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Get Out of Debt Free Card – only students may apply

October 27, 2011

What can I say?  This latest stint by university students has my blood boiling.

These people are protesting paying their student loans!  They claim that the cost of education is too high and the burden of the debt is crushing them.

Who forced them to take out these loans in the first place?  It didn’t used to be so incredibly commonplace for people to have bachelor’s degrees.  Now, a bachelor’s degree won’t give you a leg up on getting a job but you will need it before you can even get an interview.

If they couldn’t afford school they shouldn’t have attended.  Harsh? Perhaps.

If the costs of attending university made higher education so unattainable for so much of the population there should be protests and changes demanded in the entire system BEFORE promising the bank you will pay them back for said lump sum of money you requested of them.

The bank charges high interest?  That is a shame, but it is also business.  Protest that the banks should lower the interest rates on student loans.  They didn’t chase after you and twist your arm to take out a loan with them.

Many students take the difficult and honorable route of working (many times multiple jobs) and paying their way through university without loans.  Attend in-state at the local state university and not the big shot expensive one.  While doing that if you still feel like you are getting ripped-off by the exclusivity of the more expensive universities protest and petition to your heart’s content about making changes in the system.

However, don’t sign a contract with the bank promising them you will pay them back and agreeing to their terms and then turn around and beg to be absolved of all responsibility for it.  If the U.S. Government gives in to these ridiculous demands, forgiving the student debt of thousands of students, how will that teach them to become responsible adults in our society?  Who would be footing the bill to the banks who would be losing their money? The hard working taxpayers of course.

I don’t understand why they feel so deserving of a pardoning of debts.

What if I purchase a house, I get the majority of the funding in the form of a mortgage from the bank, signing a contract with monthly payments for the next 35 or so years.  These payments are annoying and take a huge chunk out of my salary.  Why can’t I protest to be forgiven the rest of this loan payment?  If I tried that shtick they would take my house right out from under me.  These students don’t risk losing their diplomas or getting all that they learned erased from their memories.

Come on guys.  Time to grow up.

~Bluma

What do you think about these protests?  Do you think the government will give in to their demands?  Do you think this is as ridiculous as I do?  Is there a side to this story that I am missing?

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Playing House

October 27, 2011

Where is the dish washing fairy when I need her?

The dishes from yesterday didn’t get done and the dishes from today’s breakfast have piled up alongside them.  I am avoiding them. I am thinking about doing them.  I will be doing them shortly…after I finish typing this post, after I get my son dressed, after I read him a story, after I make him lunch, after…well at least before I make my challah dough I will tackle that pile.

But dish washing takes so long, it makes my feet, tummy and floor wet.  (Yes for some reason I always have my tummy pressed against the counter while washing dishes and I get this oh-so-fashionable water line on my top or robe.) Dish washing can be pushed off for later, other things are more important.  For instance, getting my son dressed! I may be procrastinating doing that too because it always results in a backache.  I have to wrestle with him!  He thinks it is a game and laughs all the while I get lower back spasms.  But I would still dress him before washing the dishes.

I don’t know why washing dishes always feels like such a daunting task to me.  When I actually get down to it though it is a simple, painless and mostly a quick process.  Always quicker than what I imagine it will be…my yetzer hora can really exaggerate sometimes.

I have been married almost four years already, shouldn’t I have my act together?  When is the deadline for chances at becoming a balebusta?

I want to be a balebusta.

I want my family to relax in a clean, orderly house, freshly pressed spotless (not just clean) clothing, a fully stocked fridge and freezer and timely elegant meals three times a day at fixed hours.

A girl can dream right?  A woman can dream, a woman can dream!  Why do I still see myself as a girl?  I feel incompetent when I see some other houses, and I feel a bit better when I see others.  We all have our strengths of course and I want oh-so-badly for running a household to be mine!

I think part of it stems from my perfectionism.

What? How can a perfectionist have a messy house?  I’ll tell you.  I have a difficult time getting myself to perform a task if I have the slightest doubt that it won’t be done perfectly.  Mind you in the meantime I am stressed out that the task hasn’t been done and my house isn’t perfect.

It is a vicious cycle.  Oh and my emotional eating as a result of that stress (among others) just peachy.

I want to adapt the motto of Just Do It!  Sometimes I have overpowered my yetzar hora with that motto and gotten a task done that I had been pushing off.  It felt great to have it done!!  I want to continue to use that mantra, repeating it as often as necessary until my house becomes as gorgeous and well run as the finest balebusta I know, my mother-in-law.

Well, I wish.  I know we aren’t supposed to measure ourselves against anyone else, bla bla bla, more psychobabble.  I think we should do a bit of comparison.  Why?  Well if we don’t compare each other how do we know what to strive for?  Granted, being exactly like someone else is not attainable because there are too many variables, but being similar or emulating positive traits and working on yourself are all good things in my opinion.

May G-d help us develop into the balebustas we would like to be.

~Bluma

Do you feel like you are a girl playing house?  Did you ever feel that way and if so, when did you grow out of it?  How long were you married until you felt you were doing a good job running your home?

Wednesday’s Wacko of the Week

October 26, 2011

Every week I will bring you a real news headline from the past week about a parent who did something the complete antithesis of responsible.  Obviously some stories will be more gruesome in nature than others, but all of them will leave you feeling better about yourself and your parenting at the very least!

This week’s wacko is 48 year-old Susan Hendricks from Charleston, South Carolina. (You can find the news story here.)

This one murdered her two sons, ex-husband and step mother.  Her family members have told police that she killed them to cash in on their life insurance policies.

How can a mother take the life of her own children?  The lowest of the lowly creatures.

This mother deserves to be stripped of the title, however biologically and factually she did mother her sons.  In yesterday’s post I was feeling quite a bit anti-Money.  I was (and still am) bothered by the grip and rule money has on our lives.

Unfortunately, there are many times we do things that cause us to value money before people.  Maybe there is a fantastic sale going on that you just can’t miss and you push off talking to the friend or family member who called you to ask for a chat because they are in a rough patch.  Or what about being insulted that someone didn’t give you money (or enough money) for a wedding gift…do you care about that person or only how they can be of help to you?

This woman who murdered her sons just took this obsession over money a few steps further.  The people didn’t matter to her, not even her own children.  In this crazed person’s mind money matters MUCH more than people do.  I wonder if they will just give her guaranteed free housing and food, oh I mean prison, for the rest of her life?  As a side note, she also happens to have shot someone to death 5 years ago claiming self defense.  She was not charged with a crime in that instance.  This gives a terrible name to the concept of having a personal firearm to use in self defense.  Anti-gun lobbyists could have a field day with this story…

May G-d help us all appreciate the people in our lives much more than we care about money at all times.

~Bluma

Do you find this story at all relevant to your life, or is this just someone who must be insane and therefore not comparable?  What if witnesses come up that say she was a normal person and a loving mother all her life and they can’t imagine she would be capable of such a thing?  Any other thoughts or feedback?

Budgeting Before Conceiving?

October 24, 2011

Whatever happened to the good old days? You know, the ones where we all lived in single family houses with a yard, maybe a family cow, probably a few chickens running around.  The days when pregnancy was an expected result of marriage.

In today’s day and age it is en vogue to scrupulously plan producing offspring.  No longer does marriage mean life-long partnership and the pursuit and desire to reproduce thereby having children to carry on the family name.  No longer does having as many children as possible make economic sense.  Or does it?  Which opinion am I espousing here?  Certainly not a Jewish one.

Aside from the mitzva (commandment) to reproduce, in Judaism we are taught that children are blessings.  They are precious souls entrusted into our care by G-d.  Shouldn’t we want to have as many of these blessings as possible?  Or at least as many as we could physically or emotionally handle?

But what about the money?

Before they are born you are paying for them.  There is the prenatal care, special cravings, cost of vitamins and sufficient diet, possible costs of extra household help and hospital stays in complicated pregnancies, potential loss of income from missed days of work.  Right when they are born you pay for the birth, the bris or kiddush, you have to feed them, clothe them, pay for schooling, toys, beds, shoes (Oh how they go through shoes!), make a bar mitzvah, marry them off (some parents even buy their children apartments!)…the list goes on and on.

That is one financially daunting list my friends.  For a person who is very careful about their spending and is stingy boy forget about it!  The thought of a baby just might drive them to the psychiatric ward.

Money.  They would rather keep their money for themselves.  They are afraid they won’t have enough money to justify bringing another life into this world.

It is easy to forget that we humans are not in charge of this world.  G-d is running the show and no matter of preparation on our part will absolutely prevent or ensure our having children.

Yes, the world runs on money and money can buy almost everything there is to be had in the physical world, there is no denying that.  However, even if someone has as much money as he deems adequate to care for and support a child I can’t say that it justifies him trying to have children.  Why?  Because that money is tangible.  It can be lost any minute no matter how hard we try to protect it.  The stocks invested in could crash, the shoebox you stored it in could catch fire (you wrapped it in foil? Someone could steal it before you are allowed back into your house after the fire) the bank could go belly up etc.

Ok, so you don’t think that having savings is important before having children?

I don’t think savings can guarantee anything.  However the fact that you worked hard and earned that money shows that you are responsible, and THAT I think is a very important quality in a parent.

We can’t control whether or not we will have children, even with all the infertility treatment in the world there are still women desperately trying to conceive and waiting for their prayers to be answered.

Are you suggesting that every married woman have as many children as G-d gives her and never try to intervene?

No.  I do believe that there are limits for everything.  Everything is subjective.  However, I object to the current mindset of society at large that you must have money before you have a child otherwise you are irresponsible.

The Jewish take on the money issue is that G-d sends the money with each child.  Yeah, I could see how a husband might spend increasingly more hours at his place of work as the number of children in the household grows.  Seriously speaking, we have to pray and work as hard as we can and know that it is all in G-d’s hands.

May G-d bless us all to have our desired children and may they all be healthy and a source of much nachas.

~Bluma

Do you think that having a budget and savings in place are necessary before a baby is born?  Is it irresponsible to have children without these things?  Know any stories of lost savings or miraculous increases in income?

Not Sharing

October 23, 2011

Growing up, one of the most common refrains we heard from the adults around us involved some version of coaxing us to share.  As a parent, I hear myself repeating it over and over to my son.  I even get a bit peeved when another child won’t share something that I expect a child that age would share with my children.

This morning as I prepared my coffee it hit me – I don’t share!

What? A grown adult who doesn’t share? How childish!  Isn’t it?  What about all the refrains we repeat to children as they are growing designed to groom them for the future?

“Don’t hit your sister.”

“Don’t throw toys.”

“Don’t talk with your mouth full.”

“Brush your teeth.”

Etc.

I don’t know about you but I find that most adults don’t hit each other, throw toys, talk with their mouths full and most at least occasionally brush their teeth without being told.  There are definitely people who as grown adults do continue to misbehave but we wouldn’t label them as highly functional socially – and I am certain that each of them has their excuse – everyone blames their parents.

Now, why is it the average adult doesn’t share?

Every play date I have been to, every classroom I have visited the command to share with others is repeated ad nauseam.

Adults who do share are few and far between.  What do I mean by sharing?  Well, someone who always gives of what they have, even if it means that they lose out.  A few examples; someone needs a place to sleep for the night – a person who shares would give up their own bed and sleep on the couch/blow-up mattress/floor what have you.  Lending someone your car when they truly need it. (Can you imagine not having your own car at your disposal?)  A person bakes something they really like and serves it to their guests with the possibility that there won’t be anything left for themselves.

So what made me realize that I don’t share?

I baked a double batch of chocolate chip cookies.  Now I personally prefer chewy cookies.  All of the trays except the last that I baked came out crispy.  Here is the bad part – I stashed away the chewy cookies.  I have been eating them by myself sneakily defrosting a few  at a time and eating them alone.

How terrible!

How selfish of me!  Especially now that I see it in writing it is really sinking in.  That is one ugly midda (character trait) to have my friends.  I need to stop excusing myself for being selfish and not sharing.

As soon as I realized what I had been doing I made a firm decision to stop this midda in its tracks.  Even though no one was around to see if I would have taken out my special reserved chewy cookies, when I prepared my coffee this morning I drank it with the crunchy cookies( albeit  they were submerged in the coffee instead of eaten in the hand).  I will take out my secret stash from the freezer and put it into the cookie jar with the rest of the cookies.

There are so many books and short stories written about selfless people and I always read them with such admiration.  “Wow”, I think to myself, “I wish I could be like that.”  I wasn’t able to put my finger on what made me so different from those people I so much want to emulate.  I think this morning’s revelation is the main stumbling block that has kept me out of the selfless category.

I remember growing up there were food items in the house that were forbidden to me; a special ice cream only for one family member, oreos for another, etc.  Of course if you have a child or ever were a child you can bet your bottom dollar that I found ways to eat some of them when no one was looking.  I even made sure to spoon out the ice cream in the same manner it was before so no one would notice it had been eaten.  (There I go – blaming my parents!)

Now that I realize that I have identified the problem I will work to correct it.  After all, when we grow up aren’t we supposed to be able to share?

~Bluma

Do you know how to share? Or do you also have trouble sharing? Any suggestions on how we can work on becoming selfless instead of selfish?

While I am working on becoming selfless I will share the chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe with you!

Ingredients:

2 cups flour

1/2 teas. baking soda

1/2 teas. salt

3/4 cup mayonaisse

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1 tbls. vanilla extract

2 eggs

1/2 pkg. chocolate chips

Directions:

Mix eggs, sugar and mayo together.   Add baking soda to flour making sure there are no chunks (just rub it between your fingers before adding) then mix into everything else.  Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees Farenheit for about 15 minutes.  This should produce 18 big cookies.  If you make them smaller reduce baking time or they will not be chewy!

Enjoy!

A New Year, a Fresh Start

October 21, 2011

We have just begun the year 5772.  The holidays have floated by me in a haze…when I managed to say the customary prayers I felt swamped in guilt.   Especially the sections where we confess to a laundry list of sins…boy could I relate to some of them.  Far too many!  No wonder I had such a hard time getting myself to pray on these holy days – I was ashamed of myself!  The yearly day of judgement came and I was cowering under my bed covers.

I want this year to be different.

Growing up I repeatedly heard that adults are responsible.  Could I be a tad bit in denial at age 28 that I am an adult?  I know that as a teenager I pictured a 28 year old as a real full-fledged grown up.  Having reached this age I still feel so young and unworthy around other adults who are older than me.  (My mind currently pictures the age of 35 to be the official “you’re an adult now” age.)

Last night I lay awake thinking about how when we pass into the next world we are shown our life like a film before us, over and over again.  I tried to shake off the dread and told myself that no one really knows what happens after death – maybe it won’t happen.  Ok…that is one way to ignore the problem.  The real issue here is that I am ashamed of myself!  There are many aspects of my life that need changing.  If there is a film of my life shown before me after this life I certainly want it to be one that I am proud of.  I had better shape up!

Thus this blog was created.  I plan on sharing my failures and successes (G-d willing!) as I strive to improve myself.

~Bluma

What are some ways you are working to improve yourself?  Have you found anything that helps or deters your efforts?