Monday, December 24, 2007

And then there were THREE

It seems like it was not too long ago when Kelev joined our family. And now when I look outside, what do I see? Achat, shtayim, shalosh...yi, er,, dos, tres...un deux, trois...- no matter what language I count in, I see THREE dogs!

We're dog-sitting for an extended period of time. PHD's cousin's wife has been very ill and in the hospital so we're taking care of their dogs until she is well enough again to have the dogs around. I love Milo (the big brown dog), LO loves Macaroon (the little black dog), and Kelev loves the company, so it seems that we don't mind however long they will need to be around. It certainly does make life interesting here though.

Please daven for Avia bat Sarah.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A gift for Abba

On the afternoon just before the first candle of Chanukah, I walked into LO's classroom to pick her up from school. She was so excited that she could barely contain herself... "Ima, I got a present for Abba!" She ran over to the corner and she presented me with a large Ziploc bag. Inside of the bag was a very large avocado. I asked her where she got it and she explained that she had bought it in the Panther Store with her Panther dollars.

Panther dollars are a reward for the kids when they do something good like help a teacher, behave nicely, help a classmate with their homework, etc. They are given out just about every day and the kids are allowed to take the dollars they have earned to the Panther Store (which is basically full of nothing but little junky toys like you might see in a birthday party goody bag). You can tell when the kids have gone to the store because each one of them is playing with their new little toy. Imagine my surprise that LO chose to get something for PHD rather than to bring home another useless toy. It certainly was one of the most heartfelt gifts ever. Geez, does this kid make me proud.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

LO's first concert

A friend from Hebrew school brought LO to a Rick Recht concert motzei Shabbos. LO was starstruck. The friend's mother bought a CD for LO at the concert. I'm not sure I am going to survive another day of this...

I liked it much better when LO wanted to listen to this guy all day...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

LO raises her hand

We had a meeting at our shul last night put together by our "Destination Israel" committee. Their job is to promote the upcoming synagogue trip to Israel and to also increase Israel awareness. One of the speakers was the Rabbi from our local JCC who is preparing to make aliyah. He started his speech by asking, "What makes a Jewish home Jewish?" A dead silence occurred at that moment in the room of approximately 60 people. So he asked the question again. Then he said, "Um, I see a hand way in the back but can't see who's hand it is." I turned around to see who it was. Who's hand do you think was raised? Yep, I turned around and saw LO's hand raised high in the air but since she was sitting on the floor all you could see was her little hand. Then we heard her say, "A mezuzzah!" The Rabbi replied, "Great answer. " Then he looked around and said, "Anyone else? Come on - if that little girl can come up with an answer so can all of you." Slowly people started to raise their hands and answer. And I was kvelling that my little one managed to motivate the group.

The Rabbi went on to give a very good talk about Israel and gave many reasons why we need to go to Israel. One point he made was similar to what Psychotoddler mentioned in this post. He talked about how American Jews are losing the war of attrition. He explained that in the US where Jews are a minority and we are so often surrounded by things like Christmas and the Easter Bunny, it's too easy for our kids to stray from their roots. He talked about how important it was for us to teach our children to love being Jewish. And I looked at LO and thought in my head, "Baruch HaShem, we are on the right path."

Saturday, November 24, 2007

LO goes to the Chabad

LO goes to her Dad's house every other weekend. He lives in West Palm Beach which is about 100 miles north of where we live . It's hard on LO for many reasons like she can't play with her friends here, she can't go to services at our Shul, she misses Sunday school, etc. My hope was that as she got older we would find a Shul for her that she could go to when she is up there or perhaps we could find somewhere that she could go to Sunday school on the Sundays that she is there. I searched the internet and found out that there is a Chabad within walking distance of her Dad's house! I mentioned this to her a while back but didn't really act on it.

Before leaving for her Dad's this week she asked me if I had a siddur that she could take with her. When I asked her why, she told me that she misses not having Shabbat and that if she had a siddur she could have Shabbat with her stuffed animals in her room there. (Yes - this made my heart melt.) I reminded her about the Chabad and told her that one day I was sure she could go over there and share Shabbat with them.

About an hour before Shabbat I got a phone call from her. She called to say Shabbat Shalom and then she told me that she met the Rabbi and his wife. When I asked her how, she explained that she was walking her Dad's dog and she remembered that I told her about the Chabad. So she looked at all the houses until she found one with a mezuzah. She walked up and rang the doorbell. The Rebbetzin answered the door and here is what LO said,

"Hello. My name is LO. I'm Jewish. My Hebrew name is Shoshana Leah and I am 9 years old."

I wish that I could have seen the Rebbetzin's face as she was looking down at a little Chinese girl saying this to her.

I had a chance to speak with the Rebbetzin. She adores LO and now it looks like I don't have to worry about where LO will spend Shabbat anymore!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Picture time

It's that time of year again - time for the obligatory Chanukah picture that I will send out to friends and family. LO is not always willing to be the subject of my photography and if it were up to her, I think this is the picture everyone would be getting this year...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Planning and more planning

We've got time until the "Big Day" but for some reason in the past few days we've been talking about it a lot so...of course, now I am FREAKED out.

I'm ashamed to admit that I never attend big events since I don't love crowds, so as far as wedding planning goes, I have no idea where to start. Ok, maybe that's exaggerating a bit. We have asked the Rabbis to perform the ceremony and they have both said yes. (One Rabbi is the Rabbi from our Shul and the other Rabbi is one of PHD's close friends.)

Anyhow...I need all of your help. Any guidance, ideas, tips, etc.

We've picked out a ketubah but I don't love the phrase on it. We can change it but I don't want to go with the standard "Ani L'Dodi V'Dodi Li". Any suggestions?

How about wedding invitations - English only, English and Hebrew?

Oy....thank goodness I have months and months to take care of this. It should really be much easier than this.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Girl Scout Cookie MOM

I just had a momentary lapse of reasoning and I VOLUNTEERED to be the "Cookie Mom" for LO's Girl Scout Troop. What this apparently means is that I am going to be in charge of collecting all of the money and then going to pick up all of the cookies for the troop. Last year LO's troop sold over 1000 boxes of cookies? Where the heck am I going to put 1000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies?

I'm trying to look at the bright side of least they're kosher.

(Trepp - is sending Girl Scout cookies and Splenda to you as bad as eating french fries with Diet Coke?)

Monday, November 05, 2007

The foot washer

LO came upstairs this morning to talk to PHD (who being retired, was still asleep in bed!) I noticed that her nails needed to be cut and so I told her to come into the bathroom with me. I guess I have never realized that she has never been in the bathroom upstairs. She came in the bathroom and exclaimed, "Wow! You have a foot washer in here!" I was like, "Huh?" And then I realized that she was looking at the bidet.

(I don't know why I am never ready for these moments. And is it bad that this bathroom post made me think of Jack?)

So I replied, "That's not a foot washer - that's where you shave your legs." I could hear PHD laughing as he overheard the conversation. And I can already picture it day she'll be married and her husband will find her shaving her legs in the bidet. Lovely.

Friday, November 02, 2007

My green kid

So at first glance you might think LO looks like the Wicked Witch of the West from "The Wizard of Oz". But if you asked her, she would tell you that she is Elphaba, the green witch from the Broadway show, "Wicked". And then she'd sing you a few songs from the show.

Oh boy....just what have I created?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Giving in to the iPhone

I did it. I couldn't handle resisting it anymore. I bought the iPhone. I actually can't believe I made it this long without buying it. Of course, I did wait until I could utilize someone's Apple employee discount. ;)

PHD will think I'm crazy for having spent so much money for a phone. That's when I'm just going to blame it all on Robert Avrech. (I'm kidding....sort of.)

Shabbat Shalom.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

LO talks and talks and talks and...

I ran into LO's teacher for the first time yesterday. He was on leave for the first month of school and has only been back a short while. When I walked into the office he turned and said to me, "Your daughter is so bright and is such a good girl". I was a little surprised since the substitute that was in the class while he was on leave had some problems with LO because apparently LO thought it was necessary to talk ALL THE TIME. I explained this and he said, "Oh, no she always just sits at her desk and is so quiet." He went on, "But today I must have opened the flood gates because I got her to talk and she was so excited."

I got a little nervous about what she might have babbled on about but then he explained that somehow they got on the subject of Israel and he said that all of a sudden LO perked up. Her teacher is not Jewish but he is a Zionist, so the two of them talking about Israel must have been quite a conversation. He showed LO where Israel is on a globe. And she saw Egypt and took that as an opportunity to tell him about the story of Moses and how he led the Jewish people out of Egypt. Then she told him about the Red Sea. And apparently she went on and one and on.

Nice to know that my Hebrew School dollars are being well spent.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

And now...the news

Just found out that LO is going to be the school news anchor. She'll be broadcast over all of the televisions in her school in the morning telling of school news, lunch menus, and the weather. She originally wasn't planning on trying out, but one of her friends was trying out and talked her into trying out as well. It came as quite a surprise when she found out that she was selected.

I can already hear her now..."The weather today will be HOT, humid, and we're all going to schvitz. Today's lunch is ham and cheese sandwiches and that's NOT KOSHER".

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Lily's Bat Mitzvah Project

I was reading something on the Families with Children from China website the other day and I ran across a posting asking the families for help with a Bat Mitzvah project. I was not only thrilled to come across another Jewish child who was adopted from China but excited that LO would be able to help this girl with her project.

The girl's name is Lily and she is looking to collect stories from other Jewish Chinese girls for her project. I e-mailed Lily's mother and she asked me to help get the word out about Lily's project. I know that there are several of you who have mentioned to me that there are adopted Chinese girls at your shuls and it would really be a mitzvah if you could spread the word to those families.

LO is already working on her essay for Lily's project and I promise to share it here as soon as she finishes it.

Here is the link for more information...Lily's Bat Mitzvah Project.

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Birds and the Bees

Remember earlier this month when I had one of those unexpected parenting moments? Well, this must be the time for those moments because yet again, LO managed to catch me off guard.

Apparently one of the little girls in her class has already begun experiencing that time of the month. It started while she was at school and her mother had obviously talked with her about it because she felt the need to explain it to all the other little girls in the class. She gave some gory details to LO which were not totally accurate and managed to totally gross LO out. Another little girl in the class decided to chime in with this wise information..."When you get the period and you are older, if you hang out too much with boys it means you are pregnant." Talk about needing to do some damage control.

I was so totally NOT READY for this conversation. We're talking about a child who makes me giggle when she tells me, "When I grow up I'm going to go to China and get a baby just like you got me." She used to think that China is where all babies come from and that's where everyone goes to get a baby (I guess it never dawned on her that not all children are Chinese). Then she met someone who was visibly pregnant. I explained that there was a baby inside the woman and then LO was afraid of the woman because she couldn't understand why the lady ate a baby!

Oy, can't I just continue being content with just making sure that she knows she cannot ever date or marry someone who is not Jewish. Isn't that enough? There should be some parenting book that tells you when you need to do this stuff and how to do it. I am still not sure if what and how I explained this all to her was the right way to do it. I guess I did the best I could do...but now I am sort of guarded...what the heck will she come up with next?

On another's raining AGAIN. A lot of the roads are flooded. A lot of the traffic lights aren't working. Next time for Sukkot we might take Jack's advice and build an ark. Actually at this rate, we may need that ark sooner than next Sukkot.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

What's the buzzing sound?

So, it finally stopped raining and we have been able to have several meals in our sukkah. We even slept in it on Shabbat. I know it's a mitzvah to sleep in the sukkah, but let's just say I don't think that mosquito season is over here in Florida. Oy do mosqito bites itch!

Here's wishing that all of you are enjoying a lovely (and mosquito free) chag.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

It is STILL raining

Day FOUR. It is still raining. I looked out the window at our unfinished sukkah this morning and it looked so sad without LO's little decorations adorning it. I hear there's a chance the weather will clear up for a bit later today. We are very hopeful.

LO, PHD, and I wish you all a Chag Sameach.

update: I just saw is not looking good.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

It's sukkah time...

and apparently that means it is time to rain non-stop in South Florida (great for our draught conditions, bad for our sukkah building conditions!) Our new catch-phrase should be, "If you build it, it will rain". B"H this year the rain didn't come complete with a hurricane on the way (keinahorra...poo, poo, poo).
We had fun STUFFING my car full of palm branches for our s'chach and putting up the frame in the rain. Kelev even jumped into the action at some point...I have to say, there is nothing quite like a wet dog in your sukkah.

We are now on our third straight day of rain...if only it would stop for a bit so we could finish.

(If you are looking for some ideas for sukkah decorations, be sure not to miss Juggling Frogs' post here. She is AMAZING. I have to say if I could go back to being a kid, I'd want to be one of hers!)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Rosh Hashanah is not only ONE day

Last Thursday LO hands me her interim report from school. I looked at the grades and there were no surprises there. But then I noticed that she had an unexcused absence on it. Certainly she hadn't been absent without me knowing, so I sent a note to the teacher asking for an explanation of when exactly LO got this unexcused absence.

On Friday I went to pick LO up early from school so that we could prepare for dinner followed by Kol Nidre. I ran into her teacher and she explained that LO had received an unexcused absence because she was absent on Friday, September 14th. Apparently it didn't matter that I had sent a note in with LO to explain her absence due to the second day of Rosh Hashanah. The teacher went on to explain that she had discussed it with the secretary in the front office and that Rosh Hashanah is only observed for ONE day. (I should probably point out that neither of them are Jewish, so it is probably safe to assume that neither of them are qualified to make this statement.) I hate to admit it but as those words came out of her mouth, I was so angry that my blood started to boil. But I kept my cool as I explained that the holiday was indeed observed on both days. She told me that I needed to take it up with the front office. I took LO by the hand and stormed up to the front office. Turns out that the secretary was at lunch. But...the assistant principal was there so I decided to address it with her. This time I was told that it is a Miami-Dade County school policy that Rosh Hashanah is only observed for one day. (I can't begin to explain how much angrier that statement made me.) I decided that I better drop it at this point before I blew up so I told her that I thought she might want to re-check that policy and I left.

On the way home I could picture it in my head..."the Orieyentas take on the Miami-Dade School Board in a quest for the right to observe Rosh Hashanah for TWO days." And then I started to worry. What will happen with Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret, and Simchat Torah? Will a whole load of unexcused absences ruin her almost perfect grades? And how come this wasn't an issue last year? And oy, why didn't I send her to Jewish Day School this year?

I got home and really needed to focus on getting dinner ready and getting into the Yom Kippur frame of mind and decided that there was not much more I could do about this until after the weekend. Thankfully, motzei Shabbos/Yom Tov when we checked the answering machine there was a message from the school secretary admitting that she was incorrect saying that there was only ONE day of Rosh Hashanah and that there are indeed TWO days of Rosh Hashanah. LO's unexcused absence has been changed to excused. Hopefully we won't have this problem for the upcoming chags. Oh the joys of sending your child to a secular/public school.

ed. note: I thought I should point out that in making the choice to send LO to a secular school, I certainly realize things like this are bound to happen sometimes. I'm relatively ok with that. What I was truly mad about was being told by TWO gentiles that Rosh Hashanah is only one day.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Is it time to eat yet?

LO really LOVES to eat. You'd never guess it if you saw her because she is and always has been smaller than all the kids her age. Needless to say, a day of fasting should seem like the end of the world to her. We obviously don't require her to fast but she does try to make an effort to at least skip a meal and possibly a snack. The funny thing is that she will ask a million times and then a million more times, "Is it time to eat yet?" Then I'll tell her to go ahead and eat. Of course, then she'll decide not to eat. I think she just likes to keep asking me over and over again, "Is it time to eat yet?" Or maybe she just likes the bagels, lox, herring, whitefish, etc. that we serve at our break fast. Whatever it is, here we are ready to hear, "Is it time to eat yet?"

Little Orieyenta, PHD, and I wish you all a meaningful and easy fast. G'mar Chatima Tova.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

LO's Newest Friend

Guess what we just got?

Direct from the Miami-Dade Animal Services, please meet the newest member of our household, Kelev. (For those of you who don't know, it's the Hebrew word for dog. And yes, it was LO's idea to name him this.)

LO had been asking for a dog for a long time and PHD and I finally decided it was time. We definitely wanted to rescue one from the pound rather than get one from a puppy mill or a breeder and so we set on a search to find a dog.

We wanted it to be a surprise so PHD went and picked Kelev up today while LO was at school. LO had no idea that we were planning this. When she came home she actually didn't notice the dog right away but as soon as she did she was jumping up and down with joy. She's so excited that we are lucky we were able to get her to go to bed tonight. B'ezrat Hashem this is just the start of a very wonderful friendship.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A glimpse at our Yom Tov

We had a lovely Yom Tov and we hope that all of you did as well. I kvetch when I am cooking and baking and covered in flour, oil, etc. but it really is rewarding when it is all over and done with. We had some funny moments so I thought I'd share a few of them:

A phone message from my born-again Christian mother...

"Hello, I called to wish you a Happy New Year. (laughing) La-shay-na something or other. I heard them saying that on the radio."

My mother originally was not all that happy when I officially converted. Slowly but surely she has been trying to be a little more accepting of it (no more Chanukah gifts wrapped in Christmas paper, no more Easter baskets for LO, etc.) So for this phone message, I have to acknowledge that and say nice try Mom.


A conversation I had with the woman who sat next to me the first day of Rosh Hashanah at Shul...

"You are so beautiful. You have such an oriental look about you."

I then explained that I am Chinese. And she responded...

"Oh well, that explains it."

Ummm...I think that was a compliment.


A conversation LO and I had...

"Ima, when I grow up, I'm going to get married to a nice Jewish man just like you and Abba. He'll be Jewish and handsome and strong and he'll teach me how to use credit cards!"

Where the heck did she get the idea that a Jewish man would teach her how to use credit cards?


LO waking up from what looked like a crazy sleep, her bed was all messed up and her head was where her feet usually are and her feet where her head usually is...

"Oh my gosh. What will we do if our succah leaks?"

Nice to know that she is planning ahead.


And a classic that I am sure anyone who has kids has heard - LO at Tashlich...

"That man threw a whole loaf of bread in the water. He must have been very bad this year."

Oy am I hungry. Wishing all of you who are fasting today an easy fast.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Sweet like apples and honey

I'm sure I am not alone in feeling a little meshugganah this week. I can't believe that the holidays are just a few days away. I definitely feel like I am far from being prepared. Yesterday I sat staring at my recipe book trying to figure out what to make...kasha varnishkes? kishke ala Juggling Frogs? plain honey cake? chocolate honey cake? kugel? many choices.

Since I am sure the week isn't going to get less hectic, I thought I'd go ahead and share our Rosh Hashanah picture from this year...I got a good giggle from comparing it to last year's picture here. I still think she is just as sweet as apples and honey.

LO, PHD and I wish you and your families L'Shanah Tovah and Ktiva v'Chatima Tova.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Winston's New Kippah

You may recall one of my earlier posts about Winston when LO asked if her favourite teddy bear was Jewish. Since then, Winston has become a regular part of our Jewish community. He attends Shabbat services with us, has been to Hebrew school, and he even golfs with our Rabbi.

Not long ago, LO decided that his regular golf clothes (khaki pants, a polo shirt, and a baseball hat) were not nice enough for Shabbat clothes, so off we were to buy Winston a new Shabbat outfit. And no respectable Jewish bear could be caught at shul without a kippah...right?

LO was simply kvelling at Shabbat services over her little bear's new kippah and made sure that everyone saw it. (Me, on the otherhand...I still have that feeling of disbelief that I was actually sitting somewhere sewing a kippah onto a teddy bear's head.)

Special thanks to "Tante Ruth" for crocheting Winston his new kippah! Winston (and LO) love it.

Shabbat Shalom from the Orieyentas and the bear with a kippah.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Shofar Factory

(Rabbi Sholom Galperin from our local Chabad)

Our Hebrew school took a field trip yesterday to the Shofar Factory. The Rabbi from our local Chabad does a presentation where he talks about the holidays, shows how to make a shofar and then all the children get to make their very own shofar to bring home. Sounds fun right?

Picture this. Thirty children in a room. Each child has a horn, a piece of sandpaper, a paint brush, and a bowl of shellac varnish in front of them. A horrible storm is passing over and then...the lights in the synagogue go out! Much high pitched screaming ensues (with a few shofars being blown thrown in there.) Luckily the lights were only out for a few minutes and we all made it out of there without a gallon of shellac varnish in our hair. Amazing.

A warning to Hebrew school parents everywhere...if you are going to volunteer to drive for a field trip, this may be the one you want to skip. Let me just say, three kids, three shofars, enough said.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Ima, what's a bris?

Anyone who is a parent will surely agree with me that every so often there comes a time when their child asks a question that catches you off-guard and you're not quite sure how to respond. I recently experienced one of those moments.

Now that LO is back in school, one of her homework assignments is to read 30 minutes every day. It came as no surprise to me that the first book she grabbed from her collection of books was "The Hebrew Kid and the Apache Maiden". (Written by the wonderful and talented member of our very own Jblogosphere, Robert J. Avrech.) Every night after reading a chapter we discuss it. After reading the last chapter she asked me, "Ima, what's a bris?" Had I been prepared for this conversation I might have said something like, "It's the time when a Jewish baby boy is welcomed into a covenant between G-d and the Jewish people." Yeah, that's what I would have said....if I had been prepared. But...I was not not and so the conversation carried on something like this...

Me: Well, it's um,'s when they cut a small part of a baby's penis off.

LO: (shocked) What?

Me: (dying that I actually have to say it again to her) It's when a mohel cuts off a small part of a baby's penis.

LO: What's a mohel?

Me: (thinking this conversation is not going well) It's a man who can be a Rabbi or a doctor who performs the circumcision which is what it is called.

LO: Why?

Me: (thinking when is this conversation going to end?) Because a very long time ago, G-d and Abraham made an agreement that all Jewish males would do this.

LO: Did Abba do it?

Me: Yes, Abba did it.

LO: (wide-eyed) Can I see?

Me: (wanting to die from this conversation) No - you can't see it silly-head.

LO: Well, thank goodness I'm not a boy because I bet it would hurt.

And just as out of the blue that this conversation started, it ended and she started talking about school and her teddy bear Winston as though this conversation had never happened. And oh was I ever thankful.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Happy Birthday Little Orieyenta

Yesterday was LO's 9th birthday. We took our annual birthday trip to Disney World and this year we added a visit to Universal Studios. She talked about the trip for most of the way home (yes. that's a 4 hour drive and yes, that it a LOT of talking) so I would have to say that she had a great time. I asked her what her favourite things were in each park. She liked the Men in Black ride at Universal (which actually made me so dizzy that I wanted to be sick!) and Carousel of Progress and the Hall of Presidents at Magic Kingdom (yes, those are dorky but she's so cute, so who cares if she's dorky?)

I can't believe she's 9 already...where is the time going?

Friday, August 24, 2007

My car made me schvitz

I walked out to my car in the 90 degree heat yesterday afternoon so I could go to the bank. (I work for a large corporation with over 1,500 employees at this location so our parking lot is HUGE. This means that depending on what time you arrive, there is a possibility that you will be parking your car a little over 1/4 of a mile away. I know, it's not far in distance but when you add the Miami heat/humidity factor and the tzniut factor into the equation, it is like walking in the desert.) All I could think of was turning on the A/C and that I was definitely going to have to get an ENORMOUS diet coke with lots of ice on the way back to the office. I got to the car, put the key in the ignition and click click. Nothing else. No blowing of the A/C, no music, just click click click.

My mind started to race. Ok, I'm a grown up. No need to panic. My battery must be dead. Guess it's time to buy a new car. Wait a minute, that is over-reacting. What should I do? (Meanwhile I am schvitzing to death.)

I try to call PHD. Since he is out playing golf with our Rabbi, I doubt he will answer the phone but it was worth a try. So I tried. And of course, no answer. (And I'm still schvitzing.) So I decide to call the Rabbi. He (of course) answers the phone. Instead of saying "Hello", he jokingly says, "You're calling to find out our golf score aren't you?" I wanted to say something sarcastic but whatever I would have come up with probably wouldn't have been appropriate to say to the Rabbi so instead said, "Oh yeah, sure I am. What were the scores? And oh, by the way my car broke down, can I talk to PHD?" I never got to hear the golf scores. (And yes, I was still schvitzing.)

PHD came to my office with a new battery for the car and all is well again in the land of orieyentas. (I am no longer schvitzing or kvetching.) The worst part of the story? I had to walk the 1/4 mile in the hot Miami sun BACK to the building. At least I survived to tell the story. Even so, how come buying a new car doesn't seem unreasonable? (Ok, I'm kidding. A little.)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Back to School Frustration

LO started school on Monday. The entire week leading up to it, she was super-excited. She has always loved school and has always done very well at school. Much to our surprise that changed rather quickly.

To put it nicely, it has not been an easy week. Her school has decided to institute something called "departmentalization". That basically means that each teacher will be teaching the subject that they are strongest in. In theory it sounds like a great idea. After all, why not have someone who loves math teach math and someone who loves science tech science, right?

The problem with this theory is that they didn't think about the kids. They have the kids going from one classroom to another classroom all day. That sounds great if you're a high school kid or even a middle school kid...but ELEMENTARY school kids? These kids are used to having a desk with their names on them where they can keep all their stuff. But instead the kids (most of who probably don't weigh must more than 50 pounds) are walking down the hall in the 90+ degree heat several times a day schlepping bags of books and supplies that probably weigh about 20 pounds each. (Oh, did I mention that they are not allowed to use book bags with wheels?) No teacher walks with them when they go from classroom to classroom. It is just assumed that they will make it to their next destination. Some kids don't have books because they didn't order enough. The kids that got books have homework. The kids that didn't get books don't have homework. Nice, huh?

I could go on and on. The frustration level is at maximum capacity for not only me but LO as well. We had a parent meeting with the principal and the vice-principal yesterday. I don't think there was one parent who didn't have several complaints. I guess it's very apparent to me now why the Florida public schools are some of the worst in the country. And I guess taking out a loan for Hebrew Day School is looking better and better every minute.

Monday, August 20, 2007


I was talking to PHD on the phone the other morning and he was out by our pool with LO. I could hear LO's voice in the background and then PHD started to laugh. Apparently some coconuts had fallen from our coconut tree. LO had gathered them up and she was standing over them with a stick talking to them and herding them like animals. Is this a sign that she has been an only child too long? Thank goodness school started today!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A present from the cat

(photo by outcast831)

Remember this post?

Guess what the cat dragged in this morning? Ewwww.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Venus can't be a goddess

During the summer we have been working with LO to improve her reading comprehension. We bought her a workbook that has several stories in it and after each story there are questions about the story. Today's story was the story from Roman mythology about Venus, Psyche and Cupid.

LO was confused by all the unusual names in the story and before she answered any of the questions about the story, she asked PHD, "Wait, who's Venus?" PHD replied, "She was the goddess of love". LO replied matter-of-factly, "Well there's only one G-d, so she can't be a goddess". Nice to know that she takes the words of the Shema that we say every morning and evening to heart.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A visit from "Gung Gung"

I'm ashamed to admit that I hadn't seen my Dad in almost 6 years. He lives in New York and while I have always had good intentions of going to visit at least once a year, somehow things always come up. I guess he decided that it had been far too long, because he decided to come and pay us a visit. If you would have seen LO with him you would have never guessed that she had not seen him since she was 3 years old. She definitely fit the role of "Grandpa's little girl" quite well and I must say that my Dad was quite the natural grandfather.

It really was a lovely visit and it definitely made me realize that I need to make a bigger effort to allow LO and her "Gung Gung" (Cantonese for Grandfather) more bonding time. Dad and PHD even had a little bonding time...PHD asked him for permission to marry me and Dad gave his blessing. Life is good.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A different stone wall

(photo by spinedoc18)

We met up in North Carolina with PHD's cousins and some friends who are all visiting from Israel. We decided to meet them at a restaurant called "Stonewall's" (probably named after Stonewall Jackson). Here is a snippet of the phone conversation:

PHD: The restaurant that you wanted to meet us at is closed on Mondays so another restaurant called Stonewall's was suggested to us.

Cousin: (with HEAVY Israeli accent) Stone wall? What is this stone wall?

PHD: It's a restaurant with a huge salad bar. It sounds very nice.

Cousin: Ok, so it is called stone wall? Like the Kotel?

PHD: (laughing) Yes, like the Kotel.

I giggled and just shook my head. Only family from Israel could have come up with that one.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Tooth Fairy takes a hit

When LO lost her first tooth, I was all excited about playing the tooth fairy. Unsure of how much money to give her for a tooth, I asked one of the parents of a child in her class. The mother told me that she gives her son $20 for each tooth. $20? Geez, I was shocked since I don't think I ever got much more than a quarter or even an occasional dollar. But $20? Wow.

So, I've played along. $20 a tooth. (We actually took some of her money and bought an Israel bond. She was thrilled to think that her money is helping Israel.) Thankfully the time span between each tooth has been months, so it's never been a big deal.

This month the tooth fairy is taking a big hit. LO lost a tooth on her own...there goes $20. Then I brought her to the dentist. He explained how her teeth are crowded and that he will need to do several extractions. Two weeks ago - two teeth were extracted...there goes $40. Today another tooth extracted...another $20. Two weeks from now...another $20. LO's total for the month will be $100. This kid is raking in the cash. There has to be an end to this soon, no? I mean really, how many teeth does this kid have?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

He's mine, all MINE!

LO is home at "Camp PHD" for the summer. They both thought it would be more fun to spend the summer doing things together rather than for her to go to her usual summer camp (which she has grown bored of). While PHD is great fun, LO has asked that every now and then Camp PHD recruit another today her friend "Nesya" came to visit. I assumed that they would have nothing but great fun today but....that was a bad assumption.

I just got a phone call from LO. She was crying and screaming hysterically..."Abba doesn't love me anymore!" "Abba wants to play with Nesya instead of me!" "I want my Abba back!" "He's MY ABBA!"

(ed. note - I am using "Abba" in terms of the Hebrew word for father not that Swedish band that Neil is obsessed with.)

I was shocked. She has never been overly close to her father (my ex-husband). She never really took well to anyone I dated after the divorce. But, then came PHD. She has gotten very close to him. This became obvious to me when she decided that she wanted to call him "Abba". And it is very apparent when I see the two of them together. And now it's even clearer to me.

I'm thankful that they have built this wonderful father-daughter type relationship. But I'm really at a loss of what to do about what is now appearing to be a little over-possessiveness. I explained to her that he absolutely loved her and even if he was paying attention to the other little girl that he still loved her. What else could I have done? Any suggestions?

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Our Chicago trip in pictures

Since this was my first trip to Chicago, I took over 300 pictures. (Thank goodness for digital cameras!) I've already blogged about meeting Leah and Amy, so here's a small sampling of the rest of our trip...

This was taken from outside the Adler Planetarium. As you can see, we were blessed with beautiful weather during our trip.

No trip to Chicago could be complete without seeing Wrigley Field. The Cubs won this day.

We stayed with some of PHD's childhood friends at their awesome contemporary home. They were lovely hosts (If you are reading this J & M, many thanks for your hospitality!)

PHD's daughter works at the Lincoln Park Zoo, so we went there for a visit. This was a real treat for me since there is never much of a chance for me to see a polar bear in Miami.

Leah and her yellow crocs inspired us to take this picture of us. This is us at the Lincoln Park Zoo. (I love my Crocs and my little Israeli flags on them!)

We went to Chinatown and I thought it was cute to see that their fire engine number eight also had the number eight in Chinese on it.

Next we headed to the Chicago Botanic Gardens. We walked all day and I am told that we didn't even cover 1/2 of it. What an amazing place!

Stopped in East Rogers Park to pick up some kishke. We managed to get them all the way home to Miami and I can't wait to eat them!

All you have to say to me is "Kosher Chocolate" and I'm there. :)

I saw more homeless people in Chicago than I see in Miami. It was quite sad really. But this lady amazed me. She was as happy as could be reading her book and I just want to know how she manages to schlep all that stuff around by herself. A true example of make the best of what you have.

And finally, a trip to the Chicago Art Institute to see my favourite Seurat painting Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.

It was a wonderful trip and we already can't wait to plan our next one!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Accidentally Jewish and Big Mouth

Well, we just got home from a WONDERFUL trip to Chicago and I took over 300 pictures. This was my first trip to Chicago and I have to say that it is such a wonderful place that I now know why people brave the weather to live there. I'll post more about the trip as soon as I can go through the pictures but for now, here's a glimpse of one of my favourite parts of my trip....

I met up with Leah of Accidentally Jewish and Amy of Big Mouth Indeed Strikes Again. And from this meeting, I learned that not only is Chicago an awesome sure has some awesome bloggers. Can't wait until my next trip there!