Monday, March 30, 2009

Top Ten Reasons I am Glad I Cleaned Out My Desk Drawer For Pesach: A Pictorial Guide

(Please excuse the picture quality. These were taken on my cell phone...)

1) Percocet: Somewhere there is a nurse who deserves to have her nursing license suspended. Well, I don't know all the rules, but what she did can't be right. I was in the ER for something really painful, and the doctor prescribed two percocet for the pain. She came with the two pills, but offered a suggestion: take one, and save the other for when it wears off and you REALLY need it. Great suggestion, even if it WAS illegal.
So I got home, and was pretty much I stuck the percocet in 
my drawer and almost didn't find it. And I know that they say "When in doubt throw it out" but when I first saw it I thought it was a solitary sufafed or something. I almost threw it out, but noticed the name: oxycodone. I couldn't believe it. I almost threw out a treasure! 
And I wouldn't have remembered I had it if I hadn't cleaned my room for pesach!

2) Bill Snatcher:
This is a nifty, yet innocent looking little gadget. But it's brilliance is extraordinary. It has a little retractable (invisible) string, that has a little fastener at the end of it. Attach a dollar and you're ready for some fun. You stretch the string out, and rest the dollar on the floor. You wait for some unsuspecting bystander to pass. They see a dollar bill on the ground, unclaimed. They stoop down to pick it up, and suddenly-whoosh! You release the cord, bringing the dollar up to your hand. You smile sweetly at your victim, and walk on. Awesome! All cuz of this nifty little 
gadget. And I wouldn't have remembered I had it if I hadn't cleaned my room for pesach!

3) A key to my workplace:
I don't plan to quit any time in the near future, but if I would decide to, I would most likely have to give this back. And I wouldn't have remembered I had it if I hadn't cleaned my room for pesach!

4) Seat Saver:
This is one of the greatest things I have ever owned. It is a real metal spoon with a fake (but astonishingly real looking) bit of melted ice cream attached. It's called a seat saver because of one of it's great functions: you can save yourself a seat in a crowded auditorium by placing this on the seat. I have made some great use of it over the years. I remember a Purim shtick or two that involved the seat saver. I also put it on the kitchen floor one time for the benefit of a workman we had in there. Thank heavens it is only fake, cuz he picked it up and put it into the fleishig sink! It's also great for bedikas chametz. My father comes into my room, sees the strategically placed seat saver, and wonders out loud if my bedroom has been cleaned for pesach. ;) Its possibilities are endless, yet it was lost in a drawer. And I wouldn't have remembered I had it if I hadn't cleaned my room for pesach!  

5) A 39 cent stamp and a 4 cent stamp:
This may not look like a lot, but its enough to mail a letter with a penny to spare. Don't scoff! With the economy the way it is these days.... And I wouldn't have remembered I had it if I hadn't cleaned my room for pesach!

6) A social security card: 
I am not all that sure what I needed it for, but I can't help feeling that this will come in handy one day. And so I blurred it all out for your viewing (dis)pleasure. (ETA: After blurring it sufficiently I got cold feet and decided to post somebody else's instead.)
And I wouldn't have remembered I had it if I hadn't cleaned my room for pesach!

7) $14.33 in coins:
I was pretty shocked at this one. I hate coins, and I am usually the one who is counting our exact change so I don't have to shlep coins around. Which is why I was pretty shocked that I had so many. Even more exciting than winning the lottery! And I wouldn't have remembered I had it if I hadn't cleaned my room for pesach!

8) Band-aids: 
These are not just ANY band aids. These are tweety band aids! They are left over from my days as a camp counselor, because three year old ailments can almost always be cured with a cute band aid. (Isn't it lovely to be three?) I am not yet sure how these are going to come in useful, but I'm sure they will. And I wouldn't have remembered I had it if I hadn't cleaned my room for pesach!

9) Tangle Toy:
This is the world's best toy. I can't go into more details, so you'll just have to go and buy one for yourself. And no, I don't get a commision. And I wouldn't have remembered I had it if I hadn't cleaned my room for pesach!

10) Mini Poker Key Chain: Now I can't figure out why I have this. I really don't think I have ever felt a need for a fully-functional mini poker table complete with a mini deck of cards and poker chips. But the good news is, now that I've found this, I will be able to play poker whenever the urge hits.
And I wouldn't have remembered I had it if I hadn't cleaned my room for pesach!

(Note to self: No need to buy any pens for the next 15 years.)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

What I Can't Do: An Illustration of What I Can

Since my bas mitzvah, I have not kept shabbos properly even once.
Can you imagine? I spent 11 years of my life preparing to take the yoke of mitzvos on my shoulders. Of course, as a good Bais Yaakov girl, one of the most important things I learned during that time is the importance of keeping shabbos properly. I learned the lamed tes melachos really well- I even knew them by heart! I even had the prettiest hilchos shabbos notebook in my class!
All year, while I was 11, we received speeches about what was going to happen, how we were soon going to be responsible for our actions. Though some girls only fast the three fasts preceding their bas mitzvah, I was all enthusiastic and fasted all of them for an entire year.
And then, just a few days before my bas mitzvah, I was rushed to the hospital with a blood sugar level too high to be measured.
I left a few days later, not realizing that I'd already kept the last shabbos of my life.
It was ironic, how after a year of fasting on all fasts, even the really minor ones, I was suddenly left unable to fast, except on Yom Kippur. And years of learning hilchos shabbos culminated in a crash course on poking my finger and squeezing out blood-on shabbos.
I didn't want to do it:

Dr #1: (that's the doctor who diagnosed me. I'm on to number 6 now and seriously considering number 7.) you will need to check you blood sugar daily-on shabbos too.
SD: but you aren't allowed to do this stuff on shabbos! It's my bas mitzvah in a few days!
Dr: listen, I've had orthodox patients who had to take pork insulin in the days before they had synthetic insulin. And they had to, because it is life and death. And so is this. A patient on insulin can not go an entire shabbos without checking their blood sugar. It would be dangerous!

And so, I went home. I got into the routine of diabetes. Checking, injecting, screaming, (well, ok, that wasn't supposed to be part of my routine. But it was for the first few months.)
Then shabbos came. My father came home from shul, and I knew I needed to check my blood sugar so that my father could give me my insulin shot, (no he doesn't still give them to me!) but I couldn't. I just could not bring myself to turn on an electric machine on shabbos. Not just any shabbos. The first shabbos after my 12th birthday. But I did. I turned it on. I poked my finger. I squeezed out some blood. And then I started to cry.
It was so anticlimactic, so hard. I knew you shouldn't cry on shabbos, but I couldn't help it. I wanted so badly to keep shabbos.
The next time I checked, the same thing happened. I couldn't stop myself from crying.
The following week was pretty much the same. I was checking an crying and mourning my inability to keep shabbos properly.
That went on a few more weeks, but after a while, as the whole diabetes thing became so much more normal for me, so did checking on shabbos.
Sadly to say, it's been almost nine years, and I never think about it anymore. Sure I check with a shinuy, and I don't use the back light on my insulin pump, even if it means getting out of bed to go someplace with light, but I don't feel tza'ar over the chillul shabbos anymore. I just do it. And while, yes, I know it is the right thing to do, in fact, it is my mitzvah, I still don't think this complacency is a good thing.
And that got me thinking. How many mitzvos am I able to do that I don't think about? Yes, every time it's a fast day and I groan as my siblings complain that they are hungry, I tell them to appreciate the ability to fast. But when my mother asks me to come do the dishes, even though I'm tired and I am not in the mood, do I stop and think about how lucky I am to have two legs and two arms, all of them working, that I can do it with? Do I think about the girl I know in a wheel chair, and how much she would love the opportunity to do the dishes for her mother?
How many times have I grumbled that I need to wake up early to daven, but not thanked Hashem that I have eyes to see the letters in the siddur, unlike a girl I know who is blind and can't daven from a siddur?
Maybe giving Ma'aser is a drag, but do I stop to think how lucky I am to have a job? To be able to earn money, about all those people out there who have lost their jobs and can't provide for their families?
Sometimes in life, I need to turn around and stop thinking of why things are hard for me, but rather what the alternative is. Because most of the time these relative hardships are really just a demonstration of the good in my life. And if I can remember that, I will be a much happier person.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

You are Now Playing 'The Game'

(Caution: Do not read this. Your life will be forever altered.)

There is a mind game, that I discovered recently, and wish I hadn't. It is called 'The Game'
The rules are as follows:

1) To know of 'The Game" is to play 'The Game'
2) To think of 'The Game' is to lose 'The Game'
3) A loss must be announced.

That's it. That's 'The Game'.

Don't get it? It's like this. It's a mind game. The harder you try not to think about something, the more you think about it. The object of the game, in very short, is to forget that it exists.
Now, I gotta admit it. I cheat. I never announce my loss. Not because I want to cheat, but simply because I don't think of myself as an active member of 'The Game' players. (But then again, to know of 'The Game' is to play 'The Game' so I am kinda stuck here.)
So I guess I am hereby announcing a big whopping loss. I have been researching 'The Game'.
So far, I found a number of sites, which you obviously lose, just by clicking on to them. 

Apparently, 'The Game' is a bit of a culture. All over the globe, students in universities are thinking about 'The Game', then going on to tell everyone they know that they lost, which in turn makes everyone they know think about 'The Game' and keeps things going. There is an iPhone app called "The Game" where players can turn their loss global. There is memorabilia devoted to 'The Game'.... And thus 'The Game' has reached viral proportions. 

And now, I am spreading 'The Game' to you. I have a reason though.
I like the theory behind it. It's an interesting phenomenon, and so true. The harder you try to avoid thinking of something, the harder it is to keep your mind off of it. 

I think I am  going to apply this theory to blogging. From now on, I will try very hard not to think of ideas for posts. ;)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Blogging Inspiration

I was wondering how other bloggers find inspiration for blog posts? Some times, I find the ideas all around me. I walk through the store, see a guy talking loudly on his bluetooth and- voila! A blog post! Or I hear a joke that gets me thinking... (Always a bad idea;). Or Sometimes its just a matter of sitting in traffic
Its also interesting how I usually get multiple ideas at once. I will have a day where I think of five different post ideas, then I go 3 days without any. But you know, a dry spell like I am having now is making me think I need to get married. That would definitely give me some post ideas. ;)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Developing Normalcy?

Remember the first time you saw it? You're in a store and some woman who you don't know starts walking up to you. In a rather loud voice she exclaims "hi! How are you? I haven't seen you in ages! What's new?"

You look at her blankly, thinking to yourself something along the lines of "who in heavens name is this lady? Is my memory that bad?"

Then the lady goes on. "Oh, really? That's great! I'm so glad to hear that you are doing well! So when are you going to come visit again?" it's then that you realize that she can't be talking to you. A glance around you confirms that she isn't talking to anyone there either. (Remember, we are reminiscing about the days when you were unfamiliar with such occurrences.) At this point, being unfamiliar with Bluetooth headsets, you start to doubt the woman's sanity. A few days later, you hear someone mention this new shtick, a wireless headset for cellphones.

A light bulb goes off in your head. "Aha! The woman MAY have been sane after all!"
And then, as the invisible friend became more common, you made promises to yourself. "I will never be as obnoxious as those people."

Then, we backslide. Bluetooths are convenient. Bluetooths are cool. And best of all, bluetooths are cheap. So you go out. You buy a Bluetooth. First, you use it sparingly. Like when you're driving and you need to make an urgent phone call. Then you are driving distances and use your Bluetooth to catch up with an old friend, while using up a third of your monthly minutes allotment. Then, you start putting your Bluetooth on your ear every time you get behind the wheel.

As time progresses, and scenes such as I described earlier become everyday occurrences, your resolve slips. You find yourself wearing your Bluetooth when you "run into the store for a minute." and then it's not long before you are the one walking around stores, chatting loudly with your invisible friend about various things that you would never speak about in front of strangers.

Think for a minute. Is this activity really any more sane than it was the first time you saw it?Does more and more people succumbing to stupidity make the activity any less stupid? The other day I was in a restaurant with my sister. (Yes, MP and I went out to eat together, for some quality sister-time! [bows]) There was a couple at the next table that really disturbed me. They were both sitting there with Bluetooth headsets in their ears. I really can't tell you if they were on their phones, or simply talking to each other, as I am not THAT nosy, but either way, think. Is that a sign of a healthy relationship? I am obviously not an expert on inter-spousal relationships (I've never even been on a date!;) but that sight didn't sit well with me. Is that how much they value each other's company, that they can't disconnect from their headsets long enough to eat their penne al la vodka? (No I made that up. I don't think I noticed what they were eating.)

It's a scary thought though. Things get to be normal, just because people do it.
Remember your first glimpse of sushi? "I will never, ever, eat that." Now, it's impossible to get a hashgacha on a kosher food establishment without a sushi bar. (Or maybe it's just a matter of nobody wanting to attempt such a thing. Either way I've never seen one.)

I would say the same thing about certain styles. One style in particular bothers me to no end. The first time I saw it, I was horrified. "A frum girl dressed like that? What was is she thinking?" Now, this very same style has creeped into even the most chasidish of neighborhoods. Is it any less horrible looking than the first time I saw it? No, I am not refraining from this style because I am some frummy rebbetzin, (not to say I'm not one) but rather because I can't forget my first impression of that style, and because I know that the style is the same now as it was then. If anything changed, it's my perception of it.

Isn't it sad though, how so many things "become" normal? Wouldn't you say that if they didn't start out "normal" they never will be?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Shabbos Phenomenon

My brother has a theory about shabbos. He says that mosquitoes have a special way of hanging around, in a maddeningly tantalizing manner, only on shabbos. He says that during the week, these little creatures know you will be killing them if they dawdle anywhere near your personal breathing space, and thus, they fly in and out of it at dizzying paces, avoiding certain death.
I think we can apply the same phenomenon to blogging. The best post ideas always occur to me on shabbos. This post is basically to inform you (hereby, forthwith, and all that stuff) that you are missing out on a truly excellent post. I am not just talking about the idea that was so good. But on Friday night, as I was drifting off to sleep, I wrote an entire post on this amazing, yet allusive topic. After I wrote it (in my head silly!) I realized that I was going to be forgetting the entire thing about 71 minutes after shekiah.
I actually forgot the post when the next post idea came to my mind, sometime the next morning (if my memory can be trusted, and it probably can, it was sometime in the five minute gap between when I woke up and when my father came home from shul and decided to make kiddush.) That post idea flew out of my head just as I was happily thinking of my next post idea, which was lost to society when the next one hit (which, I am pretty sure happened just after the seudah was over, as I was getting into my bed for my prolonged nap).
And it was not just this past shabbos. This is a weekly occurrence. For me, post ideas are like mosquitoes. They hang around tantalizingly all shabbos, and then, just as the third star materializes in the sky, they bid goodbye, much like the shabbos hamalka.
So basically, I'm here to say too bad. What a shame. You'll never know what it was.

Am I the only one who this happens to?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Happy Birthday? My Diagnosis Story

Quite a number of you have asked me questions about my diabetes diagnosis, So I wrote a post about it on my diabetes blog.

I would love to hear what you have to say about it, so please comment- on that post. (Remember, I am a proud member of the I-Love-Comments-Club...)

More Talk About Talents

I started talking about talents in my last post. This booth where they "showcase" talents got me thinking. Who in the world goes up to such a booth and starts boasting about all their talents? (um, ok, lots of people.)
How do you measure talents?
What exactly is a talent?
These are rhetorical questions, intended to get you thinking a little.
Here is another question. Can you praise someone for a talent? Does it makes sense to tell someone that she is amazing because she "sings so well!"? Can you be impressed by someone who "is so artistic!"? Does it make any more sense than saying that someone is bad because "they don't know how to dance!"?
Is a talent a praiseworthy thing or not?
I believe the answer lies in what a person does with a talent. A person who is artistic and uses their talent to make a beautiful poster for a Tzedaka organization is worthy of being praised for their talents. A person who is artistic and uses it to illustrate an educational children's book that will educate many young children is worthy of praise for their talents. A person who is artistic and uses their ability to draw nasty pictures of people who get on their nerves is not someone worthy of praising for their talent.
A person who has a beautiful voice and sings well is definitely praiseworthy of their talents. The same could be said if they volunteer to lead a choir for a school's tea. On the other hand, someone who has a nice voice and uses it to sing nasty songs at times that irritate their big sisters would probably be slightly less than praiseworthy for their talents.
So we can return to our original question: who goes over to these booths and signs up to "showcase their talent"? Obviously, people who are too anivusdik to be praiseworthy. ;)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Showcasing Talents

I was in a mall today. I have always had a fascination with the booths that they have scattered around these malls. One can get anything from such booths.
Wedding gowns? Check.
Electronic, smoke free cigarettes? Check.
Obscene tee-shirts? Check.
3D laser images embedded in a glass cube? Check.
Dead-sea bath salts? Check.
You get the point. Everything and anything you can think of, all sold by Israeli kids looking for some action. (Btw, isn't it interesting how a country as full of bored kids as America needs to import bored kids from Israel to sell junk to other bored kids? And isn't it even more interesting how they think they can hook the obviously frum patrons into a sale by saying "shalom! Have you ever been to Israel?")

One booth really intrigued me though. A talent recruitment booth.
I was imagining a dialogue.:

SD: I'd like to apply. I have talent.
Booth Attendant: um? You?
SD: sure I do!
BA: what can you do?
SD: oh just about anything!
BA: no, I mean, what is your talent?
SD: you'd have to ask my mother about that.
BA: I just want to know what your talent is!
SD: like I said, I have lots of talents.
BA: such as?
SD: everything!
BA: can you tell me what they are?
SD: well...what talents do people pay the most for?
BA: just tell me what your talents are!
SD: my mother always said I can do whatever I set my mind to do.
BA: ok, just tell me one example of something you do well. (grits teeth)
SD: well, I have a blog with lots of followers.
BA: that's not really what we meant.
SD: and I update every day or two!
BA: we meant more like singing.
SD: I am tone deaf, but I guess I can sing if the pay is high enough.
BA: what else can you do?
SD: what do you want me to do?
BA: do you dance?
SD: I do at gunpoint, but you wouldn't want to see it.
BA: well... What marketable talents do you have?
SD: my shalach manos made everyone laugh-
BA: your shala- what?
SD: my shalach manos. People laughed when they saw it.
BA: so you are a comedian?
SD: ugh. I hate that term. Comedians have expectations to live up to.
BA: I don't understand.
SD: there's nothing to understand. Do you have a contract for me to sign?
BA: that's not how we work.
SD: so what do we need to do? I don't have all day!
BA: start by filling out these forms...
SD: forms? Like paperwork?
BA: yes.
SD: no THANK you. That's one talent I DON'T have.
BA: no...just to know what you-
SD: no thank you. Have a good day.
BA: (relieved) you too!

That got me started thinking on talents though. I'll explain in my next post...

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Comment About Comments

Q. How many bloggers does it take to change a lightbulb?
A. 100. 1 to change the lightbulb and 99 to comment on how it should have been done differently.

It's funny, how all bloggers that I have spoken with regarding comments seem to feel the same. Bloggers place their entire self worth in the comments. (I will speak for myself now, although I have heard from numerous bloggers, and they all seem to feel the same way.) I sometimes write a post, and I feel very good about myself. I feel like it was a great post, perhaps one of my favorites. I hit the "publish post" button, feeling really good about myself. An hour later, I check my email, expecting to see at least two or three comments. Gmail loads, and the truth hits me. No comments. I start to rationalize. "Most people are probably not at their computers now." An hour after that, and yet another hour, and I still see no comments. I wake up the next morning to find someone has left a single comment on my awesome post. One comment?! Is that really it? I am horrified. And disappointed. I start to fret. "Maybe I wrote something offensive? Maybe I put in my real name instead of SD? What did I do wrong? How come nobody thought of anything to say on my post?" 
Isn't it ridiculous? I am second guessing myself? Why? Because these anonymous people online have nothing to say about my post? Don't I have more self confidence than that? Sadly, I am afraid the answer is no. Not really. A post of mine that receives too few comments will be read and reread, in the hopes of discovering the reason that people have nothing to add. 
Shame, huh?
But c'mon! You know this is you too. Some of us are too proud to admit it, and some of us don't really mind. Either way, comments are (IMO) the psychological reason behind the growth of blogsville
So nu, what are you waiting for? Comment!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

De-Stresser or Re-Stresser?

I'm not looking to knock Mishpacha's Family First magazine. I think it's a cute little paper with an occasional cute little article. And I will admit that I am totally hooked on the little soap opera they have going on in the back of it (aka Green Fences).
This week's paper kind of shocked me though.
They didn't have one article about cleaning for pesach. They didn't have two or three articles. They didn't even have four. I counted five articles, and shabbos ended before I got to finish the paper.
Do they really think that all Jewish housewives can think about at this time of year is pesach cleaning? Why that would be as preposterous as thinking that a kallah can't think about anything other than her chosson and her upcoming wedding! Oh, wait, she can't think of anything else. Well, perhaps the Jewish housewife can't think of much else either, but...
Just because a Kallah can't think about anything that 'normal' people think about, does that mean we are supposed to feed into it by asking her about her gown and what type of cookies she thinks her chosson would like the best? Of course not. They talk about all that stuff without you initiating it. Your job is to try to remind her that there is a world going on outside of her engagement bubble.
Let's use this analogy for the Jewish housewife. (Why did my fingers start to type 'desperate' just now?) They think about pesach coming up more than they think about how badly they need a good night's sleep. (Though they may foolishly fail to notice the link between the two.) Their actions and discussions revolve around pesach and it's various preparations. So why do the editors of the Family First feel this need to feed into all of this? All their talk about "de-stressers", (no I didn't really read the article. Just one of the sidebars.) is it really supposed to de-stress you to read some ridiculously organized woman's idea of where you are SUPPOSED to be up to in your cleaning now? Gosh. Don't you think a better de-stresser would be to have an article about the amount of pesach cleaning that has been done thus far in MY house? Or better yet about some OTHER topic? Yes, those topics exist. You just need to look for 'em!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Professional Shadchan: A Study in Egos

(Please note: I wrote this post right before I officially became "in shidduchim")

The professional Shadchan, or PS, is a bit of a mystery. I mean, they need to make a number of shudduchim in order to be considered a PS, but you never seem to actually hear of them.
I have obviously never been to a PS. I have had some run-ins with NS's and quite a number of WMS, but I have yet to meet a PS. Well, one of my friend's mothers is a PS, but I try to stay away from her. She has this way of looking at me that makes me nervous.....
So all of this is going to be totally made up, and I hope you're ok with that.
I'll tell you a story about a PS, related to me by my sister, MG (Madame Genius, who's shidduch was made by a friend.)
She went to one of The Major Shadchanim for a meeting. She spent a lot of time making herself up to resemble the picture she was bringing with her, which naturally looked nothing like herself. She drove quite a distance, arrived right on time, and together with my mother, took big gulps of fresh air before knocking on the door of the lion's den.
They went in, amidst careful scrutiny by the PS, and sat down in his study. He glanced at her 'resume', asked a few questions, and then he glared at her. She claims she could visibly notice his head swell up at that point. He pointed at an enormous stack of papers that was threatening to engulf his desk. "See that?" he said, "those are the girls." My mother, a real novice at the whole thing, had the guts to ask "Where are the boys?" "The boys?" he glowered, "you want to know where the boys are?" He held up a solitary post-it note. "These are the boys."
Couldn't he have toned it down a little, have some pity on my poor sister, my poor mother? Of course he couldn't! You see, the message that the PS has to get across is:
I'm great. You're grime.
He/she needs to feel like they are the top of the world....or even more, that the entire world rest on them. They feel that the continuity of the entire Jewish nation rests on their shoulders, or rather in their hands. But they forgot that there is a G-d running the world, and that He can orchestrate a shidduch through another medium.
Then there is also the anomoly of the PS. They make hundreds of shidduchim, don't they? So why don't we find that most shidduchim are made by a PS? How come I know a grand total of ONE person who met her bashert through a PS?
I'll conclude with one final story about a PS. I know a girl who was under a lot of pressure to see a certain PS. She was told that if she wanted to marry a boy from a particular yeshivah, she HAD to go and see Mrs. PS, "The Official Shadchan" of "The Yeshivah." She didn't want to go, and kept pushing it off. "I guess I won't be marrying someone from that yeshivah..." Anyway, a neighbor of her's had a friend who had a son who was she thought would be a great shidduch for this girl. They are happily married now. And yes, you guessed it. This boy went to that yeshivah, and despite all the naysayers, she managed to get herself married to a boy from that yeshivah without having ever meeting with Mrs. PS.

Moral of the story: well I'm not sure there is one, but I guess you can see I don't plan to be visiting with any PS's in the near future...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Some Random Observations on Purim

Megillah reading in a yeshivah is waay too long:
I mean, I enjoyed the Hamans. It was hilarious having a variety of animal noises to blot out the name of that famous rashah. And the party snappers and foghorns were quite amusing at times. And my sisters and I (with the exception of MP) were laughing when all the bochurim cheered at the hanging of haman.
I really can't talk, because I don't fast (did I mention I have diabetes?;) but IMO an hour long Megillah leining is much too long.

Drunk boys should not expect to get money:
Some very drunk boys banged on my car to ask for money. Now, the act of banging on my car while it was in motion was very dangerous, and that alone was enough to make me realize that these boys were not in full control of their senses. It didn't help their chances that one of the group was rolling on the ground and all of them were looking very vacant. Seriously, giving them money would have been equal to burning it. They seemed too drunk to recognize money if they did get any. Maybe a designated driver isn't enough. They probably need a designated collector too.

Costumes on girls are bad for shidduchim:
Who decided that? Can I change the rules? I declare that a lack of sense of humor is bad for shidduchim. Why should people think I am (slightly) strange if I want to walk around with a costume on? Well, maybe I am strange. I dressed up, and had a whole act to go with my costume. It was appreciated by most, even if I got some weird stares from some people and blank looks from others.

Men get to have much more fun on Purim:
Men get to dance and sing and drink and have a blast on Purim. Women get to deliver asthetically pleasing, cleverly themed, beautifully wrapped shalach manos on Purim. Um? ERA anyone?

There are a lot of benefits to being drunk:
1) you get to say whatever you want and nobody thinks you are weird.
2) you get to act really stupid and nobody thinks you are weird.
3) nobody tells you that it's bad for shidduchim to act that way. (Though I suspect they would react differently if it was a woman who was drunk.)
4) apparently being drunk gives you a license to talk really loudly.
5) you get to make the sober women drive you home from the Purim seudah, even of they are on 2 hours of sleep and the ride home is 2 hours, because they are scared you will attempt to drive and get arrested for DWI and they will need to come and bail you out of jail.

There are also benefits to being sober:
1) you can video the drunk men and sell the videos back to the men and make a considerable profit.
2) you have actual memories of Purim, not videos that you aquired for a steep fee.

There are ways to get drunk and there are ways to get drunk:
My brother gets totally spiritual when drunk. My mother sheps a lot of nachas from him. He stood up every two or three minutes during the Purim seudah to say (in a very loud voice) another "moiredike vort from the heilige rebbe from....." I'm not sure at what point he became chasidish, but once he did, it wasn't far from there to become a rebbe. I'm not either sure at what point he switched to become a chazzan. But he went outside, got up on top of his car and started doing yom kippur style chazzanus. He was also very heavy handed in his distribution of brachos. I got one that went on for about fifteen minutes and included everything anyone could want.
Then there are the rolling around on the ground from your drunkenness kind of people. The ones who make you nauseous and wish you hadn't seen that.
And then of course there are the out-cold kind of drunkards. But I gotta say, if you're gonna get drunk, do it gracefully. ;)

If you give a funny shalach manos that people talk about, don't expect to be able to post pictures of it on your blog the next day:
I had every intention of posting pictures of my mishloach manos on here today along with the poem I wrote for it, but I recieved too many phone calls, texts and IMs from friends saying that they LOVED my shalach manos and that they showed it to EVERYONE and they were laughing SO hard and now it is SOOO famous... So I have decided not to post it. Sorry. :-P

Monday, March 9, 2009

Ah Freilechen Purim!

A thought from Rav Shlomo Brevda: When Haman changed the laws and made it possible for Achashveirosh to kill anyone without a trial, he made people afraid to go near him. Thus, when Achashveirosh was sad about missing Vashti, the only people around to advise him were the young, naive kids who cleaned up his quarters. The advisers were all afraid to approach him. From the naive minds of these boys, the only thing that mattered about the woman is her looks. Had the wise advisers been around, they would have been worried right along with Achashveirosh about finding a worthy queen. They would deliberate about how to find a woman from royal lineage who had all of the right character traits for a queen. But these advisers had only one thought: the woman's looks. And so they told Achashveirosh not to worry. There are many beautiful women in the kingdom! And so they set out to find the most beautiful one. Had they been looking for anything but the external looks, Esther would never have been chosen. In fact, they let her become queen without ever finding out who she was and what nation she was from. 
Just one more twist in the amazing string of nisim orchestrated by Hashem for us to see our geulah.
Let's all use the koach of tefillah that is so strong on purim and hopefully soon we will see how all these twists and turns of our lives were all in preparation for yeshuos
Ah Freilechen Purim!

Oh, and btw, what do you think of adapting Achashveirosh's system as the new shidduchim system? Line up the guys and let me pick! ;)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Sign of The Times?

Maybe I remember the rhyme wrong, but I was pretty sure this is a sign of inflation.
My niece was at my house for shabbos. She was sitting backwards on my lap, and we were playing "Miss Mary Mack". It went something like this:

"Miss mary mack, mack mack
all dressed in black, black, black
with silver buttons, buttons, buttons
all down her back, back, back
she asked her mother, mother, mother
for fifty dollars, dollars, dollars..."

What? Fifty dollars? When I was a kid it only cost fifty cents to see the elephants jump so high! Is this because of inflation? Maybe today's kids want luxury box seats? Either way, I am feeling old. Once again

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Nosy Shadchan: a Case Study

(Please note: I wrote this post right before I officially became "in shidduchim")

The Nosy Shadchan, aka the NS, is an interesting character. She is truly trying to help, but she has got no clue how to do that, or even what that means.
She is driven by a combination things. There are horrible feelings over the 'nebach' singles that she knows, that mamish make her heart twist, and there is a desire to do her good deed of the day by redting a shidduch. Oh, and the shadchunis gelt won't hurt either.
See, the problem is, the NS has no concept of boundaries. She doesn't realize that there are some things that can only be said by a girls mother, if at all. And she doesn't realize that, contrary to what she thinks, the world really DOESN'T revolve around her opinions. And so she dispenses them. She believes she is doing a really good deed, because she is giving her opinion free of charge.
What she doesn't realize, is that's the only way she could ever dispense her opinion, because even her own mother, (she should live and be well) wouldn't be willing to pay for pearls of wisdom from the NS:

"mamaleh, who's gonna marry you if you walk around in such shmattehs?"
"zeeskeit, I tell you, you have to be less picky. You aren't getting any younger, you know!"
"so what was wrong with the Gimpelmayer boy? I hear you turned him down too!"
And of course,
"you shouldn't be eating that sheifella, you need to slim down if you want to get the boys to look at you!"

So how to deal with the Nosy Shadchan? Well, assuming you are all out of rubber bands to shoot at her head, or that you aren't willing to commit a homicide over her, the solution is very unsimple. My best advice is Just smile. Agree with her. Make her feel like she's done her good deed already, or else she will continue trying to do her good deed, and it will get less and less fun as she attempts further. You also have to beat a hasty retreat, because they don't give up, those NS.
Please realized that the NS is the kind of shadchan I have had the most encounters with, as they are the the ones who are the most likely to run a red light.
It's important to note, that the NS is not only involved in the noble art of redting shidduchim, but they are also very busy trying to aid the shidduch process along. This includes some important, crisis-ending tasks such as trying to persuade people to date each other. ("But zeeskeit, he's such a mentch! What's the big deal if he's three years younger than you? You're nineteen years old already! You aren't getting any younger you know!") And trying to persuade people to give it another shot. ("you know, that was months ago! You've both matured since then!") She also tries to improve your chances for getting married off via other NS. ("I have the perfect diet for you!") And of course, she tries to improve your general state of happiness by reassuring you that there might just be someone out there for you. ("Mamaleh, have I got a boy for you!")
And for the few who have been married off by a NS, all I can say is wow. I've heard you people exist, but I have yet to meet one.
Don't confuse the NS, with the Professional Shadchan, or the PS, or with the Well Meaning Shadchan, or the WMS. They each have their own ups and downs, and any category of shadchanim can turn into the SS, or Successful Shadchan, Be'ezras Hashem.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Desperation in Shidduchim

It's an old joke:

Two old spinsters are sitting on a park bench in Florida. Suddenly, a man walks over and and sits on the bench in between them. The first old lady struck up a conversation. "So what do you do, young man?" The man sighed. "I just got out of prison on parole." The second old lady, not to be outdone, asks "Why were you in prison?" The man answered, "I was in there for murdering my wife." The spinsters got excited. "So you're single?!?"

While it is most likely nothing more than a joke, there is still some truth to this. These woman are obviously real veterans of the shidduch crisis, resigned to wait out their years in a state of depression on some park bench in Florida. To them, a single man, whatever the season for his single-hood, was a cause for extreme excitement. (I am suddenly thinking about the child who was being convicted for murder of his parents. He asked the judge for leniency on the grounds that he is an orphan.)
I have to say, it's been less than a week since I entered the shidduch scene, and I am starting to feel the same desperation as those two spinsters. C'mon! A week into the game and not even ONE phone call? How much can a woman take? Do single men exist?
I'm kidding of course. I am not surprised or even disappointed that I have made no progress thus far. And I don't expect there to be any more calls at this time next week. In fact, the more I hear about shidduchim, the more I realize that I should not be expecting anything. That way, when (if;) the calls come, it'll be like meeting that guy on the park bench. Total excitement.
I couldn't help but notice the modern day version of the joke. I was at a shabbos kallah, and needless to say, there were no men around to make havdalah. As soon as shabbos ended, my friend's mother called her sister who lives nearby to ask if they could spare a son to come make havdalah for us women.
The kallah announced that her cousin was
coming to save the day. One of the girls asked how old this cousin is. When my friend said that he is 23, someone asked, in a breathless voice, "is he married?" My friend shook her head no. Suddenly, there were about twelve squeaky voices screaming, in unison, "WHAT TYPE OF GIRL IS HE LOOKING FOR?"
Please tell me they don't sound like spinsters in Florida?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Dieting Dilemmas

It's a common dilemma:
You know someone is dieting, but you aren't really sure. Also, you aren't sure if they lost weight. But you don't want to insult them by not saying anything.


I have been on a diet for a while. I have some weight to lose, and I am trying to use the time that I am not in shidduchim to slim down a little.
But nobody is perfect (and I'm nobody which means I'm....) and I don't always eat the way I should. (No, please don't tell the shadchanim!)
So anyway, people are aware of my dieting efforts. And they constantly praise me for my efforts, telling me how good I look and how impressed they are and how I am shrinking and I am fading away to nothing and they are so impressed at my self control and....and....and.....
I hate when they go on about it, but I hadn't lost any weight. It makes me feel really dumb. I get all squirmy, wondering if it is rude to correct them, tell them I really didn't lose any weight. And that I had actually just eaten something I really should not have eaten ten minutes before this conversation. It also invalidated other compliments they give me. If they are telling me that I look like I lost a ton of weight when really I hadn't lost any, then obviously they aren't sincere when they tell me that they love my new shoes, or that my cake that I baked is delicious....
But on the flip side, it's also insulting not to say anything, in case I really did lose weight. "You mean to tell me you didn't notice that I lost weight?!"
So here is my solution. You know someone is on a diet, she looks good but your not sure if she really lost weight or not, so you say:
"You look really good"
Yep. Simple as that. If the person lost weight, they will tale it as a compliment on the weight loss. If the person didn't, they might say something along the lines of "well, I don't think I lost much weight since you last saw me, but thanks anyway."
And you get to pat yourself on the back knowing you solved a dilemma. And celebrate by eating an ice cream, preferably in front of your dieting pal, to test their willpower.