May. 30th, 2017

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Another numbered list, all vaguely related.

1. In a few days it will be my birthday and I'm asking people to help me make that meaningful by helping others. Yes, I'm asking for money (for Oxfam) and that's not a reasonable thing for lots of people. If it's not on your list please help me spread the word.

2. Soon it will be the Jewish holiday of Shavuot - for most Jews who observe, it will start at sundown tonight. It marks the anniversary of the giving of the Torah (the laws, commandments, and history) by G-d on Mt. Sinai. Traditionally, Jews read the Ten Commandments in synagogue on this holiday, as they were read in the desert originally. It's also associated with eating dairy foods, because all Jewish holidays are about food in some way. HIAS, the Jewish-focused refugee support organization I'm looking to work with, sent out a reminder wishing people a "meaningful" Shavuot.

It's not the first time I've heard this phrase but it's one I like, as a mostly non-observant Jew. I recognize that people perform a wide variety of religious rituals for various reasons and I hope that anyone who does that is able to find meaning in those observances.

3. This morning I avoided serious injury or perhaps death through fate or fortune or random chance - take your pick. I was walking the dog, as I do, on the sidewalk. A landscaping truck coming from behind me was well over the median line, which forced an oncoming truck to swerve quite wide to avoid colliding. In swerving, the avoiding truck went well up onto the sidewalk, a few meters in front of me. Had I been those few meters farther forward I would have been struck by this truck.

As it was I just got my hair mussed by the wind and my day's worth of adrenaline in a few seconds. It was literally over and gone before I could even start shaking.

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