Thursday, June 30, 2011

Boston's Ballerinas

If you follow me on Twitter, you know about my daily hassles with my commute. It's often crowded and uncomfortable, and the lack of control over the situation drives me crazy. But there are a few bright spots for me: listening to my favorite Glee tracks, playing endless games of Revomem, and of course, the people watching.

I've been taking the Green Line for many years now, and by far my favorite phenomenon is the return of the ballerinas. Each summer, a group of teenage ballerinas starts getting on the train at Kenmore Square, and riding the few stops to Copley Square. With their yoga mats and hair done up in perfect buns, I'm just fascinated by them. I don't know anything about their program, but seeing them as I'm trudging off to my office tower just makes me happy. I imagine that they're putting a little more grace out into the universe (whereas I don't a graceful twitch in my body). I've noticed that other commuters seem to cheer up in their presence too. They're on the T for such a short time, and only for a few weeks, so it's like this elusive, hidden part of Boston, and I feel lucky to get to see them.

What are the insider parts of your neighborhood that make it feel special?

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Kids Grow Up

The last few weeks have been beyond hectic, with a big event happening almost daily. We had birthday parties, class parties, a block party, a goodbye party, a school party and a family party. We hosted my sister-in-law Rachel and two year old niece and nephew, Evie and Nate, with my in-laws staying locally as well for a few days. There's been so much to celebrate, but it's also been a time of transition with the ending of first grade for Hannah, and moving on to a new classroom for Max.

Hannah has been looking forward to the start of camp for months, and is beyond thrilled to be in a group with her oldest friend from Gan Yeladim and her best camp friend for three years running. But when I picked her up from the last day of first grade, well, some tears were shed at the thought of moving on and being in second grade. It's been such a big year for her, and she has been so proud of all the progress she's made at school, that it was difficult to say goodbye to it all, but she seemed happy at camp drop off this morning.

Tuesday was Max's last day in the Room E Elephants, and he proudly sang along to all of the songs with his friends. He's moving on to Room K Koalas (the animal aspect is a big part of the identity to him), and unfortunately, away from the group of kids he has been with for the last two years. We didn't point that out to him, and have been talking about all of the positive aspects of the new class, but my heart breaks for him a bit. Hopefully, he will enjoy the new class too much to notice. After five days at home, going to school today made for a rough morning in the house, but he seemed resigned to it by the time we dropped him off.

Marc said I seemed more excited about all this change than the kids do, and I guess I'm trying to show them that they have so much to be excited about (and they really, truly do). But it's another year done too - and I'm not going to burden them with the lump in my throat that forms while hearing Green Day's "Time of Your Life" during the first grade slide show or leaving them to navigate their way through a sea of new faces.

Last night I watched the documentary "The Kids Grow Up" (dumb idea to watch it on a Sunday night, leaving me too amp'ed up to fall asleep afterward), but it's the story of filmmaker Doug Block's only child, Lucy, and her last year at home before going off to college. But seeing as she doesn't actually want him filming much of her life anymore, it's generously supplemented by many scenes from throughout Lucy's childhood and adolescence. Lucy is ready to go, but dad Doug isn't ready to let her. Some would say it's narcissistic, that he's filming her but it's really all about him, but isn't that what so much of the parenting experience is? Aren't we spending all of this time and effort on them with our own hidden agendas (or sometimes even in plain view)? How can we not focus on our own feelings about what our children are going through, when they are ostensibly the most important thing in the world to us?

My friend Candace snapped a picture of the kids at the JCC picnic last week, and I put it on my desk at work today, updating the picture I had there from three years ago. We're not ready for college yet, but time is flying.

June 2008, 4.5 and 0.5 years old

June 2011, 7.5 and 3.5 years old

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Fast Few Weeks

It's been a fast few weeks around here. Frustratingly, my latest blog posts on Allison's bachelorette and the Temple Emanuel Retreat didn't pull into facebook, so I'm sharing the links to those here. Here's what we've been up to since then.

After the retreat we dove right back in to Temple Emanuel, and I attended quite a few meetings in the last three weeks. They mostly centered around the Yom Hashoah committee and the direction that group is going to go during the next year. It's been a really interesting process, and I'm really proud of the work our committee is doing. It's great to be part of a group that has such a high level of dedication. We also had Hannah's last day of religious school for the year, with its closing assembly. While she really enjoys religious school, I have to admit that I'm happy for one less morning of rushing around now that it's ended for the summer! And we had our 12th Ruach Shabbat Family Service - so exciting!

Marc and I accomplished a big goal of refinancing our house, and we had the closing for that recently. The transaction was a bit complicated, but we had an excellent experience with Sovereign Bank and everything went very smoothly. It's been something we've been waiting to do for quite some time, and I'm happy that we were able to get that completed.

Work has been really busy for me. Really good, lots of exciting things going on, but really busy. And so with all of this going on, it would be a really convenient time for my back to start acting up again, right? Sigh. Yea, The Back (it gets capitals now because it's really become a separate entity from the rest of me and deserving of proper noun status) got pretty bad for a while there. I had to go to a couple of doctor's appointments trying to get it functioning properly again. Last Friday I began a round of prednisone, aka The Wonder Drug, because Gd knows what it does but it has helped. I'm pretty close to normal again, for which I am very grateful. Prednisone is loads of fun for me, as I get very jittery and PRODUCTIVE with a major caps lock. If only this level of energy was sustainable! But it felt good to get so much done after coping with pain for a few weeks. Yes, I promise I'm being really careful not to aggravate The Back again, and I think I will be starting physical therapy for it soon. (This has also meant the exercise project has been put on hold - hopefully temporarily.)

Which brings us right up to today. It's a beautiful day here in Newton. Hannah's wearing green for Color Day at Bowen, and Max is wearing pajamas at the JCC to simulate staying up all night studying Torah for the holiday of Shavuot. Tonight I won't be attending any study sessions per se, but I will be going to the Glee Live concert in Boston. As Marc said, it's Torah in its own way, or at least it is for me. Tomorrow night Marc is planning to bring the kids downtown to meet me after work to check out the Jimmy Fund's Scooper Bowl, a Boston event I've always wanted to attend (and in keeping with Shavuot's dairy theme). Thursday night is Hannah's after care group's annual picnic. Then the weekend has some birthday parties and Village Day to look forward to. Time is just flying by, and even with The Back issues, I've been really happy lately. Hoping you're all having a great start to summer as well.