Wednesday, December 31, 2008

There is something wrong with the news media

You know how the news the past week has been full of stories about the bombs in Gaza? This reminded me of something Trax and I talked about when we had lunch last month.

I was asking her how things were going where she lives, in the far north of Israel. Reminding her how worried I was about her a few years ago when they were being shelled from Lebanon. She said things were OK in the north, but the southern cities were being shelled from Gaza. "Oh, yes, of course," I mumbled, trying to cover for the fact that I had not known that. A flash of irritation. Why didn't I know that. Why does our news media not find it newsworthy when Israeli cities are shelled day after day after day. Why does the United Nations not find that worthy of condemnation. But let the Israelis defend themselves, after a long period of patience, more than most any nation on Earth would show, and they are roundly condemned for shelling Gaza.

Don't search for obscure stories that I missed and tell me that there was reporting about the early shelling. I'm talking about the mainstream American media. News stories going on and on that you cannot miss, even if you are not a new hound. Because that is what is going on now. And if you are not paying attention, you might think that Israel is the bad guy. And that's not fair.

Think of what would happen if Mexico started lobbing shells at San Diego. How fair would it be if we had to sit here day after day taking it, then when we decided to defend ourselves, the world suddenly took notice and condemned us?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Thank you Harriet

I want to thank Harriet for giving me my very first blogging award. And such an attractive one, too. Very thoughtful.


I called to check on Aunt M this morning and got some good news. Whatever blockage there was got un-kinked, and her system is moving again. Yay! And she is 88 pounds, not 80. I hope she is able to maximize her caloric intake now and can gain weight, to be better able to face the next crisis. Suddenly my hope is back that she will be alive in mid-February, when I and my entire family (without the teenagers) will travel there to meet her. Even my husband. I purchased these tickets a couple of months back. There is a bat mitzvah happening with a niece from my husband's side of the family about 2 hours away on Saturday, and then we will spend Sunday with Aunt M and my cousins. Won't it be great if Aunt M can meet my husband and older kids?

Sunday, December 28, 2008


I got a new menorah this year. An electric one. Tonight is the last night of Hanukkah. Here is a picture taken from my front yard, looking at the window.

May the peace of the season be with all of you.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I am worried

My cousin called yesterday with bad news about Aunt M in Missouri. Her colon cancer has grown again and caused a complete blockage. Surgery is a problem, because her weight has dropped dramatically and she is only about 80 pounds now. She is deciding between treatment options, all of which are dangerous.

My heart is heavy. Our reunion in October moved me so deeply. Though I have not had the honor of knowing her over years, the days I spent with her are precious to me. She is precious to me.

Friday, December 26, 2008

A giant ponzi scheme

Last night, my husband and his father were in our kitchen talking about the recent Wall Street Ponzi scheme scandal. A Ponzi Scheme is "a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to investors out of the money paid by subsequent investors rather than from profit." (Wikipedia)

I said that our American real estate market had also become a giant Ponzi Scheme. The government had forced banks to make loans to people who did not have to prove their income, and the interest rates were kept artificially low, so there was this buy, buy, buy mentality in the market that fueled a boom in housing prices that had people very happy about what they owned on paper. Our house here in So Cal we bought in 2000, and within 5 years it had about doubled in price. Now it is worth still more than we paid for it, and perhaps more than the amount that we re-financed at a few years later. But why did the prices drop and the housing market tank so precipitously? Because, a giant Ponzi Scheme can only go on for so long. There are only so many people available to fuel the payouts. Eventually things peter out. Then who is left holding the bag? Us. Of course. The American tax payer. Gotta bail out those banks, of course. Gotta bail out everybody. G-d forbid that business should run it's course. G-d forbid that the American car companies, who have been foisting overpriced, cr@ppy cars on the public for years, should be forced to change or die.

By the way, the Social Security system is also a Ponzi Scheme. It was designed that way. Scary, huh?

Monday, December 22, 2008

I am a bloodhound

Seriously. My sense of smell is *that* acute today. These past few days I have been petrified with the fear that my plugged nose was never going to get better. After all, I had surgery 6 days ago, and I have not been able to breathe through my nose since. I'm talking plugging so bad that swallowing anything created a suction inside my head that caused my ears to pop painfully. With every single swallow. Again and again. I did force myself to eat/drink enough to sustain myself, but I think I may have lost a little more weight.

So back to today. I went to the doctor's follow-up. I barely remembered being told after surgery that they would "debride" (pronounced dee-breed) me in one week. That usually means cleaning up stray tissue, like the little bit of ruffly skin that is left after you scrape your arm. He went in there today and pulled out a LOT of tissue, which was mostly clots, I guess. And now I can breathe. Even on the left side of my nose, which has not been able to take in much air for perhaps the last 20 years.

I drove through the Arby's drive-through right after the procedure to pick up sandwiches for the boys, and got the HUGEST smile on my face as I smelled overpowering mixed scents of Cinnabons and Curly Fries. Smelling with such acuity as I have never experienced before in my memory. Like a patch being removed from one eye after several decades, and seeing in stereo again.

Did you know that folks who lose their sense of smell entirely can suffer a loss of libido? Much more of our sex drive is tied in with our sense of smell/pheromones, then we may realize. Vive le Nez!!!!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Twilight Cure

OK, I'm hooked. I have avoided reading the book, Twilight, for some time now. I knew it was good, because one of my best bloggy friends is crazy about Twilight. So, yes, I wanted to read it. The problem was that I knew once I started, there would be a significant time drain and I was simply too busy. I was shopping for reading material this Monday, right before my surgery, though, and picked it up. I started reading it last night. It was a great excuse to hunker down in bed and not move, perfect for convalescing after surgery. I'm already past page 250. Oooops. Gotta go. Got "big" things to do this morning. ;-)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Feeling kinda weak

I need to make myself take it easy. Too much to do. I might have a fever. But, of course, the therms were all at the "other" house. So that means another car trip, of course. Hopefully a little more R&R will fix things up.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Party and Surgery Updates

Sunday was J's 4th birthday party. We ordered the requisite bouncer/slide apparatus and it fit well into the back yard of our rental house. The whole rental house/rental furniture/rental housewares situation made it a fun adventure and some folks showed up that we had not seen in a long time. The party was great. All 20 bags of party favors disappeared (my boys got one too), and 40 of the sixty cupcakes were eaten. The other 20 I sent to J's school the next day. Can't have those delicious, fudgy things sitting around the house for too long. They'd get stale.

The week leading up to the party I was getting over a cold. So I kept wondering if the doctor would cancel my nose surgery on Tuesday (yesterday). Nope. Turns out, unless you have a fever or something awful going on, it's full steam ahead. I wanted it done, anyway. Darn it, I want to be able to breathe through my left nostril again. I haven't really been able to do so since I had a sinus infection in my early 20s, and it's about time.

The surgery went well. I had to sleep sitting up on the couch, which was a challenge, but tonight I get to lie down again. Food is still tough, because my throat is sore from being entubated by the anesthesiologist. My nose is still drippy, but at least it is not frank red blood anymore, more like reddish fluid. My nose is completely clogged on both sides now from the swelling, but the doctor's office says that is normal. The official procedure was septoplasty and bilateral inferior turbinatectomy. I'll let you know how things shape up.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

He lost his room

I get asked from time to time how my next door neighbors are doing. The ones whose homes burned to the ground. I don't know. I don't know what they were able to get out of their house in the 15 minutes we had to pack. I don't have the heart to ask them. It probably wasn't enough.

All I know is what my neighbor's 19-y-o son said. I invited him to come into my house a couple of weeks ago to help burn a CD of the pictures of the fire. I wasn't sure about the computer software, so he agreed to come in. We were in the upstairs office for a while figuring things out, when he wandered over to the office window to look out. He looked left and then right. Then he said, "Oh. This was my room." Something heavy dropped in the pit of my stomach. He grew up in that house next door. His mother was the original owner for the past 26 years since the houses were built. While she may build a new "dream home", he will never have his room back. :-(

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Help me spread the love

My daughter is now at the end of her Semester Abroad in Italy. She traveled to many places in Europe and is in love with the place. No disrespect to her family, of course, but she is really sad to be leaving Europe and coming home. If there is any way you can check out her latest heartfelt blog post and leave her some lovies or parental wisdom, perhaps we can cheer her up. Comment there, rather than here, s'il vous plait. Thank you in advance.

Monday, December 8, 2008

I had lunch with Trax...

...and her husband and kids and my MIL today. It was SO awesome. This is the second time I have met her IRL in these past 5 years we have known each other online. She is an amazing young woman. There are some of you who know her from our online buddy groups. Isn't it cool that they came out here all the way from Israel? And she made time to see me on their last day before flying back. Thank you, Trax. I had a great time.

Friday, December 5, 2008

More damage than we thought

Even the neighbors were saying how surprised they were when the tiles came off and they could see how much more had burned in the garage roof than we thought. Except for those who witnessed the fire. My husband tells me that folks at the time told him that the garage was on fire, not a little bit, but a LOT. And they poured a TON of water in there to put it out. Strange thing was, the garage seemed dry the next day when we came back. Must have been the heat and the wind. Anyway, here are pics showing the garage as the men took it apart yesterday, and the trusses/rafters that are going up today. And hopefully the plywood as well. Can you believe how quickly these guys are working? They only started the job yesterday (Thursday) morning.

And here are the new trusses/rafters already!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Rivkah Holzberg was 6 months pregnant

And she and her husband, Rabbi Gavriel Holzberg, were tortured before they were killed. All because they were Jewish. I am sick beyond words.

Can someone tell me if the United Nations has condemned these attacks?

I found this on the web:



Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Natural disaster does not equal weight loss

But there is no weight gain, either. I *have* been going hungry lately, usually running around meeting contractors and busy busy. So I was hoping that would translate into my losing the last couple of pounds and hitting my post-breastfeeding goal weight. No dice. I guess those late nights in the hotel chomping on cookie dough blobs might have had an effect. Oh well. Holding steady is OK too. Especially since we have been eating out for all our meals for two weeks. Last night was the first night I cooked. Spaghetti. On paper plates. In our new rental house. I'll have to take pics of the house to show you. Same size as this house, only no view. All the view homes burned.