Monday, February 28, 2005

One Down, Three to Go...

Chanukah may have been months ago, but I've finally managed to get item #2 from my wish list.

With the creative assistance of Big Brother, I have named him Oswald.

The other items continue to elude me. Though I'm beginning to think that not all of them are as out of reach as they initially seemed.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Service Announcement

We've added a new feature to Cara's World: two-way communication. Now you can e-mail The Management and share any thoughts, questions or concerns that you do not want to post in a comment. Please note that requests for my phone number or a date on Saturday night are likely to be refused. Unless you send a picture, and you happen to be extraordinarily good-looking.

The Management can be reached at caras_world at yahoo dot com.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Weekend Report

I didn't actually do much over the weekend. I was a bit under the weather, so I mainly slept and dozed and snuggled with my kitty cats. Despite the lethargy, there are three weekend highlights (in order of occurrence):

Spending time with Allie: We hadn't seen each other in over a month. We're fixing that this week, and having Allie-Cara time on Wednesday.

Unexpected phone call: I was on the phone around 10:45pm motzei shabbos, and my other line beeped. I recognized the rabbi's cell phone number, and quickly got off the other line. After all, if the rabbi is calling me two days after his wife had a baby, it must be something important, right? It actually turned out to be the rabbi's wife, calling me from the hospital. Turns out that the rabbi brought their daughters, Shayna and Cara, to the hospital to visit their mother and new baby brother. At one point, the rabbi asked his younger daughter (who is not yet 2 years old), "Cara, can I tickle your pulkes?" Little Cara answered with a very straight face, "No. Just Big Cara." The rabbi and Rachel had a good laugh, and Rachel decided that she had to call me (a.k.a. Big Cara)to tell me the story. She also told me that in the mornings, when Little Cara wakes up, she asks, "Where's Abba?" Her mother replies, "At shul." Little Cara then asks, "With Big Cara?"

Unexpected discovery: My mother has already begun clearing out unnecessary books, preparing for the fast-approaching day when I no longer live at home. My bedroom is going to become an office. In the course of her clearing out the bookshelves, she came across some treasures. Among them are my father's first Hebrew primer and the siddur that my mother carried at her wedding, and several books of tehillim that were my grandmother's. She also found a haggadah from Adar 1937, given to my 2 year old uncle by one of his little friends, less than a month before my family left Jerusalem to come to America. And the best of them all is a haggadah of my grandparents' from before they left Germany. Tucked inside the haggadah is the document of the sale of their chametz from Pesach 1934, their last Pesach in Germany.

I may not have felt very well, but it turned out to be an amazing weekend anyway. I'm still not feeling 100%, but I started my work week by talking to Foreign Correspondent Arliss. I really can't think of a better way to kick off my week.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Happy Happy! Joy Joy! #15

Mazel tov to Rabbi Asher and Rachel Lopatin on the birth of their son! I have no doubt that he will be as adorable and delightful as both of his big sisters.

For those interested and able to attend, the bris will be Friday morning after the minyan at ASBI.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Screw The Groundhog

The little rodent can say whatever he wants, but I know better.

Spring starts today.


Tuesday, February 15, 2005

News Flash

At approximately 2:45am CT, Cara’s World Foreign Correspondent Arliss reported that Glenlivet tastes good in coffee.

And now back to our regularly scheduled program…

Oh, So You See Dead People?

At the wedding this past Sunday, I was seated at a table with my good friend Susan and five Canadians. Since I have a fondness for Canadians (hello, Moose), one might think, at first glance, that this seems promising for yours truly. However, two of the Canadians are the chosson’s nephews, and even younger than me. I asked the one sitting next to me if he was old enough to drink yet. His response: “Yes…In Israel.” The other nephew isn’t yet old enough to drive. They’re going to be heartbreakers when they get older, though. But on with the story.

Susan and I get into conversation with one of the chosson’s good friends. He is very personable and easy to talk to. (Before any of you start to get ideas, he’s also happily married with three children.) At one point, early on in the evening, he asks both of us what we do. We respond, and then ask him the same question. “I’m in the funeral and monument business,” he says.

What exactly is one supposed to say in response to that? You tell me.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Unexpected Closure

I had a meeting in Hyde Park this morning. Hyde Park is the part of Chicago where I spent seven of my so-called “formative years,” in middle and high school. Since I didn’t exactly enjoy high school, my feelings towards Hyde Park have been somewhat negative. Any time I found myself back there after high school, I seemed to remember the people and events that had made me unhappy as a teenager. Like the boy I had a crush on who was too cool to be seen with me. Or the trendy girls whose approval I’d so desperately wanted, but who just laughed at me. In those days, like so many other kids in high schools across the country, I wanted to be cool, to fit in, to be part of the “in” crowd. I wanted to be pretty and popular. Yet I didn’t really care about who got busted by their parents for doing whatever with whomever over the weekend. I wanted to talk about Rwanda or Chechnya or something that actually had social significance. It wasn’t until college that I grew comfortable with my blatant streaks of dorkitude and realized that big brains actually are cool in their own right. Getting back to the point, however, Hyde Park was a graveyard of painful memories of an awkward teenage girl.

So imagine my surprise when, walking down 57th street to catch a bus back to my office, I realized that I love Hyde Park. Sometime during the years since graduation, those painful memories have faded, leaving nostalgia in their place. The memories are still there, and always will be, but the pain is gone. The lingering bitterness towards those girls who made self-esteem almost impossible and the boys whose very existence engendered confusion and teenage heartache has vanished. So this time, as I walked down those familiar streets, the memories in my head made me smile. Suddenly I appreciated how picturesque the narrow side streets and big houses really are. Suddenly I realized just how much I love walking on the University of Chicago campus. It was a dreary, damp, grey, windy morning and I couldn't possibly have been in a better mood as I walked by the school grounds.

I don’t know when I actually let go of those high school demons, or why it took my brain such a long time to figure out that I had. It doesn’t really matter. I’m not that girl anymore. More importantly, I’m not ashamed or embarrassed over having been that girl. I wouldn’t be the woman I am right now if she hadn’t been the girl she was back then.

Weekend Report/
Happy Happy! Joy Joy! #14

It is impossible to separate my weekend report from the happy announcement that is Bearish’s marriage to Denise yesterday, because my entire weekend was spent celebrating their simcha. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: being part of a community is one of the greatest aspects of this lifestyle that I’ve chosen. Celebrating a happy occasion is so much more than saying “Congrats” and giving a present. When the happy occasion is a wedding, the celebrating goes on for a week and a half, starting with the aufruf/shabbos kallah and going through the sheva brachos week. It’s indescribably wonderful to be a part of the celebrating.

My entire weekend was wedding-focused. I can’t remember the last time I spent that much time with that much estrogen surrounding me. Both shabbos meals were lovely and fun, filled with lots and lots of girl talk that would probably make most men squirm uncomfortably. Major kudos to Ronit, Miryam and Gila for all that they put into making the shabbos kallah extravaganza so wonderful. While I was too full of other tasty treats to sample any of Gila’s cookies (though I know they were spectacular, because they always are), this blog can report that both Ronit’s peanut butter chocolate bars and Miryam’s lemon squares were superb. Even if Miryam didn’t put them in the freezer to bring out the flavor.

My motzei shabbos was also wedding-focused, albeit focused on a different wedding. Emily was in town to hammer out a few wedding details, so we went out for coffee and planned and schemed. It’s hard to believe that there are barely over four months left until her wedding. I also learned that as maid of honor, I get to give to a speak. Since Emily and I have been joined at the hip since we were twelve, this could be a very dangerous assignment.

Sunday dawned grey and rainy, which ruled out the possibility of straightening my hair for the wedding. Besides, I was feeling lazy, and it would have taken two hours to do well. Finally it was time to get dolled up for the wedding, and hop in the car with my parental units. We got there just in time for me to swing into place behind the very beautiful kallah and sing her to the kabbalat panim. I get the prize for being the first one at the kabbalat panim to make the kallah cry. Actually, she made herself cry, when she was giving me a bracha. But it was her party, so she was definitely entitled to cry if she wanted to.

The entire wedding was wonderful. I’m not very good at describing weddings without being cliché. So all I will say is that the dancing was as full of joy and laughter and love and all those other warm, fuzzy emotion as it should have been. The chosson and kallah were beautiful to see together. And I learned quite a few interesting stories about the chosson from his pre-Denise days from his nephews, who were at my table. I danced so much that my legs were not very happy with me when I tried to make them get out of bed this morning.

It was an amazing weekend. Mazel tov, Barry and Denise! Thank you for letting me be a part of your lives.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Oh, The Irony

I went to a shiur on the concept of bashert during lunch today (one of the many perks of working for a Jewish organization- free lunch n’learns). At the beginning of the shiur, the rabbi asked what might the downsides be of believing in the concept of bashert. One man answered that there is a lot of room for human error. His example was a scenario in which a man is at a Speed Dating event, and the woman across from him just doesn’t like his shirt or tie, and so does not take him seriously.

He was wearing a chartreuse shirt.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005


Last Thursday morning, I actually got myself out of the house on time. This does not happen as often as I would like. I’m simply not a morning person. Particularly on mornings when I’m supposed to go to work. On this workday morning, however, I was even a few minutes early. To reward myself, I was going to stop at Starbucks and get myself a nice grande cup of coffee that tastes 132 times better than the sludge that comes out of the office coffee machine.

Thinking happy thoughts of the steamy latte sweetened with a shot of hazelnut syrup that would soon be mine, I boarded the bus. A very nice man decided that he no longer wanted to be on the bus, and vacated his seat just in time for me to claim it. The bus began to slowly make its way onto the Drive. Traffic was moving at a snails pace on this particular morning. The bus was barely moving. At one point, at the top of the on ramp, the bus really wasn’t moving at all.

Suddenly we hear the bus driver (though I think they’re called “Bus Operators” now) lay on the horn. Through the open window next to her, we can now hear a male voice angrily yelling, “You hit my car! You hit my car!” Ms. Bus Driver (henceforth dubbed Ms. BD) responds, “I wasn’t even moving! How could I hit your car if I’m not moving?” Angry Male (henceforth dubbed AM) yells, “You hit my car! You hit my car!” Ms. BD responds, “Honey, if I’d hit your car, you’d have gone shooting across the Drive.” AM yells, “You hit my car! You hit my car!”

AM then pulls over onto the shoulder, right in front of the bus. By “right in front” I mean “barely enough room for a member of the Lollipop Guild to walk”. He boards the bus, and informs Ms. BD, “You hit my car! You hit my car!” Ms. BD denies it. AM blusters about the damage. Ms. BD goes to look at the damage, and still maintains that AM hit the bus all by himself. AM turns to the 50 passengers and entreats their support. “Did you see her hit my car?” he asks. “NO!” respond the 50 passengers in unison. “You hit the bus!” “We weren’t even moving!” “We need to get to work!” Such cried could be heard from individuals in the crowd. AM turns back to Ms. BD. “You hit my car!” he says.

Ms. BD responsibly radios for a back-up bus to take the 50 passengers to work. Since the bus is already on the Drive, she asks AM to pull up his car further ahead on the shoulder, so that there would be room for 50 passengers to safely stand while they wait for their new bus. AM refuses to move his car. Ms. BD points out that 10 feet would probably suffice to keep 50 passengers safe from oncoming traffic. AM refuses.

Ms. BD asks the passengers to please be patient, and to leave the bus through the front doors, one by one. Each passenger squeezes through the narrow gap between the front of the bus and the back of AM’s shiny black BMW SUV, walks alongside the SUV while trying not to be hit by a moving vehicle, and walks back onto the shoulder out of harms way. Each passenger takes a look at the damage caused by the accident: a couple of paint scratches.

A couple of different buses come by, each picking up as many passengers as can squeeze onto the already full bus. By the time the fire trucks come, there are only 10 or so passengers left (including yours truly). Turns out one of the remaining passengers works at Traffic Court and had been watching the whole thing. AM had been trying to nudge his shiny black BMW SUV past the bus as it was trying to get onto the Drive. He’d nudged a bit too close and scraped the side of the bus, which was practically standing still at that point.

I managed to make it to work only 10 minutes late. But I never did get my steamy hazelnut latte.

Wisdom From A Cat

“Would you tell me please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the cat.
“I don’t much care where--,” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the cat.

--Lewis Carroll

Monday, February 07, 2005

Weekend Report

It was another lovely weekend in Cara’s World. Shabbos was not only quiet and peaceful, but also somewhere around 50ºF and sunny. I went to a friend’s for dinner and played Jewish geography with the other dinner guests. Shabbos day was mostly spent with Joe, Gila, and the increasingly cute and funny Dino.

Motzei shabbos, I accompanied Jake to a work party. We grabbed a quick bite to eat, stopped at my place so I could change outfits, and went out again to celebrate Leah’s birthday. And danced and danced and danced.

Sunday morning, my parental units and I met up with a cousin for brunch. It’s probably been the better part of 10 years since I’ve seen this particular cousin. Then I vegged at home until it was time for the Superbowl. I made my way over to Bearish’s, and enjoyed good company, awesome food, and mediocre football. The best commercial had to be the one from the American Mortgage Co with the cat. I finally got to taste Bearish’s famous (or infamous) hot wings, and declare them to be phenomenal. The homemade teriyaki wings, fried chicken, and fries were also incredible. Major Kudos to Bearish and Bryan for doing the cooking. I’ve decided that if the man I marry doesn’t come with his own deep fryer, we’re definitely putting it on our registry.

Friday, February 04, 2005

My Week In Review

Monday: I don't really remember much about Monday.
Tuesday: I worked out for the first time in over a year. All credit goes to Becky, for making me get off my lazy little tuchas to begin with.
Wednesday: I learned that I have a personal banker, and spent some time with my favorite toddler.
Thursday: My morning bus ride was disrupted by the most trivial accident ever (more to come on this later), I had a fascinating and exciting conversation with the Special Assistant to the Comptroller, and had a lovely dinner with my parents.
Friday: I spent this morning at a funeral. It was the first non-Jewish funeral that I have been to in 13 years. Now it's time to go home and get ready for shabbos. It's kind of a strange juxtaposition.

At some point in the past week, I also drove past a bus filled entirely with people dressed like circus clowns. I don't know where, when, or why, but I do know that I saw it.

A felicitous sabbath day to you all!

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Just What I've Always Wanted

A shady-looking Israeli who writes bad poetry.

Luckily, I have a wonderful friend like Becky, who promised to give him to me as a Valentine's Day gift. I wonder if he comes with his own camel, on which we can ride together into the sunset. The sunset, and my beauty, will then be described in hackneyed phrases and worn-out cliches and posted on eBay for all to read.

2/2/05, 11:20 - The bidding is up to $8.50. Do I hear $9.00?
2/2/05, 11:45 - There appears to be a little bit of confusion (ahem, DB and his readers...). The reigning queen of Cara's World (a.k.a. me) is not one of those bidding on Nir the Psychic Poet. He's not really my type. While I don't mind scruffy, I do have problems with oily (Particularly oily in the manner of Prince Formerly Known As the Artist Formerly Known As Prince). And while I have a weakness for men who make me laugh, it's probably not a good thing if I'm laughing at his attempts to be romantic. I also have my reservations about men who advertise their services on eBay. I guess I'm just picky like that. However, the Cara's World News Team will continue to monitor this situation as a classic example of PWSSSTIA.
2/3/05, 13:05 - In 26 hours, the price has almost quadrupled. It's up to $31 now, and there are still over 7 days left for this auction. (I once spent around $31 on a date, but that was because the guy taking me out hadn't brought enough to cover the bill. We didn't go out again, for several reasons)
2/4/05, 12:15 - We're up to $51 dollars. If he manages to stay at this pace of around $20/day, he'll make it to around $170 by the time this ends. Any predictions?
2/6/05, 13:53 - Sometime over shabbos, the eBay auction for this Luv Machine was cancelled. Perhaps the Powers that Be over at eBay didn't want their website being used for an international escort service. Can't imagine why. Clearly there's a market for sketchy guys who write bad poems and travel the world just to give a rose to one lucky lady. After all, there isn't anything in this world that some idiot won't shell out money for.

Food for Thought

“One who is needy and refuses to accept help, it is as though he shed innocent blood.”
— Jerusalem Talmud, Peah 8:8

It's always a bit jarring when something shows up in my inbox that directly relates to a topic I was already pondering. But how do you help a person who not only seems to refuse the help that is offered, but refuses to accept that they need help?