Saturday, December 15, 2018

Phoenix Year

In 2018, I...

- had a biopsy
- got a new pet, Phil
- got a new job
- lost a pet, Stella
- totaled my car
- have a new medical situation

People, I am EXHAUSTED!The neurologist thinks I might have had a seizure that caused my accident. I'm getting a sleep deprived EEG and echocardiogram next week. The doctor wants me to start Keppra. Since I'm getting off Amlodipine (horrible drug BTW), I'm waiting for that to be out of my system before starting another med. I'm not driving. I can't drive for six months if it was a seizure. I get to avoid winter with a car in Boston - woohoo!

I'm doing pretty okay about Stella. We had a different kind of closeness since she didn't really like being touched. I fed her, got scratches and licks from her. Occasional snuggles on her terms only. She is definitely in a better place with no pain. I'm yet again impressed with the staff at Angell MSPCA. They treat pets like their own and show owners such patience and empathy. Our cat, Shauna, is still looking for Stella in our apartment but eventually she'll get it. Phil was confused/concerned but seems okay.

I'm starting my new job Monday Dec. 17. I'm excited, a little anxious, but ultimately happy. The people I interviewed with all seemed very nice. I'm going to reign in 100% me for a bit until I suss out the office vibe. I can't whip out my Marvel bobbleheads on Day 1, you know? I first interviewed for this job November 19 so technically I did get a job by my birthday, November 22.

There has been an ah ha moment for me about my health. The accident and some conversations with my brother have gotten my head straight about things. I've always been overweight and both sides of my family have weight issues. But that is no excuse to give up on being healthy. I realized that being so overweight with all the lovely health issues in addition worries people who love me. Since I love the people in my life, I want to save them hurt or anxiety. No cookie or dish of ice cream is more important than my brother or parents. If I can't get healthy for me, I can for them. I'm using this site and am really pleased so far. The next phase is checking out the gym a block away from me. Come at me 2019!

Friday, December 07, 2018

December 5 & 6

December 5:
- Stella is bleeding from a lump on her belly. Rush her to Angell that night.
- On the way home from Angell, got in a car accident that totaled my car. Roomie and I walked away bruised and cut.

December 6:
- Accept a job offer!!! Start date is December 17. HR person told me that the consensus after my interviews was that I was the only one they wanted

Sunday, December 02, 2018


I started taking ACE inhibitors along with diuretics for my blood pressure Nov. 8.  On Nov. 23 I had to go to the E.R. I had really bad heart racing/palpitations and dizziness. They only happened once or twice a day in the week preceding but on the 23rd, I had a dozen in a row just sitting down quietly in the living room. My roommate was away visiting her family so since I was alone, I texted my brother who took me to the E.R. I get really upset every time I need to go to the hospital because it's scary and I have bad memories from my stroke.  I was hooked up to an EKG, gave blood, and urine. After about 3 hours, my heart wasn't acting weird and everything looked fine so I was sent home with instructions to get an appointment with my doctor and stop drinking coffee. My theory is that I had a bad reaction to ACE inhibitors. My father is allergic to them and vasodilators can cause palpitations. Giving up coffee has been so painful. I usually have 1 to 2 cups a day but that kept me going man... My doctor and I talked about the situation. I'm now on calcium channel blockers and as long as I can go 5 days with no heart weirdness, I can go back to drinking coffee. December 5 is my potential Coffee Day.

Stella has had a bunch of bad days last week but seems to be rallying even though she has lost a ton of weight. She eats, pees, poops, and runs around like normal but mainly she sleeps. I just want her to be comfortable and take the dying decision out of my hands. I just don't have the bandwidth to put another one of my pets to sleep. You know?

You know My Pillows? I got one about a year ago and loved it. But over time it's novelty wore off. I had the darnedest time getting comfortable. Plus my back and neck had been hurting.  Then I stayed at a Marriott hotel for a family wedding. Oh my goodness, I woke up feeling like I slept on a cloud. Their pillows are fantastic. Now, I'm a proud owner of a Pacific Coast down pillow and am sleeping like I'm in heaven.

There is possible forward movement on the job front. Just cross your fingers and send good mojo! Also, here is a picture of my grandmother in her twenties, me in my forties, and my grandmother in her eighties. Definitely not adopted.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Fourteen Year Old Cat

A couple weeks ago, my roommate found bloodstains on the pillow Stella uses as a bed. I was a complete wreck inside. Outside, I was terse and cold; checking all the other places Stella sleeps. There weren't stains any other place. I pressed a paper towel on Stella's belly to see if anything was actively bleeding. No active bleeding. Then I googled and filled out a quality of life calculator. Cried and talked through options with my roomie. 

Back in 2013 Stella had breast cancer and a partial mastectomy. Now, she has three large bumps on her underside. She eats, drinks, and sleeps like normal. No odd behavior or anything. So, I have decided that I will only take her to the vet when her quality of life is obviously deteriorating. I won't put her through what I put Rasputin through. 

This possible catastrophe sent me to a sad dark place. I had trouble sleeping, I hovered over Stella diagnosing any tail twitch or extra second of dozing. I reached out in the middle of the night to pet crematoriums! I'm dragging myself back out to coping but wow I had no idea how little coping I have left. Unemployment is eating up almost the entire coping supply. There isn't a new supply at the bottom of wine bottle either. It has been a year since I lost Rasputin. I don’t know if I can lose another furbaby...

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Being a Jew By Choice

Growing up, since my father survived WWII in Europe, I heard stories about Nazis, bombings, starvation, and the black market. My father's family is Christian but had many Jewish friends in Budapest. They hid whoever they could and forged papers for others to get out of Hungary. None of these family friends survived the war.

I read The Diary of Anne Frank in third grade. I felt like I had found a kindred spirit in Anne. My heart broke when hers broke and I celebrated the small happiness she was able to find. Halfway through the book, I mentioned to my mother that I would love to meet Anne Frank in person. She told me Anne died in a concentration camp. I felt like I had lost a sister.

I grew up in a well heeled suburb of Boston with a mix of Jewish and Christian families. The churches outnumbered the synagogues but there were two synagogues at least. We had school holidays on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.  My family was not religious so I did not see any difference between my friends' religions. CCD and Hebrew school - what's the difference? My family was not well heeled, we had a foreign last name, and we brought weird foreign food to school for lunch.  There was an assumption that we were Jewish. Since we weren't, our oddities were fair game for mocking.

After my stroke and once I had recovered enough, I decided to continue my search for a religion to join. I was sitting in my car after work one evening when a question came into my mind that asked, "Why haven't you considered Judaism?" I got goose bumps. At home I googled what was involved in converting and just exactly what Judaism stands for. I contacted several rabbi for sponsoring. Only one set up an appointment. I attended my first shabbat service that Friday. It was amazing. I loved the music, the sermon, and the sound of Hebrew. To my ears, Hebrew sounds like millennia, rock, sand, and my bones. Everyone was so welcoming and kind as well! Thus began my yearlong process of studying to convert. 

I had to tell my family. My parents were fine. My mom pointed out that she looked into converting to Judaism around my age. My super Catholic grandparents were thrilled. I chose my Hebrew name, Miriam, because she's the sister of Moses. Moses was supposed to have a speech impediment. My brother had a stutter when he was little.  I went to the mikveh April 2007. My grandmother was hospitalized suffering from complications with her CHF and breast cancer. She passed a message along that she wished she could be with me. As a converted Jew, my full name is Miriam bat Avram v'Sarah. Also, according to DNA I have Ashkenazi ancestors - haplogroup K!
Then my grandmother passed away in May 2007. It was my first deathbed watch. It also was the first time I've seen certain family members cry. I felt extremely close to my grandmother. She was a lot like me and never let me doubt her love. The first shabbat service after her death standing for yahrzeit and saying the kaddish for her overwhelmed me.

Now I have been Jewish for over a decade. I'm no longer a weekly temple goer. My family gives me hanukkah gifts on Christmas. I observe the high holidays and have hosted Passover. I make a mean brisket. I've also had people tell me to my face that Jews are lying thieves. One of my cousins decided to use "Jewing down" as a euphemism for bargaining down in front of me. Since she's 18 years younger than me, I had a talk with her about that.

There has been two years of rising anti-semitic harassment and acts of hate in the United States. Now, Jewish people have been murdered. I'm not going to feel great saying "I told you so". on this. The entire world is getting more conservative and xenophobic, it's not just us. The thing is, this has happened before and it has not gone well for any Other groups.  This is the time to speak up and be allies. Don't get suckered into the fear mongering. Make a change Tuesday November 6, 2018. Learn from history.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Entertainment Report Card

I have a lot of opportunity to see new movies and check out television series this fall. 

A Star is Born - is really good. I used to love VH-1's "Behind the Music" so a lot of story beats in this movie come from the typical rock star origin story. The music is really catchy and it is shot in a style where you feel like you are sitting in the room with these characters. I can't believe this was directed and co-written by the same guy who was Sydney Bristow's sidekick! It's worth full ticket price.

Happy Together - I adore Damon Wayans Jr ever since "Happy Endings" so I might be biased. He is great in this.  He has chemistry with everyone and I laugh myself silly.

Manifest - this has a good underlying mystery but I"m worried the writers have no plan and will pull a "Lost" on the viewers. The characters are pretty bland so far so I call the main siblings Charming and Eyebrows. Actually Eyebrows has become a bit stupid annoying lately so I might learn her name.  As long as answers are dribbled throughout the series, I'm in. Also, drama for drama's sake is not storytelling, it's annoying.

The Conners - I'm glad the cast doesn't have to pay for Roseanne's idiocy. The premiere was pretty dark but it makes sense from the story they have been telling. John Goodman, Sarah Gilbert, and Laurie Metcalf were really good! I'm in.

The Kids Are Alright - I think I'm just watching for nostalgia. I got stupid excited over a spoon display the family had in their kitchen because my grandparents had the same one.

Single Parents - I love Brad Garrett and Taran Killam. The writing is really sharp. This clocks multiple laughs per episode for me. Seriously, Brad Garrett as a dad is like having a live-in cartoon parent!

A Million Little Things - triggery as fuck. Avoid this show if you struggle with depression or ever attempted suicide. It takes place in Boston. The characters aren't even vaguely likable and the suicide is just an impetus for bullshit intergroup drama. A big NO on this one.

Murphy Brown - I used to hate this show as a teen but now I'm 41 and I love it! I like that Candice looks like a normal person. They did a great job casting Murphy's son - there is an ease and affection there that works well. I laugh a lot and cheer watching this show.

Catching Up

Grey's Anatomy - I stopped watching around season 10. Since the show is in syndication and streaming on Netflix, I have caught up. I liked Amelia on "Private Practice" but Grey's Amelia is annoying as hell. Maggie seemed interesting in the beginning but turned into a stammering weirdo. It's not amazing TV but I basically watch to see what new pain these characters are put through. This is a masochist watch. Side-note, on a message board someone said the way Owen kisses women looks like he is trying to devour them. Cannot. Stop. Laughing. Every kiss scene is now ruined.

Mom - OMG Allison Janney is a national treasure. I like the dark humor and dealing with broken families. I like to think this is Chuck Lorre's penance for "Two and a Half Men".