Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Don’t Stop (Doing What You’re Doing): The Last in the 5771 #BlogElul Series

Graphic courtesy of Ima on (and off) the Bima
 This past weekend, I saw this Lowe’s commercial several times:

Besides loving the catchy music, I think it sums up the message of the High Holy Days—in a pop culture sort of way:  Keep doing the good things you do, make the most of the life you have, and never stop improving!

Shana tova umetukah!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pushing God Around

Thanks, as always, Phyllis
A few days ago, I received this Facebook message from a friend:
Wishing you the sweetest, most joyous, healthiest and most undramatic of years to come....  I would offer a prayer that you be inscribed for a good year but I think you've already pushed God out of the way and written it in yourself! (It's okay; I have it on good authority that God likes being pushed around by the likes of you.)
Yes, I suppose that in an effort to change the course of the rest of my life, I did push God around a bit during this last year.  (For any new readers out there, here’s the backstory:  Diagnosed in August of 2010 with a BRCA2 genetic mutation that significantly increases my lifetime risk of both breast and ovarian cancer, I underwent two major and potentially life-saving surgeries in 5771:  a total hysterectomy in December and a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy in July.)

Until my friend pointed it out, though, I never thought of my decision as a tussle with God.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  As I responded to him: 
As much as I may have pushed God out of the way to inscribe myself, She's been here with me throughout this entire ordeal.  Wishing you an equally terrific, happy, healthy and undramatic year.
And a shana tova u'metukah (a good and sweet year) to you, too, loyal readers.  See you in 5772…or maybe sooner!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Where's JanetheWriter?

Thanks, Rabbi Phyllis, for this graphic!
I'm exactly where I should be, and so is my #blogelul post.  Today, it's over here.  Check it out...and let me know what you think.  Thanks!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The People on the Bus Go Up and Down...

Photo:  MTA
Disclaimer:  The content of this blog post may not be suitable for all readers.  Reader discretion is advised.

Tonight I took a very bumpy bus ride home from a BRCA support group meeting at Mt. Sinai.  For the first time in my life, I was going up and down, but my, um, body parts weren’t.  The silver lining for sure…

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We Miss You. We Love You.

Dear The Mums,

As I write this letter, I’m also listening to the reading of names that is part of the 10th anniversary September 11th memorial service.  If you were here, I know you’d be watching and reliving your own harrowing September 11th adventure in your beloved city.

I’m not quite sure how you landed in the Big Apple without your cell phone on that day, but as I understand it, a too-small Kate Spade knock-off purse was the culprit.  As a result, not a September 11th goes by that I don’t think about Jean Abarbanel forking over all her loose change so you could call Daddy on a pay phone to keep him posted about your whereabouts.  Each year on this date, too, I think of you leaving 633 – you’d come in for the Union’s Executive Committee meeting -- and making your way clear across town to Amy’s apartment on 42nd Street between 10th and 11th avenues.  When your attempts to catch a cab were thwarted by others unwilling to share a ride, you began the long trek west – which was no small feat for you, even 10 years ago.  After a brief rest in Bryant Park, you continued on to The Armory, where you spent the night, Cooper constantly at your side.  When you finally made it home on Wednesday, you were, you said, glued to the television for days, not unlike that dark week in November of 1963.

On this solemn, milestone anniversary, our country – individually and collectively – remains stunned by the magnitude of evil expressed on that day and overwhelmed by the loss of innocent life even as we’re strengthened by the community, good works and hope it continues to engender.  You would like that.

The Mums, next Sunday we’ll honor and remember you as we unveil your gravestone.  But, what has been said hundreds and hundreds of times this morning about so many loved ones is equally true about you:  We miss you.  We love you.  You are ever on our minds and in our hearts.

~ Boo!  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Light in Our Lives: One In an Occasional #BlogElul Series

Thanks to Ima from Ima on (and off) the Bima
for this Blog Elul badge.
In today’s Jewel of Elul, Rabbi Jack Riemer, founding chair of the National Rabbinic Network writes:
Let us appreciate the light in our lives and thank God for it every day, especially at the beginning of every year, for that is when the sun and the moon finish their yearly cycles and start all over again.

And when we do, too.
Earlier today (at nearly seven weeks post-op), I saw the plastic surgeon for what felt like the umpteenth time, and tonight I am especially appreciative of these glimmers of light in my life:
  1. I'm going back to work (for at least part of the day) on Monday.
  2. Tonight, for the first time in seven weeks, I'm going to sleep on my stomach.
  3. I'll be doing so sans bra, although I will be wearing a gauzy, tube top thingy (that's the technical term) to hold a wound dressing in place. (Sorry if this is TMI for some of you, but after many weeks spent in spandex 24/7, this is something for which I am truly grateful!)
  4. Even the wound is healing--oh-so slowly.  It's a bit smaller than it was two weeks ago, and more and more granulation is visible almost daily.
  5. I don't need to see the plastic surgeon again until early October. I hope neither of us suffers from withdrawal in the interim!  ;-)
I’m feeling grateful for this progress, thankful for the tremendous care, concern and support I’ve received along the way, and more ready than ever to turn the page and continue this journey in 5772.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Mixing It Up For 5772

Thanks to Ima on (and off) the Bima for
this pretty "Blog Elul" badge
We’ve been worshipping at Temple Emanu-El in Edison, New Jersey, since children’s services during the High Holy Days in 5733.  That was way back in 1972, when Richard Nixon was in the White House, the Vietnam War raged and we watched it nightly on the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite, and Roberta Flack’s The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face was #1 on Billboard’s Year-End Hot 100 chart.

This year, we’re mixing it up just a little bit.

For the first time ever, my father will come into the city on erev Rosh Hashana, we’ll all have dinner together at my sister’s house and then he and I will head uptown to services at Temple Shaaray Tefila, my Jewish community in New York.  A new adventure for us all…

Ten days later, though, we’ll be back to our usual minhag for Kol Nidre, Yom Kippur and, most especially, our annual early afternoon foray to Barnes and NobleHere’s how that tradition got started and here and here are recaps of our browsing adventures in subsequent years.

What are you planning to do to mix up the High Holy Days this year?