Beautiful Hiking @Harpers Ferry

Hiking the Appalachian Trail, oh so glorious. 

The only photo not shown is the large snake we ran into on the rocks on the side of the path.


My wife screamed:


“S-n-a-k-e!”


And we were running for the hills in this direction and that.


We had no idea where she was pointing to.


It was pretty hilarious. 

 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Andy The Swimmer

This was a cute cartoon that “Anastasia The Lifeguard” doodled of me swimming. 


She captured me doing my laps. 


Enjoying the sunshine.


Breathing in the fresh air. 


Appreciating the beautiful flowers.


Loving the pool and water. 


Thank you so much for this great picture!


(Source Cartoon: the Talented Anastasia)

Monopoly Yerushalmi

I am so excited to play this edition of Monopoly Jerusalem edition. 


The properties of obviously from famous places in the Holy City of Jerusalem, such as The Kenneset, Mount Olives, Mount Herzl, Hebrew University, Montefiore Windmill, Mahane Yehuda Market, The Biblical Zoo, The Israel Museum, Tower of David, and of course, The Western Wall, and more. 


The cards are in both Hebrew and English so I can continue to improve my Hebrew language skills. 


I think this is a perfect topic to be thinking about today, which is  Tisha B’Av (the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av).


This is a perfect Shabbat game for after Shul and Kiddish, and I am looking forward to the family sitting down to play Monopoly Jerusalem style. 


I want to also note that Jerusalem along with the Holy Temple (may it be rebuilt speedily in our day) is a perfect topic to be thinking about today, because this is the day on the Hebrew calendar when the Holy Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in both 586 BCE by the Babylonians as well as in 70 CE by the Romans after they had laid siege to the city–the exact same day of the calendar year over 650 years apart–and so this is a day of commemoration, mourning, introspection for the Jewish people. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Longing For The Slow and Happy Bungalow Days

So I used to hear from my wife about when she was young and went to the bungalow colony in the Catskill Mountains.


And today, I heard from a wonderful young Ukrainian woman whose family does the equivalent in the mountains there in the summer. 


When I listen to the stories, it sounds so good to get away with your family and friends for the summer to the countryside. 


Just live simply in a cabin, stay up late by the campfire singing songs, get up lazily in the morning, and during the day play sports, go fishing, and swim in the lake. 


I can’t imagine talking 3 months a year and actually being able to do this…so natural, so carefree, so back to living!


Yes as kids, we went to camp, but it’s not the same as living communally like this in such freedom and fun. 


Honestly, listening to the stories about this, left me amazingly jealous!


Perhaps, it’s a lesson about life these days…we’re adults, we’re responsible, we have to earn a living and take care of the bills and all of life’s responsibilities. 


But maybe, just maybe, there is something–a lot–to be said for letting loose a little, and just being with your loved ones, and living, really living again. 


Why do we have to wait until we’re old…too old to work anymore…and maybe too old to appreciate life as life was meant to be.  


We can’t run from our responsibilities but isn’t it worth looking for ways in life to enjoy more than a long weekend or a week vacation.


Life is too short to let it get away from us. 


Balancing the contributions of our hard labor with the enjoyment of family, friends, and fun…those are the memories that last a lifetime and beyond. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

That Look On Their Face

So I love that look on people’s face when I say something that just startles them or takes them back a little. 


The other day when I got a haircut, the barber lady was talking to me (BTW, she’s a very nice person).


At one point, she says something about my hair being a little different on each side. 


So I blurt out something like:


“Well, that’s because my brains are pushing it out!”


I got the funniest look from her…yes, it was priceless.


First, she’s like right, of course, your brains are pushing out your hair!


Then, she looks at me, and I start smirking, and she gives me the big eyes and raised eyebrows, like a combination of that’s funny and now don’t be such a wise guy. 


Then, we both started laughing. 


I love that. 


I love doing that with people. 


Being alive. 


Getting a reaction. 


Making them wonder for a second. 


Getting them to smile and laugh. 


Maybe my brains are pushing my hair out!  😉


(Source Art: Sean M., 8th Grade Montgomery County and Photo by Andy Blumenthal)

Everyone Deserves A Day of Rest and Happiness


So someone I know came over to this country and literally has to work 7 days a week for months at a time!


They don’t want or need to work that much, but their employer insists that’s the way it is. 


On top of it, they don’t even get overtime for all the unbelievable hours they have to put in. 


One day, this person actually just broke down in incredible tears, just asking to get a single day off. 


Finally, finally, finally–the employer gave in–for just a single day!


The person was so happy–one day of freedom; one day to enjoy; one day to regain their inner beauty and humanity. 


I was so happy for them!


Every person deserves at least one day off per week. 


Every single one of the major religions in the world that is anchored in the Bible–Judaism, Christianity, and Islam–have a holy Sabbath as a day of rest.


There is a divine and ancient wisdom to this. 


People need a day to rejuvenate.


Everything is nature does.


Even the fields have to lay fallow every 7th year so the earth can revitalize and replenish itself. 


There is a natural cycle to things–peaks and valleys–and we need to have some rest and relaxation–to work for something and not for nothing. 


The joy on this person to just have a day off–it was so incredible and touching. 


It spoke light years to me about treating people right–just–humanly–with compassion–and doing good over evil in this world.


What does the employer need to wring an extra days work out of their employees for the rotten greed of money and profits?  


Better to care for your people, and they will be better off for it and thus to the needs of the business and its customers. 


Care for people–they are people. 


Love people–they are G-d’s beautiful children. 


Treat others as you would like to be treated. 


Let everyone have a day of rest and something to look forward to–to enjoy, to have some happiness, to get time with their family and friends, to get back to themselves, to attain a deserved and proper peace of mind, body, and soul. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)  

Helmet Head

So happy Friday funday. 


We work hard during the week, right.


Today in the office, we replaced some old metal clunker garbage cans with some new clean plastic ones. 


The old ones, every time you threw a bottle or anything hard out, it made a crazy loud banging noise disrupting everyone. 


I started to joke with my colleagues that the dirty, heavy old cans were more useful as a helmet in case of emergency evacuation of something. 


So today the old metal junk cans got a happy face helmet head and a prestigious place next to the office plants.


Everyone had a good hearty laugh!


Honestly, it’s wonderful to be incredibly productive and accomplish a lot for the people, the mission, and all the stakeholders, and at the same time know how to have some fun and make people happy. 


Good for morale and good for teamwork!  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)