Thursday, January 2, 2014

Things are getting back to normal...

It's always kind of a letdown when the holidays end.  I generally find them stressful, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy them on some level.  I do like the pretty lights, music, and exchanging gifts.  And I like the food, too, though believe it or not, we don't tend to stuff ourselves more at this time of year than any other time.  It's probably because we keep our celebrations low key.  I also got the flu, which didn't make me want to eat or drink a lot.

We took down all the Christmas decorations yesterday, so now the dining room looks naked.  Then I vacuumed up all the debris that fell from both my fake trees.  I know some people wait until epiphany to take all the stuff down, but I was kind of ready for things to get back to normal.

I've been reading Unorthodox, an interesting book about a woman, Deborah Feldman, who was raised a Hasidic Jew and decided to leave the faith when she became a young woman.  I've actually had the book for about a year or so and started reading it before we left North Carolina, but set it aside because I'd get hung up on a Kindle book.  When I started getting sick, I decided I was going to read that book once and for all.  I have to say, it's turning out to be pretty fascinating.  I don't know why people read novels when real life is so frequently a lot more interesting.

I knew nothing about the Hasidic Jews before I started reading this woman's book.  She was raised in New York City, where there are all kinds of people from different cultures co-existing among each other.  She describes her father as something of an idiot.  I don't mean he lacks common sense; I mean the man has a very low I.Q.  Apparently, the author's mother was from Britain and wasn't much of a "catch", so she married this man, who was an Orthodox Jew and came from a family that promised her a comfortable life.  It turned out the marriage was doomed, but his family threatened her, so she left without her daughter.  The author was raised by her very Orthodox Hasidic Jewish grandparents and other extended family.

She lived by strict and rather oppressive rules.  Her grandmother was forced to shave her head and wear turbans and wigs because the rabbis had said that having hair was prideful and perhaps if the ladies shaved their heads, God would not punish them.  Later, when the author became engaged, she too shaved her head and wore wigs and turbans.  For two weeks out of every month, women are considered "unclean".  When they have their periods and for seven days afterward, their husbands can't touch them.  The women are not allowed to sing in front of their husbands.  And, of course, there are strict requirements regarding diet.  Everything must be kosher.

I'm not finished reading the book yet, but so far it's really kept my attention.  I look forward to reviewing it.  It's nice to be able to read so much and write about books that fascinate me.  It's not much of a career, but it is a great way to spend my time.  I feel like I learn so much when I read books about interesting people from other cultures.

Aside from the new book, not much is going on today.  I don't have anything rant worthy to write about at the moment, but I'm sure that will change as the day wears on.  Maybe I'll write more of my porn story…  ;-)  

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