Monthly Archives: August 2012

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!


Posted by on August 27, 2012 in Humor


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To Dr. Doomstein, 20 Years Later, You Still Lose

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?


Posted by on August 22, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Good Enough for Some, Isn’t Good Enough

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


Posted by on August 14, 2012 in Food, Humor, Jewish


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Being RASHional

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?


Posted by on August 7, 2012 in Humor, Slice of Life


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