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Cranky Complaints-Lady Buys BOOKS! (or tries to)

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Poem o' th' Week: Which would YOU rather have?

  How are you doing for poems lately? Craving a really good one?     I first came across this poem in Garrison Keillor's anthology Good Poems for Hard Times , which we've been choosing poems out of to read randomly at family dinnertimes since corona hit -- for no reason whatsoever. And as a sometime

Literally TWO MINUTE no-sew easy coronavirus mask from an old hankie (video + step-by-step guide)

Do you have a stack of old, clean cotton hankies? Do you have an old t-shirt you can stand to cut up? If so, you have an INFINITE supply of no-sew homemade masks that are simple to put on and take off!!! Here in Israel, it is literally illegal to go out without wearing a mask.  It doesn’t have to be a super-duper high-tech N95 respirator / filter mask.  Any old shmatta will do.  And that’s where this hankie mask comes in. Do homemade masks work? First of all, this mask has absolutely ZERO antiviral or antibacterial properties.  It just stops us from being human together, and helps me feel like part of the zeitgeist. Seriously, though, wearing a cloth face covering (a term that freely admits that these aren’t really doing all the jobs of masks!) does a number of things (I had to look into this a little, and this NPR article was helpful…): protects other people in case you’re already infectious but don’t know it blocks SOME droplet transmission from others (don’t touch the front!!!) v

Last Days of Pesach: Re-"Storying" the Yam Suf

According to Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis , the chief rabbi of England, while the first days of Pesach are a historical commemoration, the last day is all about optimism and looking towards the future. On the last day of Pesach, we read about kriyas Yam Suf, the splitting of the Red Sea. For me, kriyas Yam Suf is about two separate ideas: first, the leap of faith it took to step out into the water, and the celebration afterwards. First, when it comes to splitting the sea, the Torah says: וַיֵּ֨ט משֶׁ֣ה אֶת־יָדוֹ֘ עַל־הַיָּם֒ וַיּ֣וֹלֶךְ יְהֹוָ֣ה | אֶת־הַ֠יָּ֠ם בְּר֨וּחַ קָדִ֤ים עַזָּה֙ כָּל־הַלַּ֔יְלָה וַיָּ֥שֶׂם אֶת־הַיָּ֖ם לֶחָֽרָבָ֑ה וַיִּבָּֽקְע֖וּ הַמָּֽיִם: Moshe

How is this Pesach different?

All throughout the haggadah, we find lots and lots of numbers. The number 4 gets a lot of the attention: 4 sons, 4 questions, lots of 4's, but there are plenty of other numbers. And I think for so many people this year, the number they're focusing on is 1. Because 1 doesn't feel like enough. 1 is getting us down, making us sad that we can't be together with the people we'd rather be making a seder with. Every year at the seder, we say Dayeinu, even if Hashem hadn't done all that he did for us, it still would have been enough. Really? If he'd brought us to the edge of the yam suf, it would have been enough? It's hard to believe. And then at the end of dayeinu, we say it all almost in one breath, he did all this stuff for us, and we're so grateful. But even if he'd only done one thing, we'd have been grateful -- at least that's what we say. But every year, under our breath, we think, no, no, no, I wouldn't have been grateful to be

Did you forget to tell your kids THIS about coronavirus?

Is there something you’ve forgotten to tell your kids about coronavirus? I realized last night that in all the talk about talking to our kids around coronavirus, there’s one key message I’ve been leaving out: that what’s happening right now is absolutely unprecedented in our lifetimes. The thing is, kids are (almost by definition) very, very young. They don’t have a lot of experience in life, and whenever something happens, it’s new to them. But after a while, they

Stop telling me you’re sick of homeschooling!

I get it.  We're all isolated, or at least, most of us are.  We're home with kids.  It's exasperating. How are you holding up? If you’re like lots of people I'm hearing from -- and the eerily similar memes they’re sharing – you’re thinking one of a few things: a) this is why I'm not cut out for homeschooling b) this is why I didn't homeschool my kids c) homeschooling is killing me !!! Sometimes, this disgust / exasperation is cleverly disguised as admiration for people who DO homeschool, but it basically comes down to the same thing -- homeschoolers must be nuts. And I totally feel for you.  I’m absolutely certain you’re going out of your tree with rangy kids running around begging you for their next snack or meal or whatever it is. (I created this helpful guide to aid GZ in understanding what he was allowed to snack on right before supper…) Look, I don't speak for anybody.  Heck, I'm not even a homeschooler anymore.  So maybe somebody else can