# Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Words fail me

My mother just told me that a woman put an ad in her local Job Centre for reliable domestic staff and she was told she had to remove the world "reliable" as it discriminated against unreliable women.

I refrain from comment.

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# Monday, 18 January 2010

Silver girls go shopping in the snow

A couple of weeks ago, a pretty heavy (for Manchester) snow storm hit us. The girls trudged off to school in the snow, and we set about our daily routine.

Around 10am, we had a telephone call from the girls’ school, saying that they would be closing in ten minutes, and please could we come and pick them up. Good job we were in eh?

So, wrapping ourselves up, we set off for school. As the Boss was due to do some shopping that morning, and was nervous about the snow, I went with her. We borrowed a neighbour’s sledge, as we couldn’t find either of ours, and off we went to collect the girls and take them with us to the shops.

As we came out of one of the shops, a photographer from one of the local rags approached us and asked if he could take a picture of Simcha, who was pulling the sledge along. Shayna Brocho didn’t want to be left out, so posed with her.

Someone cut the picture out and gave it to us...

Simcha and Shayna Brocho shopping in the snow

The quality of the picture isn’t so great, but that’s because I had to scan a crumpled piece of newspaper!

As always happens, life ground to a halt as the country was totally unable to cope with the snow. Nechoma Bryna was away at the time. She had gone to Lvov in Lithuania, to teach in a school there for a couple of weeks. She came home to find the entire country at a standstill due to the snow.

Having just come back from much deeper snow, and seen the local population carry on as normal, she wasn’t impressed! She did stop complaining about the cold though. Every time anyone commented on it, she said “Huh, this is nothing. You should have been in Lvov.” Apparently it was –15 degrees C when she was there. Ouch .

Predictably, the population of Manchester grew significantly over the next couple of days as the children made snowman after snowman. Our courtyard was so full of them that the cars couldn’t have got out, even if they hadn’t been snowed in.

Most of these snowmen were the usual variety, but one in particular caught my eye. This life-sized one was beautifully carved, and was actually a lot better than this photograph shows...

Impressive snowman

It was fun while it lasted, and a huge mess afterwards. And now it's all gone... except they're forecasting more for Wednesday evening!

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# Monday, 21 December 2009

My very first virus – I am proud!

A virus todayI had my first virus yesterday! No, I don’t mean a cold or flu, sadly I’ve had those before. I mean a computer virus, you know the type that other people get but I don’t ‘cos I’m clever! Well, I’m obviously not as clever as I thought.

For years I never bothered with a virus checker, as I figured they were for daft people who download all and sundry from all sorts of dubious places. However, clever people like me who never download anything dubious, and would only download from trustworthy places, such things as virus checkers weren’t needed.

OK, so this was a stupid attitude, but amazingly enough, I survived for years with it. I finally got an anti-virus program a year or two back, but often wondered why. It sits there checking things, but never finds anything. After all, I’m clever!

Well, yesterday, I clicked on a link in a very well-respected professional forum, and when the expected site appeared, so did a PDF file of rubbish! I couldn’t work out where the file had come from, and was rather surprised when my anti-virus started throwing warnings at me about deadly viruses on my system.

B”H, the anti-virus killed them before they actually hit the computer, so no harm was done, but it did provide a useful life experience, as well as an object lesson in not sitting on your laurels. Apart from squashing them, it can harm your computer.

Don’t know why I bothered writing about this actually. Mind you, I’m not sure why I bother writing about most things that I do, so why should this be any different?

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# Sunday, 29 November 2009

Back home again

Despite our best hopes, Chaya Devoira was still on oxygen on Thursday, night, which meant they had to stay in hospital over Shabbos. The doctors wouldn’t let her home until she could manage for 24 hours without any oxygen. She was fine during the day, but still needed a bit during the night when her breathing was more relaxed.

Apart from the usual erev Shabbos jobs, this meant that we had to organise food for them over Shabbos. This added to the regular erev Shabbos chaos in our house! It wasn’t helped by the fact that I was coming down with a chest infection, and didn’t really feel like doing anything other than crawling into bed. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time for that, and bashed on anyway. Mainly thanks to my mother (who, along with my father had been staying with us all week) and Nechoma Bryna, we got there in the end.

We spent most of Shabbos wondering how they were doing, and when they would be coming home.

To our delight, we got home from shul on motzei Shabbos to find that the Boss had rung and said they were waiting for us. It was a joyous party that went to the hospital. On the way out of the ward, I stopped to thank the nurses for their care. Ironically, as we left, one of them called out to “See you again!” I felt like saying “I sure hope not!” but decided that this might be misconstrued.

So, we are whole again. Chaya Devoira still has some antibiotics, and has regular doses with an inhaler which she really doesn’t like, but these are a minor price to pay.

I wonder what will be next?

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# Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Chaya Devoira in hospital – a taste of times gone by (not a great taste either)

Ho hum, here we go again...

Just over a week ago (17th Nov for the date fans), the Boss took Chaya Devoira to the doctor as she had a temperature and was feeling under the weather. The doctor gave her some antibiotics, and told her to keep an eye on things.

Fast-forward to Shabbos, and Chaya Devoira hadn’t really picked up. If anything, she was worse than before. She still had a temperature, and was very listless and floppy. She hardly ate and just wanted to be cuddled (mind you, that’s normal!).

After Shabbos, we called the doctor who examined her and decided he wasn’t happy with her high breathing rate. He sent us down to the paediatric accident and emergency department of the local hospital for further investigation. A&E is the greatest place to be on motzei Shabbos, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. As it was a children’s A&E, we were spared the drunken louts that populated the next door adult A&E section.

After connecting her to a SATs machine (see this old blog post for our first encounter with a SATs machine), the doctor decided that her oxygen saturation levels were too low. They sped her into a cubicle, and put her in an oxygen supply. This brought her levels back up to an acceptable level, and we all breathed a sigh of relief.

To cut an increasingly long story short, she was admitted to the hospital later that evening, and went into the high dependency unit (HDU), where she was plugged up to the old familiar monitors.

By morning, they had identified the problem as bronchiolitis (see this old blog post for more about bronchiolitis), which is pretty much the same as last winter. They administered antibiotics, and so began the old familiar routine.

On Sunday, she seemed a little better, and was even interested in playing a little. She sat herself up for the first time in several days, and we even managed a few giggles.

Yesterday (Monday) she was deemed well enough to be moved out of HDU, but as they had not yet identified which strain of bronchiolitis she has, they put her into a cubicle instead of on the main ward. This is good for the Boss, as the main ward was fairly full, and consequently fairly noisy. She was getting little enough sleep in HDU, and would have got even less on the main ward.

She was managed most of her waking hours off the oxygen, but still needed it for feeding and sleeping. She was still on an IVU drip as they were trying to reduce the amount of milk she had, as a full tummy presses up on the lungs and makes it harder to breathe.

Today she was off the IV, and back on full feeds. To our dismay, she had a harder time keeping her oxygen levels up, and we feared that this meant that she was struggling with the bronchiolitis. During the morning, a doctor popped in who was on the ward when she was born. He was actually the doctor who told us that she had Down’s Syndrome in the first place, as was very proud of the fact that he could pronounce her name correctly! Apparently there is a “ch” sound in Urdu, and he was going around correcting the nurses who were calling her all sorts of strange variations.

Anyway, this doctor sais that the lower oxygen levels today could be that the mucus in her lungs is detaching itself, which is blocking her up. Whilst this sounds like a bad thing, it’s actually a positive sign, as it is the first stage towards clearing her lungs completely. Apparently the mucus detaches, then either gets coughed up, or absorbed into the body (not exactly sure of the medical details here), so even though it’s causing her slight problems, it’s a first step towards getting rid of it.

It’s funny how we had put this whole part of her life out of our minds, and how quickly it all came back again. We had naively assumed that she wouldn’t have such problems after her heart operation, but it seems we were wrong. Here I am again playing Mummy (with a lot of help from Nechoma Bryna and my mother).

As usual, every cloud has a silver lining, and despite the fact that I’m run off my feet and exhausted, the extra time I’ve spent with the children has been marvellous. It’s also been quite cathartic being forced away from work and the computer. Apart from two e-mails, I think this is the first time I’ve used the computer properly since last Wednesday. On the one hand, my work is suffering, and I had things that needed doing, but on the other, I’m kind of enjoying ignoring it!

Anyway, got to go. A housewife’s work is never done you know :-)

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# Sunday, 15 November 2009

Pictures from our recent trip to Eretz Yisroel

As our dedicated reader will know, a subsection of the Smile Gemach recently returned from an all-too brief visit to eretz Yisroel. Here are a select few photographs from the trip.

The small pictures below are linked to larger versions, so if you would like a file suitable for printing, just click on the picture. They have all been resized to fit into a 6”x4” photo, which is a standard UK size. If you want a different size, let me know.


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# Monday, 09 November 2009

Happy birthday blog

I just noticed that my blog is four years, seven weeks and one day old :)

My very first blog post was entitled Brand new blog - will anyone read it?, and I think the answer was “No.”

Thank you for reading, if indeed you are. I may be typing to empty space for all I know.

Whilst I was perusing, I discovered that Geocities has finally given up and closed down, taking the original version of the PSG web site with it. last updated in about 1998, this was my first foray into the world of Internet self-publication (which is all that personal web sites and blogs are really). If you’re really bored, you can see an archive of the PSG web site circa 8th Oct 1999 on the Way Back When Machine, which is a great place to waste an hour or two, as it stores archives of web sites from years gone by.

I also discovered that the “contact us” page on the main PSG web site doesn’t work any more! Oh well, I guess those that know us know our e-mail address, and those that don’t are mostly trying to spam us anyway :)

See you in another four years, seven weeks and one day :-)

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If it says so in the paper, it must be true!

I have no idea if these are genuine, or done by someone with too much time and an image editing program on his hands, but they look fairly convincing, and are stupid enough to be true!

We present what might be some genuine classified adverts and “they didn’t mean that did they?” articles...

























































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# Monday, 26 October 2009

Chaya Devoira in a box of balls

On Chol Hamoed, we went to Gulliver’s World (family fun park) for a day out. Chaya Devoira went into a ball pool for the first time, and thoroughly enjoyed herself, bashing the balls and chuckling merrily. We realised that this was a very good developmental experience for her (good excuse eh?), and decided to buy some balls and a pool when we came home.

Having been amazed at the price of proper ball pools, we eventually found someone selling inflatable paddling pools for a few quid on eBay. We settled on one of these, and a separate purchase of balls. Having perused the offerings from both Tesco and the Early Learning Centre, who seemed to be about the only reputable people selling them, we went for the ELC balls, mainly due to the fact that the reviews there were good, whereas the reviews of the Tesco ones were largely negative, due to the soft and flimsy plastic used.

The balls arrived this morning. Not knowing quite how many we would need, we bought two hundred, which arrived in a large box. Much to the excitement of the other three little girls (and the complete indifference of Chaya Devoira, who was more interested in her breakfast), we opened them up. Not having the paddling pool yet, I emptied the balls into the box in which they had been delivered, and put Chaya Devoira inside.

The result? Total bliss for one little girl...

Chaya Devoira in a box of balls

For a girl who is supposed to have learning difficulties, she learned pretty quickly how to throw the balls out of the pool and across the kitchen floor! She then spent a very happy half hour bashing away at the balls, until the Boss removed her to get her dressed and off to school.

During the morning, the paddling pool turned up, and is now inflated in the kitchen, full of balls. Chaya Devoira is currently out at an appointment, but will presumably end up in the pool when she gets home. I reckon she will have until about 4:15pm, when the other little girls get home. At that point, she will either be removed to make way for someone else, or she will have company!

P.S. Just as an aside for those contemplating buying these balls, we weren’t hugely impressed with the strength of the ELC ones either. As you can see from the blue ball at the bottom right of the picture, they squash quite easily. I don’t know how well they will last when they get properly bounced upon. It may be that the squashiness allows them to pop back out again without splitting, or it may be that they’ll just split. We’ll see. If you are thinking of buying any, let us know and we’ll tell how these fared!

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# Thursday, 22 October 2009

Latest Chaya Devoira news

The exciting news is that Chaya Devoira has a tooth coming! You can’t see it yet, but you can feel it if you’re daft enough to put your finger in her mouth!

The other exciting news is that she sat herself up for the first time yesterday. She was lying on her tummy on the floor, and Aryeh Yehuda was making her giggle. She swung her legs out to the side (quite an amazing sight, I wish I was that flexible), round to the front and underneath her tummy. From there, she pushed herself up to a sitting position.

More news as events warrant. Watch this blog :-)

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