Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Martha Stewart invades my home

So, in keeping with my resolution to find ways of de-stressing, I've become Martha Stewart.

You won't find me decoupaging my toilet seats or anything, but I've gotten more into gourmet cooking, more into baking, and decorating, organizing, cleaning my house, and creating a mini-"garden" (shmitta-proof of course) on my porch.

I never thought I'd say this, but I really admire her. She's got grace under fire. She went to prison for insider trading (I don't actually admire that) and emerged the same. She doesn't ignore the fact that she went to prison on her show, or in her magazines, but she doesn't talk about it all day long either. She doesn't try to hide the not-so-pretty things in her life, or airbrush the less-than-perfect parts of her life out. In her most recent issue of Martha Stewart Living she reminisced about her home that she recently sold. She didn't pretend that for most of the time she lived there she wasn't married to her now ex-husband. She admitted that the reason she changed her vegetable garden to flowers was that with the divorce, she needed less veggies. She doesn't pretend, but she doesn't make a big deal about her painful things either.

Where is this leading to? I'm going to drop the name of someone who hasn't appeared on this blog in years. D. I haven't seen him in years. I have heard bits and bobs about through well-meaning friends over the years. I know his father passed away. I know he got married, to an American girl, who's meant to be "scarily clever". I didn't really care to hear the news, but it never bothered me either. Then, this past Saturday night, at an engagement party, just as Bryan and I were about to leave, I ran into him. He looked the same (in fact, I think he may have even been wearing a shirt I tried to throw away 5 years ago). We caught up briefly. He pointed out his wife of 10 months, who was both beautiful and a glowing 8 months pregnant. We spoke for a bit about maternity wards in hospitals here (that being my line of business). And then Bryan and I had to leave, or our babysitter would have turned into a pumpkin.

This meeting unrattled me. I'm not sure why. I'm very happy with my life. I love my husband, who is the right man for me, in almost every way (except for why he cannot seem to grasp that unwrapped cheese + refrigerator = dried out useless cheese). I have the most incredible son, who fills my days with laughter and lots of messes, my nights with cuddles and snoring. So, I'm not sure why running into D. and his wife ruffled my feathers. I don't begrudge him the happiness he's found. He seemed quite in love with his wife, excited about his prospective fatherhood status, and I'm glad to hear all that.

Am I allowed to still be hurt even though I've moved on? Is it okay to still be upset that he chose not to love me - even though Bryan did choose me, and I him, and we've made our lives together, and I'm at peace with all that? Is it supposed to still be a teeny bit painful to see the woman he did choose to love, to know that she's pretty and smart and carrying his child? I haven't been able to say anything to Bryan, since I think I would be upset if he revealed such feelings to me about another woman he was once with. But it doesn't mean I care for D., just that the memory of what was, and the reality of what wasn't still hurt a bit. Is it allowed to hurt after all these years?

I love my current life. Bryan and I belong together. We're happy, I'm happy, I wouldn't change my life if I could. Bry and I have had big fights, small fights, and through each one of them, we've learned more about the other, grown closer, become more of a couple. The knowledge that we're in this for the long haul makes the sometimes difficult task of fighting fair, and making up, easier. We've begun and are in the middle of weaving together a quilt of life. Each experience is another patch, each difficulty, each happiness, only strengthens the stitching. Knowing that we're building something together constantly makes all the hard work enjoyable. Arguing over who will be the one to get up at 3 am to tend to our son, whose teeth are coming in, knowing that we're providing comfort to the ebst thing Bryan and I have accomplished to date - another patch on the quilt.

As I am writing, I got a call from a news station that interviewed when I made aliyah 5+ years ago. They're thinking of doing a follow-up. At the most recent follow-up (3+ years ago) I had been dating D. The researcher, who had clearly studied the past tapes, wanted to know what happened to him, were we still together? I guess that story of the single olah meeting her veteran oleh/Israeli soldier boyfriend right off the boat, and then being married to him 5 years down the line was appealing. So I told the man no, I didn't stick with D. I married someone else, my perfect partner-in-most-everything, another oleh. The researcher seemed disappointed Bryan wasn't Israeli, but the guy perked up when I told him we had an Israeli-born son.

Funny how I was able to sum up my life in the past 5 years in 2 sentences.

A penny for your thoughts...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Happy New Year...with a resolution

I miss blogging...Its been too long since I've posted, and too long since I've taken it seriously. Now that Akiva is over a year (!) and I've got a bit more time to blog (we're down to one nap a day = earlier bedtime), I'll try and be back. For my sake. Because I've noticed I've become rather stress-y and nasty and blogging somehow destressed me and make me put things into perspective.

That being said, I've been thinking a lot about my stress levels and why I am, as Bryan puts it, "A tee-pee and a wigwam" (two tents = too tense). I was trying to think about why I am so tense, and when that started, since I used to be really laid-back and more carefree. Anyone who knows me from my childhood would agree. Was it just adulthood, with more responsibilities, which pushes me over the edge?

Recently, I've realized what the catalyst was...it's living here in Israel. Now, here comes the not-so-pro-aliyah talk: If I ever made yerida (moved back to America, or anywhere else for that matter) it would be for one reason only. Not because I'd have a better lifestyle somewhere else, not because life would be easier in English, and not because the shopping is better. Israelis, for all their quirks and charms, are among the most self-centered people I know. Nowhere is this more evident that on the roads.

People cut in front of you, without a care as to what will happen when you are forced to slam on the breaks in order to avoid an accident, knowing that at least they're safe. Turning signals are used for purely decorative purposes. If an exit lane is moving particularly slowly (because the turn-off has a light or whatever), they will simply move over to the lane to the left of the exit lane, speed to the front of the line, and cut in. Leaving us fools waiting for hours to exit, watching the jerks behind you whizz by. Off-road people are much the same. They cut you in line at the grocery, the bank, the post-office, the buffet. "Lo kara kloom" (nothing happened!) they exclaim when you point out their misdemeanor, making you look like the petty one for begrudging one person a few spare minutes. They never think that other people in the line may also be in a rush.

I'm finding this self-centeredness exhausting. I feel like I always have to be on the alert for someone looking to cut me in line, cut me off, screw me over. And this, I think, is why I am so tense. And nowhere is this selfish behavior more apparent than in our holy city of Jerusalem. I've now lived elsewhere, I see the differences.

To pro-Zionistic, shiny happy hand-holders in America, Israelis are warm, friendly, a bit rude, and open. I know, I thought this way too a few years back. But as my acculturation in Israel is nearing complete (I'm fluent, I work in an Israeli hospital, I go to an Israeli university, I understand army slang), I'm finding myself somewhat disappointed.

When I heard about friends who were making yerida for "a few years" I asked Bryan his thoughts. He won't even think about it. He says my whole family is here, he's finally feeling comfortable here, finally got a good job (starts after the chagim, much better salary and its in Jerusalem). I have a job I more or less like, I've only got one year left to school, Akiva is happy in his new mishpachton (childcare).

We've settled on the fact that we definitely have to leave Jerusalem for the suburbs...things seem better over there. But that won't happen until we can afford to buy, and that won't be for a while. So my Rosh Hashana resolution is to find a way to be less affected by the behaviors around me...I've started going to the gym, tried yoga (not for me...I found myself thinking of good recipes for fish items, instead of performing the Downward Dog), finally put up flowers and a swing on our tiny little porch in an attempt to create an "oasis".

I wish all of you a happy, healthy, personally fulfilling 5768. Lets all find a placed where we can call "home".

Monday, January 22, 2007

Back for...now

I'm not sure if I'm back for good, or back for now...we'll see.

Here are a few things that have been going on

1. We moved back to Jerusalem two months ago. So Jerusalem Revealed no longer lives in Ra'anana. I miss the calm and quiet of Ra'anana - but that's about it. I sure don't mind that I no longer have to drive 1.5 hours each way to get to school. I sure don't mind the plethora of available eating options here in Jerusalem. And I definitely don't mind babysitters (my parents) that live a 3 minutes drive away.

2. Akiva, whom we call 'Kivi', 'Kivi-Weevey', 'The Weevey' or 'Kievs' is....growing, developing, becoming a real person. It still sort of shocks me every once in a while...I look at this giggling little boy and think - "I (with a bit of help) made him. I take care of him. And I haven't forgotten him anywhere yet." He looks mostly like me, but certain expressions make him look a little like Bryan. He is very ticklish, has quite a personality, is a total blabbermouth (now there's a surprise - my son, the big talker), can be very stubborn but is quite gentle. Amazing how at 5.5 months his very essence is probably all right there.

Kivi is still not sleeping through the night - until 2 nights ago we were dealing with 3 wakings a night, that required either Bryan or I to put him back to sleep. Last night, after a late-night viewing of Tsotsi, I gave him a "dream feed" at midnight. He woke up at 3:20 am, but we let him whimper for a minute or two, and then he went back to sleep.

Tonight, I put him to sleep really early, like 6:30 pm. He woke briefly at 7:15, so I fed him again. Then I laid him in his crib wide awake and guess what? He put himself to sleep! Perhaps we are turning a corner - otherwise I will lose it soon.

We recently went to South Africa for a wedding, and while there had professional pictures of Akiva and the family taken - I leave you with 3 of my favorites:

Monday, August 21, 2006

New Motherhood

With the small amount of time I have, I thought I'd give you an insider's view of my mind, in the past 2 weeks. So here are some thoughts I've had, not necessarily in order, not all of them pretty.

After 48 hours in labor, 24 hours in the hospital, 17 hours in the delivery room, 15 hours since the start of my epidural, 3 hours since they killed the epidural in order to get things moving faster, 1 hour and 15 minutes of pushing with no epidural: I now believe in love at first sight - and I'm not saying the first sight is beautiful. My baby is covered in meconium, his head is shaped like a Conehead's (after pushing on a not-completely dilated cervix), he's a purplish-red color and he's screaming - blessedly. Anything I ever thought was close to the feelings of love I ever felt before pale in comparison to the overwhelming feeling that my heart may actually explode. I look at my husband to my left, my baby on my chest and feel like I have just created the first baby in the world.

After Bryan drank all the iced-tea I had prepared days ago at home to drink during labor, kept leaving me alone in the delivery room to look for food, mincha, to take a walk, had the balls to complain that his back and shoulder were uncomfortable from the chair he was sitting in throughout my labor, then complained when I bit his shoulder before I got my epidural (suck it up- I left no teeth-marks):
Men are completely useless - they have no place in the birthing rooms. Life would be better if we went back to the 50's and the men waited outside, box of cigars in hand, then congratulated themselves on a job well-done when in fact they had done nothing at all.

As soon as I got my epidural: I love my husband - but I love the anesthesiologist more.

The morning of my baby's brit/naming: I will not give him over to those men and let them hurt my baby. My job as his mommy is to protect him, as much as possible from any sort of pain or discomfort, not pay someone 1200 NIS to cut my little boy. I feel like the worst mother in the world - my heart is breaking as I watch them cut my baby. I feel anger towards my whole religion - towards any religion that advocates this barbaric practice. I find it difficult to be Jewish today.

When my in-laws show up: Someone shoot me in the head. If my mother-in-law mentions one more time that she has "no idea where such a funny-shaped head could come from, but its definitely not our side of the family". My MIL had all her babies by C-section, stayed in the hospital for 2 weeks after the birth of each child, and came home from the hospital with a baby nurse to help care for the newborn, plus a regular maid. She's never seen a new newborn that came through a prolonged labor delivered vaginally. I finally lose it and tell her that the baby's head doesn't come from her side of the family, or mine, it comes from my vagina. Silence.

After the baby has been up all night and all day for 3 days straight, and only sleeps when someone is holdinh him. As soon as you put him down, he screams: I begin to feel sympathy for the 19-year-old father who shook his baby to death just before Pesach. Although I am nowhere near that point, I begin to think "hmmm, mitigating circumstances?". I realize I am at my wit's end, and wake Bryan up (who has been slumbering blissfully for the past 6 hours) to take over.

After Bryan takes over, touches the baby, realizes he is freezing to the touch and turns off the airconditioning. The baby promptly falls asleep and stays sleeping for hours: I suck as a mother. On the upside, Bryan is quite proud of himself and feels like Super-Dad. He does NOT mention this at all though - smart husband. I can simply tell by the satisfied glow on his face.

Now I realize I have been referring to the baby as "the baby", though of course by now he has a name. It's Akiva Binyamin - and below is the explanation we emailed to our friends.

--- We chose the name Akiva because Akiva was born during the week of Parshat Eikev. Also, I went into labor just before the start of Shabbat Nachamu, and labored all through it. Rabbi Akiva was known as a modest, gentle person, who offered consolation to the other Sages after the destruction of the Temple, in his interpretation of the presence of foxes in the Gehinnom Valley. We hope that Akiva's place in this world will be a consolation during the current war, just as Shabbat Nachamu begins the 7 weeks of consolation, following the 3 weeks of mourning. Rabbi Akiva also embodies the concept that every person has the capacity for greatness, and we hope our little Akiva will realize his capacity.

Binyamin was for Bryan's grandmother Blanche/Bluma. Akiva was born on 12 Av, exactly 2 years to the day after Granny Blanche's passing. Binyamin was one of the 4 people in Tanach who never sinned. ---

I was going to publish some pics, but they're just not uploading, so....next time!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Still....Just Kidding - My Baby Story!

A quick posting and a picture, while my baby is between feedings.

After 47 hours of labor (26 hours in the hospital, 17 of which in the delivery room), and being so close to a c-section I had already signed the consent form and was on my way to the operating room, I gave birth to a beautiful (I am biased) healthy (3.195 Kg = 7 lbs even) baby boy at 16:58 on Sunday, August 6th.

I'm healthy (not a nick or tear or stitch to be had) and exhausted, and Bryan's okay except for where I bit him on the shoulder during labor, before I got my epidural.

Here's a pic of the new fam:

And here's a picture of, gulp, my son.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Still pregnant...

I've stopped calling people on the phone. Inevitably, when someone answers, they immediately assume I must've had the baby - why else would I be calling? Maybe because I'm sitting home on my ever-expanding butt and need to talk?

I (sort of) finished my exams on Sunday. I still have two leftovers from last semester. One of them is August 24th, obviously will be post-baby, and the other one is this Sunday. However, the teacher doesn't want to make me take it, so has told me that if I am not well, or have had the baby, or whatever, she'll just give me an oral make-up exam at my leisure (which I think is code for passing me).

I got started on the TV show Sex and the City long after it was on television. My friend Sima sent me the first season as a gift a little over 2 years ago, and I got hooked. As of last summer I was more or less finished season 5. I told myself that when I was pregnant, the thing I would do to pass the last few days/weeks of pregnancy would be to rent all of the final season of SATC and watch it through, preferably in the company of Haagen Dazs. How fortunate for me that Blockbuster carries all the good flavors of Haagen Dazs, and is located relatively close to my home.

So, I've 3/5th of the way through the final season and halfway through a tub of Tiramisu flavored Haagen Dazs, which actually has little bits of mascarpone cheese and cookies in it. I must say - I am so in love with Miranda! I think she's the SATC character I most identify with - even though I see bits of Carrie and Samantha as well.

Surprisingly, I am required to fast tomorrow/tonight for Tisha B'Av. The doctor has told me this will likely put me into labor - and I sure as heck hope he's right. If not, I have purchased a bottle of castor oil. Although some may claim its an old wives' tale, and it doesn't really work, I've seen enough anecdotal evidence in the past few weeks to the contrary. I belong to this online chat room of other preggos, all due around the same time as me, called The Baby Center. Plenty of the women there are equally as fed up being pregnant in the heat of the summer, and one brave woman started quite the trend. She posted the recipe for the Castor Oil Milkshake and agreed to be the guinea pig.

The recipe is:
2 scoops of ice cream (any flavor)
2 oz. Castor Oil
1 c. milk
2 raw eggs (which are apparently necessary for the binding effect of the castor oil)

Anyway, she posted hourly updates after drinking the shake - keeping all of us informed as to the amount of diarrhea she was experiencing, and then left us hanging. Turned out she'd gone to the hospital to have her baby. Next thing you know, everyone is trying it! And for most of the women, who were pregnant enough, it works. They go into labour between 4 and 6 hours after the shake, and all have had relatively quick labors too.

Of course, my hubby, ever the party pooper, was quite upset about my taking the shake. I promised I would wait until all my exams were done, and that I would ask my exceedingly cautious OB/GYN what he thought of castor oil. He gave me the go-ahead! He said if it doesn't work, it won't do any harm, and if does work, the baby is ready to come out.

So I'm saving the other half of the tiramisu ice cream for after the fast - if that doesn't put me into labor, that is.

My in-laws arrive in one week, and this baby had better be out before then! I can't imagine how fun it will be with both grandmas hovering around the waiting room. My mom thinks she's coming with me to the delivery room. She's been so panicky the past few weeks its scary. She's not normally so clingy - but now, if I am taking a shower and hence don't answer the phone, by the time I call her back she's got her "hospital bag" packed and is dialing a taxi. All I can say is - if you weren't there when the quarter went into the slot, you can't be there to watch the candy bar come out!

Here's hoping that by my next post, I'll be a mommy!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Still pregnant...

...This pregnancy thing is taking a lot longer than I thought. I know how long its supposed to take, but these last few weeks have felt like forever!

Here are a few things on my mind:

1) Exams. Its that time again. When I bow to the ridiculous set-up of the Israeli university system, and spend over a month taking exams. This year there was the added challenge of trying to complete exams before the baby showed up. I have to say, taking exams at 9 months pregnant seems to be working for me. Sure, I'm still not allowed to use a dictionary. I keep getting assigned to the same lecture hall for my exams (4 times out of 5 exams) and I actually do not fit in the desks! I can get into the seat, but then I cannot close the "lid" over the seat that provides a desktop for writing on.

One proctor actually yelled at me that I was trying to allow people to cheat off of me, because I was placing my answer sheet on the desk next to mine. Um, nooooo, I just can't fit! The same proctor wouldn't let me go to the bathroom during a 3 hour exam. Usually they make exceptions for the preggos.

However, I did get one grade back (Nursing Oncology) and I got the first truly respectable grade of my nursing school career - one of the top grades in the class! I'm hoping that holds true for my other exams. I only have one (real) exam left to take.

2) My anniversary - was last Wednesday. Due to the war in the North (and its a war, not playing with the words here) and the state of my belly, Bryan and I opted not to go to the Galilee for Shabbat (as was a possible plan) or the Dead Sea (too far from the hospital) and decided to go low-key. We exchanged cards (it is the paper anniversary) - not gifts, since we've got some big expenses lined up :) And then Bryan made reservations at a pretty nice Japanese fusion place on the beach, which I highly recommend. I decided I'd held back enough for the past 9 months and ate real sushi (as opposed to cooked fish) and wine and ribs. And then we started what I hope will be a tradition: We shared what we felt we had learned about the other over the past year. The most surprising things, the most important things. I hope we'll be able to continue that tradition and that we'll keep learning new things about the other.

3) Our Penis Plant - Yup, you read that right. We received a plant as a wedding gift last year. I have what can definitively be referred to as a "black thumb". Against all odds, this plant has lived. I have no idea what kind of plant it is (I just saw a website that referred to it as a "peace lily") - but Bryan took to referring to the one white flower the plant had as its "penis". Unfortunately, around October time the penis withered up, turned black, and died. Bryan had a great attachment to the "flower" and when I finally insisted on cutting the dead stem off and throwing it away, he wore the "flower" pinned to his lapel for a whole day in solidarity and referred to me as Lorena. If it really is called a "peace lily" then the fact that we refer to it as a penis plant is even funnier.

Since then, our plant, though alive, never regenerated its "member". I water it once a week, it never gets any good light, but in the past 2 weeks it has sprouted not one, not 2 but 3 penises!! And there is evidence of a fourth one! We have no idea whether our baby is a boy or girl, but Bryan has taken this as a definite sign - triplet boys!

4) This all brings me back to being pregnant. I am truly ready for this to be over. Firstly, I am so curious about who I have been hosting in my body for the past 9 months. Boy or girl? Dark hair, light hair, no hair? Personality type?

Secondly, I am so physically uncomfortable. If anyone here thinks about getting pregnant and timing it to give birth in late-July/early August and lives in a city that never goes below 85 degrees/28 degrees even at night, with like 100% humidity - let me just save you now. Don't!

I'm hot, I'm large. I have new, painful stretchmarks every day...like a very attractive belt around my hips. My heartburn has progressed to reflux disease...it is way too powerful for the wussy Israeli Maalox, and I've run out of my wild berry flavored super American Maalox.

My hips are doing strange things - I finally went to the very nice osteopath who sits next to me in shul. She realigned my hips for me (my anniversary gift to myself) but they're already slipping again. Swimming seems to be the only activity where I feel half-human. Strangely enough, while I may have been more self-conscious about being seen in a bathing suit as a non-preggo, hauling my huge belly around in a bathing suit doesn't bother me in the slightest. Maybe because my maternity bathing suit is so big its practically a sundress?

I'm off to the obstetrician now - he'll give me an update on my progress - and there damn better be some! As soon as I get the okay I'm drinking castor oil and running around the block til I go into labor!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Making a difference

I've missed blogging. I know that sounds lame from someone who hasn't posted in 2 months, but its true.

I can't say nothing has been going on in my life because, well, I'm 35 weeks (or more) pregnant, I'm in finals at school, and I just finished my first nursing rotation.

Of course, most of the pregnant updates fall under TMI (who wants to know when my stretchmarks first appeared? right, no one). Most of my school stories are just rant sessions. And most of my nursing stories, if I shared them, could easily be called a violation of patient confidentiality.

However, now that my rotation is over, I can sit back (as far back as my gigantic belly will allow) and take stock of what those 15 weeks meant to me.

When I first got assigned to the General Surgery ward, my first thought was "oh, yuck". My still somewhat queasy stomach would be checking open surgery wounds, with somewhat yuckier patients. I was hoping for Orthopedics, or Internal Medicine which would be less yucky.

We spent almost the first 10 weeks of the rotation simply talking to patients. We were not allowed to do anything to them (makes sense, since we didn't really, even after 2 years of nursing school, know how to do anything). We took lots of patient histories, learned how to interpret their charts, how to interact with patients, and how to make nursing diagnoses - which are very different from medical diagnoses.

For example, let's say a patient comes in with high fever, problems breathing etc. A medical diagnosis would be "Pneumonia" and the treatment plan would easily be "antibiotics".

In nursing, the diagnosis and treatment completely depend on the patient. You could have 2 patients with identical medical diagnoses, identical medical histories, and totally different nursing plans. the same patient with pneumonia could have a diagnosis of "Decreased functioning in the family home, secondary to pneumonia, expressed by failure to work". And the treatment would either be to educate the family or the patient. If however, the patient lives alone, there would be a completely separate diagnosis and treatment plan.

Although I began to get bored of taking these long histories, and feeling like all I was doing was invading the patient's privacy, eventually it all started to make sense. When I started admitting patients before their surgeries, I began to pay attention to little cues I would have missed earlier. I had a patient in for a relatively small surgery, who seemed overly anxious, with a very high blood pressure and pulse (sign of stress). She told me she took antidepressives and that she was a widow. And that none of her adult children knew about her surgery. Eventually I worked out that her husband had committed suicide a year earlier, hence the depression and extreme anxiety.

One of the things that bothered me about my rotation was that it seemed pats on the back were few and far between, but criticism was available in abundance. Students got kicked out of the program for relatively minor infractions, but when someone did something really noteworthy - nothing was done.

When I first started doing admissions before surgeries, one of the first patients I got was in for a thyroid removal. I had to take the extremely long history, with questions that seemed inane and useless to the patient. Plus, the questions, at least in part, are repeated by the doctors and anesthesiologists. This particular patient was really irritated by me. She'd already met with the doctor, the surgeon and the anesthesiologist, all of whom had asked her the same questions and who had all approved her surgery.

Then I come along. I am required to tell her I'm a student (plus my name tag says so), and then I start asking her all the same questions she already told the real doctors, plus questions that seem useless - such as what floor is her apartment on, how many children does she have.

I ask her what medications she takes. She tells me a few drugs, mostly for high blood pressure. A few minutes later I ask her the same question. I do this because patients often "forget" some of their drugs, but after talking about other things (past illnesses, dietary contraints) they are reminded of more medicines, or things they don't consider to be medicine but really are. She remembers that she also takes aspirin once a day, prophylactically. People often do this because it has been shown to prevent strokes and ischemic heart disease.

I finish my medical history, and go to my teacher to have her review my interview. For liability reasons, before its entered into the computer a real nurse has to sign off on my work. The teacher signs off.

As I am entering the data into the computer, the penny drops. Patients who take any sort of blood thinner (such as Coumadin, Heparin, etc.) have to stop these drugs 10 days before surgery or they risk bleeding out during the surgery. One of the drugs that thins blood is....Asprin. The reason it prevents strokes is because its a blood thinner. I run back to the patient, who is about to go home for the evening (and return at 7 am to have her surgery) and ask her if she stopped her aspirin. She looks me at me like I am nuts and says, "Why would I do a thing like that?" I ask her to wait, and tell her I need to check with the doctor but that there is a possibility her surgery will be postponed.

She's pretty irritated with me now - all of the doctors, surgeons and anesthetists have signed off on her surgery and told her she was good to go. What's a lowly nursing student doing telling her it may be pushed off?

I shared my findings with the doctors (who are also irritated to be "caught" by a student). In my communications class, one of the topics we covered was "How to tell a doctor he's made a mistake without losing your job". I had to tell the head of the surgery department, a somewhat arrogant man who definitely does not like students, that he missed a vital bit of info without making it sound like he did anything wrong. Not to mention tell my teacher, who approved my interview and didn't catch the problem herself.

The surgery was cancelled and rescheduled for 2 weeks later.

I was a little upset that no one, especially my teacher gave me a pat on the back for catching something so important that everyone else missed, which could have really hurt the patient. If I had done something of equal magnitude that would have hurt the patient, you can bet I would have received an automatic failure.

As luck would have it, two weeks later, I was assigned a patient who was just waking up after surgery on her thyroid. The name rang a bell, but I couldn't figure out from where. I introduced myself to her husband, and said that my name was Noa, I was a student, and I'd be caring for his wife. He immediately woke his wife up and said, "Is this the Noa that saved your life and got the whole surgery rescheduled?"

Even though my little catch went totally unnoticed and unrewarded by my teacher, the patient realized what went on - enough that 2 weeks later her husband (who I never met) remembered my name! And that's what nursing is about to me - making a difference to patients, whether they realize it or not.

I have no idea what grade I will get on this rotation - and I am sure that my "save" won't even get factored into my grade - but it doesn't matter to me. The thing that most concerned me about this rotation was that perhaps afterwards, I would decide I really didn't want to be a nurse. I have, after all, been known to change my mind a lot. And the past 2 years of nursing school, while difficult, have been totally hands-off. This was my first time interacting with patients.

I managed through the 15 weeks without getting any truly disgusting patients - I have no idea how that happened. No one vomited on me, I never had to change anyone's poop bag. For some reason, cleaning a patients' penis while his catheter was in didn't disgust me. Everyone else had at least one truly memorable patient in terms of the gross-out factor. Don't let anyone kid you - we may be semi-professionals, but we do still occasionally get yucked out - the professionalism simply requires us not to show it.

But I do think I made a difference in the lives of at least a handful of patients - so I know I am on the right track.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Maternal Instincts

Yesterday being Israel's Independence day, Bryan and I spent the day in Jerusalem. I was particularly excited for the Living Museum, an annual Jerusalem Independence Day festival of sorts which re-enacts aspects of history (usually from 1948, or about the particular neighborhood the festival is in).

The festival moves around every year (my favorite year was in Yemin Moshe 3 years ago, and the theme was arts from 1948), and this year it was in the Russian Compound. Unfortunately, it somewhat deviated from its usual superb fun, and the theme had a lot to do with Russia from 1860 onwards, and the history and present of the Jerusalem police force, also located in the Russian Compound.

The only truly interesting "exhibit" was a huge performance put on by the police demonstrating all their weaponry and ways to tackle terrorists. Of course, the crowd to get a seat at this exhibit (which started every hour, on the hour for 5 hours) was ridiculous, and because this is Jerusalem, there was no sort of organized line or any manner to get in, just a lot of pushing and shoving.

Bryan and I managed ot get in the crowd, and at 20 minutes to the hour, they lifted a barricade and everyone lunged forward to get in. I put my hands in front of my belly, to protect it from being really squashed, but no matter. One guy, 2 people in front of me, decided he didn't like the surge of people pushing him from behind (never mind that he practically stepped on people to cut them in the "line" to get to his position). As everyone moved forward he took his elbows and sharply pushed backwards. The result was that I, who was actually 2 people behind him got a very sharp blow to the belly, right between the muscles. And it really hurt (besides knocking the wind out of me). So I did what any other Jewish mother would do when someone tried to hurt her baby.

I slugged the guy.

I'm not sure what came over me, but it was sort of instinctive. I would ahve gone for the face, but since he was not directly facing me, I neded up punching his shoulder. He looked quite shocked to see a religious (chilul hashem, I know), pregnant woman deck him. Then of course his wife, and her friend (I assume) started screaming at me. But all they saw was my punch (which was over the crowd) and not his hitting me in the belly (which was under the crowd).

I saw the guy go over to a policeman and try and complain that a pregnant woman had just punched him, but oddly enough, no one came over to me. I would have loved to have had that conversation.

Bryan was sort of shocked, but then he was rather proud of me. He said he realized the guy must have done something really bad to deserve that. I'm not really a violent person. The last time I hit someone was when I was in 5th grade, and there was this boy who had been picking on me (and the other geeks, have I ever mentioned I was the queen of loser/geeks in elementary and middle school?) all year long. Well, about mid-year I broke my arm while ice-skating. A few weeks later, that same boy was picking on me again, and I realized I had a weapon at my disposal. So I punched him too, in the face, with my cast. I think the principal was so pleased to see that someone had put this kid in his place, and this was the days of teaching girls about empowerment, that I barely got punished. I think 15 minutes of after-school detention.

But for some reason, the thought of this guy at the festival punching my little fetus got me so riled up, that I just lost it. I guess I'll be like one of those lioness mothers.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Hormones gone mad!

Bryan is a lying, cheating piece-of-crap bastard.

But only in my dreams.

Sorry for the misleading opener there (I can see half of you guys going "Oh no, what the heck did she do to this one!") - Bryan is still a wonderful hubby. But for some reason, for the past few months, I keep having these dreams where Bryan becomes the nastiest man alive.

I've had dreams where Bryan has cheated on me because I got too fat during pregnancy and then left me alone with a 2 month old baby. In fact, in one dream, Bryan stole our ketubah/prenuptial agreement when he left, and then I couldn't find the second copy so I had no proof of anything and I was left penniless.

The dreams aren't really funny - especially because they're so graphic. They seem so real. I'll give birth to our baby, and it will have a name and everything, and then Bryan will do something totally un-Bryan-like and my world unravels.

What is funny, however, is the moment I wake up. Apparently, when I wake up, I'm still sort of confused, and the lines between reality and my dreamland are somewhat blurred. I turn over to see Bryan peacefully sleeping next to me, and I know, I just know that he has been scheming and is about to do something awful. Still half-asleep, I will then kick him over to his side of the bed, or snatch his blankets away, or once, I started sobbing in his face.

Even funnier are the times I wake up, and I can't quite remember the dream I had, I'm just left with this feeling of suspicion towards my beloved. Bryan says he can always tell when that's happened because he wakes up and I am glaring at him out of one eye (the other still mashed into my pillow). And he knows that dream-time Bryan has just sold our firstborn child in order to pay for a new Porsche or something similar. Then he has to convince me it was just a dream.

Bryan is infinitely patient. We've had this bad dream thing going for a couple months now, and never once has he just lost it and yelled, "It was just a dream dammit!". He always calmly explains to me why what just happened in my dream couldn't possibly be real, and then I forgive him - grudgingly. And he never gets mad at me when I yank the blankets off him or anything, though I'm sure he's thinking "separate bedrooms?"

I'm sure this is just my pregnant hormones going whacko - Bryan thinks its because I now feel more vulnerable as a mother-to-be, and so in my dreams I imagine every worst-case scenario possible, so I know I'll be okay. Whatever it is - I'm getting really annoyed at those other pregnant mommies-to-be on the pregnancy website who have dreams about baking cookies with their daughters. Why don't their daughters turn into monsters who throw the still hot cookies at the mommies and then eat them until they explode. Wouldn't that be funnier?

In reality Bryan will be a great daddy - he sings to my belly, and tells it stories and in general seems quite proud of the fact that I now weigh as much as he does. Although, when he found out that baby poop isn't what he thought it was (smaller, cuter versions of adult poop) there were a tense few minutes there, and I thought I'd be alone on diaper duty forever.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

I getta kick out of you

One of the newer sensations in my pregnancy (now at 23-24 weeks - I have no idea how you're supposed to count) is feeling the baby move. The book described it as "a miraculous sensation", but I feel more like there's a gremlin inside me.

Actually, the movement is not such a new thing, I've been feeling the baby move for a few weeks now, but when I thought I was a month less pregnant, I discredited the feeling as digestion or gas or something else, because people told me there was no way I could be feeling the movements.

At first it felt like soda fizz or little bubbles popping, but more recently I have begun to feel firm hard kicks. A few weeks ago Bryan and I were arguing over baby names, and the baby, either agreeing or disagreeing, let out such a hard kick even Bryan could feel it.

Now, the kicking is so common that when I wake Bryan up in the middle of the night to feel it, he doesn't even bother to roll over.

Previously, I thought of this baby as a boy. I'm not sure why, perhaps because (I'll admit it) that's what I really wanted, or perhaps because I just imagine myself with a boy baby. However, with this new kicking situation, I've changed my mind. This baby has to be a girl, because no boy would treat his mother this way.

The kicking has gotten so strong I almost fell over in the shower the other day, because the kick sort of surprised me and altered my center of gravity for a moment, and it was wet and slippery, and I'm a little clumsier these days anyway.

For the past 3 weeks or so, I would only feel the movements in the evenings, and it was usually more of a swishing around feeling, with the occasional kick. Since Purim, however, the kid has not slowed down ever (when does it sleep???) and kicks me constantly, more in certain positions than others.

Unfortunately the positions that elicit the most kicks are sitting (I guess the belly gets a bit bunched up) and lying on my back (I know you're not supposed to, but sometimes it happens). So sometimes I find myself standing during a lecture, or in shul, when I really could be sitting. The kicks have actually woken me up in the middle of the night, particularly a well-placed kicked to my bladder.

I know I should just be happy that my baby is healthy, moves well, and could easily be a striker for anyone's soccer team, but the kicking is getting so you can almost see a little bulge pop out of my belly, and I know someday soon, others will be able to see my kicks.

Yesterday I even felt what I assume were kicks and little fists simultaneously. Harder kicks to my lower right belly, lighter jabs to my upper left belly all at the same time. When you think that the baby feet are like the size of grapes, and it has like no muscles and sort of soft bones, its amazing how hard it can kick.

I understand now why a mom's relationship with her newborn is far more complex than a new daddy's. Daddy just gets this cute little bundle of love, while Mommy finally gets to lay eyes on the creep that's been kicking her for 4-5 months, for whom she may have lost her figure, suffered indigestion, gone brain-dead (though thankfully, I've started eating more and that seems to have gone away somewhat) and whatever other pregnancy fun a woman may enjoy. Its not that the exhange doesn't seem worth it, it just seems to come at a slightly higher cost to the women.

So far, I think I've been (pupupupu) really lucky. I know its early days, but no varicose veins, no dark line down my belly, no stretch marks yet (a matter of time, I know) no facial discolorations. And I've gained very little weight (a good thing or a bad, I don't know) - so hopefully there won't be as much to lose later. Even Bryan admitted the other day that he fully expected me to become really fat the second I got pregnant (I have a pretty hearty appetite in general), and so far, I've got one of the situations where you can only tell I'm pregnant from the side.

I'm thinking of doing a posting on what really happens to your body when you're pregnant, the stuff no book tells you, but I'll title it TMI to keep regular readers away. So if you see a posting coming up like that, and don't want to know that much about a pregnant woman's body, steer clear.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Another one of those days

Yesterday was one of those Murphy's law days. Anything and everything that could go wrong did, and more or less simultaneously.

First, as I tried to exit the apartment during the late morning I discovered that the lock was broken, and I was locked in the house. The lock has been sticky since the day we moved into the place, but in light of the lack of hot water and mold growing up the walls, this seemed like too trivial a matter with which to piss off the landlord.

However, as Sharona had not yet peed or pooed for the day, and she was doing her little prancing bathroom dance at my feet, the situation was suddenly urgent. I called the landlord, who first had to send her son over to verify that it was actually broken, and not that I was an idiot. So I had to wait for the son to cut school (he's in high school) and come over. I threw the keys out the window to him, and he tried from the outside, but of course it was really stuck. Sharona was still looking at me with these hateful "How long do I make you hold it in when you gotta go?" eyes.

The landlord then allowed me to call a locksmith, but only after I called several to find who the cheapest one was. By the time I found the cheapest, called him and he arrived it was almost 1 pm. By this point I had laid down newspapers near the door to encourage Sharona to pee on them, but she refused. I held her over the toilet and um, demonstrated, what is done there, but she wan't buying it. As soon as the locksmith busted us out of there, I took Sharona down to pee, but as it was brewing up a storm, she quickly peed and ran back inside.

Not 3 minutes later I hear a scream from the hallway. The lady across the hall, whom I've never met, but whose teenage sons have kept me up many a night, had apparently fallen down the stairs, pretty much most of them. A good 2/3 of a flight, about 10 stairs or so. And she wasn't doing too well. I helped get her into her apartment, and was assessing her to try and figure whether she should go to the emergency room or wait to see her doctor. As I was checking her legs, I look over and see Sharona in the crouching position, taking a dump on her carpet!

All morning long I've been trying to convince Sharona to poo indoors, but now, she waits until she's in someone else's place, and then picks the one spot in the whole flat that's carpeted and poos on it! I cleaned it up and got the hell out of there.

Then I get back home, and start my day's tasks - it's already like 2 pm. I use some caustic soda to clean the drain in the bathroom which has been somewhat clogged lately, and as soon as I'm done I find water coming out the bottom of the sink. The toilet, meanwhile has been clogged and not functioning at its finest since Shabbat.

Whenever I have a large amount of liquid leftovers (chulent, soup) rather than pour it into the trash can I flush it down the toilet. It may sound gross, but it is way less messy than contending with a hole in the weak Israeli garbage bags (I miss my Hefty (r) sacks). Bryan has always thought this was ridiculous, and Saturday night, while "helping" me clean up, he was showing off this method to his friend Jeremy (the always late guy) with great amusement. Unfortunately, while busy being asinine, he didn't bother to check the chulent as he poured it into the toilet, and sent a few very large meat bones into the toilet as well and flushed!!!

I made him fish out the one particularly large bone that hadn't even made it into the flush, but I knew there was at least one or 2 smaller bones that had made it down and were sure to cause problems. Sure enough, the toilet, while flushing, has been overflowing and taking way too long to drain.

Yesterday, while all the other stuff was happening, I noticed that instead of overflowing, water was now coming out the back pipe of the toilet and onto the floor. I tried calling the plumber but he never called back - I wonder why? "Hi, Brandon, can you fish last week's chulent bone out of my toilet, plus a weeks' worth of shit that is probably backed up with it....Hello? Hello???"

Anyway, a different plumber came this morning, as the landlord noticed last night (when she came to reimburse me for the locksmith) the leaking and assumed it was not from a chulent bone, and paid for him to come. As luck would have it, the chulent bone was never found, but everything else that was backed up behind it was fished out and the leak was apparently unrelated to the chulent bone, so the landlord footed the bill.

A few of you commented a couple weeks ago that it seemed early that my belly button was beginning to pop. I've discovered the reason why. When I went to my regular OB-GYN, he checked the size of my uterus and said, "Hmmm, you feel rather large for 17 weeks, maybe you're farther along than we thought." Now, this is something I have been trying to tell him for months now. For technical reasons I won't get into here, there was a bit of a doubt as to when my last period was. Ladies who have been through this will understand. Anyway, since the day I started with my doctor, I have told him I was unsure, but he let the ultrasound decide the first time and left it at that.

Meanwhile, I have always looked big, had symptoms that were somewhat advanced, I felt the baby move way too early, etc. The doctor simply shrugged it all off. And now, when he was telling me that I felt big, he was perfectly happy leaving my due date as "we don't exactly know - babies come and go as they please anyway".

I decided it was time to find a new doctor. So today, I cheated on my doctor and went to someone else. And guess what? My baby is not coming in August, its coming in July! And I'm not 18 weeks pregnant, I'm 22! I sort of feel like I have been robbed of a whole month of pregnancy, but vindicated that I'm not a huge cow, I'm actually almost 6 months pregnant.

This obviously sort of changes a whole bunch of plans, but at least my mother-in-law can start going baby carriage shopping earlier. My final exams are supposed to go through the end of July, yet my baby is due July 19th (my anniversary!) Let's hope my baby is about as on-time as his father usually is. On the other hand, I now get an even longer vacation before school starts, and I won't have to be 10 months pregnant in August, just July.

I'm planning on having a quiet, relaxing Shabbat at home with Bryan and the dog and no one else - at this point, I deserve it.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Day My Car Wasn't Stolen*

* borrowed from an article in the conveniently well-timed Friday edition of the Jerusalem Post.

I know its time for another Snarky Sunday post, but instead I had to share this one with the blogosphere.

I appreciated all of the mommies and pregnants who shared their stories of pregnancy brain-drain. I particularly laughed at Lisa who told me she used to stop at green lights.

However, if any of you had told me the following story was possible, or that I myself would someday be in a mindframe to be the lead I would never have believed you.

Friday was my friend's 30th birthday. We took her out to one of my favorite breakfast places, T'mol Shilshom. I drove to downtown Jerusalem, found a fairly decent parking space without too much difficulty, and even remembered to put money in the meter. But I only had enough small change for an hour and a half of parking. After more than an hour and a half I had to excuse myself to make sure I didn't get a ticket. I went back to the car to put more money in the meter, and I thought I heard the engine purring.

Now, there happened to be another Toyota Corolla parked directly in front of my car, so I figured that's where the noise was coming from. But just to be sure I put my hand on the hood of my car, and sure enough it was hot. This seemed rather mysterious. I reached into my bag to get my car keys, but they weren't there. I looked into my car, and the car keys were dangling from the ignition.

Yes, that's right folks, I parked the car, put money in the meter, and blithely went off to enjoy breakfast while leaving the keys in the ignition, engine idling, and driver's side window wide open for almost two hours!

I was basically in tears when I realized how stupid I had become. I don't know which part of the story shocks me more, that I actually did something so stupid or that no one took the car, or even anything in it. In fact, I'm even more shocked that the police didn't blow it up, thinking it was a booby-trapped bomb car. It was parked on a fairly busy side street in downtown Jerusalem.

The only explanation I can think of as to why no one helped themselves to an automobile that basically had an engraved invitation on the windshield saying "Free Car" is they must have thought it was a set-up. I mean, who would be stupid enough to do that?

I called Bryan (whom I was supposed to meet after re-feeding the meter) and told him he better come to me, as I was clearly too stupid to be allowed to cross the streets by myself. He was particularly sensitive about the whole matter (I suppose because I didn't give away the only semi-asset we have), but I did notice he had some trouble with a few of the lines during "Eshet Chayil" Friday night.

I handed him both sets of car keys and made him drive for the rest of the weekend. In fact, I walked everywhere today, though unfortunately I have to drive to Jerusalem tomorrow morning for another exam, and I'll never be able to do it by bus.

Bryan suggested that the way to avoid the absent-mindedness is to make lists for everything, but honestly, how can you anticipate needing a list for such mundane things? 1) Put toilet seat down 2) Pull underpants down 3) Sit on said toilet seat... There's got to be a limit, people!

Meanwhile, my formerly very-innie belly button has begun its transition to an outie...but that's a little TMI.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Happy birthday to you

Celebrating your spouse's birthday is a lot different than celebrating a boyfriend, or even a fiance's birthday. For one thing, its really great being able to simply roll over and wish your husband happy birthday, first thing in the morning. It does make surprising one's spouse more difficult though, seeing as how you can't hide too much from him.

Even more odd is the gift-giving ritual. Particularly since I am not working and Bryan is working. This means that whatever gift I buy him, he has actually bought himself. Last year when we were engaged I bought him a really nice watch as an engagement/birthday gift. This year? I have no good ideas. Anything I know he really wants or needs is way out of our price range (a new bike, a full set of the Schottenstein Talmud), and anything else is just silly to get for your husband's first birthday as your husband.

I settled (so far) on making pizza for dinner last night - with tuna on it (Bryan's favorite topping), since we're going out to dinner tonight. And I made fresh cinnamon buns with cream cheese icing on them and stuck a few candles in for breakfast. And I sent Bryan off to work with an entire freshly-baked Black Forest cake, in the hopes that sharing with the office will make them more likely to let him leave on time today. His ransom, if you will.

I know this seems silly, but somehow Bryan's age change makes me feel older. Pardon the tabloid nomenclature, but I am now carrying the love-child of someone in their mid-thirties (Bryan insists its still early 30's, but he'll keep saying that until he's 39). I know I am young, but suddenly I feel older. Everyone always says Bryan looks young for his age, and no one would ever guess he's 32, but I have no idea what this means, to me he just looks like Bryan. And he's got quite a few grays (I have even found a few in his chest hair - which he vehemently denies, and insists they are light blond!), and wrinkles and laugh lines thanks to growing up on the beach. But when he shows up to work with toothpaste near his left ear (how does it get there, I'll never know) he looks like a little boy to me.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is - I know that in short order all those chest hairs will turn gray. And to me, that feels like a promise, because I know I'll be there when they turn white as snow. Someday the little baby growing inside me will get furious at me and say "I hate you!" when I don't give him the car keys. And that's okay, because I know (I hope) that those times will be more than balanced out by the "I love yous". And there's nothing like a birthday to make you realize how fast time goes by.

When Bryan's mom called this morning (at the exact hour of his birth) she recounted that exactly 32 years ago Bryan was taking his first little cry, and she was knocked out cold from the anesthesia. And when she woke up a full day later, she turned and saw all the "It's a Boy!" balloons, and that's how she knew what she'd had. She said that to this day she'll never forget how weird it was, knowing that for 24 hours everyone else (it had even made it into the birth announcements into the paper before she woke up) knew about Bryan and she slept through it all. And how weird it was to find out she'd had a boy from the flowers and balloons. I'm glad the medical world has changed a bit in 32 years, and hopefully I won't have to find out what my baby is that way.

I kind of understand how she felt though, in a way. I mean, for 25 years I bumbled along through life, completely unaware of Bryan, who would become the person closest to me in the world. I slept through the beginnings, so to speak, when so many other people knew about Bryan. And I only got to find out about him later on.

So gray chest hairs and all, I am truly grateful to get to celebrate all the other birthdays with him. Happy birthday, sweet husband.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A little Mary Jane?

There are lots of things you can't have or can't do when you're pregnant, depending on how many mothers-in-law you have and which pregnancy books you choose to read. Among some of the very common, well-known no-no's.
*No sushi or carpaccio (or any undercooked animal for that matter)
*No boozing (cultural differences allow for a glass of wine here and there, all the way up to prohibition-era teetotaling)
*No cigarettes - this includes second-hand smoke (Israelis - we're talking to you)
*No scuba-diving
*No unpasteurized cheeses (say bye-bye to anything but overprocessed crap)
*No weed

Now, I was looking for a medical reason for the last one - since it seems clear that even if THC crosses the placental barrier, all it would do is chill the baby out. I mean, its not even addictive.

But I've discovered the real reason: I have become so brain-dead and memory impaired recently, that if I smoked a joint I would probably fall over afterwards because I would forget how to walk. I think my baby is eating my brain cells, and that loss, coupled with a little high would probably make me forget how to breathe.

The other day I went to the grocery store to pick up some things for dinner. I got into the car, but couldn't remember the code for disarming the alarm. After 5 tries, I got it. I started driving to the grocery store (which I go to weekly) but forgot how to get there. I started panicking. I figured I should just drive and my memory would kick in eventually - wrong! I ended up going to the first grcoery store I ran into, which was way more expensive and not the shop I wanted.

This morning I went to the post office for the sole purpose of picking up a package. I knew exactly where I had put the package slip, and took the car keys with me in order to get the slip out of the car. I got all the way to the post office, still clutching the car keys in my hand - with no package slip.

All of this has made exam period a little more difficult than it should be - its hard to memorize approximately 200 drugs, how they work, what they're used for and their contraindications, when you can't even remember how to start your car. I'm just glad I remember to study for the right exam, instead of studying for one that already occured.

To all the other mommies who warned me about pregnancy brain - dear lord, how did you find you way home every day? I've noticed my memory is even slipperier (is that a word?) when I am hungry...which is most of the time.

If only I could remember where I keep the food....

Monday, February 20, 2006

Snarky Sunday - Round One

I've decided to institute a new theme here at Jerusalem Revealed. See, I've noticed that being pregnant makes me even crabbier than usual, and while I've been sounding off more openly to those who make me mad, nothing beats a great ol' blog b**chfest.

But, I worry that every blog entry will become a rant. SO I've decided to limit my ranting to once a week. Eevery Sunday the Snarky Sunday award will go to the person, institution or phenomenon that has irritated me the most during the week.

This way, I'll definitely be blogging at least once a week (a major improvement), but hopefully will compelled to blog about positive things to balance it all out.

Without further ado....Today's Snarky Sunday Award goes to....

People who are contantly late (as if its merely a character trait, and not a sign of rudeness)

My dear husband has a few friends who are constantly late. My own husband has a somewhat cavalier attitude towards timeliness. If someone makes me late for something, my blood pressure shoots up at least 20 mm of mercury, and I am prone to ripping their head off. You cna see where the problem begins to occur. If it was up to me, I would not wait too long for the latecomers, I would simply move on without them. But my dear husband is too kind for that.

Saturday night, after another lovely Shabbat at our fantastic friends The Treppenwitzes (who stocked me full of good food and maternity clothes- thanks!) we were on our way to sheva brachot (a post-wedding party) for friends in another city. Just before we left Efrat this friend of my husband's, who has never been on time for anything in his life, including his own birth, called to see if we could go out of our way to pick him up and offer him a ride.

I wasn't too keen on it, but we agreed. We gave him a time to meet us, necessitating us to go out of our way, and him to take a taxi to the agreed upon meeting place. When we arrived, he wasn't there. We called him - he didn't answer his phone. When he did, it was to tell us he hadn't yet left the house, but he would be there in 10 minutes. Eventually, 45 minutes after the agreed upon meeting time, he showed up. After the first 10 minutes of him being late, I begged my husband to let us leave without him and teach him a lesson, but he wouldn't let. After 20 minutes, I begged again, but he wouldn't let. After 30 minutes, I started getting cross with my husband.

And once we finally got on the road, I was freaking out because we were going to be a good hour and a half late for the party (was a sit-down dinner, not cocktails) and because we were supposed to have planned a romantic dedication to the couple, except my husband neglected to tell me that until we were already in Efrat. The game plan was to stop at home, grab my violin, find the sheet music for this love song in Afrikaans, and play it. Clearly, that wasn't going to happen.

I got cross with Jeremy (the friend) and my husband. When stressed and late, I tend to backseat drive at my husband, who is a slow and deliberate driver (whereas I rarely drive less than 120 kmh, unless a cop is right behind me). So my husband got cross at me. Jeremy meanwhile is sitting in the back seat, enjoying watching the 2 of us bicker - never thinking for a moment he may have contributed to the stress in the car. Towards the end, I got so stressed I started to have what I think were contractions.

We got to the party after 10 pm (it started at 8:30) - there were no seats left, no food left, we interrupted someone else's romantic dedication (we never did ours), and the party was done about half an hour after we got there.

Bryan is still upset at me about the backseat driving - overlooking the fact that the section of driving from Efrat to the point where we met Jeremy saw absolutely no backseat driving, and the section form the party home was equally quiet. The only time I got stressed was when Jeremy was making us so late, it was basically rude to show up at that point.

I've noticed that the always latecomers tend to be single guys. Bryan tried it about once when we were dating, and I explained to him that it made me so angry and upset that he never did it agian. If he's running late, and a has a plausible reason, he calls to let me know.

So single guys - I say this to you. Showing up late is not simply a flake. Its says to the person waiting for you "I completely disrespect you and my time is far more valuable than yours". When guys used to show up late for a date (without a good reason) I knew right away that there would never be a second date. When a guy shows up on time, it shows he is considerate. Sure, showing up late is not so much a crime of commission, rather a crime of ommission. Its not necessarily saying "You mean nothing, so I didn't bother to come on time". It says, "You mean so little to me, I couldn't be bothered making coming on time a priority". Let's be honest, people don't show up late when they really want to be where they are heading.

When I had a date I was looking forward to, I was ready an hour before the date. I took time to get dressed, then re-dressed, a hundred times. When I had a date I couldn't care less about I made plans to do something else beforehand, and try to get back in time to slick on a fresh coat of lipstick before heading out. Did my dates notice the difference? Perhaps not. But I did. I knew I was sitting on a date with a guy I had initially found (for whatever reason) not to be primp-worthy.

Anyway, I've rambled from my original rant. But my point is this. Next time you're running late, call the person to let them know. Single guys, consistently running late may not piss off your buddies, but eventually it will piss off their wives. Their pregnant wives. Their b**chy, crabby, stress-out pregnant wives.

Jeremy called last night becuse he was (surprise!) running late for a date and had no idea where the restaurant was located where he was supposed to meet the girl. Already late, and he still had no idea where to show up. I know what that girl was thinking...and she wasn't impressed.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

More about what no one ever tells you...

Thanks for all the well-wishes about being knocked up! Particular thanks to the other women who acknowledged that being pregnant can be very rough. I don't want to sound in any way ungrateful, because I am totally aware that being able to get pregnant this effortlessly and quickly is a huge blessing, especially since we know so many people who have been having a much more difficult time, but I must say, it is very tough!

Somehow, based on all the movies and the magazines and the books, I guess I never expected pregnancy (particularly the earlier stages) to be so demanding on my body. I thought the rough part would come during the last month or two and then sleepless nights due to a newborn.

Very wrong!! Despite the fact that morning sickness is supposed to magically disappear by the second trimester, that has not yet happened for me. In fact, its only gotten worse. I'll spare the gory details, but whereas before morning sickness was sort of a late-evening belly-ache for me, it is now actually being sick in the morning, causing me to lose my breakfast (unless its Cocoa Puffs - not the nutritionally balanced breakfast 'What to Expect When You're Expecting' recommends).

As for that pregnancy guide - I know some women consider it "the bible of pregnancy" but it basically makes me feel a little guilty. It tries to be permissive, and not make you feel bad for things you've already done before you knew you were pregnant (in my case, drinking alcohol, eating sushi and carpaccio, exceeding the daily limit on Advil for several days in a row and getting a rubella vaccination) but then it tells you to eat so damn much, there's no room in your belly for what they're trying to get you to shove in there. Just looking at the so-called Pregnancy Diet sends me to the bathroom - 11 servings a day of whole-grain carbs, 4 servings on dairy, 3 of protein, 3 of green veggies, 2 of other veggies...who can eat all this stuff!!

Which brings me to my next pregnancy gripe...maternity clothes. Why is it, that in a country so clearly pro-childbirth/reproduction, there is only one chain of clothing stores that sells maternity clothes? In all of Israel there is one chain (and ladies, if you know of others, don't hold out on me). This chain is expensive, exceedingly poor quality, and the clothes are neither attractive nor sufficient. You know you're in trouble when their seasonal catalogue is a) the size of a postcard, b)contains not one item you consider wearable and c) has three bare pregnant bellies (one with a tattoo, the other a piercing) as if to say "We couldn't find anything to wear either!" Its cold here now, yet tights for pregnant women do not exist! They don't have them! They also have no tank tops or undershirts, but almost all of the tops they sell are so low-cut that my newly expanded chestage is very exposed.

I gaze longingly at the online shops in America and dream of outfits I'd put together if I had those clothes! I truly understand why Israeli maternity fashion etiquette includes letting one's stretch-marked flecked belly hang out for the world to see...its that or wearing a tent!

Speaking of pierced belly buttons - I have one, and the thing I am very much not looking forward to is removing it. My doctor (who I see again on Wednesday) has asked me twice now when I will be taking it out, but I am loathe to do so. See it was always my sort of hidden, sexy thing. No one really sees it (except Bryan) since I don't generally let my belly hang out, but it makes me feel sexy and young and little bit cool - and also it was a present to myself when I finally got a flat belly 3+ years ago. And now, I don't have a flat belly (I know, its a baby), so its gotta go, but with it, I feel, goes some of my sexy young wild thang...and I'm not quite willing to part with that.

Its bad enough I look so matronly now - particularly when I wear maternity clothes, plus I cover my head (Jewish thing - sign I'm married/taken), but to lose even the thing that only Bryan and I could see is like the final nail. I'm thinking I'll pull it out before the doctor's appointment and put it right back in, and hold onto it for one more month at least, without angering the doc (who is honestly - so laid back I can't really see him getting angry).

And my final pregnancy revelation/gripe - the tiredness!! No one told me that being pregnant (particularly the 2nd and 3rd month) would be like walking uphill all the time! There were times when I couldn't stay up past 7:30. Even now, I need a nap or at least a little break to put my feet up, or I will not make it past 9 p.m. I can only imagine how tired I'll be when the little bugger actually comes. Its truly ridiculous...I mean, I suppose making another human being is a pretty big job, and is understandable that it makes one so tired, but how did the women in the field 5,000 years ago keep going and stop for 20 minutes to have another kid, plop it on their back and keep sowing the field??

You know how every once in a while a news story will come up about some women who "didn't know" she was pregnant until the kid popped out? All I can say is "Bullsh*t"! There is *no way* that you could miss this stuff, unless you were on so much drugs or alcohol that would could not notice your body being in a war.

Tonight I'm attempting to stay up and watch the Superbowl with my mom - my hometown team has made it in for the first time in 10 years, and for the first time in about 26 years, actually has a decent of shot of winning! Since the game kicks off at 1:18 a.m. in israel the chances of me staying awake are slim, but I'm gonna give it a go!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Double entendre?

Although my hebrew is fairly decent (and earned me passing the Hebrew University fluency exam by 2 points at 76%) I very often come across words that are totally new.

One such word is puncher - pronounced exactly as it looks. Now, most of you will know that it means a flat tire. Not sure about the etymology of the word, since its obviously derived from English in some way, but whatever.

However, yesterday I learned that it has another meaning - a puncher is the slang (though not altogether derogatory) term for an unplanned pregnancy. I have yet to find out if it applies to the child born of such a pregnancy (if that is the route chosen for dealing) or if it simply refers to the unplanned pregnancy itself, whether its continued or not.

This term disturbs me, and I have spent the past 2 days trying to figure out what the connection is between a flat tire and an unplanned pregnancy. Why use the same term? Using the exact same word for 2 seemingly unrelated hebrew concepts/objects is not a new thing in hebrew, but usually when you look for a connection you can find one. I can't think of any really great examples right now, but the hebrew word/root for counting ( l'saper) is very similar to the hebrew word for cutting.

But the flat tire/unplanned pregnancy thing is a mystery. I've decided it comes down to the "Oh Sh*t" factor - its probably the first phrase uttered out of the mouth of anyone who discovers they have a flat tire, as well as anyone who discovers that they're pregnant and didn't mean to be. Granted, dealing with a flat tire is a lot more simple than an accidental pregnancy - but there they are, they are both accidents. If anyone else can come up with a better connection, feel free to share.

Now, I've never experienced the "oh sh*t" factor - neither with respect to a flat tire nor an accidental knock-up. However (if you've read this far down/are still reading my blog after months of no postings - here comes your reward) I have recently experienced the "holy crap" factor of finding out that you are pregnant when you wanted to be!!

So I'll let that be my explanation for the paucity of postings - I'm pregnant and between the nausea and the total exhaustion (which I am thankfully passing/past) blogging took a back burner. Housework took a back burner. Cooking dinner took a back burner - hell, just swallowing a bite or two of dinner was a rough chore for a while.

Also, I've discovered my blogging stinks when I have no drama in my life - or in this case, there was plenty of drama but none I was willing to share with the blogosphere yet. Plus, we hadn't gotten around to telling some of the friends who we think would be pretty mad if they found out through the blog [if this is you, I am terribly sorry - we'll name the kid after you].

We're due in August, we have no idea what we're having, I haven't gained a pound yet, thank god all is well, thanks for asking - and no, this baby isn't a puncher!

The more "blog-gy" aspect for me will be how becoming a mom will affect my life, my world views, my relationships with my husband and family, and my relationships with my friends.

One thing I've discovered about friends is this - its really easy to be a good friend when something bad/sad happens to a friend. Its a lot harder to be a good friend when something good happens to them (particularly when things aren't going great for you). I have a couple sets of friends going through fertility difficulties right now, and I really was worried about sharing my news with them. One set (you know who you are) reacted really wonderfully - I don't know how hard it was for them, but I really felt like they were happy for me. And I so appreciate it. Because I have other friends who haven't reacted as well - not necessarily because they have fertility issues, but because they are having other personal issues or simply can't make be happy for me. And I'm trying not be hurt, or be too distanced, though obviously that may be inevitable, because I know its not personal. But I really appreciate the friends that have reacted positively, even if it is difficult for them, because I see now how hard it really is, and it makes me thankful to have such friends.

Anyway, I promise this blog will not become a place where I regale readers with tales of bodily functions/fluids that should not be made public. I really hate when seemingly normal people become parents and suddenly start sending out mass emails (with pics, natch) about the size and color of their son's "productions"...

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Almost Paradise

One of the more exciting things about our new place is it comes with a parking spot - a covered parking spot. I am (was) particularly excited about this, since at our old building we often got stuck parking under a tree that had lots of birds in it - and lots of birds make lots of poo...on our new white car.

However, there is someone from our building who keeps parking in our parking spot. We haven't even been there a week, and someone (the same car) has parked there twice. Last night it was pouring buckets of rain, and we had to go park out on the street instead of in our nice covered spot.

I was so mad!!! I tried to take the person's windshield wipers off, so they'd have to come back to apologize in order to get them (I saw that in a movie once) but I couldn't figure out how. I wanted to lay a fresh, um, "present" from Sharona on the hood of the car, but that would be bad for neighborly relations.

So I settled for a not-so-nice note on the winshield (the wipers of which I popped into the "out" position to ensure the note would be read) saying that the next time they took my spot I'd have them towed.

This morning, at 8:15 am, they're still there. I checked around with the neighbors, none of whom say its them. I called the police to find out who the owner was, but unfortunately its a rented car. I went to one neighbor to see if he could help (I didn't think it was him, since he has his own space) and I get the feeling he's hiding something. He got really pissed when I told him I've called the police to find out who the owner was and he said that if I wanted all my new neighbors to hate me then that would be the way to do it. That if I would just be patient, in a day or two the person would leave and I could have my spot back. That its no big deal to give up your spot for a few days.

Meanwhile, while I am patient, I get to park on the street during the rain.

I would like to take this opportunity to say hey to Linda, my new across-the-hall neighbor and blog-reader...I know you didn't steal my spot!

Okay, Ra'anana may not have ONLY perfectly nice, happy people, but its still a damn sighte better than J-town.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

I'm it!

Okay, I've been tagged for the following meme by Jeru Guru, so here goes - I'll have to save my accounting of how much I love Ra'anana for after the meme.

Four jobs I've had in my life:
1. Sold Penthouse magazine over the phone (and was a top seller)
2. Checked sperm samples for STD's (an unpaid internshp - does this count?)
3. Gap girl - before I knew how to match clothes!
4. Patent Attorney

Four movies I could watch over and over:
1. When Harry Met Sally
2. Love Actually
3. Fiddler on the Roof
4. My wedding video

Four places I've lived:
1. Jerusalem
2. Boston - really Waltham, Mass.
3. Ra'anana
4. Philadelphia - the bad part of town

Four TV Shows I Love to watch:
1. Sex and the City
2. Jeopardy
3. Gilmore Girls
4. ER

Four places I've been on vacation:
1. Paris
2. Venice
3. Cape Town
4. Athens, Georgia

Four websites I visit daily:
1. www.haaretz.com
2. www.onlysimchas.com (I'm willing to admit it)
3. www.treppenwitz.com
4. mail.yahoo.com

Four of my favorite foods:
1. Indian food - any of it! (but only authentic - no meat)
2. Sweet potato Ravioli with Rosa sauce
3. Carpaccio - particularly from Joy
4. Peanut butter and 4 Berry Jelly on a plain Bagel, drunk with apple juice

Four places you'd rather be:
1. Venice - walking along the back streets, away from tourists
2. Skiing down a double black diamond hill - somewhere in Vermont
3. Hiking in the Golan - then relaxing at the Carmel Forest Spa
4. Snuggled with my husband and dog - at home

Four books I'll read over and over again: (I do this with any book I enjoy)
1. To Kill a Mockingbird
2. Netter's Guide to Anatomy
3. Angels and Demons
4. Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner

I'd like to tag the following: Treppenwitz, Gilly, Lapis Dreams and .... my friend Joel H., who sadly, I can't remember his blog's address off the top of my head, so I'll have to check back later.