Health

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.  

Desire

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. 

happiness

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“I Don’t Know What To Say”

awkwardThese last 2 weeks have been weird for me. I know exactly 4 people who I was either friends with, or knew well enough that have passed away forcing me to mourn and 3 new baby boys that were brought INTO the world that encouraged me to smile. As awful as the loss is, it’s balanced by the same intensity as the joy. Lots of people know what to say in both situations, for some it comes naturally, for others, I get that it doesn’t. Getting tongue-tied because we get nervous is often a natural response and one that makes us anxious.

Sure, it happens to many of us in awkward situations. Finding the right words when presented with an uncomfortable scenario is difficult for most people. Going to a house of mourning to visit with the mourners is one of those times. Everyone entering the house has this kind of trepidation, like walking on eggshells while using their indoor voices out of respect, sort of like entering the library (but 100 times more intense). Not being able to initiate conversation makes this a weird one, so you sit (most of the time in the way way back, until someone closer gives up their seat) and wait until there is some contact. Whether it be visual or verbal, staring at the one mourning, until said mourner acknowledges your presence.

At the one house of mourning I visited twice in a weeks time, the mourner, Yarden, was gracious enough to call me out *even though I snuck in and slithered into my seat towards the back of the room that first time. All eyes turned and I felt the heat rise under my collar and I got  a case of dry-mouth so I stuck to nodding mostly and managed to eek out something pathetic, I can’t even remember to be sure.

The 2nd time however, I had this nervousness and couldn’t sit in just one seat, I kind of moved along the back row of chairs until I settled in one across from their bookcase. I listened intently to the stories, but I was just so sad. Everywhere I looked, I saw Stella. Her husband, her table, her chairs, her kids, her kitchen, her friends, her bathroom, her pictures. I teared up so many times, then my eyes looked away, or so I thought. I forced myself to just stare at the books in the bookcase, while wiping away the tears – after all this was not the time, the shiva, the 7 days of mourning are meant to make the mourner feel BETTER and here I was, watering up at every thought. But then my eyes settled on one book in particular. A book that I had lent her maybe 3-4 weeks before. She was so sweet when I lent it to her, smiling and gracious *as always, and we talked about the content not about the cancer. It was about something Japanese that I found interesting and wanted to chat with her about it after she read it. But staring at it there on the shelf, I thought that she probably never had a chance to read it. And that made me cry – again, so I stood up and tried to control myself in the bathroom. When I came out someone mentioned water so I quickly jumped at the opportunity to fill a  cup for Yarden, after all he sure was doing a lot of talking.  When I handed it to him, I kind of ended up sitting in a front row seat, right next to him  and managed to hold a normal conversation without losing it. But then someone said something – and before I could stop myself the waterworks began so I quickly moved away and hid in the kitchen – which only made it worse. There I stood with my hands on her counter-top, where she lovingly prepared meals for her family week after week, for us, her guests, for those just having babies, where she kneaded challah and I just cried and cried and cried some more. Removing my hands from the counter was like pulling them off a magnet, my arms were so heavy – I honestly can say that the grief had weighed me down. I finally got them off and reached up to the cabinet, thinking the counter had a power over me. And then I remembered a conversation we once had. It was about door handles. The very same cabinet door handles that I was now holding was the catapult I needed to calm myself down. Stella had warned us NEVER to purchase cheap handles, the ones that come in a few pieces and screw together – she told us how bad they were and it was her voice we listened to when it was time to purchase our own. I made my husband crazy looking, deciding, choosing but in the end we found what we needed, sturdy kitchen drawer and cabinet handles – so thanks Stella – for calming me down even after you were gone. For I could hear your voice in my head, and when I turned, your lovely son said some pretty powerful stuff to me (even though my eyes were still so watery) that truly made me smile. Though he was mourning, he said something to make ME feel really great and this made it easier to say goodbye.  Stella always put others at ease and so she passed this down and through to her husband, and her children. I was able to smile – though in awe for this wonderful child and moment.

Now, there is also an online version of this awkwardness…though I understand how many people feel more comfortable reaching out virtually, it kind of removes the one-on-one discomfort – I feel strongly against this public display on Facebook, I mean there is a message option for goodness sake. But when people, presumably not the closest of friends (or those less FB savvy) write on the wall of someone who just lost a spouse things like: “there are just no words” or even less “there are no words”, I feel like screaming. Really? Honestly! There are tons, lots, billions, zillions of words one can choose to comfort someone else. I can understand being socially awkward in these physical situations but to verbalize or write ‘there are no words’ is absurd and a cop-out and lazy and irritating. What is the mourner supposed to do with that?!? Just copy and paste what someone else wrote if you find it difficult to find the right words. Or just type, “I’m so sorry for your loss”.

I didn’t mean to end this piece will this particular pet peeve of mine, but I guess, there you have it. If you read this, think before you write – take an extra minute to get some thoughts together if it doesn’t just come naturally and if you STILL have a problem – then just copy someone else. The point really is to just communicate to the other person that they are on your mind, you’re thinking of them and that you cared enough to acknowledge. So say something, other than, “I have no words”. Please. Even saying “I don’t know what to say” is better. It’s honest, it shows vulnerability, and at the end of the day, isn’t that better than saying nothing. Literally, saying nothing.

So today, even though I am not celebrating Thanksgiving, I am most thankful for the friendship I had with Stella.

Choke On That!

screen shotvapexlpim1

It sure has been a while since I posted some of the goofy things on the internet that make me laugh out loud, but I’ve been wrapped up with work, kids, fake-dieting and life in general. However, here is a screen shot of one of the emails I recently received advertising the Vapex Electronic Cigarette FREE starter kit.  When I click on the horrific advertisement it brings me to a page called: myhealthy-diet.com where there is a choice of weight loss, lap band surgery and diet pill links. Ouch. When I finally find a real advertising pic this is what I see: A sexified angry-looking woman holding a fake cigarette. Ew.

I once worked with a security guard that tried to convince me to buy a similar product (even though I didn’t smoke) saying it would make me look cool. Okay, no offense to the overweight, crooked-toothed, fake-smoker – that thing wasn’t helping his image in the least bit! And I never claimed to want to look ‘cool’.

I remember my first pregnancy, while working on Wall Street (everybody together: ‘oooh’) there was a problem with the subway station so I was forced to take a bus. Waiting on-line, there next to me was Ms. Rudeness of the year award herself, blowing smoke literally at me and my big belly. When I asked her to please switch places (UNTIL THE BUS CAME) so that my fetus wouldn’t be all brain-damaged, she flat-out refused and guffawed.  The nerve, seriously. I never even asked her to put it out, or alluded to the fact that I took calls from men suffering from Mesothelioma that was enhanced because of their smoking daily, or that she was forcing others to suck up her second-hand smoke. Well, since there is nothing weird about that, let’s move on.

Choking is a serious issue, even though I am making light of some of the products or signage out there. I felt that was important to say.

Now – while researching I found some incredible obvious warning signs that made me wonder about some people. This one for instance is just an example:

marble

So let me get this straight, a person who buys marbles, plans on giving them to children under 3 is actually going to read this? Nah, I say someone who idiotic isn’t reading labels. Oh, and 4 year olds and 5 year olds and curious 12 year olds, and drunk frat boys could also choke on this product. It’s a good thing this hazard warning indicates that it’s a marble. But in my opinion, there needs to be more. “Like, hey moron,  don’t put this in your mouth, it’s not food!”

-mardi_gras Um, there is fashion and there is avauntgard and then there is Mardi Gras. Never the twain shall meet – but no one told this wackadoo. Beads are fun, and shiny and ooh-lala – but knowing when something is too much is a job for your friends. Clearly this party girl has lost control of her abilities to dress for success since she definitely looks like she is…everyone together…choking!

So what started out as simply spam mail became my weird stuff on Wednesday research project. I’ll leave you with this one cute item I found.

hazard

@#$%*@!! And Then Some.

I am so angry at the world! I feel aggravated 90% of the time. I am beyond frustrated, upset and annoyed. I am livid and mean-spirited and have lost faith in people’s trust.

Every time I make a suggestion it goes unheard, turned down, and rejected. Then when everything falls apart, when the other side realizes they were wrong but too proud to admit it I sit here holding my tongue out of respect or because my mother always taught me that when you have nothing nice to say its better to say nothing at all. When in my head there is that little nagging voice that appears as it always does (oh, Conscience, you work in irritating ways) screaming, “You, Fool! I TOLD YOU SO!!!”

I am tired and fed-up and sick of the world screwing me. Screwing with me, making me think today is okay but wait, just wait for it, I can’t wait to mess-you-up tomorrow. Maybe this is why grandma was always so quick and snarky. Maybe because by the time you get really old and wrinkly you are so beyond seeing anymore silver linings it feels a heck of a lot better to stick your proverbial middle finger up at the world and everyone who does you wrong. Maybe, just maybe, the old saying is true, the older you get the wiser you become – I heard a well-respected rabbi once say, “okay, so, I don’t need to know everything“. The problem I guess is you either stick your head in the sand, become ignorant to the point of avoidance so that when you finally get to the age of retirement, all that garbage won’t have been festering so that you can look back and say, man if they only knew, or just deal with it. Maybe this is why people drink, to numb the senses, to blur the lines of reality so the ugly truth of some people’s natural rotten instincts to be obnoxious, boorish and downright abusive, disappears.

What I really need is to focus on those pinpoints of happiness, a smile or a hug here and there. A common courtesy or a simple thank you. A random act of kindness from a complete stranger who is more willing to give of his time and energy and patience when even those closest to you sometimes take you for granted or deny you thoughtfulness and caring. A look or a pat on the back or comforting squeeze on your shoulder that says, I know it stinks and I am here for you, when it feels like your world is falling apart.

In this world I guess it’s really important to give, give, give and pray that it means something in the end. Praying that there is reward for decent behavior and if I give it my all and act appropriately with good manners, proper speech, and look for ways to let go of the things I cannot change than perhaps, just perhaps this awfulness will rid itself from my path and I will be blessed with kindnesses in return.

Of course no one is perfect and maybe I have really high expectations, but I don’t think so. I generally give someone the benefit of the doubt, I look for silver linings, I am usually the first to apologize for the sake of peace, but as we say in Hebrew, ad kdei kach, which translates loosely as – up to a certain point. How many times can I forgive ill-behaved rhetoric? How many opportunities will pass me by because I wanted to see something through? How much more damage will it cause my sensitive soul to stay quiet and polite and let bullies with egos bruise me over and over again with their holier-than-thou attitude, tone and terrible conduct? Not much longer, I can guarantee that. Only when we get to the deepest level of sorrow or pain or suffering, do we finally come to our senses. When we see that a situation will not change, we must make a change in ourselves. We can wait for others to reach out but in the end, the initial need must come from within. The desire for something better must first reside within ourselves, then and only then will we have the ability to formulate new paths where there is a light at the end of that ugly tunnel.

photoWe need to recognize the signs that are ever-present. Just as I was in that awfully sad place, I passed this piece of paper lying there, encouraging me. All it takes is one idiot to convince another idiot to go along with a really bad idea. So, I was influenced and had let some (or many) idiot(s) turn me into someone I began not to recognize, spewing hateful, sad thoughts to others and for that I apologize. But then I saw this paper and laughed pitying myself. There was an actual sign, just lying there on the floor waiting for me to see how foolish I had been. How did I get so lost, and caught up in this mess? I took that paper with its blatant message and conjured it up throughout the day. I willed myself against the odds. The day was certainly filled with more drama and I bit back my grief and focused on the message.  When the work day ended, I got in my car with a sigh of relief, only to be met with traffic as far as the eye could see. It would make me an hour late getting home, an hour later sitting to help with homework and preparing dinner, an hour less to be with my children before bedtime. So I stopped the car for others, stranded because of the traffic, to share my ride home. 5 strangers sat trusting me to take them to our neighborhood, safely.

So I repeat: In this world I guess it’s really important to give give give and pray that it means something in the end. Praying that there is reward for decent behavior and if I give it my all and act appropriately with good manners, proper speech, and look for ways to let go of the things I cannot change than perhaps, just perhaps this awfulness will rid itself from my path and I will be blessed with kindnesses in return. Call it karma, fate, or the power of G-d.

Today ended well, as do most days. For this I am thankful. I am grateful for good health and sustenance.  I am reminded how precious life is when I hear about someone attempting suicide. I am thankful for strangers that stop to help a family struggling on a chilly night with a punctured tire. I am delighted that others seek my knowledge and respect my abilities. I am hopeful for better tomorrows.

Inspiration Station

That’s where I am.

As I drove to work today it did not go unnoticed how many elderly were out for their morning walk. They were accompanied by their caretakers and there was a part of me that felt fuzzy inside. It’s so wonderful to see (even though I am sure they are being paid handsomely) there are people in this world that are taking care of others. Giving support, mostly physically but also I imagine emotionally.

My news feed this week (and it’s only Monday) has been filled with pictures from summer camps meant for special needs people and those suffering with illnesses, but of smiling happy campers with the staff. There is real and pure joy on their sunny faces and I felt fuzzy inside.

There is palpable goodness available for all those that open their eyes wide enough to see the many opportunities in front of them. There is also a ton of really bad and evil as well. While there needs to be this balance, it can often get disheartening and give us reasons to be bitter. Cancer that spreads in our friend’s body, a baby that dies before the world is ready to say goodbye, terrorists and murderers about to be set free, the list goes on and on. However, for me, today and hopefully for the rest of the week, I aim to stare at the good things and commit them to memory. I aim to let those moments of kindness towards others affect my day and actions.

Yesterday I was able to offer an elderly man a quick ride up the block in order to catch his bus. We missed it, so I took him to the next stop, where he said he’d happily wait in the shade as he had time to spare. He was so appreciative and sent me on my way wishing me a blessed life. Amen!

Today, I was feeling a little blue and slightly underappreciated and then not 30 minutes later I received a phone call from someone saying that they really appreciated everything I had done for them (which I hadn’t thought as doing anything so great). As my late grandpa Max used to say, how do you like them apples? I like them a lot! I am inspired by those that take the time to aid others. Even if you need to go out of your way in order to help someone, make them smile, give encouragement, the reward is very much worth it.

Not that giving someone a ride, or printing a letter or copying some files is anything earth shattering, but these small actions created a ripple effect for me. I helped someone, they in turn helped me.  We have an obligation to teach our young, and the best way is leading by example. We have the power to alter someone’s day and make their life a little better, a little easier, with a nod, a smile, a touch, a visit, an offer. Perhaps sending a note, using the power of words either in the form of a letter, a blog post, an email or better yet a phone call can change someone else’s outlook for a moment.

Inspiring on social media I saw this funny (yet poignant) photo when I came across JD Rucker on Soshable. Let’s be better people. I’m not suggesting to go and seek out ways to be a goody-two-shoe, I’m saying take the opportunities when they are presented. Rise to the level of goodness. Be better than you were yesterday. Be inspiring and make each situation a chance to improve.

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. 🙂

When Really Sad Things Happen

This week has been so incredibly confusing and I am literally exhausted. Emotionally spent.  Every day we are tested with life’s ups and downs and we deal with things as they hit us.

On a “normal” day, kids wake up late, the cereal gets knocked on its side spilling its contents  all over the kitchen floor, an ice pop melted brings piles of ants parading through your home. You miss a bus, your hosiery gets snagged on a zipper, you get a paper cut, you have a migraine. You catch a glimpse of someone flying a kite, a child runs back to give you that one last hug, the flowers in your garden are blooming. You reach the bottom of the laundry basket, your boss gives you a compliment, your kids make dinner, you lost a few pounds.

When something negative and unexpected happens though, you kind of get stuck in this OMG moment. It throws you and can affect the rest of your day in a way that is confusing and upsetting and even if you have other reasons to smile, the day is slightly tainted.

A couple of days ago this world lost a soul that never knew the power of evil. She was well cared for, loved from beginning to end, and the amount of lives she touched just by being born reached international proportions. Her life was not an easy one, filled with daily challenges and we all prayed that each day would bring her comfort and better health.

So I sat shocked as I read the email. I was unprepared for the final blow. How was it possible? I couldn’t wrap my head around it. What happened? Why did G-d do this? We all prayed daily for this to have a better outcome. We all waited for the miracle. I was so sure it would be okay. There was this lingering confusion as the day progressed. One one hand my friend lost her 2-year-old, but I had to prepare for another friend’s wedding, at the same time my father was en route for a medical procedure. All 3 events, the funeral, the procedure, the wedding all happening at the same time of day threw me into emotional overload. My happiness was tainted yet I never cried. Until today.  Today, nothing in particular happened. There were no parties, there were no surgeries, the dust sort of settled and I had time to process it all.

My heart is so heavy and I am terribly saddened that my friend’s baby has left this world.  I had the privilege when I was visiting the states to visit her in the ICU, to hold her hand, to sing to her. It came as no surprise that my friend offered to drive me all the way home.  I could have taken a train I told her, just drop me off at a station…but she would not have it. Ever since I have known her, she ha shad a way of giving of herself that is all about helping others. She organizes and plans and succeeds in producing amazing results. Be it money for the needy, activities for children, a night of special treatment for busy moms, all while raising her own children, all while caring for this special needs baby, and supporting her husband’s academic achievements. I am positive that no one’s life is ever completely stress free – though some live an easier life than others.  She has always been an example to me on how to spend one’s time wisely and to the fullest…but this, this is heart-wrenching. There never seems to be enough words to express sorrow to another mother suffering the loss of her baby, never having gone through the same situation. I cry for the opportunities this child never had. I cry for the parents who, even with having 2 other children who are healthy, will never see this beautiful baby thrive.

I have these picture in my mind that I cannot stop thinking about. Pictures they posted on Facebook so we, who live far away, could follow their lives, that are sort of like a slide show that keeps playing over and over again. One of daddy holding her and she was smiling. One of big brother with both baby sisters at his sides. The one of her with her birthday cake and flowered headband. There is a part of me that is relieved for the parents. There will be no more nights of worrying if she’ll stop breathing or running for emergency surgeries. They can focus 100% on healthy children that are thriving and continuing to grow steadily. While they have a horrible week of mourning ahead of them, knowing they have touched the lives of so many people there will be no shortage of visitors during this time, offering them comfort.

However, I am not there. I can not offer any hugs or hold anyone’s hand. I can sit here and cry. I can not begin to imagine how it feels to lose the life of a child. Just the thought is so overpowering, I break down and cry. I know G-d is compassionate and that this child suffers no more. I pray that of all the people going to pay their respects there is some comfort for the grieving family.  I pray that they are in a place of acceptance and are comforted by the fact they no one needs to suffer this unfairness any longer. It is evident based on the time and effort these parents took to care and love this child, that they did everything in their power to protect and get the best medical experts to monitor her life. We were updated and given the opportunity to share in their lives. We were blessed to be a part of her life. I had many friends praying for this soul and to have to share the news to them, the thought was daunting – how do I tell them? So many responded with words of shock, of sadness, of apology and never even met my friends and their baby.  The power to touch so many lives is amazing.

To know that I had this small impact and the message reached so many people to help in any way they could give me some small comfort. I will share these thoughts with the mourning parents and I look forward to sharing happier messages in the future.

Bye-Bye Double Chin. Really?

המחיר שלנו: ₪49
המחיר המלא: ₪149
החסכון שלכם: 67%

For those that don’t read Hebrew – basically this is an ad for a product that claims to slim your double chin for the mere coupon cost of 49 shekels (as opposed to the original 149 shekels) – which is equivalent to $13.55 at todays exchange rate.  Oh, and it includes shipping!  At a 67% deal is this something I can and should pass up? I KNOW that advertising scams always work for those that are just.gullible.enough (usually me, and that’s why I own a ThighMaster) but at this amazing price can I just turn away a potentially amazing deal?

Um, yeah. If I stop eating and do jaw exercises – I can also reduce the size of my double chin – so I’ve heard – repeatedly. No joke, jaw exercises are a real thing and claim to help reduce the size of your sagging gullet. See this:

I also found one of these – it’s called the Flexaway. Its kind of Silence of The Lambs-y, no?

And of course, the Velform Chin Wrap – Anti Cellulite System. Seriously? She looks like a post-op surgery patient for chin or plastic surgery. AND, hello? Based on her body type – she looks like she has no problem with any double chin. It’s just not believable. Where are the chubbier models with REAL double chins? What about all those People Magazine women and men who have lost 300 pounds and the sag is still there? Those are the people I want to see  – especially if I am about to invest a whopping $13.55!

But the best chin wrap ( yes, there are more than one out there, so don’t get fooled kids) is the one that claims you’ll see results in just 45 minutes. No joke. I don’t know, people. Who believes this stuff? Chubby, desperate people that’s who. I would love to be the person that tests out all these wacky products on the market that claim to tighten, firm up, and create magic. SO if anyone out there (in Israel, I guess) has a business that purchases half the crazy items I post, I offer my services to be a guinea pig (for a small fee of course).

Don’t let the ads fool you! Keep strong and ward off temptation! Never let ’em see you sweat! or…

…be brave and try something new. Film yourself trying out the products you bought late at night on HSN. I’d love to watch those. So get videoing people!

“Chewing Too Much…

…Can Cause You To Be Tired.”

I overheard that 2 days ago from a student that likes to hang around my office…and it made me giggle and I jotted it down.

Of course the old Chubby thought, aah now it makes sense why I am always too “tired” to exercise… it must be all that chewing I’d done earlier when stuffing my gob. Then the new Chubby thought – but I’ve been eating popcorn and fruit – and I am still super tired at the end of the day, that can’t be right.

So I did a little research, and here is what I found.

Wanna’ lose weight from your cheeks? (No, that WAS a serious question – and apparently a thing for people).

“Chew gum. Not only can chewing gum calm your nerves and freshen your breath, but it can also help you lose weight from your cheeks. The repetitive chewing motion will help strengthen your jaw. The best part is, you won’t even feel like you’re doing any exercise. You can set a goal of chewing gum for just a few minutes after every meal.
*Just make sure not to chew gum so much that it starts hurting your jaw.” – That sounds like it would make me tired.

https://i0.wp.com/joltgum.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/jolt-gum-med-res-single-pack-spearmint-copy.jpgAnd then  I found this to kind of disqualify the statement: JOLT  energy gum.

From the HealthGuidance website:

“Weight Loss

First of all, if you’re concerned about your weight then one of the best ways to lose excess fat is to chew your food properly. It might seem miraculous that this can work bearing in mind that you are still eating the same amount of food but in fact there are several ways this works. First of all, by chewing your food longer you create the illusion that you have eaten more and this makes you feel fuller.– Side-note: that’s never happened to me. My mom used to get real upset about how long it took me to eat my dinner and I don’t call my younger self  ‘Chubby’ for no reason.

Basically, I found a ton of information about chewing and it was all related to TMJ or digestion or weight loss – not so much about it making you tired.

Lots of my research ended with the knowledge (as if I didn’t already know) that chewing basically causes jaw fatigue – not much else…oh well.

I wonder what other gems these kids are gonna’ come up with?

Just Breathe

Finally, an official diagnosis. It’s not terrible, it’s manageable. But it’s a disease for life – which means she’ll have to maintain a serious diet…forever. That’s depressing – but people with serious food allergies deal with this all the time. I am thankful it’s not worse.

Basically my 8-year-old has been diagnosed with Celiac’s disease. She is at stage 3 (there are only 4) and there is damage to her stomach lining. As it happens, I have at least 3 neighbor’s who have children also with Celiac’s disease so I’ll be going to them for recipes and support I imagine. The silver lining is the doctor said after a few months of adhering to the strict diet the damage to her stomach lining is reversible. She’ll start to grow and not be teased that she is a baby anymore because of her size (I hear growth is almost immediate after a proper diet is established).  We all need to be tested as well, I fear another daughter will also be diagnosed as she is quite smaller than her peers – but at least they’ll do it together.

https://i1.wp.com/assets4.designsponge.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/rosie_the_riveter1.jpgThat was yesterday.

Today, after meeting with the psychologist from school, we have a final assessment that our 8-year-old is quite intelligent and has tons of motivation but she lacks in language skills, in both languages so she suffers tremendously in school. We are trying to get her into a new class, a smaller class so that she won’t get as lost or feel frustrated that she can’t keep up. The problem may be that even if she qualifies to be in the class, it may not be held at her current school, where she has her sisters to rely on when things are too much for her to handle. We’ll have to wait and see, if there are enough students in her current school to warrant a special class, then she wins. If the majority of students are from another neighborhood then she’ll need to switch schools to where the majority go. That makes me nervous. She’ll need speech therapy. She’ll need to read more books and play more language based games, we’ll try to make it as fun as possible, which means lots of extra TLC – lucky girl.

Lastly, she has a hearing problem. Well, well, well. No wonder she is not thriving in school! She has a belly ache half the time, she can’t hear what’s going on and when she can hear she doesn’t always understand.  My poor girl.

We will be vigilant. We will see the speech therapist, the ENT, the dietician. I will enter the health food store, regardless of its funky barn-like stench, I will learn biology and what this really means so that I can offer her the best information and choices for her to flourish and blossom.

https://cheriblevy.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/be3f6-apple.jpgAnother day, another hurdle. To add to this emotional roller coaster I started eating better myself. Tired of the roly-poly me, even though she is so jolly, Chubby is watching her weight and even exercising, alert the media! Just kidding, please don’t = even though I love watching The Biggest Lose (Australia) – I wouldn’t want to be a contestant. So even though I still have not surpassed that major desire to wolf down a sugar packet, I am making smarter choices and taking smaller portions, but I am still kind of cranky.  I want to love healthy food…but I don’t. Not yet anyways. I know it will come, I know I need to keep the pantry stocked with better choices and the fruit and veg bin full at all times – this will help me from grabbing something I shouldn’t eat. Now that I’ll be consciously watching my daughter’s diet, I think this will help me overall as well. Fingers crossed people. The longest I ever stuck with any diet was a week.

Mood Swings (and other serious stuff)

https://i1.wp.com/us.123rf.com/400wm/400/400/thesupe87/thesupe870909/thesupe87090900148/5621511-an-icon-set-of-cartoon-smiley-faces-in-a-variety-of-expressions.jpgToday I am, what Jewish people say, parve. Parve means not a meat-like food and not a dairy-like food. It’s somewhere in the middle. Eating something parve (which you may notice from time to time on your food labels) means you have no status of being either ‘meat’ or ‘dairy’ – and our dietary restrictions make it so that we may not eat meat cooked with dairy – so no cheeseburger for example, and waiting a certain period between eating the 2 types of foods, depending on your families customs.

That having been explained I use the word parve in terms of how I am feeling when I am neither sad nor happy, just somewhere in between.

We are always affected by our surroundings or events that cause our moods to shift, for the good and the bad. I raise the question as to when do we or rather CAN we change our attitude so as not to affect others? What do I mean?

I mean this: yes the bombings at Boston were a horrific tragedy and a senseless loss of life plus the feeling of American’s security blanket is now altered once more. In Israel we are bombed at least once a month – even just today (and that’s a light estimation) – for no good reason, yet the world remains silent and we must defend ourselves when we take action to protect or defend our countrymen and land.

A friend’s young cousin was killed in an accident. A different friend has so far passed 3 rounds of the X Factor Israel living out her dream. Another friend acknowledges the loss of her husband (2 years ago) with sharing insightful thoughts with close friends and neighbors but at the same time saddened by a new relationship that just wasn’t meant to be. Wild dogs barking in my garden at 3:30 in the morning at a cat that was caught in the trap set by the dog catcher. Child sick with strep throat. A call from the teacher saying your five-year old is just laying on the couch in kindergarten because he’s stuffed and dripping from his nose all at the same time and really just not in the mood to play with anyone or do anything. Slow computer trying to weed out the 113 emails in a timely fashion (haha! – JOKES ON ME!). A friend so over-the-top proud of her Bar- Mitzvah son. For a group of friends thinking of someone other than themselves and helping decorate another friend’s barren wall. For a group of women coming together to cook a 3 course meal for someone, who most never met, after having a baby. Shared smiles and tears.

All causes for the emotional mini roller coaster leaving me today at this point feeling, parve. Neither her nor there but definitely sad for the sad things and happy for the happy things. Balanced out? I guess so. But all these things have swayed me throughout the day and my reactions to separate events certainly as a result of whatever I just experienced. Could I have altered my responses or actions? I’m not sure. Do I wish I had? In hindsight – probably.

The weather outside is gray, rainy and windy – certainly anyone’s good enough excuse to stay in pajamas and cuddle under a warm blanket with a good book or television program/movie. Yet we trudge on doing our responsible things because there is that voice in our heads willing us to ‘do the right thing’ – at least mine does and man is she annoying. On barely any sleep, worrying about sick children, hating all dogs forevermore, I am grumpy. For friends small successes and overcoming emotional burdens, for thinking of others before ourselves, I am happy.

I hope to merit living long enough to see that we may live in a world with no violence, and I pray. I pray that the sick will heal, that the deaf will one day hear, that the blind will see, that the lonely find comfort, that the saddened find joy. I pray that the lost are found and that the people of this world, all colors, races, and religion try to accept that the only way to to truly change is to make changes within ourselves. This was the main point in my friend’s get together, words of wisdom. She brought proofs from the Bible and well, if you’re a believer like me, they made sense. That’s what I walked away with. This knowledge that we have the power to make the world a different place as long as we start with ourselves. Sure, I think I am a good person, but can I be better? Always. There is always room for improvement and I urge all of us to take a look inside and see what we can do to better our lives and as a result the lives of our friends & neighbors so that one day we will merit a world with no enemies, no violence or bullying, no murder, no malice. Kindness and justice for all.

Da Toof Fairy

ImageIMG_1593I love him. In all his 5-year-old glory. With permanent markered hand art and all.

Self portrait on the left posing as…. Triangle Man.

He has a wiggly tooth and we had a conversation that went like this:

Mommy: Wow! Your tooth is loose, looks like the tooth fairy is gonna’ visit you soon!

Triangle Man: Da Toof Fairy?

Mommy: No, THe tooTH fairy

Triangle Man: Why?

Mommy: Because when a tooth falls out, we put in under our pillow, and while we are sleeping she comes to visit and takes the tooth and leaves us money.

Triangle Man: So we can buy more teef?

Mommy: No, so we can buy whatever prize we want.

Triangle Man: I want a race car prize.

Mommy: She only gives a little bit of money for a small prize.

Triangle Man: Okay, I want a small race car with a remote.

Mommy: That’s an expensive prize.

Triangle Man: But that’s what I need.

Mommy: You NEED food, you NEED to drink water,  you NEED to stop using permanent marker on your skin. You WANT the race car.

Triangle Man: Yes, that’s what I said. Can I have it now? In red? And blue? And Lightening McQueen? And wait, Mommy, look, mommy. Will she wake me up?

Mommy: No, she is very quiet. She flies in and is very gentle.

Triangle Man: Does she has pockets for da monies? I like pockets, mommy.

Mommy: I know you do. Should we pick your clothes out for tomorrow? It’s getting late.

Triangle Man: And she needs to fly here to give me da monies?

Mommy: No, not tonight, your tooth is only wiggly. She’ll come when the tooth falls out.

Triangle Man: What if I don’t catch it when it falls?

Mommy: Well, it doesn’t really fall, we’ll have to pull it out.

Triangle Man: No sanks. I don’t like dat idea. Then I’ll have bleed. I don’t like bleed, mommy.

Mommy: It would only bleed for a minute and don’t worry I’ll be there and will make it all better.

Triangle Man: I know how you can me feel better…with a race car, a blue one, a red one and a Lightening McQueen one.

Mommy: I’ll talk with the tooth fairy and see what I can do.

Triangle Man: You have her number?

Mommy: (this is getting out of hand I need to switch gears or this convo can go all night long with me making up more stories) Yeah Sure , now want to talk about what you did today?

Triangle Man: I colored me on my hand and on dis one and here and over here and even here!

Mommy: I know, that was not a good thing to do, we are supposed to ONLY color on the paper and YOU are not supposed to use my special markers.

Triangle Man: See how in dis one I’m smiling? I’m happy at you Mommy because I love you and you’re not angry at me because you love me. I’m tired now.

Mommy: Me too snuggle bunny, time to go to sleep.

With butterfly kisses, and about 5 various delaying tactics he finally settled down and talked to his soft  Buzz Light Year telling him not to shoot the toof fairy when she comes. “She is our friend”.I love him. In all his 5-year-old glory. With permanent markered hand art and all.

She Knew It All

Well, that’s how she acted anyway. Ugh, every conversation had her sticking her nose where it didn’t belong and making definitive comments that sometimes didn’t make sense but said with enough confidence that others believed she might be right. I was so sick of it. I wondered if others felt the same way I did but it’s not like I’d indulge my desire by gossiping about her just to find out. She just wasn’t worth it. I didn’t want to ‘save’ her from herself, I didn’t care to be her friend, I didn’t want to be associated with her or mentioned even in the same sentence as her…it was THAT bad. But these thoughts made me feel like a bad person. Love your neighbor as you love yourself…problem was she always had good intentions…but she upset people with her actions and speech.

I was able to spend the majority of my time NOT in her presence so at least there was that. However, every single time she was around, she would loudly spew her opinions and make every one else feel small. I know the theory behind it. The Bully Syndrome, I call it. They have insecurities (though most don’t see it that way) and instead of feeling small themselves they pump themselves up by teasing others or acting overly confident and making sure their voice is heard.

Being a quieter person, I observe more than I indulge in a conversation. I say something when asked or when something witty or cute comes to mind. Sure I have insecurities just like the next person, but I never felt like I had anything to prove. I never felt like I needed to be louder than the next person, or make anyone feel small. I never understood why someone would need to do that to others.  Humans are complex characters though and none of us are wired the same. We are products of our environment and I didn’t know her history or her family life growing up so who was I to be making judgement calls on her? Perhaps she is damaged like most of us and never sought help. I’d like to think this is it.

Am I willing to help? No way, I am not touching that scorcher with a ten foot pole. She can be mean (without trying to be) and I am a sensitive girl, plus, like I said, I do not interact often enough with her to be warranted into inner circle status. Which is fine.

I generally get along with people and avoid confrontation so I’m not going to make a big stink. Even though she said something so hurtful to me in the last week, I am willing to move past it without dealing with it head on. I don’t think she even realizes that what she did was wrong, because she always thinks she is right.  Perhaps she uses this method as a defense mechanism. Perhaps her outrageous behavior is covering up her tortured  inner world. Or maybe she is just mean, I only took Psych 101 so I am no expert but what I do know? Negative comments and being a know-it-all is a turn off to others.

“There are spider webs in our unconscious minds. Every person alive today has his/her share of unrealized desires, fears, and latent projections”

So I am no better or worse than she is, perhaps, but I definitely handle my actions in a more appropriate fashion. I was raised in a blue collar family with a high importance on manners and proper etiquette and behavior. I know my place and when to speak and when to listen. She clearly doesn’t and I feel sad for her. But I also am upset that she gets away with it. She comes off as rude and often I feel others see her as a bully as well, the problem is no one is willing to step and try to ‘help’ her because we know we can only help someone if they ask for it.

Soon enough she may have so little friends that she may be forced to question her actions. Do I wish that on her? Absolutely not, but I’m also not going to risk my precious and sensitive heart and soul at her possible thrashings and verbal abuse.  I will pray for her that she learns her lesson and sees the error of her ways.

The one thing she didn’t know? How many people she hurt along the way.

Cookie Crumbs On My Cheek

Sure. I can be a goofball. That’s why the tag line on my blog is ‘Silly Ol’ Me’. But I can also be serious.

Today there was a brief moment where I wished I could stop time. I’ve had these moments before. A few times as a teenager, a couple more as a young adult and most often as a mom.

The first time I can recall I was 18 years old. I was up in the Catskills (upstate NY) and was working as a camp counselor for one of the hotels. It was very Dirty Dancing-esque. We lived in bungalows behind the lake and every day we would break for a few hours to wash up and dress nicely for dinner. I would take this extra time, waiting for my turn at the shower, and hike a path behind our bungalow. It was as if all my senses were heightened. My feet would crunch on the fallen leaves, I’d jump over tree stumps, I could hear the trickle of  water in the distance, I could feel the sun radiate on my face. I crossed a makeshift bridge of old wood planks precariously dumped into the small rivulet and climbed a small cliff. I’d sit with my feet dangling over the edge overlooking the most beautiful uninterrupted space. Nature had a way of turning this small piece of hidden land into a place of natural tranquility. I’d close my eyes and listen to the sounds of birds, or rustling in the leaves by some hidden chipmunk, or the water that was below me. I’d take deep long breaths and feel any tension release from my shoulders or forehead. I’d open my eyes and shut them, repeating this action, taking mental pictures so that if ever I needed, I could see that place in my mind, conjure it up whenever I needed to go to somewhere peaceful. Time stood still. This song reminds me of the thoughts I used to have as I sat there wondering if my current boyfriend would last and if not, who would be the guy I’d finally fall in love with for the rest of my life. Of course there have been many more moments like this one where I just wanted to capture forever.

This morning was one of those moments. It’s no secret how much I love my youngest son. Grabbing him whenever I can to kiss his ample cheeks before time escapes me and he grows out of these last stages of babyhood. Since he turned 5, he has been surprising me right and left and everywhere in between. He is so bright and interested in knowing everything. He speaks more clearly every day asking questions, inquiring if he can help me cook in the kitchen, and today he got dressed by himself. While it is age appropriate and I am proud of him, it was a moment for me that I thought, hey can we slow down? My baby is acting all independent and my breath caught in my throat. But this was not the moment.

We were in the car dropping him off at school, while my husband waited for him to climb out of the car, I wished my little man a fun day. He turned back and said he just wanted to hug me. He climbed to the front seat, grabbed on and hugged, then took my face in his hands, turned my face to the side and kissed my cheek, then gave me a really tight squeeze and jumped out of the car.

I flipped down the mirror behind the visor to apply lip gloss when there on my cheek were the remnants of his cookie crumbs he’d been eating on the way. Oh my, I teared up watching him skip away, climb on my husbands shoulders and happily go off for the day. I stared back at my reflection and had one of those moments. I shut my eyes and opened them once again, repeating this two more times so I could take mental pictures. I just sat there looking at my cheek for a few minutes more before I wiped away the evidence of his love. Wishing I could just stop time for the smallest bit and stay in that moment.

So, while this bittersweet time ebbs away I still look forward to seeing my children age and amaze me. My heartstrings pull as I watch them grow and thrive each in their own way. Time stands still for no one, in my own way I try to hold on to these small moments. When all my chickens leave the coop I’ll have my mental images and will be able to smile while I revisit those precious moments.

Paco

 

When The Answer Is No

I want. Gimme. It’s not fair! I hate you!

I remember saying these things at one point in my life. I also remember the responses.

You can’t have. Not now. No, it isn’t. That’s okay. 

When we want something so badly sometimes our vision gets blurred and we see that ‘no’ as a roadblock to what we feel we deserve or need or just simply really want. 

Most parents will see the above and connect. Cranky (or spoiled) children who want more candy, or to stay up late, or beg for a million unnecessary reasons to get out of their beds at night will make mom and dad super annoyed. Parents have a certain amount of patience and when it runs out, watch out kids…that is the end of the world as you know it. 

What happens though when it’s the adults that are the ones asking or begging or declaring? 

I want. Gimme. It’s not fair! I hate you.

What happens when the answers are the same? What happens when G-d answers this way?

You can’t have. Not now. No, it isn’t. That’s okay. Will there be a time when He says, enough is enough? The answer sometimes is just, no. But those who believe in G-d know that He has compassion and even if we reject Him and feel hatred towards Him, He is forgiving, just like any decent parent as long as we show remorse.

I want to be financially stable. Gimme a chance at a job that can actually support my family. It’s not fair that I need to ask for help month to month.

I want good health. Gimme a sign that this will pass. It’s not fair that I must endure this pain. 

There are lots more examples. When frustration turns to bitter anger the downward spiral begins breeding hatred. 

No one likes to hear the answer no. Why must honest and good people be denied? Denied the opportunity to get a second interview? Denied health benefits or tax breaks? Denied a credit card? Denied a scholarship? Sometimes it seems the hurdles are so hard when they should feel easier. A hardworking individual must sometimes bear larger burdens than those that are born wealthy or healthy. 

Were misguided children, or those that were constantly indulged any better off than those that were constantly denied? No they, both breed a negative response.

There needs to be a healthy balance between receiving what we need and what we want. While its important to have goals and desires, we must also keep these in check. We must know there are limits and that sometimes there are things beyond one’s control that may determine what the end result becomes. Sure, the ‘don’t let anyone tell you your dreams are not attainable’ message is a good one. We set for ourselves time frames. When we don’t achieve the response we are looking for, in the time we allot for ourselves, we can get discouraged but need to have a good support system. Perhaps a friend or a colleague or a parent that whispers in our ear, ‘okay, that didn’t work – now let’s try something else’.

There is always a lesson to be learned. In everything. We may not like the process, in fact it may be painful and hard to understand or see the clarity until the dust settles and there is that light at the end of the tunnel…or someone wins the lottery… or gets the kidney. 

Not everyone believes in G-d. Not everyone is as deserving as they think. As upsetting as it is to hear or feel the answer ‘no, not yet’, we deal with it. Bang some tables, kick some doors, scream, cry, dwell…until we calm down. We reflect, we reorganize our thoughts, our actions, and begin again, differently. We are an ever evolving species and as smart as we get, the more we know, the harder it is for us to come to grips with the unknown.  It makes the negative reactions/responses/remarks that much harder to absorb and digest.

These are the times and the things that make us work harder, think better, and eventually succeed. Either getting the raise, winning the odds at the lottery, meeting the right doctor, asking please, being polite, waiting our turns, closing our eyes at bedtime, or just simply accepting that ‘no’ as another opportunity to work on ourselves, our behavior, our interactions with each other. Perhaps this is a time to accept that there is a higher power than ours and we must succumb to the fact that we don’t always have the answer because we are not meant to find out. 

I think it’s okay not to know everything about all things. I am curious and the older I get the more I want to know. But I also accept that I don’t deserve to know or to get everything I may want. Sometimes the things that we want so badly, a baby, a promotion, a cheese cracker, may not be good for us. Only after the fact do we most often have clarity. This is what makes it so hard. I often think, if I could just know what the end result would be whether it be for the good or the bad it would make the process of enduring it that much better.

I just reminded myself of the labor and birth of my first baby…the unknown was far worse. Not recognizing what a contraction would feel like or the amount of time it would be from beginning to end…of course these are all part of a very positive outcome, but the pain in between – that was awful. This is not meant to be a holy piece about G-d and Rebirth – or anything religious, it’s a piece on endurance and acceptance. Sometimes though we try to do things differently, the answer sometimes will still be, ‘no’. And that just needs to be okay. 

 

And Now The Girl’s A “Woman”

Didn’t I just throw a party for my son becoming a “man”? Now before I was ready, I made a party for my daughter entering into a world (that truthfully she has already been a part of for some time anyways) where she is responsible for her own actions.

When I think of her, I have the image of the Tom & Jerry cartoon…angel on one shoulder, devil on the other. She obviously being the angel. She is my moral compass. She always knows right from wrong and stays on the right side of that moral divide. She apologizes for her siblings because she knows they might not. She offers to help when no one else does. She is quick to respond when anyone asks for assistance. She is thoughtful and caring and kind.

Esti

She is respectful and listens to authority. She is shy and sweet. She is pretty, a good friend, and always gives in first.

She is making me feel old even though she is still so small. I must have said that once out loud while thinking about her stage in life and how it made me think of mine and she tried to console me. That’s who she is. Always putting others before herself.

We love her more than we love ourselves sometimes because we can see, feel, share in her goodness.

We were invited to our good friends for Shabbat lunch and so we decided to bake like we do every other week. We started the preparations for the challah, made the blessing (prayed for our sick friend even though she looked anything but sick to me at lunch the next day) using oil instead of margarine. FYI, as dough goes, you can’t always do that (so I’ve just recently learned). The dough was slippery and hard to handle so we basically made balls and stuck them next to each other so that they’d rise and bake together (hopefully). They came out weird and dense but we brought one over anyway and am happy to report it was mostly eaten.

I’ve always been quite the observer. Watching closely not saying much, taking it all in. This is what I observed after much thought, on auto-replay in my head the last few weeks.

You can not judge a book by its cover.

Even though that is EXACTLY how I choose to read books by the way, but I may change because of my new revelations. I know she is ill, but you can not tell. She did not stop moving from the time we got there until the time we left. She never asked for help, even though my little woman was quick to offer and help serve food and clear the table. My friend’s husband kept us laughing through the meal, which had so many wonderful dishes and sides and dipping sauces,  it was a truly a festive feast. While it was a drizzle-y day and grey outside, I was warmed from within from our lunch. I am still thinking about it and it’s Monday. I’m still smiling watching it on auto-replay in my head. We often think things are unfair because we can’t see the bigger picture. We often complain because want some sort of affirmation or consolation. Misery loves company but so does joy.

My wishes for everyone today is that you look for the good in everything. Think beyond yourself.

Put others before you.  Love to the fullest. Give when you can.

May we all live blessed lives and continue to share in each other’s joy.

 

If I Were A Duchess, I’d Still Wear Fleece

I do have a small obsession with watching fashion, never really subscribing to following the trends personally, but in my ladies magazines or reality tv, I am addicted to following the celebrities styles or hairdos.

For as long as I can remember, I have almost always had “good” hair-days. If we can block out the whole I-want-to-look-like-my-cousin summer hair-do mentioned here: Hair Today, Idiot Tomorrow and the aftermath of the growing out phase, minus the times I cut my bangs too short…(happened more often than not, now that I am thinking about it)…BUT in general, my hair was good to me.

As a married religious Jewish woman I have decided to cover my hair with a variety of different kerchiefs, scarves, bandannas, something called a pre-tied, and sometimes with a thing called a snud (pronounced: snood -featured above)…they are basically the same things that come in different shapes and sizes. Sometimes I’ll wear a hat too. On occasion, I will wear a wig. I won’t go into the aspects of why some women cover all, or some cover part or some decide to head-band it loosely with a scarf, giving the person an artsy, flowy look.That’s not for me. I like to cover most of it and I like wearing hair.

The first time I went wig shopping was kind of a weird experience. My mother never covered her hair so it was all sort of new for me. I was luckily pointed in a good direction and sent to a wig-maker that knew her craft and I walked away with 3 beautiful pieces that I could wear at various affairs, and if I were ever to get a job after moving to DC where my husband was studying in graduate school. For a while it was fun dressing up and deciding which to put on depending on my mood or outfit.

Kate Middleton gets bangs

While I am older now and generally follow the same pattern, after 15 years of marriage I purchased a new wig and decided I wanted a more youthful but wearable look. I knew what I wanted, and had seen a similar look on some of my friends and it reminded me of a younger me. I used to have long hair with bangs that I eventually grew out as I got older. So, even though I knew it would be costly for a longer piece, I’d stayed moderate and I found a wonderful French wig-maker that basically built my new wig from scratch. She picked the hair, sewed it together, and after our fitting, where she teased me mercilessly about being so “American” (which she translated as having the need to look glamorous – as if, I am currently wearing a fleece hoodie) we decided on a color match. She dyed it, cut it, styled it and I looked ALMOST like this: THAT is Kate Middleton, (taken from the site SheKnows), …um she is a duchess and we have the same hair style.

Almost.

It’s pretty close.

It’s similar.

She’s just stunning, and well okay I probably really look nothing like her.

Here is a picture of me this past summer, after getting the wig for my son’s Bar Mitzvah:

Well, Kate, who is following who now? (English teachers beware, I think there was supposed to be a “whom” in that sentence). I wonder if the Brits know about our hair trends. By ‘our’ I mean the religious 20-40 year old women that are now cloning each other. I don’t need to be unique anymore in this specific area, I just want to feel good and be comfortable in a look I love and love to wear every day! Which I do. I also like that me and Kate are twinsies. I hope she feels the same. If you know her, please share this on her FaceBook wall, and please let her know I am available for tea time.

WSOW: Just Get Over It

Mixing it up today with Weird Stuff on Wednesdays and what’s on my mind…

When is it time to let go?

Letting go of something that makes you mad, or sad, or frustrated is probably the hardest thing to do. For some reason the intense emotions are what propels us to continue on a (most probably unhealthy) journey to nowhere.

These feelings are necessary but generally NOT conducive to living each moment productively. These feelings help us sort out what bothers us and kind of leads the path to possibly better understanding each other and most importantly ourselves. How we treat these feelings and how we react to others will shape our relationships and possibly alter the course of our lives.

If there is one thing I’m generally good at, its letting things go quickly and not harboring negativity. I hate feeling angry or jealous for too long, it makes me feel icky and I am convinced that’s when my skin goes all wonky and I break out and sometimes get all splotchy.

When I get REALLY angry, my ears get really hot and red and my cheeks are infused with their pinkish hue (more than normal) and my neck gets speckled, it’s bad. I can’t hide my feelings and it’s a shame, I’d rather have a poker face and be able to control those things but I simply can’t. It rarely happens because like I said I try to avoid getting to THAT point, but when it does happen, I can even hear my inner voice screaming at me, “JUST GET OVER IT!”

*sigh*

So, yes, obviously something recently happened and its making me think – others must go through what I go through when I get all eye-twitchy, right?

Without going into details, I have a very short fuse when I am the recipient of rudeness and disrespect. When this happens I do the usual, count to 10 in my head, or bite my tongue, imagine punching the person in the nose, the usual. BUT there are better ways to de-stress other than imagining pushing the other person off a cliff.

Here are some of the weird items I found on the internet that can help a person relax.

This poster is like the Idiot’s Guide to Managing Your Stress.

There is nothing here that any normal person hasn’t already thought of when you are stuck in an angry rut. Oh, and the first one, “Avoid stressful situations” reminds me of that dumb joke my dad loves to tell: “Doctor, it hurts when I do this” and the doctor responds, “well, don’t do that”. DUH!

I love the line, “Change how you see the situation”, like you change anything when you are seeing red.

I also got a giggle thinking if I were a member of the Mafia my responses to these suggestions would be pretty funny. I wonder if members of the Mob go to anger management classes – new reality TV show? Maybe not.

Another helpful tool I found was this  Stress Reduction “Kit”. I can only assume that the person who made this was trying to be funny, but, um, the last line, #4 says, cease activity if you are unconscious which kinda’ happens on its own, doesn’t really need a mention. Now this guy on the right, has a great idea. I think everyone should carry one of these in their pockets and as soon as someone angers you, make this face at them while demonstrating exactly as shown in the picture. You can really get your message across without ever uttering a word or laying a hand on the offender.

There are lots of stress balls out there but this one intrigued me. Not sure why they advertise it as a Fantasy Ball. Also, I found it really funny that it was labeled under PU balls. I know, I know – so childish – whats with all the bathroom humor lately? After doing some research I understand the PU stands for Polyeurothan – which I probably misspelled but is what these balls are made of.

Real fur black changgushuan hair ball rabbit fur casual sports preppy style knitted horsehair color block one shoulder women's(China (Mainland))

The weirdest thing I saw though while researching other PU products was this nasty item.  Described exactly like this:

“Real fur black changgushuan hair ball rabbit fur casual sports preppy style knitted horse hair color block one shoulder woman’s.”

WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? Wikipedia has no clue what changgushuan is either, but to be honest, I’d never want a hair ball of any kind on my preppy-style (not that I can remember) knitted horse-hair (ew), anything. Ever.

Well, just writing about this I smiled a lot and feel less stressed, which I noticed helps. Smiling that is. Also, I’m thinking that, perhaps I’ll just purchase Miss Rude of the Year the latest changgushuan purse and convince her that it’s all the rage in some remote European village. You never know, trends start somewhere!

Lipstick And Earrings

She always said that. We were never to leave the house without lipstick and earrings, for you never knew who you’d meet while you were out and about. She also set me up on my first blind date ever. That ended just as pleasantly as it started so there’s that. I learned how to play Spades and hold my tongue many nights in her ever party central apartment on the Upper West Side.

http://www.examiner.com/images/blog/wysiwyg/image/broadway_sign(2).jpgWe lived in the Beacon Hotel, which was lovingly referred to as the Freakin’ Beacon. Nightly we could hear the shows going on at the Beacon Theater, naturally. The exit of the theater was the fire escape route from our apartment which also served as the ally where the bum slept, and where we’d toss out the “Jerry” that we caught on many a glue-trap. We’d share elevators with WWF wrestlers and their beefy lady friends and people-watch out our windows onto Broadway on any given Saturday.

“Pipe down, Junior”. That’s what all the big boys said to me every time I had a question. I didn’t understand the rules of the game and my partner was angry that we were partners in the first place. How I got looped into playing spades I can’t recall, but the torture continued. I knew it was funny, them being big and me being short (small but chubby, still) and giving me the nickname Junior, which stuck all through college and then some. I finally got the tricks down and counted cards as we played. I paid attention to the clues my partner would send me by watching how he’d strategically lay one card over another. I became really good, actually, and quite fond of my goatee, plaid-wearing, sh*t-kicker-stomping, smoker friends. So much so that I put my puffy paint to use and made spades visors for us to wear as we played. Even though they were in powder blue, those tough guys donned them and we had a good laugh. There was Q-bert and Sam and my partner and the other guy – from Chicago…wow my memory is great, and of course Shwez….my social savior.

I was quiet and shy and polite and a prude. All my high-school friends had shielded me from anything they thought was dirty. They’d cover my ‘virgin ears’ if they were about to curse and so on…so by the time I got to college, 1 and a 1/2 years after graduation, I’d not really had much exposure to the real world. I’d spend it in an all-girls seminary in Israel, a very wholesome environment with not so much night life, for the good girls, anyway.

When I got to college and there was a party at Chez Shwez, sure enough, she caught me off guard and introduced me to the room and told everyone I had something to say…suffice it to say I was mortified. Red cheeks, splotchy chest and burning ears I managed to eke out something normal enough and some guy asked for my number, totally as an ice-breaker, but it worked, and I didn’t have a number so that was easy enough.

She opened the door for me and I was forced to face the fact that I needed to be social. I needed to turn into the butterfly I am today. Today, I rarely get embarrassed though I still prefer NEVER to speak publicly. I grew up in that Hotel, I learned many things that I still carry with me today.

Here are some hard-fastened rules I learned:

  • Never take an elevator with more that one bodybuilder at a time
  • If you need more than one glue-trap a week in your home, it’s time to move
  • Unless you LOVE gospel music, you should not live next to a theater that offers that nightly
  • Bums that sleep in allies tend to pee in them, hence, close your windows if you face an ally.
  • NYC apartments have a lot of cockroaches, beware. I warned you.
  • Never leave home without lipstick and earrings

I once was out and about without lipstick and earrings and I met the boy I’d been staring at with my peripheral vision skills all week. He stopped to talk with me, and of course I had the natural blush working when I realized my throat was really dry, and then I noticed how dry my lips were…and OMG I had no lipstick and earrings on!! I heard her voice in my head screaming, “JUNIOR, ARE U CRAZY?” Which distracted me from what Gorgeous was saying so I looked liked a ditz…and no, he never asked me out. Go figure.

https://i2.wp.com/www.freesnatcher.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/lip-smackers.gifSo now that I am older and wiser (and married – probably because I wore lipstick and earrings), I have become addicted to lip balm and almost always have a Lip Smackers in my pocket/purse/backpack…I have grown up slightly more (regardless of the fact that I still use Lip Smackers) and even sometimes change my earrings to fancier lady ones that shimmer or dangle.

Though she is far away I am channeling her now as I take off my fancy danglies and put in my diamond studs. Miss you Shwez. Come and visit us soon, everyone needs a Tante Shoshana!

It’s All Good…she said sarcastically

https://i0.wp.com/sacredsandwich.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/avoidance.jpgThere are actually some people who care how you are when they ask you, “hey, how are you?” or “sup?” with a slight head nod. However, most people use it as a greeting and do NOT expect, want or mean to hear a 20 minute story about your awful morning or the fact that you didn’t hear the alarm buzzer go off and your whole morning was basically thrown off kilter. They could care less and are just doing what they can and achieving the slightest degree of having good manners when passing you. The common response is, “good thanks and you?”, but do you care? You might. They’ll probably just respond, “great thanks”. End of conversation. This makes me sad. I’m not all crunchy-granola and think we need to feed each other rainbows and hug all day,  but I do feel like connecting more with people. Though I’ve heard people give advice and I am probably at fault as well, for saying: “No matter what you do people will always have something negative to say”. Why can’t we say the opposite? We need more positivity. Especially if you see someone in a grumpy mood or having a cranky-pants, bad-hair day, make the effort to listen for a few minutes, offer up ANYTHING positive and be helpful.

Lets start speaking nicer to each other. If you do not want to ask the other person, how is your day going….then don’t ask. Just say hello. No harm, no foul.

Where do we draw the line at being honest though? For every time I have responded “fine, thanks” and smiled to the passerby when inside I want to roar like a lion and cry like a baby all at the same time, I may be possibly cheating myself out of getting cheered up, or worse, smiling.

Yes, it is important to have those angry/sad/bloated and obnoxious feelings and deal with them in the proper fashion, like screaming in a pillow/eating a tub of ice cream/wearing fat pants and crying at Kleenex commercials. So again, where do we draw the line and cut the niceties?

I’m not sure I know. I mean, I get paid primarily to smile mostly all day and am generally in a cheery disposition and ready to help those that come asking. There is a part of me that says – lie, lie, lie. Your life is not EVERYONE’s business.

While this didn’t actually happen to me, any woman reading this will get what I’m trying to say:

That poor shlub, was trying to be polite and you’ve just detoured him into a 20 minute saga of your pathetic run in with the landlord who won’t fix your leak and that while he was screaming at you that it was your fault, your child pooped his pants, and you had no spare pants or underwear so you wrapped him in a towel that had tire grease from the back of the car where you left it, last Tuesday when you got a flat on the way to the dentist for a root canal that killed and caused you a major migraine that made you miss the Ladies Night Out that clearly you really needed.

Here I think, yeah it’s probably best to go with  “fine, thanks”. Why, you ask? Because honesty is not always the best policy. By sharing all that, you create awkwardness and with that, you can guarantee that shlub is going to avoid you from now on if he can.

My point is lets find a balance. Lets say: “it’s been a rough few days so its bound to get better” – then the shlub has a chance to follow through, you’ve laid it out there, given them an opportunity to be nice and inquire further or part with cheery helpful responses.

This is all on my mind, because it’s blatantly obvious that my morning started out rough. However, I aim to make it more positive, I promise to stop dumping out my utterly descriptive detailed blow-by-blow, and work on my responses to the basic, ‘how are you’ questions.  If you promise me one thing, feed me a rainbow every once in  while.