Friday, June 30, 2006

So whatcha gonna do?

A) I'd never really felt the divide within the Jewish community until last night when having a rather mild conversation with someone raised orthodox. Hearing "their" versus "our" was something I guess was imagined in Judaism. The idea that a Jew is a Jew is a Jew is idealized, I suppose. And depressing. And now with things so wild in Israel, shouldn't the Jewish community be livening its bonds? Putting aside perhaps HOW Jewish you are? I just always thing, when Hitler came for us, he didn't pick apart who was a "light Jew" and who davened three times a day and wore tefillin, did he? No. He didn't. Count your blessings.

B) I'm completely blown away by recent events in Israel. More importantly, what a horrible time to go gallivanting through the West Bank when your largest group of supporters has just been shunned by the inability of the president to use the word "rabbi." Blown away and unsure what it means. I'm worried about Iran, I'm worried about the world community. I'm worried about antiSemitism and the crushing need for power and feeling "safe." Will we ever feel safe? If we demobilize the Hamas-led Palestinian government, will we feel safe then? Ever since the Jewish community achieved a Jewish state and established a fist to fight back with, after thousands of years, a mighty fist, it seems that ... I don't know. I worry, I worry. There are more than 50,000 stories in google news with the world "Israel" in them. That's ... well ... hrrumph.

C) I feel better, though I'm sick of waking up groggy.

Get up or go away.

I ventured out for a haircut today and got caught walking home in the rain -- but it was okay because it was a warm, light rain. The kind of rain you want to sit down in a park with someone in. Cozy, warm rain. But alas, it was just me and some latino painters rushing to cover up their work before the small storm. I went over to Dupont Circle for the cheapest haircut I could find (16 clams), and I ended up sitting in the Circle watching this dad play with his toddler for a while. The kid would chase sticks the guy threw, and it made me laugh. It also made me feel this stupid, silly longing for children and a husband to call my own. Calm down, Amanda. I do love the Dupon, though. It's quiet, but noisy and has lots of snazzy shops. I ended up buying a CD that Melstar suggested to me by the lady voice of Frou Frou, Imogen Heap.

I then just had a conversation with a gent about the thrill of the hunt, in referring to the hunt for the opposite sex, that is, and a few of the final words on the topic:
me: some nice peppering, a la dick cheney perhaps
him: i prefer my hunts to be dickless
I had to share. I really did. It made me giggle in immature, fabulous ways. So rejoice, damnit.

I started the day feeling worse, though now I feel much better. I wish I had gotten better sooner. Now I have to decide dinner plans ... if only I'd made it to the center for some Kosher Pizza and S'mores...

EDIT: I neglected my reason for posting: I had a wacky dream last night that involved this neverending green garden hose. I was yelling at some unseen person to wind it tighter, and they wouldn't, it just kept flopping down in front of me and I started screaming and then I woke up coughing violently. Says one dream reader: "
To see a hose in your dream, represents renewal, rejuvenation and cleansing. You need to heal those emotional wounds so that you can continue to grow as a person. Alternatively, it may be a metaphor for sex and sexual gratification."

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Going back to the start, now.

Well, they think they've found the body of Eliyahu Asheri, with a bullet hole in his head, buried outside of Ramallah. In the meantime, Israeli forces are arresting the Hamas-led Palestinian authority heads -- about 1/3 have been picked up it looks like. I'm not sure where this is all going, but evidently Israeli forces also are flying over Syria to say "STOP IT! JUST STOP IT" ... hrm.

I happ'd upon this video on YouTube, and while the quality sucks and it isn't their best version of the song, I do love this song so very much, and Tegan and Sara are a personal favorite of mine.

I can't say it enough, just can't.

Oseh shalom bimromav, hu yaaseh shalom aleinu, v'al kol yisreal. V'imru, Amen.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Just call me Sick as a Dog.

I woke up at 5 a.m. unable to swallow. I was gagging, and it scared me. I sat up and started coughing and began drinking water (more, of course, since for the past 48 hours it feels like that's all I've consumed). The sore throat has gotten worse, not better. My nausea hasn't gone away and my ears pang whenever I swallow. I feel horrible and like crying, constantly. The problem with not having a car is that I can't go sit at an urgent care center till it opens -- unless I want to spend an hour on busses and rails getting there. The doctors offices don't open till 9 (at least the ones within my network that I've called. Essentially, I really just want to sleep, but I can't because I feel like, well, vomiting. Constantly.

Can't peg the symptoms. Sinus infection? Stomach flu? Tonsilitis? I swear if I go somewhere and they tell me it's the common cold, I may just lose it. Then again, the pain reliever I'm taking could be causing the nausea. Hell, I don't know.

Sigh. This is too early on a day when in 5 hours I'm supposed to lunch with Bob Woodward. If I miss it, believe you me, I'm going to be deeply upset ... without words, even.

EDIT: It's Strep Throat. Yah ...

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I'm not usually such a Sissy, I promise.

I was turned on to this gal by Alex. I browsed some of her songs and lyrics and they're pretty quality. Sometimes she gets a little whiney/screamy ... but who doesn't? Her name is Terra Naomi, and she's out of L.A. and has a stellar song called "Say It's Possible."

I also seem to have come down with something pretty vicious. I came home from work about 4 hours early tonight and nearly died on the bus as it rattled and hummed along under the downpour. Stomach=eating away at itself. Ears=feel full of hollow. Throat=hurt, hurt, hurt. Also, tomorrow I receive discs 1-3 in Season Five of the West Wing. Thank you Netflix.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Do you miss me, Miss misery?

I. Feel. Like. Crap.

Not emotionally, but physically. Between the guy across the cubicle hacking for the past two weeks and taking public transport twice a day, everyday, I think I've acquired some hybrid of a cold and stomach flu. Either that, or I ate something tained. Either way, I feel like crap. I woke up around 4 a.m. (after hitting the sack around 2:45 a.m.) to a really, REALLY sore throat and massive stomach pains. They weren't crampy pains, but rather, "I'm going to vomit" pains. Luckily I didn't, and instead rolled around till noon feeling horribly. I assumed getting up and showering, in addition to eating something light (grilled cheese + apple), would make me feel better, but no dice. So what do I do? Tough it out, of course. I'm really not a sissy when it comes to being sick, except during the summer. Summertime isn't good for being sick, becuase the weather is gross, you feel gross and everything's just gross. So I toss in weird flu with the 85 percent humidity with the ongoing rain (and flooding) and things are peachy. Sigh.

In other news: I've taken to reading some of the responsa on, and there's some interesting stuff up there, really. I also put up my list on the sidebar there (look right!) If you don't have a (formerly audioscrobbler) account, you should get one. It's pretty stellar, and let's folks know what you're listening to. I'm loving it (I've had it for a long time, but forgot about it, hah).

OK. I have nothing legitimate to say because I feel so horribly. But it has rained here for about 3 days straight. Unpleasant? Yes. Luckily I just found the umbrella. Thank heavens; now I won't have to pay for anymore 10 dollar cab rides to go five miles. Jerks.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Demoted goat?

I waited too long for the bus today and ended up late to work. My plot to have a friend let someone at work know I would be late failed to work when said person ended up not being at his desk tonight. So I showed up late and in my bustle to get to work on time, I passed the Square like I always do, but this time ... there were probably nearly 200 homeless people in the Square. There were big neon signs at tables that said different things, the only one I picked up on was "PRAYER." And then, across the Square was a giant bus that said "PORTA KLEEN" on the side. Evidently it was that time of the month where all the homeless gather in the Square to take a shower on the portable shower mobile. Talk about strange. I've never seen such a gathering before, and it was rather frightening. So many homeless people in one space ... but hey, they looked happy.

I made Chicken Waldorf Salad today, and it was quite delicious. Though I neglected to bring enough bread to really make it as delicious as it could have been. So for now, it'll sit in the minifridge until I can procure more. But hey -- I MADE SOMETHING! I also intend on making a HUGE salad when I get home because I'm fucking starving. Lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers. Maybe I'll hardboil some eggs. Who knows. I'm living dangerously!

And I signed up for Netflix again. Why? Because I know I can go through at least five movies a week. That's why. And because I may actually have company with which to watch them, too. Amen.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Friday, June 23, 2006

Fall to my Death? Maybe.

I love D.C. Metro. It can get you from here to Tyson's Corner (to go to Target) and back, such as I did today. I took the bus to Tenleytown and went from the Tenleytown Metrorail stop to Wheaton ... where, evidently, there used to be cool drive-in theaters and sock-hop type restaraunts in the 60s. Now, well, it's just a lot of malls and corporate plazas. But my point: D.C. Metro has one downfall. That downfall, which I so quickly forgot about from my first trip here, is that the escalators into the actual metro area are horrendously steep and long. Now, I understand that metrorail systems must be built into the bowels of the Earth, if not aboveground like the El in Chicago. But in D.C., they are halfway to the core.

I'm not one to hate on escalators, but as a topic of interest (such as what Beth recently posted about), I have an irrational fear of escalators. There's this fear of it jerking to a hault (as escalators seem to do randomly) and me falling to my doom along the sharp, jaggedy edges of the escalator steps. And it wouldn't be like falling down the mall escalator, oh no. It would be like falling off a 12-story building to my death, bumping stairs along the way. I don't like to stand still going down because I worry about the jerking-related death, but I also hate walking down them. I can't look up while walking down the escalator for fear I'll miss a step and stumble, but when I stare at the steps they all blend together and I start to worry whether I'll miss a step and stumble anyway. I hold on with a batter's grip to the railing and hope for the best. But D.C. metrorail escalators, my g-d. Surely my life will end while going down one. Surely.

An image search for "d.c. metro escalator" turns up 90 images, most which have some kind of description of "long long escalator." Yes, people marvel at the ridiculousness of them. That includes me, and my irrational fear of death via escalator.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

OY, the future of the Jewish people?

Never before have I read a more absurd article than what I just read. I've created a filter on my Google News so I have a section that is purely "Jewish News." It's religious, secular, historical in nature and usually it's someone complaining about Israel. Today, however, there was a column about how we must offer a secular conversion in Judaism. You've got to be kidding me.

Secular conversion? When I think of secular conversion, I think of those who adapt certain aspects of a people and live their life in that manner and are happy as clams with it, meanwhile being shunned by the people of which they took mannerisms from. While I'm not about to claim that Jews are made up of more than a religion and a nation and are a full-fledged race, there's arguments there that are legitimate in some ways. But secular conversion? It's like trying to convert to ... gosh, I don't know ... be Chinese, but refuse to become a Buddhist (a SLIGHT generalization there, though). You can't suddenly decide one day that you really like Chinese history and the language and everything and then just be like 'BAM! I'm Chinese!' It beckons the many times that white people often have confused themselves with black people and live a life of African tradition and lifestyle. It just doesn't work that way, or does it?

Am I being simpleminded? Should there be no limitations? Is secular conversion to Judaism completely logical? I guess I'm not the one to be the end-alls judge here, but it just seems idiotic. I understand that there is more to being Jewish than just the religion, but I also understand that the Jewish people are the Jewish people because of a rich religious identity. The woes of rabbis and Jewish leaders is that nowadays Jews are more secular than ever, but show me a Jew who doesn't have an every-so-often desire for the smell of shabbat candles or the sound of the shofar. Even the most secular Jews pull the "twice-a-year" shtick for High Holidays and Passover.

If you convert to Judaism via a purely secular route, what does that mean? You read a lot of books by Jews? You really dig the fall of the Second Temple? You're fond of those cool little beanies that Jews wear? You really, really love Jewish cuisine? What does it mean? How do you define someone who is "converted" via a secular route?

It just DOESN'T make sense. But enlightened am I, as I start to read an article in Commentary Magazine that highlights the following fact: "For the most part, Jews have always understood that the two sides of this dual identity—the religious and the ethnic/national—are inextricably intertwined. As between the two, indeed, there are striking examples of a precedence being given to the dimension of peoplehood."

But more on that article later.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Bring me Peace

I like that I'm a regular on the bus now. How I get on at that certain time of night and there's the guy who is straight out of Office Space. I want to bring him a Swingline and watch his face light up behind those enormous glasses. Then there's the quiet, mysterious one who gets off at my stop and lives in the big white building on the corner. He's always sporting the same getup -- button-up casual shirt with loose, comfy-looking pants. And then there's the Mexicans. They may be Guatemalans or El Salvadorans, I don't know. Hispanics? There's always two to four of them that get on at my stop and slowly peel off one by one as the busride goes on. I've taken to stuffing my face in my book and listening to music, though. Being the only woman on the bus on a busride home after midnight is intimidating enough.

When I walk down Tunlaw Road, I always hope those Russian kids are hanging out on the balcony that overlooks the street. Talking or listening to music or doing something. There's usually three of them huddled together and two others off talking, privately. Sometimes by the first gate there's that guy in polo shirts and khaki shorts smoking. He always wears the same thing, just different colored shirts. In the building, down the stairs, to the door with the padlock and normal lock. Automatic lock when it shuts and kitchen light on, into my room. I drop my things, open the fridge, sigh, and sit down in front of here. And that, is what happens when I leave work each night.

Today on wikipedia at work I read about this special school in Hawaii that's being sued for only admiting students with a genuine Hawaiian background. Out of the thousands of students in K-12, only two do not have Hawaiin ancestry. So I looked it up and found out the place is endowed by the last will and testament of the last member of a dynasty of Hawaiian royalty. People say she was a princess, but I guess it isn't true. The school system is the Kamehameha schools, and that name is also the name of the first line of the royalty. The last living member who created the school system was Bernice Pauahi Bishop. So I spent my first hours at work reading up on Hawaii and its history; I should e-mail Merynn, maybe she knows about it. Afterall, she's the only person I've ever known from Hawaii. I hope she gets married there someday ... that way I can finally visit Hawaii ... selfish, eh?

I think I now have some social partners in town. AMEN. All said social partners are Jewish and keep the same hours as me (mostly) AMEN. One more day of work, then I'm done. AMEN. For now, anyhow.

Oseh shalom bimromav, hu Yaaseh shalom aleinu, v'al kol Yisrael. V'imru, Amen.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Burkina Faso, you Fascinate Me.

It seems D.C. can't take a thunderstorm. I was already at work in the gym, clear and free from the impending storm that I had no idea was coming when I got to work around 3 p.m. I came out of the gym around 4:15 and it was storming and the sky was dark. And when walking home I noticed all the trees had shat leaves and twigs all over the ground and by McPherson Park and down Tunlaw Road the earth had melted into mud and onto the sidewalks. And don't get me started on the humidity.

I actually, finally, struggled at work tonight. You see, in reality there are three editions and zoning in most of those. There's the regional and the suburban. The regional has a Virginia and Maryland version and then the suburban has Virginia, Maryland and D.C. versions. This means there can possibly be about five different versions of a story because of how we zone. Usually it doesn't get hectic till around 9 p.m. when you find out your story is in all three versions of the suburban with different specs and all. I got frustrated. I don't know my deadlines (because no one told me) and it seems that everyone is too busy when I ask questions. Two stories I read, but I end up writing six different headlines.

Before I got either of my stories, I found myself reading about Somalia, which I've become obsessed with as of late. I then was reminded that the African Union frustrates me and that colonialism ruined Africa. So I was reading up on African nations I know little about. I happ'd upon a place called Burkina Faso, which is near Cote D'Ivoire. I realized after reading the little bio that in a way, Cote D'Ivoire is to the U.S. as Burkina Faso is to Mexico. Evidently all the Burkina Faso folks head to the Ivory Coast to work and send cash money back home to Burkina Faso. It's a big deal; there are millions of folks from Burkina Faso living in the Ivory Coast working and sending money back. Interesting, nu?

Listen. These days I feel like crap. There's a lot, really, that can account for it, but I can't seem to fill the empty moments long enough to not think about it. Partially it's this place and the quiet and isolation, I guess. I was better at this last year. Then again, Denver was beautiful and fresh. I felt alive there. D.C. makes me feel like I'm aging really, really quickly. Fountain of youth, it is not.

Monday, June 19, 2006

A Miniature Rant, or Because I can

You know how when you go to the zoo, no matter what time of year, it smells and feels like the pavement is melting underneath you? That humid smell and feeling, like the world is just dripping. And no matter where you go, it's there. Yet the moment you walk out of the zoo, it's gone. Why is that? And why is it that everyday when I walk out of my apartment building I feel like I'm walking around a zoo, yet without all the stellar exhibits and animals making noises at 5 year olds? That's D.C. In a nutshell, of course.

Thank you to my cubicle buddy, JoAnn, for hauling my ass home after work so I didn't have to wait (and possibly miss) for the bus. Work went till midnight tonight, and that doesn't comply with my "I need to get home on the bus" schedule. She also informed me that people call this area "Grover Bark" because of all the young folk with dogs. I'm amused.

How much wood could a Jew chuck if a Jew was really a Jew?

I just happ'd upon a column on Ha' It's about the president of Israel refusing to address the president of the Union for Reform Judaism as "rabbi" because, well, he was raised to only address rabbis ordained in HIS Judaism as rabbi and the president of the URJ, of course, was ordained as a reform rabbi. Problem? I think most outside of Judaism with little to no knowledge of the woe of intra-Jewish conflict wouldn't get it. Those aware of the friction within Judaism both in Israel and the diaspora understand wholly. And it sucks.

The columnist, Shmuel Rosner, has some really great points in his piece. I was excited to read someone talking on the plight of the 1.5 million reform Jews in the U.S. But then at the end he said
But responsibility in this case rests on the shoulders of the other, more important president.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'll admit that leading the nation of Israel is big doins. But I wouldn't go gauging who is the more "important" one. Maybe I'm fickle. But really. Sigh. I also sensed this slight ... "well, come on Moshe Katzav, we know he isn't a REAL Jew, just call him Rabbi and we'll deal with it later" ... tone to the piece.

I think I may reread Jew vs. Jew. Why? Because it's an amazing book and I'm frustrated with the "Who is a Jew" question that goes beyond who your mama is and instead is a so, "how Jewish ARE you" question. Mrph.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

To the Fathers

It's Father's Day, and that means I get to post old photos, because I don't have any new ones. Why? Because my dad hates having pictures taken, that's why! So here's to dad, grandpa Joseph and Uncle David. Two of thee, I know thee well, and one, alas, you passed before my birth. Happy Father's day!

I'm all Woman, I Just wasn't born with a Fryin' Pan in my hand

What I wouldn't give for that marvelous pair of scissors that came with my knife set, which I recently sold at a garage sale to a college-bound, bushy-tailed teenage boy. I bought chicken today. Something I never do, because I can't stand to handle the slimeyness of it. It's a reason I hate cooking and a reason I don't buy meat. It really is much easier to live as a vegetarian. But the scissors were perfect for cutting meat, on the few occassions I did. Now, I'm not talking hacking at meat for the hell of it, no, I'm talking about the FAT. Another reason I don't cook: I can't seem to figure out how to buy the meat without all the fat on it. Then again, I have special requirements for the fat content on my meat. This, folks, is how my whole "I hate meat" thing began.

Between chicken buying and my conversation with Caroline in the stairwell on our way to the Post cafeteria Friday, I need to explain why I hate meat. When I was growing up, I was in one of those families where you sat at the table till you ate every last piece of meat on your plate. If you didn't? You'd sit there as it got cold and stale like a dog toy, and then you'd still have to eat it. Now, I never hated meat until I realized that parts of the steak my parents were forcing down my throat had fat on them. I realized the plasticy material on the meat wasn't just "supposed to be like that." No, it was fat. So I started cutting it off and pushing it to the side of my plate, complaining along the way that I couldn't be forced to eat FAT. By the time I was done, it seemed that half the piece of meat was on the corner of the plate with spare peas (which I also hate) and kernels of corn. My parents got sick of the act and started removing the fat for me, shoving the meat in front of me and saying "look, now it's fine." So I grew to hate meat. I started to master the art of "take a bite, chew, pretend to swallow and go to use the bathroom." Now, I didn't really USE the bathroom. No, I spit that gross tug of war in my mouth out and flushed it. I would return to the table and force my way through the rest of my meal, lest they get suspicious. The parents eventually caught on and that's when the brutal treatment started. I would sit at that antique green-stained-dark brown antique table, elbows on table and hands pressing cheeks staring at the plate of grossness while my family sat in front of the TV laughing and enjoying themselves. After about an hour, I got yelled at, lectured, told to go to my room. Rinse and repeat.

I stopped eating beef the moment I moved out when I was 17, nearly 18. I tried to get around it before that, but it was impossible, coming from the corn-fed-beef state and all. I would eat the occassional turkey or pork, but chicken became my staple. It was easy, good on everything, and no matter where you went, there it was. The only pork I was ever fond of was pork cutlets, but I realized somewhere midway through highschool that they were laden with chewy fat pieces at the Edwards household. I'd never liked bacon or sausage, either. So it seemed natural when I stopped eating it freshman year of college. It wasn't an EFFORT, but just that I didn't need to have to eat it anymore. So by the summer after my sophomore year of college, I'd stopped eating all red meat, period. The occasional hamburger finds it's way in to the mix (on outings to Inn-N-Out in Cali), which I don't mind. There's something about ground beef that is kosher with me. I don't do steak or anything that resembles it, and I definitely don't do pork. It began because of my fit with bacon and sausage, and turned into both a "I hate pork" and "I'd like to keep kosher" kind of thing. Convenience, nu? As for shellfish, well, I never ate much of it anyway -- too expensive for my taste.

So what does that leave me with? Chicken. Turkey. Salmon. Yes, these are my meats of choice, and I wouldn't have it any other way, thank you very much. Hopefully that's the last little rant I ever have to do on it. It isn't some great "SAVE THE ANIMALS!" kind of thing by any means. Don't get me wrong, cruelty of animals in the butchering process is ... well, unfortunate. But I can't manage a completely veggie/fruit diet, honestly. So now, I eat mostly vegetarian at home because, as evidenced by this evening, I don't like dealing with raw chicken. When I go out? C/T/S all the way, baby.

This, folks, is why I need me a husband who doesn't mind cooking. I'm really incapable.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Sheep, donde?

Exactly three hours ago, I was primed for sleep. I said to myself, "Amanda, you will get to bed before four a.m. tonight!" And I believed it, too. And here it is, 3:16 in the morning and I can't seem to lay still in bed. Is it that my computer is but inches from my bed? Is it that reciting the Hebrew alphabet over and over isn't a good way to fall asleep? I've even tried the "spell your name repeatadly till it means nothing" trick. I've counted sheep. I think I may resort to a little Tylenol PM or something. This is getting ridiculous, and I'd rather be groggy than awake later and later each night. Because that's how it works, nu?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

It's a Book thing, OK?

OY! I've hit the motherload. Something to keep me busy for days and weeks and months and years. I suggest you hit it up, too. I happ'd upon it on my friend Ben's blog (Mazel Tov to Ben who just married Christy!). It's called LibraryThing and you can see the beginnings of mine here.

I'm looking to Beth here most specifically. I think she'll get QUITE the kick out of it ... oh books, you answer my prayers and give me rest.

What would you do, if the Man shut you down?

I went out and about today. Made my way through Lafayette Park and to the White House. Stopped by the 20-year-old protestors post across from the White House and then down by the Washington Monument. I headed to the American History Museum of the Smithsonian and halfway through it, my batteries died. So I've got some pictures up on my flickr account, but I cut my adventure short because of the dead batteries. This means, however, that in the future I will be spending more time walking about the mall, hoping to gather some photos with ME in them. It's hard to sight-see alone, I've discovered. I did, however, run into a Orthodox Jew who I really wanted to say "Shalom, take my picture?" to, but I didn't. I'm sure he would have looked at me odd or starting talking in Hebrew or something and I would have most likely looked like a shmo. Ahh well.

I'm devastated. Why, you ask? Because my favorite uploader, guardedheart, has been SHUT DOWN by the man. This user uploaded gobs of Wonder Years videos to the site, making my little heart go pitterpatter because it's my favorite show from oldtyme TV. The most horrible thing of all is that I'd buy them legitimately on DVD, but they'll never be released. You know why? Because of music rights. Yup. It costs too much cash money. This is why folks nowadays have gotten smart and started using little known bands to showcase on their shows. It's cheap for DVD makin'. Sigh. Goodbye Wonder Years, I loved the well.

Tomorrow it's back to work. Tomorrow is also the first of six consecutive days I will be working. This means that after those six days, Heather and I will be hanging out and I will be overjoyed. This also means lots of on-the-bus time, lots of working out time and lots of sitting around at the office doing nothing but making myself look busy time. It isn't the work in "real, adult life" that sucks. It's the lack of anything.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

What tangled webs we Weave

So who do you believe? The Israelis or Human Rights Watch.

Of course I'm taking about the "shelling" by Israeli forces that killed seven people along the Gaza Strip. Seven people who were picnicing. CNN reports that an investigation by Israeli forces have concluded that the beach wasn't shelled, but rather that underground mines planted in recent weeks by Palestinian Hamas militants exploded, killing the seven. Human Rights Watch says that's ludicrous. Israel says Hamas quickly removed the remaing mines after the incident. Human Rights watch says that's ludicrous. Israel says the injuries to the deceased and injured coincide with an underground explosive. Human Rights Watch says, no dice.

Not sure what I believe. Not sure what I should believe and shouldn't believe. I suppose an independent investigation would be a good plan. But we all know coverups happen and lies are told. I just wish Hamas hadn't of pulled its truce.

We'll be Lovers yet.

"Pursue her lovers as she will, she shall never find them ... and she will say, 'I shall return to my first husband, for I fared better there than now.' "

I know what it means, at least what the great thinkers said it means and what I clearly read from it. I know that it was meant to show that those who had idols always made their way back to the original G-d of Israel. It's clear as mud, yes? But for me it's something that echoes in both a religious and nonreligious way. I sought things and returned to the G-d of our mothers and our fathers, yes yes. But also, I pursued my lovers as I did, and quite frankly nothing but pain came out of those. Pain for me, pain for others. So now I'm purging that part of my life. A learning lesson, I told myself. But most recently I really realized the magnitude and foolish fancifree I had partaken in. So now I'm working my way back up. I'm returning, damnit. With a vengeance. And I'm thinking about the next 10 years and what I want and need from them. I'm young, I'm silly, I've got time. But unless you have some idea, you can't plan with someone else, now can you.

In other news: I picked up a few books from work tonight that happened to be laying about for free taking. One is on a man's travels in the Holy Land, another is a book of cartoon strips about G.W. and the war and the third is a book called The Bone Woman, about a forensic anthropologist digging around in Rwanda, Kosovo, Croatia and Bosnia. I started reading it while waiting for the bus tonight and got several pages in and was amazed at how focused I was with it. It's been a while since I found a book I could immerse myself (happily) in. Amen for that.

Two days off now. I think I may go wander by the White House tomorrow, pretend I'm in the world of the West Wing. Perhaps poke around the Smithsonian or something. The world is my oyster, and I have all the time in the world to think.

Monday, June 12, 2006

You're a Fool, Silly Girl

Friday night I was at a bookstore/restaurant called Kramer's that's over in Dupont Circle. While waiting for a table I spotted a book that (as soon as I get paid) I have to have. It's called Salonika, and it's the tale of a city that had it's entire Jewish population (as well as Arab and other populations) decimated in the early 20th century, largely during World War II. The community of Salonika, Greece, had about 50,000 Jews who spoke Ladino and were a majority population in the city ... it was a thriving place. Then it was destroyed, and the book tells the story as far as I can tell.

I spent my afternoon with a gent from these parts at a place called Busboys and Poets, a restaurant/bookstore/performance venue over on U Street. I wasn't hungry, as it was that weird period between lunch and dinner, and I couldn't tell if he was hungry. So we had drinks and this unfulfilling appetizer of tomatoes and mozarella. We checked out the small book collection, he bought his book and we headed off. The nice thing was that he drove me through Adam's Morgan, U Street, Cleveland Park and a bit of Georgetown. I now know there are places I really, really need to go. I also need to return to Busboys for open mic at some point.

It's funny how things start to go one way and then you're blindsided by your own incredible stupidity, isn't it? Fools, we all are. Silly fools.

If you're bored, check out Zach Braff dot Com. Evidently they just unveiled the new site. In his little video blog he talks about his "Challah Back" T-shirt. Marvelous.

Quoth Lionel Trilling: Being a Jew is like walking in the wind or swimming: you are touched at all points and conscious everywhere.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

To see you when I wake Up

A piece of my past, or A short, true story:

One summer, whether it was before my junior year or my senior year of high school, I had a very serious boyfriend. I say very serious because he was the first person I had ever loved, and although I wasn't thinking of forevers, we spent enough time together and had enough memories together that he'll always be that "first love." During the summer he left town with his family or his dad for vacation trips or, this particular summer, to go on a dig with his father. He was going to be gone the bulk of the summer and I was devastated. I didn't get a chance to say goodbye the day before he left, and was incredibly upset. I awoke the next day to check my e-mail and found a file attached to the e-mail that said something along the lines of "I love you, I'll be back soon." The attached file was "I Miss You" by Incubus. I listened to that song over and over for about an hour and cried. I was deeply, deeply moved. Silly? Perhaps. But whenever I hear that song (such as a few moments ago), I think of him. Funny how vivid some memories are to us, nu?

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Time is Repugnant -- Quoth Johnny W.


When I say I want to go back to school, it isn't the result of one week of work at a newspaper that doesn't have the charm and glory that I once saw as a naive freshman in college. It isn't because I've decided I hate copy editing or journalism (not exactly, anyhow). It's because I am PASSIONATE about Judaism. It isn't some kind of fanatic, fundamentalist Judaism. It's a complete curiousity and desire to know as much as I can in my lifetime ... because G-d knows there isn't enough time for me to figure it all out. But I want to devote my life to FIGURING OUT and LEARNING ABOUT and telling others ... as much as I can. In an academic sphere. My Judaism is my Judaism, damnit. I'll practice how and when I want. But the history, languages, beliefs, theology, stories, literature ... my G-d it's all so beautiful. And as long as there's eager listeners, then by damnit, I want to be learning and teaching.

I hate that certain persons make me feel like less of a human being because I want to go back to school. I love copy editing, I do. I'm good at it. Some people may not know it, but I am. I have faces and places to back me up, and that's good enough for me. But I don't NEED the prestige anymore. I know I'm good, and the people who need to know I'm good know. So what's the point in driving myself to unhappiness for the sake of working at some paper that prides itself as journalism's namesake? I see no reason.

Anyway. I don't want to have to prove myself to people. I don't want to have to DEFEND my decisions and choices. I just want to do what I want to make it OK. So when people say "What do you mean you'd rather be happy than make 55,000 a year starting?" ... I want to choke them. Comfort financially? Yah, that'd be nice. But if it comes at the hands of losing happiness, fuck that noise. I'd rather be penniless and happy than rich and poor in spirit and emotion. My father, if there's one thing that he said that ever stuck with me, always told me to put happiness and myself above finding the perfect job. If you find one, the other won't be far behind. Is that idealistic? Maybe.

But I've spent too much time trying to prove to others who and what I am. It's time for a little ME time.
Small things I've learned today:

1) Free Tabs in big cities are good for one thing, and one thing only: Umbrella use. I reminded myself to pick up the umbrella off the back of the door before heading out, as the forecast called for thunderstorms. And did I? No. It was cloudy on my walk to the bus stop and nearly the moment I got on the bus, it began pouring. I got off the bus and walked about 2 blocks before finding a stand full of the Enquirer (a local free daily). Thus, umbrella. I made it to the Post (about another 2 blocks) dry as could be.
2) The toilet paper at the Post has seashells on it. How cozy.
3) The Russian Holiday on Monday is actually Russia Day ... the celebration of independence and the creation of the Russian Federation in 1991.
4) The Holocaust Museum here is only closed two days a year: Yom Kippur and Christmas. Now, that seems incredibly odd to me. Maybe I'm expecting more from my Holocaust memorial, but what about Passover? At least the head days, anyhow. If anything, I would think Easter is more holy than Christmas. It seems like they picked the most commercial Christian holiday and the most holy Jewish holiday. Why not toss in a little Easter? Rosh HaShanah? Passover?

That's all for now. I swear by all that is good and holy I will pull my tuches out of bed in the morning for Shabbat service. I will then go home and take a nap. It will be, in fact, glorious.

From me and to you: "There is no moment more vital than the one right now. There is no space more crucial than the one in which you stand."

Friday, June 9, 2006

Walking in the Rain with Grocery Bags

Just call me stupid. Though I think the error was not introduced by me ... I do recall writing I-395, becuase I've been on the blasted thing. But alas, there's the story on the website, with the caption wrong. I could kick myself in the tuches. Anyway, my first story edited and headlined with the Washington Post is here. Beautiful, nu? Sigh.

It was the only story I read last night. The only one. I sat there more or less for five hours consuming over-priced pizza and refreshing my e-mail and intraoffice messaging system. It was kind of ... lonely. Then I walked past the scary square and got on the bus and went home. Rinse and repeat. I need to remember to take my nameplate with me tonight, in case I actually get to sit somewhere. In case.

You know, come to think of it, three different people looked at that story before I left and they both said "great captions and heds." So, take that, you. People.

I don't get to hit up shul tonight and it's unsettling. I like to think I'll be up in the a.m. for morning service, but we know how well I go with mornings, especially after waking up at 7:30 most of the week. Oh it's all frustrating me.

I have decided though, that the best way to ensure not getting killed on my walk from the Metrobus stop to my apartment is to walk along the wall of the Russian Embassy. That way, if I die a bloody, horrible death, one of their many cameras will capture it on film. I wonder if the cameras will be on Monday ... since evidently, it's a Russian holiday. I don't know which one, becuase I'm not up on that.

I'm constantly exhausted.

Thursday, June 8, 2006

Happiness is a Warm Gun

Finally! Interweb at home ... it took a week, but here it is. After a bit of debugging, it's eveng. But on the upside, I don't have to wake up at 7:30 in the morning ever again, if I so choose. Amen. Anyhow, it rained here today and Washington Post intern training has been slow-going ...

I discovered a story on the perplexity of this fine neighborhood's name. It's Glover Park, and I mumbled everytime I said it, because I wasn't sure if it was Glow-ver Park or Gluh-ver Park. Then I found this story, which ends with the grandaughter of the gent the place is named for, and as it turns out, it's Gluh-ver Park ... but the theme seems to be that no one really seems to know how it's said ... so I'm cool with my ignorance. So while enlightened a bit, I'm still ignorant and proud.

The photos are by Mark Gong, the photo intern. He's pretty amazing and has been snapping photos from the moment we all sat down on the first day. I'm quite fond of his photos ... it reminds me of being at home and having Kris and Greg and Alyssa around. It's quite cozy. I can't explain it, but I'm tired of crying at night and feeling lonely on the bus. I didn't feel that way in NYC or Chicago or Denver. This city is just sad, it's a sad, sad city. Remind me to never go to Philedelphia, it might kill me. It's strange to actually say to people, though, that I have no intentions of staying here. That I can't work in a newsroom where copyeditors are at the whim of notebook tote-ers. So I've made decisions, and maybe they're silly and foolish and maybe I'm tossing away the world's greatest chance to start at one of the world's greatest papers ... but it isn't what I thought it was. Yes, there's time for my opinion to change. But will it? I don't think so.

So I'm moving to Chicago. I'll dangle my feet in the editing pool at a magazine or book publishing house or perhaps a library (because I LOVE library work!). I'll save money, take the GRE, and apply to local grad programs. Then? Then I'll be studying Jewish studies all the damn time, and how can you go wrong with that? I can't. Not when the fervor and passion is so intense.

It was strange to realize how much time we have. How much time there is to stop and start. I'm just glad I realized it now.

Thursday, June 1, 2006

A Starbucks every half-mile for you.

Humidity. I never thought I'd feel so wretched about it as I do now. I walk one mile to the grocery store (even though Whole Foods is only half that) and two miles to the library. I sweat, I am uncomfortable, I shower, rinse and repeat. Miserable, is what I am. I want to get rid of my car, I want to move to Chicago, I want to apply and be accepted to the University of Chicago's Judaic Studies master's program. I want to learn and teach. I want to do. I don't want to be here, not right now. Not ever, really. Quarter-life crisis? Hell yes.

Tonight is Shavuot services at Temple Micah. I shall make my first appearance at the Temple and hope that Jewish mothers don't try and hook me up and that there's people there my age. It gets tiresome being the only youth around. And I'm not even that youthful these days. For those of you without knowledge of this dandy holiday, it's the holiday where we celebrate and remember the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. Interestingly, it's also the time where the book of Ruth is read and pondered on. For those of you unfamiliar with Ruth, she was what is viewed as, as the first convert to the tribe. So in a way, this holiday means something quite magnificent to me ... but I won't go into excessive details at the moment, mostly because I'm at the Georgetown Public Library, on a 15-minute express computer and my time is running out.

I wish I didn't feel so damn useless right now.