with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

One Restful Day

By Friday afternoon, the web site was reloaded and I finished off a bunch of other long-delayed work. I fixed a great lunch of marinated honey-lemon baked chicken and our favorite home fries with Parmesan cheese baked on them for lunch. Brent arrived home from work five minutes before dinner was ready, so my timing, for a change, was perfect. I’m getting better at this cooking business. We watched “Wayne’s World” as our lunch movie, something we do at when we stay home for the weekend. A few days ago I had done a “schwing” move on Brent and he had no idea what I was doing or saying. “Haven’t you seen ‘Wayne’s World’?”

“Is that a movie or TV show or something?”

I swear, as intelligent as my husband is, he led an incredibly sheltered life. He can’t stand television and watches it maybe for an hour a month, and only when I have it on and there is some bit of news he has an interest in, and he dreads movies. Calls them “boring” and “time-wasters”. Me, I live for movies, though my movie going has dropped off considerably since meeting him, and even more so since coming to Israel. I can’t stand the damn intermissions they have in movies not designed to be broken in two pieces. As for “Wayne’s World”, it was such a cult classic, I couldn’t believe he hadn’t seen it. I had to educate him.

That movie is an education. Not only is it mindlessly dumb, it is intelligently stupid. Brent was laughing, which is RARE, at it, groaning and rolling his eyes, and doing all the things he was supposed to in the right parts. He admitted it was so bad, you had to love it. So now he is going around the apartment saying “Excellent” and “Party on!” I love it. I took him to see “Toy Story” years ago and for six months he wouldn’t stop leaping up and shouting “To infinity and beyond” whenever we needed a break in our serious life. Movies have that effect on him, few as he ever sees. Maybe it’s a good thing he doesn’t see many of them.

I wanted to drive up early this morning to the Alexander River, but a huge storm was predicted, with flooding and high wind advisories. They haven’t occurred yet and it is already nine at night, but we decided to sleep in. Unfortunately I awoke about 3:30 and couldn’t get back to sleep until almost six, so it was better I got a little rest anyway. My brain wouldn’t stop spinning on Dahni ‘s death, a frequent reason for me not sleeping lately. I know I did everything I could to save him, but I can’t help but beat myself up for not doing more…like there was anything I could do except take him to the vet, a twenty minute drive, only to have him tell me my fuzzy baby was dead. But I’m not going there…..it’s bad enough it makes me crazy in the middle of the night.

I guess what brought on the nightmare thoughts was Thursday night’s scanning of Dahni’s pictures. I have to rescan hundreds of pictures that got wiped out by a computer glitch after I had scanned them, so I pulled out the first pile of slides from the box of new stuff and started scanning all the images that had already been marked as scanned. I didn’t need the light table, just slap them in the scanner and let it roll. After twenty or so images, I start saving them, and I realized that they were all pictures of Dahni in the motor home on our trip across Spain. He loved traveling so much, and the motor home was heaven. Not only did he have our full attention almost 24 hours a day, he got to hang out the window and “watch” the world go by and listen to the birds and noises that surrounded us everywhere we went. He loved sitting in any open window, just listening to the world. I swear I could see him smiling, his one pink exposed eye wall squinting, the other closed up by surgery, his ears pivoting towards the sounds like giant satellite dishes. He was my satellite dish ear kitty. He loved hanging out the window, one paw holding himself up and the other hooked out the window just hanging there. He never showed any interest in jumping down, just hanging out the window watching the world go by, pushed up onto his very tippy back toes on the sill of the car door.

I stopped looking at the slides, and just kept scanning. I waited until Brent came home and we had a little dinner together, him at the kitchen table (his desk) and me sitting on the floor of the kitchen, a frequent pose for the two of us. I told him I’d been scanning images, and he looked at me with full knowledge of what I was scanning, a caring sadness in his eyes. “You okay?” “I will be.” What more can I say.

I pulled myself together and saved the scanned images, doing what I could before my heart broke. Last night something came over me, and I was able to add some of the new scans to Dahni’s web page. I made it through, feeling sadness, but not dwelling on it. I fought it back. I just don’t know how people who lose their children or spouses can survive this intense pain. Yeah, yeah, he’s just a cat, but he was a part of my life and spirit, and we shared so much together, overcoming my prejudice about his abilities, the rest of the world’s prejudice about him, and his own abilities to become a “normal cat”. He changed my life and I was looking forward to many years of life changing stuff from him. Three years wasn’t enough.

No wonder I had waking nightmares last night. Now they make sense.

I let Brent sleep in and I started reading through a lot of saved files I’d been saving off the web to read later. We all have those things and I had a computer desktop littered with dozens of icons of things I had saved and delayed over. So I read them and trashed them, and cleaned up the computer’s desktop a bit, like cleaning your real desktop, I guess. It was a lazy feeling and it felt great to not feel the pressure to get things done for a change, just to do the little things needing but not desperate for my attention. Here are a few things I learned today.

Did you know that if you eat an orange a day, it will seriously decrease your chance of cancer, especially stomach and mouth cancer? This is good news for the gross tobacco chewers out there who run an almost guaranteed risk of these cancers, but it also got me thinking about something Brent said when I told him about the oranges. “If you ate everything they told you to eat to keep disease away EVERY DAY, you would weigh tons!” He’s right. My goodness. Something like five or six servings of vegetables and fruits daily, an orange a day, green tea, two liters of water, an apple a day, a grapefruit a day, blueberries for cancer, whole grains for colons, meats and tofu for proteins, soya everything for females, milk and calcium stuff for bones, blah, blah, blah. It is overwhelming sometimes. I stick to low carbs, good proteins, and have a good dose of fruits at lunch (my main meal) and about three servings of veggies, especially green ones, a day, but more than that I can’t shove in my face. Already I’m eating more than I used to with this anti-diabetic program I’m on, but to add all the stuff they tell us to eat to keep the diseases away…it’s overwhelming. I’m glad they are telling us that the REAL FOOD is the stuff that is good for us, but they are having a hard time going against the fast food and junk food lobbyists to get them shut down, though I’ve heard that bread product companies are having a tough time in the states now that the demand for low carb is on.

Did you know that over 75% of all movies coming out of Hollywood now feature cigarettes, a number higher than ever before? NPR had a great story on the battle to get Hollywood to get the cigs out of their movies. They are saying that smoking in movies is replacing Joe Camel. One expert said, “People buy movie tickets to watch the sex and violence, but nobody pays money to watch people smoke.” One group wants to rate movies with smoking as “R-rated” in order to limit the smoking, but another guy says it is just censorship and too wide a swath to paint, since movies that use smoking for creative license shouldn’t be forced to have such a rating. I was trying to come up with how smoking and creative license comes into play and I realized that “bad behavior” often features smokers. When smoking on screen was less, how did movies portray the bad folks. In the fifties and sixties, the bad guys in the cowboy movies all wore black and the good guys were in white. And the bad guys smoked. Later, bad guys still smoked and looked greasier and blacker. But then, in the eighties, the lines between good and bad thinned. Even the good guys smoked. With period pieces like “Cotton Club”, “Chicago”, and such, everyone smoked, all the time. There was no artistic license, just smoke. Research has proven that even if children have parents who smoke, children exposed to movies with a lot of smoking are three times more likely to smoke than children who haven’t seen “smoking” movies. Interesting. I loved the comment by one guy who said that if a movie includes the “f-word” it gets an automatic R-rating, but if it includes a cigarette, which kills over a half million people annually – well, you get the drift.

I also learned that virtual jobs is becoming even more popular in the US than ever before. People are hiring “virtual assistants” to do their secretarial work, allowing the assistants to work anywhere in the world with their clients somewhere else in the world. This kind of creative self-employment is spreading across the US with more and more people who have been sitting on unemployment with all the layoffs getting off unemployment and starting innovative service jobs through the Internet. Self-employed folks are now making about three times what they used to as salaried employees. WOW! I like it. I need a virtual assistant of my own to clean up some of my dirt and clutter. Got to look into this more.

I also learned that the area just north of Tel Aviv, not far from where Maureen and I sludged through the mud, has been closed twice in the past three days for security reasons. On Tuesday they caught two terrorists in the area with weapons and bomb equipment. They claimed they were with Jihad Islamia. Then it turned out that they were actually two security policemen for the Palestinian Authority on their way to supply weapons and bomb stuff to someone else to do a suicide attack. A bomb was found later in a shopping bag awaiting pick up and “delivery”, a huge one, that was safely detonated. The police reported that they were planning to bomb a school near Haifa. What shits. Part of the ball-ah-gone (Russian for “big, confusing mess”) over the shell-game of Palestinian prime ministers concerns Arafat’s insistence in maintaining control over the security forces. He will give up power elsewhere, but he wants to control his “army”. Now two of his army have been captured as terrorists. Interesting. There were also four others caught with massive weapons intent on machine gunning down more civilians. The vehicle they were in also had explosives. These are the things you will never hear about on the big media shows. About two years ago, when the bombings were frequent, what you didn’t hear about were the average of 25 attempts daily that were thwarted. Yes, TWENTY-FIVE every day were stopped by Israeli forces. Isn’t that amazing?

Also, rumors are flying about that Bush has given some kind of ultimatum that there has to be a truce declared by the Palestinian terrorist groups by December 9, and that Egypt’s Mubarak is supposed to be meeting with the terrorist groups in Cairo to settle a truce, but they aren’t cooperating, saying they want Israel to make concessions first. I don’t see Israel conceding anything since the terrorists are the one who have to settle things between themselves…which is a confusing thing to even think about. The idea of all these terrorist groups cooperating – now that is freakin’ scary! Unfortunately, every time there is a terrorist “cease-fire” it only gives them time to rebuild their forces and weapons because Israel is “supposed” to restrain itself and not keep wearing them down. It happens every time, so I don’t see that this time is any different. And if Israel does take some kind of action to prevent terrorism, everyone blames Israel for breaking the truce. If the truce is between the terrorist groups and the Palestinian Authority, and not with Israel, how can anything Israel does break a truce since they aren’t part of it? I get so confused on these thin points. Wouldn’t you?

Turkey is now open for travelers from the UK, but the US and other countries still have warnings up. And now Saudi Arabia is under a “watch for terror” again and foreign citizens are being warned to stay safe, get out, and not go there. So far, most of these warnings have turned out to be justified, so I am nervous that something is on the horizon. So much for catching up on the news.

One other little news tidbit that I just can’t help but share with you, because it stuns me. In November, a terrorist was caught crossing into Israel who had a Canadian passport. I don’t know how Israel interrogates and investigates the terrorists they catch (I’m sure its not completely Geneva Convention and pretty, but it could be), but in the process they have found out that he is a member of a Hamas terrorist cell in North America. Did you know that there were Hamas terrorist cells in the states and in Canada? They are everywhere. Hamas is a well-cultivated organization as it has a huge humanitarian face, coming in when the Red Cross backs away, but it also has a dark, evil terrorist network that few Arabs like to look at. I’m not totally surprised at this piece of info, but I am surprised that the rest of the big medias haven’t picked up on it.
I also read a bunch about search engines and getting listed in one. It is such a game and I’m still learning how. When I figure it out, I’ll let you all know.

I also looked into getting a news feed on my web site, specifically aimed towards news about nature, travel, and photography, but the process overwhelms me right now and I need to start focusing my energy back on the book and away from dinking daily with the web site. After all, I’ve written more than 400 articles on here, WHAT ELSE DO YOU WANT??? Giggle.

I have four articles I want to write this week for the web site, and I assigned one to Brent, so there will be new stuff coming. I have at least six articles to edit and upload, but I don’t have the images scanned yet…as they say in Hebrew “le-aht, le-aht”. Slowly, slowly.

I’m just looking out the window to see if Lake Dubnov is visible. I can see just a little of the park’s street lights glimmering in the water, but as the rain has stopped and the clouds are clearing, I’m sure it will be gone by tomorrow morning. So sad. I liked the lake. My friend Ruth asked me if she needed to order a boat for me to get out of the house. I told her I’d call her when it got high enough. The things we say.

Tel Aviv, Israel

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