Sunday, July 26, 2015

My Nine Days

As I sit here fasting for Tisha B’Av, I’m looking back on one heck of week.  During the saddest 9 days of the Jewish calendar, commemorating the destruction of not one, but both Temples in Jerusalem, Iran gets a free pass to bomb the world, my daughter’s host in Boston has asked me to bring her home early, I had dental surgery, and found out my driver’s license is expired.  Oh dear.

What can we say about Iran?  The greatest hope is that these people extinguish themselves like the banned VW terrorist bomb ad.  We wake up one morning, and the leadership is gone.  Oh goody. Let’s go clothes shopping.

My daughter’s best friend moved to Boston last year and they’ve been skyping and texting and who knows what all year long.  Finally, here comes summer and the chance for the two to be together again.  I was hoping it would last a month, but instead it took about 2.5 weeks for them to start arguing.  For some reason, no one thought to plan any trips or activities.  The girls, both 13, were home together all that time.  Needless to say, the friendship suffered.  So when I got the call requesting I bring my daughter home early, I scrambled to make flight arrangements – but we don’t fly during the nine days.  Add to that aggravation the fact that my daughter is stuck in a place where she’s not wanted until after today’s fast.  I’ve been a wreck about it since Tuesday.

Ok, my teeth are bad.  Surgery-bad.  Had the right side done in April, right after Pesach, and now the left side.  My dentist only works on Tuesdays so I had to pick the first Tuesday where the healing process wouldn’t interfere with teaching at the university. That, unfortunately, was during the nine days.  My mouth hurts, but not enough to stop me from eating cake, which constitutes a soft food.  The struggle continues.

Just before the nine days I bought a new car.  My three year lease with the Ford Fiesta, a wonderful car but not the right one for me, ended and now I’m the proud owner of a Honda FIT.  However, I wanted a better detail job on both the interior and exterior, a driver’s manual (pushing buttons is scary when you don’t know what it will do) and the GPS tracking system which is listed with coming with the car but didn’t.  My appointment was Thursday, the 7th of the nine days.

A note about that dental surgery: the dentist used a “roofie”( Flunitrazepam) to put me out.  I woke up Wednesday morning at 2:50 am not knowing where I was or how I got my bra off.  Wednesday night, I couldn’t sleep a wink, and woke up Thursday morning in a daze, knowing I had a 7 am at the Honda dealership.  I got there at 7:15 am.  In one piece, thank G-d.

But the car would need to be there all day and a loaner was lined up.  All I needed to do was show proof of insurance and a driver’s license.  The driver’s license expired 4 days ago – surprise, when I turned 57 years old.  No renewal reminder, no renewal.  Complacency is a bitch – I just assumed Big Brother was watching me.  He is, but not sending out the notice to renew. 

I ran out of that dealership so fast and got to the closest DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) with one eye in the rear view mirror looking for the Highway Patrol.  In less than an hour (a miracle in Hollywood) I was good to go.  No GPS, no driver’s manual, no detailed car.  But safe from prison, which is kinda makes up for the loss.

G-d protect, grant us good health, long life, a new leadership in Iran, and remind me to floss more often.  Amen.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Message From Above

I've been blessed to hold a Lecturer position in Nutritional Science at my Alma Mater this past year and I've met some wonderful people, including students.  But a year-long lecturer position requires a review for competency, and I am clueless, to say the least, as to how to go about preparing for it.

Since the Department's Management Services Officer (MSO) has transferred to another unit, I have no one to help me but the person responsible for all campus-wide faculty reviews, who kindly agreed to plug me into his busy schedule.  I was all set - his secretary gave me a date next week and I planned to prepare this weekend.

That is, until a dear friend, also up for review, sent me a text this morning asking if I knew how to put our review binders together.  No problem, I replied, join me when I visit the Administrative Dean to review my binder next week.  Next week, she asked - it's due next week.  Isn't that cutting it close?

Which was really a good question, and one that inspired me to call the Dean's office and inquire if the appointment date could be moved up.  But what did I find out?  That my appointment is for THIS Thursday, not next Thursday.  In other words, TOMORROW!

I wrote my friend, who's even dearer to me now than ever, and advised her to meet me tomorrow.  I also thanked her and told her the truth - she saved me from missing one the more important appointments of my teaching career.

But why did she contact me today?  Why not tomorrow, or even Friday?  Because the Holy One wanted us to make this appointment.  My dear, dear friend was His messenger.  Message received, loud and clear.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

When Your Boss is Boss

My family and I recently moved (3 days ago) and it was traumatic.  Not the packing and the moving part, just the realization that I have so much stuff.  How can a ONE person have so much stuff?  I feel like I'll be dealing with my stuff for the next six months.

But the real story isn't my stuff, or the moving.  The real story is how one person with a heart of gold helped me make it through today.  That person is my boss.

I've had many bosses in my LONG life, and most of them were jerks.  Power hungry, insensitive people who were in charge simply because someone else was not. But in the last year my luck has changed.  So when my boss asked me two weeks ago if I could work today (Sunday) to give a co-worker a longer holiday break, I jumped at the chance to help out, not realizing that my moving date was coming up soon.

That's because we put a deposit down for the rent back in October, and then the landlord decided to remodel.  We've been waiting nearly 3 months to move, and I saw no reason to believe January would be any different than December.

When I realized that I would have to work on a day when boxes were literally blocking the front door, I spent the Shabbat in prayer that something would happen and I'd be free to address the mess in my brand new living room.

When Shabbat ended, I grabbed my phone to see if there were any messages, but nothing.  I was resigned to working today.  But right after Havdalah (prayer officially ending Shabbat), my phone rang.  Another co-worker was asking my permission to work today in my stead.  I starting crying, thanked my co-worker profusely, and rejoiced at my sudden good fortune.

I could not only see the Hand of G-d in this, but also the hand of the best boss ever!!!  I truly feel blessed.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Kindness On Loan

For the past few days I've been getting these annoying phone calls from my government student loan coordinator.  When I looked online to see what was happening, I noticed that my monthly payment deal with the government mirrored Obama's current relationship with Bibi - filled with misunderstandings, missed opportunities, and dead as fish out of water.

So I called the government office that holds my loan, prepared for a battle over my meager income and my not so meager loan debt.  What I got instead was a warm, wonderful, considerate woman who not only wished me well in my home move (after 16 years, we're off to a new domicile just around the block), gave me amazing advice on how to make my meager loan repayment count, and wished me a wonderful new year.

I started crying - unexpected kindness, coming at a time when I'm stressed out (guess who hasn't packed yet and the moving van comes tomorrow!), and thanked the woman at least 20 times.  I do feel ashamed of myself for having girded for a fight when common sense should have ruled the day.  But then again, two years in and this is the first person (government representative no less) to explain that all the money I've paid so far went to interest, not principle.

Oh well - the bad news was coupled with the antidote to remedy the situation.  G-d bless this young woman, who really cared about a number -my social security number that is, and made my day so much more bright.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Getting A Call Back

I got it into my head that I need to lose weight.  I had a lot of help getting that idea in there (I'm a Registered Dietitian, my doctor told me to, and my BMI is at a number I'd prefer for my age, not my body weight status).  So I've taken to long walks after dinner, which is really helping.

The other night I was walking down a busy street and found a necklace, a hamsa, which is my favorite symbol.  I picked it up, and ran after several young high school girls who had just passed me by, knowing for sure it was their necklace.  It wasn't.

I went into the kosher market on the corner figuring someone had dropped it on the way in, but no.  I walked out of the store really frustrated (and tired), and expressed my frustration out loud to G-d.  "Here I am trying to do a mitzvah (HaShodus Avedah - returning lost objects) and it's not happening."

I continued walking down the street and guess what?  I found a wallet.  Complete with ID and a swiping keychain for the local yoga studio.  Is the Creator of the World listening or what!?  I ended walking further than expected (there are two yoga studios on this street and it wasn't the closest one), but I fulfilled the mitzvah.

Okay, not trying to say I have a direct link to the Holy One, but it sure felt like it.  Still waiting for Moshiach thought, and I've been asking for that for a long time.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Thoughts On A Seige

I listen to NPR a lot not because I want to - but because it's the only station I get in my office.  Obviously, with the war raging in Eretz HaKodesh right now, there have been a fair amount of interviews and BBC reports.  But no one yet has dared to ask one simple question.

I can't understand how journalists can interview a Hamas spokesperson and not ask why there are no bomb shelters in Gaza. The technology exists, the will to dig holes or tunnels, exists.  I want to know why (well, I do know why), and I want to world to know why.

There are no bomb shelters in Gaza because the goal of Hamas isn't to protect its people, or stop the occupation.  The goal of Hamas is to get as many of its people killed as possible, because they know the world, like these journalists, want to blame Israel and wring whatever concessions they can out of them.  Like releasing more murderers.

Because the ultimate goal of Hamas is to destroy Israel, but they can't do it because that's not G-d's goal.  G-d's goal is that Israel not only survive, but prosper, while the enemies of Israel whither.  By their own choice the Palestinians have sealed their own fate.  Because in order for Israel to survive, her enemies cannot.

So don't be surprised if the number of dead Arabs in Gaza goes sky high.  That's Hamas' plan.  And if the people of Gaza go along with it, then that means it's their plan too.

If the Arabs bothered to learn Jewish history, they would know that the 600,000 Jews of the Yishuv in 1947 defending Israel's existence is the same number of Jews who fought for the land and won under Joshua ben Nun, 40 years after the end of Egyptian slavery 4000 years ago.  Which means that their attempts to destroy Israel then, just as now, were and are destined for failure.

Am Yisrael Chai. The people of Israel live now, and will always live, Boruch Hashem yom yom.


The Eyes Of Hashem. . .

I cried as I watched this, knowing how I feel personally about the war raging there now.  But the Rebbe is, and always will be, right.