Friday, April 25, 2008

four wheels, no brakes

my friend recently emailed me the complete list of rules for calling shotgun. i need to hang it up in my car so my siblings can get it straight. see, my older sister and i share a car. my grandfather bought a new car and gave us his old one. it's a 1990 century Buick. my brother says it's falling apart. i say it has character. the tape deck doesn't work. if you roll down the passenger window all the way it gets stuck. when the car goes over a bump the CD stops working. the air deflector hangs down in the front so when i pull out of a driveway it scrapes the ground. until recently one of the windshield wipers didn't work.
but we love our car. my sister collects money from all my friends for our 'car fun' we had to buy a new windshield wiper (which cost $5) and now we're collecting be case we need to replace our tires (that's going to cost us $200) and she says statistically we're bound to get a ticket sooner or later. so she asks anyone who gets a ride in our car to contribute. so far we've collected to tissues and a dollar

the ridin' rabbi

my favorite chol hamoed trip this year was when i went to my grandparents. it wasn't about going to them, however, it was how i got there.
it was on the back of my dad's motorcycle.
when my dad turned forty, he started talking about mid-life crisis, and getting a motorcycle. and he finally did it-two years after he got semicha, he got a motorcycle license. now we call him the ridin' rabbi. he got his license about a year ago, but he didn't give us rides until he was sure of himself. so last week he gave me a ride. it was really cool! when he asked me how it was i replied that i wanted to get a motorcycle one day, and he shook his head and said "you are never getting a motorcycle. at least not while you're living in my house"

when i told a friend what I'd done, she shook her head and said "that can't be good for shidduchim" so i retorted that i refuse to live my life based on what other people will think of me. the guy I'll marry will be the one that will hear about my ride and say "cool! can i have a ride too?" but it made me wonder about those kind of people. y'know, the ones that everyone talks about. the people who do live their lives for the public eye. i kind of feel bad for them. it's like a girl that goes out and only says what her mom told her to say. there's no spine there, no real opinion. is that life?

"swing...and a miss!"

it's all my sister's fault.

we were playing baseball about eight or nine years ago. my uncle stuck her in the outfield, where she missed a ball that went right by her. when he asked her why she didn't try to catch it, she looked at him and informed him that she was doing her hair. since then, my uncle's been prejudiced against girls playing baseball.

and that is why today i felt like a ten year old again. i was playing baseball with a bunch of random relatives, and i felt like i was playing like a ten year old. i couldn't run because i wasn't wearing sneakers. my hair was getting in my face, and i couldn't see for the sun glare. when i missed an easy catch and let my six year old cousin hit a double, my uncle moved me to outfield and informed me that i couldn't catch.

i was always into sports when i was little. i had a favorite tree. i played soccer every afternoon with my sister (my dad grew up in Israel so he's a big fan) i played football and basketball and baseball. but i feel like now I'm all thumbs when trying catch, and can't hit a ball.

is there a happy medium? can you be a refined young lady and still be good at sports? when i have kids and i see them playing baseball and tell them i want to play too, i don't want them to groan under their breaths and shoot it out to see who loses and gets stuck with me.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

you can hear a pin drop...

bowling is a funny thing. you pay money to wear a pair of smelly shoes that six hundred people have worn before you, many of which weren't wearing socks, haven't washed their feet in over twenty four hours, and may have had athlete's foot, or other ailments of the foot. then you pay more money to roll a 10-15 lb. ball (which REALLY hurts when you drop it on your toe!) down a lane to try and knock over ten pins.

but's a game i really enjoy.

however, i don't like it when i go to one alley, to spend fifteen minutes explaining to the guy behind the counter that if the wait for a lane is a half hour, and it's eleven o'clock, and they're not letting anyone in after eleven thirty, he shouldn't tell people he'll hold a lane for them. and then i have to back into the car to find another alley that's open later (becuase i wasted alot of time talking to this idiot)

it's funny how frum people go bowling: they show up fifteen minutes before the place closes, and then spend ten minutes looking around to see what other frum people are there. it's funny when you get to your lane and you find a men's pair of shoes, size sixteen sitting in the middle of the floor. it's funny when your cousin is really beating you because she got a turkey, and you only got a spare on two strikes...and then she bowls a zero.

and it's REALLY fun when you bowl 116 :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Disclaimer: i did NOT compose these songs. they emailed to a family member years ago, and they've become a part of my family's pesach, almost a part of the seder

Our Passover Things (Sung to the tune of "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music)
Cleaning and cooking and so many dishes

Out with the hametz, no pasta, no knishes

Fish that's gefillted, horseradish that stings

These are a few of our Passover things.

Matzah and karpas and chopped up haroset

Shankbones and kiddish and yiddish neuroses

Tante who kvetches and uncle who sings

These are a few of our Passover things.

Motzi and maror and trouble with Pharoahs

Famines and locusts and slaves with wheelbarrows

Matzah balls floating and eggshell that clings

These are a few of our Passover things.

When the plagues strike

When the lice bite

When we're feeling sad

We simply remember our Passover things

And then we don't feel so bad.

Just a Tad of Charoset (Sung to the tune of "Just a Spoon Full of Sugar")

Chorus: Just a tad of charoset helps the bitter herbs go down,

The bitter herbs go down, the bitter herbs go down.

Just a tad of charoset helps the bitter herbs go down,

In the most disguising way.

Oh, back in Egypt long ago,

The Jews were slaves under Pharoh.

They sweat and toiled and labored through the day.

So when we gather pesach night,

We do what we think right.

Maror, we chew,

To feel what they went through.


So after years of slavery

They saw no chance of being free.

Their suffering was the only life they knew.

But baby Moses grew up tall,

And said he'd save them all.

He did, and yet,

We swear we won't forget.



While the maror is being passed,

We all refill our water glass,

Preparing for the taste that turns us red.

Although maror seems full of minuses,

It sure does clear our sinuses.

But what's to do?

It's hard to be a Jew!!!


Don't Sit on the Afikomen (Sung to the tune of "Glory, Glory, Halleluyah")

My Dad at every Seder breaks a Matza piece in two

and hides the Afikomen half-

A game for me and you

Find it, hold it ransom for the Seder isn't through

'till the Afikomen's gone.


Don't sit on the Afikomen.

Don't sit on the Afikomen.

Don't sit on the Afikomen.

Or the Meal will last all night

One year Daddy hid it 'neath a pillow on a chair

But just as I raced over, my Aunt Sophie sat down there

She threw herself upon it-

Awful crunching filled the air

And crumbs flew all around


There were matza crumbs all over-

Oh, it was a messy sight

We swept up all the pieces though it took us half the night

So, if you want your seder ending sooner than dawn's light,

Don't sit on the Afiko-o-men


I've Been Cooking for this Seder (Sung to the tune of "I've Been Working on the Railroad")

I've been cooking for this seder

Erev Pesach day

Making matzah balls and kugel

So we'll feast as well as pray

Can't you smell the pareve sponge cake

It rises up so little without yeast

Can't you hear our voices singing

At this joyous Pesach feast

Mama, you can cook

Mama, you can cook

Milchidik and fleishidik and pareve, too

Mama, you can stew

Mama, you can stew

Your seder food's delicious and we thank you

Monday, April 21, 2008

chol hamoed

it's that time of year. those four days twice a year that invoke delight in the hearts of all children and dread in the hearts of moms. it's the inevitable "what are we doing for chol hamoed?" it means finding an early minyan, packing the family up, and trying to find the best trip that hasn't yet been 'found' by the jewish population. it means uncertainity for dads; go to work, or take a vacation day, spend six hours in the car, eat crummy (no pun intended) matzah with butter or jelly, and come home at six, tired, cranky, and sunburned. my mom always threatened that she'd make us do what our israeli cousins do on chol hamoed: visit relatives. at this point we've done every hike, museum, old house, and park within the tri-state area. and my parents have mellowed somewhat, and took my younger siblings to an amusement park, leaving poor me at home to study for my test tomorrow :( so far my chol hamoed has consisted of studying calcification and remodeling of bones. my big break was when i went to the grocery store to get butter for my sister. and now i'm back home and almost finished muscle contraction. then tomorrow i have school, and on thursday another test. ah, all those wasted chol hamoeds of my youth, when i didn't appreciate the freedom i had.

seder at the nursing home

it was dark when we set out. our destination: a retirement home. our mission: to lead a seder for seven old women and ten old men. we all had ambiguous feelings. my brother told him that earlier in the week his friend said "I'm going to Cancun for pesach" to which my brother had to reply "I'm going to a nursing home!" everyone kept telling us that we'd be back in bed by eleven thirty!

although we were freezing outside, the thermostat was up to at least eighty five degrees. we were hot the second we stepped in the door. we rounded the corner...and sitting there were three old ladies. they hit it off immediately with my mother. we davened maariv and went into the dining room to begin.

earlier my brother had taken a look at the schedule which said: maariv-eight thirty, shulchan orech, nine thirty. we weren't sure how we were going to manage to get through the whole hagaddah in an hour when the night before it took us twenty five minutes from karpas to ma nishtana.

but in the end we didn't have to worry about the time. we only sat down at nine thirty. the only sort of time constraint we had was the that the shabbos mode in the elevator shut off at twelve and some of the women lived on other floors. but the seder proceeded smoothly. my little brother said ma nishtana and we kept them entertained with our family's favorite pesach songs.

one little old lady at the end of the table didn't open her mouth the whole time. but as soon as she saw our hand matzah she started talking about her grandfather, and how he only ate the round matzah, and she used to go with her father all the way to Brooklyn to bring back boxes and boxes of that matzah to new jersey where she lived.

another women took a special liking to my older sister because they have the same name. she informed my sister that she had something in common with a piano-she was eighty eight years old. and she was flabbergasted when she heard my sister was twenty-one. she called the waiters "honey" and "dear" and informed them they shouldn't be serving cabbage so late at night, especially to someone as young as her.

at one point during the seder a bunch of EMT's rushed passed, wheeling an empty stretcher. a bunch of the women perked up, and one muttered to herself "ach i vonder who zat is for..."

even the waiters got into the holiday spirit. at the end of nirtzah when we sing 'echad mi yodea' we always end off with a round of 'one is hashem' in English. as they were cleaning up i heard one of them singing "one is hashem, one is hashem, one is hashem..." under his breath.

we finished at ten to twelve, and all the old people made it up to their rooms safely, after eliciting promises from my mother that we would come and visit soon.

on the whole, it was an interesting experience, and it looks like my family will be repeating it again next year.

three days no shower

everyone keeps telling me that if i had my shower fetish and lived a hundred years ago i never would have survived.

i'm obsessed with showering.

right after havdalah i was going nuts cuz i desperately wanted to take a shower. my mother said in the shtetl they went for weeks without taking showers. my sister said in europe they're not crazy about showering the way americans are. my aunt said i wanted three days, twenty minutes isn't going to kill me.

but i still need my shower.

i really love pesach. it's usually nice weather, no school (except for my test on wednesday), spend time with family....(lots of potatoes) but the whole thing with no showering drives me crazy. i bought a shabbos toothbrush so i can brush my teeth on yom tov, but there's nothing like a nice shower to make me feel clean and happy again

Thursday, April 17, 2008

the pests of the little variety

it's officially bug season.

i was outside today for like two hours and when i came home i had three mosquito bites. it's starting. i'll go outside and within two minutes i'll have about fifteen bites. on my arms, legs and face. i'm either overly sensitive, or i have sweet blood. or maybe i'm just always in the wrong place at the wrong time. my friend says if you take garlic pills it will keep the bugs away. but i'm scared it will keep all my friends away as well. i've tried every spray and cream on the planet. i've tried those gross smelling candles, and even bug zappers. but nothing will keep those pesky 'skeeters off my skin.

but it means that summer is coming. it means long hazy afternoons with nothing to do. it means warm sunsets and long slow shadows on the grass. it means the type of rainstorms that you can lie on the ground and smell them coming. it means barbecues and long afternoons at the pool. no schedule and all the time in the world. sunburns and rollerblading. picnics and baseball.
air conditioning and sunglasses. lemonade stands and frying eggs on the sidewalk.

ahhhh summer.....

darn, i have school in june

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Journey to the back of someone's head

i usually sit in the same seat for every class. there are a few people who are the wandering type. that means they have no set seat, but sit in whichever seat calls to them. i don't mind as long as they don't get too close to me. in tonight's class, i like the fact that there is no one next to me besides the other frum girl. but tonight a wanderer sat in front of me. so when i was bored i shrunk myself to the size of a rice kernel and took a journey to the back of his head.

....he has really short hair, it must have been cut recently....the back of his neck is hard and leathery, like he's out in the sun alot....he has a big pimple on his cheek which sticks out if he turns his head slightly to the left....and when he shaved he missed two hairs that stick out from his beard.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

it seems to me that Asians are taking over the world.

i noticed it in college first. the oriental-looking people are all over the campus. when the student lounge is not filled with the weird jabbering of the Indians, you can see them draped over the chairs and surfing the web. when you have a problem printing in the computer lab, you have to ask one of the kind black-haired girls sitting at the front desk. there are signs in the staff lounge announcing that if you want a vcr brought into your classroom you have to check the list to see who is on call for that day. all five guys are Oriental. in class, every other name seems to be Ku Ying Ah So or Navnit Shing Yu. my sister had an Oriental guy in her class with such a complicated name, that the professor used to spell out the name and not bother to try prounnouncing it between the weird jewish, oriental, black, and indian names, (Yitty, Kimyangsu, Faquicia, Savreit), the american professors are so grateful for a simple Justin, or Amanda, when they call the roll.

about fifty years ago, the kids that graduated at the top of their classes had names like Michael Schwartz, Theodore Cohen, and Howard Katz. Now it's all the Aisians. they fill the hallowed walls of the universities with their soft jabbering, shooting past all the Jewish doctors, leaving the lazy Americans far behind in the dust...

...and every street corner has a cleaners or a fruit/vegatable store owned by these hardworking non-americans, who work from early morning till late at night, trying to make it in the land of the free.


there is nothing as nerve-wracking as telling a joke.

what if you forget details? what if you skip something? what if you say the punchline wrong? what if everyone already knows it? what if they don't get it? what if there's that horribly awkward silence...and then a weak laugh which makes you feel even dumber?

my friend wrote a book called "101 Ways to Kill a Joke". she actually never let me see it cuz i'm nasty enough without her help. but i know one of her favorites is to say "i don't get it" even if she does. that way the joke-teller is forced to explain the joke, which, obviously, kills it.

my favorite is when someone will call a joke by its punchline. like, "hey did you hear that joke about the complimentary peanuts?" and then when you say you haven't, there's no point in telling it, because you already know the punchline.

and now i'll leave off with a joke:
a hit man named Artie was once hired by a guy to strangle his wife. being that he knew that everyone was up on hard times, he agreed to do it for a buck. so he followed the guys wife to the store when she went to do her grocery shopping, and strangled her. unfortunately, two people saw him do it, so he had to strangle them too. the next day the paper headline read:

Artie Chokes Three for a Dollar A&P

Monday, April 14, 2008

men are from mars

it's amazing how men are a totally different species. you can even tell by looking at the barest part. the skeleton. the difference is really only in the pelvic bone, and it's not such a major one, but you can tell there. add the rest of the body, intelligence, and personality, and you've got a totally different creature (even though women were created from men, this is backwards)

but seriously.

humor: men find the vulgarest things funny. like homer simpson, south park, and family guy. they think jokes about death, killing, and bodily functions are funny.

food: if it's any form of meat, they'll like it. if it has hot sauce on it, they'll like it anymore (it's questionable if it's in the form of meatloaf) if it has any green in it, they won't touch it. they think potatoes count as healthy vegatables, and chocolates are veggies cuz they come from beans, which are veggies.

sleeping: they can fall asleep anywhere, in almost any position. the never have to worry that they'll look stupid

pictures: they don't care if they're in a picture that shows seventeen chins. or they're making a weird face. or it looks like they're picking their nose. or they are picking their nose.

driving: it's sort of like a badge of honor to get alot of tickets-especially if it's in the first month of driving. they speed, and regard all traffic rules as mere suggestions.

drinking: if they get smashed, ppl don't call them bad names. it doesn't ruin their reputation. they can get away with only minimal damage

they totally don't get hints. at all. you have to spell out exactly what you want from them.

they will never remember to put the toilet seat down.

they don't get what's wrong with drinking straight out of containers.

we'll just never be able to understand don't give yourself a headache trying

6 ways you can tell it's bein hazmanim

1. girls are suddenly wearing more makeup

2. there are alot of drivers on the road who don't know how to drive because either just got their license, haven't driven in awhile, or have been driving in Israel, where everyone drives like maniacs.

3. you go to Pathmark at eleven thirty to get last minute groceries and every aisle has another white shirted guy on clutching his rabbi's version of the pesach list, and on the phone with his mother, trying to figure out which hechsher is the most machmir

4. there are fifty more minyanim, all the way up till noon.

5. on shabbos, the shul is packed, and about twenty people bentch gomel

6. girls are dropping like flies, every week there are like fifteen vorts

G-d likes you if you don't curse

today i got rewarded for being good.

i pulled into the college's parking lot, and found someone who was walking to her car. i rolled down my window and politely asked her if she was pulling out her car, and if i could follow her to her spot. she said she was, and i could. so i followed behind her with my blinker on, till she got to her spot, waited for her to pull out....when all of a sudden a car zoomed in and took my spot. now that person had been sitting there, watched me talk to her, watched me follow her with my blinker on, but she didn't care. i was debating talking to her and telling her i had been waiting for that spot, but i knew she wouldn't care. i really wanted to yell and expletive at her, cuz i was running very late, very tired, and very mad. but i didn't want to stoop down to her level. so i bit my tongue, and drove away...

....and then i found a spot way closer to the building.

thanks, G-d.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

somebody notices

i was eating a box of green apple heads. i'm not really a candy person, but it's that time before pesach when there is no food in the house, and you have absolutely nothing to eat.

so anyway, i'm eating the apple heads, and i noticed a funny taste. it wouldn't have been polite to spit them out into my hand (i had three in my mouth) so rolled them around on my tongue...there was a red hot in my appleheads! i would have noticed if it had been red, so it must have been coated with green. but there was no mistaking that taste. i've never like hot tamales, red hots, or fireballs, even as a kid, but i was i public, so i choked it down.

later i was thinking about it. perhaps in the factory something went wrong. and something ended up in the wrong box. and the worker was just like "oh what the heck, it's green, no one will know" but i knew. the second it hit my tongue i knew.

life is like that sometimes. there are ppl that walk the walk, talk the talk, and dress the way they're supposed to. but they don't quite fit in. they're a red hot in a box of appleheads. but someone will know. ppl can tell

Sunday, April 6, 2008

skull and crossbones

i've been walking around like a crazy person mumbling to myself all day.

i'm trying to memorize all the bones in the skull. it's really tough. temporal, occipital, sphenoid, zygotic, frontal, ethmoid, mandible....

tomorrow i'm doing the spine and ribs

my observations on manhattan

i love new york city. i love the randomness of the people, the fully loaded starbucks on every corner, the feeling of helplessness you get when you stop in the middle of a pedestrian flow and look around at the nameless people living their lives, when you look up at the towering skyscrapers. i love writing stories about the people i see; the girlschattering excitedly as they file into the american girl place, the boys lurking behind their girlfriends, rolling their eyes as their dragged into yet another store, the small, non-american determined to give you the best price for a cap or a scarf, the little people who stand on corners and advertise for lancome's new special at sephora, or a mens' clothing store's entry around the corner.

last week i was grumbling about the rain, when someone told me i should "go take a walk in the rain" when i'm not in a rush. i did that this friday. i walked fourteen blocks to a photo gallery to write a paper for school. i got lost, practically ended up on the west side highway, and called my dad to see if i should be worried about where i was. but when he told me i shouldn't be there alone, i couldn't even be scared. becuase i was fascinated. i was writing stories. abou the sanitation department worker, the three italian business men hanging out on the corner. i never had an hour to kill in that part of the city before, and i wanted to take it all in

Thursday, April 3, 2008

you know that feeling when you've had the craziest week.....and now it's over?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

thank god for small kindnesses

i've been so scatterbrained lately with all the stuff that's going on, and today i could have had a serious issue on my hand. on monday i didn't have my lab book with me, and the professor went through the chapter with us and told us specifically which bones of the skull we had to memorize. since i didn't have my book, i asked my lab partner frank if i could borrow his to copy over, and bring it back today. he agreed. i set out for school today with my books, and his. i got to school about ten minutes before class started so i went to find someplace to sit and catch up on other work. at twelve, i gathered up all my stuff and went to the classroom, to find that my photography class was canceled. it's a three hour class, so i decided to spend my free time at home. when i pulled into my driveway, i realized that i didn't have frank's book with me. i had left it on the table where i'd been doing my work! so i would have to run back to school very quickly to retrieve the book, or i'd have to give frank my book which would leave me without a book!


i remembered that i saw chris, who was in my class, at the tables


i even had her number because i sold her a book in the beginning of the year and had to meet her!

so i called her


she was still sitting there


she saw the book right there


she agreed to bring it with her to the three o' clock class!!

and now i'm saved

"...well i had FIVE wisdom teeth removed!"

why do humans always need to be the one with the bigger story?

it's the classic case of " fish was THIS big!" whenever someone is telling a story, there is always someone else who needs to have one up over them. when you got two free tickets to a concert, your friend got three. when your son got a 97 on his gemara test, your neighbors son got a 99. when you got a two week paid vacation bonus, your co-worker got three weeks.

and what about when someone is experiencing a tragedy "my wife is sitting shiva for her mother" "oh that's really sad...i remember when my mother-in-law passed away..." people are so eager to talk about themselves. "oh you're having a bad day? don't worry it will get better, i remember last week when i felt like nothing was going right..."

people don't do it personally. it's human nature. you've got to be aware of this in order to catch yourself. but I've noticed that people who are willing to listen more and talk (especially about themselves) less, are people that you want to hang around with, because you feel like you're actually talking to a person whose willing to listen. you're having a conversation, a dialogue. not two monologues.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

cheaters do prosper sometimes

last night i was the center of a massive cheating ring...and i didn't do a thing to cheat.

Rosa and her friend sit behind me. we're quite friendly, and we sit in the back of the class bemoaning the stupidity of the older women and the craziness of the professor (Rosa is convinced he's schizo) last class we had a test. when i came back in after the break, they asked me how i thought I'd done. i replied that i wasn't sure. to which Rosa answered "oh cuz we copied all your answers" i was shocked i started laughing. they must have really good eyesight to have been able to read off my paper, because i would have noticed if they'd been craning their necks to look. i was then further astounded when Rosa informed me that she thought that "ninety five percent of my answers were correct" how did she know? she checked me against two other classmates!

(this was after i had asked her for the syllabus to see what the homework was and she shoved her answers in my face and commanded me to "just be a bad girl!")

my thoughts...

i spent this past shabbos at my cousin, and i went to shul with her where i met a woman who told me a cool story:

this woman is a succesful practicing doctor. she and her husband have two gorgeous kids. they are the type of couple that plan the perfect life and then live it-except there was one thing they didn't plan. after her two perfect kids she gave birth to a girl with Down's Syndrome. and she didn't know in advance. after the initial adjustment period, they discussed the name. it is said what women get a spark of Divine Providence when they have to name their babies. the woman told me that the name she though of was Leora. that her baby should be a light for them and for everyone. her husband liked the name, but they decided to think it over and go for a second opinion. later that day, her husband missed his bus to go home, and had to take the second bus. as he was getting up at his stop, the guy behind him tapped him on the shoulder and said "excuse me, i think you forgot your credit card" the husband looked down, and saw a card on the floor, but it wasn't his. but he picked it up anyway. he called the credit card company to cancel it and they told him they needed the name on the card. so he flipped the card over to look at the name.

it was leora.

the baby's name is leora.

as i was talking to this women, i could see the faith she has in Hashem, and the love she and her husband have for their child. i wish her much success and happiness in raising her three gorgeous children.

and lunch was really weird becuase my cousin has a friend that had recently moved to a very out of town community and was back in the neighborhood with three of his students, so they all came over for lunch. the boy sitting next to me only ate turkey roll. and the way he ate it was by picking it up, bringing it really close to his face, and ripping it to pieces. and he read cartoons at the table.

and the results are in....

.......sleep deprivation makes me test VERY well!