Monday, July 31, 2006

QOTD: Leftists Edition

And Now for Something Completely Different...
"I just keep thinking, sixty years ago, they used bulldozers to shovel mountains of our corpses into massive open graves. They burned us in pits of fire fueled by the fat of those who had been burned before. And now they call us the Nazis. I don't want to sound chauvinist or anything, but no gentile could ever begin to comprehend what it means to call someone a Nazi."

Friday, July 28, 2006

An Ode to Chipwich

I went to the pet store this afternoon intending to buy some more food for my fish. After picking out the right pellets, I followed the squeals and chirps to the bird section and fell in love at first sight with an umbrella cockatoo. I looked up at him and he immediately ruffled his feathers up for me. Then he jumped back and forth and up and down and ran around his cage a few times showing off. The best was when he stood in one place and shook his booty to the music (Rolling Stones). The whole time, of course, he was staring at me as attentively as I was staring at him.
Someone working there took him out and held him so I could pet him. Eventually, when we were comfortable with each other, I took him from her. We cuddled. He scratched my hand. He walked up my arm. He tried biting my shirt a couple of times. I babytalked him. It was love, I tell you, LOVE. Now all I need is a $1650 donation so I can purchase him. Anyone? Anyone?
This isn't my bird, but this one is almost as cute as Chipwich (that's what I named him).

Thursday, July 27, 2006

And Then She Said, "I'm in Mad Love With You" and He Said, "That's Phat"

I thought conversations like these
Girl: "And then when I was driving back I was mad hyper so I called you."
Guy: "Yeah, I think I said, 'are you mad hyper?'"
died when I turned 18. Apparently, however, they're alive and well. I just haven't heard from them in a while. I also never expected them to show up outside of a high school or a group of teenagers. But oh, how wrong I was.
You see, yesterday I was at the pottery painting place and there was a couple sitting across from us whose conversations went along the lines of:
Guy: "If I were painting what you're doing, I'd do it very differently."
Girl: "But I think yours is ugly."
Guy: "Well, I like when things look modern."
Girl: "Do you think this is going to be a problem? That we have different taste? Like when we're going to pick out furniture? Because I like when things look classy."
If that weren't enough to entertain us, the guy also employed words such as "phat" and others I haven't heard since I was 16. But in their defense, they were friendly and nice...just...entertaining.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I Want to Have My Own Tzaddik Baby

While I'm temporarily allowing my blog to be captured and occupied by my undying desire to have a baby, I am going to follow yesterday's post with another about--guess!--a baby. Last summer one of my cousins had a baby boy. The first time he and I spent quality time together was at his shalom zachar. Apparently, I wrote something about that on the blog last summer but saved it to draft. Here's an excerpt:
...But, over Shabbos I did get to hold my cousin's then three day old baby for over twenty minutes alone. Baruch HaShem, he is a stunning little amazing bundle of love. He and I were singing a song together. As in, I was singing him a song about himself. It went something like this, "whooooo has the most beautiful eyes? Oh, it's you, baby boy. Whooooo has the most scrumptious cheeks? Oh, it's you baby boy. Whooooo has the most happy smile? Oh, it's you, baby boy" and so on and so forth. What can I say? I was inspired.
Anyway, the baby and I spent tons of time together last summer (I would just hold him and let him sleep on me while we'd wait for the men to come home from shul Friday night or I'd go over to my aunt during the day since I was taking night classes and, again, hold him as he slept) and he never protested. This winter, when I stayed at my cousins in Israel, he was more than happy to hang out with me. But now? Now that he's here in America for the summer and I'm right nearby? He cries if I come too close to him, let alone pick him up! It's not me, of course, he cries when anyone but his mother picks him up. But still. Really. Me?!?
Luckily, my cousin is very attuned to her children and realized early on that her son is a pure tzaddik. He might not like going to strangers, but he loves kissing mezuzahs. So now it's very simple. You say (in baby talk voice), "who wants to go see mezuzahs?!" Then I cart him around from mezuzah to mezuzah bouncing up and down and singing while we go back and forth. It's a miracle. He's happy even though I'm holding him. I'm happy to be holding him and that he's happy. Plus, he's definitely on a derech shel tzeddek (I don't know if that's grammatically correct, but I gave it my best). And that's all I have to say.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Who Knew I'm Such a Great Cupcake Photographer?

Sometimes you have a good day and sometimes you have a day so awesome that you can't even quantify it. (Quantify is not the proper word to use in that context, but I can't think of the word so quantify will be there until I can.) You see, if I had spent some time today playing with my cousin's son and then taking him for a walk, I'd say, "that was a good day." If I had hung out with my cousin's daughter, I'd also claim it as a good day. But then, if you'd've thrown baking into the mix and a birthday, the day would only get better and better.
Well, today I hung out with my cousin's son. After that, my cousin's daughter and I baked cupcakes together in honor of her third birthday (which was today).

We decorated them with pink and purple sugar. And, of course, then we ate them...

Happy Third Birthday!

And the moral of the story is that I want to have a baby...

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Mazal Tov, Tyra

Have you ever seen anything as adorable as these puppies??? My friend Gal's dogs, Tyra and Skylar, just had two male and one female puppies. I'd give you their names, but they won't be named until someone buys them.

I love the picture in the middle. Tyra looks all sweaty from birth and smiling from happiness. I'm not sure dogs smile, but she looks like she is. :) I love seeing new life.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I Do, However, Own a Yoga Mat

I crossed the parking lot to enter the gym and passed a woman walking alongside two guys.
"OH HI," she said. I knew that she had to be talking to me because the only other people in the area were with her. I turned around.
It took a few seconds for me to register that (a) she was shouting from excitement, (b) I didn't know who she was, and what is perhaps the most important point, (c) I'm not a yoga teacher.
"No...sorry. Sorry, I'm not the--"
"Oh, you're not???" She looked at me like I was crazy for forgetting that I give yoga classes.
"Right. Sorry."
The guys who had been walking with her snickered. She ignorned them and launched into an explanation.
"You look just like her!"
"But isn't she...blonde?" I stupidly asked. "I took a yoga class here once and the instructor was...well, I think she was...blonde." And Australian. And somewhere between 10-20 pounds smaller than I am.
"No, no, she's not blonde. You have her face and her build, and oh you two look like copies of each other!"
"Well, thank you," I said. But she didn't seem to want to go. " thanks. I'll just be going...into the gym. Thanks, again. Bye!"

The End?

Monday, July 17, 2006

Shtetl Remix

After picking out a package to send my cookies in and testing it out to see if all the baggies* fit, I realized that I had left my permanent marker back in my car. I looked at the pile of cookies sitting on the Post Office table and my bag and debated whether to try pen or run back to my car. There were about three other people in the room and I realized that as yummy as the cookies looked and as inviting as my bag (that doesn't even have something to close it at the top) was, no one was going to take anything. I do, after all, live in the suburbs. And then, while walking back into the Post Office, I passed my father's second cousin and remembered that I don't just live in the suburbs. I live in the shtetl suburbs. And sometimes I love that.

*I sent a package with cookies to camp for my cousin for her birthday a couple of weeks ago. She requested another package with cookies and our friend Ariel requested his own as well. While speaking to another friend at that camp, I mentioned that I was going to be sending Zahava and Ariel a package. Which was a big mistake. Later, I got a voicemail message from my cousin that she and another friend, Yedidya, wanted a package for themselves because Ariel, apparently, doesn't know how to share. Because they were acting like a big bunch of babies, I just made a batch and divided the cookies evenly into little bags labeled "Zahava's Cookies," "Ariel's Cookies," "Yoni's Cookies," etc.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Good Shabbos

So I was thinking, if there were one person I wouldn't want to start up with, it'd have to be that kid who was always picked on in school. Think about it--the person who was constantly being picked on and beat up on was bound to enroll in karate lessons after school or tae-kwon-do or some other form of self-defense. And if I did make the mistake once of picking on him and he beat me...I'd try to befriend him. Someone who took garbage for too long probably won't stand for it and would be a good person to have around. Which just makes you wonder how stupid Hezbollah has to be to have executed a plan of starting up with Israel. If there's one country you don't want to mess with after losing to, it's the country who's proficient in self-defense. They're not called the Israel Defense Forces for no reason.

And when you daven this Shabbos, don't forget your brothers and sisters who are willing to sacrifice daily comfort to live in Eretz Yisrael.

Actually, I have more to say. Here isn't the best article I've ever read, but I really like the way it was started. I'd just link to it, but I think you need to sign in with membership to read it.

From the

States of Terror
July 14, 2006; Page A12

Israel's military invasion and naval blockade of Lebanon is being denounced in European capitals and at the United Nations as a "disproportionate" response to the kidnapping this week of two of its soldiers by Hezbollah. Israel's decision late last month to invade Gaza in retaliation for the kidnapping of another soldier by Hamas was also condemned as lacking in proportion. So here's a question for our global solons: Since hostage-taking is universally regarded as an act of war, what "proportionate" action do they propose for Israel?

In the case of Hamas, perhaps Israel could rain indiscriminate artillery fire on Gaza City, surely a proportionate response to the 800 rockets Hamas has fired at Israeli towns in the last year alone. In the case of Hezbollah, it might mean carpet bombing a section of south Beirut, another equally proportionate response to Hezbollah's attacks on civilian Jewish and Israeli targets in Buenos Aires in the early 1990s.

We aren't being serious, but neither is a feckless international community that refuses to proportionately denounce the outrages to which Israel is being subjected. That goes also for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who says "all sides must act with restraint." But Israel's current problems result in part from an excess of restraint in responding to previous Hamas and Hezbollah provocations.

Now Israel is confronted with a war on two fronts with proxy terrorists armed and financed by Syria and Iran. Yesterday, medium-range Hezbollah rockets hit civilian targets across northern Israel. Any of those rockets might easily hit the port city of Haifa's oil refineries and chemical plants, causing horrific damage that would give Israel cause, and perhaps the self-preservation necessity, to strike Damascus and Tehran.

So far, Israel is limiting its military activities to Lebanon alone, out of the same abundance of restraint that has governed its behavior throughout the crisis. The democratic Lebanese government of Fouad Siniora bears its share of the blame, since it has failed to police its side of the border with Israel and failed to disarm Hezbollah, as required by Security Council Resolution 1559 and the 1989 Taif Accords that ended the Lebanese civil war. Senior Israeli military sources also claim that Lebanon tolerates the presence of hundreds of Iranian military personnel in Lebanon, again in violation of U.N. resolutions.

But Mr. Siniora's failings owe to weakness, not malfeasance, particularly in the face of Syria's continued meddling in Lebanese affairs following the departure of its army last year. A larger problem has been the failure of the Bush Administration to press Damascus harder when it had the opportunity to do so in the wake of last year's Cedar Revolution. The U.N. investigation into the murder of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, in which all evidence points to the involvement of senior associates and relatives of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, seems to have disappeared in a black hole. Nor has the U.S. exacted any price for Syria's ongoing support for the insurgents in Iraq.

Critics of the Bush Administration will surely find a way to blame it for the current crisis, on the theory that this is what happens when you push for change in the Middle East. But the real problem is the growing perception among Arab regimes and terrorist frontmen that the U.S. is so bogged down in Iraq, and so suddenly deferential to the wishes of the "international community," that it has lost its appetite for serious reform. This has created openings for the kind of terror assaults on American allies we are now witnessing.

Israel can and will handle the immediate military threats on its two borders. But ultimately there will be no resolution in Lebanon and Gaza until the regimes in Syria and Iran believe they will pay a price for the wars they are waging through their proxies. The referral this week of Iran's nuclear file to the U.N. Security Council is a start, although we have little confidence it will lead anywhere. The White House has cited Syria and Iran as the culprits behind this week's events, but more forceful words and action are called for. The Middle East stands on the cusp of its worst crisis in a generation, and this is no time for formulaic statements calling for "restraint from both sides."

Have a peaceful shabbos.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Today I was Sent Back to the Shtetl

I was standing on line waiting for my food and talking to Miryam. A woman from my shul walked near us and we smiled and said hi.
"Hi!" She said and then turned to me. "It's so funny to bump into you now; I was just thinking about you yesterday!"
I smiled politely.
"Why was I thinking about you? Why was I thinking about you? What was it...? Oh yes! I have a boy for you! How old are you?"
"See? I knew that you're young. I was telling my kids that you're younger but they thought that you're older, but I knew that you weren't. So you're 21? That's great. He's 22. He's a bit of a red head. And would you go out with someone who's learning while they're in college?"
"Uh, yeah, I--"
"Great! So he's doing that now and his name is [generic Jewish guy's name] and I'm not sure what he plans on doing, but I think he needs someone who's more funky. I think you're more funky like that, you know what I mean, not your typical Monsey girl. I think that's it...why don't you give me your number and then I can call you with more--"
"Thank you so much for thinking of me," I said, "but I just started seeing someone."
"But thank you, it was really sweet."
So the relentless woman responded, "Well...why don't I just give you my number then and you can get back to me if it doesn't work out?"
And with that, we concluded the first conversation she and I had ever had.

Monday, July 10, 2006

We Drove that Car as Far as We Could

Once upon a time I bought a tape. It was a very old and very used tape that I got for a dollar at the local library. I bought it anyway, though, because it was the Allman Brothers and the Allman Brothers rule the world. And the tape, being as used as it was when purchased, died in stages.
As a matter of fact, the tape is still going through its slow process of dying.
I mention this because this tape, An Evening With The Allman Brothers--Second Set, taught me a valuable lesson. While inanimate objects may seem to die, they never actually do. The tape must have died on me at least four times and yet, every time I try to play it again, there are still some songs that play without squealing. The reason for this is because inanimate objects, much like cats, don't die easily.
My car and I have been through a lot and I never once thought about replacing it. It could only play tapes? That's cool, I can get dozens of those for $2.99 each. I need to park it in the Bronx? No worries for me...I never even locked it in my driveway. It got a tiny dent? That's okay, it's not exactly a spring chicken. I need to drive all the way up to Pennsylvania and back alone? No biggie, my car can make any drive feel like a roadtrip. And so we were--keeping each other happy and our relationship expectation-free.
But then, while driving to school the other day, my car radio fizzled into static and the airbag light started blinking. The wheel was difficult to manuever when I tried changing lanes and the light on the clock was fading. I pulled onto the shoulder of the Palisades to shut the engine and turned my hazards on. The car was so completely dead that I couldn't even get the windows up before turning the engine off. Then I sat at the side of the highway singing to myself and befriending a tiny flying creature. You see, my car might have been dead, but I wasn't upset. I knew better. My car was only playing dead. But it still had to be towed back upstate from exit one on the Palisades while my father drove me to school (thanks Daddy, you're awesome).
But alas, it appears as though my car wasn't actually faking it. It up and died on me after only a few short months of teasing me about dying on me. And so I was left, single and available, in the middle of a suburban summer with no ride. You know those movie break-ups where people sulk around their homes in flannel pj's and wadded up tissues in their hands? I've always wanted to try that form of self-pity. But as much as I tried not to get out of bed before my alarm rang, or to walk around with a semi-permanent frown, no such thing would happen. My loss wasn't going as planned.
I sat in front of my computer one day (read: today) and tried to figure out why I wasn't longing for my car outside of my selfish desire to have a way of getting out of the house. Then it hit me. My Allman Brothers tape spoiled me. My car was dead and gone, but I didn't really believe that it was dead or gone. I was still expecting it to show up on my driveway one morning all sparkling and clean begging for my forgiveness for having acted unreliable. And I knew that was going to happen. So I patiently waited and waited, borrowing my mother's car when need be, and expecting my car to show up at any minute.
Then my father called the garage and was informed that the guy who owns it is away in Florida. The truth started to sink in. He went away and didn't call to tell me what was wrong with my car. Perhaps it's not as easily fixable as I had previously thought. I tried getting my mind around that when my father called me on Friday afternoon.
"Would you be able to drive with me to the dealer?" he asked. "My new car is ready for me to pick up."
I told him I would and sang really loudly along with the music all the way there. He pulled into the parking lot, told me to enjoy my new car (formerly his car), and got out. I sat in the driver's seat for a while trying to figure out just how close to the wheel I wanted it. Then I pulled out onto the highway and tried adjusting my driving comfort to the ways of my new car. It's the same car I used to have in a different year and different color.
No more telling people, "it's actually not black; it's just a very dark green." No more telling people, "it's so retro it'll only tolerate tapes." No more telling people, "it was my dad's car." Oh no, wait...this one...nevermind.
The bottom line is that for a while there I just felt like I was in the zone (see Coupling, season one episode one), unsure about my relationship with my car but still too attached to move on. But no more. I have another car now, broken out of my Allman Brothers tape induced denial, and will move on. Mark my word, this new car and I--we're gonna go places.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Dear Diary, Today I Found Another Bug in My Hair

Shabbos was worth being home alone with my parents if just because my father said, and I quote, "bling [pause] bling." The fact that he said bling-bling alone is great. But the pause between the two blings made it pricelessly awesome.
Furthermore, my much anticipated Allman Brothers at PNC on 08-23-05 and the Beacon on 03-14-06 b&ps arrived.
And even more further--overheard put up one of my submitted quotes! Which they put up as:

For Instance, When Your Mother and I Decided to Keep You
Father: This is what the brain looks like. It's the least used part of the human body.
Wide-Eyed daughter: Really?
Father: It sure seems that way sometimes, doesn't it?

--Bodies Exhibit, South Street Seaport
Overheard by: Brownsvillegirl

For the record, I don't like the caption they chose for the quote because I sorta saw myself as a young girl in her. Not that I've aged very much, but I believed everything I heard when I was younger. So, for those who'd get this, I pose the question, "real Indians???"

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Heroes in a Half Shell--Turtle Power! Part Two

Here it is folks, the truth you've been waiting for...

By the way, and I will have to write more about this later, don't Israelis all have the same voice? Men have low voices and women have low, raspy voices. I was talking to my cousin about it when we were in Israel and we figured out that it's because there are some sounds you make in Hebrew that require you to use a different part of your voice (note to self: get sister to explain this to me). When my favorite cousin Menachem was teaching me how to say kitten b'Ivrit, which is "gur" I had a ridiculously hard time getting it until I got my mind around the fact that a gimmel is unlike a "G" and a reish is unlike an "R." You just use different parts of your voice for them and until I learned to start speaking it on a lower note it didn't work. Furthermore, these TMNT sound like they're at least 47 years old. I think I just said everything I have to say about Israeli voices. Oh, and I only wish they'd've gotten the theme song in there.
And for my third edit of this post within the past ten minutes: Now that I've thought about it some more, I've come to the conclusion that there can be nothing cuter than little Israeli kids with curly hair running around and saying, "cowabunga" with their accents and have so decided that I will play old episodes of the TMNT for my kids to keep their English fresh. :)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

QOTD: Happy Fourth of July Edition

On Watching the Classic American Sport of Hotdog Eating
"I can't believe they have announcers for this thing. He's eating the hotdog. And he's...still eating the hotdog! Now he's eating the bun...and the hotdog."
-My brother Ari

And another quote in the spirit of America on this great day because I didn't write it yesterday when it deserved mention...
I was watching a lizard munching on some shredded vegetables in a bowl at the Central Park Zoo yesterday when I heard some lady behind me shout, "C'mon over here and see this--the lizard is eating some garbage."

Killer Tofu

Monday, July 03, 2006

On the Flipside, Gwendolyn is 17 Scrabble Points

The train doors opened at 59th street and three women got on through the door I was standing near. One woman looked me over a couple of times and I thought that perhaps she noticed me staring at her flip flops, so I glanced away. She looked away, too. They really were cool flip flops and I snuck a peek again. Looking up, I noticed her looking at me. We both looked away. Then I felt someone tap my arm.
"Excuse me," The Starer Lady said.
I took my earphones out.
"Is your name Gwen?"
"Oh, sorry then. You look a lot like someone."
I'd like to think that this Gwen she had in mind is a movie star. Perhaps she meant Gwen Stefani or Gwen, um, Gwen... So in conclusion, people with the name Gwen are destined for unpopularity.

Kol Sasson v'Kol Simcha, Kol Chatan v'Kol Kallah

Earlier today I was at my friend's wedding. Aaron, the chatan, handed the ketubah to his bride Natalia and put the ring on her finger. Then a moment after Aaron stepped on the glass, Natalia jumped up and down at least five times out of happiness and excitement. And so is the tale for why she gets the award for the Best Under the Chuppah Performance.
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