I had the delight of the company of my stepson Shlomo Barya, who returned with me after the wedding and stayed here.
We got to really talk, to visit, to do a little shopping.  
Later in the afternoon, Shalvi the Bride and Yomin the Groom came to pick him up, to go together to  visit and davven at Zalman's (z'l) grave, then to dinner and to the airport.  Shalvi came with the guitar she had borrowed---and a lovely dress she had made me in the short time she was back home in Israel before returning here to get married.  
What a remarkable woman.

Tonight, at our local book store, rabbi Tirzah Firestone spoke about her newly-published book, Wounds Into Wisdom, dealing with generational trauma.  An excellent talk, an important and timely book; I highly recommend.  
Timely, too.
Good night.


The Wedding.

The Chabad community gave the couple an utterly celebrative Chassidic wedding.
Shalvi looked stunning.  Yomin, the groom, looked happy.  Zalman, z'l, would have felt completely at home and joyous.  Women and men were separate.  People were warm, friendly, playful, generous. Kind. There was lots of singing. Good food.  Dancing (men and women separated by a fabric screen.)
It was the world in which Zalman once lived.

And it is also the contemporary world, in which several people skyped much of the celebration on their cell phones to Shalvi's mother, brother and sister-in-law.

I met lovely and generous people, whom I hope I shall see again.  They are from Zalman's world; but perhaps I can pay a visit now and then.

Shalvi's brother Shlomo Barya flew in from Champagne-Urbana for the wedding, leaving his house before dawn.  He came back here for the night, and I hope he is fast asleep.  
Shalvi and Yomin will come drive to Boulder tomorrow, and we will all go to visit the grave of the man that each of us loved in a different way.

I am falling asleep at the keyboard.
Good night.

A glorious day

...this last day of March.

Almost all the snow is melted.  It was mildly sunny, people were out walking their dogs, or just walking.  I am beginning to tackle the archeological layers of paper lodged on various surfaces of the house.  To my surprise, I am figuring out how to approach the complex jigsaw puzzle on the card table in my study.  If, after a while, i stand up and walk to another side of the table, I see things I did not see before.
I imagine other things in life are like this.

Tomorrow night, Shalvi is marrying, here in Denver.  Brave woman:  five children; fourth marriage.
Then again, she comes from a father who was extraordinary and courageous, and a mother who still is.  Then they return, and her new husband gets to meet her five children.

I hope to report after the wedding.
Falling asleep at the keyboard.

Cat now curled up on the desk next to the laptop purring, with one paw draped over my arm.

It has been a welcome shabbos.  
Last night, it was snowing hard, and friends had to help me clear the car so I could make it home from shul.  Today, it all melted; by this evening one would hardly know that it had snowed so abundantly.  
I am remembering Zalman's stories of walking to and from shul in the winter in Winnipeg, arriving with icicles hanging from his mustache.

I am beginning to think about Pesach already; it is time to begin cleaning closets, pantries, cabinets---
a task I look forward to and dread in equal proportions.
The REAL "chometz"---fermented stuff---lives on my desk.  I've no idea what I might find in these archeological layers of paper.  I know the desk was clear and beautiful for a moment  last year, so surely it can happen again.  (Do papers mate and reproduce in the night while we're asleep?)



And brain.

I am fortunate to live where there are folks who really know about preserving one's mind.
I'm more than interested. 

I am learning more about my own brain and mind, and learning about flexibility and habit, and what kinds of new things are easier to learn now and which are harder.  (The smartphone is definitely harder.  Knitting is easier.  Great recipes and getting my cartoons onto the MacBook are worth it.)

Writing is easy because I have been doing it daily for most of my life.
Writing about the state of my beloved, z'l, when he was alive, was easy.
Writing, as you have urged me to do, about my own state, and sharing it publicly, was harder.
But because I had begun by writing about Zalman, and we had already established some sort of ghostly on-line rapport, it was easier.

Meanwhile, my friend deeded me her retired iPhone.
That turns out to be a steeper learning curve than I had anticipated, and will also keep my mind on its toes.
And just as I have been dealing with these things that make my shoulders creep up, my jaw tighten, and my eyes narrow, I finally threw myself into the recliner chair, kicked back, welcomed Mishka who leapt into my lap, and reached for the nearest book.
It turned out to be Stanley Keleman, Your Body Speaks Its Mind.
Reading random parts of it reminded me how divorced I can easily become from the natural world, both within me and around me; how I can ignore or supress the inner impulses toward pulsating or streaming, until I have silenced them altogether.  
It leads me to the obvious question:  am I willing to experience loss and grief fully, in my body, in my cells, opening to that devastation so that I may re-enter Life fully once more?

I do not yet know the honest answer to that.
Good night.



Journal entry by Eve Ilsen — a minute ago

This evening I was at a gathering in North Boulder, the other end of town.  There is less artificial light there, so more stars are visible.  What a beautiful early Spring night---we are in that short span of weather that is no longer cold, but is not yet balmy.

It is time to direct my mind towards Pesach, though it is not quite ready to go there yet.  
It is still trying to eject the enormous quantity of political brouhaha that has taken up residence the last two years like a hostile invading army, has eaten up all my energy resources, and has left a whopping mound of trash and pollution where joyous optimism used to be.
But it is clear that Spring is on the way, bringing all the activities required to prepare for it:  sorting, discarding, repairing, cleaning and polishing...A restoring-to-order of my small place in the Universe.
My mind has always understood quite well that the scrupulous cleaning of my physical environment carried the message that my mind was invited---required---to undertake the same.

I am falling asleep between words.  More tomorrow.

First new iPhone day

It is most strange.
It's almost like a new small animal has moved into the house.
I have left the smarter-phone in the kitchen, where it can nibble on gluten-free cookies if it wants to.
(Eve, stop that:  you're anthropomorphizing.)  (How can I not?  the phone talks by itself.)

On the other hand, human beings:  
our monthly early Monday morning group met, and it was so good to see them all
my friend met with others downtown; I joined them for lunch---a delight
then they headed for the hills, literally, for a women's retreat

The house feels oddly empty; even Mishka notices.
And I am falling asleep at the keyboard.

Good night...

Sunny Sunday

I am being gently shoved---against resistance---into this decade.  
My visiting friend had brought me her retired smart phone, casualty of an upgrade, and had gently and generously been urging me to embrace the new technology that I'd been resisting.
I left it untouched in a Safe Place.
Then my dear old flip phone disappeared completely.  Gremlins?
(It has subsequently been a quiet, peaceful and undistracted month.)
This weekend, my visiting friend's tech-savvy son set the smart-ish phone up with a server.  It is supposed to start functioning tomorrow.  (Perhaps it needs to limber up first, like me?)  
My contacts and photos miraculously relocated to their new home.
But how long will it take me to function with it?
I am being dragged kicking and screaming into this century.

On the other hand, young folks today cannot write cursive; they can barely print.
Many only read on a screen; and doing one thing at a time seems to them hopelessly old-fashioned.
Here am I, deep in Old Fogeydom, kvetching about Young Folks Today---something I never imagined doing.  It can't be very far off that I may be caught saying something like "When I was your age..."
(Fill in the blank:  I waitressed at the Concord; I custom-made cartoons for people;  my hair was down to my waist; et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.)

Is this what happens only seven weeks after turning 70?
I am doomed.
Good night.


It has been a peaceful, restful restorative day: food already prepared, friend visiting from out-of-town, good weather, long walk in the Open Space (encountering other folks' dogs), reading, napping, talking.

Purim is over, and now I must begin thinking about Pesach.  
Do I donate all my packaged chometz?
Do I simply tape the pantry closed altogether, and "sell" it for the duration of the holiday?
And how do I deal with the real chometz:  the chaotic piles of papers on my desk in the study?
And what about the less visible, emotional internal chometz, the kind I've been dealing with one way or another for decades?

What would my beloved, z'l, tell me this year?




Journal entry by Eve Ilsen — a minute ago

We valiantly set forth in costume early this morning, and made it to shul (o rare occurrence!) at 7 a.m.  The Megilla was read wildly beautifully.  And as it always happens, I hear it differently each year.
This year,  it sparks very recent memories of genocides attempted on other groups, as  our hearts still hurt from news of slaughter at the mosques in New Zealand.
(My heart also hurts in shame:  in our time, the first incident of Muslims murdered at prayer was perpetrated by Boruch Goldstein in Hebron.)

How do we grow our species up, past the reptilian reactions to "us" and "not-us"?  (sorry; don't know how to turn this into a link now.)