The phone rings; it’s my mother.
“TYTT, don’t beat yourself up. You’re very busy, and stressed, so what if you didn’t write and made a cookbook for your sister instead.”
I breathed deeply, I love supportive mothers.
“You didn’t read the last paragraph did you, what I did was just a manifestation of an underlying trait which indicated a lack of passion in an area I thought it existed.
“Ye ye,” She brushed me off, “The cookbook was a one time thing, writing is not, apples and oranges.”
I smiled, maybe supportive mothers have a point.
“But there are always one-time things that get in the way.” I said tugging at the loose thread of her theory.
“Fine, don’t write, be a defeatist. What nareshkeit are you so busy with anyway?”
Well, if she put it that way…This is what I’m so busy with, or was so busy with – one of those pressing one-time things that spring me into action…
Driving home from the co-op one day my cochlea’s were stimulated. I was listening to Radio Kol BeRama – The Jewish Music radio station in Lakewood, when a song that I actually liked came on. The station plays way to much gravelly Carlbach for my taste, but I had no patience plugging in my ipod, and even less patience for song selection (I’m so freakin’ lazy, I know!) This song though was different. It had a sax, and no trumpet, a rarity in Jewish pop. The lyrics were a mix of a posuk and English words (buncha singers have been doing that lately, notably Avraham Fried and Benny Friedman). The vocals (a duet) were trained and smooth – another Jewish rarity. And I enjoyed. I even still remember where I was while listening to it – County line and Madison, waiting for the light to change, with Crystal Lake realty to my right, and Exxon on my left – it’s a long light; I didn’t mind.
I thought I recognized Ari Goldwag’s voice; actually, I was pretty sure it was him; his voice is pretty distinct; somehow he makes a bubble stuck in your throat sound good. Figuring a quick Google search would garner me the song, I got right to it – a good song it worth any time in the world, everyone knows that. But I didn’t find it.
I searched by the lyrics I remembered. Nothing. I combed MostlyMusic’s website for the song title (which I totally made up, but just assumed based on the song content). I went through Ari Goldwag’s discography, his website, nothing. I searched the lyrics again. Nada. And I gave up. For the time being, that is.
A few days later, I was bored, and writing takes too much thinking, so I took another stab at it. Nothing. Searched YouTube, all English Collections: fruitless.
A Motziah Shabbos later, I somehow ended up on Radio Kol Berama’s website. Once there, I figured might as well take another stab. I submitted a song request just a description of the song, and assumed artist. Of course I was in Brooklyn at the time, so I couldn’t tune in, and of course I was called away from the computer, so I couldn’t even stick around for a possible streaming. Strike three. Or so I thought.
I was frustrated, and disappointed. Seriously, how elusive can a Jewish song be?! It’s such a small world.
Fast forward a few weeks and a random perusal of my Facebook news feed, a friend posted an audio clip, with this message:
I have this one recording of this song, does anyone know who sings it and what album its from?
IT WAS MY SONG!!! And someone else was looking for it too! Misery loves company. Now that it wasn’t just me, I was spurned on to resume my search (I’m so altruistic, no?). I qualified for Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity. I went through the same motions as before, no change in results , none.
This time though, I ended up at the Jewish Music Review blog. In a moment of inspiration, I e-mailed them, maybe they would know. On this blog, there was an article about Yitzy Spinner’s new website. Could Yitzy Spinner be the second half of the duet? Ari Goldwag and he were in Miami Boy’s Choir together, did they keep up? I re-searched MostlyMusic this time under Yitzy Spinner’s work, again, nothing. I went back to Jewish Music Review, and clicked the link to Yitzy Spinner’s website, maybe it would provide me with more insight. It didn’t.
In the corner of the website was a “Contact Yitzy” link. Intended for potential gigs, I made other use of it.
Hi, I heard a song, Eilecha (I made up that title). A mix of Hebrew and English lyrics. I recognized Ari Goldwag’s and I think your voice singing it. For the life of me, I can’t find a record of the song anywhere. I loved it, and am desperate for a copy of it. Do you know what I’m talking about? Can you steer me in the right direction? Thank you.
Impressively, he responded within the hour,
Nothing that I can think of. Did you try going through Ari’s music?
Dead end. Again. But a stroke of genius prodded me, or maybe it was stupidity, because why didn’t I think of it before – E-mail Ari Goldwag. Easily, I found his e-mail address on his website. And he too responded quickly.
My heart quickened, and a smile burst forth when I read his succinct response,
it’s from Sheves Achim 2. I sang it with the Bell brothers.
or if you want just that track, you can get it on itunes
I found it!!! I spread the joy to my Facebook friend, who of course realized that she had the cd uploaded on her computer all along.
The resolution to this quest of course completed my life goals, and I lived happily ever after. Not really, but at least I got a song that I really love to listen to.
My friend’s thought I was insane for going as far as to e-mail the (assumed) artist to find a song that I heard once and enjoyed. I think it’s just indicative of my nature, and writing problem. Do I want in bad enough – it would seem not – again.
Sorry, supportive Ma, it’s not a defeatist writing, but a realist.
(I tried posting the song, but wordpress is not so generous with embedding mp3′s, so those of you who are friends with me on FB, can check it out, I posted it, or try the links above)
She looked at me, her face a mixture of awe and disgust.
“I know you want your kid to all cultured and educated, but don’t you think you’re starting a bit young?”
I gave her a blank look, having no idea what she was referring to.
“Your kid just said he’s going to the Mona Lisa.”
“What?” I said. “He didn’t say that.
“I swear he did.”
I can’t remember the last time I even thought about the Mona Lisa.” I protested.
Just then my kid scooted up in his Cozy Coupe,
“Mommy, I go Momo Leesa.” And then pitter-pattered away as fast his feet could pedal.
“See,” she pointed after my son.
I just laughed at my sister,
“That’s Morah Aliza, his babysitter, he’s going to. The other place he goes to is ‘sheeva’ to ‘lorn’. How’s that for cultured and educated.”
Lakewood ain’t what it used to be – to blatantly advertise such gashmeis and pritzus.
Is no place to remain unsullied?
I must broaden my horizons, spread my wings and seek purer pastures.
Are they serious? Is that the best tagline they could come up with? It makes me question of they can accurately define ironic. And please, let me use some, just some of my neurons to develop the opinion they so subtlety suggested to me. No, I did not go to see it, apparently I’m not one of the ‘neshei chinuch’ who reccomended it (can you see that little note in the corner?) Embarrassing.
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.)
I’ll admit it; I read books just to say I’ve read them. I excuse myself, because I usually end up loving them, like Anna Karenina. (now I just made myself sound super educated and snooty by having read that behemoth of a novel)
Over the summer I read Strunk and White’s Elements of Style. I even read a book on the history of Elements of Style. The history held my attention better (I always did like history).
I enjoyed E.B. White’s introduction and comments on style at the end; otherwise, I found it kind of “meh”.
Sacrelige for me to say, I know.
Hey, I love the rule “Omit needless words”. Don’t always listen to it though.
So, I’ve read the book, “the little book” as it was called. I can now call myself accomplished in matter of English Composition (or at least the knowledge of it) by having done so. Hurrah!
I liked Grammar Girl’s Grammar book better. I’m a sucker for commercialism.
I have a bunch of earwigs driving me loo loo. They’re all from the same source, and suppose I should be thankful that at least I know most of the lyrics. Not like when you get an earwig, and you only know one word in the chorus and you mumbo jumbo the rest until that spot and you mentally belt out that “Help… mumblemumble…Help” (Beatles ‘Help’ anyone? Actually I know all the lyrics to that one, so never mind, but you get my drift) It goes on in a loop, all day and if you’re lucky you can infect someone else, just by humming a bar or two; make them just as miserable as you.
I have the Marvelous Middos Machine on repeat – in my home, and still in my head once my kid is sleeping and I can turn it off. Seder V’nikyon, Kaas, Guy’va, Tzar Bar L’chaim. C’mon you can all sing along with me,
“You gotta be neat, you gotta be clean, let Mommy take a break from the washing machine”
“…Like a big volcano that’s gonna blow its stack. Just stay calm and cool”
“Hey there Mr. Guy’va you think you’re really great…”
And the classic
“I’m a hippopotamus, from my top to my bottomus…”
They don’t make ‘em like they used to. I grew up on these tapes (now mp3 files on my ipod), and my kids are going to too (along with Shmuel Kunda’s “The Last Pesach”, “Talking Coins” and “Magic Yalmulke” to name a few). 20 years, and they haven’t made a better product, today’s kids are singing the same songs we did. Pretty dumbfounding, no?
With recording equipment, sound effects, computers, and people with the technical know-how in greater excess and accessibility, they haven’t been able to produce anything on the creative caliber as the original “Jewish Children’s Tapes”.
Of course a few of the oldies have regretfully disappeared – I’d love to get my hands on “The Amazing Torah Bike” “Bike, bike, Torah Rider, put us in your bubbleizer –anyone?” and “Torah Island”.
What do you think, are the originals way better, or am I being overly nostalgic?
I’m am amateur baker, if you can even award me with that title. When my niece was born and my sister in law and brother in law made a Kiddush for her, I was a good aunt (and sister in law) and sent something over for the occasion. I usually send biscotti, in a cookie jar. It looks cute, doesn’t require much patchkening, and best of all, it tastes good. I’m not sure what possessed me, maybe because it was after Purim, and I had just made all those black and white cookies, and I didn’t want my newly acquired skill to go to waste, I made pink and white cookies.
I worked hard on them, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to results. I didn’t have the right shade of pink, it was a bit bright, due to my food coloring packaging description of “NEON” (I thought it was fun colors to get at the time, I didn’t actually think about how I might use it, and that whatever I would be coloring, I’d like it to resemble edible food, not radioactive waste).
Also, it’s a pain doing each cookie, one side at a time, holding it between your thumb and index finger; I developed temporary carpal tunnel syndrome. But for a first attempt, they were ok. The place where the pink and white met up wasn’t always totally straight. The pink sometimes overlapped the white a little bit, leading to lighter shades of pink in some places. They were really pretty from a short distance though.
I made tons, so I froze most of them, and worked on the final presentation.
Exhibited on a trendy rectangular plate, wrapped in cellophane and tied with a ribbon, it was perfect – for Queens. And it was easily one of the fanciest things at the Kiddush. I beamed and blushed with all the compliments.
Fast-forward a month, and brother and sister in law were making a Kiddush for their newest addition. Pregnancy wasn’t being nice to me, and I didn’t have the energy to make something. I kept thinking I did, I even put up a cookie dough on Monday. Made the actual cookies three days later, but the decorating never happened (Pregnancy won that battle).
It was Friday, and I was getting a bit frantic, yes, my brother and sister in law would more than understand and forgive me for not sending something in celebration, but I wouldn’t be able to live it down for myself (besides I wanted my sister in law to send something when I would eventually be making either a Kiddush or shalom zachor – selfish motives, I know).
I remembered my pink and whites, pretty in the freezer, waiting to grace another Kiddush. I took them out, and looked at them scornfully. They weren’t good enough – not for a Lakewood crowd. I could never show my face and be proud of my confections here. Besides, these cookies in Lakewood would almost be insulting to Baal Hasimcha. She’d have to put them out, due to social dictums, but they’d most probably mar the balance and beauty of everything else presented.
Last minute I wrangled something together with my sister’s help (who I was hosting for that Shabbos for the Kiddush). Using the cookies I had yet to decorate, we finagled something that could pass muster in Lakewood and did not require great technical prowess. Shalom al yisroel, I can still show my face in proper society.
I ate those pink and white cookies with my coffee. They tasted great. My other sister in law in Queens is due soon. I might be making another test drive on the pink (or maybe blue) and whites, and see if I’m ready for primetime in Lakewood.
And for those who think I’m crazy, check out the cookies my sister in law sent over for my baby’s Shalom Zachor. This is what I’m up against, and she didn’t take this picture, I did. She thought they weren’t good enough to merit a memory.
It’s not totally about competition, and being good enough, but really doing what’s acceptable and expected in your community. For my ego though, I should maybe consider Queens.
On second thought, Queens is only 20 minutes from Far Rockaway – and my sister – who made these
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?