This summer has been unlike any other. Rather than scrambling to find camps to send all my kids to, I’ve kept my bigger two home and plan to have my third home for August as well. (Bill is campin’ it as long as I can arrange it.) As my kids have been growing older, I have found their company to be easier, more joyful, and their needs less physical and more emotional. Where during the school year I can barely find the time to sit and help a kid with math or Torah homework, this summer I’ve been effectively home schooling my big girls in English, working at keeping their reading up in Hebrew as well, teaching Beans cursive writing, working on multiplication tables and time-telling with Peach, and helping Banana keep up the leyning skills she just learned in kindergarten. I can sit at the piano and help the big girls practice their lessons, take walks with them and stretch afterwards (where I kill them with my 100 situps and they reassure me with their gymnastics stretches, “It’s supposed to hurt, Ima!”), and teach them the eye-killing art of cross-stitching. It’s been a pleasure.
This means that my online editing work has been bumped to nights after they’re in bed, and I am spending less time on the computer – a state I’ve wished for for some time since realizing the hypnotic power of the computer screen. The fact is, I believe the computer is an addiction, not unlike caffeine or cigarettes. It troubles me to realize that I can sit down to it with a particular task to perform, get up two hours later and still not have done what I set out to do. I’ve checked email, written one or two, looked at my Facebook page, maybe left a comment or two on postings by friends, gone and looked at stuff from links, read a few blogs, the news, researched a few facts and checked out Cake Wrecks – and completely forgotten what I’d sat down to do in the first place. There goes two hours I could have spent knitting the fabulous Norah Gaughan sweater I’m working on (pictured at right), listening to a collection of CDs of the essays of Rabbi Y.Y. Rubinstein (a delightful Scots rabbi), doing small maintenance projects around the house, taking a walk or reading one of the half-dozen books sitting on my bedside table waiting to be read. Or working. (But let’s not take it too far.)
Of late, too, I have not had much to write about. The news is still packed full of the same old dreary tidings, bad PR for Israel, boycotts and counter-boycotts but I have little to add to what is being said elsewhere. I find that when I spend my time reading what happens in the world and think of all the things I have to say about it, I do not find it satisfying to have sat down and written about it. Sometimes I feel the opposite. A friend told me that she had once attended a seminar on how to increase happiness in one’s own life. In the facilitator’s opening remarks, he said, “I haven’t read a newspaper in 10 years.” I don’t think I could ever go that far but reading to be informed feels different to me than reading to digest, process, and analyze or comment. The latter feels too invasive to me nowadays. I remember after 9/11 it was a good year before I would read a newspaper; I just couldn’t take it in. It was too much. Living in Israel sometimes feels as intense as life in America in the recent aftermath of 9/11. We don’t have disasters on that scale every day but we have many smaller ones much more often. That, combined with the scrutiny Israel lives under and the internal divisions that exist in Israeli society, can tax one’s patience and good humor without the added absorption in writing about them. The news sources and well-informed blogs (many of which I link to on this blog) are there for those who take an interest.
So I have decided to sign off from blogging, if not forever then for the foreseeable future. I feel my life calling me and would like to answer the call while upping my filter of the outside world for a while. I’ll miss the writing outlet that it’s been and gratefully thank my readers for their kind, supportive readership. May the road rise to meet you.