Wednesday, December 31, 2014



This coming year is 

so full of possibilities, discoveries and new 

realizations, that it would be silly of me to

 wish you just the same lame things that we wish each

 other every year. 

Be hopeful, be open and be courageous! 

The purpose of our lives is Joy, it was meant to be so 

by our loving Heavenly Creator, and He/She 

are going to see to it, that we achieve it!

Health, beauty

 and magic 

to you all!


     Hanah and Reina left on the same day, the 29th. The day before we went shopping and I bought a lot of the treats for our Japanese family. We also purchased some clothes for Hanah. 
     The shopping trip was the last straw for my legs. The knee became sore and unwieldy, and the ankle on the other side began to complain too. Because of that, Taka and Sonny took Reina to the airport the next morning, and I stayed home to say goodbye to Hanah. Shae-the-giant came and drove her away. 
Now I am left to feel ... what? .. Sadness? Relief? 
     There was a lot of work with Reina. She needed to be dropped off and picked up at the airports - I 'm not kidding you - eight different times in the last six months! Besides that, I was the one to take her to BART, the Bay Area Subway system, almost every day. I am not complaining, though (especially, if she or her Japanese relatives will read this post)! She was kind, tactful and fun, and I enjoyed having a young girl in the house.
     By the way, did I tell you: her younger sister is coming to stay with us in August, while she studies English?
     Hanah spent a week at home, mostly, laying on the couch, listening to her music, watching videos and snoring. I didn't get to watch my programs at all, but that's a small thing. Time to time my whining would suddenly reach her, and she would help me with the housekeeping. Her dad's and my eyebrows never descended below our hairlines, while we saw the obvious connection between her and Shae-the-giant. Alright, alright, she told me, he is gay, and I'm suppose to think: there is nothing  going on between them, but its hard to swallow. Taka, actually, realized
something like that only now, and I had "the joy" of explaining things to him, while not being 100% convinced myself of the innocent friendship between Hanah and Shae. They tell us to "trust the child"!              Mmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!! (that was my heart-rending scream).
     With all of these "splinters" in my soul, I loved to have my first-born with me. She seemed a bit more loving and relaxed, even with Taka. Usually, Hanah very quickly takes offence, even at some legitimate parental remarks, but (and I want to think, it was my gentle guidance) she was able to talk to Taka and  joke with him! 
     And here we are: both girls are gone, and I am now girl-less! 

Monday, December 29, 2014


Its been too long, I know... 
I can't answer even to myself, why I didn't write my blog. I kept to my decision to adhere to a diet of no carbs and reasonable portions. I lost 10 pounds and kept it off for almost two weeks, which is a positive way of saying, I couldn't lose any more weight. Its OK, now that I'm on my way and experienced the results of dieting, I am confident, I can lose more. Its just that, I feel blocked, for some reason, either scared to embark on this new path of healthier living and not letting myself recognize it, or ... or I was wrong to quit the Food Addicts Anonymous. After all, I put a lot of hope into starting that program and asked my Higher Power to be with me and strengthen me. Do I feel the aftermath of going against my promise to attend the FA? 
I don't know. It seems, my conscience is uneasy, that's all.
Emotionally, the most significant part of my life is - receiving and answering my friend's letters. She and I met 49 years ago in line to enter our first grade classroom and stayed friends all through the ten years of school, as well as after that, right until I left Russia with my parents. 
It turns out, Tanya became a Russian Orthodox Christian. I grew up in a Jewish family and always was suspicious of the Russian priests. It seems, I misjudged them and their church.
Tanya sent me a book, written on that subject. Reading it I feel of loss. What I find out about those monks and Russian Christians, who endured the real evil of the Soviet persecution, makes me wish that I met some of them while I was still a young adult, living in that country. Who knows, how my life would've turned out to be!

This is Father Ioann Krestyankin, a prophet and a new martyr. 

I did not convert to the Russian Orthodoxy. I bow my head with respect for it's strengths and trials, but my heart, as they say in Russia, "doesn't lead toward it". 
Instead I lit Hanukkah candles, when the time for that Jewish holiday came, and prayed for God's light to enter our lives and the world. Am I a fool and a hypocrite to profess belief in Jesus Christ and celebrate Jewish holidays? I don't think so! Unless we can reconcile the past hurts and differences, we don't have a hope for a better future!

Hanah arrived with her friend-the-giant on the 22nd (poor guy, I keep picking on him!). Reina lived in Hanah's room, so she had to again make the couch in the living room her temporary home. She told us right away that, they had to return to Arcata before the New Year because of some theater business. 
By Christmas day, I thought of and prepared everything, except: I didn't know, how I'd do it. You see, I hurt my knee and, although I was ready to work hard, making a beautiful holiday for my family, on Christmas morning I realized, I couldn't do it by myself!
Did my loved ones jump. to my aid? 
No matter, how much I asked for help, they hid in their rooms and electronic devices and turned a deaf ear to my requests. On the above mentioned holiday morning I declared: "Christmas is canceled, as well as the presents! I feel all alone today, so let's not pretend that we are trying to be a family!"
Inside I was ready to go through with my decision. When I glanced into the kitchen, however, I saw that, Hanah picked up a broom and was sweeping! Sonny still held on to the cat in his arms and watched Hanah with reproach. A sharp word from her, and he jumped to the task that she gave him. She has about ten times more the amount of influence over him than I do!
I kept my own tongue in check, and we began to prepare the Christmas dinner and the table together. Hanah even cooked very delicious chicken!
  We toasted each other,

                                                                                          ate, laughed and oohed and aahed over the dishes prepared together.                                                                                              
Some days before the holiday Taka and Sonny put Christmas lights on a bush and grass in the garden.    

Although it is hard to see it on this photo, the effect was magical!
       Hanah declared that, that was the best Christmas she's spent with the family! For a few days we enjoyed ( mostly) being with each other, unless we didn't...

  We went out to eat Japanese ramen made with the king of the vegetables, Moreheya, 

   Hanah even cut Sonny's hair and beard.

What can be better than to see your children loving and spending time with each other?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


     How am I doing? I keep my diet (mostly), I lost some more weight, gained a pound or two back and lost them again. diet+gun.gif (250×315)
     I can't go to meetings, because there is no parking near the building, and I, on my painful leg, can't walk far. Roberta needs to be let out and brought in, before I can go and park the car anywhere. All this makes me very reluctant to call the sponsor. 
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     I didn't call her in a week. Christmas and the New Year's celebrations are coming, so I know, I will eat the stuff, at which I shouldn't even look! That's not a joke: I will do my best to abstain from binging, but I have to postpone serious participation in the program until January. Then I can either start again with the same sponsor or get another one. 
     My tests came back and the results are not very good. Blood sugar, cholesterol, uric acid levels are up, even though I don't eat almost anything. I went back to Kaiser today, stood again in the, familiar to you by now, l-o-o-o-o-n-g line at the pharmacy and paid $ 81 for all of my medications, including the antibiotic, which I was supposed to take yesterday. Perhaps, I will feel better soon!
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images (259×194)     A l-o-o-o-o-n-g, l-o-o-o-o-o-o-n-g line in the Kaiser Pharmacy today. Sick people have to, actually, stand in two lines in order to get their medication. Another way to do it, which would let the patients avoid getting sicker and more tired in lines, would be letting them take a number and call them to the counter one by one. Kaiser even does that in some of it's departments! If I can think of that, why can't they?
     A l-o-o-o-o-o-n-g, l-o-o-o-o-o-o-n-g line. Then: "I am sorry, we don't have this medication in stock. We can get it ... by tomorrow..." They don't have a totally ordinary antibiotic in stock! The doctor scolded me today for waiting too long to see her. That means, I need the meds as soon as possible, right? Now I will have to drive back to the blasted Kaiser tomorrow.
     Lately, I feel like someone beat me with a stick each day, I'm so tired and run down. I almost didn't make it to the appointment today. Fortunately, Roberta, showing uncharacteristic gumption, pushed me to get into the car (with her) and drive.
images (259×194)
     Our plan was to go to buy a honey baked ham for Christmas dinner after visiting the doctor. I spent about half an hour trying to see the non-existent numbers on the buildings and doing U-turns, until I got dizzy. At one of the stoplights Roberta rolled down her window and timidly called to a lady in a truck next to us.
     - "Excuse me, do you know, where the Honey Baked Ham store is?"
     I thought to myself: "Who in the world would know that?" - but the lady instantaneously responded: "Its right there, bla, bla, bla, at the next intersection!" I trusted Roberta to notice, where the lady was pointing, but by the time we arrived at the "next intersection", she already forgot everything. So, she rolled down her window and asked another lady in a truck, where the store was. That one also knew it and explained, how to get to it. Does everyone in that city buy honey baked ham?

    tumblr_m2vaof56O31ro2qi2.gif (500×214)

Monday, December 15, 2014


tumblr_meowktCYFK1rk4zcfo1_500.gif (500×400)
Mea Culpa!
     I didn't call my sponsor yet. I will go to a meeting tomorrow evening and try to talk to her there. In the meanwhile, I am controlling if not what I eat (its hard to cook so many different meals), then - the portions. So far I lost eight pounds.
     The rain is falling constantly. Our garden
is verdant-green, and some beautiful flowers start to grow. 
     Taka decided to buy a bush of holly instead of the Christmas tree this year. A tiny potted plant came, as it was declared on the
package,"directly from the growers",  but it turned out, "the growers" took some extra time and care to tie plastic berries on the, otherwise, un-berried bush! Taka is doing his best to make it look better by setting some lights to shine on it... At least we can plant it in the garden after Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2014


So, what's it gonna be? 
     In a conversation with Mr. P. I mentioned 
1. How I am fed up with life knocking me down as soon as I try to get up and ...                              
2. How I was mad at my sponsor for taking one of my absolutely innocent, very positive expressions and giving me a scolding for it. All I said to her was: "Oh, yeah! I did it." She took it as a statement of disrespect! She is thirty years my junior, but feels free to correct me. If it was a real offence, I might not have minded so much.
     Mr. P., OF COURSE, reminded me of my own propensity to interpret people's words and looks the way my weighty, guilty, touchy psyche chooses to understand it. So what if my sponsor, who, probably, didn't have the benefit of Mr. P.'s type of counselling, made a mistake? Whose future is at stake here? I should be more concerned about doing my part.
     What is more important, is my frustration with life. I expect a good outcome after every effort and get a shock every time there is a problem. 
     Mr. P. addressed my expectations. What is the most important thing in my life? Is it losing weight? It is very significant, yes, but the main reason, why I need to do it, is my desire to live a better life. I want to be of more assistance not only to my own family, but also to others. Because of the connection with and the love I have for God, I want to be able to spread a little of that love to the world. 
     So easily I forget the message of Paul in Heb 12:1-3:

     "1Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

     "Lay aside every encumbrance and the sin... run with endurance the race... for the joy set before Him, [He] endured the cross, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."
     My focus should not be the satisfaction of losing weight or people's acceptance of me or even how smooth my road to recovery is. My focus should be bringing glory to God by obeying the necessary rules and reaching victory. And the joy
     "Lay your treasures in Heaven, for where your treasure is there your heart will be also."


     My friends, here I am! I didn't abandon my blog. I was just not sure, what direction my life should take. So many decisions and beginnings, but - not enough strength, I'm afraid.
     So, I began the Food Addicts Anonymous program. Since Tuesday last week I lost 7 Lbs. I also have serious problems obeying the dictates of the program and my sponsor. Do I plan to sort myself out and be serious about the weight loss? I am serious about it, but I don't have the willpower.
     It doesn't help that, Reina decided to make an absolutely scrumptious Japanese dish last night!

Rice with a bit of vinegar and sugar mixed with boiled fresh sugar peas, egg, shrimp and seaweed. Yum!
I have to call my sponsor every morning at 6. At that time I'm supposed to tell her my menu for the day, written out by me the night before. This way I commit the food I'm about to eat to God and the sponsor. Even though I don't like quite a few things on the menu, I can deal with my rebellious taste buds and choke down plain, nonfat yogurt and gritty oatmeal. Boiled veges are a bigger bother. 
I never knew, I was so stubborn. I expect to be inspired to continue with the program, but the world doesn't work that way. Being sick and tired of people in the church telling me what to do and it turning out to be a hoax doesn't help. Who is that young girl, my sponsor, to determine, what's acceptable and what's not? 
Of course, in order for me to be inspired, I need to attend the meetings, read the literature and pray. Prayer is not a problem: I do it all the time. Taking huge amounts of time to go to 3 meetings a week seems unthinkable! Mary decided not to go there anymore, so its up to me and my painful knee to drive to San Leandro, get Roberta out of the car and into the building, and then go back to the car, find a parking place and walk, God knows how far, back to the building, where the meeting is taking place, only to repeat it in reverse at the end of the program. 
Is it impossible? Not really, but - definitely - hard to accomplish.  

Thursday, December 4, 2014

LEAVING - Repost

"Ooh-hooh, leaving!"
Stroke, stroke,

     The street was endless. It seemed like it's been hours since we boarded a Paratransit taxi in front of the hospital in San Francisco, where my mom, finally, heard her diagnosis. 
     All along we suspected the worst, although I didn't stop dragging mother from one doctor to another: "This last test was not 100% reliable. We want you to do something else!.." Couldn't they right from the beginning let her have their most revealing exam?! Instead, it took three months to hear the words.
     A small group of would be passengers gathered at the curb . When the taxi arrived, it was a sedan, and all four of us had to fit in. Wizened, mean looking old lady pushed her way into a wide front passenger seat. A tall lady in an African dress, my mother and I stuffed ourselves in the back. Cancer and the chemotherapy did not melt away most of mom's weight yet. She and I were of similar generous proportions. The black lady was not skinny either and very tall. Even though I let her sit at the door and took the uncomfortable middle for myself, she kept squirming in pain and rhythmically stroking her knee. Mother, although in
Mom and little Hanah
shock, was throwing resentful looks at the old lady and the one on my left, and I knew, soon some 
very politically-incorrect pronouncements, reinforced by thick Russian accent, will make everyone even more uncomfortable!
     The driver was a huge Latino man. He dwarfed his seat and the taxi. All we could see of him was the back of his head and neck with dark-pink rolls of fat, covered in short stubble. 
     Paratransit cost almost nothing, but it was a shared ride, and driver had to drop everyone off at different locations. We fought through the midday traffic jam to get on the Bay Bridge, crawled amid other cars, desperate to get out of the City and, almost as soon as we were across the Bay, exited the freeway. 
     That's when the song came on the radio. All of us were uncomfortable. The black lady kept trying to move away from my sweaty side, but there was nowhere to go. Stroke-stroke: her fingers knew no rest, touching stubborn aching knee in a constant, pleading motion. My own legs were cramping from being twisted on the bump of the cars' floor.
     "Mmmm, L.A. proved to be too much..." - Gladys Knight's voice was a balm to my nerves. I never paid much attention to that song before, but now it was the only escape from my thoughts and our excruciating ride. 
     A long boulevard stretched before us.  Speed bumps (bump-bump) crossed it every few yards, making the journey even more unbearable. But soon the music, the emotion and the rhythm of the song had us all in their grasp
     I saw my mom glancing at me in surprise and realized, I was saying the words out loud. I could see the mean, old lady's face in the side mirror. She sat with her eyes closed and soundlessly mouthed the words too. The black lady was silent, but fingers on her knee accepted the new tempo, and her face relaxed. 
     "Ooh-hooh..." -  the pink folds on drivers neck quivered and sang too! It was ridiculous, really, to hear this big man's tiny, soft tenor coming from behind all this bulk. It was also oddly comforting.
     The doctor's voice was still fresh in my head: "She has about a year and a half to live with chemotherapy and - about nine months - without it." Before this, I kept telling my mother: people could live with cancer for years. I guess, it was not to be so! All of us were in pain. 
     I wished myself numb, but the song had a different idea. It replaced my heartache with a beautiful longing:
      "Leaving!.." "I'll be on that train (we know, you will)!" 
     Gladys and the Pips knew what they were doing! Other people's pain was easier to digest, and the promise of love in the song soothed our hearts. 
     "Ooh-hooh, aah-aah!.. I'd rather be in his world, than live without him in mine!" - if only we could keep on driving through that long, wide highway! If only the song could carry us for always! We did not feel resentment for the mean, old lady anymore. Mom, the black lady and I meshed, dampened in our common sweat and wrinkled together, as we swayed in the same motion.
     Stroke-stroke, bump-bump...
     Driver tenderly helped the old lady to her door, and she forever disappeared  behind the raging rose bushes. I can't recall, if the black lady or we were next to be dropped off. I remember, how she smiled at us broadly, as we parted our ways.

  Copyright protected.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


images (220×229)     The first day on the program is almost over. I called Ileana at 6 am and got some instructions from her. Since I didn't have anything, what was recommended for my food, I decided to use this day to prepare. It sounds fishy, I know, but I didn't even have the scales to measure food. I took Sonny to BART and then went shopping. The first stop was Target, to buy the scales. Roberta, who usually is very undemanding and understanding, today seemed to spend inordinate amount of time choosing her jewelry before we could leave home and then stopping to check out every piece of merchandise at Target. I told her, she'd get tired if she went there with me, but I could see, my words fell on deaf ears.     images (259×194) We found the scales easily, but she decided to go look for some buttons. We crossed most of the gigantic store before a sales clerk told us that, they don't sell buttons!

jpeg (255×198)     I now needed to go grocery shopping to get my non-fat plain yogurt, veges and fruit, but Roberta would not give up her desire for buttons. I, finally, found a store for them; we located the buttons she liked, stood in a dismal line to the only checkout clerk in the store, then she got hungry. By the time I bought food, I already forgot about buying groceries. In fact, I just remembered about it! I also left the scales in the car's trunk. As I tried to measure my accomplishments for today, I realized that, I didn't do anything, my sponsor suggested. What a start!
   tumblr_mdc5j3oe2i1riiw1do1_250.gif (250×180)  I was mentally scolding myself and rooting through some papers on my desk, when I found a phone list from the Food Addicts Anonymous. Hey, I could still call someone! The first three numbers I dialed didn't bring any results. The fourth one rang and rang. A lady answered it and was totally psyched that I called. She made me feel at ease, told me to look to God for support, and call, when I needed an advice or a firm smack on the rump.
     Yay! I did something: I called!