Thanks Giving

It’s Thanksgiving Weekend in Canada. Here in Los Angeles, we’re celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day, a new holiday which I can only guess is what it sounds like – honoring the indigenous people who the settlers of this land mistreated, misplaced, and otherwise treated horribly over the last several centuries. I hope that in schools, they are teaching students about the histories of people who are native to their particular geographies – goodness knows we learned very little about that when I was in school.

At most public gatherings I attended in Vancouver, regardless of the topic, the hosts began by acknowledging that the event was taking place on the unceded lands of the Squamish, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh people. Granted, I don’t get out to as many events here as I did in Vancouver (one of the benefits of a living in a smaller city is that everything’s so much easier to access), but I don’t recall ever having heard anyone acknowledge the First People of Los Angeles at any gathering.

That may be changing, though (and maybe I just need to get out more).  This Joint Statement by the Los Angeles City/County Native American Indian Commission, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission regarding the Christopher Columbus statue in downtown’s Grand Park “recognizes and acknowledges the Yaavitam, the first people of this ancestral and unceded territory of Yaanga that we now know as downtown Los Angeles; honors their elders, past and present, and the Yaavitam descendants who are part of the Gabrieleño Tongva and the Fernandeño Tataviam Nations.”

I am grateful for the Yaavitam and other First Nations, whose examples of resilience in the face of unspeakable actions against them inspire me through what has been a most painful week to be an American citizen. I am grateful to all individuals, yesterday and today, who have stood up to their oppressors and spoken truth to power, who have given us examples of courage to emulate. Even when they don’t prevail – and you know I am thinking of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford in this moment – we need to continue to stand up against those who would push us down.

I have every privilege in the world, even as a Jewish lesbian, two identities that in other times and other places might have put me in harm’s way. I am lucky enough to live in a culture that accepts me for who I am. I am extremely fortunate to have been born in the time and place I was, into my family, with the healthy body I was given, and the intellect and demeanor that allows me to walk through this world freely, at my will, doing as I wish.

I know there is more I can do to help others, and am grateful that my ‘day job’ at LA Family Housing is part of the solution – and there is always more to be done.

I am also grateful to have the good sense to take time for self care and restoration, as I am doing right now. I am writing from one of my favorite spots in the universe – the beach at the end of Nathan Lane in Ventura, California. For 30 years, my family co-owned a house on this street, and while the house itself has been gone for over five years, I have returned to this spot on the sand over and over again. From here, I can see the powerful waves of the Pacific Ocean curl and glide toward the shore, over and over and over, endlessly reminding me of my place in the world. I am so thankful to once again live a short drive away from here, to be able to spend a day by this ocean, on “my” beach, and to appreciate the wonder and beauty of life.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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Jiminy Cricket, It’s 2018

THIS PAST Wednesday afternoon, while walking in LA (let it not be said that nobody does it), I saw a house that I would love to own, in the area just north of Burbank and just east of White Oak. Here it is:
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(That’s my future self avatar washing my future car too, for good measure.)

So right on time for the New Year, there was one of my 2018 intentions/visualizations, which I choose to believe I can transform one day into manifestations… or as I used to say, there’s a dream that I want to come true.

And hey, it’s a Super Moon tonight, so it’s a good time to set your intentions, right? Or wait, it’s a good time to get your hair cut? Or am I just supposed to wish upon a lucky star? I forget.

“When you wish upon a staaaaaaaar…. Makes no difference who you aaaaaaaare. When you wish upon a star, your dreeeeeams come truuuuuuuue…”  Continue reading

HappySpirit @ Home

I’ve decided to quit going to yoga.  That is, I’ve decided to stop paying to go to yoga classes. Instead of going to yoga, I’m starting to practice yoga. Maybe even starting to live yoga a little. It’s pretty awesome having a happy spirit with me in my own living room.

I’ve written about yoga before – it’s a practice that has been quite beneficial to me over the last two decades of my life, starting from the time I moved from LA to Oakland and had a 9-5 job in The City (that damn City that’s so pretentious, its residents just call it “The City”). (I love that place, goshdarnit.) Continue reading

Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing

I love these candles.

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These candles that are almost all burnt, off to the side of me on the kitchen table, on this first Friday night since we moved the clocks forward. It’s 7:47 and almost dark, three stars in the sky, if ya know what I mean. And the Sabbath lights are lit in my kitchen window.

I lit ‘em, yep, I did.

And I said a little prayer. And then it was Shabbat. The Sabbath. Or Shabbos if you prefer. As in Good Shabbos.

The two candles are sitting in ceramic holders I bought in Jerusalem during my junior year of college at Hebrew University over thirty years ago. (Geez, that’s crazy. OVER thirty years.) Candlestick holders were a relatively easy relic for a naïve American 19-year-old girl with limited Hebrew skills to purchase from vendors in the Old City. Continue reading

Gratitude 2015

Thanksgiving almost didn’t happen this year. Even though, since moving to Canada, I have two annual opportunities to celebrate, it felt like the holiday might pass me by entirely. Still, there’s always time to be thankful. And right now, I’m blasting with gratitude.

Alas, my honey and I were both sick in the days leading up to “Canadian Thanksgiving” weekend in mid-October. The week before, we had invited a small group of friends over for dinner that Sunday night. Even though we were still sneezing and coughing Saturday morning, we were optimistic that the tide would turn, so we  did a big grocery shop — a big chicken and all the fixings. [Gratitude blast: I’m thankful for Thanksgiving!] Continue reading

Oh Canada!

download February 23, 2015 felt like my birthday, and in a way it was. For on that day, my life began as a Canadian.

On that spectacularly sunny morning, as I opened my eyes, my sweetheart presented me with a gift of red socks with the word “Canada” across the top – how chic!IMG_0026 And in the kitchen, I found a gorgeous bouquet of a dozen red roses, red carnations, white daisies and a white mum, plus six pink roses (“for love”). The vase was sitting on a souvenir tea towel with a huge red maple leaf and the word “Canada” across the bottom. What a welcome to my new home country!photo 3 But wait, there’s more! Continue reading

Remembering Nana

Nana_RunawaysToday, I honor the grandmothers.

As I write, a yahrzeit candle burns on my desk. A yahrzeit (Yiddish for “a year’s time”) is the anniversary of the death of a loved one, in this case my Nana, who died 23 years ago today.

This morning, I found the words I shared at her funeral the next day. They ring as true today as they did then.

February 5, 1992

Dear Nana,

I guess the biggest thing on my mind right now is just how much I’m going to miss you. You have been such an incredibly big part of my life – for all of my life. I have such vivid memories of you as part of my childhood —  always with your delicious “Nana cookies” and your streudel (which I’m so glad you taught me how to bake — I think it’s about time I tried that recipe out again!). I remember what a treat it was to stay over at your house on weekend nights, and how you always made Matzo Meal pancakes for breakfast for Eric and me. Continue reading