Saturday, May 24, 2008


With exactly three weeks to go until the bar mitzvah, things have been pretty busy around here. There’s a lot to deal with. Three of the 5 of us are learning Torah readings which is a pretty intense process. I still need to figure out what I’m wearing and there’s little in this world I hate as much as shopping for clothes. Because I have some wonderful friends, I am not personally doing much cooking or even organizing the cooks for the post-service luncheon, yet there’s still plenty to think about. Tablecloths? Napkins? Drinks? I am so not a detail person.

And then there are bigger issues such as The Dreaded Parental Speech (hereafter known as the DPS). This had me in a complete tizzy before The Dark Lord’s bar mitzvah. It’s common practice in our synagogue for the parents to stand up in front of everyone and say Deep and Meaningful things to the bar/bat mitzvah kid. I can get pretty nervous about reading Torah given that both Hebrew and melody are involved and neither are strengths for me. The fact is that 99% of the folks in attendance won’t even know if I make a mistake and there will be people there to help me out of I get stuck.

But the DPS is another matter. It’s in English. It’s emotional and big. There you are, in front of the whole world, trying to say something your kid will remember forever and mostly just wanting to cry. No pressure. None at all. So there's that to think about.

But at least the Torah reading is going relatively well apart from a few freakouts. Thanks to MonkeyBoy’s excellent skills, not only does he have his 12 verses pretty well down, but he can coach me and his brother as well.

With 50 million things to do, wouldn’t you know I’d get hit with piles of ideas for things I want to make. The tallit is coming along but I’m also itching to do lots more sewing. I blame it on this book which has filled me with fantasies of hand sewing a complete, one-of-a-kind, richly embellished wardrobe. I was so excited about the techniques in here that I had to give something a try and decided on a gift for MonkeyBoy (who never reads my blog but if you've dropped byMB, just run along, will you?)

Most of the projects in the book use recycled cotton knits from deconstructed T-shirts, which is not only wonderfully soft but makes connections with the author's hometown in cotton country. Many of the projects are embellished with reverse appliqué, a technique that appears fairly simple but actually requires a number of different color choices making for a rich design. Obviously I wasn't going to go with the leafy floral designs in the book, but then it hit me--Hebrew letters would make a lovely design. I quickly hit upon the idea of working with his Hebrew name and made up a freezer paper stencil, painted the design on thrift store T-shirt, pinned on the contrasting fabric from another old T-shirt and had the whole thing stitched up in a couple of hours. I may even get some help from The Spouse with a design for the back. His name means dove in Hebrew so we thought that might be a fitting image but one thing I don't do is draw so that's up to him.I love how it came out (except for the fabric paint that went a little more towards pink than purple, darn it) and I can't wait to spend more time exploring these techniques. But first I guess I'd better focus on what needs to be done in the next few weeks without totally losing my cool.

Tonight as MonkeyBoy was helping me study my Torah reading (in the midst of a massive thunderstorm) I began to despair of ever learning it properly given all I had to do in the coming weeks. He suggested that what I needed to do was to hire a mom to worry about the bar mitzvah details so I could focus on my Torah reading and finishing his tallit. Not a bad idea---any Rent-A-Moms out there?


Mimi said...

My prayers with your son on this day!

ElizO said...

...dreaded parental speech..
No doubt! I'd never be able to do anything but sob out some lame anecdote in about 5 seconds and jet out of there.

Anonymous said...

Less than three weeks!?! How can that possibly be?

Sunrise, sunset.

bettyninja said...

What a great way to try something from the Alabama book. Thanks for sharing!