Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Natural Kind Of Nature

Watkins Glen is an adorable little town in the southern Finger Lakes area. Everything about it is quaint and cute. The gift shops are probably the only ones in America that aren’t overly commercialized. The restaurants are mostly privately owned little shops, not national chains. There is no Hilton, Howard Johnson or even Holiday Inn. And, shockingly enough, there isn’t even a Starbucks in the area.

By eight oclock at night, everything is closed. This isn’t a Lake George-type place where a body of water is an excuse to open haunted Wax Museums. The attraction here simply is the beauty and stillness of Seneca Lake. With nothing else to do, we head toward the water and walk. It’s breathtakingly gorgeous. There is a rough stone walk along the lake. The sun is setting, turning the water the most magnificent shades of orange and pink.

The people here walk slowly, talk quietly. They seem to have a deeper respect for the land, for the natural beauty. It’s not even eleven pm yet, and this campground is silent except for the crackling of campfires from the nearby cabins. There is an eerie yet special feeling to sit in the stillness of night, and see nothing but the lights of a couple of campfires. And while sure, I cracked jokes about how campgrounds didn’t use to have wifi, all in all, this trip is an interesting reminder for me. No, this isn’t quite the vacation I have been planning on. Actually, I don’t know if I would even call it a vacation. It’s more of an obligatory night at the cabin my family is staying at. But despite my initial misgivings, I am glad I came. It’s interesting to see a place where a natural attraction still is natural.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Top Ten Things I Learned From Shopping With MP

10) If you are ever in a mall with a Neiman Marcus, don't use the mall bathroom. Use the bathroom at Neiman Marcus, it's kinda like being in a five star hotel.

9) Couture smells like feet. I kid you not. Juicy had some shoes that said "Smells like couture" written on them. Simple math. Shoes smell like feet. Couture equals feet.

8) There are people who will spend $25 on a juicy toy for their dog to chew on. I wonder if the dog wouldn't rather a juicy steak for that price.

7) People will spend over a hundred dollars on- sit down- a towel. Yep, just because it has a billboard on it.

6) It is perfectly acceptable to wear velour sweatshirts in the summer if it has a j hanging from the zipper.

5) "Juicy" is no longer an adjective used to describe a delicious piece of fruit. It is a noun.

4) There are people who will PAY for the privilege of pre-shopping a Nordstrom sale.

3) A skirt is not just a skirt. It's a theory.

2) This one is useful actually. Makeup prices from national brands are the same in Macy's as they are in Neiman Marcus and Saks. Only in Macy's they don't bow down to you.

1) I am willing to subject myself to an afternoon of shopping with MP for the sake of a blog post.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Gosh I Miss Those Cupcakes

Seems like the old background I had malfunctioned, so I put this one up temporarily. (For all those who actually visit the blog, not keep up on a feed reader.) Anyhow, I am working on a new background, but wanted to let y'all know that it'll look really boring for a bit.

Anyhow, if any of my grafic artist fans (I know a bunch of you are out there) wanna volunteer to take over the designing of this blog, drop me an email.

For the rest of you, why dontcha lemme know in the comments what you thought of my old cupcakes, and what you think I should put in the new look.

Oh, and special thanks to Grinfish for pointing the problem out to me. :-)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Lessons I Didn't Learn

A drive to the store today provided me with an extra trip; I got to go touring down memory lane. The ferris wheel towered over the road, reminding me of that night a couple if years ago.

A friend of mine heard that there were a bunch of amusement park-type rides set up in some lot not-too-far from our neighborhood. It was great for us, old maids tied down to our jobs. We rounded up the troops and headed out to the rides.

I was coerced into spending five dollars on a ride which scared the living daylights out of me. Other than that, though, there was really nothing monumental about that particular evening.

Or so I thought.

I was examining my online bank statement, when I came upon a funny looking charge. It was from some entertainment company in Lisbon NH. I panicked, called the bank, and started begging for my $40 back. The very nice lady calmed me down and told me that she would immediately freeze my bank account. If she expected her words to have a calming effect on me, she was sadly mistaken.

"Freeze my bank account? Then how do I get money out?" I asked her, my voice rising to shrill tones.

"Ya don't, hon," the bank lady chirped.

"But," I countered, "what happens if I need money?"

When I realized that there was nothing I could do to get money out, I had second thoughts about freezing the account. Couple that with my doubts about anyone stealing MY debit card, and I told the lady to hold off on the freezers.

It somehow didn't make sense. Which thief steals a debit card for $40? And how did they steal it? On the other hand, I've never even HEARD of Losbon NH, let alone visited and charged my card. And $40? What an odd number!

In a last ditch effort to find out who in Lisbon wad charging my debit card, I googled the name of the company, the city, and everything else that showed up on my bank statement. After a few variations of the info I had, I found a result. Apparently, this company, though based out of NH, is a traveling amusement park that sets up shop in various places in the region.

Sound familiar?

It did to me. And why, you ask, a $40 charge? Well, it seemed so insignificant at the time, so much so that I actually forgot about the entire transaction, but a couple of friends gave me cash, and I charged everyone's ticket on my card. Yep, it totalled $40.

And that's the end of my story. That's the epic saga of the time I almost cancelled my debit card, froze my bank account, and went into a state of panic for absolutely no reason.

In conclusion, there are many lessons to be learned from my story, but I will, instead of learning 'em, go back to that lot and overpay to be terrified. Because everyone knows how boring it is to learn a lesson the first time around.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

You Do What It Takes

Yesterday was a sad day for Yankees fans. The Boss, George Steinbrener, died at the age of 80.

Sure there were fans who had mixed feelings about the guy. On one hand, he bought every superstar he could; on the other hand, he was the mean guy who publicly insulted his players after a bad loss.

But no matter how people feel about The Boss, nobody can deny his incredible achievement. He purchased a failing team in the 1970's for ten million dollars. He died in the summer of 2010, the owner of a 1.5 billion dollar team.

The secret to his success was his single minded determination. For Steinbrener it was simple. You do what it takes, you spend what you have to, but winning is not optional. And while many folks, particularly fans of other teams, hated him for it, he produced results. During the years that Mr. Steinbrener was owner of the team, the Yankees won the American League pennant eleven times, and the championship seven times. He had to have died satisfied. At the time of his death, his team had one their last game. They had the best record in baseball.

Across the great and mighty world of sports talk radio, everyone recalled how all George Steinbrener really cared about was victory for his team. And while the goal wasn't quite one I'd praise, the trait is admirable.

Imagine if a yid would focus their complete attention towards serving Hashem. Imagine what kind of a tzadik would be produced if a person would take on the attitude of "you do what it takes and spend what you have to." Imagine how many victories a person could have against his yetzer harah.

George Steinbrener put everything he had into his Yankees; shouldn't we do that much for Hashem?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Last Supper

I savored my last bite of chicken, upset to be digesting The Last Supper. I mean it, what's a fish-hating, calorie-watching gal supposed to do during the nine days?

It's kinda funny watching ladies push their shopping carts frantically around the store, cramming boxes of cereal and packages of pizza bagels in. Sunday night's chicken is now a distant memory, as my stomach grumbles in empty protest at it's grand supper of veggie sticks. And it's gotta say something if I'm considering -sit down- tofu. Let's not even get started on cold showers. Or no laundry. And I won't be posting a top ten list; I don't feel like it's in spirit with the days we are in.

And yet, through all of the discomfort, the annoyances, and everything else, I just can't help feeling sad at my outlook. Here I am, mourning over the lack of chicken, when the real issues are so much deeper than anything I have ever lived through, anything I can even begin to imagine...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Top Ten Birthday Wishes and Greetings

No, this isn't a hint, not at all. And yes, I take presents all year round!

10) Birthdays are like boogers; the more you have the harder it is to breathe.

9) You know you are getting old when the only thing you want for your birthday is not to be reminded of your age.

8) On your birthday, remember: don't worry about the past- you can't change it. Don't worry about the present- you aren't getting one.

7) Lots of famous people were born on your birthday- shame you aren't one of them.

6) Birthdays are nature's way if telling us to eat more cake.

5) A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman's birthday but never remembers her age.

4) So many little cake.

3) With age comes wisdom- and you're one of the smartest people I know!

2) Despite modern medical advances, nobody has discovered a cure for the common birthday.

1) And my all time favorite, from BigChamor's last year birthday card: Hooray, it's your birthday, can I go back to sleep now?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Blogging Generalizations

Dear Rabbi Ginzburg and the Editors of the Mishpachah Magazine,

I don’t want to knock your magazine, but this past week, I found myself reading the anti-bloggers editorial with a sad expression. I firmly agree with Rabbi Ginzberg, that there are some blogs written by so-called frum yidden who disgrace the Torah and everything we stand for. And, I will not disagree that there are likely thousands of posts on the big bad internet that could turn a confused yid away from the Torah, and even drill insatiable questions into the minds of previously non-confused yidden. My problem, Rabbi Ginzberg, is that you generalize.

Not all blogs are weapons of mass misinformation. Not all blogs serve the sole purpose of bashing the values of Torah true Jews. There are some blogs that have the opposite effect. How do I know?

I own one of those blogs. My blog is not one where people read lashon harah about the day’s leaders; it is not a place where people go to see the darker side of the world today. It is a cheerful upbeat blog, a blog where people come to learn and laugh. And while avid readers of mine may know about the positive feedback by way of comments, they don’t know about the constant emails I receive. These emails are the fuel that keeps me up writing into the wee hours of the night. It’s the motivation that runs through my head when I finally turn my computer on to type up a post at the end of a 18 hour day.

It’s hard to describe the feeling of exhilaration I feel when I receive an email from a reader saying “your most recent post inspired me so much, and I never get inspired these days.” And while other blogs may spread darkness and distrust, emails saying “your blog gives me something to look forward to each day” indicate that not all blogs are like that. And some blogs may paint yiddishkeit in a negative light, but I don’t think you will find that on my blog; “Your post gave me a whole new way of looking at the upcoming yom tov.” Some blogs might be depressing, but emails I’ve received seem to indicate that others aren’t. “The way you write about shidduchim is so real, honest and funny, it reminds me that I am not alone.”

My point here is not to toot my own horn; I don’t mean to contradict Rabbi Ginzberg. I merely wish to point out the dangers of generalization. I know I do good with my blog. I know that I censor everything I write; I bear in mind the wide range of readers and the extraordinary weight my words carry. Some blogs are bad, some are good. It’s a shame to lose out on the good though.


SD (A blogger and yarei shamayim)