.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Ask Shifra

Something Different... Answering questions and making curious observations (online) since 2005.

Powered by WebAds

Monday, August 29, 2011

How I Spent My Summer

This summer went by much too quickly for me. I feel like I didn't accomplish enough or have enough fun. Perhaps a recap will give me some perspective....

Kids and Trips -

My kids really did have a good summer: Plenty of time with both sets of grandparents, camp for my younger one, babysitting and SAT prep for my older one with plenty of time to hang with friends, rollerblade and write songs in between. I did take my kids on a one day trip to the Camel Beach Water Park in the Poconos. That was excellent - I love the lazy river, water slides too! I also did a 3 hour kayaking trip around the Sedge Islands. It was an eco-tour where we learned about the animals and plants in the area. Very interesting stuff!

Work and Job Interviews - Work is rough. Ever since my department discovered that they can "do more with less" I've been completely overwhelmed with no end in sight. Things with my manager are still tenuous at best so I spent the early part of the summer looking for another job with a more generous salary. I had a couple of good leads both found through job sites (I am not a networker.) One was a at a French based company. I did well at the US interview but when I had the Skype-style interview with the head office in France the combination of the language barrier and the poor sound quality was just more than I could overcome. Also I didn't really want to be a one person department, that seemed lonely and scary!

I had another interview with a large candy manufacturer. The interview was one of those where they get you in a room with a group of people and ask you canned questions like "How did you resolve a conflict in the workplace" or "What is the most difficult conversation you ever had at work." They asked dozens of these and I foolishly used my manager twice as an example (because I so rarely have conflicts in the workplace.) I also used a metaphor involving a frilled lizard. I didn't get the job.

Television - There is a lot of terrible stuff on Television! Storage Wars, Untold Stories of the ER, Millionaire Matchmaker, Hoarders.... ick!! And yet somehow on those rare occasions when I just plunk down in front of the TV I find myself watching 2 hours of this junk back-to-back-to-back (ok not hoarders... that's too awful even for me.)

Snacks and Drinks - Yeah, I gained weight this summer, stupid I know. Here are some of my favorite new snacks and drinks. Low-calorie gatorade in orange, Pop Corners (this is like popcorn flattened into a chip somehow) I like the sea salt and Jalapeno flavors. The butter flavor tastes like puke according to my daughter (not recommended.) Fiber One has an 80 calorie pre-packaged brownie out that's really good, and if calories don't count for you I recommend Mint Oreo Fudge creams are like the Girl Scout's "Thin Mints" but with less cookie and more of the good stuff. My kids also recommend Sabra's Greek Olive Hummus with Stacy's Pita Chips.

Gardening - I live in an apartment but there is still a little area for a garden. This year I grew red peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, cucumbers, mint, basil, chives, dill, parsley, and oregano. The red peppers and chives were the most successful but I did get a little of everything.

Projects - I paid off my Yaris this summer and I'm very happy with that little car. Due to the recall on the floor mats I found I was wearing a large hole in the car's carpet where I rest my left foot while I drive. I took the old (offending) car mat and cut out a large plus sign (or cross if you will) I tucked in under the hole one side at at time and glued it down with marine glue. Looking good! Ok looking like to total patch job but still WAAAY better.

I also was the lucky recipient of a free "easy button" from staples.
While it's very amusing on it's own I'm in the process of rewiring it to say what ever I like by installing a tiny microphone. This is my first wiring project and it's slow going (even with help.)

So I guess I did do a few things this summer... still time goes so fast... sigh...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

So, how was it?

If you were fasting yesterday how did it go?
Did it make you feel sad, self-reflective, or just hungry?

My fast went pretty well, I got myself off caffeine a week before and that was a big help.

For me I think it's a good thing to fast once in a while. Even though my financial situation has had it's ups and downs over the years I've never been in a situation where I had nothing to eat. I don't want to get too political here but I think if some folks in Washington went without a meal once in a while they would have a lot more respect for the programs that keep America's children from going hungry on a regular basis.

The nine-days do have an effect on me, particularly because they are so restrictive during a time of year that's usually a lot more relaxed. Whatever I'm in the mood to do (especially on the weekends) such as go to the movies, or the beach, I have to tell myself, no - that's too much fun - and it reminds me of all the tragic events of that time of year. A custom that my Shul has, of remaining completely silent upon leaving the building in complete silence after the reading of Eicha is particularly effective. Shul is such a social place most of the time - not speaking changes the mood entirely.

One thing that kind of gets to me is the pile of events that are always listed as on or near the 9th of Av. I'm not a huge fan of coincidences, they make me feel skeptical - the more coincidences you heap on the less I'm included to buy what you are selling. Kind of like that whole Kennedy/Lincoln thing. Too much! Also why are any of those facts in important? Coincidences are everywhere but they don't necessarily mean anything. I have a hard time considering a certain time of year "unlucky." Sad yes, unlucky no. Still I'd rather lump together a group of sad things and mourn them all at once than separately all year long.

Share your 9 days experiences in the comments. I'm interested!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

If God Had a Blog

I liked this - (yes I know this more like a Facebook post than a blog entry.)