Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Whirpools and Maytags and Kids! Oh My!

I recently found my son and great nephew hanging out together in my sister-in-law's dryer. The laundry had just been taken out and since her hands were full, my sister in law left to put the laundry basket down before coming back to close the dryer door. Of course, by that time, her grandson and my tzaddik were already making themselves at home inside.

After the initial freak out stage, we grabbed our cameras and saved the moment for posterity. It was all very cute.

And then I went to buy a dryer for myself. I wanted a similar one to what my sister in law has and went into the appliance store to check out the features and decide between similar models.

The sales rep there showed us around and when he overheard me fielding a call from my sister (babysitting my munchkin) he said that this specific dryer that we were looking at was great for kids.

Now I don't know about you, but all that comes to mind when I hear "dryer" in the same sentence as "kids" is "IF YOU DON'T GET OUT OF MY DRYER RIGHT THIS SECOND I WILL DO A LOAD WITH YOU IN IT!!!!"

Remember the days of hide and seek?

Well I couldn't imagine that this is what the rep meant, and so I asked.

"Oh," he said happily, "this is the best model for playing hide and go seek in!"

I think I did a double take.

"You see, this was specially built to withstand up to 50lbs of a child's weight so that if yours chose to hide in there it would not break. It even has an easy close from the inside and an air vent so that he can breathe..."

My husband did the double take then.

"Oh yes, and here is a sensor that can feel if there is a child or a pet in the machine and it won't let you do a load if it isn't all right. It will make you check first and open the door before letting you dry the clothes."

Yippee do dah. So because parents were lazy and tired of screaming their kids out of the laundry room all the time, the companies just caved and adapted for hide and go seek.

Not only do they sell this as a safety feature- the fact that it's kid friendly is a selling point for these machines! Wow. Times have changed.

I can't help but get annoyed at the companies- yeah, I know its a safety issue and all and I'm going to buy the machine anyway and take pictures of my son in it whenever he climbs in, but why does our society bend so much to give in to laziness and childish antics?

I see it everywhere these days. I can't complain because I am a part of it all, but I can't help thinking that it's ruining us in a way. When I was growing up there was no such thing as every single kid haveing all the same toys as everyone else in the class and the same $100 backpack and the mandatory iPod for the bas mitzvah present.
What are we subconsciously teaching our next generation? That they deserve it all? That we have to cater to their inability to think for themselves and play by their own rules? We have to make our dryers child proof and give them all permission to play in them?

I know this is kind of taking it out of context, but after spending a few years in the classroom and watching my siblings grow up and thinking about how I'm going to raise my kids and buying new dryers that are rasing my kids for me... It just gets me thinking...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hashem Set that up Years Ago!

In a United States convention of neurologists from all over the world, one of the main topics was the phenomenon of people fainting upon getting up from bed.

One of the speakers was Professor Linda McMaron of Great Britain and she gave a lengthy speech regarding her study on this issue. She elaborated that after many years of study and investigation on this subject, she came to the conclusion that the fainting is caused by the sharp transfer between laying down and standing up.

Professor McMaron said that it takes 12 seconds for the blood to flow from the feet to the brain. But when a person quickly stands up upon waking up, the blood gets 'thrown' to the brain too quickly and the result is fainting. She suggested that each person, even one that does not have a tendency to faint, upon waking up should sit on the bed, and count slowly till 12 to avoid dizziness, weakness, and/or fainting.

Her speech was rewarded with loud applause and enthusiastic feedbacks.

Another Professor, a Jewish religious man, asked permission to speak.

He said: "By us, the Jews, there is an old tradition, thousands of years old, to say a prayer of thanks to the Creator of the World for meriting us to wake up healthy and whole. The prayer is said immediately upon waking up, while one is still on the bed and sitting down. There are 12 words in this prayer and if one regulates himself to say it slowly with concentration, it takes exactly 12 seconds to says it... 12 words in 12 seconds.

He said the prayer slowly in Hebrew:
Mode Ani Lefanecha Melech Chai VeKayam, Shehechezarta Bi Nishmati Bechemla Raba Emunatecha
“I thank Thee, O living and eternal King, because Thou hast graciously restored my soul to me; great is Thy faithfulness.”

The auditorium burst into a standing applause that roared throughout the auditorium. This time, it was for the Creator of the World.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Now Eye Know

On the first day of school in third grade two of my best friends came in wearing glasses. I decided then that I needed glasses too. Of course, even with excessive squinting and horribly misreading signs, my mother wasn't convinced that I needed a prescription.

So I began to read in the dark, stopped eating carrots, and did whatever I could to ruin my eyesight enough to need glasses.

I finally got them the day before school started in sixth grade.

I have hated them ever since.

Almost as soon as I got my first pair of frames they were out of style. Because my insurance didn't cover them, I couldn't get new ones until they broke in the summer before eighth grade. When I got new ones I decided they were dead ugly and when I lost them a month later my mother thought it was done on purpose. I walked around half blind for almost a year until my mother was finally convinced that I really didn't know where my glasses were.

My memories of eighth grade all have a blurry quality... as if I was walking through that year not really seeing what was going on around me...

Of course I found those ugly glasses (Pesach cleaning) the week before my appointment with the eye doctor and when I showed them to my mother she finally agreed that they were as ugly as I insisted they were.

And then I finally got contact lenses!!! For the next six years no one even knew I had ugly glasses because they never saw me in them.

And then I had chemo and I had to stop wearing my lenses because my eyes were sensitive to them. I started a search to find special lenses that my eyes could deal with and finally ended up wearing Acuvue2 like everyone else in the world.

And then I had my baby and after many many many sleepless nights my eyes just wouldn't cooperate with my percious contacts on a day to day basis. And so I went out and bought a new pair of cool frames.

Of course, walking into class this past September, I found that I was wearing the same pair of cool frames as half of my students.

Luckily, JB began sleeping through the night right about then and it was back to my lenses most of the time.

But then I noticed I had a problem seeing certain things. I saw everything around me just fine but for some reason couldn't read street signs until they were right above me. I missed way too many turns on Ocean Parkway before I realized I should check it out.

Mind you, I was determined to check this out almost a year ago, but just got around to it now...

My oncologist told me to check out the possibility of cataracts because it was a side effect of one of the chemos. My father had just finished cataract surgery that week even though he was still too young to have them, and I decided right then that I must also have cataracts.

My eye doctor checked my eyes and found nothing wrong with me and so I made an appointment with an Opthamologist. I was getting all excited thinking about how I was going to have cataract surgery and then never need to wear glasses again.

I reminisced about the times I read with a flashlight under the covers and squinted on purpose and promised that if my kids ever asked for glasses I'd give them a pair of empty frames like my grandmother wears just to look good so that they shouldn't have to ruin their eyesight for it. That way when they decide they're as sick of glasses as I am they can forget about them and never have to live with the curse of a real prescription.

I was getting all emotional about getting my vision back and starting over when I booked my appointment.

I had my appointment last week. The doctor looked at my eyes and said that even though I had a white cloudy spot in one of them it meant nothing much and he wasn't going to touch it now.

When I asked him what I could do to correct whatever was wrong with my vision he laughed and said I should find a new doctor because my other one didn't know what he was talking about. Within five minutes he had me written up for a newer higher prescription and I walked home from his office wearing those huge offensive ugly sunglasses feeling like an idiot.

Hypochondriac that I am, and all I need is yet another new pair of glasses.

So I'm off to fix my prescription (which did I mention hasn't been updated in 5 years?) and I hope this will be the last episode in the saga of my eye wear until I'm ready to do Lasik...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Practice Makes Progress

Not the type of thing that's really related to the blog, but the newest poem off my press and couldn't wait to share!

My pencil pressed hard on that paper with lines,
As I practiced my script in a writing so fine.
My teacher gave stars to the work that was best,
“Practice makes perfect” she said to the rest.

My little tongue poked out as I rounded a letter.
Knowing this time it was sure to be better.
I waited for approval as teacher checked my swirls,
And finally got a sticker like the other girls.

But even with the shiny star I got at the end,
I knew my script couldn’t compare to that of my friend.
I really tried my best and I knew that I did good,
But others always seemed to do better than I could.

All through the years perfection was the dream
And I practiced all the time so I could see what it would mean
But somehow even when I pulled out all the stops,
Perfection was out of reach- somewhere at the top.

It got me down as I grew to understand
That I was never going to attain the goal I had at hand.
Perfection was unreachable, it got me really blue.
“Practice makes perfect” just didn’t ring true.

And then one day it hit me, it was sparkling clear,
Perfection wasn’t the reason that I was put down here.
If Hashem wanted perfect he wouldn’t have created me,
He just wanted the best- the best that I could be.

It didn’t stop my practicing; I just set different heights,
And I didn’t want perfection to ever cloud my sight.
Now my dreams of perfect; I dismissed ‘em,
“Practice make progress” was what I put into my system

No one here is perfect, it’s an unattainable score
But we can progress in life and grow a little more.
Life is all about changing, learning, and growing,
And those that think “perfect” are not all- knowing.

I think we can never stop learning and practicing to fly,
Because we are only here as long as we try.
We exist to work on and better our souls,
Progress, not perfect is the name of our goal.

Today when I see my kids keeping up with demands,
I take their little chins and lift them in my hands.
And tell them “Practice makes progress” that’s all you need to know,
Hashem is very happy just to see you grow!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Fair's Fair

This poem was sent to me by a 12 year old girl who goes by the name TaliHotTamale. I thought it was beautiful and wanted to share it with everyone. The nicest part about having this blog and the book is getting feedback and learning how awesome other people can be.

Teacher said that life ain't fair,
Mommy said so too.
But what I’d really like to know, what I wonder is if it’s really true.
If you get a cookie instead of me, do I have right to cry and say,
Life ain't fair?
If I fall down out of carelessness do I have right to scream and say,
Life ain't fair?
If you are funnier, smarter, or nicer than me do I have right to whine and say,
Life ain't fair?
If I get sick one day instead of you does that give me the right to groan that,
Life ain't fair?
For the King of all Kings sits on His throne on judgment day and looks down in His book
And if He thinks you should be He’ll let you off the hook.
But if that’s not the case and we don’t deserve to swim away,
Do we have the right to go and cry and then complain?
For our Father in Heaven only does what’s best, and never Judges unfairly while he throws at us those tests.
So are Mommy, teacher, and the rest right to say that life ain't fair?
I don’t think so.
In my eyes there couldn't be anything fairer.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

To Teachers

This song was sent to me by Freeda Goldman. She wrote it for a teacher who helped her through a hard time.

(to:shema [shwekey])

I leave the classroom, "thanks goodbye",
see the worry in your eyes
you can't approach,
is there what to say..
with a heart locked up in a wall of stone
to cover up the stress at home
here I sit in your class each day..

In the shadows, I sit in back
Life's confusing
So much looks black
Yet some people linger
They show me a kind face
Help me out, wrap me in an embrace....

(chorus) you watch,
don't know what to do...
know that I also
am confused too
I long to learn, to participate,
just know that it's not your class I hate
Teacher it's all right,
It's not about you

I wait for these times to pass
So I can reapply myself to the tasks
Of a normal student with a normal home...
I travel far in my mind
To find a place where all is kind
Perhaps there I won't feel so alone

My heart will warm,
And melt the cold
"all is well" I'll finally be told
"Hashem above" I cry out
"Please help me get through
Only You can help me, only You"

(chorus) you watch,
don't know what to do...
know that I also
am confused too
I long to learn, to participate,
just know that it's not your class I hate
Teacher, it's all right,
It's not about you

So from afar, you watch me
This is the way, it has to be
but don't worry,
I know you're there
It means a lot for me to know
You care about me and so
Please overlook my behavior and blank stares

My heart will warm,
And melt the cold
"all is well" I'll finally be told
Teacher, please understand,
I feel torn in two
I can't but want, to listen to you....

(chorus)you watch,
don't know what to do...
know that I also
am confused too
I long to learn, to participate,
just know that it's not your class I hate
Teacher it's all right,
It's not about you

Thursday, July 03, 2008

First Aid for Men

Dedicated to my dear husband who makes sure I take my vitamins but will never swallow a Tylenol.

When it comes to boo-boos, every man thinks he’s real tough,
“First Aid? Pshaw! That’s just baby stuff!”
A man may be feeling deathly sick and ill,
But you’ll never see a “real man” taking any pills!

Hallmark cards are silly; men don’t read ‘em,
And doctors?Ha! Who needs them?
‘Cos every man is just like you,
Thinks he’s Bob the Builder too!

You’d think men run on batteries the way they keep on going,
And pain? They’ll do everything to keep us from knowing!
And it’s only when they feel like being really nice,
That they’ll “do you a favor” and use some ice.

See, when they are hurt they don’t need no help.
They can find their own way to the “fix it” shelf.
They don’t see why stitches should do the trick,
When Crazy Glue can also make a cut stick.

Between paper clips, rubber bands, and colorful tacks,
Men have their own way of getting on track.
Hammers and screwdrivers, nails, and glue,
They accomplish everything a doctor can do!

“Don’t worry,” “I’m fine,” and “It’s really okay”
Are typical phrases you’ll hear them say.
‘Cos they’re sure they can fix anything, after all, in the end,
There’s a reason why Duct Tape is a man’s best friend!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Don't Judge Me (please)

You talk down to my heart, my pride,
You challenge my journeys and my ride
You put down my success and joy,
All for your own selfish ploys.

You think you have a right to judge me,
Just because you can’t begrudge me,
The happiness I stand to gain,
While you’re still riding on your train.

You think you have a right to this,
To smack down my smiles and bliss,
You say you know me but you don’t,
You only see me through what I wrote.

You haven’t been through thick and thin,
You have no idea what shape I’m in,
You weren’t with me through the sludge,
I don’t think you have a right to judge.

Say what you will, I can’t care now,
I know I’m here and I know how,
You had nothing to do with who I am,
And so I’ll ignore what you say as you talk to the hand.

I know it’s not over; you’re not the only one,
There’ll be many more of this until it’s done,
But for right now I am not ready to budge,
Say what you will, but please don’t judge.

It might be jealousy; it might be for real,
But scars you cause are hard to heal,
Who are you to shout out loud?
What have you done that makes you proud?

When you stand with and hold my hand
Then if you want to judge I’ll understand,
But until I say you have an in,
I only answer to myself and Him.