Sunday, June 14, 2020

Back to School!

ETA: I am not sure why I stopped writing beyond life just got busy, but this post from five years ago was sitting in my drafts. Chavi is starting 12th grade and J-Bird will be in 8th. How time does fly...

I have had no problem keeping my title as most sporadic blogger of all time. If that was an Olympic event, I would for sure get the gold!

 Right now we are enjoying our last weekend of summer vacation, the year has just flown by I can't believe we are already gearing up for Rosh Hashanah. The boys go back to school this week, and I will finish the last of my summer classes this week too. Both boys have been accepted at the Hebrew Day school, they are very excited, and I am just hoping they will have a wonderful year. I can't believe that Chavi is an 8th grader, I am hoping to make this very important year special for him.

New school year means my most favourite shopping of all time SCHOOL SUPPLIES. No, really, I really do love school supply shopping. Both boys needed new backpacks Chavi picked out a very cool Space Junk ~ Sprayground backpack & lunch box with TMNT on it. JBird is all about elephants these days so he picked out somethings from Pottery Barn Kids; the WWF Elephants Mackenzie backpack, a retro lunchbox, and a matching drink bottle.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Facts are not feelings, trite but true

As a mother of young men, I often worry about the lessons I am teaching them without meaning too. We have long conversations about behaviour, expectations, grades, & how to conduct themselves like gentlemen as we enter the teen years. We have talked about sex, drugs, alcohol, teen pregnancy, STD's, how the internet is forever, peer pressure, & bullying. I find it harder to discuss abuse, how not to be abusive, & how not to be abused. I wonder if I am doing enough, & how to delicately skirt the issues we have had in our own home of flared tempers, fear, & destructive words. None of it is easy, & all of it is important.

My mantra has become "feelings are not fact" & it seems to me the only way to teach them is to hold on to my own inner power. Or as is the case with myself find a way to reconnect to that inner part of me. When you give your power away, allowing another person control over your feelings, you lose yourself. Sometimes, I think I can see me underneath years of emotional manipulation, anger, & blame. Not that I am blameless in the cycle, when a marriage fractures in so many ways everyone gets a piece of the pie. The struggle is how to remove that serving from your children's lives, so that the meal can end with you & not be handed down to future generations.

My journey, the healing that needs to happen between myself & our sons doesn't have anything to do with my husband's choices. That is a really hard lesson to grasp. It means acknowledging that nothing is in your control beyond how you choose to react. With that reaction, you can give your power or you can keep it. I am jam-packed with feelings, I have acknowledged them but they are not in charge. I am & today I choose peace.

"Life is like riding a bicycle, in order to keep your balance you must keep moving."

Friday, September 25, 2015

Yom Kippur - G'mar Hatima Tova

The Apple Pie Coffee Cake that I mentioned the other day tastes amazing. Sadly, I utterly destroyed it trying to flip it out of the pan. Whoops. I baked it, got showered & dressed, took it out of the oven, then went to get the boys up. That was where I went wrong. I forgot about it, letting it cool too long. When I tried to flip it out of the pan, it stuck because the gooey brown sugar apple pie filling. mixture hardened. I am going to remake it for Shabbat No'ar, but the recipe needs to be tweaked a little bit. It calls for you to have two layers of both the apple pie mixture & the cake batter, but there was barely enough apple pie mixture for one layer.

Yom Kippur services went smoothly, & Chavi sat through half of the days services before he needed a break. It is a very hard holiday, it is not a happy one. Many of the readings can bring up all sorts of emotions. I was proud of him it is an extremely long day, we were there for about ten hours.

Chavi needing a reprieve worked out fine for me, because I needed to go help in the kitchen at that point. J-Bird spent most of the day in the youth room, & joined us towards the end of the evening service. Working in the kitchen while fasting was hard, especially while chopping up a mountain of fruit. I think the hardest part was no water to drink, my mouth was so dry by the end of the day. It really made me think about the people who feel hunger & thirst everyday, with no relief in sight.

I always cry at the part of the service where they sing the song Shtiler, Shtiler - Quiet, Quiet. The song lyrics are a poem written by Shmerke Kaczerginski and the music is composed by then, 11 year old Alek Wolkovisk (he now goes by the name Tamir). They wrote & composed this song while in the Vilna Ghetto, outside of the city Ponary in Lithuania. The song tells the story of what was happening there.  Another part of the service that moves me is when they remember the children of Auschwitz.  Of the 15,000 children sent to Auschwitz, only 100 survived & none were under the age of 14. This year I also struggled with "When I turned 13" a, as my oldest will turn 13 in just a few days. The reading compares a boy becoming Bar Mitzvah today, with a boy becoming Bar Mitzvah during the Holocaust (this is always read by two boys who have just turned 13). When I look at my children, & think of those children it always breaks my heart all over again. This year I found it to be even more convicting because of the crisis the Syrian people are facing.

Yom Kippur is a time to remember our sorrows, to seek forgiveness, & to give it. As I enter this new year, I find myself searching for ways I can make it a more divine one. Not just for my children, but finding ways to help our community, along with those in our larger global society. What example do I want to set for my children? How can I demonstrate the love, patience, & compassion I want them to exhibit as they grow from children to men?

*this is not a Communist song, this was just the best vocal I could find*

Shtiler, Shtiler

Shtiler, shtiler lomir shvaygn
Kvorim vaksn do.
S'hobn zeyfarflantst si sonim:
Grinen zet tsum blo.
S'firn vegn tsu pona tsu,
S'firt keyn veg tsurik,
Iz der tate vu farshvundn
Un mit im dos glik.

Shtiler, kind mayns, veyn nit, oytser,
S'heift nit keyn geveyn,
Undzer umglik vein sonim
Say vi nit farshteyn.
S'hobn breges oykh di yamen,
S'hobn tfises oykhet tsamen,
Nor tsu undzer payn
Keyn bisl shayn.

Filing afn land gekumen,
Un undz harbst gebrakht.
Iz der tog haynt ful mit blumen,
Undz zet nor di nakht.
Goldikt shoyn der harbst af shtamen,
Blit in undz der tsar,
Blaybt faryosemt vu a mame,
S'kind geyt af ponar.
Vi di vilye a geshmidte
T'oykh geyokht in payn,
Tsien kries ayz durkh lite
Glaykh in yam arayn.
S'very der khoyshekh vu tserunen
Fun der fintster layktn zunen
Rayter, kum geshvind
Dikh ruft dayn kind.

Shtiler, shtiler, s'kvein kvain
Undz in harts arum.
Biz der toyer vet nit fain
Muzn mir zayn shtum.
Frey nit, kind, zikh, s'iz dayn shmeykhi
Itst far undz farrat,
Zol dem friling zen der soyne
Vi in harbst a blat.
Zol der kvai zikh ruik flisn
Shtiler zay un hof...
Mit der frayheyt kumt der tate
Shlof zhe, kind mayn, shlof
Vi der vilye a bafrayte,
Vi di baymer grin banayte
Laykht bald frayheyts-likht
Af dayn gezikht,
Af dayn gezikht.

Quiet, quiet, let's keep quiet
dead are growing here.
They were planted by the tyrant
see their bloom appear.
All the roads lead to Ponar now
there are no roads back,
and your father, to has vanished
and with him our luck.
Hush my child, don't cry my treasure,
tears no help command.
Our pain callous people,
would never understand.
Seas and oceans have their order,
prison also has it's border.
Our torment is endless,
is endless.

Spring has come,the earth receives her,
but brings to us the fall.
And the day is filled with flowers,
but darkness calls to us.
Autumn leaves with gold are softened.
In us grow deep scars,
and a mother somewhere orphaned,
her child, goes to Ponar.
Now the river too is prisoner,
and enmeshed in pain.
While the blocks of ice tear through her,
to the ocean strain.
Still, things frozen melt, remember,
warmth and cold winds too surrender.
The future brings a smile
I know your child calls,
I know your child calls.

Quiet, quiet, wells grow stronger
deep within our hearts.
Till the gates are no longer there,
no sound must we impart.
Child, rejoice not your smiling
is not allowed.
Let the foe encounter springtime,
as an Autumn cloud.
Let the well flow gently onward,
be silent and dream.
Coming freedom brings your father.
Slumber child, serene.
As the river liberated,
springtime green is celebrated.
Kindle freedom's light,
it is your right,
it is your right!


Tuesday, September 22, 2015


So the goal is just to write, even if I don't have much to say. It's been raining for the past two days which was really nice, it always cools the valley off. There has even been the nip of fall extremely briefly in the past couple mornings. Just in time for the first official day of fall!

Our washes & the river were flowing really nicely yesterday & today. Its funny how I took water for granted living in New England. Now I get so excited when I see it, I miss the ocean so much. This is just a mucky wash near my home, so not the same thing LOL.

Tomorrow is Yom Kippur, I am helping in the kitchen to help prepare the break fast after all of the services. I am also going to make an apple pie coffee cake for the break fast. I am slightly nervous because it is a new recipe & I am making it in the oven v. the crockpot. So we will have to see how it turns out.

School is going well, my Political Science class is a hoot, lots of interesting debates go on in there. Anatomy & Physiology are going really well, this week is the skeletal system. For the oral exam I recalled what I had learned 6 years ago at Cortiva so that was awesome. For history last week we had a pop quiz & I aced it, which was unexpected. To be honest, it was my Humanities course that really helped me pass the History pop quiz, they cover extremely similar material. Likewise the Philosophy course I took this summer, has so far been useful to my Political Science class.

Next week is my birthday & then four days after that Chavi turns thirteen I still can't believe I will be thirty-seven, when did I get so old!


Friday, September 18, 2015

K'Tiva V'Chatima Tova - May you be inscribed for a good year

L'shanah tovah! This is the time of year were we prepare ourselves for the end of one year, & make ready for the next. This past Monday was Rosh Hashanah, and this Wednesday we will celebrate Yom Kippur.

If there was an award for most inconsistent blogger I would win it. As much as I love writing, it is the first thing to get tossed overboard when my life gets hectic. So let's play a little game of catch up!

We are well into the fall semester in my household, & so far it seems to be going along gang busters. Chavi is a 7th grader & doing pretty well this year (knock on wood). He has aspirations of being a TA next semester for his favourite science teacher this is encouraging him to maintain an A/B average. He will be 13 next month & is preparing for his Bar Mitzvah ceremony. We have time though, his ceremony is not until 2016. He DID join the knitting club at school & he seems to be enjoying it. He is contemplating joining the gardening club as well, but that would require getting up even earlier on Tuesday mornings than he normally does.

J-bird is in the third grade & this is also his first year of Tuesday evening Hebrew school. He is very excited to be finally be with the big kids & has asked me about doing his Bar Mitzvah in Israel. That was a firm "we will see" from me. Also new for us this school year is J-Bird needing reading glasses! So far my forgetful little bird has managed not to lose them, which for him is a large accomplishment. Both boys were very happy with the chuggim (elective) that they were selected for at their religious school on Sundays. The drama chug suits them & their temperaments very well!

I am taking four classes this semester: Political Science, History of Mexicans in the Southwest, Humanities Intercultural Perspectives, and Biology A&P. I went with a wide range of methods as well I have a hybrid course, an online course, a self paced course, and a lecture course.  I can say my course load is keeping me on my toes! I was pretty proud of myself for getting all A's in my summer courses.

For Selichot this year we went on a hike with one of our Rabbi's, & a few other families. It was very brief just about two miles but the water was flowing nicely in Sabino Canyon. Unfortunately, the weather was so lovely all week long but  in true desert fashion decided to heat up again that morning. It was still a very nice outing though, we even saw a very cool desert tortoise crossing the path.

Something else we did this past summer that was a lot of fun was The Loft's Kid's Film Fest. It is a 100% free family event, they show one film a day for a little over a week. This year we were able to see Disney Nature's Bears, The Goonies (my two night owls feel fast asleep), & a Mary Poppins sing-along! They always have a cool craft going on for the kids to do, free bike helmets, & each film has a theme, & a raffle prize. It is a really well planned, & crazy fun event.  Speaking of Sing-Alongs at The Loft we have been to FOUR this year (counting Mary Poppins)! We just love them to pieces.

My goals for myself this year are getting more involved in my community, and making my health a priority. So far since the middle of August I have lost a bit over 11 lbs! YAY go me! I am excited to continue this journey towards living a more healthy life.

I am continuing to be active in the Pima Community College Social Services Organization, & have joined the Veterans Student Association as well. At the synagogue I am in Chavi's 7th grade class Kiddush Club, am co-chairing the Purim festival, attending the Youth Education Council meetings, & making sure the Shabbat No'ar breakfasts go swimmingly. I also joined the PTA at their public school.

I think that it is going to be a really good school year, & I am looking forward to all the adventures my family will have over the next few months.


Monday, February 16, 2015

Weekend Roundup

This week was Valentine's Day & J-Bird helped me make these little treat bags for his class. We used several items from #Target's Dollar spot: pencils, erasers, & treat bags. Price wise the cost ended up being only a little more than we would normally spend, & I thought this was cuter. The bounce balls were the #1 most loved item according to J-Bird.

He also informed me that he is in love with a girl in his classroom. When I reminded him of our no girlfriend policy his response was "Ima, it's just puppy love, it is junior love!" The things he says just crack me up.

Chavi was a bit bummed out about his middle school Valentine's Day festivities (there were none). He reported that only the girls got anything, they either have boyfriends or they gave things to each other. He said people would think it was weird if the boys gave each other things too. That made me feel a little sad for him & the other boys feeling left out just based on their sex, & lack of a girlfriend. Although in our home 6th grade is still under the no girlfriend rule, he has a crush on a girl in his circle of friends. It seems both of my boys have girls & puppy love on their minds lately. I want to dive under the covers, chanting "I'm not ready, I'm not ready".

My parents gave both boys a DVD, Chavi was given The Sandlot. I love this movie, every time I hear the word forever in my mind (and sometimes out loud) I repeat it just like it is said in the film "FOOOOOREVVVERRR" Both boys think it is just an amazing story, & I can see it being played often in our home. Saturday evening they went outside to play some baseball. It involved a ton of loud spitting, a lot of strikes & a few really nice pitches. Watching them play was hilarious, I was dying of laughter on the inside. Even the gross spitting, it was all so dramatic as they played just like The Sandlot boys did.

It made me miss the way we used to play back in the 80's, do you remember playing with one large core group of neighborhood kids? I wish children still played like that.

Keeping this short this evening, I can feel a tension headache building. I am thinking a nice cup of herbal tea, and a warm compress on my eyes might help. Either way it can't hurt.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

School & Other Randomly Assorted Thoughts

This winter I went BACK to school (yes again, I really, really want my BSW) My course work this semester is: Social Work 110, Psych 101, Spanish 101, & Writing 102. A ton of reading, exams, & research papers, not to mention one class wants AMA citation, another wants MLA *yikes* My Psych class is the hardest, it is just SO much being thrown at my brain in one go. All but one of them are hybrid courses, which is a whole new experience for me. Hybrid means a ton of work on the computer, with the added bonus of lecture times, & in-class work.

 My youngest asked me the other day why I forgot to buy him gum at the store. I explained to him that I have three peoples schedules bouncing around in my brain, sometimes things fall out. To be honest (or fair?) gum wasn't ranked high on my list of priorities, & he was right there with me so he forgot too. Still, I know the boys depend on my NOT forgetting (even little things like a new pack of gum), they need me to have Super Mom brain. Sometimes, I feel like they have Swiss Cheese for Brains Mom instead.

As a result of my going to school I spend a lot of time driving: to & from my school, each of the boy's schools, school events for all three of us, Synagogue events, Hebrew & Sunday school, etc. (so much time in my mom mobile, my music of choice is currently Taylor Swift on repeat.) It is a lot to keep track of all of the things, with no one to remind, or at the very least commiserate with me.

Writing things down, doesn't mean I won't forget, or double book, because I am so far from perfect (which I am at peace with, perfect is not ever going to be a goal of mine). It is not helping that winter, is the season I struggle most mental health/mood wise. To combat the mental fuzz, I put things in my phone, on the calendar hanging on the fridge, in my day planner, & on the white board. Being organized does not come easy to me, I am trying to learn though. Can you become type 'A' by sheer force of will? Ask me again in a year!

OH, & because I might be certifiable (I kid). I also joined the Social Services Student Organization at my campus, & I am on the Purim Festival committee at our Synagogue. Gold star points for moving out of my comfort zone, & getting involved on a deeper level.

My next step in the 'Take Control of Your Life, Be Better Organized, & Prepared' journey I am undertaking, is to write out a list of goals for myself. I am thinking short term, for just the next six months. I don't think I am quite ready for long term thoughts & that is okay.