Monthly Archives: September 2009

show and tell: back in the backyard

Show and Tell Chalkboard 2First off, a word of explanation.  If you don’t know already, I am an old blogger with new digs.  I am working on getting my old posts moved over, after I change some identifying information. 🙂  I had some privacy issues last week and had to shut down the old place, which had a title that spoke of one be.coming, well, whol.e.  So that’s me, just with a new look.  If you don’t recognize, me, you may notice the dog, who now goes my Miss Famous.

Now that THAT’S out of the way.  Welcome to show and tell!  I recently moved.  If I had my old posts, I would link here to some posts telling you all about my move, yadda, yadda.  Long story short–I had to stay with my parents for a while after leaving my abusive husband.  Now I have a job in a lovely new city, not too far away from my parents (but far enough, ya know?).

So one of the really nice things about where I’m staying (in my friend’s house–she’s renting me a room while she’s elsewhere), is the lovely backyard.  It’s fenced in, though I haven’t allowed Miss Famous to test its holding capabilities.  She is a bit of an escape artist.  At any rate, it’s lovely, and we have had a few nice times throwing the ball (me) and running around (her).IMG_1283

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See what everyone else is showing and telling over at Mel’s.

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Presenting…Miss Famous

Because I am a sucker for Wiseguy…and I’m always telling her I wish I could give her more than internet words…so I’m giving her…an internet name for my dog.

she's newly named and feelin' frisky!

she's newly named and feelin' frisky!

P.S.  So sorry for giving you a heart attack, Nina.  Promise not to do it again.  Kisses from Miss Famous make up for it?IMG_0029

a new chapter

And so I was thinking about this whole new blog thing, and it almost seems fitting, as I am starting a new chapter in my life.  In the past year, I started blogging, and am now on my third blog  (not quite my first choice as a writing style).

What I was thinking today was that each seems to mark a chapter.  The first blog, my foray into the ALI* world of words started last December.  I elected at the start of blogging not to tell Mr. X (yes, new blog, new name for the nemesis) that I had done so, though it was always my intention to tell him eventually.  Long, long story short: the marriage fell apart due to his emotional abuse, he found my not-so-hidden blog on our shared computer, found some of my plans for escape, and escalated his assholery.  That first blog was all about my infertility and marriage angst, and I fell in love with the back-and-forth between blogger and commenters.  I loved the ALI community, and I found blogging to be cathartic and affirming in a way very different than journaling.  During the time of my first blog, I very clearly “fit” in the ALI world: I was married and on a path (convoluted though it was) toward trying to have a baby.  Much of my blogging had to do with my pain about infertility.

Blog, the second, was started just after arriving at my parents’ house after leaving Mr. X.  I was literally shaking, and had very little anchoring me.  My blogging community was a lifesaver in those days.  I poured it all out, and received support and encouragement daily.  So many days, it seemed that the only thing I really had going for me was reading blogs and trying to fashion together some kind of post of my own.  I loved so much seeing the archives grow, seeing the categories grow, seeing the number of comments grow (I was almost to 1,000 total comments when I had to shut down.  I had some plan to do something for the 1000th commenter…I know I’m corny.)  So my “privacy issues” were basically my fault.  I made a mistake with something, and it turned out that when I did a google search of my name a couple of days ago, I found my blog.  I went around and around in my head about what to do, and starting over seemed to be the cleanest way, and the way I could be the most sure that I wasn’t found by Mr. X or anyone else IRL who happened to google me.  Also, I really didn’t want to go password protected, for a number of reasons, some of which are logical, some of which aren’t.  It partly makes me sad to shut down blog #2, but in a way, it feels good to shut the door on that chapter and open the door on this one.

If you were following my story on blog #2, you know that I recently got a job and moved out of my parents’ house to a nearby city with the dog.  This feels like a new beginning on many levels, though I still carry the rubbish of the last few months with me.  The divorce is not resolved.  The house is not sold and is on the route to foreclosure (I’m mostly resigned to that–I just want it to be over with…mostly.).  I still get kicked in the face (emotionally speaking) with some frequency with the issues of the past…well, I suppose they’re the issues of the present.  I have decided to find a therapist.

So this is take three.  Hopefully, I’m here to stay.  I’d like to not have to email Mel again with another sad story about changing my blog.  Again.  At least in this calendar year, anyway.

And if you have any thoughts about the dog’s name, and if I should re-pseudonym her, please let me know.  I could refer to her as Sheffers, which is similar to her actual name (kind of like Megs for Megan, or something).  Or we could stick to the old pseudonym, which I kind of like, but I’m super-paranoid, if you haven’t gotten that yet.  Or she could go all feminist on us, and become Ms. Doggy.  What do you think?

*Adoption, Loss, and Infertility Blogosphere

third time’s the charm?

These are the new blogging digs for the blog previously known as be.co.ming w.ho.le.  Word for the day week is “ARGH!”

Some privacy issues came up with the old blog, and basically, I knew I wouldn’t feel comfortable letting it all hang out, so to speak, so here we are, changing again.  If you’ve been around a while, you know I already had to change once, just a few months ago.  This is now my third blog, and hopefully last.  (Hopefully?  Pretty please?)

I’ll post something more meaningful soon, and also try to get my old posts over here, once I make them un-searchable, that is.  (Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it?).

Argh.

[ETA: This is the first post in blog #3, the last blog (hopefully!).]

blogging break

I’ve got some craziness going on, so I’ll be taking a little break from blogging for a few days or more, but nothin’ to worry about. 🙂

[ETA: This was the last post in blog #2.]

show and tell: Miss Famous’s husky love

Show and Tell Chalkboard 2So the “show” part of this week’s show and tell is a bit of a cheat, as I don’t have a photo of what I want to show you.  Well, I have photos of half of it, so that’s what I’ll show, I just don’t have a photo of the other half, so you’ll have to take my word for it. 🙂

I believe in was the last show and tell I did for my old blog (see sidebar), I introduced Miss Famous’ husky friend to all of you.  If you were around back then (it wasn’t so long ago–February or March?), and have a good memory, you mightIMG_0629 remember some of these photos.  I think I called it “bestest friends” or something.

Well, apparently, Miss Famous has not forgotten her old husky friend.  In our new home, as we have been walking the neighborhood, we have come across a man and his husky dog.  This husky is a male, and much larger than Miss Famous’ former playmate, however, Miss Famous is drawn to him like a long-lost lover.  When we pass by other dogs on our walks, she shows interest, but nothing too extraordinary.  IMG_0627However, when Husky Dog and owner have shown up, she goes berserk.  She pulls on her leash, she literally jumps on Husky Dog, she goes in to the “play with me” position (butt in the air, front paws sticking out), whining and jumping the whole time.  Luckily, very luckily, Husky Dog and his owner are very nice.  Husky Dog is very calm, but as his owner describes it, often sees playing as “beneath him.”  He is benevolent to Miss Famous and her antics.  IMG_0633His owner seems like a lovely man and is very patient with this crazy mutt who is jumping all over his calm dog for no apparent reason, every time she sees him.  I have explained about Miss Famous’ former playmate and that she does not do this to other dogs, which surprised Husky Man.

So I suppose she remembers her old playmate and/or she believes all huskies to be good playmate material.  It tugs at my heart a bit to see her so excited about this dog, and I’d love to find her another dog to play with in the lovely backyard we have here.IMG_0620

See who else is showin’ their love over at Mel’s.

ghosts of new years’ past

In case you hadn’t heard, we are right in the middle of the Jewish High Holy Days, also known as the High Holidays.  (Here is a nice, user-friendly introduction, if you are interested.)  I found myself in shul (synagogue) on Saturday, and I was pretty overwhelmed by the experience–not so much the experience of now as the experience of remembering what has brought me to this point.  Hence, this post.

♦My first Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) was the year I was studying about Judaism, before I had converted.  Mr. X was back in his state after spending the summer with me (we were in a long-distance relationship at that point).  I was finally starting to feel familiar with the Shabbat (sabbath) service–knowing the tunes, recognizing more or less the order of things (the synagogue where I went conducted the entire service in Hebrew).  Then came Rosh Hashanah.  Little was I to know that they would change all the tunes and add tons more to the liturgy so that the little I felt familiar with suddenly disappeared.  And instead of meeting in the small library as usual, we met in the big sanctuary, and people I had never seen before showed up, and the services seemed to last forever.  I was less than impressed with all this High Holiday upheaval and was more than ready to get back to business as usual.

♦My second Rosh Hashanah was in Jerusalem.  I had converted, X and I had married, and we went to Israel as part of his school program.  As you can see from that previous sentence, everything had moved really quickly in the previous year, and I hadn’t really had time to process very much of it.  Other things that were going on in my life included my family being pretty upset about my conversion (what with my going to hell and all–they’ve come a long way, baby, since that time), and my graduating with my master’s in social work.  As far as Jewish observance in general was concerned, something I couldn’t really see at the time, but is crystal clear now (thank you, hindsight!)–my religious observance level was 100% determined by X and what he wanted.  Needless to say, I was feeling pretty stifled, pretty suppressed–but didn’t even know it.  X was also very threatened by anything on my part that he perceived as not totally enthusiastic about Judaism on my part.  Along came the High Holidays and their (seeming to me) hyper-focus on “repentance.”  At the time I was carrying around a whole-lotta baggage from my Christian past that hadn’t been dealt with, and the High Holidays were the one time of the year that Judaism felt uncomfortable to me because of this focus.  X, of course, instead of being understanding, or giving me space to work out my own issues from my own past, just piled on the guilt about my not being totally gung-ho about the New Year.  Because, you know, everything else I had done so far wasn’t enough. (And again, I wonder, how could I not see it then?)  So that second Rosh Hashanah was mostly about getting through it.  And a big relief when it was over.

♦Rosh Hashanah, take three.  We were back in the U.S., and Mr. X was completing the last year of his program, after which he would be a full-fledged rabbi.  Based on the previous two years’ experiences, I was not exactly looking forward to RH.  I had just started a new job, and had to take off several (unpaid) days at the start due to these holidays.  I remember hosting a couple of meals–there was always a lot of work to do, but the person I was always worried about pleasing was X.  Things needed to be “just so” for him.  He always had an idea in his mind about how Jewish things should go, and if they didn’t go the way he wanted, well…let’s just say his mood would swing.  Looking back it is so easy for me to see how much I did without really wanting to, how much I did because I was afraid not to, but at the time, I just had a tight feeling in my chest, a feeling of being stuck, though I couldn’t have put those words to it.  If I didn’t really want to go to religious services on Shabbat, how much more did I not want to go on Rosh Hashanah, when I would be trapped there for hours longer than usual, hungry and bored.

♦The fourth Rosh Hashanah was the first year that Mr. X and I were in the town that I’ve referred to elsewhere as “Small Pond.”  He had taken a pulpit job, and we were firmly in the “honeymoon” stage that new clergy often experience with congregations.  A friend of ours that we had met the year we lived in Israel came to lead the musical parts of the services, and having her there was wonderful for me.  I hadn’t gotten a job yet, so I wore myself out cooking and cleaning and we hosted every meal (lunch and dinner) for our cantor friend and her parents.  As for the services, I remember thinking that I hated the High Holidays a little less that year.  Sweeping praise, I know.  This may have had something to do with the fact that X eased off somewhat in his pressure of me at the time (in Jewish things).  I think partly this has to do with the fact that I was pressuring myself so much, he no longer needed to…

♦The fifth Rosh Hashanah…the honeymoon was definitely over.  It was our second year in Small Pond, and we had been trying for several months to conceive.  About a month before RH, I had seen my ob-gyn for my yearly exam, and had received a diagnosis of PCOS.  We were referred to the “fertility specialist” in the practice.  When RH came around, so much was up in the air.  I didn’t know yet that X’s sp.erm analysis would show severely low-mo.rphology.  I didn’t know how long it would take to get a definitive answer about that, even.  I just knew that my worst nightmare had just opened up and pulled me in.  That year, there was another visiting cantor, but not a friend.  Also, X’s parents came to visit for the High Holidays, and stayed with us, so I had less space to deal with my feelings.  There was a lot for me to do, and a lot of emotion running just below the surface.  I don’t remember much of my impressions about the religious aspects of the HH that year.  I just remember being in pain and being scared.

♦The sixth Rosh Hashanah.  Last year.  It was my fifth as a Jew.  Things were hard between Mr. X and me.  I had started getting emotionally healthier, and that meant a lot more saying, “no.”  That meant a lot more trying to figure out what kind of religious observance I wanted to have, for me, not for him.  This last part freaked X out more than anything else.  He was losing his grip of control on me.  I was learning how to take care of myself.  I was learning that I could live without him.  At this point I had not consciously imagined leaving him, though he would throw it in my face and accuse me of planning it (which blew my mind at the time, and I would do anything I could to convince him it wasn’t true–crazymaking).  I was trying so hard to hold myself together and hold my marriage together.  I still didn’t know that it would have to be one or the other, that I couldn’t have both.  It was during the High Holidays last year that I reconnected with the Divine.  I don’t really know how else to describe my experience, but it was an amazing time for me.  Amazing and hard, as I still had to come home with X.  I didn’t really focus on the machzor (prayerbook) or the set liturgy that everyone else was doing.  I stayed in my own head mostly.  There were a couple of images that came to me during that time.  These images gave me peace and I don’t know how I would have gotten through that month, that autumn without them.*

♦This year.  Seventh Rosh Hashanah.  Sixth year as a Jew.  First year on my own.  I had not been wanting to do anything Jewish at all, at all, at all.  I had been starting to wonder about myself, if I was going to want to stop being Jewish.  I didn’t want to want that…

About a month ago, maybe a month and a half ago, I was walking Miss Famous and I heard in my head some of the traditional tunes for the High Holidays.  These are tunes that are only used at this time of year.  I found myself wanting to be in shul for the holidays.  With that desire came a great relief.  I don’t know what my Jewishness will end up looking like, but it is still there, and it will be mine.

So I only went first day RH this year (it’s a two-day holiday).  I didn’t know how I would react, being in shul again, after so many months being away.  I decided that I really like being anonymous, or at least, not being the rebbetzin (rabbi’s wife).  I liked just blending in.  There were tears, and there was relief.  There was no panic attack**, and there was nothing out of the ordinary (unless you count the tears).

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*I will talk about these another time.  This post is already so long, I would not want them to get lost in it.

**I’ve never had a panic attack, but I found myself wondering and worrying about my reaction to being in shul again, being in those services again with how connected they are to Mr. X in my mind.