Monday, June 29, 2009

Okay, tikunolam -- do your stuff!

My blog reader tikunolam (who blogs with her friend * Dov Ber) is a psychologist. Not an evil psychologist like Drs. Jerk, Dragon, Octopussy, or Incompetent. She actually isn't out to eviscerate and destroy people.

But she thinks my taste in men is a little questionable:

Ayelet, HealthNut's profile cried schizoid with OCD! I am trying to imagine what you found interesting in the profile at all. Feel free to have me psychologically profile the profile before you take the next step next time. . .(I know you are not a big fan of psychologists, but if you can make an exception for me, I'd be happy to give my two cents)

Okay, that's an offer I can't refuse. tikunolam, what do you think of this guy?

Age: 34, Male
From: Monsey, New York
Family Status: single (never married), without children
Religious Practice: Modern Orthodox (machmir)
Religious Background: from a traditional family
Ethnicity: ashkenazi

Additional Background Information
Consider relocation? Yes
Wishing to make aliyah to Israel? Yes
Jewish Education: yeshiva/seminary
Secular Education: Bachelors
Languages Spoken: English, Hebrew
Political Beliefs: not important
Occupation: Business Consultant
Hobbies and Interests: ski, tennis, travel
Frequency of Torah Study: daily
Frequency of Tefilah: three times daily
Kippa: black velvet kippa
Tzitzit: always

This is how I describe myself: I'm a happy, warmhearted man who has a rather mischievous but at the same time tactful sense of humor. I am self-confident, intelligent, I've been fortunate to have had an interesting and exciting life. I was drawn to the truth and beauty of Torah, and I continue to aspire daily to live up to its ideals of doing the right and the good. I am constantly trying to work on myself and grow spiritualy. I consider myself very sincere and real and I wish to grow together with someone else in the very near future. I am interested in art, I love music and cooking.

Should I re-up my membership to see what's in the email he sent me? Or should I not bother, especially given his religious level and the fact that I'm five years older than he is?

* Correction: I mistakenly thought DovBear and tikunolam were married. Well, they are married -- to other people. My error.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Sunday, June 28, 2009

You have GOT to be kidding me

So I went to a singles event tonight. Did not meet Mr. Wonderful, but did get in some good facetime in with the official matchmaker.

I can't decide if I'm an optimist or a fool. Based on my experience with matchmakers, I should view them as Lucy with the football, waiting to yank it away from Charlie Brown. But I told her she threw a great party and helped us get to know each other a little, and she kissed me and asked me to tell her boss, the head of the organization.

What the heck, I'm not easily intimidated:

Dear Rabbi Bigshot,

I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed tonight's singles event. I think the matchmaker did a great job helping people get to know each other, and she is very friendly and approachable. There was someone I was interested in, and she said she would talk to him about me, which I appreciated. I also appreciate the opportunity to join the singles database.

Besorot tovot, Ayelet Survivor

At the end of the event, we filled out little forms about ourselves and had our pictures taken, so that they can try to match us up with some of the 3000 other singles in their database. So we'll see if anything comes of it.

I came home to this email from HealthNut:

Thank you for the opportunity, your kindness and consideration.
Please keep me in mind if you come across someone that you think may be a match with me.
Thank You
All the best.

You have got to be kidding me. I'm tempted to write back and tell him that I wouldn't introduce any of my friends to a guy who's too cheap to buy them a cup of coffee.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

The 18-minute date

I met HealthNut on Frumster. He's a few years older than I am, and I didn't love his profile, but I thought I should get to know him:

Intelligent, analytical, friendly, humorous. Into health healing and nutrition. Nurturing personality good with children and problem solving. There go those analytical skills again. Like to joke but can be serious. HAVE LOTS OF ENERGY need a much younger woman to keep up with me.

I'm into Law, Medicine, Science, The Green Movement (environment) Motorcycles, Thinking and inventing things. Have a mind that never stops. I exercise and take good care of my body by eating healthy food. The last person told me I looked like I am in my 30's. Another friend said I have the body of someone in their 20's.

Notably, no photo is posted on HealthNut's profile. And given that he says he's looking for a "much younger" woman, I'm surprised he responded. We emailed on Frumster and then talked on the phone a few weeks ago.

HealthNut did most of the talking -- about the inversion table he just bought because he's losing height, the danger of mercury in dental fillings, homeopathic remedies vs. pharmaceuticals, and the health benefits of hydrogen peroxide. I'm really trying not to judge men harshly or reject them without good reason. I think I may have gone too far in the other direction.

We tentatively tried to make plans for this past Wednesday evening. I didn't a definite yes from HealthNut until Wednesday morning, by which time I had other plans. So I emailed back to say I was free Sunday afternoon. He responded:

That sounds ok. Let's talk Sunday to confirm.

Today I got some chemicals in my eye. Tonight I noticed lymph nodes swollen in my neck. I'm going to take some herbs that are blood purifiers before I go to sleep.

This past Sunday I ordered 60 books. A friend called me "insane" because of the number of books that I bought. I bought enough for about a year.

I went on a scale today. Haven't been on one for about a year! I was disappointed with the number that I saw. But have to remember that muscle weighs more, so it is something I should accept. Or I can (should) stop eating a large meal right before I go to sleep.

By that time I'd committed to going out with him. And I really didn't want to.

We finally met earlier today at Starbucks. To start: he does not look like he's in his 30s. Or 20s. He doesn't even look like he's in his early 40s. He looks like he's in his mid- to late 40s.

At the counter I picked up a bottle of fruit juice. HealthNut stepped back.

"Aren't you going to have anything?" I asked.

"No," he said, patting his backpack. "I brought a bottle of water."

I don't care if you shlepped 1.5 hours on the subway to meet me -- if you can't buy me a bottle of juice, there is no hope for anything to come of this date! Cheap and crazy? I'm definitely not that desperate.

We sat down while I drank my juice and HealthNut showed me two of his books -- the danger of mercury dental fillings and the health benefits of hydrogen peroxide, as it turns out -- and told me, in more detail than I would have liked, about his last dental experience, during which he used homeopathic remedies to cope with postoperative pain.

"Tell me about yourself," he said abruptly, switching topics.

"I think I'm... probably not the person you're looking for," I said.

He didn't flinch. "Okay," he said. Maybe he thought I was too old or fat, and that's why he wouldn't spring for the juice. Whatever. It took about 18 minutes, start to finish, and felt more like an hour.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

I'm too old for this sh*t

Last night I went out with a group of friends. Much younger friends, but all my friends who are my age are married with kids, so I have to make do.

First was a birthday party for a woman I don't know, at a bar I'd never heard of. It was crowded, noisy, and hot. Dreadfully hot. I could feel myself sweating off all my makeup. At least I got my daily 10 minutes of exercise and then some, dancing.

I also got hit on by a very small entomologist 12 years my junior. Interesting guy. I don't have a problem with short, since I'm not tall. We had a decent conversation, and he advised me on what kind of insect repellent I should bring on my next vacation. Then he asked where I was from, and I told him.

"I went to college with someone from there," he said. "Do you know -- ?"

I laughed. "How old are you?" I asked. He told me. "After my time," I said. "I'm 39."

"You could pass for 22," he said stoutly. Which was nice, although to be fair it was pretty dark in the bar. But then he had to go "take care of some business" (his words), and I didn't see him for the rest of the night. My friends and I went to another bar I'd never heard of, I met some more new people 10 or more years my junior, and I danced with increasing lethargy.

Remind me, next time I'm out with 20somethings, to take a taxi home at 1 a.m. I was promised a ride, and I didn't get home until 4.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Thursday, June 25, 2009

What's it like to be so HOT, Ayelet?

"What's it like to always be thinking, 'I'm a hot girl, every guy who sees me thinks I'm so hot'?" asked ET. We were hanging out over pizza last night.

"Truthfully, I have no idea," I said. "I never think like that."

Lest some of you think that my friendship with ET is just an emotional train wreck waiting to happen, I should tell you that I've determined what his role in my life is destined to be. His tikkun, if you will.

Not my husband -- as I said before, I can't keep up with the Energizer bunny on crack. He also has several annoying habits. The worst is his absolute need to analyze absolutely everything, minute by minute. He picked me up from work and as we sat in rush-hour traffic, he mused, "Thirty seconds to drive half a block... I can explain to you why insurance companies don't want to cover mental health treatment... I've seen you about 14 times since we met..."

Those quotes are taken out of context, but they characterize the reductive tone of his discourse. It can get quite irritating. Which I mentioned.

"You should get a cattle prod and shock me every time I start analyzing something," he said cheerfully. Don't tempt me, dude; you'll end up with a heart attack or Taser burns.

Anyway, I've decided that ET's job is to make me feel really good about the way I look, so I'll be more confident and comfortable and in a better frame of mind to meet men. Men like confidence. They don't like needy, insecure women who crave constant reassurance.

The more time I spend with ET, the more I hear, "You're so beautiful... Your feet are beautiful... You have such beautiful hair... I don't know why, but you're so much more beautiful in person than in photos. Why is that?... All the guys I know who know you think you're beautiful."

"That's not true," I said. "Jefferson doesn't."

"Jefferson's like me," ET said. "He thinks you're beautiful, but he doesn't think you're romantically compatible, for whatever reasons, so he doesn't want to lead you on."

I could frame this as, "Ayelet is beautiful but has a really bad personality, so that despite her beauty, men run from her." Or, I could think that I'm pretty enough to please anyone, and I just have to find the right one.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I'm guessing I shouldn't hold my breath

What I really need to do, now that I've turned 39, is give up on dating men in their 30s. I should no longer try to date anyone my age or younger, because they're just going to see me as a woman with compromised fertility.

I'm learning this slowly. Sometimes you have to read between the lines. But I never should have contacted the Frum Playa (FP) on Frumster.

FP describes himself thusly:

Here's where I'm supposed to tell you all about myself. Well, what do you want to know? I'm originally from Israel, although I've lived most of my life in NY. I would describe myself as adventurous, spontaneous, and passionate about my life, my ideals, and the people I love. I cherish my role as the bachelor uncle and dutifully try to spoil my nieces and nephews.

I believe that not only is there no contradiction between being frum and worldly, but that being frum is to be worldly- to understand and practice a life of purpose, meaning, and fulfillment as shown through torah and mitzvot. These are the ideals around which I would like build my bait neeman. And by the way, my mother thinks that I am the cutest thing.


We have a few things in common. We both love our nieces and nephews and take pride in being part of their lives. Our mothers believe we're adorable. We're passionate and worldly.

What kind of girl is FP looking for?

My true love, and I believe she's playing hide and seek with me, is down to earth with a heart of gold eager to be a true queen and not flamboyant.

Hmm. I'm kind of flamboyant. But what the heck, let's contact him.

Subject: my mother thinks I'm pretty cute too

Message: I don't play hide and seek, because I'm not into games. You sound like a very interesting person and a pretty good uncle. I like your definition of "frum and worldly." And I'd love to get to know you better.

FP's two years younger than I am, but there's no harm in that. Right?

thanks for replying to my profile, your profile is very interesting

Okay. That sounds kind of promising.

Thanks! How do you like to spoil your nieces and nephews? Right now 5 of my toenails are purple and 5 are metallic teal because my nieces like to give me pedicures and I let them pick the colors ;)

What does FP think of that? Too flamboyant?

You are cute AND funny. Your nieces must love you

Fairly approving. But not enthusiastic. Let's play it a little cool.

They do ;) You seem pretty cute, too.

Come on -- say something more. Say you'd like to meet me!

just a question for you
How religious are you? Are you ok with holding hands and kissing?

Okay, that's... more. Maybe too much. Doesn't sound like he's serious about tachlis. But I'll find out.

I am not shomeret negiah, but I don't like to get physically involved until I've gotten to know someone very well. I'm not looking for a boyfriend to make out in the movies with -- I'm looking for a husband ;)

Also, my membership is going to expire any day now, so if you want to keep in touch, you can find me at xxx@yahoo.com. You could send a picture, too, if you like ;)

Think he'll write?

I am not looking to make out in a movie theater. I just think its important to hold hands and show affection. I will look for you (Are you giving up on Frumster?)

Not too encouraging.

I'm very big on showing affection, as long as it's not an end in itself ;) I give up on Frumster periodically. I need to take breaks every once in a while. I'll look for your email to my yahoo address.

But I won't hold my breath.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Monday, June 22, 2009

Somewhat disappointing. VERY ironic. In other words, my life.

Last Thursday night, my friend Sheera urged me to go see HaRav Elazar Mordechai Kenig. A Very Important Rabbi. I assumed he was, or otherwise she wouldn't tell me to go see him. I had never heard of him.

But Sheera davened for me in Uman, so I love her and trust her. She told me to say I'd gone to Uman, but that didn't seem really fair, since I never left New York. I called the person who was arranging appointments, got the address where the Rav was entertaining visitors, and made an appointment for Thursday night.

Thursday morning I panicked because I couldn't find a single summer-weight top that wasn't somewhat low-cut. Apparently I just don't do crew-necks. I do vee-necks, and scoop-necks, with varying degrees of decolletage. It was too warm for a turtleneck. I finally put on one of my few blouses -- I mostly wear stretchy fabrics these days -- and buttoned it up all the way to my neck. Stupidly, I wore a knee-length skirt that hiked an inch above the knee when I sat down.

I had to take a subway and a bus to meet with the Rav. I never take the bus in Brooklyn. Clearly I'm desperate.

My appointment was set for eight. When I got to the lovely and well-appointed house, a young man was sitting in the living room. The Rav was in the study with another visitor, who soon came out. The young guy -- couldn't have been more than 21 -- went in. I waited, reading The Garden of Emuna.

After about 20 minutes, the kid emerged and it was my turn. I went in with the guy who made the appointment, since the Rav speaks Hebrew and Yiddish, while I barely understand either.

"I want to get married," I told him, giving him my Hebrew name. "I'm 39, and I want to get married and have children."

Pause. The Rav wrote something down, looked at me and said something in Hebrew.

"Is there anything else?" asked the interpreter.

"I have very bad health," I said. "I want better health. I have very bad luck. I was hit by a car erev Shemini Atzeret. On my way to shul."

The Rav began speaking, while the interpreter struggled to keep pace.

"Everything comes from Hashem," said the Rav. "Health, livelihood, a shidduch, patience. You must pray to him." He used the Yiddish word "beten," which means "beg."

"That sounds like what I'm reading," I said, showing him the book. The interpreter told him I was reading it, using the Hebrew title. The Rav nodded.

"I understand that," I said. "But I've been begging to get married for 16 years."

The Rav spoke again; the interpreter summarized. "You must beg, with tears, not with anger," he said.

I'm still single because I'm angry that I'm single?

"Besoros tovos," said the Rav. Good tidings. I was dismissed. It took about five minutes. I handed him a check. I believe in Sheera, but I don't know if I believe in the Rav.

The house was nowhere near any subway station -- which is why I had to take a bus to get there -- but a mere hop, skip, and jump away from my good friend... ET. Who has a car. And was feeling very guilty about leading me on. It was a chill and drizzly night, and I decided to call him to get a ride to the train station.

ET agreed with alacrity, and promised he'd be there in five minutes. I stood leaning on a streetlight. Something soft brushed my calf. I jumped: a big gray cat looked up at me. Whew. I squatted down to pet it, still holding my cell phone.

"Got a cigarette?"

I looked up and saw a shortish, swarthy man.

"No," I said. "I don't smoke." I stood up.

"I saw you holding your cell phone... I thought it was a cigarette," he said. "Are you on the job?"

"On what job?"

"You're not a cop?" he asked.

"I'm a social worker," I laughed. Why would a cop be hanging on the corner in dead-quiet suburban Brooklyn? I bent down to pet the cat again.

He changed the topic. "What would you name him? It's a him, I think, no? He looks like a male."

"I don't know," I said. "Smoky?"

"And what's your name?" he asked. Smooth. I told him.

"What are you doing out here?" he asked.

"Waiting for my friend to pick me up," I said.

"Is he a jealous friend?" he asked.

"He has no reason to be," I said, chuckling. "What's your name?"

"Brian," he said.

"Really?" I asked. He didn't look like a Brian. "Where are you from?"

"I was born here," he said, "but my parents are from Chechnya. Yes, that Chechnya, where the war is."

He looked kind of Jewish, but not religious. He wasn't wearing a yarmulke. But how great a coincidence is it that I ask a major Rav for help finding a husband and a man starts talking to me on the street?

"Are you married?" he asked. Is he psychic too?

"No," I said.

"Why not?" he asked. He stepped back to look me up and down and stepped on the cat.

"RROWR!" said the cat, running away. I doubled over laughing. As I straightened up, ET pulled up in his car.

"Gotta go," I said.

"What's your phone number?" asked Brian. What the heck. I gave it to him and stepped into the car.

"Are you hungry?" asked ET.

"A little..." I said.

"Will you come have something to eat if I drive you home?" he asked.

Now that's an offer I can't refuse. So we went to Kosher Delight. As ET debated between a double beef burger and a pastrami burger, I got a text message from Brian:

Do you drink?

That's a little forward.

Are you Jewish?

I responded. He responded in the affirmative.

Are you Shomer Shabbos?

was my next question.

No im jewish in my heart, thats more than sabbas

he wrote. Well, not to me, unfortunately.

Sorry, I am

I wrote. But a guy who propositions random women on the street is not so easily deterred:

Well its thursday, sabbas 2 nights away, let me come over, i dont come to NY often. I like u alot right away. What time do you need to get up tomorr ?

Okay, that's just inappropriate. Which I called and told him, and told him not to call or text me anymore. Second disappointment of the night. The men who hit on me are never frum. Or my age.

But I had a good conversation with ET, and we're going to manage being friends just fine. By which I mean: I'm going to manage being friends just fine. To be honest, he has a lot more energy than I do. Partly from the age difference, but in general, he's like the Energizer bunny on crack. He's out every day of the week doing things with his friends. I like to sit at home. So I doubt that I could keep up with him, long-term.

After ET drove me home, I got another message from the guy Ziva set me up with, DK. Since it wasn't too late, I called him back. And we had a great conversation until... I found out he's not shomer shabbat either. And when we went out Sunday night, he made it clear that he's not sure if he'll ever be shomer shabbat. Disappointment #3.

I came home and emailed Ziva:

DK is a nice person. But I do not understand why you would urge me to read The Garden of Emuna, then introduce me to someone who is not shomer shabbat and not sure he will ever be fully shomer shabbat. I admire the progress David is making in his learning, and I am sure he has a strong Jewish identity. However, I am not comfortable going out for coffee and being asked if I will have a salad, or if I mind if he has a salad, when the only kosher items in the restaurant are coffee and some of the cakes.

I need to be with a husband who will give me chizuk and strengthen my emuna as well as my practice. DK, nice as he is, is not the man to do that. I am trying very hard not to think that you set me up with him largely because, like him, I was not raised frum. I would like to think that my 20 years of shmirat shabbat count for something.

I wrote it Sunday night, went to sleep, re-read it and sent it today. She responded:

I have a rule when I do my matchmaking. Usually if the woman is stronger than the guy, I will try to set them up anyway because usually men follow women's lifestyle and women are capable of influencing men to grow.... In the last year I matched 2 couples that the wives were stronger religiously and they got married and the men become stronger... DK has great characteristics and he is a very nice man.

However, if you think that DK isn't a good match for you and in your case you want him to be stronger because you don't feel that you can help someone else to grow, don't pursue it. Move on and try someone else... Matchmakers are human! We only try the best that we can. We never know if it would click or not. thank you for keeping me posted I will try to look for someone else for you. Stay strong. Besorot Tovot soon.

I felt somewhat mollified, although disappointed. I guess I have to keep trying.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A leaner, nicer blog

You may have noticed that some blog posts seem to have vanished. That's because on the advice of very wise friends, I'm not going to post about certain topics anymore. I'll get around to blogging about my somewhat disappointing, very ironic Thursday night, I promise.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The nicest possible shock

"Ayelet, I need to talk to you about something," said my boss, following me into my office.

"Okay..." I said, heart sinking. What did I do? Well, if I did it, I can probably come up with a justification for it. Or apologize. Profusely.

"It's been decided that you'll be the MICA (mental illness/chemical addiction) program coordinator at this site," he said. In other words: a promotion, and a raise. (A tiny raise.) It will be a small program, but I will be coordinating it!

Woohoo! I knew we were starting a MICA program, and they knew I wanted to work in it. But coordinator? NO idea!

I'm pleasantly surprised. Pleasantly stunned, actually. But I shouldn't be. Ever since I started, I've said that I have a diabolical plan to introduce detox acupuncture to the agency. Now that might actually happen.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Think I'm a little testy?

I belong to several online groups for frum singles. Recently, I read this posting:

I would like to share with you an inspiring story, which I feel the need to spread. A friend of mine confided in me the story of how she met her spouse, or should I say how her spouse met her. He had dated for a while, around 50 different girls, and was beginning to feel that the situation was hopeless. After some time he decided to try the well-known concept of 40 days of prayer at the Kotel. Shortly after the allotted time was complete he was set up with his wife, my friend.

I, being a bit skeptical of these mystical things decided to research the 40 days of prayer. I came across a site westernwallprayers. org and after reading what they were about and reviewing all of their success stories, I am now convinced.

May G-d answer all our prayers for the best, Zissa

I am more than a little skeptical of westernwallprayers.org and said so bluntly:

I paid for two rounds of prayers more than two years ago. I am still single.

Obviously they haven't put me on their website. Someone else wrote:

A friend of mine also paid several years ago and she's still single too.

Well, at least it's not just me. Zissa dispensed a little more wisdom:

I am sorry to hear that they are still single. I am sure we all know that our prayers never go unanswered... Sometimes we need to learn to accept no for an answer. All the best, Zissa.

If that's your best, I would hate to see your worst.

Thanks for the encouragement, Zissa. I'm glad your friend's prayers were answered to his satisfaction, while I'm apparently doomed to remain single. All the best, Ayelet

I sent that at 7:45 a.m. this morning. A little sleepy, and still more than a little testy about the whole ET debacle. To be fair, all things being equal, I wouldn't choose to date or marry someone a decade my senior. But I don't think I'd randomly make out with them, either.

Zissa apparently didn't want to give me the wrong impression and responded at 8:15 a.m.:

Hi Ayelet, I am sorry to hear that you feel that way. Please do not lose hope that GD has a special intended someone just for you. All the best, Zissa

Like that makes up for anything. I wanted to snipe back, "You have an answer for everything, don't you?" but refrained.

ET sent me an apologetic email:

As we discussed on Monday night, I have had a crush on you for quite some time. I have had crushes on other people for periods of time as well.

In general, I avoid dating people unless I believe it can end up leading to a long-term relationship and possible marriage. I know I am looking to find the right person for me, and think that most single girls are as well, so why should I get into a relationship which might prevent a person from meeting their match?

I can honestly say that all I had in mind was wishing you a great night, and giving you a kiss on your cheek. I felt that was warranted after the pool game we had earlier in the evening, in which we were joking around with each other. In hindsight, I wish that was how the evening ended.

The crush I may have on you doesn't matter in my mind right now -- I like spending time with you in general, playing connect 4, discussing how guys are losers, finding out what is doing on the UWS... While I had an amazing time last night, it really isn't worth losing you as a friend. I would love a Shomer-Negiah relationship with you, if you think that is the best way.

Please feel free to not respond to this email, if it would make things tougher for you. Whenever you are comfortable, let me know, and I would love to take you to dinner. I would be happy to invite other people, and we can go as friends -- nothing more. You can even bring a date/friend if you like, and I can treat both of you. I owe Ozer a meal anyway, after eating by his place a few times -- bring him along. :-)

Someday when you are married to a great guy, I hope to be friends with your husband as well, and take you both to dinner -- perhaps a 3-way game of Connect 4 will exist at that point, which we can play together. :-)

I'm sorry for anything I have done which was not proper. As a guy, I have no doubt that I have done many things that I shouldn't have, and I am really sorry for that.

Ya think? I realize I might have misinterpreted some of the things he did and said, but how could I have misinterpreted "weight is just a number, like age"? Whatever...

In hindsight, I wish no more had happened either. Don't worry about it. I will be fine, I just need some space.

I will be "fine"; I know I will be. It's the getting to fine I hate, and right now I'm not much closer to fine than I was last night.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

... and back to reality

ET called and left a message on my home phone, saying that he could see me Wednesday but would rather see me Thursday, so when I got home I called him.

"I woke up at 1:30 today," he said. "I trust you did too."

"As if," I said. "I woke up at 10. Some of us have to work."

"You mean not everyone gets checks from New Jersey for doing nothing?" ET exclaimed. He's unemployed at the moment, and apparently making the most of his time off.

"No, some people have to listen to other people talk all day!" I said. "And some people had trouble focusing on other people's problems because they felt all happy and giggly."

"I'm glad to hear that," ET said. "So are you free Thursday night?"

"I think I am," I said. "Is it a date?"

Pause.

"It's... whatever you want it to be," said ET.

"What do you want it to be?" I asked, heart sinking with every word.

"I'm happy with things like they were last night," he said. "But if you're asking about long-term potential..."

Another pause. I didn't say anything. Eventually he resumed.

"I'm enjoying what we have right now. You're definitely one of my favorite Connect Four partners. But I definitely wouldn't want to keep you from meeting and dating other men who you might have... more of a future with," he said.

"I see," I said.

"It's just... I always saw myself as having lots of children, at some point," he said delicately. "I'm not trying to hurt your feelings, but..."

"But a younger woman will be able to have more children than I will," I finished for him. Not necessarily; some younger women are infertile. But an engineer deals in numbers and percentages, not individual cases. Or people. He hasn't changed his mind about my age.

If I'm too old to have six children, I am too old to have a friend with benefits. I'm not saying I'll avoid him in group situations, but there will be no more makeout sessions in his car, no more private video nights in my apartment, no more Connect Four at the pizza store. He can't take just a piece of me, and he can't have the benefits of an exclusive relationship without the responsibilities.

I wanted to say, "If you think you'll find a younger woman who is one-tenth as hot, and smart, and funny, and amazing as I am, you're deluding yourself. Especially not in Brooklyn." But that just sounds bitter. I'm very glad I didn't sleep with him, though. And even more glad that I forced the issue and headed off certain heartbreak. Right now I'm just disappointed.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Life is full of surprises

On doctor's orders I organized and attended a birthday party for my friend Minka. In Brooklyn. I like Mexican food, and there's a kosher Mexican restaurant on Coney Island Avenue, which is a short-ish train ride from my job.

Exactly Ten (ET), who was extremely distraught he couldn't go to my Dunkin' Donuts birthday party on Sunday, had offered to take me out to dinner afterward. Then he suggested we combine it with Minka's birthday on Monday and invite about 20 more people. He insisted he would pay for my meal, which I assumed was his birthday present to me. So I went.

ET sat next to me, which I made nothing of, because we're friends. Right? Minka sat across from me. I was wearing a dress with a plunging neckline, over which I had draped a filmy scarf folded to make it more opaque. Even though we weren't drinking, for some reason the scarf kept unfolding and escaping, and Minka noticed.

"Nice breasts, Ayelet!" she said. "Lose the scarf!"

What the heck, I'm with friends. I put the scarf in my bag.

"Now I'm going to make my move," joked ET. He yawned and stretched his arms above his head, prepatory to slipping one around me.

"Poke him, Ayelet!" said my friend Bracha. I tickled him on his side and he dropped his arms, and we all laughed. I would have thought nothing of it, but he attempted the same move about three more times. I couldn't understand why.

"Who wants to shoot pool?" said ET as the dinner wound to a close. "Ayelet, I'll drive you home if you go. Bracha too." Bracha lives two blocks from me.

"Sure," I said. A guy I have the tiniest crush on, Eli, was also there. "Come shoot pool with us!" I said. Eli is very shy and quiet, but he smiled and agreed.

Nobody else was up for pool at 10 p.m. Kind of late for me, too, but on Tuesdays I start work at 12, and besides, didn't Dr. Roda say I need a social life? I'm terrible at pool, so I thought I'd distract ET with my low-cut dress and maybe gain an advantage. He's a guy, and if Minka liked my breasts, I'm sure he will. Right?

We went to the pool hall. First ET and I played, while Bracha took on Eli. Every time ET lined up a shot, I leaned over the pocket.

"You're not playing fair," said ET.

"Do you want me to stop?" I asked.

"No," said ET, and missed his shot. I missed most of mine; ET's a much better player. He missed the best shot I made because he was talking to some really hot teenage guy, like a blond surfer with a yarmulke, at the next pool table. After that, I made a number of spiteful comments about "your boyfriend." As in:

"You missed my shot because you were busy with your boyfriend!"

"Stop making out with your boyfriend and take your shot!"

ET responded with, "You're beautiful, Ayelet!"

Interesting. Eventually ET won the game, and I played Eli while ET took on Bracha. Three times. His games with her went much more quickly. I thought it was because Eli and I were both terrible. We left the pool hall. ET dropped off Eli and drove into Manhattan.

"Who do I drop off first?" asked ET. At this point, I thought... I have a shot. Not sure at what. But he's into me. I'm getting that vibe.

"You should take Bracha first," I said. "Then go down Columbus, loop around, and go up my street. Otherwise you'll have to drive all the way over to Amsterdam." They agreed that was the logical route.

In front of Bracha's building, she leaned into the front seat to hug and kiss me good night. (I was riding shotgun.)

"Don't I get a hug?" asked ET. She hugged him too, from behind, and his head twisted sideways.

"You're welcome," said ET.

"Huh?" Bracha and I said.

"I mean -- good night! Thanks for coming! Great games!" said ET.

We drove to my street. There was an empty spot in front of my building, and ET pulled in.

"I had fun tonight," I said. "Thanks for dragging me to Brooklyn."

"Thanks for coming to Brooklyn," he said, "and wearing that dress."

"I was hoping it would throw you off your game more," I said.

"Are you kidding?" he said. "I played three games with Bracha in the time it took me to play one game with you. I never take that long to line up my shots. And I usually watch my shots as I hit them."

"What were you watching?" I asked playfully.

"You," he said, suddenly serious.

I was... extremely surprised. He's made a point of telling me how ancient I am, how he doesn't date girls more than two years older than he is, how he looks forward to going to my shabbos kallah when I get married, etc. Not the kind of things a guy who wants you tends to say. Was the insistence on paying for my dinner his way of saying it was a date?

"Want to come up to my apartment?" I asked.

"Yes," he said immediately.

We went upstairs and kissed. "You're so beautiful," he kept saying. "Your body is so hot. I said 'You're welcome' when Bracha hugged me because I was staring at your breasts. It made no sense! I was totally distracted."

"I weigh more than you do," I murmured.

"Weight is just a number," he said, "like age." Six months ago he was calling me geriatric. This is... different.

"How long have you felt like this about me?" I asked.

"Talk to the hot girl at the Shabbos Nachamu meal," he said. "That's what I thought when I first saw you. That you play Connect Four and even beat me was an unexpected bonus, and a total turn-on. You were wearing a pink dress the first time I saw you." For a guy who likes numbers, he's pretty visual.

At 2 a.m. I had to go to sleep. ET asked if I would join him for dinner on Wednesday; he'll be on the West Side to play soccer with friends, and afterward he'll be hungry. He again told me he'd pay for my dinner. Is this a date?

I wasn't sure if I had plans. Not that I'm such the social butterfly, but I wanted to check. Since I'm free, I sent him an email:

Wednesday night works. Do you want to me to catch the end of your soccer game? I can go straight from work. Otherwise I can meet you at the restaurant.


Stay tuned... I also got a call from a guy Ziva set me up with. I'll have to call him tonight. Maybe I'll see him Thursday, or Saturday night. I put the rose quartz back in my bra. I am attracting love and admiration.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Sunday, June 14, 2009

How I screwed up. Again.

I have to say, Dr. R was right. I went to my birthday party, and even though most of the people I invited didn't come, those who did amounted to a respectable crowd -- and I had fun, which was the main idea. Besides, in a Manhattan Dunkin' Donuts seating is extremely limited, so had all 100+ people I invited actually showed, it would have been a fire hazard.

But I want to show you how I scared off yingerman. He's way too young and far away to be a realistic prospect, so I guess he was good to learn on.

Ayelet: hey
yingerman: hey
yingerman: how r u
Ayelet: not bad, u?
yingerman: ok ... lots to do but I still went shopping!

I'll spare you the details of what he bought, but that boy sure can shop.

Ayelet: so... I have to tell u something
yingerman: ?
yingerman: yes
Ayelet: I thought u were ignoring my IMs on Facebook so I unfriended u
yingerman: ohh really !?!
Ayelet: yes
yingerman: no i wasnt
yingerman: that is sad
Ayelet: ok
yingerman: :(
Ayelet: I apologize
yingerman: ok
Ayelet: this long distance thing is very hard
yingerman: hmm yes ok
Ayelet: it would be nice to meet, but I'm not sure how that's going to happen

Silence.

Ayelet: hello?

More silence.

Ayelet: well, have a good Shabbos, and take care

So much for yingerman. I tried to friend him again; he hasn't responded. I know he wasn't a realistic prospect, but there I go from the flattering pursuit by a much-younger man to repelling him with my neurosis.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Aunt Hummingbird

My nieces made me a beautiful birthday card with two animals on it, which they copied from a book of animal pictures. One is a ruby-throated hummingbird, because I am as pretty as a hummingbird. The other is an Artic fox, because I am that soft and cuddly.

Aunt Hummingbird isn't in the mood for her birthday party at Dunkin' Donuts. I'm horribly anxious. And my knees have been killing me since 3 a.m. Friday morning. But I invited people who say they're coming, so I have to go.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Thursday, June 11, 2009

My new Frumster profile

Another blogger commented that my Frumster profile is pretty generic and boring. So I'm changing it. Radically. What have I got to lose? I'm only premium on Frumster for a couple more weeks. I'll just be myself.

This is how I describe myself: AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT....

I'm a drug counselor. Sometimes frustrating, often entertaining, never boring. I'm fascinated by people, the choices they make, their struggles to change -- or to resist change. So yeah, I love my job. Not so much that I don't want a personal life -- I don't think I'll ever be a workaholic. Family is more important.

I like to be funny. In the past this has occasionally gotten me in a bit of trouble, as when I decide to crack a few jokes and enliven a deathly boring meeting. The Senior Vice President is not always amused. But usually my sense of humor is an asset. Life is too hard and serious not to laugh and enjoy what you can.

Ultimately, I think you can enjoy anything -- from the opera to grocery shopping -- if you really enjoy the company of the person you're with. Ride with me and you'll never be bored. Or hungry -- I'm an excellent cook.

This is what I am looking for in a mate: Good derech eretz. Cares about people and their feelings. Looking for a partner, not a housekeeper.

Intelligent and hardworking. Easygoing, doesn't sweat the small stuff.

Good company, fun to be with.

I love other people's children, and I'm very good with them. If you have kids, bring 'em on! ;)

Bonus points for men who aren't afraid to admit they don't mind watching chick flicks.

We'll see if this frightens or attracts.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Happy anniversary, Ayelet

Today is my one-year anniversary at my job. I have decided that if you have interesting work and a supportive supervisor, you have a really great job.

This morning I told Dr. R that I'm struggling, even though I'm fully competent at work. He asked why I wasn't talking about my social life.

Crap. Right now I don't really have one. I get invited to parties or to go out with people, but I don't go. Even on Saturday night, when I can sleep in the next day. I just don't get out much. I don't want to do anything. And I don't know why I feel that way.

Clarice asked me yesterday, as I was leaving to go home, "What do you do for fun, Ayelet?"

I had to think. "Uh..."

"What do you do when you go home from work?" she persisted.

"I go online... I email people, I IM, I chat..." I said, horribly aware of how lame it sounded.

"Same thing I do," she said with a sigh. I felt a little better.

A friend of mine wants to go salsa or swing dancing with me. I promised I would -- Lincoln Center has free outdoor dancing in July. I love dancing. Why don't I want to go?

I hope I enjoy my birthday party this Sunday. I hope I'm grateful for whoever shows up, not resentful of whoever doesn't, and that I don't spend the time wishing I were at home in front of the computer.

And I hope I enjoy this Shabbos with Jerusha, the kids, and my parents. I am definitely bringing the Vitamin K.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

bleh. meh. feh.

Change is hard. I want to exercise and eat more healthfully, yet I find myself trying to get out of my 10-minutes-a-day, and I'm binging. I like to tell myself that if I eat something really healthy, say a whole bag (14 oz.) of pre-washed salad and 4 peaches, I can then eat whatever I want, such as half a container of ice cream.

I don't know why this is such a struggle. I find myself eating when I'm not hungry -- almost in spite of myself, or to spite myself. Forcing myself to eat ice cream when I'm full. I don't know why I'm resisting change so strenuously.

I guess old habits are comforting, even old bad habits. Likewise, I don't know why I try to avoid exercise when I know it's the only thing that will help me. Crystals? Please. It's easy to put rocks in my bra and drink essences, but I don't really feel a difference. I'll give it a few more weeks and then I'll give the crystals to Malka, who likes pretty stones.

Fortunately, I don't binge like a real bulemic, nor do I purge. I've been gaining and losing the same 5 pounds for about a month. And while I'm not thrilled with my double chin, I'm also not totally disgusted by my body. Progress of a sort, I suppose.

I'm still dallying with yingerman, although I unfriended him on Facebook in a fit of pique (I thought he was ignoring my IMs) and I have no plans to travel to Berlin, so I don't know how we're going to meet in person. I started a correspondence with another Frumster guy, and if it goes anywhere I'll blog about it. Ziva gave my phone # to a guy who's only a few years older than I am. I'll let you know if he ever calls.

I'm dragging. That's the "bleh. meh." I can barely get up in the morning, and showering is apparently beyond me. Fortunately it's been cool and damp, so my questionable personal hygiene isn't apparent to my co-workers and colleagues. At least I hope it isn't; nobody's said anything. It's very hard to get myself up, dressed, fed, and to work, although once I'm there, I find myself well able to conduct assessments and therapy, write treatment plans, and even facilitate groups.

A college friend I reconnected with on Facebook just posted this status update:

"Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal" -- Albert Camus

Ain't it the truth...
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Rocks in my bra

So I didn't agree with the life coach as far as Baltimore Guy was concerned, but I am trying something she recommended: healing crystals.

I've always believed that crystals can have therapeutic properties. If you look at a piece of rose quartz, for example, your brain is stimulated in a particular pattern. That could change how you think and feel.

Rose quartz is one of the crystals I'm supposed to hold to help me find my life partner. I also have a set of crystals "for overcoming trauma and bad memories." Of which I have plenty. According to the instructions:

Cleansing: Rinse for about two minutes under running tap water and wish for the strength that Gd implanted in these stones to help me and be useful to me; then expose to the light of day for three hours. To be repeated once a week.

Carry the stones in your pocket or handbag and feel them with your hand when they are loose for a total of two hours during the day or when you feel it is necessary.

Cleansing and sunning the stones was no problem. Holding them was. I can't hold them at work or my clients and co-workers will wonder. At home I'm usually using my hands for other things, like emailing or IMing.

So I put them in my bra. I figure, the reason you hold them is to absorb something from them through your skin. And if I wear them next to my skin all day, I'll absorb more. Unfortunately, one of the days I wore them, I was wearing an old and slightly loose bra, and I lost one of the "find a life partner" stones. I'm not sure what stone it was -- I recognized some of them, but not all -- so I can't replace it. I'm trying to call the crystal healer to ask her if I can just replace the stone here -- and if wearing the stones next to my skin is appropriate -- but she's in Israel and kind of hard to reach.

Those are the stones I hold. I also have a set of stones "To forgive yourself and liberate yourself of feelings of guilt." These stones I don't hold. I drink them. Well, first I cleanse and sun them the way I do the other stones. Then:

In the evening place the stones in a transparent glass with spring or mineral water and cover it for 24 hours and then immediately drink it; thereafter prepare for the following evening with the same procedure.

Which I am also doing. Finally, I have four "crystal healing essences"

made of Hoshen stones and their derivatives, mixed with the water from the Jordan River... The essences are remedies based on the frequencies of Hoshen stones. These essences function based on the principle of Homeopathic remedies and Bach Flower remedies.... We are aware of the huge impact of emotions, attitudes and thoughts, and their effects on the biochemistry of our physical body. Hoshen stone essences are used to help us heal ourselves in a wonderful and natural manner, and are based on the principle of energy frequency healing, that helps each one of us remove undesirable attributes, such as cowardice, indecision, lack of self confidence, and turn these into positive traits: courage, self love and love of others, power and strength.

The essences I have are: Vitality & organizational implementational skills; Spiritual Development & Blossoming; Happiness, Relief and Optimism; and Release of emotional blockages. I put drops of these essences under my tongue twice a day, and in the evening I put the drops in my glass of guilt-liberating stones and drink that water.

It's too soon to say whether they're working. I have done odder things in pursuit of health and happiness. I just can't remember what, right now.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Monday, June 08, 2009

My ex-boyfriend's back

On my birthday, I commented on a Facebook friend's status update. And so did my ex-boyfriend. I went out with him in college, 20 years ago, so let's call him Jurassic Vassilievitch. He was born in the former Soviet Union.

I friended JV on Facebook on Friday (after seeing his comment) and suggested we catch up sometime. I spent all Sunday looking for him online. Finally he logged on, and we IMed for a while and then spoke on the phone. At his suggestion, although I'd already emailed him my phone number.

JV has bad luck with women. He fell in love with me -- hard. He really, really, really, really loved me. I tried to love him but ultimately found him annoying. I can't put my finger on why; I just wasn't into him, so I broke up with him.

Then JV got engaged to his childhood sweetheart, who, like him, came over from Russia and, like me, broke up with him. A few years later, he married a woman who apparently loved him enough to be jealous of me -- although not of the ex-fiancée -- but didn't love him enough to be much of a wife, although they did have two children. He's been divorced for a few years.

Talking with JV was comfortable. I told him about my nervous breakdown -- he knew I had mental illness issues when we dated, and to his credit, it didn't bother him -- and the rest of my life. Two master's degrees, a job I mostly love, nieces and nephews, no marriages, no kids. He spoke a bit about his lonely marriage, his job, which is boring but stable, and his kids, who apparently show great mathematical potential. (He's an engineer, so that's not surprising.)

We left it at "let's talk again soon." He made sure I had his phone number. Where will it lead? I have no idea. I can think of several issues that could hinder me from embarking upon a great second-time-around romance with JV:

1. I might still find him annoying.
2. He might no longer be interested in me romantically.
3. I'm not sure what his level of observance is. I know his kids go to a Jewish day school, but I don't know if he keeps kosher or Shabbos. When he asked why I was still single, I told him my dating pool was "shallow." He said, "I've noticed that about your dating pool."

For now, I'm going to see where it goes.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Sunday, June 07, 2009

More advice

I showed my Frumster profile to a Facebook friend for his take on it.

This is how I describe myself: Smart, funny, fun, interesting. A bottomless well of trivia and passion. Not easily daunted or discouraged. Good listener, since that's what I do for a living. I like going out; I like staying in. I love being an aunt, and I'm exceptionally good at it.

Ultimately, I think you can enjoy anything -- from the opera to grocery shopping -- if you really enjoy the company of the person you're with.

This is what I am looking for in a mate: Good derech eretz.

Intelligent.

Doesn't take himself too seriously.

Ready to take dating VERY seriously.

Preferably 5'7" or shorter. I do date tall men, but I *really* like short men.

I don't date men more than 10 years my senior, and vastly prefer men within a few years of my age.

I thought it was short and to the point, and gave enough information while making people want a little more.

This was my friend's response:

Doesn't take himself too seriously. Many men take themselves and their life goals very seriously. You might have a strike against you here.

Ready to take dating VERY seriously. Okay a reasonable request.

Preferably 5'7" or shorter. I do date tall men, but I *really* like short men. This would not be too bad as you are short but taller men might be turned off rather put down under 6 ft tall as then the distance is great and the couple turn heads.

I don't date men more than 10 years my senior, and vastly prefer men within a few years of my age. The first request would limit let us say put a cap on 15 years older as you are 39 but try to remember than a man 49 would probably look for a 32-34 year old.

I know men and what they are after -- that is if he wants kids. If not he is looking for 45 plus. You are not a spring chicken anymore but not somebody who would date a man around my age. Try to think what a man 39 - 54/55 would be looking for -- this is the greatest mistake that women make.


Marriage is compromise, compromise, compromise. No Compromise no marriage. Try to see what men like.

You also reveal very little if you are affectionate, want somebody who you can cuddle up to, etc. Men are not looking for a cook and a maid they also need affection and attention. Sort of advertise like Dale Carnegie writes what you can do for others.

I wrote to another woman who happens to be 44. She finally with my help defined what she is really looking for in a man. In short change your standards to be less limiting -- it is correct to write that you would prefer a shorter man. Set boundaries like Shomer Shabbos and Mitzvos, honesty and a person with no criminal past. These boundaries are commendable but forget physical limitations. What happens if the man is 5'6" limps and is deaf and not intelligent? Define your real important goals -- maybe the limit is OK but a wheelchair too much to handle?

I don't think that many men over 57 to 60 etc. would try to start dating you on Frumster. However a 14 to 16 year age difference at 39 should not be ruled out.Too many women remain unmarried because of the upper age limit. What happens is that their age increases each year with no man.

Ugh. Is he right? Do I need to date men 15 years older than I am?
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Friday, June 05, 2009

Happy birthday, Ayelet

No use mourning what I can't change. I want to thank everyone who commented on here and Facebook for their loving support. I have to admit that after taking a walk on my lunch hour and focusing on my work, I did feel better. But I need to stop moping and crying on the subway ride home. Makes me wake up at 4 a.m. with a headache.

Even anger management group went really well, although that's partly because I have a great bunch of guys right now. Psychotherapy with the psychopath was a fascinating challenge as always. I have to say, it gives me a kick when I outwit him, render him speechless, and don't let him get the better of me. Keeps me on my A game.

I got some unexpected birthday greetings. First from SawyouatSinai, of which I am emphatically not a fan:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

We hope you have a very special day, and wanted to send you this card to thank you for your support.

Have a wonderful simcha filled year!

As a special gift,when you sign up with any Gold membership plan, we are giving you a limited time extra free month. Please enter 'bonusmonth' in the marketing code field on the payment page to receive this birthday offer.

The SYAS Team

Before SYAS became a paying site, I was rejected by one of the matchmakers. She had set me up with a kind of shlubby guy -- I wasn't enthusiastic about him, but I was willing to meet him. He said he was willing to meet me, but never contacted me. She asked me a few times about the "progress" of the match, and I kept telling her he hadn't contacted me yet. Then I logged into the site and discovered she'd deleted me from her list of clients -- without telling me.

I was ready to be rejected by men on a dating site -- but by the matchmakers? So I wrote to the management:

More than a month ago, one of my matchmakers proposed a match for me. I accepted, he accepted, he was given my phone number, and then nothing happened. The matchmaker e-mailed me a few times asking for an update, and I told her each time that I hadn't heard anything. Then I visited the site yesterday and saw she was no longer listed as one of my matchmakers. She dropped me without a word of explanation.

It's bad enough that a SYAS guy blew me off, but I expected more from the matchmakers.

Their reply:

Sometimes when a matchmaker realizes he or she does not have members with whom to match you up, he or she may decline you. To prevent this from happening, we suggest forming a relationship with your matchmakers so they can get to know you and be able to suggest more
and better-suited matches for you.

Best, SawYouAtSinai Support

What the --? The matchmaker didn't say she didn't have anyone for me -- she had at least one. Also, she requested we communicate via e-mail, not phone, so I don't know what more I could have done to form a relationship with her.

When SYAS started charging for membership I refused to fork over. I still have a profile up, and I have to say I've never been set up with anyone remotely attractive. Ironically, that same matchmaker proposed that same shlub for me about four years later. I reminded her of what happened.

It's not just me. Other female friends of mine have SYAS horror stories -- only set up with men who are ten or more years older than they are; going six months without a single match suggested, and not being given a refund or extension. I don't think I'll take them up on their birthday offer. Although Ziva Kramer is a SYAS matchmaker, even though she also works independently. I guess I should ask her if it's worth me joining.

Also heard from Westernwallprayers (in my case, "unanswered prayers"):

Dear Ayelet,

We wanted to wish you a very happy birthday from the Old City of Jerusalem.

Know that we are thinking of you on this special day.

Birthdays are very good time markers in our lives because they give us the opportunity and incentive to reflect on where we are now, compare it to where we were last year, and then contemplate where we would like to be next year.

May you use the great strength and connection of this day to propel you forward and upward to becoming the most beautiful person that you were created to be.

And as a birthday present, we are giving you any of our prayer options for 15% less than the normally requested donation (this gift voucher is valid for 7 days).

Wishing you much blessing, The WWP Team

I'll think about it.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Thursday, June 04, 2009

It's all a test, and I am failing

According to The Garden of Emuna, every negative experience we encounter is designed to humble us and bring us closer to Gd, to beg for help and forgiveness, to atone for whatever sins and wrongs we've committed.

In my case, it's not working. I'm about 2/3 through the book, and my resentment and anger and misery aren't remitting. Yesterday I ate an entire container of Edy's slow-churn ice cream. I guess it was half a gallon. Because I can't face the fact that tomorrow I will be single, alone, childless, and 39.

I've been coy about revealing my age on here. To protect my real identity, in part, but also because I didn't want to admit to everyone how old I am. I'm ashamed of it. Ashamed that I reached this age with so little in my personal life to show for it.

The Garden of Emuna says I should pray to be enlightened as to what I'm doing wrong. Maybe I'm tremendously arrogant, but I honestly can't see why my efforts to be good have led me to the sorry state I'm in today. I'm not perfect, but nobody is.

And yes, I know my life could be worse. Knowing that doesn't help. Because the trend has been for my life to keep getting worse in ways I couldn't begin to imagine. I dread the future. I don't want to grow old; I want to die young. Maybe in my early sixties, or fifties.

On my real Facebook page, people have already started sending me birthday congratulations, which I'm receiving bitterly. I posted a status update that tomorrow I would be old, and people responded:

HT: unless you're turning 70, you're really not old

LY: 70? Feh. 90. Now, that's old.

Ayelet: I *really* hope I don't make it to 90.

SA: You *really* hope you don't make it to 90? What's the alternative?

Ayelet: if my life continues as it is now, I *really* hope I die suddenly sometime in my early sixties. I can't imagine my knees, back, sinuses, and all my other decrepit systems improving with age.

SA: But if you don't continue who will I have to bother? besides we'd all miss you.

Ayelet: There's only so long I'm willing to go on living for other people ;)

And that's the truth. Am I doing not only well but good at my job? Yes, I think so. I help people. I make them feel better. I'm pretty good at that. Does that keep me warm at night? Not even close.

David Carradine killed himself today. The same day as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline launched their new website. I hope it saves many lives. Because there are plenty of unhappy people who really have something to live for. I don't really think I'm one of them.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

My enviable teeth and strong leg

"I wish I had teeth like yours, Ayelet," said my dentist, Dr. Hilarious.

"Eally?" I mumbled around his fingers. "Oo goo?"

"I do," he said. "Your teeth are enviably untouched by man."

So is the rest of my body, I thought peevishly.

Dr. Hilarious continued to enumerate their virtues. "They're not cracked, no crowns, no bridges, pretty straight, very few fillings..." When his fingers were out of my mouth I said, "But my gums are terrible, right?" I had a gingival graft back in 2000 and am terribly prone to gingivitis.

"Your gums are holding steady," he said. But it's interesting that I had to blow past a compliment -- how great a compliment is that: my dentist admires my teeth??? -- to focus on the negative.

A few weeks ago, my pedicurist told me, "You have very strong leg!" after scrubbing my calves. She handles calves all day long -- I wonder how many impress her. And yet the compliment didn't really bouy me up that much. Even though it's nice to know the FitFlops were a good investment, all I could think about was the rest of me, which isn't nearly as taut and toned.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Not what I wanted to hear

Ziva wrote back with just about the worst possible thing she could have said to me:

wow. this is tough! try to date men that are 7-8 years older than you!

don't give up. I know it is hard. I just received a call from a woman I coached who told me she got engaged. she is in her late 30s. she almost gave up... but I didn't let her. she almost married a man that she didn't love and I didn't let her! I made her brake up the other relationship and within a month she found this man.... Please stay strong!

Ouch. Ouch, ouch, damnation. Seven to eight years older than I am? That is so not what I want. Or what I thought I wanted. But I guess a messy woman in her late 30s doesn't have so many options.

Ziva then wrote:

I think I have two ideas for you. Are you ready to try?

Just remind me again your religious level and age. And if you can add a short description about yourself it would be great!

I wrote back:

I'm ready.

I identify as modern orthodox, liberal, but am open to meeting more machmir types. To me the important thing is shmirat shabbat and shmirat kashrut; the details are open to discussion. I'm happy to cover my hair if it's important to someone.

Smart, funny, fun, interesting. A bottomless well of trivia and passion. Not easily daunted or discouraged. Good listener, since that's what I do for a living -- I'm a clinical social worker. I like going out; I like staying in. I love being an aunt, and I'm exceptionally good at it. I enjoy trying new things, meeting new people, spending time with friends, reading, walking, museums, movies/theater, traveling, and helping people when I can.

I also told her my age, which will soon increase by a year. I guess if the guys are 7-8 years older than I am, I'll have a date or two.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"