Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Stitch In Time

My sister-in-law called me today and asked me to come over to help her thread her sewing machine, a vintage Singer inherited from a relative. Okay, I wasn't too thrilled about that - I mean, I'm kinda busy right now. So I put off calling her back for another hour.

I did go over, and we both couldn't figure out how to get the bobbin to work. The machine is older than dirt, and, you guessed it, no manual. Her neighbor, the seamstress couldn't figure it out either. So I offered my sewing machine.

My machine is inherited from my mother, who worked for New Home Sewing Machine Company in the late 1960s. Using her employee discount, mother bought the machine, and we've all used it (okay, not my dad or my brother). So I promised to go fetch it, thinking, oh my gosh, I haven't used that thing in years, but I remember it being heavy. I prayed a male member of my household was home.

No one was home. I opened the garage and saw the machine sitting in a big wet spot. That's not good. It was filthy, so I wiped it off and tried to pick it up. That's when I saw that the bottom had rotted away and there were termite worms all over it. I ran back into the house and waited for my husband to come home.

Exhausted, he went into the garage to see it. Frankly, it's garbage now, but it was mother's and I hoped there might be a way to salvage it. So I asked my son, the cabinet maker, what to do. He thought, maybe, they could build another box for it, but my husband promised me another machine that I could let sit for years if I discard this.

Too much to think about, too much to worry about. If I opt for another machine (which I won't let my husband store on the garage floor!), I think mother will understand. If I opt to save this machine, I hope my husband understands.

Getting Another Message

I'm not like the Jewish autistics who reveal frightening messages and claim the world is doomed. I just a little autistic, and interpret the things that happen to me. Like today, when I left my house early in order to go to the health center on campus because they allow you to print out all you want for free if you bring your own paper.

For the second day in a row, including today, they closed early. So while I have class at 6:10 pm and managed to get here at 4:30 pm (the health center usually closes at 5:00), I lucked out to find them closing early. Tried not to get mad, but today's it's really hot, my backpack is heavy (a ream of paper, not to mention my laptop) and I'm tired and disappointed I didn't finish cleaning the boys' room.

Depressed, I went to my cubicle, sat down and listened to uplifting Jewish music. Cried, said some Tehillim. Blew my nose, and now, I'm ready for action. Okay world (or Dr. Singh, either one), let's shake it up. As for the printing, well, I think G-d wants me to suck it up and print my stuff out at home. Or, at least, that's what I plan on doing. Just sounds better when it's part of the Master Plan.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Okay, Whatever

I went to teach my girls today, which happened to be a big day for the school as the state-wide accreditation committee was on hand to make it final recommendations. I rode my "new to me" bike (i.e., it's a used beater mountain bike that's easy to ride but kinda squeaky and noisy) there, stopping first at the kosher Persian market (non-Persians friendly) to get lunch.

Ever since the accident (an unfortunate meeting between a car, my bike, and myself), I've been wearing a day glow vest when I ride, the kind emergency workers and public employees wear on the job. So I schlepped my bike into the school (the schlepping part being the front steps), and was standing next to it in my vest when an old friend came up to me and asked if I had been picking up trash on the freeway.

At first, I thought she was joking. She wasn't. She didn't see the bike. Guess it wasn't big enough, or close enough to me. After all, I was just holding onto the handle bars. Who wouldn't have miss it?

School Is In Session

Just in time for Pesach cleaning, school, I mean the big school, has started. Monday, actually. It's kinda weird to start school at 4 pm, but so it went.

I have signed up for 4 classes, 4 days a week. The trick, of course, is to make time for all of them. It's only just begun, but I feel myself slipping. Okay, Master of the Universe, it's up to You. Make me a vessel for your blessings. Make me a vessel for a A in each class.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Don't Rain on My Purim Spiel. . .

Yes, that's right. It may never rain in California, but I guess Purim is different. It poured! Truth be told, I felt like it was pouring down brochas on us.

And while I'm telling the truth, the pouring rain was extremely annoying. Driving my kids around in my old car delivering shloach manos with a constantly fogged up windshield was pretty scary. Kinda pined away from the bright sunshine, automobiles suddenly stopping without warning and kids running out into traffic that are earmarks of Purim past.

The seuda was amazing - my mother-in-law's modern orthodox shul is slowly dying out, and now shares space with a rapidly expanding group of young, modern Chabadniks. They are very respectful of the older crowd, and did everything they could to include my mother-in-laws co-congregants in their festivities, and that's how we ended up there. What a beautiful, meaningful evening filled with costumed children gathered in a drum circle, the adults drinking and eating to our heart's content.

Still, dreaming of Moshiach. No doubt when he gets here, life's gonna be a lot like this.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Taking A Hit

Well, it finally happened. I got hit by a car while riding my bike. Talk about crazy weird.

I was riding down a busy street, on the sidewalk, thinking it was safer, as there are no bike lanes. As I approached an alley, a woman driving a late model silver car pulled in front of me and I hit it.

Down I went with a bang. I picked myself up, found my bike was toast, and tried to feel if anything was broken. But thank G-d, nothing. Bruising, yes, the extent of which I am even now uncertain. The driver of another car pulled over to see if I was alright, and I asked him to phone the police. The driver of the car that I technically hit, was extremely apologetic. We waited, in silence, for the police.

A really sweet motorcycle cop showed up rather quickly, and exchanged our information. We seriously didn't know what to do. I mean, I didn't need the paramedics, and she literally had no damage to her car (courtesy of my rubber front tire, which isn't really round anymore).

After it was all over, we shook hands. My husband came with a bike carrier, and we loaded up for the repair shop. My bike will get a new front tire and a tune up.

Me, I'll be a two-legged pedestrian for the next few days.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Looking For Another Cure

I spent the day at the HIV and Nutrition conference in downtown Los Angeles. What an amazing undertaking by AIDS Project LA, which brought together four amazing lecturers well know in their field of HIV education/medical care/nutrition in a classy non-profit hall.

Add to this a panel of four women currently diagnosed with HIV: a 25-year old, a 73-year old, a 47-year old and one on dialysis, all with stories to tear your heart out.

I'm not sure what G-d has in mind for us, but frankly, with such dedicated people, can a cure be so far off?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Pain Tears The Heart

Erev Shabbat, Friday night in the Land of Israel, three young children, aged 11, 4, and 3 months, along with their parents, had their throats slashed by Arab home invaders. They were murdered because they are Jews exercising their right to live on their own land.

I cannot tell you how I have cried over this. I am a mother, and these were my children. But perhaps what hurts so much is that there exists in this world, hopefully only temporarily, a person who would get close enough to a baby to slit her throat. That person knew he was killing an infant, he knew he was killing a 4-year old and an 11-year old. These weren't IDF soldiers armed and therefore capable of defending themselves. There's a person breathing oxygen right now who knowingly murdered children, causing his coreligionists to dance in the streets and hand out sweets.

I'm having a hard time thinking that I share a planet with someone like that. It's how my parents must have felt in 1939, when the other Nazis entered Poland and threatened their extended families. G-d help us, because this world is out of control - when a settlement built causes more outrage than the murder of children in their sleep.

Someone sent me this today and watching it made me feel better. I hope you will too.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Finally Getting Some Exercise

There's been a rash of weddings in my community these past two weeks and finally I'm getting some exercise. Wonder if all that dancing and singing will offset the dessert? I'm guessing not.

So I've started walking every morning in the privacy of my own bedroom. That's right - walking in place, holding two pound weights, and watching a movie for 30 minutes. Almost all the way through Bugsy, but at 30 minute intervals, it's gonna take a while to figure out what happens to Benny Siegel. My guess, it ain't good.

Another wedding this Monday night, and I'm looking forward to another dance marathon. For me, a dance marathon is about 20 minutes of holding two peoples' hands and walking in a circle around a beaming bride. But it's movement, and that's all that matters.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Feeling Special

Yesterday was a stressful day. I had to make a presentation in my class and as much as I love to talk, I hate to present. But I survived and it was successful, and I rode home on my bike in the rain and I survived that too.

So I had no expectations that today would be any different. No, I'm not making a presentation, but that's not the only thing to be stressed about. I had to go to the post office, do some food shopping, and then go to the bank. And here's how that turned out.

First stop, the post office. I took my Tehillim because I'm usually not alone at the post office. I tend to be surrounded by a crowd of people, only one of which actually works for the postal system. You could read War & Peace while waiting, and still have time to kill. But today, four post workers at their windows meant I didn't have to wait. I was already starting to feel G-dliness.

Next stop, Trader Joe's. I could shop there everyday, but it gets mobbed and so I usually go when supplies are running low. Took my time, walked around, asked about products, got on line. Wouldn't you know it, a clerk grabs my cart and pulls me over to her - she was just opening her check out aisle and I was first up. I could feel G-d breathing down my neck.

Final stop, the bank. Okay, this one's a little tricky. Had a lot of transactions, and frankly, I was confused about what I needed to do. But I got through it, checked my receipt, which I NEVER do, and sure enough, I made a mistake with one of the transactions. Fixed it, got everything straight, walked out of the bank feeling like I owned the world.

So there you go. The day is young, G-d's on my side, and there's nine more hours left before putting this day to bed. Bring it on!