Thursday, December 29, 2005
Disco Man + Snow White 4-Ever

So tonight there was a concert with The! Jewish!! Music!!! Superstar!!!!

We were all looking forward to going - Yaakov was working sound, plus it was free. What could be bad?

Rivky started complaining she didn't want to go before we even got there. This has been her thing lately. "You go. I'll stay in the car." Yeah right, like that's gonna happen.

When we got there, it was so loud. Poor Rivky, she got scared and started to cry. I mamesh felt so bad for her. But we couldn't leave, Yaakov was counting on us being there. She carried on for quite awhile.

Anyway, there were some very special people there. Like the biggest, baddest, baldest head ever, sitting right in front of me! There was a woman who looked exactly like Snow White. There was Disco Man, who kept movin' and groovin' to all the Jewish music. Then there was this older woman, I could tell she was quite the looker in her younger days. She kept shushing people and telling people to move out of her way. She said it to one of my friends, and I stuck my tongue out at her. She didn't notice. Then there was this old chassidisher guy who really started shakin' it at one point, and guess who joined him? DISCO MAN! I was loving it. There was an old lady with bright red lipstick, and a long blonde ponytail "wiglet" attached to her blonde head. I got a big kick out of her, too.

I was much more entertained by all the weird people than I was by the performer.

We're not all like that.

I was out front with my kids this afternoon, trying to corral them into the house. Srulik and Chaya were dancing around the lamp post, and Rivky was running up and down the sidewalk. I had been cajoling them for about 5 minutes when they finally turned to go inside.

Then I heard a voice say, "look how she be runnin' with those kids cause she sees us coming." Then a laugh. "Yeah, soon as she saw us, she ran right for the house." Don't turn around, I thought to myself, DON'T. You don't owe anybody anything. But I was mad. I turned around.

"Excuse me, but don't you think I heard you?" Two black guys walking along with cleaning supplies, maybe they were offering a service, I don't know what. "I was trying to get my kids into the house before you were even on my block. It's not right to say I was running into the house because of you."

"Yeah, but it happens to us about a hundred times a day," one said. "Fine," I answered, "but it's not right to make comments like that." "Maybe, but that's how we feel."

I should have just kept my mouth shut.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005
The Year in Pictures:

At the end of the year, posts their annual slide show:

A screaming daughter sitting next to her dead Iraqi father, shot by unknown gunmen.

A U.S. soldier cradling a bloody child, fatally wounded by a car bomb. I am sobbing anew just writing about it.

A child screaming after her parents were killed by U.S. soldiers, for failing to stop at a military checkpoint. All 5 children survived.

A small child, body ravaged by famine, in a Nigerian clinic.

A nine year old Pakistani screaming in pain, as his amputated arm is treated.

A pair of small, dusty hands, peeking out of the rubble. Another victim of Pakistan's earthquake.

As a Jew, I believe that G-d runs every minute detail of this world. I don't believe in random coincidences. So time and again I can't help but cry, "Why, G-d? Why do You do what You do?"

I can't get those images out of my mind.

Monday, December 26, 2005
The Anniversary.

I've mentioned it before: The Big Seven.

Yaakov keeps asking me what I want. Honestly, I feel like I have everything. I already got the Burberry: London perfume.

The truth? I want a trip up the east coast with stops at all the interesting historical places. I want Phil and Friends to play local. I want school tuition to be cheaper. I want our 33 year old ba'al teshuva kohain friend to find a suitable shidduch.

I want my life to be easier. I want to be THRILLED with the idea of having more kids. I want to understand what the Alter Rebbe meant when he said that lower souls are bound up to chochma ila'ah through the tzadik. I want Rivky to use the potty all the time.

I want to Euro-rail through Europe. I want to learn how to play the guitar. I want to have the perfect sheitl (and some new clothes, too). I want that G-d should give my best friend in Brooklyn a break. I want the laundry mountain conquered without my help. I want my guilt and anxiety to go away.

You got all that, Yaakov?

Sunday, December 25, 2005
The first licht.

My family came today to celebrate Rivky's birthday (chof-daled kislev) and Chanuka tonight. We had a grand time decorating the house for the festivities.

Besides for the family regulars, my aunt and uncle came (mom's side). Uncle Jay sure knows how to put away latkes, G-d bless him. We always crack jokes at each other, and he never fails to remind me of my colorful past. "Maven, did you make these latkes with pot?" "What? Do you think I'd waste my pot on you? That's reserved for the special guests."

My mom bought me a huge frying pan, which I asked her to buy and toivel for me in her local keili mikveh. I needed something big for latkes, and this sucker held twice the amount of my other pan. I can't see using it any other time except for Chanuka, though.

The kids got tons of presents. We're not into presents on Chanuka, so Yaakov and I don't buy them. The relatives, however, how can you say no? There was a lot of cheap tchotchkerai (that secretly made its way into the garbage). They also got some good stuff, like a globe (okay, they asked me what the kids wanted and that's what I said. It was really for me). Plus, high quality wooden building blocks and a tool set for Srulik. And not one, but two fancy schmancy make-up kits for my maidelach. My mom got Yaakov and I an anniversary gift (5th night of Chanuka), which we have not opened yet.

We all ate too many latkes and donuts (sorry, Ariel Sharon), birthday cake for Rivky, and Chanuka gelt. We lit our beautiful Rambam menorah (freshly polished, thanks to mom's brasso) and sang haneiros halalu.

Chanuka Sameach!

Thursday, December 22, 2005
Merry Christmas?

I was in the playground today with my kids. I made friends with 2 little girls, whom I instinctively felt were not Jewish.

So the girls' grandfather, who was sitting on a bench near me, starts talking about "kids today." He noticed the girls who were in the playground before. They were 11, he said, but looked 14 or 15. "The way they dressed," and blah blah.

So we got into this conversation, and I expressed my views. Maybe it's the cultural expectations, or the way society portrays women, that little girls "grow up" so fast.

He went on about what's on TV, what kids see today, etc. I said that parents need to control what comes into the house. I explained that we were religious and didn't own a TV, and how I always dressed my children modestly. I can't control what they see and hear outside, but I can do my best in my home. If I had my way, we wouldn't even have internet. Yaakov is a programmer, so I don't have too much say on that one.

Anyway, as he got up to go, he wished me a "Merry Christmas." I felt like I got slapped. Merry Christmas? Mister, do you think everybody in the world celebrates that? But this is what really hurt me: Isn't it clearly, blatantly, ragingly obvious that I'm a Yid? I think that's what upset me the most. For some reason, my Jewishness was not apparent to him. That's my essence - how could anybody miss that?

So, Merry Christmas to my goyishe readers (wink). A freilichen Chanuka to my zissele yidden. And if anybody reading this celebrates kwanzaa, rock on.

Help, I feel schlumpy.

I collapsed into bed at 8:30 tonight (after finishing the daily portion of Tanya, hooray). However, Yaakov's snoring woke me up, so here I am.

I'm feeling kind of yucky about how I look these days. My sheitl needs to be washed. I feel very plain, and this saddens me.

The other day I was in Old Navy, needing some warm stuff for Srulik. They had all these cute shirts, and tsnius too. For some reason, I felt like it just wasn't "me." What, I can't be cute anymore?

Or today, I was in the mall playground with Srulik and Rivky.
Me = average religious lady: black skirt, black shoes, fried-cat hair. In walks this woman, looking very fabulous. Firstly, her sheitl was great. (Nothing makes a frum woman feel worse than when everyone else's sheitl looks better.) Secondly, she had fabulous shoes. I have basically 2 pairs: black, brown and comfortable. Very practical. I felt positively drab compared to her.

Or tonight, for instance. I had to be at a school meeting, and there was a lady from my community selling jewelery. Shiny, sparkly, very fashionable. Now, this was never my style, even when I was frei and fabulous (ha ha). But that's not my point here. I looked at all her baubles and felt like I couldn't pull them off. Because I've become plain.

The last time I felt so low about my appearance was when I was post-partum with Rivky. One of my young, unmarried friends said to me, "You can be anybody you want, and look however you want." I guess it's true, but my practicality won't let me. You have to be a little frivolous to be a little fabulous (and I'm not knocking it).

I think another aspect is the women I really admired from my Brooklyn ghetto. Like my mashpia, for example (whom I miss and have not spoken to in a million years). She had tons of money, not that you would ever know. Everything about her was modest and simple, right down to her house. Or my old landlady - G-d bless her - with 11 kids. This woman is amazing, so fine and frum. Did she care a whit about fashion? Not hardly.

I don't want you to think I'm walking around looking bedraggled or unkempt. Or even bad, for that matter. I'm not. I'm just plain.

Yaakov keeps tchepping me about what I want for our upcoming anniversary:

I want to be fabulous.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005
No Rest for the Weary.

I cannot tell you how much I loathe bath and bed time. This time of night causes me SO MUCH anxiety and aggravation.

Srulik goes from one end of the bathtub to the other, he won't let me wash him. I make a grab for the important parts and just let the soapy water clean the rest of him. I can't do much else.

Usually I bathe my kids together, but I tried a new system tonight: assembly-line style. One in, one out. Then Yaakov dressed them. I figured if I split them up, the mischief quotient would be lessened. They still pulled their tricks though - running around the house naked, resisting all attempts at co-operation.

There's a book out there written about making everything fun. If you make things fun, your kids will want to listen! Well, I'm not interested in fun. I've tried fun. At 7:30 at night I just want them all out of my face.

They have already popped out of bed several times, this one wanting this and that one needing that. I just yell them back to bed, oh-benevolent-mother-that-I-am.

They're still chirping away. Rivky is saying aleph-beis and Srulik is yelling for me. Chaya just came out to tell me the others are making too much noise - she can't sleep.

Canada-friend called me in the thick of all this. I told her what I was in the middle of, and how totally stressed out I was. "That's what I'm doing, and I'm totally stressed out too." I guess that made me feel better.

But not much.

Monday, December 19, 2005
Rosh Hashana l'Chassidus:

Today the Alter Rebbe was freed from prison, on the grounds of spreading Torah.

There is a story that the Ba'al Shem Tov "visited" him in jail. "Why am I really here?" asked The Alter Rebbe. "There's a big argument," said the Ba'al Shem Tov, "The chassidus you are spreading is very holy, there are some in the heavenly realms that oppose it." "So how do I know if I've "won" the argument?" asked the Alter Rebbe. "You'll be released," replied the Ba'al Shem Tov.

And Baruch Hashem for all of us, he was.

Every year, on Yud-Tes Kislev, I make a resolution to learn the daily portion of Tanya. Every year I've failed - miserably. But the good news is, I'm making the resolution again. This year, b'ezras Hashem, I WILL learn Tanya every day. Now you all can hold me to it.

Another resolution I am making is that I am going to try and incorporate more "beinoni"** behavior into my life. I may never become a beinoni (even though the Alter Rebbe says I can), but I CAN work more on restraining the maven-beast within.

Gut Yom Tov!!

** "intermediate person," not wholly righteous nor wicked. The person who has improper thoughts (but never entertains them) and improper impulses (but never acts on them).

Sunday, December 18, 2005
Life in Golus.

Dad being here stirs up a lot of stuff for me, emotionally. Not that it takes much.

Take shabbos, for example: He woke up at 9am, took a shower (didn't want to get into "no showers on shabbos" with him), and was back in bed by about 10:15. We woke him at 1 for kiddush, and he was back in bed after lunch. He slept until havdala (7ish) and then was awake until 11pm or so. To be fair, He's on some heavy duty medication.

Still, I feel it's a metaphor for my childhood. He was never around. My mother told me he slept all the time. After they divorced (I was one), I saw him every now and again. He would come and take me out, give me presents, oh the fun! He wasn't a parent, though. He was a clown. "Good Time Charlie."

Now I see him with my kids, with his prize bag singing zippity-doo-dah. I see a man who walked out on fatherhood. He couldn't handle the real deal, he could only be Mr. Sunshine on the occasional visit. And I'm not the first. He was married before my mom, and had a son. He wasn't a father to him, either.

So I have a half-brother, whom I've never met. He's married with 3 kids of his own. We exchange family pictures every now and again. Interestingly, I got their annual "holiday card" on Friday, while Dad was here. We've never really spoken, but I think someday we'll meet. When we're both ready.

I think of all my friends, every one of us has a story. Every good friend I have has had some kind of broken-ness in her childhood. We all connect on some level with our childhood dysfunction, our weird families, our personal exile.

I feel like I have to be super-mom on so many levels. I know my kids are in different circumstances, have different parents and different lives. Yet I can't help but project my childhood onto theirs. I can't help but pray that they are healthier (emotionally) than I was.

I just want them to be able to look back some day and say; "I had a happy childhood."

Friday, December 16, 2005
I feel like MAJOR SLIME.

This morning I was in the grocery store and I picked up some O-U brand corn flakes. I thought to myself, "When Sheina and her kids come, I'll buy Kemach."

I have this friend in NY who is coming to visit in January. She is particular about kashrus, and it's been on my mind. One time she cooked a meal for me after I had a baby. She listed all the hechsherim on all the ingredients she used. Hard core.

So I got a phone call from her today, and she says, "I'm really sorry Maven, I have to ask you a question." As soon as she said it, I knew exactly what was coming. My heart sank. "Do you eat Rubashkin or C.H.K.?" (I blogged about this once, using the terms "hashgocho X" and "hashgocho Y".) "C.H.K.," I lied. "Oh good," she said, "I know it's hard to get C.H.K. outside of New York, but I spoke to a mashpia about it and it's important for me to eat only C.H.K."

I feel totally disgusting now. I knew she only ate C.H.K., and that's all I was planning on serving her. I felt like if I said I ate Rubashkin, she would judge me in a negative light. (Reminds you of something I wrote about 2 posts ago, hey?) I should have said, "We eat Rubashkin, but we'll make sure to have C.H.K. for your visit." My ego allowed me to lie to another Jew. (Yaakov likes to joke that "ego" stands for "easing G-d out.")

After the phone call I started wondering about my kashrus. Am I keeping kosher enough? I was looking around and thinking of all the food and hechsherim in my kitchen. I was in the middle of making tofutti cheesecake. Would she eat tofutti, I wondered?

I really feel like I tow the party line in regards to my kashrus. Amongst my "group" there are certain hechsherim that are frowned upon, and I avoid those. Some of us are stricter than others about things, and there are grey areas. When I lived in Brooklyn, I only ate C.H.K. for meat - but the majority of us "out-of-towners" rely on Rubashkin.

I'm rationalizing. The problem here is not the hashgocho. The problem is that I lied.

I need to talk to somebody about this.

Thursday, December 15, 2005
Baruch Haba!

My dad came - he made it!

I cleaned my house like crazy this morning, saying "I am doing this to fulfill the mitzvah of hachnossas orchim." (Are you there G-d? It's me, Maven.)

He looks great and he's in good spirits, singing zippity-doo-dah with the kids and letting them rummage through his famous "prize bag." Chaya scored big with a Barbie "digital camera." This is something I would never buy, but I'm okay with it. When I saw the word "Barbie" peeking out of the bag I got nervous. I thought it was going to be a Barbie tramp...errr, doll.

Tonight he graciously paid for Chinese take-out, and I eagerly await my won-tons.

I am so happy and thankful he's here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Ish Echad v' Lev Echad

Today, outside my house, I met a Jewish lady. We started schmoozing. She lives on my street, but the next block over.

So she says to me, "Maybe we can join you for shabbos sometime," which I heartily agreed to. Then she said, "Maybe you could be our guests sometime," and I smiled. In my heart I knew we never would. She had a hat perched atop her head, and I saw all her hair.

I felt very sad. I didn't feel sad that she didn't cover her hair properly, I felt sad that I made a kashrus judgment based on that. I mean, if this is "where she's holding" with her hair, who knows "where she's holding" in kashrus?

I have been on the other end of this equation. My landlady, whom I have become quite friendly with, will not eat in my house. She lives in Brooklyn and comes down every now and again. I invite her for shabbos, yet she makes this excuse or that. I know it's because she doesn't trust my kashrus. She's a frum -from-birth Satmar chassidiste and I'm a ba'alas teshuva to a decidedly different group. The truth is, I won't eat in her house either - but that's another story.

Tonight, at a shiur, the rabbi speaking said that one of the great "chiddushim" the Ba'al Shem Tov brought into the world is he made all Jews equal. There was a time when the scholars and the laymen sat separately in shul. No way, said Reb Yisroel. The shoemaker and the wagon driver have lofty Jewish souls, just like the greatest rabbis. In Ba'al Shem Tov stories, the simple Jews were often on a higher spiritual level.

Oh yeah? I thought to myself. So why don't I see all the fine frum-from-birth families marrying into the fine ba'al teshuva families? How come all the 7th generation chassidim marry each other and won't even consider a ba'al teshuva for a spouse? Ok, there are exceptions to this "rule." But those are few and far between.

I'm aware of these "divides" amongst my people. Nobody says them aloud, but I'll bet we all think them. This one wears scarves and this one doesn't wear stockings and this one shaves his beard and this one wears a knit yarmulke and this one doesn't keep cholov yisroel and this one has a television and would you believe where this one da'avens?

Make no mistake, I LOVE JEWS. If that was a bumper sticker, my minivan would be all the finer. But I wish I could look at another Jew and see a G-dly soul, and nothing else.

Maybe you have to be a Rebbe for that.

Monday, December 12, 2005
Pushing a hot button:

Stan "Tookie" Williams is scheduled to die tonight at midnight PST. Thusfar, Governor Arnold has denied him clemency.

I don't have an opinion as to whether he is guilty or innocent. I do have an opinion about a certain word that I feel is being overused: racism.

I have read that word too many times regarding this case. Like yesterday, in a telephone inteview with Mr. Williams. The interviewer asked if Williams would say aloud the names of the Chinese people he purportedly killed. The phone line went dead. One of Williams' handlers said, "What? That's a racist question."

HELLO? A racist question, to say some names out loud? Racist in regards to whom, Williams or the Chinese people?

Here's another overused word: nazi. People don't like somebody, they call him a nazi. President Bush has been called a nazi so many times. I mean, come on. Calling George a nazi is like calling Hitler a compassionate conservative. (I am not opining on the president either, by the way.)

And another: anti-semitism. There's a certain Chassidic group that moves into residential neighborhoods and basically turns homes into shuls. The neighbors don't like the noise and the traffic, they complain. This is a residential neighborhood, they say, we don't want you to turn a home into a synagogue. So what do the supporters of this organization claim? Anti-semitism! (And for the record, I am DEFINITELY not giving an opinion on this one.)

Let's not cheapen things: pull out the big guns when they're deserved.

Sunday, December 11, 2005
In the Attics of My Life:

So this morning I cleaned the medicine cabinet.

Into the garbage went empty tubes of lotions, the expired tinctures, and a bottle of homeopathic belladonna which DID NOT WORK.
Away went a bottle of tylenol (nothing left) and kids' motrin (drowned ant). Then I got to the top of the cabinet and saw something that startled me. A roll of film.

It's a piece of my life from South Carolina, when I was 19 and crazy. I had a great roomate, but she left to take a job in Charleston. So a co-worker and her boyfriend took the room - it was all downhill from there. The creepy boyfriend would steal beer. "They won't let me buy it, so I'm entitled to take it." He was also dealing his psychiatric meds out of the apartment. One day they just left. Left with their dirty dishes in the sink, left with all their stuff upstairs, left without giving me their half of the rent.

My downstairs neighbor - a busybody studying criminal law - told me to take pictures of what they left behind. She supplied the film and marched us back upstairs. We went into their room and peered around. The room was totally, totally trashed. She snapped picture after picture, all the while commenting on the chaos. Then she took a picture of their dishes, which I refused to wash. They were moldy. She gave me the roll of film and told me I could use it as evidence.

They did come back (and move out), but I had lost the apartment by then. I moved in with some friends, and moved out when everyone went on Dead tour. I slept on a friend's couch (for a week or two), but that wasn't working for either of us. Eventually I drove back home, totally defeated.

I still have this roll of film, 11 years later. I'm not quite sure what to do with it. There's a part of me that wants to throw it away. Another part wants to develop it, and face that strange time of my life.
Of course, I could always let it sit another 11 years.

What do you think?

Friday, December 09, 2005
And the diagnosis is...

A mild concussion. She said the headaches would stop in a week or two, so we'll see.

I met this funny black lady in the waiting room. She had a lot of faith - and lupus. "I was in the hospital for kidney failure from the lupus, but I know the Lawd was watchin' over me. My kidneys started workin' by themselves, and I know nobody but the Lawd made them work again. Not the doctors, nobody but the Lawd." She talked about her arthritis, her pain, her exhaustion from the disease. "I know I be sufferin', but aint nobody suffered more than Lawd J., so I don't complain." I didn't know what to say. It was weird. I just nodded. Then I got called into the office, so I gave her a hug and wished her well. "You keep me in yaw prayers, ya hear?" "I will," I said. It was a delicious hug - the back rubbing kind. I'll da'aven for her tonight when I light shabbos candles.

I have a headache.

Thursday, December 08, 2005
I'm ready for my lobotomy, Mr. DeMille.

It's only 10:00am and already I feel like I've been through the wringer.

Firstly, I've had a headache every single day since I got whacked on the head. Yesterday I woke up with one and it lasted all day long. I have an appointment with my doctor this afternoon.

My kids are all in mischievious moods, and I'm not up to being Super Mommy. Chaya is home from school for a teacher work day, so she's adding to the excitement. My head hurts and I'm not being so nice.

I have a cleaning lady here, such a blessing. (Although I wonder what she was thinking when I stuck my screaming 2 year old in his room). I haven't had cleaning help in more than 6 months. My house really needs it. I was all excited because a friend passed her along to me, but due to a mix-up I probably won't get to have her again. I haven't been able to find anyone at all, and here I thought "Yay, now I'll have help once a week!" So it's kind of a let down. I guess I should just be thankful for what I have at this moment. If G-d wants me to have more cleaning help, He'll arrange for it.

While we're on the topic, I have all these little pockets around my house that need a thorough organizing. I made a list this morning of all the places I'd like to tackle, and I came up with 11. Like my bathroom medicine cabinet (expired herbal tinctures). Or my kids' drawers (stashed toys and outgrown clothes). I look at the list and I just feel weary.

The other night Yaakov's stepmother was over, and I was sitting on the porch with her as she dragged on her Virginia Slims. "You know," she said (exhaling minty dragon smoke), "You don't need any more kids. Three little kids close in age is enough for anybody. I'd have killed myself by now."

Have I told you how much I love my life lately?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

When I was engaged someone told us about a therapist/writer named Harville Hendrix. He wrote a book called "Getting the Love You Want."

One of the main themes of the book is that we marry a person who resonates with us. Someone familiar. Someone who reminds us, on some level, of our parents or primary caretakers.

This person then - ideally - helps us heal from our childhood wounds and pain. The healthy marriage is one where we feel safe to work out our "stuff." The marriage becomes a tikkun (healing).

So today I had this deep thought (while I was throwing out some garbarge - a metaphor?). "Am I contributing to Yaakov's Life-Healing?" It struck me very deeply. I don't think I've been doing such a great job lately.

Yaakov loves me unconditionally - a very deep and forgiving love. I'm not emotionally mature enough (yet) to love him like that. If I could, surely I'd be a balm for all that ever ailed him.

Please G-d, help me grow and heal that I might love so fully. Help me love You.

Signing off in tears.

Saturday, December 03, 2005
Shabbos With a Shinuy

Friday afternoon I did my usual thing: I took my erev-shabbos shower. But this time, G-d had a surprise: The shower nozzle fell on my head. I don't know how it came out of its holder, but all of a sudden - BONK! I scrunched up my shoulders in pain.

We lit candles and Yaakov and Chaya proceeded to shul. Srulik and Rivky played with Mrs. Potato Head and I laid on the couch. I felt nauseous and a little dizzy, and my head was killing me. When I got off the couch, I felt even worse. Then I started wondering if I should call my doctor. Not a simple thing, to use the phone on shabbos. I decided I would wait until Yaakov got home and make my decision then. Time went by and I felt sicker - still no Yaakov. I envisioned myself going to the emergency room and sitting there all night. I decided. I was calling.

I murmured an apology to G-d and picked up the phone with my left hand. I dialed her number with a different finger and talked to the answering service lady. She directed me to another doctor on call, and gave me his number. I wrote the second number holding the top of the pen. When I dialed the second number, at first I mis-dialed because I couldn't read my "shinuy penmanship." The person at the second office told me the doctor would call me back shortly.

While I was on the phone with office #2 Chaya and Yaakov returned. Yaakov looked at me with concern and Chaya said, "It's shabbos! Why are you on the phone?" I finished the call and explained to Chaya (and Yaakov) that mommy had gotten a bonk on the head erev shabbos, and mommy wasn't feeling too good right now. Yaakov waved his hand dismissively. "Take 2 tylenol and go to bed. No need to call a doctor for that." "Well I DID call the doctor and now I'm waiting for him to call me back," I said defensively.

The doctor called about 5 minutes later and I felt SO LAME to tell him I got whacked in the head with my shower nozzle. Talk about being a candidate for the Darwin Awards! He asked if there was any blood, or if I fell, or lost consciousness. "No," I answered, "I just feel dizzy and nauseous now. And I have a headache." You know what he said? "Take 2 tylenol and get some rest."

I got off the phone and Yaakov handed me the tylenol. I explained to Chaya that if there was an emergency on shabbos, you could do whatever you needed to do. You just need to do it with a shinuy - a difference. It's still shabbos and not the same as the rest of the week. That's why mommy was holding the phone with 2 fingers of her left hand.

"Shoulda listened to Dr. Tatty in the first place," Yaakov smiled.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

My Dad is supposed to come in 2 weeks. You long time readers know that the past 3 trips have been canceled, due to anxiety and/or depression. The last time he was supposed to come was at the end of August.

I love my father very much, and I appreciate him for the person he is. It took me a long time to get to this place emotionally. I accept that he wasn't capable of being a father to me. He and my mom split when I was a baby.

For a long time I resented him and didn't want him in my life. But then I realized that he simply has his mental health issues. I have heard about many bi-polar cases, but I have never known anyone so debilitated by it as Dad. My cousin once said there isn't a drug invented that can give him respite.

He has a full life. Lots of friends. He's a member of the Lions Club and Toastmasters. He has a devoted wife. But when he's down, he'll hide in his room for weeks. He'll cancel trips to see his grandchildren.

Yaakov told me this morning that I should give him a call in a week or so. Tell him how much we're looking forward to his visit. "I can't," I answered, "I think it'll be too much pressure on him."

I hope he can make it this time.

My Photo Name: Fancy Schmancy Anxiety Maven
Location: Chutz l'aretz - Outside of Brooklyn

fancymaven at gmail dot com