Thursday, September 27, 2012

Comparatives and Superlatives

There's something nostalgic about the fall, the dimming light, the closing door, the end in sight, but it's also an opening, at least for Jews at the high holidays, into a new year, a new focus, a renewal of strength and energy. But what a contradiction, opening and closing at the same time— Good G-d, make up your mind!

And that would be a god I—wavering on this point—no longer believe in. We had a long discussion about this very thing yesterday at Rabbi Singer's: the pull between knowing god and not knowing, not finding, not solving; using the word to know, find, solve, vs. getting stuck in the word, which is so wholly inadequate and misleading. You must love! You must love! said God to Hosea, said Rabbi Singer to his tribe, meaning you must love all of humanity, the message we tucked away in our pockets and then, counting the minutes, the seconds until the end of the fast, praying for the services to be over finally, we walked outside and ate. 


Comparatives and Superlatives

Fall on the east coast is certainly lovely...

 Lovely light!

 Fall on the east coast with your kids is certainly even lovelier...

Lovely texting!

Fall on the east coast with your kids being as crazy as they were when they lived with you is certainly the loveliest of all, the most fun, the most satisfactory, to see them being so goofy, to being their true blue selves.

True bluest

 ...and then there's skateboarding!


True black and blue

Skateboarding in Providence, R.I. at India Point Park on Narragansett Bay.

(Click on pics to see as slideshow.)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Asking Forgiveness....

I have a theory on why we live with's so we'll remain civil, and not gorge on food and alcohol, like i did last night drinking more beer than i needed to, and finishing off a huge dinner, which then exploded exponentially....inside. This morning I had a terrible belly ache, but since Tom's not around to complain to...he left yesterday for OK, right there you see the problem...I only have myself to blame.

So while I'm belly aching, here's a good one: Republicans in Texas purged the rolls of tens of thousands of voters, a majority elderly African Americans and Latinos, saying those very much alive minorities were dead. And even now, knowing the purge was misinformed, the Texas Sec. of State refuses to change the voter rolls. This boils my blood.

Another: I still don't have an oven. But then someone requested my brisket for Rosh Hashanah, so I dug deep inside my pockets, and bought a Lodge Logic, cast iron heaviest damn pot I've ever had. But when I wrote to Janice Patterson in charge of all questions concerning the Logic, in the form of "how long to cook it," she didn't have an answer. She said, "Sorry, I cannot honestly say this will work." What?! Rosh Hashanah is tonight!


It's the Jewish New Year, a time to seek forgiveness for our sins. I'm not a big believer on the concept of "sin" but I do believe in asking forgiveness. So here goes: Daughter, I'm asking. I didn't understand what you were going through when you were home at the beginning of summer. Since then I've felt this gulf between us. It's hurting like nothing else I've ever felt. I bet you probably aren't even thinking about it, you're just living your life, a life that doesn't include your mother, like it should be, for god's sake. But I breached a sacred trust when I didn't ask what you were feeling. So daughter, please forgive me, and know I'll do better next time.

My mother used to spend all day in shul during the New Year. On Yom Kipper she stayed from morning til sundown without eating or drinking. What was she praying for? What was she asking forgiveness for? What "sins" could she possibly have had? I never asked her. I never tried to understand. And now I wish I knew what compelled her to perform those rituals. She was a good woman, without sin, what could her conversation with God have been?

So, on this holiday, ask for forgiveness, ask to understand.

A peaceful New Year to you all.

These are the two women I think about most in this world. I have their photos next to my bed in the same gold frame, placed together, one across from the other. 

Lily Nellie Noble

Every night, I look at these photos and wonder: what is it to be of my mother, and in turn, to have gotten my daughter? I look back and forth between the two and ask myself: what is the link?

                                                    Maya Rose Harjo


Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Beautiful

Hello Blog, how was your August? Mine was swell, a little hot, but a lot going on. Pretty excited about the election, seeing Obama, Clinton— oh, that man pulls at my heart strings, such a brilliant politician and such a wasted second term. You might say the same for Obama's first, with the Republican obstacle course he's been made to travel.....but, don't want to talk about politics. How was your vacation?

I just got back from Mammoth Lakes. Ever been there? I hadn't. It's a pity we never took the kids; they would have loved it. The area is so pristine, we saw animals loping through the woods two by two.

 We stayed on Lake Mary, a chameleon body of water...


Late afternoon


We hiked a lot. We went mountain biking around Horseshoe Lake. I knew nothing about mountain biking, but I had a quick lesson: never, never, brake with your front brakes. I did and flew over the handle bars into a shallow creek, bike crashing down on top of me. Pretty funny. I survived with only scratches.

 bum knee

After the dirt trail we jumped onto the new bike path that took us around the lakes and into town. Watch out. Speeds down the hill rival cars. Scary.


But the most memorable thing, Blog, was going to Hilltop, off Benton Crossing Rd. south of Mammoth, in the Owens Valley, on land purchased by the City of Los Angeles, land that William Mulholland and Frederick Eaton stole in the early 1900s to gain water rights for L.A. The story of the California Water Wars is a lurid one (Chinatown), and much to my surprise, a suit between the City of L.A. and former Attorney General Bill Lockyer, environmentalists, and ranchers and farmers to rewater the lower Owens River wasn't settled until 2006. But what a valley, what a land, this is what we call America the Beautiful.

Hilltop is a mineral hot springs surrounded by grazing pastures and bordered by the White Mountains. From the road you can't see a thing, only cows on a distant hill.

Tom heading towards the unknown
But right over the berm, you see the tub...and the cows.

There's a certain etiquette honored here by the locals. If you're in the tub, others won't bother you. We soaked in the warm mineral deliciousness, with an eye on a VW van parked by the side of the road, people waiting. How nice of them. Meanwhile, the cows got closer...

 (good for the sole...)

and closer...

All around us were spectacular mountains and a wide sky. After we soaked and talked to the cows for awhile, we headed back the way we came.

 Blog, maybe you'll tell me about your vacation next time...?