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The Slow Transition

NOT ME

I’ve been lying to myself for years. Yesterday though, it knocked on my door so nicely, and I couldn’t deny it. I’ve come to accept who I am as a person, it’s hard, it’s always hard acknowledging something you’ve tried to hide and deny. The time has come, and I hope I’ll be better for it.

“I booked you tickets to Florida for Shabbos,” my husband called to me from the couch. There was light intensity in his pitch, and I knew he wasn’t kidding.

“You what?” I asked like I honestly hadn’t heard what he said.

“You need a vacation, you’re dying to go – I booked tickets?”

“Tickets?” I stressed the “s”.

“Ye, I spoke to Roo today, you’re going with her.”

“But, but, what about you and E, and where we gonna stay, what are we gonna eat, I have to teach…” I started protesting, even though I AM dying to go to Florida. And I ruined it, the whole happiness, surprise and spontaneity. That’s it, I am not a spontaneous person as I had led myself to belive. I like to plan and consider. I like to know my options, know I’m doing what’s best and right for me. I don’t jump into things. I’d rather miss it, lost in consideration, than make a hasty decision.

I always thought I was spontaneous, or I always wanted to be light and free – but I’m not, I’m serious, intense and I think too much. Yes, I would walk to my friends on Shabbos with out calling ahead. But I think that’s where it ends

I cant just get up one day and buy my husband a present. I can get up one day and think I’d like to do that, but it’ll take me a while, to find the right one, the right deal, will he really like. Nike is not for me, I NEVER just do it. I never wanted to be that person, they seem so stuffy and rigid, but I really get thrown for a loop when my schedule changes without ample notice. I try to roll with the punches, but it’s a real effort on my part.

My day is always scheduled and planned in my head, what I plan on doing when, how much time I allot to do certain things, and when emergencies come up – not my emergencies, somehow I handle those, but if someone needs an immediate favor from me, it’s very difficult for me to rearrange things in my head, to realign my expectations of what I planned on doing. Going to Florida is wonderful – not on such short notice it just stresses me out!

I remember yelling at my mother when we would run errands, we’d have a list of things to do and then towards the end she’d remember one more stop she wanted to make. I’d get really agitated. In my head I was ready to go home, I was home already doing everything I planned in my head, and the extra 10 minutes, or even two would upset me.

“You’re messing with my head!” I’d tell my mother. She didn’t really get it, because she quite the opposite of me, drop everything, and do something better that comes along.

I equated spontaneity with happiness, and youth. A careless abandon, and truly living life. That’s how it is in books anyway. And the inflexible scheduled people were stuffy bores with no lives, and ruined everything. No wonder I wanted to be spontaneous.

And when I talk about how I feel, it sounds so much worse and severe and stifling than I feel my life is. I love my life, and I think it’s time to graduate from my dreams and recognize that there are worse things in life than slow to transition.

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2014 in The Sporadic Side

 

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The Meaning of Art

The bathroom was scented in soothing lavender, until she flicked on the light. Chipped tiles in pale pink, a plastic cushion on the toilet seat that let out a hiss when sat on, and too many tabloids in the rack beside the toilet cheapened the scent. When she inhaled this time, all she smelled was the alcohol base. Rummaging quickly, she found a pair a tweezers and rejoined the group in the living room.

The group was hunched over in a circle examining a foot. It was a regular foot, toes possibly a little stubby, with too many prominent veins, but a most ordinary foot by most accounts, except for the wooden stake thrust through it. The girl handed over the tweezers to an awaiting hand,

“You really think getting rid of residual splinters will help the foot heal, and take to the stake?” she asked, leaning in too closely.

“You’re blocking my light,” was the terse response. The girl frowned, gave her shoulders a slight shrug and backed off, retreating to a tartan couch in the corner. She looked around the room, lips pursed, eyes narrowed. The walls had been whitewashed some years ago, but even white fades, and the edges had a grey crumbly tinge. The rose linoleum floor was curling up and dying in the corner, and the Coach bag on the table was a lousy knockoff – the pattern didn’t even match up seamlessly.

Her legs crossed and uncrossed, then shifted weight to the other hip. This place was supposed to be cool, artsy really. Blow her mind – creatively he had told her. All she has seen was a lot of blood and some idiot volunteering to put a stake through his foot and let it become a part of his being. The point was to be one with the earth, and to take what you give, at least that’s what she understood. She wasn’t sure though, because they were using a lot of big words like trancendalize, and everyone else seemed to be in awe. So maybe it wasn’t that, because, that idea is stupid and art is not.

Moans and heavy breathing, gave pace to the movement, as well as moist air of sweat.  Dirty gauze pads, and empty tubes of triple antibiotic littered the floor.

“Who was the idiot that didn’t sand down the stake?” Someone asked. There was an awkward silence, everyone considering turning on each other, when the serene voice of Sarah, occupant of the apartment and resident artist said,

“Be one, take what you give. Do you think lumberjacks sharpen their blades to ease blow to the tree? No, it’s a hack job. As is this, metaphorically or course. Sanding down the stake would diminish the integrity of our work”

Sitting on the couch, the girl frowned again. So she had understood what they were talking about, and this was it. This is what is meant to be an artist, this is what the starving artist’s life was – being an idiot and coming up with a stupid reason to rationalize it – make it seem almost intelligent and worthy? It was like being a teenager all over again, the only difference being the sequence of event: teens do stupid things then come up with a reason why they should have done it; artist think of rationales and then due stupid things to prove it.

“Where you going?” He asked, as started to make her exit.

“Home.” Was her one word response. She had time to be a purposeful idiot when she grew up, no reason to be one now when she could still get away with it all, protected under the teenage bracket.

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2012 in Writing

 

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Hosting A Question

Yes, this is my guest bedroom. Yes, I am kidding.

It is the human condition where people believe their beliefs, perspectives, and attitudes to be among the average consensus. Meaning, most people will agree with what we say and do, or at least understand it.

Obviously this is a very flawed logic and condition as evidenced by the amount of frivolous strife a person encounters each day. Arguments over who’s turn it is to take the garbage out, that the driver ahead of you should have made the light, that your mother in law should keep her comments to herself – none of these would have happened if all people were synced. We’re not, yet we still hold ourselves to be normal.

So, I pose a question. We’re all individuals, yet societies norm and averages make up consensus of what is acceptable or not, what falls under the umbrella of the bell curve, and what is beyond standard deviation; I speak on the topic of hostesses, and guests.

I love to play hostess, and rarely have an opportunity to be on the other side, but when I am, this is my modus-operandus – blend in. I don’t like to have my presence shouted from the rafters. I try to be as unobtrusive as possible, leave thing undisturbed, and if I do disturb them, to put them back so no one need know that I was here. Some people may perceive this of not liking my hostess, or being intimidated by them. I think it’s a sign of respect. I’m in their home, I play by their rules. Mostly this sort of thing comes up in the bathroom and kitchen, where most guests need to take of their needs, big or small.

Every home has some sort of system as to where every item belongs, and even if there is no system, but a haphazard dump, the things are generally dumped in the same vicinity time and again. The mugs in one cabinet, the towels slung over the oven door handle, the shower curtain drawn shut, the shampoo up in the caddy etc. and guests interact with these items, and use them as they see fit – which is wonderful. What arises next is, what does the guest do with the item once finished with it. Does he place it where he found it, following the order of the home he’s visiting, or does he put it where he finds most convenient – usually in line with the system he has running in his own home?

I’ve already stated that I do the former. All my guests are among the latter. Naturally I think I’m of the standard opinion. Statistics seems to indicate my minority status. But I’m not sure that it makes sense that ALL my guests follow their own system, my view is not that radical that no one else I know subscribes to it. I must therefore draw the conclusion that I am such a wonderful hostess that my guest forget they’re guest, think they’re home, and act accordingly.

So the question, what do you do when you’re a guest in someone else’s home. Will you make me a part of the masses, or further isolate me in my marginal status.

(I realize this post may seem like a chastisement of my guests. It’s not, it’s just a commentary on different perspectives. If a bathmat out of place has me banning guests, I probably have bigger issues.)

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2012 in Humor, The Sporadic Side

 

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60 Second to a Minute

Alarm clock

Alarm clock (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m coming to appreciate how lazy I am.

Of late, there have been a few songs sporting the lyrics
“Hayom Kutzer Vehamelacha meruba, vhapoalim atzeivah v’haschar harbei, ubaal habeis dochek”

Roughly translating to,

“The day is short, there’s a lot of work, the workers are lazy, the payoff is great and the owner is concerned.”

It’s a metaphor to this world and the world to come and man is lazy. (for those of you not religiously or literary inclined)

I don’t know why these lyrics are generally matched with catchy tunes, but I find myself hearing them very often – mostly in the form of A.K.A. Pella’s new album, and I’d like to think that they thought for a moment or two about the words that they chose for the song, so I in turn should consider them – and I did – and am.

Now, while I know I have lazy tendencies, I’m not usually slapped in the face with them.

Three weeks ago I was offered a tutoring job that would go through June. I wanted the job, it was a high school girl, with issues right up my alley. My only hesitation though was the time – 9:15 to 11:15 in the morning. I usually didn’t even look groggily at my alarm clock (with no alarm set) until 9:30. How would I possibly manage to pull myself together: up, dressed, fed, ditto for kid, drop off the kid, and be someplace 15 minutes before I even ordinarily scowled properly at the coming day. And besides, a woman in her 8th month doesn’t have that much energy to spare, right?

The money was good though, and with the summer coming, and no jobs, but a baby scheduled, I couldn’t just pass it up.

“I’ll try it out.” I told my husband. “See how it works, how I feel.”

And reassuringly he said,

“Whatever you decide, it’s your decision, I’m good either way.”

So, I took the job, secure in my husband’s support and my option to back out. Two weeks later, I’m ashamed. Did I seriously wake up that late every day? Did my day really not start until I left to teach around two? Was it possible that I never stepped outside, or ran an errand until I had to leave to teach. What was I doing with my time?

Yes, breakfast with my kid was an entire morning’s affair, so was getting him dressed, and changing his diaper. It was leisurely, bordering on lazy, nah, let’s be honest, it was lazy. Now it’s astonishing what I can accomplish in 45 minutes these mornings. And come 11:15 I’ve already achieved, and I’m up and about, doing things I previously felt I had NO TIME for (like I’d constantly tell my husband). My day is profitable (literally and figuratively) at a time where I’m generally wishing I could put my kid in for an early nap. Its horrifying to discover at my age that I actually have the capability to be efficient, and even worse, I might actually be a morning person after all.

My husband too – he’s davening at an earlier minyan so he can still see me in the morning, and I drop him off at yeshiva a 45 minutes before seder even starts (about half hour before he’s usually there). It’s almost a shame the amount of prime parking spots I pass while dropping him off. And he’s learning more, writing more, accomplishing more – in a day that both of us thought had no time in it.

And now I’m left wondering, how much work have I left undone in the field? How much will I have to answer for? Yes, I may have accomplished, but I’m learning that I’m capable of a lot more. How many more hours will I discover in my day, and how soon will I unearth them?

The day is short, there’s a lot of work, and sometimes this worker is not lazy, though the owner’s still concerned.

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Musings, Slice of Life

 

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Everyone Loves a Conspiracy

There is a Jewish Price Gouging Bedroom Set Conspiracy.

The average Jewish newlyweds purchase 48 inch beds. It’s in between a twin (39”) and a full (54”). Since two beds are necessary for the master bedroom, a lot needs to be taken into consideration. Not all rooms can accommodate two full beds…and furniture, or even room to squeeze around. A twin is a wee small, and from this quandary arose the 48 inch bed. Necessity in the mother of invention, and unique to the Jewish community is this size bed, seems like a perfect compromise, right?

WRONG

It is a Jewish Conspiracy that forces newlyweds to shop exclusively in Jewish furniture stores. Jewish stores that only sell overly ornate, ostentatious, gaudy, over-priced, planks of wood!

I cannot find a decently constructed set that is in my taste and price range.

I already bought my linen, so I’m stuck with the 48, and even if I were to switch to the full, Id have to purchase new blankets, because standard blankets look silly and small and inadequate on a full….it’s too much of a hassle, so I need to find a way out.

#1 VENT (which is what I’m going now)

#2 Go Amish

My brother is carpenter so he knows quality wood and construction. I checked out several Jewish furniture stores, and the few bedroom sets I may have considered, my brother checked out and deemed them a la c___p.

He kept on hocking me to check out the Amish, because their products last as long as their beards.

So I did.

Nice stuff, a little more than I wanted to spend, but feasible. But then I fully recognized the Jewish Conspiracy. I couldn’t order their beds, or a bed from anywhere else…cause 48 inch beds don’t exist anywhere else but Brooklyn and Lakewood!!!

But then there was a nice little message on the bottom of the Amish webpage that they can do customization, just call ‘em.

And I did.

Robin, the overly perky customer service rep informed me that she thinks 48 inch frames can be done, but she has to contact the builder to make sure

“They don’t have phones y’know, so it may take a day or two to get back to you.”

I thanked her, and waited in anxious suspense for a response.

She called me back today…….they can do it.

I BEAT THE SYSTEM

(yay me)

 
28 Comments

Posted by on May 1, 2009 in Jewish

 

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The Real Pesach Blues

Everyone wrote something about Pesach.

Most of them

a whine,

a  complaint,

a moan,

a gripe,

a protest,

an objection,

a call to arms.

 

I’m going to take the high road, and will instead make every girl of maiden status jealous.

This Pesach I will be experiencing my LAST three day Yom Tov as a single girl.

Three day Yomim Tovim are the bane of every single girl’s existence.

We do everything in our power to save ourselves from the full brunt of it. Buy dry shampoo, stock up on baby powder, tie ponytails higher than the Sears Tower, (and I’m sure everyone else can fill me in on the other methods)

But to no avail most girls succumb to the matted, oily, greasy, stringy, vomit inducing, stalks of hair.

And then we pray and wish we were married, so we can adequately hide behind a snood or shaitel.

You can’t look at yourself, you are ugly, unattractive, repulsive, nasty and NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO SEE YOU (on pain of death)

Your social life is dead.

Some lucky ones can still venture out of the house on the second day.

But by the third day everyone is sequestered together with their brother’s malodorous feet and cousin’s dry matzah breath.

There is no relief.

And this is my last time

EVER.

I think I may just savor the experience, and add it to my list of “The Joys of Being Single” (post forthcoming)

 

:) :) :) :) :) :)

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2009 in Yom Tov

 

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My Mama

I went to Kever Rochel the other day. It was an interesting experience.

I was having a difficult time relating to the whole “Mama Rochel” thing, when I can just go “Tatte” at the Kosel.

And then I got it.

Me by the Kosel, is a student talking to a teacher.

Mama Rochel is a mother talking to the teacher by PTA.

When a student talks to a teacher, s/he humbles herself, flatters the teacher, asks in the nicest of ways, begs, pleads, and the teacher nods and listens and appreciates the student having the guts to approach her directly, and will definitely consider what the student asked, explained and said, but when it comes down to it, the teacher will do what s/he thinks is best.

Before we get to PTA, there’s the pre-PTA where the child tells the mother all the issues and gripes s/he has with the teacher.

“Tell her not to pick on me.”

“Her tests are so hard.”

“She doesn’t even know my name!”

Then comes PTA.

There is no greater advocate for a child than his/her mother.

“She’s really smart and creative, you have to give her a chance.”

“Call on her when she raises her hand.”

“She needs a modified test.”

“I think a different approach is necessary.”

“My child doesn’t think you like him/her.”

“You give to much homework.”

“My child really tries, I know you don’t see the effort in the results, you should see her work.”

“My child doesn’t think you even know her name.”

And when it comes to parents’ comments, teachers generally listen, because they know the parent will have no problem calling them again and putting them in their place.

So, yeah, I get the Mama Rochel thing now.

 
12 Comments

Posted by on February 5, 2009 in Jewish

 

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