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

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Texas 2010

Thanks to my dad I don't have to work quite so hard at posting all my pictures. This link has an even better version of this video along with some others and some great pictures.

Click on this photo below to see both the first and second parts of our trip... Dallas and Wimberly:

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Friday, January 29, 2010

On The Return

Yesterday morning when ND woke up, Meemau sang her this song, a song that's been passed down through the generations in her family:

Good morning, Merry Sunshine.
Why did you wake so soon?
You frightened all the stars away
and scared away the moon.

She said to ND, are you a merry sunshine, to which ND said,

"I'm not a sunshine. The sunshine is a circle and I'm not a circle."

So began our last day away. Final days with family are so hard... there's no good way to spend the time. We sat around for a conversation about how miserable it is to fly because of security, and no more pillows on planes etc. I chose not to join in because I hate conversations that are just about complaining. I am perfectly happy to deal with security as it is intended to help with... well, security. Also, I'm far more worried about a number of other more worrisome things in the world that I'm not going to list here for fear of depressing myself. A final reason, honestly, is I think that I could probably get the prize for hard time flying but don't feel the need to claim it.

But in the interest of telling the story of last night I'll mention that I think every year when I return home from Austin I have to fly through Dallas and that almost always, there is a storm. This was true when I was pregnant and so thirsty and nauseous the stranger next to me had to help me. This was true when I had an infant in arms and had to run from one flight to the next, arriving home in a different airport that I had intended. 

This was true last night when our 3:15 boarding time was pushed repeatedly and the flight TO Dallas did not actually get into the air until about 7:30 PM. This was true last night when we were given a choice to de-plane in Austin and I couldn't decide whether it was better to do so and risk not getting back into the air at all or to be stuck in Dallas waiting for a 6 AM flight the next morning that AA wanted to send me on. This was true when we did finally arrive in Dallas and were not able to get off the plane until 9 PM. This was true when the crew for the next flight was also delayed.

Almost all's well that almost ends well as we were able to get on another plane within half an hour of arriving in Dallas and landed in NY at 2:something AM. My suitcase and ND's car seat sadly did not arrive yet, but the airline loaned us a carseat. My noble spouse was happy to pick us up and we all got to bed around 4. ND is sleeping now and I'm enjoying taking the day slow and waiting for our baggage to arrive.

ND was a positively incredible trooper. She played and we talked nicely through all of it. I snapped at her once or twice when she wanted to do things her way at a time when I was tense or needing to hear instructions, and as the evening wore on, I had to remind her of things more and more often. Lately her response when I get stern with her is always, "I'm LISTening!" To that I say, "Yes, you're listening, but that doesn't matter if you don't do what I say, and I had to say it one-two-three times." But when things didn't go right, like losing a crayon or dropping a pretzel she calmly said again and again, "That's OK."

When we were finally on planes, she said she wanted to get off, poor thing, but she cuddled up to me and went to sleep on both flights.

In any case, I'm back now and wondering how I can continue to slow things down for myself as school starts up again. I have a busy weekend with so many Tu B'shvat things. I've been stressing disproportionately about a Green Kiddush we're organizing for the shul and I'm wondering if I really need to have as active a lifestyle as I have lately. I'm trying to change the world, but maybe I'd be better off just having more time to clean my house and write and be with ND.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Window Open

Our trip draws to a close today. I've been so grateful for so many things throughout, a large one being the opportunity to be outside a significant amount of time with ND.

As the week has gone by I have gradually felt an internal shift, gradual softening, calming, opening. I'm a little afraid of returning to the work rush and wondering, as always, how to retain some of the peace from this break.

Wimberly, TX where I am right now is especially good for slowing down. We are surrounded by natural landscape. There are so many antiques too... people reusing old things and keeping memories of the past around them without adapting their entire being into to the speed of ipods and the like.

Yesterday we spent a large chunk of the afternoon playing in my uncle's yard. As we drove back, ND kept asking that her window be rolled down. She usually hates to have it rolled down at home, but we let it go down all the way, even though it was noisy and a little chilly to do so. As we drove through the rolling hills she held her hand up to ride on the wind.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Say Sorry

Tonight during dinner at my grandmother (Meemau)'s house, I was helping ND cut her pasta. I accidentally broke the plastic fork she was using. The night before she had been biting a plastic fork hard and I had warned her not to break it.

So when I broke hers she reminded me that "we don't do that."

I responded that I was sorry but that I had been trying to help her. I also said I would get her another one right away. (In the past she has made a very big deal about me accidentally breaking things so I wanted to get off the subject as quickly as possible.)

Later as I was cleaning in the kitchen I heard her tell the family that I had broken her fork but that I had been trying to help her. Then she called to me, "You need to say sorry."

"But I did say sorry."

"You said sorry to me but not to Meemau. It's her house and her fork."

So I went to Meemau in front of ND, retold the whole story and said, "I'm sorry."

"It's OK," she said. "But thank you for saying sorry."

ND watched and listened to every word.

My gosh, what is in store for me 10 years from now!?

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Thank you?

When U. and I were driving with ND to the airport, ND dropped something on the floor. U. reached back, picked it up and handed it to her.

I remarked on how nice it was that he had done that for her and asked her what she could do for him.

Her response:

"Later I'll write him a mitzvah note."

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Making Beds

I'm visiting at my grandmother's house in Wimberly. I'm working hard (too hard?) at being in the present moment and discovering how challenging it is for me. I keep reflecting on just how much I've been working during the school year and don't know if there is any way to do it differently. I'm looking for ways to improve the quality of my presence, particularly for ND. Ironically, the harder I work during the day the easier it is to be present at night with her because I'm not interested in doing other things.

I'm looking around my grandmother's house at homemade things like quilts that I can't imagine anyone having time or care to make. I took the time to make the beds, remembering a quote in Children Of God, the sequel to The Sparrow. The main character, a priest named Emilio, is either working to make up his bed despite the crippling injuries to his hands that he suffered in the first book, or maybe he has given up on it at that point. Someone reminds him, "The path to enlightenment begins with a made bed."

Taking the time to make a bed means not having as much time for other things, but it also shows self-dignity and order. I usually don't do it, but when I do, I'm glad I did. Did Mother Teresa have time to make beds or did that cost her the chance to help one more person that day?

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Monday, January 25, 2010

My daddy says...

ND has a thing where if I say she can't do something, she says, "but my daddy says it's ok..."

The other day I was getting her ready for bed. I asked her to please take her slippers to the other room. She put her hand in them to lift them. "See?" she said, "I can pick them up by putting my hand into them. See? My daddy says it's ok."

I said, "It IS OK, but did your daddy really say that or did you just make it up?"

She thought about it for a minute, then yelled downstairs, "Dad, can I put my hand in my slipper?"

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Saturday, January 09, 2010

Last Year At Marienbad

This is one of the strangest movies I've ever seen. After the first 20 minutes I said to Uri, "I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do with this." He said I didn't have to watch it and I said, "Oh yes I do..." I don't give up that easy. Don't read on if you plan to see it and haven't yet... It's hypnotic and no one can explain it including the film makers. For a long time I thought it was all about time, or maybe storytelling. Then I thought maybe the seducer was just plain crazy. Then suddenly I was completely sure that the woman had a fever and the seducer was death taking her away. So sure of it that I couldn't concentrate on anything else. I think I really liked this after all.


Sunday, January 03, 2010

3 Days, 2 Big Accomplishments

I was so burnt out last week I could barely wait for the weekend. I imagined it would be a nice leisure time after working so hard lately on anecdotals and various volunteer things for shul. 

It wasn't exactly, but it was highly productive. It's blustery and freezing cold outside so we barely ventured out at all for 3 days. But in that time, besides accomplishing many small tasks around the house, I (1) basically finished anecdotals. I say basically because I'm still waiting for some from my assistant which I have to read through. But I finished with my piles of stuff and reclaimed my office again. 

Then (2) we got ND potty-trained! It really wasn't a big deal. We told her it was coming and on Friday put her in underwear. So far we've been really successful. I had tried once before with disaster, but that was last summer and I guess she wasn't ready. This was easygoing and fine. We still have to see how well she does with it in school, but I feel confident about sending her tomorrow.

In addition, U. and ND went out and got 3 new fish for our aquarium. I guess I should take a picture as I haven't written about it at all. Later.

Now we're going to watch a movie...

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