People are priority one.

So to say that I followed my planner 100% would be a lie. But the exception to the rule will always be people. Instead of writing last night I was able to see old friends which is a win!!! 

I worked Saturday during the day but I do feel like I’ve accomplished way more than normal. Since Friday..(and working mostly Saturday)

I’ve seen old friends, went out to eat, test drove a car, went to synagogue,hung my mezuzah, tried a new recipe ,cooked dinner for a friend, worked on my novel, cleaned my house and relaxed.

I didn’t do some of the things I wrote but it is Sunday night and I am not wondering where the weekend went. 

The true test will be during the workweek but so far I am liking it.

Priority planning…

Nearly everyday I go to work someone says “I’m tired.” To which anyone within earshot agrees that they are also tired. But yet we are all there…

But when I get home first thing I usually do is put on pants that either meant for yoga or sleeping. (Take the hint ladies) Because I’m tired, too tired to actually do the things I love. Read that sentence again if it didn’t sink in. Too tired for things I am passionate about.  What????

Every week I accomplish what is needed of me, I go to work, I pay my bills, feed the dog, shower (you’re welcome.) But where is this space for all the unneeded thing, fill in the blank to the sentence

If I had the time I would _____________________

Now put the exact same answer in this sentence.

I don’t __________________ because its not a priority.

Ouch, right?

Maybe you accomplish everything you both need and want to, kuddos to you, you can stop reading this now and go bask in your perfectness. But for the rest of us what can we do.

Not too long ago I bought a daily planner, but it also has really neat stuff in it like daily wins, what you are grateful for, lessons learned. I’ll put the link at the very bottom, but any daily planner would work for this challenge.

Fill one week out with not only the things you need to do but the things you’d like to do, things that make you happy, things that somehow became weekend only treats. And here is the hard part STICK TO IT for ONE week. I promise you will still be tired after work or dealing with kids, but if after one week if you aren’t a happier more fulfilled person then feel free to write me hate mail.

I myself am starting this challenge today. And my plans are little things that just don’t get done.

Examples include: taking the dog to the dog park, going to the library, finishing the book I started reading but never finished, buying a hammer.., actually working on my novels that are completely written in my head but never get typed out.

I will update this blog, although not sure how many people still read it and let you know how it goes.

 

 

 

link as promised

SELF Journal

 

 

Can I sue Indiana University?

As of late I have had quite a few legal matters on my mind. And on NPR today I listened to a piece about the pending lawsuit against Trump University. I ask that you keep an open mind while reading this. This is not an endorsement or an attempt to sway votes but a bit of honesty. Nor is it a factor in the way I will vote this coming fall, but it did get me thinking.
I did not go to Trump University, nor did anyone I personally know. No, I went to Indiana University, and my friends have attended private universities. Why did we do this? Because like Trump University, we were sold a dream. Maybe the brochures didn’t boast that we would make millions, but it was presented as the ONLY path to a better future than that of the generations before us. It would all be worth it in the end, so we took out student loans and obtained second jobs, all in hopes that it would lead us to where we wanted to be. I can tell you this, seven years out of college, some of the smartest women I know are baristas, Gap manager or underpaid secretaries. Both state and private universities took our money with a tacit promise that we would make it up. Isn’t this what Trump University promised? Did they not note alumni who were CEOs and corporate bigwigs, to show that we too could be just like them?
In a news report it was stated that one person paid nearly $36,000.00 to attend Trump University. I do not deny that this is quite a sum of money, but ask any 25-35 year old person you know, how much do they have in student debt? Today the average loan debt is $26k. I know people who carry upwards of $100K in student debt. And loans are handed out to 18 year olds like candy. When else can you borrow that sum of money with no credit history and no proof of income?
Is my diploma worth more because it carries the name of Indiana University? Should I demand a refund because I am no where close to working in the field I studied for (political science)? If I went on national television stating that Indiana University was a fraud because they took my money and didn’t deliver the “better life” they promised, would anyone bother to take me seriously? No, the blame would be not placed on Indiana University but on me.
The higher education system is a racket, something I learned sadly too late. Sports coaches at state schools are making over a million dollars annually. Where did that money come from? From someone like me who just wanted a good job. So maybe Trump profited off of his University, but lets all stop pretending that state schools and private schools alike aren’t turning profit. The way I see it, if you were able to use your degree you are one of the lucky ones, but if you are like everyone else you are just happy to have a job that covers the student loan payment. I don’t know what ratio of success Trump University had amongst its graduates but I can’t imagine it faired much better than my own graduating class.

Crazy sh*t Americans say about Israel / Gaza conflict

Disclaimer: I live in a somewhat rural area in the Midwest so perhaps this (hopefully) just crazy sh*t people around me say…..

1. Why can’t you all be friends? gee we never thought about that but I will totally submit your idea

2. I don’t understand why Palestinians don’t go to bomb shelters because Hamas spent all it’s money building tunnels to Israel, I am sure they would go if they could!

3. Why doesn’t Israel just flood the tunnels? seriously, no. I cannot even respond to this

4. Is this about the holocaust? nope this is about what is happening now

5. What is Israel’s long term plan? ok maybe this isn’t a dumb question but why exactly do you think i would know?

6. I totally wouldn’t fly there no I know you had to cancel the vacation plans you never had, may I suggest the Russian / Ukrainian border instead?

7. I wonder which side i would be on? excuse me, what?

8. The bible says… this is how I start every sentence to get out of jury duty

9.Hamas was elected. true but not all elections are fair, ahem Chicago, nor do all democratic elections lead to democracies

10. Obama is a Muslim really? Must we bring this up

11. What would you do if you still lived there? what everyone else does!! Run to shelters when sirens go off, try to work and pray for peace

Unapologetically pro-Israel

Many people know I once lived in Israel and some how this makes me the resident expert here in Indiana. Every couple of year when violence sadly breaks the uneasy peace between Israel and it neighbors people come to ask me my thoughts. Perhaps it is cause they know I feel as of I have a personal stake in the outcome, as a Jew Israel is of the utmost importance to me. Maybe they ask me so they can spar with someone. Or maybe they ask me because I am better educated on the subject than most Americans (but not all.) Yet despite all this people seem surprised that I am so fiercely pro-Israel. I maintain Israel has the right of self defense to this I am asked about the Palestinians. And here is where the problem lies.

In the polarizing world in which we live it seems one can either pro-Israel or pro-Palestinian. I am sad for the families who are losing children to this battle. I worry that every time a child dies, the family will say “why bother with peace, the future is already dead.” The life of a child is no more or less depending on which side of a border they live. And mistakes have been made by both sides.

Yet with mistakes made and realities presented in that there are sometimes no good options I remain unapologetically pro-Israel. You may consider this wrong and some day I may feel differently but for now if you want to ask about the current conflict, this is a reminder of who you are speaking with

A novel idea.. With doubts

I have loved this blog, it was my voice while I was in Israel, partly because I was too cheap to buy a cellphone
while there. But now here in Indiana, where is my voice? This has been the question and not simply in the sense ok now what do I write about? Indiana is not that interesting, even if you have never been here before, clearly working for the tourism board is not in my future. Yet, I miss writing this blog, or maybe I merely miss the adventures this blog was about , all the incredible newness. So if anyone working from National Geographic is reading this, give me something new to write about!

Yet, I have not given up on my writing. Instead I am working on my first novel. It is coming along well but it turning out to be a lot more work than I thought. And I have hit a patch where I am struggling greatly, for a couple of reasons. I love people, and my characters are great but the world around them is in a bit of a fog. I can see it in my head therefore have trouble remembering that someone reading it cannot see it. The other perhaps much larger issue is what is the point? Yesterday this blog had ONE reader. One person stumbled upon this blog. Now the goal is to self publish my book, therefore it is not going to be free. I have serious doubts that I am working super hard on a novel that no one will read let alone buy. I am sure that these aren’t new fears for anyone who writes. But the question is how do you overcome them? DO you create for the sake of creating? Because while fame and fortune would be nice, I feel like it is more important to me simply to be heard, my work to be read and shared. And I am honestly afraid that is not going to happen.

I once said that only the truly fortunate people in this life get to make a living by doing what they love. And right now I am not feeling like one of the fortunate. So I question to myself and to perhaps the one person reading this today, is it better to do what you love if nothing ever comes of it or is that merely a form of self torture?

The “right” chance

I often struggle as anyone who writes must, in that it often goes unnoticed, unread. So when the moment comes and someone wants to use it or publish it the excitement is wonderful. But sometimes I think the fog of the excitement clouds my better judgment.

I have recently given away a wonderful story to be used as promotional material for a MAJOR car company. No royalties or even recognition. Quite honestly I didn’t even ask.

So this week when the Huffington post asked to publish something I wrote as part of their ongoing blog series, I was super flattered even if my dad says they are too liberal. But stepping back for a moment and talking to my ever prudent big sister, she pointed out while there was no gain to be had from the story it could also be to my detriment. How and why all this is won’t make sense and I feel no need to explain more. But she was right, not every chance that comes along is worth taking.

I often feel that if I don’t take this chance, another one won’t be by soon. Opportunity in life isn’t like a cross town bus, it wont be by every five minutes. But I was so eager for THAT bus, I was willing to step in front of it in order to not miss it.

I suppose it is in a way heartbreaking that I sent off an email saying they couldn’t run it or they would at least have to do so without my name, they never wrote back. I guess this was one chance that I wasn’t supposed to take. So heres hoping another one will be along soon.

The problem isn’t an abudance of guns, but a lack of hope.

On any given day there is a news report on the “gun violence” in America. Quite frankly it sounds like a miracle that any of us make it through the night. But while I support the right to bear arms, I do think that guns are in fact too easy to come by, but I don’t think that is the problem. I don’t think the problem is an abundance of guns, but a lack of hope. Not in a greeting card, chin up kiddo sort of way. But for what can arguably be the first time in our nation’s history, the younger generation (those under 30) no longer believe the future is going to be better than the past. The American dream is all but unattainable, and the smartest hardest working among us are lucky to find jobs beneath us. Our student loans have crippled us, and all this buying into the American dream has lead us down a path we cannot find our way off of. And a man with nothing to lose, is a dangerous one.

I make no excuses for those who use violence to act out their frustration, but ask yourself why all these “mass shooters” are young people? They often seem to have no target or at best a misguided one. It is like punching at air. Eventually you are going to want to hit something or someone. And the tools to hit back at the world were too easy to come by. Especially for those who are mentally unstable. It is never fair or right that people living their lives to best of their ability are often “in the wrong place, at the wrong time.”

And I don’t know what or even if there is a solution to this. At this point guns are so abundant, there is no way to really keep someone from getting one. And I don’t have a plan to fix the economy, to create jobs or to pay off student loans. I look back in time and know that we aren’t the first generation to face great adversity, nor will we be the last. You can feel very free to disagree with me, guns are a highly flammable topic. And it is the easiest thing to point at and say there is the problem. Yet, without having the American Dream to aim for all we are left with is a nightmare.

The karma circle

I am often told I have bad luck, which sets me off on a rant on why this isnt true and that if you believe this then you clearly have no idea the things that truly matter in this life, but that isa different rant for a different day. Today was about karma, no litterally today.

Heres the story, at least the shortened version. I won a writing contest through work that came with a prize, not a win the loterry and rent out Disneyland type of prize, but a monetery prize. And when I won it the money came directly to me, despite the fact I work with several people. I found the contest, entered the contest, wrote the story…ect. But in receiving the prize, that unlce sam took 42% of, I felt that horrible nagging feeling. And in that I knew I had to give something, anything, to one of the service advisors I work with. The money came out of my own pocket, and no one told me or made me do it.Nor did he ask (like those who shall remian nameless) I just knew it was right. So I did i, and was promtly accused of being insane, a fool or having an alterrior motive…So much for doing the right thing?! But it was the right thing despite my detractors. You’d thought the money had come from their pocket.

Do the right thing and leave the rest up to karma or fate. And I know
we try to be good people and a lot of times life doesn’t reflect that for us. We think karma/fate moves in a steady straight line, do good thing, good thing happens in return. Do bad, bad thing follows directly after. But this isn’t how it works. It is more like a circle, we do something good and then…something terrible happens! WTF life? Forgetting that karma or whatever you call it isn’t a linear thing.

Yet, today it was!!! I gave awaya portion of the prize money today, and then my dad shows up at work with a cordless apple keyboard for me which I am typing on right now, A subtle reminder that sometimes karma works but sometimes karma needs a hand. My dad saw me do something nice and he did something nice for me in return. So what if I correlate the two, sometimes you need to believe the world is a good place.
with that I will say goodnight from my brand new keyboards and head that will sleep well tonight knowing that doing the right thing, the classy thing never goes out of style.

The un-aliyah??

The un-aliyah??

So I am sure there is an actual name for it, people who make aliyah only to choose a couple of years later to return to their home country. The retention rates for those coming from western countries is awful. This is not to say that is cannot be done but rather it must be a whole lot harder than anyone lets on. I have often thought about it but I feel like I am watching a plague take place, where people just fall one by one.

When I did the kibbutz program, there were people from several countries, I think 14 in fact. But really it could be split into two groups, those from “Western” countries, that being the Americas, Western Europe, South Africa and the non-western countries, mostly former Soviet Union states, Poland, Russia , Belarus. And even on the kibbutz program it was clear, those from Western countries had a super hard time. I even had a harder time then this blog let on to. The kibbutz is a about the greater good, and that is not something many of us, Americans especially, understand or agree with. By the end of the program there was less than a fourth of the westerners who started. Those who did stay had made aliyah.

Yet, it is nearly three years later, and I see facebook postings and twitter feeds declaring they are going “home.” This is astounding to me, as I also considered those who made aliyah to be stronger or braver or simply to have a better reason to do it. It never occurred to me that it would be any other way. And here is the kicker, the non-westerners seem to be doing just fine. Settled in, learned the language and living life in Israel. The westerners are returning home. There are of course one or two exceptions but I would say 75%-85% didn’t make it. It is wrong to label it a failure, they clearly did better than I even dared to try. So what is the problem??

I am reading “My Promised Land” by Ari Shavit, and while I won’t give my review of this book right now, it is very clear that Israel was made out of necessity. A safe haven, and let be honest Westerners as a whole don’t need that. Not only are we safe but we are pretty darn comfortable. Those who were on the kibbutz with me who were from former Soviet Union states, were part of the last generation to be born under communism and old enough to remember it. A from what I read it wasn’t safe or comfortable. And from everything I have seen and heard aliyah is hard, maybe too hard for those used to comfort.

I don’t really know what to make of all this, it saddens me that so many are returning to their home countries. I don’t know how much time it takes to make Israel “home.” Maybe we aren’t all cut out for it but it makes you wonder what does this mean for the future, both Israel’s and that of Jews in the West…