Keep It Unreal

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I read something upsetting and then I get upset. I don’t know when I became so goddamn sensitive. And why. I try to keep a positive mindset but it’s becoming harder and harder to do because I’m surrounded with so much negativity, mainly brought about via social media. Sometimes I consider the option of suspending my Facebook account for a little while so that I can avoid the barrage of negative feed I’m crushed by every day. Maybe I should do that…

Fuck the “if it bleeds, it leads” journalistic standard. I wish it would stop bleeding so much. I wanna read something positive for a change. Something that doesn’t make me want to shut off the world. I wanna read children’s books. Not the ones about a grandmother being devoured by a wolf, and not about a couple of kids shoving a witch into a furnace. Maybe about a baby throwing her toys and playing guitar. Or about a cat befriending a mouse.

Also, I’ve noticed that confusing books do not jive so well with me anymore. I recently got the book Kissing Dead Girls, which I’ve read a few years ago and remembered it being amazing and inspiring. In fact, after the first time I read the book, I was so inspired that I wrote two short poem-style stories using the same style and confusing sentence structure as Daphne Gottlieb uses in her book.

So I finally bought the book and have spent the past two weeks trying to read it. Some of the stories are just as wonderful as I remembered them. But most are just plain confusing. Fragmented sentences, beginning and ending nowhere, the lack of capital letters where they should be, a tone and voice which sound like the ramblings of senility itself, incoherence galore, boring nonsensical bullshit, all served to make me tired and restless at once and eventually I either skipped to the next chapter or just put the book down. Every time I think about resuming reading it, I get tired. Just thinking about it, I get bored out of my fucking mind.

I came up with a theory. The reason I enjoyed this book so much all these years ago was probably because it reflected the confusion I lived on a daily basis. Back then, my life was a mess. Nothing made sense. My life was as fragmented as the sentences in that book, and somehow those fragments seemed to complete me. The fragments fell right into the places where my essence was lacking. But now, my life is complete. I feel so right and organized. Even if my sleep is fragmented, because being the mother of a toddler, it kinda comes with the territory, that is part of my predictable routine. Everything has its rightful place. I’m married to a super awesome guy, I have a brilliant kid, I have a sweet dog, I have a decent job, I have a decent house, I have peace of mind, and I simply don’t want any bloody news piece or any fucking confusing book ruining it for me.

Another theory I came up with was that the first time I read Kissing Dead Girls was before I became exposed to Stephen King. Yes, eventually it all comes down to that. Once I read Duma Key, my whole view of literature drastically changed. I have immense trouble reading books that are not written by King. I think it’s also because I love fiction more than anything because as bloody as it gets, I know it’s not real. Even if Stephen King is such a master storyteller that it seems as if his fiction IS in fact reality, deep down I still know it isn’t. So for me, keeping a positive mindset is totally possible with fiction books.

clarity

And so, being bored to tears and utterly frustrated by Kissing Dead Girls, I ordered another fiction book, The Clarity by Keith Thomas. I just got a text message from the post office notifying me that this book I ordered from Germany just arrived. I’m excited by the prospect of escaping into fiction, and even more excited that come May 22, I will score me a brand new Stephen King novel, The Outsider.

You know what? I’ll just go ahead and reclaim “If it bleeds it leads” but add “in fiction” at the end, because in reality it just serves to fuck me up.

Peace, love and fiction forever

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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.

As I Was

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Yesterday, I made a few lists in my journal to see how my habits and hobbies have changed from my pre-maternity to my post-partum time. I wanted to see if I would be able to reclaim some semblance of my pre-pregnancy life.

Things I regularly did before pregnancy and motherhood include:
– Zines
– Tai Chi
– Baking/cooking
– Reading books
– Writing letters
– Power walks
– Playing guitar

Things I do now:
– Laundry
– Raising my kid
– Sleep

Despite that enormous shift, I have managed to engage in some of my earlier activities. I made a zine and am working on another one, I baked cookies, I read two books and am ordering a few more, and I wrote some letters. This is not bad at all considering parenting is a full-time occupation. And yes, I did most of these while neglecting laundry and sleep.

Now, I am not stupid. I know that all these activities will never take a front row seat in my life ever again. I’m under no illusions about that. My life right now is all about my daughter and everything I do is for her, and I love and cherish every minute of my life as a mother. So these other activities that define me in every other aspect of my life will not be regular activities as they have been before.

But since they are important as part of my self-care, I will still try to find/make time to do them. I think it’s also important for my daughter to see her mother engaging in self-care and doing things that she likes. I want to lead by example and teach her that she too should take care of herself and do things that she enjoys and that are important to her, whatever it may be. If she grows up to love art just like her mother, that’s great! I will be thrilled to make art with her. If she grows up to love playing basketball like her father, that’s amazing! I’ll sign her up for lessons or encourage her to play with her father in the backyard or the park.

I think it’s especially important with activities that promote good health, such as Tai Chi and power walks. I want my daughter to lead a healthy active lifestyle and make exercise a regular part of her weekly routine.

SO! The next item on my list of things to reclaim is my Tai Chi exercises. I seriously need to get my ass back in shape, dammit. Not to mention my back, my legs, my arms, my neck, my abs… I feel completely wrecked. Integral Tai Chi should do the trick. I am attempting to make it a weekly thing as it was once before. But instead of Friday mornings (during which I am too busy with my daughter) I will set it on Thursday mornings.

Fuck sleep. Sleep is for the weak. The Dragon will devour any shred of my drowsiness and The Phoenix will team up with The Tiger to make me own the day and fuck shit up.

Peace, love and Corpse is for the Living

chakras

 

The Metalhead Life

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What people tell me when they find out I like metal:

But you’re so quiet, how can you listen to a bunch of noise?
The reason I listen to your so-called “bunch of noise” is the very reason why I’m so quiet. The music does all the screaming for me. And besides, it’s NOT just random noises. It’s music created by some of the most talented musicians the world has to offer. The perfection of the riffs, the percussion, the bass, the synchronization of all these instruments and the intricacy of the melodies appeal to the trained ear in a way that no other music can.

But you’re so sweet, how can you listen to such violent music?
Again, this so-called “violent” music allows me to soothe my anger without the need to physically or vocally expressing it. And violence is not the only theme of metal. Much of it is about empowerment, taking back control, speaking out, standing out, being yourself, standing up against oppression, being united for a just cause… there is a lot of positivity to be found in metal.

But I thought you were Jewish, so like what, you worship Satan?
Yes, I am Jewish. No, I do not worship Satan. Just because the theme of the satanism does appear in certain genres of metal does not mean I suddenly follow the occult. Kindly destupidify yourself.

How can you even understand what they say?
Yes, there are bands, mostly gore metal bands like Decapitated and Cattle Decapitation among others, where it is really impossible to understand what they say. However, personally, I always found that the music is more important than the lyrics. So I really don’t care much if I don’t understand what they say. But there are a ton of other metal bands where the lyrics are perfectly enunciated. Melodic Death metal bands like Amon Amarth and Arch Enemy for example. Also, you can always find the lyrics online. So whatever.

So you want to kill yourself or something?
No. I want to keep on living for as long as I can so that I can keep on listening to awesome shredding music, and hoping to not have to listen to assholes like you.

And you subject your kid to that noise? What kind of mother are you?
I am the kind of mother who will show my daughter that there are other genres of music out there besides Mizrachit, and that diversifying your playlist is not a bad thing. Being a metalhead does not mean that you are loud, violent, worship Satan, are incoherent, and suicidal, and it certainly does not make you a bad mother. In fact, the metalhead community is made up of amazing people, warm, kind and inviting, and if you are lucky enough to count yourself among these awesome people, you will discover a wonderful culture that encourages and supports individuality, respect, self-esteem, empowerment and pure fucking metal. These are the kind of values I want my kid to have.

Peace, love and headbang bang bang!

 

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)

I Like to Move It

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At long last, Elad and I finally moved into our new place. It was supposed to happen in January (if you remember this post), but kept getting postponed for reasons beyond our control (if you remember the last paragraph of this post).

We spent all of Friday and Saturday settling in. So now, instead of having a single bedroom, a tiny living room, a tiny dining room, a minuscule and claustrophobic computer room, a small bathroom with a stand-up shower and a laundry corner, we now have one big bedroom, one guestroom which doubles as a work room for me and my zines, a rather large computer room (which fits all of mine and Elad’s guitars, all our amps, a double-tower of CDs, the computer and all its equipment, including a sound system and an effects box), an enormous living room with a nearby dining room, the cutest most adorable kitchen you’ll ever see, and a nice little laundry space. Plus our bathroom, though still pretty small, has an actual bathtub! Showering is so much more fun and I no longer hit my elbows and knees on walls and shower doors when I shower. All that, with the added bonus of a boidem. We have a STORAGE SPACE dudes! So necessary for hoarders like ourselves.

All we need now is a bigass closet (which we already ordered and are supposed to have it delivered on Wednesday), a decent desk for my work room and matching chair, and a bigass bookshelf for all of my Stephen King books (all 50+ of them!) and all my feminist literature and other random fiction. Then we can put the finishing touches (i.e. our posters, art and photos) and we’ll be as snug as a bug.

My favorite things about our new place:

  1. We have had a record player forever but never used it because we didn’t exactly have much space for it and also didn’t really know how to plug it. But in our new place, we put the record player in our ginormous living room and Elad, being the tech wiz that he is, plugged it into his elaborate sound system, and we listened to old records during all of Friday while organizing the house.
  2. Our kitchen has just doubled in size. We got much more work space available, a bunch of spacious cupboards, and a window. WE HAVE A FUCKING WINDOW IN OUR KITCHEN! We NEVER had that in our other one! I love the hell out of it.
  3. Our bathtub is the shiznit. Bathtubs kick ass and after moving all the stuff and sweating my ass off and getting dust all over me, I took the best shower ever.
  4. My work room features the Riot Grrrl bookshelf I found a while back and I spent all of yesterday and this morning setting it up with all of my zines, all of other people’s traded zines, all of my High School agendas, notebooks and diaries, and all of my folders with bills and statements and other boring stuff.
  5. Our windows are much bigger, or at least seem so because the house is so well-lit, so much better lit than our previous place. We also have light switches and lamps all over the place so even at night, we bathe in bright lights.

The actual move may have been a hassle (and wasn’t without its mishaps, to put it mildly) but the best thing about it was finding things that we thought were lost forever and actually managing to put our hoarding aside for a while to get rid of shit that we really don’t need. Like, I own not one but two broken laptops. I kept them for years for God knows what reason. On Friday I told Elad “Fuck it. Just toss them.” It feels so good to get rid of shit!! Oh my God!

Our dog, Diamond, is a little disoriented. On the day of the move, she kept trying to go out the door and go to the old apartment (which happens to be right across the hall from us).

“This is home now, Diamond,” I tried to explain. “Here is your bed and your food bowl.”

And yes, this is our home now. We’ll have a housewarming party, invite friends, install mezuzot, blast our record player, and look forward to much happiness in our beautiful new crib.

Peace, love and home supersweet home.

Packing List for 2016

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Right now, my life is all over the place. I have about a dozen reminders set on my cellphone every day so that I don’t forget shit. So I am making this list of resolutions mostly to set a certain order in my life and set clear goals so that maybe, with a little hope and perseverance, I may actually get it done.

1) Complete PMS issue number 13 on my trip to Salem: Lord knows it’s long overdue since my trip was in early October. I have all the written material and all the backgrounds. I just need to sit my ass down and put it together.

2) Go over all my belongings and throw stuff out: I need to do this to get ready for our move to the new apartment in mid-January. But we own so much useless stuff, it’ll take forever to go through it, so we might as well start now.

3) Start eating complete healthy breakfasts: I need to get into that habit because just having tea and cake in the morning does not fit in with the healthy lifestyle I am trying to achieve. Omelette, cheeses, fresh veggies, apple juice (because orange juice gives me heartburn). That’ll be my breakfast of champions!

4) Get a little more in touch with my spiritual side: I am considering reading a short psalm of Tehilim every once in a while. Not really chozeret bitshuva or anything, but just invest a little more in my connection with the Higher Power as She is playing a very important part in my life right now.

5) Cook and bake more: My mom says I am underestimating my potential as a Moroccan culinary genius. Coming from a long and illustrious line of such geniuses (including both my grandmothers, my mom and my aunts) I may have very well inherited that particular gene. I won’t know unless I try it out more often.

12045762_10152983389257471_3634203185435079558_o6) Practice more guitar: Yes I’ve had that resolution a while back and never really followed through with it. But now that I have a new Fender Strat to inspire me, I may actually be able to do it!

7) Complete the photo album of my husband and me: I already got all the photos in order which was a huge feat in itself. Now I need to find a way to put them all together in a pretty photo album (or several ones) and print it.

8) Avoid unhealthy environments: The bar that my husband and I go to every Sunday is filled with smoke. I decided to take an indefinite hiatus from metal night in order to avoid inhaling my way to carbonated lungs. A sad but necessary step.

9) Go to sleep earlier: And wake up earlier as a result. I find that I can achieve much more when my day starts in the a.m. For example, having time to cook my complete breakfast!

10) Power walking with my dog in the morning: Yet another thing I can achieve if I go to sleep earlier and wake up bright and early. I’m a slave to my pillow, seriously. But I should really start my day with an early rise, a healthy breakfast and a power walk, and save my pillow labor for the weekends.

Peace, love and baby steps.