Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Family Growth Chart

 Many years ago, we bought a metal frame and white cotton fabric walls to build our sukkah. The frame stayed up all year, I sewed together several bed sheets to throw on top to make a shade, and we'd often have our Shabbat meals outside on the patio when the weather cooperated.

After a few holidays of getting tired of staring at the plain white walls, I decided I wanted to design something to paint on the walls. First I thought something rather industrious - traditionally on Sukkot (Feast of the Tabernacles), there is the concept of seven holy guests - Ushpizin - who visit the sukkah, one for each day of the holiday. Then I thought maybe to start a bit more simply, the seven species of fruit associated with the Land of Israel, and the four species associated with the holiday of Sukkot.

And then I hit on a family-inclusive, long-term project. Using just one handprint from each family member, we would build a mosaic over the years.

The first year was 2010.

We started with a sun. Six members of the family, and a false start.

In 2011, we added part of the sky. And a son-in-law.

2012 saw grass grow, and a grandson.

2013 we had flowers bloom.

In 2014, the multicolored butterflies arrived.

And in 2015, we did the other part of the sky, and welcomed a second grandson to the family and to the sukkah family project.

In 2016 we moved to a location where we don't have a place to build our own sukkah, so for now, the family project is on hold. Happily, as soon as it's up and going again (please God, for Sukkot in 2021), we will be adding several new family members.

So, any interesting traditions you have to chronicle the growth of your own families?

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Existing vs Living

The past year, I've been living in a high stress situation. And the past 6 months only increased the levels of stress. And yes, I know I'm not the only one.

I've basically stopped doing things I used to enjoy. I can't remember the last time I picked up a camera. I don't remember when I last baked bread. I stopped my 5k walks. Blogging and vlogging are a thing of the past.

Yeah, once a month I get a manicure. But it's a passive activity that doesn't require my creativity (beyond picking a new manicure) or much of my attention.

I've been existing, but not living.

And I want that to stop. I NEED that to stop.

I've begun to notice the world around me again. The small things, like flowering weeds or the pomegranates that are coming into season.

I think it's time to pick up my camera again.

I've started watching my diet and cutting down carbs and cutting out sugar.

I think it's time for me to find a suitable bread recipe and start baking again.

Losing weight won't happen with just a change of diet, I NEED to exercise. Until I can afford a treadmill, I need to do something.

I think it's time to start walking again.

I've been told that I'm pretty decent at putting a sentence together. Putting the stuff that causes my stress hamster running at 1 AM down on paper - digital as it may be - is a good way for me to move things out of my head, which in turn will let me get a decent night's sleep. Vlogging will help me track my getting healthy journey.

I think it's time to get writing and recording again.

So the camera battery is now being charged, and my workout gear is getting dusted off.

Photo taken at the urban lot farm in February, 2020 BC... Before Corona.