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Ask Shifra

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

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Monday, February 05, 2007

The Shins, Mating Raccoons, Bass Guitar, and Joint Compound

It's been a busy weekend and today should prove to be just as packed but I seem to be having trouble getting started so before I get down to the business of working let me tell you what I've learned this weekend:

The Shins have a new album out. I try never to judge an album before I've listened to it four or five times but so far I like it, it's quirky. I'm not a huge fan of every song so far but I've already got three favorites so that's pretty good right out of the gate. Note: Don't try to understand the lyrics, they don't make any sense.

On Saturday morning while drinking my instant coffee (blech) and contemplating the stack of dishes in my sink from the night before, I caught site of a plump midsized raccoon wandering around the back of my yard. Since it was daytime I was a little concerned. Aren't raccoons nocturnal? Could this little fellow be rabid? Soon he was joined by another buddy and the two of them traipsed around my yard and the neighbors yard, up and down trees under fences and behind our garage. By this time my kids were up and watching with fascination as their cereal grew soggy in their bowls. Suddenly my younger daughter called out. "Mommy! The raccoons are fighting!!" Alas, this was not the case. They were, in fact, mating. When I told this to my older daughter she hopped up from the table and with her hands alternately over her ears and eyes yelped "ew eww ewwwww!!! I KNOW what that means!!! EWWWWWW!!"
"What DOES that mean?" asked my younger daughter. "It means they aren't fighting" I said.

I find it hard to spend money on myself generally but sometimes when there is something you really, really want and the stars align in a way that lets you get it, it feels great. Here's my new baby. A fender squire electric bass - I have in black of course, to match all my skirts (like a good Jewish girl.)

The kitchen project is back ON! A few days before Rosh Ha'Shana I ripped down all the ugly wallpaper in my kitchen with plans to paint it quickly before the holidays started. Little did I know there was a REASON the previous owners chose wallpaper. The walls were a wreck and I'd already purchased $80 worth of non-returnable paint! I gave up on the whole things for a while but thanks to some helpful old guy at the hardware store and the product shown above I've got the kitchen on the road to repair and it's looking pretty good if I don't say so myself!

OK that's all folks. I've got work to do!

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At 11:43 AM, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Great Raccoon pic :)

(You could also add "ewwww" as one of the "tags" for the post)

At 1:29 PM, Blogger PsychoToddler said...

For some reason, this post reminds me of a line from a movie, I can't remember which one, but it's a man yelling, "Stay out! Daddy is trying to fix mommy's back!"

Mazel tov on your new bass. May you use it in good health.

At 2:03 PM, Blogger Shifra said...

Actually PT that whole raccoon exchange reminded me of the type of situation you often find yourself in. I should mention that my husband was in the room, alternately flinching and pretending not to be flinching.

"eewww" should be a tag, I agree!

At 2:10 PM, Blogger DTC said...


So, nu, when's the big gig at www.mydiningroom.com?

At 2:14 PM, Blogger Shifra said...

DTC - Do we know each other?

At 2:22 PM, Blogger PsychoToddler said...

Oh, I think it was from an episode of Scrubs.

Yes you're right, that usually does happen to me.

At 7:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is actually 2 episodes of the Simpsons this happens

1. Family dog runs into a greyhound race and mounts one of the dogs.

Lisa: Whats Santa's Little Helper doing to that dog?
Bart: Looks like he's trying to jump over her but can't quite make it.

2. Homer reminces how he learned about the "Birds and the Bees"

Homer: Zookeeper, Zookeeper, those two monkies are killing each other.
Zookeeper : (whispers in his ears)
Homer: Oh.

At 8:40 PM, Blogger Ayelet said...

loved the racooon story! Do you really play that beautiful instrument? Bravo on the DiY kitchen makeover:)

At 8:46 PM, Blogger Shifra said...

Ayelet - I don't yet but I'm working on it!
I guess you COULD say I play it, just poorly so far ;-)
Give me a few months.

At 11:24 PM, Blogger Eliyahu said...

so does the spackle knife make a good guitar pick?

At 9:01 AM, Blogger DTC said...


Of course. :-)

At 9:48 AM, Blogger Shifra said...

Eliyahu - actually I'm trying to avoid using a pick, it's tempting but I'm going to go the traditional route at least at first.
I do have to be careful about converging hobbies in this case.

dtc: Hmmm, in real life or online...

At 12:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, you can get a heter to make real coffee on Shabbat. The issue is borer (isn't it always?) and not bishul. The coffee addict rabbi that I asked quoted a source that one is permitted to pour water over wine dregs to flavor the water. If you use a coffee filter and water from a keli sheni, you can have your coffee.

At 12:40 PM, Blogger Shifra said...

Julie - I did have a special "coffee maker" just for Shabbos. It was really nothing more than a cone filter over an enclosed carafe - and I used hot water from an urn with a kli sheni but then I was told that the issue was borer as you said.
How did your Rav mater his way around it? I really would like to know!

At 1:35 PM, Blogger PsychoToddler said...

Can you just put Mr. Coffee on a timer?

At 2:18 PM, Blogger Shifra said...

That's a good idea too, my $20 coffee maker already has a timer, and an auto shut off!
I just need to make sure it's kosher to use it.
I recently learned that the Rabbi of our shul loves coffee. I'll have to ask him.

At 3:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Coffee is a no-no because it boils the water on Shabbat, which is a form of bishul. Halacha prohibits eating food cooked on Shabbat even if a Mr. Coffee is doing the cooking. (Pre-boiling the water doesn't solve the problem because there is bishul achar bishul with regard to water. Pre-boiled water would be gross for coffee, anyways, since all the disolved oxygen would have boiled out.) I will ask my coffee-addict rabbi exactly why the cone filter is allowed.

At 6:11 PM, Blogger DTC said...


but in terms of coffee, if you can rig a Mr. Coffee with a kedeira blech, then we can potentially deal with the borer issues. (as long as you cover the knobs before shabbos to help out with the blech issues.)

At 7:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shifra, you can spare yourself all the headache regarding coffee on shabbat with one word:


hmmmmmm or is it two words?

At 7:24 PM, Blogger PsychoToddler said...

Such an interesting halachic discussion over here. Who wooda thunk it? What's next? A discussion of Kol Isha on Psychotoddler??

At 8:11 PM, Blogger Shifra said...

DTC - email me.
I hope you are just kidding about the blech - that doesn't even seem possible.

HH- I've never had a redbull but that's one addiction I can't afford to start!

PT - you are a shameless self-promoter... and oddly, I respect that.

At 11:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The raccoon story is so funny. Thanks for sharing!

Do you play bass guitar (or guitar at all)? Or did you buy that one to learn?

How did we get to issues of bishul and borer from your post?

At 11:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

HH- I've never had a redbull but that's one addiction I can't afford to start!

I'm way ahead of you. All you need to do is once you are down taking down your morning redbull, just dilute it with a shot of Smirnoff.

I guarentee you, no addiction.

At 5:34 AM, Blogger Hot Chanie said...

PT's just jealous!

At 1:29 PM, Blogger Shifra said...

Anonymous - Piano is/was my instrument, I did buy this guitar to learn on but I hear I'll appreciate it later on as well.

I mentioned instant coffee, and frequent readers know that I love the stuff - the only reason I'd be that stuff is because of issues relating to cooking on Shabbos.

HH - When I start drinking redbull with vodka for breakfast it will be time for an intervention.

At 4:44 PM, Blogger Shifra said...

That last comment didn't make sense.
I meant I LOVE coffee, but real coffee not instant.

At 6:02 PM, Blogger DTC said...


just what is your email? I can't find it.

At 6:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shifra- Why would you start with bass guitar over regular guitar?

At 6:32 PM, Blogger Shifra said...

It's shifraq@gmail.com

Anon: I have many guitar playing friends and relatives, I thought this would be a nice complement - plus it's WAY easier than guitar :-)
(at least on a basic level)

At 9:00 PM, Blogger PsychoToddler said...

Hey! I resent that last remark!

Even if it's true!

At 11:27 PM, Blogger orthomom said...

I used to drink instant coffee on Shabbos morning. lately I have become so disgusted by the vile potion that they are trying to pass off as coffee that I stopped drinking it on Shabbos mornings altogether.

At 6:03 PM, Blogger and so it shall be... said...

"It was really nothing more than a cone filter over an enclosed carafe - and I used hot water from an urn with a kli sheni but then I was told that the issue was borer as you said."

I remember waking up early one shabbos morning. i had that cone filter thingie and suddenly had a brainstorm: i wanted coffee, there was hot water in the urn....why not make shomer shabbos coffee. So I did. It was great. I was so proud of myself and resolved to wake up early every shabbos and have coffee. I was so happy with my idea that I menionted it to my brohter-in-law who said, "That's borer."

At least I get to sleep late on shabbos.

As for instant coffee, I always thought that was an oxymoron.

At 1:20 PM, Blogger Jack Kessler said...

First comes the mating, then the fighting, then the get.

At 1:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I started playing the bass a few months ago. The bass rules! I also have a black Fender, but mine is a precision bass. Good luck and keep us posted on your progress! Shabbat shalom.

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