Saturday, November 10, 2007

Taking Control

Friday night dinner was a really big success. We had a nice group of folks, including El Jeffe (my turkey expert), Gayle, Merav from school, Rabbi Avi, and Buggy's friend Josh. I warned everyone that it was a Thanksgiving dry run, and encouraged honest feedback. To their credit, everyone was really, really honest with what they liked - and what they didn't like. Gayle thought the cranberry crunch was too sweet, but everyone else seemed to enjoy it. Buggy wasn't a fan of the marshmallow's on the sweet potatos, but I think the kids on Thanksgiving will love it. I hated my botched pecan/chocolate chip pie and sent the leftovers home with Josh, who seemed to like it. I also gave him a doggy bag including all the cakes from the house, the cookies, and the rest of the corn bread muffins. Since Buggy and I will be away for most of the week, I didn't want that food to go to waste. Plus, we both don't need it.

What shocked me this afternoon was the lack of leftovers. Oh, we have PLENTY of white meat turkey left over as most of our guests either ate the dark meat or enjoyed the side dishes. But, we have no more bread pudding - that went over real well - and no more string beans and shallots. There was a little cranberry crunch left so Buggy and I had that for dessert today, but our guests polished off all of the salad. Normally, I have a ton of left over salad so I was surprised at how much food was consumed. Now I'm worried that I won't have enough food on Thanksgiving, and so I'm trying to rethink my plan.

Meanwhile, I had a slight meltdown on Buggy on Friday afternoon, right before I had to run into the shower. With 2 hours until candle lighting, I had an unhappy epiphany. So, I told Buggy that I was upset and needed a few minutes to figure out why, and then I went outside to the back porch and smoked a cigarette. I'm not happy that I'm smoking again, but it's an indication of things overall being a little rocky for me. Halfway through, I realized what was wrong with me, stubbed out the cigarette and went inside to talk things through.

I'm basically bored. I told Buggy that I went from managing Fortune 500 companies to obsessing over Thanksgiving? Don't get me wrong, I enjoy entertaining and am looking forward to having a nice Thanksgiving, but even I read my blog and want to click over to someone elses. It's boring! Do you really care about our turkey or my Thanksgiving dry run? I don't! What upset me most is that I realized, I would never be happy being a stay at home Mom, and I'm worried that because I need to have a career in order to feel fulfilled that I will be a bad wife and mother. Buggy reassured me that he doesn't think I'm a bad wife, but sometimes I feel like I should be enjoying the domestic aspects of married life more than I am. I love Buggy, I love being married to Buggy, I still wake up singing because I'm happy being married and that I found my soulmate. But, when all I have in front of me each and every day is housework and cooking, I'm just not happy. I try to make it more interesting, scouring the web for new menu items and ideas, or trying a new cleaning product on our floor/toilet/bathtub, etc. But folks, it's just not doing it for me.

And, the more I'm unhappy, the more weight I put on and I am embarressed to say that this evening I had to put on my fat jeans. A week before the wedding, not even 3 months ago, I was down a size and almost down another half. I was so happy, I bought 2 pairs of jeans in the new size, but today these jeans feel like they're gonna split when I bend over. Now that's just depressing! Meanwhile, I threw all of my energy into Buggy's diet and he's down almost 4 pounds since last month. I'm so happy and proud of him, he worked really hard at watching his weight. On the flipside, I put on all the weight he's lost and in my attempt to put him first, I forgot about myself.

Tonight, Buggy had to go to the office to work on his homework project. Since we're going to London in a few days, he really has to cram all his work in before we go so he's not behind the eight ball when he gets back. I get it. Intellectually, I am completely on board with it. And, I totally support him and all that he needs to do. But, that didn't stop me from eating the following in the 45 minutes since he left: about 40 grapes, the leftover string beans and bread pudding, a cup of tea, a handful of toasted almonds and 2 glasses of water. I had Top Gun on TV on mute, and I was just mindlessly eating because I was bored. Since I didn't nap this afternoon while Buggy slumbered, I did all of my Shabbos clean up well - on Shabbos. I washed the dishes I normally leave until after Shabbos and tidied up a bit - things I would have done tonight. But, shortly after Buggy made Havdala, I did the last minute clean up and then realized the expanse of time this evening where I have nothing to do. And so, I ate. I ate out of boredom, and loneliness.

Anyone who says that being married automatically means you're not lonely is a fool. You can be living with someone, married to them, see them every single day, love all the time you spend together, and still be really lonely.

But, I'm tired of feeling this way. I'm tired of feeling depressed and bored and lonely. I'm tired of eating mindlessly because I have nothing better to do. Yes, my reality is different. I am in a foreign country where I don't speak the language. I moved to a new City where I have no friends. We joined a gym but because I have no car, I cannot go by myself and therefore have to go only when Buggy can take me (I also have no valid Israeli license so I couldn't drive even if I wanted to). And, my entire family is living in the States so I can't spend time with them even if I wanted to. Plus, Bar Ilan is on strike and Merav told me that the head of our department told her they will make the strike worse because no one is paying attention. I'll be lucky if we have school in December!

So yes, it might seem a bit bleak, but I am taking control of my life. After polishing off the last morsel of bread pudding I looked down at my bloated stomach in disgust and got my ass off the couch. I got out of the PJ's I was wearing all day and put on clothing, brushed my hair, and put up the wash. I made the bed and put away the clothes that were piling up on both of our chairs. I then dug through the box of books in the third bedroom and unearthed all of my Weight Watchers materials. Tonight, after I finish updating the blog, I'm going to sit down and write out a food plan. And, I'm going to stick to it with the same determination as I stick to maintaining this blog, or helping Buggy with his own diet.

I also told Buggy that I need a routine, and STAT. And, as soon as we get back from London, I'm going to create one that works with our lifestyle. That means, every day including Saturday and Sunday, I wake up at the same time. And I get up. And I do something besides making lunches, thinking about dinner, washing dishes, washing toilets or thinking about sponga my floors. I'm going to call the headhunters, whose names we got from a friend who is working in a very good job in high tech, and I'm going to figure out what my future career options are. I'm also going to continue sending out my resumes and looking for projects in the States, so that I can fill my day with opportunities that will earn us money. And, when Buggy gets out of the house to go to school, so do I. Whether that means I strap on my iPod and take a walk around Jerusalem, or I go to a local coffee shop with my laptop and work on my thesis, or even if it means that I take a ride with him to school and then head over to the shuk or into town just to see what's new in the country. I just need to get out. I'm also looking into taking Ulpan, and there's apparently a very good one in Baka, so I'm going to try to get enrolled in their next semester.

Hopefully, my resolve won't wane and I'll be able to yank myself out of this funk and make a life for myself in Israel. It's also not productive that I keep imagining what my life would be like if Buggy and I lived in New York. I fantasize about being married and living in on my old studio apartment on 74th and Columbus. We would get up at the same time each morning, he would go to work at some amazing architecture firm and I would walk him to the subway on 72nd and CPW, give him a kiss and his brown bag lunch and a Starbucks coffee, and then go to the gym. After my workout, I would go home, shower and start my own day. I would work from home the way I always did, leaving my apartment occassionally to do the laundry or to pick up groceries at Fairway on 72nd and Broadway, maybe meet a client or friend or reporter for lunch in the neighborhood, or for fun run down to the Mac or Kiehl's stores and stock up on some new products. Around quitting time, I would put up a nutritious dinner and relax until Buggy came home. We'd have a nice, relaxing dinner, and then either walk down to the Lowe's on 68th and Columbus to catch a flick, meet some friends for a drink at Dive 75, have dinner out with my brother, or just cuddle and watch some Must See TV and get ready for the next day.

Is that kind of thinking pathetic? I miss New York, but what I find so difficult even in Jerusalem is the lack of options. I just don't feel comfortable leaving our apartment alone at night, walking through the quiet Baka neighborhood, until I get to the semi-crowded Emek Refaim. It's not like living in Manhattan, where there's life teeming on every street corner and no matter where you're situated, you're never alone. Is it pathetic that I felt safer in Manhattan than I do in Jerusalem? I'm afraid to leave my apartment at night by myself, I just don't like our neighborhood. And yet, in Tel Aviv, I would walk around by myself at all hours of the night. Living on Arlozorov, right off of Ben Yehuda and a block away from Dizingoff, there was always people around. I was never afraid of leaving the apartment, of walking by myself on the beach at night, of walking to friends apartments on Emile Zola, Bogroshov, Aronovitch Streets, etc. I walked to Dizingoff Center by myself all the time, and I would even walk alone from the bus stations on Arlozorov street to my apartment a mile away, in the dark, with my iPod on, without thinking twice. So what is it about Jerusalem that scares me so much that I feel like I'm trapped in the apartment?

Buggy doesn't really understand, although in all fairness I never told him that I'm scared of our neighborhood. But, he was born and raised in Jerusalem, so he's so comfortable here that I'm afraid he would find my tentativeness as irrational behavior. I bet I'd be happier if I wasn't so afraid of where we live. Any ideas on how to get over that?

It's funny, but it makes me think about the years I was afraid to walk by myself in Queens. I was 12 or 13, not really sure the age, and my parents finally told me that it was time for me to start doing errands and getting around the neighborhood by myself. I was absolutely petrified. I remember trying to bribe my Dad to take me to a friend's house on Shabbos afternoon but telling him it was good exercise, just so I didn't have to walk alone. One Shabbos afternoon, my parents were asleep and I was invited to Terri's house. Now, I really, really wanted to hang out with Terri, and so I had no choice but to walk alone. I tried to get my older sister to walk me, but she was going to a friend in the opposite direction and didn't want to take me. I was almost in tears by the time I got to Terri's house - when I was on the block behind the gas station on Main Street I actually starting running until I cleared past the library because I was so scared - and the nerves from walking the 10 blocks alone had really eaten away at me by the time I arrived. But, I did it and nothing happened. A couple more times walking around the neighborhood myself, and I had not only conquered my fears but absolutely LOVED walking alone. I loved walking alone, no matter what time of day, and I felt so free. So you can understand why, all of a sudden, I'm so unhappy that I'm afraid of my neighborhood. It's as if my freedom has been taken away from me, and I'm trapped inside as soon as the sun goes down. Hopefully, it's another fear that one day (hopefully very soon) I'll be able to conquer.

Well, Buggy just called to let me know that he finished work for the night and is on his way. We're going to take a walk to Emek Refaim and see what's open, just so I can get out of the house today and Buggy can get something to eat. I'm actually not hungry, so I'll probably just keep him company while he has dinner.

No Product of the Day today, but check back in tomorrow, I'm bound to have found something in the interim.

Have a great week!

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