Looking back and thinking forward

Month: March, 2010


Sunshine streams in the window. Spring flowers beckon me to walk outdoors, potter in the garden, or, perhaps, sit out and read. 

And yet, I find myself rummaging away in my little study, throwing away old papers, resorting books in different orders, dusting, dusting, dusting, and creating an open, empty shelf … 

… for new projects …

A couple of days ago, my latest book arrived in the mail. This morning I arose very early, and in the still of the dawn hours, I leafed through the book, reading my introductory chapter, and wandering through the generous contributions by so many excellent early childhood scholars. As I turned the pages and turned the book over in my hands, a sigh escaped through my lips. 

I sensed a feeling of satisfaction and pleasure in the completion of a project. 

Before long, I found myself scurrying around my study, throwing away, and straightening up this and that. Suddenly, it occurred to me that I was preparing my space for two new projects that have been on my mind this past year or two:

A book for parents, and a memoir. Indeed, I have the beginnings of their titles swirling around my brain for some time now. Lately, excitement has been growing. For I am itching to write. Not in my blog or on the Facebook page. No way. In fact I am yearning to wake up early and write pages for whatever project comes up first. Both represent something I want to do for me. Not for work or my profession. Not because I must. 

Just because … 

… I want to …

America … Land of the Brave?

I have been watching and listening to too much news this past week. I say this because I feel spoiled, tainted, soiled, grimy, exhausted, anxious, fearful … 

All the hate speech and violence that is swirling and whirling in the airwaves, with images and sounds has infiltrated my brain and sensibilities, and is taking over any compassionate, peaceful thoughts or feelings that I might have. Indeed, I have to do everything in my power not to stoop to fighting with the ignorance and bigotry that is screaming into my face.

What is amazing about all of this, is that it has evolved out of peoples' need and their right to health care. Surely, all this hate cannot be about denying others the right to medical attention? Surely, people cannot be so selfish? And yet, they scream and yell about repealing a law that will include millions of Americans into the health care system.

For me, what is most frightening is when our President speaks intelligently and compassionately, so many people around the country react with violent hatred. What can I say? They simply cannot abide a brown skinned man in this role. Yes indeed, I strongly believe that it is pure and simple: racism. For some, it is so deeply entrenched in their psyche, they seem unable to understand it themselves. For others it is right out there -open and stark, clear cut and direct. One thing is for sure. The election of Barack Obama has pulled and sucked ignorance, selfishness, bigotry and hatred right out of the woodwork – out of the closet! It feels like we are all being pulled down, down, down, into an abyss, back into some kind of hideous dark age.

Recently, someone I had considered a friend wrote on my Facebook page that they were surprised I had been "drinking the Kool Aid" … I guess because I support the President I so happily elected. I was so surprised by the cynicism and disrespect in that comment, that I remained silent. I felt as if my intelligence had been insulted! 

But now that I see and hear all the lies and rubbish that is being said and believed, I realize, it was not my intelligence that had been insulted. It is everyone else insulting their own intelligence – because they do not have the courage to confront their own discomfort – the deep-rooted racism they learned in their earliest childhoods – to recognize their hideous biases – and to stand up against ignorance and bigotry with all their might. 

Rise up, America! Rally round! Push away all these dark forces of ignorance, ancient biased teachings and beliefs. Weed them out of your earliest emotional memories. Confront your discomfort! Reach up towards courage and light!

I am sure that you will feel so much better about yourself if you do. 

A soul-full journey


[Click on the photographs to enlarge …]

One thing I did a lot of this past week is eat! Me oh my, how I love the breakfasts in Israel. I seem to eat as if I am quelling not only the physical need for sustenance, but my emotional hunger as well. Filling those cracks and crevices of loneliness from living in the United States without my family all these past 22 years. 



Quenching the yearning of all my senses: for sunshine, abundance of spring flowers around Pesach time, the sweet, pungent scents of blooming orange blossoms, and aquamarine colors of the mediterranean sea. 



I soaked in the moments we all came together, loving each and every family member, excited to see and feel us all in the same room. It was a great healing for me to be with everyone, to feel belonging, and an individual in my own right, at one and same time. Close enough to feel loved and included, and detached enough to observe each and every one of us as who we are, and how we have all become to be the people we are today.


We gathered in celebration of our mother's 93rd birthday …


… all five siblings together in one room after, who knows, perhaps more than 30 years? I realized what a courageous and loving family we all are. Each person with their own unique ways of expressing emotions, choosing their life's work and passions, and all fiercely loving, devoted, and caring about their own children and families. I felt pride in our mother, standing tall behind us as life partner tried to take our family picture, just an hour or so before our return to Philadelphia.

Here are a few of the outtakes as L.P. tried to gather all of us together:




And, finally, here are we – the five sibs. What can I say? I could not stop smiling. 


I write this with tears of longing in my study back home in Philadelphia, and yet I know that each and every one of my sisters and brothers reside deeply in my heart and emotional memory. They are all a part of me, and I a part of them.

Winging it …

Tonight, we head East. 
Middling East. 
Large family awaits with 
much to celebrate.  

Siblings gathering,
all together –
the first time in over two decades.


For, it is Happy Ninety-Third birthday time for our mother! 

I think I will take my new haircut with me …

Picture Spring 2010 001 

I hope you will all be here when I return …
… for it could take a week or so …

Happy Spring Break to all those who have one, like me …

A barrier to the pain

Quote of the day:

When I first suggested to [her] that I could convert, it was the same sensation as I had when you used to throw a blanket over me on the couch … then coming to the services was like a space of freedom for the length of the service … a time when I could remember myself … [Anna, chatting with me this morning on Facebook]

Once, my step-daughter said to me that she loved to be sick at my house when she was a child, because I would cover her with a blanket on my couch. 

About 9 years ago I wrote my mother a letter of admiration, gratitude, and love, and she replied:

This letter is meant to be an answer to an overwhelming letter that you sent me … there have been many times in my life that I felt like I was standing alone on the top of a cold mountain with very strong winds roaring around … but now your letter has made me feel a warm soft blanket wrapped around me and great security

I realize this morning that these days, I need to throw a blanket over my Self. 

As Sheldon Kopp says: Learn to forgive yourself again and again and again and again

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Moving on … ?

Acceptance (Update)

The stirrings of a new day in early March. Snow on the ground but the birds are singing fiercely. I think that Spring might be on its way.

Talking to my family this morning, planning the upcoming reunion, which is happening for us all next week in far away lands, I become excited. 

Renewal is in the air.


Transcribed recordings of things I said into my IPhone Voice Memos App. early this morning as I drove to work – sun shining, snow melting, and roads clear of traffic:

Early childhood education for me is not about whether I am a good parent or not – no! – it is about what I know now after experience and education – what is good for very young children. That's what it's about – oh yeah!

Well, I once had a dream. I dreamed I'd take my son and me and we'd go to America and make a new life – full of hope and promise and opportunity. [sigh] – and I think the dream has been realised for me … The dreams I had for me and my child are just for me. My child has to make his own dreams.

March 1

Quote of the day:

Write about it, talk about it, walk about it … just don't eat about it. Me, today … thinking about it on the way out of Starbucks this morning.

My colleague tells me a story about a young Asian student who told her she did not ever want to have children. When my colleague asked the student what made her say that, the student declared, "I never want to do something that I would not get right!"

I wonder at the arrogance of me ever thinking I could get it right.

In like a lion!

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Bony white fingers (Update)