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

Friday, August 28, 2009

Shabbos Cooking Show

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

ND at the store

"Reading" me a label on a grocery item:

"I'll find the cost. It says 'you can't eat this because it's not kosher but it's kosher.'"

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Camping Trip 2009

Wonderful trip this year.

Click above to see the narrated slide show. (I couldn't help that the videos are not in quite the right order.)

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Halakhic Organ Donation

Don't quite have the courage to post about this on Facebook directly... don't know why.

I just got my Halakhic Organ Donor Card. It's the right choice completely. No regrets about that. It's just scary to think about the possibility of ever needing it.

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Friday, August 21, 2009

First Trip Away From ND

U. is giving ND a bath, so at least I have a moment to catch up on a few personal things.

First, I went ahead and updated my Ginat Kesher blog today after a lovely though tiny tzedakah experience.

I got an email from a friend asking about a particular Portland (or rather, Vancouver, experience) so let me write it up now...

So my trip to Portland was almost 3 weeks long. I timed it to help me get to a friend's wedding on August 9th in Vancouver. The original plan was to drive up some time during that previous week and revisit good old Vancouver where U. and I lived the year before we moved to Englewood. But between one thing and another (including U's inability to join me) it began to seem too stressful to do this trip with ND. So finally I made a radical decision to ask my parents to watch her for the night while I flew up to Vancouver just for the wedding and fly back.

They agreed and we timed it so that I was up around 4:30 AM on Sunday to get ready, wake up ND, nurse with her, say my goodbyes and get a ride from my dad to the airport. The flight was to land at 10:50. The preliminary wedding things (tisch etc.) would be at 11. The chuppah would be at 12:30. My plan was that after the wedding I'd hit my favorite personal spot in Vancouver, Van Dusen Garden. I had other favorite spots too, but that in particular I visited frequently enough to buy myself a membership, and I usually went alone. The other places I'd love to revisit, I would be a little sad to do without U.

Then I'd get back to the hotel and up again Monday morning at 4:30, get to the airport and meet my mom and ND in the airport before a 1:30 PM flight back to Newark, NJ.

Packing was very complicated. I had to do it on Friday and packed things in all different places depending on whether ND would need them during her stay with my parents, whether I would need it in Vancouver, whether it needed to go into a suitcase or could be shipped. (I brought a lot of stuff, both old and new, from Portland this year.)

I worried/thought about this trip a great deal in advance, and at first it kept me up at night a little. But even then, I don't think I doubted its feasibility... I just wasn't sure how best to make it work. I've NEVER been away from ND overnight. I've rarely even missed a bedtime and she often wants me close during the night. But we prepared as best as we could, talking it through in advance and with me tutoring my parents on tricks to help her out.

Goodbye was hard, but not wrenching, and I reminded her I'd be back. My biggest fear was that my plane would crash or that something would happen to her while I was out of reach. But, thank G-d, neither of those things happened.

When I flew into Van it took me a 1/2 hour to get through customs. This was particularly frustrating as I had, at one point, a choice to get out of one line and into another, but stayed put only to find I was stuck between a group of Asian visiting students who didn't speak English and therefore needed attention. It was cute to see their workbooks helping them guide them through the customs process and see their teacher helping them through. I felt excited for them, to be honest, but I needed to get where I was going.

Once through I jumped into a cab and we hit Oak street, the central street on which I once lived, went to shul and used as my main artery for everything useful during our year there. We passed the turn-off for my old workplace and then pulled up to a temple that I'd passed but never been in.

I was there exactly at noon, just as the men were getting up from the "tisch" and having pictures taken. I immediately found my friend, CK from Oberlin who was taking pictures too, and we caught the eye of my groom-friend, BZ. He saw me and I could tell he was glad I came. That look made it all worth while.

Meanwhile, ND was doing just fine back with my folks, visiting the zoo, park etc.

I had a great time, talking with CK and her husband, JK, both very dear friends from my best times at Oberlin. And the wedding went on LONG. They were still dancing at 8 PM!!! CK and JK left for the airport at 7ish and by then I slipped away. There was no way I could make it to the garden, but I did get a glimpse of the mountains from the rooftop of the hotel where there was a lovely terrace.

AND... I went to the bar and had a beer and read a book for half an hour. What a joy!!! Just to sit in quiet and in public and to read and not worry about drinking and driving, but just to go up to my room after.

The night was tough. I guess I was a little worried. I called home and knew that ND was having a very rough bedtime. I knew there was nothing I could do, so I tried to just relax. But I was in a strange room and the night stretched on and on with me only getting a few hours sleep and while I suffered from the pain of not nursing. (Yes, we're still going strong.)

When we met up at the airport, she was sleeping after a long sleepless night for everyone, but, when she awoke, she was only about as happy as ever to see me... no more, no less. It felt natural to come together again instead of desperate as I'd imagined.

The best part of that day was actually seeing her see her Dad again when we FINALLY arrived back in Newark at midnight. She was in her car seat/stroller and began kicking when he drove up and practically flew into the car when I unbuckled her and opened the door. What a look as she hugged him around the neck after those 3 weeks away... so much more than my single night.

Either way, I'm glad we're back together again, and home.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Reflection on reflection

I haven't had so much time to blog or Facebook since I've been back... and it's good. I only have 2 weeks until I'm back to work and I'm shifting into an understanding that I can either spend a lot of time journaling about everything (which I want to do) or I can just do things (which I also want to do.) I'm trying very much to leave, flowing with the stream of doing what I can but not grabbing onto too many things that I think I have to do.

I've also felt less desire to be public since I published my book. Kind of wanted to hide since then, although I'd like to sell more copies too. And I really do want to do more readings... later.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fishing Game

I have a lot to blog about from my Portland trip, but not yet as I have to catch up on bills and stuff first...

but one quick story. In the airport ND was playing with one of those cheapie little fishing games. Not exactly like the one in the picture, but that's close enough.

We were putting the little fish back and she was carefully putting the yellow ones together and the orange ones together and was saying, "and I'll put this one here, and this one here... so they can talk."

When I asked what they would talk about, she said "fishing poles."

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Monday, August 03, 2009

Portland Bike Ride

Around this time 6 years ago, while I was in the midst of cancer treatment, I went on the Providence Bridge Pedal bike ride with my dad. There were multiple routes available and I remember crying when I ran out of steam and could only manage the 18.5 mile route. (The mileage is actually listed in a poem I included in my just-published book, which is how I remember it.)

Yesterday Dad and I went out again and I wanted to beat that 18.5, but perfectly healthy as I am now, I was still plenty exhausted after just 17 miles. We started at my parents' house in SW, went down SW Taylor's Ferry, crossed the Sellwood Bridge, biked North up to the train bridge, and looped around again.

Along the way we squeezed in a great little trip to the Saturday Market (on a Sunday) and bought lots of homemade stuff.

Ironically, I've forgotten that exercising to the point of exhaustion is sometimes a contributor to insomnia for me which is why I'm up too early.

Here's a picture of the train bridge as it let a sailboat through an my dad fixed a tire. Hello, Willamette!:

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