Saturday, October 29, 2011

Idle curiosity

So, any readers who have had babies in Israel and want to tell me where they gave birth and what their experience was like?

See, here's the thing. My sister-in-law just had a baby (mazal tov!) last week. I went out to visit her a few times before she was discharged from Shaarei Tzedek. And the postpartum nurses? They were MEAN. Not just gruff or typical Israeli, but actually mean.

See, here's the other thing. If you haven't picked up on this, I have a really, really thin skin. It is very easy to hurt my feelings. It is very easy to make me feel bad. Call it a personality flaw or moral weakness or whatever you want, but I don't think I can change it at this point. And when I am about to have a baby, or am in the process of having a baby, or have just had a baby, I absolutely totally cannot deal with anyone being mean to me. At all.

So there's Hadassa. And there's the natural birthing center at Hadassa, which is pretty pricy. There are doulas. But there is no getting past that in Israel, the person who will deliver your baby is almost certainly going to be someone you have never ever seen before. And will absolutely positively not be the lovely midwives I love and trust who delivered my last 3 kids.

Anyone have any experience to share?

Just, you know, wondering. Idle curiosity. Of course.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Hey, guess what? This blog post is going to be entirely 100% positive and optimistic! (she says, determinedly).

I feel it's time.

1. School starts again tomorrow! Yay! Everyone is ready. Avtalyon and Iyyar have been asking when they are going back to gan. Every morning for at least the last week, Avtalyon has gotten up in the morning and immediately asked me, "Right we don't have gan today?" in a manner of resignation. Iyyar out-and-out said he wanted to go back to gan. And Marika, for the last few days, has been pulling her backpack off its hook, bringing it to me to put on her shoulders, and banging on the door yelling, "Dowdide! Dowdide!"

She's subtle, that one.

2. The kids are being really sweet lately. Not much fighting at all over break, and a lot of really nice helpful behavior. A couple of times I got them involved in all-family laundryfests; I sat on the couch folding and directing and it all got put away faster than it would have done if I'd done it myself. Friday everyone helped clean up for Shabbos (except for Marika, whose contribution was not getting in the way too terribly much). Barak is now old enough to be seriously helpful. He knows where things go, he knows (more or less) how to fold things, he enjoys helping.

3. My sister-in-law had a baby girl! She is gorgeous and perfect and so sweet. And she was born in the hospital that is walking distance to us (if you're feeling energetic--I admit I took the bus). I went out and visited her a couple of times and then went over to help her get home, so she wouldn't have to shlep her stuff downstairs/put in a carseat by herself. It was really nice to be able to do this, and even though she got discharged later than planned on an erev chag, it all worked out. I took her home by cab, went to the store with her daughter to get diapers (she got sent home with 4), and then hopped into the bus that was right there to go to the shuk. It was the fastest through trip imaginable: I hadn't had time to do much cooking so I just blew through there buying fruit, salad fixings, yerushalmi kugel (yum!), olives and so on. On the way out the exit was crowded so I turned right to go out through the open part of the shuk, passing, on the way, one of the candy stalls, where I saw--are you sitting down--Cadbury Dairy Milk with Caramel.


I only bought one, which was good because it disappeared pretty quickly. I did have help. But not too much. :)

4. One of the really nice things about living here is how much freedom I can give the kids to do things on their own. Within the campus for all three boys, and even outside it, to a certain degree, for Barak. On Wednesday morning as I was heading out to the hospital, my husband mentioned that he didn't have any drinks. He really likes those kind of gross (to me) Spring/Prigat drinks, the kind that are 5% juice and 95% sugar water with coloring. I can't stand them and won't go near them, but for him it's just not Shabbos/yom tov without a liter and a half of colored sugar water. The timing was going to be awkward: I was heading out at quarter to eleven, I'd spent the morning at home with the kids frantically cooking, and I was going to get home late. Mr. Bigfoot wasn't into the idea of taking all four of them to the store (understandable).

But! We had a helper! I got Barak to grab an empty backpack and we went down to the makolet (minimarket), which is right across from the bus stop, together; we got Abba his drink and we got challah for the chag and I got Twizzlers for the kids, because I'd promised them candy for the holiday (I NEVER buy candy ordinarily, with the occasional exception of chocolate, so this was a Big Deal). I put it in Barak's bag, saw him safely across the street, and waved goodbye; he walked home by himself. Because here, he CAN.

5. Avtalyon is being insanely cute lately. The facial expressions alone crack me up. Mr. Bigfoot took all the kids up to shul for the Simchat Torah festivities. Forty minutes later, Avtalyon was deposited home by Barak. "Avtalyon, why did you come back?"

With much regretful facial squinching, "I hadda come home. It was too much running around."

"Was everyone running around?"

Shrug shrug shrug. "The girls were not running around. They were just sitting in some chairs."

I guess you hadda be there. Trust me. It was very cute. He is also completely into Batman these days. Grandma E. sent three pieces of Batman fabric, conveniently cut and serged into cape size. Avtalyon has appropriated all three: one as bottom sheet, one as top sheet, one as pillow cover. He is especially pleased with the arrangement when he can get into bed in a Batman shirt and Batman underwear. "I gotta FREE Batmans!" Captain America and Iron Man are also big these days. If you ask him, he will tell you that they are friends.

6. The office is currently not a trashed wreck. I have been really vigilant about making the kids clean it up. Also, at Rosh Hashana they got back all the Playmobil/Lego that got "tooken away" over the course of the year when it was left out on the floor overnight. I impressed on them that next Rosh Hashana is a VERY LONG WAY AWAY and how sad would it be to lose your Clone Troopers or whatever they are for FIFTY-TWO WEEKS? Very sad, they agreed. I see no Lego at all on the floor right now.

7. The lice were gross but seem to have been dealt with. Also, perk of lice: ordinarily one does not do laundry during the intermediate days of Succot. However, due to lice we got a pass on this one, and merrily washed everything in the house on hot multiple times. Result: no mountain of laundry to deal with post-chag. As Avtalyon would say: yay.

8. Marika is as always immensely entertaining. She's also getting way more articulate. "Thank you," which until yesterday was "Di di Imma!" is suddenly, "Tityou Imma!" Or "Tityou Barak!" or "Tityou Abba!" as appropriate. The other day she said thank you to Mr. Bigfoot and said "Tityou Imma!" by mistake. Then she corrected herself. :)

9. Mr. Bigfoot is working now. He gives one shiur at a local yeshiva high school with an Anglo program; he is also doing a significant amount of tutoring and is up to about 9 hours a week. He's also been hired to do some art work, which is a nice change. It's not a lot of money, but hopefully it will all lead to something more; in the meantime, he's enjoying it and it's something.

10. We bought a couch cover from a departing family last spring, along with an old armchair and a cover for it. This has made the living room much more cozy. There is enough room for everyone to sit, if squishily; the couch is a lot more comfortable now than it was. It's surprisingly nice for napping purposes. :)

11. And! Last but certainly not least: Deb is coming and she is BRINGING MY WHEEL! It was mailed by the person I bought it from on Friday and should be there by next Thursday. Deb will be here the Thursday after that, so if all goes well, in less than two short weeks I will again have a spinning wheel in residence. And that, of course, will fix everything.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


I sat down ready to blog about all kinds of things but for some reason when I clicked into the little Blogger box that says, "Title," my fingers put in, "Blah." Not sure why. Am I feeling blah and not realizing it? Or is it just a nod to the speeches I should be writing at. this. very. moment?


1. Lice. We have lice. I saw something horrible walking around in Barak's hair not a week after an obsessive full-family lice combing turned up nothing. Not only did he have them, but so did Iyyar. AND SO DID I. Dealing with lice in three little boys with crew cuts is unpleasant but mostly manageable. Dealing with lice when you yourself have waist-length hair that is fine, wavy, and prone to intense tangling is entirely different. I hacked off six inches before I even started and I think the lice comb pulled out at least half of what was left. Ew. Ew ew ew. Also, massive laundry.

2. I told Deb, when we were on the phone booking her tickets (to come! and visit me! in two and a half weeks woohoo!) that I planned to clean the whole apartment before she got here. My friends, she LAUGHED. She did. I take this as a challenge. Operation Get the Damn House Clean Already, 5772, has already begun: our bedroom is totally clean (I did that first because it's the one least likely to get messed up) and the closet is cleaned out and organized. Marika's room is next (I'm doing this in descending order of how likely something is to stay clean once I've cleaned it.) Next is the office, which, no matter how perfect I get it, is always trashed within 48 hours; the kitchen, well... yeah. I can do that the morning she gets here, I guess.

3. Succos! Succos is fun. The kids are all off school for two and a half weeks, which is OK because Mr. Bigfoot is off too. I am not even a little bit off work, however, which makes it all kind of exhausting. Also, the yom tov prep this year is... well.

I've sort of talked in general terms about where we live and the setup here, although I think if you travel in the same circles I do you've figured it out already. If you haven't, we're in kollel housing, which in our case is one large apartment building with about 30 apartments. Last year, there were two buildings, about 30 families and 4 single guys, one of whom got married during the year. This year, funding has been cut significantly. We are no longer getting meals at a dining hall, and we are paying our own utilities; this has been replaced by a stipend of $250/month which for us represents a little more than what we spend on a week's groceries. Stipends are the same regardless of family size. Not surprisingly, this change meant that far fewer families are here this year, and many more single guys, who can almost, if not entirely, make ends meet with a free apartment and that amount of money. Last year, the family: single guy ratio was 10:1. This year, it's close to 1:1.

Now. Why is this a problem for us? It's a problem for us because in general the expectation in past years has been that the single guys eat by the families on Shabbos. There was a dining hall during the week, and it closed on Shabbos, and then the families invited the single guys over. Last year, with the 10:1 ratio, it was no problem. This year, the single guys are mostly still eating in the dining hall--they can pay to do it and it's just about what they get with their stipend. However, the expectation still is that they will eat by the families for Shabbos. These days, that is harder. And this Succos, there are only four families around and seven single guys and also some other guys from the yeshiva we share our campus with, and a whole bunch of them just kind of showed up to the succah meals for which four families (read: four women) were cooking, expecting to get fed.

Some had RSVP'd. Some had not. Some had signed up on the Google Doc to bring stuff, but even those who had did not bring enough and did not seem to see why this was a problem. (If you signed up to bring X number of plastic forks, plates, table covers, grape juice, cake, and a woman says to you, "Where is it?" and you say, "I think there are still some forks in that bag" and walk off, she will want to kill you. FYI.) So by Shabbos lunch, when there were NINETEEN people, half of them single guys who had not contributed in any way to the meal, sitting there expecting to get fed... I was not pleased. The other women were not pleased.

And it's complicated, you know, because--well on the one hand it isn't complicated at all. They're schnorring and they shouldn't do that. But on the other hand, this is always the way it's been and no one has sat them down and explained that they can't expect the families to feed them anymore. And who's going to do it? And there's also this cultural expectation that most of them were raised in, that the women deal with the food. AND there's the cultural expectation that it's a mitzva to host meals, and while most--really, all--of us generally enjoy doing that, none of us can afford to feed half the kollel, and we don't like feeling taking advantage of.

Anyway. It kind of put a damper on my yom tov, wondering what kind of a mess was going to be in the succah and how many guys would be at the next meal and whether there would be enough food and plastic goods etc. And seeing 19 people there to eat the 24 rolls of stuffed cabbage I'd made, expecting 12 people. And knowing that I'd signed up for almost all of the meat, to be sure that there wasn't any with soy, and had ergo spent about twice what anyone else did.

Yeah. I think next time there's a communal meal, we'll be passing. And you know what? It makes me not want to host the single guys anymore. Even though individually, I really like them, and they're not really doing anything wrong. Because in order to keep inviting them and not resenting it, I'd have to sit them down and say, "Stop schnorring" and I'm just... not going to be the only one to do that.

3. I am trying really hard not to panic about a bunch of stuff. For example: I really want to move. I know I can't move now, but I want to at least plan/prepare for moving this coming summer. However, in order to do that I have to, you know, KNOW WHERE WE'RE GOING. Which I don't. Because Mr. Bigfoot doesn't have a job for next year, and we STILL do not know what is going to be with his teacher's license because--wait for it--the person who was supposed to give the final answer for what he was going to be required to do to get it, went on vacation the day before he'd promised to write the list out.

You got that right.

In the meantime, Mr. Bigfoot was offered work--poorly paid and part-time, but with potential. And he took it, because he wasn't about to say no to work because it might conflict with the program he doesn't yet know whether or not he'll be doing! But now... oh you see the problem already?

So we don't know, and it's more uncertainty than I can deal with.

4. Our condo in America. I'd tell you, but then I'd really have a full-blown panic attack and probably not be able to finish this post. So let's just pretend it's not there, mmmmmkay?

5. Yesterday, in the middle of the lice and the laundry and the aftermath of the whole yom tov food debacle, and the subsequent flying emails from all the politely enraged kollel wives, I sat down at my computer and bought a spinning wheel. Because really, what else was there to do?

It's a used Ashford traditional, which was my first wheel about, uh, oh wow... 16 years ago?! It's mass-produced, functional, and solidly built; it will survive the trip here in a box and I will again be able to spin. And somehow, I think that this will make things better.

Now, rationally, this makes no sense. I have almost no time to knit so why would I be able to find the time to spin? I don't really have anywhere to put a wheel, although that I think I can manage. But the wheel, somehow, is about normalcy. It's just something stable and settled and the way things used to be when we had our own place. I can't bring over my Hall and I don't know when I'll be able to, but a Trad... it'll be something.

6. Huh. I'm starting to see why I titled this, "Blah."

7. We had a really fun evening tonight. (I'm trying!) Took the kids on the bus, and attempted to take them on the train downtown, only to find as soon as we got off the bus (which would also have taken us exactly where we were heading, only not as exciting-ly) that the train was ON STRIKE. Didn't it just... start running two months ago? Anyway, we got back on the bus, and went to Ben Yehuda and all had Moshiko, and then walked down Yaffo as it got dark and saw all the succahs out and the people eating in them, and went down to Kikar Safra and went into the big giant city succah and saw the mayor (hi Nir!) who was the only guy there in a suit and tie, and then came back up Yaffo and got cookies to eat in the Holy Bagel succah, which was the only one that passed Mr. Halachic Man's test (if you saw a guy tonight squatting down next to a succah and measuring it with his fists, that was my husband.)

It was fun. The kids had fun. I did too. It was really special, being out there on a balmy October night with thousands of other people and dozens of succahs in Jerusalem. I know I'm sounding cranky now, but it really was.

8. My husband just walked in from the succah and asked me what I was doing. I told him I was blogging. He said, "You've got five minutes. Then go to sleep." He's right, of course.

(Now he's looking over my shoulder to see if I made him sound mean. I didn't! See!)

Trying to think of some good way to wrap this up but I can't, because he's right, I'm really really tired. Going to bed now, in hopes of better Perspective in the morning.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011


I hear that there are certain traits that are considered common to oldest children. I guess you could find different people saying different things on this topic, but Barak, for whatever reason--nature or nurture--has always been a soother. One of our family lines, when Mr. Bigfoot is getting a little too stressed about his comps or class prep or the invisible airborne particles of chicken soup that might have landed in his yogurt, is, "It's okay, Abba." I actually can't remember the full origin story of this line, but when Barak was around two and a half or three and Mr. Bigfoot was getting worked up about something, Barak came up to him, patted him on the leg, and said, soothingly, "Iss okay, Abba. Iss just fine."

Iyyar is the same way in a lot of circumstances, but it comes from a different place somehow. Iyyar is really sensitive to other people's feelings and is upset when other people are upset; if the baby is crying, he is really alarmed, and once when he was in Yehudis's playgroup and Yehudis's baby was crying upstairs (with her grandmother--she was sick), Iyyar followed Yehudis around all morning urgently trying to make her aware that the baby was CRYING and shouldn't she DO something about this?! Barak, at this age anyway, does not seem over sensitive socially and brushes off slights from other kids; Iyyar is deeply troubled by them. Right now this seems to be the biggest issue at school--other kids not playing with/not talking to him, and his inability to figure out how to deal with this constructively. We're working on it, but right now it's hard.

Anyway. That is not where I meant to go with this post, but Iyyar and gan are really on my mind right now. What I meant to blog about was my kitchen.

My kitchen is really hard.

Most days it doesn't bother me too much. I'm used to it. I have a two-burner solid ring hot plate and two toaster ovens, a dairy one I brought back from the States and a parve one I bought here. You really can do a lot with that. But it's not easy and it's not so much fun, especially when you have almost no counter space for prep work. And what's kind of extra-specially frustrating is that now that we live here, there are so, so many good ingredients to work with. So much good produce. So much amazing dairy. The shuk! For Rosh Hashana, I didn't do anything fancy, but I stayed up all night (literally--till 9 am) the night before making banana bread, carrot kugel, chicken soup, matzo balls, salad, garlic mashed potatoes, chocolate cake and schnitzel. Then on Shabbos we went to the home of friends who used to live where we live, and moved last summer to an apartment with a real (read: normal) kitchen. She has been glorying in this kitchen, which is nothing fancy but to me is the stuff of dreams: a gas stove! A normal (Israeli-sized) oven! Sinks not full of mold! Counters! Cabinets! And lunch was amazing. Amazing yummy vegetable salads, amazing yummy chicken and carrots. So so good.

A few weeks ago, for whatever reason, I just really really wanted to cook. I found a new recipe and I made meatloaf. I doubled it and put it in a 9 x 13. I covered it and put it in my toaster oven.

And the rack crashed to the floor of the oven because it was designed for toast, not the weight of a 9 x 13 pan full of meat.

The kids were in bed but Mr. Bigfoot was around, and I just lost it. I screamed. "I hate this kitchen! I hate it! I hate it so much!" The entire screaming outburst lasted about fifteen seconds but it is not my usual thing. Mr. Bigfoot was alarmed. "Just one more year. Then you'll b'ezrat Hashem have a kitchen again."

Just one more year.

It's taking me a while, but this is where I started: last week, I decided I wanted to make challah. I haven't made challah since we've been here and for whatever reason I just wanted to do it. So I broke out a recipe (I couldn't find my usual one--I made it so often in ye olde country that I had it memorized, and here I'd forgotten it and had to get it from a friend) and I made a half-sized batch of challah.

I kneaded by hand. (I had to move the burners to the top of the fridge to make space.) I let it rise. I rolled out strands and braided them. I gave each kid a glob of dough to make into a roll. I baked them.


The oven is so small that the outsides of the challah are too close to the heating elements. The crust was hard and dry, the inside not quite baked through. It wasn't my usual recipe--not as rich, not as sweet. The kids were SO excited to see me bake challah. They wanted SO much for it to be "my" challah. But it just... wasn't.

Iyyar: "Imma? Why is this challah all hard and not sweet?"

Me: "I'm sorry, sweetie. It's because the oven is so small. The challah is really close to the heating element, and that means that the outside of the challah gets too hot and kind of dried out. I need a bigger oven."

Iyyar looks crushed. Barak looks up and all of a sudden his eyes get all big and encouraging.

"Iyyar! Do you know what? One day, we're going to have an apartment with a real kitchen! With a stove! A real stove that Imma can cook on! And then she'll make challah and bagels! Do you remember Imma used to make bagels? And cookies! She used to make cookies too! And then we'll also have a bathtub!"

I wanted to cry. Partly because he was being so good and brave about it, and so clearly trying to make us both feel better; partly because what is wrong here that I can't bake cookies anymore, and my kids are dreaming about one day having a bathtub?

Just one more year. Of course, first Mr. Bigfoot needs to find a job. Things have been looking moderately encouraging on that front. He's been picked up by a local yeshiva high school as a regular tutor for their Anglo olim boys, and is now up to 9 hours a week of Gemara bagrut tutoring. The pay isn't great, but if he can get enough hours it will add up. He's got some cartooning work, which again, pay isn't great but hopefully it will lead to something. And he's waiting to hear back from the Misrad haChinuch about what, exactly, he's going to have to do to get his Israeli teacher's license. Ideally, he'll be able to finish all the requirements this year, although we won't know until they tell us and this has been dragging on for months already--since before Pesach.

In the meantime, Marika is settled into gan, Avtalyon is enjoying his new gan, and Iyyar, well, Iyyar is trying his best. Barak really likes his school, although homework is a struggle and he doesn't love his gym teacher.

And me? I'm still here, plugging away. Cooking some semblance of dinner nightly.

Iss okay, Imma. Iss just fine.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011


Since I got back from the US, what was it, almost three weeks ago now? I have not been able to sleep. Like, REALLY not able to sleep. Like awake until 4 or 5 AM, and then falling asleep during the day at inconvenient and inappropriate times. I wasn't like this before, so I have to assume it's the jetlag, which technically I "should" be over by now--but the thing is, it's really hard to adjust back when I'm not really adjusting back. I'm still working on US time. I'm still going to sleep (for a nap) not too far off the time I would have gone to bed in America. So it's not crazy that my body thinks that my nighttime sleep is the nap and my morning sleep is the real sleep, and doesn't let me wake up conscious and refreshed after only three or four hours.

Anyway. Right now I am in an empty house, which I have been cleaning up; I just ate some breakfast and have a sinkful of dishes soaking in hot water. Quick blog post, then dishes, then nap. So: a list?

1. Did you hear about El Al's new baggage policy? As in, only one 50 lb bag per passenger?! Wasn't it only three or four years ago that you got 2 70 lb bags? All of the European carriers have been doing this for a while but I think a lot of people, myself certainly among them, were shocked to see it from El Al. Because the people who are most loyal to El Al are the people who come frequently, who have family here, who tend to bring a lot of stuff. And the kids who come for a year for seminary and yeshiva, and bring a lot of stuff. And the people like me, who go back for work and regularly come back with a lot of stuff.

There was a time when I would have shrugged and said, who needs more than 50 lb of luggage? But now? I DO. This last trip I came back with two 49.5 lb bags and had to leave a laundry basket full of stuff that didn't fit by Yehudis. OK, some of it I didn't strictly need. The Tootsie Rolls, for example. And my policy with these trips is to let each kid make one food and one non-food request, and it happened to be that Iyyar and Avtalyon requested soy-free hot dogs and bologna, and Barak requested Rice Chex (!!) so that took up a lot of space. But the rest of it? Six pairs of kids' leather Shabbos shoes of good quality and reasonable price, a combination nonexistent here, for my sister-in-law (a gift from her father-in-law, that he ordered and had sent to me). Scary underwear for the boys. A huge box full of kids' clothes from the last time Lands' End did a $40 off any order of $100 sale. Tons and tons of Hanes socks, which last longer than any socks I've come across here, for the boys. Sneakers for my own boys. Books I needed for work, English books for the kids. Chanuka presents--toys that will not disintegrate into choking hazards after a few days and that cost less than a week's groceries. School supplies, good quality at a third the price of what you see here. Diaper cream, a third the price it is here. Tums, ditto. Aquaphor, not available at any price. The list goes on. And no, mail is not an option, for a number of reasons: exorbitant cost, unreliability, customs fees among them.

El Al! Don't you realize what this is going to do to your customer loyalty? Because I for one am going to go with any airline that isn't Turkish that will let me have two bags. Is it really worth it? Does it really save you that much money? How about charging something reasonable for the second bag--say, $50 or $75?


2. Marika is getting so verbal. She says so much! "Thank you" is no longer "ta ta" but "dangoo Imma!" She loves plums and calls all plums apples. She calls all bread pita ("deeda!") As of today, she didn't cry when I dropped her off at Carmit and was even excited on the way over ("Mee!") And she brings me her clothes and shoes when it's time to get dressed, and even asks me to put kukus in her hair ("dyoudyou!") and, if she finds a barrette, demands that as well. Asking her to stay still while I comb her hair and put it in pigtails, however, is a different story entirely.

3. Her favorite thing to do these days is look out the window. Either she climbs up on Iyyar's bed to look out toward the playground, or gets up on her little yellow chair to look out the living room window (over the windowboxes containing dead tomato plants that I really need to deal with. Soon.) She loves to holler Barak's name out the window, even when he patently is not out there. I think she is hoping it might help, somehow.

4. School and Iyyar are sort of touch and go right now. He comes home and says other kids aren't playing with him. I want to think this isn't true but I don't know. The teacher says he hasn't made friends yet but gave me a list of names of kids she think have potential. Unfortunately the one he likes best is in tzaharon (afternoon daycare) but Succot is coming so hopefully we'll manage some playdates then. In the meantime, he is much much better behaviorally at home. MUCH. I still see things that worry me--the singing-while-eating, the in-his-own-worldness, how hard it is for him to stay on task long enough to just get dressed--but I don't want to smack him fifty times a day anymore, or, usually, even once. The degree to which this is an improvement, for my own mental health along with everything else, cannot be overstated.

5. I cleaned up our bedroom. Thoroughly, including a full closet clean-out. It is a little embarrassing what a mammoth undertaking this was, but it was so satisfying once done. Now I want to do all the bedrooms. Cleaning mojo is not a thing to be wasted, and I have a visit from Deb coming up to motivate me, so let's see how this one goes.

6. Oh! And Deb is coming!! This is quite exciting. She is also planning on coming back with me when I come back from the trip that is supposed to be happening next month (that I still don't have dates for), which is also exciting. I am hoping she allows me to hijack at least some of her luggage allowance for books, yarn and Tootsie Rolls.

7. Speaking of ADD (I wasn't? Oh. Sorry) I think I may have mentioned that Mr. Bigfoot has a pretty raging case of it himself, which has never been diagnosed or treated but is blindingly obvious to anyone who lives with him or works with him for any length of time. He's developed coping strategies for some of it, and I sort of kick him along for some of it, but there's no pretending it's not an issue. Someone recommended to him an herbal ADD remedy (gingko, crataegus, scutelleria, verbana etc.) that is supposed to help and he started with it last week. So far, it doesn't seem to be doing anything but it hasn't been that long. Does anyone have any experience with using that? For adults or for kids?

8. The rash. Oh dear. The rash has been getting... worse. And I looked back at my blog and yes I did have this with Marika. How did I forget that? (Probably got lost in there somewhere with the shingles and the exploding toaster ovens and the month I waddled around at 5 cm.) Yehudis said, take a good probiotic. That never hurts, but... I'm not sure what else to do. I can't smear ANYTHING on it right now--it sends me straight through the roof. Oh for a bathtub...

9. What should I make for dinner? Ideas? Anyone? There is that last pack of soy-free hot dogs...

10. Because shabbos has effectively been canceled this week due to Yom Kippur, I decided to make chicken soup (really turkey soup, since I discovered how well turkey necks work for soup and how very very cheap they are) on Sunday, for dinner and the break-fast. Usually, when I make chicken soup, I do all the prep on Thursday night and go to bed with a pot full of vegetables and a cheesecloth bag full of bones and greenery in the fridge. Then in the morning when the kids leave for school, I add the water and put it on the stove, so that by the time the kids are home I am at the matzo ball stage. This time, I started cutting up vegetables at about 1 PM, aiming for dinner at 6. Wow. BIG mistake. Avtalyon saw me, Iyyar saw me, Barak saw me, and I think someone asked me when oh when oh when the kitchensoupandmatzoballs would be ready at least every five minutes for five hours straight. I think it was just too much for them to see the pot and smell the soup and be told, nope, sorry, not ready yet, allllll afternoon. That's the last time I do something like that for a very very long time.

Time to wash dishes. Thanks for not giving up on me, even though I don't post so regularly these days. I mean to, I want to, it's just, you know... I'm a little busy.