Monday, January 31, 2005

Weekend Report

We had a lovely quiet shabbos here in Cara’s World. Dinner and lunch at home with Big Brother and the parental units, both followed by shluffy-time on the sofa with my kitty cats. I meant to read and stretch my brain, but it just didn’t happen (sorry, AZ…).

Motzei shabbos was Denise’s bachelorette celebration, which featured a drag show and a lot of tequila. The drag show really makes you question the definitions of “male” and “female”. I mean, if it looks like a woman, and no longer has a shmeckel, can you call it a man? On the other hand, transexual surgery cannot get rid of a Y chromosome, so can you call it a woman?

On Sunday I ordered my bridesmaid ensemble for Emma’s wedding. I’ll have to go back for a fitting in about a month, but I’m not anticipating any problems. While selecting my ensemble was relatively painless, the store itself was a bit scary. First, the only men in the store were hovering near the cash registers or entrance way. They were undoubtedly even more frightened by the insanity than I was. The entire place was crawling with young women in white dresses and veils and manikins in white dresses and veils. While some of the dresses were fairly pretty, others were alarming. I saw one very pretty girl trying on a dress that had an ankle length skirt made entirely of tulle. So it just puffed out two feet in every direction. While she stood in the mirror beaming at her reflection, I wanted to scream “Noooooooo!” I know that there’s no accounting for taste, but still…

After surviving the bridal store, I made it safely back home, and spent 3 hours on the phone catching up with one of my college roommates. (Mikey, I owe you a phone call…)

Now it’s Monday. Veitur!

Friday, January 28, 2005

Matisyahu Concert Review

Last night, a group of at least 13 of my friends piled into several cars and drove to Milwaukee to see Matisyahu live in concert at Turner Hall. The last, and only, time I was in Milwaukee was part of Crazy Cubbie Weekend.

It was awesome. Despite my somewhat eclectic tastes in music, I have never listened to much reggae, so I’m really not all that knowledgeable about it. So all I can tell you is that I think Matisyahu’s music is unbelievable. He’s got such a strong voice, and I don’t know how anyone could hear him and not be impressed at his ability to combine chassidus with reggae. At one point, he did a human beatbox bit that was amazing. You’re hearing these sounds coming out of a Chasid, and somehow it just works. And that’s even before you add in his lyrics, or how he’ll introduce songs by explaining a bit about Jewish thought. I’ve never seen anything like it. If any of you have a chance to see him perform, I highly suggest that you go. Even if chassidus and/or reggae are not really your thing.

But the most beautiful part of the evening was not on stage. It was to the left of the stage, where a section had been set up for men to dance. (Thought: I happened to be sitting right behind the women’s dancing section, and so I got to watch 13- and 14-year-old frummie girls dance. I realized how very few of them actually know “how” to dance the way that their secular counterparts do. Yet the frummie girls all seemed so much happier and self-confident that I remember being at their age. I’m still self-conscious about my dancing abilities, and I have seven years of ballet, tap, jazz, and pointe under my belt. End of thought.) At first, the only guys dancing were three adolescents who could not have been older than 13. Two might have been Jewish, whereas the third was an African-American boy with dreadlocks. (Yes, I know, he might have been Jewish, too. He just didn’t look Jewish. That’s all I’m saying) After a while, two chassidische middle-aged men got up to dance as well. They were both probably in their forties, short and a bit stocky, with a scraggly beards that reached his chest, wearing a black hat, black suit, and white shirt, with tzistzis handing out. Very stereotypical chassidische Jews.

After a little white, the two Chassids joined hands with the three boys. The boy with the dreadlocks was holding the hand of one of the Chassids. And they danced together in a circle.

Blog's First Birthday

One year ago today, Cara's World emerged from the virtual ashes and was cast out into the cyber-void.

And there was evening and there was morning. The first post.

Feel free to travel back in time and enjoy the Posts of Blogging Past. I was much funnier back then.

Must Read

From my friend Avi.


Thursday, January 27, 2005

Truth by Esther

This is one of the funniest posts I have read in a very long time.

Even if you give Unmitigated Truth a try, and have to face the dreaded blue line, at least your date will look silly enough that you should be able to laugh yourself out of the doldrums.

Major kudos, Esther. (And that's 2 links in 1 day...this doesn't happen to many people in my world!)

The Evils of Kiddish Club

Word on the street (according to DovBear, Miriam Bloghead, and Esther) is that the OU is taking on the KCA, aka the Kiddish Clubs of America.

While my own attendance at KC has all but vanished over the past few months, I was nonetheless alarmed at these reports. Initially. Then I read the headline of the OU article.

I have nothing to worry about. They're going after the Scotch drinkers. I drink bourbon.

On This Day In History

1880 - Thomas Edison received a patent for his electric incandescent lamp.

1943 - Some 50 bombers struck Wilhelmshaven in the first all-American air raid against Germany in World War II.

1944 - The Soviet Union announced the end of the deadly German siege of Leningrad, which had lasted for more than two years.

1945 - Soviet troops liberated the Nazi concentration camps Auschwitz and Birkenau in Poland.

1951 - An era of atomic testing in the Nevada desert began as an Air Force plane dropped a one-kiloton bomb on Frenchman Flats.

1967 - Astronauts Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, Edward H. White and Roger B. Chaffee died in a flash fire during a test aboard their Apollo 1 spacecraft at Cape Kennedy, Fla. ALSO: More than 60 nations signed a treaty banning the orbiting of nuclear weapons.

1973 - The Vietnam peace accords were signed in Paris.

1985 - The secret three-day military-satellite mission of the space shuttle Discovery ended with a smooth landing in Florida.

And equally importantly (although I will not put a year on this little factoid, I will say that it was after 1967 and before 1985), my good friend Avi was born.

Happy Birthday, AZ!

The Wheels on the Bus

On most mornings, as I ride the bus to work, I close my eyes and try as hard as I can to slip back into the somnolent state which I had been enjoying before my alarm clock so rudely interrupted. This is, of course, assuming that I manage to get a seat. On the mornings when I have to stand and hold on for dear life, lest I topple over and take 50 other hapless commuters down with me, I generally stare out the window and enjoy the pretty scenery. Lake Michigan is fascinating to look at in any type of weather.

This morning, however, I found myself standing next to and chatting with a fellow shul member (and friend of Big Brother’s), which kept me awake enough to notice the bus around me. As we rode along, I found myself pondering two very important questions:

1) Which of the passengers standing near me is the one who smells like mothballs?
2) Why does 40-ish bald man in professional attire have a Carebear attached to his bag?

This led naturally to the companion question, where can I get one? It so happened that this little Carebear was Funshine Bear, who is my favorite Carebear of them all. (Moose Sighting- Two years ago, Moose sent a giant stuffed Funshine Bear to my office as a birthday present. I probably looked pretty silly riding the train home with a bright yellow bear half as big as I am tucked under my arm.)

Tonight I'm going to see Matisyahu perform in Milwaukee, which means I won't get to ride the bus home. I suppose I'll have to wait until tomorrow for another dose of People Who Superficially Seem Stranger Than I Am (hereby dubbed PWSSSTIA).

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Forget the Epilogue

I need a hug.

And then I need a drink. Possibly two.

And then I'm going to bury my head underneath my pillow and pretend today didn't happen. Maybe if I make the drinks strong enough, I'll be able to convince myself that it's still Friday, and that I still have my peace of mind.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Tu B'shvat

Today is Tu B'shvat, the New Year of the Trees.

Today is the day the amaryllis in my office blossomed.

Coincidence? I think not.

Friday, January 21, 2005

A Word From Our Sponsors

Moose likes it when I mention him on my blog. Moose is miffed that I have not mentioned him since he got engaged, even though I've spoken to him twice this week. Blog does not want Moose to be miffed.

Hello, Moose.

Career Change

I’m hereby leaving the world of overworked, underpaid do-gooders. I’m moving to Baltimore and going into business with the Star-K.

This is sheer brilliance. I don’t have to marry these people. I don’t even have to guarantee that they stay married. Just get them to the chuppah, and then book myself a trip to someplace exotic. Or, seeing as how I am a nice Jewish girl over the age of 22 years and 2 months, I can get married and make money simultaneously. I’ll move to Baltimore, make some friends, have them introduce me to some nice Jewish boys, pick one to marry, and then split the cash. It’s a win-win situation.

I don’t know which is more ridiculous: the JPost mentionting a repeal of the ban on polygamy as a solution to us pesky single Orthodox girls, or the Star-K referring to marriage as a “non-edible” mitzvah.

“Bad Stuff” – Epilogue

In Which Blog Gains Peace of Mind

Blog meets with The Professional, and explains the entire Mr. Collins saga. The Professional understands her point of view and agrees to intercede on her behalf. The Professional will speak to Mr. Collins and help him understand that he must cut off all forms of communication with Blog. Blog is pleased. She goes home, and makes herself a very tasty and very alcoholic beverage. And sleeps soundly through the entire night.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

"Bad Stuff" - Act Two

Scene One: In Which Blog’s Fears Become Justified
Mr. Collins begins implying that he feels more for Blog than friendship. As Mr. Collins continues to express his admiration, Blog repeatedly insists that she cannot feel more than friendship for him. When Mr. Collins asks for more of an explanation, Blog is forced to admit that she cannot feel attraction for him and never has. She reminds Mr. Collins yet again that he had told her he’d only wanted a friend.

Scene Two: In Which Blog Repeats Herself
Mr. Collins expresses his growing feelings. Blog repeats that she does not share them and cannot share them. Mr. Collins asks what happens if he decides that he wants a romantic relationship. Blog answers that there will never be a romantic relationship. Blog assumes that she has finally been understood and that such questions will cease to exist.

Scene Three: In Which It Seems to End
Mr. Collins asks Blog on a date. Blog says no. Blog repeats everything she’d been saying for the past few months. Mr. Collins asks if she’s sure. Blog repeats her refusal to go on a date. Mr. Collins says he can no longer be her friend. Blog is ok with this.

"Bad Stuff" - Act Three

Scene One: In Which It Begins Again
A couple of months have passed since Mr. Collins said he could no longer speak with Blog. He approaches her one day in a public setting, and asks her the same questions again. Blog repeats even more strongly that she cannot give him more than friendship. She adds that he makes her very uncomfortable and informs him that she screens his calls. Mr. Collins accuses Blog of sending mixed signals. Blog asks Mr. Collins to leave her alone forever.

Scene Two: In Which Blog’s Wishes Are Ignored
Blog and Mr. Collins repeatedly run into each other in public settings. Sometimes Mr. Collins runs away, and Blog is happy. Other times, Mr. Collins approaches Blog. Blog is cold and does not encourage him in the slightest. At one point, Mr. Collins approaches her again and offers to walk her home from a public event. Blog says no. The next day, Mr. Collins asks her when they can talk. Blog flippantly tells him to go away.

Scene Three: In Which Things Become Downright Creepy
Yet a couple more weeks later, Mr. Collins approaches Blog again. He compliments her on her appearance, and asks to speak with Blog. Blog says no. Mr. Collins asks if he should walk away. Blog says yes. Mr. Collins fleetingly touches Blog’s arm, asks her why she does this, and finally walks away. Blog realizes that Mr. Collins will never accept the truth from her, and calls The Professional. She sets up an appointment to discuss the situation with him.

This is where we are right now. Blog will meet The Professional in a couple of days. To be continued...

“Bad Stuff”

As promised, I will now begin to describe the bad “stuff” that has me preoccupied. It’s not a new situation, but it’s one that is getting progressively worse. Actually, I’ve alluded it to again and again. But, to keep it interesting, I will now present the chronicle of events in a slightly more artistic fashion, a la Cliff’s Notes.

Cast of Characters:
Mr. Collins
The Professional

Act One
Scene One: In Which The Primary Characters Meet
Mr. Collins approaches Blog one day, and says he wishes to become her friend. He emphasizes that he is not hitting on her. Blog knows that Mr. Collins is a very shy person who probably needs a friend, and agrees. Inwardly, Blog is relieved that Mr. Collins only wants friendship, because she knows immediately that she could never feel anything romantic for him.

Scene Two: In Which The Friendship Begins to Fail
Mr. Collins begins to call Blog on the telephone several evenings a week. He frequently calls to only say goodnight and then hang up. They occasionally meet and talk. The conversations are always very awkward and uncomfortable. Mr. Collins asks very personal questions, but does not divulge anything about himself. Blog finds herself screening his calls.

Scene Three: In Which Blog Begins to Worry
Mr. Collins verbally accosts Blog at her own birthday festivities. Blog asks Mr. Collins what he wants from her. She reminds him that he had asked her to be his friend and only his friend. She angrily tells Mr. Collins that both his questions and his timing are inappropriate.


Not only am I so distracted by all the “stuff” going on that I’m totally unproductive, but I’m also clumsy. I’ve been dropping things. I spilled coffee all over my coat yesterday. When I got home from work last night, I even put my pajamas on backwards. As they’d say in das Vaterland, mein kopf ist kaputt.

Not all of the “stuff” is bad. Some of it’s pretty darn fantastic. For example, one of my best friends from high school bought her wedding dress yesterday. I now get to go shopping for my first bridesmaid ensemble. And there are other good things which I’m not at liberty to speak about, but will undoubtedly be announced at a future date by the proper authorities.

In reality, there are only two sources of “stuff” about which I can do anything. One situation is awful. The other has the potential to be wonderful. The strangest part is that both have actually been going on for at least a year. Not too long ago, I mistakenly thought that a lot had happened in the past twelve months, because my life really looks nothing like I thought it would. Now I’m starting to think that maybe this past year was just one big distraction, and I’m really standing in the exact same place.

I’m not ready to blog about the potentially wonderful “stuff”. I have too much thinking to do, and none of my thoughts are the slightest bit coherent. But I think I can start blogging about the other “stuff”. Stay tuned.

Cara in CA

As promised, here is a recap of my vacation. I realize that after my previous post, some of you (*cough* Dov Bear *cough*) may be more interested in hearing about the drama I alluded to. Be patient. Some things will become clear. Others will have to remain cryptic, though, because the time is not yet right for me to reveal all. Particularly to some people who may be involved who may also read my blog. But first, my vacation:

Sunday: I arrive in CA around noon, local time. The headache caused by the shrieking child (Note: not crying. Not screaming. Literally shrieking. Ouch.) two rows ahead of me is miraculously cured by the giant bear hug I receive from my aunt. We stop for a cup of coffee, and fill any pauses in conversation by grinning stupidly at each other. We go to the home of her good friends and I pick oranges and tangerines in their backyard. (Note #2: Not only do my friends in Chicago not have citrus trees, but they also don’t have backyards.) We go to the grocery store and pick up things for me to nosh on. We pick up dinner, bring it back to her place, and watch old movies.

Monday: After a light breakfast, we get in the car and drive 30 miles to the Barona sovereign nation (a.k.a. Indian reservation), where we check into the hotel. We proceed to the casino. We go our separate ways. I lose money. We reconvene for a couple of hours. We go back to the casino. I lose more money. I decide that I’m sick of losing money, and go back to our room to watch old movies.

Tuesday: I wake up obscenely early and go back to the casino. I lose more money. Having hit my self-imposed limit on how much I’m willing to lose, I go get a cup of coffee. We depart from Barona around 11am. We drive back into San Diego, and wander around Old Town. It’s full of little stores that look very frontier- General Stores, leather goods, etc. Very cute. We also wander around Bazar Del Mundo, which is full of interesting shops specializing in arts and crafts and other goodies from Spanish-speaking countries. I guess this means the area really should be called Bazar Del Paises Hispanohablantes, but that takes too long to say. In the evening, we go back to my aunt’s place, and watch old movies.

Wednesday: We venture down to Seaport Village, which is probably my favorite part of San Diego. It’s right along the water, and full of great little specialty shops- hats, books, pewter figurines, stuffed animals, mugs, a store that only sells hot sauces and spices, a store for left-handed people, and so on. I ate ice cream in the sunshine, and called Big Brother to brag about it. Later in the afternoon, we went to Point Loma, so that I could look at more pretty scenery. The ocean is very big. I listen to an explanation of the history of Point Loma, but in German. (Note #3: Spanish names sound very funny in a German accent.) We go have dinner, and then go watch old movies.

Thursday: We have breakfast (mmm…crepes!). We go to the Sand Diego Zoo. We have lunch. We go to the airport. We hug. I go home.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Open For Business

I'm back. Didya miss me?

I will fill you all in on my vacation in the near future. I've been meaning to post, but life got in the way. There's a lot of drama here in Cara's World. Some good, some bad, and some yet-to-be-determined.

It seems that Cara has a few decisions to make.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Service Announcement

This blog will be departing for California Sunday morning, return to Chi-town in time to cook and clean for shabbos.

There may be posts. There may not.

Either way, a shavua tov to you all.

Mommy, Make The Bad Man Stop

And we encounter the same problem again.

I seem to be on some kind of sadistic merry-go-round. For the past several months, I have been saying the same thing to the same person. Each time, I hope that this encounter will be the last. Sometimes for a week, at most a month, everything seems to be over. And then it starts right up again. The same dialogue. The same result.

I've been honest. I've given up on trying to be gentle, because gentleness seems to be misinterpreted. I say exactly what I mean. Yet the other person chooses either not to believe what I say or not to respect my wishes. (For those Pride & Prejudice fans out there, think Mr. Collins. Somehow, my repeated requests to be left alone are being taken for "the coquetry of an elegant female").

I refuse to go through this again and again and again. I'm bringing in reinforcements. And if that doesn't work, I'm leaving the country.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Maybe the Muslims Are On To Something

There's a guy I sometimes see at the bus stop in the mornings, who works near me and therefore rides my bus. We shall call him Strange Bus Man. Conversations with him tend to be about things I'm not very interested in. He rarely seems to understand what I'm trying to say, but assumes that he understands perfectly. He has a very nervous chuckle which appears at odd times (like after he says, "Good morning." What's funny about saying, "Good morning"?). He's actually a very nice person, but not really the person I want to talk to for a 20 minute bus ride at 8am. Yet anytime he sees me, he always has to come stand next to me, and then sit next to me on the bus. Talking the entire time. (Note: I'm also not much of a morning person, and prefer to spend my morning bus ride in a state somewhere lost between sleep and wakefulness)

Thanks to Chi-town's snowlicious winter, however, I now wait for the bus completely bundled up. The only part of me that's visible is my eyes. So this morning, he didn't recognize me at the bus stop. I was able to spend my entire commute completely silent.

Since I can't seem to find my Invisibility cloak, I'm strongly considering investing in a burqa.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Why Kids Are Cooler Than Grown-Ups

Last night I babysat for the rabbi's kids - two adorable little girls, just shy of ages 4 and 2. When I knocked on the door, I could immediately hear the older girl exclaiming "Big Cara! Big Cara is here!" and the little one (whose name is also Cara, a.k.a. Little Cara) echoing "Big Cara! Big Cara!" The night consisted of making funny faces, playing with beads and Ima's old clothes, a pizza dinner, and watching Cinderella. Conversations began with questions like, "You wanna know what's funny?" and included words of wisdom like, "Yael is a Hebyew, Hebyew name." We giggled, played, ate pizza, and had a grand old time.

Today I'm back at work, where conversations begin with questions like, "Have you done ___ yet?" and include words of wisdom like, "Well, you're still single."

I'd so much rather be watching Cinderella and playing with beads.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Into The Void

I find that there are two main drawbacks associated with moving past/getting over something (or someone).

The first is that my head knows I've moved on. But sometimes the less logical parts of me seem to forget that.

The second is that there's nothing to slide into the vacancy. This either leaves me thinking about nothing, which is a complete waste of time, or makes me regress, which leads back to problem #1.

Maybe I should just start singing "Sound of Silence" to myself. Tramp through the snowy park softly muttering, "Hello darkness, my old friend". It might not fill the void, but it might be amusing for a while.

Move Over Lance

Maybe Madonna will start sporting one of these. Nothing like a little celebrity endorsement...

A Request

Please say Tehillim and a mi sheberach for my very dear friend Elizabeth (Miriam bat Rachel).

After going through a year of surgery and chemo for a brain tumor, she must now go through another six months of chemo for an entirely different brain tumor. She just turned 23 this past November.

Monday, January 03, 2005


Well, it’s done.

My application has been copied, three-hole punched, paper-clipped, sealed and given to the nice lady at the post office. It is now literally out of my hands.

As I walked to the post office, I was surprised that I didn’t feel more relieved to be done, especially since I’m sending it full three weeks ahead of the official deadline and a week ahead of my (adjusted) personal deadline. Part of my continued worrying was wondering if I should have answered questions differently, or expanded more on certain concepts, or emphasized a different aspect of my character. The bulk of it, though, was a fear that I’d missed some little instruction, like font size or double-spacing, that would cause them to disregard my application, that would nullify three months of effort. In other words, I’m a bit neurotic.

As I left the post office, however, all that neurosis vanished, and I finally felt the relief and elation that had been missing. I worked very hard and put together four solid essays. I had wonderful people to help me, who have me honest criticisms and suggestions for improvement. I have recommendations from excellent people who not only think highly of me (don’t ask me why), but also give perspectives on very different parts of my life. Last, I read the instructions carefully, check, double-checked, and then checked a few more times to make sure I’d followed them accurately. I even have a cute picture of me to go with the whole thing. (Their request. I don’t normally send pictures of myself to people I don’t know.) What’s to worry about? Either they like me and request an interview, or they don’t. Either way, I did my best, and now it’s time to relax and wait.

So here’s one last shout-out to the people who helped me throughout the whole application process. Much heartfelt gratitude goes out to my paternal unit, Big Brother, and Uncle Avi for their help with my essays and résumé. Sometimes I think you did more work than I did. I just put words on paper, but you helped them make sense. And gratitude equally heartfelt goes out to those who provided emotional support over the past three months, particularly Allie, Becky, Gila, and Amanda. I’d have torn out a lot more of my hair if you hadn’t let me bounce ideas off you and listened to me rant or vent when I got frustrated. And if Amanda hadn’t practically shoved me out the door, I would still be delaying my trip to the post office. Saying “thank you” doesn’t seem like enough, but I guess it will have to do for now.

Becky pointed out that I’m no longer going to Israel next year. I’m going this year. Funny the difference one word can make.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Happy January

I feel like I'm supposed to have some deep thoughts on the end of 2004 and the beginning of 2005. I don't.

I can safely say that my life looks nothing whatsoever like I'd anticipated 12 months ago. I don't know how much of that is because I have changed and how much is due to changes in the people and circumstances around me. A little of Column A and a little of Column B, I suppose.

New Year's is kind of like my birthday. I always expect to feel very different the next day. Older, wiser, hung over, something. And then I don't. Sure, when I say to myself "Hey, it's January 2005," it sounds weird. It's hard to believe that another year has gone by. And 2004 was certainly a very full year, full of every emotional imaginable. Hope, disappointment, longing, grief, joy, sorrow, delight, a few unmentionables. I put rose-colored glasses on, took them off, and then put them on again. And then took them off again. I wonder if I've actually learned anything.

This all sounds depressing, but it's not meant to be. Just my slightly incoherent ramblings, as I wonder if the start of the month of January is really any different than the start of February or March or any other month in the secular calendar.

Regardless, happy 2005 to you all. May it be a year filled only with joy, peace, and a world championship for my Cubbies.