Happy Birthday,Me

Today is the last day of this year.There is a lot of unfinished business to attend too. There are issues that I don't understand, like how can we have so much hatred in this world. I don't understand how we can't cure diseases when we should be able to. I don't understand how good people and bad people can be homeless or hungry. No matter where I live, these issues will keep coming back to haunt me. I don't know how to fix these problems. I'm not giving up on them, I just don't know how to fix them.

Today is my birthday ,and I don't want these thoughts on my birthday. I never liked celebrating my birthday with a world. This day should be mine only. But I now realize that this last day of the year , especially for me, doesn't give me only a new age , but, a chance for another year of new experiences,  of being with old and new friends , and accepting new challenges.Everyone has this opportunity, but to me, it's more significant when the opportunity comes on the last day of the year. I can start day one of the new year,a new me.

So I'm embracing this last day of the year, giving myself permission to have a happy birthday surrounded by spouse and friends ,  phone calls from children, and reminding myself that  I have a past and also a future and to remember that it is never too late to be part of the solution and  keep figuring out this world I live in.

Shabbat Kiss

I witness a tender moment last night at Shabbat services. We at our congregation had a rough week. Shabbat services were to bring us from that sad place to a place of peace. And what I saw, and I don't know who else was close enough to see this, brought tears to my eyes. A kiss. That's what it was. The Shabbat kiss between a couple who have been married 68 years. The look of devotion in the wife's eyes at that kiss, just made me weep. Her entire being at this moment was involved in that kiss. I almost felt as if I was an intruder in a most private moment.

It was an act of love between two special people.I still have tears when I think of this kiss. It's never too late for that Shabbat kiss.We should all be as lucky as this devoted couple.


People ask me when I am going to Israel. I don't know. In my head, I am there now. Just not physically . I already know how I want my apartment to be furnished. I see myself grocery shopping.I see myself pushing what we call an old lady cart with my groceries. I see myself visiting a museum , I see myself volunteering some place. Day dreams right now, but one day, it will happen. I don't want to be in a hurry, after all. it's never too late. I have things that I need to do here. I have persons to take care of, obligations to finish up. It'll happen, but not just yet.

I like the thinking about it for now. I call it heart thinking. It's like reading a good book that takes you to the apex and then gently lets you sift down. I'm on the left side of the apex, working toward the top. When I get to the top of the apex, that will be Israel.

There are a number of reason that I want to be in Israel. Some spiritual, some for wanting to be in a country where most of the people are Jewish, some for the adventure. It keeps my brain stimulated to have these head thoughts. It challenges . Waiting gives me time to get my thinking in order. I know that my going will be preceeded by disorder in my life. I need to do my thinking now , while my vision is clear. It's never too late to accept the challenge and move from the saying that I am going, to actually setting my feet down in Israel.

Sad again

It’s happened again. Another member of our congregation has died. Too young ,too early. Instead of counting the milestone events of 2012, I am recounting the deaths. There have been 7 that I can recall. Too many for our small Jewish community.

Today’s death is particularly sad, because they were newly weds. I say that because most of us have been married 30,40,60 years and this pair has been married less than 5. Sad because we hardly got a chance to know him. I can remember his enthusiasm for an eagle site on the internet. He set me up with the site so I could spend hours watching the eagle sit on her nest. We had discussions about the best place for pizza. He was right. He patiently helped adjust the sound system here at our congregation. It works just fine now.

Rest in peace, you will be missed , and as a community, we all share in the loss of a fine young man.


Someone asked me how do I think of the things I want to say in my blog. It's never,yet, been a problem. What does happen ,is that I think of what I might want to say while I am out with Cricket. I promise myself I will remember that thought, and then I often forget it. Bummer. I forget because something else pops into my head,or I meet another dog walker and we start talking, or I get distracted by a cardinal sighting. The thoughts come and if I don't jot them down, I'm on to the next thought. I have flighty thoughts.

Sometimes what I want to say, doesn't sound as good written as I would like, or I think it sounds too preachy, or too personal. That's when I have to think about what I want to journal for this day.There is so much inside of me and outside of me to record that I'm going have to teach myself to carry a notebook and jot my thoughts down. I've thought ,too, that I should carry a camera. There is so much beauty in the morning,everything is so fresh. I've done it again. Jumped subjects. Focus.

Poor Cricket. She thinks I am talking to her when I try out my thoughts on her. Too bad she can't remember for me. It's never too late to not beat myself up if I can't remember what I wanted to say. I'll just let the next thought come to the front and try hard to remember this one. Hurry Cricket, before I forget.


 I forgot how much I enjoy Gospel singing. It just goes right through me and makes me want to move and clap and join in. It is so joyful. Is Gospel ever sad and soulful.? Not to my ears, or maybe that just isn't what I have heard. Gospel, I know , is church based and I am very much not a church based person. But music speaks to the heart . We have some wonderful melodies in our services. Our Cantor can put me in a place of deep peace. One melody in particular makes me forget where I am. When she finishes Haskevanue,I open my eyes and blink because I was so in my own space. It would make her feel good to know that. And when we sing Lehod dodi, I turn toward the door and I wouldn't be surprised if the Sabbath Queen walks in. That's the beauty of music.It speaks in many languages and in many religions and it is never too late to learn the language and join in the singing.

Ideal Shabbat

I wonder what it will be like when the whole country that I plan to live in ,is on my schedule. Friday afternoons take on an air of anticipation, people scramble to get home, to put the last of the meals together that you will eat ,mostly cold for the next 26 hours.You can feel that energy. Observant or not, the country comes to a startling ,breath catching and release of breath moment. Even as a tourist, you sense this. The closest I think I have come to this is preparing for Passover Seder.But even that isn't the same. Observant or not, families and friends , in Isreal, come together for Shabbat. There is a hush to the city. Even when we had blue laws here in the states,I don't think there was the same sense of peace, of letting out that breath that drove you in business, in the classroom, in the home. Shabbat in Israel is different. Is it the people who make it different? I'm not sure. Walking to Shabbat services helps. Coming together to share a special meal helps. Knowing that you have a day set aside for being with family, reading, napping, taking a walk, going to services, if that is what you do, or not , is a different mind set for busy us. Knowing that you won't put that load of clothes in the washing machine , that the meals are ready for the day and that the kids will not have to be driven to soccer practice because there is no soccer practice on Shabbat ,takes the burden of time away. And then comes the end of Shabbat. You feel that too. Shopping malls are destination places, buses crowd the parking lots. It's as if it were the week before Christmas and the commercials are telling you to shop, buy, do.There is a frenzy as people rev up again. Movie houses open, bars are filled, the cafes are crowded. It's magical and I want to be part of this excitement /There is more to being Israeli than observing the Shabbat, but what a way to start my journey. It's never too late to come full circle , to go back to the roots of who I am now.

More Than a CookBook

I've spoken before about how much I like cookbooks. I often borrow them from the library because I can't justify buying every book that I like. I like cookbooks because the plot is simple and the endings are usually satisfying. Some cookbook authors feel the need to expand the readers horizon, or to let the reader know that they,the CB author, can understand subjects other than food. They will include a quote from some philosophic and maybe well known person to prove that. The most recent library CB I have is from Susan Feniger. She was an earlier personality on the Food Network and that is where I first heard of her. She has a quote in her new book, and I think it says what I need to say. "Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend,a new love, a new country" (Anais Nin)

This is so perfect. I've thought this but here it is, so well said. Someone with literary credentials said it for me.

It is never too late to throw out to everyone that dream you have. The world is moving faster and we can't stand still. Throw the dream into the wind and just go with it.

Bettye 29.12.2012 01:41

Your messages keep getting better and better. You are not just a friend and a sister, you are a teacher.

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Latest comments

01.12 | 14:15

Safe travels. See you soon. sally

04.07 | 12:10

I read the last page first too. It’s a family curse.

22.05 | 12:38

so glad youre here mom!

29.08 | 17:45

Don't quite know how this got to me but it was on the top line of my computer (not in email) But I really enjoyed it. I truly admire you.