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?