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Isn't it pretty?

Monday, February 28, 2005

Being Nice???

I went out with some friends the other night. We went to a bar downtown that I had never been to. It was a great place for people watching. In the bar, there were people of a wide variety of ages and races, all hanging out, yelling at each other over the music, and dancing together, generally having a good time. I found the interactions between the men and the women in the bar particularly interesting. We met a group of guys and were chatting with them a bit. They moved on and were dancing with some of the women in the bar. One of the guys was dancing for a long time with a girl there. Before the bar closed, and everyone left, the guy took the girl's phone number, put it in his cell phone, and said to the girl something to the effect of "Talk to you soon." The girl left and we were standing talking to the guy as we were walking out. We questioned him about whether he would really call the girl he had been dancing with. He said no. So we asked him why he bothered taking her phone number. He said that he did it to be nice. That made me wonder about whether this action was nice or not. I guess it made the girl feel good that he liked her enough to press the few buttons it took to put her number into his cell phone. But how nice is it when the girl is waiting around for him to make a phone call he obviously has absolutely no intention of making? Would it have been nicer for the guy to be honest and tell her that he had fun dancing with her and leave it at that? Maybe she would have been disappointed that he didn't ask for her number after an hour of dancing, but she surely wouldn't have the expectation or the anticipation for days afterwards of waiting for the phone call. I am sure that most women in this situation know that there is only a slight possibility of the guy actually calling them. I think if I was in that world on a regular basis, I would have learned by now that dancing with someone in bar led to an extremely slim possibility of an actual relationship. I imagine that it is not a complete surprise when no call actually results from that interaction. But I still wonder why a guy would think it is being nice to take a number when he has no intention of calling it. Anyone want to explain?

Friday, February 25, 2005

Acting Like a Kid

I had so much fun last night. I went out to dinner with a couple friends. Because of the big snowstorm going on, there were very few other people in the restaurant we went to. When we walked in, we were the only customers. As we sat there for over two hours, a few more people stopped by, but all in all, it was the quietest I had ever seen that particular restaurant. What's so fun about being the only customers in a restaurant, you might ask? It wasn't that it was so quiet there, that we had our pick of tables, that we basically had the cooks, waiters and cashier all to ourselves. Because of the emptiness, we felt no need to hurry through our meal. When we were finished eating, we sat back, chatted a little while, and then, we let our inner children shine through. It started innocently with writing our names using ketchup on plates. Then a salt packet found its way into the air, across the table, and in the face of one of my friends. Then inspiration struck. Straw wrappers! They fly through the air so gently, like a paper airplane. We snuck to the condiment stand and borrowed a few (or a dozen) straws from the display. Soon, we had straw wrappers all over the table, on the floor, behind our booth, and even one lucky stray found its way behind a picture on the wall. We were letting loose with full laughs, enjoying the moment of just having fun and not worrying about what anyone else thought. Was it juvenile? Yes. But you know what, who cares? Once in a great while, it is wonderful to transport yourself back to the days when having some completely innocent fun is all that matters. I will remember that night for a while. And don't worry - we cleaned up before we left.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Some Random Thoughts

Haven't sorted out my thoughts into a complete post yet, so here are a few random snippets (some of these will probably turn into full posts in the near future):

- I felt like I was waking up in Alabama this morning when I heard the list of school closings on the radio and looked out the window to see that it hadn't even started snowing yet.

- Apparentely we are in for a big storm. I am concerned, because I am supposed to have a big date with Nana today - I would hate to have to cancel on that one.

- I had an interesting discussion with a friend last night about the difficulty between deciding to be yourself, even when that means that you stick out like a sore thumb, or trying to fit in. We both decided that it is important to be yourself, but that can come at a price.

- I have definitely been neglecting my creative side. My roommate came home with a coloring book and crayons last night and I can't even begin to explain how excited I was to color some Muppet Babies. I think I am due for an artistic phase of my life. Maybe I will start painting again.

- Dave Matthews rocks.

- I read the book Lovely Bones. It was interesting, and I had some thoughts that I plan on sharing one of these days soon.

- I think assigning a paper due and having an exam covering 8 chapters of an extremely dense text book on one night should be outlawed. It was not fair.

- I am feeling more important at work these days due to my boss offering to take me home in the snow and then, consequently picking me up tomorrow morning, to make absolute sure that I will be at work tomorrow to finish up some projects. Apparently, she can't bear to be without me.

Okay, that's it for the moment. Have a great day!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

You Can't Judge a Book by Its Cover

You never know where encouragement is going to come from. There is a man I don't know incredibly well, but well enough to say hi and chat with every once in a while. He is a big, burly Brooklyn native, with the accent to match. Some of the stereotypes that you imagine in connection with that image are true - many are not. He was telling me a few stories the other day and before I left, he asked me to send him an e-mail. I did, and received a response from him this morning. Part of his message: "You have a lot to offer anyone, you are a beautiful and intelligent woman. You bring a smile to my face whenever I see you." Wow, what an incredible e-mail to receive! My day is a lot brighter already. It really goes to show that it only takes a few words to make someone feel really good. I hope everyone else is having a wonderful day full of encouragement also!

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Thoughts from an Ex-Marine

I have a co-worker who used to be in the Marines, and is still very dedicated to our country. I was talking to him yesterday about the war in Iraq and he made some interesting comments that I thought I would share. First, I asked him if he feels strange not being in Iraq. He told me he does, that if it wasn't for his wife, he would probably have reenlisted by now. Though he admitted that there is no guarantee that he would be in Iraq anyway. But he did say that his best friend is there now, and he hasn't heard from him since before Christmas. He is worried about him, though he absolutely believes that his friend is doing the right thing. I told him that I thought I would have an extremely difficult time being in the Army - I would have a lot of trouble wielding a weapon, and even though I understand that the US is fighting for freedom, I don't know if I could bring myself to ever hurt another person physically. He told me that he thinks every person should have the opportunity to serve in the military. He thinks it is the civic duty of citizens to defend their country and is an invaluable experience. I mentioned the torture that some soldiers have instigated on POWs. I said that I couldn't quite understand what would make a man do that to another human being. But I could definitely see that the pressures of being in battle would bring out either the absolute best or the absolute worst in a person. He agreed with me. He said that what was interesting to him during boot camp was that the men he would never guess would crumble, were the first to do so. The biggest, toughest guys were the ones to run crying for their mothers. And the ones you wouldn't naturally see as the strongest were the ones who turned into heroes. He told me that he can not help but cry every time he reads the stories behind the medal recipients. Because he is my age, and went into the military young, I asked him whether he really thought 18-year-olds are equipped to fight and be in the kind of emotional and physical pressure that war elicits. He told me yes, that it doesn't matter what age a man is, his reaction will be the same, and that war makes a man of many. It was interesting hearing all this from someone who has some experience of it. He was never in active combat, but he saw a lot in his years in the Marines. I respect those who are defending our country and freedom today, especially since I am not sure whether I could handle it. It takes a lot.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Thoughts on Love

Love is an elusive thing. Many people speak of it and write about it. There is romantic love between two people, there is a parent/child love, and there is love between friends. I read many books in which love is the theme underlying the story, movies are often wound around love, even TV shows like "Desparate Housewives" use love as the thread that intertwines all of the characters. Despite all the talk about love, I think it is hard to really define. I think it is different to different people. To some it is an act, to others it is a feeling. It can involve many people, or it can involve only one - yourself. When I was 15 years old I attended a camp called Anytown Alabama. The camp was geared towards diversity awareness - the campers were a group of teenagers from all different races and religions. We were brought together to show the similarities between different people, to show that we CAN all get along. The days were centered around open dialogue and building trust between people. At one point during the week I made a comment about the fact that it is difficult to love anyone else if you don't love yourself first. One of the other group members told me later that what I said really made an impact on him, and he was going to work on loving himself in order that he could love others. Twelve years later, I realize that loving yourself is much easier said than done, at least for me. Which in turn, makes it harder to love others. There was a time when I wasn't sure that I could love another person. I cared about my friends, and family, but I really wasn't sure that I even knew or was capable of true loving. Because true loving requires opening yourself up, and depending on others. And I wasn't sure that I could do that; I was too scared of being hurt. The thing is, it CAN really hurt. Because nothing is guaranteed to be forever. But the thing is, once you learn to love yourself, and then let that spread to a love for others, loving gets easier, even if it sometimes hurts. And the hurt doesn't hurt as much, because you love yourself. Once you realize that you can love one person, you often find yourself loving more people. And because that ability to love and let others into your life feels so good, you give more and more. And you love yourself more and more. So the love spreads, and touches more and more people.

It is not always easy to let people into your life, and give them your love, especially if that opening up has led to pain in the past. But the truth is, as hard as it is, it is worth it.

Friday, February 18, 2005


One thing that I have never been able to deal with is hypocrisy. In the past, I have lost friends over it, because when I find someone to be a hypocrite, I know that I can no longer trust them. I cringe when I hear someone tearing apart another person for something that they regularly engage in; I can't handle listening to someone decry negative attributes in others that they themselves possess. I have a coworker who has some major problems. I don't know her story that well, but I think she definitely has a hard time letting people get close to her. As such, she is constantly complaining, criticizing and kvetching about everyone and everything around her. She definitely doesn't know that you catch more flies with honey than molasses. I work down the hall from her and can hear every word that comes out of her office because she is so loud and whiny, though she feels justified in slamming her door shut or yelling at the person in the office next to her if she can hear anyone else talk. She says that everyone is always nitpicking at her work, while I have extremely rarely heard her give a compliment. She is incredibly negative and I find her extremely difficult to be around. So yesterday when she started screaming and shouting about our boss, I thought it best to stay away. She has often bad-mouthed our boss behind her back, she seems to have no problem making disparaging comments about our boss's intelligence, lack of follow-up and controlling nature. But yesterday, my coworker heard our boss complaining about her. Oh boy. According to my coworker, it is just absolutely unacceptable for anyone to criticize her to anyone else. How dare anyone make the insinuation that she is less than perfect? If she made a mistake, it was definitely someone else's fault, anyway. On and on and on I heard her yelling and screaming through the door of her office. Ranting and raving about the audacity of our boss to say anything negative about her. Hmm. I couldn't really muster a whole lot of sympathy for her. I wonder why.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Go Me!

In an effort to reduce the stress that has been pounding down on me lately, I have overcome a major hurdle - One grad school application done - only one more to go (and most of the hard work is already done).

Go me! Congratulations are much appreciated.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


Reading Heather's post this morning scared me a bit. Someone else who gets thinky? Who broods? I guess there must be a few others out there like me, but who knew that it happens to them on the same days? Like Heather, last night I was thinky. And annoyed. And probably really annoying. Valentine's Day is hard for those of us without someone to celebrate with. Together with the pressures that have been building up over the past few months, I didn't take it well. (I apologize to those of you who bore the brunt of my boiling over - you know who you are.) I got thinky. And tried to figure out what was bothering me so badly. As humans, I think we all crave some sort of stability in our lives. Things we can count on, day in and day out. People who will be constant in our lives. Change is scary, because we don't know what to expect. Sometimes even if the situation you are in is not ideal, at least you are used to dealing with it, you know what to expect and it is comforting, even if it is not necessarily good. I haven't had a lot of stability in my life. I have moved a lot. People have come and gone with amazing rapidity. Things have been in constant flux. I guess I have adjusted pretty well to it, but the truth is, I hate it. I want stability, and assurance. I am facing a lot of change coming up in the next few months. And I am really scared. I don't know where I am going to live, what job I am going to have, where I will be attending school, or who will be the people filling my daily life. It is really scary. And I am finding myself paralyzed to do what I need to do to effect those changes. Because part of me knows that I am scared to step out of my comfort zone, even though I know that many of these changes are probably best for me. The problem is, you can't stop life from happening. Stability is great to want, but I can't control everyone and everything else in my life. The things around me are going to change and evolve, regardless of the stability that I want, the constancy that I desire. And I have to deal. Even though I don't necessarily want to. I don't think I would stop time if I could. Maybe I would just make it a bit slower. Or I would force only one thing at a time to change, so I could acclimate myself before having to deal with something else. Or give myself a crystal ball so I would have some warning... I guess for now I will keep dreaming, and hoping for stability to come. And try to deal with the changes that are thrown in my direction with more grace and poise than I currently am. And appreciate those who support me when I am feeling unstable. Because, honestly, they do make all the difference.

Monday, February 14, 2005

The Goo Goo Dolls have a beautiful song called "Iris" that I have loved for years. One of the lines in the song goes, "Yeah, you bleed just to know you're alive." Once in a while, especially on commercial holidays whose purpose is to make single people feel inferior and inadequate, I know exactly what those lyrics are talking about.

My Adventure

I had quite an adventure yesterday. My car was almost completely out of gas, so first thing (okay so it was almost noon, but it was Sunday) I drove to the gas station around the corner from my apartment and pulled up next to the pump. I got out of my car with just my credit card in my hand, and filled my car up with gas. I finished pumping my gas, turned around to get back in my car, and realized I had locked my keys, along with my purse and cell phone, inside the car. Now, I am not completely irresponsible. My roommate does have an extra key to my car. But of course, this was the weekend that she had decided to go out of town. I also have a special wallet key that the car dealership gave me that I keep in my purse so that if I lock my keys in the car, I still have a key with me. Except that my purse was locked in the car with my keys at the moment. I walked to the service station cashier and explained to the woman what I had done. She couldn't help me much, the service station was closed because it was Sunday. I told her that I was going to leave my car there (what else could I do), walk home and hopefully be able to find an extra key there. I walked the few minutes home, along the way realizing that not only was my car key locked in my car, so was my house key. Luckily, I am way too trustworthy, so I don't always make sure my windows are completely locked. I opened a window from the outside, and crawled into my apartment (I'm sure my neighbors enjoyed the scene). I got in my apartment, and searched up and down for an extra key. No luck. I called my roommate and asked if she had any idea where one was. Of course she knew where one was - on her keychain in New York! Oy. I have a roadside assistance service through my warranty on my car. Of course all that paperwork was inside the car. I looked up the dealership number in the phonebook, though of course they were closed on Sunday. Luckily, they had a recording with the emergency number on it. I called the emergency number and they were happy to send someone to unlock my car. All they needed was the address of where my car was. Oops. I can tell you how to get there, but I have no idea what the address is, and the gas station is on a little road that apparentely has no name. The woman on the phone was so nice - she helped me with online maps and together we figured out where the gas station was. She asked me what number they could call me back on. I told here that if I left my apartment, I couldn't be reached by phone (because, of course, my cell phone was locked in the car), so she told me that the locksmith would call me ten minutes before he reached the gas station to let me know that I should meet him. About half an hour later I get a call from the service guy telling me to meet him at the gas station. I walk over and it takes him a total of thirty seconds to get into my car. I thank him profusely and we both drive our separate ways. All in all, a pain to have to deal with, but alls well that ends well, and only an hour of wasted morning (good thing it was a Sunday). Moral of the story - be careful with your keys!

Friday, February 11, 2005


Last night, I was planning a quiet evening at home, resting. I was a bit under the weather so I thought I would spend some quality time on the couch, snuggled up with a good book and my cat. Then my roommate called, and asked if I would go with her to Silver Spring. Normally, I wouldn't be tempted. I wasn't feeling well, it was cold outside, I didn't see any reason to get off the couch. But then she mentioned who we would be visiting. Nana. The cutest, sweetest grandmother ever, who my roommate happens to be lucky enough to be related to. Nana is so cute. She radiates kindness and sweetness. Her presence is so comforting and warm. There is absolutely no way you could possibly not like Nana. As we were sitting at dinner, my roommate was telling Nana how much she loved her, that Nana was at the top of the favorite list, all the time. Nana's eyes welled up, and she told us that sometimes she just feels like she is the luckiest person in the world. What a refreshing break from all the complaining that so many of us do, that I had been doing earlier that evening. It was wonderful to have a Nana evening. I think everyone needs one once in a while.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

My Spiritual High

Chayyei Sarah recently wrote extremely honestly about the emotional rollercoaster that is religion - the Highs and the Lows. Reading through her posts gave me a lot to think about. What are my religious highs and religious lows? Which do I currently connect with more frequently? Why? The lows I related to very much. Sometimes it is just hard to feel connected when you are tired, or sad, or having a rough day where nothing feels like it is going right (my morning yesterday being a perfect example). But Sarah's highs gave me a lot to think about. Her connection to the Jewish people is something that I have to question whether I have ever really felt. Growing up, I was always either the only or one of a handful of Jews in my school. I didn't share a whole lot of interests with the other Jews I knew, so I had very few friends who shared my religion. I have always valued my individuality, so I think the fact that I was a different religion from most of the people I knew actually made that part of my identity stronger than if everyone I knew had been Jewish. Because I was different, I had to define how and why I was different and I had to regularly delineate what it meant to me. And I was constantly asked by others to explain what it meant. Even today, when a lot of my friends are Jews, I value the opportunities that I have to connect with people who are different from me. I like comparing and contrasting different belief systems. Some of the most fascinating conversations I have are with a classmate of mine who is a religious Muslim. We often talk of our similarities, and the differences. I value the fact that we can get along extremely well based on our common interests, practices and belief in the human spirit, and belief in God. My religious highs come much more from my connection to Hashem. The reasons that I chose to become religious came from a search for meaning, and purpose, and a feeling that I have a special place in this world. That Hashem cares about me individually, and has given me a reason for being here. That He cares about my actions. When I can remember that, it gives me a spiritual high. When I am going through difficult times, I lean on Hashem and pour out my heart and tears to Him. My connection is much more with God than it is with the Jewish people. It is more personal than communal. So it was interesting to read Sarah's post and see the difference in her perspective. I guess there is more than one way to a spiritual high.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Why Can't They Get Married?

The question was asked on a new blog: "Why do you think people are having a hard time getting married?" Tobi of "The Shidduch Experiment" wrote an interesting response, which I think held a lot of truth. So, at the threat of my blog officially becoming a "dating blog" (which was definitely not my goal at the outset, but seems to be becoming more and more the case), here are my two cents on the topic: I think there are many reasons people are having such a hard time getting married. I think there are a few singles out there who just have not found the right person. But I honestly think this is rare. I think there are a lot of people out there who are scared of getting married, though I don't know if they would admit it. They get very comfortable with their single lives; they are independent; they don't have to answer to anyone. Disturbing that peace is scary. Many of these people who have gotten very comfortable in their lives see the climbing rate of divorce; they see the unhappy marriages around them, and suddenly, the reasons to get married seem less and less important, and the person needed to lure them into changing their lives so drastically becomes harder and harder to find. In order to disturb this life that, while definitely lacking an important component, is very comfortable and familiar, singles want more and more from their potential spouse. They are hesitant to settle for less than "perfect." Committing to someone is a huge step, and it takes a lot for it to be "worth it" to change their currently comfortable lives for something that is unproven and which holds no promise of being successful. As time goes on, I believe it becomes harder and harder to make this big step, especially for less than perfection. Along with that, I think there are people who are not necessarily scared of commitment, but are honestly too picky. They keep looking around the corner for something better. They think they "deserve" certain attributes in their spouse that they themselves might possibly lack. They have a long list of "must-haves," many of which are probably fairly unimportant in the grand scheme of having a healthy marriage. They shoot so high that there is no way of any one person being able to fulfill all those aspirations, and they keep thinking that this perfect specimen is out there, they just haven't found them yet. I think there are those who are told by their communities what they should want in a spouse but it is not in line with what they really need. So they continue dating people who are what their parents or friends think are right for them, but that they know won't be what they really want. They are trying to impress those around them but they know inside that it is not the right kind of person for them. I think there are people who don't know themselves well enough to know what they need in a spouse, so they mold themselves to whoever they are dating, while not feeling comfortable in the relationship. They date all kinds of different people, but since they don't know who they really are, they have a hard time feeling like they are being true to themselves in a relationship, which is important in marriage. I think there are the people who have never learned to act in a mature adult relationship and as time goes on, it gets more and more difficult for them to do so. They never feel truly comfortable communicating openly and freely with a member of the opposite sex, especially about difficult or important topics, and it makes it hard to get to a point where they are ready for marriage. I think the advancement of women has made it hard for both men and women to figure out how to relate in a marriage. Women having to juggle careers and family, and men having to deal with a woman who might have goals other than raising children has shifted the balance of the traditional marriage. I think some people are still reeling from this, and don't really know how to handle it. I think there are more reasons, and I could go on an on. No one reason answers the question for all singles. And there is more than one reason for some individuals. I don't know what the solution is. I think singles need to look deep inside of themselves and try to be extremely honest about what their issues might possibly be. And then they have to work on themselves, which isn't easy. I know many, many singles, and we all have some issues. I hope and pray every day that they will find the right people for them, and that they will be able to commit and have a happy marriage when the right time comes. And hopefully that time will come soon.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Individuality and The Fountainhead

I recently read The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. It was a fascinating book, one in which I couldn't figure out what was going to happen (one of my pet peeves about books is that you often know exactly what will happen the minute you pick it up). What really fascinated me about the book was what it said about individuality. The story was about a man, Howard Roark, who stood up for his personal beliefs, which often left him standing alone.

He was often criticized for his individuality. Society, led by the writer Ellsworth Toohey, descried his disregard for popular opinion as selfishness. To not value about what everyone else values meant a lack of caring about others. Standing up for what you believe, not giving in to popular opinion, meant that you only care about yourself. What was interesting is that Roark, who stood proud as an individual, asked for nothing from anyone. He didn't care about money, fame or popularity. He didn't care what others thought, or what they gave him. He freely gave up everything to stand by his individual beliefs. Those who claimed to care about society wanted the fame and fortune, which to me would signify a much greater selfishness than the opposite. Toohey desperately desired to steer society into valuing whatever he told them to. And often, just for his amusement, he told them to value the unworthy. Like sheep, society followed suit. They were enraged at the thought of an individual standing up and daring to say that he could think for himself. I agree with much of what Rand illustrated. What I don't understand is why individuality is so threatening to so many. Why does society care about those who go against the grain? The only answer I can think of is that when someone refuses to follow the beaten path, it is an insult to those who did follow it. Those who popularized the common route want it to be popular. An individual doesn't reinforce that; he makes it less popular just by his refusal to accept it. I guess a lot of people don't like thinking for themselves, it is harder than going along with what you are told. But Howard Roark, by determining himself what is important, was the strongest character in the book. And those who wanted the popular were the weakest. Being a strong individual is not easy, but I believe the rewards are worth it.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

No Longer a Pitcher

For many years, when I got upset, I would throw things. Not at people, usually at walls, sometimes just across a room. For some reason, my frustration, or annoyance, or sadness, or hurt, would come hurling out of me in the form of a projectile object. I recall flying pens, knick knacks, and my first cell phone finding their death through my emotions hurling from my fingers in a non-targeted pitching practice. The last time I remember throwing something was just over two years ago, when the guy I thought I was going to marry ended our relationship over the phone, refusing to give me any reason. The moment when he hung up on me, I picked up the thing closest to my fingers, and threw it into the opposite wall. At the time, I thought that moment was the worst of my life. I realize now, after not having thrown anything for over two years, that it was actually the best. Getting over that breakup was one of the hardest things I have done in my adult life. (And in writing that, I realize how incredibly lucky and easy I have it.) While it was an incredibly difficult experience, I can honestly say I gained immeasurably from it. I grew so much more in having to deal with that breakup than I would ever have if I had married that same man. During the months that followed my final flinging episode, I learned to depend on those who loved me. I learned that my value absolutely does not depend on being involved in a romantic relationship. I learned that it is okay to hurt, and to be sad, and to express it to others. I learned that there are times when it is okay, and appropriate, to cry. I found out which of my friends were really there for me when I needed them, and that it was okay to show my weaker side to those people. I also found out what many of those people really thought about me, and surprisingly, many of them valued me more than I did. From which I learned to value myself more. I think the growing that I did as a result of that breakup taught me how to better deal with my emotions, therefore leaving me without the need to hurl things across the room when the going gets tough. I no longer find myself turning my possessions into a baseball when I am frustrated; I now find myself leaning on those who lend their support, talking out my troubles rather than trying to throw them as far away as possible. I am no longer a pitcher. But now I am much more in control of the game.