Thursday, December 31, 2009

Congress Votes to Outsource Presidency

This one comes via Jron & Co. ...
Thanks for the laugh. Finally an outsourcing position I can get behind!
See my personal outsourcing experiences from this time last year.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hello, Who Is This Please?

Here's a parenting gripe for a change of pace.

I'm totally torn between "It takes a village to raise a child" and "You can't raise your neighbor's children".

When did it become out of fashion to introduce yourself when calling somebody on the phone? In the days before Caller ID, it was truly confusing. Now it is merely RUDE.

As my dear daughter barrels towards her teen years - (you remember: the ones where you chatter incessantly to your friends all day long in school, run home, and immediately dash to the phone to call them up again) - our phone has been getting quite a workout.
Unfortunately, telephone manners are somewhat lacking.

Me: "Hello"
Caller: " 'z Jennifer there?"

Now, here's where my dilemma begins. "Who's calling please?" seems a bit trite, because I have Caller ID and often know exactly which young friend has not learned the appropriate, "Hello, this is ____, may I please speak with Jennifer?".

Upon closer examination, I realized that the problem is twofold. This, once standard pleasantry served the dual purpose of not only identifying the caller, but also as a greeting to the person who answered the phone. After all, if a young girl came to the door and I answered it, would she merely barrel past me without a "Hello"? I doubt that.

Any suggestions from the peanut gallery?

(Oh and remember.... it can't involve anything that might embarrass my sensitive pre-teen daughter.... like breathing.....)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Oh! Nuts - Oh, Wow!

Gifts, candy & chocolate from Oh! Nuts

Oh! Nuts, my favorite candy store, participated in Free Shipping Day last Thursday, and if you know me, you know that I love a good bargain! So I set out to order some of their yummy confections for "Shabbos treats". Now, of course when you get 'something for nothing', you usually expect the quality or standard to go down a bit. Not so this time. A mere 12 hours after placing the order, I received an email from Oh! Nuts, advising me that my order had shipped! Believe it or not, my order arrived the next afternoon! If that's Oh! Nuts' free shipping, I can only imagine how fast the stuff arrives when you pay for it.

The packaging was quite nice too. Everything came in its own thick, resealable bag, with all the nutrition info on the back (but we all know that calories on Shabbos don't count anyway, right...?)
As you can see I ordered, among other things, cherry sours and raspberry & blackberry jellies (I know what gets my son in law to come visit ;) ). My all time favorite, the coconut stars, are not pictured, because if my children find them, I'm going to have to share.......

(Full disclosure: Oh! Nuts offers a small discount to bloggers who blog about their experience, but if you know anything about me you know that "I calls it likes I sees it")

Sunday, December 27, 2009

I'm Just Sayin'.......

If all this liberal, politically correct, non-racial-profiling garbage keeps up, they may very well get us all to stop flying.......

You know how after Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, attempted to blow up a plane, security regulations were revised and now everybody has to remove their shoes at airport security checkpoints worldwide?

Well, as you probably know there was a new terror attempt aboard an airplane this weekend. The terrorist smuggled the explosives on board by having them sewn into is underwear. I'm not sure what this means for the future of airline screening procedures...... I'm not sure I want to know.......

Thursday, December 24, 2009


The new edition of JPIX, the blog carnival of Jewish photo bloggers is now up at Leora's site.
She did a wonderful job of highlighting photos from blogs around the world.
She kindly included three of my own, along with some very lovely works of other Jewish bloggers.
Check it out if you have a chance.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Apparently Dibuks Don't "Hold" By The Internet Either...

As reported in this article over at The Yeshiva World (so you know that the facts are reliable) there is a "REAL" Dibuk in the Brazilian community.
The article is lengthy and goes in to much detail, but the one standout fact that I found most enlightening was this:

"...HaRav Dovid Batzri, a known Mekubal, tried to remove the dibuk via Skype, without success..."

So what can we learn from this?

Well... obviously that the Mekubal holds by the internet but the Dibuk doesn't........

Ruby Tuesday - Snow Day Edition

The first snowfall of the season is universally exciting, whether you are a cross-country skier or a little boy proudly building his first snowman......

(Photo taken in Ft. Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan)

See more Ruby Tuesday photos with a little or a lot of red in them here.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Scene Around Town - Snowstorm Edition

There's nothing like the "calm after the storm". Whereas last night, we were stranded in a snowbank mere blocks from the warmth and comfort of our house on the way home from a family simcha, today dawned clear and bright, with a fresh blanket of snow for children and adults alike to enjoy. The flakes kindly waited until Shabbos was almost over to make their debut, and since today was not a "work" day for most, it was the perfect time for a neighborhood excursion. Here are some photos that I snapped on our outing:

And my personal favorite..... our esteemed Rav enjoying the "good air" and watching the children on their sleds.....

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Putting The Season's Bounty To Good Use

(Cross-Posted on Kosher Cuisine)

At least insomnia is good for something.

I was unable to sleep last night so I began trolling the internet at 3 a.m. (the internet never sleeps...) for something new and different to make for the shalom zachor of a very good friend who just had her FIFTH (!!!) boy. I chanced upon this post over at Life In the Carpool Lane: CHOCOLATE DIPPED CLEMENTINES. What a deceptively simple, yet elegant idea! And to make matters even better, clementines which are abundant right now, also happen to be on sale this week for $4.99 a box.

Here is my adaptation of her recipe:

semi-sweet chocolate chips
sweetened shredded coconut
  • Peel and section the clementines
  • Melt good quality chocolate over a double boiler and stir
  • Dip each clementine section halfway into the melted chocolate and then in a bowl of shredded coconut
  • Put the pieces on wax paper in the fridge to set
These taste as good as they look, and they look like something you might find in a gourmet shop.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sixth Night - Sixth Light: Chanukah at KAJ Breuer's

Chazzon Ezra Lasdun lights the menorah at K'hal Adath Jeshurun with dignity and distinction.

Why Facebook Should Be Banned....

Little Shprintzie thinks she's safe from the evils of the internet.
She's not on Facebook, or any other social networking site so her privacy and tznius are safe, right? WRONG!!!
Here is an actual exchange I saw today on Facebook. The names have been changed, but the quotes are verbatim.

Adina: it's a girl!!!!

Bleemie: who?

Adina: Shprintzie!

G6: Shprintzie's a girl? OMG! I'm so glad you figured that out!

UberYenti: Shprinzie who?

Adina: Shprintzie Dintsy

Uber Yenti: OMG!!!!!!!!!!!! She wasn't due till next month!!

Uber Yenti: Now this is why I love Facebook!

ummmm...... why exactly??? ... so that everyone can openly discuss the most private and intimate details of their friend's obstetrical history???

When I posed this question to Uber Yenti, her answer was "You got it!!"

Poor Shprintzie......

Oh, and it gets worse... a few minutes later comes this gem...

Shayne Yenti: Mazal tov!! We were just discussing that over Shabbos- how she was due next month but one of the neighbors thought she was due in like, March...

(sigh....) You can't make this stuff up folks!!!

Wednesday's Wacky Signs - Chanukah Edition

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gee Your Hair Smells.......

If you were born around my time or a bit earlier, you may remember this product. "Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific" was a very popular, albeit wordy, shampoo in its day.

I've been thinking of marketing a new hair wash especially for Chanukah. I think I'm going to call it "Gee Your Hair Smells Like Latkes". I may market it it with a bonus "latke scented" sweater thown in for the first 8 customers.

Yes folks, the scents of the holiday linger on and on and on and................

Ruby Tuesday - Happy Chanukah

Who's up for a nice game of Dreidel?

See more Ruby Tuesday photos with a little or a lot of red in them here.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Blogger Pyramid - Chanukah Edition

OK folks -

Since the first installment of Blogger Pyramid was such a success, I thought I'd give you another category (again, don't mention the category in your comments or the game is over...).
Today's category is:

Let's see how many comments Avram needs in order to guess what we're talking about.

Happy Chanukah and may all your spins be Gimmels :D

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Welcome To Our Chanukah Home

(Notice how my "adorable fry pan" was put to good use....!)

We had a very lovely weekend, filled with bloggers & babies - latkes and lights - dreidels and doughnuts.

Ilana, who ate with us Friday night with her friend Ellen, confirmed with us that every child's antic that her sister Shosh blogs about, is in fact 100% true and not in the slightest bit exaggerated. (Sorry Shosh, but I just had to ask....)

Stay tuned all week for more Chanukah updates, a Chanukah edition of Blogger Pyramid and a Chanukah edition of Wednesday's Wacky Signs.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Wishing Everybody A Glorious Shabbos Chanukah

I know I'm sure getting what I want this year....
Actually TWO things.
1) Erica, Moshe and Kayla came in yesterday already to spend Shabbos with us and we will be joined Motzoei Shabbos by Michael, Chana and Eliezer. Ahhhh, everyone gathered around hearth and home.....
2) In my continuing quest for more and more bloggers at my Shabbos table, we will be joined by Ilana, whose blog positively cracks me up!!! I can't wait to meet her in person.

Now, in an effort to "give back", I'm going to offer you all a pre-Chanukah treat. This is one of my favorite Chanukah parodies, performed by Cantor Eric S. Freeman, who took the time out of his busy schedule to record it for me because I couldn't find it anywhere on the web. (I also suspect he had a little help from the talented and kind folks over at Granger Musikwerks, so thanks guys!)

Each Hanukah We Glorify

Words: Ben Aronin

Music: Folk melody “Oh Chanukah, Oh Chanukah”

1.Each Chanukah we glorify Brave Judah Maccabeus

Who had the courage to defy Antiochus, and free us.

Yet it is not fair that we should forget

Mrs. Maccabeus, to whom we owe a debt.

She mixed it

She fixed it

She poured it into a bowl

(You many NOT guess

But it was the LATkes

That gave brave Judah a soul)

Repeat last three lines

2.The Syrians said: “It cannot be that old Mattthias

Whose years are more than 83 will dare to defy us.!”

But they didn’t know his secret you see

Mattathias dined on latkes and tea.

One latke

Two latkes

And so on into the night

( You may NOT guess

But it was the Latkes

That gave him courage to fight)

Repeat last three lines

3.Now this is how it came about—this gastronomic wonder

That broke the ranks of Syria like flaming bolts of thunder

Mrs. Maccabeus wrote in the dough

Portions of the Torah and fried them just so.

They shimmered

They glimmered

Absorbing the olive oil

( You may NOT guess

But it was the Latkes

That made the Syrians recoil.)

Repeat the last three lines

4. Now these little latkes brown and delicious

Must have hit the spot ‘cause with appetites vicious

All the heroes downed them after their toil

Causing in our temple a shortage of oil.

One latke

Two latkes

And so on into the night

( You may NOT guess

But it was the Latkes

That gave us the Chanukah light)

Repeat the last three lines

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Blogger "Pyramid"

In my recent post entitled "Blogger Jeopardy", commenter Staying Afloat suggested that I begin a new game for the enjoyment of my husband, who doesn't read my blog posts - only the comments.
The way "$25,000 Pyramid" works is that you get a category and your partner (my husband) has to guess the category based on the answers offered that fit the category.
So, we'll start off easy and if this works out, I might make it a regular feature.
Today's category:

Go forth and comment!

(P.S. Make sure not to mention the category in your responses or it will ruin the game...)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Blogger Jeopardy!

If anyone has any experience with the television game show Jeopardy!, they know that the questions are posted in "answer" form and the contestant has to figure out the correct "question" that would elicit the posted "answer".
For example - the question might be: "The Father of our Country, who didn't really chop down a cherry tree".
From this, the contestant must deduce that the answer (in the form of a question) is: "Who is George Washington?".

Avram has been playing what I've come to refer to as Bloggger Jeopardy for some time now. You see, he doesn't actually check my blog. Instead, he has the comments automatically forwarded to his email. From those comments, he attempts to figure out the nature of the post. If you've read my commenter's offerings lately, you'd agree that they can make this very challenging!
(What does the Hebrew version of My Fair Lady have to do with an appealing work environment anyway....?)

I love my commenters, both on blog and off (though I wish you "off bloggers" would get "on" already ;) ). You guys make blogging so much more fun! Wishing you all an early Happy Chanukah.

What do I want for Chanukah? More of you at my table!

Monday, December 7, 2009

On Post-Its & Paper Clips...

I've always said that it's the "little things" that make me happy. I also feel very strongly that "presentation does matter". I think that people respond to their environment and pretty, happy, fun environments improve one's spirit and by extension one's work. It makes perfect sense. If you like your surroundings, you are more likely to want to stay there and produce.
I share my office with up to three other people, depending on the day. I've been inside homes with closets that are larger than the entire space I share. Needless to say, the ambience of my immediate workspace needs to compensate for the claustrophobic backdrop. Hence my affinity for colorful Post-It notes and paper clips. When I have enjoyable things to work with, my work is infused with positive energy.
We can all translate this over to other aspects of our lives. When tasks become difficult or unpleasant, we need to find ways to inject some joy back into them. Find a way to make the job "fun" (I can hear efrex reciting from "Mary Poppins" already...) and you'll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

Now don't get me started on the little "toys" on my desk... like my wind up happy smiley face.... who can be grumpy with him around?

Happy Monday everyone!!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009


(Cross posted on Kosher Cuisine)

I've had readers ask for more recipes.
I've had other readers ask for more posts with German Jewish themes.
I've had different readers ask for more controversial posts (OK, you guys are out of luck this time...).
I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone with this recipe for lebkuchen, a traditional German spice cake with the consistency of a brownie.
Enjoy it this Chanukah courtesy of yours truly:


1 stick margarine
4 eggs
1 pound brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1 package vanilla sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 package ground walnuts -- (7 ounces)

1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice
hot water -- if needed

Mix together all ingredients. Pour into greased 9" x 13" pan.

Bake at 325° for 30 minutes or more until it looks like brownies.

Mix glaze ingredients and ice while hot! Sprinkle with nonpareils.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Feed The Beast?

The internet abounds with informative and educational articles on how to keep your blog fresh and growing.
"Create a blog on a topic about which you have a passion or interest". I can get on board with that. It runs along the same lines as the axiom "Write what you know".

"Set aside time each day to write your posts".
"Take your blog seriously".
"Provide helpful information".
"Take pride in your work".
All good suggestions.

"Controversy sells". Whether I like this one or not, it's a fact. People like to have their opinions heard and when debate is encouraged on a blog, commenters will flock to have an opportunity to express themselves. (You guys are my favorites, you know...)

But what happens when you start writing to your audience? As a blog cultivates an audience, the blogger is often faced with the challenge of staying true to themselves or writing to please their "following". Is "the customer always right" in this case? Should bloggers tailor their writing to the tastes of the readership or risk falling into obscurity by writing for themselves alone?
It's all a matter of degree of course, but I'm interested in your opinions, both from my fellow bloggers as well as my loyal readers.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's Time We Solved This Once And For All

Survey Results -

The widget seems to be acting buggy, so feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section if it doesn't work for you....

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

"Tradition, Tradition!"

I'm a sucker for traditions - those that span the generations and those that are new but quickly become ingrained for future generations.

With Chanukah fast approaching, my thoughts turn once again towards ways to enhance the beauty of the days and to create lasting, warm memories.

I once read somewhere about a family who got together each year and the table was initially set the first year with a simple plain white cloth. Each guest, young and old, was invited to autograph the cloth at their seat. The hostess then embroidered over the signatures using a single color thread and then embroidered the year on one corner of the cloth in the same color thread. This practice was repeated annually, only a different thread color was used every time.
Over time, signatures changed (and matured). The seating arrangements shifted, and a priceless family heirloom was created in the process.
I've always imagined doing this with my own family, but since I appear to be handicapped when it comes to needlework of any kind, it never came to pass... (of course I'll always have my treasured linen closet door...)

I'm curious as to your family traditions, specifically those relating to Chanukah.
I'd love to try some of them out and incorporate them into my own family.