JewBu Quest: From Abuse to Happiness

JewBu: a Jew who practices forms of Buddhist meditation & spirituality. This blog documents my quest to 1) heal from sexual, verbal, and emotional abuse, 2) come to terms with losing Mom and Grandma to Alzheimers, 3) find balance, explore the spiritual, stay present. Bascially, I've experienced some pretty crappy shit in my life and want to find a way to move past it and find happiness.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Can't Sleep: I Want My Mommy

I can't stop crying. I tried to get ready for bed, and this movie "Hanging Up" was on the television, and now I just feel hysterical. My mom is dying, and I need her. Sometimes she's not there at all and other times, like tonight, there are these beautiful glimpses that she really is there.

Again she was in her room tonight when I arrived. There wasn't any activity going on nor hardly any residents out. I got Mom some tea and yogurt and did some puzzles for a 1 and a half year old with her. She just wanted to watch tv after that, so I put in "Fiddler on the Roof." And, it was depressing that she couldn't remember the words like she did just last week. But my back was really hurting, and she noticed and asked if I would feel better if she massaged my neck a bit. I said yes that'd be nice, and she ever so glenty and carefully massaged my neck. I felt her hands there trying to heal me and I just wanted to break down and cry. There she was trying to take care of me admist this horrible situation.

I appreciated meeting up with my friend for a drink afterwards, but I just felt so stuck in my grief that it was hard to be present. And, I just started crying on the ride home. And this very sweet but somewhat intense and problematic guy that I met on the internet to distract myself called me to check in because I was doing all of this stuff he noticed to take care of others, and he wanted to make sure that I'm taking care of myself. It was sweet, but it I don't know, I just I just don't know how to do this; I don't know how to go through this maybe really long maybe really short process of losing my mother...every week she's worse than the week before, but then all of a sudden there are these things that come back.

I spoke with the lead care manager on the evening shift about keeping Mom out of her room, and she said that she'll try. I want to put together a list of things that they can have my mom do that won't take up much of their time but will keep her occupied. I hate having to advocate for my mom; I need her to be able to advocate for me. I feel like I'm having to mother my mom, and I need her to mother me.

And thank god, my sister sold her house and is moving back to KC, but I just don't know how I ended up here. God, I'm way too young for this to be happening, and I feel like it isn't worth feeling bitter about because lots of people have to go through this. But damn it; I am angry. I am angry that my mom is dying of this horrible disease. I hate this disease. I'm angry that my mom isn't being taken care of properly and that she needs me to stand up for her to get basic services. I hate that the people that I need to help me with this (not all but core people) - my Tante, my grandparents - they're all gone. I feel my heart tearing apart.

Why Do I Think I Can Change My Father?

My dad has an appointment tomorrow to go to the only doc in town who does IV Chelation therapy. There are some minor risks, it seems, but most likely just won't have much of an effect at all but cost a lot of money. Well, I don't care about that.

It seems though that he thinks he can keep his diet - not eat any vegatables or fruits, mostly just large quantities of red meat including processed meat like hot dogs and last night this disgusting can of "corned beef hash". He thinks that he can get away with not doing an aerobic exercise. Clearly, he is slowly causing himself serious cardiovascular and heart problems. Well, at least it seems like he'll out live my mom, so I guess I shouldn't complain???

Mel Gibson Is an Anti-Semite and a Sexist

Well, Mel Gibson confirmed what many of us have known for some time - that he thinks negatively of the Jewish people as a whole. I never watched the Passion of the Christ, and at this point, even though he's kind of cute (and I have an ex who looks a lot like him who is ironically half Jewish), I'm not going to watch any more of his movies.

Yeah, he apologized for saying things that he didn't mean, but don't people tend to say things that they really DO mean deep down when they're drunk? Does he not see women as objects? Does he not sees Jews as a collective negative influence in the world responsible for the death of Jesus and wars and that the cop pulled him over?


Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Line: I Think We've Crossed It

Click on the link to go to an Israeli new source article and video clip from the recent Qana, Lebanon destruction. I completely understand that Hizballah was firing from a nearby location, that perhaps the collapse of the building happened many hours after the Israeli attack due to probable Hizaballah weaponse being housed in/near this location. I completely understand the need for self-defense.

Still, I think that at some point, there's a line that you don't want to cross, that you can't cross. We need to change our mindset because to have so many children killed, so many people who are not Hizballah to be homeless and starving at our hands is just not acceptable.

I don't live in Israel right now, so I can't begin to try to say what Israeli policies should be. But, I don't ever want to see images like these again.

I also am appauled of the news of the shooting at the Jewish Community Center in Seattle. I used to work at a Jewish Community Center a couple of years ago and was frustrated by how not seriously everyone took the security issues....No one wanted to believe that American Jews would be targeted, especially outside of say NY or LA. And, after the numerous emails that I've seen fly around my department about how anti-Israel sentiments are not linked to isn't fun knowing that even here you're a target. I learned news of this shooting while flipping through channels trying to find something to watch with my mom. It upset her too, but luckily her short term memory is such that I think she quickly forgot about it when I changed the channel.


Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Real Struggle

Okay, just a brief note that I realize that my larger struggle here is to find some sort of balance in my life and still do all of the traveling and shifting between work, taking care of family, and just living; between taking care of myself and taking care of my parents; between giving myself space to grief and have a hard time and pushing myself to let go of that and enjoy life a bit; between trying to work to improve myself and appreciating who I am. My therapist told me in so many words that I need to have more fun, and I think she's right. I think that I need to start venturing out more by myself to do things that I want to do - like see art, hear live music, find more alternative type venues. It is really hard; I want to have someone to meet up with and often don't have a lot of energy after I put Mom to bed, but I need to take responsibility for creating happiness in my life, every day.

PMSing and Kvetching

God, I forgot to take the anti-depressant again this morning. I think that I'm going to have to figure out a way to leave these downstairs, even though my dad would freak if he knew that I'm taking them. But, I just feel so well, depressed when I don't them. And, it doesn't help that I'm PMSing.

I got up the courage to call the bartender whose been flirting with me and gave me his number. We're going out next Saturday night. Tonight, I have no plans, and I'm not happy about it. I don't feel like making this enormous effort to carve out a real life for myself in Kansas City when I'm not here that long, you know? I mean I don't want to contact all of these old acquaintances who I don't really keep in touch with and have to explain myself - why I'm here, what's going on with my family. I'm realizing how far behind I am in my school work, and I'm a bit anxious about it. I don't know, everything just feels a bit off right now. I got this really weird long email out of the blew from this guy I used to date whose telling me that he's starting to finally date someone else (he's a bit of a recluse) and that he's really happy, but he's thinking about me.

I think that I'm so caught up in trying to make sense of what's happening with my parents that I just can't make sense of anything else. Also, all of this traveling means that I've lost all of my routines, and as much as I try to start routines, I keep having to make adjustments, and it just makes me feel like nothing's quite right.

Part of these feelings have to do with not knowing exactly when I'm going back home or how I'll get there, if and how I'll bring my dog back, if my sister will be here by then, and if my mom's facility will start taking better care of her.

I actually called the floor coordinator yesterday and told her that it isn't safe for my mom to be in her room by herself anymore and that other than changing her pad, there isn't anything that she needs to be doing in there after she gets up and dressed. The coordinator didn't say much, just that she'd make a note of it. And then again last night, when I arrived, Mom was in her room by herself. I have so much anger the last few days because I just feel like my mom isn't getting proper treatment, and it isn't fair, and it isn't right.


Friday, July 28, 2006

An Exhausting Night, But Healthier

Last night was frustration after frustration with my mom. I'm especially getting peeved with the staff of Mom's facility, who seem to not pay my mother much attention sometimes, some more than others. Now the big benefit of assisted living facilities is supposed to be the activities they provide. BUT every night that I arrive, Mom is in her room basically getting in trouble, so to speak. Sometimes, there are activities going on in common areas, but it seems that no one has bothered to bring my mom.

The scheduled said that last night would be a "sentimental sing-a-long" which is my mom's favorite activity at the ALF. So, I talk the activity up to Mom and bring her to the kitchen to wait for it to start. I even start collecting other residents (asking them to sit with us) so that there's a mass of people so the staff won't have an excuse not to do it. I hear one of the other residents ask a staff person about the sing-a-long, but the staff person says "There's no singing, but we're going to bake cookies." Now, baking cookies is something that I've spoken to numerous people about. They don't have an oven (only an old toaster oven) on my mom's floor, most of the work is done by the staff, and there isn't much for the residents to do. Instead, I suggested making cookie cakes - bringing in already made cookies (which the kitchen could make for us) and cake decorating items like sprinkles and icing and letting residents decorate the cookies. Everyone can do this, and those who don't like to decorate can eat the cookies of the others.

I've brought over materials to make cookie cakes a couple of times, and it always goes over really well. So, when the staff person couldn't find the needed materials to make cookies, I offered to go to the grocery store to get materials to make cookie cakes. The staff person said that she'd like me to do this. So, I have another big balagan getting Mom ready and to the grocery store, and then when we get back upstairs, I hear singing....they started the sing-a-long. Now, I'm angry. Why would the staff person have me take my mom away when they're going to do her favorite activity?

I notice that Mom has her shoes on the wrong feet, and she has to go to the bathroom. Finally, I get her to the group, and there isn't any room where they are, I have to pull a chair into a corner for my mom (who is anxious because I don't sit next to her, but there's no room), and I have to go bug a staff person for a booklet of the songs that everyone else already has. I look through the booklet and realize that almost all of the songs are from before my mom's time, so she won't know any of them.

Anyway, after all of these frustrations, I came back to my Dad's, cuddled with my dog a bit, didn't have a drink or eat anything, but did Soduko and the stresseraser and took some melatonin and had a good night's sleep. I feel better today. It is better that I found a healthy way to relax than trying to cover up the anger and frustration.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Too Much

Well, last night I finally scanned the pictures for Mom's memory book. I had some organized, got some from her room, and brought her across the street. She insisted on driving, which actually made it easier because of how heavy the bag of pictures was. We went first to Walgreens. There was hardly any room to work, and it kept starting over and losing what I had done. Finally, I asked the photo person there if she could help me. She bascially said no and gave me a hard time for scanning in a frame (which I only did because there was no room to take the picture out of the frame). All of this goes on while Mom is behind me. I tell Mom we're going somewhere else.

So, we go across the street to Osco, where there is a bit more room and the technology is so much better. The people are very friendly, and I have Mom look at pictures after I scan them in. She seems pretty bored and annoyed through the whole thing though and constantly asks when we can leave and if I'm done yet. There wasn't a way to get the CD of pictures without actual copies of the pictures, although I'm sure if I had more time and patience, it could have been done, but so I spent an extra $8, and we got out of there sooner.

Then, we get back to Mom's place. As I make her a cup of tea, one of the care managers asks Mom nicely, "so Helen, who is this that you're here with?" Mom stammers and looks anxious and finally says slowly "my cousin." This is the first time that she's not even known my name. I look at her say, "I'm [Karma]; you're daughter [Karma]." She's now having a hard time answering people often and rarely doing activities it seems; I think because she's having a hard time following them.

I try calling a couple of friends to meet me out somewhere, but I can't get ahold of anybody, so I go back to my Dad's. I had spoken with his best friend earlier, who told me that she's also going to do Chelation therapy because of a muscluar degenerative disease she's been dealing with, and that she has a good M.D. doctor who will be administering it. So, I figure that I can at least tell Dad about this.

I pour myself a big serving of B&B, make some guacamole, and watch CNN for a few minutes to see that the IAF has killed 4 UN observers before Dad comes in to put on the local news. I go upstairs and work on downloading the pictures on to, which takes forever even though they're on a kodak picture CD. I stay up until 12:30am, and then sleep like crap because the bed is so uncomfortable and I'm still so stressed.

This morning, I am really dragging. I asked Dad about the bed, and he said that he bought it in 1979 but insists that since it has always been a guest bed, it only has a few years of wear on it and is still good. So, now I have to find a different room in the house to sleep in I guess, that's what he suggested. So, I either have my office which has a decent twin size bed - but then I have to go from sleeping in a king to a twin and have no separation between where I sleep and work (which cognative behavioral sleep therapy - which I do - forbids) OR to a decent bed in the basement where the air quality is so bad that Dad wouldn't let Mom go work in her office down there.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Ah, My Luck: Dad Has Heart Disease

Dad got a copy of the CT scan results. The doctor didn't even say anything to him, but the CT shows extensive coronary artery calcification! I looked it up, and this means that he has heart disease and is likely to have cardivascular heart problems in the future including stroke and heart attack. He wants to try something called Chelation Therapy, and I found him a doctor in the area. It sounds kinda quackish, but at least he's doing something for himself and if he does have cancer, he'll have to be getting another CT scan, so it'll show up.....I don't know.

Naming Emotions and Permission to Not Do It Perfectly

Yesterday, my therapist recommended to me that I try to name my emotions with my sister, specifically that I tell her that I'm disappointed that she's not here because I was hoping that she'd be here to help with our parents before I leave. It seems like this enormously big thing to name my emotions because my family never does this. Emotions aren't valid things, and women aren't supposed to be confrontational. I hesitate because I'm really leaning on my conversations with my sister about how things are with mom and her updating me with Grandma. But, in that book "Dance of Intimacy", it talks about how to break out of these cycles or dances. I'm giving it some thought.

Also, last night, I got a message after I tucked my mom in that my friend I had plans with was blowing me off (she was tired, I understand), but I was really disappointed and just didn't want to go back to my dad's place. I felt like I had to unwind a bit, especially since Dad was being a bit controlling/passive aggressive with me the last couple of days. I had been going to work out at night, but I don't sleep well anymore doing that. So, I decided to just go to a bar. I called *A* for advice on where to go, and I ended up at this laid back place with porter beers on tap. I got them to put on CNN and enjoyed having some time to myself and being flirted with by the bartender (who gave me his phone number). I hadn't wanted to go to a bar because I don't want to use alcohol to relax, but I'm going to start giving myself permission to not do everything perfectly.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Failed Attempt to Visit Grandma

I spent a long time thinking about and planning a visit to Grandma's so that my mom could see her mother at least one last time. I had been asking Mom about it several times if she wants to see her mother, and she said yes. I drove to pick up my mom (20 minute drive), got Mom ready (took 15 minutes), drove to Grandma's facility (20 minutes), arranged with Mom's cousin to have Grandma wheeled out to this area where we could all sit and visit, brought the dog, prepared what to say and got advice from the Alzheimer's Association, the director of my mom's floor, etc.

Anyway, we get there, and Judy (Mom's cousin) is sitting by herself. "Where's Grandma?" I ask. Judy told me to go check for myself and make the call, but that she didn't think it was a good idea. I left Mom with Judy and brought the dog to see Grandma. Grandma was in bed with some sort of safety matress next to her bed. She was sleeping. I tried to get her attention, rubbing her foot and saying "Grandma Dora, its [Karma]." I finally got her to open her eyes, but there was this expression on her face of confusion, but confusion to the point of anxiety/angery - like who are you and why are you disturbing me and what are you going to do to me.

So, I tried to talk to her some more and brought my dog over who gave her some licks on her hand, but still nothing. I asked the nurse to help me, but she said that Grandma's hearing aids have been lost and suggested that it wasn't a good time to get Grandma up.

So now, I've already prepped Mom to see her mother and gotten her all excited, and I go back to Judy and Mom and try to pretend like everything's okay and just avoid talking with Mom about where her mother is. It only took a couple of times, but I worry that Mom understood that something's wrong with her mother and will worry.

On the way back to Mom's facility, I stopped to get her a Mr. Goodcent's turkey sandwhich, which she really likes. I have to go back over there in a couple of hours to tuck Mom into bed, and I really don't have the energy. I was supposed to go with my Dad out to dinner with a friend of his, but I told him to go without me. I honestly have no appetite nor energy to be social. I just want to sit here and cry a bit before I have to pretend this stupid game like everything's okay.

I called my sister who suggested that maybe Grandma's just like this because her meds are being adjusted, but frankly I don't buy it. I've been over there twice, and neither time did Grandma recognize me. I really think that she's going downhill and will likely die within the next couple of months. I mean, if they can't get her to wake up, how are they getting her eat? I'm so angry that both times there were issues and excuses about her hearing aids - losing one of your senses in addition to dementia is just torturous. I feel so bad that she's in this state. And I feel bad for my mom that she couldn't just have an hour with her mother. And I feel sad for myself that this is going on.

Earlier today, I went to a friend's baby naming. There were a bunch of my friends from high school there, and one, Izzy, seemed to assume that I'm here mouching off my parents. She said: yeah, my brother moved back in with my parents after he finished college. It was nice for him to not have to pay bills. - - I didn't even bother correcting her about the situation; I just said, I bet that would be nice, but of course, I still have bills and a place of my own back in California. I talked to one or two people about the real situation, but otherwise just said I'm here for the summer. Well, first I said for a couple of weeks, but then I changed my story to let some people know that I want to see them if possible again while I'm here, but I didn't go into details about why I'm here. Anyway, I'm just rambling now. I guess I'll go sit and watch the war and have a drink.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

My Mom is Cute

Tonight, I did this activity with my mom, going through some questions in a personal history writing book. I asked her what her name is and she gave me her maiden name. Then, I asked her address, and she gave me the address of the house really quickly. I asked her how old she is, and she said she didn't know. I told her that she's 61. She made this very funny face, like she was completely appauled: 61? That's old. I'm not that old.

Me: I'm sorry, but you are. I'll prove it. What year were you born?

Mom: 1945.

Me: What year is it now?

Mom: I'm kind of tired.

Me: It is 2006. If you subtract 1945 from 2006, it is 61. How old am I?

Mom: About the same.

Me: The same as what? (Mom doesn't answer.) I'm 30.

Mom: Am I older or younger?

Me: (Giving up on this one...) do you have any brothers or sisters?

Mom: Irene and [Karma].

Me: (laughing, I can't help it) actually, I'm your daughter.

Anyway, she didn't remember a lot of stuff. Not even her father's name, until I told her, and then she recognized it right away. When I asked her about her bubbe, she said that she remembers her in the kitchen. I asked what Bubbe made, and she said that she doesn't remember but that it was good.

Earlier, she told me that she thinks that my dad lives downstairs. She thinks that I live next door to her, but also always asks if I want to sleep in bed next to her.

When I got her ready for bed, I told her to brush her teeth, and she replied "You sound like a mother." I laughed. It was a funny night.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Painting the Suburbs Red

I went back to the chiropractor today because my migrane never fully disappeared. She basically told me that there's nothing that she can do for me and suggested that I start keeping a food journal to see if the migraines are food enduced. She also suggested that this one was induced by the sudden change in weather. It was nice that she didn't charge me and did some cranio-sacrial work, but I'm frustrated because I don't want to be in pain all the time and don't want to be popping pills which don't really solve anything.

So, my dad ended up being wrong about the timing of tonight- services were at 6pm, so he thought. Well, we get there, and it some special night so services are this long drawn out thing that goes until almost 8pm. We were both a little annoyed, but what are you going to do. I know it meant a lot to him to not have to go alone.

Then, I immediately went to tuck my mom into bed. She gets so excited about my red toe nails matching her red (hand) nails. She comments on this over and over again. I always make sure now to have red toe nails for my mom's sake. Last night, she told me again "you'll be a good mother." She's really having a hard time; I feel bad for her and leave crying. She wakes up every night with a pain in her side. I spoke with my dad about increasing her fiber medication thing (well cod liver oil) to help with this.

I'm pretty exhausted, but I'm starting to feel really connected with my dad and like we're healing our relationship (to some degree). My time with my mom is really special. I'm glad that she can count on me being there every night to tuck her in. Tonight, as I left, she told me that she hopes that I sleep well. It felt like such a blessing she was offering me. I need her to tell me this.

Also, I arranged with my mom's cousin to bring mom on Sunday to see her mother at Grandma's nursing home. I hope it goes well. Mom hasn't seen her mom for almost a year...and not since she's been this bad.


Conflicts and Identities

I had a really bad migraine yesterday, but I still managed to get up to tuck mom into bed. I brought the dog with me, which Mom always really enjoys, even though she stopped recognizing her. They did a sing-a-long at Mom's ALF, which is one of her favorite activities, but it was really annoying that the equipment didn't work, and no one bothered to knock on residents' doors to get them to come participate. The activity only really happened because me and someone else's daughter really pushed for it. They kept singing these Christian songs.

After it ended, I turned on "Fiddler on the Roof", and Mom and I sang along to the songs. One of the male residents who stuck around was awed that we knew all the words to the songs, as he didn't recognize the movie at all. Then, I tucked Mom into bed, which she gets such a kick out of.

Tonight, I am not sure what I'll due. It is my dad's mom's yahrzeit (memorial of her death), and my dad wants to go to shul tonight. Services are at 8pm. I normally go to my Mom's around 7pm. I am tempted to try and bring my mom, but she doesn't have the attention span to sit through services, and Kaddish is at the end of services, so now I'm torn between being there for my mom and being there for my dad.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Destruction and Shir Hashalom (Song of Peace)

I just spent a long time writing out this beautiful post, and Moxilla crashed and the whole thing is lost. GRRRR! I am so annoyed with things just disappearing on me. Okay, so let's reconstruct, but the short version:

I went to visit my mom today, and it was just heart breaking. I really don't understand how some of my fabulous blog readers (and others) manage to take care of their mothers full time. A few hours every day just kills me. Mom is barely functioning. She understands so little, even if you explain something to her really slowly, she just doesn't understand/she can't put the words together in her head to make anything meaningful. Things are going downhill really fast.

I want to focus on the good things - that she remembers me, that she cherishes that I "tuck" her in at night, that I can take care of her, that she loves me, that she told me tonight that I'll be a good mother some day. I know that I make a really big difference to her. But, I just hate watching this happen to her.

I called my sister after I left and told her that the bad news is that Mom didn't recognize her in pictures. But, the good news is that she looked at my niece and said, "You know, she really looks a lot like me when I was a little girl." I told Mom that this is because that's her granddaughter, and she looked really surprised. I really think that she might think that I'm her mother. It makes me nervous to take her to see her mother. I'm not sure how she'll react. I'm supposed to organize that this week, but it overwhelms me. I can't even bare to see my grandmother.

Anyways, after visiting Mom, I drove to workout to reduce some stress. I was exhausted; it was 10pm; I forgot socks and had to buy them and some water. But, I found some ridiculous entertaining program with the head of Disney interviewing Hollywood stars. Then, of course, I see the tv next to it is MSNBC showing coverage of "Crisis in the Middle East." I'm watching women cry, buildings crumbling, grey clouds of smoke, children learning to hate. And "Shir HaShalom" starts playing on my IPOD, and I can't help but tear up.

Yitzhak Rabin's Last Speech

November 4, 1995
Tel Aviv City Hall Plaza

 Yitzhak Rabin
Permit me to say that I am deeply moved.

I wish to thank each and every one of you, who have come here today to take a stand against violence and for peace. This government, which I am privileged to head, together with my friend Shimon Peres, decided to give peace a chance -- a peace that will solve most of Israel's problems.

I was a military man for 27 years. I fought as long as there was no chance for peace. I believe that there is now a chance for peace, a great chance. We must take advantage of it for the sake of those standing here, and for those who are not here -- and they are many.

I have always believed that the majority of the people want peace and are ready to take risks for peace. In coming here today, you demonstrate, together with many others who did not come, that the people truly desire peace and oppose violence.

Violence erodes the basis of Israeli democracy. It must be condemned and isolated.

This is not the way of the State of Israel. In a democracy there can be differences, but the final decision will be taken in democratic elections, as the 1992 elections which gave us the mandate to do what we are doing, and to continue on this course.

I want to say that I am proud of the fact that representatives of the countries with whom we are living in peace are present with us here, and will continue to be here: Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco, which opened the road to peace for us. I want to thank the President of Egypt, the King of Jordan, and the King of Morocco, represented here today, for their partnership with us in our march towards peace.

But, more than anything, in the more than three years of this Government's existence, the Israeli people has proven that it is possible to make peace, that peace opens the door to a better economy and society; that peace is not just a prayer.

Peace is first of all in our prayers, but it is also the aspiration of the Jewish people, a genuine aspiration for peace.

There are enemies of peace who are trying to hurt us, in order to torpedo the peace process.

I want to say bluntly, that we have found a partner for peace among the Palestinians as well: the PLO, which was an enemy, and has ceased to engage in terrorism. Without partners for peace, there can be no peace.

We will demand that they do their part for peace, just as we will do our part for peace, in order to solve the most complicated, prolonged, and emotionally charged aspect of the Israeli-Arab conflict: the Palestinian- Israeli conflict.

This is a course which is fraught with difficulties and pain. For Israel, there is no path that is without pain.

But the path of peace is preferable to the path of war.

I say this to you as one who was a military man, someone who is today Minister of Defense and sees the pain of the families of the IDF soldiers. For them, for our children, in my case for our grandchildren, I want this Government to exhaust every opening, every possibility, to promote and achieve a comprehensive peace. Even with Syria, it will be possible to make peace.

This rally must send a message to the Israeli people, to the Jewish people around the world, to the many people in the Arab world, and indeed to the entire world, that the Israeli people want peace, support peace.

For this, I thank you.


Visit With Mom

I went to tuck my mom into bed after arriving into town. She was in her closet futzing around when I came in with my dog. She didn't recognize the dog and kind of gave me a funny face (like she wasn't quite sure who I was). I went over and gave her a hug and said "Hi Mom." As I started to hug her, she said my name.

She said that it was very hot, and she wanted to change her shirt. Now, granted later I realized that she had her thermostat set to 88F. I tried to just get her to go out to the common areas, but she insisted, so I gave her a short sleeved shirt. At that point, she got confused like what was she supposed to do with this, so I said "okay, take off your shirt." Her bra was on inside out. So, I helped her fix this, which I could tell embarrassed her to be so naked. She also smelled pretty bad, especially under her arms.

Then we got out to the common area, and she said she was too cold. There were many little frustrations like this. It was kind of shocking too to see her hair looking so bad (just not taken care of), her face with a bad rash (they're supposed to be washing her face morning and night, which I doubt they're doing), and just looking altogether older than when I saw her last month.

She fell in love with my dog again, as if she had never met her (she's known her for the whole time I've had her), saying that she has never felt a dog this soft and saying with surprise"I think the dog is watching television." Yes, my dog has always been soft and watched tv, but I just nodded.

She had a hard time doing the activities that we did last month - the preschool maze book and reading from this really basic book for toddlers, she could read a couple words but other words she couldn't put the letters together in her head. If I pushed her (which I only bothered to do once or twice), she would say the first letter right but then something else just random maybe with some of the same sounds but not the right word.

I went in there thinking that I had to not mourn every loss of my mom, but I left realizing how hard that really is. I also might have found a dog for my dad - an 8 year old Shih Tzu that was abandoned, but I'm not sure if that's too old or if I should wait until we hear about the CT scan results before I even bring it up. He's so attached to my dog - who is completely ignoring me by the way and just eating up getting spoiled by my dad.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Stress, Impatience, & Taking Care of Myself

Even after my very relaxed days, I'm still feeling the surge of stress return. I leave town tomorrow for KC and have so much work to do before I go. Even though I know him better, I'm shocked that *A* hasn't said a single word about our relationship and what he wants or what we have or what he doesn't want, or some kind of clueing me in. Last night, he ended up staying up until almost 1am watching Saturday Night Live. We normally tape it because I have to be asleep by 11:30 to follow my sleep schedule. (I'm trying to recover from PTSD induced insomnia.) I even called down twice for him to turn off the tv because I couldn't sleep with it on, but he just left it on. I was so pissed off. And I really don't need anything to increase my stress level.

I want to try to stay focused on taking care of myself. I brought up a guided imagry CD after the *A* fiasco and finally fell back asleep. I think that taking care of myself has to be the highest priority - over work, over taking care of my family. I am so drained that if I don't stay really focused on taking care of myself, I'm not going to be able to keep up anything else.

So, I'm going to try to let go of my anger with *A*, and for the rest of the day figure out what I need to do to transition to Kansas City. I've got appointments in KC already with a therapist, an acupunturist, a massage therapist, and to get my hair cut. I tried to arrange that at least for the first week, I've got something set up for myself almost every day, about one hour is time just to relax.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Memory Book

I want to thank the Alz Hub blog for giving me the idea of creating a memory book. This is a book of photographs of a person's life in chronological order with notes about what is going on in the pictures. An actual, hard bound book. I didn't realize that companies did this.

My mom spends a lot of her day just ruffling through everything in her room. She likes to have things to show off to people. Last month or so, I put up framed certificates of hers, and she goes over them with everyone who goes into her room. They really mean a lot to her, even though she doesn't quite understand what they're from; she recognizes her name and feels honored.

I looked on some of the photo store websites, and they have some really nice photo books. I started making a photo book for my mom, and then I realized that none of the early pictures of her are digital, so I'm not quite sure how to get them to the websites. I think what I may have to do is take a bunch of pictures to Kinkos or something and get them scanned and onto a CD. I looked online and am guessing that anywhere with a photo station - even a pharmacy or Target will have a machine I can use to scan the photographs in and then download to a CD. I acutally have a decent scanner here, but I don't have one in Kansas City - and all of the good pictures are in KC. ( though can make a book for about $30, which isn't bad.

I think this will be a good thing for my mom too because she'll be encouraged to be reading, remembering specific memories and people from her past, and just give her something productive to do when she's alone in her room - although I bet she'll show it to everyone who comes to visit her.


Fierce Grace: Ram Das

I just finished watching this movie, and it seems quite related to my quest. It is about how a very spiritual, mystical man copes with having a stroke and becoming somewhat paralyzed. It is a story of finding spirituality, having it tested, and regaining a sprituality that is based on acceptance. It is a little out there for me, but I respect the journey he takes. Ram Das sees serving other people as a spiritual path, as well as recognizing the interconnectedness between people. I like the perspective the movie presents that losing one's abilities does not mean that we lose ourselves and that through loss, we can become better people - but not to seek out suffering and loss (as Jews sometimes do), instead to seek an end to suffering by an acceptance of the here and now.

In relation to my mom, it helps me see my time with her as a blessing, not as a burden. Also, the movie helped me remember that I can (theoretically) let go of worry and seeing this time as something to suffer through, but instead to find the ways to relish in the moments. (I sound like a person whose been spoiling herself, clearly; we'll see how I feel next week.)


Not All Israelis Support War

This Israel cartoon demonstrates that not all Israelis, like myself, are excited about the decision to go to war. Granted, I understand why the Israeli government is making the decisions that it is making, but my god, there has got to be another way. The cartoon is of a soccer referee giving a foul card to I think Moshe Katav, the President of Israel.


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Extravagence: I Bought a Honda Civic Hybrid

Wow, what a crazy, extravagent day. I got a call from a car dealer that I had called last month. They finally got an available car and in a color that I really like. It is blue, which is my mom's favorite color, and the color of just about every new car I remember her owning. I traded in my Toyota Prius, which was just a pain in the butt car. The civic is so comfortable and cool. It felt really good to do something big like this for myself, and quite frankly, the Toyota dealer warned me to get out of my 2001 Prius because he suspects that it'll have a lot of problems in the future. So, this is a load off!

Good News, Bad News

The good news is that my dad went to the doctor today and all of his test results were normal except for his ALT liver function was high and his white blood cell count was just ever so slightly high, but the doctor wasn't really concerned about either of these. Despite his reservations, the doctor convinced my father to get a CT scan, which will be done tomorrow. Then, next month, no matter what, my dad will go and have another set of blood work done, just to confirm that everything's okay. Dad said the doctor told him he's very lucky.

Dad said: The doctor was much more optimistic today. Last week he was pessimistic.
Me: What do you mean?
Dad: The first time he said, I think you have cancer.
Me: Yeah, I thought that too.

I can't believe that he didn't mention this all week. God he drives me crazy. He said he didn't want to tell me because he didn't want to worry me. And I played into this ridiculous cycle because I didn't tell him why I thought he had lung cancer because I didn't want to worry him. Of course, the CT could still show that he has cancer. In fact, dad said the doctor told him a story that he had coughed up blood and had a chest x-ray, which showed nothing and then later really followed up and made sure he had a CT scan, which showed that he had a cyst. That's what convinced Dad. But, I'm not going to be as worried about it as I was this week. Even if something is wrong; it seems it isn't direly. Even if it is cancer, tfu tfu, it isn't a late stage it appears.

I freaked out earlier today at my therapist's office that I wasn't sure what to do if Dad was told that he needed a CT scan but he decided not to do it - because then we wouldn't know what was going on really and grr, okay, not even going to go back to that feeling.

I completely treated myself today to a spa treatment. I was surprised how relaxed I am capable of feeling because I haven't felt this way for a long time. I really needed that.

Okay, and the bad news is that Israel and Hizballah (in Lebannon), Hamas in Gaza are moving towards all out, no holds bar war. Click on the link to the Haaretz newspaper (Israeli, but in English) for more information. Hizballah claims that it is going to make Haifa a targer, which is where my sister's in-laws live.


Wednesday, July 12, 2006


I had the permanent crown put on this morning. Being a survivor and having such bad experiences with the root canal, I was very anxious, so I took a Xanax (.25) just before going in to see the dentist.

Then, I had to go meet my advisor and do all of this work for her, and she was so stressed out and dumping this one project onto me, that it just made me a bit stressed out. As I got home, I could feel the Xanax wear off and anxiety kick in. I had been warned about this side effect from taking Xanax during the day instead of before bed, as it is prescribed for me, but I know that anxiety is causing my digestive problems and didn't want to have to get that anxious sitting in the dentist's chair.

Anyway, right now, I just overwhelming anxiety, almost to the point of panic. I'm stressing about my dad; I can't focus on my work; I'm not quite sure what to do with myself; there's not much food in the house for a proper dinner. I made some easy mac of *A*'s even though I'm lactose intolerant (and though I took the lactaid pills, I'll still get sick), I kinda don't care. I just need something to eat up this anxiety. *A* is downtown having a beer. I need to make myself go workout, but I'm waiting for clothes in the drier and just feeling lazy and depressed and anxious and not wanting to go anywhere.


Test Results and Stubbornness

Oy. So I got a call from my sister that she spoke with Dad who heard from a nurse at his doctor's office. Supposedly, they looked at the chest x-ray and it looks normal, but they want to do a CT scan. My dad doesn't want to bother with the CT scan because he's convinced that it is just pneumonia and he doesn't want to get the radiation. I'm surprised that my dad didn't bother contacting me. I'll try calling after he gets back from taking my mom out to dinner, which won't be for hours.

I'm not sure what to do with him. He needs to get this scan, I think. I'm not sure if anyone out there knows anything about lung cancer, but is it possible that he has it but it just didn't show up on the chest x-ray? Grr, who knows if he is even telling the truth though. I wouldn't put it past him to have the doctor's office tell him one thing and then for him to tell us something altogether different. He's so secretive.

There are all of these new people reading my blog (and old friends), it really makes me feel supported. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Toll on My Body

My digestive system is just completely out of whack. I went to an acupunturist yesterday about it, who told me that it is clearly due to stress. I woke up, realizing that I had been tossing and turning for awhile. I'm tired and uncomfortable. I think that I was having nightmares because the thoughts in my head were about my parents. *A* told me that kept cuddling with him while we were sleeping, which woke him up and made his back hurt. I can't keep up with this stress level. This may just be my body's sensing that my dad will get bad news from the doctor today. But, this way of thinking is my mom and my grandma in my head. Clearly, not a healthy way to think. Oy. I'm even having a hard time using the stress eraser, because it is hard for me to take a breath that counts in any way as relaxing. I should use it more; I've been slacking.

Monday, July 10, 2006


So, I bought a one way ticket to KC on the 17th. Well, actually I just rescheduled the one way ticket that I had bought for the 4th, but didn't use. I think my friend might be a little annoyed with me that I'm ditching us driving - but in the end, it won't be cheaper for us, it adds more stress, and I just need to get to KC asap.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Five People You Meet in Heaven

I just finished watching this movie. It has a JewBu message and because it deals with death, grieving, and PTSD, it really relates to my quest. The writer is the same guy who wrote "Tuesdays With Morrie". I don't agree with the whole Christian take of death and heaven, but I do like the message of the film, that every life matters - that we affect every one around us and they in turn affect everyone around them. Such, we are all interconnected.


My Friend Unclear If She Can Drive

Okay, so my friend finally called me back about going to KC. Turns out, she has to have shoulder surgery and bascially everything's a mess with her and she's not sure if she can go out to KC with me, but she wants to and may need to and now I don't know if I should try to get a ticket to fly out to KC or wait and see if she'll drive with me. Oy.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Figuring it All Out

I think that maybe I should take the advice that I gave my sister - that I should just write everything out. So's here's the situation. I need to figure out how to not get lost in despair and grief. I need to let myself grieve, but not get lost in it.

I need to keep things as flexible as possible, and like Deb suggested, to take things one step at a time. I need to prepare somewhat for the steps ahead, but stay focused on today - what's happening today, what I need to get done today.

Part of me is tempted to just get really drunk tonight, but I feel like I don't have the privilege of getting really drunk. I have a lot of enormous tasks and decisions ahead of me. I need to stay focused.

Right now, I need to focus on keeping organized, getting as much done as possible, getting a good draft of this paper I'm supposed to read at a conference next month, meeting with my advisor about the paper if possible, and figuring out how to get my tuchus back to Kansas City as soon as possible after I get the crown put on. I need to take as good care of myself as I can - working out, doing the stress eraser, eating well, sleeping well, whatever I can do.

I can't get lost in anguish and grief, like I have been the last couple of days. For the rest of the night, I'm going to clean up a bit around the house, shower (I just worked out), do the stress eraser, and then put in a movie. I'm not going to get dependent upon *A* to cheer me up. I'm not going to just sit around in shock. I'm not going to be so stressed out that I can't get anything done. I have to step back a bit.


The 1000th visit

Look below at the counter at the bottom of my screen. You may be the 1000th visitor to my site! (Of course, there are many repeat visitors, but I really appreciate that there are so many people who care to read about my quest.)


A Bad Woody Allen Movie

My life is like a bad Woody Allen movie. I can't find the title to my car, so I can't sell it or trade it in to get a new car. So, I'm probably stuck with my car until I can get a new title reishued, which won't be until I'm in KC. And, I can't get a car in KC without big hassles with registering it and possible serious complications when I bring the car back to this state.

*A* is being super nice, but there is all of this awkward sexual tension. Carly stopped by to drop off half a rye bread that she picked up at a Jewish deli out of town, but I don't feel like I can talk to her about any of this, or even hang out with her, because she can't relate at all and doesn't seem like she even wants to talk about it.

I think that my parents are dying. Both of them. At the same time. Well, I know that my mom is dying and is expected to not make it past 2007. If dad has lung cancer, I don't even know how long these things take, but I read that it can be as fast as 2-4 months after diagnosis. I may have to take on caretaking for my mother. I won't have the heart to take my dog back home if my dad is really dying. So, I don't know if I should be driving or flying. I don't know if my friend will drive out with me or not (and I can't get ahold of her). I feel like I don't know anything and like I can't get anything done. I've tried this week to get a new car and bed, and its like I'm completely helpless/powerless. I feel completely powerless.

*A* just went to a pool party with friends of his from work. He didn't even invite me, not that I would want to go. He suggested that I go out too, but I don't feel like being around anyone. I don't feel like doing anything. I have had plans and phone calls from some people, but what am I supposed to say or do with these people. I thought about going out on a date, but I blew him off because as much fun as it sounded a couple of days ago to hang out with someone I don't know and be able to talk about stuff other than my family and my disconnection from my school work, I just don't have the energy to go meet someone new. I don't feel like schmoozing with friends from school who just talk about school and it just makes me feel more alienated.

My neighbor(the one who was murdered 6 months ago)'s boyfriend came by today to give me a picture of her. He's finally moving stuff out of her place. The poor crazy bastard. My other neighbor invited me over for a glass of wine with her yesterday, which I really enjoyed and appreciated. I could come over in my sweats and not have to put on airs or pretend anything. And she has a dog. I miss my dog.

I'm not quite sure what to do with myself tonight. Part of me is tempted to go workout and get some endorphins going. Part of me is tempted to just start drinking and sit on the couch all night. Part of me is tempted to try to organize things around the house and get something done. Part of me is tempted to go out and sit at a bar, so at least I'm not home alone and at least I'm not sitting here pathetically when *A* gets home. This is all just too much. I just need bad things to stop happening. I need to not have to say goodbye to more than two loved ones at a time. Mom and Grandma, that's it; that's all I can handle. That's already too much.

Friday, July 07, 2006

One Day at a Time

I found this cartoon that I thought is fitting for me. I'm barely functioning right now; I'm in shock. I'm finding the situation laughable when I tell others about it in person. I'm trying to be easy on myself. My therapist suggests that I try to get as much done as possible right now to prepare for my dad getting diagnosed.

I spoke with my lawyer and he recommended that I get a power of attourney signed by my dad for my mom, since he has power of attorney for her. I spoke with him about it and he said not to worry that he's got everything figured out and he plans on being around for a long time.

I was glad to hear him so optimistic but I just don't know what to think. My sister still can't sell her house and has no alternate plans if she doesn't sell the house. She's intent on moving, but if she doesn't sell the house in the next couple of weeks (which it looks like is going to happen) then they're going to not move by default, I guess. I'm so frustrated with her. She said that maybe they'll just put off their move or something, and I just can't believe that she can't compromise on buying a new house in Kansas City. She could just rent, and they could both plan on getting jobs. But, they don't want to have to work. They want to be able to live off of the income of selling their old house....which isn't going to happen it seems. Grrrrr.

I have to focus on the things that I can have an influence over, but it is hard to stay motivated and focused. My friend Carly blew my off tonight, which I'm pretty disappointed about. I just want to sit on the couch.


Waiting Game

So, dad went to the doctor who was "very concerned" and ordered a chest x-ray and blood work - both of which were already taken. Dad has an appointment to go over the results next Thursday, but he said that the doctor is supposed to call him if they see anything unusual. He couldn't stay on the phone long, and I just wrote what he said down to process.

So, now there's nothing to do but wait and see. I wonder how long it takes before the doctor gets the results back. A TB test wasn't even ordered, so it doesn't seem like that's even being considered as the problem. I still think that its probably lung cancer, but I'm not going to sit for a week freaking out about it, I hope...well, I'll try not to. Because at any time the doctor could call and tell us what's actually going on, right? God, I hope the doctor gets the actual x-ray and blood work back today, but I doubt it. Augh.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Jerusalem Gay Pride

These are pictures from last year's gay pride parade in Jerusalem. I've been wanting to do something with them, but I haven't had time. Yeah, I'm procrastinating to try and keep my mind off my dad....


Coughing Blood Today: Doctor Tomorrow

I spoke with my dad today briefly. When I asked him if he has an appointment to see the doctor, he said that he has one tomorrow morning. I asked if he wanted to make a list of his symptoms, and he said that right now there's only the blood in his speutem and the rapid weight loss.

Now, I haven't heard anything before about coughing up blood. Jeez, this is really serious. This is so classic lung cancer. Lung cancer has really horrible survival rate - only 13% of people diagnosed with lung cancer are alive after 5 years. I can't believe that both my parents dying. They're both in their early 60s.

Maybe I'm over-reacting about my dad, but this has been going on for months that he's been symptomatic, and people develop lung cancer for awhile before they get these kind of signs. And these aren't early lung cancer signs either. Plus, my dad keeps things from me, so I don't even know how bad things really are with him. At least he said today that he knows he needs to get a chest x-ray.

I feel really bad that I'm not there to go with him to the doctor; he has to go by himself. I'll have to make sure to call him around the time I think he'll get back. I also just emailed my lawyer to find out what kind of documents I have to get my dad to sign so that I can become my mom's caretaker if he goes first. I really can't believe this is happening. This has been the craziest horrible six months. I mean, my god. If my dad gets really sick, I am going to have no choice but to move back to Kansas City to take care of them, I think. I mean, my mom is so dependent upon seeing him every day and going out to dinner twice a week with him. She would really lose it if he died. She would be very upset if she picked up on him being physcially ill. I can't even let myself think like this, it is just hard to focus on anything else. I may have to in the next year take my mother to her mother's and her husband's funerals. My world is just completely upside down.


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Open Communication Really Works!

Well, I'm amazed. I called my dad to talk about him going to see a doctor. He kept trying to change the subject. But, he admitted that he's had chest pain and trouble breathing. I told him that I'm very concerned about him and that I would just feel better if he saw a doctor and I wouldn't have to worry about something serious. It was when I said this that he finally let up on his stubbornness (we've been trying to convince him for months to see a doctor) and said that he's make an appointment tomorrow.

Until he actually gets diagnosed with something, I'm going to let myself be in denial a little bit about what's going on and not get too freaked out. I found this article about aging in the lungs, and maybe that's all that's going on and some depression about my mom. He's only 61 years old, and even though he smoked for 40 of those years, he hasn't smoked in the last 10. Maybe I won't be an orphan in the next year. Oy. I'm still pretty freaked out.


Conversations: Progression of Mom and Grandma's Alzheimers, Dad Likely Has Cancer

I got a call from my dad's best friend, Vada. She just came from visiting my mom. She said that mom is getting noticiably worse. Mom did say though to Vada that she likes the facility and that people are very nice to her.

Vada also told me that she nags my father to go to the doctor every time she talks to him. Vada: I think maybe he put your mom into the home because he wanted to get things settled for her since he seems to realize that something's seriously wrong with him. (This made me very anxious.) We spoke about different people we know who had treatable cancers but died from lack of treatment. I told her that I think my dad may have throat cancer.

I called my mom to check on her for myself and wish her a happy 4th of July. It was frustrating that the care managers kept talking amongst themselves, almost annoyed with me, "What does she want?" "You talk to her." I could hear them through the phone. Then, I heard someone asking where my mom was, clearly she wasn't in the common areas doing the activity with someone else. "She's probably in her room," I heard someone say. (This frustrates me because Mom does much better when doing activities then when left on her own in her room.)

Mom didn't understand when the care manager handed her the phone, so I just started talking "Mom?" She knew immediately who I am. She asked me when I'll be out to visit. I told her that I'm in California but that I'll be there in another week or two and that I miss her too. She sounded pretty calm, but confused about what's going on. (This makes me sad, I just miss my mom so much and wish she didn't have to go through this.)

I then called my aunt, to remind her that my grandma gets super anxious with fireworks, but that maybe if they take out her hearing aids before hand, she won't realize. (My grandmother is practically deaf now without her hearing aids.) My aunt: She's in bed well before the sun goes down, so I'm sure they'll be out. Grandma's doing really bad. We're trying to adjust her meds, but she's crying all the time. It is hard to see. (I know; this is why I literally can't stand to visit her.) Me: I was thinking about coming by with my dog after I get in town; I think that'll cheer her up.

Monday, July 03, 2006

I'm Staying

I had an interesting therapy session today. I brought in a print out of the benefits of each decision, and I had intended to focus on this and not whatever is going on with *A*, but she sort of brought it to there by asking questions about what I meant when I said that I wanted to avoid things with *A*. Anyway, I was kinda surprised how upset I got there about it all, and it felt good to admit how ridiculous things are between *A* and me. My therapist called it "emotional blue balls". I sware she actually used that phrase. It cracked me up, but it kinda is - we're so close to having this amazing relationship, but we never get there; he always has this block.

She pointed out that I tend to have a pattern of having these important decisions that I agonize over - where there are two options where both seem to have these horrible negative consequences. I realized that I make a bigger deal out of a lot of decisions than I need to. When I left her office though, I still hadn't made up my mind about what to do, and I felt almost pissed off. But, after a short time, I thought, why am I making such a big deal out of this? I know that I don't want to leave tomorrow. I know that I'm not ready, that I don't want to fly, that I just have all of this stuff to take care of before I go.

I obsess over my relationship with *A* thinking that I need it. And yes, I kinda do need it. But that intense feeling of needing it just makes it impossible. Harriet Lerner said that relationships only work when both people don't NEED the relationship. And she's right. I can't completely depend on *A* to be everything for me, and I can't force us to be in a place that we're not. I should think of my relationship wihth *A* as a spiritual practice, a daily exercise in not becoming too dependent or fall into my tendency to over-function and be the pursuer.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?: The Benefits of Each

Leaving for KC tomorrow

Staying here until I get the crown on

Can use plane ticket that already purchased

Have option to drive instead of fly

Can avoid issues with *A*

Maybe being able to resolve something with A, move forward in our relationship (even if it is moving away from wanting a romantic relationship)

Can avoid having to figure out return leg and car issue

Can avoid for a bit issues with my family

I’ll probably sleep better there…gotta be better than here

Can get properly organized and have time to properly back without being rushed

More time with my mom and to get into a routine

Can catch up on work, have time to focus on work for a bit, can finish my encyclopedia article which is due in a few weeks and get feedback on it

Get to see my dog

Can catch up with details i.e., getting license renewed, car

Tooth can fully heal and will be able to chew properly, if problems then I can see my own dentist

Exhausted But Have To Decide

After I vented on my blog last night, I started reading the book "Dance of Intimacy" by Harriet Lerner. It calmed me down a little bit because I realized that part of the intensity of what I was feeling last night was part of this unhealthy "dance" that *A* and I do where I pursue and he distances. I also realized that the insensity is fueled by other things in my life like my mom dying and lunch guy hitting on me.

*A* asked me to come sit on the couch next to him and was being kinda sweet. I was still a little stressed/anxious though and had a hard time sleeping. I think he was too because he tossed and turned a lot. He kept twitching his leg at first, and I think he was having a nightmare. He told me that it was about the game Sodoku that we had been playing (competing) in bed before we went to sleep, but I don't know if I believe him. The night before, he had a bad dream about me being mad about him. Anyway....

I woke up at 5am and then *A*'s alarm went off at 6:30am, then he's futzing around all over the place and waking me up more. I feel so exhausted right now. And, I have to somehow decide today whether or not I'm traveling tomorrow back to KC, whether I'll drive or fly instead, whether or not to get a new car before I leave or in KC, AUUGGGGHHHH!!! On top of all this, I have a ton of work to do that is way overdue, and my advisor wanted to meet with me ahead of time to go over what I finished.


Sunday, July 02, 2006

Gratitude: My Friend Went to Visit My Mom

My friend, K, called me today to let me know that she had gone to visit my mom today. I am really grateful to have such a good friend in her and feel a lot better knowing that Mom's doing okay. K even told me that my mom said something about how I make her brush her teeth. It is a funny role reversal, but it means a lot to me that my mom remembers me.

Love Lost

After lunch today, I realized how much I appreciate *A* and respect him not wanting to be physical until he knows what he wants on an emotional/romantic level. I had told him earlier in the day that I want to watch the sunset over the ocean today, so he suggested a really beautiful place in town that I had never been to before. When we walked down there, there were two other couples cuddling and watching the sunset. *A* just appeared a bit awkward with this, but it was so beautiful, I actually shed a couple of happy tears. *A* tried not to notice, I think just wanting to avoid anything too deep.

We went to have dinner at this nice restaurant, and *A* started telling this story about how when he got this nice bagette that it was the happiest moment in his life. I joked that of course this couldn't be the happiest moment, but he insisted. I reminisced about several really happy moments that we shared together, but he refused to acknowledge any of them as especially happy. He even claims to have forgotten the first time that he told me that he loves me.

When we got back to my place, I pulled out my scrapbook and showed him the picture from my Homecoming dance in high school from that night. "Remember this?" I asked him. But he still claims to not remember telling me that night. I started looking at other things in the scrapbook and showed him this card that he gave me 15 years ago. "Look at this?" I said. He just made a face. "What you don't want to look at it?" "No."

I have to admit that I feel a bit insulted. These are some of the most important memories of my life, moments that I cherish and which keep me tied to our relationship, and he doesn't seem to hold them in much regard. Or, he's just refusing to open up those memories and feelings. I don't know. I just know that I really need to be acknowledged tonight. I really need for him to talk about what's going on with us and where we are, so I can just know. I feel in some ways like an idiot about this whole thing. Why am I still committed so deeply to this relationship that hasn't really been in existence for almost 10 years when he appears so uncommitted?

I think that it would be better if I go back to Kansas City Tuesday. But, workwise and whatever other preparation wise and tooth wise, oy, I'm just not ready.

Won't Hand Away My Heart So Fast

This guy from New Year's called again this morning; this time it said "Private" so I picked up. He said that he's driving through town and wanted to take me to lunch. I felt like there wasn't a way to say no and that lunch sounded pretty tame. I knew that he was going to try stuff though. God, he's so freaking predictable. Of course, he is trying to kiss me and touch me from the first second. And it was clear that he's just always on the prowl for action. He says that he likes me more than he's liked anyone in years and that he's sorry that he wasn't able to really be there before, but that there was just too much going on for him. And when I told him that I have this pattern of just giving away my heart too soon, he conferred and said that sort of made him back away a bit. But, then he tries to say all of this stuff about being serious with me, which is so clearly about trying to get action. Anyway, even though it felt good to be noticed physically and appreciated for having a good body, it isn't what I'm looking for. He even had the gaul to put down *A* for not being sexual at all with me, that I need someone who will be sexual with me. The thing is that on some level, he's wrong. Even though, sure yeah, being sexual is fabulous; I want real relationships, that have meaning, that last long periods of time.

He was trying to be very charming, but I am learning (slowly) to create real relationships instead of letting myself get lost in fantasies.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Getting Better All The Time

I barely have any pain today; it feels like such a miracle that I'm healing. Of course, because of hormones and all of the antibiotics, my stomach is mucho messed up. But, I don't mind; I'm just so grateful to not be in serious pain.

I really like having *A* here. Even though relationships are so dangerous and never go well for me, I really want to have a partner. I really enjoy sharing my life with someone, especially now with *A*. Of course, its only been a day or so....

This guy that I was seeing around New Year's just called. He lives a couple hours South of me, and I guess he's driving through and wants to see me. I didn't even answer the phone, in part because *A* is here, and in part because I just think it is a bad idea. The guy clearly doesn't really care about me, is pretty self-involved, yadayada. I still feel a little bad about blowing him off, but I just don't have the energy to even think about him.

I called my mom today, and I was surprised at how well she's doing. She was in the kitchen area helping dry dishes (which is much better than in her room by herself, where she often is). She was cheery and excited about my dad coming later to take her to dinner. (He does this twice a week, but even still, she usually gets agitated whenever he's not around, constantly asking if you know where he is and what he's doing.) She even remembered that I go to school, which she hasn't remembered for a long time.

She asked me if I know how to get to her place, which is ridiculous because I've been there hundreds of times to visit her already, but I think that was more her way of asking me to come visit. Generally, a very good day. Certainly, she is doing much better than I expected. Of course, the phone can be deceptive; you can't really know how someone with Alzheimer's is doing until you see them for a longer period of time.

I've been crying a bit over her and my grandma. I really miss them, even though they're both very much alive, because of the Alzheimer's, they aren't really all there. I didn't feel like I could talk to my mom about all of the problems I've been having. I can't even call my grandmother; she barely speaks now. I miss them taking care of me. I miss them. But, still, I feel like mourning this loss is a real privilege. Just a few days ago, I couldn't think or feel anything other than the pain in my tooth.