Friday, June 22, 2018

Stress Hamsters

So we've moved to a smaller apartment that's basically across the street from Elchanan's school in one direction, and across the street from a mall, the main post office, the central bus station, and a train station in the other direction. There's a supermarket 5 minutes away (although it's not particularly the chain I like), doctors' offices 5 minutes away, and the boys have their own rooms, which has made a HUGE difference in their attitudes and behaviors both at home and in school.

Every so often I find myself breathing. A sigh of relief. Releasing a bit more stress.

And then...

And then I start to wonder when the rug will be pulled out from under us again.

And then I start to wonder when the other shoe will drop.

And I'm back to tossing and turning in bed at night as stress attacks my thoughts.

Because I've been here before. And the rug HAS been pulled out from under us.

I know there are things we need to do, should do, HAVE to do, to keep the stress hamsters from running on their wheels inside my brain.

Oooh, I like that; stress hamsters. Going to use that for the name of this blog post.


We WILL be taking better care of our finances, which is basically the #1 stress factor in my life (well, pretty much anyone's life, amiright?)

I'm hoping my meds will help keep the stress hamsters at bay. And sitting on the beach.

But my Pavlovian response to things going well for us for a change really needs to change. When did I become such a pessimist?

So, how do you deal with your stress hamsters?

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Next stage

Yesterday, Zach and I had our last parent-teacher meeting of the year for Nati. One teacher will be going on for a third year with the boys and the younger teacher will be leaving. All in all, the meeting was very positive. Nati has made great strides in his socialization, language skills, his math is amazing (thanks to the paternal-side genes), and he's excelled in almost every aspect of his studies and therapies. We've all noticed a big difference in how calm he's been since we've moved apartments and given him his own room.

The big sticking point in his learning is his reading. Or rather, his lack. We've tried several different things, and nothing seems to be working. He just doesn't seem to have any retention or perhaps recognition for the written word. And because he struggles, he hates having to do it. I mean, if I'm bad at something, I wouldn't want to do it either. But reading is a rather important skill and we need to rethink a few things.

So at yesterday's meeting, his teacher brought up the R-word.

She's spoken to one of the therapists who works with Nati on a regular basis and they feel that it might be time to try medication to help Nati's comprehension difficulties. Specifically, Ritalin.

Now, don't get me wrong. If there's one thing you need to know about my husband and myself, it's that we're not ashamed of our family's various mental health issues. And our family motto is "better living through chemistry". Okay, that's two things.

So now we need to teach Nati how to swallow a pill. And I need to make an appointment for him with the pediatrician so we can take the proper steps for him to get the prescription before school starts up again in September.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Stress and the toll it takes on you

There's a saying from Psalms, "to go from strength to strength".

I, however, live my life going from stress to stress. I don't know why. But it's how I am. And lately, it's been a shitstorm of stress.

My summer plans to go to the US with the boys have been cancelled because 6 weeks after starting a new job (after being out of work for almost 3 months), my husband's company laid him off so they could have the out-of-work brother of one of the company founders basically work illegally. That was over 2 months ago.

We're moving to a smaller apartment on Sunday, the reasons for that being the apartment we're in is really too big for us (when we first moved in, my adult daughter was living with us, she's no longer doing that), the owners refuse to replace the air conditioning so it actually works (having spent 2 summers in Beersheva heat, I can't do that any more). There are a few financial reasons for moving, but frankly, the no air conditioning in 105 F degree weather is a HUGE motivator. Especially when you work from home as I do. And no, we can't simply buy new ones ourselves; it's central air conditioning and the way it was set up is just not good.

So we're moving. And hubby has been out of work for over 2 months. And the vacation that was keeping me sane was cancelled.

So I've been a bit stressed.

The thing about stress is, you don't often realize just how much you've been drowning in stress until the/a stressor has been relieved.

My husband has had several interviews with different companies, literally all over the world. And it looks like a local company is offering him a job. When he called me to let me know, I couldn't make it through the phone call without tears. I barely hung up with him before the ugly crying started. Sobbing, tears streaming down my face.No snot, because as usual my sinuses are stuffed. But I'm sure that would have been dripping too.

Okay, deep breath, find a tissue, and get back to packing.

So, do you go from stress to stress, or are you water off a duck's back kinda personality?

Friday, May 25, 2018

Chocolate chip cookie recipe to save

I haven't made these yet, but someone recommended it. And since I've been wanting a T&T (tried and true) recipe that uses oil, we'll give this one a try.

2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar 
3/4 cup veg oil
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 & 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt

Cream together eggs & sugar. Add oil & vanilla & mix, add everything else & then chocolate chips. 

Chill dough for 20 minutes and then bake at 350

Do you have a cookie recipe that uses oil that you love? Care to share it?

Monday, April 30, 2018

On a wing and prayer

Orange BBQ Sauce

1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
juice from one orange plus zest
1 cup ketchup
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon pepper

fry onions with garlic until tranlucent, add the rest. cook up to a boil and let simmer for 20 minutes, blend and serve
(So I added a bit more orange juice, about 1/4 cup. It upped the citrus flavor by a lot.)
I tossed the wings with cornstarch, garlic powder, and chili powder. Then baked them on an oiled cookie sheet until golden brown. I tossed them with the BBQ sauce and popped them back into the oven so the sauce can caramelize on the wings.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Time Zones, Internet, and Messaging

Growing up, the rule in our house was no phone calls to friends after 10 p.m. The thinking was that if you could wait till that "late", you could wait until morning, when it's a more reasonable time.

In today's day and age of the Internet, cell phones, and more messaging apps than you really need, one would think being aware of time would be standard. Almost my entire family lives along the eastern coast, which puts me seven hours ahead of them. Which is why I wait until 2 p.m. to send a WhatApp message to my siblings. That's 7 a.m. for my sister, brothers, and sisters-in-law. My other sister-in-law (Zach's sister) lives in California.  That's ten hours behind us. So I send her an email when I need to talk with her.

I keep my cell phone near my bed at night. It serves as my alarm clock. Now, it has a sleep mode setting, so that between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. it's quiet. No notifications ping, phone calls are screened, and it's nice and quiet. The problem is there ARE people who may need to reach me in case of emergency, and the work around to get through is a right pain in the butt. The person has to call, let it ring a certain number of times, and then call back within a certain number of minutes. Quite frankly, if there's an emergency, they're not going to remember that. So I took my phone off sleep mode.

Last night I received several Facebook messages from friends on the East Coast of the United States. One person sent me multiple messages at almost 1 a.m. my time. For her, it was almost 6 p.m. Two hours later, I received another couple messages from someone else. Again, where she is, it's a perfectly reasonable time to message.... if you don't take into account what time it is where your recipient is.

I'm not naming names, I'm not calling anyone specific out, there's no need to apologize. Just be aware of the wider world we have access to thanks to the Internet.

What rule did you have growing up that thanks to today's technology makes it difficult or irrelevant?

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

To Everything There is a Season

One thing about moving to Israel is learning that there is a lot of food-related seasonality.

The best time for most citrus is December - May.

Strawberry season starts in December, and if the weather is just right, it can go as long as April.

Interestingly (and annoyingly) enough, limes are only about 2 weeks in the summer.

Even celery has a season... Winter to early spring.

Fresh string beans are April, while fresh peas are only the first two weeks of April, and snow peas are only available at specialty stores for about the first week of April.

Fresh Brussels sprouts can be a hit or miss regarding availability. I found them last year, but not this year.

Fried donuts and filled donuts are October to the end of December. Good for my waistline.

And commercially available hamburger buns - you know, the squishy white bread, 8 to a bag kind - are in supermarkets for about a week before Israel Independence Day, till maybe two weeks after. Not even through the summer! Israelis do love their pitas. The bakery near me sells slightly fancier buns throughout the year, but not every day. If I'm thinking about making burgers for dinner and I don't see the buns on the shelf in the morning, I'll often ask them if they're planning on making that day. If they say no, more often than not, I change my dinner plans.

What seasonal food do you most look forward to?