Friday, May 28, 2004

One of the Guys?

This blog has long been considered "one of the guys", which is normally a good thing. Guys make fun friends. Guys yell at the TV during sports games, and tend to watch fun cartoons like Futurama and Family Guy. I happen to be fortunate enough to have a number of truly amazing guys as my friends, both here in Chi-town, and scattered around the world.

You'd think that after being "one of the guys" for so long, I'd understand guys better. The truth is, I only understand my guys, the ones who I drink bourbon and yell at the TV with. The others I can't even begin to understand.

I keep running into the same problem: I think a guy wants to hang out with me out of friendship. Most of the time, I think this because he said so. Then, after we've become friends, either he, or someone else, tells me that he's actually been attracted to me from the get-go.

Why not just be honest about it? I hate leading people on. Really, truly hate it. The biggest problem in not being honest about these things is that, ultimately, it ends up casting doubt on the entire friendship. Did he only want to hang out with me because he thought I was cute? Was the entire basis for the friendship a lie? Then I find myself over-analyzing everything (because, despite the bourbon and the baseball, I am still a girl, and therefore overanalyze), wondering if I somehow led him on, and gave him the wrong impression.

I guess the bottom line is that I really don't understand guys at all. I try to be very honest when I'm just looking for friendship, so as not to hurt someone. It would be nice if guys returned this favor. I can handle someone not being into me in a romantic way, as long as he tells me. But don't tell me that you're just looking for friendship, if it isn't true. That's not fair to me, or to our friendship. And if he is into me in a romantic way, well...it'd be nice to know that, too.

Yontiv? Shabbos? Tuesday? Huh?

This blog is incredibly disoriented at the moment. Between driving back from Cleveland on Monday, diving almost immediately into Shavuos, and coming up for air just long enough to bake challah for shabbos, it's a little difficult to know which way is up right now. I think I'm moving diagonally. Or in a bizarre zig-zag.

What a crazy, crazy week. Good, of course. But crazy. I think I may need to go visit the Land Beneath the Sofa for a spell, until the days of the week fall back into their proper place.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Another Tip for Guys

When you think a girl is cute, don't stare!

Please. It's really creepy.

Especially when you don't talk to her, but just sit (or stand) and look at her. And when you've already known her for something like 5-6 months, and she's tried to make it clear that she isn't interested. Staring at her and creeping her out is not likely to make her change her mind.

Weekend Report- The Big Day

After waking up way too early, and then spending several hours vegging out and doing not much of anything, this blog began her only day to go do stuff in Beachwood/Shaker Heights/Cleveland. Sadly, it didn't seem like there was much to do. So, we did what all Yidden do in such situations...we ate. This turned out to be the only truly negative experience of the weekend.

The food was fine, but, as is often the case in kosher restaurants here in the Midwest, the service was not. Appetizers arrived after the entrees, drinks and parts of orders were forgotten. But all this would have simply been forgotten had it not been for the sushi. It took forever, and one of the individuals at the table got very angry about this. His response was to verbally lash out at the server, who immediately got defensive, because, well, she'd just been the recipient of a verbal lashing. Turns out she's not even a server, but a cook asked to fill in due to a staff shortage. Now, whether or not she was at fault (which I do not believe she was, as it also turned out that the sushi chef is known for being temperamental and slow), or whether she should have responded as she did (or even at all), I was horribly embarrassed to be sitting there. No one should ever be treated the way that woman was treated. You don't speak to people like that...ever. It's just not menschlich. I have a real issue with rude Yidden. I'd prefer they took their kippot off before opening their mouths.

Moving on, I left the restaurant to go two doors down for a manicure, where Becky was waiting for me. We both chose pretty shades of pink to match our wedding outfits, and then sat down for what is quite possibly the worst manicure either of us has ever received. Becky even filed and shaped her own nails, because the manicurist did such a poor job of it. It was quite the experience.

Between the restaurant and the manicure, neither one of us was overflowing with simcha when we got back to the hotel. But during the process of getting ready (which I will not explain here, lest I reveal the feminine secrets of why it takes us so long to get ready for big events. Or small events. Or anything that has the slightest potential to turn into an event), we regained our good cheer.

The wedding was beautiful. There's really not much more to say. The best part was just watching Yosef and Tova look at each other, and seeing how obviously bashert they are.

There was one really funny mix up, which I'm happy to say revolved around me. After the chuppah, I went back inside and found my table card. Table 7. I figured that some of my other friends, like Becky and Velvel, would also be at my table, since we'd all requested mixed seating. Yet Becky was at Table 18. And then she told me that there wasn't going to be any mixed seating, so we were both quite puzzled as to why I'd be put at a different table from her. Going back into the main room, I realized it was even stranger than I'd thought...Table 7 was on the men's side! Table 18 was on the women's side, and was were every single woman from the shabbaton was placed. I guess since I drink bourbon and like sports, I rate high enough to sit with the boys. (Note: we resolved the issue by simply making room for one more chair at Table 18. The guys at Table 7 weren't my type, anyway)

Weekend Report- Saturday night

I know that some of the others found Beachwood/Cleveland to be a bit dull on Saturday night, but I didn't think it was so bad. Then again, I was also with a college friend who I hadn't seen since graduation. The first bar was very normal, with pool tables and 80's music. It also happened to be $1 Mixed Drink/Ladies Night, which might factor into why I liked the bar. I learned something important about myself there: I might be the worst pool player ever. My friend Matt says that pool is really just a matter of physics. I, apparently, have an amazing ability to defy physics, as there is no explanation whatsoever for why the little balls went where they did.

The second bar was rather weird. It was sort of underground, with dim lighting and dark wooden tables and chairs. It looked like an underground cafe, with a whole wall devoted to wine racks. The weird part was the 7-11 style refridgerators along a different wall, full of beer. It just didn't work for me. Neither, for that matter, did some of the people who joined us their. I just don't have much patience for rudeness, and I find it very rude for people to sit down at your table, not give their names (even though you gave yours), ignore you, and then call you by the wrong names when they deign to speak to you. But maybe that's just me.

All in all, motzei shabbos was great. It was fun seeing Matt, and learning how truly awful I am at pool. The weekend continues...

Weekend Report- Shabbos

Wow.

This blog has to give major props, kudos, snaps, and maybe even a few gold star stickers to Prodly and Becky for their amazing display of organizational abilities. Somehow they got about 30 Jews, most of whom are young, stupid and/or single, to convene in Beachwood, Ohio for a "We Can't Believe Yosef is Actually Getting Married" Shabbaton...complete with a minyan, a Torah, a mechitzah, three cholents, chicken schnitzel, and an astonishing range of other foodstuffs. You guys rock!

By now, you, my faithful reader, should have caught on that shabbos was simply fantastic. The highlight would probably have to be shabbos lunch, and not just because of the three cholents. As Yosef was understandably the King of the weekend (complete with his own throne on wheels! But that was probably more because of his gimpy status), he declared that the meal was not over until every single person in the room (or their spouse) had given him a bracha. Some were funny, some were sweet, and, as one person pointed out, the most intelligent l'chaims were all given by women. It was just such a wonderful way to spend the shabbos before your friend's wedding. It also says quite a bit about Yosef, that so many people made the effort to spend the whole weekend in Ohio, rather than simply drive or fly in on Sunday in time for the wedding itself. I don't know exactly what it says about him, but I know it must say something.

Friday, May 21, 2004

New Favorite Word

Cara-phrase (v):
1) to be Cara, while paraphrasing;
2) to paraphrase in a Cara-like fashion.

Cara-phrase (n):
1) A summation delivered by Cara in her own unique manner;
2) A summation phrased in language reminiscent of Cara, or delivered in a Cara-like fashion.

(This blog is only partially to blame for the creation of this word. It was first uttered by Avi. This blog is only guilty of not forgetting it, and for defining it. And posting it for all to see. But really, it's all his fault. Really.)

All About Me

I keep learning new things about myself.

A couple weekends ago, I learned that I can do the merengue. A few days later, I discovered that I love orchids. Today, I just learned that I'm either a nurse, and actress, or both.

I'm even more talented and multi-faceted than I imagined.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Yom Yerushalayim

To be honest, I don't know that I've ever given Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Reunification Day) all that much thought in the past. Possibly last year, because that was the first Yom Yerushalayim since I'd left Israel, which made it the first Yom Yerushalayim where I had a personal, experience-based connection. Strangely, even though I haven't been back in a year and half, this Yom Yerushalayim is on my mind far more.

I've never known a world in which Yerushalayim was not wholly ours. I cannot imagine an Israel in which Yerushalayim is divided. I cannot imagine a world without Israel, for that matter. So I find myself wondering why Yom Yerushalayim should mean so much more to me today than it ever has before.

Maybe it's because I'm planning my VFI trip for this August, and can therefore envision being in Yerushalayim again in only a few months. Maybe it's because only yesterday I called the local shaliach, and asked them to send me materials on graduate school programs for olim. Maybe it's because I sat down with my parental units last night, to talk about the possibility of me getting my MSW from Hebrew U, and found that they're completely willing to research and plan this possibility with me.

I've known for a while now that after next summer, I'll go back to school for my Master's. It's a stirring thought that, in only a couple of years, I could be going back to school in Yerushalayim, as an Israeli.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

The Fool on the Hill

Sunday was absolutely beautiful, which explains why I spent almost 6 hours outdoors. I was just rambling about my neighborhood, listening to the music and voices inside my head, and I decided to go walk in the park. And so I did.

Now, I have a tendency to go walking along the lake shore, instead of in the park. I'd actually forgotten just how lovely the park can be. As I was walking, I saw a hill (and there are not many of those in this part of the country) so I decided to climb the hill and check out the few from up there for a few moments before continuing on my way.

I must have sat there for at least half and hour. There was a statue (I didn't check to see of whom it was), so I sat at the foot of it, turned by back to the road that goes through the park, and looked out over a pretty pond sparkling in the sunshine, and listening to the sounds of the city. Some cars. Birds chirping. People talking on their phones. Children laughing, shrieking, crying. Dogs barking.

It's so easy, all too often, to forget to take time to slow down and just watch, and listen, to what's going on around you. Especially in a big city, where so much is always happening, and it's far too easy to just get sucked into the busy-ness of it all. How many gorgeous Sundays get spent running around doing other sorts of craziness, leaving no time to sit in the park and listen to the sounds of the world around you?

Monday, May 17, 2004

Belated Quiz

(Sorry, Gila, but the quiz you sent had way too many numbers in it. I think it encourages multiple personality disorder.)

speak and spell
You're a Speak & Spell!! You nerd, you. Just
because you were disguised as a toy doesn't
mean you weren't educational, you sneaky
bastard.


What childhood toy from the 80s are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Why can't I ever be something cool? Like She-Ra, Princess of Power? Maybe it's because I'd look horrible as a blonde.

Another Not-So-Manic Monday

I realized, to my astonishment and regret, that Cara's World has been fairly silent since Wednesday. This is unacceptable. We'll try to do better. Strange, and somewhat sad, that it's so much easier to blog frequently when I'm meh than when I'm perfectly content. But I'll try.

We had a lovely weekend here in Cara's World. Shabbos was very, very quiet, full of beautiful shluffy and much curling up on the sofa with my kitty-cats (which always ends up requiring taking allergy medication, but oh well.) Motzei shabbos was equally restful, which made a relaxing change from the craziness of the past few weeks. I guess my Social Life is coming down from its sugar high. That's ok. There will be plenty of crazy fun this coming weekend in Cleveland. (I may have just become the first person to ever say that about Cleveland.)

Sunday dawned bright and beautiful here in Chi-town, and the day just got better. I went for a lovely solitary walk (more about that later), and then went home for 20 minutes, only to turn around and go back out. I had to pick up Cubs tickets from a friend, and we walked around in the sun for a bit. When we parted ways, I ran into an old friend and her son, whom I haven't seen in at least 6 months, so I went back to their place to catch up and play with the baby. From there I met up with Denise, and went for another, brisker walk, which ended at Joe and Gila's back door, in time for dinner, and the season finale of Charmed. My little legs were tired by the time I finally got home, but it was a happy tired. The funny part is that when I woke up Sunday morning, I had no plans, and nothing to do.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Volunteering For Israel

Those who know me also know that I've been talking about getting myself back to Israel for over a year now, and have been hoarding all of my paid personal time for exactly that purpose. Sadly, the friend I was hoping to travel with is not in a position to be able to commit to a travel date, and so my trip has gone back into the hazy realm of 'someday'. And then, yesterday, Becky suggested going on Volunteers for Israel.

For those not in the know, VFI is a program that allows travelers to Israel to work on a military base, or in some cases, in a hospital, for 2-3 weeks. It's a program I've long known about, but not actually considered. Right now, however, it seems perfect for me.

I wasn't going to post about it until I got more details. Or, at least, informed my parental units that I was even contemplating it. But in light of today's murder of more Israeli soldiers, it seemed particularly relevant, and particularly important, that I post this after all.
I'm wondering if any of my faithful followers, or those who happen to wander this way, have been on this program, or know people who have. I'm just looking for feedback here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Moooving Right Along

Book sales are evil. Sure, they seem harmless, with their brightly colored, cheerful-looking "Paperbacks Only $5.00" signs, but don't let yourself be fooled...they're just trying to lure you in. Like flowers. And you're just the hapless little bumble bee, zipping along on your lunch hour.

Except that instead of a mouthful of yummy nectar, you find yourself with an armload of books, and a lot less money in your wallet.

Evil, I tell you. Pure evil.

Monday, May 10, 2004

The 'Right' Thing

It was sort of a strange weekend, here in Cara's World. I went into shabbos exhausted, physically, mentally, and emotionally. It happened to be Carlebach Shabbos at ASBI, and I was able to shed some of that emotional weariness. Some, but sadly not all of it. I was still so drained that I fell asleep by 10:00pm, which probably hasn't happened since I was 12 years old.

Shabbos day dawned bright and beautiful, and my body was refreshed from my long night's sleep...but my brain certainly wasn't. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't completely shed my Week of Meh. I had lunch with more than 20 people, outside in a lovely courtyard, and I should have been in a great mood. Yet all I could think was 'I need to get out of here.' Shabbos, sunshine, friendly conversation...and I was still just not myself.

And then came motzei shabbos. I was supposed to help Schmavis at the Piamenta concert. The fact that I just wrote 'was supposed to' makes it pretty obvious that I bailed on him. I don't normally do things like that. In fact, I can't remember the last time I broke my word to a friend. And why? Why would I do such a thing?

Selfishness. I had four options for my motzei shabbos: to help Schmavis, to go out for a friend's birthday, to go watch a video with married friends, or to stay home and wallow in my Meh-ness. I ruled out the video...if I was going to stay in, I would rather wallow. Yet I knew that I would feel even worse about myself on Sunday morning if I stayed in. So that left being a good friend, and helping Schmavis, or going out and making myself forget that I was feeling horrible about me. I chose the second. I got dressed up in a snazzy red dress, put on my dancing shoes, and stayed out until 3:00am. And I had a wonderful time. Really, truly wonderful.

But at what price? I broke my word to a friend, so that I could indulge myself in an emotional pick-me-up. So, of course, I now feel horribly guilty. It's not ok to bail on someone simply because you're not in the mood to follow through with your promise. Why did I then let myself do exactly that? I don't know. I simply don't know.

So here I am, on a gorgeous sunny Monday, wondering how to answer the question "How was your weekend?". On one hand, I regained a good deal of my self-esteem, which had gone AWOL in the past two weeks. And all I had to do to find it was let someone else down.

Friday, May 07, 2004

For My Married Friends

Guess there won't be an article about us single chicks...we're not supposed to even know about this subject until we take kallah classes.

Shout Out Revoked

Schmavis called me last night, pretending to be "I-Won't-Take-A-Hint-And-Stop-Calling Boy".

Obviously, since I'm revoking his shout out, it worked.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Shout Out

This is just a little shout out to my buddy Schmavis, for helping me put some things into proper perspective. Thanks, man. You've helped to banish some of the lingering meh-ness from my week.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Blogging for Charity

The Animal RescueSite is having trouble getting enough people to click on it
daily to meet their quota of getting free food donated every day to abused and neglected animals.

It takes less than a minute to go to their site and click on "feed an animal in need" for free. This doesn't cost you a thing. Their corporate sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate food to abandoned/neglected animals in exchange for advertising.

Here's the web site! Pass it along to people you know.

Ah-ha!

I found a solution. A way to reverse my Week of Meh.

I need to go find this bus again. Or else find the nearest DeLorean.

Word of the Week



Meh.

Travel Advisory?

Why is it that when my Social Life finally emerges from the Land Beneath the Sofa, my Judgment and Common Sense decide that it's a nice time to take a vacation?

Cara's World hereby declares the Land Beneath the Sofa a war zone, and therefore discourages travel to the entire region. We're closing the embassy, and advising all tourists to return home.

Maybe now Judgment and Common Sense will come back. Until then, I probably shouldn't make many decisions. And I certainly shouldn't start playing with my finances.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

???

Who is Laura, and why is her name and number in my cell phone?

And can I give her number to guys, when I don't want them to call me?

An Ode To Becky

I'm a terrible friend. Yesterday was Becky's birthday, and I neglected to mention it to anyone. Including Becky. While there is no excuse for my lapse in attention, I shall attempt to make it up to her by praising her on the Internet, where millions of people have the ability to read it.

Becky is honestly one of the most amazing people I know. Dedicated is a good word. She's dedicated to her husband, to Yiddishkeit, to her community, to her friends, and to herself. I can't say that she shines in one of these areas more than another, because the truth is that she's equally amazing in every regard.

I like to tease her about being a bit over the top sometimes, like when she puts together a shabbos meal for 15 people by cooking enough food for 35, which includes at least 5 different kinds of dead animal. But the truth is that I admire her for doing it. I don't think I'm as dedicated to any one thing in my life as she is to all of these things.

Perhaps the most amazing side of her is that she never sees any of this as over the top. There's no such thing as 'too much' when it comes to the effort she puts into things. I know no one else who is naturally that generous, and so unaware of how amazing she truly is (other than my grandmother, a"h).

And yet there's even more to her. She's warm and caring, on top of being generous. And she's fun to be with. Whether it's for a quick middle of the day coffee, a hookah, a movie, dinner, a game of Boggle, she's just fun to be with.

My life would not be as complete, and as pleasant, as it is if Becky were not in it. Having her as a friend is truly a blessing from Hashem. And, as I have just proven by doing something as dumb as forgetting to wish her a happy birthday, I don't deserve her.

Monday, May 03, 2004

Shotgun!

Elliott's car, to Cleveland, for Yosef and Tova's wedding.


You read it here first.

Advice Needed

He called me again this weekend. Twice. Adhering to my normal policy where this guy is concerned, I did not answer his call or return his message. Which makes me feel like a horrible person, but my guy friends have all assured me that I have no obligation to call him back.

I haven't spoken to him in about 3 months, and that was the only time I'd returned his calls.

Why is he still calling me? Do I call him back and tell him I'd like him to stop calling me? (Not that I'd ever actually be able to say that to someone) Or do I just keep ignoring him, and hope that he gets the point sometime within the next 3 months?

Your input is respectfully requested...

Weekend Report

A strange thing has happened to me in the past two weeks...I found my social life. I guess it had been hiding under the sofa, playing with dust bunnies, and finally decided to come back out into the sunlight. I guess it went a little bonkers in the Land Beneath the Sofa, though, because it's noticeably crazier than it was when it went into hiding. Still, I learned some valuable lessons from my crazy Social Life this past weekend:


1) IF you need to be somewhere at 7:30AM on a Sunday morning, which requires waking up no later than 6AM, THEN you should not go out on Saturday night.
2) IF you decide to go out on Saturday night, despite your mother's advice to refrain, THEN you should come home no later than midnight.
3) IF you stay out later than midnight, THEN you should at least be cold sober. At the very least, you should not share 9 bottles of sake among 7 friends until 2AM. And then split another bottle and a half of wine with a friend between the hours of 2-5AM.
4) IF you, very stupidly, decide to go out, THEN you should set your alarm before you leave your apartment. Or else, when you come home at 5AM, you run the risk of setting the clock an hour ahead, so that the alarm never goes off at the right time. And then you wake up at 10:30, thinking its 11:30 and knowing that you are very, very late for something important.

I think this weekend can be summed up with one word:

Oops.