An end, and a new beginning

You knew this was coming…you did.

While I love the people I’ve met through this blog (shout out to Be Enough, MeMyselfandKids, and others), I don’t feel this blog is accomplishing what it was created to accomplish.

This blog was created to accomplish two purposes:

  1. To give a sane perspective of what is happening in Israel, and to make Israelis more “human.”
  2. To showcase some of my writing, because a prospective client had asked if I have a blog and I had to say no.

Since then, I have realized two things:

  1. This blog does not have enough exposure to actually make a difference like I wanted to do in #1.
  2. My writing has improved over time, and I do not want to go back and edit every post. Also, I have since become a solopreneur and started freelance writing – but guess what? None of my clients care about my  blog, have asked to see it, and *no one* has ever become my client through my blog.

So, I am closing this blog. I am not yet sure how, and what, if anything, I will leave up.

But the bottom line is this:

I am going to be blogging on IsraelBlogger. And because of that, I am moving all of my best posts on Israel to their platform. This will accomplish the first goal of this blog, and my posts will get more exposure than they would here.

As each post is transferred, it will be turned “private” on this blog.

I invite all of you to come over to IsraelBlogger and follow me – us – over there.

 

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New Year, new start?

I spaced. Big time. So what?

I didn’t space *just* on this blog. I spaced completely. I only realized that I had to cook for a two-day holiday, less than a week before.

I only realized that today is a fast day after seeing someone post about it online. Good thing I hadn’t eaten yet, huh?

I feel like a world-class space cadet. And the thing is, I’m not usually a space cadet.

But on the other hand, this past month has been crazy. We both feel like we’ve been running from one thing to the next, not even thinking a week ahead.

I started writing down what has to be done, so I won’t forget. On Sunday, I made a list of projects that needed to be done today. (I’m about a third of the way through, thanks for asking.) Tomorrow there’s something else.

And all I can say is: Thank G-d it’s all good or neutral. I can think of a lot worse ways to be busy.

I meant to call some people before Rosh Hashana. Well, I forgot my phone down in the bomb shelter (where we keep our stroller) and YItzchak only found it two hours before the holiday. So I missed a business call, a friend, and probably some others, too.

I guess I can make my new-year phone calls this week. Better late than never, right? And a whole lot less stressful.

So my apologies to my readers, and…..I hope to rebrand this blog soon. I’m not yet sure what exactly I want to do, but I think the time has come for a revamp.

 

Kids Planet: An Honest Game

A while ago, MIL bought Shlomo a tablet. We’re not fans of electronic toys, but okay. It’s had its ups and downs.

Recently, Shlomo found a new game: Kids Planet Discovery. It had been there since he beginning, but we hadn’t noticed it before.

This game is basically a geography game. It teaches a bit about other cultures, and has an activity that involves placing countries, states, and provinces in their proper place on the map. This activity has two levels: easy and difficult. In the easy level, you get outlines to guide you. In the difficult level, it’s just one big land mass and you figure it out for yourself.

kids_planet_discovery_2

Naturally, I tried out the Middle East section.

It had Israel with a piece cut out (Judea and Samaria). So I was peeved. But you know who got that extra piece?

Not some made-up country that never existed, called “Palestinian Territories.”

Jordan.

Jordan got that extra piece.

And I’m happy.

Because before 1967, Judea and Samaria were part of Jordan. The Muslims who lived there were Jordanian citizens. And then Israel won the war, and Jordan decided that they didn’t care what happened with Judea and Samaria anymore – let Israel have it, for all they care.

So Israel took it.

It was never, for one second, “Palestine,” or “Palestinian Territories.” Judea and Samaria, as well as parts of Jerusalem, used to belong to Jordan.

When it was “Palestine,” *all* of Israel was “Palestine,” and it was under British or Turkish rule. “Palestine,” as an independent country, never existed.

Jordan decided that it wasn’t worth fighting Israel for. And Israel conquered it from Jordan, and took control.

Muslims who lived in Judea and Samaria during the 1967 war say, “One day we were Jordanian citizens, in the middle of a war. The next day, the war was over, and Israel had won. And then someone took the star out of our flag and told us that we’re not Jordanian citizens anymore, we’re Palestinians. And we were like, huh?? What just happened?”

Okay, so I paraphrased and translated. But that’s how people remember it.

One day they were Jordanians. And the next day someone declared them Palestinians, and took the star out of the Jordanian flag, to create a new one.

Out of the blue. Completely and totally.

Now, the same world that wrote, “Jews, go to Palestine!” a few decades ago, is saying, “Jews, get out of Palestine.”

And they’re making up pretend countries to prove it.

But I’m happy with Kids Planet Discovery.

They didn’t give Judea and Samaria to Israel, it’s true.

But they DID give it to the only other country that can actually lay claim to that land – Jordan.

Because if you don’t like Israel, at least be honest about it. Don’t make up pretend countries.

 

How I Knew Esti Weinstein Wasn’t Missing

When I saw that a woman, a mother of 7, was missing for a few days, I raised an eyebrow and was kind of worried. I knew they’d find her in the end, and I knew she wouldn’t be alive when they found her.

I also was about 90% sure that she’d committed suicide.

How?

Simple. People go missing in Israel for three main reasons:

  1. Terror attack – in which case we usually know that there was a terrorist involved and that they were kidnapped. Here, the article made no mention of hitchhiking, terror, or anything related. Also, there wasn’t a terror attack near her when she disappeared.
  2. Kidnapping – this usually happens when the person is a minor and was kidnapped by a psycho family member. Sometimes it’s a psycho friend, but that’s even rarer than the family member. She wasn’t a minor, so this wasn’t a kidnapping.
  3. Suicide- someone, usually an adult, disappears mysteriously, after a longstanding estrangement or after a history of mental illness (LGBT counts as mental illness, too).
  4. (Really, 3a.) Once in a while someone gets lost while on a hike, after refusing to take a cell phone, not taking a hat, and not bringing enough water. Or maybe he walked into a dangerous area. I’m never sure if these people should be awarded Darwin awards for their stupidity, or if they wanted to commit suicide in a less obvious fashion.

Since numbers 1 and 2 were obviously *not* the reason this woman (who I later realized was named Esti Weinstein; at first I just looked at her picture without reading – you know, because that’s what good citizens do) disappeared . . . it was clear to me that she’d committed suicide.

Unfortunately, as is the case in most of these kinds of things, I was right.

Let’s leave aside the issue of blame for a minute. It really doesn’t matter if the community is to blame, if her family is to blame, or if she suffered from her own decisions. There’s something that needs to be pointed out here:

This woman had a mental illness. She had a history of suicide attempts. And she was, in three words, a tortured soul.

I don’t know who suffered more – her, or her family. I know that her personal suffering has ended, and I think that is a good thing. She is at peace, finally.

And I don’t think we should be judging anything, or anyone, except ourselves.

Every community shuns those who don’t live up to its standards. EVERY community.

If we don’t want to see any more suicides, we need to learn to identify the warning signs, and how to wrap every member of our communities – even if they break some of the rules – in a blanket of love.

Suicides happen in every community. And anyone who says otherwise is playing Ostrich, and should join Obama Bin Laden, king of Ostrich, in his white cave.

Trump Gets It, Obama Doesn’t

Okay, I have finally decided. If I vote, I think it will be for Trump.
 
Yitzchak is going to call me a one-issue voter, and tell me that he votes not just based on a candidate’s policy towards Israel/ PA, but also based on a lot of other factors: internal policies, economics, whatever. But you know, he has his vote and I have mine.
 
If I choose to vote (and I’m not sure ANY of the candidates are worth that amount of effort, since I’m voting overseas – and neither is he), then I am going to have to say, Trump seems the most honest, and the most sane, when it comes to my personal worries – which are mostly centered around Israeli security.
 
You know why we stopped Operation Protective Edge? Because of Obama bin Laden. The two-faced liar.
 
So while I don’t believe that Trump loves Jews or Israel, I do believe that he is an equal-opportunity hater, and hates everyone who isn’t a WASP – and I also believe that Muslims are higher on his “most-hated” list than Israel and Jews. Plus, at least he tells us what he thinks, instead of lying to our faces like everyone else does.
 
IF I vote, I will vote Trump.
 
IF. That’s a BIG “if”.
 
And you know, if Yitzchak votes for the other guy, well, we just canceled each other out, right? No biggie. That’s what we did in 2008 – he voted Obama (because he was scared of Palin), and I voted McCain (because I was scared of Obama).
 

Placebo Helps Everything

Shlomo has a very, very low-grade fever. As *the* paranoid mom, I am obviously freaking out. But that’s not the point right now, is it? No, it’s not.

At any rate, he is sitting on the toilet and complaining of a headache. Now, this headache could be from four things:

  • he’s pushing too hard
  • he’s cried and screamed enough to give himself a headache
  • he really does have a headache
  • he’s making up an excuse, to get attention or to get out of pooping (please, no “don’t make your kid poop” criticism – this is what it is, and there is good reason for it).

Yitzchak wanted to give him Akamoli (kiddie Tylenol). And I said NO. Big NO.

Why? For the simple reason that Akamoli will completely cover up his symptoms. And I need to see the symptoms in order to judge what he has and how urgently he needs to see a doctor. Until now, he hasn’t really complained enough to justify the Akamoli. I want to see if, after he’s off the toilet, he still has a headache or if it magically goes away.

Because it’s important.

Well, Shlomo didn’t like that I nixed his yummy Akamoli. He wanted medicine. It’s strawberry flavored, guys. And Tova has received a fair bit of it lately (teething, anyone?), so Shlomo wants some, too. I get him. I do.

That doesn’t change the facts.

So Yitzchak made Shlomo a new headache medicine. It’s *the* best medicine for headaches, and works terrifically well for many other things, too.

It’s called Placebo.

It tastes really good. It’s the same 5ml that we would’ve given him anyways. And it helps Shlomo feel better, while letting me observe his symptoms.

Placebo really is the greatest medicine in the world.

The only thing is, Yitzchak doesn’t have red Placebo. He only has it in clear.

Therefore, Shlomo is protesting. Will he take the medicine or not?

As of right now, he’s refusing. But his headache went away, anyways (bingo, Mom!), so it’s not too relevant. We’ll save his special Placebo medicine for later, just in case he needs it.

I wonder how many years it will be before Shlomo learns what “placebo” actually means. It’s a Hebrew-speaking country, so it may take a while.

In the meantime, Yitzchak is playing doula to Shlomo’s poop. Ugh. But it’s working, sooo . . . I guess it’s all good.

Update: As soon as he was off the toilet, Shlomo’s headache disappeared. Hmmm . . .

While Kids Play

Last Wednesday, Yitzchak and I took the kids to Be’er Sheva, to see the old train. Long story short, we were kind of disappointed. And Shlomo was *very* disappointed.

Before we went home, we stopped by the mall near the central bus station. On the second floor, it has a kiddie “gymboree” – a padded area with foam horses to sit on, a plastic backyard slide, and a plastic seesaw. It’s free.

Well, we got there, and Shlomo wasn’t happy. There were too many older kids there, and he was “scared”. (The older kids weren’t supposed to be there, by the way.)

So Yitzchak took Shlomo into a store to window shop, and I watched Tova play.

There must have been a total of ten to fifteen kids there, and five other mothers.

Only one mother didn’t have her face in a smartphone, and even she was talking for almost ten minutes on her phone, while she watched her kid.

And I ask . . . why?

You’re sitting here. You came here for your kid. (Yitzchak says, they came to get a break from their kids. I hope he’s wrong.)

Why aren’t you paying attention to him (or her)?

Watch the kid. Talk to your kid when he or she comes over. If your kid is little, help him out.

Why did everyone except me have their face in a smartphone?

That’s just sad.

Bubbles and Chips

Everyone lives in a bubble. And almost everyone has a chip on their shoulder.

The question is what bubble they live in, and what their chip is made of.

Some people live in a happy bubble. In their world, everything has a bright side – even the worst stuff.

Some people live in a work-bubble. Everything in their world revolves around their workplace.

Some people live in a kid-bubble, where everything in their life revolves around their kids. They stay home with their kids, and pretend the rest of the world doesn’t exist.

Some people live in an attacked bubble. Anyone who tries to help them, anyone who breathes the wrong way, is attacking them.

Some people live in a blame bubble, where everything is blamed on someone else. And some people live in an innocent bubble, where nothing anyone ever did was meant to hurt someone else.

But no one, really, lives in a reality bubble.

All those people who live in England, America, France, and who knows where, who think that we are attacking Muslims for no good reason? They live in a terrorist bubble. So do the people who insist on seeing Israel as an apartheid state, instead of opening their eyes to see that Hamas and the PA are hurting their own citizens.

And sometimes I feel like I’m living in an imaginary bubble. This craziness can’t *really* be the reality, can it?

Then there are the chips.

Everyone has their own chips on their shoulders, according to the bubbles in which they live.

And those chips make life more difficult, emotionally and often practically, too. They prevent people from being happy, from achieving their goals, and sometimes – they cause people to ruin, with their own actions, their lives and those of their loved ones.

Bubbles can be good or bad.

Chips can be good, only if they prompt you to productive action, without harming anything else.

Problem is, most people don’t recognize the chips on their shoulders, and even when they do – they deny or ignore it.

What bubble do you live in? Do you know anyone with a serious chip on their shoulder? What flavor is it?

 

 

Do You Have a Weapon?

Two days ago, we were standing in line to go into the central bus station in Be’er Sheva. I hate standing in that line, because there are always, always, people smoking right beside you. But that’s off topic.

At any rate, someone five people ahead of us went through the metal detector, then went back through it, and then went through it again.

He got wanded over and he got a pat-down – pockets, stomach, legs, arms. The security guard didn’t find anything, and in the end, the man got an apology, too.

I hadn’t been paying too much attention, so I just figured he’s beeped on the metal detector, and hey – he fit the profile, so why *not* check him?

As a sort-of apology for holding us up, the security guard then let five people through without even a blink: a man and a woman who looked like American tourists and turned out to be a couple, Yizchak, me, and this skinny Arab guy with slicked back, black hair, who was too busy talking on his phone to even notice his surroundings. He looked to be about 20 years old. And me? I think he should’ve been checked over. Talking on the phone doesn’t mean you’re not a terrorist.

Well, I’m not a security guard, and the guy had already gone through, so I kept my mouth shut. We found out that we’d missed a bus by three minutes, and found a place to sit and wait for the next one.

And then . . .

From the other entrance, we see three policemen escorting a handcuffed Arab guy of about 20 years old. Two policemen on each side, and one behind him, carrying an assault rifle at the ready.

And we realized that that over-done pat down and apology (we’ve never seen such a pat-down before, at least not in Israel – in America and Canada they do it all the time, to innocent, non-threatening people, because security there is stupid) were both given because the security guards were looking for someone.

They were looking for this guy, that they just arrested. And this other guy was mistaken, wrongly and undeservingly, for the guy they arrested. Was he a would-be terrorist? Or a wanted criminal? We’ll never know.

Because this story, like so many others, never made the news.

Divorce and Preferential Treatment

Okay, let’s get two facts straight:

  1. Moms are given preferential treatment by courts and society.
  2. Moms don’t always deserve that special treatment, and often abuse it.

That’s it, folks.

Not every dad is abusive. Not every mom is a great mom.

Many moms misuse their privileges in order to hurt the dad, control the children, or vindicate themselves.

It’s much more common to see single moms with kids than single dads with kids. And not because the dads aren’t good enough. But because the moms didn’t play fair.

Let’s give dads a fair chance, and not give moms preferential treatment just because they happen to have two X chromosomes.

Sometimes the kids really are better off with Dad than with Mom. Like, in at least 50% of the cases.

And sometimes both parents are equally abusive . . . so why give Mom preferential treatment?

Have you ever heard of Mom paying child support, or do only dads have to pay child support?

It’s time to stop being feminist and start being fair.

And asking a divorcing mom who wants to take her kids to a different country if she is *allowed* to do so is a very, very, legit question.

Parents can and do kidnap their own children.

That’s why, in order to get U.S. passports for our kids, Yitzchak and I either have to BOTH be at the consulate, or one of us has to sign in front of a notary. Heck, we’d have to do it here, too, except that in our little hole, everyone is family and rules often slide.

Yes, *even though* we are married. Because, well, who knows? Maybe we separated and didn’t inform the government, and one of us is trying to take the kids from the other. Like we would . . . but the government can’t know that if we ever *did* decide to divorce, we’d figure it out between ourselves and do what’s best for the kids, no ego-boosting ugly court scenes necessary. (Perhaps that’s why we’re not planning to divorce anytime soon – because we have the maturity to work things out? Gee, what’s maturity, anyways?)

Don’t ask for help getting a single mom settled in a new country, if you can’t stomach people asking if she is allowed to take her kids out of her home country.

It’s a legit question.

Because no one wants to aid a kidnapping.

Because we all know that single parents equate custody with not being the guilty party in the divorce. Because kids are a prize, right?

Stupid idiots.

Can we PLEASE stop giving moms preferential treatment? Please??