January 11th, 2010


And so, the baby was named

Jewish tradition makes a joyous ceremony out of naming a baby. For boys this happens during the circumcision (Brit Milah/Bris) ceremony on the 8th day after birth. For girls, the baby is named during the morning prayers service (Shacharit) on the next day that the Torah is read (portions of the Torah are read on Sabbath and Mondays and Thursdays - taking one year to read the whole scroll).

Because my sister only came home from hospital yesterday, this morning's service was elected as the appropriate time. In order for people to attend the service before work, it is held at 6.30 am. This morning, this felt like some kind of gleeful joke since I am not a morning person. I cannot describe the pain of hearing the alarm at 6am. I feel much like a zombie these days, struggling to keep my heavy eyes open though the day. I'm also having some kind of existential crisis, worrying about the kind of aunt I am going to be - the kind I want to be doesn't skip important events, and so I went. Benji thought I was mad.

The baby of course, after being up all night, slept through most of the service. As the Torah is read, three men are called up one at a time - each representing a part of the Jewish people - a Cohen, a Levi and then Yisroel (most Jews are now from the tribe of Judah and are referred to as 'Yisroel' or 'Israel'). There was a bit of a search for a Levi, only one in the house this day, and luckily a friend of my sister and her husband. My brother-in-law was called up as the Yisroel and he made some prayers over the Torah whilst he held the bubby. Then the Torah portion was read. Then there were some blessings made - first for the health of my sister and then to formally name the baby. The baby was given her Hebrew name and we were whispered the English name by my sister, as we hung out in the women's section. Hebrew names are used for when people say prayers for you - when you are sick, in memorial, also for your big events, such as Bar/Bat Mitzvah, wedding and so on. It's the name that Gpd keeps track of you with - your first name and then followed by the name of your father (and only your mothers is used when prayers are made for you when you are sick.) Ashkenazi Jews tend to name babies after people who have passed.

I won't post the baby's name here - if you follow me on Facebook I posted it there.

But now, the baby has a name - Mazal Tov!


BSFA Awards

The BSFA awards are presented annually by the British Science Fiction Association, based on a vote of BSFA members and – in recent years – members of the British national science fiction convention (Eastercon). Nominations are now open for the BSFA's 2009 awards.

You may nominate a work if YOU:

* Are a member of the BSFA
* Send or give your nominations to the Awards Administrator to arrive by January 16th 2010.

Currently on the nomination list:

Deborah Biancotti Diamond Shell A Book of Endings, Twelfth Planet Press
Deborah Biancotti Problems of Light and Dark A Book of Endings, Twelfth Planet Press

If you are a member of BSFA, and enjoyed these stories, you might consider nominating them - the 5 stories with the highest number of nominations make the final ballot.


and in my life otherwise

Yesterday was the day maelkann and I were finally back in the same country and city. Yay. We spent the day hanging out, went into the city and popped in and out of various gaming and books stores and several JB HiFis (there are three on Hay St, we went into 2). Some people got grumpy because they could not buy what they were looking for. Other people spent far too much money on CDs and DVDs and still not the actual item they were looking for (Big Love Season 3!).

JB HiFi were having a 20% off all CDs and DVDs. A bunch of things I've had my eye on for a while were marked down and then had 20% off. So really, rather than impulse buying, I prefer to look at this as careful year long shopping and finally getting things at an affordable price. And really, when you get one whole TV series for less than the price of a movie ticket ... it's a good deal. I have a bunch of stuff now to watch - I was working my way through Gilmore Girls again last week, all that my brain was up for. I also grabbed a Vampire Weekend CD (Thanks to flinthart's Older Son and his subliminal programming) and Sarah Blasko.

maelkann went home to sleep, having come to hang with me straight off the plane, and I might have done some Amazon surfing. cassiphone are reading Joanna Russ and I figured we might want to do this together rather than me waiting to borrow her copies and because some of these are core texts that I should own. I bought On Joanna Russ, How to Suppress Women's Writing and The Female Man. I then started The Kosher Guide to Imaginary Animals because I need to start actually working my way through my books pile - book buying is easier to justify if it is actually increasing your knowledge base :) I also watched The Proposal and worked on the hexagon quilt - I'll try and post a pic tonight, it's grown. The movie was silly and thus perfect for my attention span.

I'm pleased with how the cooking efforts are going. I haven't yet pulled out my blender nor embarked on any cocktail making. I'm also slightly worried that these two resolution goals might involve a bit of an increase in my housekeeping costs. (Why isn't "do your budget, damnit" on my to do list?) I think part of making healthier cooking more enjoyable is the freshness and high quality of the ingredients. But on the other hand, I am a very bad housekeeper - I shop often, buy a lot of prepackaged foods (can be expensive) and am not good with using things up before they go off. Part of that is OCD related and has become a habit. I didn't shop as much last week, notably. But I have instituted a couple of rules to go along with the cooking exploration this year - leftovers must be consumed before more food is prepared, no meals in high rotation, buy good ingredients and enjoy the meal (reduce snacking after meals), don't throw out as much perishable ingredients - use up fruit and veggies in subsequent meals and look for recipes to incorporate more of the ingredients that I already have in the house (this one means it's ok for now to stock up on all sorts of base ingredients - flours, spices etc). See, if I had done my budget and spending records, I could adequately check whether this year is more or less cost effective.



OOh exciting mail came for me today!!!! I received my copy of The Secret Feminist Cabal by Helen Merrick, which I had been looking forward to and am really excited to finally get to read! My exchanges from Intimo (thanks callistra!). And a really big box of goodies from maelkann - I love geeks! They are the BEST!