November 30, 2004

Bear or Hare?

A friend and I were discussing how warm and cozy a mutual friends house was due to the heated floors in the house. Expensive to put in, expensive to run, but oh what a difference! So, where would we put warm floors? All over the house? Downstairs? Just the bedroom?

My friend thought the bedrooms would be a waste. You get up, get dressed and you are out of there. I guess she is a hare. She dons a white coat and hops about in search of food. The cold makes her move and she gets warm.

Me, I'm more of a bear. I don't becomet energized by the cold; I get sleepy. Moving about is an effort of body and mind. I become dispirited. Cold outside? Where's my bed and hand me more covers. Another please. Nope, not warm enough yet. Ah, that's better. Now I'll just stay here till "spring peaks over the window pane!"

I don't know if hares can ever understand us bears; just move seems to be their credo. Every time I mentioned a room that I would need heated she said "but that isn't a problem. You are moving." Simple to her; but if you are a bear you know what I mean. Moving? Is that really possible?

Winter is here, and so are the hares and bears.
So what are you?

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:33 AM | Comments (5)

November 29, 2004

Dim Night Light

My dh just came downstairs with a bit of cardboard in his hand.
"You have to read this!" he said. It was the packaging to the new nightlight for the Monkey.

Here it is in full, exactly as written. Enjoy! (someone had fun with a dictionary.)



Hmmm. anyone try and do a Jumping Frog contest take off (Mark Twain translated his story into French and then back into English. Keep a second pair of underwear handy) and switch this back into Japanese? (where I assume the light came from. It hasn't a country written on it.)

Posted by Rachel Ann at 07:45 AM | Comments (1)


The Artist has a trip today; she is going to a Chanukah center full of fun things to do for the upcoming holiday. So she went off this morning in a happy mood, a plastic shopping bag slung over her shoulder containing a tuna sandwich, yogurt, Clementine and two bisslis (a snack food).

I had gone into the other room to make my coffee when the door burst open and a tearful Artist confronted us. "What happened? " my dh asked?

My first thought was that she had returned home frozen; this happened before. She chose the wrong gear and came back crying from the cold. I was all set to hand her the heavier sweater (she was to take two sweaters and not a heavy coat as where they are going is very hot do to the projects they are making.)

"A dog" she said. And my heart jumped.

A dog had come up to her and stolen her lunch, snatched it right out of her hands. She was afraid it was going to bite.

Mom gave her a hug, told her she did right to come home, and rushed to make another lunch, Dad gave her a hug and comfort and rushed to fill more water bottles for her. The Wit, who generally never deigns to make his appearance before ten in the morning, if that early, and who has a propensity to tease and taunt the Artist mercilessly, came downstairs, arms outstretched and captured her in a gigantic hug.

Lunch gathered mom went off with the Artist to walk her to school; I wasn't going to let her walk alone this morning. We met the dog along the way; truthfully the animal seems friendly enough, but it was a stray, which had me rather worried till the Artist assured me it didn't bite her.

Coming home I found her lunch and the dog came over to me and tried to grab the lunch from me. I could see what scared her so. It was quite persistent, and followed me home. But I think it was hungry more than anything else. It didn't try to bite or terrorize me; it just wanted the lunch. Still, Artist has been effected. Many children can shake these things off; but the Artist tends to absorb them. Will she be willing to walk to school tomorrow alone? She wanted me to pick her up. (I can't; for the simple fact that I don't know the time she is returning from the trip and the school is unlikely to either. Buses tend to return rather late.) I also don't want her to become more dependent on me than she is right now. She needs to assert herself more in the world and not retreat.


Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:41 AM | Comments (0)

November 28, 2004

Hey Teach!!!!

I am really enjoying my third grade English class and, well I'm going to brag a bit here; I really did well today! On Sundays I have the five girls, who are on varying levels, for only 40 minutes or so; it really isn't possible to divide the class and teach two different classes in that time period. So, so, so, what could I do with one child who couldn't speak English well, two who couldn't read well, three who could both read and spell well, that would be fun for all, and educational.

We played a game. What is this? BUT in Hebrew and English-- fruits and veggies, today, followed by a handout, which was suppose to be done at home but ended up being done in class. If the mostly English speaking didn't know a Hebrew word for a particular item they asked the mainly Hebrew speaking; vice versa for the mostly Hebrew speaking. It was fun, a bit out of control at times, but they learned, worked together, and helped each other. The second game I chose didn't work as well (spelling words with letter cubes) but it was passable.

The lesson plan worked. I came home elated.

I mainly used the pictures from ENCHANTED LEARNING, but I could use other sets of items (occupations, plants, things to use in the home or school, various clothing etc,) if anyone knows of additional sites which have aggregates of particular items to print out I would be most appreciative.

I think I found a new talent.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 01:11 PM | Comments (1)

Coming Home

I happen to be a sucker for conversion stories; I love hearing about people who come to Judaism, and what the pull is towards the religion that has always been part of my family. The journey to Judaiism is almost always fascinating.

I find particularlly beautiful this comment; I can see why it stunned the Rabbi's into silence.
When asked why he wished to become Jewish with all the troubles that it incurrecd he responded:

“... a pasuk,” or passage “from Tehillim: ‘For me, the closeness to Hashem is good.’ ”

The story made me want to move to Safed just so he could be my daughters' teacher.

(just a note. Most converts maintain a loving and ongoing relationship with their family of origin; I know of several converts and they are in frequent contact with their families, visit, and have their families visit them. Two books I love on personal journeys to Orthodox Judaism are: My Sister the Jew---the autobiography of a former minister who converted to Judaism, and Playing With Fire, a missionary who discovered her roots were Jewish and came back to Judaism. Both women maintain warm relationships with their families of origin. )

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:32 AM | Comments (1)

November 27, 2004

T-Day revue

Well Thurday we connected to my husbands family; we got about ten minutes of good talk in there before everone went off to eat and forgot about us! I did get to meet my oldest daughter's boyfriend. (Hi TG--which stands for The Guy.) It was nice to put a face on the man I've heard so much about. Picture this part of the production as having everone stand on opposite sides of a large open pit waving at each other. The Monkey fell asleep on my lap, after insisting she wouldn't (and after driving me nuts by wiggling around on my lap making it impossible to type.)

Friday. I woke early. Picture a woman waking at dawn singing something about a woman's work is never done as she slaves over a hot stove. Really pour on the schmaltz. I'm kind of exaggerating my role here, but what they heck. I'm going for it. (and dh did do the shopping.)

Smoke smoke smoke. Lots of smoke. No I did not burn dinner; rather the pan we were using sprung a leak and we had smoke filling the house as gravy drippings splattered the oven floor. Scene for the revue; woman wrestles with turkey. Turkey wins! Because time was short dh and the girls made the birthday cake. Oh, I didn't tell you? The Artist turned 11 on the Hebrew calendar last night; on the English calendar it is tomorrow. Somehow the turkey grease just misses the cake. We are lucky.

Lights flicker. BROWNOUTS. I think with every flutter of the wind the lights went on and off, starting with just before Shabbat (the Sabbath) and through the evening. Luckily dh thought to plug in the emergency light; this handy dandy device would turn on everytime the lights went out. So did the Monkey. Everytimne the lights flicked off t\the Monkey would shriek; half act half real fear. I worried about the cholent being turned into a lethal poison that would strike us all dead the next afternoon. I worry a lot about these types of things.
We of course sang happy birthday and had semi-ready cake. A bit underdone as it was in the oven when the lights first began their magic act; here and then gone. The cake was good though, and the icing, this white/dark chocolate spread made me go back for seconds. Put in high drama and an opera scene, played to the hilt. (cholent survived.)

I curled in bed early, got up late, read a decent mystery book (Winter Prey), started the UNCONSOLED byb Kazuo Ishiguro (good so far) and generally lazed. Happy music. Mabe Jazz.

And that was the day.

We've plenty of leftovers, and I forgot to serve the cranberry sauce. I know, how could I?

Altogether, a great weekend.
Back to teaching tomorrow. So far it is difficult but good.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:37 PM | Comments (0)

November 26, 2004


Anyone wanting to buy me a book by this author will be my best friend for LIFE!!!! Could it get any better than that? :-)

Gerald Schroeder
(good read on evolution and a Jewish point of view.)

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:46 AM | Comments (2)

November 25, 2004

So What Number are You?

via Linda of Auterific

You Are the Helper

You always put on a happy face and try to help those around you.

You're incredibly empathetic and care about everyone you know.

Able to see the good in others, you're thoughtful, warm, and sincere.

You connect with people who are charming and charismatic.

What number are you?
Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:46 AM | Comments (0)

USA-Happy T-Day!

(Not a song for the vegetarians in the world!)

He's big and fat and he gobbles, gobbles, gobbles,
he spreads his tail and he gobbles, gobbles, gobbles,
and when Thanksgiving Day appears it's our turn to
gobble, gobble, gobble.

(It could have been worse. You could have had to hear that in person)

Take care and have a great day. Drive safe!

Posted by Rachel Ann at 05:20 AM | Comments (2)

November 24, 2004

Suzy Homemaker Decided to Visit

Yesterday Suzy Homemaker invaded my body and we began to tackle the ugh chores ; scrub the stove, clean the fridge and similar, and as well the regular everyday duties; dishes, sweep the floor, laundry.

The first ugh place place was the fridge. Science experiments were being to organize a protest at their neglect, so we unloaded everything shelf by shelf, fed the garbage can, and wash down the shelves. We were doing so well! The garbage can was no longer hungry, I could actually see what I needed, and the shelves were nice and clean! But, oh, oh! I was just about to put the last shelf back in, right on top of the vegetable drawer, when Ole' Suzy saw some grime along the upper part of the drawers. Oh, she couldn't put her nice clean shelf back on now! So carefully she started to lean the shelf up against the wall when....

When what she doesn't exactly know; only that she was left holding the little plastic cover of the shelf and the shelf was in a million pieces on the floor.

(sigh). So she swept up, and continued to sweep up through the day as the little tiny balls of glass made themselves known (they went under the fridge and the like) and went to work on dishes. Perhaps mass cleaning wasn't the best chioce of the day.

On to dishes then! We are down to the last milchig (milk)dish and....well, we don't have to wash the last dish, it has broken in two!

Next we tackle the fleshig (meat) dishes. Yes, having two sets of dishes can mean, at least in this house, that both sinks. Suzy homemaker is only a sometimes visitior to our home. So, once again, I'm finishing off the dishes and low and behold! A bowl has a crack, all the way through. Rachel Ann pictures a child being handed a bowl of soup and ending up with soup in the lap. This won't do.

Bowl feeds the garbage can.

Suz homemaker urges Rachel Ann on but Rachel Ann stuffs her in the garbage can.

And nothing else broke.

I don't think Suzy is going to be making a return appearance in the very near future.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 05:43 AM | Comments (9)

November 23, 2004


I am wearing; a long sleeve turtle neck shirt, skirt, socks, winter slippers, two sweaters and fingerless gloves and I'm still cold. Glad to know there is a plus side to this all.

Otherwise known as G-d gives and G-d takes away.

(and hopefully gives again. Dh is right now on a mission to find heat, as in heater.)

Posted by Rachel Ann at 09:52 AM | Comments (3)

A Jay Leno Moment

The rain is here; it is cold, wet and generally yucky. The girls get drenched going home. We've taken down the sweaters and raincoats, found gloves and scarves, realized that yes once again, we have delayed too long and the girls need boots. NOW! And my dh has purchased new unbrellas for those whose umbrellas have seen better days.

So my daughter was playing with one, seeing how it opened etc. etc. It is not one of those button kinds that snap open with a touch; old fashioned manual kind---so she handed it off to me to close. CLosed, strapped in, snug in its cloth and plastic case I notice the tag.

"HIGHEST QUALITY" it proclaims.

and all that goes through my sleepy brain is:

Doesn't that make it regular?

Posted by Rachel Ann at 05:13 AM | Comments (2)

November 22, 2004

Strengthen The Good-English Lessons

As an English teacher to English speaking children in a school system where there is a dearth of books suitable for my crew, I can tell you how difficult the lack of books makes my task. Everything has to be purloined; from the web, from books on hand, from half-filled in workbooks that another child has used.

And finding a reading book for the children on their level? This is a task indeed.

Yet I am lucky; we do have a library here, I have my own set of books, and the school has a couple of shelves of books, which has a few books for the girls I teach; can you imagine trying to teach without any books? Strenghten the Good highlights one such school where that is the situation. A new school in Bratislava, Slovakia where the name of the game is to teach the teenagers---who are quite enthusiastic and want to learn---English and American studies. What do they need?

Books. More than I do, and I am never ashamed to beg for books! There is a list on the Strengthen the Good site of books they are looking for, but they are looking for other books as well. If it struck a chord in your heart it is sure to stimulate the interest of someone else. And if you haven't read the book in yeas, well what are you waiting for? Share the wealth and send a book their way.

There was a slight error in writing the address. It should read Benadicka 38; once again, here's the address, corrected.

Douglas Dart
C.S. Lewis Bilingual High School
Benadicka 38
Bratislava 85106
Slovak Republic

Strengthen the Good provides a link to a site where you can calculate shipping and handling costs as well.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 02:58 PM | Comments (4)

You Wait How Long????

If you haven't had enough controversy, then get yourself over to CCJELLYBEANS and answer this all important question: When is it time to throw in the towel? (into the washing machine.)

We need a decision on this folks; this battle has been going on much too long. Families have been destroyed, marriages dissolved! IT'S A LIFE AND DEATH MATTER!!!!! (think of all those germs!) It's, it's.....

Oh heck, just go answer the question!!!!!

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:39 AM | Comments (4)

November 21, 2004


Look, look the Monkey wants to learn to read!

And I think she will do it fast,
if her enthusasim continues to last.

Doing the letters one by one
apparently is tons of fun!

Circle the picture that match the letter
Everyday she gets better and better!

Next she will need to select
which letter for the picture is correct!

Then after that letters one to three
will put together, what will the word be?

Then Hebrew and English she'll really know.
and her mind will grow, grow, grow!

I know this rhyme is pathetic
What do you want? An epic?

(sorry guys...really, my mind she is a going!)

---and and by the way, the Artist said a whole sentence in Hebrew to her sister's teacher! Wehaw!!! She is talking, a little bit at a time! This is both a shyness and a language issue. We've decided to give points with a reward for ten or more points. Hey, bribery can be beneficial sometimes.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 07:37 AM | Comments (4)

November 20, 2004

Dewy-eyed optimist

A couple of nights ago I had a whopper of a nightmare. I believe the dream followed this post of mine, and came after I read several of the comments, but I am not certain.

In the nightmare alligators or crocodiles, whom had, apparently, been living downstairs in some sort of zoo, came upstairs to our family living quarters and surrounded our bedroom...blocking the way to the bathroom of all places. I don't remember all the details but at one point a bear-man came upstairs and started to explain that we; my husband, one of my children, and myself, were on trial for our lives for something we had done to the animal kingdom, but the what was rather vague and I had the feeling it was general human action and that all humans were on trial. Like in all dreams there was lots of jumping and blurring of the fanciful and could be true; at one point we were suddenly outside and somewhat free; though what was keeping us from running away I don't know. At another point, the point in which I woke up, my child was screaming from the other room, a horrific cry, but I was sitting trying to concentrate on something about my defense. At that point I woke up, all shaky and frightened and realized that it was the sound of my husband snoring-- the snore sounded like the beginning if a whooping cry of a child who was very upset. (a few days later I tied the emotions I felt to the emotions I felt when I left the Monkey, as a baby, with her father, screaming because she wanted me, but unable to take her as I had driving lessons-- I had to push away my emotional reaction to concentrate on the job at hand...yes I learned to drive very late in life. Yes I hate driving.)

The above was all an aside.

I have a lot of nightmares. During the day I am pretty confident, even optimistic about the world. It isn't that I don't recognize the problems this world is facing, but I also believe, quite strongly, that we have advanced in many ways from where we use to be. Do we make wrong steps? But of course! How could we not? But I think we make a lot of right steps too; we have advanced in many ways. And I firmly believe things will, overall, get better.

I was surprised to find most don't seem to agree with me. Is it that I save all my worries for nights and refuse to see the truth in the light of day? I don't know. I just know that I think for all the troubles and problems we create we also find solutions to the problems that came with the world as well as the ones that past generations have created. All in all we live a longer, healthier life than the past generations.

Recent scientific development has led to such things as sky-cars, which could aide in rescuing lives of those trapped in skyscrapers, and a car run on sunflower oil could lead to cleaner air. An implant for the brain to end the scourge of Alzheimer's, and I just heard on the news (can't find a good link) that a vaccine for AIDS may be just around the corner.

Literacy is on the rise. Certainly that is something to cheer about.

And I think we, as a world should cheer. That doesn't mean ignoring the problems that do exist; but it does mean, at least every once and awhile, taking a look backward to see how far we have come; what we have conquered.

A lot remains to be done; we need to reduce pollution, work against extinction of existent species in both the flora and fauna worlds, we need to end hunger and poverty, abuse and terrorism. But these are all things we can do.

To me it is a dance; we take two steps forward and one step back. But we have moved forward, and we can keep going that way. We will in fact someday make it to that end goal of a beautiful world filled with healthy people.

I guess that does make me a dewy-eyed optimist.

But how do you feel?
Overall, do you think things in this world are getting better, worse, or staying about the same compared to the past?

Posted by Rachel Ann at 10:41 PM | Comments (2)

November 19, 2004

The Class Went

GREAT!!!! I think. I had four children and 80 minutes to fill. I was suppose to have five children and two classes (3 girls in one, 2 in the other), but the compuiter teacher didn't arrive and one girl was absent. So child had me for 40 minutes; she reads well, but I think some of the words at leasat were memorized and not read. We will need to work on basic phonics, and I'm trying to right a high interest, low -level reding story for her. After 40 minutes of reading, and phonics practice I let her return to her regular class and worked with the other htree (rather impatinet to learn) girls.

The other three girls are on about a fourth or fifth grade level reading and spelling, though there are individual needs.-- handwriting practice, letter reversals---I had two of the girls clamoring for more "private time" when I would work with them and them alone. One girl wanted me to work with her during recess! I think she is rather a shy child and wants the one on one rather than a mob scene of recess.

Ugh part; room. As in room to actually sit and learn. We had to move FOUR TIMES during that 80 minute period---from the hall, to a small learning center room, to the science room, to the counselors area and then back into the science room (where we huddled in a corner of the room where no one could find us and kick us out! The girls got a kick out of that.) We will spend about 10 minutes each on individual lessons and 10 minutes on phonics-grammar.

Anyway, I"m spening most of my time thinking about the class, tring to figure out what to teach when and how. Should I teach all the girls grammar? Or will it be too confusing and more of a hinderance to the just learning to read girls? How do I entertain the child(ren) who are not learning with me at the moment, so the child I am learning with gets uninterrupted time? Seat work is possible for the three higher level girls (all recently come from the USA) but harder for the Sabras.

I never knew teachers had it so hard!

Sorry I'm being such a pathetic reader and writer these days; my energy really is going elsewhere.

Have a good Shabbat and wonderful weekend everyone.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:54 AM | Comments (3)

November 18, 2004

Stage Fright!!!

Finally, today, I'm going to start the English class with the third graders. My stomach is doing acrobatics, my heart is trying to fly out of my chest.
"come on Rachel!" I tell myself. "You've got a good plan! And they are little kids......"

20 minutes, each child, alone, to work on reading and spelling and basic grammar.

I am crazy aren't I?

Posted by Rachel Ann at 05:58 AM | Comments (2)

November 17, 2004

Weakest Link

This is the post that has been swimming lazily about my brain, refusing to come out. I've decided to try and force it to the page; this is a bit experimentational here...I'm just going to write in the hopes the thoughts won't realize they've taken a trip down through my fingers on onto the keyboard.

Several weeks ago I finally finished two great books, zoological, anthropoligical texts on parenting, motherhood and women. One book, titled NATURAL PARENTING examined the different styles of parenting in the natural world, and related it to humans. The other, THE WOMAN WHO NEVER EVOLVED dealt with the issue of dominance and submission in the animal world, hierarchy and how it applies to feminism.

But that isn't my post.

The books awakened an idea in my mind about what the real difference is between the human world and the animal world. What, excepting a belief in a superior soul, sets us apart from the other creatures that inhabit this planet.

Animals use tools, animals employ languages, animals plot, and plan and can make some predictions about the future. Animals use deception and animals fight wars. Animals also seem to express love, loyalty, memory for those who they have lost, rape, kill, offer support and aide. In some many ways we are the same. But...

Animals don't alter the natural state of their worlds. They may manipulate their environment; gather sticks and cement them together for a nest, but they don't change the sticks into another product. And they don't manipulate their environment just for the hell of it; if their environment changes and they no longer need to make a nest, nest building comes to an end---their energies are invested in survival. The fittest, not necessarily the best, make it to bring forth a new generation.

Not us; we alter nature. We subdue it. We can make our nests out of items procurred from distances impossible to reach by natures endowments. Fires, while a threat can be fought, and dominated. We needn't wait for the proper times to bring forth the fruit of the earth--we force her to produce.

And the weakest can survive, grow prosper. The blind and the deaf do not have to become fodder for the wolves for the survival of us all, the awkward and the slow can join with us at the table.

We do not wait for nature to improve us, we imrpove ourselves and nature.

At our best we empower those who are weak, and bring them as close to our own level as possible, and by doing so, we improve the world as a whole. We add Stephen Hawkins and his knowledge to our lives, and Chris Burke to entertain us.

That to me is our job in the world; to subdue the earth---to improve her. To make the world more fit for humans, and humans more fit for the earth.

I don't know. Maybe this post should have stayed up there in my brain. I really am not comfortable with how she is acting. But I wanted to get her out there, to see what you all thought.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 09:05 AM | Comments (4)

November 16, 2004

More on Arafat's Legacy

I was talking to a friend last week and she told me that she had pictures on file that were not generally released by the press, displaing some of the things Arafat has done for his people. They are graphic. They are horrifying. I haven't placed them all here. The first three are a group.

View image

View image

View image

The fact that chidren are there is horrifying.

View image

And whether or not you look (not with children around) read Soccer Dad's blog on Krauthammer on Arafat.

I agree with Soccer Dad. Arafats legacy is a brutal one, and may very well continue for years to come.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 04:08 PM | Comments (3)

Guinea Pigs?

I received this link via an e-mail to a specific list.

The thrust of the link goes thusly: the EPA, under Bush, and sponsored by various manufacturers of household chemicals, wanted to study the affect of chemicals on young children. To this end they would use poor families where pesticides and chemicals were already in use.

The fear was two-fold; that the fact that the sponsors, or at least some of the sponsors, were manufacturers of the chemicals would bias the results in favor of their use. And secondly, that the parents may increase the use of said chemicals in order to participate in the study itself.

The study has been suspended until early 2005, no doubt due at least in part, to the massive negative publicity and campaigning efforts of various groups.

Personally, I don't think this is a case of evil machinations on the part of the Bush administration or the chemical companies. First, further reading seemed to indicate that parents would be apprised of their children's health status and presence of high levels of chemicals. Ending chemical use would not preclude them from continuing in the study. Secondly, the financial incentive was quite low; $970 + cam-corder and clothing (and I am rather put off by the assumption that even poorly educated parents---62% of the mother's had only an elementary or secondary education---would put their children in harms way because of the money or be incapable of understanding that the test was to determine the harmful affects. If a translator was employed where language difficulties existed, and the parents were apprised in non-scientific language the purpose of the study, then I don't think the risk of parents pouring chemicals into their homes is all that great. Participants were to come from those families who used 6 clinics in the state of Florida. I would object to ads to request participants, but a one on one truthful request where the hypothesis is stated (chemicals can cause harm) and the purpose of the test (to see if that is true) is not problematic to me. Uneducated does not mean unintelligent. The two are sometimes confused.

However, the study was only to take place over a two-year span; which I do not believe is a long enough period of time to study the long term effects of chemicals. A longitudinal study is more telling. Moreover, all children from a variety of environments should be studied. Pesticides are used by the wealthy as well as the impoverished.

To improve the study I would want to
1) Lengthen the period of time from 2 to at minimum ten yeas and preferably up to 25 years (or after the next generation is born). While the child him or herself may not show any or significant health risks it is possible that there are genetic repercussions.
2) The study must include those who do not use chemicals routinely..
3) The specific chemicals should be delineated; chemicals is not enough to determine which chemicals or combinations of chemicals are having, if any is present, a deleterious effect.
4) A variety of environments should be studied; chemicals used in all the various places the child goes to normally could have an affect on the results of the study.
5) All children should be studied in the same place regardless of their families income/background/educational level.
6) Rather than giving a direct payment to families, the clinics where the children have their routine care done (not private doctors) should be funded, and a college/trade school fund set aside for the use of the children, based on income. I've included trade school because not everyone can go forth to college. Everyone, however, should have the ability to procure a job which offers a supportive salary.

These inclusions would I think improve the study both scientifically and morally.

What have I left out? What do you disagree with?

Posted by Rachel Ann at 07:35 AM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2004

If Your Screen is like a Spiderweb

Know it is me, bashing my head against the computer screen.


I went today with a wonderful plan to fill the hour of learning.
First I was going to have everyone introduce themselves to me.
Then I was going to read Trumpet of the Swan. I was going to read the back of the book, the front cover, talk about the picture on the cover, talk about the inside pages, read the first chapter. I estimated 10-15 minutes spent on that.
Then I was going to have the children narrate back to me what went on in the story.
Another 10 minutes.
With leftover time we were going to talk about the story a bit more; how the story related to our life. Had anyone used a compass (a compass is mentioned in the story). Would you be able to keep the nest a secret? Are you like Sam? Do you like keeping things to yourself? I was going to show them all the pictures of a Trumpet Swan; ask them if they remembered what the name of a baby swan was called, tell them the male and female names of a swan. Show them a map of Canada and Montana.

In otherwise. I HAD A PLAN>

BANG BANG the plan is dead. Owing to a change in schedule. Which I obviously dind't know about.


I might not have a two hour class on Thursday which would blow the teach each child individually out the wall, and might just make it impossible for me to teach at all because there is no way that a child who has been reading English since she was four and a child who is just beginning to read can be taught everything the same. They need individual instruction; it is unfair to the children to try and teach them the same reading, spelling and writing course, and it would be irresponsible of me as a teacher to make any sort of promise that I could help the girls progress and develop under such conditions. Under the given circumstances the most I could offer the girls would be ten minutes of individual work in reading, spelling and writing. I can't act that irresponsibly.

I'm going go hold my head under the water for a few minutes here so my screams don't destroy the hearing of everyone within a hundred kilometers of here.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 02:01 PM | Comments (2)

Another Teaching Job!!!

I think. Maybe. Anyway, I'm going today at noon to learn some girls they English ;-).

That is why I was such a bad, bad blogger yesterday; I didn't even get to visit anyone's little corner of the world! I spent the whole day on my keister till my derriere was numb, doing research, looking up lesson plans and using up too much ink, finding and printing out a variety of material for the class that may be.

We shall have a very interesting class indeed; the girls---but three of them--- are all "d'ovrei anglit" which means English speaking. In each case one or both of their parents were born English speaking, but there the similarities end. One child has just arrived in Israel and was reading at age four. The other two girls were both born in Israel and in one case one parent does not speak English. Neither girl reads at grade level; one child will need to start from the very beginning as she hasn't yet mastered the alphabet from my understanding.

Luckily there are only three children; and I will be teaching two days, one for a 50-minute period and one for two hours. I've decided to do a modified Charlottte Mason type of learning: Mondays I will read a story to them, have them narrate the story back to me, and then discuss the story. On Thursday I will teach each child individually for approximately 20 minutes, working on spelling, reading and writing.

Then we will get together again as a class and I will teach grammar, new vocabulary words (based on the book) have them recite their memorization pieces and discuss their writing assignment.

I hope it all works!!!!

Posted by Rachel Ann at 05:39 AM | Comments (3)

November 14, 2004


To my good friend at HOUSE OF JOY on the birth of a new baby girl!

Go over and wish her a mazel tov!!!!

Your child should live and be well, all in good health of body, mind heart and soul, until 120 years.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 05:03 AM | Comments (0)

November 13, 2004

Turn it About

I have been stewing over the honor guard and the huge praise being heaped on the now dead terrorist; I've been feeling the anger and bile rise in my throat and torture my mind. Would people praise Saddam Husseiin this way? Or Osama Bin Laden? Yet this mega-murderer is receiving accolades from paper after paper.

How can one fight this?
I know one way.
Give to those who have been most affected by his vileness and cruelty.
One Family, who I've blogged about before, aides those who are the victims of terror. Support the Magen Dovid Adom; the Israeli emergency medical service.
Support the IDF.

Terrorism can be fought in many ways; we can't all go to war. But we can minimize the damage that has been done.

Thank you.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 08:50 PM | Comments (1)

Small Things

In the "It's the little things that count"

1. Made a great chicken for Shabbat that all but one kid loved. (soy sauce and honey, boy was it yummy!)
2. Managed to bring a smile to a crying child guest.
3. The girls in my class don't absolutely hate me...they even talked to me!
4. The girls in the Artist class still love her despite the fact that she won't open her mouth to them.
5. I managed to go to both my Shiurim (plural for lectures/discussions) something I haven't been able to do for sometime.

And in other family news:

The Monkey fell in school; my dh was talking to her about it.

DH: "So what happened after you fell?"
MONKEY: "I cried of course!"
ask a silly question!

And the Artist:
one of her Israeli friends stopped by to pick the Artist up for a special thing in school. They left and a few minutes later they were back at the door.
"She's trying to tell me something!"
I listen, trying to figure out what this ten year old is trying to say and the Artist says
"She wants me to go up with her."
Me says "Darlin' you can understand better than me!"
Now that is wonderful!!!

Posted by Rachel Ann at 08:30 PM | Comments (1)

November 12, 2004

One More Thing

And no, this isn't the post swimming about in my brain; that one is currently doing the butterfly and telling me it likes the water too much to come on down. Bloody thoughts; why can't they congeal themselves and behave?

Nope, this is once again about the elections. Here it goes:

Republicans; stop acting so high-and-mighty your guy won, twice. Eight years ago your guy lost, twice. Clinton was hounded for eight years and you still can't get over the fact that he won. So if the Democrats keep on agonizing over the election till he takes his oath, let them have their pity-party. Get a grip. Your guy will still take office even if nearly half the country is infuriated.

Democrats; Yes the Republicans never let up; they rode Clinton and are still riding him. I advise taking a lesson from their book but with some slight modifications. Get your dander up when it counts; over issues, not the man himself; then fight, fight wise. Find out why those who disagree with your stance disagree. Seek to find common ground. Work to promote your position on moral and legal grounds. Don't act superior; you aren't, and they aren't. LISTEN, and then speak. Active listening. Compassionate speaking.

There are a lot of things, whether Democrat or Republican, that matters to us all. The majority of us want the children of the future to grow up healthy, inherit a healthy world, a healthy economy, and have a healthy life.

We might not be in agreement with how to achieve a better world for all, but I think we are in agreement (aren't we?) that a better world is the desired goal.

I am not wrong about that am I?

Posted by Rachel Ann at 07:10 AM | Comments (2)

So, What Planet are You From? (yes, a quiz)

Because I'm still a bit depressed, my dreams have been pathetic lately (about house building and little color) I have humongous amounts of work to do to get ready for Shabbat (because I was lazy and sulking yesterday) and because I have this post floating around in my brain that won't, despite great pressure and exertion, swim down into my fingers and out onto the screen.

So without further ado!

You Are From Neptune

You are dreamy and mystical, with a natural psychic ability.
You love music, poetry, dance, and (most of all) the open sea.
Your soul is filled with possibilities, and your heart overflows with compassion.
You can be in a room full of friendly people and feel all alone.
If you don't get carried away with one idea, your spiritual nature will see you through anything.

What Planet Are You From?

Posted by Rachel Ann at 05:59 AM | Comments (2)

November 11, 2004

Depressed and Feeling Low Down

As in "I'm a (fill in cuss word of your delight) FAILURE as a teacher. I can not command these girls interest.

I thought; have each girl bring in an article of her choice, we would read and discuss, and learn.

Ha! Only three girls brought in their articles and two weren't even a whole page in length! One wasn't even really an article from a paper; just a page dedicated to a girls cat.

I was so frustrated, but I tried to do my best and FAILED! FAILED! FAILED!!!

I was boring, as reported to me by one girl (who also quoted a friend---one of the two brought in the shortest article, and the other never bothered.) ARGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

So, now I switched; maybe I should have gone with my first instinct and read the book in class and assigned work based on the book, but that is out.

We are going to do an newspaper; a class newspaper. The girls will get to decide what goes in to the paper (only local or school news, or world news) the layout and who gets what job (jobs will be switched around).

And I know everyone is going to groan and make noise and complain

I'm just not cut out to be a teacher.

No social skills; that's me. And I am not very commanding. And don't think I'd make a very commanding figure if I came to work with an Uzi hanging across my chest and killer spelled out on my knuckles.

I'm good at ideas though. Anyone want some ideas? 20 shek a pop! (That's about 4$)

Posted by Rachel Ann at 01:04 PM | Comments (4)

He's Dead!

Arafat is not only dead, he is really truly legally dead.

And whether or not one should rejoice is in question
. (Courtesy of Arutz 7)

It seems as if I'm not the only one to debate this issue; many across Israel have been discussing this as well. There are two, seemingly conflicting phrases in Proverbs.
1."When the wicked perish, there is jubilation" (11,10)
2. "When your enemy falls, do not rejoice" (24, 17).

And this gets back to the cultural discussion I raised earlier here.

Words are not always easily translatable into another language. A word can have shades of meaning that is quite clear to those who are within that culture, but taken out of their milieu indicates something quite different.

Many times the Torah uses the word "enemy" or "hated" to indicate a personal relationship, and a comparative relationship. The thoughts of seveal Rabbi's (as discussed in the Arutz7 article) is that the "enemy" referred to in the second verse is more personal in nature: the next door neighbor whose children are always trampling one's petunias, the woman in your child's school who is always, subtly putting down your child will lifting up her own, the man who stole "your girl".

The phrase wasn't referring to the person who murdered and maimed and caused to be maimed many thousands of people---not only solilders, not only "settlers", not only Jews. He has caused the death of many thousands of people, including his own people. He will not have helped his "people" get their own country; if anything he has delayed such an event.

Let his legacy be a true one, and if some want to cheer his death, understand that they are cheering for the removal of evil in this world.

UPDATE: via the e-mails
Arafat's Legacy

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:32 AM | Comments (5)

November 10, 2004

I just received this forwarded message by e-mail. Remember, just a click could save an underprivleged woman's life!

Please tell ten friends to tell ten today! The Breast Cancer site is having trouble getting enough people to click on it daily to meet their quota of donating at least one free mammogram a day to an underprivileged woman.

It takes less than a minute to go to their site and click on "donating a mammogram" for free (pink window in the middle). This doesn't cost you a thing. Their corporate sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate mammogram in exchange for advertising.

Here's the web site! Pass it along to at least 10 people you know, and let me kn ow you've clicked! Thank you very much.


Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:21 AM | Comments (3)

November 09, 2004

Finally, the Future is Here!

I've been meaning to blog about this for sometime now. For all those who have been complaining that we've been gyped because of the lack of aircars click here!

I just hope they don't all come in that horrid attack-of-the-swap-creature greenish-yellow. PURPLE ya' hear me! PURPLE!!!

ah...go read. Colors can come later.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 08:51 AM | Comments (2)

I Found Them!

Both of them; little black peds of footsies. They are my favorite sock to don whenever the weather gets chill, and here in Israel while it may warm up outside, the houses are built for the cool, and reatain the coldness.

Yesterday I was feeling quite proud of myself; I had managed to reach the bottom of the hamper! There was only one load left in the washer which I transfered to the dryer this morning. I folded, and put away everything and in addition I organized my aron (cabinet) and all my clothes were neatly folded (folded side facing out), socks were rolled, everything was neat and clean and lovely!

Good housecleaning day.

But I couldn't find both my favorite footsies---Just one. The other I assumed had joined all the other lost and missing socks in whatever world they end up in.

But the other one turned up in the last bit of laundry; so I grabbed them up, put them on, made myself a peanut butter sandwhich and a cup of coffee and felt...well felt like I perfect.

Sometimes it is the small things that matter; it is the little comforts that are so easy to ignore that give us the most pleasure. I know that in nursing homes and hospitals sometimes these small little gestures of love; doing someone's hair or nails, making sure a child has a favoritre toy, can be instrumental in recovery, or when recovery isn't expected, easing the patients physical and emotional state. Just having a picture of a loved one on the nightstand can give comfort and calm.

So what little thing can you do for yourself right now that will make you happy? And what can you do for someone else that will bring a smile to their face?

Posted by Rachel Ann at 07:44 AM | Comments (3)

When Being Right is Wrong

There was a mix-up last week and I ended up in the library to do some volunteer work, but they didn't really need me. So after a furtively returned the books I've had out way to long (one advantage of having a non-computerized system) I went searching for good reads.

Partial success; the fiction book was about as exciting as unbuttered, stale toast.
The non-fiction book---I couldn't put it down. I read every chance I could between cooking and cleaning chores, as I prepared for Shabbat (the Sabbath).

The book called "The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down" Anne Fadiman, and centered on a young Hmong child who suffered from a severe case of epilipsey and how the treatment plan the doctors devised conflicted with both the abilities of the family to comply, owing to the language difficulties and the cultural mindsset of the parents, who saw the disease not as a set of symptoms with a bio-physical origin, but as caused by evil spirits who stole the child's soul away.

Every other chapter details the culture and history of the Hmong, and the two types of chaptes compliment each other in understanding the parents decisions and in understanding the cultural growth of the people themselves. It was an very effective treatment of the family and their actions, and the Hmong people.

The author of the book neither idealizes nor denigrates any of the main players, though she does have a bias she still managed to give a honest apprasial of both the people of Hmong and this particular case.

Neither the doctors, who only wanted the best for the child, nor the parents, who were loving to the extreme and wanted nothing best for the child, could understand each other's cultural stance, and thus they could not act in concert with each other to effectively treat the child; as a result the child suffered severe brain damage, and is but of a shell of a human being; reduced to a persistent near vegetative state; she eats and excretes, sleeps and cries, and lives staring blankly at the walls.

The center question of the book was; "Could this have been prevented and what steps would have been necessary to take." and the conclusion was the idealized best treatment was, perhaps in this case, actually second best; a less aggressive treatment, one which respected the cultural understanding of the disease on the part of the Hmong, could have saved the child's health.

What is true on a grand scale is also true on a personal scale. How often is the problem not in what we say as to what we say to whom? I remember reading long ago in the book "Helter Skelter" that one of the reasons Manson may have targeted Sharon Tate was because while her directive to use the back door or go by the alley way(I forget the exact comment) had a neutral value to her, it had negative connotations to him. Obviously that does not excuse his behavior and the behavior of his followers, but it may help understand "why her?"

How often do such misunderstandings affect us in various ways. How often have we left a conversation feeling confused or misunderstood, hurt or angered because of something that was said, when in fact the intentions of the other party was different from what we concluded? Or from the opposite end, left the conversation certain we were not understood and feeling frustrated because we haven't the slightest idea "how else we could have put it." ?

How do we assure ourselves we have correctly understood and that we have comprehended what the other is saying?

Posted by Rachel Ann at 07:26 AM | Comments (2)

November 08, 2004

Loving Liberals/ Compassionate Conservatives

Or anyone who just gives a damn. I am on a board and one or possibly two women
are facing eviction and lack food in the house; one woman was going to bed hungry.

One is from California, one is from Kentucky.

I need sources of help for them; food banks and rent funds, that don't seek to make stay-at-home moms ex-stay-at-homes (though if there are jobs they could do from the house to earn them a few bucks that might be okay.)

I didn't tell them I'm doing this; I'm just asking for help and asking that you send me information on ANY source of help in those two states; places of worship, food banks, food co-ops, individuals etc, that can help these women out.

thank you

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:29 AM | Comments (7)

If You Wanted To See

Infantile, hysterical behavior you should have come to our house last night. We caught.....something. My son thinks it a bit big for a mouse. I thought shrieks and tears and a racing heart and a refusal to come downstairs this morning until my dearest husband completed a careful and through inspection of the premises, ensuring me that that 1)whatever it might be did not escape 2) whatever it might be did not have a coterie of friends and comrades ready and willing to risk their lives to set him free, was in fact reasonable behavior.

Currently said creature is caught in a live trap, the whole thing, trap and animal wrapped in two plastic bags, sitting on its side outside with a rock on top. Unless it of course managed to chew through the metal and leave through a hole in the bag without leaving any trace of its exist which of course is a completely sane concern upon my part knowing the vile yet intelligent nature of the beasts. Where are the assault weapons when you need one.?

They are out to get us!

I don't know how my husband will dispose of it, I only know I won't be there. And he better kill it really good!

Rachel Ann,
rat phobic,
signing off
(what is the word for rat-phobic?)

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:01 AM | Comments (5)

November 07, 2004


Why did over 1/2 the USA voting population (and we don't know what the non-voting population had to say) cast there votes for Bush and the Republican Party?

I don't like Bush, I don't think in the long run that he will be "good for the USA" or the world for that matter, and I believed much like Frum Dad; but I'm much less sanguine about the Democratic party. and liberalism, than before.

The fact is the Democrats and Liberals are losing me. They are losing me because of the disdain they have for those values I hold dear.

The discussion on one e-mail list that I am on hovered around the votes cast against marriage rights for gays; a ban I thought ludicrous, and made clear that I thought ludicrous. While I'm not for gay marriages I'm not interested in laws being written or retained which codify the sexual behaviour of two consenting adults. I don't want marriage police in my bedroom to certify I am conduction my
sexuality in accordance with some state belief. But I asked about the possibility of such a vote not being a statement of fear, as some would have it, but about being a statement of beliefs that certain practices were forbidden by moral laws.

Another poster responded that it was immoral to believe that homosexuality was immoral. That using the Bible as the standard of one's belief was, while s/he didn't quite use these words, reprehensible.

And here is where I jump ship; into the water unfortunately because the Republican/conservative boat isn't anymore comfortable to me.

But I have a right to my belief system.

Many may protest; but isn't it the same thing? You are claiming that homosexuality is wrong and we are claiming that belief is morally wrong.

In some senses of course it is. Proclaiming myself as an Orthodox Jew means I've accepted this theory of moral life as correct and others as incorrect, and to some extent, morally superior. This doesn't really need to be said; the same is applicable for all belief systems including atheism. Christians believe that Jesus came and the New Testament overrides what I refer to as the Torah. It doesn't surprise or upset me that a Christian would believe that my system of belief is inferior to theirs. It is implicit. Similarly an atheist believes that religion is a construct developed for the unscientific and that reason is a proper basis for morals. I know I'm simplifying the issue here, and people can tell me more, but this isn't to state the whole structure of any religious tenet. If I'm offended by this then I lead too sheltered of a life.

In any case, while believing they aren't equal to my belief system, I can not judge the system itself as inherently evil unless its tenets are so at odds with my belief system that there can be no real acceptance. Similarly, I can't, under normal circumstances, judge one person as less moral than I am as a person (excluding the hitlers of the world.) Such judgments are for G-d. Nor can I deny a person the right to think the way they do or believe the way they do.

I can proscribe against actions; not beliefs and thoughts.

There are other issues as well. The concept of abortion on demand; it used to be a cozier place for me---and that was even after having children. But when I hear people refer to the fetus in the womb as having no more significance than mucous in the nose, I must wonder what this choice has brought us. Turning back the clock isn't an option; but neither is going on as we are going on.

Morally equating targeting killings and the suicide bomber is repugnant to me and I believe repugnant to most people One is the killer of someone who if not stopped will continue to murder then other is cold blooded murder. I do not have to understand why they are doing it to know it is wrong and to know if one continues to embrace such actors they will continue to murder. I really believe that the Israeli-Arab conflict (for that is what is at the heart of this) would have ended much more quickly and much less tragically for all if the killings were simply condemned without the understanding. Lack of sympathy would have required them to use words and compromise rather than killing to gain their desire.

But as I said, I'm not a Republican. In many ways I'm a liberal tried and true. I would much rather feed a freeloader than allow a impoverished person to starve.
I think quality health care is something everyone deserves and no one should be better served. I think that the disparity in terms of wages between the highest and the lowest paid should be much lower than it is. I believe in quality housing for the poor, for equal police protection for all, and for a good sound education for everyone (though much different than is envisioned by most people.) I believe that environmental are vital to everyone; that global warming is upon us, and that we will suffer as a world if it isn't held in check. I'm a proponent of stem cell research using discarded or unusable embryos.

Therefore, when I go to vote, I have to vote on what the immediate issues are today.

I just wish there was a party I could identify with more strongly; I wish that was the Democratic Party. It could be, if they would stop shoving me away. But don't expect me to dance with you if your telling me how ugly I am.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 10:18 AM | Comments (6)

I've Come to the Conclusion

That we have a mouse. I base this presumption on the fact that last night as I was sitting by the computer, something greyish and small, with four feet and a tail, scurried down the stairs and under the shoe cabinet. Any alternate suggeston, other than a rat, would be greatly appreciated. I've come to despise mice.

What do these bloody creatures do? Send out invites to their relatives? Go on to Rachel Ann's house; its rocks!!! We've tried stuffing up the holes and putting down countless traps and they manage to return and annoy us anyway (or annoy me. The children think the mice are cute.)

So today, in an attempt to find out where said mouse is coming from and to prepare for an exterminator, I forced my darling husband to move furniture from wall, and in some cases sweep out the various and sundry junk which has accumulated since the last time we endeavored to clean behind things. In some cases this meant "last week" in some cases I'm not telling you the date of the last purge.

Be that as it may, my actions have prompted this little scenario with the Wit.

The Wit: "Cleaning the floor isn't going to get rid of the mouse you know. They live in the walls."
Me: "they do? Are you sure this isn't a rat?" (I'm deathly afraid of rats and have asked everyone, save the Monkey and the Artist, this question at least twice.)
Wit: "No, the rats live upstairs in my room. I told you that."
Me: "I thought you said they put on a circus performance downstairs every evening? You know; trapeze artists, clowns, jugglers?"
Wit: "They do. They come downstairs every night to perform; but the live in my room. They practice in the attic with the birds. One of the birds is the ringmaster."
(we have birds that fly in through the spaces between the roof and the undone upstairs floors, which we refer to as the attic).
Me: "well maybe if you would call me down when their circus is going on I'd like them better."
Wit: "No you wouldn't. Your a rat bigot."

Got to admit he is right. There are two main Rachel Ann fears that she has had for many years; 1)Alzheimer's, as in coming down with. 2) Rats. And this is without ever seeing Willard. No, that rat movie cannot be said to have inculcated my febrile brain with imaginations of death and destruction at the teeth of annoying plague-ridden disease carrying rodents. To what I owe my fear I've no concept. It has to do with my fear of contracting rabies, but I don't fear as much other known carries of that dread disease. I didn't become completely spooked when the ferret bit me. Nor have I had much contact with the beasties; the first time I saw one up close and personal I was an adult; married, not yet with children, but in the planning stages thereof.

Rats have me cornered, or my rationality at any rate; logic doesn't enter in to play. No one could persuade me to take one in as a pet, or bestow as much as a pat on the head to one kept within the confines of a petting zoo.

I've held snakes, petted hissing roaches, I am unperturbed by dogs who snarl and camels who spit. But a rat, even one sitting nicely and politely noshing its food, without the slightest attempt at doing me harm?

Forget about it!

So what is your worst nightmare?

Posted by Rachel Ann at 08:28 AM | Comments (1)

November 06, 2004

The Big Important Stuff

J at The Zero Boss asks "How can you have marital harmony when you and your spouse are divided on issues of life or death?" He then lists five issues that divide the couple---such as how they sleep and drive (luckily not at the same time)

I had to laugh; my dh and I were just talking about this the other day. So I have to list the "life or death" ways in which my dear husband and I are polar opposites:

1. I think it is cold whenver the temperature drops below 70; I don socks and flannel and complain that it is so cold I hurt. Dh is boiling hot until his breath freezes over.

2. He thinks figs are the most delicious fruit; they make my tongue all yucky and have these little bits of things that get stuck in my teeth and who can like them anyway?

3. I read books or watch a movie once; he reads books until the covers fall off and the pages tear off in his hands---then he goes out and purchases another copy of the book. He watches movies until he has all the lines memorized.

4. He hates coffee; doses it up with five teaspoons of sugar and a quarter cup of milk. I love coffee, probably adding three teaspoons of coffee to my mug, a tad of sugar and milk.

5. I love blogging. My dh thinks it is nuts.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 10:43 PM | Comments (1)

She's Going Places!

The Monkey: Can I have a banana?
Me: They aren't ripe yet. They are still green. You won't like it.
Monkey, grabbing one anyway: "Yes I will."
Me: "No you won't. Trust me. They are green. They are not ripe. They do not taste very good. You will not like it."
Monkey, insistent "YES I WILL!!!" She takes banana and starts opening it.
Me, getting frustrated: "We don't have money to waste. If you take that and you don't eat it you won't get bedtime snack. Do you understand?"
Monkey: "Yes. I will like it."
I open it for her and she takes a bite. Makes a face and hands it to me and says
"I guess I don't want bedtime snack today!"
(wait a few minutes)
"But can I have a sucking candy to take away the taste? It isn't bedtime snack!!!!"

(Hard nosed mom made her take away the taste with water. I know. I'm eeeeeeevil.)

Posted by Rachel Ann at 07:02 PM | Comments (1)

November 05, 2004

So I Really Want Your Opinion

Is it morally wrong for me to feel a sense of joy in the death of someone who I consider a vile enemy?

Like I said in my previous post, I think there are so many deaths that can be laid at the feet of this man, and so many lives that have been devastated, I find it hard to remain detached and reasonable, or simply bow my head and allow whatever is going on in the spiritual word to pass unmarked emotionally by myself.

I am not even certain how to explain this. I don't know that it will make things better, or worse. But that he is no longer walking around makes me feel better.

Maybe, as I said, I am wrong, and I am acting immorally. I want your opinion.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:09 AM | Comments (11)

The Democrats Mistake

Via Rishon Rishon/

Andrew of the The BACKSEAT PHILOSOPHER has written an excellent piece on why the Democrats lost this election.

quoting from his article:

Actually, no. Our error is that we Democrats are far less understanding than we think we are. Our version of understanding the other side is to look at them from a psychological point of view while being completely unwilling to take their arguments seriously. "Well, he can't help himself, he's a right-wing religious zealot, so of course he's going to think like that." "Republicans who never served in war are hypocrites to send young men to die. " "Republicans are homophobes, probably because they can't deal with their secret desires." Anything but actually listening and responding to the arguments being made.

Listening doesn't mean agreement; but at least one will know what the argument is about. This is true for both sides of course; but if the Democrats want to regain
power they really need to understand why they lost it and that means giving heed to those who voted against their ideas. It means finding the draw to the Republican party and trying to see if the Democrats can address the fears and concerns of those who voted against them, most especially those who have "defected." It means seeing the other as valid.

Andrew lists several arguments that he feels Democrats need to address, and then he sums up with this.

I am not saying that all these arguments should win. But I do not hear enough Democrats elucidating reasoned counterarguments to these positions. "Bush insulted our allies and the UN," "Bush lied, people died," "We have become the aggressor," "Homophobia," "Religious nut." These are not responses, these are dismissals. When Democrats start actively responding, we will succeed. Until then, we will be increasingly ignored as irrelevent.

It does pay to read the arguments and try and come up with a reasoned response, if still in disagreement, and not simply an attack against the person or the person's belief system.

In the same token, I think Republican's have an obligation to seet that the country is divided on the issues and not force changes without at the very least addressing the concerns of those on the other side as well.

Healing; the country really needs to heal, and both parties must stop the hatred of each other.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 05:53 AM | Comments (2)

November 04, 2004

Hope it is True

And Arafat has departed from this planet on a fast train to hell

Yeah they are denying it, but I can hope.

I read it on Dean's World first.

I am glad. He has the blood of so many people on his hands; Jew and Arab and Christian and Muslim and French and American.

As far as I'm concerned a monster is or soon will be dead, and hopefully soon his body will be as rotten as his soul.

NOTE: Dh just told me there is a statement in Psalms that states we shouldn't rejoice over the death of our enemy. I don't know. If that applies to Arafat I'm going to have a very difficult time not cheering.

Dh wishes him a long coma. I could go for that as well.

I guess I have got a real mean streak in me.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:30 PM | Comments (2)

Siren of Death

via Arutz Sheva.

Israel recently uncovered and prevented several planned bombing attacks; one of which would have involved an ambulance with suicide bomber inside, which was to have gone off in the center of Jerusalem.

Simultaneious bombings were planned for Me'ah She'arim, which is also very crowded, and the French Hill intersection, an area which generates a considerable amount of traffic (and a common area for hitchhikers to await a "tremp" (ride). A shooting attack was planned for Kever Rochel (Rachel's Tomb).

Teenage bombers were already lined up (one of whom was a high school girl), bombs were prepared., the ambulance, they had scoped out the areas, but had not yet decided on a route to commmit their mass killings.

Thank G-d they were stopped. I'm breathing a big sigh of relief.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 01:11 PM | Comments (0)

Is it Swet or Just Pathetic

that when my dh started to sing the "I am stuck on band-aide " jingle, I finished it from upstairs.?

Every vote counts!

Posted by Rachel Ann at 11:24 AM | Comments (1)

Strange Dreams

Last night I had the strangest dream, a nightmare really. In the dream I had a package of pasta, the swirly kind. But somehow, though at first I denied it, I discovered they were infested with bugs.

I brought the plastic bag out to the yard and stomped on it with both feet hoping to kill all the insects within, only, owing to the nature of the bag, instead of smashing the bugs the bag burst open and the bugs spewed out---very much alive; large, pitch black on their underside, on their top half, a blaring, fiery red. They made a loud and fearful clicking sound; it wasn't hard to know where they were.

The bugs fled everywhere; I knew it was hopeless to catch them all, but I started on a campaign to eradicate them from everywhere.

At that point I realized that they were in fact everywhere; they were in flower pots on porch railings, they were in food supplies, they were in the walls of the houses and under the floorboards. They were in people's hair.

But, and this was the denouement of the dream, what truly horrified me was the acceptance of their presence; I sat with one woman beside a porch railing, a flower box next to her, obviously swarming with the creatures trying to convince her that we needed to work together to rid ourselves of this infestation and she only smiled at me and said "Oh, they aren't so bad really. I am beginning to enjoy their sound." And I knew that these insects had infested her--not just her hair, but were actually inside of her, and inside of many people, and that I there wasn't a way to free ourselves of their presence, and an overwhelming sense of hopelessness prevaded me.

That is when I woke up heart pounding, a bit sweaty, wondering what it all meant.

Probably nothing I realize that, but still it left me shaky and perplexed.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:36 AM | Comments (3)

November 03, 2004

Woke Up this Morning (no, it isn't about the election)

Took the dog for a walk and found a dead cat in the middle of the road; it had obviously been hit by a car. No one has yet to pick it up, I"m not sure who to call, but I'm not intrepid enough to touch it... How does this bode for the rest of the day?

I am back to earning a bit of money now; the woman who teaches English to the English speakers for the upper grades was asked to teach another class, and she just couldn't fit it into her schedule so yours truly has the job.

I came with a whole syllabus; a complete plan of attack for approximately 10 weeks. TEN WEEKS!!! I spend several hours on this task that I could have otherwise spent on more fun things like my correspondence (which I have been negligent about---I've approximately 12 more people to write!!!) or blogging...I didn't get enough blog reading in yesterday (alright, I want my brain hooked to the internet for instantaneous and continuous access. Then I'd have enough.) No, I spent it reading a book, developing a series of questions and tasks related to the book, printing it all out, and then this morning fighting with the copier at the school to print out six wonderful copies.

The principle found me just as I was done.

She wants something different. She suggested newspaper articles; discuss and read newspaper articles.


So all the work went whoosh, swoosh, down the drain. I did speak with the students and except for one girl, the vote was in favor of newspapers.

So, now I'm developing a new plan of attack.

Think, my friends, think! 40 minutes, six girls at all different levels of English ability (some have only just recently come from the USA, some were born in Israel, some have two English speaking parents, some have only one English speaking parent.) The girls are in grades 7 and 8.

I'm going to bring in an article on global warming. The picture doesn't look so hot ---or should I say the picture looks hot, hot, hot! I am bringing in that particular article and a second one as well. Help me think of a couple of good questions to ask to get them thinking and researching and talking. For their first assignment I want them to write an opinion piece on global warming but I'm on suggested topics. These are smart girls but their language in many cases are sorely lacking.

Suggestions? I wouldn't want the reports to be longer than a single page; even a paragraph or two would suffice.


I kick into crazy overdrive and go overboard on everything I do.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 10:13 AM | Comments (1)

November 02, 2004

US Citizens

Go vote. Let your conscious be your guide. Then, do me a favor. Take someone who voted for the other guy out for coffee, go to the ice cream palor, take in a movie, or just sit on someone's porch and schmooze about the weather. ask about their Aunt Edna's feeling after her hip surgery, congratulate them for their child's performance in the school play---talk about anything but politics.

Everyone should be well.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:13 AM | Comments (3)

November 01, 2004

Raising a Terrorist

I belong to a lot of e-mail lists. On poster sent his blog entry, complete with a picture. I'm not reprinting here, and pleased be warned, the image is very disturbing-- because it is a picture of the severed head of a suicide bomber. This picture appeared in an issue of the Hamas CHILDREN'S newspaper.

The picture is captioned, the words below the image, so it is hard to avoid seeing the picture, I'm sorry.

Unfortunately I am having a problem getting a direct link--so I'm linking to the blog itself; the entry is titled Her place is in Paradise

I don't know what to tell you about avoiding the image. I think it is an important read however; I think it is important to see what is being taught to these children...children shouldn't see images like this. I didn't want to see this image.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 08:46 PM | Comments (2)

Carmel Bombing

The latest I read on Arutz Sheva was three dead, 30 wounded and the bomber was only 16. How do they do that to theiir children? Their own children? How do you turn your child into a bomb?

Posted by Rachel Ann at 03:50 PM | Comments (0)

Explosion in Carmel Open Market

Tel Aviv: Four Five dead, many wounded. Other than that nothing is known.
More when I know it.
It was a suicide bomber.
The murderer was 18. That is the suicide bomber was 18; there are other murderers who sent this man off. One killer is getting treatment in France; yes I mean Arafat. He is a murderer of my people, a killer of his own people, he has destroyed countleses lives both Jewish, and Christian and Muslim.

I heard CNN start their finger pointing in the form of "having to understand that many Palestinians blame Israel for Arafat's condition."
I blame Arafat for the Palestinians condition. I blame Arafat for the countless lives lost and destroyed. He is an evil being, and whether he lives or dies is not my concern; he will pay the penalty for the deaths he has caused, in this world or the next.

Yes I'm rambling and incoheren't but sorry that is how I'm feeling right now.

You know this was going to be such a different post. I was going to tell you about a film I had watched, or about my theories on what separate us from the animals about the fact that all my clean laundry is put away. I sat down after emptying the final basket to take care of the last load in the dryer and I see this...

IF anyone thinks that uprooting the settlers from the land they cultivated, they built they bought you are so wrong. We will have more and more and mroe and more because that is how are enemy views a bomb a method to rid us fromt he world and it is fromt he world they won't stop. What other country would give land to the people who are trying to kill us? What are we nuts?

Posted by Rachel Ann at 09:55 AM | Comments (2)


I am feeling incredibly lethargic today- molasses moving. The air has thickened and my brain has dulled and whatever curse is upon me has most likely been bestowed by the earth revolution of the sun bringing me, and the many inhabitants in this hemisphere to the darkening of days.

I become duller during the winter months; my mind more sluggish, thoughts mired on thoughts and unable to form coherency, to rersolve themselves into distinct concepts and ideas. I wander from room to room, flick on and off the television, read and put the book down, unable to delve into the life that is before me. I crave sleep, like a bear, my body and mind hibernating for the season. I crave dreams, escape. Everything takes longer to do; my movements slow and plodding.

But it isn't, or does not need to be an ugly time; winter to me has always been as a pregnant woman; everything turned inward, facing toward the life that is growing inside; what is to be. The ideas that bumble about and stumble into each other form new connections give birth to newer, fresher ideas.

It is a time of expectancy; and birth will happen---pregnancy is always a pause full of the future.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:17 AM | Comments (0)