Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Focused Conversation

My husband is very succinct and to the point.  So when I repeat a story to him, his eyes usually glaze over after about 90 seconds because it takes me a while to get to the main point.  I'm really working on improving this conversation style, and after hearing a caller this morning on a radio show, I understand how my rambles sometimes sound to him.

"....hey Steve, it's Margie, I've called before, how are you guys?"
"We're good Marg, how are you doing?"
"Great, great! I'm going down the shore next week, not really the shore, nearby, actually past Atlantic City a little bit, I'm spending a week with my friend.  I go every year, over Passover, I'm not Jewish, she is, but we spend time together over her holiday, and I do half the cooking, there's a lot of eating, and I spend the time with her and her husband, I go alone, cuz I'm alone, that's a different story, and anyway, so her husband bought a Tesla, the electric  car you were talking about, and it doesn't even have the spare tire, cuz there's no trunk, I mean it's in the front, cuz there's no motor, and you have to pay separately for the tires! At least that's what I think he said, that it's a base price, and the tires are $400, and then what do you do without a spare, so he's thinking of giving it back or something, cuz he didn't even realize it didn't come with spare, or even a place to store it! So I thought you or your listeners might find that interesting".

Summary: Don't buy a Tesla, It doesn't come with a spare tire.

Of course to fully appreciate this conversation, say it without commas or periods, and use a Bronx accent.

I thought it was funny.

It's Not A Contest...

...To see who is having the most people possible for Yomtov.

This past week, pretty much every person I've met has asked, "so who's coming for yomtov, having a full house? A lot of people?"
I understand asking , "Are you're parents coming?" or the popular expression (yich), "your marrieds".

We've had this discussion before, how the women work very hard with shopping and meal planning and cooking, and it is overwhelming, and those outside the Tribe wouldn't understand cooking 16 meals for 10-20 people.  And yes, our pre-Pesach activity is almost exclusively focused on cooking (and clothing shopping).  But I always have the feeling of it being a one-upping conversation:

"Hey, how's the cooking going? Big crowd?"
"Yeah, the usual, my 5 plus my marrieds and my mom in law and her aid.  No big deal, really. Whatever.  What about you?"
"Well, we have a little break Shabbos Chol Hamoed, just the 9 of us."

But I think this week I will try to meet people with, "So, do you have a nice Pesach or Hagadda Dvar Torah you can share with me?"

Oh, and here's what's happening in our house!!
First days we are 6 people.  We are really looking forward to it.  Will be a very focused Seder, one guest, my single kids, us females can sing everything! Another guest or two for some meals.

Chol Hamoed and the last days, all my children, a few extra guests here and there.

I am looking forward to my meals with guests, and my meals with just my children.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Yeshiva World: Print Entertainment

You gotta love the comments.

DIP3 has categories for the types of comments on the jewish news websites:

The Grammar Nazis:
 "hey #3, maybe use a spell checker"
"you idiot, if you had graduated past 3rd grade you'd know it's YOUR not YOR or YOURE"

REAL TIME EXAMPLE: you mean CAVALRY.  they're not a christian group
You mean ” Cavalry “.they’re not a christian group. - See more at: http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/headlines-breaking-stories/225151/developing-shooting-at-ft-hood-military-base-in-texas-numerous-dead.html#sthash.u9u6Cu3Z.dpuf
You mean ” Cavalry “.they’re not a christian group. - See more at: http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/headlines-breaking-stories/225151/developing-shooting-at-ft-hood-military-base-in-texas-numerous-dead.html#sthash.u9u6Cu3Z.dpuf

The Gemara Quoters:
"I'm sorry, but in Avoda Zara Daf yud amud beis it clearly states, R'Yochanan holds differently, he says Rome was the most powerful.  So clearly the tanoim knew more than you, buster.  And we all know from other examples that Obama is Rome. And Yovon. And Haman. "

"#8, I've seen your comments and you always say you were a top bochur but clearly you must've been  out drinking coffee during the shiur because no gemara supports your opinion.  You sound ignorant"

 The Halacha Sticklers:
" you don't know what you're talking about, the Mechaber clearly states about this issue that devorim sheain bohem ...."

The Hashem Criers:
"Hashem! Hashem! Help your children! Your flock is begging You to answer its tefilos!"

The Meshichists:
"Oy! We need mashiach so soon.....our tears are overflowing...."
"If this tragedy and travesty doesn't bring Moshiach what will, I know he's waiting in the wings"

The Lashon Hara Police:
"I think all of you posters really need to think about how what your saying is mamesh lashon hara and you might even be causing real anguish to the guy's family"

"I'm sorry to say this is real lashon hara your tattes would be so sad for this they survived aushwitz to have their kids waste ther time saying really lashon hara things about a man who supports his family and the hole comunty everyone nows he's a big bal zedada"  (errors intentional)

of course we also have those whose spelling is atrocious and do not heed the admonishment of the Grammar  and Spelling Nazis:

REAL TIME EXAMPLES: there are some ill education people in are community

But DIP3's absolute favorite is someone named Poppa bar poppa, who, according to her, comments on every single thread. Every day. In the Yeshiva World Coffee Room.

Look it up!

Does Hashem Care About Our Resume?

Shidduch resume, that is.

DIP3's resume is "different".
instead of writing  "summer jobs", it says, "how she spent her youth"
instead of writing  "our  mechutanim", it says "our new family"

And the clincher that is causing angst and concern by some well meaning friends...
instead of writing that creative, all tellling, very descriptive word  "references", I wrote  (please prepare yourself for daring, on the edge, risque language)  "the people who know and love her".

to back up:
Some good dear friends, very well meaning, have DIP3's best interests at heart, have told me her shidduch resume is too out of the box.  Too different, unusual, too much  let's make the effort to be different.

So I admit, yes, that's why I wrote it up more creatively.
her personal info (birthday, height, phone #)
how she spent her youth  ( summers)
where she went to school
her family (as it sounds: parents, siblings)
what she's doing now (name of schooling/degree)
our new family
the people who know and love her

So please tell me what you think:
does a resume like this indicate extreme effort to be wierdly different and radically dramatically in your face different to the point where you would automatically look and say "ewww! what wierdo people, SOOOOO not for us, I'm not even going to make one phone call to find out what these people are about"?

Or do you look at it and say, "Oh, cute, a little kitchy, whatever, I know the principal, I'll call her!"?

To me?  It weeds out those families who are not like us.  Who feel threatened or insecure if a list of names is written a little bit differently.
To paraphrase my sister The Eitza Lady,  "I don't think Hashem, who orchestrates all shidduchim, will allow a potential shidduch to pass by because of the way you wrote a list of names.  "

Hashem doesn't have a hidden agenda, and neither do we.  We just want a boy (or a mother) who will look at this resume, squeal with delight and say, "How cute, a little different, the girl must have personality, I love it!"

Which by the way, I think WAS a deciding factor in DIP1 and DIP2's shidduchim.  My sons-in-laws' mothers loved their resume.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Theme Panic

As a teacher, the word "theme" is a literary term.  "Thematic Units" - many books, articles, videos, and discussions about a particular subject.

But come Adar time, it has a different meaning... I have headaches, sweaty palms, roiling stomach pains... in short - Theme Panic!!

Yes, I am one of those who wishes she could have clever themes that tie together the food, packaging, colors, and poem- all to be a clever Balabusta who can create Thematic Purim Mishloach Manos!!

For years I railed against them - "let the theme be food you can EAT!"  "Those people are losing sight of the basics of the MITZVAH!"

Don't get me wrong, I would never make a mishloach manos of an orange and a brownie square in a paper plate stapled together to look like a Hamantaschen, as was popular when I was a kid.  Twas done by those uncreative, last minute mothers.  My mother made delicious and unique Mishloach Manonses.  I think.  One year I remember big pizzas.
 Once I received a mishloach manos in one of those fabric chinese-themed jewelry pouches.  about 3" by 3".  It had a miniscule bottle of some shnappsy thing, and I believe a single wrapped chocolate with foreign writing on it.  My little kids were eager to see it: " Oooh, oooh, What is it? What is it?"  I personally felt like shouting "WHERE is it? where is it?"

But I have discovered the keys to a successful Mishloach Manos:
glue guns
shrink wrap

nothing rolls around or falls off when you glue it with hot glue.
it looks very serious when it is shrink wrapped.

Of course, pointy things don't shrink wrap well.  But when you deliver it, you can always fake-trip, then apologize for accidentally tearing the tight shrink wrap

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Is It True That Bochrim Talk This Way After Dates?

It's a double standard.

Or actually, it's no standard.  I wonder, if boys' yeshivos spent 1/4 of the time that girls schools do teaching midos,  if a story like this would come out:

We've all heard that bochrim discuss their dates. At length. Mercilessly.  Without kindness.  And we know that the girls do not.  They do not talk to their friends about their dates.  Unless they are close to getting engaged, or there is one friend who is a sounding board, close confidante.

So here's the story I heard this past shabbos.

A boy (yes, of course, from a Yeshiva that has a good reputation) returned from a date to his dorm.  Where, presumably, a bunch of other guys were hanging around.  He stated, **LANGUAGE ALERT FOR THE SENSITIVE AND YOUNG**, "the door opened and I thought, dammit, she's ugly".

What's the big deal, you might say?
I know all the disclaimers.  I know that looks ARE important to men.  (guess what guys, to us women, too. we just don't talk about it). I know that attraction is an extremely important main factor in a relationship.
The big deal is that this unkind bochur just announced to a room of other bochrim that this girl is ugly.  Never mind that it's in his opinion.  Never mind that of course, there might be a baal midos in the group who will not be mekabel this Lashon Hara.  Never mind that other boys might find this guy unpleasant, rude, obnoxious, and discount what he says.

It's disturbing because we ARE the people of the book.  We ARE supposed to be better than others.  This yeshiva has a good reputation.  The boys there do not go to college. They can't.  They have to be somewhat serious about their learning.  And of course, you're one step out the door of serious religiosity if you plan to plan on a plan for parnosa.

It's disturbing because this boy who spends his whole day and night studying and learning Hashem's beautiful Torah doesn't have the most basic sense of kindness and thoughtfullness.

........of course, I am sure the girl is not from a wealthy family.  That totally changes the picture, too.  Green can be very attractive, no?

Improv Anywhere, Humiliation Everywhere

At first I thought the concept of Improv was cute. Clever.  All those people standing still in Grand Central Station.  Shticky.  A kind of performance art that wasn't a naked woman with a pumpkin on her head and feces on her body channeling an ancient war god  (a combination of a few Doonesbury comic strips). 

But now I don't think so. At all.  While it may be "cute" to do things like walk backwards in Times Square, banging into people and confirming tourist's opinions that we are, in fact, a nation of fools (thank you to our President for establishing that), it isn't cute when people are publicly embarrassed or made fun of.  Of course when asked, I am sure they say something like, "Oh, ha ha, it's no big deal".  But really, no one likes to be made foolish.  Like in this clip:

ok, if the kid wants to run into the wall and look idiotic, fine. And I was a big fan of the Harry Potter books, so my issue, clearly, isn't with the subject.  I don't think it's funny to embarrass people on video. Period.  Making the ticket sellers question the boy over and over again, having random strangers not know what to answer.  Why is this funny?  It's like the whole premise here is to make people look stupid, foolish, or clueless! 

See, that's my whole issue! It's NOT just about the cleverness of a new way of making statements, it's How Can We Make A Statement, Even If It Inconveniences Or Embarrasses Other People!

Like the No Pants Day.  Can you think of a more highly offensive public display of selfishness and impropriety?  I am sure that there are plenty of people out there who are not living a religious life, who don't have the rules and lifestyle of modesty that I do, yet are highly disturbed by this!  A subway is not a beach, where you expect to see skimpy bottoms and unclad people. 

It's just plain disgusting.  This really bothers me.  A lot.  Do New Yorkers care?