Duncan Hines

If I Could, I Would…

…blink my eyes/click my heels 3 times and be home.

…wear pajamas all day.

…”buy” whatever I wanted because in my fantasy life money has no value and we all contribute to society evenly.

…always have patience for those who question with obvious answers.

…avoid fattening foods all the time.

…forget that society DOES have an effect on my body image.

…run away sometimes.

…own a really cool car.

…travel with no lingering responsibilities.

…take the time to learn how to gracefully move my body, whilst “swimming”.

…pamper myself with manis and pedis weekly.

…get the nerve to shave off all my hair…just once…to see the shape of my head.

… eat Duncan Hines icing as a main meal.


But I can’t so I won’t…today. And probably not tomorrow. But perhaps one day when I’m rich (with money) and bored and feel like indulging  myself. But let’s be honest – whose life am I thinking of? Certainly not mine or any other working mom I know who dedicates all her free time running from one school to another bringing forgotten lunches and gym shorts  – that by the way  – he didn’t.even.NEED!

Last night this mama spent 2 hours at a parent teacher conference listening with her absolute-serious-face on so that everything being told to her in a foreign language would be caught. Yeah sure I’ve been reading this language for all my life and speaking it for the last 10 years – on and off but listening to someone speak it at full-speed and understand it? That’s something else! This is dedication people…spending the 2 hours, where my brain generally shuts down, focusing all attention on something other than Project Runway, a major I’m-there-for-you-moment.

So – here is the bottom line.

I love my kids. I love them to bits and pieces. I will do whatever I can to help them be as successful as they can be.  If I could just wear pajamas and pig out on Duncan Hines icing while driving around in a really cool car  listening to Yanni – I would.

Round 2: The Crying Mom

In less than a half hour I am leaving work to take my 12-year-old for a biopsy. Sadly, this is the second time I am headed to the same hospital for such a procedure. A little while ago, my 8-year-old needed one as well.

They both are super small for their age and after we checked the younger one and followed doctor’s orders we saw immediate improvement. However the experience was cukoo-kachoochoo. I was nervous about this little person going under and was a crying mess the whole 20 minutes the procedure took, the whole hour it took for her to wake up and then some more for no apparent reason as we sat and at ice cream when all was said and done.

Today, while I am prepared, and know what to expect I am still kind of anxious. No mother wants to have to witness their child in a hospital setting, even for minor reasons. My brain knows I want the best for her and this will determine why she has stopped growing, hopefully. But I am still sitting here with butterflies in my tummy, but making like it’s no big deal – she is super nervous but also has her game face on.

I am psyching myself up: Mantra station? Arrived. “I will not cry”, “I will not cry”. 

In other non-medical related news – I am juggling like mad to make this week work smoothly. While I still have some major projects at work, it seems that my personal social calendar is getting in my way. Today the hospital, tomorrow, working late so leaving early – balancing the shopping somewhere i the middle, Wed. night a wedding, and Thursday – well, Thursday is a big day. I may need to take off entirely. My husband, who is turning 40, is going to pick up his parents at the airport, while we, the busy bees at home, will be prepping for his “surprise” b-day party. He knows I am planning something, he’s just not sure who is going to show up. Surprise! Not many. It seems as if August has cleared the block. Most of his closest friends seem to be out of the country, working, or on vacation. Poop.  So there is family and pizza and Duncan Hines on the menu – which to me sounds great – I just hope he’s not too disappointed. If this is a bust – guess who’s crying? Yours truly. I just can’t seem to help it. There’s a lotta’ stuff that goes on and well, I’m a sensitive girl. I had this great idea for an 80’s themed birthday cake but was unwilling to splurge for the extravagance so I am thinking I may try that on my own, hee-hee I see “FAIL” all over that – but we’ll see.

All in all my mind is preoccupied with tons of things that are mostly good and I am pleased with the fact that the positives outweigh the negatives. But, I wouldn’t be surprised if I start crying for the good things too – I need more clothing with pockets so I can carry tissues with me wherever I go.

Note to self: make time to go shopping. 🙂

Happy Mother’s Day (or so they say)

I’ve  mentioned in a few posts before that here in Israel there is no one specific day that caters to moms. “Every day is mother’s day”. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

It would still be nice to have been served breakfast in bed (at let’s say, 10:00 AM) or given a home-made card.

But alas, that is not the culture here.

Aliyah PictureThis picture was taken the year we left America. Her name is Rose Caeli (pronounced Kaylee). She is officially 11 years old today according to the Jewish calendar. She is my mother’s day gift I guess. Certainly way better than any ol’ card or a breakfast of burnt toast and a tall glass of OJ. Her birthday doesn’t always fall out on the Sunday of Mother’s Day, but today it did. And as I woke up my 11-year-old, I thought, who is this woman-child, all legs and arms growing faster than I can keep my eyes on her for a moment long enough to capture?

As she opened her eyes this morning, I was there and I whispered – happy birthday – and there was her big smile with adult teeth and button nose looking pleased that I’d remembered. In our family we generally celebrate the kid’s English birthdays (so for our dear flower we’ll celebrate in 2 more days!). I usually make a Duncan Hines yellow cake (a favorite from the old world) and the person whose birthday it is gets to decorate the icing…every year. It’s a small tradition but it’s one we made up so that’s kinda special.

Even though I don’t need (or even want) a diamond tennis bracelet or a day at the spa – or even a mani/pedi today, I feel that I am blessed by the most special gift. See, this rose of ours is very much like me. More so than any of the other chickens. She has crazy thick curly hair * I don’t, but our faces match. She loves to sing (even if it’s off-key and too loud for her sibling’s pleasure) and dance and knows all the words to the newest pop songs. She loves to be in the kitchen with me preparing any meal and/or dessert. She is artistic and funny and even a bit attitude-y. I love every bit of her even if I get frustrated sometimes because her room/clothes are always a mess/on the floor. She is a tough cookie and challenges me more than any one else. I look forward to growing old and watching her become her own self, even if it means she ends up wearing flowy skirts with Birkenstocks, dreadlocks and a nose ring, (Heaven forbid), which is everything I am not.

So while I am at work and she won’t return from a school trip until 8PM this evening, the day belongs to both of us.

Happy Mother’s Day to all those that celebrate – here’s hoping you get the best home-made card today!

Phylactery Day!

What is she talking about?

Most of my Jewish friends will recognize this word, some won’t and probably the majority of my non-Jewish friends following this blog will have a hard time even saying this word: phylactory

(Sounds like factory: FIL-ACT-OREE).

This is what a phylactery is: https://i2.wp.com/www.tefillin.biz/tefillin_inc/Images/tefillin.jpgStill not clear? Composing of 3 parts, black leather straps, black leather boxes, and parchment with holy prayers calligraphied on them worn by Jewish men during morning prayers. In Hebrew these are called Tefillin (sounds like TA-FILL-IN). There are 2 sets, one for the head and one worn on the arm.

 To the left is the piece worn on the head. No, this model is not rocking out to the heavy metal gods, he is measuring or adjusting to make certain it rests above the hairline. I guess bald guys, just estimate that, I dunno. To the right is the piece worn on the hand and arm. When wrapped on the hand it makes the shape of the Hebrew letter “Shin” which is the first letter of the prayer tucked away inside the boxes called the “Shema”.

As a woman I am happy that we don’t wear these. It seems really time-consuming and honestly as holy and awesome as it is and how it’s made, I like the opportunity to pray strap free, especially if I haven’t had any coffee yet. This seems like it takes brain power.

The custom is (though they vary) that the month before a boy turns 13 years old and celebrates his Bar Mitzvah, he puts on his tefillin for the first time. I imagine it’s a big deal for a kid. So we bought pastries for all the other men praying this morning and celebrated (for like a minute) with just enough time for pictures, even though the baby (who is 4) refused to smile (so angry at him) before I got frantic and started panicking that everyone was going to be late for camp!

What makes this day a little funnier though is that this first child of ours keeps trying to outshine his parents. How’s that? See, most people know that after a Jewish baby boy is born, on the child’s 8th day he is circumcised. In Hebrew this is called a Brit Milah, lots of family and friends come together to celebrate this event. It is also when the baby is officially named, a big day for the little guy. Well, this kid was born 8 days before his dad’s birthday. Of course we had a special cake for my husband’s birthday but he felt like that day was all about the kid, and it was for the most part. So today, is officially my birthday. Of all days to put on his tefillin for the very first time…on MY birthday??? What a little up-stager!

Of course I am kidding around and not really upset. Both me and my husband are proud of him and happy to see him reach this milestone and are willing to share our special days with him. Watching your children grow into adults is a strange and wonderful thing. It makes them so much more special. As long as I get a cake at the end of the day!

Knowing what a crazy day it was going to be I planned for this big ol’ birthday of mine. I conveniently placed the festive birthday napkins with confetti and “40” decorated on them in the pantry next to a Duncan Hines cake mix. I figure I’d help the fam out and give them the tools to throw me a family birthday dinner celebration. I even took the whole day off so I could feel relaxed, not rushed, and gave my hubby the car. He’ll have the easy ride home and not have to rely on public transportation so he can be home earlier and we’ll all celebrate together.  How totally unselfish of me!!!

The secret plan is to have a quick pasta dinner and then take all the kids out for FREEZEES!!!! to celebrate this great day for numero uno. (And me I love love love slushies, great b-day gift – Snoopy Snow Cone Machine – write that down). So today the plan is to end it as it began, though with freezee cups raised in unison, cheering, “happy phylactery day”!

My Real Surprise Birthday

I was skeptical about today. It’s a big number. https://i0.wp.com/www.balloonmaniacs.com/images/ohnothebig40birthdayballoon.jpgThere is no way to describe myself as ‘young’ anymore and I knowwww I am not old. And I know, it’s not how you look, its how young you feel! I knowww I don’t look like I am 40, people keep telling me that they are shocked when they hear that, someone just this morning thought I could even pass for 27! She did seem overly jittery though, I think she was on a caffeine fix so maybe that was affecting her judgement! 40 is serious business. I am 1/3 of the way through with my life. Still seems like a long way to go…I hope at least…and this is when we start to slow down. Not for everyone, like some of my extraordinary friends that are running marathons and riding bikes for sport, or Zumbaholics – gosh those women look amazing! I mean the average person slows down at 40 because they can. I mean in terms of how they think. I was always a pretty chill person but now there is more to analyze and not just blurt out my feelings, or thoughts.

I am wiser. That makes me happy. I am not doing idiot things all the time now, like cutting my hair to spite my face…or sitting still while some cutie kicks me in the eye with his sneaker (true stories). I give healthy, sound advice to those who seek it. I read more, think more, listen more and speak less.That feels good. I am embracing my age not because I don’t have a choice but because I have earned it. I am 40. It still sounds… wrong. I liked 39. I liked most of being 38 even better.

I’ll need to redecorate my room. There are still kid’s drawings from my 38th birthday surprise. The surprise was that when I tried to take some kiddie birthday drawings down the paint was coming with it. SURPRISE!

Here is the picture of my awesome (not surprise) surprise b-day cake from my good friends at the COOKIE CRAVE. It was so delicious, not a flower was left behind.

https://i0.wp.com/www.philmcdonnell.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/06/40th-birthday-decorations.jpgAnyway, I like today. I am in my pajamas and its the middle of the day. I can smell the fact that they found the Duncan Hines, planted secretly in the pantry next to the festive napkins with big ’40’ on them. They just asked if they could use the Rich’s Whip…secretly placed in the front of the shelf in the fridge even though the recipe for Buttercream Frosting was magically left on the counter today. Heehee. We are as young as we feel. I’ll still do practical jokes and secretly hide behind the kitchen wall to jump out and scare one of the kids. I’m still ready to sit on the floor and play trains and legos and read Judy Blum books. It’s all good and I look forward to it even getting better.

https://i0.wp.com/ocdeals.ocregister.com/files/2009/06/slurpee-web.jpghttp://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-snc4/373576_103215183051132_1739624499_n.jpgBecause I share this milestone birthday with my son’s special day (Phylactory Day!) I wanted to combine them but felt they each needed their own posts. Tonight we celebrate with Freezees (I AM SOOO EXCITED). I love a slushie. Especially in the summer. I used to be addicted to Slurpees!

So far today has been great and I’m psyched to spend the rest of it with my kids and can’t wait to see their faces when we surprise them with the freezee idea.

From this day forth I declare my birthday PHYLACTERY DAY! Let it be known to all mankind. We shall all be festive and it will be a day henceforth of merriment and cheer.  I know, I can be so weird.