Thursday, October 26, 2006

my comments are back!

so this is a non-official post that will probably be read by few if any but......

yay! my comments are back.

i considered blogging again a couple of months ago and was depressd to see that all my comments had been deleted. call me egotisitical but others feedabck kind of completed some of my posts for me and it just made it harder to be enthusiastic about picking up my blog pen again.

but they're back!

ironically (given my first statement) but now i know that nobody is reading...

maybe i can come back too

Monday, May 15, 2006

testing 123

anybody out there?

methinks that my previous post may have accidentally been a prophetic metaphor for my blog's demise. (something like its ok just to stop - nothing to prove blah blah)

well it is true, two months and not a whimper.

two relatively uneventful months with such highlights as
-- my first seder and pesach with A (spent with rest of my family...)
-- chucking out 2 huge boxes of notes - and nine years of procrastination -- for my (unfinished) masters to make room for yuppy type wicker chairs on our mirpeset
-- trying to use recently learned mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques -- an interesting course to begin a week after your wedding
-- finally reconnecting with a writing group after a year's hiatus

hmmm hmmm
definite materials for thoughts and writing

then again i'm not the only one who seems to have taken a blog break -- this crowd seems to have as well (although this one's still in blog celebratory phase - oh the energy of the young)

and anyway i could choose to write about other kinds of things or in a different style ....
i know creatively i just need to write. the question is whether this is still the/a place to do it

hmmm hmmm
let me think this one out.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

who nose

i think i'm going to let my nose ring hole close up.

its not that i dont like it.
i love it.
its just i think the universe is telling me something and i feel healthily obliged to pay due attention.

i have admired my nose ring and enjoyed it being admired many a time since its world debut nearly five years ago.

indeed my decision to have a nose ring in the first place is possibly my favorite decision ever. (bar marrying A, of course but there's a point to be made here which discounts standard lifechanging decisions)

it came at a time when i was going through one of those life phases that was earth shattering for me, if perhaps slightly unnoticeable to the untuned human eyes around me. i was learning how to make adult choices. finally working out which factors and opinions were really worthy of consideration and which were just confusing background noise to be ignored (however hard that can be).

i remember the process. it was the first time that i was able to go from the stage of recognizing that this was something i'd like to do, to the stage of practical considerations -- such as is it expensive, dangerous, reversible -- without getting caught up in the nine times out of ten superfluous 'what will the neighbors think' stage.

it was truly liberating
and i was happy to have a constant reminder of this conscious healthy decision less than two inches away from my eyes, all the time!

as far as i was concerned the rest of the world could read into it what they wanted
... and they did.

-- i was both turned down because of, and accepted despite of , my nose ring, for at least two jobs.

-- i found that i could finally wear long skirts without people asking me if i'd suddenly 'frummed out'.

-- i was able to blend in with the 'young crowd' when traveling across new zealand and australia, even at the ancient age of 29.

-- i felt a distinct change in people's attitudes towards me. over night i was considered someone who was a little bit out there and for whom you could make no assumptions about. sometimes people seemed visibly riled -- why had i confused a good set of assumptions and thrown a spanner in the works of their standard place-people- in-boxes-for-safety routine.

-- i was allowed to consider myself as someone who was a little bit out there and for whom you could make no assumptions about. my standard place-people- in-boxes-for-safety routine was rocked at its very core.

-- not a few (often religious, sometimes married) men felt obliged to tell me about how they secretly found it sexy. they asked me if i could convince their wives to get one too... and whether i had piercings in any other places.

-- i became a new object of interest and wonder to those looking to expand their horizons. a married contemporary at a bet shemesh brit pointed out how fascinated her daughter was by the lady with the silver in her nose. i got the distinct impression that she felt that i had helped give her offspring a broader education by exposing them to the 'wider world out there'.

-- i developed standard answers to the questions like, how do you blow your nose; does it hurt when you sneeze? (the same, actually it makes picking it more fun; not as much as the other piercings)

-- i couldn't help but notice the not insignifcant number of girlfriends and other acquaintances who subsequently took the plunge (or the needle) and i felt duly complimented.

so as you can see -- it was fun.

technically speaking, it was quite easy to maintain but it was more squeamishness than ideology that kept my nose ring constantly in my nose for over two years.

it was only when i played a victorian lady of leisure in a superb mamet masterpiece that my nose ring came more detachable. the change came when my equally superb and dedicated director insisted that i learn to take it out for performances in order to maintain authenticity.

but although i now had the new pastime of playing with said nose ring in boring meetings (inconspicuously of course) it still stayed with me for another year and a half with no major event.

until i got engaged.......

an unrelated event one would think.
(especially as A had always been supportive if a bit ambivalent about it. )

but here's the thing.
two days after the proposal, having just enjoyed a dip in the mediteranean i discover that my nose ring has fallen out! yes fallen out -- for the first time in over four years (a time period which trust me had had its fair share of swimming and cavorting)

fairs fair, i replace it
but this was just the beginning of my travails so it seemed.
to cut a long story short, since june 2005 i have gone through at least six nose rings as they continue to fall out in wet and dry situations alike.

Note this includes a nose ring chosen especially for the wedding (see right), which was even handed to a friend with the rest of my jewellery for segula luck before the chupa!

most bizarre indeed.

unaccustomed as i am to replacing the ring, this has become a true pain in the nose.
(often literally as if i dont always get round to buying one immediately the first wearing can involve a form of minor surgery!)

which brings me back to my latest healthy decision.

having failed to buy a new nose ring for nearly a month and being forced to use an earring every week or so to ensure that hole is still intact (last attempt clearly failing) i've decided to give up the fight.

i'm giving up the fight and surrendering to the forces of the universe orwhoever is behind this change in energies.

and thats ok.

because as i've learned , having a nose ring is not expensive or dangerous and its clearly reversible. so if i really want, i can have my nose pierced again. simple as that.

and furthermore... all that other stuff i learned about myself is still true.
i dont need to prove anything (now or ever really) to anyone.

lord 'nose', thats the most important part of it all.

Friday, February 03, 2006

A rose by any other name

Today's post is brought to you by a guest blogger - LM. LG is just getting over the traumas of assuming that something simple that most women do when they're married would be a breeze ... and then being mistaken.

it was my gut reaction when we got engaged.

i doubt A was expecting it but the look on his face when i said i would take his name was enough to tell me it was the right decision. LG would remain the comedian, author -- public persona in the creative realm and LM would be the married one just leading a quiet new life.

yes, taking A's name would be a gentle reminder of my new status, my new reality, a legacy that would pass down to my children (it can be traced back several generations unlike G which is more common than a disgruntled security guard at an Israeli government office) and all in all two extra syllables that i'd kind of been longing for all my life.

(another not to be overlooked advantage would be that the name LM would allow me the anonymity to post on local email lists looking for a second hand vacuum cleaner without 10,000 people writing back saying are you going to do a comedy routine on household appliances now you're married -- Dustdate? duster? saw you at the dustbin - a frequent occurrence, i kid you not.)

so how do you change your name?

forget passport, id card, bank account etc. these days your email is your name. your name enters into peoples inboxes daily and they will read it or delete just based on that

changing it at home was relatively easy. yahoo happened to have a deal on alias addresses a month before i got married so i had secretly been for quite a while. but now there was work. i'd seen what my other friends had done at their places of work. although a fair few had just left their name as it was or double barreled it, i didnt imagine that there was more to changing it than having my old lg@work address forwarded to my lm@work and c'est la vie.

but no -- it was a whole hoo ha.

you'd have thought i was the first person in the building to get married. (after a day of working on my computer the computer support team actually declared me the last). they *had* to change everything on my computer.
today at work i am not just married, i am a new user on the system with a new password to boot. but withouth lots of my customized settings - no more beautiful desktop pics, email rules that filed boss' emails to their own folder and others straight to junk and auto-corrects in word which prevented me having to type any word longer than 5 letters.

i had to re-examine everything i did by rote - work out how to set it up again. and then when i needed the computer department's help again i found myself justifying the idiosyncratic nature of my workspace. it was very stressful....

ok smug marrieds out there (read anyone married more than 6 months). stop with that knowing nod or else you're going to hit your head on the screen. i know there's a metaphor there. yes yes marriage does require examining how you do everything all over again and thus brings a ton of adjustments. I KNOW THAT goddamit but give me a break in cyberland at least.

ok where were we?
still at work, right (whats new)
and then to add insult to injury then because the
lg@work account is to be eventually shut down, they insisted tha i officially announce my new address to the office -- 500 people!!! (which if not embarassing enough had to be recalled and then sent again when i made a mistake)

what a statement for someone who didnt want to make a statement.

email travails over, last week i finally went to the ministry of the interior to change things officially.

i had considered double barring my name for official use only (ie to make the changeover easier). but on consulting the clerk she made me feel very special by pointing out that i wasnt doing anything more difficult or different than anyone-else and that i'd manage but if i wanted to be LGM i'd need to fill in another form.

she let me think about it for at least 30 seconds and then i took the plunge. LM i would be -- in the eyes of my husband, the State and this wrinkled looking gum chewing i filled out the forms (the ones i already had) and then when i went to get my new ID card from the counter.

i dont know whether i was consciously expecting a little bit more understanding from the girl whose job it was to give out the new cards but if i was, i was disappointed. the woman didnt just replace my ID card, she actively took LG and threw her in the bin! as she printed out nice new LM i could see LG lying abandoned in a waste paper basket, gone forever. I didnt even get a chance to say goodbye properly. i thought i'd keep her as a keepsake.

i cried.

i asked the clerk if other women cry when this happens
she just looked at me

i cried even more.

it was so strange. i couldnt say exactly what it was. i havent changed as a person - LG is still in me. LG is the solid foundation that LM is starting with. its her wisdom and experiences thats going to make LM be the best woman she can be. i've been LG for 33 years and maybe in my mind i always will be. but this beauracratic move got me deep down inside.

eventually i was reassured that this was a hard step but still worthwhile. but not from any civil servant.

i called A as i was leaving the building and blubbed down the phone about not knowing who i was and why had i done it, i thought it was right but this was too hard and he was able to just listen and be there for me. he could have told me to pull myself together. he could have pointed out that it was my decision but he didnt. he just listened and said i know (and that was even before his first coffee in the morning)... i guess having someone like that in my life is worth more than a new initial.

(just to be sure i called a number of good girlfriends to check that i wasnt going mad and then that was that!)

i meant to write this post last week but didnt get round to it -- and that seems to have been providential as here comes a timely epilogue

last shabbat i got to shul pretty early (epsecially considering that i often dont get there at all). i go to a shul that davens separately but calls up women to the torah. i have no intention of going into the politics or halachic implications of this status as it is not relevant to the purpose of the story so sorry, just had to point that out so readers would understand.

apart from simchat torah (when everyone gets called up) and my shabbat kallah which i held separately with just women, i have never been called up. but as i arrived at shul at 8:45 it dawned on me that given my newly married status i could well be a candidate. sure enough the gabaiit approached me and asked me if i'd like an aliyah. i said yes. and then she asked me my name.

considering the week i'd had i hesitated -- what was my name, now? i thought and then i realized that as far as G-d's record books go i am the same person -- L Bat A v' R. i have been defined by my parents all my life and always will be. just as i cant change my parents i cant change who i am.

i smiled.

thank you G-d (holder of 70 names, how do you manage?) for that validation


LG will be back for the next post because, well you read the rules -- this is the creative realm (and an anonymous one to boot) so she gets to stay!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

what every girl dreams of

we got married!

although i have been only a rather casual blogger of late, on the merit of A the wedding received more than a passing mention onthe hip jewish website jewschool as well as wonderful online dedication by one of his closest friends who couldnt be with us.

(Note: i am totally grateful to have the event immortalised in the blogosphere by the former -- despite the total "out-ing of our true identities -- but i do feel the need to point out that the author's claim to have inspired my blog debut is a slight rewrite of history! his workshop did lead me to change my comments to haloscan but i guess as a media man that just wasnt sexy enough...)

to try and describe the day would be impossible but i would like to share one small part with you.

while some girls dream for years about their wedding dress imagining every detail of its style and feel, for as long as i can remember i have been doing the same...for my speech! i always knew that i'd speak at my wedding but the question was always how to balance the humour and the serious stuff, the jewish with the romance, the retrospective with the now.

so after years of planning in my head, a good few months of banging away at the keyboard and one about-as-perfect-as-it-gets execution, here it is....
my wedding speech

The advantage about being a mature bride is that by the time you get to your wedding day you do know some ultimate truths.

  • For example I know that while I may actually have a chance of fitting into – and thus wearing – this wedding dress again -- it just won’t happen.
  • I also know that the chances of me making it through this speech with a dry eye is about as likely as my mother saying “you should have eloped.” Thus contrary to some people’s expectations I am not doing this off the cuff/ off script or off anything apart from this piece of paper.
  • And finally I know a good person when I meet one. And I met one.

Speaking tonight is tricky because I cannot rely on my regular topics: Making fun of Americans, Kvetching about parental pressures and Sharing the angst of being single in Jerusalem.

My comedy routine is testimony to how much my life has changed – I am married, directly related to an American and our parents made this night possible with minimal demands.

So for those of you who are familiar with my comedy you'll know that there’s only one befitting thing to do before officially burying six years of material. And that’s to say: Mum – Thanks for asking – my social life is great!


A and I would like to thank our family and friends. Not just for what you’ve done for us in the lead up to the wedding in the last six months but for what you’ve done in the lead up to this moment in say the last thirty years or so.

To Our Family
In Kenton – that almost mythical place in London where I grew up – there was a verse from Proverbs that the community would sing in shul to the bar mitzvah boy after the Rabbi’s drash.

Shema bni musar avicha v’al titosh torat imecha
Listen to the instruction of your father and do not forsake the Torah of your mother

Although never a barmitzva boy myself, this message was clearly drummed home for me. Do not forget that parents are your primary source of direction and guidance in life. Their advice is invaluable, their care and attention irreplaceable.

Both A and I owe much to our parents in that respect. Your love, beliefs and efforts have helped shape us to be the people we are today. You’ve taught us your Torah and made us proud Jews.

Mum and Dad – you always put your children first. When I think of all the holidays abroad you could have had but no our education and Jewish social life were far more important in your eyes. You also taught us what it was to be an active part of a community – how to give of myself in that capacity – and how to receive in return.

R., L. – you made a life changing move to ensure that your children would have the freedom to be Jewish and have the best opportunities in life. Your sacrifice of starting again and being a real immigrant in a new country not only ensured their material wellbeing but transmitted a strong sense of identity and meaning.

To our grandparents who are no longer here – but showed us the way either in person or through family folklore– you are here, you’re in our thoughts, our personalities, our memories and our hearts.

To our extended family – our sisters, brothers in law, nephews, nieces, uncles, aunts and cousins – the fact that you’ve traveled from far and wide to be with us – Los Angeles, Liverpool, London, Cape Town, Petach Tikva and in fact all over Israel – is typical of your ongoing presence and influence in our lives.

It is easy to go through life seeing the small picture - the arguments and quibbles - but looking back we can see how really very fortunate we are. Thank you.

And to Our Friends
Pirkei Avot teaches us Kane L’cha Chaver
-- Acquire yourself a friend. At first glance this reads like a nightmare commercial from a consumer world gone awry however the common interpretation to this verse is far from it. Our rabbis merely recommend that one finds oneself a friend – a chavruta – with whom to face life’s adventures, with whom to fathom life’s mysteries head on, with whom to grow.

Both A and I have had the fortune to acquire many such friends. Friends who aren’t just in our lives but make our lives.

Friends who have shared our worries, quandaries, delights and passions. You are them.
Friends who have advised us, listened to us, discussed with and rejoiced with us. You are them.
Friends who have hosted us, fed us, nurtured us, taught us. You are them

You are too many to name but today we especially want to thank
- Friends who through them A and I met in the most natural non-Jdate kind of environment. You know who you are and you have a permanent invite to my parents home.
- Friends who have traveled from Toronto, New York and London – who’ve left fiancées and families behind - just to be with us today.
- Friends who have seen us through every detail of this occasion – from listening to hours (and hours) of dating dilemmas to choosing suits and invitation designs to doing so many things that i couldnt even have imagined when i wrote this speech to singing beautifully at the chupa and for leading it so well.

But our favorite thing about you – our family and friends – is how you’ve both become each other.

Our friends you are our family – you’re there for us on a daily basis doling out support , advice, chocolate – whatever’s needed. For the many of you who are already doing the married with kids bit you make us grateful that we have such incredible role models as we start our journey.

And our family you are our friends (or else we really wouldn’t have invited you!). And my parents could give a master class in how to make lifelong friends. There are too many people in this room who have known me all my life. I continue to confuse people when I speak of at least ten different aunties when my parents have only two siblings between them.

And now to you A.

You’re both
You’re my best friend
You’re my closest family.

Finding you has been a humbling process – one for which I thank G-d daily.
You’ve changed my life – you inspire me, reassure me, challenge me and make me a better person. Even more importantly you make me laugh.

As the verse that you chose from Eshet Chayil for our invitation says – Oz v’hadar levusha v’ tischak lyom acharon. I certainly look forward to laughing and playing with you for the rest of my days– we can discuss the strong and glorious clothes later on.

A, I know that one of the challenges of meeting me – apart from my accent, my work schedule and my clear lack of interest in discussing who will be this year’s MVP – has been meeting the many people in my life. You’ve shared with me that this can be overwhelming but I guess I brush it off because you seem to handle it so well.

I wonder, if you sometimes wonder, how exactly you fit in with all these other people around. Well, I’ve relied on our sages to elucidate things until this point but I hope you’ll forgive me if now I turn to the words of Lennon and McCartney to explain this koshi.

Though I know I’ll never lose affection, For people and things that went before. I know I’ll often stop and think about them. In my life I love you more.

To our friends and family – L’Chaim and lets dance!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

conscious mrs A to be

i'm getting married in 13 hours.

i am -- true to form -- awake in the early hours of the morning. but i guess if there was ever a night when it's normal not to sleep this would be it

despite the lack of sleep i am uncannily calm.

after months of arrangements, hard work and lots of crying the last 24 hours have been serene. i should probably give myself credit for a well planned end of planning that helped bring about this tranquil time (i should also give my friends and family credit for supporting my boundaries with that as they went out their way to make sure i didnt have to anything either)

this serenity began with a very positive mikva experience on tuesday night and continued with a wonderful holistic massage and jacuzzi early wednesday morning. the massage lady said she was going to do some energy healing to get my chakras in line and get rid of the "omes" (burden) off my shoulders. i dont know what she did exactly but she clearly performed a miracle as i was able to spend yesterday relaxing at home while friends popped in and called from abroad - and i didnt cry once.

the waves of love and affection that have been coming my way are overwhelming yet reassuring and calming. i feel so blessed

but i dont know if i've got anymore of a focus on my pending "mrs A" status though.
i wish i had the right deep thoughts, or felt that i handle on the enormity of this day, but i dont.
does anyone ever get that on the day?

i should probably put it on my list of things to give over, not to worry about, to just let happen.

yes thats my biggest challenge of the day is to just let it happen in a very conscious way. be there, be present, take things in to remember and cherish and then enjoy myself like crazy.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

only questions

i've just spent two days visiting different programs supported by the organization i work for in the jewish communities of kishinev and beltsy and my mind is spinning.

what are we doing here? how did jews get here, how are they still here and why? is this still a jewish community - if they have to be taught and the shul is on the bylines (how closed minded am i?) what is a community? can you consider it carrying on a chain having elderly people in day care centers singing a yiddishe mama and avinu malkeinu (and making me cry) while many of their children are far away or they have no one to carry it on? who is jewish? what is jewish? is it better to have a minority very orthodox and the rest secular or is broadly progressive/traditional better? is it ok for me to judge about a community who has next to no kosher facilities and bemoan their lack of discipline when i myslef do not to take on some halachot due to an equal lack?

what am i doing for my community - the poor and the elderly? am i as bad as those children - what do i do on a daily basis to build a jewish community or to care for the needy? did i - by moving to israel - seemingly relinquish this reponsibility to the state and the taxes i pay? how will i convey to my children the pride of being jewish without being super orthodox or rightwing or just plain wishywashy?

how do i communicate the need for support in what i write? how do i communicate it to others so they can write it? how can i be convincing but not shmaltzy? should that be a goal or do i need to just stop being cynical? is it false empathy when i think this could have been my family if someone hadnt made a wise decision at the end of the century? am i being sanctimonious by thinking about A's family who really could have been here far more recently? am i thinking about my wedding becasue i am really moved by the community i see and my role in that chain or is just because i have a selfish need to bring it back to me.

how does a country ever get out of poverty? what would have happened here if communism hadnt happened? should i be suspicious of non-jews here and just remember the progroms and the massacres or should i trust what the community says today -- those who are returning. the new israeli moldovans - big business men who dont know yet what it is to give to their community in a sustainable way.

how do i reconcile staying in this posh hotel when it costs the equivalent of a 7 months pension a night? should i just grow up and know that this is how the charity business works? maybe thats why i'm annoyed with myself that i'm wearing a shlochy dubon and not a smart business like coat. get over it already.

but the most difficult question is why have i just paid an extra 7 lei (approx 1-2 nis) just to stay in this internet cafe listening to a popped up version of TFF's everybody wants to rule the world while i obsessively look at i hate that website. i feel nautious from the terminal clicking to find someone i know. is it a subconscious desire to connect with something i know -- some alternate but more recognizable form of jewish continuity -- even if it is one that makes me feel like an outsider?

or maybe my stomach is just turning after nearly two hours in front of this luminous screen.

time to log off. answers another time