Archive for the ‘Just blather’ Category

Well! Life got busy, as it always does. We were lulled into complacency this year by having an “extra” month in the Jewish calendar, but really this just pushed the inevitable craziness of Purim (baking the crumbs) and Pesach (cleaning the crumbs) forward by a few weeks.

The kids wanted to bake hamantaschen this year – I usually bake cookies instead – and I reluctantly agreed. Somehow, though, my reluctance turned into losing my mind, as I made the world’s most complicated and expensive (coconut oil! gel food coloring!) hamantaschen. Well, it was a good experience to teach me to leave Pinterest the hell alone. As was my original instinct.

But they were pretty.


Pesach involved so much cooking. So much. I wish there were some way to avoid that. A few things made it easier than I expected – a friend’s recipe for matzah meal rolls (insert eye roll here) that I made over and over again; AM’s sudden willingness to eat hard-boiled eggs and his immense (and expensive) love of walnuts; and our switch to canola oil, like the awesome Israelis we try to be. But I also tried to relax and read some books. I left my computer and work email untouched for an entire Thursday, which really just made it harder to come back and do stuff. Plus my brother was visiting and being the fun uncle. So there you are.

AM turned 8. I am gobsmacked. He’s this bizarre little combination of very mature and helpful with squirrely, stinky-footed boy. It’s not going to get less weird, I fear.

Now we are on the slippery slope towards summer: Yom Haatzmaut, opening day at the pool, Shavuot, Miss M’s birthday, and the end of school. It is not yet too hot to be outside, but the powers that be are doing their best.

What’s new in your neck of the woods?



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I am getting back in the groove of things in one particular area of life.

I used to run. Sort of. I never ran very far or very fast, but I reached a level where I didn’t feel like a fool for saying, “I have to go out for a run,”(versus a jog) or taking up precious suitcase space with my running shoes and clothes.

It is something that I stopping doing upon our aliyah. In addition to the emotional and mental shocks to the system, arriving in the summer had a deleterious effect on my physical being too.

(Read: It was HOT. Hot hot hot. All day. Into the night. Fry your kishkes kind of hot.)

I tried to deal with the heat by getting up progressively earlier to run, until it crossed the line of ridiculousness. I am a morning person, to be sure, but once I was waking up at 4:50 (to leave the house at 5 to be finished at 5:45) was “too late,” I sort of gave up. Because of course then I had to go to ulpan and parent my people all afternoon and learn how to do things like buy yogurt and not cry when other people spoke to me.

A year later we joined a health club. Despite the expense, I had a hard time getting motivated to go run on the treadmill. Frankly, treadmill running is boring. The gym was often crowded. I never felt comfortable.

The health club membership lapsed. The weather remained hot for six months a year. I tried other exercise programs in fits and starts, like jumping rope while watching TV or being tortured by Jillian Michaels. Nothing stuck like running had.

Finally, in the middle of this past winter (that’s “winter” to you North Americans), when the weather was cooler, someone posted on a local facebook group that she wanted to run in a pack on a weekday morning. So I went. Even though she was training for a half marathon (!), she was willing to run at my pace. I didn’t fare too badly. We met once a week for a few weeks, before her race training took her away. But in the meantime I felt like I was gaining strength. Stronger, going for longer distances. I missed running with a person (I am more social than I thought), but just those few weeks had kickstarted me back to the elusive feelings of accomplishment. I reactivated my iTunes account. I signed up for RunKeeper.

Now the weather is turning warmer again. But I am less concerned. I can run in the evening now. Putting a 7 and 9 year old in front of the TV for 30 minutes in the evening, alone at home, is a possibility that I couldn’t have contemplated four summers ago. I can deal with the heat better. I seek the shady side of the street.

But mostly I am more forgiving of myself. If I don’t run 5 kilometers, I run 4. If I don’t run 4 kilometers, I run 3. If I run with the dog, we run two and a half, and then I am grateful that I don’t usually run with her; she’s a terrible pacer. If I don’t run in the morning, all is not lost – I can run in the evening. Or later in the morning. Or 2 kilometers instead of none. It all counts.

I haven’t signed up for any races, so far, but I might. Perhaps in the fall. In the meantime, the Boston Marathon bombings cast a pall over the worldwide running community. Community in the largest sense, because everyone who has put on a pair of running shoes and run even one mile can appreciate the challenge of running 26 IN A ROW ALL AT ONCE. Running is a sport that, if you take away the fancy shoes and high-tech clothes and energy gels and corporate sponsorships, really can reach a wide swath of people. So reading the stories of people who had run in the Boston Marathon that day – and those who had come to watch – was inspiring and touching. I decided late in the day on April 15th, watching Twitter bury network news once and for all, to run a marathon’s worth of distance in two weeks.

It took me an extra day; I finished my 42.2 km on May 1 instead of April 30. It was hot towards the end; I forgave myself. I had a lot of support. There were thousands of us around the world running for Boston. There was a Twitter hashtag and a Facebook group. When solidarity runs cropped up in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, I wanted to go, but they were at inconvenient times. So I made my own run locally; about 25 people came. I ran my own 5K in 33:30, which I haven’t come close to matching in the two weeks since. I’m back to slow and steady, apparently.

I’m going to get through this summer. Running. (I hope.)

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Bonus confounding


I’m not talking about a tissue blowing away in the wind while you’re struggling out of the car with your baby and toddler. I’m talking about purposely dropping trash on the ground or tossing it out of a car  instead of throwing it in a proper receptacle.

Why do people do this?

And why do I feel like I am the only mean mother who makes her kids pick up all their garbage? (I have to assume that this is what my mom did to me…)


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1. Night owls

Not owls being awake at night. Nocturnal animals make sense to me. Nocturnal humans do not. My circadian rhythm (function best in daylight) cannot be overpowered–even before kids my idea of “sleeping in” was about 10 9 8:30 in the morning. I spent four years earning two degrees at a university without a single all-nighter. I don’t say this to brag, it’s just that I COULD NOT. Usually at around 2 in the morning I would just grind to a halt and read the same paragraph 16 times, or rewrite the same sentence of a paper over and over again, then give up. Of course, if I really had to I could get up again a few hours later, by 5:30 or 6, and make some serious headway.

(I understand that larks confound night owls in the same way that night owls confound me. But once upon a time there were no electric lights and using fire to light your home was, you know, dangerous.)

2. Using Facebook for business purposes

Yeah, this heavy personal user of Facebook glazes over when it comes to both the technical aspects and the analytics. Which makes me sad, because Facebook is all about The Fun, you know? Not The Serious.

3. Sean Paul

I cannot understand his songs. I wish I could, because they are so catchy and bouncy. I am relatively convinced they are horrifically misogynistic and overtly sexual and they are nothing I want my kids enjoying. (I reached this conclusion from watching the video for his latest single.) It’s the proverbial can’t-look-away-trainwreck problem. But for listening.

4. Siblings close in age

The constant love-hate-love-hate cycle makes me crazy. I didn’t grow up with this; many, many people assure me it’s normal. Which is good, but doesn’t make it less jaw-dropping.

5. Men


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Just the normal stuff going on here at Chez Tired. Work, school, dog shenanigans, crankiness, coffee, and disorganization. Achla! (Excellent!)

I have been doing some reading though. On my bedside table is Anne of Green Gables, which I am re-reading and (of course) loving. Anne Shirley reminds me so much of Miss M. Minus the orphan thing. But the spunky ‘tude, red hair, daydreaming, and 25-cent vocabulary? Yes.

Of course, the 25-cent vocabulary of an 11-year-old is different than that of a 7-year-old, so I’m holding on to this book for myself until Miss M is more willing to use her dictionary.

I’ve read some really amazing things this week on the Internet though. Apologies if you’re my Facebook friend because you’ve seen a lot of this.

  • My parenting style, carefully honed for years, is validated. Seriously, if there is one thing I am pretty sure I am doing right, it’s letting my kids have a lot of unstructured time. Reading and writing and drawing and fantasy scenarios are so important to Miss M. AM loves his cars, lining them up and scooting them around. They both love books. They run around the park playing imaginary who knows what, but I try to stay out of it. Unless someone is doing something dangerous or potentially criminal. Kidding about the criminal part. (I think.)
  • One of my biggest issues with Orthodox Judaism. Sexual and physical abuse, corruption and fraud? Well, whatever, people are only human. But trying to make Orthodox Judaism more inclusive, attempting to push the envelope for more committed Jews? Not acceptable. I think this attitude is pretty messed up. Glad others do too.
  • Someone mentioned in passing in the above article, a gay, Modern Orthodox rabbi, explains why and how he chose to perform a civil partnership ceremony, with Jewish religious elements, for two men. Honestly, it made me want to stand up and cheer. This rabbi, and this couple, are being so incredibly brave by simply living their lives as they were created. Rabbi Greenberg went so far as to create vows for them–because there is no such thing as a religious gay wedding ceremony in Orthodox Judaism–and how they would dissolve them, religiously, if they decided to end their civil marriage. So much thought and care.
  • A Facebook friend tagged me to read this article, and I think it is so true. My day job(s) involve(s) a lot of content writing, and it is a fine line between using real words and SEO words. Bleh. At least I am no longer actively working for the US government. Those people eat, drink, sleep, and breathe acronyms.
  • A dose of heartbreak. Please don’t let this happen to any child.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

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September first has finally arrived, bringing with it a steady stream of social media pings involving the words: SCHOOL.

It is the most wonderful time of the year.

But the summer was, for the most part, a raging success too.

  1. In Operation Nobody Drowns 2011, nobody did. In fact, Miss M’s strokes are looking much better, i.e., she no longer appears to be drowning while she swims. And in the most surprising news at all, AM, who had tended to employ the “baby monkey death grip” while in the pool, taught himself (!) to swim. I give all the credit to Chichimama, who invited us to join her at her local pool, which has a ginormous 2 1/2 foot section. From there he got the confidence and was off to the races. He can’t dog-paddle, though, which I find funny. Just face in the water and wiggle around in a forward direction until you run out of breath and stand up.
  2. We took a lot of public transportation. Almost a month later, I am still having conversations about the difference between express and local trains. Thank you, New York City subway, for this morning’s question, “But why does the A train run on the C track?” I am totally going to lock him in a room with Persephone‘s twins and Ianqui‘s son and they can all geek out together. I mean, I would, if we were still in America.
  3. Despite the fact that by the end of our 5-week odyssey in America they were sleep deprived, cranky, and bickering a lot (my diagnosis was Too Much Togetherness), my children managed to be pleasant and friendly to others. They were generally well behaved and held up far better than I expected with all the traveling and one-night-here, two-nights-there shuffling around. It helped, of course, that the only responsibilities they had were along the lines of “Buckle Your Seatbelt” and “Stand Back From the Yellow Line.”
  4. We saw a bajillion people. It was nice. Now you guys come here. Not all at once, though.
  5. We moved. Our new house is awash in boxes, there are mosquitoes in the backyard, and we have half the cabinet space (and one-third the counter space) we really need in the kitchen. It is still awesome.

And now…now I should probably unpack a box. Or just lie down, because school pickup is happening really, really soon.

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We made it home. Sort of–our former home is occupied, our future home is occupied, and we are staying in the lap of mid-city luxe, courtesy of friends on vacation.

In any event, it’s good. Jet lag appears to be on its way out, along with night terrors, repacking every two days, and wasting water. In: pool visits, lounging in pajamas, and happily not doing much of anything.

We are considering giving up cable as a cost-cutting measure, so we may have lost our minds. But it would be nice to read more books. And we can always download shows individually instead of watching All the Crap That Exists on TV.

If anyone wants to pay me to write a post on traveling with kids, I’d be happy to oblige. Not so much the practical (“bring snacks and a change of clothes”), but more meta.

In the meantime…I need a favor. Long story short: Miss M appears to have come up with an ADD/ADHD diagnosis. We want to buy her furniture/storage/design her room in the new house in a way that will be the most helpful for her to stay organized and neat. Not pristine (because, wow, have you met me?), but easy for her to pick up/put away toys, books, clothes, etc. without feeling disasterously overwhelmed.

Anything would be appreciated; no tip too small.

How’s by you?

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