TFF – Season 2 – Game 8

Rory is the creator of The Friday Four.
He says: 
Today some more brain tickling thought provokers …

1) Do you ever simply stop and wonder ‘Where has time gone to?’ or is it something that never bothers you? I do wonder where time has gone, but I wouldn’t say it bothers me. I had no desire to retire from teaching. I enjoyed going to work each day, just to be with the students. I knew that when the cons, outweighed the pros, it would be time to retire. At my retirement luncheon I wondered where those 35 years had gone. I wondered how I made it to age 65. I had no regrets for my career, nor for my decision to leave it.

2. If you had a warning label, what would yours read? My warning label would read, “Don’t ask if you don’t want the whole truth.”

3. What fact amazes you every time you think of it? The fact that every new child born has the possibility to bring peace into the world.

4. What kind of activities do you enjoy doing and what would you never do?
I enjoy playing with Annie, working in my garden, sewing, blogging, talking with loved ones, learning new things, and scrapbooking.
There are
activities I once wanted to do, but now I know this dilapidated old body could not handle it. I would not jump out of anything, climb to the top of anything, swim under anything, or consume anything bad for me.

I Have Always Been An Early Bird

Weekly Prompts Weekend Challenge – Morning

The Friday Reminder for #SoCS & #JusJoJan 2021 Daily Prompt – Jan. 16th

Your prompt for #JusJoJan and Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “first thing.” Start your post with the words, “first thing” and go from there. Bonus points if you end your post with the last thing. Have fun!

The first thing I do every morning now is pet Annie. She is typically on her bed beside me. Sometimes she is outside because the squirrels or other critters have alerted her to there presence. I assess my pain level to decide what I will be doing that day. I have to be honest that I often smirk at the knowledge that I don’t need to get up and prepare for work. Once retiring, it didn’t take long for me to not jump up and get dressed for work. It makes every day seem like a weekend.

At first I thought every day of retirement would feel like a holiday, but that isn’t the case. If it was holiday I would be spending time going places and seeing things and spending money. Even before Covid, that was not my style.

I am a morning person. I try to get something done every day early in the morning. Annie MUST be fed and played with of course. If I complete a chore before playing with Annie she lets me know that she does not approve. She stretches her body and does this weird yawn noise to get my attention. It is totally my fault, because once I retired I didn’t have to wait until coming home from school to play with her. She has me well trained.   

I am happy that I have learned that if I do absolutely nothing, that is OK too. It just isn’t my norm. My day almost always includes time in my yard. I spend time watering, weeding, planting, etc. I have turned off the sprinklers because they waste too much water. Instead, I hand water the plants and trees in my planters. I have let both lawns die out. At some point, I will figure out what I want to do with them. 

Getting out of the house first thing in the morning is an advantage right now. When I need to go  grocery shopping, I can be at the store when they open for senior hours. With the horrible numbers in LA County, I have amped up my safety precautions. I went to two stores yesterday morning and was on my way home in 30 minutes. I am back to wearing gloves and tossing them too. By 9 AM, I had laundry done, groceries in quarantine or decontaminated as best I could, played with Annie, and watered my plants.  I already felt like I had accomplished a great deal. 

I wondered if I would change from a morning person once I retired. I didn’t. But then, I have been a morning person my entire life. 

My Beliefs Started With My Grandparents

I, like many people, had a crazy upbringing. I was angry about it for many years. The majority of that anger is gone. I know it came from fear. There were some good times amidst the insanity though.

One of the highlights of childhood was visiting my grandparents. Their home was different from mine in more ways than I can count. The trait, if that is the word, I have been thinking about lately is religion. In my home we celebrated some Christian and Jewish holidays. Religion was never discussed.  I never entered a church unless on a rare occasion, I was invited by a friend. I knew I was Jewish, but I had no clue what that meant. 

My mom, gratefully, made the trip a few times a year for us kids, to see my paternal grandparents. Even the cost of gas was a challenge for her at the time. I loved my grandparents. I was never “taught” about Judaism but in their home , I lived it. They were Orthodox and lived their beliefs.

I always knew I was in a special place when we arrived at their home. Their front door was the most beautiful door I had ever seen. It was like entering a magic land. The mahogany door with a curved top had a little door near the top that you could open to see who was on the other side. All of this was so special to me. I have a huge regret that as a youngster there were never pictures taken. It just wasn’t a thing. 

From the moment you arrived at their front door you saw their mezuzah. Whenever we entered their home we touched the mezuzah and kissed that hand. My grandmother explained why in passing. It never felt like a “lesson.” It just felt right and I participated while at their home. We never had a mezuzah on our door jamb growing up. I liked what it symbolized but never thought to ask my mom why we didn’t have one. 

The older I got, the more questions I had. At 12, I wanted  more of a connection with my Jewish heritage. My mom found a synagogue and I went to two “tween” functions. It was too late to assimilate with the group. Cliques were established and I was not meet with open arms. I never knew any Jewish guys. The thought of meeting someone Jewish was not on my radar.   (Much to my grandmother’s chagrin.)

When I met and married my children’s father, I knew he was Catholic and explained that I was Jewish by blood, but had not attended synagogue.  I never became a part of his religion. The funny thing was that he felt he “should” follow the religion, but never did. 

The older I got, the more I sought information about my religion. Once no longer married to my kid’s dad, I began incorporating more and more of my heritage into my life. I lit Shabbat candles, I learned a few basic prayers, I celebrated Hanukkah, I put a mezuzah on my door jamb, I went to synagogue on some High Holy Days with my aunt and uncle, and I tried a variety of synagogues in my area.   

I love and accept the variety of belief’s my family now choose to embrace. I have family members who are Ultra-Orthodox, Orthodox, Conservative , Reform, Messianic Jews, Christians, Jews by choice, atheists’, as well as Cultural Jews (which is how I define myself.) My acceptance of other people’s belief systems is simple. If you are acting in kindness and try not to harm anyone then whatever connection you have or don’t have with a higher source is your business.


From: My Jewish Learning

Jews vary dramatically in their approach to Jewish traditions, laws and ritual observance. In the United States, the major religious streams of Judaism are ReformConservativeOrthodox and Reconstructionist. The Orthodox population is itself quite diverse, with numerous subgroups, such as ultra-Orthodox or haredi Orthodox (a group that includes Hasidic Jews), centrist Orthodox and Modern Orthodox. Many Jews do not identify with any one denomination, instead describing themselves as “nondenominational,” “transdenominational,” “post-denominational” or “just Jewish.”

So What Is Cultural Judaism? is a great explanation that resonates with me.

Ken Shapiro explains what a Jew is. This is so very well done. I recommend watching it.


Memories Brought Up from My Past

I’ve been thinking of some sweet memories quite a lot lately. Searching back into the recesses of my mind allows me to escape from the current events going on in my world.

My daughter has a great practice she does nightly when tucking my young grandson in for the night. The others have outgrown the willingness to participate. Instead, being teenagers, they pick and choose what they will share with their parents. The last few months Z3 often has stated that not seeing his Nana (me) was his low for the day. His genuine tenderness melts my heart. We occasionally use Facebook messenger to chat. He typically gets silly and will only answer in one syllable answers. I miss the little man along with his siblings.

A couple of nights ago he was reluctant to explain to his mom what his low was. He did share, with a little encouragement. He said that he not only missed his Nana, but my house also. He said he missed playing in my backyard in the grass. (He has none in his yard now nor in their last house.) He said he missed Annie. (She had been their dog before they moved into an apartment. I agreed to take her because where they moved did not allow dogs.) He said he missed the fact that every time he came to my house, I would play games with him whenever he asked. (What can I say, I am a pushover to make him happy.) To hear that he enjoys spending time here and enjoys the freedom to be himself made my heart swell. The grands run all over my house playing and enjoying themselves. I will admit to having to take away devices often when they were here for a visit. I wish their devices were left at home.

When my daughter told me about their conversation it reminded me of why I am staying safe. I want to have many more memories to share with my grandchildren. I would hate to miss all the upcoming life moments they have in their future. G-d willing, I will see them married.

Thinking of the Zs visiting my house brought up many sweet memories of my own childhood. I used to love to go to my grandparent’s house. I was a little child when my parent’s divorced. Thank G-d, my paternal grandparents told my mom that just because she divorced the schmuck, she did not divorce them. My grandparents were an amazing influence on my life. I am thankful every day for having had them in my life.

When we would visit there, my brothers and I would dash around their yard chasing each other and teasing each other nonstop. We were a handful. Their love for us never changed, even when we were unruly. I always felt safe at their house. My grandfather had the skill of making each of us feel that we were his favorite. He was always dapper in his dress and behavior. He would not go to the store without a suit, tie, and hat on. The entire feeling in their house was calm and welcoming. Everything was much more formal, sedate, and refined than at my home. I learned a lot about other worlds. I grew into the person I am today thanks to them. The tenderness I feel for my grandparents and the joy of being a grandparent are intertwined in my heart. 
Tenderness  Instead