Thursday, April 30, 2009

Why Do We Let People With No Sense Spend Our Money?

Seriously! Doesn't our current administration have any sense??!?!
Hasn't our President heard of Photoshop??
I was much entertained by these amateur submissions in response to a request by the Daily News.
Bureaucracy at it's best I suppose.

Over the Brooklyn Bridge

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Time To Drag The TVs Out Of Your Closets....

It looks like Joey's show might be airing a day earlier than we originally thought.
For those of you who live locally and don't have a TV, we plan to have a live showing at 12:30 pm on the big screen TV at my office.  All guests are welcome.  Joey himself might be in attendance (barring finals).

For those who are unable to attend, I am working on uploading his appearance on to Youtube.  That might take a couple of extra days though....

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Poster Boy Strikes Again...

 Or maybe I should say the Banner King.  Eric outdid himself once again with another one of his signature 3 foot high posters affixed right outside our apartment door.  Pretty impressive that he managed to use photos that I had taken and uploaded to facebook during the week to decorate it.....
It truly was a warm WELCOME.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Vast British Conspiracy

OK, so we've been here in London for nearly six whole days and we've seen only glorious blue skies and sunshine, save one hour of rain on Shabbos morning.
I have decided that the Londoners just cannot tolerate the "ugly American tourists" so they invented this whole weather sham to keep us away.
Well, little did they know that I would "out" them.
Manchester, on the other hand, really DOES have horrible weather.  I heard a joke on Friday that you only need three things when you move to Manchester....
  • a ticket
  • an umbrella
  • a return ticket
Looking forward to blogging from New York very soon..... :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

If You Go to the Gym Regularly, You Don't Just WATCH the Changing of the Guard...

.... you RUN WITH the changing guard! (Think the running of the bulls in Pamplona, with less danger of being gored....).
We met up the the old guard at St. James Palace and sprinted/dashed/weaved our way through the Mall running right alongside them, all the way to the gates of Buckingham Palace. Then, as they made their way through the gates, we dashed around to Wellington Barracks just in time to see the new guard march out and sprinted alongside them.  Those that were still standing, ran up the stairs to a ramparts vantage point with a spectacular overview of the proceedings. 

(Disclaimer: For those of you saying to yourself, "That doesn't look particularly strenuous", that is because during the maddest dashes the video needed to be turned off so that we could REALLY run.  I highly recommend a getting stress test before attempting this maneuver.)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How I Celebrated the Queen's 83rd Birthday....

Sniff some gunpowder, plug up your ears and press play.

...of course, wouldn't you know it, I turned off the video camera too soon.  Just moments later, that awful monstrosity of a building in the background collapsed into the ground ;)
{wishful thinking}

Monday, April 20, 2009

Things I've Learned In From My Trip to London So Far....

  • Ambien doesn't help you sleep on an airplane when you're sitting on the aisle and the lady next to you has a bladder the size of a pea.
  • The sun DOES occasionally shine in London! (lucky us).
  • Tourist maps are seldom "to scale".
  • Big Ben is loud when you are right in front of it.
  • Sometimes it's good to "get away"....

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Going to London to Visit the Queen

I'm not yet sure what my internet situation will be while I'm gone.
I hope to be able to post, but if not, be sure I'll come home with PLENTY to say.... 

Friday, April 17, 2009

It IS Possible to Bake Schlussel Challah With a Broken Oven...

.... and a little help from your friends with working ovens ;).....
See if you can spot the key.

Good Shabbos to all with best wishes for a healthy, happy and prosperous year!

Thursday, April 16, 2009


My oven died over Yom Tov (better than erev Yom Tov I say...._
So if you know a guy who knows a guy who knows how to install a new igniter, give me a call so I can make Schlussel Challah, ok?
(I know, I know, it's not a Yekkishe minhag, but it can't hurt, right....? Well, unless you don't leave the key poking out and somebody cracks a tooth on it... the dental bills will kill any benefit the challah might have garnered you.....)

Let's Get Ready to RRRRRRUMPLE!!!!

This is a pre-set post...

I'm too busy tonight trying to shove any which way fit what I know came OUT of the Pesach cabinet just a few short days ago, back IN.... most likely with little luck....

Feel free to drop by with fresh hot pizza though :D
I'm probably getting hungry right about now.....

Monday, April 13, 2009

"Chossid on Chol Hamoed" - The Second in the Series...

While not coming close to the awesome picture that I captured last chol hamoed Pesach, I still felt like I should keep up the ritual.

Besides, somebody needs to debunk the horrible conclusions one could come to if they read the comments on the "eppis a heimishe news site" postings.  Those commenters give fine, upstanding frum Jews a bad name.  Most recently, in an article describing possible chol hamoed outings, several commenters got upset that anybody would "waste" time on chol hamoed outings with their families and argued for the "Beis Medrash Only" approach.....

Well, to this year's unidentified "chossid on chol hamoed" - I salute you!

(spotted while on a family outing to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Chag Kasher V'Sameach

From the G6 Family to Yours.....

Birchas Hachama

(Let me just say right off the bat that men have the ability to get the cooler pictures and the more effective angles under circumstances like this.  Unless I was going to hang off balustrades or climb walls as I saw many a bearded gent doing, this is what you get from a nice tznius woman hanging around in the back :))

I must say it was a moving experience.
The sun could not have been a more perfect orb... bright..... almost causing you to turn away...throwing strong shafts of light into the assembled masses... making you aware of Hashem in all his powerful, masterful glory.

I found the singing of "Keil Adon" to be particularly beautiful as well... 

Monday, April 6, 2009

Chocolate Matzoh

I don't want to hear your dire warnings about cholesterol, salmonella, calories or anything else on this matter.
For ONE WEEK, I just want to enjoy the memories of simpler times, when Yom Tov was filled with sweet and savory delicacies and nobody ruined it with health concerns.
As children we went to bed seder night with visions of waking in the morning to that first piece of chocolate matzoh of the year for breakfast.
Throughout the rest of Yom Tov, it was always good for a quick and filling snack and it was supremely "packable" for all outings.
I make at least half a dozen of these throughout Pesach for family and anybody else who drops in.  

                             Chocolate Matzoh

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  1              stick  margarine
     3/4           cup  cocoa
  1 1/2           cups  sugar
  3        extra large  eggs -- (or 4 large)
  7                     matzohs -- (7-8)

Melt margarine.  Add cocoa.  Alternate egg and sugar. Chill several hours or overnight.   When mixture is chilled and thickened, spread on matzoh and continue layering.  Be careful to orient all matzos in the same direction.  End with matzoh (7-8 matzohs high).  Wrap in foil and refrigerate 24-48 hours before serving.  If chocolate matzo is needed sooner, sprinkle matzos w/ a bit of wine before spreading with chocolate.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Remember the Sun but Don't Forget the Trees....

Ezzie reminds us on his blog not to forget Birchas Ha'Ilanos in all the excitement of Birchas Hachama this year.

The preferred time to recite this bracha is in the month of Nissan on a blossoming fruit tree.

An enterprising man named Nesanel has posted this link to a Google maps search engine for finding a tree in your neck of the woods.

Misaskim also has a very comprehensive list and continues to solicit more information.

When The Last Plate Comes Down ... We're All "Turned Over"

Jews of German extraction have a great word for turning the kitchen back over to chometzdik after Pesach.  We call it "Rumpling" (i.e. to "rumple" is used as a verb).  We don't unfortunately, have any cool word for turning over INTO Pesach, which is what we did in my house last night.

When I was a little girl, I was the small, wiry, tomboy child, so my job each year was to climb up on top of the refrigerator and unload the Pesach cabinet, by carefully handing things down one at a time.  I felt very important because my being small was for once an ASSET. Every year things came down in a familiar order until this plate.  We never used it come to think of it, but that plate was always in the far recesses of the cabinet and when it came down, that meant I was done.

I never gave much thought to the plate as a child, but recently, when my mother moved to Eretz Yisroel, sentimentality dictated that I take it to my house and I then had the opportunity to examine it more closely.
We always got a chuckle that the plate was surely painted by a gentile because of the obvious mistake on it, but I never took note of what the plate was for. 
My grandfather's name is handpainted on the back and it appears that it was presented to him in 1926 on the 40th anniversary of the choir of the Klaus shul in Germany.
Pretty amazing stuff.... now if I could only find a use for it......

Friday, April 3, 2009

Musings on Madoff

A fellow blogger has condemned me for posting too many "warm fuzzy" posts lately (not his exact words, but you get the idea).
So this ones for you!

Actually, I brought up this topic to my family last weekend, but was quickly shot down.  [You may have noticed that we have strong opinions around these here parts :) ....] But now I've heard the same sentiment echoed by another.

Rabbi Avi Shafran, Director of Public Affairs for Agudath Israel of America, released a very controversial statement regarding the Madoff affair, which I will not publish in it's entirety because he raised more than one provocative issue, and for the purposes of this post, I'd like to limit the discussion to this one thought.

Please note - the emphasis of the red is mine. That is the issue that I myself have been struggling with and I am interested in your opinions.

"Something tells me I won’t make any new friends (and might even lose some old ones)..........[portions removed]
Let me try to explain. Please.
Mr. Madoff committed a serious economic crime on an unprecedented scale for such wrongdoing, and in the process ruined the financial futures of numerous people and institutions, including charitable ones, worldwide. There can be no denying that.

Yet I can’t quite bring myself to join the large, loud chorus of those who have condemned him to – to take Ralph Blumenthal’s judgment in The New York Times Magazine – the Pit, the deepest circle of Dante’s Inferno. Others have devised and publicly proclaimed creative and exquisite tortures of their own for the disgraced businessman – Woody Allen fantasized Madoff being attacked by clients reincarnated as lobsters, and Elie Wiesel wished the investor confined to a solitary cell and forced to watch his victims on a screen bewail their changed fortunes. The fury of the bilked has yielded opprobrium and loathing that isn’t visited on mass murderers.

I think the revulsion may say more about the revolted – and our money-obsessed and vengeance-obsessed society – than it does about Madoff. His crime, after all, was really remarkable only for its longevity and its scope. Judaism teaches that stealing is a sin, but it doesn’t differentiate between misappropriating a million dollars and pilfering a dime. And as to the sheer number of people defrauded by the thief of the moment, well, anyone who cheats on his federal income tax is defrauding 300 million of his fellow citizens. Few though, in such cases, invoke Dante."  [and he continues on.....]

Now please don't get me wrong.... 
I realize that people have been hurt.... BADLY.
I realize that lives have been ruined and funds for tzedokos decimated.
I can't help but wonder though, about the massive response, the likes of which I have never seen for any other criminal - AND THERE HAVE BEEN HEINOUS CRIMINALS BEFORE.
I question if our money obsessed society doesn't react more strongly towards crimes that strip them of their belongings than of crimes that rob people of their lives and/or their innocence, and I wonder what that says about us.

I'm keeping comment moderation off but I'd like to say up front that:

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Pesach is Tough on Everybody...

Did I ever tell you about the year I almost killed our goldfish on Pesach?  (Yes, that is our real goldfish in the photo, not a google image)
You see, commercial fish food contains chometz and since my experiences up to that point with them had been that they thrive on what I like to call "benign neglect", I figured that I would feed the fish the chometzdik food right before yom tov and then feed it matzoh meal as little as possible during the yom tov.
Now think carefully as to the effect that too much matzoh has on YOUR digestive system.  Oh, poor little fishy looked decidedly uncomfortable, to put it mildly.  He sat at the bottom of the bowl and barely moved..... 
Thankfully, after discontinuing the matzoh meal and feeding him nothing for the rest of Pesach, he made a full recovery  (only to commit suicide by leaping to his death OUT of the bowl onto the dining room floor later that year... don't ask... it wasn't pretty and I'm not even sure how it was accomplished....but it was definitely a classic case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
Needless to say, the next year and all years following I have gotten nice Kosher l'Pesach Brine Shrimp (Kosher shrimp? Isn't that an oxymoron?) for our dear fish.  But in all honesty, since they are hard to come by, I put the container away with the Pesach dishes from year to year. They are freeze dried, but I sometimes wonder a bit guiltily if they don't have an expiration date..... shhhhh, don't tell the fish.......

"Play On!"

Perhaps my sometimes exasperating experiences in the annual Sisterhood Play of my shul make me uniquely suited to enjoy this sort of comedy, but last night I attended the YCDS performance of a very clever show entitled, "Play On!" and I enjoyed it immensely.
The play is about an amateur theatre company preparing for a murder mystery they are about to perform. The first act is a rehearsal four days before the show, the second act is dress rehearsal and the last act is opening night.
While the actors and the play were far from polished, I was ROLLING in the aisles, gasping for breath.  Of course, the 'play within the play' was not going smoothly at all, with absentee cast members, flubbing of lines, script rewrites, prop difficulties, snarkiness between cast members.... you know all the things that never happen in real life ;)
I think our Sisterhood should rewrite this play and do it next year.
(Of course, we'd have to cut a few things.............. :D )