Bowing to Reality

So I've never been willing to get a cell phone. I didn't care for the expense, the temptation to use it, the invasion of privacy, the rudeness people with cell phones often demonstrate unknowingly...

Yesterday I was at a conference in Copley all day. The plan was to take the T out to Brookline after my work day was over, meet Phillip for my son's first-ever Parent-Teacher Conference, and drive back home with him.

While I was at the conference hall, it began to snow. I thought nothing of it, as it wasn't terribly significant. I left the conference a little early, wandered the mall for a few moments (world's most boring mall, I don't know what it's there for--but then I don't like shopping so there have to be some pretty special stores to make a mall worthwhile for me), got out, slipped and slid my way to the T station, took the T, struggled uphill to the school... and found out the conferences had been cancelled and everyone had been trying to reach me for hours. They'd sent emails, called my office, my officemates had called my boss's cell... His cell was off due to the conference, and we didn't have a computer with us.
So I slipped and slid back to the T, back downtown, and out home. I should have been home by 5:30--a world record--due to the location of the conference. It was 7:20 when I arrived. And my legs ached all night from that funny way one has to walk in light snow to keep from flying down the hills.

I think the time has come to get my own cell phone, strictly for urgent calls. Does anyone have a recommendations for simple, cheap, pay-by-the-minute telephones with no bells or whistles? (Obviously, aside from the one that tells me someone's calling.) I still don't want anything that will tempt me or anyone else to use it regularly. Also, it needs to have push buttons rather than touch-sensitive, because touch-sensitive doesn't work with my hands during the winter. Much to Phillip's amusement--and occasional frustration when he's driving and asks me to take a call for him.


Dear Spouse:

If you know that you've planned a family outing, and you know that you neglected to tell your wife about the weekend guest you invited until last night, and you know that your wife now needs to do a whole lot more grocery shopping and cooking, not to mention cleaning, and you know that you're going to insist on starting Shabbat early, PLEASE don't decide to nap the entire morning because you're so exhausted from staying up all last night to watch the Celtics game.

Don't want to shop with both kids, (one in stroller, one in wrap, no car) can't do laundry with both kids awake, can't start cooking because "I'll get up at 9:15!", can't clean because the baby thinks of the broom as the miraculous snack gatherer...


Aside from that, life's good. I start full-time work in July, just enjoying a last few days with my children and trying to get some writing done. Malden's a nice place to live. Come visit. But tell me earlier than the day before.

Malden Garbage Policy

Guess what everyone neglected to tell us about Malden?

That's right, we have a pay-as-you-throw policy for garbage. Traash only gets picked up if it's in a blue bag that costs $1 (!!!). Recycling is free.

We will ignore the fact that last week on the City of Malden website it said up to 10 bags of trash/week will be picked up for free. Perhaps I somehow misread it.

We will also ignore the fact that while it would not have been a deal-breaker when it came to moving out here, I sure as heck would have liked to /know/ about this policy. Preferably before we'd been here for two weeks!

What we will discuss is my immediate and, I must admit, continued sense of outrage regarding this policy. How could they do this to us! We (will) pay taxes! We have a right to... and there's where I trail off. A right to? A right to waste, to dump things into landfills, to drill holes under our own seats on the boat? I've been an environmentalist for as long as I can remember. I've been using fabric grocery bags for nine years (since I began doing my own shopping), and have been taking small but significant steps in the last few months, including switching to cloth handkerchiefs and other things. I've also been pressuring Phillip to let me put the baby in cloth diapers. I resist raising the thermostat and try to turn off lights and unplug appliances when they're not in use. I try to use private vehicles as little as possible (and yes, this is one reason I don't yet have a driver's license). However, in certain regards I've been lazy: when a friend told me that many cities have composting centers where I could drop off any and all food-related waste, I thought, "Isn't that nice!" and started thinking maybe I'd try it someday. Lining baking sheets with aluminum foil makes it so easy to clean up after baking that I've been weak and rarely bake directly on the sheet anymore.

I'm ashamed to say that Pay As You Throw seems to be the kick I need. I am so outraged by the policy that I can't bear the thought of putting out trash, although I'm sure it will sometimes be impossible to avoid (cellophane wrappers from food, for one thing). Phillip finally gave in on the cloth diapers and I'm going to go order some now (BumGenius seems to be the top-of-the-line? And I found another company that makes far less attractive 'economy packs' all in white. I'm thinking an economy pack and then a few BGs for when she needs to look extra cute). I'll start cooking directly on baking sheets again (thank GOD I found this out after I made this week's cookies and bread! Although the breads themselves are in those wonderful rubbery loaf pans that don't stick at all, and only the rolls are on foil...) And I'm going to look up nearby composting centers. Oh, and Phillip can do what he wants but I'm going to pick up handkerchiefs for the kids. Even though I'm sure Shlomo will attempt to lose them as fast as he does mittens.

I'm ashamed, and my contrarian streak just HATES playing into the city's hands, but I have to admit this is a push I've been needing.

In other news, it's our second Shabbat here and the first since I kashered the stove and oven. Kept things simple, because it's been a rough week, too: bread, mock-beef roll-up (with a wonderful tomato-flavored dough I adore), carrots-green beans-walnuts salad, and cookies. Tomorrow, repeat of the same plus a chulent. I'm trying to restrain myself from randomly starting something else now. Potato kugel? Chocolate pudding cake? There's over an hour left till Shabbat and both kids are asleep, which is a story in itself and one I do not understand. If I'm smart I'll clean rather than cook.

I'm off to buy diapers (which had better not come in packaging that requires disposal!) and look up composting!

Have a great weekend, all.


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Moving Back to Boston!

Malden, to be precise.
Next week.
AAAHHHH! *hides under desk*
Anyhow, I'm excited and exhausted and overwhelmed and looking forward.
I'm also alone with both kids and packing, since Phillip already started work.
Do I need to return anything to anyone in NY? Who, and what? I'm already getting the double stroller back to cousin #1 and must contact cousin #2 to return a few books she lent me.
Also, anyone who's borrowed any of my books in the NY area, please contact me to return them or commit yourself to visiting me in Malden! I'm missing four volumes of The Belgariad, TWO COPIES of Mr. Midshipman Hornblower, a few volumes of Patricia C. Wrede's Dealing With Dragons, and some Elizabeth Peters. There may also be a Heinlein book or two. And Terry Pratchett. I know of one person who has a few of these, and she's already committed to come see me during the summer. Anyone else? They're all replaceable, as far as I know, but I'd rather not replace them and then realize I have them after all--that's how I wound up with two Mr. Midshipman Hornblowers. ;-)
Now back to the kitchen for my regularly scheduled panicky tossing of things into boxes.
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    rushed rushed


Ok, so I didn't post instantly...
But I am pleased to announce that my daughter, Ilana Henya, was born on Thursday morning at 10:04 a.m., at a respectable weight of 7 lb. 4 oz. and 20 inches tall.

And, despite my doctors' concern when they sent me in to be induced (so far I have never gone into labor on my own except that scary incident when I was 23 weeks with Shlomo...), she did not show any signs of distress when she was born. During the labor at one point she appeared to be in trouble and I wound up on oxygen trying to keep her going, which was not reassuring, but all turned out well!

So, she's adorable--obviously!--a good eater, and very curious about the world. Phillip posted a picture on OnlySimchas with her beautiful eyes wide open, which makes me smile. Shlomo's an excellent and very affectionate big brother so far (must work on not taking baby out of her chair without help from Ima and Abba...) and does not appear to be suffering serious jealousy yet. Hope he won't! Phillip is a very proud Abba, and I'm quite happy as well, and feeling better than expected for just 5 days later.

We came home Saturday night, and I discovered that my computer had died in my absense, which explains why I haven't posted this yet. hoping to get someone to look at it soon.

So, mazal tov, all! We're hoping to arrange a kiddush for this Shabbos at the YI of Ave. J--let me know if you're in the neighborhood and I'll get you some more details!

Worrisome News from Boston

The Bostoner Rebbe, the religious leader in whose synagogue I grew up and who has advised my family and me for the last forty years and more, is currently in the ICU of an Israeli hospital, having suffered a heart attack and now facing deteriorating liver and kidney function.
I found out during work today, but managed to block it while I was there. Only now, having spoken to both Phillip and my mother about it, is it really hitting me.
The Rebbe is a very special person. I can only say that I pray he'll recover fully and be himself for many years to come. But I'm definitely scared. He is not a young man anymore.
Thanks, Yehoshua--his name is indeed Levi Yitzchak ben Sara Sasha. I appreciate the thought!
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    worried worried


I thought it was appropriate to place this in a separate post, so as not to call up mixed feelings in people.

I know that often people don't talk about this until they hear of it happening to someone else, but I feel like that removes a certain support network from others. Additionally, I feel it's important that people know these things happen, and that they are very common.

Therefore, I feel prepared to mention what happened during the later part of the summer. I made on my LJ another cryptic reference to having to take it easy for a while, stating that my medical condition was not scary, it just Was.

We had initially hoped to welcome a new member of the family in April. Sadly, that baby had been created to have a very short lifespan, and we lost it over the summer. The miscarriage was not objectively dramatic, although obviously it had a huge emotional impact on us. It was a complete miscarriage, thank God, and I did not need to undergo surgery. Nonetheless, for the weeks thereafter, I was supposed to avoid overdoing things, in order to guard my own health.

Obviously I will always remember that pregnancy, and that baby, and I will miss having a chance to raise it, but I know that it was neither intended to nor capable of living more than those few weeks inside of me. I have come to terms with that--told myself I had to before I tried to become pregnant again! That was its full life span, and the baby we are looking forward to meeting in July is a completely separate entity, and its own person. And we are thrilled. At the same time as I still miss the other baby.
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    okay okay

Who, me?

*flutters eyelashes*
When have I ever made cryptic references before telling people what I'm talking about?
*is innocent*

Thank God, as it happens, we are looking forward to welcoming a new member of the family in early July (due date July 7), and are very excited about it! I've discovered that for me pregnancy is not in fact any easier the second time around, despite the oft-cited statement that, "You don't notice the exhaustion as much, because you're too busy running around after the older child!"

So I'm coming up on 17 weeks, starting to get my energy back, and a whole lot more rounded than I remember being with Shlomo at this point. I understand one shows a lot faster after the first child... Dr.'s visits so far have been good, kid looks and sounds healthy and active. I'm looking forward to those first few kicks!
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    hopeful hopeful

Is this the little boy I carried?

My little boy has used the potty!
He did it for the first time last week Sunday, but I thought perhaps it was a fluke--he occasionally sits on it and perhaps it just happened.
We're off from school this week, and today he requested to go to the potty before his nap. Then he just sat down, and went!
So proud!
He's napping now, though.
My big boy... every time I think about what he couldn't do even six months ago, I'm amazed. He's 22 months old now, appears to be potty-training himself and recently helped me: shovel snow (all right, he wasn't much help, but neither was I till I was much older than he is now, and he had fun!), bake cookies (he helped mix and managed not to drool in the dough, with some assistance from me), sweep the pantry floor(believe it or not, it actually was useful to have someone available to carry the full dustpan to the garbage, even if he spilled some along the way), sort coins ("BIG ones!" vs. all the rest), repair a cabinet (I am never taking out the tool box while he's awake again...), and make up a grocery list (it is very distracting, by the way, to have a little voice intoning, "Onion... Carrot..." while you're trying to remember how much rice is left in the bag. And our onion and carrot supplies are quite healthy, in case you're wondering). And he's learning how to play, or not play, with the baby downstairs, which should be useful come July. Oh, and he's discovered his sense of smell, and now requires me to let him smell every spice jar before I season our food.
*shakes head* When they say time flies... they mean it.
I'm just glad that my philosophy throughout has been to appreciate every stage of his life and not restrain myself from sproinging with glee when he does something amazing or just adorable. Even though I have to send him to daycare for so many hours a day, I don't feel as though I've missed important parts of his life. I wish I'd been with him the whole time, but I know I've been enjoying him nonetheless.
And would you believe that neither "Loving" nor "Proud" count as moods in the list?
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Purely theoretical question, of course...

If there was a guy who lives in a car at the corner of the block who wears a kippa, has a tallis bag in his back seat, and seems very pleasant and embarassed through the filter of a foreign accent, and no one had yet been able to do a background check on him, is it stupid to leave food on the roof of his car for him?