Feb 3 2014
I spoke at Morehead State University last week for about 3,000 people. That’s the most people I have ever spoken for! I have done a lot of speaking engagements, but this was actually the first I have done since my divorce I think. (I’ll check with Fancy Assistant Brandon.) I have missed speaking and this was a great first talk after a break of almost a year.
Morehead State is in Kentucky, but I stayed in Cincinnati since that’s where the only direct flight to Los Angeles was. My talk focused on academia and the choices I made to become an actress, the choices I made to become a neuroscientist, and the choices I made that led me back to the world of acting.
A few neat things happened on this trip. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 2 2014
Well, my children have adjusted great to Israel. I, on the other hand, have adjusted about as well as my mother says I adjusted to daylight savings as a baby which is to say horribly. My “worst case scenario” for them for the first night actually became my own worst case scenario, with me sleeping only a few hours before darting awake, unable to sleep and armed with the energy to take a jog or make a cake, neither of which I can do in the kibbutz apartment I am in. My boys snored quietly and rhythmically in a cold room, warm under blankets and content in their dreamy homeland.
Leaving aside politics and religion (because that’s the best way to come to Israel: leaving those aside if you can), this is a rare beauty, this Israel thing. Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 30 2013
I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas week, however you spent it. I myself saw a few movies and ate Chinese food.
Here’s what my next few weeks look like: I’m taking my sons to Israel! We leave in a few days and we’ll be gone 10 days. On my mother’s side of the family, I have an aunt, uncle, four cousins, and about 20 children of my cousins living throughout the West Bank. I also have an aunt, uncle, and cousins who live on a secular kibbutz. On my father’s side, I also have a few cousins, including my cousin who I learn with on the phone, who made aliyah about five years ago.
Here’s the plan:
1. Rent a Car Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 8 2013
As I have talked about here on Kveller quite a bit, I love Shabbat. I love turning off anything electronic for 25 hours, not working, not driving anywhere, having leisurely meals, taking a nap while my sons play hopefully safely and sort of quietly nearby. Oh yeah: I also love celebrating the miraculous religious experience of echoing God’s cessation of labor by engaging in the blessed Sabbath; it’s not just the hanging out and napping and not working, although those are pretty awesome too and sometimes seem more needed than the religious ecstasy.
What I don’t love is that I don’t currently live in a neighborhood with other Shabbat-observant Jews. I am not in a position to move just now, and so Shabbats are often “home days” with my kids. Sometimes we walk to synagogue but the closest one is about an hour’s walk away and since we don’t know anywhere well enough to eat after synagogue, we end up walking longer than we even stay in synagogue. And some of us get tired and cranky and hungry. And sometimes so do my kids.
What I have decided to start doing since my divorce is to try and take my kids to a Shabbat-observant neighborhood once a month and stay over for all of Shabbat. I don’t find driving in the spirit of Shabbat, even if it’s just to go to synagogue. It forces me to engage with streetlights, roads, people, traffic, and other things which do not make me feel the peace of Shabbat. I know some people drive on Shabbat and that’s fine for them, but it has never felt right since I took on observing Shabbat the way I currently prefer to. Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 31 2013
I went to a friend’s wedding this past weekend in Springfield, Missouri. It was a small wedding, about 60 people. It was a lovely Jewish ceremony with plenty of “universal” aspects as well. It was lovely. A little sheva brachot, a little glass-breaking, some chair-lifting, and then good old-fashioned partying.
As most of us know, a wedding is not just about the wedding, especially for the out-of-town guests. It’s about getting there, hanging out before, pre-wedding dinners, and post-wedding hanging out. Here are the highlights of my weekend.
1. I drove from Chicago with one of my closest friends to the wedding. That meant 10 hours of singing at the top of our lungs, catching up on our lives in person rather than by phone, and crappy roadside food of which there is not much of for vegans, but I figured it out. We were like teenagers on the best road trip ever. Illinois and Missouri are not terribly exciting to drive through, but we made it exciting with our laughing and story-telling and pontificating about the meaning of life, love, and the pursuit of happiness. And dating. We talked about dating a lot. Sigh. Read the rest of this entry →
Jun 14 2013
This is an ad for cologne featuring my fake boyfriend in the Puerto Vallarta airport.
Remember last year when I posted about going to Mexico with my family? And wearing my awesome modest bathing suit?
Well, I did it again last weekend with my boys. This time, I went to the Villa La Estancia Riviera Nayarit near Puerto Vallarta. I took my oldest bestie and her daughter and it was really lovely. We swam in the pool, admired iguanas who lived near the hotel, ate more guacamole than I care to admit, and took a boat trip to a private beach. Read the rest of this entry →
May 13 2013
I was in Paris last week for a photo shoot for CBS Watch magazine.
We did a vintage couture retro photo shoot at Hotel Le Bristol. It was very high fashion; big hats, gloves, posing awkwardly like I’m a 6 foot tall 120 pound model in Vogue magazine or something. It was crazy and super strange to be the “model” mostly because I am only 5’4″ and haven’t weighed 120 pounds since my Sweet 16. But it was also neat. And once I got my passport and actually arrived in Paris, it turned out to be a nice trip, if brief. Because I forgot my passport and had to have it overnighted and thus my trip got cut short by a day. Read the rest of this entry →
May 8 2013
I spent the weekend in Atlanta. I had Shabbos with my best friend and her husband and their two very cute and sweet sons and some really neat friends of theirs. I also spoke at a STEM event to benefit Yeshiva Atlanta sponsored by the Hebrew Order of David, a sort of grown-up fraternity for Jewish men which I never knew existed. It was a lovely weekend.
I was supposed to go to Paris Monday, because I am doing a photo shoot for CBS Watch magazine, and although it was to be a short trip, I was trying to be excited. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 24 2013
I just returned from a trip to Denver. I spoke for the Hillel there at a funky art gallery. Awesome venue. I always like to speak for college students, and especially to Hillel donors. I share what a huge influence Hillel had on me during my 12 years of undergraduate and graduate school at UCLA, and how Hillel shaped my Jewish adulthood and life in ways no other organization ever has. It was a very nice trip.
Here are three things I am grateful for from the trip:
1. Breastfeeding mama on my airplane. When I see babies boarding planes I am also boarding, I get nervous. I am very jittery on planes as it is, and a screaming small person on planes makes me even more jittery. Kids and babies are like a fuse about to burst at any minute; they make me anxious even though I know it’s normal and natural blah blah blah. Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 27 2012
My phone performed a tremendous act of tzedakah and gemilut chasadim (acts of love and kindness) last week. Here’s what happened.
Upon landing in Atlanta with my two boys, I gathered our two suitcases, shlepped our carry-ons, and waited curbside for our ride to come. The three of us were in Atlanta (my husband was to have five days to himself) to stay with my best friend, her 3-year-old, and her 2-month-old. In addition, I was slated to appear there at the Bellies to Babies event to benefit Midwifery International alongside the natural birth/homebirth guru and mother of modern midwifery, Ina May Gaskin.
Anyway. We were waiting curbside and an old African-American man in a wheelchair is wheeled out by one of the airport escort types who wheel people outside to curbs. This man had been on our flight from Los Angeles, and I remembered seeing him at LAX and noticing how frail and sweet he looked. And I felt sad that he was all alone, because I am just the type of person who feels sad when they see frail old people in wheelchairs alone. Read the rest of this entry →