Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Last, but Not Least

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I just came home from a department store; I'd found out that they already had extended holiday hours and that they were open till 10:00. So after I'd helped my kids with reading and other schoolwork, and once they were in bed, I headed out to the store at 9:00 p.m.

Now I know there are some power shoppers out there who, no matter how little time they're allocated in a store, they walk out with bags and parcels galore. These shoppers probably know exactly what it is they want, they set their radar to find it and do their business quickly. I, on the other hand, like to dilly-dally. I like to browse, amble through the different departments and see if anything catches my eye.

But an hour does not make Pearl a shopper. It makes her a browser, a browser who, nine times out of ten, walks out of the store with nothing because she claims she didn't have enough time to really shop. I anticipate that voice over the loudspeaker: "Thank you for shopping with us today. The store will be closing in a half hour." And I pseudo-shop some more. Fifteen minutes pass. "Thank you for shopping with us today. The store will be closing in fifteen minutes." And I browse some more. "It is 10 o'clock and the store is now closed. Please bring your final purchases to the checkout. Thank you and goodnight." At this point, I'm still browsing. There are lineups at the cashiers, so I figure that I still have time to maybe find something after all. I go up and down aisles for about five minutes until a store clerk notices me and says, "The store is already closed." "Oh," I say. "I was just browsing." And I leave the store empty-handed, but thrilled that I wield the power to be the final shopper, a pioneer in the final shopping frontier...

A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss

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Driving in to work today, I was fiddling with the radio dial to find some music I liked ( so many of my blog posts start that way, it seems). I stopped when I heard a classic Rolling Stones song.

Okay, I like some of their classic songs, and yes, they manage to put Toronto back on the map every couple of years before they start a new tour, and yes, they are rather talented for having passed through several decades of music while still remaining on top of the charts.

But I cannot stand to look at these guys...these 60+ year-old hipsters who still shake their butts and fly across the stage and live hard. Guys, haven't you heard? It's time to sit back, relax and let those old age pension checks roll in. You should not be doing what you're doing...even if you've still "got it," doesn't mean you have to "use it!"

As I drove in, I was mentally telling Mick Jagger to: "Check out a retirement village, start playing bridge or cribbage with the boys in the band, head out to the all-you-can-eat dinner buffets that feature a 4:30 p.m. early bird special, have a glass of warm milk and catch up on your Reader's Digest reading before going to bed at 10 p.m. Mick could organize the retirement village's talent shows once a month, and also teach dancing between his games of shuffleboard and weekly outings to the jai alai games. (did I mention the retirement village is in Boca Raton, Florida?)

I think Stephen Tyler from Aerosmith could maybe check out the same facilities for his planned retirement (if I have anything to do with it) in the near future. Maybe he and Mick could even room together.

See, I think Mick took these lyrics to heart:

"If you start me up
If you start me up
I’ll never stop..."

Please, somebody, make him stop!!!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Guess the Joke's on Me

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I work for a large book publisher. I read and copy edit manuscripts, catalog copy, ads, press kits, prelims, cover copy -- day in, day out. I've done so since the late eighties.

Sometimes you want to mix up the pot for a bit, so you go elsewhere in order to refresh your brain, and seek a change.

In 2000, I sought elsewhere for a change, for an addition rather, and began to do freelance work for a couple of other publishing house. Granted, freelance work was not regular, because of my time restrictions -- in March 2000, I had a baby and that took up much of my time -- but for the next two years, I managed to copy edit several manuscripts that were so far removed from what I'd been working on for my publishing company. For some reason (I still don't recall what it is), I took a break from freelancing between 2002-2004. Then I went back, this time with a new contact person.

I had to form a new working relationship with this person, because she was my liaison between her company and my getting books to work on. I guess I passed her personal test, because she began to offer me work. She even gave my name to a couple of other company contacts so that I could also get manuscripts from them at times.

Again, I've only done a handful of manuscripts for her, over the past year and a half, which was fine by me, according to my personal schedule.

But about a month ago, my company sent out an e-mail from the CEO, saying that our company had bought another publishing company.

You wanna know what? That other publishing company is the one I'd been doing freelance work for! How ironic is that!? How sad is that!? So that source of a little extra money for me is now plugged. And as luck will have it, I'll probably be the one to copy edit these newly acquired book part of my regular day job!

Does anyone out there have a publishing company that they don't plan to sell in the next couple of years? Do you have a need for freelance editors/ copy editors/ proofreaders?

Sunday, November 27, 2005

"I Don't Think So"

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Conversation between two mothers, who each have a five year old son, who just happen to be friends, as are their mothers:

New York Devorah: "Pearl, do you think you might go to see Judy & David at their Chanukah show?" (Judy & David are a husband-wife team of child entertainers; popular Canadian duo)

Toronto Pearl: "I saw it advertised, but no..."

New York Devorah: "The kids wouldn't like it...?"

Toronto Pearl: " My kids? No."

New York Devorah: "Not even N.?" (my 5 1/2 year old who is friends with New York Devorah's son)

Toronto Pearl: "You really think that my son who plays Game Cube, who is a whiz on the computer, who competes in sumo competitions and who plays well with his brother's ten year old friends would want to see this children's duo? I don't think so."


Toronto Pearl: "Oh ya, I did see Judy & David perform once. Child # 1 was age two and a half and middle child was two weeks old. That was the first and last time I saw them in a live concert."

Shall We Dance?

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I went tonight to my shul to take the first class in a four-week course in simcha dancing--these are the lovely circle and group line dances a la The Hustle that women and young girls do at Orthodox weddings while on their side of the mechitzah/divider. I've always watched them have fun on the dance floor, graceful, laughing and looking coordinated at the same time. In fact they make these organized dances look so easy and fun.

Even the men and the boys at some simchas, perhaps normally clumsy-footed, are so graceful in their own circle dances on the other side of the mechitza. They stay in step with one another, stomp with fervor and make their way around in merriment. Is simcha dancing a yeshiva high school credit, I wonder? Or is there a private dance teacher waiting in a Kollel hallway, eager to teach the latest dance moves to those willing to learn? While the wives are at home with the children, assuming their husbands are poring over a page in Gemara with a chevrusa, their men are doing the box step and a grapevine.

Not that I have any simchas that I know of coming up, but it's time to learn some of these great dance moves, so I don't have to stand behind the women at a simcha and try to copy their moves. It's time to learn to jump right into those circles or line dances and shake my groove thing.

I took my 8-year-old daughter with me, as the men of the household were at the latest Harry Potter movie, and it wasn't worth my hiring a babysitter for an hour.

Now, one thing I have, thank G-d, is coordination on a dance floor -- on any dance floor and with any kind of dance! So it was wonderful to catch on quickly and surely to the choreography that the five dances we learned in an hour entailed. It was a small group of women, which made it rather cozy, and my daughter, who surprisingly was shy, but participated nonetheless.

I had a great workout, I had fun, I knew exactly why I was tired after that hour of moving around. Now I just need to be invited to a Orthodox simcha or two where I can put these dances in action. you have my home address information for your invitation guest list? Just checking...

What To Wear to the Negev Dinner Tribute in Toronto

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What do you think of that header? Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Made me wonder... I discovered it a short while ago as a search that led someone to my blog.

People will Google just about anything, don't they? What did this particular person think: that they'd find a web site that gives a breakdown of items to wear and accessories to carry to this community tribute?

If the site said for men to go out and buy a Dolce & Gabbanna three-piece suit, would your husband heed that advice? If it said for women to take a spa treatment, then wear a Chanel suit and Ferragamo pumps to the evening, would they heed that advice?

What, exactly, did the person seeking out this information hope to find?

Pearlies of Wisdom? Nope, I didn't think so, either!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Su..Su...Sumo -- Giving It Your All

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Okay, so my little sumo wrestlers are in competition tomorrow. But not my daughter. She bowed out of the class...for now. So it's child #1 and child #3 who will be giving it their all.

I've actually watched a few minutes of their classes as they give their all -- I've seen child #2 and #3 (when she was still in class) go at it. Of course I was laughing hysterically; it wasn't much different than what I've sometimes witnessed at home, except that a circle on the floor is involved in the class. Child #1 had shown some good style with his opponents, but he has yet to learn how to show a "fight face"-- wipe that happy-child grin from his face and look mean and angry and ready to conquer the world...and a trophy, if one is involved.

And speaking of trophies...apparently, I found out today, that my husband also has given his all. He's paid a reasonable amount per child for this competition, so that each one will be guaranteed to walk away with a trophy. The martial arts school may only be asking for a few bodies to be bruised, but no feelings to be hurt as a result of the competition. Yes, a good strategy in itself, as the children rack up the points in each bout and build up their egos with trophy in hand.

Another good strategy? I could've gone into a trophy shop and bought a couple of trophies for the boys for less than the required amount the school is asking for. But then again, I realize that their competition is about the thrill of it all -- the fighting, the audience and the winning attitude that comes with doing your best and giving it your all.

Update: #1 child won 1st place -- gold trophy
#3 child won 2nd place -- silver trophy

Dollars might have been paid by all parents to guarantee each child a trophy, but the points the children accumulated in each round were done all on their own.
I'd say that after taking only 4 classes each as sample classes, my kids did pretty good.
This parent is kvelling...!

Friday, November 25, 2005

What a Wonderful World

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I was driving in to work yesterday and one of the morning radio programs I tune into had a song request by a young girl for Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World."

As I listened to the wonderful lyrics, I looked out of the car window at the gorgeous blue skies and the fluffy clouds of white, and could just visualize Louis with his jowly face, singing these lyrics and smiling his way through the words.

The song was over and I had to reach for a Kleenex. I found myself crying. Tears of happiness, sadness, disappointment, fear? Perhaps all of these...I'm not quite sure.


(George Weiss / Bob Thiele)

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

The colours of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shakin' hands, sayin' "How do you do?"
They're really saying "I love you"

I hear babies cryin', I watch them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll ever know
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world
Yes, I think to myself, what a wonderful world

Oh yeah

Are YOU Looking for ME?

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Now that you've eaten heartily and need to just relax for the day, here's a diversion. Take a look at what recent GOOGLE searches have brought folks to Pearlies of Wisdom.

1. han leia spanking

2. a prayer to ease the trials and tribulations of a teenager

3. something to keep chair from sliding on hardwood floors

4. need names of streets in Little Neck, NY

5. words of wisdom about butterflies

6. shtreimel

7. "Jackie Gleason" Gefilte Fish

8. explain opening the gates of wisdom


It' s scary -- the only thing I recognize out of that bunch is "shtreimel"!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

I Give Thanks For...GOOGLE Images

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Now wouldn't you know it...right after this picture was taken, this pilgrim and Native American were fighting like...c'mon, you know what I'm going to say, don't you...cats and dogs!

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all. (Sam Katz and Big Running Paw want to add their "Meow" and "Woof" to the greeting.)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Let's Talk Turkey

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Yes, yes, I know American Thanksgiving falls tomorrow. I just figured that many of you would be too busy with family and friends, and perhaps traveling to and fro, to read blogs in the next day or two. So I thought I'd have a bit of a head start. [according to the cartoon above, Big Bird didn't manage to get a head start... away from the rest of his Sesame Street -- seemingly demented -- pals!]

So I just wanted to wish my fellow bloggers and my blog readers who celebrate Thanksgiving a happy -- and hearty -- day! Being with family and friends is most important, traveling safely to your destinations is most important, and understanding the meaning behind the day and finding things to be personally thankful for is most important.

I know that MCAryeh's Thanksgiving dinner will be one in the true sense of the word. When the Temple is next rebuilt perhaps he'll bring a sacrifice of thanks to the Temple Mount or have it FedExed there, but for now this will suffice. No doubt Stacey will also be celebrating her family life, and her father's health that has improved tremendously in the past several months. AirTime will give thanks for life in the Detroit vicinity while thinking ahead to Thanksgiving in Israel next year, G-d willing.

Many of you have good reason to gather together and celebrate your lives and the lives of those around you. Your freedom, your good health, your children -- cause for celebration.

So while you Americans in America, you Americans in Israel, you Americans in Canada, you Americans in Europe and Asia sit and give thanks, while eating and drinking and being merry, remember just one thing on my behalf, okay?

"Save me a drumstick, some wild rice, and a piece of pumpkin pie...and when I'm off this damn diet, I'll be knocking on your doors to get my share. Got that?"


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Dedicated to a Recently Separated Mom

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Last night, the school choir that my daughter sings in, had a performance at a community fund-raiser. Several moms volunteered for the event to help assemble the choir and get them prepared with their choir outfits. I was among those mothers.

There was another mom there whom I can identify, but am not friendly with as we have had no real reasons to talk over the years because our children are not friends. Last night she seemed somewhat out of it, not participating in helping with the choir, and later she was sitting and I asked if she was okay -- she just didn't look right, so I thought she might be feeling ill.

She appreciated my asking and said she was fine but that she had a lot on her mind. A pause or two later, she repeated that she had a lot on her mind. And then she went on to tell me that she and her husband had recently separated and that there was lots to think about. With four growing children, yes, that's lots to think about. I told her that I was sorry to hear that, and even if I don't know someone and I hear about divorce or separation I feel sad for the people and their families.

So, to that mom, who's recently separated, and to others in relationships who've severed the ties, here are the lyrics to a most beautiful song written by Johnny Mandell. It's called "Where Do You Start?"

Where do you start?
How do you separate the present from the past?
How do you deal with all the things you thought would last?
That didn't last;
With bits of memories scattered here and there
I look around and don't know where to start

Which books are yours?
Which tapes and dreams belong to you and which are mine?
Our lives are tangled like the branches of a vine
That intertwine
So many habits that we'll have to break,
and yesterdays
we'll have to take apart

One day there'll be a song or something in the air again
To catch me by surprise, and we'll be there again,
A moment in what might have been...
Where do you start?
Do you allow yourself a little time to cry?
Or do you close your eyes and kiss it all goodbye?
I guess you'll try

And though I don't know where and don't know when
I'll find myself in love again
I promise there will always be
A little place no one will see
A tiny part deep in my heart
That stays in love with you.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Lettuce Entertain You, aka Quit Bugging Us!

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Heads-up, everyone:

Debugging of Lettuce Highlight of AKO Conference(New York)

The certification of bagged lettuce (to assure that they do not violate Jewish law by having bugs on them) was the subject of one of the key sessions of the annual Convention of the Association of Kashrus Organizations (AKO) on November 17 th at the national headquarters of the Orthodox Union. More than 70 Kashrus officials representing 55 international members of AKO attended the post Kosherfest convention. The two-hour session on lettuce was led by Rabbi Moshe Heineman of the Star-K, Rabbi Yisroel Belsky of the OU, Rabbi Shlomo Gissinger of Ches-K, Rabbi Lenny Steinberg of the OU, as well as the certifying rabbis at Bodek.

In an article in Kashrus Kurrents, a newsletter published by the Star-K Certification of Baltimore, Rabbi Tzvi Rosen hails the contemporary practice of washing and treating lettuce. He writes: “Aggressive washing and chemical treatments in the wash water removes and reduces the risk of the introduction of spoilage bacteria and pathogens. Fortunately for the kosher consumer, the same techniques that reduce bacterial presence will also remove toyloim, infestation.”

In addition to lettuce certification, the convention reviewed many important issues, according to Rabbi Sholem Fishbane of the Chicago Rabbinical Council who heads AKO. The convention opened with a message from Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of the Orthodox Union. The deliberations included a comprehensive review of European standards in kashrus, new concepts in food technology and how it affects innocuous ingredients, possible hazards to a mashgiach in tasting the various bittering agents in food processors, the concern of supplying the public with Pesach information without thorough visitations to the manufacturing facility, challenges and suggestions in certifying restaurants and caterers, values and standards of a mashgiach, and being more effective through the use of the Universal Data Base.

In addition to representatives of the OU, participating agencies at the meeting included the Star K and OK Labs, and rabbinical groups and Vaadim from all over the United States, Canada, and even London, England, as well as other interested observers.

Hmm...I wonder what kind of salad was served for lunch that day. I mean, a two-hour session on lettuce and bugs might not leave you with much of an appetite!


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Please be aware that the following post is not a condemnation as much as it is an observation.

For the past year, I've had the pleasure of corresponding with new and varied people, thanks to the world of blogs. I comment online, but comment offline, as well, and thus new lines of communication are introduced.

Growing up, I was taught to sign my general letters with "Sincerely" or "Yours Truly" or "Cordially" or other humdrum signoffs such as those. If the person was a close friend or relative, I'd sign with "Love" or "Hugs and Kisses".

When I was about 14, I had a mad crush on Barry Manilow. A friend of mine told me that her friend had written to him and had received a personal reply. I thought that I might have the good fortune of receiving the same, so I sat and wrote him a letter, found an address and mailed it off. Some weeks later, I received a reply -- a standard, impersonal form letter with a stock photo signed (imprinted would be a better word, as it was not truly personal) by Barry. It said "All best, Love Barry."

WHAT!? I thought. The man can't even sign off right? What's "All best"? The expression is "All the best". I thought I'd gotten some subpar photo, or that Barry had needed a proofreader before he signed his name...or that perhaps in NYC they said that. Being that it was such a busy city, maybe people were also too busy to write a complete thought: "All best" instead of "All the best."

Well, this past year I've encountered yet another editorial change to that signoff. I've been getting correspondence signing off with the very skeletal "Best." I guess that means "Best wishes" or "Best regards" or even "All the best." Maybe it's even shorthand for not fully writing but implying "You're simply the best"!

You know, I like that last rationale BEST. So any time, any of you write to me, please do feel free to sign off with "Best" followed by your name.

Hey, and don't worry if I still sign off with "All the best." I'm just an old-fashioned girl at heart.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

"It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like..."

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It's 6:30 on a Sunday evening. I'm in the kitchen washing dishes and listening to the radio. I tune in to the continent-wide John Tesh radio program. Before I know it, I have Bing Crosby serenading me with song...with a Christmas song?!

Last night I was cleaning up the kitchen after Shabbat and listening to the radio, expecting to hear an oldies-goldies radio program. Sure enough, it was oldie-goldie CHRISTMAS music playing for the hour or two that it was on.

People, it's NOVEMBER 20. The U.S. hasn't even celebrated Thanksgiving yet!!! What is with this Christmas music playing already...on the airwaves and over department store and shopping mall PA systems? Today Toronto had its annual Santa Claus parade. That is acceptable to me because the weather is still tolerable for families to face the outdoor elements while watching the progression of this big event (equivalent of the Macy's parade). But music?

Yes, call me Jewish. Call me an Orthodox Jew. But I still like certain ones of the Christmas songs, especially if they're sung by some classic singers. Some of the songs/singers have become great American standards already and are welcome on the airwaves. Some of the music is beautiful and the lyrics just keep you cozy.

I remember when I was a kid I'd watch the Andy Williams Christmas special, the King Family Christmas specials, the Peanuts Christmas specials, but I overlooked the trees and the religious facets of these specials to just get a sense of warmth and community from the songs being sung and the bells being rung.

I'm hoping that this year over the holiday season (which apparently, according to the music being played indicates that it's already the holiday season!) when I visit the nearby large shopping mall, which is in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood, I might even hear over the PA as I shop, "Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I made it out of clay..."

The Try-It Diet

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Okay, I'll admit it. I've been feeling "blahg" for the past week. Was it really because I felt I didn't have anything to blog about, or do the reasons go deeper? They go deeper of course. Truth is I've been crankier than usual. ("Pearl, cranky? I'd have never thought that of her.")
And why have I been crankier? Because I am on a D-I-E-T.

I have NEVER been on a diet. When girlfriends were starting to count calories when they were thirteen and fourteen years old, I thought they were idiots. I was tall and slim and had no need for that nonsense.

When my brother told me when I was about fifteen or sixteen that my "rear view" on the piano bench was getting wider, I scoffed at him. What the heck did he know? I was tall and slim.

When anorexia and bulemia were in fashion, I didn't even contemplate working my way into those categories because there was no need for that. I was tall and slim.

I'm still tall; I'm not so slim. Yes, I've been asked many a time if I'm expecting, and I just laugh and say either "No, it's just 'baby fat'!" or I say, "No, but I've been expecting you would ask that!"

When I moved homes a couple of years ago, I stored some of my smaller clothing at my parents' home; I did not want to toss out the clothes or donate them because I had hopes of being able to fit into them once some point in time. Yes, yes, I know styles go out of fashion, but for the most part I wear clothing that is classic, and thus timeless.

I joined a health club last fall, and went about 8 times over the course of the year. That was money down the toilet.

We bought a rowing machine earlier this year -- it is such a beautiful piece of equipment, and matches my bedroom furniture -- but I had never even sat on it.

But the time has come to join the masses and diet. My husband is my coach, my mentor, my cook, my conscience, my sounding board. He's been on the receiving end of my continual complaints this past week -- moaning about feeling hungry, groaning about the repetitive foods I'm eating, bitching about how tired I feel... you get my drift.

It's not just a watch-what-you-eat-leave-out-the-sugar-and-salt kind of diet; it's rather regimented and food specific. But being on this "meal plan" since Monday has made me aware of how much I really like breads, and sweets, and pasta, and fruit juices -- and how much I miss them...thus the general crankiness.

But I know I've lost several pounds already in these few days. On day #1 of the diet I was at my parents with my children for lunch; I hadn't told my folks that I was on a diet, so they prepared a wonderful milchig spread -- bagels, lox, various salads, pasta, cream cheese. I couldn't touch any of it -- could just have a touch of pretty plain salad and a few green beans. My father was so pleased when I confessed that it was the first day of a diet, that he said "Congratulations!" I told him, "Dad, don't congratulate me now, congratulate me at the end when I'm skinny again."

I've turned down social invitations over this past week and next that involve a meal. I learned (especially from being at my parents' home this week) that it's not so nice if a host prepares a lovely spread and you can't partake of any of it. After a couple of weeks, I'll be more in tune with my diet and will perhaps venture into "eating out."

Until then, I'll stick to my water, to my salads, my tuna/salmon/grilled chicken/grilled veggies, raw veggies and nuts, and hopefully when I next talk to you about my diet, it'll be because I've succeeded at it!

And yes, our ergonomic (water) rowing machine will be getting to know me better too, and vice versa, in the coming days...

Friday, November 18, 2005

All Roads Lead Back to You...Blog!

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Some newly coined (or so I'd hope) blog lingo for today:

blog gig (n.) -- chance to guest host a blog. As in: Jack announced, "I've got a blog gig over at the Shmatta Queen's place. Catch you there."

blogcast (v.) -- when one's blog is categorized by general theme. As in: For the record, The Jewish Connection has been blogcast as "Jewish identity."

blogtrotter (n.) -- a reader who skips from blog to blog. As in: That blogtrotter Pearl cruises down her blogroll continuously and peeks in at everyone's words and comments.

blahg (adj.) -- when you just don't feel in the mood for blogging. As in: Lately, I've been feeling very blahg and haven't had much to say online.

blogclog (n.) -- when Blogger is down "due to technical difficulties". As in: "Damn, so much to say today, but there's a blogclog online. Better write my thoughts down somewhere else so I don't lose them later."

blogowitz (n.) -- refers to any Jewish blogger whose keen sense of humor shines through in his words. As in: It is has been said many times by many people that Neil Kramer of Citizen of the Month is a known blogowitz.

echopost (n., v.) -- a post/posting about something that someone else has already covered in their blog. As in: Admit it, many of you search news items to blog about, but in fact they become echoposts of other popular blogs. How many times can one read about Cindy Sheehan?!

blogorism (n.) -- something you read on someone else's post and "take away" with you. As in: "Honey, A Simple Jew said this today in his blog. [tell what ''this'' is] I'll have to remember that blogorism."

blogoriety (n.) -- self-explanatory, isn't it?

blogophilliac (n.) -- another self-explanatory term. Also serves as a synonym for "Pearl".

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Brain Teaser

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If I have nothing to blog about -- I don't want to be like some other bloggers and just continually link to articles ; and I don't want to write about my children or post some of my creative writing or give a play-by-play of my daily life -- does that mean I've become boring...even to myself?

Monday, November 14, 2005

Things That Make You Go "Hmmm...."

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Little things in life can keep me guessing, can keep me wondering, can basically just stun me into silence. Coinicidences are often grand and memorable.

Take yesterday, for instance. My five-year-old had been invited to a birthday party. He was so excited because it was his first school party he'd been invited to, as this is his first year attending school. My son was doing a countdown for about three weeks: "'ll be Shabbat, and then the next day is Sunday and I have swimming lessons and then after swimming it's DA's party." At this point he'd clap his hands and smile in glee.

So yesterday came and my son was elated and anxious. "When will you take me to DA's party, Eema?" "Are we going soon, Eema?"

Well, we got to the party and it was a pleasure for me to see the birthday boy and his family, especially his grandparents. You see, this little boy's maternal grandmother used to babysit me when I myself was five years old, my son's age. Her first grandchild is friends with my son!

Okay, at the moment I'm tired, so those grand and memorable coincidences I spoke of above...? At the moment there are no others that are memorable. My brain is mush. My fingers are tired. And I'm signing off...

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The Dawn of a New Pearl

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Today I experienced a "first"--probably a first, or second or third that would be meaningless to the majority of you readers, but to me it had great meaning. It touched me, plucked a personal heart string, and carved itself into my memory.

Today I was asked for my autograph.

Sure enough, I've signed my autograph many a days gone by. In the autograph books of classmates and later in the high school yearbooks.

And of course, I "autograph" each and every birthday card or condolence card or simcha card or general personal note that I write.

But today, at the launch of the Canadian Jewish annual literary journal, someone approached me with a copy of last year's -- not even this year's -- journal and asked if I wouldn't mind autographing it.

Over the years, I've practiced my signature -- first name, maiden name and married name. As a published writer, I try to use all three, and want to transfer it onto someone else's page. Today, I could do just that!

And I didn't sign a copy for just a simple person who came out to the book launch; this woman, to whom I was briefly introduced as a "poetess" by a common acquaintance, is a well-established poet herself who has a city-wide poetry group that does events annually throughout the city. When she went on to invite me to join a session in my area, I had to decline and say, "I'm just a fringe poet...a dabbler...I don't really qualify." She looked puzzled because she knew that my poetry had appeared in two previous editions, and now the current issue, so I MUST qualify as a poet. But the truth is that I don't work very hard at this craft; it works very hard through me. The inspirations rear their heads, wait for me to catch on and then disappear as quickly as they appear. I'm left on my own to work through and mold these inspirations into my free-form poems. Sometimes they work for me, other times not.

Poetry is a very personal thing, much more so than blogging or writing fiction. And so, today, when I looked at my own issue of the journal and saw that my poem, carved from my heart, had been edited/distorted, I was disappointed. Maybe a line or two were stronger, but cuts had been made, messages that I'd wanted to relay.

And so, when the editor called my name (much to my surprise) to do a reading of my poem, I pulled out from my purse a copy of the poem...a copy of the poem as I'd sent it to the journal. It was my personal retort. Yes, you can have my poetry, but I will read it the way it was meant to be read. And I did. And people came up to me afterward and told me how much more they'd enjoyed the original version. And this woman came up to me afterward and asked me for my autograph. And another woman, the editor's wife, came up with a personalized card she'd autographed, a card that had her own pen-and-ink artwork displayed on it, a card whose drawing actually reflected the message of "Soul Light."

And this sometimes-poet found inspirations for future poems throughout the rest of the day.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Sumos At Large

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"Miracles do happen!" aka "Danny, this post's for you." (sometimes we just have to help those miracles along...and RECREATE them!)

The other night, child #2 and child #3 came home very excited and talking from the minute they walked in the door. They were talking at me, not to me, and thus I needed a translator to relay their message. Translator: my husband.

They'd gone to take a sample martial arts class...or so I thought. I figured they would "try their hand" at judo, karate, ju jitsu, tae kwon do, etc. What they were most excited about was sumo. Near the end of the class they paired up with other children approximately their age and height and had to knock them down...or do whatever it is that sumo wrestlers do. The children rattled on about how they got two points and four points each in their battles, and happily told me that they were invited to attend -- not quite sure as participants or as oglers -- a sumo tournament in a couple of weeks.

When they said "sumo," I immediately pictured gargantuan, primarily Asian, men who slick their hair back, wear their longish hair tied in a ponytail atop their head, and who wear their "sumo thongs". This did not describe my young children!

So I thought I'd better do research and checked out what sumo is all about.

The basic rules of sumo are simple: The wrestler who either first touches the floor with something else than his sole or leaves the ring before his opponent, loses. The fights themselves usually last only a few seconds and in rare cases up to one minute or more.

Most elite wrestlers are highly trained athletes and between about 20 to 35 years old. Besides working out, the wrestlers are eating large amounts of food and go to bed right after eating in order to gain mass. The wrestlers are living in special sumo stables where the rules are very strict, especially for beginners.

Okay, so my kids are interested in sumo. I guess that means that my daughter, who will be displaying her delicate feminine feet, will have to have a pedicure on a regular basis. And I don't mind if they're interested in eating large amounts of food, and it'll be good if they develop going to bed at a reasonable hour. But the sumo stables? I'm not too sure about that. Will our outdoor playhouse work equally well?

And then there's the hair thing. Okay, so daughter loves long hair and doesn't mind wearing it atop her head in a ponytail. But son? Guess we'll have to grow his hair long again, and he'll need to use lots of Dippety-Doo gel to grease it and then will have to borrow some hair scrunchies from big sister for that ponytail. I guess that when he retires from sumo, we can have a formal "upsherin" again -- okay, so he'll be 25 or 26. That's just a few years' difference from being age 3!

And I guess I have to go into our storage bins and dig out those cloth diapers from days gone by. Blue for son. Pink for daughter. (Who said sumo wrestlers can't be fashionable?)

I guess what I really fear now is that these children will apply what they learn. I imagine this scenario: child does not want to sleep/do homework/take a shower/finish chores; child decides a "face-off" is in order, gets into the sumo stance and confronts me... Is there any chance that this mother might still win. If so, can I be titled "SuMummy"?

Friday, November 11, 2005

Sumo No More

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Just wanted to say that I had an amusing, cute post I wrote over half of my lunch hour at work, I hit publish some time ago. Well, something happened, the post was lost, and I couldn't recover it.

I was so annoyed and disgusted (once again!) with Blogger, but at the same time somewhat ambivalent. When this happens I always wonder if it's some sign from G-d, or perhaps the silent voice of some close friends and family members reminding me, "Pearl. You talk too much. Too much information. Some things are meant to be private."

I will not try to recreate my post, my creativity that was out full-force a short hour ago. I will just rely on you to use your imagination and picture young sumo wrestlers...who are my children!

If by chance the post mysteriously reappears, I will say, "Miracles do happen!"

Thursday, November 10, 2005

When I Grow Up

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I guess that this post is a tie-in to the previous one, but I was just reminiscing [in my "old age"] and remembering the things I wanted to be, the things I thought I should be, when I grow up.

Kids always want to be something they're not: when they're weak, they want to be strong; when they're plain-looking, they want to be beautiful or handsome; when they're short, they want to be tall; when they're dumb, they want to be smart.

Some of these wannabes can be helped: with weights and exercise, with makeup, with platform shoes, with studying.

When I was young, I wanted to be like everyone else: cute, popular, the center of attention. But as I got older, I realized I didn't want to be like everyone else; I wanted to be me. I could be all those things in my own way, following my own style, not being like everybody else, but being comfortable with the Pearl that I was and then developed into.

When I was young, I thought I should be a veterinarian...because I loved animals.

When I was young, I thought I should be a librarian...because I loved books.

When I was young, I thought I should be a writer...because I loved to write stories and poetry.

When I was young, I thought I should be a teacher...because I loved to guide and help people learn new things.

When I was young, I thought I should be like everyone else...because, after all, doesn't every kid want to be like everyone else?

Well, I'm an animal-loving, copy-editing (of fiction), creative-writing person who still likes to guide and help people learn new things.

And guess what else I am...

I'm lucky. I'M ME!!

Young - Old...It Really Doesn't Matter

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I'm 44 years old -- I mean young!

Like I've said many a time in my blog, age is just a number. I thank G-d that my life has been a good one up till now and I haven't had any negative life-altering events that have aged me physically or spiritually or mentally.

Okay, so I wish I had some more energy, some secret resource of "I'm rarin' to go, what are we waiting for?" physical energy to share with my kids who are still rather young...and deserve a mom who will run when they run, do sports when they do sports, etc.

My spirit is there, though. My young mentality is there. Although I'm 44, I continue to look out at the world through the eyes of a young teenager. I'm in awe of many things still, my eyes are big as they take in the things I see around me. I have lots yet to experience, as "late bloomer" is my middle name. And so, I think that I'm in the "spring" of what has already been formally deemed my "middle age" several years ago.

When I was young, I often related much better to older people. Perhaps it was because there was no "peer pressure" involved in such circles -- sitting with my mother and her friends in shul instead of with people my age, loving my several years' worth of volunteering stints with seniors in nursing homes for years, volunteering with an archival committee where I was the youngest by a good ten to fifteen years, etc.

When I was young, I also thought in older, more mature ways. I felt that my personal philosphies of life mirrored those of my parents -- was that a result of their wartime experiences, I wonder? I often said things that my peers wouldn't even think of, and when I hit a certain age, when it came to blowing out the candles on a birthday cake and making a wish, I ALWAYS wished for good health...for me and my parents. What young healthy person makes such a heavy-duty wish?

At times, as a young or older teen, I'd just suddenly let out a heavy sigh, as if the weight of the world was on my shoulders. People tended to comment, "What was that for?" "You sound like an old woman."

But I've learned throughout my life that it doesn't hurt to be young and have and display some "older" ideas, and it doesn't hurt to be older and have and display some "younger" ideas. One's spirit is nurtured throughout one's life, and at the end, the young-old balances itself out!

So with the sigh of an old woman, and the childish giggles of a girl, I'm signing off...

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

"Hello? Is This the Person To Whom I'm Speaking?"

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Sometimes "progress" is actually really backwards. So many children these days do not understand the simple days of yesteryear: rotary telephones, AM radio, b & w television, NO REMOTE CONTROLS, getting up to answer the telephone (not having a machine picking up the call) REGARDLESS of who was on the other end. The list of course goes on and on.

Yesterday, en route home from work I made a stop that set me behind schedule. So I called home to let the family know when I was nearing our neighborhood.

My daughter answered in her eight-year-old sultry voice. "Hello."

"Hi." (I sounded more or less like myself, no need for a sultry voice here)


"What are you doing?"


"Who's there with you? Where's your father?" (at this point, I disguised my voice somewhat)

"He's here, helping us do homework."

"He is? So... where's your mother? Let me talk to your mother please!" (further disguising my voice to more of a bass tone, trying to throw my daughter off and let her think it's a man on the line)

Pause. Laugh. "Hi Mummy!"

"What? (trying to sound gruff) Let me talk to your mother!"

"Hi Mummy. I know it's you," she says, laughing.

(back in my regular voice) "Did you recognize that it was ME putting on a fake voice?"

"No...I didn't have to. I saw the phone number!"

Ha, so the joke was on me. Call display will get you (almost) every time!

"Andy Hardy" Comments on "Dorothy"

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Please click on the linking title.

Danny Miller, whose writing I discovered around the same time that I discovered Neil Kramer's Citizen of the Month blog, is brilliant. He is eloquent, he is bright, he is well-immersed in cultural and entertainment trivia. He'd probably be a rather wonderful guest to have at a dinner party or at a casual gathering with friends, with his tales of department stores, old theaters, old houses, public figures and rubbing shoulders with movie industry types.

Picture a dog who shows surprise. What does the dog do? He sits, looks and holds his head askew, as if asking, "What? What was that you said/you did? What exactly was that all about?"

Picture Pearl. Picture Pearl reading Danny Miller's blog. Picture Pearl, her head askew. Picture Pearl smiling. Picture Pearl typing furiously to let others know about Danny Miller talking about THE WIZARD OF OZ.

Picture yourself hurrying to his blog. Picture yourself reading his latest post. Picture yourself smiling. Picture yourself singing:

When all the world is a hopeless jumble
And the raindrops tumble all around
Heaven opens a magic lane
When all the clouds darken up the skyway
There's a rainbow highway to be found
Leading from your window pane
To a place behind the sun
Just a step beyond the rain...

Somewhere over the rainbow way up high
There's a land that I've heard of once in a lullaby
Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true
Some day I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me

Somewhere over the rainbow blue birds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow
Why then, oh why can't I?
If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow
Why oh why can't I?

Soul Light

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Soul Light

I place the tin candle holder on the tray,
light a match
and hold it steadily at the candle’s wick –
watching as the flame slowly comes to life,
rising higher and higher.

This candle, this soul light,
will burn for at least twenty-four hours.

A small window of opportunity
To bring you back to life.
To recreate for others all that you were.
To share with them all that you represented.
To give your neshama a spark once more.

I say a silent prayer and remember.

A Writer's Anxiety Dream...Comes True

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Last month, I posted about an odd anxiety dream I had. This evening I found out that the dream more-or-less has come true.

The launch for the annual Canadian Jewish literary journal, Parchment, is this coming Sunday morning. A fellow poet had told me that she'd already heard before Rosh Hashana from the editor that she was to read some of her accepted poetry at the launch. But she hadn't been told which poems to read. In other words, the literary project had grown quite scattered this year...

As I hadn't heard anything about whether or not my poetry was accepted, and it was so late in the game, I made the assumption that it's not. Especially too, since I hadn't been contacted about providing an updated bio. But I was sort of planning to go to the launch anyhow to hear those writers/playwrights/poets whose works HAD BEEN ACCEPTED. But could a rejected poet like myself feel comfortable amidst published ones? So it was truly going to be just a spur of the moment decision as to whether or not I'd go on Sunday.

Tonight, out of curiosity, I went on to the journal's web site. It had gotten updated since the last time I checked, and now referred to the 2005-2006 new edition...complete with an index. And MY name was in the table of contents and bio listings. I was curious to see what was written, as I hadn't been informed that a poem of mine would appear in the journal, and as I'd never been asked to submit a bio this year. The bio said that it was my third appearance in this journal, and then the rest of the blurb was the same I'd submitted last year. Okay, so they made something up. Not exactly what I'd have said AGAIN, but it's still something, I guess.

The problem is that (at least online, but probably in the actual book too) the index lists my current married name (I think I must've submitted the poem under it), but the bio (already pseudo-set from last year) lists my maiden name and married name, which is what I prefer for my published writing.

So...had I not by fluke looked at the web site earlier, and just gone this coming Sunday to the book launch, the complete dream would have come true: going to the venue, being handed a book and being told that I do have stuff published in it, seeing that they got my name wrong...or at least partially wrong.

In spite of these "kvetches" of mine, I'm once again honored to have had a poem accepted in this prestigious publication. I had submitted two, but this accepted one has never been published, while the other one already appeared in the Canadian Jewish News and in The Book of Ariel, Robert Avrech's two-year-long project memorializing his son, Ariel Chaim Avrech.

My published poem is entitled Soul Light and is about the ner neshama/memorial candle.

Monday, November 07, 2005

A True Story

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Unlike today's vista of decrepit buildings, dilapidated housing and rusting junked cars, the South Bronx in 1950 was the home of a large and thriving community, one that was predominantly Jewish. Today a mere remnant of this once-vibrant community survives, but in the 1950's the Bronx offered synagogues, mikvahs, kosher bakeries, and kosher butchers -- all the comforts one would expect from a traditional Jewish community.

The baby boom of the post-war years happily resulted in many new young parents. As a matter of course, the South Bronx had its own baby equipment store. Sickser's was located on the corner of Westchester and Fox, and specialized in "everything for the baby," as its slogan ran. The inventory began with cribs, baby carriages, playpens, high chairs, changing tables, and toys.
Mr. Sickser, assisted by his son-in-law Lou Kirshner, ran a profitable business out of the needs of the rapidly-expanding child population. The language of the store was primarily Yiddish, but Sickser's was a place where not only Jewish families but also many non-Jewish ones could acquire the necessary paraphernalia for their newly-arrived bundles of joy.

Business was particularly busy one spring day, so much so that Mr. Sickser and his son-in-law could not handle the unexpected throng of customers. Desperate for help, Mr. Sickser ran out of the store and stopped the first youth he spotted on the street.

"Young man," he panted, "how would you like to make a little extra money? I need some help in the store. You want to work a little?"

The tall, lanky African-American boy flashed a toothy smile back. "Yes, sir, I'd like some work."

"Well then, let's get started." The boy followed his new employer into the store.

Mr. Sickser was immediately impressed with the boy's good manners and demeanor. As the days went by and he came again and again to lend his help, Mr. Sickser became increasingly impressed with the youth's diligence, punctuality and readiness to learn. Eventually Mr. Sickser made him a regular employee at the store. It was gratifying to find an employee with an almost soldier-like willingness to perform even the most menial of tasks, and to perform them well.

From the age of 13 until his sophomore year in college, the young man put in from 12-15 hours a week, at 50 to 75 cents an hour. Mostly, he performed general labor: assembling merchandise, unloading trucks and preparing items for shipments. He seemed, in his quiet way, to appreciate not only the steady employment but the friendly atmosphere Mr. Sickser's store offered. Mr. Sickser learned in time about their helper's Jamaican origins, and he in turn picked up a good deal of Yiddish. In time young Colin was able to converse fairly well with his employers, and more importantly, with a number of the Jewish customers whose English was not fluent.

At the age of 17, the young man, while still working part-time at Sickser's, began his first semester at City College of New York. He fit in just fine with his, for the most part Jewish, classmates -- hardly surprising, considering that he already knew their ways and their language. But the heavy studying in the engineering and later geology courses he chose proved quite challenging. Colin would later recall that Sickser's offered the one stable point in his life those days.

After signing up for an ROTC program and serving two tours of duty in Vietnam, the young man quickly rose to the top ranks of the U.S. military. In 1989, under President George Bush, Colin Powell was sworn in as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

In 1993, two years after he guided the American victory over Iraq in the Gulf War, Colin Powell visited the Holy Land. Upon meeting Israel's Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir in Jerusalem, he greeted the Israeli with the words Men kent reden Yiddish -- "We can speak Yiddish."

As Shamir, stunned, tried to pull himself together, Colin Powell -- now U.S. Secretary of State -- continued chatting in his second-favorite language. He had never forgotten his early days in the Bronx...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Bad Habits Be Gone!

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Okay, so what are some of your bad habits? Smoking, leaving the toilet seat up, twirling your hair, snapping your gum, leaving dirty dishes in the sink, biting your nails, never letting a person get in a word edgewise...? The list is endless, isn't it? There are some habits you might've kicked since you were younger; you might have acquired new ones along the way to adulthood.

Whatever the habit, I'm pretty sure you've tried to quit, tried to come clean, tried to go cold turkey... But these suckers aren't too easy to distance yourself from.

Take the case of a youngster I know. Said youngster is all-boy, part baby and very endearing. He can hang out with older kids and be "one of them"; he can also interact well with younger children. He's pretty well immersed in society, save for one flaw, one bad habit if you will.

BLANKIE -- aka "Blanka" and "Shmatta Blankie."

Blankie, the culprit in this scenario, is a longtime friend of this child. They go w...a...y... back to... Well, way back. Blankie and said child have been bosom buddies through good times and bad. Of course, Blankie was put through the wringer quite a number of times, but child stood by his side, hanging on for dear life. After all, Blankie has been a true friend all these years.

Although a friend, Blankie has become a bad habit. Too much of a good thing turns out not always to be a good thing -- we all know and recognize that, don't we? Try telling that to a young child!

There's a beautiful children's book called "Something From Nothing" about a blanket that wears out through the years, diminishes in size, changes format. Well, I think Blanka (name changed here to protect identity of Blankie) heard that story one too many times, clutched in the hand of said child. Blanka thought that she, too, could have a story...or a blog...written about her, and tried to change over the years. Not as colorful, washed-out with time, feeling tattered around the edges -- time took its toll on Blanka and soon she became Shmatta Blankie.

Was young child fed up with Shmatta Blankie? Nope, but parents were somewhat disturbed, and tried to use "child psychology" to break the cling-on habit that child displayed.
Didn't work too well...until child came up own personal Piaget-Adler-Freudian theory:

"I'll have Blankie for one night; you take it away for two."

What a theory! What a five-year-old to come up with it! Actually, consciously trying to wean himself off his bad habit!

"One night on, two nights off." Great idea, kid. Now if only we could all adapt it to our own bad habits...

Friday, November 04, 2005

How Smart Is Your Right Foot?

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This is so funny that it will boggle your mind. And you will keep trying at least 50 more times to see if you can outsmart your foot, but you can't.

1. While sitting at your desk, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles.

2. Now, while doing this, draw the number "6" in the air with your right hand.

Your foot will change direction.

I told you so... And there's nothing you can do about it.

Make sure you pass this on to your friends...they won't be able to believe it either.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

If You Can't Beat 'Em...Share 'Em

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And so, I've had to change my philosphy. After blogging for nearly a year and being told "If you blog, they will come," early on when I asked someone who'd been in the "business" for a while, and seeing that isn't quite so, I've opted to change my ways.

Perhaps I have some interesting things to say, but apparently not that many of you agree with me. My readership might have gone up since last December, but the number of comments haven't. If I'm "lucky" I might average a couple a day. If I'm "very lucky" and post something about wanting to perhaps quit the blogging scene, I might see 15 comments that day.

Yes, envy runs through our veins alongside our blood. Isn't it a blogger's dream to see 25 and 50 comments a day...and exclusively from other people, not mixed in with a commentary dialogue of yours!

Well, I know someone who gets those daily averages of 50+ comments, who gets honorable mentions in other blogs, yet in fact deserves none of it. He deserves SO MUCH MORE...such as his own syndicated column.

We thought that Jerry Seinfeld had a wonderful run on his "show about nothing" -- it captivated us and kept us glued in front of our TV sets every Thursday p.m. We lived with the characters, we were eager to watch their weekly interaction.

Well, not too long ago, I found that certain blogger who has inched his way into my heart -- he has moved me to tears, he has had me rock in gales of laughter, he has had me roll my eyes in disbelief and sometimes disgust. His blog is about nothing while at the same time, it's about everything.

Some of you discovered him before I did and I'm sorry for missing the boat the first part of his run. But now that I'm on that boat, I don't want to get off. And I want you all to get on that boat with me. The captain of the boat is Neil Kramer, his on-again-off-again co-captain is named Sophia, and the boat is named "Citizen of the Month".

Pick random posts of Neil's to read. I guarantee that you will be caught off balance by some of his worldviews, by some of the comments that go with his posts, but that you will be most entertained.

I found a good thing -- and I'm sticking with it!

"Last Dance"

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World Jewish Digest out of Chicago features a very beautiful and poignant essay this month. It was written by Rochelle Krich, a bestselling and award-winning author of mysteries and suspense fiction.

I've been corresponding with Rochelle since the spring, and had the good fortune to meet her and spend a couple of hours in her company this past June on my trip to L.A. Not only is she a bestselling author, but she is also a very gracious one -- I explained to her that due to my work in publishing, I have difficulty reading for pleasure and so, have not yet read any of her books. She did not reprimand me because she knows that even though I myself might not be reading her books, I'm spreading the good word to others about them!

Rochelle is a mother, a grandmother and a very spunky and bright gal. She does her research and it shows in her creativity. She is also a very warm and loving person, and it definitely shows in this essay, "Last Dance" -- a very moving tribute to her late father.

I urge you to reach for your copy of the newspaper if you get it; if not, get on the web site and do read her piece. After you do so, if it's still possible, go call your father/mother, or even better, visit with him/her. You will be very glad that you did...

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Open for Business

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Now... a sign like this one is what I'd like to see more of.

For the most part, we live in a 9 to 5 world, sometimes 9 to 6; if you're lucky, 9 to 9. Open Saturdays 9 to 6; open Sundays 12 to 5.

My weekday work life fits into the 8:30 to 5 world (by the time I'm home, it's 6:00), my home life (considering kids--feeding, homework, entertaining) fits into the 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 world. My personal life fits into the 9:30 to 1 a.m. world. you see something in this pattern? Where is the time slot that fits with MY life?

I know in the States there are 24 hour Super Wal-Mart stores and supermarkets open for the late-night, early-morning needy folks, but we don't really have that here. The one time I went rather late to an all-night local supermarket, there was one cashier working, or should I say, talking on the telephone, and there was a lengthy lineup. When I go to the store at 11 p.m., I do not want to stand in a lineup. I do not expect to stand in a lineup. If I wanted to stand in a lineup, I would have gone to the supermarket at 5:30, on my way home from work!

We have to wait till the 3rd week in November to have malls stay open late on Saturday nights. Being Shomer Shabbat, I cannot seek out a mall from Friday p.m. through sunset on Saturday p.m. But I don't want to have to wait till the end of November to be able to pop into the mall late on a Saturday for the next 4 Saturdays! (this bonus mall feature ends with Christmas)

How about starting some new societal arrangements? Yes, let's have more supermarkets and stores of all kinds stay open till midnight, or better yet, all night! And while we're at it, let's open up hair salons, public libraries, doctors' offices, government services, etc. until midnight...or even later.

Do your grocery shopping at 9:30 p.m., pop into the library at 10:30 pick up a couple good reads, and hit the salon at 11:15 p.m.. I mean, who wants to wake up with "bed head"? Get your hair done, and maybe your nails while you're at it, and if time allows (of course time allows -- this is my fantasy post) , have a 90 minute Swedish massage. Okay, it's now 3 a.m. and you're on a roll. Go to the optical store and try on some funky frames; even better, pop in at the walk-in Lasik (tm) Eye Center and do some minor work on your left eye. Next week, your right eye will have its turn.

Sleep? Who needs sleep? But I do need to take the kids for flu shots, have my annual checkup, get the car tuned up and checked out for winter, return some clothes I bought, have a meeting with a particular teacher and buy some small hostess gifts. Do you think I can manage all that between 11 p.m. and 7:30 a.m., when I have to leave for my day job?!

(People, let's try to make this fantasy post a reality. C'mon now. Run with it. After all, instead of having to take 1/2 a day off work and shlep for 40 minutes of traffic to make an appointment, wouldn't it be nicer to sit in your gynecologist's or cardiologist's waiting room at 4 a.m. and hear: "The doctor will see you now...")

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Blogger Notes...No Relation to Monarch Notes

It occurred to me this evening that we bloggers are also commentators, whether in our own posts or in the comments sections of our blog and those of others. We are not unlike the famous commentators of Jewish history: Rashi, Rashbah, Onkeles, etc. These men extracted from the main messages of Torah and Talmud to post their own thoughts on the matter at hand. We do that, as well.

We do it to blog strangers, we do it to blog friends. And if we're lucky, sometimes some other blogger cites our words or gives a link to our message.

Many of us think through our comments before writing them, while others take them lightly and toss them off easily. Like the famous rabbis and Talmudic and rabbinical students of yesteryear who were called upon to respond to Halachic questions, we are sometimes consulted upon to give opinions, rationales and elaborations. In essence, we, like the great thinkers, are providing "responsa".

Perhaps we can take that a step further. Will our responsa, our blogs in essence, be discovered in great warehouses in Cairo, in "genizahs" hundreds of years from now? If so, what great words of wisdom and commentaries will you be remembered for?