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: (bemused shrug)
On Halloween night, Sara and I stayed up late watching a scary movie (Insidious -- so spooky) and eating candy. And really, what more can you ask for on Halloween? We also tried to get Tovah to go along with a costume. It was a tiny witch hat made for a dog, so it was a bit too big on her and didn't really work out. I have a feeling she's plotting her revenge on us.

On Friday, we drove to Beaumont for the day to eat at Red Lobster (Sara has had a slight scary obsession with eating at a Red Lobster for about the past ten years) and attend Shabbat services at the temple there. Their congregation seemed small, about the same size as ours, but their temple was SO big and beautiful. My jaw dropped when I saw the huge stained-glass windows depicting different scenes from the Torah. They used a different, more modern siddur, but their service was pretty similar to ours; the same songs, just different melodies. There aren't a lot of synagogues/temples in the south, so I'm glad I was able to go to a different one. I've been a Jew for over a year now, but I've only ever attended services at three places, and one of those was at summer camp!

Sitting for so long on the drive there and back, at Red Lobster, then at temple did not make my butt happy, though.

Today I'm being lazy and watching old NCIS episodes, but I am going to do my laundry and clean my room. At some point. We had to set our clocks back last night! UGH! I cannot stand this time of year when it gets dark so early!

On the art calendar, I'm looking at The Persimmon Tree, an 1816 paper folding screen by Sakai Hoitsu. The Met's webpage on it says this: "The solitary persimmon tree, bent and brittle with age, has already lost most of its leaves. The tree is crisply silhouetted against an unpainted paper ground that suggests the cold sky of a clear November day." I'm going to miss this calendar when 2012 is over!
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: (pursed lips)
How much I love new NCIS episodes is how much I imagine Tovah hates them. Because whenever I watch one, I sit in the rocking chair in front of the TV. We usually sit on the couch when watching TV, and NCIS is pretty much the only time I sit in that chair, which Tovah has claimed as her own. Tonight, as soon as the episode was over and I got up, she immediately hopped in the chair, laid down, and glared at me. Aww.

Anyway, my notes are below. Borin's episodes are always fun!

Notes on 10x04 "Lost at Sea" )

Currently smelling: My lovely new pumpkin-scented candle.
Currently thinking about: What to do with "Briana" this weekend.
Currently reading: The Girl Who Would Speak for the Dead, by Paul Elwork.
Currently looking at: Vincent van Gogh's Self-Portrait with Straw Hat, an 1887 oil painting.
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!

(We're in single digits, y'all!!)
rebecca_in_blue: (raised eyebrows)
Yes, this is another entry devoted to Tovah. That cat has now successfully taken over our apartment, this blog, and the SD card on my camera! Miss Tovah is pretty spoiled. She has her own big, comfy cat bed that Sara bought for her. But she prefers sleeping on the scraps of plarn that I drop on the floor while I'm crocheting. She gets mad at us whenever we pick them up.

She also has a clean, stainless-steel water dish that I bought for her, and we make sure that it always has fresh water in it. But Tovah prefers getting a drink like this...

(We see this almost every time we turn on the lights in the bathroom.)

...or like this:

(This picture makes me laugh every time! Notice our very old Beauty and the Beast mug from the Disney Store in New Orleans.)

And here's one more photo of my Tovah, just for good measure.

Anything that is or resembles string (a length of floss, shoelaces, headphone cords, my necklace chain, the plarn I crochet with, the strip of cloth on her cat toy, etc.) is her arch-nemesis, and here she was plotting an attack on the wrist strap dangling from my camera. Those eyes!!! Hahaha!!

32 DAYS LEFT UNTIL SEASON 10 OF NCIS! And CBS recently released promo photos from the premiere, which you can see here. Cote de Palbo just keeps getting more gorgeous!!!
rebecca_in_blue: (pursed lips)

rebecca_in_blue: (red riding hood)
On Monday, I came home from work to find that our power had gone out and that Tovah had shit on the floor. Ugh! So I cleaned that up and decided to take her over to Mom's house, because it was heating up fast in here. Easier said than done. I tried to carry her out to the car, but every time I got near the door, she twisted and squirmed and jumped away like I was carrying her to the gallows. It took me several unsuccessful tries before I gave up on that.

Then I had bright idea to attach Sable's old leash to her collar, which was even worse. Poor Tovah had never been on a leash before, and she freaked the hell out and pulled so hard on it that I thought she would choke herself. It was scary. So I took the leash off and got down the big plastic storage bin where we keep our spare sheets and blankets. I dumped those out, shoved Tovah inside, and put the lid back on at an angle, so it was still partially open. I expected her to freak out again, but she was actually pretty calm.

She was calm when I let her out inside Mom's house, too. When we first brought her home here, she freaked out, but she didn't this time, I think because I was there with her. She walked around exploring and sniffing at things and I watched Star Trek: The Next Generation with Adam until Entergy called and told me our power was back on, then I packed her up again and headed home. What a traumatic evening for my poor Tovah!

Being stranded at Mom's house for so long, I wasn't able to work on my fanfiction put together any lesson plans for the temple religious school, like I had planned to do that evening. So I stayed up too late doing that and almost missed the meeting with the other religious school teachers on Tuesday! I'm really not sure how this year will play out, but I'm going to try to remain positive and give it my all, no matter what happens. God help me. Literally, because God knows how much I suck at this and don't want to do it. But I keep thinking of these words by Hillel, a Jewish leader, which were in the siddur at camp:

If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
If I am only for myself, what am I?
If not now, when?

As for today, I'm off work and just tried to be as lazy (and rewatch old NCIS episodes) as I could before I get thrown back into the insanity of work tomorrow. I have a feeling the next few days will be very stressful.

rebecca_in_blue: (subtle sigh)
Can anybody guess what Rebecca woke up to this morning? A strange tapping sound at my window. For a second, I thought that someone was trying to break in. Then I got up, pulled back the curtain, and saw this:

That's Miss Tovah sitting on my bay window, staring down a little bird on the windowsill outside. I'm guessing that the bird couldn't see Tovah, or maybe just wasn't scared of her. They stayed like this for the longest time! Right now, though, it's pouring down rain -- again! -- and Tovah is in my lap. And now, a recap of the past few days:

On Friday, I was so sick that I had to call in to work (something I almost never do). I woke up very early that morning with a stomachache, so I took so Pepto-Bismal, only to barf it up. A few hours later, I tried some crackers, but I barfed those up, too. A few hours later, I tried some food that I actually kept down. Then I decided to bike to temple on a near-empty stomach. I didn't feel faint at all, just so tired that I almost fell asleep during services and while bike-riding home. Ugh!

On Saturday afternoon, I visited the mall with the girl I was matched with through Big Brothers Big Sisters. We just walked, talked, and browsed around in all the stores. We've only just met, so things are still kinda awkward between us, but I think "Briana" (not her real name) is starting to come out of her shell, and I hope for good things. We made plans to go to the skating rink this week, and we're both looking forward to it.

On Saturday evening, I did my laundry and watched a child actress movie at Mom's house. The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane was the only child-actress movie available through NetFlix Instant that I hadn't already seen. It left me wondering what people smoked in the 70's.

Today, I hope to get some cleaning done. I'll be working a lot this week (ugh!) but next week is my vacation! I leave for summer camp one week from today! I'm kinda nervous because I've never been there before, but I know several people who have and they all say great things about it.

rebecca_in_blue: (stiff shoulders)

Excuse Rebecca while she gets some grumpiness off her chest. This is a list of things I'm sick of lately:

  1. TV spots for Savages. They show them pretty constantly on USA (where I watch old NCIS episodes) and A&E (where I watch Storage Wars).
  2. We're scheduled for inventory, which is always a headache, at work tomorrow. My managers have all been talking and stressing about it non-stop. I hate the word inventory now. But not as much as I'll soon hate back-to-school. Ugh.
  3. The smoke smell in one of my purses. I got it from my cousin. Most of the time, it's not noticeable unless you shove your face inside it. But I keep making the mistake of putting a change of clothes in it, and then my clothes end up smelling like smoke! Ugh! I'm going to flush that smell out soon.
  4. Our new stocker at work. He seems to find any excuse he can to talk to me. Within a few seconds of meeting me, he asked me if I wanted to go to the movies with him. (Abe Lincoln, Vampire Hunter? No? How about the new Spider-Man movie?) Ugh. If this keeps up, I'm going to talk to the manager about it.

And now onto happier news... As of tomorrow, we'll have had Tovah for one month! One of the reasons Sara and I picked her from all the cats at the animal shelter was that she's so skinny. (The last time I was at JC & Co's, I held their cats and the difference was amazing. I couldn't feel all their bones!) We've been trying to fatten her up and have offered her bits of just about every human food we eat -- pizza, cheese, ravioli, oatmeal, fish, beef, etc. But she never really ate any of it, she just sniffed. Remember how in the Ramona books, her cat was named Picky-Picky? Yeah, that's Tovah.

Then we made the mistake of giving her a slice of turkey. I've never seen Tovah gobble up anything so fast. Now she comes running every time she hears the refrigerator open (even if she's asleep in the next room!) and meows pathetically, like she's never been fed a day in her life. It's annoying, but we've started putting bits of turkey on top of her cat food, and she finally seems to be eating more and gaining a little weight. Hallelujah!

And for no reason, here's the trailer for a recent (2010) French biopic of Serge Gainsbourg. If I could find a version with English subtitles, I'd love to see this.

rebecca_in_blue: (happy smile)
Our temple had a Musical Shabbat last Friday, and it was amazing. The entire service was sung by our choir, accompanied by folks playing the guitar, flute, drums, and piano. We had new melodies to some old songs ("Hinnei Mah Tov" and the Kiddush) and some new songs that Rebecca had never heard before, like Debbie Friedman's "Sing Unto God."

My horribly blurry photo of our amazing choir!

Uncle John & Aunt Connie came and enjoyed it, but they couldn't stay for the oneg after. (Sassy Jewish Grandfather #2: "Rebecca, where'd your aunt and uncle go?" Me: "They were afraid if they stayed too long, they'd turn Jewish!" Him: "Well, I guess they saw what happened to you.") We had a ton of food -- chopped liver, challah bread with raisins, chips and dip, deviled eggs, and platters of vegetables, fruits, and brownies -- and I ate till I was stuffed.

Yesterday, I spent the evening at Aunt Connie's having a plarn-making party. She started making it and mentioned it to some missionaries, who gave her a huge toteful of plastic bags, which we spent hours cutting into plarn. I had to give up on my first attempt at crocheting plarn -- crooked edges and tight, single loops made the whole darn thing crooked -- but I started over making double loops and semi-straight edges with a smaller hook. Their kittens kept jumping in and out of the bags and trying to attack them.

Tovah continues to be such sweet, quiet company (at least, when she's not climbing on the laptop while I'm using it!). Last night, she slept in bed with me and sat on the rim of the tub while I took a bath. She loves splashing her paws in her water dish, the bathtub, and any glass of water we leave out. It's pretty funny to watch. Speaking of water, I had a dream that I was having a mikvah and woke up with the most peaceful feeling.
rebecca_in_blue: (pursed lips)
In addition to taking over this journal, Tovah is also taking over our apartment! I have secured these photos as proof:

That's my bed. She slept in it all night with me earlier this week.

That's our laptop. It was on and I was using it (writing fanfiction) when she decided to jump up on the desk and sit down right on the keyboard.

We were both pretty impressed when she climbed all the way up on top of the TV. You can't tell here, but she's pretty high. We sit on the couch and watch the TV, but Tovah sits on the TV and watches us!

On the art calendar, I'm currently looking at Magnolias and Irises, a 1908 stained-glass panel by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Imagine how gorgeous this would look with the sun shining through it. It reminds me of the old window outside Smallpartment.
rebecca_in_blue: (Default)

rebecca_in_blue: (pursed lips)
Shavua tov is a greeting my rabbi uses; it means good week. We adopted Tovah one week ago today, so it seems like a good time to give an update. I am so thankful to have this kitty, who has so much personality and fits in so well already. Sometimes I wonder about Tovah's past. She's nine, and I can't imagine having a cat for nine years and giving her away, especially one as sweet as Tovah, so maybe she went through multiple owners. Either way, it's sad. But Tovah is settling in with us well. I was worried having a pet would aggravate my asthma/allergies, but so far, it hasn't. Tovah has even slept in bed with me a few nights, and it didn't bother me.

She's a dilute tortoiseshell and kinda blends in with our carpet, but she seems more cooperative with my new camera (I love it!). I got her a license tag with her name engraved on it, so now she really feels like our cat.
I also got her a new, non-tippable water dish because for some reason, she loved tipping over her old one. She also loves sitting in the bathtub when it's empty. Crazy cat.

Tovah also loves lying right in the middle of the floor and stretching. You can see here how skinny she still is, but we read that cats don't eat a lot during their first days in a new environment, so maybe that will change. She seems to be a picky eater, too. She begs us for anything we eat, but when we offer it to her, she only sniffs.

She really likes sitting in our laps when we're on the couch or at the computer desk. (It was hard for me to get a good photo because she was right on top of me.)

Her favorite spot, though, seems to be the rocking chair. Sara and I don't sit in it too often because it's so low, so it might become Tovah's chair.

Bitter P.S. Muse Watson (my car) is in the shop getting an oil change and his air-conditioner fixed. I had to walk home today because neither Mom, Sara, nor Adam answered one of my repeated calls. (2/3 still don't have a voicemail set up, so I couldn't even leave a message.) This is the second time this has happened recently. At least this time it wasn't dark outside. It's really my own fault for thinking any of them would answer their phones.

Thankful Thursdays Button
rebecca_in_blue: (excited grin)
Sara and I have been meaning to get a pet since we moved into the new place, and today we finally went out and did it. We considered getting another dog but decided it was too soon after Sable, so we settled for a cat instead (I'll admit, I like dogs better than cats). So this afternoon we drove out to the pound. They brought us into a room crawling with cats, and after some time, we picked a shy, skinny tortoiseshell female hanging back against one wall. She's older, about nine. We considered a few others, but this one won us over because she is so thin. We felt obligated to bring her home and feed her -- blame it on Grandma's genes. :)

I wanted her to have a Hebrew name, so we named her Tovah, the Hebrew word for good (as in the Rosh Hashanah greeting Shanah tovah, a good year). Like most cats in a new home, she hid from us at first -- under my bed -- but she's already starting to come out of her shell. I think Tovah must've been the only pet in her old home, because she was really timid around all the other animals at the shelter, but now that she's here, she seems to love getting more attention. She's been so busy exploring, it was hard to get photos of her. And my camera is still held together by tape! Ugh!

Tovah looks kinda mad here because she was busy batting at my camera strap.

She wandered out of the frame, but you can see here how really skinny she is. Her shoulder blades and everything else stick out, and her skin hangs off her in places! I sure hope she gains some weight soon.

She is not keen on being picked up or held -- we're working on that -- but she loves to be petted and rub against our legs.


rebecca_in_blue: (Default)

March 2013



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