) now.

  4. I always have gum in my mouth (unless I am sleeping, eating or drinking).

  5. I always write with a green ink pen.

  6. I have a space heater under my desk and if the temperature drops below 90, chances are that it is on.

I tag Suburban Kvetch, Yo Yenta, Bice, Mommy's Going Meshugannah, Amy Guth, and Ayelet.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Look Mom, No Training Wheels!

Despite the fact that LO has always loved bike riding, she has never been real good at it. Even with training wheels, there has hardly been a bike ride where some sort of disaster has not occurred.

She has watched all of her friends say goodbye to their training wheels and contnued to ask, "When will I be able to ride without training wheels?" (The word "never" often came to mind as the answer to this question but being the supportive mother that I am, I would always say, "Soon, sweetie. Real soon.") We have tried repeatedly for over a year to lift the training wheels or to remove them completely only to end with a whole lot of frustration and tears.

A week or so ago, a very good friend of mine was telling me about how he taught his daughter as well as two other little girls how to ride their bikes without training wheels. I told him that if he could teach LO, he could possibly be the greatest teacher in the world. And so he took the challenge.

Miracle of she is WITHOUT training wheels.

(Thanks D. you are indeed the GREATEST teacher in the world. LO said so.)

A Jewish Gingerbread House

A very good friend of mine attends cooking demonstrations at Macy's. This past weekend instead of having a cooking demonstration they had an event where kids could come and make gingerbread houses. (I know this is like selling out to the whole Christmas thing but it got LO out of the house and away from the TV and the video games.)

While LO, my friend, and I tried to put our house together, I kept glancing around at everyone else's masterpieces. Then I would look at ours. All I could think of when I would look at ours is that this was exactly why Jews don't make gingerbread houses.

The woman leading the demonstration was wonderful. She came around and praised each and every child's house no matter what it looked like (and ours was certainly a big mess). She asked each child to say a little something about their house. LO simply looked at her and replied, "My house looks farkakte. It's meshugganah."

The look we see on people's faces when this little Chinese kid throws a couple of Yiddish words into a conversation is priceless.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Chanukah Surprise

Well, I just got a nice Chanukah surprise. I got an e-mail at work that said that I was going to receive a one time bonus. I've been working for my company just shy of 10 years and never in those 10 years have they given us anything but maybe a pen or a t-shirt so I have to say I am VERY surprised.

So - I could be practical and pay some bills with the money or I could do something totally frivilous. are some ideas:

1) I could take a trip somewhere that I have never been like to Denver, Chicago, or Los Angeles.

2) I could have my Lexus serviced since it's about 10,000 miles past due for service.

3) I could give the money to the Salvation Army bellringer that loves Jack so much.

4) I could buy some expensive toy that LO wants which she will play with for 10 minutes before she gets bored of it.

5) I could give it as tzedakah to my shul.

6) I could go and buy a whole bunch of new clothes here, here, or even here.

7) I could support other J-bloggers and go and buy MoChassid's CD, and Psychotoddler's CD, and Elaine Soloway's book, or even get another copy of Amy Guth's book.

So many choices, what's a gal to do?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A Chanukah Song

Neil has hosted a Christmahanukwanzaaka Online Concert in the true spirit of the holiday season.

Since LO loves to sing, how better to wish everyone a Happy Chanukah then by singing "Oh Chanukah"?



Hosted by eSnips

(BTW - since I sang with her this is Kol Isha even though I wouldn't exactly call this singing!)

Oh and here's an added bonus for LO's fans in Boston:

Outside the Box

There was a Chanukah celebration for the parents at LO's Hebrew School this past weekend. For part of the celebration, each child was to light Chanukah candles on a menorah they made as a gift to their parents.
True to her form, LO thought "outside the box" and while all the other children had made your standard eight candles in a row type menorah, here is what LO's looked like. She asked if I loved it. I replied, "Of course I love it because YOU made it for me." Then I asked how we would know where the 1st candle goes - she had already thought of that and marked a star of David on the clay where to start (so is so smart that way!)

I didn't have the heart to tell her that on the last night of Chanukah with all eight candles lit I am afraid that putting the shamash back in the center is going to be a real challenge.

Monday, December 18, 2006


I learned a new Hebrew word today. Usually it a word that is common in a siddur like kadosh (holy), avoteinu (our forefathers), baruch (blessed), etc. But today it was shitafon...FLOOD. After the day that I have had, I am wishing that it was a word that I never learned.

For weeks there has been a little trickle of water coming from the base of my toilet. Instead of instantly calling a plumber I decided to follow in Jessica's footsteps and try to fix this on my own. (My first mistake.) By talking to friends and doing a little internet research I learned that I needed to replace the wax seal. But I decided since it was such a little leak I would wait until after Chanukah. (My second mistake.)

This morning it was leaking A LOT. So I called a friend who offered to help me with this and he said it would be easy and no problem. He went to Home Depot and got everything we needed (he was a hero at that point already because I feel like nothing but a total idiot in that store.) So one of the first things he says is that once he took the toilet apart there might be a shitafon. And I asked, "A what?" Then the F word...FLOOD. Let's just say he wasn't kidding. There was a FLOOD and once we got it all cleaned up and finished, hours later there was another FLOOD and's still leaking so I'm assuming that the FLOOD is not over.

When will I get it into my head that I have a degree in theatre? If you need someone to sing a show tune or tap dance, I'm your gal. I do actuarial work - if you need someone to tell you about insurance rates and loss ratios- I'm your gal. If you need a plumber - I AM NOT YOUR GAL.

Now...does anyone know a good plumber?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

1 Guth, 8 Nights, 36 Bloggers

Amy Guth, the author of Three Fallen Women, had a great idea to do a Chanukah Blog Tour. The 1st night was Leah of Accidently Jewish, the 2nd night was Avi of Tikkun Ger and one of my favourite bloggers Jessica of Suburban Kvetch. I can't wait to meet the rest of the J-Bloggers along the way. Amy meme'd me for the Third Night of Chanukah. I received her book for Chanukah and if you want one of your very own, you can buy it here.

So, here are my answers:

1. Quick! You must turn a plate of latkes into an upscale gourmet delight(as if they aren't already?). What would you add to them to dress them up, flavor and/or garnish them?
I would have to add an Asian flair to it a la this recipe. (Hat tip to Velveteen Rabbi for the link and to Ethan for the recipe.)

2. What is the dumbest thing you've ever heard anyone say about Chanukah?
That's a tie between, "You can't celebrate Chanukah, you're Chinese!" and "Oh, I thought Chanukah was the Jewish word for Christmas."

3. What's the best possible use for olive oil?
With lemon on Israeli salad...yum!

4. Settle it once and for all. Latkes or hammentaschen? Which to you prefer? What about pitting the winner of that contest against sufganiyot?
After my 1000 latke fiasco, I am surprised to say... latkes. But who wouldn't want to eat something fried in oil vs. a cookie with prunes in it? And latkes beat out sufganiyot unless the sufganiyot are just out of the oil - then and only then do they rule over everything.

5. What's the best way to mix up a game of dreidel?
I say write the letters in Chinese - that would sure mix everyone up. (Although Jewish mah-johng players sort of read Chinese.)

6. My novel, Three Fallen Women, shockingly enough, is about the lives of three women. Which three women would you like to have over this year for latkes and why?
Laura Jarblum Margolis because of her work with Holocaust refugees in the Shanghai ghetto. Judaism and China...what more could a Chinese Jew like myself ask for in a dinner guest?

Mrs. Balabusta because you have to admire a Mom of six kids who manages to avoid insanity. (I only have one and sometimes I walk that fine line between sane and cukoo.) Oh yeah and she's Psychotoddler's wife and I would love to hear her side of his stories.

And my best friend "e" because no one could ever ask for a better friend than her.

7. Other than Three Fallen Women (har har), what book do you think would make a great Chanukah gift this year? What book would you like to receive as a gift this year?
I think that The Book Thief would make a great Chanukah gift. I love the choice of Death as the narrator. I read about Elaine Soloway's book, The Division Street Princess on Amy's blog and I would love for this to be my next book.

8. What bloggers didn't participate in Chanukah Blog Tour 5767 and you think should have?
Don't know if they've signed up, but just in case... Amishav, Yo Yenta and Neil.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Happy Chanukah

From our home to yours, we wish everyone a peaceful and blessed holiday.

Shabbat Shalom Um'vorach v' Chag Urim Sameach.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Tikkun Olam for fish?

A friend of mine recently brought her daughter to a birthday party where one of the party favors was a little fish bowl with an actual live fish in it. (Geez - that's a far cry from the party favor bags of little plastic toys and a few pieces of candy that I hand out.) When we went to visit them, LO was thrilled about the fish since she has been begging me for a fish for Chanukah. As the girls ran off to check out the fish, the Mom reminded them not to feed the fish too much, not to touch it, etc.

A few minutes pass...and then we hear the evilest of laughs coming from the other side of the house.

My friend gets up and next I hear, "Unlock this door!"

Uh-oh. The girls apparently were in the bathroom with the door locked.


She walks in and sees LO with her hands cupped and guess what is in her hands? (If you guessed the fish, you were right.) LO immediately threw it into the sink so as not to look guilty.

Apparently the girls decided to take tikkun olam to a new level. They decided that the fish didn't have enough room in the little bowl and that it would be happier in the sink because it had much more space. I didn't have the heart to ask why they felt that the fish also needed to be washed with soap.

B"H as of this morning, the fish was still swimming. But I'm thinking now that getting LO a fish for Chanukah might not be the smartest thing I have ever done.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

LO's search for a husband

In the past few weeks it seems as though a lot of "serious" conversations with LO have been happening in the car on the way to school. (I fear that this means that LO is becoming one of those dreaded "morning people".)

This morning's conversation started like this, "Mama, when I want to get married, how will I know if the boy is Jewish?"

I was speechless (which is not usual for me).

What could I say? Here's what went through my head...

- He'll look Jewish. Nope, that won't work - after all we don't "look" Jewish.

- Let me think...uh, he had a bris - oh no don't go there cause then you'll have to explain something else you're not ready to explain.

- Umm...she'll meet him at Hebrew School - can't do that - all the children in her class are girls!

- He'll have a Jewish last name. Nope, our last name is as common a Chinese name as Wong is and that doesn't "sound" Jewish.

While I was searching for an answer, she continued..."I know. I'll be able to see his tzitzit." I went on to explain that some men tuck them so that she wouldn't be able to tell that way either.

Still lost for a really good answer and puzzled at why at 8 years old she is thinking about who she will marry, I decided to tell her that she has a long time before she needed to worry about it and that I was sure she would marry a nice Jewish boy.

Her response? "Yes cause that would make you happy."

She sure got that right. (I am a Yiddishe Mama after all!)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The best birthday present EVER

Getting older is not great but hearing LO sing this for my birthday is priceless.


This morning she came to me and said, "Do you want to see your birthday present?"

And of course I said yes.

She exclaimed, "It's me!"

Now that's the best birthday present EVER.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

LO's worst nightmare

In the car on the way to school this morning LO says, "I had the WORST nightmare last night." Prepared to hear some dreadful story I replied, "I'm sorry baby, what happened?" She then went on to explain, "Well, I was at the snack machine and I put in some cents and it didn't work. And so I put in some dollars and it still didn't work and I was so hungry. And so I didn't have a snack. It was the WORST nightmare ever."

If only that could be MY worst nightmare.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Does anyone smell latkes?

Well, I am pleased to report that I survived my 1000 latke fiasco. I consider this a modern day Chanukah miracle since I had never made them from scratch before.

I am still in awe of the fact that from this:

I was able to make this:

But don't be too impressed...I enlisted the help of a friend (todah rabah - you know who you are!) who cooks just as well as any gourmet cook you could think of (if not better) and a handful of women from our sisterhood. Potatoes were flying, onions were everywhere and I don't think I am ever going to get rid of the latke smell from my hands, but a good time was had by most.

The only scary moment was when one of them women starting talking about us starting to make hamentschen next month...hey, isn't Purim several months away? I need to get out of the kitchen!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Jewish Snowflakes

I got a meeting request in my e-mail at work. Usually these are for boring meetings that could put even insomniacs to sleep but this one said "Snowflake Holiday Decoration". I was intrigued and so I read further. Apparently on company time, right here in Corporate America we were actually going to do arts and crafts and learn how to make snowflakes to decorate our cubicles.

While I don't possess the same holiday spirit as Jack, I certainly have my latke issues and my neighborhood issues. So, in general I usually pass on these types of opportunities. And besides, we live in Miami, who ever heard of snowflakes in Miami? But for some reason I couldn't help but jump on the snowflake bandwagon. And really, what could be more exciting than a bunch of actuaries cutting up paper?

So - here's the outcome. I blame the Jewishness of them on a Jewish co-worker who egged me on...

Shabbat Shalom.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

One Thousand Latkes?!

I'm one of those people who can never say no (well, almost never). I don't necessarily think this is a bad thing but every now and then something happens to make me question my eagerness to always offer and point:

The woman at my Shul who is in charge of our big Chanukah celebration is leaving on a cruise today to celebrate her 10th wedding anniversary. Prior to leaving for her big celebration, she sent an e-mail out to the sisterhood members and a bunch of other members asking them to help make latkes this Sunday and next Sunday. She explained that we will need 1000 latkes and how she won't be here this Sunday because she is going on her cruise. Then as I continued to read it said something to the effect of, so if you can help, please contact ... because she will be overseeing everything in the kitchen. I rubbed my eyes and did a double take - did the e-mail really say MY name and have MY e-mail address on it?


I mean...

How did offering to help turn into being in charge?

How does one go about making 1000 latkes?

Can someone tell me how to put a food processor together?

What happens if no one offers to help and I am standing in the shul kitchen alone on Sunday?

Couldn't we have gone with my stereotype and made egg rolls and wonton soup instead? (Oh wait, those aren't traditional Chanukah foods - but at least I know how to make those!)

Does it matter that (as much as I hate to admit it) I have only ever made latkes using the Streit's mix? (Hey...I could never make them from scratch as good as my Grandma Rose Z"L, so I never even tried!)

Don't food issues disqualify me for this position?

The "recipe" she gave me was SO VAGUE (peel potatoes, peel onions, put them in the food processor, mix them with maztoh meal and fry)...should I be really scared?

Oy did this happen to me?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

'Tis the season

Each year it seems like my neighbors start decorating for Christmas earlier and earlier. This year they all seemed to start about 2 weeks before Thanksgiving. Since then it seems that each day I drive through my community there are more and more houses COVERED with lights and decorations and every neighbor seems to be trying to outdo the next. Don't get me wrong, I love the holiday season and we too have decorated our home with our hannukiyot prominently displayed in our windows along with some driedel window clings, but I just can't compete with this:

or this:

I am ok with the fact that in a community of 72 homes where we are the only Jewish family, our house will look surprisingly barren. But a tiny part of me can't help but want to jump into this decorating competition. But am I going to have to resort to this?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Another LO masterpiece

Certainly her Hebrew is far from perfect but I am still kvelling.

Hosted by eSnips

(It may even make you cry even more than this.)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Second Annual Thank Your First Commenter Day

In the spirit of Thanksgiving and from the brilliant mind of Neil over at Citizen of the Month, today is the "Second Annual Thank Your First Commenter" Day.

Since I have just a handful of readers I assumed that my first commenter was one of my all time favourite bloggers, Psycho Toddler. With that hat, could you even wonder why he is one of my favourites?

Turns out that I was wrong and my very first commenter was actually Plantation. He wrote, "Hi. Welcome to the crazy blogosphere. Best of luck." He is a talented writer and his blog Chasing the American Dream is also one of my very favourites, so be sure to check him out. So here's my shout out to Todd...thanks for being my first commenter and thanks for your awesome blog. I owe you a Starbucks unsweetened iced coffee (loaded with sweet and low, cinnamon, and half-and-half of course).

(And thanks to Neil for trying to teach us to be gracious to other bloggers.)

Monday, November 13, 2006


So, my little sister has so much extra time on her hands as of late, she has been spending a great deal of time watching daytime TV. I'm not a big TV watcher and had she not called me about this, I would have had no idea.

Apparently the wrestler Hulk Hogan has a television show called Hogan Knows Best. My little sister explained that in the latest episode it seems that he has moved to Miami to an area where many of his neighbors are Orthodox. (I wonder where that is?) Trying to be friendly, his wife made some cookies to bring to the neighbors and this is when they find out that no one will accept them because they are not KOSHER! They want to have a BBQ for the neighbors so they set out on a quest for kosher foods. They end up at Kosher World where Hulk gets a Kosher 101 lesson. He then says he feels like eating kosher meats is healthier and therefore he should always only eat kosher meats.

Who would have ever thought? Hulk Hogan a new spokesperson for the Kosher Meat industry? Stranger things have happened.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Sing it LOUD

LO was in rare form at shul on Friday. She was singing LOUDER than usual (which I still find hard to believe). I guess I am numb to it because I didn't notice it until I realized that almost the entire congregation was looking at us.

After services, many people told her how lovely her singing is. Due to this encouragement, I shudder to think of how LOUD she will be next Shabbat.

Here for your listening pleasure...LO's version of the Shema:

Hosted by eSnips

Stay tuned...who knows what I can get her to sing next!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

My Grandmother has a BOYFRIEND

No this isn't me in my Halloween costume...

This is my Grandmother. Way back when she came to the United States from China she apparently "fudged" her birth year and so no one knows exactly how old she is but we all guess that she is probably pretty close to 90 years old. She has always been known to be quite the character and she is actually the original "Orieyenta" (bet you don't find that hard to believe after seeing her picture!)

My sister just called me as she was leaving Grandma's house. Apparently Grandma is dating and she has a new boyfriend. Apparently he and Grandma have kissed. Apparently she felt the need to share this information in full detail with my sister (thank G-d it wasn't me!)

You GO Grandma!

(This gives me hope. Perhaps I don't need to take that trip to daven at the kever of Rabbi Yonatan ben Uziel quite yet!)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I think it may SNOW!

Ok, I know all of you who live in places like Milwaukee and Toronto are going to laugh but BRRRR! it is cold here today!

This morning when we got up I told LO that it was going to be cooler than usual and that she should dress accordingly. Since it's usually in the 80's or 90's here year round, I wasn't quite sure she understood. So - I told her to go outside to see how cold it was. She opened the front door and in less than a second was back inside shivering. She exclaimed, "It's so cold, I think it may SNOW!"

It may sound crazy but as I walked into work this morning, I certainly noticed that I wasn't the only one wearing a coat.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Traveling and Books

So - I've been traveling again and I have to say that I have no clue how those of you who have to travel often do it. Now that I am home, I feel like I am behind in EVERYTHING and will never catch up. (BTW, I figured out a solution to the Star of David terror threat but I will save that for another post.)

However, it does seem as though there has been a benefit to all this traveling for me. I've been able to read several books - a treat I rarely have time for.

A friend who is in a book club recommended "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak ages ago but I simply didn't have the time to pick it up. On my first plane ride I had a stack of magazines with me that had piled up at home. One of them was the latest "Hadassah" and I noticed "The Book Thief" on their list as well. So, I decided that when I arrived at my destination I would pick it up.

I don't want to ruin it for anyone who has not read it but I have to admit that once I picked it up, I found it very hard to put down. I found that the choice of Death as the narrator gave such an ingenius point of view and I didn't feel like it was a morbid choice.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Flag of Spain

LO is doing a project for school on Spain for Hispanic Heritage Week. I printed out the flag of Spain for her to include with her report.

I'm out of town but have been trying to help her with the project over the phone. During our last phone call she asked, "Mama, what is that on the flag?" I told her that I was not sure what it was (since I didn't actually have a picture of the flag in front of me!) Her reply was, "It looks like the Torah".

While trying to stifle my giggles I explained that I was pretty sure that it was not the Torah. That's my Little Orieyenta for you - in her mind she sees a little Judaism in everyone and everything. Gotta love it.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Are we a trend?

Was anyone else surprised last week when they watched the season premiere of "Grey's Anatomy"? Did you know that Sandra Oh's character Christina Yang is Jewish?

Maybe LO and I have started a new trend.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Current Events

Each week LO is assigned a current event. She has to read a newspaper article and then stand up in front of her class and tell them about it.

Her topic this week was about Karnit Goldwasser visting the Greater Miami Jewish Federation. Mrs. Goldwasser will be making five stops while she is in the United States in hopes of ensuring that the world does not forget about her husband and the other captured soldiers, Eldad Regev and Gilad Shalit. You can read more about them at their website.

May we all continue to recite Tehillim and pray for Ehud ben Malka (אהוד בן מלכה), Eldad ben Tova (אלדד בן טובה), and Gilad ben Aviva (גלעד בן אביבה) until they are safe at home.

Do not let them be forgotten.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Apples and Honey

We've got a busy week ahead of us, so I thought I would post this a few days early just in case I don't have a chance later on this week.

Every year I try to send a picture of LO with our Rosh Hashanah cards and this is the one I sent this year. Isn't she just as sweet as apples and honey?

Wishing you and your families L'Shanah Tovah. May we all be inscribed for a Happy and Healthy New Year.

Friday, September 15, 2006


Isn't this the cutest thing? Some friends in Sunday school gave this set to LO for her birthday. We have played quite a bit with it and she has been thrilled with her little matzoh balls and the kugels. At first we were a little confused about the eggs because who would put eggs on lettuce? Wait a second, those are gefilte fish!

Ok, so who's coming over for Shabbos? LO is cooking.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Star of David = Terror Threat?

As of late, I've had to do a great deal of airplane travel. Generally I don't really like to travel and so I try to keep the number of trips that I take down to a minimum and when I do travel I generally don't stay more than a few days.

However, my last trip had me away from home over Shabbos, so I packed some candleholders for my trip. I didn't feel quite right about putting them in my checked luggage so I wrapped them carefully and put them in my backpack which I planned to carry on the plane.

With the new security measures at airports in place, before heading to the airport, I made sure that I had no type of liquid or gel in my backpack (frowning as I placed my anti-bacterial hand sanitizer into my checked-baggage). And off to the airport I went.

Before I go any further let me say that I totally realize that the TSA screeners at the airports are only doing their job which is basically to make airline travel safe. I am not one of those people standing in line complaining about the whole security procedure because I say if it takes 2 hours to get through and it means I am safe then take the 2 hours - I say take as much time as you need as long as I am safe!

So - I get in line and present my ID and boarding pass. Next I proceeded with the whole drill - take the laptop out of its case, take your shoes off, lay your backpack down flat on the belt, make sure you don't have any metal in your pockets, etc. Then I walked through the metal detector (trying to ignore the fact that I was walking barefoot where who knows how many people have walked barefoot before me) to the end of the conveyor belt to collect my belongings. And I look at the screener who is examining the x-ray of my backpack and he is repeatedly running my backpack out and back into the machine - glaring at me every now and then as the backpack goes in and out of the machine. He turns to the guy behind him and asks him to look at the screen and I hear the other guy saying, "That's the Star of David - those are candleholders." So, now I am expecting that he will just let my bag go and I can be on my way. But oh no that's not going to I hear, "Bag Check!"

So next I am escorted to another table (still barefoot) while trying to manage the laptop still out of it's case, the laptop case, my shoes, and my sweater (did I mention I was still barefoot?) - just totally vesheveled. And I got to watch as the TSA guy took every little thing out of my bag and pick and chose what he was really going to inspect. My candleholders were wrapped in a towel and placed inside a plastic bag - he never opened the plastic bag. He did open a medication bottle and looked inside. He paid no mind to my Machzor, my eyeglasses in an eyeglass case, my iPod in a zippered up case, nor the plastic bag containing my headcoverings. Eventually he was satisfied and I was left standing there trying to manage everything nice and neatly back into place as they had been originally. I do find all of this curious but still respect that this is all happening in order to keep air travel safe.

Fast forward a week and a half for my trip home and I find the same thing happening again. Only this time, I hear the woman at the x-ray machine saying, "Six pointed star! Bag check!" And I end up going through the whole routine again. The screener had just about finished and was stuffing things back into my bag but then he took out a tube of lipgloss (that apparently made it through the screener on my trip out there) and said, "You can't have this - it's gel based. But let's say that you put some on and let me see what flavour it is." (Oh yeah - that's appropriate you jerk. ) Rather than freak out I just replied, "I'm sorry - I had no idea it was there - just throw it out." And on my merry way I went.

I'm not bitter (really!) but can someone please tell me why the Star of David equals a terror threat and an automatic bag search?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Happy Birthday Little Girl!

Saturday was LO's 8th Birthday. For the past few years I have given her the choice to either have a party at home or to take a birthday trip to Disney World. Guess where she chose this year?

She is finally tall enough to ride all the rides she wants to ride. That of course means that I have to ride them with her and let's just say that there were plenty of times that I wished that she was still too small to ride them!

Despite some rain throughout the trip, she had a blast. I love being able to take time out of our "real" life to spend this time with her. As I am sure any parent knows, it is so much fun to see our children grow and change over time (even if it seems to be happening at the speed of light sometimes!)

Her birthdays are always a little bittersweet for me. I am filled with joy that G-d brought this little girl to me but I am also saddened that her birthmother will never know this incredible little girl. I can only hope that wherever and whoever she is that somehow she knows that her child is well-loved and taken care of and that I am so thankful to her for this little girl.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The "Hornet"

This morning while I was driving LO to school from out of the back seat I hear a noise that sounds a whole lot like an elephant blowing his nose. Here's the conversation that followed:

Me: What the heck was that?

LO: I'm practicing blowing the hornet.

Me: The what?

LO: You know, the HORNET. My teacher was showing us how to blow it at Sunday school.

Me: Oh...are you talking about the shofar?

LO: (very matter-of-factly) Of course I'm talking about the shofar Mama. I don't like hornets - they sting.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Back to School

School started on Monday. It seems to me that our summer vacations are shorter and shorter each year as school starts earlier and earlier.

As you can see, LO wasn't at all upset about starting school so early since it meant that she would get to see her best friend every day. They've been best friends since they were two - that's SIX years!

And so it begins...(amid some of the scariest gas prices ever) another season of "Mom's Taxi Service". Sunday school starts this Sunday. Hebrew School starts on Tuesday. Kid's Club starts on Wednesday. Oh, the joys of parenting!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Happy Birthday JJ

My niece (who I'll refer to as JJ here) turned 2 today.

I called her this morning to sing Happy Birthday to her. Since my sister and I love to hear her "JJ talk" we are always asking her to say things. Today was no exception. (Some of my favourites are "ah-gai-er" for alligator, "dabba doo" for her dog Scooby"and "mel-mo" for Elmo.)

Here's a run-down of our phone conversation:

JJ: Hi Ai Yee (Ai Yee is Chinese for mother's older sister/aunt)

Me: Happy Birthday!

I then started to sing Happy Birthday but JJ paid no attention and just kept saying LO's name over and over. So instead of singing the rest of the song, I resorted to seeing if I could get her to say something funny.

Me: Say happy birthday

She continued saying LO's name

Me: Say alligator

LO's name again

Me: How old are you today?

LO's name again

Me: Say I'm two today

LO's name AGAIN

Me: Say LO's name

JJ: Bye-bye

Oh boy - another comedian in the family.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

This might make you cry

In light of the events today, I thought we could all use a little break from the constant war coverage...

Here for your listening pleasure...LO's version of Hinay Ma Tov. (Thanks for the suggestion SG!)


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Our Rabbi told her that her singing almost made him cry. That's a good thing, right?

Shavua Tov everyone v' Shalom al Yisrael.

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Missing Wallet

My little sister called me this morning. The first words I heard after I said hello were, "I am FREAKING OUT!" She went on to explain that she couldn't find her wallet and that there was several hundred dollars in cash in it.

I wanted to say, "Hey - don't you know where the bank is?" But instead I tried to be the supportive sister and help her figure out where it might be. I asked her where she remembered using it last. She said it was yesterday when she brought my niece to the park for a pony ride. After the pony ride they went to our mom's house and then they went home. She had searched her home, her car, and our mother's house. No sign of it. She had even called the park to see if someone had turned it in. (With all that money in it, I was skeptical that anyone would be honest enough to turn it in. ) But no one had turned it in.

Frantic with her mind filled with thoughts of all the delightful things her credit cards must be buying for someone at the moment, she headed off to work.

I just got another phone call from her. She has her wallet back. When I asked where she found it, she explained that it was at the park and someone had turned it in. I figured ths meant, the money was gone. She went on to say,"I really think your people found it and turned it in." A little confused by this comment, I said "What?" She said, "Remember how I told you that when we go to the park there are all these families there with the long skirts and yarmulkes? They must have found it and turned it in." Oh that must be it...the honest "frummies". I guess that's a stereotype we can all live with for once.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Collateral Damage

As I am sure many (if not all) Rabbis did this Shabbat, ours spoke of what is happening in our beloved Israel. I have not really spoken with LO about this because I have not really been sure how to explain the notion of war to her. Our Rabbi spoke of the "collateral damage" caused by war. He spoke particularly about the children in the Middle East. This certainly struck a chord with LO. After services, I realized that I would have to find some way to explain what is happening to her.

Tears welled up in her eyes as I told her. She asked why we couldn't just tell the "bad guys" to give our soldiers back. In her mind it must be much like child's play...a child takes someone else's toy, a parent makes him/her return the toy, and all is well. If only it were that simple. In her mind, the "bad guys" should just be punished for not listening. In a way that is exactly what is happening...but how do you explain "collateral damage" to a child?

LO spent some time at my ex's house yesterday...apparently she watched the news while she was there. When she got home last night, she told me that she saw Israel on TV and that it was very bad over there. In her eyes I could see her compassionate neshama searching for something, anything, she could do or say...

All I could do was to tell her that the best thing we can do for our soldiers and our beloved Israel at this time is to pray.

He Who blessed our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob -- may He bless the fighters of the Israel Defense Forces, who stand guard over our land and the cities of our G-d, from the border of the Lebanon to the desert of Egypt, and from the Great Sea unto the approach of the Aravah, on the land, in the air, and on the sea.

May the Almighty cause the enemies who rise up against us to be struck down before them. May the Holy One, Blessed is He, preserve and rescue our fighters from every trouble and distress and from every plague and illness, and may He send blessing and success in their every endeavor.

May He lead our enemies under our soldiers' sway and may He grant them salvation and crown them with victory. And may there be fulfilled for them the verse: For it is the Lord your G-d, Who goes with you to battle your enemies for you to save you.


Monday, July 10, 2006

I knew it was only time

Other than the words happy and talkative, one of the other most often heard adjectives used to describe LO is LOUD.

There are plenty of times in which I find that although she and I are in the same room, based on her volume she might be thinking I am a few blocks away. Sometimes I will jokingly shout back to her, "WHY ARE YOU SCREAMING AT ME? I'M IN THE SAME ROOM AS YOU!" And then we both burst into laughter.

No place is immune from her lack of volume control and certainly not our shul. I usually try to sit towards the back since LO sometimes gets a little fidgety and I don’t like to disturb everyone else. This has worked well for us except for the fact that some poor unsuspecting person somehow manages to sit in front of us every time. And let’s just say…they never sit in front of us again. You see, LO simply LOVES to sing at shul – and it doesn’t matter if she knows the words (because her new thing is singing without even glancing at the siddur!) And geez can this kid sing LOUD! Yes – I am filled with joy that my daughter loves our traditions and is so proud of her Judaism. But I also fear that it is only time until someone says something like, “Do you think you could ask your daughter to sing a little quieter?”

Well much to my surprise, I have gotten a request regarding her singing – it just wasn’t the request that I expected. Our shul is having a multi-cultural service and LO has been asked to sing Hinay Ma Tov. Whenever she is around people she knows, she is “Personality Plus” – but in the past whenever she had to get up in front of strangers, she has been terrified. Because of this, I knew I should ask her before committing. I picked her up at camp yesterday and asked her. She said, “Sure! I’ll do it. Wait? In front of people?” I was sure the “No way!” was coming next. But then she said, “Yeah – ok – I’ll sing it for everyone.” Later on I heard singing coming from the bathroom – she had just taken a shower and she was brushing her hair and singing LOUDLY (obviously practicing for her big night at shul) while watching herself in the mirror.

Uh oh…what have I gotten myself into?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Red Blankie and the Shema

Every summer, LO spends some time visiting with my sister. This gives me a chance to have a little "me" time here and there throughout the summer. I'd like to report that I actually do something wonderful like spending the day at a spa or sitting on the beach and enjoying our weather but...what it usually means is that I do various things like clean the house, have a week go by without needing to do twelve loads of laundry, stare at the walls, give the TV a break from Disney films, etc.

LO never goes anywhere far without her blankies. These started out as one security blanket. But, as every parent is well aware, beloved items like these tend to get "loved" a whole lot and tend to need to be cleaned a whole lot, so in order to be able to wash "White Blankie", I made "Red Blankie". When we were packing her stuff to go to my sister's, she said, "I'm taking White Blankie with me and I'm leaving Red Blankie with you so you don't feel lonely without me". How cute is that?

I dropped her off at my sister's last night and the drive home (approx. 60 miles) was awfully quiet. Then when I got home, since this is her first extended time away this summer, the house seemed eerily empty. I sat down on the bed and realized how much I missed my little girl. Then the phone rang! Of course it was her. She had called to tell me that she missed me (which of course broke my heart). She had called to say "Laila Tov" and "Jo Tau" (Goodnight in Hebrew and Chinese). And she had called to say the Shema with me (which filled my heart with joy).

Some days I just can't imagine that it is possible to love her any more than I already do, but then a day like this happens. And I realize just how blessed I am to be LO's Mom.