How to (Not) Annoy a Jewish Teenager ( WCGU)

I haven’t joined Julia’s 100 Word Challenge for Grownups in a while, but I thought I would this week. Check  out the challenge and read other participants by linking  on this image.

  1. Make Passover her favorite Jewish holiday, including special plates and the chance to eat Kosher for Passover cake for breakfast (the only time cake for breakfast would be allowed). Make all of her favorite foods. Fill the house with matzah.
  2. When she is in high school, schedule musical technical and dress rehearsals so they coincide with Passover. Be sure to bring lots of chocolate Easter candy to entertain the cast. Make her wonder why it must be Passover as she keeps looking at all of that chocolate.
  3. Bring  her a box of chocolate covered Matzah.

Click the image for a link to kosherkindom.com’s recipe for chocolate covered matzah.

Pure Evil (100 WCGU)

Its miniature perfection enriches life. It sits there, innocent, unknowingly holding power to tempt and seduce. The smell reminds you of heaven and the lure of creamy, melt-in-your mouth goodness brings with it visions of a brief moment of ecstasy. You make excuses. The darker, the better. It’s good for the heart, the brain, your blood sugar. It is the knight in dark armor who will use his antioxidant weapon to combat the evils of cancer and age. Perhaps, you think, this small pleasurable creation can even save your soul. Then you step on the scale. Pure evil.

This is the image for this week’s 100 Word Challenge for Grownups. Click on it to join in the fun.

Chocolate, Chekhov, and Choices

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov. Oil on canvas. From t...

Image via Wikipedia

Russian forests crash down under the axe, billions of trees are dying, the habitations of animals and birds are layed waste, rivers grow shallow and dry up, marvelous landscapes are disappearing forever…. Man is endowed with creativity in order to multiply that which has been given him; he has not created, but destroyed. There are fewer and fewer forests, rivers are drying up, wildlife has become extinct, the climate is ruined, and the earth is becoming ever poorer and uglier.” (Anton Chekhov,  Uncle Vanya)

Last night Nathan and I went to see Apollinaire Theatre’s production of Uncle Vanya, which Nathan designed and I helped paint.

Not a production shot, but you get the idea.

I am not all that fond of Anton Chekhov, having worked on at least two slo-o-www productions of The Cherry Orchard  and The Seagull. I think The Cherry Orchard was the first show I did in college, and I was the props person. In plays that center around domestic life on Russian estates, that means A LOT of props.

I appreciate the language and the symbolism and the messages of Chekhov, but I usually find productions leave a lot to be desired. Last night, however, I was pleasantly surprised. I still think it was completely depressing,  but the production itself was excellent. Perhaps the main difference came from seeing it done with professional, age appropriate actors, instead of college students. I also enjoyed the artistic premise which had the small audience (limited to 30 for the purposes of this production) moving from room to room in the old theater building (1906) as we follow the story of people struggling to survive and find happiness in their fading country estate.  In an article for the Boston Globe, John Kuntz, who gives an amazing performance in the title role said:

“We start in the biggest room, and as we work our way through the play, the rooms start getting close, until in the last act we’re all sort of intimately together in this room that’s pretty small,’’ says John Kuntz, who stars as Vanya. “I kind of like that idea, that sense of people being trapped on this estate.’’

They successfully brought us into the intimacy, the tension, and the sadness of this particular estate. Actually, my only complaint was that Act I and Act II (of this four act play) didn’t have a button at the end to indicate to the audience that the act was over. Instead, the house manager jumped up and said, “OK, that was the end . . . follow me to the next location,” or something to that effect. I found that to be jarring, by not enabling the audience to applaud or stay in the moment that we had been invited to so intimately.

Meanwhile, the play was full of words, as Chekhov’s plays usually are. This time, however, I found myself pondering the meaning and how they relate or don’t relate to our times. The above quote really hit home with me, as I reflect on the complete destruction humankind has wrought on the environment. Other things, struck me as well, particularly Uncle Vanya’s despair that his life was over at 47, where he had no hope of changing or finding any purpose. (I told you it was depressing). It made me think about how different the world is now. While I, at 43, struggle with what kind of changes I would like in my life, and how to live fully and completely, Vanya really had no hope for the future, and his niece, Sonya, had even less because she was “plain” (although I found the actress pretty) and would never find a husband, particularly not the man she loved.

We’ve come a long way, baby.

All in all, it was  delightful night at the theater, where I got to

  • celebrate my talented husband
  • eat a delicious meal beforehand
  • ponder the meaning of life, love, and the pursuit of happiness
  • think about the choices we have and the choices we cannot make
  • and leave with a decadent, Trader Joe’s milk chocolate bar that Nathan bought at concessions.

I chose to eat that for breakfast this morning. 😉  Probably not the wisest choice of my life, but boy did it taste good.  I will, eventually, counteract it with something healthy and full of fiber, but once in a while, especially after watching a production filled with despair, it seems important to celebrate with a little bit of chocolate. Don’t you?

Too Much on My Plate, But Not Enough Decadent Treats

fancy chocolate bar, cracked

Image via Wikipedia

As with many people, the New Year brings with it a new attempt at getting healthy. I refuse to say that I am dieting, because I am not. I am merely trying to stay focused on living a healthy lifestyle and taking better care of myself. If I think of this as a diet, then it is harder to follow to follow my first resolution of  Resolving to Forgive because I become obsessed with every time I break the diet and then cannot forgive myself.

So this is really about not eating in depression. Not eating in boredom. When I do snack, making healthy choices rather than empty calories full of sugar. Eating smaller portions. And becoming more active, which I realize is the key to my feeling better overall.

Easy right?

Yesterday I was doing well. I ate a healthy breakfast. I exercised. I prepared a big thermos of tea to help stave off the munchies. I ate small portions of healthy snacks.

And I worked. I worked at preparing syllabi. I worked at paying lots and lots of bills. I worked and worked and worked.

I like being busy. I like the challenge of having tasks that need to be completed. But yesterday, as I poured hours of thought into two classes (and I still have two more to go) deep inside I was resenting it. I resented the fact that I work as hard, if not harder, than many people I know, and yet when it comes down to pay I feel like I’m getting 2 cents an hour. I resented the fact that I have spent my life working, and that I am really good at what I do, but life has taken unexpected and somewhat unpleasant twists and turns. I resented the fact that, with all the work I was doing, I didn’t have time to write.

All of this boiled underneath my work until a friend saw that my Facebook was up (I forgot to close the tab) and started chatting. This friend seems to always bring me back to my senses. She was talking about her new dieting attempt and how it was hard to resist temptation.  I told her that she shouldn’t completely deprive herself. As I said this, bells began ringing in my head. Maybe my bad mood had a little to do with depriving myself.

I went to the hidden stash of chocolate and got two small squares of chocolate. I savored them. I ate slowly. I acknowledged the taste and the decadent sweetness.

And then I felt better.

Maybe it was simply low blood sugar, but I don’t think it was that alone. By allowing myself a little taste of decadence, I also allowed myself to honor myself. I don’t mean that I need to binge on junk; but I do need to treat myself with moments of pure bliss. In this case, bliss came in chocolate form.

So, what do I conclude from all of this? I know that I still need to work on forgiving myself for my perceived failures. I know that I need to listen carefully to my body and not deprive it completely. I know that I have to ration my work so that I don’t feel like I am pouring heart and soul into something where I then feel under-appreciated. I know that I have to allow time each day to exercise, and to do projects that are special to me.

And I know that sometimes it takes just a little bit of chocolate.

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