Wednesday, October 18, 2006

This is Pepper, the Psycho Dog. She's a bit under two years old, and frankly, I just wanted to add a picture to the blog to see how it works.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

So, it seems that I now share not one, but two things in common with the esteemed Chayyei Sara: the first is that some time ago, my wife brought her some goodies while on a trip to Israel (perhaps I'll be able to find a link at some point), and the second thing is that I, too, spent most of the Shmini Atzeret/Simchat Torah chag sick in bed. Chayyei Sara had one advantage - her chag was only one day, while ours was two days.

Oy - spending time being sick while everyone else is out having fun is not the best way to celebrate a chag!

Friday night here was cold - down in the mid-forties Fahrenheit. I already felt a cold coming on, and was hoping against hope that our hosts for the meal would deem it too cold to eat outside. After all, our shule Rav (Rabbi) even said, "One does not need to be more machmir (stringent) to eat in the Succah on Shmini Atzeret than on Succot itself!” Unfortunately, our host was in the shule across the street, and never heard this.

So, we were outside. And I was cold. And each time I would think about getting up to help clear the plates (and perhaps move the meal along so we could finish I could go find warmth), one of the other guests would take two spoons of rice, or perhaps half of a chicken wing - and eat it very, very, slowly.

Finally, we had dessert - and benched (said the prayer after a meal with bread), and we walked back to the house. It's not a long walk - perhaps 7 minutes - but the cold always makes it seem worse. Of course, I had to walk the dog when we got back, since the kids don't do that at night. Luckily, Pepper cooperated and did not spend an excessive amount of time outside. And then, there were three bags of trash that had to go out, or we would have ants all over the floor in the morning. (I was going to get them out before Shabbat/Shmini Atzeret actually started, but I ran out of time, and got to shule late enough as it was.)

I didn't sleep well that night, so instead of springing out of bed at about 7 like I normally do on Shabbat, I was in bed until 8:05. I didn't make it to the pre-davening shiur, but I got there at 9 for the start of services. I began feeling worse and worse - I wanted to at least make it to the end of laining (Torah reading), but I made it only to end of Kohelet before I needed to leave. So I walked home, stopping briefly when I saw my kids walking so I could tell them I wasn't feeling well, so I was headed home.

Got in bed.

Missed lunch in the succah of SoccerDad and family.

Missed hakafot in shule, both the evening and day versions.

Missed the Simchat Torah hashkama minyan that I've attended for years, with a guy that does the funniest auction I've ever heard.

Missed a big "get together" lunch we've had with several close friends/families for many years.

Missed work on Monday, although I did work from home.

And those were my two days. Still have a bit of a cold, but I'm up and around, and I'm back to schlepping my kids hither and yon. But I'm also happy to add that we're all back to a normal schedule now, with free Sundays included. I suspect that free Sundays will be something I miss when we finally, hopefully get to Israel, but I'm sure I'll learn to do without.

Friday, October 13, 2006

There are signs all over the city that say BELIEVE. They are on all municipal vehicles, on banners hanging on the firehouses, on police stations . . . everywhere. I recently noticed that the city hung several banners on light posts near where I live, and the banners each have BELIEVE in a different language - Hebrew, Spanish, Russian, etc.

If the city is going to waste my tax money on signs, I wish they would at least put up signs that are useful - like ALWAYS USE YOUR TURN SIGNALS or DON'T LEAVE YOUR CAR RUNNING IF YOU ARE NOT IN IT. Practical things that make sense. I don't need to "believe" in the city - if it hasn't gotten better yet, I don't think it will.

My boss is not Jewish. However, he knows a great deal about Judiasm. He knows all the basic terms and what they mean, so I don't often have to explain myself when I talk to him. Yesterday, he returned from our main facility, and told me that "they had that booth up, but it was empty." I told him it was called a succa, and that it would probably be empty except during mealtimes.

Then we chatted a few minutes about the length of the holiday (9 days!). He knows that I don't shave during chol hamoed, the middle part of the holiday. Then I told him that I was all "holidayed out," and that I can't wait to get my Sundays back again.

One of the real advantages to making aliyah is that there are one day chagim, as opposed to two days here in the Diaspora. It's something I look forward to. I even once mentioned it as a reason to make aliyah at a Nefesh B'Nefesh meeting. These two day chagim make me nuts - it gets hot, and we all end up sweaty and smelly. Not the most comfortable way to enjoy the chag, especially if the shule (synagogue) is crowded. I most certainly think that we should be able to do away with the extra days - IMHO. (Jewish holidays listed in the Torah - Pesach (Passover), Shavuot, and Sukkot - are one day on each end. Outside of Israel each end is two days. This has to do with the way the new moon was announced during the days when the Bait Hamikdosh (the Temple in Jerusalem) was standing.

I won't talk about losing Sundays when we move - that's for another post. Moadim b'simcha, and to any Jewish readers out there - Chag Samayach and Shabbat Shalom!

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Testing . . . testing . . . 1 2 3 . . .

This is a test of the It's Time to Go Bradcasting/Blogging system. The blogger in your area, in voluntary cooperation with no one, has decided to blog. Thanks and have a good day.