Friday, December 25, 2009

Dancing is the thread

I've always been a dancer of some sort or another. I was enamored with "Tina the Ballerina" and "The Nutcracker" as a little girl, and spent quite a bit of time doing pirouettes around the house. As I grew older, I became interested in Israeli folk dancing. I was a member of our Temple's youth Israeli folk dance group for several years during high school, which meant multiple rehearsals per week, practicing in bare feet on egg salad and tuna fish (left over from Saturday morning kiddush) and taking part in a dance competition and also a regional performance.

Twelve years later, I was back in Boston, and I found Israeli folk dancing again (or it found me). This time, I started dating a man, was introduced to a whole new group of people who became good friends, and spent several years dancing two or three times a week. I was even part of a performing group for several years.

Fast forward a few years, I was still dancing, and I met my husband, A. He wasn't an Israeli dancer, although he enjoying coming to dancing with me and socializing. Ultimately, we did an Israeli dance as the first dance at our wedding.

So... last night, at the annual (Christmas Eve) Israeli Dance Marathon (6 pm - 4 am, and no I didn't stay there the whole time), I saw my life pass before my eyes. There was the man I dated when I did Israeli dancing in high school; there was the man I dated when I did Israeli dancing in my late 20s; there was the man (well, my husband) who I married. It was kind of surreal.

And dancing is the thread that holds it all together...

Thursday, December 24, 2009


J and I were standing at the JCC today, watching some older teens and men play a pick-up game of basketball. They were playing "shirts vs. skins," so half the men had removed their shirts. Most of them had pretty typical male chest hair, although of course some of them were hairier than others.

Jordan was commenting about their body hair. He really didn't like it.

I pondered this for a while, and realized that his obsession with professional wrestling has given him the false impression that adult men have little or no body hair. I'm pretty sure that the wrestlers shave their entire bodies, and oil them, too. Here's an example of what they look like: John Cena, who is J's favorite and a "good guy," and Randy Orton, who is a "bad guy." The point is: J is getting a really distorted view of what adult men look like. Hairless, very muscular. Tend to jump on each other, and hit each other with tables.

I've been patiently waiting for J's obsession to wear off, and I think it is, somewhat. But this aspect of it is somewhat surprising. I've heard of girls getting the wrong idea from airbrushed images from magazines, but I never expected to have this sort of issue with a son. Silly me.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A year ago

It all started exactly a year ago, December 19, 2008. I went to my doctor for my bi-annual breast check. We were laughing and chatting. Then she felt the lump.

I didn't believe it at first. It just felt, well, lumpy, and not unlike other things I'd felt before. I even went back to have her check a few days later. No, it was really there. She wanted me to have it checked out.

I tried very hard not to be concerned about it for several weeks, until my imaging appointment. Then on January 2, I had a mammogram and an ultrasound at the BIDMC downtown. They were definitely concerned. Funny, the doctor wouldn't say it, but the ultrasound tech did: it looked like cancer. But they wouldn't say for sure until the biopsy. That was the day I really knew.

That was a Friday, and I had the biopsy on the following Tuesday. The results weren't ready until noon the following Friday. Friday January 9, 2009.

Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.

And the rest, as they say, is history. I had 2 surgeries in February to completely remove the lump; I spent part of March dealing with an abscess (unrelated to the cancer) and with oncology decisions; I had radiation treatment in May and June; I started hormonal treatment and a research study after that; I have monthly shots as part of the study, and I've been dealing with side effects of medications ever since. I feel like I've aged 10 years. I'm in menopause. I don't have my stamina back yet. I'm very emotional. My family feels the stress, too.

It hasn't been a great year.

I'm really hoping that 2010 is better.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Falling through the cracks

Been having some uncomfortable side effects lately from one or more of the medications I'm taking. Anyway, I did what you are supposed to do, which is to call your doctor. Well, my doctor is on maternity leave. So I called her replacement. She seemed very nice, and told me to call the appointment desk. They made an appointment for the following week. Then the nice doctor had a family emergency, and had to cancel the appointment. So I made another appointment for the following week. Then the nice doctor got the flu (today). So I made another appointment for the following week.

It has now been over 2 weeks, and I still haven't seen this doctor. My new appointment is for a week from now. I'm not feeling great, but imagine if I was really in trouble. Would a person with serious issues be able to communicate to these people that they really need to see someone NOW? I'm starting to understand how people fall through the cracks. You can do everything you are supposed to be doing, and still not get the help you need.

Okay, I'm going to try to call them again...

An idiot

Interesting discussion on the ride to school this morning. J's class is learning about the Sumerians and the Mayans. Apparently the Mayans sacrificed human beings. This led to a discussion about Abraham and the almost-sacrifice of Isaac. J pointed out that this was only a test, and that G-d wasn't really going to let Abraham sacrifice Isaac.

J: "If G-d let Abraham do that, everyone would have thought that G-d was an idiot."


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Chanukah 2009

Not feeling very ready for Chanukah this year...but here are a few links that make me smile:

The candles sing Mi Y'Malel

Orrin Hatch (?!) wrote a song about Chanukah

Hanukkah Hey Ya!

my favorite this year: Hanukkah Hey Ya! Flash Mob

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Sacred work

I read this post, The Audacity of Goodness, on several websites yesterday, and I found the video that it refers to -- Every day, good women choose abortion -- to be very moving. Take a look.

I'm afraid that my fertile years are now past, but if I needed to have an abortion in my lifetime, I only hope that I would be privileged to have had a provider as kind and considerate as this one.

Also, I love this quote that is mentioned at the end of the article:
“If one woman told the truth about her life, the world would split open.”
--Muriel Rukeyser
Very, very true.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Thinking about Chanukah

and smiling....(lyrics are below the video)

Hanukkah Hey Ya!
By Eric Schwartz (smooth-e)
© 2003

My dreidel just spins around
and then falls to the ground
as we light the candles (oy!)

I love to light menorahs
and the matzah balls are cooking on the stove (mmm!)

Flames high to light the ceiling
but the candle dripping's burning me right now (ow!)

Thank god for mom and dad
for teaching jewish culture
'cause we are so proud (l'chaim)


Those fluffy latkes,
oh those fluffy latkes
they're hot i want to eat 'em 'till there's nothing at all

We get the presents, oh we get the presents
and eight is always better than three from santa claus

And what they say is "we're the chosen people"
then what makes, what makes, what makes, what makes
us the exception?

Don't know why, know why
o-y, o-y, o-y (oy!)
Run and call your rabbi so that you can celebrate this year
oy is just yo backwards

Hanukkah (why don't you meet my rabbi)
Hanukkah (he isn't such a bad guy)
Hanukkah (it wouldn't be a bummer)
Hanukkah (if you want to wear yarmulke)

Manischewitz, schewitz, schewitz, schewitz, schewitz, schewitz, schewitz and a kosherized pickle
Maniscewitz, schewitz, schewitz, schewitz, schewitz, schewitz, shevitz and potato knishes
Maniscewitz, schewitz, schewitz, schewitz, schewitz, schewitz, schewitz and the kasha varnishkas
Maniscewitz, schewitz, schewitz, schewitz, schewitz, schewitz,