Sunday, September 21, 2014

In transit... between two worlds, visiting all my worlds

[I returned home Thursday evening, no problems, BH. We went to a wedding Thursday night-- yes, crazy, perhaps, but this was a special one-- it was the daughter of the woman who's father's funeral I attended in NY.-- father buried one week, daughter married a week later.
I was running on pure adrenaline.
Friday I slept all day, woke for Shabbat dinner. Shabbat, slept all day. Sunday-today- I am up, but not on schedule yet. Lots of pain, but I'll be OK. Getting overwhelmed with Rosh Hashana coming up so soon!]


OK- this entry started on the day I was leaving NY, last Wed, the 17th. I started writing it in my parent's kitchen, continued it on the plane, added the pictures here in Be'er Sheva, sent it out Sunday.


The car service is coming in an hour to take me to JFK airport. It's a spectacularly beautiful day here in the little country town of Glen Head, a hop-skip-and-a-jump from Long Island Sound. It really is so beautiful around here. It rains frequently, and everything is so *lush* and green. Incredibly green- thick trees and bushes of every sort, moss on tree trunks, and all the streets are shadowed with thick, rich, tall trees. The air is sweet... the smells of cut grass, that sweet after-rain smell, and there is a fall nip in the air. Sounds like utopia, right? Sometimes it actually feels like that.

down the street from my parent's house

I didn't leave America because of discontent. Israel is 100% my home, I never have any doubts about it. I am fortunate in that I have a deep, loving appreciation for the wonderful attributes of each land.

my girlfriend and I rendezvoused at a gas station when we discovered that we were
talking on the phone to each other, a mere few meters away from each other!

I'm returning to Israel soon...  my flight leaves at 9pm tonight. It has been a *long* trip. I feel like I've been away for months.

On the plane now.
Take off will be in about 20 minutes.
It is such a long haul to pack up and schlep everything! I was up most of last night, packing and organizing myself. OK, well, I'll be on this plane for the next 12 hours. So far, the middle seat to my right is free. It'd be awesome if it stays that way! I'm planning to sleep lots. It was a FULL, busy, fulfilling trip. The two highlights were the writer's conference, and the time I spent with my parents- quality *and* quantity. It has been a *long* time since we had that sort of uninterrupted time together. I am aware of the reality that we can't know when that may, or if it will, happen again.

I attended a funeral last week. It was the father of a dear friend of mine from Israel. My friend was brought up in NY. Her father passed away, and she flew out to NY the next day. I joined her at the funeral. It was strange to be with her in NY! We had never seen each other out of Israel. But it was good to be able to support her, and to be there.

Funerals in America are so different than they are in Israel. In Israel, people are buried in shroud cloths, no casket. When I was watching the funeral home director trying to direct the casket of my friend's father down into the grave, it was scary. It is so heavy, and the people holding it have to stand on planks which are placed across the grave, lowering it with the help of straps. Once it's in, then the grave diggers have to check if it is in properly, and in this case, the casket had to be repositioned. It seems so much smoother and easier when there is no casket involved. I don't know. I guess it's awful any way you do it.

Onto lighter subjects...
I saw many cousins whom I hadn't seen in ages. In Washington DC I stayed for a few days (including over a Shabbat) with one of my favorite cousins ever! Got to know her husband and daughter a bit better, too. I met with my first cousin on my mother's side, Dina, in Washington DC. I hadn't seen her in probably 27 years or so.

my first cousin Dina, me, and her mother (my aunt who I hardly ever knew!) Shula

 My other first cousins on my father's side, Lois & Ellen, I visited in NY. We had seen each other slightly more frequently, but not much.

My father, Ellen, me, Lois, my brother Peter
first cousins: Ellen, me  & Lois

 I also saw my Aunt Reva, who is in her 90's, may God give her strength and wherewithal for many more years!

My father, me, and his sister- my aunt Reva
OK, know what? I am so flippin exhausted, I need to sleep. The plane is still filling up, and take-off is in 10 minutes.

Oh, and the middle seat, next to me (I'm in the isle) has been taken. Oh well. No biggie.
Oh, I just remembered that I have to go put on my heavy pressure stockings. I should do that before we take off..

Then, I really think I'm just gonna put my computer away and go to sleep. Bye-


OK, I just had a pretty decent sleep, thank Gd. Woke up two and a half hours before landing, which is good timing. I got a good walk around the cabin a few times. According to the amount of pain I had when I got myself up after sleeping, I could have used some more walking around the cabin.  I drank some tea, chatted with a woman in the next isle over to my left, traveling with her three kids. One is about one and a half. I *remember* traveling at different points over the past 15 years with kids that age, almost every trip.

So yeah, now that I'm a little less tired, I can say that this trip was a true blessing. It was just all good. Hard for me physically at many times, a few awful migraines and nights throwing up, but overall, I held up. The lymphoedema needs some serious draining massage, though. It's been in a constant state of discomfort and swelling. To be expected, I think. I am wearing the dreaded tight tight tight orthopedic tights on the flight now. You know, I timed it this time- putting them on in the tiny airplane bathroom- 20 minutes *just* putting them on. Bleh. Oh well, could always be worse!

There is one huge change that happened on this trip which adds an emotional dimension that I will never forget- I sold my old french horn. *NOT* the one I play usually (or played, to be exact), that one is in Israel. The one I sold is one that I played during the last years of University in Boston, and all throughout graduate school. I did play it my first years in the symphony in Israel, but it isn't in the style (sound-wise) of the horns that Israeli orchestras play.

Each city which has a symphony, in every part of the world, has it's own unique sound. In the wind sections especially, the goal of a homogeneous sound often entails a uniformity of the type of sound that the specific instrument produces. Each "brand" of instrument is known for it's different nuances in sound. There are horns with a small "bore" which means the diameter of the inner tubing is literally smaller than a large bore horn. This, of course, effects the timbre, or color of sound. The horn I sold is my Schmidt, small bore, nearly 100 years old. It's a very, very special horn. In Israel, large bore horns are more commonly played. Many years ago (13 or 14 years ago) I tried out a particular horn someone was selling in Israel, and fell in love with the ease of how it plays. I bought it with an interest-free loan that my orchestra gave me, which was really easy to pay off through my monthly paychecks. I then had two horns on my hands. I tried to sell my Schmidt in Israel, but since it is not a commonly played instrument on Israeli orchestras, it didn't sell. I then brought it to Boston so the dealer who I bought it from could try to sell it for me. It didn't sell in many years in his studio. It was so surprising because that is the horn that the players in Boston desire. After it was in his studio for a long time not selling, on a trip my parents had to Boston (it used to be a regular thing for them every summer to go to Tanglewood to hear the Boston Symphony), they went to his studio and brought it back to their house in NY, and advertised it there. Didn't budge. A few people played it over the years, but no bites. Even a collector of Schmidt's, a horn player in NY, who fell in love with my horn, told me he just can't buy it because he already has 20. But he praised that instrument up and down. He clearly understood it's unique beauty of sound and the special value of that particular instrument. Along came my first horn teacher, Mr. Moller. He also fell in love with the horn, but finances didn't permit him to buy it. Fixing the roof which had fallen in from a storm took precedence. Geez, can you imagine such an excuse? ;)

When I was returning for this present trip, I advertised the horn again, announcing the dates I will be there, and that it is still for sale if someone wants to come try it. Again a few emails with the guy who collects old Schmidt's, but he still couldn't swing adding one more horn to his menagerie. Lucky for me, because the long awaited phone call came from... my old horn teacher (he's not old, perse, but old meaning long ago in the scope of my life)! He was in a position to buy the horn, and was so happy to see the ad I placed, that it is still available. He came over a few days ago. It's always awesome to see him, a real childhood hero for me. Very special man. His encouragement, patience, and belief in me is what set me on course for my successful career. Well, with cash in hand, he checked out the wonderful instrument again, and made an offer... higher than what I was asking. I came back with a lower offer. It was an unusual, odd sort of haggling, but I wanted him to have the horn, and I couldn't see taking so much money from such a special person in my life. We agreed on something in the middle of his offer and my expectation. Unmarked bills exchanged hands (they are unmarked, right Mr. Moller? ;)), and my beautiful, special, antique horn went to the most wonderful person I could imagine playing it. I am deeply moved by this all, and yes, a little wistful. But, it is all the natural process of life.

well, "can't take it with you", as they say!

Here are pictures of the monumental tectonic shift:

Mr. Moller- may you play this horn with your natural vitality and health, and may it serve you as well as it served me all the years!!

Well, we are now about to land! Should be in about 45 minutes or so. I'm almost home.

The trip was certainly memorable. My world shifted in many ways, both small and large. I just realized something- I actually lived all three of my careers on this trip. The writer's conference of course--

All the conference attendees!
I'm standing in the second row from the top, wearing white, about half way in...

then selling my horn and entering that world. I even used my doula skills. That was when I was trying as best as I knew how to encourage my mother in her physical therapy to stand. She did it- with the physical therapist and my father on either side holding her up so most of her weight wasn't on her, she, herself holding onto a walker with much of her weight, and me holding her around her middle in a big bear hug. She did it. She lasted about 20 seconds the first time, then after a rest had the courage to try a second time, for about 10 seconds. It hurt her all over, of course. Her body is quite atrophied from being bedridden for two and a half years already. But, she tried. The future is unknown, and the past is no longer ours, only the present is ours to use. That accomplishment, for my mother, was a very courageous use of her present moment. May you keep strong Mom, and remember- replace the phrase "I'm scared" with determination.

We're in a holding pattern now over Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv. Too many planes there at the moment for us to fly in. I heard there was a strike at the airport today.

I just may finish this blog post yet!

Mission accomplished regarding the tight tight tight lymphoedema stockings. It took about 15 minutes this time to take off. Putting on my "regular" pressure garment feels loose compared to those. Usually that one is tight and uncomfortably hot, but after the "flight tights" (hey, new nick name!) it's obscenely loose. :)  Oh, this is awesome- the captain just announced that we are cleared out of the holding pattern and are going to land soon! And I finished this entry. How inspirational.

Home. Be it ever so humble. I am yearning to feel my children's hugs, look into their eyes, and hear their voices and laughs.

And Robert, my love. You gave me a gift that is more valuable than you can know. You, yourself made my reservation, blessed me to go to the conference, and added much more time to spend with my aging parents. A true, selfless gift, from a true, selfless man. Thank you with all my heart.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A message in a dream

Things are so good. I mean *so good*.

Yesterday evening, Christine Kloser's daughter (Christine is the of the facilitator of the conference, and my teacher/mentor/guru woman) called her to say good night.

Christine Kloser

Christine held the phone up to all of us so we could all say good night to her daughter. After the room did that, I asked her if she'd like me to sing her daughter a Hebrew lullaby over the phone. Christine was all for it, so she brought me her phone, and a microphone, and I sang, with the whole room listening, what I sing to my kids every night- המלאך הגואל אותי- "hamalach hago'el oti", which is a blessing (from the Torah) saying that the angels of Hashem who have protected the children from evil should accompany them into the night. The translation isn't quite that, but it is a lullaby, and quite beautiful. I hadn't sang it to my kids in a week and a half, and it obviously needed to get out of me. It was a beautiful moment.

Aside from that, I have been speaking, in the microphone to the whole room, a few times. It is really good for me, and people are very responsive! I am getting such positive feedback here, it blows me away. I am considering putting myself "out there" for public speaking; for inspirational speaking. I am beginning to see I can contribute and serve that way.

My book is being shaped and worked. "Honed", one might say. The biggest breakthrough has been regarding the message that the book will deliver. All books need a message. Blogs don't. This breakthrough was *tremendous* for me. I understand my book on a much deeper level now. The message that came to me (on the *first day*, mind you) rides on a dream I had while I was heavily sedated in the hospital when I had NF. It was probably the most beautiful dream I have ever had in my life. Until now, I had thought of that dream simply as a blessing from God, the gift of beauty in the midst of sorrow and horrific pain. I held onto that dream, it was incredibly powerful for me. I'm not sure if I wrote a blog about it or not, I have to go looking into the archives. That dream came to me here, at this conference, as the invitation for the message of my book. I don't want to say more, it needs to be only in the book. But it is BIG. Primordial. Never underestimate the power of a dream. I have been so light, and happy since this came to me. I am in awe. I tell you, the room that we are in for the conference is *fertile*. An entire lush garden would grow there with just one small seed and a bit of water. The light is there already.

can't tell by looking at it, but the energy in this room is magnificent.
The people I am with are extraordinary people. I am quite sure some of them are reading this. Hi, guys! XO

My life as a writer has grown here. The promotional aspects of being an author have also grown, and I have a clear plan for how that is going to go. Christine, the facilitator/mentor/guru (with a small "g"), would not let us out of there without a clear plan. And resources galore!

She is phenomenal. I'm so happy my intuition didn't fail me with this one. Money and time well spent.

I am going back to NY tomorrow, but not until I hop around Baltimore a little before catching my train back. Going down to the "inner harbor" for a tiny amount of tourist time.

Back home on Wednesday (the 17th). I miss my kids and husband SOOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!
The time difference, and the conference have made it really hard to call and hear their voices. I skipped out of the afternoon session a bit today because I couldn't bear another day going by without hearing their voices. I got what I hoped for. :)

There have been a few times that I was so tired that I had to nap and miss part of a seminar, and once that I slept late by accident- I thought the alarm was on "snooze", but I had inadvertently turned it off... but I really needed it. Pain has been difficult; I need to get lymphatic draining big time when I get back. As well as the lymphoedema, both my hip joints have suffered from sitting in the chairs so much of the day. But overall, I am making it. The inspiration I have gotten here is outweighing just about everything.

OK, gotta go. I'm headed back to the convention hotel for the evening's entertainment. The seminars are over as of this afternoon, but tonight there is musical entertainment which I am looking forward to enjoying!

One request- if you know Robert, send him an email or give him a call to bolster his strength. What he is doing for me is not easy, and he is very tired. I love him very deeply for giving this to me- it is the opportunity of a lifetime; partly because I can be with my parents "solo", and partly because of this phenomenal conference. So, let him know he's awesome. And maybe send over dinner if you can so he doesn't have to think about what to make for the kids one day. Got a car and some time one afternoon? Shifra probably has ballet (4X/week)... maybe offer to take her? Thanks. :)

Signing off for now. I hope some of my light has reached you through this portal today. 'Cuz I'm a-glowing. :)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Hanging out with Mom & Dad, Long Island, New York

The house I grew up in from the age of 4...
(born in Chicago, moved to Oregon, then back to the east coast,
a few places in neighboring towns, then this home.)

The pitch goes up and down and up and down repeatedly. I woke up with a huge startle and adrenaline running through my veins... first thought: siren. Go to the safe room. Where are the kids. Make sure everyone is getting into the safe room. Heart beating fast...
oh, wait, it's a fire siren. I am in Glen Head, NY. fell back into a very deep sleep, but with extremely vivid dreams this time.

!!!BOOM!!!!! CRACK!!!!!!!!!!!
Again, I am awakened with a start, more adrenaline, OMG, a bomb that landed close by, with no siren. Crap! OMG!
Oh, again, the fog is lifted in a second, and I am in my brother's old room in the house I grew up in... and it's raining with loud thunder. Oh yeah, rain! I haven't seen, smelled, or heard a rain storm in many months. What a crazy way to wake up. And the vivid dreams that pulsed through my blurry mind thereafter, wow, talk about strange. Toto, we aren't in Kansas anymore! (in the Wizard of Oz it was meant a little differently than I mean it here, of course.)

Jet lag will do that.

The plane ride went fine, technically. Personally, not so great, though. Sleep was not an ally for me. I was in too much pain and couldn't get comfortable. I was wearing a very tight garment because of the lymphoedema, and it isn't something one can ignore when wearing it. A sleeping pill made me sleepy, but it didn't take the pain away, and I couldn't sleep for more than 5 or 10 minutes. 11 hours goes very slowly when you hurt. Oh well. I walked around the plane a lot. I was told to do that because of my lymphoedema. Maybe that's why Hashem didn't let me go to sleep.

The Shabbat before school starts; traditionally,the Shabbat of the *special challot*. I make challot in the shapes of the grades they are going into. I made a "gimmel", a "vav", a "tet", and a "yud". Third grade, 6th, 9th, and 10th grades. The kids love those! Makes it a special time, gets them excited about school starting. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture! Oh well, next year. :)

I missed the first day of school today, but it seems to have gone well. I spoke with all my kids after school. Ya'akov is the only one this year starting a new school- high school. The new school is in Jerusalem. Sunday through Thursdays he stays with our cousins who live there. I am *so happy* about him being at this specific school. Since there is no dormitory, my cousins have been gracious (and brave?) to open their house to Ya'akov. I feel in my gut that this is a good match... praying on it! Honestly, I am overjoyed at how this has all worked out. The past few years Ya'akov has been miserable in school. We knew his school wasn't the right place for him, but we didn't have any other good choices. Now that he can study in Jerusalem in this very special [private] school, I think things will begin looking up for him. Please Gd. And I hope we get financial aid. Please Gd.

So, here in NY.... my parents are doing fine, thank Gd. Not worse... but not better, either. My mother is in relatively good health, but bedridden. My father is also, thank Gd, in good health, although he walks with a huge limp. He says he's not in pain, though, so that is good.

Mom & Dad on the back porch

I took a walk around the outside of the house today. I was seeing my childhood in my mind's eye. ...That tree I used to climb- but they had to cut off the limb I climbed onto.

Can you see that "scar" halfway up the left-most trunk? That is where the branch was that I climbed out onto.
...That other tree had the tire swing.

Tire swing tree in back yard

 The rock patch is no longer, covered over with moss. The crab-apple tree is gone. But mostly, it's all there. My childhood- it's all there... here. The only thing is that I can't sleep in the room I grew up sleeping in because the caretaker who lives here with my parents lives in my old room. So, I sleep in my brother's old room. No problem at all. I love the caretaker who is here with them- she is a wonderful person, and takes fantastic care of my mother (and father).

Yes, this is a genuine, original dial-up wall phone with a coiled cord. It **STILL** works, and they still use it. YUP.
When I was a teenager, I used to take that receiver with me down the basement stairs (door at left),
sit around the corner in the basement (stretching the cord way passed capacity!) and gab away in privacy.
Every now & then my mother or father would open the door and yell into the dark abyss "Sarah! Off the phone!
You are stretching the cord too far! Who are you talking to? We need the phone! Get off the phone!
You'll see them tomorrow in school!"


I'll be leaving on Thursday to go to Maryland for a week. First I'll be with cousins who I love, then to Baltimore to the writer's conference which inspired this trip! I am so excited to go there. I will eat up the writing inspiration and advice, wisdom, tricks of the trade, clarity, and whatever else I know I will eat up from the three day conference. I honestly can't believe I am going to it! In my life, it is so hard to make any long-term plans, and be able to carry through on them. I kept thinking that I'll get sick, or something will happen to make me cancel this trip. But, here I am!

A huge thanks goes to Robert for supporting me to come!! And taking care of the kids, and all the arrangements necessary to do that. He's such a special husband... gratitude abounds. :)

Signing off to watch TV with my parents before we call it a day. Such is life.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Vacation pictures, and a special announcement

I decided to have an update here with mostly pictures. We've been having a great summer vacation here! Between having everyone home, going away up north for a week, working on my new website (it's gonna be a surprise soon!!), and working on my book, I haven't had much time to write. That also means that nothing crazy and urgent is happening. This is an unusual time in my life... no health crises to dig my way out of, no surgeries on the horizon, and thank God the family is healthy and vibrant! Even our bunnies are better from their bunny illnesses... three weeks of shots once a week, and they are bunnying around like usual. :) Like usual... get it? Yeah... and I thought we had two girls......................... they're gonna need a doula soon. Oy.

So, here are some pics of what we've been up to this summer (after three kids in sleep-away camp for three weeks!).

Azriel was at horse riding camp. It was a huge success! Turns out he's quite the little jockey. Last night we saw his final show at the stables. (Unfortunately for some reason the video clips of his galloping, and of him waving at the spectator stands as he goes by wouldn't upload to the blog properly. They are on my Facebook page if you want to see them.)

trotting merrily along. :)

Last week we took a week up north. We try to do this every summer, it's good for the soul. We live in the southern region of Israel, where it is hot and dry, and rain comes five or six times a year, in the mid-winter months, if we are lucky. Any greenery around here is heavily watered, all on elaborate, electronic water drip systems. There are no natural bodies of water anywhere nearby. The beach nearest to us is about 50 minutes away. This region of Israel is *beige*. Lots of dirt and dust, white stone buildings and beige. Driving out of the city in any direction is *beige*. The year before I came to live here, on my first visit to Israel, I was mesmerized by the one-ness of the terrain, the breathtaking hills, mountains and valleys of the ride down to the Dead Sea- it really is stunning. It is stunning *because* of the sand dunes and hues within the beige. The hues are much more subtle than in more vegetated areas. I still love the Negev (the name of this region of Israel, and where, in the Torah, Abraham actually lived), but it is a treat to go up north where the roads are tree-lined and wild flowers, bushes and grasses are everywhere.

Robert has family from a town called Rosh Pina, in the Galilee region. His family goes back many generations, to the first settling families of the area. They are a very historical family, on his mother's side. Robert's great-grandfather was one of the founding fathers of what is now Rosh Pina, and there are many, many stories from his days. His grandfather was the chief of police in a neighboring town- Tzfat. He rode a white horse. We have an old picture in our dining room of him and his police force surrounding him. It's really awesome. We stayed, in Rosh pina last week, at the very house his grandfather lived in. It is a historical monument in the town. Robert's 95 year old cousin lives there, and there are boarding rooms that they rent out to tourists. He gave us two of the boarding rooms for the week, which is completely amazingly awesome (I sound like I'm 16, don't I). We also heard some unbelievable stories from this 95-year-old cousin, who is extremely lucid and *really* knows how to tell a story. Stories of early Israel, before the state, and during the British mandate, everything. His army stories, historical stories, family stories. He is an incredible man- may God give him many more years in his colorful life!

The house where Robert's grandfather was born,

So, from his place, we did day trips. We were "Day Trippers" :)

There was some canoeing (which was really fun!)...

my three dudes (Dov- was at the helm, not pictured)
Me & my co-pilot

The family in front of the Jordan river where we went canoeing

... and we also went swimming in the Sea of Galillee- the Kineret in Hebrew, where the water was so clean feeling on the skin, you almost didn't want to shower afterward. It is a very unusual feeling in the Sea as opposed to the ocean. I *loved* it. Didn't want to leave!

The Kineret "oh, Kineret she'li".... a wonderful song.

That night we went to a wonderful "night safari". Not a real African-style safari like you may be picturing, but a very cool adventure, nonetheless. It was at the Hula valley, which is a marsh land, known for it's exquisite array of birds migrating certain times of the year. It is a large nature preserve. We went in tractor-pulled stadium seating carts (hard to describe, but it was such that everyone could see out of the open front, being pulled from the right side by a tractor.) Anyway, we saw many sorts of owls and birds (the guide has a spotlight she was shining right and left until she saw movement or eyes shining in the light.), a pregnant beaver (really! she was *totally* pregnant!), two donkeys, a fox, a few wild cats, and a beautiful buzzard perched on a branch like a fashion model. Of course, I don't have pictures of these animals for you, but Robert does, in his non-internet, awesome telephoto digital camera which needs to be uploaded with a cable. When we upload them, and if I remember and the stars are all aligned properly, I will post them for you. :) It was a wonderful night adventure.

We had some great meals out, and spent some time with another of Robert's cousins who lives up in the area as well.

me, in the room where we stayed in Robert's great-grandfather's house.

There were two nights where I decided not to go out to dinner with the family because I was in pain. One night I had a migraine with all the trimmings, unfortunately. But you know what? It's OK. I got through those parts. Also the night after I went zipping down on an omega ("zip line"), my hips were *really* angry with me. But, I did it! I zipped. And I am glad I did. But that was One Sore Night. And following day. But oh well.

I won't be writing much for a little while, I am working hard on my website and my book, getting the kids ready for school, and getting myself ready to go to the US in two weeks (August 31st. More on that later! I'll be there for 18 days, until Sept. 17th.

So, in the title it says a surprise is in this post... so without any further ado, I would like to present to you... the announcement of the official title of my book.


"A Pound of Flesh, A Piece of Soul"
A transformational journey of the body and spirit
surviving Necrotizing Fasciitis, “the flesh-eating bacteria”

You can see my new facebook page that I created for the book publicity. (I am also in the midst of creating a real website, at a ".com" domain, where this blog will officially be).

Please go to the facebook page here, and give it a "Like". I get cosmic facebook points for the "likes", and it helps the book's platform to get a head start.

Sunday, August 10, 2014


This blank screen has been staring at me all evening. Well, I have switched to other things, gotten some important things done in the meantime, but I keep coming back to this page. I need to write. I need it because the going got tough today. I want to write inspiring things, I want to feel optimistic, and give out good vibes through my writing. When I don't have that, when the optimism doesn't push it's way past sadness, that is when I often need to write. I want to push through the sadness, wring it out of my veins with writing. When I can't walk, and I feel unrelenting pain, this screen is always there, opening up to me. This screen can hold my words and deliver them.

From an outsider's point of view, it looked like I had a normal, nice Shabbat. We had a one of Shifra's friends at dinner with us on Friday night (and another guy who floats in sometimes on Friday nights, without warning), and 6 other guests at lunch. It's nice to host, I enjoy conversation.

I don't even feel I can write now what I want to write. These guests read my blogs. I don't want anyone to think that they are causing me any hardship. That's not the case; I need people in our lives. After all, people need human connections for their souls. God wants us all here to connect to each other, to touch each other. Life without Shabbat guests would be very isolating.

What I want to say is that except for the meals when I came alive and looked normal, I was in So. Much. Pain. today. I couldn't make it to shul (synagogue) even though there were many reasons I wanted to be there. Old friends in from out-of-town who I was hoping to see, and to be there to invite people who may not have had a meal plan with other people (our shul has a rotation for families to take in newcommers and others who don't have a meal set up for them, and this was our week). I knew, though, that if I walked to shul and back, I'd use up my allotment of steps I was given for that day. Some days I have a limited allotment of steps, and it's up to me to plan them out well.

The meals went well, we all enjoyed each other.
I really was hoping to go visit these out-of-town friends (and in-town friends also, who were all together today) this afternoon. Instead, I needed to rest in bed. Why in bed? Well, I need to be in a laying-down position for my hips to have real relief. Our couches aren't comfortable enough for me to rest in them. Anyway, when I am in pain, it is often accompanied by a desperate need for quiet, so the living room isn't usually the place for that.

Life is better with choices.
With pain, though, the choices get very narrow.
I didn't get to make the social call I was hoping to make this afternoon. That made me sad.

I know I've said this before, and it's no less true now... I still can't believe that this is *me*. That these changes have happened, and my choices have narrowed. That's really what it is. Sometimes people say to me that they'd love to have a day to rest, or that if I need to be in bed, than that is what my body is telling me, and to honor that. But what it is, and why these comments miss their mark, is because I don't have a choice. Pain takes away choice. These times I need to be in bed are sad and often isolating. Nobody feels good when they are in pain, or so inordinately exhausted that getting out of bed isn't an option. Is this really Sarah? Where's my vibrancy? I'm not a horn player any more, I'm not being a doula. Do I have a purpose in this world, other than to bring up my children (which I can do while working at a career, too)? Is getting through each day enough? What whirlwind took me away and deposited this one instead? Sometimes I have referred to myself here as "Sarah, prototype 2", meaning better, improved. Sometimes I don't believe that at all.

But, there are these times....

me & my little guy chillin'
Azriel couldn't resist taking pictures of me jumping!

This was a month ago... hard to resist the trampoline!

Boy, did I pay for it later, but it was fun.