Triple Play

1. Just 'Cause I'm Morbid Doesn't Mean I'm Sick
I've heard from a few people, worried about me because I haven't blogged lately and because I talk about my demise in a recent post. I'm fine. I have a routine oncology appointment May 2, and will report on that. I'm going to be a keynote presenter at a conference in Iowa City on Friday. I went to step aerobics tonight and was my usual clumsy self, but didn't fall. One time I fell backwards when I was sitting down and using one of those colored elastic stretcher things. They're dangerous.

2. What Price Friendship
In case anyone wondered, I've figured it out. It's the difference between the cost of a house in Wrigleyville and one in Andersonville (2 miles north). We have been looking at condos and houses because L and I are going to live together full time, after four years of marriage. He still has his house in Gary, though he stays in my condo most of the time. My condo is big but there's no room for his furniture there, or for an office for him. We're planning to sell his house and find a place where we can both have offices, as well as a guest room. A few weeks ago we paid earnest money on a brick farmhouse around the corner. It's very close to B and S; some time ago S and I vowed to stay in the neighborhood. They live down the alley from us now. We found out today that it would cost, roughly, half the selling price to rehab the place properly. So we threw in the towel. We have to have vintage (or else I'll be depressed) and we have to have outdoor space for L. There's tons of vintage north of us, but I promised S. And so we keep looking. My parents chose their neighbors when we moved into a new house in the 1960s. The three families bought the land together and drew straws to see who would be in the middle. We were, with the W---s on one side, and the S---s on the other. The families are still friends.

L and I realize that in most of the world, my condo would house 30 people. I said this to my visiting friend D, and he said: I'm glad you said it because I don't like to criticize my friends. Later he sent me an email in French that said, Property is theft.

3. 85 Years
This year again I didn't go to the homeland (Texas) for Passover. Sunday was my mother-in-law's 85th birthday so we sojourned with her in Litchfield, IL, tripling the Jewish population there for two days. L's kids came from Indianapolis: daughter, son and his wife and stepdaughter. They're all Christian. I led a short seder Saturday night for us. A friend of L's mother's came, too. I used the 1923 Union (Reform) haggadahs on hand, published the same year that L's mother was born. It didn't mention the 10 plagues. I think this is because the plagues seemed too magical to the logical Reform rabbis who felt the need oh-so-strongly back then to differentiate themselves from the superstitious Orthodox. At the seder on Saturday L asked the group: [Cancer Bitch], my mother and I are the least religious people here. Why do you think we wanted to have the seder? Our stepgranddaughter, aged 7, said: Because you're Jew-iss? L said he likes Passover because of the focus on liberation, and the way that you can make analogies with other freedom struggles. I said I like that aspect and also I like to think that people for thousands of years were observing the holiday just like we are. More or less. I'd pointed out that the haggadah was male-centric and had been published only three years after women got the vote. We had our granddaughter open the door for Elijah and look for the afikomen. If I had it to do over, I would have used a simple haggadah written for children, without verbs that end in "eth" and without so much God. In Houston I use an amalgam of texts. Sometimes we just go with the The Telling haggadah, which is egalitarian and progressive and quotes Emma Goldman. How many haggadahs can say that?