Posted by Julia Bendis
Is it terrible that I am always tricking my kids into eating or doing something that they don’t want to do? For example, for the first 8 years of my son’s life, he absolutely LOVED eating fish. Not just fish, seafood of any kind, he even had calamari a few times. How that could be, you ask? Well, let’s just say he didn’t KNOW he was eating seafood…
-Salmon, we told him was “Pink Chicken”.
-Shrimp became “Curled up chicken that was cooked in a different way”.
-Calamari was “Fried Chicken that at the end was sliced up in tiny long pieces and put on top of one large round piece of chicken”.
-And California Roll sushi became “sushi with pieces of that same pink chicken in it and slices of cucumber”.
Maybe my kids are just really, really gullible or naive, but it worked. I swear it worked for the first 8 years of my oldest life! You know what happened after? He started to listen to his friends, doing some research on his own, even the internet happened for him. And all of a sudden, my wonderful eater became my inquisitive eater!
He started questioning, and rejecting everything I served to him. “Mom”, he said one day. “You know how there are vegetarians in this world, they just can’t bring themselves to eat meat? Well, I am a Meat-arian! I can’t make myself eat poor, defenseless fish! Its disgusting, some seafood still have a face on!”
I would have been fine with that, since I could have started being even more creative, but he started brainwashing his little brother! So, now they both dissect the food that I make, and make arguments against it. That’s ok though, I can get very persuasive and clever with cooking. Just need to start hiding the food WITHIN the food!
Let’s see how that goes…
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January 26, 2011 | 11:56 am
Posted by Julia Bendis
Seeing an older lady at the grocery store today reminded me of my own Grandmother. She came to the U.S. a few years after we did. At 70 years old, she was eager to learn the culture, to try everything new, and to live the American dream. My Grandmother had lived through the Holocaust, moving from town to town by horse and carriage to avoid getting caught by the Nazis, survived Communism, had all kinds of health issues, and yet she was the most positive person I have ever known!
She lived with us for a while, but always wanted a place of her own. Being an incredibly social person, and always living in a metropolitan city, she was very depressed living in the Orange County’s suburbia. So, when we found her a place in a big apartment building that was known to house quite a bit of Orange County’s Russian population, she was ecstatic. Those were her requirements: big apartment building, Russians, if they are Russian Jews even better, but she was ready to tolerate any Russians.
As we were busy moving her in, she was busy making new friends. By the end of moving day, she had already made friends with – her words exactly: “the nosy red-head upstairs, the deaf one down the hall, the one in the wheelchair who has a nice looking husband, and the psychic professor who would like to tell me my future.” My Grandma had a thing against people’s names, she only referred to them by their attributes, mishaps, or hair color. As we found out later, apparently Grandma was using the wheelchair’s husband for rides to the Russian store, since she didn’t drive a car. I don’t even want to know what she gave him in return. As she liked to say quite frequently, “his wife doesn’t do anything, but complain and bitch, she won’t even have sex with him”, which was more than enough information that I needed to know.
When my Grandma passed away years later, going through her belongings we found a box that contained only what I can describe as: a lifetime supply of Condoms! They were also Russian, Communist-issued Condoms that I spoke about in my earlier posts. I believe that she was smuggling them from my parents! Not only was she smuggling condoms every time we had her over, but somehow other things would go missing after she’d leave as well. For example, rolls of toilet paper would be gone, and you know how big all Russians are on toilet paper! After the sand paper we used back in the USSR, American toilet paper is like heaven to us… I am not sure if she was re-distributing it between all the Russians in her building, or saving it for a rainy day, but a roll here and there was always missing. We never understood why she wouldn’t just ask us for it, or have us buy it at the store, we never said no to her, always took her shopping. Go figure…
Even though she didn’t have a car, somehow my Grandma got around to many places on her own. We did take her grocery shopping at least once a week, and there was nothing more hysterical than watching her shop. There were many times when I wanted to run out of the store out of sheer embarrassment, but held it together long enough to get her out of there. My Grandma didn’t speak English, but she did speak Russian, Yiddish and knew sign language. And when I say “sign language”, I mean literally using her hands to show, point, and demonstrate what she was talking about. Even though I was always right next to her in the supermarket, she would go up to people in the store and start asking them where the certain items were! And not just store employees either! If she couldn’t find anyone that worked there, she would just walk up to random strangers. Imagine a tiny, four-foot-ten-inches old lady coming up to you, waving her arms and hands violently in the air, pointing to random objects, meanwhile speaking Russian, Yiddish and her version of English! Most of the people had a look that only said one thing: Terror. The first time she did it, I explained to her that she shouldn’t do that, it scared people because they can’t understand her. “Nonsense, she looks Jewish, she must speak Yiddish!”, was her usual response. Or: “They understand my English when its accompanied by me pointing to items in the store.” How can anyone argue with that?
Grandma always reminded us that she could read, write and speak fluent English. You know why? Because she was a Dentist back in the Soviet Union, which meant that she learned how to write prescriptions in Latin, which was basically English! As much as we argued, and tried explaining to her that just because she learned some very basic Latin names for medications, did not mean that she could speak the English language, all to no avail… It was useless, she was a very strong and independent woman and insisted on doing everything herself. After a while, we just let her do her thing and just stood in the corner of the grocery store, waiting until the Manager announced: “Did anyone lose a Grandma that seems to be speaking a few foreign languages at once?”
January 21, 2011 | 7:05 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
As I was visiting my kids’ Pediatrician the other day, again, I thought about how often I am in there. Is it strange that I am on a first name basis with the front desk staff, or that I know more about what’s going on in their life than I need to know? Speaking of knowing too much about people’s lives, why is it that I always have to start a conversation with random strangers? It’s almost a disease with me, I cannot sit across from someone in a waiting room and NOT start a conversation! At the same Pediatrician’s office I start talking with a mom after hearing her kids’ horrible cough. After five minutes, I know way too much information! I know where this woman lives, how many kids she has, the schools they attend, how annoying her husband is, etc…
Most people are happy and content to sit quietly, enjoying their magazine or playing on their phone. Not me, I am neither content nor happy until I have made at least one friend with the people in the waiting room, or as my friends would say: “annoy the hell out of at least one person in the waiting room”. My brother calls it “the gift of gab”. The rest of my family calls it being annoying and nosy. I like my brother’s version better.
This Pediatrician I speak of is the same one that I gave my blog’s website to, so she could check out my shtick. Why would I want my kids’ Doctor reading about useless information, random vents and my kids adventures in the bathroom, you ask? Beats me. I probably shouldn’t be telling her that there are days when I lock myself in the bathroom with a bottle of Jack either, but I do. Yes, I agree most sane and rational Mothers wouldn’t share that kind of information, but I’d like to think that my Pediatrician and I have developed a good rapport by now. I tell her the bad and the ugly, and she tells me that they all grow up normal eventually. I tell her about the drinking at four in the afternoon, and she laughs her head off. I ask her if my family’s mental instability has possibly transferred into my children, and she tells me to wash those thoughts away with a good bottle of Merlot. I am more of a vodka straight up kind of a gal, but that will do.
See, she is a great Doctor, every Mother should have one like her. She doesn’t judge, or threaten to call Child Protective Services. Well, not yet. I am sure after reading some of my material, it might change…
January 19, 2011 | 11:30 am
Posted by Julia Bendis
I really don’t understand what’s all the bruhaha all about! Why is everyone so upset with Ricky Gervais, and his performance at the Golden Globes? Last time I checked, Ricky Gervais was a Comedian, and the Golden Globes committee hired him to host the show knowing that he is a Comedian, right? I am pretty sure they also knew that he is British, as well as his comedic style and sense of humor, right? It doesn’t just change overnight. He did the same thing last year as well. People, what is the big deal? I could be totally wrong about this, but I am pretty sure that Comedians are supposed to make people laugh, make fun of people, things and events, especially actors and celebrities. So, when Ricky made fun of celebrities at the Golden Globes for their own stupid behavior, was that not funny? I thought it was. People are saying that it was inappropriate and tasteless, but I couldn’t agree with that less! I think he was dead on, and furthermore funnier than every other host of that show or any awards show altogether! Jon Stewart tried it, and was funny but not edgy enough for my taste. Ellen DeGeneres was so-so, staying on neutral subjects and trying not to cross the line. That’s not comedy, that’s censorship. I want outrageous, tasteless, edgy, hysterical, dark humor! I don’t think I am alone in that.
Are we not supposed to laugh at the stupid lives of these so-called celebrities? Are we not supposed to laugh at their lavish lifestyles, multiple nannies, housekeepers, chefs, and personal trainers to make their lives “easier”, only to find them unable to manage their personal lives, get arrested over and over for public intoxication, driving drunk, hurt those around them, and finally end up in jail or rehab? Of course we are supposed to laugh at that. How else are they ever going to learn?
I absolutely loved seeing the actors faces when he was talking about them, it was priceless. Priceless, I tell you! Talking about the characters in the Tourist movie being 2-dimensional was genius, not tacky. Even I had to take a moment to think about that one, and you know that’s a good joke if that happens. What about his introduction of Robert Downey Jr.? Yes, it was crude but so what? Downey is constantly making fun of himself. For instance, a few minutes before the show started, as he was walking down the red carpet he made an obscene joke to a reporter about his drinking and rehab days.
If the guy can make fun of himself, he can definitely take a joke from a comedian. All of them can, they are not called Public figures for nothing!
So all of you straight arrows out there, take a chill pill (does anyone say that anymore?), buy yourself some sense of humor, and laugh a little!
January 18, 2011 | 2:09 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
People like me should Not be on Facebook! When you go to Facebook site to sign up, there should be a giant disclaimer that says: “For tough skin people only! People that are overly sensitive, wear their heart and feelings on their sleeves, and drama queens should NOT sign up!”
Let me explain. Sometimes when I log into my Facebook account, I notice one of my so-called “friends” had a party, with photos plastered all over their ‘wall’. “Why wasn’t I invited?”, runs through my head. Now, I am not saying that I have to be included in everything, and all your events. However, if you know me, you would know that I HAVE to be included in everything and ALL your events! If I don’t get an invitation, I seriously have a physical reaction and according to my husband, it ain’t pretty.
Most likely, I won’t even show up to your party or even want to go, but I want that invitation. I have to know that I am always wanted and needed for everything: organizing protests, organizing a party, planning any and all kinds of events, whether its a birthday celebration, a stake-out or a protest advocating something…
I need to be involved in everything, and anything. The majority of people in my life will say that I have pins in my ass, that I can never sit still even if my life depended on it. That’s my problem. I always have to be doing something. Facebook is definitely not for people like me. It is for people that generally don’t care whether they get invited to a birthday party, they are only interested in accumulating “friends”. The more, the better. They don’t care that they will never speak to them in person, or over the phone, they don’t care about their “friends” lives. Its all about bragging, bragging and some more bragging.
See when I heard about Facebook, I was so excited. To me, it meant that I get to reconnect with old pals from Russia, and relatives that are all over the world. Facebook may have started out that way, but it sure isn’t that way anymore.
It literally is all about: look at me, listen to me, look at my adorable baby at 1 month, 1 month and 2 days, 1 month and 3 days…
Seriously, there are people that do just that! It got so annoying that I started deleting people off my Facebook page. By now, most people know that if you piss me off, I will just delete you. What gets me even more fired up is this: I am at Costco with the family, from the corner of my eye I notice someone that is on my “friends” list on Facebook. I have not seen this person in about 15 years, but somehow we found each other on Facebook. This person looks straight at me, and proceeds to walk right past me like I he doesn’t know me. Don’t you think that if you are on someone’s Facebook page, you at least should come up and say ‘hello’, just as a courtesy? Yes, you should!
I realized that its time I started doing inventory of my so-called “friends” on Facebook, and in the process cutting them lose. I can totally hear you saying right now, “What he hell is the point of having a Facebook account if all you do is complain about it?”. My point exactly… I think its time we parted ways, for the third time…
January 14, 2011 | 3:58 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
Reading the newspaper the other day, I couldn’t help but notice an article about the Russian President Dimitry Medvedev and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Apparently, the two have become quite fond of each other, and as recently as last week even Tweeted about it.
Here are my issues with that. Its not enough that our wonderful “Governator” ruined the State of California, made our budget crisis even bigger, took funds away from schools and gave it to prisons, but now he is planning to do “business” with the Russian President? Russian government is already corrupt, and morally disfigured. It sure does not need another idiot like Schwarzenegger meddling with its economy, and trying to “go into business” with its President. Am I wrong? No, I am not.
What could those two possibly have in common? Well, apparently they are making a “play date” to go skiing together as well as Schwarzenegger helping Medvedev in creating Russia’s own Silicone Valley. Is it just me, or does that seem a bit odd? What the hell does “Governator” know about the tech world? Or for that matter, what does he know about the business world? Just because you used to make action films, have a famous wife, and have dabbled in some home purchases over the years, does not make you an expert on building a Tech Empire! He really should learn how to speak and write first. Have you listened to some of his so-called speeches? He can’t even formulate a sentence, without going off on some random tangent. For example, a few months ago he was supposed to be speaking about our education, and changes that were being made. Do you know what he started talking about? He went on and on about his Mother and Father, and how they always “kiss and hug me when I was a little boy in Austria. Even when we went out to the field, they always kiss and hug, kiss and hug, always. Before we went to school, they kiss and hug, kiss and hug. Today, parents don’t kiss and hug their kids. My parents always kiss and hug all of us, always kiss and hug.” You have to read it with a big Austrian/German accent for better result!
For the next ten minutes that’s all he talked about. Someone from his staff finally whispered into his ear, and he went on to another topic. I swear that guy is the last person you want “building” anything with!
And what is it with Russians being so enamored by American movie stars, especially the old ones, the ones that haven’t made anything in the past decade? The older, the better… I really don’t get that friendship. Is there something there that I don’t see?
January 10, 2011 | 1:57 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
Being at a car dealership this weekend, to finally get the recalled part on my car fixed, reminded me how much I truly enjoy car dealerships. Not only do I NOT mind haggling with the salesmen on a price, I look forward to it. After all, I am my father’s daughter. That same father that took me to a Saturn dealership for my first car, not just any car, my dream car. I wanted the two-door, sports coupe, with a sun-roof, a back spoiler and in a bright red color! I didn’t get either, but we got a killer deal on a Gold-colored sedan… Here is a little how the haggling went down:
Salesman: The total for this car, with tax and license will be $10,000.
My Dad: I will give you $5,000!
Salesman: Sir, we don’t negotiate on the sales price. Saturn dealerships have already low set prices.
My Dad: I tell you what I am going to do. I am going to write you a check for $5,000. We are going to get some lunch, and when we get back, you will have the car all washed and ready for us.
Salesman: Sir, like I JUST said, we do not negotiate on the price. I will give you some time to think about this.
As he walks away, my Father stands up to leave. At 16, my world is about to come crashing down on me! I can’t believe I will walk out of yet another dealership without a car. I beg my dad to come back, and promise to pay for my own insurance, gas and anything else that he wants. At that point, I didn’t care how far from my dream this car was, I just wanted A car, any car. We go back.
Salesman: Oh, good you decided to take the car!
My Dad: Yes, I will take the car, but I am not paying for taxes and license!
Salesman: Sir, the law requires for you to pay the taxes and registration fees on the car. There is nothing I can do about it.
My Dad: You can pay the tax and registration for me.
Salesman: Um, no I can’t. That’s the buyers responsibility. Sir, do you want the car or not? I work on commission, and I have already spent half the day with you…
My Dad: Well, there you go! You can pay for my taxes and registration out of the commission that you will make from me buying this car!
Salesman: Sir, I don’t make that much… But, let me see what I can do.
So after about 6 hours at the dealership, we finally walked out with a car. My dad beaming from ear to ear, the salesman pissed off, and me learning a valuable lesson. I learned that if you just sit there long enough, push your price on them long enough, in the end you WILL wear them down! See, what the sales people don’t understand is that I have all the time in the world to sit there and haggle with them. The more time they spend on me, means less money they make that day… I have no problem sitting there, eating their free cookies, drinking their free sodas and coffee! I can make a picnic out of it, bring the kids with their annoying, loud toys, squeaking animals, and have them empty out the whole vending machine. We can have breakfast, lunch and dinner there. All I have to do is give my kids the signal to be annoying, and the whole showroom will be empty in a matter of seconds.
My kids are talented that way, they can go from cute to annoying within a matter of a few seconds. It really comes in handy when you want people to do things your way, especially at the Doctor’s offices. But… that’s a whole other article. Stay tuned for that.
January 6, 2011 | 4:04 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
Most people know, I am not a big sports fan. Sure I like to watch an occasional basketball game, only because every TV in the house has been hijacked to watch the Cleveland Cavaliers get their asses handed to them, yet again, by every single team in the NBA. But, that’s for later…
Until I met my husband, I didn’t even know what baseball was. I saw it on TV a few times, but had no idea what the hell was going on, or why men would wear such unflattering, tight pants and run around in a circle every single fricking time. I had no idea that straight, gorgeous men could have such a fascination with balls.
Unfortunately for me, I met my husband during the World Series of baseball in August of 1997, and him being from Cleveland was even more unfortunate (as I learned later)! After dating for a couple months, he told me that he was going to visit his parents in Cleveland, which was a little strange since we had just started dating. He did say that he was mostly going because the World Series games were to be played there. First of all, I didn’t know that going to “the World Series” meant going to watch a baseball game. I heard the words “world” and “series”, and assumed it was some kind of a international TV show or competition. Him working in the entertainment industry, somehow it all made sense to me. Second, when he tried to explain to me (for the fifth time), that it was a very important baseball event, and each team had to qualify to be in this event over the course of the season, all I kept hearing was: “Blah, Blah, Blabety Blah, Cleveland, Blah, Blah haven’t won Championship since the 1700’s.” And to tell the truth, that’s as far as I cared.
I never really understood what the big deal was about. I came from Russia, we didn’t have this obsession with sports unless you were the one actually playing for the Soviet team! And of course if Russia was playing United States, then we cared.
But as the time went on, and he would tell me stories about his 80-year-old Grandma screaming, and cussing at the TV when the Indians were loosing, I started to get the feeling that he was no ordinary sports fan. He was a Cleveland Fan! You know what that means? That means that no matter what is going on in your life, whether your wife is about to give birth to your first child or not, you plan around the Indians schedule! That means that if your wife is going to the hospital on October 31st, and the Indians are still in the World Series, you bring the radio with you, you find the closest waiting room with a working TV, and in between contractions you tell her that you’ll be back, because you have to check the score. And apparently, as the wife of a Cleveland fanatic, I have agreed to accept the part in our marriage vows that said: ” I agree to leave my husband alone when any Cleveland team is in the Finals, and never be upset if he ONLY answers those questions that have to do with sports. Any other questions will be asked, and answered after Cleveland has lost.”
I truly do get that never-ending love for your city, that undying love that makes you stick by your team even if they haven’t won a championship since you were minus one. I really do. Every time I visit Cleveland, I am still amazed at the amount of team t-shirts, sweatshirts and jerseys that are so abundant everywhere you go! Everyone is wearing some kind of Cleveland or Ohio paraphernalia, the young, the old, even babies come out of the hospital wearing their first Ohio State jerseys. They are truly the best fans any city has ever had! That’s not to say that here in L.A. we don’t have great fans, they just come in the form of transplants that lost their faith in their own city, so they decided to pick a team out of a hat and Wuala, L.A. was the one. But not the Cleveland fans, they stick with their teams til the end! They take it to their graves, sometimes literally.
Thirteen years later, I have finally come to terms that with now 3 boys in the house, I am better off getting a new hobby during baseball season, renting a small apartment down the street, or learning to sit next to them while they watch sports, with giant headphones and my laptop, of course.
So, as they say in Cleveland, “wait until next year” to see if my boys suddenly become un-interested in sports…