Sunday, October 3, 2004

And This is What G-d Meant by Sunday...

Don't laugh, but after reading for a couple of hours (some of that

time spent in the bath with a mudpack on face, and deep conditioner on

over-processed hair) (and after having slept in late, after waking

early to find Dereck's half o the bed empty, and him in bathrobe,

reading the paper on the couch, his having been up for an hour, and my

enticing him back to bed with promises that neither of us indulged in,

both falling back to sleep), I actually got a cleaning bug, and

started cleaning. I got the laundry started, folded clothes from the

basement, brought them upstairs, put them away, and in the little

boys' room, transferred summer clothes to the top shelf, brought down

winter clothes from the top shelf, having Christian run things to the

trash, to the dirty clothes.

He is not a happy little man with me because I cut off his

movie-watching, telling him he had to do other things with his day. I

told him I loved him, and he started declaring his hatred to me, so I

told him he had to leave the room. He apologized, and I said, "You

should feel bad. I cannot imagine talking to my mother that way."

And heretofore, I told Dereck that Christian was grounded from movie

watching til further notice, and Dereck told Christian, then took the

boys out to clean the minivan. Sam got his room cleaned, I picked up

our room and vacuumed it, moved the bed, vacuumed under, have got

windows open and rooms airing out.

The little boys' room remains to be further picked up and vacuumed,

but I changed their sheets, and will change ours later. I vacuumed

the kitchen and computer area, and the hallway, but need to vacuum the

tv room, living, and dining rooms. My chest hurts a bit, dunno why,

so I thought I'd sit down a bit. Dereck just left with Lloyd for a

walk with the dogs at Thousand Hills.

Christian just came in and we chatted a bit and seemed to make up. He

was much more agreeable when he left the room this time. He started

out mad because yesterday I made him clean up the pumpkin he smashed

on the sidewalk. If I talk to him in anything resembling a firm tone,

he has a little meltdown. To some extent I think this might be

whatever neurological spectrum thing he has, but I am not going to

treat him with kidgloves when he misbehaves.

There is entirely too much cat hair in this house, by the way.

While I was in the bath, Tommy knocked on the door and asked permission to come in and wash his hands. We had kicked all the kids out of the house sometime before, saying, "It's a beautiful day, take your dog up to campus and throw the ball, get some fresh air, act like little boys!"

They hate this. They would rather sit in dark, dusty rooms and watch television, unnoticed for as long as possible. They do not want to go outside and use anything resembling their imaginations. We have to pry them away from the insides of the house with a crowbar.

So, Tommy came in, and I hid behind the shower curtain, peeking at him through the mud mask and the greasy/conditioned hair. He looked at me without comment and said, "Well. I hope you and Dereck have enjoyed your time in the house without me and Sam and Christian."

I put on my best sober look. "No. I missed you. "

He lifted his chin and replied with the gravity only a six-year-old boy can muster, "Me too." And quietly left the bathroom.

I said, "Hey, close the door!" Which ruined his poetic exit, and he resumed his natural Tomminess and said, "I was going to, but I forgot."

So, while I am vacuuming and a bit irritated anyway, I remember a

conversation I had with Barbara in May (did I tell you about this? I

don't think so) in which she told me that "we" were "going to have to"

talk about the crosses in my living room and where else to put them.

You may not know, dear readers, about the crosses. Dereck and I like crosses. We collect them from our travels. We have some really great, beautiful crosses too, prominently displayed above the piano, and on the opposite wall, some framed Orthodox icons (incorrectly hung, by the way) and perched against the piano, still more icons.

I love Orthodox icons. I collect those too.

Which is a very strange thing for someone studying Judaism to do.

And I have become troubled of late because we are going to Dereck's parents' for Christmas, and I fully intend to enjoy every minute of it. Joyce and Tom have a LOVELY home, and I for

one fully intend to enjoy Christmas with no ambiguity, with cookies

and carols, and Christmas Eve service. Honestly, I think it will be

the perfect Christmas setting. I can't wait to see Joyce's

decorations because she collects them. The house will be lovely, and

there will be evenings of hot cocoa and good conversation, Scrabble,

and much good cheer. There will be mornings of bundling up against

the snow to collect eggs and sled and see cattle. I feel fairly

confident that there will be a white Christmas there, and admittedly,

in my life, a white Christmas is a rarity and nothing ever really

seems like Christmas without it.

My children like to make gingerbread houses with graham crackers, lots

of frosting, and candy. And to leave cookies for Santa, and to feel

the reindeer oatmeal flecked with sprinkles across the lawn, sprinkles

so the reindeer can see it. I like to put some of their wrapped gifts

under the tree so they can anticipate and wonder, and they like to

open one gift on Christmas Eve (this is written by a woman who laments

her family's absence of traditions), and to read The Night Before

Christmas before they go to bed, and to wake up earlier than the cows

the next morning.

And did I mention the fireplace? or the hot tub?

I had to throw that in there, just for grins.

And here lies some of my dilemna. Being a Jew who refuses to give up

Christmas-- is something along the lines of being a pro-choice

Catholic. It is just not in good taste, and it really is not allowed.

Jews are so offended by all Christian iconography because to them it

represents their entire history of persecution.

So once again, I am straddling the fence. Which is why I am thinking

that yes, I like Liza's word "hybrid." I draw the line at being a

Messianic Jew-- but I think that just as I am not officially hand-tied

or married, but that perhaps I can take what I need spiritually and

not make formal commitments if I am not able.

Because if I decided officially to convert to Judaism, I would feel

guilty about Christmas.

So, regarding the little conversation about my crosses, I have ignored this. "We" are not going to talk about anything. One of my main problems with organized religion

is that in order to belong to the community, you must submit to some

exercised control over how you do things in your own home. This is

how they get loyalty to the group, this is (I do understand this) how

Judaism has survived for centuries (not to mention Orthodoxy), but I

bristle at it very much. I can see how thoroughly the Mormons do it,

and it is very much a HUMAN thing that has nothing to do with G-d as

far as I can tell because (once again) G-d knows I have icons and

crosses on my walls, and as far as I can tell, G-d doesn't seem to


He also did not seem to mind last night that we ate soup made of both

cream and chicken broth at our sukkot celebration.

So, this leaves me basically at the point of this:

1) I believe in G-d.

2) I like ceremony and ritual.

3) Ceremony and ritual tend to go hand-in-hand with communities and


4) I have, from my life experiences, a deep-seeded mistrust of these

communities and organizations. I am suspicious of them and wary of


5) I will bring into my life the ceremony and the ritual within the

organization and community of family and friends, and only the larger

community to the extent that it will not make me compromise my life.

I can actually understand Jews not wanting me to have Christian

iconography on my walls, and if it represented a belief system, I

might even symbolically have taken it down by now. But it does not.

I try to understand that to them it might be as offensive as swastika

and confederate flag are to me-- but crosses and other Christian

iconography are NOT offensive to me.

On the other hand, when I was Mormon, I hid my coffeepot and wine when

other Mormons came over, and I would be very afraid of offending the

rabbi (or his son) with my crosses if they came over. And yet, to

take them down? Because that would offend? Easier not to have them

over to my house. In and of themselves, the crosses do not mean

enough to me to be a deal breaker with making the larger commitment of

conversion. But the freedom to choose to have them up is a deal

breaker. I am not yet ready to conform that much in return for entry

into the community. Believe me, it is so much easier to pretend that

I am-- oh, how pleasing to Barbara that would be. The pressure to go

ahead with the wedding is so great, many people would rather divorce

later than disappoint people by calling off the wedding. But not me.

But I shall not let this spoil my enjoyment of such a fine day! No sir!

I shall go and take me a little nap instead!

I just walked into my freshly vacuumed and picked up room. If I did

this more often, would I appreciate it the way I do today?

My friend's daughter is eight years old today.

What a thing is a daughter. My mother laments that I do not have one

with whom to have this special relationship. And I admit, I do think I

am missing something. But I apologized to Dereck yesterday for the

fact that I wanted a dog, he didn't because he suspected he would end

up taking care of it, he has ended up taking care of it, and I said,

"I recognize this, and I thank you for doing it and for not throwing

it back at me, but I want you to know that every day I realize it and

feel badly about it."

And he thanked me for recognizing it.

Not willing to have another child just because there is a 50% chance

it might be a daughter! No sir, not now, not how.

I am doing laundry in anticipation of my trip to Orlando next week. I

am still nervous, glad when it's over. But I'm thinking that I might

try to enjoy it a little bit! Not that I am all that interested in

Orlando (nor paying heavily to enjoy Disney), but the resort, well, I

think I could enjoy that very much! And the solitude-- a trip by

myself. I will not lie and pretend that I won't enjoy that very much.

That element of it will be all too short.

Doorbell twice in five minutes!

The first time it was Laura Gruber, whom I assured had our votes.

Next was Hayley, (G-d love her!).

All right, now I am just prattling. My nap/book await, then some more

work on me house.

I hope you are all having as lovely and uncomplicated (I say that without irony, the previous post notwithstanding) a Sunday as I am.

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