Sunday, March 11, 2012


Purim? I didn't do anything for purim of course. But I was happily surprised when I got a box in the mail from my parents on purim, complete with shalach monos (packages of food that are given to people on purim) with chocolate hamentashen, my flute + flute music, and about 500-1000 pictures of me from my childhood.

My mom used to mail me shalach monos for the first couple of years after I moved out of their house completely, until purim 5 years ago, which was when I first told my parents I was dating B when I was home for purim and they first told me they would disown me if I married someone not jewish. Since then, nothing. So that was pretty awesome.

The story with the flute is this: In high school I took flute lessons for 4 years and as far as other people told me, I was pretty good at it. I was getting to the point where I was learning to play the same music my *teacher* would play at the recitals of her students that she would put together, and my flute teacher wanted me to apply to Juliard to go to a music conservatory, but I wasn't sure about the life of a musician (which I believe mostly involves a lot of working nights and uncertain income) and I decided I wanted to go to a regular college instead.

In my senior year of high school I was dating my ex fiance, and my parents didn't like him and wanted us to break up- so at some point they said they would stop paying for my flute lessons if I kept dating him, and being the defiant teenager I was, I was all like "Fine, I don't want flute lessons anymore anyway!" I haven't touched the flute since, I left it at my parent's house when I moved away to grad school, and I thought my parents must have sold it or something (Since it cost like $700 or something back when I bought it in 1996).

But when they visited on new years my mom said she still had the flute after all, and she mailed it over with all my old lessons and sheet music! It's been 12 years since I've played, but the last couple of days I've been trying to reteach myself to read sheet music and have worked my way through the lessons that show you how to play c, b, a, g, f and f sharp. And the finger positions are coming back to me as is the music reading.

The dogs are very intrigued by the flute, and twice when I was warming up by playing each note as long as I could, Barkley and Max started howling along with the flute (which means my flute practicing is interjected with a lot of giggles on my part, they are so freakin adorable!). So yeah, that's pretty neat, maybe I can get good enough again to start jamming with some profs in my department who jam together occasionally. My old flute teacher had me playing 100% classical music but maybe I can find some music for like jethro tull/anchorman/jazz flute kind of stuff.

My mom also sent what turned out to be ALL the duplicates of photos of me taken as a child (at first I was like "what is she clearing all the pictures of me out of her house?" but when I talked to her she told me they were all duplicates). So I suddenly have gone from having around 7 pictures of myself as a child (all from like age 2-3) to ALL the pictures of me as a child! I looked through a few of them already and DAMN was I a skinny bean pole of a teenager, ha! Also quite nerdy looking throughout all my childhood due to the giant glasses I wore since I was 5 (these days I only wear glasses to read but back then I wore them all the time). My mom also sent this huge picture of me at age 2 days old from right when I came back from the hospital, which is pretty awesome to have. :)

I think what this means is that over the past few months my mom went through all the pictures she had of me as a kid to find all these duplicates. Which is pretty nice to think of.

Since New Years when they visited I haven't talked to my parents much- I've been emailing my dad back and forth a few times, but I've been drowning at work and am still feeling somewhat awkward about calling my mom, since our phone call history has now included: After talking once a week since I moved out of the house permenantly in 2004, last phone call sometime in November 2008, next phone call after that in November 2011 on Thanksgiving, and then they visited me on New Years (In between I talked to my dad).

So Friday I called my mom to thank her for the shalach monos which was our second phone call together (after the first on thanksgiving) since she temporarily disowned me. (note: I now use "temporarily" as a qualifier, yay!). We talked for like an hour and 15 minutes, disagreed slightly over politics (They finally got to her..she's a republican now!) but mostly got along, and she told me all the neat things she's up to (she's going to have her artwork in a few jewish museums! She's like a jewish folk artist now!) and I told her the neat things I'm up to (seedlings popping up! papers accepted for publication! trips to fun places for conferences!) and she told me it was hilarious that I was growing veggies cause when I was a kid and she was growing her own veggie garden she always tried to get me to be interested in it but I didn't show any interest in it then. I also remember my grandmother growing a huge veggie garden in her backyard, so I've decided to think of this as somewhat of a family tradition. :) Just because I don't follow most of the jewish traditions doesn't mean I've abandoned ALL my family traditions! :)

Then my dad came home and she put him on the phone and we talked for another 15 minutes. And he made some suggestions for B to find work and said he should "follow the family tradition" and drive a cab the way he and his dad used to do (my grandfather was a NYC cab driver and my dad drove his dad's cab for a few year at night to work his way through grad school). I had to remind him we don't live anywhere near NYC and since we're not in a major city there are hardly any cabs here. But the point is, he is using words like "Family" when referring to B. :)

So all in all, awesome. So awesome, that I actually let slip that I'm going to be in NYC in June- first time in several years that I am visiting the area my parents live in and they actually know I'm going to be there! I've visited the area they live in many times over the past 5 years because my two best friends and my brother still live there (Well not so much on the visiting since moving down south, but I went up to visit last year on fall break in October and many times before that when I still lived in Philly) and just didn't tell my parents about my visit.

Anyways now I guess me and my parents are probably going to get together when I'm in NYC in June? I don't think B is going to be with me for that trip, but now that they've been to visit us at our home I think my policy of "Not visiting my parents without B cause if they want to hang with me they have to accept B too" can be relaxed a bit.

The whole thing is still a little bizarre to me. Talking to my mom for an hour and a half like nothing ever happened and we didn't just NOT talk to each other for several years is kinda just...weird. And it still gives me anxiety to call her. I've kind of gotten used to the idea of basically just not having parents in my life, they were pretty absent for the past 5 years since I met B (and especially the past 3 and a half years since I got engaged) and we didn't get along together for a few years before that because I was openly 'off the derech" since my senior year of college (2003) and even before that we fought a lot the last few years I lived at home because I was miserable living the orthodox life /double life of being a secret OTDer and was probably just a jerk to be around as a result. So we've had a bad relationship for basically over a decade. But now with that 3 year break of hardly ever talking it's like our relationship has hit the reset button to some degree and we are getting along in a way we never did before, and having the sort of adult-to-adult conversations we've never had before. It's still really weird to be able to talk to my mom when for so long I didn't talk to's like we're friendly strangers almost, but at the same time we have this huge shared history together and can talk about things that happened decades ago.

Meanwhile in plant news, look what just popped up on my meyer lemon tree (about a year after I first got it):

I'm guessing those will turn into flowers and then lemons! Yay! This is the first time in the last year the tree has grown something that wasn't a branch with leaves, very exciting! Supposedly once the lemons set they take 6-9 months until they are ripe, but they haven't even turned into flowers yet...maybe we will have lemonade for thanksgiving or something :)

These guys (which will be sugar snap peas) also just came out a couple of days ago. And the lettuce seedlings are doing well and starting to sprout some "true leaves", the blueberries are still alive- I stripped the flowers off so they can grow roots instead of blueberries and they are currently starting to leaf out. I've also planted carrots and onions but they have not yet come out of the ground. I'm going to plant another round of lettuce today so that I can extend my lettuce harvest (it's good to plant a group every 2 weeks as long as you can so they don't all ripen at the same time). Yesterday I bought an artichoke plant a the farmer's market and I need to find a good spot to stick that, since they turn into huge 5 foot wide and 3-5 foot tall plants, so that can't go in my regular square foot veggie garden. :) Thinking of clearing out a random spot in the front yard and just having it as part of the landscaping out there, but I'm going to wait a couple of weeks till I plant it outside as it is still pretty cold at night (but going to be in the 60s and high 70s all next week, I love the south!)

Also last weekend I planted about a million annual wildflowers (specially formulated for "the southeast") in 4 spots in my backyard and 3 spots in my front yard. I didn't do much there, just broke up the land with a hoe, scattered some seeds, and tried to move the dirt around so they were covered up a bit, so we'll see how successful I was at that later this year. Also thinking of getting some saffron crocuses to plant this fall so I can start growing my own saffron.