Saturday, October 31, 2009

", that means it has a scent"


1. On my way to work I saw one of the leaders of the popular Krishna group, outfitted in his flowing robes...taking money out of an ATM. I wish there had been some non-creepy way to get photographic evidence.

2. Midday Naps. Enough Said.

3. "There was a long song in Aramaic...I was praying."

4. I wrote two long-overdue emails today - one professional, one personal.

5. Before I went to bed, I got to catch up with Julie Rappoport (Whose middle name I appear not to know...Jules, how is that possible?).

6. I finally figured out why the guy who teaches salsa at Hillel sounds so familiar - he has the voice of Bogey Lowenstein! If you don't know who that is, you are overdue for a rewatching of "10 Things I Hate About You," which is definitely on my list of the top 5 high school movies made in the '90s.

7. I have this issue where I compulsively pause movies before moments where the characters are about to be embarrassed. I think that I feel bad for them. But I've made a new commitment not to pause movies unless I legitimately have to stop watching them. Suddenly, all the comic scenes are a whole lot funnier.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It wasn't the weather...

My apologies for delayed posting. I'm crawling back out from under a monstrous sinus infection. So let's start with Wednesday:

1. Readers of the week!
Thanks to my mom's with-it sense of humor, and my tendency towards lo matim comments, Mishpachat Ripps/Kogen are the inaugural Readers of the Week on Steiner's blog. Thanks, Shteins!

2. Sometime this week, there was a wootoff (for more information, see here). During that time, the good people at woot put this "test" video online:

Makes me want to be an inflatable superhero for Purim, for sure.

3. Sarit introduced me to this little product:

Which, while not able to stave off my eventual doctor's visit, did keep my head from exploding. Thanks, Sar.

4. The Sefster made a promotional video about Nativ (the first of many), to be shown at Hagalil's LTI (Leadership Training Institute) this weekend. It's adorable, and I'm so proud! Check it out:

5. On my way to lunch, I saw a guy sporting a hairdo that I really can't classify, except to call it an afrohawk. Without acting like TOO much of a creeper, I got a picture:

Also, please note the October 28th tank top. The weather here is on crack.

6. Look, they have WNLP (Columbia/Barnard Hillel's Wednesday Night Learning Program) here too!

It's just like being at home.

7. I sneezed so hard, my shoe fell off. That must be good luck in SOME culture!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Letters to Inanimate Objects

Along with half of the University of Florida, I'm sick. I think it's the weather. Not to worry - lots of little things made my working-while-blahhhed-out day easier:

1. Sleeping in:
I woke up feeling like my head was stuffed with cotton - and the grey rainy day outside wasn't helping. I decided to go in late and stay late (I love my job), and turned over to go back to sleep for an hour and a half.

2. Going to Israel:
I came in to work to find an email from Taglit - I've been officially approved as a staff member for Birthright! It wasn't exactly a surprise, but it's still nice to know that I'm one step closer to being in Israel in December.

3. Unexpected Time-Savers:
When I'm filling out forms that require an address and have a drop down menu of states, I don't have to scroll down to click on the state of Florida (this is a big change from the alphabetically challenged New Jersey). It may sound absurdly minor, but I'm becoming convinced that the seconds add up.

4. Unexpected learning opportunities:
After untold time spent in day school and 3 1/2 years at JTS, I'm ashamed to admit how little learning I'm doing down here (any potential skype chevrutot - please make yourselves known). So when Mindy Kalya Feldman offered me the opportunity to help complete Masechet Makkot for her great-uncle's yahrtzeit, I jumped at the chance. Thanks, Mindels. I really enjoyed it.
[Ed. Note: I finished on time, Mindels - Saturday night. I just thought to add it to the list today]

5. Dear Tea,
I love you.

6. My Cognitive Psych research for the day (compliments of Lauren Raeya Mendel):
me: i'm back
so stam in that context basically means
"oh, nothing..."
lauren: ooh so you can sorta just make it mean whatever you want
me: the word stam?
not really
it was three meetings
and by that i mean....
it *has three *meanings
God, i'm tired
lauren: HAHA i read it as what you meant lol didnt even notice
me: hahaha
that DEFINITELY says something about how people process information they read

7. Incredibly Talented Friends:
One of my roommates from Nativ, Julie Michelle Hanna, is a brilliantly talented professional photographer. She recently moved back to California to go in a new direction with her work. She also has a brand new website! You can find it here. Way to go, J!

Dear Woot-Off,
Please offer a bluetooth headset,
preferably before I go to sleep.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Squishy Sandwiches

Long day. Here goes nothin':

1. Video gchat reunion with Sarah Beth Lopatin. Thanks for remembering the wonders of technology, Slopes. I definitely would have just kept typing.
[Ed. note: she has also now promised to fly down for dinner tomorrow night. I'm expecting you around 7?]

2. Coffee Date #1:
...with the student I called a spiritual seeker. I won't go into her story, but suffice it to say that she really made me think, and the conversation will continue.

3. Followers explosion!
The goal was 20 (thanks, Borgen!) let's go for 30. It's a bit overwhelming - many of my students are bound to find this very, very soon. Prepare yourselves for significantly increased self-censorship.

4. I have just discovered that I have been elected president of the Buy-Strawberries-And-Then-Forget-About-Them-Until-They're-Moldy-In-The-Fridge Club (Just strawberries. No other produce. It's weird.). This is good primarily because it means that I will now stop wasting money on strawberries that I won't eat.

5. I got my "Go Topless" for Breast Cancer prints! If you're female or a blood relative, email me and I'll send them to you. Anybody else will have to be satisfied with the cropped portrait that is currently my facebook picture:

6. My upstairs neighbors are having a party tonight. This means that they AREN'T playing Guitar Hero tonight. Thanks, boys.

7. I came to the conclusion during my lunch break today, that after 13 years of squished peanut butter sandwiches in my brown bag lunch, I in fact ONLY enjoy peanut butter sandwiches when they are squished. Even if I have to manually squish them.

Laila tov, kids. Chalomot paz!

Playing Catch-Up

I'm about to be a total cop-out. Ready?

I actually think it's a good thing when I don't have time to post - it means I'm out doing stuff (or more likely, watching a movie on my bed).

And by that I mean, here's Sunday:

1. Talking with Alumnae:
This year is Alpha Epsilon Phi's centennial (it was actually started at Barnard - who knew?), and this weekend was centennial alumnae weekend at UF. Over 250 women showed up, going back to the class of 1948. Sunday morning, we had an alumnae (okay, okay, I just like using the word "alumnae" - it's the strong, beautiful Barnard woman in me) brunch at Hillel. Talking with the alums really gave me a sense of the history of the UF Jewish community. They were adorable. Nativ/Barnard/JTS friends - let's still be close in 30 years, k? Great.

2. Coffee dates!
I scheduled two coffee dates on Sunday - one with an absurdly cool spiritual seeker type, who's interested in learning more about Judaism, and one with a student who was raised Orthodox, and wants to discuss "why God created the world." That one may take several cups of coffee.

3. I am currently in the process of re-watching the entire first season of Srugim (At this point, I know the scripts so well that I get bits of dialogue stuck in my head, like songs. It's sick.). This practice is good for my Hebrew, and TERRIBLE for missing Israel.

4. I don't know how I forgot to post on Friday's seven: Eem and the Won-Ton (that's my mom and youngest brother, for the uninitiated), are coming to visit me in two weeks! Well, really they're going to visit Disney World, and I happen to live nearby. I'll take what I can get.

5. The first proofs from the "Go Topless" for Breast Cancer fundraiser came out, and they look incredible! See below:

Mine are SIGNIFICANTLY more tzanuah. I promise.

6. Nina Zoe Cohen informed me that you can now buy shoes from DSW online. 2 1/2 hours of browsing ensued.

7. Sarita Rachel Horwitz called to tell me a very funny story. Lovely way to end the day, and totally worth the hour of lost sleep.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

6 Days a Week We Wait for Shabbos...

1. I woke up before my alarm went off for the first time in many, many years. I guess there IS something to be said for getting an average of more than 5 hours of sleep per night.

2. When we put "Shabbat morning services - 10:30 am" in our weekly email newsletter, that generally means, "Get here around 11, we won't have a minyan until 11:30 anyway." Wonder of wonder, miracles of miracles, we began with a minyan at 10:35ish, and finished on time at 12:30!

3. ...And headed straight to a student-run lunch and learn on the parsha. Maybe this place isn't completely devoid of Jewish potential.

4. In between some lovely catnaps, I finished a book! I'm not sure I can remember the last time I had time to read a book for pleasure (so to answer your question Aunt Vanessa, yes, I'm reading). It was so nice. And with the advent of the Chippim book club (ahem, let's get on this), I look forward to reading much more frequently.

5. Took a great late afternoon walk to Yoni and Mandy's.

6. While they went out motzei Shab I babysat...and conveniently got to watch the game on their TV (having an away game at Mississippi State significantly lowers my ability to hear said game from my apartment).

7. I had forgotten that babysitting results in being paid. Thanks, Yoni and Mandy, for supporting my sushi addiction. My budget is grateful.

Friday, October 23, 2009


1. Woke up earlyish to have a skype date with the Sefster. Since I hadn't seen his scraggly-yet-radiant face since erev Rosh HaShanah, it was really nice. Note to Seffi: I'm still waiting to see you wear that ridiculous Magen David Adom uniform. Yalla.

2. A quiet office:
Dana is spending the weekend in Boston with the shlicha from St. Paul, and she left on Thursday afternoon. This left me with a quiet office in which to work. Don't get me wrong, I love working with Dana, but there's something to be said for an attempt at productivity.

3. I declared my independence from Challah for Hunger! [This actually happened Thursday afternoon, but I already had seven for the day.] While Challah for Hunger is a lovely project (students bake Challah on Thursday afternoon and sell it on campus on Friday morning, donating the proceeds to Alachua County hunger organizations), there is absolutely no reason why I had to babysit the students as they baked. So I announced that I was busy, went home at a decent hour, and guess what? The challah came out just fine.

4. Keith (the executive director) asked me if I'm interested in applying for a professional development opportunity Hillel International is starting for outstanding new employees. It really doesn't look interesting, and I totally don't think I'll have time (they've already got me applying for something else), but especially since my interactions with Keith are minimal, it was a nice shot in the arm.

5. Took the long way home, with a coffee break on the way.

6. It's the end of October, and these gorgeous flowers are still blooming everywhere I go. Does anyone know what they are?

7. Usually, small Shabbatot are torturous, but this week, we managed to combine the Conservative and Orthodox services rather painlessly, and had a great tefillah. Whew.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The United States of Alligators

About to be caught up...I can almost taste it...

1. Kum Kum!
Though the cold snap has DEFINITELY ended, I am often in the mood for a cup of tea. Until yesterday, I've been at a loss as to how to fix that. But now...I have a kum kum (electric tea kettle)! It's a hand-me-down from a student, but I think it works fine.

2. Health insurance:
An hour and a half of waiting on line later, I got $160 of my $230 back in an insurance reimbursement. $230 for 2 prescriptions? Pharmaceuticals companies must be making a killing. Two army brats and I were the only ones in line with any sort of insurance. THIS is why we need health care reform now.

3. Check out our First Lady, promoting fitness and activity for kids:

You go, Michelle.

4. In the Manoah office today, I found our old (pre-me, pre-Yoni) student interest cards. I wonder why we retired them?

Ah yes, beer as an area of interest. Way to go, Hillel.

5. When Greta was Tzedek chair at UNC, she ran a Gift of Life bone marrow registration drive. Her Hillel director signed up. Last year, he matched with a 7 year old boy...but both of their identities were hidden one from the other. A month or so ago (as soon as he was permitted to), the director released his personal information. Yesterday I got an email from Greta that the family of the child whose life he saved has contacted him, and they're planning to meet. Incredible!

6. Yael Shoham called from Israel! Catching up with old friends is simply blissful.

7. The Gator Nation:
I'm pretty sure these pictures speak for themselves.

Oh, Gainesville.

Hayom Yom Multimedia

Wednesday: Enjoy!

1. Equality (and those of any age who fight for it):

2. Life cycle events, and seeing Israel through new eyes:
Elderly Jews finally become adults, decades after turning 13 - Haaretz - Israel News

3. Bad yoga class:
If finally happened: I went to a yoga class - and it was TERRIBLE. I was late, my hip was sore, I almost did a backwards somersault on the shoulder stand. But to tell you the truth? I'm so relieved. With any new commitment - hobby, magazine subscription, relationship - I can't help but get nervous waiting for the other shoe to drop. So now that it has, I can rest assured that even when I have a bad class, I'll keep going. It's a satisfying feeling.

4. Miriam's Gchat status: "it is both national pumpkin cheesecake day and national love your body day. coincidence? i think not." ...amazing.

5. Actress Tal Sharoni (of the adorable סרוגים) has a new show:


6. Yoni and I had promised to take Manoah out for ice cream (slash secret evaluation of the semester thus far), and last night we finally got to go. Since Mallory (one of the arts chairs) is vegan, we went to a vegan-friendly establishment called Karma Cream. It was totally adorable, and we had a great time. In fact (prepare yourself for a momentous and probably outlandish statement), if I had to choose whether or not to stay in G-ville for a second year solely based on last night, I would totally do it.

...Cool your jets, people. It's only October.

7. Adorable children:
There was a klezmer band at Hillel last night. We didn't invite them; they asked if they could come (for a CD release party). While filming them for our soon-to-be live "This Week at Hillel" Youtube videos (Hello new bane of my existence - I don't want to talk about it), I also got some choice moments with Yaldei Kaiser-Blueth.

Shai Shai:

Zoe loves the Gators (and knows the fight song?):

And a very very long one where Zozo teaches me to play checkers (the last 45 seconds are cute):

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Curse of the Gebler

Yesterday, Avishai told me he was "envious of [my] consistency" ...and I missed my first post for non-chag reasons. He'd prefer that I call it "a reality-check, to make you be more conscious and aware and leading to better blogging and quality of life." I'm gonna go with curse.

1. Blankets:
Totally and completely slept through the alarm I set to lock the door behind the Melitz educator (if you were hoping to rob my apartment at a time when I had conveniently left my door unlocked, you totally missed your chance), and woke up late. Having missed my walking time with Em, I flung myself out of bed, grabbed the borrowed blanket off my futon, and crawled back under it for 20 minutes. Ahh...

2. I have a new appreciation for my mother's ability to return mail-ordered clothing in a timely manner. In the nick of time, I got three packages to the Post Office. Goodbye, ill-fitting boots, unexpectedly giant messenger bag, and poorly-made dress. I'll take my $150 back now, thanks.

3. The chippim blog!
To be fair, Steiner started it when she went to Melbourne. But I have unexpectedly revived the chippim (a.k.a Barnard friends) blog movement. Check out the handy dandy link box on the right-hand side of the page.

4. I might be a blogger, but I'm still a Luddite...
me: i'm pretty sure an automated teller just got angry with me
Greta: hahahahaha
4:59 PM me: i was calling bank of america
bc i paid my credit card bill early
like, 2 weeks ago
and it was due today
and still showed up as unpaid online
but when i called, i didn't have the credit card out
so the automated woman said, "please enter your account number"
and i didn't
5:00 PM and then "i'm sorry, i didn't get that. please enter your account number or your social security number"
so i entered my social
and then she said, "i'm sorry, i didn't get that. please enter your account number or social security number NOW."
so i hung up on her.
5:01 PM because she's not real.
Greta: hahahahhahaa
me: right?
i was so flustered
until i remembered it was a talking computer.

5. Being Bilingual:
Sometimes, I forget what a gift it is that I speak two languages. And then I move fluidly between Hebrew and English within the same conversation, and I'm so grateful. My parents would say, "Schechter dollars at work!" To which I reply, "Thank you."

6. It is almost unheard of for me to be in the mood to consume alcohol (unless, of course, I'm already sitting in a bar). Yet yesterday afternoon I inexplicably was - in the mood for an amaretto sour, to be precise (Shut up, I know, it's girly. I drink beer, too). And then...Yoni decided to take Dana and myself out for a drink. Now granted, having a work thing at 10 pm as an antidote to being stressed out at work is a bit unproductive. But it was fun, and I still achieved number 7.

7. In bed. Lights out. 12:30 (hence the lack of blog post). Tonight's goal: midnight!

Jerusalem in January... what my apartment felt like this morning when I woke up.

1. Still in the middle of a cold snap. Couldn't feel my nose this morning. If only I could save up the chill for when it's 90 degrees on Thursday.

2. I found my fleece! This is momentous when you cannot feel your nose.

3. I broke a glass today. Not sure why that's a positive thing, since I only had 4 to begin with, but my mom yelled "Mazel tov!" over the phone, so it must be good luck. And I can always use some of that.

4. It was Seffi's half-birthday today! I was excited. He forgot.

5. Slapped together a decent source sheet on women's body image in Judaism for a Rosh Chodesh program (...which never happened). Good to know my powers of both academic and Judaic BS are still intact.

6. Nahum and Elishe gave their beautiful daughter a beautiful name: Maayan Yaira.

7. I borrowed a blanket from Yoni to give to the Melitz educator I'm hosting tonight. Although she is leaving at 5 am, I will not be returning said blanket until the cold snap officially ends. Score.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sunday Bloody Sunday

I can't believe today was Monday. Longest day of my life, plus I was at work yesterday. But let's journey back for a minute:

1. Sunday happened, for the first time since before the chagim. As in, I slept in and was not technically required to put in a full day at work. I think my decision to live in America vs. Israel could someday hinge on my love of the Sunday.

2. Roach "hosted" a brunch for Darom people - and is a shockingly excellent brunch chef. Baked french toast? How had I never heard of that before (And why are breakfast foods quickly becoming a recurring feature of the Reasons?)?

3. Go Topless:
Went to Hillel for a zillion hours...but for a great cause. A photography student came up with the idea to photograph women holding up signs explaining why they were going "topless:" a relative, a friend, women who can't afford mammograms (my sign). I thought it would be creepy, but it wound up being a really positive, powerful event - 46 women were photographed, raising over $540 for the American Cancer Society. Sometimes, this job is enlightening.

4. ...While waiting for the event to end, I finished our weekly Constant Contact (email newsletter); a.k.a. the bane of my existence. Hooray for it not taking up all of my Monday!

5. Dinner with the Orens:
Jodi and Ido Oren, parents of my friend Avigail from Barnard, live here in G-ville (Ido is a PoliSci professor, and Jodi's a physical therapist). Last night, they had me over for dinner, along with their son Eytan ("home" from UF), and Yael, the community shlicha. I always love spending time with them, and Jodi especially has a very quick, ironic, Northeastern sense of humor. Familiar and comfortable, to say the least.

6. Ben & Jerry's:
It is truly a superhuman feat of marketing that a 1 quart container of normal ice cream for $4.99 seems exorbitant, but 2 pints of Ben & Jerry's for $6.00 feels like a steal. Keep pulling the wool over my eyes, boys. Yum.

7. Netflix sent me "Kissing Jessica Stein." Neurotic, compulsive, hysterical.

Lazy Shabbos...

...wake up in the early...wait. No. That's the opposite of my Saturday. Ready?

1. Slept until 1:24 pm. Yes, you read that correctly.

2. I woke up to find that it was FREEZING outside!

3. It was also sunny and gorgeous.

4. Therefore, I took an hourlong walk. Very peaceful (except for slight heckling by drunken old men), since everyone else was at the game.

5. When I returned, I could hear the game (as in, going on at the stadium) from my room, well enough that I could join in shouting "Orange!" "Blue!" "Orange!" "Blue!" Tickets? Who needs tickets?

6. I conquered my biggest fear about living in Gainesville - Shabbat alone! Of course, I primarily conquered it by sleeping through the day, but I think I'm comfortable with that.

7. Far too late at night, I ventured to the AEPi house to visit Dickie and Roach (former campers, now staff members at Darom), who were visiting from Alabama and Pennsylvania, respectively. Going to the AEPi house? Awkward and weird. Seeing Dickie and Roach? Great, including the 3:00 am trip to IHOP with Sam and Jeremy (more former-campers-now-staff, who go to UF).

The Slacker Speaks

It's been a lazy weekend, and this is going to be a lazy post (it's almost bedtime, what can I say?).

1. No work! Thanks, homecoming.

2. ...leading me to basically spend the day in bed. Perfect cure for a cold, grey day.

3. Ventured outside for a bit of the parade. Verdict: On a scale of 1 to the Annual Fair Lawn Memorial Day extravaganza, I give it a 4. However, Yoni and I have agreed that come Hell or high water, regardless of who's in Gainesville next year, Hillel will have a float that puts this float to shame:

4. Second foray outside: bought some Shabbos flowers. Lovely.

5. In spite of Homecoming, students actually showed up to shul! Only 20ish (as opposed to 150ish), but I'll take my victories big or small.

6. Gator Growl:
Oh Gator Growl. What a weird and slightly vulgar pep rally. It was odd...but also cute. Dana Carvey [That was the only clean clip I could find. Seriously.] was passable, and Jabbawockeez were INCREDIBLE [That was the show I attended, and doesn't even begin to touch on their breakdancing skills.].

I can't pass a verdict on O.A.R. [Those of you who don't think you know O.A.R. will recognize the song around 3:25.] - the Israelis didn't recognize the music, and voted for us to leave early and head to...

7. The VIP Afterparty! I was tired and went home early, but not before meeting the Jabbawockeez (!!). Oh, and Dana Carvey.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Double or Nothing

1. No, I didn't make it to bed by midnight tonight. However, I will get 8 hours of sleep. Thank you, Gainesville, you crazy town, for declaring a city holiday in honor of homecoming.

2. Falcon Heene is alive and on the ground. This is unquestionably a good thing. Now, will someone please take him and his brothers away from their nutjob parents, and make said parents pay the state for all resources they wasted searching for him? Awesome, thanks.

3. Tonight I went to Hatha Yoga. According to what Seffi calls "the encyclopedia of everything," that's just regular yoga. As opposed to UF's Gentle Yoga, which is apparently Yoga for Wusses. Progress? Just humor me and say yes.

4. Remembering music that had slipped my mind:
I walked into Starbucks after yoga (has a Jappier sentence ever been typed?), and Closer to Fine was playing. Oh Indigo Girls, how I love you so.

5. Google Reader:
How did I not know this thing existed? So that's where all the posts go after I click "follow blog." Procrastination possibilities have suddenly increased tenfold.

6. I actually got up in time to daven this morning. I really need to keep doing that - it's much more personal than simply sending my regards to Hashem through our mutual friends.

7. Our Director of Finance misspelled my name...resulting in a delay in my health insurance taking effect:

Not to worry: I also received two identical (correct) dental insurance cards. Take a look:

Is that an even trade? I'm still undecided. Additionally - if I go to the dentist, and have a theoretical co-pay of $40 on an $80 visit, but I present them with BOTH cards, does that mean I get to go for free?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Must Show ID Upon Entry

1. Sneaking into stuff:
So the thing about my Gator1 card's kind of pointless. Like, theoretically it can be useful, but only if I cover up the little line under my picture that says "affiliate," rather than "student," AND hold it at an angle so that the people IDing me can't see that it says "Campus Ministries" (yes, that's right, I'm a minister now. I was ordained by the Church of the Gator).

But the funny thing is - all the stuff that I do get to use my Gator1 for, is somehow made cooler by the fact that I'm being slightly, harmlessly duplicitous. When I signed in to yoga today, I kind of felt the same way I did the last time I bought a kartisiyat noar (children's bus pass) for the Jerusalem bus system...on my 22nd birthday. It was awesome.

2. Not owing money:
I got an envelope from GRU in the mail. I thought it was a utilities bill. Nope, just a printed notification that I activated online bill pay. Sweet.

3. Gator Growl!
Got a free ticket for Gator Growl (the insanely huge concert/pep rally on Friday that leads up to the homecoming game on Saturday) today through work. 92,000 drunk screaming co-eds and young alums doesn't exactly sound awesome, but I think I can handle it to see Dana Carvey, O.A.R., and the Jabbawockeez (definitely most excited to see them). Plus, it looks like I might get to meet them at the afterparty, conveniently located at Hillel (gotta love our proximity to the stadium!).

4. Conversation had today between myself and a nameless friend, who works for a nameless Jewish non-profit in Manhattan:
1:58 PM Friend: hullo
me: hey
2:01 PM how are you?
Friend: good. trying to bury some bones
in the 80s they found a skeleton in ______
and its in a bag in the closet
me: no way
Friend: so i contacted the hebrew free burial society to try and get it buried
crazy right?
2:03 PM me: they just left it in the closet for 20 years??
Friend: yes
so i have now made it my mission
2:04 PM me: wow

5. Free(ish) things:
Tonight, I finally had to pay for the sushi I've been lifting from Hillel on Wednesdays (I never eat my free lunch. I figure it's an even trade). On the upside...

Wait. There is no upside to paying for something which was once free. On the other hand, I paid $5 for 6 weeks of sushi. Let's call it even.

6. Ruminating:
I love If you're unfamiliar, start here.

You can't just post whatever you're thinking - you submit, and then the site administrators decide what they approve of. Today I was posted for the first time! Please pardon the expletive, and click here. My goal is 100 Gourmet points. Help me out!

7. I'm going to bed before 1 am! This may not sound like an accomplishment, but trust me....
Tomorrow's goal: midnight!

Post your SDRs, people. I'm waiting...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

SDR: Work Edition

Tuesday (I promise, tonight will be a full post):

1. I get to go in to work at 10. What up.

2. Lunch at the Olam might be gross and fleisch...but it's still free!

3. I participate in a vast majority of meetings while sitting on an exercise ball.

4. ...and the rest of them on a couch.

5. I get to take students on Walmart scavenger hunts:

6. I have a supervisor who does this in the middle of Walmart:

7. This book depresses my students, almost as much as it depresses me:

(To those of you who have commented that this book is not depressing: I'm not sure you understood. The book was in the Jesus aisle. There's a quote from John on the inside cover. The only kind of coercion I like to find in my children's literature is the kind that teaches kids to share. Just sayin'.)

Please do not throw hot ash

Still catching up on post-chaggim insanity. Monday:

1. Architecture in Evanston:
There's something slightly fake-looking about Gainesville. Parts of it are pretty, certainly, but the holistic image is somehow off - at least, to a northerner. "Why are there palm trees? I'm not in Israel! Why are all the houses one level? Were any of them built before the seventies?" The atmosphere in Evanston was almost a visual relief.

2. Amelah's tour made me want to go to Northwestern...and almost made me forget that was impossible (given that I already have a B.A. or two...)

3. ...and then we went to Le Peep. Ain't nothing bad about breakfast at lunch.

4. Continuing in the vein of things that made me forget I'm a college graduate, I took Amy shopping for Hillel formal. Obviously, we were successful.

5. Over the summer, I had off-handedly mentioned to Amy that I was jealous of her shirt from Sweet Lou's Waffle Bar, the sadly defunct waffle restaurant owned by Louis Newman. Lo and behold, when I got to Evanston Jonah Newman had a shirt for me! It's absurdly large. I love it anyway.

6. Upon leaving Jonah's apartment, we saw this: that a common issue?

7. The Sefster finagled the guest hakafah out of Shira Chadasha. Even more so, out of Alick Isaacs. Way to be, kiddo.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

All Chagged Out

1. Anshei Shalom. I'm pretty sure I've never felt as immediately welcomed and comfortable as I have at this shul. Score two for Chi-town.

2. Women's Torah reading. No aliyot (and therefore not really my cup of tea), but exciting to see in that type of shul nonetheless.

3. ...Just like the multiple tallitot on women: i'm not jumping on the bandwagon, but nice to see.

4. Hot kiddush at shul: even the fleishphobe goes for free delicious lunch.

5. Absurdly awesome nap from post-shul to post-chag.

6. I know that watching TV should not be an exciting part of my day, but when you don't have a TV....Desperate Housewives and Brothers and Sisters really become something special.

7. It is SO much harder to be positive funny than it is to be snarky funny. The chag report really feels like a report, but on chol days? I think I'm up for the challenge.

Best. Chag. Ever.

1. Seeing Greta - I missed you, lady.

2. Meeting new people. For a second there, I thought I'd forgotten how (Peers, not students. Enormous distinction.).

3. Lunch with Mishpachat Sykes. So so fun.

4. Helping Mira Sykes with her Torah reading. Another thing I'd almost forgotten I loved.

5. Accidentally-on-purpose taking charge of Anshei Shalom hakafot with Sarit, including a rousing rendition of "Zu Emet." Kol isha? What kol isha?

6. Windy City Treats. Free post-hakafot ice cream for everyone? Best idea ever.

7. "You should come back every year. You're fun!" Wait, for real? I haven't been fun in months! Score one for Chicago.

Friday: Moccasins, Sweaters, and Laughing at the Rain

I never went to sleep on Friday night...waited up till my 3:30 am shuttle, got to Orlando at 5:20, got on the plane at 7:30, and was at Northwestern before 11 am.

1. Between the shuttle, the plane, and the other shuttle, I finally read all those NY Times I had gathered. Heavenly.

2. As I exited O'Hare, I did two things I thought I'd have to postpone until Thanksgiving: put on a coat and close-toed shoes.

3. My first stop was at Northwestern, to see Amy!

4. ...and some lovely fall leaves. Even in the grey rain, they were gorgeous.

5. Finally got a haircut. Shaggy Navah has been banished by Ming the magician. Thanks, Ming!

6. Bought a reallllllly comfy sweater at a secondhand store. I have since worn it 3 times.

7. Took the El to...Sarit!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Milk in the Cupboard

[See reason number 7 for an explanation as to why this post is late-ish and picture-less, as well as why the next one will be on Monday night]

1. I got a belated birthday card in the mail from Mindels. Thanks, Chips!

2. A bunch of the frat houses have giant wooden ribbons propped up outside for Breast Cancer Awareness (pictures to follow). I know they're just doing it for the girls. I think I'm comfortable with that.

3. Had a great tour with 2 prospys and their dad...I love students.

4. Lisa (one of my Arts chairs) took me to the Book Lover's Cafe - great restaurant inside a GREAT bookstore. I bought a bunch of books, and perused their Hebrew book section: a translation of The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene, a translation of The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, and a very old level 2 Hebrew Workbook with the sincerely original inscription, "In case of fire, throw this in first." Awesome.

5. I had an extra-thick caramel macchiato milkshake instead of dinner. Sometimes, you just have to.

6. I tried to put the milk away in the cupboard. Twice. Clearly, I need a vacation...

7. ...which is why I'm in Chicago! Found an incredible flight, staying with Sarit, seeing Amy and Greta, and generally enjoying the spontaneity. Here till Monday evening. Chag sameach and Shabbat shalom!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Chazuka, Baby

Let's be honest: there's no one reading this blog who doesn't know what a chazuka is. If I post today...that's it. It's over. Committed for good (or at least for my time in G-ville...). Yalla:

1. The tiniest Dunkin Donuts in the world.

There's a tiny strip of bars and restaurants that I pass on my way to work. Gainesville calls it "midtown." They're wrong, but I'll let that slide. When I moved to town, there was an empty spot at one edge of the strip - a long, thin segment of the building, no wider than a school hallway. A month ago, they started renovating, and turned it into a Dunkin Donuts. It looks like this:

There's no indoor seating, and in fact, no way to get inside at all (unless you're an employee): you place your order through a window, and they hand it to you. Like drive-thru, but walk-thru. I used to laugh at it, but now I'm just amazed by the owner's creativity.

2. Speaking of Dunkin Donuts...there were a bunch of DD coupons waiting for me in my mailbox yesterday afternoon, so this morning I enjoyed a FREE cup of coffee, no strings attached. Phone conversation that ensued on my way to pick up said coffee:

Eemah: But I thought you didn't even like Dunkin Donuts coffee.
Me: I'm tired and it's free. Count me in.


New York Times. On my bed. In Gainesville. If you don't find this thrilling, you must not be my family member or friend. I still don't know if my inferior "affliate" Gator1 ID card works in the the free newspaper machines, but I DID discover that the one by the library is broken, and permanently stuck open. Sweet.

4. I went to my first yoga ever class today. All alone. I was supposed to meet a student, but she couldn't make it at the last second. I really didn't want to like it...but I did. Actually, I loved it, and I can't wait to go back on Friday. And I didn't even feel like a New Age wackjob (except at the end, when we did the "Namaste" bit).

5. No credit card debt for this kid: I paid all my bills today. Destiny's Child should write a song about me.

6. Zahara (my Learning chair) took me to the Wednesday farmer's market. All-organic and local products, and I got to see downtown (I didn't really believe there was one...). Pictures? Why of course!

And here's my personal haul:

Great looking potatoes, eggplant, alfalfa sprouts, garbanzo sprouts (who knew?), and a free pickle from an Israeli farmer (He thought I wouldn't know how to say pickle in Hebrew. He was mistaken.). I'm going to drag Gainesville into winter kicking and screaming, whether they like it or not.

7. Before, when I used to see bananas going brown on the counter, my first thought would be, "Again? Sucks." Now that I taught myself how to bake my mom's banana bread, my first thought is, "Yum!"

...A new feature today: lots of people asked me "Did you write your list of happinesses yet?" at various points throughout the day. My response: "What are yours?" So...what ARE yours? give me seven, four, one, whatever you've got. Amy Krischer has graciously agreed to be the first. Ready? Go.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Numbers 8-14

Okay...much room for improvement on layout, etc. It's a work in progress. Tonight all I have time for is today's reasons, so that I can wake up in time for tomorrow's (they start at 7:30 sharp!).

1. I had a coffee date with a student today (though neither she nor I drank coffee). I know that should be a given in my job, but so far I'm holed up in the office far too much. And I discovered that the student - a gator-eating (literally...eww), perky voiced, blonde sorority girl...wants to be a rabbi? This is why I need time to hang out with students.

2. When people told me that everyone in Gainesville gets around on scooters, I pictured a tiny, silver, foot-powered gadget often seen on city streets. What people meant, however, was that everyone gets around on little girly motorcycles - the kind that Israeli takeout delivery men use (otherwise known as a toos-toos). Which is why every morning on my way to work I see this:

Makes me laugh every time (This is the campus-side view. Street-side is better, I'll try to take one tomorrow).

3. I got a text message from Israel (from Zehava - made my morning!).

4. I finally went to Walgreens, and bought all 3 things I needed (well, Eem temporarily bought 2 of them, until I get my insurance number and she gets reimbursed - thanks!).

5. I thought my flowers (see picture 1, post 1) would die today...instead, the 2 other lilies bloomed!

6. I FINALLY went climbing at the Gainesville Rock Gym (don't worry, I was working while I was there - I brought a student).

Tuesday is Ladies' Day - it was only $10 for the belay class, climbing pass, and gear rental. I now remember that I am a terrible climber, with an irrational fear of falling. It was awesome.

7. My dinner tonight was a sushirito. Not familiar with the term? It's a culinary delicacy - a.k.a. what invariably happens when I attend a roll-your-own sushi night (like tonight's Koach event), accidentally overstuff the seaweed, and have to hold it in both hands, munching like a burrito. Yum...

The Day with 14 Reasons

Monday was a particularly crappy day. Why? Who knows. Probably because I live in Gainesville, but my life is elsewhere.

I decided on Monday night that I was sick of crappy days. So I sat down to think of all the good/funny/unexpected things that had happened to me that day, and emailed them to my mother one by one. There were seven in all.

So that's the project: find seven reasons to be happy everyday, hopefully with photographic evidence. Post to blog. Repeat.

Today will be the one day with 14 reasons: yesterday's (which I sent only to my mother - Hi, Eemah! - by email), and today's. Ready?

Monday, October 5th, 2009's reasons to be happy:
1. I am eating dinner before 8 pm (I'm on my way back to Hillel...but still).

2. #2: I have flowers in my house that look like this, and I mix-and-matched them myself.

(The first picture is of the flowers I have right now. The second - prettiest - ones were from Rosh HaShanah, and the faraway ones were the first I bought myself).

Oh! #2.5: I have a comfy futon...which I sit on when I'm not holed up in my room. But I'm too antsy to wait for that picture to load :).

3. I get to watch videos of Amiad Binder. (Wow, that sounds creepy now that this is for public consumption. But he's just so cute!)

4. You (Eemah) sent me these.

[Note to self: these pictures are equal parts cute and annoying. I guess this blog thing is harder than it looks.]

5. I got this email today!
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Looking Glass Office <>
Date: Mon, Oct 5, 2009 at 5:20 PM

Subject: Looking Glass - Internet help is on the way!

We want you to know that we are aware of your struggles with the current internet service, and we truly apologize for any difficulties that have occurred. Take heart - within the next five weeks, and maybe even earlier, we will have completed installation of a fiber optic system that will increase your internet speed four-fold.

Please bear with us a few more weeks.
There's a big football game coming up this weekend - Gooooooooo Gators!

Nancy Babb and Shirley Edelstein
Property Managers
Looking Glass Apartments

6.I got this lovely piece of paper in the mail today!
(and clearly, by the spacing of these emails...faster internet has not yet kicked in).
(...okay, I got bored...I'll send you the inside of the invite later :) ).
(Creepy again...I mean, mazel tov!)

7. Lucky #7: I bought this! 49 days!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Continental Airlines, Inc. <>
Date: Mon, Oct 5, 2009 at 7:38 PM
Subject: eTicket Itinerary and Receipt for Confirmation BY35YH

Issue Date: October 05, 2009

Traveler eTicket Number Frequent Flyer Seats
KOGEN/NAVAHMS 0052189730474 CO-VG196222 Silver / ST Elite 15F/30F

Day, Date Flight Class Departure City and Time Arrival City and Time Aircraft Meal
Mon, 23NOV09 CO1593 N ORLANDO FL
(MCO) 7:55PM
(EWR) 10:37PM

(EWR) 3:30PM
(MCO) 6:22PM


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