Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Powerlessness of Pain

One of the most challenging aspects of major pain is the powerlessness. There are some days when, no matter what I do, I cannot get rid of the pain. No amount of pain killers, ice, heat, relaxation, exercise, or massage will do it.

And, at that point, I am trapped. With the feeling of entrapment comes hopelessness and an inability to problem solve. I forget any additional ways to help myself, and I just fall deeper into the suffering.

This is just one of the ways that the pain gets to me. I am SO READY to be completely recovered, but I am not there yet. Soon, soon....

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Achy and stuff

Sorry that I haven't posted in quite some time. I have had more pain lately, and it has really drained me. Chronic pain is so incredibly difficult to deal with. I very much look forward to the time in the (near?) future when I shall no longer be fighting the pain every day.

I have so much hope, and my recovery has been smooth in so many ways. I really have come so far - for instance, I used to take two pain killers every three hours. Now, I take three or four a day, total. However, when the pain gets worse, it knocks me out physically and emotionally.

I plan to write more soon when I feel more grounded, energetically. I am just so exhausted.

Hope you are all doing well :)
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thursday Thirteen - Worst First Date Foods

Time for my second go at a "Thursday Thirteen" countdown. It is a very fun meme that leaves all the creativity up to you!

Last time, I shared my thirteen favorite musical artists. This time, I want to share a list that I have been talking about (and laughing about) for most of my life - the worst foods to eat on a first date. Since I have re-entered the dating world, I have begun to remember many of these foods, as well as their potential date-ruining qualities. By the way, this list applies to men, women, heterosexual or homosexual. I see these as universally prohibited. Feel free to let me know what you think!

  1. Tacos - not only do they give you bad breath, but the insides drop all over your shirt
  2. Spaghetti, Linguini, or any messy pasta
  3. A big bowl of Udon Soup - slurping up those noodles could destroy any date
  4. Falafel sandwich - there is no way to eat this without it falling apart, and all over yourself.
  5. Big pieces of maki - small rolls are okay, but anything that requires two bites, or stuffing the whole thing into your mouth, is not recommended.
  6. Anything cooked in fresh garlic - this will be haunting you all night, and no amount of gum or mints will help.
  7. Fresh onions on a sandwich - same as above. However, if both parties partake of the onion, it may indeed cancel itself out.
  8. Refried beans, black beans, chili, etc. - I don't know about you, but these make me so bloated that I would probably be worried about an embarrassing situation all night.
  9. Corn on the cob - between the juicy eating, the dripping down your wrists, the pieces getting stuck in your teeth, and the subsequent tooth-picking, this is just a big no-no.
  10. Beef ribs- pork ribs, which I no longer eat, are at least a little more manageable. However, beef ribs are ALWAYS messy. They coat your face in BBQ sauce, and even if you cut them up, they still wreak havoc on your face and clothing.
  11. Ethiopian food - this is so much fun for a later date, but first date? Eating with your hands is probably not a good idea. Plus, there is no way to wash the food out from under your nails for a few days.
  12. Milkshakes - for those of us who are lactose-intolerant, this would make our tummies too upset to have a good time.
  13. Too Much Alcohol - please don't drink too much, do something that you would regret, or lose control. Much better to enjoy the moment with a clear head.

Well, what am I missing?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

NYC Subway, how do I love thee?

A quick post "from the road." I took my first ride, post-surgery, on the subway today. Now, you may laugh, but it was actually a very exciting accomplishment!

I haven't been in the subway for months - even before my surgery, I had to stop travelling by subway due to the walking and all of the stairways. The few times I did take the subway, I stuck to stations that had obvious handicapped-accessible accommodations (elevators, escalators, etc.). I was walking with a cane for months leading up to the operation, and getting around town was only possible by (very expensive) cab.

But, today, I had to get from the synagogue to a Midtown Torah study location. At lunchtime in NYC, public transportation, especially underground, is your best choice. So, after some deliberation, I decided that today was the day to return underground.

And I did it! All the walking, all the stairs, having to stand on the train - it was FINE! I wasn't even sore!


What accomplishments, big or small, are you currently proud of?
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Sunday, April 6, 2008

My 30th Birthday Party!! A 70's and 80's Extravaganza!

My sister threw me a costume party for my thirtieth birthday! I decided to go for a cross between Kate Pierson of the B-52's, and Tracy Turnblad of Hairspray.

Lindsay went as a sexy lady trying to get into Studio 54 - I would say that she didn't have any problems getting in!!

Precious kept everyone's coats warm while we giggled, ate, and sang some karaoke. Speaking of which....

Lindsay was truly a "Dancing Queen" when she sang!!

Sarene and Andy, dressed up as Deborah Harry and Elvis Costello. Great costumes, right??

Yadira and Jessica dressed up as Obi-wan Kenobi and Punky Brewster. Their costumes were FANTASTIC!!!

Suzanne, who always has some of the best costumes, dressed up as Cyndi Lauper. Her outfit was FABULOUS!!!

I sang "Flashdance - What a Feeling" for my big karaoke number. It is always one of my favorites. (And, yes, I do own my own karaoke machine).

All in all, we had a great time. The food was great, the company was fun, and the singing was boisterous.

Thanks for such a great birthday, everyone!!!

How am I feeling?

One word: GREAT!!!


So, we are now at the 16 week mark, post-surgery. On one hand, it feels like so long since the surgery; on the other, I feel like I just got out of the hospital. But, my life keeps changing every day, and I feel better and better.

One example - my sister and I spent all day yesterday (after Shabbat services) cleaning, shopping, and preparing for my birthday party. Before my surgery, I would have only been able to do about an hour of work, then I would have had to recover over a few days. Yesterday, I not only led services, then did 6 hours of work, I then made it through the entire party. And, this morning? I got right out of bed like nothing had happened. Isn't that AMAZING?!?!?

I can't explain how much these changes mean to me. It's truly a miracle. Hooray!!

CCAR Convention

Hello! I hope you all had a lovely weekend.

I couldn't wait to tell you all about the CCAR Convention that I attended last week (see the photo in the last post). The CCAR is the Central Conference of American Rabbis - basically, it is the organization for all Reform Rabbis in North America. They hold a convention every year in a different part of the continent, and this year's was in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Why Cincinnati? In many ways, it is considered the birthplace of American Reform Judaism. Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise established both the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (now known as the Union for Reform Judaism) in 1873, and the Hebrew Union College (a seminary for rabbis), in 1875, in Cincinnati. Rabbi Stephen Wise began the Jewish Institute of Religion, another seminary, in New York City in 1922. These two institutions merged in 1950, becoming HUC-JIR.
HUC-JIR is now the school for all who wish to become a Reform rabbi, cantor, educator, or other Jewish professional. There are two more campuses - one in Jerusalem, where all students must spend their first year, and one in Los Angeles.

I began school at HUC-JIR in the summer of 1999. I graduated in college in May, then left for Israel in June. It was the most incredible experience to live in Jerusalem for a year, and I am sure that I will tell you more about it at another time. All students then return to one of the stateside campuses. I came back to the NY campus for my remaining four years, and I was ordained as a rabbi in 2004.

All Reform rabbis become members of the CCAR upon ordination. Next year's convention is in Jerusalem - I hope that I can go!! I hope to be totally healthy and strong by then so that I can truly and fully enjoy the trip to Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

David Broza, Israeli superstar, performing at CCAR Convention 2008.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

30th Birthday Celebrations, Part I

Hello, all!

I am already enjoying my 30's! My birthday was kicked off on the evening before my birthday (last Thursday night), and continued all day Friday. Yet, this is only part one, because my sister is throwing me a birthday party this coming weekend. Here is the celebration so far:

Preparing the perfect birthday treat: One Ho-Ho, One Twinkie,
Some Redi-Whip, and a Shabbat candle. What else could we possibly need?

Ah, the finished product...

Making a wish....

I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll.....

Oops, I missed...

Lindsay, with a pompadour, using the cordless phone as her mic.
Brilliant, just brilliant.

Oh, the humanity!!

Toasting my birthday - out to lunch with colleagues from work.
The tiara and the mimosa are just perfect, non?

Stay tuned for more joyfulness!

Heads or Tails Tuesday: Fools

Welcome to another edition of the popular meme, Heads or Tails Tuesday. If you are interested in participating on your own blog, visit the HoT Home Page for more information. Each week, we are provided with a concept, phrase, or even a choice between two ideas, and we can write whatever we would like.

This week's topic: Fools

I have always had a tenuous relationship with April Fool's Day. I am very sensitive about being tricked because I am usually either gullible or vulnerable in some way. Plus, my dad's birthday is tomorrow, and that has always been my focus on April 1 (yes, my father and I are BOTH Aries - woohoo!!).

This year, however, I decided to play a simple joke on my sister. Sorry, Linds!!

I am currently out of town, at our annual rabbi convention. This year, it is being held in Cincinnati, which is considered the "home base" for American Reform Judaism. Now, Cincinnati is not at all glamorous (apologies to anyone offended by this comment), but I figured that I would use it to my advantage.

So, I called Lindsay early this morning at her office. I left her a voice mail that said the following:

"Hi, Linds! I hope you had a great night, and I look forward to talking to you soon. Listen, I wanted to tell you something. I have, unexpectedly, totally fallen in love with it here in Cincinnati. Isn't that crazy? I really think that I should move here. So, last night, after we got off the phone, I spent some time online, looking at information about what it is like to live here. I am really excited about what I've found, and I wanna talk to you about it when you get this message. What do you think??"

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! <--------- That's Lindsay's inner monologue when she got this message.

She left the most polite message back: "Hi. I would love to hear more about your decision. I support you in whatever you choose. Let's talk about it some more."

Well, I couldn't let it go on too long. I knew that, before long, she would probably call my parents to discuss this strange turn of events. So, I emailed her, and asked her how her day was.

She wrote back, expressing her surprise about my feelings toward Cincinnati.

I responded, simply: "APRIL FOOL'S!!!!"

Epilogue: Lindsay called my mom, and asked her to yell at me for playing such a cruel joke on her. HA!!!!!