Monday, August 28, 2006

On the road again.....

You won't see a post from me for awhile, but don't worry, I'm not dropping the ball. Ken and I are going on a road trip to Vancouver. I'm looking forward to the trip. Ken likes to drive, so the time we spend together is relaxing for both of us. Plus we get to take the new car for a nice run. I'm sure it will appreciate getting a break from running up and down the San Francisco hills.

I might post from Vancouver--we're staying with Ken's brother and sister-in-law, Brent & Sharon, and I know they'll be connected. Sharon called last night to give us an update on some plans they've made and at least one will be well worth blogging. If I don't get to it there, I'll make sure to post on my return.

But for now--have a good week..........

KPIG - AM, FM, Webcast

I know, it's a bit strange to see a pig reference on my blog, but this has nothing to do with food. It's a radio station I've just found, and it's different enough in these days of all corporate all the time that I'd like to write about it.

I was drawn to the station by a bus ad--you see, advertising does work--that had, on the list of artists they played, John Prine, a favorite of mine. There were other artists I liked, so I took note of the station ID - 1510AM, and started listening this weekend.

The first music I heard was a bluegrass, country mix--something I usually only hear on KALW during their Saturday afternoon folk block. This morning's offering was just a nice mix of folk, blues, even a bit of reggae. That's what happens when real people are doing the programming they want instead of relying on a playlist.

Another plus is there seem to be few, if any, commercials. Maybe this is because this station is new to the San Francisco Bay Area radio zone. I find that new stations start out mostly commercial-free, and then pick up advertisers as they pick up listeners. But from what I can get from the info page on their website the station, run out of Freedom, California, near Santa Cruz, has been broadcasting since 2003. They have an FM outlet there, 107.5. But they seem to be picking up steam and areas--their on-the-hour station ids mention AM stations in San Luis Obispo and Petaluma. You can also listen to a webcast of the station, just go their website - (what else?!)

So, either on the radio or on the web, check out "The PIG". It may be traif for the stomach, but not for the ears.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Able to Renew

I know many people wonder about the concept of Shabbat--taking one day each week to stop everything else that's going on in one's life. To take time each week to focus in prayer. I know I wonder about it, and I'm someone who follows this practice almost every week. Yesterday was one of those days that I get an inkling as to the "why."

If you read my previous post, you know that I am feeling at a loss for my spiritual center. The post ended with the possibility that this feeling was coming at the right time--a the start of Elul, the month dedicated to turning inward and finding Teshuvah, a returning to a spiritual place from which to start the new year. While I wrote those words, I don't know that I actually agreed with their message. But yesterday brought me in sync with those thoughts.

At services, I let go of one of my usual tasks during the service-giving out the honors--and really got a chance to let go of the exterior forces around me to enter that sacred space. I read Torah--a bit nervous because I had to learn a long portion at the last minute. But that forced me to chant more slowly, letting my mind and my eyes and my voice come into sync. It felt good. I was able to have a part in the kid's program, playing the role of gathering the "troops" to march into the sanctuary to help lead the ending prayers of the service--while first, of course, making sure no one needed to dedicate a new house, get married, or harvest a vineyard, as noted in this week's Torah parsha (see this text of Shoftim, the beginning of Deuteronomy Chapter 20).

And I got to connect with my community--at Kiddish, at a Welcome Home/Happy Birthday gathering, at a stand-up comedy showcase in support of a friend. These things also served as reminders of what this practice brings to me. For within this time of introspection is also the realization that I am not alone--there are others around me to help me and walk with me on the way.

So now I can truly start my month of Elul--still feeling the lows but trusting in the process--remembering what it brings to me.

Friday, August 25, 2006


It's the first of Elul--a month a introspection before the Yamim Noraim--the Days of Awe--the High Holidays of Rosh HaShonah and Yom Kippur. It's a time of Teshuvah--of repentence, of returning. So it's appropriate that I return to blogging at this time. Why I've returned to this space...well, that's a post for another time and maybe on the other space. But for now, here I am.

The start of this month is not so great. The physical space of that housed many of my spiritual activities for the past 6 years is being torn down. It needs to happen to make space to build anew. But as I watch the walls rip apart, as I hear the crack of the wood and stucco breaking down, something in me breaks as well. It heralds the rough times ahead as the community goes into the wilderness, becomes homeless for two years.

With the loss of our space comes a change in how our community comes together. On Shabbat, some of us are in one place; others in another. This needs to be done to accomodate everyone's needs. And now, on some of the holidays, those of us without school age children will be separate from the families with children. This is hardest of all for me. One thing I love about our community is its inter-generational quality--a true family. Having to be apart makes me feel like part of a family whose siblings have to be split into different foster homes.

It's hard to feel so depressed on this day that should be more uplifting--the day I hear the shofar blown for the first time in this season. But ultimately, it's okay that I feel this way--it gives me a place to start my work of this month. It gives me a place to start my Teshuvah--to work on returning to a place of spiritual center--a place that should not have or need any walls......