Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Empathy is the Invisible Hand

Class, your homework for today:

Rethink the human narrative.

Prepare the groundwork for an empathic civilization.




The video is Jeremy Rifkin: The Empathic Civilization. I saw it here originally.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Band-Aids are Toddler Crack

So about a week and a half ago SchmoopyBoy gave himself a paper cut while flipping through the pages of what is currently his favorite book. A big boy book with real paper pages - one of his first. It was a doozy of a cut. A flap of skin, blood - not pretty. So of course I washed it with soap and water and put a band-aid on it.

Thus was his initiation into the world of band-aid addiction.

Every bump, scratch, owie, or boo-boo must have a band-aid. Must. Have. A. Band-Aid.

And god-forbid you should present him with the wrong band-aid. I mean, really, the addiction is so bad that any plain boring brown band-aid will do. Most of the time. But, boy I tell ya, if he requests Woody and gets Buzz instead... Oh, the calamity.

Every night at bath time, as soon as it gets wet, at least one band-aid loses its stickiness and falls off. The level of catastrophe rivals the end of the world. The End Of The World I Tell You!!!

The child is inconsolable. The crying and carrying on does not even stop once he is out of the tub, dry, with fresh band-aids on every finger. Such is the hell he has just been forced to undergo, losing a precioussss. It takes time to recover from that sort of trauma. A bottle of milk. Lots of cuddles. A couple rounds of Night-Night, Little Pookie.

We are working on overcoming the addiction. On Sunday evening I got him down to two band-aids. Yesterday when I came home from work I saw there was only one. Very impressed I was, that Daddy was able to pull that one off (no pun intended).

What is the power of band-aids? What is their mystical, magical allure? Is there a small amount of addictive chemical embedded in the sticky tape? Should we storm all the drug stores and march on D.C. demanding answers to our probing questions - Why has my toddler morphed into a crazed addict starving for another fix? What is the government hiding about what's in those band-aids, really? Is the band-aid lobby so great that we are powerless to protect our children? Think about the children, for crying out loud, won't somebody think about the children?!!?!?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Daily Inspiration

Here is another gem I found in my Inbox this morning, courtesy of the Kabbalah Center. I haven't been there for years, but they are kind enough to not remove me from their "Daily Tune-Up" mailing list. Every so often one of their little blips makes me nod my head and say

Yeah.

This one did, so I thought I would share.

The biggest mistake you can make is to do nothing because you can only do a little.

Today, act on your impulses. Don’t second-guess yourself.


Yeah.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A New Year

A late happy Rosh Hashanah to all my Jewish readers out there!

hmm, why do I hear crickets in the background....

Every year since I moved to this town I have gone somewhere different for High Holiday Services. This is a notoriously bad time of year to go shul-shopping, and yet it seems to be my pattern. On one hand, you have all the people like me who only go to services once a year because it would just feel too weird to not go. So the dynamic in the congregation can be not quite as representative as the dynamic the rest of the year. On the other hand, at the most holy time of year, I would expect (hope?) the Rabbi to be at the Top of his or her Game, so to speak. The most Inspiring, the most Passionate, the most Unifying,the most Uplifting.

For the past 6 years I have been disappointed. Which is probably not all that surprising considering my non-traditional experience of spirituality, my overall mistrust of organized religion, heck my "issues" with the very word "God".

Nonetheless each year at this time I find myself driven to continue my quest for The Perfect Spiritual Community, which I have to confess I don't really believe exists in this town. Well, let me rephrase myself. I believe there have got to be other like-minded people with whom I could share community, but I don't know where or how to find them.

This year, I have to say, I think I found something close. It's not a traditional congregation, per se - but a Fellowship - they don't have their own facility, it is run entirely by volunteers, and the Rabbi, from what little experience I have had with him to date, is GREAT! He's funny. He's a goofball. He is a passionate speaker, whose words pull and tug at the heartstrings. No papers to be read from, no standing on the pulpit. Just walking among the front of the room, pouring out bowls of passion to nourish a room full of hungry souls. And we devoured it hungrily and thankfully, with nodding heads and tear-filled eyes.

The prayer book was the traditional Reformed Jewish High Holiday prayerbook, which, eh, doesn't impress me so much. I got the impression from a few passing comments that the Rabbi is also not wholly impressed with it, but he did explain why he follows the tradition from those who have come before him, which I suppose I can appreciate.

There are a couple of Rosh Hashanah traditions that I never knew about growing up, which surprises me considering I grew up attending a Conservative Jewish Synagogue regularly and attended 5 years of Hebrew School 3 days a week. One of these traditions is Tashlich - the symbolic casting off of all the 'crap' accumulated over the past year into a body of water. I like the way Mel from Stirrup Queens described it this year.
And then we all sat down and thought about our year and what we didn’t want to bring with us into this next year. We squeezed those thoughts into rocks and threw the rocks towards the middle of the river.

I've got a lot that I don't want to bring with me into this new year. Wires and beeping machines in a hospital room, and a not-unconscious hand that didn't want to let go. An ultrasound probe in my vagina and a silent, unmoving blob. Loss. Death. Grief. Although Rosh Hashanah has passed, I am tempted to drag the J-Man and SchmoopyBaby out this coming Sunday to Lake Mead, or maybe to Red Rock if all the water isn't dry after a dismal monsoon season. Better late than never, right?

The other tradition that I can't believe I never heard of until I read about it on Stirrup Queens is eating a pomegranate. In all my 37 years, I had never heard of the concept of first fruits and eating a pomegranate at the end of the first day of Rosh Hashanah! What's up with that?! Hey Mom - why you holding out on me?! Mel described it like this back in 2007:
Tomorrow night, technically the second night of the holiday since it starts at sundown tonight, a pomegranate is served as the traditional first fruit. Some Jews believe that the pomegranate contains 613 seeds, the same number as commandments (or mitzvot) in the Torah. As much as we groove on those mitzvot as much as the next Jew, we eat pomegranates for a different reason. We’re trying to get pregnant.

You see, the pomegranate is a symbol of fertility, and eating pomegranates has been adopted by infertile women as a way to ensure good fertility in the coming year. Gee, this little tidbit of trivia couldn't have come at a better time!

Will eating a piece of fruit and throwing a rock into a river ensure that I achieve a healthy, successful pregnancy? My mathematician's brain tells me "No, don't be ridiculous". But will it give me hope? Will it give me healing? Will it give me comfort just knowing that I am doing something to pass the down the heritage of my now-dead father to my son?

Maybe.

And wouldn't it be worth it for that alone?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Picture Thursday

OK, not quite wordless wednesday, but its close cousin. ;)

Here are some pictures from our Labor Day weekend California getaway. Of course, it included a trip to beach. Unfortunately it also included SchmoopyBoy coming down with a cold.

Cousins - Hey SchmoopyBoy, what's with the face?!


With Mommy - what the heck am I doing exposing my pasty skin to the beach world?


While Auntie Shu-Shie is trying to take a picture


Busy with sand


Our last day, a sick SchmoopyBoy with Grandma, Mom, and Auntie LaLa

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Update

Well, I’m feeling better this week. My oldest and dearest friend came out to visit for my birthday last weekend. It was great to see her and get some girl time. Plus no one has said anything to my face to trigger my fury this week so far, so I haven’t felt the need to go off on any foul-mouthed rages in real life or online :)

We’re taking a road trip to California this weekend for the holiday. Ever since I told SchmoopyBoy about our upcoming trip, he’s been requesting to go to the beach. Fortunately, a beach day has been in the plan all along. The last several trips we’ve made out there the weather has been horrible, so hopefully we’ll finally get lucky with some mild weather so we can go to the beach and have some fun. My sister-in-law is taking her kids Laguna Beach this weekend too, so we’ll meet up with them while we’re there.

I was hoping to post another recipe this week, but the one I thought would be good ended up not turning out quite as interesting as I had hoped. So you’ll have to wait until I tweak the flavoring and get it right for that one. In the meantime eat well, sleep well, and have a great Labor Day weekend!