Saturday, December 30, 2017

My Quo Vadis Will Tell Me Where I'm Going

A few years ago, I jumped on the Bullet Journal bandwagon, but the system never really worked for me. As much as I loved the idea, and the opportunity to purchase a brand new Leuchtturm notebook full of sleek fountain-pen friendly paper, I quickly learned that I work best with a paper calendar that shows a full week at a time and in which I can mark meetings, one-time appointments, birthdays, holidays, and yahrzeits.

This year, back in October, I entered this giveaway and won a 2018 Quo Vadis Hebdo planner with a Rose Grenadine cover (in honor of breast cancer awareness month):
Thank you for entering the Quo Vadis Rose Grenadine planners giveaway:
Congratulations, you are one of the winners! Your new planner will be sent to you at the address you provided in your entry.
We’d love your feedback on your planner. Just a few sentences about what you like about the planner, and what you would change if you could, would be great. We would also love to know how you use your planner. Please email comments to Laurie (at) Exaclair (dot) com. We appreciate any feedback you can give us.
Thanks again for participating, and I hope you enjoy your new planner!
Have a great weekend,
Laurie Huff
Instagram @quovadisplanner
A brief exchange with Laurie Huff followed:
Hi, Laurie, made my day – not only because I was just starting to think about a new planner for 2018, but also because my family has been significantly affected by breast cancer. As a BRCA gene mutation carrier, I'm doing all I can not only to protect my own health, but also to raise awareness about these mutations and what they mean for families in which they are present.
Thanks again...have a great weekend!
~ Jane.
And, finally, this:
You are very welcome, Jane, and thank you for sharing how your family has been affected by breast cancer. I wish you good health and good luck.
I hope you enjoy your new planner and that you get to write lots of good things in it all year!
Laurie Huff
Instagram @quovadisplanner
Recently I started to fill my new Hebdo and discovered some terrific features I will appreciate throughout the year:
  • Fountain pen friendly paper, like all Quo Vadis planners
  • Monthly layouts for January to December 2018
  • A full week (starting with Monday) in each two-page spread
  • Plenty of room to record meetings, appointments, and the like, not only on weekdays, but also on Saturday and Sunday
  • Blank lines at the bottom of each page of the spread for miscellaneous information and what-nots
  • World maps, time zones, and 2017, 2018, and 2019 grid calendars
Thus far, there are only a few things that seem to be missing, but their addition would bump the Hebdo and its Rose Grenadine cover from really great to perfect:
  • An elastic closure to keep cards, notes, and miscellany from falling out 
  • A back pocket, which is where I currently keep postage stamps, a few special notes from friends, and the all-important school photo of my nephew. 
In the meantime, I’m hopeful that I can figure out a work-around for each one, and am looking forward to a year in which my Quo Vadis keeps me organized and, indeed, answers the question “Where are you going?”

Saturday, December 16, 2017

9 Things I Loved About Biennial 2017

I recently attended my eighth URJ Biennial and in many ways, it was a positive experience. Here are nine things I enjoyed while in Boston:
  1. Spending two long days answering questions – mostly about being a voting delegate – at the Solutions Center. The best collateral of this assignment was watching the crowds pass by, waving to people I know and getting up from behind the counter to hug others.
  2. Meeting Cooper Boyar, the young man representing J Street at the organization’s table in the exhibit hall. A winner among small Jewish world stories, his mother was my genetic counselor when she worked at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and I needed a genetic counselor; today, she is my friend.
  3. Breakfasting at a table for two in Dunkin’ Donuts, only to have George Markley, a longtime, long-ago URJ trustee, join me for some catching-up and a few laughs over coffee.
  4. Entering Thursday night’s plenary just in time to hear Rabbi David Stern, president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, deliver his exquisitely crafted speech, “We Have Company.” If he didn’t get an A in homiletics in rabbinical school, he should have! 
  5. Chatting with Melissa Rosen, national outreach director for Sharsheret, at the group’s table in the exhibit hall about the possibility of doing some joint education programming with FORCE in the fall…and yes, a bit later winning an Amazon Echo Dot in a random drawing. Thanks, Sharsheret!
  6. Having a picture of me and a few folks from my home congregation, Temple Emanu-El in Edison, NJ, land on the Jumbotron during erev Shabbat services. Thanks, Debbi Sager, for taking the photo!
  7. Playing hooky on Shabbat morning for a first-time visit to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. It’s a gem! 
  8. Returning to the Hynes Convention Center in time to hear Rabbis Sally Priesand, Rebecca Einstein Schorr, and Leah Berkowitz talk about their varied experiences in the rabbinate, an outgrowth of the CCAR Press book, The Sacred Calling: Four Decades of Women in the Rabbinate.
  9. Enjoying several meals with friends and colleagues. The first was a delicious seafood dinner at Atlantic Seafood on Boylston Street with Deborah and Steve Rood Goldman. The second was a late Shabbat dinner at California Pizza Kitchen during which Elena Paull, Dan Lange, and I – all URJ colleagues – got to know each other better as individuals. (Shabbat dinner with my congregation, didn't pan out as I expected it would, but, thankfully, I get to see those folks more often than from one Biennial to the next!) Finally, on Saturday night, I had dinner with my mom’s longtime friends Debbie Stone and Sally Winter. For sure, The Mums was with us in spirit in every way.
I’m glad another Biennial is in the books, even as I am hopeful that the Biennial in Chicago in 2019 will bring me as many – if not more – wonderful encounters with friends and colleagues from all parts of my Jewish life.