Sunday, September 13, 2020

Another puzzle done, School update

 I finally finished my next quarantine puzzle. It was harder than I wanted it to be and new out of the box it was missing two pieces. User error, I'm sure they fell on the floor and got swept or thrown away somehow.

School started August 11th. I am impressed with how wonderful the students are. They really are doing a great job at attending classes on Google Meet and completing the work I am assigning. We are getting to know each other and starting to be able to talk about math. The amount of planning and time spent preparing for the synchronous and asynchronous learning is unreal. It takes so much longer to prepare lessons to be delivered online. And when doing them, it also takes longer so we have to figure out which items are most important to increase student understanding. The job has become so much harder than it was in person, and as one of my predecessors at PMS used to say, "Teaching is a hard job." It was already hard! Now it often seems impossible. I'm doing the best I can and it is going to have to be enough. I created my very first Desmos activity for my students and here is my very first stop motion video showing equalities changing to inequalities and back again. The plus signs each have a value of 1, the lines in the middle are the equal sign and inequality sign.

Here in California, on top of the pandemic and a recent heat wave, we are dealing with fires and dangerous air quality due to smoke. We can't be inside together because of Covid, now we can't be outside either. It's pretty awful. Climate change is truly affecting our lives here. We can smell the smoke even with our windows closed. Air quality is actually dangerous here right now. One day this week our sky changed to deep orange and it is has been dark and grey every since. The wind is supposed to change and clear out the smoke soon. It will be nice to take a deep breath of fresh air once that happens. Here's a picture of the ash on our mailbox and a very gray sky during the day.

Hard to believe, but my baby, the youngest, Jonah is turning 18 tomorrow. We are getting Tony's pizza and Swenson's ice cream today to celebrate. He is handling distance learning very well as a 12th grader. It's not ideal, but he is learning and working hard. His teachers are doing a great job and clearly are working very hard to make it work for their students.

Next week starts the high holidays. It's always a stressful time in the rabbi's household around the holidays. This year, no hosting, so that takes some pressure off. Rabbi has memorized his first 3 sermons and just practices them every day now. They were written over a month ago. This year's theme is Covid of course. He always ties all 5 sermons together in a theme. I like to be surprised when he delivers them so I don't know anything else about them.

My niece in Manhattan, Adalia, turned 5. We had a super fun Zoom birthday party with an art project (I painted a Rainbow Dash!), dancing, and watching her blow out her candles and eat cake. :-) My brother and sister-in-law put a lot of effort into making it special for their special girl. They continue to host Friday afternoon (here, evenings there) Shabbat celebrations for the family which are a highlight of my week. I get to see them, my sister, my mom, and sometimes, Uncle Bhavvy and recently, cousin Erik which was a special treat.

My sister performed in an online play about virtual therapy. I loved it and she did a great job! Now she is performing in an outdoor set of one-acts. It's great that she gets to do theatre which brings her such joy.

Micah is doing well in Ohio. While members of his fraternity have contracted Covid, no one in his house of 10 brothers has gotten it yet. I maintain that it is a "when" not an "if," but I am happy that he has stayed healthy for a month. Yesterday he went to the zoo and realized how unfair to animals living in a zoo is. He felt that many of the enclosures were just way too small.

Procrastination of my school preparation must end now. I am going to figure out how to get my puzzle photos into this and write again another day. May all be safe, well, and healthy.

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: