the half-a-disaster apartment

Every time I look at the piles of plastic bins of various sizes stacked in the living room and feel like screaming, I remind myself that there is only one bin residing in hiding under the bed and that I’ve donated 8 bins worth of stuff at least this week.

I put out more than 400 DVDs on Tuesday night and the last of them were scooped up early this morning. Towels, sheets, socks, shirts, and skirts have disappeared much faster. More than 100 books went out and there are still about 15 of them waiting for someone to grab them, along with a pillow I used to use on the sofa for decoration (until 30 minutes ago) that I just sat out there. I’m accumulating more clothes to put out.

I’m washing the canopy and side hangings for the Himmel Bett now and will put those out tomorrow morning. I’ve decided I should donate the bed. I dreamed about having a bed like this since I was a very little girl but I’ve had and enjoyed it now for almost 15 years. None of the other dreams that went along with having a bed like that will ever come true, I’ve no one to pass it on to, and hanging on to it is just stupid. I am going to hang on to my duvets and duvet covers, however. I can’t make myself part with those, at least, not yet.


35 responses to “the half-a-disaster apartment”

  1. Erin Rawls says :

    aww your post makes me sad. I know you are coming to the US for a good reason, but I can’t imagine how challenging it will be to restart life here in the US. Will you maintain both citizenships while you are here in the US? You will get to return to Israel right? You sure are getting a head start on this moving thing seeing as you aren’t coming here till June. What will you sleep on for the next 8 months? Maybe we should just house swap…

    • Lynne says :

      Erin, her post makes me sad, too, and I am feeling that perhaps coming back to the US even for a while is a mistake. I hate the thought of stripping her possessions, moving away from a country that she loves.
      I think that Yaeli should rethink this decision, and I am going to encourage that.

  2. tddpirate says :

    I think that a better way to describe the activity of getting rid of stuff is not to relate it to the need to move back to USA or whatever.
    It is simply the act of getting rid of no-longer relevant stuff when one has passed a certain age.

    I know a woman who gave all her worldly possessions away to her friends at age 50 and embarked upon a nomadic lifestyle.

    There is something about living lightly, without too many possessions to burden you and keep you grounded.

    I myself am faced with the desirability of getting rid of a lot of stuff.

    • Lynne says :

      TDDPirate, I agree and I am reducing my possessions and organizing the ones that I have. Too much stuff is overwhelming. I like the idea of a minimalist lifestyle.
      I think Yaeli must stay in Israel. Getting rid of non-essentials is a good step in making herself more comfortable there.

  3. israeliminx says :

    Don’t be sad about it, I’m not. It is just a material possession and things don’t make us happy. I’m far sadder that I’ve got the bed but not the pile of kids I always pictured snuggling up on it with me and a prince charming (well the prince charming was always optional, heh).

    Erin, I’m expecting to be in the U.S. for about 10 years. All but four of my critters (and we’re hoping to find homes for these four ‘little’ ones) and all of the critters at my Ema’s are above the age of 6 years and so that should see them through their lifespan in the sanctuary I will be setting up for them.

    • Erin Rawls says :

      You are an amazing daughter and it is so wonderful that you are willing to make such a huge change in order to be there for your mom. I am estranged from my bio fam (which is a good thing), but I do have some VIP people in my world that I would do the same for them.

      I too thought I would be married and have kids by now…Sadly, I will be 35 in a couple weeks and there is not even a boyfriend on the radar. Richmond is devoid of available jewish men, as I don’t have a urge to become orthodox (heck, I doubt the orthodox community here would accept me)…so I am stuck teetering between the urge to take a leap of faith and just move to Israel on my own with my cat and dog, or moving cross country and pursuing a whole different career path which means years of grad school and taking out huge student loans. You’d think it would be easy since I am not tied down to a family, but somehow it is more scary because either way being successful is solely dependent on me. How did you know that moving to Israel by yourself was the right decision? Did you do a whole planning trip? Did you move there with a job and some sense of financial stability (i.e. back up savings)? I know you mentioned that if I came I should take advantage of the ulpan offered to new olim, but I am worried I won’t be able to find a job since I don’t have an israeli teaching license. (I teach toddlers and children with autism). How difficult is it to become part of the teaching community there? Oy I have so many questions for you!!

      • israeliminx says :

        Erin, you can actually get your teaching license here easily if you already have one in the U.S. –talk to Nefesh b’Nefesh and ask them about the program here that gets you licensed: It is a six-month program for ‘new’ olim teachers where you get a small (very small) stipend, you take a special ulpan, and do the equivalent of student teaching in an assigned school during that time. A word of warning though is that full-time teachers below university level earn less than minimum wage (teacher salaries are less than 4k sheks per month) and most teachers are either still living at home if single or have a spouse also bringing in an income. If you are going to stick with teaching, I’d recommend settling up north where cost of living is much cheaper.

        • Erin Rawls says :

          Oh great. And I thought i was poor here in the US! HA. I will definitely chat with the Nefesh B’Nefesh people. I would love to work in the special education world…teaching, home therapy, children’s rehab centers, etc. I just don’t know how feasible that is unless I become a whiz at Hebrew. Sigh.

  4. XSAGal says :

    So that’s it?
    I thought that your move is a temporary thing to help out your mother with things and then come back..
    But on the other hand I do understand that living in Israel is not easy . Especially if your not Israeli and stuff. Life here is expensive .. I know someone who rents an apartment in the Mitte {Berlin} for 250 Euros ..
    I personally fell in love with Berlin { a bit wary living there as my profession is not IT or High-tech and isn’t very popular there I suppose (I teach English)}

    So I do understand the move .. Many of my S.African friends moved to London ,Australia and New Zealand any one or two moved to Israel..

    • Lynne says :

      XSAGal, do you teach English in a high school or the university? Do you have favorite authors?
      Yes, living in Israel is expensive, but it is a wonderful place to live.

    • israeliminx says :

      Xsag — I’m hardly leaving because of the cost of living: My situation here is much more financially stable than it will be when I move back and I’m giving up my career with this move. I’ll be damn lucky to get a part-time min wage job with the situation in the U.S. and my location. My mom has got a form of cancer that does not, as yet, have a cure. She is on her second go-round with chemo now in as many years and will likely need more go-rounds in the future. I am very hopeful about a new vaccine that has been developed and that hopefully will be available in a year to a year and a half in Canada and some European countries and that gave all the test patients at least a 5 year remission. It not only gives a longer remission period but does not carry the horrible side-effects and dangers of chemo. Without the vaccine we are looking at more chemo and/or stem cell transplants in the future. Either my brother or I need to be close by and since my brother would need to move not just himself but his whole family from Japan and, given that his wife has an extreme allergy to cat hair, I am the most viable one to make the transition. Until my Ema was diagnosed with this damn disease we’d planned for her and her critters to move here. I’ll move there instead and if I’m there for 15 years, I’ll be thrilled, because that means we’ll have my Ema that long.

      • XSAGal says :

        I thought that one of your reasons for the move back to the states was to help out your Imma . The other was the rise in the cost of living { especially the rent in the centre ie Ramat Gan , Givataim ,TA. I remember a post where you considered moving to the territories because its cheaper there.

        I Also remember a post where you compared your salary as a lecture in the states and here (Israel) and there its was quite a bit higher.

        Yes the cost of living IS higher here then it is in Europe . Even Bisli (An Israeli snack is cheaper in Europe then in the country of origin . Ridiculous in my opinion.

        If I had a profession in High tech, I.T Real estate ect.. I’de probably be in Europe (Germany or Holland)

        I wish your Imma (mother) best of health

        • israeliminx says :

          Xsag — I was talking about the tenured positions I had and had on offer at the most elite universities 10 years ago — even if one of those positions were to open again (and they haven’t) I wouldn’t be able to consider it as being in that region of the country would be no better than my being here; I need to be in close proximity. Here, I would love to live in Karnei Shomron, for instance. When I come back permanently, that will be the area I’ll be looking in. I expect to be back and forth a lot before then, however.

          I appreciate your wishing my Ema good health (and I love the english-arabic spelling you use! 🙂

          • XSAGal says :

            English-Arabic ? :-0
            I prefer British English 😉

            what would your salary there be as a lecturer in one of the close by universities?
            I have a feeling that you would earn more there then here in say Bar-Illan or herzliya IDC?

  5. XSAGal says :

    I teach Elementary & junior high Remedial English .
    Yes Israel Is wonderful but also quite intense .. This I feel especially strong after a visit to Europe Its strange how as soon as the taxi gets to the airport at the passport control the tension evaporates and comes back as soon as I land back at Ben-Gurion 😉
    But despite all that and the politics and the tension of making a living I do love it here.

    • israeliminx says :

      LOL, you can’t just walk up to a university and say, hey, I’d like to teach here. It doesn’t work that way, especially once you’ve gotten senior status.

      Not sure what you mean about the British spelling. Having lived in the U.K. myself (and I use British spelling) and having quite a number of friends from South Africa, I don’t know anyone who uses the spelling Imma rather than Ema, except for friends who specifically use the arabic transliteration spelling as a political statement.

      • XSAGal says :

        For me Emma is like Emma Thompson(the actress) -that’s how I pronounce it. Imma -I as in infinity or Internet 😉

        Abba (Father) as in the music group Abba
        not Ubba as in umbrella

        complicated I know 😉

        • israeliminx says :

          There is only one m in Ema as you surely know living in Israel and it is most certainly not pronounced like Emma as you would also know. Palestinians and many Arab Israelis transliterate it in English as Imma. If you are Egyptian, you’ll likely spell it as Ima. The Israeli translit is Ema. But if you indeed live here you know that and choose to give it an alternate spelling only as a political point.

          • XSAGal says :

            Not true . I was certainly not thinking politics when I wrote Imma and not Ema

            Imma is in infinity
            Ema – as I read it Emma as in Emma Thompson

            Living here for about 15 years and in S.Africa for 22 this is how I have seen it spelled.
            No political statement intended

  6. Jennifer says :

    So I realize with everything that is going on with y’all, my news is small potatoes, and I’m only writing here because I don’t know if I have a working email for any of you. I got back test results on Smanny today that indicate that she has lymphoma. At this point all I can do for her is make her comfortable until it is time to take her in to be put down. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I thought you would want to know.

    • israeliminx says :

      Oh Jennifer I’m so sorry!!! Is there anything that can be done… any meds that can retard the growth or make her more comfortable at least? Is Alexander ok? You know, at least I know, that you have already given Smanny an amazingly happy life, that you have literally given her life! You worked round the clock to keep those two kittens alive as infants and it was so touch and go, and you’ve given those two such good and loving care in the years since. I use gmail and you can reach me via my moniker here on the blog. Please do, as I want to find out more about Smanny and also more about how you are and it has been way too long since we talked. Sending love to you and to the kitties.

    • Lynne says :

      Jennifer, it’s not small news at all. It makes me think of when you first got Smanny and the wonderful difference—all the difference in the world—that you made in her life. She has been so lucky to have you, and I must say that anyone who knows you is fortunate.

  7. KLF says :

    I would spell it Imma as well, just like I hear it…well, thats me.
    Yael, good luck to you and your Ema, I hope she will be fine. Maybe you can continue to wrote this blog from time to time…

  8. XSAGal says :

    Actually for me it started as a joke when I used to e – mail my father when he lived overseas as Abba (i.e. the music group) so Imma sounded kinda’ right. I’m not a political animal and politics was furthest from my mind when I stated writing Mother as Imma .
    to me Ema sounded to much like Emma (i.e. Emma Thompson) .

  9. WipeOutHamasOnceAndForAll says :

    Good points stated at the UN by Netanyahu. Perhaps to make us forget his badder ones made in the past and even during this particular speech!
    “‘Iran’s Rouhani is wolf in sheep’s clothing’ – Netanyahu to UN General Assembly (FULL SPEECH)” at

    Yael, let us hope your mother gets better. I am kind of sad seeing you leaving Israel but I do understand your reasons.
    It is rare nowadays to see a daughter acts the way you do, even when it pertains to your mother. G.od bless both of you in the future and G.od heal your mother fully in the future.

  10. tddpirate says :

    (a new method to revive ovaries – developed in Stanford and a Japanese university)

  11. Jennifer says :

    I just sent a long email to Lynne, but didn’t mention Smanny’s treatment. We are doing 3.75 mg of prednisolone a day and sub-cute fluids three times a week, to keep her as comfortable as possible. I have taken her off appetite stimulants and anti-nausea meds so I can see if the steroids will help with that. If not, I’ll go back to the other. She hasn’t been particularly interested in cat food for a while. I’m mostly feeding her fish (that I buy fresh and cook for her, though I open a can of tuna if I run low on fresh) and shredded cheese. I might try some prepared chicken; I don’t mind warming that in my microwave, but I really don’t want to be cooking non-kosher chicken in my kitchen and don’t want to get involved in finding kosher chicken for her. I’ll keep on with this as long as she is continent and able to get around. She seems happy enough to sit in a chair or on the comfy blanket on the bed and look out the window or nap. I hope I will know when the time is right; that she will either let me know that she is in pain or just doesn’t have the energy or desire to continue. Anyway, thanks for your kind words of support. I still remember vividly the day I grabbed her in the yard — she was screaming and I was screaming. I think she bit me and I had to have a tetanus shot!

    • Lynne says :

      You bravely grabbed Mattie, too, and due to your efforts Mattie is having such a happy life now. I have never seen a sicker cat than she was the day you finally grabbed her after watching our futile efforts to catch her as she got sicker by the day. You grabbed her up and she got the help that she needed. She still has that virus, but it’s under control with medication off and on, and for years now she has been living a happy life inside (she cannot go outside due to her illness). You totally saved Mattie’s life. Amazingly, Mattie is now super friendly, though still very quirky.

    • israeliminx says :

      Jen check the Kroger — they used to carry kosher meats in a separate compartment in the butcher section and also a small (very small) selection of kosher cheeses (the kroger on the highway you’d take to get to the highway to Atlanta) but if not the campus Hillel should be able to set you up — I’m sure they’d be willing to let you buy a couple of uncooked chicken breasts off them once or twice a week that you could then fix for her. I used to get kosher chicken breasts at the Kroger, however, to cook for Mysterious when he started getting sick.

      • Lynne says :

        I am thinking of cooking chicken for Smokey who has difficult thyroid problems and Sallie who has ulcers that never seem to clear up completely.

      • erin says :

        if you have a trader joe’s nearby they also have kosher meat-chicken (whole and parts) and ground turkey. during the holidays they have whole turkeys. When my cat was really sick and wasn’t eating my vets also said that stage 1 babyfood-chicken or turkey is ok, as long as it is sodium free.

        • Lynne says :

          Erin, I used baby food for my ferret when he was sick. It perked up his appetite and kept his weight stable. Good idea and so glad you mentioned it. I had forgotten.

  12. Jennifer says :

    Thanks everyone! We actually do have Trader Joe’s and Publix (the one on the other side of town nearer the Trader Joe’s) also carries kosher meat. Truthfully, I am afraid chicken would be dry — she seems to really want juicy stuff — so the fish is really good. It is staying moist in the fridge and I zap it in the microwave for a few seconds to take off the chill. Plus, I don’t have to worry about cleaning and putting away all the dairy dishes to cook for her.Oh, also, in the last two days she has eaten some actual cat food — the yummy, fatty, smelly kind, but at least it has some of the correct nutrients for her.

  13. israeliminx says :

    This might be a yo you have been out of the U.S. too long and so are really clueless but…what the heck is a Trader Joe’s and a Publix?

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