Monthly Archives: July 2008

Compact Stress

Packing for camp is too stressful for me.


I feel like all my possessions are playing hiding-o-seek with me.


“Ha ha,” the chant, “you can’t find me!” And then there are those things you forget about completely, like toenail clippers.


You might have figured out that I’m packing for camp. Three points for you.


Packing makes me cranky.

I hate dragging the suitcase out of the back closet. Of course it’s the worst suitcase. With the broken wheel because my siblings who are in camp the whole summer had first dibs.

I hate refolding thing so it fits in better.

 I hate double wrapping my shampoo.

I hate having to decide what nosh I want to survive on this year.

I hate thinking I have enough room and I really don’t.

I hate trying to close the suitcase, but it doesn’t go until I enlist the help of my father. I hate the retarded mess in my room.

I hate having to count if I have enough underwear to last the duration.

I hate having to figure out how many Shabbos outfits I need, how casual can I get away with, and will anyone notice if I repeat?

I hate calculating how much clothing I have to leave over for myself to wear from the time they take my luggage till I get to camp (a whole 20 hours!)




Anywhoo…I’m almost done, Thank G-D!


On that note, I’m not sure if I can keep this blog going through August, as the camp I’m going to has no internet access. I’m working on something though. I’d appreciate your comments and critiques. Have a good one!





Posted by on July 28, 2008 in Uncategorized


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Fuel for Thought

There was a fire in Lakewood yesterday.

I happen to be spending the week in Lakewood visiting my sister, and my gorgeous nieces. The fire was around the corner from her. So, I spent some time watching the fire myself, watching it with my nieces, with one niece and then the other. It’s terrible that I was entertained by a fire, but in its own freakish way, it’s beautiful. That’s not my point though.

My point is, that the second my sister and brother-in-law heard which house the fire was in they went.

“Yay, an insurance fire.”

Forget my brother-in-law, he’s sarcastic and jaded. My sister is sweet, naive and not jaded. Really, she’s not. What she said reflected a sad and embarrassing reality.

I don’t know what the real story behind the fire is. Neither do the fire marshalls, as they’re still here investigating. The fact that every Lakewood resident I spoke to about the fire had to stick in insurance arson into their commentary is telling.

I don’t have to elaborate much. Yes, you and I know that this stereotype is based on a select bunch of selfish individuals. It’s really the principle of the matter, that’s getting me mad. This whole incident is just adding fuel to the fire of my “Jews versus Goyim” argument.

If you want to believe that you are better than them, then make yourself better because you’re better, not because they are worse (Think of Noach’s tzadkus vs. Avraham’s )

Maybe I’ll lay out my whole stream of consciousness on this topic some other time, but for the meantime, I’m fuming.

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Posted by on July 25, 2008 in Uncategorized


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Invite me in another language, maybe I’ll come then.

The Hebrew side of wedding invitations are the biggest waste of time. Besides for the point that invitations themselves are overrated (they make good dustpans when I can’t find mine), the only part anyone reads is the names to see if the chosson or kallah are hiding any embarrassing second names, like Yenta, Shprintzy, or my friend’s name, Geesa. Don’t know why people feel obligated to disclose their names in their invitations. There is no rule, or halacha of the sort, it’s not a kesubah…

In any case, nobody reads the Hebrew, yet some people, or actually most people make the biggest shtink over it. I know, because I worked as a secretary/typesetter/graphic artist in a Jewish printing press for a year.  People agonize over the wording, the font, the layout. Just stick to some standarized wording and layout the printer shows you, no one will be any wiser.

Should it be kol sasson v’cull simcha…. Or start with od yi’shama…

Should it be ha’kallah habesula, or just plain ha’kallah (If you’re even noticing this, one would assume she was a virgin and you wouldn’t need to specify)

Same with the chosson, is it, plain ha’chosson, or is it, ha’bochur  ha’chosson ha’mouflug….blah blah blah they’re all the same (the wording and the men).

Should the address of the hall be in Hebrew?

How do you spell Brooklyn, transliterated?

Where should they put the line breaks , before or after the Hebrew date?

Should that week’s Parsha be on the same line?

After the chosson’s and kallah’s names, should it be shetichye, or neryu, or a different one for each.

Should it be written out or abbreviated?

Should the time be in Hebrew, or Arabic numbers?

Someone once even asked if Arabic numbers were allowed on a Jewish invitation. I just looked at them.

And what is up with “ateres zekainim”? I love them and all, but what are they doing on an invitation?

With each invitation I’d go through at least 4 proofs, and most of the changes were on the Hebrew side.  

I’ve decided for my invitations, I’m going to have the Hebrew side, well, looking Hebrew, but actually English transliterated.

I doubt anyone would notice the difference.











Posted by on July 24, 2008 in Weddings


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Of Teachers and Tutors

I’ve reached the conclusion that life is all about semantics.

My sister  is the best type of student: She’s there, she listens, she participates, she does her homework, she tries, real hard. And most of the time she gets there. (well, she does have a 4.0 g.p.a. for a reason)

She’s taking an English course now, and she doesn’t know a thesis statement from a primary source. Being the English teacher, I’m expected to help her. And I do, with a few restrictions.

1)      I  don’t write, I edit

2)      I won’t actually revise, just point out where revision is needed and why, and how to go about it

3)      I will read it as many times as you’d like, I still will not change a word

This would be a great help to most people, or actually anyone who has the rudiment skills of English writing, which she doesn’t, thanks to her brilliant Bais Yaakov education.  

So, she gets annoyed and frustrated when her papers sound like third grader wrote it. And her husband gets more annoyed at me, “why don’t I just write it for her?”

Besides for the fact that I have no interest or patience in doing it, I’m an English teacher, and I do not want my students’ older sisters or parents writing their assignments for them. It defeats the entire purpose. How I can now go and do what I penalize my students for doing.

So, I still help minimally…until this morning when my other sister called me.

“I’m sick and tired of hearing about her stupid papers; she can’t talk about anything else! PLEASE write it for her!”

I protested,

“I can’t! It’s not right, it’s cheating!”

“Write it as her tutor, not sister. Tutors are allowed, right”

And that’s when the “ding” went of in my head, SEMANTICS.

If I call myself a tutor, I can help her more

If I call myself a teacher, not grad student (which I am both) I have more authority

If I call it plagiarism, instead of harsh cheating, it doesn’t sound so bad

If I collide with someone, instead of bumping into them, it’s not only my fault

If I organized my room, instead of rearranged the mess is sound neater

If I have an epiphany instead of some weird thought, I sound like an intellectual

If I’m attempting something, it doesn’t mean I’m trying and failing miserably

It’s more than euphemisms…it’s word awareness and their power…

…starting from now, second guess everything I say.






Posted by on July 21, 2008 in Teaching


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Pay your way to good grades

I was in Target today, looking at school supplies.

Actually, I was there just to pass the time so I wouldn’t focus on the fact that I hadn’t eaten all day, and still had three hours to go. So while I was there is spent most of my time drooling over the school supplies.

I have this thing with school supplies. They just look so important and efficient. I look at them and see “instant success” blinking on top of them. Of course I’m rational and logical, and know that post-it flags that I have no use for aren’t going to make me a better teacher or grad student. On second though, I just use that logic as a rationale of why I don’t actually buy any of these supplies. Because they are so darn EXPENSIVE!!!

Why does it cost $5 for two pads of paper, measuring 1 inch by 1 inch with a light adhesive covering about ¼ of the back!?!

And why does paper about as thin as my flimsy nails (I need a manicure!) cost a dollar a sheet?

Am I the only one who thinks these prices are retarded, or am I just ignorant (don’t answer that).

Who actually pays these prices? Because three days before school, I make a dash to Amazing Savings to fight to pay a whopping  99 cents for a stack of 200 post it notes to stick all viciously in my illegible handwriting all over my students papers.

Everyone else seems to be there too, picking up loose-leafs for a dollar, not five. Pens for a dollar and not three, two packages of lined paper a dollar not $2.50 each!

Anywhoo…Target didn’t have that good a selection anyway. They were highly biased in the lines they carried, and didn’t include some of the “ahem” better lines. You should go to Staples if you really want to see variety and go to School/office supplies heaven.

Which reminds me that Target had a really bad and limited selection of organizers, all they had was a whole bunch of stuff my this frank guy who apparently gives seminars on keeping yourself organized, but the stupid thing gives you know room to write anything to actually organize yourself. Where is my to-do list supposed to go….I liked the one I had this year…it was from Staples…I’m biased…I’m allowed to be…it’s my blog  =)





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Posted by on July 21, 2008 in Teaching


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Emotional Dis”dress”

I believe that one of the worst feeling a woman can feel today is being cheated out of a good buy. Well, I can’t exactly say that it’s the worst feeling in terms of reality, where there’s death, sickness and tragedy all over…but those are instances were a person is expected to be overwhelmed by emotion, not feel good and the like. But being cheated out of a good buy, is well…to put it mildly, very disappointing.                 

For most women, shopping is one of, if not their favorite pastimes. A woman shops around looking for great things at great prices (meaning cheap, or relatively), and when they don’t get it when they can, it’s very distressing.

To give an example: Say I bought a pair of slippers for $30, I love my slippers, they’re really cool, then two weeks later me friend calls me and say

oh y’know your slippers, I just got them, for get this, 15 dollars, half price.”

All of a sudden, your slippers are ugh, Like they weren’t worth it. One because, they don’t feel their worth anymore; they were selling them for less, so they must not be worth the money you paid, so you were in way ripped off. Nobody likes that; it makes them feel stupid that they didn’t know better. And two they feel silly, like,

“Oh I should have waited two weeks, but no, I had to get them then…” and you feel like you’re a lousy shopper. It’s as though you can’t shop well.

Now think of it this way. If you love to shop, then you hope you’re good at it. People generally like to be good at something they love, but if you didn’t get a good buy (it might have been a good buy, but there was a better one) then you’re not good, or not as good as you thought or hoped to be with something you love.

Another thing is, as I’ve mentioned before, people are expected to be upset and emotional when someone dies, is sick etc. These people are expected to display extreme emotions of crying, weeping, shrieking and the sort, so they can express themselves fully. Most people understand and can sympathize with those emotions.

Then you have a person who got the raw end of a deal (like they bought too early..) If they would get all distressed about it, more than a small lament, people would think them insane. Like they had no life, substance, depth. So you have this emotion, that you can’t express (unless you don’t mind being looked at as though you’re a complete airhead) it’s all bottled up, and it just makes you feel awful. And that is why I believe bad buys are one of the worst emotions experienced by woman these days. (Sad and pathetic, I agree, but true in any case)

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Posted by on July 17, 2008 in Uncategorized


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Beautiful Agony

The back of my foot is ripped to shreds. My toes are red and squished. I have a large blister on the sole of my foot, yet I love my new shoes. They are a black patent leather, have a sizable heel and look great with my black dress, or really anything. The fact that they are slowly killing me is insignificant.

They make me walk with confidence, my back straight and head tall. They make me wittier, sharper and smarter when I wear them. To put it mildly, they are cool.

So, so what if I can’t walk the next day.

So what if I need to soak my feet for hour in Epsom salt to relieve the pain of wearing them.

So what if Johnson & Johnson band-aid stock goes up after every time I wear them.

My grandmother is Hungarian and she taught me well, “For beauty we suffer” and suffer I do.

Trust me, it’s worth it.







Posted by on July 16, 2008 in Uncategorized


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