Coming Up for Air


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I owe all of you a big apology.

I never wanted to disappear and I certainly never intended to. I wish I had a decent excuse for my disappearance but, I just don’t. I have a mediocre excuse, though, which I’ll get to in a minute. There have been many times over the last nine months where I have opened this blog with the full intention of writing but the words didn’t flow. At one point I even thought about abandoning this blog like a house that’s in too deep of debt and starting fresh. That didn’t flow either.

Why was I gone for so long? The real reason is that I got involved romantically with someone and as it became more and more serious, it also became more and more secretive. No one knew what we were doing and we thought that was for the best. I was a fully aware, consensual, and willing participant in this elicit affair. No, he’s not married. There were many outside factors and influences that made it complicated; but, I loved him and was ready to be as patient as need be to make it work.

Then, for reasons I cant get into here, the truth was exposed. Not only the truth about us to those that mattered the most, but the truth about how he was feeling about our situation. Shockingly – and sadly – it wasn’t the world finding out the truth that ended it; it was the truth about his feelings that did us in. It’s a cliche, tragic tale with no surprise ending.

You see, during this time the only thing I could think of to write about and frankly wanted to write about was him and this blinding affair I had fallen into, and I couldn’t. For fear that someone, anyone, would read about us and find out the truth I couldn’t write about it. No amount of pseudonyms or euphemisms felt opaque enough to get it out and protect our secret at the same time.

It was stupid, I know. I’m sorry. The end.

In other news, the last nine months were full of other exciting things as well:

I turned 30. This past summer was my 30th birthday and though I was nervous about relinquishing my 20’s to the pages of history, 30 has been pretty great so far. I’ve found a new confidence to just speak without too much concern for who might think what about me. I’m more comfortable in my own skin than ever – even my thick legs and big ass don’t seem to bother me the way they used to. Truly, I can’t recommend being 30 enough!

Operation Protective Edge happened. If you were in any way connected to the news this past summer, you might have heard that Israel and Gaza were engaged in another, for lack of a better term, war. It was an intense summer and I won’t lie: I spent most of it (prior to my birthday at the end) getting high and sitting on my sofa, watching the news and waiting for the next air raid siren to go off. It was scary, but mostly it was sad. So many young and innocent people on both sides lost their lives; every time a new name and picture of a young soldier would appear in the news, I would sob, my heart breaking for their mothers, fathers, siblings, and friends. And for what? Nothing. Nothing gained. Nothing won. Nothing changed. There are still tunnels burrowing into Israel (which, don’t get me started, is some scary shit). They still live under the extreme restrictions imposed on them by Israel (for our protection). No peace agreement was reached. Not even a real ceasefire was declared. It’s all too awful and too heartbreaking to recount every detail here, months later, but the war in 2012 (Operation Pillar of Defense) was nothing in comparison to this past summer. Experiencing air raid sirens multiple times a day, at any time of day or night does something to you mentally.

I got a dog! 

Jessie and her very waggy tail

Jessi and her very waggy tail

I had been thinking about it for years and I always had an excuse not to, but a week before I turned 30, I decided now was the time. Her name is Jessi and she’s amazing. Yes, she’s a trouble maker too and the first couple months were stressful, trying to find a rhythm and forge a relationship with her, but she is the sweetest thing and has done so much for me already. I joke that she chose me more than I chose her at the shelter, but I think we equally needed each other. And she’s the inspiration for a children’s book idea that I’m mulling around in my head! More on that later.

My sister, Anne, came to visit. She came in the middle of the war. It was great!

My sister, Melissa, came to visit. She came in the middle of the school year. It was less great. At least she had a good time.

My sister, Robin, decided she wants a relationship with me. Two weeks of high emotions and emails and anxiety, all culminated in…nothing. I wish I could say I was surprised, but no. It was just her trying to stir up drama between my mom and I and when she saw it wasn’t working, she gave up her plan and went back to leaving me alone and forgetting I exist.

I went to NYC for Christmas. I was there for seven days.  Of those seven days I had a really great three days. Family is hard, man. Especially when you only see them one week out of the year. It really puts the pressure on.

And now? I’m back. I can’t promise I won’t disappear again, because I can’t see the future all the time, but I do promise that for now I’ll make an active effort to write again like I used to. I have missed it. And I have missed you.

A big thank you to Jade for a comment she left me recently, which really gave me the confidence to reopen Little Girl/Strange World. ❤


Take Another Piece of My Heart


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I just got a phone call from New Jersey. Thomas and his wife are going to have a baby.

Yes, Thomas and I broke up in 2008. Yes, I’ve dated many men since then and even loved one or two along the way. Yes, I was at Thomas and Melanie’s wedding in 2011 and I put on a happy supportive face for them. Deep down inside, though, every time I see him or hear about something like this, I can’t help but feel like he’s breaking my heart all over again.

In my heart, I’m fairly certain that Thomas was the one. And I screwed things up.

I loved Thomas. Like loved him with all of heart and soul. He was my first real love. I saw the man he was destined to become when he was nothing and had no confidence in himself and I loved him despite his flaws and hang ups. I saw what a good man he was inside and how he would be the best husband and the best father someday. I really thought we were going to get married. We were young, we dated for 3 years, we lived together for half that time. We supported each other, we laughed together, we had wonderfully meaningful conversations all the time. We saw each other through the hardest times and the best times.

I was right about it all, except we did not get married. In fact, Melanie is the girl he cheated on me with that broke us up. I guess that relationship was meant to be.

All of my friends thought I could do better than him. Apparently they were wrong, because i haven’t.

I know that I have an amazing life now, and I would not trade it for anything. But when I think about Thomas and Melanie having the life that I envisioned for the two of us all those years ago, it still stings.

I try to be happy for him and I think I do a good job of masking my hurt when we talk, all while my insides are screaming at me.

When will it stop hurting? When will I be able to confidently look back and say “he was not right for me?” When will I believe that everything worked out for the best?

Maid of Honor Speech


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Here is my speech from Laura’s wedding yesterday… Enjoy!

Hi everyone. My name is Joan and I’m Laura’s best friend. Today we’re here to celebrate the tremendous and obvious love that Laura and Aaron have found in each other, but I’m sure that many of you had the same reaction I did when I first heard that they were even dating…it didn’t make sense. I didn’t get it. Aaron was the quiet nice hot guy in our friends’ band and Laura was my crazy best friend who used to have blue hair. Not that there’s anything wrong with blue hair.

Anyway, needless to say, I get it now. It’s impossible not to get it when you spend more than 15 seconds in their company. The love they share radiates off of them and fills the room.

Actually, they don’t know this, but I knew that they were going to be married before they did. Before they started dating, Laura was over at my place in New Jersey and we were talking about the three things she wanted most in life at that point: a baby elephant, a top hat, and a flame thrower. Realizing that two out of the three were a pipe dream, this conversation ended with Laura posting on Facebook that she will marry the man who buys her a top hat.

A year later, the Facebook post was long forgotten about when Laura and Aaron started dating. A year after that, Aaron bought Lauren a silk vintage top hat for Christmas, obviously knowing her very well. She wasn’t shy about wanting a top hat. Marriage wasn’t part of the conversation at this point but when I heard about the top hat and saw the pictures, I knew that Lauren’s dramatic request for a top hat on Facebook had just instantly turned into a prediction for her future. The following Christmas a year later, Aaron proposed and the rest is history.

Today I wish you both nothing but the best and a happily ever after filled with love and joy. Aaron, you are part of the family now. That means my family too..and I love you. Thank you for making my best friend so happy and taking such good care of her. And Laura, I love you so much. You are my sister and I am so happy for you and honored to be part of this, the first day of the rest of your lives. Lechayim!

Old Friends, New Age


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There’s a song in one of the muppet movies that goes “saying goodbye, why is it sad? Makes us remember the good times we’ve had.” And you know what? It’s so true.

This weekend I saw a group of my very best friends in the world, most of whom I haven’t seen since July 2011 when I moved. I’ll admit, I was nervous about seeing them and how well we would be able to just pick up and move on…with all of them, it was seamless. Flawless. Like no time had passed even though we never keep in touch.


These are people I’ve known since high school. We formed a group in 2002 and we’ve been stretched in all directions since then but apparently the bonds of friendship run strong in us and time and distance only make us stronger.

It was so wonderful to see them, and so sad to say goodbye 18 short hours later. I cried harder and harder with everyone I had to say goodbye to and now I find myself blogging from the gate at JFK airport, excited to go home as always, but welling up thinking about the next time I’ll see them all. It won’t be for quite awhile.

It was so interesting…there really is nothing like old friends who really know you. We laughed, we joked, we hugged, we cuddled, we talked seriously. Ha col. I forget that my friends at home are relatively new friendships. My longest friend in Israel is Ben and he and I are only going on a little over two years. A drop in the bucket in comparison to people like Alison or Thomas who I have known for over 10 years now. Truly remarkable for someone like me that thought I would never have friends longer than three years because we were always moving when I was a child.

Laura’s wedding was beautiful and magical and simple. Perfect. She looked stunning and by the morning, he stress of Friday had vanished. It was an occasion full of love and joy, exactly the way it was meant to be. And my speech was very well received. Maybe I’ll post it here too. 🙂

My Laura is married… My Alison is buying a house with her boyfriend of 9 years… We’re all grown up.

I can’t wait to be home again. Every time is come to America I cry my eyes out, especially when it’s time to say goodbye to people. This does not indicate a desire to stay with them full time though. Just that I wish my friends could be a bigger part of my amazing life in Tel Aviv (or any part of it at all). I know that you can’t have everything and that I wouldn’t trade my life for anything in the world. But seeing them all made me remember just how much I miss them when are apart. They are part of me. Always will be.

I know I’ll see them again, though I don’t know when. But I know when I do, it will be amazing. Because, together, we are amazing.

The Big Day


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I’m currently laying in bed in Laura’s honeymoon suite. It’s 6:09am in upstate NY, I’ve been up since 4:30am, I’m jet lagged, and I’ve been in America less than 48 hours.

It feels like I’ve been away from home for weeks.

I actually left Israel to begin this journey at 2:30am last Thursday morning…2 days ago. Ages ago.

So far this trip has been ok. I’ve done my maid of honor duties the best I can, putting out fires between Laura and her soon to be mother-in-law, making sure she eats, getting her hotel room changed because the first one had an adjoining room with small children in it…etc. But I’m feeling very guilty for not having been here for the other preparations.

She’s had a dress fiasco: starting with the epic quest to find a dress and then settling on one that she “didn’t hate,” culminating in the tailor taking it in too much so now she can’t breath in it. A 2nd “party dress” and new shoes later, it’s ok-ish, but certainly not ideal.

She’s had issues with her mother-in-law-to-be trying to take too much control of the wedding and then being mad that she’s doing so much. But I learned yesterday that this woman is very bitchy and going through menopause so, it makes a bit more sense. But still, things almost got really ugly yesterday. (That is, if you don’t count Laura and her fiancé being in individual screaming matches with her throughout the day that left all three if them in tears and the rest of us awkwardly trying to not get involved in the other room)

This same woman threw a bridal shower for her in upstate NY (even though Laura lives in NYC) and then told her she could only invite 3 of her girlfriends because the shower “was really to introduce her to grandma’s friends from church.”

This woman is delusional.

She hasn’t had a bachelorette party. I planned on doing bachelorette-things with her yesterday but shit hit the fan so early in the morning yesterday that the day was a wash with last minute preparations and fighting.

But she and her fiancé seem really happy. I’m excited for them.

I’m also excited/nervous to see all these people whom I haven’t seen in almost 3 years. It will be quite a reunion…maybe. Or if it’s anything like my friend Anthony’s reaction to seeing me after 3 years away, “oh hey!” It will be underwhelming. We’ll see.

I’m also really excited about finally having my own hotel room tonight. The night two nights Laura and I have been hotel-hopping together which has been fun, but I’m ready to shower and sleep naked.

And finally, Sunday afternoon, I’ll be headed home again, to arrive on Monday afternoon. Going home is always the best part.

If other news, back at home in the holyland, I moved into a new slightly bigger apartment a few weeks ago! That’s mostly why I’ve been too preoccupied to write…moving and unpacking and shopping and cleaning etc has kept me really busy. But my apartment is much more comfortable now and people can actually come over and stay comfortably! I upgraded from the shoe box to a nice size hat box, and I’m really loving it. It has a balcony and everything!

6:30am. Laura’s alarm is going to go off in an hour or so. I’m starving. Time to go forage.

Thanks for sticking with me, even in periods of quiet, to those of you who do! ❤️❤️❤️