"The problem here is a totalitarian uniformity, a cult-like mentality such that even allies are enemies if they fail to follow the Exact Party Line. " - Phyllis Chesler

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

What Is Yom Hashoah?

Holocaust Remembrance Day is today and tonight in the United States. It is observed on Thursday in Israel. In keeping with Jewish tradition, Jews outside of Israel obvserve holidays on the same day as those in Israel, making Wednesday the day of observance this year.

The internationally–recognized date comes from the Hebrew calendar and corresponds to the 27th day of Nisan on that calendar. When the actual date of Yom Hashoah falls on a Friday (as will happen in 2008) the state of Israel, following the Knesset legislation establishing the event, observes Yom Hashoah on the preceding Thursday.

The New York Times has an inspiring story in today's paper From Auschwitz, a Torah as Strong as Its Spirit. Many ritious Christians paticipated in the saving of this Torah.

Yesterday I wrote about the current genocide happening in the Sudan, not even realizing that today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. How befitting however!

How many times must we say "NEVER AGAIN!"???

"Denying historical facts, especially on such an important subject as the Holocaust, is just not acceptable. Nor is it acceptable to call for the elimination of any State or people. I would like to see this fundamental principle respected both in rhetoric and in practice by all the members of the international community."
Secretary-General-Designate Ban Ki-moon,Press Conference SG/2120, 14 December 2006

OK Mr. Secretary General put your money where your mouth is. Either enforce this principle and policy with respect to the UN Human Rights Commission or again disband it permanetly. Stop the current genocide in Darfur against the innocent black Africans.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

U.N. Sucks

Since I am not doing much dating lately I have decided to write about ongoings in NYC. Today's topic is a serious one. On other days I will keep it light.

Since the United Nations is located here in NYC I have decided to write a little about this organization today.

Did you know that:

During a quarterly meeting three weeks ago, the Human Rights Council passed the resolution ordering its envoys, to investigate countries that intended to repress freedom of expression.

The World Association of Newspapers called the council's action "intolerable" and "part of a dangerous, backward campaign."

Why has the World Association of Newspapers done so? At the meeting just ended, the Council ruled that the Congo deserved no further attention. The current issue of Foreign Affairs magazine says "Congo is now the stage for the largest humanitarian disaster in the world — far larger than in Sudan."

Apparently the Council doesn't consider genocide a human rights priority.
Here's what the representatives do have to say about the current situation in the Sudan:

Malaysia said he "welcomed the progress achieved by the Government of Sudan in improving legislation and the rule of law."

Saudi Arabia praises Sudan "for the positive steps it has taken to improve the situation in the country."

China said it sees, "Positive developments"

The United Arab Emirates says the Sudan is, "making great efforts to resolve the Darfur conflict."

So what is a priority to this Human Rights Council? Just what did they make a permanent feature of theirs? "human rights abuses by Israel." No matter what your views on Israel are, nothing absolutely NOTHING happening there compares to the genocide going on right now in the Sudan!

Do they care about the human right violations in Cuba, Angola, Pakistan? NOPE! Only one or two weeks ago a group of peacefully protesting women in CUBA were rounded up within a half hour of their protest and carted off to jail. Why were they protesting? Because their family members were thrown in jail, without trial and have since been heard from because they spoke their views publically against Castro's government. Is that being looked into? Not in the least.

Who sits on the council: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Human_Rights_Council

Sudan's government and the pro-government Arab militias are accused of war crimes against the region's black African population, although the UN has stopped short of calling it genocide.

Learn more about the genocide in Sudan here.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Tagged By Barbara: Six Unimportant Things About Me

Rules sans Barbara:

List Six Unimportant Things About Yourself --seems simple enough
1. Link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post these rules on your blog.
3. Share six unimportant things about yourself.
4. Tag six random people at the end of your entry.

I checked out
Karyne 's blog as well on the hint from Barbara and realized we had at least one item in common I would never have thought to write about before for this meme. Her number 5: "No Boys Allowed in the Girl's Dorm" -- well it was similar. We were allowed in each others dorm but not in the rooms after certain hours.

So I guess I will make this my first one and explain a little.

1. I had many sex-filled nights in my college boyfriend and later once fiance's dorm room at a theater school I once went to for the first two semesters of college back in 1989-90. Cameron and I screwed like bunnies. There it's out there. HA! I read online he is married now, a working actor and has a little girl and lives in Florida. Unfortunately although we were very much together and were so for about a year and a half, he was and probably still is a seriel cheater. I learned the pattern started before me and continued after. I can't imagine he has changed unless he got some serious therapy. I read about this kind of personality the other day in the local newspaper. The actor (funny another actor) who plays Charlotte's lawyer husband on Sex in the City, recently wrote a book about living with this "condition." If I can find more information I will add a link later.

The rest are probably not nearly as juicy.

2. I fall asleep with the television on unless I am in a relationship and my partner doesn't like this.

3. I will never use those stupid new supposedly environmentally friendly light bulbs. It is the biggest scam running around. Unless forced because the regular ones are no longer made they won't be in my home. They are FULL of mercury. YES FOLKS, and they have to be disposed of in a special way. If they break you have to be careful how you clean up and possibly even call in a special crew. (This was on a news television program recently.) We will be toxing our soil beyond imaginable with these stupid make us feel better about our part bullshit lightbulbs in the next few years. It's bad enough we have all the batteries from our cells etc...I personally don't feel we need to add this to the bad situation. I can't live without my cell but I can live without this type of bulb. If you disagree with me please don't write nasty comments. Each to their own.

4. I had short hair from the time I was 16 until 35. At some points it was VERY VERY short. I only let it grow to where you have seen it today because I was too cheap to pay for a hair cut. I decided I love the way it looks long and love the attention I get and started to take care of it with fun coloring as well, due to the attention I was getting. YES I AM VEIN.

5. I almost never cook. Heck I am single and have been my entire life. Did you really expect differently?

6. I must have my nails done and they must look nice at all times. It is a fetish of mine and I will go without buying food at the grocery store to do this at least once a month. UGH!

My first tag is my new found favorite blog. Jessica is just so cheery and bubbly and I love her spirit.
Thoughtful Reflections

She has a very interesting way of writing about this subject that never seems scummy. I rarely find that so check her out.
SexyAds Blog

This woman has so much confidence. Need I say more?
Julie's Blog

When you need a good giggle go read this great blog.
Totally Pissed Off

When you need a good rant...other than mine HA!
Imagination Madness

Last but not least, if you like reading LONG LONG but interesting posts.
Written Voice

Friday, April 25, 2008

Leo's Odd Meow - For Your Viewing And Listening Pleasure

As promised here is video of Leo's odd meow. And for an extra treat you get to see my ugly toes and hear me say "No" which I think I will be saying a lot around here until he gets a little older.

Everything Ted Safran Knows About Women

Tad Safran from Times Online write what I hope is a satirical look at: Everything he knows about women . . .

Mercy: My Feelings On The Sean Bell Verdict

There is always a danger and tendency to lash back at one's enemies or perceived enemies but my hope is that there will be calm.

There should be no satisfaction in the suffering of others. There are many people who are sad right now. The family members of Mr. Bell for their loss, the police for being involved in such a case, and I am sure for realizing that no matter the intent, they did end a man's life. There are no winners and even if the verdict were guilty there never would have been.

It bothers me to see people crying at the verdict of Not Guilty. I wonder, would it mean they would have been rejoicing if the police were punished?

Because my blog is about me, a single Jewish girl in NYC dating and also about NYC and things that happen to me living here I am touching this issue from this focus. I am fully aware that there are other points of view and angles from which to write about this! Mine does not invalidate the next.

In Judaism there is a concept of "binfol oyevecha al tismach — that you should not rejoice when your enemy falls.

I think it is interesting that this happened during the Jewish holiday of Passover. For those who are not aware, Passover is the holiday where we celebrate our freedom from bondage. It is NOT however a holiday to rejoice in the downfall of the Egyptions. In fact in Judaism it is commanded that when your enemy falls you do not celebrate.

When we are around others who are full of anger and rage we must work harder to not be pulled into those feelings that can result in actions that are hurtful...in this case on a large scale.

I have been watching the news coverage of the outside of the courthouse. I live very close to that location. At this time I pray for peace and calmness and that all those who have suffered loss find some peace in their lives.

Rachmanus is a Hebrew word for Mercy. Our experience in Egypt as slaves was to teach us the lesson of sensitivity to suffering. Let all sides have mercy and understanding for the suffering they are experiencing and the sadness this city would experience should violence spill

Thursday, April 24, 2008


OH MY G-D! I finally understand this phrase. This little boy certainly has it. He is cute as a button. Slept with me all night. Nuzzled in and didn't move. Purrs LOUD. But man oh man if he doesn't like something he lets you know. I will get some video of the sound he makes and get it online for you. There is no way to describe it.

He came home last night from the hospital and he has had a cone on his head for three days. He hasn't bathed in three days and he smells horrible. I couldn't stand it. So I took the cone off and let him clean himself a little and then put it back on for the night.

This morning I took the shower head and sprayed him and wiped him down. He didn't like that very much but the human momma wins! :-) Then I let him clean himself again for an hour and watched him so he couldn't clean where his testicles used to be and open that wound again. He doesn't like when I make him stop...that's for sure.

Here are more photos from this morning. You can see just how big he will be by looking at his leg.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

One Last Test

This is how Leo looked in the visitor's room last night at the hospital where he is an in-patient.
As you can clearly see he doesn't look good. I was really upset. But he had a lot of anesthesia yesterday so that they could perform a CAT scan and spinal tap.

Leo had a lot of trouble opening his eyes for me when I visited him after 6PM. His tests were run in the morning.

The Vet said that the fluid tested negative for all infectious diseases. And he thinks the CAT scan looks good, however there is one spot he wants the radiologist to look at because it MIGHT indicate a cancer, BUT it is also a spot that shows on many CAT scans which turns out to be nothing.

We still need to see one more blood test result about the hyperthyroidism which will determine if he stays for a week more, isolated because of the treatment to cure that disease or if he goes home with me tonight, pending the last brain consult this morning.

He was so tired and achy from the drugs that I took the cone off of him so he could be more comfortable. He could barely move, let alone bite where his balls USED to be, and open that wound.

Thank you to all that came and left comments and well wishes!!! It means a lot to both of us.

He is so loved by the staff and the agency that picked him up. I asked the Vet if the Mayors Alliance pays for this kind of testing for all the cats that they pick up that need it and he said sometimes but not always. He thinks that they fell in love with him which helped his situation. It's hard to tell from these photos however, he is a love bug, a kisser and hugger. Just very sweet.
Update: I received a call from Mayors Alliance. Leo's last test came back negative. He is cleared to go home tonight. They have ruled out cancer in his brain. We are waiting on the last thyroid test. If it shows hyperthyroidism he will be brought back for the idonine cure paid for by Mayors Alliance as well.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Leo Update

OY VEY! This poor guy.

Thank goodness Mayors Alliance is taking care of the bill. I could never afford this but he needs these test.

Today he had a CAT scan and a spinal tap done. They do not see anything wrong with him from the CAT scan. So now it is crunch time. There are many things that are not good that can be found with the spinal tap test. I am hoping none present. They would basically mean he is too sick and must be put down. I of course don't want that. After losing Emily 14 months ago and this month losing Olivia this would be a cruel trick. However, if this is the case I will accept it as the best thing for him.

I do not know what it stands for but the Vet. mentioned looking for SAP which is fatal. He said his best guess is that they won't find it but he cannot say until the tests come in.

I found the following that I think he may suffer from: FHS, feline hyperosthesia which causes cats to run in circles and have mood changes quickly and meow loudly. This sound like Leo and they say it is stress related. I am sure I can help him with this if this is the case. And I am hoping this is the diagnosis because it doesn't affect their lifespan or other organs.

The only way to get to this diagnosis is to rule out all else. So let's rule everything out!

I will go play with him after work today and get more updates at that time -- hopefully. They tell me the test results may be in tonight or tomorrow morning sometime.

Monday, April 21, 2008

NYTIMES: Cat Lovers Appreciate Soul Mate in Vatican

"Benedict’s kindness toward the strays of Rome is already the stuff of Vatican legend. His house in Germany, its garden guarded by a cat statue, was filled with cats when Benedict lived there full time before he was posted to the Vatican in 1982. "

I wasn't aware of this. But in light of my recent posts about Leo I thought this would be fun to share. Click on the link given and you can read the full article in the New York Times.

Update on Leo: He seems to be doing well and will be home soon. I will post the full story soon.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Leo Is At The Vet

Forgive the glowing eyes. I am working with a new camera. Leo is at the Vet. He vomited all night and had blood in his rectum this morning.
I am worried that he is not adoptable. But I am hopeful. I spoke with a representative from Mayors Alliance and they are going to take care of all his bills.
He is being retested for hyperthyroidism and if he has it they will pay for the iodine treatment that cures cats. :-)
They are also checking his belly since it is very sore and they are doing a full rectal exam. The Vet doesn't like how his castration was done at the Vet he was sent to before going out for adoption where I found him.
They are absolutely NOT concerned about his neurological condition. That is really just a birth defect that has no bearing on his over all health. His liver is fine. Let's see what they can do. Because I really like him.
He slept with me all night. He nuzzled in and kissed me and rubbed his head to mine. He likes to sleep right next to me. He is smart as a whip!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

My Speeddate Date Last Night And Leo

OK this has got to be on the list for one of the strangest dates. I am SURE there are others that rate higher but this probably is up there.

I went out with one of the men I met from speeddating last week. He is very nice, cute and charming. I even got a smooch. He was flirty. But I HIGHLY doubt I will hear from him again.



We met at a place called Pipas Tapas Bar. They are known for their sangrias. We shared a pitcher of them over a nice period of time. After which we agreed to a walk. And we walked past Petco. Do you see where this is going?

I went in and I adopted a boy cat.

OK first, I was NOT wearing that shirt where my arms look like the biggest loafs of bread imaginable. Horrid horrid shot! I put a deposit on him and picked him up today.

Now, the Pope is in town. So I wanted to drive in and get him but I knew I would never make it with the car. I took the subway in and brought the new carrier I bought this morning that looks like a gym bag with wheels.

The photo is from today when I picked him up.

His name is Leo. He has a neurological problem that makes his head dart back and forth and he also walks funny sometimes but not always. They did a lot of blood work on him and all looks well and the Vets at the Mayors Alliance that took him in and fixed him and cleaned him up say this problem won't affect his lifespan. I do hope they are correct and I didn't just give $125 to return a cat that is not a good fit for me. I don't have a problem with his physical problem at all. I have a lot of friends that do healing work and they will work on him. He is very skiddish however and I need him to be calm and sweet for him to be the right fit.

Last night he was so calm and loved being held like a baby and it seemed right. Perhaps I am a sucker. But I lost Emily 14 months ago and mourned for a year. Olivia past away on April 3rd and with a lot of help from my good friend Candace who said some very wise words to me, I walked in on a whim, while on a first date and picked this one year old guy out to take home.

I did want a young cat that might be hard to place. I wanted to do a mitzvah. Hopefully I can keep him.

He seems rather smart and I suspect he was in someone else's home and was thrown out for his issues. He seems to already know "come here" and "get down". I just need him to be calm. I'll keep you updated of course.

I left a deposit for him last night and speeddate guy and I continued on our date. We walked around the West Villiage and had Thai appetizers and chatted. We walked some more and I didn't want to hurt his feelings or be impolite so I let him tell me when he was tired and we ended the date on his comfort level. I know I am supposed to play the game of leaving first but I didn't want to be rude and well... he can think whatever he wants. I know my intent.

There was a smooch. It was decent. Have had better and have had worse. If for some odd reason I hear from him again and we do go out again I will have to teach him my style :-)

But he is either the nicest man ever or a great liar because he didn't seem to care and told me he liked that I was saving a cat. Either way, it's still a strange thing to end up doing on a date and he probably won't call again because of it. But he is welcome as he seemed nice.

Friday, April 18, 2008

From The New York Times: When the Ex Blogs, the Dirtiest Laundry Is Aired

When the Ex Blogs, the Dirtiest Laundry Is Aired

One in 10 adult internet users have a blog according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

Apparently I was not alone in starting my blog to help me digest the dissolution of my relationship with DTM. Mine was NOT a marriage...not even close, but the experience of the "relationship" was so traumatic to me that I had to find a way to express my thoughts, feelings, anger, disappointment etc. and I turned to blogging.

I talk a lot with Brian (who has written a wedding blessing post on this blog) and ask him for his guidance and advice about relationships and how and what he thinks about what is directly happening in my life. Brian and I go way back. I know him since I was a babe of 14. He is married now to a wonderful woman and has the most adorable little boy who is three years old.

It's interesting to hear his POV and always helpful. For this unmarried, looking in from the outside can be perplexing. I guess it is "that grass is always greener" thing for many singles, myself totally included.

Brian tells me stories about those we mutually know. I have learned about the short marriages, divorces, single mothers etc. that have happened. And he has shown me and helped me to be strong and comfortable with the path I have chosen.

In reading the article in the Times this morning I again realize how much I have avoided by choosing independence and singlehood for so long. Even with the turmoil I experienced with DTM and for those of you who know me longer than this blog exists, The Plant, I have completely escaped a failed marriage and kids to raise alone, the legal and financial issues that come along with that drama that could have been a part of my life, but isn't.

And I realize that I am happy. Am I happy all the time, every minute. NOPE. NO WAY. NOT POSSIBLE. But over all I am proud of the person I am, who I have become, who I will become and even for the sadder moments that were the lessons I needed to teach me all that I know and for all the lessons to come. Those harder moments can be excrutiating.

Feeling humiliated by DTM was absolutely emotionally excrutiating. But what I have gained from the experience far outweighs those horrible months I spent processing the confusion of the moments I spent with that person. And I am truly grateful for the lesson, now that I am on the other end.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

You Know You Are A True New Yorker When...

(Courtesy of Brian)
You Know You Are a True New Yorker When:

You can understand the meaning of this:




















What's The Most Romantic Thing You Have Had Done For You?

Barbara poses a great question. And I open it to the floor.

Please tell us in the comments section the most romantic thing someone has done for you.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Programmer pops question on girlfriend's video game

Now's here's a nice story you don't hear about every day.

Proof romance does live!

I'm On Lay Away!

This idea came to me the other day and I really like it! The next person that asks why I am still single or anything resembling this question will get that exact response. "I am on lay away!"

Do you remember when you were a kid and Mom took you to the store and picked out some clothes and toys for the holiday but then walked to the back and put the items on lay away because the price was a little out of her reach at the moment but she really wanted to make sure those items didn't go to someone else?

Well I and my future husband are both on lay away! We are these really great items that are rather expensive and take time to afford. Each of us is doing our part to "pay our way", not with money of course, but in life experiences and knowledge, until we get to that 100% PAID IN FULL and meet each other!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

What Do You Think About: Online reservations only at NYC hot spot

Online reservations only at NYC hot spot Momofuku Ko is only taking online reservations, no exceptions. Apparently it's the latest hotspot.

Before I read this article, only seeing the headline teaser I thought to myself, what a great idea? This would make things easier. However, this particular place is rather small, about 600 sq ft. Although to a true New Yorker this is about twice the size of most people's apartments. But I digress.

As I read further I realized how ingenius this idea was. It actually makes it harder to get a table and creates such a buzz and desire...after all who wants something that is easy to obtain right? Think about Xmas time and the Xbox situation.

This principle translates well into the dating world. Barbara, that smart woman, wrote about it today on her blog. Candidly she admits how in her younger "hey days" (as if they are truly gone, I think not) she played wild games with men and the more they were nice and easy the less interested she was in them. She goes on to describe people as "A" or "B" types. "B's" are those that are more insecure and usually are more focused on does he or she like me. Then she poses the thought and question that we should really be thinking "But do I really want them?"

This Chef/Owner puts that question to us subliminaly. He creates that insecurity that makes us chase him to get a table and try his pricey food. Ingenius.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Dr. Phil's Show On Men Learning How To Pick Up Women

Wondering what you think about this? It's the story under "Women Beware".

I found what they shared online interesting. And funny enough I learned a new phrase that basically was what happened to me with DTM. The more I continue to delve into the ins and outs of dating with the informal workshops and talks I have been going to, and now reading about this episode, the more I realize just how damn naive I have been.

DTM was part of what these guys term a "seduction community". Beware readers...they will call it a place for communication games. Some as in the case with my Ex's group will pretend there is a spiritualness to what they are teaching you as well. They will never admit that what they are really doing is teaching you how to seduce for seducing sake only.

There's two parts to this episode. The second part features only one guy and he talks about the more seductionish methods he teaches. He explains, "One of the things they rely on doing is flipping women back and forth between feeling like they’re being approved of and feeling like they’re being criticized. They do something called push-pull, where they’ll give the women a little attention, and then they’ll pull it away, so she doubts whether they’re attracted to her or not. They use a lot of invalidation, the theory being that if you invalidate a woman, she’ll have sex with you to prove her attractiveness.” He adds that they use canned routines, and when they ask for a woman's opinion, they really don’t care. "There's a lot of deception."

And in a nutshell...that is EXACTLY what happened to me all those months ago...which was the catalyst for me to start to blog. I was so incredibly confused and humiliated and I just didn't have the words or understanding for what I had just experienced.

Does knowing all this change anything for me at this point? Not really. I have gone through many stages of healing over this experience and I hope I am pretty much done. But there might be others living this or at their confused stage. I hope this information helps those women reading this now.

Personally, from what I read on Dr. Phil's site about his latest show, I don't think the intent of what this first group is doing is evil or malicious. In fact it sounds to me much like what I am trying to learn for myself so that I truly do communicate better with men.

I think it is all about intent. What do you think?

Here's Barbara's thoughts on this subject.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Prevent Animal Cruelty

Pledge to Fight Animal Cruelty

Rookie NYPD cop busted in $113G Pennsylvania bank heist

This cop, as the article in the NY Daily News goes on to say, lives in Woodhaven. That's a hop, skip and a jump from my neighborhood.

This story doesn't directly relate to my dating life, but it is so bizarre and the young man lives so close to me I thought I would share it with you.

21 and recently engaged. Just can't figure it out sometimes, how a scum like that finds love and I am still waiting in the wings. (There's your dating tie-in :-)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Speed Date Or Speed Hate

I went to speed dating last night. It was sponsored by a meetup.com group I signed up for. I went to another one of their events recently and found them honest and candid. Figured for $30 why not?

But I have to wonder if this is speed dating or speed hating. I am really not trying to be cynical. But it seems to me that the women are pretty darn open-minded about this and the men are very closed off.

There were a few gentlemen there that seemed relaxed and open to meeting some nice women. Unfortunately I didn't feel they were right for me. But more often than not the guys sitting in front of me and the rest of the women were a bundle of nerves full of disqualifyers.

It may not be their intent but it seems to me that there is a air of 'if she says this or does that I know exactly the kind of person she is and she won't let me do this or this...so no go'.

So while I start out the evening with an open mind, rather quickly I sink to the feeling of "are we having fun yet?" And funny enough I got this type of question presented to me as well, but each time I chose to say it to the next fellow I got the same response. One of which was as if they were telling me to relax and not appear desperate. I think what bothers me the most is that they think they have me (and the rest of the women) wrapped up. I wanted to smack the crap out of the ones with this attitude, when I simply said a very nonchelant remark about the way this night was going.

Here's one of the reasons for the "are we having fun yet?" type of remark:
The second fellow I met told me, with crossed arms, that he only came because the owner of the company asked him since there weren't enough men signed up.


I only checked off yes to 3 guys. One I checked yes to but felt I should not and he didn't check yes to me. The other two also checked yes and we shall see. I think one of the two yes guys was also there as a favor to one of the organizers and was a plant, to be charming and make the women feel it was worth it to show up. So I take no stock in receiving an email from him. He was charming and fun for 8 minutes. Those eight minutes were fun.

I made a friendly bet with a (male) friend from work that he won't call. I have a whole quarter riding on that. I will probably win this 25 cents when I arrive back to work on Monday morning. :-(

The other gentleman is from Columbia. Weak spot of mine...Hispanic men. Truth is I am looking for the right man for me but there has to be a happy middle until he comes along. Maybe this guy can be a source of fun for a while. Who knows?

I am having drinks with "P" tomorrow night. I get the feeling he is incredibly sweet, but probably not right for me.

What do you think about Speed Dating? Dating or hating?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

How My Week Is Going

Many of you have been asking me how I am doing. First, thank you for your well wishes and concerns. You are wonderful friends!

I am doing well. While I miss Olivia greatly I think I am just a bit numb. I also feel that all things considered I made the right decision and I am glad that she is no longer in pain. Heaven is a peaceful place. We will all take the journey someday.

This weekend I attended a trade show. I shared a table with a student of mine and we pitched ourselves. We had a good time and learned a lot. I met a nice young man there who was working another table. I don't know how old or young he is. I do know he was cute and kind and TALL! I am a shortie. I am 60 inches. That's 5 feet for the rest of ya. Maybe Drowsey can convert to the metric system for me and the rest of the readers outside of the U.S. I chatted this fellow up after a little eye contact. I managed to get him my card and he did contact me. He is going to be in Arizona starting today so I told him to call me when he gets back.

I met another fellow before Olivia died and before I even knew how sick she was. He also contacted me. He is MUCH younger than I am and I am on the fence about him, not due to his age. I hate to say it but he doesn't seem to be the sharpest tool in the shed.

I gave him my card at the event we met up at. He called me about a week later and left me his cell number. I sent him a text yesterday.
Here's the txt thread:

12:15pm- Hey P. It's Lauren. How's ur week going?
12:35pm from P-- Who? i don't recognize your phone #?
12:46PM- From Proof. Good 2 know you remember my name!
12:48PM from P-- oh hey, I never had ur cell #. did you ever get my message on your answering machine?

There was more but I think that is enough for all of you. TADA! This is the dating world.

OK there is one more guy. Jewish, age appropriate at 38. Nice looking. Met through Jdate and we have IM'd and talked on the phone a little. He works around the block from where I am working in the city. He is in finance and seems smart. We talked about getting together next weekend since his Saturday and my Sunday is already filled. He should be calling me during the week sometime.

I'll keep you posted.

Welcome your comments.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Being Young Again

Cutest Orange Kitten Ever I want to pet him and squeeze him and make him mine--all mine!

A friend of mine communicates with animals. She sent me a kind email about Olivia. One of the things she told me is that Olivia told her she was looking forward to being young again with Emily. I found this video today of a baby kitten. I hope Olivia is having this much fun!

Be Careful What You Wish For

My good friend Dina emailed this to me today. Seeing as I am of course very sad, she wanted to make me laugh...and that she did!

This is being sent to all our friends and relatives, who after so many (or maybe so few) years of marriage would NEVER consider making such a foolish wish! AMEN! ...

A married couple in their early 60's was celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary in a quiet, romantic little restaurant.

Suddenly, a tiny yet beautiful fairy appeared on their table.

She said, 'For being such an exemplary married couple and for being so loving to each other all this time, I will grant you each a wish.'

The wife answered, 'Oh, I want to travel around the world with my darling husband.'
The fairy waved her magic wand and - poof! - Two tickets for the Queen Mary II appeared in her hands.

The husband thought for a moment, 'Well, this is all very romantic, but an opportunity like this will never come again.
I am sorry my love, but my wish is to have a wife 30 years younger than me.'

The wife and the fairy were both deeply disappointed, but a wish is a wish.

So the fairy waved her magic wand and poof!...the husband became 92 years old.

The moral of this story: Men who are ungrateful bastards should remember fairies are female!


Friday, April 4, 2008

The Mystery of Suffering

My first question was why? Watching my sweet, once strong baby, deteriorate so quickly, in so much pain I questioned why. Why should she suffer so greatly. And she did. Surprisingly, putting her to sleep was one of the easiest decisions I ever had to make. I looked into her eyes and I knew it was what she wanted and needed. I even called the proper people to come earlier than originally scheduled. I could not watch her suffer needlessly even a few extra hours. I won't describe what I saw. It was heartbreaking.

This morning I found this article on a site I read. I found its timing proufoundly stunning and the message comforting.

The Mystery of Suffering
By Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski

A world-renowned psychiatrist considers faith, free-will and the human need for answers
“If a person will have on the skin of his flesh . . . a tzaraas affliction.” — Lev. 13:2

The affliction of tzaraas is the only condition which the Torah attributes to a specific sin: Loshon hara (gossip). ''Beware of a tzaraas affliction. Remember what G-d did to Miriam'' (Deuteronomy 24:8-9). This refers to Miriam's unjust criticism of Moses (Numbers 12:10).

Our people have experienced suffering in its many forms, as a nation as well as individually. Every so often, someone suggests a reason for suffering. This is presumptuous, because while there may be various reasons for suffering, they are largely unknown to us.

The question of why things happen has been instrumental in advancing human knowledge. Many scientific discoveries have resulted from man's attempt to understand and explain things.

Whether an apple did or did not fall on Isaac Newton's head, something aroused his curiosity
as to why things fell to the ground, and so he investigated and formulated the Law of Gravity. Life-saving penicillin was discovered because of Fleming's curiosity as to why there was no bacterial growth around the mold on the petri dish. It is only natural for people to be curious why things happen.

Curiosity is one thing. Obstinacy in insisting that every question must have an answer that we can understand is something else. Perhaps we feel that not being able to find an answer is an insult to our competence. There is nothing wrong with realizing our human limitations. There are many things that are unknown, and even if we see the unknown as a challenge and try to investigate it, we should realize that we may not be able to know everything.

There are things in Judaism about which our knowledge is limited or even nonexistant. For example, we believe that G-d has infinite foresight and knows the future. We also believe that a person has the freedom of choice to do right or wrong. This raises a question that has been discussed by many theologians: If G-d knows what I am going to do tomorrow, how can I have free choice? I cannot do anything other than what G-d knew I was going to do.

Maimonides says that the reason we see this as a conflict is because we equate G-d's knowledge with our own. If we have certain knowledge of what is going to happen, it cannot happen differently. However, G-d's knowledge is totally different than ours, and His knowledge does not conflict with free will. What is G-d's knowledge like? That we cannot possibly know, because G-d's knowledge is inseparable from Him. Just as we cannot have an understanding of G-d, we cannot have an understanding of His knowledge (Hilchos Teshuvah 5:5). Ravad criticizes Maimonides for raising a question to which he cannot give a logical answer. But Maimonides's position is that it is perfectly proper to have insoluble mysteries. We do not have to have a concrete answer to everything. We must learn to live with mystery, with the unknowable.
CONCEDING LIMITATIONS There are many things that we must accept as facts and proceed from there. For example, when oxygen and hydrogen combine in a specific ratio, they form water. That is a natural phenomenon. Why they form water rather than another compound is unknown. However, we accept this fact and see what useful applications we can derive from this fact.

Throughout history, we have observed the fact that there is suffering in the world. We have sought to explain it, particularly why the innocent suffer and why bad things happen to good people. The theme of the Book of Job is the mystery of the suffering of good people.
The Talmud says that Moses' request of G-d, ''Let me know Your ways'' (Exodus 33:13) was to understand why the righteous suffer, but G-d denied him this knowledge (Berachos 7a). The Talmud says that it was Moses who wrote the Book of Job, wherein several explanations are offered, but all are rebutted.

It would be most presumptuous for us to try to understand something that escaped Moses' understanding.

Yet many of our ethicists have investigated the question of suffering. I believe that they were not in search of an explanation. They obviously did not try to grasp something that was beyond the grasp of Moses. The reason for suffering is known only to G-d. All we can do is try to derive some useful lesson from suffering. While we may not be able to know why there is suffering, we may be able to see how we can benefit from this perplexing phenomenon.

Rabbi Baruch Ber Lebowitz (1870-1940) was engaged in a Torah discussion with Rabbi Chaim of Brisk, and he remarked, ''Why does the Torah say this?'' Rabbi Chaim corrected him.
''We may not ask why the Torah says something. That is G-d's wisdom and is beyond our ability to understand. We can only ask, 'What can we derive from what the Torah says?' ''

Although I profess to have emunah (faith), and when I suffered losses I recited the appropriate blessing, Blessed be the Judge of Truth, I could not avoid feeling that it was an intellectual expression. I was in pain, and I felt otherwise in my heart.

Oh, if G-d would only let me operate the world! All children would be born healthy, without physical or mental defects. There would be no leukemia or cancer. People would be healthy until they reached the end of their allotted time on earth.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PAIN AND SUFFERING The Talmud says that the righteous suffer in this world in order to increase their reward in the Eternal World. We find different attitudes toward suffering in the Talmud. Rabbi Eliezer welcomed his suffering, calling his pains ''my friends'' (Bava Metziah 84b). On the other hand, Rabbi Elazar said, ''I do not want the suffering and I do not want its reward'' (Berachos 5b). This was not a rejection of suffering but was in response to the question whether he wished to suffer.

There is a difference between pain and suffering. People who have been given morphine for severe pain, if questioned carefully, may say, ''The sensation is still there, but it doesn't bother me.'' Suffering may be an interpretation of pain rather than a sensation on its own.
Inasmuch as there is no decisive Halachah (Jewish legal ruling) on this issue, I favor the latter position. I have a very low pain threshold, and I find even a toothache intolerable. I am not even interested in knowing why my tooth hurts. That is for the dentist to know. I just want relief.
As a psychiatrist, people come to me with their problems, some of which are heart-rending. I am happy when I can do something to relieve their distress, but I am most frustrated when I am powerless to do so. I suffer along with them, and as you may surmise, I do not handle suffering well.

Sometimes I identify with my great-grandfather, Rebbe Motele of Hornosteipel. He was a chassidic rebbe to whom many people came to unburden themselves of their misery. One day, after absorbing many tales of woe from the people who sought his blessing to extricate them from their plights, he abruptly tore open his shirt, bared his chest and exclaimed, ''Master of the universe! Look into my heart. I cannot take any more.''

Ah! But I am not Rebbe Motele. He genuinely cared for others. I care for myself.
In my last year of medical school, I received a call late one night from a hospital, because a patient requested a rabbi. I found a distraught women standing over an incubator. Her infant had been born with what was at that time an irreparable heart defect. Her baby was going to die.
Tearfully, she turned toward me and said, ''Why, rabbi, why?'' I stood there in utter silence, crying along with her. I said a brief prayer with her and left. The words of Moses came to my mind, when he complained to G-d that his efforts to have Pharaoh free the Israelites resulted in aggravating their suffering. ''Why did You do evil to this people? Why did You send me?'' (Exodus 5:22). If Moses could complain, so may we.

The following morning I told my father about this experience. He said, ''Was your frustration due to the woman's pain, or because you were unable to help her?'' He was right. One of the reasons I had left the rabbinate for medicine was because I felt I could do more for people as a doctor than as a rabbi. Now I was both, and in spite of having the tools of the two greatest healing professions, I was totally impotent. I could not handle the assault to my ego. I am sure that Moses and Rebbe Motele genuinely cared for others and shared their pain, whereas I was caring primarily for myself and was nursing my wounded ego.

APPRECIATING THE FRUITS OF HARDSHIP Sometimes we can see, if only in retrospect, the good that resulted from suffering. Many times we cannot, even in retrospect. I am sure that the intensely painful experience of the distraught mother had a profound impact on her emotional makeup, but I cannot fathom why it had to come this way. I can only resort to G-d's words to Job: ''And where were you when I created the world?'' In other words, there is a master plan knowable to only a Being who has infinite knowledge of time and space. We may think of a jigsaw puzzle of a thousand pieces. One who has only one piece of the puzzle may say, ''This piece doesn't make any sense.'' Of course, it cannot make any sense unless it fits in with the other 999 pieces which one does not have.

Some things do lend themselves to our understanding. For example, the Talmud says, ''G-d gave Israel three good gifts, and all were given only through suffering. They are: Torah, the Holy Land and the World to Come'' (Berachos 5a). It is common experience that we have greater feeling and appreciation for things we acquire through suffering than for things that come to us easily, especially gifts. The more effort we put into achieving or acquiring something, the more meaning and value it has for us, because we have put part of ourselves into it.
The Talmud says that tzaddikim (the truly righteous) value their possessions even more than their own bodies, because they scrupulously avoid anything that they did not earn honestly (Sotah 12a). Their bodies were given to them, whereas they worked hard for their possessions. In order that we properly treasure Torah, the Holy Land and the World to Come, we have to experience suffering to acquire them.

The Chassidic master, Rebbe Baruch of Medzhibozh was reciting the prayer prior to the Friday night Kiddush (wine sacrament). When he came to the verse, ''I thank You, G-d, for all the kindnesses that You have done for me, and for all the kindnesses that You will do for me in the future,'' he paused. ''Why do I have to thank G-d in advance for future kindnesses? I can wait and thank Him when they occur.''

After meditating a few moments, he said, ''I understand why. The kindnesses may come packaged in suffering, so that I will not be able to recognize them as kindnesses when they occur.'' Thereupon he began weeping. ''How tragic it is,'' he said, ''that G-d will be doing kindnesses for me and I will be unable to appreciate them.''

The Midrash says that when Jacob mourned the loss of his beloved son, Joseph, he said, ''G-d has turned away from me.'' G-d said, ''Here I am manipulating things to make his son viceroy over the greatest empire on earth, yet he complains'' (Bereishis Rabbah 91:13). If the great patriarch had difficulty in accepting suffering as a kindness in disguise, what can we expect of ourselves?

WAKE-UP CALL While we wish that it would come via a more pleasant route, suffering is often a wake-up call. We are often so frenetically engaged in the activities of life that we may give little thought to the purpose of life. It is when we suffer that our focus may change. Suffering may change our perspective and we may assign different values to things. As Solomon said, ''It is better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all man, and the living should take it to heart'' (Ecclesiastes 7:2). There is not much that one learns at a feast.

As a physician, I have observed people reject values that they had never questioned before, and consider new paths in life. I addressed this phenomenon in Light at the End of the Tunnel.
Suffering may alter a person's sensitivity. In experiencing our own suffering, we may develop a connection with the suffering of others of which we may not have been aware. A wise psychotherapist said to me, ''Out of suffering come the strongest souls. G-d's wounded often make His best soldiers.''

We may not have satisfactory answers to some questions. The phenomenon of suffering will forever remain a mystery. Its uses need not be so.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Olivia Has Passed On

She was suffering and it was painful to watch. I had an interfaith minister come and she was put to sleep at 1:25PM today. She is out of pain and that is really all I can ask for.

Thank you to everyone who sent prayers and well wishes.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Update On Olivia

Thank you for all your thoughts, prayers and well wishes. Things are not looking very good for Olivia. (her photo is on the side of the blog)

I have been giving her SubQ fluids and antibiotics and meds for the kidney failure but she is not eating on her own after a few days of doing this. I haven't seen her use her litter box for a couple of days. She is lethargic but moves and is aware of everything. So making the choice to put her to sleep is hard for me.

I have scheduled the pet sitter who is also a vet tech. to come and do an exam tonight to see what she thinks is best. If Olivia's bladder is full and will just urinate in time there might be time to see if the rest can kick in and start working better. I am going to up her fluids tonight as well.

Chances are I will be putting her to sleep this Friday or Monday. It's a very hard choice, when she is still aware of everything. I have mixed feelings about euthenasia. I am not against it but I personally have a problem being a human choosing the day and time of death of another living creature regardless of the reason.

I made a promise to her after her sister was put down that I would do better by her, be stronger and be there in the room when it was her turn. I will keep my promise. It's all a matter of choosing the right moment. Each of us has a soul, and each soul needs to be emotionally ready to pass, not just physically.

Thank you again for your thoughts and prayers.