Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Off-Course Discourse

...and when I sat down to write my last post, I thought it was going to be about my youngest turning 5 years old on Shabbos! Guess that topic became Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" this evening.

Oh ya, the dog turns 8 tomorrow. Happy Birthday, Tyson! Funny, you don't look a day over 56 (that's supposed to be canine humor, if you didn't catch on)!

Truly Blessed

I am blessed with wonderful parents, who have given me all the love in the world...and MORE; who have shown me by example how to be a menschlich person; who have provided me with rules to teach me right from wrong; who have offered and given me more than they themselves ever had. Their love knows no boundaries.

My mother, named for a flower, is a gentle, passive and unassuming woman -- refined in her speech and in her actions. She is "a mother of Pearl." Yes, there is a pun intended, but she also represents beauty, just as abalone does.

Of course there are many many things that stand out in my mind about this wonderful woman, but here is a supreme example of her character. As addicted as I am to receiving e-mails, I've always been addicted to receiving any kind of mail with my name on it, whether it be junk mail, bills or personal letters. When I was in university, I used to call in the afternoons sometimes to say hi to my mom and then I'd ask if I got any mail. One day she responded, "You got a postcard in the mail." I asked, "Who from?" She said she didn't know, that I could see the card when I got home.

Now, a postcard is open territory--no envelope, which makes for no privacy. You can tell the place of its origin from the postage, and sometimes from the postcard itself if there's a photo. And you can also see who signs the card. But my mother did not look closely at the card, did not care that she had every opportunity in the world to read it before I did. She respected my privacy, and this example is something I will never ever forget.

My father, a Holocaust survivor, led a very difficult life from the time he was a young boy and lost his father. Poverty, war, heartbreak and illnesses crossed his path over the years, but somehow I believe he was made stronger and fought harder through difficult personal and health-related situations.

Together with my mother, he has worked long and hard to provide for his family -- a family most welcome after losing his own parents and siblings (except for one, may she live long and be well) -- and to set down strong family, strong moral and strong Torah-friendly roots in Toronto.

To meet my father is to meet a pretty unique individual -- he's charming, not a charmer; he's a Jewish mother and Jewish father rolled into one person; he is one of the most generous, if not the most generous person I know; he is the most selfless person I know -- he will not just figuratively give you the shirt off his back, he will give you the shirt off his back...and according to my mother, apparently once did so for a poor man in downtown Toronto. He is a loving father, a wonderful husband and a sincere and compassionate friend. Whoever meets my father is all the more lucky for it.

Not too long ago a close friend of my parents told me: "I never heard your father say a bad word about anyone." I could vouch for that compliment, and know that "shmirat ha-lashon," or guarding of the tongue, was and still is prevalent in my parents' home.

If anyone needs to carry away one major life tool from his/her parents' home, I think it's that, "shmirat ha-lashon." You carry that lesson to your own home, to your own family, to your dealings with friends, dealings in business and dealings within the community.

Maybe you ought to "borrow" my parents to help teach you right from wrong, to help teach you how to be a better person...to help teach you what it means to truly feel loved. And if you do so, I'm sure you too will feel truly blessed -- as I do.

Time...Well Spent

I'll be the first to admit: I think I have to open a Toronto branch of Bloggers Anonymous. (ha, what a concept right there!) I have become somewhat addicted to my newfound entertainment medium -- reading blogs, writing comments on some, composing my own posts. I've shirked some of my household and familial responsibilities -- I do get to them, but often later than sooner. So, if anyone wants to start a branch of Bloggers Anonymous, count me in, but don't send me an e-mail about it, or a link, because who knows how long I'll stay online after that??!!

In any case, writing is very therapeutic for me. I was told yesterday that I'm a "terrific letter writer." I'll agree with that compliment, and I'd now like someone to extend it to saying that I'm a "terrific blogger."

Writing letters comes very easily to me, and I can capture lots of images with my words, and often find myself even using vocabulary that I wouldn't normally use in regular conversations. I sense that I am more eloquent on paper.

To that end, I try to do the same with my semi-regular posts. Now, even if it looks like my post is short, and I probably whipped it off in two minutes, the truth is that a typical post (such as this one) can take me up to 30 minutes to formulate, edit, post, and often re-edit. Yes, the words flow, but I try to capture something and therefore think about what I'm trying to say.

Because I work as a copy editor in my non-blogging life, I feel the need to be as correct in my diction and grammar as I can. How would it look to you readers (reader?) if I wnt aheade and spelt evrything incorectly and put punctuation out of it's correct positioning --? When I see those kinds of errors on others' blogs, my hackles go up; I don't want the same reaction when you read my posts.

So yes, I could be doing something more valuable than blogging, but who can put a value on what I consider to be my time...well spent?