Building Walls Not Bridges

We all build walls. They are for protection. We build gates around our terrace so that no one falls from a high place, we build fences around our gardens to keep animals from ruining the gardening or landscape design and we build walls to protect our borders. Most of us build invisible emotional walls to protect ourselves from getting hurt, or criticized. Sometimes we don’t even mean to, it’s a subconscious way our minds protect us from feeling pain, embarrassment, or any form of suffering.

I’ve been listening to a certain podcast (thanks to my friend Shua) and part of one of the episodes focuses on Robert Frost’s famous line from his poem entitled “Mending Wall”, which is “good fences make good neighbors.” I’m not so sure this is true.

I truly struggle with this message. It has been my experience that the fences are there to separate one from another for better or for worse. We have a built-in automatic response system in our brains for protection. We force ourselves out of a comfort zone to break the barriers and to let others in, for if not we’d all be hermits and depressed and just end human life as we know it.  But beyond that we also need them because there’s a possibility we’d all end being doormats and stepped on and not treated fairly if we didn’t expose our thoughts or feelings on any given matter important to us and we allow negative people to enter the conversation. We live in a world with rules and when those rules are broken there are consequences – the rules in every country are different and the punishments vary to the very lenient slap-on-the-wrist, or the more serious lock-you-up-in-jail and then to the extreme in certain places.

We all need these boundaries in our lives because they serve to protect us from ourselves and each other when the neurons in the brain go haywire.

His tree branch was leaning over my fence, and I asked him politely 3 times and when he still didn’t trim it, and the rotting fruits fell and landed on my beautiful green garden, it caused unwanted animals and bugs to my space and so I took my chainsaw and butchered his tree to teach him a lesson.

She continually parks in my space and even though I’ve asked her repeatedly and left notes on her car she parks over the space and doesn’t leave me enough space to park in front of my own home! So that’s why I gently backed into her car when trying to park in my space, your honor.

Justifiable reactions are in our minds. Who deems one right and another wrong when there is conflict? We appoint judges to make decisions for us, but they too are human, so of course, just like the rest of us, are capable of making an err in judgement.

Next level.

For anyone who believes in a higher power – there is a justice system that we can not possibly understand. We have absolute faith that when something occurs, something so devastating that it shakes our very core – we accept that it was meant to be (maybe after some time and healing).

Today the world has lost somone whose contributions to family and society, to community and his country went above and beyond the average person. Today the physical and very good fence (WALL) to separate neighbors did nothing to promote good behavior. This person with his back to his attacker, not offensively inciting anyone, standing still (maybe on his phone, or checking a shopping list) was murdered by a 17 year old in a very open shopping space. Video footage clearly shows that there was opportunity for this teenager to attack another passerby, yet in what appears to be targeted violence chooses our neighbor, our educator, son, husband, father, uncle… and according to reports he still bravely reacted in an attempt to stop the assailant from getting away or harming others.

I can only speak for myself when I say I am not interested in the world’s view. I don’t want to build bridges when I feel there is nothing but ugliness and hatred on the other side. You wouldn’t leave a garden gate open if you knew a rabid dog might bite your baby one day while they play in their own yard. That is how I see our cousins, like a rabid dog.

infectious, usually fatal viral disease of the central nervous system that is transmitted by the bite of infected animals” – meaning a 17 year old child does not pick up a knife to purposefully stab an innocent bystander unless his brain has been infected. Indoctrinated hatred at a young age so that he honestly feels his actions – the end justifies the means. 

We are all mourning this tragic loss on a monumental level. I bet most people reading this will feel the way I do. We are being targeted. We can not be blamed for others actions. We all must take responsibility for our own actions. The lame, age-old excuse for harming us is because of a land dispute which happened many years ago. But I doubt the younger children even hear this anymore. There are lies that are spread so evil, that their children are led to believe they are doing the right thing by causing harm to others. 

If there was a wall high enough, strong enough, powerful enough to keep your enemy away – wouldn’t you build it to protect the ones you love? We have a wall. It is not tall enough, or strong enough. Our enemy is near and is finding ways around the wall, with a balloon, or a kite, or a kitchen knife. The people of the world need to spread love – but it’s not easy when the rabid dog is barking at your wall.

May we find peace where we can in the last 48 hours left of the Days of Awe before we reach the day of Atonement.


In Memory of Ari Fuld, z”l. Image result for ari fuld



How Much Is Too Much?

I’ve been contemplating this for a while, as I look around my house at all the items we’ve collected *and obviously felt we needed and now desperately wanting to downsize the volume. I feel like purging! It’s about time…I wish I were a minimalist at heart.

Just this morning I tackled an area that literally hasn’t been touched in years – covered with dust not even knowing what collected on the tippy top of the bookshelf – I slowly started pulling a stack of pages from various children’s books that had gotten torn – why did we collect them???? I remember, the reason was because we didn’t want to throw away a cute book and thought we’d get around to ‘saving’ them. A project that never happened mostly because the one thing I never seem to be able to find is tape but it was time, along with those massive heavy books with the microphone and buttons that electronically make a prerecorded moo or say “Howdy!”, but once the very expensive unique batteries run out are useless….to the garbage!

And then I was reading through comments on a thread of someone’s Facebook post when I decided to write about this feeling of’ how much is too much’?

The picture was an astonishing collection of baked goods that someone has already prepared for Rosh Hashana through Sukkot. That alone boggled my my mind – literally she had 16 round challahs, 6 honey loaf cakes, 3 pecan pies, 6 chocolate chip banana breads, 2 dozen muffins from the same batter, amaretto bundt, 3 amaretto loaf cakes, a dozen amaretto muffins, and a giant vat of chicken soup.

All I kept thinking was man, that is ALOT of challah and baked goods – I assume she has a large family and needs to prepare like this in order to NOT get overwhelmed. Even though this seems like a lot, I married into a family with a sister-in-law who has 12 children and as the role of a communal rebbetzin she often prepared for the masses- this amount to me didn’t seem like it was ‘too much’.  So I start reading through some of the 187 messages and someone posted a comment about owning 4 freezers.

FOUR FREEZERS??? Why? Oh my gosh why? She explained: her main freezer was for everyday stuff, a small freezer for soup, one for meats, and the last for baked goods. After reading more in absolute shock she went on to explain that she owns her own business (is not a caterer), hosts quite often and feels better knowing she can provide meals or pull out some spares should the need arise. It’s smart and really beautiful but I also think a bit absurd.

I have a close friend who is super organized and I always tease her because she too preps so far in advance and her freezers are also always stuffed! And when she looks in my freezer she laughs and can’t understand why there is so much room – I also feed a lot of people and often have guests! I have learned to buy what I need at that time, cook, serve and eat what I have prepared and then repeat the week after – some people opt to buy in bulk so that they don’t have to shop again…THAT NEVER WORKS FOR ME!!

I always end up at one store or another to buy more spices or milk or I don’t know random necessary Ben and Jerry’s – my point is I end up there anyway, I might as well not spend more than I have to per week!

How Much Is Too Much?

I have this one friend who keeps posting their body fat percentage – the goal being 0% – it’s so unsettling but at the same time I keep inwardly rooting for this person to finally reach their goal – but then what? That’s a full-time job – I often think – Cheri, had you gone into the physical fitness profession you could have been paid to forcefully exercise – that’s smart planning…but alas – this girl loves her cookies and milk (and really doesn’t enjoy exercise). I watch this person post muscle after muscle shot and think to myself,  where? Where are they hiding the other 3%?

I hope to one day maybe need such items as four freezers I guess, that means that my family has quadrupled and everyone is coming home…but I also look at posts from other friends and acquaintances and see other over-the-top surplus purchases or behaviors and it keeps me wondering (not judging) why do we go over the top. When is it enough? Why do we always go to extremes?

We often feel the need to justify: we fill our lives with goals or food or extra stuff because it makes us feel good and when we look back and reflect we feel we’ve accomplished something. The most hot dogs eaten in under a minute guy. The over 50 fastest marathon runner. The lady with the most cats. The girl with the longest hair. The social media guru with the most likes. It’s how we define ourselves.

Create healthy goals.

Keep yourself in check. 

Be realistic. 

Stay within your budget.

Those are my thoughts and helpful life-tips – but then…there is this. #lessonlearnedwilliam-blake-quote-the-road-to-excess-leads-to-the-palace-of-wisdomfo for today.





It’s Nice To Be Invited

There are times when invitations are expected, and then there are times when the invite comes as a surprise. Personally, I am often surprised – I rarely expect that I’d be invited to someone’s anything unless I am related to them – and even then…sometimes…well let’s just say maybe the invite feels like an afterthought.

After accepting an invite to a co-worker’s son’s Bar Mitzvah, I thought, hmmm maybe he was just trying to be nice and inclusive – this may be weird if I show up. But I committed and this morning went to a Kurdish shul in Ma’ale Adumim and met a bunch of other co-workers – so it ended up not being as awkward as I imagined, and it was the same and different than many other Bar Mitzvah I had been to. There was a really long prayer service with a LOT of silsulim (*how does that translate into English? Vocal frills?) festive tables set up with a soccer theme, an awesome candy table and a slideshow.

As usual there was a roaming photographer and I did my very best to avoid eye contact or when I thought he was pointing his lens in my direction to smile (but not too much smile – which gives me baggier under-eyes) and look far off seemingly interested in something across the room.

There was such yummy brunch eats: salads with crispy sweet potato strings sprinkled with Parmesan cheese, beet carpaccio, rice-filled grape leaves, grilled veggies and all those tempting cheesy potato and  pasta dishes that I steered clear from – and I was so good to recognize when I was physically comfortable so I didn’t need to indulge in the waffle/ice cream bar.

On my drive home the memory of the mom, who was sitting with us at the time of the slideshow, singing to the background song as her son’s pictures flashed the screen, and the even smaller things like a glance from one cousin to another from the balcony to the sanctuary below or the way the father helped his son readjust his tefillin, I was filled with real contentment – a happiness for others.

The thing though that really made this invite special was another small touch, and to me it was the icing on the proverbial (though there was a really impressive, not-yet-cut) cake was the message left behind. A small token of their appreciation for our participation.  A sweet little piece of chocolate with acknowledgement and gratitude. And this is a great message for all of us whether we are guests, or the hosts: Be Thoughtful. A little goes a real long way. This parting gift of chocolate came with a message that translates into, Thank You For Participating (or sharing) in Our Happiness (Joy). May we all be blessed to keep this in the back and forefront of our minds when sharing our lives with others.


What Makes You Smile :-)

I LOVE what I do. One of my jobs is to put out into the world some wonderful photos and images which make Israel look as amazing as I see it through my own eyes. I search online for powerful pictures and try to describe what I see, how it makes me feel, and encourage others to visit our unique country through the travel company which hires me (shameless plug: check out {and “like”} the Facebook page here).

I spend at least one hour a day reading comments from people all around the globe regarding their incredible, spiritually uplifitng experience, spa vacations, or nature and hike-filled trips they once took here. That’s makes me smile. This is a really awe-inspiring country – whether you are looking for some kind of religious or spiritual break-through or a technologically advanced state-of the-art way of thinking out-of-the-box start-up society.

However, this is not a complete representation of the utopia I just described – where holy people and animals roam the blessed land and everywhere there is flourishing and wondrous smells emanating through open and welcoming doorways where homes are filled with laughing happy children and mothers who thrive on the hustle and bustle of everyday chores and fathers who return home at an early time to eat family dinners and then read stories to their children going to bed.

There is another side.

Just like in any other country there are people who suffer mental illness, there are those who are homeless and there are many who struggle to put food on a table in order to feed their families. There are also way too many who are victims of terror.

And then…of course there are those who see our country as this terrible place of apartheid and murder which the media has created by twisting truths and editing videos to make a story juicier than it is. I always find it fascinating how many people are swayed to think this way without ever once being here to make those assessments for themselves and some of the comments I receive are downright hateful and even frightening and threatening. Though I digress, because this post is not political or have any hidden agendas about anything other than this – what makes you smile.

The fact that I am able to live in a country where I am always being protected and can trust that the army will do its best to let me live my life day-to-day free of falling missiles, I feel blessed and that makes me smile.

Today I met with an old friend. Those amazing friendships – free from drama and where you can pick up the conversation right where you left off a year ago. I ate well, I sat outside in a cafe with the sun on me and enjoyed the thriving vibe of tourists and locals walking past on a pedestrian promenade. She made me smile.

Surround yourself with people, places or things which make you smile. This is my best advice today.

Do something you love and the smiles will automatically find you.

with Sarri

Me & Sarri Singer, VICTIM OF TERROR, FOUNDER OF STRENGTH TO STRENGTH -but most importantly, my friend. DONATE TODAY 

I’m back! And Chubbier Than Before :)

So, today is my birthday, and while much time has passed and I haven’t blogged, of course a lot of things have happened that yes, while they were blog-worthy just didn’t make it from head to computer. Why? Because, blogging is a way to share one’s thoughts *and all the crazy stuff that seems to happen in my life just felt like it needed to stay private. Until today! (Meaning I’m just gonna’ start sharing what I want…not every thought).

The older I become the more reserved I am as well – I just don’t need to share every detail of every day – even if I capture the moment in a photo or think things are funny I’ve lost the desire to have SOOO many others share in what I see, do, eat, look at, laugh about.

When my kids were little – I wanted to share every tiny detail about the things they said or how they ate or what they ate with everyone because I thought it was just the funniest, or cutest…and let’s face it – NOT EVERYONE THINKS YOUR KID IS AWESOME! (cute…maybe even tolerable at best). I have an even clearer understanding and perhaps because I am older and wiser, that there is a time and place for everything.

Being adventurous has never been my strong suit – and while I have had instances of brevity in my youth such as jumping off the high dive or speaking in front of a large audience, I’ve made a recent life choice that when certain opportunities present themselves, I jump at the chance to experience something new.

And that’s why it’s time to start writing again, not only because I have something to share – but because I have something to share with meaning. Today I’ve decided to make a change. As most of us grow older, our bodies tend to shift down and outward and basically we look like a deflated balloon if we aren’t careful about eating right and exercising (which I DEFINITELY do not). I am not on any of the “great” programs out there that I have tried in the past – but don’t get me wrong if they work for you – keep at it!

Like most of us I have tried WeightWatchers, or “working out” *which means walk-running or the occasional Zumba class or the Cabbage Soup Diet or Atkins, joined a gym and gone once or twice –  and I can go on and on, but the fact remains that we get excited because we do it with friends or are really fed up with how we’ve ‘let ourselves go’ and then old patterns creep back in and we allow ourselves to get lazy.

I love (and honestly sometimes hate) how my body or face is changing as I get older. I welcome the wrinkles but don’t love all of them. Call them smile or laugh lines and that makes me even happier when I see them because there is proof that I was happy. The fact that I am chubby makes me feel blessed that I’ve not only had enough food for sustenance but that I really enjoyed being creative and learning how to make food inviting and so delicious. I joke that there is more of me to love but I kind of mean it too. I like the feeling of hugging someone who has more meat on their bones and that feels good to be hugged back by someone grabbing on. As long as there is a healthy balance. And that is the change I was referring to. I have come to a place of acceptance and that even though the media will again and again portray that skinnier people are prettier or healthier or happier it doesn’t mean everyone should be skinny.

I do not advocate being overweight – please don’t confuse my intentions here. I know that everyone struggles. Some skinny people have a hard time gaining weight, just like heavier people sometimes have trouble losing weight. A healthy state of mind is important. Eating healthy is important. Exercise is important.

Living a good life is about balance.

Finding your happiness sometimes really is at the bottom of an ice cream tub. Or in the chubby arms of a loved one. Or rubbing your face in baby’s belly. Or from touching the cheek of your wrinkled grandmother.

Today is my birthday and I am grateful for this life. For my parent’s call early in the morning even though it was late at night for them. At seeing my sister’s message of how I inspire her to be also a great role model for others and for my brother’s message which attracted others to wish me well. I am grateful for my husband who keeps leaving the decision up to me where to go for dinner tonight (sarcasm). I am grateful for Facebook which allows me to connect to so many people near and far and from my past and present all wishing me wonderful things on this day, and for having a memories feature so I can keep looking back at the many many pictures I used to share and see my children grow up again and again.

My hope is to continue blogging what is important and that anyone who takes the time to read my blog will take a lesson from my stories, be able to empathize and perhaps laugh a bunch as well. To be continued….

Finding Time…

time…is virtually impossible.

WE are a fortunate group of people. WE have managed to invent tons of gadgets and apps to minimize our task-taking time. WE no longer need to even write a letter or type anything anymore, if we don’t want to, because we have a microphone attached to our “smart”phones which allows one to speak his/her message into email or we simply ask Siri, or we say, “okay Google”, and voila!

With all these shortcuts you’d think we’d have more time to do a lot more productive things, like Save the Whales, Save the Frogs (its real – I checked), Save The Rhino (?), Save The Elephants, (okay – save all animals…), or just be a domestic “goddess” (I never saw anyone do house-chores and look celestial or divine, btw) and do all the dishes and the laundry, wash the floor, bathe the children, make a healthy dinner, eat said dinner…at the table…with your children, and have enough energy to have that long-awaited-but-always-interrupted-mostly-neglected conversation with your spouse regarding the mortgage/finances/shopping “spree” (read groceries) and/or just to say hi – remember me? And Breathe….

Unlikely. No one I know saves the world with every free moment they have. (Even though I am surrounded daily by heroes and real men and women of honor). In the few recent months alone, I have needed to ask and was gracious enough to receive and accept help from my friends. I was able to recognize the need, and was willing to accept help. That’s always hard to do when you are not a “needy” person. So many people FOUND THE TIME to make my life a bit more manageable. Maybe they used their spare moments or created a slot in their busy days to help me, either way, I really did appreciate the extra help. Being on the receiving end forced me to accept (again) that I can not ‘do it all’  – I am not a robot, I have feelings that sometimes inhibit me from being the most productive I can be. However, when I am not at my lowest performance level, I too need to be THAT person for others.

Recently, I have had many chances to give back. Often, opportunities present themselves and we neglect them, or we, shamefully, just don’t recognize them as opportunities. I had the fortune to pick up some neighbors hitching rides and was approached on the way home as well. My entire day’s journey was accompanied by fellow travelers needing to get somewhere and I was able to provide almost door-to-door service. That felt great too. I didn’t start out looking for ways to help others, but when presented with the chance, I grabbed on, knowing how it would make me feel if I needed to get somewhere and in better accommodations than a bumpy bus ride.

I also made a really cool cake (in theory) for a friend’s party, went to see a musical to support my friends performing in theater, made Superbowl snacks, said yes to a few “play-dates” which meant I’d be running car service back and forth and around town, agreed to a sleepover of 4 other female teens, and SURE, you can say, um, Cheri, you were just being a neighbor, a mother, a wife, a friend. And the answer is yes. Yes, I was, but those were all conscious choices. I could have also said no, acted “selfishly” and no one would have thought me unkind, no one would have said anything other than, okay, if you can’t – you can’t. However, I consciously made the time available just as others had done for me.

That’s really the point of today’s post. Fix your schedule, make time to help others. Find small ways throughout your day to say a kind word, make a 1 minute phone call, smile at someone, listen. Keep your eyes wide open so you can see the opportunities that lay in front of you. 



Our Story

“This is a story that I’ve never told, I got to get this off my chest and let it go. I need to take back the light inside you stole” – Demi Lovato, Warrior

I remember feeling angry about lots of things when I was younger, like, remember that time I screamed about what I thought was unfair? You probably thought I was just this annoying kid who was naive, childish, stubborn and maybe even petulant and disrespectful.

My opinion mattered. You should have been listening to what I was saying.    

I remember feeling sad about a lot of things when I was younger, like, remember that time I cried and cried about something you couldn’t wrap your head around? You probably were irritated by the whimpering juvenile who you thought maybe just wanted attention, was too needy and maybe even aggravating.

My feelings mattered. You should have been more sensitive to why I was sobbing.

I remember feeling confused about a lot of things when I was younger, like, remember that time I asked about something you didn’t want to talk about? You probably were upset by the embarrassing topic wanting nothing more than for me to stop asking, not-so-silently begging me to just ask anyone else or better yet no one at all, to figure out these things by myself.

My questions mattered. You should have been more sympathetic and understanding.

I remember feeling vulnerable about a lot of things when I was younger, like, remember the time I was too quiet and kept to myself listening to slow songs on repeat? You probably were relieved to have a break from me and thought I was just being a moody adolescent you were finally not being nagged by.

My emotions mattered. You should have been more sensitive and affected by my reclusiveness.

Today I am older and wiser. I now know as an adult that you probably didn’t have the answers and that my many states of being were just as difficult for you to see and hear as it was for me to feel. However, you could have been better, more supportive and caring, more attentive, stronger and more determined to clarify or bring joy and less pain into my life. You could have, but you acted selfishly and not the way a person in the position to protect, or love tenderly should. You took our relationship for granted. You understood only what you wanted at that time and I am strong enough, I am certain enough today of who I am to say, I am better than you. I listen beyond words so that I can truly hear what others are saying, even if its shouted on the top of their lungs. I am better than you. I am sympathetic to the tears of others understanding that their emotions are justified. I am better than you. I am composed when others are troubled and have questions about uncomfortable situations because I know they need someone to make sense of things that often get muddled. I am better than you. I am loving and considerate and reliable, I am kind to those who are heartbroken, or feeling distressed because their worries may be paralyzing and their anguish is sometimes palpable. I am better than you.

As we get older, you and I, I see you for who you really were. It’s okay to not have answers. It’s just not okay to be quiet when someone needs to hear your words of comfort.  I understand it is difficult to help someone when you yourself may not be completely whole. It’s just not okay to let a person suffer if you know they need something, anything, you could have found to offer. A touch, a hug, a smile, the number of someone else that person could turn to. When you offer nothing but your silence or worse your biting tongue or accusations, you lose. You lose the opportunity to make things right. You lose the respect you thought you deserved, simply because you were older than me.

“There’s a part of me I can’t get back, a little who girl grew up too fast, all it took was once, I’ll never be the same…
Nothing left that you can say, cause you were never gonna take the blame anyway”. – Demi Lovato, Warrior

When the world needs better people, I look to the heavens and beg G-d not to take the good ones too soon. Forgiveness usually comes easy for me but not this time and I feel mostly sad for you, because even though our paths mostly don’t cross, when they do, I see that you’re damaged. You’ve done no wrong in your mind. You take no blame for anything. You and I? We are not the same, because I am better than you.

Its My Blog, And I Can Cry If I Want To…

…but it won’t be today. I’ve taken what seems like a break from writing for a while because I needed the time to think. I reread some of my most recent entries and they were depressing me. That’s life…and death. There was so much of my writing time revolved around death. The fact is that tragedy happens, and when it happens to you, it’s a shock to the system. So I took a break to reevaluate what was important to me.

What I learned was:

  • Eating your way (even if its done subconsciously) through pain of any kind never makes you feel better long-term.   
  • Anger is okay. Expressing it is healthy. Not hurting anyone in the process is important.
  • Sadness is necessary in order to fully appreciate happiness. 
  • Looking for joy is imperative.
  • Finding merit and value in anything you do is a must.
  • Being moved emotionally helps get you become inspired.

Inspiration vs Desperation

I am always searching ways to better myself, learn something new, try something different. Not be boring. Now that I’ve packed on extra weight because I was lazy while I was sad and didn’t care enough to put nutritious food in my mouth while I was grieving, I am uncomfortable. I have almost reached my heaviest point *and that was when I was 9 months pregnant – and I knew then that it was too much for this body to walk around in. So I started running because walking up a flight of stairs made me feel like I was having a heart attack – I was desperate and needed to make a change. So for a month I challenged myself. And it was good. I didn’t really lose weight, but I felt better about myself for trying. I needed inspiration and it was coming from desperation. Today, I have begun a journey. Without giving away the details – because there will always be skeptics to ruin your good intentions – it’s a journey to an alternative way to beginning a healthier me. If it works, I am happy to share my success and offer you a part in it.   

Lead By Example

While I may not have the support I am looking for…yet, it will not deter me. I want to encourage my children to try new ideas and things that can benefit them. Sometimes things don’t work out, I understand that and have encountered it. I am not afraid of failure, but I don’t want to leave this earth without ever trying. For each product or vitamin or exercise tool that claim to offer the best results there will be naysayers and professionals who will give their recommendations on why it won’t work. We all want to believe in something – so for the next 4 months I am my own guinea pig.  


A must-have and where it all starts. Every dream or wish you’ve ever had is based on a desire for something more, or better, perhaps it may be financial stability, or a healthier lifestyle, or to own something seemingly unreachable. So many of us struggle with finding ways to keep ourselves balanced while yet yearning for something different. How do you define success? For me, success begins with an attempt to change oneself for the better. 

I invite you to join in my journey to finding a path that makes me feel healthier and happier day-to-day.

Mind, Body, and always Soul. 


What Are We Doing?

  • (Earlier this week)…
    • This morning after I kissed my children as they ran for the bus, I called after them, “make good choices”!
    • I ran upstairs to watch them cross the street. Safely climbing aboard the bus I still watched, perched from my window, as the blinking lights of the school bus stopped and it slowly drove away.
    • Finally, exhausted from all the morning madness, I plopped back down on my bed to take a few deep breaths…when I heard something awful.

    There was screaming coming from the park. Jumping out of bed to look out the window, I notice other children were waiting for the next bus for a different school, and I see none of them in a scuffle, all in a huddle with their other teen friends, and younger ones lined up waiting patiently. Where was that noise I had heard coming from? Then, out of the park came a young mother pushing a stroller, hair stuck to her face and her body tight with anger. She screamed again, very upset at her young child who was dragging his feet towards her. “C’mon, I’ve had it with you!”. He started crying. She stamped one foot and meanly with teeth gritted said, “and stop crying already!”. She started crossing the street and he chased after her whimpering, “waaait!”, and she whipped her head back at him and says way too loudly, “SHUT UP!”.

    Oh man. I was so sad for that child. That poor crying child whose mother had lost all patience and control.

    Who knows what happened before I came on to the scene perched there in my window?

    Suddenly, my heart ached not for the child but for the mother. That poor, poor mother. Stressed and angry at her possibly willful child.



    How many times have I raised my voice at a child for jelly-legs or whining for no apparent reason? Many. I wonder how many voyeurs tsk-tsked as I passed them in the market or out of the playground. Sure, there are lots of excuses, and this is probable the 300 millionth blogger-mom writing in to say, exhaustion is the main cause of irritability.


    • we don’t eat proper meals
    • we don’t sleep enough
    • we worry ALL the time
    • some of us “exercise”

    It’s a problem, we acknowledge it and ignore it because there are life-hacks and we try to cut corners. How do we deal? Mostly by complaining in what used to be called a chat room, but has recently turned into a Facebook group entitled “Tired Angry Mamas” or “My Kids Are Killing Me” or something less obnoxious like “Under-appreciated Mom Thread”.

    What are we doing? Why turn to social media and complain about our “rotten-behaving toddler”? Why scream out in the middle of a public area, in front of other children? No one cares about feelings or reputation anymore. It’s sad. We need positive role models for behaving like good parents so that our children will learn how to behave from us.

    I’m not belittling any one and the issues that they are dealing with, you’re right. I don’t know you. I don’t what you’re going through. What I do know is that I have been that frustrated, exhausted mom. I have been so angry at the lack of money or time or sleep or patience that has led me to act like a moron. However, we need to change.

    We can’t all pay for weekly therapy sessions and while misery loves company these groups on social media are a band-aid on the real issues. But we can take stock of what are the core issues we suffer from and finding out ways to really make a change. Honestly, your 6-year-old will still freak out if you take him/her though the candy aisle even if you preface, mommy NEEDS her 5 lb bag of M&M’s, and no, they may not choose Because unless its absolutely necessary, never take your kids food shopping with you. Problem solved. Its money well-spent to get a sitter rather than fight the fight of a child who whines through every aisle but the fruit and veg section.

    Think of every situation through their eyes. It’s okay to say no. It hurts to have to say I’m sorry. Let’s be better than that poor woman or sad child of yesterday. I want to leave for work every day feeling like my children were happy to go off to school. (Well, as happy as anyone is really, I mean, seriously – it’s school)!

    I want my children to reflect on their childhood and NOT have hated me as a teenagers. I want them to already see that I was generous with my time, and paid attention to their needs and didn’t look like a dish-rag at the end of a day. I want them to see that even though they may upset me, I chose my words carefully. Without bitterness. With love.

A Belated Mother’s Day Tale

Every year I cringe on Mother’s Day. Since we left our life in America to live a new one in Israel this traditional “holiday” has become erased from my little family’s customs. I remember as a child my principal saying every day was mother’s day as a was for us to show appreciation all the time  – not just that one day a year. So I held on to that message year after year and on the actual Sunday, when about 700 of my 800+ Facebook friends are flaunting photos of happy mother/children or generational photos or pictures of fabulous breakfast-in-bed with homemade cards. Reminding myself of all the little things throughout the year when my children showed appreciation for all I did for them.

But who was I kidding? I wanted the goofy crooked heart-shaped card. I wanted the throat-culture-Popsicle-stick picture frame painted and glued together by little fingers…or the day to sleep in…or the bouquet of flowers.

Then 2 days later, I received a message on my work phone from my 10-year-old angel, wishing me a happy mothers day. That she was sorry she didn’t know and that if there was anything she could do around the house before I got home, I should call her to give her specific details…My heart… and when I called her back, she was quick to tell me she already put away the groceries, and was ready to wash the floor, but was there anything else she could do?

And then this happened: Not sure when, but when I woke up this morning I found this taped to the front door:

mothers day And my heart swelled with pride. I’m so low maintenance – all I needed was a little card from a little girl with a really big heart…she totally made my day!

Every day IS Mother’s Day  – so today I wish you all many blessings, most of all the ability to appreciate what you have without needing reminders.

Losing and Gaining: Never Easy

Nope – this isn’t a post about a woman’s constant struggle with weight gain….it’s quick  and not too “emo” so,  sit for a minute.


Yair Shapiro, zt”l

2 weeks ago, our cousin was on a day trip, hiking in the desert, when he fell from a 50 meter cliff to his tragic death. This was not some remote cousin who popped up once a year for a family get-together, this cousin called 3-4 times a week sometimes 3-4 times a day and stayed with us for holidays and weekends. This cousin was well-recognized around the neighborhood and everyone who met him from what I’ve heard only had the nicest, even if most-generic, comments about how pleasant he was.

He was single, though he tried throughout the years to pinpoint the kind of women he was looking for to make a lasting relationship and family with yet he was unsuccessful. He got lonely and depressed like most of us did, watching others move on with their lives and loved ones while we were single and in search of…Mr. or Miss Right. We encouraged and suggested new activities that might help him meet different women, we listened and understood the frustrations that come along with not knowing the future, and we set him up with good women from good families and he mostly had good experiences, just never seemed to click with anyone specific for a long-term relationship to blossom.

He was bright and knowledgeable with an outstanding memory of all things in history but struggled with learning disabilities though it never seemed to slow or deter him from his academic goals. Reaching for higher degrees and publishing an article in his field were no small feat but he was dedicated to his research even though he understood that meant he would need to find a partner who could appreciate his was a labor of love, not one that would bring great financial reward. He was not in it for the fame and fortune, he was proud of his accomplishments and yearned to be respected for his work and nothing more.

He was a grateful cousin, always thanking me for hosting him for the holidays, weekends, meals, and conversations. He brought gifts that were thoughtful and useful and always tried to bring something he knew that would put a smile on my face. He challenged my husband when discussing religion or politics and laughed with my children about sports, t.v. shows and movies. In every conversation he would inquire about the health of my parents and my in-laws, how the children were doing in school and if I had had a hard day.

The hardest thing to overcome was the finality. Not having one last opportunity to say what was truly in our hearts to one another. Sure, every conversation was honest and he knew how I felt about him because I would tell him just as often as he would tell me. However one never knows what they would say if they knew they had only one last time to say anything, until after, and then it’s too late.

2 weeks ago, we lost a cousin but gained perspective. To lose something so dear in such a shocking way?  We may never recover. Time will heal the pain and with every new, “life without Yair” moment we will look back and smile because he was so good to us. The biggest lesson I learned, even though I knew it all along, was to act like each day may be my last. Not in a morbid way, rather,  that each action towards others is something to be taken seriously. Be the very best version of yourself all the time so that when you leave this world, others will only have kind words to say and not feel regret or anger. Smile even when you feel sad. Put someone else’s needs before your own. Surround yourself with positive energy.  Measure your words. Think before you speak. Apologize when you are wrong. Hug with intensity. Love with a full heart.

An Audible Sigh Day

Not one of those, “I-keep-dropping-everything” days…

Not one of those “Holy @$#@&^%#^I-AM-IN-THE-BATHROOM” days…

Not one of those “I-have-3-hours-to-do-100-things” days…

It was a day where the body could no longer handle the physical, the mind no longer handle the mental, and the heart could no longer handle the emotional, so there was nothing but the sound of an audible sigh every few moments that made it bearable.

It shocks me how much easier it is to cry when one is too tired. Too tired because of a thousand reasons. The children, the internet, the worries, the thinking…how and why does this happen? You can be exhausted but the minute you lie down the brain has this way of making you go over your day, your conversations and everything and anything that may have flitted through it that day, that week, that MONTH and you lie there. Awake. Tortured. Until the eyes can no longer handle it and finally there is some rest.

sleep01Until your subconscious awakens you at 4:30 AM. seriously. 4:30 AM? I have no newborn. I have no bladder issues. Why? WHY?!? I internally scream.

So…I am tired. Which makes everything else, just bad. It hurts my face to smile. The effort to be sociable is overwhelming. Tears randomly pop up at every mediocre thought. Not a good day to cheer my favorite helper on, but as mothers and natural nurturers we put ourselves last. We are martyrs through and through and we put on a brave smile for those we love and want to protect.

And I find myself every few minutes audibly sighing.

Your Worst Parenting Moment

easy-hardIt’s what we all fear. Making the wrong choices for our children.

Usually instinct kicks in, but what happens when you are on the fence about an issue? Finding the right voice to listen to is hard when there are lots of opinions being thrown your way.

This week I struggled. I’m sure I’m not alone.

Among all the other day-to-day decisions, and feeling quite ill, I was forced to address a situation head-on. No one ever makes good decisions when they are not performing at 100% so I was in a bit of a pickle, I was aware that I could not trust my own judgement, and yet – there I was swaying back and forth on a specific issue. I felt tormented all week.  I needed sound advice – but that too seemed to be a struggle…whose voice to listen to?

I needed someone I could respect, someone who “got” me, someone who understood that the thing I needed to decide about was something I took very seriously. I had quiet panic attacks as I went on about my regular duties, I arranged play-dates and made shopping lists, while I suffered deliberating each side of that fence whenever a “free” moment arrived.

Usually if I see something I like or need, I purchase it, take it home and am fine, never second-guessing my choice. When faced with the challenge of making decisions for others? I take that to heart. I tried to look at every angle and there I was stuck between the pressure of my peers (which is insane considering my age – but there you have it), and separating from the pack and making a sound decision based on facts, and where my heart and mind were telling me was the right thing for us. For my child.

I knew not to ask too many people, too many people can cloud one’s judgement.

I chose specifically people who were good listeners, who understood this issue, like-minded people who could be objective without an ulterior agenda. It was hard to seek them out, for they are not my general go-to friends, or my spouse, but others whom I respect and were not emotionally connected like I was.

So here I am at the end of the week with my decision, not to be swayed by the masses, to forge my own path and judgement based on mutual respect and not peer pressure.

But I am frightened and I think this is natural. Since the day these children are born they look to us for protection and guidance and any parent knows this burden is the heaviest one ever to bare. In Judaism there is a concept that every woman is born with a natural sense of intuition. We all make mistakes and the smart ones learn from them, and don’t make the same mistake twice. But, now at this possibly life-altering moment, my nerves are frazzled, my mind jumps from one side of the spectrum to the other in an attempt for rational decision-making. My natural instincts are leading me in a different place than that of my peers and breaking from the pack is making me doubt myself.

And so today, I am feeling the brunt of possibly my worst parenting moment. Choosing the wrong path. Because this is not my life, this is the life of my child, and while they are healthy and strong and opinionated, they still need my guidance and look to me to help with their decisions.

I know what I want to do. I know what my heart and mind are screaming to do, and yet, I shudder when I think, what if I am wrong?

What if I am wrong?

Emergency Moustache Anyone?

I can’t help but laugh.

I’ve had a seriously busy last 2 weeks and this week isn’t any less hectic. Working 2 jobs, attempting to manage my children’s schedules with Judo, swimming lessons, packing my teenage son for a 2 day hike, speech therapy, prospective high school visits and the occasional scrub-down as I’d pass a particularly gross corner in my home I am pooped and craving the weekend.

But even with all THAT going on, I feel this is a must-have. I haven’t blogged in a while and as soon as I saw this particular item, and on WEDNESDAY no less, I knew I had to break for a few minutes to share my most recent finds. These are gems. WHO MAKES THESE THINGS UP????

Geniuses that’s who.

mustacheSo I present to you the Emergency Moustache. Yes, of course there must be an occasion when one thinks to themselves, “Oh Man! Where the heck is my moustache? This is a real emergency!”

Maybe guys like Tom Selleck or Ron Swanson would need this after a shaving mishap, but the general fellow (or worse, after my “research”, the occasional woman) would not need to keep one of these in their back pocket. In case I’m wrong you can purchase these for a mere £6.99.

pop-up cupAt a rave and realize the guy in front of you just got that last Red Solo cup – no worries. Now you can bring your own pop-up cup to the party! For the drinking emergency you know? What impresses the ladies more than this?

Oh wait, I know what does…women are generally attracted to those guys with the Macho ‘staches, as well as the man who carries his own cup to parties…but those “bad-boys” always get the ladies…

Sure enough any man wearing this t-shirt can’t possibly be single. The assumption is, if he is wearing the shirt, he must know. And anyone woman who has ever watched an episode of Prison Break surely knows how smart these jail-birds can be.

Jail tshirtPS. These shirts are not as funny as you think they are. Do not wear them unless you actually went to jail or look like Mr. Wentworth. (swoon)

love-gloveLastly, the very worst way a guy can profess his love for his main squeeze or aim to impress her with his creativity would be giving her the love glove. I can’t say whether this is the actual name for this product but it is what I would call it if I had created it, which I would never do – because it’s so weird and lame and well – dorky. Even though we fall for those guys all the time, gift giving and more importantly, impressing the ladies is a whole science. Actual science.  According to Business Insider, and this is no joke, there are actual reasons why some women react and are attracted to men.

Naturally women prefer men with a good sense of humor and a certain degree of personal grooming, not a rude shlub who hasn’t changed his socks in 3 days…just because. Wishing everyone a wonderful Wednesday, and here’s to hoping you find lots more things to keep you smiling.

If you find something on the internet you find funny, feel free to share it, let me know, and I’m sure others will too. Until next time…

A Shiva, A Bris & Chanuka Wedding Bliss

say wha?

That’s Hebrew folks! When a person in the immediate family dies, the mourner sits (literally) shiva (for 7 days) in a low chair, stool, sometimes even a mattress. It’s meant to be a healing period and gives the mourners proper time to lament and reflect on the lives of the deceased. It’s a time to conjure up old stories and funny memories, happy and sad times and to really honor the deceased in a way, helping those left behind to cope with the loss.

Then there is bris, the covenant between man and G-d, a Jewish ceremony of circumcision, which occurs 7 days after a baby boy is born. The mohel, (or as Seinfeld made popular, can be pronounced: “moil”) is trained and performs the ritual, more often than not, this ceremony is serious and not as humorous.

It’s the circle of life – people don’t live forever and this week at least 4 death notices came across my e-mail and I knew people connected to those that passed on. That is a lot. I’m not THAT old…where that should be the status quo, seriously!! So it was especially comforting to know that at least 2 of my friends had babies.

It’s hard to see my friends and colleagues lose their loved ones and especially for a person like me, I feel EVERYTHING, I am so super sensitive. I cried at the bris this morning during the ceremony as the congregants sang about angels. The translation is roughly that the Angel of Redemption is with us through any bad times, so of course even though I was at a happy event it sort of tied in last night’s shiva visit as well.

This weekend was one long party as I hosted my nephew, his 3 (out of 8) sisters, 3 brothers, parents, cousins, future brothers in law and friends. People were everywhere! There was so much food, fun, laughter, alcohol, and not enough time.  Living in a different country than most of our family has a real downside. Not getting together all the time for holidays and weekends or special occasions is a real bummer and it weighs on us. We feel like we miss out and it’s more often than not too expensive to fly everyone in. So we send a representative. BUT, this time, we get to party in our neck of the woods and it feels great!

This plus Chanukah is right around the corner, my baby just turned 7, miracles are abundant and all around us. The Maccabeats put out a new song and besides that I was already addicted to the original version, their parody has me smiling from ear to ear and really just makes me feel like making a batch of latkes (potato pancakes) and dancing and being merry! I know some people think it’s cheesy, but I know some of those guys since they were teenagers and I feel like a bubbe (Yiddish for grandmother), I just want to pinch their cheeks and say good job, yingele (Yiddish for ‘children’)!

Now is the time to spread joy and happiness. With my nephew’s wedding and Chanukah just a few days away, there are dresses to be bought, hair to be coiffed, presents to be wrapped and sufganiyot (Hebrew for donuts) to be eaten. Spread the love and share good news, or dog videos on YouTube (like the one my cousin posted, of a dog dancing disco style – which I generally am annoyed about – but sometimes they are funny!) and be nice to one another, try to greet each other with a smile and share a kind word. Happy holidays to all…

Peace y’all.

The Day After

I finally cried my first tears. I believe perhaps I was in shock until now. We are all connected to those murdered yesterday. Either we knew them specifically or know someone related to them. It’s all anyone is talking about, it’s the only piece of news finding it’s way on my Facebook feed and it’s all we can think about. The horror of the attack, the overwhelming somber thoughts of all those fatherless children, the terrible way the media has portrayed this event is a reminder, that we must keep our enemies close but not THAT close. It was a targeted slaughter, you can not call it anything else, the offenders brought a butcher knife. Call it what it is.

We are left questioning why? Rebbetzin Schachter, visiting from the States, told me yesterday, “it’s our fault”, that “we are a greedy people and because we want cheap labor”, so we let them into our neighborhoods and homes to build our houses and stock our supermarket shelves. We invite the enemy into our private sacred spaces and we want the world to see us as a fair people but when is enough? Hashem, G-d has chosen us to be better than the rest, we have a higher standard that we are asked to uphold and to be a light unto the nations. And we continue to get slaughtered, day after day, week after week, year after year, century after century yet we remain strong and bonded to our Savior more and more after each tragedy.

When will we wake up?
When we will say dayenu, Enough!

So many questions are left unanswered. Mostly people are asking, why? Why so brutal? Why so random? Why must we suffer this way? What are we not doing right, how much more can we be doing? Prayer. Prayer is key to finding the answers. In our prayers there are answers and we must repeat over and over again until they flow from our lips and continue their flight to heaven.

My boss, though I hate to refer to him that way since he is never bossy and always asks politely for anything and shows true appreciation for each task done, walked into the office today hunched over, the sorrow weighing heavily on his shoulders. He lives in the community where the massacre took place. He was learning only a few blocks away at a different house of worship and those who were murdered were his friends, colleagues and neighbors. Listening to a Yonatan Razel song about G-d “saving us”, the while he walked in, the tears came. To be attacked from behind with prayers on their lips means G-d took them at their highest level of devotion. Wrapped in garments specifically made for men in prayer, the same garment one is wrapped in to be buried is holy, but to martyred brutally causing us to cry in unison our fervor and sincerity for salvation from our savage enemies is heart-wrenching. Looking at the photos is a must, for if we are blind to the damage our evil brothers can do unto us we are not protecting our innocent young, we are fools.

From where I sit in the holy land, there are two sides people seem to be taking. Fire all Arab workers and give them nothing, which the opposing side feels will only lead to boredom and encourage their wrath. What other culture or country would allow their enemy to benefit from the government meant to protect its people? When a light-rail is built and rocks are used to throw at it causing damage, when tractors given for work are used to run over innocent drivers, when cars are rammed to innocent citizens waiting for a bus it is time to take things away, not continue to give. We are over indulging this petulant child. We are enabling them to be lazy and point fingers at the hand that feeds them. Let them create a better society for themselves. They live next to us and benefit the same as we do, yet we are the ones who came to a barren place in the 1900’s and were blessed with a land of flowing milk and honey. We are the chosen people for this reason. You can believe what you want. I believe if we continue to pray, we will be rewarded with light and kindness and compassion. While we suffer through this life with disappointments we can not let them break our spirit. We must continue for G-d counts our tears and hears our prayers. Sure we have come a long way and are a highly complex, intelligent species, but to be so bold as to think we can understand everything is foolish, we are taught that some things we must just accept. We put our faith in something, sometimes beyond reason, though this still does not ease our pain. We hope the world will open their eyes to the evil that is around us and put an end to terror so that we all may live peacefully

May we move past these dark days into a redemption worthy of our chosen people. 

I Still Talk To Dead People, High Five.

And you probably do to. You just may not admit it. No, I don’t see them, and no, they don’t talk back.

Starting as a young child, I would talk to those who have passed this earth before me, sort of like an imaginary friend. I only talk to those I knew before and only when there (was) is a specific concern that call(ed)s for it. If I feel that person in life would have been there with helpful words to ease a certain situation, I sometimes reach out with a non-verbal convo.

BubbyFor example, I remember clearly my beautiful Bubby. Her skin was soft, her eyes a kind and sweet understanding blue and when she was buried on my 6th birthday (if my memory serves me well) it solidified the connection between us. She became my go-to friend or listening partner. When I was sad or angry or upset by something family-related, I would go to my room and talk to her, sometimes out loud (or more like a whisper) but most often in my head. It helped me sort out my feelings and release the heavy emotional burden I carried.

hands heartWhen my friend lost her mother, though I had only remembered her mother lying on the couch when I’d visit *never realizing she was ill, just thought she was always resting*, when I went back to pay my respects we had a “conversation” and I asked her silently to make my friend’s pain go away. It was awkward at a young age and I had no experience in comforting someone on that level, so I searched her mother’s features in my mind and begged her to make it better. Because in my mind, dead people had super powers.

In high school, there was a student struck down by a driver, hitting him while he was mowing his own lawn. Horrifying. Terrified to know these things could happen, even when you think you are safe on your own property, I sought out my Bubby’s face to make it better because I still had a weird concept of what happens to people when they die and this poor young boy needed someone. He was only a year or 2 older than me and all I could think of was to ask my Bubby to watch for him so he wouldn’t be so alone.

I have lost a few really close friends, mostly to illness. One friend in particular died after we were both married, had children, but someone I had known since we were in kindergarten. We used to talk on the phone all night and as teenagers shared many feelings about the future and things that frightened or excited us. He used to drive me home and we often took detours for nature walks or to a sports complex just to spend more time together. After he was gone I’d find myself “talking” to him. Things I’d think he would have appreciated or acknowledged or simply taken notice of, I would say a quick – hey, are you thinking what I’m thinking?

cloud heartThis past year, I had a friend whom I channeled more than any of those in the past. I felt like she would always have said something to help me with the struggle of balancing parenting while working from out of the home (an issue I deal with weekly). When I notice someone in need I can bring up her silent voice egging me on, convincing me not to be lazy but to take action. I know this is my yetzer tov, *positive inclination*, but it has her voice all over it. When I notice the pajama pants my daughter is wearing that she left for me on my front doorknob a few years ago, she reminds me to pay it forward. I never asked for those clothing that no longer fit her daughter but she thought of me, and I truly appreciated that random gesture of kindness. And now, about a year later after she left us, I have spoken to her many times and asked to give me strength as an emissary of G-d. I’m not cuckoo, I believe that G-d is the only one who can answer my bakashot, *requests*, but I can’t help but imagine that if there is such a thing as souls being G-d’s helpers I’d bet she is there making things happen.

high fiveSo I still talk to dead people. After all these years, so what? Lots of people have ways of coping with (or avoiding) issues that we find difficult. When there are stresses in life, or worries that we have no control over perhaps it seems we are powerless to make effective change. We need chizuk, *strength*, from things we find comfort in. As devout as I’d love to be, I wish I could have the memory to bring up certain phrases from prayer to balm the sores of sorrow, panic and fear, but I am not. Some people abuse food, some people exercise, some people garden, paint, play music, meditate or sleep it off. Me? I still talk to dead people, so there.

Being Unique: or Just Plain Weird, Whatever…

This week I learned a few things about myself. I am not judgy, I accept things that I now see others may have difficulty with.

Am I naive? No.

Live in a religious bubble? Nope.

Have my head stuck in sand? I don’t even like the beach.

I guess I just see things differently than others. While I may not agree with another person’s decisions on how they choose to live religiously, or perhaps their sense of fashion, or what they eat or don’t (like Vegans), I don’t look down on them or think my way is the BEST way…unless we are talking about my kids.

I took this excerpt from one of my posts on my business blog (which I neglect to keep current – but the articles are really good) because the message is important:

“There was a time in college when all the ladies in the dorm decided to go on the cabbage soup diet.

A few points to keep in mind. We were young. We were stupid. We stank up the joint. Besides cooking lots of pots of soup, each apartment was making their own version, there was the after effects of eating all that cabbage.  There was not enough air freshener in the world to mask what was going on.

What I learned from the cabbage soup phenomenon?  Don’t always do what everyone else is doing.”

girl bulliesAs an adult, of course I see the need for each person to self-express, and that’s whats makes us interesting. At my most recent book-club meeting a topic came up about bullying and I was shocked that the majority of women, all ages represented, NOT including myself were bullied as children at one time or another. I’m not tooting my own horn but I saw people and still do, as just people. Whether it was the boy who ate seaweed in 5th grade, the teenager with Downs Syndrome who came to the high school event, my college roommate of color, or the current neighbors with the nose piercings. All these people have parents, who love them. They all have mouths with which to communicate, they all have their own ideas about what looks nice, what tastes good and what art is.

But what I found surprising is what happened to those kids who were bullied, meaning how they turned out. Low self-esteem, adolescents who turned into adults with clear PTSD and are even shocked when they are liked for just being themselves.

I took this even one step farther, not just as a student, friend, or neighbor but as a parent of a child who was clearly bullied for being different. As a mother, it was difficult to watch my child grow up without friends because he was labeled “weird”. What the other children and worse the teachers failed to understand was that he suffered from SPD, Sensory Processing Disorder. When he couldn’t deal with the annoying noises a pencil made or the way a material felt when it accidentally rubbed against him, other people saw this as a behavioral issue and often got him sent to the principal or singled out or made fun of. He was isolated in a way that a mother like me couldn’t understand. In my mind, EVERYONE had some issues, be it a lisp or a stutter or a limp…I never understood why these kinds of people needed to be treated any differently, or if they did, in my mind it was to be extra sensitive to them and make MORE of an effort to be friends with them. As a mother I saw that he was bright and cute with a nice smile and had just as many Hot Wheels as the next kid. Sure I also saw the meltdowns and fits of rage when he couldn’t deal with regular things, like the smell of ketchup, but perhaps I overlooked what the rest of the world saw.

 wordle 1


Life is unfair and unkind that way. We are often challenged to be unique and special but then are confronted with fitting the mold. Each society and culture has their own model, I just wish there was a way we could create a Utopian society where we all agree that being different is okay, within the expectations of our own community and family needs.

Maybe I like the ‘weirdos’ because I am so plain. I keep it simple. I like to wear mostly black. I eat copious amounts of unhealthy food balanced by a really great salad once in a while and exercise only when I feel guilty or jiggly. I’m the average height for a typical Jewish woman. I’m sometimes funny, mostly thoughtful, and basically care about friendships, family and the environment. Nothing about me stands out as far as I know. If I had to choose one thing about myself that would be ‘weird’, and only because of this most recent dialogue among bright, intelligent, successful women, is that I am overly sensitive to other people. Sadly this is a unique trait. That most people are NOT like me in this regard is what I find most disturbing. Let’s try to be better. I know I always say that. I truly mean it. Let’s be kinder, more patient, and understanding to ideas or people who seem different than us. Are you with me?

Let’s Play: Name That Weird Product!

Or better yet, let’s name the newest invention on the market a really weird name…

Lately I have come across some pretty funny, albeit, weird product naming for inventions that are most probably as-seen-on-(late night)-tv. These made me giggle and I hope if you needed to smile today, this will do it for you.

face eraserOkay, I saw this product while waiting online in the pharmacy for Children’s Advil. My 6 yr. old was feeling miserably and we ran out of the stuff while his fever was spiking and my face was tired from his all-night whimpering and feverish demands for olives…(his desires are so random when he’s out of it). So there I was waiting when I saw the Face Eraser, unfortunately there was no time to check it out since he was ringing me up. What a crazy name – though it caught my attention,  read: good marketing – even if it’s bizarre. I felt I could use a face-eraser every once in a while – I can never hide my true emotions – no poker face for this Lady Gaga. But the weirdest part was not even the name, rather the company who made it . Hyundai. Isn’t that a car company? So I researched further and found another product called the BODY ERASER. No Joke. That was it, I thought Ureka! Jackpot! What all women have been waiting for. The ability to erase the parts we were too lazy to exercise away…until I read up on the first product (in Hebrew) which is a hair removal SHAVER for women..for their face, from the root, ew. More info on the Body Eraser I could only find in Arabic, so with the help of Google translate I realized it’s basically an Epilady.

whatsthatNext up – and I have no idea what the heck this is as I don’t read Chinese nor do I even recognize this product. It was in the beauty section of the supermarket and I was perplexed and confused and giggling all at the same time. If you have any info on this item feel free to let me know in the comment section below.

TiresOnto non-face items. After getting a flat and rushing to get it fixed, there I sat in the dingy garage “office” as my husband hung out by the tire machine – the one that rotates in water to see where the puncture is…boys and their toys…and across from me were rows and rows of different tire covers. I imagine this is where the big boys shop, the packaging reminded me of the Hot Wheels section of Toys R Us. Cool lightening background, see-through cellophane to get a glimpse of the product with a Super Hero font and usage of the letter ‘X’ to bring it all home. But the name is what got me. ROKX. Totally meant for guys. Marketing plus and I get it, even though I’m a girl. I can see the attraction but not the connection between the name and the actual product.

gasWhile on the topic of husbands, we were out window shopping when this item caught my husband’s attention. Though it’s not technically ‘weird’ as it was probably meant to be a home decoration for those who collect retro stuff, he made me laugh when he mentioned we should purchase it and place it over his side of the bedroom. TMI?

frdgeballsThese last 2 items are my favorites of the day. The first is a product which claims to help keep your produce fresh 3x longer. Fridge Balls. I watched a video online for this product reviewed by ABC – the result was that it didn’t really work, according to one person’s experiment. I absolutely love the name, it made me laugh and if I had an extra $5 to blow I’d purchase it and try it out myself just for the fun of it.

slushifyAnd now because I was kind of a slush-a-holic during my pregnancies this item really caught my attention when I received it in my e-mail. I especially enjoy how they turned it into a verb. Slushify. Why didn’t I ever think of that?!  I am always making up words. This one slipped past me…Making slushies in a matter of minutes? I’m on board. It’s called Slushy Magic and on the side of the box describes the use of Snowflake Science – not sure what that is exactly, but it sure sounds cool. This product promises to turn any drink into a slushy in a matter of minutes and the special cup it comes with is BPA free, plus they include a super long spoon-straw. win win win, in my opinion. The only downside is the reusable ice cubes. They must be frozen, and the whole system works better the colder your drink is – so there goes my quick ice coffee slushy plan. The picture is kind of misleading though. After watching a product review, the presenter filled his magic slushy cup to the fill line with orange Crush soda, shook it for the 2 minutes as directed and when he poured it out, it was only filled about 1/3 of his plastic cup. Boo – I may need to find a new way to slushify to make it worth my effort. What about you?

A Sweet New Year



We did it. I did it. I survived another year of mad-dash cooking for the High Holidays. There was the fish head, and there were sweetened boiled beets, and carrots and leek and gourd and dates, pomegranates – ooh yeah – what a messy treat, can’t forget those. There could have been black-eyed peas but they just look creepier than a fish head to me, so I opted out. These are the foods we eat on Rosh Hashana that are symbolic to the blessings we ask for.

appleThat and of course apples and honey – the fam favorite! I made sure to pick the prettiest apples I could find.

And then I cooked like never before. There were round challot and long challotchallah and then one with sprinkled cinnamon-sugar and one with chocolate chips and one with a fish-tail braid…plus chicken wingsroastwings and a French roast and then honey-mustard cutlets and steamed broccoli, edemame, squash kugel (pie)lunch, potato kugel  and basmati rice, salmon, salad, couscous, chicken with sweet potatoes, garlic salted green beans and the list went on!!!! There was 3 pots-worth ofsoup hearty chicken soup and of course there was dessert. There was a whip-pie that found its way into the freezer, Ben & Jerry’s and an assortment of Sharon sorbet plus DH’s red velvet cake and an apple pie. I mean tons of food! Too much food! I felt so bloated, in a good way though after every meal it was worth all the effort. 


The beauty of all this prepping and eating and celebrating though for 3 days straight meant that I was really looking forward to Yom Kippur. The fast days of ALL fast days. The Holiest Day Of The Year! I was going for the ultimate cleanse. No eating for 25 hours and you know what? I was only a smidge hungry. Before the fast, there was another meal to prepare but I kept it fairly simple.  And because I felt bad for my daughter who suffers with Celiac’s Disease I made her these Betty Crocker gluten-free cupcakes that my sister-in-law was kind enough to bring to us all the way from the States. They were plain yellow cupcakes that I jazzed up with Duncan Hines vanilla frosting and good ol’ colorful jimmies. I placed then in the fanciest cupcake holders I could find  and the result was awesome. She was in heaven, after not being able to eat the apple pie, the whip pie or the red velvet cake – I made it up to her with these.cupcake

What a way to start the new year. Hoping it’s a sweet new year for everyone. SHANA TOVA~!