Looking back and thinking forward

Month: December, 2006

So long, farewell


Time to say goodbye. To bid 2006 cheerio. It has been busy, no doubt about that. Not only physically and professionally, but emotionally. In a way it has seemed like I have been living through the conclusion chapter to my therapy experience with Bob all those years ago together. As I look back over this passing year, it feels as if the dust settled, storm subsided, and out of the mist, images of my self, feelings, understanding took form, gained shape, and became clear. I have found myself quite often just sitting, staring, feeling, grasping, realizing, and, even, silently gasping: "Aha!"

Honestly though, I think this has been only part of the conclusion chapter. The revelation section.

Images_35 Two thousand and seven has a really good sound to it. I have always loved number seven. It bodes well. Perhaps this section of the therapy conclusion chapter will include practical application to the revelations I have allowed myself to uncover from within the emotional memory of my brain. For example, what will I choose to do about taking back my birthright? How will I regain what is rightfully mine? Confidence, feeling beloved, wanted, and worthy of respect. What actions will I take to realize these understandings? How will they affect work, my marriage, relationships with family members, friends, my sexuality, growing older? What kinds of things will I do to nurture, cherish and love my ever lonely, aching, deprived inner child?

It is quite exciting really, if not a little daunting. But it took 57 years to arrive at this place, so patience might have to be foremost in these deliberations and applications.

Wintersolstice52003l_1 Ah, but I have noticed that the days are already becoming longer.

Happy New Year one and all.

Times gone by

Last year at Tamarika:

Saying Goodbye


An interview: me to me

… more to come … from now though.

Jiggety Jig

Quote of the day:

There is only one day left, always starting over: It is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk. Jean-Paul Sartre


One of the gifts I received (well, it was on my wish-list) was The God Delusion. My oh my, am I enjoying it! Me, oh my! Am deep into the book, and devouring and savoring every word. There are so many pieces I want to quote for the world to see. But let me just quote two that mean a lot to me from the Preface:

raise consciousness to the fact that to be an atheist is a realistic aspiration, and a brave and a splendid one. You can be an atheist who is happy, balanced, moral, and intellectually fulfilled.

My fourth consciousness-raiser is atheist pride. Being an atheist is nothing to be apologetic about. On the contrary, it is something to be proud of, standing tall to face the far horizon, for atheism nearly always indicates a healthy independence of mind and, indeed, a healthy mind. There are many people who know, in their heart of hearts, that they are atheists, but dare not admit it to their families or even to themselves. Partly this is because the very word ‘atheist’ has been assiduously built up as a terrible and frightening label.

It reminds me when I dared to come out publicly – that was quite stormy, but also a lot of fun. Not only am I relishing Dawkins timely and much needed book, I am also deeply grateful to him for writing it.

Oh dear, was I traveling and missed FP’s B’day? Happy belated Birthday, Frank! I hope it was a great one.

Oh well, it was sad to leave our loved ones but home I am again, and so looking forward to the New Year. I wonder what you all will be doing?

I can’t believe I will be celebrating two years of blogging coming up in January. Time surely flies when you’re having fun, matey.

And that’s about all I can muster for now. There’s a cat who is waiting for her tuna.

Thinking of you …


Thinking of you …





Tamarika, Tom and Ada

Blogger’s holiday

Hello bloggers …

I have a feeling I am going to be mighty busy the next few days. I will be looking in on you if I can … and will miss you … you can be sure of that …

… keep a cyber-virtual eye for me on Ada while I am gone …

Will you?

… oh yeah … And miss me, too …




So, did Danny actually tag me? It appears that he did. Oy vey! A Jewish blogger? Moi? I can hear my mother tsk, tsk-ing in the background. Well, this particular meme terrifies me, and that is probably why I assumed (with relief, I might add) that I had not been tagged.

However, I will take the challenge because a) we are coming to the end of Hanukkah and I will soon be winging my way West to celebrate Christmas with a lovable group of Unitarians; and b) I don’t ever remember Danny participating in a meme and this seems like a great one-time event I would be honored to participate in.

So, here goes, and please forgive my ignorance about all matters Hanukkah:

1. Quick! You must turn a plate of latkes into an upscale gourmet delight (as if they aren’t already?). What would you add to them to dress them up, flavor and/or garnish them?

I have never made latkes and eaten them only a very few times. From what I have experienced, I really love applesauce on them, although recently at our University’s President’s reception, lox and sour cream, and sauteed vegetables were all options as well. I did not try them but it all looked pretty exciting.

2. What is the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard anyone say about Chanukah?

Hm … I have never heard anything dumb. I have received Chanukah cards which I think is unusual. When I lived in Israel for 19 years (18 years ago) the only time we gave or sent cards was for Rosh Hashanah. And I have heard of people having Chanukah bushes, which is also unusual for me. I am always tickled by blue twinkling lights that some Jewish people use to decorate their homes during Chanukah time. All of it seems like such a wanting-to-be-like-Christmas-trip only in blue and silver! Not that I judge it. We all adapt to the cultures we become a part of. In fact, Chanukah was not such a big deal in Israel. It reminds me of all the Israelis who turned Yom Kippur into a bicycle holiday, when I lived there. Because, all the roads were bare of cars on Yom Kippur, and so secular people used the day to ride bikes safely all over the country.

3. What’s the best possible use for olive oil?

"Simu shemen, shemen zayit …" I start warbling to myself, a Hanukkah song I used to sing with the children in my preschool many years ago. Here are some best possible uses I can think of: Olive oil in my chopped, garlicky, Israeli salad; in my hair to make it soft and shiny; olive oil in a tomato, basil, mozzarella salad; for cooking sufganiyot; drizzled on fresh, hot, Italian bread; on top of a really good plate of humus or tahina; and, last but not least, for lighting an ancient oil-based Hanukkiyah.

4. Settle it once and for all. Latkes or hammentaschen? Which do you prefer? What about pitting the winner of that contest against sufganiyot?

Okay. Latkes any day. I really don’t like "oznei haman" one bit. Never have! But overall, I definitely prefer a hot, yeasty sufganiyah on a cold, rainy, wintry night walking down Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem.

5. What’s the best way to mix up a game of dreidel?

Well, I actually have never played a game of dreidel per se. As a teacher in my preschool we would sing about sevivonim and play with them briefly through song. Of course, the words we used were, "Nes gadol haya POH" (here) instead of "sham" (there) which is used in the diaspora. Each year, I would organize a big Hanukkah party with the children and their families. Everyone would come dressed up and we would eat sufganiyot and clementinot and sing beautiful Hebrew Hanukkah songs of bravery, freedom and light. The classroom would be decorated with children’s art work and I would lace asparagus fern around the ceiling. Tied up in the middle of the ceiling was a huge sevivon (dreidel), and at a certain point in the evening I would lower it to the floor, only to discover inside, bags of treats as a surprise for all the children. One time, David the Duck (really called "kfir habarvaz" but translated into David the Duck when I immigrated to the States), a very yellow and orange-beaked duck puppet I usually played with at circle times, who had gone missing for a whole week, suddenly appeared inside that large dreidel much to the children’s amazement and delight.

6. My novel, “Three Fallen Women,” shockingly enough, is about the lives of three women. Which three women would you like to have over this year for latkes and why?

Now, this is a tough question for me. And on any given day these choices would surely change. Famous women for me might be Marian Wright Edelman, bell hooks, and Germaine Greer. But this year I would love to see Laura, Jan and Vera. And, yes, I suspect, even after all our trials and tribulations I would dearly love to have over my mother, sisters, and sisters-in-law … but that would constitute way more than just three …

7. Other than “Three Fallen Women” (har har), what book do you think would make a great Chanukah gift this year? What book would you like to receive as a gift this year?

Well, now, see, I am not in the habit of giving Chanukah gifts. Bags of chocolate coins perhaps or real money (gelt) for my son each year lately to help him through graduate school. Once, many years ago, I put a little dreidel and a bag of chocolate coins inside my son’s Christmas stocking but he really did not like me mixing up the holidays like that! And so I always think of gifts around this time of year as Christmas presents. I did buy The Inheritance of Loss for us this year and asked for Dawkin’s The God Delusion on my Amazon wish-list, which I hope to receive on Monday morning!

8. What bloggers didn’t participate in Chanukah Blog Tour 5767 and you think should have?

I don’t know how to answer this question. I like Danny‘s reply to this question, and so appreciate being included in his list. Lately, I am starting to meet some bloggers who seem to be identified as "Jewish bloggers," but am not sure if I would tag them since they are so brand new to me.

And now I bow graciously and in gratitude, and feel warm and snug within because I actually managed to complete this meme after all.

Thank you, Amy Guth for creating it in the first place.


Quote of the day:

I Blog Therefore

I blog because my skin does not stretch enough.

Think of these words as a gigantic embrace. An attempt at being there.

Never Neutral.

Staring at the computer screen. So much to do: Laundry, readings for new spring semester classes, writing of new book, submitting proposals for conferences, packing, wrapping, last minute arrangements for Ada and the mail. Staring at the computer screen. Wanting to write and not clear what it is I really want to say. Oh sure, there are always the baloney subjects, cover-up to the real, deep-down-feeling-type stuff. You know, like, my favorite movie of the year or 5 things-you-may-not-know-about-me memes that are going around like a seasonal virus. And then there are always those New Year resolutions to reflect upon.

Hm … resolutions … being stronger, clearer, happier, thinner, more positive, loving, open, more compassionate, generous, make amends, get it righter, become fitter, more productive, technological, professional … Let’s see, this year I would have walked a total of: 513 miles. Can I do even more next year? And more … and even more than that?

Yes, well, it is exhausting to think about. No wonder I am tired this early in the morning and at the same time cannot seem to get anything done …

The Sears man came and serviced the treadmill yesterday. It was creaking as much as me. My work-out today, though, was smooth and swift, stirring all the energy through my heart and brain. While puffing and panting, I realized there are definitely a few things I would like to achieve next year.

I will start with a couple, and see if I might need to add any more by New Year’s Eve.

  1. I want to be very, very fit by June [In June I join one of the sibs for an English hike: Hadrian’s Wall. I have paid my deposit so, in a manner of speaking, I am already on my way]. To do that I have to work out consistently and lose some more pounds.
  2. I must become strong in confidence, drive out all the shame I allowed to envelope me in March 2005 and pull me down for a full year after that! I will need strength of mind to help me move forward with book # 2. I have learned a thing or two, oh yes siree, many a thing or three. And this process will start early January and continue until it is done, within the year, 2007, I hope.

Well, that is about it for now. I might try and get to all those things I wanted to do earlier today. Energy is on the move, brain blockage open, eyes are clear, despondency melting away. I wish us all a very happy Winter Solstice.

Oh, and Babel? The very best movie I have seen in a long, long time.

Almost time to fly …

  • Ho, ho, ho
  • Well, what do you know?
  • Blogging is such sweet sorrow.
  • Here today and gone tomorrow.
  • Gifts are boxed and wrapped.
  • Bags are almost packed.
  • Almost time to fly …
  • … to say goodbye …

We are off to see Flat Stanley’s friend, Jared, and his father. Yes indeed, Randy has just turned the great and wondrous five-OH! It is time to celebrate. Milya wrote us all the plans:

I can’t believe it’s only a week away! Here’s a loose outline of what I was thinking we’d do for those few days you’re all here. On Saturday eve. I thought we’d celebrate Randy’s birthday. I don’t have everyone’s arrival time, but I thought there’d be some time in the evening for that. If we’re too tired to go out to eat we can just have a little celebration at home with cake and stuff. On Sunday there’s a UU service both at 11 a.m. and at 4 pm, and I think we’re thinking of the 4 p.m. So in the first part of the day we’ll have time for last minute things, maybe pick up some egg nog lattes or run to Whole Foods for some last minute groceries. Speaking of which… does anyone have any great ideas for Xmas dinner? I’m personally not too crazy about ham, and turkey seems kind of boring, but I haven’t thought of an alternative, so any input here is welcome. On Xmas day, well, we’ll just let the day take its course. We may want to go out for a walk or drive in the afternoon. On the 26th I thought we’d go and do some sightseeing, maybe hug a few redwoods, or dip our toes in the surf (weather allowing).

And JJ [Tom and Randy’s Mom] will be there too. She had great ideas for the plans. Yum!

Hooray, let’s Party! If the flight goddess is with us, and I don’t get bumped, I’ll be taking the same bus to San Rafael as Tom and Tamar. We could either take Randy out for a birthday dinner or have something simple at home. One idea is to pick up Papa Murphy’s take-and-bake pizzas–they’re very good and there is a store about 3 miles away…salad, a little wine…cake & candles…yum. Lasagna (frozen) would be good too, or broiled salmon. Let Randy decide. Sunday afternoon at church is perfect for me. I’ve had several gifts shipped down from Amazon and will have time to wrap them in the morning. As for Christmas dinner, we could splurge and get a prime rib, or Don has taught me a great way to bake a turkey: You cut it up like you would a chicken and bake it on a bed of miripoix (onions, celery and carrots). Pan drippings, neck, back & wing meat makes wonderful stock for gravy. Slice the meat off the bone to serve and no clunky carcass to deal with. Don helped me bake two of them for a church dinner and they were a hit. I’ll be happy to take this on if you like (leftovers for sandwiches too). As to the rest of the time, I just want to be with you all, get a whole bunch of hugs, take a walk, play games, oh yes…open a few presents…I know the time will pass too quickly. I can’t wait! JJ

We can’t wait to see Makaila and Madeleine, too. I have a sneaking suspicion I’ll be thinking and, oh dear, saying, things like: "Oh my! How you’ve grown!" [Groan! Do all old aunties say that?] I wonder if I will pinch any cheeks … hug and squeeze people … laugh and exclaim out loud and clap my hands in delight at all the wonderful food, presents, the big green decorated tree!

Will I wear flowers in my hair? Because I will surely meet some gentle people there. Some of the gentlest, sweetest ones I know.

Hold on. We’re on our way!

Online Holiday Concert

What a trip! What a party!

Check out Citizen of the Month for a truly spectacular "online holiday concert".  A real celebration. Gee, I wish I knew how to audio and YouTube and all that jazz!

Oy to the world! Maybe next year.

The festivities begin

Some of you might remember my moaning and complaining about being an ethnic minority during Rosh Hashanah this past September.

Well, yesterday early evening as the sun was just starting to set, and I was just about to light the first night Hanukkah candles, all of a sudden, out of the blue in walked Tom. Surprise! He hardly ever is able to get off work early and yet there he was. In one hand he had a freshly baked cake from Bredenbecks, chocolate chip and one they were making specially for Hanukkah. In the other a gift. A DVD! OOh, one of my favorite movies that I yearn to see again and again: Pride and Prejudice. Quelle surprise! In my excitement and enthusiasm at having been remembered so kindly and fondly I ran to the CD player and put on Emmy Lou loudly, singing, "Christmas Time’s a-Coming," and lit all the candles in the room, including the Hanukkah ones.

In my joy and excitement, I even lit some nag champa, and with tea and cake in hand settled in to watch my new movie.

Well done, Tom! You made my day!