Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Never Meet Your Idols

A Jewish paper features a woman, a professional, who answers people's queries, like "Dear Abby"; therefore, I shall refer to her as Abby. I eagerly flip to her article every week, usually impressed by her answers, in awe of her depth and wisdom.  

Then I met her. 

I was telling her how much I enjoy the diversity of the community.  

"Yes," she said, "there are people here who don't cover their hair." (She doesn't, either).

"Um, yeah, but I mean that so many different types of Jews are all living together and getting along. It's nice."  

I explained how my previous location was more of a homogenous, judgmental mass. To which she replied, "But there are women there who don't cover their hair!" 

Um . . .

I continued, about how my sister would love it here, as she is unhappy with her current neighborhood. 

"But there are people there who don't cover their hair!" Abby protested.  

I was starting to notice a pattern. 

My deep, introspective, intelligent Abby was insisting that "nice" equals "doesn't cover hair." Considering how many other be-wigged women were milling about (including my mother), I was surprised at her blatant prejudice.

When it comes to the topic of hair covering, I am, personally, not frantically pro or con. When it comes to matters of import in our community, it is not one that gets me hot under the collar (and I have no intention of debating it now). 

But what I found hard to grasp was her reverse discrimination, firmly insisting that those who cover their hair are automatically unkind and intolerant in all ways. Perhaps she may have come across some individuals who are impolite and also happen to cover their hair, yet considering how she is a mental health professional such coincidences are in no way proven scientific/spiritual fact.  

I still read her articles, but with less reverence. My guru is a bigot.  

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Day Typer

I am a creature of the morning. I realized this quite some years ago, especially when I had to compose papers for college. If I sat down in front of the computer first thing after breakfast, I could breezily churn out an A-worthy achievement within the space of a half-hour; if I made the same attempt at 6 at night, I would struggle for hours, with only sub-par results before I gave up and went to bed. 

I was reading Merrill Markoe's triumph over pushing off writing ("How I Stopped Procrastinating"), but I gleaned a different conclusion than she did. 
Things seemed pretty bleak until I accidentally stumbled upon something astonishing: I learned how not to hate writing. In this new and more difficult morning paradigm, I found myself wide-awake at 6 a.m. with no paper, no coffee and no scheduled distractions. I am unable to tolerate anchor people smiling and talking at the same time, so morning television was out. I was left so desperate for an activity that I decided to pursue a little writing.
I had a vague idea for a play that I had tried to begin many times at 3 in the afternoon. Each time my efforts were thwarted by the tyrannical voices in my head, which grew louder as the hour grew later, berating me for not taking care of bills, cleaning, shopping, grooming, pet care, more bills, more grooming. And if I got caught up on those things, the voices would quickly remind me that I was too ill informed to begin writing even a personal anecdote without undertaking years of painstaking research. A constant feeding of this negativity cyclone would put me in such a state of anxiety that I’d start reflexively checking Internet headlines in search of an environmental catastrophe or a massacre of some kind to help me refocus my anguish.
 . . . back to my revelation: When I tried writing at 6 a.m., to my complete surprise I effortlessly wrote 15 pages that first day. The same thing happened when I did it the next day and the day after that. And so it came to pass that in the six weeks before my surgery and in the weeks that followed, I actually enjoyed writing a first draft of my play.
She goes into a whole discourse about the left versus right brains, but I think it is something more simple than that. Merrill, you are a morning person.

It is nothing to be ashamed of. Some of us are just not meant to follow the whole "nocturnal Jo March" method. 
http://louisamayalcottismypassion.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/jo-march.jpg
Artists and writers are mysterious and deep, and the only time for the mysterious and deep to create is in the mysterious and deep night. 

Pshaw, I say. 

My best work flows out of me in the a.m. because I awaken refreshed and clear-headed, while I hear that night people may murder any unsuspecting soul that crosses their path prior to coffee. 

I have teenage cousins who haunt the dark house at night simply because they believe that is what teenagers must do, whereas a percentage must be, at least with regard to genetics, those who prefer rising with the rosy dawn. 

I am my most efficient before noon; after that it is pretty much downhill, so I plan accordingly. I don't even bother to attempt to write posts in the evenings, unless it is some tale that grips for dear life on my imagination and I would obsess on the phrasing if I did not type it up. 

Knowing thyself is the secret to success. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Catalogue of Eligible Bachelors

"Where did you get this?," I laughed as I leafed through the stapled papers. 

Ma shrugged, "Eh, you know, from her. She insisted I take it home and 'look it over.'" 

"Her" is a relative who claims to dabble in shidduchim, but when it comes to follow-through is rarely present. 

The list was from a some sort of computer database, but the details were mostly restricted. The only sub-criteria selected was "working."

With some there was a blurry photo; many lacked names. As for what they actually did for a living, dream on. 

I flicked through, snorting. "Seriously, it tells me he has brown eyes but not his job?" 

I continued to skim. The train wreck from last summer was there; out he was crossed. Ah, Ponda Boba, still aging in reverse like Benjamin Button, skulking behind the gleamingly altered photo. He got a major X, along with "LIAR!"

"Why can't he accept that he's five years older?" I sighed. 

Taking new math into consideration, I ran my pen along those that were shorter than me on paper. I've stopped enjoying dates where the guy wants to kill me because I tower over him. 

I scratched out the ones that had been previously redt and knew weren't for me, the one who wrote "handsome" and "good looking" twice but no other details, the guy whose profile photo were two thumbs up at the camera . . . that narrowed down the list considerably.

I tried googling with the scraps available. Good thing, too; one was married. 

Miraculously, some survived the scourge. Ma called "her." 

"Oh, I don't have access to more information," she dithered. "You have to call so-and-so."

Ma and I both went "Nnnnnnnuh!" and I threw the paper out. 

Well, it was fun to see Ponda still living on Tatooine (meaning, in a science fiction universe where he's 6'4"). 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Reformed Lip Balm

After doing a post on lip SPF, I became aware of certain problematic ingredients. 
http://www.skincarebeautyzone.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/lip-balm.jpg
That tingle I am addicted to? It's from drying ingredients like menthol, camphor, and alcohol; peppermint oil is also frowned upon.

No more Burt's Bees Lip Tin.

Oxybenzone was a once relied upon SPF ingredient, but now it has some scandal surrounding it. It is also an ingredient in my favorite Giovanni lip SPF (which has since disappeared from Vitacost). 

What now? 

For nighttime use, Vaseline is supposed to be great, but I got turned off from petroleum oil a while back. It clogs pores something terrible, and I don't want any migrant strands of the stuff to end up on my facial skin at all. 

Rosebud Perfume Co. Salve has a big following; I bought a tin during a Sephora sale to see what the big fuss was, although I did end up using a lot of it on my nephew's angry diaper rash when I ran out of A & D. 

It's pretty much cottonseed oil, a mystery blend of rose oils and such, and petroleum (I didn't realize that was an ingredient until after I purchased it). It does leave a beautiful gleam on my lips, but Vaseline does the same thing.

But I have discovered a perfect alternative to Vaseline: Alba Un-Petroleum Multi-Purpose Jelly. It really does have the consistency of Vaseline with better ingredients, but it smells distinctly like castor oil. Great product, but don't get thrown off by the, er, scent.
http://c2.diapers.com/images/products/p/al/al-008_1z.jpg
In terms of official lip balms, most that I checked out often had at least one of the no-no ingredients. 

One can use 100% natural products like shea or cocoa butter; cocoa butter smells distractingly lovely. Vitamin E oil is another option, which while sticky, has a nice glossy effect. I would use these at night to replenish my lips.

For daytime, I always SPF. I went with Alba Botanic Very Emollient Sunblock Lipcare SPF 25, which has no oxybenzone or other irritating ingredients (I think). I like the whole Alba Botanica Emollient line, which boasts a variety of easily spreadable sunscreens. 
http://images.iherb.com/l/ALB-00394-1.jpg
Keep in mind opaque lipstick also protects the lips from the sun; I use both for the max protection.

None of these options are tingly, which I guess means they are doing the job of hydrating and protecting, as opposed to drying out.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

J'Accuse!

I was googling "The Frumanista" one day, just to see how my profile looks when I'm not logged in, then, well, went skimming through the rest of the results. 

One of the results was a comment left on another blog, regarding what is considered to be a "controversial" matter, that shall be heretofore referred to as Issue "A". The commenter, who I shall label "B", posted that the Frumanista, and another blogger ("C") believe such-and-such regarding "A". 

Here's the thing: I never made a public statement regarding my feelings for Issue "A". Not once. Quite frankly, I can't muster any sort of passion on the topic; let the individuals involved do what they like, as no halacha is being violated. 

Understandably, I am really, really, really annoyed to see my supposed personal beliefs flatly stated by others, especially a relative stranger. 

She erroneously inferred my thoughts on the subject, and if that wasn't bad enough, she publicly announced the falsified data. As for "C", she had written a post on "A," but what "B" claimed her position to be was not remotely what she wrote.

I could clarify my beliefs now, but I have no obligation to. I simply request from my readers not to manipulate, spin, intentionally misinterpret, etc., my words. I don't post lightly, taking exaggerated amount of care in what I choose to publicize as my principles. 

If any require explanation on my blogged opinions, please comment. If any wish to share my thoughts on a certain matter, kindly link the post itself. But I hope I shall not have to come across again the equivalent of, "The Frumanista thinks that unicorns are real."
http://www.virginiaroberts.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/narwhal.png
It's a narwhal horn, totally.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Aaaaand—We're Back

"You're such a lovely girl!" 

The middle-aged woman I have been chatting with just loves me. We've been talking about books, fashion, art, and so forth—I get along famously with people of a certain age. 

"But I don't know anyone for you!" she wails piteously. 

We were having such a great conversation. Couldn't we just interact as two people? Why does the label "single" have to contaminate everything it touches? 

She waves over an acquaintance across the room. "This is Lea; do you know anyone for her?" In my perception her voice carries, with the added echo of "loser, loser, loser."

Her friend, looking uncomfortable, remains silent. After all, the only information she has about me is my name.

Time for the pasted-on grin.

 http://sd.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/i/keep-calm-and-fake-smile-5.png

Friday, April 18, 2014

Fetch, Girl!

"Have you ever gone out with ____________?" 

"Um, no I haven't." 

"He's from ________, and he does ___________." 

"OK." 

"So? Go look into him." 

How? Look him up in the phonebook? "Hello, Mrs. _______? My name is Lea, and Mr. Binks mentioned your son to me. Is he available this Sunday evening?" 
http://amarudontv.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/cavewoman.jpg
Please don't mention to me dateable men and leave me with my hands tied. I don't want to sound ungrateful for suggesting potential dates, but it's sort of like telling a thirsty man in the desert that he could really use some water, then walking away with a full canteen. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pucker Up

"Look, here comes the chosson!" 

My niece is very young, about 4, and she hasn't been to a wedding before. By the badeken I hauled her up so she could see the proceedings. I was rattling off incoherent descriptions of what was going on.

"See? There the chosson puts on the veil, because of Yaakov and Rochel, then her father comes up and benches her, then his father, then her Zeidy. . ." 

Wonder widens her baby-blue eyes as she gazes at the bashful bride, smiling demurely as the groom takes a swift moment to murmur in her ear. He then steps back so his father-in-law can place his hands on his daughter's head. 

"When do they kiss?" she asks in disappointment.
http://www.occupationgifts.com/media/2515-bride-groom-salt-pepper-shaker1.jpg
My whoop of laughter turned some heads, and I don't think I was able to properly explain to her the modesty standards that differ from Disney. 

And this is the kid with restricted television access. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Battle of the Bulge: There's More Where That Came From

When one is the runt of the brood, fighting for every scrap of savory goodness becomes second nature. One can't just walk away from the kitchen if there is a cooling cheesecake on the counter; it's now or never. 

When siblings visit, that old programming activates. Even though I'm not necessarily hungry, there is that grim determination to get "something" before the rest of them eat it all. 
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_lVgs2jHSM2s/TSiXo-VerAI/AAAAAAAAATU/4dpPIYBy54E/s1600/siblings-fighting.jpg
I hate going to bed on a full stomach; I am so uncomfortable, and it robs my sleep of true rest. But there's gefilte fish! I love gefite fish! But there's sweet chicken! I love sweet chicken! Oh, and just a piece, maybe two, tops, of zucchini kugel . . . 

Last year, I was determined not to be os gechalisht. So, there's gefilte fish. I'll have it next Shabbos. So, there's sweet chicken. I'll have it another day, at a time when it can be enjoyed, not regretted. So, there's zucchini kugel. I'll have it tomorrow for lunch. 

I only munched a bite or two during Shulchan Oreich, able to eat the afikoman with a hearty appetite, and go to bed light and airy. I stuffed my face at lunch the next day (the meal I apportion for stuffing my face), avoided snacking in the afternoon, and after dozing off with my nephew in the afternoon, managed to cheerfully sing "Chad Gadya" (complete with sound effects) at midnight without sobbing for my bed. 

The sweet chicken was gone, without my having barely any. But, I decided, squelching the squealing internal voice of the cheated toddler, I am at least acting like a grown-up.

Ah, it was a joyful Pesach.             

Sunday, April 13, 2014

How to Be Frum

David Brooks wrote a lovely piece, "Alone, Yet Not Alone," about the state of the faithful. 

Not long, I could not bear to simply copy over bits and expound of them, since the words need no further expounding. 

Frumkeit is not about adamant certainty. Au contraire, religion is about being sensitive to the majesty of existence, and that "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." 

Oh, for those seeking another guaranteed Pesach recipe, I made Pragmatic Attic's Intense Fudge Nuggets for my niece and they are so good I ended up eating most of them before she actually arrived for Pesach. 
http://pragmaticattic.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/img_2227.jpg
Via Pragmatic Attic
Two egg whites, no oil, reasonable sugar, swift and easy assembly; probably took me less then a half hour from beginning to removing from oven. Eat and you shall moan. These shall not be kept for Pesach alone.  

Thursday, April 10, 2014

"Appreciatively Resigned"

What is the most reliable component for a lasting relationship? I guess the one who could possibly know the answer is Daniel Jones, the editor for the "Modern Love" column, who has read thousand upon thousand tales of couplehood.

The title of his article, "Good Enough? That's Great," is pretty much my own mantra in nearly all things. 
There are many who choose to quash their unfulfilled desires, to accept their marriage for what it is and figure out how to feel O.K. about it.
. . . You can’t have everything, they argue. Be grateful for what you do have.
There’s a temptation to dismiss quashers as being in total denial, but they aren’t. They just don’t see the point of wallowing in self-pity when they have accomplished what they hoped to in terms of marriage, family and career. As with most personality types, there’s a spectrum, running the gamut from the bitterly resigned to the appreciatively so . . .
What a difference a spectrum can make, though, because those at the other end of the quashing range — the appreciatively resigned — seem to be among the healthiest and happiest of the marrieds.
. . . Like Dr. Seuss’s Whos down in Whoville who hold hands and sing after being robbed on Christmas Eve of all their food and possessions, the appreciatively resigned rise each morning not dwelling on their marital shortfalls but counting their mutual blessings, whatever they may be: a shared sense of humor, an exchange of kind gestures, the enthusiastic pursuit of a mutual interest. Somehow they have managed to grow together rather than apart.
"Appreciatively resigned." Has a nice ring to it.

Jones goes into detail about "the restorers," the couples that sense when their relationship is getting a little off track and go on the offensive, which sounds rather exhausting. Date nights, outings, exercises, all the things that leave me irritable and overtired. I think I like that "appreciatively resigned" thing the best. 

"The restorers" get there too anyway: 
From their research they will learn how their boredom may ebb and flow before finally leveling off into the pleasant hum of old age. They’ll become experts in the ways men and women have driven each other crazy for all of eternity. They will have hugged and kissed and danced and date-nighted until they can hug and kiss and dance and date-night no more. And although they will have had some good times that made them remember why they fell in love in the first place, chances are they won’t exactly have turned back the clock in terms of reclaiming that ever-elusive passion.
Inevitably, as the intellectually curious people they are, restorers will return to their original and most perplexing question: How much do we have a right to expect from marriage? Is this simply as good as it gets? We do care about each other. We love our children. Health is generally good. Can’t we just be happy with what we have? And isn’t there a risk that in pressing for more we’ll turn something pretty good into something really bad?
Another thing I have learned: Many matters cannot be achieved by sheer will alone; sometimes, they have to slowly mellow at their own pace until they become a refined vintage.  

As studies have shown, marital ecstasy doesn't stick around forever. But when it flows away, leaving unexciting devotion in its wake, isn't that a fair swap? 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Bite Beauty Matte Crème Lip Crayon

This crayon has a few factors that I like. Matte, obviously. A narrow tip makes application all the simpler. 
http://shesintheglow.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/MAD_4850.jpg
Via shesintheglow.com
Bite has another lip pencil that claims to be matte but is laughingly not. Very satin, yes, but in no way matte. Therefore I peered at this offering with a skeptical eye. 

Hm. It passed. 

My initial purchase was Orange Red, for Ma—although after years of experimentation Ruby Woo still triumphs. Orange Red was more orange than red, and I am not a fan of orange in makeup. Orange, I find, is reliably harsh unless tamed sufficiently with pink. While Orange Red would look appealingly pink in some lights, but not all.

Yet the consistency of the product had piqued my interest; I was determined to exchange, not return.

While Sweety caught my eye, I already have a favorite lipstick in coral pink, Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick in Electric Pink Matte. I opted for Kumquat, described as "pink grapefruit." 

With my skintone, I feel kinda '60s in it, that pale, Barbie-doll pink, perfect for summer. 
http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/04/04/article-2303978-1915D9BE000005DC-632_306x423.jpg
Ignore the pink eyeshadow.
The finish isn't matte-matte; it glides on, easily, then settles in pleasantly without any sparkle. It's not Shabbos-proof, though; ideal for weekday, rather.

I tried to take photos, but the results didn't quite do it justice. The latent blue undertone seemed to jump forward, hogging the frame. I snapped with flash, without, opened the shades, but I just accepted the fact that I need professional assistance when it comes to photography. 

I hogged a photo from VampyVarnish instead: 
http://www.vampyvarnish.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Bite-Beauty-Matte-Creme-Lip-Crayon-Swatches.jpg
Via vampyvarnish.com. From left, Kumquat, Sweety, and Satsuma.
Remember, ladies, always a PINK lip!   

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

HowAreYou?

The phrase, "Hi, how are you?" gets on my nerves. To clarify, it actually more like "Hihowareyou" rattled off in one breath. It is the most frustrating question, since few rarely stick around to hear the answer. 

Take my brother Owen, who called up one day while I shivered with fever. 

"Hi, Lea, howareyou." 

"Sick,"  I croak.

"That's nice, is Ma there?" 

It's already happened more than once. 

The sanitation workers on the street and I have a waving sort of acquaintance. 

"Hey, howareyou?" 

Am I supposed to answer? Do either of us really care what the answer is? 

Take telemarketers. One can always tell when someone is a telemarketer, because they insist on knowing how you are. 

"Hello, ma'am, how are you today?" 

"Yes?" (Just give me your pitch so I can hang up.)

"Uh . . . that's good to hear . . ." he replies with an annoyed tone of reproach. A salesman, yet.

But so many rely on that "howareyou" as proof of their consideration, since it is usually the preface to a request. 

"Hello, howareyou?" 

"Hi." 

"I said, 'HOW ARE YOU?' "

You want me to take a package to your kid in Israel. You don't get to make demands.
http://fc07.deviantart.net/fs38/f/2008/329/1/c/How_Are_You_Feeling_Today__by_broopimus.jpg
Via Deviantart, by broomipus

Then there is the whole awkward business that since, when I am at work, I cannot answer "howareyou" with "Baruch Hashem," leaving "good" as the simplest response. But when I get home, and deal with fellow frummies, I don't always manage to switch back that mindless response.

"Howareyou?"

"Good."

"You are supposed to say Baruch Hashem, you godless heathen!"

Automatically asking how someone is can open Pandora's box.  

"Hi, howareyou?" 

"Well, I just finished my Master's, got engaged, but can't find a place, so I'm, like, totally freaking out, plus my gown could look better, and my sister is giving me the hardest time about dress color . . ." 

OK, I'll admit it: I don't really care how you are. That's why I don't ask. I stick with "Hi!" or "Hello!" or "Nice to see you!" I also assume passing acquaintances also don't care how I am, so why do they ask? 

You know who's on my side? Russians. I have read more than one article by Russian-Americans who are absolutely terrorized by "Howareyou?" The linkable complaint is by Alina Simone, explaining that to Russians, if asked "How are you?" they are quite confused. 
The question in question is, “How are you?”

The answer Americans give, of course is, “Fine.” But when Russians hear this they think one of two things: (1) you’ve been granted a heavenly reprieve from the wearisome grind that all but defines the human condition and as a result are experiencing a rare and sublime moment of fineness or (2) you are lying.
Exactly. Why do we pretend? 
The thing most Russians don’t realize is that, in English, “How are you?” isn’t a question at all, but a form of “hi,” like the Russian “privyet!” The Americans weren’t responsible for its transformation; that honor goes to the British. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the phrase’s precursor, “How do you do?” as a common phrase “often used as a mere greeting or salutation.” The anodyne exchange dates at least as far back as 1604, to Shakespeare’s Othello, where Desdemona asks her husband, “How is’t with you, my lord?” and Othello replies “Well, my good lady.” Even though he is half-mad with jealousy and only five scenes away from murdering her.
Whereas it’s easy to read a particularly American optimism into the easy embrace of the auto-fine, Russians seem almost congenitally unable to fake fineness.
I can never win with my responses. If I say "fine," I feel as though I am being looked at oddly for replying, and "fine" is such a flat, ungrateful way of expressing the comfort of good health and central air. Aren't I rather "ecstatic"? 

If I don't answer "fine," but respond with "Hey," I feel as though I am being looked at oddly for replying "Hey." 

Maybe I'm just too paranoid. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Strawberry Fluff

This recipe was first discovered in a charity cookbook that has been living with the Pesach pots since the '70s. I've been making it for the last few years, and it has been eagerly gobbled up, yet I've always felt the method was a tad lacking; the juice from the strawberries would sink to the bottom and freeze into a solid, unappetizing sheet. 

Last year I was, for some reason, scouring for alternate versions of this recipe and discovered not different ingredients, merely prolonged beating. No frozen juice at the bottom of the Tupperware this time!

The strawberries and whites (no yolks) make it a practically nutritious, guilt-free dessert, and is a big hit with children and adults.

Despite the fact that it is a fantastic dessert option for all year round, and I mentally plan making it for any other Shabbos or yontif, it only seems to come to fruition for Pesach.  

Because the height is based on the whites and air, one can really add as much strawberries as one would like. Last year I made it with a whole carton of Costco strawberries that needed to be used up—two pounds, when the recipe calls for a pint—and three whites were perfectly sufficient.  

Strawberry Fluff 

1 pint to 2 pounds of strawberries, very finely sliced (the smaller, the better)
3 egg white
1 cup-ish of sugar  (more or less depending what you like)
2 T vanilla sugar 
1) Beat the whites in a LARGE bowl until foamy and somewhat stiff, then gradually sprinkle in about half of the sugar, until glossy and rather stiff. 
Doesn't look like much, does it?
2) Keep the beaters on a moderate speed; add strawberry bits slowly, making sure they incorporated before adding the next bunch. Add rest of sugar at this time. 

3) After all the strawberries are in, KEEP THE MIXER GOING FOR ANOTHER 15 MINUTES. I cannot emphasize this enough. All that beating is going to incorporate air, making the fluff grow higher and higher, as well as really working in the strawberries. That is why the LARGE bowl is necessary; those three itty-bitty egg whites will become quite a lot. 
4) Transfer into container of choice; freeze. 

5) It is soft and manageable straight out of the freezer; ready to serve, no defrosting necessary.            

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Dressing for Men: The Buzzfeed Suit Rules

Can be found here. "27 Unspoken Suit Rules Every Man Should Know." Not remotely as complicated as female attire, but still a lot of detail. 

An addition of my own: Embrace the pinstripe. Not the wide, tacky pinstripe of the Brooklyn mobster, but the whisper-thin refined pinstripe that elongates the body without being too loud. 
http://hickeyfreeman.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/navy-stripe-suit.jpg
Hickey Freeman knows best.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Casting Aspersions Upon My Name

I have heard stories of innocent people "imposed upon" by the unkind, and wondered, how is it possible that someone, minding their own business, can have their lives taken out of their hands to such an extent? 

I experienced this but slightly, and I am awash in sympathy. 

A relative called up gushing that a shadchan was "willing" to see me. Me! Little old me! Another shadchan out of hundreds who is possession of my basic information! 

As per what I believed to be her request, I e-mailed the so-called shadchan that did she want to meet me? What time would be conducive for her

The relative called back, sputtering, at my lack of conduct; I was supposed to be slaveringly grateful that such an eminent woman would even deign to cast her lofty eye upon my meh self. Apparently, this shadchan had texted her in so-called befuddlement as to the inept phrasing of my missive. 

What followed was brisk instructions; here is the phone number for this elevated being, with the reminder that I am merely a humble applicant for her magical services, and should behave according to my lowly rank

I called her. Five times. A child told me her mother would call me back; I then left two machine messages. Thoroughly furious at this point after being made to look incredibly stupid, and for no reason to boot, I then washed my hands of the affair, able to report to the relative that I did my part, now get off my back.

A month later the relative relates that her own neighbor met up with this shadchan, who gushed her eagerness to become acquainted with me. Ergo, said the irritated relative, why did you not make the effort? I did, I said flatly, five times. She now has in her possession my e-mail address and phone numbers, and due to the wonders of modern technology, computers and telephones operate in both directions. Huff, went the relative.

I refused to call again, so Ma did. The shadchan, with a distinctly annoyed tone, replied, as though dealing with a slow individual, that she has my information, and she will call when she has something. Now, she is quite swamped with work, begone.

The following evening she introduced herself to Luke at a simcha, purring how she is so sorry for being unable to meet me, as she is so very busy, you understand, but that I am paramount in her priorities. And, she added with a delicate giggle, she was perhaps not the nicest to his mother, but again, she is so very preoccupied.

Luke, who did not know of the whole "much ado about nothing" to date, was quite touched by her sincerity and consideration, and called, referring to the woman in glowing terms.

It did not take long to realize what is going on here. We have another candidate for "New York Yentas"; while claiming to be a shadchan, she does not actually have any eligible males to set up. But she cannot let go of this status, her only means to glory, and so informs all and sundry of her burning desire to meet me, appearing kind and generous, whereas I, therefore, am apparently ungracious and ill-mannered.

Now I have a slight inkling of what it is liked to be unjustly framed for a crime.           

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Battle of the Bulge: Love Thy Scale

The scale and I have our moments of, well, homicidal tendencies. It helps me stay on track, as studies have shown, yet I must admit it cannot always be truly accurate, especially factoring water retension from hormones or sodium. 
http://twinpossible.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/woman-angry-at-scale.-Be-fit-not-skinny.jpg
But with it I have a more accurate guide as opposed to, say, standard wishful thinking. "Was eating three portions worth of stuffed pepper really so terrible?" Um, yeah, snorts the scale. 

Abby Ellin wittily describes the love-hate relationship between the weigher and the weight device in "Me Versus the Scale." Poundage and I go way back, although I never weighed myself as a child. Ma's eagle eye and early cookie banishment kept matters at a sufficiently even keel. Now the responsibility is all mine. 

Anywho, there have been times when I rant at the flashing number. "What d'you mean, the SAME as yesterday? Are you KIDDING me? NO WAY!" 
http://brackenfellpersonaltrainer.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2013/09/Frustrated-woman-with-scale.jpg
While regular daily weighing has been one of the givens in keeping off the pounds, it is not always an accurate measure of weight loss. A person can lose inches but the scale doesn't reflect that. 

Another factor is build. "Apples" gain weight in the worst possible area, compressing organs and making hormones go haywire; exclusive "pears" can bear the same extra fat without harming their bodies. Unfair, but there you go. 
http://ohfitness.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/apple-vs-pear-shape.jpg
Since I am a modified "apple," I figure I should stay on top of deep visceral fat, which causes the medical issues.

Therefore, the scale and I are doomed to a long relationship.