Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Top Ten iPhone Observations

It's been a week since I posted, but for a change I have a good reason. And by good, I mean great.

[clears throat]

I finally, and I mean FINALLY got an iPhone. "It's about time," you are probably thinking to yourself. Indeed it is. And so, I spent the last week learning about my new toy, and have come to the following ten conclusions.

10) The lack of tactile keys is not my favorite feature. In fact, had AT&T offered a decent Android phone with tactile keys, it would have probably tipped the scales in favor of it. That being said, the on-screen keyboard for the iPhone is intelligent enough to redeem itself.

9) On a related note, I forgot how well my old touch knew me. It's so odd having to remember to get rid of their suggestion when I type a word like shabbos, yeshivish, heimishe, or even something as basic as shidduchim or shadchan. (Well, ok, it learned Shidduch pretty quickly.)

8) In some ways, going from an iPod touch to an iPhone is barely any different. Web browser? The same. Email? The same. Favorite Apps? The same. But when you take my favorite gadget in the world, add a phone, texting and a camera, how could anything go wrong?

7) Up until a week ago, as I left my house in the morning, I frantically checked google reader, twitter and my email, because that was it for most of the day. Now, I don't have to do that. I can check all of those, and more, calmly and peacefully all the way to work. And every time I'm on hold. And during my coffee break. And...

6) Oddly, not having to search for wifi to do all of the web-based stuff I want to do has made me LESS addicted, not more as I feared. I guess it makes sense. I don't need to worry that I might miss the only good wifi for hours.

5) Texting on my iPhone doesn't feel like texting. It feels more like IMing or something.

4) I love having a decent camera on my phone. My old phone had the poorest quality camera you can imagine. Now I need a free app that will allow me to post blog posts with pictures.

3) It requires a lot of self control not to pay for apps. See, spending $20 is not something you do without blinking, but 99 cents? You can do that twenty times easily.

2) It can be a little bit annoying not to have tactile send/end keys. I'm sure I'll get used to it, but gosh it was frustrating when I tried to hang up the phone dramatically, but pressed the home button instead, so I didn't even wind up hanging up at all.

1) It was a hideous stroke of irony buying nice warm gloves on the same day that I bought my iPhone. I'm guessing the summer will be easier- I hate having to chose between warmth and my phone. Because I'm sure you all know which I chose...

Monday, December 20, 2010

Standardizing The Shidduch System

It worked in ancient India, why can't it work for shidduchim? They had a Caste system, we need a class system. It would make everything so simple.

Here's how it needs to work. Everyone starts off at class A. Few people, however, stay there. Every strike has a point value. Are your parent's divorced? That's ten points. Enough to knock you down two classes. Congrats, you're now a class C shidduch candidate. Wait, do you suffer from severe allergies? That brings you down to a class D.

Are you a cancer survivor? That's four classes right there. Asthma? How bad is it? Severe asthma will cost you two classes, just a class less than diabetes, an automatic start at class D. Have you broken an engagement? That's going to cost you a couple of classes. Not as many, however, as, say, a divorce. And while sibling issues are not as costly, a sibling off the derech will set you back a class or two.

How's your weight? The number of classes you lose from excess poundage is determined, naturally, by your BMI. Pimples, unconventional heights, poor looks and dysfunctional families are also covered by the class system.

Celiac? IBS? Hearing defect? Glasses? Krohns? Hypothyroidism? All gonna cost you. And don't forget mental health issues, all of which knock you back a whole bunch of classes.

Every year, on your birthday, you get bumped down a class. It's only fair to give the advantage to the 19 year olds.

Don't worry though. The system works both ways. How rich is your father? Slightly above average? That'll get you a class or two. Name on buildings? At least four or five classes. Is he among the country's top 50 richest men? Because that's an automatic class A, even if you limp, stutter and have cross eyes. A rosh yeshiva for a father is good for two or three classes, a rabbi is good for at least an extra class.

Are you gorgeous? Give yourself a class. A size 0/2? That's another class. Popular? Well dressed? Good job? These might raise your class too!

Think of how simple shidduchim would be under my proposed system. There would be a national Class Registry. After registering in the appropriate class, say, class D, you would meet the class D shadchanim, who would match you up with a boy/girl on the same class. Nobody would have to waste time meeting people who are beneath them! Shadchanim wouldn't be so swamped, because their clients would all be "classified." More people meet, get engaged, and married.

And just like that, the shidduch crisis has been solved.

Well, not really. Boys would get bumped up a class, just because they're boys. We gotta keep it fair, right?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

And What's This Icon For?

I know I've written many times about the dangers of old people attempting technological feats, but recent events absolutely require another post. Besides, I had a shidduch relate post all typed up, then realized that I posted about shidduchim waaaaay to many times lately, and I'm in danger of being thought of as obsessed.

By recent events, I don't mean my father's triumphant entrance into the house bearing a new HTC Aria, an android smartphone priced at the scandalously low price of 9.99. What the salesperson wisely neglected to mention is that an android phone's ideal user is not a man of my father's age and technological abilities.

My siblings and I all groaned as my father plodded through the manual, turning to us for frequent help. They thought he would last a couple of days before returning it, but I won the bet. He returned it the next day.

What happens, you might ask, when the old person in question is too ignorant to even realize that they can't operate their phone. Kind of like the lady who sat next to me on the bus last week, the recent event I mentioned earlier.

I can sum up the woman's type in one word: bubby. Or two: yiddishe bubby. After discussing all of her children and grandchildren with me, a complete stranger, she donned her glasses and took out her blackberry. Now, I'm no great expert on blackberries, never having owned one myself, but her help requests were simple. She wanted to know how to move an icon, things like that. It took a while to explain the overwhelmingly complicated process to her, but she finally got it. Then she had another request.

"I have an icon here and I don't know what it is. Can you show me?"

"Sure," I replied, "which one?"

"It's called sims, or something like that."

I started to panic. Which idiot loaded a game like Sims on to the phone of their bubby? And how can I explain to her what it is, and worse, how to play. Or was it the store, Syms? I couldn't spot the icon, so I asked her to point it out.

"Right here," she said. "Sims. What is that?"

I looked at the icon. SMS. I kid you not.

And that, my friends, is why old people should stick to rotary phones. Or at least flip phones.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Top Ten Ways You Know You Date a Ton of Boys

Usually, when I write a top ten list, I have trouble getting ten. When it's an easy list, I can get seven or eight items without too much trouble. When I only have four or five, I know it's time to call in the specialists. And by specialists, I mean Bad4 and occasionally Bas~Melech.

You see, I think this top ten list has great potential. The first item came easy to me. It has actually become a family joke of sorts. But that is where it ended. And when I have only one item for a top ten list, I know that it's time to call in my readers.

Here's number one. Let's see what y'all can come up with for the other nine:

You know you date a ton of boys when...

1) ...The cookies stay fresh through five boys!

Let's hear your top ten now...
(And before anyone suspects this of being autobiographical, let me remind you that I am sister to a Miss Perfect.)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Guilty Kind of Hope

It all starred out with a Well Meaning Individual. Also known as the Chizuk Lady, she tried to make me feel good about my predicament.

And by predicament, I mean my marital status. I know, I hadn't realized it was such a predicament either. But apparently this Chizuk Lady I work with sees it as one.

Her tale of triumph over the shidduch system is pretty much the same as any other. "This girl that I know was nebich 27 years old already and she wasn't married. And even at such an age, she found a boy willing to take her."

I know, I know. That isn't even in the same zip code as chizuk. But that isn' our point right now. I'd like to discuss this idea of "well if she got married, so can I."

Take a minute. Let it sink in. It's mean. It's self-centered. It's true. It sounds wrong to let such thoughts pass through your mind, but upon closer inspection, I think most of us will find that we have felt this way at one point or another.

I know I did.

Let's call her Peshy. Peshy isn't an ordinary nerd. I mean, I'm friends with quite a few of those, and I've occasionally been described as one. But Peshy is a class A, socially lacking, purebred nerd. Her appearance is always unkempt, her comments always awkward, and her overall impression is that of a person you can't imagine being the world's greatest wife. I know I'm coming across as terribly judgemental right now, but I challenge you to truthfully say you don't know anyone like this. Again, bot in an unfriendly sense, but in a "this is life; deal with it" sense.

I'll never forgot how I felt when she got engaged. My initial reaction was one of, sorry to say it, shock. "What type of guy is her choson?" "How on earth did she get engaged...before me?" My next reaction was one of guilty relief. "...wow...there really is someone out there for everyone."

I wouldn't admit to this for a while. Not until someone mentioned her yardstick: "this former classmate of mine got engaged. If she could find a guy, anyone can."
"You too?" I yelped, breathing a sigh of relief. "I thought it was just me!"

And slowly, one quiet admission after another, I discovered that most people, no matter how nice, know someone who they never imagined would get married. And when they did, it gave them a hope for their own future.

And so, because we've already established that you know someone like that, let me ask you how you feel about it. Does it make you feel crummy, that someone like that managed to find a guy before you, or does it make you feel that twinge of guilty hope?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Going to War With Nature

During the time of the Maccabis, under the rule of the ancient Greeks, the practice of the Torah was forbidden by law. There were only three mitzvos, however, whose observance were punishable by death: Shabbos, Bris Millah and Rosh Chodesh.

In order to understand why these were the three commandments singled out for the death penalty, we have to understand what the Greeks stood for. The god of the Greeks was nature. Survival of the fittest ruled their lifestyles. Athletes were their priests, gymnasiums their temples. Deformed babies met horrible and wholly unnatural deaths. Men, as the stronger gender, were considered holyer than women. They believed in the perfection and superiority of nature.

You can now imagine how offensive shabbos was to these people. What is shabbos? It's a commemoration of how our G-d created nature, their god, and then rested. And Bris Milah? Think about it. We believe that a man's body, as created by nature, is imperfect. Therefore, we have a ceremony, perform a surgery, and by instruction of our G-d, we improve upon the creation of nature, their god. Rosh Chodesh was perhaps the most insulting to them of the three. In the times of the Beis Hamikdash, when a witness would go to the beis din and testify that they had seen a new moon, the beis din has the power to make a major decision. Is the witness correct? Has there been a new moon? If they decide that indeed the witness is reliable, and there has been a sighting of the new moon, a new month would take place. And if not? Any natural forces which run on a monthly cycle would be pushed off until the beis din would accept testimony and declare Rosh Chodesh. So with the observance of Rosh Chodesh, the yidden were telling the Greeks: "not only has our G-d created your god, but when He was finished, He gave the power to control your god over to us."

With the ban on these three mitzvos, as well as the entire Torah, the Greeks weren't just declaring war on the Jews, they were instigating a war between the natural (their force) and the supernatural (our force.) And, as we all know, the supernatural won over the natural.

We've all heard how the Jewish calendar isn't like the secular one. We don't progress through time like a timeline, going further and further from the event until it is a mere memory celebrated by some fireworks or a decorated tree. Our calender is a circle. Each year, as we pass through the months, the same kochos that were put into the world for that month thousands of years ago are in the world today. We all know the Pesach is a time of redemption, and Elul/Tishrei is a time of Teshuvah, but what is the spiritual strength imbued in the world during Chanukah?

The answer lies in our description of the battle between the Maccabim and the Greeks. The battle between the Natural and the Supernatural. Just as the Yidden won of the Natural in the times of the ancient Greeks, we have the power during Chanukah to win over our natures. During this spiritual era, we have the power to go to battle with our yetzer harahs- and win!

Ah Freilichen Chanukah everyone!

Based on a Shiur by Rabbi L. Keleman.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Double Standard?

This issue started as a debate, and I decided to get my reader's opinions on this matter.

What do you think of a girl who is active online, be it via Facebook, twitter, blogs, or any combination of the above, yet doesn't want a guy who does the same?

I see both sides, but I have an opinion. Before I state it, I'd like to hear yours.

Is it a double standard? Or are things different for guys? (I do realize that the male response will be skewed, but try to stay open minded...)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Top Ten Life Changes

Motzei shabbos, as I was drifting off to sleep, I had this sudden and horrible realization. The second birthday of BOSD has passed without a party, without fanfare, and without recognition of any sort.

And then, I realized that it's time I stopped neglecting this blog. All of my loyal readers surely noticed how seldom I've posted in the last few months. If you think this is a long winded introduction to an engagement announcement, you are sadly mistaken.

I did, however, have a whole bunch of reasons not to post much. It's Tuesday, so let's see if I have ten of em:

In the last six months:
10) My manager at work (who I loved) quit.

9) I was asked repeatedly if I am sure I am not pregnant.

8) I lost an organ.

7) I recovered from my first ever surgery.

6) I used up years of accumulated sick days. Without lying.

5) I got a new manager who can only be described as something that rhymes with a witch. (And no, I don't mean a snitch.)

4) I found a new job.

3) I quit my old job. (Happiest day of my life. Hands down.)

2) I discovered the joys and trials of a commuter's lifestyle.

1) I became a morning person.

Does this excuse my lack of posts? I don't know. On the one hand, this sorta gives me a ton to post about. On the other hand, I was never one of those "and here's what happened to me today" type of bloggers.

Does anyone want to hear which organ I lost? Or what my first words after waking up from surgery were? Or what I nicknamed my horrible new manager? Or what I do on the way to work every day? Either way, I've got some post ideas, and I fully intend to post a bunch more. I won't, however, complain if your comments generate a discussion that inspires me to write a bunch of new posts. No, that's not a hint. Not at all.

Ok, your turn folks. What's been going on in the last six months of your lives?

Friday, November 26, 2010

What are You Doing Today?

If you're reading this when it's posted, it means one of two things. Either you're having heartburn from an oversized turkey dinner, or you are one of the sadly misguided folks who is waking up right around now to shop.
Here is my question. Why?
The whole black Friday thing never made any sense to me. Over the years, I've turned down dozens of invitations to hit the sales. Whether it was a midnight trek up to Woodbury Commons, an early morning run to Macy's, or a big trip to the mall, I was never one of those people with high hopes squeezing myself into the back of a tiny car.
And here's why. As exciting as the reports sounded when friends and sisters came back telling me of the crowds and discounts, I always noticed something fascinating: their hands were always empty. The few things that they had purchased weren't very cheap, nor were they very wanted.
I have nothing monumental to say on this subject. I could point out that people have died in black Friday stampedes. Or I could point out how sad it is that a drive for materialism has led a family to camp out a week and a half before Thanksgiving. But you all know that.

It's kind of like the wise man once said: "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people" .So instead of an insight, I'll wish y'all Happy Suckers Day.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Top Ten Ways To Eat a Rugelah

This extremely creative and funny Top Ten list was actually a contest entry submitted by iRiR. Check out her cool blog here.

1. Start from one end and bite lengthwise (wide side) in progressive stages until you reach the other end.

2. Start from one end and bite widthwise (narrower side) in progressive stages until you reach the other end.

3. Peel the thin edge of the rolled-up strip. Keep peeling and eating until the entire rugelah is consumed.

4. Use a fork to pierce the center of the rugelah and chew politely. Perfect for people who feel their empty hands look unbecoming.

5. Using a napkin, grasp the rugelah with your thumb and index finger in a pincer-grasp. Then eat. Great for use in high society.

6. Using a bag to prevent your hands from getting dirty, hold the rugelah in your hand and chew.

7. Stick a toothpick in one end of the rugelah and out the other. Proceed to eat like corn-on-the-cob, holding both ends of the stick.

8. Place rugelah in mouth and suck until it eventually disintegrates. Works best for adults with dental issues.

9. Pop the entire rugelah into your mouth at once. Applies to smaller-sized rugelach only.

10. Pretend to eat the rugelah by bringing it up to your mouth and feigning chewing and swallowing. Good for dieters.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Another Point for the Guys

There's big news announced at the shabbos table. My brother has struck it rich. Ok, not quite rich. He does, however, get a monthly kollel check from BMG.

And of course, a lively discussion ensued about the number of years a man (boy? Bochur?) has to learn in BMG before he is eligible for kollel checks. Surprisingly enough, you don't have to learn there for ten years to qualify. And you get more than $20 every other month, though not much more.

It got interesting when someone pointed out that the years a boy is learning there count from when he enters the yeshivah, not from when he gets married. It was my father who pointed out how good that can be for shidduchim. "Hey I can be eligible for kollel checks next week!"

And I was the one who pointed out that it's so like the guys. Being OLD is good for shidduchim. Speaking of the shidduch crisis.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday: And The Winner Is...

It's been a fun week. I've realized that a contest with a great prize is a far better incentive for strangers who read your blog contact you than a heartfelt plea, or even outright begging.

On that note, here are, in spirit of Tuesday, ten highlights from the entries I received:

10) "When learning history in school, such as the 1980’s" -Is it just me, or does that line imply that I am very old? Well either way, congrats to T who made me laugh on that, earning a bonus entry!

9) "I don't have so many more years before I age out of "twenty-something" - I should chapp it while I qualify!" -Brilliant, Scraps.

8) "When I read it, I'll be imagining you saying, "Scrumptious!" in a Chassidishe accent." Those who don't know me don't know that I speak a perfect yinglish. Fortunately, Scraps does.

8) "the top ten neighbors you don't want to have" -This one came from a newly married friend of mine. I just can't get over how much marriage can change a person's whole perspective on Top Ten lists!

7) "1.KBD carrot sticks as seen on BOSD (serious about that being #1 btw. it has been requested about 3 times this week)" -See, Bas~Melech put it as the number one food eaten in her house. I wasn't crazy when I said I couldn't get them off the tray for photographic purposes!

6) "Top Ten Reasons to Blog...1.If SD does it, it's gotta be good." -Who says flattery doesn't pay off? Thos entry by B~M made me laugh, earning her a bonus entry.

5) " I've helped you write so many top ten lists that they should all count and I should get an extra entry for each one." -bad4, I can't do that, but this is a good reason that you should get an entry. And it made me laugh, so you know what that means, right?

4) "5 - Oooh, if you don't, I'll tell your sister about your blog. Actually, that's worth several entries. [...] 10 - See reason #5. " -This might be a good reason to enter Bad4 into the contest, but it's also a good reminder not to read contest entries at work, lest I choke on my fourth cup of coffee.

3) "What I'd like to see is Top Ten Recipes from the book" -Y'know what I'd like to see? A check for ten million dollars. So we're even.

2) "It's important to have at least a cookbook or two on the shelf so that I can impress my mother in law when she visits." -Tzipi, how bout I send you the book jacket from my copy and you can wrap it around some random book and place it on the shelf in your kitchen? ;-)

1) By far, the most crative entry to this contest was submitted by iRiR, entitled "Top Ten Ways to Eat a Rugelah (croissant):" Now, if I can just get her permission, perhaps next week will feature her pearls of wisdom.

(And though she wasn't mentioned here, partly cuz she made the deadline by 3 minutes, my friend BigChamor, aka @Schmoiger, wrote a brilliant list. It'll be up here soon.)

And now...the moment you've all been waiting for:

[bum bum bum ba da dum]

the winner is...

[bum bum bum ba da dum]

Ok, for real this time. The winner is..


Congrats! Now, as readers of this blog may well know, Bas~Melech is not just a fellow blogger,  but a friend of mine. And while I was rooting for the winner to be among my friends, it was a totally random contest. Perhaps B~M's victory had something to do with her submitting seven complete Top Ten lists?

Anyway, thanks all for playing! Twas fun. Stay tuned for some entries in the coming weeks.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Last Day!

I've gotten some really great entries to the contest, but I just wanted to remind y'all that it's not over yet! You have until 10pm tonight to come up with an idea for a Top Ten list, write a Top Ten list, forward a link to the contest to ten people, or all of the above. I mean, how cool would it be to wake up tomorrow morning and find your name featured on this blog?!

And, the contest has an added perk. Even if you don't win the prize, you can still have your Top Ten list featured on a future Top Ten Tuesday post (with a link, where applicable).

Looking forward to hearing from you!

(Just a reminder, no entries will be considered valid without an email address. And when I say 10pm, I mean 10, not 10:15. I have a strict bedtime.)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday: Cookbook Giveaway

10) I figured that since this contest is taking place on a Tuesday, a Top Ten themed giveaway would be in order. Excuse me if this isn't very typical of a top ten list.
9) The contest is in effect from the moment this gets posted until 10 pm on Monday, November 15th. The winner will be posted next Tuesday, November 16th.
8) Every valid entry will receive one entry into a randomly selected raffle. Entries that make me laugh will receive an extra entry. (Thanks to G6 for the idea. I stole it.) If this criteria feels overly subjective to you, it might be. But on the other hand, if you're a long time reader of this blog, you may have a better grasp of my sense of humor, giving you an edge up on the competition.
7) Finally, the criteria for entry: (there are more than one way to enter, here's the first.) The theme is Top Ten, but that's where I end the restrictions. Go crazy. Write a top ten list. Submit a great top ten idea. You chose. I'm not picky.
6) If you sit down to attempt an entry, and realize that I've only been making my Top Ten lists LOOK easy, though, in fact, it's tough, and you can't come up with an entry, there's another way to enter. Copy and paste the following text into an email, (or compose a similar message) and send it to, in keeping with the Top Ten theme, ten of your contacts. CC me at justablobatgmaild0tc0m by way of entry.
sample text:
I wanted to let you know about a contest on a blog I read, A Blob of Something Different. The prize is Suzie Fishbein's new cookbook, Kosher by Design Teens and 20-somethings. You can read a review of this cookbook here, or find the rules to enter here.

Don't forget to spread the word!

5) There are no restrictions on the number of entries you can have, for either way of entering.
4) Entries can be submitted directly to my email address, justablobatgmaild0tc0m, or posted as a comment with a note not to publish it. Comments that are entries will automatically not be posted, all others on this post, if any, will be. If you wish for your comment to be posted, please post it separately from your entry.
3) Entries without a valid email address will not be counted. Even if you are sure I have your email, don't count on it.
2) I will need your mailing address to forward to Artscroll, the sponsors of the amazing prize, so if you don't want me knowing your blogger ID, you may want to refrain from submitting your entry with it.
1) The winner will be randomly selected using random.org The prize of this contest is the amazing new cookbook in the KBD series: Kosher By Design Teens and 20-Somethings, as reviewed by me here. Trust me, you want to win it.
Can't wait to see your entries!
(If you know me, email me on a different email address, follow me on twitter, facebook, text me, or communicate with me in any method other than the email address associated with this blog, please use my blog email to enter. Thank you.)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Review: Kosher By Design Teens and 20-Somethings

When I discovered that the publicity team for Susie Fishbein’s new cookbook was running a blog promotion, I knew I had to get on board. Susie Fishbein’s cookbooks are the holy grail of cooking in my house. All I can say is, thank goodness for Twitter.

When the book arrived, I tore open the box and disappeared to my bedroom to read and enjoy the new cookbook. The first thing that hit me was the cover:
I think its pretty clever. Stuff that teens and twenty somethings generally use such as headphones and car keys, combined with food, which is, obviously, the main focus of a cookbook.

Once I opened it up, I was immediately impressed with the colorful, eye catching design of the book. The clear, clean style of the layout is easy on the eyes and very inviting. Before I even reached the recipes, however, I was wowed by the introduction. In lieu of the usual boring introduction that we all don't read, as found in most cookbooks, this one has a number of helpful guides as well as healthy eating tips.

I made the mistake of looking through the recipes while hungry. Really. In my case, to say the pictures were mouthwatering is no exaggeration. I drooled as I looked through the delicious looking recipes. I drooled as I read the delicious sounding names of the recipes. And of course, I drooled when I looked at the enticing photos.

I think that the majority of my readers are teens and twenty-somethings, but perhaps many of you wonder if this cookbook is really for you. Well, my sister and sister-in-law, both of whom are twenty-somethings, were wondering the same thing. As two huge fans of Susie Fishbein and her work, they were discussing the upcoming cookbook with a mixture of anticipation and uncertainty. My sister-in-law, rightfully wondered if the cookbook would be overwhelmingly simple for someone of her cooking skill. After much consideration, they decided that they would wait and see what it looked like, and then decide.

And that's what I want to do, help you decide. Does this cookbook have some very basic recipes? Definately. But I am not a novice cook by any means, and I found plenty of recipes that are exciting and creative. There is a section called Munchies, which is not generally found in cookbooks, which I believe is where you will find the majority of the basic recipes, as well as the recipes that wouldn't be of interest to people who are no longer teens and twenty somethings. (Think Chocolate Fluffernutter Quesadillas...) But the other sections, specifically the Poulty and Meat section, have enough interesting, sophisticated and practical sounding recipes to make up for it. (More on those later.)

Another issue that might be bothering some people is whether or not the recipe's instructions are written with the assumption that you can't tell an oven from a dishwasher and that your idea of cooking a gourmet meal is sticking the leftover takeout food into the microwave. And the answer is no. I actually think that the cookbook is written in a very smart and balanced manner. As someone with extensive cooking experience, I didn't feel like the instructions were talking down to me, but I aso see how they would be simple enough for someone with no cooking experience to follow accurately. In fact, I think Kosher By Design Teens and Twenty Somethings would be an excellent cookbook for some of my newly married friends who know nothing about cooking. (Yes, I mean you. And you.)

Back so some of the great recipes... I made a number of recipes so far, with excellent results. I know that people criticised the poor picture I posted last week of the spicy carrot sticks, still on the baking paper, but I actually think it's the ultimate compliment. Those carrot sticks never made it off the paper!

Here's the recipe, I challenge you to make 'em and have em last long enough to sit through a photo shoot.

6 large carrots, peeled, ends trimmed

1 egg white from a large egg
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon water
1 1⁄2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1⁄2 teaspoons sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon paprika
1⁄4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt

1. Preheat oven to 450˚F. Cover a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. Cut each carrot in half to make 2 (3–4 inch) pieces.
3. Cut each carrot half in half lengthwise. With the cut-side-down on your cutting board, cut each half into 3 equal strips to make thin carrot sticks.
4. Place the egg white into a large shallow bowl or container and whip with a fork or whisk till foamy.
5. In a large bowl, mix the olive oil, water, garlic powder, cumin, sugar, paprika, and white pepper.
6. Place the carrot sticks into the beaten egg; toss to coat the carrots in the egg white.
7. Stir the carrots into the spice mixture. Arrange in a single layer on the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the salt.
8. Roast, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
9. Transfer to a serving plate or bowl.
As I said, you just try doing number 9. I couldn't get that far.

Additionally, I also made a delicous dessert, Chocolate Chocolate Chip Sticks. They are a cross between biscotti and brownies, easy to make, require no mixer, and best of all, don't have margerine...and they received rave reviews. The Schwarma Chicken and Za'atar Cauliflower were equally delicious.

In conclusion, this cookbook has an excellent blend of old favorites, international recipes, fresh takes on classics, and new and creative ideas. If you are a more experienced cook, you may find some of the recipes to be a little bit basic and simplistic, but I doubt there is anyone who wouldn't find a large number of delectable recipes to try.

If you are as excited about this cookbook as I am, and want to start making delicacies such as Firecracker Beef, Smashed Potatoes, Cappuccino Mousse and Molten Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookies, you can order the cookbook online here. Make sure to use the coupon code KBDBLOG at checkout to get 10% off and free shipping. Or you can wait till tomorrow when I post the details of my giveaway. You may just be the lucky winner of this excellent cookbook.

You can also checkout the Kosher By Design blog, for sample recipes and news, or download a Kosher By Design recipe index here. And of course, come back and check tomorrow for the giveaway. I won't tell you specifics, but its going up on Tuesday...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My New Favorite Food

I officially have a new favorite food:

(Excuse the photo quality-or lack thereof. My camera battery was dead and Louis III isn't renowned for his photographic capabilities.)
Spicy carrot sticks from the new Kosher By Design Teens and Twenty Somethings

I must tell you though, my father, who is far from a teen or a twenty something, fought me for the last carrot stick. Stay tuned, because a full review is coming up in less than a week! Oh, and one lucky reader will get a totally free copy of the cookbook. Trust me, you want to win.

(Oh, and I also made the Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie Sticks from said cookbook, which not only received rave reviews, but looked pretty on the table for MP's latest date.)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

(Top) Ten Commandments of Shidduchim

While not a true Top Ten list, I figured this was perfectly appropriate for the occasion. Feel free to add more. Unlike the real ones, there isn't a prohibition of Ba'al tosif. ;-)

With thanks, once again, to Bad4, for her help:

1) Thou shalt not have skeletons in thy family's closet.

2) Thou shalt not be caught out of thine house without a full face of makeup.

3) Thou shalt not wear long skirts.

4) Thou shalt not stick out from the crowd by wearing bright colors.

5) Thou shall be a special Ed teacher, therapist, nurse or accountant.

6) Thou shalt not be fat.

7) Thou shall meet every shadchan in a ten million mile radius of thine house.
8) Thou shalt not have unusual or controversial opinions.

9) Thou shall politely accept all strange, off-color, and rude advice offered by old women in black who deem themselves Shadchanim.

10) Thou shall be forever optimistic about every possible match suggested to thee.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Trauma By Association

When a person experiences a miracle in a particular place, the place develops into a special one in that person's mind. Passing through said place would cause the individual to relive the miracle, to say "baruch she'asa li neis bamakom hazeh."

Conversely, an awful event that happens to a person a specific place would cause that person to develop a measure of dread for that place. They might avoid it altogether, to avoid reliving the trauma they experienced.

I'm not sure if you'd call a ticket an extremely traumatic event, but I know that every place I've ever been pulled over remains firmly ingrained in my mind.

My first ticket was on the New York State Thruway, and it's trauma was heavily multiplied by the fact that six months had not yet passed since I had received my license.

Now, I don't know what the law is in other states and countries, but New York State law dictates that a newly licensed driver is on probation for the first six months. During those six months, any moving violation, most notably a speeding ticket, is cause for suspension of the license. You can surely imagine then, why I was so freaked out.

Miraculously, my license wasn't suspended, and I went on to get a number of other tickets. There was the one in the back streets of yehupitsville, the one on the corner a block away from where I work, the one on my secret shortcut to the end of the universe, the one on the street I now avoid, and of course, the one on the street I can't possibly avoid.

And while I always have pity for people whom I see stopped by police, (unless, of course, the person who is stopped had just cut me off) nothing draws more pity than the sight of someone getting a ticket in one of the spots where I got mine.

And that's what brought all of this to mind. Just yesterday, I was taking my secret shortcut to the end of the universe, when I saw someone pulled over by the police. It couldn't have been more than ten feet from where I was pulled over. And so, a I stretched my neck to catch a last glimpse of the poor fella, I realized that we now have something in common. Both of us hate the same stretch of road.

Someone should start a support group.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Top Ten Reasons I Don't Like Hanging Out With Married Folks

So I am sitting at a wedding surrounded by former classmates. The differences between us are subtle. Sheitels, rings, not much else to separate myself from the others. Then they opened their mouths. And The real differences began.

10) "SD, my husband still has one or two single friends. What type of guy are you looking for again?"

9)"So who's babysitting for you tonight?"
"Chava Esther Goldstein"
"Oh, she's great. I tried her. I guess that's why she wasn't available. (tee-hee)

8) \"So which suppers do you freeze?"
"I have a great minute steak recipe that freezes well. Do you want it?"
"Um, I don't know. Isn't that a little expensive for regular days?"

7)"I hate living so close to my mother in law. She always expects me to come for supper during the week. And then she complains about everything."
"Why don't you move?"
"I'd rather she move."

6)"How much weight did you gain in your first pregnancy?"
"Forty pounds, can you IMAGINE??"
"Me too! I gained forty pounds too!"
"Can't be! Where is it?"
"I've gotten much better at hiding it. He's six months old."

5) "I left my kids with my husband tonight. I'm sure I'll come home to find my house turned over."
"I know, isn't it funny? When I watch the kids I'm just doing my job. When my husband does, he is BABYSITTING."

4) "I'm finally moving my baby out of my room. It's about time, no? She's seven months old."
"My first baby slept in my room until he was 11 months old."
"Yeah but you were in a one bedroom apartment then."
"Well I only moved him out to make room for me second baby. My older one slept in the hallway till we moved."
3) "My sheitel looks terrible tonight. Can you tell it's my weekday sheitel? I got caught in the rain with my shabbos sheitel and the sheitel macher couldn't do it in time."
"Noway! It looks really good, who is your sheitel macher?"

2) "My labor was sooo long you can't imagine..."
I won't continue this dialogue, but suffice it to say it included times and measurements, and led to number 1:

1) Hysterical giggling. Which of course, was about a joke. A joke which couldn't really be repeated to us "naive" single girls.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Coming Up....Cookbook Review!

A couple of days ago, after G6 posted an announcement about her upcoming review of the new Kosher By Design Teens and Twenty-Somethings cookbook, I got pretty jealous. I mean, she isn't even a teen OR a twenty-something. I, on the other hand, am just that. Er, at least the twenty-something part. A little begging later, I got an offer to do a review too.

Incredibly quickly, the cookbook showed up at my house. I tore open the box, and disappeared to drool over the cookbook. What I failed to notice was the folder that came with the cookbook. MP noticed it. She read it too. That's a particular shame, because the folder contained instructions for doing my upcoming review.

As you can imagine, I panicked. Thankfully, she seemed not to chap, but she did ask me some very pointed questions about buying the cookbook. I ignored her completely, which seemed to have worked so far.

Back to the cookbook... My full review will be coming up soon, but I just want to make y'all jealous by telling you that I made the most delicious recipe in the world from it. I also wanted to let you know that there will be a giveaway, the winner receiving a free copy of Kosher By Design Teens and Twenty Somethings.

Stay tuned for details!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Who Meets Up In A Bookstore for a FIrst Date?

I was in a book store, sharing office politics via an overly animated and probably waaaay too loud conversation when he approached me.

By he, I mean a boy. I frum boy. A nervous frum boy. A nervous frum boy who wanted to know if I am Malka. That's when my imagination went into overdrive. See, in a world where I didn't have a train to catch, I would have nodded shyly and hung up the phone. It's lovely to imagine, really. I could have had an entire date with a guy who's name I didn't know. Perhaps the real Malka would have passed, looking anxiously for her date.

Alternatively, I could have followed discreetly behind him and waited until he found Malka. Then, as their conversation heated up, I would have interrupted. "So did you find Malka in the end?"

 But alas, I had a train to catch.

And so, instead, I spent a train ride home happily imagining the scenarios that could have unfolded. And I felt all virtuous for not disrupting a possible future shidduch b'yisroel. Nobody can blame the shidduch crisis on me!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Top Ten Gym Patrons

10) The yoga queen: she is the lady who looks like she was BORN on a yoga mat. Her flexibility looks like some kind of bizarre photoshop technique, except it's REAL life!

9) The Best Friends: these are two people who don't have the self confidence to stand on a treadmill without the support of their buddy. I was a Best Friend get off the elliptical to accompany her friend to the bathroom once.
8) The Machine Hog: I shouldn't hate this lady quite so much, because she inspired this post, but she prevented me from going on one of my favorite machines last night, so I do. A machine hog is not someone who spends forever on a particular machine. They're entitled. They're the ones who sit on a machine for a million years- and don't move. Futile hogging. It doesn't get worse.

7) The Muscle Lady: she is the one flying so fast on that treadmill that u can't even see her legs- it's all a blur. She's also the one who makes you feel slow when you are going at level five on the treadmill.

6) The Endurance Master: she's the lady who is at the gym before you, and is still going strong when you leave, even if you are there for an hour and a half.
5) The Lazy Lady: she's the one who thinks you lose weight just by showing up at the gym. She shmoozes with the other ladies at the gym, but doesn't realize that the only part of her body getting a workout is her vocal cords.

4) The TV Fanatic: she is into her workout- basically. But when the show gets exciting, she stops moving and just stares with an open mouth. She also does things like laugh too loudly at lame non-lol jokes and point at particularly exciting (in her mind) events on the screen.

3) The Fat Lady: she's great, cuz no matter your size, she makes you feel sooo skinny. I mean, seriously. The woman can't even get into the seat of half the machines.

2) The Skinny Lady: I am of the opinion that there should be segregated gyms for people like this. You go and lose weight and look good, then see her and her perfect figure and all you want to so is bury your head in a bowl of ice cream.

1) The Public Figure: She is the comic relief for the rest of the people there. See, her life is fascinating. And I know that because she shares it. Loudly. On the phone. For forty five minutes straight while she burns off the calories of the cheese Danish she ate because she was in such a bad mood this morning because her son's teacher sent a note that...

Do you have these people in your gym too?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday: a Chosson's Perspective

I almost missed (another) week, but SiBaW (a groom-o-sapien?) saved me in the nick of time. I agree completely with:
"7. Celebrities – What, you think I want someone else stealing the show?! I want the paparazzi all to ourselves, thank you very much! Hamodia and Yated photographers and their pictures not included in that one."
I will never forget my friend's wedding that featured Lipa as a singer. Nobody danced; they didn't want to miss a free concert.

Head over to his post to read the rest of the list.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Ohr Hatorah

Traditionally, the walk to shul on the eve of simchas Torah is frigid. Women and children, walking together, bundled in their warmest coats, make their way to the shuls. Their footsteps follow the sound of joyous stomping and heartzig singing.

This year was different. For starters, there was the weather. It was warmer and damper than anything I can remember. And then there was the wind. The stroller was immensely difficult to push, and the hood of my jacket kept blowing off. And as we neared the shul, another thing hit me. It's so dark! I felt like something must have been wrong. Where are the brightly lit minyanim? the joyous dancing of the men?

It wasn't until I turned the corner and stood on the block of my shul that I realized something was indeed wrong. The shul across the street from my own was completely black. A bunch of excited bochurim watched as an emergency repair vehicle and a number of police cars attempted to resolve the problem. We all quickened our paces, eager to discover if our shul was plagued by the same blackout. Even before the building came into view, we knew the answer in our hearts. "By this time," I thought to myself, "we can usually hear the feet stomping and voices singing. Something is wrong."
Walking up the path to the women's entrance, our fears were confirmed. It felt like makas choshech, complete darkness in every direction. But as we snaked around the back of the buildings, our heads lifted. It was faint, but distinct: the sound of simchas Torah dancing. A boy was outside. "There's a blackout," he cautioned. "But they are in the entrance hallway, there is an emergency light there."

We went into the shul. It was eerily dark and still. But from the corner of the women's section, coming from the main hallway, we heard the dancing. It was louder now. And so we stood in that doorway and took in the surreal scene. Two small emergency lights hanging in one corner, a bimah in the middle of the room, and about twenty men surrounding it, singing, dancing, rejoicing in the Torah.

The entire room had a special glow. It's felt brighter than those ever-dimming emergency lights should have made it. But a glance back into the middle of the circle shows me the three lanterns: three sifrei Torah. And suddenly I realize; they aren't just enlightening the room, but our lives.

Next I heard all of the men jumping. "Moshe emes v'soraso emes!" And here we are, not just saying, but living it. Perhaps the situation could be made easier by a couple of phone calls to procure a backup generator, but we aren't doing that. The very Torah that we rejoiced over that night teaches us not to. Instead, Hashem provides the light. It doesn't make sense. It shouldn't be this bright, but it is. Hashem is showing us how He helps those who live by the mantra "Moshe emes v'soraso emes."

My four-year-old niece is slightly confused. "A Yid can't turn a light on yontif, right?"
"No sheifele," I explain.
"Bu the goyishe workerman can turn it on, right?"
"Yes, he can. If Hashem wants him to."
"But Hashem can't turn it on, he's a tatty! I guess he tells the workerman to turn it on."

I smiled at her simplicity, her emunah p'shutah. But when I thought about it, she wasn't wrong. They will fix the light- when Hashem tells them to. And He did. Just as the sixth hakafa was drawing to a close, the lights turned on. Without missing a beat, the men begin a new song: "Layehudim haysa Ora!" And as the bima is dragged back into the main bais medrash for the relocation of the dancing, I muse about the beauty of the special hakafos I had just witnessed. The yetzer hara had tried his best to deter us from feeling simcha that night. But he was successful only in dimming the lights; he didn't dim our joy.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Top Ten Letter's I Ain't Gonna Send

If this post feels like its repetitive after last week's Top Ten list, it is. I mean, isn't life this time of year basically repetitive? Its like eat, sleep, repeat. And if this intro sounds harried its cuz MP is hanging around behind me and I keep alt-tab-ing in terror as she passes. It's all part of this marvelous family togethness though, right? I mean, my house isn't tiny but somehow this week every where I look there's somebody.
Anyhow, presenting the letters that swam through my head as Yom Tov progressed:

10) Dear Lady staring at me in the grocery store,
Yes, that IS flour all over my clothes. It's Erev Yom Tov. I baked challah. People DO that u know.

9) Dear Spider,
I don't mean to sound snobby, but I don't like u. And if it weren't the first night of a three day yom tov you'd be killed just for hanging over my bed like that. I'm having a really rough time staying so calm because I can imagine waking in the middle of the night to find you crawling across my- oh why fake it- GO AWAY! YOU SCARE ME!
8) Dear Niece,
I love you, but really, did you have to drool in my HAIR? It's ok, really, I mean, I get to wash it all over again in a mere 60 hours.

7) Dear Mattress,
I know you have no idea what I'm saying, but just this once, could you walk yourself out of the sukkah? You and I both know Bro ain't gonna do it.

6) Dear Stomach,
I know you aren't used to this, but hang on, ok? Just two more days...
5) Dear G-d,
I don't mean to complain, but yom tov would be a whole lot more enjoyable if my body were just a tad better at dealing with carbs.

4) Dear Little Sis,
Yes, my hair is greasy. That happens when I don't wash it for three days. I thank you for bringing everyone's attention to it. You needn't go to all the trouble next time though, it's hard to miss.

3) Dear Glazed Coffee Bundt Cake,
Stop looking so smug. You don't tempt me, hah!
Ok, you do. But not nearly as much as the chocolate peanut butter ice cream pie. So there.

2) Dear Challah,
You were better seven meals ago. No offense or anything.

1) Dear Shower,
Oh, how I've missed you.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Top Ten Signs You Have Just Endured a Three Day Yom Tov

In celebration of surviving the first three-day yom tov, and in nervous anticipation of the upcoming three-day yomim tovim, I present to you Top Ten Signs that you've just survived one. G'luck with it folks.

10) It used to be your favorite kugel, but having eaten it for the last six consecutive meals, you are pretty sure you don't want to ever even LOOK at that strawberry-apple kugel again.

9) You spent the better part of the day looking wistfully at the married women in the family and briefly considered hijacking a hair covering of some sort.

8) You suddenly realize that Barack Obama AND Joe Biden could have died, leaving Nancy Pelosi in charge, and you wouldn't even know about it.

7) Far, FAR worse, you realize that the Yankees could have lost their lead in the AL east and you wouldn't even know about it.

6) If someone would offer you an all expenses paid meal at Prime Grill you'd probably groan and mutter "No fleishigs...no more fleishigs..."

5) Your deodorant can is empty.

4) You are counting the minutes until even your favorite niece or nephew goes back home.

3) Your phone/iPod/laptop have time to fully cool down.

2) You have read every word of every page of the Yated, Hamodia, Mishpacha AND Bina.

1) You take the pony holder out of your hair and your hair just stays in the pony anyway.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Shidduch Dramatization

This poem was written ages ago, but I finally decided to post it. I hope I am not giving my identity away through it...

A tragedy is upon our whole nation!
And it threatens to destroy our entire foundation.
Everyone ponders with great consternation
What might become of our population!
The story's simple, requires no explanation.
It's a problem that causes immense frustration.
Young and old know of the dire situation:
Eligible maidens still await their salvation,
but with the bochurim we've all got to ration.
Month after month, filled with girl's anticipation;
While burned out boys need a dating vacation.
Now everyone has come to the realization
That we need to join together as a nation
And work to end our sisters' tribulation.
Well meaning shadchanim, loaded with determination,
Expect us to show tons of cooperation
With our shidduch resume: the ultimate dehumanization.
"What are you looking for?" is the common interrogation
For the "nebach" singles, sitting in isolation.
For the sake of shidduchim, we'll make any adaptation,
And we strive to be thin, to the point of starvation.
And worse, we'll put up with lots of aggravation,
Just to go on a list for consideration,
To get a date with a boy of a great reputation.
But still- singles sit in desolation.
What will be with their situation?
When will they take on roles of domestication?
Fear not my friends, this dramatization!
One day, we too will say with jubilation
That it's time to receive our congratulation.
But until the day we send an invitation,
For all our friends to join our celebration,
We'll settle in for more anticipation,
And wait for Prince Charming to bring our salvation!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Reaching a Verdict

Normally, when cracking eggs, I check them as I crack them- directly into the bowl. Tonight, for some inexplicable reason, I cracked the eggs into a separate bowl, then poured them into the rest of the ingredients. As it turns out, its a good thing I did it that way. The (would be) final egg actually had a blood spot. "No problem," I thought to myself, "I'll toss this one and crack another."

And while this may not seem all that philosophical, it got me thinking. I usually don't crack eggs into a separate bowl, simply because I don't actually expect there to be a blood spot. It's the kind  of thing that I take for granted. Sure, it can happen, but what are the chances?

I think that's the way I feel going into Rosh Hashana. Sure, we say "mi yichye umi yamus" but I'm not actually going to die, am I? And sure, we say "who will be impoverished and who will be enriched." But c'mon, I'm not going to become impoverished this year! I'm sure my friend's mother who was niftar suddenly this past year felt a similar way last year. And I am sure that the neighbor who lost his job really didn't think it would happen to him, either. But that's what Rosh Hashana is. We may be healthy, but this Yom Hadin we face a new judgement. We need to beg for that health again.

At the risk of sounding like I am employing a scare tactic, there is a flip side.I watch my friend who just got engaged. I know she had a rough year, shidduchim wise. The last of her single friends got married a couple of months ago, as did mine. I guess that is what brought two completely different coworkers together. But now, standing at her vort, watching her collect mazel tovs, I marvel at the amazing way it all played out. Her engagement was decided on...last year on rosh hashana! And all the while,she waited for him to come along, and he came, as planned, on erev rosh hashana. And all of this is such an important reminder for me. As I face the Heavenly courts this Rosh Hashana, the fate of an  entire year is at stake.

And as I wait for some verdicts down here, I realize that the verdict hasn't come in yet up there. One particular bit of news that I have been waiting to hear has dragged and dragged. At first, I wondered why, but now, I think I understand. It dragged because the decision wasn't made last year. Now, waiting precariously close to the yom hadin, I know to daven for it. I know to daven hard. I know that a decision is hanging in the balance.

In less than 24 hours I will have my day in court. I think I really need to rethink my defense now. And just in case, I'll be checking my eggs into a separate bowl from now on.

Wishing all of you a kesivah v'chasima tova, and a simchadik year.

(I really really hope this post makes sense. It does in my head, but I'm a little woozy from two straight nights of cooking and baking until after two in the morning. On a positive note, I have just baked  challah by myself for the first time in my life! Yay for me, call the shadchan!)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

SD Forgives Judith

You know you are desperate for blog topics when you peruse your inbox from your oldest email account looking for ideas and inspiration. It worked, however, so I won't complain.

Ages ago, I did this meme. I don't usually like memes, but this one was fun. In fact, I did it before I had a blog, just for fun, to see what would come up. I emailed the results to myself, just cuz that's what I do. And I found em tonight.

One line reads: "SD needs to forgive Judith." In italics, for those too lazy to click and read the post, I wrote: "SD doesn't even know who Judith is."

But as I sat there reading this old email, I had a flash of memory. I suddenly remembered who Judith is. And I have plenty to forgive.

Judith was a seamstress. She had a tiny shop in the basement underneath some other store. I'm not sure what originally led us down those steps, but I do remember what kept us there. It was the pictures on the wall. They were of a bunch if frum girls in wedding gowns. At first, we were surprised, because Judith is not only a non-Jew, but her store is nowhere near a Jewish area, and it was hard to imagine some other frum people making the connection to her.
Even more surprising was that we knew the girls in the picture. They were of the Silver family, a family in our neighborhood who's daughters went to our school. And so we decided to start using her services for our work. I guess the deciding factor was that she did unbelievable work at ridiculously low prices.

We started small. We sent her a number of small things, which were completed in a timely and masterful fashion. And so we sent her more things, things which probably required a little more trust.
Our patronization of her business reached a peak one year on Erev Pesach. Every member of the family got new clothes, and all of it needed alterations. And we sent it all to her.
We weren't particularly worried when Judith failed to have our clothing ready on the promised date. There were still a few more days before yom tov, and see had to be in our area on erev yom tov, and she promised she would deliver it to our house.
Erev yom tov came in the usual frenzy of last minute preparation. We were all excited for our clothing to arrive, myself most of all, because my new outfit was being completely changed by her, so I wasn't even sure what it was going to look like.
As the day went on and yom tov approached, we started to worry a tad. My mother called her office number, her house number, her cell number...but there was no answer. Judith, and all of our clothing were Missing In Action.
If anyone thinks this story has a Fairytale ending where Judith showed up on our doorstep minutes before yom tov, clutching our clothing, you are sadly mistaken. In fact, it was quite the opposite. I remember being inconsolable as I went into Yom Tov. Instead of the gorgeous new outfit I was expecting to wear, I was wearing the same old outfit I had worn all winter long. I don't particularly remember how my siblings felt about it, but I know I was devastated.
It sounds trivial, but its not. Not to an adult, and especially not to a child. And then, to make matters worse, a few weeks after Yom Tov, we finally found out what happened. Turns out, Judith was fed up with life. And so, on the way to our house, with all of our clothing aboard, she decided to end it.
She lived through her attempt, and shockingly enough, so did most of our clothes. But receiving it six months later when I had grown a couple of inches seemed like more of a slap in the face than a relief. My outfit truly was beautiful, but I no longer fit into it.

It's seems incredibly selfish, in retrospect. But I won't deny it. I was angry at Judith. I was angry at her for taking her own life. I was angry at her for not delivering our clothing first. I was angry at her for messing up my yom tov. I was angry, just angry.
Looking back, it seems silly, insignificant. But I was a child. My hopes were dashed and I was hurt. But life moved on and I forgot, even if I didn't forgive, Judith.

And that would have been the end of the story had I not reread that post tonight. I do need to forgive Judith, not because she needs forgiveness (although one never knows. Her second attempt was successful.) but because forgiving people feels good. I didn't hold a grudge against her all this time, but tonight, I thought about it, and I got over it. And now I can know without a doubt that I have moved on. That I have forgiven Judith.
And now, as we approach the yamim noraim, I think of people who have truly wronged me. Not unintentionally. Not years ago. Recent wrongs that still hurt. And I realize that forgiveness is not only for them. It's for me. I need to forgive them so that I can be over it, so that I can be cleansed, so that I can be forgiven.

Please note: the anger I wrote about was childish, and absolutely nonexistent at this point. Now, I know how awful she must have felt, and how my new outfit was the absolute least of the tragedy that occurred when Judith attempted to take her life.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Top Ten Drivers Who Annoy Me

I know this weeks Top Ten Tuesday might annoy some folks, or at least parts of it, but hey- isn't that what blogging is about? Anyhow, what's in your Top Ten?

10) The old man with his turn left turn signal on for miles…even when he makes his right turn.
9) The law-abiding momma who drives exactly at the speed limit when I am in a rush.
8) The guy who slows down to look at the gory details of a traffic accident, slowing down everyone behind him.
7) The fella who is extra considerate to all drivers who need to make turns, forgetting about being considerate to the driver behind him.
6) The horrible person who stays in the left lane, but keeps pace with the guy in the right lane- on a two lane highway.
5) The stranger who stomps on the brakes at each street to check the street sign.
4) The idiot who thinks he has to drive five miles below the speed limit whenever there is a cop in the vicinity.
3) The despicable excuse for a driver who cuts you off then drives below the speed limit.
2) The no-goodnik who drives below the speed limit in the left lane!
1) The gullible fool who lives by the motto “arrive alive, drive twenty five”

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Sibling Angle

Dating stories are, especially in today's age of millions of shidduch related blogs, a dime a dozen. One kind of dating story which, I feel, is enormously under-represented in blogsville, as well as in the hallowed halls of shidduchville where over-eager girls engage in chit chat about the misery they love to hate, is the Sibling Angle.

Yeah, thats right. I may be a number of years into shidduchim, and I might have a million first hand stories to tell, but my sister is a Miss Perfect, and as such, she will always have more dates, which will always lead to more stories.

But first, for those of you who didn't grow up with a pack of older sisters getting called on by eligible young bochurim, let me introduce you to the sibling perspective on shidduchim. So here is the story that my father likes to use by way of explaining the Sibling Angle to outsiders. Oddly enough, it didn't happen in my family.

A number of years ago, my youngest sister was in a playgroup in some woman's house. Often, my mother would have things she had to take care of in the afternoons, but the Morah was extremely accommodating. She was happy to keep my sister an extra couple of hours, if need be. So one day, my mother got unexpectedly stuck, and she called the Morah to ask if my sister could stay. "My husband will pick her up on his way home from work," my mother explained. The morah, usually so accommodating, sounded hesitant. But there wasn't much my mother could do, so they just left it at that. "Please just ask your husband to get here as soon as possible," the morah urged.

Meanwhile, my father got stuck with some things at work, so he left a little late. Then he got stuck in traffic on his way home, so he was a little later. Unbeknown to any of us, the morah's oldest daughter was going on her first ever date. This wasn't just the first ever date for a girl, but for a family. It is an experience of such magnitude, words can't do it justice, though perhaps I shall try in a future post. But back to the Morah Family who were frantically cleaning the house, preparing for the arrival of The Boy. In a household full of a million and twelve children, I doubt anybody gave much thought to the addition of the extra three year old. But, in their haste to shoo all of the children down to the basement before the date, they forgot that one of the kids' father was on his way to get her.

At the prescribed moment, everyone was in place. The juice was in a jar on the table, the cookies were neatly arranged on a plate, the mother's snood made way for a freshly brushed sheitel, and the Eldest Daughter sat in the other room, dressed in her finest whatever-was-in-style-back-then, feverishly saying tehillim. And downstairs, despite their lack of experience or practice, the rest of the kids were skillfully arranging themselves around the one basement window that provided a proper view of the driveway. The clock chimed date-time, and as if on cue, a car pulled up. The kids were, no doubt, waiting for a black Honda or Toyota sedan, were shocked to see a green Jeep pull up.

"Ew," said the second oldest, "Devorah would never marry a guy who drives a Jeep." "
"Shhh," said another one of the lucky kids with an actual view, "he is getting out now."
A collective gasp emerged from the children at the window. "He's so old," they chorused in unison. "Devorah would never marry someone who's that old."
And they were only getting started. Someone, I am sure, pointed out that the boy, or as they now called him, the man, was not wearing a hat, or even a jacket.

Upstairs, just as their kids were pronouncing the guy DOA, the anxious parents were watching with horror from the living room window. They surely turned shades of colors that crayola themselves haven't yet discovered as they realized what was going on. The frantic mother rushed downstairs, uttering a hasty "later" as she grabbed the intruder, my (then) innocent little sister. Finally, realizing what had happened, the children collectively released their breaths. "At least Devorah doesn't have to go on a date with someone who's old."

And that, my friends, is the siblings angle. Due to the precarious positioning that has been laid out for us by our sages, we, as the siblings, often get to see the guy, and occasionally, judge the guy, before the one dating him does. And that is what colored my view of shidduchim. Before I ever graduated seminary, before I ever met a shadchan, or even fully comprehended what a resume was, I already associated shidduchim with the cramped room in the basement with the best view of the driveway, with the precise timing required to know when it was safe to creep up the basement stairs and slowly open the jar a crack, giggling over every overheard word like it was a trophy of sorts.
And I have to say, sadly enough, that the more I experience shidduchim, the more I liked the Sibling Angle.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Top Ten Graphs To Simplify The Shidduch Process

While the idea for this post was originally inspired by Indexed, the main thanks really goes to Bad4, who spends so much time tirelessly blogging in an effort to simplify the shidduch process for the general public, over at her blog, Bad For Shidduchim. And who helped me with the ideas, data, and titles for the graph.
What do you all think about the data here? Agree or disagree?
And just cause you asked for it Bad4, three times. :-D





Friday, August 13, 2010

A Kid In My Class

Last week's post taught me an interesting lesson. I prefaced the post with "from a reader," but most other readers actually assumed that by reader I meant myself. After all, they surely concluded, I do read my own posts.
I'm not sure, however, why people think it's a story that I'm ashamed of. Actually, I did lose a bit of weight recently. That's why I was relieved when the reader sent me the story that I have a personality that doesn't attract shidduchhounds like those I mentioned.
It reminds me of this little stunt I used to do in elementary school. I was a terror; the kid that teachers would warn their successors and substitutes about. I'm not proud of it, but I really had my fair share of- erm- fun- in school. And of course, being the egomaniac that I am, I always thought my shticks and tricks were totally clever.
So I was left with a dilemma. I wanted to brag at home about the clever little things I did. But, at the same time, I knew my parents would be livid if they'd know about all the trouble I was making. And so I developed a strategy. I would tell my stories from the perspective of an awed classmate. And thus, "a kid in my class" became a well know character in my family's dimmer table conversations.
Nowadays, I think of "a kid in my class" and laugh at my childish naïveté. I doubt that my parents were unable to figure out the correlation between that kid and their own. Plus, MP is just a grade older than me, and was always around to clear things up for my parents. "SD, how come I saw you sitting outside the office today?"
The reader that told me her story about the shidduchhounds revealed herself to me. Ironically enough, she actually is a kid in my class. See how that all worked out?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Now I Understand Why G-d Made Idiots

I'm not sure how many of you were reading this blog back when Chava Yitty was sent to her premature watery grave. I still picture her deathbed convulsions in my nightmares. Yes, indeed, Chava Yitty was a good phone.

My bad phone luck continued after Chava Yitty died and took five hundred contacts with her. My next phone was an awful pink palm centro, courtesy of a friend who didn't need it anymore. Aside from a color that made me look like a grade school kid, the tiny little buttons made testing near impossible. Just when I thought matters couldn't get worse, centro died. (No, she didn't get a name. I didn't like her enough.) It was horrible. My phone search continued. I then got a red razr phone. It was slower than the class dunce and miserably difficult to text with. That and the battery lasted about as long as it took to send three text messages, which was surprisingly longer than you'd think.

I got fed up with her really fast. I spoke to some people at sprint and managed to get myself a new phone. It was the Rumor, by Samsung, blood red. This phone came into my possession shortly after I drove MP and her friends to the airport and learned that Prada makes phones. I decided to have a brand name phone too. Thus, my rumor was named Kate Spade. I called her Katie for short.

I expected to have Katie for a while, but life doesn't always go as planned. Just a few weeks after my acquisition of Katie, I cancelled my Sprint service and signed up for AT&T. I came home with my brand new Samsung Eternity, and named him Louie, short for Louis Vuitton. A week later I hated Louie, so I took him back. I replaced him with a blue LG xenon, whom I named Louie II.

And that's when cell phone karma smiled down on me. I began my all time longest stint with a phone. It's been a year now, and I'm still using Louie with great pleasure.

Louie has this marvelous qwerty slide-out keyboard, threaded texting, and a really user-friendly and simple interface. I frequently note that it's the best texting phone I've ever owned. And, as I've just noted, I've owned quite a few.

Alas, all good things come to an end, even my friend Louie. You see, my warranty for Louie was set to expire on August 6th, and I don't like un-warranteed phones.

On August 2nd, I called AT&T, determined to get a new friend. I spoke to a wonderful customer care representative, who assured me that the problems I was experiencing were due to a faulty battery. My new battery was set to arrive on the sixth, the very day my warranty expired. I didn't the battery would solve the issue, but the dude didn't listen. "But," I worried aloud, "what if it's not the battery? What happens if the problem persists, but by then my warranty will have expired." My Indian friend was very helpful. He assured me that I'd be covered since I'd already mentioned the issue.

My new battery arrived on schedule. I replaced the old battery, and was completely not surprised to discover that all of the original problems persisted. SD is up, 1-0. So yesterday I called AT&T again. I spoke to a customer service rep who wasn't sure what I was talking about. "It should all be in the notes," I assured her. She assured me that it wasn't. I was horrified. And I told her so. "This isn't quite quality customer care. He specifically assured me that he was putting a note in that if the problem isn't fixed by the new battery, the warranty would still cover the phone."

She got a little flustered. See, at AT&T we strive to provide quality customer care. She transferred me to Jason in the warranty replacement department. Now, AT&T call center employees aren't renowned for their superior intellect, but Jason was obviously lacking in the brains department.

And that suited my needs perfectly. See, had a told Jason that I'd been promised a new iPhone 4 for my trouble, he probably would have believed me. I didn't want to take advantage of his unbelievable stupidity, so I merely stated the obvious. "I need a new phone."

And so Jason kindly offered to send me one. He verified my address, asked how quickly I needed to have my new phone, then proceeded to say goodbye. Now, you must realize that people at AT&T don't just say goodbye, they give a long speech. So Jason started his speech. Midway through, he stopped. I started to tell him that he had indeed provided me with quality customer care, but he stopped me. "Hang on," he stammered, clearly nervous. "There's something wrong with my computer. I waited. A minute later, he called out excitedly. "Ok, I found it. Where was I up to?" He then proceeded to finish the speech. Having fully resolved my issues, we hung up.

And then I laughed. And laughed. And laughed. All I can say now is...thank G-d for idiots.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday: A Glimpse of the Other Side

This week's Top Ten TUesday takes us on an inter-species trip. A rare glimpse into the mind of a recent brido-sapien. Here, from Musing Maidel.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Have Times Changed?

They say that a girl's reemergence into society is a sure-fire way to know that she is about to get engaged. "Their" logic is simple. About to get engaged equals thinking about wedding plans. Wedding plans equals thinking about guests lists. Worrying about guest lists makes a girl nervous nobody will show up for her affair. That kind of nervousness compels the fair maiden to make herself seen celebrating at the ceremonies of acquaintances and classmates, thus reminding people how nice it would be to go to -ahem- future weddings.

But my friends, fear not. I may have emerged into society, but it was purely unintentional. Or, if you want it to sound more impressive, you can say I was following in the famous words of our wise sages: "who is the wise man?he who sees the future." I may not see prince charming galloping up from the end of this endless dark tunnel [snort] but I want to make sure that I will be completely prepared when the moment arrives.

Or, simply, I have been forced to attend more weddings that I am comfortable with, mostly because a whole bunch of "friendlies" just deserted the happily-single-club in favor of the I-love-doing-laundry-for-this-guy club. And I have come to a startling realization.

And by startling, I don't mean the fact that a woman who is double my width ad triple my age has quadruple my dancing abilities.

I mean that life has taken one of two fascinating turns. Either, there have been a whole bunch of post-highschool bonds of friendship formed amongst my fellow grademates (an entirely plausible assumption), or I never really did have a grasp of high school politics.

The friendship bonds thing makes sense- I guess. Take me. Just before the three weeks my friend was shocked to hear I was at the wedding of a grademate I barely knew in highschool. "I couldn't avoid it. I was I'm seminary with her." I wouldn't go so far as to insinuate that we had become friends, but I borrowed her notes for a year, so that's good enough for me.

Personally though, I'm going with the second choice, it makes for a better memoir.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Attack of the Shidduchhounds

From a reader:

“I lost a bunch of weight recently. People started to notice and comment. One of my friends started to send her comments via text message. The first time was just after we met at a wedding. We parted, my phone buzzed: Ur getting rly skinny.

I lost a few more pounds, and she commented on my weight loss without even seeing me. They say u r getting bony.

Her next text came a little while after we met up at a local store. Out with it already. When r u getting engaged.”

Isn’t it sad? Nowadays, a person can’t even lose a couple of pounds without the shidduchhounds attacking them.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Top Ten Pictures From My Trip

In true Top Ten spirit, and because blogger's upload feature gets on my nerves, the following pictures are in reverse-chronological order. Fyi.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Great Blogging Mystery

I have a serious mystery on my hands. I've got a number of posts that were written up and ready to publish, and now they're gone. Vanished. Disappeared. I've checked in all of my emails, in blogwriter lite, in my iPod, my computer, and anywhere else a post might be lurking.

And no success. Nothing. Is there a black hole somewhere in the atmosphere that's disappearing my posts? A monster that eats my posts for breakfast? A jealously desperate (desperately jealous) blogger hacking into my account and stealing them.

I guess I should be glad, really. I mean, one of the posts was markedly arrogant, and another made me sound like a self centered jerk. On the on the other hand, it's kinda sad. I wrote those posts. I miss them.