Sunday, November 30, 2008

Shmanksgiving

Jerusha and I are both still alive, so I guess it was a successful Thanksgiving. I'm not feeling all that grateful these days, although I should. I have a job. I'm not completely crippled. I have friends.

I rejoined Frumster because someone wrote to me, and I couldn't see the message without paying up. At least I held out until they offered the $7.95/month rate. Now I'm annoyed because I think he's patronizing me. Or trying to. Call him Dr. Condescending.

DC asked me if I considered myself a "feminist." I said I didn't, and I don't think I do, but he made it sound like he was asking whether I considered myself a fascist. Then I told him I thought it was inconsistent that he'd consider dating someone five (or more) years his junior but found it "weird" and "kind of creepy" when contacted by women five years than he is.

"You're a feminist!" DC trumpeted.

I don't think I want to go out with him. Especially since he hasn't gone out with anyone since his divorce 2 years ago. I just don't want to be the starter date for divorced guys anymore. I've gone out with several of them, and it's never gone anywhere. And sometimes I've been hurt, like by RD-SOB.

And here's another wonderful example of why there's a singles crisis. Mr. Arrogant, M.S. He has a master's degree and works in the medical "feild." His self-description:

I am someone trying to scout this site to determine if its worth the time of day for someone a sbusy and accomplished as myself. I have lots of girls to go out with but Im looking for something very special

One master's degree and he thinks he's "accomplished." Despite beating women off with a stick, he's still looking for?

I am looking for an atomic bomb some one really nice good pretty with a great personality who makes a lot of money from a great family maybe not as great as mine She is a socialite but she dresses very tzenuis

I think this guy should die alone without reproducing.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Severely dysthymic

So far, Thanksgiving is okay. But I'm not.

I went to Jerusha's. I'm still there. She's being cordial, although she keeps disappearing to take long drives by herself. And I'm not really enjoying being with the kids. I'm not in a full-blown depression, but I'm dysthymic. Which probably means I'm feeling sorry for myself and not working hard enough on my mental health.

I just don't feel like doing anything, or talking, or being with the kids. I'm sad. Strangely, I've felt better at work -- that's more distracting. I think I'm good at my job. My depressed clients are following up with my suggestions and getting less depressed. At the end of relapse prevention group this week, I had the participants go around the circle saying what they were thankful for. Clarice thought that was a brilliant clinical move. I'm so lucky she's my supervisor now.

There you go. I knew I had to be thankful for something.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I guess she's more important than I realized

Got an email from my social work school:

DOTS appointed to Obama’s Transition Team

We are pleased to inform you that DOTS was invited to serve on the Presidential Transition Team with a focus on assisting the new Administration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She will be dividing her time through at least January 20, 2009, between her Transition Team activities in Washington, D.C. and her ongoing work as Dean of the School. She looks forward to returning full-time following the historical inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama.

Wow. And she knows me. At graduation, when I trooped across the stage for a grip-and-grin photo, she said, "Congratulations, Ayelet -- you deserve it!" Now I'm a little more impressed.

My cousin went to the University of Chicago Law School and Obama was one of his professors. So in two ways, I'm just one degree away from the most powerful man in the world. Not that it will make one bit of difference to my life, of course.

I sent her a congratulatory email:

Dear DOTS, I'm so glad President-Elect Obama is employing social workers in his transition team! Best of luck navigating D.C. politics and our country's tremendous needs. I am sure you will focus on the tremendous health and mental health concerns of our returning veterans, who have been so horribly traumatized and so shamefully underserved by the Bush Administration. Best regards, Ayelet
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Thankful?

Today was slightly better than yesterday, although I've had a headache since last night -- went to sleep with it, woke up with it. I don't often get headaches; my woes generally strike me from the neck down. But my back is merely uncomfortable, and I'm aware of my knees but not punished by them. Emotionally? Up and down. Still lonely, but not suicidal.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Told you

Happiness doesn't last. The client I graduated relapsed into heroin, and I had a very draining and frustrating day. I saw Dr. Roda and told him I was miserable, and he basically said I should take more Klonopin. I'm almost out of Percocet and don't know how I'll cope with the back pain when it runs out. I guess I should be happy I had at least one good day this week.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Monday, November 24, 2008

Statistical anomaly

I had a remarkably good day at work -- all 11 long hours of it, and I was tired every minute. What made my day so good?

1. I still have a job, after 4 consecutive days' absence. I won't get paid because I'm out of sick time, but I'll tell that to MVAIC when I file my claim.

2. No pain. No knee pain, no back pain, no stomach pain. Miraculous. All without painkillers -- even without the super antacid samples my doctor comped me last week.

3. Antisocial hour. I meet with my psychopathic client and my antisocial personality disorder client back-to-back. They're hilarious. Without trying. When I'm with the psychopath, I feel like a clever psychiatrist in some elegantly scripted film noir, skillfully tripping him up, eliciting information he doesn't want to give. It's exhilarating. I guess forensic clinicians never forget their first psychopath.

Of course, this is mentally exhausting, and I can only take about half an hour before I weaken and start giving him what he wants -- a very few of my personal thoughts, feelings, opinions. He's able to start twisting what I say, trying to turn it against me. I don't let him, but I don't know how well I'd last in a longer session. Fortunately, half an hour is all the time I have for him before I have to meet with the other antisocial client, who's no less grandiose and manipulative but far less glib and skillful, whose lies are easily unraveled and machinations are easily balked.

4. The client I yelled at, who spoke with Clarice about me, has completely forgiven me and trusts me 100% again, relying on my support and comfort -- he's going through kind of a tough time right now. It's nice to be needed, and even nicer to be forgiven.

5. I graduated a client who was a hot mess when I got him -- anxious, desperate, one millimeter away from picking up. (In addiction parlance, "picking up" means starting to use again.) Now he's clean, has a decent job, a terrific girlfriend who doesn't even smoke cigarettes, and a nice place to live. And he's spending tons of time with his kids, who've been separated from him for years. He moved out of the borough where I work, so I'm going to find a low-cost or free counseling service for him near his home. As nice as it is to be needed, it's even nicer not to be needed any longer.

Of course, I came home to a statement from my insurance company that they're not going to pay one red cent of the $913.03 the hospital billed them for. Why the hell do I pay health insurance premiums if they don't pay my bills? Now I really have to file that MVAIC claim. On cue, my back started hurting again.

But it was nice to have an entire day when I didn't think about killing myself. Over the past week I felt like I did that more each day. I hope the pain doesn't get worse, and that tomorrow is a decent day. Can't expect it to be good -- statistically that's very unlikely -- but decent, at least.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Forgot to mention...

I did call Jerusha. To find out if I really couldn't eat or drink for 6 hours before the sonogram. (I was thirsty, not hungry.) She said it was better not to.

I told her I missed being at work.

"Where everyone is worse off than you and tells you all their problems!" she cried. "That's what I love about this job!"

"How are you doing?" I asked.

"Oh, I'm fine," she said. Another brick wall. As usual. Whatever. We had a civilized conversation, and I found out that I'm welcome to stay all of Thanksgiving, as I promised Shira, even though my parents won't be there.

"But the kids will be with their father on Friday," she said. 'Their father.' Not Bill. Interesting.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Safe, so far

"Tell me when it hurts," said the sonogram tech.

"Okay," I said. "Ow. Ow. OW!"

"The question is why," she muttered darkly. She kept probing, I kept ow-ing.

"So it hurts everywhere," she said banefully.

"I was hit by a car," I pleaded.

"We will see what my doctor says," she grumbled. I guess that means I'm basically okay. There were some spots that didn't hurt, like over my liver, which I guess is good -- since my blood work showed some liver impairment. Nice to know it's not totally destroyed.

Earlier today I called Clarice, my supervisor. Twice. Once in the morning to tell her I wouldn't be able to come in today, and then when I found out I was having a sonogram. She didn't call back and I started to freak out.

Am I going to lose my job -- the only job I've really loved (not counting my internships) in more than 10 years? I got home after picking up the police report and getting the sadistic sonogram, and Clarice called. And was so nice.

"Ayelet, don't worry," she said. "You have to take care of yourself."
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Taking it easy

Woke up this morning still unable to face work, feverish (shout-out to Alona and Adir, who supplied me with a new thermometer) and still in some pain, although the medicine my doctor gave me is clearly helping. Good thing I stayed home, because my internist/gastroenterologist, Dr. Cool, called with the results of my blood work. Seems my white blood cell count is high and my liver is somewhat impaired. This could mean gallstones, which apparently would also explain the feverishness and lethargy.

I'm still kind of young for gallstones, but my former supervisor at the ACT team, Melanie, had kidney stones a few years ago, and she's younger than I am. Stones are stones, right?

So I have a sonogram this evening. Before that I'm going to pick up the police report from the hit-and-run, because who knows what will transpire tomorrow, my deadline for getting a copy of the report. Theoretically I could use mass transit to get around, but I'm taking it easy. I'm going to take taxis. Everything is on the Upper West Side; I think I can walk the 2 blocks to the post office to buy a money order, but I'm taking a taxi to the police station and another to the radiology practice.

I don't really think it's gallstones -- I think my stomach is just a little abraded and infected. Because I never have really serious diseases. Theoretically you could say that a suicide attempt indicates a note of seriousness, but my bipolar disorder is not as bad as it could be; I'm generally able to function, with periodic lapses into ill-but-not-terminal health. Back pain, gastritis, gum disease and surgery, sinusitis and surgery, knee pain. All of which probably tie into my mental state, at least somewhat. Mind-body connection.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

How much longer?

I was going to write about my entirely pointless date on Sunday -- trust me, it was pointless, and fortunately, I was able to end the agony after about an hour -- but I was taken ill. I've apparently taken just enough of the painkillers to burn up my stomach without entirely destroying my liver. So says Dr. Cool, whom I saw today. Now I'm suffering horrible stomach pain, for which he gave me samples of the latest super antacid, and moderate back pain that I can't really do anything about. I've missed 2 days of work, which I hate doing.

How much longer is my life going to be a series of mishaps and miseries just one step short of actual tragedy? On top of missing work, I have to file an MVAIC claim to deal with the damn ambulance bill. Ironically, the MVAIC office is located in the building where my last job was. Which I was fired from because I didn't want to learn computer programming and web design, I wanted to reserve my memory for forensic psychology, which has now been altered to forensic social work.

I haven't written about that job, and the horrible witch who fired me -- the Empress of Passive Aggresssion -- and the HR director who promised me she'd tell me in advance if I were going to be let go, and didn't. I also haven't written about the Beth Din lawsuit I'm involved in, and how I trusted a person I should have run from. Just more evidence that either I make my own extraordinarily bad luck, or I'm cursed.

Huddled in my bed trying to distract myself from the pain with an Agatha Christie novel, lacking enough pillows to prop myself in a way that would minimize the discomfort in my back without exacerbating the burning in my middle, I honestly wished I'd either never been born or died as a young child. I know there are scads of people -- my parents, nieces/nephews, friends -- who would disagree. But how long do I have to keep suffering for their sake?

What kept me from going to the pharmacy to buy a couple of bottles of Tylenol P.M. and ending it all? I don't know. A promise I made to my parents and friends that I'd never try to kill myself again. A promise I made to my niece Shira that I'll spend all of Thanksgiving weekend at her slightly emptier house. A friend and colleague who told me that he believes I'll accomplish great things in my career.

I'm a cognitive-behavioral therapist, right? So I tried to convince myself that being single for the rest of my life isn't so bad. Children are a lot of work, aren't they? I hear that from all my friends who are parents. I can focus on my career. I can have a lot of interesting lovers and make up for all the sex I'm not and haven't been having.

But on the way to and from Dr. Cool's office I kept seeing young frum mothers, with their stretchy headbands and stick-straight falls, pushing baby carriages. And I hated and resented them. That will never be me. I'll never be a "young" mother, no matter how young I look. I may never be a mother, and it makes me cry to type that.

I'm just miserable, and I don't know how much longer I can ride out this streak of bad luck. Statistically of course it's supposed to change. I don't think I believe it will.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Why am I having coffee with this guy?

I finally heard back from Neither Here Nor There on Thursday night. We were both surfing Frumster, and he sent a simple email asking how I was. I responded in kind, and he wrote back:

ehhh...ok i guess. Looking forward to the weekend.
Tired of these dating sites. Women seem to tower over me on religious levels on here. it's amazing how good they are

That had me kind of baffled. Why is he talking to me about other women? Aren't you supposed to pretend that you're only corresponding with one person at a time, even if you're not?

Well, no reason to get into that via email, so I just wrote:

I'm amazingly sick of dating sites, and dating, for that matter.

His response was startling:

I hear you... maybe me and you should just get hitched and get off this site all together
what u say? Lol

Am I supposed to be flattered or offended? Is he intimating that I'm the girl he's decided to settle for? I decided to play it cool.

don't tempt me ;)

Chilly, in fact, but that didn't deter him:

we can skip the cup of coffee and go straight to the alter. I'm not a big coffee drinker anyway.
In addition my billing cycle is coming up soon so I'd be able to save myself 15 dollars if we get hitched before the month is up

How much is wrong with that response?

1. "Altar," not "alter"
2. Chuppah, not altar -- how much/little does he know about frumkeit?
3. Too cheap to buy me a cup of coffee?
4. Crass enough to ask for help avoiding the $15/month charge?

But I'm trying to be nice to the men I date, instead of my usual sarcastic self. So I didn't lash out.

wow, you don't want to waste any time ;)

I love coffee -- and I'd like to meet you at least once before getting married. I'm also soon to be non-paying. It's your call

That prompted him to agree to coffee, which we're having Sunday evening. I guess it'll get me out of the house.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Friday, November 14, 2008

Facebreak (hat tip, NJG)

Seems like every time I log onto Facebook, another of my 580+ friends is either engaged or yakking about their kids. I might need a little time away from the site. I know I should be happy for them. I'm just so tired of waiting for it to be my turn.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dr. Jerk rears his ugly head -- right near me

Not sure if it's back pain or terminal insomnia, but 5 a.m. and I'm awake.

A member of ABCT recently posted:

Can anyone recommend a sleep disorders expert in NJ or the tri-state area for a client who has severe insomnia?

CBT is well-recognized as a treatment for insomnia (not the type I have, which is a symptom of bipolar disorder, but other kinds). And guess who's an expert in CBT for insomnia? Dr. Jerk!

First he posted:

I specialize i [sic] treating sleep disorders, particularly insomnia with CBT-I I'm [less than a block away from Ayelet]

One minute later -- literally -- in response to:

I would recommend Dr. Lorraine Peters in Paterson, NJ.
-- Allen B. Jeffries, Ph.D., ABPP

Dr. Jerk posted:

I specialize in CBT for insomnia and have a practice exclusively devoted to this population. I am [less than a block away from Ayelet] in Manhattan and can be reached at this email or at 212-xxx-xxxx.

I guess he wanted everyone to be sure. To be fair, someone else on ABCT recommended him, too. And I guess he knows I'm a forensic social worker now. Which is just fine. I'm happy, though, that several other practitioners -- all closer to the prospective client -- have notified us of their availability and competence.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Veterans Day

I was as tired as a WWI vet marching solo in a parade.

First I went for acupuncture in Brooklyn. Way out in Brooklyn. And Spike decided, since I didn't have to rush back to work, that he'd throw in some qigong massage on top of the needling.

Qigong massage is very beneficial and very painful, during and at least 2 days after. "This is going to hurt," he'd say, and pinch the back of my knee or stick his finger into a spot right over my kidneys. (Which apparently have depleted chi, and I should exercise and sleep to build it up. Sleeping's fine, no problem, but can't I just have some steak and kidney pie?)

I then spent an hour and a half riding jolting trains, the frickin' bus, and climbing up and down station staircases to visit Jerusha, the kids, and my mother. Waiting at the bus stop were a young teenage couple making out with slurpy, smacky kisses. I wanted to kill both of them. To prevent this from happening, I chewed 2 Vitamin K (you're supposed to swallow them whole but they're more potent if you chew them) and 2 Percocet (ditto, and do they ever taste nasty.)

The visit was fine, Jerusha was perfectly pleasant and civil, and the kids, of course, were thrilled to see me.

"I heard you got hit by a car, Aunt Ayelet," Oedipus said solemnly.

"I was," I said.

"I have something for you," he said. He left the room and came back to ceremoniously hand me... a ballpoint pen. It was adorable.

Jerusha was wearing a new necklace and earrings set -- diamond chips set in white gold.

"Nice necklace," I said. "Is it new?"

"Yes," she said.

"Who bought it for you?" asked Shira.

"I bought it for myself," said Jerusha. "As a... treat."

I guess now she knows what it's like to have to buy your own jewelry.

Malka painted my toenails dark purple and my fingernails light purple with sparkles. Then I was back off to Manhattan, in a car service courtesy of Mom, who's visiting Jerusha for a few weeks. My classmate Clive is going back to England, and was having dinner with Jerry and Carly. I joined them for dessert. All in all, a long and very tiring day for a girl with a back injury.

I woke up draggily, blearily watched the light box, and got to work 20 minutes late, delaying treatment for two clients. That pissed off one of them, but not the one with the violent history, so I wasn't too concerned. I was certain my clients would notice my unusual manicure, but if they did, they didn't say anything. (My co-workers were not as considerate.)

Sometimes clients show in little ways that they like you. I was rescheduling one client whose work hours have changed, and he said, "How about Thursday night?"

"I can't," I said. "I have group that night."

"Why can't I be in your group?" he demanded. "Why do I have to be in what's-her-name's group?"

I happen to love what's-her-name, whom the rest of us call "Elaine." She's my best friend at work. But we have very different clinical styles, and I was kind of pleased that he prefers mine.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Monday, November 10, 2008

This is how tired I am

I am taking big doses of muscle relaxants and painkillers, and sometimes I need a few tranquilizers to stay calm when dealing with dating, money, and the rest of the big, steaming pile of crap that is my life. So this morning I woke up exhausted, watched 15 minutes of light lamp (scarcely able to keep my eyes open) and dragged myself into the bathroom. I took off the underpants I slept in, and instead of putting them in the hamper with the dirty clothes, I slung them into the toilet.

That is how tired I am.

I'm also mighty constipated, thanks to all the medications. I've been taking handfuls of aloe capsules, but they weren't doing much. So I took a more powerful laxative late yesterday afternoon. And waited. I thought it would hit me sometime in the morning; it's supposed to take about 12 hours.

No. It took almost 24 hours. But today, during session, I suddenly needed to go. Badly. To the client's surprise (and, though I hate to admit it, probably his pleasure) I ended the session early, grabbed the key to the 8th floor bathroom (we can't use the ones on our floor because they've been renovating them for MONTHS, one tile at a time), and danced from foot to foot waiting for the elevator.

I made it. Barely. I've long suspected that my life was just a sitcom for Gd, to prove He has a sense of humor. Now I know it's true.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Ayelet's angry ass

While working on my back, and lower back, and lower than my lower back, Spike inserted a point into my mid-gluteal muscle and detected a strong release of anger. So when I got to work, I posted a new status update:

Ayelet's ass has a lot of anger, according to my acupuncturist. Must be why it's so big.

This provoked a lot of comments, some of which I'll share:

Dvora: That would be a great set-up for a Family Guy episode -- like the one where Chris had a zit that took over his entire life.

Sophie: I think that would make a great episode. On SATC didn't Charlotte's vag need a psychiatrist?

Spike: for the record, I said the channel was blocked very badly and joked that it was one angry meridian. but there is something comically compelling about an angry ass :)

Tehilla: BSD Please note: The emotion of anger is related to the Liver in TCM (Trad. Chinese Medicine). The Liver channels related to the Liver Organ energy do not run through the buttocks, derriere, tushy)! Maybe when he inserted the needles, you gave out a yelp. sounding a tad angry, or maybe it was a statement of his general diagnosis.
Have a peaceful, simcha-full Shabbat!
LOL You are one fun FB friend!
Light and love,
Doc Tehilla of Tzfat

Spike: You are most correct. This is quite fun! The point in question was on the GB meridian which is the pair of our friend the liver. I am not legally allowed to disclose more about the condition of Ayelet except to say that ascribing one of the seven emotions to her posterior was not meant to be diagnostic and in no way reflects any traditional practices in TCM. However, perhaps I have uncovered a novel pattern. Angry Ass Syndrome... it'll have a badass (oops, that really was an accident) name in Chinese. Wanna write a paper with me, Doc Tehilla?

[Re badass: yesterday my status update read "Ayelet wants a badass tattoo." I was feeling rebellious. It got some responses, too, but none that I think I should share.]

Ayelet: I did want a badass tattoo. Psychoanalysts would say I was craving a needle in my ass. Please tell me how "angry ass syndrome" translates in Chinese, Spike. And thanks for commenting, Tehilla. I'm almost feeling proud of my ass, and I usually despise it.

Spike: I must now meditate in front of a wall for the next nine years to discover the proper qi gong techniques to treat what might be the next scourge of humanity. I cannot allow the forseen pandemic of AAS to cripple our futures. Please contact me at 917 xxx xxxx if you need to forward me if you need to forward me research money, AAS-positive test patients... Together, we can prevail against this dread disorder. yes we can. yes we will.

Ayelet: I'm not donating until I know its Chinese name. Is it "Dragon Posterior Lightning"?

[You should hear the Chinese name for schizophrenia: "Tan Re Mi Xin Qiao Hun Po" -- phlegm and fire disturb mind.]

The conversation took an even more amusing turn.

Gavriel: If an ass can have anger, can a shmeckle have mirth?

Ayelet: A shmeckle can INSPIRE mirth... ;)

Spike: i just googled schmeckle. I thought it was a monetary unit but that didn't fit the context. how many words could you have for... wait I now know three. I gonna quit now. this is like that time i was stranded on a tropical island with 24 women and learned all the slang words for menstruation. be nice to the goy. oy veh.....

[Remember, he's Chinese-American.]

Ayelet: there are dozens of words for, well, "shmeckle." Broaden your horizons, Spike. Doesn't Chinese have a few quaint euphemisms? I remember reading a trashy novel about an American woman in a Chinese man's home as one of his concubines, and him instructing her to "play the flute."

I then changed my status update:

Ayelet can't believe how many comments her angry ass inspired.

Levi succinctly nailed it: Wait till you post the pictures.

Moshe chimed in: I've noticed that all the people commenting about Ayelet's ass have been men. I'm guessing that it's because we so rarely are allowed to publicly comment on women's asses. Either that, or it's just that people are enthralled with the idea of an ass being angry. The only other one we ever talk about was the one giving Bil'am his transport, and he saved Bil'am's life! What will YOUR angry ass accomplish?

I don't know, Moshe. But clearly, if my ass can inspire this much comment within a scant few hours, it is capable of much, much more. A PhD? A book? A new self-defense technique? Anger management, through firm yet gentle massage? [Wonder if my boss would approve that addition to the anger management curriculum....]

And for what it's worth, Bil'am's ass was female. Kinda makes sense, since she was quite a talker and she had more sense than he did. [And there were some women commenting on my ass status updates, too. I don't know what that says about them.]
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

What would I do without Gloria Chang?

If I had joined Facebook just to reconnect with Gloria Chang, dayenu.

Ayelet, I love you very much and want to help. What can I do?

I can't keep pretending I don't need anything. When people offer help, I'm going to accept.

Thank you. I don't know. I just feel so alone and helpless. Please pray for me. A friend of mine helped me find a lawyer who will make the big bad bill go away. Right now I don't need cookies, which I know are your specialty, as I need to lose about 30 pounds. With a back injury on top of a twin knee injury, I'm not sure how that will happen.

Maybe a long, fun, trashy, easy-to-read book. I like reading before I go to bed, and I'm not up for the great classics. But I could handle something trashy and readable.

(Gloria speaks about five languages and has read the great classics in most of them. I'm just not that ambitious, nor that multilingual, right now.)

Prayers ascending! Now for book recommendations. I like to reread childhood favorites for light reading. The Great Brain? Little House? All-of-a-Kind Family?

Alexandra Stoddard's books are good when I want to completely empty my head. Are you familiar with these? Or you might like one of the Jane Austen sequels---Mr. Darcy's Daughters, for example. Joseph Wechsberg wrote a number of lighthearted books about his life in prewar Vienna. Nu---what sounds good to you?

She even sounds Jewish. I chose "Mr. Darcy's Daughters" since I liked "Pride and Prejudice."

I know it's crass to ask for presents, but I think that's what I need. They don't have to be pricey. Just something that says, "I got you this because you are important to me and I want you to be happy." So if any of my other friends ask what they can do, I'm not going to be shy. Overstock.com has a bunch of earrings for less than $20. I also love mystery books, especially Agatha Christie and Margaret Frazier. (Just bought myself a few tonight. Clarice asked what I was doing for self-care and after the horrible day I had, I couldn't say "nothing.")

So if you want me to feel better, send me a present.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

$1,123.23

That's what they want to charge me for the ambulance. Even though I asked if they were going to charge me and they promised they wouldn't.

I wish the car had just killed me. Because then it would be over and it wouldn't be my fault. I'm tired of being God's punching bag. No matter what I do, how hard I try, everything goes wrong. My life feels like a perfect storm of indignities, injuries, injustices, and crushing disappointments.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Monday, November 03, 2008

Singled out

Every time I "friend" a high school acquaintance on Facebook, it seems they're a) thrilled to get in touch (can't always even say "back" in touch) and b) married with kids. ALL of them. I'm kind of amazed they don't look down on me. Although they friend Matt Stein too, and he's even further from being married than I am.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Red is my color

Red actually is a really good color on me, but I'm going to start wearing it on every first date I go on. Apparently men are more attracted to women in red.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

OR maybe he's just busy

Still don't feel like describing the worst day ever, but I'll update you on NHNT. He finally responded to my flirty comment about his photos:

sure i'd love to see you in person if u like. when are u around?

I told him my availability (I work late 2 nights a week). Silence. For hours. Days -- Saturday night, all day Sunday. While he was on the site. Obviously chatting with younger, prettier, nicer women.

Early Monday morning he finally wrote back:

of those days monday works best
where do u live around?

Haven't we been over that? I reminded him. No response -- even though he is currently on the site. The big question is, do I let him make plans for tonight if he contacts me later today, or am I "busy"? Because I can't see him next Monday night, I've already got plans.

Maybe he'll take care of that problem for me and just not respond. Have I mentioned how much I hate dating?
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Sunday, November 02, 2008

What did I do wrong?

I still can't write about Black Thursday, but I want to show you some Frumster email correspondence that didn't go anywhere.

A man 4 years my junior wrote me. Call him "Neither Here Nor There" or NHNT. His photo was "under review," so I didn't know what he looked like, but he seemed nice. After the usual pleasantries, he asked me:

So u never had children yourself? Any desire to? You seem like a good woman to me.

I responded:

I would LOVE to have children, but I need a husband to do that. I am a good woman. Are you a good man?

Kind of a challenge, but I didn't think it was out of line.

Yea of course I'm a good man. At least I think I am. I guess you have to find out for yourself!
Where do you live? Have you lived in NY your whole life?

I told NHNT where I grew up and added:

I've lived on the Upper West Side for more than 10 years. Lord help me. Do you still live in the forgotten borough?

His screenname incorporates "SINY"; he's from Staten Island.

Upper west side is nice. How do you like it over there? Any regrets spending 16 years of your life there? I like the forgotten borough though it hasn't really helped me in any way. There is small Jewish communities here...not a lot of places to go and things to do. Shopping is so-so. I guess i stay here for my parents are close by. It's nice to have family near you. Do u get involved with AISH or Hineni being they're so close to you? U seem like such a lovely woman. I'm surprised you're still single.

Wow. NHNT seems to like me. Now watch Ayelet screw it up.

Sometimes I'm surprised I'm still single too ;) Living on the UWS can be fun, and it's very convenient. I'm not really into the singles scene these days -- been there, done that, got the t-shirt. I've done a few Aish and Hineni things but it's really not my bag. I've heard Staten Island is a nice place for families, but I've only been there once, for an engagement party.

So why is a nice guy like you still single?

NHNT answered (on Friday afternoon):

I don't know. Just caught up in the ratrace of the single scene. Singles as a result of games (giving and taking) a number of years while I was young and I didn't know what i wanted. I'm tired of that scene. Just looking for family life now. I really have become a little jaded with the whole online dating thing. I guess thats what brings me here. Whats always been missing is finding someone more on a spiritual level. I feel like I mesh more with someone who is spiritual more than anything. So any big plans for the weekend?

"The Rules" say you're not supposed to act too available or too eager. So this is all I wrote:

Nothing too exciting.Tonight I'm editing a friend's term paper; waiting for a FreshDirect delivery tomorrow afternoon ;)

Apparently that changed the subject.

Freshdirect is such a brilliant idea. I never even thought about using them. Do you need a minimum about of money spent in order to place an order? Have you had any bad experiences using them? I'd love to find out how this works. For some reason they deliver where I am! very exciting :)

How did we get from dating to grocery delivery?

I love freshdirect. If buy have unlimited delivery, there's no minimum, otherwise the minimum is $50. Check out their website, it's very easy to use. I'm surprised they go to SI ;)

NHNT didn't take offense:

It is amazing we even have mail delivery to staten island let alone freshdirect. If there is no minimum I'll order 1 grape and i'll request they giftwrap it for me. Nah this is cool..gonna try it this week. So ur ashkenazi...where does your mom and dads family come from?

I told NHNT where my parents are from (Germany, Poland) and added:

What are you? How long have you been frum? You should tell freshdirect I referred you to them -- I'll get a bonus!

He wrote back:

OK I'll let them know. hopefully your not waiting long for your bonus
where in Poland did ur family come from?
Mine from north in a town in galicia called Uhnow near L'vuv
Germany and Poland are so close to one another I'm surprised i don't hear about more German/Polish couples. Well maybe that isn't like someone from NY dating someone from NJ Makes me wonder though...like how they met. I doubt they met in the US after WWII
Frum...well i'd say a few years. my family is orthodox.,..my parents are not. I try my best to honor my ancestors and be what the would expect me to be. I try to study...pray and do the things that are asked of me and I've been doing this for awhile. The one obstacle is my career. So god willing there won't be many future disruptions like there have been becuase being IT is full of disruptions.

Yeah, it's a tough market right now, so I wrote:

My parents met in Illinois, of all places. He was born in Palestine; his parents moved there in 1937, and he went to the University of Illinois for college.

I know a lot of frum guys in computers, I hope you can manage to negotiate this market.

Was that saying too little? Or doubting his competence?

That's really interesting. So have u ever spoke with your grandparents about germany and when they made the decision to go to Palestine? I don't even think Palestine was a jewish state in 37. I wonder why they decided to head there of all places.

Yea my career is a little different. Its not really computers..its more network infrastructure which is the backbone of a company. it might only get complicated in brokerage world due to the sensitivity of things so career change to another industry might be in order. its challenging to change anything in this economy, but we'll get there.

We're not getting any closer to NHNT asking me out. Maybe I felt impatient. My next reply must have seemed too brusque and disinterested:

Palestine wasn't officially Jewish until 1948, but a lot of Jews went there.

Good luck on the job front. It's rough all over.

No response. I didn't want to suggest that we IM or talk on the phone -- according to The Rules, he should suggest we do that. I don't want to look like I'm chasing him.

But then again, playing it cool didn't seem to work -- he stopped responding. So after his photos were approved, I wrote him:

nice photos -- maybe I'll get to see you in person one of these days ;)

NHNT logged in, read it, and didn't respond.

I hate dating.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"