Posts Tagged ‘stress’


February 17, 2011

Okay, it was bound to happen sooner or later — pre-event stress.

But over flowers?

I feel totally prepared and comfortable with my Bat Mitzvah service. And there are practically no bells and whistles surrounding the service — at least not compared with my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah four years ago, which involved printed invitations, hotel rooms and transportation for about 25 out-of-town relatives, multiple family dinners and brunches, a DJ party complete with chocolate fountain for the teenagers, and shopping expeditions for two completely different outfits for the Bat Mitzvah girl. (Plus we were coordinating all this with another girl and her family.)

Mine will be positively Zen-like in comparison!

But still, it’s a week away, and so the stress hit me tonight. Over the silliest thing — flowers.

At our temple, the Bat/Bar Mitzvah family is in charge of providing the flower arrangement for the bima (dais). It’s a big room, and so needs a big arrangement, and that can get pricey. Several weeks ago, I was at a Bat Mitzvah where the family placed five orchids on the bima instead of a florist-designed arrangement, and it looked great. Simple, elegant and LESS EXPENSIVE. I asked the mom where she got the orchids, and she said Costco, for about $13 each.

Bat Mitzvah orchid?

I figured orchids were the way to go. So yesterday I went to the Costco in Richmond and discovered they were totally OUT of orchids. The store computer said there were orchids at the San Leandro Costco, so I drove to San Leandro.  Of course they were totally out of orchids too. Apparently orchid season ended with the end of Chinese new year. I could have bought some bare-root rose bushes or blueberry bushes, but that didn’t seem to quite fit the bill.

Today I stopped at Trader Joe’s, which also has orchids. But were they the right orchids? Were they pretty enough? Full enough?

With floral design, we have ventured into one of my areas of total lack of competence and confidence. I couldn’t trust that my orchid choice would be successful. I came home and called the florist we had used for our daughter’s Bat Mitzvah — and was told the arrangement would cost two hundred and fifty dollars. And that the price of little stemless carnation heads — which congregants throw at the Bat Mitzvah in celebration after she completes her chanting — has gone up and would cost something like one hundred and fifty dollars.

(You can gauge my stress by the number of italics and capitalized words in this blog post.)

So I called another florist, who it turns out is somewhat cheaper. I’m still gagging, but not quite as much.

But this is only partly about my floral insecurity. There is suddenly a lot going on. My sister and her family are arriving from Rhode Island tomorrow for a weekend visit, and the day after they leave, I’m taking my daughter down to L.A. to look at colleges until Wednesday night. On Thursday night, my father-in-law arrives. Somewhere in the middle of all that, both my husband and one of my nephews have birthdays. And I have a couple of work-related interviews, a j. weekly board meeting, and my second dress rehearsal.

It occurred to me that with kids, the Bar or Bat Mitzvah child just has to worry about getting their chanting and d’var Torah right, while the parents worry about logistical things like hotel rooms and flowers. Everyone may be stressed out, but the stress is divided.

As an adult Bat Mitzvah, on the other hand, I’m in charge of both the substance and the logistics. Even with help from spouse and friends, it’s kind of like being my own mom.


Okay, I feel somewhat better having written this post.

Blogging as stress reduction? I never thought about that when I started Midlife Bat Mitzvah.

But it’s cheaper than paying for a massage, and healthier than downing a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.

Relax and look at the meat

November 16, 2010

I heard about this study on NPR and just had to share it:

Men soothed by sight of meat, study finds 

Apparently some McGill University researchers studied men’s reactions to pictures of meat. They had hypothesized that looking at meat would make the men more aggressive, according to the National Post, a Canadian newspaper.

Mais non!

Researchers asked 82 men to sort photos — some were given images of meat that was ready to eat while others had more neutral images — as actors read from a script. Every time an actor made a mistake, the men were told to “punish” the actor by raising various volumes of sound, the highest levels believed by the subjects to be painful.

The results showed that men were less likely to attempt to inflict pain on the reader if they were looking at an image of meat while the mistake was made.

Sooo…. forget those tinkling water sculptures and Zen sand gardens. Forget massage and Prozac and Windham Hill. Forget smelling the roses and sipping the chamomile.

Next time you’re stressed out…. sit back and look at the steak.