Ocean and Sky

I’m very slowly re-learning Torah and Haftarah tropes.   LOL, now I know why they teach these to pre-teens, when you are that age they are much easier to learn!   I’m learning as I go, and it mostly involves listening to recordings over and over and over again. and So. Much. Practice.

there is a woman at my congregation who chants the most beautiful Haftarah trope you ever heard.   I finally figured out what her voice sounds like:

Have you ever stood on the beach, where the waves hit the sand, and your bare feet are slowly sinking into the sand? You’ve got to stand right where the surf just hits the shore.  As the waves go in and out, the sand under your feet slowly gives way.  First, just the tips of your toes are covered. Then your toes are fully covered. Then your feet slowly sink a little further, and more of your foot is covered. You can pull your feet out at any moment, but why would you want to?  as the water is pulled back out, you feel a pull on your feet. A pull to go with the water. But you can’t go with the water, because your feet are locked in the sand.  Also, you can’t go with the water because you are a person, and we can’t go where the water is.

That is what her voice sounds like – the waves trying to pull you out to the deeper waters, but you know you can’t go there.

Haftarah tropes sounds like the ocean as heard from the beach.  You’re in it.

Torah tropes sounds like flying through the sky, where you can see everything – clouds, mountains, herds of animals, cities.  You’re flying above it.

I am hoping those concepts will be a little mnemonic trick for me, to help me remember what the  different notations sound like. They look the same, but sound different!  LOL, this is how I know i’m getting older – new things are a struggle to learn/relearn.

 

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Checking for Monsters under the Bed

I hate spiders.

I am terrified of spiders and I hate them. Yes, I know that every spider I have ever found inside my home is harmless and that it is more afraid of me than I am of it. they eat other bugs. I know all of this.  I have a phobia of spiders.

My husband hates spiders and is afraid of them slightly less than I am.

There was a big fat black spider in the bathtub the other day. And by big and fat I mean it was maybe the size of a dime. Probably smaller.  I woke my husband up to kill it. Told him he’d probably need the vacuum cleaner for this cthonic creature from the depths of hell.  He smushed it and flushed it down the toilet.

I asked him to look around the bathroom, make sure there weren’t any more.  He said spiders of that size are usually cannibals, so there probably weren’t any more.

I stood in the hallway, hoping from one foot to the other. Me, a thirty eight year old woman, was doing what looked like a potty dance. I told him that him looking around the bathroom for spiders would give me the comfort that a young child gets from their parent checking under the bed for monsters, even though the parents (and maybe the kid) KNOWS there isn’t a monster under the bed.

He made a huge showing of looking in all the corners of the bathroom, under the toilet, in the sinks, behind the door.  He made sure that I saw him look under the bed and not see any monsters. Even though we both knew there weren’t any.  He took my irrational fear and gave it rationality, made it an OK thing. Not a fear, or a weakness, just a thing.

he gets all the husband points.

Two Invitations

At a recent Bar Mitzvah, I got chatting with a friend who was recently returned from Israel.  Our conversation started with what’s become the typical post-service discussion of who tutored the Bar Mitzvah boy, how many months did they work together, and how wonderful the young man did with his service.  My friend related to me that in Israel, orthodox families don’t think much of needing to prepare for their child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah. The child has been hearing and saying the prayers their whole life, they already know how to read tropes, and as the Torah portion they read is directly related to the day they were born, the family knows the portion upwards of 10 years before the child’s actual service, giving more than enough time for the child to perfect all the chanting.  A few weeks before the event, the parents speak with the Rabbi to discuss who will called up for certain honors, and that’s it.

 

Theoretically, that means a parent or other family member could chant a young child’s Torah portion (and Haftarah) to them at night, as a sort of lullaby. To a young child, those musical notes and syllables would come to mean “I am loved” and “I am safe”.  The kid would learn it as a comforting lullaby, building an unbreakable connection with whoever chanted and sang those words. Ten years later, having to chant a Torah portion in front of the community wouldn’t be something to make you nervous, you’re simply singing the song that you’ve always known.

 

When a Jewish child is born, they receive an invitation to two very special clubs.

 

The first club is comprised of all the other Jewish children being called to the Torah as B’nai Mitzvah that same Shabbat. All of those students learn the same Torah portion.  In this club of having something in common, everyone shares the unbreakable bond of having been called to the Torah for the first time to read the same Torah portion.  Chances are, many of you share the same birthday as well.

 

The second club is comprised of people you may not have anything in common with. In fact, no one from your first club will be part of your second club.  Everyone in this second club was called to the Torah for the first time for a different portion than everyone else. There may be 54 people in this club, but more likely there is somewhere between 156 and 162.  You each bring a different Torah portion to the table. Which means that when all of you are together, you literally have the entire Torah amongst you.

 

Jewish children of the world, the day you were born you received two invitations.

 

The day you were called to the Torah as a Bar or Bat Mitzvah you answered both of those invitations with here I am.

Getting to know someone again

Remember I set up a pity date with The Red Cross?  Seems to have worked, so far.

I recently reread one of my favorite novels, The Habitation of the Blessed, by Catherynne Valente.  There are some characters who are immortal, and to keep from boredom and stagnation, they have a lottery every three hundred years. You get a new occupation, live in a new town, have a new family, and whatever you get, you are stuck with it for three hundred years until the lottery comes around again. People you knew in your old life, you are supposed to try to forget them, and if you see them on the street you are supposed to greet them as one would greet a stranger.

Because I am an anxious person, and because I apparently enjoy scaring the shit out of myself, my brain took this idea in a very dark direction.  Ok, so what if you had this lottery thing, and you did meet up again with your best friend. You both know that you knew each other years ago, but you follow the rules, and get to know each other again, having greeting each other as one would greet a stranger.

You introduce yourself to each other.

You decide to spend some time together.

After spending some time with this person, you both realize you don’t like the other one very much.  By getting to know each other all over again, you end up learning all these things about that person that you don’t like.

Thinking about that was very sad for me.

Pity dating the Red Cross

I am thankful that I am healthy enough to donate blood.  On and off through my 20s and into my early 30s, donating blood through the Red Cross or MI Blood was easy breezy – a few times a year one of those organizations did a blood drive at or right near my workplace, and I could arrange for a family member or friend to drive me home.  I’d wait for the flyers to start showing up at work, I’d reserve a slot, the phlebotomist would poke me, and someone would drive my sleepy drooly ass home.  Oh, you’re fine after donating blood? Yeah, I’m not.  I feel like headed and drunk for a minimum of 2 hours afterwards. But, I still donate.   It’s a small positive change I can make in the world.

Due to a crazy work schedule I went a few years without donating. About 5 months ago, I was able to start donating again, and I’ve done two Red Cross blood  drives since February of this year. Yay me!   I currently work an hour away from home, so unless I want to take an entire afternoon or a full day off from work it is only feasible for me to do a blood drive that happens on the weekend.

I did those two blood drives, and now I’m on the Red Cross’s radar.

and they call me.  Constantly.  I get on average 10 calls a week from the Red Cross. I wish I was kidding.  Sometimes they hang up if I don’t answer, sometimes it is a recording of someone saying they are in dire need of my blood type.  Am I an asshole, or is ten calls a week just bit extreme?

The numbers that call me up to four times a day include:

800-733-2767

517-318-7322

517-318-7200

I’ll get a call, they’ll hang up after 3 rings, and then they immediately call back.

I finally answered one of the calls today.   And there was a real person on the other end!! Part of me wanted to reach through the phone and punch this woman for calling me for the 10th time this week, but by the time she’d gotten through her 3 minute script I’d cooled down. I wasn’t frustrated with her, I was frustrated with the Red Cross constantly nagging me over and over and over and over and refusing to take no for an answer.

What do you do with someone who is harmless but is nagging you constantly? They won’t take no for an answer, but they are too nice for you to tell them to fuck off before you get a restraining order? One option is to go on a pity date with them.

Once I was finally able to get a word in edgewise with the actually very nice Red Cross lady, I explained my situation that I am now only available to do a blood drive on the weekends, and I have to arrange ahead of time for a family member to drive me, and if there is a blood drive coming that will accommodate my schedule, I’d be happy to sign up for it.  She signed me up for a drive that in about two weeks and said she’d send me an e-mail confirmation. My phone was pinging that I”d gotten the e-mail before she even let me get off the phone.

The first Saturday of August, I’m going on a pity date with the Red Cross.  At least I’ll feel good about about it and maybe get some yummy cookies.

The big question is will the pity date stop the phone calls.   I will be ineligible to donate for 56 days after the donation. Will it be 56 days of 10 fewer spammer phone calls a week? I’ll tell you in September!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two more Summer Salads

No pics of these delicious salads, sorry.

I’m always making “salad concoctions” in the summer (ok, I do this all year long). It’s usually some kind of legume, something crunchy, something sweet, something salty, lots of veggies, and a vinaigrette dressing.  Rarely does lettuce make an appearance. and no kale!

This past weekend, I made a Lentil Quinoa salad and a Greek Yogurt based apple salad.

For the Greek Yogurt Apple Salad I combined:

1 cup greek yogurt

1 granny smith apple, diced

1 cup red grapes, sliced in half

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 rib celery, sliced thin

1/2 tsp dried dill

Seasoned salt and black pepper to taste (first time I’ve used seasoned salt, I’ve been living in the midwest for 30 years, and I finally fell like a true mid-westerner!)

combine all ingredients in a bowl, chill for 1 hour. Enjoy. This is a high protein, high fiber salad that makes for a delicious and filling lunch. Do not tell your family members you have made this, as they aren’t going to get any anyways.

The Lentil Quinoa salad is a little more complicated and quite a bit more time consuming. It probably took an hour to put together, most of which was cooking the lentils and quinoa.  Chopping all the veggies only took about 10 minutes. If you don’t care for Lentils, or don’t want to heat your kitchen up any more than is absolutely necessary in this ridiculous heat, swap out a can of drained chickpeas.

1 cup green lentils, simmers on the stove until tender, about 25 minutes.

1/2 cup quinoa, cooked according to package directions

1/2 English cucumber, seeded and chopped

1/2 sweet pepper, diced

2 ribs celery, sliced thin

1/3 cup kalamata olives, chopped

1/4 cup craisins, chopped, or a little more, to taste

optional: shredded lettuce

salt and black pepper to taste

3 tbsp olive oil (or a flavored infused oil if you desire)

2 tbsp balsmic vinegar (or a flavored balsamic, if you desire)

Combine the cooked lentils and quinoa in a large bowl with all other ingredients except the oil and vinegar.  mix well.  While the mixture is still warm, drizzle over top the oil and vinegar.   I like to add the dressing ingredients while the grains are still warm, I feel like the dressing adheres better to warm ingredients better.

Let sit at room temp for 15 minutes, and then chill for an hour before eating.  This salad tastes best at room temperature.   The lentils are earthy, the quinoa is nutty, the cucumber is refreshing, and the salty sweet combination of kalamata olives and craisins/sweet pepper can’t be beat!

This is the first time in a long time I’ve put lettuce in these kinds of salads! The grocery story had these beautiful green leaf lettuces, I couldn’t help myself, I had to buy one!

 

We also made some incredible lemon infused meatballs for dinner the other night. If you’ve never put lemon zest in meatballs, OMG, it is a gamechanger!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Use this old weird trick to safely* and quickly get rid of your zits

that “one weird trick” phrase is never going to get old for me.  Use this one weird trick to tie your shoes!  Use this one weird trick to roast vegetables!  I don’t know why I find that phrase so funny, but I do.

About a month ago, I got the worst case of acne of my adult life. Sure, I had zits as a teenager, but they mostly went away in my 20s and into my 30s. I’ve never had good skin, I’ve always battled a few zits here and there.  And don’t be asking me stupid questions like “are you washing your face?” “are you eating too much chocolate or greasy food?”  I just have easily clogged pores and very sensitive skin.

This stuff has been my go to zit fixer for years:

clean clear advantage

Smear a little on my face before bed and again in the morning, and within a few days I’m back to my regular “only a few zits instead of a lot” face.

but this breakout I had about a month ago? It was insane. I had zits on top of zits. On my hairline, on my cheekbones, on the side of my nose,  under my eyebrows for goodness sakes!

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