Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Book meme

So I have been tagged by Sally Hazel for this meme. My first one! Where do I start?

Here are the rules: Grab the nearest book. Open the book to page 56. Find the fifth sentence. Post the text of the next two to five sentences in your journal/blog along with these instructions. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST. Tag five other people to do the same.

"The existence of a day of judgment means that God is interested in us. He cares. What we do does ultimately matter."

Shimon Apisdorf, Rosh Hashanah Yom Kippur Survival Kit

I am writing this from work during lunch, so this was the closest book to my computer. I am not showing off. Actually, quite the opposite. This is the unequivocal proof that I am more than qualified to start a disorganized religion of my own. I was carrying this book with me before Rosh Hashanah to refresh a few ideas and maybe finally finish reading it. I am fairly certain that I didn't finish it and instead fell asleep every time I took it out of my purse. And one time I had too many things in my purse, so I took the book out planning to declultter my purse and bring the book home the very next day. (Wait, I need to take a break and wipe off the tears - I am laughing so hard. Declutter! The very next day! hahahahaha)

Of course I didn't, and once in a while I would bump into the book and promise myself to finally bring it home. Over time, the book migrated closer and closer to my computer, in hopes of serving as a reminder and eventually making it to the bookshelf in my living room. It finally became a permanent fixture on my work desk a few months ago and blended in with the rest of the stuff, so I stopped noticing it. Until I got this meme and was horrified that I might need to quote my accounting textbook. Fear not though, it probably would never get to that. I realized that I have two more books on my desk (all close by, so I wouldn't forget to bring them home) before Intermediate Accounting becomes the next physically closest to me.

I am not tagging anyone. Seems like everyone had already done this meme. If you are reading this and haven't done it yet, consider yourself tagged.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Next to Godliness...

A philosophy lesson for the day from DD,

"Hashem (G-d) doesn't burp. Neither does Vinnie the Pooh."

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Dear Jim letter and the various shades of blue

Dear Jim,

I guess after all that waiting, it just might not work. I am sad, are you?

The first time I lay eyes on you, I was about eighteen in the waiting room of my orthodontist. Quite frankly, you were not my type then. Ace Ventura, The Cable Guy, even the The Mask were not my cup of tea. So when during those long hours waiting to be seen by the doc, I picked up a magazine with your interview. I didn't think it would interest me. And it didn't. I was just mindlessly turning the pages until I saw this:

And everything between us changed. I suddenly saw your depth and was completely mesmerised. There was something about this picture that made me look, even stare. Until I got called for my appointment. When I came back, the magazine was gone, and so were you. But I remembered the picture.

Years went by, you matured and grew into "The Truman Show" and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", among other things. And we finally totally clicked. However, in my mind you were always a guy from this picture. That's probably how I will always think of you.

But what does it have to do with my blog? A few weeks ago I promised to spruce it up. Naturally, I thought of you and your picture to be a more than worthy replacement of the picture I had before.

Can I tell you something? I never truly liked that baby. I posted his picture in haste when I couldn't find anything better. But this baby gave me creeps. He always looked cold and his skin had a blue tinge that made me wish to cover him with a blanket. Don't tell anyone, but I secretly dubbed him "the blue baby." So many times I wanted to replace him with something else, but inadvertently I cornered myself by selecting a baby: what kind of a heartless witch would replace a baby picture? So I patiently waited for the respectable amount of time to pass, so that I could finally put a picture that didn't make me run for a pair of warm socks every time I looked at it. I have waited for a year, Jim, a YEAR! before I took that picture down and replaced it with yours.

Unfortunately, some readers developed an attachment to that baby and ironically referred to you as the "blue dude." So what would you do if you were me? Would you bow down to the pressure of the masses or would you stand your ground? I tried reaching you, but you wouldn't answer me. (I blame Jenny.) So here's what I decided. I will take the decision out of my hands, and let the people vote on it. I (not so) secretly hope you win though.

Your truly,

Subjugated Wife.

Monday, December 22, 2008

On cookies, donuts and organized religion

These are just my musings on the topic of Holiday Season. They are too short to get a post of their own, plus I am not sure if I'll manage to get another post out for this to be relevant. So there. Oh, and before I forget,


Holiday season happens to be the time when our large vendors send us, their good customers, Christmas baskets with edible goodies. I do appreciate the thought and all, but would it kill them to send something kosher? I mean, we live in NY, how hard could it be? Yes, I do realize that complaining about Christmas baskets not being kosher is at best ironic. But when the 3 p.m. hunger strikes and everyone around happily munches on gourmet cookies while you hope to satiate yourself with your own saliva, philosophical musings are the last thing that comes to mind.

Here's one for marriage experts to illustrate that men truly are from Mars. I call hubby today and ask if he would like some donuts. Ask any woman (any sane woman) what that means, and she will tell you, “Honey, would you be so kind as to pick up a few dozen donuts from the bakery on your way home?" What does a male hear? "Honey, would you be so kind as to allow me to spend hours in kitchen for the honor of serving you some home made donuts?" and replies with “Yeah, sure, make some.” Ugh, whatever, they are hopeless… When I explain the true meaning behind the question , hubby is genuinely surprised, “But you like making donuts!” Yes, I also like expensive jewelry, playing preferance and girls only nights out. I don't see anyone rushing to fulfill those likes of mine...


This is the time of the year when one hears a lot of griping about organized religion (as far as I am concerned, in 99% of the cases this is just an excuse to avoid going to church or whatever else the religion would obligate the person to do). So I had a bright idea. What if I started a disorganized religion? Or religion for the disorganized? Either option would be fine, if it let me quit my day job and spend more time with kids. I even have a motto, "Mess for the masses." Something to look into...

P.S. As this post was edited, a very nice woman from a different department came over and brought me a package from a vendor that is delicious AND kosher. And left it on my desk since she knows we don't get many of those. How nice is that? And another (male) co-worker brought in a kosher donut, just for me (and other three kosher people on the floor). SubHub, if I were you, I would start getting jealous...and run to the bakery.

P.P.S. He ran, even before he heard that there's a competition. OK, got to get off the computer and start consuming all that nice food.


Happy Holidays everyone!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

УМОМ РОССИЮ НЕ ПОНЯТЬ (One cannot understand Russia using logic)

I have found yet another evidence that Russia will most likely never be a normal country. At least not in my lifetime.

While looking something up on the net, I have come across an interesting piece of info: there is a movement in Russia organized in the late 90s that heavily lobbies for Ivan the Terrible's recognition as a saint. In the past nine years or so, the movement only gathered more and more followers. I will not go into much detail about many saints who are already recognized and who led far from saintly lifestyles. The fact that many of them were murderers, vicious anti-Semites, womanizers and drunks would not surprise most educated people. But Ivan the Terrible? The serial murderer, rapist, and torturer? The man responsible for thousands and thousands of deaths of his fellow Orthodox Christians? That goes beyond anything I have seen before. But honestly, the only thing that truly surprises me is that Ivan is not a saint yet. Russians develop masochistic devotion and attachment to their tzars, especially the ones that kept the country "in control", i.e. engaged in the most amount of terror against Russian citizens.

After reading this info, I mumbled to myself, "The next thing you know, those nuts will ask for Stalin to be recognized a saint too." But I spoke too early. Not long after, I found that there's a movement for that too...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sharing is not always caring

Apparently, verbal diarrhea can spread to other parts of the body. Sigh… Today my lunch buddy and I decided to deviate from our routine and ordered Chinese.

Do you know what my fortune cookie said? “Share your happiness with others today.” It might be a bit presumptuous on my part, but I am fairly certain that others want me to keep my “happiness” to myself, especially today.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Does Pepto work for verbal diarrhea?

Today I went to DD's Chanukah party. It involved girls singing a few songs, some mother-daughter activities and consumption of a self-decorated donut. Not bad and not too long. Miraculously I came on time and didn't forget the camera. That lucky streak of me doing things right couldn't last.

During the singing part of the event, the music teacher started telling the story about Shani the rabbit who had a lot of sisters, and a lot of brothers and... One of the girls called out, "And a lot of fathers!" Most mothers politely giggled, and red lights and alarms went off in my head: DON'T SAY ANYTHING, DON'T SAY ANYTHING, DON'T SAY ANYTHING. Sigh... With alarms ignored, I whispered to my neighbor, "This information sounds a bit advanced for a four-year-old, don't you think?" Yep, DD. Mommy is trying to make a good impression...

Overall we had fun. Of course no school party is complete without some waterworks. As we got to the eating part of our activities, DD noticed that one of her classmates was crying. I said that she was crying because her Mommy left. DD immediately calculated the situation, "But you are not leaving. We are going home. Right?" Sigh. "No, sweetie, Mommy is going to work, like I told you yesterday and this morning." You should've seen it: those big gray eyes got even bigger and there it started. At least she wasn't alone. I don't know who was more traumatized, me or her.

Next week it's DS's turn. More songs, donuts and trauma on the way...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Getting to know you

(As was told by my Mom.) Two weeks ago DD went to my parents. She was in the bathroom when my Mom knocked. DD said non maliciously, "Go away, please." Mom said, "The nice way to say this is, "I need my privacy." Do you want to repeat it?" After pondering a few moments, DD decided to stick to the old and tried version and said, "Please, go away." And then promised to be out soon. She then proceeded to washing hands (that takes a while, DD is VERY thorough), brushing her teeth, and then washing her hands again. Mom knocked and reminded DD that other people also need to use the bathroom, to which DD replied, "I need my privacy."

Something in a way this was said prompted Mom to think that this was DD's attempt at humor. I said, I would have loved to believe that she has a sense of humor, but this episode alone doesn't really prove it one way or the other. DD could've just decided to be a bit bratty or try using a new phrase.

It was not the end of the saga, though. A week later, DD asked for cereal. She said, "Mama, I want cereal please." I decided I could teach her a more sophisticated version and said, "It would be nice to say, "Mommy, could you please give me cereal?" Can you repeat that?" DD gave it a try, almost got it, but on my second request to repeat the new phrase, she gave me a long look and said, "Mommy, I need my privacy."

And just like my Mom a week before, I was left wondering whether DD was making a joke, tried to tell me to get lost or simply repeated another fancy phrase she recently learned. And with her, it truly is hard to know.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Something EVERY wife should know.

On a lighter note...

Attention, nagging wives everywhere! You now have a free pass to nag your husband incessantly, courtesy of a fellow nagging wife in New Zealand. Next time hubby complaints about your nagging, you can just tell him, "I am doing it for us and our future, honey," and show him the article.

If only the winnings would be directly related to the amount of nagging ... ahh, wishful thinking.

Those were bloody murders

I still haven't managed to put together the serious post I have been nursing for some time now. But I found this, and this post, though not exactly on the same topic, expresses very well at least some of the frustration that I have with our media.


The Chabad Rabbi in India was not 'Killed'
Media suppresses word 'murder' and overlooks 'torture' by Islamic terroristsBy Shelomo AlfassaNEW YORK (December 1, 2008)

On Thanksgiving Day 2008, gunshots rang out startling the family of Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and others inside the Chabad center in Mumbai, India. A maid at the Chabad center thought it was firecrackers--then an Islamic gunman came up the stairs. Explosions and gunshots rattled the building and continued through the night. At the same time the Chabad center is attacked, Islamic terrorists were attacking a police station and a few minutes later they opened fire at a hospital. They also opened fire in restaurants and at hotels, all together, at over 10 locations, the Islamic terrorists murdered over 190 people.

The Chabad center maid told the media that the gunmen destroyed the elevator, dining room and "everything" else. The rabbi ran to the telephone to call the Israeli Consulate. He got them on the line, told them there were men with guns in the house, but in the middle of the conversation, the line went dead after the rabbi said, "something's wrong" and the rabbi's wife was heard screaming "SEND HELP IMMEDIATLY."

The rabbi was grabbed by the Muslim terrorists, held down and had a belt secured around his legs to prevent him from walking. Several other Jews in the center had their hands and feet bound with telephone cords or nylon rope. The Indian Express reported that, Rabbi Holtzberg, his wife Rivka and their three friends died in a "brutal manner..." The paper horrifically reported that there was "brutality unleashed on the Holtzberg." The paper reported that police photos inside the Chabad center spoke, "volumes of the nightmare the family and their friends must have gone through before they died." The Rabbi's body was found in a room on the second floor, with his legs under the mezuzah, stretching into the hall where his wife's body was found. Rivka's body was found near the legs of Rabbi Holtzberg, the floor was covered red in blood. The rabbi's 2-year-old son Moshe was found drenched in blood, crying in the silence, beside his parents who lay dead on the floor. The dead bodies of the murdered Jews were then booby-trapped with live hand grenades and other explosives. Indian security forces indicated the Jewish women were murdered first, as the Jewish men were first tortured before being murdered.

In the United States, where the news media like to cover up all things which may make Muslims look bad, they never mentioned that the Israelis were mutilated beyond belief. In the Digital Journal news, it was also reported that the victims of the terrorist attacks had been tortured. In the words of one doctor, "It was shocking and disturbing." A doctor who conducted the post-mortems on the victims added: "Of all the bodies, the Israeli victims bore the maximum torture marks. It was clear that they were killed on the 26th itself. It was obvious that they were tied up and tortured before they were killed. It was so bad that I do not want to go over the details even in my head again."When someone is "killed" they may have been hit by a car, drowned at sea or struck by lightning. In contrast, when someone is "murdered," this speaks of a victim who was targeted with premeditated malice. It is someone who inhumanly had their life taken from them, it is someone who was a victim of severe mutilation, targeted brutality, a person who had their life taken by another person who sought them dead. This begs the question, why did the media avoid using the word "murdered" ?

The Wall Street Journal reported: "The dead also included a young New York rabbi and his wife..."
The Boston Globe reported: "the New York rabbi and his wife were among the foreigners killed..."
The International Herald Tribune reported: "Two of the victims, a rabbi and his wife..."
The Sun-Sentinel reported: "killed were Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg, 29, and his wife, Rivkah, 28, who died in the attack..."
The Associated Press reported: "The bodies of New York Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and his wife, Rivkah, were found at the Jewish center..."
National Public Radio reported: "Among the dead are Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka..."
The New York Times reported: "six of the hostages were killed, including the Brooklyn couple who operated the center..."
The Los Angeles Times reported: "the Chabad Lubavitch members who were killed by militants"

The stupidity of the Western media is blatant. What is not being made clear in prominent Western media is that this was a meticulously planned and well-organized attack. What is the motivation of journalists in trying to downplay these heinous atrocities? Do they wish to express some sympathy for these murderers? The mainstream media remains a giant bureaucracy with no feeling, soul, or intelligence. They make it too easy for blatant evil to be excused or explained away.

The Muslim murderers had a well coordinated well thought out plan. They had been in the country for months, obtained jobs in the area, stockpiled food for the siege, and stockpiled ammunition enough to kill thousands. Some of the Muslim murderers had even rented rooms in the Chabad center! They utilized BlackBerry email devices to stay in touch with each other and outsiders, to exchange intelligence information in different locations during the attacks. An Indian Marine commando told the media that it was obvious the terrorists were well trained. The Marine said the attackers were "very determined and remorseless." The Times of India reported that the sole surviving murderer told Indian police that the terrorists were sent with a specific mission of targeting Israelis at Chabad House in order to avenge "atrocities committed against the Palestinians."

The Chabad rabbi and his wife (as well as the other 190+ victims) were not killed, they were murdered, there is a difference, and one that needs to be differentiated at every opportunity.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Family dinner, the MasterCard style, Director's cut

Time needed to prepare dinner for seven: 2 days with prep time.

Time available: 6 hours.

Cooking time for that one side dish that you inevitably forget to serve (inevitably family favorite): 2 hours.

Number of times freaked out due to various reasons: let's not go there.

Number of "Thank you, L-rd" said over your family's tardiness: 1 per each minute of lateness.

Forcing your younger single brother to listen to your parenting challenges: Priceless.

Feeling vindicated after your younger brother (probably under the influence of alcohol, which in turn was consumed in excess to drown your oversharing of parenting challenges) confesses that you were treated much stricter than him due to your more advanced age and supposedly higher wisdom that comes with it: Even more priceless.

Observing your mother's reaction to his confession: Heh, heh, priceless!

Realizing a few hours later that you are repeating the pattern: Also priceless, but in a different sort of way.


Calling Mom and commiserating together on the challenges of parenting and ungrateful kids: Yep, truly and honestly priceless.

Everybody loves fruit

I have tried to write a serious post for about a week, but whatever I wrote came out to be incomprehensible not to my satisfaction. And it's one of those posts: if I can't say it right, then I shouldn't say it at all. I'll come back to it some other time and give it a shot when my head is clearer or my writing abilities improve, which will happen ... well, probably never.

So I decided to go back to the basics and write not about politics, current events, or anything requiring any serious brain ability, but about what's eating me inside. Well, actually, this post is about what I am eating.

I have found myself consuming an inordinate amount of sugar recently. It has actually become a compulsion, and I was unable to stop. Then I had an epiphany: maybe, I am missing fruit! So the next time I went weekly shopping, I picked up a few pomegranates and a couple of mangoes. I don't particularly care for winter apples, and generally anything bought out of season is a waste of money, as far as I am concerned. I am not sure if pomegranates and mangoes are in season, but I rarely indulge in those fruits; however, the one I picked looked good, and there was nothing better, except for apples.

I was not disappointed. Pomegranate was delicious (and on sale, might I add).

It was awesome and very ripe. AND aesthetically very pleasing. I just lo-o-ove looking at pomegranates, right before viciously consuming them. The repeat though was not as successful. The next time I bought pomegranates, they were a bit overripe, but still quite good and still on sale .
Doesn't that look awesome? And it tasted awesome too. So good that I ran to the grocery store the next day to buy some more. So good that even DS, who normally avoids fruits and veggies like plague, had some and liked it. So good that I am thinking of taking out a second mortgage on our house and buying some more. Ok, so we don't have a house and a mortgage, but if we did... the price of fruit had become truly outrageous, in my opinion.

And yesterday I went to the store to pick up some basic stuff, and ran into cherries. I don't think I have ever seen cherries in December, so naturally I couldn't resist.

And they were pretty decent, especially for December. Kids really enjoyed them, well, adults too.

Now I am waiting for these beauties.

Right now every time I am in a store, they are still not ripe, but hopefully soon. Otherwise, it might be this:

And the aftermath of it won't be as pretty as the pictures above. Not that right now it's an eye candy or anything... Sigh... Deep sigh...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I wanna hold your ... hand?

For various reasons we had to take our kidlets on the subway last week. Going to Manhattan presented little problem since they (SubHub and kids, I was at work) were going against the traffic. We naively thought that going back shouldn’t be a problem either, but we were dead wrong. Apparently there are almost as many people on the train at 8 p.m. as there are at 6 p.m. So when we boarded Q train, there were no seats available. Surprise, surprise, no one offered a seat either. We had no choice but to tough it out.

SubHub was holding DD and our bags; I ended up with DS. I was holding him tight, but the little fella got a big scared on one of the steep turns and started looking for something to grab on in addition to my hand. Due to his height limitation, he couldn’t find anything suitable, except for some woman’s jeans-clad calf. I asked him to stop, but to no avail; he was grabbing on for his dear life. Both SubHub and I got beet red and couldn’t wait for this ride to be over. The woman half turned, gave us one annoying look, but then submitted to her fate. After all, being molested by a handsome cute 2-yr old is not the worst thing that can happen to one on the subway.

The steep turn was over in about a minute and things returned to normal, except that both SubHub and I were still beet red. In a few stops one of the seats in front of that woman became available. So seeing a family with two little children, this young woman did the most natural to any decent human being thing - she offered the seat to us, NOT. She grabbed it just as fast as DS grabbed her calf three minutes earlier. The woman still kept on throwing annoyed glares in our direction, but she looked a bit relieved at the same time. Finally she was in relative safety, rescued from unwanted advances of our son. That’s when my deep feeling of embarrassment was replaced by an even deeper feeling of regret. Why didn’t DS pinch her while he was at it?