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.