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“Reflection on the way life used to be”

Happy

Hello, long time…

Having had recently grumbled on my facebook status that this must have been the shittiest summer break that my son (my eldest son, the 9 year old) has ever had, made me start thinking of my own childhood.

First, why did I complain…well right up until last year, I have been a full time working mom.

I had taken the standard 3 ½ month maternity leave when my eldest boy was born. I was fortunate enough to be able to take 6 month when my daughter was born. Last September we welcomed another boy in to our family and I knew I wanted 6 month, but I also desperately wanted to find a different place of employment, so I quit my job.
I’m not going to delve in to all my needs at present and what I had hoped to find, because this isn’t what this post is about, needless to say, it’s a tall order and I haven’t found what I’m looking for yet and it’s been almost a year.  It’s been tough financially, though I always secretly wanted to stay home a year with each child, as they honestly are better off for the first year with their mother at home.

Well, when my son was young I would always be able to pay the day care to take care of him throughout the summer as well, and I would take off a week to 2 weeks from work and try to fill it with activities, best I could, but with a double income and he was an only child at the time we could splurge a little.
When he started school, it was trickier, so for 1st grade and 2nd grade I would place him in “summer camps”, that would fill up 5 wks of the summer break and keep him entertained till 13:00, after that my father or my in-laws would pick him up and he would stay with them till I got Back home.  The rest of the summer was a juggling act, a week with the in laws, a week with me, a week with my husband and one joint week of a family Stay-Cation.

However, this year, with me not working, there has been no summer camp. He has been able to go once a week on average to his friend that had broken his leg and play with him (Lego, Wii, …)

He has gone to the pool and the indoor playing area with my in laws a number of times.

When the weather wasn’t horribly hot I would take them out to the playground.

But mostly the poor sod has been stuck at home watching  TV, on the computer, playing with his Legos, drawing, etc., pretty miserable wouldn’t you say? I have to wonder if he looking forward for the school year to start!

One time we took them to the cinema to see Madagascar 3. My husband will likely take a week off work this year. I’m hoping to take the kids to a dinosaur exhibition and have some other fun activities during that week, but it’s all up to hubby that get’s very tight and a huge party pooper when I don’t work. (talk about a passive aggressive way to get me to go back work) ANYWAY…

So I started thinking about when I was a little girl.

I grew up with a stay at home mom. I also had 2 brother’s close in age to me, and when I was 10 an additional brother.

I NEVER went to camp. The 70’s were very different times; a lot of mothers were stay at home mothers. When my parents moved to where we grew up the place was a town, it wasn’t very developed, it wasn’t crowded and buying a home here was affordable.

So I got to grow up in a Semi Detached house with a garden and neighbors of my own age.

We did not have air conditioning, but I guess the weather did not bother us as much. Maybe we were used to it, who knows. We had one car and my father needed it for his work, he is self employed, so aside from an occasional bus trip to the seaside, we didn’t go very far.

I spent the summer playing with my brothers, or going over to one of my neighbors. We would also play in the garden; the sprinkles were lots of fun as was just having an inflatable pool.

The television had one TV channel, and the same programs run every year, and yet we kept watching these shows and looking forward to seeing them each summer. Anyone remember “The lost Islands”?

As a 9 year old, I think I was content…don’t really remember. I know when I was a teen I started finding the summer break to be a little bit too long and boring.

Where I live turned into a City during the 1980’s, it grew quite a bit in population and has become unaffordable to most people. My husband and I lived somewhere else for a while, but I felt strongly about moving back here, however in order to do so, I realized I would have to live in a flat. An old building that has no patio or elevator, it’s all we could afford, it’s worth it, this city is great but none the less, it different from what I knew growing up.

We don’t much know our neighbors (only on hello how are you basis), they are of different age groups and so my son does not really have neighbors to play with. The garden isn’t much of a garden due to watering restrictions and no one caring much it isn’t being cared for, so no one goes downstairs to play in the garden.  No patio, so we can’t have an inflatable pool and no bath tub either, previous owner had it taken out and I can’t afford to remodel.  The city is probably still safe but I don’t feel comfortable letting him roam free, I find that irresponsible.  We don’t have bicycles and I don’t even know if he knows how to ride one.

Anyway that’s about it.

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Orlop and the cooking store

Happy

Yesterday, we went to check out a new shopping mall that has been advertising its existence aggressively, and obviously it works.

Rather silly going to a shopping mall when you can’t afford to spend anything on just fun spending, frankly it’s a form of self inflicted torture, however, these should be the worst of my problems.

Whilst at the mall I spotted a store called 4 Chef http://www.4chef.co.il/, this sort of store appeals to me as an Ace hardware store would appeal to a man.

As it happens it’s quite trendy right now, lots of gourmet cooking stores are sprouting up all over the place offering various cooking workshops which I for one would like to partake in.

Thus it occurred to me much like men and their tool box, how many kitchen tools do we have in the kitchen that we do not use? However when we bought them we thought, we really need that!

I don’t have many, but I can tell you that in 2009 after I was laid off from work, I decided to give myself a treat and I went and bought a “pro Slicer” having had seen it in action at a play date I took my son too. I had visions of making assorted salads for our meals with little time and effort, of course I used it for about a week and then the novelty wore off and now I use it only occasionally. I discovered that tomatoes are better left  cut the old fashioned way with a knife and as for the rest of the vegetables or fruits, it’s not effortless you first need to cut them to the right size and if it’s a carrot you do need to apply some force…and it can also be a bit fiddly to clean, though it does come with a handy plastic fork to help with this task, so now my “pro Slicer” rests happily in my kitchen cupboard and possibly comes out for special occasions.

Earlier this year I bought myself a Rosh Hashanah gift, something I wanted for a while: a Julienne pillar and a lemon zester.  Convinced I needed these two tools. Well that was 3 month ago, still haven’t used my lemon zester and have used my Julienne pillar twice, but it isn’t living up to my expectation and I have to wonder if I really need it for the rare occasion I prepare spring rolls or some sort of stir fry.

However, the lesson isn’t learned it’s only the financial situation and lack of storage that is preventing me from getting more tools for the kitchen.

Yesterday at 4 Chef I saw a number of knick knacks I would love to have:

-          A small egg whip.

-          A small split level for decorating cakes.

-          A pasta machine.

-          A small frying pan for a single pancake.

-          A flat frying pan for crêpes.

-          A fondue set, though I’ve never had fondue so I have no idea if I like it.

-          Wooden bowls because I like them.

-          Mortar and Pestle made of granite, just because it’s nice looking and cool.
- Containers for storing half used tomotoes or lemons (how often does that happen?)


Last week’s finds

Happy

We had quite an “Errand” filled Friday on 08/10/10, but I felt rather accomplished and quite excited over some finds I made.  After dropping off my son at school and taking care of the school fees we drove the post office so that I could

a) ship some books I had managed to sell on ebay and

b) pay for the renewal of my drivers license.

(I did want to get my hair done, but between school bills and drivers license, it’s just going to take me a while to recover from the “red” that came from the summer expenses, so I’m just letting my hair grow and stay with white streaks).

Next stop was our daughters day care, once we had dropped her off we went to the Thrift store (2nd hand), I was looking to dispose of all sorts of things around the flat (either gifts, I can’t replace and that I have nothing to do with, old children’s clothing in good condition that is out grown, or some of my clothing that I no longer want) the store lady will try to sell them at a reduce cost and if successful, I get 50%, if not it goes to charity. Occasionally, I find something I like there and get it. You would be surprised what can turn up there.

And now for our findings:

After the Thrift store we headed to Ra’anana Farmers Market. I normally get mostly organic fruit and vegetables, but recently they haven’t been around, I recon due to low yield. None the less they still have nice produce that is fresh (recently picked).

My first find was, White Carrots! I had them roasted once in England but have never seen them here and it’s been ages since I saw a carrot with its leaves on!

Following the Farmers Market we decided to go to Arcaffe, since the Coffee Bean has closed Ed and I didn’t really have a “default” coffee shop to go to for a coffee or breakfast and I have grown fond of Arcaffe, so I think this will be coffee shop we will now “defaulting too” plus they have wicked deserts.

Anyway, they also sell bread and I saw a Brioche challah, so I decided to buy a loath, as I’ve heard of Brioche on the Food channel, and Ainsley Harriott has had it more than once on ready steady cook, so I wanted to try it, and indeed it is delicious.  Thus Brioche is my 2nd find on this day.

Now, there were 2  other findings that day, but it’s been a week and I didn’t have a chance to write about it when it was fresh in my mind.

After Arcaffe we went to pick up our children, I had done other things including chores (all my laundry, dishes and washed the floors), but at present I simply can’t remember what were my other 2 findings, only that it felt like a rather content day.

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"Free Schooling for all"

Happy

Friday Morning (8/10/10), started out as it always starts with taking our son to school.

My first call of point that day was to go to the School Secretary and pay for the annual School Fees.

These fees cover the following expenses for the whole school year:

-          School Activities (I’m not sure what those are, possibly ceremonies, etc.,)

-          Class parties.

-          Field Trips.

-          Enrichment studies.

-          Culture.

-          Art Supplies.

-          School newspaper & Calendar.

-          Insurance against accidents.

This is the interesting quirk if you will about Israel. I’m not sure how it works elsewhere and I'll be happy to hear and learn, but Israeli law claimes free schooling to every child, from Age 3 to 18.

The little quirk lies in the definition of the word FREE. I would think that it would be completely free of charge, and whilst I do not want to go splitting hairs and I do admit that it is much more reasonable to send your child to a public school (Municipal school), you still have expenses.

Aside from the above mentioned fee, that came to $125 for the 2nd graders and double that for the 6th graders. We also have to purchase each year our Childs learning books, note books, pencils, colors, etc.

Another expense that simply must be taken into account is after school care. In Israel school let’s out rather early, around 13:00, I don’t know many working mothers that can afford to work such hours, not to mention that part time jobs seem to be till 15:00 not 12:30 (allowing time to get to the school).

It’s true most kids do not need to commute to school, at least not in the urban areas. I only ever walked about 5 to 10 minutes growing up to get to my school.

Anyway, working mothers will often arrange for their child to stay in the after school care facility, if you use the one at the school that is an additional $175 monthly, not including lunch. (outside of the school is more expensive).

I spend an additional $200 monthly on afterschool activities (Succor, Cooking, Computers, Fun Science) and Lunch. Yes, that amount is by choice, but is it really? shouldn't my son get to have some fun things to do between the hours of 13:00 to 16:30?

for most it ends there...though who are fortunate enough to work till 16:00 and nearby can pick up their children, the rest of us (me included, either hire someone to take them home, or fall upon thier paraents help)

Whilst I appreciate the Free education for all, do realize that these expenses just get higher and higher as your child goes up in grades and that I think it’s a bit unrealistic to have school till 13:00, I would think it better if they could, cancel Fridays, and add hours to the rest of the days of the week. Say one hour each day. That would take the kids till 14:00, if they could come towards us and throw in after school care in that bundle, till say 16:00 that would be swell.

Or just be more sincere about it and say “Almost free schooling for all”.


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Movies

Happy

We watched 3 movies over Yom Kippur.

Angels and Demons:
I wanted to see this because I rather enjoyed the De Vinci code, this time the plot takes place in Rome and in the Vatican. I quite enjoyed it. Good acting. I’m rather amazed how an Israeli actress found her way into a movie with such big names as Ewan McGregor and Tom Hanks. Of course Ewan dressed as a priest still looks like Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Also, it’s an added bonus to see places you have seen for your self in real life, as we honeymooned in Italy. The movie does display a lot of what is so fantastic about Rome.

The Israeli actress was okay, but nothing out of the ordinary…I think she must have been cast for this role because she can come over as an Italian. I’m pretty sure she didn’t keep up with the accent she started of with in the movie…but hey, she’s done more in life then I have, so way to go Ayelet Zurer…of course that isn’t saying much…most people have.

My husband chose the following movies:

Clash of the Titans:
M
y husband chose this because it has the same actor as in Avatar and he figured he did a pretty good job in Avatar. I’m happy to say the movie didn’t have many ugly gory scenes as I’d expect just by looking at the cover and in fact it made me want to read and know more about Greek methology since I don’t really know much about it.

Surrogates:
Bruce Willis once again, surviving against the odds ;-P
Seriously now, this is a SciFi gener, I felt the script was a bit weak, though it was okay. I was happy with the ending.

Whilst today we do not have this technology, I personally hope we don’t get to that stage, because it’s rather sad. Its bad enough we spend so many hours in front of the computer, in my mind this is just the next step.

Prescious:
We rented and watched it a few weeks ago
. It’s a very good movie, not easy to watch some of the parts.
Hard to understand how a pareant could do that. I just hope it’s not based on a true story.


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The Blind Side

Happy

This weekend we rented, “The Blind Side” a true story. I really enjoyed the movie, such a touching story and such an amazing story and so recent also. Hard to believe, the hard times children are born into. Michael Oher has got to be a remarkable person, to be born into that situation and rise above it. Amazing.

I must admit, I had trouble to understand the game, but not too much of that in the movie.
The movie was just good to watch, not slow, told the story well and really touches your heart. Truly, a gentle giant.

What about, Leigh Anne Roberts Tuohy, first off all, WOW! we need more people like her. Is she really such a character? But most importantly, in today’s society it’s so hard to trust like that, to show kindness and she just took him in, without even knowing him.

You can read about him here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Oher

Thank goodness for Tony Henderson for instigating that he goes to Briarcrest Christian School and for the turn of events that led him stay there.

What can I tell you? I’m impressed.

On a side note, the young boy, Sean Oher Jr, was really amusing and quite outgoing and bright, really very impressive. I had to wonder if that was poetic license or if he really is like that. I goggled and found this image, I see that now  he too is a football player.

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/2009/11/14/2009-11-14_new_movie_the_blind_side.html

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Why do couples stay married?

stamp

This is an interesting survey I took the liberty to translate most of it.

Why do couples stay married in Israel? I will add, I don’t believe it really represent Israel, since how could the delude all of this from a group of 500 people.

But I have to wonder, as a species, are we designed to always be with the same person? To live as a couple? Very few animals do so? But of course, we’ve got a thinking brain, unlike most animals that act on instinct.

Translated from: http://www.nrg.co.il/online/1/ART2/122/388.html#

A survey indicated that in Israel 1 out of 5 is still married because of love. People stay married here for the following reasons:

Why do couples stay married?

(Newly weds aged 18-34)

-          For the kids (39.3%)
-          True Love (19%)

This could indicate why divorce rates rise in a later age.

Alternately those who married for the wrong reasons, get divorced before age 35 and consequently, the reasons for

staying married after age 35 (ages 34-54) are fairly similar.

Only in the group of over 55 do you find:

-          For the kids (13%)

-          True Love (22%)

The survey also indicated:

-          5% stay married because they are afraid to divorce.
-          3.9% stay married because they have a good sex life.
-          15.3% all of the above.
-          13.3% don’t know.

The survey also concluded that the non-religious 23.6% stay married for the kids. Whilst the traditional, religious couples 40.4% said it’s for the children.

In the ultra orthodox sector, 30.8% said it was true love. These couples share something in common, big families.

Across country in the following cities couples stay married for true love:

Jerusalem 27%

South of Israel 25%

Tel Aviv 23%

Haifa 20%

Sharon 14%

(The survey sampled 500 men and woman from all over the country)


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How to look bad in front of the in laws?

DS

Now I am not proud of this but it does happen, especially when it back of your mind you know no harm is done.

My daughter hasn’t been well of late, and my husband has stayed 2 days at home with her, yesterday, because he had taken a personal day off.

And today he said he would stay with her again, since I’m taking off on Thursday to take her to a speech evaluation and her day care is closing at 12:30 because we have the end of year party at 18:00.

Well, this morning my husband said he would have to work from home and consequently it would make it easier on him, if he only had to cope with our daughter and so to ask my father to pick our son up after summer camp is over at 13:00.

I said, “no problem, I’ll call my dad and let him know”.

I figured I would call my father when I get to work, since I hate using the cell phone and avoid it when possible.

Well, of course I get to work, I get busy and I forget.

I go off to have my lunch at 13:23 in the office kitchen, around 15:00 I looked at my phone for some reason and I see 2 missed calls from 13:30 (I can not hear my phone unless it’s next to me), they were from my husband. I immediately remember that I didn’t call my father, but on the same token I figure everything is okay, since probably my father will remember that he picks up our son on Wednesday’s as well (even though the original agreement was Sunday and Tuesday only) and the summer camp my son is at now has the after camp care option till 16:00, so he wouldn’t be alone, and besides the people in charge would not let him be alone. We just decided not to spend the extra $100 it costs for the after camp option.

Well, I speak with my father and turns out, he had completely forgotten (probably because he has had a bit of a break in routine recently due to his recover from surgery and my son switching locations, since the 1st summer finished on Sunday)

So I call my husband and discover that the “camp” had called him at 13:30 and he in turn called his father who’s retired (My father is Semi-Retired, from his self employment) and asked him to go pick up my son. Fortunately, my ILS live very close to the school where my son’s 2nd summer camp is located.

But Shame on me!

BTW, this summer camp is “Marital Arts” summer camp; it’s basically an introduction to various martial arts, such as Tai-Kwan-Do; Judo & Karate. So far, my son seems happy with this choice. They will also have a few excursions to the pool and arcade and they also do some arts. This camp will only last 2 wks, after that we have 3 wks to figure out for our selves. ILS have stepped up and my husband will take time off as well. Since I don’t have any vacation days to take, I might just take a few days near the end of the month.


Tags:

Television, Television, Television.

Happy

I seem to have a love hate relationship with Television and computers. I hate it because it occupies too much of my time that I don’t get to occupy myself with other things I enjoy. I also think it is going to harm my children’s potential.

But on the other hand, I enjoy watching television for a number of reasons, but basically it’s entertaining.

On facebook I often mention things I watch…but I don’t think I’ve mentioned it too much here.

So, this year I discovered Glee, and I am a huge fan! I think it’s wonderful. I enjoy most episodes and most songs. Most recently I watched the season finale and I just LOVED the moving rendition of “to sir  with love”

And now for the more “intellectual” if you will, shows I’ve been recently watching.

BBC aside from being very PRO you know what, is basically a darn good broadcasting channel, that have made quality television one year after the other.

I’ve been watching Coast - http://www.bbc.co.uk/coast/archive/
In each episode a different area of the British Coast is surveyed dwelling into the history of that area. What it once was, some places are desolated now, but used to thrive in the past.

It’s very interesting, coupled with the luscious beauty of Great Britain and very good presenters; the main one Neil Oliver being Scottish has a delightful accent. One cannot help by being amused when he tries to swim in the channel and says in his strong Scottish accent “Mercy”, or something like that, because it was very cold.

Also, this weekend, I was flipping channels and stumbled on another very interesting documentary by the BBC called “The Making of Me” - http://www.bbcamerica.com/content/292/john-barrowman-the-making-of-me.jsp
it researchers Identical vs. non identical twins, and also an actor who would like to know if he was born gay or if he became gay, and a famous violinist who would like to know again if she was born to be a violinist or did she become one just by all her hard work. The documentary basically looks into an age old question “Nature vs. Nurture”.

And I’m happy to say that as I was looking for the above to add to my FB profile, I also discovered that my favorite Professor which has made excellent documentaries about fertility and child development, is not only one of my people but also now has a website.
I give you the official site of Professor Robert Winston - http://www.robertwinston.org.uk/

 

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