Monday, December 26, 2016

All I Got Was This Lousy. . .

Today is December 26, and for many of us, it's a day off.  Not that I knew that.  I  had to come to work today to find that out.  Whatever.  I finished up some immediate business and then left.  With my bike.

Yes, I'm riding my bike again which means I'm riding the bus again.  Unfortunately, in a city of 10 million people located in a state considered 7th in GNP, the Metro system is 3rd world.  That's because poor people ride the buses here, most of which have limited English speaking skills.  When I'm waiting nearly an hour for a bus my English language skills become limited to . . . think four letters, starting with an F.

So I got back on my bike at 8:05 am this morning and decided to stop at the 99 cents store on the block.  I call that store my happy place.  It's where all my dreams of cheap food and stuff comes true.  Everyday.  Sometimes several times a day.  When I signed up for a "Secret Santa" at my office, I asked for gift cards to the 99 cents store.  I'm into shopping there real deep.

I locked my bike to the front of the store and went inside, for less than 10 minutes. Seriously, it's a holiday.  They didn't get any deliveries and I was there are on Friday.  I needed some sundries and then I was ready for the road.

In less than 5 minutes, my bike was stolen.  Actually, just the frame and the back wheel.  What I didn't realize is that the front tire is quick release and it remained behind, along with my lock.  There's no cameras at the 99 cents store (hard to believe), so I limped my way to the bus stop, sad, mad, using my limited English language skills over and over again, schlepping one wheel, a bike lock and a helmet.

It took over an hour, two trains and one bus to get home.  I can't believe my stupidity, and I can't believe someone could steal what is not theirs.  I know this is a message from G-d, and my bike is a stand in for losing something far more important.  That's how I will console myself.  Those thoughts, and, of course, chocolate.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Look To The Cookie!

Every Shabbat, the women in our Shul get together after Kiddish (light lunch) and say certain chapters of Tehillim (Psalms) for people needing to get married.  There are 6 chapters (32, 38, 70, 71, 122, 124) we say together after reading out a list of names.  Yesterday, we added a little twist to the Shabbat ritual.

One very enthusiastic member of the group brought in two boxes of little black and white cookies, broken in half (the black and white still intact) and told everyone needing to marry off children to eat one half.

Never, ever tell me to eat 1/2 of a black and white cookie.  It's can't be done.  Yes, I have marriageable age children (all boys, sigh, not of which are "ready) but it's torture to eat 1/2 of a cookie, especially an ity-bity black and white.

Bad news: I broke my diet rule to exclude cake, cookies and soda.  Good news: I ate enough black and white cookies to get the whole world married.

Your welcome.  That's how I roll.

Time Does Not Heal This Wound

9/11: A wound that will never heal. (Photo by Gary Friedman/Daily Beast)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Getting The Shabbat Groove Back

I love the long, warm days of summer - it means I can work eight hours, come home, relax, catch up on my reading or viewing, and then leisurely take a shower before candle lighting.  Last Friday was no different.

Until we all sat down for dinner and the bowl on the top of all the other dishes drying on the drain board fell and flipped the switch starting the garbage disposal.  That's right, while we sat and tried to eat our herring and hummus, there was a horrible grinding sound coming from the kitchen sink.

California, once again, is in the middle of a terrible drought, so running water is pretty much out of the question.  So is burning out the motor of the garbage disposal.  So is any of us turning it off by hand.

So I got up from the table and went outside to find someone, anyone who is not a Jew to come into our home and turn off the garbage disposal.  I was rehearsing in my mind just what I'd say when a big, beat up SUV park across the street from my house.  I waited until the occupants got out, and then I approached them. Right in the middle of the street.  I wasn't playing any games.  This was serious.

Turns out, the young woman is my neighbor who I've never met in the two years I've lived on my street.  Not only that, but she plays the piano wonderfully and has serenaded us every Shabbat day.  When I explained to her what I needed ("the garbage disposal is on and as an observant Jew, I can't turn it off), this sweet, wonderful young lady jumped at the chance to turn it off.

This amazing, delightful young woman saved our Shabbat.  Strange, and a bit sad, I haven't seen her since that Friday night.  But it's a wonderful feeling living next door to a Shabbat Angel.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Best Kitty Ever

Today started out as a typical Shabbat - almost.  My husband and I forget to set the hot water urn before sundown Friday so Shabbat morning started out without the possibility of hot tea.  But we could survive that.  What is harder to survive is the death of our Kitty.

Less than one year ago we adopted a cat from the No Kill LA event held yearly.  Kitty was named Sultan when we took him home but that wasn't going to last.  We decided on the name"Kitty". Not very imaginative, but it worked.

He was a "outside" cat, meaning he liked to live life to the fullest.  All my prior cats were the indoor variety - so when Kitty made up his mind to live both outside and inside, well, it took some adjustment.  But it made him happier so we all went along with it.

All the neighbors knew him.  Kitty liked to follow people around, and he was friendly.  Whenever me or the kids went for a walk, Kitty went with us.  Once my dear friend Debbie and I walked to a Shabbat party a few streets away and Kitty came with us.  We stayed for an hour and when we left, walking home, Kitty jumped out of a bush where he was waiting for us and walked us home.

People would see Kitty and I on the street and stop to ask if he was my cat.  They would then tell about their adventures with him.  It's no exaggeration to say that he was loved by everyone.

So imagine my shock when I learned today, that while walking my children to shul, Kitty was chased into the street by a neighbor's dog and got hit by a car.  He died in front of my children, who brought his body home and then went to shul to join me.  They waited to tell me until it was time to go home.
We've had Kitty for less than a year, but he has had a tremendous impact on our lives.  We loved him, and we showed it.  Although he roamed the neighborhood, he came home to us.  Everyday.  Several times a day.

Rest in peace Kitty.  We will love you always.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Walking in LA

Well, I'm overweight (nee, obese) and I've can't take it anymore.  I do belong to a gym, just like my 300 millions fellow Americans.  But like 298 million of them, I can't find the time to get there.

So this morning I woke up to a beautiful day (that's right - 75 degree F) and decided to walk to the Farmer's Market, which is about 1.5 miles from my house.  I ate my blueberry waffle (that's a story for another post) and went for it.  Of course, I wasn't alone.  My husband promised to pick me up if it got tuckered out.

Twenty five minutes after I began I was there.  The place was jammed, so I had to suck in and dive between people to get my sprouts, which is all I came for.  I thought it would take forever, but 10 minutes later I was done (yes, I did want to buy those earrings, but what the heck - $14 for studs?  Not today!).  So I walked home.  The whole event took an hour.  And I feel great!!!!

Every Sunday I plan to go for a walk.  Every day I plan to make time for a walk.  Especially after eating.  Gotta lose weight, gotta get healthy.  Gotta take my own advice.  I'm not a Registered Dietitian for nothing!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Good Morning LA!

Sunrise in the City of Angels is 6:55 am and here I am driving on the Hollywood Freeway (101) just as the sun begins to show itself.  Despite the bumper to bumper traffic and the insanity of the attempt, I shot three photos with my I-phone.  You know G-d with with you when you can take your eyes off the road in such heavy traffic and survive in one piece.  Thank you, Holy One, for sharing such a wonderful morning.  You know, I love G-d and I love LA!!!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Feeling the Love

My parents died one year and 4 days apart, so it isn't hard for me to know when their yahrzeits, or death anniversaries,  are.  It usually falls out on the same week.  It's interesting, as well, that my brother, sister and I all thought Mother would pass away first.  She was sick with terminal cancer, and Dad, while aging, still exercised regularly.  Strange that he would get pneumonia, have a sudden heart attack and pass away two weeks later.  Mother, on the other hand, stayed the course of the cancer and died just before entering hospice.  Now, so many years later, it's mother's yahrzeit that is first and Dad's that comes after.  Just weird how things work out.

On my Father's yahrzeit I met some dear friends for breakfast and then had to race across town to pick up my daughter.  I knew if I went to pick up my daughter, I would never get to the graves of my parents, which is between the two sites. Time would never permit, as our family spends the afternoon with my mother-in-law.  I made a quick decision and detoured to the cemetery.

As I entered the gates and headed towards their graves, I realized I didn't have the paper with their site numbers and couldn't remember it other than in general terms.  I spoke then to my parents, out loud, as I headed towards them.  I said, "Mom, Dad, I've got to pick up Devorah as soon as possible.  I don't have time to look for you.  Help me."

Vaguely aware of where they were, I stopped the car, got out and started walking among the headstones.  And there they were.  Not two minutes from the car.

I didn't stay long enough to start crying, but enough to tell them I love them, miss them, reveal the litany of problems I need help with.

But I felt them so clearly with me.  I have never found their grave sites so quickly, even with the exact coordinates.  They were there, guiding me along. After all these years, still feeling the love.