Daily Archives: September 3, 2009

Rocking to a different tune

Tonight I said goodbye to a dear dear friend. My rocking chair has moved on to greener pastures. My rocking chair was bought for me as a first anniversary present by my then husband. We were two months away from having our first child, and he put it together himself.

I remember being 9 months pregnant and rocking in that chair as the early contractions made their presence known, counting the intervals while I rocked.

I sat on that chair, spent hours there, nursing all our babies, rocking them to sleep, cradling them as I smelt their sweet breath, felt their downy hair against my skin. I fell asleep in that rocking chair many times, curled up next to the baby’s crib as he slumbered peacefully on.

My favourite memory ever of this rocking chair took place 13 years ago, when Squiggy was just over a week old. My grandparents, may they rest in peace, had shlepped up to be with us for the Bris, and we were hanging out at home until they had to go back. My Saba, my blue eyed grandfather who I adored, had been sandak at the bris. We had named my baby for his son, my father. It had been an emotional morning for us all.

Saba sat in that chair, and asked to hold the baby. I passed him the receiving blanket, it was white with mint green elephants, and he spread it across his lap. I gently lowered the baby into his arms, and watched him snuggle into his great-grandfather. My Saba sat there like a king, holding the world’s most precious treasure. And gently he rocked back and forth, singing his special song to the baby. I can still see the joy with a tinge of sadness on his face. (see below for pic)

As the children grew it became a favourite place to read stories and talk about life – back in the days when they were small enough to sit on my lap, sometimes two at a time. I do remember one time when all four of them crowded onto my lap, were they ever really that small??

The last year or so it has been sitting idle in the big boys’ room, a haven for discarded clothing, towels and toys. Of late, I curl up in my recliner, and when reading stories, I am lying with the little one in his bed.

It was time for the rocking chair to find a home where it will be treasured and used, not sit forlornly in the corner living on memories alone. But I shall miss it. But I will treasure the hundreds of special times we had with it.

ETA – with all this decluttering going on I actually found a pic of my Saba with Squiggy on the rocking chair. the receiving blanket was not the one with elephants…amazing how the memories work… Here’s the pic.

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and i also found this picture (my scanner is long broken, so this is a pic of a pic) that i adore….
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Heinous or Harmless – Interesting Quandary

DivorceSo I am cleaning up the house, getting rid of everything that I can, as we already have a furnished house in NY to move to, so the less we bring the better for everyone. Amazing how much clutter one can accumulate without even trying.

I came across the wedding pictures from my first wedding, to the father of my children. We are no longer married, we have each moved on and are married to other people.

Do I need to keep the albums? This is a serious question. I was told I should keep them for the kids, but I have boys, they are so not into looking at photos of people from decades ago. Even if it is their parents. If I do get rid of them, is that so heinous? I would rather not move them into my new marital home. I feel that would be disrespectful to the KoD.

What do you think? Is there anyone out there who has faced the same issues? Would it really be hurting my kids to safely dispose of them?

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Be Quiet, for God’s Sake!

I don’t know about you but I like the whole davening in shul thing. I like the liturgy, a touch of chazanut, a shtickle Carlebach niggun, a good speech from the rabbi, and I am uplifted. Add in a decent kiddush after services, and I am good to go. I usually only get to shul Shabbat morning, so I really cherish my shul time.

Every shul is different with what level of background noise it will tolerate. I have heard of men being bodily ejected from shul because they were flapping their gums too much. Some shuls insist on silence only during Torah reading and the rabbi’s speech, other shuls there is a constant hum of conversation.

I can socialize after shul. Catch up on the latest gossip or shoe sales or sports stats or what-have-you. To me, that’s what a Kiddush is for. Why do people find it necessary to talk during shul? That is your time to pray to God.

“Sorry, God. Hold on a minute, God, Jay has to tell me what happened on the ninth hole erev Shabbat, I wouldn’t disrupt this one way conversation unless it was important”.

Seriously, have we become so jaded that talking in shul is normal? Look, I am not perfect, and have been known to talk in shul, but I really do try not to. There are some people, though, that spend the entire davening deep in conversation with their neighbour, barely pausing to daven the swiftest Amidah ever before they resume their discussion on the healthcare system, how they think Tiger Woods scored that hole in one, or that cute blonde that just walked in, or the rebbetzin who is looking a little heavy around the middle again, and her baby is only 11 months old!!

People! You are standing in a house of worship! You have come there to daven, to pray to God, to thank him for your abundant blessings and ask him to cure your aunt Millie and put more money in your bank account. Yet, in the middle of all that praising and supplication you press PAUSE so you can chit chat? Who do you think you are? No one tells God to wait. No one, not even Moses, can get away with that.

What if, in the middle of you talking to your neighbour, God decides He wants to talk to you? You won’t pick up on that because you have closed your spiritual pathways to talk to your friend. Hey, maybe God wants to tell you what lottery numbers to play this week but you are too busy talking about the Yankees that you won’t get the message. He wanted to answer your prayers but you let Him go to voice mail.

How hard is it to stop talking in shul, except to God? In a courtroom no one dares to speak. No one, or they are in contempt which means a fine. Or prison time. Or both. And the Judge is a human being, yet no one would dare make a cellphone call in the midst of a legal argument. The idea of talking in shul should be just as terrifying if not more.

We are standing there in front of God, and communally we are showing Him major disrespect. I would like to be able to daven in peace in shul, not be disturbed by inane chatter, whispering and giggling. Not have to hear the Gabbai pound on the Bima and say “we shall only continue when there is silence” – there should be silence as a matter of course.

We are coming up on Rosh Hashannah, and of course everyone will be silent in shul, as they will on Yom Kippur. We are being judged, of course we are going to be quiet. Come on, what a crock! God knows that we talked in shul last week and missed all the leining. God knows that we are going to talk next week in shul and the week after, and that we have no intention of shutting up in shul. Except the Day of Judgment. Because, you know, maybe we can pull the wool over His eyes. Give me a break. Stop talking now and stick to it, and concentrate on your prayers. Maybe, just maybe, you will reconnect with your inner spirituality. It won’t bring you the Maserati you have been dreaming of, but maybe you will sleep better at night.

I know that I am making a commitment to be quiet in shul from now on. I want to connect with God. I don’t want to just say words, I want to mean them and reflect on them. Don’t you be the one in shul to ruin my kavannah. God has a lot more up His proverbial sleeve that I have.

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Hadassah’s Easy Peasy Cholent

All measurements approximate as I do this now with my eyes closed

I usually make this around 11 o’clock on Friday so that it should be ready for Shabbat lunch 24 hours later. It makes the house smell so darn good when you wake up Shabbat morning.

Ingredients

Meat (we like to use veal shank bone – like a marrow bone but with meat around it.)

a cup of cholent beans

a cup and a half of pearled barley

3 large potatoes cubed (my kids like it better when i buy the canned round potatoes)

Ketchup

Barbeque sauce

salt

pepper

garlic powder

paprika

Pam

Water

Additions

Eggs, place on top after you have put water in.

Kishke – buy frozen, wrap in silver foil and place on top.

Marrow bones, wrapped individually in tin foil so the marrow doesn’t fall out when cooked. I spread the marrow on challah, add salt – slurperriffic.

How to

Spray inside of crockpot with Pam (or use one of those liner thingies, making sure to put water in pot first)

Pour in barley, spread it out.

Do the same with the cholent beans.

Place Meat on top in centre, spread potatoes around on top

Squeeze in sauces

Add salt, and pepper

Plenty of garlic and paprika, and a scootch more just to be sure.

Lots of love – adds flavour.

At this point you add the eggs or kishke or bones, or all three.

Cover with water, turn on low.

About two hours before Shabbat check the water level – the barley will have absorbed a lot of it. if necessary add some water. not too much, you don’t want it too soupy. not too little, you don’t want it too burnt. then stir gently.

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