Look What I Stumbled Upon!

Apparently this is real…

 

Legitimate instructions include:

  • Release the penguins
  • Balance your chair on two legs
  • Remove cattle from stage
  • Like a rolling stone
  • With much passionfruit
  • Inflate the circus clowns
  • Play real zippy-like

Also, it seems that this was “Arranged by Accident” and if you can’t play it, you should call your mommy.

Oh internet…

H/T The Ablestmage Press

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A Short Story about Seaweed

A while back one of my friends posted a status that included the hastag #wraphiminseaweed. Because he wanted sushi for dinner.
Subtle much?

oy vey

oy vey


In said status he requested, nay – implored his friends to incorporate this hashtag into their statuses as a way to convince his wife to buy said sushi for said dinner.

Knowing this wouldn’t work (because his wife is impervious to peer pressure) we all did it anyway. But you know what did happen?

I started craving sushi. As did all my friends. So guess what we all had for dinner that night?


All the sushi!

There is definitely something here about the power of social media and peer pressure. I will ponder this for a while and write something more philosophical later.

Forever & A Day

Hello lovely people! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? And I know I gave you all fair warning, I really thought that my first post-new-job post would finally be the one about Nyiradony. Don’t worry, that one is still chugging along.

As the excerpt may have hinted, I recently got back from a short trip to Chicago. The jet lag has worn off and I’ve returned to something resembling normalcy (for me, anyway).

To recap: I started a new job three weeks ago. While I knew that it would take time to adjust to the new schedule, I figured that after a couple weeks I would be able to get back into blogging – not to mention cooking, cleaning, and laundry.
Well…
Two weeks ago, I got a phone call about 30 minutes before it was quitting time. It was my mom, telling me that my grandmother had died.
Now, Nana was 93 and had not been doing that great. But, still. Death always comes as a surprise.
Let’s just reiterate here: it was my second official week on the job; my direct supervisor was on vacation; I had enough work in front of me to keep me busy with limited checking-up-on by other employees; and, I was too new to be myself.

Let’s adjust, shall we?

I told HR that I needed to leave slightly earlier than planned that day and immediately called Dodax and LAK. We had something resembling a conference call, where we were trying to decide if we should fly in and for how long and how insane that would be, especially because we wouldn’t actually make it for the funeral. Dodax and I were in agreement that we should all go or all not go, like a Three Musketeers kind of deal.
It was about this time, that we realized LAK wasn’t really talking that much. It turns out, she was on her way to the airport. Yes, while we were talking about how we wouldn’t actually make it for the funeral and all we could do was get there for part of the shiva, and we should all decide together what we should do, she was heading for her very last-minute, all-of-a-sudden, flight to Chicago.

Yup.

Yup.

With our decision made for us, we planned our own trips and proceeded to drive everyone and anyone in our immediate vicinity crazy inform everyone of said impending trips.

The rest of the week passed in a blur. The news slowly made the rounds at work; everyone was very sympathetic and kind of gave me a wide berth, which was nice but really not necessary. I informed Nooshkin that I would be going away, and she legit didn’t care. And the next thing I knew, it was Thursday night/Friday morning and I was on my way to the airport to spend a few days of shiva with my family.

Brief Pause for Explanations:

The way it works in Judaism is there are three stages of mourning: the first week, called shiva (Hebrew for 7); the first month, called shloshim (Hebrew for 30); and the first year, called nothing because that’s why. The names refer to the number of days that each stage lasts from the date of the funeral; so shiva is for a week, and shloshim is for a month.
Each stage is also different as far as the type of mourning that occurs. During shiva the mourners devote themselves completely to mourning the deceased. During this week they are not allowed to be in public; they sit in a designated location for the entire week and accept visitors (hence the term “sit shiva“). They do not bathe, or exercise, or check email. They are completely immersed in the act of bereavement, and visitors help them through it by telling stories, or simply just being there.
Once shiva ends, the mourners return to their day-to-day lives, but with limited social engagements, for the rest of the shloshim period. Once that period ends, the mourning restrictions lessen even more, and they can interact more with society, until the first year is over.

HOWEVER, as with many aspects of Judaism, there are loopholes with shiva. One of them is that mourners do not sit shiva on Shabbat. So I and all my siblings were together as a family for Shabbat in Chicago for the first time since Other Brother got married.
Except one of the In-Laws was there, so she ruined it. But the other In-Laws spent quality time together in Israel, which caused my mom to dub it the Outlaw Shabbat, thus forcing me to edit the Cast of Characters to reflect her momentary moment of creative inspiration.

Thank you, thank you...

Thank you, thank you…

The weekend itself was a blur, and although I spent the entire time in a state of zombified caffeinated blarg, a few moments do stand out:

  • Because this was so last-minute we did not have a chance to tell our many Chicago friends that we were coming. Which led to several excited reunions, one of which almost resulted in me getting steamrolled by our neighbor as he ran to give Dodax a bear hug.
  • Additionally, because we didn’t tell people we were coming, people who knew us did not actually believe that we were who we said we were. Many hilarious double-takes ensued.
  • I got to have mint-chocolate-chip ice cream. And delicious Chicago deli. But not at the same time, because kosher.
  • I managed to squeeze in a 30-minute trip to Target, whereby I did my best impression of a Whirling Dervish.
  • We found my grandfather’s drivers license, which expired in 1989. And Other Brother’s child proceeded to use it as a teething toy.
  • On the flight to Chicago I was bumped to Business Class, and on the flight back to Israel I had an entire row to myself.
  • I also heard about the last few days Nana was with us, because I spent basically all my time with family.
    Several times during moments of lucidity she would look around and comment “Wow. I’m still here. You just can’t get rid of me.”
    And apparently, at one point she held out her hand to my grandfather, who has been dead for 20 years.

    Left: Taken at their wedding, about 70 years ago. Right: Taken 2 years after the picture on the left.

    Left: Taken at their wedding, about 70 years ago.
    Right: Taken 2 years after the picture on the left.

    There was also a moment involving my 6-year-old cousin, who asked why everyone was so happy. She was confused, because she thought that a shiva house was supposed to be sad. After all, someone had just died – wouldn’t the family be upset?
    And there is some logic to that, because we are sad that she died. But, I think we were more sad about the fact that she couldn’t be there to remember her life with us.

    Mostly because nearly every time someone came in, my aunt or my dad would get really excited and say “Oh, let me get Nana and tell her you’re here.”

    Oops.

    Oops.


    True story.

    She had been around for so long, we hadn’t gotten used to the idea that she just wasn’t there anymore. I half expected her to come out from her room and start yelling at us; “Why didn’t you tell me there were so many people here? I would have made you all pancakes!”

    So many people commented about fun, and funny, and happy, and lively she was. She had numerous friends, and even more admirers. Most people expressed genuine wishes to go like she did – at the end of a very long, fruitful, successful life.

    She was the daughter of a Rabbi, and witnessed the significance of Judaism first-hand. Her family moved to the US from Russia while she was a teenager. She lost her father at the age of 20. She took care of her widowed mother and young son during WWII while her husband served in the Navy. She pioneered Judaism in Chicago before it was a “thing”, by supporting numerous schools, camps, and organizations (that we all ended up attending, because connections).

    She could spend actual hours on the phone talking to people. She was genuinely interested in what you were up to. She never ceased to dispense advice.
    She had four children, 16 grandchildren, and almost 40 great-grandchildren. She loved her family “forever and a day”, and we were the center of her universe.
    She was feisty. She was lively. She was sarcastic. She was a social butterfly. She loved to surround herself with friends and family, she loved being the center of attention, and she loved being in charge.

    There is quite a bit of Nana in me. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

    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

    A little Buda, a lot of Pest: Days 1-3

    We’re back!

    Our travels safely concluded, and the laundry finally completed, I can finally get down to the business of posting lots of pictures and causing people to experience FOMOism.

    FOMO: acronym, Fear Of Missing Out; commonly characterized by a desperate need to do something, even if that something is staying up until god-awful hours of the night/morning waiting for something to happen, all the while nothing is happening because every normal person is sleeping and is therefore doing nothing. Commonly experienced by high school and early college-age individuals, especially at summer camps.

    As mentioned previously, Hubby Nooshkin and I traveled to Budapest for a week to celebrate the wedding of our friends J&E.
    I very much recommend Budapest. As far as capital cities go it was clean, modern, and filled with friendly people. The architecture was amazing, there was (naturally) so much history around every corner, and the FOOD! There is nothing like traveling to a country that has its own food culture, handed down for literally centuries. Delicious, even if we only stuck to the Kosher stuff.

    BUT – in the summer, the sun sets at 10pm and rises at 5am. Yes, those times are correct. Nooshkin was up super early every day ready to go – Hubby and I needed at least 3 cups of coffee just to get out the door. Also, this wrecked havoc with all our sleep cycles. Needless to say, by the last day we were very much ready to head home.

    So, on to the important part.

    Day 1 was spent arriving, settling in, and exploring. We stayed at the Nova Apartments, located in the Jewish Quarter. Once we divested ourselves of the luggage we wandered around the neighborhood. We did a little shopping for food, but mostly took in the sites of the city. We also met up with our friends M&E who also came in for the same wedding and stayed up the street.

    The Budapest Opera House

    The Budapest Opera House

    Um...I don't remember...

    Um…I don’t remember…

    Some cool detailing

    Some cool detailing

    Day 2 we walked to the National Gallery of Hungarian Art at the Buda Castle. About half of the galleries were closed for renovations, but what we saw was incredibly interesting. The Gallery was only Hungarian artists throughout the centuries, so it was really cool to see non-Italian works from the Renaissance and other eras.

    The Buda Castle on the Danube (cue the waltz)

    The Buda Castle on the Danube (cue the waltz)

    Afterwards we had a nice picnic lunch near the entrance, and took some pictures of the Pest side of the city.

    I was getting really good with Panorama mode

    I was getting really good with Panorama mode

    We then slowly made our way back to the hotel and got ready for Shabbat.
    Friday night services were at one of the three local synagogues. I was kind of keen on going to the famous Dohanny Street synagogue, but the services started super early and there’s a two-hour minimum stay when you enter. (The synagogue is closed to tourists on Shabbat; so if you go in they want to make sure that you really want to go in, which I completely understand). As it is, the Dohanny Street Synagogue has a significantly different prayer style than most European Jewish communities, so we wouldn’t have been able to keep up anyway.
    However, the synagogue we went to was really nice. The interior was a time machine back to the 1700s when it was first built, with super vibrant blues, greens, reds, and golds. Jewish starts and menorahs were everywhere, and each window had stained glass – even the ones on the ceiling.
    There was also a playroom which Nooshkin took over. So that was great, because I was able to actually take in the place without worrying about her.
    After dinner we headed back to the apartment and passed out from exhaustion – it had been a super long day.

    Shabbat morning, after several rounds of breakfast, we took a long walk around Budapest, followed by lunch. Followed immediately by a nearly 3-hour nap.

    This was Hubby's idea

    This was Hubby’s idea

    We then walked to Margaret Island, smack in the middle of the Danube River and spent a few hours wandering around. There were tons of attractions, and although we didn’t get to do everything there was plenty to see: a zoo, lots of playgrounds, a huge fountain with choreographed displays (music included), the famous Rose Gardens (sans roses, due to maintenance issues), and – apparently – the Budapest Summer Festival.

    A good time was had by all, especially Nooshkin, who got to see peacocks for the first time. The zoo also had an eagle, and some ravens. Also storks who were doing this weird clacky thing with their beaks, and nobody could figure out if it was a mating ritual or a defense mechanism.

    We took the long way back to the apartments, at which point it was starting to get dark outside and we were finally able to fall asleep.

    Currently Grooving On: The Blue Danube Waltz (because, duh)

    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

    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.