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    Another year has come and gone -

    Saturday, November 12, 2011, 5:49 PM [General]

    Looking back, I seem to have a huge chunk of missing time - when did I skip being '40'ish' and start closing in on 60?

    Was it just being really really busy? Was it 'the teen years' (not mine, but the kids!) that stole a decade or so?

    yikes! I want a do-over! Especially if I can 'do over' knowing THEN what I know NOW - otherwise, I'm sure to make the same - or even worse - mistakes I must surely have made the first time around the track.

    All you people with toddler/preschool kids: don't buy more toys. Start a college savings program instead. They really don't need yet another teddy bear or Barbie.

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    generally pissed off

    Sunday, March 1, 2009, 10:18 AM [General]

    Who decided that it will be impossible to find the threads one wishes to track? Who decided it was impossible to change which of my groups actually show up on my profile page and which do not? Who decided that my home page has community journals on it when I don't want them? who decided all this stuff?

     

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    what a week!

    Thursday, August 14, 2008, 1:45 AM [General]

    It started out busy, with work - I traded a weekend day for a 'regular' day so I could take daughter no. 3 to take her drivers license test (the driving part) - which she flunked (unexpectedly). Apparently the main issue was that she drives like a REGULAR person (too fast, stops too close to red lights, doesn't turn her tires into the curb etc etc).And it is somehow MY fault that she doesn't know how to properly parallel park - (but I wasn't the teacher! Why is this MY fault! I didn't do it! I wasn't supposed to do it!)

    Oh what drama! What angst! 

    But that was nothing to what followed the next day (and is still continuing). The class schedules came out. School starts on Monday, and NOBODY is happy! Tears. Screams. Door slamming. Daughter no. 2 who is a senior is particularly affected - she has to choose between a course she loves and a course she needs - or two courses she needs AND wants - tragedy.

     

    Daughter no. 3 managed to manipulate things to suit her self a little better - not perfect, but adequate, apparently. Daughter no. 2 has not been so lucky - and she is a senior (as she keeps telling us) and should get what she wants (preferably Right Now with Ribbons).

     

    Did I mention that some of the screaming and door slamming came from her father, who is well past 'fed up' with Daughter no. 2 and her dramatics and - shall we say - inner focus (as in, 'me, me, me').

     

    Place all that in a week with two or more evening meetings after work, the imminant necessity of a third bout with root canal, a new 'senior' person at work (to whom I will be reporting) and a few oddities and annoyances with the internet (and my email) generally - not excluding b'net, unfortunately) and  - for a Wednesday - this has not been a great week.

     

    Now LAST week was pretty good! but that is a different story.

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    On having a(nother) birthday

    Friday, May 16, 2008, 11:44 AM [General]

    First of all, I'd like to thank all the nice people who posted birthday greetings here. Certainly unexpected, but as certainly appreciated!

    For whatever reason, I had a truly splendid birthday this year. As far as I can tell, for no special reason at all! But for the whole week, I was receiving ecards, and 'real' cards, flowers (roses from husband, some kind of daisy like plant from friends) and candy (ah, chocolate truffles - heavenly!) and gifts - the kind of small (and large) gifts that tell you that the person who chose it actually THOUGHT about what you would like! (thank you Mira for the Amazon gift certificate! Thank you Baruch for the specialty soap bar with mud in it! - okay, I admit it, I have eclectic taste in gifts).

    And thank you, too, to everyone in my office, who prepared and brought an entire LUNCH for everybody on my birthday - fried chicken, butternut squash soup, macaroni salad and rolls - and that absolutely wonderful German chocolate CAKE!

    yummy.

    and LETTERS!

     I have wonderful friends.

     

     

    Nothing from my sister. Nothing from my brother.

    So what else is new?

     

    I truly don't understand them. I send THEM gifts, for birthdays and holidays. Cards. Flowers and fruit. 

    Knowing my brother, he probably just frankly forgot. 

     My sister, though - that's another story.

    No way she 'forgot'. Her birthday is two days after mine, and I not only sent her a package, I also wrote, and even called her on the phone and left a birthday message. This is part of a pattern of behavior, that seems unlikely to change anytime soon. She is well-organized, efficient and old enough to know better (we are both in our fifties). So what is it? Ultimately? One reason is her own personality - she cares for her husband, she cares for her children - and as far as I can tell, that's about it.

    Plus, of course, she doesn't approve of me or my life. What did I do to her? I converted to Judaism, that's all. From her POV, that makes me close to certifiable, and certainly a possibly dangerous person to have around the children. Who knows? It might be catching.

    Of course, that was over twenty years ago - but as far as I can tell, she started out life as a judgemental person, and age doth not wither nor custom stale...

    sigh

     She's still my sister, as far as I'm concerned.  I'll keep sending her birthday presents, and Christmas presents. Why should I let HER behavior stop me from an activity which I enjoy? I like to buy gifts for people. For me, it's not about 'the exchange', it's about the giving.

     

    Although I sure hope she doesn't browse B'net and read blogs.  

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    Life etc

    Sunday, March 23, 2008, 9:00 PM [General]

    Who was it who said, life is what happens while you are making other plans? Ashley Brilliant?

     

    Life, taken all in all these days, is not so bad. True, I rarely have time to reflect and enjoy it, but I've been making an effort to snatch some moments among the buzzing errands and duties around me, to look out the window (see my bird photos?) and to notice that my orchids are blooming (see my orchid photos?) and occasionally to take note that the girls are actually  -  very occasionally! - behaving as if they were - almost grown up.

     

    Once in a while.

     

    We (my husband and I) are in that transitional stage, with our children beginning to leave home. Our oldest is now in college and showing signs of maturity which, while gratifying, are a bit unsettling. Where did our baby go? How did this happen? (okay, okay, we KNOW how it happened. It's just - did it have to happen so bloody FAST??)

    Middle daughter - always a trial - may actually turn out rather well, eventually. Maybe. At least, we are not quite so pessimistic about that as we were a year ago. This is entirely an 'in-family' matter: to the outside world, daughter no. 2 is poised, attractive, talented and bright. That she is also an energy SINK with a bottomless capacity to spend, is not visible to the casual eye. But still - sometimes, we are surprised - and she has always been surprising.

    Baby - oh the baby. The baby is as tall as I am. She is learning to drive the car. She doesn't need me anymore! I am distraught!

     

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    True spirituality

    Thursday, January 24, 2008, 9:50 AM [General]

    I think, actually, that 'spirituality' is not a really good term. But on the other hand, matters immaterial can be hard to put into words. I think the term is used far too casually for far too many states of being.

    I also tend to the skeptical approach - which isn't 'happy' with things immaterial nor with matters internal to the mind, I don't think. But the mere fact that something - some idea, some 'reality', is not physical doesn't mean it isn't 'real'.

    To say otherwise, is to invalidate human understanding of human experience. What is 'real' anyway, except what we perceive as reality? We live inside our heads, and share agreement on how we experience the outer world. Can we share agreement on how we experience the 'inner world' also? We seem to lack good referents.

     

    I can point to the sky and we can agree it is 'blue'. Can I point to a 'spiritual experience'  - maybe by relating it verbally or by painting a picture? Can I show this to someone else, and have them 'see' what I believe I perceived?

    It doesn't seem to work that way, does it? I think lack of a common vocabulary is part of the communication difficulty.

    But if a 'spiritual experience' is both real (objectively so) and something desirable (as in, let's do that again), then surely there are ways - methods, times, places - to encourage that repetition?

    Certainly, people have taken paths to repeat their 'spiritual encounters' for - at least millenia, I'll bet. Hard paths like fasting and solitude, and easy paths (or at least, they promise shortcuts) like drugs.

    It seems to me that many of those paths - the 'best' ones - stress how dangerous the path can be, and how truly dangerous the actual encounter can be: because you can lose yourself in that encounter, and never return.

     

    We have a midrash - a legend, a teaching story - in the Talmud about the dangers of reaching for 'union with the divine', shall we say.

    Four esteemed scholars and eminant teachers 'went into the Garden', and there:

    one died

    one went mad

    one lost his faith in God

    and only one returned alive and unharmed, with his 'identity' intact: Rabbi Akiva.

     

     

    Bad odds. 

     

    Rabbi Akiva taught:

    Humans are beloved, for they were created in the image of God. They are exceedingly beloved, for it was made known to them that they were created in the Divine Image: as it is written: 'In the image of God were mortals made' (Gen. 9:5) Pirkei Avot Ch. III, 18

     

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    Just what is 'spirituality'?

    Tuesday, November 13, 2007, 8:56 AM [General]

    This is something I see in magazine articles, online, hear on the radio - people talking about 'being spiritual' (but not religious) as if being sort of vaguely in touch with their emotional side without bothering with the intellectual part is somehow a GOOD thing.

    So forgive me, but what, pray tell, does someone MEAN when they say they are 'spiritual'?

    They see ghosts? They have 'feelings' about nature? Poetry makes them tear up? They feel better when they meditate?

    So?

    How is that a substitute for being 'religious'?

    Isn't 'a religion' about creating bonds between people, by creating a structure where 'spirituality' can blossom - together? By giving people a place to hold onto, when the dark and sad events and emotions threaten to overcome? By establishing some sort of GOAL and meaning to all that 'spirituality'?

    I don't see, myself, how 'spirituality' can exist in a vacuum, without a religious expression to it.

    So just what do people MEAN, when they say they are 'spiritual'? What am I missing, because that statement just makes no sense to me at all.

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    siddurs and translations

    Thursday, October 18, 2007, 6:07 PM [General]

    Most of the time, I prefer a siddur with reasonably 'Hebrew-faithful' translations - even if I don't appreciate some of the sentiments! But knowing what little I know about Hebrew, I understand that 'faithful translation' is a fuzzy concept, sometimes.

    At any rate, I chose a quote from Siddur Sim Shalom for my signature recently - and it certainly isn't 'plain vanilla' translation from the Hebrew - but it certainly spoke to me! I hope you like it too ('you' being whoever reads this post).

    Ribono shel olam, adon ha-simcha sh'eiyn l'fanaiv atz'vut...

    my translation:
    Master of the universe, lord of joy, in his presence there is no sadness...

    Siddur Sim Shalom has:
    Sovereign, Master of Joy, in whose presence despair takes flight...


    Now there is a bit of a pun going on here for me, because I am Simcha.

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    exploring

    Thursday, October 18, 2007, 12:07 PM [General]

    Is this supposed to be, like, a blog? That people can read? Or just personal musings?
    Since I don't know  - I'll just have to explore.

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