Tag Archives: woolf

A Leap Day Post

1 Mar

It’s Leap Day!

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Which means TECHNICALLY I’m still living up to my blog-at-least-once-a-month-you-lazy-hunk-a-junk resolution!

Speaking of junk, in 6th grade I had a shirt that said “JUNK IN THE TRUNK” in really swirly letters. Why did my mom let me have that shirt? Also, I never got in trouble for it at my Orthodox Jewish Yeshiva so I’m pretty sure no one else including me understood it. Every day is another elementary school memory resurfacing.

I bet you’re all in suspense about that thing I wrote about a month ago – Yes! I did get the part and filmed it and it was awkward and amazing and terrifying and just the weirdest. It still hasn’t aired so I can’t show you what it is yet. Stay tuned!

I’m still teaching during the day. Still taking away heavy-duty tape dispensers away from kids who are deeming them to use them as weapons. I swear it’s like a prison yard sometimes except that in this case the shanks are pencils and can be sharpened quite efficiently and readily in every classroom.

Here’s some news about comedy: I’m on an improv house team at The Experiment Comedy Gallery. Which means you can see this beautiful face doing improv in Williamsburg three times a month (possibly more if Harry Potter Improv falls out on a Sunday I’m not doing a house team show). Better go quickly before the L train shuts down and strands us all on this God-forsaken island!

I’m still doing stand-up. I was on a “New Talent Night” show the other night. I went on last. When the host finally came half an hour late to start the show he made a big deal about how “WE HAVE A WOMAN ON THE SHOW TONIGHT YOU GUYS ISNT THAT CRAZY GET YOUR CAMERAS OUT.” It only went downhill from there, especially since there were actually TWO women that night on the show – it really makes you feel welcome at a show when the other comedians say the word ‘pussy’ about 45 times each, spend most of their 10 min talking about teenagers they slept with and end every jokes with a “right guys?”

If you’re wondering if women exaggerate their uncomfortableness at open mics and in comedy in general, from what I’ve heard and experienced myself – it is no hyperbole. 95% of interactions I’ve had on shows or with fellow male comedians has been great and supportive and wonderful but I get asked all the time how it is as a “female comedian” and I just need to have it on the record that sometimes it’s at best, icky and at worst, leaves you feeling like you’re in real danger (in my own experiences).

That’s where we all are right now! I’ll be back soon because it’s SPRING AND MY SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER IS GONE THANKS OBAMACARE.

 

Jobs I’ve had. Ranked from Please Never Make Me Do That Again to Eh, That Probably Wasn’t As bad As I Remember

16 Sep

Sometimes I wish I lived in the 1870’s where I would be like “What do I wanna do with my liiifffeeeeee?” and someone would be like “You’re a coal miner! Your dad and granddad were coal miners so stop complaining and start mining some coal or the Indians will get us!”

But then I would probably die of rickets or black lung at 29 without ever *really* figuring out my real potential (full disclosure, I may not know anything about diseases you get from coal mining or history in general.) But it’s not 1874, it’s 2014 and that means I can drag you guys on the journey to find out MY DESTINY.

So here’s a list I made of jobs I have done (non-writing) to see what I’ve liked and what I haven’t. What I could possibly go back to if I don’t get rich and famous from self-indulgently writing about myself on a blog.

It ranges from Oh-God-Please-Never-Make-Me-Do-That-Again to Hm-That-Probably-Wasnt-As-Bad-As-I-Remember.

6. Working With Children 

group of happy youth club or summer camp kids

I was a camp counselor for exactly 2 years – the summer after 8th grade and the summer after 12th. I was a counselor for 8 year old boys and 10 year old girls. And hated working with kids. Children don’t understand sarcasm, pretty much my only tone. They like running around instead of sitting in the shade with me eating snacks. They ask rude questions like “why don’t you have a boyfriend?” and “why are your arms so hairy?”

I wasn’t a great child-dealer-with because I never wanted 8 year old girls to act like 8 year old girls. I wanted them to *understand* that it was illogical to throw a tantrum over the fact that another girl had copied the same color-pattern that she was making for her lanyard bracelet in art. I also wanted them to not cry when I told them that was a dumb thing to get upset about.

If I had to rank myself somewhere on the kid-friendliness scale it would have to be Jack Black at the beginning of School of Rock. Recess all day and no one gets stars. So, kids are out. Also, if you were thinking about asking me to be your kid’s godmother. Don’t.

5. Events Crew at Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

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A job I had in college. I signed up for it because I felt bad making my parents pay for my copious amounts of alcohol on top of tuition. The job had a bunch of different facets including: setting up for musical performance by taping up the stage, setting up the “risers” or seating which left you with pinches and scars all along your arms, opening and closing doors for artists during their concerts, mopping the black box theater floors.

I liked working in the theater because you could do your homework while you waited in the dark until you had open a door. You could watch performances for free (except I never got to see literally anything except for this awful Native American drum circles which I saw like 4 times) and the rest of the crew was pretty cool.

But it was a lot of physical labor (like moving terrifyingly expensive pianos). And also one time we were taping up the stage for a show when a GIANT metal hook fell from the catwalk where they were setting up and missed my head by about 4 inches. I looked up and the stage crew manager went “Oops!” So, I obviously stayed at this job for a year and a half.

4. Retail: Bath and Body Works / Judaica Shop

Inside_Bath_and_Body_Works

I worked at Bath Body Works for exactly two days during their busy Christmas season in 2009. My job was to stand by bottle displays and make sure no one stole anything. I’m not sure how exactly I was supposed to react if I did see someone stealing but it never happened for the two shifts I was there so, whew.

I was also forced to watch a 3 hour video about the history and protocols of B&BW (which didn’t include what to do if someone was stealing near you), take a quiz on the information and fill out a workbook about it. It’s brutal. Also, fun fact: if you stay in Bath and Body Works for more than 30 min, you actually lose your ability to discern between scents. Which is rough when you’re supposed to be helping teenage girls and older dudes find gifts for their secretaries and housekeepers.

On the plus, you got a lot of free stuff when you start working there. And a pretty sweet discount.

I worked at Judaica shop senior year of high school. I was the only employee this rabbi/owner had hired. And he wasn’t that great at talking to me. When he felt my clothing was not acceptable for his staff he called my mom to tell her talk to me. He didn’t like, know her before or anything, he somehow found her number and decided to call her.

I spent my days peeling stickers off items he had bought from other stores and slapping on marked-up price tags.

I got no discount, but I did get paid in cash so ka-ching. This store has since closed.

3. Working in a Coffee Shop

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I worked in a coffee shop in the summer of 2012. I had zero food service experience. I was hired because it was a Kosher cafe and they needed someone Jewish to be there to make the food while also serving customers, washing dishes and cleaning bathrooms.

Basically training was “Here’s the mixer! Here’s the basement! Here’s the stepladder! Figure it out!” Did I mention that the coffee shop was at a train station? In New York City? In the boiling hot summer? People would come in and bark “My train is coming in 6 minutes! I need an iced medium caramel upside-down macchiato!” And since I wasn’t trained on the espresso machine I’d have to yell “Umm…Jenn…?!” and then inform the customer that we only had smalls and large, not mediums while they cartoonishly tapped their feet and looked at their watch.

When it was slow it was awesome, I’d say “Oh, one small iced coffee? Thank God for you sir! Coming in at 10 a.m. and in no hurry at all while you work on your novel! I love you!” But if it was busy I’d literally freeze – paralyzed in fear that I’d give a customer a sesame seed bagel in lieu of an herbal matcha tea.

Working in a coffee shop taught me that in order to survive in stressful situations you have to have just the right mixture of “I don’t give a shit attitude” and “I like people and I want to do a good job.” And less, “What did you want? A decaf latte? I CAN’T FEEL MY FEET. SOMEONE KILL ME.”

2. Secretary

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Another college job, this one was golden. Consistent shifts, OK pay and no one, absolutely no one ever came in to the Art and Learning Center at the UMD student union. No one knew what it was. It provided cheap classes like ballet and ceramics to students/community/staff.

It would have been perfect if not for the manager who hated me for no reason (if you count fucking up almost every rare task that was assigned to me – such as destroying expensive paper when I was supposed to be cutting up cheap construction paper for the spin-art. Or creating a giant calendar for her wall that was missing December.  Oops.)

It was in this office that I learned that I should probably never be any position of power, that I am really good at answering phones and I have a fondness for decorating any space I am in.

My strongest memory from the Art and Learning Center was one time the ballet teacher Nick, came in to get his boombox. I was like “Sure thing chicken wing!” and got up to reach it.

“So do you have plans for Valentine’s Day?” He asked.

I was caught off guard. “Umm…not really,” then smiling. “Why?” (Did I mention I was chronically single during college?)

He gave me a confused look and then pointed to his ear and an previously-unseen blue-tooth. “Ah…I’m on the phone…”

I did get to take free belly-dancing class there. But was sadly, fired.

1. Photographer 

photographer-e1385247715396

I know there’s a lot of different kinds of photography, I’ve had experience with mostly photojournalism. But this one was child photography. I know I said I was bad with children earlier (nice job paying attention!) but I really liked being a photographer for a camp that was meant for children with autism and their families. I was photographer for two years for them. I didn’t know anything about autism when I started (I was 17).

For the whole session, I was a fly on the wall. Taking pictures of children who (some) couldn’t really communicate effectively as they happily colored, swam or played a tambourine with their helpers, which really meant something to their parents. Parents who couldn’t get their kids to smile during school photos or family pictures now had great keepsakes; photos of their children smiling as they made friends or quietly watched a puppet show. I would say that that was probably the most rewarding job I ever had.

And when I did have to interact with a child they mostly wanted to just touch my camera.

   Conclusion: None of these jobs are as hard as coal mining, and they’ve all made me grow as a person blah blah blah. In conclusion, I miss my Bath and Body Works discount. What was your worst/favorite job? LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS to see if mine were better.

The God Network renews “YOU” for another season. A Rosh Hashanah Post.

1 Sep

Dear Buddies,

For a while, I really wanted to write a post about having confidence and being happy with ourselves but I’ve put that off because Netflix told me not to but instead watch more seasons of Parks and Rec but I realized that my would-be post and the upcoming Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashana kind of intersected nicely so that is what this post is about.

For those of you who do not know, Rosh Hashana is the Jewish New Year. But unlike the January 1st New Year, we don’t put a flimsy shimmery noisemaker in our mouth but a dead ram’s horn. Fun for the whole family!

 

Best used when blown directly into someone's face.

Best used when blown directly into someone’s face!

 

Other Rosh Hashana traditions include: eating apples, inevitably getting sticky honey on your new H&M dress, anticipating parody songs about the new year by popular Jewish a capella groups, sitting in synagogue for hundreds of thousands of hours and for some, making small talk with elderly aunts, putting animal heads on our tables.

 

Or heads of lettuce for all of you who don't like lifeless watching you while you eat (weirdos).

Or heads of lettuce for all of you who don’t like lifeless watching you while you eat (weirdos).

 

Rosh Hashana is also a time when Jews tell God “Hey, you’re still pretty rad, thanks for not letting me die in a fire this year (especially considering how many times I accidently put tin foil in the microwave when I was drunk…oh, is that just me? Okay then), I will try not to be such an bonehead this year and will pay more attention to my actions i.e. thanking you for the neat things in my life like food and not putting tin foil in the microwave.”

 

We also go to our fellow Jews and non-Jews and say, “Hope I wasn’t too much of a blockhead to you this year. Sorry about losing the first season of Dexter you lent me and then lying to you about having borrowed it. Also this year I’ll try to stop telling people about the hilarious time you tripped on a rug at that Chinese restaurant and fell on a waiter (but that 50 bucks I promised to repay you? Yeah, you probably won’t see that again. My bad)”.

 

Rosh Hashana is when we take a break to say “What am I doing with my life?” (Although if you’re an almost-college-grad like me, you’ve probably been asking yourself that on a near constant basis.) We want to evaluate our life choices, are we still “good people”, do we truly recognize all the terrible things we’ve done this year, do we even feel bad about them? Are we trying to be good friends, neighbors, roommates, daughters, sons, and subway passengers? Or do we stuff our headphones in our ears when someone comes around asking for change?

 

In NY we make you work for your money!

In NYC we make our panhandlers work hard for their money

 

Rosh Hashana focuses on a bunch of things, namely renewing our love for God, our love for our fellow man/woman but another idea that often gets overlooked, loving ourselves.

 

Five years ago, I was on a seminary program in Bet Shemesh in Israel called Machon Maayan. I remember sitting in my first day of class where our first lesson on Rosh Hashana was the famous concept of “V’Ahvat L’Reiach K’mocha” or “Loving your neighbor as yourself,” an idea that Rabbi Akiva said was the very fundamental message of the Torah and our religion.

 

It’s important for Jews (and really all people) to stick together. In the Parsha (Torah portion) leading up to Rosh Hashana, Moshe Rabbeinu on his deathbed basically says to the Jewish people in the desert “You guys have a good thing going here, I know you’re all gonna muck it up sooner or later but if you act like a nation every once in a while then no one will mess with you and you’ll be OK.”

 

Being a part of the Jewish nation is less like a family and more like a really weird fraternity. You may have no clue who the elderly man sitting next to you on the plane is but he knows the secret passwords and handshakes so you know he’s all right and you may even be able to use that connection to get yourself a job in his law firm.

 

However, the phrase ‘Love your neighbor like you love yourself’ has a flip side too. That is, if you don’t love yourself enough then you can’t love your neighbor. If you don’t invest in yourself, then won’t have enough to share with others. It’s so important to be happy with who you are, how God made you, how you feel about yourself (even if you don’t believe in God). Five years ago on that Rosh Hashana in Israel, I wasn’t happy with my life. I was in a new country without any of my friends from home. I was shy and awkward. I hadn’t been diagnosed yet with the hormone imbalance PCOS but I had noticed persistent dark fuzz on my jaw due to the elevated levels of testosterone. I had developed some sort of allergy to all hair products leaving my head a big poodley mess.

 

Oh this hairstyle?

Hairstyle seen here.

 

I remember feeling that Rosh Hashana that I wasn’t good enough to make friends. I wasn’t good enough to help other people. I wasn’t pretty enough to pray to God.

 

It took me a long time to love myself. To learn that I wasn’t going to become a better person if I didn’t believe that I deserved to.  That I wasn’t going to become a better friend, Jew, neighbor. It took me years to fully internalize the message I had learned years before.

 

So here are my tips on becoming a happier, self-loving person this year. I hope my words help you find peace in yourself. I hope this year you realize how important you are just as yourself and to the Jewish people, how amazing your potential is and how precious your numerous page views are to my blog *hugs computer.*

 

Confidence

 

Doing things is hard sometimes. Some people (me) can be awkward and at loss of the right thing to say at times (i.e. Doctor: “Have a good semester in school!” Me: “You too! Or, a good semester being a doctor. Or, just life being a doctor. OK bye forever!”) As humans sometimes we’re apprehensive with new situations, with talking to new people. I firmly believe that fear is the number one worst thing in the world. I mean, besides for fear of snakes. SNAKES. Snakes everywhere. That’s the only thing you should be afraid of.

 

ESPECIALLY snakes trying to be cute.

ESPECIALLY snakes trying to be cute.

 

I read in a magazine once that we should have pictures of ourselves as children hanging up, to remind ourselves what it was like to always be happy and try new things or something. That’s stupid. Kids are dumb, they don’t know when people are laughing at them or with them. Never pretend you’re a kid. Instead, imagine yourself as yourself but at age 95. Take a second and imagine your wrinkly skin, bald/grey head and achy bones (FYI this game only works if you’re not 95, sorry 95-year-olds no offense, congrats on being hella elderly. Hellderly?)

 

Got it? Now imagine your old self is a sarcastic snob. And every time you’re too afraid to do something, be it sing karaoke, ask someone out, dance, learn an instrument, speak a new language, make a speech, ask a question, give someone a compliment, sing etc., imagine you’re sarcastic old lady self saying “Ohhh, thank goodness you’re not embarrassing yourself. Wouldn’t want to give me any memories or anything. Nope, you just sit in your T-shirt and shorts while everyone else goes in the pool. Whew, someone might think you’re too fat to be in a bathing suit. Nope. You just sit there. Don’t even think of talking to that cute lifeguard either. I’ll just sit in my rocking chair and think of my safe life never taking any risks. Ah…that’s nice. Maybe dementia will set in and I’ll make believe I was Lady Gaga. That’s good. Carry on not asking someone to explain the situation in Syria or anything about politics. Wouldn’t want them to think you’re stupid. Time to take a nap.”

 

Zzz....someone get me my meat dress...it's 4 p.m. and I'm hungry...zzz....

Zzz….someone get me my meat dress…it’s 4 p.m. and I’m hungry…zzz….

 

Usually, I find that the thought of me getting to 95 without any risks or stories pushes me to do the thing I’m afraid of. We should tell people how we feel and don’t be afraid to live our lives without other people’s permissions. We should be doing the things that scare us. It’s why we’re here. Unless that thing involves snakes. Then stay FAR AWAY.

 

Goals

 

When I was younger, like a lot of girls (and guys) I used to measure myself against other people, especially physically. I used to scan each room I went into, to see if I was as pretty as other girls. If I talked to them, I would see if I was funnier, smarter or nicer than them. I was always comparing myself. It was exhausting. I would pore over the magazines I loved, hating myself for not being model skinny. I would read articles about girls who started amazing initiatives and charities and ask myself why I wasn’t starting some fund for children in Africa. My life was just a scale that I hardly ever matched up with. Until one day I read this in a book by Zelig Pliskin called Gateway to Happiness.

 

“It is unnecessary to have low self-esteem when you can easily invent some criteria by which you are a success. What makes anyone else’s criteria more valid than your own?”

 

I realized that day that I didn’t have to play life by anyone’s rules but my own. I was jealous of models but did I want to be a model, was that my criteria for success? No. I envied the students with amazing voices who sang solos in choir. Did I even care about having a good voice? No.

 

What I was jealous of was were the people who knew what they wanted and went for it. I didn’t have any idea what my own idea of success was. These days my idea of success is to be able to write, maybe making people think and laugh. My idea of success is having friends who feel they can be honest with me. My idea of success is having a job I enjoy and feel like I can help others. Now that I know that, I no longer feel angry with other people for what they have.

 

This year it’s not enough to say, “I want to be a good person.” What do we want to get good at? Do we want to be smarter? More considerate? Volunteer more? Take on more responsibility religiously? Learn to salsa? If we don’t know what we want out of life, we’ll never get it.

 

Perspective

 

Little problems are hella annoying. They make us late. They distract us. They make us take time from our busy days to go to Sears to buy new microwaves.

 

We walk through the door at night, stressed from a grade we got on a paper and snap at our roommates about the dishes. Annoyances are our computers being crazy slow when trying to pay bills online. They’re the dingbat driving like an dadburned idiot on the highway when you’re just trying to get home that makes you curse the day the world was created.

 

Ugggghhhhhhh wwhhyyyyyyyyyyy

Ugggghhhhhhh wwhhyyyyyyyyyyy

 

But tiny problems are a sign that life is pretty swell.

 

I once heard this little story about a woman collecting charity from people at the Western Wall. When someone would give her money, she would say “Bless you, I wish that you always have little annoyances.” Finally, someone was like “WTH lady, what kind of blessing is that?” She replied, “When someone you love is in the hospital, you don’t give a hoot that your Amazon order got delayed. When your house burns down, you don’t care that gas prices shot up another 10 cents. Tiny problems in your life means you don’t have big problems, and that’s always a good thing.”

 

When I get really upset over small things (which is pretty often), I play a little game called parenthesis. It kind of goes like this: I take a what I am super mad about and break it down until my annoyance seems like a pretty silly thing to be truly broken up over. If I’m still annoyed, then I’m still annoyed. It’s not foolproof. Like this:

 

“I am angry that the dry-cleaners didn’t have the dress I wanted to wear to my friend’s wedding in time for me to wear it.”

 

And then I say this:

 

“I am angry that the dry-cleaners (which, thank God, I have enough money to spend on) didn’t have the dress (which, again, is something that I had money to buy something a lot of people who don’t have the ability to) I wanted to wear to my friend’s (a friend, I am lucky to have, considering a lot of people are pretty lonely) wedding (what a happy time for my friend that she found her soul mate) in time for me to wear it.”

 

Or

 

“I am upset that my brother borrowed my car without asking and now I have to take the bus to my job.”

 

Becomes:

 

“I am upset that my brother (that I love and am fortunate to have a sibling who is healthy and alive) borrowed my car (that thank God, works and I am lucky to own whereas a lot of people do not have) without asking and now I have to take the bus (which is pretty reliable and I can afford) to my job (which thankfully I have).

 

Little things will pop up and ruin our day forever. That’s life. But when you say these things, especially out loud. You’ll find that they’ll make the situations a tiny bit easier to endure.

 

Body Confidence

 

Obviously, we should always rely on our inner glow or whatever to be happy. But sometimes, we just don’t feel like going to the party because the outfit we chose doesn’t look as good as we thought and it’s already kind of put a damper on the whole thing. If that doesn’t happen to you then congratulations!

 

Here's your party!

Here’s your party!

 

For me, it helps to think of God. And how bored I would be if I created infinitely complex and fascinating, capable human beings to do/build/create/imagine amazing things and they spent hours and hours each day plucking their eyebrows and staring in the mirror. I’d be like “Oh ME! If I knew you guys would be so boring, I would’ve made you all amorphous blobs or something! Can you go outside and interact with people? Can you go find the cure for cancer already? Turn off Netflix and call your grandma. She always has something interesting to say. Fine, you wanna spend 2 hours crying over a haircut? If you need me, I’m gonna be watching some ancient Mesopotamia. Maybe a guy will kill a snake or something. That’s always fun.”

 

"That's it. Beyonce looks like this now. Happy?!"

“That’s it. Beyonce looks like this now. Happy?!”

 

Life is really short. Our friends and family do NOT like us just because we have frizz-free hair. They probably think you’re funny or interesting so go hang out with them and not worry so much about how you look. If they wanted to be friends with something perfect they would’ve brought a cardboard cut-out of Mila Kunis to the movies last week instead of you. There is more to you than your thighs. You were born on this planet and therefore you belong here.

 

In Conculsion

 

In conclusion, Rosh Hashana is a good marker in the year to take one second from ‘ugh-ing’ about things, complaining about other people and beating ourselves up.

 

Let’s celebrate that we completed ANOTHER year of being on this awesome swirling blue and green ball of crazy. We have so much potential to be something incredible. Wonderful people. Remarkable nation. Amazing world. It has to start with us believing in ourselves.

 

"I said you were special like 1,00 times you dumb mother effers."

“I said you were special like 1,00 times you ninnies”

 

I will leave you with another favorite quote.

 

“Man must guard himself and his uniqueness and not imitate his fellow man. For initially man was created in his own image and only afterward in the image of God.” ~ Kotzker Rebbe.

 

Happy New Year.

Love,

Aviva

Ps. Stop putting tin foil in the microwave.

Trials and Tribulations

7 Aug

What if I just never continued this blog and everyone just thought I was homeless forever and like, got hit by a train or something? (the logical conclusion I always come to when I never see people again.)  But yes, since we last spoke, I was offered a place to stay by my lovely friend Danielle so currently I am staying at her abode until my internship ends.

Well, not currently. Currently, I am on a computer at McKeldin library at University of Maryland. I swung by to drop off some stuff at my new apartment on Knox (tiny apartments in square buildings called “Knox Boxes” or more appropriately “Hot Knox Boxes”) and decided to do some work in the library.

Walking around campus during the summer is the oddest thing. It’s like 90% empty. During the year it’s like Time Square on New Years Eve but during the summer it’s like Ghost Town USA. Coming back to campus is weird as well since I only have one semester left and nostalgia is already kicking in. 

When you walk around campus, you’re not really looking at the buildings and benches you see. You’re thinking “This is the building I took nutrition freshman year and failed because I got drunk the night before the final and slept through it” or “This is where I had that deep heart2heart with my roommate about her dad junior year” or “This is where a bike ran me down and now I’m a cyborg.” You are literally walking through a maze of memories and no matter how many times I try to pretend like I’m seeing something for the first time, I can’t get away from those powerful images. But oddly enough, I wouldn’t recall most of these memories on my own without being promoted by the sight of say, the fountain on the mall in which I have spent many a night happily splashing in (Until more than one person pointed out what exactly goes on in those waters sometimes. Gross you guys. Please stop.) 

Also walking around campus I’ve noticed that they’ve cleaned up the old journalism building and actually put a new name on it. I assume they were looking for something really easy to pronounce, maybe giving a break to the poor poor freshman who pronounce Taliaferro and Worcester every which way. (I even got someone looking for MACK-el-din once.) 

 

Image

No? Something insanely annoying? Ok then. 

Anyways, I realize that I haven’t written about work in a while. And that’s because it’s been awful. It’s so immensely boring I take about 45 bathroom breaks a day because the 1 min walk to the restroom is 500 times more interesting than whatever I’m doing.  Which is summarizing events and putting them into a database. You definitely need a journalism major for it. Not EVERYONE can write “Fall Arts Guide” 205 times AND ALSO SPELL IT RIGHT. So stay in school kids.

I did have a minor snag last week. The newspaper I’m with made some sort of interactive choose-your-own-adventure article in which John Waters (famous Baltimore director) has been kidnapped and you have to make your way through Baltimore landmarks in order to find him (spoiler alert, John Travolta did it. Something about how doing drag ruined his career. NBD) I had to Tweet about it and in order to drum up some excitement I stated “Breaking News: John Waters has been kidnapped. Only you can save him {link here}” 

Now OBVIOUSLY I knew it was a little sensationalism but when the most exciting part of your day is making sure the photo-galleries you made for the site are still there, sometimes you need a little thrill. However, I also assumed that people would know it was a joke since why would our readers even be able  to participate in a search-and-rescue in the event that John Waters was actually kidnapped? It didn’t matter, my editor still took me into the “disappointment zone” near the stairs and told me she had to delete it since the Tweet had been picked up and people were ReTweeting it without the link. I hadn’t meant to create a War of the World type sitch but I have since learned my lessons. Don’t ever joke on someone else’s Twitter. Or that people actually care about John Waters safety. Or something.

Tomorrow is my last day. I had a conference with my internship supervisor last week about what I had thought of the experience. I told her that I thought the experience had been valuable in the sense that I know for a 100% fact that I can’t sit in a giant office all day stressing about the radius around me in which I can say “bless you” when someone sneeze (FYI 2 cubicles over is definitely out-of-bounds). I don’t think I can be a stay-in-bed-blogger (because I like money) either. So I had four years to think about it and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. 

At least I still have one more semester. 

 

 

Joy and Happiness

2 Aug

Good morning campers!

For those actively concerned as to my homelessness situation – I guess I am still homeless because I have one week left at the newspaper but don’t know where I’m sleeping but WHATEVER because I WAS A BRIDESMAID LAST NIGHT.

I have never been a bridesmaid before. I mean, I saw the movie and I know it’s a lot of crying and dress-fitting and complaining to other bridesmaids about doing shit but it was actually pretty fun. Also interesting because even though I’ve been to LITERALLY half a dozen weddings (please control your jealousy at expertise and popularity) I’ve never been behind the scenes. So I’m going to tell you exactly what it was like being a bridesmaid for my friend Joy’s beautiful wedding.

 

This is literally the only way I know how to pose. It's an illness.

This is literally the only way I know how to pose. It’s an illness.

 

January: Last January, Joy, her six bridesmaids and future mother-in-law  all went to a place in the city called Here Comes The Bridesmaid. It was really super cold and we stopped in Starbucks next door to get some coffee. Then, as soon we got to the store the lady informed us that we were not allowed to bring in drinks forcing me to gulp down my scalding machiatto because I felt uncomfortable standing in the hallway with Joy’s fiance’s mom. Not because she’s not lovely and sweet but because I’m awful at small talk and just wanted to try on these damn dresses. A slight snag with this dress appt is that I had just surgery on my stupid arm literally the week before and was wearing maybe the BIGGEST conglomeration of bandages. I couldn’t even get my arm through some sleeves and when I did I couldn’t zip them up. Having your dominant arm swathed in 4 lbs of ace bandages for a few weeks is a DRAG and I don’t recommend it. Anyways, I found a dress.

 

"Oh my gosh with the right necklace you won't even NOTICE your arm!"

“Oh my gosh with the right necklace you won’t even NOTICE your arm!”

 

May: Joy’s bridal shower was in May and it was 100 trillion degrees outside. I decided to wear a long sleeved dress because a lot of my brain cells have been destroyed in various College Park activities. Liana and I collaborated on games for the shower which included a Panty Line, Bridal Shower Bingo and a Newlywed-esque game in which Joy had to put a piece of gum in her mouth for every question she got wrong. Being MC was fun until Joy’s little toddler cousin came over and placed his tiny hand on my knee to balance himself and I stopped talking to be like “errrrrr this baby is touchinggg meeeeee get it offffffff,” because I’m really adept and dealing with children. Then we watched Joy unwrap like 34 kitchen appliances and lingerie in front of her grandma and future grandma-in-law. It was normal.

August: Yesterday I got my hair did (63 bobby pins, my head kept tilting backwards under the sheer weight of metal forced onto my scalp) and ALSO got my manbrows taken care of by an extremely harsh Asian lady who did not understand that my face has feeling and is capable of pain and maybe she should stop jabbing her fingers into my eye sockets (#society). 

So we get to the wedding and saw Joy and Sruli all dressed up like little cake toppers. It’s weird seeing your friends in wedding clothes because you wanna cry and say things like “You look radiant!” and at the same time say something like, “Remember a couple of days ago we watched Honey Boo Boo, got drunk and the next day you threw up at Raymour and Flannigan?” (HYPOTHETICAL question of course). Because it’s all a strange situation and then Kevin, the wedding coordinator tells you there’s champaign in the hall and you’re like “See ya suckas!” and go outside.

 

Also, I brought my own bouquet to walk down with

Also, I brought my own bouquet to walk down with

 

Then we had to practice walking down the aisle. I never practiced walking anywhere and it was more complicated then I thought. You have to start with the right foot and Alex has to hold your elbow, flowers are at tummy length, stop 3/4 way there and smile. Smile. Keep smiling. Get to the end and stand behind the chupah and then wait. Oh my God I was so excited to stand up there but being a bridesmaid SUCKS because you can’t see anything that’s going on. Instead of gazing at your friends getting married you’re looking out into the audience, mostly at the 3 year old sitting in front of you who keeps crumpling up the program. And people keep staring at YOU because you keep yawning into your bouquet and trying not to cry because then your make-up will run and you have to wait til photos are over before you can look like a hot mess. And then they break the glass and finally you can change into comfortable shoes that don’t feel like you’re walking on tiny needles.

Then, dancing. Normally at weddings, it’s not my best friend getting married and I can quietly go to the  bar and request my signature drink (“anything”). And no one bats an eye. But this is my best friend’s wedding and I’m wearing a shiny lavender dress that I immediately spill salad dressing on and stain. And I can’t sit in the corner and eat everyone’s breadrolls when they’re dancing. It’s not because I don’t love my friend and want to celebrate with her. I do! But I have a confession:

Jewish wedding dancing sucks.

Have you ever been to an orthodox (Or any denomination depending on preference I guess) Jewish wedding? At least in the beginning, everyone rushes in the bride and groom and swoops them into two circles. The bride dances with her mother/in-law/sister/friends in the middle and everyone kind of sways in the back. (the groom dances in his dude circle)

When I was in Israel I learned about how circle dancing is beautiful because it’s like the circle of life, or happiness and everyone can see each other blah blah blah. And that’s really nice to think about when you’re NOT holding Great Aunt Harriet’s sweaty hand while the bride’s cousin stabs a stiletto into your foot while everyone is trying to weave their way through a poorly made oval. And then someone decides that we’re not running in a circle anymore, we’re gonna stand and clap.

So you clap and clap and clap like you’re some sort of obedient seal while you look around to see if they’ve served the salmon course yet. Or some other circle starts and snakes their way through you and pushes you against the photographer who shoots you a dirty look. It’s a mess. We need to change it, you guys. Someone has to come up with a new Jewish traditional dance that promotes togetherness and community without making me dizzy. Line dancing? Hoedown? Some really complicated Bollywood ensemble? I’m open to suggestions.

 

"Kol chattan V'KOL KALLAH!"

“Kol chattan V’KOL KALLAH!”

Another interesting custom of some Jewish weddings is something called “shtick.” It’s kind of like a mini talent show in the middle of the wedding. The bride and groom sit in chairs in the middle of the dance floor while their friends dance or juggle or do this bull and matador dance (did you guys know that when actual bullfighting rounds are done they MURDER the bull? It’s true. We’re pretty sore winners I guess). Anyways, sometimes it’s a lot of personal jokes like people make signs or wear jerseys. And it’s ALWAYS the smallest circle ever. It’s always a 6 foot diameter around the bride and groom even if the dance floor is huge. I don’t know why we do this. So like 6% of the guests can see what’s happening and everyone else is straining over really tall uncles. Can we fix this as well Jews?

Besides for all my complaining, it was actually a really beautiful wedding and I’m glad I got to be a part of it. Joy and Sruli have been together for about 607 years, it’s about time they tied the knot (also did you know one reason that phrase exists because bed frames used to be made with rope so when couples got married they got a new bed – thereby tying a LOT of knots). (I’m pretty sure I didn’t make that up).

Now, it is Shabbat and I’m excited to get some well deserved sleep. Dancing and drinking all night is a hard job but someone has to do it.

Tisha B’av – As Told By Someone Who Only Understands Pop Culture

15 Jul

Tuesday is Tisha Ba’v. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Tisha Ba’v is the 9th day of the month of Av in the Jewish calendar. It commemorates the day when the first and second temple were destroyed. On that day, practicing Jews refrain from eating and drinking, bathing, listening to music and sitting comfortably. Jews in summer camps burn words made out of sticks, watch Schindler’s List and play cards.

 

"Oh no my stick collection!"

“Oh no my stick collection!”

 

A couple of years ago, I wrote about why I liked the holiday of Tisha Ba’v – because it forces us to confront the worst aspects of our history as well as ourselves. It’s uncomfortable to sit on the floor of your temple and hear accounts of the bloody and awful destruction, it’s awkward to be forced to watch movies about the Holocaust. Three-hundred-and-sixty-four days of the year, we cheer each other up with jokes, we drown our sorrows with Ben & Jerry’s, we play the same Adele song over and over again. But not on Tisha B’av.

For those not familiar with the story of why the Jews were expelled from the second temple, it almost reads like the plot of Mean Girls.

Imagine you go to Israelite High school (class of ’70 CE! whoo- hoo!) It’s a pretty good school, you guys get good grades and you’re always winning sports things (nationals? Are sports not the same as the glee club?) and whenever nearby schools play any pranks you guys totally get them back. Sure there are cliques, every school has ‘em. There are the athletes, the kids in College Bowl, the really rich girls, the boys who spend 7th period hanging out setting things on fire in the chemistry lab, that girl who looks way too old to be in high school and is always asking you questions about what normal teens do.

 

 

"Mmm...blending in."

“Mmm…blending in.”

 

 

You guys used to be tight in elementary school but something’s changed. The lines between the groups are hardly crossed anymore. It’s gotten to the point where people have started being cruel. Everyone talks shit about each other. Your friends are ragging on a boy you know for a fact they’ve never talked to. Different groups accuse the other of not caring about the school or your teams, the worst offense. You can’t sit with us!

Then finally, at the end of the year there’s a huge party at this popular girl Kaitlyn’s house. And Kaitlyn fucked up the email addresses of the people she wanted to come and accidentally invited this girl who she hated. And when this girl showed up with some Smirnoff and was like “Hey girl, I’m glad we can put this whole dumb fight behind us.” Kaitlyn was like “GTFO and don’t come back.” You thought it was stupid drama but everyone couldn’t stop talking about it. (This isn’t even a fake anecdote to add to the high school theme – this crazy party ordeal actually happened)

Finally, your principal gets mad. Really mad. He’s like “Fine, you don’t want to be a unified school anymore? You’re all expelled!” and then to make sure no one can come back he burns the school down and immediately retires. (Well, more like Mr. Feeny retires, in the sense that you won’t find him at school every day but he’ll pop up sometimes when you go to college, or at your wedding or when you realize that you signed up for gibberish college classes and fly to Wyoming.)

 

 

I get it C, i had gibberish college classes to. They were called math.

I get it Cory, I had gibberish college classes too. They were called math.

 

 

Now you all have to go to different schools – rival schools. Roman High. And all those kids are jerks. They don’t know your football cheers, or have Pajama Day or remember the time Brian Masters got his head stuck in the volleyball net. They suck. You miss Israelite High.

Now replace high school with nation and that’s pretty much why the Jews were exiled – baseless hatred. Being judgmental assholes. And it’s not surprise we haven’t learned our lessons yet.

We are a society that loves to hate.

We hate Justin Bieber. We hate Kim Kardashaian. We hate the barista that fucked up our drink order even though it was so simple. We hate that girl from high school who keeps sending us dumb game requests on Facebook. We hate our ex-boyfriends. We hate Taylor Swfit’s ex-boyfriends. We hate Taylor Swift. We hate Obama. We hate Romney. We hate that guy who traps you in a conversation about how stressed he is and how much he hates his professor. God, we hate that guy. Because guess what? Hating feels awesome. Hating feels powerful. Hating means that you are better than something and someone. That you have the ability to say you have other options. You’re different. And it’s tearing us apart.

 

 

How could you hate a face like that?

“Why did you call me a cry baby??”

 

 

Confession: When I was 15-years-old I went on a travel trip with a bunch of other teens, mostly from the New York area. And it was awful. I cried all the time. I was shy and awkward and couldn’t make friends very easily. One day I was sitting in a hotel room with a bunch of obnoxious girls talking about other kids on the program.

One girl stops brushing her hair to say, “I hate X.” And another girl asks why. The first girl shrugged her shoulders, “I don’t know. I just do.”

I was speechless. I couldn’t even get someone to be nice to me. I didn’t have the luxury to decide that I hated someone.

Then in high school, for a short time, I was ran with a crowd of girls who loved talking shit about other people. It felt good to be on the other side. I had the ability to say I don’t need you. You mean nothing to me and therefore I can say whatever I want about you. But after a while, I felt sick. I had too much empathy for the people they were picking on. And after I decided I didn’t want to partake in their little games, I realized I didn’t really have that much in common with them. And I was much happier with the new friends I eventually made when I realized that there’s more to friendships than gossip; like talking about TV shows.

 

 

And by "other friends" I mean these guys. And by "TV shows" I mean, these were my friends.

And by “other friends” I mean these guys. And by “TV show” I mean, these were my  only friends.

 

As hard as it is to believe, Judaism is all about teamwork. God hates when we talk shit about each other and hate each other for no reason. There’s something that used to be a thing back in the day of the temple but not anymore. When someone committed Lashon Harah, or “evil talk”/gossip, they would contract an awful skin disease. God was literally saying “You wanna be ugly on the inside? Cool, now you’re ugly on the outside.” And then the gossiper had to live in a house on the outskirts of town until they could be given the cure.

Can you imagine? Imagine if every time you wanted to say something awful about someone you had to live in a house with other gossipy bitches. Do you know what house that is? It’s the America’s Next Top Model house. It’s the Kardashian household. It’s the Jersey Shore. I’m not asking you to stop talking about other people, that’s unrealistic and irresponsible to ask but JUST imagine that before you spoke about someone think Is this worth not seeing any of my friends again? Is it worth it? Today we might not have physical walls keeping people who judge unfavorably apart but speech builds its own walls. Hate keeps people out.

Recently, on a website I found on how to live minimalistic, I read a post about decluttering the negative thoughts from your life. It said Take responsibility for your mind. Realize that your thoughts and speech have a profound effect on the universe. We don’t have the temple because we’re still having petty thoughts and arguments. Take responsibility for your role in uniting the Jewish people. If Tisha B’av teaches us anything is that we have to stop being assholes to each other. There’s nothing you have to wake up early to do, nothing you have to spend extra money on, nothing you have to announce to your family at your next holiday….you don’t even have to start being nice. Just stop adding hate.

 

 

"Mom, Dad...I'm converting to...niceness."

“Mom, Dad…I’m converting to…niceness.”

 

I hope one day to be in a setting where someone makes an offhand comment about how much she likes someone. And when another person asks why, she’ll shrug and say “I don’t know, I just do.”

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