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The Lady

Her palms dug deep into her eye sockets and rubbed vigorously. The ache rose in intensity then subsided slowly, cathartically. She hadn’t yelled. Or cried today.

She had cleaned up two accidents, one number one, the other number two; bounty and bleach were getting  too well acquainted.

She had swept up one shattered bowl and the Chex and milk that it contained; little elbows aren’t the most stable.

She had mopped the floor of greek yogurt stolen from the fridge, while she was vacuuming the dry oatmeal they poured in the room. Her older one thought the texture was that of shampoo, so he graciously washed his sister’s hair.

She had separated them three times as they yanked each other’s hair for some offense or another, and gotten her snood snatched and her own hair tugged on in the process.

She had held the little one as he shrieked desperately for his own entertainment.

And now they were in bed. Not sleeping yet, but in bed. They were usually ok at this point.

Her chest expanded and then fell dramatically with each soothing breath. She had a sewing class in an hour. Up and down her chest rose and fell. Sweater smeared with yogurt and peppered with dusty oatmeal particles, she went to change. By her mirror she swiped on mascara. And then dabbed on concealer and a little foundation. Then some blush. A pause, and then she went for it, layering her eye shadow, 6 different shades. Liquid eyeliner is always tricky, but with a steady hand, and a q-tip, she achieved. Lipstick was always tricky, to go neutral, soft, bold, day look versus night look, she hesitated, then went for the red.

“Going somewhere?” one of them asked.

“You look amazing,” said another. She waved her hand easily and dusted of their comments,

“I was going to go a vort, but, whatever, I decided not to.” They nodded and found their seats. And she sat too, a lady.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on December 24, 2013 in Writing

 

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Being RASHional

My eye became sore about a week ago. It got progressively worse, for a few days, until I could see some inflammation. It peaked two days later and the pain started to cede. The swelling through did not. It concentrated itself, and I have a red pointy bulge on my eyelid. I’m hiding behind glasses so people can still look me in the face (not eye, but really, it’s not that ugly).

The time I noticed it had transformed into a beautiful bump, coincided with the development of a lump in my throat. I went to sleep that night (last night) thinking I was dying. And of course in the process of dying they would have to remove part of my eyelid, and I’d be even freakier looking and that I should take professional pictures before the amputation so my children will know me a nice looking person, not an almost one-eyed mutant.

I assumed the worse; I always do.

If my kid gets a rash and I’m unsure of the source, it’s sure to be the early stages of necrotizing fasciitis. My husband complains of a stomach-ache, it’s definitely Crohn’s, or Celiac’s disease. The cause can never be a carpet burn from running and sliding, or simply gorging on pizza.

I never go to the doctor though, I just wait for rigor mortis to set in (I think there might be a rational side to my brain that knows the truth but allows my Drama Queen mind do its show, though not letting it take it to the next level [it’ll always be amateur night]).

Amazingly, I awoke this morning to slightly conventional looking eyelid. Things are fading back to normal, just a passing infection, just when I thought I had discovered the meaning of life, through contemplation of imminent death.

And I’m back to being lazy, drinking coffee, complaining about the mess in the kitchen, too much laundry, looking through too many sales on Zulily, and taking myself, my husband and children for granted.

We never learn do we?

 
5 Comments

Posted by on August 7, 2012 in Humor, Slice of Life

 

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Vindication at a Cost

I’m not really the official devar Torah kind of person, y’know, the open a Chumash, read a posuk, explain it, ask a question, answer the question according to some gadol and add my own thoughts to it. I’m more the paraphrase kind of person, focusing more on my interpretation of things and the point gained from it.

On Shabbos though, my husband said over a devar Torah, that really made me feel vindicated in a front I’ve been talking about for a while. I had a bunch of students over later in the evening for an Oneg Shabbos, and I thought this devar Torah would give them some clarity on a subject, and also substantiate some things I had said previously in some discussions.

So, I have terrible kriah, hence my usual paraphrasing. In high school, I mastered the art of mumbling when called upon to read anything inside and scraped though, barely. I thought this devar Torah though, was worth my efforts. I practiced reading one pasuk aloud, at least 6 times, till I was comfortable with the words, the nekudos, and everything. Anyone who knows me and kriah, understands how difficult this is for me, potentially setting myself up for major busha when I wouldn’t be able to vocalize a simple pasuk in Chumish.

It all went down famously, I didn’t stumble over the words (well, not that badly) and they girls really “chapped hana’ah” from it (Wow, real yeshivish there, I actually couldn’t think of a better phrase to articulate that thought) And here it is for you, hope you appreciate it as much as I did.

In this past parsha, Parshas Chayei Sarah, perek chaf dalef, posuk tes zayin, this is when Eliezer first sees Rivka, it says (and I’m just going to translate here because typing in Hebrew is too big a pain)

And the girl was very beautiful, no other man knew her, she went down to the spring, filled her jug, and rose.

The Nitziv says that Eliezer saw three qualities in Rivka from this posuk. First, she was beautiful. Second, none of the other shepards there knew her, therefore this must be her first time here, and therefore she must come from a respectable family that she didn’t have to do this until now. And third, she was a tzanuah.

The same way Boaz knew Rus was a tzanuah from the way she lowered herself to the wheat instead of conveniently bending over to select it, so too, Rivka lowered herself to the stream to fill up her jug, then rose, instead of bending over like everyone else.

This is where the Nitziv ends, and my husband’s commentary begins. He focused on the first and third qualities. First, Rivka was beautiful. And second , she was a tzanuah, how did he know she was a tzanuah, by her actions, not by her dress. Beauty and Tznius are not mutually exclusive, a woman can be both.

It just seems in Lakewood, there’s such a focus on tznius, which is beautiful in theory, I feel though that they miss the mark. They keep focusing of the physical aspect, like skirts lengths, and now sheitel lengths, like tznius is just about not tempting yourneighbors husband. They make it seem as though any fashion trend is sacrilege, and you cannot be a beautiful woman without sacrificing modesty ideals.

I’ve been telling my students (no idea why, I teach English, not Hashkafa, they just keep bringing it up to me) that it’s your actions and how you think that are the foundations on modesty, and then the outside will eventually reflect. Working on the physical first may possibly be a “mitoch shelo lishma ba lishma” approach, but it’s definitely not a front door appeal.

So maybe Lakewood thinks that it has the actions, and inside thoughts of people worked out, that’s why they can focus on just externals, but I look around every day in my really frum complex, and I’m disappointed.

It is not tznius for women to be yelling across the complex for their children to come home for supper, and no they can’t have two more minutes, and no they can’t eat outside.

It’s not tznius for tween age girls to sit on front stoops, their legs propped up by the steps, exposing themselves to the world.

It is not tznius for women (and men) to blatantly watch the interactions between me and my husband while he’s leaving. (I’m talking about just conversation, and we’re not talking loud, they’re just watching us)

They missed the boat. Not like, oh shucks it sailed two minutes ago, more like purposefully taking a different boat in the opposite direction. And my students are confused. They want to be good, and frum, and tznius. And they are. But they look at what the community holds up as ideals, and their rightfully conflicted. They don’t want to look like that, and they’re not sure why they should want to, they just know they should, because that’s what all the adults in their life are telling them.

I’m not in any way saying that there is something wrong with a woman being very careful how she dresses. And there is a beauty to yeshivish (or whatever you want to call it) dress. However, the way it’s being taught, and hammered into our youths’ minds is hurting them, confusing them, conflicting them, and ultimately may hurt a lot of them.

I think I may have digressed a bit, but no wonder why people keep asking me how much longer I’m gonna last in Lakewood.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on November 21, 2011 in Jewish

 

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Making It All Up

Title: Audience of women applying makeup at le...

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I love make-up. Love love love it. Kevyn Aucoin is my hero (well, one of them anyway). I love to give people make-up makeovers, or simply  unsolicited advice on what would look better on them. I also own tons of make-up, which makes sense given my previous statements.

The ironic thing is, I hardly wear any.

On an average day I’m wearing blush and lipstick, and that’s only because it’s in the glove compartment in my car, so I can hastily pat it on while the light is red. I could blame it on time, but that wouldn’t be honest. What would be honest is to admit that I have a major complex about makeup.

My mother always told me that make-up is there to enhance beauty, not create it. I agree. But part of me feels like makeup is fake, and misleading. Maybe sometimes I try creating instead of enhancing. While I’m not a show stopping beauty, or even a conventional pretty, I would say that I’m decent looking. I don’t have any objectionable features, but they’re not anything to write home about. Putting on make-up makes me feel that I’m trying too hard, I’m making myself be something I’m not. And that putting on makeup announces to the world just how self-conscious I really am about my mediocrity.

I always swore I’d never be one of those women who can’t leave home without eye-liner. In the same breath I scorn women who go au natural and look like a limp dishrag. Of course there’s a large expanse in the two extremes, but I just can’t seem to reconcile them,I seem to, in the way I use my make up, but mentally I’m all over the place.

(Speaking of people who don’t wear any make-up and therefore look like they’ve been prepped and puttied by the mortician and just waiting for the beautician, you’re not being fair to people around you. You don’t have to look at yourself, so you don’t feel the wave of tiredness that washes over instantly, or the pain in a person’s gut when seeing you wondering how everything is doing at home. [note: this is not everyone who doesn’t wear make-up, some people are blessed with beautiful rosy complexion.])

Also, sometimes I feel like when I put on make-up, that this is the best I can look, and it’ll be just any old day. So when it comes to something special, like a wedding, a party, or even Shabbos, I want to look better, but I already look my best every day, there’s no upping the ante.  I figure then, if I scale back and minimize my application during the week, and then I can look better when it counts. 

Adding to my complex are two gorgeous friends of mine. I wasn’t second fiddle, I was third, and maybe to feel better about myself, I just didn’t compete. Interestingly enough, both of them wore ample make-up, but I felt that they have the beauty foundation, they weren’t trying to make it, they were it. No one would accuse them of looking good only because they’re wearing make-up.

Then there’s also a sense of pride when someone says, wow, you look great, you know they’re complimenting YOU, and not your make-up. You get to respond smarmily “Oh, I’m not even wearing any make-up”, just as you say “I never even took a lesson” when someone comments on your sketch, or voice. It’s you they like, not an accessorized, glamorized, new and improved, version of you. 

It sounds like I’m all against make-up and am only in it for the vanity, but it’s really a case of “The lady doth protest too much”. I love make-up! Make-up is an art, it’s transformative, physically and mentally. Its rainbows and expression, and talent. There’s so much technical skill, the results so pleasing you can’t refuse.

Both sides, back and forth, and my rationale telling me I’m an idiot because who cares…but when to wear make-up, how, how much… it’s too much for a girl to decide by herself.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on March 13, 2011 in Musings

 

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Urban Legends: Alive and Kicking

Everybody likes to hear a good shidduch story, so here’s a new one. You might have heard with slight modifications or variations, but this happened to my friend last night, so you’re only getting it third hand.

A shadchan called my mother’s friend and tells her that there is a gorgeous boy who is fabulously wealthy and what do you know, he’s  available. His mother wants two things for him, a raving beauty and parallel wealth. 

“Well you qualify for half of him,” I commented lightly to my friend. My friend laughed and continued.

The mother is willing to look away at my friend’s lack of means if she is a gorgeous as they say she is.

Pathetic, I know; it gets worse.

No, she doesn’t want to see a picture of her. She doesn’t want to meet her. She wants to go down to where my friend works and observe her. Beauty in Action.

 You know, my friend just might only be pretty when she’s standing still with a face forward profile. How does she look when she’s singing songs with her kids, doing arts and crafts and packing them up at the end of the day?

 And it gets worse.

 Her mother was maskim.

 
16 Comments

Posted by on January 19, 2009 in Shidduchim

 

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Men vs. Women: The Last Degradation

Man vs. Woman

Handsome vs. Beautiful.

We’ll all agree that woman as a physical being are infinitely more beautiful/gorgeous/nicer looking than men. Yes, there are plenty of men that are better looking than a majority of women, but if you were to take the best looking guy and the best looking girl, hormones aside, the woman will be more beautiful.

With that being said, it’s still easier to be a good looking guy than a good looking girl…not just good looking, but note-worthy.

Wait!!! Before you start yelling at me about women having more options in hairstyles, makeup, girdles, heels and all the paraphernalia women use to enhance their looks, hear me out. While women have more sanctioned tools to enhance their visual presentation, Men, don’t need tools…they have a much broader range of acceptance in terms of what is considered good looking.

Take noses. Across the board for women a delicate aquiline nose is coveted. Most of us, don’t have it, and make do with whatever G-d graced us with, but we will constantly shadow and contour our noses aiming to achieve the genetically improbable. And a woman can be beautiful without a perfect nose, but a nose too round, will relegate her to cute, or “character”.

Men on the other hand, they can wear any nose. And as long as they carry it well, it’s theirs. Call it character (for a man character is good, woman, not so), endearing, strong. A man can still qualify as good looking without stipulations if he has a massive, fleshy, nostril dominant nose.

Next case in point: Wrinkles. Women never look good in them. Yes, we can work with them, and some wear them better than others, but women will also refer back to their youth for their complexion. Men look great in wrinkles. Crows feet, furrowed brows, and lined cheeks are all the rage. It denotes maturity, stature, gravity, intensity…and it’s ok.

Then there is body build. For woman there is only one option (forget about it being wrong, but this is present society dictating here) – THIN, slight build. For men there’s husky, athletic, built, stocky, lean…and a guy can qualify as good looking with any body type.

Have you ever seen a really good looking guy and then his sister who looks just like him, but just doesn’t make the cut? The look just doesn’t transfer over well for the fairer sex. This is everything previously stated in action. It’s the same features, what’s the difference? The difference is that we have different expectation, higher ones for women and lower standards more men.

With all that being said. I’ll stick with myself. Hand me my mascara.

 
14 Comments

Posted by on January 14, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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Pity Pretty People

You know what, I feel bad for pretty people.

 

Say what you want, but it’s very hard to be pretty, or handsome, or gorgeous or insert adjective here.

 

I’m sure there are many of you out there pulling facing, shouting What?!?, and dismissing me as certifiably insane.

 

“It’s so easy to be pretty, you always look good”

“People like pretty people, ergo they’ll like you faster.”

“Pretty people are statistically paid better, and are more successful.”

And “Hey, it’s nice to be nice.”

 

But look…most of the advantages of being pretty are dependent on someone else and their actions towards you because of your looks, which you were luckily born with.

 

And that’s just it. People have expectations of pretty people.

 

People expect pretty people to be better conversationalist, better dressers, have more friends, know what to say, know how to act, what to do…because they’re pretty. And when they don’t regular folks look down upon them…like “what’s wrong with you, why can’t you, you’re pretty!”

 

There is a certain awe and disdain regular have towards pretty people.

 

And well, pretty people are regular people, they just happen to be, well, pretty.

 

They have bad hair days, foot in mouth disease, trip over their shoes, and can be incredibly shy (except when they are shy they are cast off as snobs.)

 

I think it’s time for everyone, out of the pure goodness of their heart, to adopt a pretty person.

 

Who wants me?

 

 
8 Comments

Posted by on January 9, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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Glasses Half Full

I was wondering whether they still sell those thick plastic half-rim frames that grace so many chassidishe men and boys faces, or do they keep them in such pristine condition that they still have them. Or maybe they got them in the day where the concept of quality wasn’t dead, so they never broke and therefore never had to get new ones.

 

Well, I’m assuming someone is still selling them, cause the little folks have got them too, and that style was out before they were born (you think maybe they stock-hoard them like canned food in a sealed room?)

 

If you think about it, they were in style before the rest of us regular folks, when plastic frames were in, they had ‘em already, and then when we switched to half rims, they had that too, and then thick sides came in, those glasses have them too. Same thing with rectangular/squareish.

 

Real things of beauty; it incorporates every style so they never need to get new ones, but they’re still manage to be so ugly (they should have listened Coco Chanel who said something along the lines of never try to rock more than two trends in one outfit [and they’re doing 3 in one accessory]).

 

 

 
12 Comments

Posted by on December 14, 2008 in Jewish, Uncategorized

 

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Below Beauty and Brains (and maybe Brawn)

Tembow, you really set me off with your first post….so here’s more on it.

 

Throughout world history, civilization has always prized beauty in different way, shapes and forms (can you tell I’ve been tutoring someone on Global Regent essays)….

 

Ok, so this is how it is: We all like pretty things (some of us more than others).

 

When applying beauty to a person, beauty is not acquired; it’s something you are born with (yes, make-up does help a lot [I’m not even going near cosmetic surgery), but I’m just stripping this down to the basics). Therefore people are more inclined to like, appreciate, admire pretty people based on something the pretty person can take no credit for.

 

Some people say this is shallow.

 

People like pretty things, and will therefore seek them out…in the ultimate form: a spouse. Everyone wants a beautiful husband or wife…may not be top priority, but it’s something no one would say no to.

 

In any case, people are constantly berating these beauty seekers as being shallow and there is so much more to care about in a spouse, but you know what, I do the same thing in my own way.

 

I won’t date someone who is not smart – not book smart – but smart, hold up his end of an intelligent conversation.

 

The guy didn’t do anything for his brains; he was born with them. And the same way the pretty girl or guy enhances their beauty with clothes, accessories, and products, my smart boy enhances his brain by learning.

 

So why am I not shallow?

 

 

 

 

 
8 Comments

Posted by on December 12, 2008 in Jewish, Shidduchim

 

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In My Eyes and Heart

This post was spurred by “In My Life’s” post about not giving a guy a second date because she didn’t go for his looks.

 

My friends are beautiful.

 

Every single one them.

 

Statistically it’s a little improbable unless I make it a point to only make friends with pretty people. I’m not THAT shallow…so how do I reconcile the statistics.

 

We go to the age old adage of.

 

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”

 

This line goes past person preferences of blonde vs. brunette, blue- eyed- vs. brown eyed, tall vs. short, fair vs. dark. It goes into the very murky territory of inner beauty and love.

 

My friends are beautiful because I love them (I also think I may have defied statistics, but never mind)

 

I don’t see the extra pounds, the full cheeks, quirky nose, thin hair, bad complexion, frumpy taste, crooked teeth, bowed legs…I see a friend. That I love.

 

I know it’s sappy and corny and clichéd…but things only become that when they’re nice truths.

 

We live in a world that seeks out angst and negativity, logic and criticism as forms of prized individuality. Simple things like love, beauty, positivity are cast aside as being weak, insipid, and emotional.

 

These things will give you a lot more in life even if it not an “objective truth”.

 

So basically, don’t cast off anyone based on looks until you know them. In dating, in friends, co-workers, students, teachers….I’m sure everyone has someone in their life who have proved them wrong in this area, whether the were initially beautiful until you got to know them, or plain, but now beautiful because you know them…

 

To all my friends out there and you know who you are,

 

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL (and you know that’s a high compliment coming from me)

 

 

 

 

 
13 Comments

Posted by on December 10, 2008 in Shidduchim, Uncategorized

 

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