Wednesday, January 31, 2007

My Classic-Rock Kid...Revisited

I walked into my sons' bedroom to say good night just now. My oldest, who listens to his classic rock station while falling asleep, drew my attention to the song on the radio: "Girl, You Really Got Me Now."

He asked, ''Is that the newer version [by Van Halen] or the original one KINKIES?"

Um, honey, that is just slightly off....but you certainly made me smile with it.

Happy (Early) Tu Bishvat

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Adolescent Angst (A Confession)

I'm guessing that most, if not all, of you, were pretty well-adjusted adolescents and teenagers. Sure, self-esteem could falter at times, but I figure that for the most part, you were happy in your skin, content with your many friends and social activities.

And then there was me... I was somewhat shy, not too cool, a bright student, and definitely not too popular, except for many of the wrong reasons: a target for others. It was as if "Nice gals finished last." I didn't have many friends until I was about 17, and then slowly, slowly, I began to evolve and come out of my (oyster) shell.

The lack of ego, the insecurities that carried over from primary school, chased me to junior high and some high school even. I was always fearful of others -- what they MIGHT say, what they MIGHT do -- just because I'd experienced a lot of that stuff already. Not pleasant for a young person.

But I always say that those experiences made me a much stronger person, and a well-adjusted person. I have learned to forgive, even if I don't completely forget episodes, which is a step ahead of many people. I could well have turned into a bitter, reclusive, scared-of-the-world person, and surprisingly, I'm not. I'm happy, I love people, I am confident (90% of the time, anyway), and I'm aware of the many nuances that bullying can take and try to steer my children from them.

Sometimes in my "I must be the only person treated like this" mode, I used to wonder what it would be like in school if I suddenly disappeared. In grade 7, I recall being at my locker and wondering if I was just a "spirit" hovering in the hallways, what I might hear said about me, if I was gone. No, I was definitely not suicidal, not even truly depressed...but I always had a good imagination and just wondered: Would it make a difference to my peers if I was gone? Would they notice? Would they care? Would they then be sorry for the way they'd treated me?

I think that is what I truly wanted: for people to realize and recognize that I'd been emotionally hurt and that they should feel sorry for the way I'd been treated.

Perhaps that's why I'm so aware of others -- others' feelings, others' thoughts. Sensitivity about myself was always strong, yet it introduced a great sensitivity to others...which is a good thing.

I wonder if I'd been a different kind of kid, and my school experiences would have been different, if I'd become a different kind of adult. But as I'm definitely happy with who I am these days ( and all without therapy of any kind, only use of keeping my journals throughout the years), it all worked out for the best, didn't it????

Saturday, January 27, 2007

A Pearlie of Wisdom...from a Madam

"It's not the college degree that makes a writer. The great thing is to have a story to tell. "

-- Polly Adler

Polly Adler was born in a small town in Russia in 1900, and made her way to America at the age of 14, just before the outbreak of World War I. The war stopped her family from joining her.

Polly worked in clothing factories, sporadically attended school, and eventually began to keep company with theater people. At the age of twenty, Polly Adler opened her first bordello and became a madam. It is so difficult for me to fathom this former "shtetl maidel" becoming a madam...and a successful and rather well-known one.

She officially "retired" from prostitution in 1944.

At the age of fifty, she went to college, and shortly after, with the help of a ghost writer, wrote her memoirs, "A House Is Not A Home."

My mother owns a paperback version of this book and throughout my years of growing up, it always caught my eye because of its name. The title became a catch phrase in my family, and was an important value that was taught to us.
#1: Polly Adler's business card
#2 Her famous autobiography, the book I remember from home
#3 Polly Adler -- has that seductive, sultry look with those dark glasses
#4 Polly Adler -- does this woman look like she ran a brothel? Not. At. All. She reminds me of Shirley Booth, who played Hazel.
Some Trivia:
Polly Adler's real name was PEARL ADLER.
Death notice in Time magazine June 22, 1962:
Died. Polly (real name: Pearl) Adler, 62, longtime (1920-45) Manhattan madam whose garish parlors were a house away from home for those who found the scarlet parrot on her business card an invitation to expensive pleasure; of cancer; in a Hollywood hospital. At Polly's midtown bordello, amid Louis XVI, Egyptian and Chinese furnishings, and a Gobelin tapestry of Vulcan and Venus "having a tender moment," Racketeer Dutch Schultz took his ease, barking orders to henchmen from under a silken canopy, while in nearby rooms Social Registered patrons reveled, and off-duty cops romped. In retirement, tiny (4 ft., 11 in.), dark-haired Polly wrote a bestselling memoir (A House Is Not a Home) that helped enrich the idiom ("There's no shaking off the press"), completed two years of college, where one of her professors coined a rich one of his own: "The problem is, Miss Adler knows nothing about syntax."

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Lend This Guy An Ear

I received an email with a cute song, "Thank G-d I'm a Jewish Boy." So I went to search out the singer/songwriter. You should too. Listen to the clips...and you'll smile -- I promise. And if you're familiar with the stylings of the late, great, Allan Sherman, you might see some similarities.

I didn't listen to every selection, but did listen to and enjoyed BIG NOSES and MY FAVORITE THINGS.

A Presence Is Indeed Often a Present

I've taken the time to now comment on the comments of my last few posts. In case you don't go back and read them, I'm copying one that addresses someone's presence alongside someone who is ill. I thought you ought to read it.

Thank you all for your comments.

Yes, someone's presence can in fact be a gift.

I have a cousin whose grandmother (my great-aunt) had been in a nursing home for a few years. Even though my great-aunt was often sleeping or simply "out of it", I would visit, just sit with her, hold her hand and say a few words...whether she heard them or not.

I asked that cousin one day: "Do you visit your grandmother? Do you take the kids to see their great-grandmother?"

I got a very flippant answer: " wouldn't make a difference anyhow. She's so out of it, she wouldn't know who I am or who the kids are, and wouldn't know I'm there."

I never forgot -- nor, in a way, forgave -- that cousin for that shi**yattitude. If that attitude prevailed throughout this world, people who were sick would simply die earlier.

The truth is that one never knows when their presence can make a difference. And I can tell you another story about how one's presence had an impact...

IN 1981 after my dad was operated on for a brain tumor -- benign -- he was barely conscious for the first few days after. But I happened to be there one day and a nurse was asking my dad simple questions to test his cognition. She said, 'Mr. A, there is someone in the room with you. Do you know who it is?"

In barely a whisper, and with his eyes closed, he said, "My daughter...Pearl."

I was astounded; I might've said something to him when I walked in but thought due to the heavy painkillers, he couldn't hear me or sense I was there.

How wrong I was! And that memory has stuck with me, among several others from that time, for these past 25+ years.

So nobody should ever say "It doesn't matter if I'm there or not."IT DOES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(phew, now that I got that out of my system, I can move on to something else)

Rethinking that Last Post of Mine

After I'd posted that news item and my own comment, I imagined a much different scenario...on El Al, or any other "Jewish" airline...

1. Parents board, a three year old and an infant in tow. As they try to store their hand luggage in the overhead carrier, the infant begins to wail. Mother hushes the baby, who doesn't cease wailing. Flight attendant approaches, a big smile on her face.

"Oy, what a bubelah. Looks just like my Meira at home in Tel Aviv. Let me hold her, while you finish packing away your stuff." Flight attendant rocks the baby, tickles her under her chin and receives a big, toothless grin for her effort, along with some drool on her collar. "Don't worry about that spot. I'll just use Tide, instant spot remover, when I'm back in the galley. Enjoy the flight, and if you need me to look after the baby, come and see me back there. I'm Dahlia."

2. A four-year-old is jumping up and down on his window seat when he excitedly sees another plane off on the horizon. This child, mind you, is quite the obese little boy, and his movement makes for some turbulence. Over the loudspeaker: "Please fasten your seatbelts. We have a first-time flier in seat 14D who is just a bit excited. As soon as he calms down, we'll fly just a bit smoother. Let the boy have his fun, okay?"

3. In the line to board Flight 224 to Miami Beach: a gaggle of children become unruly, pushing and anxious to be on the plane already. The airline clerk says over the loudspeaker, " Would those children wearing the Bais Avraham school shirts please sit down NOW!" Stunned into submission, the dozen children do as she instructs...and do so quietly. After a pause, the clerk can be heard again, chuckling over the loudspeaker: "I didn't say 'SIMON SAYS' !"

Halevai , if we could travel on airlines that imbue such warmth, such haimeshekeit, travelers might just very well be happier people.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Does This Apply...

...When Flying to Israel?

Child's tantrum gets family tossed off plane

ORLANDO - (AP) -- Flight attendants often deal with obnoxious passengers who won't listen to instructions by kicking them off the plane. But a Massachusetts couple think AirTran Airways went overboard by treating their crying 3-year-old daughter in much the same way.

Julie and Gerry Kulesza and daughter Elly were removed from the flight when the girl refused to take her seat before takeoff, airline officials said today. But her parents said they just needed a little more time to calm her down.

The Kuleszas planned to fly home to Boston on Jan. 14 from Fort Myers after a four-day visit with the girl's paternal grandparents. She was removed because ''she was climbing under the seat and hitting the parents and wouldn't get in her seat'' during boarding, AirTran spokeswoman Judy Graham-Weaver said.

AirTran officials say they were only following Federal Aviation Administration rules that children age 2 and above must have their own seat and be wearing a seatbelt upon takeoff.

''The flight was already delayed 15 minutes and in fairness to the other 112 passengers on the plane, the crew made an operational decision to remove the family,'' Graham-Weaver said.

But Julie Kulesza said: ``We weren't given an opportunity to hold her, console her or anything.''

''Elly was sitting in front of our seat crying,'' she said in a phone interview. ``The attendant motioned to a seat and asked if we purchased it for her.''

They had paid for the seat. Gerry Kulesza said another attendant then approached the family and told him: ``You need to get her in control and in her seat.''

The couple told the attendants they were trying. Julie Kulesza said she asked the attendants if Elly could sit on her lap, but they said no.

The family flew home the next day.

The Orlando-based carrier reimbursed the family $595.80, the cost of the three tickets, and offered them three roundtrip tickets anywhere the airline flies, Graham-Weaver said.

But that's too little, too late for the Kuleszas. The father said they would never fly AirTran again.

The one time I traveled to Israel, I flew via KLM, and I don't remember crying/yelling children on board. But the stories I've heard re. El Al and other U.S. airlines flying to Israel...probably ought to get more than one family kicked off a plane -- and not necessarily reimbursed for their troubles, either!

Monday, January 22, 2007

"What Happened to Me?"

The title of this post is something that I heard my father say a few times this afternoon while I was visiting him in hospital.

Oftentimes, he lies in the bed, shaking his head from side to side, in a pose of what he's going through.

Today he was pseudo-sleeping when I came, so I sat and chatted with my mother. A short time later, someone walks in and introduces herself as an occupational therapist and she wanted to ask my father a few questions to assess him and his cognitive abilities.

She woke him, and even if it was just a light sleep, it was a sleep. To suddenly have to respond to questions would not be too good, I figured...and I was right.

There were basic questions that you and I would probably not have much difficulty with: What is your name? What city are we in? What province? What kind of building are we in? What season is it? What's the date? What floor are you on?

Even as she asked these questions, I knew that I had to hold back my retorts: my father has been lying in a hospital bed for over 4 weeks! How should he know the correct date? He'd been moved to several different floors over his stay! How could he know the floor?

I did ask her why she'd come now, especially after rousing him from sleep; he is rather clear-headed in the morning. She had gotten a requisition and was told to check up on him now, is what I was told.

My father, the former businessman, struggled with counting backwards from 100 by 7. He got to 93 and was stuck.

When asked to spell " world" and then spell it backwards, he couldn't spell it backwards.

He had to write a sentence for the therapist on a clipboard she provided. Even though he was lying in bed, and somewhat elevated, it wasn't a conducive situation for writing. I'm not quite certain what, if anything, he actually wrote on that paper. But when asked to read back what he'd written, he said, "You're a lovely lady."

He was asked to draw a clock face and provide the numbers. He couldn't do that.


When someone, G-d forbid, has dementia or Alzheimer's or even Parkinson's or suffers from a stroke, they might be so far advanced in the mental decline, and not realize that the answers they're giving are not correct, when administered tests such as this one today. The difference is that my father DOES recognize his inability to give the answers that, perhaps several hours earlier, might've been easy for him.

He recognizes these limitations. He told the OT that he used to do math so fast in his head. I grew up with math and spelling drills that my father gave me. This is how he taught us; this is how he taught himself. And suddenly the brain doesn't want to catch on anymore.

After the OT left, he was still hung up on that "subtract 7" question and pushed himself over and over to try and work through the sequence. I guess he was trying to prove to himself that perhaps he could do it, at least for himself, if not for the OT.

I saw the tears in my father's eyes when the OT left; I felt the heaviness of his emotional pain, and that of my mother who watched this too.

"What happened to me?... What will become of me?"

We tried to speak convincingly that after mental and physical rehab we hope to have him home again. As we do...and as he does.

As I've said, when the clarity comes, it is like a curtain is drawn open and the sun shines through. My father can talk about everything and anything. He can describe in detail episodes from 50 and 60 years ago. But when the daylight grows dimmer, the mind grows dimmer too.

The medication, the past seizures, the brain fluid, the lack of constant movement and being in a bed for so many weeks have taken their toll.

...But at what price?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Every Minute...

In the comments section of my last post, Marallyn ben Moshe wrote:


Kol ha-kavod to Marallyn for knowing that and "stating" it aloud. It is like poetry to my eyes and ears. For I have been gifted my entire life with these caring, loving, respectful parents of mine. I have always recognized that and feel sorry for those who aren't gifted with similar parents.

There are parents who cannot be considered a gift -- they are plain and simply HORRIBLE people, terrible role models, who treat their offspring like garbage. Oftentimes they do not deserve to have had the title "parent" bestowed upon them, and oftentimes the child is better off without such a parent in their life.

Thank G-d I do not personally know people in this predicament, but I know they exist. Family dynamics are often the result of the dynamics that came a generation before; people learn from example: whether how to improve, or whether to follow in negative footsteps and have family history repeat itself.

I hope that most, if not all of you, can appreciate your parents -- what they give/gave you to help you be the best person you can be...and the right tools for parenting.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Saying Thanks

Several of you have commented on my posts, saying although you're tuning in a bit late, you're still thinking of me...of my family...of my father, and davening for him.

Although I'm not commenting on the comments, you deserve a post specifically to say THANK YOU for your warm messages and your good thoughts.

It will be four weeks tomorrow evening that my father went into the Emergency department. He's been shuffled over those four weeks from different floors where beds were available. Apparently the hospital had its own outbreak of Norwalk Virus (upper respiratory disease that can kill...especially among the elderly) and beds were in great demand throughout the hospital. Wherever there's a bed, that's where they've sent my dad: Emergency,Cardiology, Rehab, General Medicine. It's been difficult to get used to a nursing staff, through several changing shifts, and then be transferred elsewhere and start all over again...repeating medical histories to nurses and hospital night sitters and roommates, etc.

In many ways, my father seemed better weeks ago, in the early part of his hospital stay. It has now been said that it may not be a short-term rehab after all, but rather a slow and lengthy rehab -- difficult to digest for all of us involved. But G-d willing, with rehab, my father might be able to go home again and resume his life in some semblance of normalcy.

As I've said before, the brain is a wondrous thing: the capacity for what it knows and what it can't discern. My father can have a 20 minute conversation in Russian with the relative of a roommate (Russian was spoken by him between 1940-45 when he spent the war years in Siberia. He has been told he speaks like a native, and with no accent.), giving all detailed information of when he was in Russia, where he was in Russia during the war, what he did, etc. But when asked when he came to Toronto, he couldn't remember that!

Night becomes day; day becomes night. Concern with "what time is it?" is at the forefront. With daytime, and especially morning, comes much more clarity of mind, and a sharp memory, but the later in the day it gets, weakness, inertia and confusion sink in.

I prefer to visit my dad in the late morning, and then if possible, again in the evening between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. -- when nighttime sets in and settles down...yet leaves my father somewhat unsettled.

Some people don't understand family bonds and concerns. Apparently a friend of mine checked in a couple of weeks ago with another friend of mine to hear how my dad is doing. The friend said that I'm visiting as much as I can -- even if just to be company for my mother -- and my dad is sleeping a lot. The friend who was checking up on me couldn't understand why someone would sit and bother to watch someone sleep.

And this comes from a person whose own father has had serious back surgery and a slow and difficult recovery!

I was aghast that someone could think like this. What if it wasn't pure drug-induced sleep, but a coma that my father was in? Isn't that a form of sleep? Am I expected to choose to not sit around "just because he's sleeping?"

People mean well, but sometimes just don't think, do they?

I know that several of you have had to know of unfortunate medical circumstances in your families, and we continue to hope and pray that good health will prevail.

Again, I thank you for your concern, and as my father continues to say: "Let's hope for the best..."

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Alles Auf Zucker! (Go for Zucker!)

My husband and I don't always agree on films. We mostly go to family films with our kids, but I'm a lover of "chick flicks" and artsy films, and he likes action-gore films. So I go with the girls to some films and he goes with the guys to other films. The only movies we can more or less agree on seeing and enjoying are quirky films.

He chose this film from the video store, described the premise to me and I thought it sounded fun.

If you want offbeat & quirky... you've come to the right movie.

If you want dysfunctional family... you've come to the right movie.

If you want deceit... you've come to the right movie.

It helps that I understand a lot of German...but the subtitles helped.

There's a German line in the movie: "It's never too late to become Jewish." That should get you thinking...

Here are a couple of good movie links. The first is in German, but find the sidebar bit called KINO TRAILER, click on it, and you'll get a peek at the film.

Here's another, more detailed movie link.

If anyone has already seen this film, please let me know your thoughts. It wasn't full-blown funny as in guffaws, but it was filled with lots of chuckles and smiles.

The director, Dani Levy, is from Basel, Switzerland, my mom's hometown. All I can say is that he has an interesting way of viewing the world...

Grab some popcorn, get comfy and hit the PLAY button on the remote.

A First

I was walking back to shul on Shabbos afternoon with my children for mincha/maariv. (women are invited to listen to the speaker at seudat shlishit) We passed a little dog, whom we'd first seen a week ago, also while walking to shul in the afternoon.

I've met countless dogs in the area, and often remember the names of most of them. I remembered this one was TIFFANY, a Maltese-Yorkie blend. I also noticed that Tiffany had gotten groomed since we met her; she was sporting a pink hairclip in her doggie locks, which wasn't too bad. But then my daughter and her friend pointed out that the dog was wearing pink nail polish! Sure enough, Tiffany was. A first for me to see. Can you believe it? Dog nail PAWlish (not original -- too bad.).

I asked the owner if Tiffany owns a coat -- nope, not a coat, but she does have boots...and a DRESS and other accoutrements. WOW...........

I should've asked if she also owns a Tiffany watch or a Tiffany-diamond-encrusted dog collar that she wears only on special occasions.

She's definitely not Max's type. He likes the females very natural-looking, those who don't put on any doggie airs. He's still in love with Phoebe, the dog a few houses away. Remember her? She's the one who never fails to wiggle her tush in his face every time she sees him. Guess that's the next best thing to a doggie lap dance, huh?

Sayings These Days

These days, my father is saying :

"Ich bin nisht mer kein mensch." I am no longer a man.

"Ich hab nisht mer kein koach." I no longer have any strength. (This has changed from the previous : "Ich hab nisht kein koach." I have no strength.)

This dear man, in spite of those horrible, and often panic-stricken moments of confusion (due to the anti-seizure medication, the great number of seizures he'd experienced, and thus the trauma on his body and brain, and the lying in bed for over three weeks) as to where he is and what he's doing there, and where has my mother/siblings/niece and nephews gone still has his moments of clarity.

And in that clarity he recognizes his great limitations....his need to depend on others for help -- to shave him, to help him complete basic everyday tasks, such as eating and going to the bathroom and moving in the bed and learning to walk all over again.

Human strength is a wondrous thing. Human frailty is not.

(Please continue to daven for Yaakov Arieh ben Chaya regain that wondrous mental and physical strength of his and let him go home again.)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

My Classic Rock Kids aka The Kids Are Alright

One of the local shuls is hosting a concert next month, featuring "Uncle Moishy" , who grew up in Toronto, and lived down the street from where I grew up. I know who he is, but my kids certainly do not. As we passed the big banner in front of the shul, I heard at least two out of three voices pipe up from the back seat of the van: "WHO'S UNCLE MOISHY?"

What could I say but, "He's a Jewish musician, but we never listened to his kind of music."

I did not grow up with that kind of music -- yes, we had some Pirchei Choir records, just because my first cousin was in one of the NY-based choirs and thus, on the records -- and my kids have not grown up with that music. Although "yeshivish" music is rather nice, I'm mostly familiar with it from simcha dance classes and background music in some of the Kosher restaurants I've been to.

My kids, up until the past year or so, mostly grew up with the classical and jazz that I'd play for them, as well as easy-listening radio stations. But a year ago, something happened: they began to make their own choices in music. My oldest became an Elvis Presley fan, as well as Paul McCartney...from which evolved a fondness for Beatles music. My daughter, along with her girly-girlfriends, discovered the popular young singers, and began to choose her own radio stations to listen to, thus learning lyrics very quickly to "at the moment, popular songs." My youngest was able to distinguish between Neil Young's and Paul McCartney's voice.

These days, they are very much into music, downloading onto their little MP3 players...and knowing how exactly to do that.

My oldest is a fan of "classic rock" songs and singers from the sixties, seventies and eighties. Upon hearing two opening notes to a song, he can recognize the song and singer or band. He did ask the other day if Jim Morrison and Van Morrison were brothers, which struck me as an interesting question. Not too long ago, I explained what "Woodstock" had been, simply because he is an avid listener to music of that generation. This 11-year-old kid blows my mind with his musical savvy.

My youngest son isn't too far behind his older brother in his music appreciation. I was in the office reading blogs, and they were in their beds in the bedroom they share next door to the office. I heard them talking...and my six year old son says, " A., I know a good song you can download."

A. "Yeah? Which one?"

N. "Iron Butterfly."

A. "That's not the name of a song. That's the name of the band! And I don't like 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida' "

Everything old becomes new again. Isn't that how the saying goes? Those same songs I was hearing for the first time when I was prepubescent are those songs that I'm hearing again, but that my kids are hearing for the first time and getting into.

Sorry, Uncle Moishy. For my kids, you just can't compete with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, the Stones, Paul McCartney and Wings...

Monday, January 08, 2007

Plus Ca Change, Plus C'est La Meme Chose*

La traduction: The more things change, the more they stay the same

Time passes, people age, lifestyles change, families grow, storms are weathered...again...and again...and again.

That is how I view life in my family. We've encountered and dealt with major health shake-ups that may have affected one person, but in turn have always affected the family.

We've been handed another shake-up... My father is still in hospital, free of seizures, but so heavily medicated, he sleeps most of the time, and is only a shell of his former self. Because the meds are in his bloodstream, we don't know yet his full mental and physical capabilities and/or if they will be retrieved. Doctors ask about what kind of home my parents live in, if he could return home to the life they knew, if we would get medical care, if my mother could handle things.

So many questions... No real answers.

Medical care itself is a shell of its former self. Over the years that my father has been hospitalized for various ailments, we've seen the decline of the Canadian health service. It's sad -- new hospitals are being built, and yet, there are not enough doctors, nurses and staff to meet the needs of hospitals already in practice.

I gave birth to two of my children in the hospital where my father is right now. Even with the three year gap between those two kids, I could see the cutbacks that the hospital was experiencing during my stay.

It's sad. We worry about our loved ones. We worry that their needs are being met by hospital staff. And yet I feel sad for the staff themselves, who are so overworked in these demanding jobs.

My father is a model patient. He doesn't complain. He is so polite and friendly, when he's awake and less groggy. He addresses the doctors and nurses by name, through each shift. He makes small talk with the several languages. He is not needy.... YET WE NEED HIM. So I'm hoping that these doctors and nurses will set him on the road to a wonderful recovery...yet again. He's been on such a road many a time.

As Bob Dylan penned, "How many roads must a man walk down/before you call him a man?" My father had to become a man while he was still a little boy. I'm hoping he's still got a few good years left in him to be the wonderful man that he's known to be.


This post is rather disjointed, isn't it? It's like my poetry -- I intend to carry my words one way, and they take a path all their own. Yes, this post was going to be about my father, but I was more inclined to write how I want people to ask about how he's feeling and progressing medically, yet I also almost resent having to repeat the same stories and explanations to people. It's sort of a push me-pull me tactic. It isn't that I'm lazy to tell the stories, but primarily it always come down to the same base idea: the truth hurts; hearing or seeing the truth hurts; vocalizing the truth hurts even more. I already felt this when he had a brain tumor 25 years ago and people would ask, and ask, and ask, and I'd have to answer, answer, answer. Yes, I appreciated the concern but sometimes just felt I wanted to shut my ears and eyes to it all.
I don't know if other people have encountered these feelings when in similar circumstances, whether family, health or job related issues come up and questions are continually asked. Maybe it's just my personal quirks...?

Thanks for "listening."

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

"How Is Your Dad?"

I thank you all for your concern, your well wishes and brachot for my father to have a swift and complete recovery. We're certainly not there yet, but thank G-d he's seemingly better than he was last week.

I wanted to give you kind people who have continued to ask, "How is your dad?" some feedback. The following is pulled from an email I wrote to Cruisin' Mom shortly after 3:00 a.m. today when I was awakened by some noise and couldn't go back to sleep for a couple of hours. What did I do? I turned to the computer, to blogging and emails, supposedly from which my "addiction" has waned. (sorry, Ezzie, I was awake just a bit earlier than you today; I headed back to sleep at 5 a.m.!)

"My father is stable but still in that hospital bed. He's in cardiac, and they took the halter monitor away from him a couple days ago. I believe he also hasn't had a seizure --grand mal or petit mal -- in two to three days, which is a good thing. Perhaps they've found the right dosage of anti-seizure meds to help control them. But it's very strong regardless, gives great memory loss and some confusion still. My dad looks better than he did early last week, but is SO WEAK. He keeps saying in Yiddish, "Ich hab nisht kein koach." I have no strength. We're hoping he'll be moved to neurology and get some rehab -- he only began sitting in a chair yesterday a couple of times, has to learn to walk again and do other things. --Physical therapy and rehabilitational therapy are both needed. My mom thinks he would need round-the-clock care should he come home. We're not yet at that stage, and I hope the hospital recognizes that fact and doesn't throw him out yet.

"Although he's more lucid, we've heard so many things come out of his mouth over these 12 days of hospitaliztion: life lessons, stories from the past, "instructions" to my mother should things not go right for him, "I love you" countless times to each of us...and among all that have been the confused moments with inappropriate questions or statements that come from nowhere, not inappropriate meaning anything lewd or crude, just lines that don't belong in a conversation at that time.

"Hard to see, as I'm sure you can understand. And his age has nothing to do with that. A well, able-minded and able-bodied man going in... suddenly changes overnight!"

And this is from a second email I wrote about an hour later to Cruisin' Mom.

"So imagine, I went to a friend's father's funeral on Wednesday, I went to another friend's father's funeral the following Tuesday...and between those two funerals, and beyond, my dad is in a hospital bed, also seriously ill.

"So honestly, it hasn't been a couple of good weeks...Guess you could figure that one out yourself."

I hope to be able to tell you about steady improvement, and that indeed my loving father, and yes, a very special person to all, will come home....soon enough.

"Stolen" from Stacey

Saw this over at Stacey's Shmata; I was reluctant to respond to it, but found it fun, and without boundaries, so I thought I'd repost it here. You may choose to respond, you may choose not to. I won't be offended if there are no comments.

What Do You Know About Me?

This is how it works: YOU leave a comment, copying the questions and filling in the blanks about ME even if you don't have any idea what the answers are. Be honest...or make something's up to you and it's all fun :-)

My name:

Where did we meet:

Take a stab at my middle name:

How long have you known me:

When is the last time that we saw each other:

Do I smoke:

Do I drink:

When is my birthday:

What was your first impression of upon meeting me:

Do I have any siblings:

What’s one of my favorite things to do:

Am I funny:

What’s my favorite type of music:

What is the best feature about me:

Am I shy or outgoing:

Am I a rebel or do I follow the rules:

Do I have any special talents:

Would you consider me a friend/good friend:

Would you call me preppy, average, sporty, punk, hippie, glam, nerdy, snobby, or something else (what):

What is a memory we have once had:

Have you ever hugged me:

Do you miss me…do you think i miss you:

How well do u know me?

What is my favorite food:

Have you ever had a crush on me:

If there was one good nickname for me, what would it be:

What’s your favorite memory of me:

Who do I like right now:

What is my worst habit:

If you and I were stranded on a desert island, what one thing would I bring?

Who are my favorite sports teams?

What was the last thing I said to you?

Will you repost this so I can do it for you?

Monday, January 01, 2007

Keep on Writin'

I've noticed -- yet again -- that several of my favorite bloggers are calling it quits, if they haven't already. They feel their blogs have served them well for a course of time, and now they will just deal with their lives, and not share every aspect of their life with the general blogosphere.

Although my own blog posts don't always offer up the same caliber of writing as I'd hope they would, although I may not post as frequently as I might've been doing a year ago, I NEED my blog. I NEED this means of communication. I NEED this outlet for my creative writing.

As a result of my blog writing and blog reading, I've been inspired more often than not over the past two years to write poetry, poetry that has managed to get published.

I'm basically writing into thin air when I post something on Pearlies of Wisdom. Whatever I write is out there, perhaps being read, perhaps not. Nonetheless, I've come to accept that I need to write to this unseen public.

Of course my need to write isn't as strong as it once was; for too long a time, that need overtook the point of a seeming addiction to write posts and to read others'. I'm so thankful that "addiction" has waned greatly -- yes, it did do damage in my life, I admit, and I'm not pleased about that.

Blogging has defnitely become one of my favorite pastimes. It has yielded friendships, a personal and general education about many topics and communities, learning tools for "netiquette" and an overall personal satisfaction.

I'm guessing that at some point in the future, I may not NEED to blog any longer...just like when I finished my longtime journaling on the night I became engaged, and said goodbye to that "hobby," feeling I no longer "needed" it.

For now though, rest assured, that I'm still gonna be here. Of course, I don't share everything -- aside from the anonymity factor, sometimes the truth hurts much too badly to capture on paper, or onscreen -- but if I do feel the need to get way below the surface in my writing, I know someone will be out there...just waiting to read my Pearlies of Wisdom.