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.