Oh, dear, I thought it had been three months since I posted in this blog, and it’s been four, hasn’t it? Actually, FaceBook friends know I’m around, and it was one of them who asked recently when I’m going to add to my blog, repeating the question at kiddush a few days ago. The gentle reminder and positive reinforcement are much appreciated.
So an explanation is probably in order for anyone who cares. There was some big stuff, such as Passover, for which I spent two weeks cooking and trying to finalize guest lists for two pretty big s’dorim at our house. And issues around my mother in Arizona, whose kidneys have been failing. A visit out there just after Pesach, planned in February, wound up being three days of sitting in Mom’s Scottsdale hospital room and three evenings sitting with my dad watching episodic TV dramas at volume level 60. I don’t begrudge a minute of the time with my mom — we did some wonderful reminiscing. But it wasn’t conducive to up-to-the-minute blogging.
My mother was hospitalized in April because she was retaining a dangerous amount of water, and the docs were trying to figure out a pharmaceutical solution that would jump-start her kidneys while not endangering her heart, with which she also has issues. That solution didn’t work out, and Mom went on dialysis the following week. I’ll write more about that soon when I post something about how it feels to have parents who are no longer aging but old, an experience many of you have gone through, and yes, I realize how blessed I am that both my parents are not only still around but compos mentis and functioning, all things considered. Mom is tolerating dialysis quite well and has lost a ton of water weight, so she’s actually feeling much better than she was six weeks ago.
Another thing that has impeded my blog-posting has been a moderate case of PTSD: President Trump Stress Disorder. (Severe is when you behave in a way that gets you thrown off an airplane.) As the bad behavior and planned depredations pile up, so has my consumption of news, mostly via MSNBC and the Washington Post, the latter of which we get online for free because we subscribe to the local Virginian-Pilot. (Please, no cracks about MSNBC being left-wing; it consistently interviews conservative politicians and commentators and is starting to tug its lineup of hosts to the right.) I get WaPo headlines every morning, a loooong feed called The Post Most every afternoon, and an inside-the-Beltway analysis, The Daily 202, five days a week. There’s plenty of overlap among the three, but I spend at least an hour every day reading news stories and op-eds. Plus pieces from The Nation, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, and The Economist that people post on FB. And I’m thinking of getting the Sunday edition of The New York Times because it comes with daily online access. What’s the threshold for news junkiehood?
Overconsumption of verifiable news, of course, leads to knowing too damn much about stuff going on in the world, which then leads to a desire to put a foot up the ass of any number of government officials and pundits, a desire that, as a rabbi, I can’t indulge. Even righteous anger turned inward becomes depression, so while I don’t spend a lot of time curled up in the fetal position, I spend a lot of time thinking about being curled up in the fetal position. That, too, cuts into my potential blogging time. (But so does phone banking, which I’m doing this year and next for Virginia Democrats.)
I also spend a lot of time sleeping during the day, which is mostly about untreated sleep apnea. (I’ve tried CPAP twice and can’t deal with the machine and the mask.) On the plus side, if I’m sleeping, I’m not eating.
The last factor in what’s been keeping me from blogging is a slight uptick in work, some of it rabbi work, but (more lucratively) also copyediting and proofreading for a company that helps people self-publish books, mostly business titles. I’m hoping to start very soon on an actual ghostwriting gig for this outfit, which would be interesting and involve some real money, maybe even enough to pay for a few months of health insurance if the ACA goes bye-bye.
So that’s my list of reasons I didn’t post anything on this blog for four months: Passover, worry about my mom, overconsumption of news, depression, sleeping, and work. But I pledge to do better in the coming months, as I replace sleeping during the day with caffeine abuse and depression with, I don’t know, maybe yoga, maybe reruns of Cybill.