# Sunday, 22 August 2010

Bless her little cotton socks

We went to the zoo last week. They had talks throughout the day, each one about a different animal. As we were wandering around, we heard an announcement that there was going to be a giraffe talk very soon.

This sounded interesting, so we wandered along. We watched the giraffes, and listened to the talk.

When it was over, we started to leave, at which point, Simcha burst into tears. When we asked her what was wrong she said...

"I didn't hear the giraffe talk!"

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# Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Proofreading is a Dying Art...

I offer these with more than the usual bucket of salt. They are supposed to be genuine newspaper headlines. As usual, I make no claims as to their veracity, but I can sure believe them!

Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says

Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers

Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over

Miners Refuse to Work after Death

Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant

War Dims Hope for Peace

If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile

Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures

Enfield ( London ) Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide

Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges

Man Struck By Lightning: Faces Battery Charge

New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group

Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft

Kids Make Nutritious Snacks

Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half

Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors

Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead

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# Thursday, 10 June 2010

Update after many months

Well, having not updated this blog for ages (about seven weeks, but it feels like a long time), I decided it was about time. Trouble is, it’s too late at night to think of anything witty to write (I know, should be in bed), so I’ll compensate with a cute picture of Chaya Devoira:

Chaya Devoira

This was taken on Chol Hamoed Pesach, on a trip to Catalyst, which is a science centre on the Wirral (North-West England for those of you not familiar with our local geography). Housed in an old chemical plant, it had a fairly tall tower, whose top floor had glass walls on all sides, giving a rather good view of the Mersey, one of the bridges over it and, well, lots of other really interesting things!

Chaya Devoira had a great time crawling all over the place at a pretty impressive speed for her rather diminutive size. She will often stop in the middle of one of these crawls and look up to see where she’s going. It was during such a pause that I caught this picture.

The only other exciting thing that’s happened in the Smile Gemach recently is the return of our fish tank. Rather sadly, we had to leave this behind when we moved, as it was deemed unmoveable. The people that bought our house were very pleased to keep it, and we never got as far as getting another one in the new house.

Well, the people in our old house decided (after two years of fish keeping) that they wanted the space for a toy cupboard, and asked if we wanted our tank back. They removed the fish and took them to a fish shop, and I went round and dismantled the tank and cupboard. Unfortunately, my rather impressive (if I do say so myself) background that I built for the tank (click here for a nice picture) had been destroyed when they were trying to catch the fish (they’re a rather active type of fish, and very hard to catch), but apart from that, it was all in good order.

I managed to get the tank fitted in to our new house by the next day, and it was filled with water and ready for fish. For various reasons, it took about a week before we decided what we wanted to put in it, and another week or so before I managed to get to see the person who supplied me with fish before. We have a great arrangement: he supplies me with fish for free, and I fix his computer, which had conveniently just crashed before I rang!

So far, we only have a few fish, as you have to give the tank some time to settle down before putting in the full stock. We currently have four Neolamprologus leleupi, and four Julidochromis transcriptus "gombi." We are intending to get four each more of these two, as well as about eight Pseudotropheus saulosi, one male (the blue one) and seven females (the yellow one). Why they can’t give them simple names like guppies and platies is beyond me! Still, they look very nice. The pictures below are linked directly from other people’s sites (click the links on their names earlier in this paragraph to see more), so if you can’t see them, it means the site owners have moved the pics!

Neolamprologus leleupi
Neolamprologus leleupi

Julidochromis transcriptus "gombi"
Julidochromis transcriptus "gombi"

Pseudotropheus saulosi (blue male, yellow female)
Pseudotropheus saulosi

Well, as I have now waffled on about nothing for far more time than I should, I’m going to stop. Who knows, I might get around to updating this blog again sometime this year!

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# Monday, 19 April 2010

Cute quote from Thomas Edison

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
Thomas A. Edison

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# Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Chaya Devoira is the Shabbos Mammy

As our regular reader knows, Chaya Devoira goes to school, despite being only 18 months old. It is an integrated school, catering for special needs children, but with a reasonable number of children who don’t have special needs.

As with pretty much every kindergarten/nursery/etc around the Jewish world, they have a Shabbos party on Fridays, where a boy if chosen to be the Shabbos Tatty, and a girl is the Shabbos Mammy. Last week it was Chaya Devoira’s turn, so equipped with a tichel she waved a candle around whilst her “husband” made kiddush!

Chaya Devoira is the Shabbos Mummy

Judging by the picture above, it looks like one of the other girls was also lighting candles, but no-one minded, it was gorgeous! I’m not sure how much Chaya Devoira grasped what was going on, but she had a great time!

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# 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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