Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Apples and Oranges (Or Food In General)

"Feeling good at the top
Shopping in sharp shoes
Walking in the sunshine town feeling very cool
But the butchers and the bakers in the supermarket stores
Getting everything she wants from the supermarket stores
Apples and oranges
Apples and oranges

(S. Barrett)

Since my never ending case of pneumonia is, I'm sure, of great interest to all of you, here's a juicy update:

I am still sick.  I'm still coughing and I still have fever.  I still alternate some nights between The Shivers and The Sweats.  I'm still on extremely heavy anti-biotics which wipe me completely out and make me utterly nauseous.  Go me!

I went back to the doctor yesterday (yes, he had hours Memorial Day).  I drove myself.  It actually felt good to be outside.  Of course by the time I got there I was in sweats and my fever was spiking (well it WAS hot out!). 

Long story short - I shouldn't worry about the fever - it's going in the right direction.  I'm running more of a low grade fever now than I was last week.  My coughing is still really bad, but that's to be expected.  It seems I have a bad case. 

But.  There's always a but right?  But what should I worry about?  Well Doc's very worried about the weight loss.  It seems  I've dropped 13 pounds since I started studying for finals.  That loss drops me below the three digit line.  Totally not cool.  The problem is, I'm never hungry and I'm always naus.  I cannot even look at food.  I keep down dry cereal, Market Pantry brand fiber bars, toast and Powerade.  Pretty much it.

I can feel it too.  Besides the fact that my shoulders and arms are starting to take on the shape of a wire hanger, I feel light headed and weak. My clothes are all hanging on me.  I haven't been to the gym in....forever and I HATE being this thin.  I can see it in, um, other parts of me as well. 

Otherwise, really there's nothing going on.  The world seems to be passing me by.  I guess all forced shut-ins feel this way.  I'd sit outside today but I know I'd be quickly overwhelmed by the heat.

So here I sit, Rapunzel in her tower, except instead of my hair growing long, I'm just getting creepily skinny.  It's funny, Anorexia was never on my long list of "at risk kid problems".  I guess it's a late addition.  And yes, I know that's not particularly funny.

But enough about me.   How are YOU doing?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Fat Old Sun

Because Summer Is Starting For Everyone Else...

...Even as it leaves me behind.

About two years ago I discovered Pink Floyd actually made albums before The Wall and Dark Side of the Moon.  And, in fact, they captured me much more than the later albums did. 

While discovering Early Floyd, I discovered Fat Old Sun.  It immediately became my summer anthem song.  It's just every good memory I have of summer all rolled up into one.  I always play it over and over when the weather gets all summer-like.  Which supposedly happened over the last few days while I was in my sick-room sulking over the BBQ I couldn't attend and wasn't stopped for me.  (But I hear it was monster-buggy so...evil smile):

"When that fat old sun in the sky is falling,
Summer evening birds are calling.
Summer's thunder time of year,
The sound of music in my ears.

Distant bells,
New mown grass smells so sweet.
By the river holding hands,
Roll me up and lay me down.

And if you sit,
Don't make a sound.
Pick your feet up off the ground.
And if you hear as the warm night falls
The silver sound from a time so strange,
Sing to me, sing to me.

When that fat old sun in the sky is falling,
Summer evening birds are calling.
Children's laughter in my ears,
The last sunlight disappears.
And if you sit,

Don't make a sound.
Pick your feet up off the ground.
And if you hear as the warm night falls
The silver sound from a time so strange,
Sing to me, sing to me.

When that fat old sun in the sky is falling,
Summer evening birds are calling.
Children's laughter in my ears,
The last sunlight disappears."

And "summer's thundar time of year" is extra-appropos since it woke me up this morning!!!

And because this is a full service shop, I've linked two excellent versions of it.  The first is the original studio version off of Aton Heart Mother.  The second is a 2-part live version from Paris Cinema Theater in London, 1970 (from the BBC Archives live album).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LT62hiqyOSU - Studio Version - Off the Aton Heart Mother Album.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WOa2-Wv-C4 - Part 1, Live Paris Cinema, London, 1970

Please come back and comment  - let me know if the people who read me have taste or not :)  I promise to hide my contempt if you don't like it (though possibly not my scorn).  If it makes you feel better, Chana already decried it as "not her thing".  Hmmmpff.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

My Family, Harry Potter Style

Ok, I wrote the following post a few days ago.  I've been debating whether or not to publish it, for reasons which should be apparent to anyone who reads it.  It might disappear soon, so read it quick.  I'm not sure if i should keep it up.

In the good news department - my high fever of the last 5 days has been replaced with a lower fever and less chills and pain.  So I think we are going in the right direction.

Oh, and Happy Memorial Day!!

So every year my family makes a barbecue for close friends on Memorial Day Sunday.  Not, heaven forbid, because we celebrate an American Holiday, because we don't.  Rather, it's simply a day where everyone (including my psychotically overworked dad) is off the next day as well - so there's a nice, relaxed feel to it.  And my mother's BBQ's cannot be rushed affairs.

This year?  No different.  Cymbaline half dead?  The show must go on.  Don't worry, my mother assures her friends, she will be in her room the whole time anyway, not spreading her evil germs all over the backyard.

And the funny thing is, you all think I'm joking.  That really happened.

I've been thinking about my family a lot lately. Dunno why, possibly because I have so much time on my hands, possibly because I'm ready to enter a new phase in my life and I need to understand close connections to me before I can make new connections.

So regarding Harry Potter.  I haven't read the books.  But I've dutifully seen all the movies (including Deathly Hallows, Part 1 the other night).  I even liked some of them (Sorcerer's Stone, Order of the Phoenix and Half Blood Prince to name three).  So I'm not what you would call a huge fan.  But it's all fresh in my head and there certainly are alot of characters to reference.  So here it goes.  A brief description of each family member, who they most remind me of from HP, and my Closeness Scale to that member.  So please HP nuts, if I screw up a character description, it was totally accidental and the result of a non-professional.  No insult meant.

The Closeness Scale is a scale of 1 to 10 to how close i am to a family member, with 10 being the love Dobby has for Harry Potter (ok, ok, the love of Hermoine and Ron - happy?)) and 1 being the hate Harry and Voldemort have for one another.

So here we go.

My older sister.  A clone of my mother.  Or she will be in 20 years.  Right now she's more of a clone of my mother at 25.  Thin, well put together and vapid.  Also without many a redeeming quality.  Mean spirited and possibly slightly crazy as well.  She and I grew up opposites - she'd spend every waking hour kissing up to my mother and deriding me for not doing the same.  Now she rules her weak willed husband, goes to the gym, gets her nails done, shops and raises the next generation of evil women.  My poor niece.  Her idea of a compliment is something backhanded or passive aggressive. 

Character reference - a better put together Bellatrix - only she's less likely to yell "I killed Sirius Black" and more likely to yell "I bought a $1,000 Hermes bag!".

Closeness Scale - 2.

My brother in law.  From a well heeled, "yichusdik" family.  Totally empty in every way.  He gets henpecked by my sister but doesn't seem to care all that much.  Spends way too much time with his friends, away from his family.  Emotionally detached.  Annoying. Way too smug for what he actually brings to the table.
Character reference - Draco Malfoy, only taller and with less hair.

Closeness Scale - 2.

My Older Brother - My older brother is a typical older brother.  He can be awesome, but he can also be annoying.  He's rebellious but in a more controlled way than his younger sister (i.e. me).  He's handsome and extremely outgoing; the girls all line up to date him.  He's good at sports.  He can play the religious game, but truth be told, I dunno if he really talks the way he walks. He's a good guy if a bit directionless.  No doubt it's because he's focused on finding that hot, rich wife so he can get a fake job and skate through life.  I don't say that meanly - he's just lazy.  He'd tell you the same thing if asked.

He's the closest thing to a wing man I have in my family. He's my Justified watcher companion and we share laughs together when the only other alternative is to cry.  But he's smart enough to never take my side, lest he lose Most Favored Son status with his mother (and he hates her too, by the way). 

Character Reference - Fred/George Weasley, with a little Hagrid thrown in for good measure.

Closeness Scale - 6

My Younger Brother.  Sigh.  This is where we get to the sadder story. 

See, the older my mother gets, the crazier she becomes.  My older siblings had it easier.  My younger two - they get beaten down alot more.  My younger brother is quiet, sensitive and serious.  I think he's the smartest sibling for sure (and we aint a dumb family, at least on my father's side).  He learns with my dad and while I have no idea what they hell they are talking about, I know he's really good at it.

My younger brother never smiles.  He never seems happy.  He never really talks to me.  I think he thinks of me as some sort of cosmic stain on our family.  Judaism is very important to him and my lack of frumness  - well I think he is very turned off by it.  Whenever I think about him it makes me cry a little.  I secretly love him to pieces.  I think he's been emotionally damaged.  My mother was so hard on him and my younger sister.  I think he internalized it - ate it all up, turned in to himself and his religion.  Next year he will go to Yeshiva in Israel and get away from his family.  Good.  Maybe he can smile there.

Character most like - The truth is, I really have no comparison.  Any suggestions would be most welcome.

Closeness Scale - Sadly, a 4.  If it were up to him, 2.

My younger sister - another sigh here.  Another soul tormented.  But she kinda flipped another way than my brother.  Where he internalizes everything, she is completely "outside".  She smiles alot, but it seems to just be a way for her to mask her pain.  She is cowed by my mother and she never fights back.  She just takes it and moves on.  But I know the amount of psychological scarring it must do to her.  I talk about it with her sometimes, but she doesn't really want to.  She's somewhat of a loner at school far as I can tell, though she does extremely well.  Also keeps her distance from me when my mother is home (smart girl).  I think she needs a therapist but I have no idea how to suggest this to my mother in such a way that it will actually happen.

Character reference - Luna Lovegood.

Closeness Scale - 5.

My dad.  My father, the overworked hero.  He's really smart, a good listener.  His biggest mistake in life was allowing other to choose his bride for him.  He's extremely successful, learned, well respected and kind.  I think he works so hard despite of his great success because he doesn't want to be home.  In fact, I don't think this, I know it.

In recent months, we have reached an understanding of sorts.  He knows I cannot become the daughter he wants - but I think he finally knows the person I am underneath.  And we've been talking more.  He got me the internship (assuming I don't lose it to the cruel jaws of pneumonia) and he's just been...closer to me lately.  It hurts me to know I'll always be somewhat of a disappointment to him,  but I cannot change who I am.

Character reference - Albus Dumbledore, of course.

Closeness Scale - 6.  Sadly, I cannot ever totally forgive him for leaving me so...unprotected from her while he was always working.  He knew what  was going on at home and he pretended it was a smaller deal than it was.  That was selfish.

Mother.  I could write a whole series of posts on her.  Maybe one day I will.  In the meantime, I'll just say she can take credit for making me the person _ am today - Rebellious, angry, lost and confused.  As far as i can tell, she really started going off the deep end around the time I was born.  Perhaps she still suffers from Post-partum depression, 20 years later.  All I know is that from the time I can remember, she was constantly.....on me.  Telling me all the things I was doing wrong, telling me I wasn't good.  That I couldn't follow orders or be a good girl.  I saw the way she treated my older sister and I couldn't understand why it was different with me.  And the more I gave it back to her, the more I questioned, the worse it got. 

Finally I realized, she could never love anyone who didn't fit into her fold.  Who didn't agree with her way of thinking.  Who didn't get in line. 


Character reference - Lord Voldemort/Tom Riddle

Closeness Scale - Negative 12.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

All About Me(Me)

So apparently there was a "Golden Age" of Jewish Blogging (Ezzie can tell you all about it) and everyone did Meme's.  What's a Meme, you ask?  No worries, I recently asked too.  Apparently its a clever way to talk about yourself in blog form.

Fascinated by Blogosphere history, I did some research.  Meme rules are pretty flexible.  I've seen ones where you simply answer questions about yourself.  I've seen others where bloggers listed a bunch of things about themselves, by category. Then after, you invite another blogger to do the same thing.  (I, of course, will be turning that a bit on its head.)

Since I'm sick as all hell anyway, with nowhere to go and nothing to do, silly things like Memes are suddenly brilliant ideas the worlds best ways to kill time!  And since SiBaW put me on to the trail of the elusive Meme, I guess I'll do it the way he showed me.  So I took his eight questions, below:

  1. I wish I could…
  2. My biggest fear is…
  3. I hate to…
  4. I love…
  5. Today I will…
  6. Yesterday I…
  7. My hair is…
  8. I will never…
and I am gonna answer them below.  Then I'm gonna invite everyone to answer Meme questions.    Cause that's how I roll. 

So without further ado:

1.  I wish I could get better.  Being sick is profoundly fucking up my life.  It's ruined my summer plans, my summer vacation and my ability to do...well do ANYTHING.  So right now the over-arching Plan A is getting healthy.

2.  My biggest fear is well real and fake.  My biggest fake fear is vampires.  I'm terrified of vampires.  And zombies.  And, quite honestly, sharks too.  My biggest real fear (besides sharks)?  I'm afraid I won't be able to rise above my (shaky) past and make something of myself.  That for all my bluster, I'll never be more than what I am right now - a confused and scared kid.

3.  I hate to…feel like I'm trapped.  I hate feeling like I have nowhere to go, that circumstances have placed me in a locked cell from which there is no escape.  You know, like my sick bed.

4.  I love Pink Floyd, Tova, nature, reading, being alone, being with other people (who I like), having intellectual conversations, or silly ones, laughing, hugging someone I care about,  lemonade in a frosted glass loaded with ice cubes, sitting on a lounge chair near a pool, forests, rivers, placid lakes, vanilla ice cream (sigh) and David.  Not, necessarily, in that order.

5.  Today I will do everything in my power to keep getting better. And finish Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1, before I go to bed.  I will also call Tova and annoy her even though I can barely talk.

6.  Yesterday I spent 7 hours in the Emergency Room being very scared but pretending I was very brave.

7.  My hair is brown, long and straight.  I love my hair because of all the things I can do to it, without having to DO anything to it.

8.  I will never…fully get over my distrust of people.  I will also never get a tattoo, pierce anything besides my ears (though I did once - long story) or dye my hair blond.

There. I did it.  My part in the Meme is over.  Now it's YOUR turn, dear reader.  ALL you dear readers.  No reason to be shy.  Soul baring honesty is good for you, trust me.

I gave you my eight questions.  So no copying.  Y'all do your own.  Do eight.  Do 5.  Hell do one.  Just DO one.  Or comment that you are doing it on your own blog and follow through.

Come on people, I've got 6 weeks to kill.  Have a little compassion.

A Light In All The Darkness

Amid the shittyness which is currently my life - I can't breath, I'm coughing monstrously (including blood), I hurt everywhere and i cannot talk - among other stuff - I received the following message on my cell phone voicemail from non other than David last night!!! (I was sleeping cause my Dr. actually gave me something to knock me out since I haven't slept in like....oh I dunno 2 weeks)  And yes, I HAVE memorized this message so this is word for word:

"Hey Cym.  Just callin' to see how you're doing.  You sounded so bad the last time we talked.  I'm real worried.  So feel better kiddo.  You know I'd come visit but I'd have to break in to that fortress you call a house and sneak by your mother."( Laughs at his own joke.)

He stops, pauses, like he's done.  Then:  "You've been acting real strange since Florida.  I hope everything is ok with you.  And with us.  I miss you Cym.  Call me if you can.  Otherwise...I'll call you soon."

Hmm - maybe I will have to fight off death by lung after all.......

Oh - HUGE mazal tov to The Enchantress who graduated today!!  With capes and robes!!!  Like Harry Potter!!! 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Thanks to all of you who emailed.

I was coughing up blood earlier today and was sent to the ER for "precautionary measures".

Seven hours later - The upshot - I still have a bad case of pneumonia. I'm really weak and tired and I feel like I'm gonna die.

Otherwise, things are good!

Making a List - UPDATED





Being sick sucks in general. 

Being sick with DOUBLE PNEUMONIA (i.e., both lungs are infected) is extra specially sucky.

So sucky, in fact, that I tried to make a mental list of all the good things that could come out of being sick.  I was up all night straining my brain and I was able to come up with this list of reasons to be excited about being sick with DOUBLE PNEUMONIA!!

1.  Catch up on movies
2.  Catch up on tv
3.  Catch up on reading

Now that is a really crappy list.

On the bright side, the list of BAD things about being sick with DOUBLE PNEUMONIA is really long.

1.  The chilling part of my summer vaca is officially ruined
2.  My summer internship is in jeopardy
3.  I cannot see my best friend cause doing so might kill her
4.  I've coughed out three vital organs already - more to come!!
5.  I can barely talk from all the coughing
6.  I'm in pain
7   I cannot sleep (well that's ALWAYS the case)
8.  It looks like we are finally getting some nice weather and i won't be able to enjoy it.
9.  I'm randomly crying in frustration and pain

It's weird.  I have been coughing, alot, but NOTHING like the last 24 hours. I almost feel like getting that stupid chest x-ray and finding out my condition somehow made everything worse.

I am extremely down in the dumps right now.  The thought of lying here, cough ridden, for several weeks, is really effecting everything.  I'm just really negative. 

I miss Tova and I haven't seen her in a while and now I won't be able to for a long time. I can't really talk on the phone cause it hurts to talk.  I have no patience for anything.  I can't sit still and I can't go anywhere.  Shit, I can't even leave my room without my mother following me around with an industrial sized Lysol spray can that shoots a million pounds of pressure per second; disinfecting my disease while she makes tsk-ing sounds and rolls her eyes.

Speaking of eyes, I have been crying alot - Pain and frustration.  I feel helpless. People have been nice. Blogger friends have checked in, real friends have texted and left sympathetic voicemails, but I feel pretty alone right now.


Six weeks? Really?  I don't think I can make it six DAYS.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Sorry - no fancy song title or lyrics.  I'm too pissed.

So this is the scene from the doctor's office 20 minutes ago:

Doctor (imagine a short, overweight creepy Jewish guy, late 30's early 40's, with an office full of Gemaras):  (Mumbling like usual) "Your lungs sound bad.  I am going to give you a chest X-ray." - followed with me getting half naked for a chest X-ray.

Me (Sitting in the examination room waiting for the results) via gchat text to the Enchantress:  "I need a female doctor.  Why?  Cause I assume he wants to give me a chest X-rat so I'll take my shirt off."

Doctor (5 minutes later) Mumbling:  "Cymbaline you have pneumonia."  Followed with some shit about how I'm gonna be sick for like 6 weeks.

Me (really pissed):  "Fuck."

Him (suddenly really uncomfortable), mumbling:  "Um.  So I'll give you a prescription for something with an awful name, the size of a horse pill that will make you feel like shit, and then you will lie in bed, hacking lung shit up and then collapsing in exhaustion for a few weeks.  And then you can come back, take your shirt off and we can give you another X-ray."  Or something very similar.

My reaction is still the same though.


Take Up Thy Stethescope and Walk

"Doctor Doctor
I'm in bed
Doctor Doctor
Aching head

 Doctor Doctor
gold is lead
 Doctor Doctor

choke on bread
Doctor Doctor

Doctor Doctor

 gold is lead
 Doctor Doctor

Jesus bled
 Doctor Doctor

pain is red
Music seems to help the pain
Seems to motivate the brain

 Doctor kindly tell your wife
 That I'm alive
 Flowers thrive

So - I did it. 

Tests are done, papers are submitted.  So far (I got back alot of my stuff already) I'm kicking ass. I worked pretty much every waking hour of every day for like 10 straight days, taking off only to eat (a little) sleep (even less) and to catch  the season finales of Gossip Girl (underwhelming), Justified (awesome) and Supernatural (what can I say, those guys are very cute). 

And now my poor little body has betrayed me.  Or given out.  I'm not sure.  Instead of kicking back and relaxing at the beach or pool (you know, assuming it didn't rain every single day of the month) I'm home sick with this annoyingly dry, hack-ey cough, fever and a massive body ache.

I hate being sick for a variety of reasons.  a) It usually comes along with a case of not feeling well.  b)  It keeps me stuck at home with my mother (though at least she remains true to form and never checks up on me).  c)  It often means trips to the doctor, which I hate.   d) It gives me too much alone time with my own thoughts. 

Regarding d) - When my head isn't occupied, it tends to wrap itself up in knots and worry.  It tends to over think, to over-analyze and, finally, succumb to some weird paranoia.

So far I've been on total system crash - I actually slept like 10 hours last night which NEVER happens.  I haven't eaten much and I've really been too tired to think.  But eventually my sleep will catch up with my weariness and then I'll be in trouble.

So let's hope this whole sick thing wears off ASAP. 

Otherwise c) and d) will come in to play and get me all messed up.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hurtling Towards Hope at the Speed of Despair

The craziness of the end of the semester has prompted me to write a poem summing it all up.  Here it is for your viewing pleasure:

Finals papers studying finals papers
study study, wake up early
papers study reseacrh tests
filling out litte booklets with not enough pages
why didn't i study that topic???

Pretty good eh?  I'm thinking about submitting it to Lunatics' Weekly.

In any event - A hurricane of studying and work (as evidenced by the prose above) is blowing all around me.  Right now I'm in the eye of the storm. It's eerily quiet.  I haven't taken a break in like five days (unless you count last night when I stopped to watch the season finale of Gossip Girl  which was, by the way, HORRIBLY disappointing  - SPOILER ALERT someone's preggo) and suddenly there's a calm.  I am halfway home.  I can see the finish line and it looks pretty good from where I am.  I cannot recall the last time I ate a proper meal (possibly Shabbos lunch) or been to the gym (last Thursday maybe?) and I'm afraid I've lost weight (which totally sucks).  By the way, supposedly it poured all day.  Didn't notice.

I love how focused I've been.  This is a terribly important year for me grade wise if my trek towards law school is to become a reality.  So from that perspective it's been way productive. 

But once again, in those early morning hours (when I do my most destructive thinking) I'm constanrtly worried I'm underprepared or I haven't made my best efforts on my English paper or whatever.  Or the really scary - I'm not even sure I WANT to go to law school anymore.  Maybe it's just another one of my hair-brained schemes that will go awry before it's completed.

And fear not loyal readers (if there are any left) - I haven't had a productive thought in the last week anyway.  You haven't been missing anything.  There has't been anything in my head to post.  Perhaps I'm a one hit wonder (or is even THAT giving me too much credit?).

Halfway home - my mantra for the rest of the night.  Tomorrow it'll be "less than halfway home".  Then "almost home".  Finally "home".

Except it isn't really home.  It's just another tiny milestone, another small stone in the path.  It's all pretty overwhelming when you think about it that way.  Today it's such a BIG DEAL.  In a year from now it will have meant so little comparatively.  It's a way of making yourself feel small.

Halfway home. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

On Hiatus

I was actually going to post something about an email i got last night about how England took the Holocaust out of its curriculum because it offends the Nation of Islam, who belives the holocaust never happened.

However, blogger was down and I realized how monumentally busy I am with the end of the sememster.  So I'm on hiatus till it's all said and done.

Please leave some love in the comment section or gmail (i'll check periodically) and, as my blog buddy would say, rock on.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun

"Witness the man who raves at the wall
Making the shape of his question to Heaven
Whether the sun will fall in the evening
Will he remember the lesson of giving

Set the controls for the heart of the sun"

(R. Waters)

So one of the interesting things about reading blogs (especially ones you like) is being exposed to the bloggers' ideas and thoughts.  And so it was early this morning (I'm a very bad sleeper) I was perusing _________'s blog (sadly I cannot link to it for reasons best left unexplained) and she posted an (edited) essay that she wrote to Stern College as part of her application.  The thrust of the essay, written around her former obsession with FaceBook (since then she has closed her page) was how, with the help of her parents, she realized that she should have spent more time in high school focusing on academics and less on time wasters such as the biggest time waster of them all FaceBook. 

Regarding the FB part, I totally agree.  I proudly declare that I do not have a FB page, nor have I ever had one.  I have been asked/pressured/demanded to create one, but I have held strong.

And let's be 100% clear.  I am not judging anyone here. For starters, I don't judge people, lest people judge me (which they probably do anyway).  Secondly,  I have talked to ________ like one time, maybe twice, but I can see she's a special person.  So clearly she turned out pretty darn well.

What I had some issues with, however, was the rest of her point - specifically, that she should have spent less time focused on other parts of her high school life - such as extra curriculars, her propensity to create (art and video media specifically) and on her social life (of which she seems to have had a monster one).

To me this is where the grey area sets in.  I commented on her post something to the effect of  - who is to say the sole focus should be academics?  Who is to say an A+ is more important than the creation of something beautiful (art) or even something humorous (a funny video that brings amusement to people).  Who is to say that the hour you spent on the phone with someone who is feeling crappy (at a time in life, high school, that is often referred to as the hardest time in a girl's life) isn't worth more than the same 60 minutes of Algebra?


To me, life is, or should be, about balance.  I recognize there are exceptions to this rule (maybe there are some prodigies out there who can manage great things in academics if they apply themselves to it 100%) who the general rule doesn't apply to.  But for the rest of us, it's important to achieve balance. 

If a famous writer/composer/athlete/lawyer can suffer from burnout - so can a student.  After all, they don't have years of experience to draw from.  How hard did any of us really have to work in 6th grade???  And even if it isn't an issue of burnout, there's still the issue of being "well rounded'.  Contrary to parental belief, well rounded doesn't mean straight A's.  At least not to me. 

On the other hand, I'm no parent.  I am just now becoming a "normal" person (or trying to).  So perhaps I am not in a postition to have a well thought out position on this.  Certainly my own high school experience isn't one I can (or should) necessarily draw on. 

But maybe this isn't only about raising kids.  Maybe everyone needs to find balance.  I imagine this becomes harder and harder as the years pass.  First there's school, then a job.  Then balancing a job and a spouse.  They balancing a job, a spouse, 3 kids and a mortgage payment, all while trying to find a week you can go away for a stress-filled vacation. 

Since it gets harder, I'd argue you better have a good base when you are younger.  A base for understanding the necessity of balance.  I suppose that's where parents come in.  Someone needs to show us how it's done.

After all, if you set the controls for the heart of the sun, you might burn up.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


I think I mentioned this once but Pink Floyd once put out a concept album called "Animals", in which they group all people into 3 categories - Dogs, Pigs and Sheep.  Pigs are the leaders - all corrupt and dirty and eating everyone's slop.  (I also used Pigs in a post when describing a total and absolute dirtbag).  The Dogs are (at least in my understanding) the people who do all the dirty work and let the Pigs live in the slop.  They are the hired guns, the killers, bankers and businessmen establish the rough justice the Pigs need to thrive. 

Then there are the sheep, aka everyone else - the followers, the plebians.  They are ruled by the Pigs and terrorized by the Dogs.  (Until , incidentally, the sheep rebel:

When cometh the day we lowly ones
Through quiet reflection and great dedication
Master the art of karate
Lo, we shall rise up
And then we'll make the bugger's eyes water.

Bleating and babbling we fell on his neck with a scream
Wave upon wave of demented avengers
March cheerfully out of obscurity into the dream. -
but that's besides the point.)
What does this have to do with anything?  Well, yesterday I was chatting with Chana (aka the Curious Jew) and she was telling me about her Enneagram Type.  Now you might be saying Enna-what?  Well rest assured I was saying that yesterday too.  So she explained to me about this test which helps reveal your personality characteristics. She said her results were pretty accurate. 

Color me skeptical.  After all, I am uncategorical am I not?  How can anyone figure out who I am and put me neatly in a box?  Based on what, a short multiple choice test?  Absurd.

Yet there she was, linking me to this test.  It was 36 questions long.  What the heck, I figured, the Korean War isn't going anywhere, I can take a few minutes to prove no test can define Cymbaline. 

So I answered each question, choosing the answer which bests describes the way I view myself and pressed "submit".

Within seconds I was a type - The Investigator.  Well, at least it sounds good.  But is it accurate?  I read the explanation box.....

Holy SHIT!  This thing pretty much nailed me to a T.  Scarily so.  Chana then sent me a longer text about my personality type - it even nailed the fact that I don't get along with my mother!  It also says that I'm either a genius or a lunatic.  Perfect. 

Let's look at this thing:  Doesn't trust other people - check.  Perceptive - check.  Cerebral - check.  Independent - check.  Preoccupied with their thoughts and imaginary constructs - um, check   (   :(    ).  Detached, high strung and intense?  Ok maybe I'm not high strung but otherwise...check.  I have problems with eccentrics and nihilists - well I never really thought about it but if you say so.

So now I'm in love with my Enneagram Type.  Had I known about this earlier, my nickname would probably be The Investigator instead of Cymbaline.   Cymbaline the Investigator - it sounds like a children's book. 

*                         *                            *                              *                            *

As a total aside, but speaking of Chana - I had the pleasure of finding her lil sis in the blog world as well.  Though under semi-strict orders to keep her blog URL a secret, I'll give her a plug without a link nontheless.    ;)

Saturday, May 7, 2011


"If I were a swan, I'd be gone.
If I were a train, I'd be late.

If I were to sleep, I could dream.
If I were afraid, I could hide.
If I go insane, please don't put
Your wires in my brain.

If I were the moon, I'd be cool.
If I were a rule, I would bend.

If I were alone, I would cry.
And if I were with you, I'd be home and dry.
And if I go insane,
Will you still let me join in with the game?"

(R. Waters)

What if?

We all ask it.  Often many times a day.  Worriers think about it more and those less concerned think about it,well, less.  But it's a scary thing to ponder isn't it?

What if?

What if X happens?  What if Y does?  What if those perfectly assembled plans go awry?

What if?

What if the decisions I've made have been wrong?  Even worse, what if they have just been poorly thought out acts of self destruction? 

Why did I turn away from god and religion?  Why am I in an emotional cold (and sometimes hot) war with my mother?  Why did I end up drinking and drugging and sexing my way through my adolescence?  During the waking hours (and in the therapist's office) it's clear that my choices came about because I lacked a support system and I was pushed into it by the torrential force of a system in which I did not fit in.

What if?

Because in the night hours it's a whole different story.  When I'm lying awake in the false dawn, I wonder if the reason for the corruption of my youth was something else altogether.  I wonder if it was simply because I was a lazy, selfish girl who took the easy way out.  One who decided it was easier to put out that to tough it out.  Easier to ride the bong than to struggle through the trenches.

What if the reality I live in is simply a carefully constructed lie that I have developed in order to be able to live with myself?

What if?

What ifs are a symptom of the disease called self-doubt.  A disease that preys on the weak, the young and those who lack self esteem.  Self doubt is a killer.  Literally.  It kills people through drinking, drugs, eating disorders and suicide.  It whispers in your ears in the night watches.  It takes the breath from you and turns your heart cold.

When I was younger, self doubt ate at me like the Ebola virus.  It coursed through my veins.  It took away my self esteem and eventually the vast majority of my dignity.  It encouraged me to finish that bottle of Stoli or take that hit of dope.  It told me it was ok to let him go a little further and a little further than that and what the hell just let him do whatever the fuck he wants.  Then it laughed at me while I silently picked my clothes off the floor and fled to whatever the night held.

Rock bottom.

You hit it and then you have two choices.  Either you take out a pick-ax and start digging deeper or you start clawing yourself out of the hole.

Me? With a lot of help, I got my shit together and started the long haul up the rock face.  I'm still climbing.  But now I can see more light than darkness.

But self-doubt, like alcoholism or Malaria, never truly goes away.  Sometimes it's quiet in the blood, but it will occasionally start boiling.  Which leads, of course, to bad cases of the what ifs.

It scares me.  Badly.  The nagging idea that maybe I wasn't a victim of circumstances but rather a willing participant in my own self destruction.  I don't know.  I really don't.

What if?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Nobody Home

"I've got a little black book with my poems in
I've got a bag with a toothbrush and a comb in
When I'm a good dog they sometimes throw me a bone in

I've got electric light
And I've got second sight
I've got amazing powers of observation

And that is how I know
When I try to get through
On the telephone to you
There'll be nobody home

I've got nicotine stains on my fingers
I've got a silver spoon on a chain
I've got a grand piano to prop up my mortal remains

I've got wild staring eyes
I've got a strong urge to fly But I've got nowhere to fly to
Ooooh Babe when I pick up the phone
There's still nobody home"
(R. Waters)

 Tuesday night was the best DATE of my life.  David and I made plans for us to meet up at his hotel (since, after all, it's obviously easier for car-less me to get to him that for his expense account ass to get up to where I was staying - but the things foolish people will do for love, right?) after he finished his work.  Since I didn't really have anything nice packed (thanks to Tova's no checked bag rule), I wore my jeans and a clean t-shirt and we decided to not be fancy.  I also shoved something to sleep in and something to wear Wednesday, just in case, into my bag (a girl can never be too careful).

We dined on sushi, drank cold Coronas and took a very long, romantic walk on the boardwalk.

We talked for hours.  Literally.  We talked about everything.  Life, our dreams.  Our futures.  We talked and we laughed.  It felt....well shit, it felt amazing.

A few hours later we were spooning (fully clothed you pervs) in his room. I was glad to be facing away from him lest he see the shit eating grin on my face. 

I can't remember feeling quite that happy in a long time.

Half asleep, almost already in my sweet dreams, I asked what he was thinking.  "I'm thinking how great it is to have you as a friend."  Through the sleepy fog, tiny alarm bells start going off in my head.

"A friend?" I ask, suddenly awake.

"Sure," he says, "friends."  He amends himself.  "Good friends." 

His voice is matter of fact.  His words, a dagger in my heart. 

He shifts his weight and it feels as though the direction of the conversation has created a chasm between us.

"So we are just friends?" I ask, instantly regretting the words before I can haul them back in.  I feel a sweat breaking on my scalp.  In my mind I'm clawing back the hands of time and putting a zipper on my mouth before those words come out.

"What else would we be?"

What else indeed.  What else would my foolish heart and my fucking stupid brain have thought?  That this awesome guy, who can have anyone in the world, would choose the broken down thing who spent countless hours bearing her cracked soul to him to the point of nausea?  That he would choose this vessel, used and abused like a common whore for so long, over the myriads of Monster McBitches and their perfect pedigrees and their lack of religious and emotional baggage?

I made a sound like a laugh tinged with shards of glass.  "Haha, nothing," I say.  "I'm just tired.  I am gonna go to sleep."  And I'm glad I'm facing away from him lest he see the single tear falling off my eye onto the impossibly soft hotel pillow case.

I am gonna go to sleep.  So I said.  Except I don't sleep for one minute all night, while he peaceably slumbers.  Yet I'm pretending to be asleep when he gets up the next morning, gets ready, davens and leaves for work.  I wait until I am sure he is gone before I get myself into a sitting position.  Then I cry. 

It is my preferred cry of choice - soundless, tearless.  Shoulders heaving until I feel as though my chest is breaking.

When there is nothing else left, I gather my things, leave the hotel and take a cab back to Tova's place.  She doesn't have to ask.  She sees the look in my eye.  We embrace and she hold me for a very long time.  She eats breakfast.  I have no appetite for food.  Then we go through our daily ritual.  Bathing suits on, suntan lotion applied, we head for the pool.  We don't speak about it for a long time.  She tries to convince me that he didn't mean anything.  That his words were not rejection, just foolish, sleepy pillow talk.  I try to convince myself she is right.

I cannot remember feeling this miserable in a long time.