12 December 2007

WordPress is frustrating me. I’m moving to Blogger. The last few posts have been moved over…please update your links! The new site is: See you over there!


Surprising myself

11 December 2007

Tonight I did two things that totally surprised me at first.

Backing up…

Boston Boy and I hadn’t chatted in several days since he was on a business trip. Rab Boy with a crush on me was told in no uncertain terms by mutual friends that I am not interested. In the meantime, my friends arranged a Shabbat lunch for me to meet a guy who is getting a math PhD. I’d met him ever so briefly at shul a week ago, then we were at the same table this past Friday night at a dinner at shul. Lunch was fun, Math Boy is a great guy, though he is on the quiet and shy side. He may or may not have noticed that I am, y’know, a girl. But we are hoping he will sort of ease into the idea of being interested in me. I made the chocolate mousse pie in this post, and I got the eggs right this time so it worked out much better.

Saturday night, I went to the lovely Samantha‘s pre-party, then to a fabulous holiday soiree. We were all dressed up to the nines, which is always fun. The party itself was fun but not quite my scene — the music wasn’t music I could really dance to, and the only people I knew were S. and her friends from the pre-party, and I’m not so good at meeting new people in such a huge venue. So I left on the early side, came home, and then went to my friend’s Chanukah party two buildings down from mine. It was very chill and relaxed, and nobody minded that I was overdressed (they were all in jeans, and I was still in my party dress).

Sunday was low-key, I slept in and stayed inside almost the whole day, then went to a surprise retirement party for my boss’s boss’s boss, in Pasadena. I carpooled with a coworker of mine who is my age. He worked at the company for 6 years (straight out of college), left for business school for two years, then came back over the summer, just a couple months after I started in my current department. He knew more people than I did at the retirement party, since he has more tenure than I (and had been in/near our current department all along, whereas I used to be in a very separate dep’t), so he introduced me to a lot of people. We arrived together, sat together, walked around together, and left together. And apparently, people commented that we made a really cute couple. Of course, he’s not Jewish. And he’s got a significant other. And, oh yeah, he’s gay. So…people are a little clueless. We were both very amused to hear the “gossip” this morning…

Anyway, all this leads me to tonight. Boston Boy and I had a video-chat. He’d found plane tickets for $300 that would have him arriving in LA around noon on Thursday 20 Dec., leaving at 1 p.m. on Tuesday 25 Dec., and he wanted to know if he should get them. We ended up having a long talk about religion. He grew up modern Orthodox, had some miserable experiences with day school and organized religion, was a “devout” atheist for a while, and has now settled into agnosticism. He keeps kosher, goes to shul once in a while…but he doesn’t know if G-d is real, he certainly doesn’t think G-d has any place in his life, and he still has a lot of resentment toward institutional Judaism. If he hadn’t been born Jewish, he thinks he’d be Buddhist or Hindu.

And I have issues with that. If he were actually here in LA, it would be worth it to meet him and see how things might go. If he were in Boston but were closer to me religiously, it would be worth it. (And on top of living in Boston, he has two cats, which is a deal-breaker for me anyway because I’m awfully fond of breathing.) But in the end, I said that I thought the proposed visit would be a bit too much too soon — five full days this early on seemed like more than I could handle. He thinks I’m the bee’s knees, and he would like us to stay in contact and maybe have a slightly shorter visit (like a 3-day weekend) in the future. I am OK with that for now.

And after that, I did what I think I should have done last week. I called Rab Boy and told him why I’m not interested in dating him right now (the timing in his life, as I described a couple posts ago), but making it very clear that I think he’s a great guy and I would really like us to be friends and keep getting to know each other. He was totally cool with that, and we ended up talking for a long time, which was nice. I could see him being an important person in my life — whether it’s just as a friend, or maybe someday as something more.

No word from Math Boy yet, but I am hoping…

Tomorrow night, for the 8th night of Chanukah, I am going to have some friends (including Rab Boy) over to light candles and eat pizza. I figured pizza is greasy, even if it’s not a traditional “fried-in-oil” Chanukah food. And one of my friends is going to make latkes because she said she is tired of frozen latkes and latkes from mixes.

And since Boston Boy is not coming to visit, I plan to go forward with my Christmas Eve cocktail party. I would love to put up mistletoe, but that would be just a little weird considering everyone will be Jewish!

In G-d’s hands

3 December 2007

I don’t actually remember the d’rash from Friday night — but I remember what I took away from it. I’m in a good place, have been for a couple of weeks now, kind of like how I was back around Labor Day and High Holidays. I don’t know how long it will last, but for right now, I have decided I’m putting myself in G-d’s hands. I’m going to try to stop fighting and struggling, and just trust that G-d is leading me on whatever path G-d wants for me. I am hoping / praying / believing that G-d has a plan for me. And if takes me longer than it took others to reach certain places on the path, well, I’m trusting G-d. G-d knows a whole lot more than I do, and maybe G-d thinks I need more time than others do to be ready for wherever this path takes me. If my path is meant to lead me to Boston Boy (who has looked at plane tickets but hasn’t booked anything; we’ve logged at least a dozen hours in total IM/phone/video-chat time), great. If it leads me to the JDate guy in LA I’ve e-mailed with a couple of times, great. If it leads me to the guy my friends are hoping to set me up with at Shabbat lunch this coming week, great. And if it leads me somewhere else completely — that’s great, too.

The d’rash on Shabbat morning was really cool. The rabbi who gave the d’rash said she wanted to focus on a small bit of the text that is often overlooked in favor of the bigger stories (Joseph’s coat, his dreams, being thrown in the pit, sold into slavery and sold again, rising to power, resisting Potiphar’s wife, being thrown in jail, more dreams, etc.). What she focused on was a mere three pesukim (verses) – Gen. 37:15-17, as follows:

15. A man discovered him [Joseph], and behold! — he was wandering in the field; the man asked him, saying, “What do you seek?” 16. And he said, “My brothers do I seek; tell me, please, where they are pasturing.” 17. The man said – “They have journeyed on from here, for I heard them saying, ‘Let us go to Dothan.’ ” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan.

This “man” is believed by some commentators to be the angel Gabriel. He plays an important role. His question — “What do you seek?” — is a question we could all ask anyone and everyone we meet. And by telling Joseph how to find what he seeks — that is, where his brothers have gone — he sets into motion all the rest of the Children of Israel’s destiny…if Joseph hadn’t found his brothers, he wouldn’t have been put into the pit; if not for that, he wouldn’t have been taken by the Midianites; if not for that, he wouldn’t have been sold to the Ishmaelites; if not, he wouldn’t have wound up in Egypt; if not, he wouldn’t have saved Egypt from the famine; if not, he wouldn’t have saved his family from the famine; if not, Jacob and the rest of his children wouldn’t have moved to Egypt; if not, the Children of Israel wouldn’t have been enslaved; if not, Moshe wouldn’t have arisen as a leader; if not, the Children of Israel wouldn’t have been redeemed by G-d; if not, there would have been no revelation at Sinai, no Ten Commandments, no wandering through the desert, no deliverance into the Promised Land.

And yet this man, this ish, is given no name in our narrative; and the speculation that he was Gabriel is merely that: speculation. Each of us can play either role in the story. We can encounter people who are our angels, who set us on the right path toward our destinies, even if our interaction with them is brief and seeminly insignificant. And we can encounter others and be their angels; the words we choose to say, the questions we choose to ask, the answers we choose to give can shape the lives of the people with whom we come into contact. In any moment — in every moment — it is possibly that we are acting as the agent of the Divine.

So. For the moment, at least, I am opening myself to G-d’s will. I will try to be aware, be present, be mindful in each moment, lest I miss the sign beckoning me toward my destiny. And I will try, too, to play my part in leading others toward the paths they are meant to travel. Godspeed, all of us.