Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Power of Green

Earlier this week on, I wrote a short piece entitled “The Power of Greene,” about the benefits of Reform Jewish summer camp. This piece is about a different power of green – house plants.

By no stretch of the imagination do I have even the tiniest bit of a green thumb. If I water a plant and it thrives, great. Otherwise, it dies and that’s the end of it. See that plant up there on the left? Two friends brought it with them on a visit to see me at Lenox Hill Hospital in December of 2007. Back then I spent 21 hours in the ER and three more days in that lovely bed and breakfast before the docs let me go home, only to come back a few weeks later to have my gallbladder out. Actually, "bed and breakfast" is somewhat of a misnomer since there definitely was a bed, but most definitely no breakfast, just a big sign outside the door of my room that said NPO, which stands for Nil Per Os in Latin and in English means no bagel or coffee.

But I digress. Back to the plant... At the time, even though it was the dead of winter, the plant had big purple fluffy flowers on it. I think they might have been hyacinths, but I’m really not sure.

When I got home from the hospital, the flowers dried up and died so I cut them off. But, there still was a teeny-tiny bit of green in the pot, so I stuck it on a window sill, watered it when I remembered, and went about my business. I had my gallbladder out, vegged out at home for a week, went back to work, went back to school and went on with my life. That plant, however, didn’t do much of anything. In fact, that plant didn’t do much of anything for more than a year.

That is, until two weeks ago. Two weeks ago, it exploded. As though I was watching time lapsed photography, the few leaves it had seemed to grow before my eyes and new ones sprouted from the soil as if by magic. It seems so robust and healthy these days that I wouldn’t be surprised if some of those big purple fluffy flowers start showing up in the pot soon.

In the meantime, whether or not they do, I am awed by this plant, by the power of green, by the rebirth of the earth – even in a small plastic pot in my apartment in Gotham – and by the eternal promise of springtime and new beginnings.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Little Like the Butcher

No, I haven't forgotten about my blog, but, like the butcher who backed into the meat grinder, I've gotten a little behind in my work here. (I know, that was bad!) However, it's not far from the truth. Between the wedding in Tulsa over the weekend (that's the groom there on the left), and the economics midterm tonight, I haven't had a minute free for writing. I promise to get back to it in the next few the weekend for sure.

In the meantime, here are some not-so-great photos from the weeekend in the midwest. The wedding could not have been nicer and it was good to get away, to hang with friends (old and new), and to celebrate the promise of a new beginning.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Comfort Music

Today was perhaps one of the most difficult days of my professional life. Although I still have my job, many of my friends and colleagues at the Union for Reform Judaism were not so lucky. “Sad” and “emotionally exhausted” don’t even begin to scratch the surface of how we – individually and collectively – feel.

And so I’ve turned to “comfort music.” Pouring from my iTunes tonight as I go about the chores of the evening are the ballads of Billy Joel, Barry Manilow, the Carpenters and Harry Chapin, among others. And, although the songs can’t take away all the pain (or substitute for my favorite comfort foods -- chocolate pudding and mac and cheese), I do know all the words, can sing along (off key and loudly!), and, even if just for a little while, escape to simpler days and happier times.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Wedding Gift Woes

Having spent a fair bit of time in the last few days on Bloomingdale’s wedding registry web site and in an IM chat room with two friends trying to decide upon a we’re-going-in-on-it-together wedding gift for two other friends who are getting married next weekend in Oklahoma, I was interested to read this article in today’s Style section of the New York Times.

The groom is a regular reader of this blog so I can’t reveal the various gifts we’re choosing among, but in the next few days, my friends and I definitely need to make a decision and purchase the gift. I know…technically, we have a year, but I’m a yekke (which basically means that I believe that things are meant to be done in a certain order, and that's the order in which I do them!) and before I board that Tulsa-bound plane on Friday, I want “wedding gift” to be crossed off the “to do” list.

Stay tuned for progress on our decision and the runners up, and perhaps a post or two from the Sooner State…if I decide to schlep my computer.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Stress Stole the Muses

A pulled back muscle, an expired ATM card, a chipped filling, the tragic death of a teen in the Reform Jewish community and a little stress in the office, where 20 percent of the staff is to be laid off in the next few weeks all seem to have stolen the muses from my soul this week.

On the good news front, the latest issue of Reform Judaism magazine is hot off the press. Take a browse through...including the new section, “News and Views of Reform Jews,” which includes my first-ever article in the magazine, Action: Blueprints for Green Living.