Saturday, February 25, 2006


I said no.

It was a plea that I had heard before, that I had answered before. A plea I've become more used to than I would like to be.

And it wasn't that I couldn't answer yes or even that it would have hurt me to say yes. It would not have. And I still don't want to see the reprecussions of my answer.

I could have been the knight in shining armor who made it all better--for a day. But I know better than that, know that giving in wouldn't accomplish anything in the long run, know that sometimes when you dig your own grave you have to sleep in it too.

So, I said no. It haunts me now and I don't know how it will turn out or if I made the right decision, but I said no.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


I like to respect the people I work with. In fact, I have a really hard time when I don't respect the people I have to deal with on a regular basis. It's one of the reasons all my friends are smart--I find it very hard to deal with people who are not smart.

Lately, I've found out a whole slew of random things about some people I work with--from drunken debauchery to dysfunctional relationships--and it put me in a bad mood for a ridiculously long time. Now, to be sure, these are not people who are good friends of mine, if I'd call them friends at all. They are not people who I will have anything to do with when I graduate college.

But still. These were the people I went to an Ivy League college to be around. The people who are smart and intelligent and motivated and ambitious. The people who will be the movers and shakers of tomorrow. People who I respected for their intellligence and skills even though I knew our morality and belief systems were at odds. But all that's a lot different than hearing first-hand from them about things I'd rather not have known. Things that put them completely opposed to my Torah values.

And that's really hard. Because it's really hard to work with people whom you cannot respect even a little.

Happy Birthday ... to My Blog

I totally missed it, but last Friday was my blog's first birthday. Happy birthday blog!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Decipher the Cryptic Blog Post ... or Not

Random things that are really bothering me, some of which I can only refer to in semi-cryptic terms:

  • I have a test on Thursday. First of all, I am a liberal arts major, which means I shouldn't have tests now. Second of all, I have done no reading for said test.
  • I have no summer job and no options. I have no clue what I should do.
  • I am still trying to find my place, painfully conscious of my predecessor's failings and the fact that I need to do one better than that.
  • But I want to do my job without worrying about whether it appears that I'm slacking.
  • Awkwardness (I don't think that's a word, but it should be) is no fun. Waiting is no fun. Confusion is no fun.
  • Housing is WAY too complicated and I don't want to hurt anyone but I don't wanna be hurt and I just wanna have a kosher kitchen and a single. Is that so much to ask?
  • I'm so proud of so much of who I am and what I believe, but there are still things I'd rather hide.
  • I care too much about what people who shouldn't matter to me think of me.
  • Things I don't want to know: details about relationships and drunken escapades of other college students. I'm a good Michlala girl. There are things I just shouldn't know.
  • If I don't study for the LSATs, I will not get into law school, and then I will be a bum with a pretty Columbia degree, which is written in Latin and which I can hang on my wall, but no job and no money and I will have to live in a box on the street in Florida with my sister.
  • It is 5 a.m. I have class at 11. I have done about 1/3 of the reading for said class.
  • And I've been having trouble sleeping.

So, It Seems I Haven't Completely Sold My Soul

"Dear EIC,
I just wanted to let you know that I can't make the dinner on Friday because it's on Shabbat. And much as I have sold my soul to this newspaper, I am still an Orthodox Jew.

The newspaper I work for is having its annual dinner/speaker. As an editor, I'm invited to both--in fact, I'm required to go to both. Only one problem: it's on Friday night. For the past two years (when I wasn't invited to the dinner, which ironically has a kosher food option even though it's on Shabbos), it has not been on Shabbos. This year it is. So, I can't go. No big deal. I let the appropriate people know, I'm slightly dissapointed, but no big deal. It doesn't bother me beyond that.

A non-frum Jew I work with was outraged that it was planned for a Friday night. Outraged for me. I mean, like really upset about it. Upset in a way I would never get upset over something like this. And I wonder what prevents me from getting upset about these things. I most of the time don't care when there's no kosher food option or when something is planned for Shabbos when I can't go. Minor sacrifices for my religion, right?

But I wonder if that's what it is. Does it not faze me because I acknowledge that these things are worth giving up? Does it not faze me because I just don't expect other people to think about the small, small minority that is Orthodox Jewry? Does it not faze me because I just don't expect that much respect for my decisions? Does it not faze me because I'm used to it?

I wonder.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Barbie Hearts Blaine? Where Did Ken Go?

Just a few thoughts on this article about Barbie:

  • So, apparently I'm totally culturally ignorant (or not 5 years old) but since when did Barbie and Ken break up? And who the heck is Blaine? And why is that even allowed?
  • And since when is there a Barbie narrative? Isn't the whole point of having dolls that aren't connected to fancy electronic equipment that girls can use their imaginations not follow some pre-determined story plot?
  • Now, I'm well aware that as a frum Jew, my clothing is much more conservative than that of mainstream America, but is Barbie's clothing really considered "historically safe fashion"? I mean, I had some pretty skimpy Barbie outfits back in the day--those are safe by today's standards?
  • Though I found the comment that "male dolls like Ken 'have always been accessories to Barbie,'" very funny. Take that as you will.
OK, I'm not in love with Barbie and I'm not crazy about the concept of a doll that is so ridiculously proportioned that if she were real she wouldn't even be able to stand, but to me Barbie has always stood for naivete, childhood innocence, pink ribbons and flowery stuff and long blonde hair. And something about this article made me really sad. Maybe just the fact that Barbie is something else, maybe just the fact that it always was something else and I just never knew, as I played with my plastic dolls and their little high heels completely oblivious to the machine that it all was.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A Million Little Untruths ... So What?

So, I think I sorta missed the explosion of the James Frey thing in the blogosphere since I've been in hibernation minus the sleep for the past few weeks, but I really don't understand what the whole to-do is about.

I read A Million Little Pieces and I found it compelling as a literary work, regardless of whether or not it was true. It may not be up there with the books I read in Lit Hum, but the writing was moving, if experimental. I didn't finish the book inspired, I finished the book moved by good writing, by writing that had the power to move me, if that makes any sense.

And for me, that's all I need in a book. I don't care if the cover says it's a memoir or not. To a certain extent we all create our own realities and any memoir any of us would write would be filled with inaccuracies and embellishments. But f the writing is good and the story is compelling, that's enough for me.

I firmly believe that the value of a literary work rests in whether it changes you. If you read a book and remain the same person you were before you read it, then that book is worthless. A book is only meaningful when it means something to you, when it changes you, when it becomes a part of you, when it makes you ask questions. It doesn't matter whether the work is true or not.