Sunday, December 31, 2006

can we get back to you?

So Zora and Razi were putting together a "show" which I, of course, was waiting eagerly to watch.

Finally they called me to come sit on the couch and watch it. Zora held a stuffed toy in front of her face and mumbled something incomprehensible while Razi danced around with a box on his head.

When I said to Zora that I could not hear her, she told me "Ima, we forgot to practice how the show goes."


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Something to say?

My mom has asked me to blog more often. Hi mom! ;)

We just had a lovely visit with my mother and father. They should come more often. the kids love to see them, and that makes me so happy.

Winter break starts really soon. The girls have school tomorrow but not on friday, and Razi has school on friday but then they all get two weeks off. I'm already panicking. I hate winter break. The kids get really bored and it's so cold I hate to plan outings. Play dates. I need to schedule a zillion play dates.

I did enough surveys to get another free CD. This time I chose "on and on" by jack johnson. I like it and so does Lilah. She and I danced to some of it yesterday. I love watching her dance. She's so incredibly cute.

Supposedly, I am writing a novel. I obviously need a deadline, because I've written a paragraph. About a week ago. And that's it. Yikes!

And this is why I don't blog very often. My life is dull, I have nothing to say. ;)

Friday, November 17, 2006

random stuff

after searching unsuccessfully for lapsang souchong at, what, three different kroger stores? i finally made the time to check the fancy-pants supermarket. yay! my favorite tea. mmmmmmmmmm. i've had some every day since i bought it. i have to be careful though, because it still makes me feel a bit... off, if i drink a great deal of it. it might be the caffeine. apparently it's a highly caffienated tea, for tea anyway.

lilah is doing GREAT with preschool. nowadays i bring her, i put her down, she walks in and doesn't look back or need a hug or even to wave goodbye. to quote my mother's favorite story about my childhood: "i don't need you any more, mommy."

on the other hand, i think she's begun to transition out of her nap. she's a touch under the weather today, and went to sleep easily, but this is the first time she's fallen asleep without difficulty in something like a week.

i hate nap transitions.

but by this age her sister zora was completely done with napping, so at least she postponed it, in comparison.

i still don't know where zora is going to go to kindergarten. or how i am going to pay for it. oh, she can go for free, but only half-day. full-day public school kindergarten will cost me $1800/year. full-day private school, which i would loveLoveLOVE to send her to, would be $4000/yr, before scholarships. but that is only if the private school gets enough children to HAVE kindergarten next year.

last i checked, the private jewish school was as likely to have enough kids for a class as i was to have $4000 sitting around doing nothing. now, paying for public school makes me angry enough to spit nails. but i still feel half-day would be a waste of her time. yuck-o. i want a fairy godmother to come fix this for me.

yesterday was razi's seventh birthday. wow. i've been a mother for seven years and a day. and he got a 100% on his spelling test today, just like last week. he's such a great kid. also, a massive goofball, but he's seven. it's part of the territory.

in addition to all that, he needs braces. my, how times have changed. apparently putting braces on six and seven year olds is all the rage in orthodonture these days. but i can't deny that his teeth are messed up. even if i hadn't seen the panoramic x-rays (and i have. yikes!), he's already got a tooth coming in very, very crooked. looks like he inherited his grandpa john's mouth, and if you've looked into john's mouth, you'll know why that thought makes me willing to get braces for my seven year old. for those of you who've never seen my father-in-law smile, i will allow you to imagine.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

a damn good day.

one of the worst things about living in a university town is that i make friends with graduate students and then later they move away. feh. especially because, being a very ordinary person (but only in certain very small and overlapping subcultures) it isn't easy for me to make friends in the first place.

i prefer, when possible, to have jewish friends. barring that, people who understand the ironies and demands of modern faithfulness.

i prefer, when possible, to have friends who parent their kids rather like i try to parent mine. barring that, well, it's probably easier if they don't have any kids.

i prefer, when possible, to have friends who are a bit geeky and computer nerdy and science fictiony and such. barring that, i cope.

i prefer, when possible, to have friends who are feminist. barring that, well, actually, there is no barring that. they have to have at least some feminist consciousness.

i prefer, when possible, to have friends who are cool with queer culture and queer people. barring that, i don't want to know, or they aren't my friend anymore.

and i prefer, when possible, to have friends with an ironic and sarcastic sense of humor. barring that, i cry into my tea and bewail my fate.

so why is today such a good day? well, first i brought razi and zora to religious school, and someone i met during the high holy days was running the bagel cafe. and we got a lot of time (over two hours) to talk and get to know each other better. and she's cool. muy cool. no kids yet, but she and her spouse are working on changing that. and i think she fits all my other "prefers" up there. and she's a writer. so i read some of her blog when i got home. she's even cooler than i thought. as in, she has a nerd harem on her blog. she is SO getting invited over soon.

and when i got home, the "lunch date" was here. by that i mean a couple who go to our synagogue that spouse and i have been working on getting over here since, well, the high holy days, actually. and we had a blast. we talked work, SCA, politics, personal history, what it's like raising kids in this town (because like the chick above, they don't have kids yet but are thinking about changing that).... i like them both. a bunch. the wife and i have some career things in common, the husband and my spouse talked and talked about all sorts of stuff... they were here for hours. i think they genuinely liked us, too.

and best of all, not a one of these people is a graduate student!

so! a good day. yeah.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Lilah has completely adjusted to preschool. She does scream in anger when she realizes I'm leaving her there, but she stops in a minute or two -- before I finish signing her and her sister Zora in, actually.

I've spent a few hours in Razi's classroom now, and I'm glad to be there. I go on Friday mornings from about 10:15 to about 11:15. Last week the teacher actually allowed me to grade the spelling tests. I felt so unworthy. ;)

A little girl named Autumn kept wanting to come talk with me. I told her she'd spelled every single word on her test correctly (hardly anyone managed the word "orange") and taught her how to spell totem. She'd spelled it todum. Spending time with first graders who are learning to spell reminds me all over again how evil English spelling is. Why isn't it "oranj," for goodness sake?!

I was in charge of set up and clean up for the Rosh Hashana reception and the Yom Kippur Break-the-Fast this year. And I came closer to fasting for Yom Kippur than I ever have in my life. I'm pretty sure I'm hypoglycemic, plus I've spent most of my adulthood pregnant, nursing or both, so I don't fast. But this time, I decided to drastically limit calories. So before the Break-the-Fast I'd eaten some milky tea, one hard-boiled egg, and some watery soup. I felt awful. I'm so glad the High Holy Days are over. I didn't feel spiritual at all. On the other hand, I feel like I did a lot of good work for the congregation and I was a good Jew. So, you win some you lose some, it seems, even with things like this.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Fulcrum Power! aka The Strongest 2 Year Old in the Universe!

Yesterday was Lilah's second birthday party. The day before that we had finally cleared out Zora's walk-in closet. Until then Joshua and I had been storing a lot of our old boxes of unexamined old papers in there. We quickly realized that Lilah had a fascination for the inside of the closet, and since her new "hobby" is closing doors, we put a protector on the top of the closet door so she wouldn't lock herself in.

This morning I went in there to grab a dress for her to wear, and I discovered that at some point yesterday -- probably during the noise and confusion of the party -- she'd used the protector as a fulcrum and pulled the door off of two of its three hinges. Six screws yanked right out of the door. Whoa.

I think we're just going to take the door right off the hinges and get rid of it. We'll replace it... someday.

Till then, I've learned another lesson in fulcrum power. Next time, the foam protector goes almost at the edge of the door, not right up near the hinges!

Friday, September 08, 2006

She's growing up!

For a minute there it looked like I was going to have to pull Lilah out of preschool.

Her first day went excellently. She walked into the room and didn't look back at me once. I left, she had a great day, and when I came back three hours later, she turned around, saw me, and gave me an enormous smile and a hug. In retrospect, I think she was so happy to be there that she simply didn't notice my absence for those three hours.

On her second day, she cried as soon as I started to carry her into the room.
Her third day was the same. I was a little worried, but then I came to get her at noon and she was outside, playing and having fun. I thought this meant she was fine, but I later learned she'd been upset on and off all morning until she went outside and could be with her sister.

Then on her fourth day, she cried when we got there, she was crying when I left, and she was crying still, forty-five minutes later when they called and asked me to come get her. She was upsetting the other children.

But I didn't want to give up! She'd fussed and yelled and complained the whole previous year when we'd dropped off her sister and she'd been forced to leave! And it was only two days a week! I felt confident that if we could get her over this hump, she would love it there.

So for the third week we tried something new.

On Tuesday, we brought Zora and instead of leaving, we went into Lilah's classroom and she started to cry. But I sat down with her on my lap and just... stayed. For the whole three hours. After a while (forty-five minutes?) she'd gone off into the corner and ceased to notice me. She was doing great! The teacher said I could leave if I wanted, but I said no, I promised her I would stay all day and since I don't know how much language she understands I had better not break my promise.

On Wednesday, however, I did want to leave.

She wasn't willing to let me go, and I kept edging for the door every time she got interested in the room, toys, or other children, which was probably a mistake. Finally I realized I was going to be there a while, so I just sat down and relaxed. Later, when she went off to one corner of the room, I went to another, where she couldn't see me. She didn't come looking for me that time!

When the head teacher interrupted a story reading to take Lilah to the bathroom and change her, I escaped.

They didn't call!

On Thursday I stayed as long as I could before taking her big brother Razi to a dental appointment. (Which turned out to be a complete waste of time, but that is another story). She fussed and cried for a bit after we left, but then she was fine.

And today, again, she was angry and sad when I left, but then, she was fine.


This means I can volunteer in Razi's first grade classroom. I can have some time to myself. I have a built in time for medical appointments for me or any of the kids. I can ride that bicycle I bought this summer.

I am really happy about this. :)

Sunday, August 06, 2006


Zora was watching Fantasia, which has a dinosaur extinction scene. She asked me where the people were. I told her there were no people then. So she asked me where the people came from.

So I gave her a brief description of evolution. The shortest I could come up with.

She can be a real challenge, but I'm very proud of her.

Friday, July 07, 2006

the cats

I know it's fun to look at pictures, and since I won't post pics of my children here, I figure I can do the next best thing and post pictures of the cats. :)

This is Sozo. Her name is, according to what we googled up, greek for "to heal, to cure, to prevent destruction" a good omen but not necessarily an accurate description of her. We saw the name on a coffee shop on the way home from the cattery.

You can't tell from the photos, but she has blue eyes. Also, she's very small. She probably weighs about six pounds. She's four years old this month. She is very... aloof. She loves me, she loves to have her head scratched like this.

She spends most of her time sleeping on my bed, and she and Tiamat still don't like each other. They have learned how to live in the same house without (usually) drawing blood, however.

And this is Tiamat. She is a little over a year old. Her name is from a Babylonian/Assyrian creation Goddess who often took a dragon form. If I recall correctly her children chopped her up and built the world out of her parts. Yikes.

Anyway, Tiamat is pretty much our perfect cat. She puts up with more nonsense from the children than any cat should have to suffer through, and she seems to love them nonetheless.

Tiamat is also very small. She weighs a bit more than Sozo, perhaps 7 pounds. Between the two of them they weigh what one ordinary cat weighs.

People tell me often that she is very pretty, but I confess I don't see it. It really doesn't matter though, sicne she is so good with all three of the kids.

And here, because I could not resist, is a picture of my silly Fourth of July fingernails.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

far too true

"Abba, if I were a clock, I would be a talking clock!"
Zora, June 24, 2006

Friday, June 16, 2006


other local parents have been telling me about this great new playground in town. i kept thinking yeah, i should go there with the kids. we finally made it a few days ago.

i wasn't sure where it was, so i drove slowly through the park it is in, looking for it. it's a large park, with a golf course and then a long winding road with more than one playground. it must be an old park as well, because the trees are thick and huge.

anyway, i'd heard it was "completely redone". so when i saw a totally fancy new parking lot i thought okay, that must be it. the playground, however, looked quite ordinary and there were no children on it. but there was a large stone shelter with indoor bathrooms, and the stream was nice and the trees were nice and i figured well, i guess the playground that was here before was awful. we stayed a while and then i saw something through the trees. what was that? it was bright red... wait a minute... was that the REAL new playground, across the street and behind some trees?

we walked across the street to find what has got to be the best playground i've ever seen in my whole life. i took some pictures just to show it off. i love my town.
the playground has this thing children can climb up and two of the slides that come down are about three stories tall. look for the adults in the photos for has a little play house, a section just for kids under five, a rope climbing structure i've never seen the likes of in the US (though i saw two in scotland years ago). it has lots of swings. one is almost like a huge plastic throne. two are these large saucers that can fit four kids at once. it has a huge long bridge/walkway that the kids love to run up and down. it has places to eat with tent-like covers to create's fabulous. we've been there three times in three days.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

clever kid!

"You can only be shrunk if you're in a book. You can only be shrunk if you're pretending. And if you are real, and you are shrunk, then you're pretending."
Zora, June 8, 2006

Friday, May 19, 2006

A little snarky, I know.

I was driving home a few minutes ago and I saw an older man driving one of those cute, zippy little sports cars that men often seem to buy when they are having a "mid-life crisis". I think this one was a white Miata.

And I got to wondering. If men are buying vehicles to prove that they are still virile, then the car surely represents his actual "manhood", right? So why are these cars so often small, and fast?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

cat update

We have decided to keep both cats. They are getting along much better now, though they still annoy one another sometimes.

Tiamat has learned that she can scratch the children and my son is enamored of playing roughly with her. We've had to set up a system of negative consequences for him having new scratches on his face, arms and/or hands. It seems to be helping, but both big kids still want to pick her up constantly. She is a remarkably patient cat and we are lucky to have her. She has her annoying habits, though. She is a licker and a meower. I've never heard such a loud cat that wasn't part Siamese. I suppose, since she seems to be a total mutt, that she could BE part Siamese, but if so it certainly isn't something one can see by looking at her. She's a calico (who looks like a tortoiseshell, as the white is confined to two spots) with yellow eyes.

Sozo got really loud for a while there, but it turned out that she was in heat. We got her spayed so that won't happen again, thank goodness. A Tonkinese in heat is LOUD. Sozo still spends just about all of her time in the bathroom in the little "cat condo" I bought for her. She's quite the anti-social animal, even taking into consideration that she is a cat, but she will put up with me extracting her from her condo at night after the kids go to bed. I put her in my lap and pet her while I sit at the computer. She allows this for a while, then retreats back to her condo. Hey, at least she's happy.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Motivational techniques

"If you wash everything, I'll give you a star! And then I'll give you a smiley sticker!"
My son, watching me put dishes into the dishwasher this morning. Can you tell he is in kindergarten?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


This morning I was getting the "big kids" ready for school and walked into my bedroom to check on my middle kid. She was sitting on the toilet and I heard her pee.
I said "That's great, I heard you pee, honey!"
Well, she starts laughing and laughing and I have no idea what about. Finally I get an answer out of her. "I don't pee honey!"

Sunday, May 07, 2006

whatever would we say?

Yesterday I was driving my two "big kids" (6 and a half and nearly 4) to synagogue. the nearly 4 year old was babbling about Gd. she's a talker. she told me:
"if we met Him...
we wouldn't know what to say."
i wasn't expecting something quite so profound. sometimes she is fascinated with the idea of Gd. yesterday morning was definitely one of those times. i've been trying to teach her for ages that Gd isn't a person and therefore has no gender but she usually calls Gd "Him" anyway. but she does seem to understand that Gd doesn't have a body, that Gd is bigger than anything else and that Gd is "alone".

she recites the shema to me every night in Hebrew. i love hearing her say it.
shema, yisrael: adonoy elohaynu, adonoy ECHAD.
listen, israel: the Lord our Gd, the Lord is ONE.
but echad is also translated as "alone". i gave her that interpretation once and have regretted it ever since. she latched onto the word. she latches onto words frequently. so i've been trying to teach her that it means not that Gd is lonely, away from us, but alone among divine beings. we'll see how well that goes.

the other two kids aren't interested in religion. we'll see how that goes, too.

Monday, April 17, 2006

an odd discovery

i was heating water for tea this evening, and my hubby suddenly said "what is that? it smells like dope." as it turns out, a bit of leftover green bean burning itself to carbonized nothingness under the electric burner will reek just like pot smoke. how ... odd.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


So we haven't had good luck with animals. Had to return a few cats to the pound, back before we had children. Got a dog who seemed great but that was her "pound personality" and Loki, too, ended up going back to the pound after the second child was born. Loki couldn't handle the competion.

Anyway, it has been obvious for a long time that the children wanted an animal in the house. So hubby made a proclamation. Not till the baby turned three. (September 2007). Well, that held for months. Then suddenly, three or four months ago, hubby decided that having an adult cat would be good for our oldest now. I wasn't opposed. But he didn't want a pound cat. He was adamant. We'd had terrible luck with all the pound cats we'd ever adopted (I couldn't argue with that). Pounds are dirty, you don't know anything about the animal... he was immovable.

So, I figured that gave us two options. Purebred, or getting a nice cat off a good friend who was willing (or eager) to give it up. No friends were in that situation, so I started doing research on purebred cats. A friend who actually owns a purebred cat gave me a web address for breeders, and I emailed a ton of them. This is a story all by itself, so I'll just say I settled on a breeder of Tonkinese cats who lives about 3 hours away from me - practically in Kentucky. Negotiating took weeks, but eventually we drove all the way down there and hubby picked a cat.

I would have been more involved, but I have to admit, I was overwhelmed. The house was gross, there were cats all over, they all looked really similar and I couldn't keep them organized in my mind, and lots of them were much older or younger than what we were interested in. Hubby ended up telling me that I could choose a different one if I wanted, and then took the kids outside, away from all the wet food, poop filled litter boxes and suspicious looking pools of goop on the floor. Blech.

So, I figured the one hubby wanted because she didn't pull away when he went to let her sniff his hand and get a scritch was a good choice, and I bought her. I tried to carry her home on my lap but after a while she really wanted to explore the car and I thought that could turn dangerous, so I put her in the carrier. So she spent over two hours in the carrier and an hour of that listening to the youngest kid scream. Turns out the baby doesn't like long car rides. Ugh. Anyway, maybe it was the awful drive that inspired Sozo (named after a coffee shop we passed on the way home - it is apparently Greek for "to heal, to cure, to prevent destruction") to crawl under the furniture and not come out for days and days and days.

The kids were miserable. We'd gone through this horrid experience to get a cat, and the cat seemed to hate them. They wanted to PET the pet. I was upset for them. And I wanted to pet her, too!

So hubby and I waited about a day, and still no love from the little beast. So we wondered, is she lonely? She's spent her entire life in a house filled with dozens of kittens and cats and one little old lady. Maybe she needs a friend? So, entirely spur of the moment, we call PetSmart, find out they have cats and close in one hour, I rush the older ones into coats and we rush to the pet store and I try to pick a cat that likes us.

So I get there, and I find the cats, and they have two adults labeled "good with children" and "good with other cats". One really likes the kids, and she's spayed and pretty and friendly and, oh, look at that, she's a pound cat. PetSmart doesn't really sell cats. They take cats from an animal shelter south of here, and put them up for adoption. This was a pound cat. But the place was spotless, and this cat seemed friendly, and we'd essentially promised the children, and it wasn't my rule. So I adopted her. On the way home I kindly gave her a name we'd considered for Sozo that hubby had rejected. Her name is Tiamat. You send me out to fetch the beast, I get to name the beast.

Anyway, we get her home, and she is (or close enough) the perfect cat. She was friendly with all three children from the moment she came out of the carrier, she puts up with all sorts of nonsense from them, hasn't scratched or bitten a child yet, doesn't hide under furniture, is extremely friendly and patient with family and friends alike, is pretty, is spayed... and she loathes Sozo. Wants to shred Sozo into little bloody bits, actually. I am now covered with scratches because I've had to rescue Sozo from Tiamat multiple times. Tiamat has even attacked Sozo while Sozo was resting in my lap!


So we've set a deadline. If Sozo and Tiamat can't get over their differences by April 18, we ask the "cat lady" to come get Sozo and take her back to the cattery. I don't really want to give her up. She's so sweet and pretty and teeny (she is fully grown and weighs about 5 pounds!) and she loves to sit on my lap for hours at a time. I've become very fond of her. But I can't in good conscience keep a cat who is terrified of the other cat and ends up spending most of her life hiding as a result. That would be mean and selfish. And we certainly aren't getting rid of the one whom the children adore and who adores them. I'll blog again when this situation is resolved.

Oh, and having a cat has been very good for our oldest.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

That's my girl!

My daughter Zora is in the kitchen playing with a Hanuka present: a Disney Princess "activity set" - which means colored pencils, markers, a little coloring book, some stickers and a cardboard "ballroom" to put the stickers on. I was helping her put the stickers on the ballroom. Big stickers like those are easy to rip while removing from the backing. Anyway, she said "I want to dance at the ball."
"That sounds like fun!" I replied. "Who would you want to dance with?" I expected her to choose her Abba, a schoolfriend, someone she knows in real life. But she didn't.
"Umm....," she looked carefully at the four couples she'd placed on the cardboard, and pointed at "Belle" from the Beauty and the Beast movie. "Her." She sounded quite decisive.
Well. That's my girl!
I told her I thought that would be a lot of fun, by the way.