03 March 2009


I'm getting a bit stressed here.

OK, so I'm getting really stressed and scared and nervous. I know, I know. I'm supposed to be tough and fearless. After all, I conquered Tel Aviv, didn't I?

I have a major Math midterm tomorrow that I have just now begun reviewing for, major because I was so sick for the first one and did so poorly on it that I absolutely have to do well on this one. My instructor opts to drop our lowest midterm score (don't ask me why there is more than one MIDterm, since the very essence of the word implies ONE exam in the MIDdle of the TERM - that's ALWAYS bugged me), which I'm sure he thinks is very nice and generous of him, but it also means that if you're super sick for one of them, you have no leeway on the other ones.

I wouldn't be exagerating if I said that my math skills are hara (sh*t in Hebrew - actually pronounced with the guttural ch at the back of the throat, like CHAra; it's a very phonetic and sounds exactly like what it is). Maybe they're not all that bad, but they're at least as rusty as an old Model-T that has sat through a century of NW rain. My math skills have always been one of those things we don't talk about. We know it's bad, but we just leave it at that.

Bio, on the other hand, is fascinating and, despite my B in the class right now, is actually something I think I'll be pretty good at once I get further into the field. Unfortunately, I'd like to commit ritual biology suicide in my lab right now (don't question the analogy, just go with it). I have an absolutely HUGE, DAUNTING and TERRIFYING lab paper due on Friday and I, the fearless world conquerer, am getting scared.

Yes, I have started it. Yes, I have talked to the instructor about it. But it's really freaking me out. Mostly because with work and other classes I actually have NO TIME TO DO IT. Basically, 30 minutes tonight, an hour tomorrow between class and work, and a few hours in the morning on Thursday before work is all I have. Can someone please tack on a few more hours to this week???

I'm not the only one freaking out. One of my lab group members actually sent out an email to the class today, which read, "This is basically a desperate cry for help... I've been struggling with this paper for a while..."

I have no idea what's going to happen. I could sacrifice sleep, but we all know that doesn't happen, ever. It's just not an option. No way, jose.

Deep breaths.....


Image courtesy of http://spiritualtravelman.wordpress.com/ whether he likes it or not.

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19 February 2009

It'SNot What You Think

Among the less well-know casualties of teaching swimming lessons to little tykes are internal bleeding and black eyes from getting kicked in various places while teaching (what else?) kicking; severely itchy skin from sitting in a bath of chlorine for more than two hours a day; and getting sick.

The first one I haven't experienced in years, but the second two continue to plague me.

Why would you get sick from being around kids in a pool? You might ask.. It's not like in daycare where, if they don't wash their hands every five minutes, the group of preschoolers becomes a veritable incubus of viral plague. You're in chlorine. It should kill it all.
You know what? It should, but it doesn't.
On the contrary.
See, when these little kids (of whom I have over 20 on Mondays and Wednesdays and over 30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays) are swimming - doing various kicking exercises with a floatie stick to support their arms or trying desperately to swim front crawl - and come up for air, it's usually right in my face.

And what goes right in my face when they come up for air? Spit, sneezing, coughing, snot, water etc.

I know. Really gross.

There were a few specific instances last week when the kid came up for air and spit, just as I was opening my mouth to say something, and the spit went right in my mouth. Not a loogie (sp?) or anything like that. Just a full spray-blast of water and other unknowns from their mouth and into mine, complete with all the little bacteria and viral yuckies (that's a technical term) that come along with little kids.

Now you wonder why I'm sick?

Oh yeah, maybe it's also because of my schedule - working 35 hrs/week on top of school. But I prefer to blame it on the spit.

Photo courtesy of http://nhsblogdoc.blogspot.com/

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07 February 2009

Career Bay-watch-er

Just a little update, since I can't seem to be able to pull myself away from my beloved Macbook and the NYTimes and thought I might as well do something useful in the meantime.

Tomorrow will see my first official shift guarding at the SW Pool and Community Center. I'm excited - for the work, not for the life guarding.

Lifeguarding for me is like the old, wrinkled shirt you have to wear because it's time to do laundry and you didn't plan well enough to have time to do it before you had to wear the old wrinkled shirt (or the old, non-date-worthy, haven't-seen-the-light-of-day-in-six-months underwear). We didn't plan very well, and the economy is like my overdue laundry, and lifeguarding is that old, wrinkled shirt that I have to wear because there's just nothing better lying around in this walk-in closet known as my life.

It's generally boring, hot, humid, mind-numbing work. Not like Baywatch. Nothing like Baywatch. In fact, the most exciting thing that will happen tomorrow (with any luck) will be a bloody nose from some lap swimmer getting kicked in the face by an aqua jogger lady or maybe the pH level in the pool will be too high and I'll have to go back in the labyrinthine mechanical room and flip a switch.

Still, it's not all bad.

It's a paycheck. It's sitting in my bathing suit for hours on end. It's getting to swim and workout for free anytime I want at a very nice, yuppie facility (free yoga and pilates, free cardio and weights etc). It's getting a free water bottle. It's getting an intimate look (and smell) at some little tyke's breakfast... Ok, this is going downhill fast.

Oh, and I just realized I have a math midterm this week. SH********************************T! So much for planning ahead...

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31 January 2009

Really? Oh dear...

Wow, so...long time no post. Yeah, yeah, I know. I've been busy. Alright?

I didn't realize until I surfed on over to my own blog how long it's been since my last post. When I saw the last post I knew I had to update you right away.

So, the roommate situation didn't work out.

That's an understatement.

The roommate situation was a veritable disaster.

I'm quite proud of myself for the way I handled it, emotionally, logistically. You know sometimes you wonder if you're making any progress at all in being a better person and working on your "stuff?" This was one of those situations that showed me that I have. One of the few good things that came out of it.

Anyway. The last time I posted, I had just moved into a three bedroom house in SW Portland. I found the room listing on Craigslist. After telling one of my uncles about my roommate disaster, he said something to the tune of, 'That's your problem. Don't you know that? Only idiots use Craigslist."

Well, that may not be entirely true, and there may be some perfectly lovely, normal, intelligent people who post things on Craigslist. Unfortunately, I didn't find one of them.

Soon after moving in, it was clear that the situation was not going well. I'm not going to list all of the things that happened, because, frankly I'm tired of talking/thinking about them. There was something neurotic with some ugly towels she had hanging in the kitchen that NO ONE was allowed to use. (What else do you put towels in the kitchen for, people?) There was something else with three big and extremely ill-mannered pooches, with whom I was perfectly comfortable - just not in my room, in my stuff, in my way ALL THE TIME. So I told the dogs to move (so they wouldn't eat my shoes) and get out of my way (so I wouldn't fall down the stairs) and shut up (so they would stop barking so loud) one too many times and the roommate got pissed off. She said only SHE was allowed to talk to them like dogs. (Yeah, but you don't lady. That's why someone else HAS to.)

She told me "I just don't see how it's going to work. There's too many things."

I said, "Are you trying to tell me you want me to move out?"

"Yes, yes, that's what I mean."

"I'd like to try to work it out. I don't think you're being fair."

Hesitation, "OK."

But I've yet to mention the weirdest and most appalling aspect of this whole situation (appalling to me anyway).

In the midst of a very long and tense conversation about her wanting me to move out, she had the audacity to say, "You know, I'm a Christian. I believe in Jesus. I believe that's the only way to salvation, and I can't have someone living in the same house going around blessing things all the time. It's just too much different-ness. You know that not everything in this house is blessed."

In other words, judenraus!

Her euphanism for "Jew, get out of my house" was "I just can't have someone living in the same house going around blah blah blah."


Like, really?

You really think it's OK to think that and say things like that to people?

A friend of mine had a humorous take on the situation.

This girls is so wacky that she belongs on an episode from Seinfeld or Friends - she is truly comic material. The good news is that you're not living with her. If she's this way that soon into the roommate relationship, imagine what would happen over time.

I'd say her response to you is pretty unfathomable. She may really just dislike Jews that much. If so, why didn't she raise this issue sooner?

Perhaps one of her church friends just recently told her how dangerous we are. (Haha)
But it could be something totally different - some screw got knocked loose in her brain so that she just needed to get you out of her life, and she made up the psycho Christian story as a cover. Maybe you remind her of the sister with whom she's had a lifelong, bitter rivalry. (Oh, sad.)
Maybe she developed an immediate crush on you, and doesn't want to admit that she's gay. (Hahaha)
Maybe she got a new boyfriend and wants him to live in your room. For any of these reasons, she didn't want to tell you the truth, so a religious lie was easier. Who knows?! The good news is, you're outta there, safe and sound.

Although she agreed to "give it a try," I called her the next morning and told her I'd be out by the end of the week. I was just so appalled I didn't quite know what to say.

Fortunately, my aunt and uncle were kind enough to let me crash at their place in Beaverton until I could move into my new place, which I did two weekends ago.

I have to say. After all of this crap, after moving almost five times in the last three months, after being told I couldn't stay in someone's house because I'm Jewish, I am SO HAPPY to have my own place. No psycho roommates, no ill-mannered pets, no nonsense.

Now I'm just waiting for my life to return to some semblance of normality. Trying to pass math, working hard in Bio, re-certing in life guarding, planning my next trek to Israel.

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30 December 2008

For, with love, all things are possible.

On December 21, I (un)officially moved into my new digs in P-town. I currently have one roommate (the third girl moves in next week), who, on her own, has three large dogs and one little feisty cat. The cat, named Ethel (sp?) has an insatiable obsession with my bed, claws me and whines whenever I try to move her and is at this moment walking back and forth across my laptop, begging for attention.

The cat's ok. While roomie #1 (henceforth known as R1 to protect her identity) was away in Kentucky for the holidays, the cat and I bonded. I like to think this little claw-er / biter / spitter actually genuinely likes me. But I know it's just because I'm in the room she likes. She has a thing for laying on top of ANYTHING that's lying around -- whether it's my book on top of my bed, the pillow next to my head while I'm sleeping, my bathrobe on the bathroom counter -- then she looks up at me with this look that says, "I'm the queen here, and don't you forget it."

The weekend I moved in, Portland was in the midst of a veritable blizzard (from which I had to be rescued twice). Thus, we moved in in such a frenzied hurry, that we left a couple of marks on the walls and some crumbs on the counter. Oh yeah, and we also used the towels in the kitchen to wipe some stuff up from the counter.

This wasn't a big deal - or at least it wouldn't have been had the following incident not occurred. On our way up to Portland, we figured out that we wouldn't arrive in time for R1 to be there when we showed up, as she had to work. So she said she'd leave a key and kennel the dogs "because I'm concerned about them not knowing you - they're very protective of the house," she said (or texted actually).

In the midst of the move, and having seen the two big dogs stuck in their sorry cold cage in the garage, I texted R1 asking her if I could "let the dogs out because they look sad." "Yes," she replied. "If you could let them out to go poddy (sic) that would be great."

Now, we weren't even speaking a foreign language here, but something got lost in translation. We (me, parents, bf's hubby) all assumed (when you assume, you make an ASS out of U and ME) that she meant we could let them out period. As in, we don't have to kennel them anymore, because they're not going to bite us. That was the original reason for kenneling them. Right?


Oh, how very wrong I was.

I was set to be snowed in with the Best Friend that night and the following night, so we let the dogs go potty, left them in the house and went on our way.

That night, I got a call from R1.

"Did you let the dogs out?"


"Yes...Was I not supposed to?"

"I always keep them kenneled."

"Oh, I'm sorry. It was a mis-communication. I feel terrible."

"There is pee and poop EVERYWHERE."

"Wow. Really....?"

Actually, this is the short version of a 30-minute long conversation with R1, consisting mostly of apologies and damage control for something that was a simple misunderstanding. I felt bad, really. But I was more upset about not being able to fix it and not being able to prove that I wasn't some irresponsible wack-job roommate who was set to cause her more anguish than her previous one did (if that's possible).

So I decided to make good.

While she was in Kentucky, I vacuumed the ENTIRE house -- and let me tell you, it was disgusting; three dirt containter empties disgusting -- and washed all the windows and dusted the living room and cleaned the kitchen.

Ok, so really, I don't have a life. But she was so happy, so incredibly happy. Not just that the house was cleaned, but that I had proved that I am who I say I am. And I'm not a psycho wack-job. And I didn't just do it because I wanted her to like me (I'm not a fan of drowning in pet hair), although showing her love was a big part of it.

Just goes to show how a little bit of love can go a long way.

25 December 2008


So, a bunch of rockets aimed at Israel with timers set to go off Thursday night were found by the Lebanese army patrolling in southern Lebanon (everyone swears Hizbullah is not involved); Santa Claus shot and burned a bunch of revelers at a Christmas Eve party in California; Portland, the city I moved to last weekend, has been turned into a veritable snow globe by the worst winter storm since 1968, or probably earlier; and I'm getting up at the crack of dawn tomorrow to go shopping on one of the most psycho shopping days of the year.


I read a story on Black Friday about a bunch of shoppers who got trampled at a Wal-Mart during a pre-Christmas shopping frenzy. One worker was killed, if I remember correctly. Another victim sued, saying that the employees didn't do enough to help the tramplees from the icy snow boots of the tramplers. Fortunately, I'm not going to Wal-Mart tomorrow. UNfortunately, the Mom is. At 6 am.....

So, the big story (embedded in the tale of woe above) is that I moved to Portland last weekend. In the middle of a blizzard. With both the car and truck full of my stuff, we had to stop on the side of I-5 so the Dad could put the chains on (yay Dad!). It took us four hours to make a trip that usually takes an hour and 45 minutes.

After unloading both cars, the Dad and I drove out to Oregon City to pick up a bed I had bought on Craigslist for $65. It took us about two hours round trip (probably takes about 45 mins in normal circumstances).

It was really only worth the incredibly low price I paid for a perfectly decent mattress + box springs + frame, the warm and gooey chocolate chip peanut butter cookies we got from the sellers and the priceless experience of driving through the blazing snow with my dad while listening to Christmas music.

The only problem is, I don't really feel like I've moved to Portland. On Saturday night, which should have been my first night in my new house, I was snowed in with the Best Friend at her apartment -- until Monday afternoon, when we were rescued by her hubby and his dad. The hubby gave me a ride to my house on Monday, through the blizzard, and then my parents came to rescue ME on Tuesday (still snowing) -- so that I wouldn't be stuck alone for the holiday (the one I don't even celebrate).

I don't know about you, but my life is just really weird......

Gonna go light the chanukiah now.

Happy and merry...

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22 December 2008

A quote for today

When you are inspired by some great purpose,
some extraordinary project,
all your thoughts break their bonds.
Your mind transcends limitations,
your consciousness expands in every direction,
and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world.
Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive,
and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far
than you ever dreamed yourself to be.

--Attributed to the ancient seer, Maharishi Patanjali

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