...except for me and my monkey! "Everything we see hides another thing. We always want to see what is hidden by what we see." -Rene Magritte

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Update: So now I'm "pretty sure I'm running a fever"--to the tune of 103.6 degrees. I'm taking fever reducers and drinking lots of water, and so far it's gone down a degree, but my roommate tells me that if it goes over 104 I have to go to the emergency room. Eep. Keep me in your thoughts, please.

I'm generally a healthy person, but for the past two weeks I've been battling a nasty cold. It started with an innocent cough the week of Chanukah; on the way back from P'nai Or's Chanukah party, my co-worker/friend Jade asked about it and offered me a cough drop. I think most cold remedies and treatments are exactly as effective as placebos, so I declined (without going into my reasons why). (Incidentally, there was a great article in the last Skeptic magazine about cold remedies and Emergen-C, etc.) (Also incidentally, Skeptic is a fantastic publication, and one I reference a lot.) My cough got worse over the week, culminating in taking Friday off to try to kick it over the weekend. By Monday morning I felt worse than Friday, but I can't really afford to take more time off of work unless I'm actively vomiting or bleeding from the eyes (ah, to be a wage slave!). So I just tried to avoid close contact with the kids and wash my hands a lot. A lot of parents gave us holiday presents so that was a big upper, but baking sugar cookies with the preschoolers had the same result as delivering a syringe full of saccharine straight to their veins, so that was a downer. I was feeling better by Saturday afternoon, but today out at breakfast with Daniel I felt really weird and clouded-over and now I'm pretty sure I'm running a fever. I'm taking a late morning bus down to Eugene tomorrow; it will not be fun. The upside is that I have a paid vacation all of next week, as well as Monday and Tuesday of the week afterwards. It will be the longest I haven't worked since I began the job in May.

Other than being sick, things have been going pretty well. I'm reading a very interesting book called A Gay Synagogue in New York by Moshe Shokeid, an Israeli anthropologist. It's an ethnography written in the early/mid-1990s of Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, the largest gay synagogue in the country, and is interesting from a theoretical sociology/anthropology of religion viewpoint, a Judaic Studies viewpoint, and a Feminist/Queer theory viewpoint...hey, that's all my interests, wrapped up in one book! Next on the docket is Devil in the White City, a true crime book about the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago...a topic with which I imagine Eric is all too familiar.

This evening I went to a Chanukat Habayit, a kind of Jewish housewarming and mezuzah scroll hanging at the home of a friend of mine from P'nai Or. When she sent out the invitation, I assumed it was a party having something to do with the holiday of Chanukah; in reality, "Chanukah" just means "dedication"--as in, the holiday celebrates the dedication of the Temple by the Hasmoneans/Maccabees after it was sacked by the Romans. I knew that Habayit meant "the home," as in the phrase "shalom bayit," peace/harmony in the home, which is traditionally the woman's responsibility to foster. So, "Chanukat Habayit" means "Dedication of the Home." You learn something new every day. I was stressed out about arriving late and missing the mezuzah-hanging ceremony because the bus was off-schedule, but as it turned out, even arriving ten minutes late for the ceremony, I was twenty minutes ahead of the rabbi. The ceremony itself was beautiful and meaningful, and full of kavvanah (spiritual intention).

Finally, I am moving again in mid-January, this time to my very own A Room of One's Own apartment in North Portland. I'm looking forward to living alone. I paid the security deposit last Thursday, and will sign the papers in the first week in January. Apartment-warming news forthcoming!

I look forward to seeing you all again in January, especially those of you who have been away this semester. Merry Christmas to all, and Happy New Year!