• Jew Stuff

    Tradition Indicates That I Write About This Tradition

    If you celebrate Christmas, right about now you might be preparing for a special dinner with family, finishing up some last-minute shopping, wrapping, or assembling, baking those cookies to leave along with milk for Santa, or having fun doing some other festive activity. Here is my traditional wish that your holiday is everything you hoped it would be, and that you get to spend it with exactly whom you want. As for Jim and me, you already know what we’re doing tonight and tomorrow: Enjoy the holiday, whatever that means to you!

  • Family Fun,  Food,  Jew Stuff

    It’s Like Groundhog Day, But On Christmas.

    Same thing, different year! The Wells family will continue our Christmas tradition of going to see a movie and dinner prepared by Jim. (We’re having Green Curry Chicken, which is Thai and not Chinese, but still Asian. Close enough.) Our movie? The new “Star Wars” flick. FINALLY. Thank YOU, internet, for not posting any spoilers. This has to be a new record because I totally expected to know what I was getting into more than a week ago. I can’t wait to see this movie, spoiler-free! Besides that? Well, you know: Merry Christmas to all of you who are celebrating!

  • Family Fun,  Favorite Things,  Food

    Next Year At The Same Place!

    For the last eighteen years, we have spent various Jewish holidays with a group of five other families from our temple. We all got together when our oldest kids were in the three-year-old and four-year-old preschool classes there, and it was great to have plans with friends nearly every Hanukkah, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Passover. Everyone didn’t go to every get-together, but back in those days it was nearly always a full house. I have pictures—somewhere—of the times when the kids were around but I’m too lazy to look for them so you’ll just have to take my word for it. Those preschoolers and their siblings, thirteen kids in…

  • Tough Questions

    You’ve Got The Look

    This is an actual conversation that happened earlier tonight, when I brought a friend as my guest to the health club where I take Zumba classes. The guy in the membership department was leading us to his desk so he could get her information for the system, and as we were walking he said to me, “Are you Greek?” I laughed a little bit (I’ll tell you why in a minute) and said, “Nope!” He said, “You’re NOT Greek?” I repeated, “Nope! Why?” “Because you look Greek.” My face must have suddenly displayed some kind of weird expression because he said, “Would that be so bad?” “No!” I said. Backstory:…

  • I've Got Mad Skillz,  Jew Stuff

    (It’s Not) Hard To Say I’m Sorry

    Today is Yom Kippur, the most sacred day of the year in the Jewish religion. It’s our “Day of Atonement”, meaning that we are apologizing for the sins of the past year and seeking forgiveness. A big part of Yom Kippur is saying “I’m sorry”. Saying those two words is very easy for me. Although I have perfectionist tendencies (ya think?), I have absolutely no problem admitting that I have made a mistake. In fact, usually when I discover I’ve made an error I completely overcompensate in the apology department because I feel so terrible about it. (That’s an issue for another day. Or for a therapist.) I consider myself…

  • Jew Stuff,  Random Thoughts

    On Longing To Reconnect

    We joined our temple back in 1996, when D was nearly four and ready for preschool. J was one. Jumping right into the Jewish community here, our family joined five other families (all with a kid in the temple preschool program) to form a havurah, and we celebrated most of the Jewish holidays together for years. Back in the day, I served for a couple of years on the Early Learning Committee, I was a substitute preschool teacher, and I taught Sunday School at the same time. I served on the Membership Committee for a while, and was a part of the committee that found and recommended our current rabbi.…

  • Blessings,  Jew Stuff,  Something That Could Change Your Life

    On Knowing When To Make The Leap

    I feel the need to start this post with a disclaimer: I usually don’t bring up religious stuff here unless it’s of the general variety. In relaying this particular story–which has an element of religion included–I want you to know that I am not trying to push my religion on anybody, and hope that you will just find it interesting. Years ago, I was selling health club memberships full time. I had been an employee there for a few years and worked part-time in different departments before landing in Membership. My full-time status came as a result of Jim having been let go from his job in the economic turmoil…

  • Random Thoughts

    Merry Christmas To (Most Of) You!

    Here we are…Christmas weekend 2011! I want to wish all of you who celebrate it a very, very Merry Christmas. I hope you enjoy it to the max whether you’re spending it with family, visiting friends, or hanging out solo in your robe and fuzzy slippers on the couch, watching movies like “Elf” and “A Christmas Story”. As usual, you know what MY family will be doing… Want to make this a long-term commitment? Please subscribe to my feed by clicking here.

  • Childhood Memories,  Confessions,  Jew Stuff

    Festival of Lights

    In keeping with how things have been going here at my house for the last I-don’t-know-how-long, we did not get any Hanukkah decorations up before the holiday officially began at sundown last night. It wasn’t for lack of trying: We (and by “we”, I mean Jim) dragged the two massive, storage-locker-sized Rubbermaid containers of Hanukkah decorations (mostly menorahs) up to the family room from the crawlspace about a week ago. They have been sitting there ever since, untouched and attracting piles of random stuff on top much like a treadmill ends up with clothing draped all over it. Around 5:00 p.m. yesterday (the sun was DOWN), I opened up the…

  • Childhood Memories,  Confessions,  Fun in Chicago,  Jew Stuff,  UGH.

    It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

    I stand with so many other people around this time of year who are annoyed with the stores, malls, and restaurants that begin their Christmas decorating (and sales) way too early. In fact, this year I saw so much red and green before Halloween I had to look at a calendar to check the date more than once. I don’t enjoy the barrage of Christmas music, in elevators, on the radio, in stores, everywhere. It’s partly because I’m Jewish, I suppose. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy a good Christmas tune–Mariah Carey’s recent take on “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is my modern favorite–it’s just that…