Looking back and thinking forward

Month: January, 2008

Friendship in the real


[Celebrating Obama‘s victory with Ilene and Jeff]

"We are always editing ourselves," says my new found Philadelphia friend, Ilene. What I adore about Ilene is that she gets my mind searching and expanding. Her questions, ideas, and opinions make me think:

Where am I more real? As my private inner voice speaking publicly on my blog, or in the flesh, face-to-face? In writing or person-to-person. I wonder, do we ever really get to know anybody?

She says it is surreal and weird to be friends in the flesh with someone she reads about – the intimate, edited blog-side of me.

And I am grateful for the newly-found, in-the-flesh friendship, where I feel I can be real.

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: It never rains but it memes

Apple addiction

How addicted can you be?
Well I found this at Euan Semple‘s place. I still have to spend a lot more time with my Macbook and i-Phone … but already I sense the stirrings of an addiction coming on. But for now …

32%How Addicted to Apple Are You?

… which is not bad, considering I have been using them for just one week!

Thanks, Euan.

Quote of the day:

Words: They’re waiting to be breathed into life—to be mustered up in military formation and marched dutifully in black rows onto white fields, or to be piled into incendiary heaps, anarchist bombs and unruly explosions spreading fire and chaos on the page and then running off in all directions. It depends. It depends on what you want your words to do. Do you write to change things, to make a difference, to expose injustice, to fight the power? You decideBill Ayers

Neilochka’s great idea

Quote of the day:

The fascinating part of [blogging] is that I can write about my talking Penis and have some guy in Iran read my blog, and soon his Penis wants to talk, too! And then, his wife, hearing the sound of love, wants to overthrow the government! And because of one blog post, the whole world is filled with freedom and love and happiness! Now that’s inspiring. I’m all for your personal blog being all about you. That’s how I view my blog.  But blogging is more than your own blog. It is the thrill of the freedom of expression, and the random and unlikely connections that we make with each other. And who can forget the importance of comments? Comments alone can MAKE a post interesting. Citizen of the Month. There is much more here.

Oh, and Neil … count me in! I want to be interviewed too! Yeah!

Oh, and Neil … check out my post: A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Back to work – WHAT a coincidence!

New blogging era


Quote of the day:

Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia. Kurt Vonnegut [From a comment by Ash at Citizen of the Month]

I am entering a new blogging era where I feel a lot freer about self expression.

For the past three years, blogging has been quite the emotional and psychological challenge. For one, I was always guilty because I continually thought "I should be writing my book." And then there was always the subject of what I should or should not say in such a public domain, even though it is my very own personal space. I surely have been going in and out of confidence with that one! Finally, I discovered that whenever I wrote something that was cathartic or especially meaningful for me in a deep way, I would become hoarse! All in all, quite the emotional experience, I must say.

Well, so, now the book is done and guilt is shedding, pouring off my shoulders even as I write this. I have pretty much worked out what I can, should, and will write in my blogging space. And, as for becoming hoarse? Well, that seems to be hanging around as a mysterious phenomenon. For when I was writing pieces of my book that excited, challenged, or were deeply meaningful to me, I became hoarse too. During the Thanksgiving break when my son was visiting, he was amazed to see how hoarse I had become after writing for a few hours. When I was young and sang publicly, I would immediately get a sore throat or become hoarse to the point of whispering. So, I guess it has something to do with the excitement and exhilaration of self-expression. Who knows? Who cares? Just interesting to me, that’s all.

In a way, I recently realized (and am sort of blown away about it) how, all my life, even as I tremble and shake with trepidation within, I seem to press on – bulldoze a path right through my fears and insecurities, towards self actualization, and my birth right of self expression.

Happy birthday, Dad. If you would be alive today you would be 114 years old.

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: The D word

When I was 25:

  • I never thought I was capable of a college education – I was sure that if I came to the gates of a university, the security guards would say to me, "You cannot enter. This place is not for you!" Now I have three degrees, including a Ph.D.
  • I never dreamed I would become a published author – I loved to write dramatic stories when I was sixteen and seventeen. My mother even bought me a typewriter at the time. However, when I was 25 I could not have imagined I would write books one day. Now, I have one published book and another to be published in June.
  • I never thought I would divorce and remarry – my dream was to stay married forever and have a big family with three or four children. When I was 25 it became shocking and traumatic for me when my husband wanted to divorce … I wonder … did I ever recover from that?
  • I never thought I would leave Israel – how I loved Israel! The only place in the world I have ever felt completely at home. When I was 25 I was sure I would stay there forever.
  • I never imagined I would land up in America – wow! Not that imperialist bastion of capitalism! Me oh my! When I was 25 I was a staunch socialist and could not even imagine putting one foot – nay, not one toe – in America! In June, I will have been in the U.S. for 20 years.

I found this Meme at Ronni Bennett

Tag, you’re it!


Quote of the day:

Stop sleeping with the laptop on the other side of the bed – From Jean – from Ernesto

How do I part with this dear computer – PC?

For, it has:

  • accompanied me through the past three years in my new life
  • witnessed the birth of hundreds of blog posts
  • helped write e-mails
  • checked out the Internet
  • introduced me to YouTube
  • got me going with Power Point
  • given birth to my second book

How – oh how?

My dear, sweet little MacBook lies quietly beside us as I put the finishing touches on editorial revisions of the book. It waits patiently for me – for the moment I will finally let go of my trusted PC buddy. There’s even a dashingly new printer to go with it – one that can print out photographs and such – scan, copy – a real techno-whiz! All the software is installed, warranties registered, e-mail account set up, passwords encrypted – webcam all included. The little Mac is ready to go. The soft, little green light of its power cord beckons and glows gently, invitingly. It’s really not pushy – no pressure, Tamarika.

I wonder what will be the defining moment that will nudge me towards this inevitable techno-life change?

I just gotta let go … o … o … o …

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Good luck!

I’m in a pickle (Update II)




I am aghast at all the sexist rhetoric about Hillary Clinton. Not because I did not know it exists. Sexism is alive and very well all over the world, including the United States of America. When Hillary is passionate, strong, confident and assertive, she is termed aggressive, too angry, and I can only imagine what else! Not so for the male candidates. After I heard about an incident with Hillary today I passionately and assertively charged into my study to write this down. Signs were held up while she was speaking stating: Stick to ironing. I rather prefer a bumper sticker I have seen lately that states: a woman’s place is in the white house!

I would vote for Hillary in a heart beat. She is intelligent, professional, and has so much political experience. While I watch the struggle and challenges she faces as a woman running this race, my heart reaches out to her and feelings surge for all women to gather together and rise up as one to push her through – our life sister. I ached to see her short show of emotion yesterday dragged across the media over and over again. As if showing emotion is something to be guarded against in this Patriarchal system, where men and women alike wallow and self-destruct. "You see?" I can hear people say. "That’s what happens if you vote for a woman. She will just let her emotions get in the way!"

As if it doesn’t ever happen to all those seemingly rational, dominant men out there!

And so, today I am torn in two. Do I make a stand and vote for Hillary because she is my sister?


Or do I stand firm with Barack Hussein Obama, whom I have chosen even long before he decided to run for president?

For, he speaks a language of hope and reconciliation, and I feel so sure he is exactly what we all need right here and now – not only in America, but throughout the world. He has my birth place Africa in his blood. He models integrity …

… but … More importantly, he has given me the audacity to hope after a long, dark nightmare of political years.

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Writer’s block (Update)

Update I (see Update II below …):

This morning, I received an e-mail from a friend commenting on this post.

She writes:

I read your blog and it sums up my feelings of the past week.  However, it also points to another frustration- yes, the pinheads with their ‘born to iron’ signs are one thing, but why aren’t all the smart feminists out there supporting Hillary, working for Hillary, voting for Hillary- including you, …, et al? Obama is Obama- yes, he is so full of hope and wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a black president? But just like the first feminists of 1884, must women wait for the ‘black man’ to succeed before a woman can do the same?  I said from the get go and I’ll defend it to the end- as a feminist I could not live with myself if I didn’t do everything to help Hillary win the whitehouse.  If we miss this opportunity it could be 16 years before it comes around again, if at all. Susan B. Anthony worked from the age of 30 through to age 86 and died before she could legally vote. By 2020 it will be 100 years since American women could vote, would we have seen a woman president by then?  Not if we don’t work for it now.

Check out Gloria Steinem in the New York Times: Women are Never Front-Runners. The full text is pasted below.


Women Are Never Front-Runners

Published: January 8, 2008

THE woman in question became a lawyer after some years as a community organizer, married a corporate lawyer and is the mother of two little girls, ages 9 and 6. Herself the daughter of a white American mother and a black African father — in this race-conscious country, she is considered black — she served as a state legislator for eight years, and became an inspirational voice for national unity.

Be honest: Do you think this is the biography of someone who could be elected to the United States Senate? After less than one term there, do you believe she could be a viable candidate to head the most powerful nation on earth?

If you answered no to either question, you’re not alone. Gender is probably the most restricting force in American life, whether the question is who must be in the kitchen or who could be in the White House. This country is way down the list of countries electing women and, according to one study, it polarizes gender roles more than the average democracy.

That’s why the Iowa primary was following our historical pattern of making change. Black men were given the vote a half-century before women of any race were allowed to mark a ballot, and generally have ascended to positions of power, from the military to the boardroom, before any women (with the possible exception of obedient family members in the latter).

If the lawyer described above had been just as charismatic but named, say, Achola Obama instead of Barack Obama, her goose would have been cooked long ago. Indeed, neither she nor Hillary Clinton could have used Mr. Obama’s public style — or Bill Clinton’s either — without being considered too emotional by Washington pundits.

So why is the sex barrier not taken as seriously as the racial one? The reasons are as pervasive as the air we breathe: because sexism is still confused with nature as racism once was; because anything that affects males is seen as more serious than anything that affects “only” the female half of the human race; because children are still raised mostly by women (to put it mildly) so men especially tend to feel they are regressing to childhood when dealing with a powerful woman; because racism stereotyped black men as more “masculine” for so long that some white men find their presence to be masculinity-affirming (as long as there aren’t too many of them); and because there is still no “right” way to be a woman in public power without being considered a you-know-what.

I’m not advocating a competition for who has it toughest. The caste systems of sex and race are interdependent and can only be uprooted together. That’s why Senators Clinton and Obama have to be careful not to let a healthy debate turn into the kind of hostility that the news media love. Both will need a coalition of outsiders to win a general election. The abolition and suffrage movements progressed when united and were damaged by division; we should remember that.

I’m supporting Senator Clinton because like Senator Obama she has community organizing experience, but she also has more years in the Senate, an unprecedented eight years of on-the-job training in the White House, no masculinity to prove, the potential to tap a huge reservoir of this country’s talent by her example, and now even the courage to break the no-tears rule. I’m not opposing Mr. Obama; if he’s the nominee, I’ll volunteer. Indeed, if you look at votes during their two-year overlap in the Senate, they were the same more than 90 percent of the time. Besides, to clean up the mess left by President Bush, we may need two terms of President Clinton and two of President Obama.

But what worries me is that he is seen as unifying by his race while she is seen as divisive by her sex.

What worries me is that she is accused of “playing the gender card” when citing the old boys’ club, while he is seen as unifying by citing civil rights confrontations.

What worries me is that male Iowa voters were seen as gender-free when supporting their own, while female voters were seen as biased if they did and disloyal if they didn’t.

What worries me is that reporters ignore Mr. Obama’s dependence on the old — for instance, the frequent campaign comparisons to John F. Kennedy — while not challenging the slander that her progressive policies are part of the Washington status quo.

What worries me is that some women, perhaps especially younger ones, hope to deny or escape the sexual caste system; thus Iowa women over 50 and 60, who disproportionately supported Senator Clinton, proved once again that women are the one group that grows more radical with age.

This country can no longer afford to choose our leaders from a talent pool limited by sex, race, money, powerful fathers and paper degrees. It’s time to take equal pride in breaking all the barriers. We have to be able to say: “I’m supporting her because she’ll be a great president and because she’s a woman.”

Gloria Steinem is a co-founder of the Women’s Media Center.

Update II:

Frank Paynter at Listics has this to say:

… a black man or a white woman, has emerged; and, if we are not careful, the question could become a defining dichotomy in the 2008 nomination process. Who benefits from this discussion? Not black people and certainly not women, because there is no clear path to convincement in the debate. It’s not likely that anyone’s mind will be changed. But the discussion itself delegitimizes criticism of Obama’s or Clinton’s policy directions in favor of protecting tender feelings.

Where to now? (Update)

I cannot remember the exact date of my blog anniversary because directly after I began it something happened to my computer, and I was forced to restart in mid January or so. However, I remember starting blogging around the second week of January, and so I will choose today as my third year as a blogger. And, my! How time has flown. In that time I have moved states, found two jobs, finally deciding to stay with the second one, and written my second book. Even though I am at the editing stage, the publishers are planning a June publication date and are advertising it in their sneak peak already! I can’t believe how much I have done in that time. Mostly, I am excited to realize that I made it through a very tough transition. There was indeed a light at the end of the tunnel and I managed to climb up and out of my psychological, self-made cave back in 2005 when I started blogging.

While I was sitting waiting for a haircut yesterday, I read an article in People magazine about a woman who had lost over 150 pounds body weight by blogging about the process. She wrote about how writing about her weight out loud in public helped her, first admit she was over weight, and second, face the long hard process with support from the blogging community. I smiled because in a way I had done the very same thing. Only with me, it was not about losing body weight. I lost psychological weight – weight of the past through blogging. Don’t get me wrong, I still want to lose the body weight! But perhaps that will become easier now as my psyche becomes lighter all the time!

One of the hardest things for me about leaving Buffalo at the end of 2004, was parting from Bob-the-therapist. However, it turned out to be a huge blessing in disguise. For, I had reached a point in therapy where I needed to hold still with myself, alone, face-to-face with my shame and vulnerabilities. I wrote about this back in February 2006:

Feelings of gratitude and relief wash over me as I realize that my blog has served a wondrous purpose this past year, reconstructing my emotional life, and giving me the gift of companionship as others accompany me on my navel-gazing investigations. Blogger companions not only support, and accept me, or share their own stories and memories. Indeed, they bear witness as I process my inner life with myself including sometimes joyous or even painful revelations.

I realize that my blog has served a Bob-like purpose for me this past year helping me explore, dissect and connect events to past times, memories of childhood or different periods of life. After all I left Bob just as I was beginning to smash down the wall of illusions and realities that had helped me survive as a child. I was starting to understand – really understand – finally, deeply, how those old, worn-out survival skills and trusted paradigms were no longer necessary, relevant or even helpful for my maturing adult life.

Now, as I reach my third year of blogging I wonder about its purpose for the future. I have not yet completed the process of self understanding. That will surely go on forever as I uncover new feelings or connections using each interaction as a therapeutic opportunity. However, it feels less urgent.

It seems to me that each person’s blog has some kind of theme. Mine has certainly been focused on an all-about-me theme! Surely, politics, aging, health, religion, society, blogging, and so much more, gets filtered through that focus, but I think I might be becoming bored (or, worse still, boring) with it. And if I am, then surely my readers are too? When I review my stats counter from time to time I have noticed a drop in readers, and comments have become even less.

And so, as I reach this milestone – my third blog-a-versary – I return to my age old question back in my Tamarika days: why blog?

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Let me explain


After reviewing my stats after three years of blogging at Tamarika and Mining Nuggets, I discover that I have written 760 posts; received 3,667 comments, and have had 96,420 page hits.

However, the most interesting point for me is that comments and page hits for Tamarika were twice as much as for Mining Nuggets during the same amount of time – a year and a half each.

Gee, I wonder why that is? 

New Year’s Day in New Brunswick


I arrived by train …


And there he was …


Neilochka! … to meet me and take me to Sophia, who was waiting patiently in the car after driving all the way from Queens. I was so excited, and wanting to hug her there and then, I almost sat on her lap in the front seat.


We had lunch together at Old Man Rafferty’s, which Neil and Sophia had found by researching the Internet before meeting up with me. I had Shrimp Fusilli and a small Caesar salad but who cares what I ate! It was so exciting to be spending the first day of the New Year with my new friends, whom I would never have met had I not become a blogger three years ago. We talked about everything: life, love, marriage, divorce, humor, sex, illness, wellness, therapy, New Brunswick, blogging, writing, friendship, America, Israel, Zimbabwe, Russia, and more. How could I consider giving up blogging? We took photos and I smiled and smiled.


And then … back to the station where I boarded the train to Trenton where my car was waiting to take me home to Philadelphia.

We met in the middle … Neil and Sophia from Queens, and me from Chestnut Hill.

And then … they waved me goodbye as the train left the station and I waved back shedding a tear of joy at knowing such friends who took the trouble to drive all the way to see me on New Year’s Day, and a tear of sadness that they don’t live closer by so that I could meet them for coffee, lunch, dinner, whatever, whenever I like.

A year [and a day] ago at Mining Nuggets: Wheezles and sneezles