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?