Tuesday, November 25, 2008
1. Pilgrims and fat turkeys came to America on a big boat.
2. On said boat, they all danced in a circle, and the turkeys said, "wobble, wobble." While actively being fat, apparently.
3. The Pilgrims wore glasses on the boat, as well as hats shaped like the letter "A."
4. They Pilgrims came to America in the first place because they were put in Time Out. (At the hand of...England? Wha? What are they TEACHING these kids?)
5. THE MOST AWESOME SONG IN THE HISTORY OF ANYTHING, EVER:
Mr. Turkey, Big and Fat from metalia on Vimeo.
Happy (early) Thanksgiving, everyone! UPDATE: I feel it is important to point out that at the end, when T stands up and says he's going to Time Out, he's talking about PILGRIM Time Out, not his own. Because as you can see, he didn't do anything wrong, and in fact DID SOMETHING AWESOMELY RIGHT. NAMELY, THE TURKEY SONG.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Can’t! Form! Cohesive thoughts! Time for a bulleted post:
- It’s our anniversary on Sunday! We will have been married five years, which, hi. WHERE DOES THE TIME GO? But first! Do you know where I’m going before J & Metalia’s Fun-Filled Anniversary Night on the Town? For Mother’s Day (TWO MOTHER’S DAYS AGO, MIND YOU), J got me a gift certificate to a fancypants spa. Massage, facial, mani/pedi…in short, a (half) day of heaven. Somehow, 1.5 years have whooshed by, and hi, the gift certificate expires next month. Since my parents are already taking the kids for the day on Sunday, I shall be spending the morning getting buffed, polished, and having the tension rubbed out of my back by a woman I imagine will be aggressively burly, and potentially named Svetlana.
- After this, I will be spending my anniversary afternoon and evening with (duh) my husband. To celebrate our five (FIVE! OH MY GOD, FIVE!) years of marriage, we’ll be seeing this play (which, if I watched 90210: The New Class of the College Years 2.0 Electric Boogaloo, I would tell you that said play figures prominently in certain episodes of the show. But I totally don’t watch that show, so, whatever), going out to dinner, and staying at this hotel.
- I cannot get the following songs out of my head: Ray Lamontagne’s “Burn in My Skin,” Bon Iver’s Skinny Love,”…and Rihanna’s “Disturbia.” There is something deeply wrong with this picture. Or at least the last song on the list.
- Yay, McKey! Boo, Tyra’s sense of fashion, most notably the crazy-cyborg-alien-commander-slash-Melanie-Griffith-in-Working-Girl-hybrid dress worn in the last scene!
- There's going to be an ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT MOVIE? Did I hear that right?
- Speaking of which, what would it say about me if I told you that my tickets for Twilight have already been preordered? Hypothetically speaking, of course.
- Today, I was pondering just how awesomely awesome it would be to have a bikini waxer who made house calls. And then I realized Bikini Wax House Calls could very easily be the name of a late-night Cinemax movie that is already in existence. And if it's not, well really, someone should get on that.
- I wrote a post for BeautyHacks earlier this week, discussing my patented five minute morning hair and makeup routine. Why does this deserve its own bullet? BECAUSE IT INCLUDES VIDEO, PEOPLE. VIDEO OF ME, APPLYING MAKEUP AND DOING MY HAIR. (In under five minutes of course.) So, if you’d like to learn about a fast morning makeup routine, and/or see what I look like, on video (first thing in the morning, no less), then really, this is the post for you.
- I’ve been searching high and low for The Perfect Dress for my little brother’s engagement party in January. I haven’t found it yet, but I know you people are very good at helping me with, well, anything I’ve thrown at you to date, so: I’m trying to find a fancy-ish, knee-length dress. My only requirement is that it must have sleeves of some sort (even if they’re cap sleeves), and that it not be black (I have too many such dresses already). Any suggestions?
Friday, November 14, 2008
EIGHT MONTHS LATER (oops), here we are.
Some of these questions are from last time, some are from emails I’ve gotten since then, and some are from Twitter. I’ve noticed a glut of questions related to Jewish weddings, so I’m going to handle those in a separate post. Without further ado: The second installment of Ask! A! Jew!
1) What do Jewish people do on Christmas Day? Do you just do whatever you'd do on a normal day -- you know, wash some dishes, watch some TV, do some laundry, hang out on the couch? Do you get together with family since everyone already has the day off work anyway? Do you ever think "ooh, maybe I'll go to Target, oh crap, I can't, it's closed for Christmas Day"? I've always wondered.
Great question! I think it’s best answered with the following Digital Short from SNL:
Okay, we don’t really go around circumcising squirrels in the park on Christmas (that’s more of a New Year’s thing), but there is SOME truth to the song: I recall consistently going to the movies on Christmas Eve, and getting Chinese food. Seriously, total cliché. Although I don’t celebrate the holiday, I am a big lover of Christmas lights, Christmas sales, Christmas music ("Little Drummer Boy"! "O Holy Night"! "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear"! "That Very Loud Song That I Think Is Called Carol of the Bells, But I’m Not Sure"!), and pretty much any exclamation involving the phrase “baby Jesus” so I anxiously await the start of the Christmas season each year. (Which, given the way retailers have been going lately, basically begins at some point in mid-July.) I also secretly hope for a White Christmas every year, because there is nothing more peaceful and restorative than walking in the snow through a frenetic city that, for one evening, at least, is blanketed in white and stillness.
In fact, the only thing I don’t like about Christmas? THIS SWEATER. Gap! This is Really Not Okay.
2) Would a Jewish person be offended if you accidentally said Happy Christmas to him/her? How would you respond? How would you want the OTHER person to respond?
I do believe the person who would get offended by this is the same type of person who would correct you if you erroneously said, “who” in place of “whom.” That is to say, a douche. I always smile and say, “Thanks, same to you!” Because who cares, really? Heartfelt wishes of merriness are always welcome in my book. And honestly, unless someone was obviously not celebrating Christmas (say, wearing a shirt that says, “Kwanza Kicks Ass!” or “Hats off to Hanukkah!”) I always say “Merry Christmas” to them instead of “Happy Holidays,” so I suppose I’m “guilty” of the same “offense” as you. (Slynnro, that was APPROPRIATE quotation mark usage in action, yes?)
3) Our neighbor said that she couldn't have "any food that rises," on Passover. Just curious why.
Passover is a week-long holiday that commemorates our exodus from enslavement in
Another explanation (and there ALWAYS is one) allows us to see this situation in a slightly more positive light: Matzah is plain, bland, and flat; it symbolizes our humble beginnings as slaves, and reminds us to be grateful for our freedom, and not be “puffed up” (metaphorically speaking) like bread and other leavened products.
4)What makes food kosher and how do you find it when you want it?
Okay, so this topic could be its own blog post, and the more I wrote about this, the weirder it sounded, so I’m going to try to tackle this very broadly. Kosher food in general means that it has been watched by someone called a “mashgiach” (almost like a food inspector) to make sure that no non-kosher products have been added. This doesn’t apply to basic things like fruits and vegetables, but like, prepared products, such as crackers. As for how you know if an item is kosher, it generally has a small, inconspicuous mark from one of the major organizations that food companies hire to ensure that their stuff is kosher. Here’s an example of one:
I realized I just made us sound quite shady, with our magical food marks and mysterious organizations. We’re not! I swear! It’s just an easy and convenient way for someone (who wishes to keep kosher) to tell, at a glance, if they can eat an item.
In terms of what would prevent something from being kosher, the rules are seemingly simple. IN GENERAL, they are: no mixing of meat and dairy products, no shellfish, no pig products, and no meat that has been improperly slaughtered (more on that in a minute). The complications stem from all the subsections of the broad prohibitions. For instance, Jello might seem innocuous, but a lot of gelatin comes from boiled animal bones, some of which may not be kosher. In order to know if you could eat it, someone observing the laws of keeping kosher would need to check for the aforementioned little “kosher” mark. Additionally, you can have a situation where you have two kosher items (kosher hamburger, kosher cheese), but together, they become un-kosher, due to the prohibition against mixing meat and milk products. And on that note, we wait a certain amount of time after having meat before we can have dairy products again.
In terms of the kosher meat thing, the cow (or lamb, or chicken, etc.) must be perfectly healthy and "unblemished." It must be slaughtered by someone who has been very specifically trained for this purpose, and who can only use a certain type of knife to do the job, one that allegedly causes the minimum amount of pain to the animal. And yes, kosher meat is crazy expensive. ORGANIC Kosher meat? YOU DO NOT WANT TO KNOW.
So, I’ve never had a cheeseburger, bacon, or any non-kosher meat. I’m admittedly more lax with certain other things...well, maybe "lax" isn't the best term, as I distinctly remember the first time I had a piece of non-kosher gum, and I became CONVINCED I would be Punished From Above for such wanton violation of my people’s laws. No, seriously. I kept looking up for lightning bolts.
(Speaking of food--AND SHAMESS PLUGS--I have a post up at Work It, Mom! with my new favorite fall recipe: Praline Sweet Potato Pie.)
5)What is the significance of the long beard and curly sideburns for men?
The curly sideburns stem from a biblical command for men not to shave the “corners of [your] head.” For modern Orthodox Jewish men (among them, my husband), this simply means not cutting your sideburns above the top of your cheekbone.) Which is really not noticeable at all, truthfully. The long sideburns you’re talking about are de rigeur in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities. Inasmuch as the Bible wasn’t more specific (“do not shave the corners of your head BUT CUT THEM ONCE THEY REACH 4.5 INCHES,” for instance), the men there take the command literally, and let their sideburns grow very long. In order to keep them more…manageable, (I guess?) they curl them.
As for the long beard, I’m actually (gasp!) not sure about the answer; all I do know is that there is in fact no biblical requirement for this. Considering, however, that the long beard and sideburns tend to go hand in hand, particularly in the more insular ultra-Orthodox community, I’m going out on a limb here and saying that it’s a widely accepted custom that, regardless of origin, enables them to maintain a certain group conformity. (Anyone have a real answer here?)
6) Why can't you name your kid after anyone still alive? Is that just family?
In order to answer this, I must first point out the distinction between Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jews (REPRESENT!) and Sephardic (Mediterranean and Middle Eastern) Jews. It’s not like the Sharks versus the Jets in West Side Story--While we have many different customs, we do follow the same basic laws. The manner in which we tend to name our kids is among the more major differences in our customs. Jews of Ashkenazi descent customarily name their children after relatives who have passed away, and Jews of Sephardic origin name after living relatives, in particular, the baby’s grandparents.
I think both customs are beautiful—naming a child for living relatives enables those people to get joy from seeing their namesake grow up, and bestowing the name of a loved one who has passed away is the very essence of a bittersweet experience. T was named for J’s father, and Lo is named for J’s grandmother. I knew both of them, and a part of me can’t help but think that they take extra special care to watch over their namesakes. Silly? Maybe. But I totally believe it.
7) Did you have a bat mitzvah theme?
Yes. It was called “OMG I LOVE PINK AND SILVER SOOOOOO MUCH AND ALSO TURQUOISE SO I WANT EVERYTHING TO BE PINK AND SILVER, LIKE MY PINK BAT MITZVAH DRESS WHICH IS EDGED IN SILVER AND MY SILVER SHOES BUT ALSO TO WORK IN MY LOVE OF TURQUOISE, I WANT THOSE SATIN YARMULKES (or “skullcaps”, head coverings that are handed out for men to wear at most ceremonial Jewish events) TO BE TURQUOISE I CAN’T BELIEVE IT THIS IS THE BEST PLAN EVER AND ALSO I AM TWELVE SO WHY THE FUCK IS ANYONE LENDING CREDENCE TO ANYTHING I SAY OH LOOK SAVED BY THE BELL IS ON.”
Huh. Well, I guess it wasn’t so much a theme, as it was an ill-advised plan, centering entirely on the flitting thoughts and tacky-ass taste of a pre-adolescent girl. (Tell me, are pictures of said event something—replete with seizure-inducing color scheme--you’d be interested in seeing?)
As mentioned, I’m already compiling the next (wedding-themed) “Ask a Jew” post, so feel free to pass along any Jewish wedding (or other!) questions you have.
My disclaimer from last time still applies:
I don’t claim to be an expert on anything but lipgloss, and certainly not such a weighty topic as Judaism. The answers to these questions were based in part on my general Judaic knowledge, but also my opinions and personal experiences. So if you think you’ve seen another explanation somewhere else? You very well may have. And they can both be right. In a nutshell: Don’t yell at me if you don't like my answer(s). Pretty please.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Now, where was I? [Drags eyes away from pretty new blog design.]
Over the past year or so, I’ve found myself becoming more and more of a walking cliché. I mean, my god, if I had a dollar for every time I heard myself going, “What do you mean, WHY shouldn’t you [dip your bath toys in the toilet/eat M&Ms for breakfast/pour ketchup in the sink]? Because I SAID SO!” I would…probably have enough money to pay for another pair of Wolford tights. (That’s for you, Slynnro and Whoorl.)
As if that wasn’t bad enough, I’ve actually grumpily muttered under my breath about my neighbor’s loud music and recently needed to tone down my (aghast) expression when I visited the mall and saw how pre-teen girls are dressing lately. Seriously, people. I’m ELDERLY. I need some prunes and a shawl. And not one of those cute, funky shawls that Anthropologie keeps trying to convince me is cool; I’m talking, like, a nubby, moth-eaten space-dyed monstrosity from 1974. I'm basically one step away from shaking my fist at neighborhood kids who cut across my lawn. AND I DON'T EVEN HAVE A LAWN.
The thing is, though, it doesn’t bother me too much, because while I am clearly to some extent A Very Old Lady, it is apparent that-judging at my responses to certain recent situations -I am also in part an extremely immature 14-year-old boy. To see whether you are similarly afflicted, please take my brief quiz, entitled Just How Immature Are You?:
1) You and your husband are in the process of leasing a new car. The salesman is fabulous to work with, and your husband praises the guy to his boss, telling him, “He was great; he didn’t pressure me into doing anything that made me uncomfortable, and really listened to what I wanted.” WHAT DO YOU DO?
A) Nod and smile in silent assent, because there is absolutely nothing humorous about anything he just said.
B) Shriek, “That's what she said. THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID!”
C) Snort/laugh inwardly while THINKING about option B, to the point that you’re biting the insides of your cheeks to keep from bursting out laughing, but the sheer effort of it all has tears running down your face, so you stage a coughing fit to wipe your eyes and camouflage the sound of your juvenile giggles.
2) Congratulations! You’ve successfully leased the car, and are signing the paperwork at the desk with the salesman. The insurance people have requested your car’s Vehicle Identification Number number, however, and as you read it off to them, you get to the letters “B” and “J” adjacent to each other in the ID code. WHAT DO YOU DO?
A) Calmly continue reading the ID to the insurance lady without pause, because there’s nothing funny happening here.
C) Calmly continue reading the ID to the insurance lady without pause, but make sure to look over at your husband, catch his eye, and meaningfully yet subtly smirk and raise one eyebrow, just to make sure he caught the UTTER HILARITY of the unfortunately-placed letters in the ID. (He did.)
3) While waiting for the salesman to return from the printer with yet another pile of paperwork, you overhear two other salesmen chatting. The first guy says to the second guy, “I have my duty here, and you have your duties there. Let’s not mix all our shit together, okay, man?” You:
A) Nod approvingly at the mature manner in which these gentlemen handled the oft-thorny issue of jurisdiction as it relates to individual job responsibilities.
B) Think to yourself, “ HAHAAAAAA! IT SOUNDS LIKE THEY’RE TALKING ABOUT POO!”
C) Snicker quietly, but sort of hate yourself for it.How did you score? (Hehe. Score.)
Sunday, November 2, 2008
I’m so not kidding.
Truly, we have our shit together.
We go to Target fairly often, yet I somehow never remember that we need a damn shower caddy when we go (but do always erroneously think we need toothpaste), and so the product leaping has sadly become part of our routine. As has finding new places to stash all the Crest I keep buying. This weekend, however, after T knocked a bottle of open shampoo onto the bathmat for perhaps the 53rd time, I was all, “J! WE NEED A NEW SHOWER CADDY ALREADY, MY GOD.”
And off we went to Target, kids in tow. I don’t know what your respective Target stores are like, but ours is pretty interesting, and by “interesting,” I mean “out of stock of whatever specific items you need, and populated by pregnant 15-year-olds, crotchety old men on motorized scooters with names like 'Lil' Rascal', countless runaway toddlers, a preponderance of surly women in Tweety Bird regalia who seem to take great pleasure out of taking the last box of Mr. Clean Erasers, leaving you no choice but to buy the cheap-ass Target brand.”
In short, it is THE LAST PLACE ON EARTH you’d expect to see a famous person.
And yet, there in the bath aisle, we happened upon Audra McDonald, of Private Practice fame.
J spotted her first and immediately turned to me, whereupon we had one of those Couples Conversations using only our eyes, and it was through such communication that we both wordlessly asked each other and subsequently agreed that it was, in fact, her.
Now, this is the part where I acknowledge how I inadvertently confessed that we watch Private Practice, but I DON’T CARE. To say that Grey’s Anatomy sucks lately would be a massive understatement, and while this show has its issues too, I always loved the Addison-related plotlines on Grey’s. (Um, except when I was pregnant, and would weep inconsolably about anything involving Babies in Peril.)
Anyway, we were in the bath accessories aisle with her for a solid two minutes, but didn’t say anything, because: a) we didn't want to bother her; and b) the first and only time I ever had an actual discussion with a famous person, it went...poorly. (It was Gabriel Byrne, and I was on one of the worst first dates of all time, wherein said date had terrible diarrhea-AND I KNOW THIS BECAUSE HE TOLD ME- and while waiting for the guy to return from the bathroom, Gabriel Byrne walked over to me and asked me for the time. After I told him, and he’d walked off, I realized who he was, and chased him down, shrieking “hey! I loved you in The Usual Suspects!” as he thanked me and gave me the tight, slightly frightened smile you’d offer to a deeply crazy person, and continued on his way.)
I’ve since vowed to myself never to speak to another famous person unless they speak to me first. Like say, if I have to answer the question, “Hey, you! Get back here, weirdo! Why are you secretly taking pictures of me at this hockey game?”
It’s wholly unfair, though, because while I was super excited about seeing Audra McDonald, J was only mildly impressed. And THAT is because he sees famous people all the damn time. Granted, it has a lot to do with his job and where he works, but still. Let’s make a short list of the people he’s seen, and the famous people I’ve seen. Here’s what I remember offhand:
~ Liam Neeson (and that was while with J) and the aforementioned Gabriel Byrne
~ Tom Hank’s kid who I think was in a shitty movie called Orange County. Or so I've heard. Ahem.
~ Dawn Weiner from Welcome to the Dollhouse
~NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg on my subway (exciting!)
~A character from Out Cold (A movie that I’m fairly certain no one in the world has ever seen but me and J). I saw him walking across
Susan Sarandon & Tim Robbins
DAN AND SERENA FROM GOSSIP GIRL. With whom he ate pizza. And of course, let’s not forget…
Oprah. OPRAH, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.
While J will likely somehow stumble upon and subsequently hobnob with Angelina Jolie and John Mayer on his way to work tomorrow, I’ll be on the lookout for my next celebrity sighting. Which, given my track record, will be someone from any season of the Surreal Life, or the woman who played Nellie Olsen’s mom on Little House on the Prairie.
* * * * *(Oh, and by the way, we found a fabulous shower caddy. I also found this, which I did not buy, because while the fabric-covered buttons were very cute and Anthropologie-esque, I was BEYOND CONFUSED as to what the garment was supposed to be. I know it says "tunic," but c'mon. Let's talk brass tacks. Is it a dress? If so, isn't it a really short, Eighties-style dress? Or is it a shirt? If so, what do I wear it with? And all things aside, is it me, or is it hugely unflattering to even this rail-thin model, and thus the rest of us shouldn't even bother? I NEED ANSWERS.)