Happy 2-8

Happy birthday to me

Happy birthday to me

Happy birthday dear Aztecqueen2000

Happy birthday to me!

Happy 28th!  Annd mmannny moooooore!

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Published in: on June 24, 2009 at 3:17 pm  Comments (1)  

Rebecca’s here!

One of my hobbies (OK, borderline obsessions) is American Girl dolls.  When I was a kid, I would pore over the catalogs, wanting one like anything but knowing that it was out of my family’s price range.  Well, just before I got married, I bought Samantha.  Slowly, over the course of a year, I bought all the clothes, furnishings, and accessories to round out her collection, just in time for her to be retired.

Now AG has released its newest doll, Rebecca.  She’s from 1914, she’s Jewish, and she’s MINE!  Along with Rebecca, I got her two outfits, her bed, her school supplies, her kittens, and her sideboard.  Her Shabbos set is on the way, and her pajamas, robe and accessories will be my next purchase, probably around Hanukkah.  Hopefully, they will release more things for her then.

Published in: on June 9, 2009 at 10:48 am  Comments (2)  

Pro-life?

Recently, a doctor who performed abortions was murdered by a pro-life activist.

Let’s think about that one for a moment.

I guess his concern for life ends at birth.  Or else he feels that  the right to life doesn’t apply to abortion doctors.  Sorry to tell you this, but abortion doctors are a form of human life.  And I hope you have a long prison stay to think about that.

However, I see another side to this.  Personally, even though I am pro-choice, I am vehemently opposed to late-term abortions.  First of all, a woman has six months to deal with that decision.  Secondly, a fetus can survive outside outside the womb as early as 23 weeks.  At that point, it is truly ending a life, and not simply performing a medical procedure.

Published in: on June 8, 2009 at 8:54 am  Comments (1)  

Gay marriage–Why cry about it?

So, New York is considering legalizing gay marriage.  New Hampshire already has.  And people are all kinds of upset.

Why?

As I see it, if two men (or two women) decide to marry each other, it won’t affect my life one bit.  It’s not like it will undo my marriage.  Besides, why deny a percentage of the population their civil rights?  You see, with marriage comes rights of inheritance, power of attorney, rights over mutually adopted children, and the ability to put the other on health insurance policies.  And please don’t drag out the “immorality” line.  Not even fifty years ago, certain states decreed it “immoral” and hence illegal for two people to get married if one’s skin happened to be a few shades darker than the other’s.  See Loving v. Virginia if you don’t believe me

That’s my political view.  However, from a halachic standpoint, it is wrong for two men (and some say, two women) to engage in an act of sexual intimacy.  It’s very much forbidden by the Torah.  SO, I can’t argue with that.  In fact, I would not go to a rabbi for any halachic questions if I knew that he had officiated at such a wedding.

So, i guess it’s a complicated issue for me.  However, I do support gays getting their legal rights with my vote.  And in the end, I guess that’s all that counts.

Published in: on June 3, 2009 at 6:22 pm  Comments (9)  

Pirates ahoy!

Recently, a pirate attack on an Italian cruiser was thwarted.  Before that, pirates captured a ship and took the captain hostage for five days.

Huh?  Last time I checked, this was the 21st century.  Most peple think of modern piracy applying to DVDs, not ships.  When we think of the swashbucklers of the high seas, we think of tall ships carrying the likes of Blackbeard, Long John Silver, and Captain Hook.  We think of Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean, chests filled with gold dubloons and treasure, eye patches and peg-legs.  We think of the Jolly Roger, lusty wenches, swords, and Jean LaFitte (technically a privateer).  Mostr of all, we think of the 18th century.  Nowhere in our image are Somalians running around with AK-47s.

Published in: on April 29, 2009 at 10:15 am  Comments (4)  

Last post before Pesach

Has it been a crazy month here in this cat’s hat!

Life with the Things has been–interesting.  Thing 1 got Pinocchio from the Queen Mom and has watched it about 10,000 times.  So far she’s picked up her colors, can count to eight in one-to-one correspondence and can identify two letters of the alphabet–Q and Z, or as she calls it, “zebra.”

Thing 2 wants to crawl, and is this close to crawling backwards.  She’s also making a few “baby noises.”  A part of me just wants her to stay this age–tiny, cute, toothless, and in love with Mommy!

We had a babysitter for a while, but she was pretty worthless.  She came, and she sat.  I had to push her to engage my kids.  Of course, this is really fun while I’m trying to clean for Pesach.

Also, like everyone else, I am following the recovery plan with some interest.  The stimulus knocked $1,200 off our tax bill this year.  Yay for President Obama!

Published in: on April 2, 2009 at 11:12 am  Leave a Comment  

Reason #294 why “playgroup” just ain’t happening

Yesterday was Shabbos Zachor.  So, the Things and I dropped in at the local synagogue to catch a reading.

Normally, I consider two little kids and a shul to be a really bad combination.  Let’s face it, kids tend to act, um, “charming” when we least wish them to be.  Fortunately, the Young Israel (I won’t say which one) has a little drop-in daycare playroom so that parents can keep their youngsters out of the sanctuary.  They even had a special reading of Zachor for all the little kids and those parents who chose to stay in the playroom with them. 

Just as the service was ending, Thing 2 woke up and wanted to eat.   I have basically given up on trying to convince Thing 2 of the merits of the occasional bottle.  So, I have to take her out to nurse her.  I was gone for about five minutes, and came back to face every parent’s worst nightmare.

As I re-enter the playroom, I see no sign of Thing 1.  So, I go to the woman in charge, and ask, “Excuse me, wher’s my kid?”

“Uh…good question!”  This is about the last thing I want to hear!  A part of me wanted to grab this idiot’s shoulders, shake her until her teeth chattered, and scream “YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE WATCHING HER!”  But, I didn’t.  First of all, I could tell that she was upset about misplacing my daughter.  For another, I have no desire to be charged with assault.

So, after putting out an APB, I set out to search.  Unfortunately, between the crowd leaving the building, and dragging Thing 2 in her carrier (like HELL I’m putting down the one I have left,) I’m a bit hindered.  Meanwhile, Builder tells me that I should have made sure that someone was watching her.  (Um, that’s kind of the point of the playroom, dear.).  Well, it turns out someone was watching her.  The other playroom supervisor watched my kid…watched her wander out!

Finally, after about 5-10 minutes, Builder comes back with Thing 1, happy as a bird and munching on candy.  She’d wandered to the shul’s basement.  I was so relieved to get her back!  On the way home, I told Builder, “If this is the way they run a railroad around here, I don’t even want to hear the word ‘playgroup’ again for a very long time!”

Published in: on March 8, 2009 at 4:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

Someone told me it’s all happening at the zoo…

Yesterday, the Things and I trekked out to the Bronx Zoo for our first “official” homeschool event.  It was a class for 2-4 year-old homeschoolers, and of course a chance for them to “socialize.”  All in all, a disappointment.

Firt of all, I don’t drive anymore.  Between dealing with Builder’s Explorer (he’s one of the few people who can justify ownership of an SUV, but I still hate the thing) and dealing with bad New York drivers (see my post on Boro Park WMDs), I am sticking with public transportation, car services and walking.  Fortunately, car services do provide car seats.  (Hey, I learned something new!)  So we took a car service out to the Bronx.  True, there is a stop for the zoo off the 5 train, but who in their right mind is going to shlep two babies and a double stroller up and down all those damn stairs?

(Yeah.  Turned out the babysitter was a flake.)

So we get there, and despite the class being listed on Jewish Homeschoolers of NYC, I was the only Jewish family there.  I don’t mind my kid getting a little diversity, but I knew Builder wouldn’t be too happy.  Also, none of the parents, myself included, were actually homeschooling yet!  All of them had brought their oldest children, 2 and 3 year olds.  Some had decided they would homeschool, some were yuppie parents weighing their options, but none of them were really “official” yet.  (If your kid’s under six, you ain’t homeschooling.  Sorry.) 

So, we get to the classroom in the Gorilla House, and I could tell right away that the class leader was expecting an older crowd.  I guess she didn’t get the memo that everyone in the class would be under 4.  She expected everyone to sit still and listen, know their letters, and accomplish all of these feats without parental help.  Once she figures out that this group still has some members in diapers (including Thing 1), she has to switch gears very quickly.  So, she pulls out a frog puppet, which Thing 1 immediately covets.  When the puppet goes away,  Thing 1 lets me, and the entire class, know that she wannnnts it back.  Right at the top of her lungs.  Yeah, not one of our prouder moments.  I soon find out, however, that the yuppie parents have been dragging their kids to events like this for quite a while, and their little ones know how to behave.  Only one other member of the group has a younger sibling, and by younger, I mean practically Thing 1’s age.  So, not only am I behind on the “socialization,”  I’m also breeding too much.

After we match a few animals to the letters their names start with, then the fun begins.  We get to see live animals!  A chinchilla and a turtle put in an appearance, and I actually get Thing 1 to sit still long enough to pet both animals.  Finally, as little attention spans begin to wander, we take a tour of the Gorilla House.  After the class, I walk around with a couple of the other parents, and find out that winter is not the best time for a trip to the zoo.  Many of the exhibits are closed because of the weather.  So the other parents and I make our way to the giraffe house, and I find out that there’s an art class for toddlers at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  The 3-year-old “student” in this class lets me know that “Perseus” holds Medusa’s head.  And I thought Thing 1 was doing well correctly identifying the color pink.

However, the day wasn’t a total loss.  I did meet the mom who put the class together, and she is a real homeschool mom, in that her kid is actually old enough to be homeschooling.  We talked for a while about the logistics of organizing a meetup in Central Park for the homeschoolers on the board.   Finally, people to talk shop with!  How to find materials for limudei kodesh!  And, of course, how to navigate New York tricky homeschool laws!

Should I go back next week?  Naah!

Published in: on February 26, 2009 at 4:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

Mom’s Day Out

Well, I think I may have found a babysitter.  Now comes the moment I’ve been waiting almost a year for–Mom’s Day Out!  Five glorious hours without my kids!

Don’t get me wrong; I love my kids.  BUT–after a year of being with them 24-7, I seriously need a break.  Since this is going to be a weekly ritual, I need to figure out what to do first.  Do I:

-Take a nap without having hardback books and toys thrown at my head

-Eat a meal without having to stop every five minutes to nurse a baby, while “sharing” half of it with a toddler who salivates over it, takes two bites, and then won’t touch it

-Read a book without pictures or rhyming text

-Get a mani/pedi

-Catch a movie

-Take in a Broadway matinee

-Buy fabric

-Crochet

Decisions, decisions.  I’ll let everyone know how it went

Published in: on February 14, 2009 at 8:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

I am woman, hear me sing

Of all the halachas out there, only one really grates me.  I mean this one REALLY gets under my skin.  It’s not Shabbos, or kashrus, or covering hair (although I’m not sure why I should cover my hair with hair.  But OK, when in Rome.)

It’s kol isha.

I mention this because this week is Parshas Beshallach, aka Shabbos Shirah.  It;s called Shabbos Shirah because there are, between the parshah and the haftarah, three songs.  And, two of them happen to be sung by women!

We all read the story every day of the parting of the sea, and how Moshe Rabbeinu sand a victory song in praise of G-d actions.   But afterwards, Miriam picked up her tambourine and, not to be outdone by her brother, led all the women in song.  Shocking!  After all, women can’t sing in front of men! 

One explanation I heard for this was that the women all stood off to one side so the men wouldn’t hear them, and Miriam’s percussionary prowess drowned out their voices.  Since we know that there were 600,000 men, and most of them were probably married, that would mean there were about a half-million women.  Where were they standing in that open desert, Eretz Canaan?  Also, I don’t care if you have Peter Criss of KISS doing percussion, one tambourine can’t drown out a half-million voices in an open plain.  Another was that the Torah had not yet been given, so there was no prohibition of kol isha yet.  Really?  Then how did Yaakov Avinu know to say Shema when he was reunited with his son (Shema is not taught until Devarim chapter 6)?  What were Shem and Eber teaching at their tent yeshiva?  More importantly, how did Noach know which animals were kosher when he loaded up the ark before the Flood?

However, Miriam is not the only one rocking out in praise of Hashem.  In the haftarah, taken from Sefer Shoftim (Judges), we hear the story of Devorah’s victory against Sisera’s army, mostly made possible by Yael and her “stake” dinner., Afterwards, Devorah and Barak sing a little duet about Hashem’s triumph over evil.  W00t!  However, something tells me that this had to be a public act.  After all, if it made it Tanach, odds are she didn’t perform this little number in the closet.

Now we have two women, both of them righteous, both of them prophets, singing in public.  How then do we justify the halachah of kol isha?

Some say that a woman’s voice is so powerful, it can seduce a man.  After all, look at the myth of the Sirens.  Heck, just look at the old 900 lines.  However, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.  From Frank Sinatra to the Jonas Brothers women and girls have gone crazy for a man’s voice.  Personally, I have chosen dating partners based solely on their voices twice in my life.  Neither experience ended particularly well.  (Builder’s voice is pretty average.  But he can still do a pretty fair “Askinu Seudasa.”)

Here’s an idea.  Let’s pass a new law that men can’t sing in front of women.  The only music permitted is instrumental.  That should leave everyone pretty well dissatisfied.

Published in: on February 2, 2009 at 4:00 pm  Comments (1)