Thursday, June 15, 2006


Lost another game of UNO to Margalit yesterday. Frustrating. (Of course, I know that no one is interested in that bit of news, but I needed something to put in to introduce this picture.

Lola was supposed to be spayed this week, but the stupid mutt went into heat last Friday. So much for her operation. We did Ariella's dog, Lucy, and although we now have to worry about where to put Lucy when Ariella goes to National Service, at least we don't have to worry about Junior Lucys!

I was musing with a friend today about a person who I know who seems to be engaging in extremely self-destructive behavior. In addition to simply doing things which are nastily out-of-character and detrimental to his own self-interests, this person hangs around the most undesirable characters in the city. I commented on how strange this was...that someone who used to be normal, kind, considerate and a positive member of the community is now reduced to spending time with people who few other people in town are willing to socialize with. "Maybe that's how this man sees himself now" my friend commented, and that threw me for a loop. The psyche is a scary thing.

Every day this week has had something going on which has pushed me to the limit. Sunday I took Hagai to the library (Lola ate another book yesterday, but that's another story). Monday I had a meeting in Carmiel about my upcoming T-shirt business. Tuesday was Lola's spay job, so I had to leave work in the middle, take her up, come back, and then take Ariella up to pick her up and take her home at the end of the day. Yesterday I went to the shuk -- saved a lot of money, but used up a lot of time. And today I have a dr's appointment.

And every week, I say to myself "well, that week is over. This one will be easier. And, of course, it's not." I'm already looking ahead at next week, which is as chock-full as this one was. Margalit has a birthday party one evening, Yochi has a end-of-year recital for her dance class, and I have another t-shirt business meeting, with MATI, the organization that helps small business start up. I hope that they can help me make sense of all the confusion swirling around in my do I order? How do I pay? How do I take orders? How do I get a credit card account? And how to I keep track of all of this?

It's easier to just work for someone and get a salary, but I can see, much as I love Livnot and like working for them, I've got to think of other directions. Since I get so much satisfaction out of my association with Livnot, an organization that does so much for the Jewish world, I am trying to think of ideas which will allow me to continue working with them, but will increase my end-of-month income as well (Livnot is no different from any other non-profit organization -- salaries are basic). Hence, the t-shirts, which I can sell while doing my regular work and I don't have to worry about overhead. Tov, we'll see. Gotta dream......

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

cheesed out

In more ways than one.

First of all, the REAL cheese....we had a nice Shavouth, with all the kids at home. As usual, I had to try some new recepies, and as usual, much was left over. Some of it was quite good, but still and all, no one wants to eat too many leftovers.

Shavouth is always a bittersweet day for me. I love the day itself...quiet, relaxed, nice weather (if you live in Israel, anyway, you can always count on it), etc. But 7 years ago, my neighbor and friend, Rachel Ben Zev, passed away on Shavouth after battling a brain tumor for a year-and-a-half. I always remember her most strongly on Shavouth, her yartzeit.

The Ben Zevs were wonderful neighbors. I remember occasions feeling overwhelmed at home with the children when they were young, and completely loosing my cool. At such times, I'd pack the crew together and we'd go over to the Ben Zevs to unwind, just sit in their living room, chat, let the kids play together, and chill. Rachel was the model of someone who was always "up", always displaying an outward composure and pleasure in life and in her family. I try to model myself after her.

I know that their lives weren't easy, but both Avi and Rachel weren't just involved in the community...they RAN much of the community. Both worked hard, full-time, but somehow or other, they found time to run the english children's library, put out the community newsletter, be involved in running the shul, and whatever else needed doing and no one else was around to do it.

One could always ask Rachel to make something for someone who was sick or after childbirth, and never once did she indicate that it wouldn't be possible that week, or that it would be too difficult. Avi, her husband, was "into" computers way before most of the rest of us knew what the darned things were, and he was a cheerful advisor to anyone who needed assistance, even though it meant that he himself didn't get to bed until well after midnight.

When Margalit was born, their daughters would come over to take her out or cuddle her, giving me some much-needed space. And Rachel never spoke a disparaging word about anyone...if someone started to say something about someone, she would cut off any possible turn to gossip by saying "it's so difficult for them" or "yes, it's very complicated".

When Rachel became sick, and the family was moving to Jerusalem to be near good medical care, other neighbors went over to help them pack, but I simply couldn't. Irrational though it was, I felt abandoned.

A yearly shiur is given for Shavouth in the local shul that Avi and Rachel helped to start in Rachel's name, and this year, the theme centered around "motherhood". Nothing could have been more fitting.