Journal entry by Eve Ilsen — 13 minutes ago

I enjoyed visiting with the house guest, enjoyed going to shul this morning, enjoyed quiet afternoon at home. Late afternoon I headed out to walk in the Open Space, the nearby semi-wild area. I encountered walkers heading down where I was about to head up: "Rattlesnake on the path up there."
I changed route, and went up the next street, the one we used to live on.

I met a stranger hiking with what looked like a day's supplies, and we began to talk. I finally invited him to continue walking with me to the enormous dark green water tank at the end of the trail---
where the holy-graffiti-blessing that Zalman, z'l, spray-painted on the tank continues to bleed through multiple dark green re-paintings. The obscene teenage graffiti disappears beneath re re-painting, to be replaced with the next batch.
The blessing never leaves.

I'm grateful to find that some of the most unexpected and wonderful things don't change.



Journal entry by Eve Ilsen — 30 minutes ago

I love that in the summer, the week is punctuated by the Farmer's Market downtown, even if there is nothing I need to buy.

I see that this summer, the doggies that were forbidden for a few years have quietly crept back in...(yay)...and have behaved well.
Last week I finally remembered to bring my knives for sharpening, and this week got to tell the expert sharpener what a difference it has made.
I run into folks I know, and meet new folks.
Today, the extra delight of walking in the fragrance of late-summer rain without an umbrella.
I have begun getting flowers for the shabbos table two days early because of the lovely woman who makes up the bouquet so individually and whimsically for each of us, consulting her young children those days before school started.
(Makes me wonder if perhaps her kids would not have learned more, and more enjoyably, by skipping school Wednesday afternoons to accompany their mother to the Farmer's Market these last weeks. Sorry; my libertarian streak is showing.)

I was lucky.
When the day was especially beautiful, and my mother had an unexpected day off, we would sometimes play hooky together, pack a picnic and "get lost": that is, get in the car and explore where we had not been before, often deciding at each crossroad which direction to take. I realize now that those adventures gave me a keen and contrarian sense of what was really important.

There were the years when I tried to follow the more conventional ideas of what is Important.

I am happy to report that I have recovered, and given that up.
(I see my mother's wicked grin hiding behind her apparently innocent face. From the Next World, she heaves a sigh of relief.)

Odd day...

Journal entry by Eve Ilsen — 10 minutes ago

I have been going since early morning, wakened by the operatic meow of a hungry cat.
The auto-body place arranged that I come in early this morning to finally replace the fog light that was crashed into some months ago. All is fixed.

In this community, when someone dies and is waiting at the funeral home before burial, many of us sign up for different shifts to sit with the body.

I was signed up for this evening, and no matter what I did, I could not get the lock box with the entry key to open. Nor could I get the elevator to let me out at the correct floor.
Somewhere in the middle of this, I stopped at the house of a friend I thought might help me reach someone who knew the combination...I was told she was at the shiva.

Wait a minute...If she was at the shiva, the funeral has taken place. There is no body at the funeral home awaiting burial.

I feel like I have fallen down Alice's rabbit-hole...
I hope I waken tomorrow back in my accustomed place.
Surely Mishka's reveille-meow will help.

Good night.

Catching up

I am amazed how the computer, which was supposed to make things so much more streamlined and easier, is exacting HUGE dues in terms of my time. And these days, it all comes with the added weight of The News, which is not often good, these days.

Still, I made it out to the park and the lake to walk, on this beautiful day. I did laundry, and will restore the guest room for the next guest.

The season naturally turns me inward to the work of the month of Elul, sliding towards the new year: all I have failed to do or have done badly; apologies I owe. The voice up inside my head says: "Don't forget: being too hard on yourself blinds you to the real stuff."

I am grateful for the beauty of today.

After a quiet restful shabbos

A houseguest joined me over breakfast for food and stories.
Then I enjoyed a slow, reflective day, reading in the company of Mishka.
I found myself thinking back back back
to when I first fell in love.
How my mother knew long before I did.
So very much has happened since then: worlds. Whole lives.

Finally a walk by the lake at dusk, a phone catch-up with a friend, a quick stop at the market.

It really is true: the practice of disengaging from the weekday-ways of relating to the world really does push the reset button.
I am ready to re-engage with the outside world tomorrow.
Shavu'a tov.

How did this day get away?

I barely remember morning.
It feels like several days all got compressed into one.

For one thing, the room-full of boxes of my beloved's material meant for the archives at the University have finally migrated there from our basement.

Then the continued futile attempt to transform chaos into order in my office. At least someone more effective than I made inroads.

Then the shopping for shabbos.
Then trying to make order in the kitchen, since the chaos hitching a ride on the incoming mail ends up first on the island.
Then making half-sour garlic pickles!
(Every year I anticipate the appearance of the organic pickling cukes, on schedule with the fresh dill.)
Then preparing the guest room for a shabbos guest...Searching for bed linen that has wandered into some other room in the house. Then the guest-to-be came to pick up the key; due to settle in tomorrow.

Mishka inspected the guest room at length: she is very aware of any changes in routine. She is a cat who develops customs and habits, and insists that I perform my part of the choreography.

She has now tapped me on the arm with her paw: time to go upstairs, she is saying, twitching her tail.
Who can turn down such an invitation?
I wish us all a good shabbos, and a lively Tu B'Av.


Oy, it's amazing how upset I can get when this laptop refuses, for no apparent reason, to behave dependably. I take it personally.
I suddenly seem to believe that it is not, as I've been taught, an inanimate object; it is alive, and has a grudge against me.
How do I propitiate the Spirit of the Laptop?

I have heard, several times, the chirp that indicates arriving email. But nothing has appeared. Oh, pffft.
Th day began with some confusion, then settled out into some semblance of sanity. The Farmer's Market was a delight; and at the nearby bandshell, a band played Middle Eastern music.
A beautiful day.

I wonder if I can pray for the healing of the laptop?
(I joke, to cover the fact that I am intensely and intermittently praying for the healing of a colleague and friend following surgery.)

Good night.