Sunday, February 28, 2010

Reece's Rainbow

If you are currently visiting my blog, you have most likely noticed the Reece's Rainbow button at the top of the page. I meant to put it on the side, but it's much more noticeable up top, so there it will stay.

Reece's Rainbow is an organization that matches orphans with Downs' Syndrome and other special needs to waiting families all over the world. Especially in Eastern Europe, special needs children without families are sent to mental institutions when they are still quite young, most often when they hit the age of four. In these institutions, children often remain in bed all day, literally wasting away sometimes to the point of death.

Sadly, I can never adopt from Reece's Rainbow unless something big changes because there are currently no countries outside the US allowing same-sex couples to adopt. Still, please take a look at these sweet children and pray for them if you wish. Perhaps you can even afford to sponsor one, bringing his/her adoption ever closer.

Please grab the button and put it on your blog to continue raising awareness.

The Challenge Day 8

I just realized that I will be flying to NYC for my interview in two weeks. I mean, I knew I would be, of course, but it just sank in that I will either have to buy 3-ounce bottles or check a bag just for toiletries. The bottles are the cheaper option; I'll buy them when I buy the pantyhose. I will also need to withdraw money for a taxi. My parents' usual policy is to put more money in my bank account as needed; if I need mroe money this year I will feel rather defeated in this challenge. On the other hand, by making my money last as long as possible I will still be saving my parents money, and that's something. I will still donate what is left at the end of the school year.

In other news, my schedule for the 11th through the 14th (Thursday to Sunday) looks absolutely crazy. Here it is:

Thursday the 11th: school, pack up, fly to NYC, stay overnight with my dad at my grandparents' house

Friday the 12th: interview, fly back to Greensboro, shower, start Shabbat

Saturday the 13th: Shabbat (thank God for the day of rest!)

Sunday the 14th: SATs

Hectic, chaotic, exciting. My life is never boring. :)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Challenge Day 7

So apparently the groggers being sold were being sold to raise money to donate to a food bank. It seems a little contradictory to me not to donate money because I'm saving it to donate, so I will pay my dollar when I next see the Deans of Jewish Life.

In other news, I am missing my school ID, which will not be cheap to replace but definitely counts as a necessary purchase.

I have also decided to allow myself to splurge on a pair of pantyhose for an interview later this month. I am trying to win a scholarship for a summer program and I'd like to look professional (well, not professional, but teenage sophisticated).

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Challenge Day 6 and Other Ramblings

First, update on the challenge:

Today is a Friday with no opportunities to spend money or not. I did read an email yesterday that said that groggers (noisemakers to be used during the megillah reading) would cost a dollar apiece this year, so I got ot work and made my own. It is taco shaped.

I am feeling totally mentally well today. I am not naive enough to think this means I am stable--I only started my new med two days ago and nothing works that fast (also this same thing happened last weekend)--but it is nice to be feeling well in time for Purim. It is so nice to be comfortable inside my own head, and have a normal noise threshold, and be able to think...

I observe that this challenge really helped me when I was feeling so sick. It gave me something other than Bipolar Disorder on which to focus and about which to write. Also, when one is living for others, one has a greater purpose than oneself, and is less likely to give in to "life is pointless" sentiments.

Today's Appreciated Luxury is my nice soft bed, with as many covers as I like, into which I can burrow and fall asleep feeling all comfy-cozy.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Challenge Day 5

Nothing really to report; today was much more of a bipolar day than a challenge day.

I couldn't sleep last night because I was manic, and today I felt really tired. Honestly, today reminded me eerily of the last few months before mood stabilizers: I felt slightly irritable all the time and could not control my temper or my comments. After school, I came back and went right to bed for approximately two hours and woke up feleing absolutely fine. I am now feeling incredibly happy and a little bit hyper for no good reason. This either means I am leveling off (please God) and randomly hitting normal me (I'm not sure I remember who that is), or it means I am heading for mania again.

In any case, we now have a four day between-trimesters weekend, so I should get lots of rest.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Challenge Day 4

Today my teacher took our Hebrew class to Panera and I deliberately didn't bring money. I did end up eating a couple bits of bread and somebody's pickle. No more update today because I am too sick to think straight.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Letting You In

If you want to know least my the following poem I wrote today:

Utter Desperation
It's forcing me to hurt you.

No, I cannot stop crying.

It's hurting me too much.

It's pulling me towards night.

I feel so very sick.


The Challenge Day 3

First of all, today I am exceedingly greatful for this challenge. My bipolar brain is misbehaving (rapid cycling) again, and I need all the motivation/distraction I can get. This challenge is one of my top three distractions.

I have realized how vital my craft supplies are if I am to succeed at this challenge. Over the years I have built up a collection including one drawer full of fabric and one of yarn, polyfill (stuffing), one pair of knitting needles, several different colors of thread, sewing needles, a pincushion, and pins, beads, safety pins, ziploc bags, craft foam, scrapbook paper, cardboard, two sizes of scissors, scotch tape in two sizes, a good quality ruler, a gluestick, pipe cleaners, a hole punch, and stencils. Although these materials were not necessarily cheap (the most expensive stuff was my birthday gift the year I turned sixteen), I can now mend my pants, make birthday gifts for my friends, entertain myself, etc. etc. The savings are amazing.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Challenge Day 2 (and a Poem)

I have been rapid cycling again recently, and I realized that this challenge occurred to me in a hypomanic phase. Not that I do not plan to follow through; it is an excellent idea. It's just interesting to see what results from mania.

Today I am most thankful for my laptop. I came back from school today suffering too much anguish for life to seem worth the trouble (depression). I have been playing on my laptop for roughly half an hour and already feel much better.

And here is a poem I wrote about an hour ago:

Invisible Hell
Oh, Hello there.
Have you come to visit me?
I live in Invisible Hell.

Welcome, sit down.
Let me show you around.
These are my pills;
Aren’t they big? Aren’t they pretty?
I get to take them every day.
How lucky am I!

Over here is Depression.
It courses like waves, and
Makes my life…not-life.
I try to surf through it; have you seen my surfboard!?
But sometimes the waves are too big.

Come here and see Mania.
Can you feel the tornado?
It wraps itself round me, stealing my breath.
It takes my thoughts.
They jump out of my head.
And then I cannot stop spinning.

When they come together is the worst time of all.
I bob up and down.
My surfboard is lost.
The waves wash over me, tumble me with them.
My thoughts and my breath disappear on the wind.
I am thrown up and down and spun in fast circles.

Did you like my Invisible Hell?
Come back soon!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Challenge Day 1

Today on the phone my parents tried to convince me that buying me clothes when I needed them was their expense, not my expense. Since they give me the money I spend, I think it's the same thing, and I refuse to buy any new clothes.

I am heading out soon to buy materials for my Purim costume. I need a cardboard box, packing tape, and scissors. This is one of my allotted luxury purchases for the remainder of the year.

Today's appreciated luxury: SHOES. Everybody at my school owns at least one pair of shoes. I own fourteen pairs, fifteen if you count the rollerblades. So many people in the world do not own even one pair. Today I am thankful for shoes.


I just got back from buying my supplies. Cardboard boxes are ridiculously expensive. I am 98 percent sure I kept the rest of my expenses together below ten dollars, yet my total was twenty dollars. UGH. This was not a particularly big box.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Challenge

Recently, I have been feeling disgusted with the unequal distribution of resources in the world. I hate the fact that I have so much while people in Haiti, Africa, even Israel and America, are starving to death. I have come up with a plan to right that balance as much as I can.

I have divided my money use into three categories: things for which my parents pay directly, necessities for which I pay with money they give me, and luxuries. Here they are:

Parents pay for:
Medical/Psychiatric Expenses
Cell Phone Bill

I use money from them for:
School supplies

everything else

For the rest of this school year, I will attempt to limit myself to buying only necessities and two luxuries: Purim costume (about ten dollars) and Prom ticket (about twenty dollars). The money I save will be donated to Haiti.

I am not planning to humiliate myself in any way, shape, or form. I know basic sewing: neatly patched clothes can look qutie presentable. Also, despite the "rules" of prom dresses, my dress from last year is very pretty and perfectly capable of being worn again, thank-you-very-much. The world still isn't fair--I still have fresh water, good food, adequate clothing, a roof over my head and an excellent education--but I'm giving all that I can.

To make this more interesting, I will attempt to post every day with an update on my thoughts, feelings, and related events of that day. In preparation for tomorrow, Day 1, I have patched all clothes with holes and feel quite proud of myself.

Monday, February 8, 2010


Today is my birthday and I feel compelled to write before it ends. It was a wonderful day from start to finish, with multiple cakes (the joys of boarding school), a brand new book, roughly fifty happy birthdays in person and on facebook, and a happy birthday text message at midnight last night from one of my dearest friends, who got delayed traveling back to school after he went away for the weekend but wanted to make sure to wish me happy birthday.

I am so loved by friends and family, and I have so much.

I am so lucky.

I want to share with the world too.

And so I donated a large portion of my birthday money to Heifer International.

I am not posting this to be congratulated.

I'm not even sure where this post is going.

I just want to point out that as our children eat pink-frosted birthday cakes someone else's child is starving for protein.

We can help. We can work to end world hunger (and slavery and etc. but let's focus on one at a time).

Jewish tradition teaches: "Save a life and you have saved the world. Destroy a life and you have destroyed the world."

Jewish tradition also teaches that if you "stand idly by the blood of your neighbor" you have in essence killed him/her.

Let's not destroy the world by inaction. Let's join together to save it.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Slavery in the World Today

Fast Facts

What? real slaves. People held against their will and forced to work for no pay, or for just barely the necessities of life.

How Many? Free the Slaves estimates 27 million all over the world

Is It Legal? No, but the majority of governments look the other way.

How Much Does an Average Slave Cost? Roughly 90 dollars. By contrast, a slave in the 1850s cost roughly 40,000 of today's dollars.

How Many Slaves in the US? There are approximately 14,500 to 17,500 slaves trafficked into the US every year. At least 10,000 forced laborers are working at any given time.

Where do slaves work? Will I see them on the streets? Most of today's slaves never walk the streets or appear anywhere visible. They work in brothels, sweatshops, private homes, and on farms.

Do slaves in America come from foreign countries? Most do, but some are US citizens.

Where in the US is slavery? Forced labor operations have been found in as many as ninety US cities. Most appear to be concentrated in California, Florida, New York, and Texas.

Where in the world is slavery? The top ten countries based on number of reported cases are Mexico, United States, China, Thailand, India, Bangladesh, Russia, Vietnam, Honduras, and the Philippines.

What do most slaves end up doing? The vast majority of slaves are women and girls forced into prostitution. The other areas of work, in order by number of cases, are domestic service, agriculture, sweatshop/factory, service/food/care, sexual exploitation of children, entertainment, and mail order bride. Note that two "non prostitution" categories on that list could also be defined as sex slavery.

To find out more and learn what you can do to help, visit (also the source of all information above)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Because I am totally obsessed with this song (yes I know it's a Christian hymn)

"Battle Hymn of the Republic"
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword.
His truth is marching on!

Glory, glory, Halleluyah!
Glory, glory, Halleluyah!
Glory, glory, Halleluyah!
His truth is marching on!

I have seen Him in the watchfires of a hundred circling camps;
They have builded Him an alter in the evening dews and damps.
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps.
His day is marching on!


I have read a fiery gosepl writ in burnished rows of steel:
"As ye deal with My contemner so with you My grace shall deal.
Let the hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,
Since God is marching on!"


He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat.
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat.
Oh, be swift my soul to answer Him! Be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on!


In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me.
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free
While God is marching on!


He is coming like the glory of the morning on a wave.
He is Wisdom to the mighty; He is Succour to the brave.
So the world shall be His footstool, and the soul of time His slave;
Our God is marching on!


Now, whether you believe in God--any God--or not, that's some pretty powerfully inspirational poetry.

Monday, February 1, 2010

"It's not that unusual when everything is beautiful; it's just another ordinary ,miracle today."

(Unfortunately I do not know the title or artist of the song from which I hijacked that title. If anybody does, please let me know so I can cite the quotation properly. Thank you!)

EDITED: The song is "Ordinary Miracle" by Sarah McLachlan

Wednesday of last week I started cycling up into mania. I watched it until Thursday, when I quickly got going with contacting my mental health professionals to prevent actual mania (as opposed ot manic symptoms). Long story short, emails flew back and forth between me and my psychologist, phone calls flew back and forth between my psychiatrist and my psychologist, and we doubled my Seroquel, making the dose 800 milligrams.

Now. I *could* be feeling sorry for myself and complaining right now. My GPA dropped; my physical pain is worse because I haven't been consistently working out for a while; I am reminded that I am not well; etc. etc. But seriously, I am alive and stable and I am I; how can I complain about that? I wouldn't even have these problems on my radar if I were not stable.

Honestly, I'm really glad Thursday happened. I'm exceedingly greatful that it was that easy to shut off, of course; but without that scare, I would not remember how lucky I am.

Life is good.