Sunday, July 26, 2009

i can't believe the summer is halfway over already. there are so many things that i planned to do, and have not yet had a chance.

i was supposed to go camping with my dad and sister2 (sister1 is not much for outdoor things) but we never got a tent, and every Sunday evening something else seemed to happen. now she's in camp, and when she gets back, I'm starting school and it's going to be too cold.

i was supposed to be nice and tanned by the end of the summer. not a crazy leathery-wrinkled-sun-damaged-tan, but a nice healthy glow. but despite some good kick off burns, my skin has remained pitifully white. then again, I've been comparing it to cousin3, The Brown Cousin. i think she secretly goes to a tanning salon. (i wonder if her mother knows)

i was supposed to go boating-not row boating around a little lake, but rent a speedboat and spend the day out on the water. then i looked online at prices, and i don't have enough money for it. and my friends were not so impressed with the idea. one doesn't live locally and Sundays never seem to work out for her. one is interning in the DA's office, and only seems to have off on days when it's cloudy. one friend doesn't like water activities. one friend won't do anything that would make her hair knotty.

i was supposed to go the beach very often. so far i went once. it was with my interning friend, so of course it was cloudy. it was also before the beach was officially open so we couldn't go into the water. the second my big toe came near the shoreline, the park official came zooming up in a cloud of exhaust and told us to move back. so we sat on the beach and ate tuna sandwiches. i tell you, eating on the beach gives a whole new meaning to the word sandwich. yuk.

i was supposed to go see a Broadway show with my friend. at least i can still do that after the summer's over, but it's going to be a lot harder once we're both back in school-mode.

i was supposed to spend an evening catching fireflies. this is one activity i hope i never outgrow. of course now i do it in the privacy of my backyard where nobody can see me. there's nothing like running around after glowing little bugs, trying to catch them. don't worry, i don't keep them, i let them go.

i know i still have another month left to the summer, but I'm going away for august, and when i come back, there won't be any summer left.

do twelve-year old boys get pre-bar mitzvah jitters?

i don't think brother2 has them. he's been practicing his parsha, ad nauseum. i can probably recite till the second or third aliyah with minimal prompting. but sister2 can go all the way up to the fourth.

his only problem is that he reads it way to quickly. he takes a deep breath....and zooms off so fast you're left standing in the dust.

yesterday, my dad made him practice reading his speech at the table.

it was a disaster.

he was reading it so quickly, i couldn't discern the hebrew words from the english. it was all a big blur of "rambam" and "karbanos" my dad made him start over at least five or six times, until we all knew the opening lines by heart. then sister2 and brother1 started laughing, which sent brother2 into the corner to keep control from laughing himself. I'm telling you, the slightest thing can set this kid off. he's a regular drama king. must take after his oldest sister. then my dad had us all take turns to show brother1 how it's done. that didn't work so well either. brother2 added his own yeshivish words, so nobody was able to understand him.

i don't know when he's going to get more practice, i think he's going up to camp tomorrow or Tuesday. and i hardly think he'll actually take along his speech to practice. although, maybe if i have it laminated he'll practice in the shower.

but anyone reading this who will be present this week, either for torah reading or his speech recital, beware. if you're hoping it'll be quick, it will be. you might just not understand a word of it.

Friday, July 24, 2009

a wise woman once told me that you can figure out what's going on in someone's life by monitoring their stress levels.

if this was indeed true, you'd be able to figure out that something big is happening in my house.

next shabbos is brother2's bar mitzvah.

as if that were not crazy enough, my mom was trying to wash everyone's laundry before the nine days, pack sister2 and brother2 up for camp, and brother1 decided to come home in between first half and second half. add to that the fact that cousin3 is staying at our house for July, and my parents are actively trying to marry off two daughters, and i bet any Stress-O-Meter would be off the scale right now.

my mother's been on the phone with the caterer, anyone who owns centerpieces, my cousin who's a party planner, and all the relatives from Israel to Texas, Michigan to California. of course, not all of them are coming, but enough to warrant wholly another round of phone calls-to acquire housing for all assorted relatives. in this, we are lucky, because a lot of relatives have other relatives or close friends who they can stay at. my mom's sister1 and sister2 are staying at cousins who live nearby, and her brother2 and sister3 have good friends at which they will stay.

my dad's got his fair share of the stress as well. he's got to deal with all the fun things, like speeches, aliyot, speeches, davening, speeches, brother2's hat, invitations, speeches, programing...(I'm hoping he'll get the hint and keep the number of speeches at a minimum-if i fall asleep in my soup I'll ruin my makeup) and he's gotta work things out with a neighbor who is making an aufruf the same weekend, and will be splitting davening, aliyot, and the kiddush.

in addition, various friends, neighbors, and relatives are constantly calling in to offer their support, whether in the form of verbal encouragement, or offers to bake.

i don't know which part I'm more excited about; seeing brother2 finally "become a man", catchingup with relatives, or listening to kriat hatorah and the knowledge that i will not have to listen to brother practicing it over and over, at the top of his lungs.

but then again, if it means he'll go back to practicing "We Will Rock You" on his trumpet, i think I'd prefer leining.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

i hate playing the waiting game

i took my microbiology practical yesterday, and now I'm waiting for my grade.

and the suspense is killing me.

my classmates told me I'm too nervous for someone of my age, but i can't help it. testing conditions just make me really nervous. i can't sit and study with everyone, and i can't stand around afterwards and listen to the professor announce all the correct answers. for one thing, i never remember exactly which answer i wrote for which question. and furthermore, what good will it do me to know that i may have possibly answered five questions incorrectly? I'll just stress about what my grade may be. no, I'd rather wait a week to hear from my professor.

so I'm stalking in my inbox.

my aunt says i need a blackberry.

i just want to know that the hours i spent memorizing various antibiotic agents and biochemical charts weren't for naught.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

every time i travel to anywhere in New York City, i find it strangely fascinating all over again.

as usual, my day began with an attempt to parallel park. always an amusing feat to observe, this time i managed to get in with minimal maneuvering. i had fit in a very tight spot, and prayed that by the time I'd get back, the monster SUV behind me would be replaced by a smaller car. i found the crook lock, but had no clue where the key was, so i didn't bother with that. i had texted someone for directions, but i was underground by the time i got them, so i had to manage on my own, and wonder of wonders, i figured out which train to take.

the subway was very full, and i sat in the corner, squashed between a couple returning home after a long weekend (they had three huge suitcases with them) and a young woman with her loudly babbling baby. and then, to add to the din, a fellow got on the train and started singing Amazing Grace at the top of his lungs. through all this, i was trying to concentrate on my book, because i really need to finish it and return it to the library, but i only ended up reading about two paragraphs.

when i got to the park, i realized that i had no clue where in the park i was supposed to meet my friend. the park spans about 50 blocks, and there are two maps in the whole place. after twenty minutes, i found the first one. i spotted exactly where i wanted to go-but i couldn't find the You Are Here sticker. i didn't want to turn to the woman next to me and ask her "excuse me, but can you tell me where i am?" so i waited until no one was around, and i ran my fingers over the entire map until i felt the sticker. once i found the correct path, it was only a little more wandering until i met up with my friend.

the rest of that adventure was uneventful, and i had no problem locating the correct subway to get home. the A train was packed to capacity. think the number 2 bus on the way back from the Kotel, Friday afternoon. i spent my way back squashed between a man with a diamond nose stud complain that he payed an extra 25 cents, only to have to suffer through the train making only local stops, and a girl telling her friend that she was creating a design of the how the universe runs, to get tattooed on her entire back. and people thought i was weird for wearing a skirt.
by the time i got back to my car, there was a smaller car behind it, and i was able to get out without hitting anything or anyone.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

i am astounded at how hard it is to get people to commit. and I'm equally amazed at their inabilities to come up with smart-sounding excuses. in general, the incompetence in the world amuses me, yet at the same time, frightens me. i was on the phone with a customer representative who was supposed to be mailing me software that i needed. i spelled out my name VERY clearly, making sure she had each letter correct. and she still mangled the spelling of my name.

i volunteer at a program for teenage girls every Thursday night. a friend of mine is in charge of making sure it runs smoothly, and to ensure that there are mentors there every week. for the month of July she is away, and asked me to make sure that the program still runs. since I'm taking summer classes, i knew I'd be home all July, so i agreed to do it.

i never realized how hard that seemingly easy task would be.

on Monday night, i texted everyone, to see who'd be available (there is a limited number of mentors, because half of them are in camp, and the other half are on vacation)

i got a dozen excuses, and not one confirmation

"sorry I'm going to be out of town" (if it's true, that's a legitimate excuse)

"my sister is coming from Israel" (and therefore...? you have to be there when she walks in the door? chances are, she's going to be jet lagged and only wanting one thing-sleep. and if she's in from Israel, it's safe to assume that she's going to be around for more than one night!)

"I'm not feeling very well" (hello, it's MONDAY! when someone knows they'll be sick long-term, they call it being sick. when someone tells you on Monday that they're not feeling well and can't come on Thursday, you know they're fishing for an excuse. that's like telling someone in advance that you can't come to a party they are making the next week because you won't be in the mood)

"um, it's too early in the week to commit" (really, why are people so hesitant to commit to things? it's only two hours! the problem with these people is that when i call them back on Wednesday, they made plans for Thursday night! hello, don't tell me you'll be available if Monday and Tuesday are too early and Wednesday is too late! there is no day between Tuesday and Wednesday!)

but seriously, why do people have such reluctance to give up time-for anything, really? what, they're worried that last minute something more appealing will come up? if that's the reason, it's like saying "i don't really want to help you out/babysit/hang out with you, but i have nothing better to do, so i guess I'll do it"

that really makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Monday, July 13, 2009

anyone who has ever read a book of Peanuts comic strips, is aware of the ongoing saga of Charlie Brown and Lucy. and every family has a similar story. no, I'm not talking about the spring in the bed at my grandparents' house. I'm talking about sister2 and brother2 playing the alphabet game in the car.

for anyone who is not familiar with the game, it is designed to keep siblings from tearing each other apart on long car drives. the object of the game is to look for the letters of the alphabet, consecutively, on billboards and license plates. the first person to reach Z wins. sister2 has sharp eyes and is very quick, usually making her the winner. i never liked the game, because i always get nauseous when i play, and i don't get the fun in looking for letters, but for brother2, the game is even less fun, because as he's still searching for H, sister2 is usually up to R. one of the rules is that you have to call out the letters as you see them, and it's very frustrating to know you're ten letters behind. so by now, you'd think that brother2 would give up and stop playing. but no, he's the one who suggests the game in the first place! every single time we get in the car! it usually goes something like this:

brother2: let's play the alphabet game

sister2: OK, A, B, C....D, E

brother2: WAIT!! i didn't say go yet! go! A, B

sister2: F, G


sister2: hello, you're only up to C! you're cheating! H, I, J...

(it amazes me that she can keep track of not only what she's up to, but what he's up to as well)

brother2: J!

sister2: there's no way you saw that J! i only called it out after we passed the sign!

this game can go on for about twenty or thirty minutes until of a few things happen

1. the driver can't drive with all the yelling going on, and puts and end to the game
2. sister2 has had enough verbal abuse, and retreats to play the game by herself
3. brother2 finally realizes that he'll never win, and gives up

actually, #3 hasn't ever happened yet, but I'm waiting for it to happen. although i don't think I'll hold my breath.