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Hi! Thank you for stopping by to watch me, Leah, cook kosher. I've been the owner operator of my boutique catering firm in Seattle, Leah's Catering, for the past 14 years.

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If Life is a Bowl Full of Cherries....
Posted: March 7, 2011 By: Leah Jaffee

Coming home early after a 9 hour work day, I throw myself on the couch. Vacillating between guilt and indulgence, I convince myself that anyone who makes lunch for 50 people can be tired and deserve a nap. Anyone who has a Coke, lemon bar and rhubarb shortbread for breakfast, and lunch, should feel a sugar crash. Anyone who stands in line at the supermarket and catches a glimpse of 'celebrity cellulite' ought to feel depressed. I close my eyes...just for a few minutes.

Rhubarb Shortbread

Lemon Bars

My nemesis, I mean my teenaged daughter Aviva, is excited to drive "THE" car to her appointment. I lay on the couch. She'll be home in an hour. I imagine the roast I defrosted yesterday covered in z'ahtar, black peppercorns and sweet onions roasting in the oven. I can't will it to happen. I can't get up. In the background, Chris Matthews interrupts another talking head on MSNBC. I don't have the energy to be self-righteously indignant or mildly entertained. Michael Moore soap boxing in Madison isn't rousing me into action. I'm ambivalent. Without Keith Olbermann to come home to nightly, all news is old news.

I hear a ping on my BlackBerry, my laptop is closer. Checking my email, I've received two from women I admire; Chanie Levitin my Rebbitzen and Susan Marshall, friend and doctor. Both women are genuinely kind, gracious, smart and ladylike. A pang of jealousy flashes and then moves along. I don't often receive chain emails. Flattered, I read each carefully. Inspirational and sentimental, I realize that this is just what I need to hear.

Susan's message is one of finding peace within, knowing that where we are is where we are meant to be. It's about being content and expressing love in our interactions with others. I think of the women of the community. I envision all those nice folks I met in Bali being able to pull this off. I try not to doubt my capabilities. The Tree of Life on the 5th dimensional grid seems elusive. Sigh. I guess I can at least take my coat off and get that roast into the oven. I appreciate Susan's email of encouragement.

Chani sends me a list Erma Bombeck wrote after being diagnosed with cancer, "If I had My Life to Live Over". Basically, it is a list of things she wouldn't worry about the next time around, like buying things only because they are practical. "Stop sweating the small stuff!!!" Wherever and whomever she is now, I think Erma Bombeck can appreciate my reaction to her list. It is in keeping with Buddhist/Jewish philosophy as per the list my friend Sue sent me. Full of things like, "Where you go, there you are - your luggage is another story", Jewish pragmatism is in shocking contrast to the ethereal Buddhist teachings.

Reading Erma Bombeck's list, I think she needs a reincarnation life coach, someone to really explain what 'small stuff' to let slide next time around, beginning today:

"I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been done." Ah, who gets their hair done? Living is when someone on your crew asks if you are going "Rasta" because you haven't combed your hair in 3 days.

"Instead of wishing away nine months of pregancy..." Okay, I guess wishing away 18 years of child rearing is excessive.... how about just the hard days?

"I would have sat on the lawn and not worried about grass stains." Who's got a lawn? Isn't this the neighborhood natural habitat?

While not outright heartless, I'm not the first person who comes to mind when people are looking for compassion and empathy. Me, I want to fix a situation. I'm not the first person who comes to mind when a sentimental email chain is going around, either. But, I'm glad for these emails received 10 minutes apart. I feel hopeful, inspired, and like I'm living someone's ideal of reincarnation. I feel empowered, emboldened. I can get through the other half of my day. Let me take that roast out of the oven. "Aviva! It's time for dinner....get the paper plates!"



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