Looking Back, Looking Ahead!

Days of Atonement, clarity, introspection, meditation, taking in the moment are ways I see the High Holidays. The time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur serves as a time to take stock of the past year, and think about the future.

Usually I start with creating the ritual meal. Shopping items include chicken, matza meal, noodles, apples, gefilte fish, Manischwitz Concord Grape Wine, and a round challah (getting harder, and harder to find).  The meal takes a lot of preparation and while I chop and peel I remember the past year. The lose of my parents is with me daily. I do take some comfort in knowing they are together. But this time the holiday felt different.

In the process of moving I get to look at a lot of accumulated stuff. 47 years of marriage, 31years in the same house, and only in the past month have we become “empty nesters”.  I inherited much from my parents. I found some home movies from early 1960s that I transferred onto a DVD. Technology has come a long way from a Super 8mm film camera. Back to the time of silent movies with exaggerated movements.

October begins a new chapter for the Frankel’s with the move to Fair Oaks (6 miles away).  Not so much distance, but a reset nevertheless. Still don’t know exactly how we plan to arrange our “stuff”. Luckily we have a 3 car garage, and that is where our boxes will go. Then we have another chance to decide about stuff before it finds a place in our new home. I feel excited, and I hope that enthusiasm continues.

Selling a house is not fun.  My house has never been so clean. My Libby is into the routine, and as long as I have her food ready, she jumps into the car in a moments notice.  Trying not to take feedback personally. I just hope that process does not drag on. Listed for not quite a month, and it is starting to feel old. Yesterday was the first day I didn’t go overboard and pick up every little thing.  Thinking maybe that a watched pot does not boil, a spotless house does not sell? My mother would say, “You just need one buyer, and for every house there is one buyer.” Patience. My friend Anne came over and blessed my house to release any negative spirits that may be preventing its sale.  An open house is scheduled for Sunday.  We are doing all we can!

In the coming year I plan to research my family roots. I started my family genealogy while studying for my Libraian credential in 1983. That was before Internet, computer software, and the end of the Cold War. Now there are so many ways wto proceed. New documents are coming on line all the time. I joined the Jewish Genealogy Society of Sacramento and participated in 2 classes. I am not sure where this will lead. Perhaps a book documenting my family history. Maybe just continued research into the Shoah and its  meaning in my life. Maybe a way to establish connections with other researchers and librarians. I hesitate to involve myself in another group, but maybe I do this for just that reason – to overcome.

I’m not usually comfortable joining a group, but being part of my 2nd Gen group encourages me to try and feel a part of something bigger than myself. I learn, find support and appreciate my CVHEN (Central Valley Holocaust Educators Network) 2nd Gen friends. After so many years, I finally have people I can count on. Photography helped to crack through my isolation. Despite the difficulties I encountered I could use my camera to refocus my thoughts. Getting out with friends, doing something, and creating is the key. I hope I don’t let my friends down. I plan to be mindful and appreciate my friends.

Thinking back over the past year I tried, but may not have succeeded in taking a step back around my family. The role of care taker may have placed me a position of power, and I may have sent the message that I know what is best. There is a delicate balance between taking care, and allowing space. I plan to be more mindful of this. The balance between decision making, and indecision. Some decisions I made were hard, yet I made up my mind for what I hope will be best for my family.

As is said at this time, “May you be inscribed in the Book of Life.”

The Stuff Surrounding Us 

Shall I extend my living space into the garage? Or incorporate and recycle into my home?
Shall I extend my living space into the garage? Or incorporate and recycle into my home?

August 25 my parents move into assisted living.  Early September the second stage of this move began. Downsizing. Is it easier to downsize for yourself or for someone else?

My parent’s 2 bedroom apartment has plenty of places to store belongings. Huge linen cabinet,  a room-size storage area, and two walk-in closets contain a plethora of stuff.

The kitchen space is easy to empty. No need for any cook ware at FountainWood. Mini microwave eliminates larger dishes. Knives already out of the apartment for safety reasons.

Linen serves as useful packing material. Pillows and blanket are also set aside for packing. With medicinal items dates matter so this an easy call. I follow this rule when I downsize my wardrobe.  If I didn’t wear it during the season it is a candidate for donation but this doesn’t work for someone else. Cotton tee shirts make great rags. Comfortable shoes count above style for me, and the empty shoe boxes are repurposed. Decorations, collections, and odds & ends end up on a table. Quickly selected or unchosen and set for donation. The place empties slowly. I take all historic documents, photo albums, Rolodex, and address book. I need to be careful going through all the drawers and papers. I find photographs tucked between papers and I don’t want to inadvertently throw photographs out

On and on, room by room the place empties. Some things mean something my brother. Other items find a home with me. Some pieces of furniture replace older ones at my house. A Cosco Step Stool has always been in our house while growing up, so my brother took it because he said it was in his DNA. Little by little my parents things are incorporated into other homes. A new life for stuff.

My garage is temporarily storing furniture until I can get it moved into place. Then I need to decide what stuff I should eliminate.  Cycle, recycle, and decide what has meaning in my life.