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

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Incredible Rosh Hashanah Preparation: A Tribute To My Parents

I'm typing this on my laptop at 4 on Sunday afternoon WIPED OUT from doing wonderful things.

Sometimes leading up to the chagim I feel unsure of how to prepare or there will be some part of me that feels separated from some other part... I'm not sure how to explain that. I guess the best example would be if I go to an amazing class preparing for a holiday, but feel thatI'm very different in some way from the others who attend the class that I feel some dissonance.

This year, at least at this moment, I'm feeling an incredible congruence of all the parts of myself.

I've had some wonderful classes recently, particularly at a program I attended last week -- a Yom Iyun -- with too many speakers for me to hear myself. (13 speakers but only 3 time slots... one keynote, then the choice of 6 others in 2 different sessions). I bought CDs of many of the classes and will send them on to my parents when I'm done with them.

That's the part of me that lives in New Jersey now in a very Jewish area and needs the Torah learning.

Then this morning I got together with a few special women from my shul. We made challah together. One person led it, talking about meditations she does throughout. I was a little jealous because I wish I'd had the courage to share meditation or other teaching the way that I know best, but instead I got to be a guest. ND helped me by stirring up the flour with her little hand (and getting it caked in her hair) and helped me knead the dough. As I was kneading I found my whole body thinking of my mother and the way she taught me to make challah, specifically the kneading, the full body strength that goes into creating this sacred addition to the Yom Tov/Shabbos table. I said something about that and it felt very good.

That's the mother/wife in me, making my home and family what it can be.

Then we rushed off with some friends to go apple picking. It wasn't perfectly ideal. We went to Demarest Farms which has really made an art of taking money from you. Not until we arrived did we learn we'd be required to buy a hayride just to get to the apple trees, and it was far from organic.

It was also pouring rain. This was a little tricky for the friends that came with us, but I was clear from the beginning when I arranged this outing that it would probably be wet and that I personally don't let rain stop me, but have no interest in convincing someone else to come who might end up miserable. But boy, was it ever wet.

Memories flooded in with the rain. First was the time my dad and I went to a corn maze on a very soggy day before Halloween and trampled through inches of mud and dead corn, smiling all the while. Also the time we did the formal "Monster Cookie Ride" in Oregon. It was a metric century (100 KM or about 63 miles). Another day of pouring rain, but we labored ahead, dripping and soaking all the way. When we arrived at the finish line, the organizers were already putting away the tent and looking at us in amazement. I was embarassed it had taken us so long that we were the very last to finish, until I learned that we were two of only a fraction of the riders that finished at all. We finished last, but we finished, when most of the people had just up and quit.

So of course today, I had a blast.

That's the earthy part of me, the one in total awe and love of Hashem's creation.

I'm looking a lot this Rosh Hashanah at qualities I wish to improve in myself, but these are two I have down... strength and determination accompanied either with unrelenting certainty or beaming joy. Both qualitites I've inherited, thanks to G-d and thanks to my mom and dad.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Shanah Tovah

So much change in just one year.



To everyone...

a good year -- a year of health, growth, prosperity, prayers answered. May we recognize our own capacity as vessels to contain and distribute holy light in the world and make that our priority... our wills joined to Hashem's as one.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

We Were Walking In the Woods One Day...

Went for a walk with our friends yesterday.

The kids were holding hands at one point, but then ND fell. She thought this was
hysterical so kept doing it again and again. (Needless to say it took us over an hour to walk less than a mile.)

The poor camera work in there is because I was swatting a mosquito.

They also hugged so hard they knocked each other over... repeatedly.

Don't worry. She had a bath.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008


Looks like the year is up!

This has been the year of no new clothes as all my best fans know. It's been a good year and, as I've said, I've gotten more great used stuff that I ever expected.

So where do I go from here?

Well, I did cheat once when my mom and I drove a distance to a special store and I didn't want to miss the opportunity, so I bought some clothes then that I haven't even taken out of the bag and won't until Rosh Hashanah.

I want to start giving away something every time I get something new.

I want to continue shopping for used clothing and fair trade when it's not new. (Anyone have good resources for beautiful fair trade and affordable clothing online?)

I've wondered a lot what this year's project would be. I wanted to do something with food consumption because it's such a symbol of our relationship with the world, taking in all the time either with or without gratitude and awareness.

In that vein I considered vegetarianism again, but it's not practical for me because I use the school lunch plan.

Also, I got diagnosed with a nut allergy this year! A fruit allergy too, but one that's less severe, thankfully. But as a result, I'm not interested in cutting more food out of my life, just in seeking healthy alternatives whenever I can.

So no major projects right now. I want to go easier on myself and forgive myself more... I want to buy less erratically and do more for the environment, be kinder, compassionate and all of those things, but not with a big rule right now. Better to just revisit monthly in my heart whether I'm interacting with the world in the way that brings the most kiddush Hashem.

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Omi Cwy

Wow, I've missed two weeks on here!

So busy with school. ND hasn't been handling it perfectly. She has her arms and legs wrapped around me much of the time, but still likes school. Sadly, she does call for me at naptime.

Last week I missed work Tuesday morning because I had a horrible, violent cold. I only stayed home in the morning because I felt awful leaving my classroom with my assistant on our first full week. Plus, that evening was to be our Back to School night... all the more reason I needed to pace myself, but also needed to get to school to prepare. In the end the cold passed strangely quickly.

That night when I left for Back To School Night ND cried. But when I got home she was just fine, playing and cheerful. The first words to me when I came in, "Omi Cwy." In other words, she just wanted to make sure I knew she'd been crying.

It's a struggle everyday, but we're getting through it and U. swears to me that she usually stops within minutes after I leave. Thursday I stayed home with her because SHE was sick. But now we're both feeling healthy as can be.

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