Friday, July 30, 2004

Travel Advisory

For those of you who have somehow managed to miss the fact that I am leaving for Israel this weekend, this post is for you.

I'm leaving for Israel this weekend. I will not be back until August 18th.

There will be little posting, if any, during the time that I am away.

I should probably leave you with some original words of wisdom, but I think the famous philosopher, Bill S. Preston, Esq., said it best:
"Be excellent to each other."

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Shopping for Love

I apologize for the lack of posts in the past few days. It's been rather hectic here in my world. But since I'm about to leave you all for a few weeks while I go frolicking and scampering across the HL, I figure that I owe you an insight into my mind before I leave. This was the brilliant analogy that popped into my mind on my way home from a last-minute shopping excursion after work yesterday.

Finding the right guy really isn't all that different from finding the perfect outfit. Some outfits don't even inspire you to try them on. Some look great on the hanger, but simply don't fit you when you give them a try. Others actually fit fairly well and even look half-way decent, but you know deep down you'll never actually wear them, but will just leave them hanging in the closet. Still others fit well and look good, but are just more than you can afford. And then there are the last ones, those true finds that you simply have to have, because you know you'll regret it if you don't.

Of course, there are a few flaws in this analogy. When I go shopping, the clothing has no say in whether or not I take them home with me. And clothing has no feelings. Although I may, at times, experience regret, the clothing could not care less, and probably does not share that regret (Ok, so maybe this part does apply to guys).

Becky says I'm good luck when shopping. Yesterday I not only managed to find exactly what I was looking for, but I found it at 75% off the already marked-down price. So, as Becky pointed out, I may not have found the right guy (yet), but at least I've got a killer wardrobe!

Monday, July 26, 2004

Smashers Final Update

The regular season is now over. After a rather sad game in which the Smashers gave up an 8-4 lead, we finish the season with a 3-4 record. We had some good hits, but a few too many fielding errors and fault decisions. Still, it was a fun game. I did not get on base again, but I had at least one decent catch at 2nd base.

So ends the season for me. As I frolick in the Holy Land, I'll try to cheer the Smashers on to an amazing post-season. If I remember to, that is. I have a feeling I'll be a bit distracted.

T-6 Days

I leave in under a week. I'm so excited that I can't really express it in any other way than to bounce up and down and sing the "I'm Going To Israel" song. It goes a little something like this:

I'm going to Israel!
I'm going to Israel!
I'm going to Israel!

The best advice that I've been given so far definately comes from my uncle: "Have a great trip; try not to shake up too many yeshiva bochurs and whatever you do, don't come home with one!"

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

In Case You Were Wondering...

Thin Mints and peanut butter really don't go all that well together.

Consume This!

I'm a kind of girl. I check the website several times a day. Normally, like most frequent 'Net surfers, I simply ignore the various advertisements, having trained my eye to only see that which I want to see.
Today, however, a particular ad on the homepage caught my eye. It was a picture of a large platter of shrimp. Looking more closely, I saw that this was a consumer survey link, with the heading "Dinner at Red Lobster On Us!" Reading on, I see that it is really offering a $50 gift card to Red Lobster, Outback Steakhouse, Olive Garden, Applebee's, and many more (personally, I'm more interested in the "many more").
Seems like a great offer, right? Fill out the consumer survey, win a $50 dollar dinner. There's just one problem. We (i.e. Jews) don't consume shrimp. Or lobster. Or 99% of the items offered at any of these restaurants. Didn't they get the memo?

Monday, July 19, 2004

Smashers Update

We won! Woohoo! We crushed the other team, and won by slaughter rule in three and a half innings. The game was over quickly enough that we decided to keep playing, unofficially, just for fun. And even then, the Smashers batted through the entire line-up in one 'inning'. But it gets even better than that...
I got on base! Twice! And this time, it was legitimate. Truth be told, I should have been out at first the second time, but the first baseman didn't make the catch. My first at-bat, however, was a gorgeous, MLB quality line drive over the third baseman's head, right down the baseline. They didn't stand a chance.
Next week is the last game of the regular season. Since I'll be frolicking in the Holy Land after that, I'll miss the playoffs, which makes this coming Sunday my last game. It's a little scary to think about how fast the summer is going by.
Smasher's record: 3-3. One game left. I already achieved my goal for the season, so I suppose there's nothing left to do but surpass it. I'm going for an extra-base hit. There will be no stopping me. I am a softball hitting machine.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Life Through My Eyes

I was walking from the bus stop to the grocery store yesterday after work, and my brain broke somewhere along the way.
Admittedly, I was very tired. But as I was walking, I saw, at the end of the block, two large, vertical reddish objects in the middle of the sidewalk, facing one another, with bright yellow zigzagging up and down. I, logically, assumed they were two men dressed like giant hotdogs.
As I got closer, I realized that it was really just red scaffolding with yellow caution tape wrapped around both posts.

It would have been so much cooler if they'd been giant hotdogs.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

The Shul Debate: Follow-Up

Before I begin discussing the topic itself, I want to thank and applaud both Velvel and MO-C for the way they responded to my post. The tone of it had been angry and a bit abrasive, but they looked past that to read what I was trying to say. Instead of getting defensive, they both examined their own words, and took my post to heart. Velvel and I had a mature conversation about the issue outside of the blogosphere, making sure that our friendship was not damaged by our differences of opinion and/or blogging styles. It just goes to show that even the blogosphere can be menschlich.

As for the issue real cause for concern was not, and is not, the subject of break-away minyanim. Mo-C is tackling that debate in a couple of separate posts. Nor is my concern really about the difficulties of finding a comfortable place to daven in our "hip" neighborhood. Velvel is covering that well enough.

My concern is with the distinction between venting and lashon hara. My friends here in Chicago, who I respect and adore and for whose friendship I am grateful to Hashem, have been growing increasingly negative and critical over the past six months. Hardly a shabbos goes by now where something or someone does not come under attack because it is different from what we, as a group, tend to prefer. Sometimes the criticism is justified. Yet sometimes I feel it really isn't, and it's just complaining for the sake of complaining. That sounds harsh, and someone will undoubtedly disagree with me on this.

So here's an example: the rabbi recently wrote a small piece for the weekly shabbos bulletin. One of my friends saw the rabbi's name at the bottom of the essay, and immediately snorted and dismissed it out of hand. I called my friend on this, asking why the essay should be dismissed before it is even read. My friend later read it and acknowledged it to be interesting.

Was the snort really necessary? I don't think so. Yet the snort, and all it symbolizes, has become commonplace at our shabbos meals. Divrei Torah, on the other hand, are growing increasingly rare. I'm worried about this trend that I'm seeing in the people I care about. None of us are such chachamim or tzaddikim to be at a level where we have the right to judge what others are doing. I strongly believe that when you search for a reason to be unhappy, you'll soon find what you're looking for. I also believe the opposite, and that we have so many positive sources of inspiration around us, and in each other, that we have no cause to spend so much time dwelling on the negative.

I know that some of my shabbos crew are in the habit of reading my blog every so often. And so I'm going to use the power of the blogosphere for good instead of evil (the quest for world domination will just have to wait), and issue a challenge:

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to spend an entire shabbos without unnecessarily voicing a criticism or negative comment about anyone or anything associated with the shul (this includes the rabbi, the Board, the davening, the time we finish Adon Olam, and the length of the announcements). Every time you feel the urge to speak negatively, speak a word of Torah instead. Try it for one whole shabbos. Somehow I have the feeling that our shabbos ambiance (and our neshamos) will benefit from it.

Change of Pace

Things haven't been all that amusing here in Cara's World lately, for obvious reasons. But I'll state them anyway, so you don't have to go searching through old posts to refresh your memory. On account of the Three Weeks, this blog isn't all that socially active, which significantly decreases the potential for idiotic encounters. And I miss my Bear-Bear already, and have not yet come to terms with the suddenness or the necessity of his death. Still, my faithful minions come here for...well, I'm not entirely certain what you all come here for, but I owe it to you to deliver something more interesting than pictures of a dead cat. (Well, he was alive when the picture was taken yesterday, but you know what I mean)

I did have one slightly amusing moment on Saturday night, when I was hanging out with a friend from college. He called me again. It's been a good two months since the last phone call. I, of course, did not answer the phone, but let it go to voice mail. True to form, he left me his number again. I really don't understand why he's calling me. I guess I'm just highly addictive. All it takes is a five minute conversation and they're hooked.

Now I just need to figure out a way to reduce this to pill form, and I'll have the next designer drug. Or a new perfume. Why wear Body by Victoria or Eternity by Calvin Klein, when you can wear Cara by Cara?

In Memorium

a.k.a. Smokey, Smokey the Bear, Smokey Bear, Bear-Bear

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Smashers Update

I've been remiss in my updates. I'll use the excuse that I have had other things on my mind.

I made it to first base. And then to second, third, and home plate! Twice! (No, they were not homeruns. But that would have been really cool.)

Unfortunately, the other team never showed up, and so we were merely playing against ourselves. So, officially, I'm still hitless. But at least I now know it is physically possible for me to hit the ball and make it safely to first base.

I also tried batting lefty. I think I might actually have made better contact. Further research is necessary.

Smashers record: 2-3. This Sunday, we'll break .500, aided by my newfound batting prowess.

I Really Need A Hug

It's only 9:34 in the morning, and I'm already having a horrible day.

Yesterday was great. I was productive, I got to play with Adin, I talked to friends who live far away. And then I walked in the door at midnight, and my mother told me to sit down. That's never a good sign.

My cat has leukemia. My wonderful, funny, temperamental but incredibly sweet, adorable kitty cat Smoke, who likes to be chased down the hallway, and roll around in the bathtub, and stretch out on my pillow while tangling his paws in my hair, has leukemia. We thought it was just a thyroid problem when we took him to the vet. My mother and I are supposed to take him back tonight for more tests, in case they missed something, but it doesn't look good.

And then the vet calls this morning. It's not just cancer, it's Stage Five cancer. Which means that, with chemo and what-not, my kitty cat has, at most, a few weeks to live. A few painful, horrible weeks of watching him get weaker and weaker. No thank you. So instead of just having more tests done tonight, we'll most likely say goodbye and put him down.

We've had Smokey since I was seven (that's 16 years, for those who don't like math). Up until a few weeks ago, he didn't even seem sick. And now, in less than 24 hours, I have to come to terms with Stage Five cancer, and putting him to sleep.

How do you say goodbye to a creature that barely even knows his own name? And how do you make sure he knows how much you love him?

Friday, July 09, 2004

The Shul Debate

I really did not want to post about this. I'm thoroughly sick and tired of the shul-bashing and general lashon hara against the community I live in, and have lived in my entire life. First it was just Velvel. Well, he has the right to complain on his own blog, even if I don't like the manner in which he sometimes does it.

Then that post was cited on Protocols. Great. Now people all over the blogosphere can have a negative opinion of a neighborhood and shul they've never stepped foot in.

Now MO-C joins the discussion, based on Velvel's post. Which would be fine, if everything Velvel said was accurate. So I suppose it's time to speak up and join the fray.

Velvel said "At shul they were greeted by people who told them they should be ashamed for showing their faces at shul, and going to kiddush. And that our minyan is breaking up the shul." Mo-C interpreted this the way I was afraid that people would: that this other minyan was "not at all well received by the members of the shul. Those opposed to the minyan accused the breakers of dividing the community." To say that this other minyan was not at all well received by the members of the shul is not really true.

Only two people really, truly spoke against it. Two out of hundreds. One of them is an outspoken person with a reputation for being abrasive. The other is a wonderful 80-yr-old man who has devoted his time to the shul in a variety of ways over the past 20 years(one of them being a regular daily minyannaire, which is more than I can say for a lot of the people who were at this other minyan).

No one (aside from this outspoken individual) made "accusations" about breaking up the community. Some others may have voiced concerns, but that is entirely legitimate. How do I know this? I was there. Velvel did not go to kiddush.

Unhappy with the davening? Fine. Don't agree with the rabbi? Happens all the time. Need to go find something that fulfils your needs? Do so in good health.

But please do not use your own frustration as an excuse to speak lashon hara against a community. Go ahead and kvetch. Just be diplomatic about it. Or at least accurate.

The shul is not perfect. I'm not even always happy there. But speaking lashon hara about a community and posting it for the world to see? In my book, it's just not cool.

I know the tone of this post is harsh, but I'm angry. I was going to hold my tongue, when it was just Velvel. But I just can't be quiet about this anymore. If the tone of this has offended anyone, I apologize.

I'm An Innocent Nerdslut!

This one was just too funny. I had to post it. Really, I did.

What's your sexual appeal?
brought to you by Quizilla


There were a few questions that I really couldn't make up my mind about. So I went back and took the quiz again, to see what would happen. This time, it turns out I'm a...


Now, I have been told that my glasses give me a "cute librarian" kind of look. The intelligence and the thirst for knowledge part I'll accept. Now if it had only said "off-the-wall" charms instead of "wallflower"...

So when you combine the two, I'm a wide-eyed Anime wallflower (from what can be seen behind the glasses) who cuts loose while acting innocent, and is exciting and fun to the dirty old men who meet my high standards. Sweet!

I Always Knew I Was A Goddess

It's Dumb Quiz Friday! Woohoo!

Let the *optional* fun and games begin!


?? Which Of The Greek Gods Are You ??
brought to you by Quizilla

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Who Am I? Where Am I? What...

I promised a weekend report, which I have yet to deliver. And so, here it is, in brief:

Friday: Cubs- Woo! Win- Woo! Sox- Woo! Lose- Woo!
Shabbos: Minyan at Joe's (more about this later), I got caught in the rain, and puzzled over the parsha.
Motzei Shabbos: I went dancing. It was great. One of my female friends from college (who I dearly wish lived in Chicago) came to visit, and we had quality girl time. Much, much needed girl time.
Sunday: The Crazy Cubbie Crew convened. First a BBQ. Then we watched the Cubs sweep the Sox. Then we went out to a bar, and decided to drive to Milwaukee the next day for another Cubs game.
Monday: 3rd Cubbie game in 4 days. I got attacked by pastrami, and did a few cartwheels.

I know this is a very quick synopsis, and I'll undoubtedly reflect more upon it in the future, but there are too many things running through my head again. Among them:
* Lashon hara. Speaking lashon hara against a community. How to let your friends vent, but still curb their lashon hara.
* Being one of the guys, but not being mistaken for a guy. This is an old problem. You'd think wearing skirts would somehow ameliorate this, but it really doesn't.
* Having fun, being young, and still liking myself in the morning. (I'm exaggerating)
* Being naive and cynical at the same time.
* Grad School. Must apply. Soon. But where?
* Israel. Have I mentioned that I'm leaving in 24 days?


Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Sheva Assar B'Tammuz

While I had an amazingly fun weekend, it doesn't quite seem right to post the usual weekend update right now. So you'll all have to be patient, and wait until tomorrow or the next day.

But today, I think we'll keep things fairly somber and low-key. Sheva Assar B'Tammuz and Tisha B'Av are not easy fasts for me. I find it incredibly difficult to keep my mind focused on the reason behind the day, on the meaning of it all. Yom Kippur is far easier, because it's a yontiv. But being at work, going about my business, and trying to keep at least a part of my mind focused on Sheva Assar B'Tammuz and the start of the Three Weeks (as opposed to just thinking about the fact that I'm hungry)'s not easy for me.

So, to keep things somber, I offer this link, sent to me by my father. (Note: it really should be watched with sound)

Friday, July 02, 2004

It's Funny Cuz It's True...

You are Sir Galahad.
Cheery and Go-Lucky you fight for a noble cause..
To keep your virginity, or lack there of. You
keep to yourself mostly and stand tall among
your friends. You sometimes wish though that
your friends would leave you be when temptation
is at your feet. Don't they know you deserve
just a little bit of Peril?

What Monty Python Holy Grail Quest Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Song o'the Weekend


After 23 years of living in Chicago, I finally get to go to the Crosstown. And it's on my turf.

Weekend prediction: Cubs take two of the three. Let's just hope it's the two games I'll be at.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

T-Minus One Month and definitely Counting...

Not that I'm excited or anything. Really. Not at all.

Oh fine. Maybe just a little.


Adi's most recent post just reminded me of yet another reason to be psyched for my trip to Israel, and the fact that I will be on an army base for two weeks.

I draw your attention to picture #11. I submit this as Exhibits A, B, and C. I'm sure you will return with the proper verdict: soldiers are hot.