About Me

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Haifa, Israel
Divorced and independent and still looking for Mr. Right in the back of the fridge.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Forty to Fortynine

Somewhere in the abyss between the constraints of motherhood and the inevitability of hotflashes, I turned 50.

My first thought was this... "Shit, now all those guys who chose drop-down option of 'age preference for partner' 40-49 are going to miss me." 

I am like those digital clock radios from my childhood; back when digital meant you read the time with digits that flipped over on a hinge. I have flipped over.  All the numbers have made their rounds. The click is deafening. I am now 50 and alarms are going off everywhere in cyberspace.

Every on-line dating site has celebrated my birthday with a fateful "refresh" at midnight. I have been relegated to the search results of the over 60s looking for a younger woman. No longer would I be an educated, non-smoker, 40-49 with a proportional body type.

How can I reverse this torture? Can I set my birthday back a few days? Is it too late?

The panic sets in and I change my birthday to next week. Relief for a few days. 

But ohhhhh. Not good.... Quick. look up when Aries is no longer Aries. We can't have a situation in which I am displaying STRICTLY Aries like traits when my new birthday is making me a whatever... this would confuse the shit out of the myriad of men that have me pegged as an Aries within 3 minutes of conversation.....

And we don't want to confuse any more men.

I easily could have gained another year of interest from the under 50 men who "love life" and are "ready for chapter 2". But I couldn't do it. I just couldn't contribute to that web of half-truths that are the world of on-line dating. 

So I chose to remain a 50 year old Aries. And a 51 year old Aries. And a soon to be 52 year old Aries. I'll keep my profile picture updated and (try to) stop thinking about the ones that got away.

I'll devote my energy to being the best I can be as time marches on.

And with a bow to those men and women who choose to add years to their cyber life, I am almost finished writing the "New Translation of Internet Dating Answers". I promise to share it with you.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011



I finally stopped crying. It finally seems silly. Took more time to get over him than the total time that I knew him. But I finally stopped crying.

Then I came to my favorite place; my favorite secret corner for coffee, food and comfy chairs, with a view of the sea, wireless internet and an invitation to stay as long as I'd like.

And I remember that I took him here. He got to come here on a second date. I would have brought him here on the first, he was that cute, but I let him choose. I brought him here, and he loved it. He loved my choice. He loved my face and he loved my nose and he loved my personality and he loved everything about me.

And we ordered fattening food and didn't care. And we ate it all and we laughed and we talked and this was my favorite place times a zillion.

And then it didn't work out, but this stayed my favorite place.

So I have come here to pass the time until I have to be somewhere else. And it's not fair that after I finally stopped crying about him, he's still lurking in the corner.

But it's a good thing that I don't let the ghosts of dates and boyfriends past dictate where I go or don't go. I'd have nothing to do. For goodness sake. My life is one long Burt Bacharach song.

So, I'll choke back the tears, flirt with the young waiter, and order pecan pie.

Because there are moments in life when you really need pecan pie.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Avoiding the Music


We (i.e I) go to great lengths to avoid memories of pain. The older we get, the better our avoidance tactics get. But we have also accumulated more pain. To handle it all, our tactics have to get more sophisticated.

We have to get out the heavy artillery.

So what should I do during my 45 minute drive between work and home when the best music on the radio reminds me of everything and EVERYONE - of every last heartbreaker, of every disappearing act and of every shmuck. And not just the recent ones.

We're talking music that evokes memories way back to when men were still boys . We’re talking pre-first marriage , we're talking college, high school and summer camp memories. We're talking music from slow dances at bar-mitzvahs (Color my World still has the Pavlovian effect of making me run to a corner and fake-not care that I'm a geek). (God bless 88fm for dusting off the vinyl). As their jingle says: “The best music on the radio”.

The way to work is taken care of because I listen to the news. But the way back...

So, I started listening to GalGalatz, the army music radio station. For sure Top 40 (date myself much?) post 20th century MTV music could not even BEGIN to touch those memories.

The tactic was working for a while. No 80's or 70's music on 5pm drive time . Just MTV. Great. Problem solved...

But then I started listening to the words....

As it turns out, Beyonce is packing up her guy's things and putting them all in a box to the left. And sometimes Beyonce wishes she were a boy 'cause then there’d be a guy who knows how it hurts to be taken for granted....

Maybe I should just listen to books on tape. Need I say more?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Not What it was Supposed to Be


This morning I had to take my car for its yearly inspection. As inevitable as taxes and death, I was the only woman in the lot.

I was the only woman amongst a plethora of husbands, boyfriends and other appendages to scrota testing their cars.

I wish I didn't know the drill; how hard to turn the steering wheel, when to blink right and when left, and where to go to replace some bulb.

In general, I wish I didn't know the ropes so well about anything.

• I wish I didn't know that I have to change the timing belt periodically.

• I wish I didn't know that a car battery lasts about two years and after that every day is a free ride.

• I wish I didn't know the correct tire pressure.

• I wish I didn't know that you need different types of dibbles on different walls.

• I wish I didn't know that the grounding of the electricity of the apartment is attached to the water pipes.

• I wish I didn't know how to negotiate a contract.

• I wish I didn't know how to drive so well.

• I wish I didn't know where all the government offices are.

• I wish I didn't understand the differences between pension funds.

You get it. It's not the knowing. It's the having to know.

It's the bitter sweet independence that overtly makes you stronger, but inwardly leaves you so lonely every time you accomplish one more task on your own.
 At this point everything was supposed to be in place.
 I was supposed to be cooking dinner while my husband took the car for its inspection.

I was supposed to be planning our next vacation while my husband negotiated a contract.

I was supposed to be sinking into deep pile carpets, well, just about all the time.

My head was supposed to be filled with other things less associated with testosterone.

But so it goes.

Truth be told, I'd rather get along on my own than have to depend on the alternatives that I left behind.

I just wish that somewhere along the line in the last 20 years, I had someone who said, "Never mind, honey. I'll take care of that." And really did.


Friday, March 11, 2011

The Wrong Slice of Pizza.

Last night I yelled at my 14 year old daughter for taking my slice of pizza. I know full well that I was yelling at my life and not at her, but that didn't dry her tears. And her tears weren't about pizza, they were about a mother who doesn't listen.

We (i.e. I) all think we listen and understand and are modern and are open and are the epitome of the parents that every kid wishes he had. How shocking to learn that we are not.

It took my 23 year old son - a weathered Noar Oved youth group counselor and counselor to "borderline" teens, to get my daughter to understand that she should tell me what is bothering her instead of holding it inside. She is holding it all inside so that I - the mother - won't take it too hard, won't be hurt, won't feel worse.  Who would have guessed that the teenage angst is in large part her effort to protect me?

What happened in my life, what did I project, that my children feel the need to protect me. Where was I?

I look at my life filled with both happiness and hardship, accomplishments and setbacks. I know all the steps to the dance: one step forward, two steps back. And with courage, we finally learn one step back two steps forward.

I know I am not perfect even though I feel confident to dispense unsolicited advise, and grow impatient with others who whine more than me. 

I'd like to think that I am the most self aware person on the planet. But lo and behold I am not. There is so much I don't know how to relate to in adolescence, despite this being the third round. There is so much I say and do that I don't even realize are effecting adversely those I love.

But then, when I look at my children, I know I did something right.  Or maybe they did it on their own. My children have grown into fine human beings, each making his contribution in his own way to the greater whole. 

And I hope that the next time my daughter takes my slice of pizza, I will be wise enough to ask her if she wants another.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Counting my Blessings.


I don't know how I go from that place of despair to that place of  "oh, I like being here, this is where I usually am, even if it is not too exciting". When I get there I look back and say something to the effect of "damned if I want to go there again." Inevitably I will.

But in the meantime, I will not overanalyze how I got here, which word of wisdom struck me, which ephiphany guided me or which pill worked.

These are the moments in which I remember to count my blessings.

  • These are the moments in which I purposely drive my children through the poor neighborhoods and tell them to look around, for "there but for the grace of God, go I."
  • These are the moments in which I put some leftover food out for the skinny cats.
  • These are the moments in which I feel rewarded by the volunteer work I do.
  • These are the moments in which I know that no matter what I don't have, I have my health.
  • These are the moments in which I know that no matter what my bank account is missing, I have the wherewithall to replace it.
  • These are the moments in which I know that I don't need a lot of friends, but I have the best friends a person could ask for.
  • These are the moments in which 60 steps to my apartment are a gift and not a burden because I have a mortgage I can afford.
  • These are the moment in which I don't care that my children didn't bring home straight A's because my children always came home.
  • These are the moments in which I miss my family but know that they are only a phone call away.
  • These are the moments in which I am grateful to my cleaning girl  for allowing me to help her send money back to her family in India.  And if the house is clean, it is a fringe benefit.
  • These are the moments in which I will stop complaining that my son is growing a scraggly beard after the army, because he has came home from the army. And I wonder, how do the parents of Gilad Shalit sleep at night?
  • These are the moments that I will not complain that there are dishes in the sink, because I am grateful that I can feed my children.
  • These are the moments in which I don't care that I didn't exercise today, because my day was filled with giving to others.
  • These are the moments in which I don't care if the house is rife with adolescent hormones because I have been blessed with children.
Thank goodness I have never needed an addiction recovery program. But their motto is mine. It is posted next to my desk at home and folded up into a small square in my wallet:

"God grant me the SERENITY to accept the things I cannot change; COURAGE to change the things I can; and WISDOM to know the difference."



Monday, March 7, 2011

This Is Me Not Calling

This is me not sending a text message. This is me not calling. This is me not thinking about the one that might get away.

We have so many games to play and not everyone has read the rule books. It would be too banal to talk about how men and women are wired differently. And even a little banal to talk about how we have to do our rewiring within ourselves to keep from sinking into the never-never-land-of-why-isn't-he-calling.

In the moments when I feel really – but I mean REALLY bad – about someone not calling, I go to that place where I didn't care if a particular someone called or not, and how his not calling did not make the gaping hole in my life any larger. And I try to remember how my life was normal despite the pockets of emptiness.

But it doesn't help. Because sometimes we REALLY want someone to call….

Why is it, that when that someone in particular doesn't call, the emptiness is suddenly a chasm, an abyss, a black hole, threatening to envelope us into ourselves, to turn us inside out and rattle the matter of our being into anti-matter which itself will engulf the black hole?

We wake from a fitful sleep and the hole is still gaping, even if no longer filled with molten lava. We make it through another day of work, and there might be a footbridge around the crevices.

He calls. And for those moments on the phone we are taking it slow, when in truth, given half a chance, we would pack our U-Haul and pick out curtains in a pattern that would thoughtfully allow him to maintain his masculinity.

So this is me, sublimating my energy, exercising my creativity, and totally blowing off work that is piling up as I write.

So, as has been done forever, I let the hunter hunt. I bid him good bye until he finds what he is looking for. And I, the gatherer, reap the bounty and set the table. I, like all gatherers, have poured my soul into everything I do – and not do. For even in not doing, I invest so much energy, so much thought, so much concern.

It seems ridiculous. But it is that soul that makes us SO worth coming home to.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Unkept promises

Unkept promises are worse than promises never received. They leave you empty and achey. They leave you betrayed and hurt. They leave you with everything you chose to not remember in your life. They leave you with anger.

I never know when to stop counting the hours until the promise will be kept and to begin to count the hours until I will get over the pain.

Why is there no map for that line that delineates the difference between hope and realization?

These things have never happened to me:
  • I haven't spilled the contents of my pocketbook on a sidewalk and met my knight in shining armor.
  • I haven't been rude to a man that was my night in shining armor
  • I haven't met my knight in shining armor on an elevator
  • My ex has never waited outside a building all day just so he could tell me how assinine he is.
These things have happened to me:
  • I have tripped over my own feet and fallen flat on my face outside my favorite ice cream shop.
  • I have had car trouble in the middle of the night and waited hours in the cold for a tow truck.
  • I have gone to the movies alone on a Friday night
  • I have been broken up with, fired and evicted within a week.
I always wanted to be one of those women who walked around morosely but didn't cry. She was just bitchy to everyone around her and sublimated her anger into success at a  high powered job. Instead, I am just me, who cries a lot, who gets caught up in the moment, who believes that people  (i.e. men) are basically decent and that the minority are jerks. I am giving and loving to the wrong person, but prefer that to shelfishness toward everyone.  I wear my heart on my sleeve and it never occurs to me that I shouldn't.

I will continue to make mistakes in life, just not the identical ones. I will continue to trust and continue to be hurt. But tht is just who I am. For every crack in my heart, I have rejected far more who never make it close to my heart. So everyone can think that I fall in love to fast, that I put myself out there too much. But they don't understand that the time spent alone is when I'm not doing that. When I'm waiting to feel something special.  That is who I am. for better or worse. Grabbing the special moments and crying when they disappear.

I'll get over it. Just like I always do. In the meantime I'll cry myself to sleep and feel better in the morning.


Friday, March 4, 2011


Friday is the day in Israel that is like no other. It is the start of many things, but mostly heralds preparations for the arrival of the Sabbath Queen. For some she is the  husband rushing around the supermarket with a list in one hand and a cell phone in the other, the husband who has been commissioned by his wife to bring home last minute things that she really doesn't need, but whose absence gives her the peace and quiet that she does need.

For some the Sabbath Queen arrives in the form of everything family oriented, a day when (lucky) parents don't work and can be home for lunch with the kids who study 6 days a week, and for the soldier who got 48 hours off and totes laundry instead of an RPG.

Friday has an energy of its own. A Feel. A presence. A quiet by 3pm.

But for some of us, Friday leaves us in the supermarket alone, and no one who really cares which brand of yogurt we buy. Friday comes with the energy of family and the letdown of an empty nest and no partner.

Friday can bring the loneliness of Christmas to the homeless, but it comes 52 times a year instead of one.

Some Fridays are better than others. Some Friday's are simply an opportunity to read a book and to be grateful for our blessings in life.

This Friday is ending and I fared with a modicum of sanity. A few tears, but most of them choked back. I even meditated, and found the exact place where the soles of my feet touched the floor. A half hour of focus on nothing but calmness, 30 minutes of a stress free start to my day (Thank you D.G. for the suggestion).

I wouldn't say that my meditation reached Elizabeth Gilbert's epiphanies yet (sorry Buddha, not in  your league), but I am nonetheless grateful that she shared her insight: This IS my life (And thank you EG for putting it into words):

From Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert: "I have a tendency not only to see the best in everyone, but to assume that everyone is emotionally capable of reaching his highest potential. I have fallen in love... with the highest potential of a man... and then I have hung on to the relationship... waiting for the man to ascend to his own greatness."

Shabbat Shalom to us all.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Horizontal Stripes


I can already tell.

This Blog is going to be every cake I didn't bake, every floor I didn't clean. Every dog I didn't walk and every book I didn't read. Every overtime I didn't work and every project I didn't start. This Blog is going to be every letter I didn’t open and every parking ticket I didn't pay on time. This Blog is going to be every lap I didn't swim and every sunny Shabbat that I didn't go out. This Blog is going to be every conversation I didn't have and every promise I didn’t keep.

This Blog is going to be that journal I promised myself I would start keeping after 5 years in Israel, after 10 years, after 15, 20 and 25 years that I didn't start. Who would have guessed that waiting this long would save me the postage needed to share my thoughts with friends and family one at a time?

I am just egotistical enough to think that maybe my writing skills are good enough, or my thoughts interesting enough, or my insights helpful enough that they will find their way through cyberspace to my friends and family and to a handful of strangers.

Perhaps there is someone who would be interested in how a 50+ year old woman has picked herself up and brushed herself off countless times and still chooses Comic Sans as her font of choice.

Perhaps someone is interested how a woman has spent more than half her life in Israel and still cannot find a parallel experience in Israel to Sunday breakfast in Philly at a diner with the whole mishpucha. And no, ten different variations of lamb and communal salads and pita on a Shabbat in a crowded Arab restaurant doesn't even come close. I don't look for the parallel Sunday diner experience out of longing for America. Because I really don't. But I do long for my extended family, for the feeling that for as much as I adore having 3 grown kids flopped over sofas watching TV on a lazy Shabbat, I still wish that I had a sofa to flop on once in a while.

Like now. Like at this moment when I am distracting myself with this new Blog instead of thinking about the guy who wants to take things slow, when I would be happy if he were sewn to me 24/7. This is one of those moments when I need a sofa to flop on.

And what about when I discover that my summer shirts from last year shrunk in the closet over winter? What should I do then? Should I cry? Should I berate myself? Or should I have some ice cream and stop beating myself up because I only walked 30 minutes instead of 45 last night?

It took long enough. But at age 50+ (specifically 51+) I finally figured out that having a Rubenesque body is sexy and that no longer being svelte will not keep me from getting a date with chiseled abs

Most of all, I have come to terms with the fact that I will never again wear horizontal stripes.

And guess what…. I don't care.