Time for Term Papers!

Here’s a snippet of what I’m working on right now for my Reality TV course:

Additionally, fanship exists on a continuum. On one end there are hard-core fans who watch regardless of anything else that is going on; conversely, on the other end of the spectrum you have fair-weather fans who tune in because of hype, or the end of the season/series, or because the team is doing really well and is on track to win a championship. As for everyone else in between the two sides, placement on the spectrum has to do with the level of interest in, knowledge of, and exposure to the show in question. In other words, where you fall on the fanship continuum has to do with how much you care.

After this I have 15 pages for my music course. Another snippet will presumably follow.

See you on the other side (again…)

A little Buda, a lot of Pest: Days 4-6

Isn’t it amazing how, as soon as you complain about something not working properly, it fixes itself? *Sigh* Life.
Anyway, to continue:

Sunday, Day 4, dawned ungodly bright and early. Saying we were used to it would be true, and unfortunate. But, we were on vacation and getting early starts is kind of necessary.

After breakfast at Frohlich Bakery (slowly becoming our favorite place to eat), we met up with M&E for a walking tour of the Jewish Quarter.

We met in front of one of the many drinkable fountains in the city – it turns out that Budapest sits on a naturally pure water source, so all the decorative fountains have drinkable water! And yes, we saw many people filling their water bottles from lions mouths and, ahem, other bodily openings.
Our guide Zoltan was informative, funny, and native-born Hungarian who lived in the Jewish Quarter despite a lack of religious credentials. The Jewish Quarter, it turns out, is home to many non-Jews because it is so centrally located within the capital. It also happens to be the center of the party scene in Budapest and is home to the famously infamous Ruin Pubs.

(I maintain what I said in my previous post about how nice everyone is – they could be even nicer if they would just be a little quieter while wandering the streets in their drunken dazes)

After 2.5 hours, Hubby, Nooshkin, M&E and I backtracked to the Dohanny Street Synagogue for a look inside. We decided against an official tour and just wandered around taking pictures of everything.

The interior of the Dohanny Street Synagogue

The interior of the Dohanny Street Synagogue

A close-up of the Aron Kodesh (where the Torah is kept)

A close-up of the Aron Kodesh (where the Torah is kept)

The cemetery in the courtyard

The cemetery in the courtyard

There was even a guestbook that you could sign so the synagogue would always remember and cherish your visit…that’s not weird in the slightest.

During the morning tour, I learned that Franz Liszt was the Shabbat Goy at the Dohanny Street Synagogue and played the organ during services!

Yup, accurate.

Yup, accurate.

How crazy is that?!

Once that was done, we all headed back to our respective abodes to relax and get ready for the wedding!
Which was on a boat in the Danube River with Buda Castle in the background.

The couple was gorgeous, the party went all night, and a good time was had by all. The craziest part was, they hired a second wedding planner who took care of the Kosher food for us and M&E. Actually, that isn’t so crazy once you really think about it.

Especially because they kept eating our food....

Especially because they kept eating our food…

What is crazy is how everyone seemed smitten with Nooshkin…nope, also not so crazy.

Day 5 was my plan. We were taking a roadtrip through the Hungarian countryside to Nyiradony, which is about 20 minutes Northeast of Debrecen, which is 2 hours from Budapest. It’s the village where my grandfather was from.
More about that in a different post.

Day 6 was devoted to shopping til we dropping. Which we were incredibly successful at (we are kind of professional). And, of course, taking more pictures of the sites around us.

Before we knew it, it was time to pack everything up. While the trip was wonderful, it was also incredibly exhausting – to the point that, fairly frequently on day 6 Hubby and I would look at each other and say “Yeah, I’m ready to go home”

I guess that is the best sign of a successful trip. That, and the swag we brought back 🙂

Currently Grooving On: Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody

Crazygonuts Family Fun Times!

Also known as LAK’s wedding week extravaganza.

The family has returned to their places of origin, the happily married couple is currently on a trip that may-or-may-not resemble a honeymoon (I mean, they are currently not in the country, but they are in Seattle, so…..), and the mountain of laundry is now merely a molehill.

In short, we now return you to your regularly scheduled program.

*insert sound here*

*insert sound here*

Excepting, of course, the two presentations I need to present this week. And the requisite term papers that go along with those presentations (even though they aren’t due for a few months). And our international trip next week, which requires only some preparation. And job hunting because, well, consistency.

But still. *Deep, contented sigh*

Pa is fond of saying really corny dad things, and his catchphrase is “When’s the last time this whole family was together?” And truth be told, it had been a while. About 2 years, to be exact – since Other Brother’s wedding.

Although we have multiple email and whatsapp chains, because my family gets together like this we tend to get on each others’ nerves really quickly and really often. It’s almost like we regress in age and space, back to before the in-laws and offspring and BA degrees (of which we all have). It provides us a second chance at the childhood we experienced together, because for us those jokes really don’t ever get old. There is nothing like taking a joke out of storage for the first time in 7 years, and realizing it’s still hysterically punny.

We also get the chance to make new jokes and memories, without any pretense. Our collective memories revolve around moments like this, which make them more potent. All those Friday night dinners we had together as a family are a huge blur – but the last two weekends will be remembered for a while (and not just because they are freshest).

But, it also provides us the opportunity to talk with each other about the things that really matter. The technological threads are there for the usual day-to-day mundanities, so when we are all physically in the same place we can get right down to business.

So although it was crazy, and stressful, and absolutely hellishly nuts – it was nice to have the whole family together again for the first time since the last time.

*pause* Yeah.

*pause* Yeah.

OH, here are a smattering of pictures. Because of course. Enjoy.

Yup, totally normal.

Yup, totally normal.

Nooshkin and DaNiece meet!

Nooshkin and DaNiece meet!

Fun times at the beach

Fun times at the beach

Three men and a baby!

Three men and a baby!

Nooshkin and DaNiece

Nooshkin and DaNiece

Hubby and the Other Brother

Hubby and the Other Brother

LAK was surprised by her bestest friends.

LAK was surprised by her bestest friends.

Getting ready

Getting ready

Pretty girls

Pretty girls

The Restless Mama family

The Restless Mama family

The Path of the Destined

I’ve been thinking a lot about destiny lately. Mostly about how it creeps up on you at the absolute worst possible time like a ton of bricks, usually with a ton of bricks in hand.

But, sometimes, destiny surprises you way after the fact, with one of those “Ha ha! I told you so!” moments.

Except, not that ugly looking.

Except, not that ugly looking.

And you kind of replay every moment that led up to the one you currently find yourself in, and wonder what it would have been like had destiny taken you down another path.
But then, you remind yourself, that you are the one in control of your life, and destiny is this figment of our collective imaginations. Probably created by someone a long time ago who was unable to commit to the choices that he made, or admit that he made them himself.

Also, destiny can’t lead us anywhere because it’s blind. That would be kind of disastrous.

Not sorry, at all.

Not sorry, at all.

I’ve had a lot of time lately to think about destiny, and how it drives us to make certain choices in our lives. From things as small as which bus we take and when we do our grocery shopping, to big things like where to go to school or when to have kids. Any one of those situations can introduce you to someone, or an idea, or something that you would not otherwise have met, or thought of, or experienced had you made a different choice.

In the Sandman graphic novel series, Neil Gaiman explains it best:

The paths fork and divide. With each step you take through Destiny’s garden, you make a choice; and every choice determines future paths. However, at the end of a lifetime of walking you might look back, and see only one path stretching out behind you; or look ahead, and see only darkness.

What Neil doesn’t say, is that sometimes when you look back, you can see hints of the other paths that “might-have-been”. Sometimes, there are points in our lives where it was so blatantly obvious that we had a choice to make, that we forever look back to that moment and wonder – “What if?”

I find myself doing that a lot lately.

About three weeks ago I found myself drawn to something posted on the bulletin board outside the music secretary’s office on campus. It was a job opportunity; it had the logo of the Tel-Aviv Opera House on it in the upper-right corner.

That was all that mattered.

I took down the contact information and ran home – too afraid to actually call the guy and ask about this. But, a few days later, I mentioned it to the Hubby and he said do it. More like, DO IT!!!!! But you get the idea.

So I did it. Twice – yes, I was invited back for a second interview. No, my gag reflex did not fail me either time, although my stomach has been doing complex somersaults ever since I saw the job opp. I have also not really been able to focus on the myriad other things that I must needs do right now, because this has been weighing on me constantly.

This job opp is the pinnacle of what I consider my dream job, no superlatives necessary. I would be working in the music library, responsible for caring and organizing and preparing the sheet music for every single operatic and symphonic performance. Of which there are *counting* anywhere between 15 and 20 per year.
I would be working long hours, longer weeks, and would really only get a few moments between performances to collect myself.

But, in all honesty, I would scrub the floor with a toothbrush as long as my pay stub said “Tel-Aviv Opera House” on it.

Wow, there are stock photos of everything these days.

Wow, there are stock photos of everything these days.

I’m totally not kidding – I’ve said this enough times to realize that it’s the honest truth.

I guess that was when I realized I really wanted to work there – because if you repeat something often enough, it becomes truth. Working there would be the dream. And that dream kept reasserting itself. And the dream that keeps coming back is, above all else, your destiny.

This job would mean incomparable, inconceivable, unadulterated happiness for me. It would also mean that life as I, the Hubby, and Nooshkin know it would change forever.
So – all the melodrama and stress is definitely warranted. As is the desire for an adultier adult to make this decision for me.

Nearly everyone I’ve spoken to about this job opp has said I should accept it (if given the chance). They know me well, they’ve heard me talk about this forever; and, let’s be honest – dreams don’t often present themselves so obviously.
This is my hobby, my degree, my passion, my muse.

Paths change, options appear, choices present themselves all the time. This month so many people I know are quitting work, or moving, or getting married, or applying for their next degree. In LAK’s case, it’s all of the above (she’s a little nuts like that).

It’s only been four-and-a-half months since I made the choice to quit my job. It feels like a lot longer. So much has happened since then, and mostly for the good, that I know it was the right choice. But, still.

The thought occurred to me that I was meant to know about this job. Regardless of whether or not I end up getting it, I was meant to know right now – smack in the middle of all else that is happening right now – that there are possibilities like this out there. That there are many other paths available in front of me, regardless of how far they end up taking me before I am presented with other choices or, worse yet, backtrack to where I started.

I know that if I hadn’t quit I would not know that this job opp even existed. And I would not be having these questions, and doubts, and sleepless nights. My path would be set, and straight, for a little while longer.

But I am holding on tight to the possibility that this job opp is neither for the good, nor the bad – but for the neutral. That right now I’m only meant to be presented with a crossroad, instead of a straight line. That perhaps I will end up continuing down the same path that I had been on two weeks ago.

Maybe I’m only meant to know that it exists. And, rather surprisingly, that comforts me immensely.

Regardless of what happens within the next two weeks, I have to trust myself that the choice I make will be the right one. Otherwise I end up with regret, and I cannot afford to regret the decisions that I make. Living a life with regrets means that there was nothing good in any choice that I made – which is obviously not true. All choices, all decisions, can have a positive outlook – but only if you are open to the possibility that not everything is terrible, or horrible, or no good, or very bad.

Even in Australia.

Even in Australia.

I guess that means I am the adultier adult, and that I’m capable of making this choice.

And I will see you on the other side.

A Final Countdown, of sorts…

My brain has entered that unholiest of places. My very being is slowly succumbing to an endless barrage of ticking and tocking, of incremental increases in stress levels, and in copious consumptions of rum.

Except, the rum is always gone.

Except, the rum is always gone.

I have entered…The Countdown Place. [thus endeth the melodrama]

I should explain, elaborate, and exhale.

When I first quit work I had set myself a time frame for everything that I needed to do. And, except for finishing my seminar paper (of which I have currently 0/25 pages written and only 3/18 articles read in their entirety…), and getting my drivers license (which is entirely the fault of the Fercockt DMV in this country for changing the rules every five seconds) and finding a job (which has been mentioned somewhat at length here and here) I managed to do everything.

[thus beginnith the panic…ith]

Obscure pop-culture reference FTW!

Obscure pop-culture reference FTW!

Anyway, as soon as the time frame had passed I got all up in my head and only recently am beginning to come out of it.

And NOW, there is a lot more that is about to happen in the next eight weeks.

I have two-and-a-half weeks to finish my seminar paper before the next wedding. And then I have another two weeks before LAK’s wedding – and those weeks will be a flurry of wedding-related activity. But, there will also be wedding-related activity in the first batch of two weeks.
Then, after LAK’s wedding, I have another two weeks before our friends’ wedding in Budapest (oh yeah, I may have completely forgotten about that with everything else that’s going on). So, I also have to plan an international week-long trip in the next six weeks.

Not to mention the usual tasks of job hunting, license getting, nooshkin minding, apartment attending, and school.

I am hoping that once everything resolves, or as soon as there’s rum, I will be a much more fun person to hang out with. But for now, I guess I better get to work…

Currently Grooving On: All 3 Pirates of the Caribbean Soundtracks (for some reason they really help me focus on writing seminar papers)

Catching Up with Myself

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

So much has gone on since the Passover Posts that it took a while for my brain to catch up with the rest of me. Also, there was that whole job application faux pas that kind of made me want to crawl under my desk and, well, get drunk.

Yeah, like that.

Kind of like this, but way less glamorous.

But, I digress…

There was Memorial Day and Independence Day in Israel – two days that involve lots of driving and meat consumption, and spending time with friends and family. Dodax and his wife came over for brunch, and later that afternoon we traveled to see various family members for a BBQ. LAK and the fiance made an appearance too.

The hunt for a bridesmaid dress is still on. Hopefully later today it will finally come to an end and I can devote my time to other things. Like reading stacks of papers for my seminar paper that is due in approximately three weeks and one day (eek!). And coming up with topics for my two term papers for this semester, which I need to “hand” in to the respective professors by sometime this week.
Oh, and applying for more jobs – this time with an actually presentable resume.

And yet, I somehow found time to bake toxic sugar cookies for my friend S. I should explain.

Friend S is also former co-worker S, who recently gave up smoking. When she first started her endeavor she turned to Facebook (naturally) for encouragement and support. I said that if she managed an entire month, I would bake her a batch of toxic cookies.

This delighted many people, most of them also former co-workers, as I had a reputation for bringing in awesomely delicious baked goods to work. To the point where the CEO said if I didn’t last at the company at least I had a back-up plan.

*insert semi-appropriate image…of something…here*

Mostly I brought cookies, as those were the easiest to transport. But I did bring a cheesecake-brownie thing for my birthday, and I made a cheesecake for the company cheesecake-off. (It didn’t win, but it did get eaten to crumbs). (recipes will be posted, I promise!)

Well, the month had passed and the cookies needed to be baked, and there was a resounding request for toxic cookies. (These cookies aren’t really toxic; they are your traditional sugar cookies with green food coloring.)

Hence, toxic.

Hence, toxic.

Although, maybe it’s the refreshing taste of mint extract that makes them toxic? In all honesty the first time I ate these I kept taking another one because my inner child kept saying “Hey you, you just brushed your teeth – have a treat!” (My mother, the dental hygienist, must not hear of this)

I should mention that the chocolate-mint combination is very difficult to find in Israel, so there does tend to be an onslaught of requests for anything remotely resembling this combination.

Not only am I immensely proud of S., this got me out of the house and provided me with an opportunity to socialize on a weekday! And, apparently, more of those opportunities are coming….

Currently Grooving On: “Anywhere But Here”, by Sick Puppies

Minty Sugar (Toxic) Cookies

2/3 cup (150 grams) margarine, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons milk
4 cups flour
chocolate chips – as desired
mint extract – as desired (I usually use a tablespoon)
green food coloring – as desired

1. Mix the margarine, sugar, and mint extract until incorporated – the consistency will be chunky.
2. Add the baking powder, vanilla, eggs, and salt. Mix well.
3. Slowly add the milk and flour – I add one teaspoon and cup at a time, then mix until it’s incorporated, then add another teaspoon and cup, etc – until incorporated.
NOTE: the dough will be a little dry, but that’s okay – the food coloring will help.
4. Add the chocolate chips and food coloring.

Bake at 350 degrees F/180 degrees C for 8-9 minutes.

If You’ve Got It, Flaunt It

In a direct continuation of my last post, I realized today that my CV wasn’t necessarily completely – um, how do you say – complete.
Although that definitely explains why I hadn’t heard back from anyone. *sigh*

Applying for jobs, and the requisite “Tell me a little about yourself” part of the interview has never been something that I enjoy. While I am really comfortable singing my own praises to psych myself up for whatever, putting them on paper and then singing in front of other people (who may or may not want to pay me for said praises) still leaves me with a strange taste in my mouth.

I’m fully aware that it’s a necessary evil in the working world – confidence and self-assuredness are very important skills that practically every job position requires, even if they’re not expressed on the posting. I have done enough public displays of crazy that I know I can handle most anything that comes my way – baring jobs that I’m just not physically capable of doing. Like, defensive tight end.

This guy, I ain't.

This guy, I ain’t.

I really can’t put my finger on why, or the basic core reasoning for this feeling. I just know that I hate it. And I always have.
Although, “hate” may be too strong a word. Perhaps “strongly dislike” is better. Yeah – I strongly dislike the job application process. I do it, and I do interviews; dare I say I do interviews really well. I may not necessarily end up with the job, but it’s usually because I don’t have additional skills or the time to devote to the job. You know, information that wasn’t included in the initial posting, but should have been.

But I do it. Even though it’s not fun. Because I have to, and because I’m an adult.

It just makes me feel like a monkey. Especially when I’m asked to prove that I can perform the skills that are on my CV. Like, they don’t believe it and they need to test me.

Worse than this though, is not hearing back from anyone at all. Thus begins a never-ending cycle of “did they even get my email?/did they bother to read my email?/is my email floating helplessly through dead cyberspace?/should i send another email? (maybe this time with a better CV)/never mind i’m just gonna eat whiskey-flavored ice cream”

Seriously, why has nobody invented that yet?

Anyway – I have done this enough times to know that I am comfortable with my knowledge and know-how and street smarts and book smarts. I have mad skillz and I can use/utilize them anywhere and anytime.

I am awesome, an expert, a pro, a professional.

I’ve got it and I will flaunt it. Whatever *it* is.