Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Pre-Thanksgiving Snapshots


Once in a while you'll see a sign on a tree, Have you seen Fluffy

Somebody in my neighborhood keeps losing his iguana and posts pictures in the summer. I always wonder, if I found him, what would I do?

But this isn't about that.

Therapists hear many pet stories. People are crazy about their animals, marvel at their better qualities, worry when they are ill, and grieve their loss. When a favorite pet moves onto the next world, it is as if a person in the family has died.

Because pets are family. They live with us, we feed them; they reciprocate with unconditional love. It is a fair deal.

My brother and I have the same memory. You tell me how this happens. He tells the story exactly the same way:
One chilly autumn morning, the dog scratched at the back door to go out to the yard. About to leave for school, I saw an accident on the kitchen floor, wiped it up quickly, then let him out. He'd been sick for months, but he was a very old dog.
My father walked in, saw me watching the dog from the window.
He looked at me, I looked at him. "We should. . ." 
We both said it at the same time. . . put an end to this. Then we carried the dog into the car and took him downtown to the Anti-cruelty Society.
Maybe both of us were there, my brother and I. Or maybe one of us told the story and the other snagged it. But that we each own it tells me we both wanted to be there.

You want to have every last minute with your pet, especially if it is a dog. Because no one else will wag a their tail at you, not like a dog, and you can't buy that loving gaze, the nonjudgemental innocence. (Well you can if you buy a dog).  We count on our dogs, we count on all of our pets, for venting, to comfort and hear our woes, listen, without interrupting.
Still a puppy, thankfully
We could learn from them.


Like a good pet, there are people who are always there, assuming we have cultivated friendship, not an easy thing. When the family is far away, or the thought of being with family has lost its glitter, the alternative is Friendsgiving.

If you get an invitation for one of these dinner parties, just go. The food will be amazing, everyone can cook these days, and there will likely be a break in the conversation for guests to toast the hosts and one another. Maybe you'll go around the table. The praise and thanks will be about the importance of being there for one another, providing consistency, support, help when it is most needed. Some will be singled out as endless givers in relationships.

On other days our egos are in the way. We are too busy wondering why nobody has done anything for us lately. So it is good to get outside of that, thank our friends for what they do.

The whole business, however, can get stressful, especially for the hosts. The problem is the association between hosting and physiological arousal, and two little discussed DSM 5 disorders, specifiers of generalized anxiety disorder, related to performance and anticipatory anxiety.

(1) There Will Not Be Enough Food Disorder,  and
(2) The Food Will Either Burn or Be Undercooked Disorder.

Luckily, other bloggers have addressed this problem and many other problems, so I defer to Emily Fleischaker, the food editor on BuzzFeed (the post is clean, nary a 4-letter word):
17 Rules of Friendsgiving
The best, for sure, is number 17, Don't Tell Mom if You Like It Better than Regular Thanksgiving.


Spoiler: She zaps the turkey because her mother worries it might be undercooked.

Everyone is afraid to tell everyone else that they watch SUPERGIRL. But they do. Test this theory this Thanksgiving, or Friendsgiving, whatever. Nobody will mention SUPERGIRL outright when the conversation turns to TV talk. But when you bring it up, just wait and see. You are not alone.

Maybe we don't want to appear too geeky. Liking a show that is campy, soppy relationship-wise, female-centric, has special effects and a drag down, knock 'em dead, but don't necessarily kill the bad guy scene in every show, plus throw-back costumes out of a comic book, maybe isn't cool. Who reads comic books?


Geeks know that fantasizing, and watching or playing fantasy games, can be a healthy coping strategy. (Until it isn't).

But assuming you're not the addictive type, if you can't wait for the new  Star Wars movie, catch an episode of SUPERGIRL on CBS. The first minute of each show will fill you in on the backstory.
DC comics Supergirl
As if you didn't already know it.


The news, unfortunately, is hardly ever good and it is often sad. Therapists warn against too much of it, too many headlines.

We didn't need Paris to know that terrorism is bad news, and that it is closer than we think, a real international threat.

Years ago, after one of the college massacres here in the US, some of us blogged about the way that Israelis handle security. They have had more than their share of suicide bombings on busses, in malls, pizza shops downtown. For years no one has walked into a school, an auditorium, stadium, shopping center, even coffee shop in Israel without first having their bags checked and bodies scanned with a wand.  If you live there you don't complain about these measures, not at the airport, not anywhere else. Soldiers are usually posted everywhere, and they are awake and armed with rifles, anywhere people might congregate.

Do we need that? Yes, we do.

I think that it will be hard to be happy this Thanksgiving.  I think we will all be wondering when and where the next ISIL attack will be, how many will be killed. Will we know a victim? The moment will pass, of course, the discussion will be over, and we'll get back to dinner and talking about shopping, movies, and of course, TV.

In Israel the war on terror is becoming more personal, more challenging. The Palestinians, despite grabbing attention for not having a country, live there, in Israel proper, not just in Gaza. And now anyone can be a terrorist, no professional training or expensive equipment is necessary. All you need is a car and a knife. Not even a car. Just a knife. Everyone has knives, our most primitive tools.

Ezra Schwartz, stabbed by a terrorist in Israel
Ezra Schwartz, a United States citizen from Boston studying in a yeshiva, was stabbed to death last Thursday. He was  delivering food to Israeli soldiers. Young Ezra is describe with
boundless energy,” capable of “making friends with anyone.” From mentoring his siblings to spending quality time with his grandparents,Schwartz was remembered for earning the respect and love of all kinds of people — “kids with little quirks and idiosyncrasies were his specialty,” according to Schwartz’s grandfather.
He was eighteen.

Hadar Buchris, stabbed by a terrorist in Israel

Yesterday Hadar Buchris, a female Israeli seminary student, also a child, 21, suffered multiple stab wounds to her head and chest while at a junction in the West Bank. She died in Shaare Tzedek hospital, a victim of this new knife intifada.
"She was a very talented theater student and a successful comic who always created positive vibes around her friends, . .. She was also a kind of 'psychologist' who would lend a sympathetic ear to whoever needed it.
This has been going on for a few months. It started with Palestinian drivers ramming cars into crowds of people at bus stops, or in train stations, hoping to kill pedestrians. They are succeeding. The drill works like this. After the car hits the targeted group of innocent civilians, the driver gets out, grabs his knife from the front seat and runs off, stabbing and slashing as many people as he can on his way to escape. Attackers are usually shot by soldiers or police, so it is really a variation of a suicide-homicide attack on Jewish citizens.

There used to be rules about war. You didn't go after civilians, the elderly. Children.

The Israel Defense Force posted on November 18:
A year ago today, terrorists entered a Jerusalem synagogue during morning prayers. Armed with axes, meat cleavers and a gun, the terrorists murdered 5 worshippers and a policeman.
That happened again, as men left afternoon prayers in Tel Aviv last week, praying for an end to sickness and war. 

Lital Shemesh (below, or watch her video on FaceBook) tells us:
In just two months: 7 shootings attacks in Israel, 51 stabbing attacks, 13 car ramming attacks, 51 rock throwing attacks. It's time to speak up against terror.
Nobody knows what to do with this kind of terrorist, the one that appears out of nowhere, sometimes a he, sometimes a she. The hatred is the same hatred that drives young men in Brussels to step out of taxis in Paris with loaded guns wearing suicide vests. It is the same kind of hate.

Meanwhile, the FBI reports that the majority of the hate crimes in the United States are against Jews.

How can we stay happy? Should anyone be happy when there is so much anger and hatred in the world?

Of course we should! We have to try. I went to a funeral today for a Holocaust survivor. People in the camps tried to stay happy and they were literally starving. We are most alive, you know, when we are happy.

Happy Thanksgiving friends. Try not to let it get you down. Don't let the news ruin your holidays. Don't cancel your plans to visit Israel, if you have them, for there is much to learn there. Don't let them terrorize you, not here, not there, not in the USA or England, France, Turkey, Argentina, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, or wherever you are. It really is what they want.

Escape it with the likes of SUPERGIRL. Or quality time with the people you love. Take the dog for a long walk, good for you, good for him. Or sit down and write to your congress-person about more security. We're going to need funding for guards in public places.


1 comment:

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