taylweaver: (Default)
So dinner on Friday night at [livejournal.com profile] mbarr's was rather nice - and occasionally rather entertaining as well.

One moment in particular that stuck in my head was when the words "self-cleaning onion" came up in conversation between two people, and the words got passed, by repetition, further down the table. It seems someone meant to say "self-cleaning oven," but self-cleaning onion is a far more interesting concept. It seems that such an item, though consumable, could be used along with both dairy and meat, which is not normally possible with onions (because once you have touched the onion with, say, a dairy knife, it absorbs the essence of the dairy-ness and becomes dairy).

This, interestingly, led to a discussion of the genders of dishes. (Because onions, like dishes, take on gender.) It occurred to me that, with dishes, instead of asking "what is the status of this dish?" or "what is this dish used for?" when we want to know whether a dish is for dairy or for meat, we tend to ask, "what is the gender of this dish?"

Which, of course, led to a discussion of gendered dishes. And the realization that though there are only two normative genders when it comes to people (there are other genders that came up - including androgynous and hermaphrodite- but those are not normative), there are actually four normative genders when it comes to dishes: dairy, meat, parve (neutral), and not kosher. And then, if you add in Passover, you get at least five or six... (i.e. passover dairy and passover meat)

Anyway, it was quite the entertaining conversation - and oddly philosophical as well.

Isn't it fun to keep kosher? :)
taylweaver: (Default)
What does a peacock mate with?

I actually had to think for a moment about how to interpret the question before I could answer.

Yes, Friday night dinner - and Trivial Pursuit, obviously - at [livejournal.com profile] mysticengineer's was fun.

Oh, and happy 2007.
taylweaver: (Default)
Has it really been 20 days since I last posted? On the one hand, that seems unreasonably long. On the other, so much has happened over the past 20 or so days that I feel like it has to have been far longer.

And now for an update:

Days 1-2: Transit Strike, alas, continues. Slightly worn sneakers carry me half an hour by foot to the alternate site I got myself assigned to (so that I could actually call it a work day) and half an hour by foot back home. Day 1 also included a detour to Teachers College (I was sort of in the neighborhood) to order a document I need in order to get my salary up to where it should be. It also included a stop at the Bank Street bookstore on the way home. Did you know they sell packages of blank dice? With label stickers? They're great when you want your dice to only go up to 3 so that your students don't win the game too quickly.

On Day 2, (3rd day of the strike, as my last post was the first day), the strike officially ended some time during the day. It did not end on a more practical level until the following day, however, so my now considerably more worn out sneakers carried me home to pack a heavy suitcase, and then outside to catch a cab so I could catch the charter bus that I rode to where I spent the next seven days...

Days 3-9: USY Convention. For those who don't know, this is a gathering of over 1,000 Jewish teenagers (was it 1,150 this year?) from all across the US and Canada for a week of learning, praying, social action, socializing, and other general fun.

Day 3: Now worn-out sneakers and worn-out feet carry me all over the hotel as I help to get ready for the teen-agers, who will arrive on Day 5. This year, I got to make signs (as usual) with schedules, room info, etc. Then Shabbat began - but I will call all of that Day 4 (a la Jewish calendar time)

Day 4: Shabbat. A very special Shabbat that I look forward to every year. This is a day when my dress shoes get to carry my tired feet and body to amazing services (because the people on staff care) and some okay meals... but the special parts are the Friday night gathering in the director's suite (some of you know who the director is - but I will give no further detail in a public entry) at which home-made dessert foods play a starring role - my own bar cookies included. This year, I was too tired to enjoy all this - but I did enjoy a good night's sleep in the cozy hotel bed ([livejournal.com profile] mysticengineer would love these beds - all poofy and squashy and down-filled. Those with allergies to down would probably hate them.) The following morning, I got to enjoy waking up when it was already light out, reading from the Torah - and pretty well, too, I think - and hearing my father teach about the weekly Torah portion - specifically about Joseph. There are times when I really love hearing my father teach, and this was one of them. He is all about group discussion, and it was pretty interesting to think of Joseph in new ways. One take on him that I really appreciated: Joseph as the equivalent of the straight-A student who wants people to like him, and thinks that boasting about his good grades is the way to get there - because he has little concept of how to be liked by others. Or something like that. Another interesting idea that came up: Maybe he wasn't in touch with his father during his time in Egypt because he thought his dad was in on the conspiracy - having sent him out to check on his brothers in the field (which leads to the pit and the sale and Egypt) when his dad knew his brothers disliked him. Shabbat also included an extra long nap.

Saturday night, it was back to work, getting everything ready for...

Day 5: USY Convention begins. The usual excitement. Plus an unusual event: family Chanukah party in Philadelphia with a combination of local relatives and cousins who were visiting other local relatives. Cousins as in three little kids who were very cute and photogenic. Yay digital camera! So the first night of Chanukah was really special.

Day 6: Convention, second day. A highlight: the keynote speaker was a family friend. She is disabled, and spoke about her experiences in USY, her disability, and her life story in general. The USYers gave her a standing ovation, and I learned things about her life that I never knew before.

Day 7: Convention, third day. Since the educational theme was disabilities, this day of social action projects, which carried groups of USYers all over the Philly area, ended with all of us at Temple University, watching a wheelchair basketball game. Then some USYers who won raffles got to try out wheelchair basketball for themselves. I got to give out boxed dinners. And then I got to help man the lost and found, which had tons of stuff in it, because things fell beneath the bleachers and had to be collected afterward.

Day 8: Fourth day of Convention. Concluded with a dinner dance. Loud and chaotic for the USYers, quieter for the staff - we ate, then began packing up - more wear on my shoes...

Day 9: Convention ended. We watched a fun video, then said tefillat haderech (the traveller's prayer) together before heading our separate ways until next year. I got to go home via NYC, so I could get my computer. Then home with my family for a few days (as opposed to at the convention with them)...

Day 10: Got to sleep in late. Put in an effort to find time for the purchase of new sneakers - except that my sister's coat made its way into that same lost and found (not via the bleachers, but because she was helping to sort the stuff back at the hotel and forgot to take her coat at the end of that) and so her coat was in a box, being shipped back to the USY office, so her issue took priority - but in the end, we got to neither.

Day 11: Quiet Shabbat with my family. After such an exhausting week, not nearly enough time to nap. Also gave my sneakers another good workout with a 30-minute walk to shul, and the same walk back. Wore my new Shabbat coat for the first time - and got snow on it! Managed to nap through an an exciting snowstorm in the afternoon. Also managed to get a ride back into the city that evening - New Years party at NU's - only she was sick, so we only saw her roommate. Fireworks from the roof of [livejournal.com profile] mbarr and [livejournal.com profile] wildblueyonder2's building - they looked small and less impressive than last year - I guess I wasn't in the same mood. Oh well.

Day 12: recovering from Day 11 - no, didn't have anything too toxic... - and also a little Chanukah get-together at [livejournal.com profile] mbarr and [livejournal.com profile] wildblueyonder2's apartment. They let me fry beignets in their kitchen. Much fun. Much tasty sugary goodness.

Day 13: last day to recuperate before returning to work. I think that was also the day I realized that wearing the sneakers was hopeless, as they had worn too far and were now rubbing my toe. Didn't do anything too interesting that I can recall.

Day 14-17: Back to work. Wearing shoes other than my sneakers. A different pair each day, as each set was rubbing in a different place. Also saw two doctors - turns out I have enflamed eyelashes - or eyelids, anyway. And $35 later (plus the appointment cost), I have a prescription cream to put on my eyelids. And was it on Day 16 that I went to Barnes and Noble and had fun buying calendars half price? A crochet calendar (as in, a whole box of crochet patterns that just happen to have dates on them) for myself, a magnetic poetry calendar, and two weather calendars for my students, since I may be teaching Earth Science next quarter. And on Day 14, I ordered new sneakers online.

Day 17 also included a trip down to JH's synagogue, and the usual hour walk back up - which my feet somehow survived.

Day 18 saw me reunited with [livejournal.com profile] rymenhild, who was here too briefly, but who also got me back in touch with [livejournal.com profile] terriqat and [livejournal.com profile] shirei_shibolim, and I followed them back to their apartment after lunch for more hang-out time. That evening, [livejournal.com profile] rymenhild was off again, and I got to see the second Star Wars movie (as in, the second one made, NOT Episode II) with friends.

I also began to crochet a mobius strip shawl. As [livejournal.com profile] mysticengineer pointed out, this is not only a fun project for me, but a way for me to understand the mobius strip a bit better.

Day 19 was mostly spent cleaning up from Day 18. And I think I did some other random stuff too...

Day 20's big highlight was hearing Neil Gaiman speak at the 92nd Street Y. He spent a lot of time speaking about the writing process, which I found useful. And he is also rather entertaining. Plus, I got three books signed (two of which I have actually read before...) I bought all three at Barnes and Noble beforehand - and the best part was, one of them, Anansi Boys, was 50% off - just begging me to buy it! So that was a really great evening.

Which brings us to today. I wonder if my new sneakers have arrived yet...
taylweaver: (Default)
On Wednesday evening, I realized I had no Shabbat plans. Then I realized that it seemed like everyone I know was going away for the weekend - my parents included. As it turns out, there were a few people around this Shabbat, but I still owe a big thank-you to [livejournal.com profile] mysticengineer for getting me invited to her family for the weekend.

It was so wonderful to see siblings being siblings in the most positive of ways, and to see a not-quite-two-year-old show off how smart she is. In addition to chasing her Dodah (aunt) all around the house, she demonstrated her partial knowledge of the A-B-C song by pointing to the letter "N" on my shoe, and declaring, "A-b-c!" and by repeating the letters the adults were reciting for her - or reciting the following letter. Of course, it quickly became obvious what her favorite letter is: "Double-yoooo!"

It was also great to have a break from the city, hear the birds in the morning, sleep late, spend two days in a house with two stories and multiple rooms, and not wake up to the not-yet-cleaned mess in my own room. I got a mini vacation from all of my stresses - which must, alas, now be faced over the next few days. I also got to go shopping in an actual mall - and even bought a couple of things!

And I got to see [livejournal.com profile] mysticengineer's father being silly. This, I am told, is not a side of him that people outside of the family often get to see. Of course, it helped that his granddaughter (see the reference to the not-quite-two-year-old above) brings out his silliness in a special way. It's amazing how a little kid can bring out the child in so many grown-up people.

Alas, I had to leave them all behind to return to reality this evening, though thankfully much refreshed. And it didn't hurt that, on the way home, about two minutes before the train went underground, I saw a small piece of rainbow. It was a very short band, short and wide, with all the colors kind of smeared in a patch against the sky. I said the brachah... even though I didn't know it by heart. Instead, I relied on [livejournal.com profile] mysticengineer's memory - aren't cell phones wonderful? (Sorry for interrupting your dinner, though...)
taylweaver: (Default)
This is really two entries in one, because I didn't have time to write on Friday, so here goes:

On Friday, I went down to Rutgers for my sister's graduation from Cook. It was in the RAC - the Rutgers Athletic Center, for those of you who are not Rutgers alums (and for most of you who are alums, congratulations on your recent graduations!) - it's where the basketball teams play. Normally, her graduation would have been outside, but it was raining.

Anyway, it was long. And the guy who spoke mentioned 9/11 - as did the president of Columbia at my graduation on Wednesday, and sort of drew the same message from it - that we should be less extreme in our views and value diversity - there must be some sort of cheat sheet for graduation speakers. And he spoke too long, and they gave out sooooo many awards... That having been said, at least we could see, and the calling of names took under an hour, which was wonderful! (L - how long was it at Rutgers College? Three hours? Just for the names?)

Oh, and did I mention that Cook College, unlike the rest of Rutgers, graduates in green? They still wear the Rutgers hood with their green gowns - it's red and black, and for most of them, it had a yellow collar - bachelor of science degree, for the few of you that might not know. Anyway, it looked really good.

And they each got a tree. I think it was a red oak. The state tree of NJ. What will my sister do with it? Plant it in Riverside Park? What did I get for graduating? A diploma and maybe a pin. What did my sister get? A pin, a keychain, and, oh yeah. A tree. Did I mention the tree?

Then we went back to College Avenue (the "main" campus, for those who don't know - and the one where I lived for four years, first in dorms, then a block off campus in a house) and I got all nostalgic. I got to see my sister's room, now that she is about to move out - and I realized I haven't been down to Rutgers all year! I haven't even seen how 17 Stone st. (where I lived those last two years) has changed in the past year - AN's "new" room (yes, yet another friend whose name begin's with A, and who must be referred to by two initials - there are only four of them on my LJ friends list...), a neater livingroom, perhaps, etc, etc. So that was kind of strange, realizing I had really left it behind this year. And now everyone else is leaving it behind too - or at least has graduated. So it was interesting to feel how much in the past Rutgers is, and to maybe regret that this year was so busy that I didn't get back to visit - sorry about that. I haven't even seen D and R's apartment!

So that was a nostalgic experience.

Then I had another "nostalgic" experience - I took NJ Transit back to the city. Well, maybe not so nostalgic. A bit sticky, though, thanks to the spilled coffee beneath my seat.

And then it was Shabbat.

Well, there were a few hours in between.

Friday night at AB's - a laid-back meal with about seven of us. It was really wonderful to hang out like that, to go to meals with a nice number of people, and to fall asleep on her bed - well, not quite fall asleep - while still in her livingroom, of course. At some point, I got yet another headache, and R named it Joe. (yeah, yeah. I know. After the title of the blog, that was sort of anticlimatic.)

And lunch involved the usual stair-climbing work-out, well-worth it as always. It is rather impressive how a six-person meal became twelve instead - well, first it became an eight person meal - before Shabbat. Then M invited four more people from shul - which made the meal even more fun. Of course, meals with LB always are, but this one was especially interesting - we talked about everything from pot to depression to how many doctors are on an El Al plane. It was a lot of fun.

Then I got another headache - does this one have a name, R? - and went to take a nap.

Woke up to an imminent rainstorm, and decided that if I left right away, I could make it to AB's apartment without getting soaked. Alas, I did not leave right away, and those ten minutes it took me to get out of the apartment made all the difference. Good thing AB had a skirt to lend me...

And, just before Shabbat - after candle lighting in fact, Y came home with, of all things, a Betta fish. Its name, it seems, is Buster. [AB, thanks fort correcting that.] And it likes to jump out of the net/scoop thingie when its water is being changed. It made for a rather hectic start to Shabbat. But if a fish will make her happy....

so that's the latest.
taylweaver: (Default)
This afternoon, I got a headache. I took advil - no help. So I took a nap. Woke up an hour later. Felt better. Then I got out of bed. And there was the headache. So what did I do? I went and took another nap. This time, it worked.

After the second nap, it was down to Old Navy - last day for me to get 20% off with my card. I had a fun subway ride down to 34th st. I was on the local train with a bunch of Tsofim - Israeli scouts. Some were wearing their shirts - that's how I know. Plus, it was this big bunch of people talking in Hebrew - but not in an annoying way. In a hanging out sort of way. And there was English too. But I understood the Hebrew. And Y will be pleased - or perhaps jealous - to note that they were singing Hadag Nachash as well - the sticker song. I was so tempted to say something, but I didn't.

And while I am posting, I just want to share that I had a wonderful weekend visiting N in Long Beach with AF and M. I rode the LIRR for the second time in my life - and it was much less eventful than last time - when I went to visit AB's family, and the train schedule got all messed up and we ended up on the wrong train. I also rode the LIRR for the third time - because we took it back to the city also on Saturday night.

The weekend included such interesting moments as ten straight minutes of uncontrollable laughter on my part - I really have no idea how that happened. It hurt. But it was also rather funny - which, of course, just made me laugh harder - AB, would that be metalaughter? But that just shows how good a time we had. And there were three walks on the boardwalk, which was almost on the way to shul (a block out of our way) and gorgeous weather. And we ate lunch on the terrace. And we heard a report on the radio about how a terrorist's computer had been found, and all the data was easy to access on it because he didn't encrypt it or whatever, and so the newscaster urged everyone listening to remember to protect the data on their computers. Then she said something like, "but if you're a terrorist, remember that this advice is coming from a woman who is also an infidel." Or something like that (those of you who were there can feel free to correct me.)

There were also numerous other interesting and entertaining moments, including a failed culinary experiment - avocado soup. We experimented further while sitting at the table, and found ways to make it... edible, but then we all gave up and poured it down the sink. On the flipside, dessert was a smashing success and a wonderful team effort, involving AF's brownies - heated up, my fruit salad - which took a forever to make, N's parve ice cream, and M's dessert wine. So that was wonderful.

In general, it was a fun weekend, and I'd say more, but I need to go to sleep now...

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