Thursday, October 19, 2017

Know thy self, know thy mother

Today at shower time Sroch is running around the house , waiting to do anything but take a shower, stalling, generally freaking out. "My heart is so angry but my head doesn't agree!" … Okay kid. "AHHHH!" 

She scampered away again, and then comes back and hollers and living room where I am sitting in trying not to bemoan the fact she's way too big for me to just throw into the shower, and she yells - "I DON'T GET IT!! Why do I have to make such a fuss about taking a shower?!?!"

...I don't know kid. But we keep asking.... And that's kind of what adolescence is, figuring yourself out , getting yourself. And we are most assuredly in adolescence!

You'll get it, Sroch.


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I'm in the car going to pick up Shulamis from school cause she got braces today (!), and I'm enjoying the radio...


I'm singing along- "You are the sun, you are the rain..." you know the Lionel Richie song...

And Llama gets in the car and I turn to her and am singing the song to her now... 


So of course I'm now too choked up to sing cause I love her so much it's unbelievable. 


And she's like: 
"Mommy, is that Sesame Street you're listening to? Cause you're crying."


She gets me :)

Monday, August 28, 2017

Packing, Houston and Elul

I've been thinking about packing.

I read a Houstonians rabbi's pre-shabbos advice to his community of what to pack up safely in advance of Harvey hitting: homeowner and insurance documents for example (I would have included your kesuba), passports and the like. And then now of course, watching countless rescues of people from their flooded homes and the one or two bags they bring with them - you have to wonder what is in them.

And I am here, on my international trip, wondering if all our things will fit in four overstuffed pieces of luggage. So many things which up to a few days ago were not even 'our' things, but things sitting on shelves in Target or gift shops in Banff.

Less than a month ago was Tisha B'av, where we remember countless, countless stories of our fellow yidden fleeing with few things, or no things at all. How a single photograph preserved was a miracle, to say nothing of tfillin.

And I was thinking about packing.

What is really important?

What would you take with you?

At the end of the day it's crystal clear, the only important thing is our own safety. You get your family to safety and that is all that matters. Houses can (and for countless Houstonians and others, must) be replaced. Stuff too. Oh, if you had the time and the ability, if you had to run for safety you'd grab those most expensive, hard-to-replace things (jewelry, passports, wallets, phones, computers, maybe a photograph or a dozen, etc) but that would be a luxury. Insurance and time can replace most things, and losing photographs doesn't mean those things didn't happen, or those people never were.

And now it's Elul. This is the time of year set aside for our self-inventory, of seeing what indeed we take with us, and trying to see past those things we clutter up our selves with.

And we go home in a few days, and we need to Pack, to pack all these wonderful Things We Have, be they necessary or not, sentimental or not, lasting or fleeting (like some we're just going to eat, yum).

And I am endlessly grateful that I have the absurd privilege of having all this Stuff. I am blessed, I am blessed, I am blessed.

But I hope I can keep a perspective of what is important to Take With Me this trip... this Elul... this life.

And I can't stop watching the news, checking in with my family and friends in Houston, worrying about them... and being so grateful that they are safe, safe, safe.

Most things in life we stress about are just Stuff.

That we live, that we can go on to do good unto others and serve God... that is the most important thing to carry with us.

The same rabbi who advised his congregants what to pack up for the storm has also said (I cannot find the source now) that it may be time to 'resettle' his community to one that will not suffer massive destructive flooding every couple of years. I think this is wise. We Jews are no strangers to moving on.

Even if the community needs to move, they will take with them the most important things... that which makes them a community, that spirit of cohesiveness and love and serving God together.

And that is no tragedy.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Epic vacation tiyul day #5: Primark!!!!!

I don't want to take the focus away from waterfalls or nuthin, but technically we spent more time in Primark than at Bushkills or Letchworth.

I mean, priorities.

Saba and Savta didn't know what they were missing since they went home without making the Primarkage. Alas.

En route we stopped for lunch at some other -kill river. Meadowkill? Riverkill? Mosquitokill? Unknown. But my amazing husband fired up the butane stove one last time for hot Israeli soy export hot dogs and oddburgers, and coffee with the last drops of our chalav yisroel milk. We win everything.

Then home in the dark to Plainview Sweet Plainview, and our week of tiyuling was done.

...Well, that week.

We had SUCH a nice 11 days with Savta and Saba. But now... onto the next leg.

I'm back-blogging now from 34K feet up en route to Calgary.

The adventure....continues!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Epic vacation tiyul day #4: Letchworth State Park!

Basically, if it has a waterfall, we'll probably go there.

Off to the lovely Letchworth park, and while the highest Upper Falls were closed as they worked on the bridge that runs over them, the Middle and Lower Falls were open and very pleasantly accessible without hiking.

Also, we saw a cool dam. We took dam pictures. We took a dam selfie. This made me irrationally dam happy.

Yes, I'm about 12 years old.

Anyway, then a long slog drive to Binghamton for the night.

(pictures to follow)

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Epic vacation tiyul day 2: Corning!

Wherein I resisted buying Corelle. Barely.

(Pictures to follow)

Epic vacation tiyul day #3: Niagara Falls!

Highlights!!

We slept in Buffalo, and then Tuesday morning drove over the Rainbow Bridge (drove, inched over slowly, whatever into Canadia. We parked and then went up the humungo-tower (that may not be the official name) for the Grand View (TM) of the beautiful Niagara, the water flow of one hour's worth being enough to solve all of Israel's water problems for years*.

After lunch and after contemplating the Canadian Maid of the Mist line, we went back over to the American side for the Maid of the Mist there. It was fantastic, if only to see Saba and Savta in their dashing blue plastic ponchos. 10 outta 10. 

Finally we introduced our children to 7-11, and with the help of some adroit Googling, they tasted kosher Slurpees.... and then got regular Coke for themselves. 

No accounting for taste.


(pictures to follow)




*I made up that statistic BUT I stand behind it nonetheless.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Epic vacation tiyul day 1: Bushkills State Park


Bushkill Falls in Pennsylvania!

A beautiful 72° in the afternoon. 

On behalf of Israel AND the South, harrumph.

Thursday, August 03, 2017