Saturday, August 29, 2009

Shabbat 101

We caught the class about Shabbat at the Temple on Thursday. The Rabbi gave us of a list of Do’s and Don’ts on Shabbat.

Possible Things to do on Shabbat:
Light candles
Kiddush over wine
Bless children
Family dinner
Attend Services
Make love with spouse

We sat at a table with three other couples, all in their 50s and 60s. The Rabbi asked if any of us had observed Shabbat, and if so, what did we do? Marla and Tom at our table (I changed their names) started laughing and in a very stereotypical Jewish accent, Ellen whispered to Marla, “Whaaat? Why aww yoo laaaughingk?” Marla pointed to the list. Ellen looked and her and said, “Yeeah? What?” Marla whispered in her ear and Ellen’s eyes grew to the size of silver dollars. Ellen shook her finger at Marla.
Marla looked at her and said, “Whaat? It was ooon the list!”
Ellen said, “Marla, yeeea not gonna tell him thaaat.”
Tom said, “Whaaat? It’s on the list!”
Marla announced, “Rabbi, I have something personal to tell you!”
Ellen shouted, “NO no! No you can’t tell him that, you wouldn’t!” Marla and Tom started cracking up.

This was the possibly the cutest thing I’ve witnessed in a very long time.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I'm Not Pregnant

"Have you made a lot of friends here in Jacksonville?
"Well, we've made a few. It's a hard place to meet people."
"Oh, you'll meet plenty of people when you have kids."
"I'm not pregnant..."

"Have you seen these swaddlers?! You are going to love these."
"I'm not pregnant..."

"What do you think about banking cord blood?"
"I think it's emotional blackmail."
"Really? So you're not going to bank yours?"
"I'm not pregnant..."

"Well, what are you guys going to do with the cars if you have more then 2 kids?"
"I'm not pregnant..."

Monday, August 24, 2009

Drama in the Skies

This morning in the airport I was rushing to my gate. After the Delta/Northwest merger, their systems sometimes cross and don’t assign you a seat. After a mild panic attack following a flashback of all the times a woman in navy blue stood behind an unreasonably tall console staring at a computer saying, “I realize you have a ticket, ma’am, but you don’t have a seat on the flight…”, I was informed by the gate agent that I did have a seat and she could assign it to me 20 minutes prior to boarding. Big sigh of relief there.
While I was waiting, I sat and watched about 18 people hoping, praying to get onto a flight to Los Angeles. They eyed everyone who walked into the gate agent area and panted like the ticket was a drink they’ve been seeking for days. Occasionally, the woman would call out a name in a very southern accent: “Dia? Deeeyuuuh? Ya’ll are clear.” I would watch the mini-celebrations, not to run too long for fear that even a second of lag time and the gate agent just might change her mind and give the seat to someone else. I’ve been in that position so many times and I have to admit, I secretly prayed that everyone standing there got onto the flight.
Finally, with 10 or so people left, she announced the flight was completely full. You could see the disappointment like a rolling wave. As the gate agent shut the door, a tall, slender, well-dressed woman power-walked toward the door.
“Ma’am? Ma’am! I’m on that flight!”
“No you aren’t, I’m sorry. I just shut the door, this flight is full.”
The look of panic began to take over her face.
“But my daughter! My daughter is on that flight!”
“I’m sorry, ma’am. It’s 3 minutes until take-off. You have to be here 15 minutes before a flight leaves.”
Her face turns red and she begins shaking the Burger King bags in her hands.
“What? No, please!”
“Ma’am, I’m sorry! I’ve closed this flight.”
The woman then begins the cry, but not a like sad cry. A desperate, quivering, moaning cry.
“My daughter is on that fliiiiight. We’re going to a FUNERAL, ma’am. PAHLEASE let me on.”
“I can’t do that. I’ve closed the door and the plane is pulling away.”
“Nooo! Ma’am PAHLEEEASE open the doo-hoo-oor. My daughter is on that flight and we’re going to a fu-hu-ner-aaaaal.”
Her tone and volume made the whole gate stop. From zero to sixty, she was facing the worst tragedy of her life. Everyone was looking at her. We were all thinking the same thing. Move along lady. It happens to everyone. Don’t make a fool of yourself.
“It’s a fuuuuuneral and I (sob, sob) can’t miss the fuuuuuneral. My daughter is on the fliiiiiight.”
The gate agent was so exasperated at this woman, practically on her knees begging to be allowed on board. She picked up her little white phone and starting typing away.
“Ok, ma’am, what is your last name?!”
The gate agent speaks into the phone.
“No, I thought it was but this woman says her daughter is already on the flight. I’m trying to find out – ma’am WHAT IS YOUR LAST NAME?”
She shrieks like someone’s poked her with her a hot stick.
“SHIRK!” (sob, sob)
“Shirk? Last name is…”
“Pahleeease ma’am.”
At this point the crying is less like a moose and more desperation, like she’s quietly begging for her life.
“Please, please, pleeease ma’am.”
“She said her daughter is on the flight already.”
“Oh, God, pleeeeease.”
At that moment came the best part of my day.
“Ma’am. You’re last name is Shirk? You’re going to Chicago, not Los Angeles.”
This is flight 1890 to Los Angeles. Your gate it across the way.”
That “ooo” sound you make in 9th grade when a kid gets called out by a teacher? That’s the sound we all made in our heads.
This woman didn’t even bat an eye. She stood up, grabbed her purse, and remarked, “Oh.”
That’s it. No, gosh I sure am sorry I caused an ignorant scene after not reading the blaring red digital sign behind you that cleary says LOS ANGELES. She just stood up, flung her bag over her shoulder, and walked across the walkway like a supermodel.
The entire gate started cracking up, including the gate agent. Such a dramatic display to end so quickly, as if someone suddenly called, “CUT!” and she said, “Oh!” and walked over to catering for mac and cheese.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Park and Fly is the greatest park and fly ever. They give you a newspaper and water when you pull in, they come to your car and pick you up in their happy little van with it’s happy little driver (who makes small talk with you all the way to your gate), and then are right on time to pick you back up when you get home. It’s so much more pleasant than the Flyaway.
So this morning I get there at 4:30am. The happy little driver picks me up right after an older couple. It’s clear that the woman already on the bus has a neurological disorder because she is jerking and shaking every few seconds, and cooing like a pigeon.
Then two more couples get on, probably in their 60s. They are jovial and chatty.
“Great morning for a plane ride, huh young lady?” the woman says to me. I smile because it’s 4:30am and I don’t talk at 4:30am. The older lady coos.
Then another couple, also in their 60, pile in to fill the van. And then, the conversation that followed made me WISH someone else was there with me. Writing it down doesn’t do it justice, but I’ll try. I made up names for my own pleasure. Keep in mind, these people don’t know each other. Oh, it made me so happy.
(Uproarious Laughter)
Henry: GOOD MORNING everyone!
Belinda: Well, you’re in a great mood, sir.
Henry: Oh yeah!
Bob: Me too! I’m always happy. Happy, happy, happy!
Ethel: Coo.
Belinda: It’s true, he’s always happy.
Bob: Happy, happy, happy!
Henry: I bet that’s why you haven’t shot him yet.
(Uproarious Laughter)
Hazel: Oh great, Hen, looks like you’ve got an audience this morning.
Belinda: Where are you two off to?
Henry: Off to Saaaan FraaanCisco!
Everyone: Oooo!
Ethel: Coo.
Hazel: Going to see the kids.
Belinda: Oh my kids are in Connecticut.
Henry: You know, I always say when you move away from your kids, just don’t leave a forwarding address.
(Uproarious Laughter)
Hazel: Oh that’s an old one, Henry.
Bob: Still a good one!
Ethel: Coo.
Belinda: We’re going to my brother’s place in Seattle. My neighbors here have never been.
Martha: Yeah, it’s our first time.
Belinda: We almost didn’t make the flight. My neighbor Arthur here was in the hospital this week.
Hazel: Oh my.
Arthur: Just my heart. Just my heart.
Martha: Oh sure, no big deal dear, just his heart!
Ethel: Coo.
Bob: I was in the hospital last week, too.
Henry: But you’re still so happy, right?!
Bob: Happy, happy, happy!
(Uproarious Laughter)
Arthur: I tell you, getting old is not for the faint of heart.
Everyone: No, no it isn’t.
Henry: I was in the hospital for a rotator cuff last week.
Bob: Golden years, right?
Hazel: Yeah. These are our Golden Years.
Henry: Yeah, golden for our doctors, right?
Belinda: Oooh, yes.
Bob: Isn’t that the truth?
Hazel: That’s right.
Martha: And it’s true…
(Everyone shakes their heads as if to say, "Such a shame.")
Ethel: Coo.
Belinda: These hospitals treat us like we’re all used up.
Martha: It’s a crime.
Henry: Well, as long as we’re all still traveling!
Hazel: That’s right.
Bob: If we’re travelin’ we’re happy! Happy, happy, happy!
(Uproarious Laughter)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Carbohydrates in Florida

It is more difficult than one would think to order a sugar-free meal. Couple that with the fact that I live in Florida, and I'm in trouble.
Doctor's orders are that I eat absolutely, positively no sugar for several months. So I'm eating a lot of cheese and a lot of meat. Sometimes I sneak in a Sugar Free box of Jello (which I'm not supposed to do, but COME ON). All in all, I'm fairly miserable.
I've taken to ordering my favorite foods, minus the sugar. For example, the other night at sushi I asked for a tuna roll with no rice.

"So you want no rice?"
Yes ma'am.
"What about for sushi?"
Nope, no rice.
"But then you only have fish and Nori."
I know. And that's great.
"Ok. And you want salmon bowl?"
Yes. No rice.
"But it comes in the bowl."
I know it. You can keep it. Just the vegetables and the salmon, please.
"Ok, but it's not gonna be good."

Or, when I tried to order one of Publix's famous subs, sans the bread.

Hi, can you make me the Itallian Boar's Head sub, but put everything you would put in the bread in a bowl instead and leave out the bread?
"I don't think so."
Really? I'll pay the same amount. I just don't want to bread.
"You don't want it?"
Well, I can't eat sugar.
"There's no sugar in our bread."
Sugar is made of flour which is a carbohydrate and those are processed in our bodies the same way as sugar so know what? I just can't eat the bread, ok?
(The lady who makes the subs then walks up)
"So do you want me to cut up the meat for your sub?"
It doesn't matter. Whatever's easier.
"In this kind of bowl?"
Yep. Just a regular salad bowl.
(She looks at me like I'm trying to get away with something)
"You want some kind of sauce?"
No, there's probably sugar in it. Just oil and vinegar.
"You think so, huh?" (one eyebrow up)
Yeah, it's nothing personal. I'm sure it's good sauce.
"How about croutons?"

You get the idea. I really look forward to having the money to hire my own personal chef to cook sugarless, carb-free foods for me all day long.

Friday, August 14, 2009

From Charlie

Hi. I'm Charlie. The lady who writes this blog is my mom. She feels better after she tells everyone how she feels about stuff, so I decided I should try it.
Over a year ago, my mom and dad came to the shelter and picked me up. It was the best. We went on walks together, went hiking together, and played laser tag together (that's my favorite).

My best friends Cassius and Kipi lived upstairs and we used to run around barking and boxing all day. Sometimes we all slept on the couch together and we always left room. I loved sharing my toys with them. I ate when I felt like it and relaxed on all my dog beds (I had 3).

Then one day my mom and dad asked these guys I didn't like to come take all of our stuff. I only have 3 bones and 2 kongs, so I figured they just wanted to live simpler. That night we slept on the floor together, which was kind of fun. But the next morning we got up much earlier than I'd of liked and took a road trip.

Now, don't get me wrong. The road trip was awesome. I loved hanging my head out the window and meeting new people. But when we finally stopped, things were not the way I wanted.

My mom and dad moved all our stuff into this new house. Cassius and Kipi were not upstairs. In fact, no one was. I just sat around all day. Sometimes we went on walks, but usually I just went outside in the back yard. I just sat and talked to my mom all day (and she would tell me to stop whining, but I wasn't whining, I was trying to tell her I missed home). My dad came home and played with me, but it wasn't the same.
Then the worst thing you could ever imagine happened next. I was already lonely and sad, but at least I still had my dignity. Mom and Dad brought home Bella. What's a Bella you ask? They told me it's a sister, but it isn't. It's a dog, smaller than you, that never shuts up. It bites your feet and tries to steal your cookies and jumps on your face when you are sleeping.

I used to eat my food when I felt like it and now I have to eat it so fast that I get the poots because I don't want her getting any of it. Whatever bed I'm sleeping on, that's where she wants to sleep. Even if I'm on the big couch, she puts her head way too close to mine. If I want to go outside, she goes outside. If I lay on mom's lap, she lays on mom's lap. Nothing is sacred anymore. And now everytime she has to go to the dog doctor, I have to go because my mom says it makes her feel "safer." Twice the doggie doctor visits is not my idea of a "sister."
When my mom's not looking, I try to get rid of her. One night I helped her chew out of her collar in the car so she might run away when Mom opened the door, but she didn't. Another time I pushed the back door open to set her free, but I forgot about the fence doors being closed. It seems there's just no getting rid of her.
So that's why I'm writing on here. If anyone out there is interested in a cute, cuddly, not-annoying, very docile sister named Bella, please come to our house. I'll even throw in all the cookies. Just take her. I'm exhausted.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Jewish Newish

A conversation from the Jewish Newish Meet and Greet.

Mort: I noticed you two are newcomers, welcome to Jacksonville.
Erin and Dave: Oh, thanks so much!
Mort: Do you have a temple yet?
Erin: Oh, no not yet...
Dave: We're not sure we...
Mort: Well, I know you're going to make the rounds. It's only natural. And I'm not one to push.
Dave: Sure.
Mort: So when you do make the rounds, consider my temple BethShalom.
Erin: Great, thank for the invitation.
Mort: I have some literature about it to share with you.
Mimi: Hi, you met Mort.
David: We did.
Mimi: Did he tell you about our temple?
Erin: He did.
Mimi: We're not the pushy type.
David: Mort mentioned that.
Mimi: You want to find a temple that makes you feel comfortable.
Mort: Like you're at home.
Mimi: With family, yeah.
Erin: Sure, sure.
Mimi: We have literature.
Mort: So when you do make the rounds....
Mimi: ...are you conservative?
Erin: I'm not...
Mort: ...just be sure to come by BethShalom. We really keep membership low for young people.
David: That's nice. Thank so mu...
Mimi: Just take it for what it is. No pushing. Just come.
Mort: Yeah, just come.
Erin: Great, thanks so much.
David: We really appreciate it.
Mort: Are you conservative?
David: Um, we're...
Mimi: It's fine. You'll love it. Come.

Monday, August 10, 2009

What Once was Fun

My family-in-law bought a boat this past weekend. It is speedy and big enough to fit 10 people at once. The kids were in heaven and the men immediately became expert Boat Captains who didn't need sunscreen because they were so used to life on the water.
After an hour or so of zipping around the river and feeling the wind cool our bodies in the 90 degree heat, the kids requested to go tubing. I haven't participated in any water sports in a very long time. But when I was a kid, I could get up on skis, circle boards, and knee boards. Tubing was just a fun little ride. I'd put on that old hard-foam, slippery life jacket (remember those, like the pic?) and jump in the water without even thinking. I'd flip around and fall and laugh. There were so many fabulous days spent water-logged and sunburned.

So when my niece-in-law asked me if I would be her tubing partner, I immediately said yes. I'm a cool aunt-in-law! I jumped into the water without hesitation. I flopped into the giant tube with her and laughed at the prospect of how fun this would all be. The boat slowly pulled away from us and I explained to her to keep her body up and to hold on to those handles. We both squealed with excitement.
The boat started moving and we started skipping over the water in our tube. We giggled each time the tube plopped down in the water and we lost our balance. I tickled her feet to make her wiggle in the tube and get splashed! Oh, what a great memory!!
And then the boat sped up.
Within about 6 seconds, both of our faces went from pure elation to complete horror. We had no control of our bodies and the water whipped our legs like we'd been bad. Our tube skidded over wakes and waves and our bodies hit the sides so hard we lost our breath. I tried to continue laughing to keep her calm, but my laughter just started sounding like a maniacal scream. Within about a minute, her little body slid to the bottom of the tube and directly underneath me. Her face looked up at me like, "HELP! DANGER! SAVE ME! NOT A FUN GAME!" I gave the signal for stop, which is the same signal as "I'm going to slit your throat if you don't shut it off". Everyone on the boat proceeded to give me the thumbs up. Apparently, they didn't see what I was doing because I was bouncing so forcefully I couldn't steady my hands. My niece started to get tears in her eyes, but I'm guessing she didn't cry because she couldn't breathe. I started flailing my arms around my neck. I made slitting motions, hanging motions, and probably did the Macarena at one point trying to gain their attention.
About 7 hours later, they slowed the boat down and we both sat up. We slowly pulled ourselves back up on the boat and promptly laid down for the next hour. It was nothing like I remembered and I'm pretty sure nothing I'll ever do again.
Shortly after my brother-in-law said, "I think we need to blow it up some more." Yep. That's it. It wasn't fun because the tube should be blown up some more. Nothing to do with the near death experience that is tubing on the river.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Last week I found out from my doc that I'm insulin-resistant. After 28 years, no one seemed to notice that my body doesn't process sugar. For years, I've struggled with acne, fat accumulation ONLY around my mid-section, headaches, stomach aches, crazy hormonal shifts, and even hair loss. It's crazy to think with all these symptoms, a diagnosis could have slid under the radar for so long.
I have to change my diet completely. For those who know me well, you know I eat tons of veggies, fruits, brown rices and pasta, tofu, chicken, and dark chocolate. I'm also a big fan of red wine! Turns out, I pretty much have to eat meat all day long if I want to keep my body in check. No more sugar, no more fruit or sugary veggies like carrots and peas, no more pasta or rice, and NO MORE WINE!
The doc also put me on a medication that will help my body use sugar properly. I don't have to stay on it forever if I can keep my diet under control. It will also help if I cheat and drink a glass of wine or go crazy on some potatoes. This medicine has made me extremely sick for about 4 days. Today is the first day I don't feel like I'm going to puke everytime I turn my head.
I've eaten more beef, turkey, chicken, and lunch meats in the past 4 days than I have in years. While fat and meat sound like heaven to most people, all I want is a potato chip and a piece of bread. But it's amazing the difference I already see. Despite the nausea, I've got energy. My skin is clearing up and smoothing out. My stomach isn't bloated and I haven't had a single stomach ache or headache. In 4 days, I started feeling what everyone else has been feeling this entire time!
When the doctor looked at me and said, "You're insulin-resistant and would have been on injections by the time you were 40 if we hadn't caught it," I think I just screamed, "WHAT?!" I'm sure people in the waiting room heard me. It blew my mind that I could be on the road to diabetes. But it encouraged me that it's so important to never give up when you think something is wrong. Ask your doctors and keep asking until someone takes action.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

How to Hug

Dear Friend who told me I don't hug correctly (you know who you are),

Ever since the day you told me that I should hug under your arms instead of over because of my height, I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. I often find myself second-guessing hugs that I ordinarily would have given freely without a thought! After a lot of time laying in bed at night working out the details, I think I can now properly defend my hugging strategies.

First let me explain my three categories of hug.
  • Upper Back or Neck Hug: This hug can be given by children, adults, and those who are short in stature standing on their tippy toes. It is often a hug between friends and sometimes distant relatives. This hug almost always lacks intimacy but makes up for it with it's prompt and convenient application.
  • Middle of the Back Hug: This hug entails hands reaching around to the middle of the back. A certain amount of intimacy must be involved and the embrace usually lasts several seconds. It can, however, be used for the "Hugging-You-but-Hitting-You" Hug between men.
  • Lower back or Butt Hug: This hug is reserved for flirting, newly dating partners or those with few social boundaries.
The Accusation:
My arms should go UNDER that of the person's arms I am hugging because I am almost always shortest. Therefore, I should never reach up to give a hug; only move straight forward so the taller person may Neck-Hug me.

My Argument:
Friends require an Upper Back to Top-Middle of the back Hug. You never hug middle-back unless you know the person very well or have been drunk with them enough times to have given a Sloppy Drunk Hug (whole different category, it includes repeating "I love you" and "I'm sorry").
The trouble is, if I go straight forward and hug under the arms of a taller person, I am almost definitely going to be forced into a MIDDLE-BACK HUG! All the while, the taller person is resting comfortably in Friendly Hug Land up by my neck. I am left no choice but to apply a hug which makes me uncomfortable and does not fit the situation. Our hugs are therefore on two different levels of relationship.
Now, when the taller friend chooses to go under the arms to administer a hug, his/her hands naturally fall to my upper-middle back simple because of the physics of where my back is in relation to his/her arms. If I reach up, I am able to comfortably Upper-Back Hug while the friend Top-Middle Back Hugs me. This seems to make more sense to me.

The Solution:
If a friend is uncomfortable with reaching under the arms of a shorter person to hug, a Combination Hug is the only alternative. This is when I reach one arm towards the neck and one arm under the arm of the friend and visa versa. This picture is a good example...except I would never hug either of these people.

While this hug is not always physically comfortable, it gets the point across and does not require more than a second to complete if done properly.

The only snag in this scenario is if both people raise opposite arms, essentially forming a high-five position. This can lead to embarrassment.

In conclusion, I feel that my method of hugging is not only appropriate for my height and relationship to you, but it is superior in quality as compared to most. In the future, I would like to further discuss your feelings about the hug, but would like to refrain from hugging until it has all been worked out. In the mean time, we can dap.