Sunday, October 30, 2011

I'm probably not cut out to home school my child. I don't actually like teaching. My mother is a natural teacher, but I've inherited my father's disposition in that respect. Unfortunately for us, my daughter is less cut out for school than I am for home schooling.

Slowly, slowly, she is learning to read and numerate.

I have heartburn.

This may be part of living with small children, but whenever I see some sort of "extreme hoarding" video, I always think that that is exactly what my house would look like if I just let things go for a few too many days.

I probably wouldn't acquire animals. I think I would notice that. Especially cats, to which I am mildly allergic.

Nonetheless, it is my job to beat back the hoard. And to beat back the teensy little hoarders who think that my home should be decorated in Early Fisher-Price. I don't literally beat them back; Don't call CPS.

Oh! And we have a toilet. And a bathroom to keep it in! And it isn't even yellow-on-green anymore. What more could a lady want?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Down for the count

The chag just ended. During the chag, our slightly-leaky toilet became a very-leaky toilet. The plumbers came and took the toilet away. Now there's no toilet, but at least it doesn't leak.

My husband promises me that there will be a toilet soon. I believe with perfect faith . . .

Every Sukkos, my nieces come out from NYC, the home of all things Jewish. Inevitably my children contract something snotty, or streppy, or both. It's been snotty this time. Slight fever. I don't know if my children give the nieces something to take home, besides a whole new vocabulary of words they aren't allowed to say at Cheder. I suspect they do, but my sister-in-law has excellent manners and would never mention it.

Firefly, never my best-tempered child, is using this opportunity to let his brat flag fly. If I put him down, he screams. Then he follows me, screaming. Often as not, he trips (being more interested in screaming than in walking) and lands on his face, and then he really screams.

My mother, the Mayoress, needed four scripts filled. As is often the case for people needing prescription medications, she was unwell and unable to fill them herself.

I think I've mentioned this scenario before.

I went to Store One to be told that:
- Two of the medications she needs will take 24 hours;
- One of the medications she needs must be filled at Store Two; and,
- I'm welcome to wait half an hour for the fourth medication.

I feel that this has been a negative customer experience. I eagerly await the day that drive through prescriptions come to Canada.

The other day on the radio Mark Steyn said that a country that can't fill a prescription in less than forty-five minutes is likely doomed. Twenty-four hours is much longer than forty-five minutes.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Faux Judaism and Itunes

I think I've ranted before about people who are actually Christian, but for whatever reason want to practice some Jewish rituals. The most irritating example of this is Lina at A Set Apart Life. I am not responsible if you go there and your teeth rot out from the sugary prose.

Anyhow, "Messianic Judaism," a.k.a. Christianity, is catching on. Unfortunately, since we're a tiny minority, if a sizable portion of Christians adopt the "Jewish" label, their noise will drown out our signal.

Even more upsetting is that posing as Jews is a tactic that missionaries use to drop Christianity on unsuspecting and vulnerable Jews who are trying to learn more about their Jewish identity. Even irreligious Jews are strongly attached to their identity as Jews and therefore unwilling to listen to missionaries. As a result unscrupulous missionaries package their message as being about Judaism, only springing the Jesus angle later on.

Itunes is collaborating (unwittingly) in their deception.

When I went to the Judaism category, between a quarter and a third of the podcasts featured were actually Christian. Most were labeled as "Messianic this-or-that," which means I can at least filter them out. They shouldn't be in Judaism, but they are relatively forward about what they are.

Others required me to do a google search before I could confirm that they were actually Christian podcasts.

This is completely unacceptable. If we can't keep a category called "Judaism" for podcasts relevant to, well, Judaism, then at least we shouldn't have to sift through listing that are clearly deceptive.

If this annoys you as much as it does me, go to your itunes store for itunes and enter the Judaism category. Feel free to leave some reviews for some of these guys. Don't let them put a stumbling block in front of another Jew:

Jason Sobel
Talking Torah with Jeff Gilbert
Hope of Israel with Sam Nadler

Meanwhile, a warning: Be very careful when you explore websites and podcasts for Jewish learning. Make sure you know the speaker is worth listening to before you invest your precious learning time.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Yom Kippur and onwards

I think that this is how Yom Kippur is supposed to work: We all fast, and push ourselves to new levels of religious devotion. We exhaust ourselves. We promise to do better. The next day, invigorated by our exertion, we do better. Or try to.

This is what actually happens: Two weeks before Rosh Hashanna, I am moving at full speed. I turn over the children's drawers for the seasons. I procure new clothes. I get hair cuts, locate tights, polish shoes, and bake nine loaves of bread. I cook. I style my wig.

In between Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur, I wash the piles and piles of laundry that built up over the three-day holiday (more or less everything we own). I remove stains and hand-wash tiny children's formal wear. I hem. I re-hem. I tack up hems. I re-style my wig. I iron. Now there's a rarity. I force the five-year-old through a semblance of reading and math. Also, I plant. I lay down newspaper, then soil, and plant it with onions and garlic. I cover the new seeds with plastic. When they sprout, I mulch. I plant all the spinach.

Also, our toilet decided to turn its slow leak into a somewhat less slow, really too fast for comfort leak. As a result we're having bathroom disruption. Don't worry! There's another bathroom in the basement! Of course, I had closed it up (because I don't want to clean two toilets) and the kids are afraid to go down there alone. We're using the opportunity to paint over the ugly green paneling with a charming shade known as "what we already had extra of." So add "sporadic use of a bathroom" to the balls that must be kept in the air.

At the pre-Yom Kippur meal, there were signs all was not going according to plan. I botched both the rice (undercooked) and the bread (over-risen). The rice was crunchy. The children didn't notice, because they were busy fighting over ownership of a glow-in-the-dark sticker.

Then we fast for 25 hours from food and water.

The day after Yom Kippur, I have a tiny mini breakdown. It involves crying a lot, and not having any desire to better myself, or to sit outside in the rain in a plastic hut.

Also, my husband's relatives are coming.

Also, we're taking his father's dog for the duration.

It's been pouring rain every night for three straight nights.

When I prompt my daughter with, "G-d gave Noah the rainbow sign," she cheerfully responds, "No more water the fire next time!" No more water? Not quite.