Sunday, April 6, 2014

Visit Scott's CaringBridge Site

You are receiving this email because your friend, Sharon Alger, submitted your email address.


We created this site to allow everyone to be updated on Scott Harris's condition. He was admitted last night hemorrhaging from an unknown source. He is extremely weak and while very ill, I'm trying to keep his spirits up. Follow along at Caring Bridge (no, Dan Shernikoff, you don't HAVE to) for updates. Call me at 412-802-5283 (or text). My email is If you'd like you can text Scott at 412-251-8118 or email him at I'll post updates through this page and that should come through on my Facebook page and hopefully, Scott's as well. Friend me at Facebook if you'd like - Sharon Bar Kochbah Alger. Thank you and please pray for a full and complete recovery. Love, Sharon (Elianah)

A CaringBridge Site was created for Scott Harris. It's a caring social network to help people stay connected with family and friends during a health event. Visit Scott's site often to stay updated and share messages of encouragement and compassion in the Guestbook.

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Friday, March 28, 2014

A long days night via Werdsmith

I was up all night in the can. Call it what you will but last night my relationship with it became inhuman.

I'd be running down and think I was finished and come back to bed and a second later back running down.

I was exhausted.

I had a rice heating pad on me and took a Xanax to relax because I was in so much pain. A pack of Pampers wouldn't have hurt either!

Just sayin.

Scott was up and down with me. At first I was sick from dumping syndrome when I ate some birthday cake. That means what's in your stomach jets into your rerouted guts super fast and take it from me, gastric bypassed guts don't like sugar straight from the source.

I thought THAT would make me die. My pulse was unbelievably high and I even nearly yakked.

Next thing I know, THATS over and my guts are swelled out like I'm about to have a small litter of Great Danes! I thought I'd die. I couldn't even sit up on the toilet!

I applied some heat and settled in for nearly 7 solid hours of shuttling between bed and the loo.

I put warm therabeads (a kind of eye compress) on my eyes and slept all morning, got up and the slept all afternoon. I still felt like I wanted to die.

I even bargained with Gd that if he'd let me live, I'd give up cake forever! I later had a small piece of dark sea salt caramel chocolate to cheer up my mouth and I am sure I heard Gd snicker as I went into dumping syndrome again.

Really Gd?

After Scott came home, he took me to Med Express. I heart them. I was diagnosed with a gastro virus, topped off with a bag of saline and a hit if anti nausea meds and off I toddled.

Scott made it home for the basketball festivities of the Sweet Sixteen!

The only downer was that my insurance only allows me 6 scripts per month and I couldn't get the meds they prescribed (poverty sucks!). I have some nausea meds left from the after effects of the lumbar puncture and I'll survive on Imodium I'm sure.

I am slowly proving that I am a science project for sure!

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Eggs eggs eggs - life on a ketogenic diet

There's a lot to be said for the ketogenic diet. Mine is personally structured to give me macros of 90g of protein, 20g of carbs and (yes, you're reading this right) 90g of fat. I am usually around 1250 calories or so a day.

And while there is a lot to be said for the diet, I can sum it up in one word - eggs!

I have been following this eating plan since March 9. I have lost about 2-5 lbs depending I when I hit the scale. That pales though when looking at the most important change - my blood sugar levels are NORMAL and stay that way!

May I hear a collective Hallelujah? Thank you, thank you very much!

Despite everything else going against me (i.e. white matter issues in my gray matter, seizures, deep dark depression, etc.) this has actually been a high point.

I failed my glucose tolerance test miserably. At my second hour draw, my glucose was at 40. I knew it was low but still. That's SeizureLand people!

So after my neuro told me this was my number one resolvable issue and to get myself to the endocrinologist post haste, I resorted to Dr. Google and her friends, the Cleveland and Mayo Clinics. I figured I'd have to wait 4-6 weeks for an appointment anyway...

Well, after studying everything I could from various hospitals, medical journals and Yahoo Answers, I kept seeing "ketogenic diet."

I scoped it out and had the calculators figure out my macros of 90/20/90 (1250) - don't wince. I know you are but don't. Not yet anyway.

Basically it's Atkins without the urge to gnaw on a tree. I have a little app on the iphone where I log my food and keep track of these macros. I'm not especially a meatatarian so that has involved consumption of dozens of eggs and millions of slices of cheese daily.

One night I was short on fat and actually considered drinking a 1/8 cup of ranch dressing! Fortunately, when I am low on protein (as if that's likely which it isn't but yes, it HAS happened) I can make a quick protein shake to get the protein in.

This also works well since my stomach is the size of a teacup because of my Gastric Bypass RNY surgery (another group hug please because I does love me my bypass!) I can't eat a lot at once but what I'm eating doesn't take up much room (6 eggs? Get outta here!) and I feel full a LOT longer PLUS my blood sugar doesn't budge.

According to the research, despite the enormous amounts of fat I'm eating, my blood lipids shouldn't be affected.

The overall goal is to stop my body from being dependent on glucose for it's main fuel source. That's basically defined as what I eat I use for fuel and the rest is reserved for the next time I'm on a desert island. At this point, because you can eat a small metric crap ton of carbs before you feel full and then crave and eat even more, Captain Insulin flies in to save your liver. And if you're like me, your blood sugar drops so low you have a grand mal seizure that even Underdog cannot save you from! Captain Insulin has job and can be very heavy handed!

With the ketogenic diet, after about two days of eggs and cheese, you go into a state if ketosis where your body isn't worrying you about where it's next meal is coming basically starts, shall we say, living off the land, and instead of using what you're eating for fuel and then demanding more, it starts to burn the fat you already have.

Cool huh?

Obviously there's more to it. You'll pee like a racehorse after a 2 miler in the rain, you'll be so thirsty you will drink things you never considered (water, anyone?), you'll contemplate just slamming back the salad dressing and chugging it if you're low on fat, but basically you end up getting the hang if it and get a little more energy and there you are: ketosis!

Now if you think I am certifiable about this, I want to say: I checked with my doctor who approved this and followed up with my neuro who approved the macros I set up. Don't ride without training wheels to your doctors!!!

So here's my deal today. I have been sick for a week now since a lumbar puncture took some brain fluid I probably didn't need to lose. I've had headaches like Russia rolling through Poland. Today though I fried up 3 eggs and 3 or so egg whites in some olive oil, put a slice of cheese all over it, made my tea (with stevia because you don't eat sugar at 20 carbs!), and had breakfast. I've tried the breakfast meat routine to liven things up but I yakked up the sausage and ZoMG the price of bacon!!!!

I think I'll make egg and guacamole salad for lunch. Usually at dinner I just eat meat and a bit of veg. If I'm hungry I'll have milk or sugar free pudding with 5g of carbs.

If I do get hungry I do eat more....just ketogenically. Sometimes i do admit to a square of 70% dark chocolate caramel sea salt candy from Trader Joes :-).

A girl has to live, right?

And whereas I used to hate Pesach (Passover) as the holiday of eggs, cheese and matzah? Now I'm kind of looking forward to fancy Seder meals that liven things up and maybe even a few fun desserts I ordinarily wouldn't have but hey, it's a holiday right?

It IS a nasty little diet. I'll admit that! I want to yak eggs and the variety is nil (yes I DO eat raw hot dogs) but since I started my sugar hasn't slipped or dipped or even hinted at going south. I'm at 95-101 and feel pretty good. When I DO feel funky I know it's my neuro issues now and not my endo issues which in a weird way is comforting.

I do yoga more now than I was and I'm enjoying it. I know I won't feel like crap from a low glucose level after!

Scott is taking me to Florida in two weeks and I'm a little concerned but I figure they have eggs and raw hot dogs there with some cheese sticks thrown in for variety.

So I'll keep you posted. For me this has been a great happening. I really was so debilitated by my low glucose I could hardly function and while I won't go so far as to say I have everything back to where it was before these evil sugar drops started, I feel more comfortable when I'm out and again, it's reassuring to pull out another tangle in the whole neuro/white matter disease/seizure ordeal.

Now, I just wish I could get the Incredible Edible Egg song out of my head!

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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Wet Floors via Werdsmith

 have three boys living in the house so I get wet spots around the toilet. It's gross and nasty and I'd never put my toes in my mouth (as if) but I get it.

Today, I am a little more than grossed out and very curious.

Wet spot by toilet- check.

Wet spot on landing heading up stairs to bedrooms?

What the hell....?

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Of mice and lumbar punctures via Werdsmith

Well, all good intentions, right?

Evan had a meeting at 10am to discuss therapeutic needs. I felt great so I came down and was sitting cross legged in the recliner...when I got the worst stiff neck and headache I have ever since I was pregnant!

I put the recliner back and apologized profusely. I had Ev bring me Excedrin migraine but it didn't make a dent.

After the meeting I called the doctor. They prescribed compazine and fioricet but I had to wait for Scott to come home to bring it. In the meantime I took a clonopin and tried to sleep it off with no dice.

I DID watch a lot of Lie To Me on!

When Scott did bring home the meds I took them and while the headache was still there, it was better. I couldn't stand the flickering tv as he watched basketball so I had sleep blinders on (I love them and have 3 of them!) and finally listened to a Miss Marple on iTunes and fell asleep.

No headache when I woke up but I feel it lurking so I took the meds. Scott is out of work clothes and the dishes have piled up so what's a girl to do? I'll hit that before the headache takes me down and at least soak the dishes so Ev can load the dishwasher.

I know this too shall pass and I should enjoy the down time but I'm bored, depressed and achey. Still, I'm here which is all that counts I guess.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

A day in the life... via Werdsmith

Wednesday I had a lumbar puncture. This is a result of "white matter abnormalities" in my brain which were seen as a result if the MRI I had to have because if weird, unidentifiable seizures I started having when I lived in Jerusalem.

Funny how getting a divorce kind of stopped the grand mal ones at least, but I digress.

Anyway. It wasn't a bad procedure. I chose not to ogle the long needle and I bent over the table instead of laying down. Well, until I broke into a hard sweat and wanted to hurl at least. Then fetal it was for me!

My doctor we shall call Dr. Awesome because he was amazing. He used the smallest sized child needle for me and while that made the collection longer, it also didn't hurt. Once we were well on our way I meditated myself into some zen happy place and seriously, I was in a zen state the whole time. It was like being in a twilight sleep.

Once it was over, I stayed fetal (with the risk of a post-procedure migraine and hurling WAY was I moving!). Scott couldn't be there so Evan was playing nurse. I was frozen so I asked him to throw my coat over me.

"No Mother, mine was on me so it's warmer!" He was right. I cuddled up, put Israeli music on the iphone and laid there like a slug for two hours.

Finally Scott came and took me home and put me in bed. I was instructed to drink caffeine to close the puncture so Starbucks it was! I felt like a sore, supine princess.

I was still sore yesterday but finally the bandaid fell off and so now I am in light activity mode and out of bed!!! I can even do some light yoga but since Shabbat starts tonight I need to thaw the challah dough, set up the cholent and defrost the chicken. And cookies! Lots of cookies and applesauce cake :-)

If I get that far I am golden.

I am even planning to go to services tonight which is a huge deal.

Stay tuned!

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Monday, March 17, 2014

A honey badger mama...that's me! via Werdsmith

When you hear people describe themselves as single parents, generally, at least to me, a frumpy, 50 year old with a 21 year old son with autism doesn't exactly jump to mind. But, well, here I am...the poster frump for single moms of adult children with developmental challenges.

What else can I say?

There have been so many heart wrenching struggles since we came back from our home in Jerusalem last year. My ex stole my son from me. Because my son is what I call a "pure soul" - what else could he do but go with his father? He was the child, after all, he had to obey.

I got him back in July and have had him since. I got him back despite my panic attacks and suicidal bouts of depression because he was all I thought of - his well being, his happiness, his soul.

I know he was happy to be with me. We had a summer filled with trips to the beach and baseball games with the Miracle League. Fall found us in the Adirondacks. My boyfriend filled a fatherly void Evan had felt acutely.

I saw that face and that smile and heard that giggle every day and u knew we had done he right thing.

But Evan still felt that, morally, he had an obligation to have what he called "a relationship" with his dad. He didn't know how to sort through the burning, raging anger he felt towards his dad to get to that point but he and his therapist worked diligently.

Finally at Christmas Evan spent time with his dad and his dad's family on Christmas Eve.

Too bad his cousin felt the need to tell HER boyfriend how "weird" Evan was while Evan stood there.

(Some people just aren't raised right I guess. Sad but so true - especially when there are challenged people in the family.)

Anyway, that went okay but Evan had a list of rules, dos and donts. We made him give a copy to his dad so everyone was clear but that didn't work.

When Evan said no overnights - his dad didn't have a conversation with our child without pressuring him to spend the night. I knew Evan was afraid if being stolen when we first came home, his father took him and that was that. I couldn't talk to or see him.

Well, we have continued therapy. And just when we thought we had an agreement we ALL could be happy about, Evan's father pulled the rug out from under his child again and texted US that he needed a break; that 5 hours wasn't enough time every other week; that he was emotionally and physically exhausted by all of this and was taking an unspecified break.


I'm sure you can imagine that when we let Ev know he launched into the stratosphere fueled by an anger and fury unimaginable! And yes, that's what happened.

Then his father decided his break was over (after a week - wtf?!) and said he'd be attending therapy with Evan.

So tonight the rage boiled over. Evan called his dad and while my kid is too polite and nice, he basically told him he didn't want to see him again. Evan said he would call him sometime after he told him he was done with him. I asked him why he'd say that if he was truly done? He said it was what people said when they knew they'd never call again and he thinks his dad knew that.

We will see.

So I am the single mom now even though sometimes he does call my boyfriend "dad" every so often.

I know I have an adult child and I know I should care that he has a relationship with his dad but honestly I don't. I don't want my son to struggle with another year of fury and false hope and promises never kept. A year filled with words from a father who cares more about HIS emotional health than that of his son who obviously is suffering.

He needs a father who only wants to see his face, see his smile and hear his laugh everday.

He doesn't deserve this, my boy. He deserves so much, much more than the fuckmuppetry he gets.

Mama Badger is peeking out of the nest and you can rest assured, she cannot keep quiet and working a dual agenda that can never be reconciled for much longer.

This Mama must protect her cub, her baby. No more protecting the interloper.

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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Things said around my house today via Werdsmith

E: "Why am I washing these jeans if I already washed his other pair?"
M: "Because they smell and need to be disinfected. He has monkey butt."
E: "He has MONKEY BUTT?!"
Much giggling ensues.
S to M: "Given what I've heard and smelled coming out of you lately, I'd say YOU have GORILLA ASS!!"
E: falls over howling.

S to E: "get your elbow out of my crotch!"
M: O.o

M: "why is the house shaking?"
M to S who is changing upstairs: "what the hell are you doing up there?"
E: giggles uncontrollably
M to E: "quit shaking your foot."

E running downstairs after torturing S: "Psycho hose beast!"

S: What happened to my glasses. You people made me lose my glasses!"
E: "I didn't step on your glasses!"
S: "what do you think I just extracted from under your foot?"
One or the other hits the other upside the head with a newspaper.
M: "I'm going to separate you two."
S: "now you made me hit you!"
E hits him really hard with paper.
Paper sword fight erupts.

E and S: "let's get her!"
M is attacked by paper swords wielded by S and E.
Dinner is cancelled.

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Saturday, February 15, 2014

One Minute Writer - Adjusting

Today's topic from One Minute Writer: 

"What's the biggest adjustment you've ever had to make in your life?"

This took me a while to think about.  This past year has been the biggest adjustment I have ever had to make bar none!

Most people will say having a baby is a big adjustment but I can't say that.  Evan slipped into my life so easily it was like he was always there.  The joy he brought me, and continues to bring me, far overshadows any kind of adjustment I ever had to make.  The point is, I can't even remember making any adjustments for him.

Even moving to Israel wasn't as big of an adjustment as this past year.  Yes, it was challenging but within a year I felt like it was my forever home.  I didn't speak Hebrew well but I could ride a bus and take Evan to Masada and the Dead Sea. I could grocery shop and get my hair cut.  I could sit in the park and enjoy where I was.  Despite the challenges of not speaking the language, losing my job and the severe financial challenges we faced, the reason we left wasn't because we couldn't adjust.  Leaving definitely tore a hole in both Evan's and my heart.

No, without a doubt, this past year was the hardest adjustment of my life.  The defeat of coming back from Aliyah, being severely ostracized by family and friends, having my child taken from me, and finally, to my relief, finalizing my divorce.  My drivers license was taken from me and my friends stopped calling and texting.  I grew afraid of people, of groups, of leaving the house.

There were good adjustments too.  A new and wonderful relationship, a beautiful new home, a new life, new friends and family. I got my son back.

I went from a country I love more than anyplace to a cold, unheated home with no toilet or water.  My child was taken from me and I was told no one wanted me and that I was an unfit mother.

I wanted and made plans to die.  I had no reservations.

And from there...I am here.  And I am still adjusting to a normal, loving relationship. I am still working on going out of the house and to synagogue.  I haven't made it yet but every week I try. 

I am accepting that I have epilepsy and can't drive and may never drive again.

At one point I said I was becoming.  Back then I thought I was.  It was all blue skies.

Now I am adjusting and trying to accept where I am.  I am trying to adjust and accept who I am.  I am trying to start over and adjust to the wasteland I feel my life has become.

Fortunately I AM loved and that gives me hope that eventually I can become again.  Maybe not.  I really just don't know.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

What are you good at?

Today's topic for my One Minute Writer is as follows:

  1. If you could be graded in any made-up subject you wish, what would you get an "A" in?
I had to think a lot about this.  For example I m the crown princess at obsessing.  Whether it's over the car breaking down, or my cookies being an epic an utter fail, or that the laundry and dishes aren't done by the time Scott pulls in and dinner isn't even started.  In this example I intellectually know he is okay with my failure but inside I am not okay with it.

Another thing I gave down pat is worrying that the covers are perfectly straight on the bed and tucked in properly on the bottom do they don't pull out.  Wanna make me bat shit crazy?  Give me messy sheets at the bottom if the bed.

Still more...I can't sleep if the thermostat is over 63 and I am stealth at making sure it is every night.

I am a world class Olympic caliber worrier and I think that's where I'd take my A and my gold.  I worry about everything from the abject fear if making phone calls to what people think of me.  I worry when a letter comes I have to deal with and I just can't right now.  I worry over dinner.  I worry the car will break down or we will get a ticket because the brake lights aren't working.  Not that we drive more than a square mile but still.  I worry that my debit card will fail.  I worry that my son is lonely and needs me and I can't emotionally be there sometimes.  I worry that the electric kettle takes 3 times to boil and that I over broiled the roast and ruined dinner.  I worry that it's snowing and I worry that it's not.  I worry I have books to read and can't.  I worry that I have Ravellenics projects to do and I worry I might not be able to.  I worry I may never be diagnosed and I may be like this forever.

The fact if the matter is I worry and if I can't find anything worthwhile to worry about, I can assure you I will find something worthy to worry about if only until the next best worrying contender comes along.

So with these creds how could I not get an A?  Sure I love to sleep but as Scott pointed out my dreams are too disturbing to sleep deeply and therefore I don't which disqualifies me from my A in sleep.

I do know trivia but so does everyone else these days.  I do wish we could find a bar with trivia night so we could play.  I liked that in Israel and I would love it with Scott here.  I'd worry less if we could find something like this.

I think I am realizing that my old life is dead and gone and I worry about how to start over at my sge. How to fit in, find friends and start to live again.

So that is, in a nutshell, my reasoning for my A. In worrying although I worry I may not worry well enough to get that A but for now, it's all I've got.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

One Minute Writer - My Patronus

I'm signed up with One Minute Writer  which is a cool way to not only freshen up your blog content but it's also a good way to expand your writing and let your readers see that you're much more than a one topic blog.

The topic today is:  if you could have any wild animal as a pet, which would you choose?

My question first is, when you first saw that topic, which animal do you think I'd choose?

Second, I am going to expand this further and say which animal do I see as my Patronus and why?  Feel free to play along in the comments!!!

I would choose the same animal, actually, for a pet and for my patronus.  I'm sure very few would guess that that animal is a badger!

No, I don't have white streaks up the sides of my beehive hairdo...but I think if you really knew badgers you'd understand.

Firstly, they are feisty and scrappy.  These are attributes that not only do I know I have but they're also attributes that have kept me alive and whole my entire life.

Secondly, badgers don't have a problem taking on the entire world at one time.  Tigers, lions, snakes?  Oh my!  They will go tooth and bad ass badger at any of them if that's what they need to do.  Refer back to number 1.

And lastly, badgers take no shit from anything or anyone.  I think they are the animal with the best self esteem on the planet.  I would say "animal kingdom" but a badger's self esteem completely overshadows anything on this planet.  I don't even think they could program higher self esteem in a robot to be honest!

I don't exactly think I am badger worthy yet.  Oh I have some of it going on and I had a lot of it going on "before" (how I describe my life before the Deep Dark Sucking Hole of depression got hold of me!)

Anyway, I know as my patronus the badger would inspire and represent my feisty self, my scrappy self and my kick ass and take names self.  Not only that, my badger patronus would die before letting anything or anyone hurt me.

The badger is and always has been my animal of choice.  A bad ass mother.  Just like me.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Depths of Depression

Depression is so insidious.  One minute you feel like maybe it's gone and things seem hopeful, activities you used to love suddenly interest you.  You feel better and you smile easier, you relax better and the things you do are because you want to, not because you force yourself to do them.

When I started to feel better, I wanted to go out more, even to places of which I had been so deathly afraid.  I mean it wasn't like every bad thing was resolved because going into the house I was held prisoner in last year (emotionally anyway) still makes me very, very sad and emotional.  That takes a while to deal with after we go.

But like I said, depression is insidious.  It doesn't take much to throw you back into its clutches.  This whole synagogue thing has done that.  Intellectually I know I should just say screw them all.  When I was a member I was on the board and worked hard.  If they choose to not have me back, they lose don't they?

But emotionally it's exactly most of those words that have triggered my depression as well as a boatload of guilt I can't even process.  And to know that one person on this planet planted all these seeds to destroy me and it worked, well, that makes the veil even darker doesn't it?

So I am back to somewhere I was last summer.  Somewhere deep inside of me that says I am no good and everyone realizes it.  The people who think I AM a good person just don't know me although someday they will and then, they too, will run screaming down the street.  My closest friends aren't even sure of me.  My dad doesn't believe me and says it was all my fault my life went to hell.  How could anyone else believe in me?

And I imagine it's hard for Scott and Evan to have seen such progress, to have to realize such regression.  The exhaustion. The disinterest.  The pain I feel, the guilt and the feelings that I am completely worthless.  The things that don't get done or that I put off.  The fact that this is inside of my head and nothing anyone says can fix it although the support does make it less painful.

Depression is insidious.  That's just what it is.  And coupled with its best friends anxiety and panic attacks, it scares me.  I know I'll reclimb the mountain that I fell down so hard and so fast but it scares me to see how fragile my foothold is and how very quickly things can change.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Ultimate Cookie

Scott loves my cooking.  He absolutely adores my baking though and especially my cookies.  

I have to admit I just cannot find a recipe for the chocolate chip cookie of my dreams....gooey and chocolatey.  Mine tend to be cakey.  Edible but not my ideal.

The cookies I make that he loves are my basic no bakes, my Cape Cod cookie and my special lemon curd cookie.

The Cape Cod is like every cookie rolled into one.  I've doctored it a bit and made it my own but overall it has molasses, oatmeal, raisins, craisins, chocolate chips, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and cloves.

And it is ZOMG!

He LIKES that one but he goes insane for the lemon curd cookies that also do double duty as black currant thumbprints as well. 

Simple little butter cookie with the thumbprint baked in and then filled with lemon curd and topped with a Morello cherry from Trader Joe's.  He can't control himself when I make those so I try to do it mostly when he isn't around and then leave some out for HIM and freeze the rest.  I could laugh and say "for the next night" but, well, that's true.

I found black currant jam at Ollie's and pretty much bought all they had so when we are short on lemon curd I put the black currant in the thumbprint and it's another cookie lovers delight.

I also make pumpkin gingerbread and vegan applesauce cake which I freeze for that disastrous evening when the cookies run out.  I don't just buy a bag of flour....I buy a BAG of flour.

And the most touching thing for me is how grateful he is.  Even when something becomes totally FUBAR, he tells me how wonderful it is and how much he loves my cooking.  And that just makes me want to cook more :-)

I just made a batch of the Cape Cods so I am going to try to clandestinely freeze them before he gets a whiff but for some reason I am not anticipating much success.

A barbed tongue

I honestly don't understand people.  Especially people who are supposed to know certain things and then practice something else.  My example is that in Judaism, lashon horah (basically the evil tongue or gossip) is to be avoided at all costs.  The issues with it are immense.  

Do you know if what you are saying is true?  Are you seeing the whole situation?  Do you personally KNOW what you're saying to be true?  Will what you say lead another to have a view of the individual that is hurtful or incorrect? 

Basically, just don't do it and if you hear it....don't spread it and take it with a grain of salt.  Definitely don't judge someone based on gossip.

Our sages say that lashon horah kills.  And I have found that to be very real and very true.  The lashon horah I have experienced hasn't killed my body but it has destroyed my soul, my neshama, my reason to live.

I had an ugly separation from my husband in Israel.  Things were assumed by him that weren't true and that I always denied.  Things were told to me by authorities in charge of our autistic son that threatened my custody of him and I had to take action.  So there was a lot going on and a lot of reasons why we divorced.  I am not saying I made good choices but I AM saying that what he later said about me wasn't true.  What kills me to this day is that everyone he told chose to believe it.  Simply because once I had my get (religious divorce) I put it behind me and didn't discuss it out of propriety, I was viewed as guilty and in this case, I was presumed guilty of having had an affair - which wasn't true.

When he came back to the US he specifically made sure to tell everyone we knew including friends in the two synagogues we had belonged to.

I was placed in house without heat or water (my toilet was a bag and animal bedding litter).  He took my son and then told me because of my actions I couldn't see him or talk to him.  This was March so I lived in a bedroom with a space heater and an electric kettle.  I ate hot dogs and crackers when I could get them.  No one called.  My "best" friend finally allowed me to come to her house for a shower once my dad had given me a junker to run around in.

I planned my suicide, became severely depressed, anxious, started having panic attacks and couldn't leave the house.  I was afraid of seeing someone I knew.  I was also deathly afraid of having a seizure with no one around.  I'd had two grand mal seizures in Israel so it was a real fear.

This is how lashon horah kills and destroys.  

I talked to the rabbi at my former synagogue and was told that because of postings made by me on Facebook and, I assume, the gossip my ex spread, I was not welcome back.  Oh sure I could show up but he thought ugly things might be said to me.  I am still incredibly fragile and I knew this would do me in.  It did me in anyway.  Suddenly I wanted to curl up in my bed and stay there forever.  I didn't want to face the world ever again.  I thought I was better off dead.  I thought I couldn't be Jewish because no community would have me based on this gossip.

And that, in a nutshell, is why gossip or lashon horah is devastating.  You don't know for sure what you're hearing second hand is true.  You don't know what may or may not have happened.  You may even have witnessed something but you don't know the whole story.  I admit I was wrong and made very bad choices.  But does this mean I deserve to be vilified for my entire life?  Denied my heritage and a community of which to be part?

The people at this particular synagogue should be aware of this.  It's a central tenet of Judaism.  Always give the benefit of the doubt.  And no one can be condemned without three eyewitnesses.  There's a lot involved.

And the biggest wrong?  Why wouldn't this rabbi, at the very least, remind his congregation of all of this before He relayed this to me - before I was demeaned, blacklisted and made to feel less than human and better off dead?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Baby, it's cold outside!

Its cold.  I actually dreamed of a friend who is at a research station in the Antartic like it was normal.  The furnace stops running only at night and only because I can't sleep when it's hot so I turn it down to 64F.  Of course I do pump it up later when I get up but wow.

I have never had forced air heat before except for one short year in my previous life.  I always had electric baseboard heat or radiator heat.  Last winter all I had was portable space heaters which weren't really heat at all.

The thing I have discovered about forced air heat is that it dries you out. Every part of you.  My nose, my sinuses, even my skin and I am so itchy I can barely stand it!

Last night I put baby oil on after my shower before I dried off but by the time I was in bed...dried out and itchy.

I put lotion on my hands and then smooth my hair down.  I fold clothes which I washed with fabric softener and they stick to my shirt.

Next week is supposed to be colder.  Weather bug has an igloo icon that just seems to be a permanent fixture.  I mean, holy crap!  Schroon Lake, high in the Adirondacks doesn't even have a permanent igloo!!!!

Now is when you want warm casseroles for dinner followed by warm cookies or cobblers and hot cups of tea all day long!    I can't even look at a glass if cold water and consider drinking it.  I'm going to try yoga today but I am considering staying under the warm covers for a while!!!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Blood sugar problems

My sugar is low again.  This totally ruins my day.  I get tired afterwards and foggy during.  It just puts me in bed or on the couch.  It frustrates me and makes me mad.  I'm terrified it will happen again and it probably will sometime today.  All of this after a hearty bowl of oatmeal at 8am and it's only 10:30 now.

No wonder I have anxiety and depression.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Time Flies

I can't believe it's been almost 20 days since I last blogged.  Time flies I guess.  In this time I have discovered:

I rather like Downton Abbey, which I knew, but since I was rationing episodes to savor the deliciousness of each....I finally watched all of seaso 3 and I am quite besotted!

I made Scott love Doc Martin!!!!!

I also made him love Project Runway even though he'd never admit it but he's kind of dragging his heels on the new Tim Gunn show.

I have a seizure disorder.  Nothing new huh?  Now it has a name though.  Simple partial seizures with secondary generalization.  That means I have baby seizures before I have the BIG one.  Or auras.  Whatever you call them they basically can be anything and for me, they often seem like am out-of-the-blue panic attack.  Which, I guess, is how the neurologist identified them as seizures.  My nurse practitioner asked yesterday how I keep them from becoming the BIG one.  I don't have any idea because unlike a panic attack I can't identify a trigger.  I think I should have said prayer helps keep the BIG ones at bay but sometimes even that doesn't reach G-d in time.

I love my kid more than anything in the world and my guilt over things I feel I am responsible for happening to him will never ever go away.  That guilt combines with grief and devastates me daily.  My nurse practitioner said I "seem" better.  I tried to explain how I feel and how day to day it can be so different.  Hour to hour.  Minute to minute.  Second to second.  She didn't understand.

Most people don't "get" epilepsy of depression.  They don't understand how it feels to be unable to drive, to determine ones adult life and comings and goings.  I am so grateful to have Scott who so lovingly cares for us.  I still can't help but miss an independent life.

I miss my Jewish practice.  It's been so unbelievably hard to face people, the world, everything.  I freak when I have to encounter something old, something new, something familiar or unfamiliar.  I fear people I know the most.  I like slithering through life knowing no one, being a nothing, being invisible.  Some people don't like that but I find comfort in it.  Still I miss my Jewish practice so this Friday I am trying to attend synagogue.  I have a choice between a synagogue I have never been to and one I used to be on the board of.  It's hard.

It's snowing and I hope we get a half foot.  I'd love to take Evan sledding but for now I have to settle for a daily walk in the neighborhood, Wii games and watching "Say Yes To The Dress", which he insists he doesn't like but which he sits and watches with me.

So...that is what I have discovered.  Not much I suppose in the grand scheme of things but it seems a whole lifetime almost for me.  And I try hard to keep climbing the ladder even though there are days I slip a few or many rungs...the point is I keep focused on the goal.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Google's Cool Picture Today

Google has a cool Doodle today - check it out.

Ya gotta admit...she looks a lot like Queen Latifah (or to those who know her best, Dana!)

A snow, er, frigid cold day!!!!

I was granted a pass to stay in bed ALL day!  Of course, I could do this any day and sometimes I have to but it is especially delicious when I get permission.  It's like the proverbial "snow" day and I plan to enjoy it.

I was in a British kind of mood.  I went downstairs and made a cup of English breakfast tea and planned to have toast with orange marmalade.  Yes, that was until I couldn't get the lid off the orange marmalade.  This was probably G-d's way of saying Dollar Tree marmalade is sooo not worth it.

Next I came upstairs and turned the room pink with a little help from a Susan G. Komen pink lightbulb. I absolutely love it!!!  I lit a gingerbread candle and a sugar cookie candle and turned on Season 3 of Downton Abbey, took up the iPad which I usually leave to Scott now that he so wonderfully surprised me with an iPhone 5c for Christmas!!!!!, and started to blog.

I have to admit I am about ready to bring a box of tea, a contained of sugar and my electric kettle upstairs too but for now I will knit while I watch Season 3.  Incidentally Thomas is a real bulgar isn't he?

Baby, It's cold outside!

They are calling this a "flash freeze."  Scott, always the curmudgeon, thinks this is a made up term to generate more interest in the weather and to create sensationalism.  Maybe.  But I think it is actually very accurate.  Yesterday morning it was about 30F and this morning it's minus somewhere between 1 and 8. And then there's a 22mph wind.

That qualifies, in my little mind, as butt cold regardless of what you call it.