Friday, December 28, 2012

Ramble On

"Ramble on
Sing My Song"
(Robert Plany/Jimmy Page)

THEN:

Me:  "But what am I supposed to write in a journal?"

Wise Therapist:  "Just write.  Write whatever comes to your mind.  Specifically, whatever you are feeling."

Me:  But what if I'm not feeling anything?"

Him (smiling):  "Then just write."


NOW:

Just write.

Word of wisdom.  And quite honestly, extremely helpful sentiments to someone in need of them. 

You all know the back story.  If you are still reading this, you know why it started.  And how helpful it has been.  But for a while, for the last several months, I kind of lost the thread. 

Just write.

A week ago, a little birdie reminded me that just writing had been such a therapeutic, cleansing experience for me.  "Are you writing?" she asked.  Not just on the blog.  Anywhere?  Anything?

No.  I wasn't.  Not a word, not a syllable.  Not a dark thought or a happy moment.  Not about my trials and tribulations of becoming a productive member of the work force.  Not about my struggles.  not about my happiness.  Not a word.  Not a single letter.

Just write.

A mistake.  A miscalculation.  I'm done.  I'm free.  I'm evolved.  No more backsliding.  No more troubles.  Just a magical flight from messed up to higher up. 

Except it doesn't really work that way does it?  The demons linger, deep within, long after the emergency triage is needed.  Long after the therapies and the sessions and the deep, meaningful talks.  Long after you have jettisoned you past, even the parts that were accidentally jettisoned, they rise up from deep down inside you.  They whisper your hidden secrets and they remind you that you are no good. 

Just write.

But they are just a bunch of liars.  You are good and you have evolved.  Sure you aren't perfect.  Sure you make mistakes.  But the question is, what do you do with them.  Do you learn?  Do you improve? Do you give up and give in to that nagging sensation that beckons you to take the easy way - the path of least resistance?

But then you are reminded.  There is a better way.  Not easier, no.  But better.  More fulfilling.  Ultimately the ONLY way to get where you want to go.

Just write.

Then, perhaps, it becomes just right.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Pushing the Reset Button

Made a huge mistake?  Just water under the bridge.  Screwed the pooch on your project?  No worries, it's all good.

It's called pushing the reset button - just pretend like it never happened and move on.

Except, of course, the Reset Button is a myth.

There is no going back.  There is no do over.  What's done is done and it cannot be erased as easily as deleting a document on your computer.

BUT.

But that doesn't mean you can't move on

To err is human.  To dwell on all of your past mistakes is...well that's a mistake.  You may not be able to push the reset button,  but that doesn't mean you can live your life weighed down by all of your misdeeds.

Balance. The answer is to find a balance between what you have done and how you can live with it.  For if you do not move forward, chances are you are moving backwards.

To err is human.  To learn from your mistakes is a step above.  To wallow in your own self pity is simply destructive.

Move on or move back.  There's no middle ground.  It's like a relationship.  It works the same way.  Either you are moving forward or you will stagnate into reverse.

Saying "we all make mistakes" certainly doesn't excuse poor behavior.  It is a fact, but a sad fact.  No one expects perfection, but there are lines that should not be crossed.  Yet here we are, crossing lines all the time.  And with no magic reset button either.

So what can I do?  I can wallow in self pity.  I can can pretend it never happened.  I can push the fake reset button.  But then I will have learned nothing,  Then I won't be a better person for it in a week, a month a year.

So instead, I will learn from it - I will try better next time.  I will work on myself to try and make sure it doesn't happen again.  Then, perhaps, I will be, arguably, a better person for it. 

So damn you magic Reset Button, damn you for not existing and making everything so easy.  But thank you too.

 Because, ultimately, easy doesn't make it better, just easier.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Movie Review Friday - The Dark Knight Rises

Ed's Note:  Sorry for the title mess up - I've dont that twice RISES, not Returns.  The lesson, as always, is that I'm a dumbass.

Fair warning - I saw it last night for the first time.  And much like its predecessor, The Dark Knight, this movie clearly needs several watchings in order to formulate something that makes sense.

Second fair warning - MASSIVE SPOILERS BELOW - if you have not seen the movies, and you want to, I'd stop reading right now.

Now then:

Upon watch number one, The Dark Knight Rises (DKR) is not as good as The Dark Knight (DK).  And really, for one simple reason - Heath Ledger's Joker brings such a disturbing edge to the film, that it simply cannot be matched by DKR's banal Bane.  Yes, the stakes are higher in this last film of the trilogy, it's not simply Gotham's soul at stake, but its physical existence.  Even so, the movie lacked the emotional tilt of the DK without the freakish lunacy of the Joker.

Christopher Nolan, as it has been mentioned many times, has completely re-defined the superhero genre with the batman trilogy.  These are action movies almost as an afterthought.  These movies make you think.

Nolan raises the bar in this one.  Whereas the Joker was interested in Gotham's soul, Bane is interested in wreaking revenge on Gotham, and The Batman, in a completely destructive way.  He bombs the city, blows all the bridges and has a mobile nuclear bomb ready to detonate in a minute.  Oh and by the way, he's got Bruce Wayne several thousand miles away in an inescabpeable prison with a broken back.

But wait, it's not actually Bane at all who is controlling everything,  It's really Marion Cottilard, the daughter of Batman's enemy from the first movie, out for some serious revenge. 

But I digress.  While I was bored with Bane, the cast does a nice job here.  Michael Caine's Alfred is always great.  Gary Oldman's portrayal of Sirius Bl...I mean Commissioner Gordon always solid.  I like their take on the "Robin" character with Joseph Gordon Levitt.  And I loved Anne Hathaway's performance as Selina AKA "Catwoman".  Morgan Freeman kinda sleepwalks through this one as Lucious Fox but hey, he's Morgan Freeman. 

This movie is also about class divide.  Like i said, Nolan's movies are really more about making you think than anything else.  In the Dark Knight, he was making a point about people's propensity to do evil when given the opportunity.  While this movie expands upon this, he seems to be making more of a social message about our society.  Mainly that rich people take advantage of the poor, but that people who supposedly want to help poor people are actually taking a different kind of advantage as well.  It's a very mixed up moral message here (pardon the M's).  Are all our leaders bad?  Does anyone care about anyone else?

I remeber reading Roger Ebert's review in which he states that the movie spends a long time debating whether or not Batman is even a necessary evil or over-kill.  I disagree.  In Nolan's specific world - with horrors of such indescribable levels, its is completely necessary to have antiheroes like The Batman. 

Was it a good movie?  A bad movie?  It's considered a masterpiece.  As I said, after watch #1, I didn't enjoy it as much as DK.  But I remember not liking teh DK at first either.  It took me a long time to appreciate Ledger's groundbreaking performance (best psycho since Hannibal Lechter).  But this movie makes you think about a lot of different things - and the last half an hour is a suspense filled ride where batman finally gets his groove on.  Also a happy ending is actually a nice feeling after all of the suffering Nolan puts us through for three films.

So there you have it.  I give  it a thumbs up and recommend it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

There Are Only So Many Hours In A Day.....So How Does Anyone Get Anything Done????

When Mick Jagger sang "Time is on My Side", he proved two things:

1.  Being a rock star isn't a full time job; and

2.  He never HAD a full time job.

Either that or he was a lying sack of crap.

Because what I have been discovering since working full time is that - there are NOT enough hours in a day to accomplish everything that needs to get done.

This is neither a rant nor a complaint.  Let's make that clear up front.  I'm loving work.  I love learning about everything, I love the interactions with my office mates.  I love being a part of a wonderful machine that creates a process with a specific outcome. 

However, I can tell you that the laundry suffers.  And the cooking.  And the general cleaning.  My eating habits have become abysmal.  There simply isn't enough time.

We leave early.  it's a good thing I'm an insanely early riser so I can still get a workout in before.  We get home late, with a full day in the office in between.  It's exhilarating, stressful and tiring all rolled into awesome.

I'm tired a lot more than I used to be.  Now I think I understand why parents always look so damn exhausted.  Imagine they do this all day and then come home to a house full of rug rats. Yikes!

But what a ride!  I love being  apart of this.  Now excuse me - there's not enough time to keep writing!

Friday, October 19, 2012

On Which She Begins To Understand THE NEXT STEP

"I get up at seven, yeah,
And I go to work at nine.
I got no time for livin'.
Yes, I'm workin' all the time.

It seems to me
I could live my life
A lot better than I think I am.
I guess that's why they call me,
They call me the workin' man.

So I get home at five o'clock,
And I take myself out a nice, cold beer.
Always seem to be wond'rin'
Why there's nothin' goin' down here.

It seems to me
I could live my life
A lot better than I think I am.
I guess that's why they call me,
They call me the workin' man."


(Rush  - Working Man)

So I'm officially a member of the "Working Force". 

It's quite overwhelming.  It's fast paced.  There is so much to learn and absorb, so many people to know.  So many things to do.

In other words - it's freaking awesome!

I've written many time about my life's road map and the PLAN and all that other good stuff.  But honestly, my entrance into the Land of the Employed has always been a great mystery to me.  A fuzzy picture in which I always imagined myself dressed in business attire and doing a variety of tasks with various people - but the details never actually swimming into focus amid the haze.

And yes, I do wear business attire (except Fridays) and I am performing a variety if tasks (or, more specifically, learning how vast and, well, varied those tasks are.

For those of you who don't know, I'm actually working in my in-laws family business.  Throughout my work search, they have offered to have me work there (in the industry I was always interested in no less) but I originally was against the idea of working so close with family.  After all, I was just adjusting to being a part of their family and I was afraid that no one there would actually take me particularly seriously- just the bosses' new daughter in law coming in like she owns the place and all that.

Two things swayed me - the first was that my father in law seemed to very sincerely...excited by the prospect of having me there and of teaching me the craft.  I found that extremely touching to be honest.  The second? I couldn't even get a nibble at other jobs except to be "The face" in reception.  Um, no thanks.  I make my own coffee and that's it.

So I've been here a week.  I'm sitting in meetings, getting a run of the office, and learning at the feet of a successful businessman who treats me well. 

Oh and I get to be with David every day.  We even did Lunch Wednesday.  Awwww.

So that's the first week update.  I'm happy and everything's exceeding expectations.

Can't wait for the weekend!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

What To Say When You Have Nothing To Say

I've stared at this blank page many times in the last few months.  I'll click it on and off.  Every so often (as opposed to two or three times a week) something is there.  More often than not....not so much.

So is this how blogs die?  Slowly and painfully, protracted and dragged out of the course of many months - outliving their usefulness in fits and starts like a car with 150,000 miles on its odometer might peter out.

Do I have nothing left to say?  Is my story done?  Of course not.  There is so much more to do.  A life to live.  Dreams to fulfill and more to make. 

But maybe I don't have as much to say here

My journal of the journey.  My record of things.  The balm of a wounded soul.  Perhaps, now, simply less wounded than before.  Maybe the need isn't there to same way it was last year.  Maybe I'm less angsty now, maybe my spirit no longer feels so damn alone anymore.

I have a family now, an in-law one yes, but one that has accepted me as one of their own nevertheless.  I continue to get closer with my dad and my soon to be married brother too.  I have a husband who I love and who loves me and I have the friendship of his little circle.  I am no longer the person I was.

And while those are all truly wonderful things which I am extremely happy for, they also make it impossible for me to blog in the same way.  And so often times I will open the blank page and soon after click it off.  Hell, I barely even look at other blogs anymore.  It feels as though this entire part of me is drying up and falling to dust around me.

Last year it felt as though I was posting two or three times a week.  The pain words flowed like water onto the page.  The almost magical stories, the heartfelt, tear chocked anecdotes of my life - "pictures of you, pictures of me".   They seem to have been part of a completed phase.  Phase I - Rebellion.  Phase II - Self Destruction.  Phase III - Recovery.  Done, all done. 

Phase IV - Get Busy LIVING.

Even the people I met talk to from this blog - well chat with - seem to be disappearing from around me.  They are too busy or have simply moved on to greener pastures.  One or two even find me to be overwhelming.  Sweet lil' ol' me.  Imagine that (Insert Smiley Face Smiling Rather Sweetly).

Well time moves on.  I don't hold grudges. If my friendship with Tova couldn't stand the test of forever, then perhaps nothing can.  As Red would say, "get busy living or get busy dying - that's goddam right". 

I'm about to embark on the next great journey in my life - gainful employment.  Yes, I found a job.  Doesn't matter where it is or how I got it.  Perhaps it isn't the way I wanted to start, but at least I'm starting. I am going to check off the box on my road map.  And even if the twists and turns are there, the road is still going in the right direction  (the path of the Beam if you ken).

Am I gone?  Not quite.  Am I getting on towards 150,000 miles on the odometer?  Looks like.  I'll still be around on G-chat and occasionally peeking in on some blogs - if and when I have what to say I'll say it.  I don't worry about readership or "hits" or the like.  I remain true to the only reader I ever wrote for - ME. 

Now it's time to get busy living.



Friday, September 21, 2012

The Curious Nature of Friendship

Not sure if people notice or not, but I have not been writing about Tova for quite some time.  The reason for this is simple - right after my wedding we got into a HUGE fight - I said some things, she said some things - and it escalated from there.  It doesn't matter what the fight was about - let's just say we both had valid points to make.  A massive blowout was followed by a USA-Russia type cold war.  Followed, finally, but some very cold texts and stilted phone conversations, aka "progress".  (Under normal circumstances, our massive blowouts were usually followed by some crying, apologies and hugging within minutes or at most, hours, later.).  But whatever you want to call it, there has been a very real and not so subtle shift in our relationship.

Now a year ago, this would have been a Disaster of Epic Proportions!!!. The Titanic going down with me in the engine room.  Standing on Vesuvius as it erupted.  Tanning on those white sandy beaches of Atlantis seconds before the big earthquake-type proportions.

But a funny thing happened since then.  It seems we are both thriving away from each other.  I'm enjoying married life with David, expanding my social circle exponentially (each time one of Dave's friends finds a significant other, friends of friends, when we are introduced to a nice new couple, etc) and for the first time... actually enjoying life. 

And Tova? Did she fall to pieces without my constant love and support?  NO!  She's back in school, she's still seeing her BF and she's made...get this...new friends!  She's going out.  She's having fun.  She's living.  Bitch.

Which made me do a lot of thinking about the nature of friendship.  Was ours poisonous?  Did we hold each other back?  Were we somehow toxic?  Did our us against the world mentality actually retard our ability to grow?

Short answer?  FUCK NO. 

Longer answer:

At the end of The Dark Knight [SPOILER ALERT] a deflated Commissioner Gorden tells his son that Batman has become a "criminal" because that's what's best for the City of Gotham - "Because he's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. " (emphasis mine) 

Gotham needed Batman to be "bad" because it needed Harvey Dent to be good, even though he really wasn't. (Confused?  Watch this amazing and disturbing movie about 4 times and it will all make sense.  Assuming you can stomach four times through Heath Ledger's powerfully disturbing performance as the Joker.  Truly painful to watch.  Yes, I used "disturbing" twice because it really was, well, disturbing.)

[END SPOILER ALERT]

And in the end, that sums up Tova and I.  For many years, we were both the friends we needed and the friends we deserved.  No one else could have understood our pain, our hardships, our suffering.  Each of us was going through a unique type of hell on earth - her bouts with cancer and my bouts with.... well everything. We had each other and that was enough.  As Cletus Purcell so often tells Dave Robocheaux - "no one fucks with the Bobsey Twins from homicide".  Tova and I took on the world.  We had each other and didn't need anything, or anyone, else.  We were the Bobsey Twins from homicide.  Period, end of story.

But stories change. Times change.  Circumstances change.  I found David and solace for my pain in a new life.  Not just solace, but an environment less toxic, nay nontoxic, within which I can thrive - where all of my dreams (assuming I had dreams as a child) could come true.  And perhaps because of this my safe house, my Tova, has become something that perhaps I still deserve, but no longer necessarily need.

As life (though not necessarily my ego) would have it, Tova seems to have been in a similar boat as well.  Without her crutch (and perhaps fueled to some degree by a desire to stick it to me?), she's blossomed .  She's happy.  She's seeing someone.  She's got an expanded social circle of her own.  Bitch.

Friendship, true friendship, is forever.  I still believe that.  Like family though, sometimes that's not always the greatest, or most perfect, thing.  But still forever. 

Yet, things change over the course of forever.  Batman understood this, Commissioner Gordon did too.  Now, perhaps, so do I.  If you would have told me a year ago that Tova and I, the Bobsey Twins from homicide would ever be anything other than best friends forever, I would have saved a place for you in the loony bin.  And now here we stand a year, a marriage and a whole life later, in a whole new place.

Will Tova always have a place with me.  Yes.  Will I ever forget her?  No.  But that energy, that raw, terrible energy that was the nature of our close bond, is now gone - gone in a rush of a new reality for both of us which has dissipated much of that once vital life force. 

Gone yes, but never forgotten.  Because Tova will always be the hero I deserve if not necessarily the one I need.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"Never Forget" = A Decade?

Perhaps I'm too cynical from all my years of practice.  Perhaps I just don't get out enough to see it.  But is it me or has our collective memory of 9/11 become just that - a memory.  Yesterday's beautiful sunset, now a fuzzy pinkish purple haze in our over loaded memory banks. Only much less pretty to look at.

Never forget.

People are sick of the "War on Terror".  They are sick of the words Iraq and Afghanistan.  They are sick of hearing that people hate us.  They want to stop living in fear.

9/11.  We all remember it.  We all vowed to never forget.  Last year there were beautiful ceremonies at Ground Zero.  I watched and I cried.  But it was a Sunday.  So yes, it was easy to tune in.  This time it's Tuesday.  People need to work, go to school.  shop.  People need to move on. 

Never forget

Never forget?  People don't want to remember that a religion of millions and millions of people want them all dead.  That our lifestyle choice, that of freedom, is a dirty word to them.  That they hated us so much, they flew jets with full tanks of gas into giant buildings and toppled them down.  They killed themselves to get this job done.

Never forget

But we are forgetting.  Every single year we are losing just a little more interest.  A little more anger drains away.  "Eh these haters aren't so bad.  Bin Laden is dead.  Cut off the head and the body will follow right?  Why get all worked up about all this stuff.  Let it go.  The presidential election is a few months away, I need to be focused on that now, not the past."

You can't tell me it's the same.  Those of you who were in the city that day - you were covered in white ash and death and fear.  And now - today I walked through the city - it was beautiful.  It was magnificent.  But it was not 9/11.  Not the one of a decade ago.

Never forget?  We are already forgetting.  We are letting congress slash our defense budget.  We are forgetting our allies in freedom.  We are allowing Iran to stall us while they make a bomb - all while announcing to the world that they plan to use it on a democratic country.

Never forget.

A saying.  Words.  And we all know that words are wind.  Wind which spreads the ashes of the Twin Towers and the people inside it all over the world to this very day.


Friday, September 7, 2012

Smartphone App Review Fridays - WAZE!!!

I'm not a huge Droid App person.  Sure, I have all the basics, and some awesome add-ons.  The App that makes my phone into a bright flashlight.  The one that that gives me access to a bunch of newspapers.  The drudge report app.  Bloomberg app.  I'm a fan of Instagram too.

But those are toys people, not tools.  Waze is a tool.  In fact, it's the last GPS you will ever use.

Waze is a gps app, developed in Israel!!! (They have offices in Raanana and Palo Alto - sweet combo).  It's on Iphone, Droid and some other systems no one actually uses (yes, I'm talking to you, Blackberry).  On top of the fact that it's directions kick Garmin's ass, it also is in real time and interactive.  it gives you traffic updates, tells you where there are accidents and slowdowns, and even tells you if an upcoming traffic light has a traffic cam attached to it.  Damn!

It has the points of interest stuff and even real time gas prices, reported by other users.  Damn!

Waze is so awesome because it's interactive.  It takes information from other drivers who report stuff. In addition to turn-by-turn voice navigation, real-time traffic, and other location-specific alerts, Waze simultaneously sends anonymous information, including users' speed and location, back to its database to improve the service as a whole.  Yes, I cut that last sentence straight out of Wikipedia.

 And get this, we were driving the other day on a highway and we were coming up to a bit of a slow-down.  So we slowed down.  Waze ASKED US WHY WE WERE SLOWING DOWN!!!  Damn!

And to top it off, it's free App to download and it gives really good directions.  Better than my crappy Garmin, which I don't even use anymore.  Also, there's a social aspect to it, with games and chatting and other crap I'm not really interested in.  The more you participate, the more your Waze avatar advances in this social world.  Whatever.

One downside, Waze burns through your battery real quick, so make sure you have a car charger handy when you use it.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Hey You, Stop Laughing At My Plans

Little girls dream of being princesses, growing up and marrying princes.  Boys dream of being policemen and fireman and army rangers.

Then we get a little bit older and we make more "serious" plans.  You know, great Rabbinic scholar, CEO of a fortune 500 company, stay at home JAP mom who gets her nails done every day and goes out with her friends for fancy lunches (just kidding Jewish ladies).

When I started my path to "recovery", I made a plan for myself.  I had a name for it.  It was the Roadmap.  And the road map was my bible.  It was my master plan for showing them all that i could beat them - that even though I wasn't going to end up like they wanted me to, I was going to be a success. 

(Who were them and they?  The usual suspects, the teachers, Rabbis, my parents, everyone who ever spoke bad about me, anyone who ever used me and threw me away, the guy who once laughingly told me to my face, after I did certain things for him, that someone like me could never amount to anything.  Oh yes, them and they are a nice big list).  But I digress.

My plan was very simple.  Go to college.  Graduate with honors.  Get a job in finance.  Devote every inch of my being to that job.  Skyrocket through the ranks.  Become a corporate bigwig by age 30 (oh 18 year old me would have rolled on the floor laughing if you suggested to her getting married at 21 - ROTFL I tell you!).  Find a nice non Jewish boy, get married.  Have one kid (a girl, of course).  Die with a half page (at least) obit in the New York Times lauding my great accomplishments in the world of finance.

Sure, scoff.  Laugh if you will oh you doubters.  This was the Roadmap, and i was going to follow it to the very last detail.  Honestly, nothing would stand in my way.  And I used to repeat the list in my head every night before bedtime, much like Arya Stark (the Tickler, Prince Jeoffrey, The Hound, The Mountain, Raff the Sweetling, Polliver, Ser Merwyn).

Over time, it changed a touch - about two years ago I decided I'd get married at 25 to a non-religious Jew and have two kids (either two girls or a boy and a girl), but otherwise the Roadmap was the solid road map of my life.

And I did finish college, and I did well.  Step one of the Roadmap complete.

And then the wheels came flying off.

Let me make one thing very, very clear.  This post is not a complaint about how my life is turning out.  I couldn't be happier.  I love how my life is turning out, pretty much all of it. 

It's just I was thinking yesterday that the Roadmap is in complete and absolute tatters.

We dream, we plan.  We get it all figured out.  We tell ourselves that it's in our control.  But truthfully, it just isn't.  And on top of that, there is no single point in your life where you can make answers that will serve you for what's to come.  Everything changes.  You adapt or you fall behind.  People who are too rigid to adapt are going to be unhappy.  Because let's face it, "man plans and God laughs". (No, sorry guys, that's not original.  I've heard it once or twice before)  And this is one of the reasons why this journal is so helpful to me.  because I'm able to record snapshots, how I'm thinking at a certain moment, or time, in life.  Then I can look back and see how things, or my ideas, have changed.  Go my therapist!!

So here I am - 21 closing in on 22, already married.  Seeing the possibility at least of more than two kids (though not too soon!) and seeing the further probability that my days as a corporate bigwig are not only numbered, but may never even happen - a combination of a truly shitty economy and a truly shitty economy. (It seems that even with pulled strings, my value to most companies is as a pretty face in reception.)  I'm left with the probability that I'll be taking my fallback job (a family thing) right away.

Again, this isn't a complaint.  It's actually an observation.  Mainly that we have to be flexible.  We have to adapt.  We have to be willing to change.  There is simply too much outside of our control.  Yesterday I was looking at the ripped up Roadmap and feeling as though I had no control over my life.  But some smart ass pointed out that things ended up pretty well for me.  So cest la vie, in a sense.  You can't cry over what you can't control.  And to be honest, I'd prefer that my biggest accomplishment in life are the children I bring into the world rather than the billion dollar deals I've closed.

So there you have it.  Everything changes.  It doesn't mean you shouldn't plan - you most certainly should.  But you have to be flexible with your plan.

Now excuse me while I try to plan lunch with a friend...

Monday, August 27, 2012

Is It Too Early For Post-Summer Blues?

Honestly, is there anything more depressing than watching to local weather-person, while showing us the 7-day forecast, make teasing references to "the last weekend of summer"?  Really?  That's what you want to make us feel bad about? The return of chilly-then cold-then freezing cold temperatures?  We are supposed to be excited about this?

The big Summer 2012 Vacation Extravaganza is over.  Yes it was awesome. Yes, it pretty much lived up to all my expectations.  Yes, I did all the things on my to-do list including taking a picture with my supposed look alike (I didn't see it), wear a straw cowboy hat for a day (I like them, sue me) and even dress up in the most gawdawful purple dress you have ever seen and posed for a photo (I lost a bet - long story) in Pennsylvania wine country (who knew there was one?).  I swam, rafted, hiked and outdoor cooked.  i rode scary roller-coasters and lounged in the sun.  It was perfect.

And now, over.  And reality is setting back in.  I have to start sending out my resume as my job search gets serious.  David's back at work (it was nice seeing him 24/7).  I have to food shop (my fridge is empty) and do other apartment things.  It's downright depressing.  Soon I'll be breaking out the sweaters and warm clothes.  How depressing.

So I have answered my own question - no, it is not too early.  I have the Post-Summer Blues during summer!

Now excuse me while I run outside to walk in the warmth and but a frozen coffee beverage to make myself feel better....

Friday, August 17, 2012

Live Free or Die (Hard)

Yes chicks and chickadees, it's that time of year again - Cymbaline's hitting the road.

There will be some hiking, some swimming, some boating, some rafting, some BBQ-ing.  We will drink icy cold beer and watch some suns set.  We will climb rocky paths and swim in waterfall infested waters.  We will relax in hot-tubby splendor.  We will see hundreds of acres of tree tops from high peaks.  We will walk between shadow and sun.  All in all, should be fun.

It's vacation time and therefore all is right with the world (except, perhaps, this little stomach bug which has been bothering me for 4 days, refuses to leave, but at least has made me super trim!!).

So there you have it.  The explanation for my upcoming radio silence.  So panic not, I am ok - better than ok in fact.

I'm terrific.

So leave some love brothers and sisters.

And have a great week!

You know I will ;)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Unrepentant

No, this is not a movie review.  And if you don't get this one, all the better.  Means it isn't aimed at you:

This is me, unrepentant.  It's me declaring to the world, loudly and in color:

"THIS IS WHO I AM - LIKE IT OR NOT.  I'M NOT GOING TO CHANGE BECAUSE YOU DON'T AGREE WITH HOW I DO THINGS."

To paraphrase a wise sailor, I am who I am.  To quote him directly, "I yam who I yam". 

I am me, warts and all.  I have my qualities and my faults, the products of the life I suffered through up until now.  Maybe you don't agree with all my choices, past or present.  Maybe you feel I'm too free with my words, my actions or my dress codes.  Maybe my thoughts on sex are too provocative for you.  Perhaps my positions on religion are not to your liking.  Perhaps you don't approve of me saying I think I'm pretty. 

It's not changing anytime soon.  Get used to it or get off the bus.

No, I'm not writing this about you.  Or you.  Or even you.  I'm writing this about any of you who feels the need to question how I do things.  Those of you who read this and those of you who don't.  For the latter category, I guess this will be a silent scream. 

I won't change - not for you or anyone else.  I am happy with the woman I have become.  I don't feel the need to pretend to be for anyone else.  I don't live for the society around me.  Maybe you do, maybe that's your great mistake.  Constantly subjugating your will to that of the herd.

You want to "wax me, mold me, heat the pins and stab them in".  But I won't let you.  That was another me, another time and a million miles away.  I am no longer controlled by those forces.  Your words have no effect on me.  They can't hurt me, 

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not looking for an army of "yes men".  By all means - disagree with me.  Argue with me.  Tell me I'm wrong about things.  But don't you judge me.  Not until you have walked five inches in my shoes.  I don't care if you don't approve - but be open minded enough to understand yours isn't the only way (and spare me the religious arguments, thanks).

Try, instead, to appreciate how far I've come.

I only need one person's approval in this world.  That's it.  Everyone else can be happy for me or not.  Can support me or not.

This is me, unrepentant.  It's me declaring to the world, loudly and in color:

"THIS IS WHO I AM - LIKE IT OR NOT. I'M NOT GOING TO CHANGE BECAUSE YOU DON'T AGREE WITH HOW I DO THINGS."

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Movie Review Thursdays - Almost Famous

Well today IS Thursday no?  And I did watch Almost Famous last night.  And it struck me.  So here goes.  I'll try to keep it relatively spoiler free.  Oh and also, if you like these types of review, let me know in the comments section or by email and I will add them to my repertoire:

Almost Famous is a somewhat autobiographical work by awesome director Cameron Crowe (Jerry MacGuire, Fast Times at Ridgemont High and the amazing, amazing Say Anything, a movie like 20 years ahead of its time).  It is the story of 16 year old William Miller, a high school kid who loves rock and roll.  In 1973, he manages to land a gig for Rolling Stone magazine, writing an on the road article about fictional rock band Stillwater.  Despite Miller being "one of the enemy", the band befriends him and takes him in.

The story itself is very good.  Young kid enters into the fake world of fame, glamour and rock and sees all of the rocks beneath the surface.  But what drives this story forward is the wonderful acting by everyone other than Patrick Fugit, who plays Miller.

Frances McDormand is dead on as William's offbeat mother - who lied to Miller about his age when he was 11 so he wouldn't feel so out of place with the 13 and 14 year old he was with in high school (she pushed him ahead).  While initially against his going with the band, she allows it.  Her excellent phone conversation with lead guitarist Russell Hammond is legendary, turning the "Golden God" into a murmuring "yes ma'am" kind of guy.  Or the humerous scene when she suddenly ends her college class because "my son was kidnapped by a rock band".

Phillip Seymour Hoffman plays Lester Bangs, who apparently was a famous rock critic for a magazine called Creem magazine.  He serves as Miller's advisor.  The best advice he drives home is that famous people will use you and pretend to be friends with you in order to ultimately get what they want - for you to make them more famous.  He advises Miller to stay aloof and be brutally honest.

Billy Cruddup plays Russell Hammond, the lead guitarist and super ego-ist of the group.  He spends the entire movie cheating on his girlfriend, threatening to leave the band, fighting with his band mates and alternating between drug addled declarations ("I am a Golden God", he proclaims right before he jumps off a roof into a swimming pool) and feelings of trying to connect with the "real people" (like the ones who give him the acid he trips on BEFORE jumping off said roof).

Jason Lee plays Jeff Bebe, lead singer and Hammond's counter-point. Lee manages to look like a lead singer and does a nice job as the pouty front-man who suffers from a severe case of jealousy.

Kate Hudson, in her only role that doesn't want to make me vomit, does a tremendous job as Penny Lane, not groupie but Band-Aid (no sex, only blow jobs), the secretly vulnerable girl who falls in love with both Hammond and Miller over the course of the movie - and who suffers a tremendous blow but ultimately finds redemption (as Crowe characters so often do).

As I stated above, Miller is played by Patrick Fugit, a newbie.  Who does a fine job looking like the starry eyed kid he is (like the excellent scene where three of the Band-Aides help him lose his virginity) but fails to reach the right acting chops when he is supposed to show anger or otherwise emote.

The excellent story of the band on the road unfolds for the first three quarters of the movie.  The final stage is the writing (and re-writing) of Miller's story and the fallout it creates.  In one of the movie's best scenes, Lee complains that the quotes in the article make them all look like a "bunch of amateurs" while a clearly hung over Cruddup says "maybe we don't see ourselves as we truly are" or something close to that.

Another excellent component of the film was its sound track. Crowe wrote for Rolling Stone as a kid out of college and interviewed the likes of Led Zeppelin, etc.  In fact, Zeppelin allowed Crowe to use four songs in this movie, the ONLY movie (other than Crowe's Fast Times at Ridgemont High) that has a Zeppelin song in its sound track.  I guess Mr. Crowe and I share similar tastes, which is cool too.

All in all, a very enjoyable two-hours of my time.  Almost Famous will almost certainly be added to my list of movies that, when I see it on cable, I will surely stop in and say hello to an old friend.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fireflies By Moonlight

Summer is a wonderful thing. 

Summer is full of  a warmth the type of warmth which goes beyond heat on skin - it's the type that alights all that is wonderful with the world.  Summer is freedom.  It's a break, no matter how short, from the harshness and coldness of the real world.  It's beaches and lounge chairs and cold drinks sipped from frosted glass mugs and filled with crushed ice, lime slices and love. 

Summer is freedom in the eyes of children. And aren't we all just children hiding in big people's clothes?

**********************************************************************

The day was hot and humid and fun.  The pool, as always, perfect.  The yard always decored with perfectly green, manicured lawns, shrubs cut with military precision and trees swaying in the slight breeze, filtering in the perfect combination of sun and shade.  Tiki torches stand at attention, waiting for active duty once nightfall comes.

The usual crowd is there. We are a self contained unit.  (We.  I get chills every time I think of myself as part of a "we". Whether it is David and I or my new social circle, I am now part of a we)  David's friends and their significant others - some permanent, some ever changing (ah these girlfriends, they come and they go), but always part of the group.  If you are in, you are in, even if just for a little while.  (Full acceptance, another perk of "we".)

There are all the ingredients which make summer - the perfect blue-ness of the water, the cold drinks, the barbeque smoking and smelling of grilled meat.  But there is another sensation in play - the sounds of friendship.  Of poor A, the group's whipping boy, getting ripped on for one thing or another.  B, the comedian of the group, breaking everyone up. Happy screams and pool splashes.  The sounds of a perfect summer's day.  Paper plates filled with cole slaw and fries, dogs and burgers, and even greens for us women folk.

As evening falls, we build a fire and sit around it, drinking (more) beer and lounging in chairs.  Jen gives out a happy yelp type noise as the first firefly illuminates the night.  She even tries giving it chase.  And suddenly they are everywhere, little flashes of yellow light suddenly there, then just as suddenly gone.  And there we are, grown ups, just staring at nature's little light show in wonder - all of us suddenly eight years old again (or some of us for the first time).

After a while, the wind shifts and starts blowing hard from the west.  The tempertaure suddenly dips and broken branches make their way across the lawn.  We are inside as the first of the drops dimples the pool's surface.  Within minutes the clouds break full bore and it's raining harder than I've seen it come down.

 I've always been entranced by the weather.

I fall asleep in the car on the short ride home.  I don't know if it was too much sun, too much beer or just too much.  Either way, it doesn't matter.  David gently shakes me awake when we are at the lot, and I'm in bed, asleep before ten (and for anyone who knows me, they get what a big deal that is).

*********************************************************************************

Sleep.  wonderful, blessed sleep.  Once a stranger to me.  Now my new best friend.  Wow, what I've been missing.  What you all take so for granted.  Precious, beautiful sleep.

On this Sunday night, my new friend stays with me, dreamless and comforting, for almost 12 full hours.  By the time I have gotten up, David is gone and sunlight patterns the wall through the shade. 

I get up, get dressed and walk to a local coffee shop, book in hand.  I want to be out and about, sipping on a latte and letting the magic continue one more day.  I smile at strangers walking dogs and wave as a little blond girl in a green sundress walks by, holding her mother's hand and soaking in summer too.

I am home.   I am happy.  Summer is here once again.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Girl Who Liked

In a recent post by Chana about I Wish I Could Play Tennis With Tim Riggins* Friday Night Lights, I commented about a super-secret show I loved that I thought dear Chana might enjoy.  A second commenter to the post mentioned he/she was waiting to hear what it was. 

While I find it impossible to believe that anyone actually gives a crap about what I do or do not read, listen to or watch, here are some highlights from that list for you to laugh at enjoy.  In no particular order and with a brief description as well:

*(FYI - Here is Tim Riggins ladies.  Have at it!)

*************************************************************************

George RR Martin's Game Of Thrones - Quite possibly, the greatest series of books I have ever read.  No, scratch that.  Absolutely the greatest series of books I have ever read. 

Mr. Martin does a phenomenal job of turning the dreaded "fantasy" genre into absolute art.  Highly entertaining, engrossing and (at least in HBO's wonderful adaptation) full of sex. 

Upside:  Great characters, great story, wonderful read.  HBO's aforementioned adaptation is also brilliantly done and absolutely must watch TV.  Unless you suck.  Or you are a prude.  In which case you probably don't suck.

Downside:  Based on pictures of George, it's 50/50 at best that he will live long enough to finish writing the series (which is so far five volumes done, with at least 2 if not more to go).

HBO's Game of Thrones - See above.  See also this.  And this.  And tell me this isn't a show worth watching.  Unless you suck. Or you are a prude. In which case you probably don't suck.


FX's Justified - Forget the fact that Timothy Olyphant is a handsome dude.  Forget the fact that each season is like 2 episodes.  Forget the fact that i am unforgivably an entire season behind on this show. -Watch is solely for the absolutely unforgettable performance by Margo Martindale as Mags Bennet in Season 2.  Simply one of the great performances of a female in a "bad guy" role in quite some time. Then you throw in Walton Goggins as Boyd Crowder and you have some seriously awesome television.  This is one of the shows I always watched with my brother and I will really miss that.

Friday Night Lights.  Eh, I'm lazy.  Go read Chana's review.  Or any of the other wonderful reviews of this critical darling that somehow managed to get five seasons despite the fact that no one watched it.  That had to do with the fact that its fans were seriously crazy about the show.  It recently was named one of the top 5 most successfully saved shows by fans:

"Ambitious fans devised three plans to persuade NBC executives that canceling the weepy football drama Friday Night Lights would be a mistake after its little-seen second season. Urging the network to "keep the lights on," they sent light bulbs. In another campaign they mailed as many as 2,500 mini-footballs to NBC. And playing off the show's tagline "clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose," fans sent in bottles of Clear Eyes eyedrops. Ultimately, a cost-sharing partnership between NBC and DirecTV saved the show for three more seasons — though fan enthusiasm certainly didn't hurt."

Tim Riggins, Coach Taylor, Tami Taylor and Matt Saracen were must watch characters for me for five seasons.  And while I was sad to see them go, I was happy to get closure.

GUILTY PLEASURE ALERT!!!

Supernatural - Yes, yes.  I have watched many teen shows in my time.  I have seen every episode of Veronica Mars and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  And I watch these dreamy dudes as well.  Sam, Dean and the angel Castiel make me happy ok?  Not everything has to be art you know.  Sometimes you just want Dean to crack you up or the always terrific Misha Collins as an "angel of the lord".  Ghosts, demons and hot guys?  Saving the world each season from biblical end of the world shit?  Sign me up!

(See also - Gossip Girl - which is basically Supernatural except with better femal characters and the evil doers are human instead of demons.)

The King Killer Trilogy by Patrick Rothfuss -  Once in a while fiction is just raised to another level.  This fantasy genre novel (well two so far with one more on the way - and Rothfuss is young so as long as he lays off the sauce before he drives, we should get the last book by 2013) follows the adventures of Kvothe - who retells the story of his life to a chronicler.  Whats so fabulous about this book is that it's a story within a story - and magnificently done by Rothfuss.  I recently recommended this book to Malka who loved it so much she had sex with it.  Sadly, I'm not even exaggerating that much.

Any novel written by James Lee Burke - Referred to as the William Faulker of crime fiction, James Lee Burke is a master writer.  He paints a scene with such vividness and beauty that it can hurt to read.  His characters are always damaged and usually former drunks, but they are good people who try to do the right thing in an ever increasingly bad world.  I own pretty much every book he's ever written and he's written quite a few.  Thanks Mom and Dad's credit card!

Any novel written by Lee Child - Jack Freaking Reacher.  'Nuff said.

Because they must be on here - The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (and movies) and the Harry Potter series (and movies).


And, finally, the super secret show I was referring to in the comments section of Chanas Blog Post about Tim Riggins:

Sci Fi's re-do of Battlestar Galactica - Sci fi you say?  Space ships?  Robots??  WTF?

All true, dear reader - I admit that I have a geek side to me.  It's true.  But this show is elevated because of extremely gripping story lines, excellent acting and strong female characters galore.  Fair warning - Chana tried the show and didn't like it all that much.  But to me it's a top three show of all time.  Take away space and flying ships and crap and it's still a great story with great acting.

I will always love you Kara Thrace, William Adama and Gaius Baltar!

********************************************************************

So this is by no means a complete list.  But this is a pretty good representation of what I am entertained by.

As always  can't wait for your comments.  :)




Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Men That Were

No - this is not self torture.  This is a cleanse, no different than a two-day water only diet.  These things need to go.  There is only one way for them to go.  Spoken and then discarded, spread like ashes of the dead across a wind blown meadow - then forgotten:



There were many, many of them.  Some I knew for an hour, some I dated for months.  Almost all of them shared one characteristic - they didn't give two damns about me.

Users and abusers.  Literally.  Some were nice enough, but none of them were anything more than present time entertainment - a means to one of a number of shadowy ends.  Some were suppliers, some were a roof or a hot meal.  Actually, I guess they were all suppliers.  None of them loved me or cared about me.  Most would have traded me for the newest flavor of the month without an eye bat or a mournful thought.

There were some standouts, though.  There always are the ones who get honorable mention in the lists and scales of indecency, who somehow manage to make the rest of the human race look worse off than it might actually otherwise be.

The one who hit me and kicked me

The one who didn't share my concern over my pregnancy scare.  And that's putting it lightly.  Being pregnant, it seems, was my problem.  If I knew what was good for me anyway.

The one who made me do extremely degrading things for half a bottle of vodka.  This one hurt me in an undefined yet permanent way, a way that still makes me skin crawl as though a shade is passing through me.  The way he laughed while it was happening, the way he did it in front of others.  But worst of all, the way I let him do it. 

What little regard I had for my own self respect and dignity. 

And so the list goes on and on.  They were all shapes and sizes. They were all religious backgrounds (though almost all Jewish - I guess it's true that you stick with what you know).  Starting from when I was 13 or so, continuing until I was 19, 20, a constant assembly line of men and boys running through me like a roaring train.  Doing it all with a combination of carelessness and broken hurt - truly an oxymoron. Doing it to myself, with a little help from my "friends".

Looking back on  those years serves as a true re-affirmation of who I am now.  A person.  A functioning person in society.  Once completely dehumanized by forces that I allowed to control me.  Because I needed to feel wanted by someone - by anyone.  Even though I knew it was all a lie.  Even at the time.  And not just functioning, but thriving.  And unlike certain political presidential hopefuls,  I'm not embarrassed by my new found success.  God knows I've earned it.

An evil character pushes a boy out a window, turning to his lover who wanted it done, and says "the things I do for love".  To which, I would add, "the things I did in order to feel anything".

It's all in the past.  It's all over - died and been cremated.  I now stand in this very windy meadow, and spread the ashes of  these awful mistakes over a field of green gold, blue skies and sunshine.

I make no apologies.  I make no excuses.  I did it.  It's over.  They are not men who are.  They no longer hover like specters in the far reaches of my head, occasionally coming in for a closer visit - occasionally attempting to re-do all of the horror and damage they once inflicted on my soul.  Now they are dead and buried - never forgotten perhaps - but simply fading memories of another time, another life.

They are not the men who are, but the ones who were.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Write, Right?

The following is an absolute free-flowing post which is coming out of an unquenchable desire to write, even though I have nothing specifically to say.  So apologies for the sudden mass of blurbs.  And if I were you i wouldn't read this crap:

 - My friend Tova, who recently was extremely weak with what was thought o be the flu plus cancer, is actually suffering from mono plus cancer.  When I asked her who the lucky guy who gave her the "kissing disease" was, I got a "fuck you". 

 - What happened in Aurora, Colorado was a horrible tragedy.  But it should not be used to fuel a gun-control debate.  The constitution gave people the right  to bear arms.  The same constitution, you left wing gun-control advocates, that SCOTUS just used to uphold your precious Obama-care health insurance bill.  So deal with it.  I'm all for people actually enforcing the existing gun-control laws (which from what I have read are fine but ignored).  We don't need new laws, we just need gun sellers to be held accountable for not following through on their checks. 

Also, don't forget the "slippery slope".  If you outlaw guns because people can start shooting up movie theaters, we need to outlaw alcohol so people don't get drunk, drive and slam into a bus and kill 12 people the less old fashioned way.  Once you start taking away freedoms, it becomes easier and easier to do (right Mr. Bloomberg???)

 - I find that now that I'm spending less time online than I did last year - I was spending too much time online last year.  If you get my meaning.  I've stopped coming on at night, which I was doing when I was home (for lack of anything better to do) and I find I'm much more productive than I was.

Now I'm not one for railing against the internet.  It's here to stay and too a part of our daily lives and routines to ever really change.  It IS a social outlet for people, including me (just ask the people I torture in g-chat occasionally). But for me, personally, I was wasting too much time the other way so I'm personally happy to have at least temporarily stopped coming online at night.  Besides, if I was online, how else could I have spent three hours last night watching the Bachelorette special.  Uh, I'm kidding (no I'm not).

Anyway, I needed to write, which is hard when you have nothing much to say.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

And Sometimes Realizing That You Are Getting Older Downright Sucks

"To the revelations of fresh faced youth
No one will come to save you
So speak your peace in the murmurs drawn
But youth is wasted on the young
"

(Smashing Pumpkins - Though the eyes of Ruby)

Oops - I accidentally posted the title with no post.  here it is!!

On Sunday we went to visit David's younger sister in sleep away camp.  She's a staff member there.  About three or so it started raining.  I was walking to some overhead concealment when I spotted two girls, 11 or 12 years old, in shorts and tanks walking in the rain, getting sopping wet, smiling and happy.

Absolutely, 100% carefree.

And I realized something totally sucky.  Children yearn for one thing - to become adults.  But becoming an adult comes with it a terrible price.  Namely, the inability to not care.  To not have worries.

Not that I'm one to talk.  My childhood was not chock full of carefree moments.  I was always a (hot) mess.  But for most normal children, youth is a time of no serious worries.  It's the ability to walk in the rain, happily, as if this is the greatest pleasure in the world.  Because when you live in the moment, it IS the greatest pleasure in the world.

The you grow up.  And there is always something on your mind.  Jobs, finances, family.  Always something too important to not be gnawing away at you like a disease slowly eating through your organs.  And it becomes so much harder to enjoy the little things.  To stop and smell the roses (achoo!).  To take pleasure in the simple beauty of a sunset. Because there is no carefree. 

It sucks, yes.  But it's life.  I've decided recently that life isn't supposed to be easy.  That's a myth.  And it is what it is.  There's nothing to be done for it.  But that's ok too. 

It's just too bad that there will be no more happily walking in the rain.





Monday, July 16, 2012

An Incredibly Uphill battle

Ed's note:  There is nothing in this post aimed at any one particular person except, of course, myself.  Any attempt to read it that way is just plain incorrect.

I admit to getting a small spiritual jolt from lighting shabbos candles.

Yes, I've only done it two times but still, there is that moment where you are in a sense the family gatekeeper from the every day into a set aside day.  It's just me and those two candles. It isn't about the words or the actions - it's that moment where you can almost feel the world changing.

Sadly, it's all messed up from there.

It's not just the Shabbos. The dutiful listening to kiddush, the washing, the mumbled grace after meals.  The sitting around while I wait for him to come home from shul.  The long days with no outside distractions.

I made a decision to try and become more observant for two reasons - reasons beyond the fact that just the fact that I was living at home I was basically observant anyway:

1.  For David; and

2.  Because I want to feel part of something bigger than just myself. And while I will be first to tell you Judaism is full of warts, I can also tell you the other religions are even more messed up (IMHO of course).  And I can also tell you a life devoid of religion and morality is about as empty an existence as one can contemplate.  I know because I tried.

So being more religious...

I'm not sure where it's supposed to come from.  Are the actions supposed to make me feel more?  Am I supposed to feel more and the actions then follow?  Am I going to be inspired by a book?  A rabbi's speech?  An inspirational moment in time?

I have no idea.  I have no idea how any of this works.  It makes me feel terribly confused and as though I'm somehow lacking in an area that seems so....rote to everyone else.

But I listen. When you guys talk to me I hear what you are saying.  And I wonder how many of you frum people are just "going through the motions" too.

Now don't get offended.  You are all better than me.  You all daven and admonish us to be holy, but I listen when you talk.  I hear what you say.  You all have your doubts and your questions.  The difference is you bury them under your full length clothing, your prayers and your years of guilt.

And I'm not judging.  I am just trying to muddle through - with no real idea HOW.

In many ways you are all luckier - you don't know any better.  You have been doing this by rote since you were born.  Unquestionably following the path.  Prayers.  Shabbos. Avoidance of speaking ill of others and covering your collarbones, knees and elbows.  You have avoided the great Satan (boys) - except, of course, when you haven't.  But it's ok because you have stopped that now and that's all in the past and if you slip again that is ok because eventually that will be in the past as well. 

Me?  I have no idea what I'm doing.  I'm muddling through.  And the going is slow.

Yesterday, we tagged along with my in laws to visit my younger sister-in-law who is working at a very modern ortho camp.  It was reverse culture shock - seeing a whole contingency of orthodox Jews who look like I do.  It actually gave me some hope - that maybe there is some kind of middle ground i can find.  except, of course, for those of you who feel that those people I saw yesterday don't quite reach the proper level to begin with.

So it's all uphill from here.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

There Are Some Things Money Can't Buy...For Everything Else....

Marrying the man of my dreams?  Priceless.

Being able to sleep at night?  Priceless.

Not living at home with the evil Witch?  Priceless.

Purchasing an entirely new wardrobe to reflect the way I dress (as opposed to the way I have been dressing to satisfy the "their house, their rules" requirement)?  Several hundred um yea dollars.

And counting....

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What Being Married Feels Like To Me

"You know that I care what happens to you,
And I know that you care for me, too.


So I don't feel alone,
Or the weight of the stone,
Now that I've found somewhere safe
To bury my bone.

And any fool knows a dog needs a home,
A shelter from pigs on the wing."


(Pink Floyd - Pigs on the Wing, Part 2)




I've always understood these lyrics.  But I've never felt them.  They had no meaning to me.  I've dreamed about them, as I slept on strange floors or in stranger beds.  While I lay awake in my room at home and wondered what it would be like for sleep to take me easily.  I've wondered but I haven't known

Now I know.

*******************************************************


It's only been a week and a few days.  I know.  I'm not an expert.  I don't even play one on TV.

But I know one thing.  I know my feelings.  Good and bad.  Scared, happy.  Mix and match.  I know how I feel. 

And being with him is like being warm and safe. 

It's coming in from the pouring rain and being handed a warm towel.  It's coming in from the snow to a mug of hot coffee and a roaring fireplace.  [Insert your own warm and safe memory here.]

I love being married to him, knowing that even when he isn't here he will be soon.  That I don't have to sleep alone anymore.  That whenever I need him to give me a hug or just a reassuring tap on the shoulder, it's there.  Or when I need his smile or his physical warmth, it's there.

Will these feelings fade as we grow more accustomed to each other?  Probably to some degree - right now they are extremely strong and sharp.  But by then, I won't need them as much.  But I know it will always be there, perhaps more in the background, like a favorite sweatshirt that you know you can slip into at any time.

A dog needs a home.  A shelter.  I have found my shelter, and he's everything I could have ever have dreamed.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Snippets From a Whirlwind

So I woke up this morning (in our own apartment!!) with a sore throat and a sneezing fit (i.e. the first signs of a bad cold) - I guess it was too much to hope for getting through this week totally fine.  As agreed, David had to go back to work today (he's got much going on and we agreed he was all mine until after the 4th) and I am sitting here, alone for the first time, and trying to put some of my jumbled thoughts into order...

 - Being unable to sleep the entire night before the wedding (I wrote that post Saturday night Irena, not Sunday!) unable to distract myself in any way.  Long, long night.

 - Coming downstairs Sunday morning for late breakfast with the entire family.  Realizing this was the first time I could remember the whole family together (including Bellatrix, Draco and FredGeorge's new fiance) and all of them looking happy and relaxed.  "How can you all sit there and eat?" I asked in shock.  "Because we aren't the one's getting married today," answered FredGeorge, his mouth full of bagel and cream cheese.

 - Getting to the hall 34 hours early to make everyone beautiful.  Luna gets made beautiful first.  She is transformed.  I realize for the first time that my quiet, shy, wallflower sister is by FAR the prettiest of us all.  "My god Luna, you look gorgeous, " I breath.   I am overcome. I get up and I do something I can't remember doing for a very long time.  I hug her.

 - As we get closer to the big moment, tensions start to rise in the Cymbaline women's side.  Voldemort is snapping at everyone and looks like she's just swallowed rotten cheese.  Everyone is properly cowed.  I turn to FredGeorge's fiance, who looks like she's reconsidering the whole marrying into this family thing.  I give her a reassuring smile.

 - I'm ready.  I'm dressed and I'm made up.  Everyone is gushing about how beautiful I look.  I go out to the hall from the room and spy David, relaxed and still in jeans and a t-shirt, schmoozing it up with FredGeorge and David's brother.  Once again I remember how much I hate men.

 - The wedding itself:  I remember just flashes really,the whole thing is a blur.  I'm sitting in the room and people I barely know are coming up to me and wishing me well.  I'm at the "badeking" getting a bracha from my future father in law and then from my dad (who kissed me on the forehead and whispers in my ear how proud he is of me).  I'm under the chupah, walking around David.  We are married and we are whisked away to the yichud room (where David proceeds to completely ignore me half the time and stuff his face, reminding me that he's fasted all day - reason number 3,863 why I hate men).  Dancing.  Dancing with everyone.  Whirling and dancing and sweating.  Dancing with Tova, who really looks like she's made a superhuman effort to be here (Tova who had to leave early to be taken back to the hospital, where she's been.  Tova who promised me she'd be at my wedding ("even if it kills me") and who fulfilled that promise at what I hope was not too dear a cost).

 - My surprise.  It came after a round of dancing, towards the end of the wedding.  As people were heading back to their seats.  David led me to the dance floor, on the women's side of the separation (we had seated my parent's side on the men's side and David's side on the women's).  No announcements, just the band starting to play and David's friend Daniel, who sings, singing "Green is the Color" by none other than Pink Floyd while I got to do the only thing I really wanted to do at my own wedding - Dance with David.  I danced in his arms while people ate desert and I cried happy tears.

 - Jumping into a Limo (so cliche, I know) and driving to a really nice hotel.  And eating!  For the first time that day.  Thank you Mr. Caterer, you were right.  I was going to be hungry even though it was like 2:00 am.

 - Wimbeldon!  The French Open!  The Australian Open!  The US Open!  Tennis is back!

 - July Fourth featured the friends Sheva Brachos - it was entitled "The No Old People Pool Party and BBQ", an almost all day affair made by David's close friends.  And it was really really fun. 

P.S. - For those of you who care, I did dance with my mother, who cast aside Lord Voldemort for the day and, once the party got rolling, really seemed to have a good time.  She was gracious and even hugged me goodbye and David and I got into that limo (and didn't say a word when I came out, after the wedding, wearing jeans and a sweatshirt.  Didn't even make a face.  In her house, it was her rules.  But now it's my house and my rules.).  She even took the garment bag with the dress in it and told me she'd find room for it in the house (which, considering the fact that we have like 5 spare bedrooms, seemed especially kind of her - rolls eyes).

So there you have it.  Snippets of a jumbled mind.

Journal, it's good to be back.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Today Is...Today Is....Today Is...The Greatest...Day

"Today is the greatest
Day I've ever known
Can't live for tomorrow,
Tomorrow's much too long
I'll burn my eyes out
Before I get out


Pink ribbon scars
That never forget
I tried so hard
To cleanse these regrets
My angel wings
Were bruised and restrained
My belly stings

Today is
Today is
Today is
The greatest day

Today is the greatest
Today is the greatest day
Today is the greatest day
That I have ever really known"

(Abridged lyrics to "Today" by Smashing Pumpkins)

Today is...

Nothing much more to say, really.

The plans are done.  The dress is done.  The flowers are done.  The seating is done.  My bags are packed.  Tova is fulfilling her promise - she's out of the hospital for the next 24 hours to dance with me at my wedding.

Today is...

All done.  Nothing left to do.  But to sit here.  And to wait.  And to stay calm.  And to take the last minute calls from friends and "friends", the pop ins to my room from family, the texts from everyone. 

And to look forward.  To tomorrow.  To tomorrow night.  To all the days that follow.

Today is the greatest...

Am I scared?  You bet.  Am I anxious?  Hell yeah.  But am I excited?  Happy?  Fuck yea!  It's time to roll.  It's time to cast off the past once and for all and to start living the future.  The future I dared never even dream about.  Yet the one I somehow managed to get for myself through hard work and a lil' bit o' luck.

Day...

It's here.  It's finally here.  My wedding day.  The words are strange in my ears.  Like I was never meant to say them but somehow, some way I managed to find the voice. 

I am a SUCCESS STORY!  I am a RECLAMATION PROJECT!  I am the RESULT OF A GOOD THERAPIST!  I am all these things.  But today I have become much more. 

I am me.  I am the product all my past, my experiences, my hard work and my determination.  I am a product of my strengths and my weaknesses.  I am proof that you can rise above.  That you can be better than anyone gives you credit for.

If you want it enough.  If you are wiling to fight for it.

I have ever known...

And I have known  much.  Too much.  More than any young child should ever know.  I was living a nightmare.

But now I'm living a dream.  My dream.  My dreams.

All come true.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Maybe, Maybe Not

Ed's Note - Dumb Ass spell checker isn't working so apologies in advance:

As the title suggests, this may or may not be the last time I ever post as a single person. 

I don't have any new thoughts, emotions or stories to share.  I have no special advice to dole out nor any blessings to make.  All that time has passed.  There is only the next few days and then the rest of my life.  Ah finality.

But I do have one thing to offer.  That is a very well-deserved, and heartfelt, thank you to you, my small but loyal readership.

Many years ago, when I started this blog (ok like a year and half but honestly, doesn't it really feel like we've been doing this forever?) I can honestly say I am not the same person I am today. 

Now duh, most people change over time, but some people evolve quicker and some slower.  When I first started this blog, I was, let's call me, a recovering rebel.  I was truly doing ok, but still, I had many deficiencies that still needed to be worked on. 

One of them was confidence in myself. In fact, one of the most important of my missions when starting this journal was to be able to look back at where I was a certain points in time (a week, a month, a year) and see where I was at that point. What was I thinking?  What was I feeling?  Have I grown since then?  Am I still thinking about things the same way or have my opinions and thought processes changed.

And bless my good luck.  But it was during this time period that you guys found this journal.  And you read it. And heck, you started commenting (you weirdos).  Some of you reached out to me (and I to you).  And it was also during this time period that I started seriously pining for a certain boy that I was not quite certain pined for me as well.  And to be honest, without the support, friendly advice and yes, even some hard shoves, I'm not sure I would have went for it. 

And then where would I be today?

No no, dear reader, you cannot have all the credit. Stop furiously patting yuorself on the back, you might strain something.  I wasn't completely without confidence in my abilities (after all, I was and continue to be world class at tennis - smirk smirk).  But still, I do hope that you feel a small amount of pride in this big win.  We are, after all, a team no?

So yes - no one else got engaged, anxiety has morphed back into excitement and a little bit o' nervousness.  Tova is...(well she is, but she says nothing in the world will stop her from being there. And that's good enough for me.) 

So I will go on the record as saying all is right in the universe (at least for now).

So no - none of you are invited (even the ones who asked ever so nicely).  But you can rest assured that I will tell you all about it (at some point in the future).  I will think of you all when I am experiencing it and I will silently reflect and mouth a thank you to you all for your support, guidance, advice and non-creepy internet love.  Except you, Malka - your internet love is creepy :).  (Wait, did I say that in my out-loud voice?  Oops.)

So there it is.  Maybe the last one (or not).  Either way the message is the same.  Thank you all - for everything.  For reading, for advising - heck thank you for letting me know that it means something to you.  I may not get that really, but I appreciate it nontheless.

And most of all, wish me luck.  I'd sure like my fairy tale character to be ok in the end.

C.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Taking One For The Team By Stealing My Thunder

High anxiety.

It's what I've been feeling the last several days.  I've mentioned it before, but it's important for background.  I'm actually shocked that I feel anything other than excitement, but, apparantly it's normal to be anxious before your wedding.

My brother.  My older brother.  Let's call him FredGeorge.  He's been my mate.  My savior.  The one in the family who has always been there for me.  We watch shows together, we cook together (i.e. he cooks and i eat it and take half the credit) and he uses are incredibly fancy and expensive coffee machine to make me the most rewarding latte's on god's green earth.  And he has been asking me what he can do, what can he do to help me.  But there really is nothing.  I dread being the center of attention, of everything revolving around me.  It's never been good for me in the past.

And he's already been the strong one for me in many ways.  Strong enough to stand up to my mother yet diplomatic enough to always have her like him.  Smart, cute.  He's really the complete package.

So it should come as no surprise that FredGeorge found himslef a great girl. She's pretty, fun, funloving and she has feet planted in both the frum world and the modern one (which is great because my brother can't fake it that much).  They have been seeing each other for several months and finally decided that they were going to get engaged.  After all, in this world you don't go out too long or people get funny ideas about you.

And so it was decided that the would get engaged in August (after the three weeks) with a November-ish time wedding to follow.  And I'm so happy for him because he's so great and I love him so much and I want him to be happy too.  And I cannot wait for his engagement and his wedding.  It was already a BIG DEAL that I was getting married before him.

So yesterday late afternoon, when my mother started screaming, I assumed it was a wedding related hissy fit.  Wanting to try and avoid it becoing a full bratty baby-style tantrum, I bit the bullet and went down to see if there was anything I could do to help. 

So ther she is in the kitchen, screaming-  but happily screaming.  mazal tov mazal tov.  "FredGeorge is engaged!!  We are having a lechaim at her house (our house being overrun with WEDDING RELATING CRAP) and in no shape for hosting people).  Quick go tell your younger brother and Luna to get dressed and ready.  I need to call your father and your sister."  And then she's muttering to herself about the strange timing, why didn't he wait.

As an aside - My head is spinning.  Did my mother just give me a job to do?  Did she just talk to me like I'm a person?  I credited it to her surprise at the news.

So we get to the Kallah's house.  The happy couple is there, with her family, when we arrive.  There are already a few neighbors and friends gathered.  I wait until the initial press of family goes over.  Then I do.  I go to the kallah and give her a hug and a mazal tov and a welcome to the family.  Then I hug him and kiss him and wish him mazal tov.  "You're welcome," he says, smiling.  I stare at him, puzzled.  Doesn't he mean thank you?  He's beaming ear to ear. 

And looking at me - expectantly.  Like there's something I haven't figured out yet.

And it dawns on me.  The timing.  Why now? So close before my big day.  When his timing was all planned out.  It certainly wasn't jealously.  Or spite. 

Which only leaves one thing.  He did it to take the spotlight off me.  Obviously this realization must have been on his face because he's nodding vigorously.  I got it.  He asked me what he could do and I told him there was nothing he could do.  So he figured out somethnig on his own.

*********************************************************
I am lucky.  And sometimes I lose sight of that.  I don't have that many people in my life.  But the ones I do...the ones I have I'd never trade for anything.  When the le'chaim was over and all the people gone, we sat in the backyard of our house, drinking beer and huddled close for warmth.  We talked about our futures and how we would stay close.  About how he'd even let our kids play together  :).  And I couldn't help but remembering how lucky I am.  Despite everything I've been through, I have this little core group of people who I can rely on.  And some people who might be surrounded by 100 friends still lack what I have.  True people you can rely on.

So my thunder is stolen.  My brother is in the spotlight.  And he's eating it up. 

And I'm happy and excited once more.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Every Single Day For The Last Time

As I close in on the BIG DAY(!!) I have to admit I'm feeling extremely nervous.

No, not second thoughts nervous.  Not at all.  I can't wait to be connected to David totally and finally.  Rather, I'm feeling some anxiety.  I worry about the wedding itself. I don't love being the center of attention and while I'm certainly far from wallflower - my life experiences with me as the center of attention have usually been BAD THINGS (meeting in the principal's office with my parents, me being gawked at and talked about by other kids, me making a drunken or high jackass out of myself at a party) so the idea of an entire 5 or 6 hour event centering around lil' ol' me is slightly nerve wracking.  [Not to mention all the ceremoniousness, pomp and circumstance I can live without.  All I want is to dance with my husband to music, alone on the dance floor, and this of course will probably not be happening due to the endless embarrassment it will cause my side of the family.]

And then there is the absolute...finality of what is happening.  My entire current life, for good or bad, is ending and a totally new one is starting.  I am no longer a single person living my single life but I am now the cornerstone of a family unit - first as a couple and eventually (hopefully) as a parent of children.

And that's why I've struggled so hard to pack up the small things which make up my life, to put the finishing touches on the final chapter of Book I of The Life and Times of Cymbaline.  because of the scary finality of it.  I know how strange that seems considering that it's all I've ever wanted - to finally be free of the bonds of repression and free to completely live as I choose (within the bounds and constraints of life/religion of course - no Hedonism for me).  Yet there it is - live and in color - for all of you to now see.  Poor Cymbaline, so excited, is scared shitless.

Every day is now the last day before.  The last Sunday as a single, the last Monday.  The last BBQ I'll ever attend as a non married person.  The last this and that.  Big things, small things.  Important and mundane.  My whole life is about to shift in a way that I have thought about (many, many times), but have never truly experienced. 

And on some level, to be honest, worried may never happen for me.

Don't pooh pooh me, hear me out.  I am damaged good in the Jewish community.  I am an Off the Derech, semi-back on the D.  But your past is your past. In the Jewish dating world, your resume is either a flashing beacon of light for all sailors to be attracted to or an albatross around your neck, dragging you into the depths.  My past, in case you haven't figured it out, is an albatross.  And despite that heavy bird, I never wanted to have to settle for someone because my pickings are slim.  Now that, I'm sure, is a feeling many of you have experienced.  Now multiply your albatross by five tons and you have mine.

Yet it happened for me.  A man I love, no settling required.  So I managed to jump that hurdle.  And now the BIG DAY(!!) is literally right around the corner - it's so close that I couldn't gain enough weight to screw up my dress fittings even if I wanted to.  It's so close that if I don't finish packing my shit up soon, I'll be wearing his clothes. 

And with that comes all of these events I don't want.  A Shabbos Kallah, a fancy wedding, a week of meals after.  All I want is him, without the pomp an circumstance.  (Of course, to get him I'll gladly suffer through the pomp and circumstance.)

So there you have it - all my innermost pre-wedding jitters revealed.  Nervous, excited, terrified and happy all wrapped up into Cymbaline.

Now excuse me while I try to pack and live each day for the last time before Book II.

Friday, June 22, 2012

An Open Letter To My Former Self

You will excuse my little melodramatic indulgence.  You are, as always, free to not read:


Dear Old Me:

This is, perhaps, the final time I will ever speak to you.

No, I'm not disavowing you.  I'm not pretending you never happened.  I'm not whistling in the graveyard, ignoring the ghosts and skeletons in the closet.

Rather, I'm going to put you away.

You are as much a part of me as my hands, my heart, my eyes.  You are as much a part of me as David and Tova and my parents.  I can never pretend you aren't there.

But you are no longer the two-ton elephant in the room.

I grew up badly.  I am not going to rehash all that.  You and I both remember all the things we felt, the anger, the isolation the lack of love.  We remember how we acted out, lashed out, how we behaved badly, how we spent all our time trying to destroy ourselves.  Telling you the specifics is simply repetitive and counter productive.

So why am I here?  Why am I writing you this final farewell?

Because I wanted to thank you.

Um, what?  I know that you are thinking that.  Why would I want to thank you?  Because it ruined my childhood and screwed up my adolescence?  Doesn't seem like anything to be overly thankful for. 

But that's where you got it wrong.  Because I could no more blame you for what happened than I can blame the rain for falling.  You didn't cause the problem.  You didn't set the circumstances.  You merely reacted to them as best as you could. 

And while many might argue you did a piss-poor job, I respectfully disagree.

Because I've seen the results of what happens to those who really did a piss-poor job of dealing with the hands they were dealt.  I've seen them die of drug overdoses, I've seen them raped.  I've seen them so addicted to drugs that they were forced to give themselves completely away for just one more spike of the needle.  I've seen them drift so far away from humanity that they would never have (and have never) been able to return.  I've seen them lose everything.  Their dignity, their religion, their possessions and their lives.

But not you, oh survivor you. Maybe you didn't shine, but you lived.  You did what you had to do.  You lashed out, you did badly, but you never crossed any lines from which there is no return.

So yes, for that I say thank you.  Because from your strength, from your survival instincts and your will, I was able to emerge.

What am I?  College graduate, good friend (hopefully), fully functioning member of the community at large and even a semi-functioning member of the Jewish community.  I am about to become a wife as well.  All this because you kept me alive and well.  So yes, thank you for that too, for everything I have today - it could only have happened due to your strength.

Yet still, I have to let you go.  Not because I hate you or because I'm embarrassed by you.  But simply because I no longer need you.  And, in fact, your presence at this point can actually be a hindrance to my future growth.  You strength, your rock hardness, can also be a stone dragging me down into the depths of the sea.

Everything I have, everything I have made myself into, was because of the strength I learned from you, because of the goodness inside yourself that you refused to let die, no matter how harsh the circumstances became (and they were harsh, make no mistake).

The people who read my blog, they think they understand what you went through.  But with the exception of two or three of them, and the possible exception of a handful more, they have no effing clue.  A few have mentioned that they were somewhat....jealous of where I am now in life.  But you and I both know that they wouldn't trade places with us if they had to live through those seven years.  More really.  And without you, they ever would have made it through those years anyway. 

What I have, everything I have, is because of you.  And I will never forget you.  But I can't take you with me going forward, or I'll never actually move forward.  Now only will I never forget you, but I will also use all of the lessons, and good qualities, that I have learned from you.

So thank you old me.  I couldn't have done it without you.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mixed Emotions as the Day Draws Near

Ring, oh ring, the wedding bells, my wedding day fast approaches.

I am excited.  I am thrilled.  I am looking forward to the day after the wedding with gobs of anticipation (in case you have not figured it out yet, I am actually dreading the actual wedding itself for a variety of reasons - but I am super-pumped for being married).  I very much want to be married to David and to spend my life with him - to figure it all out with him - to grow old with him.

But, there's always a but.

And this but's name is Tova. 

Tova, home from the hospital, not because they released her, but because she refuses to stay.

Tova, who has placed a strict gagging order on her family to not disclose whatever it is she is suffering from now.

Tova, who smiles at me and tells me I need to stop worrying about her, that nothing she can tell me about her condition is going to make me feel happy or better about it.

Tova, who tells me with an extremely annoyed look on her face that if she can put up with me for all these years, she certainly can beat cancer.

I am supposed to be happiest now. 

I finished school, I found the man of my dreams.  I joined his social circle, thereby expanding my list of close friends tenfold.  Things are so good.

But how can I be happy while she suffers through this?

The answer is, I can't truly be. And this just makes her frustrated and angry.  Which makes me feel even worse.  She's the sick one, the one fighting for her life.  And she's worried about me???

So here I am, riding a wave of mixed emotions - happiness, excitement, anticipation, fear, dread and anxiety.  I guess they do a nice job of balancing themselves out.

Otherwise - this is also a time of pretty intense loneliness, believe it or not.  David is frantically working to close two giant deals before the wedding and Tova is otherwise occupied (see above).  I'm in school some and home the rest of the time, pretending to do "wedding stuff" or packing, but pretty much sitting around staring at the walls.

I know it's a lot of stuff to process. I know it's temporary.  And I should have known that the feelings of intense happiness I've been having recently, at least for me, wouldn't be long term. There's always a wolf at the door

Out pops the cracker
Smacks you in the head
Knifes you in the neck
Kicks you in the teeth
Steel toe caps
Takes all your credit cards


Yea, so that's me.  How are y'all doing?