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Paternal Prediction revisited

Old School Graphic Design Tools

Today’s WordPress Prompt reminded me of this post I wrote 5 years ago – it’s as relevant as ever.

I hope I don’t turn out like my father.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my father.

Tonight we were doing an early spring-cleaning, just one closet. Out came the old coats, the worn out shoes, the broken kitchen appliances, and assorted memories.

There was a large leather portfolio that I dump unceremoniously on the side. It was just waiting to be placed in an organized allotted space. My father passed the wreckage that was the cleaning, and spotted the portfolio.

“My old stuff!” he said excitedly. He picked it up, cleared whatever was on the kitchen table with the sweep of his hand, laid down the portfolio and opened it.

Inside was my father’s old work. His work as a graphic artist, years before computers were standard. Where the artist actually had to be one, and not rely on the manipulations and clip art of present day (not minimizing today’s graphics artist, but it’s a completely different field with a different set of skill requirements).
He pulled out papers where he created an accountant’s sheets. He drew ALL the lines. Perfectly. He pulled out posters he created for concerts where all the elements where pasted on top of each other and then printed together. Brochures, where he drew the products, and the simulation of person trying it. He pulled out a yellowed New York Times, where an ad he created had ran. He pulled out several envelopes and letterheads in which logos he created graced. And then he just took out fun things that he drew with an advertisement theme. It wasn’t just, oh I put together the logo or I worked on it; he CREATED it.

“Ta,” I said. “You were amazing. What happened?” He just laughed and said something like,

“I’m so busy just printing now, I don’t have time to patchke on this stuff, besides, this is not how it runs anymore.”

“But, you’re so good!” I protested. He smiled for the compliment but sighed slightly.

“Maybe when I retire I’ll go back to it.” He said optimistically.

I always prided myself on having some artistic skill, I knew I got it from my father, and I’ve seen plenty of his personal work. But seeing today how he utilized his talents for business was successful and loved it, made me feel a bit inadequate in my dabbling in the arts.

But he’s not using it anymore. He loved it. He was great. But real life gets in the way.

I don’t want that to happen to my talents. I want to use them, for them to be me, not for me to tell my children years from now,

“Y’know I had blog when I was younger….”

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2013 in Family, Musings

 

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The Wheels Turn

Eyes closed, head back leaning against the wall, she listened to herself breathe. In and out, rise and fall, intensify and release. It wasn’t bad day, just a busy one. With each intake she felt a pressure mount behind her eyes, and when let out, the pressure turned to pleasure, with deep warmth and envelopment of mind.

“Are you coming?” he called from the room.

She opened her eyes, looked around a bit, the kitchen was clean.

“Coming.” She answered.

The dry dishes were then put into the cabinets, the shoes, lined up for the next morning, his phone plugged in to charge, books gathered into one pile on the table, the box of tissues, out of reach of the baby, now put back on the table, the alarm set, the light in the kitchen switched off, the hallway one, flicked on. She walked toward the room, stopping in the laundry room to put the dryer back on.

She was ready for bed.

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2012 in Family

 

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Culturing Children

This image was selected as a picture of the we...

This image was selected as a picture of the week on the Malay Wikipedia for the 22nd week, 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She looked at me, her face a mixture of awe and disgust.

“I know you want your kid to all cultured and educated, but don’t you think you’re starting a bit young?”

I gave her a blank look, having no idea what she was referring to.

“Your kid just said he’s going to the Mona Lisa.”

“What?” I said. “He didn’t say that.

“I swear he did.”

I can’t remember the last time I even thought about the Mona Lisa.” I protested.

Just then my kid scooted up in his Cozy Coupe,

“Mommy, I go Momo Leesa.” And then pitter-pattered away as fast his feet could pedal.

“See,” she pointed after my son.

I just laughed at my sister,

“That’s Morah Aliza, his babysitter, he’s going to. The other place he goes to is ‘sheeva’ to ‘lorn’. How’s that for cultured and educated.”

 
3 Comments

Posted by on October 23, 2012 in Humor, Jewish

 

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Hosting A Question

Yes, this is my guest bedroom. Yes, I am kidding.

It is the human condition where people believe their beliefs, perspectives, and attitudes to be among the average consensus. Meaning, most people will agree with what we say and do, or at least understand it.

Obviously this is a very flawed logic and condition as evidenced by the amount of frivolous strife a person encounters each day. Arguments over who’s turn it is to take the garbage out, that the driver ahead of you should have made the light, that your mother in law should keep her comments to herself – none of these would have happened if all people were synced. We’re not, yet we still hold ourselves to be normal.

So, I pose a question. We’re all individuals, yet societies norm and averages make up consensus of what is acceptable or not, what falls under the umbrella of the bell curve, and what is beyond standard deviation; I speak on the topic of hostesses, and guests.

I love to play hostess, and rarely have an opportunity to be on the other side, but when I am, this is my modus-operandus – blend in. I don’t like to have my presence shouted from the rafters. I try to be as unobtrusive as possible, leave thing undisturbed, and if I do disturb them, to put them back so no one need know that I was here. Some people may perceive this of not liking my hostess, or being intimidated by them. I think it’s a sign of respect. I’m in their home, I play by their rules. Mostly this sort of thing comes up in the bathroom and kitchen, where most guests need to take of their needs, big or small.

Every home has some sort of system as to where every item belongs, and even if there is no system, but a haphazard dump, the things are generally dumped in the same vicinity time and again. The mugs in one cabinet, the towels slung over the oven door handle, the shower curtain drawn shut, the shampoo up in the caddy etc. and guests interact with these items, and use them as they see fit – which is wonderful. What arises next is, what does the guest do with the item once finished with it. Does he place it where he found it, following the order of the home he’s visiting, or does he put it where he finds most convenient – usually in line with the system he has running in his own home?

I’ve already stated that I do the former. All my guests are among the latter. Naturally I think I’m of the standard opinion. Statistics seems to indicate my minority status. But I’m not sure that it makes sense that ALL my guests follow their own system, my view is not that radical that no one else I know subscribes to it. I must therefore draw the conclusion that I am such a wonderful hostess that my guest forget they’re guest, think they’re home, and act accordingly.

So the question, what do you do when you’re a guest in someone else’s home. Will you make me a part of the masses, or further isolate me in my marginal status.

(I realize this post may seem like a chastisement of my guests. It’s not, it’s just a commentary on different perspectives. If a bathmat out of place has me banning guests, I probably have bigger issues.)

 
2 Comments

Posted by on September 2, 2012 in Humor, The Sporadic Side

 

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Being RASHional

My eye became sore about a week ago. It got progressively worse, for a few days, until I could see some inflammation. It peaked two days later and the pain started to cede. The swelling through did not. It concentrated itself, and I have a red pointy bulge on my eyelid. I’m hiding behind glasses so people can still look me in the face (not eye, but really, it’s not that ugly).

The time I noticed it had transformed into a beautiful bump, coincided with the development of a lump in my throat. I went to sleep that night (last night) thinking I was dying. And of course in the process of dying they would have to remove part of my eyelid, and I’d be even freakier looking and that I should take professional pictures before the amputation so my children will know me a nice looking person, not an almost one-eyed mutant.

I assumed the worse; I always do.

If my kid gets a rash and I’m unsure of the source, it’s sure to be the early stages of necrotizing fasciitis. My husband complains of a stomach-ache, it’s definitely Crohn’s, or Celiac’s disease. The cause can never be a carpet burn from running and sliding, or simply gorging on pizza.

I never go to the doctor though, I just wait for rigor mortis to set in (I think there might be a rational side to my brain that knows the truth but allows my Drama Queen mind do its show, though not letting it take it to the next level [it’ll always be amateur night]).

Amazingly, I awoke this morning to slightly conventional looking eyelid. Things are fading back to normal, just a passing infection, just when I thought I had discovered the meaning of life, through contemplation of imminent death.

And I’m back to being lazy, drinking coffee, complaining about the mess in the kitchen, too much laundry, looking through too many sales on Zulily, and taking myself, my husband and children for granted.

We never learn do we?

 
5 Comments

Posted by on August 7, 2012 in Humor, Slice of Life

 

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And Many Miles to Go Before I Sleep

My mother tells me it’s time for a new blog post. She’s bored of visiting my blog, disappointed when she sees nothing new. I told her to set up a Google reader account to save her the agmas nefesh. Forget about setting it up being too difficult for her, she didn’t really understand its function when I tried explaining it. But never mind that.

I agree with my mother, it is time for a new blog post. And I have a lot to say – I’m just too busy doing nothing to say it. Nothing is relative of course. I spend most of my day tending to my adorable, but perpetually cranky baby. Or I’m in bed sleeping. Some old adages are right and smart – Sleep when the baby sleeps.
So the adage works with your first kid, but when you have a kid running around it’s not so easy to say,

“Ooh yay, the baby shtunker is finally sleeping – I’ll pop in for a nap – if that’s ok with you E – don’t break my china teacups like you almost did yesterday, k?”

Well, I suppose it’s easy to say, not to do.

So…I’m a little homebound and going out of my mind. I went to the park in my complex a few days this week. The other women looked at me in wonderment – what was I doing outside?!! And I was thinking, Oh G-d I can’t believe it took me this long to get outside. Seriously, I don’t think I was outdoors for a week after I had the baby. And besides cranky babies magically shut up outside – nature’s best.

It’s only three weeks, and it feels like months (well, when your night turn into days, and days nights and there’s a point where you can’t differentiate between the two because you’re too busy pacing your hallways, arms jiggling, trying to calm a baby, time seems to pass Reeeeeeeally slowly.) I don’t even remember what it feels like to be pregnant – yes, I did just write that. I don’t remember, there’s too much overriding it.

I taught Macbeth this year; I didn’t think I could ever relate to him, but I do now: Act II Scene II

Macbeth: Methought I heard a voice cry ‘Sleep no more!”

So bear with me, while I bear with my baby.

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2012 in Parenting, Slice of Life

 

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The Dougie

I felt so powerless yesterday. And bewildered. And Unsure. With a good ole dose of horror.

My husband and I were watching our son play in our complex’s playground. He wasn’t feeling all that well, and ended up just sitting next to me, on a bench, beneath the shade.

He pointed out the tree, and the birdies, and the squirrel. He was happy, and so was I.

On the other side of the playground I could see a procession coming toward our area. There were about 12 boys ranging in age from about 4-8 and a girl, in a gorilla costume. Forget the fact that it’s Shabbos and she’s dressing up in Purim costumes, and forget that this is a lot of boys and one girl, but focus on my son. He saw the girl, or rather the gorilla and started whimpering

“Ah doogie, Ah doogie!” he pointed and started to cry. He pulled himself closer to me, and I waved my hands to the kids, indicating to stay away. They noted, smiled, and came closer.

I’ve never seen my son scared. He’s as macho as they come. Trips, falls, scrapes, he just brushes them off- literally. He brushes off the dirt, the blood the mess, and continues on. Sometimes he’ll come to me and say,

“Dooty” when his broad strokes don’t get rid of the dirt.

And now my son was cowering, crying,

“Doogie, bye bye, Doogie bye bye”

The kids came even closer.

“Please stay away.” I beseeched. “Don’t you see you’re scaring him, and making him upset. That’s not nice is it?” I reasoned. The gorilla hesitated, but the boys egged her on, and she came even closer.

My kid shrieked more and my husband growled,“Go away now! What do you think you’re doing!” The kids laughed, but dispersed.

My kid was now crying freely, clutching me for dear life, and I wiped away a tear, my own tear.

Later at home, while eating supper, my kid kept going on,

“Doogie go bye bye. Doogie go ‘way!”

And I reassured him that the doggie wasn’t coming back. A few moments respite, and he started on the “Doogie” refrain. This went on for a while.

And that wasn’t all that happened in the park yesterday. My kid was sitting a low ledge on the playground, little feet dangling slightly. A boy of about 5 approached him, stuck his face into his, and then without warning or provocation slapped my kid 5 times across the face. I jumped to my feet (as much as overdue woman can jump) and aggressively marched towards my son (about 20 feet away). The boy saw me approaching and backed off.

“We don’t hit people,” I scolded. “Especially not little kids, that didn’t do anything to you.” He just shrugged his shoulders and walked away. My kid wasn’t really crying, just whimpering a little; he was mostly bewildered.

“Da boiy… da boiy” he repeated. He couldn’t seem to make sense about what just happened to him.

“Da boiy’s” mother had been sitting on the park bench next to me, engrossed in a fascinating conversation about getting children into school. She missed everything. I didn’t fill her in. It didn’t seem worth it, but her lack of awareness seemed to explain the previous “Doogie” incident with my son.

Where are the parents watching their children? Most of them are not present physically. And if they’re there physically, that doesn’t necessarily include mentally.

And with the Gorilla incident, I really don’t get these kids. First preying on a little kid, for G-ds sake he’s not even 2 yet! And then in front of his parents? We were right there! That didn’t stop them for a moment, maybe even gave them more impetus!

And my husband and I felt so powerless. What were we supposed to do? My logical reasoning of “it’s not nice” fell on deaf ears, so did my husband’s. I wanted to do them physical harm, yell at them, but knew it wouldn’t do anything. I’d have love to have chat with their mothers, but they weren’t present, and I’m not totally sure whose children they were.

What should we have done, and how can I protect my child?

He’s such a happy kid, but I’m afraid a few more slaps and “Doogie” incidents and he may turn into them, as a form of self-protection and preservation.

What am I, his mother supposed to do?(Besides for write this post, to vent) What should I have done then?

 
4 Comments

Posted by on June 24, 2012 in Parenting, Slice of Life

 

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Thoughts on Limbo

No one I’ve ever really known or truly loved has died. Lately though, I feel like it’s been circling closer and closer to me, and it’s only time when I will experience it profoundly.  My great aunt and uncle were niftar more recently, I loved them, because of the connection and impact they had on those I loved, my parents and grandparents, but did I know them, or they me?

I knew about them from anecdotes, like Uncle Yitzchak recommending one to cross their legs while trying to relieve oneself – it helped it along. And Bobby Blimchu, classically leaving out crucial ingredients when give over recipes. But my relationship with them started and ended with me going over to them by family wedding, purim with shalach manos, and chanuka parties, wishing them mazal tov, freilechen peedrim or chanuka and them responding,

“Vey minz tuchter bist du.”

“Frdaideez” I’d answer in their accent.

“Ahh, Fdraidee.”

It hurt, because my mother was hurting, and I was sad more for my mother’s pain and loss, than mine.

They called the family to my grandfather’s room in the ICU last night, and I fear I may have finally drawn the short straw. He’s still with us, but I experienced enough in that crowded room last night.

On the way in, my brother and I didn’t know if we’d make it in time. The updates we received while navigating the NJ Turnpike read “Heart-rate changed, there’s a minyan and tefillos are being said.” We asked the Sheila if we’d have to reis kriah if we were present at the time. And I tried to figure out how what would be the easiest angle to tear my new turtleneck.

Part of me wishes I hadn’t gone – that I can still remember my grandfather as I knew him – the quick wit, strong-minded, righteous, and loving man he is, instead of the intebated body lying stiff on  a bed. I was able to handle his face, he was sleeping, mouth open in a snore, his body shuddered every once in a while. Then they tried finding a pulse, taking out, what I associated as being a fetal monitor. What gives me such joy and hope for the future these days, hearing my unborn child’s heartbeat strong, filled me with fear and anxious anticipation.

The technician pulled back the blanket, and exposed his feet; they looked dead. All stiff, and course, nails gnarly and thick, I couldn’t look at them. And all you could hear was the empty “Chwow” as the technician moved the monitor around trying to pick up a sign of life. After a few minutes of futile attempts, he moved to his hands. The fingers that pinched my cheeks in love were blue, and taut, lacking oxygen, but they found a pulse. And we all breathed for a moment, it wasn’t just the machines that he lived by.

I tried to keep together, but the tears leaked without my permission. And when I thought I was done, I’d make the mistake of looking at someone else, and the tears would start again.

“It’s ok,” my sister reassured me. “Took me a while too.” But I didn’t stop crying until I left.

We said a lot of tehilim together, and Shema. We even sang “Mizmor L’Dovid” in our family melody together. That was actually quite beautiful, and comforting – for me. I looked around the room to see how everyone else was doing, coping in their own way. My oldest uncle, a paramedic, was all official business, talking to the technician and dealing with the cold hard medical facts. My father, the next one, stood against the wall, a little isolated from everyone else, stoic. Another uncle cracked jokes, the youngest brother lead tehilim, my two aunts hovered over my grandparents, one stroking my grandfather’s hand, the other clutching my grandmother’s hand, who was sitting quietly in a corner chair. All the other grandchildren (who were able to make it in – there are over 50), stood in clusters, davening, lip biting and averting their eyes.

It hasn’t happened yet, and I’m preparing myself. Things can change I keep thinking, you’re Jewish, this is not the proper attitude. He’s not gone yet, why are you crying – daven. I just think it’ll hurt less if I’m a pessimist.

In some ways I’m lucky, and blessed that I never experienced a loss in my 24 years – none of my friends have all their grandparents. They were young though, adapted and grew up. I never had to grow up, and I now I know what I’m going to be missing, for the rest of my life.

Please say tehilim for Shmuel ben Chaya Malka

Baruch Dayan HaEmes

 
6 Comments

Posted by on February 26, 2012 in Slice of Life

 

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Almost Parenting

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I’m fascinated watching my son. He’s on his stomach, supported by his hands, and reaching for a toy. He can’t crawl yet, but he’s well on his way there; he picks up his knees, scrunches his body, reaches forward, rocks. But he can’t do it yet.

So he’s reaching for the toy, and his fingertips keep grazing it, but not enough to get a grasp of it. I stand there, watching, fascinated, for about 5 minutes until he manipulates himself enough to reach it. I was so proud, and I knew then what it meant to shep nachas.

But seriously, the whole time I was watching I was sorely tempted to just give it to him. He wanted it, he couldn’t reach it, why watch him struggle when I can just make it easier and give it to him. It was very easy to counter that logic; he needs to learn, and try, and struggle, or he’ll never learn, or reach any developmental milestones if I just hand everything to him. I’m sure most mother’s would agree that I did the right thing by letting my kid do it all by himself, even if there was a kvetch or two along the way.

So why is parenting so clear and straightforward when our children are infants, but when they get older we just lose our way?

 
3 Comments

Posted by on February 8, 2011 in Parenting

 

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Misplaced Pride

People have very different opinions on reward and punishment when it comes to children. When a child misbehaves people generally punish the child (not getting into how they punish, whether it’s a stern talking to, silent treatment, withholding a treat to spanking – irrelevant in this article).

However when a child does what he’s supposed to do, this is where people begin to differ. I hear the side when people say, “don’t reward a child for good behavior, he’s supposed to be good regardless, it’s not an extra something they’re doing”. It makes sense, why needlessly spoil a child and basically give them tools to manipulate you with.

Then today I took my 2 month old to the doctor for a well visit. And boy was I proud of him. I was able to tell the doctor that my Shmooshky smiles at me, tracks me from across the room, holds his head beautifully…I was so proud and I told my son so. And when the nurse informed me that he had gained 2 and ¾ pounds, I was glowing, and told my son how brilliant and special he was. Now really, all he did was what he’s supposed to do. There isn’t even cognitive thought and intent there, this is what is body was made and meant to do at this stage and he was performing a function. When the doctor asked about his skills it wasn’t so much as a yes or no, but rather just checking for conformation. And yet I’m still a proud Mama, because my son is doing what he’s supposed to be doing.

So back to the original quandary…should parents reward their child for doing what expected of them? Looking at my reaction, one may think I say yes, but I think my reward was really more affirming for me than my child. Telling me that I did a good job raising my child that he’s capable of doing the things he should. It sounds a little egotistical to compliment my own parenting skills, so I just coo at my son instead.

So now, are parents just misplacing their rewards? Should we be rewarding ourselves for our child’s good behavior?

I think so. Who’s sponsoring my chocolate?

 
5 Comments

Posted by on October 12, 2010 in Parenting

 

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