Thursday, April 16, 2009

More about this later...

You Are a Cougar

You have more strength than most people, and with it, the ability to inflict a lot of harm.

Your power gives you confidence, and you find leading others to be easy.

You believe that you need to the best, and you are very driven to excel.

Most people immediately admire you, but some people feel very envious of your abilities.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Off Guest Posting...

I'm over at Lilac Colored Glasses today, waxing philosophic on Belgium.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

There's a New Blog in Town

My friends, Charity Tahmaseb and Darcy Vance will be releasing their fabulous new YA book: The Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading on May 23rd. I saw the beginnings of this book in another incarnation, and I can't wait to read the final version.

Charity and Darcy are both extremely talented writers and have fabulous senses of humor, so for anyone who loves a good YA, you should be as excited as I am.

They also have a supporting blog that's great fun, and one of the items on that blog is this quiz, complete with cool give away. Here were my results - no surprise!

Your result for The What Kind of Geek Are You Test...


What kind of Geek Girl (or Guy) are you?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

"My Heart is with You"

Prayers are tricky things.

I never know what it really means to say to someone, "My prayers are with you". I know it means that the person wants to share love and concern with you and to provide support.

All of that is well and good and beautiful and is the way we should treat each other.

We live in such a diverse world, however, and how do we share that feeling when we don't really know what the recipient thinks of prayer?

My very secular friend has recently lost her secular mother and within days after her mother's death to cancer found out that her secular, 94-year-old father has esophageal cancer. Giving prayers to someone who doesn't believe in prayer becomes a sticky wicket.

I remember a time long ago when D and I received a letter from one of his cousins who was going off to do "mission" work. She was asking for money from all, and prayers from "good Christians". We were very involved with Judaism at the time; I even worked at one of the local synagogues. Her decision that my prayers weren't "good enough" was one of the most offensive things I've ever encountered.

Life can be capricious and random; on a global scale, my heart goes out the victims of the terrible earthquake in Italy, and especially to those who have not only lost their homes and loved ones, but in fact, their entire village and way of life. This is beyond imagining to me. On a local scale, a close relative in his 50s almost died this week when his bowel ruptured - despite the dire predictions of his medical team, he pulled through and is expected to go home in a few days. At the same time, within the same family, a beloved father is battling severe heart disease, maybe for the last time.

Life on my own end continues to be somewhat challenging if not dramatic - we're still getting my mother settled, I'm still trying to catch up with everything, and given a particularly nasty attack of arthritis, I'm moving slower than molasses. A good friend has been writing me back and forth and in her last e-mail she said, "My heart is with you".

"My heart is with you."

I loved that. There's no interpretation necessary. It doesn't need to be viewed with a religious lens. It doesn't need a cultural explanation. It's simple and it does the job beautifully.

So for all my friends and relatives facing challenges right now (and yes, there are sadly too many currently): my heart is with you.

Have a peaceful Tuesday.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

April Fools! It's April 2nd

I can't express how touched I was by all of the lovely messages about my hiatus.

I've spent the past month on the following things:

Moving my mother from NYC after she's spent 63 years of her life there. During 48 of those years she lived in the same apartment building. She still has many, many friends from her building, her block, the neighborhood; during her going away party she had neighbors, long time work friends, shopkeepers from the neighborhood, waiters and waitresses from a favorite neighborhood restaurant, grandchildren of friends.

An eighteen-year-old friend of hers came down from the Bronx, where she's now moved, and brought her homemade cupcakes the day the packers came.

At her last dinner out at her favorite neighborhood restaurant, she received impromptu tulips from a waiter who ran out to get them, a special dessert with a good luck message from the chef/owner and our whole meal on his partner brother.

The folks who worked in my mom's building are amazing. It's this lovely crew of guys we've known for years. One has a son exactly C's age (to the day) - we've compared pics, and our boys, over the years and passed on advice. A doorman in our building is a classically trained musician, was reading about Caravaggio as we left a week ago today, and we've exchanged facebook info, so we can keep in touch - he's going to pass my facebook stuff onto any of the other folks there, who I don't already have "friended". Everyone wants to keep in touch.

Mom's new place is great. The staff are wonderful - friendly, kind and so, so helpful. She's met some new friends and is happy to have a group to have dinner with. She loves seeing her tall, gangly grandson. She's getting used to actually living here in Ann Arbor.

And she still misses her friends all the time, I think.

On another note, I helped run an annual benefit to raise money for my son's high school theater program. It was an insane amount of work, and in the Michigan economy, we managed to clear $2000, but given the hundreds of ours a few of us spent, I'm not sure at this point I feel it was worth it. We have some new ideas for next year, and hopefully we'll have more than the skeleton crew we have this year. Is anyone else finding that it's hard to meet other volunteers these days?

I know we're all busy, but this country was founded on folks helping each other out - I think we need to start really looking at that.

It was also the planning period for where I teach, and believe it or not, my school year is also winding down. My students are checking in constantly with questions about last essays and creative projects, how to do better on tests in prep for the final exam. My classes are set for next year as long as I get the numbers: British Literature, Shakespeare and "Creative Writing 101" - a class for those who might like to write to try things out (everyone else welcome, too, of course).

And I owe some folks a recipe.

Well, this post was much longer than I'd planned. I'll be catching up on both reading and posting slowly - my mother's still very much in transition, I need to really FINISH some writing projects, and life just keeps rolling, rolling, rolling.

What have you all been up to over the past month? I hope it's been a good one.