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.
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
Kach es Sheli, from Avrhom Fried’s new album has got me thinking, and once again recognizing the pathos of my mindset.
“Rebono Shel Olma, Ani Yodeiah, ShBais Hamikdahs Hashlishi aino bunoi mei avanim, hu vunoi me demaos, v’im cul ma shatah tzaruch rok dmaah achas, kach es sheli”
Creator of this world, I know that the third Bais Hamekdsh is not being built from stones, but from tears. And if all that you need is one more tear, take it from me.
When I listen to it, I feel inspired, like I can do this, we are close, redemption is near, and I can be a part of it.
But then I look around at my life. I sit and complain all day, about the smallest the thing. The driver that doesn’t know to ease into the intersection when making a left turn, the secretary that misplaced my papers – again. When it takes me more than thirty seconds to decide what to make for supper, when my kid gives me a run for my money when I try to change his diaper.
Kach Es Sheli?
Who am I kidding. I can barely handle day to day stresses gracefully, appreciatively, what nerve do I have asking Hashem to make me cry for my benefit. I’m not even appreciating the tears he gives me on a regular basis, am I an idiot? A glutton for punishment, asking for more?
It’s a beautiful song, but if I’m very honest with myself – that Kach Es Sheli – let him take Avrhom Fried because, well, I’m a baby who cries from everything, but I’m not an idiot who attempts a muscle to look strong and says “punch me” hoping the other person won’t take me seriously.
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.
Concerning me, my family and friends aren’t so big on sefira, or the three weeks, or any time listening to music is prohibited..
You see, I go little crazy.
Not crazy as in irritable, moody, grouchy, sensitive, suffering from excruciating withdrawal symptoms. (although I do miss my music a lot). I go useless knowledge crazy. These time periods are when I stock up on my statistics, random facts, history, quirky grammar rules, and irrelevant science.
I’m not reading more, that I can do any time. I’m listening—to podcasts.
They are, as an invention, to put it mildly, somewhere between, the toaster oven and electric samovar. Which is pretty high, I think, at least for me (well, maybe not considering that since I’ve gotten married, I don’t own a samovar, but I want to, I just have no use for it right now, or counter space).
Podcasts are for everyone, even normal people like you (although, don’t know how normal you are considered relatively if you’re reading my blog, but never mind).
There are podcasts of old radio programs, like Abbot and Costello, GunSmoke and the like.
There are historical podcasts of all eras in History told in authoritive voices with British accents.
If you want to feel like you know more science than your friends, listen to The Naked Scientist (name’s a tease, it’s squeaky clean).
If you want random and useless knowledge to the extreme, listen to HowStuffWorks.com’s podcast (my favorite!!, I now know how Redheads, Twinkies, smart mobs, exorcism, Thanksgiving, and Entomophagy work.)
For a grammar pick me up, check out Grammar Girls podcast, and while you’re at it, try all the Quick and Dirty Tips podcast (name a tease again) like the Mr. Manners, Legal Lad and the like. (I now know the proper etiquette concerning recycling gifts, how to find a lawyer, and whether funnest is a word [word spell checker doesn’t think so, what do you think, and why…you need to know grammar to make a cohesive argument either way])
The History Channel also has some great video podcasts.
Happy Tree Friends is for those who have the darkest, blackest, most morbid sense of humor (HYSTERICAL!!!!)
And there are many more if you’re into sports, news, celebrity gossip, literature, and what not.
These podcasts keep me sane, although most will disagree as to my definition of sanity in this case. Just check out the podcast library on iTunes(or google podcast and your choice of topics), and let me know which ones are your favorites!
I got married and moved to Lakewood.
Tooyoungtoteach? In Lakewood? Oooookay…..
I was pleasantly surprised to find that I liked it in Lakewood. The community caters to a young newly married crowd, it’s easy to navigate, my apartments nice, and good outlet malls aren’t far off.
I realized that everything I so hated about Lakewood would not be an issue until I have children, or really until I have to send them to school. That’s when all the cliché’s are recognized to be real. The conformity, that narrow-mindness, the judging, the shallowness, you can fill in the blank yourself.
But never mind the negativity in the previous paragraph. I was happy in Lakewood. In my loverly cacoon of Shana Rishona. Marriage has softened me a bit, made me lose my edge. I don’t get up in arms and as indignant and “ it’s the Principle of the matter!!!” much anymore. Until this past Shabbos that is. I was jolted out of serenity, and sharply reminded that while my stay in Lakewood is nice now, I will LOATHE it passionately later.
This is what happened.
My sister-in-law, a very fine Bais Yaakov girl, from Lakewood, who I am very proud to be affiliated with, is involved in a youth tznius organization. She not involved in terms of ideology necessarily, but does a lot of work for them. In any case, she recruited me to sing on CD they were sending out in a mass-mailing. (My brother wanted to hear the cd, but he can’t listen to any of the other girls singing, so having me, his sister, accompany her was the perfect solution).
I had a great time recording. It was my first time ever and I enjoyed the experience. Me Geit Veiyter.
I was by my parents for Shabbos and I don’t recall how it came up, but my mother ending up slipping to me, that the tznius organization wasn’t going to be using any of the tracks that I sang on. They loved my voice, it’s beautiful, don’t get them wrong. However, in comparison to my sister-in-laws voice (which is quite nice) mine is much more trained, and since the purpose of the organization is to promote tznius, they didn’t think it was a good idea to have a voice like mine on their cd.
AND I LOST IT.
I don’t give a darn if they use tracks or not. I’m getting back on my “Principle of the Matter” soapbox.
WHY IS A TRAINED VOICE NOT TZNIUS?!?!!!
I am a Jack of all trades, a master of none. I can act, dance, draw, write, and sing. There is nothing to admire about me because I’m so talented. I was born like this. What I DO admire in talents, is development of them. When someone takes their G-d given talents, acknowledges them and does something with it, conquers it, advances it, masters it, makes it their own, rather than something that just fell into their lap.
Raw anything: talent, intelligence, character, is nothing to admire. Only when someone makes it their own are they worthy or notice.
So I worked on my writing skills, and my voice. While I haven’t taken them as far as I can, I’ve done more than most people.
Why someone who has developed their talents deemed not tznius?
The head of the tznius organization (who btw, is a prominent high school teacher, so her perspectives are being further sanctioned in Lakewood) also said, my voice doesn’t sound so Jewish.
A trained voice is not Jewish? Seriously, a trained voice should be the most Jewish thing out there. I’ve taken what Hashem gave me, and did something with it. Just because Jewish music is fraught with lousy voices means something of quality is un-Jewish.
I always said the difference between Brooklyn and Lakewood, and what makes Brooklyn better is that Brooklyn is shallow and knows it, Lakewood is just as shallow, but disguises it as krumkeit.
(Step off soap box and walk away in disgust to the lack of response)
It’s terrible, since I’ve written the last post, I’ve allowed myself to speak a much more yeshivishe sprach than before. It’s like now that I’ve let the world know that I’m making fun of it, I can say whatever I want.
In any case, here’s Part 2
Part 3 after Yomtov!
Feste – She was wearing Feste shoes, Christian Louboutin, cost an arm and a leg
Yur n’Tzerik – Yur n’Tzerik I’d call her, now I’ll just text her mazal tov.
Musig – The play was so boring, and clichéd, you have no musig of the pathos evoked.
Shtulz – Uch, their so shtulzy, with their kids in Lily matching underwear, I’m not even trying.
Not chal – Don’t show till after ten. It’s not chal until Mrs. K, opens up her mouth.
Matziv – It’s so not a matziv, for G-d’s sake it’s a funeral
Mistama – Mistama she’s not gonna wanna come, do I still have to invite her
Chevtza – She’s a chevtza. Of what? Of garbage.
Spitz – It’s shpitz her to say that and not even realize what she said
Kav – It’s not your kav, I don’t think you should buy it.
Zach – He has this zach about sports, don’t even go there.
Not shayach – You havta read it, it’s not shayach!
Mehalech- she wanted to leave after the chuppa; I told her it wasn’t a mehalech
Sharf – And then she called her stupid, ooh it was “sharf”
Masbir – What I don’t get it, you sign up, you get the discount and then you cancel? And they don’t chap? You have to be masbir to me
Nogea – I get paid on the books, make to much money; WIC is not nogea
How many did you know on this list?!
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?
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