Help needed

Journal entry by Eve Ilsen — 1 hour ago

Friends, my day was full and rich and chaotic and good.  A toilet broke, and there is a serious leak.
Other than that, all is well here.
What is not well is that the place where R' Zalman's (z'l) oldest daughter Mimi and her family live in Israel, Moshav Meor Modi'in, is burning down.  They have evacuated to the homes of friends in Jerusalem.
Please, if you have any means, add your help before shabbos.
Overwhelming and unexpected loss can be healed, at least in part, by overwhelming and unexpected generosity.

I've been informed that Mimi's daughter Abby will be going there to help, and will have access to her account here in the States; so the quickest and best way to donate is to make out a check to 
Mimi Gess and snail-mail it to:
c/o Abby Rocker
5823 Liebig Avenue
Bronx, NY 10471
They managed to escape the fire and saved their lives---but nothing else.  No shoes, not even urgently needed medications.

I pray that we all be safe, that our hearts be whole, that we deeply know and feel how utterly we are all interconnected and loved.
I wish you a blessed and deep shabbos.

Lag B'Omer very very late

Computer weird; I don't believe it posted  Tuesday night; it's up now.

I know the calendar says it's Thursday morning; but by me it is still Wednsday night.
It is Lag B'Omer---but too wet and soggy for the bonfires that are traditional on this night.
After the gathering at the synagogue was a gathering that we thought was the traditional song and celebration; but it was not:  it was a group of young people with their own agenda, which was both noble, and restrictive and impolite.  I left early and came home.

A friend is staying over rather than driving far tonight (oh, I'm so grateful for a good guest room!)
We ended up honoring this holiday (though unintentionally) by staying up sharing stories until now, close to three a.m.  A wonderful rich sharing to mark this point in time between the liberation from slavery and the receiving of instruction on how to live in freedom.

I would write more---but am falling asleep between words.

Unheard of

--> actually write on this site early in the evening.

Mishka the Cat snuggles beside the laptop emitting a mild purr.
I have taken the veggie starts in from outside; good thing I did not plant them yet:  it is snowing that gloppy wet stuff I associate with Dr. Seuss's "ooblek".  

Earlier today, I went to the nearby credit union, where I am transferring all my accounts from what used to be a sweet small local bank.  (I have already described how it was gobbled up by a large NastyBank.)  I discovered, on returning to my car, that the keys had come undone from my purse and were locked securely inside...and I had an appointment at the house in a few minutes.  
The bank manager called a Lyft, and the bank paid for me to return home---a short trip.  
Gallantry can be found at Elevations Credit Union!  
I hope to return tomorrow with homebaked cookies.

My friend brought me back to the car a bit later, where AAA skillfully broke in and retrieved my dropped keys.

I am grateful for friendships, for gallantry, for professional skill, for unseasonable snow, for Mishka who just snuggled, grunting, closer to my arm.

Blessings, blessings.

It was a quiet shabbos

...and a peaceful one, complete with a shabbos nap and a walk at dusk. 

And---as I was walking at Viele Lake, I fell into a thought-loop---one of the awful ones, painful with no exit and no possible repair.  
I was reliving my mother's last days, then my beloved's---and cast into that black hole of unassuagable regret, seeing every possible thing I might have done to make their days better, to have shown more patience, more love, more humor, more deep presence, some little scrap of wisdom.  In both cases I was exhausted and distraught, accompanying their difficult and timeless present, endless while about to end any moment.  An end meant the end of their suffering, and an end of my own unsustainable efforts----also the end of the presence of the ones most dear to me in my life.  Now, when these thoughts revisit, they come with a list of my glaring lacks at the time most needed:  of energy, of gentleness or kindness or cheer, or wisdom; of my sense of humor, gone AWOL.  As the sky began to darken slightly, I walked in that public park on the verge of breaking into sobs, and nowhere near my car.

I approached the gazebo where a group of women were gathered, heads covered, food spread on the picnic table---and was greeted and invited to sit and eat with them, to break the Ramadan fast.
They recognized me.
A few years ago, when the family had first come from Saudi Arabia to deliver two of the daughters to the university, it happened that the grandmother/matriarch showed symptoms of altitude sickness.  I went quickly to the nearby market and brought back chlorophyll capsules, which mitigate those symptoms.  We exchanged contact information, and when the mother returned two years ago, we visited.
(She so graciously brought gifts---)
And here they were once more, reminding me that once in a while I did manage to do the right thing.

Now a bizarre thought sneaks in:  had I been as wise and as kind and as patient as I wished, would I have made their departure more difficult?  Did my distraught presence and behavior shoo them out of their bodies before things got worse or more painful?  

Is there a ceremony for asking forgiveness from our beloved dead?


I did not make it to early minyan.
did have a meditative and prayerful early morning.

I've begun clearing the worst offenders from the garden. The wild grasses and flowers are lush. The dandelions have gone to seed, so we will have more soon.  I've checked recipes for dandelion wine, and they mostly begin with "Take five gallons of dandelion heads..."
Nope; I don't grow enough dandelions.
Maybe I'll just harvest and cook up the leaves; they're bitter, but very healthy.
(I remember this from when Zalman z'l was instructed to eat blanched dandelion leaves daily---this involved pouring-boiling-water-and-straining three times to lessen the bitterness.)

This afternoon the very kind man who takes care of the sprinkler system came and turned it on, checked it, and had all sorts of good ideas for designing a better raised bed for next year.
The neighborhood rabbit checked the garden out early this morning...The raised bed is just fine by her.

I have not accomplished nearly what I had intended this week; and it is almost shabbos.
I have not done anywhere near what I had hoped today; I am falling asleep at the keyboard.
And tomorrow night is shabbos, and I have to let it all go.
Wishing us all a good shabbos...

Ahh...Catching my breath 

Journal entry by Eve Ilsen — 12 minutes ago

Wednesday really does feel like the middle of the week.
The veggie starts are still inside; tomorrow the watering system gets turned on, and I will plant them.
This Wednesday is the first time I got to the Farmer's Market downtown this Spring.
Then---a real treat---hearing Mirabai Starr read from her latest book, Wild Mercy, at Boulder Book Store, to a totally packed house.  

I was greeted when I got home by a very insistent cat, who jumped onto the recliner, turned round to face me and meowed loudly.  The meaning was clear:  come here and sit down.  I did.
She really is a very expressive being.

I miss reporting to my beloved in the evening all the beauties of the day:  the new vegetables, the people I have not seen since the Farmer's Market closed last autumn, the delight that Mirabai was speaking to a packed house---so many wanted to hear from a woman mystic.

Oh my---I fell asleep at the keyboard.
I am taking the hint and going upstairs.  After all, I hope to make it to 7 a.m. minyan...

The best unusual

Ah, it was a good day, a long day---
A friend who works with house repair and remodel came to see what was really needed here---I know the wooden decks have to be either repaired or replaced; and if replaced, not with wood.  A big deal.
And the concrete of the front walk; and some small leaks at two of the skylights.
The new plants spent part of the day outside.  
Tomorrow, the dear person who deals with our watering system will come and we will assume (always dangerous) that there will be no further freezes this Spring, and we will turn the watering system on.  In most other places I have lived, a day like today with temperature in the 80's would signal the sure beginning of Spring.  But I've lived here long enough to know:  it ain't necesarily so.  Let's hope.
I put the veggie starts out for some hours again today.  By the end of the week, I may be able to plant them in the silly raised bed.  (It's just tall enough for the neighborhood rabbit.)

We are fortunate in Boulder that a wonderful and unusal teacher lives here.  She started in NYC, and came to us via New Mexico:  a Chabadnik as unusual, in her way, as Zalman, z'l, was in his.  Example:  she once taught about the lower seven sephirot of the Kabbalistic tree illustrating each quality by a scene from a movie.
Tonight, she was speaking of Jewish views of the afterlife, bringing in the concept of reincarnation.
I was introduced to the concept when I was about twelve; but I did not hear that Jews entertained that idea until way later.
I also heard it in the middle of Alaska:  "Oh, we don't believe that stuff since the missionaries came and taught us what's right.  But my uncle, he's a rebirth of his cousin from the other village, and we know that because..."
Wonderful stories.

I wish us all enlightening dreams.
Good night.