Showing posts from December, 2009

December 31st, it is.

Yes, it's the end of another year the LORD has granted me, and you as well, if you are reading this post. A great time for reflection and introspection, to be sure.

A lot of things rocked our nation this year, and the tremors are still reverberating. I'm hopeful that things will continue to get better financially for the seemingly floundering United States. I praise the Master that I'm not in charge of where this ship is headed, y'know? We have done our part to boost retail sales (!!) and with the road trip planned for this coming spring, we will be helping the travel industry, as well. It's nice to think that, in some small way, we are helping to restart the economy. *smile*

On a personal level, this past 12 months have been pretty busy. Of course, we all know how fast time goes as you age, and I am definitely finding that to be true. The months zoom by, consumed by the weekly schedule of school and Shabbat. All the festivals are a blur in my mind; I'…

Doin' our part to boost the economy.

So, the bulk of the holiday obligations are over - whew...I made it! The feeling of having Hanukkah and Christmas behind me is fabulous. I usually end up with a little cash in my pocket, and with less people in the malls and more free time for a sanity break, I'm a happy girl. Baruch HaShem!

I suggested a girls-day-out last Sunday for a little letterboxing and photography, with some shopping thrown in just for good measure - how nice! Lisa, Netanya and I ended up in Olympia on a sweet little trail that was in all it's winter glory. Everything was frosted with ice crystals, the lake was frozen enough to make lovely patterns on the water and we hiked at a pretty good pace because we were absolutely freezing! We were unable to snag that box, but were very happy to have found that little loop trail. In the spring and summer it must be glorious and may require another visit. We were more successful finding a couple other boxes, luckily, even running into some newbies for a l…


I admit it, I have been a holiday snob.

I also admit that I do not want to celebrate Christmas. Don't get me wrong, I love the Messiah, and want to honor his birth. But we all know full well that December 25th is not even close to when he was born. Interestingly, some scholars would affirm that his birth was probably closer to Sukkot (the last of the fall biblical festivals). Besides, much to the dismay of Christians everywhere, Christmas in it's modern form isn't all about the birth of the Jesus.

I'm not here to convince anyone of when Jesus, or Yeshua, was born. Likewise, I'm not here to talk about all the syncretism that has found it's way into the celebration of Christmas, such as trees, wreaths, mistletoe, etc., although all these things bother me a great deal.

In reality, I can choose what to celebrate or not, based upon my faith. However, that does not change the fact that a lot of my well-meaning friends and acquaintances celebrate, even revel in, C…

Required Calendars

So, as everyone else puts up pics of their delicious Christmas cookies and gingerbread houses, I am stuck at the computer. You see, when my children were much smaller, I started a tradition that I was unaware would become an annual requirement; calendar production.

I started off just choosing 12 photos to become the photo page for the personalized calendars that you can have printed at various copy stores. Each month only had one photo, however, and that just wasn't gonna cut it for long.

After a couple of years of the one-photo-per-page type, I decided to create my own collages to have the copy store produce into my annual calendars. They happily did that, but I still was not completely satisfied...wasn't there a way I could produce these things on my own?

The next year I set out to do just that, purchasing photo/graphics software (The Print Shop), ink and paper so I could make the calendars just as I wished. A comb-binder is also a must (and can be quite expensive), so I…

The Slideshow Saga

I have been attempting to create a slide show to share with family this year. This is my first attempt using the free Microsoft download Photo Story 3. (This download worked perfectly with Windows 7, despite the fact that MS stated it was for XP.)

This program was fairly easy to use, even though I had a little trouble getting the right music attached. When I had it the way I wanted it, the slide show had to be exported to a DVD creator-type program to burn to DVD. No problem, as I had Windows DVD Maker already on my computer (how handy). Unfortunately, when I excitedly tried to play the newly burned DVD, I was not happy with the results - the photos were very pixelated even though they were fairly high resolution photos.

So, since this one didn't work, I am off to find another option. I have found another download that I am working with, and so far it has incredible results. It's not a free download, but the $60 price tag may be worth it if the results are exactly what I …

Winter Blessing

"LORD, is it possible to see some sunshine this morning? It would be so nice, since it's been so gray and dreary the past few days. It would sure help me today, since it's gonna be such a long day with lots of things to accomplish and people to serve..."

view out my kitchen window

Blessed are You, LORD our G-d, King of the Universe, who sees fit to answer the prayer of your humble servant. Thank you.

I cannot ask for more.

The Festival of Lights

By all means, then, let us have psalms
and days of dedication anew to the old causes.
~Charles Reznikoff

Fourth Night Meditation

In the midst of the festival hustle, not to mention the regular duties and obligations of my life, I long for peace. I look for the deeper emotional connection that resides outside the realms of the practical, the factual. I strive to let go of self and worrisome problems, and dwell in that place of quiet meditation that allows me to drink deeply of the spiritual truths of the One who controls all things. For it is only when I am quiet and still that can I breathe in the peace that passes all understanding. I selfishly desire this for myself, for it is true that we can only give what we indeed possess.

A Fourth Night Meditation Thus said God the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what it brings forth, who gave breath to the people upon it and life to those who walk thereon: I the Lord, in My grace, have summoned you, and I have taken you by the hand I created you, and appointed you a covenant people, a light to the nation…

Second Night

If you haven't had the pleasure of hearing children singing this holiday season, here's your chance! This is our sweet little kids choir on our second night of Hanukkah this year.

Come can this not make you smile?

And the celebration continues...

The First Night

The miracle, of course, was not that the oil for the sacred light -
in a little cruse - lasted as long as they say;
but that the courage of the Maccabees lasted to this day:
let that nourish my flickering spirit.
~Charles Reznikoff

A Daily Read

Do you read the newspaper?

My parents, as far back as I can remember, always read the newspaper while enjoying their cup of coffee and breakfast banter. Reading specific writers, editorials, obits and horoscopes were staples in my growing up household. Not me, though; I never could get the hang of how to hold the newspaper so my arms wouldn't get tired.

I know newspaper subscriptions are falling to dangerously low levels, at least dangerous for the newspaper companies. I'm sure the writers have found additional venues to feature their skills in addition to their 'day job' at the papers, but I think more and more papers will be nothing more than a memory in the coming decade.

So, do people still have a daily read? If not the newspaper, what? I suspect it's their personalized blog roll.

Anyone who has a blog, or even reads blogs on any kind of regular basis, has a list of favorites they like to peruse each time they have a minute on the Internet. I have a wide vari…

Getting ready...

gelt & an Israeli dreidel

At the writing of this post, it is only 5 more days until Hanukkah! I particularly like this holiday because it's eight nights of family, friends, good food, and good times.

To get ready, I only have a few things to get in order:

Break out the hanukkiot (menorahs) and get them wax-free (from last year) and polished up.

Make sure we have enough candles - a full box of Hanukkah candles for each hanukkiah (we have five to light each night!) Oh, and I can't forget the blessings for each night...

Purchase potatoes, onions and peanut oil for yummy latkes! Sour cream and applesauce go with them, too. Mmmmmm.....

Gather all the dreidels that are scattered around the house. (I love the ones I brought home from Israel.) Gelt is needed, too...better grab those from shul.

Collect and organize all the recipes for yummy appys I will be making and taking when we visit friends - it's easier if all the ingredients are purchased ahead, that's for sure.


Cause for Celebration?

Well, the long awaited announcement has come - THE convention to end all conventions for Star Wars fans, Star Wars Celebration V is going to be held in sunny Orlando, Florida, August 12 - 15, 2010.

Star Wars geeks around the world have been waiting, saving their money and daydreaming of this convention since Celebration IV. And those of us that were unable to make it to IV were hoping against hope that we would be able to make it to V.

So, what would it take for me, a humble Star Wars fan in Washington State, to attend Celebration V? Let's break it down:
Just to get to Florida is going to cost about $400 in airfare, not counting the extra baggage fees for bringing whatever costume(s) you will be sporting at the event.
Car rental to get you from the airport to the hotel and then to the venue, including parking, is going to run you about $50/day.A four-day pass to the spectacular is going to cost $120. That gets you into all the exhibits, halls, panels, workshops and autograph lines …


Nothing is wrong...except that it is cold.

Oh, I suppose it could be colder. I must just have a low tolerance for the winter chill. It has begun in earnest, the stumbling over the keyboard that happens when my fingers are just not as nimble as when they are warm.

Everything is great...only it's grey and oppressive. At least it is in my head. Do strong people get depressed? Surely not. I have been threatening the purchase of a sunlight lamp in hopes of beating the winter blues thing. But, how can I explain my melancholy when it's sunny and clear outside? I was even out in it earlier, but it just didn't seem to brighten my view.

I'm content...except for those little naggy issues of criticism and judgment that seem to keep hangin' around. Ah well, they are just going to have to be ignored, I suppose. If I ignore them long enough, will they give up and go away?

I'm thankful for the day...but this time of year is not the best for me. Every year I slump into a…