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:

Friday, February 5, 2010

My Apartment is a Hotel Room

1. SO TRUE. Lost fans, why are you so ridiculous?

Final Season Of 'Lost' Promises To Make Fans More Annoying Than Ever

2. Confession: I kind of like the Black Eyed Peas. Regardless, this is still amazing.

3. My Thing of the Day is....this fish!

We had to color them in for a national Hillel thing. It's a long story.

4. Blast from the voicemail past:Sefster: ill miss you too! if you call me anytime just leave a message and ill call you back (sorry, navah isnt here right now, but leave a message, and shell call you back. thank you!)

6 minutes
12:56 AM me: hahah
12:57 AM it's "hi...sawwy, navah's not here righ now. but leave a messssage, and she'll caw you baaack. thank you!"
and i have it saved in my itunes
Sefster: i mean, i remember it exactly, i was just shortening it fow bwevity
12:58 AM he had a cold, poor kid
me: no, i think he was just 3
i'm listening to it right now
1:00 AM Sefster: he for sure had a cold...i remember that distinctly...but yeah, its so cute
1:01 AM me: surprise!
1:02 AM Sefster: ok, i gotta go give my computer to yossi...i love you a lot and ill talk to you soon...thanks for the surprise!

As soon as I can figure out how to upload it, you'll all be able to listen to the surprise too. I can't believe this child is 10 years old.

5. Went to Michaels for Thing-a-Day project supplies. I forgot that the people who frequent crafts stores are some of the best to people-watch. Oh, man.

6. Israeli movie night is back! I'm not sure that the students knew how to hand "Turn Left at the End of the World," but I enjoyed.

7. Last but CERTAINLY not least....the managers of my complex have added furniture to my apartment, the better to give tours in. I understand filling the empty bedroom, but the rest was a bit much. We had a knockdown, drag-out fight about a collection of ceramic knick knacks (obviously, I won). Thoughts?

What is a Raspberry?

1. I forgot to mention that February is Thing A Day Month (no, I did not make that up). I'm going to try to make new thing a day for the entire month of February. Yesterday's was the picture collage (I'm cheating a bit, I know).

2. Today's was some excellent vegetable soup:

3. Kudos to Seffi for sending me this hysterical article. How could I have been so callous as to stifle the political views of our nation's symbol? I feel terrible.

4. Big scary meeting with an important campus administrator went SO well.

5. Oh, Alex Trebek. So timelessly crazy:

6. I love Hip Hop Tuesdays.

7. Happy Groundhog Day, everyone!

Road Trip! ...In The Air

1. Against all possible odds, I made it into work on Monday.

2. My work computer is finally fixed.

3. Better still, we managed to save my Outlook calendar. I guess we are going to have programs this semester...

4. Yukon Gold potatoes were on sale last week at Mother Nature. I guess I never realized that the only place I ever ate them as a child was when I went to my grandparents for dinner. One bite and I had a crazy culinary flashback.

5. It appears I have developed a bunch of new followers, most of whom I don't know. Welcome! And if you have any questions, feel free to email me - things can get very Jewy around here.

6. My mom (FINALLY) bought a new car. So long, Mortimer the Malibu. Welcome to the family, Milton!

7. Everyone took the whole "exciting travel plans" thing a bit out of proportion. But the flight is booked - I'm going to Miami in 2 weeks to see my grandmother and all of her cousins. Hooray for weekend with the Cubans!

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

Yucky week of extreme sickness. Adventures begin...whenever my cold and the rain leave the 'ville.

1. Long day of Hillel programs + insane headache = bad news. Lucky for me, Advil was close at hand.

2. And Sudafed.

3. And Extra-Strength Tylenol.

4. The students ran a Tu B'Shvat seder (celebration of the Jewish New Year for the trees). It went way better than I expected.

5. Naptime.

6. Passport to Israel was not what I expected, but still very successful. Once in awhile, I know how to go with the flow.

7. My apartment is freezing. On the upside, I intend to break the record for lowest heating bill EVER.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Pajamas and Bananas (But No Stairs)

1. Good thing we didn't hold services on Saturday - it was pouring for hours.

2. As a result, I had quite the lazy morning.

3. ...until 5 families showed up with the complex manager for a tour. When I was still in my pajamas. With dishes in the sink. Oops! She forgot to tell me they've begun Saturday hours. The parents took it well, though, and complimented me on my gracious [impromptu] hospitality.

4. The afternoon was a banana bonanza - I hosted a bunch of students at my apartment for "Banana Bread and Bananagrams" (we played Apples to Apples too). It was fairly successful, and I think I might hold it again.

5. Oh, and Shlomo showed up. How fun are people who are up for any social situation?

6. Finally put something up on the walls:

I promise, it looks more impressive in context. And it took a LONG time.

7. I'm not ashamed to admit that I spent the evening watching the one show Tanni watches that I can stomach: Wizards of Waverly Place. Don't judge - it's really quite adorable.

Party on the Plaza

Friday started out stressful, but wound up being a wonderful day. I think I'm learning that the key to enjoying myself is to spend as much time as possible on campus.

1. My students had permits to sell challah on not one but two locations on campus for the first time...and they sold out!

2. Hung out on the Plaza with two great students, to celebrate one of them being accepted into the top-ranked graduate program in her field.

3. We got to watch some crazy kids play around on a slackwire. Don't know what a slackwire is? Neither did I. It looks a little something like this:

Cool, huh?

4. Went upstairs in the campus library for the first time. It's no Butler, but it was certainly impressive.

5. My favorite part? The supercool spacesaver shelves. They're lined up side by side, and you press a combination of buttons to slide over the desired number of stacks, until a space opens up between the ones you need to access. Perhaps this is standard for a university library - but it certainly didn't exist on Morningside Heights.

6. I was on my own at work for Shabbat. Usually, I hate being the sole staff person, but on Friday night it was really fun. Lots of new faces, lots of quality time working the room and getting to know some new students.

7. Shlomo. Oh, Shlomo.
While sitting in the Plaza, watching the slackwire escapades, my Tzedek (Social Justice) chair showed up and asked if any of them would like to buy the last challah. One called out, "Sure, I'll take a challah." My chair good-naturedly asked if he knew what challah which he responded by reciting HaMotzi (the blessing before consuming bread). We asked him his name, and he replied, "Shlomo!" (which turned out to be his Hebrew name). After some convincing (read: extolling the virtues of the in-house matzah ball soup), he agreed to stop by Hillel for dinner...and actually showed up. I love chance encounters.

Do They Win an Actual Gator?

Crazy long day of errands and meetings, culminating in the first of four regional Hillel Gator Prize dinners. Whew.

1. I thought I didn't have anything appropriate for the evening's event in my Gainesville closet (spoiler alert: I ended up wearing something I already owned), so I hopped on the bus and went to the Oaks Mall. I recognize that - for better or for worse - every town in America has a mall, but somehow I figured that Gainesville wouldn't. Being in that climate-controlled box of recycled air and commercialism was actually very reassuring.

2. I almost didn't make it to the mall, because the bus was running so late. This came in handy on the way back, however, and enabled me to make a bus I would otherwise have missed. Note to self: all RTS buses run at least 10 minutes late.

3. Started a new weekly event: Java With Navah! Lots of students, lots of coffee, lots of fun.

4. Took two students - one of whom has a newfound allergy to gluten - to Mother Earth, the natural foods store. Insane gluten-free shopping spree ensued.

5. The giveaway t-shirts for Purim are still on the DL, but trust me, they will blow your mind.

6. Inadvertently matched (like, exactly) with a student leader at the Gator Prize dinner. So sad it was funny.

7. So if we're a Jewish organization giving out something called the "Gator Prize," what will the plaques actually say? Ah yes, that's right - פרס התנינים (pras hataninim). I couldn't stifle my laughter when the executive director read that one aloud. Awesome.

Back in the Swing of Things

Sorry for the long break, life intervened for awhile. But I'm back, and I want to dial back to last Wednesday when - prior to having the busiest 5 days ever - I had a serious moment of realization about writing here, which has of late felt like a chore. I saw reason #1 (Jonathan Berliner in full civilian police training regalia), and suddenly awoke to the fact that when I began this blog, the point was not only to note seven random occurrences from my day, but to seek out new and positive experiences which would make my time here in Gainesville more interesting, more exciting, and ultimately more fun. Jon's been doing that way up in rural Washington, and I...well...haven't. And from now on I'm going to try. Please hold me to it. Let me know if I'm slipping.

...but first I must recount the past 5 days of minutiae.

1. Oh, JB. (For more information, see above.)

2. Went back to yoga, after a long hiatus. Good decision.

3. Saw this chalked on one of the columns outside the main library on campus:

Thanks for the reminder, anonymous graffiti artist.

4. Here's a question most residents of the 'ville probably can't answer:
But I can, and spotting these in the frozen foods aisle made my day. (No, I did not buy one. But I did deliberate for about 2.3 seconds.)

5. Great lunch with a student. The best student meetings are when neither one of us has any agenda, and I can simply get to know them a little bit better.

6. Last Wednesday was when this article about Sara Hurwitz came out. My conflicted feelings about religious feminism notwithstanding, my main thought is this: come on, Rabbi Weiss - if you want to call her Rabbi, just go for it. Rabbah is no more catchy than Maharat.

7. I bought something on Woot! I totally didn't have the patience to follow last week's wootoff, but luckily for me, Daniel did. I had offhandedly mentioned to him that I was in the market for an immersion blender (let's face it, I've offhandedly mentioned that to everyone I've met in the last 3 months)...and when this puppy came up on Woot, he remembered to let me know!

As you can see, it's actually a "combi mixer," and it has approximately 12 gajillion functions. I'll let you know if it actually works.


Related Posts with Thumbnails