Monday, December 29, 2008

the year's end

The holidays are coming to an end, and I find myself reflecting on the past year and thinking about the year ahead. So much happens in the course of a year, and I think we tend to forget about some of the things that occur in those 12 months, or not realize how important and amazing they are. Of course, we have television show countdowns (yes, I watched the top 40 videos of 2008 on vh1), and year in reviews in newspapers and magazines, but I'm talking about the personal things that happen to us. We must look back and try to remember all those little things that we did or happened to us, good and bad. I know it's tough to remember small or seemingly insignificant details of our lives, but I think doing so helps us realize how full and rich our lives really are.

This year, as I've been doing my yearly reflection, I've come to realize how amazing this year really was for me. I've done and experienced so much, and personally, I hope 2009 can even just match 2008 in that aspect. Here are some highlights from my life in 2008:

I went on my first trip to Israel; a trip that has changed me forever. I took trips to Philadelphia, Lehigh, Florida and New Jersey. I traveled alone, with family, with friends and with people who started off as strangers, but have become life-long confidants. I went on dates. I dated. And since 2008 did not bring my soul mate to me, I will continue my dating excapades in 2009. I made new friends, reconnected with old friends and lost some others along the way. I planned, organized and ran tons of events at work. I learned a lot about my job. I learned a lot about myself. I stood up for myself and doubted myself. I helped welcome new life into the world, and watched as life was taken away much too soon. I experienced joy and heartache; happiness and sadness. And all in all, I had a very full year. A year that helped me grow and change. A year that will shape the next year to come.

My hope for everyone in the new year is to really, truly live life. Experience all you can. Learn and grow from all your experiences, whatever they may be. Take time to tell those who matter to you that you love them. Take time to think and reflect on your life. Take care of yourself and take care of others. Live your life. Love your life. Happy new year!

Friday, December 12, 2008

h&o on the daily show

This is too funny and wonderful not to share. A little Hall & Oates fun to brighten your day (it brightened mine at least)...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

knitting mania

I don't know if you know this about me, but I love to knit. Ok, so it's a little old-lady-ish, but it's relaxing and rewarding. You can lay in bed, watching tv, just knitting away, and after some time, you've handmade a scarf or sweater or blanket. And I love that. Now I am a fairly novice knitter. I've been doing it for a few years, taught by my mom, but I am no where near her skill level. I am a slow knitter, but I have to say my work is quite nice.

My problem is that I get bored. I admit it - I currently have three half-finished scarfs sitting in my knitting bin at home. After a while, I'm ready to start a new pattern - done with the one I've been doing for weeks. I have completed a handful of scarves, but nothing too thrilling. However, last week, I finally finished my first ever baby blanket. It took me two months and one day, but I finished it, and I loved it. It was pink and soft and just delicious (see picture below, with my adorable dog laying on my bed in the background). My mom was concurrently knitting one as well - a similar pattern, with similar colors, but she finished hers in half the time. We made them for a friend of mine at work who is having twin baby girls, and she really, truly loved them. Her appreciation made all the hard work completely worth it.

And now I am on to my next project. Ironically, I began a new scarf, even though the unfinished three lay sadly in my room. Eventually I will finish them all, I promise. I might also start another blanket. We'll see, and I think I'll continue to post my progress on all these projects - it's good motivation.

Monday, December 1, 2008

looking for some inspiration

I have been MIA for weeks now, I know. I'm hoping the arrival of my new and improved computer will help end this writing block of mine. Actually, just the prospect of a faster-than-snail-speed computer and gasp, Microsoft Word, lifts my spirits a bit. Still, I'm just so uninspired lately. Inspiration comes from so many different places, and for me, it is something very necessary to cultivate a creative thought-process which ultimately encourages my writing. But lately, I've got nothing. I guess this is in part due to the stagnancy in my life. Every part of me feels stagnant - my work life, my personal life, the whole kit and kaboodle. It's like time is passing by, but I'm stuck standing still, unable to change, unable to move forward. And I don't know what to do about it.

Yesterday I joined eHarmony. I actually buckled down and paid for a three-month subscription. (There was a very-discounted special going on.) I really think the addition of someone special in my life would help propel me forward, hopefully in a direction I'd like to be going. I've been on Jdate forever, with luck here and there, but nothing that lasted. And lately, I just see the same guys on there over and over again. So I decided it was time for some fresh faces. But here comes the dilemma I have. Most of the Jewish guys I see on eHarmony are the same guys I see on Jdate! So, I decided to expand my pool of "matches" by accepting not only Jewish men, but also "spiritual, but not religious" guys. I struggled with this decision for a while, and went back and forth several times. Is it absolutely necessary for me to date, and ultimately marry, someone Jewish? I've dated Jews and non-Jews alike, but over the past year or so, decided I definitely needed to be with someone Jewish. My trip to Israel cemented this idea. But yesterday I found myself struggling with this concept again. I'm still unsure as to whether I should reduce my pool of potential suiters by only accepting someone Jewish.

After all this inner turmoil, I decided to finally finish the book I've been reading - The Magic Touch by Gila Manolson. I bought this book several months ago to try to understand the concept of shomer negiah, or abstaining from touch with the opposite sex. It always seemed pretty extreme and crazy to me, but this book made it all make so much sense, and I suggest everyone read it. I'm not sure I could make that commitment, especially in the society I live in today, but it is a wonderful and extremely smart idea. I've always believed in taking it slow in a relationship, and even feel that kissing someone is a very serious thing. In one of my very first blog posts, I discussed how I always felt out of place among a generation of people taking physical affection and sex very lightly, and how the idea of bashert, soul mates, connected me to a solid idea that was always there, but I never knew existed. This is sort of how I felt while reading The Magic Touch. Being shomer negiah makes finding your soul mate much less confusing. It takes away the complicated physical aspect of a relationship and almost forces you to really get to know your partner. It allows for a deeper and more real connection than would be possible when physicality gets in the way. The author explained that even a pat on the back or holding someone's hand causes you to feel something, make a judgement, which would cloud the real, true connection between two people. Touch is a powerful thing, and while it is wonderful and special, it could be misleading and hurtful in the long run if it's not with the right person. Plus abstaining from touch makes even a hug with your husband or wife that much more amazing and special when it happens. In theory, this all makes so much sense to me, but being the affectionate person I am, I just don't think I'm willing to give up holding hands or great, big hugs with a friend of the opposite sex or a future boyfriend, even if they might cloud my judgement and hurt my feelings after the moment is over.

I could go on and on about this for days, but overall I no longer think it's a completely absurd idea. Even though it is a fairly extreme life choice, it does make a lot of sense. And I think there could be other levels, or shades, of the idea that might be more practical in today's society in America. I mean, who wouldn't want to have a happier and healthier romantic life in the long run? Who wouldn't want to find a real, deep connection with someone? I know I would. And while I don't quite know how this idea of shomer negiah will fit in to my life, its basic principles will definitely be in my mind if and when I find someone I want to date. For now, I'm on the look-out. Know any smart, cute, single, Jewish guys looking for a smart, cute, single, Jewish girl?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

events galore

We had our big annual dinner last night at work. An event like this really reminds me how much I truly love event planning. It was certainly a lot of work and stress the past few months leading up to the dinner collecting journal ads and sponsorships, getting guest names for tables, booking flowers, music, etc. but I just loved being at the event and running the show. I loved getting there early to set everything up. I loved being the "go-to" person for the catering staff at the venue. I loved knowing that I did everything that needed doing, and I was confident in running a smooth, successful event. And that's just what I did. (With the help of the rest of my office, of course. I definitely could not do it without them.)

The one aspect of the event I didn't love was being sick. With so many events the past few weeks, the women in my office are all run down. And on Monday I guess I caught the cold that everyone has. So I have that going for me. And on top of that, it's my bad migraine time of the month. Of course. So I've had three migraines this week between the two huge events we had (last Saturday night was our Alumni Reunion). Not fun. Pretty inconvenient timing if you ask me.

Events like this make up for days when I'm sitting through a less-than-exciting speaker or setting up a conference about subjects I could care less about. This is the kind of stuff I want to do all the time. Going to different venues. Working with catering staff. Planning menus. Making seating charts. Setting up tables. Watching people having a great time. One day it will happen. Just call me curleegirlee, wedding planner to the stars.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

election mania

We're going to have a new President by the end of the day today. How weird is that? This is really the first election that I've gotten into a little bit, and I have to say I feel a little anxious. I think that is the overall sentiment among everyone today. Our country is in a rough place right now, and things need to turn around soon. Can either of these men do it? I'm not sure. I want to believe one of them could. I want to really believe that either of them could. Anyone is better than Bush, right? But I'm just not sure.

Ready for some vast generalizations? Here we go. I think among young people, Obama is the man. We can relate to him more, he's a great speaker, he represents the change we all desperately want. But is he ready to lead our troubled country? And then there's the older set who generally see McCain as an experienced politician who knows what he's doing. He also represents change, since he is trying to distance himself from the very unpopular George W. Bush, yet he's still a Republican, and he has voted with Bush time and time again. Both want to help our economy, but through different means. Both want to cut taxes, but in different ways. Both have underlying Democratic or Republican ideals, but with their own twists. Both have vice presidential running mates with, in my opinion, more negatives than positives to offer.

Sadly enough I also think race is an issue in this race (no pun intended). Whether they admit it or not, I think there are a lot of racist people in this country. Some may not even consider themselves racist, but have an underlying belief that Obama simply cannot be the leader of our country. I also worry that if he is elected President, that there will be a lot of assasination attempts. Presidents in general are huge targets because there are crazy people in this world, who have very strong ideas and who simply hate "the man." ("Damn the man!!") So with Obama, add the race card on top of the power card, and we could have a major problem on our hands.

Who knows. These are just my very simple thoughts. I don't get crazy into politics. I can't have a heated debate about it. I admittedly don't know where each candidate stands on every single issue. But I just hope one of these men can help our economy, help our environment and ultimately save our country. I guess we'll see tonight! Everyone vote vote vote!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

tragedy...or just part of life?

This morning, as I struggled to get out of my warm, cozy bed, I suddenly sat straight up and shook off my exhaustion. I realized in that moment that I am so lucky. I got to wake up this morning. I get to wake up every morning. And Rick Bailey doesn't.

Richard Bailey was shot in the head and killed this week in Albany, NY, just blocks from his off-campus house and the downtown campus of the University of Albany. He was 22 years old and eight weeks away from graduating college and becoming a New York City Police Officer. His life was cut short. Way too short. While Bailey wasn't a good friend of mine, I did grow up with him. We went through school together from Gardiner's Avenue Elementary School to General Douglas MacArthur High School. He was athletic and funny and popular. Everyone knew Bailey, and he knew everyone.

So why him? I don't know. There are no suspects; no motives. But more in a fate sort of way, why him? If he had left his friend's house 15 minutes later, would he still be alive today? If he had been walking with someone else, would the bullet have missed? Or was it just meant to be that this happened to him? In times like this I think it's tough to figure it all out. I try to believe everything happens for a reason, but when something this horrible and seemingly tragic occurs, I have a really difficult time justifying that philosophy. Was this in fact natural? All part of God's plan? I don't know if I can genuinely believe that, but I'm trying because I feel sad. So sad. Not only because a great person I knew was killed, but also because it seems like it really could have been anyone. Brian goes to the University of Albany and lives there. It could have been him. Vic walks home on the weekends in Morristown. It could have been her. Katie and Jill were just in LA, where they walked places. It could have been them. It could have been you. And it could have been me.

I'm not condoning staying inside all the time, and being hyper cautious to avoid any potentially dangerous situations. I almost feel the opposite. Life is so short, and we need to live as much as possible every single day. We need to tell those who mean something to us that we love them. We need to smile and laugh, and help others to do the same. We need to get out of bed every morning, because we can. Because we're alive. Because we're the lucky ones.

My heart goes out to Bailey's family and friends. He will be missed and never forgotten.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

fun fun fun

Back home from a really fun weekend in my home away from home, Morristown, with my wifey, Lizzy, Morristown friends and a whole bunch of strangers. The weekend started off a bit rocky, when no LIRR trains were running from Jamaica to Penn Station - major issue. I planned to sort of wing it, and knew there had to be another way to get from Jamaica to the city other than by train. Rather than completely throw caution to the wind (I'm not exactly known for my spontaneity), I called my dad to see if he knew what subway I could take. He told me the E would bring me right to Penn Station - good old dad, always knows what to do. As we pull into Jamaica, and everyone is getting ready to find their way into the city, we hear the announcement that service has just resumed, and we could stay on the train to get to Penn Station. OK, crisis (and adventure) averted. I can't lie. I was a little disappointed. While I'm not exactly the most adventurous person, when I take my little weekend trips, I seem to get a little more gutsy. I was looking forward to a new subway adventure. Oh well.

We still got to Penn a little late, so I had to run through the station to get to NJ Transit to catch my 4:50 Dover Express to Summit, where Vic can pick me up straight from work. This train skips all stops before Summit, so it's only a 35-minute ride, which is great. I figured I'd pay the $5 extra, and just get the ticket on the train, rather than miss it completely. As I get down the steps at track 4 at 4:45, I am amazed at how packed every train car is. I go all the way down to the end and see no where to squeeze in. Hot, sweating and red-faced, I am determined to find a spot for me and my suitcase. I head back down the length of the train and see my space - barely enough room to get in, but I'm on. Turns out, this train has been changed to be a Dover Local, rather than the Express. A NJ Transit train had broken down earlier, so this train included two trains worth of people. It was insane. I stood in between train cars the entire 50-minute ride, squished in between other commuters trying to get home after a long day at work. All I wanted was to hear "Summit - next station," and get to Vic as soon as possible. What a stressful day of travel.

Even with the rocky start, the weekend turned out to be so wonderful. Celebrated Vic's 23rd birthday all weekend long. We ate at our favorite places in Morristown, and some new places nearby. I met some of Vic's Morristown friends. We went to Morristown bars - Sona Thirteen (?), The Office, The Grasshopper and George & Martha's. We did some amazing people-watching. We played drinking games at Vic's, and felt like we were back in college. We got hit on by married men in wedding parties. We laughed...a lot. And we had a great time.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Marjan has gotten me hooked on It makes me both happy and sad. Happy because I love fashion, and this site shows off some great and unique styles from around the world. Sad because I don't have unlimited money, and I can't buy/find the wardrobe I truly want. Some days I feel my outfits really do reflect my personal style, but other days I feel completely dissatisfied with what I'm wearing. Some days I feel so generic.

And yet I spend most of my free time shopping. I guess I don't actually buy all that much though. It's more the going shopping that I'm addicted to. And often I think I make up the things I'm looking for in my mind, and these pieces don't actually exist. Other times I find exactly what I'm looking for, but with a price tag that grossly exceeds my budget.

I've been on the seemingly never-ending search for oversized sweaters and cardigans. Also, I'd really like more plaid shirts and long sweater vests. And ankle boots.

Oh what it'd be like to have unlimited funds and unlimited time.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

shall we atone?

As Yom Kippur begins, I think it's a good time to talk about what I think about this "holiday." My brother's friend wished him "A Solemn Yom Kippur" today. And that is exactly right. It isn't a joyous day. It isn't a day to celebrate. And yet most still consider it a holiday. Hmm.

But that's not even what bothers me really. My gripes are two-fold. First of all, if you're not very religious, and there is one day of the year that you're going to go to temple, Yom Kippur is it. Why? Why only go to synagogue on a solemn day? Maybe this is why so many Jews see going to temple in a negative light. Shouldn't we try to show temple in the best way possible; as a wonderful and joyous place to meet with your community and share the service?

My other issue is why do we have a set day to repent for our sins? I mean, I know there is a reason based on Jewish teachings, but I just don't agree. Shouldn't we repent when we feel we need to repent, rather than do it just because we're told today is the day? I also don't think starving yourself for 24 hours erases your sins from the past year. Although I guess it's not the actual fasting that allows us to repent, but rather the suffering it causes that makes us evaluate our actions, thoughts and feelings of the past year.

While I don't partake in Yom Kippur by fasting, I do think it's a good time reflect, repair wounds that need repairing and let those you love know it. So this Yom Kippur I'm going to start to make positive changes and choices in my life, and begin the new year on a good note. For those of you who are fasting, I hope you have an easy fast. To everyone else, I hope you can take this time to do some self-evaluation and begin your year in the best way possible.

Monday, October 6, 2008

is this me?

Am I sleepwalking, or am I actually sitting at work right now? It's really very hard to tell at this point. After a wonderful weekend at Lehigh, I am left sore and exhausted - I guess I really have become an old lady. I certainly can't keep up with these college kids any more. And simply writing the term "college kids" makes me an old lady. A grown up. Hmm. Not sure how I feel about that. Actually, that's a complete lie. I do know how I feel about it - I feel great. I was never a big drinker/partyer, and never really felt like I fit in at Lehigh. I often tried to make myself love the social atmosphere and lifestyle at Lehigh, and while I fooled myself (and I guess everyone else) for a while, I'm happy to be back to my real self now. Not that I didn't have a blast during my three years in college, or that I don't like to go out at all, but it definitely wasn't really for me in a social sense. I met some amazing friends, had new and fun experiences, and ultimately realized a lot about who I am and who I want (and do not want) to be. It's fun to go back and live that past life for a few days, but I am certain a few days of that is enough for me. Some might say I'm anti-social or boring now, but I've accepted that this is more of who I am. I'm more of a quiet-night-at-home kind of girl than a squeeze-into-a-packed-bar party goer. I prefer small groups of good friends over tons of strangers. I'd take dinner and drinks over clubs anyday. And that's OK with me.

I did have a great weekend though. I missed Katie and Jill so much. Going seven months without seeing them was not OK, and I definitely need to plan another weekend to see them soon. They really are wonderful people, and great friends to me. They are two of the very few people who seem to really "get" me, and I love them for that. It was also really nice to see friends from college who I really don't talk to that often, and hear what they're up to and how they're doing, whether they've stepped into the "real world" or are still doing the school thing getting their master's degrees.

Overall, it was a great weekend. And now I am left absolutely exhausted, but back to work. *Yawn*

Monday, September 29, 2008

Shana Tova!

As I wrote in my previous post, Rosh Hashanah is a time to think about the past year, and also a time to celebrate the year ahead. In honor of those two sort of dichotomous ideas for this upcoming holiday season, I'm posting two videos for your viewing pleasure.

The first is a thought-provoking clip brought to you by Jacob Da Jew:

And the second is just a fun and cute little video:

Shana Tova - Happy New Year!! May the year ahead bring happiness and good fortune to all!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

looking ahead

I can't wait to go to Lehigh next weekend. Really can't wait. It will be the much-anticipated break from the craziness that is event season at work that I need to survive. It will be a good change from the weekends I've had lately, spent mostly sleeping and eating and shopping. It will be amazing to see Katie and Jill, whom I miss terribly. It will be careless and fun. It will be. Period.

However, before that, I have the doctor on Wednesday (ick!) and a big conference I have to work on Friday - not such great things. But even before that, I have Rosh Hashanah, which I am definitely looking forward to. Two and a half days off of work, cooking and eating, and spending time with the family. In keeping with my new-found appreciation and love for Jewish traditions, we're doing a few things this year that we've never done before. Round challah, symbolizing the circle of life, although we're buying, not making this (we have too many other things to cook and bake!). Apples dipped in honey, apple cake, sweet potatoes and carrots (all home made) for a good and sweet year ahead.

I'm also looking forward to going to the Mets game with my dad tomorrow. Not only is it going to be an extra exciting game since it's the last regular-season game at Shea Stadium ever, but it's a very important game that will decide if the Mets are in the playoffs or not. Big game! The stadium is going to be really packed, and I think the atmosphere will be amazing. It should be a really cool and fun day, so I hope the rain holds out for us. Let's go Mets!!

I really have a lot of things to look forward to. How great is that? Sometimes, life is so hectic and crazy, and there are not-so-fun or bad things going on, that you forget the good aspects. While there are certainly things that get me down and I feel bad about lately, I have a lot of wonderful things going on as well. And now is the perfect time to look back on the past year and think about all that has happened, all you've done, all the good and the bad. It's a time to make improvements and changes for the new year. I'll definitely be doing a lot of thinking this week (really, when am I not?), and making some goals and wishes for the year ahead. What will you be doing this Rosh Hashanah?

Friday, September 19, 2008

the events are coming, the events are coming

It's official. Event season is upon us. We have 12 events from this Sunday until November 19. Needless to say, as the only event planner at my job, I'm going to be pretty darn busy from now until the end of November. While it's definitely a lot of work - tiring work that I am very unappreciated for - I'd much rather be busy than bored, and planning events is what I do. It's what I love to do.

There is definitely an excitement I feel on days or nights of events. I love to see all the hard work I put in to something come to life. Even if I get yelled at for little things that may go slightly wrong, and I'm often not thanked properly for all the things I did right, I know in my heart I did a great job. All of the events I've helped plan so far have been successful, well-attended and well-liked.

So anyway, while I've had time to post during the day over the past few months, I don't think that will be the case for the upcoming months. I'll definitely have a lot to share though, so I'm hoping to get some good weekend blogging in.

P.S. - Last night I finished the Nicholas Sparks book Nights in Rodanthe, which was recently made into a movie starring Richard Gere (who I just love) and Diane Lane, coming out in theaters on September 26. Amazing. What a romantic, yet tragic, story. If you are a sucker for romance, I would definitely recommend reading this book. I'm a pretty slow reader, but I finished this one in less than a week, probably because I had a tough time putting it down at night. It was so touching, yet also relatable to pretty much anyone who has ever been in love. Really, it was a great book, and I am very excited for the movie - anyone want to come see it with me?

Monday, September 15, 2008


OK. I have to get something off my chest. I love boy bands. I always have, and I always will. I am not ashamed of this, even though many may laugh or make comments under their breath about how lame I am. There is something so simple and easy about so-called boy band music. It's about love. It's about heartbreak. It's about sex. It's about youth. The themes are repeated over and over, yet catchy beats and danceable tunes keep songs fresh and fun.

Take, for example, NKOTB, better known as New Kids On The Block. Crazy-popular, drool-worthy boy band of the late 80s/early 90s. Teenage girls around the world went absolutely nuts over Jordan, Joey, Donnie, Danny and Jon singing and dancing along to songs like "The Right Stuff" and "Hangin' Tough." They were marketing dreams with pillow cases, lunchboxes, notebooks and posters ripped off shelves, and sold-out concerts across the country. While they certainly weren't the first "boy band," they definitely helped pave the way for groups like Backstreet Boys, N'Sync and 98 Degrees, who all enjoyed popularity in the mid/late 90s. Now that was my era. I was just a little too young to obsess over NKOTB, but the guys of N'Sync were mine. I instantly fell in love with their simple, fun, catchy tunes and "in sync" dance moves. I was a little more than obsessed, and still listen to their albums often, as well as the solo ventures of Justin Timberlake and JC Chasez. I bought apparel, merchandise and concert tickets (I won't admit to how many show I went to, or how much money I've spent on them over the years, but it's a lot). When they finally get back together, I'll be the first in line for their CD and concert tickets. I'll be waiting for that day.

But for now, here I am writing this blog, listening to "The Block," the latest come-back album from none other than NKOTB. I am a 22-year-old college graduate with a fairly extensive musical repertoire, and I can't help but sing along to songs called "Sexify My Love," "Big Girl Now" and "Twisted." Now I'm not saying that songs with lines like "You go hit the lights, I'll set up the camera, Let's get to the action" are going to go down in history as classics, but they are so fun and enjoyable. A little dirty maybe. But what's wrong with that? They really aren't "kids" anymore (four of the five members even have children of their own!), and their fans have grown up too. Would I want my 13-year-old niece or nephew listening to these lyrics? Probably not. Will they want to listen to it? Probably yes. But alas, these are the times we live in. Boy bands sing raunchier songs. Female pop singers dress sluttier. Vice Presidential candidates have 17-year-old pregnant daughters. We don't live in a wholesome world anymore.

But I've digressed. Moral of the story? Boy bands will always be around in some form or another. And I will always love them.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

the tribe

OK, so I don't ever post twice in one day (nevermind within two hours), but I just watched a YouTube video (brought to me by Jewlicious) that I just had to share with whomever is reading this little blog of mine. I think everyone should see this short film, entitled "The Tribe," no matter what your religious background. It's one of those pieces that makes you go "hmm." Enjoy! (And let me know what you think!)

cruel and unusual exhaustion

I am so tired I could actually fall asleep right now...and it's 8 p.m. When did I become such an old lady? My own mother even laughs at me when I tell her I' m getting into bed at 9:30. Last night I struggled to keep my tired little eyes open through The Hills, and I immediately shut off the TV at 10:30 p.m. on the dot. To be fair, I'm not usually this tired this early in the week. Typically, the overwhelming exhaustion begins on Thursday. But not this week. This week the heavy eyes and pounding heart were there right from the start.

I did have a house guest this weekend, so maybe that contributed to my tiredness. If so, it was completely worth it. It was great to have Vic stay the weekend with me on Long Island, even if we did have an unwanted visit by Tropical Storm Hanna. Our plan to test our friendship despite battling baseball rivalries at the Mets/Phillies game on Saturday was rained out, and so were our plans to do anything else at all. So, Saturday was spent doing a little shopping while we experienced the calm before the storm, and then an evening of movie-watching, pizza-making, J-dating and TV-viewing. What can I say? We're wild and crazy kids. Sunday morning we woke up to an absolutely beautiful day, and we made our way to Shea Stadium for the rescheduled game. It was certainly a hot one out there when we arrived and found our seats were right in the bright sun. After about an hour, though, the sun moved and we were hidden and cooled by the shade. And even though the Mets lost pretty badly, it was still a great day, and Vic and I had a great time together. (And my boys pulled through to win the night game that evening!)

My next weekend trip is to Lehigh for Young Alumni Weekend Oct. 3-5, which I'm definitely looking forward do. I like having plans for mini-vacations and visits. Now that I'm not in school and don't have semesters or endings to count down to, it helps me to plan things to look forward to. If not, I sort of feel like I'm losing my mind with no end, no special things in sight. After that weekend, though, I have nothing planned. So who wants me to come visit?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

abc wednesday

It's time for another week of ABC Wednesdays...this week is brought to you by the letter G.

G is for...

Graffiti. OK. So I am not feeling the creative vibes coming to me at all today and this is all I've got. Deal with it. Matt and Adam were a little bit obsessed with graffiti while we were in Israel. (Actually, I'm pretty sure they're obsessed with graffiti ALL the time, but we met in Israel, so they were obsessed there in my mind.) We found this "local art" while on Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem, and they just had to take pictures in front of it. This is them being super tough and gangster. Yeah. Gangster Jews - what up, yo?

G is also for Golan Heights Winery. While in Israel, we visited this winery and got to do a little wine tasting one afternoon. Wine is really not my drink of choice, and I don't drink red wine at all, but it was still a fun experience. We learned a little, drank a little and bought a lot. No one in my family really drinks wine, except for my Pop-Pop, and even after learning about the wines, I still had no clue how to pick out an appropriate bottle of wine, so I bought my brother and his girlfriend Diana a bottle of olive oil instead. We also got to take home the wine glass we used in the tasting, which was nice. Hmm. Come to think of it, where is that wine glass? Note to self: Look for Golan Heights Winery wine glass.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


I've been extremely missing in action lately - not just in the blogosphere, but in life as well. I find myself zoning out, thinking way too much and just being absent from life. And honestly, I don't like it.

I realized this for the first time on Sunday while I was on a date. This date wasn't too bad for the most part - we met in the city, went to the Dali exhibit at MOMA, got some coffee and walked around Central Park. Nothing spectacular, but not awful as far as dates go. However, the date made a horrible turn for the worst when this guy, who I met on Jdate (yes, I'm on Jdate - and not ashamed to admit it), drove me to a random street corner on the upper east side and pulled over. He told me he thought I could get on a subway there and find my way back to Penn Station where I had to catch a train back to Long Island. He gave me a really hard time when I asked if he could drive me back to Penn Station instead, since I wasn't comfortable getting on a subway I've never been on before, so I felt guilty for pushing the idea any more. After sitting in the passengers seat and complaining for a few minutes more, I said "thanks for leaving me in the middle of no where" and got out of the car. Was he serious? Was this really happening? He's going to come running out of the car behind me, say he's just joking and make me get back in, right? No. Tell me: Am I totally out of line being mad and upset over this? I don't know, but to me, even if you didn't have a good time on the date, the decent and gentlemanly thing to do would be to drive me back to Penn Station when I said I felt uncomfortable going on this random subway (which didn't bring me straight to Penn Station, I must add). Maybe I was just expecting too much - you tell me.

Anyway, during the date (before it went horribly wrong), while we were sitting on a park bench he asked me, "Are you usually this awkwardly quiet?" And it sort of hit me - I was being awkwardly and uncharacteristically quiet. I found that I wasn't my usual talkative, bubbly self. Maybe it was him, but I'm more inclined to believe that normally I could blabber on to a brick wall, so it must be me. It made me feel upset and confused. Why am I just not myself lately? And how can I snap out of it?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

abc wednesday

I was thinking about skipping my ABC Wednesday this week. I was actually pretty determined to not post today, and maybe not do ABC Wednesdays at all anymore. But then I thought about all the great blogs I've come across and new blogging friends I've met because of this weekly tradition. So I will continue on...

F is for...

Friends. I have to remember every single day the wonderful friends I have, and how much they truly mean to me. I am someone who doesn't have a TON of friends, and I honestly prefer it that way. The people I call my friends are true to me, they love me and I can always count on them no matter what - and vice versa. Above is a picture from this past weekend's trip to Philly with Rachel (on the right) and Candis (on the left). These are two of my very best friends from two very different parts of my life. I was so happy they were able to meet, and what was even better was that they really liked each other. We were also able to meet one of Rachel's best friends from college, Juliet (in the center of the photo), who was one of the sweetest, coolest, most beautiful girls I've ever met. It's really such a wonderful thing to have friends from different parts of your life come together and become friends themselves. Really special.

I'm not going to mention and post pictures all of my friends here today because I could really go on forever about how wonderful they are and how much they mean to me. Eventually you'll get to "meet" them through stories and photos, but those are for another time.

However, Vic is more than just a best friend to me, she's also my wife. Yes, you read correctly; I have a wife. On what is now known as the best day of my life, and what also happened to be Vic's birthday, Vic came up to me and whispered in my ear "we're married!" And from that day on, we've been wife and wife. Inseparable. Of course, we've had rocky points in our relationship, as any couple does, but we always remember that above all and no matter what, we are best friends. I would honestly be lost without her. She's been there for the good and the bad throughout college and now beyond. She even lets me vent to her about the most idiotic things, and never judges me (unless I ask her to, that is). We like to say we're the same person, because somehow we are almost always on the same wavelength. We've traveled to Italy together, gone on weekend trips, made visits to each other's hometowns and talk pretty much every single day, always ending conversations with a quick "love you" just to make sure the other one knows. Hey wife, if you're reading this, "love you always."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

time to reflect

I realized this weekend that I do a lot of self-reflection, and that it can come across as zoning out or being disinterested in what's going on around me. I'm not sure how I can change that, or if I even really want to change it. I am a very internal and reflective person, even if I do talk and write a lot. But I am constantly thinking about a million and one things at any given time. I just don't love to share all my thoughts at all times with all people. And I think that's OK. I think it's part of what makes me who I am.

This weekend I reflected a lot. There is a lot on my mind; a lot I've been thinking about. Yet somehow, I can't seem to get a single thought out of my mouth or onto paper. I think it would be very good for me to verbalize my thoughts and feelings of the moment, not for the sake of anyone hearing it (or reading it in this case), but just to get it out of my head and into the world.

But nothing. I can't seem to sort through all the thoughts floating around all jumbled up together in my head. It feels similar to a writer's block, but more like a life block. Just stuck. Not sure where to go, what to say, how to feel, what to do or how to do it.

Has anyone else gone through a period of time like this?

Friday, August 22, 2008

i'm in a philly mood

Well, I'm off for a few days full of fun, friends and food in Philly. (Great alliteration, right?) Not only am I seeing my amazingly awesome roommate from my freshman year of college, Candis, but my traveling buddy and longtime camp friend, Rachel, is coming too! I'm really excited for two of my best friends to meet, and for all of us to spend the weekend together. We'll also hopefully have a mini-reunion with Matt and Adam from our birthright trip, who live in the Philly area. And, I'll get to meet one of Rachel's friends from college, Juliet. Phew! It's going to be a very full, but extremely fun weekend, and I'm very much looking forward to it.

So, Shabbat Shalom! And I'll be back with stories to tell and pictures to post on Sunday night.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

jbloggers unite

I've been inspired to write a "post-conference" post after reading those of Jewlicious, DovBear, Frum Satire and many more. I am so glad I found out about the First International Jewish Bloggers Convention and was able to attend yesterday via live webcast (even if the video feed/sound did cut in and out a lot). I was secretly, or maybe not-so-secretly, listening in from my office at work, so I couldn't really blast the sound, and I definitely missed what several of the panelists had to say. But all in all, I found it to be very interesting, and I met a lot of great JBloggers who were chatting while watching online from all corners of North America. And now I have tons more blogs to check out while I'm procrastinating at work, so that's always a plus.

It was great to see Esther K. of My Urban Kvetch and JDaters Annonymous, since those are two blogs I've actually read before. Also, "ck" of Jewlicious was there and definitely had some great things to say about the Blogosphere and the influence of Jewlicious on young Jewish Americans, which I definitely agreed with. Jewlicious was one of the first "jblogs" I read. All of those who contribute to the blog write very freely, and each have their own unique experiences, opinions and points of view - I enjoy it very much.

I think my favorite speaker of the entire convention was Treppenwitz. I've never checked out his blog before, but now I definitely will. I thought he was a great speaker - definitely captivated the audience - and he had interesting things to say about the blogging community. I thought Frum Satire was also very funny and relatable, which I think was important at a convention reaching people all across the world and of many different backgrounds.

Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu, the former Prime Minister of Israel and current Leader of the Opposition, spoke for way too long and got way off topic. I'm still not completely sure why he was there, but then again, I turned off the sound about half-way through his portion of the evening, so maybe he did have some sort of blogging connection in there (Yes, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.)

The last presentation I caught before I had to leave was Zavi Apfelbaum from the Foreign Ministry. I at first had trouble connecting her lecture about brand management to blogging, but by the end, it all made sense to me. While most people don't think of brand management for another other than companies or products, it's also important for countries. And as Jewish Bloggers, it's part of our unofficial job to create an image, or a "brand," that is real, honest and truthful. We need to show people who don't know much about Israel, Israelis or even Jewish people, what it's about. It's not all about the war zone and religion - it's about a culture, tradition, history, community and so much more. When I was in Israel, I have never felt more welcomed, and by complete strangers. The people I met in Israel were helpful, caring, warm and generous. Yes, you do see soldiers everywhere you go. Yes, people do carry weapons around. Yes, war is a constant there. But there is so much more about Israel that many people in other countries don't see - and we jbloggers need to be part of the effort to show the other side of the story.

So after that, I tuned out, and I'm a little disappointed I missed Benji Lovitt of What War Zone? because I think he is very funny and I enjoy the perspective of a non-orthodox American Jew living in Israel. Maybe I'll watch the end of the video another day.

The chatroom discussions were also great, and I think I've made a few new blogging friends through it all. I'll definitely be tuning in to Jacob Da Jew and Lady Light and all the others I traded URLs with. It was nice meeting you all, and I hope we can meet up again soon!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

abc wednesday - e

This week has gone by pretty quickly - especially in comparison with two weeks ago, which just dragged on and on. So here we are already - time for another round of ABC Wednesdays. This is going to be a short one for me, because I am actually taking part in the International Jewish Bloggers Convention hosted by Nefesh B'Nefesh via live webcast. I'm very excited because even though I don't have a JBlog really, I do read a lot of them and I do write about Israel and Judaism quite a bit on here. So anyway, here's my "e."

E is for...

Epcot! Here is photo of me in front of the famous, giant Epcot dome in Orlando, Florida back in July and a photo I took of the Epcot dome with the fountains on our way into the World Pavilion. Disney World is really such a magical place, and I think Epcot is one of the parks that can truly be enjoyed by people of all ages. My mom and I had a blast there, and we don't even go on too many rides. The World Pavilion is really great to get a taste of so many different cultures. My mom and I literally ate our way through the various countries - big soft pretzels in Germany, Kaki Gori in Japan, chocolate croissants in France. We also went on all the "slow-moving" rides from the Finding Nemo ride to the Norway ride, and even one big ride, Soarin', which was a ton of fun! Overall, Epcot was a really fun day, and I recommend that everyone who is vacationing in Disney in Florida to spend a day at Epcot.

And now, I'm off to join in the JBloggers Convention!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

feeling the love

Today is the Jewish holiday of Tu B'av - the day of love. On the Jewish calendar, this lesser-known holiday falls on the 15th day of Av, and is sort of comparable to Valentine's Day. Traditionally, unmarried women would go out dressed all in white and dance in the vineyards. They dressed in white so as to not stand out from each other. Young men were supposed to see them not for their wealth (or lack of it) and not for their outward appearance, but for their complete and overall virtues. was even holding a White Party in honor of Tu B'av, but was postponed until Monday due to the torrential downpours we had today in New York. In LA, JconnectLA hosted Love Fest to celebrate Tu B'av with music, a book signing and, of course, food.

These are the things I really love about Judaism and Jewish culture/traditions/feelings. I never knew anything about Tu B'av before today, but now that I've been discovering more about my Jewish heritage, I'm finding more and more aspects I like and agree with - who knew? I don't think I'll ever be super-religious, nor do I really want to be, but I don't think that's necessary in order to be connected to the Jewish community. I've been reading a ton of Jewish blogs, and have registered to attend the live webcast of the First International Jewish Bloggers Convention. I feel more connected than ever, but find myself wanting so much more. I don't necessarily feel like I want to go to temple but I want to know about these Jewish holidays, I want to learn Hebrew, I want to know the stories of my ancestors. It's hard, dare-I-say impossible, to go from a very, very reform Jew to a Jewish expert overnight, so I guess I need to take things one step at a time. Reading Jewish blogs such as Jewlicious and Jspot and Jewesses With Attitude are the first step I think. I've been trying to find Hebrew classes to take, but the local community colleges don't have night classes, and local adult education programs don't have Hebrew as a language choice. But that is definitely my next project - maybe I'll buy those Rosetta Stone tapes (mental note: look up Rosetta Stone tomorrow).

Eventually, I'd like to take Bat Mitzvah lessons and finally have my Bat Mitzvah. I think that will definitely help me feel more connected to Judaism and the Jewish community, but I want to wait until I have the time to commit to something like that.

You don't have to be religious to be Jewish. That is the main thing I'm coming to realize. I have always felt less Jewish because I was not religious, but now I don't feel that way at all. Maybe people will disagree, but to me, being Jewish is more about a sense of community, a common background, a common history, a shared upbringing, and less about religious beliefs. I know I feel strongly about these common threads among Jews, and have always enjoyed and cherished the Jewish traditions, values and feelings my parents always taught us. And I don't have to go to temple or be a religious person to feel that way. But I do have to learn more, everyday, in order to pass these traditions and values on and to keep the Jewish-American community alive. I am Jewish, hear me roar!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

abc wednesday - d

Here I am ready for another round of ABC Wednesday...

D is for...

David Wright...of the New York Mets, just in case you're living in a hole and don't know who this sexy man is. I am a huge Mets fan, and who could not love the adorable David Wright? Not only is he a great baseball player, but he manages to look so good doing it. The race for National League East Champions is a tight one, and as of today, the Mets are only a game behind Philly. But the Marlins are only a half of a game behind us! Every game counts right now since the top three teams are neck and neck. I think the Mets can do least I hope so! Let's go Mets!!

The Duomo in Florence, Italy - what a massive, amazing structure. Here you can see a photo of the Duomo, and some of Florence, from way up high that I took in March 2007, when Vic and I visited Liz over our Spring Break while she was studying abroad in Florence for the semester. It was really an incredible trip, and I woulnd't have changed a thing about it. We stayed the entire week in Florence, except for a day trip to Pisa, and we got to see and do everything. We never felt rushed or pressed for time, and we really just enjoyed every minute of the trip. It was great to have Liz as our personal tourguide. Since she had been in Florence since January, she knew how to get around, where to go, what to see and when to see it. She also was studying art history, so she was able to explain what we saw in the museums, but not in a boring or confusing way. We were also invited to have dinner with Liz's host mom, Vanna, at their apartment, which was certainly a special treat. We ate so much!! Really, we ate so much the entire trip - whole pizzas for lunch, huge bowls of pasta for dinner, capuccino and chocolate croissants every single morning, gelato every afternoon - we seemed to eat our way through Italy, and we were perfectly content doing so.

Here is a picture of the Duomo from inside. Climbing the Duomo was a very scary experience for me, combining my fear of heights and my claustrophobia. We didn't actually make it all the way to the top, which we sort of realized afterwards, but we were ready to make our way down after we got to the point where you can walk around the top of the building from inside - we had enough. So we didn't get the see the incredible views we heard about when you actually do make it to the top look-out point, but we had so many other amazing experiences and incredible views that it didn't really matter. Our week-long trip to Florence was something I definitely will never forget. I'm so glad Vic and I were able to go together and get a little taste of studying abroad, since neither of us chose to do the full semester-long study-abroad program. Florence was just my first little taste of Europe, and I can't wait to see even more.

Monday, August 11, 2008

opening ceremonies

The opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China was one of the most awe-inspiring spectacles I have ever witnessed. Sitting in front of my television, I found my jaw actually dropping, watching the over 20,000 performers from all over China come together for one amazing night of martial arts, dancing, singing, storytelling, fireworks, light shows and so much more.

A creative team, selected from many proposals, began work on this ceremony back in 2006 - and I can believe it would take years to develop such an incredible event. I'm actually surprised it didn't take longer! According to the official web site of the Beijing Olympic Games, "The concept of a 'painting scroll' emerged and most of the original program ideas unfolded around it, forming the artistic concept of 'displaying the world on a small square,' demonstrating the progress of blending Chinese culture with world culture." Eventually, after many different ideas were thrown around, they decided on what would become by far my favorite part of the ceremony. As part of one of the performances, Chinese artists drew a beautiful, yet simple, landscape scene on a scroll of paper. Later, during the parade of nations, every person who walked in the parade walked through different colors of ink and then over the bottom half of the scroll. Every athletes' footprints blended together, almost as one. This was so incredible and beautiful to me - I get chills just thinking about it.

There were tons of other very symbolic and amazing parts of the opening ceremony, including 2008 drummers performing on drums that lit up when hit to form incredible patterns from above. There were also 2008 martial art masters, forming a perfect circle around the center scroll, with no lines drawn on the ground to go by. They moved in and out of formation flawlessly. There was 60 performers suspended by wires walking, jumping and flipping around a model earth - some sideways, and some upside down. There were musical performances, including Sarah Brightman and Liu Huan singing the office song of the 2008 Olympic Games, "You and Me," and firework displays, beginning with "footprints" leading through Beijing all the way to the National Stadium, the "Birds Nest."

The way all of these performances and displays looked from a bird's eye view is what amazed me the most. Every light, every movement was timed perfectly to form different patterns and shapes seen from above. The creative team behind the opening ceremony really thought every little detail through, and conceptualized something that I can't even begin to wrap my brain around.

Unfortunately, I fell asleep about an hour before the ceremony concluded, but what I got to see was absolutely amazing. Those few hours of television I watched on 8-8-08 will stay with me for a very long time, and I think that sentiment is felt by many people, all around the world. The Olympic Games bring together athletes from 204 different countries from all the corners of the world. They put aside wars, politics, disagreements, and come together to compete for bronze, silver and gold medals. It's such a simple idea, yet very complex, and I think the 2008 opening ceremonies in Beijing really captured this idea so perfectly and so beautifully.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

abc wednesdays - c

So I'm a day late. Only my second week participating in ABC Wednesdays and already I miss it. Oops! Better late than never, I suppose, so here we go...

C is for...
Camels! While I was in Israel, we got the chance to take a short ride on top of a camel. It wasn't exactly the activity I was looking forward to most - sitting on top of a large, smelly animal in the middle of the desert is not exactly my idea of a good time - but it was actually a lot of fun and certainly extremely funny. All of the camels were female, which I thought was pretty interesting. (I believe the people who ran the camel rides said it was because males are too aggressive, but I could be wrong on that one.) I screamed a whole lot, especially getting on and off the camel - they are a lot higher off the ground than it seems! About six or seven camels are all connected together by a flexible, soft harness, and there is a guide for each caravan of camels to lead them along the path. They bend down to eat plants very often and even poop right along the way while you're along for the ride. They weren't the friendliest of animals (or the most comfortable), but they always do look like they are smiling, which just cracked me up. I have to say, it was an interesting, but very memorable experience.
Rachel and I named our camel Susan and we sang a lovely song to her as we trotted through the desert. It went a little something like this: "Susan, I love you. Susan, I love you..." Instant hit. Right to the top of the charts. Just you wait and see.

Matt and Adam named their camel Cecil, which is definitely quite a masculine name for a girl, but hey, it's a "c" so it works. Here is a picture (taken by Jeanine) of the boys looking a lot like lovebirds, in their matching white tees. Cute guys, very cute.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

abc wednesdays - b

I've been browsing through some random blogs over the past couple of days, and yesterday I stumbled upon something called ABC Wednesdays (found here at I had never heard of this but apparently in the blogosphere this is a sort of photo game played by many bloggers. Every Wednesday bloggers post a photo with a caption that begins with that week's letter. This week's letter is "B." I'm going to try to post photos every wednesday, and I'm also going to try to use recent photos to keep things fresh. So here goes my first ABC Wednesday...

B is for...

Michelle Branch live in concert at the Cardinal Health RBC 2008 in Orlando, Florida on Saturday, July 26. I admit it - I ran a little bit to get us 4th row center seats, but it was so worth it. She sounded great live, and I really loved that she made it a family affair. Her husband is her bass player and her sister, Nicole, sang back-up.

The beach in Tel Aviv on Saturday, Jun 14. It was incredibly hot, so everyone rents umbrellas to stay a bit cooler. Since we were out-of-towners, we did not know this unwritten rule, and we baked and broiled in the hot desert sun.

Box it up! While we were in Hispin, in the Golan Heights, we had a bit of a scary surprise when our Israeli soldier friends made us go through a sort of boot camp on Thursday, June 16. We had to stand in three straight and even lines, without talking or moving. Then we were told to "box it up," which meant to stand in an even, three-sided box formation...without any communication between us. The kids of Mayanot 41 clearly weren't meant to be soldiers, and we had a really tough time figuring this out. Since we had an odd number of people, the soldiers made poor Matt go down into a push-up position in the center for a while (seen in the first photo). It took us quite a while, but we finally got it down after a lot of yelling and discipline.

This was a very frightening experience for me, and I think for a lot of the others as well. It made me realize how tough it is being someone our age living in Israel. At the age of 18, every Israeli citizen must be a part of the Israeli army. They go straight from high school to the army, and then go to college after their years in the army are up. Not everyone is in combat, but everyone goes through the training similar to what we went through that night, but much more and much tougher. Despite the danger and hard work, all of the soldiers said they were proud to be a part of the army. They all felt it was their duty as Israeli citizens and were glad to serve their country. Yarden, who is a sniper trainer, said she didn't feel scared and she loved being in the army. She said she grew up knowing the army would be a part of her life, and it's almost like a right of passage for Israelis. Meiran explained that while it is an obligation, most people don't feel forced into joining the army - they want to serve their country and they feel honored to be a part of the Israeli army.

It's amazing how similar they were to us when we were all just hanging out at night and visiting the various places in Israel, talking about family, friends, relationships, parties and traveling, yet how we are really worlds apart. This feeling of obligation toward your country isn't something most people have in America. I can't imagine having to join the army at 18 - I would be absolutely terrified. But it just shows how different it is growing up in Israel versus America. Our lives are completely different, even though we share many similarities. I loved getting to know our new Israeli friends and realizing all the similarities and differences. How would my life be different if I grew up in Israel? And who would I be today?

Monday, July 28, 2008

when I grow up

I want to write. I decided that firmly today. It's what I think about doing the most and it's what makes me feel the most fulfilled in my daily life. Not that I've completely given up on my event planning career aspirations - I definitely still want to plan weddings and parties and maybe even fashion shows. But, I need to write. It's what keeps me going day to day, and it's what keeps me from going insane (or at least completely insane).

My current job as the special events coordinator for a law school is a great starting point. It's my first real job out of college, and I've been there for over a year now. I'm getting a ton of event-planning experience, meeting a lot of really wonderful people and truly learning what goes into planning and running different types of events. But for the past few months, I realize this is not my be-all end-all. I am working in the development office, and what we do is alumni relations and fundraising. I don't want to be a fundraiser. Definitely not. I didn't know that when I started. I also didn't know my job would be so directly related to fundraising when I started. But I guess that's what jobs are about - especially in the beginning. We learn what we want and don't want to be doing. We learn what we're good at and what takes a little more effort. We learn about different types of bosses and co-workers. We learn what's worth it and what is definitely not. We learn. And we hopefully continue to learn and grow until we're ready to retire.

I guess I always knew I wanted to write. I did major in journalism in college, after all. But I definitely don't want to be a journalist. No no. Getting "the scoop," interviewing experts, constantly being on short deadlines, reporting at the very lowest level (and for the very lowest pay) - definitely not for me. But I truly just love to write. Write about what I know and what I'm interested in. Write about learning. Write about discovering. Write about life.

So now what? I want to write. Who cares? A million other people in this world want to write - and are really great at it. How can I get out there and really affect people with what I have to say and how I say it? I don't know. I guess it's time to try and find out.

(Any suggestions, connections or help are whole-heartedly welcome.)

Monday, July 14, 2008

I can see you

I'm a stalker. Not really in a creepy kind of way, but in a want-to-know-as-much-as-possible-about-people kind of way. This is not really new information to most. I use Facebook to its fullest, Google everyone I get an e-mail from, read gossip Web sites like Perez Hilton and dlisted, and here's the kicker: My favorite reality TV show is Big Brother - the ultimate stalking outlet, where a group of strangers' lives are filmed 24/7 from within a set/house in California. This season, Big Brother 10, began Sunday night, and of course I was glued to my TV, "meeting" the new house guests. Big Brother is broadcasted three nights a week on CBS, but you can watch live feeds at any hour of any day. While I've watched every single season since the first, I haven't given in to subscribing to the live feeds - I think paying to watch people 24/7 might cross that line into stalker creepiness. I have to admit, however, that I do read what is going on on the live feeds at Morty's TV when I have the time. To most, the show is stupid or boring, but to me, it's so interesting to see the interactions between different types of people from different places in the country, of different age groups, who have had extremely different experiences in their lives. Also, it is a competition, so it's fun to watch how people "play the game," whether through alliances or playing it solo, lying or being honest, having a romance (or "bro"mance) or not being friendly to anyone. Everyone has their own strategy - some succeed, many fail. Above all, it's entertaining. And for the most part, it's all in good fun, so isn't that what TV should be about?

On a whole other stalking level, my mom and I went to the Daryl Hall concert last Tuesday night at the Capital One Theater at Westbury aka Westbury Music Fair. Yes, Daryl Hall, as in one half of the group Hall & Oates. No one panic - they have not broken up. Both are just doing a few solo dates playing some songs from their solo CDs and of course, some of their classics. Now, being the Hall & Oates groupies that my mom and I are, we've seen them in concert many, many times over the years. This was the first time we saw one without the other, and I have to say, it was still a really great show. Of course, John Oates was missed, but Daryl played so many obscure songs that I love, but have never heard live, including "When The Morning Comes" and "I'm in a Philly Mood."

The stalker aspect of the evening came after the encore was over and all the applause died down. We decided to go around to the back of the theater and stand with about 10 others by the back stage door. We waited for about a half hour, I said "hi" to Zev, his bass player, and finally I see that full head of blonde hair starting to walk out the door. (He's 62. How does he still have a full head of long hair? Hmm.) Daryl was immediately pushed into his "getaway car" and only gave a quick wave, as seen here by my excellent photography skills. This was the closest I've ever been to him and let me tell you, it was exciting. But, we were pretty disappointed that he couldn't have stayed a little bit, shaken some hands and taken some pictures with the 10-15 people who were waiting to see him. I mean, he's not exactly a new act anymore, and while Hall & Oates is still very popular (we've seen them at sold out shows at the Beacon Theatre in NYC), their fan base is certainly dwindling from what it used to be. He should be thrilled to have fans who want to meet him, and should take a few minutes to at least say "hi." Oh well - it was still exciting, a great concert and a ton of fun. I'm so glad my mom and I are able to do these things together, and I have to say, we've been pretty good at keeping up our stalking abilities through the years. Who knows? You could be the next victim...

Thursday, July 3, 2008


I'm having a hard time finding motivation at work today, a real hard time. I've gotten a fair amount of work done, but it's 3:15 p.m., and I'm pretty much over work for the day. Too bad I have about 2 hours left to be productive before the three-day Fourth of July weekend. So to fill some of that time, I'll post some pictures of interest, along with commentary, from my recent trip to Israel - more specifically, from our time spent in the mystical city of Tzfat.

Out of all the cities we visited, Tzfat gave me the best feeling inside. Of course, I loved the excitement and history of Jerusalem, and the beauty of the Golan Heights, but there was something about the calmness of Tzfat that really drew me in. We walked through narrow alleyways, spent time in ancient synagogues and visited with local artists. Everyone and everything had a very laidback nature. We had a small amount of time to go out on our own and do some shopping. It's nothing like New York, where you drive to a strip mall, stopping at various stores along the way. Here, there are dozens of open-door shops along one of the ancient cobblestone roads, owners standing right at the door, or sitting at a desk in the entryway. From paintings and jewelry made by local artists, to beautifully decorated mezuzahs and menorahs, to cheesy tourist gifts, there was a little touch of everything there. I think another reason I really fell in love with Tzfat was because I finally found the mezuzah I've been searching for there. It's just perfect for me, and it matches my room at home spot on. I also found a really beautiful oil painting of a Tzfat scene that I bought, probably for way too much money. But as I said the entire trip, "Just do it! We're in Israel!"

Tzfat was also where Roni met her husband, Rabbi Sneiderman. She told us a truly touching story about how they met, being set up not once, but twice, and by two completely different matchmakers in two different regions of the world. This is all part of the idea of "bashert" or soulmates. I had no idea that this idea was written about in the Talmud and is a part of Jewish tradition, yet it's something I've always felt strongly about. Roni explained that according to the Talmud, "Forty days prior to the formation of a child, a Heavenly Voice cries out saying 'the daughter of so and so is destined for so and so.'" She explained that essentially, you and your soulmate are two halves to the same original whole. According to, "Every body is occupied by half a soul, and both body and soul only reach a state of completion when they are reunited with their bashert, their long-lost other half." What a beautiful, amazing, huge concept. I can't even wrap my brain around it completely, it's so huge.

Because of this idea, dating is not to be taken lightly in the least. Instead, it is a very serious and careful matter - you're trying to find your soulmate, afterall! This is an idea and feeling I think has been lost in Western society over the years, which is terribly sad to me. Listening to Roni talk so passionately about being so careful who you choose to date, I felt the tears well up in my eyes. "This is me," I thought to myself. This is how I've always felt about dating and guys and my life. All these years, I felt like no one could relate or understand how I felt, and finally I had an answer, a basis, for all of it.

Well, needless to say, after Roni finished her story, I completely lost it and starting pouring my eyes out, hugging Rachel as tight as I could and trying to pull myself together. I had many emotional experiences in Israel, but this was by far the most emotional, yet the most amazing, I felt the entire trip. Years from now, I may forget little things about my Birthright trip, but Roni's story, the story of soulmates and finding her soulmate, and the overwhelming connection and feelings I experienced, will stay with me forever. Like most wonderful things, it was unexpected, but it was more than I could have ever asked for or imagined.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

all she wants to do is dance

Two Saturdays ago (June 20, for anyone who wants to know), I was in Israel. More specifically, I was in Jerusalem. Let's just stop and think about that for a second. Less than two weeks ago, I was in Israel. My home. With my people. On the journey of a lifetime. Having the most amazing and memorable experience of my life with strangers who have become lifelong friends. And now? Back at work. On Long Island. Living with my parents. Doing the same thing I always did. Hmm. Maybe not doing the same thing. I am writing this blog, afterall, and I celebrated Shabbat last weekend for the first time at home ever, which was wonderful to be able to share with my mom. But overall, it's pretty much the same old, same old. But change takes time, right? And now that I've had this life-changing experience, I can consciously make an effort to not forget the feelings I had in Israel and to make those feelings part of my everyday existence. There's so much I want to do in my life, and now I realize I can and should do it all.

But back to my original thought - Saturday night in Jerusalem. Drinking and shopping on Ben Yehuda Street and dancing all night long in a small, sweaty bar the next street over. I felt something I really haven't felt in a long time - stress-free, worry-free, unrestricted fun. All 40 of us mayanot 41 birthrighters, plus some of our new Israeli friends who met us out that night after sadly leaving the group on Thursday, squished onto the tiny dance floor already packed with locals. We sang and danced and drank and sweated for hours - and it was wonderful; perfect even. As I'm dancing with Matt pressed up against the bright red wall, sheetrock crumbling down in the corner, friends old and new all around me, I thought to myself, "I need this."

I don't know why having this kind of fun is something so hard for me to do in my everyday life, but when I finally just let go that night in Jerusalem, I had the time of my life. I guess I was able to do it partly because I felt the safety of the group of 40 people I had grown to trust and love over the course of 10 days. At home, I have one, maybe two, people I can go out with and trust. Pretty sad, but I guess that's just reality. In life, I prefer to have a few really close friends whom I care about and know care about me. But for situations like going to a club or a bar, going into the city or doing anything I'm not too comfortable with (which happens to be a lot of things), a large group of friends would be really nice. Maybe I've found that in mayanot 41. At least I hope so.

Time to organize a reunion. ASAP. I need to dance.

Monday, June 30, 2008

here goes...

So I've been wanting to start a blog for some time now, but in all honesty, couldn't make a decision about a title. The title for any piece of writing sets the tone for the entire work. Choose the wrong title and you risk ruining whatever you write after that all-important one-liner. So, as you can see, it's a big committment; one I just could not make. But today I decided to throw caution to the wind and came up with what you see - "work in progress." I'm not entirely sure I'm convinced it's the perfect title, but I think it's appropriate for how I'm feeling and what I'm about these days.

I'm going to break it down, because that's something crazy people like me do. The phrase "work in progress" has all sorts of connotations - continually improving and changing, moving forward, incomplete, unfinished. But if you break it down you see the word "progress" on its own means so much more - according to (one of my favorite go-to web sites back in my Lehigh copy editing days), progress as a noun is first defined as "a royal journey marked by pomp and pageant" or "an expedition, journey, or march through a region." Wow, talk about heavy. And as an intransitive verb? "To develop to a higher, better, or more advanced stage." Progress - Great. Wonderful. Perfect little word. So there it is - I am a work in progress and I work in progress. (more to come on that later.)

Just in case I didn't thrill you with the breakdown of my blog title and you're not impressed by my wit, here are some other options I considered:
  • cab driver, take me home
  • she'll chew you up
  • bareboned & crazy
  • she screams in silence

Any takers? Any other suggestions? I am open to them, but the more I think about it, the more I'm convinced "work in progress" is perfect. Yeah. Progress. Aweeeeesome. (shoutout to mayanot 41!)