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Archive for the ‘Married life’ Category

Flashback Friday! (Bad Mood)

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 9:53 AM
Friday, January 18, 2013

Most Fridays, I post an oldie but a goodie blog for your enjoyment. To those of you who just started reading The Grownup Girl recently, enjoy the “new” blog! To those of you who have been with me from the start, but have memories like mine, enjoy the “new” blog!

And to those who were with me from the start and who already read this blog and burned it into your memory, word for word, photogenically, I say:

What are you doing wasting your time dilly-dallying on my website? Get out there and find me a book deal!

Lately, I’ve had the opportunity to explore an area of life that I’m sure we all experience from time to time: Going about your life while someone you love/someone you live with/someone you work with is in a Bad Mood.

You know how everything just seems a little grayer? I know I’m sensitive, but I can’t be the only one that this gets to. So, in a proactive effort to SHARE WITH OTHERS during this frustrating time, instead of wallowing in self-pity, flaming out in fury, withdrawing into total denial, or some explosive cocktail of all three, I’ve decided to make a list for all of you to peruse and use as you wish:


1. Fight with them. (This makes their mood worse, the kids upset, and doesn’t solve anything, but still, it’s really satisfying in the moment.)

2. Ignore them. (This is tricky: it really only works if you ignore them and successfully continue about your day feeling carefree and happy. If you “ignore them” but then go about your day distracted, upset, and obsessing over the fact that that person is in a bad mood and why don’t they just get over it, then you really aren’t ‘ignoring them’, are you?)

3. Try to talk to them. (Ouch! Just kidding – good God, don’t do that – they don’t feel like talking, can’ you tell?! Leave them alone!)

4. Ask a friend to reach out to them. (This may work but the question you need to ask yourself is, do you really want to get a 3rd party involved here?)

5. Journal about it. (This is a very good idea, in that it helps you connect with your thoughts and your soul, it helps to vent your emotions, and it helps to understand just what you are feeling.

a. Just beware of these potential pitfalls: 1.) Your laziness, since journaling is really annoying to have to sit down and do, after all, it’s not YOUR bad mood, you know? – and 2.) It’s not always convenient to journal, especially if you are busy at work, with kids, or driving. Then again, that’s what traffic lights are for, aren’t they?)

6. Pray about it. This one’s loaded, I know, especially for those of you who: A.) don’t believe in God, and/or B.) believe that IF there is a God, S/He is for sure too “busy with wars and starving children” or too “hands off” to really give a shit about your issues with someone else’s bad mood. But to you who feel this way, I counter: I know you are, but what am I?

a. Wait – no – that’s what I meant to say to this person who is driving me nuts with his pissy mood. To you, dear reader, I wanted to say: Just try it. Meditate. Scan a holy text (the Zohar is the best I know of). Go to spiritual services or talk out loud to a higher power. Sure, nothing good may come of it except a mild self-consciousness. OR, it could work, your prayers could be answered, and then you could finally just move on with your life already.

Because Bad Moods really just f*** up a person’s day, you know?


Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

PS This blog is dedicated to the love of my life who was in a terrible mood all last week but who is also the reason this blog got published tonight – I told him I didn’t have time to record ‘my new blog’ (didn’t tell him the subject) and he told me to get out of bed & just upload it anyway, without the recording – not to use that as an excuse & to lose momentum… good advice from a good man…)


Cute no matter what mood.

Happy Birthday, My Love

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 9:44 AM
Thursday, December 6, 2012

I hesitate to make public my love for my husband, out of the feeling that the best things in life should be held close to the heart, and not always shouted from the mountaintop.

On the other hand, after 9+ years of marriage, I want to say it loud, say it proud, and say it emphatically:


Thank you for the life you have given me – the love, support, challenges, laughs, amazing kids, amazing food, and so much more.

We have not just grown together throughout these years of marriage, but what is so much better – we have finally begun to ‘grow up‘ together, and for this I am truly grateful.

I am in awe of your perseverance, your ability to make the impossible possible, your sensitivity and gentleness, your strength, your sense of humor, your love of life and especially of your dedication to leading a spiritual life.

Thank you for being my husband. May we celebrate many more birthdays together, to 190 + beyond…



Still cute at 46. (him! not me!)

Clean That Plate!

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 4:20 PM
Tuesday, September 11, 2012

At a lovely restaurant the other night with friends, I was the only one who ordered (and ate) dessert – chocolate lava cake. I don’t really like alcohol, so for me, as I’ve mentioned in past blogs, chocolate is my last remaining substance-intake-related sin.

If you can even call chocolate a substance

I prefer “baked love.”

Anyhow, as I was eating my baked love-AHEM-!-chocolate cake, my friend outed her husband. She told us that the reason he wasn’t partaking was because the night before, he had over-indulged in the dessert at a friend’s dinner party, and since that dessert was particularly disgusting, he had eaten platefuls upon platefuls of it until he felt physically sick – a condition that lasted until that morning.

Uhhhhh… excuse me, did I hear that right?

It was disgusting… so he ate it nonstop.


Apparently, yes. My friend explained to us that her husband was so eager to make people feel good (at least when it comes to their cooking), he always ate way more than he would normally when he was offered something he didn’t like, just so the person would never suspect that he didn’t like it and get offended or feel disappointed.


Actually, I can relate, because, while I don’t generally go to the lengths of making myself physically sick in order to ensure my host is happy, I do understand the desire to make a host/server/cook feel appreciated.

But THEN… it came out that in this case – the case of my friend’s husband, eating platefuls of the gross dessert –  the host never even saw him eat the dessert! So he literally had no reason to keep shoveling it in his mouth.


I still get it.

Because for me, when I eat something gross, I find I must “top it off” with something delicious. The worst part is that usually, I have eaten most if not all of the gross food/dessert (though maybe not platefuls of it), in the hopes that SOMEHOW it will start tasting yummier the more bites I take.

I mean, come on, it LOOKS delicious!!!

You know what I mean? So finally, when my body revolts and my stomach inflates like a hot air balloon, and a sour liquid starts to erupt in the back of my throat, I realize that I SHOULD actually just stop eating. Period.

But… I find that in the same way I only like a movie with a happy ending, I also only like a MEAL with a happy ending. So, no matter how many calories I already consumed, and no matter how tight my jeans feel across my belly, if I ate something yucky, I feel I MUST go immediately to the closest Urth Caffe and order at least one warm chocolate chip cookie.


(…or whatever close substitute I can get to, if I can’t get to Urth. Which is dangerous, because if I eat another dessert that ALSO tastes gross, I’ll feel even worse and yet STILL need to find that final happy ending bite…)



Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

See if THAT tasted bad, I'd be so disappointed, I would first eat the whole thing just to be SURE... and THEN I'd have to have some ice cream at the end of it just to leave me with a good taste in my mouth. Excuse me, I need to go barf now.

Smell it

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 11:05 AM
Tuesday, May 29, 2012

EW! You pervert! You know what you were thinking when you read the title of this blog. Well, it’s not about that.

Not… exactly.

Okay, it is SORT OF about smelling your loved one’s nether areas… but I’m talking about those times you don’t WANT to smell something – um – intimate, and yet you unfortunately find yourself doing just that.

I’m talking about laundry, of course.

Ladies, I know you feel me! At least those of you who live with or are married to a man.


Oh, sure. They’ll throw SOME of their dirty clothes in there. Just enough, in fact, to lead a woman on and make her thing there is hope that he could learn, he could grow, he could change and evolve and someday learn to put ALL his clothes into the dirty hamper, ALL at one time.


Whew! Thanks, I needed that.

No, no, no, as we all know (we who have lived with a man for more than a couple months at a time), there is no way most men will every learn this. They are too busy falling asleep in front of the TV.

So instead, it is our duty, as loving wives and mothers and protectors of all things domestic, to pick up those clothes strewn on the bed and chair and floor and…

Smell them.

Because who wants to wash clothes that are in perfectly good condition and can be worn again?

Sorry, I may have been channeling someone’s dead Jewish grandmother there.

But Ethyl is right – I don’t want my husband to go without his favorite shorts if they aren’t really dirty. I don’t want to waste the water and the soap and the time it takes to clean something that is already clean.

So I smell.

And boy oh boy, sometimes do I get punished for that action.

I can only say that the universe does have its way of spreading around burdens so that everyone gets his or her fair share.

Because yesterday, when my husband was putting our kids to bed, and our littlest told him she had “poopy in her diaper”? Yeah, he didn’t believe her either.  It was just a ploy to make him stay longer in her bedroom!


Only one way to find out.

Hee hee hee…


Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

Awww, isn't little Rosalita soooo cute! Honey, I've got my hands full, would you just mind checking for me- KACKACKACKACKACKACKACKACK!!! Payback's a bitch.

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Vacation’s All I Ever Wanted

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 12:53 PM
Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sometimes I have trouble getting lost in the moment. Perhaps this is why I don’t like cooking – it’s impossible for me to put food into a pot without already visualizing what it’s going to take to clean that pot later on. Similarly, I like to clean because I like things clean – but I have a hard time sweeping up crumbs, dirt, wood chips and other tiny items from the floor without already bracing myself for the new layer that will surely appear once all three kids descend on the house after school.

A dear friend of mine used to make me laugh, regaling me with stories about how his cleaning-obsessed mother used to scream at him and his brothers if they walked into the living room, since she had inevitably just vacuumed. Then she would chase them back out and re-vacuum her beautiful floor, kids be damned. They’ll be fine outside; it’s not snowing!

Ha. Ha.

I have so become that mom. Back in the good ole “full time cleaning lady” days of yore, I used to snack on rice crackers and chips and challah bread right alongside my husband and children, caring little whether I left a Hansel and Gretel trail behind.


I still let my kids and husband eat in the living room.  I haven’t yet succumbed to my friend’s mother’s deepest instincts to chase them out with a broomstick, shouting, “Shoo! SHOO!”

But it is hard – nay, impossible, for me to watch them enjoying their snack without already seeing the layer of snack snowdrift that will accumulate once they have satiated their cravings.

This tendency of mine is causing arguments between me and my husband, too. He suggests a new idea, a new venture, and I’m excited! But I also mention all the work that will be involved, manifesting that new idea. This gets him upset – why am I such a buzz kill? Why must I shut him down at the moment he first lets a new idea fly?

Why indeed?

I’d go ponder it over a bowl of cereal. But I hate how the milk always drips onto the tablecloth.

What? This place is like one giant perpetual load of laundry.

Okay, I think I need a vacation. Translation: a maid.


Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

They SO have the right idea.

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How Conveeeeenient

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 11:03 AM
Monday, May 14, 2012

So my husband’s eyes? Gorgeous. Deep brown, thick lashes, windows to a beautiful soul… But in the “vision” category, not quite a 10 out of 10. I think I remember a time when we first dated (10-ish years ago) when he didn’t squint as he read small text. But we all know what kind of memory I have, so I may just be making that time up altogether.

What matters is now, and now… my husband needs reading glasses.

Mind you, my husband HAS glasses. They just aren’t the right strength.  For years, he argued to me that if he would just do a half hour of eye exercises per day, his eyes would retain their prior eagle’d glory. And I get it – my wrists have never been the same since I was pregnant with my 2nd child, and to this day (6 years later), I am still absolutely convinced that somehow, someday, with the right combination of diet/meditation/doctor treatments/healings/acupuncture/medicine/exercise/denial, they will once again regain their former imperviousness to pain and downward dog.

But for now, my wrists are fragile and my husband’s eyes are not seeing 20/20.

I got so tired of seeing him squinting like crazy as he stooped to read a text or email, that I began badgering him to go to an eye doctor and get a proper prescription months ago. Finally, last month, he went! He got new glasses! He wore them! He stopped squinting!

And then he stepped on his glasses.

He had the lenses refitted to different frames… but the magic was gone, the spell broken. Those frames soon broke too, and as if no eye doctor’s visit had ever been paid, back he went to CVS Drug Store to by the over-the-counter glasses he had used for so long.

The kind that are about 2 points weaker than his actual lens prescription.

Yeah, there’s been a lot of squinting as of late.

But something else… when I brought up the issue of toothpaste stains on the sink that he hadn’t wiped away, he mentioned that he hadn’t seen them.


Ahhhhhh…. methinks me understands.

No can see… no need clean.

Pretty sneaky, sis.


Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

The drawer where hubby's glasses go to die.

The Best Mother’s Day… a Dream in Words

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 12:36 PM
Friday, May 11, 2012

As I sat down to list the top five or ten things a mother REALLY wants on mother’s day (to be able to sleep all night uninterrupted, all the way until 11am if she wants to, to be given space and time to catch up  on her favorite novel, to be treated by her husband to brunch, to be given flowers, jewelry, taken out to the movies – or allowed to go on her own), something occurred to me.

For our birthdays, we generally want stuff that we need or would love to have, but don’t have or want to spend the funds necessary to buy them for ourselves. Jewelry, new sneakers, a mani/pedi – these and other gifts are perfect for birthdays because they spoil us in a way that we’d like to spoil ourselves were we not so darned frugal.

The funny thing about Mother’s Day gifts is that the actual list looks similar to that of a birthday – mani/pedi or spa day, jewelry, new sneakers, a night out – but the idea behind them is very specific:

On Mother’s Day, we want to be given the exact things we can’t indulge in regularly exactly because we are moms.

Like a spa day. On a birthday, we appreciate a spa day gift certificate because it’s an indulgence we wouldn’t allow ourselves to purchase for ourselves. On Mother’s Day, we appreciate a trip to the spa because WE WANT TO GET THE HELL AWAY FROM OUR KIDS FOR A FEW HOURS.

Let’s get real, moms.

Being a mom is great but it’s hella hard work. “Mother’s Day” is every day for us – what we really want on Mother’s Day, therefore, are “Single Girl” gifts: flowers, jewelry, getting pampered for a day, or a movie night. Perhaps the best example of this is our favorite “Mother’s Day” Single Girl gift (take note, dads): 10 or more hours of uninterrupted sleep. (Single girls – you may protest here – I know you wake up early to go to the gym or work, and stay up late watching TV, partying, or studying, but really, how many of you can say you’ve spent 5 out of 7 nights a week getting woken up and then spending 5 to 120 minutes of those mid-night waking hours trying to soothe a child back to sleep? EVERY week? For SIX years straight? Thoughts not.)

Judge us if you want, but the real desire of every mother, every Mother’s Day, is not crayoned pictures from your little ones or breakfast in bed.

It’s a few hours – nay, let’s be real – 24 hours, of blissful quiet, grownup fun, and peace.

A Grownupgirl can always dream…


Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

This was the daughter (tall one in the back who looks exactly like I did when I was 6) who DIDN'T cry her lungs out during their school's most excellent Mother's Day brunch today.


posted by BatSheva Vaknin 10:30 AM
Wednesday, May 9, 2012

My husband and I have a pretty awesome arrangement when it comes to division of household labor.  He cooks, and I (usually) clean. He also gardens, by the way, which means not only do we have a beautiful backyard, we also have an edible back yard – tomatoes, peppers, artichokes, strawberries and lettuce keep happy company with our fig, grapefruit, loquat and lemon trees.

So what could ever go wrong in this veritable Eden of a home?

Sorry, did you not read what I wrote in the first paragraph? I USUALLY CLEAN.

Which, let me clarify, I am NOT complaining about. At the moment.

No, what I am complaining about right now is not cleaning per se – it is, quite specifically, cleaning a particular cutting board who for the sake of this blog I’ll just call “Merple.” (He doesn’t deserve a regular human name.) Merple sucks. He is gigantic, heavy, and doesn’t have a handle. His surface has deep grooves, which makes him extremely hard if not impossible to clean completely, especially after something tomato-y and oily has spilled on him.

Now take my favorite two cutting boards, Mavis:

Ain't she a cutie pie?

and Pearl:

Sweet as candy!

They are adorable! Lightweight, smooth, colorful, easy to use, easy to clean and of course they have handles. Neither Mavis nor Pearl has EVERY given me trouble.

Merple, on the other hand?

Of course my husband LOVES to use Merple.

Uses him any chance he gets – whether it’s to cut chicken, lettuce (no, not exactly in that order, I do know a few things about sanitary rules), chiles, lemons and anything else he can dig his knife into. Loves, loves, LOVES Merple.

Ergo, I get stuck cleaning Merple, just about every day. Often several times a day.

Yesterday, as I soaped and scrubbed Merple for like the 20th time, trying to erase the color orange from his belly, he slipped out of my grasp (no handle, remember?) and banged down on my finger, slamming it against the counter, hard. My fingertip STILL hurts today.



Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)


EASY OFF – the sequel

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 11:00 AM
Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I know what you are thinking. You’re thinking, will the Grownup Girl EVER stop writing about how she is tired, over-houseworked, underpaid, etc?

I’m thinking the same thing, dear, dear readers.

Soon, I promise, I’ll get back to those crazy kids, my crazy past and my even crazier aspirations and observations.

But um… just for now… it’s literally all I can think about. I do the dishes… but then my shoes make the linoleum dirty. So now I have to mop. Again. REALLY. REALLY???

I feed the kids, the dining room floor becomes a mess again. Obviously. They are kids. And I fed them rice. And lentils. May as well have thrown a vat of rice and lentils at them, and yelled, “mouths open!”

I clean the floor of my girls’ room with the help of the expert cleaner, 5 year old Racheli. Racheli leaves to brush teeth, and just as I sigh with happiness at the sight of their carpet – by golly, I KNEW it was under there somewhere! – little Esther methodically removes every single “pretend food box” from inside the giant “shopping cart” where they had just been blessedly put away.

Honey. We need to put those back. Please. We just cleaned your floor.


That little whippersnapper has a scream that will see and raise any paltry hand of “nails on a chalkboard.”

Racheli and I hatch a plan to clean the boxes once Esther has finished unloading them. We do so, and Esther puts them out on the floor again. She will not allow us to replace them in the cart until she is safely tucked away in bed and can’t see the durn things.

Oh – and I clean Yehuda’s room before putting him to bed. Three minutes later, he has dragged his entire bedding, stuffed animals, blankets, sheets and pillows, halfway down the hall. Bad dreams. Naturally.

And don’t even get me stated on all the pee-soaked sheets.

But the kicker… is the oven. In my bleary delirium, drying/putting away dishes while my husband washes, I accidentally opened the oven to put away a pot, thinking it was the cabinet.

What? I told you I hardly ever use the thing.

And lo and behold… the freakin Easy Off I so proudly and suffocatingly used for the first time 2 weeks ago… was STILL IN THERE. White streaks, covering EVERY INCH OF THE DAMN OVEN.


My husband tsk-tsked… “Don’t you know you have to wipe it after spraying?”

GRRRRRRR. Like he is such the “Easy Off Expert.”


Though I admit, whereas I may have vigorously wiped the Easy Off, I apparently needed to also wipe the Easy Off… Off.



Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

Gee, Alice, how DID you keep that big house with all those kids so sparkling clean?? OH YEAH. YOU WERE JUST ACTING.

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No Exit

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 11:00 AM
Tuesday, April 17, 2012

You might say it’s “hard” to get everything done when you are a stay-at-home mom who also works part-time, blogs, volunteers, studies Kabbalah and keeps Shabbat, helps her husband with his work and is trying to learn guitar so I can actually accompany myself when I sing the songs that I wrote.

Then again, if you did say that… you’d be wrong.

Dead wrong.

It’s not hard at all!!!!


Why is it, that the minute I’ve folding four loads of laundry, there are instantly TWO new loads that must be washed? I haven’t even put the four loads away, for crying out loud! Seriously. They are spread out all over our living room couches.

No TV tonight, kids! It’s our clothes’ turn to watch their programs. Their soaps.

Did I mention I’m also losing my mind just a little bit?

The good part about THAT is that I seem to be losing the bit of my mind that actually thought I was able & CAPABLE OF FINISHING THINGS. Because I can’t.

The girls’ room was clean yesterday morning. Now every time I cross by it, my brain spasms ever so slightly at the sight of toys all over the rug. I WILL NOT GO IN THERE I WILL NOT CLEAN IT UP I HAVE MORE IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO LIKE – OH YEAH, EAT. OH YEAH, AND WORK.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

And by “mighty,” I mean those who used to have a full time housekeeper.

And by “fallen,” I mean they got trapped in a Sartre play, only this time the situation they cannot exit is the mess they live in.



Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

If you wanna hear one of my songs, just click on the audio link, below. Wouldn’t it be cool if I could strum along to my OWN SONG? Yeah. It would. WARNING: I HAVE NO TIME TO FIGURE OUT WORDPRESS SO WHEN U CLICK IT’S GOING TO OPEN UP A BLACK WEBPAGE. JUST SO YOU CAN HEAR THE SONG. YOU CAN SKIP IT IF YOU WANT. THOUGHT U SHOULD KNOW.

Another Lonely Night – BatSheva Vaknin

This was one of my album covers, back in the day. Ok, "Band flyer cover". But still. Hey, I'm talking to you! Quit looking at my nipple! Aw, forget it.


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