Many thoughts about the world, meditation, parenting, Judaism, pregnancy, teaching, cancer survivorship, moving from West Coast to East and more.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Hashem Gave Me A Birthday Gift!

This morning I was very grumpy when I got up and realized it was my birthday and that, once again, I wanted the world to know and celebrate with me, but wasn't prepared. All the time I thought about it before today I didn't really have time or I convinced myself I didn't want anything.

Bull.

So after ND delivered an extraordinary tantrum that actually resulted in my both raising my voice with her and giving her a mom/teacher LOOK, I went to work for today's inservice.

Upon my arrival I discovered that there was a blackout in the school great enough that the electric company had to be called in and all remaining systems turned off until it could be fixed.

We managed to put in a few hours of packing in our room (I and the other teacher who shared the room and our assistant) until it was just too hot and humid. We weren't expected or asked to stay, so they and two other friends came with me to lunch.

What a blessing. It was wonderful company and we talked about things that MATTER to me, like children and teaching "derekh eretz" as well as conspiring a little and talking about good places to vacation.

When I left the room they arranged that my dessert be brought out with a candle and "happy birthday" song, and then they all gave me birthday wishes.

I cried.

They were wonderful wishes.

I won't write it all here, but the first was from my assistant who says I should take care of myself and not just other people.

They also talked me into getting a pedicure and manicure.

I never do that because it just ISN'T ME. I feel like it's something weird that OTHER women do. But then I thought, this really isn't ME. It's not even going to change ME. It's just going to be a fun thing I can try.

So I went and did that too. It was very nice.

I chose lavender color nails.

Now I'll finish the rest of my birthday celebration on Sunday, my Hebrew birthday, by going out with U. and ND.

I'm very into the "birthday week" concept, and this one began beautifully.

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

U. and I have had some troubles in the basement again which leaves it still smelling a bit. We had a minor disagreement about it. He wanted to buy some of that spray that "neutralizes" the smell. I didn't want to him because I assume it is probably toxic.

In making my argument I said, "Imagine you have lion in your bedroom and you have two choices. You can either usher him out gently but with persistence, or you can cover him with a blanket, a blanket that, in fact, will probably make you sick in the long run."

A few days later a very good, old friend from Oberlin visited. We talked about our type A idealist personalities. (I knew I was an idealist, but I never thought of it as type A idealism until he brought it up. But he's right...just look at my lists...) Either way, we talked about the pain that idealism causes us.

Somehow in the conversation I repeated to him the lion metaphor. He said he's finally reached a point in his life where he can cope with sometimes just covering the lion.

"It might go to sleep," he said. We laughed very very hard, realizing it to be so.

Somehow I feel the need to reflect on this tonight, the eve of my 32nd birthday.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Lost Torah


Well, it was a good day after all.

U. liked the songs I gave him and we went out to dinner tonight.

Also, it turned out the party last night was lovely but "not the kind you think about a lot the morning after," apparently.

Now some Torah:

Tonight I was learning with my chavruta (study partner) about the spies who first entered Israel. We were talking about how it was not a punishment for the people to wander in the desert for 40 years. Rather it was a necessary step to get a new generation ready for the land.

This led us to remember last year's conversation about Moshe... that his not being allowed into Israel was not necessarily a punishment, but rather that he was no longer the right leader for the people.

My chavruta, besides having a strong background in Torah knowledge and learning, also has a degree in philosophy and likes watching Lost.

I didn't mean to digress (really I didn't) but I couldn't help but point out that Moshe's experience of not being allowed into the land is similar to that of poor Benjamin Linus. Terrifying manipulator that he is, my heart bleeds for him that once he moves the island, he can't ever come back.

We talked for awhile about biblical parallels to the show, but there is a limit. I don't think that once Moshe was prevented from entering Israel he was likely to perform assassinations on the mainland.

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Shifting

Last night was the end-of-the-year party for the teachers at my school. I was really looking forward to it, but 45 minutes before it began, there was an enormous storm outside. Meanwhile, ND was very agitated and U. got nervous about how to make her happy while I was gone. So I decided not to go. Instead we finished watching Into The Wild.

The movie left me, as I expected, upset and unsettled and I had a very hard time going to sleep last night. I don't know why it hits me so deeply. I suppose it has to do with imagining a person's last thoughts before death, particularly after his having made such significantly unnecessary mistakes. The quality of real-live-legend also overwhelms me somehow.

So this morning I am up and continuing to feel a deep need of some kind, unsure what it is. I'm sad I missed the party last night. I suspect I would have enjoyed it. On the other hand, once I decided to stay home last night I felt it was probably where I belonged... that I wanted to have a quiet time with my family. The grass is always greener on either end of Route 4.

Is this about the end of the year? The total change in routine, expectation and social network? I don't see my teacher friends over the summer much. Am I worried about being lonely? Or am I glad to be at this point? I guess all of it.

Meanwhile, today is our 7 year anniversary. I spent my uneasy hours last night at the computer trying to decide 7 songs I could buy from ITunes for us in honor of our 7 years.

But then, we don't have a plan for tonight either. We're always bad about that... not planning our special days, but I definitely want to mark it.

My meditation theme since Pesach has had to do with letting go and allowing things to happen rather than grasping. I see I still need that focus very much.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Shaking Chrysalis

This year my assistant did an insect exhibit in our room. Included were some butterflies. We had this wacky experience when they all started shaking one day. This was right before Memorial Day weekend. Apparently they weren't necessarily hatching right then, but were scaring off predators. They hatched before school started again on Tuesday.

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

18 Months

On Friday she'll be 18 months old.

Here she is on a rock outside our new home. It must have been carved just for her.


1. She's totally fascinated by babies...

2. When our neighbors -- friends of ours who have a two year old and a newborn -- come home, she says, "Baby baby baby baby..." pointing towards their house until we take her over to say hello.

3. She carries around a baby doll given to her by U.'s aunt and uncle. When she's in a bad mood she yells if she can't get it just right into its little stroller, into the cradle by her bed, into her arms in just the right way etc., but if I take it away she wants it back again.

4. Often her first word in the morning is "b" or rather, "bird" as she hears them chirping outside our house.

5. She has not yet learned to say rabbit or bunny although there's a baby one of those too living outside (or under) our house.

6. She now can wear her hair in a partial ponytail. It works best if I put just the bangs and front hair up in a ponytail on top of her head. I can't get all of the hair in there at once. Sometimes she wears her hair down, or in two pigtails, or even with a headband. It's cutest down but then it's hard for her to see.

7. She falls asleep best in the stroller during an evening walk. Lately, though, if you recline the seat, she pulls herself up, even nodding forward onto the tray, rather than be forced to lie down. Better to let her sit up until she's TOTALLY down for the count.

8. She loves to play outdoors.

9. She loves balls.

10. But her word for ball sounds a lot like the one for bottle which also includes cup.

11. In fact, many of her words sound like other words. You have to be her mom or teacher to automatically know the difference between dad and diaper, for example. But if it's diaper, there's a good reason to help her right away.

12. U. was hanging out with her outside recently while I was finishing something up inside. He called me up for translation help. "What's gogog?" "She heard a dog barking," I explained. She loves to hear and watch them. Doesn't like touching or being touched by them. The first part she gets from me... not that I like dogs so much necessarily, just animals in general. The part about NOT liking them she gets from U. I'm fine with it. Healthy respect for dogs sounds good to me.

13. "Flowers" include general plants, trees or just colorful things. Apple includes most fruits, but especially apples.

14. She can walk a long way, but not without taking in the scenery.

15. She LOVES shoes. ("Shoes," by the way, sounds almost identical to "cereal" which usually refers to soup nuts.)

16. Except when totally exhausted or fussy, she is like an alarm clock, awaking right around 7 AM almost every day, give or take 10 minutes.

17. We are still proudly and joyfully nursing. She also likes many kinds of soup although not consistently.

18. She already can flirt. On Memorial Day we went to a BBQ where there were two other boys close to her age. I gave them spoons and cups to keep them busy. She licked her spoon, then let the younger boy lick it. Afterwards she shrugged her little shoulders shyly and made me want to rush over and... I don't know... and DO something.

Instead I just watched from a distance.

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