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

Monday, August 29, 2011

Summer Summary 2011 Addendum

At the end of July, before we headed off to Portland, ND and I had one more special trip. We spent a large chunk of a day at Philipsburg Manor. This is a really unique historic experience. The place used to be an extremely wealthy manor that produced tons of butter and flour, all the work done by slaves living nearby.

Now, it is a kind of museum in which the re-enactors are all constantly actually working the farm. They actually tend and keep the slaves' personal farm, actually run the mill and sell the flour, actually care for the animals. I spoke to the woman there who was in charge of the cows to find out her background. She said she had grown up on dairy and had a degree in history. What a great combination for her job.

We spent hours there, more than I would have expected. I'd been there before once while pregnant, but we got a lot out of it this time. Maybe coming on a weekday when it was less crowded helped. The highlights were watching the mill run, helping thresh wheat and then getting to help feed a calf and milk its mother!

We have some great pictures in this collection. Keep in mind, though, that an additional highlight for ND was having time to take pictures herself. I haven't included all of them, but some are there. She was especially proud of the deep pink close-ups of her backpack.


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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene

So we're some of the lucky ones who got to view this whole experience as a fun diversion and nothing more, at least as of now.

For the past two days there has been constant news reporting of evacuations and preparations. We didn't know quite what to be concerned about in Englewood, NJ. Our biggest worry was that a tree could fall on the house, and secondary concerns included lowing power or having the basement flood.

So we cleared all our heavy items that were outside and put them in the garage, we raised up things in the basement that we didn't want to get soaked, we loaded up on water and food. We very rarely cook meat, but I bought some free range chicken back at Pesach. Worried that it might spoil if we lost power, we cooked it on Friday and ate it through Shabbat. (Mostly just U. and ND ate it. I'm not so into meat, although I was at least glad it was more ethical meat.)

Last and most exciting preparation was sleeping in the downstairs guest room rather than the upstairs bedrooms for fear, again, of a tree falling on the house or in very extreme circumstances, a window shattering.

Woke up to find the air conditioning still running, a light still on in the bathroom. I turned on the radio and heard a static-like silence for a moment, than realized it was just a contestant taking his time to solve a problem on the Weekend Puzzle. Looked outside, some tree limbs are suspended in the power lines above our house, but no damage. Next door, on the other hand, a huge limb knocked down power and blocked the neighbor's driveway. There but for the grace of G-d... Note the 2 photos. The first is our house. The second, our neighbor's.

Spending the day indoors away from any last limbs cracking and getting all kinds of things done together.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Summer Summary 2011 - Cancun, Haines Falls, Portland, Alaska

What a fabulous summer this has been. Unbelievable.

Things I accomplished around the house: cleaning out a few rooms (no, not as many as I thought, but more than if I had done none), finally clearing plastic flowers from flower boxes left here by previous owners, lots of time with ND etc.

Things I accomplished in writing: Had hoped to write for 40 hours, but got to about 32, not counting whatever I might squeeze in in the next few days. Sent out over a dozen pieces of writing. To date have received 2 rejections of a story and 4 poetry rejections, but accompanied with one acceptance to The Aurorean. (Fall/winter issue... maybe I'll post a link for that if it becomes available later.)

Then there are the trips.

I already wrote a plethora about Mexico. See previous posts labeled "Second Honeymoon" beginning with "We Actually Did It!"

Then there was the camping trip with emarcy with whom we've gone every year since I was pregnant with ND in 2006.

After that I had a few weeks of home to finish some things up and get ready for Portland. In Portland I visited a few friends... strange because there are fewer of them I want to see, less to talk about, etc., but I still feel so refreshed after returning to my roots.

In Portland (click on "Portland" for pics) we hit The Enchanted Forest (incidentally, I've been trying for over a decade to figure out how to write about my obsession with this place and now, as a mom, I think I finally know my hook. We also did The Oregon Zoo and Seaside. (You Jersey shore people know nothing of beach beauty. Nothing. Please forgive my arrogance on this, but it's too entirely different worlds.)

The second week of our Portland trip, ND attended Tryon Creek Day Camp.

Then... off on Alaskan cruise!!!!

Here are my parents' pics.

Here are ours.

We were together for nearly everything, except in Juneau. There my parents and ND went to a nature center at the bottom of the Mendenhall Glacier. U. and I took a helicopter ride to the top where we hiked with crampons. Probably the coolest thing I've ever done in my life.

Now we're back and I have just a few days left to scramble together doing things like unpacking and blogging about the summer. Then onto a new year with new students, new fulfillment and an occasional glance both backwards and forwards at summers.

(8/29/11) Please note I've just added an addendum with one more event at this blog post.)

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Alaska trip prequel

I have just a few days left to finish up stuff before the school year. One major task is documenting our trips to Portland, OR and then Alaska cruise from this summer. (Just got back on Sunday.) Lest I forget, I'm currently posting this link from my parents to get us started.

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Young Meditation


Right now I'm putting ND to bed. She started crying when she had a scary thought, so I laid down with her and helped her. We've read Peaceful Piggy Meditation a few times, so I used that as a reference and then talked about imagining a blue sky and letting the thoughts be like clouds or birds that come and go.

She tried it for a minute, then said she was picturing the feelings as pictures in a frame. I think she meant a digital frame, but I'm not sure. I loved her analogy and that she could take ownership of this process so I asked if I could write about it on my computer in a place that everyone could see and that I would do it right now. She said yes. So here it is.

P.S. After posting this message I looked down and saw she'd fallen asleep.

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