Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Arches of Rabbinal Literature


Think evocative here. This photo, taken by my brother, is actually from Fort Point, an old fort that I had never heard of, practically right under the Golden Gate bridge.

But the arches could be Roman and the reflections in the water suggest lost worlds outside of our view.  Ancient worlds but still our worlds nonetheless.

My Rabbinical Literature class has ramped up since even 10 days ago.  We've gotten into the actual talmuds, both the Palestinian Talmud (called Yerushalmi) and the better known and better developed Babylonian Talmud (called Bavli) which are so huge and complicated.  Even looking at very small parts has overwhelmed me.  As usual, the passages don't mean what they say but the exact words they do say are important.  How to interpret them?  Hidden references.  Names of tannaim rabbis are quoted but one article I read meantioned that's not really what that rabbi said, maybe he could have said it, but it must be different and distinct than the other named opinions in any one section.  Then there's plenty of back and forth questions and unnamed opinions which can be attributed to the generations of later Stammaim rabbis.  And we didn't even go over the format of the talmud page except to know that it is commentary on the mishnah for first 14 lines or so and then the commentary starts.  Rashi (from the 11th century) is on the inside.

People (mostly men) studied this in HUGE detail for years of their lives.

Then Aggadic Midrashim, stories based on biblical text.  So, if I wasn't confused before, I certainly am now.  So much to know about all this.  Just one more week in the quarter, can you believe it?

Monday, March 2, 2015

Mercury Gemini Apollo

When I was growing up, my parents insisted that we watch all of the manned space launches.  None could be missed.  Since they were usually early moring launches in Florida, it was real early in California.  We dragged ourselves out of bed and stared at the static image on the screen narrated breathlessly by Walter Cronkite.

I don't think every family did this.  But we saw every single darn blastoff.  Mercury, Gemini, Apollo were the names of the programs with Apollo being the one that went to the moon.

At the suggestion of my small writing group (originally dubbed Inner Circle now Poker Group) though we do not play Poker, I wrote a piece about watching the launch specifically the Apollo 11 launch.  There were some great transcripts and television versions available on the web.  Actually pretty fun to go through the actual countdown with the family watching.

10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 Liftoff!

The Apollo 11 rocket on it's launchpad 1969.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The biggest hit

I took this off a screenshot of a college softball tournament that Cal has played in this weekend.  Actually Cal won a squeaker against Longwood.  Not a team you would think would challenge Cal but that's why you play the games.

But it's just an illustration about the biggest hit that I ever saw.  In a college game.  Or any game.  Hit by the great Kristen Rivera 'Rico' who played catcher for the University of Washington.  I think it was 2005, ten years ago already.

In the picture, you can see the outfield fence in sections with blue and white paint on them.  Those sections are taller than the players.  You have to hit the ball pretty hard to clear the fence.  Though Susanna did it once in 2007.

Behind the outfield fence probably 10 or 20 feet back are four very tall poles.  Notice how much taller those poles are compared to the outfield fence.  Netting is strung on those poles up to the top.  I assume that to ensure that no hit balls go into the tennis courts below.

U Oregon softball played a tournament there in 2005.  Usually a pac 12 team would not face another pac 12 team in a pre-season tournament.  But in this case, Oregon did play Washington.  Kristen Rivera was a feared hitter and she had been walked all weekend.  Our pitcher Lindsey who threw a lot of junk pitches, pitched to her.  A change-up fattie and Rico unloaded on that ball.

And it went over the netting on the poles.  The biggest hit I have ever seen.  One of those that you say is still going.  Or as one dad said "That one looks like it has stewardesses on it!"

The stadium went quiet and everybody gave her a standing ovation.  What a hit!  The Jacksonville girls were sitting in front of me and they could not believe what they were seeing.  Finally one of the players piped up, "That's my next at bat!"

But where's the scoreboard in right field?  Susanna hit her home run off the scoreboard.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Ninety in Ninety

That's AA talk for Ninety Meeting in Ninety Days. I'm not participating in a substance recovery program.  Maybe, just maybe, my blood pressure is lower when I go to swimming.  Plus I was traumatized by the nearly six week closure of my pool.  I did not adjust well to the other pools in my area, too dark and too cold.

I've been going a lot more.  Trying to figure out the daytime schedule. If it can have a good effect on my blood pressure, I'm thinking it's a good thing.  I do like going during the day as the light is very good in there.

Though at one time, earlier this afternoon, I was sharing the small deep end with 15 other people, mostly kids!

Friday, February 27, 2015

My mother's yahrzeit


Can you believe that it's been five years since my mother passed away?  Wow.

But she died Feb 21, 2010, so there you go.

In some Jewish traditions, the death of a family member is observed as a yahrzeit.  The Kaddush, the memorial prayer, is done at the end of every Shabbat service.  At the end of the prayer, the names of those commemorated are read.  The rabbi usually encourages congregation members to call out names of others.

We will go to a local reform congregation.  We are not members.  However I called the office and asked for my mothers name to be read.  I then will give a monetary donation, not necessary but customary.  My mother would want me to do that.  She always gave money to the rabbi's discretionary fund.  I don't know why.

Sometimes, a yarzeit is also observed by a special kind of candle (pictured) though I don't think I've done that.  Really, it should have been done last week but I had some treatment that day.  My brother and sister were together in the Bay Area, I thought they might do it, but they didn't.  So I will observe it this evening accompanied by my husband, my daughter Susanna and maybe Megan.

I've done it for my mother these last years.  My father died 8 years ago on April 19.  I'm conflicted with that as it's my birthday.  I don't think there was a particular reason or intention that his death happened that day, it just did.  I should probably do it for him also.

New rabbi over at Beth Am.  I would go there occasionally.  They used to have a dynamic married couple as rabbis.  I liked them; I didn't realize how much they added until last I went and they weren't there.  They now have a new rabbi.  Music has always been very important to this congregation.  They have an early acoustic music shabbat....6:15.  The idea is that families would attend a short shabbat service and then go home and have shabbat dinner at home.  That's not going to quite work but an interesting idea.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Framed Certificates


Dennis got Susanna's diploma for her masters degree and her certificate of registration framed.  A real Occupational Therapist.  She's already got a 3 month job in a Skilled Nursing facility.  Whoo hoo!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I was not the only one


I had lunch with my friend Trina today; she's the same age as me.  I asked her if she had been frightened about nuclear war.  She said that she been very scared as a child.  Every time she heard a plane fly overhead, she would think that the bombs were coming.  She lived on the east coast not too far from New York City.  She said the local department store in her town had a displaying everything that you would need to outfit a fallout shelter.  Right in the front of the store.  Her grandparents lived two doors down; she thought maybe they had a fallout shelter that she would go to.

But she definitely felt the fear.  Interesting that when I've asked others if they worried, most have that they didn't think about it; didn't feel afraid, were not worried.

A 1952 picture of a well-appointed fallout shelter......

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Mothers' fears

Is that my kid's feet?  Hanging over some huge ledge and cliff?  Aaaack!

We never outgrow it.  Yes, those are Naomi's feet and she's somewhere in the Grand Canyon.  From her first trip she took there on her own.

But still, it's scary.  It doesn't matter that she's 25 years old.  Get away from there!  Get back!  Knock it off!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Life among the nukes


This next project is coming to me; as usual circling around the material.  I'm still working on Maier Zunder; I'm still working on parent group stuff.

But, time to circle back to memoir.  I want to create a triptych, a three section piece with a common theme and also an arc. 

Life among the Nukes

which would include

My nuclear war piece
Parts of my San Gabriel Valley Piece
Watching the space launches

It could work.  I'm feeling it.

I have an opening sentence


I spent my early life among the nukes; I just didn’t know it.
ending with watching the tiny specks of the spacecraft disappearing into the sky.  I'm looking around, haven't seen anything quite like it.