Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Being a B*tch

I just surprised myself.



I was just sitting and thinking about someone who walked past me, swishing her hips, and didn't say hello, and I was thinking negative things about her, and that led to thinking negative things about one of my friends who is doing something I don't think she should be doing, and that led to the negative things I've been thinking about a blogger, for chrissakes, and all of this kind of started when I was thinking about some of the petty politics that will be in place at this wedding I'm going to, which don't involve me, and about which I appear to be the only person thinking.



And I just thought, "My G-d! Get a grip!" (Notice that I did not call myself, "Woman!" I would never allow anyone to call me, "Woman," so don't think about it, or you shall have an asskicking.)



And I have noticed lately that on many blogs I like: prettypurpleprincess, kazoofus, houseofwinds, thishouseofbone, there has been a trend toward being positive and recording the best moments of the day.



So, in an effort to cleanse myself of all of this negativity, I have decided to post something positive.



Today somebody helped me finish a project (which I would still be working on and cursing quietly if it were not finished) for tomorrow.



I may have a new nephew at this very moment, and if I don't now, I will shortly.



I am healthy, and my back feels better.



My wonderful, marvelous, unbelievable friends are also healthy and doing well and I love love love them, and they help me every day to endure and succeed in ways that I couldn't without their buoyancy lifting me up.



My parents are still alive and I saw them a few weeks ago.



I still have one living Grandmother.



My children are safe, healthy, unbelievably beautiful, gorgeous, funny, loving, and MINE.



Chocolate and coffee are readily and legally available.



See, I feel better already.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Random Observations...

I just walked past a dresser in my hallway (don't ask) and saw on its corner a pair of false eyelashes. No idea how they got there. And I just walked right past them, didn't pick them up or put them away.



Maybe that's how they got there...



I am sure a certain Division Head at a small midwestern university is starting to wonder why, when members of his division are in the hospital, he always ends up talking on the phone with me. Do I know how to pick friends or what?



Yes, I was in the bathtub, mud mask on my face, and the phone rang. Someone left a message. I asked Sam who it was. They didn't leave a name. Play it for me again. Couldn't hear it and he couldn't understand it. Get out, towel on, mud mask on, play the message.



Where is the phone?



Find phone. Call. What is up?



I'll meet you at the hospital.



The long and short is that treatment was administered, blood drawn, x-rays performed, meds given, everyone went home, but somebody is in for an awfully long night. Scary, but could have been much worse. Fortunately or not, ending up in the hospital is not an unknown event for these lovely people, and it won't be the last time, not by a long shot.



Now, I should be sorting laundry or reading or doing something else useful besides handcuffed to this keyboard, my Achilles Heel, my albatross.



What would y'all think if I just quit the blog cold turkey?



Well, don't worry, that's not likely. I love my readers too much to cut off this relationship.



Speaking of which, could y'all throw some help my way? I have a wedding to attend this weekend (the dress didn't look good, more dresses on the way, not here yet, stress!) and I don't yet have the gift.



What are the best wedding presents you have given or received?





I give up.

Why, if you were a teacher, would you just assume that your student's parents remember all the way back to second grade how to do stair stepping for spelling?



I had to ask my ten-year-old how to do my freshly-minted eight-year-old's spelling homework.





Are you keeping a food diary today?

Here is mine:

Home:

1 cookie

1 cup homemade mocha with whole milk

1 cup coffee with whole milk

2 m& m's

Work:

2 slices honey mesquite deli turkey (fat free)

2 slices square colby jack cheese

handful grapes

coffee with powdered creamer

water



Exercise:45 minutes elliptical trianer (550 calories)

20 minutes reps with first 12 lb then 10 lb weights.

Walked to and from the gym.

Walked to get a hair cut.

Walked to go to Java Co.

Met Christine:

One small cup hummus (it was about 4 oz of hummus)

carrot and celery slices

split a sourdough bagel with Christine

1 single cappucino

water



Walk to office.



Cinnamon gum.



On a Totally Unrelated Note

On Friday evening, we are all in the car, we have loaded the car with groceries, Christian's birthday presents. It is starting to rain. I have just gotten into the car from the grocery store. Dash and kids have been sitting in the car with the broken air conditioner (yes, it broke again) and Dash turns the key and... nothing happens.



Well, okay, it sputters a bit and the lights still work and the radio, but the car ain't goin' nowhere.



What to do? Call Liza. Line is busy. Call Christine. Ask her to come and get Dereck who will go home, get his car, then come back and get all of us.



It is raining harder. Christine is coming, but has to get Rowan into the carseat first.



Christine finds us. Kids and I are all hot and steamy and humid in the car. Tommy complains that the a/c is broken. I inform him that I already know that, and that the car is broken and I have more important things on my mind and I don't want to hear it.



Dereck comes back. In the rain, we transfer cars, transfer all groceries/presents to trunk, and then go home and unload everything.



Saturday, we have the car towed to the place we had an appointment at to have the a/c looked at.



Outside Java Co., and cell phone rings with Simpsons' theme song. It's Dereck.



You have a dead battery.



Oh.



That is the good news.



Oh.



The compressor on the air conditioner is broken.



Oh.



It will cost $500 to repair.



I didn' t smoke, I promise.



We have to repair it. We live in Missouri. Think Finnish sauna every time you step outside the house in the summer. Fall is coming. Doesn't matter. We HAVE to repair it, and it's not going to hurt any less if I wait til Spring.



Oh well.



Now I might as well go shopping.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Dear Jen,



hanks for sharing w/ me your reflections on Jewisj lit. you have been reading.

A fence around the Torah must never be 2 tall lest it collapses on Toah. Indeed, one liberal way 2 understand it -- that's the beauty of Torah; 600,000 interpretations 4 ea. verse -- is do put a fence around Torah, don't let it encroach too much beyond its intended scope.



Kippah is not a Mitzvah -- relatively a late-@-coming custom. No blessing is recited upon donning it like w/ a talit.



Welcome in Israel -- the only problem 'd be in the rare encounters in one's life time w/ the Ort. establishment. Wedding -- that's resolveable by getting married in Cyprus (and if desirable a non-orth. ceremomy 4 religious reasons in Israel afterwards). The state 'd recognize it. Probably in the next few yrs. we may see civil marriages in Israel too.



Funerals -- there are alternative cemetaries in Israel to the Orth. (tho state-owned) cemetaries.



That's about that in terms of being welcome by the Orth. establishment. Otherwise REf. and Cons. conversions R acceptable by the state provided that the convert belonged to a Jewish community -- I guess a JCC membership 'd also "qualify" -- at least a yr. before the actual move to Israel in order to enjoy all kinds of benefits (import taxes, ulpan and more)..



Call Casey for a ticket.



L'shalom,

-Rabbi

Out of the mouths of babes...

One of my favorite inside jokes with Tommy since he first began it at the end of July:



Tommy: "Mommy, I love you to infinity."



Me: "I love you to infinity and beyond."



Tommy: "Mommy. That doesn't make any sense."

I just got up. My kids are so wonderful and independent to let me

sleep in. Dereck sleeps like a stone on weekdays, but this weekend

got up early two days to walk the dog! He lets me sleep on the

weekends, wonderful man.



I am one big allergy today.



Had a nice talk with Barbara last night-- we are going to see Princess

Diaries 2 this afternoon. And of course I stayed up too late last

night. But I was reading. I started reading The Making of the Modern

Jew-- it is a lot easier going having read The Source. And last night

Christian was very needy, so Sam and Dereck played the X Box Dereck

has been practicing with (I don't fully understand either) and I lay

down with Christian and talked to him, explained to him that none of

the Jewish things I am doing mean that *he* is Jewish-- he will have

to decide what he wants to do when he is 18. And lying there in the

dark, he revealed to me his troubles with Shabbat: He gets too hungry

waiting there to eat. So, I suggested that we give him a snack so he

wouldn't have to wait. And he liked that idea.



I also disclosed to Barbara last night my intentions not only to

celebrate Christmas with Dereck's parents this year, but also to

continue celebrating with the children as long as they still believe

in Santa Claus. And she was in complete agreement. She said it was

different for kids-- they aren't missing anything, but mine would be.

And we talked about ways to make Chanukah bigger and brighter and

Christmas more subdued. I found a website last night that had a bunch

of Judaica on sale-- Chanukah lights, chocolate lollipops. rugrats

Chanukah videos, round chocolate coins, so of course, I bought them.



I need to reign myself in soon. But I did think to myself, "You know

you will want them, so you can pay half price now, or full price

later."



She has good suggestions for how to do Rosh Hashana on the cheap, and

activities we can do with the kids (bake round Challah) and she makes

little gift things for the Hillel students with honey, an apple, a

round roll. So, I will help her do that. Last night was the first

time I felt a lack of Jewish community to celebrate with, and she said

the high holidays are some of those celebrated mostly in the synagogue

and not at home, so you really have to go down. And I am going.



I also had a long chat with Dan about the rabbi and the conversion

process, etc. He was at a loss, really, but it was still a nice chat.



I found Huw's blog, but haven't had time to read yet.



I need to go wake up!



Jen
Hello Rabbi Feintuch,



I just wanted to drop you a line! I have started reading The Making

of the Modern Jew by Milton Steinberg. It is much easier going having

read The Source, and everything has a grounded context for me now.



I thought a lot as I was reading about why this would be important to

read for someone studying Judaism. Not only did I gain a larger

breadth of the history of the Jewish people and a fuller understanding

of the Diaspora, but because characters were used, people I became

attached to, the full horrors of the Inquisition and the Crusades

struck me with a greater force than if I had been reading about them

in a history book that depersonalized the violence.



But one of the important themes that I find emerging from everything

I'm reading, again and again, is the conflict that emerges between

groups wishing to preserve the Orthodoxy of the Talmud and those who

want some reforms.



And I am really torn because I can see both sides very well. For the

first time, I have some idea of how the Talmud was put together and

how it came to be, and why this was so important. I understand now

the phrase, "Build a fence around the Torah," and that the discussion

of issues so mild as should a man be allowed to wear a false tooth on

Shabbat actually address a circumference of other issues.



On the other hand, being a product of the Twentieth Century, although

my affinity for Judaism is very much linked to spiritual needs and my

belief in G-d, not just rooted in the desire for ritual and tradition,

I don't think I personally need to wear a head covering all the time.

But that also strikes me as pretty arrogant on my part considering

that the laws were so successful in creating Jewish communities

throughout the Diaspora, and that the laws were instrumental in the

survival of Judaism in the face of what should have been usurmountable

oppression. So, I understand the rife between the two camps, and I

find myself pulled between them.



I also understand now with much greater complexity, having read Potok

and Michenor both now, the politics behind the establishment of Israel

and the conflicts there. There has never been peace there, and I

don't think we are going to have peace there in our lifetime. But I

still have much more to learn. And I have concerns about being

welcome there if I am not Orthodox, but I am trying not to let things

like that worry me unduly.



We are still celebrating Shabbat every week, and we are hoping to host

some Hillel students throughout the year so they can teach us the

tunes to the prayers! I need to become better about giving the

children a snack because we often eat Shabbat dinner later than we eat

on other nights because we are trying to finish preparations, so

during the prayers, they are starving and just want to eat the

Challah! But we are learning. I have started saying the Sh'ma in

English with my younger two because the Hebrew isn't as meaningful for

them. Sometimes I say both. But I want them to have the meaning of

the words, not just hearing the Hebrew by rote. We also translate the

Shabbat prayers for them (which means it takes us awhile!) and have to

pause to answer questions: "What is Holy?"



I am taking a day off work to come down for Rosh Hashanah, and

planning to come for Yom Kippur (I won't have my children that

weekend), so I was hoping I could get a ticket for myself for Rosh

Hashanah, and two for Dereck and me for Yom Kippur-- can you tell me

who I need to speak with about that?



I hope your son is enjoying his introduction to college life here!



Shalom,



Jen

Friday, August 27, 2004

Becky, Selina, Liza, and Don!!!

Becky:



It's Christian's birthday tomorrow-- do you have the boys tomorrow? Can you guys come to an arcade party at 2:00? I have been so tired this week that today I'm scrambling to get ready!



Sorry for the short notice.



Selina: Can you bring Michael?



We are also planning to head over to the YMCA for whatever they're doing, at some point (Christian insists the morning).



Liza: You know the drill-- and I want to head over to the Y with y'all.



Don, you guys are invited too-- Ellie might get a kick out of the arcade, and Christian routinely asks me how Linda is doing.



Seriously, skinless chicken. Or just leave the freakin' skin on.





We Pause in our Regularly Scheduled Programming...

To have the existential crisis du jour.



Been working on the conversion blog lately, but I'll be back here before sundown.





Me again.



Well, of course. It just took a short walk around the kitchen for more coffee.



I can't just think about Jesus as a mythological figure with good ideas because what He was supposed to have done for Us, to have died for our sins, that is huge. And has a lot more to do with salvation and the afterlife than Jews are concerned with.



And if Christianity tells me that someone died for my sins and this offers me salvation, that better darn well be LITERALLY true, hadn't it? How can this be metaphorical? I can answer my own question. Christianity (wait for it, this is the Mormon version) seems to propose that *repentance* is a good idea. You can try again and again and again to make things right, clean your soul, and Christ's sacrifice makes this possible.



Jews are not so concerned with this. They are very community focused, but hey, they aint' gonna forgive ya seven times seventy (three is about the max)-- and they will never forgive the Nazis. Christians would because that is what is required.



So both philosophies affect how you live your life. And this is how Christianity might work metaphorically.



Am I really on the wrong track here, or am I getting closer to understanding something important?



Jen
Hi Tom,



Thank you. Well, I suppose my distaste of Christianity does have more

to do with Christianity itself in its distasteful forms than Jesus

Himself.



I suppose that the idea that Christians have created their culture and

instilled the law through a personage who could speak with G-d and

rise from the dead does have a certain power.



It is a really difficult thing for me to come to terms with these

things not being literally true. And this is largely due to having

been raised Mormon. Mormons take things VERY literally, because they

want you to believe that their faith is LITERALLY true. Perhaps that

in and of itself explains the emphasis on the literal. I wasn't

raised with the same Jesus that you and Liza were. Or the same G-d

for that matter.



So let's delve into this a little bit: Why is it easier for me to

accept G-d then, in all of His metaphorical incarnations, and not

Jesus?



Well. I don't know. When I hear Buddhists talk of Nirvana, Taoists

talk of The Way and Christians, Jews, and Muslims speak of G-d, I

think we are all actually talking about the same being. I think He

has revealed Himself in ways that make different cultures identify Him

in their own ways.



But then you get into specifics like Jesus, Allah, Buddha, the Dalai

Lama-- and that kind of messes things up for me. Because if it's all

metaphorical, if these are all essentially the same beings in the

metaphorical spectrum, then I have to



1) accept all religion as being Truthful rather than Factual (ding

ding ding ding ding)

2) and try to suss out the path I should take based on commonalities

among the cultures.



Why Judaism and not Christianity?



Well, that is a tough question. Because if I say that as a Jew I am

free to interpret the law and keep it as I see fit because the laws

"exist" to create a community, ritual, traditions, but are not

actually binding (and I tend to lean this way. I don't think G-d

actually cares whether I drive on Shabbat), then I am a reflection of

a culture that tells me that it's all right to get divorced, live in

sin (sorry, I am talking about your son!), put my children in day

care, legally abort a fetus, get married if you are gay, get my belly

button pierced, wear clothes that reveal that belly button, smoke

marijuana, etc. etc. etc. because we increasingly live in a society

that is growing removed from its center.



As I get older, I think I am getting more conservative. I am

divorced. I am not happy that my life took that course, but I don't

regret leaving that life. I am now living with a man with whom I am

not married. Am I okay with that? Yes, I am on the level that I am

doing it, and I adore him and love him and we are building a great

life. But there is a nagging thought in the back of my mind that we

should get married. And I can see that happening Some Day, but not

quite yet. We have talked about it, and he is still very gun-shy

about it, and it's not a deal breaker for me.



I do think gays should have equal protection under the law, get

married, adopt children. I don't think homosexuality is an

abomination. This makes me technically neither Christian nor Jew--

it's a very secular position to take, but one that is so ingrained-- I

don't want that part of me to change.



That is a choice.



So, why is it more okay with me to be a Reform Jew, who rejects the

wisdom of the rabbinical teachings found in the Talmud? Why not

Orthodox? And for that matter, why couldn't I just be a person who

believed that Jesus had a lot of great ideas, and died on a cross, and

people saw Him after He died, which indicates divinity?



I suppose because what I believe dictates action. If the concept of

Jesus I construct for myself deviates from mainstream Christianity

(and it does), then what is the point? I am not a Christian anyway in

any traditional or accepted definition, so it's much easier to go with

the Jewish path that gives me rituals and traditions I can pass on to

the kids, that give me structure in my life.



I prefer the Jewish rituals and structures, though I do love Icons.

And maybe I will let myself be the kind of Jew that has beautiful

Icons and Crosses up in her house. And if other Jews are not okay

with that, that is their problem.



I don't think I could ever be a *religious* Christian. I really

don't. I can be a religious Jew, though. And maybe I have been

clinging too long to the idea that my spirituality has to match a

religion exactly. If they won't let me convert to Judaism officially

if I have crosses or icons up in my house and if I continue to

celebrate Christmas with my children (if even only in the secular,

Santa Claus, sense), then maybe they're right and I shouldn't convert.

But somehow I think there is room in Judaism even for people like me

(though not necessarily with this rabbi).



In answer to your question, though, Tom: What do I think God is like

or not like? Well, I don't know that He is necessarily a He. If He

does not have a body, then is His personality a He? I don't buy that

G-d is a She either-- and IT doesn't seem to work, so I can live with

He.



Does He love me? Yes. I have always felt loved and protected by G-d.

So, then, we have a presence who is loving.



What more? I don't think He is a petty G-d who gets too bent out of

shape about things like head coverings, driving to Synagogue, and

things like that.



The bigger things? Divorce, living in sin, etc.? Well, you have to

ask yourself how these things affect your soul. Is it possible to

maintain a relationship with your spiritual self, and G-d, the

universe outside your own narcicissm if you are engaging wholly with

the secular? If it is, then fine, go ahead. So, I think if I look at

the underlying reasons for why certain laws have endured the

centuries, I have to sit and wonder to what extent secularism still

gives us room for souls.



And I do feel a need to protect myself from secularism to a large

degree. So, build a fence around the Torah: follow certain precepts

in order to protect your soul and to give it room to expand outside of

your bodily constraints.



I feel like I am just babbling now.



But it's a start.



Love,



Jen

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Six Flags, Courtesy of Angela

I have been so wiped our from our trip to Six Flags this weekend that I haven't really been able to write about it. But I found this on Angela's blog today, so I stole it ('cause she went with us and wrote about it better than I could).



Yesterday I rode Sha-zam w/ Jen’s son Sam. He knows what he can take and this ride is totally up his alley. We got in and buckled up and as we started swinging to and fro, front to back and side to side I kept slamming into him. It was unavoidable and the nature of the ride. I kept trying to move over but every time I did I’d just slam into him again. Sam must giggled which made me laugh and my laughter made him laugh more. What fun!



The water park known as Hurricane Harbor was where we actually started out day. But not for sore feet walking on bare concrete I had a perfect time there. I think of water slides as being pretty tame as things go. So I went up and up and up without reservation to the first slide. It wound around so I thought this indicated a slower slide and a good place to start as it had also been many years since Wet Willies and the like.



Well Karl went first and slid down and out of sight. I heard a shout from inside the covered slide and didn’t think much of it. I read the rules because I couldn’t hear a word the life guard said. Sit down with your legs out in front of you, cross your feet and keep your arms in and lay back as you go down. Simple enough. I get in and do just that. The first bit is a nice pace. Okay, I can handle this. But I around the first curve and suddenly I am propelling at a break neck pace and all I can do is think “I don’t like this. I’ll close my eyes and wait till it’s over.”



And I do and it’s over. I open my eyes and I can hear Karl laughing at the sight of me. I open my eyes and I am not sitting in a large pool like I expected. I am merely sitting up in a slide that is about half filled with water up to my waist. I take a second to get my bearings and I’m back up the steps to the next slide. None of the other slides were nearly as scary to me but were all infinitely fun. I’d like to do more of that w/ the remaining sweltering days of August in St. Louis. Thanks to Jen and Derrick and company for taking us along. It was great fun and will be remembered for years to come. Doing something so out of the norm for me was just what the doctor ordered.



I just realized I hadn’t mentioned other defining moments in Sunday’s adventure at Six Flags. Karl and I were meandering about thru various and disappointing gift shops when Jen advised us to “Save ourselves” and skip the Scooby Doo Haunted house she was taking all the kiddies to.We didn’t know exactly how long Scooby Doo would take so we opted for Mr. Freeze whose entrance was adjacent to the haunted house. We went in knowing absolutely nothing about what we were about to encounter.



After what seemed like miles of walking to actually reach the lines end and were corralled by a Six Flags worker to get on the ride more quickly and get in his shorter line.We waited and watched patiently for a total of about 7 minutes. The ride was only a full 30 seconds from start to finish and I could see that there was but one exit door for the coaster and that when it returned it did so in reverse. So at that moment all I knew for sure was that whatever I was about to do I was going to do forwards and backwards. No problem.The 2 people in front of us loaded on and then the track holding the cars moved from our side into the center (which we had not noticed before). “Yikes” I thought…how very…futuristic or Mission Impossible or something that I can’t’ think of.



Our turn came around and we got on after placing things like hats, sunglasses and bottled water in bin on the opposite side so as not to lose them “in flight.” We were instructed to keep our heads pressed against the head rest, a police siren sounded and ….POW….like the Road Runner taking off we were out of the starting gate. There was no building up of speed or anything like that. Just….POW!



As we sped thru the tunnel into the day light I heard from next to “Ooohhh……fffffuuuuccckkk!!!!!!!!” I was screaming as well owing to my sheer terror rather than exhilaration. I turned my head to look to my right and “whap!” My neck was flung in a hard snap to my shoulder and all I could think was “whiplash!” I grunted and quick “SNAP!” snapped my head and neck back up against the head rest. After that we went over and over head over feet, swirling around and then suddenly we were speeding straight up at a 90 degree angle w/ known gravity. I could see nothing but sky. The ride is only half over. 15 seconds have passed. How will I survive? 15 more seconds to go….I gave up. I gave in or I gave out. I’m not sure which. I have no recollection of the last half of the ride. I closed my eyes and waited for it to be over; heart pounding out of my chest and into my head, breath short and quick and then…I just cried.We screeched backwards into our original starting position.



Karl was laughing his deep guttural and mischievous laugh. “That was intense” he said happily. We made our way out of our seats and he turned to me mid-sentence of more accolades for Mr. Freeze and saw my face, tear stained, sad, unstable and scared. “Oh honey!” he said w/ heartfelt sympathy. He rubbed my back gently to console me.We returned to our meeting place and found Derrick who described having seen my reaction from the other side of the line before he rode Mr. Freeze himself. I somehow didn’t quite understand that until Karl re-explained it to me about 5 minutes later. The blood in my head had not completely recirculated yet.I felt like a bit of a tool, or really more of a stick in the mud for having been so frightened so easily. But I did think it best with hind sight NOT to know what I’d gotten myself into rather than chickening out without even trying.



Feeling I must triumph at something today we headed later to Batman –a roller coaster where your feet dangle about as you hurtle through space at 60 miles per hour. Again, I avoided additional information about the ride and opted to keep my eyes closed completely as we rose towards the first drop. I sat quietly and endured the ride w/ my sight no longer an option. It was okay that way. But when I told Karl what I’d done he asked “but was it fun?” I couldn’t answer. And again I felt like more of a tool. I must somehow fix this. Hmmmm…..



Jen and Karl went on this gyroscope thingy that I can’t explain. It went 90 miles an hour and sent them 270 feet in the air. That was how I found out that Mr. Freeze moves at a mere 70 miles per hour and that that’s just too fucking fast for me.To close the day we ended up riding Batman 2 times in a row w/ J & D. The final time I actually kept my eyes open for 90% of the time; only closing them when I felt the earth too close to my head.I had ice cream to reward myself for being a brave girl; a double scoop of Cookie dough and Mint Chocolate Chip. It made it all better. :) Ice cream can fix just about anything that’s ailing me. :)

If You Find Them...

You can keep them.



I have lost six pounds. Since we got back from Minnesota.



I go to the gym almost every day. And sweat on that danged elliptical trainer with running buddy Liza (who is there more often and sweats more than I do, by the way, and looks great because of it) from between 45 minutes to an hour and a half at a time.



I lift weights. Started at 2 lbs, and can now heave 12 pound weights over my head for ten reps.



But does the scale ever cooperate? Noooo.



Some of my friends have been bugging encouraging me to cut alcohol out during the week. Now. I like having a Schmirnoff or a Mike's Lemonade for dinner. It's fun. It tastes good. But. I did some reading, and decided they were right. Now I have water or a little gatorade mixed in. I have been doing this for about two weeks.



Well, I am floored. Who knew?



(Oh, shut up, I know you did).



I have been working out steadily since January. I gained twelve pounds (but my clothes still fit). And now I have lost six of that. Finnnnnaaaaallllllllyyyyyyyyy.



Another change: I quit buying slimfast and started bringing a piece of toast with good friends pb and j on them to eat in my office (because Carol says I should chew and swallow my breakfast).



Hunh. Go figure.

Just So You Know...

When the woman so generously told me everything my $500 could do for me, and then asked, "Can we count on you for your support?"



I said, "No."



Just, "No."



No explanation.



She stammered for a minute and said, "We realize this is a lot to ask. Could we count on you for a lesser amount?"



"No. I am a registered Democrat. Goodbye."



Click.





Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Oops!

My link to Aged and Confused in the sidebar wasn't working, but now it should be.

To Make Sarahspace Smile

The owner of a golf course in Kentucky was confused about paying an invoice, so he decided to ask his secretary for some mathematical help. He called her into his office and said, "You graduated from the University of Kentucky and I need some help. If I were to give you $20,000, minus 14%, how much would you take off?"



The secretary thought a moment, then replied, "Everything but my earrings."



You gotta love those Kentucky women!



================



A group of Kentucky friends went deer hunting and paired off in twos for theday. That night, one of the hunters returned alone, staggering under the weightof an eight-point buck.

"Where's Bubba?" the others asked.

"Bubba had a stroke of some kind. He's a couple of miles back up the trail," the successful hunter replied.

"You left Bubba laying out there and carried the deer back?" they inquired.

"A tough call," nodded the hunter. "But I figured no one is going to steal Bubba!"

=================

Regarding the year 2000, a senior at U of K was overheard saying, "when the end of the world comes, I hope to be in Kentucky." When asked why, he stated that everything happens here 20 years later than the rest of the civilized world.

=================

The young Kentuckian came running into the store and said to his buddy, "Bubba,somebody just stole your pickup truck from the parking lot!"

Bubba replied, "Did you see who it was?"

The young Kentuckian answered, "I couldn't tell, but I got the license number."

=================

NEWS FLASH! - Lexington, KY ----- Kentucky's worst air disaster occurred when a small two-seater Cessna 150 plane, piloted by two University of Kentuckystudents, crashed into a cemetery earlier today in Lexington.



Kentucky search and rescue workers have recovered 300 bodies so far and expect the number to climb as digging continues into the evening. The pilot andcopilot survived and are helping in the recovery efforts.

=================

A Kentucky State trooper pulled over a pickup on I-71. The trooper asked, "Got any ID?"

Bubba replied, "Bout whut?

kkopitske@hotmail.com says:have you read the Tao of Pooh?

Jen says:no

kkopitske@hotmail.com says:go buy a copy today and read it

kkopitske@hotmail.com says:remove the picture frame of religion and seek the heart of pooh

Jen says:no. I don't want the heart of pooh. I want God.

kkopitske@hotmail.com says:read the fucking book

kkopitske@hotmail.com says:ok

Jen says:growl

kkopitske@hotmail.com says:gerrrrr right back at ya

Jen says:okay, I will read it.

kkopitske@hotmail.com says:I know plenty of jewish Taoists

kkopitske@hotmail.com says:I did my under graduate thesis on Martin Buber

Jen says:eastern spirituality has never seemed wholly satisfying to me.

kkopitske@hotmail.com says:Taoism and jewish mysticism are cognate

Jen says:I have read Lao Tse

kkopitske@hotmail.com says:much of Lao Tzu is coded - what seems to be poetic imagry is in fact complicated metaphor that it takes some time to decode

kkopitske@hotmail.com says:you like the sucker = community

kkopitske@hotmail.com says:but you want the center = the tootsie pop

Jen says:oh, so that is what dereck's father was quoting

kkopitske@hotmail.com says:I'm not sure

kkopitske@hotmail.com says:what did he say

Jen says: hang on

Jen says: Maybe it is the education or the age or both but you and Jen can discuss these issues openly and dispassionately, kind of like eating a Tootsie Pop and trying not to break the coating to get to the center but you know it is there and you will get it eventually.

Jen says: Karl, what do you believe?

kkopitske@hotmail.com says:we share a metaphor - it's not in any book I know of but derives from the fun commercial

Jen says:Aahhh, really? That is fun.

kkopitske@hotmail.com says:coincidence

Jen says:bizarre

kkopitske@hotmail.com says:the universe is telling you to pay attention to what we are telling you

Jen says:No kidding!

kkopitske@hotmail.com says:read the Tao of Pooh and pick up Martin Bubber -

kkopitske@hotmail.com says:as well

Jen says:oh no, please don't make me read Burber

kkopitske@hotmail.com says:fine

Jen says:I'm just kidding.

kkopitske@hotmail.com says:but read The Tao of Pooh

Jen says:What is Burber's book again?

kkopitske@hotmail.com says:today

kkopitske@hotmail.com says:it'll take you 20 minutes

Jen says:today. Okay, maybe I'll just run out now and get it.

Jen says:cool.

kkopitske@hotmail.com says:go

Jen says:well, give me a few minutes to sit and talk to you.

kkopitske@hotmail.com says:ok

Jen says:Burber.

kkopitske@hotmail.com says:buber

kkopitske@hotmail.com says:martin

Jen says:buber. name of book.

kkopitske@hotmail.com says:I and Thou

Jen says:yeah. My friend Barbara just started reading it and she said she doesn't think she is smart enough to read it.

Jen says:but I am pretty smart.

kkopitske@hotmail.com says:plenty of books on buber

kkopitske@hotmail.com says:the wanderer on the way is goodkkopitske@hotmail.com says:Buber is an existential; jewish mystic taoist

Jen says:cool

kkopitske@hotmail.com says:go

Jen says:wait! What do you believe.

kkopitske@hotmail.com says:I have to go now

kkopitske@hotmail.com says:I'll talk to you after you read what I believe in The Tao of Pooh

kkopitske@hotmail.com says:c u

Jen says:ok

About Martin Buber:



RELIGION PHILOSOPHY

The foundations of Buber's religion philsophy lie in his Chassidic work and his philosopy of dialogue. The basis of belief is the relation between man and God, the relation to the eternal Thou. In an unparalleled consistent way he accomplishes the anthropological turn-about in theology towards the human being: following the dialogical existence of man, there is no statement about God which does not at the same time state something about man. For Buber, the biblical history of belief of Israel is a living tradition, a dialogical history between God and man: from calling Abraham out of his environment, the covenant at Mount Sinai up to the prophets, a dialogical history which demands anyone who joins it.

The basis for all statement about faith is the dialogical relation of trust, not the belief in dogmatic contents, as he views in Christian theology: "One can believe that God is and live in his back, he who trusts him lives in his face." (Two Types of Faith). "Trust is proving trust in the fullness of life in spite of the experienced course of the world."

Liza,



What picnic? Am I missing a picnic? The picnic? Oh deary. Maybe Ishould read that bag of papers they gave me now.



I liked the wildfire article. Yes, it did fire more synapses.



I am feeling a little discouraged about Judaism right now-- mostly because the rabbi is not very encouraging. I know he is not supposed to be, but it's hard. And I do feel that I need to read more about Orthodoxy. The other day during my crisis in which Dereck told me to stop beingso literal, my question was this: If there is no evidence that Moses existed, or any of these people for that matter, then what is the basic difference, Moses or Jesus? Pick one. Dereck says that the story of Moses is a myth, a legend, and the laws gave the Jews a sense of purpose that has kept them together, that has caused the very faith to survive all of these years. So, why not the same with Jesus Christ? Why is it more important to me that I read the story of Jesus and don't believe it, when I read the story of Noah, and the story of Jonah, and the story of David andGoliath, Daniel and the Lion's Den with the same grains of salt. The Adam and Eve myth for that matter. I am perfectly okay with Adam and Eve being mythological, but not Moses. I am fearful of anything being mythical that challenges my belief that G-d actually exists. And I have to believe that. The very threads of my sanity and wholeness depend on it.



And so, okay. The other day my friend Karl posed the question on his blog of whether or not someone could have hacked into his computer and called 911 from his phone line, even though the power went out and it's not uncommon for your house to somehow contact 911 during these times. That is what the police told him on each of their three visitsto his house. But that didn't stop him from posing the question of a computer hacker. I told him he was a silly boy and that didn't happen. He said, it could have. I said, Not in the universe I live in. So, the point is, he lives in a self-constructed reality in which strangers hack into your computer and call 911 just for kicks. I knowt hat this is among the realm of possibilities, but the very unlikelihood (and I am not willing to entertain all the reasons why it*could* be likely. Didn't happen) of it happening has convinced me that that possibility should be dismissed as silliness.



Now. I am perfectly okay living in my self-constructed reality inthis circumstance and letting him live in his. But in the case ofG-d's existence, not so. I have to know how 911 got dialed, and theory is not enough for me. And I am not only willing to entertain every possibility, but I also view all of them as equally likely. I can't dismiss any as less important than the other because it's too important to me to know HOW 911 came to be dialed, not just the factthat it was. Do you follow where I am going with this? Maybe with the concept of G-d and His existence I should adopt the attitude that 911 was called(the earth exists) and so it doesn't really matter HOW it got called,but it seems LIKELY that G-d had something to do with it. And take things from there. And now (or before now) you are thinking to yourself, "I have conclusive, written, email proof that we have not only covered this ground before, but also that we have solved this."



But I keep returning to it. Because it's important.



If Moses did not really exist, then can I really adopt Judaism as my spiritual home, completely discounting Christianity? Because, if we are going to talk metaphorically about what feels like a good fit, then I can't choose this without further exploring the possibilities of that. I keep waiting for the lightning bolt to come and level this forest,but sometimes men build the fires when the lightning doesn't come.



I don't like Christianity. I don't necessarily want to be a Christian. But I am still drawn to the icons and to Orthodoxy, and I have to find out why. Is it aesthetic? One of the things I initially liked about Judaism is now giving me pause: if it's just a good lifestyle without genuine belief, as it seems to be for many Jews just as it is for many Protestants, then *I*can't do it. It's not enough. Even with the traditions, the rituals.I am still on the path, still on the search for Truth. And maybe Judaism is True. But the whole Moses thing *bothers* me. I don't like it. I don't want to think that. What if I went and got the same degree that Dereck did? I might be shaken to the very core. I might not ever recover. Why is it so essential to me to believe in G-d? It is. It is. I don't know why. But it is.



Prayer is important to me. I do think He takes care of us. I don't think things are coincidental. I don't think it was an accident that Christine, who hasn't known up til this morning who was going to watch Rowan this year, mentioned it to her para Sarah, who needs extra money and will do it, and who is marvelously qualified to do so. And whose husband is in Justice Systems. These kinds of layers and complexity are simply too much to be a coincidence. I know that I am in Kirksville for a reason. I know that you are too. I don't yet know why. Yet here we are.



Our lives are not justaccidents, and I am just crazy enough as a little spec of dust in the universe to insist that in the face of intellectuals and great minds who will tell me otherwise and why. And I can't prove it. But it all goes back for me to how then do I live? Which way? Which myth? And this just brings me to tears. Because I am uncertain about my path. Judaism is turning out to be much less about G-d and much more about the community than I had thought. And it is still beautiful, but I need something more personal.



So.This brings me back to Orthodoxy. And I will have to dig back in again.



Sigh.



Pray for me.



Jen

You Just Can't Make Stuff Like This Up.

This is so bizarre.



Yesterday, Dereck told me he wanted to tell me about a bizarre phone call he had received. Apparently, Tom Reynolds, as in Congressman Tom Reynods, as in the NRCC Chairman, as in the National Republican Congressional Committee, wanted me to attend a dinner with President Bush.



There was a 1-800 number for me to call and the name of an assistant to talk to.



Well. This morning I was making a list of things to do, and came across the number I had scrawled on the back of a piece of paper, so I called it.



Not only does Tom Reynolds, Chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee want to invite me to the Annual Black Tie President's Dinner in Washington D.C., but he would also like to invite me, as a business leader in my community, to serve as an honorary chairperson on the Business Advocacy Council. As the representative (or a representative from Missouri), I would have the opportunity to meet with Congress at periodic meetings.



My name would be included in a full-page ad in the Washington Street Journal, and I would receive a copy to show my family and friends. I would receive a wooden gavel, just like they have in Congress, and a picture of the President to hang in my office.



All of this could be mine for the one time gift of $500. Could they count on my support?



Well, what would you do?

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Props

You may have noticed (or may not have) that I have put up some links to some new blogs that I have been reading.



Kazoofus, Prettypurpleprincess, bontasia, and Aged and Confused.



I have found them one way or another. And I have to say that Aged and Confused is probably linked by more people who don't know each other than any other blog I've seen. I've found her many times, but I now sneak little peeks all the time, and I just have to give her props.



This blog is just one of the most colorful, loud, vibrant, living blogs, which means living pieces of writing I've ever experienced. Going there is like going to a party all the time (at least for me). I love it. I think this woman has some real talent-- she just explodes off the page.



Check it out.

Beyond Comment

I am still tired to the point of ridiculousness, but I just had an experience that just left me astounded.



I'm sitting at my kitchen table. Christian is doing ten minutes' worth of spelling homework, and I'm filling out yet one more set of forms for the new school year. The dinner plates are still on the table, remnants of broiled salmon, salad, slices of mango, home cut fries. Christian has a little cup of ice cream melting near him as he berates me for the fact that he has ten minutes' worth of home work.



The doorbell rings. In bounds Kaleb in his football uniform, looking just as menacing as we found out this weekend that he is, and his mother. She is holding two socks that he ended up with that don't belong to him, and she is missing a shirt. I say that we will wash it. He threw up on it on the way to the bar mitzvah. She said, "Yes, he told me about that. He never gets carsick!"



I was led to believe that this was a regular occurance, which occurred under very specific circumstances, which dictated much of our weekend, and said so. She said, "No, or I would have warned you." And yet, the child seemed to know how to deal with the carsickness...



Then..." Wow, was he exhausted last night. He had a late football practice and then we had the little boys over... My daughter isn't used to being on her own yet... Her man was the one who broke the baby's leg in February and then was accused of statuatory rape."



Wa huh?



I look around the room at all of the children in the room, and I say, "Yeah, we were all pretty tired!"



She goes on. "He broke Joseph's leg. My daughter didn't want to believe it at first. She has two boys. Joseph is ten months old."



Kaleb, "Who are you talking about?"



"So and So. And then he raped a fifteen year old girl in June."



Oh my G-d. I got her out of my house quickly-- I don't even remember how, and I wonder which child is going to ask me what rape is and what on earth I am going to say and how many times Kaleb has heard this story.



Dear G-d.



We had quite a weekend with good ol' Kaleb. This was just the icing on the cake.

First Day of School Redux

I have, at times, been bowled over, or reluctant to have discomfort, and so have not been the advocate for my children that I could have. Case in point: when Sam was in third grade, he told me about two girls bullying him, but because I was busy and didn't really take it seriously, I didn't contact the teacher or talk to the principal until the school year was nearly over and these girls had already done a real number on his self-esteem. They made a quiet point of making mean comments very quietly, treating him like he had cooties, and just generally singling him out for ridicule.



I have become aware that we don't really have a vocabulary in this country for the kind of damage that mean looks can inflict: smirks, crossed-eyes, giggles, the raised eyebrow, etc. These things are not very concrete. And if adults have a hard time articulating their effect, imagine the difficulty for children.



Sam spent most of last year reconstructing his sense of self.



Yesterday when we went to meet his teacher, he let out a yelp as he realized that the worst girl, the one who had led these attacks, was in his new class. He calmed down and decided to give her the benefit of the doubt, a year's worth of maturity. I was not so sure.



I told the teacher and then the principal my concerns.



This morning, I took his brothers to school first-- they often win by virtue of being younger and more. But that was possibly a mistake, and possibly a good thing. By the time I got Sam to school, we were late. He hates this. He hates going in late and having attention. It's not so bad during the year-- I am always late and he hates it, but at least last year he was in a friendly class.



Imagine it on the first day when you know that Chloe Hubbard awaits you. Her seat was directly in front of Sam's.



I took him in and they were in the middle of class introductions. Chloe is a pretty little blonde girl with glasses. Very pretty, in fact. And she looked at Sam the way a cat looks at a tunafish sandwich. She smirked and caught another girl's eye and laughed, with the slightest turn of her head toward Sam. She focused her little girl stare on him as he stammered out his introduction. The teacher's back was to her, but I was in the hallway, fixed upon her. She caught my eye and corrected the look on her face, and that was enough. I knew what the year held in store for my son.



I went to the principal's office and said, "I need to have Sam moved out of that little girl's classroom."



Miraculously, they didn't question it or try to argue. The principal recommended another teacher, the teacher I had wanted Sam to have to begin with, and I didn't have to say a word about it. I would have taken any teacher to get Sam away from Chloe, but this is a double blessing.



I went down and asked Sam if I could speak with him in the hall. He was so embarrassed that he was going to have to move classes, and I pressed him close to me and let him cry. The principal came to get him and told me she would send someone back for his things, so he didn' t have to go back and clear out his desk in front of Chloe Hubbard.



I know that Sam's new teacher probably made Sam feel at ease right away because I know Tommy well. He is a great reader, and a great soul, and we have been friends for years. I am so relieved I could cry.



This morning, my heart was pounding well after I had driven to work and come in. The adrenalin was pumping.



You know, it occurred to me this morning that whenever I have an eyelash on my cheek, I wish to be able to take care of my boys properly. In whatever form that happens to come in.



My friend Rachel always says, "The universe takes care."



There have been times in my adult life (which really began three years ago in the middle of winter when I took my small children and walked into the bank and cleared half of the money from my joint account while my husband was out of town) when I have worried about financial security (say, every day of my adult life), but this morning it occurred to me, as I blew the eyelash off my freckled cheek in the mirror, that I'm not the only one in this picture. There are little people who need to be taken care of. And whomever is watching out for me is watching out doubly for them.



The universe takes care.

First Day of School

I'm still here! My absence can be explained by something as simple, something so small and yet so large, as exhaustion.



We were gone all weekend, extremely active, falling into bed every night, only to be more active the next day. I will write about it as soon as my brain becomes unaddled. Yesterday was non-stop go and life has been weirdly interesting in many many ways, too private to blog about here, but I've just been kind of walking around with my mouth open in surprise and interest.



Last night after getting kids in bed early for the first day of school, I just let myself pass out next to Christian, until Dash came to rescue me shortly before midnight, where I passed out again in me own bed.



It isn't even 7:00 a.m. I haven't been up so early in any kind of permanent, can't go back to bed way for months. Sigh. By something I can only describe as a miracle, when I went to look for nice-ish clean clothes for the boys to wear this morning, I found some within about thirty seconds.



I will take them to school and walk them in, then go to work and have non-stop action til after lunch. Last night I wrote out many checks for lunches and snack milk, filled out forms (oops, except one), I've met all the teachers, I have a concern about a girl in Sam's class who used to bully him in third grade, and the school supplies are all in the desks.



I guess we're ready.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Well.

This morning, I was snooping through my sitemeter (oh, yes, I know you are reading, and I know who you are), and found this:



"Stolen from Jen, who I recently discovered and simply adore."



Made my whole day, Bonnie! Thank you!

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Weekend Planning

Here are our weekend plans: Friday after we go meet the teachers and

drop off school supplies (purchased yesterday-- they wanted new

backpacks too, to which I emphatically said NO), we will head down to

Columbia to a hotel with a pool. With Kaleb in tow. We will hang out

at the pool, the bookstore at the mall, etc.



Saturday a.m., we will go to Shabbat services (and I need to make sure

that is okay with Kaleb's parents). Then, we will head down to St.

Louis, where we will stay in another hotel (this is the equivalent of

our big family vacation this summer, the last hurrah). Saturday night

down on the river front, BB King is playing a free concert. There

will be food, picnicking, music and fireworks. We will hang out with

our St. Louis friends there.



Sunday: The real purpose of this whole enterprise. Six Flags, with

the children and also various St. Louis friends. The Water park. The

rides! The funnel cake and excitement!



Exhausted, we will return Sunday evening, collapse Monday (except for

me, who will work) and start school exultantly Tuesday morning with

that last hurrah singing in our memories.



I don't have enough vacation days to take Monday off, and I really

need to gear up for stuff going on in the next few weeks, so I'll

muddle through. But I know I'll be hurting.



How's that for weekend planning?



I had to get two hotel rooms for each night we will be gone because we have so many children. And with the hotel in St. Louis, they had a package deal: 2 adult ticket to Six Flags with a room, so we got four. Good thing we're going with two other adults. Karl was pretty happy about that.



We could just go down Saturday, but I know us. We are not likely to

make it to Shabbat if we have to get up early to do so. Who knows, we

might even get there early enough Friday night to go to evening

services. That would be very cool. I am feeling that it is time to go

again. Time to stand up and say, "I'm still here. I wasn't kidding."

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Everybody Knows...

that I love pie.



On a recent post, she used the phrase, "Fanny about."



I think I shall have to incorporate it into daily use.



And now I should stop fannying about and actually get to being somewhat useful.

Ah So.

I am thinking maybe out of respect for Sarahspace, I should delete that little rant about Florida... What say you?



Cry Me A River...

Woe is me. I have to travel for work in October. To Florida. Which I haven't exactly been looking forward to. I've never been to Florida, and I've never wanted to go to Florida. But I like this organization, this is a good conference, and I want to go to Quebec City for next year's conference. So, I decided that I would have to suffer through Orlando this year.



And today I made my travel arrangements.



Now, I have mentioned awhile back that I am a spoiled brat. And that I don't stay at cheap hotels. At least, not if there are other hotels in the same vicinity.



For the first time I saw that I will have to stay here.



You can imagine my dismay when I found out that my accomodations will look like this:







and this...





and this...



and I'll have to stay in a room like this:



and swim in a pool like this:





At least someone else is paying for it, so I don't have to.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

A Meme Stolen From Karl Who Stole From My Pie!!!

APRIL:

Active and dynamic. Decisive and hasty but tends to regret. Attractive and affectionate to oneself. Strong mentality. Loves attention. Diplomatic. Consoling, friendly and solves people's problems. Brave and fearless. Adventurous. Loving and caring. Suave and generous. Emotional. Aggressive. Hasty. Good memory. Moving Motivates oneself and others. Sickness usually of the head and chest. Sexy in a way that only their lover can see.



I have to say, April was pretty much right on the money.



To get to the list, click on APRIL.

Okay, here we go...

Monday, August 16, 2004

Which Dress Do You Like Best...

For me to wear to a wedding in a few weeks?



Choice A







Choice B





C: What's the difference?



D: Neither. Keep looking.

Things you have to believe to vote Republican in November:

Editorial note: This is not my rant. My dad sent me this as one of many in a series of email lists/jokes he sends me every day. I just thought this one was worth posting.



Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's daddy madewar on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him and a bad guy when Bush needed a "we can't find Bin Laden" diversion.



Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is Communist, but trade with Chinaand Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.



The United States should get out of the United Nations, and our highest national priority is enforcing U.N. resolutions against Iraq.



A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multi-national corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.



Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.



The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches while slashing veterans' benefits and combat pay.



If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won't have sex.



A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our long-time allies, then demandtheir cooperation and money.



Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy. Providing health care toall Americans is socialism.



HMOs and insurance companies have the best interests of the public at heart.



Global warming and tobacco's link to cancer are junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.



A president lying about an extramarital affair is a impeachable offense. A president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.



Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.



The public has a right to know about Hillary's cattle trades, but George Bush's driving record is none of our business.



Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're a conservative radio host. Then it's an illness and you need our prayers for your recovery. Y



ou support states' rights, which means Attorney General John Ashcroft can tell states what local voter initiatives they have the right to adopt.



What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the '80s is irrelevant.



You paid more than one percent more federal income taxes in 2003, but it was needed by the upper economic classes: their tax bills went down 2%.



You really believe that new jobs are being created when the Bureau of Labor Statistics stated recently that the number of jobs lost under President George W. is second only to the percentage lost under Herbert Hoover.



Each week, you go to church or synagogue because you think your prophet, pastor,or Pope is inspired by God. Yet, George W. told the Amish that God works through him, period.



Vote Bush & Cheney!

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Ho hum. I'm back.

War Horse
You'd turn into a War Horse. Strong, brave and
loyal like a war horse you are protective of
family and friends and generally polite and
freindly to people you dont know or just met.
However your attitude can change quickly if
your family or friends are threatened in anyway
and you quickly fight it off. However because
of your protective attitude you can oftern find
yourself getting angry and interfering if you
see anyone being threatened and cant defend
themselves.



What animal would you turn into?
brought to you by Quizilla



This Pretty Much Sums Up My Life...



I got this from Philip's blog this morning, and I felt that it was necessary to post it here.



A Zen Moment




Please grant me the anxiety to try to control the things I cannot control, the fear to avoid the things I can, and the neurosis to deny the difference.



Oh my. You can tell it's one of those days. I actually got it this afternoon. That is what happens when you wake up in the afternoon on Sundays-- it pretty much feels like morning until time for supper, and then suddenly your day is gone.



Last night we stayed up until 2:00 a.m., first watching Kill Bill 2, and then watching What A Girl Wants. Either Dereck really loves me, or he was somehow smitten with Amanda Bynes, because after threatening twice to go to bed, he came back both times and watched the entirety of What a Girl Wants with me. I will say, for the record, that I watched it only for Colin Firth. Isn't he lovely? And who doesn't love Rufus Wainwright, speaking of things divine.



This morning, I was cleaning my kitchen while listening to Garrison Keillor, who is also divine, and I cut my middle finger while cleaning out the drain. I sliced it on some kind of sharp FOOD in the drain-- I have no idea what it was, but it was white, looked like coconut, and came apart when I snapped it. But later, I was loading the dishwasher and wondering why pomegranate juice was somehow on the dishes, and then realized that it was my blood.



So, I got a bandaid and decided not to clean anymore. It's obviously hazardous to my health.



This morning, I ordered a book (Travels in Canoe Country) and a Garrison Keillor book on CD from Amazon. I love Garrison, and having just been in Minnesota, I feel that I need him to be more readily available to me.



I have recently discovered, to my surprise, that Philip reminds me of Garrison Keillor. I am sure that Philip is better-looking than Garrison Keillor, but his writing, his wit, his humor and grace all remind me of Garrison. I hope this does not offend Philip (because I mean it as the highest form of flattery), but considering the fact that Philip rarely posts on my blog, though I frequently post on his, I am not convinced that he will even see it, nestled in the middle of this post like this.



Yesterday, I woke up and walked the dog and then came home and woke up Dereck, and then I promptly went back to sleep until 1:30 p.m. (hence the need to stay up late watching bad movies last night). (Our young surrogate daughter Hayley, age 6, is here, despite the fact that my children are in Cleveland with their father, and has just asked me where the pads are for the Swiffer so she can help me clean. Daughters are a wonderful thing.)



After breakfasting upon coffee, lox and bagels, we showered and then went out to visit Don and Linda at the new digs. Their new house is awesome, fresh and new, and tons of space, but I can see where that plush carpet was a physical therapy oversight-- I would have trouble with it myself. (It appears that we are out of Swiffer pads (typical), so now she is playing with the refrigerator magnets). Don was putting together a swingset for Ellie's birthday, which is today. Royce came over to help, and we all ended up ordering Chinese for dinner, after an inspection of the freezer revealed only two or three hamburger buns.



I think we were there for like five hours!



Anyway, I'm going to go exercise, clean, watch Girl With the Pearl Earring (Say it with me, "Colin Firth is divine"), shower, clean the blood off my white shirt, work on my book, study Hebrew, sit on my porch with a cool drink, walk my dog, shower, or none of the above-- but something, nonetheless, that involves neither the computer, nor this blog.

The Night Dereck and I Met

Karl so nicely posted these pictures on his blog for me-- these are of the night Dereck and I met at Karl's party. Needless to say, it was a big shock to see them on his blog!



Can you guess which one I am? Hint: I am female.



Thursday, August 12, 2004

Out of Character...

Dereck is clean-shaven, and it's freaking me out! I feel like I am living with someone else, and worse, when I hold hands with him, I feel like I'm cheating on my boyfriend! Last time he shaved (two years ago), it wasn't too weird at all, but this time, it's a little weird.



That reminded me today that he did something very funny and out of character (for him) in Minnesota. One night I'm in the cabin and I hear him loudly proclaiming from outside, "Men can do this and women can't! It's impossible for women to do this! Only men can do it!"



Now. Dereck is a feminist kind of guy. It is extraordinary that he would ever make such a claim, but there he was, crowing with glee.



I looked outside to see what it was that women could never do, and he was peeing into the fire.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

news of the strange...

600-Pound Woman Dies After Being Surgically Removed From Couch

POSTED: 3:48 pm EDT August 11, 2004

UPDATED: 10:09 pm EDT August 11, 2004

WEIRD PHOTOS: News Of The Strange SlideshowSTUART, Fla. -- A dramatic rescue ended tragically in Stuart, Florida, a rescue so difficult firefighters say they have never seen anything like it.
It happened late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning at the home of a 600-pound woman who was having trouble breathing. Rescuers went in not knowing how difficult it would be to get her out. 40-year-old Gail Grinds was literally stuck to her couch and had to be removed surgically at the hospital.


Authorities estimate she had been on the couch anywhere from two to five years.Martin County Fire amd Rescue crews faced what seemed to be an impossible mission. Everyone going inside had to wear protective gear. The stench was so powerful they had to blast in fresh air.
STRANGE PHOTOS

They tried to cut out the front door, but at four-and-a-half feet wide, it wouldn't work. They had to cut plywood since a normal stretcher wouldn't do.An ambulance was too small, so they brought in a trailer to get her out. While rescue crews came up with a back-door rescue plan, detectives secured what had become a crime scene, questioning family members about how it got so bad.Using planks, they loaded the woman on to the trailer, still attached to the couch. Removing her would be too painful, since her body is grafted to the fabric. After years of staying put, her skin has literally become one with the sofa and it must be surgically removed.Detectives are investigating whether they have a case of neglect, or if it is simply a very sad story.Grinds was taken to the Martin Memorial hospital where doctors removed her from the couch, but she died in spite of all the attempts to save her life.

Copyright 2004 by wftv.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Minnesota Dreamin'
Look, Ma! No hands!

The woman who stole our kayak.
Look, Ma! No hands!

Bella Minnesota
Look, Ma! No hands!

There's a minivan on my ass!
Look, Ma! No hands!

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

I was thinking, while out in the Minnesota woods this week, of another reason I want to convert officially, and it hadn't struck me before.



If anything were to happen to me, there wouldn't be a rabbi to attend to me, I wouldn't have Jewish services, wouldn't be buried in a Jewish cemetery, and nobody would sit shul for me.



And that started to worry me.



Always in the hospital, I've chosen "No religious affiliation," but now it is important for me to have one.

Minnesota

We are back, and I miss it already.



It is amazing how you start out thinking, "Oh, no electricity, an

outhouse, how rustric, how roughing it," and it's actually not.



The scenery is not unlike that of Colorado up in the Rockies-- lots of pine trees and aspens everywhere.



I did buy a solar shower at Cabela's, but never used it. We enjoyed

going to the pool. I took a total of two showers the whole time I was

gone. Tee hee! It's amazing how personal hygiene takes a backseat--

hand-washing, teeth-brushing, face washing. I felt it though when I

started to get acne like crazy.



The first night, before we got out the bug spray, we kept making jokes

as we unpacked the car: "You'd think SOMEBODY could have told us

about the fucking mosquitoes!" And we thought that was very funny.



I now not only have hiking boots, but a pair of Teva sandals-- after

wearing Dereck's constantly, I bought a pair for myself today at the

Mall of America.



The Mall of America just kind of overwhelmed me. We went into the

Discovery Channel store for an ant farm for Christian's birthday, and

then Barnes and Noble (for Lake Superior Magazine, and Minnesota

Monthly) and ate lunch, bought my Teva's, and got out of there.



It wasn't quite the reading and writing trip we anticipated. Grand

Marais was just too cool, and there were things we (Dereck) wanted to

do. So, we puttered in Grand Marais, and went swimming, and for a

little hike on Thursday.



We went to a pancake breakfast and library sale Friday and got

directions to a waterfall you can just SIT in, so we found it Friday

afternoon and just sat in it (sans sunscreen...) for hours. We took the dog everywhere, mind you. We tied her around a tree so she could enjoy the falls too. It was an intense

time of doggy bonding.



Then, Friday night, we entered her in the cutest puppy contest (she

lost) and had a really lovely dinner out (and I will tell you about

the food later-- too tired-- but I did NOT eat the wild rice, just a

bite of Dereck's). (The food: for me, grilled shrimp, lemon butter

fettucini, salad with sundried tomato and basil dressing; caviar and

craime freche for appetizer; gooseberry marscapone pie for dessert.

Dereck had the deep-fried halibut and the wildrice with dried

cranberries, salad, and shared the caviar and the dessert. We sat in

a restaurant that had chairs that had fish carved onto their backs,

and a view of the water all around, all powered by windmills. It was

called the Angry Trout, and the waiters all had on the back of their

T-shirts: outside, to the left, with a moon over the door, and that

was where the bathroom was. It has one of the most amazing mozaics of

fish and sun on the walls I've ever seen). We were even in love with

the ceramic mugs the coffee came in, but they had all been sold.



I even snagged a restaurant menu from the Pie Place, with permission,

to share with you. We ordered an entire pie from The Pie Place and it

was great-- cinnamon streusel peach. Mmmm.... We ate there on

Sunday-- we expected rain so we just hung out and enjoyed a leisurely

day, slept in, went swimming for an hour and a half (and hung out in

the sowna with a bunch of really funny teenagers) and the Pie Place

had experienced the biggest crowd they had ever had, so they were out

of nearly everything on the menu, but I had crab cakes, and Dereck had

bbq ribs, and he had s'more pie, and I had apple.



Oh, one day we took a picnic downtown and let the dog run at the water

on the beach, and ate crab salad sandwiches and salt and vinegar chips

and fed the geese (which is actually a misdemeanor, as we saw on the

sign later, whoops!).



Goldie was just the biggest hit in this town. I had no idea people

went so nuts for puppies, but we could barely walk!



Then, Saturday, we got a canoe and went canoeing for three hours. I

had been dreading that, but it wasn't too hard, we didn't see water

snakes, we didn't capsize, so it was fine. It was really really hard

work though, and we had planned to go swimming, but I fell asleep and

woke up at 8:30, so we stayed in.



The mosquitoes weren't terrible until last night-- even with Deet on

our clothes, we couldn't enjoy the fire. But the Off and the Deet

really worked well-- I only got bitten three times.



And every night I read and read and read, and have only two hundred

more pages of The Source left. And I did a little journaling too--

and there was a notebook former inhabitants of our cabin had left, so

we both wrote in that.



Our cabin was the tiniest thing, about the size of my bedroom

(literally). But last night we walked and found all of the other

cabins (empty) and peeked in the windows of the locked ones (and

entered those unlocked) and there was only one other one that was

cuter. I was satisfied.



We never did see a bear or a moose though.



I bought two books of photographs, a book of Lena and Olin? jokes, and

"You Know You're a Minnesotan if...".



I read some of this book called The Singing Wilderness by Sigurd Olson every day, but wanted actually to save it for my return.



You should have seen us with a kayak strapped to the top of the

minivan-- oh, I have pictures, but they are all on my laptop.



It was just perfect. I couldn't understand why Dereck wasn't stopping

at every realty sign and asking their prices. I fully intend to buy

land either in Minnesota or Ontario (more affordable) and become an

actual Minnesotan. They are way into Christmas, but I think I can do

it.



Ask me how much I missed electricity? Not at all. And the computer?

Not at all. It was a little weird to walk into the cabin and not have

an answering machine, but that was it. It was a bummer when I read so

long that the gas light went out (and I was afraid to change the tank)

so I had to go to bed, but even the outhouse wasn't bad (though a

little scary at night).



Also, I love Minnesotans-- there are outhouses everywhere. Could the

people down by Fisherman's Wharf in Seattle get a clue and get some

port-a-potties? Please?



I'm rambling now. Loved it. Can't wait to go back.