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I'm happy, married, and looking forward to sharing my world with you! If you're interested, that is!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Funniest Post Ever - full disclosure: it's not mine!

For the record, I have not yet read anything else at all by The Bloggess but I will be playing catch up all weekend.

And for the record, this is the single, funniest, MOST HYSTERICAL BLOG POST I HAVE EVER READ.

PLEASE take 2 minutes and read this.  I promise you won't regret it.  (Apologies in advance for the mild profanities.)


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Reading - make 'em love it!

My mom is a huge fan of James Patterson.  She loves his short chapters, the quick action, the fact that you can't get bored - something is always happening.

I know he's a huge supporter of reading and that he's involved in various literary endeavors...  And I found this...  "How to Get Your Kid to Be a Fanatic Reader."


Thanks, Mr. Patterson, for pushing reading, books, and literacy...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"Books 'Are Memories'"

Books 'Are Memories'

"Books can be passed around. They can be shared. A lot of people like seeing them in their houses. They are memories. People who don't understand books don't understand this. They learn from TV shows about organizing that you should get rid of the books that you aren't reading, but everyone who loves books believes the opposite. People who love books keep them around, like photos, to remind them of a great experience and so they can revisit and say, 'Wow, this is a really great book.' "

--Daniel Goldin, owner of Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, Wis., in an interview with OnMilwaukee.com.

From Shelf Awareness, Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - Volume 2 /  Issue 1556

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bar Mitzvah #3

DISCLAIMER:  ANY and ALL misinterpretations of the Jewish faith are mine and mine alone, and not presented here with any intended disrespect.  This is only my observation of the neighborhood in which we live and the customs and traditions of the Ortodox.

Our neighbors have 5 boys.  Their middle boy, E, was bar mitzvah'd yesterday.  We are very close with the family (they are absolutely wonderful!) and they kindly include us for all the celebrations.

We went to the school for 8:45am, stayed for the ceremony.  Then we had appetizers, then lunch, and finally left for home at 3pm.

At 6pm we went next door to have dinner.  We stayed until 8-ish.  At 9pm we went back to the school for E's dance!  He wanted to celebrate with a dance for all his friends!

I admire them for how they live their lives based on their faith.  They have a lot of rules.  I will admit that several times yesterday, I thought, "I'm glad I'm Catholic."  They are very superficial reasons, and please know that I mean absolutely no disrespect.

But men and women can't dance together.  The women, after an hour-and-a-half of watching the men and boys dance their hearts out, dragged the potted trees into the corner to separate themselves from the men and danced with each other in a little 10'x5' space.

          I like dancing with my husband.  Even though I don't like dancing.

We spent 3 hours sitting on two different sides of a wall in the same room.  Men and women can't sit together at shul, or apparently, at their son's bar mitzvah.  For the first two that we attended, there were only temporary screen dividers that one rabbi actually moved away after one of the bar mitzvahs so that the women would be included in the end of the service.  At the other, S was at least able to peek around the corner to see her son become a young man.

          I like going to church with my husband and holding his hand when we say the Our Father.

What I DO love about living here is the strong sense of community and neighborhood.  The kids are outside playing with each other.  The moms are outside talking with each other (and with me!).  We know each other and recognize each other and care about each other.  We used to have more of that in the neighborhood where I grew up, but in recent years, as the "old folk" moved out, there's less of that.  My mom doesn't "know" her neighbors like she used to "know" her neighbors.  [I will admit that she does speak to them when she sees them and perhaps this is more my impression since I don't live there anymore and I don't know the neighbors anymore!  As a matter of fact, I'll talk to my mom about this later this week.  I DO know she doesn't have her best friends around anymore; J died several years ago and E moved away many, many years ago.  I know that makes it more lonely there for my mom but she manages!]

Here are some photos from the party yesterday...

This is their school.  They just completed it a few years ago, perhaps 2006?

This is the room the women sat in for the ceremony.  To our left were some permanent screens that prevented S from seeing E.  Apparently peeking is, if not permitted, understood, so they were quite upset that these new screens were installed!

The boys danced for 1-1/2 hours straight!!!

They dragged J in just long enough for me to get a photo of him with the neighbors and E!!!

I must admit it was incredible to see an entire room full of teenage boys dancing the Electric Slide!!!

If they can do it...  I might just give it a try next time!!!

10 Years

It's been ten years since 09/11/01.  Ten years since we lost so many family members, friends, acquaintances, and strangers.  Ten years since we lost our innocence.

I wanted to write something profound, something moving, something that might express what I felt that day.

I can't do it.

I've hit the same wall I hit when I try to write about my dad, who died in 1987.

I can't find the words.

Ten years ago I was at work and my mom called to tell me that a plane had hit one of the Twin Towers.  I ran down the hall and told my girlfriend M, then ran back to my office and turned on the radio so I could listen.

What I heard - well, it felt as though it stopped my heart.

A SECOND plane had hit the SECOND Tower.

It wasn't an accident.  It wasn't, God forbid, a pilot who'd lost control of his plane.  It wasn't bad visibility.  It was a beautiful, sunny, gorgeous sunny day...

We went to the boss' office.  We saw the Towers fall.

He sent us all home.  He told us not to bother leaving any messages on our phones.  "Just leave.  You need to be with your families."  That was, beyond any shadow of a doubt, the most sensitive and humane thing he ever said in the 15 years I worked at that company.

This was the in days before cell phones (at least in our family).  I called the school to see if all was okay there; J was only a mile or so as the crow flies from the Twin Towers, maybe a little more.  I couldn't get him.

I didn't hear from him until he got home after 6pm that night...  He said what he saw on the way home shook him to his core.  People walking on Route 3, shell-shocked, covered in ashes and blood and bandages.  No disrespect intended, but he said they reminded him of zombies...

I spent the next 48, 72, 96 hours GLUED to the television and/or the radio.

I couldn't believe it happened.

We were attacked.  Attacked in our own home.  Not once, but FOUR TIMES, twice in the City, and again in Shanksville and at the Pentagon.

That was the day I truly realized how much I had to lose.  My husband.  My family.  My home.  My country.  It's not the things that matter, it's what's in my heart.  And what's in my heart is irreplaceable.

I've had a headache today, all day.  I blamed it on the weather, on a late night last night (more on that in another post), but since the Advil Cold and Sinus didn't really work on it at all, I'm thinking it's reliving the pain of that black day 10 years ago...

Prayers to and for all who perished, to and for their families and friends, to and for our great country, that we all heal as best we can, but also prayers that WE.NEVER.FORGET.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Me: I just feel like sharing...

I was visiting Carolina Girl and she posted some random facts about herself and I've always loved these kinds of posts, so I thought, "What the heck?  It's not like you have a lot of work to do..."  And of course I can't do it exactly like the instructions say...  What if I don't have SEVEN random things to share?  What if I don't have a "best feature"?  So let's just see where "random" takes us...

Here you go...

1. I spent the first night of my freshman year in college under a pool table, in the midst of a hurricane warning.  No hurricane, and no pool-ball related accidents...
2. The only time I ever got a "B" in gym class was the year I cut gym.  If I attended every class and tried my hardest, I only ever managed a "C."
3. And I'm married to a gym teacher.
4. I spoke English and Polish equally for the first 4 years of my life (or at least from when I started talking until we moved out of my grandparents' house to our house 2 miles away...).
5. I have forgotten almost all of the Polish I ever knew.
6. I read every organizational book I can get my hands on and still my house is just a few uncontrolled months away from being featured on Hoarders:  Buried Alive.  (OK, a slight exaggeration about the condition of my home... let's just say I have a high tolerance for clutter...)
7. I'm going to cave and get a smartphone of some kind in December; I'm a Verizon customer - any suggestions?
8. I don't know how to swim even though I took 2 classes at the Y.
9. I've never been to Europe.
10. I used to work with my best friends.  Now I work with friendly acquaintances who think they're my best friends...
11. [edited out 09/11/11]
12. My other sister is a fine artist.
13. I am addicted to reading.  I always have several books going, with several backed up and ready.  I read the cereal box in the morning, the can of hairspray in the bathroom, street signs while I'm driving, etc.
14. I skipped senior year in HS to attend the Freshman Honors Program at the University of Delaware.  We spent our first year on the Wesley College campus in Dover, DE, then moved to main campus in Newark, DE (then I got stupid!)
15. I've visited 25 of our 50 states.  Admittedly, some were business trips only, to one city, one conference center, but still...
16. I was once diagnosed as having gout.  Turns out it was bursitis.
17. My mom was born in Poland and traveled to Siberia, then through Russia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Kenya, Uganda, Egypt, to the UK, and then finally to the US where she met my dad, fell in love, got married, and the rest is history...  (and yes, I realize that's not about me, per se, but it's a cool fact anyway!)
18.  I could go on, but I'll save some for another time...

Favorites and Bests... (most borrowed from Carolina Girl)
Favorite Color:  it was purple for all my life but since I got married I'm liking green, too
Favorite Song:  A Love Like This, by Dan Fogelberg (our wedding song)
Favorite Singer:  Dan Fogelberg
Favorite Dessert:  Cream Puffs (unhealthy) and watermelon (reasonably healthy)
Favorite Candy:  Candy corn or circus peanuts (those orange marshmallow ones)
Favorite Actor:  Clint Eastwood
Biggest Pet Peeve:  when someone doesn't say thank you
When I'm Upset:  I either cry or slam things
My Favorite Pet:  My Samoyed Belle
Black or White:  Black (unless it's summer and I have a tan, then white is okay)
Biggest Fear:  Fire
Best Feature:  I can't answer this 'cause by nature, I'm too picky about myself
Everyday Attitude:  Generally pretty positive, although when I am cranky, watch out!
Perfection Is:  Being in love with the person who's in love with you at the same time
Guilty Pleasure:  An ice cold mojito!
Favorite food:  pizza or fried eggplant
Burger King or McDonald's:  Burger King all the way!
Favorite Author:  Ayn Rand (fiction) or Richard Bach (fiction)
Favorite Book:  Jonathan Livingston Seagull (Bach) or Anthem (Rand)
Favorite Movies:  Pretty Woman, Ghost, While You Were Sleeping, You've Got Mail, Dirty Dancing, Gone with the Wind, and of course - anything with Clint Eastwood in it
PC or Mac:  PC but only 'cause I never used a Mac and can't afford one...  played with one in the store and I can see how easily I'd become a convert
Surgeries:  appendectomy (I was 8) and back surgery in 1991 (I was 30)
Contacts or glasses:  Both!
Favorite Number:  2 or 3
Favorite TV shows:  What Not to Wear, Castle, Hoarding, House Hunters, Big Bang Theory
Favorite Holiday:  Christmas all the way!!!

I know usually I'm supposed to tag someone, but I'm not going to!  If you feel like posting some random facts about yourself, though, let me know!  I'd love to visit and read all about you!!!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

He Listened...

No locusts, but more rain...

J and I drove through Little Falls and Paterson, Wayne and Lincoln Park on Monday.  My  heart simply bleeds for those people.  They're no longer getting rid of "stuff" from their flooded basements; they're getting rid of their basements!  The piles of "stuff" on the street, waiting for trash pick up, no longer include Grandma's old sofa, Lola's toy kitchen, Roy's train set, last year's Thomas the Tank Christmas present.

They're throwing out insulation, oak floors, sheetrock, paneling, water heaters, washing machines and dryers, refrigerators and freezers, dehumidifiers, shop vacs, cars, bicycles, milk crates of tools...

I complained and bitched and moaned about the water in my basement, water that J and I spent hours and hours sucking up with a shop vac, carrying up the stairs and dumping it outside the side door.

Guess what?  WE.HAD.IT.EASY.  I am ashamed that I spent all that time groaning about 6 total inches of water in my basement that never got over 2" since we were on top of it.  Eventually we were able to sweep it all into our sewer trap, once high tide went down.


We didn't lose anything, not a stick of wood, not an appliance, not even a lousy garbage bag filled with crap I took out of my red Honda when I sold it - in 2000!!!  (Side note:  that WAS my favorite car EVER!)  My treadmill never got wet, our washing machine and dryer are up on a 3" platform so the water never touched them.  None of J's tools were damaged or ruined.

We saw PSE&G volunteers and command centers and food stations giving out hot meals in styrofoam containers, a guy driving around in his SUV giving away cases of water.  I watched a guy carry 2 cases of water into his home, shouting to the driver, "I wish I could do something for you, but I'll never see you again, so I'll pay it forward, I promise!  I'll do something to help someone, someday.  Thank you!  Thank you so much!"

I am ashamed. 

Yes, we had hoped to stop by my girlfriend's house in Lincoln Park to see if there was anything we could do, but honestly, it was more like a field trip on the way home from the lake than a mission or a call to action.

My life has changed.  I have been sending extra clothes and stuff to the Vietnam Vets for years because they come pick it up at the house (how convenient, Krys!).

I will be doing a bit of digging today, online, making some phone calls, to find out where I can help LOCALLY.  There's got to be a place I can bring things for these people, people like me and like you who just happen to live a little too close to the Passaic River.  People whose lives were affected FOREVER by Irene last week, and guess what?

That damned river is going to flood again this week!  All the clean up and siphoning out of their basements they did this week?  For naught, because the water is coming again.

There's a guy on William Street in Little Falls...  I don't know his name but here's a video of his home:


He sets this up every year and opens it to the public in his 2-car garage.  Trashed.  So much damage to his home and to his garage, and it's September.  He should be preparing to bring joy to thousands of kids, he should be plugging in light strand after light strand, getting ready for the holidays.

Instead, he's cleaning up.  Again.  And Lord knows how many of his decorations were damaged in this latest flood...

I want to help these people, all of them, directly, not through the Red Cross, not through Flood Relief organizations, I want to touch their lives directly, and I'm going to find a way to do it, even if all it means is buying a handful of pizzas and dropping them off at the Command Center/Food Tent...