Friday, October 31, 2008, posted by Q6 at 7:52 AM
When I was a teacher (137 years ago), I treated each of my classes on Halloween to reading--by me--of Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven. Being a speech teacher, I really got into the interpretation and hammed it up a little. The students loved it, though.

So it brought a smile to my face when I ran across this yesterday.

(I think I did a more dramatic job, but whatever.)

Happy Halloween!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008, posted by Q6 at 9:13 AM
God either knows exactly what he's doing, or he's got an outstanding sense of humor. I haven't decided which. (But He's God, so it's probably both.)

The High Holy Days of Judaism coincide with the beginning of the school year, so I don't give them all the attention that I should; I can admit that. Moreover, I've been struggling with my Jewish identity (well, maybe not struggling, but it weighs on me a little bit) since I left orthodoxy. In a former life I would have taken multiple days off from work, spent most of them in shul or at meals with community members, followed through afterward with Sukkot, and partied like mad on Simchas Torah. These days, I give the holidays a brief nod and go back to my regular routine.

So last week a student approached me (one who has been debating the school's no-hat policy with me every so often; they aren't allowed to wear hats, but I wear mine when it's cold in the morning--bald men have to, really) and asked me if I was Jewish. Her exact words were "Are you . . . Jew? or Mormon, or something?" I affirmed that I was, indeed, Jewish, and she responded with, "Well, then you're supposed to wear a hat, right?"

Right. I'm supposed to keep my head covered all the time, I didn't say.

And so, using a twelve-year-old Hispanic girl with no real concept of Orthodox Judaism, Torah, or Talmud, God yet again reminded me not to dismiss Him completely. Especially since the entire exchange happened on, of all days, Yom Kippur.
Monday, October 20, 2008, posted by Q6 at 3:24 PM
A week or two ago, it was not a good day to be a car in our household. It's difficult enough with my 16-year-old wanting to drive everywhere, but it's even harder when we have rental cars circulating through the garage.

My car began overheating (it took someone noticing my engine fan running while the car was parked for me to pay any attention to it), and so I had to have some work done to it. It's eight and a half years old, with 115,000 miles on it. The repairs cost me roughly 25% of what I paid for it in 2000, but it's the only car I've got. The rental I used to get to and from work (I'd have taken my bike, but 9 miles each way in the rain with a raging head cold is too stupid even for ME to try) was a humongous pick-up truck. In addition to feeling like I was driving and aircraft carrier down the 405, I could feel myself polluting the atmosphere with each mile. (For those who speak auto: I thought it was the water pump, but it turns out the thermostat was stuck closed. While they were in there I had them change the timing belt and a few other services.)

Before I could even get my rental car back to the lot, my wife had a minor bumper incident with an SUV in a parking lot. Nothing to write home about collision-wise, but as you might expect the SUV won this round. They drove off with a bit of red plastic embedded in the bumper, but my wife ended up with a broken tail light and a broken bumper. (I could have done the tail light myself, but the bumper would require alignment, paint, etc. Too much for my novice skills.) Going through insurance-related collision repair centers and such, it took a little longer than mine did.

Now, both cars are safely back at home and in good working condition. Yay.