She’s Disgusting, I’m Disgusted

“She’s disgusting,” said my girlfriend, as she talked about her ex-boyfriend’s wife.  “Don’t you think she’s disgusting?” she asked.  “Ummm . . . ” was all I could say.   I was at a loss.  I understand my friend’s feelings of jealousy over the ex who chose someone else (ten years ago and my friend is happily married to another).  I’m not a saint and I do engage in gossip now and then, but I’ve been trying really hard to stop doing that.  My biggest challenge comes when, as in this case, I’m playing catch-up with a girlfriend who lives out of town and with whom I haven’t talked to for a year.   She was calling someone disgusting and I wanted to support her because girlfriends should support one another, right?  But  I knew this alleged “disgusting” person.  I had nothing against her and, in fact, I didn’t know one thing disgusting about her.  But what harm would there be in validating my girlfriend’s insecurities by agreeing with her?

It’s all that negative energy out there.  I don’t want to be a part of it.  I have so much negative energy floating around me because my husband’s family has ousted us that I just can’t go there at all.   The upshot of it all was that I didn’t agree with her and clearly, she was disappointed in me.  I was particularly unyielding to her persuasion in this case.  There was something in particular about that phrase, “she’s disgusting” that got under my skin.  While I was in the shower just a few days later, it hit me — Donald Trump.

I’ve been watching Celebrity Apprentice and during a recent episode, Cyndi Lauper brought up the name of Rosie O’Donnell.  Trump and O’Donnell had a well-publicized tiff a while ago.  On Apprentice, Trump’s reaction to the mere mention of her name elicited this harsh response:  “She’s disgusting.” Trump said this to Lauper, even after knowing she was  O’Donnell’s dear friend.  My response?  Money and power does not guarantee class.  Indeed, Trump has no class.  On national television, he tells O’Donnell’s friend that O’Donnell is disgusting.  What happened to, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”?  I’m constantly telling that to my children.  Shouldn’t we, as adults be practicing it ourselves?  When someone acts out on national television, I always assume that their bad behavior must be ten times worse in private.  After all, they know they are on camera.  I’d hate to see how Trump behaves when the cameras are off!  I was so disgusted by Trump’s performance (note:  I am not calling Trump disgusting, I am calling his actions disgusting, there is a BIG difference here), that when I heard the same words coming out of a friend’s mouth it felt very, very wrong.

What should we do when  a friend is behaving badly in this way?  Should we call her out on it? Stay silent? Go along for the sake of getting along?  I still remember something that happened to me fifteen years ago when I was in my twenties.  My roommate was driving me crazy and I had just found our her checks were bouncing to our landlord.  As I was venting my frustration by bad-mouthing my roommate to my girlfriends, one of them put me in my place.  She called me out on my poor behavior.  She said, “[your roommate] is also my friend and you shouldn’t be telling us all of this.”  Immediately, I knew she was right.  Even though everything I was saying was true, I had no business talking about another person that way.  It was disrespectful and beneath me.  I’m not going to say that I have been a perfect person since then, but I learned a valuable lesson that day and it was one I hope to never forget, especially if I’m ever on television.

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Book Reviews: Annabel Karmel’s Top 100 Baby Purees and Top 100 Finger Foods

Participants at Chicago Moms Blog and our sister sites were fortunate to receive free copies of two of  Annabel Karmel’s books, Top 100 Baby Purees and Top 100 Finger Foods which, I believe, were originally published several years ago in the U.K..  These books contain beautiful photographs and the recipes are user-friendly because they clearly set out the ingredients and the time it will take to make the recipe.   The baby puree book, in particular, describes appropriate ages for particular foods, but I would suggest consulting your pediatrician on these matters.

In regard to the baby puree book, unfortunately. and maybe this is my own “thing,” but I simply can’t endorse any baby puree book that doesn’t stress the importance of using organic ingredients.  I scoured the book and could not find any mention of “organic” in any of the recipes.  Her “quick and easy meals for a healthy and happy baby,” will not, in my opinion, result in a healthy baby without explaining to mothers why using organic ingredients is so important.  Karmel discusses “nutritional needs,” allergies, and lactose intolerance in children quite a bit, why not discuss organic ingredients as well?  Furthermore, her recipes incorporate many purees with beef and chicken [we don’t eat this at all in our family], with no mention of the dangers of bovine growth hormone or the unhealthy amount of antibiotics found in non-organic beef and chicken.  I don’t think this is a problem in the U.K. as they don’t use bovine growth hormones there but since she has decided to bring her book here to the U.S. this issue, in my opinion, must be addressed  for new mothers.

I was ready for some new ideas for my children, so I was excited to receive the Top 100 Finger Foods book. There is not a lot in there for vegetarians like our family.  I did make one recipe that was almost a success.  I tried the Baked Parsnip and Sweet Potato Chips recipe.  Baking took a long time and although the edges got brown, those were the only crunchy parts.  This was the first time my husband ate parsnips so I will be making it again.  My children preferred the baked sweet potato I prepared in case it was a flop.

Overall, I was disappointed by the lack of creativity in some of the dishes.  I was hoping to add some new items to our tired repertoire.  However, some of the dishes featured were commonplace recipes for pancakes, french toast, pizza, and quiche.  I was surprised she included nachos as one of her “healthy” finger foods.  The recipe was not a revamped nutritious version.  Karmel uses real store-bought tortilla chips.  Indeed, the recipe is similar to the very same nachos we are desperately trying to get off the cafeteria menus of our public schools.   At one point, even she concedes that she can’t think of anything else to make the number of recipes add up to the 100 the title promises “for a healthy, happy child,” stating, “I have included recipes for brownies and mini jam tarts [not even whole wheat by the way!].  After all, you are only a child once.”   Her jam tart recipe has two “ingredients” which are jam and store-bought pie crust.

I’m sorry to say that I’ve been disappointed by these two books.  I expected something comparable to Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron.  No matter how many books Karmel has published and no matter how many beautiful photographs she includes, Yaron will, and still remains, my “go to girl” for all things food, babies and toddlers.

Diary of a Second Grade Mom

Read my latest post on Chicago Moms Blog here where I share my anxiety when my daughter feels left out by her friends.  I wasn’t a popular child myself so I know what is like to feel left out, and all those feelings came back to me.

My Passover Dream

I had a crazy dream the other day and when I woke up, I realized it was a “Passover” dream.  I was having dinner with some observant friends of mine and when we were finished, we went outside to a beach where it was still light out.   Soon, I began to notice groups of Chassidic men dressed in black (their usual attire) balancing on very tall waves.  While they were balancing, they were smiling, dancing, and doing other tricks such as spinning and balancing on their heads.  It was amazing!  When I awoke, I made the connection between the  parting of the Red Sea when the Jews fled Egypt.  Beautiful!  Happy Passover!

My Big Mouth

Read my post at Chicago Moms Blog ,“This Jew is Apologizing For Her Big Mouth,” about what happens when I open my big mouth and ask a neighbor about how long she plans to keep up her Christmas decorations.  I also talk about how Jews are supposed to take responsibility for our actions as a community.

No Parents Allowed for Pre-School Party

Read what I wrote here at Chicago Moms Blog about a party to which Charlie was invited, but was effectively uninvited when we found out no mommies and daddies were allowed.  I thought I was the only one uncomfortable with  the whole idea, but apparently I wasn’t the only paranoid one!

Mercury News on Chicago Moms Blog

Thanks to Mike Cassidy for such a wonderful article about my other blogger home, Chicago Moms Blog’s umbrella group, Silicon Valley Moms.  You can read the article here.