Friday, December 30, 2011

The Art of the Sale

"I have just the boy," she says, ruffling through her papers. "Ah! Here we go. He's 35 and looking for a younger girl." She beams at me.

He sounds like quite the catch. 

"This boy," another woman gushes, "doesn't care if you cover or don't cover you hair." 

She knows what I'm like and the background I come from; of course I'm covering my hair. The fact that he doesn't care (a) doesn't apply and (b) tells me where he stands religiously. How is this supposed to pique my interest?

"This boy, while he doesn't want to leave the yeshiva world," another says, "he's still worldly. For instance, he can talk about the Yankees and the Mets."

The Yankees and the Mets. Memo: I'M. A. GIRL. I don't give a hoot about the Yankees and the Mets. And by the way: knowing about baseball doesn't mean he's "worldly." It just confirms the fact that he's male.

Proper shadchanim, shadchanim who do things old school, realize that when trying to sell someone, the way to go about it would be to, say, highlight their qualities and gloss over their faults.  

But when so-called shachanim try to sell me someone by focusing only on the negative, I get confused. Have you actually set anyone up successfully? 

Let's say selling a boy was like selling a house. Would the tactic be, "The plumbing could be better, the floor is slanted, and there is an army of mice in the walls"? 

Ladies, ladies, ladies. Here's the thing. If you want to make a date and then, hopefully, a marriage (and get shadchanus), presenting the other party with the most trivial of details that don't place them in the best light, is, oddly enough, not going to spike your success rate. 

"This fellow," the shadchan describes, "is super-sensitive." 

And I'm running away now. No commission for you.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Momma Always Said, "They Hate You"

Shalom Auslander is not an author I would usually bring myself to quote, but this tale featured as the back story in the NY Times Magazine kinda destroys any sort of fantasy where the whole world joins hands and sings "Kumbaya."

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Purrrr

In the spirit of all the lovely ladies, who, in a moment of panic, believe their future to be feline rather than fella filled, I present the musical recommendation, Cats. The lyrics are derived from T.S. Elliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats

It was one of the longest running musicals on Broadway; I was taken to see it at age 12, which for me was quite an experience. 
Andrew Lloyd Webber is an amazing composer, churning out reliably singable music. A made-for-TV version was released in 1998, which I had taped on PBS and watched on a loop. It was on Ovation the other day, and  I hummed The Peeks and the Pollicles on the way to the train this morning. 

If I'm to provide a snippet, Memory is the usual choice, but I don't like many slow songs. Here's The Awful Battle of the Peeks and the Pollicles, where the human performers who are pretending to be cats are now dressed up as dogs.


Thankfully, it doesn't take itself seriously.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Even They Had Skin Regimens!

The Jewish Week had a review of the book Biblical Beauty: Ancient Secrets and Modern Solutions.
http://images.borders.com.au/images/bau/97809835/9780983558507/0/0/plain/biblical-beauty-ancient-secrets-and-modern-solutions.jpg
C'mon, you knew my ears would perk at that. 

The reviewer, who was raised Christian but converted to Judaism, mentions how in her background painting oneself is automatically a sin of Jezebel; however, our five books rather encourage it. 

It seems Devorah HaNiviah and I have a lot in common. You know why she sat under a tree? To preserve her complexion from the sun.

I totally have to get this book!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Dressing For Men: Outerwear Counts

It is so sad to see a man in a bad coat. 

You know those bad coats. The one's with excess fabric around the waist and hips, so cinching the belt just results in flariness that make the wearer look like a distorted pear. 

Or when they show up to shul on Shabbos in a waist-length thin windbreaker, all blue in the face. 

Oy. 

During the winter months, one is mostly seen in a coat. So feel free to upgrade it.

Guidelines:

  • Shabbos coats should be between 3/4- and knee-length. When I say knee-length, I mean no longer than the knee. It should be shorter rather than longer. 
http://thehautespot.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/00003f.jpg
  • Opt for a beltless model. Keep an uncluttered, clean look. 
http://www.baronboutique.com/mens_suit/flannel/mens_cubana_coat.jpg
  • For Shabbos, no weatherproof parka. But no one wants to be chilly, so be sure to check the fabric. Shabbos deserves wool and/or cashmere, but fabric content isn't proof enough.Walk around a bit in the store, or take it home if one can return, and wear it around the house. Feeling overheated? It's a keeper. 

  • I am not a fan of men wearing fur-trimmed hoods. The fur-trim is an accessory, contributing nothing to the warmth. Unnecessary accessory = girly. I find it kind of emasculating. 
http://i00.i.aliimg.com/wsphoto/v0/706710982/Free-shipping-Mens-Winter-wool-coat-Thickening-warm-trench-coat-men-Jacket-Cotton-padded-clothes-M.jpg
       Toggled coats are much more manly. 
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_khhiSIKvTU4/TKkRZzbWEgI/AAAAAAAAAjk/6i-2VsXSll0/s1600/men%27s+toggle+coat+2.jpg

Sunday, December 25, 2011

For The Animal Lovers

I am a Rabbi Natan Slifkin fan. I think that Perek Shirah: Nature's Song is must for every bookshelf.

His next book is called The Torah Encyclopedia of the Animal Kingdom. His chapter regarding leopards is available for perusal.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Sensible Foods Crunch Dried Snacks

Looking for a snack that will perk you up? 

Freeze-dried, it doesn't weigh much. But the corn was deliciously sweet, counterbalanced by a sprinkling of sea salt. 

I polished it off right then and there. Scrumptious. 

The entire package, which is a one-time snack size, is 70 calories, only 6 from fat, 3 grams of fiber, and only 2% of the daily value of sodium. The hechsher is from OU. 

There are other flavors of freeze-dried snacks (as of yet untried) in Cherry Berry, Apple Harvest, Orchard Blend, and Tropical Blend.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Giftless and Giddy

I really can't stand it when someone bestows on me a box topped with dangling ribbons. 

While some would happily squeal, "Yay, presents!" I force a smile and make some noises to appease the beaming gift-giver.  

I can probably account on all of one hand the best gifts I ever received, that really, truly, hit the spot. The rest . . . meh. 

Conclusions: 

Gift giving is more for the giver than the recipient. If the receiver doesn't like it, she is met with furrowed eyebrows and scandalized comments until she is guilted into pretending better. 

Presents may be a sign of consideration, but if it doesn't achieve its purpose, then what is the point? The recipient, along with getting an unwanted item that she has to make room for or go through the effort of exchanging is also required to make the giver "feel good."  

Is the gift for me or for you? Consider the worst gift of all time: the Trojan Horse. 

In this holiday of gift-giving (I mean Christmas, not Chanukah; I'm old school) presents are becoming a discussion. Especially now, when times are tighter; receivers want the money to be spent on items they actually need/want rather than another Singing Bass.

Enter the NY Times
. . . now this idea has been tested not only in the lab but also at Amazon.com, and it looks as if the zealous shoppers have been kidding themselves. Spending extra time and money for the perfect gift may make them feel better, but it’s not doing much for the objects of their efforts, according to one of the experimenters, Francis J. Flynn, an organizational psychologist at Stanford University. 
Gift giving, despite placing time, effort, and money, gets one nowhere.

Price matters not to receivers, but it does to givers. 
Why would price matter more to givers than receivers? Dr. Flynn and his Stanford colleague, Gabrielle Adams, attribute it to the “egocentric bias” of givers who focus on their own experience in shopping. When they economize by giving a book, they compare it with the bracelet that they passed up. 
Because the giver knows about another item to spend more on, they think price matters. But the receiver only knows of no gift versus gift - so they would be happy with the book. 
Similarly, the recipient usually doesn’t know how much time and effort you put into finding just the right thing, so it doesn’t necessarily strike them as particularly thoughtful.
You know you spent time and thought. They don't. So why kill yourself? Ask them what they like instead.
“With a gift registry,” Dr. Flynn said, “they’re telling you what they want, and you’re saying, ‘No, you want something else, because I know more about you than you know about yourself.’ ” The result is not joyous gratitude, as Dr. Flynn found in a series of studies with Francesca Gino of Harvard. 
People like MONEY. 
When married couples were asked about the wedding gifts they’d received, they reported liking the ones from the registry more than the unsolicited ones. When people were given money to buy presents for one another on Amazon, the gifts chosen from the recipient’s wish list were more appreciated than the surprises. Cash was better still — recipients liked gifts of money even more than something of equivalent value from their wish list.  
There is a reason why Purim and Chanukah is celebrated with GELT, people. It is a long standing minhag; let's not mess with it. 

Show me the MONEY. 
http://rlv.zcache.com/gelt_digger_t_shirt-p235318859398674083yvpf_400.jpg

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I'm So Typical

My grandmother, like every other woman on Earth, has seen Gone with the Wind in theaters. Now that she is homebound, I bought her the DVD. 

She was so transported she asked for the book. The large print was insanely expensive, so I bought a regular version that turned out to have miniature print which I ended up keeping. 
http://georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu/gastudiesimages/Gone%20with%20the%20Wind%20Book.jpg
One yontif afternoon, finding myself bereft of library books, I dubiously opened it. 

And proceeded to clutch it to myself like a hypothetical firstborn. 

Oh, what a book. What a book. 

As John Cloud wrote in Time Magazine, "The book is not really a tale of North vs. South but of old South vs. new." It is a saga of cultural demise, not epic romance. 
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-3iA6xRZrZbg/TcGq2r360bI/AAAAAAAAAv0/Ak_uVOFPnK0/s1600/Gone_with_the_Wind4.jpg
It is blatantly racist, which is definitely a shock, but it can be excused as seeing through the eyes of old time Southerners. 
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-mPvXKWlCupI/TcGtBeioWjI/AAAAAAAAAwM/KylPGY1gRjY/s1600/Gone_with_the_Wind6.jpg
Thank Heavens we don't have to go through that anymore.
When Margaret Mitchell died, the country was plunged into mourning. Think of her as the J.K. Rowling of her time. 
http://www.atlantaintownpaper.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/margaret_mitchell.jpg
For those unafraid of novels, this is a must. I mean it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Lionized Memories

My grandfather passed away before I was born.  

My siblings would talk of him fondly with teary eyes while I could not relate. One cannot miss what one never had.  

On childhood visits to Bàbi, when the adults chattered in Yiddish over my head, my eyes would wander over to the items in the china closet. 

On the high shelf, there was a menorah, each branch a lion. As an animal lover, I was smitten.  
http://p2.la-img.com/367/1844/803321_1_l.jpg
During every visit to Bàbi, my eyes would be drawn to the menorah. I would gaze at it for an oddly long amount of time.  

When Bàbi died a few years ago, my mother asked if there was anything I wanted.  

"Zaidy's menorah!" I said quickly. 

She managed to smuggle it out of the apartment (thwarting my other cousins; in your faces!). For the first time I was able to analyze it up close. 

An industrious and idiotic cleaning lady had scoured the back with steel wool, but the front was relatively unharmed. It still carried that same allure that mesmerized a big-cat-crazy little girl.

While it is a poor replacement for actual memories, I can picture Zaidy twirling cotton balls into wicks, making the bracha in the same havara that my father learned from him, sitting beside it and looking happily at its light.  

Frelichen Chanuka, all.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Splitsville

"Did you hear?" she hisses. "The Stormtrooper boy got divorced."

"No! That would explain why his mother hasn't been in shul lately."

"I can't believe it . . . but I just heard that the Hutts got divorced," says the shocked voice over the phone.

"Seriously? They seemed so happy together. How many children do they have?"

"Who would've thunk it?" gasps the informer. "The Fetts got divorced!"

"What? At 65?"

It seemed that when I was kid, divorces were as rare as Sasquatch sitings. Now I feel as though I hear story after story of marriages going bust, whether they be young couples still within their first few minutes of wedlock, or those with young children, or baby boomers who have grandchildren.

What gives?

In a time when Hallmark romance has reached rhapsodic heights to the point that us Jews are tagging along for the ride, why is it that more and more of us can't make it to the end? Growing old together is one of the idealized ends for every marriage, but why is divorce on the rise, no matter sect or classification?
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_ClHFk4b_NCE/TKSKIGLELMI/AAAAAAAAAAc/1cXijq4u23w/s1600/6a00fad6af22a9000501101666bd4e860d-500pi.jpg
No one goes into marriage thinking of divorce. None of us foresee a future with a yet-to-be-met significant other that hits a wall.

Is it valid in all cases? Could marriages be saved, along with all the lives linked to it? Or are more and more of us doomed to break up?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Panic

What concerned me the most about Matisyahu's tweet was the statement, "No more chassidic reggae superstar." 


Is he leaving reggae? I made a point to develop a Jamaican accent when I sing, and if he leaves that I will be in a bit of a bind. 

If anyone knows any further details, feel free to put me out of my worry.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Calling All Makeup Geeks!

My cousin Chava recommended Makeup Geek to me, a very helpful tip. MUG has a variety of tutorials which have sent me scrambling over the internet and Sephora, with fabulous results. 

A lot of what I have passed on in my eye makeup posts I learned from her. 

I became enamored with this look that she demonstrates. 


I used Illamasqua eyeshadows in matte white, Feline for the lighter gray and instead of black, I used Incubus, the dark gray. For highlighter, MUFE eyeshadow. 

In order to play around with the look, I tried applying the ombre color change from bottom up, instead from inner-corner out; meaning, I applied the white in a thin line right above my lashes, with the light gray atop that and the dark gray in the crease. 

I find that white or highlight color right above the lash line makes the eyes look bigger and brighter. 

Check out her other tutorials! 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Say Nothing . . .

My family has never been one to say things like "I love you." I am happy with that; my belief is that love, amongst various emotions, is best expressed with actions. There are enough men who claim to love their wives then proceed to beat them black and blue. 

And so it makes me incredibly satisfied to come across this new conclusion by researchers: marriages with active generosity are the successful ones.
Generosity was defined as “the virtue of giving good things to one’s spouse freely and abundantly” — like simply making them coffee in the morning — and researchers quizzed men and women on how often they behaved generously toward their partners. How often did they express affection? How willing were they to forgive?
We know that line that love, ahava, has at its root hav, to give. When one gives of themselves (not necessarily giving of items, but of effort), one comes to love the object of their efforts. 
Men and women with the highest scores on the generosity scale were far more likely to report that they were “very happy” in their marriages. The benefits of generosity were particularly pronounced among couples with children. Among the parents who posted above-average scores for marital generosity, about 50 percent reported being “very happy” together. Among those with lower generosity scores, only about 14 percent claimed to be “very happy,” according to the latest “State of Our Unions” report from the National Marriage Project.
What is even more satisfying that the children from generous marriages mimic their parents' generosity, which continues the cycle of giving and successful future relationships. (Of course, that study was done by Israeli researchers.)

I was reminded of an article I had read a while back in Mishpacha Magazine. A man was in the throes of an unhappy marriage; he and his wife had nothing to say to each other for more than twenty years. Asked to do bikur cholim, he is told by the recovering man that he should be more giving to his wife. Do the dishes every once in a while. Offer to drive her if she's going somewhere. Smile.  

The man did so. While his wife initially looked at him in distrust, she eventually responded to his efforts. They began to talk and communicate. Soon the two were a happy couple. They even had another marriage ceremony, since what they had before didn't really qualify as a marriage. 

Reading that story both inspired and depressed me. Could a marriage be saved by the simple act of taking out the garbage unasked? 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Battle of the Bulge: Bulge OK?

I missed this episode of Dr. Oz, but I read a synopsis of it here.

Since I carry an absolute terror of "gym" exercise and an absolute love of carbs, Dr. Glenn Gaesser is my hero. 

He recently came out with a book called Big Fat Lies: The Truth About Your Weight and Your Health. (I have not read it). 

The points mentioned on the show that are of interest to me: 

(1) If one has healthy eating habits and exercises regularly, he will be healthy despite his weight. There is a current belief that health can be determined by weight, but that is not so; one can be unhealthy and skinny, and healthy and heavy. 

- I moderately exercise (daily walks to the train, the occasional recreational stroll) and I eat healthy foods while being aware of serving sizes. I feel good. Since I avoid doctors I cannot say if my gut feeling (no pun intended) corresponds to reality, but I am abiding by Dr. Gaesser's theory. 

(2) Exercise cannot help one lose weight. Exercise can help one maintain weight, but not necessarily lose. If exercise alone is implemented to lose weight, one will actually gain rather than lose. Exercise is more necessary for health rather than weight.

- I have noticed that of the many who I know regulalry go to the gym, only a few are actually skinny. The others are heavy. I don't remotely exert myself as much as they do, yet by adding various steps to how I much I eat I have lost weight, not by exercise. 

One girl I know went to a sadistic trainer, and came home so broken and self-pitying that she hit the fridge. Many think that exercise magically evaporates all calories, but that is not so. Fatty foods are not neutralized by one outing to the gym. To lose weight, one has to take the type and quantity of foods into consideration, but not as a stunty diet; as a life change. 

(3) Carbs are not the devil's invention. 

- I pretty much consume mostly carbs. They are whole wheat, although Dr. Gaesser says that two servings refined white flour and three servings whole wheat is ideal. My system isn't happy with white flour, so I prefer the whole wheat. I have not seen carbs to negatively impact my weight control. 

My day begins with carefully measured out cereal, midday is often whole wheat pita or pasta (also calculated servings). Potatoes, brown rice, crackers, and so forth, are all my beloveds. And I've been maintaining my current weight successfully for ten months.  

I feel so free! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

We Are Not Alone

I nearly died laughing reading this article. The similarities between the plight of black women and of frum gals is just too much. 

Angela Stanley begins with a familiar grievance: 
Few things in life are more irritating than the unsolicited comments I get that black women, like me, are unlikely to marry. Family members ask, “Are you ever going to get married?” as if I am remaining single purposely to keep them from attending my wedding. Well-meaning married friends try to sell me on the idea that being single is liberating. And then there is my octogenarian aunt whom I love, but who also manages to unintentionally sucker punch me whenever I visit with the comment, “Maybe if you’d just straighten your hair you’d be able to find a man.” 
All areas are covered: the hypothetical, the false pep-talk, and the advice on how changing some minor quality will magically open the door. Then: 
Implicit in some of their comments is the idea that my failure to marry is beyond my control, a function of being born black and female. 
"Failure to marry is beyond her control." Could she mean . . . a crisis? 
Without warrant, black women have been the main focus of the “marriage crisis.” 
Ha Ha! She does! But, as I believe about the frummies, she says it is a figment of imaginations. 
This culturally popular notion that 70 percent of black women don’t marry is just a myth. For the last few years, I have been hearing from every source imaginable that the vast majority of black women will never marry. This never made sense to me because so many black women I know are married. And indeed, eventually, most black women do marry. 
She brings statistics that show black women mostly do marry; just not as young as the white demographic. 

But since the myth involves only black women, it should be assumed that black men are all married, right? Wrong. Actually, the numbers show that more black men remain unmarried than black women in the same age group. 

So why are black women getting all the negative attention? Sexism.

Perhaps one would insist that our community is free of such "ism"s, but I'm starting to wonder. It really is unnatural how much single men are placed on pedestals while women are often mistreated in the search for a mate. If a boy is single at 28, do we hear "Oy, nebach" about him? Uh, no. 
There are logical reasons for black women to marry in their late 30s through their 40s, compared with women of other races who are more likely to marry in their late 20s and early 30s. Significantly more black women than black men are earning college degrees. That means significantly fewer black men are on college campuses, and thus in their 20s are not in the same arenas physically, educationally or professionally, making it more difficult to find black partners of equal footingand the reality is that a lot of black women still prefer black men as partners. With age, the numbers of unmarried black women and men become significantly lower, suggesting that both find themselves at places in their lives where they are ready and able to commit. 
The black men are not going to college. As many frum boys are not. All frum girls are expected nowadays to seek higher education to get a career, but not all frum boys are. It therefore leaves inequities as women seek equally educated men. 
This is not to imply that there are no great single black men out there or that all single black women are the best catches, but the theories behind supply and demand are real. For some women, this dynamic is fine, but many others are opting out. Some black women choose to be single rather than settle, but rarely is this discussed as a real explanation for why some black women are unmarried. When a black woman says she is choosing to be single, most people assume she just can’t get a man. And it’s not as if successful black women are driving black men into the arms of women of other races. The census numbers confirm that black men largely still marry black women over any other race. 
Choosing not to settle obviously leaves one to be single longer, but it's not due to a lack in the female, but rather lack in the available men. But the men aren't going elsewhere; they also want black partners, both sides preferring not to "marry out." Therefore, there is nothing wrong in terms of quantity; it is more an issue of quality.
However, because black men have been disproportionately affected by social inequities, black women have been implicitly conditioned not to add to that burden. Being critical of black men, instead of being supportive and sympathetic, is often viewed as adding to the problems of black men. 
Women are told not to criticize, and in our community, to literally support. Young girls are told that the only way to get a man is to financially keep him in the style in which he has become accustomed. 
In the meantime, I’ll be working on my snappy comebacks for everyone monitoring my relationship status.  
Same here.

Monday, December 12, 2011

What Suits the Fruit?

I have previously mentioned the various fruity shapes we can come in. To begin with examples for accommodating attire, I am going to use cardigans. The descriptions below can be executed with hoodies, sweaters, vests, and so forth, but I shall use cardigans for visual imagery.

Cropped cardigans suit pears very well; consider pairing a short top to a very flary skirt. The skirt conceals the largeness of the . . . pear bottom while defining the waist, and the cardigan reveals the feminine form above.
http://www.gap.com/Asset_Archive/GPWeb/Assets/Product/502/502831/main/gp502831-10p01v01.jpg
The skirt should explode outward from the waistline, not fit and flare. That's not pear's friend.
http://www.colorkitten.com/art/full%20skirt%20002.jpg
Via colorkitten.com
See how the waist is defined? To compensate for that volume, a form-fitting top is needed, either tucked in or cropped. Nothing long (by long I mean longer than the waist) unless it's tucked in, because (a) the added fabric will then look bulky instead of neat and (b) if the waist isn't defined, then what's the point?

What of the apples? 
http://www.shefinds.com/files/Denim-Pencil-Skirt-21.jpg
The apples can wear fit-and-flare (also known as trumpet or mermaid), or pencil skirts, but obscuring the belly calls for careful selection. Cardigans can also do the job, but not too long either! Too long means the fabric adds volume to the derriere, where apples don't gain, and should, therefore, exploit. The belly is what has to be played down. 

This is a good length. I don't know what the term is, but not much longer than that. 
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-YWOVIc-NK9U/TZtgeCvhPdI/AAAAAAAACAc/Dd5MS9HzMlU/s1600/Cotton_Cardigan_S.jpg 
Then, an apple can look something like this:
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_9FDH1LdPm6U/Sp8g11csNxI/AAAAAAAAEX8/bZM9aYIewEo/s400/AT+cardigan.jpg
One of the beauties of the female frame is the hourglassy shape (hopefully) absent in the male form, as sung about in South Pacific. Sometimes, of course, the mid-section should be swathed in long, baggy fabricduring pregnancy, for instance. 

But if you are not an incubator, show off your waist!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Shabbos Face: Eyeshadow IV

A finishing touch: 

By applying some sort of light color to the inner corner of the eye, the eyes can appear farther apart and larger. There are many options for inner-corner brightener, but as I eschew sparkly yet also pursue the dramatic, matte white suits me fine.
http://media6.onsugar.com/files/2011/03/09/5/192/1922153/bb6611ad160a37fd_Jennifer-Lopez.larger/i/Jennifer-Lopez-Silver-Eye-Shadow-Eye-Brightening-Tips.jpg
See how the inner corners are bright?
I purchased the matte white from Illamasqua. There is also one by Make Up Forever
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-24Ewt-WOCQg/Tbd_ruOFn8I/AAAAAAAACpo/f3_-iTCln5A/s400/pessex033044.jpg
If a more muted look is desired, the highlighter for under the brow bone can be used for this as well. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Easy Aspirin Mask

One day I was struggling to grind aspirin for a face mask. My wrist was aching as I twirled the pill crusher back and forth, but after smashing the stuff for quite some time, the pieces still weren't small enough. Then I had an epiphany.
http://www.quickie-wheelchairs.com/fs/225/images/products/images/NCM28858.jpg
Aspirin dissolves, Doofenshmirtz.
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_olhiYVOMcGc/SX3BjB5B7KI/AAAAAAAABB0/WBmCAo2FvdY/s400/b_aspirin_consumercare.jpg
I poured a bunch of aspirin into a container along with aloe gel. In no time at all the aspirin had quietly disintegrated. I gave it a final stir, and presto, my wrist was ache-free and my face was tingling pleasantly beneath the aspirin mask. 
http://www.skincareihub.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/treat-Acne-With-Aspirin.jpg

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Suck It Up

Menschlachkeit has many different aspects, but up for discussion today is the premise of being pleasant and present when one would rather be a million light years (or parsecs) away.

I have noticed that as time goes on, some daters just don't want to try anymore. They are crabby, they are jaded, they are weary with the whole process. Understandable. 

But why should I be dragged down with you?

There was a story involving a famous Rav, the name of which, regrettably, I cannot recall. A man was walking down the street, his face so long it was practically on the floor. The Rav, walking by, was horrified. "Reb Moishe, what's wrong?" Moishe replied, "Rosh HaShana is coming up, and I'm terrified for Yom HaDin." The Rav replied, "Because you are upset, I should suffer?"

An acquaintance was hosting a Shabbos singles event—one of those things when we all sit around a Shabbos table in a private home. It was fun, I must say, although I doubt any dates came from it. I met some nice people, and we all easily chatted. 

There was one guy there who didn't look so chipper. He was in his low-30s, and his blah outlook on life was made obvious. "We're all serial daters," he said wearily. His expectations were, apparently, nil.

Following this incident I had gone out with guy also in his low 30s. Now I'll admit, I was sure I was going to be swamped by an Energizer Bunny's worth of bad energy like from Guy 1—disinterest, monotonous "uh-huh"s, griping about how the dating world has failed him. 

I was met instead by a radiantly cheerful fellow. He was an absolute mensch, chivalrous, considerate, polite. I still think about his positive attitude, how he showed the same exuberance despite this being his nth first date. 

He never hinted that my height was a personal insult, the way many dates blatantly insinuate. He didn't mention any other women he had gone out with. Throughout the entire outing, he maintained the same upbeatness.   

I have gone out with guys way younger than him that act like taking me out wasn't their idea and behave all put upon. 

Sure, I have gone on dates where I was struggling with emotions like "Can I kill him?" or "What a loser" or "They let him leave the house?" or "He's nice, but so not for me." Did I show it? No. I behaved until the bitter end. Will they possibly think that means I was interested? Perhaps. But that is not my concern.

Emotions are the parts of us that can trip us up. They have a time and a place, of course, but they must be ruled by a higher power, meaning our rational brains (I heard this concept from Esther Wein). And one of the things it means to be a "grown up" and "mature" and "ready to get married" is to suck it up.  

You don't want to be here? Who says I do?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Revenging References . . . Or Worse?

I was reminded of my own school days by Bad4's recent post regarding high school morahs tendency to ensure meek student diligence by threatening to bad-mouth them in the future. 

I will be blunt; my class was rather rowdy. If they weren't reigned in the first few days by a grim and steady-handed educator, then the rest of the year would not involve much book learning. I would spend my days silent and attentive, while my classmates' behavior echoed that of the chimp habitat. 

Resistance was futile (Borg reference). Any sort of objections I made were drowned out. 

With heels clicking, so entered Darth Morah. 

At that time, she was an unmarried female of indeterminate age; somewhere in her mid 20s, I believe. She taught classes through the various grades, and she managed to hold this one relatively in line. But as tales of woe spread about the teachers' lounge, she felt compelled to act for the greater good. 

Girls who misbehaved in class, she informed us, in the somber tones of a ghost story, never married

She really should have flicked off the lights and held a flashlight to her face. 

Did you ever hear the story of the mean girl and the terrorized morah? Well, when the mean girl got older, she wondered why she wasn't married yet. She went to a rabbi who asked her if she ever did anybody wrong, and she thought of (for some reason) her high school teacher. 

She called up the teacher to ask her forgiveness . . . and the teacher wouldn't give it

Shivers, anyone? 

My class was, rather entertainingly, scared spitless. They proceeded to draw up a binding document on looseleaf paper, requesting pardon for previous crimes and a promise to behave in the future, which was solemnly signed by each student. 

They flourished the document under my nose for signature. 

I refused. 

Due to their new understanding of the world, they reminded me that I wouldn't get married. 

I retorted that unlike them, I never misbehaved. 

They shook their heads sadly at my folly, and walked away to leave me to my single fate. 

Approximately 72 hours later, the class returned to pandemonium. 

On top of the fact that they were grossly disrespecting their elders, my class was now guilty of breaking a neder, one that had been placed in writing. 

Oddly enough (shocker!) the transgressors are married. Happily, I cannot say. But despite Darth Morah's doom-saying, they did wed.

Is my single state, perversely, due to the fact that I would not apologize for doing nothing wrong? 

I think not.

Monday, December 5, 2011

So What If I'm Right?

Rabbi Yisroel Reisman is my main man. Nearly every Motzei Shabbos, I go to his Navi shiur. He rarely disappoints.

One week, he really made me think. He described two situations:

Everyone has heard of the Wright Brothers, the inventor of the airplane. The thing is, there was some problems with the patents, so as soon as it was out there it was being knocked off. The Wrights fought tooth and nail for the rights to The Airplane,  and eventually succeeded. However, the rights did not provide them with financial success, and their images were tarnished as the country went from seeing them as heroes to considering them greedy. Neither brother married; they had no time. Wilbur died at 45. Orville remained in the bike shop.

Then there is . . . I forget his name. No one has really heard of him. He is an inventor of a form of plastic, but instead of zealously guarding the rights he worked with other companies, and became very wealthy.

The moral being here is that yes, one can be right. But does it pay?

I was having this internal debate for a long time. I travel on the train every day, where inevitably some commuter pulls out their cell phone and goes at it. It doesn't even matter if they keep their voices low, I can still heeeeaaaar you. I would glare to no avail. And being young, I don't feel it proper to tell 60 year old people to can it. With some, requesting a lowered voice would get one a chilly and awkward train ride while the pitch remains the same.

I feel even worse when the phone talker is Jewish and disturbs the whole train. It happens often, too often (if you're going to talk, take off the kapul, okay?) 

The train announcements regularly exhort riders to have consideration for the fellow passengers by keeping conversations short and speaking softly. Doesn't help much. 

Yes, I'm right. But so what? No one is getting rid of their phones, or waiting until they get to the office to call up Grandma. Text has helped things a little, except many have loud sound effects for "new message."

Phones are today's greatest tool against boredom and looking busy, and no one is giving it up fast.

I came upon the perfect solution. Positively brilliant in its simplicity.

Earplugs.
http://s9.thisnext.com/media/largest_dimension/5A0CFE66.jpg
I want a quiet train ride to read or nap without being forced to hear other people's stupidity ("Wadyasay? Wadyasay? Wadyasay?")

I tried it today. It was great. Some sound came through, but I couldn't discern actual words. Taking a boring book with me, I dozed off pleasantly. Except I was sitting next to a concerned citizen who tapped me when there were still ten minutes left to the trip to tell me the last stop was coming up.

To finish off, a quote from the Rabbi of Lublin: "It is better to have an imperfect peace than a perfect controversy."

In order to have shalom, we have to be able to put aside our desire to be right. Because that isn't happening anytime soon.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Shabbos Face: Eyeshadow III

When color is done, a highlight shade should be applied beneath the brow bone (no color should have been applied there). 
http://www.lamasbeauty.com/beauty/images/eye_map.jpg
Via lamasbeauty.com
The highlight color should be a shade or two brighter than the skin tone. Make Up For Ever has a number of possibilities in Eggshell 3 (matte ivory) or Bisque 15 (matte ivory beige). I own one of these, but I can't tell which, because the color name has rubbed off. 
http://img241.imageshack.us/img241/6854/72763688wp9.th.jpg
Eggshell 3 - Via MakeUpTalk.com
Another type of brush is also needed for this step, specifically a tapered blending brush. Not too large now. 
http://www.makeupandbeautyblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/mac-226-tapered-blending-brush-head.jpg
I have a Mac-knockoff—bdellium Shading Blending Eye Brush #776. The bristles should be a little stiff to blend the highlight and color, leaving no harsh lines. 
http://www.naimies.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/thumbnail/140x/5e06319eda06f020e43594a9c230972d/7/7/776t.jpg
Take a little highlight color (not too much that excess will flake over the color) and, as MakeUp Geek would say, wind-shield wipe back and forth, back and forth, ensuring the color is blended together with the highlight.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Rigorous Regimen

Some people take my skincare regimen personally. 

"How much time do you spend a night on your face?" she asks, with a barely concealed sneer.  

"With or without steaming?" 

She snorts, rolling her eyes at the crazy person. 

This NY Times article merely affirms that I am simply un-American in mindset.  

In other countries women go above and beyond; they would probably consider my methods to be mediocre. 

Asian women apply product after product after product, then top it all off with SPF, which, according to an interviewed dermatologist, is a MUST. I sincerely hope my readership applies SPF every morning. Men, feel free to do so as well.  

Clinique, the article says, invented the concept of three-step face care way back when, and only until recently was that challenged. When I get complimented on my skin, I usually reply, "It doesn't just happen. I work on it."  (Although it's been giving me a hard time lately).
“People always talk about achieving this effortless, natural look with amazing skin,” said Mr. Demsey of Estée Lauder. “The truth is, it takes a lot of steps to look flawless.”

Miss Me?

I have returned! 

Thanks to those who left comments while I was gone; I look forward to reading your thoughts.