Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Girl School

Hi all...

I learned early in Keren's life that girls are different from boys.  With two older brothers, you might have thought that she would have liked blue sweatpants.  Nothing doing.  Keren liked pink and purple dresses.  She had one dress that had we let her, she would have never taken off.  She wanted to sleep in her purple dress.

I remember committing an egregious sin.  Keren slept over at a friend's home.  There was a birthday party they were both to attend the next day.  It was to be a rather shmutzy birthday party.  I gambled.  I sent her with 'get shmutzy' clothing, and no dress.  She did not even say hello to me when she got home.  She admonished me for my choice in her clothing.  The friend's mother had to do laundry, as the dress she was wearing when she left was too messy to wear the next day.

Anyway, little girls become little women.  At least now, she wears pants from time to time, and colours can be something other than pink or purple.

There are things I do not understand.

I do not understand how it is I can braid a bread, but cannot braid her hair.  She can do it without being able to see.

I do not understand the appeal of nail polish.  The boys do not wear it.  She loves it.  To get a manicure with her mother or with her grandmother is simply the cat's meow.

I do not understand the love of jewelry.  I wear a watch.  My wedding band is on my watchband.  The boys do not wear any jewelry.  Keren has necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.  She once said: "You know Eema, jewelry is very important in a girl's life."

There is only one unifying theory that explains this - Girl School!  It is a secret school that girls attend.  There, they learn these things.

Every time she does something that boys in general decidedly do not do, I say 'Girl School.'  Keren then insists that there is no such thing as Girl School.  I do not believe her.  I think that all of the students swear an oath to keep it absolutely secret.

I do not know where Girl School is.  I will find it though.

Good night.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Another 20 Snippets

Top of the morning all...

Jennifer wrote 20 snippets for 20 years of marriage.  We get to that point in July.  The challenge for me is that I have to think of something similar.  The good news is that she gave me a month's notice.

1.  10:30 pumpkin time...yes, it is true.  I am a typical male.  Head on pillow = instant sleep.  I remember talking with Jennifer about this.  I said to her that if you turn off the engine on the car, but it keeps knocking around, it means that something is very wrong with the engine.  Jennifer's response to me was that women tend to be more like computers.  Computers do not just turn off.  They have to shut down each and every program, one at a time, before finally calling it a night.

2.  I remember the first barbecue we bought.  We had just gotten to Hawaii.  Jennifer said that I should have purchased a larger grill.  As much as I have drilled into the kids' heads that real men cook with fire, the truth is that Jennifer is every bit as comfortable as I am on the barbecue.  Don't worry.  Keren also hears from me that real women cook with fire.

3.  We are talking about going to Prince Edward Island (PEI) on frequent flyer miles this year.  I do not think it is going to happen, but we have not been able to talk about a 'go-somewhere' vacation just for the two of us since two of us became three.  It will hopefully happen in a couple of years.  To talk about it is a huge step.

4.  I want to go to PEI because it is relatively flat, and thus Jennifer will be willing to ride bicycles.  I think her priority is seeing the sites connected with "Anne of Green Gables."

5.  Over the 20 years, we have had four cats.

6.  Whenever Jennifer is making something that requires hard-boiled eggs, she always makes an extra for  me.

7.  (Nothing to read here.  Certain things should remain between spouses.)

8.  The kids are not allowed to play us against each other.  Still, they know we are different.  They know we will respond to certain things differently.  They ask me when it involves staying up later on a non-school night.  They ask Jennifer when they want to have a take-out picnic on the den floor while watching a movie.

9.  We used to hire a babysitter so that we could go to the supermarket together.  Once, the babysitter had to come a little later than we otherwise might have liked.  She was teaching her brother to shoot a BB gun.

10.  We bear each other's grudges, lest our own grudges get us in trouble with those who can cause us significant concerns.

11.  Jennifer really likes action movies.  She mentioned "The Dirty Dozen."  She also likes "Demolition Man."  I like "When Harry Met Sally" and "Shall We Dance."

12.  We both trust each other's driving.  I usually do the distance driving.  Jennifer usually does the city driving.  We only have one car.

13.  I have never understood the need for 17 pillows on the bed.  I do, however, understand that Jennifer might think an extra blanket is necessary.

14.We support each other professionally.  Both of us play the dutiful rabbinic spouse at each other's professional obligations.  As Jennifer said, as a rabbinic team, we are a formidable pair.  We function well as an extension of each other.  This lends a fair amount of depth to the work that we are both able to do.

15.  As much as Jennifer thinks that Jesse is a miniature version of me, it is not entirely true.  For starters, he is almost the same height.  We can do away with 'miniature.'  That being said, I see a fair amount of her in all of them, particularly in their artistic expressions.

16.  Jennifer has directed a play on Broadway and in the Greater Los Angeles theatre scene.

17.  Jennifer prefers craps.  I prefer blackjack.  We have not been to a casino in years, and I do not think we have ever been to one together.

18.  Jennifer insisted that I purchase my tuxedo for our wedding.  I had to take it out a little bit, but it otherwise still fits.  It was a good investment.

19.  Jennifer prefers opals and sapphires to diamonds.  I prefer chocolate.

20.  Every once in a while, Jennifer stops everything to work on the kids' scrapbooks.

Yup...it has been an amazing 20 years.  Jennifer - I love you, and let's get to work on the next 20.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Naivete and Lies

Good evening all...

For as long as I can remember, I have heard the adage that World War III would begin in the Middle East.  With that notion came the obvious implication that Israel would somehow be involved.  It never dawned on me that it would be otherwise.  There is the naivete.

The man who self-immolated in Tunisia more than two years ago did not care about Israel.

The woman whom Egyptian police forced to undergo a physical examination for proof of her virginity did not care about Israel.

The teenager with a can of spray paint in Syria did not care about Israel.

All of the other people, of Iran, of Iraq, of Jordan, of Saudi, of Dubai, where similar rumblings have been heard loud and clear, do not care about Israel.

Could it be that the people in all of these countries do not actually think that Israel is responsible for their problems?  Could it be that the lies that the governments of these nations have perpetuated for decades have never been believed in the first place?  Could it be that nations with prisons such as the type that exist in Syria or in Iran coerce such "beliefs," knowing that the population will find it safer to believe comparatively benign lies than to risk torture?

It could be.

And today, news reports say that Iran has deployed 4000 soldiers to Syria with the goal of helping to keep the butcher of Damascus in power.  The reports say that there is a desire to harass the Israelis on the Golan.  On Friday, the US announced that it would start arming Syrian rebels.

So yes, the adage about the beginning of World War III is most certainly coming true.

Albert Einstein once said that "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."

I hope that adage does not come true.

Good night.


The Right to Vote

Hi all...

Over the last week, the Toronto City Council voted to allow landed immigrants to vote in municipal elections.  The vote was by a margin of one.  The decision still must go to the Provincial Parliament for approval.

We have landed immigrant status.  When this clears the necessary hurdles, Jennifer and I will be able to vote.

I have mixed feelings.  I am, as you know, a citizen of the United States.  One of the issues motivating the birth of the nation was 'taxation without representation.'  The British taxed the colonies without allowing any representation in Parliament.

Jennifer and I pay taxes.  In theory, we should have some say in how those taxes are spent.  This might hold even more so here in Toronto.  We pay property taxes.  To prevent us from contributing to municipal decisions is hardly democratic.

On the other hand, voting is a perk of citizenship.  There is more than just a financial question.  Citizenship also states that a person has made a decision and taken the steps to affirm a stand and a stake in the long-term destiny and vision of a country.  We have not affirmed that stand and that stake.

At the end of the day, I believe that the right of the vote is a right of citizenship.  It is not a right of permanent residence.  There is no citizenship of only a city.

If the Provincial Parliament chooses to approve Toronto's decision, I will likely vote.  It still seems to me though that this is not a decision that should have been made.

Good night.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Ode to Toy

Sorry about that title.  It was too difficult to resist.

At least 11 years ago, Jennifer and I purchased a Little Tikes wagon.  Its purpose was to haul kids to and from shul when they were too big for the stroller but too small to walk huge distances.  I remember once even using it for both boys and a pregnant Jennifer.  When we moved to Toronto, we used it to haul kids and stuff on the annual "Walk with Israel."  As of last year, we did not require it for that purpose.

This wagon then became our wheelbarrow.  If you look in our backyard, you will note the garden is bordered by R.O.U.S.'s (rocks of unusual size, with respect to "The Princess Bride").  The vast majority of those stones were transported across the backyard or around the house with the wagon.  Many of those stones were moved more than once.

Yesterday, the wagon may have met its demise.  As you might be aware, the city is installing new storm drains around my house.  Right now, the street immediately to the west is dug up.  Gavi found a HUGE rock on it.  He wanted the rock.  We went out there with our little tikes wagon, and watched for about 30 minutes while he dug out the rock and got it onto the wagon.  Alas, one of the plastic wheels has split.  We may have to purchase a new wagon, or maybe a wheelbarrow.

On an aside, we have a Little Tikes 18-wheeler.  My aunt purchased it for Jesse when he was still an only child.  On occasion, Gavi rides it around the house.  Little Tikes is indestructible.

Roll on, dear wagon, roll on.