A South African, married to an American, finally adapting to my adopted country. I love life, laughter, good friends and the warmth that my two kids have filled me with. I glory in the colors of my life and am grateful for the gray days as they allow me to appreciate the rainbows.

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Location: New York, United States

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Sunday, October 31, 2004

The Halloween Party

The Halloween Party came and went. Talk about cutting it down to the wire. Every year Ryan's elementary school holds a Halloween party. The premise is that Trick and Treating was not safe and they provided a safe, controlled environment for kids to get all sugared up. About 10 or 15 years ago some lunatic was putting razor blades into candy bags and there were a lot of crazy rumours. Well in suburbia it is really safe, there are 1,800 homes in our development and the people there all have kids (we pay incredibly high taxes but that is because we have the best public schools in the country, so Jericho is all about the schools. Property prices are nuts as are the taxes).

The kids literally mob the streets over Halloween -it is really quite something to see. Its fun and people go overboard decorating their houses, Ryan and I had so much fun doing our house.

The way the Halloween Committee at the school, usually runs things is they set up mothers on chairs with a basket of candy on the floor next to them in the hallways. The moms look bored, the kids get wild and the word ho hum comes to mind. I worked on the committee last year, it took two committee meetings, and getting together the day before to unpack the candy - finito. Well this year I ran it, I think the principal nearly had heart failure. My friend in the committee teases me how it went from the easiest committee to being a Bar Mitzvah. We held auditions for readers for our haunted story. We had weekly Wednesday night meetings at my house and we did lots of e-mails, phone calls, etc. We got the dads involved and set them up in costumes, etc. We organized a haunted house, scary story complete with sound effects and decorations, an assortment of crafts. Josh and I transformed the entrance of the school into a haunted forest complete with woods, haunted house and a fog machine. It took ages for us to convince the principal to even let us do it, and once we finally do, we get a call saying that we have to cancel the haunted house because the insurance adjuster won't let us do the party without an inspection which would cost $350. Anyway we did not have a decision until Monday Night when they left it in my lap as we had to determine if we could budget the inspector in), I worked it into the budget (obviously :) so literally at 3pm on Friday the inspector arrived, he gave us approval at 5pm the party started at 6:30pm. Oy can I just say - my nerves were shot!!! We got it up and running, had an awesome DJ and the kids were blown away, we went for quality candy instead of quantity and got them these gummy eyeballs that are so gross, complete with veins - they loved them. I did a real Jewish Mama Mambo and over catered the event - there was so much food left over.

Side note: A friend of mine has a friend who moved to NY from Argentina, he had was appalled when on his first night of moving into his apartment, while trying to unpack, the door bell kept buzzing and kids were begging for food with their parents watching in the background. He handed out mints, a few individual lifesavers and then started in on his cans of soup and other groceries. He eventually called a friend of his and said that he was a bit annoyed that the friend had suggested that he live in such a poor neighbourhood. The friend was shocked and asked what he meant - he said all these homeless kids are knocking at my door, they are dressed in funny clothes. When his friend stopped laughing, he said, you idiot it's Halloween, stop answering your door. His neighbours when they got to know him laughed and told him how disgusted they were with the individual lifesavers and mints and thought he was a complete lunatic.

Friday, October 29, 2004


The Halloween Party for Ryan's school is tonight. I try not to think about what Halloween represents and just look at it as an opportunity to dress up, eat oodles amount of candy and scare the crap outta my kids (only kidding :) The girls love dressing up and decorating the front yard. Josh and I were at the school last night putting up decorations. It has been fun spending the schools money and I must say we have been under budget (which is not a good thing as next year's committee gets less money and there is a huge surplus in the PTA fund as it is), so yesterday I went a little wild buying ghosts and goblins :) The school expects 1,200 people to show up - oy vey what have I gotten mself into??

I have a live-in housekeeper who is from Zambia, she is an incredibly sweet and religious woman and won't even do homework with Ryan that has anything to do with Halloween. Obviously the teachers stick with a theme to keep the kids interested and there is always a holiday around the corner for them to use (my personal favourite is Thanksgiving which is at the end of November). The kids are beyond excited about the prospect of gorging themselves on candy all weekend long. I for one will be hitting the gym with a vengance on Monday.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

As good as it gets
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As good as it gets

I am not sure when I will ever truly feel like I belong in my adoptive country. The are still moments when I panic, I feel this yearning to go back home. Home to another place in time. I don't live in the past but I sure do like to revisit it from time to time. I know the world I long for does not exist anymore but it still feels familiar in the still of the night when I am in that place between being awake and asleep. There are times when I will look at Josh and panic and feel, Oh no we did this forever for better for worse, and I want out. There are other times when I am safetly tucked in his arms and I feel safe from the world.

I used to speak to friends in Australia and double guess myself, why did I stay in NY and tough it out. I guess there was a plan that was bigger then me. I am fortunate that after a really traumatic emmigration experience I have finally found my place. I have created my own little Long Island Niche and it feels comfortable. I am fortunate to have my parents nearby and while my in-laws function differently to me, I am fortunate in that I happen to like most of Josh's family. My kids have an extensive network of cousins from Josh's two nieces, my nephews and both our first cousins kids. They are fortunate to experience the real SA Jewish holidays where 40 people eat danish herring and consume so much food that they can explode.

It is a great place to be and finally, yes finally, I feel content. I guess had I not gone through all the upheaval I would not have recognized that this is where I would be happy. We get sold this story book existence and the happy ending at the end is so different for all of us. Mine would never be living in a castle with my prince charming. Way too boring.

I love the diversity of NY and have even come to enjoy the different seasons. I am loving watching the leaves change and the nip in the air is refreshing. I still can't believe that those two little bodies who come and hug and kiss me in the morning are my special girls. I feel two warm little bodies, one on each side, with cold feet and we just lie there and shnuggle. Everyone knows better then to talk to mom in the morning :) It is such a warm wonderful, safe place for us all to be. I love that they live in a place where they can be anything they want to. Opportunities knock at ever door.

In the movie, As Good As It Gets with Helen Hunt and Jack Nicholsen, there is a line where Helen Hunt turns to Jack and says (and I paraphase) "What if this is as good as it gets. What if it never gets better?" There were so many times I would stop and say - oh no, this can't be as good as it gets, I want more, I want this or that different. I feel fortunate because I can actually look around and say, if this is as good as it gets, that is just fine with me.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

My computer nearly flew out the window..........

Heid, thanks for your help, I swear I got so frustrated trying to get these pics up, my computer was almost airbourne. Using the computer for more then wordprocessing, chatting or e-mail makes me feel like a complete moron............... no comments on this comment please :)

Me and my girls
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Family - Me, Josh and the girls - a bit out of date but the last time we had a semi decent photo of the four of us
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Nikki's first day of school
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Ryan and JJ at the annual South African Braai
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Happy Halloween

Listening to renditions of trick or treat smell my feet give me something nice to eat at 6am in the morning is truly a brutual reminder of what lies ahead. My 4 year old soprano (and while she is no mobster she steals my heart with that high pitched little voice) is so eager to consume as much sugar as her little body can hold. Growing up in Africa and never experiencing the Halloween phenomenom it is quite exciting getting caught up in the childrens imaginations and following them to their Hansel and Gretel Gingerbread House where they can ingest sugar to their hearts content.

I for one love the holiday, I love embracing my inner child and externalizing her for one day without getting sideward glances from those around me. This year I decided (heaven help me) to organize the Halloween Party for Ryan's Elementary School. My friend Reina who is on the committee with me, signed up for it, as it is usually considered one of the easiest events to organize. Then steps in Ms. Pom Pom (a long story but its along the lines of ask me for one simple little thing and I waltz in with 150 - yeah Ands I knowhee hee :) and as Reina terms it, it went from a party to a Barmitzvah. In previous years the kids basically walked down a hallway where bored parents sat on a chair with a basket of candy beside them and doled out a piece of candy to each kid. It was started as a safe way to trick or treat. Pretty pathetic if you ask me ........ so I have been brought up to believe that if you don't like something, change it. So this year we have the very first haunted house, scary story time, and creepy crafts. We went shopping for the haunted house, bought the meanest, scariest and most awesome stuff - right down to the haunted forest decorations and fog machine when the kids enter the school. We will have 1200 people there and it will either be the biggest flop or get them begging for something bigger and better next year. Of course this comes with its special brand of problems, could it ever be easy??? The party is on Friday, it 1pm on Monday and the haunted house may be cancelled ... hmmmm hopefully they will let me know before them. I thought dealing with corporate America was tough, let me tell you step aside Stepford Wives, these PTA chicks kick butt ......................... I will post pics if I ever learn how and if it ever happens ....... Dee, show me the way.
Happy Halloween...................

Monday, October 25, 2004

Describing the scribe

Dee, Yaeds and Heid, you have inspired me to start my own Blog, so here goes..............................

I have thought about this a bit today in the harried existence that is my life. I had thought what is there that is so important for me to say that I need to broadcast not neccessarily to the world but those I love. I guess that is what got me moving on this quest, I am blessed to have so many people to care about and so many who care about me. I have gone through such an incredible journey and have been fortunate to have lived 50 lives in one. I feel richer for all I have gone through both good and bad. I meet people who have lived such grey lives and am fascinated that it is ok with them.

I have to say my life has gone through so many ups and downs and the sheer magnitude of the immigration experience leaves me winded and wounded, after that whole roller coaster I now embrace the ordinary events that now rule my life. The bliss of parenthood, finding my way through the forest of friendship, constantly working to make my marriage stronger and better. The strength of my family and the people who I have chosen as family.

In the past year I have reconnected with friends who were such a strong part of my life in South Africa in my school years and it is amazing to me that they not only remember me but have this concept of me that I can't reconcile to being me. I remember that person they knew, so driven and self assured and I laugh when they ask me what corporation I am running today. Funny that, had I taken a time capsule and written my personal predictions about where I would be today, move over Bill Gates, you have met your match. But now that does not call me but it sends me in the other direction. I am not power house. I am not an executive running a fortune 500 company although I am still driven to succeed. I am mom. I never knew I could be so fulfilled by that job description, I never knew how tough and competitive the requirements would be, but I do know it is the most rewarding and quite possibly the hardest thing I have ever done.

I am blessed with two little souls who are so vastly different and in whom I see glimpses of myself and those who surround me. There is my Ryan, she is a 6 year old who has a heart of gold. She dances to the music of her soul and is set to follow a path that is out of the ordinary, something extraordinary. She is an artiste in every sense of the world, she has such style and an incredible perspective of the world. It amazes me what her little eyes drink in, she notices the tiniest pebble in the rushing sea, she catches rays of sunshine in her butterfly net. She has such an eye for the world, both good and bad. She observes peoples souls, not their personas. She has a smile that shines from her soul and brightens up an entire room. I fear for her as she is not made to survive in the cookie cutter world I am bringing her up in, she has such a need to shine and I know she will one day be a beacon unlike any other and I try my damnest not to let her wings be clipped by the confines of the soceity within which she lives.

Nikki on the other hand is a 4 year-old drama queen of note, she is the comic relief in ever situation and manages to captivate people with her lobsided grin and devlish eyes. She is the center of all attentions, she handles people like puppets on a string, I am amazed that her tiny little pinky has me and so many wrapped around it. She has is stubborn and smart both to her benefit and detriment. I know she will do well in whatever she does and lead like the pied piper. She has a following and is my mini-mayor.

I never knew I could love two people as much as I do and feel so awed that my body could produce these wonderful souls.

I went to a psychic the other day who told me that Josh is my soul mate. I feel that he needs danger pay and am amazed how he views me - I have always said that I would love to see myself through Josh's eyes. I have never had anyone love me to the depths of their souls like he does. I can't believe what crap he puts up with. OK he is not the easiest baby in the world, but hey anyone who knows me - I need someone who keeps me on my toes :) He is such a rock, and someone I can truly lean on. I often look at other people, as is my nature, I love to delve into the mysteries of people and what makes their relationships work or fail. I try insert myself into some equations and always come to the conclusion that there is no better fit for me. I guess the romance edition of soul mate is not what I was expecting but the reality is he is more like a right glove to my left. Perhaps even a mitten to my glove :) Whatever we are, we work, and I guess that is what makes all the difference.

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