Happy New Year?

Well, here we are, it’s a new year.  I have ditched my iPad in favor of a Kindle Fire tablet gifted to me by Alison.  It’s become my new best friend and also made me extremely grateful for those who gift me.  I seriously couldn’t afford such tech or gadgetry for myself and I do appreciate it.

I love it and am especially happy that the keyboard I got for the iPad works with it as well.  I am, in fact, typing on it as we speak.  I play sudoku on it, read more on it, take it places with me, watch Pride and Prejudice endlessly on it while I do dishes, write on it and take pictures with it.  Eventually I’ll figure out how to text on it and then, oh boy, I’ll be set won’t I?  Unfortunately it also makes window shopping on Amazon even easier but hey, my wish lists can’t hurt me.

It’s snowing out there today and I’ve been thinking about so many things for future blogs.  My big, fat Israeli divorce.  My heart bleeding silently for Jerusalem.  My love for my fiance and home here under the permafrost.  How these two things can be compatible in my life – my two greatest loves which are so very far apart.  My son, who is growing up before me and how hard this is for us both.  How autism morphs and changes and we blaze new and unknown trails every day as he grows into such an amazing young man and I struggle, as always, to just keep up and continue to wonder why people praise me for being a great mom – really, it’s because he’s such a tremendous young man.

I’m crocheting now after my knitting just disgusted me to the point of giving it up for now although Knitpicks has my nickel plated interchangeables for sale and they’re really gnawing away at me.  I still harbor that intense hatred for Polish customs for throwing away my needles in case you’re still wondering.  Anyway, I am making a “starburst” square afghan which consists of a gabillion little kinda granny squares that are really little starbursts that will all hook together.  I need a gabillion and I think I have 17 done.  Tune in later for more on THAT one.

I’ve been baking bread that sometimes people eat and lately, most of the time they snub.  Along with most of my dinners.  Oh Scott eats everything and praises what I cook and since I cook as an art, that makes me happy but still.  I have a can of raspberry pie filling and a package of yellow cake mix….I’m thinking raspberry filled cupcaked for Shabbat this week.  If I feel like it, I MAY share them with the children.

Then again, maybe not.  Depends.

I spent most of December worrying because on the first night of Hanukkah I got a call about my old house – someone was interested in buying it.  It wasn’t in the greatest shape and really, not in the best location and honestly, I wanted to just get rid of it before someone torched it.  The median sales price for what I had was less than $20,000 so I was happy with what we negotiated and I agreed to a sales price.  Talk about a Hanukkah miracle.  Most houses where my house was are on the market for 3-5 years and houses like mine?  Usually just abandoned.  So…being the worrier I am, I worried until the sales contract was signed and then I worried until the closing because I knew it would either fall through, there would be some wild lien I couldn’t even fathom or someone would torch it before we could get pen to paper.  I asked everyone I could think of for prayers and prayed as much as I could and to my own surprise on 31 December, we closed quickly, easily and with no fanfare.  Just signed the papers, said “Well, that’s that”, said goodbye to the ex, and walked away.  I never felt so relieved in my life.

I set about paying off debts I never thought I could pay off – I can’t even describe the feeling.  I have been so poor for so long and remain poor even after everything is now settled but I know that I am building a better life that hopefully will reveal itself.

Miracles are afoot and I bask in them.  I learned a long time ago that sometimes the only thing you can do is ride the tide of the miracles and just let HaShem do his thing and take you where you’re meant to go.  Fighting it really doesn’t get you anywhere and to be honest, basking in the glow of miracles is a pretty amazing feeling.  I recommend you try it.

I still feel anxious and, I hate to say it, depressed.  Maybe it’s the winter time even though I enjoy this time.  I think maybe depression isn’t even the right word.  Sometimes tired seems more like the right word.  Like life just makes me tired.  The happys aren’t as sparkly but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel happy, it’s like Scott said to me one evening when I was watching something funny on tv – “why aren’t you laughing?”  I was amused, just not enough to make me laugh out loud.  It’s hard to describe.  I suppose it’s like you can see the sun but it’s just not sparkly sunshine.  The sky is not a birdsegg blue.  You just DO, you don’t BE.  I can’t explain but that’s how I feel about it.  Sometimes I wish I could just sleep all day but I can’t.  I know that that’s what keeps me getting up each day.  If it weren’t so cold out, I’d be walking.  Routine powers my day but it doesn’t mean it’s any less exhausting just going about the routine of life.  And I am okay with it.  The routine gets me up and moving and I try to make little bits to look forward to, to break up the monotony of the routine….but the exhaustion and boredom remain.  Maybe someday it will change.  Right now, I just don’t see that.

So anyway, if I haven’t depressed you to death or bored you silly, happy new year to you.  Have you made any resolutions?  I used to when I was little.  I’d make – wait or it….schedules and routines for me to follow.  Now, not so much.  I make changes as I go…I don’t necessarily see calendar dates as the big time to decide to change my life.  This year I will be walking a 5k at the Pittsburgh Marathon and I am raising money for Evan’s Miracle League baseball team that allows kids with special needs to play adaptive baseball  (DONATE HERE) which is one of the most worthwhile things I can think of EVER doing so I am training for that.  And as usual I am doing random acts of kindness like carrying my emergency dollar to help people with change at the grocery store, helping out when I can (like bringing in trash cans when people are at work and it’s windy) and just trying to be a better human being this year.

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Thoughts on a Four Poster Bed

ikea_midsommar_600I took a nap in my bed…oh how well I slept. I am so happy to have my furniture here. I feel so…complete.

I have the most wonderful man in my life. I thought yesterday how he is absolutely the best man I have ever known in my entire life. He is so even and steady. Nothing upsets him.

Whereas I was ready for blowups on moving day reminiscent of past moving days…and I was nervous and edgy all day in anticipation, no matter what didn’t go the way we expected, nothing ruffled Scott’s feathers. Everything was okay and he made sure I was okay throughout it all, knowing how upset and nervous I was.

The main thing was how much care and love he showed just for me. I knew how much he loved me and I told him how special it was to me that he cared enough to bring all of the little things that were so important to me to our home.

I don’t own much and most of what I own isn’t really worth anything. But it means a lot to me for whatever reason. A dining room table where I spent happy holidays. A buffet and armoire I used to polish lovingly. A bookcase where I stored my beloved books. A bed I bought to get myself off the floor.

As pieces not worth much at all but as a whole…worth everything to me.  And the very simple fact that this wonderful man, who loves me so very, very much felt I was worth enough to take the time and the trouble to bring it all to me so that I could have these small, worthless things…means all that much more.

I am so very lucky and even that much more blessed to have him love me.

Settling In

Up to this point, I have been rebuilding my own life from the ground up. Rebuilding inside and outside. Therapy has helped on the inside and for the outside I have acquired shoes and clothes and lots of books and yarn.

This week I have taken a new step in the rebuilding process.

I had some of my furniture still left in my old house. It hurts me so much to be there that I cry tears of such pain every time we have to go there. Scott and I had planned to get the boys to help and on Thursday this week, we would move my cherished furniture from my old house to my new house — the house Scott and I share.

I was entirely too upset to be a part of the “festivities” so I stayed home and worried myself into a migraine and upset stomach while the move was made but I was so happy when they arrived home and everything was brought inside.

We celebrated with pizza and donuts and by putting our bed together last night. We couldn’t get the box springs up the steps (they say that love grows best in small houses but come on!) but we still had the slats under the mattress so until we can get a set of separated box springs, it works.

In the meantime, there’s a lot more storage space which after rebuilding with clothes and shoes and books and yarn, I need a LOT of. AND there’s a lot of organizing, rearranging and homemaking to do.

And that, I think is the next step in my rebuilding. When I was out shopping last evening, I looked at tablecloths and bedspreads and dishtowels instead of clothes and cute socks. I think I am moving onto thinking of things around me and outside of myself.

I am moving onto making my house into my home and that’s a huge step forward for me…a long way from where I was two years ago and yet, a long way still from where I hope to be in two years.

There is a difference though that is the key. This time around I have dreams and I see myself in them.

Recapturing Shabbat

I’ve talked before about how all of my issues over the last two years caused me to fall horrendously down the ladder of observance.  I particularly miss my Shabbats.

Shabbats in Israel were particularly special to me.  I spent them usually alone with my Boy, and we’d often take some smoke on our nargila (hookah) which I know is BAD but which we found to be SO Israeli and so relaxing, to start our Shabbat.  We’d listen for the Shabbat siren to sound signaling when we’d watch the Jerusalem sun begin to set and we’d light candles together.  Then we’d bless the wine and challah I’d bought that day and have the wonderful meal I’d cobbled together.

I loved it.  WE loved it.

Then we came back and were separated and even though eventually we were brought back together, baruch Hashem, I’d seemed to have lost everything.  I was pretty much homeless and couldn’t drive.  I was living in a home that I wasn’t yet comfortable in and I wasn’t comfortable with being me.  I was deeply troubled and depressed.  That year I couldn’t even bring myself to acknowledge the High Holy Days, much less celebrate them.

I HAVE started to feel better and I feel much more at home both in my skin and in my surroundings.  I made it to Rosh Hashanah services this year and celebrated the holiday as best I could with festive meals at home but Shabbat, Shabbat has eluded me for some reason.

Oddly since Scott and I became engaged, I have stressed that it’s very important for me that he convert before we marry.  So…since he was interested anyway, he has chosen to take the step now.  And…given that, we are attending conversion classes together.

The topic this week was Shabbat and on the way home Scott said it was curious why sometimes I lit candles and sometimes I didn’t.

Right then and there I knew that as important as I knew it had been for Evan when  was growing up (and even now – he will light sometimes when I don’t but not every week) it is now just as important for Scott’s fledgling neshama…maybe more so since he is so new to ALL of this and religion in general.

So this week I got over it.  I made challah (which I HAVE been doing pretty much every week since the beginning of this year) and I baked a sour cream bundt cake for everyone to enjoy.  I made chicken in the crock pot and a cholent in the other crock pot for today.  We lit candles, blessed the children, blessed the wine and challah and ate together.  Havdallah candles were found and grape juice placed at the ready.

I made Shabbat come and I am really glad I did.  I watched the Shabbat candles glow and then fade out and I felt happy that I had tried and succeeded.

We attended services on Saturday morning and as I prayed the long lost but familiar prayers I knew they were and always would be a part of me, just like Shabbat.  I just had to make them come out and just like Shabbat…they were there all the time.

I really just had to light the candles to see that and watch it glow in everyone’s faces.

What Makes You Happy

It’s easy to write a blog post about those things that make me unhappy…and Lord knows I have written a lot of those lately.  But what about those things that make me happy?  I know it shouldn’t be that hard so why don’t I write more about them?  Tonight I plan to do just that.

Sometimes when I am in the abyss it’s hard to think of anything that would make me really HAPPY.  I mean what IS happiness anyway?  But the reality is I know what happiness is.  Happiness is beig with my son even when he’s rambing away for the gabillionth time about exacting revenge on the unsuspecting victim of the day as his alter ego, the Oera Ghost.  Happiness is looking at my two freaky dogs when they are sleeping and wanting to hug and kiss them.  Happiness is listening t o “I’m Just a Gigilo” at the end of my walk when I am on my way home.  Happiness is hugging Scott when he comes home from work.

See?  That’s not so hard.

Happiness is knowing Shabbat is right around the corner.  Happiness is being an Israeli citizen and aving had the greatest experience in my life of living in Jerusalem with my son.  Happiness is having a warm home and a soft bed and heat and air conditioning and a mixer to make cookies with.  Happiness is having running water.  Really.

Happiness is having a best friend who listens when the going gets rough and who isn’t afraid to say, hey, listen to ME when I get lost in myself.  Happiness is being safe.  Happiness is being loved.

There are so many things to be happy about.  Probably way more than there are to be sad or angry about but sometimes it seems that the bad things seem so enormous and overwhelming.  At least to me they can be consuming.

I hope that when I am down or sad or overwhelmed I’l remember to come back to this post or even just to my private journal and be happy in the moment because there are so many happys to put the bads in their place.

I Have a Goal – Please Sponsor Me for The Pittsburgh Marathon Miracle League Team

My new goal is to walk a 5k.  I am not the fastest walker althogh I admit I am proud that I can walk faster than I ever did while on a treadmill.  But…I CAN walk 5k every day so why not enter a walk, get a number and do it “professionally”?

It’s hard for me to anticipate and schedule simply because I am not “master of my own domain” because I can’t drive but it is a goal of mine and one that motivates me every morning to get out of bed and get moving.

The biggest one on my horizon is the Pittsburgh Marathon.  Evan’s Miracle League baseball league, Caseys Clubhouse,  has formed a team to walk/run which will raise money for the facilities that the league uses and believe me, they are stellar.  How could I not support a league that is inclusive to all kids with challenges and gives them a chance to be baseball stars for a season or two every year?  So yeah, I’m walking.

If you’d like to sponsor me for a buck or two, go here to donate  –  I’d really appreciate it!  I have to raise $150 (or donate it myself) to participate and I figured yeah, I could raise that, so I signed up.  So…please spread the word if you can.  There are lots of kids who depend on the Miracle Leage to bring baseball into their lives, and I know, for me at least, as I watch them play, I sit there and think, what if?  What if they could play with such joy with typical kids on school teams?  What if typical kids could experience this joy when THEY play baseball or other sports?  Just…what if?  What if we all could experience this abandonment and this joy in everything we do?

Think about it too.  What if.

 

Rosh HaShanah: Pride

I am so afraid of new situations.  It’s not new to me.  I guess I always have been my entire life.  I remember hiding behind curtains when I’d have to meet someone new when I was a very little girl.  I made my mom take me to the first day of school until my sophomore year in college for fear of things like the school bus stop, the school bus itself and walking into the building for the first time, roommates and just new things.  I actually became anorexic when I was interviewing for becoming an exchange student during my sophomore year, nearly killing myself with anxiety on top of the hell and horrors that went on in my house.

This fear continued on into college and still continues.  I would get sick on the first day of a new job or a new experience like joining a new club or group even though it was something I wanted to do.

It’s just always been this way.

And now that I have other more serious phobias, my social phobia has turned into full-blown agoraphobia, although very specialized and very defined.  It’s very, very real.

Last night was the evening service for the first night of Rosh HaShanah and I decided we would go.  I told Scott not to listen to any excuse I made short of a cerebral haemorrhage and me in the ER.

Scott has to work today and I also figured it was dark (it’s easier for me to do something in the dark) and we had every little step planned out.

We planned getting there REALLY early so we’d have a parking spot in the parking lot.  I’d wear clothes I was comfortable in and we would be hyper prepared.  I even called the temple early in the morning to just scope out the parking since it was what was really stressing me out.

I was ready.

I made a really festive dinner.  Cooking calms me so I made roasted curry chicken with apples, wild rice pilaf with apples, sweet and sticky green beans and apple cake along with gala apples and honey.  It helped because it turned out absolutely perfect, delicious and right on time.

Scott and Evan looked fantastic.  I was in a skirt that I felt good in, a sweater and a pashmina shawl.  I felt good.

Of course we forgot our tickets but we got them and still arrived in time to snag a space in the parking lot.  We backed in.  I took a klonopin so I’d be really calm and okay.

And it all worked out better than I could have hoped.

I cried throughout parts of the service as I felt Gd welcoming me and His love wrapping around me and the angels, Michael, Gabriel (especially), Uriel and Rafael surrounding me to keep me safe and there.

Scott was beside of me and I felt him there as I leaned against him.  It wasn’t overly crowded and people didn’t really bother me although the gentleman in front of us wished us a “happy new year.”  I replied “Shana Tova” and he smiled at me.

I thought the organ and choir would bother me as I tend to be more traditional but it was really, really nice and I loved it.  I felt at home.  The rabbi felt perfect for me.

Next week for Yom Kippur I am ready to go back.

I wish we could go Saturday for services but I know it’s all baby steps and that going for Kol Nidre and the next day may be more than my weak neshamale could handle and I don’t want to tank myself before I am ready even though I feel enthusiasm.

I am happy and I feel good.  I am proud of myself.

I did it.  And IT was huge for me.