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.