Sunday, July 24, 2005

Transformers ... Take on a New Life

Blogroll Me!

It came to my attention recently that Steven Spielberg, who seems to have his hand in every pie in Hollywood, will be the executive producer of an upcoming movie based on the Transformers animated TV show, and Transformers toys.

These are exactly as named: robots who, when you twist and turn their body parts, become other objects -- eg. hiding behind the belly of a large robot might be a fire engine or a driver's head in a race car. It allows for hours of fun for young children and some adults, as well.

My oldest son, now 10, has had a few of these in his possession, and once in a while when I'd be scouring in his toy collection for something else, perhaps a missing Legos piece, I'd find a small Transformer. I'd sit there -- transfixed! -- as I'd make discoveries within this toy while manipulating it.

When I read today about the upcoming movie, I couldn't help but be reminded of a post I read late last summer on Seraphic Secret. Robert Avrech had talked about hosting Shabbat guests who were there for a Shabbaton, and how they'd been attracted to Robert's Emmy Award, as well as to the collection of Transformers that Ariel's room housed. He and Karen were somehow torn, feeling the need to perhaps let one of the Shabbaton's participants take one of the toys away with him, yet wanting to maintain their precious memories of their son and the collection he was so fond of, therefore not parting with them.

When I was in L.A. last month, I asked Robert if I could see Ariel's room; he gladly showed it to me and I saw all the seforim and all the young boy's and young adult's personal interests displayed, including the beloved Transformers.

Robert and Karen's sweet, young nephew, Yoni, visiting from Israel, had played with Ariel's Transformers throughout Shabbos. He, too, had been transfixed by them and the different personas they took on.

When Shabbos was over, Havdalah was done and extended family members and I were dispersing for the night, I saw Karen ask Yoni if he'd like to have one of the Transformers, telling the boy this particular Transformer's name and letting him know that his cousin Ariel had enjoyed the toy immensely. Robert stood nearby and reiterated that Ariel had a wonderful time playing with these toys.

Yoni's face lit up with this gift, this gift that would travel with the boy from California, to New York and back to Efrat, Israel. This gift that truly had been a gift from the heart.

Transformers... They have a way of transforming people, as well.

I Need Some Color in My (Blogging) Life

Blogroll Me!

Okay, you masters of your own domains, could you please advise me on how to do something with Blogger.

When I first started my blog back in December, I had the color feature on my basic page template, alongside bf, itals, spell check, etc. I can't recall what button I hit that I shouldn't have, but I did hit something, and the color disappeared from my life.

I'd loved the color, which I could use for emphasis or creative tactics in my posts. And I've missed it ever since it went missing in action many months ago.

It's time to get that tool back. So could you please tell me how/where to place it back on my open blogger page masthead, so that I can begin to feature color in my posts?

Without that color button, I'm feeling blue, and a bit green with envy when I see other bloggers featuring color in their posts.

Help me get Technicolor (TM) back into my (blogging) life!

Shabbos: The Long & Short of It

Blogroll Me!

(cross-posted on THE JEWISH CONNECTION)

I like my Shabbos "shlufs" -- my two to three-hour afternoon naps...the time to catch up on all the sleep that I lost out on when I was at the computer late at night during the week.

Problem is: sometimes I get to nap, other times I don't.

Sometimes it's too busy in our household, with the children having guests, with my own children who have no guests needing to be entertained, with the parents having guests, with our family invited out, with our Shabbos afternoon outings to the nearby park, where the children play baseball or on the playground equipment and the adults catch up on the news of the week.

In our community, which is a bit widespread, we live at the top end, thus making it somewhat of a hike from shul to visit the TorontoPearl family. I grew up with a 25 minute walk to shul, so it's not a big stretch for me, but sometimes my two youngest children feel that they're on a walkathon...without anyone having sponsored them! It's a pleasure for them...and me...when they tote along friends from shul for lunch and for a Shabbos play date. The route home doesn't seem as long in the company of good and cherished friends.

When we adults invite friends for Shabbos lunch, we have to think long and hard over whom to invite: Will they make the walk? Will they want to stay till Shabbos is out, if they find it too long a walk back home?

I'm certainly not always in the entertaining mood (remember, I like those long Shabbos afternoon naps) but when we do host, it's such a nice thing. My husband and I work side by side in the kitchen to prepare the talked-about menu, with me often his sous-chef and he taking the lead. But this joint effort results in a lovely-set table, a delicious menu, and the feeling that "we're in this together!"

Sometimes he gets the compliments directed to him for things I made, sometimes I get the compliments for things made by him. We share the compliments, the spotlight and the company.

Today's company did make the walk even though the adults are plagued by knee joint problems and the like. These were people whom I don't see all that often, but who, when we do host them or if we end up at their Shabbos table, have a wonderful, time together. We are equally blessed that two of our sons are good friends.

Kiddush/Shabbos lunch became an afternoon stay. To hell with my nap, I thought, I'm really enjoying this conversation and the presence of these people. The afternoon stay became Seudat Shlishit, followed by the end of Shabbos. I even jokingly invited the couple and their kids to stay over for they were on such a roll.

But of course, I was being cheeky, as Sunday (it's now already Sunday as I type this) is a fast day.

Good food, friendly and down-to-earth families, hearty laughs, good conversation, lovely zmirot, and children running in and out of the make "this day of rest" what it is: a pleasure.