Zev News – January 2007


One of the first events of the year was that Benjamin’s 4th grade class took a field trip to La Purisima Mission.  La Purisima (http://www.lapurisimamission.org/) is California’s most completely restored mission.  It specializes in programs for 4th graders and it does a great job of it – except that it’s a 2 ½ hour drive.  So Benjamin had to be at the school at 6:30 am, and they were supposed to get back at 6 pm.  They actually returned at 6:45.  This wouldn’t have mattered except that night was a special Friday night service at our Temple with Rick Recht (one of the top musicians in Jewish music this century.)   Benjamin wanted to go.  Well, the service was scheduled for 7:30, and Benjamin did return at 6:45, so after Jackie picked him up, they drove through McDonalds and went straight to the Temple.  They got great seats, but ran into difficulties with the volume level.  Rick and his musicians were amplified to concert levels, which was problematic for both Benjamin and Jackie.  Unfortunately, Jackie forgot that she had earplugs stashed in her car, so they just moved to the back, where it was more tolerable.  Normally, Friday night services last about an hour, but this night, after an hour and a half, it was still going strong.  Around 9 pm, Rick told everyone to close their eyes and imagine something.  Benjamin (who had been lying with his head on Jackie’s lap) closed his eyes – and opened them on Saturday.  At least he was awake for most of the service.


Jonathan had a soccer tournament the next day, and he had to be there early.  Therefore, we had arranged for Benjamin to spend the night at Grammy Blanche’s house.  That way he could sleep in.  Jonathan’s soccer team being in the tournament was an unexpected pleasure.  His team had finished in last (5th) place in the regular season last fall, which meant that in the playoffs, they had to play 3 games and win all three to advance to the tournament.  Incredibly, they did exactly that.  In the tournament, teams were placed in pools of 4, and each team played the other 3 teams in their pool on Saturday (3 games in 7 hours!)  As it turns out, Jonathan’s team played the weakest team first, and beat them.  They then lost to the second team by a whisker, but they went to lunch happy despite the loss.  Because of their last place finish in the regular season, expectations were low.  They then won the third game, which was against the strongest team of the pool, and we all held our breath – would it be enough to move on to the next level in the tournament?  As it turned out it was not, but despite not moving on, we still regarded the day as a roaring success.  Jonathan went directly from the tournament to a laser tag party.  The next day, to no one’s surprise, he was a little tired.


The following weekend, Jackie took the boys skiing for the first time.  Our Temple’s Senior youth group (of which Jonathan is a member) had a one-day ski trip and Jackie and Benjamin tagged along.  The Youth group, in what Jackie regarded as a stoke of genius, had the kids spend Friday night at the Temple, so that they would all be there in the morning and ready to go at 6:30 am.  Jackie and Benjamin passed on the slumber party, for lots of reasons, one of which was that Marc and Jackie had tickets to see the Bobs on Friday night.  The Bobs concert was great – We’ve been Bobs fans for over 20 years now and we try to see them every time they come to LA. 


Saturday morning, Jackie and Benjamin showed up at the Temple at 6:15 and within half an hour everyone was on the road.  The Temple provided a ski package that included ski rental, lessons and lunch.  Jackie had her own skis, boots and poles, but had paid for the whole package anyways.  At Mountain High, Jackie shepherded the kids through the ski and boot rental process.  Then, she went to get her bindings adjusted, which had to be done at the repair shop.  She came back, put on her boots, stuffed everyone’s shoes into a locker, and then the troubles began.  As she walked in her ski boots (her 25 year old ski boots which had been stored in the garage,) the hard plastic exterior started disintegrating.  In only a few steps, it became clear that Jackie could not ski in her boots.  Fortunately, she had paid for rentals in her ski package, so she decided just to get rental boots.  Unfortunately, she had put the rental contract in the locker.  Fortunately, the locker was close by.  Unfortunately, Jackie discovered that she had lost the key.  Fortunately, all it takes is paying $5, and you can get into a locker when you lose the key, so she did that and got the contract.  Unfortunately, between adjusting the bindings and the locker fiasco, she realized that if she didn’t get the kids to their lessons before taking the time to rent boots, they would miss their 10 am lessons.  So in her disintegrating boots, she took them up to where the lessons take place.  Upon arriving there was much confusion about where the kids were supposed to be and by the time it was straightened out, Jonathan had missed the 10 am lesson.  Fortunately, there was another one at 11 – he just had to wait.  The confusion stemmed from the fact that there are adult lessons and children’s lessons.  At 13, Jonathan qualified for the adult lesson, but being 9, Benjamin did not.  However, it took a while to work this out.  The adult lessons are an hour and a half.  The children’s lessons go from whenever you arrive until 3 pm and they feed the kids lunch.  Having settled both kids into their respective lessons, Jackie went off to rent boots.  Now, the entire time Jackie was working out the lesson situation, her boots had continued to disintegrate, and by the time she rented boots, they were pretty much down to the thick rubber inside liner.  Between Jonathan having missed his 10 am lesson and the boots disintegrating and the locker fiasco, she was feeling pretty frazzled.  But at last she could ski!  First she went to check on Jonathan.  Jonathan’s lesson hadn’t started yet and he was pretty stressed about all the standing around and waiting.  Jackie hung around until the lesson was about to start and spoke to the instructor saying that Jonathan might be a little on edge, and could he be sensitive to that, please.  He read her the riot act, saying that there were lots of people in the class, and if she wanted HER child to get individual attention, then she should pay for a private lesson.  Well! She didn’t realized that being sensitive to a 13-year-old’s troubles was such an unreasonable request!  As Jackie went off to ski, she had pretty much written off Jonathan liking skiing. 


The Temple group was supposed to meet up between 11:30 and 12:30 to get their lunch vouchers.  This worked well for most of the kids, who had taken the 10 am lesson, because it let out at 11:30.  However, not so good for Jonathan, whose lesson ended at 12:30.  So at noon, Jackie met up with the Temple group and picked up the vouchers.  Then she went over to where the lessons let out and met up with Jonathan.  They got lunch, and aside from being starving, Jonathan was in a much better mood.  After lunch, they skied a couple of runs together and Jackie was surprised at how well he had picked up skiing.  They met up with a couple of Jonathan’s friends, so Jackie left Jonathan with his friends and went off on her own again.  It was a pretty warm day, which was fine – until it started to rain.  It was snowing at the top of the mountain, which was in theory an improvement over rain, except that the visibility was horrible.  Jackie skied for about an hour and a half, maybe two hours, before deciding that the lack of visibility was making skiing more risky than it was fun, and she headed down. 


Jackie had no trouble finding Jonathan, sent him to turn in his equipment, and went to pick up Benjamin.  Benjamin’s class arrived late, but with big grins on their faces.  Indeed, both boys were turned into big skiing fans.  They both returned with stories of how they had been on intermediate runs on their first day and both were eager to do it again.  So despite all the problems, the day was a success.  They came home wet, exhausted and happy.


Marc was not home.  Marc had left the house shortly after Jackie and the boys on Saturday morning to fly to Houston for the 20 year anniversary celebration of the Challenger Center.  So while the rest of the family was skiing, Marc was flying to Houston then driving to Jackie’s cousin’s house. There he spent some time catching up with Mark, Nancy and Aaron Picus. Then he put on his Tuxedo and drove into downtown Houston for a night of hobnobbing  with astronauts, Lockheed big wigs and the top brass at the Challenger Center. The next morning, Marc flew back to LA to hear all about the previous day’s skiing adventures.


Hope you are having as much fun as we are!

Jackie, Marc, Jonathan and Benjamin