Five Question Friday (Sort of): December 23, 2011


Not surprisingly, no questions were listed for today. Therefore I’m doing things a little different than usual. Instead of answering five questions, I thought it would be nice for each one to share five holiday traditions that you celebrate in your home. You can elaborate if you choose, or not. You decide. Since I’m writing each day about our observances during Chanukah, I will just list five of our customs and let you read more detailed descriptions in the holiday posts that have already begun to appear here.

My best wishes to all of you during these days and holiday observances, however you choose to celebrate . . . or not! Have a great weekend and I hope to see you back here next Friday. 🙂

Five of our Chanukah traditions ~

1. Lighting the Menorah each night for eight nights.

2. Eating latkes and applesauce (explanation coming soon)

3. Reading an inspirational Chanukah story after lighting the chanukiah each night.

4. Playing dreidle (explanation coming soon).

5. Learning Torah lessons for Chanukah.


Happy holidays everyone!


Weekly Photo Challenge: Self-Portrait

You’ve seen this one before, but it’s one of my favorites so I’ll post it again. This one was taken with my cat, Pele, a couple of months before she died. It is one of my favorite photos.

I’ve taken other self-portraits, too, but none that I like as much as the one with Pele. But here are a few.

I was unsure about including the last photo. I’m sure you can guess why. But I am in it. It is a self-portrait. And, what good is life without a sense of humor! Hahaha. 😀

Enjoy. This is a fun topic and I may try my hand at other self-portraits this week. If I do, you will know. 🙂


Five Question Friday: December 2, 2011

What do you know? It is DECEMBER already! This is a huge holiday season in this country and around the world (but believe it or not, NOT in EVERY part of the world). Before Thanksgiving day draws to a close, many people are busily sifting through boxes of decorations and adorning their homes ~ inside and out ~ with festive decking. What a beautiful time of the year. We imagine snow (although most of the USA won’t see measurable snow until January, if then) and “dream of a white Christmas.” Carols fill the air where ever we go, and I do mean whereEVER! Trees are cut and bundled to occupy every vacant lot as they await the moment they are chosen to decorate someone’s home or office. Don’t you just love the smell of evergreens? What a wonderful fragrance! Ahhh . . . tis the season. 🙂

One problem, though. I don’t do Christmas. We don’t do the x-mas shopping thing. The music that fills the air is not “ours.” And covering one’s home in blinking lights is a bit strange, but it is pretty most of the time. I really don’t like the gaudy stuff, but that is a matter of taste and everyone’s definition of “gaudy” is unique to them. Soooo . . . what about this Christmas “season” stuff. There is a big effort afoot (has been for years now) to make this a politically correct “Happy Holiday” season. Folks are astir that President Obama lit the “holiday tree” this year rather than the “Christmas tree.” Imagine that. Many are suggesting that he is eliminating religion from the holiday. Really? I didn’t know that the religious aspects of this holiday were dependent on having “Christmas” trees. Hmmm…. Learn something new every day. But that is to be expected. Christmas is not my holiday.

(Picture a decorated tree in this spot. I don’t have a photo, so use your imagination!)

(I take the above statement back. Found one!)

Having said all of that, I for one, am not offended about the ubiquitous “Christmas” holiday cheer and well wishes. Nor am I offended with the “Happy Holiday” greetings and trees. Personally, I enjoy watching the hustle and bustle, driving around to see the many colorful and cheerful lights, and watching the “happy” part of these holidays. After all, my holiday is coming up, too. Chanukah is a holiday commemorating miracles and light. (I will be writing about that more as the days draw near.) But I happen to live in a country that is predominantly Christian (or claims to be), so seeing what y’all do to celebrate your holidays is rather fun. It does not detract from my observance of Chanukah. Come to Jewish enclaves in New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Toronto, and yes, even Cleveland, and you will see menorahs in a window or doorway of every home. It is truly beautiful. I hope you have opportunity at some point in your life to observe a Chanukah-kind-of-neighborhood. Or, visit Jerusalem during Chanukah. I hear it is magical. Someday I will be there and see for myself. This year we will light a simple, inexpensive chanukiah (menorah) that can be picked up in our nearby Kosher market because our beautiful menorahs are still packed in some box in a storage unit miles from where we live. But that is ok. The lights will still be beautiful, and it is the miracle of the lights that we celebrate, not the menorah itself.

So why this discourse about Christmas and Chanukah? Because the closer we get to Christmas and Chanukah, the questions for Five Question Friday will include more and more questions about Christmas. It makes sense since the vast majority of readers celebrate Christmas. For me however, that means I will share more and more about Chanukah. I will leave the Christmas questions in the post for those of you who read this blog and respond with your answers. It is fun to compare our answers, and it gives me the opportunity to learn about you, too. With all of this in mind, consider this part of the blog as my answer to questions one and two below. I look forward to seeing how you answer the questions.

As to question number five, it is another one of those that I will slash to insert one of my own. You will see why.

Now, on to the questions! Enjoy.

1. What is your favorite Christmas decoration in your house?

See above!

2. Do you finish your Christmas shopping early or are you a last minute type?

See above!

3. When do you turn on your heat?

When it gets cold. (Hahahaha . . . I couldn’t resist that one!)

I am one that does not particularly care for “artificial” heat or cold. I will wait until it is almost frigid cold outside before I turn on the heat. We need our furnaces running in very cold weather in order to live, but I prefer to stick with the natural order of things for as long as possible. The same goes in the spring of the year; I open windows and turn on fans to avoid using the air conditioner  . . . until we are sweltering. And even then, we set our thermostat at 80 degrees farenheit, and continue to use the fans. My husband is not quite as drastic as all of that, and we definitely have to negotiate the issue, but in general, that’s the way it runs in our home. 🙂

4. Do you ever wish your blog was private?

No. I am one who believes that nothing we post on the internet, either private or public, is truly private. So, I watch what I post. If I wish to write about something so private I don’t want anyone to see, or only certain people at most, then I use the old-fashioned method of putting pen to paper. Actually, that method is oftentimes quite cathartic, and I still keep a leather-bound journal where I record my private thoughts. I don’t write in it nearly as often since I began blogging, but I continue to keep it close at hand should I need to hand write my musings.

5. Do you put your deodorant on before of after you put on your shirt

I don’t understand the reason for this question. I don’t want to offend anyone, but the banality of these types of questions give me pause at times, and it is in those times that I consider dropping 5QF. But, as in the past, I will substitute a question of my own choosing. So here goes:

C’s choice: 5. What is the first thing you do every morning when you get up?

My mornings are “ritualized” (is that a word? ’tis now!). Before my feet even touch the floor, I say the “Mode Ani . . . ” This is a statement of gratitude for having survived the night and awakened to a new day and new possibilities. Then I stumble to the bathroom half-asleep to wash my hands and wake up a bit more to say another “thank you” for the spirit within me and wisdom for living, and for this body of mine which is wonderfully made and houses my spirit while I walk this earth. (Isn’t it sad how much time we spend hating our bodies, yet we must live in our skins for a lifetime! That’s like hating our home. This “house”, our body, carries us everywhere! Without it we could do NOTHING! Better to be thankful for it. 🙂 ) That is followed by the morning prayers, a formalized prayer time when we “daven,” or pray for every thing on earth. It is quite beautiful. Then I put the coffee on to brew, have a little breakfast, and finally spend time in quiet just observing the morning around me and outside my living room or dining room window. This is a time I move into the spontaneous prayers and “chat” with G-d. THEN, I’m off to the races (so to speak!)  But this is how my day begins every day. This is why I really don’t like to be bothered by anyone for any reason during my first waking hour. This quiet time of gratitude and prayer sets the mood for my day. 🙂

So, there you have it; another five question Friday. I hope your day and your weekend is magnificent and filled with gratitude for life! Seeya next week!!! 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: Windows

I am in Chicago for a few days visiting my daughters and their families. I arrived in the windy city around sunrise Sunday morning. My daughter’s partner picked me up at Union Station (you really ought to travel by MegaBus at least once! Great fun!) but instead of going straight back to their apartment, we did a little sight-seeing first. Chicago on a Sunday morning at sunrise, empty streets, wonderful colors, fantastic architecture . . . and Marilyn . . . is awesome! I was not thinking about this challenge when I was shooting, but early this morning as I was going through the photos, I thought this would fit the bill. Enjoy! (and I’ll throw in a few of Marilyn as a bonus! :-))

Five Question Friday: November 4, 2011

I’m back.  It has been a challenging few weeks, but I’m back and ready to go. I decided to keep 5QF, but to add “Point to Ponder” on another day of the week, like maybe on Wednesdays.  And I absolutely reserve the right to change a question if the powers that be list a question that is too banal, gross, intrusive, crude, or what have you. So far I’ve only done that once.  At any rate, let’s see what questions we have for this week! Enjoy.

1. What movie do you love to quote?

I don’t actually quote movies, but there is one movie that I can quote, almost verbatim, from beginning to end. I LOVE it! Sadly, I packed the video away in storage until we move into a house which could be months, or even a year from now. It is a quirky movie and it makes me laugh and smile so it’s great to watch on a “blue” day. 🙂 Ever hear of “The Princess Bride”? Great for children and adult alike…. Dorky as all get out, but that is its charm. 🙂

Cover of "The Princess Bride (20th Annive...
Cover via Amazon
2. Have you ever ridden a motorcycle?
hmmm . . . a few! My parents belonged to a Harley Davidson club when they were in college. I rode around on the back of one when I was a small child. We owned a Honda dirt bike when I was in my early teens that we rode through cotton fields and on back roads . . . we (my twin brother and I) were too young for a license so we rode on the back roads and through the fields to avoid the traffic cops. A guy had a better chance of getting a date with me if he had a motorcycle…. sad but true. Haven’t been on one in a while, but have many memories of wonderful rides with the wind blowing through my hair (in the days before the helmet laws). I also have the burn scars on my calves from scraping against the exhaust pipe to attest to my motorcycle-riding days.
Harley-Davidson motorcycle
Image via Wikipedia
3. What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
These days I read (academic stuff for class), write (academic stuff for class, and blogging) or sleep. But my favorite favorite thing to do, if it is not storming, is to grab the poncho, the umbrella, and the camera and take a walk! See here for what happens when I do that! 🙂

4. Do you prefer a bunch of small gifts, or one really big, (expensive) gift?
I’m not one for big or expensive . . . but a gem or two here and there is appreciated now and then. 😉 On the other hand, the handmade gifts from my grandchildren (or children for that matter) or the sweet note from my husband written on the back of a PNC bank statement envelope are priceless, far more valuable than emeralds or diamonds.
multi-coloured lilies
Image by nicodeemus1 via Flickr
5. Do you ever lose track of days and show up somewhere wrong?
Duh…. I’m a middle age woman sliding toward 60 with ever-increasing speed. What do you think?
My "Good Morning" look with a cup of coffee, and Genevieve looking over my shoulder! 🙂

So there you have another Five Question Friday. 🙂 Have a joyful weekend, and I’ll see you next week for 5QF!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Hidden

I’m a little slow with this challenge but here it is. I shot this photo a couple of years ago while visiting my daughters and their families in Chicago. Can you find the “hidden?”

Assessments, Tests and Measurements!

Oy vey . . .  The title of this post is the name of the course that is giving me fits this quarter. Ugh! I am not a “measurement” type person. Until this course, I was perfectly content to leave the numbers and measurement stuff up to my husband. He’s the scientist. He measures everything, no exceptions. Every book he reads, house we look at, movie we see, etc., Richard will grade. Seldom does anything get an “A” in his book. When asked how he comes up with the grade, Richard will go into great detail about how he figured the numbers and assessed different values to measure an outcome that results in a grade. I kid you not!  He offered to tutor me in this course to which I replied, “NO NO NO!” He is a good man but when it comes to discussions about anything of this sort, he just can’t “dumb” himself down to a level that I understand. I am a measurement impaired person. I will probably have to go to the university tutoring site to get help (like today.) Although befuddled and confused by it all, I readily admit the importance of this particular course. In my field of endeavor, assessments, tests and measurements are essential in the process of diagnosing a problem. In addition, the ability to accurately and ethically use assessment instruments is addressed in the American Counseling Association Code of Ethics, and is required within the managed health system. Now I could say a LOT about managed care, but that is for another blog. As I was saying about assessments et al., use of the proper tool in the proper way for the proper results benefits future clients’ best interest. So I need to learn this stuff, even if it is turning my brain into a pretzel! So, back to the books I go!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sunset (An Evening at the Lake)

Last evening, Richard and I drove up to Lake Erie (less than 10 miles distance) to take a stroll and watch the sun set. We have talked about it several times before, however when Richard suggested we go to the lake, I was delightfully surprised. We drove through some wooded areas which at this time of year are stunning with the various types of leaves decked out in their best colors ~ reds, oranges, yellows, mottled greens. As the sun descended lower in the western sky, we had only an inkling of the beauty awaiting at the lake.

We parked the car at a little village park in Euclid, OH, and walked down to the lake and out onto a quay. Our first glimpse was magical. I felt as if I had stepped into an impressionistic painting, the beautiful muted pastels imbuing the atmosphere with peace and tranquility.

Looking to the east ~
Looking to the west ~

At the end of the quay a few fishermen lingered in the waning light, casting their lines out over the tranquil lake time and again. I wondered if they truly expected another catch, or if they were simply enjoying the peacefulness of the evening. We spoke briefly to each other, but we all seemed to be comfortable with the silence.

Fishermen at the end of the quay ~

As the darkness increased, I looked again to the west and sighted two fishermen headed down to the lake shore to do some night fishing.

We stayed a little longer, but then decided it was time to leave.

As we were driving away however, I could see through the trees that the colors were increasing in intensity.

Richard pulled into another park area about a mile down the road, and as I walked toward the shoreline, I knew we were in for a bigger treat than before! (While the previous photos had little editing, the remaining photos have not been edited or altered in the least. They are straight out of the camera!)

Afterward, as we walked back to the car, I took a final look back . . .

Driving home Richard reached for my hand. No words were spoken. We were content. This was a good evening.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Comfort

Last week was the first I’ve missed since I joined this challenge, and that is because I don’t really have any sunset shots, nor was I able to get any during the week.  For this challenge however, I have one that I think fits the bill. I used it some weeks ago on my gratitude blog (see here) but it fits this challenge quite nicely. Take a look and tell me what you think.

My cat, Pele, and I in a sweet moment.