Friday, June 19, 2020

Most recent puzzle completed

This one didn't take long. I just didn't have a lot of time to spend on it. I will be trying to work on these puzzles more during Shabbat to stay off screens and relax.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

This White Woman's Tears

This White Woman’s Tears

Some say that a history of 400 years of slavery and oppression
and injustice is embedded in the bodies of my black brothers and
sisters. In that light, I acknowledge that a history of 3000 years of
anti-semitic persecution, pograms, and genocide is embedded in
my own body. I’m not trying to win a contest here. I am sharing
with you one reason why this white woman’s tears must flow.

I cry when I’m happy. I cry when I am sad. I cry when I get a
minor boo boo. I cry when I’m touched. I cry when I am angry. I cry
when I am inspired. I cry when my feelings get hurt. I cry when
someone dies. I cry when someone gets married. I cry when a
new baby gets their name. I cry when I remember my grandparents
and my father. I cry when my former 7th grade students graduate
from high school. I cry when I remember Josiah Pratt Rose. I cry
when tragedies in my synagogue community happen. I cry when
I remember the Holocaust. I cry when I read books and watch
television programs and watch movies. (If I also laugh, then I
know it was a good one.) I am crying right now.

I can’t not cry when my black and brown brothers and sisters are
being mistreated and killed. I can’t not cry when thousands of
humans are unjustly incarcerated. I can’t not cry when the people
who are supposed to protect their communities harm them instead.
I can’t not cry when this country of mine has a leader who calls for
violence and a return to “good old days” that were not good for ALL
Americans. I can’t not cry when my heart and soul hurt so much.

This is how I express the feelings that I have inside of me. I need
to express myself through these tears. And this does not mean I
want or need to be comforted. This does not mean I want the
story to become about me. This does not mean everyone should
stop what they are doing and make sure I am okay. I am crying in
order to take care of myself. I will be okay, or at least as okay as
anyone can be when there is so much wrong with our country
and our world.

I cry with you. I cry because it hurts so much to see you hurting.
I cry because I can’t truly know for myself the burden my black
brothers and sisters must carry, but I can imagine. And I can
educate myself. I cry as I stand with you, for you, supporting
you, and voting for leaders who will stand with you, for you,
and support you.

Monday, May 25, 2020

The Puzzling Continues, Received Gifts

This was a 3-in-one type of puzzle. It could be solved as just the helmet, helmet with border, or on the reverse as the field with Cal written on it. The shapes used in the puzzle were very unusual which made it even more difficult. Finished products here:

A week or two ago, my friend Bella asked if anyone had a copy of Educated. It turns out I had two - one hard copy that I had purchased and one from the library. I lent her the hard copy and in exchange she gave me the most beautiful flowers and some yummy mint from her garden:

My friend Jennifer made chocolate covered candied orange peels. While I am not a fan, my husband and sons are huge fans! Here they are enjoying their special treat:

Finally, for a few years there has been a "Everything Will Be Okay" sign on a fence at the Park Blvd. exit for Hwy 13 South. Here is the current iteration:
While I do believe that "everything" will be okay someday, things are very much not okay right now. The behavior of the US government and supposed "freedom" citizens has been appalling. Wearing a mask does not change that you have freedom. It protects others from your possible sickness. How selfish can a person be?

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Fantastic Event - the 6th Annual Mega Challah Bake

Chabad of Oakland puts on this annual event which I always try not to miss. This year, of course, it was virtual, and we all make the dough, took challah, braided the dough, and baked the challot in our own kitchens. Before the event, volunteers prepared all of the ingredients for us, and we received them delivered to our homes in a beautiful box with flowers and other special Shabbat gifts.
It was a treat to see so many friends that I know from TBA, Joaquin Miller, and the Jewish community of Oakland and Piedmont. Rebbetzin Shulamis Labkowski ran a beautiful event including leading all the demonstration of the dough preparation and braiding. There were small breakout rooms where we went while our dough was rising. It was fun to talk with a small group of women that I already knew from Temple Beth Abraham. We played a game with points earned for different things that we have done or haven't done during the shelter in place.
To top it all off, I won one of the three raffle items, the kosher Shabbat dinner and other Shabbat items which was very exciting! :-)
Countdown to Start the Event

Beautiful Shulamis 
Finished products: one 3 braid zaatar, one 4 braid round sesame,
1 3 braid sesame, 1 6 braid sesame,
and 1 6 braid cinnamon sugar
Finished with flowers!

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Mother's Day Rocked!

What an incredible start to a beautiful day. Mark tells me to get back in bed after I get up to take care of my morning needs. I get back in bed and Micah and Jonah bring me a tray of breakfast. Here's what happened (text taken directly from my Facebook post):
I got the BEST Mother's Day surprise. I thought it was just going to be breakfast in bed, which it was (scrambled egg with cheese, challah with butter and cinnamon/sugar topping, Stress Ease tea, plus two Mother's Day Cards), then I thought it was going to be that "Happy Mother's Day, Lady" cute video, which it started out to be, but THEN Micah said "Wait, I'm getting a text message..." and played THIS video from my new best friend, the SF Giants Sports Reporter, Amy G. Hope you enjoy my 2 minutes from her as much as I did!!

Amazing long video message from Amy G., reporter for SF Giants!

Then Jonah said, look at the back of your door:

(Which is what Mark also said...)

Here's my reaction video that we send to Cameo as a thank you:

After eating and finally getting out of bed, I had a wonderful hour with my East Coast family. My mommy, Helene, sister, Lisa, her daughter and my 8th grade niece, Lana, my brother, KC, his wife Dana, and their daughter and my 4 year old niece, Adalia. It was so sweet to see everyone. Micah and Jonah popped in to say hi and take a photo (see below). Mark popped in to say hi, but no photo. Then Jonah came back to answer some questions about how theme parks are figuring out their reopening. Lana was going through some of her Raddish boxes so I asked Lisa to send me the recipe for the sticky toffee pudding. I am looking forward to making that this week. I also want to make this recipe from the Friday Night group on Facebook. It is a Country Apple Fritter Bread and it looks easy to make and is said to be amazingly delicious. I will have to make another blog post about the success or failure of those two cooking ventures.

Late morning, we drove to San Mateo to pick up food from Jack's to take to Mom Bloom's house for our Mother's Day brunch. On the way there, Mark's brother Barry called to say she was really looking forward to fried chicken from Jack's. So we called Jack's and added it to our order! We also gave her a wrapped present of a package of toilet paper and a chocolate orange croissant from our neighborhood cafe, L'acajou. We had a loved socially distanced time.

This afternoon, all three men in the house are taking a nap, I am watching Gilmore Girls (I'm still in Season 1 but getting closer to the end of it) and at 4 pm I am going to do a virtual dance class with a friend of friend, Bella, who I was about to say was from synagogue, but we have so many connections: TBA, WTBA, Mah Jongg, Reiki, last week I lent her a book for her son and she brought me flowers and mint in exchange, Piedmont schools, probably even more things I am not thinking of. Anyway, I have been wanting to do this class for weeks and I am doing it today at 4 pm. Then I really have to plan my classes for the week. That is my most important Sunday job. I also need to hard boil some more eggs as we are running low.

The 4 pm dance class was super fun. I will definitely attend again if I don't have a conflict on future Sundays.

Monday, May 4, 2020

More of the Same...

Shelter in place life remains the same. I try to keep my daily routine: at least 10 minutes on the stationary bike, shower, put on actual clothes and jewelry, 3 set meals with limited snacks, do a bunch of schoolwork, games and puzzles on my phone, email, read, social media, work on the jigsaw puzzle, watch Gilmore Girls (I'm still in season one - did you know that all of the 7 seasons have approximately 22 episodes?!?), study some Spanish, study some Hebrew, talk to my family, call other people or text them or Zoom with them, mourn some recent losses including one tragic one, play Mah Jongg online with friends or with computer bots.

This weekend I finished our second puzzle:
It was missing two dark pieces and there were 3 pieces in there from another puzzle. It was a tough one but I enjoy how it makes the time go by so quickly when I am working on it.

This Friday would have been the PMS 20th Annual Diversity Day. Here is a wonderful collection of videos we use to open discussions with our students:

Check out interesting things that PUSD folks are doing during shelter in place:

Also, Piedmont people are reading:

Monday, April 20, 2020

Ah, Spring Break. Different is Good!

Last week was spring break for Piedmont schools. I felt relaxed. There was definitely more space in my head for figuring out distance learning lessons, taking care of myself, and supporting my family by cooking passover pancakes for breakfast once and matzah brei twice.
Now, we are back to school, back to work, back to feeling stressed. However, things feel a little bit more manageable as I am starting to get used to this new style of school. It's not the teaching I signed up for, nor is it the teaching I enjoy (people person here - I need my face to face interactions), but it is feeling doable for the remaining 6 weeks of school this year. Next year? One can only hope that we will be back to in-person life and teaching. For now, here we are.
Recent Accomplishments: a 500 piece puzzle, lesson plans for the week, yoga and aerobic exercise nearly every day.
Recent Adventures: To break Passover, we traveled to Walnut Creek for a sweet grandma pizza from Tony's Slice House, which we ate in the car, then immediately to San Francisco for a variety of pizzas from Tony's Napoletana (yes, same Tony, yes, two different menus) which we started to eat in the car and saved a lot for home. Delicious! Only Mark was disappointed because of the parmesan cheese sprinkled all over the ones from SF. We tried to get Swensen's ice cream (swiss orange chip is the Bloom family favorite for everyone but me) afterward, as is our tradition, but they closed their shop due to the virus on March 17th. That was disappointing to all of us.
Speaking of ice cream, Three Twins sadly closed up shop suddenly (or at least we thought it was sudden) on Friday. This immediately began an adventure of finding and buying their special flavors such as chocolate orange confetti and mocha difference. We had success at Mulberry's and Rocky's. Sorry to everyone else that didn't get the chance to have one last taste of these amazing and unique ice cream flavors from Three Twins. We would invite you over to share but... maybe someday...
One last adventure: yesterday we stopped at North Beach for some pizza and brought it to my mother-in-law's for a socially distanced lunch date. All four of us sat outside on the patio while Mom sat inside the kitchen and talked to us through the screen door. The food was yummy and it was wonderful to spend time together even though we couldn't hug. Since she lives alone, we wanted to check in with her in person, spend some time with her, and make sure she knows how much we love her. That was a special treat.
Right now I am making myself some jasmine tea from the blooms in my yard. It is sweet and yummy and warms me up literally and figuratively. The jasmine was one of the reasons we purchased this house in 2001. That story is for another blog post.