Focus My Ass

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My head hurts, my throat feels all bloody and my nose is a faucet. I’m trying to focus through. My aunt decided that I should stand up in front of a bunch of people I don’t know and give a speech about my uncle who was killed when I was five. So yes, I’m trying to focus and trying to come up with what to write. And it’s even harder to do when I’m sick. And it’s even harder to do when the speech I have to write is in Hebrew. And it’s even harder to do when all I have to work with is five years worth of super fuzzy memories and super fuzzy newspaper clippings circa 1987. Focussing on the fuzz… right.

My aunt chose me to give that speech because she says I’m a good writer. But this is different. This so-called good writer needs to read her writing to a bigass audience made up of complete strangers. That is what freaks me out, because when the written word translates into spoken word, I might as well be mute. The only time I ever gave speeches was in school, in front of classmates, and it was for grades so I managed quite well and scored high. But now, I may very well trip over my words, stutter my way through whatever it is I plan to put down on paper, and do it all under the scorching sun of southern Israel.

The rally where I’m set to make a complete fool of myself is on September 27. Still trying to focus and I’m sick as fuck.

I’d rather be doing something creative like working on my daughter’s photo album. Picabook is where it’s at.

I’d rather be reading. Stephen King is totally where it’s at.

I’d rather fucking sleep. My bedroom is totally and completely and desperately where it’s at.

But alas. I’m at work. Sick. And trying to focus on something I’m hopelessly fuzzed-out about.

Help me.

Peace, love and holidays shmolidays.

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Post-IZM Blues

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I’ve recently found that slowly but surely I’ve managed to return to myself and my regular programming – art, activism, writing, reading, exercise, music, social activities, the usual mischief.

July kicked ass. I’ve worked hard and managed my time accordingly and have thus made zines, wrote some shit, attended Slutwalk, attended Pride, organized art mornings, kept with my weekly Tai Chi routine, read and am still reading lots of King books, and tried to stay as active as possible even within the realms of my maternal duties, as limiting as some of them may be. Yes, there are 24 hours in a day. I’ve owned them and filled them up to the fucking rim.

However, after an exchange between me and my husband regarding boring financial issues, we’ve agreed that I should give up my free mornings so that I may be able to pick my daughter up from daycare at a more reasonable hour and not have to keep her there until 18:00 and be charged for babysitting services. It comes out to hundreds of Shekels every month, and that’s a lot. But what I will be sacrificing to avoid such an expense is a lot, too.

“I won’t be writing anymore,” I told my husband. ” I also won’t have time for Tai Chi, or zine-production, or post office errands, or cooking, or dishes, or laundry, or sleeping in, or anything else. I will be reduced to being just a part-time secretary and a full-time mother. Nothing more.”

But money talks.

And bullshit walks.

So along the bullshit goes and sacrifices have to be made. I may have one morning a week for a while at least. And I’ll cram a whole load of things into it. Maybe I can revamp my weekends into something manageable and at least keep my Tai Chi routine…

Pfff, yeah right! After working only mornings shifts, I will be so tired by the end of the week, I’ll just pass the fuck out. No exercise, no zines, no writing and I’ll be too tired to care.

I really hope I won’t be too upset. Ink still runs through my veins and it still needs to bleed out onto a blank page. Tai Chi is necessary for my myotonized muscles lest they cramp up again, and I cannot afford a sedentary lifestyle. Zines breed positivity and I can sure use it right now.

But money still talks. And lord knows that following a morning shift, my pillow also talks my ears off.

Maybe I should start drinking coffee. Fuck this shit.

Peace, love and 24 hours in a day, my ass.

Order Rules and Toddler Shreds

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I know this sort of post bores you to bloody tears, but hey, do I give a rat’s ass?

Organizing the house is one of my favorite pastimes. And passing the time it does, pretty much until I lose track of it and get to work late.

This morning, I planned on organizing a couple of garbage bags full of my kid’s winter clothes and giving them back to my sister-in-law. But after getting some kitchen chores out of the way, I found myself with less than an hour to take on that heavy load, so I decided to do some more minor organization tasks… which turned out not to be so minor after all and I got to work late anyway, but yeah.

Somehow, I always manage to have a bunch of papers piling up on what I call our “front desk”. It’s all bank statements and credit card statements and salary slips and a whole bunch of other boring shit that I fail to put away. So I organized that.

But as I was going to the other room to get the folders where I store said boring shit, I came across my DIY bookshelf. This bookshelf was once a product of an order-obsessed chick, with her zines organized by date, traded zines organized thematically, a shelf for her diaries, a shelf for her high school agendas (also organized by date) and sketchbooks, and a shelf for folders of boring shit.

The bookshelf that was once neat and tidy looked like it was hit by a shitstorm, followed by a hurricane with a touch of a flash flood. Though none of it was wet as the allegory would suggest, this bookshelf is now the product of a demolition-obsessed toddler, with shelves filled with torn papers. Luckily, she’s still too short for having inflicted such devastation on my zines and traded zines in the top shelves but, goddamn, what a mess!

To organize my annihilated bookshelf would mean putting torn agendas and diaries back together first before putting them in the right place, and that alone would take me a whole morning. So after a five-minute long longing look at the decimation before me, just begging me to be organized, I reluctantly walked away and back to the pile of boring shit papers.

Once that was done, I decided to organize our dining room table. I don’t know how we always manage to clutter it up, but I was getting sick and tired of having to constantly push a bunch of random stuff to the edge of the table just so we could have dinner.

The things that bothered me most on that table were the electronics – three remotes for our TV and sound system, a wireless keyboard and mouse and a wireless joystick. So I moved these to our electronics drawer, but not before reorganizing the drawer itself which was a whole other shitstorm – a bunch of intertwined cables and wires and chargers and spaghetti running up, down and around cameras, 3-D glasses, batteries, users manuals, a handheld vacuum cleaner and a broken iPod. I blew a hearty 20 minutes fumbling around with all of it and trying to Tetris the wireless keyboard into it, along with the mouse, the joystick and three remotes.

Even though we can now see the actual dining room table and the “front desk”, my mind keeps going back to my DIY bookshelf. I can almost hear its cries of disorder anguish.

I also have the living room bookshelf to look forward to. My growing Stephen King collection isn’t going to organize itself, and space shall be cleared to make way for the King, oh yes it shall.

I’m excited for the imminent return of the order-bug. I wonder how long it will take for my toddler to exterminate it. I bet not long. Not long at all.
Peace, love and happy International Zine Month!

Positively Zen

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Tai Chi Thursdays are totally where it’s at.

Today, I did my first Integral Tai Chi routine since maybe February 2016. It was slightly more difficult than I remembered since I’m so out of shape, but it was just as much fun and rewarding. I had to use the videos I used in the past because I got a little rusty and didn’t quite remember all the movements and the mantras, but eventually, it came back to me and the workout flowed as naturally as it had in the past. A couple more times and I’ll be able to do it with ambient music instead of videos, meditating with Sheila Chandra’s “Sacred Stones” in the background, and all will be right in the universe again.

The final segment of the workout, as always, is meditation. There are several stages of this segment, one of which is the stage of appreciation where you have to think about two good things that happened to you in the last 24 hours or the past week. So I thought about my daughter finally being healthy, no more fever, no more suppositories, no more sleepless nights, and I smiled a huge and honest smile. Then I also thought about yesterday. I had the day off work and used the time to bake a broccoli quiche. Both my husband and my daughter loved the holy hell out of it, and my huge smile became even bigger. Thank the Mother Goddess. Blessed Be Her Name.

As I came out of the meditative state, I made a decision to try my best to reduce the amount of negativity in my life. I want to stop lamenting the weather. Instead of thinking about how much winter sucks, I should focus on the warmth I feel when I’m at home with my loving husband, my amazing daughter and my beautiful dog. Instead of thinking about politics and getting all pissed off, I should focus on the peace of mind that I always have when I surround myself with my art and music. Instead of worrying about my health, I should focus on my Tai Chi routine and look forward to next Thursday so that I can indulge in yet another workout and recharge my state of positivity.

Always focus on the positive. A grateful heart is a happy heart. Namaste.

Peace, love and invocating the dragon.

Spring, Summer, Autumn, Corpse

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I’ve been a winter hater, like, forever. But never like this. This winter is getting on my last nerve and if I don’t get sunshine any time soon, I’m gonna fucking scream.

This past weekend, I was in Be’er Sheva.

And it simply. did not. stop. raining.

You know these people who love rain because it’s awesome to be indoors, in bed, under a big fat winter blanket, with a blasting heater, drinking tea or some shit. The problem with this so-called pleasure that these amoeba-brained winter-lovers seem to forget is that they are not bears and they don’t hibernate. They will not spend their entire winter in bed, under big fat winter blankets being all warm and cozy. Eventually, they will have to get their ass up, get out of their warm winter covers and into heavy winter gear – coat, tuque, gloves, scarf, boots, the works – and out into the wet, coldass, winter wind and frost and suffer every miserable minute of this crappy weather. Your warm cozy ass is nothing more than an illusion. Get your ass out there and face the everyday reality of the chicken leg you keep in your freezer.

After going through a whole weekend of nothing but rain, I got back home, doubled and tripled my layers, blasted every heater known to man and resumed detachment from this frosty reality under my enormous winter blanket.

This morning, when I woke up, I wanted to murder my blanket because it only served to remind me that I am indeed not a bear.

When is it gonna be summer already??? I want the sweltering scorching heat. I want to dress my daughter in shorts and a tank top. Fuck all these layers already! I wanna sleep in my underwear and wake up in a pool of my own sweat. Fuck these ice-cold fingers! I’ve so had it!!!

I honestly do not understand you people who love winter. You might as well love swimming in a pool of diarrhea. It’s all the same to me. The love of winter simply sabotages my common sense.

Peace, love, cold and stiff.

Hannukrap

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Since becoming a mother, I realized I’ve become quite ambivalent about holidays. On one hand, I like them because, well, they’re holidays. On the other, I really do not like them because they often involve spending a lot of time with family, which means having to travel to the south, which in turn means having a very upset baby for the next couple of days seeing as her sleeping and eating patterns become all screwy.

So Hannukah was no different. And just like on the September/October holidays, my poor baby got sick, although this was not as a result of traveling to the south but rather as a side effect of the shot she got the previous week.

So the first three days of Hannukah were spent lighting candles, eating doughnuts and shoving suppositories up my kid’s bum. The fever was finally defeated by Friday evening, and the next day, my husband and I had a very nice Shabbat. We took my baby and my dog out to the dog park as it was nice and sunny. On the way back home, my baby fell asleep. My husband chopped up some fresh veggies and we sat to watch TV. The rest of the day went by uneventfully, thank Goddess.

On Monday, my family planned a birthday party for my grandmother. It took place in a Karaoke place in Be’er Sheva. My husband and I absolutely DESPISE Karaoke. Seriously, Karaoke was the reason earplugs were invented. Karaoke killed the hippy with the unplugged acoustic guitar and his coombaya circle. Karaoke was created solely for people who can’t sing but who think they can.

But everybody was going to be there, including my cousin from Belgium. I spent most of that evening going back and forth between the room where my family was, with the awful sounds of Karaoke and the cigarette-smoke-saturated air, and the next room which had neither. My baby, being attacked by my family she doesn’t know and sounds she didn’t particularly care for, failed to fall asleep that night, as she is wont to do whenever she is anywhere that is not her bedroom.

A word about Karaoke:

Back in Montreal, I went to a drag queen club (Cabaret Mado) on an evening of Karaoke. The people who went up to sing were actually quite talented, so I wasn’t suffering much if at all. A couple of years ago, my friend from Sweden came to visit me in Israel and after she insisted endlessly, I joined her for another Karaoke night. She got up on stage and pretty much wiped the floor with any other wannabe singer who came up after her. So that was also ok.

But my family… no. Just no. I bring earplugs to most of my family’s dinner parties and holidays events because I know there is bound to be singing. And my family is made up of loud Moroccans who don’t need any electronic device to make them sound like they’re singing through a goddamn bullhorn. Earplugs have been my salvation in all my family events. But I forgot to bring them this time around.

Plus, the songs they choose in Karaoke are mostly Middle Eastern tunes. Anybody who knows me, even as a passing acquaintance, knows just how I feel about that music. Bleeding ears is not even the word.

So when my dad came to see me and my husband sitting in the other room, he said that he doesn’t understand why loud singing Moroccans torture us so much considering all the loud metal concerts we go to. The mere fact that he even compared the two was baffling to me. But I explained that the music we listen to involves extremely talented musicians playing their instruments like sheer gods, and talented vocalists tearing up their microphones, whereas the auditory abomination known as Karaoke coming from the next room has neither talented vocals nor talented musical instrumentation.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE my family. So it was still nice to see them and to show off my daughter. But I’m glad that going to the south is not something we do too often, and I’m glad that Karaoke is not something that my family does too much either. But sometimes I wish these machines had Rammstein songs included in their repertoire. Because if they do, the next time my family decides to torture me with a Karaoke night, I will see to it that I will torture them back with some badass industrial German tunes.

Peace, love and also, seriously you guys have to stop smoking already.

All Order the Place

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A few posts back (right here) I described how annoyed I am with the lack of order in my daughter’s room, which doubled as a guest room, tripled as my work room, and quadrupled as a storage room. I realized that the reason I was so annoyed by it was because of who I am as a person. I like order in my house. Order in my house breeds order in my mind. Disorder and clutter irritate me and cause chaos instead of peace of mind.

There is this post where I describe how thorough I am with Passover cleaning (usually). And there is this post where organizing the house (or rather a room) is the stuff of daydreams for me. Also, whenever my mom comes over for a day or two, she always leaves things where they shouldn’t be. In fact, it happened more than once that I had to call up my mom and ask her “Where did you put this and that? I can’t find it anywhere!” I can’t go to sleep unless I reorganize all the stuff that my mom misplaced.

And yes, I also kept going into my daughter’s room trying to dream up a solution for the clutter and see if there is any hope for order in there.

So it is no wonder that today, as we finally got a new closet for my daughter, I finally feel at peace again. We managed to clear out some of the furniture in my daughter’s room after all, to make room for the closet which is much bigger than I imagined (and it’s awesome!). And I know that once I clear out the clothes from the drawers of the chest and organize it in the closet, that means we can clear out even more furniture. Clutter will be a thing of the past and my daughter’s room will look more like a little baby’s room rather than a garage.

Although dirt, dust, hair and fur doesn’t bother me so much, clutter does. And when everything is back in order, the only natural thing to do is to clean up. Otherwise, the order doesn’t look complete. So once the closet was delivered and set up, I spent the rest of my morning cleaning up. And then everything fell into place. Everything is organized and clean and my peace of mind is reclaimed.

Besides all that, last Friday, we had some workers over. They spent the whole day painting our living room and kitchen, cleaning up the mold that turned coal black due to what seems to be years of neglect, throwing out the old and rusty dishwasher that we never use and replacing it with a new cupboard. Convenient, organized, decluttered, cleaned, Tetris’d the fuck out of the place.

Next up, getting a new laundry machine! I do so much laundry, I am not surprised that our machine is starting to show the initial signs of a nervous breakdown. It leaks, it quite literally crumbles at the edges, it causes power surges without fail, it makes a fuckload of noise and dances around to the beat. Not to mention the countless times our house was flooded because the tube that drains the water from the machine fell out of the hole that leads to the sewer. If that is not a reasonable cause for lack of peace of mind, I don’t know what is.

Peace, love and Saw and Order (just because)