Saturday, July 02, 2005

A Busy Time

My life is probably way busier than it ought to be. But I am not complaining because everything I’m doing is something I want to do.

I just finished playing the piano with Deborah, my new-found friend, bass player, and doctor. We both really treasure our time to play together. We’re playing some hard music that is starting to sound good – a Handel sonata, a Vivaldi sonata, and Chaconne by Russell. We take turns making mistakes and starting over. But when we’re on, it sounds great.

Tomorrow I leave for 5 days in Mexico to attend an international conference on household surveys. I have to give a 90-minute presentation on the American Community Survey. I agonized all week over getting the final slideshow ready in Spanish and in English. I hope it goes well and that they don’t ask me too many questions which I can’t answer. I will make a few remarks in Spanish and then do the presentation in English with simultaneous translation. I hope there are people at the conference with whom I worked many years ago in Latin America.

The next big event is my adult bat mitzvah on Saturday. I am reading from the Torah with two other women. I have been working on learning to read Hebrew and chant the trope since February. I finally feel like I can do this without making too many mistakes. I also have realized that everyone in the congregation will be wishing for me to succeed and not looking for mistakes.

In preparation for this first in my religious life, I have decided to visit the mikvah, or ritual bath, on Friday morning. Orthodox Jewish women go to the mikvah every month after the end of their menstrual period as a form of cleansing. Reform Jewish women view it somewhat differently. They see it as a way to mark special times in their lives – a conversion, a wedding, a first Torah reading. I have been reading about this special ritual and think it will be an important preparation for Saturday.

I am very much looking forward to having Daniel and Rachel home next weekend for my bat mitzvah. It’s not that often that our whole family is together these days.

After Saturday I can take a deep breath and think about going to Chautauqua. The more I talk to Deborah, the more fun it sounds.

My therapist, Kathryn, said this week that she thought that I had always had all this excitement within myself – that I was just figuring out how to let it out and what to do with it. Even though my life is too busy these days, I am thoroughly enjoying every minute of it. I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

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