Monday, February 28, 2011

the accidental feminist

i recently finished watching the first season of the cable tv series mad men .  though it was fun to watch the glamour of a bygone era i feel grateful to be born after that time period. the gender discrimination that women suffered in the workplace in those days was appalling. nowadays sexism hasn't been eliminated, but its a million times better for women in the workplace today than it was in the early 1960's.
i often  hear  in women my mother's age saying that young women these days have no idea how good they have it and how the women of the sixties and seventies really paved the way for young women currently  in the workplace. i never realised how much they were correct until i watched the series mad men. we've come a long way.
so much for the 'good old days'. as carly simon put it into song, these are the good old days.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

the demise of the bookstore

one of the most sad events in current history is borders bookstore filing for chapter eleven. a lot of borders bookstores in manhattan are closing including one branch that was/is  near where i work. i am despondent. i loved their book events. i loved being able to run there for a seven o'clock book event on nights i worked late and still be able to get their on time because it was so close by . i loved browsing the books during my lunch break from work.
alas, i too am the owner of an e-reader. so even sad as i am about the bookstore closures i am part of the reason bookstores are closing. i don't buy as many print books as i used to.
another reason bookstores are closing is due to the internet. many of us are buying books online. its usually cheaper to buy a book online even if its from a website that has a physical bookstore.
of course now that everyone is buying almost everything online what are we all doing in all of our free time??
libraries are still open. i like libraries, but i've always liked bookstores better because bookstores always have the new releases quicker than the library does.
i recently attended a book event at barnes and noble . it was incredible. the place was filled with swarms of people. im sure that there were  many people who bought the book, but it seemed like there were less people who bought the book at this event then at events years ago. the event that i was at recently was for the younger crowd. the younger crowd is much more tech savvy so they might not be as likely to buy print books than the older crowd.  perhaps more bookstores should have book events that target the older crowd that  is more technologically phobic and more likely to buy a print book.
p.s. the above photos were taken at the borders at columbus circle which actually is still open. i just didnt have any photos of any other borders bookstores.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

tis the (purim) season

i was in the east village today and went to moishe's kosher bake shop to have my first hamantashen of the season when lo and behold a policeman followed me into the store.  not unusual i know. it was a bakery and you dont  have to be jewish to eat baked goods from a kosher bakery. well, after i purchased my poppy seed hamantashen, my policeman friend purchased some cherry filled hamantashen. well maybe he is jewish , or maybe he just likes hamantashen . you never know.
another fun culinary fact for all of the gastro jews out there is the story of  alvin lee. his bakery is not kosher, and lee is black and gentile,  but its worth a mention none the less. alvin lee saw a recipe for rugalach in a newspaper forty years ago and perfected the art of making rugalach. now he owns a bakery in harlem which carries rugalach . people love his rugalach so much that when he had to close his doors last may due to financial reasons his former patrons rallied to help him stay open because they loved his rugalach so much. hmmm so i guess there is a reason some people stay connected to judaism just for the food.... even a non jewish harlem man got into the act to make a jewish culinary dessert !

Sunday, February 20, 2011

shabbos yom menucha

people who do not keep shabbos always revel at how i am able go 25 hours without being able to text, speak on the phone , watch tv or go veg out on the computer. i say how can i not have a 25 hour period each week with such restrictions?   bring it on!! being restricted from the possibility of a 2 hour phone call is divine. im so hypnotized by my computer that its good to have at 25 hour weekly break from it. oh and i don't watch enough tv to miss it on shabbos. im not such a heavy texter so i don't even think about not being able to text on shabbos.
i feel sorry for heavy texters . for them its as addictive as smoking. they can barely go fifteen minutes  without increasing the intensity of their carpal tunnel. they have to learn the art of face to face conversation . what a bummer.
 i think that hashem knew what he was doing when he banned electronic devices on shabbos. he knew  that we needed a weekly break from it all so we would actually have shabbos menucha.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


when a friend gets engaged it is always bittersweet. im happy that they are able to move to the next step, but im sad because im never sure whether we will still be friends once they get married.
no matter which way it ends up, whether we remain friends or not i am still glad my friend is engaged.
of course i am envious of my friend if she is engaged, but this is good envy. it motivates me to take action and try to make it happen for myself  (though it hasn't come up with  any desired results...)
buts seriously , some people aren't envious of   their friend's engagements , weddings and children because they don't think they will ever have one. not hard not to be envious if your self esteem is that low.
other times it is easy not to feel envious because one knows how much ones friends went through to get to where they are.
yes, i am genuinely  happy for my friends when they get engaged its just that sometimes im sad for myself that i haven't gotten there myself and i guess gets worse every year that goes by because after all some people never get married . then again its good to know that some of my friends have gotten engaged and married so they don't have to continue going through all the singleness.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

about a city

when i lived in the midwest  the city i lived in was more of a backdrop. my focus  was on my friends and family . when i moved to new york it all changed. new york city takes on a life form . new york  is like a selfish younger sibling demanding all of your attention. sometimes you have to leave "the city" not just to get away but to get away from all of the new yorkness.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


one low tech item that i wish i would see more of these days is the greeting card. there is nothing like opening up a non-virtual card and holding it in one's hands. e-cards are fun, but  they are as intangible as the wind. i still have paper cards i have received from grandparents , aunts and uncles who are long deceased, but i am still able to see their  love written on the greeting cards that they had sent me. who knows what new technology looms in the future. the computer could one day go the way of the record player or the vcr. low tech as it is you can always hold a paper greeting in your hands and read it provided the ink on the card hasn't faded.
i don't own stock in hallmark. i just miss the  golden age of the greeting card. whenever technology advances there are always pros and cons in new vs. old. the cd is more compact than a cassette tape, but a cd can warp like a record used to. a dvd is more compact than a video, but when you don't watch a whole movie at once on a video its easier to pick up where you left off. the video stays stopped at the part of movie you paused. with a dvd you have to remember to write down the name of the scene  and chapter you paused your dvd on  and then go through the whole rigmarole before you find the place where you left off when you want to continue watching.
i know that the clocks of change can never be turned backward, but i sure do miss those hallmark moments.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

lazy days

i feel like i am always in perpetual motion so this weekend  i decided to take a break. lucky me , even when i am home i cant sit still. last night i crocheted three pairs of baby booties for baby gifts and today i've been knitting a hat for myself. even when im lazing around i still feel the need to be productive. i don't know how some people can actually sit and do nothing. i guess these are the same people who say that they are glad that they go to work because otherwise they would be bored. again, this is beyond my comprehension. i always feel like there is never enough time in the day to do everything i would like to do. this is why i needed a saturday night and sunday at home . maybe i wont exactly relax but at least i will take care of some of the things i need to take care of at home!

"Just the way you are"

the most important thing is to be able to love and accept a person for who they are and not for what one wishes they would be. the only person one can change is oneself. sad , but true. then again its not so simple to change oneself either!
  after the initial stages of a relationship when two people get to know each other one sees who the other is good and bad. if one doesn't see any negatives it  is even scarier. to love a person for who he/she is means that there can be true love. if one only loves the illusion of what one thinks the other person is or wants the other person to be this is not true love and it wont last very long.

Friday, February 11, 2011

still got it

once again its almost valentine's day which is yet another opportunity to sulk about my singular status. well anyway, at work ,while trying to keep my non-romantic valentine's day plans a secret the  twenty-two year old puerto rican ups guy asked me if i would be his valentine on valentine's day since he didn't have a valentine either. granted, he's the wrong religion, but i guess i can't say that no one wants to be my valentine this year!!! and  a younger man to boot! lol! i hope to have better luck next year.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

that aha moment

a big part of my  day job is teaching a specific skill.. sometimes people get the hang of things right away and others need further training. sometimes at the beginning it seems as though some students will never catch on . after much experience i have learned that so long as a person is motivated and persistant  he or she will eventually  be successful. it is  most incredible to watch a student experience that "aha" moment when everything clicks .this is  what makes teaching so rewarding. that  "aha" moment and the fact that every person takes a different road toward achievement and the challenge of figuring out which route of learning will guide each  student most efficiently toward  achievement.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

chinese rosh hashana parade

i went to the chinese new year parade on sunday. though i have been in chinatown many times  this parade is truly an experience to witness. the parade color scheme was right out of  hello kitty.  the floats were sponsored by many popular businesses like macy's and american airlines and had a chinese flair. there were a lot of dragon floats. since i was born the year of the dragon i especially like the dragon floats. this year however is the year of the rabbit. (in case anyone was curious) . the music on the floats was very cool too. everyone was shooting off confetti bombs even as the floats passed by. the ground was covered in confetti. i feel sorry for whoever had  to clean up.
it was interesting to see a minority other than jews celebrating their new year. its always nice to think of another new year because it always means a chance for another fresh start.
there is a custom to give single people red envelopes of money on chinese new year. i guess judaism can't do this on rosh hashana (or actually right before  rosha hashanna so its not yom tov) then the shidduch crisis would never end! but it wouldnt be a bad idea because then i would be compensated in some way for being single. maybe the rule would be that shadchanim have to give red envelopes of money to jewish singles right before rosh hashanna  as an insentive for the shadchanim to marry off the singles so they don't have to give them a  red envelope of money the next year on the day before rosh hashanna..  the red envelope would have to be given the day before rosh hashanna since no one is allowed to handle money on  rosh hashanna.
i couldn't get any good pictures of the actual parade because i wasn't standing in the front . so im just posting some photos of chinatown .

Monday, February 7, 2011


the newly proposed charedi hechsherim on women's clothing in israel is beyond me. i feel like the chumrahs that have been imposed lately have turned frum life into a tragic comedy. tragic for those who might try to adhere to these chumrahs and comedy for those of us who sit on the sidelines.
there are laws of modesty in judaism. if there are actual hechsherim on clothing this means that frum women can only shop in certain clothing stores that carry clothing with hechsherim. a savvy move for clothing store owners, not so nice for the rest of us.
what i want know is what will be included in this hechsher. i don't think that a sleeveless vest could be included in the hechsher. if it  was then women may think that they can wear this sleeveless vest alone. a short sleeved t shirt would not be kosher because someone might think that this could be worn alone. only long sleeved shirts or dresses could be included in this hechsher to avoid confusion.
putting a hechsher on clothing is kind of like forcing people to recycle. we know we should be worried about these issues and the government  or local businesses would like to profit from our lack of conscientiousness.
modesty is important, but i think that the rabbis who have conceived this folly would be better serving the jewish community if they were thinking of less ways to scam other jews and more time thinking of how to encourage jews to employ more kosher business practises. if not we will all be in trouble

Sunday, February 6, 2011

the wisdom of the flintstones

there was an episode of the flintstones where the rubbles  were having a plumbing problem and asked the flinstones if they could stay over for a few days. wilma was leery because she said that there are always problems when friends live together. as a kid this baffled  me . now i totally understand.
i like having guests over , just not sleep over guests. sleep over guests can really be too much of a good thing . its nice to have guests, but its even nicer when they go home.

Friday, February 4, 2011

eat until you are satisfied

there were two  weight loss systems when i  was doing the weight watchers program a few years ago. there was the points system and then there was the core system. the points system meant that every food was assigned a points value and each person was only allowed to eat a certain amount of points per day according to their height and starting weight. the core program had certain guidelines as to which foods you consume but it did not put a concrete limit to how much you could eat it just said that you should eat until you were satisfied.  i found this  ironic. i was already eating until i was satisfied. this was why i was overweight! granted i was also eating junk food to achieve this satisfaction but still! even if i was eating just regular food if i would eat until i was satisfied i still would not lose weight. unless it meant eating as much free vegetables until i was satisfied it really is not valid .
i think  that there is a mindset behind a person's weight situation. i eat less when i am busy with non-stressful life issues. when i am stressed i eat more. when i spend time with people with poor eating habits i cave to the peer pressure. when i am unbearably overwrought with emotions of  9/11 proportions i eat nothing.
a man named peter walsh  wrote a book called does this clutter make my butt look big suggests writing a  food feelings diary. that is a diary of one's emotional state when one has eaten what one has eaten during the course of the day. i think that this is on the money. weight loss is still a lot of work, but its not just about the food. its about the emotions that drive one to this weight gain. peter walsh also does the show called  clean sweep where he helps people with hoarding issues clean their homes and deal with the issues that turned their home into a big mess. he also believes that a cluttered home can make someone eat too much. this isn't always true, but in my case it is. when my home is more cluttered so are my eating habits. the same issues that clutter my home clutter my eating . then again when one is busy organizing one's home one usually isn't snacking.
even jillian michaels of biggest loser fame says that in order to stay thin one should clear the clutter in one's home at least fifteen minutes a day.
i think that adhering to the weight watchers points system and  keeping track and managing the emotions that lead to my weight issues will help me find a happier weight. battling daily physical clutter will help me have a larger living space to share with my eventually smaller size.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

fleeting beauty

its amazing how looks can go. we all realize this on some level but when you actually see it happen in real time it is truly mind boggling. even when you see it you can almost not believe its for real.
i have a college friend who married a guy who was cute as a button. they got married  at 23. at about 26 his looks began to fade. at 26 he didn't even look like he could possibly have been as cute as he once was.
i have another friend whose husband was also quite handsome when they married. he also had a slightly snarky personality. now that his looks have turned into just okay all one notices is the snarky attitude.
ive been to school reunions where you see how everyone has aged. some look good, some not so good. it really puts things in perspective. the guy who may have snubbed me in high school because he thought he was g-ds gift now looks like an demystyfied magic trick. the looks are no longer hiding his vile  personality.
even when someone does maintain external beauty  at 50 or 60 it is still not that vibrant beauty of 20 or 30. when i see relatives that i knew when they were in their prime and now they are not its disarming.
it actually better to end up with the guy with the good personality and the more average looks because in the end  its the personality one ends up with not the looks.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

no regrets

no one knows how long we have to mend broken relationships that we have in our lives. life and death happens and we have no control over either. sometimes we are fortunate to fix things and other times we aren't. i admit that i haven't always been lucky enough to beat the clock in these situations but in others , by the mercy of h-shem i have been.
unfortunately we don't  know how much time we have with people and unless we are clairvoyant we probably would not  act any differently given a second chance at the same situation. we would still  think that we would  have forever to change things.
its best to move forward and try not to wallow in the could haves and the should haves . best to learn from the past , but also realize that as much as we must employ our best  efforts,  no one is perfect.