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

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

Insta-Seder

photoIt all started so innocently.  Yesterday, I casually mentioned to My Beloved, who is not Jewish, that tonight was the start to Passover, which meant that we’d have a good use for the chicken stock she’d made the other night… we could eat it with matzah balls!  You see, last year, for the first time in the 2-1/2 years we’ve lived together, we hosted a seder for some friends, and among other Jewish delicacies, MB made the most delicious matzah balls — a total hit, especially considering she’d never done it before!  (“Chicken soup and dumplings,” she said tonight. “No biggie.”)

We’ve been invited to a large seder tomorrow night, so I wasn’t planning on doing anything special at home tonight, besides eating matzah ball soup.  I’d said I’d bring charoset to tomorrow night’s gathering, but haven’t seen kosher wine anywhere (no booze in supermarkets here, and the nearby liquor stores wouldn’t carry much), so figured I’d deal with making it tomorrow. At least this weekend I’d had enough forethought to pick up a box of matzah when I was at the only nearby supermarket that I know carries Jewish food, but that was as far as I’d gotten.

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Checking My Balance

checkbookMy father taught me how to manage my money.  For this, I am grateful.  I’m the first to admit, I probably could have paid more attention to the lessons once we got past (1) How to Balance Your Checking Account Using a Pencil and the Grid on the Back of the Statement and (2) The Non-Negotiable Task of Paying Off Your Credit Card Bill Monthly.  Though I may not have turned out to be a finance whiz, at least Dad helped me nail down a few basic prerequisites for responsible money management.

Beyond tracking my checkbook balance, my dad has taught me a lot of useful things through the years.  Like every father, he has offered lots of advice — in many cases, even good advice.  (I’d like to meet the parent who has always given perfect advice to their child – if you have their number, could you send it to me, please?)

Mostly, I’m thankful to my dad – and my mom too – for teaching me how to take care of myself, and for passing on their values, combined and individual, particularly the ones I’ve assimilated into my own. Continue reading

My Roger

Two weeks ago today, I lost a dear friend.   Roger Moss was my therapist at a pivotal time in my young adulthood, and became one of the most important teachers and beloved mentors of my life.  While our clinical relationship came to its natural “closure” when I left L.A. in the late ’90’s, Roger remained a touchstone for me always, up through the last time we visited last summer.  He had a way of relating that was, from the very start of knowing him, so familiar, so warm, so intelligent, so full of love. Though I didn’t fully believe he was right until years later, it always made me feel better to hear him say that the only thing wrong with me was that I thought there was something wrong with me.

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Oscar Night: It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Somewhere in one of my parents’ homes, buried deep in a pile of old relics, there’s a photograph of my mother and father, circa 1972, my dad looking awfully dapper in a tuxedo and my mom donning an elegant low-cut black dress with a string of pearls, sitting at a dinner table at the Emmy Awards.  Perhaps for obvious reasons, it’s an image that always comes to mind when Oscar night approaches.  Continue reading

Home for the Holidays

Make yourself at home.  There’s no place like home.  Home is where the heart is.

As I approach the fourth anniversary of my return to Vancouver, I am comforted knowing that I have found a home here.  It wasn’t always clear to me where my home was, especially during my decade of moving up and down and back and forth across the western part of the continent (LA – Oakland – Vancouver – Sedona – Berkeley – LA – Vancouver). That question — where is my home? – weighed heavily on me at times.

Of course, old adages are usually right.  Continue reading