taylweaver: (Default)
 (But you knew that already)

So one of the benefits of having a snow day was getting to sleep in, which meant I actually remembered my dream.

Most of my dream was Dollhouse related (For those few people who read this who have not watched the TV series, the rest of this won't make much sense, but if you have - any of it at all, this will. No spoilers in my dream, but no guarantees on the comments.)

So it was something about the Dollhouse taking over the city, or the world. In my dream, I think, instead of reprogramming people's brains with other personalities, they were just sort of brainwashing people, leaving them in one particular altered state. Anyway, I hadn't been caught yet, and somehow found my way inside the Dollhouse via an elevator. (it looked nothing like the one on the show. It was just normal rooms in a normal building, but maybe without windows.) . And there were all these people (dolls, presumably) eating dinner. Only not all of them were actually dolls. Some of them were protecting themselves by pretending to be dolls so they wouldn't actually get turned into dolls. I tried to do the same, I guess, to fit in and not get caught by Adele, who was the one in charge. And I saw all these people I knew, including [livejournal.com profile] shirei_shibolim , and possibly [livejournal.com profile] terriqat . The former got a sad look in his eyes or something, like he was disappointed to see I was there, that I'd been caught. I raised an eyebrow at him as a question, and he raised one back in answer, and maybe offered me a slight nod. And then, both of us knew that the other was just pretending. And I found a secret room that the others were using, and at some point, i made it back out into the city, to a park, where my friends were (one of them was either Echo or Eliza Dushku - not really sure whether she was her character or herself), and I hugged them, said to them, "I'm a doll," and they got all upset, but then, I added, "Well, not really," and they were all relieved. Then, I had to rush back before someone noticed I was missing.

Also, in a completely unrelated scene (I think before all the Dollhouse stuff), I got these boots that went to my knees that were black, but had red leather going down one side, with black lacing over it, and tall, thin heels. They looked really cool. In the last scene of the dream, I was also wearing tall boots as I was running back to the Dollhouse, but those were black suede. And it was snowing. So that wasn't the wisest of shoe choices.

Anyway, it was a strange enough dream that I enjoyed recalling it when I woke up. Too bad it took place in an odd representation of someone else's created universe. Makes it much less useful to me in terms of story fodder. (Though, then again, the novel I am currently revising has its roots in a dream that involved characters from Heroes, so who knows...)

Also, I am impressed by my subconscious's ability to present to me, if not an actual plot, a string of events that made some vague sort of sense for the most part in terms of how one followed the other. More of an exploration of a world/location than a story, I guess. 
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A lot, apparently.

Especially when it comes to characters in my novels.

I've known for a while that it's important for me to feel like the name matches the character. And I think I knew that sometimes character grows a bit out of the name.

But this evening, I think I figured out why I was feeling like a novel I wrote last spring just wasn't working.

It's the name of the main character. It somehow gave the narrative a certain flavor that didn't feel like my own, and made the character's personality different from what i wanted.

Which means that, when I eventually try to rewrite it, I will be giving the main character a slightly different name - and I can already feel him morphing in my head as I consider the possibilities. The difference between Elvin (the current name) and, say, Alfie (one of the possibilities) is huge. (Also considering Elvis, and a few others. And definitely open to suggestions, though it's not urgent. Currently working on the novel from a year ago November, in which all of the names are just fine.)

As an aside, by way of explanation, I needed his name to sound a bit like Elephant, and the day after I got the idea, a student named Elvin walked into a room where i was working in one of my schools. It sounded perfect. But now, I am realizing it may be far from it.

Anyway, it won't be the first time I've changed a name after at least part of a project is written. (Even changing Hayley to Hailey made a difference), but it's the first time I've realized a name might be a major reason a novel isn't working the way I want it to. 
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So some of the schools I work at are celebrating Red Ribbon Week this week, which is a weeklong focus on drug prevention. It includes wearing a red ribbon with an anti-drug message on it for a day.

In the meantime, this very week, Looney Labs sent out an e-mail about their new website (not for children) with the Stoner Fluxx game. If you buy the game, part of the proceeds go toward organizations that support legalizing Marijuana.

The weird thing is, I find myself agreeing with messages on both sides. There's the, "Hey, kids. Drugs are bad," message, and there is the, "Marijuana should be legal" message. And both make sense to me.

But it makes it hard to decide whether or not I should wear the ribbon tomorrow.

Maybe it has to do with a distinction Looney Labs makes when it has a separate site for adults only where it sells Stoner Fluxx (it makes you tell it your birthday before you can see it, not that you can't lie to it, but it's trying to send a message). Maybe we need to tell kids that drugs are bad, but tell other adults that one or two of them should still be legal?

Anyway, so my brain is apparently capable of agreeing with two viewpoints at the same time, even if they contradict each other. Go figure.
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So I was in my building's wifi lounge today to get some writing done, and there was a guy teaching a martial arts form to someone, so I went to ask the building manager what the policy was on that.

After she gave me the answer (they had asked permission and were given a conditional yes - which is to say, I was allowed to kick them out if I wanted to), she told me that the building is probably going to be restricting the wifi lounge hours.

Why?

Because people in the building have been using it in inappropriate ways and trashing it.

The last straw? Simchat Torah night.

Apparently, the usual doorman called in sick - the one who is so good at locking down the building and keeping back the worst of the partiers.

But they shouldn't need to lock down the building. They shouldn't need to close the door to the stairwell and tell people they have to be residents to go up the stairs when they let any Jew up those stairs on a regular Shabbat. They shouldn't need to call the cops, which they did last year, and which they had cause to - but didn't because the doorman didn't think to - this year. They shouldn't be told, "no," when they ask partying guests to leave the wifi lounge because it is an inappropriate use of the space. (That was when they should have called the cops.)

Jews should not be causing chaos in my building - or any other - on Simchat Torah.

I felt embarrassed that the damage to the lounge had been caused by other Jews. I felt embarrassed that the management pays attention to when Simchat Torah falls so that they can take appropriate precautions. I am pretty sure they had extra staff on this weekend for just that reason - and it still wasn't enough to control the chaos.

It's such a chilul hashem.

Which is not something I say very often. But it is.

And, on top of that, my fellow Jews have caused me a personal inconvenience. I rely on that lounge as a place to escape to in order to get my writing done. If I can't use it after 6 pm, that means I won't have a quiet place to write. And if I can't use it on weekends, well, it's just really frustrating.

Thanks a lot, guys. Way to celebrate the holiday.
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So lots of people keep saying how horrible it was what my coworker did to me, and I just want to say, no it wasn't. She did what she was entitled to do. She had a choice of four caseloads, and did not want the one she has had for the past few years. So she chose one of the other three, and it happened to be mine. It happens.

And my other coworker, the one whose caseload is intertwined with my current one, noted that I had every right to take my friend's caseload in Chelsea. I pointed out that it was a friend, not just a coworker and she said, "oh, that's different." Or something like that. It's understood that people with more seniority can take caseloads that would otherwise go to people with less seniority.

And I also totally get why she did it. A commute of over an hour? It's not fun. Been there, done that. Half an hour? Not a problem. I will have to get used to having a commute in the first place, but not a problem.

And I really am excited about starting out fresh next year.

So please don't be angry at my coworker on my behalf. She did nothing wrong.
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No, I can't go find it again. One might even say it was stolen - except for the part where my coworker had every right to take it...

To begin at something vaguely resembling the beginning:

So on Monday, we had our last big meeting of the year, at which we do The Pick. Yes, that's what they call it, The Pick. Why? Because that's where we pick our caseloads for next year, in order of seniority. There are about 25-30 of us, and that number of caseloads. And so we go down the seniority list, and each person makes their pick. The caseloads are put together based on number of sessions and geographic proximity of schools, and can have anywhere from 3-10 schools on them.

Our caseloads don't belong to us. Every year, there is the possibility that someone else could take it (or that it could be split up and not look like the same caseload as students enter or graduate and numbers shift). Three years ago, I was at the bottom of the list. There was only one caseload, and I got it. It happened to be walking distance from where I live. I was incredibly lucky - and incredibly spoiled. ("Did I mention I can walk to work?" Remember me saying that? And blogging it?)

Two years ago, I totally expected someone else to take it, but no one did, so I chose it back.

Last year, I prepared myself to lose it, even though my coworker who works in the same neighborhood (yes, there are that many schools in the neighborhood - about three or four caseloads that all overlap in the same 30-block area) kept calling it mine as we discussed them. But I didn't lose it, and that was great.

This year, I figured that if no one wanted it last year, why would anyone want it this year?

Then, all of a sudden, three people before me, someone else called out the number of my caseload. Insert internal "whoa" here. The coworker mentioned above went, "oh." Mostly, people just pick back the same caseloads. So even the people near the bottom end up back where they were. But here she was, just three people ahead of me, and she called out mine.

The next two people on the list have bilingual caseloads so they pick from a different set. So, effectively, she was one person before me. Yes, it was that close a thing.

Last year, my coworker and friend who is just below me on the list lost her caseload to someone else, but that other person took her aside and gave her some warning. I didn't get any warning. All of a sudden, it was my turn - about a minute later - and I had to make an on-the-spot choice.

I was shaking. I was feeling lost and overwhelmed. I almost cried. But I didn't cry. I did what I often do when I am thrown off-balance - I gathered information. Three caseloads left. I got the locations and a bit of info on the schools. I began with, "I need a minute!" Of course, everyone understood. Then, I called out, "Where's caseload x?" (i.e. where are the schools located)

My supervisor called me up to discourage me from taking one of the three because of a difficult school on it - she wants the current hearing teacher there to keep it. But since I very much did not want that school, I assured her it wasn't an issue.

This left two caseloads, one south of me, one north of me. (Excuse the lack of more specific info. I wanted this to be a public post.) The one south of me belongs to that coworker/friend who lost her caseload last year. I really didn't want to do that to her again if I could help it. Besides, she told me she has a student who bites. And I don't like the neighborhood she works in.

Good thing the person who took my caseload had a caseload that I can get to on a single train, within half an hour. In a neighborhood that has things like kosher restaurants. And she tells me it's a wonderful caseload, but it took her over an hour to get there.

As I tell some of the staff in the other schools this story, they get angry at my coworker, but I have no hard feelings toward her. I don't think she specifically wanted my caseload. She was just ready to get rid of hers. She told me she stuck with the commute for five years because she likes the schools and the kids so much, but a bunch of them graduated this year, so it was time for a change. And I think she didn't give me warning because she didn't know which caseloads would be left by the time it got to her. I had three to choose from; she had four. And so she waited to see what was left.

So I have a commute next year. And all new schools. And it left me shaken. I was totally blindsided by it.

But it's okay now. I am saying good-bye to all of my current schools, and realizing that there were only a few students who would overlap from this year to next year anyway. About five of them. A bunch graduated, and the caseload shifted a bit, so one school I had isn't on there anymore. And one of my schools - my favorite one in terms of resources (a place to work, computer with printer and internet, phone to the outside, copier that works and doesn't need a code) is phasing out anyway, so half the staff is leaving, and those resources will disappear after next year, I am almost positive. So it was a good year for her to move, and a good year for me too.

This was my first caseload, and so it's good to step away from it and go to a new set of schools now that I have three years of experience under my belt.

So I'll have a commute. That's the bad news. But, overall, I feel kind of excited about the change.
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I am so grateful to have an instinct that lets me know when I have lost something. This icky feeling settles in my stomach, whether I have lost an important object or an opportunity. When I've managed to forget something when leaving the apartment (like my key - that's the worst one, since I can't step back inside to get it, of course), or when I've made a bad decision.

It's easy to listen to the feeling when it's there.

It's harder to listen to its absence when it isn't there - but I've gotten better at it.

This evening, for example, I couldn't find my wallet. I knew when I saw it last - in a store - but it wasn't in the tote bag I had used for my shopping. So it was either in the store, or somewhere in my apartment. But my gut wasn't freaking out at me, and so I figured it must be somewhere in my apartment.

I didn't know how long it would take me to find it, but I was confident that it would turn up eventually - and it did.
(Don't ask me why, but I stuck it back in my backpack for some odd reason - not something I normally do until I am ready to head off for my next workday.)

I could have panicked, but I trusted the lack of ickiness in my gut. The lack of gut feeling, I guess.

And my gut was right, and I found my wallet.

And that just increased my confidence in my gut's ability to know things that my brain doesn't know or has forgotten. It's useful.
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(Well, before a Shavuot evening...)

Snoozing in Shul on a Shavuot Evening
(with apologies to Mr. Frost)

Whose shiur is this that I ignore?
Mediocre, I am sure
They will not see me sleeping here
Unless I give a great big snore

The goyim surely think it queer
The way Jews gather far and near
For all-night learning, dairy cake
Each and every single year

My neighbor gives my arm a shake
He thinks I've made a big mistake
To doze through lectures wise and deep
"You know you want to stay awake!"

"Stay awake?" I want to weep
But that's the minhag that we keep
And hours to go before we sleep
And hours to go before we sleep

(And yes, I expect to fall asleep before the night is over. This poem began with the last line for a reason. So tired... and the learning hasn't even started yet)
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 Posting this entry for one purpose only: so I can see what it will look like. 

How's that for a fascinating first entry?
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So, as it turns out, that final read-through is taking me a bit longer than planned. I still have 90 pages to go out of 250-ish, and then I have to go back and fix one inconsistency that I found.

So remember how I said I'd send it out to the beta readers by the end of the weekend? Well... how about some time before *next* weekend?

Also, so many of you volunteered to beta read for me, and so I want to say thank you. I think it would be a bit too overwhelming to send it to everyone who offered, so if you don't end up getting to beta read, please do not take it personally.
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So I just finished typing the revisions into the computer. That means that I am just about ready for the scary part - sending out my novel to some of you so that you can read it and give me feedback.

It should be ready to go out by the end of the weekend. I just have to read through my finished (!) Draft 2, and make sure I didn't mess stuff up when I typed in the edits. Then, I have to renumber the scenes. And after that, I send it out, and wait to hear back from you.

Eep.

So here's how this works. This is cross-posted to LJ and Facebook. You can respond on either one. If you are on facebook, and I think you'd both be interested in reading it and have useful feedback, I have tagged you on the note (assuming I have tagged people by the time you read this). My tagging of you does not obligate you to read it, and if I haven't tagged you, that doesn't mean you can't volunteer. (That having been said, please don't be insulted if I don't choose you as one of my readers.)

This is my Nanowrimo novel from this past November. Young Adult (I think) urban fantasy. (No fairies or vampires or anything like that - just special abilities.) Word count currently stands somewhere around 96,000 (Yes, I actually managed to shorten it a bit since Draft 1 by about 7,000 words.

Also, so you know, I probably won't be printing it out from you. You can either read it on your computer, or print it out for yourself. And I will be asking for general impressions/feedback. Was it good overall, parts you liked or didn't. Stuff that worked or didn't. Once I get back responses, I may send out some more specific questions.

And now that I have made this sound all complicated and daunting... any volunteers? :)
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I just finished my handwritten revisions to the first draft of my novel from November. I've been working on them since roughly the beginning of February - which is to say, about a month, maybe a little longer.

I still have plenty of work ahead of me, since I need to get them all into the computer now, so that I can have a real Draft 2, but I've been so eager to get to this point.

Actually, it's not as exciting as I thought it would be. Maybe that's because I'm not *really* done with this round of revisions until I have it all in the computer. Especially because that's when I will start looking around for friends to read it for me, and I'm really eager for feedback, even though I am also a bit worried a lot of it will be bad.

But still, I am done with this step, and that's so much further than I've gotten with any other novel before this. First draft? No problem. I've done a bunch of those. Three for Nanowrimo, and two or three from back in high school. But to take one from first draft to second draft? I didn't even *try* it until I went back to my 2007 Nano novel - and I gave up on that one when I still had a long way to go.

So to actually be done with a second draft? That's an exciting concept.

And to do it pretty much within the target amount of time (I was hoping to be done within a month, and add on a couple of extra days because that month was February.), that's feels even better.
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It is not very often that I can look back on a day off and say that I really got as much done as I possibly could have.

I mean, I suppose I could say I spent an extra 15-30 minutes online, or that I slept in later than I needed to... but no, those are both acceptable uses of my time. I needed the sleep, and a short break is just that.

Thing is, on a typical day off, I spend hours reading, or wandering around the internet. Today was different.

I think it had to do with what I was talking about in my previous entry - the fact that this day was such a surprise, an added bonus on a day when I actually needed it.

I did a lot today:

- I got some extra sleep (though it took me a while to fall back asleep)
- I transferred the entire ketubah frame design from sketch pad to cutting paper. That is the annoying part. Cutting it, now that's the fun part. And will be done in small amounts over the course of the next few weeks until it is done. But the transferring part was a big deal, and now it is done.
- I ate lunch, but did not waste time reading
- I went through some receipts that need to be handed in to my supervisor in about two weeks - and figured out I still need to spend $30 more for my students (teachers choice money).
- I did a bit of research online in terms of products I could spend the $30 on (okay, so some of that time may have been unproductive...)
- I spent about two hours revising the novel. A normal amount of time, but time I did not expect to have today to do it. (And that counts as both relaxing and productive at the same time)
- I looked up some info on a new doctor so that I can make an appointment (but didn't get to the actual making the appointment part)
- I returned a library book that was overdue, and a few that weren't, and then...
- I went to Central Park to say I went out in the snow. Not as pretty as the last park in the snow experience I had, but I felt the need to do it, and then...
- I stopped to pick up some groceries on the way home
- I had a long phone conversation with my mother in which we discussed dress alterations for my sister's wedding, and also some stuff related to my mother's job and some recent successes she has had
- I cleaned the living room floor, because that was the snow day cleaning job assigned to me
- I picked up a prescription at CVS

At which point it was around 8 pm, and my snow day was officially over, since that was the point when I would have finished up my meeting.

I went from CVS to [livejournal.com profile] mbarr's apartment to eat Chinese food for dinner and watch an episode of Heroes, a normal Monday night activity. (Of course, we are two weeks behind, but never mind that...)

And now, I am going to go get ready for bed, satisfied that I had such a productive - yet also relaxing - day.

I think it was because it was so unexpected. I felt like it was a gift, and I had to use it well, so I did. Last night, I went to bed certain that I would have work today, but wishing I could have a snow day so that I could work on things like the ketubah frame and the novel. Maybe it helped that, when I got the gift of extra time, I already knew how I wanted to use it.

Whatever the reason, today was productive. I really feel like I could not have been more productive today, but I also feel like the tasks I did were also relaxing ones.

In summary: Snow day was wonderful. So very much appreciated, and I really feel like I took full advantage of everything it had to offer.
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For some odd reason, there was a line from the English readings my synagogue uses for Yizkor (the memorial service) stuck in my head today. Something along the lines of, "Grant me the gift of time."

Though the source of the words is a bit depressing, the concept in them kind of captured what today felt like for me. I am in the middle of a very busy month, and having an entire day of extra time suddenly fall into my lap, well, it was just wonderful.

New York City public schools never close. You have to be able to ski in Times Square before they will declare a snow day.

Well, I didn't check Times Square today, but I certainly wasn't expecting to have the day off.

When my alarm went off this morning, my plan was to head straight for my computer, just to confirm that I did, in fact, have school before getting ready for my day. On the way out of my bedroom, I noticed a piece of paper that had been slipped under my door. It read: "Snow day! No school!" A gift from my apartment mate, who also works in the public schools, and who gets up earlier than I do.

I couldn't quite bring myself to believe it. I had to see it with my own eyes. Sure enough, it was a headline on 1010wins.com. Something like, "Snow storm closes New York City Public Schools." I checked the list of closed schools, just to make sure, and yes. Closed.

I still didn't quite trust it. Neither my apartment mate nor I could quite believe it. All day, we kept saying things like, "wow! A snow day!" Or, "We have a snow day!"

Even better, I had a Hebrew school snow day too (this one, I had higher hopes for.) I was supposed to teach Hebrew school and then have a staff meeting until 8 pm, so that meant my snow day really covered the entire day.

Wow.

And I had stuff I needed to get done. First on the list was going back to bed for another two hours (though I got maybe an hour's worth of sleep in.) Then, a gift for a friend's wedding that needed to be worked on (a ketubah frame), work receipts to go through, and, of course, a novel that I am working on revising.

It was so nice to get a gift of time today. Extra time. An entire day of it.

I really appreciated it.
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Hi all.

I don't normally do this, but...

The folks that I normally eat Shabbat meals with are either invited out or away entirely. Which means I am looking for lunch plans.

I might be able to host if there are other folks without plans.

Either way, though, is there anyone who can help me out?

Thanks.
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So as I was warming up at the gym today, someone got on the loudspeaker and called for any doctor in the gym to come to the men's locker room. Over the course of the next few minutes, I saw a multitude of trainers running up and down the stairs (I had a good view of the stairs from my bike), and one person calling out to ask whether anyone had called 911, another grabbing what was probably the defibrillator, and they repeated the call for a doctor, etc, etc.

A couple of minutes after that, the ambulance showed up, and more people headed downstairs.

And meanwhile, I'm sitting there, on the exercise bike, having finished my warmup, not really sure what to do. I mean, the situation was being taken care of - by a multitude of people - and there was no reason not to continue my workout... but it's a bit weird to be working out on the upstairs level of the gym while, down on the basement level, some guy is in pretty bad shape.

Because that was about all I knew for a while: there was a medical emergency involving a man, and it had to be pretty bad, based on all the controlled panic I was seeing. (People were doing what they were supposed to do, but they were also quietly freaking out.)

The trainers up on the second floor were sharing information with each other, speculating as to what was going on, and trying to calm each other down. One of the trainers (the one who did my free session on Tuesday) was freaking out in a way that was visible to her colleagues (though not to me), and they were trying to get her to calm down. She'd been one of the ones who went into the locker room and actually saw the guy. She kept saying, "his skin was this color" and I don't know what she was pointing at, but it seemed like it might be her pale blue shirt. (All of the trainers have to be certified in CPR, and trained in how to use the defibrillator that's in the gym - so they were the first ones down there trying to help the guy.) And I eventually got that he collapsed in the shower, and that they didn't know who he was.

The collapsed in the shower part I got from overhearing conversations.

The part where they didn't know who he was became clear from the number of times they asked every male in the gym to go down there and unlock their lockers - that way, they could see which locks were left, clip them, and figure out who the guy might be. By this point, he'd already been taken to the hospital - I think.

One of the trainers said someone had been doing CPR. That trainer was a bit freaked because, even though they all have to be CPR certified, they never expect to actually have to use it.

Clearly, whatever happened was rather serious.

And it is quite possible the guy died. I have no idea and no way to find out.

Anyway, I went to the gym to work out, and so I did. But knowing that some guy had collapsed at the end of his workout made my own workout, and may have died while I was exercising two floors up, well, it was just a bit weird.

Oh, and on an entirely different note, I kept meaning to post about Obama, but all I could come up with was inarticulate stuff like yay and wow. So yay, he's president. Wow, he speaks well. I am excited.
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I'm posting this now, as I watch the final set of this year's Chanukah candles burn - at a reasonable pace this time, in the disposable chanukiah, so that my shamash holder doesn't catch fire.

I didn't bother with the oil tonight because it is late, and I didn't want to a) take all the time to set it up and b) wait an hour or more for it to burn out. (I am not experienced enough to put in just the right amount of oil for half an hour of burn time.)

The reason it is so late is because I got back from a wedding around midnight. Mazel tov to D and J.

Before the wedding, I went to a funeral.

It was a weird day.

My great uncle Henry (or Uncle Henny, as we used to call him), passed away after a few weeks in the hospital on Thursday. The funeral was this afternoon, and it seemed like the entire extended family was able to attend. There were so many stories and memories shared. He lived a full, long life, with a wife who loved him and two kids and five grandkids. All of them were able to attend, which is impressive since a few of the grandkids had been in places as far away as Africa and Prague only weeks ago. Memories were shared about how he was such a giving person, and such a content person. All he needed to make him happy was a piece of cake and a cup of coffee. And he was the one who painted and wallpapered our house, and who taught my mother how to do the wallpaper herself too. He was the uncle with the suspenders, the big, hard belly, and the bad teeth. When he was younger, he was the most handsome of his siblings.

Anyway, it was a beautiful funeral, and I was glad that I was able to be there.

Then, my sister drove me from the cemetery to my apartment, where I spent about 10 minutes changing my sweater and my shoes, touching up my hair, and dumping my bags from the weekend - I had gone to the funeral nearly ready for the wedding - and I was out the door and headed to the subway.

We left the funeral around 3. By 4:30, I was at a wedding.

It was more of a shift than I expected.

It didn't help that going to the funeral made me feel older. Of my grandfather and his five siblings, only one is alive now, and she is in a home, suffering from demetia. Otherwise, there is only my great uncle's wife, whom we hardly see because it is difficult for her to travel. Chances are, at this year's Passover sedder, my parents will be a part of the oldest generation there. So that felt weird, to be so aware of that transition. To think that there are only two left of my grandfather's generation, and then it is my parents' generation that becomes the oldest. It's scary to lose that layer of insulation.

And then, of course, I went to a wedding. So that made me feel single. Feeling the two back-to-back was not the juxtaposition I neeed at the moment...

That having been said, it was a beautiful wedding. There was real klezmer music, and at the end, the musicians played in the center of the circle, like something out of a painting.

And now my candles are burning low, and once they go out, I can go get ready for bed. Oh, and they look pretty too. :)
taylweaver: (Default)
Supplies:

- 1 set reusable Chanukah oil cups (size 7 - yes, there are sizes)
- 1 set Chanukah wicks (the long kind that reach all the way to the bottom of the cup - the ones you're supposed to put in the metal thing that sits on the bottom of the cup - only the store was out of those)
- 8 tealights (10 if you want a shamash)
- 8 paperclips - the thin gold ones (9 if you want a shamash)
- a pair of scissors

To actually light, you will also need:
- oil (in surprisingly small quantities)
- water (optional)
- a candle to light with
- some way to light the candle
- scissors

Cost: about $10

- oil cups: $6 at the local (expensive) Judaica store
- wicks: $2 (same store)
- tea lights: I want to say you can get 100 for $5 (which is to say we already own large quantities), which means 10 for 50 cents. Or buy a box of 10 for about $1 to $1.50
- paperclips: I already had them, but I am guessing $1? $1.50? Or scrounge around your home/school/office

Instructions, etc. )

And as for why I am so crazy...

So you know that wooden Chanukiah I own? The one that sometimes catches fire? Yeah, that one. Well, I need to replace it and there was nothing for less than $30 in the expensive local Judaica store, and nothing I liked for less than $60.

And you know those free Chanukah candles I got at Hebrew school? The ones that are supposed to burn for long enough? Well, that's all well and good - when there isn't a massive draft! So this left me with 3 options:

- light away from the window (and thus the draft) so that the candles actually make it past the 20 minute mark. Ideally, past the 30 minute mark, since that's how long they need to burn. But that would mean not lighting by a window, and I like lighting by a window.

- buy the fancy expensive candles that burn for an hour and a half. (I tried a new set of candle that turned out to be the same as my free ones. And uglier too. Silly waste of $6...) Plus, I am not sure the fancy expensive ones would have fared much better. They were burning so quickly I could see them getting shorter!

- try lighting with oil, since burning for longer just involves adding more oil.

And that was how all of this began...

Halfway full of water, my candles still made it to - and past - the 30 minute mark. In a weak draft, they made it to 40. (I am concerned that a stronger draft would have blown them out entirely, but I am hoping I don't get to find out.)

And so that is how you make your own Chanukiah for under $10.

Use at your own risk.

Happy Chanukah.
taylweaver: (Default)
It was a very *good* umbrella. Its blue and white panels brightened the dimness of a rainy day. The logo of the local public school served as a reminder that, as a teacher, I am appreciated, and that some things in life really *are* free. It held up to many storms and drizzles, windy and otherwise, and when it got turned inside out, it always managed to get itself facing inside in again, with few if any scars. It held up well for a year and a half.

Then, the bottom of the handle came off.

The most common cause of umbrella death seems to be a detached metal vein - often two or three, as some umbrellas are hardy enough to continue on with only one broken. Sometimes, the veins snap; other times, they just pull away, leaving the cloth to flop uselessly about, sometimes above the unlucky owner's now sodden head.

Once, I had an umbrella die of old age. After a number of years of use, the fabric began to develop holes, until one became large enough to let water drip inside. These holes probably came from too many scrapes against the rough surface of the subway platform. That is my guess.

But this umbrella died differently. It lost the bottom of its handle, the plastic part with the grip, and also the button that caused the umbrella to open.

Obviously, it was a unique umbrella, in its death as well as in its life. I will miss it.

And now, since it is raining, I need to go out and buy a new one.
taylweaver: (Default)
because I should have gone to bed earlier last nite...

Anyway, need this out of my head, so I am putting into all of yours:

This little piggy played the market
This little piggy lost his home
This little piggy bought on credit
This little piggy had none
And this little piggy cried ee! ee! ee! - he can't get loans

And that is all.

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taylweaver

April 2012

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