Sunday, December 31, 2006

Mazal Tov Josh Happy 50th Birthday

My brother came home from Israel for our younger brother's bar mitzvah. I forced him to take a picture with me because he called me Pippi Longstocking.
The Shabbos was beautiful. My favorite part was after my brother leined. First, the minute he was done my Bubbe popped her head into the men's section to congratulate him. A few minutes later, he came into the ladies' section with his hands up and his fingers in a "V" for victory.

Later, my cousins asked, "what was with the Rocky pose?"
"Rocky?" he said, "I was doing Nixon."
Also, Friday afternoon, the photographer was telling us to do all these different poses. At one point, the whole family was in the picture and he asked us to all do thumbs-up. I thought it was ridiculous, but one picture couldn't hurt so we all obliged. Then he asked us to keep it that way for the next few shots and I couldn't contain my laughter at all. I had to turn away from him because I was laughing so hard, I was crying.

And in the end, my speech was just right.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Well, Huff!

I wanted to write something having to do with the parsha for the speech I'm giving at my brother's bar mitzvah. I took the Ramban Artscroll because I don't translate Hebrew very well and this one has all Ramban's commentaries translated. Awesome does not even begin to describe it.
But then I noticed something interesting. In perek mem-vav, pasuk aleph, it says that Yaacov then brought karbanot to "Elokay aviv Yitzchak." Why specifically just his father when Avraham was just as special, right? So I looked down the page to Ramban's commentaries.
Ramban explains that it would have been more fitting to say, "l'Elokay avotav," the the Gd of his fathers. Or, Ramban adds, it didn't have to mention anyone. It could just say that Yaacov brought karbanot to HaShem, "for what need is there to specify more than this?" the translation reads. Now my curiosity was piqued. Sure, there's no need to specify that HaShem is the Gd of anyone's fathers, but still, this is Yitzchak and Avraham--what exactly does Ramban mean by this? The next phrase was translated as, "Rather, this verse contains a mystical concept..."
Then there are brackets which read that Ramban uses a Kabbalistic concept for why "Gd of his father Yitzchak" is used, BUT "this part of Ramban's comment is beyond the scope of this elucidation." WHAT? They say where it can be found in the Hebrew, but here, uh-uh. Nothing.
What exactly is Artscroll saying? If you don't know how to translate the Hebrew you're not on the level to understand a Kabbalistic concept? Something else? I feel so discriminated against right now.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Like a Gypsy Out on the Road

I'm just a wee bit bursting with excitement over something I found this week.
Mir and I went hiking at Buttermilk Falls in Nyack this Monday. Buttermilk Falls was apparently Teddy Roosevelt's favorite place to think. None of the trail books I've read that in mentioned when it was his favorite place to think, but I think it's just plain ol' awesome anyway. So anyway, I thought that if I'd follow the road in the other direction, it would loop around to the other side of Route 59 and I wouldn't have to drive in the wrong direction, turn around in a parking lot, and then go the correct way to get home.
Well, the road doesn'tmeet back up with 59, but something amazing happened. Mir and I stumbled upon Blauvelt State Park. There were four cars in the parking lot, which left barely enough room for mine. Here's the exciting bit: it's totally undiscovered! All the Jews in Monsey who go hiking go to Kakiat or Bear Mountain. I don't mind hiking with other Jews, but when I hike, I choose comfort over looks and generally don't like seeing people I know from Shul.
I drove up to the Palisades Visitor Center yesterday to get some trail maps (and a book on waterfalls in the Hudson Region and a book on trailblazing) and lo and behold, one of the Blauvelt State Park trails can loop around to Buttermilk Falls! IT'S A MIRACLE!
In other News of Awesomeness, the Bring Back Beards Campaign official Facebook group has reached 137 members--and I don't even know over half the members.

I had Cinnamon Ice Cream the Other Day

I know, but I rarely get things done when I'm on vacation. Plus, my brother's bar mitzvah is this Shabbos and I still have to finish my speech.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Ariel Can Walk on Walls

Wednesday night was another Bluegrass night.

Have a good Shabbos and enjoy the last day of Chanuka!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

And These Were My Boots of Spanish Leather

The woman in front of me opened the door, glanced at the little boy standing there right in front of his mother, and walked into Starbucks. I caught the door from her and held it open for the toddler and his mother to leave.
"Cute boots!" The mother said.
I thanked her and walked inside.
So, ladies, y'know how if you're walking in the city and a guy gives you a look-over and then nods and smiles you shoot him a dirty look and huff away? What do you do when you're walking in the city and a guy glances at you and then smiles at you and he' should I say this...very attractive? Do you shoot him a dirty look and huff away or smile back because you can't help it? Exactly, you hypocrite. Anyway, I try figuring that out sometimes to see if I'm just terribly shallow or everyone does it and now I know that my reaction has little to do with the actual guy and his actual looks and everything to do with my own sense of appropriateness.
It's inappropriate for a random man in an elevator to voice his opinion about my boots. It's acceptable for a woman to comment upon another woman's article of clothing. I don't know why, so don't ask me, but it is. It's happened to me numerous times ("Wow, that's a gorgeous coat"), I've done it to others ("I'm really sorry to bother you, but your mascara is amazing--what kind is that?"), and no one's ever reacted shocked or violated because we'd all do it to each other.
You see, if I would compliment a random lady on her boots, it's not inappropriate for her to comment on mine. I would never comment on a random man's shoes, so he shouldn't ever comment on mine. Same with the good-looking men. I would never smile at a sleazy guy, so his smiling at me makes me feel violated. I might smile at an attractive guy, so his smiling at me is acceptable. Of course, deep down, I'm still shallow which I guess makes no sense because shallow people don't have a deep down but anyway I'm still shallow because I'm choosing who to smile at based on looks, but that's a whole different post and I have another final tomorrow.

Monday, December 18, 2006

That's Crazy.

Dwight walks into the office and plunks a dead goose down onto Pam's desk.
...Dwight: He was already dead and we Schrutes use every part of the goose. The meat has a delicious, smokey, rich flavor. Plus you can use the molten goose grease and save it in the refrigerator thus saving you a trip to the store for an expensive can of goose grease.
Jim: Wow. Win-win...
Phyllis likes goose and seems to wonder, out loud, if it's so crazy to eat it. Creed responds:
Totally normal behavior at the Scranton branch of Dunder-Mifflin until you watch a little more and realize that Creed actually transported himself back in time to be there since, as you will see in my next picture, he has yet to arrive for work.
When he does, in fact, arrive--after Michael--he neatly picks the top toy out of the box marked "Toy Drive." Jim says, "Oh, I think you’re supposed to put a toy in the box, Creed." And Creed replies:
Amazing. I don't know if they're going to turn Creed's magical abilities into another subplot, but I am on edge to find out!

It happens to be that I didn't notice The Magic of Creed until my third time watching the episode, so here's something I did notice on my first viewing. Michael walks into the office, "Hey! I would like a nice slice of Christmas Pam. Side of candied Pams and perhaps some…Pamchops…with mint." And Pam, featured below, asks what he wants.

While Michael's speaking, we get a look at Pam again who is now--now being two seconds later--looking at a different webpage.

Back to Michael, back to Pam and Oh, OH! she's back to the empty file folder she had open only five seconds earlier.

Perhaps I should get back to studying for my finals...


A Salute to My Elders

Just today someone was telling me about how nervous older people make her. She was trying to drive and this old man with his cane was walking slowly across the street and he had no one with him, etc. So here's a shout out to all the older people who are still sticking it to the man and rocking out.
Yesterday, my grandfather got a speeding ticket for doing 55 in a 30 mile zone on his way to our family chanukah party. That's right--my grandfather is breaking down the stereotype that the older you get the slower you drive one ticket at a time.
My Bubbe recently joined a gym and thought she'd check out the Silver Sneakers exercise class. Silver Sneakers, a fitness program for older adults, is sort of like a toned down aerobics class. Well, my Bubbe went to one class and couldn't wait for it to end...precisely because it was far too slow for her. 77 and flying high.
Another story about my Bubbe: A few years back, my Bubbe fell. Because of her age, the doctors were concerned and they did a Cat Scan or MRI at the hospital to make sure everything was alright. The doctor who looked at my Bubbe's report reported that he had never seen anything like it before--my Bubbe's brain was as active and sharp as a 30 year-old brain.
I'm certain that this post is only the first in what will likely become a series.

Friday, December 15, 2006

I Swiveled My Ankle

Sometimes a person will say something so completely and totally over the line that the well-known but invisible line is not even visible. Just moments ago, I got into the elevator at the lobby and joined the 50-something year-old man carrying boxes who was already in it.
"Wow! Nice boots! Lemme see those."
Yes. He said, "wow" and "lemme see those" with regard to my boots. I swiveled my ankle in compliance.
"Those are some boots!" He said and then wished me a nice weekend and happy holidays when he got out.
I'm sorry, is this normal?

But This One's Already Dead

I have to admit that I'm kinda famous. My friend Ariel has a radio show on the YU radio and it happens to be that my cousin and I called in tonight and I spoke to them and then they hung up by mistake. So what did the big shot DJs say? They asked me to call back. And then? After that? They were talking about something they didn't know about that happened to be something I knew about, so I called. But the line was busy, so I IMed their show instead. They thought I was really smart and a guy, but I didn't realize until I heard and there's a delay so I had to IM them in Caps Lock to let them know that I'M A GIRL. So they were talking about me (by screenname) and saying that I should be a guest on their show, yadda yadda, and then my friend realized the screen name they were saying so he told me over the radio to call for confirmation that it really was me and to explain the thing that I knew that they didn't. They had some sort of rule that they weren't supposed to talk using the person's sn, so I wrote that my code name was Pam Beesly, but they didn't notice because they were talking about my sn which is a secret, so I will not reveal it, but let's say it's something like TheObeseWatermelon, which would make an AWESOME sn if it weren't so long, and saying things like "what's an obese watermelon?" Anyway, I've got two tickets to paradise; won't you pack your bags? We'll leave right after tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Speaking of funerals, why don’t you go ahead and go die

Driving to work this morning, there was a garbage truck on my left and an Xterra on my right. Normally, I wouldn't care or remember, but they were both trying to merge into me. Not into my lane--into me, into my spot. My car isn't small enough for me to excuse them with a "they didn't see me," so I don't know what either one of them was thinking. As a matter of fact, the drivers owe me their lives because if I hadn't been there to honk, they would have merged straight into each other. In other news, Xterra’s not even a real word.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Cordially, Future Dwight

To honor my inability to fall asleep tonight, I will grace you with what has to be one of my favorite clips from The Office ever. Argue that there are much better clips all you want--this one makes me laugh out loud EVERY SINGLE TIME I watch it.

I remember that once, to end an all nighter I pulled in high school, I made myself a Havarti cheese, mustard, and pickles on an everything bagel for breakfast.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Pumpernickel Rye, Pumpernickel, Puhm-per-nick-ul

My new favorite lunch is cream cheese, banana, and chocolate peanut butter on pumpernickel rye. My father said I don't have to worry about people taking my lunch, but it's actually quite good. So here's a lesson my father taught me when I used to turn my nose up at the foods he tried (peanut butter with mayo, etc.): don't knock it till you try it.

Friday, December 08, 2006

And to the Mighty Apostrophe, I Salute You

10 points to the first person who can figure out which letter they're substituting because I know I can't!

I Got Forty Red, White and Blue Shoe Strings

I took the boots off, put them back into their box, and placed them next to the shoes I was going to buy.
"Excuse me," the saleslady said while picking my shoes up, "can I just take these shoes to that lady? She wants to try them on for size."
"I'm going to buy these."
The saleslady looked at me. "She just wants to try them for size. To see if they're her size."
"Um...right, but I'm going to buy them now."
I tried focusing on putting my boots back on, but found myself distracted by the saleslady's presence.
"You see, she wears a six, so I want her to try them."
"That's okay, the black ones are a six too. Why don't you just give her the black ones?"
The saleslady stared at me, unsure of what to say. Luckily for her, the lady with the size six feet ambled over herself.
"I'd like to try these shoes," she said and took them from the saleslady's hands. "They're my size." Even if she and I were the same size (which we weren't, but they didn't have my size so I was going to make do with the six), everyone's feet are different. Maybe her feet were really wide or smelly or sweaty--I didn't want her feet in, on, or near my new shoes.
"I'm sorry, but I'm about to buuuuuuy them. Please put them down."
"Just to try them on."
"Try the black ones."
"But these are the ones I want."
"I'm buying those and the black ones are the exact same shoe in a different color. I am BUYING these."
The two women stared at me like I was the schoolyard bully so I took the shoes from the woman, smiled at her, and went to pay. Is it so mean of me to not want someone else wearing my shoes?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Who Needs Tahiti When There's Tibet?

I like reading five books at one time, drinking a two or three different drinks per dish, baking while writing, doing my nails while chatting online, and learning how to salsa while listening to reggae. I'm not much of a multi-tasker but I find it easier to accomplish a task when it's not the only thing I have to focus on.
"But you know you can't marry two men," my mother warned me earlier tonight.
Technically, if I move to Tibet, I can--but I know that's not what she meant.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Way It Went Down, It Always Is

There's this new song by Beck I hear on the radio all the time that goes, "I think I'm in love but it makes me kinda nervous to say so." It took a couple of hearings of the song for me realize what about it bugged me. It's completely and totally inarticulate. At first I thought that the artist's inability to state his feelings was annoying because as a song, the lyrics should stand out strong and stately. How many times do professors warn that no essay should include, "I think, I feel, I believe" because since you're the writer, the reader's taking that as a given? Isn't it the same for a song?
But then I listened to the song more and realized that that wasn't what bothered me. Beck isn't inarticulate. The song is just a mirror of our passive-aggressive society where people "think" they're in love and others get "kinda nervous" but no one stands up to use the right verbs at the right time.
Last winter, after a memorably terrible week, I drove up my driveway and parked at the top instead of pulling into the garage. I couldn't pull into the garage because there was a block of ice so large and so thick that my car couldn't manage to drive over it. It took a while, but I hacked the driveway free of ice and felt shockingly and refreshingly better. Sometimes, you just have to admit to being angry, accept that you feel cheated, or know that you're in love.
I know that "kinda nervous" and "nervous" don't seem all that different and that's why I am bringing you lines from another song that has "conscous versus" so that you can see the difference.
Some time ago I did something I wasn't happy doing or proud of having done. And I was bothered that I could do something so mean and hurtful, but I wasn't shocked; I was worried. I've done similarly hurtful things in the past and started to wonder if it's better to walk around being who I am and hurting people I start to care for or change into being someone I've seen in others and know I don't ever want to be. And then, while listening to my new SOJA darlings, I realized that they articulated my worries for me the way I wish I could, the way I think I mean to.
Baby, I'm sorry
For what ever it was I always did
The way it went down, it always is
The way that I am makes it all my fault, yeah
Baby, I'm sorry
For what ever it was I always did
The way it went down, it always is
The way that I am makes it all my fault
Though if I could change
Who I am right now
I wouldn't do it no, no
And if I could make
All my past be gone
I wouldn't change a thing, no
'Cause when we first met
All you wanted was me, yeah.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Kinda Like the Anticlimactic Ending to This Story

"This outfit is gaaaaaaawgis. Just look at this skirt!"
The lady sitting in front of me on the bus took a jacket and skirt out of the suit bag she had folded on her lap and displayed the two to the younger girl standing in the aisle. I looked up to see how gawgis the outfit was. The jacket was black with a wide, rounded lapel and the black skirt had accordion pleats. Nothing new, nothing special.
"Wow!" the girl standing in the aisle said.
"I showed it to my 20 year-old nieces," the lady directly in front of me said, "and they tried it on they thought it was so nice. Classic. Ya gonna have this fah life."
Girl in the Aisle's mother came down to the back of the bus to see the goods and Girl in the Aisle hung the jacket and skirt on the overhead storage shelf. They oohed and aahed while the woman in front of me asked the lady next to her to take out the next skirt.
"You might not like this one," she warned, "it's a little weird."
A little weird? I couldn't imagine what this lady who thought turning a bus ride into the city into a showroom considered weird and braced myself for the splashes of clashing colors, asymmetrical patterns, and interesting hemlines I was sure were about to blow Girl in the Aisle and myself away. The lady picked a black skirt up and held it eye level to Girl in the Aisle. Ooooh, she's holding us in suspense, I thought. Leading us on with a procession of boring clothes first.
"See? I told you it's weird."
Girl in the Aisle scrunched her face into dislike.
"It's the pleat in the front, right?"
Girl in the Aisle nodded her head and turned to show her mother how wonderful the accordion pleat skirt was. Left disappointed by the anticlimactic skirt, I glanced at Zahava who was davening in the seat next to mine.
"Did you notice," she said when she was done, "that every 'gorgeous' piece of clothing that woman picked up was black? I think I accidentally shot them a rude look when I finally got a look at that weird skirt."

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Conscous Versus Vs. Conscious Verses

My cousin and I were fans of SOJA (Soldiers of Jah Army) since the end of the summer. It's not that we saw them or anything, but that we saw their name. Ten minutes after showing me how cool their name was, Zahava suddenly screamed, "SOJA! SOJA OF JAH ARMY! SOJA LIKE SOLDIER!" The ten minutes earlier "don't they seem cool?" comment had nothing to do with their name, apparently.
Then last night, we had a friend's birthday party at The Lion's Den where SOJA was set to play. The band before them, Fear Nutin' spent half their time singing and the other half screaming, "When I say Fear you say nutin'! Fear!" "Nutin!" "Fear!" "Nutin'!" Anyway, it was really fun and I'm in love with the lead singer for SOJA which is odd because I've never gone for guys with dirty hair down to their tushes. Unfortunately, I just noticed that one review of their album claims that they have "conscous versus." Conscous or versus? I'm not sure which is worse...
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