Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Thoughts on Norby's Windows

I love to have company at our Shabbos table. I love to entertain. Why do I do what I do? A good friend of mine actually told me once that I do the things I do because I'm selfish. My friend says that I don't love cooking and entertaining because I like making people happy but rather I derive the pleasure out of being the one to make others happy. So my friend says that I'm not as altruistic as I appear. I don't really do it to see others happy, but rather to make MYSELF happy.
I counter that motives don't matter. Making people happy matters. Sharing a little bit of joy with others - making them smile - brightening their day.
Now I must say that Norby has got this all figured out. He "gets it". Every single time I pass his windows I can't help but smile. Norby takes the time to decorate the parts of his windows that he himself doesn't see, so that others will derive pleasure. He understands that sometimes in life, you have to forget politics, forget controversy and just spread a little joy. He appreciates the power of a few tulips artfully arranged and backlit.
For this I am infinitely grateful.

On "Feeling the Moments"

My kids will tell you that I am really big on "feeling the moments", that is to say, not letting the big moments go by without taking note. You know the problem.... brides don't remember their wedding day, mothers don't remember their children's milestones.... I try to make sure that during these times, we all sit back, take a deep breath, and take time to really feel the moment, so it doesn't pass us by with all the hustle and bustle and leave us scratching our heads saying, "where did the time go?".
To this end, I also believe in celebrating any milestone, no matter how small.
My son Michael came home this week wanting to share what I call an "awwww" moment. He told me that, being an upper senior, he had just had his last "first day of school" (at least for a while...grad school may rear its ugly head sooner than he thinks). We reminisced for a while at all the other "first days" of school - - - the homemade shoe box supply boxes (very lovingly decorated), the video taking and photo taking to commemorate the day, the "you never get a second chance to make a first impression" speech (Michael seems to have vivid memories of this one....) and all the hopes, dreams & excitement that go along with the day.
Even *with* the fact that we never let a first day of school go by without feeling the moment, we both found the passage of time incredibly poignant. I was glad he shared it with me... this time as an adult.
(Maybe I should have taken just *one last* "first day" photo... sigh...)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Thoughts on the "Snowglobe Shabbos"

Joseph called yesterday night after settling back into his Home Away From Home, and once again, I detected that little catch in his voice that told me he was missing home.
Mind you, he's already decided to stay a second year and we had to do quite a bit of arm twisting to get him to come home in the first place. When he was talking Orlando, I knew better than to try competing with Mickey, but when those plans fell through and we were hearing Atlanta/Chicago/internship at a Miami radio station (??!??), we kinda sorta felt like we had the right to say we missed him and would rather have him come home for the weekend.
It's nice to know that when he does come home, he actually misses us too upon his return.
Someone once referred to our weekend as a "snowglobe shabbos" and that made me feel very good. I like the idea of everything "just so", and an atmosphere swirling with glitter is just the kind of feeling I'm going for. Reb. Gelley once spoke about Shalom Bayis and claimed that making a nice shabbos table was a step that would improve one's family life. I believe it. Shabbos meals are my favorite time of the week. All the work and all the worrying and all the planning are worth the feeling that pervades the meals.
My children must agree to some extent as well. After all, Joseph has been decorating his dorm room with fresh picked "flowerscapes" for shabbos - a chip off his father's block.
So here's to Snowglobe Shabbosos and lots of friends and family to share them with!

Monday, January 29, 2007

He Brought An Unripe Coconut....

So Joseph was home for shabbos, and the fact that he brought with him an UNRIPE coconut should have been a tip off that all hopes for him to ride in on warm breezes were dashed.
It was freezing!!! Michael, who had absconded with Joseph's Shabbos coat, was forced to dig out his own from the floor of his closet and yes folks, he was actually seen IRONING it an hour before shabbos!! (I should've taken a photo of that)
But it was great having Joseph home, if only for the weekend. Mom was invited (of course) and we were joined by Jenine W., Malka S. and Yael J.
We had deli wraps, matzo ball soup, chicken, carrot muffins, cucumber salad, apple-cranberry kugel and coconut mini-bundts for dessert.
The conversation was spirited and lively (though there was a bit of a loud digression into movie quotes by Michael and Joseph that left some of us scratching our heads). Michael told a very wonderful dvar torah, solving some long held questions about the wording surrounding yetzias mitzrayim.

Lunch was without company, but no less animated. In fact, we actually had a Family First. Of course the lights have gone out on our Shabbos tables on *numerous* occasions, but never have we STILL been at the table when the shabbos clock lights went back on. { "Group hug in the shower!!..... or not.......NOT..... }

Jenine W. joined us for Havdalah, as did Rochel A., home for the week from Seminary.

Norby's Windows Update: Many pairs of googly eyes on black fabric - - - good representation of Choshech.