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My Youngest Daughter

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safetyzonesMy youngest daughter is 16 months old. She is in that phase between babyhood and toddlerhood when she is just learning so much each day. She can identify everyone in our family when you ask her to point so and so out–and in our family it’s quite an accomplishment–she adds to her vocabulary every day, and she knows that when the sirens sound she has to go with the adult in charge of her into a shelter, that there will be a loud boom and then she can play again.

Last week I was at her nursery school to pick her up when the sirens sounded. Her teachers immediately grabbed as many of the kids as they could–about half of the kids there don’t walk yet–and ran for shelter, herding the rest of the kids, while trying to remain calm and cheerful in their voice.

We live in the Tel Aviv area, we have about a minute to make it to safety. But closer to the Gaza Strip residents have about 15 seconds. Can you imagine being a nursery teacher with 6 kids under 2 years in your care, trying to make sure they are all safe when the alarms sound? Kids my daughters’ age are spending their summer camp in shelters, because it’s an impossible task. But can you just imagine being a young mother or father with three kids strapped into car seats when the air raid alerts come on? How do you decide which one of your kids to unbuckle and take to safety in those 15, 30, 45 seconds? How do you make a decision like that?

Yesterday a rocket actually hit the Tel Aviv area. Yesterday we lost even more soldiers, and yesterday more civilians lost their lives in Gaza. Yesterday was the day when I made the decision that I don’t ever want to have to choose between my kids, and sent those, who I was allowed, to safety with family abroad. I had that possibility, because I have family who can do that for us, I can afford plane tickets (even if it wiped my savings out) and my kids have passports and citizenships that make it possible. Not everyone is this lucky. I worry every day about my friends in the South, who have nowhere to go with their children. And yes, my heart aches for those tens of thousands of people who are now displaced in Gaza.

As I was writing this post, I was interrupted by rocket alerts three times. Each time coming back I needed a cool down period, not to let hate take over. As I type this now Israel has been rocket free for 21 minutes. You can keep track of how long we have been rocket free here.

My youngest daughter is still here, in Israel, with her mother and I taking turns taking care of her, relying on the nursery school as little as possible. She is not afraid of the sirens. She just knows what she needs to do, and she does it well. She is learning songs and riddles about the alerts, and she is looking forward to playing with a few special toys that she only gets to play with in the shelter.  This is her childhood. There are more photos in her baby book for this month of her taken in shelters than taken outside, in the middle of the summer. When in ten, fifteen years we look through that book I hope she will be living in a peaceful Israel.

For now, she is living through our Israeli reality.

"Embrace Your Identity"

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I think this will be another one of those posts that I start to write, and either never finish, or finish weeks, months later. I received a message from a reader asking me why I don’t write about certain aspects of my life, namely that I’m gay. She suggested, “Embrace your identity!” The thing is: being gay is not the only aspect of my identity, it is part of my identity. Not the most important part at that.

In the last few weeks I found myself both writing more about topics relating to my sexuality and the issues of equality and social justice. I’ve written about Turing, I’ve written about what the word gay means. I’ve mentioned the fabulousness of Harel Skaat again and again. And yet I feel like I still am censoring myself for the sake of my friends.

At this point I have 35 readers on a good day. 5 on a bad day. I think with a readership that huge, I can stop censoring myself when it comes to unpopular aspects of my life. Oh well.

I have to say, I’m comfortable with that aspect of my identity. My identity of someone with a disability is a lot more troubling for me. The limitations society puts on me for being gay are angering. The limitations my body puts on me are crushing at times. Generally, I can say I don’t like myself because of the way my body has been awful to me my whole life.

So here I am.

Life

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Life is not fair. That was a lesson I learnt early on in my life.

Today a friend is mourning the sudden loss of a great-niece. Another friend is trying to come to accept an adoption falling through–by the choice of the child they were to adopt. A family still struggling with the sexuality of their first born. Another friend buries her husband today.

Life is not fair.

Maybe tomorrow will be a better day.

The soap and I

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In the comments of my previous post several of you offered to help me out with various types of soap. The only issue is that I am now in a bright orange body jackket cast, which doesn’t really like water. So I continue to feel dirty and stinky till I can finally take a shower… Sometime in the future. Likr un 2 or 3 weeks. Trust me, I can hardly wait till then.

Another thing that I can hardly wait for is getting rid of all the lines and tubes. Currently I have a tube for the vent, an NG tube and an IV line. So I’m pretty limited with what I can do at the moment. Blogging is not a priority. Will be back when I have anyrhing to write about.

The Fun Filled Friday

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Shabbat Shalom, my friends!

Today was good.

There was sunshine and garden time, there was time spent in bed, there were crayons and finger paint, cuddling and cartoons and challah. It was a good day.

Yesterday Andi quasi accused me of not making hot dogs. And to prove her wrong I made hot dogs today. Sliced them up, and kept giggling in the process, because I couldn’t get Sheldon from TBBT out of my mind. You know the one episode when Penny is making him spaghetti and he tries to take some hot dogs over without the other guys noticing and gets into all kinds of difficult situations? Or at least… 2. So yeah, I was getting a good laugh out of that. So I sliced the hotdogs and made a really nice garlic sauce (non-dairy) and served it over fettuccini. Turned out to be most excellent. No, really. 🙂

I am still cracked up over my professional dancer and quite brilliant brother’s inability to fill out a money order in a language he speaks really well. 😀 It just cracks me up. Also his patience of standing in line several times only to be told that her did it incorrectly again. 😀 He gave up after 55 minutes and 4 tries.

Yes, I’m talking about Efi. Next time I’ll fill the slip out for him before I send him to the post office in a strange and foreign land. Budapest, that is. He has at least one more trip to make to the post office while in Budapest, and that is to mail some of your winning items off. Cléo should be getting her earring sometime early next week if she hasn’t already got it, and then Ciska and Martina and Christie. 🙂 The hand made items are being delayed, because I was, you know, sick and away from my craft box. I’ll include a little something as a sorry for being so darn late prize.

Did I mention today was a good day?

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