Monday, September 29, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sometimes the Unfinished Shows More Than the Finished...

My husband didn't want me taking this picture. He said the Yom Tov table was not "finished". He was right. The challah board is not yet on the table. There will be more lovely flowers coming. But I took this photo, because it shows something about my husband's yom tov prep that not many people know.

My husband is very involved in his beloved shul. He does some things very quietly and without fanfare, and one of the things that he does is take home the silver from the shul from time to time and painstakingly polish it so that it sparkles and shines. The crowns visible in the background are but a FRACTION of the silver that my dearest lovingly shined to enhance the services in our beis hakneses this yom tov.

I am proud of him and I just wanted to share. (I didn't think a photo of the pile of hand towels for the Kohanim waiting to be ironed in the other room looked quite as good, but he does that too.... crumpled towels just won't suffice in his opinion....)

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Power of Scents

Joey brought up the interesting topic last night of favorite scents - quite subjective obviously. His number 1 scent (don't ask me, I just birthed him....) is dryer sheets (go figure....). His number 2 scent is hamburgers (typical, lol....).
He asked me for my favorites.
How do I choose? It's not a matter of favorite or not favorite... for me it's more a matter of the memory. There are smells that I don't care for at all but that trigger wonderful memories.... Case in point: cigar smoke reminds me of my father.
The human sense of smell is extremely powerful. Some of the most intense memories can be triggered by a mere whiff. (Don't ask about the time Avram sidled up to some lady in an elevator with a big grin on his face and said to her, "Pardon me, but you smell like my dead Aunt"). Sometimes a smell can induce a feeling that we cannot explain, but that must be linked to some long forgotten happening.

I love the smell of freesias. Roses are a pretty close second, but I don't care for lilies, though lilies, along with the smell of baby powder, remind me of my father in law.

I have a bit of a thing for some mens' colognes (good job guys in research and development!)

The smell after a rainstorm reminds me of summers in my childhood when I'd go out hunting earthworms.

Now why we need the smell of Ginko berries is beyond me.....

I'd be interested in hearing other people's scent triggers and perhaps sharing a forgotten memory ;)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Support Strong Jewish Women Everywhere

I don't know Leah Larson personally. I have no financial stake in her endeavors. The only thing I know about Leah is that she is a strong young Jewish girl woman.

At the age of 13, Leah decided to begin a magazine for Jewish girls, by Jewish girls and the end result - Yaldah Magazine, is nothing short of amazing. My daughter is absolutely enthralled and the only negative thing I have to say about this magazine is that it doesn't come out often enough.

Now Leah is a finalist in Wells Fargo's $100,000 "Someday Stories" contest. She has already received $10,000, and is now ONE OF FIVE finalists (chosen from over 10,000 entries!!) for the $100,000 for Yaldah magazine.

Won't you please take a moment and vote for Evelyn from MA (Leah's mother - Leah wasn't old enough to enter on her own) to win the Wells Fargo Someday Stories contest, and make a vote for strong Jewish women everywhere? You'll also help Leah achieve her dream of taking Yaldah Magazine to the next level. What started out as a "lemonade stand" idea has turned into a real thriving publication!

Go Leah!!

Hat tip: Juggling Frogs

Monday, September 22, 2008

I Hate Boro Park....

Have I mentioned that I hate Boro Park? I know some of you are throwing tomatoes at me right now but I don't care. And perhaps I am being a bit harsh (not really). Maybe I don't like Boro Park because every time I go there it is for a marathon shopping trip which leaves me with aching toes, an empty wallet and all the life sucked out of me.
I went today to buy tablecloths, paper & plastic goods, candy and assorted junk food for the Kehilla's Simchas Torah party (think 250 people sitting around and listening to speeches - if you don't feed them they realize it's not a party and mutiny is imminent). I also started looking for candy to give the little kids who go around collecting. Erica has been raving lately about apple chips but Jen tells me that only grownups like apple chips... ("They're healthy, Mommy!!!! {insert eye roll here}"). So much for that. I've been told Twerpz are a hot item. I tried them - who wants to eat sweetened plastic?!!?!? The Klik "In" bars with nougat looked good so I got a whole mess of those. I had to go to not one but TWO Oh Nuts stores just to find the raspberry and blackberry jellies and struck out on chocolate covered raisins in BOTH locations. This little foray took NINE hours door to door.
Now all that's left is ordering the cookies and dissecting 30-40 melons (anybody free on Hoshana Rabba? Come on over to the G6 melon balling party... I hear it's the place to be!)

OK, so I saw my first live dead lamb's head (eyes, tongue, teeth and all) in the butcher shop which was kinda cool......... (I hear the cheek is the best part).

Pre Rosh Hashana Cooking Bonanza

Yesterday was a productive day.
I made about 40 stuffed cabbage rolls, my second 5 lb. batch of challah (this time sans the raisins...), a honey orange spice cake and two chocolate cake layers that may or may not be used for a certain someone's birthday ;) The freezer door now gets closed like we used to sit on those hard sided suitcases in the old days before going on an extended vacation.
I missed the beautiful weather. Why is it that the best weather days - when summer turns to autumn and when winter turns to spring - always seem to be on pre yom tov Sundays when I am home cooking and cleaning - before Rosh Hashana and before Pesach? A bit of a pity I say.....

Saturday, September 20, 2008

G-d Loves the Internet (or High Tech Hashgacha Pratis)

So I'm at work this week and my internet's been buggy all morning when finally my modem has a nervous breakdown. Now, if you know me, you know I'm not far behind.
I spent an hour and a half on the phone with Road Runner only to find out that it'll be SIX DAYS before they can come out and fix my hookup. SIX DAYS?!?!? What am I gonna do for six whole days at work without internet? Work????

Somebody suggested I call YSB, the best tech guy ever. Not so simple, I replied.

  1. He costs money that our office cannot afford.
  2. He is doing me a favor currently at my house and I don't want to blow that.

So I guess we'll just have to muddle through for the next six days, right? Wrong. Ten minutes later, who do you suppose walks through my office door? YSB! I haven't seen him in my office in at least 10 months!!! What is he doing here? Oh, the landlord of our premises who he is currently doing a job for wants to "borrow" our internet hookup for a live video broadcast on Sunday night? You're joking! My modem just blew! What? You can take it yourself to Time Warner and swap it out and install the new one? That would be lovely, thank you. And of course they can borrow our hookup!

I guess Hashem doesn't look so harshly on my internet addiction after all :)

Joey's Kiddush Hashem

Joey's in a bit of a funk. I'm actually a little bit jealous of him, because he got to do something this week that few of us ever get a chance to do, and I'm sure Hashem will reward him mightily.
Those of you who know Joey, know that one of his lifelong dreams is to be on Jeopardy or Millionaire (and of course to win big). Now, this is no pipe dream. Joey is serious about this stuff and he's GOOD.
Well, Friday afternoon Joey got the long awaited call. Millionaire wanted him!!! Unfortunately, they want him for Succos :( They have no other days available at the moment. Joey was able to tell them that he is terribly sorry but he is an Orthodox Jew and no matter how badly he wants to do this, he is unable to attend the taping.
So if you see Joey this week, give him a high five and be nice to him. He just lost (according to his calculation) at least $50,000 and a chance to live his dream. I'm sure the Heavenly Court is hugging him tight right now.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I'm over the hill and I left my joie de vivre in the valley below

This past Motzoei Shabbos we finally unwrapped Eric's Yahtzee had a sort of informal "game night". As we were sitting down to play/relearn our new Yahtzee game, Joey was walking by the table and exclaimed, "Ooooh Yahtzee! Can I play?" Now mind you, Joey is not known for being the biggest "joiner", so naturally I asked him why he was so excited. He told me that he's always wanted to roll a Yahtzee and scream "Yyyyyaaaaaahtzee!!!" {with the proper emphasis of course}, like the kids on the TV commercial used to.
When did I get so old, that the thought of shouting with gusto for a good roll of the dice filled me with embarrassment and dread rather than joy? Do we lose that joie de vivre as we age? How do we get it back? Seriously, I used to be that kid once upon a time. Where did she go? It was such a joy for me to watch Joey be rewarded with two Yahtzees in one game so that he could gleefully give the exclamations his "all" and make us all smile along with him. Could I let loose and do the same? Thankfully, the One Above was good to me.... I never rolled a Yahtzee so I never had to find out :)

A boy doesn't have to go to war to be a hero; he can say he doesn't like pie when he sees there isn't enough to go around

We all need heroes in our lives.
I'm not talking Superman or Batman. I'm talking regular everyday heroes. People in our lives who will stand up for us and with us.
We also need to endeavor to be somebody else's hero.
I have several heroes in my life who humble me and save me whenever I start to falter. I hope I repay the favor.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

My 9-11 Blog Selection

As the sun sets on what has become the anniversary one of the most infamous days in recent history, I have read many the blog postings regarding the day - some reverent, some tragic, some frightened. The most meaningful post for me by far was one written by Conversations in Klal. She puts forth that 9/11 showed us the fragility of life and that we should all attempt to make it into a day that celebrates the living. She asks us all to take today and invite somebody who may need a meal to share our Yom Tov table with us. This is an issue very dear to my heart and I'd like to take it one step further. My fellow blogger extols the virtue of this wonderful mitzvah of Hachnosas Orchim and how much it means to these singles/widows/people away from their own families to be invited to a meal and to be made to feel welcome. I'd like to posit that though you may think you are doing this wonderful thing for somebody else, in actuality, I will tell you from personal experience that when you make Hachnosas Orchim not only part of your life but a way of life, you will be AMAZED at what you get out of it. These guests add so much to a Yom Tov table and if you let them, to the very fabric of your family life.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Global Blogging Community

I started this blog essentially for myself - to keep track of all the people who came in and out of our lives by gracing our Shabbos table. It quickly evolved though into something more than I ever imagined. Part recordkeeping, part venting, part emotional cleansing....
It also connected me to many new faces in the blogging community, and for this I am very grateful.
There has been a bit of criticism lately of this new "digital intimacy" but I strongly disagree. I love the new "global community" and I do feel concern for, celebrate with, mourn for and generally support my fellow bloggers. Sometimes I have/make the time to post a comment of sympathy, support and concern and sometimes I just feel it in my heart. Perhaps I should make more of an effort to do so in writing and to thank you all for contributing more than you know to my life. THIS STORY really hit me hard.
So I'm going to respond by mentioning feloow bloggers in my posts once in a while.
I don't know if you've noticed this or not, but my blog does not really have a true "blogroll". This is intentional, because I feel a bit of implied responsibility for what other people say if I list them on my site.
I would like however to mention frumcollegegirl in this post because I find her witty, entertaining, clever and she seems to behave {grin}. I have never met her but she has a beautiful writing style and I'd like to have her for Friday night dinner sometime {wink}. Now please bear in mind that a precedent has been set for guests at my table to end up marrying one of my children, but rest assured that my next son is too young to date at at the moment, lol.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

First Day of School

Today was Jen's first day of middle school - MIDDLE SCHOOL!! can you believe it??!?!
I remember as if it were yesterday, when I took my current job that one of the perks would be the fact that Jen would *one day* (she was an infant at the time) be eating her school lunch on the same premises that my office is located. Well, this year, she is TOO OLD to eat lunch at this location.... how time flies.... We can't wait for our children to go on to the next new, great thing, but before we turn around we wonder where the time went.
Well, since during the last two weeks of the summer I had the stress privilege of having Jen join me in the office all day long, I came in today and sat down to a celebratory first day cup of herbal tea and toasted everyone's new beginnings everywhere.
So wherever you are, and whatever you are beginning or attempting to, HERE'S TO YOU. I believe in you! Good luck!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Strenghtening Ourselves Through Teshuva

With Elul upon us, I have begun reading "Lights Along the Way", Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski's commentary on Mesillas Yesharim and it is doing me (hopefully) a world of good.
I just get so angry and frustrated at myself for getting into these messes over and over again. On the one hand I am proud of myself for making the concerted effort to do Teshuva for my constant and repeated failings but I am so disappointed that I keep repeating the same mistakes and I can't help but wonder if this time my teshuva will really "stick". Why can't I be the kind of person with enough Yiras Shomayim not to get myself into these predicaments in the first place????