1. My seat. For reasons of both practicality and fund-raising, synagogues sell seats during the High Holidays. This is done to ensure that one gets a seat, that it is reserved for you. Otherwise, it's possible you won't get a place to sit down. My seat is in a section that faces the mechtiza, the partition between the men's and women's sides. It's fifteen seats - three rows of five. My seat? Middle seat of the middle row. And everyone sitting around me is a friend of mine, from the Rebbitzen (who works with autistic children and who loved Elizabeth Moon's The Speed of Darkness, which I gave her) to this summer's bat mitzvah girl, who is One of Us - she reads fantasy novels and writes fanfiction. And she's there with her mother and her grandmother - three generations of women. Another mother-daughter pair sit behind me. I went to the daughter's wedding. It's ... just nice. Warm. Comforting, almost. And I know they'll all be watching me like hawks this Yom Kippur, too.
2. My guests. We had three meals with guests - one pure shul, one family plus a friend and one...well. Family and chosen family is the best I can describe it. We had two first-time guests the first night, and they were smart and funny and got all the weird jokes. Our friend the second night is studying the same field that employs my brother, and they had things to talk about. And I knew Michael wouldn't care that my family drove or my mom wore pants. And lunch yesterday. Ten people - eight adults counting the other bat mitzvah girl of the summer, plus a six year old and a three month old. My brother-in-law ate meat. The six year old said my casserole was "yummy, yummy", and the picky twelve old who hates chicken ate mine. And we had a nurse, a physical therapist and two college professors at the table. We had no problems with conversation.
3. My rabbi, who gave two inspirational speeches. I'm thinking seriously of doing something he suggested and actually A. learning the parashah before Friday night and B. posting what comes to mind from it. It can't hurt, right?
4. Very little politics and economics and news. YAY!