I lost my grandma’s necklace today. It was silver and lovely. She let me borrow it for an evening out last time I visited her. It came home with me in my bag and when I asked her about sending it back, she told me to keep it. It’s one of my few pieces of jewelry, and when I wear it, it reminds me of my grandma. She is in her mid-90’s and amazing. Nothing fazes her. When I have a bad day, I try to channel her and let whatever is bothering me roll off my shoulders.

Earlier today I had a feeling that I would lose that necklace today. I ran my fingers across its bumpy texture and considered taking it off. The feeling was fleeting and I turned my attention back to my work at hand.

I know the moment it left my neck, not consciously, but there was a slight difference. It happened when I left work, as I was walking across the parking lot I lifted my work i.d. lanyard off over my head. I didn’t know it at the time, but as I drove away down the highway, I realized the loss.

As I reached up to my now bare neck, I flashed to that earlier feeling. Even though I was sad at the loss, I chuckled at my lack of listening to myself. I knew!

This feeling has happened to me before. Enough times that it’s familiar, but not often enough for me to have practice holding on to it. I don’t understand “precognition,” but it happens to enough people that it has a word, a dictionary definition even.

Perhaps one of these days, I’ll have enough clarity to hold on to that moment and act on it. I’ve been able to do that in the past, but the feelings happen more often that clarity.

I still hold hope that my grandma’s necklace turns up. It is a small, symbolic connection to a wonderful woman who won’t be around too very much longer, and I will hold on to her however I can.

NYE 2014

New Years eve is a major marking of the passage of time. There is a lot of pressure to be social, have a party, go to a party, get wasted, kiss someone at midnight, make insane promises to yourself in the guise of “Resolutions”, and go a little nuts.

That’s a lot of pressure.

It’s a heavy drinking holiday, it’s the night of “auld lang syne” with all the sad ruminations on one’s past that come with that, and it’s the transition into a new year “365 days of a new book”.

That’s a lot of pressure.

Please be kind to yourself tonight.
Go out if you feel like it.
If you feel like staying in, then do so.

Don’t pressure yourself, it ain’t worth it.
Take care of you.

Christmas Jew

We usually had about a month off school for Winter break when I was a kid. I imagine my mom got pretty tired of me after a while and was probably relieved when she could ship me off to stay with my pop for a week or two.

We never had a tree at my dad’s place, and usually I spent those holidays with him and my paternal grandparents in Brooklyn. If there was overlap in dates, we celebrated Hanukkah. I got yummy melty chocolately gold coins, scarfed grandma’s homemade matzoh ball soup and stuffed myself on latkes.

One of my favorite things to do during those holiday visits was to get in the car with pop to go look at the decorated houses. We would drive up one street and down the next, commenting and oohing and ahhing at the lovely, sparkly Christmasy homes.

It never occurred to me what a Jew from Brooklyn felt about these ecstatic displays. I am Jewish by birth, but not so much by practice, and at my mom’s we had a big Christmas tree and went caroling each year. My dad, however, was raised in a fairly traditional (non-Orthodox) Jewish household.

During those tours he and I did through the neighborhoods, I wonder if he felt like an outsider, peering in to someone else’s philosophy, stealing visions of another’s ritual?

My memory is that he loved the Christmas lights as much as I did. The lit-up houses were wondrous and sentimental, festive and enchanting. We were two kids with big eyes thrilled at the beautiful spectacle.