Posted by Julia Bendis
Today my 11-year-old son, Tyler shared a very interesting conversation that he had with his classmates. It started during lunch time when he pulled out a peanut butter with bananas, and honey sandwich on whole grain bread. After Tyler was done with it, he pulled out carrots, apples, and a low-fat yogurt. Do you see where I am going with this yet?
As he finished devouring my creation, he looked up and saw his friends watching him. One of his friends wanted to know why I am always packing him such healthy lunches, and I quote: “There are never any cookies or chips or anything in your lunch!” Tyler’s reaction was simple: “Because she loves me, and I will always be healthy.” I was beyond thrilled to hear his response, and it validated every ounce of guilt I have had by not allowing junk food in the house. Yes, I admit I actually have felt guilty for not buying my kids chips, sodas and other junk food items. But today I got over it…
Its not to say that when we go out for dinner, my boys don’t get to have a soda or chicken nuggets. Of course they do, but at home we limit the amount of processed and sugary foods. The way I look at it is this, my brother and I grew up with nothing but meat and potatoes, and an occasional apple that we picked from a tree on our way to Grandma’s house, only to find a worm in it when bitten, spit out the worm and keep eating. We didn’t have chocolate chip cookies or Frito-Lay chips after school, we had stale bread with some jam on it, home-made by my grandparents the summer before. Sure there was some mold on the bread, but you pick it out, throw it away and eat the rest of your delicious treat.
Furthermore, not only did we not know about junk food, we also didn’t put ice in every drink. One of the great memories I have is walking to a nearby store with my brother to buy Coca-Cola, one of those old-fashioned glass bottles that you just don’t see anymore. There was only one store that carried them, and once in a while my parents would leave some change to treat ourselves to a bottle. I clearly remember a clerk handing us each a warm bottle of Coca-Cola, and we gulped them down on the spot. It was such a rare treat for us, which is what made it so extraordinary. Sure it would have tasted a little better if it was colder or had ice in it, but we didn’t know any better.
My point here is that if you don’t buy junk food, your kid won’t be overweight. The whole country is fighting with childhood obesity, parents not knowing what to do with their fat-ass children, but yet they keep buying all the greasy foods their kids want, sending them to school with sodas and chips in their lunches, and then wondering why the hell their kid is fat. How about buying less junk food, going outside with your child and playing ball? How about you stop blaming the schools for their fatty school lunches, and get off your lazy ass to make a healthy one?
In the meantime, my kids seem like aliens with their humus and whole wheat crackers lunches. But you know what? I am alright with that because they are alright with that.
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March 7, 2011 | 10:20 am
Posted by Julia Bendis
I am ecstatic to say that the Real Housewives of Orange County are back on television! Of course when I say ecstatic, I mean that in every sarcastic way possible… Can’t you just feel me rolling my eyes when I write this? Not only are they back for a brand new season, but this time they did some house cleaning. If you haven’t seen the first episode Sunday night, let me paraphrase the episode.
First of all they got rid of all the brunettes on the show, with the exception of one hot, Brazilian, lesbian trainer, but she doesn’t count. All the so-called ‘housewives’ are now your standard issued California blondes, with breast implants bigger than most watermelons, Botox-contaminated foreheads, and yes they are still calling themselves ‘regular’ housewives. How can they continue calling this show “the housewives” when all but one of the women are either divorced or single? Shouldn’t it be “The Real Divorcée’s of Orange County”? Or “The Real Pathetic Middle-Aged Single Divorcée’s of Orange County”. That has a much better ring to it, don’t you think?
Second, when the show first started the women were fairly behaved. In this case, fairly behaved means they only resorted to verbal abuse with each other, however this season is looking to be a much more bang for your buck. If the first episode is any indication, we are in for some incredible cat fights, binge drinking, stripping, and of course lesbian shenanigans which I am pretty sure is the only reason my husband decided to tune in this year.
As much as we all love to watch a train wreck happen, this show is particularly worth watching. If nothing else, one will learn the proper use of a Nanny, like when your three children are under the age of two you must use three Nannies at all times, but as they get older, two Nannies are sufficient. Another great lesson is when one files for divorce, you have to wait at least a week before jumping in the sack with a new suitor. Anything less will be viewed as trashy.
And my favorite lesson of all: whatever you do, do not get pink tattoo of your husband’s name, it is the hardest color to remove. You are better off sticking to the traditional black or blue ink. Also, don’t get matching tattoos with your spouse because it hurts like hell getting them removed. You are much better off getting a tramp stamp of a flaming sun, or a beautiful dolphin on your ass.
This show makes me feel so much better about my life. I hope this serves as a bit of a guide into a sensational franchise of idiotic television. Happy watching people!
March 3, 2011 | 10:21 am
Posted by Julia Bendis
Please tell me how can anyone get ahead in this world, financially that is? I should rephrase: how can an average person with children get a head in this world?
I sit here pondering that question while staring at the Orthodontic Invoice for my fifth-grader’s teeth! Three Orthodontic consultations later, and I am left facing a very grim truth; having to pocket out $5,000 worth of braces. Yes, I know I am not the only parent out there having to face this outrageous cost. But here is my question to all of you out there: How the hell do you do it?
Just when I think we are doing well, getting ahead, saving for our future, retirement, and our children’s college education, and when I say college education I am talking about Saddleback Junior College down the street… boom, something happens and I am writing checks… Forget my son’s Bar-Mitzvah money in two years, I am about to start asking for donations for his braces! Do I start pulling money out of their college funds just to pay for braces? Do I send the 11-year-old to work, make him earn his braces? That doesn’t sound like a bad idea to me… Problem with that is that I am the weak parent, I am a softy when I see their cute, sad little faces, guilt sets in and I end up giving in. Most likely I will be the one sitting at the drive-through in McDonald’s window asking if you want fries with that burger, because my kid was too tired to go to work… Or maybe I could start selling their Bakugans, DSI’s, PSP’s, Ipods, and other mindless entertainment toys on Ebay… Can you pawn children on Ebay, and come back for them when the braces are paid off? No? That’s too bad.
In all seriousness, how do you parents do it? Between all the usual expenses, extra-curricular activities, sports, various lessons, memberships to the Temple, Hebrew school, teacher gifts, donations to the school every other month, class trips and parties, not to mention putting food and clothes on their backs, how the hell are people supposed to just LIVE?
Yes, I know America runs on Loans, but isn’t there something wrong with that? Europeans know the true way to live, without all the tangible possessions, credit cards and loans that they can’t afford to pay back, but its virtually impossible to implement that thinking into our society. How can an average parent strive to live on bare minimum, teach the kids that physical possessions are not important in life while the neighbor’s kid is getting showered with a boatload of unnecessary garbage called toys? We all try, but usually are overcome with guilt, and I speak for myself here, give in and buy yet another Power Ranger or some other piece of crap…
As I go looking for answers, which really means yelling at my insurance company for not covering more on the cost of braces, I would love to hear from my readers on how you balance it all out!
February 28, 2011 | 10:17 am
Posted by Julia Bendis
Attending a wedding the other week of a couple that I introduced, made me think of the many Mitzvot that we are supposed to perform in our lifetime. Having been somewhat of a Matchmaker since I was in high school, I had never really thought about it as a Mitzvah, or a good deed. All I did was put two souls together, mainly because I had a feeling that they would like each other and hopefully build a life together. But as I sat listening to the Cantor during the wedding talking about the Torah, and the significance of all of us performing a Mitzvah, my husband leaned closer and whispered: “I’m so proud, you made all this happen, yet another Mitzvah!” To tell the truth, it caught me off guard, I had never thought of it that way. My amateur matchmaking had always been a bit of a hobby, on the side of all my other “real” jobs. And as my husband would say, a bit of an annoyance and hindrance to our personal life.
So as I started to ponder about all the people I introduced over the last fifteen years, and realized that a lot of them have continued to stay together, and in this case get married and start a family! I had an epiphany! I was doing a service to the world, I was performing a Mitzvah each time I matched a couple! It only took me about fifteen years to come to this realization… But, then again I am a bit of a slow learner. Then more questions poured into my head… Are we supposed to accomplish a certain number of good deeds in our lifetime? Am I good now? Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love matchmaking, especially when the two people hit it off and continue dating. However, it does not come without its problems.
Some of my past “couples” are eager to share their first meeting with me, along with every detail of their dates after that with its ups and downs, leaving me wanting to “fix” the situation. Others I hardly hear from again until I see a post on Facebook that they are getting married, which brings me to yet another thought. There has to be some kind of an etiquette when it comes to using a matchmaker, especially my kind of a matchmaker, a.k.a the free kind! If I introduced you two, and somewhere down the line you decide to get married, along with your first phone calls to Mothers, Fathers, Sisters and Brothers, shouldn’t I be in there somewhere well before Facebook, Shmacebook, Twitter and whatever else? Is it just me or does something feel a little odd about having to find out on Facebook that the couple you set up is getting married? Again, maybe its just me.
I also get my husband involved in it, which he happily goes along with screening people with me, trying to look for single and available bachelors at his work, gym, basketball league, etc… Poor guy is so tired of me waking him up a 2 a.m., only to hear me squeal with excitement because I thought of a girl for my single guy!
So, going back to my original question: Is Matchmaking a Mitzvah? And how many Mitzvot are we as human beings, and Jews are supposed to perform to be good with the man above? Or does it not work that way in Judaism…
February 25, 2011 | 1:42 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
1. Don’t you love those people that use ALL CAPS when typing? What is the thought there? That unless you use all capital letters nobody will read your email, or that its a lot more important that other people’s emails? And furthermore the same people that use all caps, don’t know how to spell and apparently have never learned about punctuation marks or anything else that normal people use when writing… Do you have any idea how hard it is to read an email that is not only in ALL CAPS, but missing commas, periods and grammatically incoherent? This is an example of an email I received the other day:
I JUST GOOGLED ALL THE GAMES PLACE SO WE CAN HAVE THE ADD:
THIS WEEKEND ON SUN IT’S AT CORNA GYM @ 2:15 THE ADD IS 502 S VICENTIA AVE, CORONA , CA , 92882
THEN 2/26 @ 2:50 AT LA MIRANDA HIGH SCHOOL ADD : 13520 ADELFA DRIVE, LA MIRADA , CA, 90638
AND 2/27 @ 3:25 AT NORCO RILEY GYM 3900 ACACIA AVE , NORCO , CA, 92860
IF WE WIN WE WILL GO ON TO A 4 TH GAME THAT WILL BE ANNOUNCED.
ALSO WE AS A TEAM HAVE TO PAY A $10 FEE TO THE SCORE KEEPER PER GAME FOR ALL 3 GAMES IT’S LIKE $3.50 PER KID IF YOU COULD GIVE THAT TO THE COACH ON SUN GAME THAT WOULD BE GREAT.
ALSO WAS WONDERING WHAT EVERYONE’S THOUGHTS WERE ON A TEAM PARTY AFTER ALL THE CHAMPION SHIP GAMES ARE DONE?? SHOULD WE HAVE ONE ???
PLEASE EVERYONE LET ME KNOW YOUR INPUT ON THE PARTY ??
*** TREAT AND DRINK I HAVE SEAN FOR THIS SUNDAY MICHAEL FOR NEXT SAT AND WE STILL NEED SOMEONE FOR SUNDAY’S GAME PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF ANYONE CAN DO SUN??? THANKS IN ADVANCE TO THESE PEOPLE FOR BRINGING TREAT AND DRINK AGAIN.THANKS
Can any rational person understand what the hell any of that means?
2. What about those morons that abbreviate every other word! I am talking about a long email, not a text that only allows you 160 characters. Are you that fricking lazy that you can’t even write out all the words in your pathetic e-mail? How the hell am I supposed to know that ADD stands for address and not actual ADD illness? Or are you trying to tell me that you have ADD, and therefore can’t sit long enough to write out words correctly?
3. How about those of you that feel the need to post your every move on Facebook or Twitter! “Going to the supermarket with my wonderful hubby, then for some romantic dinner at Blabetty Blahs” Really? Do you really think people give a damn? Or my favorite one: “What a beautiful day! I want to thank God for my wonderful husband, my perfect little children and my perfect little life! If it wasn’t for God, I couldn’t be enjoying this incredible day!” Yes, we get it you love God, you are a born-again whatever, you found the meaning of life, you are all of a sudden not a miserable person that you used to be, and even though you used to do crack, smoke everything under the sun, steal, lie and cheat, we get it that now you are a changed person, all because you found… drum roll… GOD!
4. Speaking of Facebook, how about those socially inept human beings that post their engagements, pregnancies, and other special, private moments on Facebook prior to actually picking up the phone to share the news with their family and friends! I am all for people making making their own mistakes, looking like fools and all that but how idiotic is that?
5. Yes, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Vests! What a waste of money and material.
6. I absolutely love those people that insist on licking their fingers while eating. I can not think of a more grotesque habit than that! Can you imagine sharing food with that animal? Hey imbecile, that big white thing you just put on your lap is called a NAPKIN, and you wipe your hands on it. It’s not just there for the food that misses your mouth.
7. How about those parents that refuse to admit that their kid is a brat? No, my kid would never do that. You are right, that moron that I witnessed with my own two eyes karate-kicking another moron in the back was obviously not your kid, he just happened to look like your kid who also got into your car afterward, right?
8. No matter what’s happening in the world, everyone blames the Jews. It doesn’t even matter what it is, wars, recession, Charlie Sheen’s addiction, every single time its the Jews’ fault. (Read more about that later)
9. People that have to create something out of nothing! Drama junkies. Even if there is absolutely nothing, those people will find something to argue about.
10. And my favorite are the women that complain about their husbands losing jobs, yet they continue driving their luxury SUV’s, parading around with their Louis Vuitton bags, and refusing to get a job of their own.
February 22, 2011 | 12:23 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
In the last six years, I along with my husband and kids have lived in many different cities. In part its due to my husband’s profession; having been in the entertainment field for over 20 years, its just a way of life. Moving away from Orange County a few years ago was the hardest move since leaving Soviet Union back in 1989. Not only was I leaving my parents behind, but everything and everyone I had known for twenty years… There were positives however, I was looking forward to taking a break from the California “standard of living”, a.k.a the Botox-filled, silicone loving, Range Rover driving, so-called “mothers” and their staff.
I always told my husband that I would move anywhere in the United States, except for Alaska and Florida. So naturally, he came to me one day saying that he got an offer from EA Sports in Florida! I told him to have a safe trip, write every day and we would see him for Passover. As much as that sounded like an appealing offer, he wasn’t happy with it. After days of negotiations, I agreed to move to Orlando on the condition that we would move back if it wasn’t all that the company had promised. As I was being dragged into the airplane by him, I kept praying that they would find an unidentified object on the airplane and we’d have to postpone our flight. It didn’t happen, only because every time I started to scream out “there is a Bomb on this plane”, my husband for some reason would immediately lean in for a kiss. I didn’t quite get his sudden desire for public displays of affection, and frankly it pissed me off. By the time I realized that the plane was taking off, he had already strapped me in the seat. I am also a hundred percent sure he had slipped a Xanax in my drink, since I was feeling happy, relaxed and a little bit horny. Anyone else experienced that side effect of Xanax? No, its just me? Alright, stop judging.
My husband warned me that moving to Orlando, Florida would be a little like living in the southern states of the U.S. I thought I was prepared for it, but boy was I wrong. The first obstacle I encountered was having to drive along sides of all the Floridians, which was more than frustrating. I have never seen so many idiots driving so damn slow! And this wasn’t Boca Raton where the majority of the population are old, and retired Jews driving bigger-than-life Cadillac’s. Why the hell was everyone such slow drivers? My husband kept reminding me that this wasn’t California, no one was in a rush for anything and that I needed to be more patient. That never happened either.
I kept screaming and pointing to random drivers, weaving in and out of traffic and generally very annoyed every time I had to drive a car the whole year we lived there. I was very thankful that my young boys hadn’t caught on to the “finger” gesture that became my trademark. I was also very thankful, and surprised that I was never pulled over by the police the whole time we lived there, mainly because of my clearly stated “HUTZPAH” personalized California license plates! As much as I loved when my husband presented them to me as a gift a few years back, he very much regretted that same gift once we got to Florida. He tried long and hard to get me to replace them with the Florida license plates, but I held on to them for as long as I could. I knew it was time to let go of them when a bunch of Neo-Nazis parked next to me at the mall, eyeing the license plates when one of them asked if it was something written in “Jewish”. Yes, you ignorant, pathetic excuse for a human being, its written in Jewish. You know that language that only us “The Chosen Ones’ know how to read. You can imagine how thrilled my husband was when I re-told my exciting conversation with the skin heads over dinner…
The second obstacle I had to overcome was seeing the Confederate flag flying everywhere. At first I didn’t notice it much, only after my then first-grader pointed out that the American flag looks different here in Florida then it does back in California. Having come to the U.S. at thirteen, I missed quite a bit of American history, and had to look up the meaning of the Confederate flag, as well as delegate the duty of explaining its meaning to our son. After learning more about it, its original story and the meaning behind the Confederate states, I couldn’t help but be appalled and embarrassed to live in a state that didn’t outlaw the flag altogether. I do understand that originally, the Confederate flag did not symbolize hatred towards African-Americans and it has more of a “Southern pride” meaning to it. But how could anyone live next door to a house proudly waving the Confederate flag twelve months of the year? Especially if you are an African-American.
There were many times when I tried ripping my neighbors’ flags off their house in broad daylight, or decals off their trucks sitting next to me in parking lots, but each time my husband ended up dragging me back home before I could get a good grip on them. I don’t know what his problem is… The whole year and three months that we lived in Florida, he woke up every morning asking if I planned on getting myself sent to jail that day, so he could plan his meetings accordingly. It’s hard to get into too much trouble when you have a first-grader and a 9-month-old baby hanging on you at all times, but I still found ways to make our little gated, golf-course community despise me.
I believe I was known as: “The one with the sensible husband, the one that likes to cause trouble, the one that insists on educating her children, the one that brakes all the rules of Magnolia Plantation gated community, the one that had to be escorted out of the Club House because the waiter refused to give her a regular iced tea instead of the red neck iced tea, the one that doesn’t let her children near the alligators that come up on shore “, and my favorite: “the one that refuses to spread gossip around when we all gather at the bus stop every single day because we have nothing better to do!”
I really thought I was leaving Orange County, and all the fakeness that California is known for behind. But apparently, in the middle of poverty, hickness, red-neckiness, (yes, I know those are not real words) swamp land and Disney World, there lie many abundant and beautiful Golf courses that are supposed to shelter you from all the harm, ignorance and stupidity of living in Orlando. All you have to do is marry rich, hope he doesn’t get bored with you and move on to a younger version after a few years, make him buy you an over-priced house in a gated community, have an affair with either your gynecologist, your next door neighbor, or join a swingers club, and never leave the inside of the gates! Sounds like a wonderful life, I wonder why we couldn’t make a great life in Orlando?
February 19, 2011 | 1:31 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
Is it just me or is the show, ‘The View’ going down the hill? The last couple of years it seems that the show has gotten a lot more hostile than in the past… They have great guests on the show, and their topics are pretty relevant but its the hosts that bug me the most. Not all of them, mainly the blond, bitter, and very angry 70-year-old woman trapped in the body of Elizabeth Hasselbeck.
How could a 33-year old person be filled with so much anger, resentment and bitterness? Every time, I tune in to the show and listen to her speak I can’t help but want to scream at her: “Chill out, loosen up, take a breath, relax woman.” She is constantly arguing, yelling and trying to prove her point. Granted there are three or four other women to compete for air time with, but come on! Every single conversation, every topic becomes a yelling match with her. It’s like she is trying to over-compensate for her young age or something.
Hasselbeck has to always be right, with every single topic. Does she ever listen? Sure, she seems to sit there and pretend to listen while the others are speaking but the whole time you hear her trying to get a word in. How can a young person be so radically Republican and a conservative? Aren’t most young people just want peace, love and equality? How badly was she damaged during her childhood that she has to turn so conservative? I really would love to try and have a conversation with her, I doubt it would be anything more than a monologue though… Who hired her to be on the View anyway?
She really needs to pull that stick out of her butt, take a Xanax and try having sex once in a while. It will do her body good, not to mention put that anger into a coma for a little while. Again, just my opinion…
February 16, 2011 | 9:39 am
Posted by Julia Bendis
-While my husband, growing up in Ohio got to go on potato chip factory field trips, my brother and I got to go on Concentration Camp field trips. Look up Salaspils in Latvia.
-When most kids got to play with Barbies, toy trucks and teddy bears, I got to play with syringes, which my brother and I used to prick my doll with, in the behind. My Mother worked in a hospital laboratory, and occasionally brought home Medical paraphernalia. See picture.
-We were so proud of not only having a push button TV, instead of a dial, but also a whole of three channels. One was a 24-hour Communist brainwashing news channel, the other an all-Latvian language channel (which only my father spoke fluently), and third which only had cartoons on Saturday mornings for an hour, the rest of the time it showed Red Square parades, and other Communist propaganda.
-When we first came to the States, we moved in with relatives who were kind enough to house a family of four in their home. My Uncle invited us to go to Denny’s one day. Having never heard of Denny’s or knowing what it was, we all ran to our rooms and came out with our finest apparel we owned. As my Uncle stood in his t-shirt and shorts waiting for us, we paraded out of the house looking as if we were going to a Royal Ball. People in Russia dressed up for every occasion. It didn’t matter if they were taking a quick trip to the supermarket, a Doctor’s appointment or a meeting with friends.
-To live in Soviet Union one had to master the art of bribery. Not only master it, but study it, learn it, and live it. My grandmother was best at it. At all times she carried a couple bars of chocolate with her, and large bills just in case you needed to bribe someone with it. It isn’t that chocolate was hard to find in Russia, but it was more of a symbol of gratitude. She would start bribing with chocolate, but if that didn’t work she would pull out the big bucks. Doctors, supermarket employees, teachers, summer camp counselors, you name it she bribed them! Her motto was: “Why take a chance that the Doctor will screw up when I can pay him to drink Vodka AFTER the surgery is done!” We always got special treatment everywhere we went, but at a young age you don’t know why you are getting it… We just assumed that my grandparents were famous people, what a shock to your system only to find out that it isn’t the case. Later, I started to notice why we’d be seated at most popular restaurants way ahead of people that have been there before us, as I watched my grandmother slip something into the Manager’s pocket. My grandfather was always ashamed of it, and stayed as far away as he could during those moments. It was always my 4-foot-nothing-90-pound grandmother hard at work.
-To read more funnies: www.easternblocklox.wordpress.com