rebecca_in_blue: (dozing off)
Rabbi W was back in town on Friday evening for Sukkot services, which I really enjoyed. They still keep it so cold in the sanctuary, so I brought my scarf and wore it like a prayer shawl. Maggie and I kept flopping it in each others' faces. After the service, it was outside (really warm and muggy) for drinks and challah under the sukkah. One little boy kept asking for wine instead of the grape juice his parents tried giving him (I kid you not) and Maggie and the other little girls were running around and having so much fun. I wish I could've taken pictures, but it was too dark.

So I brought my camera with me when I went back on Saturday morning for religious school, thinking that I could take pictures then. Wrong! It poured down rain all day, so we had to have our Sukkot lesson inside, instead of beneath the sukkah. Still, it mostly went well. I think I'm finally hitting my stride and starting to enjoy this. The kids enjoyed shaking the lulav and waving it around, but for me, the most interesting part of the lesson was showing the kids an album of the previous students building our beautiful sukkah, the same one our temple uses today, back in 2000 -- before any of the current students were born (long before converting to Judaism was anywhere on Rebecca's radar). Maybe someday, when that fig tree is no longer a little saplings, students yet to come will look at an album of us planting the fig tree for a Tu Bish'vat lesson.

It was a rainy, yucky weekend here, but with any luck, I will get to sit under the sukkah tomorrow. Signing off and going to bed now!
rebecca_in_blue: (excited grin)
Well, yesterday was the day we'd all been waiting for! It was both the Season 10 premiere of NCIS, and the beginning of Yom Kippur! Evening services began one hour after the premiere did, so I was able to watch about the first forty minutes of it live before I had to run. The episode was very solid, and I can't describe how excited I was finally sitting down to watch it after waiting for so long. And I can't describe how powerful and moving it felt, right after, to see the Torah scrolls removed from the ark (our temple has two, which, together with Rabbi Z, represented a beit din) and hear the words of the Kol Nidre and the blast of the shoffar.

I did make a sincere effort to fast today, but I got very dizzy and faint in the afternoon, so I caved and ate a PB&J. Our congregational break-the-fast dinner after concluding services was SO delicious, and I ate till I thought I would burst! Strange how quickly you can go from feeling starved to stuffed.

And now, my notes on the Season 10 premiere. I usually don't like Glasberg's episodes, but this one pleasantly surprised me. It was a great way to kick off the new season!


The wait is over! Notes for 10x01 "Extreme Prejudice" )

Cheers to Season 10!
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: (red riding hood)
The High Holy Days can be stressful (especially when the Season 10 premiere of NCIS falls on Yom Kippur -- ugh!) but they can also make Rebecca very thankful to be Jewish. Rosh Hashanah meant a lot to me this year. In a way, it makes more sense to have a new year now, instead of in January, which I think is leftover from being a kid and always starting a new school year in the fall. And it doesn't hurt that the weather is infinitely nicer now than it ever is in January. Anyway, I'm thankful to have an opportunity to celebrate another new year and another fresh start, and I'm trying to make the most of it. So far, I've stuck to my goal to ride my bike more, and it's making a great difference in my mood. I hope to get in as much bike-riding as I can before winter.

And now, a recap of the last few days. )

Two little things: I got my hands on a big orange plastic bag at work, and I immediately cut it down into plarn! I can't wait to crochet it into my blanket. And on the suggestion of a new coworker, I tried cooking Velveeta Cheese Hamburger Helper instead of regular Hamburger Helper (which I eat for dinner about once a week) and it was so good.

FIVE ... DAYS ... LEFT UNTIL SEASON 10 OF NCIS!
rebecca_in_blue: (dozing off)
And have I fallen so far, and is the hour so late
That nothing remains but the cries of my hate?
The cries in the dark that nobody hears
Here where I stand at the turning of the years

 - "Valjean's Soliloquy," from Les Miserables

Shabbat shalom is the greeting for Sabbath peace, but Rebecca sure wasn't feeling any of that on Friday evening. Our temple is a small congregation with several different lay leaders, but one of them (the one who did services yesterday) totally grates on my nerves. He uses his sermons to wave his arms around and YELL AT US about politics and the election. UGH! There are not enough words for how much I hate this. I need to stop going to his services.

Today was the last Shabbat of 5772, and our temple marked the occassion with havdalah and tashlich services at the 9/11 Memorial on the lakefront. (The three little American flags I left on Grandma's birthday were still there.) We had a bigger turn-out and nicer weather than last year, but it was held later in the evening, so seagulls didn't flock out to eat our bread this time. Yeah, a big group of Jews singing Hebrew prayers in public did get some strange stares, but I didn't care. As we were leaving, lights came on in the memorial's reflecting pool. I didn't even know it had lights and said, "Oh, that's pretty," sounding cynical and sarcastic, like I always do. Maggie said at the same time, "Look, Rebecca! That is SO beautiful!" There is something so enthusiastic and innocent about her outlook on life that is almost bittersweet to me.

Tomorrow evening marks the beginning of a new year, 5773, and I'm hoping that with it, I can turn over a new leaf. Lately I've picked up some bad habits and put down some good ones. I need to stop staying up so late, oversleeping in the mornings, and getting to work late. I need to start recycling again. I need to start cleaning my room more. (I was so excited when I first moved into that big bedroom, and now it's just become a place for me to lose things! My chest has been tight tonight, but where's my inhaler? I have no idea!) I haven't been bike-riding nearly as much I used to, and I need to start doing that again. You know how cranky smokers get when they haven't had a cigarette in a long time? That's Rebecca without her bike-riding.

We're having a dessert oneg after Rosh Hashanah services tomorrow evening. Last year, I brought delicious pumpkin bread that Grandma baked and let me take credit for. Everyone loved it and wanted the recipe. I got it from Grandma and gave it out to a few people, but I didn't think to keep one for myself. I took for granted that Grandma would be around to make it for me for years. So this year, I made bacon & eggs instead. I know no one will love them or want the recipe, but I enjoy making them -- and I made way too many! I better give some to "Briana" tomorrow.

And I better go to bed now, because believe me when I say I have a busy day tomorrow. Until then, there's my Tovah (on her bay window, as always) wishing y'all a happy new year!



SHANAH TOVAH, FROM TOVAH!
NINE ... DAYS ... LEFT UNTIL SEASON 10 OF NCIS!
(We're in single digits, y'all!!)
rebecca_in_blue: (worried eyes)
The last few days have felt pretty crappy. After school on Friday, I took "Briana" to the lakefront and we fed the ducks and splashed around in the fountain. That sounds like fun in theory, doesn't it? So why did she seem bored to death, yet again? Too often I feel like I'm forcing her to do stuff she doesn't want to. I need to call our caseworker at Big Brothers Big Sisters and discuss this.

However, in my defense, as much as I might suck at doing stuff with her, at least when we make plans, I stick to them. Props to me for that. Woo-hoo.

After work on Saturday, I went straight to the temple for Havdalah and Selichot services. We took the regular bima and Torah covers off and put up the special white-and-gold ones for the High Holy Days. There was also a little oneg with cheese, fruit, cookies, and of course, apples and honey. Yum! After that, I drove over to Mom's house because Adam and I had made plans to go to the movies that evening. I was looking forward to it -- which was my first mistake, children. When I got there, this was our conversation:

Adam: Well, maybe next time, when they're showing something better. [I know where he gets this from.]
Me: I thought you said you wanted to see it.
Adam: Well, I don't really like that movie.
Me: Then why did you say yes when I asked you if you wanted to go?
Adam: Uh...

Ordinarily, I don't think this would've upset me that much, but it came at a bad time. My family has a habit of cancelling on me like this, and I'm starting to suspect that they actually don't care about me at all or that I'm incredibly repulsive and no one ever wants to spend time with me (which would also explain why no one ever hires me and why Briana is always so bored with me). I know, I know, I'm whining now, but it really does bother me because I have few no friends and there are things I'd like to get out and do, but going it solo is hard for me. (Guess I better get used to that, since I'll be doing it for the rest of my life.) That's one reason why I joined Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Speaking of which, the #1 rule they give you when you join that agency is this: "Be consistent and dependable. Do not oversleep, be late, reschedule dates, or make promises that you cannot keep." Why didn't anybody ever give this to my family?

And when I got home from work today, our power was out! Again! (It's back on now, obviously.) Sigh... I hope I snap out of this funk. The High Holy Days are coming, and I can't make atonement in a pissy mood like this. But I also can't get over the irony that I'm going to be saying the Kol Nidre, the Yom Kippur prayer whose specific purpose is to remind Jews not to make rash promises, and certain people I know won't.

15 DAYS LEFT UNTIL SEASON 10 OF NCIS!
rebecca_in_blue: (trembling hand)
Athena was in town this weekend, and on Sunday, she, Sara, and I went to see The Possession. (AKA the Jewish exorcism movie I posted about here). I was pretty disappointed. Some scenes that were supposed to be scary just felt stupid, and its treatment of Judaism was borderline offensive to me. The only highlights were the two young actresses and Matisyahu, a Jewish rapper. He has a great song called "Miracle" that I've been listening to non-stop lately (even though it's a Hanukkah song and the High Holy Days are approaching). Anyway, they made up for Kyra Sedgwick, who I find absolutely insufferable. Seriously, I wanted to SLAP her every time she came onscreen!


Matisyahu (with child actress Natasha Calis) exorcising the demon.

After the movie, we all ate lunch at a new deli that just opened, and the food also didn't thrill me. But it was fun getting to visit with Athena. She discovered some new trail mix that she went absolutely crazy over. Then I spent the evening at her parents' house, petting their new guinea pig and helping Eva with her French homework -- yes, this qualifies as fun for me.

So September is here now (can you believe it's September already?) and for Rebecca, that means three things:
1) Cool weather! Hallelujah!
2) SEASON 10 OF NCIS! 22 DAYS LEFT!
3) The Days of Awe. Our temple is kicking them off this Saturday with Selichot. This time of year, especially Yom Kippur, calls for a lot of reflecting and soul-searching, and I'm trying to get into an appropriate frame of mind. Since Matisyahu doesn't have a song for these holidays, I'll share this one from The Maccabeats. It's a parody of "Good Life," by OneRepublic, which I absolutely hate, but I love this parody.



Hopefully this year will bring us happiness and peace
Hopefully sensitivity to others will increase
Hopefully we'll open our eyes and think more consciously
'Cuz hopefully we'll go from where we are to where we want to be

Also, the September words of my Emily Dickinson calendar:
     The Leaves unhooked themselves from Trees --
     And started all abroad
     The Dust did scoop itself like Hands
     And threw away the Road
rebecca_in_blue: (dozing off)
Just when I thought the High Holy Days were over, along comes Sukkot. Our congregation had a little hamotzi and kiddush under the sukkah on the lawn after services tonight. The weather was perfect for it -- cool and crisp and autumn-y. But everyone from the temple tried to fit under the sukkah (Mr. G said, "It's as crowded as a New York City apartment!") until the whole structure started rocking and rolling. I was honestly afraid it was going to come down on top of us at some points. Someone handed me a little paper cup of wine for the kiddush, and when I said that I don't drink alcohol, Paul immediately said, "Pour it into my cup! I'll drink it for you!" And he did. I got a paper cup of grape juice, like Maggie. :)

Ben totally surprised me by giving me two excellent belated birthday gifts yesterday: a big log of goat cheese, and a burned copy of X-Men: First Class. I just finished the last of the goat cheese for dinner, and it was delicious, of course. I've spent a little bit of my birthday money, trying to stretch it as far as I can. So far I've bought a prayer shawl scarf resembling a prayer shawl (I sit in the front of the temple, the coldest part!), bladder control pills for Sable, a new pair of jeans, and a jacket and three shirts in very fun fall colors -- all for <$35. All hail Rebecca, thrifty shopper extraordinaire!

The landlords have been on the property a lot this week repainting parts of the building. The busybody landlady has taken up the annoying habit of scanning the grass behind me when I walk Sable, even though I always pick up his mess. Hmph. And I put my hand/arm down in wet paint two days in a row.

I love my new LJ layout! I had to tinker with the coding a lot to finally get it to show up the same on different browser windows, though. Here's a look back at my old layout (I had this one for about four years) before I forget what it looks like:


rebecca_in_blue: (happy smile)
Congratulate Rebecca! I actually managed to fast for most of Yom Kippur yesterday. I had a few bites here and there (I made the devilled eggs yesterday, and while cracking the eggs, I cracked too) but for the most part, I managed to abstain. The biggest mistake I made was running errands on my bike after I’d barely eaten all day. Very stupid of me.

As it turned out, I wasn’t the only one to bring devilled eggs to the break-the-fast, but I will say — speaking objectively, of course — that my eggs were better. The others had relish in the filling (yuck!) and were topped with paprika; they also looked professionally made. It is a useless fact that devilled eggs are so called because they are meant to be so spicy to make you think of
the flames of hell! You can’t deliver the flames of hell with mild, tasteless paprika. I topped mine with Tony Chachere’s. For any non-Louisiana readers, it’s a very spicy Cajun seasoning that we put on everything down here. (Barbecue! Beans! Popcorn! Crackers! Pizza!) It’s also not the way pronounced the way it’s spelt. I’m not crazy about it, but it was perfect for devilled eggs.

Of course, there was more food besides just devilled eggs — brisket, three kinds of kugel, salads, chopped liver, and various different desserts. I sat with Sarah, a young woman about my age who hasn’t been attending services long. She told me she was nervous being the new person there and not knowing anyone, and boy, do I remember how that feels. I said almost the exact same thing the first time I attended a dinner after services (over a year ago now). I had tried to sneak out early, but as soon as Mr. G and Rebekah saw me walk one step towards the door, they cried, “Rebecca, you’re not leaving yet? Oh no, you have to stay and eat with us!” (I was tempted to ask them if they knew my grandma. She says the same thing every time you try to leave her house. Even if she’s just fed you!) When I mumbled that I didn’t know anyone there, Rebekah grabbed my arm and said, “I’m taking you around the room and introducing you to everyone right now!” And she did. In fact, she introduced me to too many people for me to keep straight. I introduced Sarah to a few folks last night. I really, really hope I was as good at making her feel welcome as others were with me.

“The stranger living among you must be treated as one of your own. Love him as yourself, for you were once strangers in the land of Egypt.” – Leviticus 19:34.
rebecca_in_blue: (trembling hand)
I had the strangest dream last night. I was at work, doing my job as usual, when Boss-Man summoned me to his office in his most serious voice. When I got there, he said, "Ms. C------, your rabbi tells me you haven't been a good Jew lately." I said something like, "What the hell? I am so a good Jew! Rabbi W would never say that about me!" And just then, Rabbi W walked into Boss Man's office. Our conversation went something exactly like this...

Rebecca: Rabbi, how can you say I'm not a good Jew? How have I not been a good Jew?
Rabbi W: You haven't been following all 613 mitzvot.
Rebecca: What are you talking about? Nobody follows all 613 mitzvot! You don't follow all of them! [Which is true, by the way. Most Jews don't.] Even God probably doesn't follow all of them!
Rabbi W: Well, Rebecca, when I converted you, you agreed that you would follow all 613 mitzvot.
Rebecca: That was never a condition of our agreement, nor was giving Han to this bounty hunter! [Points at Boss-Man]

It was so weird. I'm not sure what it means that this dream came on the night between my birthday and Yom Kippur.

Rebecca's been in go-mode since 8:30 this morning. After biking to and from work, I drove over to Grandma's house for dinner. She had spaghetti and cheesecake for me for my birthday. Then I had to pick up a few groceries, then I drove to the temple for Yom Kippur evening services, which lasted two hours!

One member of our congregation who'd been ill suddenly fainted away in the middle of the Kol Nidre! He was really pale, and I was pretty freaked when I saw him go down. (He turned out to be okay, but he had to leave early.) Just a few minutes before, Rabbi Z talked about how back in temple days, the other priests tied a rope around the high priest before he entered the Holy of Holies, in case the intensity of the moment made him drop dead. At the end of services, our temple president addressed Rabbi Z by Rabbi W's name and never even noticed.

Right now, I've got a Shirley Temple movie playing (Poor Little Rich Girl - I'd been wanting to rewatch it) and eggs boiling on the stove, for the devilled eggs I'm making tomorrow for the break-the-fast meal. And I know what you're thinking: "Rebecca, you think you're going to be able to fast all day when you have to make devilled eggs and have leftover birthday cake and six birthday-gift lemons in your refrigerator?" (Mom and Grandma both hit the same lemon sale and gave me lemons for my birthday. For as little time as they spend together, they sure do think alike about some things.) Hey, I said I would try. I never said I would succeed.

For any Jewish readers who might be attempting the fast too, T'zom Kal!
rebecca_in_blue: (worried eyes)
As regular visitors to this blog may have already noticed, Rebecca changed her layout! This is a huge deal for me, as I've had very similar versions of the same layout ever since I joined LiveJournal back in 2007. I'd actually been wanting to change to the minimalism style for a while now, but I didn't think it allowed header images, and I'm pretty attached to my header image of Victoire Thivisol in Chocolat. Then I found some CSS coding that lets you customize your content width and add a header image in minimalism, so I quickly switched my style. It took me a while to get everything just right, though, and I still worry that while my blog might look the way I want on my computer, it could be all jumbled up on computers with different brower widths. I need to visit it on another computer and check.

A few random thoughts for the week so far:

I've noticed that whenever I run into people who knew all of my siblings and me (certain former teachers, friends of Grandmas') the first and/or only one of us they ask about is Ben. I never noticed this before, but now that I have, it's irritating. Is it because he's the oldest? What did he ever do to warrant getting asked about first? He's not the only one of us worth asking about, nor was he ever. I should start telling people that he doesn't even support himself and still lives with his mom.

I finally came up with a New Year's resolution for 5772: to write more fanfiction about Jewish characters in different fandoms. (I already have a couple fanfics that deal with Judaism, but they're almost all about Ziva.) I think this counts as the mitzvot of k'lal yisrael, Jewish solidarity -- not to be confused with t'zionut, support of the state of Israel. My other resolution is to do more mitzvot. I've realized during these High Holy Days that even though I'm official now, I still don't really feel 100% Jewish. I suppose this will take some time. So I'm trying to build my Jewish identity any way I can.

On a similar note, I'm seriously thinking about fasting (or trying to) on Yom Kippur this year. Last year, my reaction to the whole idea was pretty much, "Fast? Like hell I'm fasting, you crazy Jews!" But this year, I'm officially one of those "crazy Jews," so I feel like I should at least make an attempt. It doesn't help that my birthday falls so close to Yom Kippur this year, and my grandma wants to cook me a special birthday dinner right when I'm supposed to be fasting!

I got a fortune out of a fortune cookie this week that told me: If you have to choose between two evils, pick the one you've never tried before. I LOVE that!
rebecca_in_blue: (bemused shrug)
My first High Holy Days as an official Jew are still rolling on. After the Rosh Hashanah morning services, a very small group of us met at the lake for a tashlich, a Jewish ritual of going to a body of water and throwing bread to the ducks or seagulls. (That's right, the Jews have a name for that.) We couldn't stay for long before a fierce thunderstorm blew in, but Mrs. D had an entire loaf of rye bread -- left over from the corned beef sandwich sale back in March! -- and we threw the whole thing to the gulls. My arm was really sore afterwards because I didn't throw to the gulls but at them. I tried to time my throwing to their flying so they could catch the bread in their mouths.


Maggie throwing bread to the ducks while her mom reads the tashlich blessing. Look at how rough the water was!


Just as we were finishing off the bread, we felt the first splatters of raindrops. I took this photo in a hurry just before jumping on my bike and heading home. Look at how dark those clouds were!

Yesterday evening was the Shabbat Shuva service (and my third consecutive day at the temple), and it was followed by a delicious, free spaghetti dinner! I honestly didn't expect to like it because I was raised on Grandma's spaghetti, the best in the world. This wasn't as good as Grandma's, but it was very good. I would've gotten seconds, but it didn't last long. I sat with Maggie and all four C. boys. The oldest one had a conversation with me in French (his family was in France around the same time I was) and the youngest one said as soon as I sat down, "Hey, you've got silly bands! I've got silly bands too, see? Wanna swap silly bands with me?" He also told me Maggie was his "girlfriend." She got spaghetti sauce all over her face and kinda reminded me of a young me. :)

I almost made four days in a row at the temple, but this morning I was stuck at work and missed Torah study. Normally I wouldn't mind too much, but today I was a bit bummed because, I have to say, Rabbi Z. (our guest for the High Holy Days) is a lot more engaging and interesting than old Rabbi W.

Happy October!
rebecca_in_blue: (subtle sigh)
Even though I was attending temple during the High Holy Days last year, I wasn't able to go on Rosh Hashanah, so this year was my first time. It was very different from regular services. There was a lot more structure and singing (it actually reminded me of a Catholic Mass) and our temple had a guest rabbi from Dallas. I did some soul-searching, and (also like a Mass) it left me feeling a little guilty. I realized that there's so much in my life that I'm not really grateful for, because I'm too busy bitching, moaning, and whining about the things I don't have. So in an effort to make this journal a more positive place and get 5772 off to a good start, I'm making this a Thankful Thursday. Things I'm thankful today:

~
My sister bought me an order of cheesey bread from Little Ceasar's. I had a craving (I might be addicted to that stuff) but my new debit card still hasn't come in, and I didn't have enough cash on me.

~ I bought a new pair of shoes! They are cute, cheap, and fit with the uniform code at work. They are also much lighter than the old two-ton shoes I had been wearing. I try to practice "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without" as much as I can, so I wore my old shoes until they were literally coming apart at the seams.

~ The dessert oneg after Rosh Hashanah services last night was so delicious! We had pumpkin bread, lemon squares, a very rich crumb cake, cookies, brownies, a fruit tray, and of course, apples and honey. I dropped an apple slice in the honey pot and had to dig it out with a fork. I'm so grateful that our small, aging congregation has kept a vibrant Jewish community alive. I'm also grateful that my bad-ass Cajun grandma baked pumpkin bread on my behalf. Everyone loved it.

~ I canted the Torah blessing at services this morning and didn't mess it up! I even wore a skirt since I was going up on the bema (and I haven't worn a skirt since 2007). But I don't know what I was thinking wearing a sleeveless shirt. They keep it so darn cold in the sanctuary, so I was freezing by the time services were over. I'm considering buying a tallis (a Jewish prayer shawl), not because I'm pious, but just to keep me warm.

And last, a funny exchange to remember... Michael [Sassy Jewish Grandfather #1] helping me practice the Torah blessing: "You know, nobody in the congregation really knows the Torah blessing. If you mess up, no one will be able to tell." Me: "But Jacob [Sassy Jewish Grandfather #3] knows it. He said it that one day, and he knew the whole thing." Michael: "Jacob is a Jew by choice, and you guys make the rest of us look bad." Jacob: "Well, that's not our intention, but sometimes it does happen." Haha.
rebecca_in_blue: (red riding hood)

rebecca_in_blue: (dozing off)
Today has been such a soggy blue Monday - and I don't mean the weather (which is hot and dry). I meant to ride my bike to work this morning, but I was just too tired. I do hope to bike out to the cemetery this evening, though. Tomorrow morning I'm headed to temple to practice the Torah blessing. I have to cant it at the Rosh Hashanah morning service on Thursday, so this will likely be my last practice session. I can recite pretty big chunks of the liturgy in Hebrew, but we don't usually have a Torah reading, so I didn't really know the blessing before now. Here's what I have to say:


Somebody asked me what I wanted for my birthday. Here's what I came up with:
~ The Secret Garden (1949)
~ Plain Beautiful: The Life of Peggy Ann Garner, by Sandra Grabman
~ A gift card to Wal-Mart or Target

~ A mezuzah. You can find mezuzahs in every style, size, and color imagineable online. I'd like one small, easy to hang, and colorful (but it can't clash with blue, which is the color of our door). I almost bought one at the gift shop in the Baton Rouge synagogue, but they couldn't take credit cards and I didn't have enough cash.
~ A new necklace chain for my Star of David. The chain I have it on now is not holding up well. What I'd really like is a black cord with silver beads like the one seen here (although obviously mine would have a different pendant). It's the same kind of chain that Adam wore for years, for those of you who know him.
~ A Jewish bumper sticker. Something funny but not offensive. My Jewish grandparents hinted that they might buy me a mezuzah or a bumper sticker when they're in Boston for the High Holy Days. Of course, when I told Mr. G I wanted a Jewish bumper sticker, he said, "Why? So people will slit your tires?"

Remember when I posted last week that I'd stepped on a rusty nail? A few days later, as I was going to bed, I noticed a
red line growing up my ankle, and for a minute I thought it might very well be the end of Rebecca. So I opened the cut back up with some tweezers, dug around in it and cleaned it out (OW!) and fortunately, the red line disappeared.

I never got around to baking pumpkin bread this weekend, but I did watch The Time Traveler's Wife, which I stole borrowed from work. I don't have access to RedBox until I get a new debit card - which is taking forever - so I'm trying to find child actress movies where I can. It was much better than I'd expected. I also attended my first havdalah and selichot services on Saturday evening. Diane and Mr. and Mrs. D threw them together at the last minute, but you'd never've known. They were very, very beautiful and somber. I think I'm going to enjoy the High Holy Days.

It's only September, but we've already put the Christmas stationary out at work! Ugh!
rebecca_in_blue: (happy smile)
The days are getting shorter now, which is the one thing I hate about fall! I'm going to miss riding my bike to and from temple while the sun is still out. My bike-all-you can experiment is still on, although I wasn't as successful with it this week. Rainy weather and earlier evenings put a crunch in my biking time, but I'm still saving a little money on gas, which is necessary in the wake of getting Muse Watson repaired.

The High Holy Days are fast approaching. They kick off this Saturday with Selichot. This year is my first High Holy Days as an official Jew, so I'm kinda nervous about it. This has to be the busiest, most festive time of year for the Jewish people. Within the next few weeks, I'll be making pumpkin bread for the dessert oneg after Rosh Hashanah, reciting the Torah blessing in front of everyone at the Rosh Hashanah second-day service, and making devilled eggs and helping make salad for the break-the-fast meal after Yom Kippur! Plus, my birthday falls smack in the middle of the High Holy Days this year! (At least it doesn't fall on Yom Kippur. This has happened before.)

And as if I'm not busy enough, just for the heck of it, I lost my debit card! What a Sara thing to do. Yesterday I had to scrimp together four bucks in change to put gas in Muse Watson because of it, and this morning I had to bike to the bank and order a new card. I've never managed to lose a debit card before and am so disgusted with myself. Are you serious, Rebecca?

In other Jew news, we had some new faces at Torah study last Saturday, so Rabbi W had us all introduce and say a little about ourselves. As it turned out, everyone there except one person had been raised in a different faith and converted/was in the process of converting to Judaism. The only one of us who'd been raised Jewish was the rabbi! Someone said something like, "I thought I would be the odd man out, because I was raised Catholic, but you're the odd man out, Rabbi, because you were raised Jewish!" Rabbi W cracked up so hard. He has a very welcoming, open-door policy. He's even convinced two women in our congregation who took up practicing Judaism when they married their husbands decades ago and have been living as Jews all this time, to formally convert with a beit din and mikvah.

I've discovered one of my coworkers is also obsessed with NCIS, although not to the same degree that I am. Over the weekend, we drilled each other with questions about the show (he asked super-easy stuff like, "How did Kate die? Where's Ziva from?"). I kicked his butt! He obviously didn't know that Sara likes to turn on USA when they're showing NCIS reruns and say, "Rebecca can name this episode in one freeze-frame!" Well, there are only three subjects that I'll claim to be an expert on: JM Barrie, child actresses, and NCIS.

Which brings us to the most exciting news of all, of course: Season 9 of NCIS premieres ... TOMORROW!

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March 2013

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