Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Pilgrims for Zion's city bound...

Hi guys! I went to Israel! After a week home cuddling with dogs / chubby smiley fist sucking JR and tonight's dinner comparing notes with fellow birthright alum Rebecca I'm semi able to process this! I don't really know where to begin, but here's a little something that maybe captures a tiny bit of the intensity of my trip.

Have you ever climbed a mountain before breakfast? (If so, did it have this unreal view of an ibex and birds overlooking the Dead Sea from Mount Massada?)

Used an entire bottle of sunblock in 5 days? (Please note replacement bottle featuring "Israeli innovation inside!" Israelis and their innovation...)

Gone for 10 days without talking to a single non-Jew except to order falafel? (To the best of my knowledge, not a hyperbole.)

Less flippant posts and more pictures coming eventually.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

She's the best of 13 sisters, and 37 more...

1) I caught one of my interns listening to Eddie From Ohio this afternoon. Another day, another flashback to 1999.

2) Breaking update: Sometimes Massachusetts forgets to pretend that it's not racist. Whoopsy. (Racial talk swirls with Gates arrest: Harvard scholar taken from home)

3) Well, I managed to be married for 8 months before losing my wedding ring. I should have had you all take bets on whether or not I'd make it a year. (Technically it was my engagement ring too, so am I allowed to call it a year and 8 months?) Fortunately, the ring-buyer is only out $15. But he still says I have to buy my own replacement. I'm still holding out for finding it in the bottom of my bag or caught in a pants cuff... in the meantime, I'll have to make do with this photo from the night he proposed. Vive l'Incredible Machine!

4) We've been busy flushing cockroaches down the toilet right and left as part of a massive pre-Rebecca housecleaning campaign. She's already coming to Texas in July, she doesn't need ANOTHER reason never to want to visit us again.

5) On a final note, it recently occurred to me that in any given month I spend 165 hours thinking about reproductive health issues, 20 hours learning how to punch people where it really hurts, and 15 hours singing about Jesus.

Friday, July 17, 2009

July 19

And, in early honor of July 19, a bit of DC&TG (mostly for B and J and my mom, but the rest of you are welcome to it, too)...

i got a world of trouble in mind, the pilgrim said
need somethin to believe in, or someone to be
i got a mountain of worries just pilin up inside my head
it's a curse of the worst kind for a dreamer like me...

states of misery, states of grace
trouble and joy on a young man's face
swing low, sweet chariot, take me down
that long, black road into tulsa town...

The saga of the pears

As I think I previously mentioned, one of my fellow students in the adult education Spanish class I'm taking is one of those token older gentlemen who sits in the front row and continually raises his hand to ask questions and/or share stories that may or may not have anything to do with what we're talking about. He continually astounds me with his ability to be both unbelievably annoying and thoroughly delightful, usually at the same time. The other day, he started asking the teacher if she wanted any pears from his pear tree (this is, of course, a liberally abridged version of his question, the original containing plentiful anecdotes on such subjects as fertilizing the tree, how many bushels of fruit he'd already collected, and the extent to which he was at a loss as to what to do with all of it). After class he wandered across the aisle and asked the older woman sitting next to me the same question. As he started to leave, I hesitatingly spoke up (I try to talk in that class as little as possible... it's pretty much 7th grade all over again) and said that I would be happy to take some pears off his hands. He stops and gapes for a moment, and then looks absolutely tickled and exclaims, "Well sure! I didn't ask you because most young ladies today don't know how to cook." See what I mean? Annoying and delightful. The next class he shows up wheeling a big plastic cooler full of pears on a handcart, hands me a garbage bag and tells me to git going and dig in.

This evening I have a potluck event that I decided last night at 11pm to use the pears to make a ginger-pear crisp for. In case you've never washed, cored, and chopped dozens of tiny, rock-hard pears, prepared a crisp, baked it, and simultaneously watched the BBC version of "Fingersmith"... turns out the whole process takes about 4 and a half hours. Who knew? When I went to bed I stored the crisp in the oven because it was too hot to cover, and my alarm rang so soon afterwards that my crisp hadn't even cooled fully. Now that, my friends, is just plain sad.

Now I'm off to my potluck, and if people don't eat my crisp I'm holding that old man entirely responsible for my four hours of sleep. And for the infestation of ants that I discovered in my bag of candied ginger. Just because.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Our days how swift they are

I was going to post something in anticipation of the dancehall adventure we were planning to take with our friends this weekend, complete with caravanning, mimosas for breakfast, and a tour of the famous (in select circles...) Schulenberg painted churches. However, we found out yesterday that R's grandmother passed away, so we will be last-minutely flying to LA tomorrow for her funeral. Back Saturday at midnight. Have a good 48 hours while your hostesses are out of town...

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Come, share my moment of anticipation around this figurative Shabbat table!

My handy Companion For The Modern Jewish Pilgrim offers the following instructions:
Israel A Spiritual Travel Guide: A Companion For The Modern Jewish Pilgrim

"Those leaving on pilgrimage to Israel during the week to come should recite the following, if possible, in the company of friends and family who are invited to share the moment of anticipation around the Shabbat table.

May the One who blessed our ancestors
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Leah
Bless me and those with whom I travel,
On this, our journey up to Israel.
May we travel safely,
And arrive in peace to the land that we hold dear,
the land that we call Zion.
May we return to those we love
blessed in every undertaking
inspired and renewed by our People in our land.

Up I go! Love to all.

Friday, July 03, 2009

My week in family, friends, and jam.

JR and I exist in the same place and time! Look at that little chubbers in his sock monkey getup! I think he's going to be bigger than me by the time I get back from Israel.

Highlights of the reunion. My mom and cousin Thad IV in the heirloom kilt, the two Rebeccas.

Jam, jam, jam! Carolyn, Natalia, and I had a 2 day jam extravaganza. Monday we drove down the coast to Swanton to pick olallieberries and strawberries, Tuesday we made three kinds of jam. They convinced me to experiment with sugar, which was fun.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

"Only the machines from now on are inevitable!"

My second annual Canada Day midterm book report, only one day late.

The stats thus far, against last year's results:
34 books read (+4)
13 YA (-8%)
6 audio (+200%)

I approve.

my read2009 shelf:
Rebecita's book recommendations, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read2009 shelf)

The one book I'm falling over myself to recommend this year is:
Mountains Beyond Mountains
Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder.

I also say you, yes you sir, yes you ma'am, don't miss these!
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
Love That Dog by Sharon Creech
My War: Killing Time in Iraq by Colby Buzzell

Some others that I loved to pieces but results may vary according to taste.
His Eye is on the Sparrow by Ethel Waters
Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett (but NOT The Maltese Falcon)
Heat by Bill Buford
The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson
Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott
I, Robot by Isaac Asimov