Thursday, June 28, 2012

They Grow Up Fast

 Today was a special day - it was the Hanachas Tefilin of my youngest son, Moshe.  It is Chabad custom that a soon-to-be Bar Mitzvah boy put on his Tefilin for the first time 2 months prior to his birthday.  That's today.

Here we are, afterwards.  My soon-to-be big boy on the right, his little sister, and slightly older brother on the left.  That's me, Blondie, in the middle.
I had to shed a tear - my baby boy is almost grown up.  How did that happen so fast?  Can't I have my baby boy just a little longer?

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Day Of Miracles

Graduation Day.  A day of complete nervousness.  The ceremony was set to start at 5 pm, Shabbos was set to start at 7:48 pm.  But with the help of my friends, and an amazing administration, I walked today, got hooded, and joined the alumni of California State University, Los Angeles.

It actually started with Moav, who told me to walk the walk.  No way - and risk being stuck outside my dalet amos for Shabbos?  I ran the idea by the administration, and they told me whatever I needed, I'd get.  If that meant bumping me to the front of the line, then so be it.

Still, I spent the whole day nervous that somehow I would be late for Shabbos.  So my friend E told me to knock it off, and go immediately to the front of the line.  Still jittery, I lined up with my class, Mo and Maria arriving in the nick of time.  I had worked everything out with the ushers and marshals to go first.  They told me to wait until the last minute before going up.  I agreed.

But then the speeches dragged on, and there was no way I would wait any longer.  My friends told me to go and up I ran, to be the first graduate student hooded for the class of 2012.  Oh my gosh, it happened so fast.  Both my family and friends missed it.  But I didn't miss a moment.

Afterwards, the family and I rushed out of the stadium, jumped in the van and headed home.  It was like our own personal Red Sea, the 101 freeway, parted and we marched right through.  I have driven back and forth to campus a million times, and never have I gotten home as fast as tonight.  It was a miracle.  G-d's way of telling me I had made the right decision, and were in possession of the right friends.

Miracles all.  Proof positive that when a Jew wants to be a Jew, the world is totally okay with it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Life Changes

I've applied for so many jobs in the last few days that I'm actually getting giddy.  It's so strange to  write in that I have a Master's degree.  A Master's!  I'm the first in my family to have a Master's degree.

I wonder when the reality of not having a job will sink in.  I'm trying not to worry, it's all in the hands of G-d and that sort of thing.  But still, I'd feel a whole lot better if I could start working tomorrow.

The truth is, I have to learn how to behave without a deadline.  I just gave up carry around my highlighters this week, to lighten my load.  Because I don't have any more articles or textbooks to highlight anymore.  I've been carting around murder novels as a way to transition to reading something other than required texts.

I remember when this all started.  I had to learn how to read text books, and really dedicate myself to studying.  Now that's all done.  Except for the studying for the Registered Dietitian exam, which I will begin shortly.

Ah.  A new day.  A new life.  Gonna miss my daily routine.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I've Been Thinking. . .

I know I write a lot about my bus rides, but there are times when things that happen to me there get me to thinking.  Like, about random acts of kindness.

Until this week, I rode the Santa Monica red bus into, you guessed it, Santa Monica and back, three days a week.  It's a long schlep, but it's a simple straight line, point A to point B situation and I'd rather not drive.  But this bus is usually crowded in the morning, as it passes through several cities to get to its destination.

My feet have been hurting me lately, as I've noted several times before.  So standing is kinda hard for me, but what choice do I have?  Well, one morning last week, a seat opened up and a woman, Hispanic, non-English speaker, tapped me to let me know.  I was grateful, but I couldn't get to the seat because the bus was still moving and there was another passenger in my way.

Well, the woman grabbed my carry on bag and put it on the seat to save it for me.  A complete stranger went out of her way to get me the seat.  I was overwhelmed.  I couldn't express it in Spanish, but I gave her the biggest smile and nodded my head in appreciation.

It got me to thinking.  One mitzvah a day.  One kind deed a day.  It can't be that hard.  So I've embarked on this crusade to do one nice thing for someone each and every day.  Yesterday, I gave my day parking pass to a woman waiting in line to buy one (at CSULA, $6 gives you a pass until midnight).  I got there at 8:30 am and left at 3 pm.  I told the woman she would have to leave by midnight, which she assured me she would.

I won't force the issue.  I'll let situations play out and let kindness take the lead.  I figure, it's good practice.

Nearly There

My project is done, with only one signature, the department chair, standing between me and my Master's degree.  The culmination of 5 long years of study is almost upon me, and all I can think about is, what next?

I've been a student for 5 years.  I've been studying, writing papers, reading textbooks.  Time to adapt.  Time to find something else, like a full-time job.

I almost feel like I have to rewire my brain.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Agony of My Feet

I can't seem to make a decision about how I feel.  About my feet, that is.  When I first started feeling pain, I thought I had a brain tumor.  That's how it works.  Something hurts, it must be life-threatening.  So I called my friend who actually did have a brain tumor (which was benign, thank G-d), and told her about my problems.

Turned out it has the same thing I do, which, I learned, was not connected to her brain tumor.  She told me to get Sketchers Shape Up sneakers.  That's it.  No discussion.  They work.

Well, Sketchers was being sued, were sued, and my doctor said no.  My general practitioner, that is.  The foot doctor I went to, what a waste.  He told me to buy some foot pads and that was it.  No relief, no nothing.

Guess what I did?  I bought the Sketchers.  And here's where I can't make up my mind.  Yes, I'm walking normal again, not limping around and throwing my back out of alignment. But my food still hurts.  So while I want to believe that I found the answer, I can't bring myself to say that Sketchers have made me better.  They made me better than before, but not better like before I had pain.  Not like my friend who feels wonderful in her Sketchers.  I just feel a lot better.

No doubt, I make no sense.  What do you expect?  I'm graduating, finishing my internship, and facing the prospect of getting a job in a town where "Spanish speaker preferred" is code for if you don't speak Spanish you are not getting hired.

From the frying pan into the fire.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Making Every Minute Count

I wrote my thesis/project and turned it in several weeks back.  I got the edits just before Shavuot.  My adviser told me I could finish those edits in about an hour, so I didn't really take it seriously.  I set aside Sunday, yesterday, for the day to do the edits, thinking it would take just a few hours and then the day was mine.

I began the process of revising my project at 9 am.  By the time I was done, which means, I couldn't focus my eyes anymore, it was 10:30 pm.  What went wrong?

The edits to the body of the text wasn't a problem, it was getting the attachments in place.  I had created documents using text boxes, and they were separate from the main body of the text.  So putting it all together turned out to be a nightmare.

Luckily for me, my husband came to the rescue and told me about scanning documents, primarily pdfs, as photos with our home scanner.  The very scanner we've had for 3 years and I had no clue it could scan anything as a photo.  It turned out to be a lifesaver.  It meant being finished at 10:30 pm versus sometime this morning.

So what did I learn?  Don't wait until Sunday to do things.  I had the whole week, and I could have been working on the problems the whole week.  Or got Kinko's to do it, whatever.  Never wait to the crunch.

Sigh.  Almost there.