Friday, September 30, 2005


There's still a lot of message traffic on the message boards about the con (pun intended)and below is one of the posts to the Dwight Shultz list. I met so many great people there, but it seems there many equaly wonderful I missed for lack of time. I agree with Leia that the best part of a con is meeting the other fans. The A Team fans in particular are very special. That Noncon in Bournemouth was the most amazing thing I've ever been to. The con had been cancelled well ahead of time, but a large group of us decided to go to England anyway and have a party in Bournemouth. Jipster,Susie, Karen, Cab, Rosebud, Kathleen, Leia, Mr and Mrs. Captain Night Owl from Boston, several others and The Gimp were all there and we had the best party I've ever been to that day. Jips, Susie, Cab, Rosebud, Leia and I are in pretty much constant touch and I love each and every one of them like a sister. Such a special wonderful group of people. Thank you A Team.
Hey Franne, nice to read your story. I was there at screenheroes too,
and i accidently filmed a part of Dwight and Dirk talking about those
cigars you mentioned in your story. Funny to read it in your story,
cause I've seen it. Actually i filmed a bit of Dirk for my sister. She
asked me if i could take some pictures of Dirk. Since they were tired,
I didn't dare to ask if Dirk would go on a picture with me. So that's
why I filmed a short part. I hope you don't mind. Actually, if you
want to have it, I can send it to you :-). I did managed to go on the
picture with Dwight.

After the event I read a few forums, and it seems there was big
trouble in the organisation of Screenheroes. The organiser left with
the money and left many problems behind (including for the actors).
Very sad for those who had tickets for Vip-party. But I did have a
nice time (meeting my heroes).


Ok, ok, so it's only one hour time difference between here and Holland, but I *am* suffering from a minor case of jet lag! I can't manage to nap in the afternoon and can't drop off at night. I just can't seem to find my natural rhythm. I'm sure it will sort itself out sometime. Part of the problem might be that I can't seem to drag my mind back here from the trip. It was so great, that I want to go back there already. Coming home shouldn't have as much of a shock as it was, but there's nothing like an Israeli city to remind you what's wrong here. Those bike paths spoiled me for the insanity that is our local traffic. The roundabout on the way into town was downright dangerous. I almost lost arguments with several large trucks, a taxi and a bus, not to mention the jaywalkers! Maybe I should have remembered that it was market day and that the way to town is impossible on shouk days. I am totally lost in time as well as space. The big New Year holiday Rosh Hashana is coming up so, of course the supermarkets are impossible, for walkers, never mind a gimp on a scooter. It only took me two hours to buy a loaf of rye bread, 4 cukes, some bread crumbs and 6 whole wheat rolls;that's from the time I drove in until I paid and left. Of course getting in was a challenge thanks to the old geezer who parked his scooter so that I couldn't get in until he came out, loaded it, returned his cart and moved. He is one of those old dears who give us scooter users a bad name. He can walk just fine, but the scooter helps them get around. They drive in the middle of the street and expect the right of way without so much as a glance at traffic. It's a miracle there aren't more accidents involving the old dears. At least *I* drive, so, sort of know what I'm doing on the road; as much as anyone here can.
The news is on in the background and it was a bit of a start to hear the A Team theme music suddenly. It's not on now. There was a piece on the news about locals organizing their own neighborhood police forces, to A Team music, of course. Who are they kidding? The crime kings here are the politicians. The rot starts at the top and the average citizen just doesn't understand that if it's wrong for them, it's wrong for us too. After all *they* get away with it, why can't we. Oh hoo, they are using footage from Theory of Revolution. What a giggle. They even have a band-guess what it plays?
Yup, I'm home.
Don is bringing back Dark Matters and it's the best news I've had in ages. I'm going to spend tomorrow trying to get the computer working correctly so I can listen in. Nothing works right now; not Nero, the vid card, printer, or any of the pic editors I have. It will be a long day sorting it all, but worth it. DM is a brilliant show.
Ok, time to bring Peg in and hit the anti pressure sore mattress. My bruises have black and blues! But I'm still basking in the glow of a great trip.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Holland is a wonderfully gimp friendly country. With the exception of their insanely large confusing international airport, Schipol for which either a power chair or marathon runner for pushing duty is required, it is extremely easy to get around in a wheelchair. The reason for that is the same as that for why Dutch people are so slim and healthy looking: Bicycles! There are bike paths everywhere and they are smooth and easy to use. It *is* wise to keep a sharp eye on the traffic as some of the crossing give path users the right of way, but others don't as I almost found out the hard way when I almost ran over a very large bus, or did it almost run me over? No matter, the driver and I were both unpleasantly pale and Leia was most apologetic. The Dutch people are very friendly and don't gawk unless given good reason, like the times Leia and I *flew* down a ramp sending people scrambling out of our way with much happy laughter and when we had a race with R2D2 which we lost but not for trying. I think we lost because we were laughing so hard. Innocent onlookers seemed to quite enjoy it, and there were none of pitying looks we sometimes get over here. Our hotel was great too. We got the gimp room and it was kitted out to perfection, rails in all the right places, shower seat and emergency button. The few times we had trouble going up ramps (which are all over the place) there was always a friendly hand to help. Even a hotel we went to for the bar, went out of it's way to take us to correct floor in their secret service elevator and they willingly moved carts and other obstacles out of the way with a most off hand cheerful manner. There was none of the Israeli condescending "it's good that you get out" crap. It was all as natural as can be. Right, so most of my parts don't work right, but somehow the Dutch realize that there is still a real person in that crap body and they treat us like everyone else. Go Holland!! I fully intend to go back and see even more of that wonderful country. What a difference. England is great too, but no bike paths, however they do know how to slope a curb seamlessly to the street and the people are every bit as gracious.


This is going to be long, so don't feel obliged to read the whole thing. There will NOT be a quiz!
Thursday dawned and as expected, I didn't quite leave enough time for a leisurely departure and ended up leaving things behind: 1) the copies of Cab's Chicken Run fic for Dirk, 2) Dirk's copy of my cookbook, 3) the cover pages of both to be signed by Dirk, 4) baby butt wipes 5) my wheelchair cushion 6)&7) Billy and Fred, 8) socks 9) small travel coffee 10) Leia's giftie and a few other odds and sods that really weren't missed 'much'. My bus left at 0800 and got to Kfar Saba at around 1230. Zahava and I decided to go visit Sid (my wheelchair guy) so he could check BBC and when we got there, I promptly sky dived from the front passenger seat of her Econoline into a heap in the car park. I heard a click and needed help getting up which was provided by Sid and a very nice passerby. BBC was pronounced healthy and we went to Zahava's to figure out if we should take my ankle to the local branch of my health clinic, or ignore it. We decided to get it checked out and arrived at the clinic where I was seen without delay and sent to the local ER where the foot was ex rayed from every conceivable angle and eventually declared whole but badly sprained. Good thing it was useless foot and that I'm already in a wheelchair! A nurse bandaged it up and back to Zahava's we went, where we were joined by Bat Chen, her son and a friend. No pre flight nap for the gimp. It was off to the airport at 0100 and, as usual, I was whisked through security and check in and arrived at the gate fagless and a whole hour before duty free opened. A darling young man invited me to a cup of coffee and cigarette to pass the time until Duty Free opened. I bought 4 cartons of a cigarette I'm not overly fond of, but can tolerate. 1 carton went into my handbag and the other 4 were sent to await my return. I spotted a little something for Jaguar that I decided on the spot to buy and get Dwight to sign. At long last it was time to board the plane and I was bumped to Business Class, where I joyfully discovered that I didn't need the seat belt extension. Oh joy, oh happiness. The flight was uneventful until we reached Schipol air space where we were held in the stack for ages. When we were finally cleared to land, I had to help the pilot who must have been asleep in landing 101. Not enough power and nose a bit too low. He managed to slam the plane down in a most un ElAl like way, much to my disgust. We then found ourselves in a traffic jam on the runway. My plan to waste time by checking my bag worked and it was the last one out. After being wheeled to the exit and still having almost 4 hours to wait for Leia, I found a coffee bar and parked myself there for the duration. I got bored and decided to go down and watch the arrival door, and at some point thought it might be a good idea to find out which gate Leia would be coming through. Her gate was at the other end of the airport, so off I went, until I found it, about 10 minutes before she arrived. She had no trouble identifying the gimp wearing purple in the wheelchair (duh) and it was off to figure out the train stuff. The first train info guy started the process of organizing the gimp ramp for train boarding only to hand us over to his replacement who finished the process and told us to meet the person who would help us at the red wall behind her at 1600 for the 1610 train to Utrecht where we were expected at 1700. Having an hour to kill we went off exploring and arrived at the appointed hour and place 15 minutes early, not to be met. Leia went to the info desk which was by this time manned by an obviously Arab fellow who was promptly dubbed Achmed who claimed to know nothing about the arrangements. Leia made sure he got things sorted and soon we were whisked away to the train by a wonderful, friendly, sensible, young man who got us settled on the train. I made a comment to the effect that he should handle with care, lest I use my one one sentence in Dutch, which he, of course, challenged me to say. He was so cute and sweet that I did ask him to marry me, and he promptly turned me down-wise man. This became a recurring theme during the weekend, and I was turned down by every single person I proposed to, but it was fun and all in good humor.
We arrived in Utrecht and met by another ramp guy who gave us vague directions on how to get out of the station. We found a way out, and went looking for a taxi amid buses, trains and bicycles. We finally found one and arrived at the hotel where I promptly tried to pay him with an Israeli coin that looked like the Euro one that was required. He took it in good nature and was properly paid, and we went into the hotel, checked in and were met by Janet and her Ramses. We all trooped up to our room and chatted a while about plans for that evening and the next day. We went to a lovely pub just next to hotel where Leia and I mixed and matched dishes from the menu with great success. I had a lovely Murphy's draught and Leia and I both had enjoyed our mix and match. Janet and Ramses weren't as successful with their choices, but it was a lovely evening including yet another refused proposal by our darling waiter!
Back to the hotel where I set my cellphone to ring at 07300 forgetting that I didn't change the time on it, so it rang at 0730, which was 0630. Oops. We had arranged to meet for breakfast at 0800 so I wasted time looking out the window and letting Leia sleep a bit longer.
Breakfast was a lovely buffet with great whole grain breads and lots of other great stuff. The coffee was good too. After breakfast we headed over to the venue where we were treated to our first hint that maybe this event might not be as well organized and the e tickets lead us to expect. E tickets implied computerized lists, but they were using printouts (not faster computers) which greatly delayed things. After a much too long wait, we were in and discovered a down ramp that was much fun to *fly* down, Leia propped on the handles and me with outstretched arms yelling wheeee all the way while innocents scattered out of our flight path. A quick recon and we found Dwight and Dirk's table which already had the longest line, and we went to find the token buying table. We asked at the info desk and were answered with a wave of the hand in the general direction. The token prices were outrageous so I only got enough for Jags' surprise and my trashbag. Back to the D&D table where the line was longer yet. Our turn arrived and Dwight's first words were to the token collector were "This lady is my friend, she does not pay" and my tokens were promptly handed back (I still have them) He asked if I'd been keeping up with the Dark Matters list and hinted that maybe someone should have a polite word with our very young fan there. I agreed to take a shot at it as diplomatically as possible. We had a very short chat while he signed my stuff and he checked that we were on for the VIP party that night! Then, over to Dirk's side where he signed the carefully folded trash bag(Jips had told me that Dirk likes to mess with Dwights signature so I took precautions) and there was a quick chat including Dwight who told Dirk that he and I are old buddies. Glowing happily, we rolled off to find Orly Shoshan, an Israeli actress who was in Star Wars. On the way we were challenged to a race by R2D2 who won much to the amusement of bystanders. Orly and I had a lovely chat in Hebrew and she was surprised to hear that I had come from Kiryat Shemonah special for this. I quickly explained about A Team fans while she signed a concept picture of her character with lovely purple shadings that will soon be framed and hung on the *liberry* wall.
Having accomplished that day's goals, we headed back to the hotel and discovered bike paths and a shorter route. I settled in for a kip and Leia went exploring. I woke up a bit hungry and in need of coffee. I made an emergency cup using the scalding water from the tap and the wee jar of coffee Zahava kindly gave me. As Leia had still not appeared, I decided to go to the lobby and wait for her there. The lobby was full of people and staff scurrying about offering drinks and tidbits. I politely refused, not knowing what the occasion was. At long last the chair I had my eye on was vacated and I promptly plonked myself down in it. Leia wandered in and joined me. We decided to order a light snack from the menu using our tried and tested mix and match method only to be informed that the kitchen was closed due to the grand reopening of the restaurant and be invited to help ourselves to the buffet, which we did. While enjoying the delish tidbits, Janet and Ramses marched in, stopped at the reception desk and disappeared in the direction of the elevators. As they didn't return by the time we wanted to leave for the party, we left without them. When we got to the venue Leia found that she had left her arm band at the hotel so she parked me by the door and ran back. I was entertained by a group doing impropmtu dances lead by a very slim energetic black guy. He was funny even in Dutch. Leia arrived back in record time and we went in, where I spotted a lady in a power chair with purple sticks(crutches) tied to the back, talking excitedly with a man holding a cane and another bloke in a wheelchair. We stopped next to her and I asked where she got the sticks and we found out that the party was cancelled and quite possibly the rest of the con. Ramses called and told us not to bother going to the venue as the evening had been cancelled. I told him we were already there and that it might just go on. They showed up a bit later on the off chance I might be right. Rumors were flying, among them that all the actors had gone to Amsterdam, that their security could not be guaranteed by the security staff, to which we replied that is was more likely the security of the organizers that was in jeopardy! Someone said that there was no sense hanging around as there were no VIPs. My retort "What are WE? Chopped liver?" I announced that I knew two actors who would not abandon ship and were most likely arguing to continue the con at that very minute and that if someone could find out which hotel they were at, we'd find them at the hotel bar. As it turned out the hotel was pretty far away, and after a bit more discussion about the cowardly organizers who didn't have the balls to face us, a large group decided to party at a hotel bar on the 21st floor of a hotel across the street from the venue. The group included that lady with the purple sticks, the black dancing guy who is also a cop in Holland, and one of the funniest, fun people it has been my fortune to meet. He's also smart as evidenced by his swift rejection of my marriage proposal. We took over the far end of the bar and had a rollicking good time. Updates on the state of the con arrived via cell phone and we learned that the next day would be a *go*. Pictures were taken of the group and email addys exchanged.
Back at the hotel I set the cell phone to alarm, this time taking into account the time difference. After another yummy breakfast, it was back to the venu to see what was up. We caught one of the head (un) organizers and had a go at him. He blamed the actors, specifically one woman and one A Teamer as the culprits. After a quick look around and schedule check we decided to explore Utrecht until Dwight and Dirk's Q&A session at 1400. Leia heroically pushed me along bike paths where we managed to avoid bikers and other traffic hazards, until KFC came into sight and I almost got swept away by a bus. A BIG BUS. We also found the short cut to the train station where Leia parked me outside to watch the traffic while she went to sort the ramp for the next morning. This time she came back brandishing a number. Back to the venue for Q&A
,of which we missed a few seconds due to even more managerial incopmpetence. We caught up with them(D&D) after the post Q and A photo session and Dwight told us the whole story, and Leia piped up that I had defended them and it turned out that I was correct about them being in the hotel bar! Dirk said that Dwight was upset and kept saying that he had to get to the party because Franne was there! Dwight and Dirk were duly presented with their Cuban cigars which turned out to be the very brand Dirk had mentioned the night
before. I then gave Dwight my cell phone so he could read a text message
from CabAret. While Dwight was reading I told Dirk that the cigars had
come to Holland from Israel and he rather enjoyed that detail. Both were
amazed that I had brought a text message received in Israel from
Indonesia and we chatted about that and Cab for a few minutes, then I invited them to join us at the 21st floor bar that night and they said they'd try. A
split second before they were hauled off to continue their duties,
Dwight obeyed the instruction in the text message and gave me another
huge hug and kiss. That was the end of the con as far as we were
concerned so it was back to the hotel and a kip for the gimp while Leia
went to find an internet cafe and make a KFC run. No Cafe, but the KFC
was great. The 4 of us went to the bar on the off chance that the lads
would show up, and we left around 0100 when it was obvious even to this
eternal optimist that they wouldn't arrive. Except for the canceled
party, it was a wonderful weekend.
The above is my report to the Dwight Schultz and VA lists. There was a bit more, but I want to savor those moments. After our evening at the 21st floor bar Leia and I said our goodbyes to Janet and Ramses and set the phone for an early wake up so as to have time for an early breakfast and a leisurely trip to the train station by way of our newly found short cut. It was mildly moist outside but not raining. Leia left me parked near an elevator to go get my assistance who suddenly appeared before she came back and whisked me away. She caught up with us at the last minute and I assured her that I had not been kidnapped, nor had I proposed marriage to some poor fool and been accepted!She was startled to find me missing and asked random people if they'd seen a purple lady ina wheelchair. After a lovely train ride to Schipol where we were met by the same lad as put us on the train to Utrecht (I didn't propose a second time!) we went to look for my departure gate (have I mentioned that Schipol is huge and confusing?) we got me security checked and checked in and off we went for coffee as my flight wasn't until 1315 and we had plenty of time. After a lovely last Dutch coffee at a table with a nice lady who was about a week too early for her flight, Leia pushed me back to ElAl where I was witness to a miserable incident that only a Russian Israeli could cause. Mr Arrogance was upset that he was being charged for overweight and got abusive to the poor gal, using foul language and threatening to get her fired for doing her job. Instead of being nice to her and trying to sweet talk her, he was a right bastard and I (hoped ) thought he should be kicked off the flight. He even went so far as to crumple his ticket and throw it on the floor. In the end he paid the overweight and repeated his threat to have her fired. As it turned out she was my escort/pusher to the gate and I told her that if he makes any trouble, I'll be happy to go to bat for her. This time the plane was full so I got a seat in steerage, and guess what? The seat belts there also fit me. The flight was a bit bumpy but the landing was perfect. I have decided that I WILL take flying lessons soonish. Leia and I talked planes/flying a lot this weekend and I'm going to do it. The jerk who pushed me through the airport told me there are no buses from there at all.(there are, but never mind) I called Zahava but her car wasn't available, so I called Bat Chen whose van was in the shop so she called a friend who came and rescued me and dropped me off at Arlozoroff where I'd learned that I'd missed the last bus. I took a shared taxi to Afula where I caught the 2310 bus which dropped me off right at Gimp House a bit after 0100. Yesterday I stayed in and rested up while savoring the memories of a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Yuppers, the day after tomorrow's the big day! BBC and I are off to Utrecht for a weekend with Leia, Janet, Dwight and Dirk. I was a bit nervous about bringing Leia down with my odd mood swings, but she's recently lost someone too so we should be able to help each other through it and have a good time.
Of course I've gone and it to myself again and totally miscalculated my finances. At least it's the last time that will happen! At worst the insurance policy should come through within two months and that will solve my idiot bank account permanently. At to the rest of the inheritance, I'm going to take the advice of Richard and not do a thing with it for 6 months. Must remember to check out tax law on it here. I'll call the late motorcycle garage's accountant later and ask her. I *do* know that there are no taxes to be paid on it in the US.
Child genius and his pal Krasny (red in Russian because he always wears a red shirt and I don't know the word for purple in Russian yet) dropped by rather latish last night and mildly messed up the computer. I have it back to relatively normal now, but I fell like everything is covered in a pea soup fog. Only got 5 hours sleep, and that just isn't enough for this old gimp. My left leg is wobbly today and almost gave out when I was bringing my coffee here. Good thing Peg had the sense to move fast out of my way. That's all I need, a scalded coffee flavored dog. If I can keep my eyes open long enough, I'll add the link to our(mine and bat Chen's) site this afernoon. It seems our protesting gimp friends took over the Social Security building in Jerusalem for reasons as yet unclear. Worse, the leader of the last two demonstrations has be given a job there in exchange for selling us out to the Finance Ministry, but more on that later. I want to get out of here before it gets too hot. Ex Mainers should not have to deal with 90+ temps.

Monday, September 19, 2005


I'll probably be sorry for writing this, but, tough. I used to think that one can only know things they've been told, and that facts can't be assimilated by osmosis. I guess I wrong. My dearly beloved favorite ex decided that yesterday was the right time to set the record straight on a thing or two there was no way I could know, but maybe should have been able to guess. Used to be a rule of etiquette that saying bad things about the recently deceased was a no no, especially to those closest to the dearly departed. Now it seems that is no longer true.
I know The Philmore was difficult at the best of times, and I had just begun to make my peace with him, and forgive. I am still very much mourning, and sad that he's gone. I did not to hear chapter and verse on how the ex was taken to the cleaners by him less than two weeks after he died. "You should know the truth" said The Ex. Right, and The Truth helps me how? All it did was add to the sorrow. Had I known certain things back when they happened, I could have dealt with them then, but to be told those things years later accomplished nothing other than to make me wonder why NOW? I now have a whole new set of issues to resolve. Payback must be fun, and I probably deserve it, but couldn't it wait? Oh well, if it made The Ex feel better, so be it. The Philmore was what he was and I'm going to miss him, and try to keep focused on the good. If The Ex wants to tell the story his way, he can just start his own blog.

Sunday, September 18, 2005


The word normal when used to describe me should be read with a grain of salt. Normal and I are not often on speaking terms. It's much more accurate to use the word usual, but I'm in one of 'those' moods today.
The Shiva was hard, and lonely, but I got through it without too much trouble. Staying away from the computer was hardest, but I managed. I even managed to go out the day it was over, then, the phone calls started. Aron called for my address, to send legal will type documents. That brought about it's own storm of tears. I somehow managed to stay awake all day and got to sleep at a reasonable hour, only to be woken a few minutes later by The Wicked Stepmother who wanted my address and a decision on what to with an insurance policy my mother left and Dad left me. Even I'm not stupid enough to give an answer while still half asleep, so I told her I'd call back after consultations. I had a nice long consultation with myself and decided to have it sent here. I asked if there was one for The Jeffey too but there isn't. When I called her back to tell her to send it here, she told me Dad had left me considerably more than he left The Jeffey because he felt I would enjoy it more and it would make my life as a gimp easier. She asked about my trip to Holland and I told her that I really don't feel like going, but will go because The Philmore was so glad that I can and do travel. She pretty much yelled at me that I'd better go because he really was thrilled about it. Ok, I get the message and will go and try to be my usual carefree happy go lucky self. He *did* want me to go and staying here and moping around won't change a thing.
That Woman gave me a ball park figure of how much I can expect when probate is over and it's pretty scary. Most people here think that such an amount is reason to celebrate, but, trust me, it's not. It's a monster responsibility. I'm going to have to take it real slow and be very careful as I am more than capable of running through it in a few hours. The insurance policy and the judgment against Albilia will sort my bank account permanently and buy a car. I'm going to have to find an independent advisor about the rest. I did get some good advice from Richard and I intend to take it. He advised me not to tell anyone at all how much I'll be getting, so I'm not, except for the insurance policy....$6500, the rest will remain a deep dark secret. Let 'em speculate. I'm not even going to get a brand new car yet, just a reasonably new used one. With any luck I'll find a Ford ragtop. I will be able to indulge my wanderlust and do some serious traveling which will be nice. It really sucks to be thinking about all that when he's only been gone for two weeks, but the real world doesn't stop and wait for anything or anyone, so I'd better get my head around it.
It's a bit disconcerting that people here think that having a large amount of money fall into your hands isn't a big deal that requires thought and planning and that it can be extremely stressful. I'm having my usual physical reactions to stress.....odd pains, fluctuating blood pressure and so on. Every time I answered a sympathy email I got dizzy and woozy, so I thought that maybe I could start to get over that by posting here.
At the risk of repeating myself, I really do miss The Philmore inspite of all the disagreements we had over the years, and feel a bit better that we were good at the end. It's also good that he was very much himself right up to that last week and that it was relatively quick. He was able to enjoy his life as usual right up to the end. I'm also glad I was able to make him understand that The Jeffey is actually a success story, and that he told The Jeffey that a few months before the end. That was very important for The Jeffey and when we spoke after Dad told him, he was so proud, as well he should be. Imagine believing for 50 years that your parent believes that you are a complete failure and disappointment and then find out that he's actually changed his mind and tells you so. I'm so pleased I could give them both that.
I think the writing therapy helped. I've been typing away for awhile now and none of the stress symptoms have appeared. I rather doubt this is a full cure for it, bit it is a start.

Saturday, September 10, 2005


Strictly speaking, I'm cheating right now, and I'm sure the subject will come up when it's time for me to give my final accounting.
Shabbat cancels Shiva until Shabbat is over. Shabbat is a day of rest and has it's own long list of things that are not to be done, among them, using a computer. Granted, there is no specific mention of computers in the Torah, but anything that uses electrickery is a big no no. Be that as it may, I'll try to explain when the day comes.
This week has been a nightmare from hell. Trying to find out exactly when the funeral would be was easier than I thought. The day was included in the Notice of Death in the Palm Beach paper, so all I needed was the time, which I got with one phone call. As just about everything I ever knew about our mourning rituals was on semi permanent leave, it took Rav Malka one minute to remind me that "kriya" is done on the day, irrespective of time. He sent Miriam Senaness to do it. She looked a bit oddly at the garment I chose and I didn't get a chance to explain that I chose it because it is the same shade of blue as the suit I wore for my mother's funeral. His and Hers as it were.
As I am so disabled, I can't sit Shiva on a mattress on the floor, as is the custom here, so I'm sitting on my bed.
Being alone is the worst part. My daughter hasn't even bothered to call, never mind come. Everyone I know is shocked at her behavior. I'm not shocked, or even surprised, just very very sad. There really is no excuse for it.
I love living alone, and am trying to get my head around this being the downside of that choice, but it's hard. Just knowing that Dad was alive and well in Florida was a great comfort. That's gone now. Thank G-d for good friends like Elaine, Alice(and her parents), Jonathan, Etti, Orna, and Achi. I'd be in a padded cell by now if not for them. Aron surprised as well. He is forgiven for all that went before simply because he had the heart to call and keep me as informed as possible. He even called yesterday and told me about the funeral. In spite of his having attended religious schools here, he either forgot, or was off rollerskating during the lessons on mourning. He truly thought I didn't have to do "kriya" as I wasn't at the funeral. That is simply not correct, and if it were, Rav Malka wouldn't have sent Miriam to do it. Even *I* knew that. It helped knowing that he was there and said Kaddish. The hour of the burial was the hardest of all. I thought I'd never stop crying, but I eventually did.
It's almost surreal. Dad is gone, and in spite of everything (and there was a lot) I am truly mourning. I didn't think I would, but, here I am. There was such comfort in just knowing he was there(I repeat myself) and now he's not. It's just me and The Jeffey now. We'll have a good cry together when I go there in the spring. He's a good kid, and I'm glad that Dad knew that he wasn't the screw up Dad always thought he was, and even had a phone call from Dad to that effect. It helps to know that at least that got sorted.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


My mind (what's left of it, that is) has gone missing. I've been confusing myself over things that I KNOW. For instance, I really do know that Shabbat doesn't cancel Shiva, it just is a break. I know that, so it really doesn't matter if The Wicked One has the funeral on Thursday. One just continues Shiva from when Shabbat is over. I KNOW THIS. I also know that the only thing one does before the burial is to refrain from meat and wine. I KNOW THIS. The no meat and wine continues right through Shiva, this I also know, so why did the knowledge of things vanish when I needed them most. I CAN go out and do things until the funeral, so, I just got myself all worked about things I knew. In spite of all that, I do not, repeat, do not take back one word I've said about The Wicked One, and will most likely have a lot more to say about her, and if not saying, then I will be thinking very not nice things about her.
I took advantage of this between time to get my pneumonia shot, buy some fags and check out a thing or two with Nissim Malka, a local rabbi whose daughters I once taught and whose sister is a nurse at the clinic. Enough for one day. Tomorrow I'll go have a yell up at the bank and do a few other things. In about half an hour I'll be able to call Maine and not piss everyone off at me for waking them up. Quite enough for one day.


I take back anything nice I ever said about Marcelle, The Wicked Stepmother. Gobsmacked is much to mild for the rage I feel about what is going on. Her latest cruelty to her late husband's children is that the funeral will be on Thursday. There is absolutely no excuse for that. Jewish law requires a quick burial, delay is allowed only if someone has to arrive from far away. No one is going from any distance, therefore, any delay is unexcusable. She also never told any of us that he had died until well into Sunday. She never even bothered to tell The Jeffey anything at all. All I could find was a death notice in their local paper, no proper obituary there or in any of the Maine papers. What is she up to? I almost think I know why she chose Thursday. Aron said she's not sitting Shiva and by having the funeral on Thursay, she's effectively not allowing me to sit either. Shabbat cancels Shiva, so that leaves one whole day to sit. I can not believe that The Philmore wanted that. It goes against everything he believed. And worst of all, there's nothing I can do about it. The icing on the cake is that I'm stuck in an odd "in between". Until he's buried, I can't sit, and also can not do anything else. It's as if I'm sitting, except not.
What did I ever do to her to deserve this? When she had her operation a few months ago, I called every week to find out how she was doing. I was always pleasant to her and never ever did anything to let her think I didn't like her. Maybe somehow she knew it though. I did not like her from the minute I set eyes on her and this is the first time I've said it. The previous rants were about what was going on, what she was doing, not about her personally and there's pretty much no way she could know about it. No, there's no way she could know about it. She doesn't use the computer and my hit counter would have shown if she or any of hers had been here. I suppose she could claim that it's ok as The Philmore and I never really got along, but who is she to assume such a thing? We had our ups and downs, but to presume anything about our relationship brings chutzpah to a whole new level. I'm having trouble expressing myself lucidly on the subject, so I'd best leave it now and go back to my "twilight zone"

Sunday, September 04, 2005


The Philmore is about to have the plug pulled on his life, so this is as good a time as any to write about him. The Philmore was born in 1922 in Biddeford Maine. He had 3 brothers and 1 sister. He went to school in Biddeford, then to Bowdoin College in Brunswick. He was in the Army during WWII, came back to Maine, then got his masters degree in Theoretical Mathematics from Lehigh University. He married my mother at the old Synagogue in Old Orchard beach, they moved to Brunswick and he opened Phil's Army Navy Surplus Store which at some point became Phil's Mens' Store. I arrived in 1951 to bring chaos into their lives and my brother appeared 3 years later. We lived on what is still today, the nicest residential street in town, directly across the street from Longfellow School. Sometime in the 60s The Philmore bought J.E. Davis Company and Mom was the fashion power there, while Dad was the business brain. Both stores did well and when the first shopping center was built out by the Navy base, they opened a store there, closed the Mens' Shop and called the new Mens and Ladies as well as what was JE Davis Co. store The Canterbury Shop.
I long ago realized that The Philmore really wasn't cut out to be a father, but he did the best he could and the things that I saw then, are now, in the mirror of hindsight the very things that made me what I am today. He put me to work in the store at the age of 10 wrapping gifts during the Christmas rush so that I could earn the money for the stereo I wanted. He then marched me into the stereo store and chose the stereo for me. I hated that he always favored my brother and The Jeffey always got stuff but never had to work for it. My first bike was a battered second hand Schwinn he bought from our vet's daughter for $15 while The Jeffey got a brand new one. The Jeffey got new skates twice a winter, while I had to work at the store for mine. I resented that for years, but finally understood that those are the very things that turned me into the selfsuffient, independent cuss I am today. I also understand now that he wasn't that way because of meaness, it was because I was and am capable, but The Jeffey wasn't. He always tested borderline retarded so with the perspective of adulthood, and years away, it's ok, and the only way it could have been. Most of the issues between us were a direct result of us being so much alike: stubborn, smart, and determined, things that have stood in good faith for me over the years. When I decided to come to Israel right after high school, he was proud and certain that I'd come to my senses and come home to go to college. I did, but with an Israeli I married over there. I went to POGO U-University of Maine Portland Gorham while working full time and having 2 babies. All was well until Mom got cancer. I quit school because it was just too much to handle with 2 small kids, a full time job and an ill mother. Mom died in '79 and a year later I was back here with the kids and The Philmore was planning and plotting to get me to go back there. His plan was to hand the business over to us, me and the ex. I wanted no part of it, and in the end the Ex bought the business and Dad and his new wife, The Wicked Stepmother moved to Florida permanently. The Ex, not being a business man ran the stores right out of business, but not before paying The Philmore off. The Philmore and I had more than few fights that resulted in our not speaking for several years. He was insulted that I refused to let him buy me an apartment in a building I had no desire to live in. Again, like father, like daughter. He just couldn't give anything without being able to completely control it. We got over that and have been on good terms for years now.
He enjoyed his life in Florida and played his three favorite games, golf, bridge and chess, frequently. he won big at bridge on his 83rd birthday.
He was a good man in an impossible situation with two kids like me and The Jeffey. I'm glad that he finally realized that The Jeffey wasn't the failure he thought he was. He's been married to the same woman for over 20 years, has kept the same job for more years than I care to think of, brought up 3 kids, the youngest severely disabled. When I pointed all that out him, you could hear the penny drop, but at least he knew it. It does sadden me that I never got to tell him how pleased I am with what I've done so far with life. It drove him nuts that I didn't stay in one job forever, and he never quite got that once a job bored me, I just go try something else. He was a firm believer in job security. I'm just not made that way. My successes are mine as are my failures and I have him to thank for having played such a large role in making me that way. It just makes me sad that now I'll never have a chance to tell him. I am, however, somewhat consoled by the fact that our last phone call was so good.

Saturday, September 03, 2005


I'm not quite sure how it happened, but yesterday got away from me and I didn't realize it until this morning. Things started *normally*(relative at the best of times when used in reference to me) enough, but rather quickly got out of control. Friday mornings are busy at the best of times, but when they are on Free the Visa days, things get wild. The day started pretty much ok with a cup of 'eye opener juice' while reading and answering emails, then, into town to get the Friday papers and a couple of cartons of fags. I also had to pay for the cooking gas I got for myself and Orna, then make the first payment on my Holland trip. My travel agent lets me write 3 postdated (legal here) checks and on the appointed day exchange them for either cash or credit card. We've been doing this for several years now and it works. I can pick up the tickets and hotel voucher on the 15th, so all is well. For some reason that I have yet to understand, I have a $400 credit with them. I'm saving that until I know what's going on in Florida with The Philmore. At this stage there's not much I can do except get my head around it, and get the last bit of missing paper for the passport-a form that says under which part of Israeli law I got citizenship here. I'll go to Safad for that tomorrow.
After the travel agent, I went to see Zohar about buying the rest of the useless stuff he promised to buy. He's going to do it on Monday or Tuesday. Of course Gruber was there and we had a grand old visit which got me home at 1230 with the morning gone and my back aching. To bed with the back and my toes started itching, so I slathered them with Eucerin, took a shower and Eucerined them again. Had nonsense on the TV but lost myself in Anne McCaffrey's Pern books, put Peg out, then brought him in when the sreaming started. I went out to the ramp and saw all the neighbors running to the "circles" just around the corner from here. I grabbed the cellphone and hopped on Harley Too to see who/ what was causing the ruckus. It was one of the local hot heads attacking one of the Lebanese refugees for no reason at all. The cops arrived and took the attacker away. The Lebanese guy was taken to the emergency room by a neighbor. The attacker was drunk.......and beat up the guy for no reason.

There are many things I do on Shabbat that are not exactly allowed, but there are some things I will not do. I will not handle money unless it's an emergency, cut finger or toe nails, check my bank account online, and a few other inconsequential things. I will post here, read and answer email, but for the most part, I don't do much. One thing I didn't do was call the hospital for info on The Philmore. I will do that as soon as Shabbat is over.
I had pretty much forgotten how strong childhood friendships are until this happened. Elaine has been so wonderful and she is one of the few people on earth who can yank the string and pull me back to a semblance of sanity(another relative term when used in conjunction with me). If anyone else had written what she wrote to me, I would have had an opposite but equal kneejerk reaction, but as it was Elaine, I had a good hard think. Not that I'm entirely over my rage at the Mrs.The Philmore, but, I've got a more wait and see if she really is up to what I suspect attitude.
I was so pleased that The Philmore called after my operation, but it's making me sad now because it most likely was the last time I'll have spoken to him. Did he feel something? I mean, he knows/knew that I call him and The Jeffey every Sunday before payday, or on the day itself if it's payday on a Sunday, which turned out to be the day he had the bleed. I have a hard time thinking about it without crying. Not hysterical sobbing, mind you, just sad tears. He *is* 83, but up until now was in very good shape. Ah, well. Time to get back to Pern before my tears short the keyboard.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


I don't know what's going on over there in Florida, but The Wicked Stepmother is hiding something. She is doing everything in her power to stop me from arriving. As usual, I ran into a few snags, the largest of which was that I couldn't find my Social Security number. At about 0300 I remembered my old college transcripts and there it was! Now all I need to get my US passport issued on the spot is a fax from the hospital stating that he's in Trauma ICU. I called the hospital and they were more than happy to tell me his condition (not good) but went and asked HER if they could send the fax. She said "No" I had already figured out that something was off with her. After talking to Terry, the ex's present wife, we both agreed that she is trying to pull something. I'll call Mr. Ex later and ask him to talk with Aron and try to find out what the hells is going on. My mind was racing so fast (in neutral) that I couldn't get to sleep until after 0430. That's the second night in a row. I'm going out in a few minutes to get a form from the Interior ministry here that they are sure to ask for if I don't have it, get my anti pneumonia shot and cancel the reservation for tomorrow. I'll spend the rest of the day on the phone trying to figure out what's going on and might even have a very nasty chat with Mrs. The Philmore, aka The Wicked Stepmother. Striar the Liar has been assigned to find a lawyer to represent me and my interests against her. He was so gobsmacked by the whole thing that he even went out to the payphone and called the hospital to find out if they confirm that The Philmore is there. Not because he didn't believe me, but because he wanted to know if anyone can find out, so that maybe the Consulate could call them and bypass the fax thing. It's 1030 and time is awasting.