Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I'm not a poodle, but I played one in the 80s.

The lovely folks at PBN (and I mean that genuinely, not in a "Oh, you've put your brother in a doll's dress and locked him in the dog's cage? Lovely," kind of way) and someone of whom I've never heard (Beauty Confidential) have come together to offer free stuff. I need a reason to post something a bit more upbeat right now, so I'm jumping on this bandwagon.

I need some laughter. My cousin was always laughing. Everyone who knew him is gushing about that smile of his. Even if that laughter is at my expense, I'll take it. I need it right now.

My biggest beauty blunder would be that perm I got in the late 80s-very early 90s. Would you believe the damn thing didn't go away until some time after 1996? I did not at all understand the finer points of caring for curly hair. So I continued to brush my hair every day. I looked like a poodle--not a cute poodle, mind you. Oh no. The word "Cute" would never have been used to describe me at that time. "WTF," may have been more appropriate.

I, of course, could not let sleeping dogs lie (even if they were ugly poofy poodly ones). No, no, no. Always one for the adjectives, I had to then go and try to make this poodle one of the technicolor variety. At 15 or 16, I tried to dye my naturally strawberry blonde hair to a shade of electric blue. Anyone who has paid any attention to the color blending thing in kindergarten knows that yellow and blue make green. I, however, in my infinite teenage wisdom, didn't even think about that. My hair turned green. I later tried using one of those very temporary dyes to bring out the red in my hair. Instead, it turned bright orange. Some of my friends called me ,"L'orange." In French class, when our teacher held up a picture of a pumpkin, one friend yelled something along the lines of of, "I know how you say that in French. Reiza."

8 washes the dye manufacturers proclaimed it would last. They lied. My hair stayed bright orange for 3 or 4 months.

Oh yeah! Good times!

While I like the fine folks at Parent Blogger Network, they, however, seem to hate my readers. They're giving bonus points for those who post pictures. And so, I'm afraid you're all going to have to suffer. The worst of the photographs, however, have been tucked tightly away. So you'll have to deal with whatever I happen to have on the hard drive. It might not seem that bad, but that would be because all of the ones that qualify as "that bad" are in hiding and I've conveniently forgotten where I left them.

This is actually pretty tame (my hair and the shock value), but here, you see the remnant of the perm from 5 or 6 years before.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

News of the "I'll be damned."

Dh finally got up into the attic yesterday to drag out the big box o'Halloween stuff wherein TheBoy's costume was packed (since he really didn't wear it last year and it's so cute, I decided to have him use it again). So this morning, I found out it doesn't fit. Aside from a trip to the park today, I've spent the whole day trying to create a new costume. Oh and I leave in 2 days and haven't packed a thing.

While I bought my plane ticket yesterday for the funeral, dh can't get time off. He has enough leave, but they won't let him take it. He can have 1 day off, but he needs 3. Our plan was for dh to stay home with the girls while I went with TheBoy. WTF are we gonna do with our girls? The military sent us here post-9/11. We're only here because this is where they dropped us. Our family isn't here. We're far away from the family that I need to be with. So I can't exactly call up my brother and SIL, my niece, or another cousin and ask them to take the kids all day for 2 whole days.


Monday, October 29, 2007

If you know me...

you know it's never a good idea to say, "Why not add some jewels or something?"

My husband, however, never got that memo and made said comment to me today while I was creating Girl2's crown for Halloween (it was a welcome distraction from trying to get a flight for the funeral which I did, but at a huge chunk of change. _big sigh_).

I like sparkle, but when you make that comment to me, you're in for it. When you make that comment to me and my daughters, you get this gaudy (but completely recycled) little number.

Milk, it does a soul good.

The benefits of breastmilk for the body (both mom's and baby's) are numerous and well-documentented, but the benefits for the soul are very often over-looked, but just as important.

I'm making plans to fly out for the funeral. Initially, I was planning to go alone, but now I'm planning to take TheBoy. At first, I leaned toward it because I don't want to risk him weaning while I'm gone. Then, I realized I probably need him there more than he needs me.

On the first anniversary of my brother's death, I had to enlist help just to get to shul for his yarzeit. I had to say Kaddish for him and well, yeah, that's not an option at home (although once the kids come of age, we'll have half a minyan right here within our own walls). I had twin babies, though, so getting to services was quite a job. My sister and the rabbi's wife sat in the lobby with my niece and Girl2. When it came time to say Kaddish, I stood there and recited it with Girl1 nursing in the sling.

I took great comfort from that. I was really moved by the sacred simplicity of the moment. There I was mourning the loss while I nourished the new.

I need that now.

TheBoy woke up in the night and called for me. While I nursed him, I couldn't stop thinking, "My aunt sat here like this with my cousin when he was a baby." I played with TheBoy's hair and breathed him in and I could picture her doing the same. Now they're both gone--my aunt and my cousin. That moment last night was so mundane, yet so powerful. I was just comforting my child--something millions of parents do every night. Yet it made me feel so connected not only to the child at my breast, but to my aunt long gone and my cousin so recently departed.

I fear the funeral. My cousin was such a spark. There was so much excitement behind his eyes. He was so very alive. Having the whole family together with his body boxed up before us will make us all even more painfully aware of the absence of his playfulness.

But then, I'm reminded of TheBoy running towards the bimah during children's Rosh Hashanah services. I couldn't keep him contained. He was so excited and wanted to be a part of everything. Everyone laughed. I don't think there was a single face that wasn't smiling at TheBoy as I took him out to the lobby.

I want my son there because that joi de vivre reminds me so much of my cousin. I think it's what the whole family needs right now.

He needs me to comfort and nourish him. I need him to remind me it's not all death and dying.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Your body gone, we shall keep the man.

My cousin is gone. He passed away last night.

Vienna Teng's "Say Uncle"

Everyone agrees it came too soon
It was only meant to be an interception
You kept fear of death in the back pocket of your jeans
In the palm of your hand, affection

It came like a sudden gust of wind
Leaving them bewildered to ask how
I recall last time we met, you said we'd meet again
The irony is only bitter now

These days everyone cries, "say uncle"
They want to touch your spirit lest it die
For this your sons and widow gather with us at the table
To form a healing circle for our new demise
These days everyone cries, "say uncle"
I retrieve the memories quickly as I can
Add them to the portrait we all draw in our minds
Your body gone, we shall keep the man

I close my eyes and hope they do not fade
These remnants of a voice and a smile
Images of landscape, cloaked in forest green
Like your life unfolding mile by mile
A fierce embrace, a word of thanks
A cheerful whistle, and hours in a van
Somehow these pieces must bring back the man you were
Though the ocean claims your ashes on the sand

These days everyone cries, "Say uncle"
They want to touch your spirit lest it die
For this your sons and widow gather with us at the table
To form a healing circle for our new demise
These days everyone cries, "say uncle"
I retrieve the memories quickly as I can
Add them to the portrait we all draw in our minds
Your body gone, we shall keep the man

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

When good oral hygiene attacks

I have a big gash on my right thumb. I got it because I insist on good oral hygiene.

The big kids (and their parents) have the Oral B rotating toothbrushes. Unlike the Crest or Colgate brethren, the Oral B variety requires you to use this annoying plastic tool in order to pop the head off the toothbrush.

In an attempt to maintain my children's gorgeous sparkling smiles, I replaced their toothbrush heads the other day. The tool apparently hates me. It and one of the toothbrushes worked together and attacked.

I have been attacked by a toothbrush. Film at 11.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Since this has been on my mind

Fabulous explanation of Jewish funeral practices.

Dh and I need to write out our specific plans so that there's no question (and no embalming). I want a traditional Jewish burrial.

FTR, since he mentions yarzeit, my brother's yarzeit is this week (using the Hebrew calendar). It's the 13 of Cheshvan. I have to wonder if we will also lose my cousin* on that day.

The family is currently debating what my cousin's funeral arrangements should be. My mother didn't feel comfortable asking him when he was still lucid. She, however, apparently, feels fine about possibly violating his last wishes. Sorry, but it's a sore spot with this family. My mother disowned her brother when he refused to follow my grandmother's last wishes (which he did to "spite her" because she didn't leave him any money. Although, I must point out that grandma also didn't leave my mom any money even though my mother was the only one who visited with and took care of grandma for the last two years of her life).

Now you see why I want our last wishes explicitly expressed.

10-24 edit
*Special thanks are extended to my niece for noticing that I accidentally used the word "Husband," when I meant "Cousin" Sorry for any confusion.

Shhhh, it's a secret.

It's also an ice pop. Well, it's one of the felt variety, at least.

It's the first of the Chanukah gifts. I even managed to put it aside to save it for Chanukah (every other time I made felt food, I wound up putting it straight into their toybox).

It's not fabulous, but it works. They'll like it.

Oh and it's stuffed with a cut up old t-shirt that the boy has outgrown (after snipping off the baseball shaped buttons to use for other projects). So I'm doubly proud of myself.

Monday, October 22, 2007

If I don't laugh, I'll go insane

Here's a real conversation that just happened.

While at the Charlie and Lola website, we headed over to the fun stuff section. While there, if you hold your mouse over the wallpapers, you hear Charlie say, "Here. Look."

Girl2 said, "The wallpapers are talking."
I explained, "No, that's the website."
She replied, "Yes because it wants to be like the wallpapers."

At that point, I put my head in my hands and laughed maniacally.

Insanity is inherited. We get it from our children.

Brainstorming gift ideas

I'm starting to devise a decent list of things to make for the bigger kids for Chanukah. I'll share my ideas thus far, but please feel free to comment with any other ideas you may have.

Now, let's review: I'm boycotting Matel after all the recent recalls. I'm also trying to avoid any plastic toys for the kids. I'd like to be a bit more earth friendly. Most of the toys I love that lack plastic are insanely expensive. So I figured I'd try to make more things myself (extra points if they contain recycled components).

Here's what I plan om doing:

More felt food. I want to do sushi, a cupcake, more fries, sliced bread and cheese slices. What else? I need some simple ideas. I already made one egg, cookies, a single fry and a pancake.

Felt hair clips. I just love these and these and I think I can manage a simple version of those myself.

Jewelry. I LOVE the jewlery here, but after really looking at it, I realized I could make something similar from femo, existing beads, buttons and clear nail-polish covered pictures (stickers, printouts, fabric scraps and magazine cut outs).

Some more stenciled clothing. I figure I could recycle some of their existing clothes. I'm going to hit a garage sale type thing where they always have tons of kids' clothes, so maybe I could stash some of those away and decorate them. I'm also planning on making some iron-on transfers of different images including this one:


As much as I don't want the kids to have more stuffed toys (they have way too many), I'm thinking I may make some felt plush toys for them. I found some very simple patterns that I could do.

So, now, does anyone have any other suggestions? What on earth can I make for the wee one? I have a bunch of ideas for the big kids, but none at all for TheBoy. Feel free to throw some ideas at me.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Yet another reason to homeschool

AP: Sexual misconduct plagues US schools

There are 3 million public school teachers nationwide, most devoted to their work. Yet the number of abusive educators — nearly three for every school day — speaks to a much larger problem in a system that is stacked against victims.

Most of the abuse never gets reported. Those cases reported often end with no action. Cases investigated sometimes can't be proven, and many abusers have several victims.

And no one — not the schools, not the courts, not the state or federal governments — has found a surefire way to keep molesting teachers out of classrooms.

Those are the findings of an AP investigation in which reporters sought disciplinary records in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The result is an unprecedented national look at the scope of sex offenses by educators — the very definition of breach of trust.....

One report mandated by Congress estimated that as many as 4.5 million students, out of roughly 50 million in American schools, are subject to sexual misconduct by an employee of a school sometime between kindergarten and 12th grade. That figure includes verbal harassment that's sexual in nature.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I had a bad feeling all yesterday. I purposely put on the Beatles (one my cousin's favorites) and just thought about him all day. When I didn't get a call from the family near him, I brushed it off.

Last night, I had a dream about him. He looked like his old self (since he was diagnosed with cancer, he appears to have aged about 30 years). He was lucid. We chatted quite a bit. When I woke up, in those moments before you realize everything that just happened only did so in your mind, I felt so happy and relieved that I got to talk to him. Alas, it was just a dream.

Then, during the day, I had this awful sense. Again, I played the Beatles and thought of my cousin. On my way home from the gym, I called my mom.

My cousin is in a coma. The doctors say the only reason he hasn't passed away yet is because he has a strong heart.

I now have no chance to say, "Goodbye" to him. I can't tell him how much I have always loved him or how I looked up to him. I can't explain how I always felt a connection with him. We've always been the creative souls in the family. I will never be able to tell him what a wonderful person I think he is and how I feel blessed to not only have known him, but to even share the same blood line.

I pray his family finds comfort. I just can't get over the fact that he's leaving teenage children behind. The two youngest are the same age this cousin and his sister were when their mother passed away from cancer.

I just can't believe it. I cannot comprehend it. I can't deal.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Stop me before I create again.

I found more stuff to make and make I have. This is my first attempt at a home-made version of screen printing on one of the girls' stained t-shirts. There are a few imperfections, but overall, I like it. I may add some more writing or a few hearts.

This one was made for TheBoy. It's actually one of his sisters' shirts. It had an iron-on transfer that faded. So I painted over it and did the screen painting thing (which really involves just cutting out the stencil, using a glue stick to hold it down, then painting over it. I LOVE the way it came out. I think I may add some stamped lettering to this one on the bottom right, but I'm not sure what to write.

As someone who hates clogs,

I LOVE this idea: Super Duper Garden Clogs

Making felt sushi

Felt sushi: a tutorial

I made some more felt food last night. While we don't have any sushi just yet, I made an egg and one french fry. Yeah, just one single fry. It took more work than I expected, so I only finished one, but I plan on making more.

For my next trick, I want to try sushi. When I looked closely at the rolls at Lilly Bean, they actually looked pretty simple. Then I found the tutorial at Hoogliart. It looks awfully simple. I may try to alter it a bit, but it looks fairly easy to do.

Will you look at me? Here I am, the one who can barely sew, talking about altering patterns. I'm so proud of myself. :)

Oh and just an FYI, Girl1 told me, "You're the best fake food-maker in the world."

Sunday, October 14, 2007

And now for something different :
homemade food that lasts and lasts

I've been very turned off by all the local toy recalls. We've decided to boycott Mattel and to try to buy more handmade toys that aren't plastic and to make more of our own toys.

I recently fell in love with felt play food. Lily Bean has my favorites (be sure to check out the awesome sushi). As I started looking at some of them, I realized some were very simple. I do NOT sew. Miss Pamela taught us to do a basic straight stitch by hand in the first grade and that's where my expertise ends. I cannot use a machine to save my life.

But some of those looked awfully simple. And they were. In one evening, I made 5 chocolate chip cookies and a pancake with a pat of butter for my kids. All of that used left-over felt we had on hand (and I stuffed them with scraps).

The next day, I lost the remaining felt circles I had put aside to turn into fortune cookies, so I used craft foam for that with hot glue. Makes for super realistic fortune cookies, but I doubt the foam will last very long. I may need to try my hand at actually stitching them, though, because these felt ones look adorable.

On a related note, aren't these too flipping cute?

And in somewhat random, but quasi-related, "I want news," I am absolutely in love with knitted/crocheted cupcakes and donuts (I particularly like these because some of her food doubles as a coin purse, so they're doubly useful (and doubly cute).

Just FTR

I don't remember writing last night's post. I saw I had some comments (I get them e-mailed to me) and I read them, but I didn't remember the entry. When I visited my blog and saw it, I thought it might be a joke. Some of the words sound familiar, but I don't remember writing it. I took an Ambien last night and I tend to have periods where I don't remember things if I stay up too late after that, so I'm guessing that's what happened (especially since it mentions being under the influence right there in the beginning).

This is very strange and eerie.

I don't remember writing it, but everything in there does describe how I'm feeling, so I'm going to leave it up as is (even though the spelling/grammar mistakes make me cringe).

Still, this is kind of creepy.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Waiting for the world to change

Please forgive me. I'm under the influece. but before I haed off to bed, i needted to get this out there.

Every night, I find myself jupming up at every noise 'cause I' m afraid it's the phonte. I din'ot want to answer the phone. I don' twant bad news. At this point, we expect to hear of my cousin's demise any day now. Bubbe seemed to be doing fairly well, but she changes so quickly and so severely. wE wory that each phone call will be the one to tell us that a dear spirit no longer walks among us. That would absolutely break my hart.

I'm so far away. There's nothing I can do. I want to do something to comfort them, but I just don't know what.

I'm dealing with the intellectual uncertainty; their bodies are very weak. They cannot continue to work or thrive. They are just waiting to die. Soon, they wil be gone. They are not long for this earth. I can deal with that concept inside my head, but whe n I have to let my heart try it's hand at the same equatiion, the answer is always far more emotional and horrifying. The reality of it is just unfathonable. I've lost many many people, but for some reason, I just cannot accept the reality of death.

I'm tired. I' m loopy. I should end here. I'm just feeling dreadful. It's similar to how I described my emtions while dh was deployed. The tension sure as hell is excruciating.

I want to fall to the ground screaming, "PLEASE DON'T TAKE THEM AWAY FROM ME."

A rant inspired by my niece

No, my niece didn't do anything to cause the rant. Actually, we were just commiserating over the fact that we both find a certain behavior to be very annoying.

I greatly dislike it when people try to blame their own irresponsibility/stupidity on G-d's will. He laid the rules. We need to follow them. I'm not even talking about the 613 mitzvot or even the Noahide laws. I'm referring to the basic laws of nature.

If someone does not want to conceive a child, but is not using any form of birth control, then if they get pregnant, don't blame it on G-d's will. It was their will. I wish they'd stop blaming G-d for their laziness.

We have free will for a reason, folks. We get to enjoy it, but with it comes a great responsibility. We must live our lives in a way that takes the laws of nature into account.

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." You can slap a nametag on it which proclaims the situation, "G-d's will," but that doesn't change the fact that it's really someone else's irresponsibility in disguise.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

In the end

We're losing my cousin. My parents and other family went to see him today. The news is really bad. He's 5'9" and he's down below 80 lbs. He has a DNR, but for some reason, he has an IV which the family is not happy about (aside from my mom who doesn't believe in DNR's). He's on morphine which means he's in and out of it.

I don't even know what to think. I worry so much about his kids. I worry so much for his sister who clung to him after their mother's death. I'm so confused and so upset.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

My day in photographs
(from playgrounds to coffins)

We had recess today. I rounded up the kids, went out to lunch with a friend and then headed to the park. I happened to have a camera along, so in addition to the loads of photos of cute kids (which I don't share here, sorry), I got a few random ones (and one baffling one) to share.

This park photo is courtesy of Girl2. I love those bright colors and the funky angle.

I really like this particular park. It's a bit of a drive from my house, but it's not awful. I adore the park. It has lots to do for the big and little ones plus it's somewhat handicapped accessible. It's not as accessible as some, but there is firm ground on a good portion of the equiptment. That's good news for TheBoy who refuses to walk on mulch.

While on the way home, I snapped this shot. It was the coffin that initially caught my eye. Not only is it a coffin, it's a coffin OUTSIDE A PAWN SHOP. WTF? Luckily, I was stopped at a light, so I grabbed my camera and took this picture. When I showed dh, he was amused by the sign stating, "We loan more." I'm more amused by the "No smoking" sign just a few feet away from the coffin.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

“For these (weird) names, consider getting a pet or something that will not grow smart enough to be pissed off at you.”

I Yid it myself.

Fabulous fabulous FABULOUS post over at Jewschool.

I absolutely LOVE the point made. I never really thought of it that way. I lament having to wait for packages of Kosher for Passover matzah shipped from my parents each year. I complain because the military has left us in a place where not only are our fellow Jews few and far between, but some of the goyim is particularly goyish. Dh has always taken issue with the fact that he never had off from school for Rosh Hashanah (I always did when I was in public school). I thought I wanted to send our children to a day school. I didn't. We homeschool. And yes, Judaism is a big part of our school day, but I get the chance to really explain it to them--to their hearts and souls and to answer their questions as per my understanding.

I do tend to march to the beat of my own drum, but I never really thought about how being outside the larger Jewish community really allows that to shine.

So, many thanks are extended for helping me to open my eyes and see things in a new way.

FTR: Yid means Jew and a goy (plural: goyim) is a non-Jew.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Another reason to homeschool

This article is absolutely insane. It's awful what that poor boy is going through. He gets up at 4 or 5 am and stays up doing work until 10? That's crazy. He's a kid. He's in the 5th grade. How the hell is it supposed to help him to be so stressed out? The answer is, obviously, it's not helping him at all nor is it helping his family.

The whole world has gone insane!

Sunday, October 07, 2007


I'm pissed off at the world right now.

Rush Limbaugh is questioning my husband's patriotism. Rush Limbaugh insists those soldiers who don't support the mess in Iraq are "Phony Soldiers." He has since tried to insist his comments were being taken out of context, but in his attempt to do so, he simply shoved his foot further in his mouth.

And how many deployments to Iraq has Rush Limbaugh done? How many times has he been separated from his family by war? How many times was he shot at? How many nights did he stand guard knowing that there was a threat on his military instillation and if that threat came to fruition, he would be expected to throw himself in front of the armed terrorists? How badly do his knees hurt him now as a result of the weight of the weapons he had to carry around? How many hours has he spent in therapy with his family as a result of PTSD? And so, what right does he have to question the authenticity of my husband?

I'm sick to death of these people who insist they support the troops simply because they vote Republican and slap a ribbon bumper sticker on their SUVs. SHUT THE FUCK UP AND SIT YOUR ASSES DOWN.

Today, I saw a friend's husband had the song "Just Came Back From War" on his MySpace profile. You can hear the song here at Darryl Worley's profile. This family is very Conservative and they're pretty wealthy. They're very adamantly opposed to anyone who is anti-Bush. She is the friend I mentioned here.

Honestly, that really offended me. He lives quite the posh life. He's never served at all much less in "war" time. WTF right does he have to post a song that points out how much war changes someone? How dare he do that when the conflict that he supports is changing the men and women who serve in ways he could never possibly imagine. WTF?

My cousin is dying. He has cancer. He's down to 80 lbs. He's in hospice care. Taking the whole family to see him is out of the question (he's 2000 miles away). I'm uncertain about going there alone. This cousin's mother (my aunt after whom I'm named) lost her battle with cancer decades ago. He was only 16 at the time. His sister was 18. His death will leave the same mess. He's leaving behind a 17-year-old daughter and a 15 year-old son. My grandmother's yarzeit was last week. Both my brother's and an aunt's (not the one previously mentioned) are this month. Now it looks like we'll be losing my cousin this month as well. He is such a wonderful person. He's so sweet, so loving, so creative and so much fun. How can this world loose him? Why does the hatred and the stupidity flourish while he wastes away?

And on top of all that, dh and I had discussed trying again for another baby next month. We decided a while ago not to do that, but he can't give me a definite answer on whether or not he wants another. We make these decisions together. He's not going to put his foot down and insist I can't have another child, but at the same time, I don't want to insist that we are regardless of his feelings. So we need to come to an agreement and it just seems like he's pushing it off repeatedly rather than trying to figure out what he wants. Plus, there's a good chance I may not be able to have another baby anyway. I just want a plan. If we find I can't have another child, well then, that decision has been made for us. But I want a plan in the meantime. I want to know that either we're going to start TTC in whatever month or that dh is going to schedule his vasectomy for the near future.

The whole damn world is fucked up. I don't want to deal with all this shit anymore.

I'm frustrated. I'm offended. I'm pissed off. I'm depressed.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Feeling a Little Paranoid? You Will After Reading This.

I have no words.

Wait, that's not true. I have many words, all of them curses.

This is absolutely astonishing and disgusting.

You must go at least browse through this post which points out the huge conflict of interest in some recent breastfeeding studies.

To answer the question she poses at the end, yes, I do boycott Nestle and yes, I can say that I haven't bought any of those brands in the past week. I haven't bought any in a while. It's not easy, though. As my husband likes to point out, "Nestle is taking over the world."