Tuesday, November 28, 2006

General Stuff.


S.E Asians have this natural ability to keep their heads above water under any circumstance. Take my grandmother for example. She bore 12 children naturally, put most of them through university, lost three of them and her husband and she still manages to do shadow kung fu with me in living rooms.
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She gets on planes with a heart condition and her hair is still in place when she walks out of the terminal, 15 hours later. "Grandma, if you're tired we can rest" I would tell her when we were in Germany the previous summer. "No no no, I am fine Sooosi, it's just tiring after a couple hours of walking" replies my 80 year old grandmother.
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It's no wonder when I call my aunt, who is recovering from major surgery (and not her first in the last 10 years) that she answers with this upbeat voice. "Ah Soosi, it's soo good to hear from you my sweet susi." "I see the drugs are working well Aunty" I reply. She goes on to tell me the surgery was fine, no complications, full recovery expected.. yadda yadda yadda, and I trust it- mostly for the fact that i'm not in the mood to worry about my aunt, the one I grew up with, who has maintained the essence of a 20 year old in a body two decades older.
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I update her on my life, pleased that it is going as usual, and it's pretty satisfying and delicious in the belly of my soul, and on and on, I tell her about the escaped seriel rapist in Tel Aviv, and how i'm not worried about myself- but in the Sisterhood of women, I am scared for the potential victims. "I'm not worried about you Soosi," she states.
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"I'm not worried about myself" I reply. Granted- I am scared, it would be ignorant not to be, but I am also angry about the situation. You never realize how many dark corners are in your own city until those dark corners become a threat. You never realize how safe you actually feel in your city until that safety is challenged. You never feel the bitterness of being female when you realize your male counterparts don't need to protect themselves. I guarantee that phone bills will be high this month, in leiu of feeling the fear of streets full of shadows after the sun sets.
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And the longer this man is on the run, the more all us women of Tel Aviv are gonna be more and more pissed off.



Friday, November 24, 2006

love happens.


I was woken up by my Rabbi at 7 this morning, expressing concern on my transportation during Shabbat to Bnei Brak. "Hi Susi, did I wake you?" he asks. "Naw, I always wake up at 7 in the morning after copious amounts of wine" I think to myself. "No no no, how are you?" I ask as I put him on loudspeaker and try to shake my head awake.
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He explains his worries and I assure him to remember, that I was in the Peace Corps and don't mind two hour walks home.
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"What if we found someone cool for you to stay with in Bnei Brak?"
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Did my Rabbi just assume I only do cool? "No thanks, If i stay in Bnei Brak too long I might melt" I joke.
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Two hours walks, two hours walks. After a month of phone, water, gas, toilet,visa, and bank problems, I am really not bothered by: anything. Plus, I like a good story- Bnei Brak for Fri night dinner will be interesting, and quite hardcore in my book.
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In the last week, I've felt in love, I can't be sure why. It reminds me of how I used to feel, the whole "The world is my oyster and I am gonna dance up in it" mentality. Once upon a time, I climbed a mountain in Morroco and professed my love to the world. I vowed never to work in a cubicle and to maintain the authentic feeling of being madly in love. I lost a lot of that in the last year and a half and with the absence of some people in my life, alive and dead, and nowadays: one thing I never take for granted is my happiness. It's the most precious thing to me aside from my decision to convert. Especially now, more than any of you may ever know.
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In my situation, beautiful feelings don't last for long, Tsiki would have been 25 this upcoming week, and with that knowledge, I am holding on to a strong post with prayer that I can maintain authenticity when my heart becomes too hard to hold. I would prefer someone else to hold it during this time, but at this moment- it's not feasible. So... i am building reinforcements and strapping them on my back. This is all a learning experience for me, each day I experience- I become more aware of who the I am and closer to the truth about life. It's scary, it's frightening, it makes me sad, but it's simply how it is. What can I do? The horrific thing about experiencing the trauma of death is that you don't choose it, but you suffer nevertheless, you become crippled. 1.5 years ago my heart was so full of love and happiness, and within a moment it was torn out of me, dispered into the universe, as if G-d whispered to me "You are not alloted this, so sorry". I don't know if i'm bitter about it, but I am sad sometimes when I think about it. I did feel my heart flutter this year, I had half of a 2nd chance didn't i?
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I can't be sure the meaning of it all, but I am working through it, and i'm better for it.And lucky for me, i'll have hours of walking ahead of me to ponder the universe, and everything in between, on my way home from Shabbat din din.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Moral Animal Ruff Ruff


Girl buys ice cream. Girl walks with ice cream. World moves about. Male species of North american origin is walking towards girl, watching girl with her ice cream.
"I see that grin, north american male" I think to myself "I come from same origin, I know what your thinking, and I find it ...disgusting" as I grin back to him and immediately throw my ice cream in the trash.

I think i'll stick to the fresh juice and straws from now on.

I settled myself on the empty beach today, kinda had this quesy feeling of excitement inside- the weather was perfect and I sat there, cross legged, staring our into the Sea, sipping my miso soup, watching a big man catch small fish, pleased at the decision of finding an a-p-t near the water. After not having been to the ocean after a couple weeks, I felt reunited with a long lost friend.

I continued with one of the books i've been reading this season (there are about three bookmarked on my bedside table). A book on evolutionary psychology and comparing Darwin's life to the theories that he wrote about, whether they held true or not. So at this moment, the whole madonna-whore dichotemy and high male input society theories are swimming through my head and i'm wondering any of his theories hold true or not. It's one thing to explain humans in terms of the animal kingdom, but I can't help but wonder how much of our self control is choice vs. animalistic. Can we naturally not have desire because of our high intelligance if we deem it so? I can't help but wonder if my attraction to certain people is animalistic, or spiritual.

Animalistic/ Spiritual.. Choice/Fate.. these are polarized topics that can easily be switched out with one another without affecting the sentence structure.

I supposed we try to rationalize everything, make sense of it, through religion, theory and sitcoms. When we let go a little bit, either our lives are taken over by instinct- or fate. And some will say our instinct/choices is part of our fate, and some say our instinct creates our fate.

I simply like popcorn and reading various theories that I will put into practice or have for coffee talk when I pretend i'm well read on a plethora of subjects.

smoochie woochies.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Thurs Evening


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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Poor Sarai



This weeks Parashat Shuvua is Chayei Sarah. Listening to my Rabbi last night, i've felt a bit guilty of how i've allowed the changing of seasons to affect me. I've allowed a negative outlook to tarnish the move forward energy i've always tried maintain in the world. Being a Sunday girl, I am very black and white, since my energy is fire- It can be used as pure anger, or as energy that fuels one's soul to take those leaps and bounds forward. It's a challenge for me to maintain authenticity in the middle. I often choose not to, in the kindest way possible of course.





As Emerson once said: Life consists of what man thinks everyday.





Generally, I think everyday of Judaic Philosophy, of my past, and of food. I sometimes think of licking people and when I do, I read something extemely academic to dumb my desires down.


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Honestly, I don't think there's momentous change to be had until I complete my conversion and get through next seasons Passover. As always, Pesach will be the toughest time of year for the Ginrod soul and I do hope with the birth of Tsiki's niece and my conversion, a rising Phoenix of beauty will fly into our world. If anything, my energies of this year will show some favor in making another step.


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I do value the insight I gain each time I study.. into my own character and into the character of Judaism. I feel as if it's helping me blend into the person I am becoming. These stories have existed for thousands of years, people have studied and learned from these chapters during that time and in reading these chapters- one feels a bit humbled when you put what you've learned into daily thought and practice.


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So to some it up- it goes a bit like this:


If Sarah, the wife of Avraham in her life time copes with:


  • 2 abductions ( sexual)
  • almost a lifetime of childlessness
  • witnessing her maidservant bear a child to the her man
  • breastfeed at 90+ years old when she finally does conceive
  • and then at the end, she dies of a heart attack because she believed her only son has been slaughtered by the love of her life......

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....and is seen as a women who was as sinless as a 20 year old and is the Matriarch of Judaism as we know it....
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Well- I guess she brings the whole "the city of happiness is in the state of mind" saying to a new level. Either a long life brings a lot of ups and downs and abductions, or the single most important thing to remember is: It's really not about what you've gone through in life, it's about how you handle and gain character from it.





I'm about to handle me some relaxing drinks for the weekend.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

stick me.


I was playing hopscotch through central Tel Aviv last night. The big guys didn't think rain was an issue when laying the foundation for this city. Coming from Oklahoma, the term "flash flood" was as common as our wet socks when Tornado season danced into our dusty town. But ya see- in Tulsa, we had our dams, rivers, and ditches to control the water, the only problem was that the flat lands of the midwest could never hold all the water the skies dropped on us. Tel Aviv didn't even try to build a few streams to run through the city, it would have been pretty. We could have gone fishing for middleeastern Crawdads.

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Pharmaceutical companies didn't heed it important to mention to the women of the world the side-effects of stopping your pill are a pain-in-the-___. Side-affects of anything are never a reason strong enough to place the blame %100. They are however, an interesting explanation to why I have felt like a yarn of emotions, a bit animalistic, and my tolerance level for almost everything is balanced on the tip of a needle.
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Speaking of needles, due to the world moving around me, and my mind always trying to untie itself more and more into my Judaism, I have realized I have little time to give to create peace of my own. I'm quite an analyzer by birth and all the ruminating, contemplating, musing, absorption the last 18 months has placed on my plate, has left my head constantly spinning between the universe and my broken toilet at home. I called up a friend, who is an acupuncturist and set an appointment for yesterday evening.
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The minute that needle went in between my eyes, A warm rush went through my body and seemed to have released that "broken-hearted feeling" (aka ball of stress) in my chest. As the light pinches swept through out my body, I felt in a very warm and safe place.
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For the rest of the evening, I felt on cloud 8.765. Thank you Chinese medicine. I caught up with a friend and we filled our bellies with the best Kosher Sushi on this side of the Meditteranean and I walked my pleasant self pleasantly home. As I approached a bus stop on the way, an older man was leaning towards the side of the booth, in full view of the passerbys. I looked at him and then followed his eyes downward where he was fully exposed.
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Gasp. "ugh", "Argh" gasp gasp. Gave him an evil eye and walked faster-completely disturbed by what I just witnessed. The Sushi in my stomach mixed itself with the disturbing emotion that flowed through me. I shivered in disgust all the way home as I continued to hopscotch myself through the rain puddles.
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In bed by 10:30. Stupid old man. you almost almost almost unchilled me. Bang Bang. (cowboy gun motion right about now).

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Hunger.


When I woke up from my dream this morning at 4:30, my heart and mind paused with a sort of numbness that I can only explain with the moments after a small child gets hurt, when they look at the world around them and then they allow it to crumple after a few seconds when the pain inflicted upon themselves is realized.
This dream was so convincingly real, it breaks my heart that it came to me, but it also left me extremly curious as to why they come, so few and far between, but so so real.
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I'm taking out the trash, but it's a piece of luggage filled with trash, and this joyous cacophony causes me to turn around. It's Tsiki's friends, running towards me, and behind them is Tsiki, in his IDF uniform. I pause, staring in disbelief- and I begin to cry. I touch his face and it's alive and there and I hug him and he's so warm. I am so confused and I ask him and his friends "how can this be? Tsiki has been dead for a year and a half", and everyone is so happy so see him, that they urge me to not ask such silly things.
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Tsiki's friends allow us our own reunion as I pull him to the side, completely stunned, and so deeply happy to have a glimpse of him for my heart that we continue to his family's home-in this hoard of happiness. His mother is shocked to see him, she is so shocked she has to go lie down, none of us know what to think. I sit on the floor and he lies his head on my lap as I am stroking his hair. " You've lost weight sooz" he says. "I lost 5 kilos when you died, I gained back about 1.5" I answer. He bites his lip. "You're mother cried everyday, until I moved out, she probably still cries for you, but I'm not there to witness it anymore. It's really good your back Tsiki. For ever how long are you. It's really good to see you, I miss knowing what's it's like to have everything back again."
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And then I tell him everything, about how hard the last year and a half has been, I tell him about P Bonez, and about conversion, what the world is like- what Israel is like for me. He says "ahh you're ready for babies"..with a smile, and I give him a "pfffft". "Where i've been susi, there are a lot of religious people, we talk about things, about the families left behind, they are sad for me, that I never left behind a child, to continue my cycle, have many babies Sooz, it'll make you so happy" he says with sad eyes. His dad walks in and Tsiki laughs "What for shoes are you wearing Aba?!" We all laugh and tell him they're Crocs, that it's the new thing...he says he should get a pair, that they're hilarious.
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There's a silence in the room and I turn to look at him. "I know this isn't right, that you can't be alive- that this isn't real, but it feels so real Tsiki. It feels like if I wish these moments enough I don't ever have to go back to the loneliness of real life, to the loneliness of a cold bed. We don't have to be together, time has passed, I know I can move on, but I don't want to always have to say goodbye to the things that make me happy, and even after you passed, I am still having to let go of what I care about."
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I then get up to go to the kitchen, to call my brother and tell him of this amazing occurrence. One of our mutual friends follows me into the kitchen. "He's not gonna last long" she tells me. "It's not normal, people don't die and come back, he's gonna fade susi". "I know", I tell her assuringly "i'm not lucky enough for this to be real, I know, but let me pretend i'll have it forever, let me let myself believe this to be real" I say.
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..and I walk into the living room and he's gone- and they are all gone, and that is when I wake up and my heart and mind are frozen, and I get up to look in my own living room, to see if maybe something is waiting for me. Nothing is there.
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I sit on my bed, with the light on, 4:30 in the morning, and blow my nose. And it bleeds, and all I can remember is the unexplainable nosebleeds I got the week I sat Sheva at the Eyal's home.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Damn Right.



And we gonna get the Senate too.

Nana Nana

Boo Boo.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Sincerity


This picture was sent to me in the last week, it brought back so many memories of that week in Phuket, two months after the Tsunami. Was it Khao Lak we went to? Khao something, an area near Phuket where we went to assist a village of Sea Gypies to rebuild their homes with an organization that was started by the Fencing Bronze medalist from Germany.

See how happy we are? That's because we spent the last few nights sleeping in tents that never caught a breeze. We washed from a shower that collected rain water and was sterilized by tiny chlorine blocks a swiss man packed in his backpack. When they brought in the farm animals, we were woken up by their grunting and squeaking near our tents. I learned how to lay bricks that week, and dig 6-hour ditches that would serve as sewage containers for the toilets in the homes we were building. We watched the Thai's and Ferangs carrying pipes together, and teaching one another how to mix the concrete to hold together the flimsy bricks we were laying. The brick factory was mixing in dirt and causing them to break easily. Thai children would play hide and seek with us and bring us cold water as we kept falling off ladders, into ditches, and off planks.

At the end of every evening, we would walk to the crystal clear beach, holding our breath when crossing the standing water that 75 bodies were found in, collect the perfect sand dollars the Tsunami left and swim as the sun dipped itself into the ocean ahead.

After our volunteering, we cleaned ourselves up in this 5 star hotel, which offered us $12 nights to generate business and reward us for our efforts. This reminds me of one of my more happier times, it was about three weeks before my life turned into it's very own emotional Tsunami.

Yesterday, I had a long chat with my Rabbi. I had to ask him the million dollar question- when can I anticipate my next beginning?

Sincerity is the key element to complete conversion. Some Jewish communities judge sincerity within 6 months, some within a year, and.. as it's well known- 3-5 years in places like the UK. I was relieved to know that my Rabbi does not doubt my sincerity. "One cannot argue with your intentions, from your experience and what brought you here" He stated.

I had to agree with him. My decision to convert, and to actually convert is the single most important decision i've made in my life, it's something I haven't taken lightly. But, the thought of it actually happening forms a knot in my abdomen. I've kinda settled into the Shabbat Keeping Shiksa with some ink on her right arm status. It will be almost 3 years since i've made the decision to become Jewish and what a rollercoaster it's been. I've gotten used to the whole "My mother would really like you as a person, but she'd never accept you since you're not born Jewish." statements, or the " hey sooz, what does a cheeseburger taste like?" questions, and the "No, catholics don't really go to confession as much as the movies portray" answers- and the neverending explanatory conversation that follows this template:


Stranger: Is your family here in Israel?
Me: Naw, still back home
Stranger: Why don't they make Aaliyah?
Me: cuz my momma is Catholic
Stranger: Then how are you able to live here? Are you married?
Me: Boogah woogah, no i'm not, i got a visa
Stranger: How is that possible??
Me: I'm converting
Stranger: why?? people can gett a conversion visa??
Me: No, not really. It's a long story and top secret. Over and out.

My evaluation is in the next 2-3 months, then i'll know for sure what's up. ..I think my knot is growing.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Lech Lecha


I've had dreams, dreams of every sort, i've dreamt lucidly, in color, with taste..i've had handfuls of dreams that foretold the upcoming months, dreams that told me of my best friends firstborn, dreams of murders that i've read in the paper the next day, dreams of court verdicts, of relatives illnesses. Dreams that don't make sense- and in the last months, of the IDF. I've never dreamt of marriage. The night before last, I dreamt of marriage. I dreamt of marriage?

It was a simple wedding, nothing grandiose about it. My friends were stressed, running around me, I was dancing a leprechaun dance, waiting for someone to unzip me so I could go to the bathroom, all the while sticking my head out and waving to the guests, gloating on the attendance of all the randoms i've managed to meet and know during my time in Israel, laughing about the fact that someone actually wanted to marry me. Then, for some reason or the other, I had to run out and grab something, which is completely inappropriate when you're not even fully dressed in your bride's attire. The assembly of people turned to me and I ran back into the room shrieking as a wave of laughter followed me when I shut the door.

I woke up laughing.

Last night I had a dream of a Kibbutz-like guesthouse- hills, wooden fences, green green foliage everywhere. I was flying, but not as much as other dreams, just enough to make it to the other side of the fences. I think my mind is letting loose. Taking a break from those terrible, stressful dreams of the IDF and giving me some good scented dreams. It makes it easier to face the day.

This week is round two of my favorite Parasha Shuvua. Lech Lecha. I came home and reflected how it makes so much sense to read through the Torah each year. No chapter is the same the next time you read it. I am also pleased with the fact that i've kept a blog. Now, after a year and a half, I can track my thoughts and compare who I am now vs. who I was last year, and hope- that I am growing for the better and not becoming worse.

In the summer of 2005, the women who headed the Girlfriends of Fallen Soldiers group attended a wedding with me. A woman who was a former member was finally whisked away by a pretty great guy who also happened to be the brother of Tsiki's best friend. I told the women that I thought I was in the "acceptance" phase of Kubler-Ross's cycle of grief and how I was relieved, because it makes me feel pathetic to feel like a widow at the age of 24. They both sadly nodded at me and told me the average healing of a girl in the group was 2-2.5 years. I sat there, with tears in my eyes, angry at them for giving us averages. "2-2.5 years takes away my mid-twenties from me!!! Everyone else has their Thursday nights and their pillow kisses and I refuse to put myself to sleep every night from emotional exhaustion!!!" I declared.

I understand now what they meant. When you go through a tough time- especially this whole grief thing.. you spent your first year remembering each day of the year before when your life was at it's peak. After all the first anniversaries, and the first holidays without your loved one(s), you find a sense of relief that all those 1st's are put in your silken handkerchief of memories and you go on to have your second year. The second year is a different type of sentimentality. Let me explain: with the seasons changing, I am thrown into memory lane of last year. I am reminded of my first experiences with Judaism: wondering if the Bet Din will take on my conversion case- having first Shabbat dinners- feeling like i'll never fit in, wondering why I was holding someone else's hand and why he even wanted to know my name. I felt so out of place and lost, but.. butbutbut- I felt like I was doing the right thing. Some of those memories are floating around my noggin' right now and I still feel traces of those insecurities- i'm just used to carrying them around better.

With a bit of warmth, I can look up my old entries of this time last year and realize that no, you never move on from the past, you just grow up a little faster and learn live with it better and more gracefully as time goes by.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Team Estro

Sorry, had to do two posts in a row. can't figure out the URL picture thing. Anyway, Team Estrogen got together for some Sushi and scandal for Ms. Eli's 56th bday. She looks good? and she is so young at heart, she hangs out with us 35 year olds with such dignity. I know hoov, I stole your pics. No Hip replacements for her this year! only sweet sweet loving..and pearls. lots and LOTS of pearls.
Check out the rest of the pics on the flicker banner near the bottom of my blog.

The mini vase is not sushi.









Punchline of the Day.

Friend: not feeling well, stomach hurts.
Me: why for?
Friend: Got IBS
Me: Eh? IBS?? sounds like a Financial STD, this.. ibs.