I hate Halloween. Yep, I’m one of “them”. I started hating it WAAAAAAAY back in 4th grade, I believe. I had a costume that I LOVED – a black cat. My mother had actually MADE it for me. A tail. A hood with ears. I wore black pants and socks and shirt. She drew whiskers on my face. I LOVED it. I was a black cat in 3rd grade. In 4th grade I was a black cat again. And my classmates made fun of me. I’d been a black cat the year BEFORE. THAT wasn’t a good costume. Just like that – the holiday was totally ruined for me. Every year after that, the whole thing became a drag. To this day I hate it. The best costume that I have ever heard of is no costume. Get a picture frame, and when people ask what/who you are, look through the frame and say “I’m an extremely life-like portrait of myself.”

Over the years as a homeowner, I grew to despise this “holiday” even more. First there were all the years when hooligans roamed the streets, soaping cars, smashing pumpkins and in general destroying whatever they could. The “kids” who knocked on my door (despite the darkened lights) were rarely in costume, were old enough to spawn their own offspring, and never even said “trick or treat”. They’d grunt and hold out pillow cases. Right.

Times changed and now it really is more little children in costumes with parents waiting at the sidewalk. Most of them are cute and some even have costumes. Perhaps 50% of them say “trick or treat”. The other 50% merely shove their bags at you. I do think that most, even the ones who do NOT say T or T, do say thank you.

But why are we doing this? There’s no purpose. It’s blackmail. I have to go out, buy a bunch of whatever to give away to a bunch of beggars. Even after we turn off our porch light there are people who come and pound on the door. Our doorbell has not worked for years. My dog goes crazy at the noise and the people. It’s not MY holiday. That wouldn’t matter if the trick or treaters actually followed “the rules”. I remember what it was like to be little and go out trick or treating. You had to knock. You had to say “trick or treat”. You had to wait to have the homeowner GIVE you something. You had to say thank you. If the light was off, you didn’t go there. *shrug*.

Sorry. For me, this is a colossal nuisance and a holiday I could live without. I confess that I had no problems with having the holiday cancelled by the governor for the last 2 years. Tomorrow is supposed to be near 70 and clear weather. Sigh. Maybe it’s not too late to take me dog and flee.

Al Cheyt. It’s Not a Sin.

This post is very late. Or perhaps very, very early. It has to do with the Jewish High Holidays. During Yom Kippur the congregation recites a confessional – all the sins that have been committed by someone/anyone/everyone in the community. For those of you who don’t click through on links, I’ll post a little of that confessional here. (taken from the middle of the prayer – there is much more before and after).

For the sin which we have committed before You in business dealings.
And for the sin which we have committed before You by eating and drinking.
For the sin which we have committed before You by usury.
And for the sin which we have committed before You by a haughty demeanor.
For the sin which we have committed before You by the prattle of our lips.
And for the sin which we have committed before You by a glance of the eye.

Many congregants dislike this confessional intensely. There is a feeling that you the individual are confessing for things that you did NOT do, would NEVER do, and why should *I* be held accountable for someone else’s sin????? I mean “usury”? Really? I’ve felt like that some years. Other years I look at the “sins” and think “I KNOW I’m going to do that one again and not feel all that sorry about it, so why am I wasting my breath?” I’m sure as you look at the tiny excerpt above you can get a flavor of what the prayer is like and how you might react to these sins.

This year I attended services at the Hillel of Rutgers University. The assistant rabbi gave his d’var on the Al Cheyt. D’var means “word” and it’s used to denote a teaching or learning. You can say “sermon”, but to me sermon sounds like “preaching” and has a connotation of admonishment. D’vrei are more like class lectures – an insight or observation. Anyway, you never quite know what the rabbi is going to say on the High Holidays. In my youth it was always an exhortation to donate. Now that I am an adult, and drift about to many different services, I find that often the rabbi’s talk is very much a learning and explanation of the text of the service. This year’s d’var was right on the money for me. Perfect. It turned the Al Cheyt into something more personal and accessible.

The rabbi said that the prayer books translate “cheyt” as “sin”, but that’s not really the connotation of the word in Hebrew. Cheyt, he said, is much more like “missing the mark”. It’s not that we are sinning – such a judgemental word – but that we are striving and falling short. Think about that a moment. Whereas I might argue that I am NOT doing those sins, I certainly would not argue that I am falling short of “perfection”. We all fall short of perfection. We’re not actually expected to be perfect. We’re asked to be the best that we CAN be. That’s hard, and we often fall short. Miss the mark.

It’s curious, but hearing him give that description lifted a weight off my shoulders. I am part of the community and I accept my responsibility to atone for myself and the community as a whole. I suppose there are people out there who are deliberately doing wrong and I would probably say that is “sinning”. For the most part, however, I think the vast majority of us do try to do the best we can, sometimes under extremely trying conditions. On occasion, maybe many occasions, we miss the mark. The Al Cheyt has become a positive statement for me, despite the confessions of wrong-doing. We’re trying and we will keep trying and we will try yet again. For all these missing-the-marks, forgive us, pardon us, grant us atonement.


I had a friend who I loved. Being with him was like a dose of electricity. My adrenaline soared just seeing his name. He was so edgy. Smart, daring, perverse, dark, haunted, haunting, rude, crude. He challenged my assumptions, my beliefs. I learned things about myself I might never have learned without him. I drove myself harder than I’d have ever believed in order to consider myself worthy of his attention and conversation. Of course he wasn’t perfect. I knew that, that wasn’t the allure. It was the thrill of the challenges, the push to the edge, the dare, the uncertainty, the variability, the unpredictability. Sometimes it felt there was insufficient air to breathe.

Then they told him he was ill. He agreed and did what they said. I’ve talked to him since. He seems happy. He’s a nice man. Gray, flat, nice. The treatment worked. He’s heeled.

When Life Hands You Lemons

ahuva relaxing

midweek danceWhen life hands you lemons, change lives. *smile* I was sitting about being pensive the other night. I took myself inworld to chat to my ducks and Bamboo, to hear the ocean sounds from my beach front and, of course, hear the noise of Ann Marie Oleander’s vehicles on the road outside. A long-time friend tapped on the IM box to chat. We decided that we could chat just as well if we were also dancing.

pinky's night outWe headed out to the blues club (my bad, I forgot to grab the landmark for blogging, and I’m not on my Alienware at the moment). DJ was playing great dance tunes. We danced and talked for well over an hour.

First life handed me yet another lemon last night so I slipped into my second life. 🙂 My friend was there also. We agreed to ban certain topics from our conversation and headed out for another night of dancing. Hmmmm. This dancing stuff might be habit-forming.
the start of a habit


ahuva surgery sandal 2I was set. Prepared. Ready to go. MORE than ready. Tomorrow was the day when I would FINALLY, after years and years and – trust me – a long time – get my foot repaired. The doctor had a very carefully thought out plan. He understood that I NEEEEEEED a flexible foot. We were skipping all the inorganic approaches and going right for regrowth. *laughing* I wore my steam-punk heels into his office last week, just so that he would “get” me. I said “I want you to know who I am so that if you have to make any decisions when I can’t contribute, you make the one that I would make.” My niece had even taken the boring plain black sandal they gave me and snazzed it up to fit my shoe persona (with the exception of some sequins and sparkle, she did it all with paint). I was supposed to begin fasting at midnight, surgery scheduled for 7 am. tomorrow.

At 4:54 pm the phone rang. It was the surgery center. Puzzled, since I’d already had a long chat with them earlier, I answered the phone. The operating room nurse identified herself (we’d chatted earlier) and began apologizing. Uh oh. I thought she was going to tell me the injection had not arrived – that was going to be the “rare” object. Nope, not that. The other product. Not only was it not there, it is not available anymore. Apparently the drug rep finally got around to saying “oh yeah, I’m substituting X for Y.” Not so fast. Sigh. The surgeon postponed the surgery until he is sure that X will do what we want.

ahuva surgery sandal 1I’m very disappointed. I put this off for years. I’ve been living in pain for months, unable to sleep more than 4 hours on a good night because of the pain. On a bad night – up every 30 minutes. It’s been debilitating. He has promised to schedule me as soon as he has a product that will do what we want. I love this surgeon. From day 1 he has talked to me openly, as an equal, plainly. Sigh. The “recovery” is 3 months. If we have to delay too long, this could become a problem.

Bummer. Of course I’d rather wait to do the “best” action rather than settle for the approach that doesn’t really get me where I hope to be. But tonight – yes, I’m very very disappointed.