Sunday, July 25, 2010

Fitting In

When I was younger, I fit in anywhere. I could instantly find friends anywhere. I had no pre-conceived notions about who would/wouldn't make a good friend. Boys were not "Icky." Girls were not pretentious. I could slap a coffee filter on a G.I. Joe figure to have him parachute from the third story window immediately after cuddling my Cabbage Patch doll.

I knew what I believed, but was happy to hear everyone else's views. Many Sunday mornings, after sleeping over at my best friend's, you could find me with her in her Lutheran Sunday school class. I went to Catholic school. At lunch, among friends, I debated the value of Yom Kippur vs. Catholic confession (9-year-old me was quite certain one day of fasting and coming to terms with G-d myself was much preferable to cowering in a confessional being judged by a priest and 30-something-year-old me still feels exactly the same way).

So many people fear public speaking. Not me. I love it. I'm comfortable in front of crowds. I wanted to be an actress. I'm a born leader and I enjoy (almost) every minute of it. The best compliment I ever received from my mother was when she asked, "Why did you never become a rabbi? You know all this stuff. You've always been a leader. You would have been good at it."

Now, though, I find it increasingly difficult to fit in. Among most of my friends, being Jewish makes us the odd ones out. With one group of fellow Yids, we're too observant. With others, we're not nearly observant enough. With some people, we're the wrong religion entirely and therefore not even a candidate for friend. I have to bite my tongue around some friends so as to not make political comments that I know will tick them off. Many of my friends are far older. A number of those have grown children, so when I'm exasperated by the toddler tantrums, my friends look at me like I have three heads and go back to helping their daughters' plan their weddings. Others are young and single and are equally baffled when the toddler tantrums or the kindergartner insists on wearing his Batman mask, bathing suit and not much else. They're too busy planning their road trip with friends (from which they will post ten THOUSAND pictures to Facebook) to hear my explanation.

So it's nice that we have finally managed to find a little space in the world where we've collected people with whom we feel comfortable. I can randomly bust into song and not only will no one stare, but some friends will actually JOIN IN and sing along. One or two might even grab their guitar or play along on the piano. And that, right there, makes all the slings and arrows in life so much more bearable.

"You meet people who forget you. You forget people you meet. But sometimes you meet those people you can`t forget. Those are your friends." --Dana Scully "the X-files"

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Are Libraries Cooler Than Cupcakes?

I say, "Yes," and you know I love cupcakes, so that's a big deal.

I've posted before about how I do so love Children's Librarians. Then, today, a (librarian) friend shared this and so I feel compelled to do the same.

I don't know about you, but I would find a way to watch a reality show about our local librarians. That would be some interesting stuff.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Rules that only morons need to hear: What Cannot Be Unseen

Have you ever had to explain something to someone which really should be common sense, but for some reason, it wasn't for that particular person?

Don't speak loudly and in great detail at the gym about the best blow job you ever gave, particularly when there are elderly ladies on the treadmill next to you is one such rule.

I came across another one last weekend that needs sharing: While at a restaurant, do not EVER speak of anything you have seen on a television segment titled anything remotely similar to, "What Cannot Be Unseen."

This should be common sense, but it wasn't to the group of ladies a few tables down from us at a restaurant. After hearing about one such segment (again, in great detail), I had to put down my food because I had lost my appetite. Now, I don't have a weak stomach, so if even I was grossed out, you can rest assured what you just discussed (LOUDLY AND IN GREAT DETAIL) was completely inappropriate in an establishment where eating takes place (or at least DID before you grossed people out).

So, what other rules have you felt compelled to clarify for the morons?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Make new friends and keep the old
(but only if they're Christian).

I heard of such things, but I didn't believe they really existed, at least not among nice people. I figured the concept was just something people threw around to try to prove a point of bigotry. Sure, some bigotry exists, but I didn't believe it really existed in such an outright and confusing form.

People really exist who won't be friends with people who are not Christian. Please excuse me while I find my jaw and pick it up off the floor.

What's even "better," people--sweet nice people, won't be my friend because I'm not Christian.

The one in question (and I suspect now that there have been others) isn't some mythological awful vicious beast. She's nice. She's very sweet. She and I have a lot in common. I often invite her to parties and events and she always declines. I figured she was just busy with her large family and many commitments. Nope, she's just...Christian.

This blows my mind. I don't understand it at all. I tried discussing it with a (Christian) friend who laments that she's on the opposite side. She knows she has friends who are ONLY friends with her because she's Christian. She tried to explain the rationale to me as she's actually had this conversation with some friends including the one in question.

Turns out some people believe only fellow Christians can share their goals, beliefs and philosophies. I find this so odd because, for years, I recognized that my parenting style and goals were most similar to a fundamental Christian friend. Politically and religiously, we were polar opposites, but our goals in life (menschkeit, even if she probably wouldn't refer to it as such) and parenting were the same. We had a lot of fun together and we had some great discussions. She once called me, "Insightful," which, to this day, I think is the best compliment I've ever received. My life and my children's lives are richer because she and her children were a part of them.

In addition, I've been told that, some Christians basically have the idea that, "You're going to hell anyway and I'm not, so why bother getting attached?" Hold on. There goes my jaw again. Must go chase it as it rolls under my desk.

Now, I know many (if not most) branches of Christianity believe that faith in Jesus is the only way to heaven. Funny, though, many of those claim that their and only their exact interpretation of Jesus will drop you on the yellow brick road to heaven. Everyone else is either headed to hell's western shore or will have to renounce their beliefs in the end times. Honestly, I find that offensive. Go ahead and pat me on the head and say, "Oh, that's a cute little doily your son has on his head, but I'm right and you're wrong and in the end, you'll just toss that in the trash and hand him a 'Jesus Rocks' baseball cap instead."

Judaism believes it's actually EASIER to be a good person if you're not Jewish. We have 613 laws to follow. The rest of you have only 7 fairly simple ones (among others, don't murder people or eat a live animal and you're good to go).

In Judaism, we don't focus on the afterlife. Whereas Christian texts write extensively about heaven, we Jews know very little about what the world to come has to offer. That's because our focus is on the here and now. If we worry about our behavior here, the rest will take care of itself. So my concern is not who I'll share a booth with in the next life, it's who I'm sharing a drink with in THIS life and how I treat him or her.

I'm just stunned and in disbelief that this not only happens, but has happened to me and that it's done by otherwise nice people. What a shame! What an absolute shame!

Monday, July 05, 2010

The Moment I Knew

I'm taking part in e.p.t.'s "Moment I knew" blog tour.

Just thinking about that moment when I first learned I was pregnant (we'd later find out it was with not one, but two babies) makes me grin like a big idiot (a happy idiot, though).

With our first pregnancy, we were ttc (trying to conceive) when my husband was sent away. We tried to plan visits around my cycle, but with no luck. Every month, my cycle got longer and longer, so every month, I took a pregnancy test only to be greeted with a great big honking evil BFN (big fat negative). I was heartbroken.

Then September 11th happened. My husband was away and I had just found out, yet again, that I wasn't pregnant (I visited him a few weeks prior in an attempt to catch ovulation). My lmp (last menstrual period) was September 8, 2001. During the awful chaos of the 9-11 attacks, I was thrilled that I wasn't pregnant and it made me question whether I even wanted to have children given all the uncertainty in the world. Dh and I discussed it in depth and decided we still did. We took comfort in the fact that maybe we could raise children who could counteract such hatred.

It was good that we came to that agreement because, when I visited him 3 weeks later, it finally worked. He came home for good (well, as "for good" as you can get in the military) a week after that and I kept joking that I was pregnant (Would you grab an extra piece of chocolate? Oh, it's not for me. The baby wants it.), but we just didn't know. I didn't have any of the usual symptoms. In that time, the military had given us orders to move almost immediately. So we planned one last trip to visit family in the area before we were sent across the country.

While visiting, we stopped to pick up an e.p.t. I tucked it away and we went to bed. In the morning, I woke up before Dh and took the test. I refused to even look at the test until a full 5 minutes had gone by. I was terrified that it would be yet another negative.

When I looked at the test, I was shocked. TWO LINES. I had never seen two lines before. I stared at it for a while trying to believe it. Then, when I was fairly certain this was really happening, I went back into Dh who was still sleeping. I shook him and whispered, "It worked." It took him a second, but suddenly he sat up straight and I handed him the test. He saw it too.

We decided not to tell the family right away, but we had a family dinner that night. We just about floated through that dinner. We were SO happy. Giddy as can be, we had to keep our news to ourselves and pass the potatoes. We couldn't hide our excitement, though. There are pictures of us at that dinner and you can see these huge goofy grins our faces in every single one.

I still have that test. I tucked it away and everywhere the military sent us, that test came too. Nothing in the world will ever compare to the early morning when I first saw two lines.

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of e.p.t and received an e.p.t. keepsake case and a $20 gift card to to facilitate my review.

You can find out more about e.p.t. products (including a keepsake bag which would have been ideal for toting my first test around the country) at