Egad

What can I say...
This has been a very very different kind of visit.
I have not traveled to see the friends I had planned to see, though I manged to meet my cousin and one good friend. I have been very careful about using a car, since discovering that my license expired on my birthday.  Friends will come to visit with me here.
And an angel has offered to take me to the airport.

My cousin is recovering well---although this means something different at 86 than at 69.
I am rediscovering how differently I have learned to live from the great majority of my relatives.
I'm no longer accustomed to processed foods.  I am spoiled by the availability, in Boulder, of good organic produce, and actually make most of my meals from it.  I am utterly spoiled by our proximity to Eldorado Springs, where I get all the cooking and drinking water.  I have neither seen nor heard so much TV for many many decades---or, since the last time I visited here.  I have managed to be doing other things, but there it is in the background...
Most of all, I have been seeing how the complexity and projected inconvenience of the small behaviors that make a difference to the wellbeing of our planet really present an insurmountable barrier to my family.  This is even so of the ones my own age and younger.  There is a sort of slip-sliding-away from facts that would require a change of thought processes or---worse---a change of habits.  I have a clearer picture of how such a large portion of our population, even very-decent-not-rapacious people, find it threatening to their sense of themselves and their culture to get serious about pesticides, about recycling, about waste.  Photographs notwithstanding, they refuse to believe that we are responsible for an island of plastic in the ocean.  They become sharply resentful when confronted with uncomfortable information that would strongly suggest a change of habit on their parts.  They are truly busy; but still...
It's pretty frightening, and terribly sad.  They love their children and grandchildren dearly; and they will not allow themselves to hear the extent to which their choices have narrowed the possibilities of bequeathing them a viable world.  They strongly resent being asked to relinquish a great deal of convenience for ambiguous ends.

Meanwhile, my laptop is having its own conniption fits, and may or may not consent to send this out tonight.  Has a saint of electronic devices emerged?
Good night...

Another world

I am hear in the east-est part of northeast Philly, not that far from where I lived for some years in my grandmother's old house.
My cousin's condominium has been full to the brim with family:  three children, two sons-in-law and a grown grandchild who was not only superbly organized, but cheerfully dictatorial in accomplishing her perceived tasks.  One daughter shared the returnd patient's bed, a son-in-law slept on a couch, son and granddaughter went home with the family who live nearby, and I had the guest room.
All but the local remarkable organizing daughter left by mid-morning.  She stayed cleaning everything up until five.  My job is to stay with my cousin tomorrow, and make sure all is well and safe.
I had time today to experiment with learning to drive my cousin's car, a Prius her kids talked her into leasing.  That's funny, because otherwise, they represent the antithesis to Boulder:  they pay no attention whatsoever to any other aspect of waste, plastics, the possibility of recycling; and certainly none to the artificiality of most of their food.  My cousin, a dear and good person, doesn't want to hear about it, and absolutely does not want to be challenged to change anything.  Her kids already know this, so they don't try; also, they are not inclined.  I bite my tongue, and buy more spring water because I can no longer abide the taste of chlorine. 
I am grateful for this widely diverse family, with our own collection of wonderful people, crooks, heroes, crazies, valiant women, kind men, mischief makers (my grandmother), outliers (my mother), love stories and tragedies.
Mine surely can't be the only family with such a mix.

Other friends will visit me here on Monday.  
Tuesday, G-d willing, I will return to the open sky and mountains of Colorado.
Grateful.

Yawn

It's late here.
I set the alarm for 6 a.m. to see the family off---and slept right through it.
While they were gone I did another grocery run (we'd listed all the fogotten items from yesterday.)
There is a hugekosher section of this Shop Rite market, and I found ¡kosher chicken necks and bones!
(O, what a marvellous find!)
So I got some fresh dill and parsley root, and made a chicken soup especially for my cousin.

The whole bunch came trooping in around dinner time, overjoyed that the doctors said she was doing well enough to not need further procedures today.  Yay!  (This took all day.)
The whole family were settled, relieved, around the dinner table when a very old friend of mine arrived, and we found a small restaurant nearby in which to catch up with each other.

Altogether a blessed day, and thank you to everyone who added Sheindl bat Leah into your prayers.

What a day; what a family

A smallish two-bedroom ground-floor apartment with my 88-year old cousin, her three grown kids, two sons-in-law, one granddaughter and a cousin (me.) sleeping in various places here, and in the oldest daughter's nearby house.
All but me pile into cars and leave at 6 a.m. tomorrow for the hospital. They have prepared to settle in, having packed sandwiches and fruit. (I can just imagine the scene at Intake.)
I have the shopping list and one of the cars, and will lay in supplies for shabbos dinner.
I've not found a nearby shul, so have sent a request for a blessing for tomorrow morning's minyan with someone else.  (Though I suspect that prayers on another's behalf are heard under any circumstance by the Hearer of Prayer.)  Whoever is so inclined may join me:  Shayndl bat Leah.
I have never tried to call on my mother, z'l, to deliver a prayer; but I will tonight. 
I can't believe I was so stupid and distraught that last year when she lived with us as to not have asked her just what it was that she did when she prayed for healing for people.


Earlier this afternoon I visited with my mother's closest friend, whom I love dearly.  She turned 89 this year.  I am so aware of the time running...

Check out what I wish were a link, below:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7L0pKPRmB4

Family

I was an only child of an only child, so these days have been a visit to another world, for me.
(As was a good deal of my marriage!)
My main contribution today was some grocery shopping, and the cooking of the subsequent mushroom-barley soup and glazed salmon.  Around the dinner table were my cousin, her three grown children, one son-in-law (another comes tomorrow), and me.
The after-dinner conversation pinned down just what kind of device to get for her that notifies a medical responder if there is a fall, an injury, etc.  It was efficient, cheerful, serious and funny all at the same time.  It also has made me realize that I had better consider my own plans, clarify them, and make them known to Zalman's children and to the people I would want to handle things in case of emergency.
I've been lent a car, and am driving v-e-r-y c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y while trying to remember how to get places in the far northeast of Philadelphia.  I seem to both know and to have forgotten in equal proportions. I learned that for drivers over 65, you cannot renew or get an extension of an expired driver's license on line.  Oops:  this last birthday I turned 69.  

Being in Philadelphia is always a layered experience for me---different periods of my life spent here, intermittently, from birth.  The neighborhood of my early childhood, once a wildly mixed immigrant place, is now a crumbling war zone.  A beloved delicatessen near this cousin's former house is, unbelievably, closed.  I have not been to the cousin who lives downtown yet, so have not seen what has happened to the places I loved to go as a teenager.

I do not know whether I will get to see the friends I had hoped to visit.  There may still be time...
It is strange for me to feel myself pulled so inward while traveling. It has to do with being confronted by the still-unarranged details of my own life; and my wondering how to focus the years, G-d willing, still left to me.  There are some things, uniquely mine, that have been in storage for a long time.
Right now, even emerging enough to write on this blog is an unaccustomed effort.
Nevertheless---more tomorrow.

Arrived...

I took a taxi from the airport to my cousin’s.  (Ouch.)  Two of her kids and one son in law were here later as well, and will be around lots.  They are lending me her car, and my assignment for tomorrow is to shop and to make a mushroom-barley soup.  If I drive very carefully so I am never pulled over by the police, all may be well.
My cousin, on the other hand, is not well.  Praying.

This entire trip is an exercise in the unexpected.
I may have to learn to drive cousin's electric-hybrid, license or no.  (Discovered expired; surprise!)
And figure out where to get spring water, because I discovered I can no longer manage the heavy chlorination of Philly tap water.  

Stay tuned.

Apologies!

I am still in Boston.
Yotam and Shosh and baby are---WOW.
And...baby still cries lots of times in the night.  Now and then they employ a doula to accompany him through the night, with expressed breast milk.  They sent me a few blocks away to get a good night's sleep at Shosh's sister's apartment:  I slept deeply and quietly.  But I left without writing an update.  Sorry!  I realized it as I was preparing for bed; I was  missing something...

The lovely woman who cared for baby Abraham in the night was just coming down the stairs to walk their dog as I was coming up.  Mildly rainy morning.  She is leaving now, and I hear Yotam or Shoshana beginning to stir...maybe.

News from Philadelphia:  the cousin with whom I planned to stay has just had a "mild" heart attack. 
(She's the one who still drives to work daily, at the age of 90.) They plan to send her home from the hospital today; her kids are very relieved that I will be there during the nights.  I might revise my plans and be there much of the days as well. 

The theme of this trip altogether seems to be "expect the unexpected", starting with the snowstorm and my expired license.
For the first time in years I have managed to pare things down to a good bare minimum, and my bag is a "carry-on",  (plus the little canvas "messenger bag" for the laptop, and a purse.)

Stay tuned...