Tuesday, June 27, 2006

the painful unknowing

Tonight I will go to sleep in my comfortable bed. I will hopefully fall asleep with warm thoughts about my beautiful children and loving family abroad. I will be in the safety of my familiar 4 walls. I will look forward to tomorrow and hope to come that much closer to my dreams.

Gilad Shalit will not have any of these luxuries. He knows the chances of him ever seeing his family again are very very low. He is surrounded by monsters that impatiently wait for the go to have at him. There is no one to tend to his wounds.

His dreams exploded with the artillery shell that hit his tank on his base just outside the Gaza Strip. If he falls asleep tonight he realizes that it could be his last night. He will fall asleep with horrible thoughts of various scenarios on how they will finish him off.

Gilad's parent's home is not a home anymore. There is a hole so deep that will keep its foundation shaky forever. There is no peace. Every hopeful thought is wiped away quickly by stomach pains that speak the truth. They would give anything just to have their son back. There is nothing they can do now!

I pray for a miracle that Gilad returns from the hell that he is in now. I pray for his parents that they will be able to hold him once again. I pray that the people holding him will grow a conscious and do the right thing.

Monday, June 12, 2006

to be rich at such a young age

"shay atah teheay semach" (that you should be happy) The child sits in front of the class and each kid comes up and gives the birthday boy/girl some type of blessing. It's a great custom that they have at this school that my children go to.

One of the first things that most people comment on Y, my 3 year old, is that he is just so happy!! I hear it from other parents, his teacher, the people that run the school, and just about everyone that has any type of interaction with him.

Y can lighten up anyone's day. He usually walks around with a bit of a skip. He sings a lot! He loves to give hugs! He does this really cute thing in most public places. Its a march/skip type thing. He takes about 20 steps in the space he would normally take one. The result is a very loud squeeching noise. I don't know why but it always finishes with him waving his hand in the air.

At home he is so much fun to have around. He loves to help me do things. I have yet to pick any of my fruit from my trees without him being there putting them in the bucket. He loves to take little bites out of the fruit as we pick them to make sure they are good. He also loves to help me cook! He loves putting the stuff in the pots. He insists on being there when I cut onions even though the results are the same every time.

No matter what the plan is, he always gives the same reaction. He first asks, or I tell him, what we are doing, than he gives off this big "yehhhhhhhhhhhhh." In a recent trip to America we told him we were going to the county dump!! Same reaction!

Every time I'm with him he has a different favorite thing he likes to hold in his hand. It's never something normal, or something you would expect. Yesterday it was five hard black beans. Today it was the plastic top of a water bottle, the part you normally throw away. Anywhere we go they have to go with him. He sleeps with them too! I spent five minutes this morning tearing the bed apart looking for the fifth bean! It's very cute. Even YO, my 6 year old, says it's so cute.

When I drop him off at Gan it's always the same routine. I give him some type of little treat. He gives me a kiss on each cheek and runs to this little bench that lets him peek out the window. He waits there patiently till I finish dropping off Yo to his classroom and make my way out of the building. He than proceeds to blow me about five kisses and tells me he loves me. That goodbye stays with me the whole day.

The teacher said it was just so fitting for Y to give this birthday kid that blessing. This is one of the many special gifts that he has been blessed with. I hope and pray that he will always be this happy.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

a momentary lapse of memory

There are those commercials that will remain in my head forever. There are songs that I learned as a kid that I will never forget. Phone numbers of friends that I had when I was in grade school are still engraved in my memory. 822-6440 Matt Munger, 822-4221 Kerry Winterrowd, 821-6548 Susie Ridenhour.

I can sing just about every Christmas song backwards and forwards and I'm Jewish!!! Those commercials "my bologna has a first name its....," "I'm a pepper your a pepper wouldn't you like to be a pepper too...," and the various McDonalds ones, I got them all down.

Who can't remember the theme song to the Brady Bunch? Gilligan's Island??? I can still remember the "Pledge of Allegiance" I haven't had to say it for over 25 years!!

So why is it when it comes to important things I can't remember them for the life of me. I haven't remembered my parents birthday's for years!! I'm always a week late for Mother's and Father's day. Two years ago I didn't realize it was my own birthday till I went to sleep that night. I always get confused whenever I try and remember my social security number. I can't remember people's names a second after they tell me!!

In Israel practically everything that you do here you have to use your ID number. If you were to offer me a million dollars for that nine digit number I couldn't do it. OOOH But if you want my buddy Matt's number that I haven't called in 20 years, no problem!

Here's the kicker of all kickers!! A few years ago I had to take my ex-wife's mother back to the airport to go home. No, we don't speak a common language. At the security check point they thought this was a little suspicious. Why would I be taking her to the airport when I can't even speak her language? As a final security question they asked me my kids names. I drew a complete blank!! I forgot my kids names!! It took me a few minutes to decollate their names. By that time I don't think the security lady was too convinced. In short her mom had to go through the ringer!! She didn't understand why she was cornered out!!! I shrugged my shoulders as if I didn't know why either. How do you describe to someone that you just forgot your kids names even in your own language??

In learning Torah, we work so hard to figure it out. If you don't review it a few hundred times you lose it almost as if you never had it in the first place. But those commercials, Christmas songs, and old phone numbers, I got them down cold!!! What's up with that??

Monday, June 05, 2006

red #40, delectosinphybite, yellow #345, rhybotheibsameine,etc, etc

I am the first to admit it, I love candy!! I don't think there is a day in my life where I didn't have at least one piece of candy. As long as it has sugar in it and a majority of ingredients that I can't pronounce I'm a big fan. There are too many favorites to be able to pick just one.

On camping trips my grandma would always give each kid a red rope licorice. It was good on its own, but there was one little trick to make it even that much better. Rubbing dirt all over it, leaving a fine dust, gave it just the right taste. The trick is to make sure the licorice is dry before dunking it in the dirt, than you have to shake off any big chunks.

On a long road trip with my parents and brother one of my fondest memories were two little Jolly Rancher candies, watermelon and green apple. The flavor just explodes in your mouth and it lasts till the last drop. That's the bonus of Jolly Rancher candies they are awesome from beginning to end. Unlike most gum where the good flavor only lasts for a short while.

That same grandma would also give us money for "Dales," (basically 7-11). 50 cents per child would usually get you: one starburst, one pack of sweet tarts, and a small pack of gum. I don't think I ever made it back to Grandma's house with anything left.

I was introduced to gummy bears through my cousin Ryan, he received a package for his birthday from some German friends. Wow! the harder the better. Red and white ones are the best.

Swedish Fish also rank up there among the best. They have to be the originals though. All of the counterfeit ones are garbage. Its such a let down every time you think you got the right one and than find out it's an imposter. My good friend MC Aryeah drove for over an hour, passing over at least 4 bridges just to send me a package of the real ones. That's a care package!!

Nabisco has let me down big time with Sweet tarts. They were the longest running favorite in my books. For some reason they can't make these guys Kosher. All the types were great: giant tarts, chewy, and the classic roll. I remember having a hurt tongue the day after licking the giant tarts.

I can't remember the name but there were these bottle cap type candies. They had about 10 silver dollar size candies in a clear long wrapper. Green apple and watermelon were the best. Banana was a bit of a gig.

I don't know if they still exist but they were pretty tasty. The first few minutes were good but than you were just left with a big ball of wax. The good old fashioned liquid flavored wax sticks!!

Now you say, ok where's the chocolate!! I hear it! There is no doubt about it I love Chocolate and have eaten my fair share. I could mention malt balls but there is always the down side to them. After about 20 to 25 you feel sick to your stomach and they don't taste that good anymore. Also every 5 to 6 of them you get a dud, it's kind of chewy rather than malt bally.

Every time I go to a dentist I get such good marks. "Wow you take pretty good care of your teeth hah? No cavities!!!!" "Do you floss?" no, not really "do you brush after every meal?" what? There are people that brush more than once a day??? "Do you get them checked every year or two?" I thought you are supposed to get them checked once every 8 years!!!! Most will argue it's because of good genes. I will let you in on a little secret to healthy teeth: lots of candies and lots of nail biting!!