Friday, September 28, 2007
Sukkot thoughts
This week is the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. Yesterday, being the first full day of Sukkot, I drove through the Jewish neighborhood I work in and watched hundreds of families, couples; 19 years old and pregnant and old men shuffling down Pico in what our Christian nation calls "their Sunday best" walking to and from shul. Sukkot is a very celebratory holiday and is often thought of as a close relative to Thanksgiving. All around L.A. and other big cities, in Jewish enclaves you'll see kosher restaurants with Sukkot (tents) set up outside. Our hospital has a sukkah (singular) outside the cafeteria because Jews are to dwell in the Sukkot for the week. That means every activity that you might do in your home, you should try to do within the sukkah including sleeping and eating (which is very fun for kids). Also, decorating the sukkah is encouraged and so there is usually fruit hanging from the branches that make up the "ceiling" and children's arts and crafts on the walls.

There is something, for me, so enticing about the Orthodox Jewish community.

First off, the community part. The community is tight. There is a push among many orthodox to avoid some of the conveniences/distractions of the modern world. Not even close to the Amish, but movies and TV are looked down upon, dressing in the way of 19th century Poles and keeping children out of public schools makes this community reliant on one another and therefore, extremely cloistered. Which on one hand is lovely because there is such stability and on the other hand can be suffocating. Children may not be aware of what goes on in the outside world. Women and men alike often see only one path. Many of them are happy in this path and for them I am glad.

In Stephanie Wellen Levine's book Mystics, Mavericks and Merrymakers: An intimate journey among Hasidic girls she talks about the mavericks. I am one of those. I don't think I could go along for the journey. I think I would always be straining against the harness.

Second, you always know what to do.

Every morning upon rising there is a prayer to be said. Every meal there are rules for what to eat and what not to eat (and a prayer to be said). Every day there are guidelines for what to wear. Every Friday there is preparation for the Shabbat bride. Every Sukkot, there is the rush to build your sukkah 5 days after the most solemn holiday on the calendar.

There is great beauty in these rituals. Like being one drop of water on a river flowing for centuries.

And yet, that drop may get lost, divided - unsure of where she ends and the others begin.

In other, less intellective news, Michael and I are riding this weekend.

Pictures to follow.


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Monday, September 24, 2007
Bad blogger...
No hits for you!!!

I'm a baaaad blogger.

I have an absolutely gorgeous pumpkin that I grew with my own hands in a sad and formerly trash piled plot of dirt now sitting on my dining room table. Have I taken photos? No.

I made super cute little thingies for my niece for her birthday. Have I posted them? No. (But here is one!! ---->)

I have planted many a zucchini, not to mention Meyer lemons, Key limes and blood oranges. Did y'all know that? Nooo. I'm too busy rolling around naked in the schadenfreude about Senator Craig.

I have learned to make the easiest damn enchiladas in the entire world. Have I documented this for posterity? Of course not.

Actually the issue here is that I am a hideously lazy photographer.

My grandfather was a photographer and so there are bazillions of photos of me from when he was still alive. I have always aspired to be one of those people constantly behind the lens of a camera but I guess I have been told a few too many times that I'm not such a great photographer (not to mention my ONLY non-passing grade in my ENTIRE life as a student was in photography - too much math!!!).

Anyway, here are my Rosh Hashanah Resolutions.

  • I hereby resolve to take my camera with me where ever I go despite the fact that the on switch CONSTANTLY turns on in my bag thereby depleting the somewhat expensive lithium batteries that I use.

  • Additionally, I resolve to save up enough for this camera so that I can take really pretty pictures and my camera will not turn on spontaneously and deplete said batteries.

  • Lastly, I resolve to take a Photoshop class within the next 6 months (along with the yoga class, the embroidery class and the screenprinting class that I have also resolved to take) so that my photos turn out pretty like Laurie's and Ree's.

  • Also, in the next year I have two (!) big home improvement projects that are going to happen at my new house and I really want to document them.

I expect you all to keep me on track with this. Haven't seen a photo in a while? Call me on it. See me at SnB without my camera? Feel free to smack the back of my hand.

Bad blogger. Baaaad.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007
If mamas ruled the world...
Big ol' tip o' the hat to Quaker Dave and Blue Gal for this one.

Sally Field donned shades of Norma Rae at the Emmy Awards this week stating that " ... if the mothers ruled the world there would be no goddamn wars in the first place."

Well - here's what I think life would be like if the mamas ruled the world

  • There would be no children starving in China/Africa/etc. because everyone would have enough to eat
  • We'd share everything. We wouldn't take things that aren't ours. We would put things back where we found them.
  • We'd leave a place better than we found it and there would be a lot more parks
  • Everyone would get a turn
  • We'd hold hands and stick together
  • Whether or not you were born in a barn, everyone would have to clean up their own mess
  • Though money doesn't grow on trees, trees are as important as money
  • If you're going to start a fight do it outside and make up before you go to bed

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007
I love the smell of a meme in the morning
(first pet & current car)

Kippy Cruiser (that's a really lame start. This better get more fun.)

(fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie)

Chocolate Snickerdoodle (ok - that almost works but still...not really amusing yet. Not to mention I believe a gangsta would get laughed at if she went by snickerdoodle...)

3. YOUR “FLY Girl” NAME:
(first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name)

FLan. Great. My fly girl name is gelatinous custard. Seriously people...

(favorite color, favorite animal)

Black Snake (isn't that a band? Alright. I admit, while snakes are not my favorite animal, I just couldn't go with Black Monkey.)

(middle name, city where you were born)

Manon Panorama City (maybe if we lost the city part. Manon Panorama...hmmm. Sounds like a drive in movie theater... I am not amused yet.)

(the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first)

Lanfa. Whatev.

(”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink)

The Pink Diet Coke? Seriously?

(the first names of your grandfathers)

Stephan Ernest.

(the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy)

Powder Trix (eh. This one's ok. At least I wouldn't be afraid of getting laughed off the pole with this one.)

(mother’s & father’s middle names )

Lynne Elliott. Boooooring.

(Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter)

Carter Cheyenne. (not too bad.)

(your favorite season/holiday, flower)

Autumn Dahlia (BTW, while I love Stephanotis - this, again, just does not work.)

(favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + "ie" or "y")

Cherry Sweaterie (hmmm. this is odd. Reminds me a bit of Cheri Oteri)

(What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree)

Oatmeal Hawthorn (perfect but don't ever let me go here. I'm serious. Shoot me first)

(”The” + Your fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + “Tour”)

The Knitting Clouds Tour! Woo hoo!

I got this fun time waster from Spinning Girl.
Hers are FAR more amusing. I suggest you go over there for a laugh.


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Yom Kippur for the Disordered Eater
Let's start with this:

Jewish culture, especially in the United States, fosters eating disorders. That's right, I said it.

A few studies have been done that were fairly inconclusive but I'm not advocating more. It's enough that therapists and treatment centers are indicating that a higher percentage of their clients are Jewish. I don't think any more money needs to be spent on seeing how many more.

Reasons? Anyone? Bernbaum? Bergenfeld? Anyone?

First off, there is a disproportionate emphasis placed upon food in the Jewish community

Food is central in our celebrations of Pesach, Shabbat, Rosh Hashanah, Purim, Shavuot and on and on. Not to mention lifecycle events such as births, bnai mitzvot and sitting shiva.

For anyone with an eating disorder, these times, instead of being occasions for celebration, are painful reminders of the struggle going on within. Rather than being a happy tradition and symbolic of our relationship with Judaism, food is an instrument of self-destruction.

Then there are the fasts. The absence of food.

Contrary to popular belief, the point of fasting is not to make the entirety of the Jewish people suffer for a day in September.

However, a thread through the theme of Yom Kippur and the fasting ritual is purity. According to this logic, fasting brings us closer to spiritual and physical purity.

This is a dangerous road for those of us with an eating disorder because we believe this is true with every fiber of our being.

Therefore, if I feel "dirty", "bad" or "impure", the long tradition that Judaism has between purifying the soul and denying the body food, drink or any pleasure feeds the eating disordered brain.

Fasting is a relatively frequent ritual. There are two major fasts. Yom Kippur and Tisha b'Av. Then there are 5 minor fast days on the Jewish calendar.

In some Jewish communities, it is customary for a bride and groom to fast on their wedding day before the ceremony. The additional fast days, plus family-instituted fasts and communal fasts to ward off impending danger or to ask for mercy and personal fasts for repentance makes for a good week of fasting and more (nothing compared to Ramadan, but I digress).

Judaism is mired in rules for eating and kashrut is just the tip of the iceberg.

Rules of when to eat and not eat, what foods are "safe" and "unsafe" are key components of an eating disorder. Keeping kosher can "feed" into this obsession.

This year a mob of articles has appeared on the internet warning about Yom Kippur and eating disorders.

Not one of them mentioned the core issue, in my eyes. This is the mixed message that Jewish girls get about food.

"Eat, eat! But don't get fat."

"Try Grandma's kugel - and aren't you looking a zaftig this year?"

"You look fabulous! How much weight have you lost? You've got to eat more. You're too skinny!"

Some of these messages are habit, traditions passed down from bubbe to bubbe. Others are envy from mothers to daughters and aunts to nieces.

As an adult, I'm much better at understanding where they originate. However, as a 12 year old, I wasn't. All I knew was that I had to be thin. I knew that in my families eyes, thin was lovable and fat wasn't.

After all, all of the women in my family hated themselves if they were the slightest bit over some ideal barely attainable weight. The fasting that went on (or was said to go on) following a holiday where brisket and honey soaked apples and schmaltz-laden matzah balls were consumed was epic.

"I'm not going to eat again today after this!"

"Again today? I'm not going to eat for a week!"

"I think I'm not going to be able to eat until next Chanukkah!"

Those who were Jewish sylphs were revered, envied and talked about behind their backs.

"She's starving herself. It won't last long."

I didn't starve. I did what I was supposed to. I ate. And ate. And ate.

And then I threw it all up to punish myself for the sin of gluttony I was committing. For the pain of feeling out of control. For the starvation of others I was trying to be mindful of. For ruining the body that was supposed to be perfect and easily maintained.

I don't fast anymore. I don't do a lot of things anymore. I am desperately trying to learn how not to punish my body for my so-called sins and how not to see food/fasting as punishment, reward, purity and spiritual superiority.

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Monday, September 17, 2007
Audience Participation!!!
Unfortunately, growing up, it turns out I didn't learn what people seem to call "healthy coping mechanisms". When I'm feeling really overwhelmed with crap - which, sometimes, aren't we all? - I tend to use some coping mechanisms that are somewhat maladaptive. I've talked about them before.

One of the things that has helped in my search for ways to cope with stressful situations is a coping bank. I did a bank years ago but I seem to have lost it in the move.

I first came across the concept of a coping bank on

Here's the concept: Basically, put all of your suggestions on little pieces of paper (I print mine out on Avery business cards because I'm a total freak) and put them in a jar or a little purse. I keep them in a little pocket in my purse so that they're always available. When feeling overwhelmed, reach for a card.

If that card is inappropriate or doesn't sound like it will work for you right now, reach for another one (for instance, not all of them are things I can do in my car on the way home from work instead of driving through a McD's.) or perhaps I don't have sidewalk chalk on me at work...

Whatever you pick, even if it can delay the maladaptive behavior for 5 to 15 minutes, or get me out of a really flooded and unhealthy head-space, it is worth it.

There are quite a few good suggestions on the Something Fishy site, which, if you've never been to, I recommend HIGHLY! but honestly, the best suggestions I've ever received are from friends - so - here's my list.

I hope y'all will add to it and please, please feel free to take from it.

  • make a blanket fort (my favorite!) (flashlight, good book, blanket = fort!)
  • read A Light In the Attic (shel silverstein)
  • drive to the beach
  • fingerpaint
  • crochet a hat
  • get on the elliptical
  • write in my journal
  • listen to "angry chick music"
  • listen to "get up and dance music"
  • walk to the park (about 4 blocks from my house)
  • wash my car
  • take a nap
  • listen to chanting
  • practice yoga
  • call a friend
  • clean out my craft closet
  • draw with sidewalk chalk
  • meditate
  • paint a picture
  • make a collage
  • make a gift for someone
  • dance
  • put stuff up on ebay
  • water the lawn
  • pull weeds
  • fill my pill tray
  • learn Yiddish (just bought a Yiddish learning series on iTunes)
  • go to Borders and read magazines for free
  • roll coins
  • play solitaire
  • go see my niece
  • go through my inspiration folder
  • play in my fabric stash
  • make a totebag
  • dig up the side yard
  • post on my blog
  • get Michael to take me for a ride on the bike
  • get a pedicure
  • do a crossword puzzle
  • go to a yard sale
  • find a craft project
  • sign up for a class
Usually one of these things makes me delay anything that might have me kicking myself later. I swear - it freakin' works. Maybe it sounds corny - but it works.


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Friday, September 14, 2007
Happy Birthday Other Baby!!!

Happy 1st birthday to you!

Happy 1st birthday to you!

Happy 1st birthday dear Mia!

Happy 1st birthday to you!

Also check out the super cute dress one aunt Faith made for her!!!! ------------>

I can't believe it's been a year.


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Wednesday, September 12, 2007
L'shana tova

Let me start with a short story.

This is what I learned about "sin" growing up as a little Jewess.

The word for "sin" in Judaism is het.

A word meaning, "to go astray".

It is actually an archery term. It means to miss the target.

Did you take archery in summer camp? How often did you hit the bullseye?

It's fairly difficult isn't it? With practice however, you got closer and closer. I know I did.

This is how I learned about "sin".


Tonight is the first night of the Jewish new year.

It begins a time of reflection for Jews. One of the rituals is called "tashlich" which is traditionally a recalling and casting out of one's "sins" by throwing bread crumbs into moving water.

For someone who focuses on her multitude of sins far too often (not to mention someone who doesn't eat bread), I went looking for something that was meaningful to me this time of the year that didn't involve the further gnashing of teeth and beating the breast since that is something with which I am very familiar.

actually means casting away and comes from the same root as the shedding of foliage on trees.

This seemed to make sense to me. In order to bring new into my life, I needed to cast out some of my old habits, some of the things I have in my life that are not serving me well that are not nourishing me, that are causing me to wither.

I ask myself this year, what am I ready to release?


This is also a time of forgiveness. This is a difficult one for me. Both forgiving myself and forgiving others.
I am working on this forgiveness thing. I don't have it down.

I don't have a hard time admitting my mistakes generally. When it's all my responsibility, I'm especially eager to step up. I can say, "I'm sorry. It's all me." and feel like I've done teshuvah

The problem comes when I don't feel like I'm fully "at fault". I don't like being the only one to take responsibility when it's not all mine.
I have a hard time admitting my mistakes when it's not reciprocated.

The point of teshuvah is taking responsibility for your own actions without reciprocity though.

I plan on reflecting on this statement in the next couple of days by R
abbi Adin Steinsaltz:

"Time flows in one direction; it is impossible to undo or even to alter an action after it has occurred and become an 'event', an objective fact. However, even though the past is 'fixed', repentance allows one to rise above it, to change its significance for the present and the future ... It is the potential for something else. "

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Oh Jon.
How we missed you!

Monday night was Jon Stewart's first day back from his two week vacation. His two week vacation that started on the day the drama started about Senator Craig.

What a damn shame. I would have loved to see his comments as it happened.

Fortunately, there will be another sex scandal. I'm pretty sure of it.


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Thursday, September 06, 2007
Happy Birthday Baby

Today is my hottie husband's 40th birthday. How much do I love this guy?

Well, let me tell you.

Michael has an awesome and ridiculous sense of humor. One of the ways he makes me laugh is by telling squirrels, birds, children and other assorted animals to "Get off my lawn!" in old man voice.

Michael makes me think by challenging the way I live my life, the routine things I do, so I hardly ever feel like I'm in a rut or living a certain way just because that's the way my parents did it.

He reminds me to appreciate my own opinions. Sometimes without one ounce of tact. Sometimes with just a little hint of it.

Michael knows how to turn off the voices in his head. Something I am learning to do.

Michael is protective. He wants to make sure my virgin ears stay that way and yet he loves the way I curse like a truck driver.

Fuck yeah!

Michael is boundary guyTM He's teaching me. Slowly. Very, very slowly.

Michael says something and he actively works to make it happen. For instance, he said we'd buy a house. And here we are in our own fabulous house.

Michael keeps Jeff's memory alive in our home.

Michael takes me riding on his super hot VTX and I don't even care that I get bugs everywhere.

I love this guy so much that even when he's not getting "it", even when he's working my last gay nerve, I still want to give him a giganto hug for being a good man.

Michael has learned over the 8 1/2 years that we've lived together that I'm going to make too much food for us for dinner. He has also learned not to comment on it.

Michael loves who he loves. He can't fake it and he can't make it happen if it isn't there. I love that.

I love you.

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007
The new title of this blog should be...
Hypocrisy, Inc.

The Republican party is providing something new to write about nearly every day!

Today, is the sordid story of Coy Privette. (hat tip to Blue Gal)

Nope, Coy is not a drag queen, Coy is a former state senator, former Baptist minister, former president of the Christian Action League of North Carolina and current county commissioner (R-NC) who was arrested just over a month ago at his home in suburban Kannapolis at 7:40 a.m. (good morning Mr. Privette!) by the State Bureau of Investigation for aiding and abetting prostitution. (check out the tongue action in this photo!!!)

The 74 year old Mr. Privette apparently wrote some blank checks to one Tiffany Summers. She, not being the brightest hooker in the world, took said signed, blank checks to the bank. The bank alerted Mr. Privette that he might have some stolen checks out there. Mr. Privette was SOOOOOOO happy that his checks had been "found". Unfortunately, he had written other checks at other times to Ms. Summers. Turns out Tiffy was providing services to Mr. Coy.

Next time, Mr. Privette. Go to the damn ATM!

This day's hypocrisy moment brought to you by the letter V


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