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

Thursday, April 29, 2010


I've been doing an excellent job avoiding music during the omer, not too aggressively, but somewhat effectively nonetheless. A musician friend of mine just sent me a song which, first of all, made me feel very wistful and sad... (I guess the truth is I was already sort of in an intense mood... the music just reflected it back to me.) But secondly, I realize how much I'm craving music now. Looking forward to the concert on Sunday which happens to also be on Lag B'Omer... the concert is woodwinds in one of the local nature preserves, Flat Rock Brook.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Been finding out more and more and more and more foods lately that I "ought to avoid." Have been trying to cook healthy but it just stopped tasting good. Today was a hard day. I went on an ice cream binge. It felt emotionally satisfying.

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U's parents are visiting. They just came in via D.C. where they went to the National Gallery. My mother-in-law was showing me pictures from the National Gallery. We got to a Modigliani and ND sang, "Modigliani L'fanecha."

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday Project

Spontaneously made this aquarium out of a salad container, stickers, an old envelope, string and beads. Not a bad day to end an awesome day of getting stuff done, library book sale and walking in Flat Rock Brook Nature Center.

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Sunday, April 18, 2010


Last week was exhausting. By Friday I actually exploded in the office when I discovered a meeting had been planned without my knowledge. An extremely insightful friend of mine approached me to give me a hug at which point I totally melted down. The truth is, I don't think I gave myself enough emotional space to process my adjustment back to work after Pesach with family. Too many days this week I've caught myself remembering beautiful natural places in Oregon and B.C. and feeling incredible loss.

It doesn't help that I had two intentionally emotional evenings. Sunday night, in honor of Yom Hashoah, I heard a survivor from Sobibor. As part of the program they showed clips from the movie Escape From Sobibor, a movie I saw years ago. I went home feeling haunted and shaky almost more from memories of the movie and clips I didn't see than from what I actually saw and heard that night. Oddly enough, ND woke up right when I came home and was not just awake, but frightened too, easily spooked. I wondered if she sensed what I was feeling.

Then Monday night we had a memorial siyum at my school for  an administrative assistant at our school that died from cancer this year. The memorial was an opportunity for us to have some sort of closure and unity, but also to show her family just how much we cared about Sarah. She was so committed to her work and I was glad we could show how much we valued her, that her hard work was truly appreciated.

I spoke. I wasn't really planning to, but the opportunity presented itself. Several people read things they'd written including their memories of her. I kept mine to a theme and I'd like to record it here even it somewhat abridged. I think my words hit home based on something one of her sons said afterwards, and I'd like to record it here.

One of the things we loved about Sarah was this drawer she had in her desk filled with chocolate that was available for all. By the time I spoke, this drawer had been mentioned many times, so what I said was...

When I'm stressed I have an unfortunate habit of eating, and teaching is a stressful job. When I found out about the drawer, I kept my distance for awhile, but finally discovered Sarah really meant in when she invited us to partake. I think I took more than my share, sometimes 3 or 4 in a day. A few times I bought bags of chocolate to replace it, but it didn't seem necessary. The drawer was always full.

Then after some time the drawer was not so full. After Sarah's funeral I decided I would pay her tribute by buying as much as I could. I bought 5 enormous bags of York Mints and thought how terrific I was to have bought it.

To my surprise, it was all gone within a few days time. I had no idea how much she was putting into that drawer. It was at that point I realized just how much I had received. It was embarrassing. It made me want to become a better, more generous person.

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Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Pesach as an Environmental Hazard

So over Pesach:

-I doubled the amount of recycling I normally put out. Better than garbage but not as good as producing less waste.
-I covered the stove with foil.
-I covered the counters and shelves with contact paper... some of which will be nice to have year-round.
-I got new plastic bags at the store.
-I ate way more meat than usual.
-I used a little bit of disposable stuff, though very little still. At least I kept to paper or compostables and avoided plastic or styrofoam.

I want to offset it. I was thinking of finally doing something I've been afraid of... printing out a fact sheet of the problems of idling cars that I could slip under windshield wipers of idling cars with no one around. Would that be acceptable or not? I already have a reputation as being green. Shouldn't I use it for something instead of being embarrassed when attention is called to my leanings?

You know, as I typed this entry and found the fact sheet linked above, I feel encouraged to do it!

Chol Hamoed Highlights

Central Park on Thursday:

Van Saun Park on Friday:

Closter Golf Course on Sunday:

Oh yeah, and I won the golf game.

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Thursday, April 01, 2010

Seder Menu

So we did it... two successful seders this year. The first included a group of guests, as well as my parents and immediate family. The second was just the latter.

What we had to eat... way too much:

-About 3 pans of chicken (some with marsala and some with duck sauce. U. did this as I won't cook meat myself, and in fact we don't even have meat dishes the rest of the year)
-2 pounds of salmon
-2 pounds of carrots in a lemon-ginger carrot salad
-a pan full of roasted potatoes
-matzo ball soup, with parve chicken broth
-an enormous store-bought broccoli kugel
-2 meatloaves from a guest
-2 casseroles from the same guest

Nut-free charoset because I'm now allergic to nuts and uncooked apples and pears:
-about 3 apples and 3 pears, baked first in the oven
-two handfuls of dates
all ground up together in the food processor with marsala and then mixed with
-raisins left whole
It was very good.

We still have quite a bit of this left over and I never even made the squash I bought to make honey lemon squash or cucumbers I bought for a dill-cucumber salad. I don't think I'll have to cook for Shabbat.

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