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NauenThen

Who, me aging?

I am less despondent about my life running out than I am about the summer passing into September. Seems like short-term thinking but really, I'm not bummed about being in my 60s (early 60s!) (very early 60s!). The Times had an op-ed [click on caption] about the baby boomers freaking over aging. I too have had the experience of being the youngest in the room, & now also of being the oldest. I kind of like it when I'm the oldest. It makes me feel like I won a prize in a lottery I didn't enter. All I had to do to win was be born in  Read More 
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A conversation in Idaho

Golden wheat in Idaho
Becky: It rained so hard on the way here that the wheat, which was ready for harvest, got flattened.

Stacey: It's when it hails that the crops get destroyed. They'll bounce back from the rain.

Such a casually normal Midwestern exchange, informed about how things grow. I don't think anything about farming is part of my New York world. People here think it's odd that when it rains I automatically say: "good for the farmers."

Stacey also told of driving past a field of sunflowers, & someone asking: why would they plant flowers?  Read More 
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Guns

Guns freak me out. When we were little—I'm thinking 2nd or 3rd grade—kids could sign up for a gun safety class. I didn't have to ask: It wasn't something my family went in for & even then I was repulsed. I am still a little mad at Johnny for "holding" a gun for someone. It must be 20 years ago, & I'm relieved he didn't tell me till after, but creeped out that there was a gun in my house overnight. My cousin lost an eye to an errant shot on a city street, & of course I read the news, today's being about a 9-year-old who shot her instructor with an Uzi at a theme park called Bullets & Burgers.

Man, doesn't so much today sound like it came from the Onion.

I have tried (maybe not that hard) to understand the pro-gun folks & I'm just not buying it. I don't have any better arguments than the sensible ones already out there: no reason guns can't be regulated, the way liquor & cars are; protect kids; don't sell armor-piercing ammo, & so on.Why doesn't this get fixed??  Read More 
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Miss Norman

Today I salute my high school journalism teacher, Lorraine Norman, who died a few days ago at the age of 91. Washington High put out a weekly newspaper, rare then & probably unheard of now. To give you an idea, we typed on an electric typewriter & did corrections by cutting them out with an exacto knife & rubber cementing them into place. Come to think of it, Miss Norman was a human exacto knife—precise, fine-tuned, someone who insisted on accuracy.

I was shy (shyer) in high school & Miss Norman took me under her wing. The responsibility of editing The Orange & Black has been useful & illuminating to this day, & I would not be surprised if hundreds of others say the same thing, and say as well that she was more influential than any teacher they had.  Read More 
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Hooray

Today is the 94th anniversary of the 19th amendment, which gave women the vote. It's almost in my mother's lifetime—very, very close to us still. Is this another right that can or will be taken away? It seems that the minute there's some progressive (& anti-progressive?) change, someone tries to force it back.
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High school redux

5 Sioux Falls girls: Jacque, Stacey, Bessie, Becky, me
It's going to take a lot of sorting & thinking before I can talk much about my weekend with some of the people I went to high school with. It's hard not to say "girls" even though it's been more than 40 years. But that's what we were, and I guess always will be to each other. With nuance.

I have to go get the eye test where they dilate, so probably not more today, unless I ace the test, but I haven't aced anything since high school.  Read More 
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Westward ho

See you Monday
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Tiffany on 24th Street

I never noticed this clock or the sign till yesterday, and I sit in the park across the street frequently. This is on Broadway and 24th, just west of Madison Square Park & north of the Flatiron Building. You can never see enough of New York City.

The text on the base reads:
This 1909 iconic street clock was designated a New York City landmark in 1981. Upon establishing its new headquarters at 200 Fifth Avenue in 2011, Tiffany & Co. restored the clock as a gift to the historic Flatiron district.  Read More 
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Life is a one-way street

Nonetheless, I'm going to Idaho in a day or two for the wedding of the daughter of someone I graduated from high school with; 4 or 5 of us from our class will be hanging out together. I don't want to relive high school but I do want to see if I can see (in their eyes) who I was then. If they're half as solipsistic as I was, they probably won't have a clue.  Read More 
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You do know how to blow, don't you?

That's me blowing the shofar (wearing tefillin)
The Cantor & I co-led a shofar-blowing workshop today in preparation for the High Holidays, when the sound of the shofar is central.

For a primitive, ancient instrument, it is remarkably evocative. People have heard its sound as a wake-up call ... a lamentation ... the cries of a woman in childbirth ... a way to confuse Satan ... a warning ... a call to war ... the sound of the human soul ....

The physical part of blowing a shofar is relatively easy. I run to ensure I have good wind, I practice a few minutes a day to build control and toughen my embouchure.

Studying the laws, getting my intentions in order is a little more challenging. There are as many ways to blow incorrectly as correctly.

The spiritual part is hardest. I find I need the help of everyone in the room to break through the roof & send our prayer to heaven.  Read More 
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