Thursday, April 28, 2016

Please Stop Being Stuck In The Past!

The Thursday Blog Topic: Life's frustrations.  Let's talk about them.

On a serious note....
  • The next statement may be difficult for those that have known me for a decent period of time....  I am hesitant to write about my frustrations because I try not to complain.  I live a good life filled with many blessings.  I'm not the most affluent person in the world (in many areas life), but I know I have much more then most.  Though this is the case, the fact remains that I have frustrations.  One of my bigger frustrations is that people who have known me for several years don't see me for who I am now.  There is a tendency for people to still see the person I was in the past.  If they can see how I've grown, there is a good group whom I'm sure is just waiting for me to go back to my "old ways."  This frustrates me.... greatly. As a result of this inability to see me for who I am now, to see growth in me, means these same people lack respect for me by treating me as if I'm someone I no longer am.
  • People who get up in my business when it clearly isn't any of their business. This is a very big thing for me right now.
  • When people don't appreciate the opportunities and privileges they've been afforded.  I heard a story of someone whose parents gave them money for a down payment on a home about two years ago.  To date, the parents haven't received a thank you from their child.  There is a lot of commentary I could write on this, but I will leave my comments to a simple... WTF?!?!  How rude and unappreciative!
I have one more serious frustration I want to discuss, but I have to hold off until next week to express it.

On a lighter note....

  • I'm frustrated that I'm having a harder time keeping Passover this year.  Seriously, I've thought about deep dish pizza more than I should.  
  • I'm frustrated by my neighbors.
  • I'm frustrated that the city of Chicago is tearing up the streets in my neighborhood which makes it difficult to get around.
  • I'm frustrated that it's  the end of April and I still feel the need to wear my winter coat.... Seriously, why is this the case?
  • I'm frustrated that the paper in my office seems to reproduce at a faster rate than I can get rid of it.  This causes clutter, disorder and stuffed draws.

Now that I've shared some of my frustrations, please take a moment to read what frustrates my fellow bloggers:

Momarock (Sara)

Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Darwin Shrugged (Denise)

Monday, March 28, 2016

The House Shrunk

A few weeks back, I gave the Thursday Blog Project the topic of: My childhood home.

This topic was inspired by a trip to one of my old neighborhoods.  It was to where my family lived in West Rogers Park area of Chicago.  For many years I talked about living in this neighborhood, but I never quite knew where exactly in the area I lived.  I mean, I had a street name, but no exact address or cross streets.

A few months back, I did an internet search on my dad.  I was interested to see how much information was on the web about him considering he's been gone over 26 years.  Among the information I found on him was a listing for a home we lived in when I was in pre-school.  Even though I am often in the area this particular address is located, I have never actually driven past it... that is until a few weeks ago.  I was with a friend and mentioned about this house, how it was in the area and how I often think about driving to the address, but never do so.  They suggested as long as we were in the area we should take a spin by it.  It was night time so I didn't see much of it, but I did go back a few days later.

Wow, it shrunk.  Or, at least I think it shrunk.  It was SOOO much smaller than I remember.  Actually, the block we lived on was also smaller than I remember.  (Figures, I was a lot shorter and smaller back then.)   This isn't the first time I had this "I swear it was bigger than this" feeling.  Cozy Corner in Oak Park is the perfect example.  As I've written before, Cozy Corner is a diner my mom's parents use to take me to when I would spend the weekend with them.  When I went back there for the first time since I was a kid, about 10 years ago, I was astounded by how small it actually was versus how big it was in my memory.

This past weekend I drove past a condo building my family lived in when I was child.  It was an amazing space and I have very fond memories from our time there.  I drive past it frequently, but this time I noticed it is for sale.  I texted my mom to let her know this was the case.  Her response, "Are you going to buy it?"  Ha!  That wasn't the reason I texted my mom, but it would be sorta cool to live there again... which I have no plans to do so.  Oh, the many stories I have from that place.  One of them being my favorite the day I learned the song, "Hinei Ma Tov" at the Jewish day school I attend.  Or, how I use to roller skate across the dining room which had a wood floor.  Did I mention the roller skates I was wearing had steel wheels?  There was also the time I called my mom from my brother's room on our second line to ask for a cup of apple juice.  I think by now you get the picture this home was filled with good memories.

Now that I've shared some of my thoughts on "My childhood home," please see what my fellow bloggers wrote on the topic:

Momarock (Sara)

Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Darwin Shrugged (Denise)

Sunday, March 27, 2016


I'm not one to buy many clothing items that are red.  Maybe I've obtained a red t-shirt here or there, or an item that has red accents.

For last week's Thursday Blog Project, Sara asked us to write about :  Should anyone have the right to dictate what we wear in public?

Confession:  I chuckled when I saw this topic because I had just been discussing something related to this topic with my best friend.  I was discussing with her how I didn't understand why red was a color observant Jews couldn't wear - or at least super observant Jews don't wear the color.  The conversation was sparked from a post I had seen online about a red skirt someone wishes they could find in a darker color because tznius (modesty) guidelines doesn't condone the wearing of the color red (and other bright/loud colors) because it attracts attention. 

Okay, first let me say I don't stay away from red because of tznius.  Period.  However, my dress when I go to shul is different than when I'm out and about.  It doesn't have anything to do with someone telling me what I can and cannot wear.  It's more me deciding what I feel is appropriate for the environment I'm going to be in.  If there were a time I'm more likely to follow tznius guidelines it would be when I go for Shabbos and High Holiday services.  When I go to learning events at most Shuls I actually wear jeans or capri pants (during the Spring/Summer), which is not tznius as women are not suppose to wear pants.  Furthermore, I wear short sleeves unlike the 3/4 length tznius guideline.  I have no problem with tznius guidelines... they just don't fit my lifestyle.

Now onto answering the question posed to us.... the only problem that I have with giving a flat "No" answer to this question posed is that it sets the stage for things I believe are flat out wrong in public.  For example, if you say "No, people shouldn't dictate what others wear in public" then, in my mind, someone may interpret that as it's okay for someone to go out in public in a t-shirt, but nothing covering the lower half of their body.  Or visa versa.  If the question were something like, "Should anyone have the right to dictate what we wear in public, outside the boundaries of socials norms/decency?" then my answer would probably be as long as it wasn't hurting someone then people should be able to wear whatever they want wherever they want . . .  which would bring to me to a story about the time I went to the opening night of the Lyric Opera season in a nice pair of pants and top.  People were dressed up super fancy.  During intermission these two women looked at me with VERY disapproving looks.  I'm sure you can guess the things that went through my mind at that moment.

Now that I've discussed my thought on the topic of if people should be able to dictate what others wear in public (and the color red), please take a moment to see what my fellow blogger had to say:

Momarock (Sara)

Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Darwin Shrugged (Denise)

Monday, March 7, 2016

You Really Can Take It With You

Recently, Melissa brought to our attention this article.  She used it as the inspiration for that week's Thursday Blog Project topic: Write about whatever is on your mind. It could be a long post about one thing. It could be a random list. Anything goes!

Part of the reason I'm writing this blog post now and not the week it actually happened has to do with the fact that I've had a lot of things going on that have been consuming my brain.  Some of them are work related.  Some of them personal life related.  I've been trying to figure out how to write about them without getting too personal or oversharing.  I get that getting personal makes for a "good" blog post, but as many know there is a line between what I am willing to share on this blog and what I'm not willing to share.

The Sunday after this post should have posted I went for funeral prearrangement for someone close to me.  They aren't ill (BH!), but they are feeling the need to start planning for the inevitable.  Truth be told, though I knew it was expensive I never knew HOW expensive a funeral/burial really is and made me rethink the old saying, "You can't take your money with you when you die."  (Since I'm not sure who started that say so obviously I can't properly attribute it to one specific person.)

All joking aside, even in death socioeconomic classes are separated in many ways.  First there is the method of final wishes -  cremation or burial.  Though I'm not familiar with the cost of the former, I know that the cost of the latter does drive some to the former.  If you choose the burial, there is the level of casket you get.  In Judaism this is supposed to be super cheap.  A plain pine box; however, as I learned this isn't necessarily the case.  Turns out, a traditional casket can be as plain simple as you'd like it be or as fancy as you'd like it to be.  The simplistic side of me says, "Why spend SO much on something that is going in the ground."  This model is around $1,000.  The compassionate said of me says, "This person deserves a nice casket."  This model is around $2,000.  Then there is the side of me that knows everyone attending the funeral will be judging the family on the type of casket.  At this point you're talking about $3,000+.

Then there is the vault.  Your basic starter vault is around $800.  From there you can get ones that have designs on the top, pictures of the deceased and even colored tops.  All I could think is "Pimp my vault."

So the next time you hear someone say, "You can't take your money with you when you die," I believe you can correct them that you in fact can take your money with you when you die.

Now that I've shared some of my thoughts, please take a moment to see they thoughts my fellow blogger shared with everyone:

Momarock (Sara)

Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Darwin Shrugged (Denise)

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The First Kiss...

Okay, if you know me well, you're probably shocked I titled my post, The First Kiss.  I mean, the title alone leads you to believe I'm going to talk about my first kiss.  Or, a first kiss I've experienced.  Of course since I'm such a private person, which I believe I mentioned in my last post, you'd be confused why I would write about such topics.  I mean, that totally goes against how I conduct myself.  So why the title, The First Kiss....? I titled my post that because it is the topic given to us by Sara (Momarock) for today's Thursday Blog Project.  
Since I am a private person I won't be talking about my first kiss, or a first kiss I've experience.  The circumstances surrounding any of my first kisses are confidential.  What I will say about first kisses is this: 

 " I'll get you here, to the high-stakes medal round where eight out of 10 women believe that the first kiss will tell them everything they need to know about the relationship." ~ Hitch

I LOVE the movie Hitch, and I love this quote.  I've heard they took the information from a women's magazine such as Cosmopolitan.  I wouldn't be surprised if this is the case.

So now I've (technically) talked about "the first kiss." here are some firsts of mine:

  • First Car:  Light Blue Chevy Cavalier.  I use to be able to tell people the year, but it's been so long since I've had that car I can't remember.
  • First Day of College:  Was interest....  I was freaked out.  I had just moved to Texas and knew only my family.  It was a lot to have just moved to a new state and then start at a new school.  My youngest cousin tried to calm my nerves by sharing with me that she thought she was pregnant just a month and a half after giving birth. I'm not sure it calmed my nerves, but it did give me something else to think about.  And yes, she was pregnant.  
  • First Crush:  The first crush I can remember  happened in fifth grade.  I did have a boyfriend in Senior Kindergarten, but I'm not sure I ever had a crush on the guy.
  • First Time I Drove on the Expressway by Myself:  The first time I ever drove on the expressway by myself  was not too long after I got my drivers license.  I remember I got on at one entrance and got off at the next exit.  It was a very short trip.  I remember thinking how awesome it was that I was on the expressway by myself.  
  • First Trip Overseas: Spring Break 1997 with my then boyfriend.  We went to England and Ireland.  It was a fun trip!
  • First Day at Work:  In my opinion, the first day at work is always odd.  My last first day of work (which was officially a year ago this past week) was no exception.  The thing that strikes me the most about it is that there is no way I could have ever predicted how happy I would be at this job... but that's another post for another time, maybe.
  • First Time I Realized I was an Adrenaline Junkie: This was basically the first time I went skydiving.  
  • First Place I Ever Lived:  When I was born, my family lived in a condo that had a view of Lake Michigan.  It's too bad I couldn't appreciate the view. 
I'm sure there are more "firsts" I could list, but I think that is a good list.  Now that I've shared my take on this topic, please take a moment to see what my fellow bloggers had to say:

Momarock (Sara)

Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Darwin Shrugged (Denise)

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Stuck In The Body Of An Extrovert

Back in winter of 2013 I went to a workshop on the topic of friendship. My main motivation for going to this workshop was to meet individuals who lived in the city as I was preparing to move to there. As part of the workshop the presenter talked about how being an introvert or an extrovert impacts your friendships and how to approach each personality type.  Since that time I think a lot about my introvert/extrovert tendencies and the tendencies of those I surround myself. Apparently I am not the only one who thinks about this topics as Denise asked us to write about whether we are an introvert or extrovert for today's Thursday Blog Project topic.

So which am I? Since I know myself very well, I would tell you overall I'm an introvert. At some point in my life, however, I began to force myself to be an extrovert.  

Now, the fact that I've learned to be an extrovert doesn't mean my introvert tendencies don't surface. It's quite the opposite situation. There are many times I have to force myself out the door to go do something. Especially when I'm going to something knowing I won't know anyone. Not that I'm opposed to going to something alone, but sometimes it's nice to know people at events. Most of the times I'm fine with chatting with others I don't know, and have made a few friends that way; however, in some situation I just keep to myself as if I have no interest in being social.
One of the times my introvert ways are exacerbated is when I'm in larger groups. Recently, I was talking with some friends of mine about a program for young Jewish professionals that I participated in a few years back. I explained that though I liked the program overall I was happiest when we were in our small groups of 15(or so); however, even when we combined with another group (around 15 people as well) I started to become more quiet. With that in mind, I'm sure you can imagine what happened when all the groups would get together at a bar (100+ people at one time) after meeting with our smaller groups. If you guessed that I would just hangout in one spot with my water (I'm not a big drinker) then you are correct!

Another thing about me is that I hold people at arms length until I really get to know them - for better or worse. Part of this is my tendency towards being a private person.   If I had to guess, I believe this quality adds to me being shy and keeping to myself.

I've talked a lot about my introverted ways, but as I said I've become an extrovert overtime. I like to think that I've learned to balance the two tendencies. Now that I've shared some of my thoughts on this topic, please take a moment to see what my fellow blogger have to say:

Momarock (Sara)

Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Darwin Shrugged (Denise)

Friday, February 5, 2016

Aren't You Glad?

Several years ago, a friend of mine said to me, "Aren't you glad there were no camera phones and no internet to upload pictures to when we were in college?  None of the stupid shit we did could be posted online."

Fast forward to current times.  If you do something really "out there" in public the chances that it will get recorded and uploaded to the internet are good.  Especially if it's something like this: "Miami Doctor Accused of Attacking Uber Driver Calls It 'Biggest Mistake of My Life'".

This sets the stage for this week's Blog Project topic.  I asked everyone to write about the following:  This individual is now on administrative leave until her employer can determine if there are grounds to terminate her. This brings up the question as to whether or not an individual's job should be in jeopardy because they had a meltdown (or indiscretion) in public, outside of work hours, that was recorded and posted online. Share your thoughts on this matter.

I'm not an attorney, so I can't go through the legal aspects of why an employer may have to let someone go if such an incident were recorded and uploaded to the internet.  The business side of my mind could go through the potential reasons to review such actions and I understand the need of an organization to make sure they aren't putting their employees and clients (patients in this case) in harms way.  Furthermore, I don't condone such behavior, especially when it gets abusive.

The personal side of me is very bothered that our worst moments can now be subject to judgement by those around the world who don't know us and don't know the circumstances that brought us to that moment.  I'm also bothered by the society we live in now.  A society where one's life could be ruined by one bad moment experienced in public.  A society where people are incredibly cruel online... I believe we're all familiar with cyber-bullying.

This is not the first time someone has been caught on tape behaving in a less then favorable way, nor will it be the last.  And though, as I mentioned above I get the business/legal side of things, I find it hard to believe that now just by the mere act of stepping out our front door we consent to the potential of everything we do in public being open to being recorded and distributed for the world to see.  Furthermore it costing us our professional career.

I realize I'm going off on a tangent of sorts, but in a way I'm hypersensitive to it due to some of the affiliations I have in my life.  These affiliations have left my actions when I'm out and about up for questioning - or so I feel at times.  I'm sometimes afraid I'm going to say something or express options someone doesn't like and associate it with this other party.  Is that fair?  No.  Is it a possibility? Yes.  Sadly, it appears to me the line between personal and professional can be blurred very easily these days.

Again, I respect the reasons behind an organization looking into whether or not such incidents are grounds for termination.  My bigger problem is the cold fact we now live in a world where if you fuck-up in public, even in a small way, the price could potentially be a big one.

Now that I've expressed my thoughts on this matter, please take a moment to see what my fellow bloggers have to say:

Momarock (Sara)

Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Darwin Shrugged (Denise)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Was It Really That Unexpected?

The Thursday Blog Project topic is: An unexpected outcome.

Honestly, when we were first given this topic I had no clue what I would write about.  Even though I know there are so many things that I never expected in my life they don't come to mind... that is until now.  All the sudden I can think of two things, which are somewhat related, yet not.  The thing about these two things is that in some ways they aren't as "unexpected" as I would like to think.

The first unexpected outcome that has come to mind is how much I LOVE my job.  This is something I've never said to anyone, but I say it with more than 100% conviction.  In February I will be at my current job a year.  Not only do I have responsibilities that I vastly enjoy, I get to work for an organization that does so much good in the world.  It's an organization that I've supported for several years prior to working here.  Though I feel so strongly, in a positive way, towards my job when I was given the offer I wasn't sure if I was going to take it.  There were several factors that prevented me from feeling totally comfortable accepting my position when an offer was made.  I won't into those factors in details as they aren't important.  They did, however, prevent me from listening to my gut feeling that said it was the right place and job for me to be.  Also, I've never loved a job as I do this one.  For real.  It's hard for me to get use to feeling this way... especially since I've had a rocky road, in many ways over the past years - professionally being one of those way.  Don't get me wrong, things are perfect, but they do overall feel very right and bring a smile to my face.

The second unexpected outcome would be that I'm a member of a Modern Orthodox congregation.  If you know me and saw that one coming ... gold star for you!  I knew I was more religious then my family, but in a large part of me never thought I'd feel at home in such a religious atmosphere.  Furthermore, I didn't realize I'd ever be as observant as I'm turning out to be.  Again, I knew I wasn't not religious or observant, but when I think of the practices I  keep and the things I want to keep, eventually, I sometimes wonder who the hell I am.  I guess discovering who you are is part of growing and maturing.

The thing with "unexpected outcomes" is that it has led with a "never say never" attitude about life.  Though I'd like to think there are somethings I really would NEVER do because they are just wrong and not in my character, when it comes to things that involve perspective changes, etc. I try to keep an open mind that a day may in fact come when the unexpected actually becomes expected.

Now that I've talked about some of the unexpected outcomes in my life, please take a moment to see what my fellow bloggers haven't expected in their lives:

Momarock (Sara)

Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Darwin Shrugged (Denise)