Friday, January 31, 2014



Taka suddenly took us
to a Japanese restaurant,

He really enjoyed Ramen and Sashimi
Sonny and I both had Chicken Terriyaki and Sashimi.

Here he is, drinking Green Tea

Handsome, huh?


Thursday, January 30, 2014


    jpeg (225×225) Are any of you 58 years old or near that age? Today was Taka's 58th Birthday. I told him: "Happy Birthday!" - as we woke up this morning. He replied: "Thank you, how old am I now? Fifty eight, really? Well, let this be the end of it! I want this birthday business done and gone!"
     My answer to him was: "Don't count on it! We'll have to go celebrate!" - but I understand, what he means. He's been saying it for the last twenty-something years: "For my birthday I just want to forget about it!"
     I can't help but think that, deep inside he wants us to make fuss over him. So I consulted with Sonny, our official baker. He agreed to make a cake. Usually, we would've bought it, but this week we are short on cash (credit card is maxed out too). And making an effort for Taka's special day also seemed appropriate!
     I found a cute picture and made a card out of it. Being me, I managed to send it to my Russian friend instead of Taka first. To my embarrassed e-mailed explanation she replied: "Nice card! Happy Birthday to your husband!" At least, I am consistent in my scatter-braininess!
     In the afternoon, I picked Sonny up after college, and we went to get the ingredients for the cake. It took him a couple of trips to the store, but finally everything necessary for baking of the cake was assembled: eight eggs (for batter and frosting), lots of butter, flour, sugar and
strawberries. Sonny took special pains to make the cake white, with strawberries in
between the layers and on top, and it came out really well. Judge for yourself!
Sonny says that these
cookies should be just a footnote
in a tale about
is cake!
     After separating eight eggs and using the egg whites, we were left with eight yolks. Something in me rebelled at the thought of throwing away so much good products. I could've frozen them, but, from the past experience, I know that we never use this kind of stuff later. I looked up a recipe that would require eight yolks and, plus to the cake, we made cookies! at the end of the evening, we were so tired of baking and eating sweets that, Sonny and I both couldn't finish our portions of cake! We talked a little bit together, then everybody went their
Taka is opening his present: an card
own ways to spend this evening in our usual pursuits.

    I feel that, it was totally worth it to go to all that trouble! Usually, we would've waited for the weekend and gone to a restaurant to    
Sonny is eating the cake, sitting in Roberta's wheelchair
celebrate. I hope, we can still do it: after all, for me it will be a last "Hurrah!" before I have to forswear all normal food for the next year and a half. But there was a really good feeling between us today, despite Taka's glib denials. Perhaps, this is the beginning of a better life!
                                                                                          Chickie dos mot approve of this food that has no meat in it!



Wednesday, January 29, 2014


 I am taking the high road. I am rising over the circumstances. I will not play a victim any longer. Why did it take me so long to come to these conclusions? 

     You remember, what happened with Doris, right? I came to pick her up, called her from someone's phone (mine wasn't working), her son said that she already left. It, actually, turned out that her son got mixed up and gave me a wrong message. Doris was waiting for me to pick her up. I didn't know it until later that afternoon. I felt shock, disgust, resentment, frustration. That's the short version of that story.
     I walked with those feelings churning inside of me for a few days. I kept saying in my mind: "When I meet with Mr. P., this is what I'll tell him!"
And I rehearsed my sorry tale, and felt sorrier and sorrier for myself. Today, I was washing dishes and still rehearsing my future conversation with Mr. P. about Doris and her wicked ways, when a thought struck: "This is not about Doris. It's about all those other people, my so called friends, who neglected me and our friendship and made me doubt my own worth. What I am feeling is a  thing of the past. Let go of it!"

     I froze, soap dripping from my hands, and thought for a while. It was true, the mix up was not Doris' fault or mine. I was feeling what
I was feeling because of the emotional baggage that I carry with me (and, partly, because I am a drama queen). I decided then: I will let it go! Well, you heard it already! 
     Today, when I called Doris to arrange picking her up for the Al Anon meeting, she asked, if I was still angry about that mix up. I told her: "Yes", then decided: "No!" We talked about it, laughed a bit, made plans for tonight. She told me to share at the meeting, what I went through and how I decided to let it go. I said: "Well, I want to check first if I really let it go. One thing is to decide something, and another - to actually be able to do it!" 
Yippee, I'm feeling better already!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


    Hanah was wondering. After moving to a new apartment, and because it was still comparatively clean  of her usual clutter, she noticed some strange things. She found her laptop that she often used before falling asleep, in the mornings sitting on a tiny table area in the kitchen instead of by her bedside. Sometimes, there would be notes written in an unfamiliar handwriting. Her roommate came home one night and found her feverishly typing on keyboard. She totally ignored him, and the next morning denied all knowledge of the last night's encounter. "I am loosing it!" - Hanah thought in anguish - "They told me, this can happen to the fourth year students. I'd better go to the mental health website to learn some relaxation techniques!" 
                                                                                             jpeg (275×183)
     No matter, how much Hanah listened to the soothing nature sounds or the words of wisdom and encouragement, eerie occurrences continued to happen. She started to make herself wake up suddenly every hour or so at night, finding herself in the wrong places: in the kitchen instead of the bed, on the roof of her building next to some strange devices, and one time even in a wrong part of town, where she had to look for a bus to get back home. 
     Tonight, she jerked awake long after the midnight. At least, that's what she thought the time should be. She was sitting on a mountainous crag, overlooking a dismal valley. Mist shrouded the details of the view, - in fact, the whole color scheme was wrong, -but she was pretty sure that she saw alien kind of dwellings and fantastic shapes of the trees. Low flying aircraft in a light blue sky also didn't look like anything that she saw in her life: some of it hovered smoothly, the transparent tops revealing odd looking pilots. Some zoomed past Hanah's perch on the hill at amazing speed. She looked at herself in wonder: she wore a warrior's garb! A sound from behind her made her turn. A huge man stood there! He punched her in the chin, and she blacked out, to wake up in her own bed the next morning, as if nothing happened. Except, her chin swelled and looked hideous!
     Hanah went to a Student Health Center where she asked to speak with a psychologist. The man listened to her for half an hour, then asked her to start over, as he began to hurriedly type her tale into his word processor. Hanah had a sneaking suspicion that, he was doing it to record some material for his book! Hanah never met with him again, even though he called her a few times, asking to come back.
Yeah, suspicious like that!
     Poor Hanah was at her wits' end! Not sleeping at night meant that she fell asleep  at lectures during the day. Her roommate, Shea, began to look at her with a mixture of pity and suspicion. More and more often he saw her doing strange things and acting like her evil twin. Hanah knew that, very soon he will ask her to move out. One day he came home and his trusty old lap top lay smashed on the floor of his room. Shea confronted Hanah, who swore that she didn't know anything about it!
     Close to Hanah's birthday, her mother and Sonny came to visit. They brought Chicky with them.Her mom didn't like the way Shea looked at and talked about her daughter. She could tell that something was wrong. Sonny listened to Hanah's and Shea's stories about her behavior, said nothing, but later that day Hanah saw him standing on the roof of the building, where she once woke up,
holding Chicken Bone, with a very worried expression on his face.
     He and mom stayed in a small motel down the street. Sonny convinced Hanah to take a sleeping pill that her psychologist prescribed, and at eleven she was peacefully snoring in her bed.
     Joon sat in a dark corner of Hanah's room. He knew that, soon he will meet his nemesis, ePocalypsa, again.
     He knew that it was not Hanah facing him because of the sheer loathing that he read on ePo's face. He didn't have a lot of time to think it over, though, because she appeared into the world and swung at him with all her considerable might. He fell back with the chair, then, in the same movement, rolled along the wall and came up on the opposite end of the room from her. ePocalypsa was already in motion: she grabbed a taser from her belt and sent the hooks flying at Joon. They hit him in the chest. He stood trembling, caught in the electrical current for a few moments, then fell down heavily. 
     ePo couldn't believe her eyes! The elusive enemy, seemingly impervious to any of her earlier attempts to defeat him, was now helpless, lying at her feet. She laughed madly, then ran to the kitchen to grab a knife to kill him.
     The door opened suddenly and Shea walked in. He took in Sonny's prostrate figure on the carpet and Hanah just coming back with a knife and screamed. He was a tall man, six feet and a half, but his scream was shrill like a siren and very loud. It penetrated Hanah's drug induced sleep, and she awoke. She stumbled, then righted herself and stood leaning on a kitchen counter and looking stupidly at a knife in her hand and Sonny on the floor. "What is this?" Then, to Shea: "What are you doing?"
     Shea didn't answer. He gasped a few times for air and ran out of the apartment. Sonny stirred, sat up and said: "Aw, what's that in my chest?! What the heck are you doing with that knife?" Then - into the phone: "Operator, my sister has gone bonkers!"

We Are The World 25 For Haiti

Michael Jackson - We are the World - The Story Behind the Song

I remember when "We Are The World" was created. It was in 1985. For years the world was hearing about the horrendous starvation in Ethiopia. What could we do? We pressured the American and the world politicians to release funds and humanitarian help to the suffering people in Africa, but... It was like a proverbial drop of water in the desert! Even with the attention that this effort by some of the most renown musical artists of the time drummed up, I still don't think that there was nearly enough aid that reached those in need. 
     Tell me, we are doing better now! 


     I had a busy day today. I went to see an eye doctor and got stuck doing one test after another in her office. Roberta's own appointment was at 2:30 pm, so I hurried to make sure that we wouldn't be late for it. Park had to come from his job of directing the choir and go to the doctor with us. Actually, I tried to play a second fiddle to him because of his jealousy for my friendship with her. When he showed up, he and she went to doctor in his car, and I - in mine. I didn't want to depend on him for anything.
     A few months ago, Park went with us to that same doctor and swayed him to his side. Dr. Hites of San Leandro, CA,
Dr. Hites
didn't try to talk to Roberta, his client, or me to get his facts straight. The Good Ol' Boys' network mentality won again, and he absolutely humiliated me in front of Roberta. 
Yep, they can celebrate!
     Now we came back there. The doc walked into the room, greeted Park and Roberta warmly but ignored and turned his back on me. I swallowed my resentment and focused on trying to help Roberta. We told him of her frequent vomiting. He seemed concerned and asked a lot of questions. Park piped in, saying that, perhaps, the bad smell from Roberta's poop was also due to her sickness. They live in a small room with a bathroom adjacent to it, and "the little girl" Park gets all disturbed about, what he calls, an unusually bad odor, when she uses the toilet. Fortunately, Dr. Hites payed no attention to him.
     All in all, it was not a bad visit. It seemed that, the doctor decided to take my and Roberta's voice into consideration this time.
     Park took Roberta home. I went to pick up Sonny from BART (Metro) station. An hour and a half after that, I departed to a first meeting of my Weight Management Program.
     I thought that, today would be last day when I can eat normal food. It turned out that, it will be the next Monday. Good bye, tasty meals! Hello, chalky shakes and powdery soups! At least, I have one more week to indulge my taste buds. It's too bad that I have not so much money to really live it up!
     Mary tried to call and text me last weekend. I didn't answer her.  
     It's hard for me to not only explain to you what I've been feeling these few days, but even to sort it out for myself. I am 55. I should be able to spend my ripe old age not moping around, but I can not shake the blues that the incident with Doris last Saturday brought down on me. I do all the stuff that I should; I talk and laugh with others, all the while not answering the calls from my friends and thinking that, I don't ever want to get close to anyone to avoid feeling the past misery. 
     I'm 55. Not 16, not 19. At 55, as soon as a similar situation arises, I jump back into the skin of a teenager, who never believed that she was wanted and worthy of a close friendship, and her neediness created that reality in her life. It's one thing to know, what's the right thing to do. It's another thing to do it!


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Simon Draws: Tabby Cats - AND MY OWN CATS

Here is my own mackerel - Chicken Bone

See his nice stripes and big ears?
"The better to eat [ anything I find lying around], my dear!"


     Taka is sick. Cold, - I think, - and cough. We bought honey for him, but the only thing that a little Mexican shop near us had, was a tiny round bottle of honey with a piece of honeycomb inside. At first, Taka liked the idea of eating something so authentic. Then parts of the honeycomb began to fall off and get in his teeth. Now he is trying to empty the bottle into another container - without the offending wax in it!

     Roberta is also sick. It's her gall bladder. I offered her all kinds of healthy and nutritious foods, but she said that she was not hungry. Then - Park came back from helping at the food bank in a church nearby. Apparently, the church is Black, and they want to attract other people to their services. They offered Park to take home anything he wanted from the food bank. The troll took a ton of food! Ten tuna cans, ten peanut butter jars, many pounds of apples! He wants to bring some of it to a church where he is directing a choir. 
     He immediately began to stick stuff into Roberta's hands, that was guaranteed to give her indigestion: spicy almonds, vegetable chips (whatever that is), pop tarts even! He dismissed my protests by saying: "It's alright, she can eat this!"  

     Roberta responded by secretly shoving the spicy almonds into my hand! What a life she chooses for herself: always has to sneak behind Park's back instead of confronting him with truth!


    tumblr_m58v4wBa1N1r90zuk.gif (500×276)

 I don't know, why I'm still moody. It's been many hours since the situation was resolved. I had a good time at the Al Anon's open meeting. It means that, there were quite a few groups there, with potluck dinner and speakers. They (the speakers) told us about their roads to recovery, whatever it took. We ate, laughed, clapped. All the while, I felt the heaviness drain all happiness out of me. On the way home I thought about it all. I had good friends in Russia. They are one of my best memories in life! I spent hours and hours with them, sometimes, - whole nights: talking and feeling the warmth and closeness envelope us as the night outside the windows receded into day. I had good friends!
     Whatever people I met in the States (and they were from all over the world), they all, eventually, let me feel that I was not enough. Of course, that might mean that I am not enough. I changed for the better, I know that, yet now I keep anticipating every one of my good acquaintances to, gradually, stop calling or dealing with me. Most of them were also missionaries from the Unification Church, and we met and had our faith and mission in common. Nevertheless, there was a lot of amazing fun that we had roaming the roads,             
 2826926ga1bmuug6j.gif (295×210)                  overcoming all kinds of trials, spiritual and physical. Most of them seemed like they were my friends for life. I hardly have any connection with any of them now. 
     Doris, the English lady with 6 children, and I have Russia in common. She and her husband spent 4 years on a mission in the Urals. She had two of her children born in a small country hospital in Ekaterenburg. That's not a small accomplishment! We also laugh a lot when we get together, and she talks non-stop on any topic that we start. Both of us see Mr. P., in fact, she was one of the people who introduced me to him, and we go to the same Al Anon group,
     Today Doris called to make sure that we'll go to the open meeting together. We made a plan that, I will pick her up at 5:20. I was on time, even though I had many obligations to fulfill before my departure.
     As I drove to a place designated for our meeting with Doris, I discovered that my phone didn't work. I thought for a few minutes how to let Doris know that I was waiting for her. I don't know her apartment number, so going to the lobby wouldn't have helped. I hoped that she would show up by herself, after all, it was already time to leave. In a few minutes I decided to take action. I spotted some teenagers getting in the car nearby, went and asked to use one of their phones. They were a nice bunch and offered me a huge Smart Phone to call. 
- "Hello, may I speak with Doris, please?" - I asked, when her son answered. 
- "She already left!"
- "She left?! What?! We were supposed to meet! When did she leave?!"
- "About ten minutes ago!"
     I was reeling. The kids who gave me their phone noticed it and felt sympathetic, but it didn't help. All sorts of thought raced through my mind. "She sold me out again! I won't forget this! How could she?!"
8b8HCux.gif (499×281)     Recently I had a dubious experience, when Doris also totally disregarded our plan and instead of me spent the whole evening with another person. I am not a jealous type, but I felt foolish in front of my family for being so callously put aside. And here she was doing it again!
     I decided to go to the meeting by myself. On the road I was entertaining some ideas of how I will freeze Doris out when I see her. What would I say? How could she treat me like that?!
     It was hard to find the place of the meeting. I could hardly see any street names in the dark. Finally, I made it to the church where the meeting was going to take place. I parked and came out of the car, carrying a bag with a cake (potluck, remember?). Somebody was shouting something to me from a vehicle on the street. Upon doing some squinting, I realized that, it was another woman from our group. Doris was sitting next to her! I knew that they would come together! I looked at them coldly; at least, I hope that that's what my face showed. 
- "She was taking a shower and told her children to ask you to wait, but they mixed it all up!" - the lady was explaining for Doris. Doris gazed at me with tortured look on her face. 
- "I did, I told them to ask you to wait! What did they say?" - she whined.
     There was no point to discuss it any further. She didn't ditch me on purpose, but she also didn't apologize for her mistake yet. 
     I just said: "Doris, I'd like to strangle you!" I hope, it sounded like a joke, because the other woman looked at me in alarm.
     Like I said in the beginning, the evening was fun and informative. Atmosphere between Doris and me was tense and strange, though! All my previous experiences with the supposed friends' betrayal crushed my spirit, released from my memory by Doris' mistake. I know, I should, but how do you forget something like that? I don't mean Doris. 
     How can I look for those "balcony people" that Mr. P. keeps talking about? It will just end the same way, like all those other times, when I gave my all to a relationship, and another person dropped me like a bag of garbage! Boy, I sound like a disgruntled lover! 
     Anyhow, the road to recovery seems to have taken a large loop around the swamp of resentful feelings. Well, how would you go about believing in yourself when such things keep interfering?
tumblr_mcb8u4cZV31rtc9of.gif (500×243)


Saturday, January 25, 2014


     For a few days - nothing to tell you. I've been just mired in the routine of my days. I don't like routine. Get depressed, when there is nothing interesting knocking on my door and gets my blood flowing faster.
   One thing that gets my blood flowing faster is a good fight with Park. We had one of those yesterday. I'm not entirely sure, if he is alone to blame for it. A minute after our spat, I saw this thing on Facebook. It said: Before you speak, think: Do I need to say this? Do I want to say this? What effect will it have on my environment? Something like that. I wish, I saw it before picking a fight with Park!
936479_10151663140669203_1389644222_n.png (498×614)
This is what it, actually, said.
     Roberta, Park's common law wife, of whom I take care (he came later, laying his claim on her, as if she is a property), is not feeling well. She and I had to go somewhere two days ago. We got in the car, I pulled out of the parking. She, in a conversational tone of voice, said to me: "Could you pull in here?" It was the next door neighbor's curb. I did. Roberta opened her door. I asked: "What do you need, Roberta?" See, I thought that her seat 
belt got stuck in the car's door. She, very calmly, answered: "To throw up." And she did! This still continues: she throws up every day. She has a gall bladder problem, and doctor told her a year ago that, she needs an operation to remove it. She, totally, blocks it from her memory. Even though, time to time,I reminded her about it, she again didn't realize, why she could have this problem with her stomach! 
     So, she stays home. I feel bad about leaving her when I have an appointment or want to see a friend, but, fortunately, Park is always there to make me feel like running away from my own home!
tumblr_mw20ltzkvU1qf9g01o10_500.gif (500×220)     Today is Saturday. Taka came home early yesterday: he got a cold. I went into my 'Jewish wife' mode: drove to the store and bought ginger, lemons and honey, made him a potion to drink for his cough. Cooked chicken broth with noodles, as my mom taught me; made stew with meatballs (that - for Sonny, who amid all that activity was left hungry). Taka came out of the bedroom, got on my nerves almost immediately, ate everything in sight, all the while claiming that he didn't have any appetite. It's a-a-m-a-zing, how much he can eat and not gain an ounce! I don't know why I am amazed: it's obvious that there is no justice in the world! 
                                tumblr_mcb45v8VH51riahmqo1_500.gif (500×208)

Friday, January 24, 2014

LIFE 'ND STUFF 8 - repost

A few years later we bought a house. It seemed small at first, what with the children and my Dad all needing a room of their own. Dad moved in with us and, again, the dynamics of our family changed. It was a mad dash for me to get everyone fed in the mornings and brought to their separate High Schools on time. I spent at least an hour and a half twice a day, or more, just driving kids back and forth. Now both of them are in college, and my Dad is gone, so the house and my spare time suddenly stretched out around me. What is that universal law? I think, it says that every emptiness must be filled. At first, the sadness rushed in and threatened to up-end my precarious emotional balance. Then the people that I know became the mouthpiece of reason. They spoke what I already knew to be right: "Get yourself in order, Dina, find what to do with your life!" So, at 55 I'm learning to live again, and live well. It seems, that the emptiness also attracted a few new friends, who fill the void in my heart.   
The flowers are blooming in the garden now. Taka turned out to be a mad planter: he filled our backyard with dozens of plants. Unfortunately, the previous occupants of our little green lot, namely, the moles, think that he does it in order to provide sustenance for the generations of a mole population. Taka and they are in a war of wits. Who will win, nobody knows. The deer, the marauding cats and raccoons are also visiting us regularly. The deer walk in straight lines as they graze, and drop the seeds of the plants they have eaten someplace else from the other end. As the result, there are quite a few little trees and bushes  growing in orderly rows in the garden. 
  These last twenty years contain a whole era of our, my family's, life. Human, animal, vegetable or mineral, we all have a go at our lot in life and make each other's lives richer and worth living. Would I do some things differently, if I could? WILL I do them differently? The next twenty years will provide an answer to that. I just hope that we'll always remember to  laugh along the way! 

AIN'T I A WOMAN?! - Alfre Woodard reads Sojourner Truth

LIFE 'ND STUFF 7 - repost

From left to right: dad, Grisha, mom, Taka

We had to move Lera back to Mom and Dad's. By we, I mean her, me and the kids. I think, I lost 15 pounds in that one day. She stayed there for a little while and then joined Grisha in Denmark, only to have to come back for Mom's funeral a few months later. 
Before she died, I found my Mom to be very difficult. I desperately wanted to believe that she could still recover, but it didn't happen. She became more and more isolated and belligerent. A social worker in the hospital suggested that I needed to resolve the issues between us, or I'll be  "left with the grizhas in the kishkas" - a Yiddish saying that literally means, to be left with the intestinal ulcers.  Like so many times in my life, when I started praying, the help was there. The burden of resentment toward my Mom lifted from my shoulders. I don't mean to sound pious or smug. The fact is that now I can think about my mother with sadness and smiles, but without hostility. God is that close to us; He surrounds us with His Mercy even when we don't expect or deserve it. 
It seemed like just yesterday we had a big family at our table. Now it was just the five of us: Takahumi, I, the kids and my Dad. To better keep an eye on Dad, we moved him to live a few doors away from us. Later on, he invited a lady from our church with a teenage son to stay with him. She was God-sent - she looked after him in the evenings and at night and my father didn't charge her any rent. For a few years my life became smaller, it gelled around the immediate needs of my family. I didn't work at school anymore. I took care of my father, got paid to do so, chauffeured and did homework with the kids, cooked and watched TV. In a couple of years, one of my acquaintances asked me if I read any good books lately. I was at a loss for an answer. Ever since I was a kid, I always had my nose in the book. Now, except for "Harry Potter", nothing came to mind.  

LIFE 'ND STUFF 6 - repost

Sonny and Hanah

  Sonny loved and doted on Hanah since he was a toddler. When she fell asleep on the floor, he would drag a blanket over her. Sometimes he'd cover her head instead. He would put his toys on top of her head area and play quietly, forgetting that she was under there.
sally_girl_throw_tantrum_hg_clr.gif (350×292)   My kids were quite easy going. Well, Sonny went through this phase when he'd bang his head on the floor if he wasn't happy with his life. Then there was his allergy to being woken up. It was not the same child in the morning or after the nap! He even now has a formidable stubborn streak. It’s a surprise that he grew up and I didn't kill him on one of those mornings when he refused to budge, to move his arm to put on a shirt or to move his legs toward the elevator. My sister once had a dubious pleasure of bringing him
from our apartment to my parents' through the lo-o-o-ong corridor of the apartment building where we lived. Do you know, how many places there are in such a place for a child to grab and hold on to in an effort to stop the life and get off? I saw my sister after that, she looked extremely pop-eyed, and the steam came off her, like from a water buffalo. There were countless times when I came to pick him up after the nap in preschool, only to find him quietly smearing snot and tears into the massive thigh of his long-suffering teacher. And yet, on many occasions, if we just left him alone and went on with a conversation, I would, suddenly, feel him tugging on my sleeve: "Come on, Mommy, I'm OK now!"
   The situation between Mom and Grisha and Lera, finally, deteriorated to the point when they decided to move into their own apartment across the road from us. We moved them in, had a house-warming party, they lived there for half a year and then,
Grisha up and left for Denmark! Drama was a mother's milk for him. Actually, he found out that their apartment in Copenhagen was being dismantled by the tenants to whom they subleased it.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

LIFE 'ND STUFF 5 - repost

     Lera and Grisha lived with my parents when my Mom just became sick. I must say, Grisha was a great help, because Lera and I were not very keen on the housework. He cooked and cleaned all day long, only to be constantly criticized by his mother-in-law, who herself stopped doing any cooking and cleaning when she became sick. Her most famous (in our family) remark to him was, as he slaved in the kitchen: "I don't like the movement of your hands!" She would hound the poor man in every aspect of his life. Grisha is a very peculiar guy, but she was just too much. He liked to eat in small amounts, but many times a day. She would be watching him and whispering loudly: "Look, look, he took another plate!", and then (with strong Jewish accent): "Did you leave anything for your wife?!" If he was taking a shower, she'd bang on the door and declare: "Enough, let the others use the bathroom!" It's interesting, that to my husband she was all sweetness and warmth, not a word in reproach. I think, in him she recognized a kindred spirit.
                                                                      6a00d8341cca7b53ef012877738101970c-pi (333×500) In all that I didn't talk about my children. I know that many people are against the term Jewish American Princess. I coined another term, though: Jewish-Japanese American Princess. I'm not being racist. That's what my daughter was and always will be. As a baby, she would sit on her high chair, with a solemn and slightly uppity expression on her face, graciously accepting - or not - the adoration
Hanah and Grandpa
enjoying ice-cream
and nourishment from her loyal subjects. And loyal subjects she had! If you came into a room, you'd see all eyes trained on her. That was until her brother was born.

   She never expressed open hostility toward him, but she was taking steps to ensure her superiority (or just to bug him). The pacifiers or Sonny's favorite bottle would
Uh-uh, what did she do to him now?
mysteriously disappear, to be found much later, just out of eyesight, behind the table leg or between his mattress and the side of the bed. In the meanwhile, the poor fellow would be screaming his head off. In fact, if you look at the photos of Sonny and Hanah at that time, he'd be always screaming and she'd be watching him with the expression of a cat in front of a bird cage.