New Years Resolution? I’ll do you one better.

Twitter will be aflame with New Years Resolutions for the next week or so.

there was a thing on NPR the other day about what people’s regrets for the year were (not waving back to people, not getting a tattoo, not saving a turtle, etc).

When I go back to work on Tuesday I’m sure people will be chatting about their resolutions to eat healthier, go to the gym more often, call their parents more often, be more patient with their kids, have a cleaner house, blah blah blah blah blah blah.

resolutions?

regrets?

Fuck ’em.

no, seriously.  Resolutions are fine, but they can fuck off. Regrets can fuck off even more.

so don’t tell me your resolutions, or your regrets.  Do me one better than telling me what you want to do or what you didn’t do. Tell me your accomplishments, tell me what you did do this year. Fucking BRAG ABOUT THEM!

Did you go on a road trip?

did you get a new pet?

did you volunteer somewhere?

did you help someone learn something?

did you make something creative?

did you learn a new recipe and then make it your own?

did you discover a new tv show and not feel guilty binge watching it?

did you learn how to drive?

did you buy a dress or a shirt or shoes or a purse or something that makes you feel confident?

did you change up the style of your hair?

did you do something that made you feel brave?

did you take good care of yourself?

did you finish reading a series of books?

 

Your accomplishments are as unique as you are. BRAG ABOUT THEM!

 

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I love that we all love different things

Everyone has different hobbies.  Everyone is into different stuff.  I love that everyone loves different things.

Whatever you are into, whatever your hobbies are, whatever your fandom is, whichever celebrity you are obsessed with, those are all awesome things to be into.

I may not be into the same things you are into.  I may casually enjoy the things you are really, really into, or I may not be into those things, or I may not have ever heard of those things.  Or I may like a different aspect of the same thing that you like.

I do not want you to be mad, disappointed, or offended that I am not as much in love with the things you are in love with.

When you ask me “omg, don’t you just totally LOVE such and such?” and I either don’t love it, or maybe I like it but don’t love it, or maybe I’ve never heard of it, or maybe I tried it but it wasn’t my thing, how would you like me to respond?  What is the most polite way I can say “I love that you love such and such! but I’m not into it and/or I have no idea what you’re talking about!” without you thinking that I’m a freak who lives under a rock?

Because I want us to still be friends.

I dreamed of Turtles

I love weird dreams.  I usually have very weird, very intense, very detailed dreams.  I don’t know if this is normal or not?

Anyway,  in my dream last night, our apartment didn’t look like our apartment, and our bathroom didn’t look like our bathroom. In the dream, our bathroom was long and skinny, with the shower against the far wall. I went in to take a shower, and there were weird dark spots on the shower enclosure. I thought at first it was dirt or mold? I got closer, to see the specs were moving.  The smallest ones were tiny beetles, and about half of the larger ones were beetles, and the other half of the large ones were baby turtles.  In the dream, I call my husband into the bathroom to help me.  We need to figure out which are beetles and which are turtles, so we can put the beetles outside and save the baby turtles (how are we going to save the turtles? I have no idea. The dream didn’t get that far).

 

The beetles carapaces and the baby turtle’s shells are nearly identical, the only way to tell them apart is the beetles can flutter their wings and have 6 legs, and the turtles move a little slower and only have four legs.  So we’re standing in the shower, admiring beautiful carapaces and turtle shells, and letting the little critters walk on our hands.  it was a nice dream.

 

Today, I told my husband about the dream. He asked what in the world caused me to dream about turtles? (the beetles make sense, as we just got through our living room being infested with stink beetles)  I thought about what I’d been doing the last few days, and figured it out.

“I watched Blade Runner yesterday! It’s from the opening scene!”

“What?”

“In the opening scene, the guy is questioning the not so smart replicant, giving him the test. One of the questions starts that he’s walking through a desert, they get into an argument about if it’s important or not to know which desert he’s walking through. Anyway, the questioner says he comes across a tortoise (what’s a tortoise? you know what a turtle is? yeah. same thing.) and he flips the tortoise over, and as it’s belly bakes in the sun the man isn’t helping it.”

“ok…..”

“In my dream, we were helping the turtles.  Proves I’m not a replicant”.

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.

 

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.