Sunday, March 27, 2011

How Not to Invite a Single or Divorced Person for Pesach

Here's what you don't say:

  • Do you need a Seder?
  • Do you need a meal for YomTov? 
  • Which meals don't you have an invitation for?
  • You can come for the first seder. Do you know who else needs a place for that night?

All of these things were said to me by well-meaning hosts and hostesses in the past.

Here's what you do say.

  • Would you like to join us for the first seder?
  • Would you like to join us for 2nd day lunch?
  • Would you like to join us for any of the YomTov lunches, like any of the last days?  You're welcome to bring a friend as well.

Remember, single people don't "need" meals, and if they do, it's rude to remind them of how much you have and how much they don't.  As a former "older single" as well as a former divorcee, I can assure you that these words do hurt.  Have a little sensitivity this YomTov, fill your tables with people who are currently alone, and treat them with sensitivity and respect.

(Getting off my soapbox now.)


Chag kasher v'sameach.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

24 Incredibly Annoying Things that People Do on Facebook

24 things that I find extraordinarily annoying on Facebook:

1. People who post picture of their kids or pets as their permanent profile picture. Not even a picture of them with their son or puppy, no, just their kids and pets. Frankly, it's creepy.

2. People who punctuate every status update with an exclamation point! Every! Single! One!

3. Friends who "like" every single one of my posts. I have two friends who rarely miss "liking" one of my posts. EVERY freakin post. Like.

4. Frummies who consistently post links from TheYeshivaWorld.com, Matzav.com, VosIzNeias.com or Yated.com. And nowhere else. Get out of the ghetto much?

5. The ultra-frummie whose friend request you reluctantly accepted (usually because they are a cousin or something), who then turns around and gently admonishes you about something you posted not being tznius, or being nivul peh.

6. Relatives who friend you and then tell your mother who is on your friend list (including someone whom you're not supposed to be speaking to).

7. Relatives who friend you and then bring up some of your statuses at family gatherings (does Tanta Rivka really need to know what's going on in your life?) You may say, well then, don't post it on Facebook. But my privacy settings usually restrict my status updates for friends only...there is a trust issue there.

8. Frummies who post racist things on your Wall, or quasi-offensive comments about non-Jews ("...those goyim") or Christian customs, and then wonder why you remove them.

9. Friends who are more or less illiterate and post statuses full of grammatical and syntax errors, or all capital letters.

10. Friends who post the dumbest status updates. "Glee was so GREAT tonight!" or "I love Tuesdays!" or "I am too tired!" or "I had the greatest day at work!" or "TGIF!" or "I am so thirsty!" These are usually also the folks who are guilty of the exclamation point issue.

11. Conservatives/liberals who post, long, brainless, unthought-out, multi-comment diatribes on their liberal/conservative friends' walls. I have one left-wing friend (who actually is not a friend) who challenges every conservative statement I make with pure mush. He uses my wall as a podium to rant about his pet causes in the most inane way possible. Mind you, conservatives do the same thing to their liberal friends. I know I've been guilty of this one, mostly when I first started facebooking. How about keeping it to a well-thought-out, clever, succinct two sentences?

12. Friends who post utterly cryptic status updates with a lot of pronouns. "I told you it wouldn't happen." "I can't believe he did that to her." "I hate what was just told to me."

13. Anything having to do with Farmville, Mobster Wars, etc. Seriously.

14. Poking.

15. Frummies who have joint Facebook accounts (see Frum Satire's rant on this.) MoisheandChaikie Blinsky? Really?

16. Frummies who post under shortened versions of their last names, as if that would prevent anyone in their kids' yeshivas from figuring out they were on Facebook.

17. Facebook memes. Everyone post your bra color to show support for breast cancer! No, actually, that isn't about breast cancer. It's about your bra. Post a cartoon character as your profile picture to show you are against child abuse! No thanks, I'll keep my profile picture; I support child abuse.

18. Women who post pictures of shoes or flowers as their profile pic.

19. Strange men who friend me. It's Facebook, not a bar.

20. People who curse consistently in their status updates. I have a friend who is a surgeon, who routinely uses foul language in his statuses. I really don't get that.

21. Friends of friends (whom you don't know) who make nasty comments on your posts. Lady, I don't even know you; don't lecture me about global warming or anything, really.

22. People who post incredibly personal medical factoids as their status updates, or (worse) on your wall. "Webgirl, I'll be in your neighborhood in two weeks to take my dyslexic brother to a special hospital." "My doctor just prescribed some new anti-depressants, and so far, so good." "Webgirl, let's get coffee next week instead; I'm expecting my period tomorrow."

23. People (mostly in their twenties) who have over 800 pictures of themselves posted on Facebook, many of which were obviously taken with their cellphone.

24. People who tell you (on Facebook) that they think you are addicted to Facebook.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Same

I recently accepted some freelance work from an old shul acquaintance of mine, Brandy, and we spent a few hours working very closely together. I really like Brandy and I think she likes me. We were in a meeting last week and I was describing a concert that my husband and I recently attended, and Brandy looked up at me and said "why don't we ever hang out? We should go out sometime!" "Yes!" I enthusiastically replied. "Let's do something!"

We both genuinely meant it at the time, even though I knew, I just knew that it was highly unlikely we would ever actually get together. Brandy and I, though we had a lot in common, had completely different social circles. I thought about that, and wondered why. We went to the same synagogue. We lived in the same area. She was very funny and fun and we had a great deal of overlap in our lives. And then it hit me. And I didn't like it. Brandy and I both consider ourselves Modern Orthodox, but we are clearly at opposite halachic ends of the spectrum of MO. Brandy and I had minor religious differences. These religious differences kept us socially apart.

Why does this make any difference? What is the problem? Well, theoretically, there is no problem. Lots of my immediate friends are religiously different.

Really? Are they?

Then I started to take inventory. While I do have lots of Jewish friends from my past from all different points on the religious spectrum, I was horrified to realize that all the women I hang out with on a regular basis, the women I call, go to coffee with, catch movies with, go biking with, etc. are exactly like me. Exactly.

When did this happen?

Now mind you, I'm not a total loss in this department. I have a wide circle of "extended" friends, like my best friend from childhood who is way out on the fringes of orthodoxy, or my Christian friends from past jobs whom I occasionally go for lunch with, or the Moslem couple that my husband and I go to dinner with twice a year. I have my yeshivish friends back in New York whom I stay with when I go to visit, and I have a whole bevvy on Reform and Recontructionist friends from the class in Tanach that I used to teach.

But I don't hang with these people. No, it seems that these days, I only hang with Webgirl's religious clones. Hair-covering, skirt wearing, don't-eat-out, Torah-uMaddah-right-wing YU types. My posse is completely homogeneous. When, oh when, did this happen? Am I any better than the Yeshivish people in Brooklyn whom I mock, those women whose circles are entirely Yeshivish?

Now, I will say this. I love going out with my friends. They are great women. I can be myself around them. We also have nice clean fun. Did you just laugh when I said "nice clean fun?" But it's true. We don't have uncomfortable conversations. There's no cursing. There's very little drinking (an occasional glass of wine.) There's no talking about things that should remain private. Most of us get each other's cultural references. We have interesting things to share. We agree with each other and when we don't, it's ok. We laugh, we make fun of each other, we cry to each other, we get each other.

Earlier this year, on a visit to NY, I went out with a group of women that I used to be friendly with when I was single, all living on the Upper West Side, all to the far left of me on the Modern Orthodox spectrum. The conversation got around to (I'm not kidding) whose husbands were sexually selfish, and the raunchiest nightgowns we had ever purchased. I didn't participate. I felt like I somehow got transported to a scene from Sex and the City. These were classy, shomeret Shabbat women, and as the conversation progressed, I began to have a great deal of cognitive dissonance. Everyone, including me, was drinking beer, though no one was tipsy. The convo was also sprinkled with expletives, nothing that would curl your hair, just the occasional s-word, etc. I didn't feel uncomfortable, just out of my element. This was not me.

On the same visit to NY, I also went to dinner with three old friends from Boro Park and Flatbush. Our convo centered around: the recent drop in sheitel prices, chessed opportunities that had just opened up, who we could set up with whom, and a wonderful shiur one of the women had heard. While I wasn't jumping out of my skin, this was also not exactly my thing. I wanted to go home.

So maybe it's not the worst thing in the world for me to hang out with people who are just like me. But growing up frum in New York and then leaving had ingrained in me that there is value in building a world of diversity for yourself. Being with people who are not like you challenges you, makes you grow, makes you think, opens you.

And yet, here I am. I'm comfortable with my little posse. And we are going hiking together next week, on a trail that is not too advanced but not too challenging either. We will probably all wear the same style of bandanas to cover our respective hair.

Is that so terrible?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ickiness Returns.

For any new readers of my blog, (and I suspect I've lost a few and possibly gained a few, with my infrequent posting), let me bring you up to date on my current sitch in a sentence or three.  I started this blog when I was newly divorced and it was mostly about being divorced and how much it had changed me.  About a year a half later I worked things out with my Ex and we remarried. 

Yeah, that about sums up my current life.  Amazing, how much life you can fit in a para.

I was ready to start dating pretty much about ten minutes after I received my get.  I dried my numerous tears, saddled up and got right back on the horse. And it wasn't "rebound dating" or post-traumatic-shock dating.  It was productive, ready-to-move-the-hell-forward-dating.  My marriage had been over for a year before it was over.  I was ready.

BUT.   (Big but.)  I will tell you this.  Not once, not for one second during my actual marriage did I ever consider cheating.  I didn't want to.  I didn't think about other guys.  I wasn't attracted to other guys.  I didn't flirt with other guys and was quite grossed out when they flirted with me.  Once I stood under that chuppah, I considered myself completely devoted to my husband, no matter how miserable life with that person ever made me feel.  And I had some moments.  But while I certainly wanted to kill my current spouse, my heart still belonged to him.  Is that weird or normal?  Not important.  I'm simply wired that way.  Certainly now that we are remarried, happily so, I don't window shop, I don't rove, I don't "lust in my heart."  I'm not interested.  I'm his.

So when I went to an engagement party recently and saw Rich, someone that I dated while I was divorced, I steered myself in another direction. Immature, maybe, but it brought up feelings of ickiness.  I had gone out with this person a few times and he was just not for me.  I might have even blogged about it; I don't remember. He was nice looking enough, smart enough, funny enough, etc. but he had known me when I was married the first time, and certainly known my husband, and I found that very unsettling.  On our dates, he spent some time badmouthing The Ex, and told me he gave me a lot of credit for sticking out the marriage for as long as I could.  He told me he was always a little drawn to me when I was married, but of course, never did anything about it.  That was the clincher for me; the ickiness factor of someone who knew and was attracted to me when I was married just soared off the scale.  I dumped him nicely.  Rich did not go gently into the Good Single Night though; he followed up with some "why, please help me understand why" phone calls, and the person who set us up got involved as well.  All this did nothing but add more ickiness to the equation for me.

I remember when I went out with Rich, and I was so repelled by the fact that he admitted to being attracted to me when I was married, I discussed this with Nice Jewish Guy, who explained one of the many differences between men and women to me.  "Men," he said, "are always imagining, wondering, turning stuff around in their heads.  We can be totally in love with our spouses or girlfriends or whatever, and as soon as we meet a woman, we wonder what it's like to have sex with her. It has nothing to do with infidelity or anything.  We never act on it, we just wonder."

I, clearly, am not wired that way.  I accept that many (most?) men are, but if that is the case, I kinda don't want to know about it.

So there he was, Rich, at this engagement party, big smile on his face.  And there I was, stag, because my husband couldn't make it, and as soon as I saw Rich, I knew I had to get out of there.  Ok, breathe, breathe, maybe he'll have the class to say hi and bye and I can just not have any drama.

Oh no.  There was drama.

"WebGirl!  How are you?  I hear you actually married The Ex again!"

"Yes!  Hello!   Rich.  Hello.  How are you?"

"I couldn't believe it when I heard from Soandso that you remarried him, especially after everything we talked about when we went out."  (Mind you, friends of mine are all around, everywhere.)

"Yes, well, great to see you, Rich.  I had forgotten that you were friends with the Chassan.  Great to see you.  Bye."

Now, Rich doesn't live in my town.  I had forgotten that we had mutual friends in the person whose engagement party it was, and I suppose he had flown in.   I was hoping he would fly out just as quickly.  I fluttered around a bit more, wished all parties Mazel Tov blah blah blah, talked to some girlfriends about an upcoming fundraiser the shul was having, and plotted my escape.  I felt Rich's eyes on me.  I nearly made it to the door, when he sidled up to me again.

"Webgirl."

"Hello again Rich.  Well, I gotta get home.  Nice to see you."

"What do you mean by that?"

"Whuh huh?  What do I mean by what?"

"Well, before you said 'great to see you!'  Do you mean that?  I mean what am I supposed to take away from that?  Is everything ok with you and Husband?"

Oh, the ickiness.  I was swimming in ickiness.

"What I meant was that it was lovely seeing you and I wish you the best of luck.  Everything is GREAT with me and Husband.  Ok, ba-bye."

"Everything is great with Husband and it's great to see me.  You use the word 'great' a little indiscriminately, don'tcha think?  Do you want to talk or something?  Want to go to Starbucks?"

OMG.  No.  The ickiness factor was high into the red zone.  And on top of that, I started to feel the guilty-crawlies, because Husband and I had had a bad fight that morning and hadn't made up yet.  There were doors slammed. And here I was, standing here with my Rich, my Icky Former Date, who just asked me out for coffee, so that I could tell him how unhappy I was, admit that I loved Rich all along, and possibly swoon into his arms before I filed for divorce and ran off with him.

Ok, that was all my head drama, but what was real was that Rich was standing here in the community where I lived with my husband, inviting me to coffee.

"Look Rich, I'm very happily married.  There's nothing to read into this. Nothing, zero, nada.  I want to be very clear about this.  I wish you the best of luck.  Bye."

And with that, I pirouetted the hell outta there.  I went home, took a long shower, made up with my husband, and tried to shake the whole incident off.

I want to explain that Rich is not a psycho.  He's not a stalker type or anything like that. I think he's just a really nice single guy who's very lonely.  Most of the ickiness is probably in my head. I think.

Coddling

Ok ladies, are you listening?  There's doing something special for the ones we love, and then there's coddling/spoiling.  Don't mix these up.

I'm not the most social person in the world, but I have one small social gift:  I can pick up personality types pretty quickly. There is a type of woman (men too, but I see it more in women) who loves to sacrifice, and sees that as part of giving and loving.  I have a friend, older woman in her fifties, who is married to a brilliant guy.  He's so brilliant that he hasn't worked in the thirty years they've been married.  Oh, he's held little jobs here and there.  He claims he has all sorts of medical ailments, and I'm sure some of them might even be real, but he has used these over and over again as excuses not to go out there like the rest of us and earn a living.  Rayna, on the other hand, works like a dog. Whether she's sick or well, she's out there every day, bringing home a paycheck.  Benjy, besides his ailments, is also a very large man.  He's about 6'3"  and weighs around 300 lbs. Many of his ailments are undoubtedly related to his weight.  But Rayna cooks for him all the time, makes his favorite meals, fattening as they might be.  She gently tries to introduce him to more veggies and salads, but Benjy is "not ready for them yet."  Coddle, coddle coddle.  They have a great marriage and have raised three delightful sons, who undoubtedly will expect their wives to coddle them as well. We'll see.

Then there's Olivia.  Olivia is in her sixties, and her husband is a Vietnam vet.  He has some major kidney problems but won't be eligible for a transplant until he drops thirty pounds. And yet Olivia continues to cook lots of special meals for the hubby, whatever he likes.  She doesn't like to pressure him, even though a little tough love might save his life.  Recently, I complained to her about how my husband was not a vegetable eater, and she admonished me for not serving him just the meats and starches that he loves.  I told her as gently as I could: I don't believe in raising a spoiled spouse.  She doesn't get it.  Her husband is also in charge of where they go, what they do, etc., and Olivia, not wanting to put any pressure on her fragile husband, goes along with whatever he wants.  

Then finally there is one of my sisters-in-law, Robin.  My nephew is 14 and chubby.  Perhaps that's because Robin only feeds her son what he likes, which is pasta, pasta, pasta.  I recently had their family over for a meal, and I had to cook an entire second meal for my nephew (at Robin's request) because he doesn't eat chicken unless it's done a certain way and only a certain part, and he won't eat vegetables or fruit, and he only likes bread toasted to a certain doneness, and of course he has to have pasta. etc. Then Robin complains about how the other kids tease him because of his "little extra tummy."  And she doesn't push him to do team sports because he's sensitive and she's not sure how well he would fare being in competition with kids who are more athletic than he. Academic competition is fine, because my nephew is very bright and can hold his own.

These women are raising perpetual babies.  They are making the world all shiny and bright and accommodating for their guys, but the problem is, the real world is not very accommodating at all.  One day, these women will not be around to protect them, and these men will be lost.   They are enabling unhealthy food habits and immature, controlling behavior, and each of them views what they are doing as love.

I get crazy when I see stuff like that.  Maybe because I was raised with so much tough love. Don't get me wrong, my parents did a lot of nice things for me, but my treats were special and rare, and I grew to appreciate them.  In our house, you ate what was served, or you didn't eat.  No one ever died from skipping  a meal, my Mom used to say.  My parents cracked the whip in both academics and sports, and I'm grateful to them for that, because I learned how to play with a team, and even though I struggle with my weight as an adult, I think I'm healthier for it. My husband and I will do occasional nice things for each other, but when we get lazy about stuff, neither of us can stand to suffer any fools. 

There is being nice and there is spoiling rotten.  Learn the difference.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Me and the Big C

One of the side benefits to going through fertility treatments when you are over forty is that you are given a complete physical rundown. I have been through every medical examination possible, and I'm healthy as the proverbial horse, bee"aitch.

On one of my last exams, my doctor saw a little something on one of my internal organs that He Did Not Like. No sirree Bob, he did not like that thing that he saw. That's how he kept phrasing it to me. "We're not sure what it is, but I don't like it. It's got to come out before we do anything else. I just don't like it." Okey dokey, so two hellish, worry-filled weeks later, I had some fun surgery and they took out the Thing That the Doctor Did Not Like. The surgery was top-secret; I didn't want input from friends or family or frankly anyone. If it was cancer, it was cancer and I would deal with it. If it was not cancer, then I would deal with whatever it was. My siblings and siblings-in-law have a longtime history of saying the well-meaning, wrong thing to me in times of crisis and I just didn't want to deal.

It was not cancer. Thank God. It was something benign, but it was good that it came out. And now we are pressing the restart button on my fertility treatments. Here we go again.

If you've ever gone through the medical exercise of thinking you might have cancer, you probably can identify with some of what I felt. Or maybe it was totally different for you. I really would rather not have to lop off parts of my body or organs, or blast radiation through myself, or push poisonous toxins through my system. And I really, really would rather not die right now. I am finally in the loving, supportive relationship that I've waited all my life to find, and I feel like I have a lot of life yet to live with my husband. I was worried. I was nervous. I cried some. Actually, I cried quite a lot. And I viewed the world with a different lens, a sort of bluish filter on my life. Random thoughts flitted in and out of my troubled mind, some, I realize a little nuts, most, pretty narcissistic. Would this be the last summer I could ride my bike? Would I really have to accept the possibility of never being a mother as fact? Whom would I leave my engagement ring to? Who would want all my stuff? Will my husband remarry? If I have cancer and it's advanced, should I bother with treatment? Have I been good enough to other people? Have I left any sort of mark on this world? Will anyone miss me? Will I see my father in the afterlife? Have I been a good Jew? Will my hair fall out?

My husband dealt with the whole episode in complete and utter denial.

"You don't have cancer. Shutup."

"I might have cancer."

"You don't have any freakin cancer. Stop talking about it."

"What will we do if I have cancer?"

"If you don't stop talking about having cancer, I'll kill you and then you won't have to worry about having cancer."

Etc. Naturally, he was pleased as punch about being right about my not having cancer. He did some major Itoldyousoing. But I recognize his denial for what it was. I don't think he has the emotional tools to deal with the possibility of his wife being ill. It's all he can do to deal with my infertility. He is stretched to the limit. I think that comes with living a very straight, honest life, as he has. You start to believe that because you've never done anything too wrong, nothing truly, truly bad can ever touch you.

Or maybe I'm analyzing this to death.

Another by-product of thinking I might have had cancer was that I realized on some very deep level that I really and truly do believe in God. It's not that I didn't know this before, but I always had nitpickings of the possibility that I was wrong. But then I started to search myself, and I realized that I really do believe. One would think that this would be a relief, but mostly, it just makes me feel more isolated, because it makes my relationship to God more important and more private and intense. Does that make any sense?

So thank you God, thank you God, really, thank you God, WebGirl does not have the Big Cee. But I still have the Big I. Maybe facing down my own death on some level has made me more prepared for the possibility that my infertility treatments might not work. Maybe this experience has made me realize that no matter what I do, no matter how good my doctor is, no matter how advanced the science is, no matter how amazing the drugs are, whether or not I will have a child is really not in my hands at all. Maybe.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Religion of Environmentalism

So, the husband and I are about to start a lovely Shabbat lunch at a friend's house, along with about six other guests. Our hostess apologizes for setting the table with paperware, and explains that her dishwasher is on the fritz.  We all sort of joke about that (she always puts out a beautiful Shabbos table, finest china, linens, flowers etc.).  One of the younger guests, Lainey, very publicy and seriously gathers up her place setting in hand, stands up, and asks for a regular plate, a glass and silverware. 

"Um, sure, but why?"  responds our hostess.

"For environmental reasons."

Naturally I let out a little giggle, thinking Lainey must be making a joke.  She said "for environmental reasons" the same way I would decline eating a cheeseburger, "for religious reasons" or "for kashrut reasons."  But after a nasty little condescending look from Lainey, I realized she was serious.  "I'll be happy to wash the dishes before I go," Lainey continued.  "It's just my thing.  I don't ever use paper or plastic.  I don't own it and I won't eat off of it.  I won't be part of the problem.  I won't contribute to killing the Earth."

Right.

I have someone clean my house every other week, but recently, I hired a special cleaning service to give it a really good, "deep cleaning." This is a service that specializes in homes with pets.  I wanted every bit of dog hair and general yuckiness out of my house.  I wanted windows that sparkled, woodwork that glowed.  I wanted all the dead bugs out of my lighting fixtures.  You get the picture. 

So this special service takes about two days and costs about $150, which is roughly about twice what I normally pay for cleaning (we have a pretty small house).  When I ordered the service over the phone and explained in detail exactly what I wanted done, they asked me if I wanted the extra "green" service.  For an additional $75, they will only use natural products, put my trash into recyclable bags, etc. 

"Absolutely not," I said.  "First of all, if it costs more, it's not green to me.  Second of all, I don't give a rat's patootie about green cleansers.  I want an antiseptically clean house.  I want chemicals.  I want complete dirt removal."  The manager said she understood, but that the company still maintained a green philosophy, but they would not charge me for what she considered a more moral way of cleaning.

Well, the house cleaner, Rose, showed up, and in spite of the fact that I made it clear that I was not a greenie, she refused to use any products containing bleach or ammonia.  She washed my windows with vinegar, which frankly, smelled nasty.  She washed my hardwood floors with water and nothing else.  She used recycled sponges and rags, which, she informed me, would be washed back at the office when she returned, yes, even the one she used to clean the toilets.  She used stuff like lemon juice, baking soda, vinegar, etc.  I could not convince her to even clean my bathroom with a real cleanser.

I said to her, "Rose, let me ask you something.  If, hypothetically, you need surgery someday, would you want the surgeon to clean the instruments and operating table with vinegar?  Would you want him to use recycled tubing from another patient, cleaned with baking soda?"

"That's different," she replied. 

"Not so much, actually.  I want my bathrooms sanitized.  We have a lot of guests on the weekend, and I don't want to get sick.  I want every surface of my bathroom gone over with a bleach-based cleanser."

"Even at the expense of killing the Earth?" she asked me.

Yeah, she really said that.  I live in a very greenified area.  We stick out like sore, ungreen, thumbs.  Politicians in my area actually run on a totally green platform (and win!).  Everybody here recycles like demons.  Many of the grocery stores here don't offer paper or plastic; they'll give you a box or ask you to bring your own grocery carrier (which many people do).  I am like an atheist in the Church of Environmentalism.

I think that most die-hard environmentalists who know me just write me off as a selfish Conservative, one who wastes, who doesn't care, who consumes without thought.  The fact that I don't believe that climate change is a real problem is enough to convince some environmentalists that I am crazy, or evil, or both.  I recently posted something to my Facebook profile on Barbara Boxer's comment about how the number one threat to the U.S. Military was climate change.  Oh yeah, she really said that.  I received the equivalent of a hate mail message from a friend of a friend, who told me I was no better than Sarah Palin, shooting deer from a helicopter, etc.

Sigh. 

The truth is, I"m not a wasteful person at all.  I'm a huge believer in gemaching, freecycling, and borrowing instead of buying, and just in general not wasting resources.  I don't believe these sorts of things should rule your life though, and frankly, I am perfectly comfortable with using paper plates.  I think killing germs is actually good for the environment, and I embrace the use of bleach for disinfecting.  I don't think Mother Earth is dying.  I don't even think she's sick. 

I refuse to jump on the environmental bandwagon.  It is a culture of baseless religion.  I will not drink the green Kool-Aid.

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Guest Post by Nice Jewish Guy

Cross Posted from my now-defunct blog, Attention Frumster Shoppers:

(Creeeeak.......)

(Scuff scuff....)

Hello..? {O...O... O...)

Anybody here...? (ere... ere... ere...)

(Looking around)......

Boy, sure smells musty in here. Been a while, hasn't it? Let me drag over this crate here- dust it off a bit- and set a spell.

Well, folks, I'm back. But only to wrap things up; I think it's important to have.. closure. A good word. It's been about a year and change since we've last had a shmooze, and, well- a lot's been happening. Good things, mainly. And that's what I'm here to tell you about.

I'm engaged! She's a wonderful woman. (I wanted to say girl, but hey, we're adults here, with, you know- jobs. ) We have been dating for over a year. I'm a little freaked- hey, I did this once before, and to say that things didn't turn out so great would have been an understatement- but not, as friend and blogger WebGirl says, nauseated and panicky.

I didn't blog at all about Future Mrs. NJG while we were dating; partly because I lost my inlclination to exhibit myself, even anonymously (or quasi-anonymously), and my activities. I didn't feel like I wanted to put everything under the blogging microscope, talk it all out with myself as I was writing. I just wanted to live it.

It wasn't an easy decision to make, but you know what? It wasn't that difficult either. It's been six years since my first marriage fell apart, and about five and a half since my get- and well, higiya zman-- it's time. Time to move on, rebuild, and begin the next chapter. I guess I'm getting some maturity, huh? Gosh, when did that happen.

Oh, look at the time. So much to do... anyway, I guess I'll leave the blog up, but this will be the last post here. The store is closed. No more Frumster Shopping, or any other kind. You might find me posting over at The Road Taken, so, keep an eye out.

So, that's all, folks. You're welcome to hang around, visit from time to time if you like. Just mind the dust and cobwebs.

And remember to shut the lights and door on your way out.

(Scuff.. scuff...)

(Creeeak...)

(Thump.)

GREAT NEWS!

Mazel tov to Nice Jewish Guy who is (gulp) engaged!  Yes!  Another fabulous frum single guy bites the proverbial dust.

Stay tuned for a long-awaited post over at Attention Frumster Shoppers (and perhaps we can convince him to post here in parallel, if you cajole him a bit).

Mazel tov, NJG.  It's been quite a journey, hasn't it.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

I think it was Mother's Day that finally got to me.  I've been holding it together until now.  One unsuccessful IVF cycle behind us, and while I'm pretty despondent, I haven't quite lost it yet.  We're planning on doing another cycle and this time, I'm going to turn on the spiritual spiggot all the way.   Praying, Tehillim, taking on extra mitzvot, asking other people to pray for us, praying for other couples struggling with infertility, etc.  We are focusing like laser beams.  I cried briefly when the first IVF cycle failed, and then I gathered myself up and said, ok, done crying, we're trying it again; what can we do differently this time; focus focus focus.  We are focused, we are beams of light, we have our eyes on the target, our ears to the grounds, our noses to the grindstone, our heads in the oven...

And still, no matter what transpired, I didn't lose it, wouldn't, refused to, not me.  Not even when my friend who was aware of what happened invited us for a Shabbos meal and promised it would be just us two couples and ended up having the other family with six raucous kids and the wife who would not stop talking about her children.  No, not even when another friend who is a year older than I am shouted over the phone "Mazel tov, I'm a grandmother!" in completely oblivious, well-deserved joy.  I held it together.  I kept it in.  I'm a trooper. I'm focusing on the positive, not dwelling on the negative.  I'm a laser beam.

But Mother's Day, for non-mothers is, well, challenging.  And I lost it.

"Do not, under any circumstances, log in to Facebook today," my husband warned me.  So of course, I did.  And FB was brimming with well-wishes and love, happy MDay proclamations, links, pictures of outings and luncheons and thank yous for the crayon cards and breakfasts in bed and shmeary, shmutzy hugs and kisses.  The world is full of mothers and children and spilling over with babies and diapers and formula and today, today is the party that celebrates the sacrifices that I will probably never get to make, the love and connections that I will probably never feel, the babies that will probably never be mine.  Today is the party to which I'll probably never be invited.  This Mother's Day, I am feeling the nasty twisty scorching pain of unmotherhood more than usual.  And so I lost it.  "I guess it's about time" said my husband as I fell hysterically, completely and totally apart in his arms.

Well.  All better now.  No, not really.  But we are trying again soon.  We are not yet in that abyss of hopelessness, but we are certainly tottering on the brink.

It's funny that going through this really does make you feel a little closer to God.  A little angrier perhaps, but still, there's a closeness, a dveykus there that wasn't there before.  I feel very helpless, like He is propping me up and therethereing me along.  Other friends of mine that have gone through assisted reproduction have had similar experiences.  One friend of mine, Eva, told me "I remember that when I was going through IVF, I felt very, very close to God and I am not really that type of person.  And now, years later, I can't really attain that kind of closeness again, but sometimes when I want it, I say to God 'God, remember back then, when I felt so close to You? Remember what that was like?' and just being able to even refer to that time is enough for me."  It's interesting what this sort of thing does to your psyche.  You introspect all the time.   It's exhausting and a little nice.  I read about the women in the Tanach that struggled with infertility, Sarah, Rachel, Chana, and I feel connected and strengthened through their stories.  My infertility has undone and remade me, sea-changed me.

And so we are trying again soon.  And because of this past cycle's failure, we are more able to comprehend that it might not work, that as unacceptable as it might be, we need to accept that we might not become parents.  And we are still hoping and praying that God changes His mind and remembers us, but we are a little closer to accepting that if He doesn't, there is simply nothing that we can do about it and we need to live and move on.  But I still hope, and I still believe there is a chance, no matter how small.  "Yeshuas Hashem k'heref ayin."   God can save you in the blink of any eye.  And as we cling to that last little gasping molecule of hope, we are slowly, quietly moving through our grief.