Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Jewish services on Passover and Yom Kippur traditionally conclude with "Aliyah", a saying that translates roughly to "next year in Jerusalem". According to Wikipedia (the source of all truth) "aliyah" usually means the immigration of Jews to the Land of Israel. More specifically, the term aliyah "includes both voluntary immigration for ideological, emotional, or practical reasons and, on the other hand, mass flight of persecuted populations of Jews."

Now, I am not Jewish, nor do I claim to have any depth of understanding of Jewish traditions or language. However, a twenty-something friend of mine and her young family is moving to the land of Israel under the Jewish tradition of Aliyah.

My young friend is Jewish and was raised in (smoggy, urban-sprawling, freeway-jammed, flashy, fashion-oriented, star-studded) Los Angeles. Her 30 year old husband was born in Israel, but has spent part of his youth and most of his adulthood in California. This couple have two very young children, "young" as in two and under. They also have a chance to make a significant change in their lives, by trying young married life on a large, modern kibbutz in Israel. And yet, they are young enough to return to the U.S. if things should not work out for them as they hope.

I myself have been transplanted voluntarily. Not across country borders, but from one end of the North American continent to the other. My bi-coastal cousins and I may speak the same English language but we have very different cultures. And after living in the sun-warmed, laid-back, tolerant San Francisco bay area for 30 years, its impossible for me to think about moving back to the (stodgy, rigid, and frigid) East Coast, even though my father and five siblings all still live there.

Thirty years is a long time to live in once place. However, it didn't take very long for me to feel that California was "home".

What if my friend doesn't like living in Israel? What if the kibbutz proves to be too confining? And then again, what if she loves living and raising her young children in Israel?

All I know for sure is that two California based grandfathers will be spending more time on international flights to Ben Gurion airport over the next couple of years.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dear Abby

Today's "Dear Abby" column was quite interesting. (Yes, I read "Dear Abby".)

The subject was about grieving after the loss of a spouse. The headline read "Life Is Too Short To Grieve Forever". The first letter written to "Abby" raised the issue of the "protocol regarding dating after a spouse's death". As in, how long should one wait after the death of a spouse before starting to date again.

A comment from a different Dear Abby writer struck a particular chord with me. This writer stated "There is a saying in grief recovery. Women cry, men replace."

Based on my own experience, I could not agree more.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Blog Ideas

Blog ideas - where do they come from? Where do they go?

Tonight, I got an idea while waiting in line at the local yogurt hangout, the yogurt hangout in the pink building at the end of the main street in town, with the long line out the door, as is the case every Friday and Saturday night. On a Saturday night, waiting in line takes at least 15 minutes. Early in the evening, there are lots of little kids running around; later in the night, its mostly adults, with a high proportion of teenagers hanging out in groups, sitting in plastic chairs outside on the back cement patio and joking around with their friends.

I couldn't help but eavesdrop on the two young couples ahead of me in line, even as I watched a group of three teenage boys, in khaki shorts and sneakers, sitting in white plastic chairs near the door. Right front of me stood the two twenty-something couples, one obviously married and pregnant, the other one obviously "a couple", facing my direction. I don't know what led up to this particular point in their conversation, but the young man facing me suddenly stated that "its been reported that most men get married just to have regular access to sex", according to an article he read in some men's health magazine.

I don't think I have very many regular male readers out there in cyberspace, but I am curious if this statement is "true" or not. Is this what most guys really think? I am not sure that my readers' husbands or significant others will cop to the truth if asked directly, but in this day and age of letting it all hang out in cyberspace, maybe you can ask some of your "friends". You know, some of your 500 closest friends on Facebook.

I'll be watching for an interesting article on this subject on one of my reader's blog sites in the very near future.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Moving On

The house down the street where my friend used to live, the tidy grey house with white trim, with the white wicker chairs on the front porch and the aqua van in the driveway, has changed. Yes, the house is still grey with white trim. But the van and the white wicker chairs that made it Tim's house are gone, in fact, have been gone for a few weeks now, yet another indication that my friend Tim has moved on.

But the high school is where I most often saw my friend, either in the auditorium, or in his office on the main hallway of the administration building, right across from the auditorium, right in the middle of everything. And I have not yet been back to the high school since it opened its doors to students for the fall semester.

I did check out the high school's website. I have checked it once a week for several weeks now. Since school began a week ago, they finally added the name of the new drama teacher....and Tim's name is no longer listed.

But somehow I don't think it will really hit home until I walk into the administration building, and down the long hall, to the Drama office, and see another teacher in the place that for so long belonged to Tim. He had quite a few "offices" in different places over the 20-something years he was a Drama teacher at Fremont, usually due to one renovation or another. But he always dragged his old oak desk with him, no matter where they moved his office. And now, that old oak desk will be occupied by another drama teacher, and it won't be Tim.

It won't feel right and I won't like it one bit. But I will have to get used to it. I will have to get used to it because Tim has moved on, and I am still here, as are all the teenagers still passing through the doors of Fremont High School.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Why Are Guys So Clueless?

This may be a short post, because I have no answers to the title question.

I still read the paper version of the San Jose Mercury News, slim as it has become in recent years, the loss of its heft attributable to not only the recession (two full percentage points above the national average in the state of California), but also a victim of business decisions (it was bought by another newspaper company a few years ago) and technology innovations (instantaneous news on the internet).However, I am a loyal fan, especially of the high tech Silicon Valley business news, which often graces its front page in addition to the Business Section. And so when they offered me an incredible deal on the hard copy paper version for three months, I took it, unemployment be damned. (Although I do feel bad about having to recyle it every day.)

I still love to read the column entitled "Male Call". And yes, I have verified that it is indeed written by a guy. So it made total sense to me when the "Male Call" author responded to a question from a female reader about guys who "hit" on her in inappropriate situations. Responding from the guys' point of view, he pointed out that, for guys, its a matter of numbers - ask enough women for a date, and you are bound to score eventually, regardless of the fact that, say, you are at a funeral for her recently deceased husband or you are hitting on a female wearing her robe and slippers at midnight at the 24-hour pharmacy. I deduced from his answer that, yes, guys are indeed clueless much of the time.

Which brings me to the point of this post about timing and circumstances. My ex-boyfriend, who broke it off with me a little more than a year ago, and I are trying to remain on friendly terms. He broke off with me over the phone while I was a a very low point in my life, having recently lost my job, which is another story for another time. He had his reasons, but do timing and circumstances even register on a man's conscious?

We have gone out as friends on a few occasions recently to local musical events. There is no misunderstanding on either side that we are just friends, and neither of us want more than that. But, he does not seem to understand that I don't want to hear about his dating experiences. Or that I am not comfortable with his bringing a date (and sitting together) at a very small local musical event that we both want to attend. Or that maybe his "date" might not want to sit with his former girlfriend.

I would like to see my former boyfriend for a casual lunch, or to go listen to some music that we both appreciate, on occasion, as friends. But I just don't want to meet his date or his girlfriend, as the case may be. Not yet. But he just doesn't seem to understand this.

And so, after much situational explanation on my part, I am still left the same way I started out, with my title question unanswered. If anyone out there has any answers for me, I'd love to hear them.