rebecca_in_blue: (excited grin)
On Thursday night, I accidentally took a sleeping pill instead of an aspirin for a headache and slept for twelve hours. But I'm glad I got some rest in then, because I feel like I've barely slowed down all weekend! But it was fun, so I can't complain. On Friday night, I did my laundry, crocheted, and watched Star Trek at Mom's house. I finished my second plarn mat! It took me about two months to crochet, and its final measurements were 26" x 84". (My first one took about six months and its measurements were 22" x 76".)

Saturday was a full day. That afternoon, I walked the mall again with Briana; we hit a few bumps that I might need to contact our case worker about. Then I drove by Sassy Jewish Grandfather #2's house to drop off some hamantashen. He just had surgery and won't be able to come to temple for a while. I was happy to bring them to him, but I didn't have the best directions to his house and finding it was kinda stressful. Then Sara and I went over to CJ & Co's to visit Athena.

But Sunday was really the big day - PURIM! The Purim carnival that we'd working on for so long was finally upon us! Making noise on Purim is a mitzvot, and Maggie couldn't believe we were letting her get away with making noise in the temple sanctuary. All the kids loved booing Haman and banging those groggers during the Megillah reading. After the Megillah, we turned the kids loose in the social hall, where we had pinatas, face-painting, horseshoe throws, balloon animals, cookie-decorating, pin-the-crown-on-Esther, and more! It was so much fun, it should've been illegal. I think these smiling faces speak for themselves. (I took a ton of photos.)



Me and Sarah in our cowgirl costumes. I almost said to her mom, "Hurry up and take the photo so we can eat these hamantashen!"


Maggie the Cat. Those two girls are always so much fun.

And Sunday evening, of course, was the Oscars! I missed the pre-shows and first hour or so because I had to attend a long boring meeting at work, but after that, I went over to Mom's house and watched them there with Sara. I was most excited about two child actresses attending (and one of them with a nomination!!) and all the nominations for Les Miserables. Even though the medley was a rather odd mash-up of Suddenly, I Dreamed a Dream, and One Day More, it was so exciting to see it performed onstage! Samantha Barks (Eponine) looked so sexy in that black dress, and I love her voice. I think she's definitely the best singer out of the entire cast. Seth McFarland's spoof of The Sound of Music when he was introducing Christopher Plummer just killed me! Especially since we just saw it on the big screen! The only two Oscar movies I saw this year were Les Mis and Beasts of the Southern Wild, but I want to see Lincoln and Django Unchained once they're released.


Samantha's posing was kinda odd, yeah, but she's a relatively new star, so it's understandable.

Ahhh, good times. But I was up very late for three nights in a row, and I was so busy that I never got around to washing my hair. It's getting kinda gross.
rebecca_in_blue: (dozing off)
Can you believe Rebecca went to two Mardi Gras parades this weekend? I hadn't been to one since 2007! I actually almost went to three, but I got the time wrong on the dog parade on Saturday and most of it was over when I arrived. The atmosphere there was kinda crazy, and I also made the huge mistake of driving instead of biking, and parking was a nightmare. After that, I headed over to CJ & Company's and just crocheted the night away. They had good food and a ton of plastic bags for me to crochet with -- what more could you want?

Today, I woke up early (UGH) to visit Aunt Carla, and this afternoon, Briana and I hit the two parades. It rained (pretty darn hard at times, too!) during most of the first one, and we got drenched, but we both genuinely had fun. It made me feel like a kid again -- remember stepping off the curb and looking down to see what was coming next, and dashing into the street between floats to grab candy before it got smooshed? Briana made a haul: two stuffed animals, two plastic cups, and more candy and beads than she could hold! I never in my life caught that much at a parade. But I did end up with a few beads, some candy, and the cutest little plush dog, so I was happy.

After that, there was a lighted boat parade on the lake. Neither of us had been to a boat parade before, and it was pretty cool. The boats and their reflections on the water was so pretty. It was a fun day that made me glad I joined Big Brothers Big Sisters, but it was also long, very exhausting, and kinda stressful. Briana was excited and wanted to do/see so much, and while it was GREAT to see her enthusiastic instead of bored, by the end of the day, my energy was flagging and she was still on the go. I was thinking about taking her to the last big blow-out parade on Tuesday evening, but after today, I think I might stay at home, rest, write fanfiction, and listen to the parade from here.

Geez, where did that weekend go?
rebecca_in_blue: (bemused shrug)
We leave cold, cloudy Arkansas to return to warm, sunny Louisiana tomorrow morning. I will be happy to see Tovah and have my own room/bed again, but I'm going to miss Athena. She's been the best hostess ever, and we've had so much fun here.

On Friday, Sara and I drove down to the riverfront and saw the playground and sculpture garden. The playground was so much fun! It was multi-level, with lots of tunnels and all sorts of ropes, rocks, and walls to climb on, and I had to climb on them all! I ran around so much that I broke a sweat, and now I have big bruises on my legs and my arms are going to be sore for some time. I guess I'm getting too old for playgrounds, but I don't have the sense to quit!


 photo Pyramid2.jpg
A climbey-thing!

After that, we walked through the sculpture garden so I could catch my breath. The sculptures were all so beautiful, and the sun even made an appearance! We walked through the lobby of the Peabody Hotel to see the ducks in the fountain, which was a highlight of the trip for me because God loves ducks! We got lost on the way there and back, but downtown Little Rock is really beautiful. That evening, I dragged Athena and Sara (the Mormon and the heathen) to Shabbat services at the local Reform synagogue. The synagogue was beautiful, but so big that I felt a little intimated, and I was kinda uncomfortable with a few things they did.

 photo Airplanes.jpg
How cool is this paper-airplane sculpture we saw in the sculpture garden?

On Sunday, we went to two museums, the art museum and the black history museum (which we visited by accident because it had a confusingly similar address to the art museum) and walked through one of the cemeteries here. The cemetery was so cool, but it was so cloudy all day today and my fingers almost froze to my camera! After that, we found a nice warm pizza parlor to eat dinner in. Yum!


Pommiers près de Vétheuil, an 1878 oil-painting by Claude Monet.

This was one of the pieces we saw at the art museum. It reminded me so much of the pommier right across the street from the Lycée Européen.
rebecca_in_blue: (excited grin)
Sara and I dropped Tovah off at Mom's house last night. When we packed up her dishes, litter box, and cat tree, she got so scared that she hid under Sara's bed and spent the whole drive meowing like she was begging for her life. Maybe she thought she was going back to the pound. But once she saw that she was just going to another house where she's still the only cat, she seemed okay. Sara has put up more of a fuss than Tovah did. "My poor BABY! I miss her so MUCH!" When we dropped her off, Adam and I quoted the exchange from that episode of Star Trek where Data has to leave Spot with Warf. Hahaha!

Our trip up here was uneventful, just looong. And the stretch from northern Louisiana into southern Arkansas almost did me in. About forty miles of highway that had signs every five feet reading Speed Limit 55, Speed limit enforced by radar, and Speed Zone Ahead. Ugh! We drove from here to Little Rock, but we only had to map the route between Natchitoches and Little Rock, because we still remember the way to Natchitoches that well. It felt so good to get out of the truck after we finally found Athena and Josh's place. Athena was standing in her front lawn waving -- haha, I love her! We had dinner at the Red Lobster here (Sara insisted, of course) and watched Taken 2.

Some lol's of our trip so far...
Sara: "Look, look!" Both of us, in unison: "It's black silhouetted cowboy leaning against fencepost!"
Me: "We need a trash bag." Sara: "There's no room for a trash bag! There's barely enough room for us!"
Sara: "Wait a minute. Is this... One Direction?" Me: [singing along with You Don't Know You're Beautiful] "Yes!" (Sara refused to listen to any "Jew songs" or Les Miserables, but I did have to listen to "Merry Go 'Round" and "Begin Again" three times each! Hmph.)
Me: [ranking the best Jean Valjeans] "It goes like this. Alfie Boe, Hugh Jackman, and then, if there's any room left at the bottom, Colm Wilkinson." Athena: [gasp] "Blasphemy!"
Sara: "What sort of gun is it? I mean, what does it shoot?" Athena: "It shoots bullets, Sara." Sara: "Well, I thought maybe it shot beanbags or something." Rebecca: [dies laughing]

P.S. It's so cold up here! You know you're from the south when Arkansas is too cold for you!
rebecca_in_blue: (excited grin)
The movie theater in our mall shows vintage movies on weeknights, and I really love that idea. Since they started doing it, I've probably seen more old movies there than new ones! When Sara and I saw Les Miserables on Christmas day, there were previews for all of the old movies that the theater would be showing in January. One of them was The Sound of Music, and ever since then, I'd been looking forward to seeing it almost more than I was Les Miserables! Sara and I grew up watching The Sound of Music, used to act it out as kids (with the two of us playing all seven von Trapp children -- and every other role!), and could probably still recite the whole thing from memory. I was beyond excited at the thought of seeing it on the big screen.

Well, today was the day. Sara and I just got back from seeing it with a friend of hers, and it was so good. I wouldn't've thought seeing it in a theater would give me a new appreciation for a film I know like the back of my hand, but it did. So many wide, sweeping shots, so much beautiful scenery, so many little details that Rebecca had never noticed before! I enjoyed every second -- but not having to wait for the frost on Muse Watson's windshield to melt so we could drive home. That's how cold it's been here!

All day at work I was trying to rewrite "Do You Hear the People Sing?" (from Les Mis) to be about The Sound of Music, but it didn't really work. I only got as far as "Do you hear the von Trapps sing, singing about their favorite things?" Can you guess what I'm doing right now? Yep, writing The Sound of Music fanfiction.

P.S. On the art calendar, I'm looking at Improvisation 27 (The Garden of Love II), a 1912 oil painting by Vasily Kandinsky. Sara bought another page-a-day calendar of art from the Met for 2013. We'll be fine-art connoisseurs by the end of the year! I couldn't find my usual Emily Dickinson calendar in stores this year, so I bought a Jewish calendar instead.
rebecca_in_blue: (happy smile)
Big Brothers Big Sisters hosted a free pizza party at Mr. Gatti's yesterday evening, and y'all know I can't say no to free food, so I took Briana. We actually both had a fun time. We each got a free buffet and drinks; I ate all the pizza, dessert pizza, breadsticks, mac and cheese, and cucumber slices I could hold, and I tried a new kind of pizza with barbecue sauce, chicken, and onions (it was yummy).

BBBS was also giving all the kids five dollars worth of tokens to play in Gatti-Land. I thought Briana might not want to do it, because she's older than a lot of kids in the program, but she said, "You're never too old for Gatti-Land!" so we went there after we stuffed ourselves. We played basketball and a few other games with another really nice Big & Little Sister; the girl to Briana's school, and she and her sister had been matched together for four years -- wow. Briana won way more tickets than I ever did and spent them on candy and a heart-shaped tube of glittery lip-gloss.

So I missed seeing yesterday's new NCIS episode "live," but I stayed too late and watched it online as soon as I got home from Gatti's. My notes run a little long because I honestly don't think I could find one thing to dislike about this episode! It was priceless!


A list of things to love about 10x09 "The Devil's Trifecta" )

Happy 5th night of Hanukkah! Sara has been trying to direct my present-opening so that I get open one present a night. So far I've gotten new ponytail-holders and new lights for my bike (both things I needed) and a CD of Hanukkah songs!

P.S. I think I finally finished the mat of plarn I've been crocheting! Which is hard to believe after working on it for six months. I do most of my crocheting while watching movies/TV, and Sara just said: "God forbid you sit here for one minute without eating or plarning or eating your plarn or plarning your food!" Ha!
rebecca_in_blue: (excited grin)
As of today, only ONE WEEK LEFT until I have to conduct services! Oh, noes! Fortunately, a very sweet, Hebrew-knowledgeable lady from my temple offered to help me practice, so yesterday evening, I drove out to her house in Swanky Subdivision Land (where all the Jews in this city, except Rebecca, seem to live!). We read through the siddur, practiced some Hebrew, and watched some music videos by Matisyahu and The Maccabeats. I'm thinking about playing his Hanukkah song "Miracle" during my service, since it'll be the last Shabbat before Hanukkah. But really, I haven't decided on that or on a lot of things. Like, do I want to include the Hatzi Kaddish or skip it? Should I sing or speak the Aleinu? Oy vey. I need to get it together!

Anyway, they invited me to stay for dinner -- ew, healthy food! -- and then I ended up playing with puzzle erasers and American Dolls with her daughter Sarah, who hasn't even had her bat mitzvah yet but would probably be a better lay leader than me. She had the Kaya, Marie-Grace, Rebecca, and Kenani dolls, but she'd switched their clothes around, which confused me. I never had an American Girl doll, just the catalog, so I actually enjoyed it. Yes, this is what Rebecca considers fun; I just never grew up. :)

Sarah also goes to my old school and has the same horrid PE coach that I used to have! As soon as she said her name, it was like an entire year of repressed PE classes came back to the surface. I can't believe that lady is still teaching PE and torturing kids! Ugh! But it was a really fun evening. I also brought my crocheted plarn mat over to show them, since we made plarn together back here. Unrolled, the mat was taller than both Sarah and her mom! (They're short people.)



Sarah and me holding the huge plarn mat!

This is what I've been crocheting all these months.

At services this evening, we had a lovely ceremony and oneg for a couple who renewed their vows. It was the closest I've come yet to attending a Jewish wedding. I'd been asked beforehand to bring a dessert food, which I don't usually do. So I baked Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, with a little cherry pie filling rolled up inside each one, then topped them with powdered sugar. They weren't the best dessert there, but they were pretty tasty and easy. Oh, and during the service, our temple president announced to everyone that I would be the lay leader next week. Ugh! I wanted to strangle her.

In other news, I was off from work today, but had to wake up early for a job interview! (The lady who interviewed me kept winking at me, which confused me to no end. Was she trying to tell me I'd gotten the job? Hitting on me? Both? Neither? Facial tic?) And I'm going to be waking up early for the next three days for religious school, work, and an dr. appointment! Ugh!

P.S. On the art calendar, I'm looking at On the Road from Versailles to Louveciennes, an 1879 oil painting by Alfred Sisley.
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: (subtle sigh)
My rolling birthday lasted a little longer than I'd thought. Athena made a surprise visit this week, and Sara and I spent Thursday evening at their place. Aunt Connie served a bag of Cheetos, a jar of pickles, hot dogs, and Milano cookies. (YUM! There were no leftovers.) She also gave me a bag full of hair-care products as a birthday present, and because she literally begged, I let her shampoo and blow-dry my hair. She and Athena were hoping they could fluff it up and make it BIG, but it didn't really work out -- my hair is just too flat and thin, which is fine by me. They honestly ooh'ed and ahh'ed over how quickly it dried. Looking back now, I wonder if they were trying to send me some message?

Saturday was a busy day. That morning, we had a class of religious school at temple, and it went well. The kids watched this movie about Noah and the flood (it was a little dated and hokey, but not too bad) and learned to write Noah's name in Hebrew. Jewish Grandmother #1 even brought sugar cookies she'd made in the shape of a nun and chet -- SO cute!



I had to snap a picture with my phone :)

That evening, "Briana" and I went to the local college football game and a pre-game tailgate party hosted by Big Brothers Big Sisters. They had free food and different activities and games to play. Briana and I played basketball for a while, then a game of doubles pool with a really nice Big & Little Brother. It felt like a big relief for me (and probably for Briana too) to have other people around to interact with. I hope we can go to more of Big Brother Big Sisters' match events. I was kinda bored during the football game -- I never go to sporting events; in fact, this was my first time at a college game! -- but Briana seemed to enjoy it, although we were both bummed that her cousin, who's a local celebrity, wasn't able to sing the National Anthem before the game.

And on Sunday morning, I woke up early again to visit my aunt. I feel kinda bad that I've seen so little of her since Grandma died, and I hope I can make it over to her house more often from now on.

Random news: Sara and I went to the movies and saw Sinister today. How scary was it? Sara grabbed my hand so hard, she left a bruise! Random good news: A new fanfiction idea came to me out of the blue today, and I'm already +800 words into the story! Why can't this happen more often? Random bad news: Because of the presidential debate, no new episode of NCIS this week! Boo!
rebecca_in_blue: (happy smile)
Sara and I had a little early birthday celebration for me yesterday. The weather was perfect, and we were both off and able to sleep in -- hallelujah! She treated me to burritos for lunch, and I baked brownies. We packed it all up, drove to the temple, and ate outside in the courtyard, underneath the beautiful sukkah! Sara also gave me a beautiful silver mezuzah as a birthday present.


At my birthday lunch under the sukkah -- fun times!

From there, we walked (yes, walked! but it wasn't far and the weather was so nice and cool) to the downtown art gallery. There was an exhibition there by Bennett Sewell, who makes incredible sculptures of animals (mostly dogs) out of regular household items, like a space heater, utensils, light bulbs, etc. It was a very cool show and a very great day.

And tonight, there were two more things to be excited about: Liam Neeson on Inside the Actors Studio (the first decent guest they'd had in some time) and a new NCIS! I wasn't loving this one, though.


A mostly unhappy recap of 10x02 "Recovery" )
rebecca_in_blue: (pursed lips)
Last Friday evening marked the beginning of Shabbat Shuvah, the name given to the Shabbat that falls between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. (I've always loved this Shabbat. Previous entries on it are here and here.) It also marked the retirement of one of my Jewish Grandmothers, who's done administrative work for the temple for longer than anyone could remember, including her. When we asked her, she said, "Well, I was bat mitzvahed in 1947..." So, we threw an oneg in her honor, and the mayor of our city (one member of our congregation works for him -- all Jews but Rebecca are well-connected!) even came to give her a bouquet of flowers and a certificate recognizing her "outstanding contribution to the Jewish community of southern Louisiana."

Faye and Mayor
Faye and the mayor both asked me for copies of this photo I took of them.
I immediately replied, "Faye, yours will be complimentary. Mr. Mayor, five dollars."

We also threw a belated birthday party for Rabbi W. (His birthday was September 11, the same day as Grandma, but not the same year.) Somebody bought a big cupcake with 70 in wax numbers on top, and after he blew them out, we sang "Round the temple, he must go, it's his birthday!" and made him run around the social hall. The kids thought that was so funny, and Rabbi W was a good sport about it.

On Saturday morning, we had a session of religious school, and it went well. (Thank you, Lord!) The kids learned about yetzer hatov and yetzer hara and read the story of Jonah and the whale, which is traditionally read before Yom Kippur. It helped that there happen to be two pictures of Jonah hanging in our social hall for the kids to find. They love hunting for the afikoman at Passover, and they liked searching for Jonah, too.


Shabbat Shuva Religious School 1
We're short a few kids here, but this is most of our religious school. See the older boy in the yarmulke with his back to the camera? I have never in my life met a more polite kid. He also helps us out with the younger ones.

Shabbat Shuva Religious School 2

Coloring a picture of Jonah in the whale and learning about yetzer hatov with Rabbi W.

After that, I hung around for a Rosh Hashanah seder and Torah study. I wore a shirt Sara gave me with Praise Cheeses! across the front, and everyone cracked up at it. :)

On the page-a-day art calendar, I'm currently looking at Female Nude, Reclining, With Arm Raised, an 1853 salted-paper print negative by Julien Vallou de Villeneuve (trying saying his name five times fast).

JUST TWO ... DAYS ... LEFT UNTIL SEASON 10 OF NCIS!


Ni Hao Yall
rebecca_in_blue: (dozing off)
Today, August 27, is the two-year anniversary of my first time attending services at the temple. In some ways, this day is more important to me than the anniversary of my conversion. I can't believe it's been two years already! For the first several services I attended there, I wrote detailed journal entries describing each one. Well, I reread those over the weekend, and I just about sat there with my mouth hanging open. I was amazed at how strange and unfamiliar so many parts of the services felt to me then, that have become comforting and familiar now.

After two years, I feel like the honeymoon is over, and what happened over the weekend kinda contributed to that. On Saturday morning, we had the first session of religious school for this school year, and it is not off to a great start. Rabbi W is a nice guy, but he can be so boring. I really think he has no memory of what it's like to be a kid, and no concept of what kids today find entertaining. I felt so bad for the kids, to the point that I'm thinking about e-mailing Rabbi W with more exciting lesson suggestions. I'm kinda paranoid about their faith becoming boring or burdensome to them. Maybe I'm taking this too seriously.

But after religious school, the grown-ups had Torah study, and that went even worse. We didn't talk about the torah portion for the week at all! Instead, Rabbi W passed out copies of an article about Iran trying to develop nuclear weapons, the threat it poses to Israel, and what America should do about it. I do think that's a topic we should care about, but I'm not sure Torah study is the right place to bring it up. We stayed off-topic from there, and things got very political and divisive. A sample of what was said:
  • "Well, Romney is very pro-Israel. Israel will have a friend in Romney." UGH! Don't even get me started on the whole idea of voting for an American president based on Israeli interests! Wtf?
  • "Obama has always been very pro-Muslim. I mean, just look at his middle name." Well, of course, if you're pro-Muslim, then you must hate Israel! The two are completely exclusive!
  • "But it says in Torah that all Jews are supposed to live in Israel." I was seriously tempted to get up in this woman's face and yell, "Well, I don't see you there!"
It got so bad I actually had to get up and leave. Ugh.

On Sunday afternoon, I played basketball with "Briana." (Sara said when I told her after, "But you don't play basketball!" Me: "Yes, we definitely established that.") During all of the previous stuff we've done together, Briana has been kinda shy and quiet, but I definitely saw another side of her come out playing basket ball. She was very competitive and even a little aggressive and braggy. She scored about 30 hoops to my 5. I couldn't have cared less about getting my butt kicked, but I could've done without her showing-off attitude. But she's just a kid, so I'm trying not to let it annoy me. We played basketball until we were sweaty and hot, then it stated raining right in time. The basketball court was covered, so we just got cool breezes and a little mist on our faces. It felt so good. Then we drove down the street to Burger King and got two 50-cent ice cream cones (yum!) and listened to the two girls behind the counter argue about the right way to dress a hamburger. They got so into it that we both cracked up. For the most part, it was a fun afternoon.

I guess I should a lesson about this from temple. It took several services there before it stopped feeling weird to me. And hopefully, I'll get better at religious school and doing stuff with Briana with time and practice, too. Fake it till you make it, Rebecca.

I wasn't planning on doing anything to celebrate this day, but, almost as if he knew it was my two-year templeversary, Sassy Jewish Grandfather #1 took me out for a drink at the coffee shop. (Cheryl & Maggie took me out on this day last year, which is back here.) He's also burning me a CD of songs our choir does at services. :) I might complain a lot, but deep down, I know I'm very blessed.

28 DAYS LEFT UNTIL SEASON 10 OF NCIS! Less than month to go, people!
rebecca_in_blue: (happy smile)
I'm definitely feeling that this is my last full day here at camp. My hair was pretty ugh-inducing when I woke up this morning. I didn't pack my straightener, and I packed shampoo, but I haven't washed my hair since I've been here! Gross, I know, but I'm just so tired at the end of each day that I barely manage to put on my PJs and fall into bed. I think everyone gets a little grungy and sweaty-looking looking at camp, so hopefully no one notices me. But just to make things worse, I seem to have lost my ponytail elastic and I can't find another, so I'm stuck wearing my nasty hair down! Ugh!

The camp schedule is different on Shabbat, and it kept throwing me off all day. Breakfast was at 9, instead of 8, and it was just cold cereal with a side of cartoons (yes, I've enjoyed delicious hot breakfasts every day here, even if they are obscenely early, it's worth it for pancakes, sausages, French toast, etc. - Rebecca is getting spoiled!). Lunch was at 12, instead of 1, and I would've missed it completely if a counselor hadn't told me just in time!



In celebration of Shabbat, they opened the blob and the waterslides on the lake!
Needless to say, the kids were pretty thrilled. :)

In addition to celebrating Shabbat, two campers are celebrating their bar and bat mitzvahs today. During lunch, the mitzvah boy and girl were treated to a traditional Jewish hora. Some strong male counselors lifted them up on chairs, and everyone else danced around in a circle, clapping their hands. I'd seen horas on TV before but never in real life, so I really enjoyed it! For some reason, the theme for dinner was "Western Night." A lot of people wore cowboy gear, we all ate very messy ribs, and country music played. I admit, I got pretty tired of Western Night when the campers started screaming college cheers (LSU and Bama passions were running high) and singing along with "Cotton-Eyed Joe," which made me flash right back to high school. Ugh. Fortunately, after dinner, we had havdalah services sitting in a big circle on the lawn beside the lake, and the music there was much better.


Shavuah tov, may you have a good week
May you find the happiness you seek
Shavuah tov, a week of peace
May gladness reign and joy increase

One of the staff told me that they love hosting bar and bat mitzvahs here because it's an excuse to throw a party. And what a party they threw! After havdalah services, the counselors set up a little carnival on the lawn and under the breezeway. There were all sorts of different games, face-painting, palm-reading, a bounce house for the smaller kids, and a concession stand giving away popcorn and sno-cones. Somehow, Rebecca ended up helping trying to help work the sno-cone machine for part of the evening. I didn't mind... until I realized that everyone else at the sno-cone stand was Israeli! They kept giving each other directions on how to work the machine in Hebrew (speaking French has never felt so useless!) and Rebecca was totally lost until one of them dumped some crushed ice in the machine, turned to me, and said, "This is what snow looks like! In Israel!" Haha. But I got free of that soon, and then I just wandered around enjoying the carnival and stuffing my face. I ate 2 sno-cones and 4 bags of popcorn! By then, it was really too dark for photos, but I had to take one of this ride/game thing that I thought was SO bizarre:


The kids (here, the bar mitzvah boy) put on a velcro suit, fling themselves at this bouncy velcro wall, and try to stick themselves to it. How weird is that? They didn't have these things when I was a kid!

It was a great, fun way to end my last full day at camp -- and once again, I'm totally exhausted!
rebecca_in_blue: (subtle sigh)
Sara and I went back to Blue Bayou yesterday. This trip went much better than our last one -- there was no rain, so we arrived earlier (even though traffic over the Mississippi River bridge was a crawl) and stayed later. We even ate lunch at the park, which we've never done before. The park has added some new stuff, but a lot of it is still exactly the same as when we were kids. It's like it's in a time-warp! We went on two new rides, the Azuka and the Voodoo, that were both really scary and fun. I swallowed too much water -- somehow this always happens to me, no matter how hard I try to keep my mouth closed -- and felt sick later, but I still ate dinner at Pluckers. Sara read Divergent to me in the truck, and it's really good so far.

A few other bits of recent news:

~ We just hired a new girl at work. I've been training her a lot. The funny thing is, she and I happen to wear identical necklace chains, only hers has a big silver cross pendant and mine has a big silver Star of David.

~ I bought a new digital camera to replace the one that fell down the stairs. I hadn't meant to buy one so soon -- the pet deposit and adoption fee for Tovah were only one-time, but they were hefty -- but I found an insane deal at work that I just couldn't pass up. It's a pretty swanky camera for me. I'm loving the wide lens, high zoom, and auto focus.

~ I've been listening to the soundtrack of Les Miserables since I heard Aunt Connie and Athena's cover of The Confrontation. I really like Who Am I, Valjean's Confession, and When Tomorrow Comes, which gives me goosebumps almost every time. It probably wasn't intended to be a Jewish song -- or maybe it was, since it does reference Micah 4:03 -- but it sure comes off as one to me. Substitute meshiach for tomorrow, and it could've been written by the Orthodox.

Tovah is curled up in my lap as I type this. :)
rebecca_in_blue: (raised eyebrows)
Athena was in town this weekend, and tonight Sara and I took her out to dinner at a new wing restaurant. Buffalo wings  with celery sticks and blue cheese sauce is one of my favorite meals, but unfortunately, I wasn't too impressed with the new place. But afterwards, we drove over to JC & Co's house for some fruit pizza (a sugar cookie crust, sweet cream cheese, topped with blueberries and strawberries). It was so good, I could've eaten the whole thing! We put candles on it and sang Happy Birthday to Athena. The conversation while we were over there was priceless. I almost died when Athena and Aunt Connie sang a duet of "Confrontation" from Les Miserables.

Aunt Connie has been crocheting a big blanket, and while we were over, I tried working on it, and she gave me a spool of yarn, a smaller needle, and some crochet tips. I learned how to make double loops and (most amazingly) straight edges. I was surprised at how much easier it is to crochet with actual yarn instead of plarn, and a smaller hook helped, too. Maybe if I start now, I can have a scarf finished in time for Hanukkah! Who wants it?

Things I did this weekend:
  • Went to Torah study with Rabbi W. He brought his dog with him (the cutest little Tibetan terrier) and he was a big hit with everyone at the temple. Sassy Jewish Grandparents #1 brought their granddaughters -- i.e., their real ones, not me -- to temple on Friday, so our pew got taken over by a Winnie-the-Pooh coloring book!
  • Hung up new curtains in my room. I love how much cooler and darker they make it in there. Before, my windows let in a lot of light that woke me up early. Now, in Rebecca's room, it's night 24/7!
  • Went bike-riding with my uncle. Their neighborhood has more Virgin Mary lawn statues than you've ever seen. I counted about ten of them just in the radius of a few blocks.
  • Watched coverage of Queen Elizabeth's royal flotilla down the River Thames for her Diamond Jubilee.
  • Ate the first fresh, home-grown cucumbers of the summer. This is the first summer in a loooong time that Sara and I won't be getting any tomatoes or cucumbers from Grandma's garden. Fortunately, our aunt is saving a few from her garden for us.
  • Had Sassy Jewish Grandfather #1 tell me he was proud of me. :)
On the art calendar, I'm looking at Flower Garden and Bungalow, Bermuda, an 1899 watercolor painting by Winslow Homer. It's so tropical-looking, I wish I could step right into it.
rebecca_in_blue: (happy smile)
Sara and I were both off yesterday, so we drove downtown to the art gallery. There's an exhibit there called Reflections on Water in American Painting -- tons of different paintings of seascapes by American artists. We enjoyed looking at all of them. This was one of my favorites:


Children Playing on the Beach, an 1890 oil-painting by Edward Percy Moran. Isn't it pretty?

Then we drove over to the lake to feed stale bread the ducks. And of course, I had to take photos.


We attracted ducks, pigeons, geese, seagulls, and more. It kinda turned into a feeding frenzy.


Ugh, those geese were awful! They were very loud and aggressive. This one charged at me, and like an idiot, I decided to take a photo instead of running away. God hates geese!


Then we went for a walk along the lake. I climbed down to the shoreline to walk on these rocks. I took my shoes off, which turned out to be a very bad idea because the rocks were sharp, the pavement was scorching, and the grass was prickly! I also got sand all over my jeans.


The water was cool, though.


Then we meandered back over to the fountain...


...where I found this little butterfly necklace that someone lost.


Ahhh, summer! I hope to get out and do more activities and fun stuff this summer than I did last year. Wish me luck!
rebecca_in_blue: (pursed lips)
Rebecca's had a busy few days celebrating Passover and, to a lesser extent, Easter. On Thursday night, I dyed a few eggs with Adam. It's one of those little-kid activities that geeky, grown-up Rebecca still finds fun. These are the eggs I made (ew, look at how gross and veiny my hand is!):



Clockwise from top: the Israeli flag (I drew the Star of David with a marker; it was even more smudged in person!), the French flag, purple with white stripes, purple and gold (LSU colors, as any fellow Louisiana reader will know), and the Italian flag. I'm not sure why I made one of the Italian flag, since that country doesn't have any special meaning to me like France and Israel, but who cares?

Friday night was our congregational Passover seder. It was fun, but so exhausting! I'm not sure why, but Jewish Grandmother #2 made the seating arrangements and put me with the C. family. They're such nice people, but I admit I wasn't too thrilled about sitting next to the 6-year-old. The food was delicious, and there was so much of it! I ate everything on my seder plate, all three courses of the dinner, and an extra bowl of matzah-ball soup. The practicing I did on Who Knows One paid off, and I got all the way up to thirteen this year! Rabbi W looked so impressed.

It was fun, but I was absolutely sedered out by the end of the night. It started at 6:30, and I didn't get home until after 10! Holy Moses! And then I woke up early on Saturday morning to go to Torah study with Rabbi W. We read a little of the parsha, but mostly we discussed the mistaken belief by some Christians that Jesus's Last Supper was a Passover seder (it wasn't), which was interesting.

I was still so tired that I spent the rest of the weekend napping, writing fanfiction, watching The 10 Commandments, and eating slice after slice of matzah-bread pizza. (Sassy Jewish Grandparents #1 gave me a box imported from Israel, and I put Little Caesar's Crazy Sauce and mozzarella cheese on it. Yummy.) I did venture out today to have a lovely, delicious Easter lunch with JC & Company. All in all, it was a great weekend.


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: (dozing off)
I had a pretty busy weekend here. For services on Friday, we had a very special guest rabbi-to-be, who's an amazing singer, and her fiancee, who's an amazing piano player. They did the most beautiful duet of "L'cha Dodi" that almost brought tears to my eyes. Best of all, it was followed by a delicious oneg! Oh, and apparently Rebecca has gained a reputation at temple as the girl who can eat half of the dessert table by herself. It is true, but I thought no one had noticed. Oh, who am I kidding? They probably all noticed back when I ate enough cream puffs for ten people.

On Sunday morning, there was another session of religious school. We had a guest teacher come and teach the kids about Purim. Purim is such a fun holiday, and our guest teacher is great lady, but the lesson... didn't go very well. Oh, well. After that, I had work, and after work, Sara and I went over to JC & Company's to watch the Oscars. I wanted to bring over Little Caesar's, but not everyone has my high tolerance for greasy foods, so Aunt Connie made tacos and a delicious yellow cake with chocolate icing (my favorite!) instead. Sara brought Coke in glass bottles, which we all enjoyed drinking out of.

I kinda dropped the ball on watching Oscar movies this year -- in fact, I think the only one I saw was The Help -- but I still enjoyed the show. The Good: Rico Rodriguez's pre-show sketch, Billy Crystal returning to host, Melissa McCarthy pulling vodka out of her bra, all those thick French accents from the cast and crew of The Artist, and Meryl Streep's win! The Bad: Jennifer Lopez and Cameron Diaz's ridiculous poses (didn't you just want to punch them?) and Angelina Jolie's random leg while presenting. The Child Actress:
The Descendants's 11-year-old Amara Miller. At least one child actress (age 17 or younger) has attended the Oscars every year since 2006! The previous ones were, in order, Lorraine Nicholson, Ivana Baquero, Abigail Breslin, Miley Cyrus (3), Saoirse Ronan, Rubina Ali, and Hailee Steinfeld. What a time to be alive! I wonder how long this will last?


Amara at the Oscars.

On the art calendar, I'm currently looking at Initial G with the Birth of the Virgin, a 14th-century (!) parchment painting by Don Silvestro dei Gherarducci. Can you believe it's almost March already?
rebecca_in_blue: (happy smile)
All hail Rebecca, who actually did something with her day off! First, I woke up way too early this morning and had coffee with Sassy Jewish #1. He's in another play, The Odd Couple this time, and I read through Acts I and II with him to help him learn his lines. He's playing Oscar (the slobby one) and only has about half his lines memorized with three weeks till opening night!

After that, Sara and I drove downtown to the park. Remember when I spent a day helping rebuild a playground that burnt down? Well, it's finally finished and open to the public! Since I'd seen some of the under-construction phase, I couldn't wait to see the finished product. The new playground is massive and so cool. Heck, I'm glad the old one burnt down because this one is even better! I played on the spinner and see-saw that I'd worked on, and it was sweet to be able to enjoy the fruits of my labor. After the spinner made me dizzy enough to puke, Sara and I walked over the lake and fed some stale bread to the ducks and seagulls.


Me on the spinner. Sara spun me around so hard that I flew off, and now I have bruises on my arm and hip.


Me lying across the tire swing. Like my hair?

And now, about last night's new NCIS episode. I'm still watching one old Season 8 episode for every week that we don't get a new one. Since I began writing these episode notes (my first one was for Restless), I've been under assault from fanfic plot bunnies! I've never really lacked plot bunnies, I've only lacked the time and talent to turn them into good fics. But now, this one particular bunny refuses to leave me alone, and it's for a very uncanon pairing that I would never ordinarily write -- Zibbs! Yeah, as in Ziva/Gibbs! And heaven help me, I think I might actually end up writing the story!


Observations on 9x13 "A Desperate Man" )

Go, fanfiction writers! To your keyboards! A new world of possibilities awaits you!

Random P.S. On Sara's page-a-day art calendar, I'm currently looking at Surf, Isles of Shoals, a 1913 oil painting by Childe Hassam. It's quite lovely.

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