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

Red

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)