Sunday, November 7, 2010

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like...

...Secular winter wonderland. And I love it. So:

1. Ubiquitous Christmas decorations. The moment it gets cold, I'm ready for twinkling lights and boughs of holly. The Upper West Side has not let me down.

2. The color of the nighttime sky when it snows (like tonight!). One of my favorite precipitation-related phenomena...second only to the smell before a summer rain.

3. I have a big kids' job. Details to follow.

4. The butterflies that come from a new beginning (I officially start at the office tomorrow). I'm feel like I'm going to throw up...but in a good way.

5. Cap-Sac: the fannypack for your head. (It only sounds inappropriate...)

6. Comic Sans? Really, 243 W. 98 St.? You slay me, every time I walk by.

(This picture does not do justice to the hilarity. Way to let me down, googlemaps.)

7. Going to bed before midnight. Which I'm about to do right now.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Oh Look, It's Fall








Hike to see the foliage? Not a bad way to spend a Sunday, I'd say.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Country Grammar

Spent a beautiful weekend in St. Louis - visiting Greta, seeing a little slice of her life, and hanging out with camp people at Wash U (Go Bears).

1. On Friday, we went to Beer School at Anheuser-Busch.'

That diploma was exceedingly easy to earn - all I learned was that Bud Light Lime and Wild Blue should never have been invented. Also, I still like Shock Top.

2. Lovely Shabbat dinner with Jessica Oynick, Jen Spielman, and Sarah Rubin. I still can't believe you're all grown up.

3. Sunday brunch and campus tour (how come no one ever told me Wash U looks like Epcot?) with Jess.

How gorgeous is this garden?

4. Greta told me about these last year. They continue to be awesome.

Good work on the environmental guilt trip, Wash U (The leftmost bin reads,"Landfill." The other two say "Recycling.")

5. Forest Park - giving Central Park a run for its community-building money since 1876.

6. Big Sam Deerson. One of my favorite members of the family.

7. Thanks for hosting me, GBD. I had a wonderful time.

...And Seven Reasons Why 5771 Will Be Even Better

As much as I loved my time in G-ville, I'm really looking forward to remembering what day-to-day life is like in the big city. Seven reasons why:

1. Living within walking distance of some of my closest friends. Because skype and gchat just aren't the same as hanging out in the same room.

2. Living near my family, for similar reasons. Bonus: Seffi at Columbia. I love being your neighbor, kid.

3. Weekend city adventures (the High Line and Sukkah City, so far)

4. Also, weekends in general. I forgot about those when I was a professional Jew.

5. Interviewing. While I would like to be gainfully employed (soon, please!), I'm actually enjoying being a full time office-visiter and shmoozer.

6. Having four seasons. Hello, fall. How are you?

7. It's New York, people. A wealth of cultural experiences like none other, in a city that actually doesn't sleep. Though the Starbucks in Library West was open later than the one on 93rd St...I guess Gainesville was more metropolitan than I realized. :)

Seven Reasons Why 5770 Was a Great Year

Yes, I disappeared for awhile. A long while. It was a combination of factors - I had gotten to be so entrenched in my unhappiness in Gainesville that the very act of finding seven positives each day seemed nearly impossible. More importantly, I think, I just got overwhelmed by the pressure of having to post every. single. day.

But I've been missing the blog. Missing the positive focus it enabled me to maintain. Missing the interactions it facilitated with friends - and even with some strangers.

So I'm back. I won't be here daily, but I'm going to try to be here a lot. And to start, let's have a bit of a (Jewish) year in review...

Seven Reasons Why 5770 Was a Great Year:

1. The climate in Gainesville. I mean, flowers grow there in February. That's a remarkable thing.

2. Wednesday Farmers' Market, I miss you.

3. Staffing Birthright - an experience I'll never forget (and hopefully, they won't either).

4. Gator Pride. Insane, but so fun to watch in action.

5. Alternative Spring Break - beautiful city, committed students, memorable week.

6. So many smachot...

(This video of my cousin Abby's husband Isaac serenading her will probably make your day.)

Mazel tov everyone!

7. My amazing students at UF. I learned more from you all than you could possibly imagine. I hope I taught you a little something as well. Miss you!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 Several Weeks Ago

What up, kids? We begin the recap of recent events with the Saturday before Spring Break, both because it was a lovely day, and because I anticipate that this Saturday will be quite similar - lazy, gorgeous day, followed by super-anxious packing all night, with intermittent hysterical internet breaks.

1. I forgot to turn my phone off before Shabbat. This was a good thing, primarily because the buzzing woke me up when the management called - leaving me with exactly 37 seconds from the time of the missed to jump into clothes, before they showed up to tour the apartment.

2. And then I spent the bulk of the day reading in bed.

3. It was completely gorgeous outside...and incredibly quiet, since everyone was already gone.

4. "As a proud member of the NBC familia, we continue to broadcast this...nonsense."

5. Ok Go does it again (and, I think, significantly better) - behold a music video that is engaging without being distracting (for those unfamiliar with the original "treadmill video," click here):

6. Finally made it to Satchel's, a Gainesville institution. YUM.

7. Surprisingly humorous:

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I Just Might be the Shabbos Ema

1. Today was an abnormally short work day. Or rather, an abnormally short at-work day - being at home to cook for students and do laundry for ASB counts as work, right? Right?

2. I got to host a Shabbat meal for the first time in ages! (Hillel work usually precludes me from doing so, but Spring Break = no Hillel).

3. Not only did I get to cook up a storm - the whole thing was dairy and primarily gluten-free. Can you tell I'm proud?

4. Before dinner, we went to a gymnastics tri-meet (against UNC - go Heels!, even when times are tough in other athletic areas - and Ball State)! It was about as awesome as you'd expect.
Number 4 Florida won, but UNC held their own. Ball State...well, they have room for improvement.

As a bonus, I discovered that many other people watch Make It or Break It. I no longer feel I have to hide my love for its entertaining mix of melodrama and feats of strength.

5. Dinner was lovely. Apparently, my students find me so entertaining, they've created a sitcom about me, complete with theme song. I don't know whether to be flattered or worried.

6. One of the guests went on USY on Wheels with Seffi...and recounted a lovely little story about how he told her that her chose of name-spelling (for her own name) was unacceptable. Oh Sefster...thank goodness you've grown up. Mostly.

7. The students stuck around until 2 a.m. It was so refreshing to have a "civilian" Shabbat...if only I could have them more often.

Today was a sentence!

...March Fourth. Get it? Wa wa waaaaa.

1. See above.

2. I woke up to...a wild Seffi chase. It's like a wild goose chase, but sillier and more complicated. Basically, it's what happens when your brother forgets to bring his charger places, allows his phone to die while in another country and talking to your mother, and said mother then makes you call lots of your brother's friends that you're not really in touch with, in order to ascertain whether or not he is still alive. Nice talking to you, Raffi, Haley, and LeeAnn!

3. I don't always love Nicholas Kristof. But he certainly does get that if you educate and empower women, your whole country will be smarter, safer, and stronger. Now why can't world leaders grasp that?

4. Urban Meyer was at Hillel today! And is surprisingly tall. And I didn't get a picture because...

5. Java with Navah was back with a vengeance. The highlight was my discovery of the existence of the Slap Chop (TM), and soon afterward, my introduction to the Slap Chop Remix:

Bonus: Vince Offer was born in Israel. His real name is Offer Shlomi. Now the whole huckster act is beginning to make sense...

6. Way to go, Purim PR team: Today when I walked by Turlington, I found Purim fliers in all of the newspaper machines.

Which kind of makes me wonder...are all those publications now defunct?

6. Watch this Tiny Desk concert. I promise, it will make your day better.

Thanks to Avigail for sharing the link!

Gotta Get, Get

Zero comments on the big comeback post? I've got to work on that.

1. Somewhere near Gainesville, there was a Model T convention. I know this because on my way home from work, there was an absurd traffic jam of Model Ts cramming University Avenue. Surreal, but awesome.

2. Had an unexpectedly intense and uplifting conversation with a student who's been struggling with depression. It feels good to know that once in awhile I can make a difference.

3. I remembered to pay my rent. Not that I've ever forgotten, but this time I cut it pretty close.

4. I have now eaten asparagus 4 days in a row. In-season vegetables make my heart sing (and potentially, my pee smell. But I live alone, so who cares?).


6. Finally received and signed the long awaited bus contract - I guess we're going to New Orleans after all.

7. Tucker Haas is awesome - and thank goodness, healthy (read the description of the video here):

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

She's Baaaack

Fine, I went AWOL for awhile. I couldn't help it - life's been nuts. And simultaneously boring. Which I think isn't all that uncommon, so I'm back to embrace it (though I leave to run an Alternative Spring Break trip Sunday morning, so I get sporadic again for a bit there). Also Seffi called the blog "defunct," which was a swift kick in the pants.

Rather than bore you with the details of my time away, I'm going Letterman, and providing you with a Top 20 list - 1 tidbit for every day of my absence (I have been keeping a full transcript of my days, and would be happy to send it to anyone who's interested - along with a helpful collection of more reliable procrastination options.).

Ready for the longest blog post in the history of online diarists? In no particular order...

1. It's party pop. It's ASL. It's unabashed enthusiasm for something slightly nerdy. What could be bad?

2. Spent many hours looking for pictures of my students at the Kotel (for some development materials). Turns out, they did have a meaningful experience. Point for Navah.

3. Tanni (my 10-year-old brother) has a gmail account. It's a long story...he felt left out. Recently he was actually online for a bit, and his status was, "I'm doing fine." If only the rest of us took it so literally...

4. Julie, my roommate from Nativ (gap-year Israel program) is an extraordinarily talented photographer. Recently, she was privileged to captured her friends' engagement. It was difficult to choose, but I think these two are my favorites:

Isn't she awesome?

5. For a very brief period a few weeks ago, the lights in the breezeway (outdoor hallway - who knew?) were out. Normally, they stream directly through the window above my bed. The nights when it was dark were glorious.

6. Of course Stephen Colbert was reading Cat Fancy at the Olympics. This does not surprise me in the slightest.

7. There's another Navah in Gainesville! Well, it's Nava, not Navah. And she's in her 60s. Still, it was an exciting discovery. How did I come across said Nava[h]? When I saw this:
Apparently, she owns a vintage clothing and costume store...and sells some of her own creations on the side.

8. Sometimes, crime does pay - this act of vandalism around the corner from my apartment is hysterical. And no, in the 2 weeks since I took this picture, the "ENT" has not been replaced.

9. Some very belated Valentine's love and pride for Jake Goodman (former drama educator extraordinaire at Ramah Darom), who was arrested on the Friday before Valentine's Day during a protest for gay marriage. Couldn't be prouder to know you, Jake.

10. In other cute love-related news, this was in the parking lot of the Baptist Stud Center the other day:

11. Skyping with Seffi and the Tanster. Even when I'm not with them, it's good to see some of us together.

12. Seffi and I have a not-so-secret obsession with all competitive food shows - Iron Chef, Chopped, and of course, Throwdown. So I was more than willing to live the dream, by judging the annual Koach vs. Kesher Hamentaschen Bake-off. As you can see, it was awesome:
P.S. Koach won.

13. Choice Zoe quote from my blog hiatus [picture a 3-year-old, cookie in hand] :
"Ema said I could have one cookie [raises body slightly off couch]...don't tell Ema I'm sitting on another cookie!

[I told Ema.]

14. I have no idea what this store sells...but I might buy it, on the basis of awesomely unique aesthetic alone.

15. Phenomenally restorative long weekend with Grandma and the Cuban cousins in Miami:

16. One of the best parts was actually dusting off my rusty high school Spanish - I even managed to translate 90% of the sermon at Temple Menorah for my grandmother (she's fluent, she just couldn't hear it). That, and eating biscochos. And people-watching on Lincoln Road. And visiting with some cousins I last saw in 1991. And the weather. I love Miami.

17. John Legend came to UF!

...and is apparently not only a talented singer, but a remarkably articulate advocate for public education reform. Oh, and he gave Jeffrey Sachs a sustainability shoutout. Triple threat.

18. PURIM! A recap:
a. Awesome flier - which for some reason won't upload.
b. Awesome costumes -

[10 points to anyone who can guess what I was dressed up as]
c. We hit capacity at the club we rented out - 526 people!
d. And...

19. Someone called in a noise violation at 1:30 am (since when do downtown clubs have residential neighbors?), and the owners had to clear the club. So instead of still cleaning up at 3:30, I was in pajamas at 2. Lovely.

20. Purim morning = more megillah and kids in adorable costumes. Meet the princess and the elephant:

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Second-Favorite Daughter

1. Cold morning. I LOVE cold mornings - almost makes me feel like I live in a place that believes in winter.

2. Didn't run in the morning because of the instead I left work, ran smack in the middle of the day, and stayed at the office late to compensate. I love my job.

3. Lovely catch-up talk with Alyssa.

4. And another with Aviva. My friends lead such interesting lives!

5. Funny how I'm the only girl in the family, but still not my mother's favorite daughter. To wit:

5 minutes
4:48 PM Sarit: wow
dear linda, i love you. love, sarita
4:49 PM me: hahaha
i'll pass along the message
Sarit: ok

6 minutes
4:56 PM me: lindaripps: tell her I love her back
y'all should just be gchat friends
and get it over with
Sarit: does she love me because i can make kippot?
me: haha...i hate you
Sarit: i know :)

5 minutes
5:01 PM me: lindaripps: no - I love her because she is Sarit!

6. The above conversation was in reference to the fact that I discovered I have a distant cousin named Herbert Haselden Hickmott the 3rd. There's also a 4th and a 5th.

7. Karma cream. Delicious ice cream place and vegan bakery. Until now I have managed to avoid their delicious-looking baked goods. Tonight I caved and bought this:

Yes, it was that good.

Perhaps a String Around My Finger?

1. Slept in.

2. A student started a new initiative at Hillel - art from recycled objects. I like creativity, in all forms.

3. I walked to Walgreens. It's more of a production than you'd think.

4. On the way back, I stopped at a sporting goods store to buy a fleece headband - you know, the kind that would be excellent to cover your ears with while running? At first, the guy behind the register looked at me quizzically. Then he asked me to repeat my request. Then he was fascinated by the concept, but had never heard of such a product. Oh, silly Florida.

5. Thing of the Day: I invented a new recipe for carrot spice muffins.
...I'm going to keep trying.

6. I also invented a new roasted eggplant dish. That was much more successful.

7. For #7, I have in my notes only the word "picture." As Sunday was 5 days ago, I have no idea what this means. However, I think my continual persistence in leaving myself shorthand notes which I will never understand and therefore can only laugh at, is certainly a reason why life is good.

What's With Today, Today?

1. We had a minyan at 10:30 (we also start services at 10:30 - we're very laid back). I don't think that's ever happened before.

2. Crazy scholar gave a lovely little speech about life and growth and trees. Obviously recycled from his gig the week before, but nice nonetheless.

3. And then we celebrated Ice Cream for Breakfast Day! We chose to interpret it as Ice Cream for Kiddush. Also, my Thing of the Day was the delicious ice cream sundae I concocted. Yum.

4. I literally napped all havdalah. Ahhhh.

5. ...and then busted a move to the crazy scholar's kumsitz, where he made a belated havdalah with the candle I lent him...which he left burning for 25 minutes as he spoke, sang, and generally "yaninai"-ed.

This can be viewed as positive primarily for the moment of hilarity that ensued when he suddenly realized the candle was a stub (at this point my head was firmly buried in my hands), couldn't finish the brachot in time, and momentarily set the table on fire. Awesome.

6. In other news, my students have incredible hidden talents as musicians. Well, I guess now they're no longer hidden. Whatever.

7. Post-kumsitz, I saw Empire Records with a bunch of students. Yet another film on my list of "Top 5 High School Movies of the '90s." Actually, this one may well be #1.

The [Medium-Sized] Comfy Couch

1. My immersion blender came! I'll keep you posted as culinary adventures commence.

2. Worked from home. Love it.

3. Sometime mid-afternoon, I decided to get off my butt and run some errands. Cue the torrential downpour. I guess it was a sign. And who am I to fight heavenly orders against productivity?

4. Anonymous Carlebachian crazy scholar is visiting Hillel for Shabbat. Davening was...interesting.

5. A group of freshman had a totally spontaneous youth group Shabbat song battle after dinner. I was asked to give a cameo for the USYers. I'm getting old.

6. I think the conversion students are settling on Elisheva Shoshana and Rena Maayan (though of course, they reserve the right to change their minds). I'm pretty proud of my naming skillz.

7. Fake couch is growing on me. Turns out, it's really comfy.

Walking Late

Thursday: (LAST Thursday. Punctual, I'm not.)

1. Java with Navah. Great success x2. Almost too many students showed up.

2. One of my students is tutoring an exchange student from Yemen. She sent him a text message reading, "Sorry, I'm running late. Be there soon!" His response? "It's okay, you can walk."

...whoever thought of "running late" as an idiom?

3. Forgot to post pictures of the fake furniture in the second bedroom:

4. Two students in the conversion class asked me to help them pick out Hebrew names!
Okay, well I found it exciting. I guess that's why I'm a Jewish educator.

5. ...and then they asked me to come to the mikvah with them when they convert!
Come on, throw me a bone. That one's really a compliment.

6. My Thing of the Day was...the challah I baked with my students at Challah for Hunger. This is quickly becoming "Edible Thing-of-the-Day" Month.

7. To be fair, I saw this awhile ago. But it came up in conversation at C4H, and even dated, it's funny:


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