After Havdalah

I spent a quiet, introverted shabbos, with the occasional company of Mishka the cat.

I was delighted to join one of the local chavurot for havdalah, potluck, and some discussion of this week's Torah portion: "Lech l'cha", where an already old-ish Avram is told to take himself off from the place he has known. He is being asked to fling himself into the unknown and be guided day by day; or perhaps step by step.

What if I remembered to start each day by asking where G-d wanted me to go? Oh, and then listening for an answer.

I have a feeling that morning davvenen is supposed to be exactly that; but we can get too wrapped up in the liturgy to remember it.

It is supposed to be the opposite of habit.

I may have shared this here before, but here it comes again, and wants me to write it out in order to take it in. It was what my mother told me about instructions she received in meditation when she was at her wits' end:

"Go where I send you. Be completely present. And do the best you can."

On that note, I am going up to bed.

Furry ears--->

Journal entry by Eve Ilsen — 56 minutes ago

resting on the right edge of the laptop.

What an odd cat---most of the rest of the day she ignores me, except to ask for more food.

But once I am sitting at the desk working, she comes and curls by my right, partly on the edge of the laptop, where she is right now: shielding her eyes with a paw, Mishka dozes, breathing evenly, punctuated by an occasional twitch.

Today was a day of errands: restoring the supply of larger bags of little bags of beef jerky that I give to panhandlers; stocking up on paper towels and toilet paper----all the signs that Autumn is really here.

Today was a perfect Colorado Autumn day: not too hot, not too cold; bright and clear and crisp.


I've been reviewing Zalman's schema of seven-year segments in a life.

This winter, I will be entering my 70th year, and, according to his map, should be both drawing inward and dispensing wisdom.

While it is true that my body is right on schedule---producing complaints new in nature and scope---and that, since his death, I have indeed drawn inward (while paradoxically sharing the journey publicly,) I'm skeptical about the wisdom part.

I have been reminded that I could register to participate in a weekend of Continuum---the work of the late Emilie Conrad Daoud, that wakens the body to its own deep pulsatory streaming.

I know very clearly that this would waken my body on multiple levels; I do not know whether I am willing. Because by our age, we all know that waking the body wakens the slumbering psyche...

and maybe this is wise.

And maybe not.

Good night and good shabbos; I'll be back, G-d willing, after havdalah.

Can it already be mid-week?

Time is speeding.

The snow has melted, and today was sunny and lovely.

The sukkah is coming down bit by bit.

The new credit card, replacing the one that is expiring, has arrived; and with it, the task of calling all those places that get automatic payments, to give them the updated information.

One of the women who answer such calls turned out to be a singer, and we both wished we could have visited.

I am being beleaguered by calls pleading for donations; I counted six today. This is not counting what comes in the email and the snail mail.

Meanwhile, Mishka the cat is learning how to get what she needs.

Shortly before seven this morning she leaped onto the bed, hunkered down on my (sleeping) chest, stared at my face and meowed. The message was clear: BREAKFAST.

I hope to waken in time for early minyan tomorrow, so I might surprise her.

I can only imagine what my beloved's response to such feline chutzpah would have been...

Good night.

Tuesday: twice good

Mishka the cat is curled up against the right side of the laptop, giving herself a bath.

She is not shy: I was still asleep when she became hungry quite early this morning. She leaped lightly up to the bed, climbed onto my belly and meowed: a very unique reveille.

As I got up and dressed, she went down and waited by her bowl for breakfast, with patient determination .

I gather that the people from whom I received her were not her first home: she had already been elsewhere before she landed there. I wonder how she tells herself the story of her life, and where she is now. She must wonder how she can make me understand what makes her contented.

She likes high places: I often see her settled atop the high back of Zalman's recliner. She prefers my desk, curled up next to my right arm, to any of the chairs or the hassock.

She also likes basking in the morning patch of sun through the glass sliding doors.

It has been a catching-up day, with the soft and constant background music of missing Zalman's presence.

Meow, and good night.


Today was one of those wonderful Boulder paradoxical days: I wakened to deep snow on the deck, and bright sun. By midday, some places in Boulder looked like it had never snowed.

(Mishka the cat is curled to my right with her head on the laptop.)

It has been a catching-up day---making a sauce from all those overripe tomatoes, cleaning out shelves in the refrigerator, going to the osteopath, returning calls, planning classes.

I wakened missing Zalman.

I led a full day in between.

I am going to bed missing Zalman.

This tide comes and goes on its own time...

Good night.


Boulder is like that: it can snow and rain and hail and shine all in one afternoon.

Yesterday it snowed and I lit the wood stove; today it melted and I took a walk with a friend at dusk, sufficiently warm in only a shawl. (Over the clothes,of course.)

It was a catching-up sort of day, returning calls, answering emails, running errands, walking with a friend by the little lake nearby.

And preparing for shabbos: it smells like French onion soup all the way back to my study at the other end of the house. Also smells like Brussels sprouts; somehow a whole stalk of them showed up in my refrigerator. I put them in the oven with sweet butter in their own baking dish, next to their neighbors, the sliced onions that would be the basis of the soup.

Tomorrow morning I go for my annual medical checkup, fasting blood work, etc.; then the rest of the day preparing for shabbos---what a pleasure.

After shabbos, if everything has dried, time to finally take down the sukkah.

MIshka the cat likes curling up on the desk next to my right arm when I am working on the laptop.

Funny cat.

I wish us all a good shabbos---