Sunday, March 29, 2009

Haikus and Swimming

First of all, welcome to new Loyal Reader Rena! You can read Rena's aliyah story, and find out all the ways to be insulted in Hebrew, at

Dadz - your poem was truly an inspiration to us all. Loyal Readers, let us know in the comments section what exactly Dadz's ode inspired YOU to do. There are still some KFP Poofahs left, but like the chocolate lollies, they won't last long...

In fact, Dadz's poem inspired the recently awakened poetry monster within me, so I present to you: Haikus

Chocolate Lollies

Chocolate on a stick
How I savor every bite
None left; ate them all

Here's another one,


Too much jelly here.

Why do I keep buying more?

Someone stop me please.

And because haikus are supposed to be "seasonal" I will include a weather-related haiku as well:


Yesterday it hailed

When I took the kids to school

Ice went down my back

(I am not sure why blogspot is automatically double-spacing my haikus. Maybe I will write a haiku about that. Why the weird spacing/Wish I knew how to fix it/Will wait for Donny.)

Anyway, Ariella has started swim lessons. This is very important for her future well-being, because, frankly, she's scared to death of water. It's genetic; anyone who's seen Dadz gently lower himself into a (heated) pool with a pained expression on his face will understand. But it is important to learn how to swim. It's one of those things we're supposed to teach our kids, right up there with "Don't stick your fingers in the sockets," and "Marry rich." She took swimming lessons last year at the Riverdale Y! with her friend Dahlia, so at least she went into this whole thing with some prior experience. The group consists of Ariella, her friend Batya, and another little girl named Something Israeli. The teacher is Avi. My heart goes out to Ariella when I see her in the water. Even though she has more flotation devices attached to her than (I don't know; what's something that has a lot of flotation devices attached to it? More than that), she is terrified if Avi lets go of her. I mean, there is A LOT of coordination involved with swimming. Let's take a look at walking. You move your legs. Your arms are free to do whatever they want, and breathing is a simple, automatic process. Now, do the same thing in the pool. Your legs need to be performing "bend, open, close," while your arms are simultaneously making circles, and at the same time you have to put your entire face in the water, blow bubbles, but whatever you do, DON'T breathe in. Not so simple! But we are very proud of Ariella's progress. First of all, kappayim to Avi. Whenever Ariella seems hesitant, or flat-out refuses to do something, he makes her do it anyway. Jumping in, dunking her head, swimming unassisted (well, assisted by the myriad aforementioned flotation devices, but still...). And she does it! Today she actually swam all the way across the pool without clutching Avi's hand for dear life! Kappyim to Ariella! Maybe we should send Dadz to Avi for a few lessons...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


If you come to Israel and visit any random supermarket at Pesach time, you will likely see this: Squinty-eyed people looking intently at products that you can't believe someone was actually paid to produce, like palm oil with actual palm floating on the bottom (Guaranteed to give you a heart attack in minutes!), or mayonnaise, which is an unnatural aberration to begin with, and the Pesach version resembles something out of a horror movie ("The Rokeach Blob that Ate Manhattan"), or "cookies" which, in my opinion, are neither "cook" nor "ies." The reason for the squinty-ness is that us poor, pathetic, unenlightened Ashkenazim are trying, for the life of us, to figure out whether the damn thing CONTAINS KITNIOS!!!!! You see, in Israel, many people - we'll call them "normal" - have figured out that, hey, just because a bijillion years ago there was corn flour stacked next to the wheat flour, that does not actually mean that corn is chametz! There are therefore many kitnios-containing products here. These lucky folks can merrily trip down the aisles, giving the packages a quick once-over to make sure they say the word "Pesach" somewhere, and then simply toss in the goodies without a second thought. Not us Ashkenazim. To make it even more difficult, there is no "industry standard" (that would be a shout-out to Ahava's new blog, for declaring whether a food does, in fact, contain the dreaded kitnios. ("Oh no! This grain of rice's ancestor may have at one point spoken to a stalk of wheat somewhere in a silo deep in Poland!") Some packages say "For kitnios eaters only." Bad. Others say, "No kitnios in here!" Great! Others say nothing. Hmmm. There was a "Get Ready for Pesach in Israel" session with a local Orthodox (aka "dati") rabbi two nights ago, but I'm in my pjs by 4:30, so that was just not happening. Instead, we're doing the Squint and then making it up as we go along. At least the making it up part we're used to.

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Pesach Song

I'm not sure what it is about Pesach that gets me in the poetry mood. Maybe I am reminded of the Third Grade Spring Poetry Play at Bais Yaakov. Maybe it's something in the cleaning fluid. In any case, here is the next selection:

(To the tune of "Frere Jacques")

How many shekels, how many shekels,
Will it take? Will it take?
With a thousand I've just parted
And I just got started
I'm giving it all
To Supersol.

This song has been brought to you by the staff of aliyahbyaccident

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Shabbat with the Hebrews

First of all, KFP Poofahs to the following Loyal Readers & Commentors:
Momz, Lisa, Israeli Leezy, Risa, Sharon "Anonymous" Sturm, Yael, Cheryl, and Shira for posting your Favorite Things About Pesach. Although Cheryl, I may have advised against touting your "Ha ha on you" attitude - if you have angry aliyahbyaccident readers egging your car (because, let's face it, we will have LOTS of eggs available), or smearing Kosher for Pesach margarine (No need to be refrigerated!) on your door, I claim no responsibility.

We still have KFP Poofahs available! Post your comment about YOUR favorite Pesach things and the poofahs will be delivered to your door in 18 minutes or less!

Ariella now has a growing list of "Here's how you say it in Hebrew, Mommy, and here's how I say it in Hebrew." She's got my American accent down pat. She regaled us on Friday night with the comparisons. I will attempt to upload a video of her one-woman comedy show because she had us rolling on the floor. Meanwhile, Yaakov, whose English education is now solely in the hands of Pixar, amused us with this little spelling lesson:
[Yaakov is playing on the floor with his magnetic "Yaakov" letters. He has connected the "O," "Y" and "V" together.]
Me: Yaakov - what did you spell?
Yaakov: T - O - Y. Toy! (For those of you for whom this reference is lost, I refer you to "Toy Story.")

Absorption Milestone....Absorption Milestone....Absorption Milestone....
We had actual Hebrew-speakers over for lunch! (Or as Tehila Sassoon would say, "Hebrews.)They have a daughter, Shirat, in Ariella's gan and daven at the Nice People Shul. We finally got up the nerve to invite them for lunch. The family has been especially welcoming to Ariella - inviting her over for playdates, making sure to include her in groups, etc. So we took the plunge and invited them over. They speak little English, which was actually good, because when Israelis speak English, you feel very foolish talking to them in Hebrew. We were forced to converse in the Holy Tongue for a good two hours. We employed the trusty "Start a sentence, get your point across, let them finish it for you" method often, but it worked and we were able to have actual conversation with them. We had a really nice time, and the best part is - they took our kid! Shirat and Ariella were having such a good time that when it was time to leave, they said that Ariella should come back with them. (Note: Lest you think I am an ungracious and rude hostess, we did offer to keep Shirat, but Shirat's little sister didn't want to be without her.) So Ariella had a fabulous afternoon, though Yaakov did miss his La-la very much.

Even though Donny did ask them if they wanted to go to the "gardener" (instead of the "park,") and later, when retelling our aliyah story, said he had come last March "to be refreshed" (instead of "interviewed") I think it was overall a big success. Kappayim l' Gila v'Donny! Kappayim to the Shirats! (aka mishpachat Eini.) And now, since I made too much food and we have leftovers, we are going to eat them up. L'hitraotbye.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Top Ten List

I'm in a Top Ten List kind of mood today. Since my table looks like a Who's Who of chametz (I artfully arranged all of the chametz on our table so I could plan our menus. It looks like this: Sunday - pasta. Monday - oatmeal. Tuesday - bread, with pasta. Wednesday - pasta, with oatmeal. Thursday - barley. With croutons. And breadcrumbs.)

So while being knee-deep in Pesach preparations, I thought we could have a Top Ten Things We Love About Pesach List, in order to get our energy up for the next three weeks.

So here goes:

Pesach, Pesach, You're My Chag! I Will Praise You On My Blog!

1. Matza and butter. Really, this is like 1-9, but I won't get carried away.
2. Donny's matza cereal. Don't even need to add heaping tablespoons of sugar, it's just that good.
3. Fried matza. (This will be the last food one.)
4. Listening to Ariella sing the mah nishtanah.
5. Singing "Echad Mi Yodea" with the tune that only the Leibtags know but we foist upon all of our guests because we can't have a seder without it, and by the end they're thumping the table with us.
6. All of the fun, once-a-year, Pesach dishes you get to haul out.
7. Donny: First taste of matza. (We won't go into what we all feel about the last taste.) And especially, Korech sandwich, "I look forward to it all year long!" says Donny, "Mmmmm! The matza, maror, charoses! Mmmmm!" (Apparently, I lied re my earlier promise. See #3.)
8. The Big Yearly Debate: Can you eat the Pesach rolls on erev Pesach? Is it considered matza? (I believe we paskined that since the matza meal is boiled, it's A-OK to eat, but we still enjoy the heated arguments.)
9. It seems, in fact, that there are few things we enjoy that are NOT food, which is odd, considering that we spend most of the week saying, "I'm soooo huuuunnngggrrryyyy!!!!"
10. Watching Dadz devour fifteen boxes of the "good" egg kichel - all before chol hamoed.
What about you? Share with us your Favorite Pesach Thing, or Things. Kosher for Pesach Poofahs will be awarded!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Much has happened here in Aliyahbyaccident Land. (It's one of the lesser-known parks in Disneyworld.) First, I am about to be a published author. Yes, you heard that right. My first article is coming out in a few weeks, in the illustrious, highly-regarded Kol HaShomrim. That is Shomrei Emunah's twice-yearly publication full of thoughts, musings, and ads for O'Fishel. And one of those musings will be written by....yours truly! Another musing will be written by my very own sister, Israeli Leezy. You're probably wondering how you can get copies of the Kol HaShomrim to distribute to all your friends and family. Well, wonder no more! As it turns out, through a weird, cosmic coincidence, our very own Momz is one of the editors-in-chief of Kol HaShomrim! No WAY! you say. Way indeed, my friends, way indeed. So you can email Momz at leibtag strudel gmail nekudah com to order your own set. Momz will personally deliver each copy or copies to your home, in time for Pesach, because as many of you know, she has already finished cleaning, shopping, and cooking for Pesach. In fact, she's finished preparations for all Pesachs, for the rest of eternity. She will spend the next three weeks watching reruns of "Lost" and "24," so it'll be good to give her an activity.

In other news, I now have some paying work. Blogging is enjoying and entertaining, but unfortunately not very lucrative. So I have now reinvented myself as a writer and editor. I specialize in pretending to know what I am talking about.

Ariella is soaking up all the Pesach learning she can, because Pesach vacation starts, like, yesterday. Seriously. These kids are off for about a week and a half before the actual chag. So they can, you know, help. She made Moshe in his tayvah yesterday, and today was very distressed to learn that the Egyptian women were punished as well as the men. "But girls are nice!" she said despairingly. I signed Ariella up for a pre-Pesach art camp, and luckily Yaakov's vacation starts much later, so I will hopefully have time to complete all the work no one pays me for in addition to the work people actually pay me for.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

An Ode to Pesach

It comes around this time of year
And makes us all quite nuts
And I do mean that figuratively
Since we can't eat kitni-us

We plan, we clean, we scrub and shop
We spend our dough (ha!) quite freely
(But try to grab that last box of 'roons
And you will surely cause a melee)

Three weeks left! It won't get done!
I should have started sooner!
Grab that broom, those paper towels
And a big dose of emun-er

Just follow the rules, toss that bread
And if you abide by that condition
You'll celebrate Pesach in grand style
And thus avoid perdition.

This poem has been brought to you by: aliyahbyaccident

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Sunday Kind of Wednesday

Purim has finally, praise be given, come to an end. Let us recap. Tuesday morning we had Seudah #1 with the Balsams, except Nafi was sick and had to miss out. We saved him some lox; they're still sitting on the table waiting for him. Come and get it, Nafi! We had a terrific breakfast seudah and then Donny layned for Lisa and me while Meira entertained the kiddies. It worked out very well - we only had all 5 of them smushed into the room whispering various requests into our ears for the last half a perek. After the Balsams headed out, we packed up our mishloach manot and made the rounds. Ariella was very excited to deliver to all of her gan friends (well, the five I let her pick.) We came back, dumped our haul on the table, and headed out to Maaleh Adumim for seudah with the Sassoons.

DIGRESSION ALERT: Mishloach manot here, by the way, are exercises in excessiveness. In America, the tradition has evolved to two extremes. One end is the "highly elaborate theme." This is something I was never very good at, unless "Have some chocolate cupcakes and grape juice" counts as a theme. The themes have gotten out of hand, like a "Breakfast" theme complete with an omelet station, or an "Animal" theme which comes with an actual live frog. The other end of this is the "very practical mishloach manot" - a bottle of wine and challah. Here in Israel, we're still at "dump the contents of your junk cabinet on a plate and cover it with saran." The mishloach manot we received didn't just have some hamantashen and candy. Oh no. Bamba AND Bissli AND chocolate AND marshmallows AND hamantashen AND candies AND cookies. And some dried fruit. You know, for fiber. The only "theme" to be seen for miles around was "Junk Food." I remember assembling our mishloach manot back in B-more. We'd always have an orange, a hamantash, and some chocolates. So I went for a similar kind of thing - I forwent? forgoed? the homebaked stuff in favor of store-bought items. My theme: "Things I bought." We had an apple, a hamantash, two chocolates, some cookies and a chocolate milk. Well, apparently "fruit" does not count as acceptable mishloach manot. When Moshe Balsam saw our offering, he burst out laughing. "Look, Meira, there's an APPLE in here! An APPLE!" He looked at me askance and then, "Hahahahahahaha!"

Where was I? Oh yes, on the way to Maaleh Adumim. The kiddies fell asleep on the way there, the better to conserve their energy for the seudah ahead. We had an excellent time, though we did miss the Bielers, our partners in drunken seudah craziness. Robbie and Donny got drunk, Robbie called everyone he knew in America, the kids did....something, though I'm not sure exactly what, but we didn't see them for most of the seudah and there wasn't excessive crying. After seudah, I drove home, obviously, and then Donny passed out on the couch for three hours. He did help get the kids in bed first, although he has no recollection of a conversation I had with him about my lost contact lens. (I found it, by the way.)

On Shushan Purim we had a Sunday. Donny took off, the kids were home, and we had a really great day. We hiked around Ben Shemen Forest in the morning, then went to pizza and ice cream and hung out at a playground. Afterwards we came home and got ready for our seudah shlishit, at Yael and Yossie's, the Jerusalemites. As Ariella's costume was in tatters, we decided that she could dress up like Mommy for the final seudah. So she put on my scarf, grabbed a pocketbook and cellphone, and went around saying, "I have to go work on my computer now." In fact, the only difference between her and me was that she was prancing around announcing, "I am MOMMY!" which I am pretty sure I don't do, at least not often. Only when I need to assert myself. The other difference was that when the scarf started bothering her, she just....took it off.
Our Shushan Purim seudah at Y&Y's was lovely, especially with the addition of Surprise Guests Zaidy and Sonia. We sang happy b-day to Hanani, and then left, to get everyone into bed at a decent hour in anticipation of the dreaded First Day Back at Gan.

So all in all, I would say that in Israel we firmly believe that "Mishenichnas Adar Marbim b'Simcha." And we certainly simcha-ed our way through the past two weeks. Although I think the phrase is a little off. It should be, "Mishenichnas Adar, until Purim, Marbim B'Simcha. After that, Marbim b'Fret About Pesach."

Monday, March 9, 2009


The moment you've all been waiting for - Purim is here! I have to say, though, it was almost a bit of a letdown getting into costumes and going to hear megillah tonight, because this was now Outing Number Three in the costumes. Yaakov didn't even bother bringing the helmet, and Ariella's costume is literally hanging by a thread. But, we had a very exciting night, megillah-wise. Donny was layning at the Dimri minyan, and I figured maybe the kids were old enough to make it through layning. The "shul" is in a room in the lobby of one of the buildings, so the kids could theoretically hang out in the lobby while I, maybe, could hear megillah. It's been a while since I've heard Donny in production. Usually I just make him read for me in the comfort of our home. It is not infrequent for Donny to layn megillah four times on a given Purim. So we headed over, Fairy, Pajama Soldier Boy, and their parents. We brought a tik-full of snacks, books, cars, and cucumbers. And sippy cups. And a Magna-Doodle. I was PREPARED, man. Maariv was 6:10 and megillah was 6:20. We got there around 6:12. Maariv hadn't started yet. The kids settled themselves in the lobby. I was very nervous to be spending so much of my Good Behavior Capital before megillah even started. By Shema, they were halfway through their candy bags. I was willing the baal tefillah to HURRY IT UP! Finally, we started. Quick digression: A cute little Israeli boy was standing next to me in the back. (Quick digression to my digression: The "shul" such as it was was PACKED! There was no room, it was soooo loud and people were very careful not to say "hi" or "Purim sameach" to anyone who wasn't already their very good friend.) Anyway, Donny starts layning and this little boy says to his mother, very distraught, "אני לא מבין! איזה שפה הוא מדבר?" It was very amusing. Also, aren't you impressed with my Hebrew typing?????

Anyway, I was ticking off the perakim one by one. For the first half, the kids were basically out in the lobby, happily giving themselves cavities. They wandered in a few times to stand next to Donny and the look of shock on Ariella's face when they did the first Haman was priceless. She practically jumped into Donny's arms when the whistling and noise-making began. Things started to get a little hairy towards the end, but Ariella actually enjoyed looking in the tanach with me, making me regret I didn't bring one of those nice megillot with the pictures. Yaakov put his head down on my lap and sucked his thumb, and when things got REALLY hairy, I-want-to-go-home-NOW hairy, I was able to fend off total meltdown mode by picking him up and holding him. Luckily there was only one page left at that point because Pajama Soldier Boy is a hefty package. Must be the muscles he's building during basic training. But, the important thing is, we made it through! Kappayim to Ariella and Yaakov! Kappayim to all of us!

After the VERY SUCCESSFUL megillah reading, we headed over to our "regular" shul in Shimshoni for a Purim carnival. Now, let me preface this by saying the email about the carnival came out last night. It wasn't an email advertising the carnival - it was a request for help putting it together. The Shimshoni people like to be spontaneous like that. So we're talking about something on the level of the corner lemonade stand organized by the twelve-year old down the block. And, in fact, the carnival was reminiscent of the carnivals put on by the eighth grade at SAR every year, with the main difference being the eighth grade carnival is WAY more sophisticated. Here, we had booths like throw the "ring" onto the "king's finger" (aka bowling pin,) face painting, basketball hoops, find the hidden candy (which was placed into a large box, and then the contents of someone's shredder were dumped on top of it), etc. etc. Food consisted of boiled hot dogs and that gross purple drink. Each booth was advertised by means of a large piece of oaktag with the name of the booth written in marker. And then very carefully colored in. You could buy tickets which allowed you a certain number of booths. The way they marked on your ticket that you had done a certain booth was by the technologically advanced method of Poking a Toothpick Through the Ticket. But, you gotta love the Samsonites - they do everything with such joy and exuberance. So we stayed long enough for Yaakov to drink some orange "juice" and Ariella to find a gum lolly buried beneath someone's bank statements. Then we left, had an impromptu dance party at home (hey, we can be spontaneous too!) and put the kids to bed.

For those of you who are wondering why this blog lists Donny as a contributor, but he doesn't do much in the way of contributing - wonder no more! He may not contribute often to this blog, but he does have a different, no less interesting blog for which he currently writes! That's right! The title for the blog will leave you breathless, yearning to find out more: "The Forefront TMG (ISA Server) Product Team Blog!" Tell me more! Tell me more! Here are some scintillating quotes just to whet your appetite:
"When TMG detects such a suspicious behavior it communicates its findings to other security technologies using the assessment sharing channel. "
Whoo! I bet you're on the edge of your seat now! Here's another one, if you can stand it:
"During a testing session in our lab, the honey pot detector was triggered. When this happened, the Stirling console in the lab showed an assessment was generated against the machine that initiated the traffic to the honey pot."
Oh no! Not the honey pot detector! Please, Donny, don't leave us hanging! TELL US WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!

Breaking news: I just found out that there IS no next. That's it. That's the end of the story. If you have a honey pot detector, or you would like to know more about one, or you would just like to make fun of Donny, you can post a comment here.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Is It Purim Yet?????

The answer is no, although Fairy and Pajama Soldier Boy had their second outing in their costumes. At this point, the fuzzy sleeve lining for Ariella's costume has just completely ripped off. Thank God she is okay with all this. I have learned my lesson for next year's costume: Buy sturdy. Iron Man, Bionic Woman, R2-D2, you get the idea. Today Ariella got out early, because it is erev Taanit Esther, of course. Who can possibly be in school a full day the day before the day before Purim? Honestly!

Yaakov's morahs took some excellent pictures at his gan party today. I am even breaking my long-standing rule on uploading pictures. Notice the French Revolution meets Gaza look. (I did not do the face paint. When I last attempted it, for Purim Party #1: The Debut, I took this brown lipstick stuff I bought and kind of dotted his face. He looked diseased, like a Purim With the Ten Plagues theme. This time, Yaakov told me that only Ofira was allowed to put the face paint on. So the handlebar moustache is NOT my doing, although I will admit that he looks dashing.) Also, notice how he holds his gun. Do you think he's making a profound statement about war? Or do you think it's more in the category of Boy Who Cannot Ever Manage to Get His Crocs on the Right Feet? Discuss.

Back to Shabbos: We had an excellent time at the Balsams. The kids played beautifully for 90% of Shabbos, which in my opinion is more than anyone could ask for. Most of the time I did not even know where they were. The best part of Shabbos was watching Donny and Nafi get drunk Friday night. Nafi said the craziest things! Actually, it's only funny in my head because Nafi never drinks, so I just have to imagine what it would be like. To his credit, Donny has tried valiantly to turn Nafi into a fellow drunkard, but to no avail. We hope to have better luck with Lisa. Friday night, all the Roses piled into one room, because although Ariella usually (and when I say "usually" I mean the one other time we went to the Balsams for Shabbos) sleeps with one of the Balsam children, we decided that Strep Throat Fairy hadn't been on the magic potion long enough to allow her to sleep with either Superman or Supergirl. So we had a cozy family night, interrupted only by Yaakov wandering around the room at 3 in the morning, crashing into furniture, and then getting stuck behind a chair and wailing, "I'm stuck Mommy!"

Tomorrow the festivities continue. Well, technically they halt because it is, after all, a fast day, but we'll just pretend not to notice that. Donny's working from home (hey, after going into work for a whole day after being home for a week, he needs some time off!) and will be making oznei haman with Ariella. (Question as per Israeli Leezy: Are they his ears or his hat? Discuss.)

Oh, and in poll results: 42% of our readers believe in excessive medication to make it through those times when their kid's sick. 36%, though, actually believe in, like, caring for their kids. May I ask you - do you also believe in taking care of my kids when they're sick? Because if so, we should definitely talk. 15% believe bribery is the way to go, and a lonely 5% use this as an opportunity to tell their children that God is punishing them for their wayward ways. Next poll: What to do when your husband is sick.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Donny's shirts - the topic you've all been waiting for

Australian Leezy, lest you think I have forgotten your question about Donny's shirts, let me take this time to answer them. The bottom line, which is not only crucial for understanding this blog post and Donny's wardrobe, but is in fact an underlying tenets of our entire marriage is: I. Do. Not. Iron. We don't even own an iron. I mean, we used to back in the 'Dale, but it did not make the cut to get onto our lift. In fact, the only purpose I can see to owning an iron is to iron Fuse Bead projects. But then, you'd always have to be ironing Fuse Bead projects. So, no, there is actually no good reason for owning an iron. Donny invested in those shirts that you can wash and dry and not have to iron. Travel shirts, or something. He also owns some stylin' (well, for Donny) knit polo shirts, both long and short sleeves. We do have a dry cleaners that we go to on occasion. So now you are in the know and up to date on Donny's shirts.

Fairy and Pajama Soldier Boy had their first big debut last night. The misrad haklitah threw a Purim extravaganza at the iriyah, and Ariella especially was super-dee-duper excited to unveil her fairy costume. It took about thirty minutes for it to start falling apart. A new record! The beautiful, authentic, high-quality, faux-feather lining started to detach itself from the tissue-paper thin sleeves. Needless to say, Fairy took this very hard. I am now in search of clear packing tape to reattach the lining. Fix-It Fairy, indeed. She could take comfort in the fact that Pajama Soldier Boy's helmet barely lasted fifteen minutes before cracking. This was my fault. On the way to the iriyah, I was carrying the helmet, like any good mother of a soldier, and it slipped from my hands. Crack - right down the middle. Better find that tape STAT. The party was fun - there were oznei haman (question: How do you say only one of those triangular delicacies? Ozen Haman doesn't seem right. Maybe since Ariella thinks the plural is "oznei hamanim" - can you imagine if there were more than one of those triangle-eared, sycophantic, lunatic, anti-Semites running around ancient Persia? Oy! - the singular can actually be oznei haman. Discuss.)

So the kids had fun - Ariella immersed herself in arts and crafts, Yaakov immersed himself in oznei haman (and yes, he had more than one, so the above discussion is irrelevant in his case), and everything was going swimmingly until a few minutes before the magic show. Suddenly, Ariella didn't - dum dum DUM - "feel good." Fairy, Pajama Soldier Boy, and the mean ogre in charge hauled it out of there and went to the doctor, who said everything looked fine and it might be some version of the stomach virus Donny had. Yippee! But now, Friday morning, I am thinking the doctor might be mistaken. (Full admission: I am less inclined to question the doctor's judgement when I walk out of an appointment with a prescription in my hand.) We spent a lovely night on the couch together (Ariella and I that is; not the doctor), and she seemed the very opposite of Stomach Virus Fairy - eating cereal at 3:00 in the morning, melted cheese sandwiches at 6:30. I made another doctor's appointment to double check her throat. I will of course update you later. Now, I must recover from my night - Sleepless in Modi'in, though with less romance. It actually ended up being quite pleasant as I spent most of my time chatting with Momz, Rachel, and Shoshana on gmail. Gotta love that time difference sometimes.

Update: Kappayim to mother's intuition - Ariella does indeed have strep. Because it is a Friday, the Maccabi Powers that Be allow for rapid strep tests. So we know in no uncertain terms that we have a Strep Throat Fairy on our hands. Luckily, though, she comes with the Magical Potion that will turn her back into Regular Fairy in twenty-four hours. We are going ahead with our Shabbos plans to be with the Balsams (that was the original, Donny-in-America-plan so we kept it), and darn it, violent stomach illnesses and strep throat will NOT keep us away!

Stream of consciousness

Or; Why I am checking my Gmail and Facebook at 4:30 in the morning?

The train of thought that led me to my computer in the wee hours of the morning:

1. 4:00. Donny gets up to use the bathroom.

2. I think I hear one of the kiddies. I am so convinced that one of them is up that I wrench myself out of bed and go to the bedroom door.

3. No one is there; kids are in their beds (well, Yaakov is and Ariella is sleeping on the floor. Don't ask.)

4. I try to fall back to sleep, but I start thinking about Yaakov's Purim costume, or lack thereof. Will people think badly of me that he doesn't really have a costume? Will he be upset at his Purim party at gan? I start to fret.

5. I think, hey, if I add a little beard to him, that will make Pajama Soldier Boy cuter.

6. But I don't want to put facepaint on him because his skin is so sensitive.

7. Wait - I have some makeup - I can use some eyeliner to brush on a beard!

8. But do I have any eyeliner? I should go check.

9. [Me, sitting on bathroom floor, sifting through the random contents of my makeup bag. Aha! Lipliner!]

10. Well, I should see if it's the right color, I think it's sort of pinkish. Too dark to do that in the bathroom.

11. [In the kitchen, with the light on, rubbing the elderly, very dried out lipliner on my hand to check its color. Too pink, too dry, too old.]

12. Alright, I'll go and buy some black or brown eyeliner before Purim.

13. Wonder why I decided to go with a simple, non-costume costume as it is turning out to be more trouble than I thought.

14. Hey, I'm up anyway, mind as well check my email.

And here I am.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Blatant Theft

A wise man once said, "Follow other people's blogs and then steal ideas which you think are funny for use in your own blog." He might not have been the most original wise man, maybe a little lacking in integrity, but we listen to him nonetheless. So the idea for the following blog has been gleefully and blatantly stolen from my friend Rena's blog, which you can read here at

Rena made a list of all the luxuries that she misses from America, and what she has replaced them with here. I thought, "That is funny. I will use that." So here you go, my List of Luxuries:

1. My Chrysler Town & Country, especially the magical doors that opened and closed "by hisself." I have replaced this with a Ford Focus, three of which could fit inside my T&C. And I now look at Toyota Corollas - you know, the pinky finger on the hand of the Toyota company - and think "Wow, what a luxury car!"

2. A LARGE coffee from Dunkin' Donuts. Extra cream, no sugar. It's one thing to replace "coffee" with "latte;" it's a whole different pan of falafel to replace "large" with "the size of your child's sippy cup."

3. (I would also include here Barnes & Noble, both dot com and regular. This has become especially poignant after the recent stranding of our "stuff.") Amazon - you order something; 2 days later it shows up. Here, you buy something, 2 days later it breaks.

4. Speaking the language and sounding like a fairly intelligent person. Now - "Shalom. Mah shlomcha? Bseder!"

5. Having parents four hours away. Now - parents are four months away.

6. Shmoozing with my friends at SAR ("Go Work on This Irrelevant and Useless Assignment So I Can Shmooze with Rachel and Shoshana" is the title of my upcoming book on education.) Now, I spend much of my days shmoozing with Da-veed of Dimri. He doesn't have nearly as much gossip.

7. Bathrooms in public parks. You all know what this has been replaced with.

8. Rapid strep tests. Now - diseased sticks.

9. Have I mentioned the whole English thing?

10. Free checking. Here - Bank NotDiscount. ("Bruchim Habaim! Give us ten shekel!") Although, maybe now is not the best time to look to the American banking system for guidance.

As Donny pointed it, however, it would only be fair to include the Reverse List - if we were to move from Modi'in to Riverdale tomorrow, what would we miss? So here is my Reverse Luxury List; or, Reasons to Make Aliyah in the First Place.

1. Choice of restaurants for breakfast as far as the eye can see. In Riverdale: Corner Cafe. Or, Corner Cafe.

2. Friday mornings without the kids. (Yes, I know we would get Sundays in return, but you know what? I'll take our precious kid-free Friday (almost) any day over that.)

3. Trissim. Waaaaayy cooler than blinds.

4. OFER'S FALAFEL!!!! I mean, I do miss Dumplings, but, when it comes to Ofer's Falafel, "chavlaz" as they say in Hebrew. (New phrase I learned - one of those acronyms Israelis love to turn into words. Chaval Al Hazman - when something is so unbelievably freakishly awesome there is just no time to expound upon all of its goodness.)

5. Listening to Yaakov mangle two languages. (As we're doing a puzzle: "Mommy, I want this piece po l'ma'aleh.") Soooo much more fun than just one.

6. Buying fresh bakery rolls from any random supermarket across the country. Replaced with walking into supermarkets and staring intently at the label on the bakery goods, hoping to will an "OU" onto it.

7. Tripling (at least) the length of the fun Jewish holidays, like Chanukah and Purim. Replaced with TWO sedarim and three day yontivs.

8. Da-veed of Dimri. He may not be the source of juicy gossip here, but he does get things done. Replaced with our Japanese-speaking, slightly nutso landlord, Mr. Yamashita. [See #9.]

9. Shmoozing with Leezy and Lisa 100 times a day. Replaced with fighting with Mr. Yamashita 100 times a day to get him to remove the noxious mold spores engaged in a hostile takeover of our basement.

10. Chocolate milk in a bag! Chocolate milk not in a bag? No comparison. Chavlaz.