Melting

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.

Melted

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---

What means "normal"?

Journal entry by Eve Ilsen — 22 hours ago

Surely today's trip home from Berkeley was not that.

The morning was fine: I was up and packed early. I was privileged to observe a very skillful physical therapy session. The day was bright and beautiful. My friend made great effort to get me to the airport in plenty of time so I shouldn't worry.

Then the flight was several hours late departing, it was chill and rainy when I arrived, and nothing at the airport was where it had been the last time I looked for the bus to Boulder. Worse, when I got home, my checkbook seems not to be where I assumed it would be: my purse. It is also evidently not in the room where I slept in Berkeley. I hope it is hiding in my suitcase.

On the other hand, my friends who sat the house and were good to the cat while I was gone picked me up at the local bus terminal; the house has been well-cared-for; and Mishka the Cat is happy to see me. (Until a few minutes ago, she was curled up on the desk by my right arm.)

I am very happy to have spent the past days in Berkeley, grateful to have participated in the memorial for the teacher/friend who had been important in my life, glad to have spent the time with my friend and hostess, glad to have seen members of the community whom I had not seen in years, delighted to have walked the splendid dog park with Fleagle the dog and her human and canine companions.

And now I am ready to go upstairs and rediscover my own bed.What means "normal"?

Journal entry by Eve Ilsen — 22 hours ago

Surely today's trip home from Berkeley was not that.

The morning was fine: I was up and packed early. I was privileged to observe a very skillful physical therapy session. The day was bright and beautiful. My friend made great effort to get me to the airport in plenty of time so I shouldn't worry.

Then the flight was several hours late departing, it was chill and rainy when I arrived, and nothing at the airport was where it had been the last time I looked for the bus to Boulder. Worse, when I got home, my checkbook seems not to be where I assumed it would be: my purse. It is also evidently not in the room where I slept in Berkeley. I hope it is hiding in my suitcase.

On the other hand, my friends who sat the house and were good to the cat while I was gone picked me up at the local bus terminal; the house has been well-cared-for; and Mishka the Cat is happy to see me. (Until a few minutes ago, she was curled up on the desk by my right arm.)

I am very happy to have spent the past days in Berkeley, grateful to have participated in the memorial for the teacher/friend who had been important in my life, glad to have spent the time with my friend and hostess, glad to have seen members of the community whom I had not seen in years, delighted to have walked the splendid dog park with Fleagle the dog and her human and canine companions.

And now I am ready to go upstairs and rediscover my own bed.

On my way back home

I feel like I've spent these days on a different planet.

First of all, I cannot recognize the Berkeley of the '70's, when I lived in San Francisco and came frequently to the East Bay. It is gone, and another world has taken its place.

Second, I recognized two people, of all the people in the room at the memorial of my friend and teacher; one of them recognized me back.

Third, I have shared living space these days with a dog, not a cat: a very different energy, customs, manners.

And my hostess of these days has challenged me to imagine what I have yet to give into the world.

Today I had lunch with a dear friend from my college days, whom I had not seen for over twenty years: what a real joy.

Later, we visited a friend who has decided to deal with cancer in a wildly courageous alternative way.

Later still, we had a splendid dinner at an Indian restaurant.

Tomorrow, I will be going home to Boulder. Something is always different when we return home after visiting a different world.

I look forward to seeing what that will be like.I feel like I've spent these days on a different planet.

First of all, I cannot recognize the Berkeley of the '70's, when I lived in San Francisco and came frequently to the East Bay. It is gone, and another world has taken its place.

Second, I recognized two people, of all the people in the room at the memorial of my friend and teacher; one of them recognized me back.

Third, I have shared living space these days with a dog, not a cat: a very different energy, customs, manners.

And my hostess of these days has challenged me to imagine what I have yet to give into the world.

Today I had lunch with a dear friend from my college days, whom I had not seen for over twenty years: what a real joy.

Later, we visited a friend who has decided to deal with cancer in a wildly courageous alternative way.

Later still, we had a splendid dinner at an Indian restaurant.

Tomorrow, I will be going home to Boulder. Something is always different when we return home after visiting a different world.

I look forward to seeing what that will be like.

Shabbos in Berkeley

It is late Saturday night and I am sitting on the edge of the bed, balancing the laptop on my lap.

It has been such a full, rich shabbos that I don't know where to begin.

My friend Karen, who is hosting me, has long urged me to visit Berkeley. The event that brought me here is unfortunate---the death of a friend and teacher. But being here has been a remarkable journey, simultaneously into my past and into my possible future.

My friend lives in a lusciously funky place; I remember living in places like this. Her small curly doggie is currently curled up on my bed. I am perched on half-a-tukhes catching up with the email that arrived during shabbos.

We won't talk about that; it's too unthinkable.

We came straight from the airport to visit friends I had not seen in a very long time.

I cannot imagine how we also shopped, walked the dog, cooked for shabbos and lit candles all before it got dark. Then shabbos! Visiting one potluck shabbos gathering attended by many who had come to weekends that Zalman and I had taught together. Then another group, celebrating with teaching and music.

Oh, and a word about the dog park---doggie heaven! A huge expanse of mild grassy hills and a dirt road beside a canal of water joining the Bay: huge space, wet and dry, level and hilly. And best of all: the company of other dogs.

Today we joined friends who hold a monthy shabbos gathering and Torah study, followed by potluck.

Wonderful: people I knew, others I didn't. On the way home, we stopped by the ocean. How could I be so near the sea and not at least spend a little time sniffing the air, listening to the waves, letting my eyes take in their fill of the beauty. We bundled up in everything my friend had in the car: blankets, scarves...After all, it was cold. It was really mostly the birds who saw us; and they didn't care.

On the way home, we stopped to visit the home of a mutual friend whom I had not seen in a few years. Oh, the shared stories that floated up...We have known each other since I was 11, and our paths have intersected in odd ways through the years. She has always been formidably talented, and catching up on the last years was a delight.

My friend and hostess has a keen sense of the paths I should be trying, and truly believes that a smart phone is on one of them. I have been resisting, clinging to my not-especially-smart flip phone for years. She may have convinced me to check out one of those geriatric smart phones advertised by AARP.

Oh dear,my Luddite self wails...

But she might be right.

******

Tomorrow I go to the memorial for my teacher and friend. Throughout this trip my mind and heart have been full of appreciation for his influence on my life and the life of my mother.

Grateful, grateful...

Shavu'a tov.