Thursday, March 31, 2011

Frugal Lesson of Passover - The Value of Doing Without

It is incredible to me that Passover is less than 3 weeks away (the first seder is Monday, April 18th, for those of you who just felt a little panicked and maybe didn't know they exact date?  Hmm?)  Of course, like the obsessive Jewish home manager that I am, I follow a million and one blogs that are all telling me how PASSOVER IS COMING!!! Do I have my shopping list?  Have I started cleaning yet?  What is my menu for all four yamim tovim?  What about the Shabbat that falls in between them?  Have I started to stockpile?  Have I started cooking yet, because I could, you know (oh, Lordy)?  Unlike the obsessive Jewish home manager that I am, my answer to all of these questions, given the insane transition going on in our lives, is - NO!!!

For those of you who aren't familiar with the rules of eating Kosher for Passover - The Torah commands Jews to refrain from eating, owning, or benefiting from chametz (anything leavened) for the week-long festival of Passover.  "Chametz" was determined by our rabbis and sages over the years to include not only things that are leavened, but things that may become leavened, and, for some Jews, things that look like things that may become leavened.  So, anything containing or anything having come in contact with: wheat, spelt, rye, oats, barley, rice, beans, corn.  Finding food products without those ingredients is pretty much impossible.  Even ketchup and Coke have corn syrup in them.  A lot of Jews even have separate dishes, pots and pans, and utensils.  

Think about the cost of food bought special-for-Passover, not to mention duplicating everything in your kitchen (times two, one set for meat and one for dairy), and your head is probably spinning.  Even those of us who have been doing it for years and years find the whole undertaking stressful to say the least.  And while I don't want to speak for my fellow Jewish home managers, the COST of all this is by far the most stressful element.

Just as the requisite complete and total panic was tugging at the edges of my brain, threatening to make me completely insane, driving me to fill my parents' basement with 30 pounds of matzah, two new sets of pots and pans, and a dozen jars of gefilte fish at whatever price I could find them, because OMIGOD PASSOVER IS COMING AND MY FAMILY MIGHT STARVE,  my dear friend Mara over at Kosher on a Budget hosted the incredible Susie Sharf of Cheapskate  for a series of guest posts on "How to Shop for Passover on a Budget" .  Susie had a lot of awesome tips on that post about responsible shopping for Passover, arguably the only tips one could ever need.

 The one that really stuck with me and that has been knocking around my brain and turning over and over in my heart, however, is #2.  This rule of thumb for Pesach prep is so priceless, and it's only eight words long.  Are you ready?

It's only eight days.  You can do without.

Three Mondays from now, Jews all over the world will sit around a beautifully dressed table surrounded by friends and family.  There will be one platter more beautiful than all the others in the middle of the table, and the food it bears will be covered by an ornately decorated cloth.  Sentence by sentence, the people seated around the table will read the story of the Exodus from Egypt as it has been handed down generation to generation.  About a third of the way through, the plate will be uncovered to reveal a plate of large square crackers, and the reader will announce:

This is the bread of affliction that our ancestors ate in Mitzrayim.
Let all who are hungry come and eat.  Let all who are needy come and celebrate...
At present we are slaves.  Next year may we be free.

This is matzah.  It is central to our celebration for a very simple reason - we are commanded to make it so.  Exodus 12:18-19 tell us in no uncertain terms to remove all leaven from our homes and possession during this holiday, but it isn't until verse 37 that we are given some insight, the feeling behind the instruction, the heart-wrenching reason that it is so important that we eat matzah, announce it with sacred words, year after year:

39 And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they had brought out of Egypt; for it was not leavened, because they were driven out of Egypt and could not wait, nor had they prepared provisions for themselves. 

Our ancestors had to leave the land that, however awful, had been their home suddenly.  They had less time than it takes to let bread rise, as tradition tells us, less than eighteen minutes.  Can you imagine having to pack up your home, your children, and anything that is important to you in the space of eighteen minutes?  Can you wrap your head around what it would mean to prepare enough clothing and food to sustain them for an unknown number of years wandering through the unforgiving desert?

Thinking about this, I feel pretty silly stressing over kosher-for-Passover cake mixes and new food processors.  To say that our ancestors in the Exodus from Mitzrayim "did without" would be the understatement of the century.   Not only did they not have tasty treats and expensive kitchen gadgets, they didn't even have substantial bread to fill their children's growling stomachs.

We hold matzah aloft, sing about it, and experience its crunchy bland dryness between our teeth because tasting its sparseness, its simplicity, is to experience in some minuscule way what our ancestors did.  This is the very definition of  "doing without."  If, during Passover, I go for eight days without my favorite condiment or soft drink, I'm fulfilling part of the intention of this whole rule against chametz - To experience.  To identify.  To remember.  To pass along the story to the next generation by way of a dry cracker, with nothing to dress it up or make it more palatable. 

This year, Susie has done much more than give me something to consider when doing my Passover shopping - she has inspired me.  While, of course, we should honor Passover with our finest foods for the Seder (I'm making my famous brisket, and that's just the beginning,) this year our family will be celebrating Passover by "Doing Without."  We're not buying special cereal or cake mixes, duplicates of kitchen gadgets or Coke with a yellow cap.

If a food we want to, or would normally eat has chametz in it, do you know what we're going to do?  We're not going to eat it.  We're going to have a lot of fruit and veggies, matzah, cheese, and a bit more meat than normal.  (Full disclosure - our family does eat kitniyot.)  After all, our ancestors schlepping their stuff and their whiny kids out of Egypt had to go through a lot worse.  

It is my prayer that by "Doing Without" this Passover, I'll experience the holiday on a bit more spiritual plane than I have in the past, elbow-deep in macaroon tins and $6 pancake syrup.  Every time there's something I want that I "can't" have, I'll look at what's on my plate, and what's not, and remember "This is the bread of affliction that our ancestors ate in Mitzrayim."  And I'll take a deep breath, and be thankful to them for what they endured and the faith that they had so that I and my family can make the purposeful, proud choice, to remember them in this small way one week every year.  And not to waste our money on food we don't really need.

How is your attitude toward food - and what you do or don't buy - making you a more mindful person, whether you celebrate Passover or not?  I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

SuperIma Sunday Check-In; S-L-A-C-K-E-R

Hello, friends!  First I want to say that I LOVE YOU.  Yes, you.  Don't be freaked out.  I just truly, truly appreciate all your fabulous comments of love and support on last week's check-in.  They mean so, so much to me.  But I literally didn't have a single second this week to reply to your comments.  Here's why.

Well, this week was an epic fail.  EPIC.  I'm not even going to try to sugarcoat it, or anything.  I didn't make a single comment on a single blog like I said I would.  Friday, when David finally got here, I was depleted and exhausted.  That was an understatement.

My kids are having a super-hard time with the move.  Well, really, Rami's doing fine.  And Nesyah is teething.   So that really just leaves Asher who is having a really hard time.  He cries.  A lot.  He is stuttering again.  A lot.  He is regressing with potty training.  A lot.  He wants to sleep with me.  A lot.  You know how my "me-time" usually happens after the kids have gone down to bed?  Well, for the past week, within an hour of the kids going to bed, one of them is up again.  It's either Asher or Nesyah, and every single night, the solution was taking one to bed with me.  So that meant I was literally with one or more of my children 24 hours a day for five days in a row.

Yeah.  So there's that.

So, I have a bummer-of-an-update on one of my Conversations about Things I could be Doing as a Professional. They said "Thanks, but no thanks." It is a bummer, but here's the thing. They interviewed a dozen people, and only brought two back for a final interview. They were really impressed with me, they said, and are interested in bringing me in for some part time gigs, pretty much whatever suits my fancy. And they gave me some really great feedback. And, me not getting this job? Totally makes sense, because I'm not nearly as qualified as the candidate they chose in either education or experience. My other Conversation is still ongoing, incredibly. I may not have anything solid to announce about that possibility till after Passover (argh!) But! I am planning a more heartfelt and revelatory post on the Professional front next week, so stay tuned (Did you know I'm a RABBI? Yeah.)

Then, on Saturday the universe (or four people in it) conspired to make me relax, and that was awesome.

Today I finally caved to something David's been wanting me to do for weeks.  He keeps telling me to escape to Starbucks for an hour or three, to do some writing, reading, or just plain sitting, all alone.  "But I am an introvert," I protest, "and I like to be at home with my couch and my blankets and my supply of snacks." (All totally true.)  So I stay home, try to read or write, and eventually become involved in some toddler sharing or diaper change drama, and the whole purpose is defeated.  But today, for unimportant reasons, I HAD to leave the house.  So I took  my trusty little netbook and my wallet and went to Starbucks.  I ordered some coffee and some coffeecake and....

it was incredible.  I drank the majority of my coffee while it was hot or warm.  I listened to entire songs at a time.  I wrote over a thousand words in a state unbroken by anything unrelated to my story.  It was so awesome and so restorative.

So this weekend, when David gets in, I'm going to do that again.  Maybe both weekend days.  I'm feeling a little giddy.

Of course, when I got home, children were half naked, I was behind on the laundry, no one had eaten lunch, and our part of my parents' house was a complete disaster.  But that's okay.  It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.

So, how about you, my dear Supers?  What is your goal to make your life a little more sane, and to help you bring some satisfaction and fulfillment?  And what are you going to be okay with letting slide a bit to allow it to happen?

Love you all.  You're doing a great job.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

SuperIma Sunday Check-in: Purim, Insane!

Hi, Everyone.

This is going to be another one of those ultra-boring SuperIma Sunday check-ins where I tell you how exhausted I am.  Ho-hum.

This week was ridiculously busy.  Last Friday, we drove from Kansas to Ohio with all the stuff we'd need for seven weeks in the trunk of our SUV.  This Wednesday, I had to be in Columbus, then Thursday, I had to be there again.  Friday, David drove the hour from Columbus to Dayton for Shabbat.  Saturday, David and I drove to Columbus and back again to hear megillah.  Sunday, we drove everyone to Columbus and back again for the Purim carnival.  Finally, Sunday night, David drove back to Columbus for the week.  Columbus is only about an hour and fifteen minutes from Dayton, so you'd think it's not a big deal, but eventually? It makes you feel kind of crazy.

And somehow, in those eight days, David and I got pulled over four times and got two traffic tickets between us.  I'm not going to tell you the sordid and embarrassing tales of each of these things.  I think it's better to let your imaginations run wild.  I don't know about you, but I always feel horrible and guilty and scolded when I get pulled over by a cop - not a fun feeling for an almost-thirty-year-old to have.  Thank God I have a husband who coddles me on these things, and just took my ticket, told me he'd pay it, and promised not to tell me how much it cost.  Love you, sweetie.

And my Conversations with People about Things I could be Doing as a Professional?   One went very well and one was...interesting.  I don't have a solid answer on either, but I do have a followup to one this week on Wednesday, so I'm still in need of EVERYONE to root for me.  I would tell you more, really, I would, but I don't know how many of those People read this blog or hear about it, and besides, it's unProfessional!  But if I do end up Doing something as a Professional I'll tell you the whole story.  I promise.

This week my check-in is about something a little different I want to do for myself.  I follow a lot of blogs (I'm a Google Reader addict), and I'm always coming across posts that make me nod my head and say, "Yes!  Omigod, ME TOO!"  and then I scroll down to the next post and keep reading.  I don't comment, usually, no matter how moved I am by the post, sometimes even to tears.  It's a bad habit, and I expect to have to answer for it someday.

Anyway, this week a blog I follow religiously made a post that really spoke to me.  Like, really.  And not only did I comment on the post, but I sent the author an email, and she wrote back to me.  And she said incredible things.  Understanding things, supportive things, things that made me feel hopeful.  I haven't replied to her email because every time I do I start to cry, and I really don't have the time for a good cry now (maybe tomorrow.)  So, if you're reading this...thank you.

 Even if it didn't solve my non-problems, it did make me feel like I wasn't alone.  That's the magic of blogs, everyone.  I know I love it when you comment here, it makes me feel really good.  I'm loving the connection.  It's so edifying.  So I'm going to make it my SuperIma me-time goal this week to comment on three blogs a day that really speak to me, to let them know that I appreciate them, and they are making a difference.

Oh, and as far as letting something slide?  Shoot, I'm staying with my parents - I really just have two rooms and a kitchen to clean, and laundry.  And cooking.  And a playroom to clean up.  Um, I guess I do have to resolve to let something slide after all.  So, my mom is crazy about laundry.  It's in a good way, for her, but the way she washes everything as soon as it's dirtied, and does laundry on a pretty much constant basis, makes me, who does it twice a week, feel a little frantic.  I can't stand putting away laundry every day.  So I'm going to hide my laundry from my mom so that I'm in control of when I have to switch, fold, and stash, darn it!

(Excuse my rambling post.  This transition has been pretty hard on Asher, and I'm typing the end of this post on the phone, in the dark, because he's in bed next to me watching How to Train Your Dragon.)

What about you?  How are you going to take care of yourselves this week, and what are you going to push a bit to the side in order to make space to do it?
Have a great week, everyone! You're doing an incredible job.

Well, this week

Monday, March 14, 2011


IMG_1105Can you believe that with all the craziness going on in my life, the Jewish calendar had the nerve to march on as usual? Oh wait, what's that?  We had a leap year this year and the Jewish calendar actually graciously gave us an entire extra month to get ready for Purim?  And I just now started getting ready?


Anyway, Purim is here, whether I'm ready or not.  As Jewish holidays go, Purim is probably the best one to celebrate amidst chaos.  Not only is "crazy fun chaos" kind of the general theme of the holiday - people dress up, run around like they're wild, eat too much, and drink themselves silly - but there are only FOUR mitzvot that Jews are commanded to fulfill, and they're all fun to boot:

1.  Hear the Book of Esther read aloud.
2.  Give gifts to one another ("mishloach manot" or "shlach manes")
3. Give gifts to the poor (matanot l'evyonim - my friend Mara is sponsoring an incredible blog challenge on this theme, go visit her!)
4. Have a big, huge, celebratory meal. (seudah)

It's pretty easy to run over to a synagogue to hear a reading of the book of Esther, to write a check to charity, and to have a nice dinner on Sunday.  I had the foresight to pack the kids' Superman pajamas in our suitcases, so they're covered for costumes. That means that the most complicated part of this whole thing is getting the shlach manes bags ready.

Of course, I could run to the store and buy snacks and tchotchkes to stuff in some bags, but really, the tradition is to include hamantaschen.  Hamantaschen are three-cornered cookies filled with fruit, chocolate, or poppyseeds.  The three corners are supposed to represent either the hat that Haman, the villain of the story, wore, OR, if we go by the Israeli word for the cookies, oznei Haman, his ears.  If you imagine a guy with ears that look like these cookies, it's pretty ridiculous, so I'd say the cookies do a pretty good job of achieving one of the main goals of Purim - totally humiliate and debase Haman.  Awesome.

Warning - these cookies are addictive. I mean, seriously, once you eat one of these things, you can't stop.

I hadn't baked hamantaschen since my college days, but I really wanted to do it this year for a few reasons, despite the moving craziness.  One is that this is the first year Asher's really into Purim and the preparation for it, and I want to take advantage of every second that he's excited about Jewish stuff.   Another is that even if you can find hamantaschen to buy in a store (which you can't in our little town here in Ohio) they are CRAZY expensive.  I'm talking $1 or so apiece.  Ouch.  The last reason is stress relief.  Duh.

I found a recipe for hamantaschen on that said it was someone's Polish Bubbe's.  I'm Polish, so I figured it might work like magic for me (maybe?  Please?)  With just a couple judicious alterations, it did.  Baruch Hashem, because these suckers are enough of a schvitz to make even when they go perfectly.

Before I tell you the recipe, I want to give a shoutout to my friend Rabbi Sommer over at Ima on the Bima.  Her hamantaschen tips were right on the money.

Here's what you'll need for about 3 dozen large-ish cookies:
3 eggs
1 c sugar
1/2 c margarine
4 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp orange juice


Cream together eggs, sugar, and margarine until very light and smooth


Mix in the remainder of ingredients.  It will look kind of crumbly at first, but keep working it with your hands until it comes together:

Roll it out to about 1/8 inch and cut into circles with the rim of a drinking glass:

Now, do all your assembly and baking on parchment paper.  Trust me.  Just do it.  Brush the circles with egg whites and place filling in the center.  This will go best for you if you buy the cans of pastry filling in the baking aisle instead of trying to make do with jam, etc.  It is expensive, but a little goes a long way (I think one small can made around 2 dozen cookies):

Pinch the sides of the dough together to form a three-cornered shape:

Into the oven at 350 for about 15 minutes.

You want them to be golden at the seams:

I plated mine six to a paper plate.  You can wrap the whole darn thing in saran wrap and stick in the freezer, then pull it right out for easy gifting.

Not all of them made it to the freezer.

A Freilich Purim to everyone from our home (in OHIO!) to yours!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

SuperIma Sunday Check-in: Back Home Edition

Okay, before we do any checking in, there are two things of note that I need to mention.  Any of my problems or stresses pretty much pale in comparison to these things a thousand times over.

First there is the Terror Attack in Itamar (I was getting a little stressed that I would have to write a long post fumbling through my mixed and emotional feelings and reactions connected to it, but thank God Jewschool did it for me.) 

Then there is the Japan earthquake/tsunami.  How utterly devastating and incomprehensible.  My heart truly aches for all the victims of both this horrible events, as far-flung and differing as they are.

So, here's the check-in.  Between the move from Kansas City, spending the last couple of days trying to settle into my parents' house for seven weeks, and saying a kind-of goodbye to David today (he will be in an extended stay place through April while we wait for our new house to open up,) I am physically and emotionally spent.  As much as we wanted to move back to Ohio, there are lots of places and friends we will miss.   The trip was hard, taking almost 24 hours with the overnight hotel stay.  I spent Shabbat shuffling our stuff around, folding laundry, etc.  I shopped for groceries and made a menu plan for the next couple of weeks.  I made my first batch of hamantaschen, which I'll post about tomorrow.  Yum.

Despite all this, I managed to get some writing done every day but one - yesterday.  It is amazing to me that I wrote at all on Friday, mid-travel, but I did.  It's one of those situations, I think, when you're powering through everything, and being a SuperIma plus, which is to say that you're doing all your Ima duties, getting something done for yourself, and smiling and looking pretty while doing it, and then the day after your powering-through stops being a necessity?  You utterly collapse.  I have never had a bigger urge to slack than I did yesterday.  Of course, I don't love the results, which is ruining my Project 365 track record.  *Shrug* Nothing I can do now, though, except set my goal for this week - I'm vowing to keep writing every day from here on out.

But that's what I'm going to call the minor goal for the week because there's something potentially much bigger that I can do for myself this coming week.  There are a couple of things going on this week that could be really important for me professionally, which is to say, I will be in Columbus for a handful of hours this week talking to some People about some Things that I could be Doing as a Professional.

Just thinking about getting back to work in a full time job makes me giddy and excited and nauseous with the excitement/self-censoring-about-getting-too-excited lest I get my hopes up.  Yep.  I'm a mess.  In a good way.  I think.  I hope.  AAAAAAARGH!

So if you please, send me some "You are awesome" vibes this week.  I'm really trying to channel everything I have into being put-together and self-confident, beautiful, appropriately enthusiastic, and well spoken.  I believe in myself.  I know I have what it takes to go above and beyond as a rabbi/Jewish professional.  I really am good at this stuff.  I've gained a lot of perspective from being a stay-at-home Ima this year, and I now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am better and my family is better when I am doing work that makes my heart sing.

 For my part, in order to help this all along, I'm going to give myself extra care.  I'm going to eat well, try to get some exercise, and above all, get enough sleep.  I'm going to give myself naptime to really mentally prepare for these conversations.  A bunch of stuff is going to slide, and the children may have to entertain one another or themselves.  Our mishloach manot will be very, very simple.   But if it helps, it will be so, so worth it.

So please, please put all your thoughts, vibes, hopes, prayers, or whatever it is you send out when you want to make a bid for goodwill or Goodwill that I can make something work out.  I need this.   We all need this.

What about you, SuperImas, SuperAbbas, SuperLadies, SuperEveryone?  How was the last week?  What are you going to let slide in order to give yourself the time, energy, or love that you need?

You're doing a great job, seriously.  Keep up the good work.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

On Jewish Day School (vs.? and?) Jewish Camp

In our home, this conversation is about a year older than our oldest child:

Jewish day school is an incredible thing.  Children get Judaic and Hebrew studies right along with their regular school subjects, many times beautifully integrated (a science lesson about recycling is connected to the Jewish value of shemirat hateva, for example.)  They are part of an everyday Jewish prayer and learning environment that also imparts a strong sense of community and love for your fellow Jew.

We are definitely sending our children to Jewish day school.  It is important, and we are very principled about that.  Wait.  It costs how much?

We kept having the conversation about whether to send them to day school, until we said the one thing that pretty much ended the conversation for me: "Maybe we should just stop at three children, so that we can (maybe?) afford Jewish day school." Uh, what?  Was I seriously letting the cost of Jewish day school dictate the size of my family?  This was the turning point for me.  Now, whether we go on to have a fourth child, obviously, remains to be determined.   We did conclude, as a result of the fallout from that comment, was that we believe it is possible to raise happy, Jewishly-identifying and knowledgeable children without sending them to day school.  So, here are the three reasons we are okay with not sending our kids to Jewish Day School:

1.  You can give your kids much of the Jewish education and experience that Jewish day school can.

I truly believe that any family can impart a sense of love for being Jewish and tidbits of Jewish and Hebrew learning in their home if they are even a little bit determined.  It takes hard work, yes:
  • You have to to celebrate Shabbat - every week.  
  • You have to read Jewish books and listen to Jewish music - all the time.  
  • You have to take your kids to shul, and not just for their friends' bnei mitzvah.  
  • If you keep kosher, you have to pack lunch for them - every day. 
  • Jewish values language has to become part of your everyday vocabulary.
  • You have to make a big deal about preparing for and celebrating the holidays - every holiday.  
  • You have to prepare yourself to answer your kids' questions about Judaism and God, or at least know how to find the answers with them.
  • When you send your children to Hebrew school, you have to make it a priority, take it seriously, review/reinforce at home, and  make sure they attend - every class.

These are things I would like to see every Jewish family doing regardless of whether they choose to send their children to Day School.  (I'm not saying that Day School families don't do these things, and in fact, when Day School families do them, their children's takeaway from Jewish Day School is that much higher.)  

2.  It is just not in the budget.
We simply don't have the cash to send all three of our kids to Jewish day school.

I've personally lived in cities where Jewish day school tuition (as advertised) runs from around 7K (yay, Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy!!!) up to 15K and beyond.  Per child.  And that's before the expected additional donation.  Per child.  I'll let you do the math.

Most schools do have a generous scholarship system, but we wouldn't qualify. My husband makes a very generous salary, but the monthly take-home pay reality is much smaller because of the payments we are making on the student loans that it took to get us the education we have.  

We scrimp and save - eating beans and rice-type meals most nights, for example - just to get some cash into savings.  After almost a year and a half of working on it, we are still only halfway to building our minimum emergency fund.  We're not even close to being able to put a down payment on a house - a dream three to four years off, at least - and those student loans?  We'll have gray hair before they're paid off.  

At the end of the day, it is more important to us to provide a strong financial foundation for our family and teach our children about financial responsibility - not spending beyond our means - than it is to keep up with the Cohens and spend more than we can afford sending them to day school.  Financial responsibility is just as important a Jewish value as providing a Day School education.

3.  When forced to choose between Day School and Jewish Camp, Camp wins hands-down (for our family.)

Jewish camp costs about one thousand dollars per week per child, making it about as expensive as Jewish Day School at the very low end.  So, obviously, it's a luxury, right?

Well, to us, no.
We have slowly been realizing just how expensive child care is.  When there are two work-outside-the-home parents (and I hope to be one of those again sooner rather than later,) you have to pay someone to take care of your kids during the summer, because school isn't in session. Day camp is nearly as expensive as sleepaway camp, and doesn't offer the same Hogwarts-like magical experience.

Kids almost never L-O-V-E going to school every day.  Almost every kid I've talked to who went to sleepaway camp L-O-V-E-S camp and everything about it.  Forced to choose, I would rather pay for my kids to have an intensely positive takeaway from the Jewish educational experience I pay so many thousands of dollars for.  And I do believe that Jewish camp is an seriously educational endeavor, for all the reasons Rabbi Sommer discussed in her post here.

I am 100% that the Jewish Camp we've chosen for our children will give our kids a rich Jewish experience, teach them a lot, and go a long way towards making them into adults who are knowledgeable and strong in their Judaism, respect others, and, above all, love their fellow Jews.  What more could you ask for?

And now for the big fat final disclaimer, copied from my friend Mara's post that inspired this one and discusses almost-the-same-but-totally-not topic:
Hopefully I didn’t step on any toes. Obviously the conclusions that I draw are for my family – and my family alone.  I’d love to know how you all are dealing with Jewish Day School (vs.? and?) Jewish Camp decisions. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

SuperIma Sunday Check-in: the Eerie Moving non-Panic

Maybe it's because I'm used to being panicked about something, but I am kind of freaked out by how calm I am about this move.  See, David's firm is paying for the movers to pack up our house.  We didn't even have to ask, it's just part of the package.  Everyone is telling me to go ahead and let them pack, control freak that I may be, because 1. It will be easier and 2. If anything breaks in the move, they are responsible.

So here I sit, in a house that is more or less fully intact, that, three days from now, will be all packed up and on a moving truck.  It is kind of a crazy feeling.

Of course, we are happy to be moving back home, so that adds an air of relaxed giddiness to everything, kind of like when you are finished with finals and ready to go on break.  I say "kind of" because of course David still has to go to work and I still have to...well, go to work.

I think that both of us got a full night's sleep for the first time in a long time this past Shabbat.  Even though it was the National Day of Unplugging, I took the opportunity of a well-rested husband with no work to do (so he was available to entertain the children) to do some long-neglected work on my writing for pleasure.  I got down almost 3000 words yesterday, and it felt really good.   Then I went to the library to find some audio books for our car trip.  I am beside myself - BESIDE MYSELF - at this fabulous find, that will keep me in guilty-pleasure listening land for quite some time.  (I love you Maggie.)

As for letting the laundry slide?  I tried, friends, truly I did.  But by Friday afternoon the mountain was just too unbearable.  And unruly.  Seriously, one afternoon all I wanted was to find one undershirt for Asher, and despite the pounds of clean laundry overflowing onto the floor, I couldn't find a single one.  I broke down and folded and put away it all, in a marathon one-and-a-half-hour session.  David was pleasantly surprised, to say the least.

But other things did slide, don't worry.  For example, my non-perishable groceries sat in the middle of the kitchen floor on Friday until Nesyah finally raided them.

(She is obsessed with Bamba.)

This week is going to be completely insane.  Everything is going to slide.  We will probably eat more Chipotle and pizza than is reasonable, which I'm saying is fine because we've done a really good job of using up almost everything out of our freezer and fridge.  There will be almost zero food waste with this move, thank God, so a couple of expensive takeout dinners due to transition are not going to phase me that much.
(love to watch my girl eating pizza like a champ)

I'm still going to write.  Every day.  I'm at an exciting point in my drivel and adding to it makes me feel so, so happy.

So, SuperImas, check in!  Was your week at least a little bit sane?  What's your plan for the next week to keep yourself out of crazyland and in some state of calm?

You are doing a great job, all of you.  (((HUGS)))  And high fives!

***Stay tuned for the Check-In next week, when I come to mind-blowing conclusions about how/why I've managed to do almost nothing pertaining to my chosen career (rabbi, remember?) in almost a YEAR!  I know, oy, right?****

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