When I moved to California six years ago, my daughter Carrie, bought me a birthday gift of a ticket to a local theater. She and I went and loved it. I subsequently got season tickets and have gone to every play.
Good friends ended up getting tickets and the four of us meet for lunch and go together. I treasure my time with these people. It is another example of why I chose to move here.
The time with my kids is so rewarding. A true highlight.
Since I moved to California, I have had my car washed in one of two ways: my ex took it to a car wash, or my grandsons did it when they were staying over. My ex is gone and my grandsons are coming over for dinner tonight with their parents, which did not feel like good timing to request help,
So, I did it myself. I dragged the hose, filled the bucket, got the clothes. I began the spray to wet the car all over and discovered the wind was not blowing in my favor. I ended up misted, head to toe. Not to be deterred, I changed direction and proceeded.
Guess what, Isaac and Ari? It was fun!
Last Friday, I went to exercise, a business group meeting, saw one client, had lunch, and saw six clients back to back until 7 pm. I grabbed something to eat. I then went to the Temple in order to welcome the new rabbi who was conducting her first service. The service was from 7:30 to 9 pm.
After the service, there was an Oneg Shabbat, a traditional offering of food to celebrate the evening. I interacted with a few good friends for about 10 minutes and decided to leave because I could not stay awake.
My thought was that I was not handling activity as easily as I had when I was younger. Disappointing.
The next morning I told my daughter-in-law about it. She said, “Age? That was an exhausting day. I would have gone to bed too.”
I tell clients with depression to make a list of activities they can do to distract themselves. One of my clients likes to go to the supermarket and walk the aisles. She does not shop, she just walks the aisles. Sometimes she looks at products and sometimes she focuses on colors. She does this a couple of times a week.
She said that she had a thought one day. She imagined walking around the supermarket and seeing someone else doing so without a cart who was going up and down aisles. She decided she would go up to the person and say, “Are you seeing Natalie in therapy?’
I go to the gym three mornings a week. I treadmill, bike, use machines for my arms, sit ups, and stretching. I am determined to keep my body strong and healthy.
I went to San Francisco with some friends one night. We parked the car and had to walk up (truly up) two blocks. I did so and stopped at the first corner for a red light. I realized my friends were not with me. They were halfway down the block. I waited and we all began the second block. Same experience: I arrived at the light and they were far behind me. I waited and we entered the hotel we were going to.
Later, a friend who knows us all, came up to me and said, “So I hear you were the only one who could walk here easily. I guess exercise had paid off.” Clearly my friends had said something to her. It caught my attention. I had truly not struggled at all walking up those streets.
Back to the gym.
I spent some time with Isaac at his house. Ari was at a birthday party and Erik and Ellen were working in the garden. Isaac and I were trying to decide what to do. We looked at the board games he had and I noticed a deck of cards. I asked him if he knew how to play Gin Rummy. He said he thought he might have learned in the past, but asked me if I was willing to teach him. I said I was.
I quickly reviewed the game; he understood easily. We started to play and I won the first game. I explained how points were totaled. I got 28 points on that game. He won the next game and got 10 points.
We played for 15 more minutes and I made the choice not to add up all of the points on the last game because he was way ahead already and my last hand had no matches.
Need I say more?
I went with the same group to the women’s march in Oakland. This time there were more men and children than I remember seeing last year. The number was said to be 50,000 participants.
It is often hard to know how to express one’s feelings. So many people are troubled by what is going on in this country and the world. There is a sense of powerlessness. Studies show it is definitely affecting people’s moods.
The hope is to do something to be heard and contribute to change. Behavior is a way of asserting ourselves. Marching, working to get voters out for the next election, and listening to what people’s issues are who are different than us can be valuable.
It felt wonderful to participate with so many like-minded people.
When we moved to California six years ago, we had Isaac and Ari on Martin Luther King Day. They were eight and five at the time. We decided to go to Martin Luther King park. We took trash bags with us and picked up trash. We took about an hour. The act of contributing to the care of our community felt like a meaningful public service.
Last year we did it again. For reasons we did not understand, the primary trash we found were shoes. We filled our bags. Since the boys were older, they went closer to the Estuary to retrieve trash. We found the appropriate trash containers and filled them before we left.
Public service is something the boys are learning at home too. I wish more of us participated in it.
I missed you today, Ari and Isaac.
Having an overnight with my two grandsons, Isaac and Ari, is a major treat. Oops, I just typed “threat” instead of “treat” initially. I need to reflect on that.
It is a threat because it means making a plan. I always play out the list of possible activities for us to do while they are in Alameda. A movie, the zoo, miniature golf, pinball arcade, are always options. Eat at home or out. I want it to be a treat for them. And then what movie to watch before bedtime with their popcorn. Before streaming, they would tell me what they wanted and I would arrange to have it here. Now, they pick one or we have something recorded that may be of interest to them.
Once the decisions are made, the treat begins. I love hearing updates on their activities, which are many. And I love hearing them describe things and giving their opinions. They do pay attention to events and to people.
And, they care. There is a warmth and connection that reaches my core.
Thanks for another great time.
Alameda is a very diverse community. Temple Israel is where many of the Jewish families have joined for religious, educational and cultural purposes. A few days after the demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia where many anti-semitic groups participated, two windows were broken at the Temple. A camera showed it was a tall person wearing a hoodie.
Two days later, notification was made through social media that there was going to be a vigil at the Temple on Friday night before the Sabbath service at 7:30. I went, as did about 500 other people. It was far larger than anticipated. The Mayor and City Council were present and, along with other officials, spoke. Members of other clergy were there and one began the speeches. The head of the Alameda Police said it was being treated as a hate crime.
The President of the Temple Israel invited everyone to attend the service. 250 people took her up on the offer.
It is so meaningful to provide support. I hope we do this as an active part of our lives.