Monday, December 31, 2007
It appears that I will be checking into a hospital tomorrow morning.
I'm waiting to hear from my doctor to find out which hospital he recommends.
I'm guessing most likely Shaarei Tzedek, but not sure at this point.
If you want to be in touch, you can call my cell-phone. If you don't have the number, ask my mom over at drsavta. I will probably be offline until I get home :(
prayers are welcome - Leah Gavriela bat Raizel Chaya
edit: I am adding my sister and a friend to those authorized to blog, so if there's news, one of them will post. I also unmoderated comments (please no spam!) so ya'll can post comments while I'm away.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Thanks for all the good wishes.
Today, I went to the doctor (my primary care physician), and he gave me percocet. Guess what? My head still hurts.
I went to the gym, mostly b/c it gives me a way to put Kinneret into someone else's hands for an hour or so. The babysitting service there seems nice enough.
I was about to change into my gym clothes when my mom's friend came in. I know her pretty well, b/c she runs my book club, and because her dog Pushkin is friends with my dog Poofy. Anyway, she asked me how I am, and I burst out crying.
I went swimming - did 50 lengths, 1.25 Kilometers. (a mile is 1.6)
Felt reasonable most of the way home, and then the pain came back
Fortunately, K slept for almost 2 hours when we got home. Then she got up and screamed for a while. I gave her a bath, dressed her, and then she screamed some more. I couldn't calm her down in any way and I didn't have it in me to pack her in my wrap and go for a walk (which would have calmed her).
Then Yaakov came home & got her to sleep. And now I'm waiting for the doctor to call...
So here's the story about my head:
1. Hormones - I'm not on hormonal b.c. at the moment, b/c it's always a prime suspect. If I get pregnant, it's the fault of everyone who mentioned problems with hormonal birth control!
2. Acupuncture - I had one treatment which seemed to help. Unfortunately, Yaakov doesn't really believe in it, so he's not keen on it. More unfortunately, 8 treatments (which is about the minimum I could imagine needing in the next while) would cost us more than a month's rent. We simply can't afford it.
3. Ezra Lamarpe - I will give them a call. Thanks for the suggestion.
Meantime, a friend invited us for a special meal in which everyone makes the blessings out loud and everyone says "amen" and this is supposed to be a very powerful prayer thing. My mom and I had me in mind. G-d always answers prayers. Sometimes he says no.
My neighbor's cousin got married this week and they're having one of the "seven blessings" meals at their house now, so I'm sending Yaakov over to ask for the bride & groom to bless me.
Where we're at now - I'm waiting for my doctor to call with a plan of action. Current possibilities are either to proceed with the neurologist's call for an EEG (which I might end up having to pay for out-of-pocket...) or to have my doctor request a hospitalization for me.
I'm torn about the second option. On the one hand, it seems like the best bet for finding a solution - I will be able to have all the tests in a short time without waiting for health fund approval, appointments at various clinics, etc. It'll mean a lot less running around, especially for my mom, who is starting to feel like a taxi driver. And hopefully, it'll mean an answer sooner.
On the other hand, it'll mean being away from Kinneret, and I will miss her so much. It'll also mean much more work for Yaakov - He'll have to take over all the stuff I do, and I imagine he'll be surprised at how much I do even with constant headaches. He should be able to get the time off as "family sick" time, so work shouldn't be a problem.
But now, I'm just waiting for the phone to ring, and gradually losing hope as it gets ever closer to 9pm and the time I expected the doctor to call by...
I'll be bursting into tears right about now.
Friday, December 28, 2007
I'm just having a never-ending headache. I don't know where to get support for that, or for the depression I experience EVERY morning when I wake up and the pain is still there full force.
I have great friends who give me all kinds of moral support, but none of them know what this feels like. They can't understand what it's like to have my head hurt and my baby screaming and know that I'm not being the kind of mother I want to be. And have it continue day after day.
It's impossible to put into words how I felt when I had to tell the woman I work for that I need to take some time off. This means putting off getting a car even longer, since we can't afford one without my salary. I haven't been able to take driving lessons, which means I'm still far away from getting my license.
I haven't been able to keep up with the basics like laundry. I consider it an achievement that I manage to keep the baby washed and in clean diapers.
I feel like this headache has taken over my life and everything that means anything to me is disappearing into the ether. Yaakov is running out of patience for me. My mom is downright sick of me. My friends need me to be there for them in other, important ways. I keep pushing to keep going through the pain, but it's getting harder and harder.
I've now been to two neurologists, one of whom was very thorough, but didn't have any particularly helpful ideas for stopping my pain. He gave me one medication while I was at his office - it's a fast-acting medication that you're supposed to take while experiencing the aura. So I did. And on the way home, I felt intense burning and pressure in my head.
so I took the other medication he recommended. In extremely high doses, it seems to ease the pain slightly. slightly.
I'm really starting to lose it. I don't know what to do.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
She wakes up once or twice a night. If it's before 1am, I give her water, hold her for a while, and ease her back into bed. After 1am, I give her a bottle of milk. (If you look at my previous posts, you'll see I had nursing problems. I finally gave up after two months of misery on both our parts, and thank G-d, she is doing well on formula.) She drinks it down so fast, it's almost amusing, but her whole body is relaxed, just her mouth working on the bottle.
She lies in my arms, completely calm, warm, soft. This is our moment, in the still of the night. I think that when she sleeps through until morning, I might miss it.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Today, as I was taking Kinneret out in the rain, I had trouble telling Kinneret and Shlomit (the new doll, note how original the name is...) apart.
Sorry about the quality. It was taken on my phone. But doncha just LOVE the ears?
Monday, November 19, 2007
Frumhouse tagged me on an 8 things meme... here goes.
8 passions in my life:
- My family of origin
- Ice Cream
- Music (listening & singing)
- Be a loving wife
- Be a great mom
- Be a wonderful grandmother
- Be a Great-grandmother
- Publish a novel
- Take a skydiving course
- Improve my self-image
- Achieve complete relaxation
- Yaakov, can you get the baby?
- Fuzzy Wuzzy Animal, please don't bark!
- I love you (Pumpkin, Princess, Poofster)
- We need a car.
- I'm tired.
- Are you a Hungry Hungry Hippo?
- Please don't touch my baby, she's sleeping!
- The Memory Keeper's Daughter - Kim Edwards
- Fool Me Once - Fern Michaels
- The Book of Ruth - Jane Hamilton
- The New Method Preparation for Driving Theory Test
- Small Island - Andrea Levy
- Dropped From Heaven - Sophie Judah
- Siddur Rinat Yisrael
- Does the Ikea Catalog count as a book?
- HaYalda Hachi Yafah Bagan - Hakeves Hashisha Asar
- Naara Ushma Kinneret
- Kan Beiti El Mul Golan
- Baby Mine - Bette Midler
- Mi Bon Siach - Dveykus
- Im Yivaled Li Yeled - Yoni Rechter
- White Flag - Dido
- (Mostly) mentally stable
- Good Sense of Humor
- Good Heart
- Good Listener
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Here are a few pictures...
Tatty takes care of Kinneret
Kinneret gets to know Poofy
Kinneret in her new Chinese PJ's
Friday, October 12, 2007
Once, I defragmented my hard disk, and watched, mesmerized. The defrag utility takes bits of files that have gotten spread out all over the disk and puts them together. It clears away parts of deleted files that have been left there. It opens the space for new files, new information.
A few nights ago, while I was lying in my bed, my overtired brain started coughing up partial images, bad thoughts, bad memories, and random pieces of television shows that I've watched. I started to ponder - what would it be like if I could defrag my brain?
Could I delete the crystal clear image of a mother beating her child in Ganei Hataarucha in Tel Aviv some 20 years ago? Could I replace it with the periodic table of elements? That would come in handier than that image that haunts me sometimes.
How about the memory of being trapped in a foot locker? Could I replace that with something more pleasant? Say the memory of picking blueberries with my sister?
And how about this tiny segment of a memory that I have of being in a giant tent? I can't figure out if it's from a trip I took when I was 14 or one I took while I was in college. All I have is a few faint images.
And what about people who went through serious trauma, like the holocaust? Why can't G-d just pre-load a defrag utility onto us?
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Sometimes, I'm not sure who I am. I mean, yes, I know my name. But sometimes, I look in the mirror and I'm confused as to how I got to be where I am.
Interestingly enough, when I started high school, my dream was to live in Israel, and be married and have a baby and cover my hair...
And that's where I am now.
But somewhere in the middle, I stepped off of that path. I became someone who got her friends to draw all over her jeans and then wore them in public. I went to dance parties with trance music (except I had to leave because the trance stuff makes me feel like my head's about to explode). I went to outdoor rock concerts and danced with men I'd never met. I learned all the words to the Israeli songs so I could sing along at the concerts with everyone else. I bought an incredibly short sleeveless dress, and wore it outside. Of course, I walked around feeling entirely naked, but it was kind of a liberating feeling. Of course, it was loose and no one even bothered to give me an appreciative glance, but hey, I felt undressed.
A bit over a year ago, I went to a concert in the Sultan's Pool with friends, and one of my favorite bands, Tipex (also called Teapacks) played. I jumped up and down and screamed like any other excited fan, and I got the STRANGEST looks. I guess it's just not normal for a woman in a long skirt with a head-covering to jump around like a teenager.
The last time I was at a concert was May. Considering that I gave birth in the end of June, I didn't have to be reminded not to jump. Kinneret did enough jumping for both of us - of course, I didn't know she was Kinneret at the time.
All this is to say that I'm not sure what really is me. Am I really the woman with the manicured nails and the wedding band and the long skirt and the frumpy head-coverings? Or am I the girl in the painted jeans? Can I be both? If I am the religious woman, how much of that other part of me do I have to give up? And what if sometimes it's too much? What if listening to a concert on the radio and dancing in my living room just isn't enough?
Those moments, being that other person, they made me feel alive in a way that is totally different from what I feel in my current life. I know that life isn't meant to be skydiving and dance parties. And I know that I've been to incredible juggling festivals. And of course, nothing in that world could ever compare to the feelings I have for Yaakov and Kinneret. No rock concert can compare to the beauty of having my baby's fingers wrapped around my own finger.
Would I trade my life now for that life? Absolutely not. But sometimes I wonder if I really have to let go of all of it to get to where I am now.
Friday, September 21, 2007
What will they think of next?
Google's Moon Prize Upped by YouNeverCall Online Cell Phone Store
Online Cell Phone Superstore YouNeverCall has added an additional prize to Google's recently announced prize for landing a spacecraft on the Moon. YouNeverCall offers $10,000 to the first company to successfully place a cellular phone call from the moon.
Los Angeles, California (PRWEB) September 21, 2007 -- YouNeverCall Inc. the popular online cell phone superstore (http://www.younevercall.com), today announced a $10,000 prize award for the first cell phone call placed from the moon.
This announcement follows on the coattails of Google's (http://www.google.com) announcement of $30M in prize money for landing a craft on the moon by Dec. 31, 2014. YouNeverCall has decided to allow a few more days to place the first cell phone call from the moon and so the deadline has been set for January 7, 2015 - which is a Wednesday.
In order to claim the $10,000 prize a cell phone call must be placed by a device or person present on the Moon's surface. This call must pass through a commercially available cellular phone to YouNeverCall's corporate headquarters in Los Angeles, CA. The call may travel via any protocol or compression before reaching our offices, and it must be possible to for the caller to answer a few yes/no questions correctly. Like Google, YouNeverCall is offering a lesser prize for companies who achieve a related but lesser goal. YouNeverCall is offering a $500 prize to the first SMS message that travels via the moon and lands on one of our corporate cell phones (http://www.younevercall.com). Furthermore, the company is offering a $100 bounty to the first party who receives a cell phone call on the Moon that rings using the infamous Crazy Frog Ringtone.
While Google's goal is to cause excitement around renewed space exploration, YouNeverCall aims to extend Google's mission by introducing a new facet. "We feel that by challenging the scientific community with performing an everyday task on the moon, we are going a step further than Google. While the journey itself may be the destination in some sense - we think doing something useful once you get there will also add a little something," said Sam Michelson, VP Marketing for YouNeverCall.
YouNeverCall reminds readers that use of cell phones outside of one's calling area may incur steep roaming charges.
YouNeverCall was launched in 2003 to provide great communication solutions with 'extreme customer service'. At over 250,000 monthly visitors, YouNeverCall's online cell phone stores offer over 150 models of the latest cell phones for AT&T (Cingular), Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint and Nextel. YouNeverCall also offers cell phone shopping assistance around the clock via phone. To experience YouNeverCall for yourself, go to http://www.younevercall.com
Press Contact: Sam Michelson
Company Name: YouNeverCall
Email Us Here: http://www.prweb.com/emailmember.php?prid=555228
Phone: (323) 988-9678
Thursday, September 06, 2007
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
What I don't like is the fact that other people, strangers, suddenly feel that because they can assume you've had sex (by the fact that you're pregnant, a parent, etc) they now have the right to intrude on your whole life.
It starts with the pregnancy. People feel like they have the right to touch a woman's pregnant belly as if it were public property. I literally had to tell a man to "back off" my belly. And of course, everyone has to ask what you're having. And if you don't tell them, then they tell you. (Just for the record, everyone told me I was having a boy.)
You'd hope that they'd quit once the belly is gone, but no... they find new ways to intrude. First, they touch the baby without permission, sometimes with dirty hands, sometimes while smoking. I try to keep Kinneret away from smokers... Oh, and you gotta love the people who want to touch her while she's sleeping! Hello? Would you like it if someone decided to prod you in your sleep? She's a baby, not a puppy, for heaven's sake!
The other way that they intrude is the ever-present question of "Are you breastfeeding?"
Here's the answer: "Sorta"
Usually, I try to keep my private business, well, private, or at least off of this blog. But the situation has gotten out of hand. I'm attacked with the question so often that it just drives me bonkers.
Here's the story.
When I was in the hospital after an excellent delivery, I had little success latching Kinneret on. I tried and tried, but I never heard a swallow. Right before I was released, the lactation consultant at the hospital tried to help me, and we were able to get Kinneret on, but she didn't swallow, indicating that she didn't get any milk. The consultant told me to get a pump and pump 6-8 times a day to bring in a supply.
I tried with no success. Two nights later, I got Kinneret on, got a latch, heard a swallow, and then Kinneret started screaming so I gave her a bottle. When I got up, I saw that I was sitting in a puddle of blood. The bleeding got so bad that I went to the ER that night, and my mom and I spent the whole night there so that the doctors could stop the hemorrhage.
When I tried to nurse again, there was nothing.
Since then, I've been working with a lactation consultant, and pumping to increase the supply, but the most I've pumped in a single session is 20ml. Just for reference, Kinneret generally eats 120-160 ml of milk at a feeding. I'm still working at it, but it's just not going great.
Usually her first feeding in the morning starts with some time on me, but then she'll eat a whole feeding from a bottle after that... so go figure.
Anyway, my point is, I'm sick of people telling me all sorts of stuff about breastfeeding, because I'm sure it's wonderful if you have a body that cooperates and doesn't try to bleed itself to death and all that, but when the body just won't do the job, the whole thing is so depressing.
I comfort myself with the fact that my four older siblings were all bottle-fed back when formula wasn't nearly as well formulated and they're all doing fine. I also comfort myself with the fact that Kinneret is eating some breast milk each day.
And, when I need additional comfort, I think about the people who stick their nose in my business, and I imagine smashing my fist right into their obtrusive nose.
Ahhhh... that's better.
Monday, August 13, 2007
It's hard work setting up a house. I've never done it from scratch myself, but I've come close. They literally had nothing, though - no oven, no microwave, no washer/dryer, fridge, nuttin'. So we helped Kelli get a whole mess of price quotes for appliances online. Then we took her to the appliance shop and got them to make us a package of all the nice appliances for about the cost of the quotes we'd collected.
Next, I've been helping them get their cable internet set up. It's not working yet :(
So that's been keeping me busy.
Last week, on Wednesday, my mom, Jeremy, Kelli, and I took Kinneret to a Modiin Miracles baseball game. Sadly the game was called in the bottom of the 7th inning because of darkness. I think the Bet Shemesh Blue Sox were up by 1 run, but the Miracles were going to win!!! (the games are only 7 innings, and the half inning was the Miracles at bat.)
The big news for this week is the Kinneret smiles! She's not doing it consistently or anything, but she does smile sometimes!
The other big news is that my mom is going to China. Despite the lack of interest from my blog-readers, the trip is going, and my mom is taking my 13-year-old niece. I couldn't be happier for her! (Actually, I would be happier for her if I were a bit less jealous. Come on, CHINA?! I want to go to China!!!! But really, I'm very happy for her, especially because she's going to sneak me into her luggage...)
Having kids really does cramp one's style. I wish we could just go someplace exotic and fun, but Kinneret is too young to travel... oh well. Maybe next year.
Sunday, August 05, 2007
To those who haven't been following my whole story, let me recap.
Scott and I once went out on a date. The next day, he left me an email saying that it was nice meeting me, and he thought I would do well to meet his friend Yaakov.
About 4 months later, Yaakov and I stood under the Chuppah, and Scott juggled for us.
On Sunday, Yaakov was able to return the favor, juggling for Scott and his new wife.
Kinneret and I were not up for juggling, but we did do a little dancing.
Mazal Tov to Scott and Natasha and their kids!
Friday, August 03, 2007
When: Monday, August 20th - Wednesday August 29th.
Where: Beijing, China
Food: All food is kosher and prepared fresh every day.
Shabbat: Observance of Shabbat is made easy and comfortable by the experienced guides. There are tfillot, kiddush, and challahs as well as three traditional meals.
Why should you take this trip?
What you'll see:
- The Summer Palace
- The Temple of Heaven
- An Acrobatics show
- The Cloissone Factory
- The Great Wall of China
- The Ming Tombs
- A Foot Massage
- A Kung Fu Show
- The Lama Temple (Tibetan)
- The Central Zoo (with Pandas)
- Tienanmen Square
- The Forbidden City
- The Pearl Market
- And LOADS of Shopping!
- (Plus some extras along the way)
What's included: Flight, hotel, and all meals.
What's not included:
- Travel and baggage insurance
- Optional shows
- Tips for local service personnel ($60)
- Tips for Israeli guide ($2 per day per person suggested)
- Fuel and other similar surcharges
Who do you call? Rona Michelson at +972-8-970-7684, or 08-972-7684 if you're in Israel.
When do you call? Anytime that isn't Shabbat in Israel.
Don't miss out! This may be the cheapest trip EVER to China. With the Beijing Olympics coming up, this deal will probably never be repeated!
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
so here goes:
"Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog."
1. I never know what to answer when people ask where I'm from, because I'm an army brat. The question kind of makes me uncomfortable in general. I claim to be from New Jersey, because I went to high school there, even though I lived in NY at the time.
2. I'm obsessed with food. I think about sushi, hamburgers, steak, etc all the time. My first year of college, I ate shawarma almost every day. I've always been obsessed with food. I once cried because my brother had hamburgers without me.
3. I love colored pens, markers, crayons, fancy paper, beads, any art supplies. Unfortunately, I have no artistic talent. I frequently throw out my doodles so that no one will see how bad they are.
4. When I was little, I absolutely adored my sister. She left home for college when I was 7. For years, every item I had that had been hers was "holy" to me, and every time I heard a song that I associated with her, I would burst into tears. When I was in second or third grade, I started crying at a school assembly where we were listening to some singer and he sang something by Billy Joel. (I still adore her, and I live less than a block away from her, but I've gained a bit of perspective.)
5. When I listen to myself, I realize I often sound like an opinionated know-it-all. I hate that about myself. Sometimes I don't know how to stop it, though.
6. Even though I grew up in the US, the last time I visited, I felt like the only thing about me that wasn't foreign was my accent. I had absolutely no sense of coming home or coming back, even when I was in places I'd been before.
7. I'm pretty good at Texas Hold'em poker, and I once played online for money and made about $25 in a very short time. I was playing on an account owned by the company I worked for, so I didn't get to keep the money. I'm not as good at other types of poker, and I'm downright awful at backgammon, even though I wrote many sites about backgammon. (and yes, backgammon is more skill than luck)
8. Since I named my daughter Kinneret, several people have told me about relatives of theirs named Kinneret. It's always the same person - Kinneret Meyer who teaches in the English Literature department at Bar Ilan. I never took a course with her, though, because she teaches more classical literature, and I prefer more modern stuff.
Tagging: There's no one left to tag. Everyone I know has been tagged, except DrSavta.
Friday, July 06, 2007
Kinneret is the Hebrew name for the Sea of Galilee. The Kinneret is the primary source of fresh water for Israel, and is a sign of life and vitality.
Many songs have been written about the Kinneret. Here are two:
Esther is the name of Yaakov's grandmother, Z"L, who passed away several years ago. She was a loving, caring woman who was an important part of Yaakov's upbringing.
Baby measured 51cm (20 inches), and weighed 3.65 kilograms (just over 8lbs), up from her original weight of 3.612 kg, and way up from her hospital release weight of 3.5 kg.
Today, when we went to give her a bath, we discovered that her umbilical cord had come off! She's growing so nicely!
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Other than that, there's not much to tell. Monday night, I had to go back to the hospital, but I'm doing better now. We've pretty much settled on a name for our daughter. We will announce it at shul on Shabbat, and then hopefully post it here shortly thereafter.
She's very sweet, but we're not getting a lot of sleep.
That's about it for now.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
It's a piece about the Arab-Israeli conflict.
If you're a leftist, feel free to keep your comments to yourself, or at least post them on Ezzie's and not here, because they'll probably tick me off.
Sunday, July 01, 2007
Hello, this is Yaakov.
Leah arrived home today. She caught up on most of her online stuff, but was unable upload pictures, so I've uploaded a few to FaceBook, in addition to the two here. (Sorry to anyone who wanted a picture from when she looked more like a cone head, as you didn't get to see her on the day she was born, you had like only 5 minutes). Here she is almost 3 days old. She weighed approx. 3500grams when she left the hospital today.
Note from Leah: The nice, slim arm there belongs to the neighbor. My arms are still seriously puffy... (no, not Poofy, puffy).
Friday, June 29, 2007
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Everyone said it hurts... but they didn't mention how long the pre-hospital hurting is!
Saturday, June 23, 2007
The concept is to get some frustrations off your chest, and then to get positive again...
so here goes.
Ten things I can't stand:
1. Contractions that aren't getting me anywhere.
2. The fact that my pelvic bones aren't sitting right.
3. The fact that the hamster cage smells.
4. Having to walk the dog when I'm exhausted and it's hard for me to walk.
5. Computer viruses, even if they're in someone else's computer.
6. Handkerchiefs because they seem totally gross to me.
7. Clothes that need to be ironed or hand washed.
8. Having to wear long or longish sleeves & hats in the summer (for religious reasons).
9. That I can't wear my rings anymore because my fingers are too swollen.
10. Being sick.
Twenty Things I LOVE:
1. That my husband made all of our food for Shabbat.
2. Having 2 dishwashers.
3. That I don't have to deal with the dating scene anymore.
4. Having a great, supportive family.
5. That my husband has a good sense of humor.
7. Swimming (& just floating in the water)
8. Cream puffs
9. The internet
11. Petting my dog
12. River rafting
13. Air conditioning
14. Macaroni and cheese, especially after spending the day at the pool (don't ask me why, it just seems like the perfect end to a perfect day.)
15. Holding a baby while they're falling asleep.
16. Watching a baby take their first steps.
17. The smell of a freshly bathed baby. (are we sensing a theme?)
18. Ultimate Mocha ice blend with whipped cream (Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf)
19. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
I tag: Aurynne, Rachel Inbar, and Raggedy Mom
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Because he came home, said hi, took a 30-minute run on his treadmill, took a quick shower, and has been sitting at the dining room table working ever since.
It's nice to ALMOST have him home.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
I was slightly annoyed at Kefirot's post on depression, but he clarified in his comments that he recognizes that gratitude is only part of the story. I find it very frustrating when people expect me to "pick myself up by my own bootstraps" from depression. If I could do that with any success, I would have already done it. I have a whole bunch of things that I do to get myself out of bad moods, even really depressed ones. For example, I will often watch television to distract myself from my thoughts. I try to see other people or at least talk to other people on the phone, because they will get my thoughts to go elsewhere. If those things fail, usually a good sleep will shake off some of the mood.
For the past two weeks, none of the above were helping at all. "Fake it 'til you make it" was also not getting me anywhere, because it's hard to fake not having crying fits...
Anyway, there was a point to this. If you know someone who is suffering from depression, there are things you can do:
1. Encourage them to get medical help. If you can take them to the appointment or make the appointment for them, that's very helpful - they may not be able to take those steps themselves.
2. Provide a listening ear. Let them get out the issues without being judgmental - things like "that's rough" or "I'm sure that hurts" or "I once went through something similar. It's really tough" help much more than "well, look on the bright side," because someone who is depressed is consumed by their problem. Don't belittle it. It will just make them angry.
3. After you've listened through everything once, change the subject. They need to feel heard, but obsessing is useless.
4. A good meal - when a person is depressed, they will often either eat junk or not eat enough. A good square meal can really help.
5. Protect yourself - If you're being drawn into the depression, don't let it happen. If the person shouldn't be left alone, turn on the TV or watch a movie - they can't talk to you and draw you in, but they're not alone either.
6. Protect yourself and your friend- If you think there's a real suicide risk, get the person committed to a psych ward. It's not your job to be on suicide watch. Don't take responsibility for more than you should!
I'm not a therapist, so this isn't professional advice - but people who have helped me a lot have generally used these things...
Friday, June 15, 2007
Pollyanna is a nice fairy tale. I don't think I'd ever be able to "just be glad" that I got a pair of crutches instead of a doll, for example, even if it does give me the opportunity to be happy that I don't need crutches. (Yes, that's an example from the book... I don't think I ever saw the Disney Movie.)
Anyway, so, I'm not exactly a natural Pollyanna... More than that, I'm in the midst of a hormone storm. Add the fact that my pelvic bones seem to be adrift, causing seriously bad pain whenever I walk, change sitting position, or turn over in bed, and the mood is just not so good.
So last night, I had contractions all night - starting at 11pm. The problem was that they were not consistent - I had three in a row 3 minutes apart, then one 7 minutes later, another one 5 minutes later, and well, you get the point... so they're not getting longer, stronger, and closer together (which they're supposed to do) so I'm sitting here pondering what to do. Husband came home at midnight, exhausted out of his gourd, and knowing he had to go grocery shopping at 7:45 (b/c that's when he could get a ride) and that he had to go to work today.
So I was on my own. He had to sleep. So I got busy - I packed a bag for Poofy, (the dog's gotta eat, right?) I finished packing my bag. (I added a robe, some socks, stuff like that. Most of the stuff was already there.) I took a nice hot shower. And then the contractions had kind of eased up. So I tried to go to sleep. I managed to sleep, but I had horrible dreams about the baby having a shark in there with it, about going into labor and not being able to find the ward and having to climb up a wet slide to get to the nurse, about Yaakov not being there with me... just bad dreams that make me fairly certain I was having a lot of pain but was managing to sleep through it.
In the morning, I went to the women's clinic here in town, and they put me on a monitor. The contractions were way lighter at this point, and the doctor didn't even bother to look at me. He just told me that nothing was happening, and that's life. I was crying. I just felt like "I worked soooo hard all night, and you're telling me I accomplished NOTHING?!"
I know it's irrational. But it's how I feel.
Anyway, my parents are back! I thought I'd go to their house and they'd cheer me up. Instead, I got a lecture on being positive. Strangely, this lecture led me to cry much more...
It's really awful when you're doing your best and feeling miserable and basically you're told that you're doing a crappy job because you're letting a whole boatload of frustrations and annoyances get you down.
This is not the first time people have told me to be positive...I'm thinking that next time someone tells me to be positive, though, I will positively punch them in the stomach and ask them how positive it makes them feel!
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Actually it's the Hebrew that doesn't come naturally or easily for him. When he was a kid, he studied acting, and even did some acting, and he has natural performance ability - something I completely lack.
At any rate, he's happy to juggle for anyone and everyone, but the speech was another story... so I offered to come and give the speech for him.
So my mother caught me on a chat (from China... they're still there) and I tell my mother this - about how I will be speaking in front of Mayor Lupolianski (or however you spell it)... We go on to talk about other things, including the fact that I keep having contractions, apparently still Braxton-Hicks (or Mason-Dixon, according to a friend who teaches Poli Sci) and that I have an appointment with the doctor to find out how things are going on Thursday.
So this morning, I wake up to see an email wishing me good luck for today, to which I automatically respond "my doctor's appointment isn't until Thursday, but thanks."
I am SUCH a belly brain!
Monday, June 11, 2007
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
The article called "Jet Set Kids" talks about a new trend - many wealthy parents send their kids to camp by plane, often on private jets which serve special kid-friendly food, show kid-friendly movies, and sometimes even have in-air manicure service.
In general, I'm slightly put off by conspicuous consumption. However, when I really think about it, I try to be realistic. If I had oodles and oodles of cash pouring out of my ears, I would probably have my own indoor swimming pool, a maid, and lots of other nice things. I don't begrudge anyone who has more than me what they have. Really. (Which is not to say that I'd mind if they decided to share the wealth.)
But some things irk me. Especially when it comes to over-indulging children.
Children are fairly adaptable, and they develop expectations very early. These expectations carry through to adulthood.
I'm not big into camping. I never enjoyed it as a kid. This is probably because my dad used camping as an alternative to a motel when we were moving. I associate camping with long days, uncomfortable dirty bathrooms, going to bed early, waking up at the crack of dawn, packing the car, and moving on. Probably doesn't help much that we generally ate canned sardines while camping and my mom wasn't much of a camping fan.
Last year, when we went to the Israeli juggling festival, there was another family there who had brought five of their six kids. The kids love camping. They camp at these great festivals, they spend a lot of time with their parents and friends on camping trips. For them, camping is a no-stress time.
Hanging out with them was a big help for me. Especially because they'd thought to bring cooking supplies and food. Forgive me my obsession with all things edible, but there is only so long that one can live on gefilte fish and matza, especially when there isn't even any horseradish. Anyway, after a batch of matza brei and grilled veggies (they're vegetarians), my whole view of camping was radically improved. Add in the early morning swim in a natural stream with my husband, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
When we camped in Ireland, I was a lot more positive about the experience as a whole. We still didn't quite manage to get the food right, but we did a lot better, the shower experience was less than perfect, but Yaakov and I had a lot of one-on-one time, there were fun things to do every day, and we had a really nice time. (also helped that we brought an air mattress. When I sleep well, everything's much better).
So... back to the point... When you're a kid, what you're exposed to is what you learn to expect. If your parents think you're too good to ride the camp bus, then how will you manage if you need to ride a bus? Not to mention the loss of the experience.
I personally only went to sleepaway camp once, and it was in Israel (so yes, I did take a plane to camp.) The flight was a terrible experience. I was accidentally placed in a totally different section of the plane than the rest of the group, and the guy sitting next to me decided to tell me his whole life story, including showing me the scars from a suicide attempt... but that's another story... the point is that if the camp arranges a bus full of campers going up to camp, it's a great experience.
When I was at camp, we did loads of touring, and we spent some great times on the bus. Our tour guide was so much fun that we waited expectantly for the days he was on our bus (there were three busses and we only had a guide some of the days). We played games on the bus, talked, got to know each other, and just generally had a nice time. The camp made sure that we had a stop every 2 hours or so, even if it was just a bathroom break. Some of my best times that summer were on the bus.
Why would a parent want to spend lots of money to take away a great experience? Do these parents expect to be able to ALWAYS pay for their children to take the plane instead of the bus?
I confess that I did kinda put my foot down about going round-trip Philadelphia-Toronto by bus, but I was 3 months pregnant at the time...and we certainly didn't take a private jet. I also insisted on taking the train rather than the bus for the JFK to Philadelphia trip.
I guess what I want to know is what will these kids do when they encounter the real world, which does include three-hour bus rides, and doesn't always include great in-flight entertainment. Will these kids realize that you can pack a book and a walkman (sorry, an Ipod) and manage even on a squishy, unpleasant bus ride?
I once had a girl tell me that it was "humiliating" to ride on a bus. Not uncomfortable, not unpleasant, but humiliating. I was in absolute shock, especially as someone who has easily taken hundreds of hours of bus rides, if not thousands... I understand people who think that busses are unpleasant, especially if you have to switch buses or sit next to people with less than ideal hygeine... I certainly thought it was unpleasant when I had to take a 7am bus to get to a 10am class b/c there wasn't a later bus...
Anyway, there was a point to all this... oh yes, my point is that it isn't the conspicuous consumption that bugs me about this new trend. It's the message it sends and the precedent it sets for these children.
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Anyway, lately, I've been sleeping on our (new) couch a lot, because it has a layer of down which makes it softer than the bed. It also has a back to lean against.
Apparently, last night Poofy was unhappy with this arrangement. As soon as I settled down on the couch, he came over to me and stood next to me in an impatient stance. After a few minutes, I got up. He walked back towards the bedroom, stopping to make sure I was following him. As soon as I got into the bed, he curled up next to me. I think he really wanted me to sleep in the bedroom with Yaakov.
It was amazing watching how clearly he communicated when he can't SAY anything.
Oh... by popular demand, here's a current picture so y'all can see how big I'm getting.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
My parents left for China this evening (Motzai Shabbat).
2 days earlier...
Yaakov had a cold, and felt seriously icky, so he came home early. I let him sleep until we had to get up for our prenatal class. We finished our prenatal class on Thursday evening. We opted to have someone come to our house. It might be a bit more expensive, but we really wanted the 1 on 1 for several reasons.The woman who taught us (Libby Z., for any Modiin residents out there who are interested in prenatal classes) was really great. She's pretty practical and (I think) realistic. I just hope that I'll hold up okay during the birth...
After Libby left, we realized that we didn't have any chicken for Shabbat. So we set an alarm for bright and early, and called B.E., who totally saved our lives by taking Yaakov to Kiryat Sefer for grocery shopping.
Friday, I slept a lot of the day. I seem to be doing that a lot - sleeping all day and being up all night. At night, I tend to be too hot to sleep. I'm not sure why this happens, but... it just does. I end up taking a cool shower almost every night, and sometimes it helps. Mostly my palms are the problem. My face sweats, but for some reason the hot palms bother me much more.
I used the easiest Shabbat food recipe in the history of the world - Potatoes and chicken with granulated garlic in a clay pot like the one to the right. Actually, ours was cut into pieces, and I couldn't be bothered to put in any veggies. I had some fruit after dinner, and I pretended that that counts as veggies.
By the way, I love the clay pot. It's made by a German company called Romertopf. My mom got one when we lived in Germany (around when I was born), and I've never had chicken or roast better than my mom's made in it. The clay keeps all the moisture in! That means that even though I totally overcooked the chicken this week, it was pretty decent. The potatoes were great. For lunch, I had cold chicken, and Yaakov had cold cuts.
After lunch Shabbat morning, we took a nap, and then we went to my parents' house. They had my middle brother's 5-year-old twins over for all of Shabbat. My sister has also sent her almost 11-year-old twins over to help out. It was good that we brought Baby G's twin too... (a watermelon...) We also brought Poofy over. Menachem (5) was very excited and Yael (also 5) went back and forth between being very excited by Poofy and acting afraid of him...
My sister's 11-year-old boy decided that Poofy once bit him. I'm 100% certain that that never happened, because I remember being terrified that he'd bite the kids. He once snapped at a kid who pulled his tail (put his teeth on him, but didn't bite down), and once bit me to blood, when I grabbed his scruff while he was trying to mount a female. He's growled at kids a few times, and walked away countless times, but he's never bitten a human other than me, and that was so long ago that he still had baby teeth. I wonder what my nephew thinks he remembers...
Anyway, the kids drove Poofy completely nuts, so he decided to make himself scarce. He generally likes to go to my parents' sunroom anyway, because sometimes there are cats that he can see and growl at. (He can't get to them, b/c they're on the other side of the glass.)
Later, my sister's 13-year-old came over, but she had to leave a bit after that with her sister. They belong to the religious scouts in Modiin. They seem to be having a lot of fun at scouts. I think it's really great that they get this opportunity. I wanted to be a Girl Scout when I was a kid, but I couldn't because the meetings were all on Saturday, and the food wasn't kosher, and it was just generally impossible to work it out as a religious Jew. My dad belonged to a kosher Boy Scout troop when he was little. The way he describes it, I feel like I missed out on so much. I hope the religious scouts will do well here, so that our kids will have the opportunity my sister's kids have. (Her son decided he doesn't want to go.)
Meantime, Yaakov took the other kids to the park.
After the girls left, Yaakov brought the other kids back, and then we had dinner. While we were eating, my sister came with her husband and her two youngest daughters (2 and 1). The girls are soooo cute. The 1-year-old is just starting to walk, so it's very cute to watch her. Both girls were pretty fascinated by Poofy (he deigned to be petted by them, but he' s generally distrustful of short humans.. he finds that they're sometimes not so gentle).
When it started to get dark, my sister took whichever of her children who were still there, and went home. My dad came home and made havdala. The 5-year-old twins were still there, so my mom sent them upstairs to pack, and they brought their bags down. Then we asked Yaakov to put on a video for them, and hang out with them. I helped my parents (a little) to get their things packed and ready to go. They're taking a lot of supplies for the trip to China, although officially, they're going as tourists and not as guides this trip. I actually kind of think that it's annoying how much work they had to do for this trip when they paid close to full price anyway, but such is life. My mom is excited, because they'll be going to a whole bunch of new cities this time, and this will put them in a position to lead this trip (called China 2) in the future.
Anyway, they packed something like 6 suitcases with g-d knows what. I think my mom took 4 shirts, 2 skirts, and a sweater for herself... not really, but they were basically able to pack all of their clothes into a single gym bag each.
Meanwhile, we still have these two kids who need to be picked up and taken home... And my parents had to leave, so Yaakov and I stayed after my sister's husband came to pick them up and take them to the airport (strangely, since this leaves him with my parents' car - meaning that he and my sister will not have to share the car for the next 2.5 weeks - he doesn't find this a terrible hardship. Actually, I think he'd do it anyway - he's a very nice guy.)
After my parents left, I went around and tried to clean up a bit so that they'll get back to a decent house. I made their bed, and I unloaded the dishwasher and put new bottles of diet coke (one with and one without caffeine) in the fridge so they'll have cold drinks right when they get back. I didn't find much else that I could do without a lot of bending, which I don't do so well these days.
Then I sat downstairs and waited for my brother to come pick up his kids. He must have hit bad traffic or something, because it took him an hour to get from Beit Shemesh to Modiin, a ride that's usually about 25 minutes. I started to get kind of worried. The road is an awful road, and I couldn't get my brother on the cell phone. My brother-in-law came back from the airport and was going to give Yaakov and me a ride back home, but we still had the kids. I asked him to lend us cabfare, and he was about to leave when my brother arrived.
In the end, my brother-in-law took us home, which was really nice and helpful.
When I FINALLY got home, I took Poofy for a walk, and on the way into the building, my neighbor said that they'd been wondering if everything was ok. I gave him the super-short version, and said thanks, everything was fine, and baby isn't going anywhere...
If only I weren't having quite so many contractions... ugh... they're not serious, I know, but they hurt just enough to make me crabby all the time.
I just hope that they stay not serious until my parents get back... I really don't want to think about the logistics of labor & delivery and getting a baby home and all that without my mom to help us through it all...
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
My brother's oldest, Tzvi (13), had a meeting to go to. He's participating in some kind of Torah-learning contest, I think. I didn't get the details.
The next three, Elisheva(10), Avital(9), and Dina(7) put on a show for us. In the first act, the three sat in a cave, (a sheet draped over two chairs) next to a small campfire (made of paper), dressed as cave-dwellers, and the dialog was as follows:
Elisheva: UGGGH UGGGH!
Avital (to Elisheva): Why do you always change the subject?!
They then did a brilliant imitation of a silly argument between my parents... (my father singing a song that doesn't end, and my mother trying to get him to stop...)
It was very cute.
Baby G. got excited and started dancing, so I called the girls over and had them put their hands on my belly to feel the movement The next one, Elihu (5), also wanted to feel. After feeling a kick, he said;
"Your tummy's going up and down." He started showing me how he could do it with his tummy too.
"But there's a baby in there," I said.
He sat down on the couch in stunned silence. His mom, Ilana, said "Elihu, is t.c. a mammal?" (no, she doesn't really call me t.c.) Elihu was still too stunned to answer.
A little while later, he decided he wanted to feel again. He put his hand on my breast....I jumped a bit before I said "no, down there" and put his hand safely on my tummy... I forgot that little kids do that and have no idea why there's an issue ;).
After careful consideration and another round of "there's a baby in there," he asked me "Is that why you're so fat?" to which I responded yes... (hey, at least now I have an excuse).
Later he asked "when the baby's little, will you bring it here so I can see it?"
I told him I'll see, but that I'm sure he'll see the baby. He might have to come to Modiin, though.
The youngest boy, Amiel (2), is just starting to talk. He says lots of things - "Mommy" and "Daddy" and "Tal" (for Avital). He can tell you where his shoes and eyes are. He can dance. He's very cute. He also gives VERY nice hugs!
There's lots more stuff I could tell, but I'm trying desperately to avoid whining...
Friday, May 18, 2007
Unfortunately, it also means that I'm in the end phase. I'm in the phase where my body is completely unwieldy, where I have one t-shirt that fits me for sleeping in, where my whole tummy and everything else itches fiercely. I'm at the point that even if I weren't choking on the allergens in the air, my lungs are already too squished to breathe comfortably. My back is well beyond the point of being able to support my weight. I'm exhausted. I'm uncomfortable in every position. The palms of my hands and soles of my feet feel like they're on fire. My face sweats no matter what I do.
Oh, and I'm so hormonal I can barely even get out a simple sentence without breaking into tears.
I've gotta tell y'all... this pregnancy thing is not easy. And I still have 7 weeks until the due date, not to mention the fact that if I'm like my mom and sister, then I've got 9 weeks before they induce me to get this child out.
I'm starting to break down. I mean, I really feel like I'm beyond my limit. I know that this is nothing - I should be happy that this pregnancy is basically free of complications. The nausea is long-over, I don't have gestational diabetes, significant swelling, bleeding (or even spotting). This is about as easy as a pregnancy gets. So why am I not glowing? I just don't know... I don't even have half of the things that my pregnancy book warns me are totally normal and expected, not to mention the scary awful ones...
Do other women really go through this and then CHOOSE to have more children? And why did nobody tell me how difficult pregnancy really is? Would it have made a difference? Probably not, but... I wish I'd known what I was getting into. Then again, it might have made it all that much worse. I don't know... I'm so confused.
Everyone tells me that after the pregnancy is over, I'll forget how bad it is, and I'll be willing to go for it again. I hope so, I guess. I did plan on having more than one child, but the way I feel now, I just can't imagine going through another pregnancy...
Okay, enough whining for one day. I have other (semi-interesting) things to write, but no patience to write them... so Shabbat Shalom for now.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Sunday, May 13, 2007
You have to understand. This country I live in lacks decent book stores, so I belong to a book club.
All proceeds from Amazon purchases made through this blog go to supporting the book club. So far, after close to a year, I've had two readers make purchases, for a total of $7 in my Amazon account... They won't even let me use the money until it gets up to $15.
Please support our book club. It doesn't cost you any extra to order through me!
Saturday, May 12, 2007
The burn sites aren't hurting so much, but my body is reacting to the trauma or something. I can't seem to stay awake very long, and when I am, I'm not particularly alert.
There are about 6 smallish blisters (size of a dime or smaller). Yaakov says they don't look so bad, but to me, they look horrible. I'm probably just taking it really badly.
Do me a favor, and please don't give me pancake making tips. I think I'd rather not hear them right now.
Friday, May 11, 2007
This morning, I woke up, got Yaakov to sift some flour (I really don't like sifting flour), and mixed up a batch of pancake batter.
Somehow, on the third pancake, I put in too much oil, and when I was flipping it, the oil sprayed up into my face! I got my face into cold water immediately, but hot oil is powerful stuff.
I kept my face in a wet towel (Yaakov asked why I didn't use a bucket of cold water... I think that my increasing girth has finally convinced him that I am a whale, complete with blow-hole on the top of my head...) and then I went to the doctor. Turned out that there was a dermatologist in the office who saw me right away and told me to take whatever painkillers I can take when I'm pregnant, keep the cold compress on, and put a cream on the burns (he gave me the prescription for the cream.)
I put cream on, went home, took painkillers, and slept with the towel on my face. I woke up feeling a good bit better, but I'm still feeling kind of out of it, and I have several blisters/craters on my face from the burn.
So remember folks, not too much oil in your pancakes.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
I decided tickets would be $10 each, and we'd sell loads and we'd offload the house without having to deal with real estate agents or anything.
So the first person came and bought 10 tickets right away, and I was like "cool, see it's working"
and then no one else came.
I freaked out completely. I was like "oh my g-d what have I done, I'm forcing my parents to sell a whole house worth at least $180K for $100." So I sat there and cried, and woke up Y and told him to help me. Finally we decided that the best thing to do was to tell the lady who'd bought the tickets that someone else won, but she'd gotten the second prize - $100.
I woke up kinda freaked. I mean, what kind of stupid person would raffle off a house?! You'd have to realize that you'd have to sell some 20,000 tickets to make it a good deal. (though I suppose you could make the tickets $100 apiece and then you'd only need to sell 2000...)
Anyway, Yaakov always tells me to write down my dreams... so now you've all heard it... If you want to raffle off a house, you need to sell a LOT of tickets.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Monday, May 07, 2007
Well, here's the thing. The people having asthma attacks on TV are ACTORS. They're not having real asthma attacks. If they were, the camera man would come running and help them rather than continuing to film.
Next, there appear to be several different ways that real asthma presents. For me, it's a weird wheeze at the end of my exhales coupled with coughing fits, complete with choking.
As such, no amount of deep breathing is going to solve it, especially since I can't even build lung capacity right now. The baby is taking up too much space in the chest/abdominal cavity.
Oh and another thing... yesterday I asked for a recommendation for an asthma specialist. I received recommendations for a chiropractor and a homeopathic "healer." Additionally, someone called claiming that he could use hypnosis to cure my asthma. By the way, I don't generally discount claims that people make. In the case of homeopathy, however, the research and science is overwhelming. It just isn't real.
Remind me to specify that I want someone with an MD from a reputable medical school!
Saturday, May 05, 2007
Mine isn't. Not only mine isn't, but people including my husband's manager, my mother, my neighbors, and my father-in-law read it.
Which is mostly really cool. It gives me an easy way to keep up with people, share experiences, etc.
On the other hand, when I really want to rag on someone, I can't. When I want to share some juicy gossip, I have to be aware that even if I don't share the person's name, someone will recognize the situation and know exactly who I'm talking about...
All of this is why I haven't shared a lot of the details of my pregnancy. In an anonymous blog, you can tell people all about the messy stuff - the internal exams, the kegels, the works. But here, I really don't want all my friends and neighbors to know that the Dr. did X or that I'm having Y problem... And it's kinda hard when all I want to do is whine!
That said, I'm now going to indulge in a little bit of whining. Those of you who don't know me very well can assume that I'm censoring myself somewhat because of my aforementioned audience. Aforementioned audience: feel free to skip this part...
I have asthma and I feel like it's killing me. I keep coughing and coughing and well, if you've been pregnant, you know that coughing can have yucky side effects. And I don't mean just the incredibly painful tearing sensation in my abdomen.
A few weeks ago, when the wheezing was very bad, my doctor gave me a prescription for a nebulizer and some medication that goes into it. The stuff pretty much works. Not perfect, but it helps a lot. I ran out, and asked him to prescribe more, and he didn't renew the prescription. (I have to ask him to call me tomorrow to tell him that I'm wheezing again). I went to the other dr in the clinic, and he said a regular inhaler is plenty. However, the regular inhaler seems to do zero. As in, I feel absolutely no difference at all.
So now, I'm coughing and coughing, and I'm out of medication that sorta works and all I have is stuff that doesn't work, but I'm still taking it in case maybe it has a cumulative effect or maybe I would actually be worse without it.
But I'm thinking jeez. I have another 9 weeks to go before the due date, and my mom and sister pretty much consistently went over, so I could have as much as 11 weeks to go. How am I supposed to live with coughing, difficulty breathing, wheezing, and that tearing sensation in my side for the next 9-11 weeks?!
And let's just say, for argument's sake, that I somehow live through this (not like I have much choice, unless I choke to death)... How am I supposed to get pregnant ever again, knowing that pretty much as soon as the nausea ends, the asthma begins?? I don't know if I could handle this again?! I'm just crying my eyes out with frustration and pain, and Yaakov asked if I wanted to go to the ER, but ... I can't go to the ER every time I have an asthma attack - I'd have to take up residence there. I just can't stay like this. I don't know what to do!
There, whine over... thanks for listening.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
That it's considered normal to play a song on the radio about the elf who goes and bends the bananas...
And that the video I found when I went to look for the song is sooooo cute and SO Israeli...
(warning, it contains a woman dancing and wearing pants at the same time...)
* Just realized that many of my readers will be horrified that I listen to music during Sfira. I actually did a whole lot of soul-searching and heard a shiur from a Rav at Bar Ilan which claimed that listening to music in private is not a problem during sfira. Since I am prone to depression and music helps, I'll take just about any heter I can get on this...
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Friday, April 27, 2007
Suddenly, I was filled with love for this baby who I haven't even seen except on an ultrasound (and the ultrasounds become less and less clear as the baby gets bigger - at this point, you see parts of a hand or head, and it's all kinda mushy... When it was only 14 weeks along, you could see the whole face at once.)
Some people who mean very well keep telling me "don't count your chickens before they're hatched" and "don't get so attached" and other things of that nature.
So I was thinking about it. There is, of course, a chance that things can go bad. It's possible that the baby won't survive the birth. It's possible that I'll deliver early, although at this point, the baby weighs over 3 lbs (1.5 kilos) and has an excellent chance of survival with relatively little trouble outside of the womb. - I know of babies born at half that weight who did fine.
It's also possible that while I'm walking to the supermarket, an airplane will fall on my head. Will it help me to worry about it? I think about all the things that can happen, and there are things we can protect against. We can make sure that our brakes are in good condition. We can fasten our seat belt every time we get into the car. We can't, however, do anything to prevent the driver in the next lane from talking on the phone, being stung by a bee, or just falling asleep.
In life, there are no guarantees.
On the other hand, if we sit and worry about what could happen, then we can't enjoy what does happen.
I could worry and be hesitant to connect to this baby now because it might not be born ok. After it's born, I could worry and be hesitant because there's always a risk of crib death. After the baby is past that age, I could worry and not connect because the child might get hit by a car on his/her way to school, because the child might be killed in army service, in a bus bombing, in a car accident... or of meningitis or rheumatic fever from untreated strep...
On the one hand, we should never take a moment for granted, because we have no guarantee of how many more moments we get. On the other hand, if we spend our whole lives protecting ourselves from potential pain, how can we enjoy the moments we have?
So dream, and enjoy this Shabbat.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
If you don't care, you don't have to read the rest of this. If you do, go ahead.
I was always Shomer Shabbat/Kashrut/Chagim and a whole plethora of other things that religious people do. My father was raised religious - his father was a rabbi ordained by JTS. My father is also a JTS-ordained rabbi. My mother was raised in a conservative congregation in Philadelphia, and was sent to Camp Ramah, along with Hebrew School. When she was in high school, she went to Gratz College's high school program. During that time, her commitment to Judaism strengthened. Her parents moved when she was 16, and she asked that her mother keep the new house kosher. From that point onwards, my mother kept kosher.
When she was 20, she married my father. The first Shabbat after their wedding was the first Shabbat that she was a committed Sabbath observer. (she had kept Shabbat before at camp and such).
My father was raised in schools like Ramaz and Yeshiva of Central Queens, and his choice to study at JTS was more based on religious philosophy than on observance level. Those of you who have photo albums from the 1960's will notice that many "Modern Orthodox" women didn't cover their hair back then, and wore pants. In fact, in my parents generation, everyone they knew had mixed dancing at their weddings, including those who were considered Orthodox. Back then, religious schools had school dances.
After he finished his rabbinical degree, my father went to the US Army. At the time, there was a draft, and clergy were expected to serve as chaplains after getting their degrees. My father became career army, which isolated him (and later, us) from the community to a large degree.
Over the next twenty or so years, my family lived in an interesting religious island. We had few Jewish friends growing up, and no Jewish community. From 1966, when my parents got married, until 1980, my parents never lived in a place that had Jewish dayschools. For 6 months in 1980, my parents sent my siblings to school at Hillel, near Deal, NJ.
When we moved from there, my oldest brother was high school aged. We moved to Fort Benning, GA, and my brother boarded with a family in Atlanta, while he attended school at Yeshiva High School of Atlanta. A year later, my sister followed suit.
The next year, my father was sent for Post-Doc studies (don't even ask how he had managed an MA and a doctorate while working full-time in the army...) at Harvard, and my siblings and I went to Maimonides. I was in Kindergarten, and my oldest brother was in 12th grade.
The next year, we moved to Fort Sill, Oklahoma. I remember my family going into a form of mourning when we found out where our next assignment was. My father called the Pentagon and begged for a change of station. Sadly, we were not granted this.
There was no nearby school for my sister (who was going into 11th grade), and my oldest brother moved to Eretz Yisrael to attend Hebrew University. My second brother (9th grade) went to a very small Yeshiva in Dallas, Texas. My sister, my youngest brother (7th grade), and I (1st grade) went to local public schools. My sister, always a bright one, called her previous high school, and asked them to make some changes to her transcript before sending it on to her new school. Because of some careful work, she managed to get the public school to give her credit for all of her Jewish studies courses, so she finished high school in one more year (and she'd started first grade early, so she graduated high school at age 16.)
The next year, my youngest brother skipped 8th grade and joined the second one in Dallas. My sister, who had finished high school, went to college in Israel. (How my parents let their 16-year-old go to Israel back in the days when students didn't have phones in their rooms and there was no email is another story, perhaps for another day.)
At the end of that school year, my parents transferred my brothers from the school in Dallas to the Block Yeshiva High School in St. Louis. (There's also a story here, but I'll only say that the school closed a year or two later, and the indications that it should close were already there, so my parents chose to move their sons.)
The next year, we moved to Fort Dix, NJ, and I went to the Kellman Academy in Cherry Hill, NJ. My second brother went early admissions to Yeshiva University rather than change schools yet again. My youngest brother (11th grade) was supposed to go to a Jewish, but not religious, school in Philadelphia. When my parents asked when and where my brother could daven Shacharit and put on tfillin, they were told he could use a broom closet. My parents decided that they would prefer to send him to live in dorms and the week after they dropped the older one off at Yeshiva University, they took the next one to the high school there.
The school I was in was a conservative (Soloman Schechter) school, and I was the most religious child there. As such, I felt very uncomfortable much of the time. For a variety of reasons, the school and I were a poor match. I spent 6th and 7th grade in public school, which was surprisingly a better experience.
Before I started 8th grade, my father retired from the army, and I attended ASHAR in Monsey. That was the first year I found out that some religious women wear only skirts. It was also the first time that I saw women who covered their hair daily and not only in shul. The school only went up to 8th grade.
For high school, I went to The Frisch School. The school is an Orthodox school, but is fully co-ed (except gym class and some sections of the "kedushat hamishpacha" course). Most of my friends, like me, wore pants outside of school (the dress code for school was knee-length skirts & shirts with sleeves) and I certainly felt more tzanua jumping rope and babysitting in pants.
(if you're still wondering where my youngest brother went to college....) When I finished high school, I joined my youngest brother at Bar Ilan University. (Well, he was mostly finished, and was in the army, but he lived near campus.) I was younger than almost anyone, and had a hard time making friends, so peer pressure couldn't get me back into skirts - I never felt comfortable in skirts... By the end of my first year, I was dating a non-religious guy, and I wore pants wherever I could get away with it. Basically, I'd put on a skirt for shul and simchas.
When I was about 25, I realized that if I wanted to date religious men, I might do well to try acting more openly religious, and I wore only skirts for about 6 months. Then I met someone who was religious enough for me and was a very good guy. When we'd been dating for a while, we discussed it and he said that skirts/pants wasn't an issue for him, so I went back to wearing pants. His parents didn't approve of the match (Not because of religious reasons. They felt that we were a poor match culturally.), and we broke it off.
My "rebound guy" was not particularly religiously oriented... so I didn't feel any need to go back to skirts. By the time I'd been with him a few weeks, I was entirely sick of men, so I didn't really care what they thought of me. I didn't date anyone for about 7 months. When I did, I went out with Scott, who wasn't so religious, but realized that I was more religious than he was... so he set me up with his "charedi" friend, Yaakov.
And now we get to the fun part. Of course, for the first date with a religious guy, I put on a skirt. About 2 hours into the date, I asked him how he felt about skirts, and he (forgive the pun) skirted the question and asked me if I thought a girl should be tzanua, which, of course I did. I think pants shouldn't be very tight, and that shoulders should be covered... I never wore short skirts...etc... I mean, jeez, I have standards...
It took a few weeks before I realized what he meant, and by then, it was too late. I was already in love, and I realized it was so crucial to him that I couldn't expect him to change his mind.
You should have heard the fight we had when he told me that I couldn't have bangs out of my head-covering. I cried - a lot.
In the house, I dress "like a normal person," but outside, I basically live up to his standards. Sometimes I find it a real hardship, and I don't find it meaningful, so it's still kind of an issue, but such is life.
And that is where triLcats come from...