Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Candy Crush Anonymous

I don't know about the rest of the world, but certainly in Israel there needs to be a Candy Crush Anonymous 12-step group, and I have to day at a time. But as I'm only on game 78, and lord knows how many games there are, those meetings will have to take a back seat.

I see people playing the friggin' game everywhere - on buses, at work, at ticket sales offices (where I wouldn't get served because she was doing "something" on her iPhone). But even I have a problem. My daughter took me out for dinner the other day and we sat outside, enjoying the beautiful weather and instead of deep conversation, we both took out our phones to play Candy Crush. Quality time, indeed. We were looking for pointers from each other but she is way ahead of me.

Talking to another friend one day, I pleaded with her never to touch Candy Crush. Never. I see her a week later and she's telling me she's at level 14 and can't stop, and do I buy extra game time. That's where they can't get me, thankfully. If there was real food involved, like buy 4 and they'll give me free breakfast at a local restaurant, I might go for it, but I won't buy crushers, boosters, hammers or the like. I know other people have less will power than I do, and the people who created this monster of a game are definitely raking it in.

Monday, October 14, 2013

My Syrian Babies

Now that most of my kids are out of the house, I had to fill a void. So I rescued a street kitten who met me at a Jerusalem bus stop and began licking my toes. We were definitely meant for each other. And now my heart and soul have adopted several Syrian young adults over the past couple of years - all fans of Israeli metal band Orphaned Land. I mean, like the kitten who kissed my feet, I couldn't help loving this young crowd. Despite our countries being officially "at war", these young people were intelligent enough to recognize their government's hate propaganda against Israel and the Israeli people and maybe even Jews themselves. Yes, they all said they wanted to get to know Israelis and were so happy to expand their circle of friends to include us, quite a few Israelis, including the band themselves.

I'm not a big fan of heavy metal music. That and improv jazz gives me headaches. But because of the band's oriental bent and publicity in the Israeli press that they have an unusually large following of fans from Arab countries, this piqued my interest.

But getting back to my Syrian babies, and the crisis in that country, I was worried sick over them on a daily basis and wished there was a way to whisk them from there to here. There were wounded Syrians being treated in Israel, so why can't a few healthy ones be let in? Besides, the Islamist extremists most probably hate them because of the music they like and the way they look. So isn't an enemy of an enemy a friend?

I felt great relief as one of them safely made his way to the US in the midst of heavy fighting and another one, more dramatically, made her way into Turkey. But are they happy? They miss their family terribly and I seem to think they feel quite isolated in their strange surroundings. Safe but lonely and empty. It's a tough choice, to flee to safety and feel horrible or to be chronically in fear of your life.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Updates from an empty nester

From the age of 50, I have felt a surge of happiness over newly-felt freedom. My kids were all still living with me at the time, but they were teens and not in need of me as much as they were when they were younger. I was able to hang out with friends more and finally do alot of things for myself.

These days, while only my son is living at home with us, the food bills have gone down slightly - as he eats vast amounts of whatever crap it is that he eats - cereal, tuna fish, chicken, rice, pasta with tomato sauce, deli, huge amounts of chocolate, and that's about it. He sticks up his nose at anything else I seem to be making that day. Fresh salmon? Spaghetti with garlic and assorted veggies? Chicken in wine sauce? Smoothies? It's all "disgusting" to him.

One of my married daughters just rented a lovely apartment in Beit Hakerem. She constantly invites us over for dinner and I am only too happy to have a Friday evening off cooking and entertaining or to have a place to crash during the week between the time I finish work and a party or a concert later on in the evening. This is what you call "nachas" - deriving pleasure from the kids.

And my daughters are floating back to me on occasion - some are pregnant and are in need of advice. They seem to know nothing. One did her ultrasound last week and had no idea what it was. When the technician asked if she wanted to see the baby in the monitor, my daughter freaked out. Seriously. And then calmed down once she saw the almond size fetus on the screen. "I don't know if I'm feeling the baby move" is another often-put question to me by another one. One kid wants to stay with us every other weekend for 4 nights. She's the noisy one and we always ask her to just please, PLEASE come for one evening only. We'd love to have dinner with you on Friday night, but to have you over for 4 days every 2 weeks is like having 10 extra people - with the energy and noise level and complaints. She even wants to come with her baby once he's born and wants us to buy a porta-crib and change table and what-have-you-not. She wants our cat declawed too. I don't understand my eldest daughter's mother-in-law who wants all her 7 kids around her with their family, every Friday night, in her cramped apartment. I am so not Middle Eastern.

We thought of downsizing and moving to Jerusalem, but I think Hubby is quite frightened he'd never see me at all - with all the lectures, funky things going on, restaurants, cinemateque, friends. He's probably right. We'd also have to move to a much smaller place like 60 meters instead of our current 140 meters. And we could only afford a 60 meter place that would be run down and one that Hubby would have to renovate. The good thing is that we wouldn't have space for any of our kids to sleep over, but we wouldn't have room for an office, nor would we have that magnificent view of the Judean desert and the distant Jordanian mountains. Tough choice.

Now getting back to having them all out of the house, at least the daughters, I can now safely display my good quality makeup and perfumes on my shelves without worrying that I'll never see them again.