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

Monday, September 27, 2010


Haven't just written about ND for awhile. A few things...

1. Her cutest word right now is "ooh-zha-lee" as in, "Ooh-zha-lee Mom takes me to school, but today Dad is taking me and Mom is picking me up."

2. Over Sukkot we had one day scheduled to have guests. (Sadly, we had a mix-up and they couldn't make it.) ND helped me set the tables. We put out plates and silverware and arranged the tables. We had the big outdoor table for the adults and, a tiny picnic table right next to us so the kids could sit together. We were figuring out just who would sit where and ND suggested we move the picnic table to line up in such a way that "All the people could sit..." here she paused, trying to figure out just the right words, "could sit with their darlings."

3. As a child I always wanted to do things myself. ND is the same and more so. We find her tasks to do as much as we can. Some favorites that keep her busy are carrying cole slaw, ice or soup nuts to the table, making deviled eggs almost entirely herself, and getting dressed while I take my shower each morning.

What else do you want to know about her? I want to document, but can't think what else to say! Leave me a comment and I'll try to tell more.

Some random videos to enjoy:

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Stephens Farm

This is my second year as a member of a CSA through Hazon and Stephens Farm. CSA stands for Consumer-Supported Agriculture. In this case, this means that a group of people have bought share and half-shares into a year's harvest from a local organic farm. Every week from about June until October or November Farmer Ted drives all the way to us to deliver the vegetables. The result is that each week ND and I then go to the JCC and pick up a bag with our name on it that already contains freshly harvested produce. Sometimes if we don't want a particular vegetable we can trade from a trading crate, and all leftovers are donated to a food bank.

Yesterday we went out to see the farm. This was my first trip out there. It was a long drive, almost an hour and a half, and when we were there my allergies flared so badly that I had difficulty breathing and today am taking it very slow and easy as my poor lungs recover. However, it was so worth it. I was quite moved by the experience. The farm is on an enormous piece of land, much larger than I realized, and the family that's working the space works so hard to maintain it.

Steve, the Rabbi who has been organizing all of this, has developed a really beautiful relationship with the family and brought a sukkah for us to sit in during part of our trip. First we walked around a little, getting a small tour of the place with Annemarie. Then we helped pick some squash for this week's harvest. After that we returned to the sukkah and did leaf rubbings, then ate lunch and chatted a little with the family. Steve shared some words of Torah and Ted and Annemarie talked about how hard it is to maintain the farm in an age when our acquisition of food is not so very organic or local.

When we were done talking, Steve said Birkat Hamazon aloud in English. I was deeply moved to hear his words thanking G-d for the harvest, and sitting across from the very people who worked so hard, often at financial risk to themselves, to get the food to us. They don't have an easy life. We do.

I'm really glad we've chosen to do this CSA. It hasn't always given us all the vegetables we want in a given week, and sometimes blight and other real-life problems have hurt the quality of the food. But we're helping a family with their livelihood and, in return, we've been brought closer to the land ourselves.

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Rosh Hashanah Energy

Had a really great davening this year on the second day of Rosh Hashanah. (The first day I spent being attentive to ND. The second I left her with U and just davened.)

Every year I'm challenged by davening with a community. I'm easily annoyed by many judgmental thoughts about wishing I was with some other ideal people I imagine, or thinking that not enough people in the room are serious about davening or what-have-you.

But lately I've been doing a lot of very intentional inner work of trying to find more that I have in common with others, of being more accepting, of seeing that most of the things I see when I begin judging are just an outer mask of that person's inner self, of understanding that I need others and that others need me.

Last Sunday I heard a replay on the computer of a class that was given on the phone about energy healing. I wasn't sure how much I would take from it, but it turns out that I took quite a lot in retrospect. Oddly enough, just that day I was feeling tense and antsy for a number of reasons including that ND was sick and I had wanted to get out more. So knowing that I had Labor Day off I resolved that I HAD to get to the woods alone at some point. This is a huge and driving need for me at times.

Well, during that energy healing call, early on, the speaker was describing how energy worked and felt and started to say ways that you can really feel it. At one point, before she finished her sentence, I just knew she would say you can feel it in a forest. Suddenly it made sense to me just what I experience there... the power and healing acceptance that I feel amidst the trees.

So on Labor Day I did go and I felt and understood the experience differently than I had before. A few times I just stood and felt it and laughed at the chipmunks that played so noisily. After all, they don't have to be in awe of nature if they're in it all the time! So cleansing.

Rosh Hashanah as I stood to daven, I imagined that I was in a forest and that all the people were trees around me. Some were more rooted than others, more deeply involved in the davening. Because I was closing my eyes and feeling it so deeply, I didn't need to spend my time looking around the room deciding who was davening right and who wasn't. I imagined that some of the trees were very thick and rooted, and some were just saplings, and that this was a result of depth rather than age. But again, I didn't decide who. And when children, or even adults, chattered nearby, I translated the sound into that of chipmunks playing because they forget to be in awe.

When I finally came out of it all, I was just a little self-conscious, wondering if others were thinking about why I was standing during parts of davening when I didn't have to etc. (I intentionally stood near others who also stood for extra parts.) But it didn't really matter. Besides, the main comment I got from people was just that my suit looked nice.

Fine. I can't see so deeply into them. They can't see so deeply into me. And yet between us all, there is something.

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Monday, September 06, 2010

Shanah Tovah!

I hope to write more before the new year actually begins... but for now, a simple shanah tovah. May this year bring healing, light, intention and optimism to all!

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