Tuesday, September 28, 2010

This Shrinking World

Z ast night, Dov and I attended our friend Alex's birthday party, an annual event hosted by Alex and Maralin in their Sukkah with much aplomb--great food, people, conversation, atmosphere--it's all there in spades.

Maralin served trays of cold cuts from a prize winning Swiss sausage-maker named Hess, the self-titled Sausage King who brought his skills with him to Israel when he made Aliyah some years ago. I had read descriptions of some of his creations and had yearned to try them for quite some time. I was not disappointed. Good bread, an assortment of mustards, slaw, potato salad, and pickles rounded out the offerings along with booze like Glenlivet Nadurra, Aberfeldy, some wines and liqueurs, the last, presumably for the ladies. I tried to be a good girl and pretended I didn't want to taste the single malts...

There were several conversations going on at table, all of them interesting, making it hard for me to choose my focus. One end of the table was discussing Evangelist Christian support for Israel and The Rapture, while my end of the table was focused on Israeli construction methods and practices in my neighborhood. At some point, Dov began to speak to the woman on my right, Ann Dansker, about delicatessens in their mutual hometown of Chicago, and then the talk drifted to Ann's late father, who used to be a regular sight as he took his daily constitutionals in our town of Efrat.

I recognized Ann's father's name and realized that Ann is cousin to one of our regular posters at the Jewishgen General Discussion Group, where I monitor the moderators' list and handle support mail. The talk turned to genealogy, one of my fave hobbies. When Ann realized how much I liked this topic, she began telling me what she knew about her family. But you could have knocked me over with a feather when she said, "My maternal grandmother was from Eishyshok."

I broke out in goosebumps and said, "We are landsmen!"

My maternal grandfather's family, the Kopelman and the Janofsky clans, came from Vasilishok, only 27 miles away from Eishyshok. Lots of Kopelmans settled in Eishyshok, too. Both towns belonged to the same Uezd (district) back in the days before Vashilishok became part of Belarus, Lida Uezd.

I realized that it was very possible that Ann and I might even be related. Not really a far-fetched notion I thought, as I scanned her face and saw features so similar to those of my maternal relatives that I cried out and brought the fact to Dov's attention. Ann pooh-poohed the idea, but Dov saw exactly what I meant.

To my great delight, we talked family trees the rest of the evening. Ann had some terrific stories about her family. In particular, I enjoyed hearing about her ancestor who stood in as the Cohen at the Pidyon HaBen, the redemption ceremony for a first born son, for the Vilna Gaon, Rabbi Eliyahu Kremer's son. Ann's relative was the only Cohen the Vilna Gaon trusted with this honor, because the Gaon was certain that Ann's great great grandfather's blood had not been sullied with Chassidus. The great irony is that two generations later, the surname of this line became "Chassid."

Is this stuff just random--Ann growing up in Chicago, and I in Pittsburgh, while our ancestral shtetlach were in such close proximity to each other? And now, both of us, at a dinner party in Israel, seated next to each other. How do these things just happen?

It isn't even that rare. Take Moshe Silverman, who runs Philly Pizza, a small pizzeria in Efrat, for instance. We lived on neighboring settlements, Maale Amos and Metzad, in the middle of nowhere, A/K/A the Judean Desert. Moshe and I rode the same bus line for 18 years. I became friends with Moshe's wife when we both had babies at the same hospital on the same day. Then I began to research my family tree and discovered that our great grandmothers, Moshe's and mine, were sisters. Whoa!

How did we end up in such close proximity to each other? Is there some kind of lesson here? Am I reading too much into these things?

All I know is, whenever this stuff happens, I get goosebumps.

Monday, September 27, 2010

This Week Has Been Brought To You By Sukkos

I love Sukkos, though I do wish it lasted a bit longer. I have my coffee and then start making batches of buttermilk pancakes. It's the one time we really have to breakfast together. It's nice. There's no rush to get out to go to school or work.

Sometimes we play Stephane Grappelli on the stereo as a breakfast accompaniment. The kids think there is something magical about records--that there's some kind of singular sound you get with record albums that you can't get on a CD or with an MP3.

After breakfast, I go on Facebook and play Pathwords until my hand turns numb and then switch off and play some Bejeweled Blitz. Silly, mindless fun.

After awhile, I tear myself away from the computer and make lunch. Something fleishig, which is unusual for us. But on Chol HaMoed, we try to have fleishigs everyday. Today it was a humongous pot of spaghetti and meat sauce.

When lunch is cleared away, Dov and I take a nap without any need to set a time limit. It's unbelievable: no time constraints, no work commitments. Wow. This is the life.

The rest of the evening is time with the kids and husband and wife time. Dov took the kids out to toss a few balls while I cleaned up the kitchen. Later we have an invite to our friend Alex's sukkah. His birthday is on Sukkos, so every year, the same crowd gets together for a festive meal. Very laid back and much enjoyed by all. Great food, too.

There has been only one little thing nagging me at the back of my mind. Every time the thought comes, I banish it away and pretty much, it obeys. It's my new job. I start on Sunday.

Each time I take on a new job or task, there's this bit of fear: will I be able to cope? Will this be beyond my capabilities? How will my new job impact on my other responsibilities of home, children, and the musical I'm in that is set to premier on Oct. 24 and is in rehearsal almost every evening?

The angst is always for nothing. I somehow manage each time. And the truth is, it's getting easier to take on new projects because I see I can cope. Can it be I'm growing up??

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Healthy Competition?

This morning I discovered that my husband had started a blog: http://myblogdovepstein.blogspot.com He didn't bother to tell me, he posted his first blog entry to Facebook. My first thought echoed my late Aunt Mildred's thoughts when my late Uncle Myron Cope told her he was to have his own radio show: "You'll embarrass me!"

Myron, may he rest in peace, had a speech defect in addition to having the kind of voice that has been described as grating and nasal, for instance.

There's nothing wrong with Dov's voice. And he does have an original way of thinking. He has important things to say and I'm glad he's created a venue for his thoughts. He deserves a wider audience. But Dov seems to think that grammar and punctuation are just not that important. That embarrasses me. In a big way. *sigh*

But it's not just about Dov being grammar/punctuation challenged, it's about competition. I can't help but feel that we're having some kind of competition, here. Not that I want competition. It must be a testosterone thing.

I started writing letters to the editor of the Jerusalem Post in 2001. After the first few were published, Dov started writing letters to the editor, too. I saw him turn red on more than one occasion when a mutual friend would tell me how right on my letters were without mentioning Dov's letters.

And then there was Pathwords, a great word game you can access through Facebook. Dov was sure he could beat my high score. He sure tried hard. He blamed his inability to trump my score on his computer, so I let him use mine. Nope. He just couldn't beat me.

But the competition's not just about game scores or how the public views us. This need for competition even dogs us as regards our religious views: whose Torah is THE Torah, or something like that. For example, I found this great quote from the Talmud: "No matter how short your wife is, lean down and take her advice." Bava Metzia 59a

I read it to Dov because I thought this was a beautiful sentiment. I even made it my signature quote for my email correspondence.

This all sent Dov straight to the Gemara where he siezed upon the fact that there, on the very same page, was written the following verse, "He who follows his wife's counsel will descend into Gehenna (Hell)."

It turns out that the first quote may refer to spiritual matters while the second refers to secular ideas. I don't really care. The first quote is WONDERFUL and speaks to me.

The second quote doesn't sully that for me. Not at all. Dov can pick and choose and so can I.

I choose the beauty, he chooses the harsh discipline. It says something about him and about me, and doesn't say much at all about the Torah, other than that it is very generous in its adaptability for the individual's nature.

Yesterday, Yitzchak asked me why men have to dwell in the sukkah for an entire week but women don't have to be in the sukkah at all. I told him my favorite explanation, which comes from R. Shimshon Rafael Hirsch, who says that by reenacting for a full week, their time in the desert, Jewish men awaken in themselves their sense of their own history and in particular, the time when God's divine glory hovered over them in the form of the Annanei HaKavod, the Clouds of Glory. Living in the sukkah makes this part of their history and spirituality, tangible for men and helps carry them through the whole year.

Yitzchak said, "So why don't women need to do this?"

I told him, "R. Hirsch says that when Hashem took Chava (Eve) from Adam's rib, He gave her the part that is innate spirituality. She has this direct tie to God and so she doesn't need to playact and do these commandments to tie her to God: she's ALREADY tied to Him."

That irked Dov no end. He started rummaging through books. About ten minutes later, he comes to me, triumphant and reads to me from Taamei Minhagim a section that says that women don't observe the positive commandments such as living in the sukkah, because they may be too busy "serving" their men. Dov read the word "meshubad" to me, twice. It means "bound." He was SO happy. He was sure I would find the wording and the ideas espoused here annoying beyond belief.

He was wrong.

I believe that the Torah is very flexible and provides a variety of views to suit the individual. He finds the Torah that speaks to him, and I have found the Torah that speaks to me. There's no competition here.

So, I have decided that I'm not going to be embarrassed about his blog. I will express myself here and he will express himself there, in his own inimitable fashion and I will be quite happy that I am dotting all my i's and crossing all my t's, while he doesn't really care about that stuff.

It's not a competition. Not to me, at any rate.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Omens, Accidents, and a Reminder

I always find writing cathartic: a kind of release, so I was surprised that yesterday's blog entry, containing memories of my late father laid me low. I was downright blue though I'm not sure why.

I could have written reams more about my father but the kids were needing lunch and I had other housework to attend. Besides, a blog is not meant to be a book, and that's the direction toward which that piece was flowing. All day long, new memories of my father kept popping into my mind and I kept thinking: I should have written this. I should have written that.

At one point, I even felt guilty: I was short-changing my father by not enumerating all those good things about him. I know that's ridiculous. But logic and emotion don't always go hand in hand for this writer.

Feeling sad made me sluggish, and I had trouble getting through my work. There were good parts to my day, but most were mixed batches of good and bad. For instance, I was just putting the finishing touches on an email to my editor to let her know I was quitting when the electricity blew. So what should have been a satisfying moment became sullied.

Was the power-out some kind of omen? A harbinger of bad luck, a portent of evil, relating God Forbid, to my new position. *Gulp*
I know, I know. Altogether silly of me. No one else would make that kind of connection. Right?

Later that evening, I discovered that the power-out had affected a large portion of the country and was due to the accidental leaning of a natural gas company worker against the button that cuts off the power supply. Yeah. You can laugh. Laugh all you want. Guffaw, even. Only in Israel, right? But as Freud said, "There are no accidents."

I felt better toward the end of the evening, even though there was this interminable rehearsal.

The reason I perked up? My friend Tsipora told me about a happy event, a surprise party her family made for her and her twin sister, and just hearing about this gave me vicarious pleasure. Funny how that works. Even thinking about it now makes me smile.

Moral of the story: when you have good news, share it and brighten someone's day.

I know. Nothing groundbreaking there. Just a little reminder. And with that boys and girls, I bid you farewell.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Daddy's Little Girl

T oday, it is the 36th anniversary (yahrzeit) of my father's passing. A year or so ago, I had a rare chance to visit my hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania after a very long absence. The experience was so rich that it was almost impossible to take it all in as it was unfolding before me. I am still processing the various events, sights, sounds, and smells (fresh cut grass on a humid summer's day, the musty smell of old prayer books and wood at Poale Tzedek Synagogue, the fish/mud scent of the Allegheny River, the perfume/chemical smell of department stores, my mother's cheek, the big blue slide in Frick Park--does the blue slide have a scent?? Of course it does!) of that trip. But there were some sour notes.

Few sour notes, it must be said, and most of them insignificant, but still, they horned in on my little trip here and there and made their presence known. In particular, I have rerun in my obsessive little mind, again and again, a particular instance in which I ran into an old friend of my parents, a woman I call "Aunt So-and-So" because she was so close to my parents and always at the house for weekly bridge games. I saw her as I was retrieving a shopping cart, right outside the Squirrel Hill Giant Eagle, A/K/A The Iggle. We recognized each other right away though we hadn't seen each other for over 10 years and began to catch each other up on various pieces of news.

Somehow, the conversation drifted in the direction of my father, George M. Meyers, who passed away in 1974, when I was but 13 years old. "Aunt So-and-So" was telling me that never had such a fine man existed before and never would such a fine man exist ever again. But, she continued, "You wouldn't know about that. You never knew him."

I was in shock. My facial expression must have looked pleasant enough but I went into face-freeze mode in which I don't show my real feelings and turn my face into a sort of mannered mask. But inside! It was like a punch in the solar plexus. I felt I couldn't breath. It HURT.

Part of this was her intonation. The words were said in a bitter sense, as if I didn't deserve to know him, as if I weren't worthy of knowing him. Somehow, those words were uttered as an indictment (of my generation?). I got through the rest of the chitchat and kept the wound close. I didn't relate this story to my mother, not wanting to upset her.

There, in the parking lot of the Iggle, I wanted to cry out and bear witness that I did indeed know my father. I knew him better than "Aunt So-and-So" ever could have done. I knew him in ways she couldn't begin to fathom.

I knew that his favorite actor was Frank Sinatra. That's right: his favorite actor and not his favorite singer. He felt that Frank was a brilliant actor and didn't receive his due for his acting performances.

I knew what mood he was going to be in at suppertime by which robe he had chosen to wear after his pre-dinner shower. The white satin number with the fancy black circles meant we were IN TROUBLE.

I knew he liked to eat Kiwanis peanuts and chase them with Chiquita Bananas every evening after dinner while watching TV. I know, because it fell to me to throw away his peels and shells.

I knew that the reason he was obsessed with war movies was due to the fact that he came home from the war with battle fatigue and forced himself to watch those movies as a cure. He always knew the actor's next line and would speak them a split second before the actor, even when it was a movie he'd never seen before. I have inherited this talent.

I knew that he adored rubbing his stubble against my tender cheek to make me cry out.

I knew he was proud of my piano playing and bragged about me to his co-workers. He told me to make a list of whatever music books I coveted and he would buy them for me as long as I promised to learn the theme song from The Sting so he could record it and play it for the guys at work. I kept my bargain and so did he.

I remember how, I alone, of my siblings, still enjoyed going on outings with my father even though I had passed the age of early childhood. Even a walk after dinner was an adventure. Once we walked all the way to the reservoir, and he showed me how I could drink from the water fountains there and no water ever tasted so good. Or we'd take off on a Sunday to view the trillium trails or go to the zoo where he'd tell me interesting facts about animal behavior.

I remember how he taught me the way to make friends with a dog. He showed me how to hold my hand out under the dog's nose to let him get my scent. Then, the dog would always be ready to accept my friendship. It always worked, even with the scariest dogs, such as Mr. Solomon's German Shepherd. But it worked especially well when my Daddy was by my side showing me what to do.

I knew that Daddy thought the cemetery was a place of beauty and contemplation and got great peace from our family outings to area cemeteries. I have inherited his fascination with these final resting grounds.

I know that at his funeral, there was no room left for all the people who wished to attend. They stood out in the inclement weather in droves. At the shiva, people we'd never known came up to me and said, "Your father was my best friend."

At the office, they had to close several account books because those people would only do business with George Meyers.

Four years after my dad died, a customer came and asked for him. He was crushed when he heard of my father's passing and began to weep. They called me down from my after-school job as an assistant to the bookkeeper Mary Ban and said, "This is George Meyers' daughter."

He said, "Your father was the finest man who ever walked God's earth."

I knew that my father and mother had a great love for each other but they were too elegant to let it show though on rare occasions, I got to see them dance together in the living room. That was a big treat.

I got to dance with my father at my cousin Arlene's wedding, and it was the first and last time I ever did so.

I knew that my father never gave up his dreams of furthering himself. He took night classes in architecture at CMU until the responsibilities of his job and his growing family forced him to give up his dreams of higher education. But he took classes in life drawing and would draw me in my P.J.'s as a special treat before bedtime. He took classes in Hebrew. He painted a beautiful painting of Rabbi Avraham Twerski using a newspaper clipping as his model, and another painting of a cattle car on its way to Auschwitz, which hangs in my home.

I knew that we were not allowed to buy clothing from Penny's because this concern was owned by anti-Semites, and for the same reason we could not buy anything from Germany and Spain. My sister once bought a used Volkswagen and he didn't speak to her until the old clunker gave out and died.

I know that he cared deeply about instilling Yiddishkeit into his children and it is because of my father's great love for his Judaism that I became religious and came to live in Israel. He always covered his head at the table, and had regular learning sessions with the associate rabbi of our shul. This in spite of the fact that he came from a home that was as secular as can be.

I know that he was a good father, a loving husband, and a workaholic, who left the house each morning at 5 AM to give the office his best efforts. I would sometimes join him in the early dark hours of the morning as he ate his breakfast and I can still smell his daily dose of Theragram. Sometimes I didn't wake up in time to be with him, and would awaken only when I heard the rustle of him taking his bag lunch from the landing on the stairs near the front door. After his death, I woke up at 5 AM each morning, expecting to hear the bag rustle, so I could go back to sleep, but I never heard it all that year or ever again. I know that after my father's own father died, he took over the support of his mother and younger brother, even though he was too young, too young.

I remember how I rolled my eyes and wanted to die one evening during my 12th year when Daddy came home from work and informed me that none other than Fred Rogers had visited the store, "I told him my daughter Barbara's favorite TV show is Mr. Rogers Neighborhood!"

I remember how he used to tell us often, "All I ask is that you make me a grandfather," and in a joking manner, I would always respond, "Poof, you're a grandfather."

Yet, his fondest wish was not fulfilled. He never was a grandfather, though I gave birth 12 times. He was too good for this earth. Or maybe he just did his duty faster than most folks. I don't know. But I do know that I did know my father. Yes I did. I knew him as only a daughter could know her father.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Oh the Irony, Oh the Agony

If you'll recall, I started this narcissistic venture as a way of jump-starting my career at a time I feared it was going into stasis. It was a proactive step. Something I could do when there was really very little to do except submit my resume everywhere and worry.

It was a good idea at the time and time has proven the wisdom of putting myself out here for everyone's perusal.

I write 100 web content articles a month and over time, I've created an impressive body of work. Alas, all of those articles are unattributed. So, though I've amassed so much work, I have nothing to show for it all.

This blog, however, is a different story. My name is right out here, front and center. Google me, this blog comes up. Which was kind of the idea in the first place. Get my name out there, show my writing, and maybe, just maybe, I'll get a nibble from a potential employer.

That time has come.

Dov got a new client, asked him what he did for a living, and then asked if by any chance they needed a content writer. What a coinkydink, they did. They'd contact me when they were ready to get started and discuss the idea.

Meantime, unbeknownst (why is spell check telling me this isn't a word, when Merriam Webster clearly says it IS?) to us, they googled me and found this blog. They liked me, they liked me, to paraphrase Sally F.

All you writers out there: start a blog. It pays. It gets your name and your work out there, even if people don't click on your google ads (I've not had a single click). But maybe don't be quite as brave as this writer and bear your kishkes (Yiddish for intestines) for all to see. Yes, honest writing is good writing, but in a moment you'll see what I mean.

Things are hopping with this job offer. And if it pans out, my actual name will appear on the website--for a change. But guess what? They asked me if I have an English name to use as an alternative to Varda--they love my blog, but their clients may not. Hmmmm.

They share my views, they like my work, but I have to go incognito? Dunno quite what to make of that. I could change my name HERE. I could close down the blog. I could use my English name with the company, or I could be adamant about keeping my name and the blog and risk offending a potential employer. ARGH.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

I'm Sorry

T he inimitable words of Brenda Lee:

You tell me mistakes
Are part of being young
But that don't right
The wrong that's been done

She's right. You can't just blow off your mistakes and move on. The only way to right a wrong is to come clean, feel bad about it, and resolve to do better. That's the classic method by which Jews repent. I tossed and turned a good deal last night, thinking about my personal flaws and going over the litany of what I need to do to become a better person.

One main idea kept repeating itself for my examination: I need to stop using the baser side of myself to generate attention. This is the side that loves to have an audience, the side that likes to shock and force reactions. I need to stop letting that side of me just out and do its thing and be more reflective of my deeper values and upbringing.

I don't know why I'm such an attention-seeker. I don't know why I so enjoy being able to elicit a laugh, or why performing on a stage feeds me with adrenaline. But I do know that there is a good side and a bad side to every characteristic we own. I need to be more of a force for good and stop developing the coarser side of my need for attention. I'm a little disgusted with myself.

In the Stanislavski Method, the actor can work from within and from without. He can choose to work from without by changing his mannerisms and these actions will begin to work their way into his character until they are integrated in full. He can work from within, by delving into the mind of the character and trying to assume his personality.

In Judaism, it is much the same. We do both deeds and self-examination. In my case, I resolve to remove coarse language from my vocabulary and stop making the excuse that those words have impact that no clean language can convey.

My father, of blessed memory, used to say that people who use profanity have poor vocabularies. Maybe he was right. Maybe I could try to find good, strong, clean language that is just as powerful as the curse words I use with too much ease if I just stopped being lazy and exerted some efforts in that direction.

It's a challenge and a writing challenge at that. It's a place to improve. It's doable.

On Friendship

I've never been one to have a lot of close friends at any one time. One or maybe two friends has been about the largest number of friends I've ever been able to sustain at a given point. I'm not talking about the number of non-related people I care about or love, I'm talking about people you connect with on a daily basis, or perhaps several times a day.

There should be names to distinguish types of friends. I'd like to do that: generate a list of friend types. But I'm not sure that my list would be the same as the next person's list. Friendship is what you make of it. And friends can serve in all sorts of unique capacities and learn to serve in still others.

Friends take energy. You get out of the friendship what you put in, though the equation isn't really as equal as all that. Some friendships are selfish. You know you're getting way more than they are getting from you. Some friendships are very altruistic though, and you feel good, knowing that you're more than doing your share. Or there can be a trade-off from time to time, as need be. You need more today: I'm there for you. And vice versa.

But what I'm thinking about is that one or two friends is really enough. If they're the type of devoted friends putting a lot into the mix. You can't really maintain that kind of intensity with a lot of people at the same time. It's a strain, even if it's a pleasant kind of strain. If we only had to work on our friendships, it wouldn't matter. But people are loaded down with a variety of other duties. In today's world, being a friend to someone means sacrificing time in some other life sphere.

I'm talking around the issue now when what I'm really thinking is that when you lose a friend, and you still have one more friend left, it is all too possible to feel a horrible loss. Friends can't substitute for other friends. One friend can't take the place of two. Every friend has something you need.

Losing a friend is a lot like a death. Feelings come out. Feelings that may not seem logical like anger and bitterness, even when the parting is amicable, as for example when one of you moves to a distant location. Because a connection, an intense connection, has been severed, and it hurts. It just does.

Skin Deep


ast night, a Facebook friend posted a link to an article about Gabourey Sidibe's Elle Magazine cover photo and asked:

"I can't comment on her skin tone, but I think it's a beautiful photo. So what if it's not a 'traditional' cover photo? Please discuss - I can be convinced."

I assumed my friend was asking a question about aesthetics. I wasn't quite sure whether she was asking about the photographer's skills or the subject matter, but in any case, since I think that Sidibe is physically unattractive, I found the photo unattractive as well, and said so.

Is something wrong with me? What on earth possessed me to give myself up on the sacrificial altar of this Facebook wall by venturing an honest response?

I wrote: "Hideous. Nothing to do with her color. I just think she's URGLY with a capital UR. Cross eyed, forehead pushed in, chin too wide, no neck, double chin, bad hair. So kill me. I'm expecting it. "

And so they did. Kill me that is. It was a public lynching. Yet another test sent me from the Heavens during the Aseret Y'mei Teshuva, the ten days of repentance before Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

I received a lecture on tolerance. I was told that Sidibe is beautiful on the inside and I am ugly on the inside. I was told that one of the people weighing in on the thread was African-American and had her entire biography related to me, for reasons unknown--this seemed altogether irrelevant to me.

Well, I should have figured out that the bloodthirsty crowd had only been hoping for an opinion such as mine as a platform for unleashing vindictive sentiment, which seems to be a favorite sport on this person's wall.

I know. I should unfriend her. Been there. Done that. Yet she asked me to refriend her and I didn't want to hurt her feelings and refuse.

She's a good person. I don't dislike her. But I don't like this kind of crap. If I wanted to attend the bull fights, I'd go to Madrid, or better yet, stay home and read Ferdinand to my kids.

Meantime, I decided I'm grateful for this particular test. Consider the following:

THOSE WHO HEAR THEMSELVES INSULTED AND DO NOT RESPOND Our Rabbi taught that atonement happens when those who are insulted, do not insult back in return. Fortunate are those who hear themselves being disgraced and choose not to respond. This silence allows 100 evils pass him by. ( Rashi, Sanhedrin 7a) If a person acts leniently regarding slights to his honor, so too Hashem is lenient when judging such a person.” (Rosh Hashanna 17a)

So, I'm keeping silent. I'm not answering the hateful insults. It can only do me good.

To all my friends: G'Mar Chatima Tova: May you be inscribed [in the Book of Life] for good.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Waking Up is Hard to Do

I 'm the kind of person who, once awake, is really awake. It freaks Dov out a bit, the way I wake up. Using gentle, soft tones, he'll call out, "Vaaarda..." and in response I will sit up in bed and say, "What?" in a kind of blase, off-hand manner. Freaks him out--I mean it. My eyes are wide open and I'm in a state of complete wakefulness, even a bit bored. A zombie, yet not a zombie.

But this morning, I woke up and felt intense lethargy. After the past week or so of stupidity and denial, I was no longer attributing this fact to anything but the side effects of my new medication. Yesterday, the doctor gave me something to counteract the side effects of the other medication and warned me that I may end up with very LOW blood pressure as yet another side effect. *sigh*

I struggled to open my eyes and called out to Dov to bring me the automatic BP cuff we rented from Yad Sara. Yup. Blood pressure is low. Low normal. Not low enough to call the doctor, and much better than *MUCH TOO HIGH EEK!* blood pressure. I will keep an eye on things and call the doctor if my blood pressure dips any more.

So, my brain is not really running at full power. Creative juices are not flowing and not much comes to mind to write here. Nothing appropriate at any rate. Last night some silly lyrics came into my head, and I sang them aloud to Dov as a pirate's ditty, but the unfortunate fact is that those words were not very G-rated. Nyuk.

The racing pulse and palpitations are all but a thing of the past, and that's the main thing. I couldn't have coped even one more day.

Asher's birthday party yesterday was a giant hit. Yitzchak sought me out as things were winding down and was just bubbling with kind words for me and for Dov, "You and Abba are the best. You make the best parties."

Gosh, what a sweet kid.

Asher came to me and said, "Eema, this was my best birthday party, EVER!"

All this made me remember how even my older kids have told us they had the best birthday parties of all their friends. I'm glad I can help my kids build these good memories.

There's so much that has been hard for them. I guess I do have a knack for making birthday parties.

Natan took TONS of photos, around 70, and you can see the joy and delight on the faces of the little boys at the party. I love little boys. I'm sad to see this phase of my life, phasing out. The relighting candles on the birthday cake were an awesome touch. So funny to see Asher blowing harder and harder, not quite grokking what the heck was going on here. LOL. Lotta spit on that side of the cake. Does the 25 second rule apply here?

Anyway, I have a need to push myself to complete my writing assignments by Monday, or at least that's the plan. So I'm going to close this entry--the most boring to date--with my apologies. Tomorrow is another day.