Posted tagged ‘friends’

Christmas Eve Again

December 24, 2021

wreathLast weekend, we had dinner at our neighbor’s house.    They had Sirius XM on playing traditional Christmas music and it was just what I needed to get me in the mood for Christmas.   Oh, yes, I had put up our tree and the lighted wreath on the front door,  And ordered (on Amazon) gifts for the grandkids.  In my family we all buy stocking stuffers for each other now that we know Santa doesn’t do it and I’m done with that (almost).  But until I start playing my Christmas soundtrack in the car as I’m driving or or on earbuds as I’m working out, I can’t really find the Christmas spirit. (more…)

Hannukah in Utah

December 5, 2021

menorah1According to chabad.org, more than twenty-one centuries ago, the Holy Land was ruled by the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks), who sought to forcefully convert the people of Israel to Greek customs and religion.   Against all odds, a small band of faithful Jews defeated one of the mightiest armies on earth, drove the Greeks from the land, reclaimed the holy temple in Jerusalem and rededicated it to God.   When they sought to light the Temple’s menorah, they found only a single cruse of olive oil that had escaped contamination by the Greeks; miraculously, the one-day supply burned for eight days, until new oil could be prepared under conditions of ritual purity.   Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, commemorates this miracle.   Although Hanukkah is probably the best known Jewish holiday because of its proximity to Christmas, it is actually a lesser holiday on the Jewish religious calendar.   Still, many non-Jews (and retailers hoping to harvest some profits from Jews during the season) think of it as the Jewish Christmas.  This article from Yahoo! Lifestyle explains why it’s not.

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Almost Daily

March 7, 2021

One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words – Goethe

Most mornings, I remember to read a Daily page from David Kundtz’ lovely book, Quiet Mind: One Minute Mindfulness.  It is part of what I call my Morning Practice … I’d call it Daily Practice but that would be a lie.  I am easily distracted, especially in the morning and Almost Daily Practice sounds dumb.   What I like about Goethe’s list is that each item takes only a few moments , in keeping with the title of Kundtz’ book, where as my Morning Practice takes over an hour.   But I do listen to music as I write in the morning (hear a little song, check).  At the moment the song is Cast Your Fate to the Wind by the Vince Guaraldi Trio.

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Year, New, Happy

January 3, 2021

Yes, I know 2020 has been over for several days now.   At my age my literary reflexes are a little slow.  Besides, 2020 has been a Year like no other, a year that requires some examination before moving on.  Oh, it started out OK … my wife, Muri, and I in a beautiful new home in our new home state of Utah, a few miles from our daughter’s family.  Selling our California house then moving had been an ordeal, and we’d lost my beloved Tuxedo cat, Claude, to cancer but shortly after arriving in Utah, we adopted Tyson, another lovable Tuxedo,  So on January 1, 2020, Happy New Year just rolled off the tongue.   But February of 2020 brought the first news of a pandemic and in May, a breast cancer diagnosis for my wife.   There would be surgery and chemotherapy and radiation (still going on) for Muri, and an out-of-control spread of a new virus until, at the conclusion of the year, more Americans had died of COVID-19 than in World War Two.   An incompetent, divisive president who’d managed to stumble along for three good years could not (or would not) deal with the pandemic, and  what would follow was the most divisive election in my life time, a national scene that for the first time made me wonder whether democracy can survive.  That was 2020. (more…)

High Altitude Challah

September 19, 2020

My wife, Muri, is Jewish. I am not, although I willingly tagged along through years of services, holidays and raising the kids Jewish. Now we are in Utah, not a place known as a destination for the diaspora. Fact: in 1899 there were 5000 Jews in Utah. In 2019, there were 5,560. See what I mean? 0.2 percent of the population. So, what do you think are the odds that the house across the alley from us in our new neighborhood would be a Jewish woman and a non-Jewish man. Zilch, right? But it’s true and it has given us an instant bond, which is nice when you find yourself in a new home during a pandemic.

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Gratitude Under Pressure

July 1, 2020

Twenty years ago, the Love of My Life was diagnosed with breast cancer.  The tumor was small and could be removed with a lumpectomy (although it took two tries to get it all).  She was treated with radiation and hormone therapy and regular mammograms, and in spite of a few false alarms, she remained cancer-free.   It seemed to be common knowledge that if you made it through 15 years without recurrence you were home free and we began to believe it.  Fortunately my wife, Muri, was conscientious about annual mammograms because last month, she had a callback for something suspicious.  What a shock.  If you have ever been down this road that no one wants to travel, you know it can be a maddening series of hopes and disappointment.  You hope that the ultrasound will show that its nothing to worry about.  Then you hope the biopsy will show it’s not cancer and then that its small and you caught it early.  Then you hope its a good cancer and not a bad cancer, a notion that would be ludicrous if it weren’t so true.   The specific characteristics of the cancer significantly affect the prognosis and course of treatment.  It can be a process that sucks the gratitude right out of you. (more…)

Seventy-6

May 19, 2020

Today, I turn 76 years old, passing the quarter century mark. When people find out my age they are usually say, I’d never have guessed you’re that old. Talk about a double-edged compliment. The surprise likely owes to the fact that I was blessed with wrinkle resistant skin, at least in the places that show, and I regularly shave of any trace of white hair off my head and face. I remain passionate about life, which always makes a person seem younger and I move around pretty well in spite of a mix of aches kept in check by exercise, stretches and a few over-the counter medications. Perhaps the biggest difference between 66 and 76 is that staying active and passionate takes more effort than it used to. (more…)

What If ?

March 16, 2020

I was thinking this morning over my first cup of coffee.  What If we viewed this COVID-19 crisis … which is at least 50% of our own making … as a opportunity?   What if we took it as an opportunity to spend some time with ourselves (yes, without our devices) and take stock of who we are, maybe assess if our lives as we are living them now reflect the standards we once set for ourselves?   What if we took the cessation of the ten million distractions that have been taken from us and listened to some beautiful music, read an inspiring book or leafed through some forgotten photo albums?    What if we took this time of social distancing to rediscover something we loved to do but just haven had time for?   Writing.  playing the piano.  Drawing.  Taking a drive to a beautiful place and just soaking in the beauty of nature?  Take some photos that aren’t selfies?   What if we took our extra time at home as an opportunity to reach out to friends by text or letter or phone and talked about good times together instead how awful everything is?  What if we stopped obsessively reading the news and following the stock market and practiced acceptance that this is what life has dealt us at the moment?  Took it as an opportunity to be the people we know we should be?   What if we all looked at the empty shelves in our markets and said, This is nuts, and instead of joining in took only what we needed?  What if whatever this crisis turns out to be, we realized that we will survive it better together than divided into left and right, black and white, rich and poor, boomers and millenials?   What if we learned to agree to disagree and work together in spite of our differences?  What if we actually practiced the Golden Rule?

What if the vast majority of Americans who will survive this crisis came out of it as better people?   Wouldn’t that be something?

Meet Tyson

December 29, 2019

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Yesterday, we picked up my new feline pal from his foster home. His name is Tyson and you might say he is a long distance rescue. When we lost my friend Claude to cancer last August, we decided it made sense to wait until we move to Utah before I found another kitty. I continued to work at the Cats in Need Rescue in Yorba Linda to get my kitty-time and even met a few new cats I’d have brought home, but I waited. You might say I mostly waited because I discovered a website, Petfinder, that allows you to search for pets to rescue in most cities. And so I began to search in the Greater Salt Lake area, where we were moving in December. It was mostly just for fun and to discover where there were rescues I might visit after we moved. That is until early November when I came across Tyson at the Friends of Community – Cat Rescue (FOCCR) in the Salt Lake suburb of Centerville. This was his profile.

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Happy. Merry. Utah.

December 26, 2019

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I know many people worry about how we greet one another during this holiday season. Christians insist on Merry Christmas, not Happy Holidays. Some Jews are offended if someone wishes them Merry Christmas instead of Happy Chanukah. I don’t know anyone who celebrates Kwanzaa or Festivus (for the rest of us) but given human nature, it wouldn’t surprise me if some of them were offended by the incorrect holiday greeting. Personally, I am not offended by any greeting I receive at this time of year. I will take all the good wishes offered me, no questions asked.

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