chanaleh: (breathe)
I beg you all will pardon the somewhat rambly nature of this rundown:

- Remembered to call my mom and check in. She had knee surgery a few weeks ago (she'd had both hips replaced previously, but this is her first knee operation). Then, while recovering (somewhat poorly, it turns out) at home, she fell and smacked her head on the bathtub (!), and thus got admitted to the rehab hospital for several days after all. Now she's back at home and doing better. We are playing a lot of Facebook Scrabble.

- Made a couple different loaves of bread in the bread machine, and also Cheesecake Brownies which may be the new favorite thing around here. Recipes to come later. (Like, when it is done being a fast day OMG.)

- Done a bunch of website work on two different freelance projects. It's remarkably enjoyable. One because it's actually fun, and one because I am charging them hourly so even when it's tedious I feel like it is worth my time...!

- Done a bunch of updating on my own design portfolio website, with more to come.

- Played my first official gig with [livejournal.com profile] etrace on Saturday night: mostly our usual band, except that we were backing a local guy with an Elvis tribute act. (I sang backup vocals. Which I don't think of as a major feature of an Elvis act, and they hadn't either, until their first rehearsal, which [livejournal.com profile] etrace went to without me, then came home and said "We need you!" Turned out to be surprisingly important on a bunch of the songs.) It was for a private birthday party, so just an hour-long set, but it was fun. And if we do more gigs with this guy, I will also get paid, not just [livejournal.com profile] etrace. :-)

- Observed my little brother's 40th birthday on Sunday. 40! (By "observed" I mean "forgot to mail his card until the day before, so it would be late as usual, and then thought all day about texting him but never when the phone was at hand, so that didn't happen until the next day either". But it sounds like he had a good time anyway.)

- Finished rereading Book 2 and watching Season 2 of Game of Thrones, and begun rereading Book 3 and watching Season 3. a little nattering, nothing spoilery, I think )

- Attended the Eicha reading (that is, the Book of Lamentations, for Tisha B'Av) last night at my new synagogue in Munster. [livejournal.com profile] etrace regretfully stayed home because his back was hurting and I was afraid we'd be sitting on the floor the whole time (turned out more than half the group sat in their regular chairs, though). But I walked in and several people immediately went "HEY GREAT TO SEE YOU WELCOME BACK", which was nice. And the reading was good, though it also made me miss the [livejournal.com profile] tremontstshul experience, squeezing 80 people into the basement vestry with dripping wax candles and no air conditioning and several of my favorite people doing the readings. Also, here they did the whole book in the same standard Eicha trope instead of doing chapter 3 to its own trope. I take this as a sign that I am supposed to learn it for next year the way I want to hear it done. Y'know.

- Opened an Etsy shop for my Judaica prints. :-} This is basically a retread of the items for sale on my own Judaica page, but I thought it would be interesting to experiment with the Etsy marketplace. Worst case, I won't sell anything between now and December (when the listings expire) and I will pull everything down. Yes, I know I would benefit from having actual photographs of the framed pieces -- planning to work on that in the coming weeks. It'd be nice to do some actual new pieces, of course, too.


OK, gonna go count down to dinner now. "Sunset" is reportedly at 8:01pm here; that's the guideline to use, right? Or is it "full dark"? I can't find the fast times for this region listed anywhere, only the Shabbat times.
chanaleh: (leila)
Bamidbar was actually last week's Torah portion, not today's, but this is a theme that's been much on my mind the past couple weeks, and then it was borne out further as follows:

This week, I actually managed to drag myself to shul for the 2nd morning of Shavuot. This was a bonus in a couple of ways: reading the Book of Ruth, and also they happened (presumably due to Yizkor) to be doing ASL interpretation during services that day, and I always find that fun and interesting (apart from having a mild crush on the guy who runs the program, but anyway).

In the rabbi's sermon, he started off asking: Why did the b'nei yisrael have to go to the wilderness in order to receive the Torah? What is the connection between wilderness and revelation? And he brought in a concept from the Midrash, which connects it to the notion of hefker, which is a Talmudic technical term meaning "ownerless", denoting a thing that is up for grabs -- like an item of lost or abandoned property, or like the dust of the earth. And apparently the Midrash says "Anyone who does not make himself hefker [open to all] like a wilderness cannot acquire wisdom and Torah." (Bemidbar Rabbah 1:7) You have to go into the wilderness, unmoor yourself, in order to become vulnerable to the wide spectrum of possibility... to make room for the revelation.

... And that's exactly what I have been feeling the last week and a half. Ownerless. But strangely liberated. Like there are suddenly a hundred possible paths, all of which will lead to good things. Expansive. Sometimes hit with torrents of feeling, yes... but mostly, fundamentally, at peace.

So yeah, it was one of those laser-targeted moments. You know it's reached me when I am sitting there in shul with tears streaming down my face... and in a cleansing way, not a bitter way. Somehow Rabbi Sebert manages to do that to me a lot.

After the service, I saw my friend C (the one who is [livejournal.com profile] justom's family friend and brought me there in the first place), and when she said "How are you?" I said, "Hefker." It took a minute to get the point across ("Wait, you didn't lose your job?" "No..."), but she got it. And that was helpful too.

Also, to answer the #1 FAQ, yes, I am staying in NYC for at least the next several months. )

Meanwhile, I signed up for a six-week Russian class, Tuesday nights starting June 4. And I'm also planning to try to make contra dancing tonight. (Though of course, I still haven't managed to see Iron Man 3 either. Sigh!)


ETA, 6/27/2013: In thematically related news, this article (which I first saw closer to its original post date, at which time it was at least equally relevant) just floated back up to the top of my Facebook feed, h/t [livejournal.com profile] shadesong. Yeah. This. Also.

*pant* *pant*

Thursday, March 14th, 2013 12:19 am
chanaleh: (breathe)
It's continuing to be a month. Here's what's doing:

Book project is close, oh so close, to being done. Finally finished the text file last Thursday and shipped it to the printer... aaand, developments over the ensuing several days are resulting in the distinct possibility that we will switch printers (but still have the original place do the case binding, which is the main thing I really need them for, because hardly anyone does ultra-short-run case binding for a reasonable price). Really hoping that this will get settled in the next day or two, that I'll send the finalized cover files on Monday, and that it will be mostly out of my hands after that (the author will do the proof review).

Blue Hill Troupe's spring show program (which is essentially also a 144-page book) is in fact at the printers! Text and cover proofs are coming Friday, but I won't be looking at those either, as I'll be at Lunacon. But I'll be on call to make any changes or replacement pages they need to send back, so if you see me sitting at the MuffinButtons table with a big laptop out, that's probably why.

I got a reasonable tax refund, which among other things will... cover the gum surgery I'm scheduled to have a week from Friday. :-P

Yesterday was Rosh Chodesh Nisan, and my synagogue organized a special minyan (ETA: video coverage from JTA! and articles in the Forward and the Daily Beast...) in solidarity with the Women of the Wall, which is a group of women in Jerusalem who hold a morning prayer service at the Kotel (Western Wall) each month on Rosh Chodesh -- and because they pray wearing tallit and tefillin, it offends the ultra-Orthodox establishment, so they keep getting arrested. Our minyan was supposed to be held in Union Square Park, but because of the rain, we had it in the sanctuary at T&V after all. I didn't stay long enough to hear any actual rallying speeches or anything, just through Hallel and then I had to scoot out to work. But the really awesome thing is that, as it later transpired, the Women of the Wall had invited three female Members of Knesset to join them at the Kotel that morning -- so they brought their diplomatic immunity and NOBODY got arrested, for a nice change.

And this morning, I successfully unlocked an achievement that was 6 to (technically) 18 months overdue: transferred my Massachusetts driver's license to New York State. (I tried to do this back in October when the MA one expired -- on my 40th birthday -- but come to find out, NYS requires you to present a Social Security card in order to transfer an out-of-state-license. No discussion, no exceptions. I hadn't had a copy of my Social Security card since, like, applying for my first passport in high school... so I had to get a new copy of that first, and, well, delays. But now I have all the things!)

And [livejournal.com profile] justom's show opened last week, so paradoxically, he's been home more and earlier in the evenings, and things have been quite mellow and pleasant. I get to go on Sunday night (directly on unloading from Lunacon).

Oh, and, lest I forget: I am suddenly this week also working on a ketubah for [livejournal.com profile] sanpaku and [livejournal.com profile] gansje, and I just sent them a draft, so now I can finish this entry and go to bed. :-)
chanaleh: (sleeping)
[livejournal.com profile] justom has been in Boston since Thursday, for various social purposes. I often get weepy/clingy when he's going away, but I managed to not fall into that too much this time, just sort of noted it as a thing taking place in my heart, acknowledged it and moved on. And indeed I had a lot of fun things lined up to do and was (of course) perfectly fine on my own. It's even been a bit of a treat to indulge my inner slob for a couple days: unmade bed, two days' worth of dishes lounging defiantly in the sink. But it's equally a treat to get up earlyish and start puttering about to turn it around: make the bed, sort the mail, take out the trash, do the dishes, start some cooking. Indulging my inner domestic.

Friday night I went to the 20s&30s Shabbat dinner at Town & Village, of which I've gone to 1 or 2 previous ones and always have a nice time -- the services are perfect for my taste, and at the cocktail hour, I seem to manage to home right in on the geeky people so as to have someone good to sit with at the dinner. :-) The only drawback was that their social hall is very acoustically live and thus MUCH TOO LOUD for the conversations I could otherwise have been having. Alas.

But, they also have a couple of people (one guy, one girl) who got up and announced that they're gearing up to launch a 30s&40s group -- NExT, anyone? I'd actually been worrying about this very thing, because they have a HUGE DISCLAIMER on their 20s&30s dinner signup page that says "WE WILL TURN YOU AWAY IF YOU ARE OVER 39 KTHX" which means there's about zero to one more dinners I could attend between now and October 6. (Of course then I'm also told they don't really enforce it, so whatever.) So this would be just the ticket. I cheered immediately and went up to talk to them right after. "Great!" they said. "Do you want to co-chair with us?" "Ummm....!" I said I wasn't sure about co-chairing but I would be glad to join the committee and help make things happen. You can all stop laughing now about how I can't stay away from synagogue organizing.

Amusingly, it also turned out that the woman (Abby, who is adorable) works in admissions for JTS and was very keen to have me come in to chat about that. We'll see. I expect we'll have lots of time to talk in the future.

Oh, and I'm going to join the T&V synagogue choir, which starts its rehearsal season August 7. The cantor (who is wonderful, and not at all "cantory" in the way I dislike, but a real shlichat tzibur) started trying to recruit me the first time I showed up back at Rosh Hashanah -- when the choir was on the bimah a certain tasteful amount of the time and performed, a cappella, a couple of pieces that I already knew and loved. I'm definitely there.
chanaleh: (move to nyc)
This past Shabbat morning, August 6th, [livejournal.com profile] tremontstshul had a farewell kiddush in my honor.

I got to stand up and say a few words (it was Parshat Dvarim, get it??) -- although I wasn't sure if I felt more like the Israelites about to cross the Jordan (which, as I pointed out, in Italian is il Giordano), or like Moshe admonishing the Israelites by way of a historical overview of their sojourn. But it seemed to go okay.

And there was lox, and real whitefish (lovingly deboned by B"H Model), and black-and-whites.

There were also a couple of nice tribute parodies offered, which I found so delightful that I wanted to record them here for posterity and share with you all. One was written by father-of-[livejournal.com profile] hilaritea to the tune of the Major General's song from The Pirates of Penzance:

I am the very model of egalitarian orthodox... )

Edited To Add, since someone asked: In fact, no, I don't consider myself Orthodox by any stretch. We noted that privately at the time of the dramatic reading. (But it does rhyme so beautifully with "paradox".)

The other was written by [livejournal.com profile] la_vie_en_rosie and her spouse, RLS formerly of the Menschen, in the vein of Eishet Chayil (A Woman of Valor), which is a passage from Proverbs traditionally sung on Friday nights to the woman of the household:

Erica Chayil )

I was absolutely tickled.

A number of other people very dear to me were specially present, and we had lots of singing, and a fair quantity of Scotch, and it was a lovely sendoff. Thanks to all those of you who were there.

(And if you missed it, it looks like I'm still going to be in town after all for the Community Shabbat Dinner on August 19th, so you can sign up for that. There'll probably even still be some Scotch left.)
chanaleh: (buttongirl)
I have a post brewing of Useful Things I Learned this weekend, but for right now, three quick notes.

(1) Brunch at Craigie on Main this morning = utterly lovely (and mine did not involve any pork products, despite their logo).

(2) If you know any single Jews in the Boston area -- particularly men -- please, please send them to this tonight:
http://20s30s.tremontstreetshul.org/mixer.html

(3) Have you upgraded your digital camera and want to sell off your old one? I want it! -- Or I might, anyway. Talk to me by August 1. ETA: Sold! Thank you [livejournal.com profile] tigerbright! :-) Ditto for a used laptop/netbook (I'm currently looking at Windows XP only, sorry all you Mac and Linux pushers...), on a somewhat longer timescale.
chanaleh: (scream)
At noon, I postponed tonight's planned [livejournal.com profile] tremontstshul picnic (Weeks Footbridge, 6:45-8:15pm) to tomorrow, on the strength of 40% chance of thunderstorms.

At 5:15pm, I looked out my office window at the GLOWING blue sky with fluffy white clouds and thought, "Grrr$%@&*! It figures..."

At 6:15, I watched the sky go TOTALLY DARK, and at 6:30 the raindrops are starting to blow fiercely against my office window.

THANK YOU, WUNDERGROUND.COM! YOU ARE VINDICATED!

... Of course, now I have to leave the building in the thick of the storm, but whatever. VINDICATED!
chanaleh: (Default)
Today, I went to morning minyan for the second time in two days. I haven't been going for the past year and a half, since I started commuting out to Wellesley (given that originally I had to leave Cambridge right around the 7am start time to catch my train... so by the time I bought a car and started driving, I was off the radar). One might argue that now that I have the opportunity to sleep in, I should be even *more* reluctant to get up early... but overall I don't mind keeping to an earlier schedule. So when they pleaded for volunteers to show up these two days, I said I could.

aside on the looming Festival of Liberation )

Anyway, minyan. ruminations on my weekday morning prayer experience )

The last time I was attending semi-regularly, I spent a fair bit of time browsing for texts to put on my tallit. tangent on what my business card calls 'handcrafted Judaica' )
chanaleh: (snoopydock)
It seems I have time for a public/general update about once a month. I suppose that's sensible enough.

Shul: Talk Like A Pirate Day was observed with a kosher bARRRRRR!beque on Sept. 19, although I forgot to wear my pirate hat for the occasion. I have finally updated the exciting Tremont St. 20s&30s fall calendar of events. There is much rejoicing. I have not yet laid out the holiday edition of the shul newsletter. Woe. Maybe we can mail it in time for Yom Kippur?

This weekend is Rosh Hashanah. Dinner chez [livejournal.com profile] ablock on Saturday night. I'm doing my backup-choir gig in Swampscott that I've done every year since 1997. (That makes this the TENTH, people. How is that even possible?) I've gotten a couple of very nice Rosh Hashanah cards (from [livejournal.com profile] vettecat and [livejournal.com profile] sdavido and from [livejournal.com profile] redknight, thanks!), which makes me want to send some myself for a change. Until I realize that there's absolutely no way this is going to happen. At least by tomorrow. Oh well. :-} While the choir thing is fun (and relatively lucrative), every year I think more and more that I miss the opportunity to direct my High Holiday energies inward. Maybe next year.

Honorable Menschen performed for Havurah on the Hill at the Vilna Shul last Friday night. Somehow, I also got recruited on the spot to lead the service (the regularly scheduled person never showed up). It was fun; slightly terrifying, amazing, and a great privilege, but mostly fun. Oh yeah, and Mayor Menino was there and we got our picture taken with him. Perfect for our upcoming CD (tentatively scheduled for a Chanukah 2007 release date!)....

In other performance news, The Margaret Ghost is less than a month away, and getting sharper all the time. I am tremendously excited about it. I'll also be performing in a Theatre@First-based Cabaret Night at First Church, Dec. 1 and 2.

In theater-watching news, we're going tonight to see New Rep's The Pillowman at the Arsenal Center for the Arts. (What kind of stupid organization provides a PDF as the target for their main Directions link?? Geez. Even if they are right on Arsenal Street.) We're also going to the Three Apples Storytelling Festival on Sept. 30, and Corteo on Oct. 5 (erev my birthday). (My actual birthday dinner will be held in the shul sukkah.)

Columbus Day weekend, we're going down to Princeton for a mutual friend's wedding reception. And I still have no idea what I'm doing for Thanksgiving. But hey.

... Oh yeah, and work is frantic (but productive) and home is mostly unpacked (though I spend very little time there awake, it's generally joyful) and the car is running fine (gas is suddenly down from $3 to $2.37 a gallon!), and life is good. L'shanah tovah tikatevu.
chanaleh: (2005)
Oh, so much happening all the time, so little leisure to write about it. I reflect, I sometimes begin to compose, but I fail to actually write.

On the other hand, I finally, finally got my hair cut this weekend. Not so's you'd notice... but *I* notice. Whew. (For those who would notice those three inches, I present a pictorial tribute to my longer hair, behind the cut = before the cut ).)

Thesis Boy can go back to being Tiger Boy, as he has not only successfully defended but in fact turned in the dissertation. However, he then had exactly two days before flying to Orlando to present a paper (related work, fortunately) at this robotics conference. (Him: "But I could still submit thesis revisions when I get back..." Me: "NO! YOU ARE DONE!") I am flying down to join him Thursday afternoon, whereupon we will attempt to cram four theme parks (plus DisneyQuest and Cirque du Soleil) into roughly 73 hours. Aww yeah.

And in two more weeks we go to the Princeton Reunions. And a week after that, he graduates. Oh, and also, he has now accepted the postdoc at Harvard for next year, so that's official. *grin*

My own work proceeds apace. I finally sent The Cryptoclub to press on Friday, so it's onward and upward. Besides the books and covers and ads, tomorrow we have our first-ever shareholders' meeting and I got to design the annual report, so that was exciting. And in case I haven't mentioned, we're now looking to hire someone under me, so those of you who have (or know anyone with) layout chops... come on, guys, help me out here. :-)

Also, Honorable Menschen is holding tenor auditions next Monday night (or by appointment). You don't necessarily have to be Jewish, although the gig may interest you less if you aren't.

Meanwhile, we had had a Lag B'Omer barbeque scheduled at shul tonight, with a rain date of tomorrow night. However, this being roughly the sixth (is that all?) in a predicted 9-day stretch of rain, we have instead postponed to next Tuesday. This means I am freed up to... attend another shul meeting, of the "Long-Range Planning Committee" (a.k.a. the vision thing). So it goes. And here I go.

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