rebecca_in_blue: (happy smile)
Well, there was no Purim carnival or Oscars, but Rebecca still managed to stay busy this weekend. Sara and I were both off on Friday, and we went out and had lunch at a deli. We both ordered meat dishes -- I love buying meat on Fridays during Lent. I get a very childish satisfaction from it, which I guess comes from being a Catholic school veteran and hating all the seafood commercials that always get shoved down your throat at this time of year. (I mean, shrimp tacos? No, Taco Bell. Barf!)

After lunch, we visited the art gallery downtown. They're having an exhibition right now of the 50 most famous photos from National Geographic, and it was a really cool show. These were my favorites:



Veiled Rebellion, by Lynsey Addario (women by a roadside in Afghanistan, 2009). I love how lonely and evocative this is, and how the blue of the women's burqas is set against the mountains and the sky.


Shelter, by Joanna Pinneo (a family napping in their tent in the Sahara desert outside Timbuktu, 1998). I love how the tent diffuses the sunlight and creates such a warm, peaceful glow, and the baby's toes in the sand.

There was also, of course, the Afghan Girl. The photos were so beautiful, and it was very striking and powerful to see such big reproductions. I'm going to miss this little art gallery. It's so charming, and we've seen some cool collections here. I think big art galleries can be kinda serious and obnoxious. After the art gallery, I just had time to go on a brief bike-ride it got too chilly. It just won't get warm and stay warm -- ugh!

On Saturday morning, we had a session of religious school, and I think the kids actually enjoyed it. We did a lesson on King Solomon -- read a storybook about him, learned a song about him, and practiced writing his name in Hebrew. Sarah's the oldest, and she wanted to read the Solomon story to the younger kids. So we let her (anything that equals less work for us is a win!). She read King Solomon and the Bee, which is based on a traditional Midrash, and Maddy laughed so hard at the silly voice she used for the bee. I'm going to miss this group.



Sarah reading to Maddy -- aren't they so stinkin' cute?

I should've gone home after religious school, but I stuck around for Torah study. Oy vey. I'm not going to miss that. Do we really need to read the entire parsha before we can discuss it? Do we really need to go around the table and see how everyone's Torah translates Exodus 33:14? Does yours have My presence will go with you, My face will go with you, or I will go with you? That just seems like missing the point to me. It was so frustrating, because I know Torah study has the potential to be really interesting.
rebecca_in_blue: (red riding hood)
I was off from work this weekend, and man, it was a pretty packed one. It kicked off on Friday evening, when our temple was treated to services by an amazing guest cantor, David Mintz. He's from New York, so afterwards, we took him out for a taste of traditional Louisiana cuisine... at the nearest Chinese restaurant. There have been group dinners at Chinese places after services before, but I always skipped them because I really don't like Chinese food. I only tagged along this time because Sassy Jewish Grandparents #1 literally blocked the door and wouldn't let me leave until I agreed to go (also because they gave me a ride and paid for my food). You know that cliche about how Jewish people love Chinese food? Yeah, it's real.

On Saturday, our city was holding two events downtown, an arts festival and a culture festival. Our temple had signed up to run tables at both! We've been planning and working on this for a long time, and I honestly thought the temple president and secretary must've lost their minds to sign us up. I was like, "We're a small congregation! We can't pull off something like this!" But I was wrong. We might be a small group, but our booth on Israel at the culture fest was by far the biggest one there. We had activities where visitors (we had about 300!) could see Israeli currency, listen to HaTikva (the Israeli national anthem), make a Haman hat, learn to write shalom in Hebrew or play dreidel, and we gave away little mini Israeli flags. The whole thing went so well, and I am so beyond proud of us for pulling it off.

I was working the booths for most of the day, but I managed to break away for part of the afternoon. I took Sarah (a girl in my congregation) around to all the other booths while her mom worked at ours. We each picked up a little pretend passport and got them signed or stamped at each country's table. So many countries were represented -- the local geneology library had a table on Germany and German immigrants to Louisiana, the French Club of a high school had two tables on France and Belgium, the martial arts school had one on China. We saw Chinese dragon dancers, Spanish flamenco dancers, and more! Sarah and I had so much fun.



Me and Sarah in the HUGE Haman hats we made out of newspaper

Today, Briana and I browsed in a Halloween store, then hit the mall -- the third time we've done this, but it's hard finding stuff that doesn't seem to bore her. It went pretty well, mostly because we bumped into a friend of Briana's family, who shopped with us (he was pretty fun and knew way more about fashion and shopping than I do) and bought us each a cookie from the Great American Cookie Company. Any situation that involves free food can be considered a win, right?

A stray cat showed up at our apartment tonight, and she immediately scarfed down an entire bowl of food, poor thing. The newcomer has been very calm and gentle -- there are some feral cats in our area, but she must be domestic, since she let me pet and hold her -- but Tovah and my sister are freakin' the hell out. Tovah's reaction I can understand, but not "You are so HATEFUL, Rebecca! [I'm also stupid, selfish, and don't care about Tovah at all.] How could you DO this to Tovah?! My poor baby is TRAUMATIZED FOR LIFE!"
rebecca_in_blue: (dozing off)
A stomachache chased me out of bed early this morning. Ugh. I was off yesterday and had the bright idea to go canoeing with Adam in a local state park. It took forever for us to find the park, then another forever to find the boat rentals. Then the boats turned out not to be canoes at all but flat-bottom boats that were much harder to navigate. Still, we had fun and I took some photos (in awful bright direct sunlight).


Lots of tricky Cypress trees for us to navigate between. I barely tapped a big Cypress knee with my paddle, and the whole thing collapsed.


Adam didn't know Cypress knees were called that -- sigh.


I had never seen so much Spanish moss in one place in my life!


My Coke commercial pose. See how RED my face is?! And that's with sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat on! Ugh! Rebecca just can't win.


We got up close and personal with this beautiful deer...


...and fortunately, not with any of these!

It was
broiling! Adam and I bought sno-cones (ahhhh) on the way back, and I was so sweaty and gross that I had to take a shower as soon as I got home. I will never go back to that park in the heat of summer again, but I might go back for a hike or a picnic in the fall. I'd love to find the spot on the riverbank where this skinny little girl once had a ball climbing on the tree roots.


Holy Moses, look at how skinny I was! I wonder if those tree roots would still support me?
rebecca_in_blue: (subtle sigh)
Busy day here! We had three events at the temple this morning: Hebrew school with the kids, Torah study with Rabbi W, and a centennial tour. It's hard to believe, but this could've been Rebecca's last Hebrew school class for this school year. (Our official last class is next weekend, but I don't know what I'm working and might not be able to go.) Today the kids learned about the twelve-jeweled breastplate the high priest wore back in the days of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, then they created their own using graham crackers, peanut butter, and twelve different-colored jelly beans. It was fun, but it was hard for us teachers to keep them from making a mess with the food.

My city hosted a centennial tour downtown today, of a few buildings that were +100 years old. I went through the one at our temple (and learned a few things about it that I didn't know), the Catholic cathedral, and the Masonic lodge. I didn't volunteer as a tour guide for the temple, but now I kinda wish I had. The guy from our congregation who ended up as the tour guide can be very long-winded and know-it-all. I hate to think he might've given a bad impression of our temple. We had a lot of outside visitors from the community.



There he is, rambling on and on to the tour group.


A pretty flower outside temple that I decided to photograph.

When I got home, Sara and I bought a box of cake bites over to CJ & Co.'s, as a thank-you to Uncle John for helping us move in. After we got home from that, I was so tired I conked out. Today was the first time I biked to temple from our new place. It's much farther, but I think I do it regularly, as long as it's warm and light out.

Ni Hao Yall
rebecca_in_blue: (happy smile)
I'm still not doing well with being at home by myself without Sable (Sara is at work right now), so I'm glad to find any excuse I can to get out. Luckily, the annual corn beef sandwich sale is here again. It's our temple's main fundraiser, and it's insane how much work we all do in making sandwiches, bagging pickles and cookies, and packaging them all into individual boxes along with napkins and mustard packets. This year, we sold about 1800 sandwiches! You've never seen as much corn beef, rye bread, and pickles in one place as we had stacked to the ceiling in the temple kitchen and all over the social hall.

Last year -- which I blogged about here -- pickle-loving Rebecca spent six torturous hours bagging pickles but not eating them. This year, fortunately, bagging pickles went much faster. I still worked for six hours, but I was able to spread out it between pickles, cookies, and sandwiches. It was fun, and I think everyone enjoyed coming out and working together, but I was so exhausted that I conked out as soon as I got home.




A very, very small portion of all the pickles we bagged. They were delicious Kosher dill spears. (Yes, Rebecca may have snuck a few into her mouth.)



Sarah, one of the kids in our religious school, was my sandwich-making partner. She worked harder and longer than most of the grown-ups and never complained! (Well, not too much.) I was impressed. We both agreed that the corn beef smells GROSS! She actually said something like, "Eww, people eat this?" I'm not a fan of corn beef either, which is funny because I always thought it looked appetizing when they ate it in Meet Me in St. Louis. But in real life, no thank you.



These guys are Jacob (left, Sassy Jewish Grandfather #3) and Paul (right, Sassy Jewish Grandfather #2). They're so much fun, they're almost like kids themselves.

It's hard to find anything to look forward to right now, but I do have a few: Tuesday's new (finally) episode of NCIS looks fun, The Hunger Games comes out on Friday, and sign-ups at
[livejournal.com profile] ncis_ficathon should start soon!

Sunday Snapshot
rebecca_in_blue: (excited grin)
We had such a beautiful Sunday here. I visited with JC & Company this afternoon, and this evening, I biked down to the lake to hear a conga-drum line. It's not something I would usually go to, but I got an invitation from a friend on FaceBook and didn't have anything better to do.

It turned out to be pretty fun. Photos under here! )

Tomorrow is the day when we go RED at work! Ugh! As you can tell from this blog, Rebecca prefers being in blue.

Sunday Snapshot
rebecca_in_blue: (stiff shoulders)
I'm up late tinkering with the laptop, making updates, reinstalling some programs and deleting others. We got hit with a bad virus earlier today (even though we have anti-virus software!) that frustrated me almost to tears. The good news is that I was able to restore it without spending any money, but the bad news is that we lost all our data! UGH! Oh well, at least I didn't have to completely reinstall Windows 7. Now for a little recap of my weekend.

I was off on Saturday, but I had an even busier day on Sunday. (Whatever happened to sleeping in?) That morning there was another session of religious school. We decided to teach the kids a song they can sing in front of the whole congregation one Friday evening -- which made Rebecca want to break out a guitar and say, "Let's learn a song we can sing for the rabbi when he comes! Now, what songs do you know?" We found a song about the Ten Commandments that the kids learned easily enough, but then we teachers came up with the bright idea to add motions to it. How do you get kids to sign out things like no adultery? Yeah, we don't know, either.

The Hebrew class had some bumps in it. My 7-year-old Hebrew study partner (I can't call him my student, because we're on the same level) is very enthusiastic and seems to think learning Hebrew is the darn funnest thing ever! We learned ש, the letter shin, and I told him that when shin has a dot on the right, שׁ, it says SH. When the dot is on the left, שׂ, it says S. That was when another teacher jumped in and rather snippily "corrected" me, saying that shin only takes a dot on the right and only makes a SH sound. If we ever see a shin with a dot on the left, it means someone made a mistake. (I make no claim to infallibility, but all the Hebrew research I've done has told me that shin with a dot on the left says S.) I didn't argue with her, but it did piss me off because she said this in front of my students and I'm 99% sure she was wrong, anyway! It was the first time I've ever felt a vibe of "I was born and raised Jewish and you converted, so I'm a better Jew."

That afternoon, I drove to Texas to see Sassy Jewish Grandfather #1 in "The Odd Couple." I'd been putting off going because it was still so freaking COLD here last week -- in the 30's and freezing! -- that I didn't want to go out at all, much less all the way to Texas. But I finally went, and I literally laughed so hard I cried! Here's a picture of him in all his slobby glory as Oscar:

Happy Valentine's Day to all those of you will be celebrating the day in some way. Rebecca won't, beyond maybe buying chocolate hearts for the two folks who helped me with my computer free of charge. But there is a new episode of NCIS tomorrow, and that's something we can all celebrate!
rebecca_in_blue: (dozing off)
Rebecca is starting to feel like she's living at temple again. Today was the third day in a row that I've been there. On Friday, we had Shabbat services, followed by a cheese-and-wine oneg in honor of our guest rabbi, Rabbi K. from Mississippi. On Saturday morning, we had Torah study, which was very interesting because rather than discuss the Torah portion at all, someone brought up “Jews” for Jesus instead, and we spent the whole time discussing that group and the best way to react when we encounter them. I hope it will be useful, because I've already had some run-ins with them, and they haven't been pleasant. Rabbi K. said it's important to never refer to them as “Jews” for Jesus or Messianic “Jews” because that implies that they are Jews in some way.

And this morning, there was another session of Hebrew school. (When Sara saw me leaving, she said, “Where are you going? Church?” Har-har.) We played some Hebrew bingo (I got to be the bingo referee) and did a project on the Shema. The kids read The Perfect Prayer, which impressed me in how well it explained the Shema on a kid-level. It went okay, but I can't believe I woke up early on my two days off! Ugh! A few other things I did this weekend: downloaded a better word-processing program, finished writing a new fanfic, and watched my first child actress movie of the year.

23 days left until NCIS's 200th episode! I am looking forward to it, but it's been hyped up SO much that I'll kinda be happy to have it aired and over with.
rebecca_in_blue: (dozing off)
Rebecca's been up to her elbows in latkes for the past two days! Yesterday morning, a hodge-podge of folks from the temple got together at Sassy Jewish Grandparents #1's house to fry some up. This was my first time making latkes, and who knew it was so much WORK? We peeled and chopped a small mountain of potatoes and onions (the job of peeling onions went to Paul, the only one of us who didn't cry!), mixed the batter, fried the latkes, and had drops of hot oil splatter onto the stove, the counters, the floor, and US! Still, it was fun.

When they were finally done, we ate a few, but most of them we delivered to eldery/ill members of our temple who weren't able to attend the latke dinner there tonight. I delivered to two old couples I'd never met before, and it made me feel pretty good to spread some holiday cheer. The second old lady was so surprised and kept exclaiming, "Latkes?! For me?! Oh, thank you!" One of my favorite Jewish songs is Debbie Friedman's "L'chi Lach." The chorus ends, On your journey, I will bless you / And you will be a blessing, l'chi lach. Being part of this temple has been such a blessing to me, but it's not often I feel like I get to be a blessing back. I just have so little to offer.

I also brought a plate of latkes to Grandma. The weather was horrible yesterday morning, but just as I started making my deliveries, the rain stopped and the sun came out. I was in a neighborhood with lots of ditches, and they were all full of rainwater and looked like the most beautiful little streams sparkling in the sunlight. I almost crashed Muse Watson staring at them!

And today, I spent the evening in the temple kitchen, helping make enough brisket, latkes, green bean casserole, and challah bread for our whole congregation! Our temple hosts an annual dinner on the Shabbat during Hanukkah and invites everyone to bring their menorahs and light them together. My mom gave me my own little menorah on the first night of Hanukkah this year, and it was a lot smaller and plainer than the others there, but I like it. And I loved eating and talking with everyone over the candlelight. But boy, am I exhausted after all that cooking and eating! Think I better sign off and crash into bed.

P.S. My mom called while I was typing this entry. When I mentioned that I'd brought Grandma some latkes, she asked, "How was she? Was she weak? Was she tired?" Then she complained about how badly our other relatives are taking care of her. Ugh. Way to kill the holiday spirit there, Mom.
rebecca_in_blue: (happy smile)

What a weekend! I was off work, but I feel like I hardly slowed down at all. I spent Saturday evening with some friends from temple, Cheryl and her little girl, Maggie. We went out and all ate breakfast foods for dinner, then browsed in a lovely store that was all decked out for the holidays. Seriously, I should've taken a picture of all the decorations and lights and toys. It was like Christmas exploded in there! I didn't buy anything, even though I saw some cute ornaments. (Our tree has been a little bare since I got rid of our religious ornaments. I might buy some Hanukkah ones online - if I can find any.)

After that, we went for a drive along the lake to look at Christmas lights. A lot of the swanky houses on the lakeshore had very impressive displays, including one of Santa Claus in a pirogue pulled by alligators. My favorite were the Live Oak trees draped with Spanish moss and encrusted with little white lights - so pretty. One house even had a real live Santa on the curb giving out free candy canes. There was a Christmas parade downtown that we didn't go to, but after the parade, there were fireworks. We watched them from the opposite, infinitely less crowded side of the lake. Maggie said something like, "Fireworks are like somebody threw a lot of glitter in the air!"

I didn't get home late, but I was up very late that night. Some weeks ago, a lady at the temple asked me to teach a Hebrew school on Sunday morning, and like the fool that I am, I said yes. Do not ask how Rebecca, one of the least qualified people at the temple, got this job; I have no idea. And of course, I left everything to the last minute the night before (my bad habits never change!) so on Saturday night, I gave myself a crash course in Hebrew and tried to develop a lesson plan from scratch. Did I mention that the Hebrew students are 6- to 10-year-olds?! I have even less experience with both that language and that age group than I did with teaching French high school students to speak English, and you all remember how mightily I sucked at that.

Anyway, come Sunday morning, I arrived at the temple looking awful and blearly-eyed, and I'm sure everyone thought I hadn't slept at all (which was practically the case). Fortunately, the lesson wasn't so bad. We - me and another, infinitely better teacher - taught the Hebrew months to the older kids and the Hebrew alphabet to the younger ones. Our class wasn't an easy one to teach; we had some students who could read Hebrew better than me (which isn't saying much) and some who didn't know alef from bet. Debbie Friedman's alef-bet song was a big help with them. It was stuck in my head all day! It occured to me later it all counted as talmud torah: the mitzvah of Jewish learning/teaching, the most important mitzvot.

I had meant to run some errands after Hebrew school, but instead I conked out as soon as I got home. So the errands had to wait until this morning, and they were much more frenzied than I would've liked. They involved several failed attempts to make a Christmas tree ornament (for my grandma) out of a dreidel. Hooked screws from the hardware store didn't work because I would've had to use a hammer, and the dreidel was so small that I was sure a hammer would smash it. Super glue from the dollar store didn't work, because even though the glue was strong enough to take paint off the dreidel (and my skin off my fingers, it felt like) it didn't affix the string to the dreidel. Finally I used silver dress trim from the fabric store. It's not very nice-looking, but it was the only thing that worked!

Then I drove by Grandma's house to give it to her. It went much better than my last visit with her. She sat up, came to the table with help from my aunts, ate a meal, had a conversation with me, and (best of all) understood what I said in French and answered me back in French. She is still my bad-ass Cajun grandma. Hooray!

And just to prove that all my Hebrew cramming didn't go to waste, I'll sign off this entry with my Hebrew name:

שָׁלוֹם  -  רִבְקָה   בר   יַעֲקֹב   (Shalom - Rivka bat Yakov)

rebecca_in_blue: (worried eyes)
Lately we've been having our air conditioner on during the day and our heater on at night. Last night, I woke up twice -- once to crank the heater up because I was cold, then again to turn it down and open a window because I was so hot! Ugh! But November is always pretty up-and-down in Louisiana, so I guess I should be used to it.

Tomorrow is my last day of freedom before heading back to work, and ugh, I really cannot bear the thought of going back to the salt mines on Monday. Here's a little recap of my staycation:

On Thursday night, we all got together for lasagna dinner at Grandma's new house. Her doctor has diagnosed her with spinal stenosis (I think) and she's had to start walking with a cane. After that, Sara and I stayed out late visiting with Athena. I'm so glad I got to see her, because the last time she was in town, I had to work and hardly got to see her at all.

On Friday, I spent most of the day baking, frosting, and decorating about fifty cupcakes while watching a Criminal Minds marathon, pausing only to bike to the grocery store for more muffin cups. Then I got dressed up, did my hair in a new style that actually looked okay, and took them all to temple, where we were having ... a bar mitzvah! We had a bat mitzvah at our temple back in May, but I didn't go for a few reasons. (I had to work, I wasn't a Jew yet, and I didn't really know the family. This family has been super-nice and welcoming to me.) The bar mitzvah boy did so well -- like I would know the difference if he screwed up -- and the reception afterwards was delicious! Unfortunately, my cupcakes were not as popular as I'd hoped. Oh, well.

Today I went to Torah study in the morning (talmud torah: the mitzvah of Jewish learning, and the single most important mitzvot of them all), ran some errands in the afternoon, and saw a local theater production of "The Diary of Anne Frank" that I just got back from (zikaron: the mitzvah of remembrance). I've always known a lot about Anne Frank -- I did three school projects on her back in middle school -- but I was unprepared for how much seeing the play would effect me. Maybe because I'm Jewish now. Maybe because seeing people act it out right in front of me made it so much more real than the book and movies. Either way, I was bawling through the last two scenes, and I do not cry easily -- unlike my mom, who was suspiciously dry-eyed the entire time. It was almost like watching a horror move, only scarier because you know what's coming, and you know that it all really happened.

It Is Raining on the House of Anne Frank
By Linda Pastan
{I bought Good Poems for Hard Times on our last trip to Houston and opened it at random for the first time to this poem.}

It is raining on the house
of Anne Frank
and on the tourists
herded together under the shadow
of their umbrellas,
on the perfectly silent
tourists who would rather be
somewhere else
but who wait here on stairs
so steep they must rise
to some occasion
high in the empty loft,
in the quaint toilet,
in the skeleton
of a kitchen
or on the map --
each of its arrows
a barb of wire --
with all the dates, the expulsions,
the forbidding shapes
of continents.
And across Amsterdam it is raining
on the Van Gogh Museum
where we will hurry next
to see how someone else
could find the pure
center of light
within the dark circle
of demons.
rebecca_in_blue: (happy smile)
I'm on a little staycation from work right now. I don't have anything big planned, but I am trying to get out and do stuff. Today I drove downtown to help rebuild a local park that burnt down in an arson fire earlier this year. The original park (also volunteer-built) was huge, and this new one is going to be even bigger. I was on a team with a nice biracial couple who talked about bringing their son to the park after it was all rebuilt.

Most volunteers got simple jobs like digging, painting, cutting boards, etc. -- but not us! Together we assembled a big, four-person seesaw and a spinner. (And you practically had to be an engineer just to read the directions!) A spinner is a sort of big, flat disc that a kid stands on, and the weight of the kid and the angle of the disc makes them spin around in circles. Just the thought of it is enough to make me dizzy! They didn't have these when I was a kid; I first saw one on the playground in Villers-Cotterets. After it was built, a few kids hopped on and spun around (there were lots of kids there with their parents or church groups). Success!


(There are a few different types of spinners. The one we built was a stand-up spinner that looked kinda like this.)

They were both HARD to put together, but we did it and had enough time left over to get snacks from the concession stand. I had Cheeto's and a blue bubblegum sno-cone -- yum! I think it counted as the mitzvot of tikkun olam, so I was glad to be a part of it, and it was touching to see how many people from the community came out to help rebuild. But I was filthy by the time my volunteer shift was over -- covered in sweat, sawdust, and grime! Ugh! Update: I visited the completed park here.

A few other things I hope to do this week: see Athena, have coffee with my sassy Jewish grandfather, visit the Avenue of Flags at the cemetery on Veteran's Day, see a production of The Diary of Anne Frank at the local theater, and attend my first bar mitzvah. Which reminds me, today I overheard a middle-school-aged boy at the park say, "And on Friday I'm going to Jakob's bar mitzvah." Yeah, me too, kid!
rebecca_in_blue: (raised eyebrows)

On top of losing my debit card and getting ready for the High Holy Days, here's what else has happened this week...

Monday: I met Sassy Jewish Grandparents #1 at the coffee shop. They're helping me learn the Torah blessing that I have to say on Rosh Hashanah. I don't think the real problem will be learning the Hebrew as much as getting up on the bema and saying it in front of the whole congregation. Also, I have to find something nice to wear, since apparently my ratty old jeans, t-shirt, and AB shoes are not appropriate bema attire.

Tuesday: While putting some things up in Grandma's old garage, just for the heck of it, I stepped on an upturned, rusty nail! Ugh! Fortunately, it came under the arch of my foot and didn't break the skin, but my foot has still been sore as heck! That evening, of course, was the NCIS Season 9 premiere! Hooray! (My notes are at the bottom.)

Wednesday: I drove right past my mom's house on my way home, only to remember after I got home that I needed to use her printer to print up some forms for a job interview. So I biked back to her house in the dark, only to discover when I arrived that their printer isn't working. So I biked back home, only to realize that the homecoming pep rally at my old high school (which lies inbetween us) was just letting out! So not only was it dark, but the sidewalks were jammed with football players, cheerleaders, and a few of Rebecca's old high school teachers (some of whom I wouldn't mind running over on my bike). I also managed to bike right through a big pile of dog crap, and that stuff is a bitch to clean off your wheels. On the plus side, I scored some free stuff on Wednesday.

Thursday: This morning I was almost late for a job interview for yet another job that I almost certainly won't get. Le sigh.

Friday: Despite trying to bike all I can to save on gas money, I might have to take up driving to temple for a while. My Jewish grandparents cautioned me against biking there after one member of our congregation found the words You Dirty Jew written on his car in the temple parking lot. Scary, huh? When I told Sara about it, she immediately said, "Ha! And you promised to cast your lot in with them come what may!"

Looking forward to cooking pumpkin bread with Grandma this weekend.

P.S. And just because I always have to have a countdown going, TWO WEEKS LEFT until Rebecca's birthday! Funny that no one has asked me what I want yet. Hmph. And now...


My notes on 9x01 "Nature of the Beast" )
rebecca_in_blue: (Default)
Sunday (September 11) was a bit of a strange day. It was Grandma's birthday, and a bunch of us headed over to her new house for as much of a birthday party as you can have at 82. She took the day off from cooking since it was her birthday, but there was a pineapple cake and two yellow cakes, one with chocolate and vanilla frosting and one with a coconut topping (which was actually pretty yummy).

After that, I biked downtown for the 9-11 memorial ceremony. Our city's local 9-11 memorial was designed by a woman from my temple, and several members of the congregation were there. The ceremony was actually very lovely. The weather was cool and perfect - just like it was on September 11, 2001, a Tuesday - and it was held on the lakefront. I could hear the wind blowing in the palm trees and the water lapping against the pier the entire time. It made for the most peaceful background music.

Photos from the ceremony behind this frustrating LJ cut. These things USED to be easy! )

I woke up at seven this morning and just could not go back to bed! Too worried over stupid stuff again. Blegh.

P.S. 500th LJ entry! How sad that this milestone comes at a time when LJ has apparently stopped caring about its users. I honestly suspect that they're making things this difficult on purpose, and sitting back and laughing evilly at all the frustration they're causing us.
rebecca_in_blue: (happy smile)
I've kinda been looking forward to this day for a while. It's my anniversary with the temple! Exactly one year ago today - Friday, August 27, 2010 - I rode my bike and attended services there for the first time. It's so strange to think that it's already been a year, when I still remember my first visit so well. Mostly I remember how nervous I was. I had never attended any sort of Jewish service before, never walked through those doors before, and even though I'd done a lot of research into Judaism, I didn't know anyone there and really had no idea what to expect.

It's hard to write about how much it's changed my life. One year later, I've officially converted. I'm a first-name basis with a whole group of people that I didn't know before. It's given me a sense of peace that I've never found anywhere else, and I like to think it's made me a better, happier, less selfish person. To put it simply, I have a family and a life now that I didn't have a year ago. It's almost hard to remember what I did before I had Judaism, and this temple. I mean, how bored and lonely was I?

I didn't have anything exciting planned for today, but almost as if they knew it was my anniversary, two members of our congregation - Cheryl and her little girl, Maggie - swooped by and picked me up. Maggie is the sweetest kid, and for some strange reason, she really likes me and thinks I'm so cool. (Eva thought the same thing for a long time. She'll be 14 at the end of the month, and I think she's finally starting to realize how lame I really am.) First we had lunch at Burger King, and then we went to a family fun day downtown. There was face-painting, balloon animals, games, door prizes, etc. - fun, but so exhausting that I conked out as soon as I got home.

More cool stuff for today - back in October, our temple was visited by a camera crew from the History Channel. We're featured for about five minutes in a two-hour long program called "You Don't Know Dixie," that tries to debunk stereotypes about the south. It's on TV tonight, and although the History Channel's played it before, this will be my first time to see it. Lots of faces from the temple are in it, including Rebecca! (When Jacob told me, my first response was, "What was I wearing that day?")


Screencaps from our part of the show! )

I almost ended this entry with a nice verse from the Torah, but if you know me, you won't be surprised that I went with The Beatles instead.
Man, we was lonely, yes, we was lonely

And we was hard-pressed to find a smile
Man, we was lonely, yes, we was lonely
But now we're fine all the while
rebecca_in_blue: (excited grin)
Between becoming a Jew, celebrating it, working the back-to-school season, and trying to finish my ficathon, Rebecca's been pretty busy these past few days. I'm off work today, so I'm going to try to recap what's been happening.

Official Conversion, Wednesday, August 10, 2011 )

Conversion Ceremony, Friday, August 12, 2011 )

I wasn't able to attend Torah study yesterday morning because I was stuck at work, but no less than four temple members stopped by the store afterwards. First Cheryl and Maggie brought me lunch, then Mr. and Mrs. G brought me half the bouquet of flowers from last night's ceremony (Diane took the other half). I've never had lunch or flowers delivered to me at work before! I felt so blessed and special and loved. I think I'm starting to get spoiled. After work, I drove to the local theater; they were putting on performances of all the best songs from this season's show, and Mr. G did his number from Kiss Me, Kate (which he sang all the way to Denham Springs, so I knew it well).


The flowers that the G's brought me, and the Jewish-shaped silly bands from the rabbi.

Today I'm busy being lazy and finishing up my story for [livejournal.com profile] ncis_ficathon. Posting starts ... TOMORROW! For all the worrying I did, I think it's turned out to be a pretty good story, and I'm eager to post it and read the story that was written for me. Can you believe this is my very first time in a ficathon? It's certainly the darn longest fanfic I've ever written, if nothing else. 9750 words and counting!
rebecca_in_blue: (subtle sigh)

So, Rebecca's actually had a pretty good week so far. Sunday was an Eat-Spaghetti-at-Grandma's day, which are all the more meaningful since there are a limited number of spaghetti dinners left at that house. Afterwards, I took Josh over to JC & Company's to swing on their swings. (And guys? He loved your swingset.) The swinging was fun while it lasted, but before long, it made so nauseous that I almost barfed up Grandma's spaghetti! Ugh. I must be getting old, because I used to swing for hours on end. I could practically hear my other Jewish grandfather saying, "Look at me, huh? Like a rock. We can go up, we can down, we can go side-to-side..." Just before I left, Eva wanted to find out if she could give me a piggyback ride. Guess what? She could. Can I get a WITNESS!


Look at us two crazy chicks (and notice all Maggie's rubber bands still on my wrist). I promise I wasn't choking Eva, although it might look like it here. It was a difficult photo to take because we were both laughing so hard.

On Monday, I met Jewish Grandfather #1 for coffee. We hadn't done that in a while. He is really the sweetest, funniest guy. He's a theater buff who's currently acting in a local production of "Kiss Me, Kate," and he showed me a song number he does about how quoting Shakespeare can impress girls. (The one who sets them all ravin' / Is the bard of Stratford-on-Avon!) Smack in the middle of us having coffee, I got a call about a potential job. It almost certainly won't pan out, but that might be a good thing, because the application I filled out asked the most disturbing questions ever. A sample:

Do you strongly agree, slightly agree, slightly disagree, or strongly disagree with the following:
    ~ If a customer is rude to you, it is acceptable to react violently.
    ~ If you have a disagreement with a coworker, you should physically threaten him/her.
    ~ It is okay to come to work under the influence of alcohol and/or illegal, non-prescription drugs.

Um, seriously, wtf?

On Tuesday, I went straight from work to a graduation reception for a young woman that my grandma used to babysit for. She is very nice - and she was almost equally upset to hear Grandma's moving - and so is her family, but the whole thing was very "Southern charm debutante gala," so I felt a little out-of-place. (There were women my mom's age politely wondering why I wasn't doing anything with my degree. Ugh.) But I do think I'm much better and mingling and making small talk than I used to be. Thank you, Jews.


After that, of course, was the Season 8 Finale of NCIS (Pyramid)! Honestly, I'm still making up my mind about it. I was surprised that both EJ and Ray lived to see the end of the season, and neither one of them is blatantly evil. (Although EJ is definitely up to something.) All in all, though, this wasn't the most well-planned finale arc. At all.


Reasons why Rebecca hates Gary Glasberg and other notes on 8x24 "Pyramid" )

I have a number of fanfic ideas on the back burner, but I'm waiting until I get my prompts from [livejournal.com profile] ncis_ficathon before I publish anything. I hope I don't get anything too off-the-wall.

Sara elbowed me in the arm earlier, and now it's sore as a bitch.
rebecca_in_blue: (worried eyes)

On Tuesday evening, I attended my first meeting of the women's group our temple. I was a little blown away by how much work these women put into running the temple, fundraising, planning dinners and events, organizing the religious classes, sending food to members who sick or grieving, etc. They are a force to be reckoned with! I was so impressed.
 
I have to say, maybe because it was my first meeting, but I felt very out-of-place. First of all, the meeting was held at one lady's house in Swanky Subdivision Land. Honestly, it was probably one of the nicest houses I've ever been in. I kept wanting to say, "No, you don't understand! I love junk food and collect cans and shop at Goodwill!" Also, every other woman there was old enough to be my mother (or grandmother) and I had nothing to contribute when they talked about their husbands, kids, grandkids, and gardens. But they were all so sweet to me that I feel I have to go back for the next meeting. Mrs. Cohen, who sat next to me, said she was "adopting" me and appointing herself as my "meddling Jewish mother." (Haha! Cohen, just what my last name always gets misheard as!)

Still, it was hard. How can just visiting a house in the town where I've lived for so long feel more foreign going to than France?

The other downside is that the meetings seem to be held on Tuesday evenings, so I missed seeing NCIS "live." I watched this week's episode (Two-Faced - my notes are at the bottom, and they're long as heck!) online twice, and it just blew my mind. You can find excellent (better) summaries here by [livejournal.com profile] kew121 and here by [livejournal.com profile] littlesammy.

On Wednesday and Friday mornings, I had two job interviews. The interesting thing is that they were both positions I didn't apply for; the employers had seen my resume online and called me in. This has never happened before, and I'd like to think it's a good sign, but I also don't want to get my hopes up. Today I went straight to temple from work, and from there, straight to Grandma's house for a dinner of sloppy joes and cake. Yum.

I'm typing up some fanficiton in another window right now. Strange that in 2010, I wrote twelve stories in six months, while this is only my fourth story of 2011. I suppose I must have more of a life this year than I did then. Who'd have thought?


But I still don't have too much of a life to talk forever about NCIS! My essay-length notes on 8x20 "Two-Faced" )
rebecca_in_blue: (bemused shrug)

Today was the second day of... Rebecca's vacation! I have been accruing vacation time at work for some time now, but I didn't want to use it until I had my own vehicle. I'm not sure why, since I won't really be going anywhere. This will be more of a staycation than a vacation, but I'm not complaining because it feels so good to know that I won't even have to think about work for another week! I haven't been up to much, but here's a recap of the first two days:

Yesterday morning I biked to the temple for Torah study and kibbutzed with the rabbi afterwards, about converting. He said I was "new-ish to Jewish." Haha. I was sweating like a Baptist preacher, paranoid that they wouldn't let me in, but the rabbi said he could have me converted by fall of this year! (Holy Moly! Fall suddenly feels really soon!) But I'm looking forward to it and hope to make it happen. On the bike ride home from temple, I saw my mom working in her front yard and ended up having lunch at her house. (She made red beans & rice and apple muffins that couldn't compare to Grandma's. But then, no one can.) I can't quite account for this; Torah study must have left me in a very good mood.

We had to move our clocks forward an hour for Daylight Savings Time last night, but I still woke up early and biked back to temple to help out with the annual corned beef sandwich sale. It's a very big deal, and everyone turns out to help put the meals together. It's a quarter-pound corned beef sandwich, a bag of chips, a pickle, and a cookie. I and a few other people had the job of bagging pickles in the kitchen. We bagged over 1700 pickles! Can you imagine what torture it was for pickle-loving Rebecca, who wanted to eat every pickle she saw but only got about five? But the temple ordered pizza for us -- since we were there bagging pickles for six hours! -- so I can't complain.

And tomorrow morning I'll be going back to the temple once more to put the finish touches on assembling the sandwiches. I'm not even sure what that entails, but it will be my fourth consecutive day there (since I went to Shabbat services on Friday night) and I'm beginning to think I should just move in, change my name to Rebecca Cohen, and be done with it.

Tonight I finally gave an old patchy dog I know a bath. He is not happy.

P.S. I feel like Robert Frost in "After Apple-Picking" (the only poem I can not only recite, but perform) except in my case, it's "After Pickle-Bagging." I was so exhausted when I got home that as soon as I walked Sable, I crashed on our couch.

"There were seventeen hundred spears to cut, shake the juice from, bag up, but never eat!"
(I tried to tweak the entire poem, but this was the only line I could do.

rebecca_in_blue: (red riding hood)

Well, the sun may have come out for a few days, but it sure disappeared again quick. Today and yesterday were both back to gray skies, rain, and freezing cold. On top of that, the shrink episode of NCIS wasn't as good as I'd hoped. On top of that, I apparently didn't get the job I applied for last week. (Yes, the one I was so sure I had.) They said they would be making a decision Monday or Tuesday, and Rebecca was practically reduced to spending those days staring at her phone, waiting for it to ring. The lesson here, kiddos, is that no matter how well you think the interview went, you did not get the job.

I was tempted to spend yesterday at home being depressed, but instead, I picked myself up, braved the cold and rain, and went to a concert at the temple. An Israeli musician named Amir Gwirtzman was performing there, and the price of admission was canned goods to go to Abraham's Tent. It was a little strange, but I enjoyed it. He juxtaposed different wind instruments (like a saxophone and a shoffar, or a Native American flute and an Irish penny whistle) and made it seem like they were talking to each other, and he recorded them in layers to create the sound of a full band. He played one piece that he said was a traditional Korean melody, and I have no idea why, but it sounded so familiar and sad to me, I almost started crying.

 
Amir Gwirtzman

The temple was more crowded than I'd ever seen it, because most of the crowd was people of other faiths who'd come to hear the music. At one point I thought to myself how weird it was to see so many unknown faces in my temple, and then I did a mental double-take, thinking, "My temple?" Where did that come from?

But best of all, there was a reception afterwards of delicious dessert foods, and my sassy Jewish grandfather kept piling my plate with cream puffs! It was quite a replay of the Nuit Blanche 2007, when Rebecca stuffed with face with cream puffs in front of all her French professors.

Oh-seh shalom bimrom'vah hu yah-seh shalom aleinu v'al kol Mizraim.
This is a tweaked line from the only Jewish song Amir played during the concert, "Oh-seh Shalom." (We sing this song fairly often during services, and it's one of my favorites. Some of the first Hebrew I ever learned.) The original line ends in Yisrael. This version means, "May the One who causes peace to reign in Heaven cause peace to reign in Egypt."

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