Wednesday, April 29, 2009

a tip from the master of procrastination

one of the problems with procrastination is that it comes accompanied by an overwhelming feeling of guilt. at least for me it does. when I'm not studying, I'm thinking about how i should be studying, and feeling guilty that I'm not studying. they say that the conscience is the part of you that hurts when everything else feels fine. and it's true. when i get into bed at night, and i close my eyes and wait for exhaustion to claim me, a little voice inside my head starts listing all the things i didn't get to do, and all the topics i don't know that well and have to review again, and the paper that i have to finish writing by the end of the week (which i kept ignoring, and now i can't go to sleep until i finish writing it)

and as bad as a guilty conscience feels, it's a whole lot worse when you're not doing what you should be doing, and everyone around you is doing what they should be doing. sister1 is studying for her CPA exam, and when she is sitting on her bed and studying, and I'm not, i feel so guilty.

there's an area in my college, right near the nursing office, where all the nursing students like to sit to do their work. it's right next to alot of big open windows, and it's very quiet since the only visitors to that area are the cleaning staff and an occasional staff member who goes into a sketchy looking room at the corner of the building. but i still can't study there, because i can't sit and listen to everyone talk about their study schedules and the things they've been doing. even though i know i spend a good portion of my waking time studying for finals, i still get nervous when other people talk about their studying. and before tests i get worse. i think i actually displayed clinical signs and symptoms of a mild panic attack before my first nursing exam. but I've figured out how to calm myself; i take my headphones and my Rubik's cube and go sit in a corner and focus on lining up all the colored squares correctly, and the last thing on my mind is my exam, or last minute cramming.

but I've found a place to study or do work and feel really industrious; the school library. between classes it kind of gets noisy. being that it is a library, and supposed to be a place of quiet and learning, everyone on campus congregates there to eat lunch, play poker, fight, and hang out. (actually, not to hang out so much anymore. since the weather got nicer, the real goofers lounge around on the twenty square feet of grass and pretend they are on a real university campus-they play Frisbee and toss a football. you just gotta watch yourself when walking down the paths, since they play over everyone's heads.) so when it gets really noisy i retreat the upper level of the library which is relatively quiet. that is, when they're not doing construction and drilling. but during class time, there aren't too many people in the library. and those that are there are quiet. but no one's ever doing work. so when i sit there and study, i always feel good about myself.

today when i was in the library, i took note of what everyone else was doing;

at the table to the left of me, a girl sat talking on her phone.

at the table in front of me, two guys sat discussing a movie they had watched the night before.

two tables down, there was a girl doing her toes. yep, she had her feet up on the table. and a bottle of nail polish in her hand. at least she didn't have toe fungus...

even the librarians were goofing off. the two of the six librarians go walking everyday. when it's nice weather outside they walk around the buildings, but when it's cooler, or raining they walk inside. today they were doing laps around the library.

altogether, i left the library feeling quite accomplished

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I've noticed something about frum people and speeches: they always mentioning gardening, trees, and flowers.

at bais yaakov plays, at bas mitzvah parties; young girls are always compared to flowers, and we're reminded how we must water the flower and care for it, so we can see it blossom into something wonderful.

in high school; we were told that in order to maintain the beauty and serenity of the flowers, we must weed out the evil weeds that try to choke the poor defenseless flowers (in other words, you're earrings are too long, your skirts to short, your shoes are too expressive, your shirt is too bright...)

at sheva brachos; the young bride is more often than not compared to a full grown flower, who is now somehow morphing into a gardener, and will soon grow her own patch of beautiful flowers.

to be fair, there is a source for this horticulture business. the first place that i can think of off the top of my head is Shir Hashirim, where it talks about Hashem descending to His garden to pick flowers, referring (i think) to the Asara Harugei Malchus.

so today i was not surprised when the director of the adult day care center we went to (frum, of course) compared the organization to a tree.
"...our place is like a tree. the main component, the trunk is health care. and of course, for a tree to survive, it needs roots....and it has to be watered...." to be honest, once she started comparing herself to a growing thing, i sort of half tuned her out, since I'd heard it so often, and looked around to judge the reactions of my classmates.

they were, for the most part, unimpressed. i guess they haven't grown up being told they have to weed themselves or they would choke.

Monday, April 27, 2009

the story of my incredible bag

after three semesters of toting three separate bags and walking around unable to open doors or answer my phone when it rang because my hands were so full, i ventured out to Target to find a bag that would be big enough to hold all my stuff.

and i came home with the most wonderful bag in the world.

it's bright green

and it's HUGE.

the first thing my mom said when she saw the bag was "the handle is going to rip" but that's what she says about every single bag that i buy. i think it's just like a knee-jerk reflex or something. but she's not the only one who didn't greet my new bag with unbridled joy and enthusiasm like i did when i first saw it.

my grandmother asked me why i bring my laundry bag with me everywhere i go.

one friend asked me how many bodies i can hide in it.

another friend's mother asked me if it's a zipped up sleeping bag.

some people started calling me Savta Simcha. others call me Mary Poppins.

yes, i know i look kind of funny when I'm looking for something in it and my entire head can fit in it, but it really holds EVERYTHING. right now, if i dump out it's contents, I'll find a Rubik's cube, two water bottles, a book I'm in the middle of reading, a folder with all my notes to study, flashcards, a pack of index cards, a small textbook, a book of NCLEX-RN review questions, my stethoscope, phone charger, computer charger, and a smaller cosmetic bag which holds my wallet, keys, change, blistex, penlight, pens, pencils, scotch tape, bobby pins, paper clips and rubber bands.

i dare you to find another book that can hold all that.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

what happened to spring? the weather went from cold and rainy to hot, hot, hot!

on Thursday i was wearing winter clothing, and today everyone's out in summer whites. i love summer, but my favorite season is spring, so i feel a little cheated. although i think the weather will drop to the sixties by Wednesday. but summer is definitely coming up! my dad set a date to open the pool, and fixed up the porch slats that came loose over the winter. (in truth he'd like nothing better than to be riding his motorcycle now, but the doctor ordered no riding for a little bit because he got stitches on his finger-I'm wondering if my mother paid the doctor to say that :) )

we're getting ready for the first barbecue of the season. i was sent out to buy all the barbecue staples. along with the entire rest of my community. everyone's carts were piled high with hot dogs, hamburgers, buns, pickles, corn, coleslaw, baked beans, and condiments. sister 2 was put to work making her potato salad, and the rest of the jobs got delegated to various members of the family. the salads were made, the meat was grilled, and the corn....well the corn did get cooked, but the husks were never removed. there was alot of good-natured ribbing from the family and neighbors...but that corn never did get eaten. as usual we had way too much food left over, even though everyone did their part in eating the food, including a cousin who inhaled two platefuls of potato salad and three hot dogs.

I brought out the bottle of Sun-In, and spent the day studying in the sun. although this weather makes it very difficult to study. but it means that I've got three weeks left till the the end of the semester. and then I'll be a quarter of the way through nursing school.

I'm looking towards the light at the end of the tunnel.

just hoping it's not a train coming through

Monday, April 20, 2009

i am

a female

a daughter

a religious Jew

a nursing student

a Harry Potter maniac

a young woman

a New Yorker

a friend

a sister

a lefty

but who i am

is more

than just a label

i choose

who i am

and i choose

how i want other people

to perceive me

and i will not let

anyone else



i am

Friday, April 17, 2009

i've always liked last days of pesach better. i find that i stuff much more holiday celebrating into it than i do to the first days, because once the first days start, i know that pesach will be over in two days. that's not the case with the first days, when i know i still have chol hamoed and the last days.

in addition to the insanely large amount of slightly-off-the-wall family i spent alot of hours with, i got alot of introspection done on my way to shul. with my high-and-very-funky-but-oh-so-uncomfortable shoes, i had to walk really, really slowly so i wouldn't sprain my toes, so the six minute walk to shul took almost thirteen minutes.

and as if those blisters weren't enough, i spent two hours walking around my neighborhood, studying gaseous transfer and disorders of the respiratory system with my neighbor. at least we attempted to. we kept stopping to talk about anything more interesting than lungs (just about anything) and kept getting stopped by one of my neighbors who likes to call to us as we pass by "nurse, nurse! i have left-shoulder pain! my head hurts! i need insulin! take my blood pressure" it was almost funny the first time and mildly funny the second time. by the fifth time, it crossed the line between funny and slightly annoying. next time she bugs me, maybe I'll offer to take her pulse and then cut off both of her carotid arteries.

motzai pesach after havdalah is always a little sad. i never got the obsession to go and get pizza. i mean, I'm always up for pizza, but why pizza and not bagels? or sushi? my uncle found a restaurant that always has pies on motzai pesach and it's not as popular as the pizza stores which are always totally mobbed, so he picks up enough pies for all my cousins, and after we've peeled off the last vestiges of foil from the counters, and stored the last box of pesach dishes, we get our chametz kick.

Monday, April 13, 2009

the popular thing is to go away for Pesach-the standard, of course, is hotels. upstate, Connecticut, anywhere but Brooklyn. the further away the hotel, the better it is. and if you go a hotel with famous speakers and rabbis, or Jewish singers, you're really fulfilling your Simchat Y't.

but if you want to outdo the hotel-goers, pick someplace even further away; Florida, California, someplace where it's so hot that you have to stay inside all day for fear of dehydration or heatstroke. or you can even leave the US and go to Mexico or Cancun.

you can tell who went away for Pesach, because they come back all nice and tanned. stupid brown people. one year I'm going to go to like Idaho for Pesach, and when all the Miami people talk about their nice tans, I'll say "big deal. i had lots of potatoes over Y't."

but then of course I'll just be on par with the rest of the Jewish people all around the world.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

yom tov.

a time to spend with family.

there's nothing like family.

and there's no family quite like mine.

whether it's my own immediate family, with our special pesach traditions-
the food we eat-everything homemade, from orange juice to tomato sauce
the tunes we use-special traditional for pesach tunes, or the family's own favorites
the things we do at the seder-the hot-and-cold to find the afikomen, the way we say borei pri hagafen on the cups of wine, the way we belt out a certain line from hodu l'hashem ki tov

or aunts uncles and cousins-
the games we play-backgammon-i lose every single game! even when i cheat!
the things we discuss-confessions of flooding other people's apartments, discussing the properties of lead in displacing water
the way we entertain ourselves-watching the younger kids "perform a play" when in truth, it's just forty minutes of them pushing and yelling, one child running on and off the stage, waving pieces of kitchen dishes at everyone else, a two year old keeps wandering onto the stage and plunking herself down in the middle of the scenes, while my poor grandfather had to sit and watch as the kids systematically destroyed his house.

but that's what it's all about, right?

now i just hope there's nice weather tomorrow. or my family reunion will be relocated to my house, and i may not be so sane after that...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

bircas hachama...once in 28 years...a part of something big...doing it with a tzibur...

all very good reasons for why i was up at the crack of dawn today. all the shuls in my neighborhood got together at a golf club to daven shacharis. my aunt and cousins parked in our driveway and walked with us at six thirty to watch the sun rise as it did at the start of the world.

according to my aunt, it was the most dressed up she's been all week. i think all the women there felt the same way. they finally got to get away from the hot stoves and stand outside in the frigid April weather and say the bracha.

i actually saw it come up before i got the clubhouse. i thought it was like besamim-y'know, you have to make the bracha before you see it. but apparently the whole point is to make the bracha sometime in the first three hours that it's up. other communities in new york are getting together at eight o' clock to say the bracha. i guess we're just frummer here.

so all the women were snapping pictures of the sun (which looked pretty much the same as it does every day, but i took some pictures too, just so i can post them on Facebook and be like everyone else) and pictures of the men davening (but i drew the line there. it felt too much like seminary)

my mom was thrilled that her three daughters were up before seven on erev pesach. but sister 1 fell right into bed when we got home. and judging from the lack of banging noises coming from upstairs, i think sister 2 went back to sleep as well. so much for the early start. i think the dawn wake up might set us back a few hours. and the seder is quite late.

it's going to be a long day.

but hopefully a productive one too.

chag kasher v'sameach.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

today felt like one of those days when you run around doing everything, but when evening falls, you feel like you haven't accomplished anything at all.

i cleaned my car for Pesach. while there is the obvious obligation of having no chometz in possession that i fulfilled by cleaning out my car, i think it would be simpler if I'd stuck with my original plan of paying brother2 to clean it. i ended up with smudged hands, $3 in change, twelve bobby pins, an empty gum box, alot of dirty leaves, and a dead battery.

yea, i left my keys in the car too long and drained the battery. so i spent thirty five minutes getting intimately acquainted with my car batter as i begged, pleaded, cajoled, scolded, and threatened my battery to charge. turns out it wasn't my car that was the problems. it was my mom's weak battery.

i feel like i spent the entire day being busy and doing, but now i can't think of anything that i actually accomplished. except for folding and impossible mound of laundry.

so I've got that Sunday-evening-feeling. and to top it off, Monday is coming.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

apparently macaroons are the ultimate Pesach food. i wouldn't really know. we don't eat processed foods on Pesach, in keeping with...i think it's tradition, but as my mother loves to say, it's dumb to pretend that the reason why my ancestor's didn't buy processed food for Pesach isn't because they were being holy or extra stringent. it's because they didn't have processed foods. but whatever the reason, we still make most of the food we eat, including jelly, mayonnaise, orange juice, even tomato sauce sometimes. it's actually fun. except for the orange juice making .that just ends up being a sticky mess that gets all over the table and finds its way into the interior part of every single pair of gloves that i like to use when i cook or clean.

but this year my mom bought macaroons before pesach, so we can feel like we're actually eating normal food, without tracking chometz through the house (because apparently my mother has so little faith in her adult and teenage children and thinks we're going to run through the house, trailing breadcrumbs behind us, smashing cake into the walls, and leave crackers in our bed)

but what i don't get is why she bought macaroons and not some other pesach foods. my dad hates coconut. and macaroons are coconut held together by some edible stuff. like maybe eggs. so why on earth are they called Coconut Macaroons and Chocolate Macaroons? let's call a spade a spade; they're regular and burnt. at least that's what they taste like to me. and the Chocolate Chip ones are just Regular Macaroons With Burned Spots In Them. whatever they are, i don't like them, because the little strings of coconut get stuck between my teeth and i find myself chewing on them all day.

and the funniest thing of all is that my dad loves macaroons! and he hates coconut! so either, he doesn't really like coconut, but he just said that to get out of eating some cake my family members like to make. the one with the coconut on top, named after a family member, but called vomit cake by some select members of my house. i like to call it Regurge-a-cake. or it could be that my dad is just starving for food since there is none in my house, so he'll eat anything. i think that is a more likely reason.