Saturday, September 28, 2013

Shakespeare in the Park ... in Dallas

Our very own "Youth Group" watching the warm up action on stage!
Last night our Commuter Family attended Shakespeare in the Park at Samuell-Grand Park. We along with about 25 others were guests of a generous friend, Shakespeare Patron. Each season Shakespeare Patron invites friends to bring their kids and enjoy this amazing venue. Shakespeare Patron provides seating as well as scrumptious food and drink. We just have to show up. These outings fall into my favorite nights of the year in Dallas. Our Shakespeare Patron simply wants to share her love of Shakespeare and hopefully inspire our kids.

The delicious menu of homemade items included potato salad, salmon sandwiches, cheese & pesto sandwiches, berry fruit bowls, cheese & crackers, deviled eggs, hummus & pita, dipping veggies, nuts, cookies, organic sodas, wine and beer
The play was The Winter's Tale which is tragedy, romance and comedy. It is an uneven play but seemed to have something for everyone. It is definitely bawdy in places. The naughty dance of shirtless men with sheep horns and a carrot strategically placed around their waist brought grins to young and old!
Youngest Son and Oldest Son eat and drink while waiting for The Winter's Tale to begin.
Go to Shakespeare Dallas - the acting and productions are impressive and fun!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Simcah Torah - Full Circle for Oldest Son

Oldest Son prepares to read in Hebrew from Exodus. As his parent, I was one of the Torah scroll holders.
Tonight we celebrated Simcah Torah. This Jewish holiday marks the end of the annual cycle of weekly Torah readings. Each year we start with Genesis and tonight we read the last Torah portion of Deuteronomy.

Every Simcah Torah, our Temple chooses to honor children who have started Religious School, 5 and 6 year olds,  as well as the 13 year olds who have had their B'nai Mitzvah during the past Jewish year. I looked upon the sweet faces of those eager, excited young children receiving their blessing. I thought of my own Oldest Son eight years ago who was proudly receiving his own mini-Torah to mark the occasion.
Oldest Son looks out on the gathering crowd consisting of many energetic youngsters. 
On this night, the Torah was rolled out from end to end - what a sight! Oldest Son and 29 other teenagers lined up all along the scroll with their yads, a Torah pointer. Each boy and girl reads in Hebrew (no transliterations) from the portion of the Torah from their B'nai Mitzvah date. Wrapped in his Tallit, Oldest Son read from Exodus reflecting his Torah portion from December 31, 2012.

And the last official ritual of Oldest Son's Bar Mitzvah experience is complete. A Mommy tear drops.

Then, there was music and dancing and food and smiles. Simcah Torah literally means "Rejoicing in the Torah."
Youngest Son dances around the Torah with the Rabbi and his friends - see the band?
Youngest Son replies to me when I announce it is time to leave "Wait Mommy, I want to hold the Torah!"

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Cancer Influences

My non-life threatening breast cancer intensified my mid-life priorities. There were many things on my "I have got to do that" list. I have actioned some of the good health ones.

Last year, I drank coffee ALL day long. Crazy amounts of coffee. This year, I drink one cup every morning. I am so happy my caffeine intake has gone down. And I really savor that one cup. I literally drink every single drop.

Last year, my exercise regimen was nil. This year, I am walking several days a week - often every day. I have started to introduce running into my week. I even got to the yoga studio once. I have been consciously taking it slow to not over tax my body. My Walking Buddies have been key to helping me stay on track and have loads of fun too. They are quite entertaining.

Last year, my weight was creeping up and my clothes did not fit well. This year, I have lost several of those extra pounds and am working my way down to my ideal weight. I am focused on portion control and organic, healthy food choices. I always think of my Special Turkish Friend (Mrs. T) when grocery shopping. Youngest Son says "what would Mrs. T do?" Apparently Mrs. T taught him not to purchase anything with ingredients you cannot pronounce! MyFitnessPal and RunKeeper iPhone apps have also helped keep me focused. Thanks to the Apps Queen for hooking me in!

We try to buy most of our food from Sprouts which is a local grocery store that stocks lots of organics.
Honestly, these things are not easy for me as a full-time working consultant, single mother during the week, weekend wife and committed friend. There is another worrisome list of things that just do not get completed as I would like. However, my mental health is better when my physical health is optimal. Perhaps that is the real goal.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sukkot Erev

Commuter Husband & Oldest Son put up our Sukkah last Sunday but it is not decorated yet.
This year's Sukkot Erev is eerily quiet. Commuter Husband is in Houston. Oldest Son is on the 8th Grade Camp Out. Youngest Son is preoccupied with his Student Forum speech and homework and a new book. I am super busy with a work project.

Sukkot is one of my favorite holidays ... usually. We invite company over to share a leisurely meal as the sun sets and strings of lights twinkle around us. We say prayers and shake the lulav. Kids run around. This is what we typically do on Sukkot Erev.

Tonight, Youngest Son and I did share pizza in the Sukkah. Sadly all four members our Commuter Family will not be able to have dinner together in the Sukkah until Sunday - in four days! Then there are only 3 days left.

This year, I need to focus the quality of days not quantity of days. And I have some ideas for those days we do have ...
Yes we are one of those families that puts up colored lights! No other decorations quite yet.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sunday with army men et al

Youngest Son's Army Men surround the (1) antique box from India I gave Commuter Husband when we were dating, (2) Oldest Son's Bar Mitzvah Book, (3) a fossil from Commuter Husband's keepsakes, (4) precious custom art gifted from an even more special friend, (5) Israeli pottery shards, (6) Youngest Son's hand crafted metal Shofar blower from Yad Lakashish in Jerusalem and (7) hand woven coasters from our Mexico stay all resting on (8) the chest from my Granny's house.
Our Commuter Family lifestyle lends itself to constant motion. Our Summer was continuous movement. I tend to be an adrenaline experience junkie so when "things" settle down I can often feel lost at first.
10:30am Sunday Morning
Our ranch house has a large front room with two bay windows overlooking the neighborhood greenbelt. This room has been configured many ways over the last 17 years. Currently, we have an antique rectangular dining table and the boys' desks. In this room, our family settled today.

Commuter Husband sat at one end of the dining table with a laptop calculating our quarterly taxes. I placed myself at the opposite end with two laptop computers where I multi-tasked on household items on my Apple and work tasks on my Dell. Oldest Son sat at his desk with his laptop completing his English assignment.

Youngest Son, having completed his homework, got busy setting up his Army men all around us. My favorite part of the morning was listening to him strategize under his breath as he disappeared into his childhood world - physically beside us but deep into his imagination.

12:00pm Sunday Midday
Commuter Husband and Youngest Son warm up Rosh Hashanah roast leftovers and cut up apples to dip in honey. Oldest Son practices his summer reading book speech while I time him on my iPhone stop watch. Then, the four of us gather around our kitchen table to share lunch. I never, ever take for granted these moments around the table.

1:30pm Sunday Afternoon
Youngest Son naps recovering from a new friend's sleepover birthday party. Oldest Son opens the New York Times to peruse the sports page. Commuter Husband finishes laundry and heads down the hall to get in the shower. I focus on getting ready for Commuter Husband's 54th birthday which we will celebrate this Sunday Evening (one day early since Commuter Husband will be in Houston tomorrow.)

3:30 Sunday Afternoon
After returning from grocery store, Commuter Husband takes Youngest Son to Temple to practice Shofar for Yom Kippur. Oldest Son is working with his writing coach. I am writing this blog.

The rhythms of this typical Sunday help me to adjust to the daily life of work, school, kids, spouse, house, friends, etc. I will try to not be distracted by my next idea or game plan or humanitarian cause but I will not be entirely successful. I will be conscious that balance IS important for me and my family. I will also have a sense of acceptance coupled with humor. Mostly though, I will appreciate these moments on this typical Sunday.