Five Question Friday: Decembr 16, 2011

The wind is ferociously howling outside our windows tonight as I work on this. Winter is just days away and we’ve already had two light snows. I’ve been working on “My Etsy” shop (see link in the menu across the top of this page), choosing which cards to sell, and that means looking through pictures of summer flowers and butterflies, and thinking of warmer climes. Even so, I must admit that snuggling under the warm blankets, peering out the window at wind-whipped trees while tapping away on another 5QF, a cup of hot chocolate within arm’s reach, is rather comforting tonight.

This has been a slow week for me. Once I handed in my final final, I didn’t quite know what to do with myself. That will change I’m sure, but I have enjoyed the slow pace of the last few days. Sometimes taking time to stare out windows as my body recovers from too many late night study sessions is just the thing to rejuvenate my spirit.

So, while in this mellow mood, let’s go to the questions! Enjoy!

1. What’s the best Christmas present you’ve ever received?

The best present I ever received in my life was a gift from my three children. This was years ago when they were quite young; I think Mary, the youngest, was in kindergarten or first grade. The had no money to buy us an anniversary gift but they wanted to do something. Being artists every one, they made paper book marks and went house to house throughout our neighborhood selling them for a nickel apiece, all without my knowing. They were able to earn about $2.00 this way, which they took to a dollar store (I don’t know how they managed that, but someone drove them) and bought four glasses–“real crystal,” according to Tim, the oldest at 8- or 9-years-old. The glasses had flowers painted on them along with stripes. Unique glasses, but those glasses were the best gift I ever received. Sadly, the glasses broke rather easily and within days we were down to just one glass, which I wrapped and put out of harm’s way, to no avail. I never forgot those glasses, nor how much they meant to me. For a five-year-old, a six-year-old, and an eight- year-old to come up with the idea and then to pull if off amazes me. It was a sweet gesture I shall never forget.

2. Worst/Funniest White Elephant gift ever received?

I don’t know. I’m scanning my brain to remember but can’t think of anything. I have not attended many office parties or participated in gift giving that involved gag gifts. If anyone reading this who has known me for many years, call or facebook me if you remember something. I WILL include it if you refresh my memory, but I’m not recalling anything at the moment.

3. Is your Christmas tree plain and simple (white lights and matching ornaments) or is it wild and crazy (colored lights with lots of ornaments collected over the years)?  Is your Chanukiah plain and simple, or is it elaborate?

Well, our Chanukiah (Menorah) is still packed away this year and in storage quite far from where we are presently living. We have two that we use; the large, ornate silver one is Richard’s to light, and my smaller, pewter Chanukiah sits next to his in front of the window. This year we will go the simple route, though. I will pick up a couple of inexpensive menorahs at the Jewish bookstore near our home. We will light them, after all Chanukah is to celebrate the miracle of lights, eat some latkes and maybe share a story or two. We will do this for eight nights.

4. “How” do you iron your clothes? The old-fashioned iron/ironing board way, the shower, back in the dryer, etc.

Iron clothes??? Are you serious? I didn’t know that people still ironed! I take clothes straight out of the dryer when the cycle finishes. If I’m not there at the exact time, I spritz the clothes with water and throw them back in the dryer. I do not iron.

5. How much baking do you do for Christmas and what are your “must make” items? (I’m looking for recipes here, peeps…)

I don’t bake much anymore. For one, most of my kitchen tools and utensils are out in storage. Our kitchen is teeeeny tiny making it difficult to work in. But the real reason I don’t bake, I don’t rally enjoy cooking or baking. Now that the kids are grown and out of the house, I will fess up and tell every one that the kitchen is not where I want to be spending my time!

That’s it for this week. I look forward to reading what y’all have to say. Enjoy your weekend. 🙂

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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!!! 🙂

Five Question Friday: November 18, 2011

Good Friday everyone! I do hope you all are waking up to wonderful possibilities today. And for those who are struggling for whatever reason, may you find the strength to get through your day, and comfort for having weathered the storm, whatever it is.

Nothing much has happened this week other than studies! By mid-December the quarter will come to an end and I will have completed one of the toughest required courses in this program. (The other mind-melter comes in the spring quarter!) Since not much else is going on, let’s get on with 5QF!

1. Do you have a go to song that always puts you in a good mood?

I have so many “go to” songs and music I don’t even know where to begin. MANY songs of many genres fit this bill. There is one however, that comes to mind right away. Not your everyday fare, but oh so uplifting! Maybe not your cup of tea, but I love it! dance to it! hum it! Enjoy. 🙂

2. Are you a real Christmas tree kinda person or do you go with a real fake one?

We are not Christmas tree kinda people here. Nope. Not at all. Instead, around this time of year we celebrate Chanukah. We will light the menorah for eight nights, have a few latkas with applesauce, sing a few songs, visit friends and relax. Chanukah is not one of our major holidays, but it is certainly a beloved holiday by many.

3. What are you thankful for?

Too much to expound upon here. Soooo…. I’ll send you to my gratitude blog. Click here. There you will find many things for which I am thankful! 🙂

4. Which fashion fad from the past do you wish you could wear today?

Nah….  None. Absolutely none. The clothes I wear aren’t so faddish anyway.

5. Do you wait until the “low fuel” light comes on before you fill up the gas tank?

Absolutely. Isn’t that what you are supposed to do? Makes my husband crazy. He thinks that one should never let the gauge go below the half-way point. I say, “why not?” After all, isn’t that what the low fuel light is for, to let us know when it is time to fill up again?

 

 

So, that’s it for this week. Have to get back to the books, but this has been a nice break. Y’all enjoy your weekend, and I’ll see you next Friday from KENTUCKY!

Five Question Friday: Sept. 2, 2011

Good morning, and time for another Five Question Friday.  I hope your week was excellent! Ours was hectic, as many of you know, but we are both in one place now, and in a sweet little apartment that fits our present needs.  So in spite of boxes and “mess,” we are confident that this is the place for us at this time.  Now, on to the five questions, here they are!

1. Shoes in the house – yay or nay?

Yes, we allow shoes in the house.  I sometimes think about how nice it would be to have everyone leave their shoes at the door, but then I would be the enforcer and become a nag . . . all the time.  That really doesn’t suit my personality, so it is definitely shoes in the house!

2. What do you call them — flip-flops, slippers, thongs, etc?

I’ve always called them flip-flops.  Always.

3. What song are you almost embarrassed to admit you know all the lyrics to?

I don’t know about embarrassment, but I know most of the words to American Pie (but then I think just about everyone from that era knows that one.) My husband and I like to sing “I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow” when we are traveling.  Don’t know why, but we do. Then there is “Gloom, Despair and Agony on Me,” which the last time I checked, my kids hated. Of course that might have something to do with the fact that when one or all of them were whiny and complaining, I would go off into a rousing rendition of the ditty. I may have ruined my kids. I’m not sure. I am sure though, that there are more songs that I embarrassingly know the lyrics to, but these are the first to come to mind.

4. What is the best quality to have in a friend?

Best quality?  That’s a tough one.  Kindness, love, fun, loyalty (but not blind), honesty, support, listener, sharing, playful, laughter. . . The list is endless.  It’s these qualities together that make for friendship.  It’s the stick-to-it-ness of growing and learning together, sharing the ups and downs of life, being there for each other, calling each other out when need be.  So many things.  There is no “best quality,” friendship requires many qualities.

5. Do you know what you want for Christmas?

Since we do Chanukah, I’ll tell you a little about that holiday.  We celebrate for eight days to commemorate the successful Maccabean revolt in which we regained our Holy Temple. Sadly, Antiochus and the Seleucids whom he ruled, desecrated the temple and contaminated the holy oil for the menorah as well (simple explanation), except for one vial that contained enough oil for one day.  The Hebrew people decided to burn the oil, but miraculously the lamp burned for eight days instead of the one, giving the people time to press fresh olive oil to replenish the lamp and maintain the required perpetual flame. Thus, we light candles each night of Chanukah, starting with one and then adding another each night till the last night when we light 8 candles. Historically, parents and teachers gave gelt (coins) as reward to children for studying Torah during Chanukah. The dreidel game began as one way of teaching children the history of Chanukah. Other Chanukah traditions emerged through the years adding to the festivities of the holiday.  Gift giving was not a part of Chanukah until recent years when Christmas became such a big celebration along with gift giving and receiving.  Jewish parents wanting their children to feel more a part of the mainstream culture while at the same time maintaining a Jewish identity, began giving gifts to their children each of the eight nights of Chanukah.  You will most likely not find this widespread practice outside of the Western culture where Christmas and gift giving are synonymous.  We do not take part in this latest custom, but we do sing, eat latkes (potato pancakes} with applesauce), read Chanukah stories, and of course, light candles.

Now it is your turn.  I look forward to seeing your answers!