sitting on the balcony this year. now.

One of the things that I bought before we came to Israel was outdoor furniture. We had been negotiating for a place that had magnificent views with an extensive patio. Even though the place didn’t work out, it became clear to me that this was important for me/us to have a place with that kind of feature; to be outdoors and be home.

What I didn’t know was that we were going to have this experience of being in front of this plaza, with all the comings and goings that come and go in Tzfat. We rented here as a placeholder, literally, and we are taking advantage, even as we look for the next place to go. But while we are here…

My cousin came to visit us for the end of the holidays. I took her up to the top patio on Monday afternoon, and we sat. Of course, we talked, but moreso, we sat and enjoyed. Watching the passersby, watching the children playing below on the plaza, not having to pay attention to anyone or thing but to enjoy it all. Watching the colors gather in the sky, as sunset approached. Taking it all in. Now.

I started singing

עוד תראה,עוד תראה, כמה טוב יהיה בשנה בשנה הבאה

Just you see, just you see, how good it will be, next year, in the next year.

but in my head only. And really, the song started singing to me; I didn’t purposely bring it to mind.

This is one of the old Israeli classics I feel I’ve known forever, and that’s pretty much because it’s pretty old, from 1968.  Here’s a video from somewhere back then, sung by the duo Ilan veIlanit, who popularized it.

And while I was looking for the best video, I also found a bit about why and how it was written:

Early in his career, Manor often wrote about peace and tranquility and, in 1968, he penned “Next Year” to express the joy of expectation following Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War. Joy turned to sorrow, however, when he lost a brother in the War of Attrition, prompting Manor to write“My Younger Brother Yehuda” in his memory.

One of Manor’s most famous songs was“I Have No Other Country” (Ein Li Eretz Aheret), which expressed the bitter divisions that emerged in Israel during the Lebanon War. “I have no other country/ if even my land is ablaze,” he wrote. “Only a Hebrew word penetrates my soul/ in an aching body/ in a hungry heart – here is my home.” Manor wrote in liner notes to a greatest hits anthology that the song “was adopted by everyone as a song of pain.”

This is Israel; holding joy and pain simultaneously. But here I am, holding the joy now. I have certainly felt the pain; it’s time for the joy.

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Next year

We’ll sit on the porch

And count migrating birds

Children on vacation

Will play tag

Between the house and the fields.

You will yet see, you will yet see

How good it will be

Next year.

recalibrating

Moving to a new country, having to downsize house-size, budget, ego, is the first step.

Finding out that someone who has been on my get-well list died seven months ago makes one realize that this is necessary.

Calibrate, from caliber.

ˈkaləbər/
noun
noun: calibre; noun: caliber; noun: cal; plural noun: cals; noun: cal.; plural noun: calibres; plural noun:calibers
  1. 1.
    the quality of someone’s character or the level of someone’s ability.
    “they could ill afford to lose a man of his caliber”
    • the standard reached by something.
      “educational facilities of a very high caliber”
  2. 2.
    the internal diameter or bore of a gun barrel.
    “a .22 caliber repeater rifle”
    • the diameter of a bullet, shell, or rocket.
      synonyms: bore, diameter, gauge

      “the caliber of a gun”
    • the diameter of a circular body, such as a tube, blood vessel, or fiber.
Origin
mid 16th century (in the sense ‘social standing or importance’): from French calibre, from Italian calibro, perhaps from Arabic ḳālib ‘mold,’ based on Greek kalapous ‘shoemaker’s last.’
 A shoemaker’s last. Touching virtual toes.
Also from Wikipedia; an imageImage result
Re-calibrating; does that mean finding new lasts?
Re-calculating, unlike that oldschool voice of the gps systems that sounded nothing like (but everything like) my mother, with her  not-so-hidden disappointment in her voice. But that’s my voice that is disappointed; how do I change? How do I change?
Carol Dweck talks about it with her book Mindset, and a little taste here.

Step 4. Take the growth mindset action.

Over time, which voice you heed becomes pretty much your choice. Whether you

  • take on the challenge wholeheartedly,
  • learn from your setbacks and try again
  • hear the criticism and act on it is now in your hands.

Right now, I hear a lecture of some sort outside my window. It is perhaps a lecture in honor of Elul, the new month that precedes Rosh HaShanah. We are preparing for group recalibration for the new year, but really, really, we all have our own shoes to prepare.

And our own toes to touch.

the dolls have come home

Opening all the boxes is a process I understand will take much longer than packing them. And I have learned and I really really get that we need much less than what we have to get along just fine. As I have said before, there are just a few things that I want to locate to make me feel at home.

Oh, maybe I didn’t say that exactly, but I’m saying it now. This is the process; finding out what is essential and what is valuable and what is delightful.

One of the things that I wanted to locate was a basket of dolls and stuffed animals that my mother bought as gifts to my kids while she was traveling around the world. She had decided to become a travel agent at one point later in her life to give her the opportunity and the wherewithal to do this kind of grand travel. My father never has forgiven himself that he did not go with her more often; she chose not to wait for him, which was one of the ways she showed her wisdom.

My kids were not really appreciative of the dolls at the time. Or they were as much as they could, since they weren’t really the kind that you could play with. They were from China, Japan, South America (Peru, probably), Germany, Russia, Spain, India,

not even sure where some of these are, truly.

I did try to hand them off to the grandkids. And the Aussiettes really did connect to them, until they broke some of them and I realized that, no, these are just dust collectors and should just sit on the shelf somewhere.

And that’s when I realized they should sit on my shelf somewhere.

In Israel.

My mother was very proud of being Jewish; she would not have thought to move to Israel because she knew that the language barrier would be too much for her, but she was supportive of my sister when she and her family went, and she was supportive of the grandchildren (well, the 2 that she was aware of) going to learn there, and she was the one who insisted on visiting our daughter when she was there when ISHI was undergoing chemo and we couldn’t travel. The supreme irony was that she had already had some kind of stroke earlier that year that the doctors didn’t detect; they called it a Parkinson’s onset; and that she would suffer a larger debilitating stroke the week after ISHI finished radiation. And that when we were going to go visit the kids in Israel a few years after that, she said, in her broken way, she wanted to go with us.

So, Mom, this is the way that you get to go with us.

The dolls have been located and the dolls are here at home.

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work in progress

In my mother’s honor and in her memory and in honor and memory of all those who would have come home if they had the chance. And that this be the last Tisha B’Av, where we mourn the destruction, and we build something awesomely new.

:תְּקַע בְּשׁופָר גָּדול לְחֵרוּתֵנוּ. וְשא נֵס לְקַבֵּץ גָּלֻיּותֵינוּ. וְקַבְּצֵנוּ יַחַד מֵאַרְבַּע כַּנְפות הָאָרֶץ. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’, מְקַבֵּץ נִדְחֵי עַמּו יִשרָאֵל

Blow the great shofar for our freedom, and gather us from the four corners of the earth. Blessed are You, G-d, who gathers the remnants of His people Israel.

I have everything 

Like Avraham who was blessed with everything, Yitzhak from everything, and Yaakov everything.

כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּרְכוּ אֲבוֹתֵינוּ אַבְרָהָם יִצְחָק וְיַעֲקב, בַּכּל. מִכּל. כּל. כֵּן יְבָרֵךְ אוֹתָנוּ כֻּלָּנוּ יַחַד בִּבְרָכָה שְׁלֵמָה. וְנאמַר אָמֵן

 (from Birkat HaMazon, Blessing after the Meal)

But I have to figure out what to do with it all…

I found my phone charger. It was in plain sight, really, just blocked by two enormous boxes. I have a new Kindle on its way from America, already loaded up with new books (Book Bub!). I have no camera, but a mystery to solve of what became of it, and what will become.

My friend asked if we are making new friends. I found a handyman who helped us with putting some of our furniture together. By the time he left the other day, we felt like we could depend on him. He told us to consider him a friend.

He cut himself pretty deeply while using ISHI’S pocketknife. He asked for coffee grounds and asked me to put a spoonful in his hand. He dipped his finger into the grounds for a few minutes until the bleeding slowed down.

חכמת סבתא, he called it. Chochmat Savta; Wisdom of the grandmother. I listened. This is part of what I need to learn, since I never really knew my grandmothers. I’ve been making it up as I go along myself.

DSC_0615
from Beit HaMeiri, Tzfat
DSC_0614
See more about this museum here at https://olddogwitholdtricks.wordpress.com/2015/07/02/technical-difficulties/

He told me how, when he was a youngster and he fell out of a tree right before Shabbat, cutting himself right above his eye, his mother calmly took turmeric and put it as a compress on the cut. On Sunday, she took him to the doctor to get it stitched up.

Yup, turmeric and coffee both check out. I think I’d avoid using glass, though.

I don’t need most of the glasses I brought. I don’t need all the coffee mugs, either, so  I repacked them away; I certainly don’t want to wash all the glasses that I have unpacked; I’m the dishwasher, so I will have pity on me. Fair warning to those guests who visit us during this next year of transition; we will use disposable. Lord knows I brought enough of those…

I’m not even opening the good dishes, although I would like to know where are my candlesticks. My knife block was in a box marked”office supplies”. So it’s anyone’s guess.

ISHI did find our new living room rug! It was marked “MBR”. How would the movers have known it was for the living room, if that’s where they found it? Any metaphors come to mind? Yes, no sweeping anything under anywhere.

We went to a funeral on Sunday. This was not a terror incident; this was a simple tragedy, if anything was simple about it. A young man, 26 years old, on his way home right before Shabbat after going to the mikveh, was hit and killed. A pure soul, in all senses of the word. He was on his way to getting engaged soon, to another pure soul who we also know. The father, upon seeing his never-to-be daughter-in-law, broke down even further than he already had been.

His grandfather and his mother was extraordinarily calm at the funeral. The grandfather spoke first in what would turn out to be a 2 1/2 hour funeral, not counting the burial. He spoke without notes, not missing a single one, sending his grandson off to his world-to-come with poetry, with dignity. The mother stayed at everyone’s side, dignified and steadfast. Someone who went to see them at the shivah house mentioned that she has learned the same method of focusing that she has studied; and she was already connecting to her son in his world-to-come.

No, I am so very grateful I already have enough mysteries to last a lifetime.