Tuesday, May 31, 2005

How can that be?

I just got off the phone with an “old” friend in the states whose almost 16-year-old daughter just returned from Atlantic Seabord Region’s NCSY regional convention.

This CHILD (who is, by the way, the same age as my son!!) received a meritorious leadership award and was elected to be on the regional board.

To go into the background of what this means to all of you non-NCSYers, would take me too long. Basically NCSY is an international Jewish youth organization. An organization where I learned about my Judaism and made some of the best friends I have in my life!

I received awards and I was on regional board in high school. I was regional president for gosh sakes!

My son is going to be 16 this summer. The summer I turned 16 I came to Israel on an NCSY summer program. It was the first summer I had ever spent with Jewish Orthodox kids. I can’t even begin to describe to you what I did and saw that summer! It was, of course, the best summer of my teenage life. But, now my son is going to be 16 this summer!

My friend’s daughter is on regional board! What does that mean for my friend and I?

We’re old!

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Single parenting again

It’s been a while, but Ari is off to the states tonight.

The only good part about his being away is I have the car all to myself.

Quiet week ahead, at least as of right now.

Tomorrow I pamper myself with a pedicure and manicure in Jerusalem.

I have ulpan as usual – Sunday and Wednesday night.

I have water aerobics Monday and Wednesday mornings.

NED has a horrible rash all over her body, so I will have to call and make an appointment for that.

I have an appointment with the principal and guidance counselor at MB’s school to discuss whether the school is a good fit for NED.

DB will try to visit the new school again. I have to follow up on one more.

I have to follow-up on my job situation. I was basically offered to join this Family Clinic, but they have no money. They want me, but they want to barter for my services. I’m going to have to spend some time trying to figure it all out.

In the meantime I also want to get some other groups going.

Someone is coming to interview me about an article she is writing about commuter families. I’ll tell her exactly what I think about it!

Maybe lunch or brunch with a friend or two.

That’s this week....so far

Hope yours is productive!

Friday, May 27, 2005

17 years and counting

Tonight, the 33rd day of the counting of the Omer, is the 17th anniversary of my staying up all night, burning a pile of torn up paper in my dorm room in NYC with Barbara B and others, while waiting for Ari to call me back from wherever he was that night. "A little birdie" let it slip that Ari had driven up to Boston to get something and would be back in the morning.

Indeed, at 8 am the next morning, Ari showed up to my dorm room, and came to my bedside with a bag of mint milado pepperidge farm cookies, and offered me a cookie.

"I don't want a cookie," I announced honestly. It was, after all 8:00 in the morning!

"Just have a cookie," Ari pleaded!

We went back and forth until finally it hit me what he wanted. I ate a cookie, he ate three, and he lifted the little white cup to expose the next layer of cookies. "Have another cookie," he demanded.

And what do you know, there were no more cookies! Only a small black cloth box. Inside was the most beautiful antique diamond ring I had ever seen.

Right there, with me still in my pajamas and in my bed, and my roommate in her bed, Ari proposed marriage to me. And I accepted.

I still remember my head dorm counselor (and at the time, one of my closest friends) sending me a message when she heard the news: Mazal Tov, you are on probation - no guys allowed in the rooms!

17 years later, tonight, my groom and I signed a bunch of contracts written in Hebrew, making us the legal owners of 638 meters of Israeli soil.

Now I gotta go design a house to build on that land.

Mazal Tov! Bli ayin hora! Poo poo poo!

To many more...

P.S. Check out Ari's blog, I'm sure he's written something poetic about tonight!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

All in a day

Water aerobics work out in the morning

An awesome massage after noon

Ulpan in the evening

Home early to meet with the builder and architect.

Still in denial as I tell the architect I don’t like where he wants to put my kitchen table. The kitchen is all wrong. I need to work on it a little a more.

Tomorrow I’m off to Machane Yehuda (the outdoor market) in Jerusalem to shop for Shabbat. It’s cherry season.

I have a second interview at a Family Clinic in Jerusalem at 2:00. Poopoopoo

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

By the way!

I planted impatients, petunias and some other unnamed flowers in my flower pots yesterday. With Ely by my side, I planted three plastic round containers, a silver platform shoe, and a small pot one of our NCSYers painted for us years ago.

There is now color and beauty in our front yard. Not alot, but enough to make me smile.

Planted flowers in my yard make me so happy!!

Thank you!

Thank you to my Mom and 2 very thoughtful friends for calling to check in on me today. Mom said she was happy to see my last post ended on a positive note.

To my friends, I am thankful that you care. My writing is only a reflection of my emotions. Emotions fluctuate.

I’m not laying in bed all day eating bags of chocolate. (Although it sounds like something I might like to do for an hour or two, the consequences would not be worth it!) I’m not sitting home crying all day long. I’m not sitting in a dark room unable to cope.

I’m up.
I’m moving.
I’m doing.
I’m all over the place, but I’m doing!
I’m making decisions.
I’m making phone calls.

So don’t worry.

I appreciate your thoughts.

My time with Ely

This morning as I was lying in bed with Ely, putting off having to get up and start my day (and enjoying snuggling with my "baby"), we got to talking:

First she started with, "Aren't you proud of me, Imma, I didn't come to your bed in the night?"

Ely has been coming down into our room in the middle of the night, climbing into bed - on Ari's side, because she wouldn't dare come on my side! – and staying there until morning. Supposedly she keeps Ari up and he does not get a good night sleep. We told her that she had to stay in her own bed until it was light outside. So that is what she did. As soon as the sun came up, she was in our bed!

I told her that in our new house her bedroom would be right next to our room so it would be like she was IN our room. I explained that she would be in the house the longest because soon DB would be graduating high school and going to the army.

She brought it up again when Ari and DB came home from daavening (morning prayers) and we were eating breakfast together. “DB, you’re going to the army when you finish high school. And you’re going to have a gun.” He wasn’t sure how to respond.

Then as I was driving with her to the ear doctor (it seems as if the tubes that were put in before we made aliyah are still in, and now she needs to have them surgically removed. Yet another thing to keep me on the phone and distracted. Who has time to build a house?! but, I digress)

We were driving to the doctor and Ely asked me from the back seat, “Imma, when is DB going to the army?

“When he finishes school, Ely. Do you know what the army is?”

“No. What do you do in the army?”

“The army is a place where you learn to be a soldier to protect people from the bad guys.” (Simple, I know, but the best I could come up with at such short notice.)

Ely’s Hollywood response, “The bad guys always die, right? And the good guys always live.”

And my answer? “That’s what we daaven to Hashem for. Sometimes good guys die, because Hashem is ready for them to be with Him in Shamayim (heaven). But in the army, the soldiers learn how to protect us, to keep us safe.”

And that was that.

That was up there with “What does Moshiach (messiah) mean?” Which is the question she asked me last week. I waited for her father to get home to answer that one!

Quick update on the other kids:

DB went to try out another school today. His cousin, who was meeting him there, forgot that there was an assembly most of the day, so there were no classes. So, DB not only missed a day of learning in his yeshiva, but he basically learned nothing about the new school…sigh. Try again…

MB ran in the door from school and straight to the bathroom. It seems the water wasn’t working in her building today and she hadn’t used the bathroom all day. She was hoping they would cancel school for tomorrow, but it seems they fixed the water problem.

NED came home in a decent mood today and on her “I can be positive” chart, which I made for her to fill out everyday, she wrote that she had a quiz in one of her classes and she knew all the answers. That’s in Hebrew, remember! Thank G-d for the small stuff!

Ari - he is after all, one of my kids :) - took out the garbage for me today. What a guy!

Monday, May 23, 2005

Over 10,000

And still going.

Congrats to Dani B. for being the winner. He was the 10,000 hit and deserves the recognition.

And now I will try to get off my stuck writing horse, and keep posting about life here in Israel.

I don't know what my resistance has been about lately? I just can't seem to get my thoughts down in coherent sentences or paragraphs.

Too much going on, maybe?

Watching my children grow older.

Realizing that I am thousands of miles away from my family.

I live in an unfamiliar country.

Watching my husband struggle.

Trying to get my act together to make some money.

and now?

Building a house. How?

I need to stop eating sugar. I need to take care of myself.

I need to appreciate everyday.

I need to watch a sunset.

I need to plant some flowers.

I need to draw a picture. I need to color.

I need to cry and laugh and love and scream and snort.

I need to be in touch with old friends.

I need to hug my mom and dad, my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, neices and nephews.

I want to be able to lie in bed with my children, watch them sleep and watch them grow and change every molecule on their skin. I want to appreciate it all.

I want the right answers-

Life feels intense right now. There is alot going on. The honey moon is over. They say this is part of the aliyah process.


I will go to sleep now and in the morning, the sun will rise, I will hug and kiss my husband and children, we will go on with our days...

And I will be thankful!

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Watch the counter

If you have come to visit, do me a favor and check the counter - I am 8 hits away from 10,000!

If you are here and the counter hits 10,000, please let me know who you are

Who will be the lucky winner?!

Shabbat in Efrat

We spent Shabbat in Efrat with Treppenwitz and his lovely family. Great kids, poor poor weaned baby, and Jordan the human dog! Didn't see much of Efrat though. Slept alot. Needed that! Nice to spend a relaxing Shabbat with good friends.

Saw a collegue at synagogue whose husband runs a school nearby for girls. They specialize in theatre and art and are looking for support staff: "How's your hebrew," he asked? "Not good enough to do therapy yet," I answered.

I must learn more hebrew. I must start speaking it more. And understanding it. I must. I must!

MB was at a Shabbat Ulpana (shabaton with her school) in Tzfat. We missed her, but brought along a delicious potato kugel she made before she left.

Another week-
Ari and I celebrate our 17th engagement anniversary on Friday.

Hope yours is full of celebration too!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

A benefit of having only one car in Israel

For the most part, owning (and being able to afford) only one car in Israel stinks! It's a daily organizational challenge to figure out who needs the car more and for how long. Who can take the bus? Or who can walk to where he/she needs to be?

Since I am the regularly appointed parent to take children to doctors and other appointments, do the grocery shopping, the banking, and the other errands a stay-at-home Mom needs to accomplish in a day, I usually get the car, and Ari takes the bus into Jerusalem. He then walks or takes a cab to his office.

Somedays I have nothing planned on the calendar, and there is no reason for Ari not to take the car.

Today was one of those days.

I walked to and from my water aerobics class here on the yishuv, and then at 1:20 PM walked to pick up Ely from gan.

The best part of not having a car is having to walk to pick up Ely. It's not always the walking to gan that is so great - especially on days like today when it is really hot and I'm unusually tired - it's the part where I get to walk back from gan holding her hand that I love!

Usually as I'm walking there, I get one of my "I live in Israel" reality moments. I notice the Jerusalem stone on the homes, or hear someone speaking hebrew.

Then Ely runs to me at the door of her gan and we start our 10 minute walk back home. I think of holding her hand as a gift. It's so small and sweet. She usually rattles on about this or that, telling me stories of something that happened in gan that day. She asks me questions, giggles and skips. It is 10 minutes that I know someday will not be there. (Although I must admit, my big girls still grab for my hand when we are walking together!) It is a gift of time and love.

So on the days that I have no car to run to the grocery last minute or to the doctor for a forgotten appointment, I remember that on that day I get to walk home holding my daughter's hand - and nothing else matters!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

I'm sorry

I know I disappeared for a while.

And I'm not really back.

What I want to write about - I can't.

I've been busy taking care of...

It's been an exciting time in Israel.

I've got tons of ulpan (hebrew language class) homework

And I'm not sure where to go with it all right now.

So bear with me.

Be patient.

Maybe ask me a question and I'll try to focus on answering it.

In the meantime --

Smile :)

Friday, May 06, 2005

I forgot to say..

Mazal Tov!...Congratulations!...Yahoo!...Woohoo!...Way to go!...and We're so proud of you!

to my Big Brother -

for finally, (how many years has it been?) receiving his PhD in Molecular Biology!

There is now another Dr. E in the family!

I was thinking... 5 year plan...going for my PhD in Expressive Therapy.

I must add that my SIL and 7 nephews and neices deserve some credit too! They stuck by their father 'til the end.


Thursday, May 05, 2005

Life's Journey

This is my blog

And therefore I get to write whatever is on my mind.

I write here because it makes me feel better. As I have written a hundred times before, I can connect with my friends and family (and any other lurker who wants to read) in an intimate way, which I enjoy.

But recently I have learned that my writing has worried a few readers, so, because I can, I'm going to write about it...

I am a serious and intense person. As long as I can remember I have always been this way.

But I have also been called a free spirit. Somehow the two have gone together.

I guess I used to be a lot more easy going and fun-loving, but life and its responsibilities has toned me down, and, maybe to my mental health detriment, I have become very intense.

I don’t think I am depressed. I’m bummed about my weight and how my body looks, and I worry about my kids and my family and friends, but I wouldn’t call me depressed. I’ve been depressed before. This is not depression. My anxiety about life is intense, but not debilitating.

People have told me for years to stop thinking so much. I have been in groups were everyone’s feedback to me was to let go of my need for perfection. I worry about almost everything and everyone. I know this about myself, which is the first step.

On the other hand, I have also, over the last few years, learned how to LET GO. Give myself over to my Higher Power, as it were. It’s still a daily battle, but my training as an Expressive Therapist taught me to “Trust in the Process.”

I work constantly on believing internally and accepting that mantra. It is my need for control. It is my need to keep hold of my environment. It is my need to have meaning in everything that I do.

That is who I am.

Yes, it can be hard to live with. My free-spiritedness is what brought Ari and I together. We are a great team. We balance each other. But I am also way more intense than he.

G-d created me as a deep thinker and with a soul that feels life even deeper. I am thankful for that, for I believe it is a gift not many people possess.

I continue to learn how to use it properly.

Thank you for worrying about me (you know who you are). I love knowing there are those who do.

This is part of my life journey: To learn how to live life to the fullest, and with meaning, without stifling myself and my creativity along the way.

What is your life’s journey?!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

I miss my mommy!

I just needed to say that!

I have "Gotta-take-care-of-everyone's-needs" burn out.

The facial and fun in the sun were great - I'm NOT complaining!

But I need my mommy!

Monday, May 02, 2005

Back from too much relaxation

That’s right. I’m back. Haven’t touched a computer in over a week, and - I must admit - I did not miss it. The simplicity of whatever I had in my possession for a week - and no more - was wonderful. The worst is coming home to clutter and piles left behind.

But I cannot complain about the beautiful scenery and weather. I cannot complain about not having to cook or clean up after a meal. I cannot complain about keeping a house clean or worrying about making my guests feel comfortable.

I am spoiled. I admit it. Am not proud of it. But it is my reality.

Next year I want to stay home. Ari says he wants to wait until we are in our own home. I just want to be home.

Four days in the Galil – the northeast mountains of Israel; and six days at the Dead Sea. Each was spectacular in beauty. Clear air and mountains in the north, salt water and minerals, desert and a facial at the Dead Sea. What could be bad?

A couple days of sick kids. Yet the best vacation I have had, mood-wise. I tried to be extra loving and more patient with the kids. I prayed to let go of judgment and allow love and acceptance to take its place. I feel good about how I handled myself. I gave to myself the time to relax and be pampered.

Worried about DB. On the edge. Is it typical teenage stuff or something more? All I can do is guide, encourage and love – trying so hard not to nag!

We’re home now, my family and I, but until the kids go back to school tomorrow and my in-laws leave on Wednesday, my time is still not my own.

I will take MIL (mother-in-law) to Jerusalem in the morning to do her shopping. FIL (you get the pattern) will tag along. I will get a medal!!

Trying to stay away from refined sugar. Doing okay, not great. But trying.

Still reading the book, “Embracing Fear” by Thom Rutledge. I wish it came on booktape because I don’t have the time to read books all the way through.

The biggest news of the season is that we bought a lot of land to build a house on. Ari met with the builder right before we left to go away. I am still deep in denial. I am having a very difficult time allowing myself to be excited. It’s so huge! A house from scratch, decisions to make – it’s like writer’s block or not being able to start the painting. Once I get started I’ll be okay. I usually am.

And everything always seems to work out.

Obviously many thoughts in my head.

I’m back and will continue writing as the thoughts continue to emerge.

Happy Day!

Over 9000

That happened while I was away and not even writing.

I'm back now...

And it's May 1st! How did THAT happen?!