Ve’hi Sheh Amdah L’Avoteinu–In Memoriam

Ve’hi sheh amdah l’avoteinu

May the One who stood firm for our Ancestors

Ye’hi sheh amdah l’avoteinu ve’lanu

May He who stood firm for our Ancestors and for us

Sheh lo echad bilvad amad aleynu,

Because not just one has stood upon us,

Aleynu le’charuteynu

Upon us to completely destroy us.

Ve’Hakadosh Baruch Hu matzileinu

And the Blessed Holy One delivers us,

Matzileinu, mi’yadam

Delivers us, from their hands

Ve’Hakadosh Baruch Hu matzileinu

And the Blessed Holy One delivers us

Matzileinu mi’yadam

Delivers us from their hands

–from the Passover Hagaddah, set to music in the following video by my neighbor Yonatan Razel

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqB4EuBvrbc[/embed]

In memoriam of the three teenagers who disappeared from a hitchhiking junction/bus stop on their way home, 18 days ago, and yesterday were  found in a shallow grave close by.  

We were all hoping, praying, that like Gilad Shalit, who was abducted from his Army post and held for 5 years in Gaza, the boys would be found alive; tragically this was not the case.

It is thought that the killers were some of the 1200+ prisoners released from Israeli prisons, 450 of whom had blood on their hands from bus bombings, suicide bombings of cafes (which have been rebuilt, and I have eaten in every one of them) and other acts of senseless terror against Israelis, in exchange for Gilad Shalit’s release.

Why are we holding back our hands?  In Samuel I, King Shaul is stripped of his kingship for disobeying God’s command to kill ALL of the Canaanites, including their women, children, and livestock.  Shaul had pity on the women and children, and also on the livestock, which the Hebrew army intended to bring as sacrifices to God, or so they said.  Because of his “humane” disobedience to God, he was sent off to live out his insanity in a place called “Givat Shaul,” or “Saul’s Hill,” which today is covered with banks and factories.  Worse than that, our failure to hold strong in carrying out God’s will has brought this plague of terror upon us.

No, I am not advocating genocide, God forbid.  I am advocating teaching the terrorist organizations that terrorizing Israelis with “rockets,” which are not the kind that fathers build with sons on Saturdays, but are deadly missiles armed with nails and bolts, and with kidnappings and killings by any means they can think of, teaching them that we are NOT the cowards they think we are.  We need to kick their arse so hard that they will crawl back into their tunnels and kill each other (which they are doing anyway) and never DARE to lift a hand against an Israeli child, woman, or man again.

I was thinking that I would again publish a list of the killings of innocent Israelis, children sleeping in their beds or playing in their yards, but the list has grown so long since I last published it that I would have to spend all night collecting data.

But, you will say, nothing trumps the 2009 Operation Lead (Dreidle in Hebrew; I don’t know what it got translated to in English) where 1200 or so Gazans were killed by Israeli bombing.  There were citations of how many “children” were killed in that war.  Please remember that the terror organizations consider it a great honor for their children to go to their idea of heaven by means of martyrdom.  This is part of their education, as can be seen on Al-Arabiyah and Al-Jazeera, and on official Palistinian Authority TV (in Arabic–not their mild English counterparts) and in numerous Youtube videos where mothers are saying that the best thing in the world would be for their children to be shaheeds, or martyrs.  These little shaheeds are sent to greet Israeli soldiers, wearing suicide vests.  The same with women, as you might have heard reported many times in Iraq.  So just because someone is under 18 and therefore classified as a “child” does not mean they are not armed and dangerous.  I will stop now: I know too much, unfortunately, and it is bad for my blood pressure.  The take-home point is that “they” do not think like “we” do.  And this is not some Islamophobic tirade; it is a simple statement of fact, unfortunately.

Why are we trying to throw water on a fire that is burning out of control?  Both Hamas and Fatah (let us not forget that Fatah and the PLO were the brainchildren of Yasser Arafat, who engineered the 1st Intifada in 1987 (he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994), which killed thousands of Israelis.)  In a public statement that later because part of the PLO.Fatah’s mission statement, he was quoted:

Our basic aim is to liberate the land from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River. We are not concerned with what took place in June 1967 or in eliminating the consequences of the June war. The Palestinian revolution’s basic concern is the uprooting of the Zionist entity from our land and liberating it.
—Yasser Arafat, 1970

This was adopted by Hamas upon their formal organization.  Fatah and Hamas are now formally united, although there is considerable in-fighting.

Why are we tip-toeing around a barbaric organization that has sworn to push us into the Mediterranean?  We have been more than tolerant to a nation that has publicly sworn to genocide.

I am not concerned with losing readership over this post.  What I am concerned for is the Jewish State of Palestine, as it was known until 1948.  We have tried and tried and tried to co-exist, but they will not have it.  They want us out.  And what will they have, without Israelis to provide them with jobs, electricity, water, education, unemployment payments?  They will live like Iraqis, like Syrians, like Afghans.  And no one will help them, b’ezrat Hashem.

 

Can’t It Be “Just Because”??!?!?

I am SO on the same page. Stigma strikes again! Maybe the guy has a violent streak–does that mean he is mentally ill? Are character flaws classified as mental illness in the DSMV? I’ll have to look. But I doubt it. Some people are just jerks, but I don’t think you’ll find “jerk” in the DSM. Thanks for bringing up this REALLY IMPORTANT point!!!

Enter The Black Dog

Normally I’m pretty good at cloaking my moods.  I’m trained in the art of dissembling.  One of the hidden maxims of medical training is, “Control your face.”  Don’t let the patient know that you’ve just found a….you’ve just done a……and barely got yourself out of it….your surgical assistant is the most beautiful thing in the world…you just farted.  Etc.

One thing it’s hard to conceal is The Black Dog’s visits: depression.  I’ve never been good at it.  I cry at the drop of a hat anyway.  So I’ve gotten good at noting which exam rooms are empty, so as to duck into one for a good bawl, and exit red-eyed.

“What’s wrong with your eyes?”

“Allergies.”

Yesterday I woke up feeling like somebody had clubbed me over the head.  I couldn’t tell where I was in time or space.  My brain felt like chocolate pudding, but not at all tasty.  Actually, I didn’t wake up at all.  If a friend hadn’t texted me at 1:45 pm, I would probably still be asleep.  Poor starving Noga lay next to my head, resolute.  If I had kept right on sleeping, I don’t think she would wake me up to feed her.  I don’t know if that’s good or bad.

I felt kind of like I felt when I took my bedtime medicines in the morning, except this was even worse.  I was hoping it would wear off as the day (what was left of it) wore on, but no.  At bedtime last night I resolved only to take those medications which if you do not take them you might get a seizure, which happened to be the same meds I go to sleep by.  How convenient.

I was quite sure that after a good day’s/night’s sleep, certainly whatever I had taken would have worn off, but no.  Well, it did, to some extent, but then I started feeling cross and weepy.  I yelled at my dog.  I’m very relieved that she seems to understand, and cuddled up with me for a lie-down-not-nap after I got from the grocery store.  I’m amazed that I got back, since I really, really should not be driving in this condition.

I still have not put away the groceries, six hours later.  I have not put away the enormous piles of laundry that I took to the laundromat the day before the day before.  And I just read an article about the habits of Brown Recluse spiders, that they sequester themselves in the fingers of your work gloves (!) and in piles of laundry left on the floor (!!).  Well, these are in black plastic bags, if that helps.  (The reason I was reading up on Brown Recluse spiders is that I found one uncomfortably close to where I sleep, the other day.)

Last night, the night between Days One and Two of the Feel-bads, I had one of my thankfully rare episodes of chest pain.  They occur sometime in the middle of the night, and are so intense that I can’t move.  Even if I thought it was a heart attack, I would not be able to move to call the ambulance.  So I have learned to have the attitude that if it’s my time to go, it’s my time to go, and I am a Do Not Resuscitate specimen anyway.  I toy with having that tattooed across my chest, but my religion specifically forbids tattooing.  I mean, come on, like 5,000 years ago there was a law against tattooing?  What, Moses was afraid we would all become, like, Goths?

Where was I.  Oh yes.  This episode of chest pain occurred between Days One an Two of the Feel-bads, and I was not at all sure I was going to wake up at all, but in fact my alarm did rouse me, as it hadn’t on the previous morning.  I rose, feeling hopeful, but a wave of nausea washed over me and I sat down on my bed again, uncertain, until I remembered that my mother had to go and have some tests at the hospital and I was supposed to go and sit with Dad so that the morning caregiver could go to his second job.

I managed to crawl out of the house at noon, after waking at nine.  Given that I don’t even have a shower to loiter in, which I would have done had I had one, I can’t account for the time at all.

My mother was at home already, triumphant that even though they had done the wrong test, it was negative and therefore she knows more than me.  But she needed tomatoes, so if I were going to the store, would I get her two?

I hadn’t really been planning to go anywhere, given my foggy mental condition, but I caved in to her request and got in my car, very slowly and carefully, and in that condition drove to the store, where I discovered that I needed at lot more than just her two tomatoes.

On my return to the P’s house I caught my wrist in the tailgate of the Outback as I was closing it, and my paper-like skin split over the back of my right wrist.  I didn’t notice the blood until I got home, though, which is what prompted yelling at the dog, because I was bleeding all over the place and she was blocking the passage between myself and the sink full of dishes, where I wanted to wash my wound and see how bad it was.  It could be that she knew something was up and was concerned about me.  That is probably the case.

As you see, I have diverted you from thinking about the fact that somehow or other, The Black Dog has made his way to my doorstep.  Ah, that was what Noga was bugging me about!  It was really as if it hit me right as I walked in the door: the wall of depression.  Smack.

I don’t know what triggered what, in the Feel-bads scenario.  Could have been either one, doesn’t matter.  This morning I took my meds as usual, and I think I did on The Lost Day before that.  If I don’t feel better tomorrow I’ll increase my Lamectil by 50 mg.  My shrink, who has been my shrink since 2001, he and I have protocols for everything.  Depressed?  Add more Lamectil.   Psychotic and/or manic?  Seroquel.  Anxiety?  Clonazepam or Lorazepam.  And so on.

But tomorrow is another day, and this one ain’t over yet.  My lie-down with Noga helped, and I know she’ll want to cuddle at bedtime–she always does.  She’s very predictable.  She runs on ritual, on routine.  And by default, she causes me to have a modicum of routine, which I would not otherwise have, being unemployed and an undisciplined writer.  She has just had her evening bit of obedience training–she demands this every evening at 8:30, not because she so much enjoys the training as she does the treats that accompany it.

And now it’s time for evening meds, brush the teeth etc., arrange the nighttime necessary things in the sleeping area: tissues in case of crying and its accompanying snot, bottle of seltzer (I really like my water to sparkle on the palate) bottle of Ouzo (I like a little Ouzo before sleep, if I don’t fall asleep from the meds before I have a chance to drink it), pee bottles (pee bottles?  Right.  I don’t have a toilet).  And one little fuzzy golden Lhasa Apso, who will no doubt jump up in the spot where my feet are supposed to go and give me the “Apso Look,” which is indescribable; if you have seen it you’ll know what I mean.  But what she means is: “Show me that you love me and haul my 13 pounds up to your face and give me kisses and hugs.”

Which, of course, I will be delighted to do, at the peril of soaking portions of her fur with my tears.

Living Alone By Choice

I have lived alone for many years–since 2005, to be exact.  I had some roommate-type people in my life for about six months in 2008, but it was an enormous house and I had the entire top floor, which had a luxurious bathroom by that country’s standards: it had a sort of bathtub that you could fit into if you scrunched yourself up very tightly.  The only time I had contact with the roommates was in the kitchen, and that was bad enough: two Orthodox Jewish women who kept meticulous Kosher (myself and my favored roomie) and the other, a contrary Dutch woman who wanted to convert to Judaism but was too stubborn to accept its laws.

We were not permitted, by Jewish law, to use any of her cooking or eating utensils; and the other Jewish woman was Chabad, and they have different (and much more strict) customs than the stream of Judaism I practiced, so she also had her own set of cooking and eating utensils, which consisted of a frying pan, a pot, a glass, a plate, a fork, a knife, and a spoon.  I am the post-professional cook, so I require lots and lots of cupboard space.  Luckily there was plenty.

That is, until the snow storm melted and got into the walls, and the walls sprouted huge bracket fungus which released choking spores into the air.  Time to move.

Even though I adore the Chabad woman, with whom I maintain an occasional but warm relationship, I was eager to find a place on my own.  It took me a few moves to find the right place, but it happened, and I was very happy there for four beautiful years.

Then my father’s various disasters started happening with increasing frequency, so I moved yet again, to the other side of the world, to be near him.

Now I live in what is basically a reclaimed barn.  I have running water from a live spring that comes out of one tap.  There is a two-gallon hot water heater–I don’t know whose brilliant idea that was, but I can tell you it’s not enough hot water to do a few dishes, or to wash myself or my hair, which requires heating water in the kettle and using a pitcher to pour it over my head over the sink.  Washing the rest of me is easier, but I won’t go into the details.

Bathroom there is none, as you may have surmised from the above paragraph.  In fine weather the toilet is outside.  When the weather is foul or cold, I have an electric incinerating toilet (a consolation gift from my mother, very unusual).  I am loth to use it, though, because contrary to the blurb on its website, it stinks to high heaven and I am forced to spend a small fortune on incense.

But–I live alone.  I don’t have to put up with anyone else’s habits or eccentricities, arguments over whether it’s pronounced “almonds” or “ah-monds,” or some well-meaning recycling obsessive type who goes through the trash in case I threw out recyclables or compostables (!) each and every time I toss something in the bin.  I can bloody well contribute anything I like to the ever-growing plague of solid waste on the planet.  And I beg the question of whether or not to compost by pointing out the bear tracks near my barn.  I’m certain no compost bin is completely bear-proof, and at the very least it would end up at the bottom of the cliff.  So the small amount of compostable waste I generate goes right in the bin and I feel absolutely no guilt about it.

I don’t have to deal with someone else’s bong filling the air with blue stinking haze.  Now, I should be the last to complain about someone enjoying a little smoke, since I do it myself.  I guess it’s a matter of scale.  I am a lightweight when it comes to intoxicants of all kinds.  I drink, yes: about half an ounce of Scotch or Bourbon will do, and one or two tokes on a small pipe takes care of my ganja needs.  My air is not so thick that you need to part the curtain of thick smoke just to remark to your wrecked roomie that the smoke detector seems to have been deactivated.

All things considered, I am very comfortable in my barn, with no one to bother or to bother me, and no one to ask me questions, or rifle through the trash after me, or argue about the pronunciation of the names of seeds.  My air is clear, my kitchen is Kosher but not overly so, and my view of the river is obstructed only by the leaves of the black birch and beech trees, when they are leafed out.

If the whole thing were lifted up and carried to the other side of the world, my joy would be complete.

Daily Prompt: Verbal Ticks

Thank you, Ben Huberman.  I really needed a larf, and Huberman’s  Daily Prompt has got me rolling on the floor: “Verbal Ticks.”

Do you have a “verbal tick” you can’t get rid of?  Does it bury its head in your skin, suck your blood, and give you Lyme Disease, all the while chattering away like a demented dummy?

Ben, darling, I really am not dissing you.  It’s just that I’m a compulsive editor/proofreader with a cranked sense of humor.  I would have left you a comment in the “comments” section on your post, but there doesn’t seem to be one on the Daily Prompt, and if there is, I couldn’t find it.  My bad.

The word you wanted was tic.  A verbal tic is a vocalization, whether recognizable or not, that builds up inside the sufferer’s mind/body with increasing pressure until it exits, one way or another.  It’s a common feature of Tourette Syndrome.

I heard of a lawyer with Tourette’s whose main tic was verbal.  His brain compelled him to utter foul curses!  Most of the time he was able to blend them into a faked cough, but occasionally he had to exit the courtroom in order to drain himself of curses!  The judges all knew of his disability and made accommodations for his needs.

So now I’ve had my larf at the expense of our dear Ben, and it really is bedtime; but I will have to distract my mind, perhaps by watching Betty Boop cartoons, lest my dream be populated with chattering blood-sucking arthropods.

The Rushing Waters of Time

The trees surrounding my perch in my tiny 6’x6′ deck have leafed out, mostly obscuring my view of the river.  The river has become my friend.  Its constant roar, modulated only by the volume of water crashing over the rocks of the small waterfall, used to give me a feeling of vague unrest, when I first moved into this primitive building.  Now I welcome its constancy, and the violent early-summer storms bring an exciting urgency to the swollen stream, as if by throwing itself over the waterfall it might relieve its own discomfort.

The waterfall, although small, is mighty dangerous.  There’s only one chute, and even at low water, or perhaps especially at low water, the hidden rock directly below the chute is a trap for inexperienced boaters.  The experienced ones take the placid flatwater bypass around the falls.  They know about the treacherous hole that awaits the nose of a kayak or canoe, to flip it over and dump its occupants into the swirling eddy.  If they’re lucky, they’ll get thrown free of the boat.  If not, they might hit their heads on the submerged rock, and if not rescued by their comrades, go the way of many an unsuspecting boater on this piece of an otherwise easy river.

I sit in my perch and grip the rail, as I would at any sporting event; except that this is not for competition or entertainment (except maybe in the boaters’ minds).  Whether they know it or not, this is a life-or-death moment.

I become morose sometimes, watching and remembering how I used to be an avid whitewater canoeist: the crazier the water, the better.  But these widow-maker rocks with a hole on the other side….no thank you.  I didn’t mind “going swimming” (the river runners’ term for getting dumped unintentionally into the water) occasionally, but notoriously dangerous falls were not on my menu.  I wanted to pull my boat out of the water at day’s end, exhausted and happy, and most of all, alive.

My body is past the point of boating.  Both of my wrists have been reconstructed, and the torque of a paddle even in flat water would be painful.  Whitewater would tear them right off my arms.  So I guess that’s history.  I am banished to my front-and-center box seat, where I sit and cheer the players on, breath held when they attempt the chute, applauding when they make it through, looking on anxiously when the scrape of boat on rock indicates a wreck.

Today two out of three in a party of four boaters bit the dust; or rather, went swimming.  The first boat, a two-seater, contained a couple of experienced and skillful boaters: they took their time, back-paddled for a bit, assessing the situation.  When they made up their minds that they were really going to shoot that rapids, they lined up perfectly with the chute, and paddled like mad.  They flew through the chute and hit the rock with the bow pointing up.  The boat shot up and they became briefly airborne, accompanied by amusement-park shrieks.  I could practically see their hearts pounding as they floated in the eddy and came to rest in the pool nearby the little beach opposite the falls.

Boater number two, a big guy in a single sit-in kayak, landed nose-down in the hole, got thrown from the boat–luckily, for he could have got stuck in the hole, or whacked his head on the rock and been no more.  As it was, he got himself scraped up on the rock.  Then he got caught up in the eddy while trying to get back into his boat.  He was altogether shaken, and when he finally got hold of his boat, he hauled it out on the small beach below the rapids.  The couple in the first boat paddled over and pulled out to help their wet and shaken comrade.  He had broken both paddles, which were fixed on his boat with oar-locks.

Boat number three fared no better.  Number four wisely took the flat-water bypass.

Sigh.  No more boating for me, not flat water, not rapids.  No more skiing, no more running.  No more this, no more that.

Thank God, I can still walk, although sometimes painfully.  I now use two hiking sticks: not for the exercise; rather, so as not to fall over.  My balance isn’t so good because of the weirdness of my spine.  I’m sure the effects of poly-pharmacy don’t help.

So today, being the Sabbath and having no other responsibilities, and the weather being perfect, I mixed up a spray of lemongrass and geranium oils, which makes a fine bug repellent; and taking sticks in hand, with with little Noga on leash because of the lamentably lush growth of poison ivy, set off on a walk into deep old woods.

When we got past the worst of the poison ivy I let Noga off the leash and she tore off, exercising her nose as much as her little furry legs.  I wondered if her anti-tick stuff was really going to work.  I would be sure to make a thorough examination when we got home.

The forest understory is rich with treasures now: blue and black Cohosh, St. John’s Wort on the edges, and miracle of miracles, some real ginseng.  There are lots of things that look like ginseng, but once you’ve seen the real thing you’ll never forget.  I used to have a patch of it in a little crease in my mountain, when I had one; but unfortunately my goats ate my ginseng instead of the multiflora rose they were purchased to eat.

At last Noga and I found ourselves swishing through the meadow that borders the creek, or “branch,” as they used to call it here.  The grasses were knee-high; both Noga and I became uncomfortable.  This year has already been a good one for snakes; and I am always wary of putting my feet or hands in places I cannot see.  A copperhead could easily be stalking the plentiful crop of frogs along the branch, hidden underfoot in the lush meadow.

So we turned tail and made for home.  The shadows were already lengthening, and by the time we got home it was dinnertime for both of us.  Leftovers from last night for me: Teriyaki salmon, home-made cole slaw, and a last-minute concoction of quinoa and various vegetables that tastes pretty good in spite of its improvised nature.  Dog food for Noga; she is disappointed, even though it is salmon-flavored dog food that cost me a fortune.  She gazed mournfully at my dinner, then grudgingly yet thoroughly ate hers.

I understand why so many “retired” athletes commit suicide.  One minute you’re out there tearing it up, the next you’re reaping the unfortunate consequences of the excesses of youth.  When I was young, I would never have applied the word “athletic” to myself.  Looking back, I glimpse myself running three miles a day, seven days a week, lifting weights three days a week, Shaolin Kung Fu every day, dancing Salsa/Merengue/Cha-cha several nights a week, running rivers on the weekends; and then, when I got too old for that, skiing daily, horseback riding daily, 6am aerobics–crazy stuff.

I never could do tennis because the first time I tried it I dislocated my elbow.  But raquetball was OK.

I see the pattern, and I felt it then: physical activity was my medicine.  I remember acutely how it felt to run off an incipient manic episode; or conversely, to run off an episode of depression, running until I “hit the wall” and pushing through it into exhilaration, the “runner’s high,” which lasted an hour or two before the Black Dog curled up at my feet again.

Now bending my elbow to wash down handsful of pills seems to be about as much exercise as I get in a day.  Even gentle yoga, which may feel good while I’m doing it, tends to give me a bad pain day on the following day.  But I am finding some serenity now.  I just determined that I had better accept the fact that my ass has its own postal code, and buy some larger pants.

Depression Comix #188: Life Eraser

Another great one by Clay. Really got me thinking: if I came across a “Life Erase” button, what would I do? And what awaits on the other side, if anything? And if nothing, then….would I want to erase all the good times and good things in my life? This comic got me thinking about the good things in my life….would I want to erase THEM along with all the horrible things that have happened in my life?

Depression Comix

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Indiscretion, And Its Consequences

I just tested the marvelous remission I have been having, of the enzyme shortage in my small intestine that necessitated taking enzymes made from pig pancreases (just for irony’s sake, since I keep Kosher).  During the last 4 years I’ve had to take enzymes with everything I ate, so as to be able to digest and absorb it and not have it just come out in just a slightly different form than it went in.

And I’m lactose intolerant.

And I’m gluten intolerant.

And fructose intolerant (fructose is the sugar found in fruit) to a certain extent–I can only eat melons, berries, and apples.  Anything else makes its way out with alacrity.

When I discovered that I am in the “donut hole” or “coverage gap” of my Medicare prescription coverage–if you have the good fortune not to know what it means, it’s too complicated for me to explain right now–so I’ll just say Medicare stops paying for meds at a certain point, and leave it at that.

I wish I could leave it at that.

It’s so irritating that I have to take fistfuls of drugs every day, and they all cost a fortune.  When my discount mail order pharmacy told me that my copay for my intestinal enzymes was going to be $1500, I bridled at that.  One thousand, five hundred dollars for three months worth of enzyme.  OK, it’s only $500 a month–my bad.

Then the pharmacy tells me that the price for the whole prescription was actually $4000 that’s four with three zeros behind it.  Th $1500 was only the copay.  Well, fuck me.

So I decided I was going to make a trial off the enzyme.  Maybe either God had worked a miracle and not told me about it, or my intestines healed themselves (which, if you believe in such things, is kinda the same thing).  Even if I still needed the enzymes, all that could happen is about 4 or maybe 6, if I was unlucky, hours in the outhouse while my most recent meals bailed out the other end.

So I just held my nose and dived into the deep end.

I ate lunch.

I waited.

Nothing happened.

I ate supper.

Nothing happened.

The next thing that did happen was normal and healthy.  More so, in fact, than when I was taking the enzyme.

Miracle.

So for the past few weeks I’ve been feeling pretty cocky, eating whatever I liked and going to the bathroom like a normal human being.

**sigh**

But it’s another Jewish holiday.  This time it’s Shevuot, which is all about the Hebrews accepting the Torah at Mount Sinai, which is now somewhere in Egypt, just to carry irony a step further.

One way we celebrate Shevuot is by eating dairy foods: quiche, ice cream, cheesecake.

I make a cheesecake that is obscenely delicious, so that’s what I made, to follow up a dinner of fettucccine aglia i’olio with fettuccine made out of mung beans (yeah, I know) because I’m lactose intolerant.  Lots of olive oil.  Olive oil is good for you.  Yeah, and then I had a gigantic slice of my sinfully yummy cheesecake, made with a pound and a half of ricotta cheese and eight ounces (I guess that’s half a pound, isn’t it?) of sour cream.

Fat grams?  Oh, please.  Don’t harsh my buzz, OK?  I learned that expression from a shop girl who was on her cell permanently while I completed my purchase.  Calories?  Hah.  It’s a holiday, right?

But I forgot about the sour cream.  Only has four grams of carbs per serving, but guess what those carbs are?  You guessed right!  Lactose!  And guess what else?  I do not have even one gram of lactase, which is the enzyme that digests lactose, in my body.  Anytime I want to eat a lactose-containing food, I have to consume several lactase enzyme tablets along with it.

Can you believe it, I didn’t even think about lactase enzyme!  I just tucked right into that wedge of cheesecake, made of pounds of dairy delectables, and did not think a thing about the lactose intolerance part.

Hey, it’s a holiday, right?  Why would I still not be able to digest my food?  Seems like on a holiday I should be given a general dispensation to eat like a normal person.  And this is not a holiday like the Fourth of July, either.  This is a big one, that was commanded on Mount Sinai.

So why should I have to take all kinds of digestive enzymes in order to digest my holy holiday food?  It doesn’t add up.  That’s why I’m not so religious anymore.  Yeah, I thought it was a “test,” too, at first.  Then it stopped being holy, and started being just plain awful.  So much for the depth of my faith.

So as I’m writing this, in between trips to the outhouse–it’s dark and only lightly raining–I’m parsing out, in my mind, what this particular episode could be about.  Pig enzyme deficiency?  Oh, I hope not!  That would further dash my faith in the Almighty.

No, I’m fairly sure this is a lactose intolerance issue.  It has the hallmarks: the tell-tale sudden onset of cramps so intense that I can’t breathe and break out in a sweat–don’t ask me if it’s a cold sweat, a hot sweat, or just a regular sweat–when in the throes of it, one doesn’t pay much attention to such things.  And then the panicked runs to the facilities.  I won’t say “toilet,” because I don’t have one.  I remember when I did.  It was convenient, and one didn’t have to worry about bears, etc.  Don’t laugh.  Up here on the Blue Ridge, we have all kinds of Things That Go Bump In The Night.

Yes, I’m getting more sure by the moment, that this must be lactose intolerance.  For one thing, the pig-enzyme deficiency deal does not come with cramps or desperate running to the–whatever.  It’s more of a leisurely thing: “Oh say, I think I have to shit again.  How many times does this make?  Ten?  Twelve?  Oh, shit–it doesn’t matter anyway.  Soon it will be over and I’ll just stay in bed for a couple of days drinking mineral water until I can walk without holding onto the walls.”

So far I have taken 6mg of Loperimide, fondly known (by me) as “Anti-shit.”  It’s a very important weapon in my arsenal.  I keep it on hand, in cupboard, in purse (all of them), backpack, everywhere–in case of dietary indiscretion and its consequences.  Even when I needed the enzyme (see, I’m being positive), sometimes I would miscalculate the dosage, and there you go.  Or there I go.

Oh please, all I want is for my body to digest things like normal.  Like I used to, some years back.  Or like most people do.

The comforting thing is that I will eventually shit all of this out, and although by that time I will be dehydrated (yes, I am drinking mineral water even as I type) and exhausted, and tomorrow morning I will be afraid to eat breakfast because I have to drive somewhere.

The good news?  Since I’ve been having this digestive vacation, my ass has got so big it has its own postal code.  So if I go back to being afraid to eat for fear of the consequences, maybe I’ll lose a few pounds.