A Winter White Wedding . . . in October

Our G-d-daughters had their wedding this weekend.  At a retreat in the Catskills. POB (partner of blogger) and I were leading the ceremony.  SOS (our son, source of sanity) was the usher.

The weekend was fabulous.   The brides were beautiful.  It was such a happy occasion.

Ok, enough of that.  Now, my take on some key events in the weekend:

The rehearsal was called for 4 pm on Friday, so we set out on Friday morning.  The place was about 3 hours north of New York City.  Not quite above the tree line, but north of most measures of civilization.  It is in area hard hit by the economy and by the summer’s hurricane.

And no cell coverage.  Imagine being without access for 48 hours.  Nearly irreconcilable co-existence of serenity and extreme agitation.

We were told that the turn-off to the dirt road that would take us to the inn/camp site, would have a “road closed” sign and we were just supposed to ignore it.  Pause.  WHAAAAAT?

“Oh, yeah, and it would be good if your car had all wheel drive.”  (This is a picture of the road AFTER we arrived and the work men had graded the road.)  The pot holes in some places could swallow up a Mini Cooper.

We drove along the road in our sissy four door sedan, while the work men were trying to guide us toward to more “packed” dirt.  How NICE FOR US.

And, it was so sad to see the damage sustained by this community from the hurricane (let alone what the nor-easter was about to bring this weekend).

A house had slid off its foundation, almost into the road, as a result of the August hurricane.  It was a tragic sight.  But, at least, the owners found some morbid humor in it all (the sign reads, “For Sale. Flexible Price”).

We arrived at the Inn and extended grounds.  Note to brides:  When Jews say we don’t camp, we mean it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJLFcRdjW4o&feature=channel_video_title.  Still, because we love you, we camped (ok, it was a cabin with a working kitchen):


Good thing, it was so picturesque.

The inn doesn’t really serve food on the fly, so when we were hungry for lunch, the concierge directed us to the Norman Bates (as in “Psycho”) deli, all the way back down the dirt road.

There was very little food there and there was a for sale sign on the building.  We decided that we would rather find a diner than eat anything in this place, so we asked the slightly crazed looking woman who was chopping meat behind the counter in the dark about a restaurant.  “We don’t have much in the way of food around here.  But if you go up the road a ways, there’ll be something.”  Well, all right-y then.

At 4 pm, the wedding party and the officiants (us) proceeded to the lower fields.  When I asked for directions, someone pointed in a direction and said, “down yonder, a ways.”  (It may have been one of the brides.)  It was beautiful place and there was a babbling brook.  If it were, say, 20 degrees warmer, it would have been chilly and lovely.  At that moment, however, it was bone-chilling cold.

The brides also had us practice in a tent in case there was snow.

No decision on the venue until the morning.  We had a barbeque rehearsal dinner (in a slightly heated tent, no fire) and a campfire (outdoors, with fire).

At the barbeque, the bartender had the gauged-out ears (the rings that make a hole you can drive a truck through and that make middle-age women a little sick) and was heavily tattooed.  I saw the FEAR spelled out on the four fingers of one hand.  I had to ask, “what does the other hand say?”  It said HOPE, which I thought was a good sign.  As it turned out, this guy was the sweetest, most helpful guy the whole weekend.  So, yes, I did learn something.

SOS wanted to get back to the cabin because he was afraid that the Yeti would do a home invasion.  One of the brides assured me that one of her aunts probably had the “technology” necessary to protect us if necessary.  I kept that information confidential (until now) because I thought that would freak out our sissy family.

I went over the ceremony I had planned and X-ed out anything superfluous.  When everyone is freezing, an extra few words can mean pneumonia.

The compromise was that we would have the ceremony in the tent but the back flap (the one behind the bridal parties and me) would be open so we could see nature’s beauty.  And it was indeed a winter wonderland.  It was magnificent.  The tent was not heated.  There was already 5 inches on the ground and it was 30 degrees in the tent.  One bride and her attendants were wearing strapless gowns.  I had six layers, and heavy storm boots and thermal socks.  I was still dancing around to stay warm.  People were shivering.   POB read her part and I truncated a fair amount of my prepared remarks.  It was the LEAST I could do.

When the brides were “recessing”, the attendants looked to me for the proper order of recessional.  My answer, “RUN!”

The wedding reception and dinner were fabulous.  First, it was warm.  The food looked really great, especially the local grass-fed beef.  That is, until one of the waitstaff said, “I raised that cow myself”.  Showing immense restraint (because I have that way of picking at a scab), I did not ask the cow’s name.  It was hard eating some animal you kind of/sort of know in a post-mortem, creepy way.

So, there were some crazy moments, AND it was fabulous.  POB and I are still over the moon about the weekend.  The people who trekked to this remote place are a hardy bunch.  Everyone there wanted to be part of this event.  A little cold wasn’t going to scare them.  That love and joy carried through from Friday to Sunday and warmed an otherwise frigid weekend.

Love and family made us warm.  The weather be damned.


Typical Sunday

Another typical day on the road to Utopia . . . .

SOS (our son, source of sanity) has grown into a teenager (notwithstanding that he is only 9 years old) and his idea of Sunday cuddling is watching TV on the same bed as me, seemingly miles apart.  As a Jewish mother in the true sense of the tradition, I am not happy unless I am holding a finger, a toe or a hair of my child.  In truth, I am only happy when I have an iron grip about his mid-section to keep him close and away from the dangers in . . .  um . . . er. . . our safe home.  WhatEVER.  There are wilds out there SOMEwhere.

He would really rather play that be smothered by his mother (hey, I put the “mother” in smother, I thank you to remember).  Ok, that is healthy.  To a point.  Ok, it is healthy, but hard on a mother.

Still, I crave time with him.  So, in preparation for family dinner where wine must be served, I say, “Dude, come with me to the wine store?” Because it is Sunday, the only open (and good) wine store is a half-mile away.  “Can I take my scooter?” “Sure”.  I put on my running shoes.  He is going to scooter and even though he knows to stop at crosswalks, I must sprint after him.  Yes, I am a prisoner of my tradition.  Actually, I accept and revel in my tradition of over-protection.  So, sue me.  Or, rather, just know that I have provided for a therapy fund for SOS in our wills.

So, I am sprinting after my son as we go to the wine shop. THANK G-D for the crosswalks and red lights.

Thereafter, a lazy Sunday afternoon commences (not really: I am reading work-related documents and POB (partner of blogger) is cooking her guts out).

For dinner, the usual suspects come over plus POB’s father (FOPOB) who was enticed by the apple pie POB made (from the apples of the apple-picking extravaganza).  You mean, FOPOB, you wouldn’t come otherwise?  And you wonder why I wouldn’t let you have more than two helpings of the pie.  No, no, no, no.  Nothing is going home with you, bud, until you come here just for the sake of being with family.

DOB (Dad of blogger), SOB (sister of blogger), and HOSOB (husband of SOB) round out the dinner group.  We talk about Occupy Wall Street, the GOP, Obama, Libya, Syria and whether Rick Perry “swings both ways”.  As to the latter, if he weren’t so virulently right-wing (at least now) we would not even raise the issue of how he likes to have his fun.  But, you do it, you live with it.

So, 3.5 wine drinkers, two bottles.  Before dinner.

Thank G-d for food.  And the apple pie.  Food hath charms to soothe the socialist drunk.  (No, HOSOB, I am not ONLY talking about you.  I include DOB and me in that group.)  Mostly because SOB kept lubricating the conversation with the Merlot.)

OH, Cousin Gentle!! OH, Cousin Birder?? We needed you.

And, there is a mess in the kitchen that I must clean.  I love and hate POB’s cooking.

(G-d) Mother of the Brides

Our G-d-daughters are getting married next weekend.  I am officiating.

I am scared.  I am used to public speaking, even extemporaneous remarks that elicit the appropriate chuckles and kudos at the end.

This is different.  They are my G-d-daughters not because their parents asked that POB (partner of blogger) and I watch over them, but because they chose us and we chose them.  That they chose us is a Divine gift (apologies to the one of them who is Atheist).

There was a time, as with all children, when one of them depended on us as a financial cushion.  That is what keeps parents secure that children, in their quasi-emancipation, will keep coming to dinner.  The test of a relationship is when they don’t “need” you anymore and come over for dinner anyway.  And they came, and continue to come, for Friday night dinner every other week.  It is a tradition that POB, SOS (our son, source of sanity) and I treasure.

And they are a gift.  And they remind us that love makes a family — nothing more and nothing less.  And POB and I do love them so dearly.  And we wouldn’t think twice about giving up a kidney or two (but not necessarily two from the same person).

And we are so honored that we are a part of their wedding.  We get all teary-eyed when we think about it.

And I want to help make their special day wonderful.  And I am scared that I am too ego-centric and that I won’t meet their expectations.  And failing your children is like dying a slow death by 1000 butter knife cuts.

I have been thinking and dreaming about what I will say for months.  I know that if it goes right, no one will remember; they will focus on the girls.  And that will be a success.

Love means reining in your ego for so your children can shine.  I hope I live up to my love for them.




Life American Style

You want to know why our society is crumbling?  Why we are losing our preeminence in education and innovation?  Look in the mirror.

These are the items that get equal billing in the news re-cycle in the US.  These are taken from CNN, Yahoo, MSNBC and FOX.  Ok, I cherry-picked.  And I re-ordered to prove a point.  So what?  I bet that I gave us more credit than we are due.  In order of (my manipulated) importance, accompanied by my snide remarks:

  • US consumer confidence is at an all time low.  No one is buying off-road vehicles for the urban terrain.
  • Banks are not lending and companies are not hiring because of confusion over the new laws that will go into effect over time.  Would you like us to re-enact Glass-Steagull (that was eviscerated when the GOP was in control)?  I bet you would take Dodd-Frank in a heart-beat.  So, shut up.
  • Did Anderson Cooper flub a critical question to Michele (Night of the Living Dead) Bachmann (two n’s so she is not a secret Jew) in the GOP Debate on Tuesday night?  Does she have a cause of action if she loses the GOP nomination?
  • The housing bubble has not bottomed out.  So, the economy has to stop and wait for that.
  • Unemployment is over 9% which is a reflection of the last 2.5 years and not of the implosion caused in the years that preceded it.
  • People are occupying Wall Street and financial centers across the country because they don’t understand why the American Dream is out of reach, but aren’t they anarchists?
  • Lindsay Lohan has to go back to jail because she overslept on her first day of community service.
  • Stock prices are lower.  “Euro Contagion,” baby.  (Wait, don’t tell me, it must be an ad for “The Black Death Has Returned,” in movie theaters everywhere.)
  • Qaddafi is dead after an insurrection against his brutal rule, but enough about that, oil prices are dropping and it is a sign of Obama’s failed domestic policies (I am still figuring out the latter).
  • The Queen didn’t mind a curtsey malfunction in Australia.  She is a woman of the people.
  • Not all of the 99% pay federal tax (but they do pay state, local and sales tax).  Nevertheless, they should be deported.
  • The GOP candidates are talking crazy talk in their debates about how much less taxes we ought to pay (and Herman Cain would not tax used goods but food — which cannot be sold “used” or “pre-owned” — would be more expensive than ever) and how we need a fence across our entire southern border because Martians and other aliens are landing and illegally entering our country and taking our jobs.  Who said the GOP doesn’t believe in UFOs?
  • Israel negotiated with terrorists because the release of one soldier was worth freeing 1,000 Palestinians non-POWs (“If you save a life, it is as if you saved the world,” said a great rabbi; it was also a smart move to undermine Abbas and his UN bid for statehood).
  • There are almost 9 billion humans in the world, at least 8 billion of whom live in abject poverty.  And I worry about my retirement accounts.
  • There is a faster and easier way to lose flab around your abs.  You mean I can watch TV, drink red wine and eat french fries (not together) and the fat will melt away?
  • Ashton’s and Demi’s marriage is on the rocks.  I didn’t know they actually got married.  Apparently, he thinks politics is sexy because . . . RIGHT before he was shtumping (I mean, stumping) for Obama.
  • The best and worst Versace styles are available at H&M stores.  He is dead, so I don’t get it.
  • Jessica Simpson (who IS she?) wants money to talk about her pregnancy.  It may be cheaper to buy “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”.
  • There are ten HOT Halloween costumes for this year.  You mean the French chambermaid outfit won’t work again this year?

Res ipsa loquitur.








The Boys (and Girl) of the GOP

I have watched clips of the GOP debate.  You can tell everything by the way they walked in and how they stood at the national anthem.

Rick Perry is walkin’ and standin’ like he’s wearin’ cowboy boots.  If he don’t like it, he’ll shoot it.

Rick Santorum walks and talks like he thinks someone is about to hit him.  He has such a chip on his shoulder.


Ron Paul seems more like a Northeastern college professor than a libertarian.  And he has a jaunty gait.  Unstable, but smart.


Herman Cain is self confident and believes in his message.  An true rocket scientist with catch-y phrases who (G-d bless him) tells us all to get a sense of humor.

Michele Bachman is coiffed within an inch of her long manicured nails.  Stiff with signs of post-mortem.


Mitt Romney waves like a movie star.  He is getting smoother and glibber, but camera ready for the Oval Office.


Newt Gringrich waddles like a duck and looks unnervingly like Chucky in the Friday the 13th films.   Clever and smart, but we would be electing Batman’s arch-villian, The Penguin.  Wait, I am seeing a little Rick Santorum.


Apple Picking

POB is SOS’s school class parent.  Which means I have to show up to events.   Not so terrible if these events are in the city.

But today, oy, today, we had to schlep to Warwick, New York to pick apples. We could have just gone to the supermarket and got apples.  No, we had to go where THEY live and then kill them ourselves by picking them off the trees that are their life blood.  Just what I wanted to do on a Sunday — go apple-killing with my son.

More to the point, going apple-killing meant that we had to drive (read, get lost) through the great, yet incomprehensible, state of New Jersey.  The Neverlost Lady didn’t even try.  We crossed the George Washington Bridge and she just rebooted and said, “Destination?”  Really, Never-Lost Lady, can’t you even feel bad about leaving us to figure out how to get to Route 4 while we are driving at 60 mph?  No hesitation or guilt in your voice?  Even a “recalculating route” would have been gentler.

So, almost immediately inside the border of New Jersey, we were not only abandoned by Never-Lost Lady, but we were left with POB’s directions-from-hell coupled with her fierce determination to be right.  SOS kept asking, “are we lost?” or sighing, “we should have never rented a car; we should have asked someone from the class to take us.”  SOS was becoming the source of my INsanity.  I say to SOS, “we are a team, Buddy!! And a team member never abandons the team when things don’t go as planned!” The smart-aleck that he is, he says, “what if you didn’t get to choose your team?”  OK, KILL ME NOW.  IT IS NOT EVEN 10:30AM.

We actually arrive on time.  And then I am SOS’s hero.  Almost everyone is late because of traffic or getting lost in New Jersey.  (Really, I didn’t know New Jersey driving was so tricky?)

After everyone gathers, we go to pick Fujis and Macouns (which I kept calling Acuna Matata, from the Lion King).  SOS is in charge of yelling and screaming and running around.  POB is in charge of chit chat.  I am in charge of picking the apples.  Oh, cruel life.

AND, I have to carry that sack of apples all over the orchard.  Just sayin’.

After the kids had screamed (I would like to think it was a joyful noise, but the ringing in my head thinks otherwise), we sat at picnic tables for lunch.  One father, the uber-WASP who heretofore had shown no emotion, said in a relieved tone, “It is so good to see that other kids are just like mine!”  Oh, dear man (with names that, but for the absence of “Cabot” or “Lodge”, are OLD LINE and formidable in that one can forget the order of the names, since no one name stands out as a first name), you can emote with us.  We’re Jews.  We emote over anything or at least tell you to stop complaining.  But I digress.

I was soooooooo finished with the day that at 2:30pm.  When POB said we could finally leave the picnic table where non-driving spouses were sucking down whatever fermented liquids were available, I ran to the car.  “Hold it in!! We can find a restroom on the highway!!!!”  I yelled helpfully.  We were taking back one of SOS’s classmates and her mother.  The only traffic?  When we passed our house to drive to theirs.  Of course.  But it was sort of a captive play date.  I learned about the appeal of Zac Efron to young girls.  I learned that SOS is quite gallant; he told his friend to look away from the signs for the Hustler Club on 12th Avenue in the 40s.

When we got home, I remembered what one of the mothers whispered in my ear, knowing it was my first time at an apple picking outing, “make sure you have a full bottle of wine at home.  At least.”



The Albino Peacock

On Yom Kippur day, POB (partner of blogger) took sick and I was recovering from my contagion and we were clearly not going back to synagogue. I rallied SOS (our son, source of sanity) to take a walk with me, but first he had to have a meltdown about not be able to take his scooter with us.  I had to draw a line, such as it was, since it WAS the holiest of holy days after all.

We ambled up Broadway.  In fact I dragged SOS up Broadway.  “Penance,” I whispered quietly, “for the sin that I have sinned against G-d by . . . .”

No, dear SOS, we weren’t going to browse in Bank Street Bookstore. Nope, no ice cream either. We are just walking.  Now imagine the response:  silent treatment from hell interspersed by whiny demands for better parents.  Obviously, I didn’t self-flagellate enough during these Holy Days.  I obviously needed this for true atonement.  I had thought to look around for broken glass and hot coals so I could walk on them.  But, no need, I had my child to torture me.

SOS’s mood did brighten considerably when I said that we would cut through the Columbia campus to Amsterdam and then walk home.  You could see in his eyes that he knew liberation from the cruel bondage (of walking ten blocks) was within reach.  “E-mom, is the DVR recording on Yom Kippur?”  I looked at him.  “I withdraw the question.”  Wow, that gene replacement therapy is working.

As we walked through the Columbia quad, I felt like we stepped outside Manhattan and onto any non-urban campus. I don’t think I have been around that many 17-22 year-olds since I left college.  My initial thought was that I could just naturally blend into the scene.

Then reality hit:  I see me when I look at them and they see a middle age women when they look at me.

[For those of you who know Fiddler on the Roof, join me:   When did I stop looking so youthful? When did I start to act so old?  Wasn’t it yesterday when we were at the mall? Sunrise, sunset.]

Back to reality (after a fashion).

As we were walking down Amsterdam, SOS interrupted my self-pity about wasted youth and asked if we were permitted to go to St John the Divine on Yom Tov.

Really? I panicked because I was so sure that, on this clear day, lightning was about to strike.

SOS interpreted my panic as disapproval. “It’s ok, E-Mom, we don’t have to go into a church. I just wanted to see the albino peacock.”

“The whaaaat?”

“Eeeeeee-Mom,” SOS said in that way that was accompanied by a you’re-so-stupid-how-do-you-manage-to-breathe eye roll, “albino means all white and the albino peacock lives in the garden. It’s sort of like a refuge for it.”

No joke:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/porto/128123180/

“Oh, ok, buddy, then it is ok if we go to church,” I said as I readied to throw my son out of the way of the thunderbolt or flood that will whisk me away to hell.

My grandmother used to kiss the mezzuzah and put money in the pushke (the charity box) to get around minor infractions of Jewish kosher laws so her children could drink milk before bed if bedtime was less than six hours after a meat dinner.  Would this work on the holiest of holy days?  My mind was going through all of the usual arguments for the KM/MP (kiss mezzuzah/money in pushke) panacea as we were getting closer to St. John the Divine.  Would we have to go in the church to get to the garden where the peacock lives?  Churches are beautiful but still . . . .

Luckily we didn’t have to go into the church to reach the garden.  Phew.

The garden where the peacock lives is set very far back from Amsterdam and so quiet and lovely.  SOS and I held hands and watched the peacock in the hushed quiet of this little garden that seemed miles away from the pulse of the City.  It is an extraordinary bird. http://www.flickr.com/photos/porto/128122920/in/set-72057594105452625/ I bet that there are swirls and patterns on the feathers but we can’t see them on the white-on-white feathers.  http://www.flickr.com/photos/porto/310756506/in/set-72057594105452625/

And those moments were exhilarating and transcendent.

Yes, Yom Kippur 5772, the day that two wandering Jews found beauty in a rare creature on the grounds of a church.  And it felt like a blessing.

And the Best Daughter Award Goes to . . .

SOB (sister of blogger)!!!!!!!!!

Yes, SOB wins for endurance beyond the mortal realm.

[POB (partner of blogger), SOS (our son, source of sanity) and I were in various states of contagion and nursing various infections and maladies, so we really couldn’t risk getting DOB (dad of blogger and SOB) sick.]

Yesterday, SOB sat with DOB in synagogue for the last 3 hours of Yom Kippur, enduring his endless commentary while trying to shoosh him because he no longer whispers and has old-person-yell-in-quiet-places syndrome.

SOB even sat with DOB through Yizkor (the service remembering dead loved ones) as DOB flipped through the prayer book and pronounced the service (using his old-person-yell-in-quiet-places voice) “a bunch of crap”.  (In truth, he mourns my mother every day and says Kaddish for his parents and brothers, so he doesn’t really need a special service to remember.)

I get DOB’s point.  I can’t sit through Yizkor because it doesn’t reach my abiding pain.  I am a little like DOB that way. Except I don’t go to the service and whisper at the top of my lungs.

After three hours of DOB containment, SOB, together with HOSOB (husband of SOB), took DOB out for Japanese food.  He complained about the food and the service.  In his later years, he has become even more impatient about service, and his previously polite manner has become rude when trying to get the attention of the waitstaff.  SOB is the picture of calm in these moments, as I have witnessed in the past.  I am not.

I know, I know, he is 91.  But this is not his last glass of wine or piece of sushi.  I have faith that he will be at SOS’s Bar Mitzvah in 4 years.  And at the very least he will hang around for POB’s and my wedding in 2012.

How do I know all that happened yesterday?  Because SOB and I spill our guts to each other and give each excruciating play-by-plays so that we have a collective memory.

But the real reason that SOB gets the Best Daughter Award?  Even though she was pushed to the limit of sanity, she did not yell, “Ok, Dad, if you don’t like dinner or the service AT THE RESTAURANT YOU PICKED, either be quiet or stick a crow bar in your wallet and pay for it!”

And SOB had lunch with him today, too.

Yes, she is a saint.


Al Chet

The “Al Chet” is a commual confessional said ten times during Yom Kippur.  (There is also the silent, personal confessional said ad nauseum, so it isn’t as easy as it sounds.)

For the Al Chet (guttural “ch”), each line starts with:  “For the sin we have committed before [G-d]” and then gets pretty detailed:

under duress or willingly; by hard-heartedness; inadvertently; with immorality; openly or secretly; with knowledge and with deceit; through speech: by deceiving a fellowman; by improper thoughts; by verbal [insincere] confession; by disrespect for parents and teachers; by using coercion; desecrating the Divine Name; with evil inclination; by false denial and lying; by a bribe-taking or a bribe-giving hand; in business  dealings; by eating and drinking; with proud looks; with impudence; and on and on.

After every few, we Jews ask: V’al kulam Eloha s’lichot, s’lach lanu, m’chal lanu, kaper lanu (For all of these things, G-d of forgiveness, pardon us, forgive us, let us atone.)

Generally, I really dig in deep when it comes to the sins of pride, speaking ill of someone, improper thoughts and eating and drinking.  Ok, impudence, too.  And, ok ok ok ok, taking G-d’s name in vain.  But as a general matter, I am comfortable that the other sins are not mine in particular although on Yom Kippur we stand as a community and “own” these sins as a group.

Still, while the confessional is detailed but it is easy not to connect with the words on the page.  So, at our synagogue, during Selichot (the prep holiday for the Ten Days of Sorry), our synagogue congregants write down sins for which they seek atonement.  [a side note:  just the “Ten Days of Sorry” comment is going to be a BIG issue for 5773 if I last so long.]

Some of the “al chets” were: littering, not recycling, abusing substances, infidelity and unprotected sex.  While this may be ground-breaking in an Orthodox shul or a church, in our synagogue serving the gay, bisexual, transgendered, intersex, queer-identified community, their families and their friends (the printing is getting soooo expensive) with a social justice mandate (as if being home to everyone and literally his or her Jewish mama isn’t social justice enough), these “al chets”, too, have become rather mundane over 20 years.

But there was one “al chet” that stuck with me:  for the sin that I have sinned against G-d by maligning Orthodox Jews.

Whoa!!!!  That stopped me in my tracks.  I used to greet Jews with a kippah (skull cap) or a sheidl (wig) as fellow travelers seeking a good, meaningful life.  I learned over the years that one doesn’t inherit religious or ethical principles.  So, a child with a yarmulke can be as good or as evil or as somewhere-in-between as the rest of us.  Yet, they wear a costume of piety.  I have learned first hand about how some kosher, Sabbath observing, “pious” Jews are not ethical, moral or righteous. 

I have been crushed, disillusioned and personally harmed by the nefarious, immoral and dishonest deeds of those parading as pious, even those who are called “rabbi”.  And not because they object to my sexual orientation (there is no prohibition against lesbians in Torah).

As a result, I do deal with Orthodox Jews with greater suspicion than I do others.  And that is wrong.  The good and right thing is to assess each person according to that person’s merits.

It all comes down to a derivative of the golden rule: Don’t judge a book by its cover. 

For the sin that I have sinned by maligning all orthodox Jews on account of a few pretenders AND wanting to rip off their Yamulkes or sheidls, Eloha s’lichot (G-d of forgiveness), pardon me, forgive me, let me atone.  But if the person deserves it, I want the Heavens to clap with thunder and the angels to blow those crazy little bugels, ok?
Wow, Yom Kippur is over by less than two hours and I am soooo cooked for next year. .  . . . . .

Serenity and Renewal

My professional coach (not CAFOB) had sent me a New Year’s greeting card which I finally got around to opening at a computer (as opposed to a blackberry).  It was warm and wonderful and direct.  Wishing me the usual for the new year, but also renewal and serenity.

Eureka!!!  (My coach is awesome, but not as awesome as CAFOB who is my friend for 30 years.  If you need a coach, I can give you two people who are amazing.)

Renewal.  Not a theme of the Jewish new year (which has more of a return to G-d and atone theme).  More a Passover theme (spring time, rebirth and renewal of the covenant with G-d).  Nevertheless, I have been feeling the weight of creating business generating opportunities in a terrible economy.

I was so exhausted in August that when it came time for our family week in Montauk, I told the COB (colleague of blogger) that I would not be checking my blackberry and that all calls had to go through POB (partner of blogger).  Originally, POB told me there was no wifi where we were staying and only POB’s phone would work.  As it turned out, there was wifi and my blackberry worked.  If POB lied to me, well, then I love her more for realizing that I needed a blackberry-free zone.  Only twice did work intrude on the week.

When the world is in chaos, it is still navigable but it takes so much more energy that I often feel — well — spent.

My family re-charges me.  POB and SOS (our son, source of sanity) are my mainstays, but SOB (sister of blogger) and HOSOB (husband of SOB) and Cousin Gentle help hold me up.  They are daily miracles in my life.  Even DOB (father of blogger) with all his eccentricities grounds me.  And CB (Cousin Birder) links me to my mother’s family and he is such a wonderful guy. (I wish that CB only realized how awesome he is.  I lectured him about this on Rosh Ha-Shanah — of course I did.)

And there are my goddaughters.  They don’t have to love me because of family connection.  We created that connection together.  These relationships are among the most important in my life.

By their presence in my life, all of these people feed my soul, lessen my burden and give meaning to life.  They are my agents of emotional and psychological renewal.  I hope that I provide for them even a fraction of what they provide for me.

Serenity. Acceptance.  Roll-with-it.  What will be, will be.  Take it as it comes.  Don’t worry forward.  Be in the moment.

Discussion:  compare and contrast blogger’s personality with the above themes.  (Hint: no common ground, as in blogger is the antonym of each of these themes.  Don’t believe me?  Read Wikipedia (right after I send in my comments).)

Ok, clap your hands if you’ve heard this before:  someone has business in this economy, someone is figuring it out, someone is benefiting from all the problems!

Ok, if you have heard this, clap if you heard:  “An A minus?  What’s wrong with an A?  Did someone get an A?”

Whoa, I hear a round of applause throughout the blogo-sphere.

This serenity thing is a hard one.  But I did laugh these last two days when I looked at the wild ride of the stock market and how our retirement is now effectively pushed out to age 113.  I will be the dead, yet-propped up greeter at Walmart’s.  The company will love me because it won’t have to pay overtime (how will I know? I’ll be dead), and I won’t mind being in the freezer section.

At least I laughed.  Ok, gallows humor, but, hey, it IS a start.  I am trying to focus on the things that renew me because they also provide the building blocks of serenity — love, constancy and laughter.

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But renewal and serenity are sooooooo much easier in a bull market and a roaring economy.  Just sayin’.

My coach knows me well.  This is the start of a journey for me — to allow time for renewal and to allow a sense of serenity in a chaotic world.

Really, email me if you want a lifeline (or two).