Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Things To Do in Your Ninth Month

As if being nine months pregnant isn't hard enough, there is a ton of things that need to get done in the last few weeks before baby. At least, that's what I'm currently facing! This morning, I woke up and decided that today is the day I start doing the things I've been putting off for a while.

That meant that I responded to business e-mails I've put off for a few days, I had to stop ignoring our ant problem, and I put the baby clothing I already have into the wash and made my esrog liquor.

I had read in one of these Jewish women in pregnancy and spirituality books, that if you eat an etrog in your 9th month it's a Segulah for an easy labor. And, since Hot Dog is currently out of breech position and it looks like the baby will be making a natural entrance P"G into this world, I'm doing whatever I can to make it an easy birth. That means drinking my raspberry leaf tea every day, steaming with rosemary, massaging with almond oil and making esrog liquor. 

Since Pidgeon is home today working on his final project, I decided it would be a good time for me to do some of the household errands I need to get done. First, when Pidgeon left the apartment to run some errands and meet with a Professor at school, I washed the dishes and got ready for breakfast. When he returned, I made him a healthy breakfast of scrambled eggs with cheese and some cucumber and tomato. After breakfast, I spent about 20 minutes cutting all the tags and labels off of the baby clothing and loading them into the wash. We purchased Tinok Clean powder and Baby liquid fabric softener and I put up the wash. I didn't separate the whites from the colors though, and I'm wondering if all my white onesies and crib sheets will now be tinged pink. Hopefully not!

After the wash was up and I got a quick phone call from Mom, I decided it was time to make the esrog liquor. Since making esrog jam or jelly is too much of a pain in the neck, and I already have 3 bottles of good vodka in my freezer, I went with the liquor route. 

Here's how you make esrog liquor. 

First (see photo above) assemble all of your necessary ingredients. Take an empty bottle of alcohol and wash it out good, especially if it's a bottle of whiskey or something other than vodka. After that's washed and dried, prepare the etrogim. Since I'm only using the peel for the liquor, I washed each etrog well (people have been manhandling these fruits for an entire 7 days, it's wise to at least rinse them). Then, being careful not to get too much of the white part, peel each etrog. I doubled the recipe and so I used 6 etrogim for 4 cups of vodka.

I cut the etrogim on my cutting board and then dropped them - piece by piece - into the empty bottle.  I tried to avoid the white parts but it wasn't that easy. Hopefully, it won't turn the vodka too bitter. 

Because of Kedushat Shviit (etrogim are especially holy since they were grown during a shmita year and therefore, nothing can be thrown out.) I put all the fruit, the top and bottoms of the etrogim and any scraps that didn't go into the whiskey bottle, into a bag. I'm going to leave the bag on the windowsill until is rots enough to be thrown away. Hopefully it will rot quickly, I'd prefer not having them hang out too long in the kitchen!

After I peeled all 6 etrogim and dropped the peel into the whiskey bottle, I measured out 4 cups of good vodka and poured it into the bottle. I'm going to store it in a cool, dark place for about a week. At which point, I'm going to drain the peel from the vodka, add 3 cups of confectioners sugar and another 2 cups of vodka, and put it away to "ferment" for 6 more weeks! 

Hopefully, we'll be able to toast a lechayim during Chanukah this year! I'm excited!!

Well, I'm off to enjoy the rain by baking some blondies for Pidgeon's cousin, whose wife is due P"G next week. I already offered to cook dinner for them and, with meatballs cooked and hanging out in the freezer, I'm hoping to take dessert off of my list. This way, when the baby does come, all I'll have to make will be some chicken, pasta and a vegetable. 

Yom Tov from Baka!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Engaged and out of Breech

Looking back on yesterday's blog entry, I can honestly admit that I was in a funk all morning. I was just so down for the better part of the day, and even the usual "suck it up" speech I got from my Mom didn't really pull me out of it. I ended up cleaning the apartment all freaking day long. Literally, it took me 6+ hours to sponga the floors, clean the bathrooms, tidy all the rooms, do two loads of laundry and leave stuff outside the door for Pidgeon to toss in the garbage. All the while, I tried to cheer myself up so that Pidgeon wouldn't come home to a sullen wife. I was definitely much better by the time he walked through the door, although I wasn't Stepford so he knew something was wrong.

I asked him what he thought of the apartment, and he walked around the place and said what a great job Miriam did. At that point, I was beeched like a whale on the couch, looking and feeling like garbage, and smiling because he thought I'd done a great job. I then told him that I saved us 160 shekel and that I'm the new Miriam. He wasn't happy that I spongaed the floors and cleaned all day, but I think he was happy to see the apartment in nice shape. I know I'm happy when I'm in a clean environment.

So, loads of GREAT things happened last night that completely made up for such a lousy morning!

First - and most importantly - my favorite Cousin Neil is engaged!!! It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. I've been waiting for this day about as long as he has, and just knowing how happy he is makes me so thrilled for him and his fiance. I just hope I get to meet her soon! But, depending on when they're getting married, I might not even get to meet her before she becomes Mrs. Cousin Neil! If they get married before the baby is 3 months old, I won't be able to fly in for the wedding. They don't recommend that babies fly before they're 3 months so we'll just have to wait and see. As much as I would LOVE to dance at Cousin Neil's wedding, I'd much rather he get married when it's good for him than wait until I can fly into the States. I don't want him to be single any minute longer than he has to be - he's waited long enough to be with his soulmate. Of course, the selfish part of me will be very sad if I have to miss it. I only have 5 first cousins and, I'm closest to Cousin Neil, so it would be great if I can be there for it. That being said, I do get to B"H share a lifetime with them so I'm trying to look on the bright side.

And, if Cousin Neil getting engaged last night wasn't enough to pull me out of my funk and onto this high, the news that our baby is out of breech position just sent me soaring! Well, and into a panic too. We waited to see Dr. Yanai for a while and - as always - it was well worth it. When we got into the room, I told her about the hospital visit and showed her the information. Then, I mentioned that the baby was still in breech last week when they did the ultrasound, but that I felt different. I told her that I feel like something has dropped and there is this tremendous pressure on my bladder. It's getting harder to walk too since it feels like I've got something very heavy stuck between my legs. So, she told me to hop up on the table and we'll see where the baby's at. And, when she announced that the baby turned and is no longer in breech and is "head down" Pidgeon and I whooped so loud that we swear the people in the waiting room heard us. We were just so elated that I didn't have to go into the hospital for them to attempt to turn the baby. Of course, that's when I realized HOW the baby is going to be getting out of me. So, I turned to Dr. Yanai and said "wait, I need to actually deliver this baby now?" She was surprised and asked me if I wanted a C-section. I said, not really, I just didn't think about the alternative. 

The baby is also right now 6 pounds and with 4 weeks left to go - could grow about 1-2 more pounds! That's a BIG baby pushing its way through my delicate area. I was so small, I was only 5-11 when my Mom had me. I was kinda hoping this baby would be on the leaner side so that it won't hurt as much. But, what the heck do I know? I've never done this before - but now I'm going to find out!

The Dr. then did my test for GSB (step test) and sealed the tube and handed it to me to bring today to Maccabi. We were just so happy with the news, we practically skipped out of the room. Plus, my blood pressure was looking really great, so all three of us were thrilled. We made an appointment for 10 days from yesterday and then went to celebrate. 

I spent the night on the phone, Skyping with my sister in Cleveland (my  4 year old niece got her ears pierced!) and IMing with my brother in Miami Beach. I could barely contain my excitement and it was hard getting to sleep, but with another 6:45 a.m. wake up call I knew I had to get some shut eye.

My body woke me up this morning about 4 minutes before Pidgeon's alarm went off. He dropped me off at the Maccabi in town and then continued on his way to work. It was almost 8:00 a.m. and I was thinking I would be in and out of there in no time. Unfortunately, when I got upstairs to the blood clinic, they told me that they don't draw blood for my type of tests until 9:30 a.m. I literally had to sit there for an hour and a half with nothing to do. I hadn't anticipated that long of a wait so I didn't have a book or magazine to keep me company. Instead, I watched the people and watched the clock and waited. At 9:25 a.m., I walked into the area and immediately got processed. 7 huge vials of blood later, I went in search of the nurses station for my flu vaccine. They recommend pregnant women get a flu shot and, since I really don't want to get the flu this year NOR do I want the baby to get the flu, I thought it was a good idea. I waited for another 30 minutes before they could administer the shot, and then I was on my way.

I had the cab driver drop me off at the Supermarket near the apartment and picked up some food for tonight's class. I got a big bag of potato chips and some sandwich cookies, and a couple of other odds and ends for the house, and then hauled my three shopping bags back home. It was not easy and not because the bags were particularly heavy but because each step cause the baby to press down on my bladder even more! I was very happy when I got home, collapsed onto the couch and just relaxed.

Well, I'm off to finish my work for the morning. With another Dr.'s appointment slated before our 8:00 p.m. class, I really need to be as efficient as possible!

Yom Tov from Baka!


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pathetic Fallacy

Where the hell is Mr. Clean when you need him? 

When I studied Wuthering Heights back in college, my Professor used the literary term Pathetic Fallacy to describe how the weather mimicked the characters mood. Heathcliff is referred to as a very stormy character and, coincidentally, the weather outside the Castle is usually pretty lousy. I've since looked up the term and while it doesn't 100% mean what my Professor said, I'm going to use it today as it's the only way to describe how I'm feeling.

The storm clouds are rolling in outside my window and it's 100% reflective of my current mood. I B"H just started my 9th month and my anxiety levels continue to heighten with every passing moment.

First up:

1) Pidgeon's sister and brother-in-law - this is not a new theme in our lives but I'm finally at my breaking point. Just when I think they're coming towards us, they do something so fundamentally obnoxious and rude that I'm left feeling disappointed and upset. I'm on this constant roller coaster of emotions with them and boy do I want to just get off that ride. After the latest incident involving them, which took place on Thursday night, I decided to just stop caring. So, Friday night when we were at Pidgeon's parents for dinner, I didn't talk to them. Not one word. I wasn't hostile or obviously upset with them, and I acted pleasantly and respectfully to everyone in the room, I just didn't address them. No hello when they arrived, no goodbye when we left. And I think that's just the way I'm going to have to deal with them moving forward. The less I interact with them, the better off I'll be. I'm just so damn tired of having them stress out my marriage, be a constant source of fighting between me and Pidgeon, and be a primary reason why I'm upset in my life. I want to just focus on myself, my husband and P"G our baby and just be happy with what's to come. Now all I need is for my emotions to follow my intellectual reasonings and maybe I'll be able to get out of bed today.

2) The state of our apartment - it's a mess. There are blotches of Lord knows what on our kitchen floor and a layer of dust on every surface of the apartment that needs to be wiped clean. I had waited all morning for our cleaning lady to call and let me know what time she was coming, and she called alright, to tell me that she's no longer cleaning and is accepting another job offer. Now, she is Anglo with 4 children and lives in Maale Adumim. She has a US college degree and was working for a company in the Technology Park that was paying her less than minimum wage, so she started cleaning houses to help make more money. She was a great cleaner, very trustworthy and nice. I was finally getting comfortable with her and then she ups and quits on me with no notice at all. Just a call today to say she was not coming and that the 40 shekel I overpaid her last time will somehow make it back to me. I was pleasant on the phone, wished her well, and then hung up and stewed.  While I 100% understand her situation and would myself probably make the same decision if in her shoes, she royally screwed me. She never gave me any indication that she was looking to find a new job, and she gave me no notice. I'm in my 9th month of pregnancy and would get on my hands and knees and scrub my own floors if I could, but I physically cannot. Rather than just sit here and cry, I started making some calls to people I turned down when Miriam told me she could come work with us. They are no longer available. So, I called Miriam back and basically told her how upset I was with her. I said that, while I am thrilled she secured a good job in this economic environment, I am left with no one to clean my apartment in my 9th month. She apologized and said she didn't know this job offer was coming, that she didn't think it would be a big deal because people post ads all the time on JANGLO looking for cleaners and that she had tried to call me last night but I never picked up my phone. I basically left it at that if she knew someone who could help me out, I would really appreciate it. I hope never to hear from her again. I wish her well, but I certainly don't need her in my face when I have less than 4 weeks to find a replacement before the baby.

3) The state of the economy - it just plain sucks. I have one amazing client and was hoping to at least take 3 weeks off after the baby before I started working with them again. They don't want that. In fact, they really want someone who can continue through March which is their busy season. We need the money, so I need to figure something out. I'm resentful because all other new Mothers get to take at least 3 months off on maternity leave before going back to work, and I don't have that option. Who knows if the client will still be around after 3 months? Chances are, they will move on and hire someone else in the interim. And, what if I can't find a job in 3 months? Then what? My parents aren't helping matters at all. My Mother told me that I need to find a way to work things out, instead of telling me that I should just take the 3 months off and figure things out when I'm ready to get back to work. She keeps saying how lousy the economy is, how terrible the job market is out there, etc. I know everything she says is true, but how the hell am I supposed to juggle a new baby (my first mind you), a household, and a client? Should I just say goodbye to sleep right now? I don't want to be a bad Mother, I don't want my baby or my husband to suffer, and ethically I don't want my client to pay the price either. I'm in a pretty lousy predicament and just pray that I figure something out ASAP.

Well, with all this stress and everything just running through my head, it's no wonder that I didn't sleep last night. I ended up doing work for 2 hours until 4:00 a.m., before I was exhausted enough to get some sleep. I was up with Pidgeon when his alarm went off at 6:45 a.m. and have been awake ever since. The HOT cable guy came at 8:45 a.m. to fix out cable, and then replaced our Magic box with a new one. We had a ton of things taped - never watched - that are now gone. I just shrugged and said Gam Zu Letovah - it's for the best - we will just make do with what we have. I then set to record as many Stargate's as possible since I know how much Pidgeon likes them. Hopefully when he gets home from work today, there will be a number of episodes he can watch. 

I tried to get back to sleep after the cable guy left but to no avail. I just have so much on my mind that, every time I close my eyes, something else crowds in. I have to figure out how the hell I'm going to get everything done before the baby and it's not looking too promising. 

Is having a new baby always this stressful? If so, then what will life be like AFTER the baby?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pidgeon and Ants

Ugh, I hate that I can no longer ignore this problem. But, we have an ant situation in our apartment and it's getting worse the colder the weather gets! At first, we found 1-2 ants in our bathroom. No biggie, right? I mean, we're not afraid of the ants. But then, this morning, Pidgeon woke up and went to wash up and found a swarm of ants all over our toothbrushes. He said he felt like he was in some terrible horror movie about hallucinating but - alas - he wasn't hallucinating. 

A few weeks back, I asked my neighbor if she had an ant problem, and she said she does and that I should avoid calling the exterminator. Now, I was all set to just give them a call and have them come in and take care of the problem. I mean, back in the States, my folks have an exterminator come to the house every month. I know because I usually had to wake up early and open the door for the guy, and then follow him around the house to tell him where to spray. 

But, she recommended that in my current "condition" I should try the more organic route. She said that tea tree oil is a natural insecticide and that I should sprinkle that around the bathroom. I was lazy and didn't do it when we hung up the phone and after this morning's situation, I really wish I had! Pidgeon was not pleased as he tossed our toothbrushes and washed out our washing cup. I directed him towards the tea tree oil I have in the apartment - a very expensive bottle I bought from my facialist in the States since I use tea tree oil after a facial - and he started swinging the bottle at the ants like it was holy water. Fortunately, it worked very well, and the ants all started dying. Unfortunately, there is tea tree oil all over the mirror in the  bathroom and the floors and the smell is not my favorite. But, if this is a natural remedy that will deal with our ant problem and not hurt both me and the baby, I'm all for it. Now all I need to do is buy us a bigger bottle!

Yesterday, I spent 5 hours working and the rest of the time basically just sitting on my big ass. I caught up on all my back episodes of Alias, which made me very happy. Then, when Pidgeon came home, I  helped him take down the Succah. In the morning, I had already removed all the decorations and put them away, so all Pidgeon had to do was -well -the rest! While we were taking the Succah down, we saw and hear a huge noise from the Matnas. Turns out, that's where the Nir Barkat rally for Jerusalem mayor was being held. Coincidentally, we both received our ballots to vote in the election on November 11th. Since the polling "booths" will be set up a few blocks away, we're planning to P"G go and vote for Mayor. It's cool that I'm voting in two different elections in two separate Countries this year. Which reminds me, I really do need to send in my overseas ballot ASAP!

We were supposed to have our final child birth education class yesterday. And, since Pidgeon and I are responsible for bringing half of the food, I put in an order at SuperSol and got a box of cookies, 2 bags of Bisli, 3 chocolate bars, 2 packages of crackers, 2 packages of cheese and 3 bottles of drinks. We split the food with another couple, who were responsible for bringing 3 bottles of drinks, hummus and salatim, cut up vegetables and also a box of cookies. I put all the food on the dining room table for Pidgeon to pack when he got back from work. Our class was called for 8:00 p.m. and I was just really excited for it all to finally be finished! I mean, some people in the class are due this week and next week already! If anyone goes into on time or early labor, they're pretty much finished with the course.

Well, sure enough, my cell phone rings and it's a woman from the class to say that class is cancelled. No date for rescheduling has been set and that we would probably hear from Joanie eventually. I was not surprised by the call - but the caller herself was due 2 days ago! Pidgeon spoke to her and we both wished her well and said that we hoped NOT to see her in the next class. She heartily agreed. 

I'm not sure what's going on with Joanie, class has been cancelled and rescheduled so many times that at this point I honestly don't think we'll have another one before the babies P"G start coming. Either way, I told Pidgeon we'll just pack the food into the hospital bag and take it with us. Although, I already started ordering and preparing food for the hospital, and Pidgeon put that away in the Mamad so I can pack my bag. 

The hospital bag is the next big item on my to do list. I have a huge SuperPharm list ready and waiting but haven't had the opportunity to go pick up what I really need. Since we have our first 9th month appointment P"G on Sunday, we're going to get a better sense of what's going to be with the baby. If the baby is still in breech, I'm going to have to be admitted into the hospital where my Dr. will attempt to turn it. I need to have everything ready in case, while the Dr. is trying to turn the baby, something happens and I go into labor or they have to deliver the baby. Which means, I could have the baby within the next 2 weeks!

So, rather than freak out and go crazy with things, I'm going to wait to see what the Dr. says on Sunday night. After that, I'll freak out and go crazy with things, and hopefully prepare as best I can for what's P"G to come!

Well, it's already 10:00 a.m. and I haven't cooked a thing for Shabbos! Fortunately, the meatloaf and chicken shouldn't take that long to prepare. I just hope Pidgeon returns soon with the new toothbrushes, it would be great if I could freshen up even a little bit!

Shabbat Shalom from Baka!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


They say that if a pregnant woman, in her 9th month, eats an etrog it's a segulah for an easy birth. So, my dining room table is now littered with etrogim from the holiday and I'm getting ready to go out and pick up a couple of bottles of vodka. With plenty of sugar and at least 6 week fermentation, I should have some good etrog liquor. Granted, I'm due well before 6 weeks time, but I can always sneak a few sips here and there in the middle of the fermentation process.

I am so happy that the Chagim are over and, as enjoyable as most of it was, I'm looking forward to moving on with the year. I should be taking down the decorations today but I'm fighting to stay awake to update the blog before I plan on trying to take a quick nap. The second part of Yom Tov was definitely not as fun as the first part.

Shabbat Chol Hamoed started out really, really great. Pidgeon and I had a lot of fun just being the two of us, and I love eating in the Succah over the Chag. It was very, very hot though on Shabbos day and I was sweating a ton in the Succah. We also didn't have the AC on so it was pretty hot in the apartment too. I managed to take a nap though and when I woke up, was feeling anything but refreshed.

The baby suddenly felt very heavy in my stomach. I tried to wake it up by jiggling but nothing. So, I got out of bed and went into the kitchen to cut up some fruit. I made a plate for Pidgeon and together we ate some fruit. I thought the sugar would wake the baby but again, I felt nothing. Concerned, I decided to dig into a huge piece of chocolate tart that I had left over from the first days of Yom Tov. At this point, normally, the baby would be going wild inside of me. And still, nothing. Not even a movement.

That's when I started really freaking out. Shabbos was over in 10 minutes so I put my feet up and waited for Pidgeon to daven before we called his Mom. She told us to go to Shaarei Zedek immediately. So, we got dressed, grabbed all my medical paperwork, and drove to Shaarei Zedek. Pidgeon's Mom met us there and we went to the 9th floor where a midwife took my vitals and told me to try to relax. I was in the middle of a panic attack so relaxing wasn't really going to happy. My blood pressure was very, very high, so she immediately put me in an area and hooked me up to the baby monitor.

I was relieved when we heard the baby heartbeat and the midwife, concerned about my blood pressure, told Pidgeon and his Mom that they had to sit outside so I could have some "Mommy and baby time". She thought that would relax me - it did the complete opposite. I still could NOT feel the baby moving, even though I could hear the heart beat, and my panic attack worsened. I started sweating through everything and I felt like I was going to throw up, but they had closed the curtain and the garbage pail was out of my reach. I started crying, I hated being alone, hated not being able to feel the baby, and all I wanted was Pidgeon to come and help me. About 30 minutes passed and the nausea was getting much worse, until finally a Dr. came in to do an ultrasound. It was amazing to see the baby moving on the ultrasound but still I couldn't feel a thing. 

The Dr. said it was a number of reasons, one being that she moved (although not, unfortunately, out of breech position) and between lack of space, all that amniotic fluid, an anterior placenta and ALL MY FAT (I swear she said that), it was no surprise that I couldn't feel the baby as strongly as I had.


This baby is super active and I have felt it moving and punching and swimming very, very clearly. But, in this new position, there wasn't as much room to manuever so I need now to learn what's normal movement for the baby.

Anyway, they wouldn't let me leave until I was confident that I felt the baby. But, I wanted out of that room, away from all the women in labor and with Pidgeon and his Mom. So, they let me sit outside with them both until I was confident that I felt the baby. We were there for over an hour before I felt 3 swift kicks. At which point, I got my discharge papers and was out the door as fast as I could! I was wiped and emotionally drained. I thought I could just come home, relax and calm down.

Unfortunately, Pidgeon had other plans for me. About an hour after we got home, Pidgeon got sick. I mean, really, really sick. It turns out, he somehow caught a stomach virus, and we were up all night together. At 6:00 a.m., he finally felt well enough to try to get some sleep, and I passed out next to him. I couldn't believe we had all this drama - back to back - in one night.

Sunday, we were supposed to go to a Pideon HaBen in the morning and a family Succah party in Beit Shemesh at night. But, we were at the Dr's office first thing and she diagnosed Pidgeon with a highly contagious stomach virus and made sure that everything was okay with me (i.e. my blood pressure had returned to normal). By the time we finished with the Dr.'s, we were both so exhausted that we just got back home and crashed. But, Pidgeon was finally really hungry and we had an errand to run in town. So, we made the HUGE mistake of going to Cafe Rimon Dairy for something to eat. We had no problem getting a seat and the service was fine, but towards the end of our meal an American family with 2 teenage sons and 3 year old twin daughters sat down at the table next to us. The father decided to park the double stroller right next to my seat, thus blocking the pathway for the waitresss and anyone else that needed to pass. We finished our meal, paid the check, and then got up to leave. I couldn't get out as the stroller was in my path. The man saw me struggling and, rather than just get up and move the stroller out of the way, he said "it's better for you to go around" and pointed around the restaurant. 

Now people, had he moved his stroller, it would have been a straight shot out of the restaurant since we were sitting on the periphery. But, he was indicating that we basically weave our way in the opposite direction until we can get out. Well, I was PISSED off. But, I have a problem with being assertive and, I tend to end up aggressive and since I didn't want to start a fight, I decided to be passive aggressive. 

I started bitching and moaning and saying to Pidgeon "Oh, it's BETTER for me that I should shove my way through these table." Whack, my stomach hits some poor lady in the head. "Oh yeah, it's BETTER for me to hit this nice lady in the head with my stomach". I continued as I tried to squeeze my way between tables. At this point, the guy decides now's a good time to stop being a lazy ass and move the stroller (granted, we're at the other side of the table now). And his WIFE, who has been pregnant at least 3 times, says to him "don't worry, sit down, she'll be fine."

The insensitivity of people! I left feeling very frustrated and pissed off that they had the nerve to be so rude. I vowed to learn the proper way of being assertive without being aggressive so that I'm never in this situation again. As you can imagine, by the time we got home on Sunday, we needed to spend the rest of the day just taking it easy.

Monday was a short whirlwind of a day. Pidgeon went to shul with his Dad for Hoshana Rabah and then we joined his family for a big breakfast in the Succah. Afterward, we ran some errands for them before Simchat Torah and Pidgeon went to Orange to deal with his cell phone problems. I spent an hour waiting for him in the car while he dealt with Orange. It wasn't fun. We got home with barely enough time for me to do some work, shower, pack and get dressed before we moved in with his folks for the Chag.

The second day of Yom Tov was a lot of fun and FULL of family and friends. I made it to shul Simchat Torah night and watched as Pidgeon got his Hakafah. We were in the downstairs Minyan at Chovevei and my Father-in-law brought my nieces and nephews some candy bags. My nephew ripped into his and ate all the stuff he liked right away, and then left us holding the bag so he could run around and dance with the men. There were a lot of Americans at the minyan and pretty soon, some women came into the women's section and moved chairs around so they could dance. I'm not one for dancing on Simchat Torah - and especially not 9 months pregnant - so I stayed in my seat and kept watching. Suddenly, an older Anglo gentleman approached the Mechizah and said "I can't take this anymore" and took my nephew's candy bag. I was pretty shocked and didn't know what to say, until I saw him trying to divy out the candy amongst his grandchildren. This was where my new assertiveness comes in, but I was at a loss for words! 

Fortunately, his daughter/daughter-in-law saw my face (she was in the woman's section) and told him that it wasn't his to take and he had to give it back. He threw is back at me and I told him that I didn't think my nephew would appreciate him stealing his candy. He made a face and then walked away.


I couldn't wait for the Chag to be over, so I could just get back to some sort of routine. We spent the day with family and friends and then, once it was all over, Pidgeon and I decided not to go home. They have Hakafot Shniyot with LOUD music by our apartment, so we decided to stay at his folks another night. We did go to Aldo on Emek Refaim and picked up 2 movies from Videon. We were planning a quiet night watching movies and relaxing at home.

Well, I have NO idea what was in that ice cream, but by the second movie I wasn't feeling so great. Pidgeon was also feeling nasty and we couldn't believe we were sick again. At Midnight, I started throwing up again and it wouldn't stop. Fortunately, Pidgeon's Mom knew what to do and sent him back to our apartment to pick up my Pramin. I was a dishrag by the time he got back with the medication but at least it stopped my throwing up. Then, Pidgeon felt terrible that he ended up in another toilet in the house. We both dragged ourselves to bed at 2:30 a.m. and I said I was done with food.

We spent the day yesterday trying to figure out what the heck happened the night before. Because we were both so weak and exhausted, we left the Succah up and went about our day. We both had appointments out of the area and I practically fell asleep waiting for my hematologist to show up. Fortunately, the meeting was quick, and we were back home and relaxing in no time. I have a ton of backlogged work to catch up on and managed to do some of it while Pidgeon was out. I made us a quick salmon and salad dinner and we were asleep 2 hours earlier than normal.

Today, I'm hoping to still take it a bit easy but don't know how that will pan out. I have a SuperSol delivery coming in the afternoon and the Kablan coming to look at the leak in our bathtub. We also have our last childbirth education class tonight and supposedly it's some birth video. Just what Pidgeon is looking forward to doing tonight!

Well, I'm off to try to take a quick nap before I really have to get my day going. Hope everyone had a wonderful Chag!

Yom Tov from Baka!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sound the Alarm

Good Moed! I'm exhausted but elated with how Yom Tov is going so far. Here's a picture of the new Succah decoration from our Succah this year. (It's hard to see because of the stuff on the Succah walls, but it's really pretty and has pink and lilac doves with little bells hanging from the top). 

It's a Jtownunderground family tradition to purchase a new decoration each year for the Succah. I don't really know when that tradition began, but after 30+ years of building the same Succah back home in Queens, my Mom realized that the decorations weren't as durable as the metal frame. So, a few years back, she decided to start the tradition of buying a new decoration each year. Granted, some of the same decorations will always be put up in their Succah. Namely, the glittered egg carton my brother made when he was in Nursery, the apple windchime and the Ushpezin charts we pin to the Succah walls.  

I'm a bit of a minimalist when it comes to decorations, so we have only about a handful hanging up. I think it's nicer to start small and to build up your decoration arsenal, and since these things tend to break in bad weather or if I pack them incorrectly, it's better to see what wehave each year and then go out and buy new ones if needed. We went to the Mall on Erev Chag to see Pidgeon's exhibition and we passed the table with Succah decoration lights. I ALWAYS wanted to hang Christmas lights in the Succah and so it made me want to buy a whole bunch of lights for our Succah. But, I decided to hold off since we are running low on electrical outlets and they have been predicting a rainy Succot season. 

Erev Yom Tov was very busy in the house, I still can't believe I managed to accomplish all that I did from Sunday - Monday. I decided to designate Sunday as my cooking day, and I made lemon garlic chicken (fantastic new recipe that came out really well!), brown rice, string beans and onion stir fry, cauliflower kugel, a brownie tart and carrot kugel muffins. Monday, I had an early morning Dr.'s appointment and then Pidgeon picked me up and we ran all our errands. We went to Pe'er to pick up Challot for our meal, then we went to Malha mall to check out his exhibit and get breakfast to go from Aroma, we stopped off at Falcon so I could get the ingredients for the sweet and sour meatballs, and finally we headed home so I could finish cooking, do some work and clean a bit. I made the sweet and sour meatballs, grilled the steaks for the steak salad and made the topping for the brownie tart. I spent a lot of time on my feet and was wiped out and afraid I wouldn't make the walk back to our apartment after dinner by Pidgeon's Aunt. We decided to drive them before Yom Tov so that I could rest up before dinner.

Succot night was really nice, and their Succah was bursting with capacity! There were 26 people in all, and with 10+ kids running around all night, I could barely concentrate. I'm also experiencing the inability to eat as much as I'm used to. My mother-in-law the Doula said that it's because I'm towards the end of the pregnancy and my uterus is so big that it's not allowing my stomach to expand as it used to. That sounds good, I just hope it will be accompanied by some weight loss before the birth. I was feeling pretty lousy during dinner and I started getting some braxton hicks contractions, so I had Pidgeon pour me a glass of white wine and started to count the minutes. The wine, combine with my exhaustion, really did a number on me so I ended up on the couch just trying to relax. Pidgeon's nieces and nephews were whirling all around me, his cousins stopping by to chat and keep me company while Pidgeon's oldest niece decided to have a heart-to-heart with me about her little brothers. I managed to gather my strength for the walk home and we headed out by 10:00 p.m. Since my friends Jen and Zvi are in town for the Chag, and staying only 2 blocks away from his Aunt's house, we stopped by to say hello. We ended up standing outside, chatting and catching up for almost an hour, when I realized that I had 15 minutes until my shot and a 45 minute walk home. We said our goodbyes and headed home.

At this point, my feet look like loafs of bread baking out of my Rockport sandals and it's painful to take a step. Since most of the walk was downhill though, I was able to get into Baka without much of an incident. But, at the bottom of Reuven street, I was really starting to feel tired. It was a tremendous effort to just put one foot in front of the other, and I had to hold onto Pidgeon for support. Fortunately, I made it inside the house and literally stripped, had Pidgeon take off my sandals, and began icing in no time. I wasn't too late with the shot, which was good, and as soon as it was over we went to bed.

Pidgeon's alarm went off at 8:00 a.m. yesterday morning and I decided to be a good wife and made sure he was awake so he could go to shul. I didn't join him and instead, spent the morning getting ready for our guests. I put everything for the Succah on the dining room table, made the salad, washed the fruit and cut everything up for dessert, and just generally swept and tidied up for our guests. Pidgeon got home from shul about two hours before lunch and helped me set everything else up. By the time Mandy and Ivan got here, Pidgeon was sacked out on the couch and I was reading the September issue of O magazine with my feet up on the coffee table.

Lunch was really, really nice and a lot of fun. Mandy is due in 2 weeks and we had a great time comparing bellies! She has the cutest little outies and my belly button is still ambivalent, with a piece of the bottom trying hard to jut out while the top just remains inside. Pidgeon thinks I'm gonna pop up like a turkey timer but I think this is going to be the extent of my belly button changing. I'm no longer surprised by what's going on with my body, although my former generous love handles are disappearing rather quickly and that's not good for me. If they recede any further, I'm going to have to find another place to do my shot. And, to be honest, injecting myself in my thigh just isn't something I want to do. I'm going to try my best to work with whatever stomach fat I can still find and, hopefully, that will be okay for the next six weeks!

I never thought I would wish for stomach fat in my entire life, my how things change!

Last night, Pidgeon and I spent the evening cleaning up after our meal. I had a ton of washing to do as I used a lot of serving pieces and, since I was so tired from the past two days, we decided to stay in and just watch TV. Pidgeon had to be up early today for work, so we went to bed fairly early.

At 3:00 a.m., I was awoken by a house alarm blaring nearby. I counted the minutes, waiting for someone to close it off, but nothing happened. I made a quick trip to the bathroom and tried to sleep through the noise. I was able to do that until 5:30 a.m., when the alarm woke me one more time. I couldn't figure out if the house alarm was coming from closer to Emek Refaim or behind us closer to Derech Beit Lechem. Either way, it was very disruptive and extremely annoying. I couldn't believe the alarm had been ringing for at least 2 1/2 hours! Well, was I in for a rude awakening! Would you believe that the alarm rang and rang until 10:00 a.m. this morning! I was so pissed since it kept me up for most of the night, and can't even express how thankful I was when silence finally fell onto this stretch of Baka. Now, you'd think I would have just gone back to sleep at that point, but I was so up and agitated that rest was far from the plan.

I got up with Pidgeon, finished washing any leftover dishes in the sink, put away all the dry dishes and serving pieces and then packed his lunch. Since he works only half days during Chol Hamoed, I didn't pack him a big lunch. Especially since there is no Succah at work, I had to make sure that I didn't send him with anything that was a Mezonot. So, he got a quarter of leftover garlic lemon chicken and a big bottle of lemonade crystal light. 

It was pitch black outside when Pidgeon left and the rain was starting to come down in little drops. The sky was super threatening and I was expecting the heavens to open up and really give us a good dousing. Well, the drenching rain held back and we only got a few drops. Fortunately, Pidgeon brought in our Succah table and chairs last night so that it wouldn't get ruined. And, I'm thrilled that the rain swept in because it brought much cooler temperature. When I finally get up and dressed today, I'm looking forward to putting on a long-sleeve t-shirt and maybe a pair of maternity jeans.

Well, Pidgeon should be home soon and I could use a shower. Wishing everyone who is keeping second day of Yom Tov (and therefore, NOT reading this right now) a Chag Sameach and everyone else a Moed Tov from Baka!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Attention Online Shoppers

I am feeling pretty accomplished right now, and it's only 8:45 a.m.! Believe me, it's a much better feeling than I had late last night, when I was overwhelmed and had no idea how I was going to get everything done in such a short time frame. 

Since we woke up at 6:45 a.m. this morning, I've helped get Pidgeon out the door to work, put in my fruit and vegetable order for Yom Tov at Gil's on Derech Beit Lechem, confirmed my online Supermarket order and paid, put in a call to my Dr. at the Medical Center, ordered Pidgeon some stuff off of Amazon and shipped it to my Grandmother in the States, responded to a work e-mail that required a lot of detail and responded to some personal e-mails that were just languishing in my inbox. 

Now I'm ready for my nap :)

Pidgeon spent the better part of last night working on his final project, which will also be on display at the Malha Mall in Jerusalem throughout Succot. I'm very excited about that, the project is extremely impressive and Pidgeon is very talented (I am NOT biased!) We were hoping to go tonight for the opening of the project, but with company coming to us for Yom Tov lunch, a Succah I still need to decorate, a TON of cooking to do, cleaning the apartment, and another load of laundry that needs to get done on top of Dr. appointments Pidgeon and I both have today and tomorrow, it just didn't seem possible. Initially, I needed tonight to go to the Supermarket to buy all the ingredients I need to cook for Chag. We're only two couples, but since it's Yom Tov, I want to do something special.

On the menu for Tuesday lunch is as follows:

First Course
Grilled steak salad with warm shallot dressing

Main Course
Lemon and Garlic chicken (not sure how I'm making this yet but will find a recipe somewhere)
cauliflower kugel
carrot kugel muffins
sweet and sour meatballs with brown rice
sauteed string beans and onions

Brownie tart
kiwi and grapes

Pidgeon thinks I'm going overboard, but my philosophy is that if I'm going to cook I'd like to do it once. Make plenty. Have enough leftovers to eat during the week. With the way the holiday falls this year, I feel like I'm constantly in the kitchen cooking! It's getting to be a bit much for me, so I'd rather go overboard now and have plenty to eat during Chol Hamoed.

So, Pidgeon suggested I do online shopping, but I had a very bad experience with the City Direct folks and decided not to use them anymore. I think they need some more experience - and to grow more -before I'm ready to try them again. Last time we ordered, they sent us the wrong things, forgot to send us other things, and then never returned our calls when we tried to touch base about the mix ups. At the end of the month, though, they had no problem charging my credit card for the full amount. I ended up eating the cost and paying the bill - eventhough I still have a huge bottle of Sucrazit I'll never use sitting in my cabinet - and just decided to move on.

Someone on Janglo sent me the online site for SuperSol in Jerusalem, and since I am so pressed for time during the next two days, we decided to try it. Unfortunately, the site is 100% in Hebrew and can only be viewed with Internet Explorer. My Hebrew is not so great and my Mac doesn't have Internet Explorer, so I had to wait for Pidgeon to come home. Fortunately, I was all prepared with my list so it didn't take that long to pull together. Unfortunately, the prices were pretty steep and my chicken and meat order was about 1/3 of the entire bill. And, I didn't even order that much of each! But, since I can't easily walk to the Supermarket and card home all my shopping, and Pidgeon is working a 9 hour day today, this was a good option. They have already called twice to confirm delivery time, so I'm hoping there will be no snafus and everything will work out great.

Weekend Update
We had a very enjoyable Shabbos. We went to Pidgeon's parents for dinner Friday night since his brother and family is in for the Chag from London. We were 14 adults and 7 children. It was a madhouse, but it was really a lot of fun. Now, Pidgeon's sister-in-law's parents and brother, sister-in-law and niece were also at the meal. They are really nice people but speak only Hebrew or French, so my conversations with them are very limited. The niece is about 1 1/2 old and she's already walking around, crawling and speaking halting words here and there. Pidgeon's nephew is about the same age and doing the same thing, although he's not walking as well as his cousin.

My mother-in-law's apartment has 2 sets of stone steps. 6 steps upstairs, 7 stairs downstairs.

Stone. Steps.

And, with all the adults eating at the table, and all the children running around and playing, the two children under the age of 2 were unsupervised on the steps. And, would you believe that I was lucky enough to get seated in the chair that has direct line of sight to the steps? 

Well, I watched as the niece walked up the steps and, as she's really unsteady on her feet, teeter precariously numerous times. Now, I am a VERY nervous person to begin with. I know, recipe for disaster for my own child who will have to learn that getting hurt is part of life, blah, blah, blah.

However, I am a BIG fan of putting a gate in front of steps until I know my child is steady enough on their feet to be able to walk up and down without taking a dangerous tumble.

Did I mention that these are STONE STEPS????!!

Well, I gasped a few times as I watch her almost fall, and Pidgeon's sister and brother looked at me like I was crazy. Pidgeon's brother, who is Dad to 4 + 1 on the way, told me that I need to relax. That it's not healthy for me to be so jumpy. Pidgeon's sister, whose heart was racing with my gasping, glared at me like I was some lunatic who was overreacting. 

And, the parents of this little girl, just continued to sip their wine and enjoy their meal.

So, I turned to Pidgeon and said, I'm just not going to look anymore. Because, if the parents don't care, then why should I?

I went back to my meal, went back to my conversations, but couldn't pull my eyes away from the scene.

Five minutes later, the little girl tumbled down the entire flight of stone steps. Of course, I gasped and screamed that she was falling, and this time her Mother got up off her chair and ran to help her. At that point, she was already on the floor, screaming and crying her head off, a red, nasty bump starting to form over her eye.

Her Father, however, kept saying over and over in Hebrew: Zeh Klum. Lo Karah Klum (translation - it's nothing, nothing happened). 

The kid was hysterical for a bit and the bump over her eye will definitely be there for a few days,  but she avoided the steps for the rest of the evening. 

I felt terrible for this kid, and for her parents for being so lax about her safety. I understand teaching children the right way to navigate steps, but don't we have a responsibility to do it in the right manner? Someone should have been at the bottom of the steps to make sure, if she fell, that she would be caught. 

Am I just being over cautious? Will I mess up our kids because I don't want them tumble down stone steps? I mean, she is LUCKY she didn't crack her head open on my mother-in-law's stone floor.

Well, at least my mother-in-law agreed with me at the end of the evening. So did Pidgeon. I'm just going to have to figure out that middle ground where I allow my children to discover life on their own without doing anything too dangerous.

Anyway, I'm off to get something to eat. My body is still trying to regulate after Yom Kippur and I get starving at random hours of the day and I also experience lack of appetite during other times. Weird.

Yom Tov from Baka!

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Gates are Closed

It's 10:00 a.m. the morning after Yom Kippur and, as my chicken defrosts in the sink so that I can cook for Shabbos, I figured I'd update the blog about my Yom Kippur experience.

According to the Jerusalem Post, 120 women went into labor yesterday and B"H I was not one of them. Erev Yom Kippur, Pidgeon and I had a whirlwind of a day getting ready. He woke up at 6:30 a.m. and I didn't see him again until 2:30 p.m.! In between, Pidgeon went to minyan, the mikvah, the cemetary, the makolet and then to micha. Meanwhile, I waited at home with breakfast on the table until he called to say he wasn't going to make breakfast. Then, I made him lunch, but by the time he came home there wasn't time to eat lunch. So, that was wrapped and put back into the fridge. We had an hour to get dressed, showered, packed and ready to go to his parents for Seudat Hamafseket.

His parents house was a zoo, as his brother is in town from London with the very pregnant wife and 4 children! There were 6 kids practically running, crying and screaming all over the house from the moment we arrived until the time we left for Kol Nidrei. I managed to quickly scarf down my meal and then went downstairs to brush my teeth, drink another bottle of water and try to get into the right frame of mind for the Yom Tov.

It's so different being married then it was when I was single and living at home with my parents. My parents run their lives practically on military time, there would never be an instance before Yom Kippur where we would be hectic. Everything was planned precisely, between what time we ate the last meal, how long that meal lasted, and getting dressed and ready to get to shul. I've never, in my entire life, missed any parts of Kol Nidrei.

Until this year. Fortunately, I didn't miss that much, so I wasn't too upset. But, I did get there in the middle of the first recitation of Kol Nidrei and I was so hot and sweaty from the long sleeve sweater I was wearing and the hike up the stairs to the top floor of the minyan. It was very uncomfortable for me in shul, as it was very crowded and the AC just wasn't working well. That, and with a full bladder and the baby resting on the bladder, I was running to the bathroom every few minutes. Of course, during one of my bathroom runs, I got caught in the back by everyone davening shmonei esrei, so I just took a seat and waited for the crowd to thin so I could get back to my seat.

The minyan ended fairly early and I was looking at about 5 hours until shot time. Everyone in the house was exhausted and that included Pidgeon. So, I shipped him down to bed and told him I would wake him for the shot, and I fought the exhaustion and stayed up as long as I could. By 10:00 p.m. I couldn't take it anymore, so I woke Pidgeon up and did the shot as quickly as I could! I was asleep by 11:00 p.m., which was really great since the AC was on a shabbos clock and it went off at 12:30 p.m. and that's when I got all hot again.

Unlike Tisha B'av, where I was besieged with thirst all through the night, I didn't feel parched at all. I did make the decision not to go to shul during the day though, especially since I was so uncomfortable during Kol Nidrei, I knew had I gone to shul during the day I wouldn't make it through the fast.

I slept in and then got dressed and davened in the living room. It only took about 2 hours to daven everything, and that included reading through the Torah readings, and still no one returned from shul. So, I went downstairs, changed back into PJ's, and just laid down. I was already getting anxious about not making it through the fast, so I kept repeating to myself that I was a strong woman who could make it through the fast!

Pidgeon got home around 12:20 and we napped until it was time for mincha. I decided to daven mincha at home and then walked to shul for neilah. I couldn't manage the steps back to the upstairs minyan, and so I found a seat in the main shul and just stood during neilah when I could and sat when I couldn't. By the time we got to avenu malkainu, I was an emotional wreck. That's what Yom Kippur does to me, it's just 24 hours of tension. 

Wondering if my sins are forgiving, wondering what Hashem has in store for me for this year, praying that the baby will be healthy, that Pidgeon and I will be able to support ourselves and the baby during this coming year, that our families will be healthy and be able to support themselves this year too, that our single family and friends will find their basherts and get married this year, etc. 

As soon as the shofar blew, I was a crying mess. Fortunately, the women's section cleared out for maariv and since I couldn't compose myself, I decided to stay and daven with the men. I sat in the corner and just tried to contain the tears but it was very difficult to do. Suddenly, I felt an arm around my shoulder and looked up to see this woman trying to comfort me. She asked me if I was okay, if I was alone and needed some help. I just smiled through the tears and said I was there with my family and was okay.

Crying after Yom Kippur is a family tradition for me. I don't know why, but my Grandmother, mother and sisters all cry after the shofar is blown. It's just this tremendous relief that it's over and we made it. For me this year, it was a combination of many things. 

First, I miss my family terribly especially during the holidays. And, Yom Kippur now is just so different. Gone are the days when the 6 of us would return home from shul in Kew Gardens Hills for the mussaf break, take off our Keds and pull out the cookbooks to plan our Succot menu. It was the best thing we could do so we would avoid speaking Lashon Harah and we were very productive! I miss my Mom's shul bag, the one with the box of tissues and the clear plastic bag for the dirty ones. The room for our glasses cases, and the folded shawls and sweaters for when shul gets cold. I miss the comfortable seats!! It sure beats sitting for hours on wooden folded chairs that just hurts each time you shift. I miss being able to look over the Mechizah and watch my Dad help my Grandfather with his tallit, or observe Daneel and Uncle Seymour leaning up against the pole, and of course my brother towering over all the other men in one of his many designer suits. I don't think that feeling of nostalgia will ever go away - I hope it never does - I just hope as the years go by it will hurt a bit less.

Second, I was so relieved that I didn't have to break my fast. B"H, I actually fasted pretty well. After Neilah, I was very dizzy and needed to get some drink and food into me ASAP, but I made it. And, it was such a source of tension for me the entire day, that the relief was tangible to the point that I needed to just cry to let it all out. 

Third, I spent most of the day thinking about the baby. We have such hopes for this little one. Our prayer that the baby is P"G healthy is first and foremost. That we are good parents is second. That we can support the baby, and care for the baby and do what's right. That the birth should be an easy one without danger for both myself and the baby. That we'll be able to make the baby a very happy home. 

With all this on my head, you can imagine the emotions! Plus, the hormones are still raging, which makes me a very emotional preggo indeed!

We had a great break fast, I think I ate like 3 pieces of cake, some eggs, some pasta with marinara sauce, some pita with cottage cheese and drank an entire bottle of apple juice myself. I had just barely enough energy to pack and get us out of the apartment. By the time we got home, I was so tired I couldn't think about anything. My eyes were closing from all the sugar coursing through my veins and every single muscle in my body hurt. 

I actually do worse after a fast than I do during a fast, and this time was no different. Fortunately, Pidgeon has been through this with me before, and he made sure I was drinking water and relaxing. We went to sleep at Midnight and, with the lovely Jerusalem breeze cooling off the entire apartment, I was able to sleep. I woke up like a million times during the night to use the bathroom, but always managed to fall back to sleep fairly quickly.

Fortunately for me, we are eating out tonight, so I only have to cook lunch. I'm going very, very simple. Some chicken, a vegetable stir fry, a salad and green beans and onions saute. We're trying to stay off of carbs since I weighed myself the other day and I was NOT happy! Although, I did manage to lose 4 pounds over Yom Kippur, so maybe I can contain the weight gain for the rest of the pregnancy. I did however eat a piece of tofu cheesecake this morning, so maybe now's not a good day to start the new "diet".

We'll see.

I'm off to do some research of etrog preparation. I read that a woman in her 9th month of pregnancy should eat an etrog as a segulah for an easy birth. I'm going to either make etrog jam or etrog liquor, I just haven't decided which one yet. I think whatever is easiest is going to be what I end up doing!

Wishing everyone a Shabbat Shalom from Baka!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Gossip Girl Preps for Yom Kippur

I was complaining last night to Pidgeon that I didn't feel in the right frame of mind for Yom Kippur this year. That the holiday just crept up on me. That Aseret Yemei Teshuvah was wasted on me, as I didn't get to the Kotel like I had wanted and I certainly didn't spend the time repenting, giving Tzdakah or even asking people for Mechilah. Instead, I did more of the things I've been doing all year. I gossiped (a lot), I spoke badly about people (especially members of Pidgeon's family as I've been wont to do over the past 2 years) and  I took my husband for granted (which was something I really, really try not to do since I'm so blessed to have found him in the first place).

So, it was no surprise that when we woke up at 6:30 a.m. this morning so Pidgeon could make Minyan and then the mikvah, that I was finally able to be a bit reflective. Perhaps it's because I was ashamed that last night I through a fit because I discovered our bathtub is clogged. I haven't taken a bath in months and, feeling really lousy yesterday with lack of sleep and overall pregnancy hugeness, all I wanted was to take a nice warm bubble bath. When I ran the water, and put in the bubbles for the bath, the bubbles started coming out of the drain in the bathroom floor! Pidgeon told me that I had to drain the tub and couldn't take a bath because I could flood the whole house, and I just lost it.

Just when I opened my big, fat mouth and said that all the repairs had been done in the house, this had to go and happen. I should look on the bright side - that I don't need to take a bath for at least another 10 weeks, that the baby will P"G have its own bathtub, and that at least this happened now before the baby so that we can take care of it. But, there was no rational thought going on in my mind, and I crumpled on the bed like a whiny, spoiled little brat and mewed at my misfortune for not being able to take a bath.

And then I started complaining that all I wanted was a big glass of apple juice with ice cubes in it. Don't know where that even came from, since I don't drink apple juice normally and have no idea why I suddenly needed to have a glass with ice no less - right then and there.

And that's when my darling husband looked at me, as he was trying to comfort me from the no-bath disappointment, and said that he had spent 9 hours in the office and the entire time he was just thinking about coming home to me, because seeing me and being with me makes him so happy. 

I could have cried, I just felt so terrible. I was being so selfish and not even thinking of his needs at all! He works hard all day long, then he comes home only for me to ship him out again to change some money before the rates get even lower, comes home again for a bought dinner (I had no strength whatsoever to try to cook for him) and then when all he wants to do is cuddle a little in front of his favorite TV program, I go and have a childish meltdown over not being able to take a bath.

Well, that certainly did it for me. All I needed was him to put the mirror up against my face so I could really look at myself. I see that I've been using this pregnancy as an excuse to act badly sometimes, and that's just not okay. Especially since it hurts my husband and my family. Besides all of my transgressions against G-d this year, I've done some serious man-to-man harm and for that I am very sorry.

Having a nice breakfast ready for Pidgeon when he gets home from shul this morning might not doing anything to make up for how I might have treated him badly this year, but I hope it's the step in the right direction. 

And, for all of my family, friends and acquaintances out there who read this blog. I know I haven't had a chance to call and ask for forgiveness in person, and that a status update on Facebook probably doesn't count. So, with a few hours left before Judgement Day, I ask that you all forgive me for anything I could have done to hurt, anger, or upset you this year. I can't make any promises that next year will be any better, all I can do is say that I will try. 

I will try not to be so self centered
I will try not to be so hurtful and thoughtless
I will try not to be disrespectful of your feelings and emotions
I will try to be a better friend
I will try to be better

Wishing you and your entire family a Gmar Chatimah Tovah. May you have a very easy and meaningful fast, and may all of your Tefillot be answered L'Tovah.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Pumpkin Season

It's pumpkin season in our house, which means that I've been baking up a storm with the canned pumpkin I still have left over from last Thanksgiving. This morning, I whipped up a batch of pumpkin white chocolate chip muffins. They smell pretty great and they look even better! I think this is part of the whole "nesting" thing - I've been desperately working on cleaning out the pantry. I'm dying to do the fridge next, but I'm waiting until after the Chagim are over before I really tackle that space. 

Shabbat was very, very nice. We ate Friday night dinner by friends from our childbirth education class and it went so well, that time flew and before we knew it, it was shot time! I invited them back for Succot lunch as I felt there was still so much to talk about, and they are just a really nice couple, so I'm looking forward to them coming. Granted, now I have to plan my menu, but I'm hoping it won't take too much out of me.

Sadly, Pidgeon caught the bad cold that is going around Jerusalem. I thought he might have picked it up at the Medical Center last Thursday, during my blood test, but then his Mom called to tell us both her and Pidgeon's Father are ill with bad colds. I spent Shabbos day nursing him, or at least trying to nurse him back to health. Fortunately, he is really a good patient. He's content just being miserable in his bed with either a comic book or his laptop for company. I made sure he ate well, and that he was staying hydrated. After Shabbos, I took his temperature and he had a fever, so there was just no way he could go to work. He called his boss and offered to go into the office to pick up his laptop so he could catch up on work at home. She was more than willing to take him up on the offer and so, Saturday night, we drove to his office to collect the laptop. It was pretty deserted at the office and there are a lot of stairs in the mountain, I literally said a perek of Tehillim as I walked down to his office because I thought I would g-d forbid fall. Fortunately, I made it without incident and about 20 minutes after we got there, we headed home.

We turned back the clocks at Midnight and Pidgeon crashed while I waited up until after Shabbos in the States to check in with the family.  It was nice catching up, and letting them know that we're now only 6 hours a part, and then I too crashed.

Yesterday was very busy, with Pidgeon not feeling any better and I had a few work deadlines. So, I spent the morning making sure he ate and kept his strength up, and then I spent three hours researching and writing a press release for my client. Because Pidgeon wasn't feeling any better, we called the Medical Center and got him an appointment with the on-call physician. Since I also had my 33rd week appointment with Dr. Yanai at the Medical Center, it worked out very nicely. 

The on call Dr. at the Medical Center examined Pidgeon and basically told him that he has a bad cold and the only thing he can prescribe for that is his sympathies. He did write a few scrips for some anti-congestions and cough medicine, but Pidgeon decided not to fill them. Since Dr. Yanai was running an hour late, we decided to drive over to Pidgeon's Aunt and Uncles house and relax there until our appointment.  

Baby Update
I was so excited to see the baby on the ultrasound, I can't even tell you! Its been an entire month since our last appointment and the baby grew so nicely! Right now, the baby is T"G 4.5 pounds and everything that was supposed to grow and develop has been on track with the way the baby has been developing thus far.  The only glitch is that this baby is still in breech position and, since I'm in my 33rd week, now is the time to try to turn the baby before I go into labor. Dr. Yanai tried to turn the baby right then and there, which was pretty painful with the pressing down on my very hard and taut tummy, and since I take the Clexane she had to be careful with how much she tried to do on the table. It's funny, but this baby is so stubborn! The baby had been kicking me and moving ALL day long and, as soon as I hopped up on the table for the ultrasound, would you believe the babes was fast asleep. Right now, the baby's position is both transverse (head is on the left side of my stomach instead of down towards my crotch) and "sandwiched" which means that the legs are over the head. But, there's PLENTY of room to move in there - the baby just doesn't want to.

We made another appointment for after the Chagim and Dr. Yanai says that, if the baby doesn't turn by then, we have to go to the hospital to have them do it. I would have to stop taking the Clexane shot for 24 hours in advance and then be admitted.

Did I ever mention my absolutely fear of hospitals? I'm petrified. I hate everything about the hospital except for the comfortable scrubs I wear to sleep at night. I really don't want to have to go to the hospital to have them try to turn the baby, so I've been doing research on exercises I can do at home to try to turn the baby in the next 3 weeks. Pidgeon got a big laugh last night as I laid on the bed, my feet against the wall, with my hips off the bed (was hard to do, I am so out of shape and heavy) while singing Turn, turn, turn.

I don't think it helped, almost immediately after I was done with those exercises, I was rewarded with a swift kick in the same place I've been kicked for the past few weeks. I'm thinking about trying swimming next, apparently the gravity shift while swimming is supposed to help to. I wonder if taking a bath would be just as good?

Poor Pidgeon, he woke this morning feeling even lousier than yesterday but he had to go to the office. I hadn't heard from him all morning and, just as I was about to call him, the phone rang from a number I didn't recognize. It was Pidgeon. Calling from the office. To let me know that he dropped his cell in the toilet and that he was miserable. 


I think I'll make him a treat for dinner so that he'll feel a bit better when he comes home. If not, we're going to the book store tonight to pick up something I have on hold, and I'll just buy him a comic book.

Well, I'm off to try to get some writing done. I have three stories left to go on my thesis and boy so I want to get one of them started before this month is over!

Yom Tov from Baka!

Friday, October 3, 2008

High Holiday Season

Shanah Tovah, Gmar Chatimah Tovah and Happy New Year! It's, one again, the High Holiday season and I'm already exhausted and stressed. Fortunately, my cooking and entertaining this year will be at a minimal, so at least that's a blessing.

Rosh Hashanah Rundown:

We moved in with Pidgeon's parents for the holidays. Since we still don't have one Shul in the neighborhood that we're affiliated with, it made sense for us to just join Pidgeon's parents. My in-laws bought me a seat in the express Minyan at Chovevei and Pidgeon went with his Father and brother to a Shul that's closer to his 94 year old Grandfather. 

First night of Chag was really, really nice. In the grand tradition of last year, erev Yom Tov included the ceremonial breaking of a bottle. Last year, Pidgeon broke a bottle of Merlot in his parents dining room 15 minutes before Yom Tov. I broke a bottle of Tabasco sauce in our kitchen about 30 minutes before I had to finish packing and get into the shower. Fortunately, we weren't staying for the holiday so I didn't mind that the kitchen stunk of Tabasco sauce. We made it to his folks without incedent and, fortunately for us, kept the bottle breaking to just the Tabasco sauce.

Pidgeon's folks entertained 23 people for dinner and it was loud, boisterous, hot and a lot of fun. I actually forgot to make a Shehecheyanu on my candles and so I was happy that I got the opportunity for redemption over the pomegranate seeds. I love how everyone says that pomegranates are in season around Rosh Hashanah, I really don't think it's true. The seeds were definitely better than last year but not nearly as sweet as they'll be in a few more weeks. Pidgeon and I were so tired after dinner that we were grateful for my 11:00 p.m. shot. We went to sleep pretty quickly after the shot.

Oh, I forgot to mention that the second day of Rosh Hashanah was my 32nd birthday. And, since people couldn't give me presents on the Yom Tov, I got some good stuff before hand. Pidgeon bought me the best present ever! A 6 month subscription to People magazine. A woman from Joe's World of Magazines physically walked over the gift, with a couple of back issues and a note describing the present, before Yom Tov. I was so happy with the gift! And then, when we got to Pidgeon's parents house, there was a beautiful bouquet of red and white roses from Pidgeon. He didn't send the flowers to our house since we weren't going to be here for 2 days and I wouldn't have enjoyed them. This way, they were in our bedroom at his folks house and until my allergies flared up on my birthday, they were beautiful to look at. My in-laws bought be a shmata for my head, some stretch mark and perenium oil from Avishag's maternity store, and the newest coffee table book of photographs by Annie Leibovitz with writings by Susan Sontag. Great gift for me as I think Annie Leibovitz photos are amazing. I would have been happy with a Wolf Kahn coffee table book too, but I'm holding out and saving up my dough to by an actual Wolf Kahn painting. Hmmm, maybe that can be my 40th birthday present to myself (P"G)

First day of Yom Tov, Pidgeon walked me to Chovevei around 7:30 a.m. and I hiked all the way up the fire escape to the express minyan. I found our seats in the front row and was happy that I made it in time for Torah reading. Unfortunately, I also discovered that I'm one of those pregnant claustrophobic ladies. You see, two seminary girls decided to make their own row right in front of my seat. So, I now had a row of seminary girls behind me and two in front of me. With a hat on my head and the AC barely working, I was getting more claustrophobic by the minute. I just wanted to ask the girls in front to move closer to the mechizah so I could have some room to breath! Fortunately, we had an extra seat for us, and when my mother-in-law came she left the one between us empty. Bless her! We were finished by 11:00 p.m. and that made me even happier.

Lunch was just Pidgeon and me, at Pidgeon's parents house. I couldn't have been happier. I was so tired at that point from all the standing and sitting and shuckling and swaying that I was thankful for the meal without anyone around. We had leftovers from dinner the previous night and we both ate in our PJ's and then went for a nap. It was a good thing I took that nap because we had quite a walk to and from dinner the second night.

Pidgeon's Aunt and Uncle live in Katamon, and from Pidgeon's parents house, it's basically an extremely hilly walk down HaPalmach street. Well, getting there was okay since I had about a 3 hour nap under my belt. It was a very cool night, so I was wearing a long-sleeve t-shirt but I brought a short sleeve t-shirt because I knew I would get warm in the house. With 26 people at this meal, I was glad I had! 

By the time we left to walk back to Pidgeon's parents house, I was exhausted and facing a number of tremendously steep hills. Oh, and did I mention the bats on HaPalmach street? There were a ton just flying back and forth overhead and I'm just not a big fan at all! So, I tried to walk very fast to get away and that's when I literally just petered out. Imagine, if you will, a man pushing a large car up a hill. That's exactly what Pidgeon had to resort to to get me back to his parents house. He pushed me up the hill and it was the only way I could have made it back.

When he finished pushing me up the last hill, I was panting and exhausted and needed some water. I took a swig and then said well, at least it's not raining. And, wouldn't you know it, but that's when the first drops started to fall. We were still 3 large blocks away from his parents and I just couldn't believe my luck. That, just when I said that about the rain, the rain started.

Think the Lord is sending me a message? Nah. I just think the Lord has a great sense of humor.

I was very thankful when we got home and just passed out.

Second day of Yom Tov was my birthday and the Minyan ended 30 minutes earlier than the first day! It was great. We then went to Pidgeon's sister's house for a BBQ lunch with the family and they all sang happy birthday and we had some yummy Aldo pareve ice cream cake. Pidgeon and I went back to the house after lunch and just relaxed and slept until Yom Tov was over.

Yesterday was very tiring and, even though I wasn't fasting, I somehow forgot to eat that much. I had a blood test early in the morning at the Medical Center, which was a zoo post holidays. Fortunately, the woman was able to draw blood without too much of a bruise, and they were efficient so we didn't wait long. We got back to the apartment and Pidgeon went back to sleep while I did some work. I have a lot of work on my plate right now and my writing is definitely taking a back seat. With Yom Tov crowding in, I'm starting to get anxious that I won't get all my work done in time. Fortunately, we only celebrate 1 day of Chag in this Country, so I get 2 extra days to do work at least over Succot!

We went food shopping yesterday and the Supermarket was a zoo! Fortunately, we had a short list and we really kept to it. We ended up spending almost 1,000 shekel though since we needed to stock up on food for the week and food for Shabbos. I was a bit surprised that our bill was so high though, especially since our cart was practically empty. Again, I have no idea how people can afford food in this Country!

Pidgeon broke his fast while I did some work and I was so tired that we ended up watching some new episodes of Heroes in bed. I passed out in the middle of the second episode though, I was that tired!

This morning, we were both up early again because Amos came to build our Succah. I am so happy to have the Succah out of the apartment! I kept tripping over the beams in the Mamad and I was really not happy about it. Fortunately, we're going to just cover it and tie is all up about Yom Tov is over and leave it on the Mirpeset all year long. My parents did that at home, although they did keep the poles in the garage, but with no garage or Machsan, we have no choice. Hopefully, we'll keep the elements out this winter and will be able to use the Succah again next year.

I have minimal decorations to do and I'm not doing anything until after Yom Kippur. There's no reason to decorate the Succah now, especially since it could rain between now and Succot and why should the decorations get ruined?

Well, Pidgeon just got back and I am off to finish my Shabbos cooking!

Gmar Chatimah Tovah from Baka!