Thursday, July 29, 2004

AMISH IN THE CITY - YOU HAD ME ON 'RUMSPRINGA'

I am learning today that there has been a whole lot of hype about whether this show should have been made, or aired, or whatever .. but I never read that stuff. I wanted to watch it because I had seen a documentary on this rite of passage before and it interests me.

As the
show started, it looked so much like it had the makings of another BIG BROTHER; I was not sure where they were going to go with it. Then this group of Amish people arrived all together to be greeted by the city slickers. RUMSPRINGA FEATURES! It could be worse; they could have taken them to a recording of Jerry Springer!

Taking a very simplistic view of the show, I have to say I enjoyed it and I thought the Amish were totally cool. To me they appeared to be very in touch with their feelings and a lot more passionate about their lives than a number of the city slickers.

What stood out for me very quickly was how the “city haves” are of the attitude, I see it, and therefore I am entitled to it. There is no hint of privilege. They strutted around the house in what appeared to me as a way in which they were almost inspecting to see that it was good enough compared to what they had seen on other shows. In fact, I think they had a point of reference from other shows and if this had not met with their expectations, they would have demanded an extreme home makeover. Not an abundance of finesse!

The difference was glaringly obvious to me. The Amish had no expectation. They were only surprised and grateful. What a contrast – and they didn’t even know they were creating it!
I loved the way Mose worked through his near drowning incident. He knew what he needed to do to bring himself back towards himself and I think he showed tremendous strength of character sitting and reading his bible out aloud by himself. I wondered if any of the city slickers had any inkling of what it must have taken for him to lie down at their feet and let them shave his body. Again, I believe he showed tremendous strength of character and bravery doing that. One thing, Mose, not Mo or Moses, but Mose intrigues me. I found his box of inventions quite adorable and it was this childlike quality in all of them that made them so engaging for me.

Ruth’s reaction to the ocean made me feel envious in a way. She was a bold reminder of how we take the earth and her nature so for granted. I know this sounds real corny but this planet is really overwhelming in its beauty and the collective “we”, perfectly represented by the city slickers on the show, rarely stop to smell the roses. Ruth felt blessed to have the experience and Mose was totally humbled by it. Not bad for a day at the ocean.

Perhaps I am naive when it comes to the impact of these shows. Either way, I think these people have an interesting journey ahead of them and I look forward to seeing what transpires.

ADORATIONIOUS FEATURES

"It is all right letting yourself go,
as long as you can get yourself back."
-Mick Jagger


I HEART this man, BIG time! Posted by Hello

LIKE MOTHER, LIKE DAUGHTER

As a child, my friends’ parents were all much younger than mine and I always felt my parents had been born old!  In a similar way, I often have the urge to remind our three children that Daniel and me weren’t born old and stupid.  

At 37,  I was the exact age when I gave birth to Ross, that my mom was when she had me.  I thought about this a lot when Ross was born because it was the first time I’d had a concept of my mom being a young woman  I have always enjoyed a healthy relationship with her, but this made it seem like I could relate to her on a far more intimate level.

I often find myself in situations with Ross doing something that I so clearly remember thinking, as a child, I would NEVER do when I one day had my own children.  In those moments, I picture my Mom at my age, and I just smile because I now can so relate to those moments in my memory.

I sat at my Mom’s 81st birthday party on July 10th and thought to myself that I hope I continue to mature into the kind of woman she is.  She is strong beyond words; impeccable in everything she does, has held our family together no matter what has been challenging us and just totally been there for all of us in every sense of the word.
 She has been an incredible role model and her capacity to love her children and grandchildren astounds me.  She is one of a very small number of people I know who truly loves me unconditionally.  On those days when the immigration process feels daunting, I think of the value she creates in Ross’ life, and how having this relationship enriches his soul, and I know being here is exactly where I am meant to be.


Did I mention that she is such a cute, little person that when she walks hand-in-hand with Ross, they almost look like a couple?


My Mom, my sister and eating cake-unplugged! Posted by Hello

7 RHYMES WITH HEAVEN

On July 14th Ross turned 7.  The following situation took place that morning …

Ranking most high on the frustration meter is the fatigue I have to endure as a result of having MD.  It is frustrating because my brain thinks at one speed, and my body lags behind at another.  In order to conserve energy, I get assistance in doing things of a physical nature.  Getting dressed is one such thing.  Pulling on a pair of pants is both physically challenging and demanding.  So, when Daniel is not around, Ross has learnt how to assist me in getting pants on and he does it extremely well.

His friend Brenna arrived early to spend the day with us.  I called him into my bathroom to come give me a hand with getting dressed shortly after she got here.

I heard him say to Brenna “I will be right back, I am just going to get my Mom dressed”.  Gulp!  While he was gently guiding my pants over my feet, I said to him,

“Ross, do you ever feel embarrassed about the fact that you have to help me get dressed?”

“No Mommy”.

“I am sure you realize that most of your friends don’t have to do this, so I want you to know that if it embarrasses you, it is really ok to tell me, I won’t be upset with you”.

He got up off his haunches and walked towards the bathroom door.  When he got there, he stood in the doorway and turned back to face me.  “Mommy” he said, “sometimes you just got to do what you got to do”, closed the door and went back to carry on where he left off with Brenna.

I acknowledge my child for his empathy, his kindness and his Divine connection.  I acknowledge my husband for achieving the greatest parenting skill, to teach by example.  I celebrate all our lives for this beauty and these blessings.
 


T H A N K Y O U  &  H A P P Y    B I R T H D A Y    R O S S !
 

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Saturday, July 24, 2004

MY SHOPPING BAG

Here is a list of things I have been enjoying and  want to extend my support to:

Feeling hungry for a yummy smoothie, a delicious wrap or sandwich?  You should visit this store.  When you get there, tell my sister I sent you!

Lori brought these two addresses to my attention and I think they are super fun.  This will not be of interest to you if you are only satisfied with the real bling!

Great hair-care products.  In particular, the Nourish and Shine.  Excellent for both hair and skin care. 

If you are looking for something different, made lovingly by hand, visit my friends in Muskoka, Canada.  You can really go potti over this!

Enjoy!!

NUMBERS

When I started my blog, I really felt insecure about whether people would come to read it.  My counter was set up to record each unique hit, which I feel is a more realistic way of monitoring numbers.

I am very excited about the fact that the number is fast approaching 1000 visitors and I would like to make a request.

The few comments that have been left on the blog  have all been from people I know, with the exception of three.  If you perhaps notice what number visitor you are, and you are the 1000th, please leave me a comment.  I would love to know who you are.

I wish more people would leave comments, as it is a great source of feedback be they positive or negative. 

Either way, thanks for coming to check out my blog!

WE WENT DOWN THE SHORE

It seems that if you live in New Jersey, it is essential to be able to say, “I’m going down the shore” or “I’ve been down the shore”.  Perhaps I am now a fully-fledged New “Jerseyanese” because I have done both!
                       
The aspect I love about going down the shore is that there is this whole other life thing happening a mere one hour and ten minutes drive from my front door.  As a child in South Africa, when we went oh holiday (as opposed to vacation), we would go down to the coast (as opposed to the shore), and the nearest destination from Johannesburg was 6 hours to Durban.  These were always a hellish six hours of someone getting car sick (as opposed to motion sickness) and generally vomiting (as opposed to throwing up) long before the Grumplestiltskins (thanks Dooce, as opposed to parents) had time to pull into a garage (as opposed to gas station) for us to get to the toilet (as opposed to bathroom) before the projectile.  This was also long before the days when the kids were anaesthetized in the back by means of DVD’s in cars ~ bordering on obscene but A+ for long journeys.

We stayed in Seaside Heights at the Belmont Motel.  Given that it was last minute, it was a really good find.  When I called to make the booking (as opposed to reservation), I asked if the room we selected was on the ground floor as there is no elevator in the building (of course!).  I was pleasantly surprised when the lady told me that it was on the ground floor and was in fact a disabled friendly room.  It was a pleasure to have a ramp to the room and a bathroom with a walk in shower.  The rooms were nicely appointed, very clean and the owners are super friendly.  They made us feel like we were regulars who had been coming to stay every year, for years.  It’s a nice feeling that – you walk around the place feeling almost like you own it!

One night, Ross crept into our bed, which was King size so there was plenty room.  As the three of us lay there in the dark, I heard this really strange sound coming from what sounded like right outside our door.  It was a kind of whoosssshhhh sound as if something was swooping over the parking area, just above ground level.  What was freaky about it was that it sounded like it was coming in under the door.  It happened a second time at which point I really thought the room was about to light up and out of the bright light would come walking some short people with big heads.  Ross came a little closer and asked “what is that noise, Mom?”.  This was clearly one of those times where I could not say “nothing”.  So, what do you do when you think your motel room is about to be invaded by aliens as the third whoosh sound whooshes by your door … you say “let’s ask Daddy”.  Daddy is well away in doo-doo land at this point so with a somewhat forceful “Daniel – what’s that noise?”, we go through the usual “huh – what noise, where, it’s nothing?”  “No, no, no … not this time, there really is one strange noise out there.”  With that WHOOOOSSSSSHHHH! “Shit, you’re right” he says.

Moments later, Daniel is at the window in the front room and sees a couple of motel guests being driven away in a police car.  They had been letting off fireworks rockets outside our door and had them whooshing and zooming around the parking area.  How sober do you think they might have been to think this would not get the attention of even the sleeping guests?

The teenagers shared a room on their own and aside for injury, money and food stops, we hardly saw them.  When we did, it was the usual Grumplestiltskins exchange.  Interesting phenomenon with teenagers, they are lured by food and finance.   They had themselves a good time and came back brown as berries.

The boardwalk was great and my lovely friend Chris won me a Shrek Donkey by shooting water into a balloon and making it explode.  Ross and Daniel did all the rides and Ross won the bravery award over Daniel, hands down!  While watching Daniel, I was convinced that the ride called PHAROAH’S FURY would be DADDY’S POOPEY!.  It was too funny for words.  Chris then introduced me to FUNNEL CAKES.  I think this might be a reason in itself to return to the shore before the season ends, even just for a day trip.  Totally yummy Jersey Shore delicacy!

We enjoyed some really nice meals typical to the area and occasions.  The excellent Italian restaurant called ON TOP OF SPAGHETTI offered the highlight meal.  Unfortunately they do not have a web address, but their phone number is 732 854 9400.  Their food was excellent and if you ever find yourself in that area make sure you stop in and try their almond Tiramisu.  

When I asked Ross which he enjoyed most, the beach or swimming in the pool at the Motel, he answered “the Water Park”.  He could happily have spent his days there on the slides and rides and just generally raving in the paddling pools.  It really is a cool park and there are comfy chairs for parents to kick back on and watch the kids. 

The four days away were fun and one hour and ten minutes after we got into the car, we were home with the quintessential Jersey Shore vacation under our belts.


A boardwalk delicacy which was a new discovery for us Posted by Hello


KLEES BAR & GRILL Posted by Hello


One feature of the water park Posted by Hello


Ross, Daniel and Brenna braved these slides and said they were amazing! Posted by Hello


What should we call this car? Posted by Hello


Perhaps "The Boxter" Posted by Hello


Still deciding - give us a minute! Posted by Hello


Hmmm perhaps ... Posted by Hello


... the TEETH-MOBILE! Posted by Hello

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

TESTING, TESTING, 1 - 2 - 3

It is amazing how cut-off I felt when my computer had a brain fart and keeled over last week!  I came back to find changes to Blogger and am just feeling my way around the repaired computer and new features on the B.
 
Change is good, change is exciting and I look forward to updating all the events that have been keeping me busy and totally in the swing of summer.
 

Watch this space for more - I'll be back.  I think I like this size font
and it is really nice to have a variety of colors to choose from.
I promise NEVER to use the rainbow print - EVER!
Going to press publish post now and hope this works.
 
STAY TUNED!
 

Sunday, July 11, 2004

A WHOLE NEW KIND OF DAY OF INDEPENDENCE

Although we are technically not Americans, we did hang a flag outside the house, and we had a BBQ. The longer we live here, the more we are starting to feel what days like the 4th of July are all about.

The highlight of my day however centered on a haircut. Ross’ haircut!

In true Jewish tradition, Ross had his hair cut for the first time when he turned three years old. We observed this in a traditional context more than one of religious observance.

There was no stress about getting this haircut, in fact there was much excitement on the way to Neil, a good friend, and a hairdresser in London, which is where we were living at the time!

Ross behaved like a star, and yes, I cried. It was a moving experience. He lost that very baby-ish look and seemed so much more mature.

Unfortunately, the next few haircut experiences were nothing less than a nightmare. My sister was visiting us in London from the USA for one of these events. She literally removed me from the salon. Daniel held Ross down with what looked like brutal force to me. I did not see the necessity of this for a stupid haircut.

A couple of months later, it was time for a haircut again and I was dreading it. Daniel was away on business so I decided to try use that to our advantage.

“How about you surprise Daddy with a haircut when he gets back tomorrow, Ross?”
Fortunately he thought this was a great idea.

Off Ross, me and Marti (Au Pair) go to the barber. (I thought I would spare friend Neil the trauma!). Of course Ross refused to wear the cutting cape. He behaved like a star for the haircut, as if it was something he had been doing with ease his entire life. By the time I had finished paying at the desk, he was so itchy from not having worn the cape, that he was wriggling out of his clothes. Marti and I decided this was in fact what he needed to do. So, there was Ross, strolling down the street in his underpants, sneakers and socks, sucking on a lollipop from the barber. This was a hilarious picture because at age almost 7, Ross weighs the princely sum of 40 lbs. So at 3 years old, this was not Hercules strolling down the road in his BOB THE BUILDER underpants!

When we arrived in the USA, our lives changed as far as hairdressing was concerned. Ross met the hairdresser of his dreams. This dream is a man by the name of Constantine who has now been cutting Ross’ hair for 3 years. The interesting thing about this friendship is that Constantine has a very unique accent. We have not been able to ascertain where he comes from originally, and in spite of the lengthy conversations he and Ross have when he is cutting Ross’ hair, I am convinced neither one of them understand a word the other says. As far as me and Constantine goes, a lot of head nodding, big smiles, and “uh huh’s!” are exchanged.

When I called to see if Constantine was working on the 4th, I was told “no!”. Darn, how can we go on vacation without a haircut? I asked Ross if just this once he would be prepared to let another barber cut his hair, only because we are going on vacation and he needs a haircut.

After some serious thought Ross was happy to do this provided he could choose his own style. I said this would be totally ok. Without much difficulty I did get him to agree that perhaps orange and red flames was not practical on a day-to-day basis, but more for CRAZY DAY at summer camp or CRAZY HAIR DAY at school. However, he could still choose his own style.

While I was having my own hair done, my almost bald husband who insists on having his head look like someone rubbed a piece of paper with pencil shaving on it all over him, rushes up to me and says, “close your eyes, you are not going to believe this”. I closed my eyes and when I was told to open, I was speechless. GULP!

GULP! Again.

There stood this gorgeous little “man”, looking completely transformed from the little guy who had walked in with me a half hour before.

He chose a style whereby the front of his hair stands up with the help of gel. It is like spikey, short bangs, and it changed his appearance completely.

This really was a day of newfound independence and all I can say is GULP!


I'm three years old and the curls are coming off. 7/14/2000 Posted by Hello


"I've waited three years for this!", thinks Neil. Posted by Hello


Happy haircut, happy Mama. Posted by Hello


A handsome, adorable three year old. Posted by Hello


This is serious business, matey! Posted by Hello


There's a whole lot of growing going on as we approach 7! Posted by Hello


You are indeed our beautiful Tree of Life, you beautiful boy! Posted by Hello

Sunday, July 04, 2004

ARE YOU SICK, BLOGGER?

I seem to be having too much difficulty getting my posting done tonight, and my mail to BLOGGER is being returned.
So, I am going to sign off now as I am going away to she shore until Thursday.
I wish you better, BLOGGER ... Please!

Stay tuned ... I'll be back.

LONG OVERDUE MOVIE WATCHING

I would not describe MONSTER as an enjoyable movie but it was very interesting. It has many profound moments but there was one in particular that stands out for me. For those who might not have seen it yet, I do not think sharing this detail will detract from your overall experience of the movie. After committing her first murder, Charlize Theron in her role as Aileen Wuornos staggers around screaming, or crying out. Although there is no dialogue in this scene, it spoke volumes to me. Her anger and frustration, her fear and the overall injustice of her life was all rolled up in that one scream. Charlize Theron worked hard and earned her Best Actress Oscar.

I had a similar reaction to TRAIN SPOTTING in that it comes as a rude reminder how devastating the effects are on people who are unfortunate enough to slip through the cracks in life. The depths to which some lives sink affects me deeply and I am reminded of how flippant we become about our generally well-balanced lives.

Although I am not a huge fan of Christina Ricci she was perfectly cast and delivered an impeccable performance in this role.

Patty Jenkinswrote and directed. Fantastic piece of girl power!



MYSTIC RIVER – was so masterful that I feel a bit chutzpahdik saying anything about it. Sean Penn more than deserved his long overdue Oscar. The entire cast delivered impeccable performances depicting their characters with total perfection. In terms of my personal preferences, Clint Eastwood did something more brilliant than BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, my favorite Eastwood masterpiece.

An incredible movie showing how our lives can change in a split second based on the choices we make.


Looking forward to this movie!

 
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