Saturday, January 16th, 2016 02:51 pm
chanaleh: (sleeping)
[ profile] arisia is happening right now. And I am not at it, obviously, but reading the posts of everyone who is, and feeling a little bit of the echo of what it would have been to be there. So, thank you all for that.

But the new Lois McMaster Bujold book is out today (e-book version only; hardcover will be released Feb. 2). So I bought that this morning, and will try to read some of it this afternoon while sitting on the nursery floor watching Babykins play. Right now she is napping and we are making a token effort at cleaning/tidying.

(This also means no MuffinButtons at the con this year, again, obviously. Someday soon, I need to figure out how to sell off the approximately 1000 already-made buttons I have in my inventory.)
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 [ 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 [ 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 [ 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. [ 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 [ 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.

*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 [ 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 [ profile] sanpaku and [ profile] gansje, and I just sent them a draft, so now I can finish this entry and go to bed. :-)
chanaleh: (Default)
I'll be in Boston next Friday through Monday (Labor Day) for [ profile] brass_rat and [ profile] awhyzip's wedding. Oh, and I am also collaborating with [ profile] farwing on doing their ketubah. It needs to go to the printer, like, Sunday night, so I am hoping the final Hebrew text gets to me by then. :-)

Besides High Holiday choir stuff, I will be spending September doing another small-scale G&S production with [ profile] teddyleevin, this time of The Gondoliers, as Vittoria and/or Inez. Three shows: a concert version for the G&S Society on Friday night 9/14, then two fully staged performances on Fri and Sat nights 9/28-29. Anyone want to come and sing chorus with me? We need people of all voice parts!

family and travel notes )

In my latest adventures with the New York Public Library, I am reading Infinite Jest, which I am enjoying, although not (yet) in the life-changing way that others seem to find. Impressive, though, yes, and complex and engaging yes. At 1079 pages, counting almost 100 pages of elaborate footnotes, it's kind of told by accretion. In Dave Eggers' foreword, he mentions that it took him about a month to read. I seem to be managing about 100 pages a day, which may mean I don't have to schlep it with me to Boston next weekend. :-) It's hard to fathom that I am really not even halfway into it, which maybe I will grasp the depths more adequately as I go on.

Work is being good but psychologically taxing in a variety of ways. It's reached that point in the summer where I feel like I have almost entirely lost track of what year it is, because "this year" (school-wise) already means 2013 and "next year" is likely to mean 2014.

Shabbat dinner at our house tonight... which I had better go start doing some prep work for!

Fforde Every Stream

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012 11:15 pm
chanaleh: (tigerstudent)
I just finished reading The Eyre Affair. It's the first time I've read anything by Jasper Fforde. Why? Because Tiger Boy had a thing against him: a certain internalized rivalry, because he'd had a short story rejected on the grounds that it was "too much like Jasper Fforde" -- specifically the Nursery Crime series, because it was submitted right around the time The Big Over Easy came out, and in all fairness, it actually was (coincidentally) along similar lines, despite the fact that he'd written it well before. So he bore a grudge, and thus I never felt like I ought to read (much less enjoy) anything of Jasper Fforde, because it would be disloyal or something.

... Right. That particular bridge being well washed out, I finally took this one out of the library.

And what do you know, I quite liked it. It's lacking something in terms of absolute brilliance, but it struck a lightness of tone that is in fact in the vein of something I have recently started pondering writing -- a kind of alternate-universe urban-fantasy cleverness, occasionally precious, but not taking itself so seriously that that poses a problem. And the climactic scene literally gave me both chills and grins by turns, which is always a good sign.

But it helps to be really, really well acquainted with Jane Eyre. Probably Shakespeare, too. And a smattering of Lake District poetry for good measure. -- Geez, why did it take me so long to pick this up again?
chanaleh: (breathe)
10. Last day of work before Passover vacation = veritable ghost town and leaving promptly at 5:30pm
9. Ordered flowers for my mom, to be delivered tomorrow to the rehab center (where she's recuperating from hip replacement surgery, you morons)
8. Picked up library books (one on reserve, a few more at random) for vacation
7. Obtained (with discount coupon from [ profile] jessruth, huzzah) three nice bottles of wine to take to two seders
6. Picked up the belated Chanukah gift my brother sent me, and it's a PONY WITH FRICKIN' LASER BEAMS FOR EYES -- WiFi, 32GB, and complete with very Erica-colored lime green Smart Cover. Wow.
5. Reading Little Women, which I haven't read in years and am finding very nourishing
4. Taxes are successfully filed both for Honorable Menschen and for myself
3. Refunds total right around $2000 (yay being unemployed for two months?), which makes me feel better about paying for TurboTax
2. I have all day tomorrow to tackle laundry and grocery shopping -- and eat chametz and kitniyot at my leisure
1. I have decided to adopt an even less onerous de-chametzing process than usual, simply assigning all chametz (overt and residual) to the non-Jewish half of the household.
0. Speaking of whom, [ profile] justom was home by 9pm! Hooray!
chanaleh: (mandala)
Some weeks ago, [ profile] msmidge was asking about recommendations for Jewish fiction. So I started putting together a list. (I also started annotating it with links, but I got tired of that, so it's not as thorough as it might be. Check the usual places: your local library, Google Books, or Amazon, depending on your political leanings.)

As a jumping-off point, I found some published lists of the best Jewish books of 2011 and 2010, re[tro]spectively:

And it's not hard to find lists of "Great Jewish Books", but as a rule, I have almost never read anything on them. The only Philip Roth I've actually ever read was Portnoy's Complaint, which I would probably read very differently now than I did in high school ;-) or was it freshman year of college? I distinctly remember taking it out of the Valparaiso Public Library. In any case, I should probably read Goodbye, Columbus.

Gosh, maybe this isn't such a short list after all. )

In general, I highly recommend all of Howard Schwartz's collections of Jewish folklore: Tree of Souls,  Lilith's Cave, Gabriel's Palace, etc.

In terms of nonfiction, my single favorite reference book is Blu Greenberg's How to Run A Traditional Jewish Household. Lots of practical explanations about kashrut, Shabbat, holidays, etc. And my favorite Bible translation to date is Everett Fox's The Five Books of Moses.

What are your favorites?

Shabbat shalom, y'all.
chanaleh: (leila)
I've started taking books out of the library again, since I now work not too far from the Yorkville branch of the NYPL.

Last week, among the books I randomly picked up was The Secret, which you may recall got some amount of Oprah-type buzz back in 2006 when it was published.

The principal idea is that you create everything in your life, literally drawing it to you, by visualizing it -- believing that you not only will get it but indeed already have it, in that timey-wimey "past, present, and future all coexist in their entirety as simultaneous dimensions" mind-of-God kind of way.

It's kind of a mind-fuck, in the sense of "if you're holding any skepticism in your mind, of course it isn't going to work for you, you aren't believing hard enough! Even when you think you totally believe, if it still fails to work, it means your subconscious is skeptical!" Or as one Amazon reviewer put it: "when this program works it's because the secret always works, but, on the off chance it doesn't work, well, that's your fault."

In particular, I think that the notion "people subconsciously create all the bad stuff that happens to them" is a damaging one. (This is different from the notion that I've picked up from [ profile] oneagain and others that existing psychic wounds can literally attract psychic predators who then inflict additional damage. But more on that some other time.) Also, I have to say that their constant invocation of "the law of attraction" as "like attracts like... LIKE A MAGNET!" is hurting my brain.

However... I think there are some ways in which this book has valid stuff to say.
(1) It is important to be clear on what you really want, and helpful to calmly ask the universe for it.
(2) Positive energy (including trust) draws positive energy; negative energy draws negative energy.
(3) Meditation is a powerful mind-releaser.
(4) Gratitude is a powerful mind-shaper. (paging [ profile] jessruth!)

I've been experimenting on and off with meditation over the past several months. I've now started some experiments with visualization. To help me commit to them, I will be posting them as private entries (I've done one). Not sure if I'll be able to report on any results I happen to see, but I will ponder them in my heart.

sidebar on Lloyd C. Douglas, only tangentially related through the idea of keeping your visions secret )

On the whole, seriously, things are generally feeling very good for me right now, with the exception of a phonecall I was sorry to get yesterday afternoon (nothing serious, just more food for thought, interpersonally), and the handful of commitments I am kinda procrastinating on. Gotta get on that.

Marge Piercy

Friday, November 5th, 2010 08:10 am
chanaleh: (Default)
Going around right now is this "top 15 authors that have affected you" meme, but I'm not doing that today. All I have for you on the topic of authors is this:

I just reread Marge Piercy's 1993 novel He, She, and It (I'm proud to say that my copy was sent to me by Ira Wood when I was doing some typesetting work for the Leapfrog Press, back in around 1998-2000... but anyway).

brief notes contrasting this with Woman on the Edge of Time )

Which produced the further insight that I, personally, had damn well better get cranking on writing my first novel, so that I can eventually write my tenth. X-)

That is all.
chanaleh: (breathe)
The past several weeks have been much working, much thinking, little writing. A lot of my Rosh Hashanah pondering was about my goals for the year -- not so much spiritually as practically, although even practical goals have spiritual implications in terms of what turns out to matter most, no? I swear I am making incremental progress on many important fronts, but it's hard to see amid the vast chaos. The same could be said of my actual day-job work, of course, too.

In that vein, I've started experimenting with Getting Things Done -- kind of backwards, in that I spent a while reading around it, largely by means of [ profile] thesimpledollar, then spent lots of time looking for a suitable (and free) online tool*, and only then actually sat down and read the book (borrowed from [ profile] ablock). I have still not done a proper Collection, which they would probably say explains why my anxiety level around my Stuff [to do] has generally risen of late even while I'm spending more focused time tackling it. But, on the whole, a net gain. Like "how could I, of all people, have done without this system for so long?"

*the online tool I found )

I suspect I was going to close this up with something pithy, but I have to go to work. :-}

Oh yeah, but: my friend Lisë from shul (who made my lovely birthday cake for my housewarming last fall -- oh, and DUH, was in the [ profile] theatreatfirst one-acts this summer!) co-wrote a book with the tea sommelier at the Park Plaza, and the book publication party is tonight. I'm going for the last hour, 6-7pm, if anyone wants to join me! (It's an RSVP event, but I think I could squeeze in one extra person.)

April 2018



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