Monday, March 30, 2009

Coming Full Circle

In one week, I will have completed a full, yearly cycle of blog posts on this particular blog. I think I tend to see my lifetime in terms of cycles, instead of as a linear progression, because of my adherence to the Jewish calendar and its characteristic movement through seasonal celebrations and commemorations. The reading of the Torah comes full circle every year, but does not necessarily end or begin on the same date on our secular, Gregorian calendar because this calendar is solar, rather than lunar as is our Jewish calendar. Thinking of time as circular rather than linear is probably healthier for me psychologically because I don’t seem to worry about “sailing off the end of the Earth,” as in the time of Columbus, when people thought the Earth was flat. Endings are not really endings—only progressions into the next cycle.

We are approaching Passover, now, which in ancient times was considered the beginning of a new year and a new cycle of seasons. Our friend, Jay, called to ask us to make some modifications to their family Haggadah for Passover, which we have been working on for a number of years because of my desktop publishing business. Last year, I thought we had finally honed it to its completely finished version. Then, on the last day of Passover, his wife was killed by a drunk driver in a tragic car accident. When Jay called, he recited a litany of all the holidays and occasions he had somehow gotten through this year without Sandy. This is the big one, though, and the acid test of his ability to cope. The modifications this year are to make the Haggadah into a memorial version. Perhaps, the cycle of time and another year’s round of holidays will make the pain easier to bear after this. I hope so.

We all had a wonderful time at Mom’s 87th birthday brunch yesterday. We were all delighted on Friday evening when Ari called to say he was able to leave work a little early to start for home. He was caught in a massive traffic jam, though, so the drive that is usually 3 hours, took over 4-1/2. We were still at the table finishing up Shabbat dinner when he arrived. It was great having him here on Friday, and we were all delighted to see him, especially Mom. Shabbat dinner helped us to continue to use up leftovers before Pesach. We had fresh-baked homemade challah, leftover chestnut soup and also leftover butternut squash soup, Boston lettuce with leftover homemade Russian dressing, leftover Israeli salad, veggie lasagna that used up leftover artichokes, frozen spinach, tomato sauce, shredded parmesan and pasta. For dessert, we had leftover date bread sandwiches spread with vanilla-flavored, sweetened cream cheese, leftover hamentaschen and coffee.

Saturday morning, Adele arrived with her daughter and granddaughters, and while Erica manicured Mom’s nails and set her hair in preparation for the party, Adele watched Ava, and Brenna was sent next door to have lunch with her Aunt Beth. Saul, Ari and I went to synagogue, providing a much-needed opportunity for me to get out of the house. Saturday evening, I relaxed with the New York Times Sunday Crossword Puzzle and solved the whole thing without understanding what the answers had to do with the theme of “Closing the Deal.” Then, I had a eureka moment when it hit me that all the theme answers ended with the name of a card game. For about two hours, I could not figure out what Century Twenty One and Pizzeria Uno, i.e., had in common. Ken and Randi had two separate incidents involving flight delay on their return from Hawaii and had spent Friday night in San Francisco in a hotel. They finally arrived home safely on Sunday morning at 2:00 a.m.

Happily, everyone came and went safely in order to attend the party. All seemed to be in good spirits, and Mom was positively radiant with enjoyment at reaching this milestone and being surrounded by her family, especially her youngest great-grandchildren. She was able to sit in her wheelchair for about 2 hours before having to be wheeled off to bed. She slept for long hours after that, but doesn’t seem any the worse for wear today than she has been previously. When she finally awoke this morning, she immediately expressed her pleasure and enjoyment at seeing everyone yesterday and asked me if Ari had gotten home all right. He had driven through a freak rainstorm that had brought hail and strong winds. Our town was one of the hardest hit during this strange weather, as evidenced by scenes of piles of hailstones displayed on the morning news.

The head of volunteers for our hospice organization delivered a beautiful birthday cake for Mom on Friday afternoon that came from Weinrich’s Bakery. The Weinriches were neighbors of ours in Wyncote many years ago, and our kids attended Miss Bunny’s dance classes together. Jessica worked in their bakery one summer while she was in high school. The cake was absolutely beautiful and delicious, and we were told that when the volunteer organization is short on cash, Weinrich’s often donates the cakes. Having known the Weinriches for several years, we were not surprised.

This week will be completely taken up with cleaning and preparing for Passover, so when I next make an entry on this blog, I probably will be well into my second-year cycle. Ari has been preparing a blog entry about an interesting karmic travel experience while he was in Austin, Texas, last week, so keep an eye out for that story in the meantime.


Ari said...

"Having known the Weinrich’s for several years..."

"The Weinrich’s were neighbors of ours..."

You seem to have left out whatever it was that belonged to the Weinrich in the two above phrases.

Marilyn said...

I know that mistake is one of your pet peeves, but you don’t have to be so sarcastic :-P. I fixed it for posterity.