# Thursday, 26 February 2015

Great advice from Mark Twain

It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt

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# Sunday, 21 December 2014

Smile Gemach Chanukah play

We haven’t done a Chanukah play for a few years, and some of the younger children have never seen it, so we decided to go thespian again. Without further ado, we proudly present, the Smile Gemach Chanukah Extravaganza...

Our story begins in the Beis Hamikdosh, where the Cohanim are offering the korbonos as usual. Here we see Cohen Godol Chana Liba, being ably assisted by Cohen Elisheva (left picture), and Cohen Godol Simcha being assisted by Cohen Chaya Devoira (right picture)...

Cohanim offering korbonos

But this peaceful life was shattered when the wicked king Antiochus Simcha ascended to the throne...

Antiochus Simcha

Looks pretty mean eh? I know he looks remarkably like Cohen Godol Simcha, but that’s because we didn’t have enough actors to go around, so we all took a few parts! More fun that way!

Anyway, Antiochus’s soldiers spread through the land, trying to prevent the Yidden from keeping mitzvos and learning Torah. They rode around on mighty elephants, and wielded sharp swords, well, sharp-looking swords (if you don’t look to closely!)...

Yevonni with elephant

That’s enough to frighten anyone!

The soldiers first tried to persuade the Yidden by being nice (left picture), but then resorted to threats when that didn’t work (right picture)...

A Yevonni soldier

When the Yidden ran away to hide in caves in the hills, the soldiers rode their elephants out to find them. Note the two mighty elephants in the next picture...

Yevonnim on patrol

We do actually have a third elephant (their names are Olly, Sholly and Bolly by the way) who is much bigger, but he didn’t make it into any of the pictures.

The Yidden hid in caves, and if any soldiers came along, pretended to be play dreidel...

Hiding in a cave

Great cave eh? She does actually have a dreidel under there, but the shirt, ahem I mean bigdei kehuno were a little large for her, so you can’t see it!.

As mentioned, when the soldiers arrived, the Yidden quickly got out their dreidels and started playing (top picture), but as soon as the soldiers had gone, they resumed their earnest Torah study (bottom picture)...

Playing dreidel and learning Torah

In the meantime, the Beis Hamikdosh had been turned over to smelly idol worship, with all sorts of forbidden animals being offered...

But the Yidden rode out in the night and whacked the mighty army, sending them packing. Serves them right for being nasty.

When they came back into the Beis Hamikdosh, they had to clean it up (done with a couple of towels, but the pictures didn’t come out very well). Then they had to search for some olive oil to light the menorah. Clever Cohen Elisheva found a flask of oil...

I found a flask!

Yes, I know the bottle is empty, but if you saw the way it was thrown around, you’d understand why we didn’t want to use a full one!

Singing Ma’oz Tzur, the Cohanim happily lit the menorah again...

Lighting the menorah

After that, they had supper and went upstairs for a bath!

Other famous Biblical stories will be ripped to pieces at other times by the Smile Gemach Thespians!

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# Monday, 08 July 2013
# Sunday, 16 June 2013

Why can’t I have cheesecake for lunch?

I came home for lunch earlier, and asked the Boss what was on offer. She directed me to a pan of pasta, and suggested I have pasta and cheese. As I was about to pick up the pan, I noticed a rather yummy-looking cheesecake just behind the the pan, and suggested that I have some of that instead.

For some odd reason, the Boss didn’t think this was such a good choice for lunch, but I pointed out that cheesecake has both protein and carbohydrate, two essential ingredients for a healthy lunch! She didn’t seem too impressed with this remark.

Undeterred, I had two helpings of cheesecake anyway, which was delicious (thank you Grandma). In response to a further remark from the Boss, I repeated my claim to having had a balanced meal, when she pointed out that there wasn’t actually that much carbohydrate in the cheesecake, as the base wasn’t that thick. Grudgingly agreeing to this, I happened to look in the fridge, and saw the remains of a large trifle that my dear Mumsie had provided for Shabbos. “Ooh, carbohydrate!” I exclaimed happily, and removed it from the fridge.

Due to the family nature of this blog, I won’t describe the look on the Boss’s face at this, but I pointed out that trifle is even healthier than cheesecake, as it has carbohydrate in the cake, protein in the milk in the custard and vitamins in the fruit. OK, so it was tinned pineapple, but it had probably seen a vitamin somewhere along the production line.

Some people think that a balanced diet is a piece of chocolate in each hand. I disagree. I think a balanced diet is cheesecake and trifle!

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# Monday, 10 June 2013

Chaya Devoira’s three word sentence

I took Chaya Devoira and Gittel to the park on Shabbos afternoon. One of the climbing frames there has a sort of arched bridge, over which Chaya Devoira decided to cross. Knowing that she has a problem with steep inclines, I moved towards her to offer some help.

She put on a fierce face (which is hard when she's so cute!) and shouted "No! Yaya!" (which is her way of saying her own name), then broke into a big smile, waved at me and said "Bye bye." She made it very clear that I wasn’t to help her, and she would do it all by herself, which she did.

She repeated the same thing a couple more times whilst we were there.

If someone had told me ten years ago that I would be so excited about a four and a half year old child saying a three word sentence, I think I would been surprised, but truth is, I was chuffed to bits. Whilst she is significantly more vocal than she was six months ago, she is still a long way off proper speech. However, a three word sentence is pretty impressive for her right now.

By contrast, Gittel had just finished reciting the last six of Shakespeare's sonnets, and was moving onto Milton! OK, so that's not quite true, but her speech isn't far off that!

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# Monday, 06 May 2013

Two more pictures of Miriam

By popular request, here are two more pictures of the latest addition to the family.

First off, we have the loving father cuddling his daughter, who seems more interested in something on the ceiling!

Yoel cuddling his favourite (and indeed, only) daughter

Next we have a picture of Gittel with her arm around Miriam. This time, Miriam has taken her eyes away from the ceiling, and is now looking at something more interesting to the side.

Gittel with her arm around Miriam

One day we might even get a picture of her looking at the camera!

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# Sunday, 28 April 2013

Cute picture of Miriam (as if there could be any other kind!)

Taken last night, as the Boss was giving her a cuddle...

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# Thursday, 28 March 2013

Mazel tov! We're a babby and a zeidei!

With huge thanks to Hakodosh Boruch Hu, we are delighted to announce the safe arrival of Yoel and Nechoma Bryna's first baby. Without further ado, here is a picture...

Baby Yosefson

She was born at 1:55pm on first day Pesach (26th March '13), weighing 6lbs 13ozs (613 as Yoel was happy to point out!), and arrived home (ie our house) at around 6:30pm the same day! Thankfully she had enough sense to be born between the two evenings, so everyone managed both sederorim, albeit a little tired (understatement of the year!).

I had half a mind not to post a picture of the baby, but rather to repost this picture of Gittel, which co-incidentally was taken exactly two years ago to the day, as the new baby looks just like Gittel did at a few days old. Mind you, Gittel looked like all of our other children at the same age, so I could have reposted a picture of any of them! At least we know she's one of ours!

Further pictures to follow when we get some!

P.S. If anyone is wondering about the title of this post, there are various ways of pronouncing the Yiddish for "grandma." According to Yoel's tradition, they use Babby, rather than Bobby or Bubby, so that's the Boss's new title!

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# Sunday, 23 September 2012

Loquacious updated

Avid readers of this blog (well, I can dream can’t I?) may recall that almost a year ago to the day I added a blog post about Loquacious, a fancy word picker for Windows that allows you to paste long and pointless words into your emails (or whatever) with minimal effort.

This program amused me, and I have been adding words to it over the past year. One problem is that I can never remember what word I want, which means I would need to read down the list to find it. The other problem is that I like to do things quickly, and I wanted to be able to pick a word with the minimum number of keystrokes possible. The version I posted last year allows you to type a letter, and it will highlight the first word in the list that begins with that letter. However, if you have a lot of words beginning with (say) “s” then you have to use the down arrow to get to the one you want, which can be a bit painful. I rarely have the patience for reading the list or repeated clicking, so don’t use it as much as I would like.

I decided that it would be far more useful if you could search for words using more than one letter, and also search the definitions. Enter... loquacious version 2 (drum roll please).

Loquacious version 2

As you can see, a text box has been added at the top, which you can use for searching. When you first start loquacious, it behaves exactly as before, so typing a letter will highlight the first word in the list that begins with that letter. However, if you type Ctrl-f (“f” for “find”), then the focus is put in the text box, and you can type more letters. The list of words below will be filtered to include only those containing the letters you type. This includes the definitions, so it allows you to search for a word by its meaning.

At any time, you can click either the Tab key or Ctrl-w to set the focus back into the list of words, allowing you to move up or down the list with the arrow keys, or press Enter/Return to choose the word. If you press Enter/Return when in the text box, then the first word in the list will be chosen. As before, clicking the Esc key closes loquacious without choosing anything.

You can download loquacious by clicking here. See the previous post for instructions on how to install it.

I hope this is useful. Feel free to leave me any feedback or comments. Who knows, I might release version 3 in a year’s time!

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# Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Four little girls in pink and white striped cardigans

No excuses for this one, just a gratuitous cute picture. The Boss went shopping (ooh-eck) the other day, and returned with some clothes for the younger girls. Amongst these were some rather cute pink and white striped cardigans, which you can see in the picture below...

Four little girls in pink and white striped cardigans

Chaya Devoira liked hers so much that she wore it on Yom Tov, over her brand new dress!

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