Tuesday, June 28, 2011

MY official start to summer begins...... NOW!

Ah, the "lazy hazy days" are upon us.

Summer is very much a sensory season.
First you feel the chill leave the air and the humidity rise.
Then you start to hear the gentle tinkling of the ice cream truck hawking its delights to young and old......
OK, OK - so I fib a little. Nobody likes the creeping humidity OR the sound of that infernal truck.... but allow me a brief interlude to wax nostalgic.
I think we can all agree that the smell of the barbeque grills firing up and the soft scent of sunscreen puts a smile on our faces and fills us with anticipation for the impending season.
But for me -
the OFFICIAL START to summer begins with the scent of....... jet fuel!
Jen flew off to camp today in the midst of high pitched squeals, giggles and quite a bit of haggling with the nice folks at United Airlines to seat the two chatterboxes next to each other, so as not to "disturb the other passengers".

Let me backtrack so that you get the picture. Jennifer's camp mate is her diametric opposite. Whereas last year, as camp was entering it's final week of fiestas and farewells, Jen was completely packed for the journey home 7 days early, her camp mate, on the other hand, was cheerfully and nonchalantly picking items off the clotheslines that she identified as her own, even as they were heading towards the bus to the airport. "Oh, look! That's mine" {stuffs in her bag} "Oh! That too :)" {tighter squeeze}
These two girls are perfectly suited for one another. One gives stability. The other gives lightness of being. Each can use a bit of the other.

True to form, as we were headed off - already a bit behind schedule - to the airport early this morning, camp mate arrived with her ever present smile, lugging a carry-on in one hand and a large stack of towels in the other..... and an additional girl in tow. I chuckled. I politely informed "extra girl" that I doubted she'd fit in Jennifer's carry-on - especially since Jen was by then busily stuffing her friend's TOWELS inside.

Apparently, they had not yet had their "official" good bye, which included the requisite group hug.

Teary-eyed teen goodbyes on the street gave way to joyful reunions with summer friends at the airport terminal. I fast became superfluous at best, an embarrassment at worst.

So I went home to begin MY summer. It's so quiet. The house phone won't ring for days on end. Wouldn't it be nice if I were able to carve out a little "me" time during my hectic work weeks? I have been heard to respond to those who ask, "How was your summer", with "Just like my winter, only hotter". I'd like to change that this year, but even if I don't manage it -

I've got a whole four weeks without THIS:

Monday, June 27, 2011

Encore! Encore!

I've received a number of requests to see the remainder of the KAJ Choir's most recent performance, so I've compiled a YouTube playlist here, which contains the pieces in order, as they were sung, including the three pieces previously posted on this blog.
Enjoy the show.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Choir Of KAJ Celebrates the 100th Birthday of Mr. Salomon Koenigsberger

Mr. Salomon Koenigsberger, the oldest male member of K'hal Adath Jeshurun is about to celebrate his 100th birthday.

What birthday gift can one get for a 100 year old man? A personal visit and private performance from his beloved choir, whom he is unable to hear on a regular basis since he is currently residing in a senior citizen residence outside of Washington Heights.

Not only did Mr. Koenigsberger enjoy the music - he jumped right in and sang along.

At 100 years old, it is perfectly acceptable to upstage the announcer with greetings of your own!

Look how beautifully Mr. Koenigsberger joins in and sings his favorite Tzaddik Katomor!

We wish Mr. Koenigsberger many more years of good health and many more opportunities to sing along with the choir.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

How Graduation Ties Into Fathers' Day

Today is Fathers' Day and I've spoken previously about why I feel it important to commemorate such days, even for frum people.

Hakaras Hatov is a lesson that cannot be taught too frequently.

This leads me right in to the second part of today's post.

Today is Jennifer's Middle School Graduation.
A milestone to be sure {though some members of the family can't resist a well placed guffaw at this juncture} in the life of a teenage girl.
What should she take away from this day?

Yitzchak Alderstein has a wonderful post on Cross-Currents on this topic and he includes remarks made by Dean Victor Gold at Loyola Law School's commencement exercises this year.
I am including his words here, for they contain quintessential truths about Hakaras Hatov.
"I do not remember who spoke at my law school graduation and I do not recall what was said. I remember only one thing, the serious expression on my parents’ faces after the ceremony.

As I stood there in my cap and gown, I thought that I looked like a clown so I did a little dance as a joke. My mom shot me a dirty look that told me, this is no joke. This is important to us. So I stopped dancing.

Neither my mother nor father ever had the chance to go to college, much less law school. Mom was an immigrant. Dad had to quit high school to go to work. They married during the Depression and had my sister and brother by the time Dad was drafted and went off to war. Their lives were hard. So my graduation from law school was no joke to them. I could see written in their faces the years of sacrifice that made my graduation possible and the pride they took in that accomplishment.

This is all I remember about my law school graduation but it taught me everything I needed to learn that day. It was simply this – be grateful. Be grateful for those people who helped you get here. For most of you, they are your parents, a spouse or significant other, maybe a friend or a teacher. Maybe it was a law professor or even a dean. Thurgood Marshall said, “None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here only because somebody bent down and helped pick us up.”

If the people who helped you are with you today, here is the first thing you have to do after all these speeches are over. Run to them. Find them. Give them a hug and say thank you. Then here is the next thing I want you to do. Take some photos with them. When you start to feel sorry for yourself in a few weeks as you are studying for the bar, take those photos out and look at them. Be grateful all over again. It will get you through the tough times that lie ahead.

After you become a successful lawyer, whenever you start feeling full of yourself, when you think you are G-d’s gift to the law, take out those photos again. Be grateful again. If those people are still around, call them and say thank you all over again. It will make you a better lawyer.

And finally, I want you to do one more thing. During the rest of your life, every time you look at the photos you take today, ask yourself this question: Does someone have a photo of you that reminds them of what they have to be grateful for? If the answer is no, then look around for someone who needs your help. Bend down and help lift them up. If the answer is yes, someone can be grateful for the help you have given to them, that is when you can stand up and do a little dance."
So Mazel Tov, my dear Jennifer.
May you reach great heights in your life and always be mindful of those who contributed to your successes.
And Happy Fathers' Day, dear Avram. So far - a job well done! Do a little dance.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Texting Codes Change As You Age

With the advent of social media and the rapid pace of the cyberworld in general, we've all had to learn "texting codes" - abbreviations to make online communications easier and/or to convey emotion that might otherwise be lost on screen.
LOL, BTW... all part of our new lexicon.

But did you know that as you age, the same texting codes mean different things?
My day job is as the Director of a Senior Center and one of my members was kind enough to clue me in to the meaning of those same little letters for the 60+ set. I thought you might enjoy them as well.

Middle Age Texting Codes:

ATD: At The Doctor's

BFF: Best Friend Fell

BTW: Bring The Wheelchair

BYOT: Bring Your Own Teeth

CBM: Covered By Medicare

CUATSC: See You At The Senior Center

DWI: Driving While Incontinent

FWB: Friend With Beta Blockers

FWIW: Forgot Where I Was

FYI: Found Your Insulin

GGPBL: Gotta Go, Pacemaker Battery Low!

GHA: Got Heartburn Again

HGBM: Had Good Bowel Movement

IMHO: Is My Hearing-Aid On?

LMDO: Laughing My Dentures Out

LOL: Living On Lipitor

OMMR: On My Massage Recliner

OMSG: Oh My! Sorry, Gas.

ROFL... CGU: Rolling On The Floor Laughing... And Can't Get Up

SGGP: Sorry, Gotta Go Poop

TTYL: Talk To You Louder--

WAITT: Who Am I Talking To?

WTP: Where's The Prunes?

WWNO: Walker Wheels Need Oil

GGLKI (Gotta Go, Laxative Kicking In)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Erev Shavuos - The Table Is Set

The table has been set. The greenery has been hung.

All that is left to be done is to cook the salmon and the eggplant parmesan.
The mushroom onion quiches, sweet dairy noodle kugels, cream of asparagus soup, cream of mushroom barley soup, classic cheesecake and cranberry cheesecake are all ready to go. I sure do hope that none of our guests are "lactarded" {awesome phrase coined by my dear friend Hadassah}

The hand painted dishes and monogrammed table linens, were a favorite of my dear mother in law and were lovingly cared for by my husband in his youth. They hold many special memories and add immeasurably to our simchas Yom Tov. The floral napkin rings are our own addition to this lovely tableau and have long ago become a tradition in our house as well.

Erev Shavuos at K'hal Adath Jeshurun (Breuer's)

The flowers are up in shul.
Now it's time to start decorating the house.
Have a wonderful Yom Tov!

(P.S. Even if they won't credit us, our video got top billing over at The Yeshiva World again this morning. Matzav used our photos and 'forgot' to credit us as well...)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Food Photo Friday - Minis

I'm a sucker for "minis".
Baby corn.
Baby patty pan squash.
Baby peppers.
You get the idea....

Tell me this isn't the cutest little watermelon you've ever seen!
Just carrying it to the cash register made me smile......

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Shavuos At KAJ - Repost (Photos and Video)

I took this video two years ago, over a period of two days, to illustrate exactly what goes into making Breuer's look the way it does over Shavuos. A year later it was picked up by The Yeshiva World (without crediting the blog, I might add....)
It is as relevant today as it was then.

For those with thejnet, the KosherTube link is here.

Anyone wishing to make a tax deductible donation to Khal Adath Jeshurun (KAJ/Breuer's), to help defray the considerable cost of this endeavor, is urged to do so via this link. Make sure to tell them G6 sent you ;)

Here are some photos that I took in 2010:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wednesday's Wacky Signs - In My Own Backyard

A well placed reminder to people to appreciate services afforded to them by their local organizations and contribute to the pushke is always a good idea.
Actually having a pushke available would be an even better idea.......

On a related but tangential note, Moshe raises an interesting question in this post (mild profanity alert - which this blogger does not condone) as to whether or not home goods stores with mikvo'os on the premises should accommodate non-customers, and though I think two and three times before commenting in disagreement on somebody else's blog, this one struck a chord with me. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts as well in the comments section of THIS post......