Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I saved lives!

yesterday i gave blood for the first time. it was a very exciting experience.

my neighbor is a parent in a school that has a bi-annual blood drive. she asked me to help out just to keep things running smoothly, and once i was there, i figured i might as well give blood. i have to admit, the needles are kind of big and scary looking, but if needles intimidate me, well, then I'm making the wrong career choice.

i walked away with a free t-shirt, bag, pin, sticker, and a good feeling that i was able to help sick people.

Monday, December 29, 2008

i was tagged by the babysitter and G6

Book Meme

Here are the rules:
Grab the nearest book. Open the book to page 56. Find the fifth sentence. Post the text of the next two to five sentences in your journal/blog along with these instructions. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST. Tag five other people to do the same.

Not all your hide would tempt me in the least. TARTUFFE: girl, speak more modestly; unless you do, i shall be forced to take my leave of you. DORINE: Oh, no, it's i who must be on my way; I've just one little message to convey. Madame is coming down, and begs you, Sir, to wait and have a word or two with her. TARTUFF: gladly.

That came from Tartuffe,or The Impostor by Jean Baptiste Poquelin Moliere. i have The Norton Anthology Of World Masterpieces on my bed, because i was sick in bed the whole day, and desperate for something to read.

Seven Facts About Me

Here are the rules:
1. Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people (if possible) at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs.

1. I'm a lefty.

2. i don't like meat. it may be as a result of eating Neve food for a year. by the time i came home from Israel, i wasn't eating chicken, meat, or fish. i started eating chicken again, but i just can't stomach meat.

3. i got stitches three times. once when i was four, on my chin (i ran into a lamppost) when i was eleven, again on my chin (i was "skating" on ice in my backyard and i fell) and when i was 13 on my lip (i ran into a tree) i was kind of clumsy when i was younger. for full embarrassing details on these stories, see sister1

4. I'm an over-obsessive shower freak. i can't get into bed at night without showering. even if i come home at 2 am. the second Shabbos is over I'm in the shower. i just like feeling very clean

5. i can raise one eyebrow. this is a feat that i taught myself how to do in sixth grade. i used to practice for hours in front of the mirror, until i was able to isolate the muscle of my left eyebrow. and then my right.

6. i love double numbers. i don't know when i realized it, but i just find them more fun than other double digits. my favorite one is 33. it's partially due to the fact that when i was in eleventh or twelfth grade, my favorite Yankee pitcher was Javier Vazquez, and his jersey number was 33. until he got traded after the embarrassing loss of 22-0 to the Indians.

7. i listen to music at night to fall asleep. sometimes in the morning i wake up tangled in my headphones, and sister1 says I'm going to strangle myself, but i have a hard time falling asleep without it.

i can't tag anyone because they've all done it already

Thursday, December 25, 2008

at a chanuka party last night i had the first donut of the holiday. it was custard. custard is one of those foods that you either love or hate. like tuna fish. there isn't really an in between with those kind of foods. of course, nothing beats the caramel donuts of Israel. everyone says that Uri's makes the best ones. but i personally think that it's because it's free with the talk-and-save coupon. nothing tastes as good as free food when you have no money. i personally thought the donuts from the Ma'afia Ne'eman were the best. the stand in the mall in Malcha were even better then the ones from the store on Yaffo. a friend of mine said she found a grocery store locally that had caramel looking donuts, but they just didn't taste the same. so i was thinking about caramel donuts. why are they always squashed? it doesn't matter where you buy them, how long they've been sitting, or how fresh they are. they icing is always cracked, and they always have a squashed look, as if they've been sat on. and there's gotta be a better way to make them so that you don't have to eat a dry donut till the center, and then when there's no donut dough left, you get a mouthful of custard. still, they are my favorite chanuka food.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

it's scary how quickly time flies.

this morning an old classmate of mine had a baby. she's not the first of my friends to become a mother, but I've known her the longest. aside from being in her class since second grade, I've lived across the street from her since i moved into the neighborhood when i was four. we played together on Shabbos afternoons, carpooled to parties, rode the bus with each other, sat on her front porch swatting at mosquitoes in the summer evenings. and now she's a parent. responsible for a child. i don't remember growing up, but i turn around and I've closed the chapter of elementary school. high school is over too. I'm not even a teenager anymore. we're all moving swiftly forward on the path of Life. kinda makes me want to make the most of every moment (which means i should probably not have allowed myself the guilty of pleasure of staying in bed till who-knows-when this morning) and make every moment count. I've said this before, but life's just way too short to care about the small stuff. it's the important things that should matter; health, happiness, friends, family...

surround yourself by the people you love, and don't waste time in petty arguments. don't get stuck in situations that won't make a difference a week from now, or even two days from now.

Monday, December 22, 2008

it's definately Chanuka

my house has it written all over the place: besides for the obvious-the menorahs at the windows, there are dreidels strung over the banister, happy Chanuka stickers on the dining room window, the front door, my mom's car, even on the bathroom mirror! and of course, oily food. although, mercifully, we don't have to have the latkes we had last year. the "healthy" ones. the ones that "tasted like fried glue" according to my siblings.

there's snow on the ground. it's definitely a "white Chanuka" although it would be nice if the town did a better job plowing. and a quicker job too.

the stores are playing "Maoz Tzur" and other Chanuka tunes. ad nauseam. according to a friend of mine they were playing Maoz Tzur in Walmart, but i doubt that.

the Chabad cars are driving around with menorahs strapped to their roofs. last year i got to drive a MenorahMobile because i worked for Chabad. this year i got to drive a car with broken windshield wipers and low tire pressure. what fun.

presents are being given all around. my family doesn't really do the whole gift-giving thing, but my mom got us each something small. just a gesture to show us she was thinking of us. (thanks, Mom) but yay for Grandparents who believe in giving money on Chanukah!

and best of all, I'm on vacation from school! time to start on my winter reading list, and sleeping late. oh, wait. i can't sleep late, because i have to take Sister 1 the the bus every morning. well at least i have lots of free time and no obligations. so i can catch up with friends who i never see. and i can help out at the blood drive that my neighbor is running. (see, vacation is NOT a selfish thing!)

Happy Chanuka!

Friday, December 19, 2008

city snow

it's pretty

it's quiet

it's hushed

under a blanket of snow

it's pretty


it's gray from car exhaust

and yellow from...well it's yellow

it's nasty when you get splashed

you can keep your city snow

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

anybody have a connection to Brett Favre?

my lab professor has promised a free A to anyone who can bring him to the practical tomorrow. he said first he'll scream like a girl, and then we'll get to go home...
my notes were typed

hers were hand-written

but we were both studying

my notes were dog-eared

hers were tattered

but we were both studying

my notes were about nephrons

hers were about microfilm

but we were both studying

i was chewing gum

she was drinking coffee

but we were both studying

i was mumbling

she was listening to music

but we were both studying

i go to a community college

she goes to Touro

but we were both studying

i had a final

she had a final

and we were both studying

Monday, December 15, 2008

it's funny how when you move on to a different stage in life, you look back at younger people and wonder in amazement how you ever thought you were cool.

I'm "babysitting" in my old high school while the girls are practicing for their concert. i'm sitting and observing them (in between my chapters of tubular re absorption and acid-base balance) dance and socialize and I'm realizing that they i was probably the exact same way in high school. and why not? my friends and i thought we were on top of the world:

we were old enough to drive and go out alone
we were young enough not to have any big responsibilities besides for school (and who take school seriously when you're in high school anyway????)
we were well-behaved enough to be trusted with our own freedom
we were deviant enough to enjoy good times

but oh, we were so childish. and so nerdy!

we looked back and seventh and eighth graders and called them babies. we thought we were all grown up.

and then we graduated high school and went away to Israel. and then we thought we'd really grown up. here we had all the freedom in the world. a whole year to explore the land, our religion, and ourselves. we felt bad for our friends still confined to the rigidity of high school. we were sure that we'd made it to adulthood.


now that I've been back for a little bit, i see how the year in Israel is, a great experience, yes, but more than that, it's living in a bubble. where everything is all perfect and beautiful. and the girls are so busy rushing around, taking pictures, going to Americans in maalot dafna, and rebbitzins in bnei brak, and eating out in cafe rimon and center one, and going jet skiing in netanya, and the blind museum in cholon. shabbat chanuka in tzfat, and bircat kohanim at the kotel.

but more importantly than that, i no longer think I'm all grown up. i know I'm still young, I've got my whole life ahead of me, and more than a lifetime of lessons to learn.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

i was so busy

walking on my own path

that i didn't notice

i was kicking dust into yours

i was so busy

living my life

that i didn't notice

i was treading on yours

i was so busy

creating my own memories

i didn't notice

i was ruining yours

I'm sorry

that i didn't notice

I'm sorry

that i never apologized

and thank you

i feel like it's almost an integral part of childhood to play an instrument. sister 1 played the guitar. in fact she still has it somewhere in the closet. and whenever she's feeling nostalgic she pulls it out to strum. but i say no playing until it's tuned. untuned guitars sound awful. i took Casio lessons. but in typical me form, i stopped for lack of motivational interest. i thought my teacher was too boring. and that the songs i was supposed to practice were stupid. and that i sounded dumb. or who knows what else i was thinking then. brother 1 also played piano. personally, i think he's more musically inclined than i am. but which boy wants to sit and practice scales. so now that leaves sister 2 and brother 2.

sister 2 decided she wanted to go for something less conventional.

she announced that she wanted to play the saxophone. my mom's first reaction was to recoil in horror. she was thinking Bill Clinton and seedy jazz bars. i was thinking more along the lines of "thank G-d she didn't choose the tuba!" so she plays the sax. in the beginning she sounded like a flock of Canadian geese that had caught a particularly bad strain of the West Nile virus, or something equally as awful. but she's gotten better at it. now she plays all kinds of music. from Jewish, to Popular Folk (YMCA) to Rock (We Will Rock You) and everything in between. i think she's supposed to be playing something in her school concert. (something Jewish, obviously)

brother 2 started off on the flute. the only thing cool about it was that it was stored in pieces. i remember when we went to Detroit one year, he took it with him, and announced at 4 am that he was going to practice. i think i threatened to hit him over the head with it, and then break it into many more pieces. a short while after that, his teacher switched him to the clarinet. it wasn't as pretty as the flute, but i shouldn't have wished for him to stop playing it, because recently he got switched again-to trumpet. very very annoying. think a duck trying swallow a very hot piece of sharp metal that is slightly too large. he's very good about practicing, but at this particular moment, I'd rather sleep than hear a rendition of "Oh Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel"

Saturday, December 13, 2008


as if it's totally normal to bomb a poor guy with candy.

at my friend's brother's shabbat chatan, his friends warned him to wear a helmet. and sister 2 told me she had a friend who's cousin showed up to his wedding with a black eye because a relative had really good aim (and apparently a personal vendetta against him)

another thing; does anybody besides me, my mom, my sister, and a neighbor who sits behind us in shul know that you're not supposed to kiss in a Jewish place of worship? i know that everyone is really truly very excited that this young man has made it safely to marriage without landing up dead, in jail, or missing some limbs, but gosh that poor mother! it's like she just scored the winning touch-down at the Super Bowl!

i had this awful eye-twitch during davening. it was the weirdest thing! i know, it means I'm stressed. anytime i talk about anything unusual happening, I'm told i have stress; i can't sleep at night, i have twitching, i have headaches. ppl, i don't have stress! I'm in the middle of the easiest semester of my life, I'm a week away from vacation, i don't have anything big and scary coming up. in fact, I'm so stress free-I'm worried that something very stressful is going to happen! i kept trying to show sister 2, but every time she looked at me, she missed it. yea i know what you're thinking. way too old to be acting like this in shul. but the acoustics in the shul are terrible, and both the baal korei and the rabbi who were speaking, weren't speaking very clearly. and our mechitza doesn't allow for alot of sound to get through.

so my family's got this great talent for always being the among the last to leave shul. it's beautiful that my parents have so many friends and love to socialize with them. but that means their poor starving children are at their mercy. and even if we leave early, we can't start lunch without them. and if we haven't made it to the kiddush early enough, we didn't even hear kiddush so we haven't eaten all morning. so we're just left to stand around and watch the parental units talking, while there's nobody left for us to talk to because all the young adults our age are either not around because they've gotten married or moved away, or they are slightly undesirable to talk to, or they're some one's relative

Thursday, December 11, 2008

i miss my friend

sometimes all it takes is for something to be taken away, and then you start to realize how much you took for granted.

when my friends got married and moved away, i accepted it. it's the next stage in life. I'm glad that they transitioned so easily. but when a single friend told me she's going back to Israel for the year, it took me a lot longer to accept that. but i sent her off tearfully. and it's been almost four months. and i still miss her.

yes, with today's technology, it's a lot easier to stay connected across the ocean. but with a time difference, and a combination of two weird schedules, we rarely get to talk. of course emails are great too. but there's only so much sentiment you can pour into a virtual message.

i miss her.

i miss walking into her house and feeling like I'm home
i miss sparring with her sister, or chatting with her mother.
i miss her random calls to tell me that she wants to go around and draw smiley faces on everyone's car.
i miss her dragging me to shiurim
i miss her belting out songs by Chanala at the top of her lungs
i miss her playing Itzik Eishel at an insane decibel level when I'm trying to drive.
i miss working on bridal showers and birthday parties with her.
i miss seeing her picture on my caller ID when she calls me.
i miss arguing with her.
i miss her smile.
i miss her hugs.

dear friend, i miss you terribly. i know you're growing every day, and you're reaching greater heights. but i can't wait for you to come home so i can run up the steps to your house, and flop on your bed and hear you say "what should we do today?"
you know how you get into the habit of saying certain expressions, and then they'll jump out at precisely the wrong moment? like in seventh grade when you picked up that bad word from your friend, and then it slipped and came out in front of your mom.

well i do that all the time.

case 1:
"that's the truth, Ruth"
i don't even know where i picked this one up from, but i started using it all the time. and then when i was talking to my grandmother and she made an excellent point, i blurted it out...yup, her name is Ruth. thankfully she just laughed about it. now sometimes sister 1 says "that's the truth, Grandma"

cast 2:
"who's we, white man?"
there are many arguable points of origin for this one, but i picked this up from a sibling of mine who says it all the time. and i rarely use it. but it was floating around in my head that embarrassing moment. a classmate of mine who is an African American (and ironically, has the last name of White) leaned over my desk and said "now we're going to ace this final, aren't we?" so i muttered back at her "who's we, white man?" as the words were coming out of my mouth, i tried to stop them, but it was too late. she obviously didn't hear me, because i wouldn't be around right now if she'd heard. but Holly, the woman who sits in front of me, heard me. but she thought it was funny because she's a mad racist. and cuz she doesn't like Ronna.

Monday, December 8, 2008

my vacation planning is underway!

I've booked a ticket for a week and a half to Michigan where my mom's sister lives. despite the frigid cold (which everyone mentions every time i talk about it) I'll be spending time with my aunt, as well as a seminary friend who lives there too. and ironically enough, a New York friend who i never get to see will be flying in for a wedding, so maybe I'll have a chance to hang out with her then.

I've created a winter reading list of all the books i want to read. I'm still accepting suggestions, but before i listen to anyone else, i have to read the four Harlen Coben novels i haven't yet managed to find. I've put myself on a waiting list for all the books not yet in the library so I'll have them by the time the semester is over.

as for the rest of my time, I'm planning on going skiing, and helping my mom finish (or start) putting pictures in albums and maybe (if I'm feeling really helpful) cleaning out the dreaded toy closet. (a task which personally, i think sister 2 is best at)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

it's one of my favorite times of the year.

it's the beginning of winter. the weather is just starting to get cold, which means I'm not sick of the cold yet. i can still sometimes get away with not wearing a coat, and i get to wear sweatshirts and boots, two of my favorite things about winter. it isn't snow season yet, which i hate. when i was younger i loved snow because school got canceled, and i played in the snow. now i hate playing in the snow, and the bad roads means i can't go anywhere.

it's almost chanukah. chanukah is almost my favorite holiday. it's kinda hard to compare to the others because it's more of a regular day, but i love the candle lighting, family time, and all the holiday cheer. of course, most of it is secular promotion, but i like it anyway.

my semester's almost over. it hasn't been a very particular hard one, as I've not had a full load, but I'll still be relieved when i have nothing to do. I'm full of plans for vacation; going through my reading list, helping my high school produce their play, go skiing, visit my aunt in Michigan, hang out with friends i never see, of course i have some weddings to go to...I'm sure that at some point in my 6 week hiatus from education I'll be bored and slightly cranky, but for now I'm looking forward to it.

shopping sales. i only like shopping when i buy lots of things. at good discounts. so now it's much easier to find the things that i like at a price i can afford. (wow i sound like a campaign ad for Old Navy) of course, it's the small funny things that happen when i go shopping which make it intolerable. like meeting up with old classmates (desirable or undesirable) who work in Best Buy at the Geek Squad, Aldo, or Circuit City. or running into (almost literally) my professor, who's an EMT, on a call in Lord and Taylor.

Friday, November 28, 2008

i had a total Parent Trap moment this morning in Best Buy.

I've never really done any Thanksgiving rituals. when i was younger my dad used to take us to the parade downtown, but i haven't gone in years. we don't have a dinner and i never go shopping on black Friday. this year i really wanted to go to the parade, but my friend flaked out on me at the last second, and sister 1 didn't feel like getting up early to go to Manhattan (where she works) on her day off. so i didn't go. i spent the day hanging out with a friend. we actually had turkey for dinner (slightly flukey, i think) and i decided i wanted to go shopping Friday morning. there were a few things i wanted to get, and I've been waiting for sales.

so i convinced sister 1 to come with me (dunno how i did that, she wouldn't get up at eight thirty on a day off, but she was willing to get up at five. stranger) and we drove to the mall.

it was the oddest thing that at a quarter to six in the morning there was a full lot. we actually found a spot, but there was a news crew taking it up with their equipment. so we circled, and followed some people who turned out to be only loading their car and going back in for a second shift. i rolled down my window and was about to ask a guy if he was leaving, when he walked right in front of my car. i almost hit him. i didn't think it was then appropriate to ask him for his spot. so i circled some more. and finally found a spot.

the first store we came across was best buy. the line to get in stretched halfway across the mall. i have never seen Best Buy bouncers before. that's what they looked like. they stood in front of store, with their hands over their chest (sans sunglasses) and kept the line behind the ropes. (yes there actually were ropes up) so we skipped it and went to the other side of the mall. we saw people waiting online at the Verizon store, at Circuit City, and at Forever 21. Gap wasn't open yet, and Old Navy was too crowded and noisy. so i went to Macy's where i got exactly what i needed, and for like forty percent off.

on the way out, some woman was handing out energy drinks. we took them, but they didn't have a hechsher. so in the next store we went to, we left them there. i felt like Santa Claus. so if you come across an Ocean Spray Cranergy drink in Brookstone, you can thank me. we decided to go back to Best Buy. sister 1 is looking for a computer bag, and i needed some ipod accessories. we were looking around, and found the stuff we needed. the line went almost all the way around the store. so i got in line in front of the blue-shirted guy holding a bunch of white balloons, and sister 1 went to scout out for a different line. her line seemed to be shorter, so i attempted to hop over a display of boxes of something. unfortunately, i miscalculated the width of the boxes in proportion to the circumference of my skirt. i tripped, crashed, brought down the whole display, and tore my skirt. all the way up. i felt like the twin in Parent Trap who had the entire back of her skirt cut out. (and this has happened to me before. once on Succot i was walking past the shul's Succah and i tore my skirt on a nail, and the entire back got ripped) needless to say, i was mortified. i grabbed my bag, sister 1, and ran around to an empty aisle to asses the damage. it was bad. so bad that i couldn't even go to a clothing store to buy another skirt. at that point, shopping in an overcrowded mall for merchandise i didn't really need, at seven am didn't feel like so much fun anymore. so i left.

maybe I'll try again next year.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

i am thankful for

uncle Willie, my faithful car

winter vacation, which is coming up soon

my bed


sushi, especially Kawasaki rolls

my family, which drives me nuts but loves me

sugar-free spearmint gum

the ability to listen to music

the last day of the semester

my friends, who keep me sane and support me in what i do


my older sister, the best friend anyone could wish for

my (finally) paint-free hair

the right to live without persecution

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

there's something creepy about my dentist.

my family switched from the dentist I've been going to all my life, and I've been meaning to make an appointment for ages. i finally got around to setting an appointment up, and i went to the find out that i didn't have an appointment. in fact, the no-personality girl behind the desk told me that i wasn't even in the computer. i went back home, and received a notification an hour later, that my appointment was this morning.

when my mom first went this new dentist, she told us that he's real big on flossing. and I'm not. i brush my teeth like three times a day, but i was never a flosser. i always thought flossing was for when you can't get to the food that's stuck-but i don't want to gross anyone with details. so i started flossing, but i have gross waxed unflavored floss in my bathroom, which tastes gross and totally makes my gums bleed. (yea i know, it means i don't brush enough. or i have gingivitis. or heart disease. or highly vascular gums.)

so i sat down in the chair, and hoped against hope that i wouldn't fall asleep in the chair (which wasn't really too comfortable anyway)

then the no-personality-girl behind-the-counter, who is also the no-personality-hygienist asked me if i wanted a paraffin wrap. i was totally weirded out that you can get a paraffin wrap in a dentist's office. those kind of treatments belong in spas. but it was kind of cool. she stuck my hands in hot wax, wrapped them in plastic bags, and put them in what looked like terry oven mitts.

after making me don the stupidest looking plastic goggles (I'm not really sure what they were for, maybe to protect me in case a flying piece of tooth hits me in the eye) she began to poke me with six different sharp-looking instruments, one of which, she said was a power wash for my teeth, but just hurt like heck and made an annoying noise that got into my brain and made me attempt to clench my paraffin-and-plastic-wrapped hands.

after twenty five minutes of sheer torture, she informed me that i have gingivitis, and untreated, can lead to some lethal gum disease. and she handed me a plastic jagged object and told me that it's a tongue scraper, and i should use it to clear bacteria off my tongue. before i had time to process all that, the dentist came in and they had a chat in all dentist jargon, so i had no clue what they were talking about. he looked at me and said, in a voice you would use with a five year old.

"someone hasn't been flossing! raise your hand if it's you"

i looked at the two of them, and they blinked right back at me. so i sheepishly raised my hand. he then proceeded to tell me that i really need to step up on my flossing.

"...and you've got teeth that are developing cavities. so make another three fifty-minute appointments" he said to the nurse. "we're going to have to numb you for the treatments" he added to me.

"t-t-treatments?" i stuttered "for what?" he looked at me over the top of his wacky plastic goggles

"you've got eight cavities. but don't worry. I'm going to use tooth colored bonding. no one will know" he gave a conspiratorial eyebrow-wag "it'll be our little secret!"

i thought he must be joking. I've never had a cavity in my life. and my previous dentist told me i have great teeth.

"are you sure?"

"oh yes, you've got those cavities. and i want to give you a referral for an oral surgeon. you need to have your wisdom teeth pulled. don't' be frightened by the word surgeon. well-you will be sore for a day or two, but you should be able to eat normally by the fourth or fifth day"


i expected the ceiling to fall on me after all of that. i dunno. either my first dentist was a horrific dentist, or this guy is a charlatan. between the weird wrap and glasses, the diagnoses of eight cavities and gingivitis, and the fact that sister 1 who went today, was told that she has six cavities, my dad who went last week was told he has four, and sister 2 and brother 2 both have five cavities each, I'd say he's one big scammer. one thing is for sure.

I'm not going back there again.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

today was a really interesting day. last night i went to sleep in my own bed, at seven thirty this morning i was in Baltimore at a bris, and by one thirty this afternoon i was in class. i feel slightly out of loop. i didn't teleport, or Apparate so my molecules haven't been jumbled, and no body parts got splinched, but it's a weird feeling. it could have something to do with the time i got up. i usually end my day at 2 am, not start it. and i haven't gone to sleep at eight thirty in about ten years or so.

i don't mind long drives, but gross restrooms really bug me. why does it always seem like the toilet seat-covers are stuffed into the box as if they'd all fallen on the floor and someone shoved them back in? and why is it that the half of the bathroom that's closed for cleaning always looks cleaner than the half that's open? and personally, i think placing the sugar packets next to the mayo pump at the self-serve counter is a pretty bad mood. nothing makes me lose my appetite for coffee quicker than congealed mayonnaise.

my new favorite activity is surprising people. it's so much fun to see the look on people's faces when they are totally not expecting you. almost as good as giving a great gift. just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. like eating cooked peaches. (yea, i know. sounds gross. but my family members who have allergies love them)

brises (brisim?) are a funny kind of thing. they're usually in a shul, and you drive there. only other time that happens I'm either wearing a costume or fasting. so it felt kind of funny. so all the women crowd around the mechitzah, pretending that they totally see what's going on, but really have no clue what's flying. in fact, this bris was so quick that when we heard them naming the baby, my cousin looked up with a slightly confused look on her face and said, "don't they usually do the bris before they give the name?"

Monday, November 24, 2008

10 Things To Do When You Go to a Vort and the Only Person You Know is the Kallah.
1. go over the veins and arteries of the body in your head.
2. make a list of all the things you want to accomplish in the coming week.
3. go through your phonebook and make sure everyone's name is properly capitalized.
4. check out the contrast between your colored clothing and everyone else's black clothing.
5. try to pick out the chatan from amidst the men.
6. check out all the exits and have an emergency escape plan ready.
7. attempt to make polite conversation with the kallah's sisters and sisters-in-law, and try not to be mortified that your reputation preceded you because your friend came home from seminary and told everyone about all the stunts you pulled in israel.
8. text all your friends who didn't come and tell them they're missing out on a great party.
9. fleck imaginary dust off of your skirt
10. leave

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

there are baby toys all over my house. it hasn't been like this for....oh about 11 years or so, when brother 2 was a baby. my aunt is away for a week and her 20-month-old is staying at our house. of course she's getting totally spoiled. she's getting plenty of attention, and has got playmates on demand. i watched her last Wednesday. she's really really cute, but she drove me up the wall. i was sitting on my bed trying to finish a paper for school and she insisted that i sit on the floor and play with her. but then she accidentally touched my space heater which was plugged in. thank g-d it wasn't hot enough to actually give her a burn (although I'm still not telling her mother about it when she comes home, it's bad enough she's got a bump on her head from getting whacked with a Wii remote when she walked in front of the screen when brother 2 was swinging) but now she's kind of scared to come into my room. which is a good thing, because my mother tried to send her in on Friday morning at like eight thirty to wake me up, but she wouldn't come in. it's cute to see brother 2, who is the baby of the family, interact with a younger kid. and sister 1 and i are having loads of fun, teaching her how to spit at people, and getting her thoroughly confused. she knows her basic animal noises; cow, horse, dog...but we've taught her that a rabbit goes "quack!" and I'm working on teaching her that a fish says "meow!" she even started calling my mom "mommy"

over shabbos, we hosted my cousin with her two-and-a-half-year-old and almost-one-year-old. and today my uncle had an affair so he dropped off his two daughters, one of which is a baby. my dad loves it. he's totally ready to be a grandfather. he's really great with kids, and they all love him. of course, when you're under two, things are a lot simpler when you're under two, and people who sit you on their laps and talk to you, and give you candy are obviously good people.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

...another update

i walked into class on Thursday-no actually i ran in. i had forgotten my book in my car so i dashed out to get it and came back into class right as it was filling up. as i took off my coat and dumped my bag into my seat, my professor, without looking up from the computer she was warring with, said

"fcg, before you get too comfortable, i want to speak with you"

"i didn't do it" i said quickly.

she chuckled, and then, seeing that she was having a lot of difficulty with the computer, said "forget it. I'll talk to you after class"

it took three computer geeks and the head of the computer lab to tell her what we knew from the start; the computer wasn't reading her CD properly.


so she taught without the visual aids. and that is so not the point of my post. once class had gotten under way, she thanked everyone who had made it out on Saturday to help her EMT class. then i realized she probably wanted to talk to me about my calling the VP of Student Development. i hoped i hadn't gotten her in "trouble" she told us that for those who hadn't been able to come, we had two other opportunities to make it up. i was surprised at this, because i thought she had said i couldn't make it up. but i must have misunderstood. our options; to go to the Bodies exhibit in Manhattan and write a paper on the experience. i mentally frowned. that's eighteen bucks for the bus, thirty dollars for entrance fee (they don't give single student discounts) all for two points... the other option; to go to the New York City Lab and sit through a couple of autopsies. only Holly sounded enthusiastic about it. but the more I've thought about it, the cooler it sounds. it's probably a once in a lifetime experience. my dad told me it probably won't be a halachic issue, but I'll have to double check with a rabbi and see.

after class i went up to her and thanked her for giving the opportunity to go, and to reserve me a slot for the 15h. she turned to me and said "oh i wanted to talk to you. someone in this class-I'm assuming it's you-called someone about the whole extra credit thing..."


i bit my lip and nodded "did i get you in trouble?

she laughed

"honey, I'm an adult. i don't get in trouble. I'm just hurt that you didn't come to me first. i though we had a pretty good relationship."

i explained that i thought she said that there wasn't an opportunity to make it up, and i didn't want her to get annoyed at me for coming to her and demanding that she give me another opportunity for extra credit. i wanted to make sure there was a school policy to back me up. she told me that i must have not been around when she said that she'd be giving lots of opportunities for extra credit.

"i totally understand about the religion thing. honey, I'm married to a Jew"


(it's funny how non-Jews are so proud of being married to Jews. i wonder if they all wonder why Jews cringe when they tell them that.)

so we patched things up, i apologized for not speaking to her directly, she said it was all good, and now I'm slated to visit the New York City morgue at eight am to watch autopsies on bodies freshly pulled from the East Side River.

can't wait.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


after being told by virtually everyone in my life, from my mom to the mailman, and all those who fall in between, that i should do something about the extra credit that i missed out on.

i decided to take action. i figured the Hillel rabbi would be able to help me. so i marched on over to the Center for Jewish Life on Campus, (which is really just a closet with donuts and a hot water urn) and knocked on the door. the rabbi stuck his head out and looked at me. his look, quite clearly said "oh i hope you're not going to ask me about something, because at this present moment, i would rather be doing anything on earth than help you" but i couldn't be sure that it was that or maybe he was having acid reflux or something, so i told him my predicament

"...and maybe you know if the college has some sort of policy..."

even before i finished, he shook his head.

" don't know if there is a policy, or there isn't one?"

"i don't know"

"OK, well...uh thanks for your help-"

SLAM! so i went to the student union to check out their planner handbooks. my college happens to have the best planners which also has all the policies and laws in the front. i have been labeled a loser by my friends at Brooklyn college for picking up the planner, but hey; it's free. i bet their just jealous. Brooklyn college probably doesn't have one as cool as mine. at least i don't go around wearing my school's sweatshirt. but i digress.

so i went in to the student government offices and got a planner. and there, under policies, it listed a number to call. the vice president of student development. so i called his office and left a message. he actually called me back within in the day. after straightening out the correct pronunciation of my name, i told him my dilemma. he told me that it's a great question and he's going to get back to me. so now I'm just waiting to hear back from him.
when my friends started getting married, i had to deal with talking to their husbands when i called their phones. no problem. I'm a female. we're social creatures. but what throws me off is when they combine face book accounts. or when my friends have added their names to their husbands face book accounts. so i get friend requests from eliandesti or yakovchaya. and then when i write on their wall, or send them a message, and they reply, i never really know who i'm really talking to. like the other day when i got a comment on my status, i didn't know if it was my cousin or her husband, just mocking me.
why are people so stubborn? why do they refuse to learn anything new? ever have someone ask you about something, and then tune you out when you start to explain? an example of this happened just yesterday:

someone asked me for a phone number so i sent her a name card. she replied by text and told me she didn't get anything. i told her the funny box thing in her text is a name card and all she has to do is download it to her contacts. she said

"oh forget it, i just looked it up in the phone book."

hello, the number is RIGHT there in your phone book! i just don't get why people refuse to learn something new.

i was talking to another acquaintance, and mentioned something about the auto industry not doing so well. she looked at me blankly. i asked her if she ever listens to the news, or knows what's going on with the economy. she shrugged. i was floored. i don't exactly get everything i hear on the news, but at least i have a pretty good idea of what's happening! i think we've passed that stage where we don't have to worry about anything outside our home, school, and social life. how could you not care about what's going on? people are so lazy these days. and content to just sit and let the world do its thing. be proactive! get up and open your eyes and learn about the world you live in!

Monday, November 17, 2008

the worst part of going to college is not crazy classes. it's not dealing with the psycho professors or weird classmates. it's registering. it's all done online, and everyone is given an allotted time, based on...i actually have no clue what it's based on. it can't be based on the amount of credits you're taking at the present time, because I'm only taking 5 credits now i and i was given a time earlier than my friend who's taking 12. it's not alphabetically either. it's probably just done at random, or some crazy method. the bureaucracy in this school is almost as bad as Israel's. so i spend three days before registration figuring out the perfect schedule, with the professors i want, at the correct times, so i don't have to go in on Friday or Sunday, and don't have big gaps between classes. and then i log on the morning of registration to find that they've cut some classes, and added new ones and changed around the staff. there's a catalogue of classes printed at the beginning of each year, but by the second week, it's totally obsolete. so i go online to register, put in my list of classes...and one of them is already closed. so i quickly try to figure out another schedule...and in that time, two more classes close up. it's a desperate race against the clock to not be stuck with one class on Sunday morning at seven thirty, one class Tuesday night at eight pm, and one class on Friday at three.

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

this weekend was an interesting one.

it started as my windshield wiper stopped working when i was on the Palisades.

actually, it started before that when i was in a rush to leave and couldn't find the shirt I'd left out. i looked in every room in my house, but it had vanished. I'm guessing my family found it ten minutes after i pulled out.

so it was raining. and my schizophrenic windshield wiper was flopping off the side of the front windshield and getting stuck on the side of the car. and then it stopped working all together. but mercifully, this happened right when the rain stopped. so i was safe.

but i learned something about myself; i do not remember how to parallel park. at all. the first spot i tried to get in to was too small. the next spot was big enough, but i would have taken lots of points off for excessive maneuvering. and after all the back and forth, my car still wasn't straight. but i gave up. at least it wasn't sticking out to the point of there being a chance of getting hit.

ever hear of Douglas Adams? some of his titles would properly explain my Friday night meal. i was one of four guests. the first one would be described with the title The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. it was like this guy was on a totally different planet than everyone else. interesting to the point of being slightly creepy. the second guest was Mostly Harmless. he didn't talk too much. the third guest would probably fall under the category of Life, the Universe, and Everything. she kind of went with the flow. even though shabbos is so early, the meal was quite long, and by the time we were finished, i was ready to say So Long and Thanks for All the Fish. i was falling off my feet. i guess it's been an incredibly long week. and i have a paper to write, that's going to hang over my head until i complete it. someone should go research to create a Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy of Inter sting People and How to Deal With Them.

Since i got to bed before 10 pm, an almost non-existing occurrence in my life, i was up at 4 am. totally wide awake. so i read six Zits comic books. which totally didn't put me to sleep. so i pulled out my notes on arteries, veins, the liver and intestines. i should have looked at that first, because after three minutes, i was out.

but impressively, i made it to shul, and relatively on time, too. but when i grabbed a siddur, i forgot to grab a chumash too. so after shemonah esrei i had to "excuse me" my way out of the row to the bookcase, and then back in. and then i sneezed. so i had to do it all over again to get a tissue.

the afternoon was so short, that by the time we finished lunch, thanked G-d for the grub, and cleaned up, it was almost three o'clock. at this time my body realized that it had missed out on two hours of sleep the night before, and demanded a rematch with my pillow. so i caught about twenty five and a half winks.

after shabbos i was supposed to meet a friend downtown and hang out, catch up. but her dad decided he didn't want her taking the train alone at night back to Brooklyn (where were you all week, friend's dad?) so i ended up reading and completing a 3-D Monsters Inc. puzzle. and doing that thoroughly exhausted me. so now i have to go rendezvous again with my pillow. because I'm getting up really early to meet my friend downtown. that is, as long as her dad doesn't decide that Sunday morning is too dangerous to be out and about.

Friday, November 14, 2008

my favorite dress is ruined. i was holding a cup of orange juice in my hand when someone banged into me and i got OJ ALL over the dress. so i sent it to the cleaners where the owner told me that he couldn't clean it with dry cleaning, so he sent it to his brother to have it cleaned. i don't know what his brother has that this guy doesn't have. maybe he has a wizened old woman in a back alley washing the clothing in a huge tub with a wooden paddle. however he did it, he got the stain out. so i got my dress back spotless...and about four inches too short. it's not the first time an article of clothing that belonged to me shrunk. it's just the first time I've been able to blame it on someone else. so i took it back and explained my predicament. and they told me to come back in a week. so today i went to pick it up. and it's still too short. i really should go in and demand to be
compensated for it. but I'm convinced that this Asian couple are really secret undercover ninjas and their cleaners is really a front for something more sinister (hence their inability to properly clean my dress) and if i go in with my complaints, the wife will yell "ha ya!" and they'll both pull knives out of their shirts and stab me, or do some weird karate move on me. i know, real racist. but i can't help it.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

keeping shabbos

i am happy to be Jewish. i love keeping shabbos. even if I'm losing out on a chance for two extra points on my final grade. my anatomy and physiology professor teaches in the EMS department. she's some sort of head-medic and she says she owns a rugby team (i wonder about that one). on Tuesday she announced to the class that her EMT students are having a final exam; i forgot the exact terminology she used to describe it, but there's an ex-soldier in my class who said they do the same thing in training for the army. basically they're having a mock-mass shooting. so they need students to volunteer to be the casualties. she said that anyone who shows up will get two points added to their final grade. that could be from an A- to an A (cuz I'm not planning on getting anything lower than that) but of course, i can't show up because I'm of the Hebrew faith. the Sabbath observers. and my prof. already told me there's nothing i can do for extra points, even if I'm religious. so this shabbos, while half my class is earning extra points pretending they're extras in a movie, i will be in shul. and i will be keeping shabbos.

and i won't regret it.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

now that I've finished painting my room (and sort of got most of the paint out of my hair) I've started a new job; taking care of all the pictures lying around. firstly, the hard copies. they're from seminary. it's kind of embarrassing, but I've never done anything with them. they've sat on my dresser, bundled in rubber bands. so today i bought a photo album and put them in. besides the great memories they've brought back, it got me thinking about a few things;

1. there are people out there that have no clue how to take a picture. I've got some great group photos where half the group is cut off, or there's a finger in the picture. how difficult is it to point and shoot? seriously.
2. for a good two months of the year, i really needed a haircut. it's not so noticeable because i wore my hair curly. but the few times i straightened it...let's just say i don't look my best. ugh
3. i did some crazy things in Israel that i would never attempt at home. like blindfolding myself and trying to feed someone chocolate pudding. on a moving bus.
4. i had a friend who shared the desk with me for ten months, every single day. a really good friend. and i haven't spoken to her in ages. I'm talking a friend who i used to have elbow wars with, and argue for pen placement rights. a friend who got me in big trouble when she leaned over right before the teacher was coming in and whispered "y'know, I'm really trying to work on this relationship. for us" to which i yelled at her "THERE IS NO US! WE ARE OVER!" yea, the teacher thinks I'm demented.
5. my mom keeps telling me i should write down all my memoirs. and if nothing else, i should do it, just to remember all the things I've done. so that when i come across a photo of myself sitting in the driver's seat of a bus, looking at someone outside the bus, and appearing to be apologizing, I'll remember what the story was.
6. i wore way too much eyeliner

now that I've put my pictures into an album, i need to take care of the others. like the prints i have from my photography class. some of them are really nice, i need to get some frames and drill new holes in my newly painted walls....
sheva brachos are fun. in some ways, they're better than weddings. you don't have to dance and pretend you're loving it, you don't get stepped on, you don't have to say hi to relatives that you really don't want to talk to. and when you belong to a family like mine, it's a rocking party. a family that holds elections for favorite aunt; and two of the candidates are male. a family who has members who feel like life's not worth living if their not insulted by someone. a family where sheva brachos becomes competition between to uncles and a cousin, to see who can drag out their bracha longer, a family where no one eats the food, but everyone drinks soda and eats the chocolate. where the centerpieces are decorated pieces of bubble gum, and the napkins have stick figures of a bride and groom. it was a fun part. it was loud, it was crazy, it was fun.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

you know those kids who look really cute? and you know those kids who are really bratty? and you know the type that look really cute but act really bratty?

today i had to run to Walmart for some items. lately it's become a real pain to go to Walmart. in recent shopping trips, the guys who worked there were never of much help, but i didn't mind because i knew where everything was. with the recent renovation of the store, nobody knows where anything is. not the cashiers, not the customers, and least of all, the customer service.

so after stumbling my way around the store for twenty minutes, and only managing to get sixty percent of what i needed to get, i went to pay. the lines were tremendously long. and of course, there were tons of people on the express lane with more than ten items (do people bother reading signs???) so i took my place. and waited. and waited. and waited.

i glanced at the family on line in front of me. a couple and their two kids. the four year old looked really cute, running around in his little jeans and aero sweatshirt...until he turned around to look at me, stuck his tongue out, and proceeded to flick the remains of what had been on his finger (i think it came out of his nose) on my coat. i seriously considered sticking my tongue back out at him, but his mom was wearing three inch stilettos. (a lesson I've learned in life; don't start up with people wearing weapons. it can be painful) so i just smiled at him. he turned to his younger brother, tugged on his hair until he started to cry, and then pulled all the lighters down from the rack on the wall.

truly a delightful child.

when his dad threatened to take away the hideous stuffed fish he clutched in his grubby paw, he moved away, and i breathed a sigh of relief. i watched him as he dashed down the aisle, whooping all the way, played with the credit card reader, and then pushed all the buttons on the electronic toys which were on display. when he looked back at his parents, his mom just beamed at him.

little ray of sunshine.

you can imagine i was more than thrilled when they paid and left the store.
it should have been a peaceful Friday night meal-as peaceful as it could be with all my relatives. with the exception of a bunch of cousins who were away and brother 1 who was in yeshiva for shabbos, we were all sitting around the table, enjoying the company, getting riled up about nothing, when Uncle E's hatzolah radio beeped. we all looked at it as a voice squawked

"can i get a unit to Yeshivas OR?"

my mother blanched.

"hey, that's brother 1's yeshiva!" said sister 2.

Captain Obvious, that one.

"well there's a family that lives on campus" said my mother "maybe it's one of their kids" the radio blared again

"i have a bachur with a head and eye injury" my uncle reached for his radio, his hand poised over it.

"do you want me to take the call?" he asked my mother.

"if it is brother 1 they have to come here and get a parent" Cousin S reminded us.
my mother shook her head."no you don't have to. anyway, what are the chances that it's him?" i could practically hear sister 1's brain churning. since there are six boys in the 12th grade, the chances of him being the one with the injury were about sixteen and a half percent. but she didn't say anything. we continued eating. about halfway through the meal, we saw lights outside our house.

"oh please don't tell me that's an ambulance" said my mother. but at second glance her fears were confirmed. we all spilled out on to the front lawn, and to our immense relief, brother 1 didn't stagger from the ambulance, dripping blood. in fact, he looked shaken, but unharmed. the EMT Explained that Hatzolah had been called because he had felt a sharp shooting pain in his eye.

"we have to take him to his eye doctor." (that would be Uncle Y who we knew was home because he was celebrating sheva brachos for his daughter) it was decided that my father Uncle E would accompany him to Uncle Y. they packed into the ambulance and we waved them off. i tried, using my vast medical knowledge of the eyeball, to explain how dangerous it is for pressure to build up in the posterior segment of the eye, but no one was interested. Cousin Z shuddered in disgust. relieved that no one had been seriously hurt, (following that age old philosophy of "no blood and breathing, he's OK" )we went back inside to finish eating.

"if he comes back home tonight, do we have to give him back his room?" Cousin M asked.

"oh gosh, do we have to be nice to him now?" i wanted to know.
right after we finished bentching, they returned, after stopping off at CVS to buy drops. the diagnose: an ulcer in the cornea.

"an ulcer? in the eye?" i asked. "but i thought ulcers happen in the stomach where hydrochloric acid-" a look from Cousin Z and Aunt D stopped me.
"sorry" i muttered.
my mother was relieved that the whole ordeal was over.

"i had a vision of a fork stuck in his eye."

Cousin M blanched and choked on his wine.

"what's the matter with you?" asked Uncle E asked. Cousin S patted her husband's arm and looked at my uncle.

"M is squeamish. very squeamish" Uncle E looked as if his birthday had come early.

"really? you don't like blood! that's awesome!"

watch out, Cousin M. anything you say at the table can and will be used against you.

thank G-d the rest of the night passed uneventfully. brother 1 is OK and all our guests made it home safely.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

i love Starbucks. i love their poufy chairs, the weirdo people who hang out there, the funky music they play, and of course, the free coffee!

i went to claim my free coffee and the barista smiled at me and said,

"sure. that'll be zero dollars."

i asked for a receipt.

he chuckled at me, and before i could explain that i wasn't kidding, and really wanted a receipt, he turned to another customer.

then, from out of nowhere, a white-haired guy appeared behind the counter and asked me if I'd like a free coffee. i smiled politely and gestured to my coffee.

" i just got one"

he smiled back and offered me a receipt he had been holding in his hand. gingerly, i accepted the proffered scrap and looked at it.

"Take Our Online Survey And The Next Drink Is On Us!" it stated.

i looked up at him for verification...and he had vanished.

not really.

he was still standing there.

"just visit and type in this customer code" he explained, pointing to the slip "then after you've answered some questions about your visit, you will be given a complimentary beverage ID. write it down on the receipt and bring it back here for a free drink."

i didn't really have time to comprehend all this because i was about to be late for class. so i took the receipt and my drink and hurried out.

sitting in my car, i came to a realization;

i had just met my fairy godfather! i was sure of it! and i hadn't even give him my wish list.

i half expected to be duped, but after i got home i filled out the survey and dutifully wrote down the number. that appeared on the screen when i was finished. I'll have to stop by Starbucks some time today...

the more i think about Starbucks, the more questions i have for them:

do you have to sport at least six facial piercings and have two different hair colors to work behind the counter?

do you ever vacuum your chairs? sometimes it freaks me out to think of what i might be sitting on.

what's withe grande stuff? why not extra-large like everyone else? do the baristas even know what that word means? maybe next time i go in I'll say "un pequeño café, por favor"and see if anyone knows what that is.

can i do a coffee-themed party in Starbucks? maybe i could rent out the place for a few hours, have open drinks and free wireless.

after buying a certain amount in Starbucks, can i get privileged customer status, and like, have a reserved poufy chair for whenever i come so i don't have to sit on one of the uncomfortable, wooden, straight-backed chairs? this isn't the 1700's anymore. nobody should care how lousy my posture is.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

remember the good old days? i sure do. when my biggest worries were whether or not I'd be able to get away with wearing those long earrings to school...when I'd hope I'd be able to pass the test with minimal studying...when my biggest decision was to decide what to buy my friends for their birthdays...when my biggest upcoming project was throwing together a Chanukah party...when staying up late was fun...before coffee became a necessity, and it made me feel cool and grown-up...when i loved "getting made up"...when i had four pairs of shoes; shabbos, weekday, slippers, and sneakers...when relationships were simpler...when i thought the adults in my life knew everything...when everyone i knew was a good person...when i thought the president was a man who really cared about every citizen...when my hardest task was eating my vegetables...when my biggest responsibility was remembering to
brush my teeth every night...those were the days...

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did you know that Starbucks is giving out free coffee to all voters? that's right. all you have to do is go in there and tell them you voted and you'll get a free 12 oz. (i think) coffee. i saw this on facebook and i was a little skeptical so i checked out their website and it's totally legit. so exercise your freedom and choose Starbucks. (although according to recent polls, more hardworking Americans prefer dunkin' donuts coffee)happy voting!

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Monday, November 3, 2008

anybody know how to get primer out of hair?

today i developed a streak of white hair. very cruella devil.

since I've got some free time this semester, i decided I'm going to repaint my room. it's not such a hard job. (but it would be easier if sister 1 would take her bed out of the room so i don't have to keep hopping around it) today i just did the base coat-and managed to get paint all over me in the process. it took me twenty minutes to get the stubborn substance off my hands-and I've still got vestiges of it on the tips of my fingers. my feet and legs are streaked with white. i have to manage to get the stuff off before my cousin's wedding on Thursday night. then again, even if i do manage to scrape my skin raw and get the paint off, I'll have to do it again when i paint the second coat of primer and the two coats of paint.

that is, if sister1 and i can decide on a color before Wednesday morning.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

sometimes i feel like Calvin; a misunderstood genius.
especially when it comes to taking exams. ask me anything on the lymphatic system or the body's innate and adaptive defenses, and I'll teach you everything i know. but seat me at a desk with a list of thirty five multiple choice questions and a time limit, and I'll only be able to answer 75% of them correctly. is it fear of failure? i dunno. maybe it's the atmosphere. i can smell tension, like dogs smell fear. (wow did i just compare myself to a dog?) but there are a few factors that make it worse.

1. snifflers-i know it's wintertime and you just came in from the cold. but do us all a favor and stop off in the bathroom to blow your nose. or take a second before you leave to stick tissues in your bag.

2. tappers-it may help you think better when you're tapping your obviously-fake-looking nails against the desk, but it's a subtle
noise that gets under my skin and slowly drives me insane.

3. whisperers-i totally get that some people need to read the questions out loud to themselves (more than once, sometimes) in order to understand what it's really asking. but dude, go sit on the other side of the room! there should be whispering and non-whispering. because I'm totally ordering non-whispering.

4. talking to yourself-this is even worse than whispering. firstly because there is no pretense of whispering. this is straight up talking out loud. and it's not reading the questions out loud. it's little remarks like "ooh i know this one" or "oh darn, what's the answer again?" these are the people who have an annoying habit of sitting in class and letting everyone know exactly what is on their minds. really, some people should come with a censor option.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

everyone knows someone else who is on a lower intelligence plane than themselves. so everyone knows the feeling of frustration you get from dealing with someone whose wits are no match for your own. and everyone deals with those kind of people differently. some throw up their hands and realize it's no use. others get condescendingly snobby. I've been on the receiving end of that when trying to learn mathematics. and there are those like me who have absolutely no care for them, but take great delight in telling over what occurred. in my house we sit around the table and make fun of dumb things we heard that day.

well, not really. but we do love repeating certain stories over and over.

on my parents' wedding anniversary, my dad told my mom "marriage isn't a word. it's a sentence."

i know. real touching.

my dad thought this was such a good line, that he repeated it to all of his friends. most of them got it and laughed but one neighbor smirked at my dad and said no it's a paragraph!"

in g-d's own image. yessir.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

today i felt like the kid at the birthday party, left alone while everyone runs away snickering.

but i should start at the beginning.

i finished my 1:30 class. my next class didn't start until 5:00. normally I'd use the two hours to run home, grab a bit to eat, and prepare for the next class. but since i have a test on Thursday, i hung back to speak to my professor about the material that I'd missed over y't. by the time I'd finished that (it's really difficult to talk to a professor when she's typing a recommendation letter for a student who's standing over her shoulder, pointing out spelling errors, ducking a spider puppet being waved around by a paramedic-in-training, and ignoring proffered cookies, shoved in your face by a VERY creepy looking...person) it was almost 4:00.

so i figured i would hang around and do my work before heading to class. at ten to i went to class to find it dark, with no one hanging around the halls. i thought it odd, but figured i was just early. i usually fly into the room at a few minutes past the hour, panting madly from my sprint up three flights of stairs. so i went to get a drink, and on my way back a brightly colored flyer caught my eye:



why didn't i see that? and why hadn't any other teacher mentioned it? true, i hadn't been in any Tuesday classes since before yom kippur, but how could i have been so unobservant to not notice the flyers? ever since i was a kid, I've been quite a spazz, especially when I'm engrossed in something else, say a book. or homework (which made me perfect fodder for the let's-run-away-from-fcg-game)

indeed, as i walked down the hall, i did notice for the first time that all the classes were dark and empty. it's not like the halls are usually bustling at this hour..but there are at least three other classes going on in that section of the building, at the same time.

and when i walked down the hill to the parking lot, i was able to spot my car sitting forlornly waiting for wasn't quite hard.

it was the only car in the parking lot.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

once upon a time i loved Sundays. now i hate them. they've become all-you-can-study day. a marathon-try-to-cram-all-your-studying-into-one-day-that-you-stagger-up-to-dinner-with-a-crashing-headache-day. i figure if i do all my schoolwork in the beginning of the week i won't have work to do the rest of the week. ha. my life is a treadmill of homework and exams;

not that I'm complaining.

c'est la vie d'un étudiant.

right now i am desperately trying to chew my way through a chapter about immune system, T-cells, and B-cells. very boring. think Professor Binns meets Artemis Fowl. a vast wealth of obscure knowledge taught in the most boring way. but alas, i can't complain. sister 1 has eleven chapters to go through, while i only have two. i can't figure out which is more boring; management organizational behavior or lymph nodes.

Friday, October 24, 2008

it's a good thing i save everything. today i was online when my friend messaged me:

Y: hey, random q, do you have classmates wedding invitations?

me: actually, i do. what can i do for you?

Y: can i borrow Z's invitation? i need it for a project

(another one of my great assets: i don't ask nosy questions. like what kind of 'project do you do with a year-old-wedding invitation)

me: sure, no problem. i don't REALLY need it, but i really would like to get it back

Y: thanks, I'll swing by later today to pick it up

see that?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

quick fact #987: if you suck in helium from a balloon, it makes your voice squeaky

yup, it's true. for awhile i was too scared to try it, but one very late night in camp i tried it. it's one of the freakiest things to hear a different voice come out of your own mouth. and it's even creepier hearing a high-pitched voice come out of a guy's mouth. almost a month and a half ago my friends got me balloons for my birthday. it's amazing that they still have helium in them. i guess the balloon-selling stores in queens know a secret. this morning i poked a hole in one and was babbling like a child when my mother walked in. at first she looked concerned to see her 20 year old daughter sucking helium, but when i started talking she was in stitches. by the time all the helium had been used up we'd all taken turns and were howling with laughter. i've got another ballon left. maybe i'll persuade sister 1 to 'do some helium' for my own personal enjoyment and maybe add something to my collection of embarassing and incriminating photos and vidoes.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

another useless fact to keep in mind:

if you put a quarter in an empty Snapple bottle, close it up, and shake it REAL hard, the entire bottom will drop out. in one piece.

it's pretty cool. and fun to do. in general it's fun to destroy glass. whenever i have an empty bottle, i always have to resist the urge to hurl it into a trashcan as hard as i can. there's something very satisfying about the tinkling crash it makes as it explodes into shards.

tonight i sat with my friend and drank Snapple. when we finished, we went to an abandoned parking lot (the quarter makes ALOT of noise rattling around, it can be very embarrassing in public) and tried it out. and it worked!

it's fun to spend time with friends and do things like that
this past shabbos was probably the coldest one of my life.

i mean, i don't usually eat my meals outside, but then again, the heat in our house somehow got turned off. besides coming away from the shabbos with new trivia (one of our guests is going to be on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire so he's been studying any trivia books he can get his hands on) I've contracted a slightly serious cold. i thinks it's a combination of all the freezing and thawing out (my fingers and toes feel like leftover chestnuts sold by the guys on the streets that have been heated and reheated) coupled with the fact that i haven't been sleeping as much as i usually do. i have a practical they day after Succot. (sister1 says it's called a practical because I'm practically going to fail. thanks for your vote of confidence, honey) my rabbi said I'm not allowed to say I'm specifically studying for a test so I'm pretending i like looking at pictures of different body parts.

i know, I'm weird.

but i gotta go now. i need to hunt down some Advil for my aching head, and a new box of tissues.

Friday, October 17, 2008

y'know that feeling you get when you wear a new shirt? it's a clean, crisp feel. my lab partner Melissa even complimented me on my new shirt. but the feeling disappeared halfway through class.

we had the weekly quiz, but it was set up like the practical exam is; 25 stations with a question at each station. we took a minute for each question, rotating when the professor called out "switch!" (reader will note that the word 'professor' is used very loosely here, because the 24-year old who wears the lab coat teaches the information, but doesn't know a thing about classroom conduct. or the rules of taking tests. like the no-talking-rule for one thing...)

at one station, there was no question, but my 'professor' said to each student there:

"give me five and you get a free point"

would i get away with not having to slap his hand? no such luck, he did it to each student. and when Melissa forgot to slap his hand he made her come back and do it. it's not that people are not understanding, it's just awkward all around. Tracy looked at me sympathetically, as if reading my thoughts. (I'd had a whole discussion with her in the previous lab about negiah, she knew about it even though she isn't religious)

in my head, i started running through the explanations i had for this occasion. i practiced it in my head as i got closer and closer to the table.

"fcg! give me five and you get a free point"
"uh...sorry i can't. religious reasons"
"oh...uh, OK sorry. you get the point anyway"
"thanks sir"

a tip for the future: don't wear new shirts when you might have to dissect a sheep's heart that comes dripping out of a barrel of formaldehyde...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Succot is by far my favorite Yomtov. it's always been like that since I'm a little kid. i love the season of fall, and i love every minute of the holiday

we've kept every decoration I've ever made. right from first grade up through ninth. there was the sand art i made in third, the tracing i did in fifth {that's the one that has wrong spelling which brother 1 so lovingly points out in front of all the company} since sister1 and i are a year apart we have a lot of doubles. of course we have the traditional 'holiday bling' as my mother likes to call it. she recently learned that word so she likes to use it. we make our chains out of a hard plastic material that my grandfather's company uses so we don't have to replace it every year. in the past its been my job to hang up pine in the Sukkah , and sister1 has the task of hanging up the 'holiday lights' (both longstanding family traditions) but we've been so busy with school and sister 1 shorted the lights last year and hasn't replaced them so our Sukkah is lacking both.

my dad always talks about the Sukkah hops he took as a kid. to me, they were just Jewishified trick or treating. and i didn't need some stale popcorn, or old candies, because the shul i davened in on Simchat Torah gave out enough candy to last until Purim. one year i got roped into leading a Bnos Sukkah hop, and that was enough to turn me off forever.

once again, my Chol Hamoed has been yanked out from under me. at least this year i have my test on the first day of Chol Hamoed of on the last day, so i still get Sunday off. my professors who aren't Jewish at all were very accommodating about me missing class, that is, once i explained to them that there are two different types of holidays, the kind i can come in on, and the kind i cannot. my friend who has a frum professor wasn't so lucky. she had a class last night at seven thirty, and she couldn't tell her professor that she couldn't make it because of a holiday, so the second Yomtov was over she hightailed out of her house to school. ugh.

the Hillel my college got lucky today. they were having some concert and it was raining, so lots of people were coming inside the Sukkah to take shelter. although they usually do have a fairly large turnout.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

fcg's tip for life #26: don't use your favorite ringtone as your alarm clock

it's amazing how the brain associates sounds with memory. i can listen to a song for the first time in three years, and it will bring back memories of the first time i heard it, or a summer when i listened to it often. it can often trigger the olfaction cells to bring back memories of certain smells too.

i get a deep-rooted aversion to whatever ring tone i use for an alarm on my phone. it was over three summers ago, but i still shudder involuntarily if i hear a particular Nokia ring tone; it was the music that so rudely jarred me awake at a quarter to seven to go rouse a bunch of cranky teenagers to set the tables in the camp dining room.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

is it possible to discern a frum person's voice?

i was sitting in the student lounge, waiting for class to resume after a test. (which, by the way, is the cruelest thing a professor can do to a class IMNSHO. after an exam, no one wants to look at the professor's face. they all just want him/her to go home and mark the tests) i was speculating on the exam, and trying to start studying for an exam which i have on chol hamoed. it was pretty deserted, and i was wondering if the heap of clothing in the corner was a forgotten pile or a person. suddenly, i heard a voice and footsteps coming up the stairs

"yo. what's up? where the heck have you been, man?"

the first thing that popped into my mind was that it belonged to a frum person. i couldn't put my finger on it, but somehow the voice had sounded so.....Jewish.

i peered around the corner, and sure enough, a yarmulke went barreling down the hall, talking at 80 mph.

it was so strange.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

they're baaaaack!

i was online in a store the other day, and i heard two guys talking excitedly behind me

"dude, the checks are back! I'm psyched"
"oh awesome, i thought that text was a scam, i guess it worked!"

Verizon users to have the pleasure of being able to differentiate between those in and out of the network. when sending a text to someone who "is Verizon" a little check appeared next to the text after it was received. and then, one day, they suddenly stopped. there were no little checks. people were stunned, horrified, and outraged. i received a text begging me to call Verizon and request the reappearance of the checks. then i got another text that informed that if i were to send a text to ten people who have Verizon, the checks would come back. i don't think this is what did it, but as of about a week ago, the checks have indeed come back.

now we have to find another thing to complain about.

when i should have been doing work i was losing myself in the evils of cyberspace, and stumbling around in the blogosphere, i came upon this post which reminded me of a story my mom told me.

there was an American who moved to Israel and was having a problem with bugs. so she called a chiloni exterminator. but instead of calling the bugs by their correct name, charakim, she called them chareidim. i can only imagine the conversation that ensued

woman: yeish li ba'aya im hachareidim

exterminator: ah giveret, gam yesh li hamon hamon ba'ayot im hacharedim aval ein mah la'asot itam

woman: aval ani soneit otam, v'ani rotzah l'harog otam!

exterminator (laughing) gam ani rotzeh l'harog otam...

Friday, October 3, 2008

everyone's a pack rat on some level.

we each have that bag or box of things, that only contain sentimental value but never gets looked at.

for awhile i had a memory box, with random things that i would throw in, napkin from a party, a rock from a hike, my hospital bracelet from the time i went in for stitches, visitor's brochure from the Capitol....i started throwing in bentchers from the occasional wedding i attended, but once my friends started having bat mitzvahs i stopped, because the box got too full. in fact, at weddings, i don't take bentchers anymore. i don't need them to sit in a shoebox under my bed like sister 1's collection, and goodness knows, my family doesn't need anymore. we've got at least nine or ten from my aunt's wedding fifteen years ago, a good thirty (at least) from bother 1's bar mitzvah (four years ago) and the gift set from millers with the family's name on it. not to mention, bentchers from every single nephew, niece, second cousin's wedding or bar mitzvah.

in fact, i challenge sister 1 and everyone else out there who saves bentchers (if indeed there is anyone else who does this) and pull them out in six years and recall who each bentcher is from. it's kind of hard to remember when the girl's name was hudi stern and the bentcher says moshe shumuel and yehudis chaya rosenkranz, or something.

but i keep wedding invitations. i know it's as irrational as anything else, but i've got quite a collection. I've got every high school and seminary classmate's invitation, with the exception of the first classmate who got married before i left to Israel. (I've started categorizing my life into two separate categories; pre- and post-Israel, but that's another post) I've got them in the original envelope, in alphabetical order with the name on the outside for easy access. and i keep all the place cards too. why am i keeping them? i have absolutely no clue. there was one wedding i went to, and i got there a bit early, and wanted to double check that i was at the right hall. that was actually before i started writing the names on the outside. so i had sister 1 go into the closet and find the invitation.

who knows. maybe one day I'll be talking with my friends about our weddings, and we'll have a dispute over another friends anniversary. or where the wedding was. and I'll be able to pull out my dusty collection and prove myself right. or wrong.

it's not likely. but hey, you never know.