Saturday, December 31, 2016


it is 8:30 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.  tonight is the last night of Chanukah.  I have been pretty busy this week.  I managed to do the blood tests, EKG, and lung x-ray for my pre surgery visit.  after giving up sugar and simple carbs for about two months; there was not any change in my sugar, cholesterol or creatinine.  they are all pretty high and they found borderline ST changes in my EKG.

I feel like I gained a bit of weight, too.  I didn't say no to the latkes this week but I didn't have one fried donut.  I stayed away from the chocolate coins, also.  I just had a piece of a dietetic chocolate wafer, that I bought by accident.  it wasn't so bad.  the kids had a sleepover on Wednesday night.  I took them to a kids' party at the chabad synagogue and then we went to visit my sister, who lives right there.

she hadn't seen the kids in a long while.  I got to see my nieces.  I hadn't seen them both in over a year.  we got home around 9:30 p.m. and got into jammies.  I laid out two mattresses on the floor of the t.v. room and we all snuggled together and watched the movie 'barnyard 2'.  the kids' bodies kept me warm.  we all woke up at around 7:00 a.m. and had breakfast and hot showers.  it was a pleasant sunny day.  we have been having tons of rain and stormy days.

we went to a local community center which had activities for kids.  it took a while for the kids to get into the swing of things but fortunately there was plenty of room to run around outside in the sun.  we walked back to town and I bought the kids ice cream cones.  I redeemed the coupons they won for shekels and we went to their favorite dollar store and I spent about $5.  we walked through town to get a bite to eat.  the local 5 shekel coffee shop was packed so we pushed on.  my grandson wanted pizza bit I was tired and my granddaughter was about to fall asleep.

she did pass out on the bus ride home and he was miserable the entire trip home.  the day before, we had run down to the supermarket to get frozen ravioli and mini pizzas and chocolate puddings.  on the way back he noticed a new hamburger stand.  they were only 10 shekels so I told him to order one.  my granddaughter didn't want one.  he also ordered an order of fries and onion rings.  the kid is a bon v von.  what can I say.  I was a bit ticked off when I had to shell out 30 shekels.  he finished most of the food and we all got to sample the fries and onion rings.

I was going to make latkes for my friend and myself but I decided not to bother.  I threw all of the grated potato mixture into a pan and made a kugel, instead.  I did fry up a package of chicken cutlets.  I had made a latke night on Monday. it was the 8th anniversary of my mother's passing.  I made cottage cheese latkes as well as potato ones.  I left them in the oven too long and they were a bit hard.  the kids were excited about making a Chanukah party with their parents.  my grandson made Chanukah crowns for everyone.  he used the stickers that I had bought for them. I made a large Greek salad and some fried dough Italian cookies with honey syrup. 

I got to go to Meron on Tuesday morning to the kever of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. I bought lots of cookies and assorted nuts to put out in my mother's memory.  I was able to light a memorial candle there.  some people have the custom not to visit a cemetery during Chanukah.  I will go to her grave next week.  I went to my son's for Shabbat dinner last night.  it wasn't very cold and I had spent the day cleaning the house.  the floors were muddy, pishied and filthy.  I bleached them for hours.

my grandson decided to have a sleepover last night. he asked his parents if he could come back to my place, assuming that they would refuse.  he was delighted that they said yes.  he did sleep with me for the past 4 years on Friday nights before we had the big blow out last summer.  my house was kind of cold as I had only left on one heater in the kitchen.  I was going to put the mattresses in the kitchen but it wasn't so bad in the t.v room.  we chatted for a while and he passed out. I got a neuroglia attack.

it might have been a reaction to a spice that was in the food.  my daughter-in-law made the most delicious meatballs but there might have been some MSG in the food.  I hadn't been bothered for a long time with that.  it felt like a migraine but it did settle down an hour later.  I didn't have anything to take for it and just applied pressure on my forehead.  it may be a precursor of what I'll be in for after the brain surgery. 

we both woke up at 6:30 a.m.  the dog had peed on my mattress.  the heater hadn't turned on yet.  I keep it on a timer. we had hot drinks and my grandson had his chocolate surprise egg.  I gave in and started buying these things for the holiday.  we bribed my granddaughter with three of these miserable things if she let her brother sleep at my house without her.  I had a couple of my home made blueberry oatmeal muffins for breakfast.  we got dressed and went to the local synagogue.  I hadn't made it out for the past two Shabbats.

my grandson found some boys to hang with and we met up at the Kiddush.  I had put a pot of bean soup on the electric platter with a few chicken cutlets for lunch.  my grandson had the cutlets and I had the soup.  it was really delicious.  I think I still have some frozen for when I come home from the hospital.  my grandson was pretty well behaved.  he didn't take a nap after lunch but I passed out.  he managed to wake me up from a very deep sleep.  apparently, the other dog had peed on my mattress and on my snood.  you have to be an animal lover, I guess.

we had tuna sandwiches on mini spelt pita bread at around 4:00 p.m.  when Shabbat ended, I made havdallah and got the chanukiahs ready to be lit.  just then my son came in with my granddaughter. she was here to claim her last chocolate egg.  they all lit the chanukiahs and I made a quick meal for us all.  I had bought mini cheese raviolis.  I threw in a package of mushroom and cheese and another package of spinach and cheese.  the kids like it plain without sauce.  I usually make it with a cream sauce for my son and a tomato sauce for the daughter-in-law.  my son asked where the sauce was.  I handed him a bottle of olive oil and a package of grated parmesan cheese.  it worked out great.  I also made a huge tossed green salad.

we all ate ravioli and the kids put on a child's music party tape and danced together to the Macarena.  my son went into the computer room to unwind and the kids watched 'the Karate kid' movie.  it was a nice visit and a nice end to Chanukah.  I have a lot of washing up to do tomorrow.  I also have an appointment with the doctor to review my blood tests.   I have managed to have my mezuzahs checked and just have one more to go.  I am calm.  I spoke with my homeopath.  she will help if I have side effects.  I am able to make jokes with my son.  he wants to help out.

another zefat personality died today.  I couldn't bring myself to go to the funeral tonight.  I don't know if i'll make it to the shiva visit.  I have to go to the hospital in tel aviv on Tuesday to see the anesthesiologist.  they are predicting a snow storm.  here we go again.....

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Getting Ready

it is 8:30 p.m. in the holy city of safed.  I've been cooking and baking all day.  I am freezing meals for my return home from the brain surgery.  I went to the supermarket this morning to buy cleaning supplies, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, tissues, toilet paper, laundry detergent and softener, soap gel and plastic containers.  I even bought a set of 84 disposable plates, cutlery and cups for Pesach.  I guess I'm looking forward to the future.  it was also half price.  if I don't make it home the kids will have lots of food while they greave me. 

I read that one gains a bunch of weight on the steroids after the surgery.  I hope by having lots of healthy snacks and food I won't get too fat.  I made a batch of non gluten corn bread muffins.  I only got 8 out of the batch.  I had one this evening. it wasn't bad.  I didn't add any sweetener. I did swirl a bit of honey on the tops.  I also made 9 apple carrot muffins.  I don't know why I didn't get an even dozen.  I made another batch of oatmeal bars.  they also have no added sweetener and only a half cup of died cranberries.  they are quite filling.  I bought some kind of frozen blue berries in the supermarket.  I will make muffins tomorrow.  I think I have a bit of whole wheat flour left.

I made saucy tuna steaks and string beans, vegetable soup with green lentils and chick peas, grilled chicken legs with pomegranate and prune sauce, saucy potted chicken, beef and vegetable black bean soup, barbecue grilled chicken, and turkey meatball veggie soup.  I want to make some chopped chicken liver and mango and curry grilled chicken wings. I brought in my mezuzahs from this floor to be checked.  I still have another ten to bring in.  I would like to invite the kids for a Shabbat meal but I'm afraid of the rejection.  I think it's best to wait for them to ask me.

Saturday night is the first night of Chanukah.  I made plans to ago over to my friends on the next block.  we'll have latkes, and fried donuts.  I bought ingredients to make a cheesecake.  perhaps i'll make a greek salad to bring along.  my mother's yirtseit is on Monday night.  she died 8 years ago on the third day of Chanukah.  I would like to make a small party here but I'm sure the kids are busy or working.  it never seems to work out.  I bought tons of Chanukah stuff for the grandkids.  I have Chanukah chocolate coins, sticker books, coloring books, two kinds of musical dreidels, new slippers, and a new game.

while I was on the phone I left a very strong heater on in the kitchen.  somehow, it got turned around and was leaning against my very beautiful mahogany cupboards.  they got burnt and luckily I came into the kitchen before they actually started a fire. I don't think that this is the time to see about them being  restained and varnished. I will simply, hang a kid's picture on them to make it look homey.  I feel so stupid and careless.   this is the sort of thing that gets one committed to the old age home.

the dogs are scratching again and I am picking off ticks. I can't believe those buggers live in this freezing weather.  I better buy new flea collars tomorrow.  just one more thing to do while I'm in  town.  next week I have to do blood tests, an EKG, and a chest x-ray.  I wanted to see a lawyer to get my name put onto the deed.  I also want to prepare a living will. I made an appt. to see a social worker.  perhaps that can be done at the hospital.  it's all so dreadful to think about.  I'd rather cook and bake food than decide if I want to remain on a feeding tube in the eventuality of being incapacitated.  are we having good cheer yet?

Thursday, December 15, 2016

You Live You Live You Die You Die

it is 11:30 p.m. in the holy city of safed.  it is absolutely freezing in Israel.  I was in Tel Aviv yesterday and it was hailing.  it definitely feels like snow.  I just got back form my son's house.  my 5 year old granddaughter had a birthday party.  I got picked up at 5:30 p.m. and was ready to leave by 6:00 p.m.  I do not like kids' birthday parties.  never have.  I can't stand the noise, the mess, the balloons, the sugar overkill and once again, the noise.  it was cute to see my very fashionably dressed granddaughter posing for pix with her best buddies girls' posse.

my grandson couldn't stand his sister having the spotlight.  even though he had a favorite friend with him he couldn't calm down.  his cousins weren't much better.  I watched the two year old stuff fistfuls of gooey candies into her mouth for hours.  at one point she was choking a bit and ready to purge. as I have previously stated, I don't like kids' parties or kids at parties, either.  I hate kids bursting balloons.  I hate kids going to parties on a school night.  I hate kids staying up late after they are sugared up.

my son came home from work and split immediately.  he was hungry and needed some alone space.  he doesn't like kids' parties either.  actually, he doesn't really like kids.  I felt a bit trapped.  why did he get a pass to leave and I was forced to stay?  I had the kids with me on Tuesday night.  that was my granddaughter's actual birthday.  I made a party for the three of us.  I didn't have any cake but I had fried donuts.  I bought some grape juice for us to make a l'chaim.  I played a birthday CD and I put out jello with sparklers in them.  we raised the birthday girl on a chair.  my grandson, the animal, did the heavy lifting.  I gave each kid 5 shekels and an extra one to the birthday girl.  each kid wanted to put a shekel coin into the charity box.  my granddaughter wore an old crown and cape from Purims  gone by.  I taped a paper 5 to the crown and voila! she was the birthday queen.  she wore that crown and cape until she went to sleep.

we danced a bit and sang.  we lit the entire package of sparklers.  I gave her a gift of the Masha and bear dolls from the Russian cartoon show.  while the kids played with the dolls I made birthday silver dollar pancakes for our birthday supper.  I also gave them birthday drinks, birthday chocolate milk and birthday gift bags with Chanukah chocolate coins. before we started the birthday party they had a birthday bubble bath.  she probably liked the official birthday party this evening that her mommy threw for her, much more.  tomorrow, is the kindergarten birthday party.  I hate these the most. the grandmas have to get up and dance and answer questions in Hebrew. oh give me a break!

 luckily, I had eaten some cottage cheese and tuna salad before tonight's party.  I thought there would be pizza but I wouldn't have eaten any.  I am still on my diet.  I actually had a few slices of a white potato this week.  maybe i'll start making baked potatoes again.  after all, there is some potassium in potatoes.  I've been staying away from grains.  I can't remember why. I've pretty much platoed after a month and didn't really lose much weight.

I think I should start cooking up food and freezing it in packets so that i'll have food to eat when I return from the surgery.  that's if I am lucky enough to return to my house.  I wish I had the energy to do so.  I also want to get this house in shape before I go off to the surgery. that's also a feat to accomplish in the cold.  I have tons of muddied sheets and towels to wash.  the dogs trash the house when it's rainy outside.

I went to a neurosurgeon in safed today.  he's pretty much a dinosaur in his field.  I thought I would 'pick' his brain about the surgery.  he wasn't having any of it.  he was quite dry.  the bottom line is that if I don't do the surgery I could have side effects, major complications and die.  on the flip side, if I do the surgery, I could have side effects, major complications and die.  it's my choice.  thanks for nothing!  he did admit that the majority of these surgeries are successful.  my oncologist in Tel Aviv says the same about the staff there.

I asked the neurosurgeon if it was dangerous for me to have dogs in the house.  with a straight face he asked "dangerous for who? the dogs or you?" he then countered with dogs have less germs than people.  how I wish my daughter-in-law was there to hear that!  my sister was present but I don't think she caught that.  I also got the doctor to show me exactly where this tumor is.  and guess what? it's actually on the upper right hand side of my head and not on the back of my head, as I had misunderstood for the past four years. I think that I just might be able to change my own bandages.  we will just have to wait and see.

the majorly good thing to come out of this challenging situation is that once and for all I get it.   I am not in control of this situation.  I have no control over this tumor just as I had no control over my cancer.  I therefore, give it up to a higher power.  I am through with shaking.  I am through with crying. I am through with being afraid. I am through with falling apart.  I can only pray and ask others to pray for me.  so if you can take a moment to pray for the complete recovery of zelda bat tcherna, I would very much appreciate it..

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Day Of Reckoning

it is 10:00 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.  I am just getting started for the night.  I have a date for my brain surgery.  it has been changed four times.  the secretary willy nilly, chose a date for me. I was not consulted.  I freaked out.  it was not historically, a lucky day for the Jews. it was on a fast day, to boot.  we changed it to the following Monday and I started telling people.  I then received a phone message that it had been postponed to a Thursday.  the new manager wanted it that way.  here, I thought I had a chance of recovering enough to get home before Shabbat.  I freaked out once again and started ranting on the secretary about being alone on shabbat and not having kosher Shabbat food.

she threatened to cancel the date.  I could no longer reach her at the usual phone number. the message machine went on automatically and it wouldn't record outside messages.  I was given another number which got me no where.  I finally faxed the witch and was told that the date was in tact.  my sister offered to come up on Thursday for the surgery and stay in the hospital on Shabbat.  I started to think that I might be too out of it to even know that she was there.  now the surgery has been moved up a day and it will now be on Wednesday.  my sister works on Wednesday.  I will probably be in intensive care on Thursday and possibly on Shabbat.  I probably won't be eating and I don't know about drinking. I have now read up on craniotomy.  I am scared and shaking. I am inconsolable.  I am hopeless.  I am a coward.  I am okay during the day.  I run around every day getting the necessary medical papers for me and my friend who has cancer.

when I come home after dark, I become fearful.  I start ranting.  I haven't ranted since I started going to CoDa meetings. I started binge eating instead.  I have now successfully stopped binge eating.  I fit into a skirt that I couldn't close last month.  I have now returned to raging and ranting once, again.  I haven't had any carbs or sugar in about a month.  I have been eating tons of salads and protein.  I am afraid that my kidney function might be a bit compromised from all the protein. I have to do blood tests and an EKG and a chest ex ray pretty soon.  I am afraid that they might discover that I am diabetic, or suffering from heart and kidney failure.  I am afraid that my cancer might be coming back.  I am afraid that my lungs may be polluted.

I almost want there to be another medical issue that will cancel out the surgery. I was so very fit and healthy when I went away to do the cancer treatment.  I was in very good shape.  I go to see my gyn/oncologist on Wednesday.  I am afraid that I might start ranting on him about this surgery. he is a saintly man but he is not versed in neurosurgery.  I am afraid of going to the hospital on Wednesday. I remember lying down and sobbing uncontrollably while I was being examined by the radiologist and a nurse.  that was about four years ago.  I had just been told that I was in remission and a moment later I was told that they had discovered a brain tumor in the pet scan.  I have been troubled by this news ever since.  I am so far, asymptomatic.  I have been monitored for the past four years.  I have been 'scared straigh't of late, into doing the surgery.

when I told the doctor that I had agreed to do the surgery, I never meant now. when I said after Chanukah, I didn't mean the next day.  I was thinking about a few months after Chanukah but not now. after reading up on the procedure and all of the horrific side effects that could happen for which the surgery was meant to prevent, I am in a sheer panic.  it is so very cold here and I start to shake.  during the day it's warmer and I have been trying to do a bit of walking.  I want to cancel the surgery. I choose quality of life over longevity.  I am only 65.  I don't want to reach 80 being an invalid.

I have been reading all kinds of stories online about brain surgery survivors and their current trials.  I am supposed to be a woman of faith.  I was so strong during the cancer. why has this benign growth taken over my spirit and belief system. I have been a recovered drug addict for over 30 years and now I am going to be loaded up on all kinds of opiates, and pills.  I don't even take headache tablets.  this is going to be very interesting.  I made an appointment for a local brain surgeon.  I have a long list of questions. I want him to point to the exact place on my head where they will drill, saw, wire up, and open to expose my brain.  I want answers.  why didn't I ever ask the surgeon fromTel Aviv, to explain this 'procedure' to me before this.  I did have 4 years.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

A Cold Winter's Night

it is 8:00 p.m. in the holy city of safed.  winter is officially here.  we are having torrential rains.  as you may know; we have been the recent victims of a country wide arson attack. 700,000 individuals were relocated.  many people lost their homes.  the hospitals were filled with smoke inhalation patients.  we were very lucky here in safed.  they predict a record amount of rain water in the next few days.

this evening we had a gathering to commemorate the 30th day of the passing of our dear friend.  it was truly hard to get out.  I thought about not going but I remembered her visiting me during the second Lebanon war.  if she could drive up here while ketushas were falling, I could certainly, get a bit wet.  I took a taxi to town but I was already wet before I entered the cab.  I couldn't find one umbrella in the house.  I must have trashed them before pesach.

I got off in town and stood under a bus shelter for about 15 minutes until it died down a bit.  I was quite wet but I was warm.  in fact, it was overheated at the chabad house.  I wore my very new turtle necked shawl that the kids bought me on their trip to Prague.  I found a knitted hat that the daughter-in-law had left behind, and it totally matched and I looked tres chic. I was wearing my every day denim skirt but it was camouflaged by the gorgeous knitted shawl.

I waited for the bus in town for a long while but it didn't rain.  it was quite cold but I was warm.  I stopped off to feed my friends' cat and came home.  it didn't pour, luckily, until I got home.  I helped myself to several bowls of warm chicken and lentil soup.  I had put up a pot before I left.  the  dogs got some too.  the kids invited me to come up there for dinner tomorrow night.  if the storm continues, I will have to decline. 

I have two books to read so if I am stuck home on Shabbat I will be entertained.  the house is quite cold.  I do put on an electric heater here and there to stay warm.  I spend a lot of time under my comforter with the dogs.  they don't like this weather much, either.  I went through 5 seasons of 'Veep' so there isn't much to see now.  I can start the 'game of thrones' but I don't think i'll have the staying power.  I got used to half an hour shows.  I love 'Divorce'.

I have been watching lots of documentaries on Leonard Cohen.  I have also been catching up on the trashy news about Kanye West.  I have been a die hard reality fan for years.  I find it very soothing to fall asleep to the noise.  the house is trashed by my dog, tiny's, muddy paw prints.  I might try to give the floors a mopping tomorrow.  if it's going to pour throughout Shabbat I won't.  I haven't had to pick up the kids in a couple of days.  it's too hard and costly to schlepp out in this weather.

I went downstairs today to close the windows. I had water leaking into my master bedroom.  the downstairs is much warmer than my floor.  most of it is built underground.  my blog/costume bedroom is absolutely freezing.  it is all outside walls.  I keep on a small blow heater while I blog.  I noticed the other day that; during a recent wind storm; a bedroom shutter had blown off.   I also found that my large plastic picnic table had blown into the garden and broken a leg.  bummer!

it had stood under a wooden shelter for 17 years.  it never had as much as a scratch.  go know.  the winds have been quite menacing for days.  it might even snow.  it went from a very dry, warm and sunny fall to a very wet and very cold winter in just a day or two.  who knows what will be.  they had predicted a dry winter but since all of the arson lately. the country has collectively, been praying for rain.

I have been sticking to a diet lately of mostly veggies, protein and salad.  I haven't been eating gluten, and have only eaten a bit of bread on Shabbat.  I had a craving for oranges yesterday and indulged my craving.  otherwise, I haven't had any fruit.  I have eaten green lentils on Shabbat but have stayed away from potatoes and rice.  I have been buying a really thick lentil soup in town every day. I have also tried to stick to smaller portions and fill up on greens.  I hope I will lose a bit of weight before my next gyn/oncology appointment in two weeks.

I have scheduled my brain surgery for the 16th of January.  I am pretty scared.  I received the paperwork in the mail and went into a sheer panic attack.  I am not sure if I am doing the right thing or not.  I may have jumped the proverbial gun.  only time will tell.  please pray for me.