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

Monday, June 28, 2010

Bear Mountain

A great day. ND and I visited old college friend and her two girls up in Cold Spring, NY. We left there at 2 so she could get some work done and, despite a rainstorm, decided to check out Bear Mountain State Park

I can't believe we never came here before. Next time relatives visit and we have time for a whole day outing, this is the place to go instead of Manhattan. Hiking trails, boat rental, swimming pool, carousel, zoo and all of it surprisingly quiet! (It's quieter than our neighbors of late who seem to always be talking or playing radios in the yard when I'd like to just relax.)

I'm totally exhausted, but ND and I got a lot out of today. Besides picnic and running in a sprinkler in the morning with the friends, we got to rent a paddle boat and see the animals in the zoo at Bear Mountain. I just wish I'd had a stroller. We were both exhausted and, as a result, I carried ND a lot of the way on my back. As you can imagine, I'm about to collapse. 

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Good Things To Do

A key I forgot to mention, is that might lists are no longer "to do" lists, but "good things to do" lists, leaving open the understanding that any of it is good, not all of it is necessary. 

Can't visit EVERY nature center in Bergen County. One is enough.

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Sunday, June 27, 2010


Summer finally began for me midway through Thursday of last week when my school year finally ended with a pool party at my boss's house. (I got a little sunburned, much to my twisted delight.)

So now the fun begins... anyone who knows me at all will predict that I'm going to spend some portion of my summer obsessing about how I'm spending my summer and with too many lists... even lists of fun things I want to do. I want to look back at the end of the time and feel accomplished.

But accomplishment means a number of things this year:

-I have some big goals for writing. This will be the hardest to get done and the easiest to measure.

-I also want to spend real time with ND. This isn't something I can measure. I hope to just get better at doing it daily. Today I was successful, going with her and U. to a playground with a sandbox at her request.

-A few days ago I began to worry if I shouldn't have arranged to spend some time in Portland with my family. The more I thought about it, the more I came to the conclusion that it's important I stick around this year. For one, I went for 3 weeks last year and that meant U. and ND being separated. I'd like for us to have more time together this summer. But maybe even more significantly, I need to start putting down some roots here. I've been here about 5 years and I still don't want to consider it home, but I also want closer friends. When my friend died a few weeks ago, I reflected more on this. I saw how many people flocked to her support before her death, and to her family afterwards. I began to crave that feeling of community. So even at the expense of travel or writing, I think I need to find time to bond with friends.

In any case, among all of these things, there's always the house that needs so much done... dishes for one thing, buying a dishwasher for another, ironically enough. Then the laundry, the lawn, the longing for it all to already be clean and perfect. It's all a process.

Went last week to the Barnes and Noble open mic night. While deciding what to read I found this poem I wrote in April 2009, very much about accepting a messy house and experiencing the moment.

A life of worth --
does it come

from accomplishment
or appreciation?

From minutes spent racing
to the next

Or holding out arms 
in ecstasy of the moment
even as the pieces fall 
all around.

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Monday, June 14, 2010


Was diagnosed last week with bronchitis... left work on Wed to go to urgent care and stayed home on Thursday. Last night realized I was still fatigued and went into a major panic yesterday. A friend of mine died from ovarian cancer just two weeks ago. 

Despite all reason, I could not be left alone without feeling totally overwhelmed with terror and/or anger directed at myself for feeling the terror. 

Came to school late today because I felt I really needed to be there. Many backseat driver doctor friends in the staff room things worse by asking if I was on the right meds, if it could be something worse etc. etc. I confirmed with both my own doctor and the urgent care that prescribed the meds in the first place. Both said the fatigue is normal and that it's ok to go on the Statue Of Liberty field trip tomorrow.

Thank goodness by about 2:30 I actually started to feel a little better physically and, as a result, emotionally.

But my GOSH the FEAR! 

I guess my best hope is that I continue to live with this fear and obsession when I get sick... until I'm 90 or so.

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Saturday, June 05, 2010


Alright... it's been two weeks already since the season finale of Lost! I've been wanting to blog but haven't had time. Within that period I've gone through such anger and resentment but now am okay again... sort of.

Here's the deal...

Lost! started as a wonderful show. To me it was primarily about John Locke and an incredible setting that was terrifying and fascinating. The characters on the island struggled with their pasts and many were searching for teshuvah. Locke alone had faith in the island and was devoted to it. It was his destiny. If we had faith too, it was supposed to pay off in the end...

Over the years we were brought into many characters' lives and were taken through many parts of history. We watched characters face redemption like Charlie who knew he had to die, but who chose a noble death. (I hated losing him.) We saw the smoke monster face Ekko head on and, if you backed up and looked inside the smoke, saw images of all he'd done wrong. 

It was weird the way people's lives converged. Many of the characters had brushed against other of the characters in the "real world." It was strange that Ekko's brother's plane crashed on the island, that Locke's evil father was also the real Sawyer whose conning had led to James/Sawyer's parents' death.

Then there were peripheral things we didn't understand... the Others (who originally didn't leave footprints, by the way), the Dharma Initiative, a giant 4-toed statue, a guy with a beard who was the villain for awhile and who eventually must have just quit the show, a polar bear, a porthole to a dessert...

As time went on, villains changed, probably because the writers just couldn't make up their mind what they were doing. (They finally realized a great thing with Ben but never could quite decide what to do with him.) Then we met Jacob and didn't know what to make of him. Was he G-d? Did he run all of this? Was he the one who was helping people find their redemption? Why was he invisible at first, then coming into the outside world? And poor Ben who was so filled with faith that he would murder any and all, but never got close to Jacob except, finally to kill him. (My favorite line on the whole show was when Ben delivered a eulogy to Locke. "He was filled with faith, more than I ever had. I'm very sorry I murdered him."

Up until now I was still watching with pure blind faith that despite a lot of bad writing, bad acting, my annoyance that none of the writers could possibly be mothers (what ridiculous turns they took with Claire and Sun!) and more questions than could ever be answered, that at least there would be meaning in how the island operates. What it is. What it's for. I was hoping for some way that this metaphor could enlighten me in my real life and actually connect to my own faith. For crying out loud, I once was able to compare Ben to Moshe when talking with another Lost fan!

But when it turned out that Jacob and the black smoke were opposed to one another, I no longer could make sense of how they worked together as Island Entities. And then in the second to last episode to learn that they knew as little as we did about the damn place should have alerted me to how wrong it would all go.

The final episode was not about the island at all, but about the "sideways world" that only existed in the last season... a world in which everyone who has died before on the show can be see again in a kind of purgatory before accepting their own deaths and moving on. I think I'll call it Cameo world. I have always been disappointed by when characters die but then really come back. (Tasha Yar from ST:TNG and Gandalf in the Fellowship of the Ring are just two examples.) But then to bring them all back smiling, hugging, kissing and we're supposed to be satisfied by this!!!!????? One explanation is that this is Hugo's island, but come on... really?

What's the fricking island!!!???

I see now that the writers were just in it for the money, for the easy emotions that they knew they could stir in us from having characters lose each other and find each other again. All the intrigue were just tools to keep us watching.

I feel cheated and resentful. Who do they think we are?

I will never commit to a TV show like this again.

At least I'm not alone. This video makes me feel just a little bit better:

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Friday, June 04, 2010

Poetic Challah

I wrote in another post that I can never get challah right. I've been working at it hard for the past few weeks because I was doing it in the merit of a woman I knew who was very ill. (40 women making challah for someone is a segulah... I still don't know what that means exactly but think of it as a powerful prayer.)

Yesterday I made the most beautiful perfect loaves I think I've ever made. The braiding is uneven, but they're golden and rose beautifully. I used a ton of yeast. 

Learned this morning that Chaya Rochel bat Shayna Rivka passed away yesterday.

I knew it was coming, but I'm so sad. Will eat the challah with her in mind.

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