Monday, December 29, 2008

Raising a Family -- no work at all

Since I was recently told that I really don't have too much to do as a single mother, since 2 of my kids are older (one in the army, aged 19, and the second living at home after the army before he starts university next year) and the "minors" really don't take any of my time, I thought that I'd just list a short itinerary of my day.

Just kvetching:

BEFORE 8:00a.m.
1. Get up, get dressed, make up downstairs to get ready for this evening's renters, clean up after the puppy's nighttime excursions around the living room, wash the dishes from last night when 12-year-old daughter had 5 friends over, leave notes for 3 kids with reminders of what to do during the day, hang laundry, make myself a lunch, buy bread on my way to work, get to work BY 8:00a.m.

1. Call daughter's friend's mother to find out when to put her back on the bus for her trip home
2. Get child on the proper bus
3. Call for haircut (I haven't had my hair cut in 3 months)
4. Get eggs
5. Get tofu

1. Clean Hannukias after Chanukah and put them away
2. take down laundry before rain starts.
3. supper -- eggs and fries
4. Take call from downstair's renters who will arrive later today
5. Do "extra" work, articles for new website on Tzfat, newsletter for tzdekka organization in Tzfat, etc

This is in addition to my 8-hour day. To say that it utterly pisses me off to be told that raising a family myself is "nothing"

But the person who told me that will get his.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Family comin' out of our ears!

There have been years when no family members, in the past 2 weeks, three different cousins have been/are/will be in Israel. When it rains.....One cousin was on an organized tour and didn't have time to spend with me, so I didn't travel to Jerusalem, as I had thought to do, but hopefully, I'll see her in the States if I go for my niece's wedding in June. The second came with his daughter, who's here for the year, for Shabbat, which was great fun. And now, I got an email from a 3rd, who will be here with her family next week. It's nice for me, of course, but my kids have basically grown up without extended family, and it's nice for them to know that they have cousins, not just hear about them.

Dufus has been laying on the couch for the last couple of days, looking sorry for himself. Avishai calls him "Herzl" but honestly, he looks, and acts, like a Dufus. Anyway, I was going to take him to the vet today. I don't begrudge the money....I figure that spending money on a stray animal counts, at least a bit, as tzdekka, but I do begrudge the time! As it is, after I finish work and all errands, I don't get home until 6:00p.m., and only then, after getting supper together, can I start Pesach prep. Now I have to work around the dog? And not even my dog? Oh well...maybe he'll pay me back by licking up some of the stray crumbs.

Actually, I'm fairly well along in preparations, but as always, am nervous about the last days before the holiday, when the crunch (and cooking) comes in. This year, it's more pressured than usual because the Seder comes on Saturday night, so both Shabat and the Seder have to be ready by Friday afternoon. But it will happen. We're having a neighborhood family join us, with kids our kids' ages, so everyone should be happy. I was going to get some gift certificates to a clothing store and give them out to the kids who ask the most and best questions at the Seder -- we'll see if I can organize it in time. A bit of bribery never hurt anyone.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Every day, there seems to be more to do than the day before. Sometimes, it's overwhelming, everything that needs to be taken care of, before I start work at 8:00a.m. (today, i got dinner ready before I left for work) and after 17:00, when I come home (today, I finished cleaning the oven and stovetop by 20:00, a job that I dread every year). And every day, there seems to be some items that need to be picked up, doctors visits that need to be made, errands and bills that need to be taken care of, etc. I start out every day with a list, and add to it as the day continues -- the list never seems to have everything crossed off!

Yesterday, I took Margalit to the Interior Ministry to get a passport -- it looks like we're going to go to the States in June for 2 weeks for my niece's wedding. I'm looking forward to that, and although it would have been fun to travel alone, I would have been dealing with the consequences for years to come if I would have left Margalit, the only one of the kids who hasn't yet been to the States, behind.

The creature in the picture is Robby (that's his name right now, anyway). Some Livnot chevre called to say that they were staying somewhere where the neighbor's dog was being abused, and wanted to get it away. I volunteered to "foster" him, and how he's at my house, terrorizing the cat. Everyone else is charmed...he looks like a purebred Cocker Spanial, and is really a nice dog. I'm glad that I can do my part, but truthfully, I'd gotten used to having one dog, and it's a bit of a strain to have a second. On the other hand, the annoying cat that was hanging around our porch has disappeared, and if that's not worth it, I don't know what is.

A Tzfat story....a few weeks ago, a couple of yeshiva boys came in to work to ask me if I knew where Ronen was -- he's the guy who works across from me, and who sells "lachuch", Yeminite pancake. I told them that I thought that he'd be in soon, and sure enough, about an hour later, I walked by and they were having something to eat there.

By coincidence (this story is full of "by coincidences") I had to take Miranda to the vet that evening, and borrowed Livnot's car. Usually, I park by my house, take her home, and then return the car to Livnot, but this time, I was rushed, so I returned the car to Livnot and walked home with the cat cage, walking by Ronen's shop. By coincidence, Ronen saw me and asked me if I knew who the boys were who had eaten at his lachuch in the of them had forgotten his camera. I told Ronen that I didn't have any idea -- I'd just met them for a few seconds, by coincidence, when they were looking for the lachuch to open.
As I walked home, by coincidence, a group of boys was walking towards the Old City, right down my street. guessed coincidence, we crossed paths at exactly the same moment, and I was able to tell them where their camera (which they didn't even know was missing) was.
At work, I now share the space with the "International Center for Tzfat Kabbalah", an organization that was started to, a. encourage tourism to Tzfat and give tourists the opportunity to do something meaningful during their visit (a lecture, tour, kabbalah experience); and b. to get people acquainted with "Kosher Kabbalah" (as opposed to the Madonna/Demi/Kabbalah Center/red string Kabbalah. The main point of Kosher Kabbalah is to point out that Kabbalah study and practice is not divorced from Torah and Mitzvot (commandments), as places like The Kabbalah Center like to proclaim (more money to be made by giving people the idea that they don't need to keep mitzvot to be "spiritual"; just give money)
For 8 years, I ran the Tourist Center by myself, but now, having other people working in the same space is such a pleasure! We each have our own concentration (me: Livnot; them: their tour) but we compliment each other, help each other, and just enjoy chatting sometimes and shairng observations. Change is sometimes good; this time, it's great.
Bedtime. Margalit is sleeping in my bed, which she likes to do sometimes. I dont usually mind, but she tends to kick a lot. Hope it's a habit that she'll outgrow by the time she gets married.

Thursday, January 31, 2008


The snow has turned to slush, but the day was terrific for the kids. First of all, they were off school, which is always a treat. Secondly, it was a lot of fun for them to head outside to the snow. Hagai went up to the Metzuda, the Citadel, to build a snowman and hang out with his friends. Yochi ventured out to the yard for a few photos, which was enough for her. And Margalit and her gang spent the day alternating between different points in the neighborhood and each other's houses.

The weather forecast had been saying "snow" for several days, and even though it wasn't supposed to start until Wednesday, few kids came to school on Tuesday. There was no snow Wednesday morning, but Margalit reported that there were only 3 girls in her class who showed up, and the school dismissed early. Not only that, but there's evidently no electricity in the school, so there's no prospect of the kids going back to school any time soon.

I told the kids that when I was young, the snow would have to be knee-high before we'd be kept home. "yeah, sure ema" was the reply, "stop exaggerating". Ha! I'd like them to spend a winter in Detroit, and then tell me how cold and difficult the snow here is!

I also ended up having most of a day off....I went into work, but about 10:00a.m., there was an electrical blackout, so I waited around for a bit, and then came home, telling them "let me know if the electricity comes back on". Aside from the fact that I was freezing, there was really nothing for me to do without a computer. Thank goodness no one called me back, because I really enjoyed having a day off! I cooked Shabbat, slowly.....cooked a dish, did some of my puzzle, cooked something else, did some more of my puzzle.....such a difference from the usual mad rush to get everything done on Thursday evening, after I come home at 17:00. I like having a tight schedule usually, but sometimes, it's nice to have a break.

snow in Tzfat

Monday, January 21, 2008

Happy Tree Birthday

OK, I know that these missives are boring, but sometimes, I just have to vent.

Woke up at 6:30a.m. Washed the kitchen/living room floor. Woke up Yochi and Margalit. Made myself food for work. Went to work. Worked till 4:00p.m. Stopped at 4 different shops on the way home for things that we need. Came home, washed the downstairs, went to the shops in the southern part of the city for some items that I need from the Home Center-type store there, as well as some vegetables, because the ones in town are so expensive. Took Jenny, which was nice because she loves a walk, but it was hard to schlep everything home (in my little pull-buggy) while holding her leash.

Home, made dinner, dough for tomorrow's pizza, tomato sauce for tomorrow's pizza, cookie dough for Shabbat's cookies. Stuck in a load of wash, and now, I think that I deserve an episode or two of Friends.

Today is Tu B'Shevat, the Kabbalistic birthday of the trees (or some such thing). I didn't have the energy to organize a family Tu B'shevat Seder, but I did put out some dried fruit and nuts...that's something. As a matter of fact, together with some crackers and cheeses and Shabbst's lasagne leftovers, that was dinner -- dried fruits and nuts. No one complained much, but I'm not sure if that's because they liked the novelty, or they realized that it wouldn't do much good.

Avishai gave me some tzdekka money from his salary last week, and I added some of my own, and sent it to my friend in Jerusalem. When I called her up to make sure that she'd gotten it, she was practically crying in thanks.....she had all sorts of bills to pay, medicines to buy for her sick daughter, etc., and didn't have anything left. How someone can live like that, hand to mouth, year after year, is beyond me. I get nervous if I don't have a bit at the end of each month to put away for whatever upcoming holidays or possible emergency there might be. I'm also extremely proud of Avishai, who gives me money every month--Hagai does too, when he's working, and I know that Yochi gives on her own. Sometimes, I'm not sure if I'm succeeding in raising them "right", and then......I think, "yeah, it's OK".