Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What's New?

it is 5:45 a.m. in the holy city of zefat.   i got up about an hour ago.  i woke up with a spasmodic coughing fit.  i nearly  threw up.  i've been coughing for over a week.  for the most part,  it had been a dry and annoying cough.  both grand kids seemed to have this last week.

it developed into a very wet cough and i've been spitting up phlegm all week long.  it doesn't end.  i lost my voice twice this week.  i have been in bed all week.  i think i had a fever during the week but i didn't make any attempt to measure it.   i just lie in bed all day long.   i didn't have the kids with me at all this week.  i watched them for about an hour yesterday.  they haven't come running up here all week.  i wonder if kids sense illness.

my grandson didn't understand why i was talking in a whisper.  i had the longest, almost silent,  phone conversation of my life yesterday.   my voice would come out for a few words and then fade.  it was all too painful.  a long time acquaintance died this week after undergoing a bypass surgery.  i couldn't make it to the funeral.  the weather has taken a turn for the fall.  it is windy and cold now.

i have heard that there have been some earthquakes in zefat lately.  haven't really felt them up here.  i finally made a doctor's appointment for this morning.  i think it may be time to start antibiotics, not that i am sure about being able to swallow any.  i haven't been drinking much this week.  the only thing that felt good was hot chocolate.

i didn't  take out the ginger or gargle with lemon or anything else home remedy-like.  i just ignored it.  not a very pro active choice.    i think i've more or less given up.   i tried drinking tea but it aggravates my stomach.  my entire body hurts.   my throat is seriously irritated.   i am not a good patient at all.   i'm like an old dog.  i stay in my space and  keep still.   i hope i don't have to go to the hospital for tests today.  i am not in the mood to ravel..  i accepted an appointment close to home,  with a not so great doctor, because i didn't want to go to town.

i didn't call for a home visit because they send mickey mouse russian doctors who are useless.  no offense meant to the russian community.   i don't even know all the words in hebrew to explain my symptoms.  i am not in my element here.  at the hospital in tel aviv,  i get by solely in english.  the  nurses and office staff get peeved at english speakers.  doctors generally, are impressed.  they think they are dealing with a better class of people.  like who doesn't want to speak english?  most israeli english students, for one.

i am in no shape to make shabbat for the kids.  if they want to stay home they can take whatever they need from my freezer and cook it themselves.  i am done.  i need to get into the shower.  i reek!  i heard through my sister that my ex male suitor was texting her about putting me on certain prayer lists.  i didn't understand why he couldn't text me directly so i texted him a thank you.   i was 'enlightened'  that it wasn't proper to contact each other once the arranged shidduch was over.  he did however,  make an exception,  this one time, out of a charitable disposition,  because it dealt with a medical situation.  and to think, that i still miss his company????

i finally did my dishes this morning.  both sinks were over loaded.  i somehow managed to wash the floors in the middle of the week.  i think that i was feeling almost well one day.  by that,  i mean, one day when i wasn't burning up or feeling faint,  i did the floors.  i had lots of leftovers from shabbat, so the dogs and i ate well.  the dogs ate better than i did.  the smell of the meat  and chicken made me nauseous.  i ate the cooked veggies and sauce.  i only lost a couple of pounds.  i was counting on getting thin once again.

i am not looking forward to going to the doctor.  i received a notice from the medical carrier that they were refunding me $50.  i put in receipts for over $600.  some things never change.  that acquaintance who died this week, was also doing a paper tail to recover his severance  and sick day benefits.  he was owed thousands of dollars and was getting the old bureaucratic runaround.  that couldn't have been soothing to his heart.  having this looming over him couldn't have been healing.  i'm hoping that justice will be done for him,  even after his death.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Voting in Zefat

it is  4:30 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.  today is the mayoral election in zefat.  i haven't decided if i want to vote or not.  unlike the rest of the anglos in the old city, i don't have any issues.  my neighborhood is clean and the garbage is picked up pretty regularly.  they haven't destroyed any trees up here, either.  i guess i am complacent when it comes to the local elections.

 zefat is known for having a corrupt city government.  the majority of past mayors were under house arrest for absconding with city funds.  i have been here for nearly 30 years and i can't say that i have witnessed any real progress.  we do have a lot more people living here these days than in the past.  it has created a backlog in the bureaucracy.

i got up early to do some errands.  my grandson joined me at 6:30 a.m.   he was wet from pishing in his bed.  he wouldn't let me shower him so i washed him with a damp cloth.  he had a field trip because all of the gans were being used as voting places.  i went straight to the social worker this morning.  she helped me compose a note to the medical carrier to accept my invoice for a couple of taxi fares back from the hospital.  we shall see if they finally reimburse me or not.  i still have three trips that i haven't recieved invoices for.

i then took a cab down to town to the national insurance office.  it was completely empty.  it was very surreal.  usually by 9:00 a.m. it is already full and quite noisy.  i felt an outer body experience there.  there were only two other people there besides myself.  i was told that i did get my monthly stipend yesterday..  somehow, it didn't show up on my bank print out.  i proceeded to the water company and paid one bill.   apparently, i missed another bill.  i don't remember receiving it.  it will have to wait until the new year to be paid.  i was the sole person at the water company too.

i  then made my way over to the bank.  it was also pretty empty.  i picked up my checkbooks and strolled over to the city tax office.  i was once again, the only person there.  i paid my real estate taxes plus late penalties and went on to the medical clinic to pay my health insurance bill.  as i was leaving the bank, the clerk warned me that i mustn't bounce any more checks.  i tried to 'enlighten' her that most of the damage was done while i was away from zefat undergoing chemotherapy in tel aviv.  she made a call for me but i don't really know what was said. or resolved.  i  had to pay a small ransom in bank charges lately.

i ran into my best gal pal and we went out for chocolate milkshakes.   how yummy was that!  she had to get back to work so we didn't have a lot of time to schmooze.   i did some window shopping.  i was looking for chanukah coloring books or props.  i didn't see any.  i ran into a few acquaintances and discussed my  past illness and treatment for a while.  i waited for the bus to get back home.  i t was getting late and i needed to get to my grandson's gan.  it turns out that there weren't any buses running at the bus stop so i cabbed it.  i had the driver wait for me because i was spent by then.

we came home and i bathed my grandson.  i had bought him a jelly donut but the dog ran off with it.  what a bitch!  we munched out on some great whole wheat rolls and his mommy came home.  they all went out to the park.  i'm pretty tired.  i was expecting a female border next week.  someone saw my ad for the upstairs apartment and thought it would be great for this gal.  i really thought it was a done deal but it isn't going to work out.  most people prefer to live downtown.

in the winter, it's colder but a lot drier up here.  the houses in the old city tend to be moist and moldy in the winter.  i really didn't have the energy to clean the upstairs but i sure was counting on the money.  this is an old story.  something has to give.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Thanksgiving This Year

it is 5:30 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.  i went to pick up by grandson from gan a little while ago.  i  seem to be doing that a lot lately.  fortunately, the weather has been warm and i have enjoyed the 15 minute sprint down to the gan.  we usually, spend a half an hour at the park and then we get picked up by my daughter-in-law.

earlier, i went to town to pay my health insurance bill.  my payment was returned by the bank.  they returned quite a few checks this month and it cost me over $70 in penalties.  i still have not received a disability check since late july.  i am totally caught up in the inane bureaucracy of the government here.  i have taken emergency loans am i am still deeply into debt.  i have several outstanding bills that simply cannot be paid.  this is just par for the course here.  i hear it's getting pretty insane in america too.

i am feeling pretty good despite a cold.  what can i expect being around the kids all the time.  they're all coughing and they all have runny noses.  i have a bit of color these days form being outside a lot.  i do not look sick anymore.  i have a bunch of appointments coming up soon.  there's a gyn/oncologist and a brain MRI in november.  there's a brain surgeon appt. and another pet scan in december.  and then it's back to the radiologist in january.  are we having fun yet?

i still have thousands of shekels worth of taxi fares that i didn't get back from my medical carrier and about 8000 shekels from the national insurance that i'm owed.  i don't have enough stamina to deal with all of these offices.  i ordered check books weeks ago, and i found out yesterday that the bank never reordered them.  i feel overwhelmed.  i can't seem to keep track of all of this balagon.  i  am only concentrating on this year's first night of chanukah, which happens to be thanksgiving.  that seems to be the only thing i can relate to.  it's the first time that these two dates coincide since 1885.

i try to plan the menu and look up recipes on a daily basis.  my computer will not let me into most cooking sites.   i want the meal this year to be traditional for both events.  i have my paper turkey table cloth,  my straw turkey bread basket and some turkey napkins left over from past years.  i already made white chocolate dreidel and chanukiah lollipops.  i still have the dark chocolate ones to prepare.  i also have dreidel shaped salt and pepper shakers.  i need to place a small chanukiah on the table for show.  i thought about using 8 of the lollipops to create a chanukiah effect.

i bought a small bag of cornmeal to make the traditional cornbread.  i have dried cranberries that i may add to the cabbage salad.   i already bought turkey wings and frozen whole cranberries.  i have an old challah in the freezer that i can turn into sage and sausage bread stuffing.  i bought two kinds of  kabobs that will take the place of the sausage.  i am still dreaming about making a pumpkin pie.  who knows?  maybe i actually will. this year.  last year i made a pumpkin cake.  it was dreadful.   i saved and froze enough clear chicken soup from a shabbat meal to add to the bread stuffing. 

i need to do something fried to keep up with the chaukah tradition.  that leaves making either corn fritters, or potato latkes.  i'm  toying with the idea of making pumpkin latkes.  i did it one year and they were a big hit.  i'll probably fry chicken cutlets for that shabbat meal.  i'm also thinking about making stuffed baked sweet potatoes.  everything is possible.  i  want to make a chestnut soup but i think that would be overkill.  i have a recipe for fried cookie bow ties.  i don't know if i'll want to kill myself with this project or not. 

 i wish i could buy a prepared pie crust but they only have graham cracker ones and they really aren't good for  pumpkin pies.  i'm also considering making a non baked kind of pumpkin pie using vanilla pudding.  i'll have to investigate some more recipes.  in the meanwhile, i need to see the social worker from my medical carrier and the clerk at the national insurance tomorrow.  that should take the entire morning to deal with both these issues for sure.  i have to get my grandson from gan at 2:00 p.m. which puts me under even more pressure.  i also need to go to the electric company which is at the far end of town which is an expensive taxi ride.

the shabbat after thanksgiving is the 6th anniversary of my mothers passing.  i would like to arrange a kiddish for her in the little chabad bomb shelter but i don't know if my finances will be in better order by then.  i know that i am a bit ahead of myself but that's what i always do.  i'm thinking of tu b'shvat after chanukah.  and i think of chanukah after sukkot.  it's funny but i haven't begun to think about purim yet.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Hanging In There

it is nearly 1:30 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.  i just had my plumber friend come out to check my rooftop apartment.  i want to build a staircase and separate entrance to create a rental.  i have been talking about doing this for the last few years.  unfortunately, i have no savings left to pay for this.  i will have to take a bank loan and will probably not see any profit for years.  the plumber thinks it will cost a huge amount of money.

i was counting on not spending more than $10,000.  the way he's tallking this could be well over 30,000.  i am still trying to pursue female boarders.  it's really a great space upstairs.  i am running out of options to raise money.  i  am considering the option of moving upstairs myself and renting out my apartment.. that would be very hard.  just the idea of packing up all my belongings makes me sick.  i would have to exit through the downstairs apartment where the kids live basically, for free.  yes, sacrifices would have to be made by all of us.

i realistically, don't see myself getting a job right now.  i still have to undergo brain surgery.   i recieved some cash from my siblings to help me get through the immediate 'crunch'.  first thing i did was to fill up the freezer. i bought lots of inexpensive fowl.  i bought tons of chicken hotdogs, hamburgers, lamb kabobs, chicken bones, cheap steaks, turkey wings, and chopped turkey.   i even got some fish.   when in doubt or debt,  buy food.  i actually spent about $200.  that should get me through the winter,  food wise.  that of course, does not include veggies or fruit.

i had to pick up my grandson from kindergarten yesterday.  i walked down to the gan.  it was an easy  15 minute walk downhill.  i was happy to do it.  i even got a lift home with one of the mothers.  i made a big mistake in taking the grandkid to the super.  i wanted to buy some hot chocolate mix and tea.  i thought it would wear him out.  it nearly kiled me.  first, he got his 'mitts' on a  sticker book of 'trash people'.  that's his new fixation.  i immediately took it out of his hands and explained that i didn't have enough money to buy it for him..  it was 20 shekels.   it could make a nice chanukah gift.

he immediately threw himself on to the ground and stated to cry.  i ignored him and went off to find the tea. he grabbed another copy of the sticker book and started to open it.  i confiscated the second  book and placed it high up on the shelf.  he again hit the floor and srarted crying.  i tried to ignore him and went off  to find the cocolate mix.  he once again found, yet,  another sticker book and started to open it.  i got it away from him but it was a struggle.  i think i gave him a potch on his backside.

he was thirsty so i bought him a punch-banana flavored milk.  i found him a seat and told him to stay put and to drink.   he managed to 'aquire' some more items that he wanted to buy.  he held onto a small vile of tick tacks.  i refused to buy it for him so he ran off and started eating them.  i didn't want to buy them but i felt as a matter of principle, that i was obligated to.  i refussed to let him have them so he once again, threw an enormous fit.  there was no one else in the store besides the manager and the cashier, so i let him scream.  i wanted to kill him.  i momentarily hated him and had the most awful thoughts about hurting him when i caught up with him. .

the little brat was hiding and i could not find him.  i knew that he hadn't made it out of the store but i could not see him.  i checked the bathrooms and even climbed upstirs to the manager's office.  he was out of sight. i waited over a half an hour until i saw him.  and then, he ran away once again.  i must have been in that store for over an hour.  i felt like such a fool.  he finally caught up with me but he threw another fit when i refused to give him the tick tacks.  i don't know how i dragged him off of the floor and out of the store.  he then became one with the pavement and i left him.  i walked away but of course, i kept on coming back to get him up.

it took another half an hour of my screaming at him to get him home.  i actually gave him one gigantic smack on his back.   i was aiming for the backside but missed.  i then grabbed him by his arms and somehow shlepped him up the stairs.  by the time we got home he was over his fit.  i was fit to be tied.   i took him to the local playground and he was pretty active.   we got back home and i decided to take him and his baby sister to a neighbor's house,  where they were dedicating a new torah scroll to the local shul.  it was quite cold outside but i couldn't confine the two kids in the house.  there were many people milling about and the kids were not happy being indoors.

outside, my grandson helped himself to cookies and peanuts.  he climbed on to a small tree and was happy being outdoors.  i don't think the people outside were so happy with him climbing the tree.  my grandaughter was a royal pain in the neck.  she took a tumble down some stairs, as i was shlepping the stroller up the stairs.  luckily, she wasn't hurt.  i was beside myself.  i finally managed to get her to stop crying for a little while but i decided to take them home.  this was not the place for them.  i was sorry that i took them out.  the two of them are simply not fit for human consumption.  i can manage them in the house in front of the t.v. set. going out with them is a nightmare.  they are a pair of wild indians.  they are wolverine like.  i am  actually embarrassed to be seen with them.  some proud grandma i am!

my grandson told his father last night that he had caused me 'problems' in the super.  i tried my best to explain to him that taking candy and sticker books without permission and money is tantamount to stealing.  i refused to give him any tick tacks last night.  he came upstairs for the package of tick tacks this morning..  i only gave him two and he threw a fit in the car on his way to kindergarten.  his mother insisted that he doesn't get away with any of this shtick on her watch.  first thing this morning, he came into their bedroom and pished on their rug.  my son was beside himself.  wanted to know if the kid needs a shrink.  i think i need one.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Falling Leaves

it is 6:00 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.  the holidays are finally over.  i actually had a glorious simchat torah.  i thoroughly enjoyed the sephardi service at the big synagogue down the street.  i even stayed for the elaborate kiddish afterwards.  my son did a wonderful grill with lamb chops and steaks for our holiday meal.  i enjoyed some wine, too.  i later went to the chabad bomb shelter to say yizkor and had a 'bit' of vodka.  i was feeling no pain for hours.  i took a walk later on that evening.  i was feeling restless.

i've been in bed for a week.  it started to get cold and then it got hot again.  i've had a sore back for days. lifting small kids will do that to you.  i  worked on disassembling the sukkah for a couple of hours by myself.  i took down all of the ornaments and material.  i washed the curtains.  i started taking the bars apart but i had no more strength to finish.  my son finally put it away after i screamed at him the next day.

i am waiting for the kids to come home.  i'm babysitting for a little while until my son gets back from work. the daughter-in-law has a family function in another town tonight.  i'm pretty worn out at this point.  i would love to go to the supermarket but i can't leave.

i finally caught up with my laundry.  it started drizzling today so i hauled everything off of  the lines.  i will have to reconnect the dryer soon.  i have been losing sleep over my lack of funds lately.  it seems that i didn't get my disability check for two months.  as i turned 62 in july, they automatically stopped my checks.  of course, i didn't receive a letter of explanation or any forms to fill out.  i called my brother for an emergency loan.  i also, took out an emergency loan from the bank.

i never got reimbursed for the taxis i took back from the hospital, either.  i am in a total fiscal collapse.  is it any wonder that i wake up every night at about 3:30 a.m?  my son hasn't given me a penny in months and  the bills are lining up to be paid.  i have an appointment soon with the radiologist.  and then i'll be doing another MRI of my brain.  i am tired and very depressed.  that can't be so good for my health.

a few months back when i really needed help, the law of the land excluded me because i was 61.  yes,  i was too 'young' to get someone in to help me clean and shop.  suddenly i am 62 and the law of the lands says i'm too old to get disability.  i spent half the day at the national insurance office on tuesday.  i was given forms to fill out and the cold shoulder.  as usual, i was told that it was all my fault.

i had to seek help from a volunteer to deal with the forms.  it turns out that we used to volunteer together at the old age center.  i broke down and cried.  it was all so overwhelming for me.  i have exhausted all funds back in the U.S  and have been a burden on my siblings, to boot.  i feel rotten.  i am sick from the injustice of it all, too.  i am sick of fighting the bureaucracy here.

i landed back in bed until today.  i couldn't move.  i was emotionally and physically drained from all the stress about money.  i have been stripped of all finances, temporarily.  i  don't get it.   there is a cosmic message for me here to understand.  unfortunately, all my friends are in the same boat.  and these are the 'golden