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Just Passing Through

I want window valances. Not pretty, frilly delicate ones. Bold ones, with sharp lines. Possibly emerald, or in that family.

I also want new paint. My walls are white. Not stark. But the dulling gray white, that just makes you think off crumple generic tissues. I’d paint my dining room a neutral sort of yellow. I’d put mauve in my bedroom. And for my kids room I want one wall electric blue, the others a light shade. And really, I want one wall to be a cork board.

I also want a coffee table.

And light fixtures. I have no light fixtures, just bare bulbs. It’s a little to industrial looking to be hip.

It’s not about the money. Or the shallowness. I’d do it all in a heartbeat, if it was my house, but it’s not. It’s a rental; it would be foolish to invest in this space. I’m just passing through until my dream home (with too many windows) becomes my own. And until that happens, I’m happy to wait with bare windows.

There was this story about the Chofetz Chaim that I never fully appreciated. A visitor came and commented on his sparsely furnished home. The Chofetz Chaim inquired of his guest where his furniture was. The guest looked at him quizzically; I’m just a visitor, passing though. The Chofetz Chaim nodded in agreement. He too was just a visitor, passing though, waiting to go home, for Mashiach and Yerushlayim.

As a child, I was never the one shrieking along to the song “We want Mashiach, we want Mashiach now” not because I didn’t want it, but that I didn’t totally get it(also I’m not a shrieker, too self-conscious for that).  I’m not all there yet either.

But I’m not buying valances or painting, because I’m just passing through, waiting for my real home.

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2014 in Jewish, Musings

 

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The Real Winners

“Who should I make it out to?” I asked.

“Zichron Yaakov Tzedaka,” she answered, her hands fumbling around one her many manila envelopes finding change for another teacher; she was always doing some chessed thing or another. I crouched over the desk and wrote out a ten dollar check. She handed me three red tickets.

“Write your name on it; the display’s past the double doors; put the tickets in there.

I nodded smiling; I had seen the display for the last week. Every day when I walked to class, the opportunity to win a set of linen or aMarc Jacob watch mocked me.

“You know this money is going straight for tzedaka,”

She nodded, “Ye, I know, that’s what I put this auction together for.”

I shook my head and laughed,

“No, I meant this money is lishma, yeah, I’m putting a ticket in, but I never win anything ever, Publisher’s Clearing House doesn’t even send me letters”

She chuckled,

“Really, nothing? Ever? Most people have won something or another, even if it not a Chinese auction, but a scratch off lotto or the like.”

“Nope,” I said almost proudly, “Nothing. If it’s based on luck, I’m sure to lose. I’ll win you any game of spit. War, I lose every time.”

She shrugged lightly. “Drawing’s this Thursday.”

She left the teacher’s room. I left too, I was running late already, I had to pick up the kids, but make a stop first. My sister organized abone marrow/stem cell blood drive, and was harassing me to be swabbed.

“You have to show support for my effort” she said.

“I don’t have time.”

“You could save someone’s life,” she changed tactics.’

“The likelihood is small, and really, I just don’t have time.”

“I’ll pay the extra $10 dollars at the babysitter that you keep your kids there a bit longer and just do it.”

“Fine,” I conceded. “I’m doing this for you. Because, really, you know the odds, you’re the coordinator, and keep your 10 bucks, I’ll do it lishma.” I winked.

The whole thing took five minutes. Swab here, here, here, and here. Lost all my lipstick to the q-tip, but I got a nice membership card telling me I’m a donor, and did my second good deed for the day. Then I walked back to my car all the way across the parking lot, because there are never spots up front when I arrive – plenty now, but none then.

It doesn’t even bother me anymore, it’s my mazal, I’ve come to accept it. Am almost proud of it at times. and it keeps me from doing stupid things, like trying incessantly to call into the radio station, praying to be the 107th caller and win a new cd, a free pizza or something of the sort. I don’t hope for rain, or to make the bus, I plan ahead instead. It’s ok, don’t pity me, I’m happy, I just have nosort of luck when it comes to any sorts of odds.

My chicken soup was up, and the fish already made, when her name showed up on the caller id Thursday night.

“I won I won I won!!” I shouted by way of answering the call.

“Ummm, actually,” she started.

“You can’t tease me, calling Thursday when you’re supposed to be drawing the Chinese Auction.”

She laughed, “We drew the winners for the auction, have no fear, your streak is still alive.”

“Phew!” I joked, “Close call. So what can I do for you?”

There was a moment’s pause, and when she spoke again her voice was more serious, earnest, concerned,

“I volunteer for Gift of Life, you’re a match to someone, would you be willing to go for further testing?”

It took a moment to register.

“You won.” She said softly.

I guess I did.

“I won, I won, I won!” I repeated  my opening line.

I broke my streak on the mother load.

(Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction, though inspired by real events)

 

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2013 in Writing

 

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if i could

a discussion in class about choices,

mistakes,

decisions,

second chances,

 

and if you could do it over

would you?

should you?

could you?

 

said many students

they’d love

they’d want

they’d die

 

me?

not sure

don’t think

no.

 

wishing when it happened,

that it had gone differently.

that I said something else.

that some things didn’t happen at all.

 

those moments with the pause

of shame

of frustration

of desperation

 

smiles not meaning happiness

but, sarcasm,

but, grief

but isolation

 

people ask,

“Why do bad things happen to good people?”

“Only the good die young”

“She’s so sweet, but suffers so”

 

the unsatisfactory answer:

they can handle it

G-d loves them

it’s a test

 

i don’t know

if i’m a “good” person

if i “handled” it

if i’ve passed

 

i do know i’m here

to-day

just now

this moment

 

because of what

i’ve done,

didn’t do,

gone though,

 

all is

for better or worse,

the good with the bad

the joy in the sorrow

 

i am me,

because

despite

contrary

 

of

it

them

all

 

and i kinda like me.

so no,

so sorry

so, whatever.

 

i choose

no reset

do over

groundhog day.

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2013 in Musings, Poems

 

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Paternal Prediction revisited

Old School Graphic Design Tools

Today’s WordPress Prompt reminded me of this post I wrote 5 years ago – it’s as relevant as ever.

I hope I don’t turn out like my father.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my father.

Tonight we were doing an early spring-cleaning, just one closet. Out came the old coats, the worn out shoes, the broken kitchen appliances, and assorted memories.

There was a large leather portfolio that I dump unceremoniously on the side. It was just waiting to be placed in an organized allotted space. My father passed the wreckage that was the cleaning, and spotted the portfolio.

“My old stuff!” he said excitedly. He picked it up, cleared whatever was on the kitchen table with the sweep of his hand, laid down the portfolio and opened it.

Inside was my father’s old work. His work as a graphic artist, years before computers were standard. Where the artist actually had to be one, and not rely on the manipulations and clip art of present day (not minimizing today’s graphics artist, but it’s a completely different field with a different set of skill requirements).
He pulled out papers where he created an accountant’s sheets. He drew ALL the lines. Perfectly. He pulled out posters he created for concerts where all the elements where pasted on top of each other and then printed together. Brochures, where he drew the products, and the simulation of person trying it. He pulled out a yellowed New York Times, where an ad he created had ran. He pulled out several envelopes and letterheads in which logos he created graced. And then he just took out fun things that he drew with an advertisement theme. It wasn’t just, oh I put together the logo or I worked on it; he CREATED it.

“Ta,” I said. “You were amazing. What happened?” He just laughed and said something like,

“I’m so busy just printing now, I don’t have time to patchke on this stuff, besides, this is not how it runs anymore.”

“But, you’re so good!” I protested. He smiled for the compliment but sighed slightly.

“Maybe when I retire I’ll go back to it.” He said optimistically.

I always prided myself on having some artistic skill, I knew I got it from my father, and I’ve seen plenty of his personal work. But seeing today how he utilized his talents for business was successful and loved it, made me feel a bit inadequate in my dabbling in the arts.

But he’s not using it anymore. He loved it. He was great. But real life gets in the way.

I don’t want that to happen to my talents. I want to use them, for them to be me, not for me to tell my children years from now,

“Y’know I had blog when I was younger….”

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2013 in Family, Musings

 

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My Animal Instinct

Today’s post is brought to by Plinky. I answered today’s question, of which animal I’d choose to be:

If I had to choose which animal to be, I think I’d go with the American Bald Eagle.

They are lookers.

They are strong

They are powerful.

They are respected.

They are talented.

They are smart.

They are also an endangered species, so anyone who messes with them is instantly considered a jerk.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on December 30, 2012 in Musings, The Sporadic Side

 

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Depressing Discoveries: The Sequel

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:

Eilecha

I have this one recording of this song, does anyone know who sings it and what album its from?
thanks

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.

http://www.mostlymusic.com/sheves-achim-volume-2.html

or if you want just that track, you can get it on itunes

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/sheves-achim-2/id451590693

kol tuv,
Ari Goldwag

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)

 

 
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Posted by on December 25, 2012 in Humor, Jewish, Music, Slice of Life, Writing

 

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Culturing Children

This image was selected as a picture of the we...

This image was selected as a picture of the week on the Malay Wikipedia for the 22nd week, 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.”

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2012 in Humor, Jewish

 

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I Just Don’t Know

I’m typing this post from my phone. It’s a pain to capitalize, use apostrophes, and frankly say anything more than I need to. Basically, an atmosphere not really conducive to writing, unless you’re Hemingway succinct – I haven’t reached that level of mastery yet (or probably ever).

So why am I subjecting myself to such obvious torture is a good question you ask. I cancelled the internet service in my house, is the simple answer, or really that is the answer, it just leads to the next question that has a more complex or elusive answer, why did I cancel my Internet service?

I’m not sure. I know it’s good for me. Good for me, on a few important levels:  socially, mentally, and spiritually.

But I feel a little torn, because I always held myself as the voice of reason, crying the internet is a tool, and that it’s the people that use it that are good or bad. And now I seem like the extremist, which I never want to be; the Rambam says to take the middle road with everything (but anger) and this is not it. And now I have to get off my soap box, because I can’t preach moderation if I’m not living it myself (I hate those people who say it’s ok to do something, but they don’t do it themselves).

Suddenly though, I find so many more hours in my day. Hours to to do the things I never get around to: organizing my pictures into albums, patchening a little on supper, playing with my children uninterrupted, with full focus not waiting for something to download, process, or what-not. I have time to breathe and live. And it’s amazing to discoverI can be a fully functional member of society without reading Yahoo’s article “10 Things Your Waiter Won’t Tell You”. I’m enjoying the freedom I never knew I had given up, and with access on my phone, I’m still connected when I need to be, but I’m not going to be idling hours away browsing.

We’ll see how it all works out long term. The people at Verizon say I can keep my service on “vacation” for nine months before it’s made permanent. Nine months…nine months to create a new being of myself-if I choose.

But will I? I just don’t know.

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2012 in Jewish, Musings

 

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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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Strunk – no Stunk & White – No Style (on my part)

Judging a book by its cover – would you want to read this?

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.

C’mon, This book looks way more fun!

 
4 Comments

Posted by on August 27, 2012 in Humor

 

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