Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Wednesday In Safed

it is 5:00 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.  I just got home a little while ago.  I had some errands to do in town and got a late start.  I was thinking about blowing it off but I skipped my shower and hit the road.  it is quite cold right now and there isn't any hot water, anyway.  we need to heat the water now.  I paid my city tax and water bill.  I thought that I had dealt with all of this before the holidays, but apparently, I did not.

I went to the post office yesterday to pick up a registered letter.  it was a warning from the water company to pay my bill.  I had paid the bill in early October and there isn't any normal reason for them to have sent me the letter now.  I had to take a bus to get to the post office and it really ticked me off.  I get nervous every time I go to pick up registered mail.  I always imagine the worst scenario.

I went to my friend's medical clinic to give them a copy of his CT's results.  I didn't know if they had received it from the safed hospital.  I try to not leave anything to chance.  anyway, what's one more set of papers to file?  I also took the liberty of making an appointment with his oncologist so when they return from their trip to the states, they won't lose any more time.  sometimes, you just got to be proactive.

my friend used to send over food every week when I returned from my radiation treatments for two months.  they have also hosted me for Shabbat and holiday meals for years.  they are my extended family.  my friend's husband is like a surrogate grandfather to my kids.  they adore him.  he spoils them with candy and rides them around in his golf cart.  he also chauffer's me back and forth from their home and the supermarket all the time.  I would do anything for them.

I finished my stint at the yeshiva.  my hands are trashed and my fingers are calloused, infected and cut.  it is hard to bend my middle finger and pointer.  they are swollen.  I spoke with the regular cook and she admitted that it is definitely more work now.  I put in a total of 30 hours in those five days and felt a bit defeated.  when there were less students, I could do both meals in under 4 hours.  let's face it, peeling 5 pounds of potatoes is not easy.  washing out pots and pans three or four times a day is also not a picnic.  when I was the original cook at this yeshiva I did not have to do the washing up. to add to the arduous task, the sink blocked up and I had to spend the entire day picking out pieces of food from the drain.

I received my pay from the manager but I didn't think it was enough compensation for the amount of balagon I suffered.  I asked for an additional $60 and got it.  however, I went into one of the worst codependent behaviors of late.  I didn't think the yeshiva could afford the extra money and I felt that it was fault that it took so many hours to make 10 meals for 20 guys.  I earned about $182 dollars for the 5 day gig.  I received $6 an hour.  to put it into perspective, I worked for an entire hour to pay for my 10 minute taxi ride home.

I came home that night and fell asleep in the evening.  I was too tired emotionally and physically to get out of bed.  I didn't budge until the morning.  the dogs didn't get let out.  I heard the phone ringing but I couldn't do anything about it.  I thought about returning the extra money to the manager and apologizing.  I thought I had burnt my bridges with them.  I even wrote a letter to the regular cook apologizing for my lack of speed.  I couldn't call my R.A. coach because we are not on CoDa mode right now and we do not talk about our problems anymore.  we can only discuss the solution.  I called my best gal pal in the morning and she set me straight.  I was acting crazy.

I ran to the bank to pay my electric bill and bought some chicken with the rest of my pay.  when you got cash,  you fill the freezer.  I bought chicken wings and legs, cold cuts and franks.  maybe sometime soon, the kids might want to come over for a Shabbat meal.  anyway, the money is gone.  and I do not have a clue when i'll earn any more.  so far, I haven't managed to attract any students.  I am holding out with renters because I need my quiet.  I guess quiet is a high price to pay.

I was turned on to a blog written by a young rabbi with ALS.  he lives in California and is totally paralyzed.  he uses his eyes to type his blog.  it takes him all day long.  he is the most happy person and his eyes smile.  it truly puts things into perspective.  he has a purpose and is pursuing his mission.  we should all be pursuing our mission on earth and spreading light, too.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

An Even Harder Day's Work

it is 8:00 p.m. in the holy city of safed.  I got home a little while ago.  I caught the 9:00 a.m. bus to town this morning and went to my recovery anonymous sponsor.  we definitely, shot the breeze for an hour before getting down to 'official' business.  I got to the yeshiva at 11:00 a.m.  it seemed orderly and clean.  the floor in the dining room had dried from yesterday's flooding.

I made a mushroom barley veggie soup as soon as I got in.  I made macaroni and tomato sauce and a huge pot of spicy split peas.  I once again, mangled the opening of an industrial sized tuna.  I shook most of the contents out threw a slit I made in the can.  I  also made a cucumber and onion salad.  one of the guys remarked that it reminded him of the old days, back in 2012, when I used to cook there full time.  those were the loveliest times of my life.  I had returned to work after 10 years of caring for my parents and grandson.

I made a chicken stir fry for dinner.  I had little patience to cut the veggies into strips.  by then I just wanted to sit down.  I find it hard to do food preparation while sitting.  my legs were beginning to give out on me.  my veggie strips were not your perfect match stick shapes.  I am living in the 'solution' and I do not strive for perfection.  truthfully, I couldn't care less what the food looks like, as long as it tastes good.  and bottom line, yeshiva guys will eat anything.  I am supposed to be cooking for 20 but I fall short off the mark. when I cooked for 12 in the summer, I made enough for 20.  but 20 students eat like 40 students.  yesterday, I made 80 tuna patties.  for them, 3-4 patties a piece was a nibble.  so I made a huge noodle kugel and big pot of tomato veggie soup and a salad.

I try to make a variety of things.  I made a curried bulgur yesterday which was barely touched.  I left it again for dinner tonight.  I made a small pot of white rice and for the life of me, I don't remember why I did.  perhaps, I was planning on throwing it into the stir fry.  I thought about saving it for Sunday's soup but I put it out anyway.  except for the bulgar there hasn't been any leftovers.  that probably means that I haven't made enough food.  it's okay.  the regular cook comes back on Tuesday.  and no one at the yeshiva has passed out from starvation.

after work, I went to visit my friend who lost her husband on Sunday.  I was able to get the prescription meds for her.  the poor thing suffers from epileptic seizures.  I had a very intimate and profound discussion with her doctor.  he was friends with her husband.  the last time I went to him for paper work I lost it on him.  it was a very serene and somber discussion.  I guess my friend's husband had a good effect on people.  her sons are the loveliest young men and remind me of their father..

after the shiva call, I went to my other friends to pick up their key.  I will be feeding their cats, collecting their mail and watching their house for the next 3 weeks.  I plan also, to check up on the recent CT scan results and see the doctor for them.  they return on the same day that I see my oncologist in Ramat Gan.  my friend gave me some English magazines so I have what to read this Shabbat.  I think she threw in a Martha Steward's holiday issue, too.  I can't wait to read her thanksgiving recipes.

I will be alone this Shabbat.  my friends are spending the Shabbat out of town and flying out on Saturday night.  it will be strange not to see them on Saturday.  I'm sure I will manage alone.  I will catch up on my sleep.  last night I didn't have a nightmare about dying.  I saw that I do, indeed, fall asleep at  around 10:30 p.m.  I usually wake up at 1:00 a.m. and fall back to sleep with the television on.  I get up at around 5:00 a.m. or 6:00 a.m. and let the hounds out.  somehow, I feel rested today, in spite of my busy schedule.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A Hard Day's Work

it is 6:30 p.m. in the holy city of safed.  I just got back from work.  I am subbing for a few days at the yeshiva.  yesterday, I had my granddaughter with me for an hour until 3:00 p.m. and then we went to pick up my grandson from his school.  it was about a 15 minute walk.  my granddaughter managed to fall twice and skim her knees.  I carried her for a few minutes until my back began to ache.

my son didn't explain where to pick up my grandson.  he was at an after school activity program.  I, of course, went to the school.  when I didn't see any children there I felt a bit panicked.  luckily, the school maintenance guy was still there and he directed me to the building across the street.  my grandson was waiting in the yard with a few other children and he looked very happy and relaxed.  he had had pizza and coke for lunch and was learning how to build serious Lego.

we took a cab home because I cannot schlepp his backpack.  I don't understand why they have to take these heavy bags to school every day.  most of the kids travel by car or school bus.  I am probably the only grandparent who comes there by bus.  sometimes we get a lift home right to the door.  my son came back around 7:00 p.m. and did homework with my grandson.  he wanted me to bathe the kids here and watch them until he came back from a torah class at 9:30 p.m.  he was able to enlist one of their young aunts to babysit over at their apartment so I was let off the hook.

as usual, I passed out during the night in front of the television and woke up at 1:00 a.m.  this is a recent development in my sleeping pattern.  it seems to happen a lot lately.  I also have been having dreams of being terminally ill.  this also seems to be a reoccurring pattern in my dream cycle.  the husband of a dear acquaintance of mine passed away this week.  I used to work with him many years ago at a chabad outreach center.

I stopped by to see his widow before the funeral.  I don't go to night time funerals.  we chatted for about an hour and a half and I went home.  I felt broken all day long.  her husband had beat bone cancer and had been clean for about 14 years.  it came back this time with a vengeance.  his bone marrow transplant didn't help nor did the stem cells he had saved 11 years earlier.  I saw him before sukkot and he looked fine.  his wife had fallen and broken her hip the day he had returned from his transplant and he had to travel with her and return to the tel aviv area once again.  he told me, ''you got to laugh"..

I got to work today at around 10:00 a.m.  the manager of the yeshiva was making French toast for the guys.  all of the gas range was being used.  I looked around to see what I could do.  all the pots and pans from yesterday's lunch and supper were in the sink.  they are usually already washed.  I decided to start the washing up when the sewage started backing up from under the sink.  at the same time, a pipe was heavily leaking outside the kitchen.  while the manager played with the pipe under the sink,  I mopped all of the dirty water out of the kitchen.  this took about a half an hour.

by the time I finished the pots and pans, an hour had gone by and I hadn't even started cooking. the food processor wasn't working so I grated some veggies by hand to make tuna patties.  I struggled for a while with the regular can openers to open the industrial sixed can goods.  I butchered a can of olives and literally left some very jagged edges.  it took forever to make up and fry up some 80 tuna patties. the gas kept on turning off.   it was a strange morning.  luckily, I only mildly nicked my finger on one of the jagged cans.

at lunch time, the electric hotplate wasn't working.  I usually put all the food for lunch on the platter and the guys serve themselves.  I kept everything warm in the kitchen until the manager fixed the outlet.  I couldn't really do anything for half an hour while he played with the electricity.

I washed up the rest of the kitchen utensils and counters.  I made a meatloaf for dinner but I was too tired to grate any veggies to add to it.  I had already grated squash, carrots and onions to the tuna to make patties.  I couldn't peel another vegetable.  I sautéed carrots and onions to add to the bulgur.  I put the meatloaf into the toaster oven and proceeded to make a tomato and onion salad.  I went to see how the meatloaf was doing an hour later, and it was still raw.  the toaster oven hadn't lit up.  I was beside myself.  the dining room was flooded.  the plumber was no where to be found.  I was exhausted and wanted to go home.

the meatloaf was more or less ready when the plumber arrived.  I didn't think I had made enough food for the 20 students.  I couldn't use the sink while the plumber was working.  as soon as he left, I quickly threw in 20 eggs to boil and cut up a lot of zucchini and cooked them in a mild tomato sauce.  the delivery for the Shabbat food came about then.  i had to put the produce away and then I saw that one of the freezers had mal functioned and all of the chicken cutlets had defrosted.  I scrambled to find room in two of the refrigerators.  I left the yeshiva at 5:30 p.m.  I was there for 71/2 hours.  I am embarrassed to bill them but I spent the entire time working.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

How To Proceed

it is 7:00 the holy city of safed.  I had a friend remove the msn page on my computer and I lost most of my icons.  I had a major fit and so did she.  she is well versed in computer and I navigate with pictures.  I have been felling violated lately.  in just one week, I got a new wi fi modem from the phone company, a new cable box from the cable company and now a new page on my computer.  it's way too much change for this technological dinosaur.

I am pretty much coping with living alone these days and seeing the kids a couple of times a week.  I am still babysitting once in awhile but not all the time.  I have made new acquaintances at the local Sephardi synagogue and have become a part of that community.  I enjoy the Shabbat services and stay for the Kiddush.  I get to see my son and grandson on Saturday at the Kiddush.  my grandson comes over for half an hour. 

I didn't see them yesterday and figured that they went to a different synagogue nearer their house.  suddenly, I spotted my son but not my grandson.  he was busy playing outside with his buddies.  I felt the slightest bit slighted but it only lasted a moment.  it didn't fester.  he's getting older and less dependent.  that's a good thing.  I am living in the solution, to quote the N.A jargon.  I am beginning to isolate others' feelings from my own.  when people tell me their woes, it doesn't enter into my psyche.  they don't become my woes.

I spent the entire day with my friends in oncology last week.  the staff knows me there now.  I wanted to be a buffer between them.  my friend was very nervous and her blood pressure was rising.  her husband was being very upbeat.  he is in denial about his condition.  I played the part of the volunteer.  I made us cups of tea and handed out soup.  I found light reading material for us and sat with her husband and schmoozed about buying new household items.  I even sat next to him and listened to his words of scripture while my friend played games on her tablet.

I entered the doctor's office with them and played part medical liaison and part advocate.  I was exhausted the next day.  we stayed in town that day and had falafels and chips and went on to the clinic to get the paper work started.  they are travelling abroad for a few weeks and I will watch the house, collect the mail and feed the cats.  I am also subbing for a week at the yeshiva for the regular cook.  I will be busy for a while.

I am not happy with the N.A group at all.  from the beginning it has been my understanding that one must attend a minimum of 6 meetings before deciding that it isn't for me.  today will be my fifth meeting.  my dearest buddy has decided to quit.  I am going to go this morning with an open heart and mind.  I haven't bought the main book yet.  I have been receiving emails and phone calls form certain members who want to sponsor me.  it is burdensome.  I do not want to make this my life.

I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed watching the presidential debates and the Saturday night live parodies as well.  I am very pleased at the outcome and I hope that trump will help Israel.  I had to console my siblings who, like many of the country feel desolate.  I reminded them that trump had a wonderful effect on N.Y.C. when it was a bit of a wasteland.  he and mayor juliani brought it back to its glory; bringing jobs, tourism, investors and fighting crime.

I think that living on a mountain in Israel gives one a window on the world.  I think that I have a perspective on life that is not clouded by being political correct.  I can see through all of the rhetoric.  when one is fighting for his survival as a nation and a people on a daily basis, you do not get caught up on the little things.  I think that most Americans take their safety and physical security for granted.  we living in Israel, do not take anything for granted.  we never know what terrorist attack is waiting around the corner.

I truly believe that a woman losing the presidential campaign will not end in the downfall of women's rights.  America has survived worst historically, from the civil war, the great depression to 9/11.  I was a woman's libber back in the day.  I get it.  it will happen some day.  we had a strong female leader in golda meir, an American lady, many years ago who ran Israel with a mighty hand.  and to everyone who wants to leave America now because trump won the presidency, I say: come and live in Israel. and I end with G-d Bless America!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Saying Goodbye

it is 6:30 p.m. in the holy city of safed.  I got back from the cemetery a little while ago.  the gravestone for our beloved friend, who passed on last Monday night, was set.  the funeral was on Tuesday afternoon.  I can't remember hugging so many women at one time.  I have been somewhat of a hermit for many years.  I got to see a lot of these women when they came to visit our friend at the home.  now that she is gone I probably, won't be seeing these ladies very much, anymore. 

on Monday afternoon I went to pay my water bill.  it was huge.  it covered the time we put up the pool.  my son participated in the payment, which was an improvement.  I dropped in to the home to see my friend.  I had heard from others that she was on her way out of this world.  I hadn't seen her in about two weeks.  I didn't think I could face seeing her die.  as I passed the home, I realized that I needed to see her.  she was sleeping when I came and I chose not to disturb her.  she passed on at 9:00 p.m. that night.

I got to see my sister twice.  we haven't met in nearly two years.  we both stopped off at our parents' graves today and travelled back to town together.  it reminded me of how happy I was when she used to visit me in oncology.  we had quality time together.  since I've recovered, we just don't make time for each other anymore.  perhaps, she will accompany me to my brain surgery soon.  I don't want to go alone.  I don't know if I want my son and daughter-in-law to take me.

our CoDa group is turning into a R.A group.  it is very frustrating.  I've only gone to 4 meetings and now we've switched to a different 'fellowship', as they refer to it.  it is a lot of mumble jumble rhetoric.right now.  after a month, I have not gotten even a tiny grasp on how to proceed with codependent behavior addiction.  it is dragging me down.  the good news, is that my son and wife and I are on good terms right now.

I do help them with the kids from time to time; but I am no longer solely responsible for their after school care.  it is feeling more normal.  I am less stressed out and I am less fearful.  I still do not sleep well.  I'm sure it has something to do with our turning the clocks back.  I am back to watching what I eat.  I have become huge.  I do not feel great.  I do not want another diet.  I eat what I like but I am not binging right now.  I need to be more active.

tomorrow I am going to the oncology department at the local hospital with my good friends.  my friend's husband will be starting radiation soon.  Been there and done that!  it has been 5 years since my diagnosis.  now, I go with my friends for their initial appointments.  I'm like the ambassador of cancer.  i would like to become a volunteer one day but I have enough on my plate right now with my upcoming brain surgery.

I was invited by the kids for Shabbat dinner on Friday night.  it was my second time to their new apartment.  the little ones were hyper and their parents were tired.  it went well.  I wasn't put off by the kids being wild.  it is not my problem.  I do not feel shame and I do not accept blame, either.  I enjoyed being with them and I felt honored that I was invited to their home.  people are tired.  the kids work hard.  it has nothing to do with me.  it is not a reflection on me.  zelda, is no longer playing G-d.   everyone is capable of managing without my help.