Sunday, December 28, 2008

Update from Chicago

Hello from the Windy (Snowy, Rainy, Floody) City!

it is so nice to be home with my family in the Chicago area. I have missed them so much; I haven't been home since August. My parents are both doing well, and my brothers are so fun to hang out with. We share lots of laughs, enjoy deep discussion, and sing as much as possible.

Today, the bros and I went to one of those indoor water parks. I had never attended one before - I couldn't quite wrap my head around the concept. Nevertheless, we chose one of the moderately priced ones (there are a surprising number of these places in the midwest), and head out for an adventure.

What a great place! Waterslides, lazy river, hot tubs, pools, kids' area, basketball pool, and more. I hadn't been to a water park in, gosh, at least 8 years (I think my last one was in Tiberias, Israel). I also didn't know what to expect with my back, but we had a blast!! I wasn't in any pain, felt strong and young, and enjoyed the playfulness of it all.

More adventures to come - will update again soon. Hope you are having a wonderful holiday season :)
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Chanukah!

Wishing you all a Happy and Bright Chanukah!

To learn more about Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, you can visit Judaism 101 or Wikipedia.

Jenny Update

Well, I weighed in again today, even though I just was there on Thursday. It wasn't a full week, but there was a still a loss!

- 0.6 lbs

for a total of

- 16.2 lbs down.

Isn't that amazing?

So, here's the hard part - I am traveling home to Chicago for the next week. Travel is always so tough, and being around family is even more difficult. I have gotten lots of meals to bring with me on the trip, and I booked a room that has a microwave and fridge. I hope that I am setting the right things in motion so that I can continue along this successful path.

Any words of wisdom? How do you stick with your goals, especially when the going gets tough?

Friday, December 19, 2008

One Year Since My Surgery!!

Today is the ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY since my spinal fusion surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

One year?!?!?!?

I never thought I would ever get better, let alone have surgery, let alone recover so well from it. I was looking back at my blog post from the day before the surgery, and I see the fear and the hope that I felt.

On the left is an x-ray that I found online - it pretty much shows what I had done (though I think that mine was one level lower: L5-S1).

So, what's changed over the past year, since the surgery? Here's what I am celebrating:

  1. I never thought I would dance again, and I have now danced on many occasions - including a recent jaunt to Webster Hall (a dance club here in NYC). This was my BIGGEST WISH!
  2. I never thought I would be in the right frame of mind to lose weight, and I have lost more than 15 pounds so far.
  3. I never imagined that I would walk without a cane, and now I can even jog!
  4. I could no longer envision a life without chronic pain, and now I am 95% without pain of any kind!
  5. I didn't think I would be able to walk farther than 2 blocks without pain, and now I can walk at least 2 miles before I feel sore.
  6. I didn't think I would be able to stand for an entire Shabbat worship service (I learned to take many breaks), and now I can confidently stand the whole time!
  7. I thought I would have to have my groceries delivered from now on - but now, I can carry them up the stairs myself!!
  8. I figured that I would feel tired, depressed, and OLD from now on, but I finally feel young, vibrant, energetic, and ALIVE!!!

Thanks for celebrating with me - I couldn't have gotten through it all without your support and love. Here's to another good year!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Jenny Weigh-In #8

Well, folks, as you may recall, I gained weight as of my last weigh-in. It was a hard thing to deal with, and I have tried to not give myself a hard time about it.

The situation was going to get even more challenging over the past week, since I had to travel to Florida for a meeting. Being away seems to always bring temptation to overeat, and I really didn't want to fall into that trap.

So, I thought ahead about the trip, and brought along enough Jenny meals for the three days away. I wound up eating a few of them, as well as a few meals at the conference, but I felt in control. I didn't go crazy with the eating, but I didn't deny myself, either.

I weighed-in this morning (I couldn't go on Tuesday), and I didn't quite know what to expect. Lo and behold, I was down:

3.5 lbs

for a grand total of:

15.6 lbs down!!!

I can't believe how this past week went!

I am so excited to keep going, and to really feel the joy of this success. Thanks for your support!

Pampering Day

Got good news at my weigh-in this morning (willl update y'all later today), so I am going to reward myself with a pampering day. I booked an appointment for a facial (with scalp massage upgrade), and a special mani/pedi deal that they are offering this month.

Will write more later!
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Some more old photos

In high school, I had two best friends: Jessica (my best friend to this day, who lives in Phoenix, and you hear about her all the time), and Lauren. We were inseparable! We did all sorts of theatre and music activities in school together, as well as ran the youth group at my synagogue. Being the fabulous gals we were, we had to dress up and be silly as often as possible! (These first two pics are from 1994)

Do you not LOVE these hats??
And can you believe how TAN I am here? I was lifeguarding that summer (which I did for three years during high school), and the whole SPF thing hadn't really happened yet. Thus, we passed around bottles of tanning oil and SPF 4 products, and we were so proud of our tans. Ah, those were the days!

This photo is from college - that's me on the left, then my college boyfriend, then my roommate, and a friend of hers. The pic is taken in our dormroom, during our first year of college. Yes, those are indeed dead roses hanging upside down above the doorway. WE thought that they looked cool, but OTHERS were a bit freaked out by them :)

By the way, could my hair BE any bigger?!?!?! (This picture, by the way, is from 1995)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Jenny Weigh-In #7

Well, it wasn't such a good weigh-in today. I am

+ 1.4

for a total loss of


It's still not too bad, right? I am trying not to get too upset about it. It was a difficult week, food-wise, for me. I had a hard time with PMS cravings, and I really wanted CHEESE, like, all the time. So, this upcoming week, I am going to go back to week one's meal plan, and try to re-focus. I am going to be out of town for the weekend (at an Adult Jewish Learning conference), and I made sure to get meals that travel well. Hopefully, being away won't mean being off-plan.

Here's to a better week ahead.....

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I've got a crush (-ed toe) on you!

Well, folks, I had a little accident in the bathroom the other day.

No, not what you are thinking.

Rather, I injured my toe quite badly. I couldn't believe how much a little toe could hurt - it turned dark purple, and I couldn't walk on it.

Because of the back situation, I found very quickly that limping was not good for me. So, I decided to go to the ER and see if I fractured anything. The doctors asked what happened, and I explained: A HUGE, bulk bottle of pantene conditioner dropped directly onto my toe.

However, the doctor told me my story was pretty lame, so I asked Lindsay to come up with another one. The better story, courtesy of Lindsay?

"Better story, eh? Hmm....let's were hunting elk in the middle of the night through a dense, snow covered forest. While setting up your bow and arrow, ready to strike a huge beast, you were suddenly attacked by a rogue emu, who had absolutely no business being in a dense, snow covered forest in the middle of the night. The emu ran up to you, looked you straight in the eyes, and stomped on your foot, breaking your toe. Then he ran off laughing wildly. And he made you miss the awesome shot to kill the elk. Damn him!"

Yeah, I like that one!
It turns out that my toe isn't fractured, rather it is a "crush injury." I need to keep it buddy taped to the toe next to it, and wear one of those special shoes for about a week.
At least it wasn't worse :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Jenny Weigh-In #6

Okay, okay, okay - are you ready? Keep in mind that this past week was Thanksgiving, and lots of time off, and yet, and yet.....

- 2.0 lbs

for a total of

-13.8 lbs

Oh my goodness! Almost 14 pounds lost! I don't know what to say. I told my "counselor" type person at Jenny Craig that they should give special awards to people who continue to lose weight during the holidays. I wish I could get, like, a sticker or something :)

How was your weekend?? Did you accomplish anything that you are proud of??

Monday, December 1, 2008

Commemorate World AIDS Day

From "The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource" -

Leadership is the theme for World AIDS Day 2007 and 2008, promoted with the campaigning slogan, "Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise."

Leadership encourages leaders at all levels to stop AIDS. Building on the 2006 theme of accountability, leadership highlights the discrepancy between the commitments that have been made to halt the spread of AIDS, and actions taken to follow them through. Leadership empowers everyone -- individuals, organisations, governments -- to lead in the response to AIDS.

In 2007, people around the world were encouraged to take the lead to stop AIDS. Campaigns took the shape of marches, leadership discussions, public awareness events and pledges from leaders. These events all helped to put leadership in the spotlight.

People have offered their leadership -- now it is time to deliver. Promises must be kept, and people must feel empowered to act.

Why is 2008 important?

2008 marks the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day. Since 1988, the face and response to AIDS has greatly changed. While many of these changes are positive, this anniversary offers us an opportunity to highlight how much more still needs to be done.

For example:

Leaders in most countries from around the world now acknowledge the threat of AIDS, and many have committed to do something about it. As of 2007, nearly all countries have national policies on HIV. However, despite these policies, most have not been fully implemented and many lack funding allocations.

While treatment for HIV and AIDS has improved and become more widespread since 1988, many still do not have access to it -- in 2007 only 31% of those in low- to middle-income countries who need treatment received it.

Despite HIV awareness now reaching nearly all areas of the globe, infection rates are still happening 2.7 times faster than the increase in number of people receiving treatment.
While the number of countries protecting people living with HIV continue to increase, one third of countries still lack legal protections and stigma and discrimination continues to be a major threat to universal access.

More broadly, real action on HIV and AIDS and human rights remains lacking. Legal barriers to HIV services still exist for groups such as women, adolescents, sex workers, people who use drugs, and men having sex with men, and programmatic responses promoting HIV
related human rights have yet to be prioritised.

World AIDS Day began in 1988 when health ministers from around the world met and agreed on the concept of the day as an opportunity for all of us to come together to demonstrate the importance of AIDS and show solidarity for the cause. In 2008, this underlining principle of solidarity and awareness remains the same.

We have only two years to go for "the goal of universal access to comprehensive prevention programmes, treatment, care and support by 2010" [2006 Political Declaration on AIDS].
To achieve this goal, leadership and action is needed now. Governments must deliver on the promises they have made. Communities must encourage leadership of its members. Individuals must feel empowered to access treatment, to know their rights and take action against stigma and discrimination, and to know and use methods of prevention against receiving and transmitting HIV.

Now, more than ever is the time to lead -- empower -- deliver.

Brief History

World AIDS Day was first declared by the World Health Organisation and the United Nations General Assembly (Resolution 43/15) in 1988. Since then, it has progressively become one of the most successful "international days" for raising awareness on a global issue.
Past themes:
1988 -- Communication
1989 -- Youth
1990 -- Women and AIDS
1991 -- Sharing the Challenge
1992 -- Community Commitment
1993 -- Act
1994 -- AIDS and the Family
1995 -- Shared Rights, Shared Responsibilities
1996 -- One World, One Hope
1997 -- Children Living in a World with AIDS
1998 -- Force for Change: World AIDS Campaign with Young People
1999 -- Listen, Learn, Live: World AIDS Campaign with Children and Young People
2000 -- AIDS: Men make a difference
2001 -- I care. Do you?
2002 -- Stigma and Discrimination
2003 -- Stigma and Discrimination
2004 -- Women, Girls, and HIV and AIDS
2005 -- Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise
2006 -- Accountability -- Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise
2007 -- Leadership -- Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise
2008 -- Leadership -- Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise

About the World AIDS Campaign

The first year-long World AIDS Campaign was launched by UNAIDS in 1997. The objective of the 'Campaign' was to substantially extend the impact of World AIDS Day by involving more partners and translate increased global awareness of AIDS into a more sustainable programmatic response.

The World AIDS Campaign became an independent organisation in 2004 in order to strengthen and enhance collaboration amongst various national and constituency efforts.

"Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise" is the World AIDS Campaign's overarching theme from 2005 through 2010. The World AIDS Campaign supports, strengthens and connects campaigns that hold leaders accountable for their promises on HIV and AIDS.

The World AIDS Campaign Support Team is based in Amsterdam and Cape Town.

An index of major governmental agreements over the past seven years can be found at

So, my friends, what can you do? The US Department of Health and Human Services suggests the following action steps:

There are many ways you can take action in response to HIV/AIDS:

- get tested for HIV
- practice safe methods to prevent HIV
- decide not to engage in high risk behaviors
- talk about HIV prevention with family, friends, and colleagues
- provide support to people living with HIV/AIDS
- get involved with or host an event for World AIDS Day in your community

Maybe, one day, AIDS will be a thing of the past!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I did it!!!

Oh my goodness! I did it!!! I can't believe that I was able to post every single day over the past month. This has been my most prolific month by far, and while not every day was profound, it sure was fun to think of blog topics each day.

Thanks to everyone for joining me for this endeavor, and for being my loyal readers. I am lucky to share the blogosphere with you.

So, who's up for December? I am going to continue posting often, though not necessarily daily :) If you would like to find out more about National Blog Posting Month, please visit

The "Divorce" is finally final

Ah, my friends, my heart and my tummy hurt today. As I have discussed before, a long-term relationship (4 years) of mine ended in December, 2006. There was a lot that was broken about the relationship, and though it totally demolished me at the time, it was a wise split. I had been living with him, and had to move out quickly. That was what brought me to Jersey City, where I lived for 18 months.

My ex and I gave it another try about 9 months ago - we both felt there was unfinished business, and wondered if we truly were "besheret" - Yiddish for "meant to be." Immediately, the attempt started crushing me again - I started feeling bad about myself, and feeling guilty about my job, my talents, and my personal space. No one has ever made me feel as bad as he does. It was a toxic mix, and I was able to call it quits after a few more months. It provided a great sense of closure for me, and I am grateful that I really got him out of my system.

There was one little hold-over - I still had a few things left at his house. He lives a good 45 minutes away, and I really didn't want to have to take all of that time to go up there and pick up my stuff. Plus, I really didn't want to have to see him again. But, it was time. I had to cut the last cord connecting us.

Lindsay and I drove up to his house today, and I picked up the last remaining items that were the final remains of our life together. I had asked him to put the things on the porch, so that I wouldn't have to see him. Wouldn't you know that he found some reason to come out to "pick up something from his car."

I am furious that he couldn't just let it be, and let me leave. This was the pattern - he never really heard me, or cared about my needs. His needs always trumped mine, which is part of what made me feel so small. Thank goodness Lindsay was with me - she said, sternly, "Okay," which was the signal that everything was in the car and it was time to go.

So, my heart hurts, knowing that it is really final. 99% of me knows that this is such a victory, but 1% is still sad that it didn't work out. At least I am REALLY done with him. There is no reason to have to deal with him again.

Thank goodness.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

And now for something completely different

After the recent events in Mumbai, I know that I needed a laugh. Here is one of my most favorite Youtube videos, the Kitty Cat Dance. The main cat looks suspiciously like my calico, Precious (what has she been doing in her free time??). Enjoy :)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Prayer for Mumbai

As I pause before beginning Shabbat this evening, my thoughts and prayers are with those in Mumbai. My heart is breaking at the thought of all those lives who have been lost, those families who are now forever shattered, those memories forever traumatized.

May those who lost their lives rest in peace. Your memories shall be for a blessing.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you and your family a very happy Thanksgiving.
May we celebrate all the blessings in our lives, pause to remember all we have,
and rededicate ourselves to taking care of those in need.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Remember your sources.... :)

Just had to share -

my sister and I were at the "Family Guy Sings!" event a few nights ago. It was taking place at Carnegie Hall, as I mentioned a few posts ago. We were so excited to be there, and, before the show started, we were discussing the irony of such a silly, obscene show holding an event as such a revered concert hall.

My sister then said, "Well, I read an article about the show online, and they said, 'How does one get to Carnegie Hall? Apparently, by creating a hit adult cartoon and staging a live reading of the cartoon.'"

I stopped her.

"I WROTE THAT!" I said. She was quoting me.... to ME! I love it. We got a good laugh about it.

Happy Almost Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Jenny Weigh-In #5

Hi, folks!! Ready for this week's number? It's a little one, but a loss nonetheless:

- 0.2 lbs

For a total of:


So close to that 12 pound mark!!

So, it would be really easy to be disappointed by this, and, trust me, parts of me want to be upset about the loss. BUT -

  1. I didn't GAIN any weight this week
  2. I actually went down, even just a little bit
  3. As my sister pointed out, it shows that the loss so far isn't a fluke - it is a real weight loss!
  4. I am still on the right track!!

Wow, I am so excited about this, and how successful it's been so far. Here's to another week!

(and, yes, I know that Thanksgiving is coming up - we'll talk about that eating challenge soon!!)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Equus on Broadway! Or, How I Fell in Love with Daniel Radcliffe

On the spur of the moment, Lindsay and I went to the TKTS booth in Times Square on Saturday night to see if we could get cheap Broadway tix. I got there first, checked the boards, and noticed that EQUUS was available for 50% off tix! Linds and I had really wanted to see this show, but, due to price and schedules, we had both resigned ourselves to the fact that we weren't going to see it.

Nonetheless - there we were - we got tickets!! We were able to get seats in the fourth row of the Mezzanine, and we knew we were in for a roller coaster of a show. As the website states,

About Equus

For the first time in over 30 years, a new production of EQUUS will be seen on Broadway after a sold-out run in London’s West End.

Alan Strang (Daniel Radcliffe) seems a normal, obedient 17-year old with a passion for horses. Then one night he blinds six horses with a hoof pick. What drove him to it? His life seems routine, his family loving, his pursuits harmless and yet he has been placed under psychiatric surveillance - an unresponsive patient who is woken each night by terrible nightmares. Only psychiatrist Martin Dysart (Richard Griffiths) seems able to grasp the answer to this psychological puzzle.

Richard Griffiths, whose incredible stage and screen career spans two decades and who won a Tony Award for his performance in the Broadway production of The History Boys, stars alongside Daniel Radcliffe, best known for playing Harry Potter in all five of the feature films based on J.K. Rowling's best-selling books.

This production of Peter Shaffer’s Tony Award-winning play, directed by Thea Sharrock and designed by John Napier, demonstrates that this ground-breaking play is as relevant and shocking as it was when it was first performed over 30 years ago.

It was brilliant, horrifying, moving, and engaging. Since both of us are big fans of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, we loved the way that Freudian and Jungian ideas flowed throughout the show.

After the show, we decided to stick around at the stage door and try to get Richard Griffiths and Daniel Radcliffe's autographs. We were able to get very close to the barricade set up by security, and we waited in the 20 degree weather.

Then, Richard Griffiths came out (Linds snapped these pics with her cellphone).....

Everyone screamed in excitement (I wonder if Mr. Griffiths has ever felt this much like a rockstar?!?!). Lindsay insisted on engaging him in conversation: "Mr. Griffiths? Mr. Griffiths? Your hat looks very warm!" Griffiths: "It better be." Lindsay: "Is it from Alaska?" Griffiths: "No, it is from Moscow." Lindsay: "Mr. Griffiths, we are of Russian Descent!")

But, that was nothing compared to the excitement of getting Daniel Radcliffe's autograph (Mr. Harry Potter, himself!!!!!!!!!!!). He came over to our area first, and he SIGNED MY PLAYBILL FIRST!!! I got the first autograph of the night. I said, "Daniel, you are wonderful!" (I know, so eloquent....). He looked up into my eyes, with his electric blue eyes, and said in his delicious accent, "Thank you."


Can you tell that we had a great time? We risked frostbite for them, but it was so worth it. Hooray for Broadway!!

What celebrities have you met? Have any fun stories???

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Family Guy Sings!!!

I don't know about you, but Lindsay and I are HUGE "Family Guy" fans. The show is so silly, so irreverant, and is overflowing with pop culture references.
We've seen live Family Guy performances before, and we are going to be attending another one tomorrow night. The program is entitled, "Family Guy Sings," and is being held at CARNEGIE HALL (of all places!).
So, how does one get to Carnegie Hall? Apparently, by creating a hit adult cartoon and staging a live reading of said cartoon.
All of the actors will be present, and they are scheduled to read through two full episodes of the show. Then, they will sing a bunch of the songs and musical numbers that pepper the show. My favorite? When Peter Griffin (the father of the family) sings an enormous rendition of The Music Man's "Shipoopi." Brilliant. Just Brilliant.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Official One-Month Anniversary on Jenny Craig

Just thought that I would take a moment to celebrate - yesterday was one full month on Jenny Craig!
So far, October 21-November 21 was just great.
11.6 pounds lost!
No change yet in clothes or appearance, but it sure feels good to be devoting time to feeling better :)
It's becoming more and more routine, and I even dreamt about it recently: I was at a party where the food was a HUGE buffet. In the dream, I felt very disappointed that it was making my efforts to lose weight difficult, yet I just went straight for the smart choices on the buffet. It wound up not being a big deal. BUT, if I am already dreaming about Jenny Craig, then it shows how deep into my unconscious this decision has gone.
Here's to another month, and more success!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Flying home for winter break.... hooray!!

As many of you know by now, I am originally from Chicago, Illinois. I happen to be a very proud midwesterner, and there is something about the Chicago area that will always feel like my true home, no matter where my life takes me.

I was last home, where my whole family (other than my sister, Lindsay) lives, in August. It is really unfortunate that I can't travel home more than 3 or 4 times a year, but that is just the reality of the situation. My job as a rabbi is such that I work 6 days a week (Thursdays are my precious day off, unless I have a funeral or event), so I can rarely travel on the weekends.

Nonetheless, I have booked my next trip home for the end of December - hooray! My sister won't be able to join me, unfortunately, but both my brothers will also be at my parents' house, so a good time will be had by all who are around (and we will call Linds frequently!!).

And, all of my Chicago friends: let's get together!!! I miss you all so much :)

So, what about you? Where is your family in relation to where you are? Do you live near them? Did you stay where you grew up or did you move away?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The encore lasted so long, I got total clapathy....

Clapathy: When an audience grows weary of clapping, either at a ceremony or musical performance. "That graduation ceremony was so long, I got clapathetic!" "I was clapping at the beginning of the song, but I quit when I got clapathy."

I just found out about SUCH a fun website: Urban Dictionary. There are all kinds of new, slang terms added by users every day. Some of the amusing finds:

Thumb Strength: The energy required to write a text.
"Forget it, I don't have the thumb strength to text him. Guess I'll just call."

DAM: Stands for Don't Ask Me.
Nerd: How do you factor 3x^7-2(3x-1)^2+...

bearanoia: Bearanoia is a disturbed thought process characterized by excessive anxiety or fear of bears, often to the point of irrationality and delusion. Bearanoid thinking typically includes persecutory beliefs concerning a perceived threat of bears. In the original Greek, (bearnoia) simply means, really fuckin' scared of bears (beara = bears; nous = really fuckin' scared of) and, historically, this characterization was used to describe any delusional state concerning bears.
Stephen Colbert suffers from bearanoia. Timothy Treadwell did not.

What did you find? What would you add?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

One of my favorite movies.....

Oh my - have you seen this movie?!?!

Every now and then, I like to share some of my favorite pop culture interests (music, movies, books, etc.). One of the movies that I grew up with, and still really LOVE, is Labyrinth.

Made in 1986, it is a wonderful Jim Henson film that combined puppets with human actors. The story is timeless, and the film is so good that it is still enjoyable over twenty years later.

The plot is magical: Sarah, played by Jennifer Connelly, is forced to babysit her little brother (she would rather be playing with her dolls and acting out dramas about the fantastical goblin king). When her brother, Toby, won't stop crying, she wishes that the goblins would come and take Toby away - at that very moment, the room goes silent, and she realizes that her wish has come true.

Sarah then embarks on a journey through a labyrinth, the center of which contains the goblin king's (David Bowie) castle, and her brother. She is given 13 hours to complete the task.

We see so much of what it is like to be a teenager - the angst, the drama, the growing adult feelings, the compassion, and the playfulness. Plus, the soundtrack, featuring many songs written and performed by David Bowie, is superb.

If you have never watched this movie, take some time out to enter a fantasy-land, hear some fun music, and enjoy a wonderful story.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Jenny Weigh-In #4

Are you ready for this?

I mean, really - are you ready?????

As of this morning, I am down another

3.8 pounds

for a total of.....

11.6 pounds lost!!!!!!!!!!!

This is unbelieveable - I can't believe that this is actually working. I imagined that it would be SO hard, and such a struggle, but it really isn't. My sister, Lindsay, asked me this morning, "So, have you had to starve for the last month?" And the answer is a definitive, "NO!" I have never had to be hungry, and I have always felt satiated.

Interestingly, my metabolism is definitely starting to change. I am getting hungry every few hours (that's what eating smaller meals, more often, apparently does). Wow.

Most importantly, I am so appreciative of all of your support - you guys are the best. I feel so encouraged, and so excited, as I update you each week on my progress. Thanks for joining me on this journey so far :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sunday naps - pros and cons....

Well, it's 1:00 in the morning, and I am wide awake :)

I worked earlier today, as I mentioned in the last post, and I came home pretty tired. It was a grey, windy day outside, so the most appealing option for the afternoon was a long, cuddling, warm NAP.


I probably fell asleep around 5pm, intending to sleep for an hour or two. When did I wake up?


Almost FIVE hours later. Oy. It was one of those naps where I thought it was the next morning. That's how well-rested I felt.

So, I had dinner, caught up on tonight's episode of True Blood, and now I am wide awake. I wish I didn't have to worry about it, but I have a seminar all day tomorrow, beginning at 8:30 am.

It's one of those weird situations where I got plenty of sleep, and will still sleep some more tonight, but I will feel tired nonetheless tomorrow.

Ah, the perils of napping!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Yay for Girl Power!

One of the benefits of feeling better is that I have much more energy to do the things I haven't been able to do over the past few years. One of these is to attend events of our "Rosh Hodesh" girls' group at the synagogue. We have many different youth groups at our synagogue, but one that really stands out is one that is set aside for Junior High School-aged girls. The program is based on one created by Moving Traditions. According to their website:

Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing! is the first proactive, informal education program that uses Judaism to enrich the lives of girls. It draws on Jewish tradition to give girls a place to feel safe, articulate their questions and concerns, have fun, and be ‘real’ with their peers.

Small groups of girls meet monthly with a carefully trained adult leader who uses our step-by-step manual. Through discussion, arts & crafts, and drama, the girls integrate core Jewish values as they focus on the things they care about most, such as body image, friendship, relationships, competition, stress, and family.

We had a program today, held at "Make" - one of those pottery places that allows you to create your own ceramic items. We painted our very own menorahs for the upcoming holiday of Chanukah.

As a young, female rabbi, I really treasure the opportunity to spend time every month with pre-teen girls, and I show them that a woman can do whatever she wants when she grows up. I can chat with the dozen girls who are there, I can be accessible to them, and maybe, just maybe, one of them will want to be a rabbi when she grows up. That would truly be incredible. The feeling of sisterhood, and the sense that I am passing on the tradition, is so special.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Day 26 On Jenny!

Happy Saturday, and Shabbat Shalom!

I am very happy to report that this has been another great week on Jenny. I am in my fourth week on their plan, and it is going so well. It is really set up in an easy way, and it takes a lot of the mental work out of it. As long as you follow what the plan tells you to eat, it is smooth sailing.

Apparently, after this week, I begin planning my own week of meals - they teach me how to build a week, making sure to fit in all of my entrees, fruits, vegetables, snacks, and dairy products. We shall see how that goes on Tuesday, my next weigh-in.

I wonder if I will clear the 10 pound milemarker this week - wouldn't that be amazing! Even if I don't get quite to that point, I am still feeling such a sense of accomplishment - after all these years of weight gain and physical pain, I am feeling GOOD!

By the way, my old high school friend, Julie, at Flip this Body, wondered if I have been exercising at all, in addition to the meal plan. I have definitely been trying! I bought a pedometer, and it appears that I am walking at least 2 miles everyday! Also, I really like the "Exercise TV" channel that you can find On Demand - there are lots of fun options. As my body continues to heal, and as my muscles get stronger and stronger, I am capable of doing more. Currently, I am sticking with some of the "walking" workouts, because I still can't handle a lot of impact (and I am really starting from scratch, in a cardio-vascular sense).

Yay for success!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Marci Through the Ages....???

Thanks to a friend, I just found out about an amazingly fun website called Yearbook Yourself. It allows you to upload a picture of yourself, and then format it into yearbook pictures from 50 years worth of hair and clothes styles. CRAZY! Let me know if you try it :)
1952 Marci.....

1966 Marci

1978 Marci (my actual year of birth!)

1984 Marci

1994 Marci

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Some OLD photos!

Just bought a new scanner, and made sure to scan some OLD pics of me with friends and family. Enjoy a sampling!

Here's me! I'm about one year old here, and already - the love of music was obvious.

At one of our good friend's weddings, my two best friends from high school, with their husbands.
(Josh, Jessica, Lauren, Jason, and me!

In 2003, receiving my Master's degree - I was ordained as a rabbi one year later.

Sometime around 2001, my family and I went to the Chicago Botanic Gardens and took some fun photos.
(Back row: Me, Ricky, Adam, Lindsay; Front Row: Dad, Mom)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

NY Times Hoax - If Only it Wasn't Pretend!!

As the New York Times itself reported, "Liberal Pranksters" (in the NYT terminology) published a brilliant hoax newspaper this morning. They stood on street corners, near subway entrances, and handed out a "free special edition of the New York Times."

I took one.

As I sat down on the subway, I started reading. Of course, the headline gave me a great start: "Iraq War Ends." Then I looked up at the date - July 4, 2009. Then I looked at the top of the page, where it read, "All the news we hope to print."

Ah, it was pretend. Alas. As I started to read the various stories, I smiled with both joy and sorrow: joy, at the possibility of these stories coming true, and sorrow that they were just mere fiction.

It seems to be the product of a group called the Yes Men. According to Wikipedia,

"The Yes Men are a group of culture jamming
activists who practice what they call "identity correction" by pretending to be
powerful people and spokespersons for prominent organizations. They create and
maintain fake websites similar to ones they want to spoof, and then they accept
invitations received on their websites to appear at conferences, symposia, and
TV shows. Their newfound, self-proclaimed authority to express the idea that
corporations and governmental organizations often act in dehumanizing ways
toward the public has met both positively and negatively with political
overtones. Elaborate props are sometimes part of the ruse, as shown in their
2003 DVD release The Yes Men."

Pretty Cool, Huh? Let me know if you saw it, heard about it, or
what you think!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Jenny Weigh-In #3

Drum roll, please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At today's weigh-in, I was down

3.8 pounds

for a total of

7.8 so far!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Can you tell I'm excited?!?!?! This is really working; I can't believe it. Yay!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Gotta blog today (!)

So close to missing a day of blogging! Uh oh!

Going to bed because I have to officiate at a funeral tomorrow.

I will write a longer post tomorrow, I promise :)

Good night!

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Sunday, November 9, 2008

This Week in Jenny-Land

I never got to update you on my weigh-in on Tuesday - it was disappointing, which is why I wasn't in a rush to tell you.

Let me first state - I went in during the afternoon this time. Last week, I weighed in FIRST THING in the morning. This week, I had already eaten two meals. Not smart to do it this way. I was up 0.6 lbs during this session, which is probably not accurate. I'll bet, if I had gone in before breakfast, it would have been much more exciting - maybe even two pounds lower?

Well, I keep saying to myself, this week's upcoming weigh-in will be that much better. Right? Tuesday, here I come!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

in⋅e⋅rad⋅i⋅ca⋅ble - adjective

Oy. Big embarrassing moment last night.

I was leading Shabbat services with the other clergy members, and I was doing a reading before the Mourner's Kaddish (a prayer that we say when we are mourning the loss of a loved one). I didn't pick this particular reading; rather, I was reading it at the suggestion of the senior rabbi. I skimmed it in advance, felt it looked good, and put it on the lectern.

Little did I know, I was stepping into the pits of embarrassment.

I get up there to read it, at this very serious moment in the service, and in the middle of the paragraph is a word I have NEVER seen before:


It swam in front of my eyes. It seemed to be WAY too many syllables. I didn't know what to do.

Mind you, I am a relatively smart gal, I am well read, and I have NEVER had to read this word aloud. I took it one syllable at a time, like a second-grader fumbling her way through a tough vocabulary word.

Ugh. I am never going to get this one wrong again. I now know that it is an adjective, meaning "not eradicable; not capable of being eradicated, rooted out, or completely removed." This makes sense to me. I get it. But I am going to feel embarrassed for quite some time.....

Friday, November 7, 2008

A Big Anniversary - Four Years Since My Car Accident

Yes, that's right - today is four years since my car accident. I can't believe that so much time has passed.
Last year, just one year ago, I was in such a different place (and I blogged about the three-year anniversary). I was totally demoralized, completely hopeless, and crippled by pain. I was angry at the man who crashed into me, saddened by the doctors who made me feel crazy for being in so much pain, helpless to find anything to make me feel better, depressed, as I watched my life fade away, and stuck in this accelerating downfall.
And, now?
What a difference. Like the butterfly the accompanies this post, I feel as if I am reborn, spreading my wings, and taking flight. I feel healthy, strong, YOUNG, confident, and renewed. I really wasn't sure if this feeling would ever come. I was so sure that I would be handicapped for the rest of my life, and that it was all going down the drain. Yet, as my therapist points out, I kept working at my own healing, and I brought it about - I found new doctors, I kept pursuing answers, and I discovered that I WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG! There was something serious going on in my back (a fractured spine), it was fixable, and I WOULD GET BETTER.
And here I am. I am grateful for your support, love, and encouagement, from the darkest of days through the parting of the clouds. This anniversary is so different from last year's, and I know that it can only get better from here on out.
So, while I will never be thankful for the accident, I am thankful for all the lessons learned, the power of healing, the feeling of vitality that flows through my body, and the blessings of friends and family.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Home with a cold...

Bleh, I have got a doozy of a cold. I'm in bed, drinking lots of fluids. My sinuses are killing me, and I keep coughing. God bless Nyquil. More tomorrow - I'm gonna go back to sleep....
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

VOTE!!!!! TODAY'S THE DAY!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Day 14 of Jenny

Though I am afraid to jinx it, I have had another really good week. Even for the meals that I have had to eat at a restaurant or event, I have been making really good choices.

Why wasn't it this easy before, I wonder? Did I need to take a leap, and perhaps start a new chapter? Did I need permission to focus on myself in this way? Was it important to ask for help and admit that I couldn't do it alone?

I go to my second weigh-in tomorrow (ELECTION DAY!!!!), and I hope that I have good news once again. I am still so scared that there won't be any results, and that I will fail just as I have over the past few years. I hope that this feeling of uncertainty fades away as I feel more and more confident in the process.

I will report back tomorrow!!!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

NYC Marathon Craziness....

I don't know why I am still surprised by it, but it is always IMPOSSIBLE to get around Manhattan on the day of the NYC Marathon. I wish I could just stay at home in Queens and relax for the day, but I had to come in to the synagogue to teach our Confirmation Class (10th graders). I don't know how many will fight their way through the crowd in order to come to class, so we shall see how many will show up.

My curriculum in the Confirmation Class is to teach modern applications of the Ten Commandments. Today, we are up to the 4th Commandment, which tells us to keep and remember the Sabbath. We are going to study the two versions of the Ten Commandments which appear in the Torah (the two iterations, one in Exodus and one in Deuteronomy, are not identical and have some important differences), and discuss Shabbat in our lives.

With these NYC kids, especially, I really find it important to teach them that it is okay to take breaks. They are SO OVERWORKED, and so stressed out, and they aren't often given permission to take a deep breath and rest. If I get nothing else across to them this year, I want them to understand how integral self-care is to a meaningful and successful life.

Next week, we will continue a focus on Shabbat, and I will lead a guided Jewish meditation for them. Yay!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

NaBloPoMo Begins!

Well, here we go: National Blog Posting Month is beginning. As I mentioned in my last post, NaBloPoMo is a fun site that encourages bloggers to post every single day of one month. Often there is a theme to inspire our writing, but this month does not have any particular topic. Of my blogging friends, so far Ima on (and off) the Bima and Confessions of a Rock and Roll Bride are also participating this month.
Would you like to join us?
Do you have any suggestions of something that you would like me to write about this month?
Hope you all have a good Saturday, and I will see you tomorrow!
(And, thanks to Cait at til_midnight for the cool graphic above!)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Shabbat Shalom....I'm Gonna Need It!

Hello to you! I have a few fun things to update you on:

1) I am well into my second full week on Jenny Craig. Today is the....11th Day! I've gotta tell you, other than the cost (it IS pretty expensive), this plan couldn't be easier. I feel so good, so energized, and really positive about making this choice. It definitely feels great to be taking care of myself. You guys have witnessed so many changes in me over the past year or so. Thanks for coming along for the ride thus far!

2) I've got a BUSY weekend coming up, and I am totally excited about it. The New York region of the Union for Reform Judaism (the big umbrella organization that brings all Reform Jews and congregations together) is holding its Regional Biennial Convention tomorrow. The event will provide Jewish professionals and layleaders a chance to come together to learn, pray, eat (of course!), and network. I am SO HONORED because I was asked to lead the big Shabbat Worshp Service tomorrow morning. A cantor and I will lead the service, and help everyone get centered and involved in the rest of the day. What a great privilege!

3) The NYC Marathon is coming up on Sunday. A few clasmates of mine started a group called the Running Rabbis a few years ago. They run the marathon for a good cause each year, and they ROCK! Check them out - they're awesome :)

4) I am going to do my best to be a part of NaBloPoMo, a site that encourages bloggers to post every single day for a month. Think I can do it? Check me out to see if I keep up with it!

Shabbat Shalom!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Week 1 Weigh-In!!


I just got back from my first weigh-in with Jenny Craig, and....... I lost

4.8 POUNDS!!!!!!

Can you believe it????? What a great way to start!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Day 5 of Jenny

Well, my friends, so far, so good! I am now well into my fifth day of Jenny Craig, and it isn't hard at all. The food has been really delicious, and I am actually having trouble eating everything that the program needs me to eat. There are so many fruits and vegetables that I am supposed to eat throughout the day, and they are just too filling. What a nice problem to have!

I will be going in to meet with my "counselor" one-on-one on Tuesday, so I will definitely report back on how the first week went, weight-wise. I have been very careful NOT to weigh myself at all this week. I didn't want it to influence my mood (either depressing me or making me too confident). I just wanted to feel good, knowing that I have been starting a new chapter, and that I am taking good care of myself.

In all honesty, I am really scared that I will get there on Tuesday morning, and I won't have lost a single pound. Since that's pretty much been the story for the past few years, I am scared that nothing I do will ever help me to actually lose weight. I have been discouraged and disheartened so many times.... will it actually work this time? Are my body and soul finally ready to make another big change?

Two days to go until the first weigh-in........

Friday, October 24, 2008

Bereshit - Back to the Beginning

Happy Friday, my friends! I hope that you had a good week, and that you are nearing the end of the work-week. Doesn't Shabbat, the day of rest, the weekend, always come at just the right time?

Tonight, we Jews have returned back to the beginning of the entire Torah. We finished reading the whole Five Books of Moses, the very end of Deuteronomy, last week during the holiday of Simchat Torah, and now we find ourselves ALL THE WAY back at the beginning, Genesis, Chapter One, Verse One.

My dear friend, Andi, has posted a beautiful post about reading the beginning of Genesis. I hope you will stop by and give it a read.

I will be leading services tonight (as I often do), and I am going to be speaking about one of my favorite characters, Lilith. Who is Lilith? She is the answer to the fact that there are TWO creation stories in the Torah.

There's this one: (Genesis 1:27): And God created man in God’s own image, in the image of God created him; male and female God created them.

Then there's this one: (Genesis 2:21-25): And the ETERNAL God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the place with flesh instead thereof. And the rib, which the ETERNAL God had taken from the man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man. And the man said: 'This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.' Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

How do we reconcile these very different accounts of how humans were created (at least, as far as the story goes....don't get me started on creationism......)? Biblical Scholars just recognize that there are two texts, reflecting two different traditions, and they were edited together.

The rabbis of long ago, though, tried to make it one narrative - they brought in the character of Lilith: Adam's First Wife.

However, since she was created at the same time as Adam (in Genesis 1), she DARED (how could she?? Oy....) to think that she was equal to Adam. She was therefore banished from the Garden of Eden, and relegated to demon status from then on. The rabbis then state that Eve was the better choice of wife for Adam, because she knew that Adam was her master. Can you believe this?

So, gals, let's all live as proud descendants of Lilith - we can be equal, too!! Just as the creators of Lilith Magazine and Lilith Fair did, we can reclaim her as a proud feminine role model.

Shabbat shalom!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Meet Jenny - My New Best Friend

Well, dear readers, wish me luck.

I have decided to join Jenny Craig.
I am nervous, excited,
enthusiastic, cynical, optimistic, and scared. Yep, that just about sums it all up.

As you know, the past few years have been so incredibly difficult for me, physically and emotionally. The back injury kept me imprisoned in pain, and thus totally sedentary. Emotionally, I felt so helpless, I am sure that it didn't help. I gained so much weight, I can't believe it. Yet, I couldn't give myself a hard time about it, because I had no psychological energy to devote to it. Plus, the few times I tried Weight Watchers over the years of pain, I failed miserably, which only made me more depressed about the whole thing.

BUT, now that I am feeling so much better, and so much stronger, I have decided that it is finally time to work on this area. I am finally ready. I can do it for myself, and ONLY myself, and I can feel good about it. I feel like it just might work this time! Plus, I have a good friend who is doing Jenny Craig as well, and we are gonna be cheerleaders for each other.

So, I am well into Day 2 - we'll see how it goes! I will keep you up to date on this new journey in my life :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New Kids Concert Recap!

I attended the NKOTB concert at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, NJ, with three friends. We were all fans 20 years ago, and couldn't believe that we were going to see Danny, Donnie, Joe, Jon, and Jordan in concert again! With me was Hope, Eve, and Lori. We made our own shirts...
...And, as you can see, we put our names on the back of each one!! It was so hard finding a place that still did "iron-on" lettering, but I found the one place in Manhattan that does it. I had a great time with the owner at Gifted, the only place that does lettering!!

Here, I had to take a private moment with a huge picture of Jordan Knight, my favorite. Excuse me while I make a kissy-face at him. Oy, he is still so sexy......
The five guys, in concert. They were so fabulous - still great performers, dancers, and singers. And, they were total mensches about the whole thing - they were so appreciative of us fans!

What a fun time!!!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Been a Long Time!

Sorry for the long pause between posts - the Jewish High Holy Days are quite intense. AND, at my synagogue, we do TWO of each service! Thus, for my colleagues who are exhausted after a 3-hour long Yom Kippur morning service, imagine having to dive in and do it ALL OVER AGAIN!!

But, what was really amazing was FEELING GOOD throughout the whole 10 days of Rosh HaShanah (the Jewish New Year), the Yamim Noraim (The Days of Awe, in which we are reflecting on the past year and deciding how we want the new year to go), and then Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). I have been in such exquisite pain over the past few years, and this year was SO DIFFERENT!! Sure, my feet were achy, my head was tired, and my voice didn't want to come out after 12 hours of rabbi-ing. But, my back DIDN'T HURT!!!! Isn't that incredible?

I had energy, vitality, and a smile on my face. It was a totally different High Holy Day experience for me, and I am so grateful for it. I kept thanking God for this new year, and a renewed sense of life and peace.

Now, we are getting ready for Sukkot, the Jewish holiday that celebrates the fall harvest and appreciates the earth's bounty. We build a Sukkah, a temporary structure covered with branches that allows us to connect with nature, see the sky and stars through the roof, and appreciate both the blessing and the fragility of life. The holiday begins tonight and lasts for 7 days. More service-leading, yes, but a happy holiday!!

Stay tuned over the next few days - I will be posting pics from the New Kids Concert and the Madonna Concert that I attended over the past few weeks. YAY!!!!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Happy 5769!

Wishing you all a good, sweet Jewish New Year. L'shanah Tovah Tikateivu!

With love,
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Heads or Tails Tuesday - Recipe

Welcome back to Heads or Tails Tuesday! If you want to participate, check out the weekly theme and then have fun - you can free associate, be very literal, or anything in between.

Today's Theme? Recipe

I feel like focusing on the word "Recipe," particularly in regards to the Jewish New Year, Rosh HaShanah, coming up on Monday night, September 29. Here goes:

What is the recipe for a good year? What encourages God to write our names in the Book of Life for the coming year? Though we should be aiming for goodness, honesty, and compassion all year, the High Holy Days really remind us the importance of owning up to our mistakes and trying harder the next time. Here is our yearly opportunity to remember the past year, reflect on our actions, and promise ourselves, our friends, and God, that we will do better in the coming year.

The prayerbook tells us that three things can temper God's severe decree: Tzedakah (charity), T'shuvah (repentance) and Tefilah (prayer). Adding more of these three acts into our lives can make our days more meaningful, and can truly aid in the repair of the world. Yet, these are not the only ingredients, I would like to suggest, for our recipe for being a good person.

New ingredients for a good life:

  1. Staying involved and informed in local, state, and national politics (and voting!!)
  2. Donating time, in addition to money, to important causes
  3. Making sure to do "the little things:" giving up a seat on the bus/subway to someone who needs it more than you, allowing someone with a few items to pass in front of you in line at the grocery store, etc.
  4. Recycling
  5. Finding a good therapist
  6. Meditation and Prayer
  7. Being silly as often as possible
  8. Exercising your brain in a hearty debate
  9. Exercising your body whatever way feels good

What would you add? What is your recipe for being a good person and living a good life?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Kitty Cat Love

Figured I would share some recent pics of my calico, Precious, and my sister's cat, Caramel :)

Caramel, looking out the window in my new bedroom. Ah, the streets of Queens....

Caramel, posing provocatively....

Precious, about to expound on her "theory of everything"....

The girls hanging out together, resting after a difficult day of sleeping, eating, and pooping...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Only 13 days until the concert....

(You, too, can participate in Wordless Wednesday!)