Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Things You Don't Realize Until The Letter Arrives

(If you did not read my last post you may want to start there...)

Something funny has been going on with my mail lately. I receive invitations to many community functions as well as all the regular bills and junk mail, but most recently I had not received two invitations (that I know were sent to me) for private celebrations.

One was a Bat Mitzvah

and the other is an upcoming wedding of a classmate of mine.

I just saw the bride herself at a shower we classmates made for her and everyone was just getting the invitations in the mail just prior to the weekend. Well as of yesterday I still did not receive mine.

However, I did find another card which I knew could not have been processed in the mail until this past Monday, the earliest. that means it was mailed out Monday and I received it Tuesday. Which begs the question,


Anyway, I knew this card was not mailed out until Monday because it referred to an incident that happened Sunday (which is why you should read my last post).

This was certainly not something I was expecting and I also did not expect the response I had towards it.

The cover of the card had the words "Thank You" written all over it in different fonts, and the handwritten note on the inside went like this -

Dear Orah,

How do you thank someone for saving your life?!
I am so grateful to God for placing you in my path today.
Your immediate care and concern made me feel safe during what was a very vulnerable time for me.
I'm so impressed with the way your children were beautifully well-behaved while you helped a stranger.
If ever there is ANYTHING you think I could do for you, PLEASE don't hesitate to call me!
Thank you so much!
(phone number enclosed)

"Saving your life"?????????????

It was not until she wrote those words that I even remotely considered that I possibly saved someones life.

And so when I saw those words, I burst out crying.

I am not sure why exactly, but I had to pick So up from gymnastics and I just walked out with the card in my hand and got in the car, drove off, pulled the car over to wait for So at the same place where we were swimming on Sunday, and I just started bawling again like a baby.

I just did what needed to be done. Who thinks about what they are actually doing at the time?

It wasn't until the card arrived that I actually thought about what really occurred.

And then after I composed myself, I actually started laughing.

"Your children were beautifully well-behaved while you helped a stranger."

How did she have the presence of mind while she was in her compromised situation to notice how my kids were behaving???

And then for her to actually make a point of mentioning that to me....

I myself have no idea how my kids were behaving because I was pretty much ignoring them.

I would like to believe my kids are always well behaved (yeah right...) but truth is, they must have been behaving if I was able to focus all my attention on Anne during her crisis.

So I should thank them for that, I suppose.

I appreciate the note.

I spoke about the Hebrew term "Hashgacha Pratis" (Divine Providence), we also have a term in Hebrew called "Hakaras Hatov"
It's "recognizing the good" in someone and acknowledging it.

I appreciate that she acknowledged what I did (although I could have easily gone on with my life without the recognition from her), but I also realized I need to make a point of acknowledging my kids for how they waited patiently and allowed me the space and time to do what I needed to do.

So when they get home from school, that is just what I will do.

One small note in the mail, can go a distance not perceived.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Divine Providence

In Hebrew we have a term called

"Hashgacha Pratis".

It means

"Divine Providence".

Loosely translated - it's G-d's will.

On Sunday, Hun went out of town. Hun goes out of town often, here and there, but not typically on Sunday. I absolutely loathe when Hun travels away on Sunday.

Hun is an extremely hard worker. He works incredibly long hours and I appreciate it, but he is a workaholic.

I will not state outright on my blog what hours he is away, but I am a single parent when my kids wake and need to get ready for school and I am a single parent when they need supper and to be put to bed. So when Sunday comes around, that is my day.

NO! Not MY day for my selfish self. It's my day to get things done that I can not get to during the week because I am so focused on the children. Such things as, laundry, cleaning, hanging clothing that has been sitting in the laundry basket all weekend.... you get the point. I do however, NOT get out of bed until 9 am on Sundays.

My kids have swim lessons, so Hun takes the older three to the local community center, Bam goes in for his morning nap, and I get to work. After Hun returns, I leave him in the house with the kids and go out running. (I am currently training for another 1/2 marathon)

My kids have been taking swimming lessons for a few seasons already, and I can not remember the last time I was the one who took them. I had no choice this past Sunday, but to rearrange my day, let certain things go and reluctantly drag myself out of bed, way before 9 am.

I am not a morning person in the first place and even though I somehow manage every other day of the week, Sunday was tough.

So takes the first session of swim which starts at 10:15 and ends 11:15. I already arranged for a lovely friend to take her to that swim session to make it slightly easier on myself, and then I would meet her there with the other kids when she was done. I also had to take Bam with to swimming, which is not usually the case for Hun.

To make my morning more enjoyable, Ate decided to throw one of his "I don't want to swim" tantrums. He used to go swimming just fine and one week (with Hun) abruptly threw a tantrum at the pool, that many people were witness to, adamantly refusing to swim. Long story short, I think he was traumatized by one swim instructor who is less than warm and friendly. Leelah - the most amazing swim instructor who has been there for years, but teaches the stronger swimmers in the deep end, took it upon herself week after week to get Ate in the water, even wearing a life vest, in her group that Ro happens to be in. But it's still always a struggle with Ate.

So I said to Ate, who was screaming at an octave off the charts, that we would just pack his swim stuff up in case he changes his mind. His response,

So - we'll see how that works out.

Every Sunday I put the kids swim stuff together and pack another bag of some snacks so that while the kids wait for the other to complete the sessions they have what to snack on. Because Ro and Ate would not be at swimming until it was actually time for their lesson, I was about to forgo packing up snacks. But at the last minute, for some reason I changed my mind and quickly threw string cheese, pretzel rods, and a container of the baby's "fruit puffs" into a bag. I put diapers, wipes and a bottle with powdered formula and a bottle of water in my purse, got the kids in the car, and drove off in the pouring rain to swim lessons.

When we got to the locker room, Ro changed herself and I had to work on Ate a bit more. Babysteps - I kept thinking.

"Ate, how about we just get your swim stuff on, just in case..."

"Okaaaaaay, but I NOT GOING SWIMMING!"

I put his bathing suit on and we go to the pool. So is there and she goes to the locker room to change and decided to watch an indoor baseball game in the gym (rained IN, I guess).

When we get to the pool, Leelah sees Ate and says,

"Ate, why don't you get a life vest and come join us?"


So I say, as I coax him towards the hanging life vests,

"Ate, Mommy doesn't get to see you swim, I really want to see how you swim so nicely."


As I grab a life vest off the line, I notice one of the biggest cockroaches near a woman's foot and point it out to her. At this point she goes screaming and Ate can't get to the other side of the pool quick enough (which happens to be the deep end, where we needed to go).

Thanks to the (now smushed) cockroach, Ate decided it must be safer IN the water than out, and he has his life vest on and is with Leelah.

The duration of the hour had me sitting on a bench with the cutest naked baby (I removed his clothing due to the heat and humidity in the pool area), clapping, waving and cheering for Ate EVERY time he jumped in the water and swam, and occasionally to Ro as well, and also noticing one other woman there.

I knew who she was, from my community. She is a few years younger than me. I noticed her for a couple of reasons.

1) I knew she used to be extremely overweight and I noticed she was quite thin now.

2) She was wearing a turtleneck and leggings under a skirt at the pool and a heavy cap on her head and I was getting hot just looking at her. I was in a t-shirt and skirt with bare legs and a light bandanna covering my hair and I was sweating just from the humidity.

3) She seemed to have a look of concern on her face and kept changing her position, standing, sitting, squatting ...

But most of the time I was focused on the baby that would have liked to jump out of my arms into the pool, and the boy who was happily swimming - THANK G-D.

Swimming ended at 12:05 and I gathered Ro and Ate and went into the locker room to get them dressed. So showed up and was trying to hold Bam on her lap sitting on a very narrow bench, but I could see he was wiggling a lot, and tried to rush to dress the other kids so I could take him.

But I was interrupted by a woman. It was the woman who I noticed before, by the pool. I will call her Anne.

Anne approached me and asked me,

"Umm .... do you .... umm .... would you .... do you .... maybe .... have some .... umm ... food I could have?"

Right away I knew something was not right.

I did not see her child near her, I did not even know who her child was, boy or girl? Was he/she out of the pool?

She was diaphoretic (sweating profusely). Was that due to sitting at the pool in heavy clothing?

Her speech was slurred and slow. Does she always talk that way? Meaning, does she have some sort of mental/psychological break that causes her to speak this way?

Remember, I don't really know her.

"Are you okay?"

"I .... ummm .... I'm not sure."

She was not completely coherent.

I said,
"First of all, sit down."

I had her sit on the bench and lean her head down.

I grabbed my bag of snacks, the one that I was so close to NOT bringing with me, and handed her a pretzel rod.

I was concerned for her, but also her child, because I had not seen the child with her at this point.

After gathering all my information, including the fact that I knew she was once overweight and now was thin. She was sweating, pale, shaking and her eyes were fixed and she seemed to be just on the edge of some disorientation, I asked,

"Are you diabetic?"

She first responded,

"I always bring food ....... I brought some fruit ..... it's in my car."

"I think you might be having hypoglycemia."

"Yes," she said.

"Do you have a child here?"

"Uhh, yes ...... here, somewhere."

She was eating the pretzels at this point, and a boy walked up wrapped in a towel just then.

I asked him,

"Is this your Mommy?"

He nodded.

I did not want him to get scared so I just told him that his Mommy got very hot at the pool and she just had to rest for a moment.

At this time, many things were going on at once and I was beginning to feel pulled, but trying to focus on her.

So could no longer hold Bam, because he was wiggling too much, so I told her to put him on the floor. The locker room floor is not typically where you want to put your baby, but that was the least of my concerns right now. Ate and Ro still needed help getting dressed, and were asking for snacks as well. I also wanted to get her son's clothing and help him get dressed.

Another woman who had a child at the swim lessons had returned to the locker room and handed Anne a coke and then immediately walked away. This told me that Anne had already said "something" to this other woman that caused her to bring the coke. However, the fact that the woman just handed it to her and walked away meant that woman did not utilize the same skills I did to assess the situation as dire requiring someone to remain with Anne. Anne had no idea when she walked over to me that I was actually a nurse.

As Anne was eating the pretzel and drinking the coke, she became slightly more coherent and I asked her if there was someone for me to call, otherwise I would need to straight out call the paramedics. She called her mother, but I was not sure if she was actually getting the message across. She then said something about her father coming but she needed to call him. She dialed the phone and I spoke to her father telling him that his daughter could not drive herself and her son home at this time and the gist of what was going on. I told him I would help finish getting his Grandson changed and would get her upstairs to the door and stay with her until he arrived. He said he would be there in about five minutes.

I quickly finished getting everyone changed and Anne was well enough to stand up and get upstairs, where I sat her down. She was still weak but I was able to talk to her a bit more about the situation.

She told me that she used to have high blood pressure and high sugar and was overweight and she took Glucophage (diabetic oral medication) and lost a lot of weight. Her sugars came down but she was losing too much weight so the Doctors told her to stop taking Glucophage. Now her sugars were low and she had monitoring instruments (at home) and keeps her sugars stable only with diet (no insulin) and trys to eat regularly and take food, like fruit with her when she is out.

I asked her if this has happened to her before. She said it never happened to this degree. She asked me if being by the pool could have any influence. I said, the only thing that may make a difference is that the temperature by the pool along with your heavy dress may have caused you to burn more calories (like with exercise), and in that sort of situation you would need to be prepared to take in more sugar, to make up for the sugar burned.

I was still unclear about whether or not she was officially diagnosed as diabetic, or just hypoglycemic, but it seemed like she was unsure as well, and was never given enough information or education on the situation.

At this point I did tell her I was a nurse. I told her that because of her condition she should

a) Always carry her sugar testing instruments with her. In a situation like this, she should test her sugar, eat something and then test about 15 minutes later and log the information to bring back to her Doctor.

b) Always have the food, or juice on her being. It should not have been left in the car.

c) Get herself a bracelet that identifies her condition and wear it all the time. If I had found her passed out on the locker room floor and called the paramedics, no one would have known why she was unconcsious or how to immediately revive her. A bracelet would have told paramedics to test her sugar and they would have given her intravenous glucose injection which could easily revive her immediately.

d) she must call her Doctor immediately and have further testing and further education on her condition.

I also told her father all the previous information because she was still shaken and I could not be certain how much information she was taking in.

Her father asked her if this happened before and she also replied that it never happened to this degree. I told him that a few more minutes and I might have found her in "Insulin Shock" (she does not take insulin, but her low sugar would have caused the same effect). His response told me that he also did not have a clear understanding, because he told me that he thought it only happened to HYPERglycemics.

She said that she was starting to feel so lightheaded and had cloudy vision (halo effect - like seeing circles over your eyes). That typically happens just before someone passes out.

I was now comfortable leaving her with her father and I gathered up my kids and left.

I realized then - the "Hashgacha Pratis" (Divine Providence)

A) I am never, ever at swimming with my kids, Hun is the one who takes him, and obviously he would have been in another locker room and his lack of knowledge in this regard would have given him no input.

B) She could have walked up to anyone else in the locker room. In fact she did. And that person (only slightly helpful) walked away to get the soda without first making sure she was in a safe environment with someone else. And then returned with a soda, but only handed it to her and walked away without making sure she was going to remain okay. I know she was trying to be kind and helpful and did not know how dire the situation was. But even if I was not a nurse and did not recognize exactly what was going on, I still would not have left until I knew she was okay to potentially drive herself and her son, etc....

C) In the end though, it was me that she came to, and I was able to give her information that she needs so she does not end up in this predicament again. And if she G-d forbid does end up in the same situation, she needs a tell tale sign so that she would receive the proper help.

It was also not so convenient to have my kids standing around, but I realized that they, especially my older girls, had received a valuable lesson as well. That when we recognize someone is in trouble, we need to go all out to help them. And we need to make sure that EVERYTHING is okay before we walk away.

I have no doubt, that I was meant to be there, exactly when I was. And hopefully Anne will be safer in the long term for it.

But I am still going to send Hun back to do the swim lessons next Sunday.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Attack Baby

Wow! Babies can be dangerous.

My nephew A. who is two months older than Bam is a biter. His siblings and anyone curious enough to want to hold or play with that little bundle of joy is forewarned.

My Bam is sweet as honey in nature. Suffice it t
o say, he wouldn't hurt any one of the 30 or so ants that keep crawling by my front door (unless you consider when he tries to eat one).

Having said that, his hands are .... how shall I put it ....

quite hazardous.

I feel as if I should wrap him in police tape,

"Warning, do not cross!!! DANGER DANGER!!!"

He will whack you in the face to see your response. He likes to grab your ears and try to rip them off. His nails seem to
grow back as soon as I cut them, more lethal than they were before. He likes to collect some of your skin beneath those lethal weapons. He practices his newly acquired pointing skills right in your eye. And his favorite victim is his unsuspecting sister Ro.

But having said all that, I would like to reemphasize

Bam is sweet as apple pie, by nature.

Although it may be more like sugar free apple pie.

"What, me trouble?"

Imagine if you will, any species of CAT. Laying in wait .... ready to pounce at any moment. Imagine as a small animal, maybe a rodent is near by. And just as it attempts to run past the cat....


A cute little paw, slams down on it's tail, taunting and terrorizing the small unsuspecting rodent.

Yep! That pretty much sums up this boy.

Bam is as sweet as pure sugar on a stick. But watch out for those cute, chubby paws.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Blooming So

I've said it before and I'll say it again -

carpool with six girls under the age of 7 is highly entertaining.

So I give you another installment of

"Carpool Theater".

(all names have been changed to protect the not so innocent.)

So: Zelda, I made us a cool project for the summer. I got a box and made different sections and plastic bags all marked to hold different flowers that we'll collect.

(why So does these things and alone, can keep the plastic baggie industry afloat is it's own post for another time)

Beth: So, why you collecting flowers, they are just gonna be dead.

So: It's a project for me and Zelda, right Zelda?

Zelda: Right!

Beth: But the flowers will be dead and won't have any color.

So: The flowers will have color.

Elle: (with her Barbra Walters speech impediment) Beth is wight. Fwowas wiw die. When you take them fwom the gwound you KIW them.

So: It doesn't matter. We are going to flatten them, and they will have color. And we will flatten them in between the plastic.

Elle: Why you going to KIW fwowas? Those awe G-d's cweation. You can't kill G-ds cweatues.

So: We can take them for doing experiments and we can flatten them and hang them in a frame at the end of the summer.

Beth: Huh? How do you hang flowers in a frame.

So: And we can do experiments with the flowers.

Beth: But how do you hang flowers in a frame?

Elle: You can't KIW fwowas for no weason.

So: It can be for good reasons. Like we can make it into art for a wedding gift.
(whose wedding is that girl going to?)

Elle: You stiw a fwowa kiwwa (roughly translated - you still a flower killer)

So: Scientists do it all the time, anyway.

Beth: But So, the flowers won't look nice when they are dead.

So: The kind of flowers we are picking won't lose color.

Beth: How do you know?

So: I read books on flowers.

Elle: Maybe the books awe lying.

So: The books are non fiction.

Beth: How do you know the books are non fiction

So: It says it on the spine of the book.

Elle: Maybe the wibwawy (library) is wying.

So: Libraries don't lie. There is a sticker on the spine of the book and it says non fiction

Beth: I go to the Library all the time, I did not see a book on flowers.

So: Not the school Library, The Chicago Public Library.

Beth: Yeah, I go to the Chicago Library all the time, I never see books on flowers.

So: It's in the non fiction flower section.

Beth: I was in that section, I never saw it.

So: Maybe it was checked out when you were there.

Elle: You stiw shouldn't kiw fwowas. You can't kill G-d's cweatures.

So: But we kill animals and eat them.

And with that we arrive to school.

Too bad. After the flower project, flower killer, library locating non fiction flower book lessons, I was curious where the animal killing conversation would go.

I unloaded the car, and as So stepped out and looked worn out from defending her brilliantly planned flower project, I gave her a huge kiss on her head and told her she was my favorite "So" flower.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

You Are A Star

I have recently tapped into the richest natural resour
ce ever.


Not oil!

Here in Chicago, it is extremely sought after. Mostly between the months of November and May, but sadly, unattainable.

But for the past two days



soaked so much up

I just might be good if I have to wait until May for my next fix.

Good ol' fashion Vitamin D!

Straight from the sun itself.

Just the way I like it.

It's invigorating,







It's definitely my drug of choice.

If only we could bottle it up and take it in some form on a daily basis...

Okay, I realize they do bottle it up in it's unnatural pill form.

But I am talking about bottling up some sun.

If anyone figures out how to do that ..... I'd.... uh.... I would ...


I love me some sun.

I'd like to put a sticker on the sun.

I would confiscate a sticker from my daughter's school paper and stick it on the sun.

It says,

"You Are A Star"

How apropos.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bring Your Own Potty

I am not Irish and have no plans to fly in and out of Ireland any time soon. So I probably won't be flying "Ryanair" airlines.

This is good, because if I were flying "Ryanair" I would probably have to dig under my sofa cushions to muster up all the loose Euro coins I could find in order to use the airplane bathroom.

A couple problems with this ...

1) I am not from Europe and therefore have no Euro coins.

2) I refuse to ever pay to use a bathroom.

Use of bathroom is not a privilege, it's a RIGHT!!!

Also, those Irish airline decision makers should know by now, if someone has to pee (or worse) not being able to access a coin operated loo is not going to stop anybody.

So, have they really thought this through? Do they realize the possible ramifications of flying thousands of feet in the air with 190 passengers, many of whom have no pocket change, but still have bladders in perfect working order?

I half joked about this with my mom years ago, after airlines started charging for checked luggage and meals, and whatever other things my kids will never know were once included in the price of an airline ticket...

I realized it was a possibility when I remembered walking through Budapest and finding a box that looked like a closet in middle of the street and realized it was a bathroom and one can only access it with a Hungarian Forint.

I also realized that once the door was open with ONE coin, it could be accessed by everyone in your party so long as no one let it swing closed with no one on the inside.

So with all the money that "Ryanair" HOPES to make, will they have bathroom police? I gather this whole "pay-to-pee" idea will cause fellow passengers to become very neighborly and shove a small object in the door jam so the door can be easily opened when necessary by the next passenger. Who is paying attention anyway?

And "Spirit" airlines? Ha! Where is your spirit? You want passengers to start paying for carry-ons? I heard you will forgo charging for bags that contain items necessary for babies. Well, I have news for you. Men are the biggest babies of all. If they don't have their laptop with them, they do cry. Can we not charge for those babies' necessary carry-on items as well? And what about elderly who may need medication on board and other items. What about someone who needs to carry-on an Oxygen tank? Will you charge them?

Does it really matter - I assume you will start charging a fee to circulate fresh oxygen throughout the airplane altogether. In the very least, you will make the oxygen masks coin operated. In case of sudden change in cabin pressure, please rummage through your purse (that you paid a fee for to carry-on the plane) QUICKLY, so you can get your Oxygen mask in a timely fashion.

Passengers will be paying for seats, because the airlines WILL offer standing room only. BYOLC - bring your own lawn chair (but you will pay a fee to carry it on).

Oh, and eventually you will have to pay if you want an actual pilot flying your plane. It seems if you want to travel by air, you can do so, standing in an empty metal tube that may or may not have oxygen circulating flying by some remote controlled access, overseen by some teenager with a genius IQ while he plays "Rockband" on his Wii. SWEET!!!

I really don't think there is anywhere I want to go. Certainly not with "Ryanair" or "Spirit" airlines.

But just in case, it's times like these that I am proud my mother refers to me as a camel.

I hold my water well.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Unfortunate Potatoes


Seriously, if I was Irish, I could totally use a potato famine right about now.

I am so over potatoes that I am grateful I do not live in Idaho. I would have to move from the "Potato State" - that is how much I loathe potatoes at the moment.

On passover, we are restricted when it comes to good eats. We can not eat leavened bread or anything resembling leavened bread. That is pretty much everything made with any grain flour mixed with water, eggs and becoming gluten.

We can not eat pasta and our "white" carb intake is practically limited to Matzah and .....

wait for it ....

wait for it ....

wait for it ....


My problem is, I have way too many potatoes left. I have to use them up before they go rotten. Because everyone knows, if there is anything worse than too many potatoes - it's too many rotten potatoes.

So tonight, for supper ...


One must be super innovative when it comes to utilizing too many potatoes.







chip form

Kugel (quiche)

au gratin





with cheese

with sauce and cheese

with sauce, hold the cheese

with mayonnaise

with sour cream


I'm sure I left out many potato innovations. Feel free to add yours to my comment section. I have a feeling I will be eating various potato recipes for the foreseeable future

But I am willing to give bags away for free...



Potato Parte`?

(or in the least, potato pate`?)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What Next?


Another Passover has Passed Over...

I have not blogged in so long that I actually had to sign in and almost forgot my password.

Imagine that.

I have to say, even with the strict Passover food restrictions, I did not miss much. But when the temperature hit over 80 degrees, I was a bit pissed I could not walk into Starbucks for a Mocha Frap.

The craving got pretty bad at one point causing me to hallucinate the idea of an intravenous of Mocha Frap perfusing my veins.

So now I can move on .... with ... uh .... ahhhh....

LIFE - I guess.

Thank you to all my bloggy friends who continue to check in even though I have been MIA. I really do appreciate it.