Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thurs. thru Thurs.: Links to my Aug. 23-30, '07 posts

Son Trek--the Son-ster leaves for grad school, with parents and possessions in tow (or, rather, with parents "towing" possesions :) ). Enjoy the photos!
A steamy situation
On destroying a legitimate career
Future journalist Fudge has a few things to say
Don't buy your sukkah from
The dough also rises?
Mark/PT posts a wonderful Veroba video

Mark/PT posts a wonderful Veroba video

For a great performance by singer/songwriter Gershon Veroba and his band, Takana, see and hear here. Thanks, Mark!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The dough also rises?

I swig down acidophilus pills as if they were candy, four a day of Probioplus DDS, the strongest ones I've found. They really do help reduce the number and severity of my usual infections. (It's too bad that they don't have a hechsher/rabbinical seal certifying that they're kosher, but I give myself leeway when my health is involved.)

I've often wondered, though, why it's so hard to find yeast-free grain products. Seriously, how much does a pita bread need to rise, that it needs yeast? And pretzels??? Even the skinniest fat-free pretzel sticks contain yeast. Why?

But check this out--I finally found my first-ever yeast free lavash bread, a tortilla-style flatbread intended for making "wraps.") The brand, such as it is, is "All Natural Roll-Ups" (with a VHK/Va'ad HaKashrut of Boston hechsher), straight from the Whole Foods health food chain. Time to party hearty!

Don't buy your sukkah from

Future journalist Fudge has a few things to say

the pt gets a work ethic--youngest sister is growing up.

another year at hogwarts--oy, what a way to return to the Big Apple! Here's Fudge at her droll best, putting a humorous spin on some of her recent "adventures."

Do You Know Where Your Horns Are? Unconscious anti-Semitism is alive and well, unfortunately. (Thanks to Fudge's father for the link.)

On destroying a legitimate career

I can't find the article concerning the original issuance, by Chareidi rabbis in Israel, of the recent ban on Jewish music concerts, but this article from Arutz 7 about an upcoming concert there contains much of the original language and response, to the best of my recollection. And this post by Rebel with a Cause informs us that some "15000 frummies [Orthodox Jews] attended this concert, ignoring the ban on concerts."

Blog in DM has a few words to say here. His key point: "The notion that someone can take away a person's legitimate parnassah [livelihood], let alone an entire industry, without addressing said loss of income and their responsibilities to those affected is bizarre, and creates a huge chilul Hashem [desecration of The Name]."

My "Simcha inflation" post addressed a similar issue: "If folks who are fortunate enough to be able to afford to do so don't buy $800 foot-tall sterling silver Chanukiyot [Chanukah menorahs/candelabras], will the lack of customers put a legitimate Jewish artist out of business? If a rabbi declares that having music at a Bar or Bat Mitzvah party is against the "sumptuary laws" (rules that attempt to eliminate the keeping-up-with-the-Yonatan's problem by limiting the amount of money that can be spent for certain things), wouldn't such a ruling deprive all the local Jewish musicians of dozens of gigs every year (in addition to depriving the community of the opportunity to hear some good music)?"

Monday, August 27, 2007

A steamy situation

No, not that kind, unfortunately.

On Sunday, I did everything I could think of.

First, I avoided eating or drinking anything, including water, in the hope of avoiding an asthma attack.

Then, I did everything that I thought might cause an asthma attack because of bending over and/or physical exertion: I shaved my legs, then scrubbed the sink, john, and bathtub.

Since I had, up to that moment, managed not to have an asthma attack, I thought that I could safely get into the shower, so into the shower I went.

Well, as they said in the movie ads, "Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water . . . " In a million years, it would never have occurred to me that water vapor could cause an asthma attack! From now on, I'll make sure to plunk my emergency inhaler on the side of the sink before I hop into the tub for a scrub.

Maybe I'll sing "Just Breathe" while I'm there. :)

I've decided to follow my father's example and keep a sense of humor about whatever ails me.

So I told the hubster that I'm good at thinking of new and exciting ways to make myself sick. :)

And then I told him that he's such handsome guy, he takes my breath away. :)

Necessity being the mother of invention, I may yet succeed in transforming myself into a "sunny-sider," after all.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Son Trek

The Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, with a side order of windshield wiper
(For the record, our camera apparently works when it wants to.)

Cellular dinosaur
So off we went in our rented battle tank--the biggest SUV we could find--to take the Son-ster's stuff to school. Unfortunately, Avis has not yet equipped all its rental vehicles with E-ZPass. By the time we got through the cash-only toll lane, the Son-ster was about two miles ahead of us--and we were supposed to be the lead car. So, for lack of an alternative, said son and I each turned our cell phones to "speaker" mode and used them as walkie-talkies, with me relaying father's travel instructions to son and son's questions to father. After about an hour of this, the Son-ster mentioned that the power on his cell phone was running low. I hadn't even thought to check, and, alarmed to see that I was down to one bar on the power indicator, I insisted on turning my phone off, with the Son-ster to call when he needed info. His father's phone was saved as our emergency back-up.

When we finally regrouped at a restaurant, the Son-ster managed to find an outlet, and recharged his phone. He chided us for having packed our chargers in our suitcase, rather than leaving them available for use en route. When I told him that it had never occurred to me that I might need to recharge my phone en route because I'd never made a one-hour cell-phone call before, he looked at me as if I had four heads. "Why not?" I patiently explained that, since I have a land-line phone at home, I make all of my long calls from home. The way my son kept looking at me, I felt like the last person on the planet who still makes most personal calls from home using a phone that's plugged into the wall.

Keep on truckin'

Truckers' heaven in the hazy hills

Did I happen to mention that the route to the Son-ster's graduate school also happens to be a major truck route? I can't remember the last time I saw so many trucks in one place at one time.

Welcome to "River City"

I suppose we shouldn't complain about the fact that the streets here are constantly changing names. After all, who told Eighth Avenue to turn into Central Park West after hitting 59th Street? But still . . .

And the hills! What is this place, the San Francisco of the East?

The shopping is insane. There's a shopping area (really a series of shopping centers, malls, and independent stores) clear across town and over a bridge and through a tunnel--this town gives the old term "bridge and tunnel crowd" ("outer-borough and suburban residents" in New York City slang) a whole new meaning--that's set on almost as many hills as Rome. To go from store to store often requires hopping back into the car and trying to figure out on which hill a certain store is located, which can be tricky when you can't see past one hill to figure out which stores are on another!

Many bills later . . .
The Son-ster's unfurnished apartment is now mostly furnished (
thanks largely to Ikea), though we couldn't stick around long enough for Daddy-o to help him finish assembling everything. Yours truly, being manually challenged, was assigned to clean and line the kitchen cabinets and drawers and wash the newly-purchased dishes, tableware, and pots and pans (none of the Son-ster's RIT versions having survived long enough), not to mention the bathroom fixtures.

A fond farewell, and thanks, to Wegman's Supermarket, for keeping our son fed for the past five years. Hello, Great Eagle! We're counting on you to do the same for the next five years.

Mazal tov!

Sunday, April 6, 2008 update: In the interest of preserving what little is left of our son's and my anonymity, I have deleted this photo from this post, so that it is not visible to anyone walking past my computer, and have uploaded it to Flickr. See The Family Grad Student here.

The Son-ster is off to orientation. Mission accomplished!

Speaking of missions accomplished, the Son-ster pulled off a last-minute squeaker--in his very last semester as an RIT undergraduate, he managed to rack up enough credits
(confirmed after graduation) to earn a second minor in math, in addition to his major in physics and his minor in Japanese. The proud parents claim kvelling privileges. :)

Homeward bound
Back on the highway again, I plunk some CDs into the player, since I'm fed up with listening to the radio. First, there's "U'Shmuel B'Korei Sh'mo" (the album produced by
MOChassid), then the Nochi Krohn Band's "Ananim," along with Shlock Rock leader Lenny Solomon's "T'nu Lanu Siman." (Boy, am I sorry I didn't think to bring Aron Razel's Live in Jerusalem along for the ride--what great music for driving!) The Punster attempts to sing along, but he doesn't know this music well enough yet. After something like three hours on the road, I finally stumble upon the knob that enables me to crank up the bass. Now I can put one of Mark's into the machine. (Really, what's the point in listening to a bass player's music when one can barely hear the bass?) The hubster is singing "Shoshanat Yaakov" at the top of his lungs and having a grand old time, or as much of a grand old time as one can have when one is stuck doing all the driving. Me? The medicine to cure my severe bronchitis--which is why I'm not helping with the driving--is aggravating my acid reflux. So whenever I cough, I end up with stomach acid in the mouth--and when I swallow that junk, some of it goes into my lungs. In no time flat, I'm having the worst asthma attacks I've ever had in my life.

And this was my vacation! Sigh.

Yes, I went to the doctor today, and I'm going for a chest x-ray tomorrow. (I'm now the proud possessor of not one, but two, inhalers, one for twice-a-day use for two weeks and one for acute asthma attacks.) The good news is that it isn't walking pneumonia after all. The bad news is that I've got enough junk in the lungs that it almost looks like walking pneumonia anyway. There goes most of my sick leave.

But at least the Son-ster is well settled. To quote Marcus Cole of Babylon 5, "my job here is done."

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Silence isn't always golden

Remember her? She's been back at home, living with her mom, for quite a while, and her medication seems to have stabilized her. Her doctor thinks she's well enough to leave her day program and get a job, and later, go back to college. There's been some talk about her possibly becoming a speech therapist.

But none of the talk is coming from her. She just doesn't talk anymore. Oh, she'll say "Hi" when she sees someone, and "Bye" when they leave. But she rarely participates in any conversation.

I know that marvelous mind of hers is still in there, somewhere. It's just under lock and key. I can only hope that at least she has access to it.

Take a hike, Mike!

No, this isn't about Mayor Bloomberg. It's about what a pleasure it is to walk around--or mostly lie around--with walking pneumonia.

Cough, cough, go away,
Don't come back another day.

Grumble (hack), grumble. :(

Monday, August 13, 2007

Links to my Monday, August 13, 2007 posts

A National Guard building
( Shot from the FDR Drive, and framed on the left, by the windshield frame, August 10, 2007.)

Take your pic--or not

Of serious concern to all Zionists

Hail and farewell, Henrietta

Getting a gift can be problematic, occasionally

Scoliosis and the shopping saga

Meanwhile, the discussion concerning abstinence continues here.

Take your pic--or not

Fake(?) lighthouse atop building on Bronx side of East River

The good news: The Hubster found the camera manual that we thought the Son-ster had lost. Oops. It had fallen behind a piece of furniture. I've already apologized to the Son-ster, who appeared highly amused.

The bad news: The #$%^&*!!!!!!!!! camera died again on the way out of the city. That darned thing cost us almost exactly $300 almost exactly two years ago, and it's already broken twice. And we'd sent it in for repair in February. I expect better from Sony.

High Bridge Tower and High Bridge

I was trying to take photos of the beautiful upper East River bridges, and the High Bridge Tower, when I started getting "memory error" messages again. (Mind you, the Punster had bought a new memory stick only a couple of months ago, as the stupid camera had begun acting up almost as soon as we'd gotten home from the Son-ster's college graduation.) The poor camera died before we'd even reached the High Bridge Tower. Boy, was I upset--I had a beautiful shot of the High Bridge Tower lined up, and couldn't take it! Above are two of my last five shots.

Of serious concern to all Zionists

The looming Chareidi disaster. (Hat-tip: MOChassid, here.)

One of the main points:

"Currently haredim account for 11 percent of draft exemptions. However, unless the system changes, when today's haredi first-graders turn 18, they will comprise nearly a quarter of the entire draft."

Hail and farewell, Henrietta

We just schlepped the Son-ster, and literally almost everything he owns, from Henrietta, NY (a suburb of Rochester in which his alma mater, the Rochester Institute of Technology, is now located), to our home. Next week, we're schlepping him and everything he brought home, plus whatever else he needs from his bedroom and from our records, to Anonymous City, USA, where he'll be studying for his Ph.D. in physics beginning next month. It seems weird, after five years, knowing that, having no particular reason to go there anymore, we'll probably never see Rochester or its environs again.

The Son-ster is going to have some adjustments to make. For openers, he'll be on a semester schedule, instead of the more-sensible academic-quarter schedule (four quarters of 11 weeks each) that's he's been on for the past five years. For closers, he'll be living alone in a regular apartment in a large city, instead of in a bedroom in a suburban house rented to students that was literally across the street from a grain field. (Apparently, the term "suburbs" doesn't necessarily mean the same thing in upstate New York as near New York City--it's quite atypical for a NYC suburban town to include farmland.) Then, too, there's the major detail that he's now going to be a graduate student working part-time as a teaching assistant. He's going to be one busy young man.

We parents are also going to have some adjustments to make. Our son is planning to take his medical records, birth certificate, and anything else that he thinks should have in his possession, now that he's an adult, with him. He's already informed us that we can empty his bedroom and make it into an office officially--he no longer lives with us, he said, and will sleep on the sofabed/convertible couch when he comes home. We'll get used to him being an adult, eventually.

Getting a gift can be problematic, occasionally

My sister managed to get us some free tickets to a Mostly Mozart Festival concert in Lincoln Center. Next time, I'll have to check the program before I accept. The Ravel "Pavane pour une infante défunte (Pavante for a deceased little girl)" was touching, and the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 17 in G major K. 453 was wonderful. But what was I supposed to do about the Fauré, um, Requiem, Op. 48? Being unsure whether I was still prepared to sit through a concert version of a Roman Catholic mass, I pleaded illness (not entirely untrue, unfortunately), and left at the intermission.

Seriously, how does one handle this? Should I ignore the Jesus references and just enjoy the music, or should I not listen to the music in order to avoid the Jesus references?

Scoliosis and the shopping saga

I'm living proof that the "Jewish American Princess" stereotype is a bunch of hogwash: I hate, hate, HATE clothes shopping!!! And I'm bad at it, too. As a consequence, I've been dressing largely in Land's End for years.

Every now and then, though, one of my less fashion-challenged friends has mercy on me (not to mention my husband, stuck with Ms. Dull Dresser), and takes me clothes shopping. This time, my girlfriend really outdid herself--knowing that I'm working for an Orthodox Jewish organization, she suggested that, instead of hitting her usual Long Island haunts, we go to a New York City neighborhood with a high enough percentage of Orthodox Jews that we were bound to find longer skirts. Suffice it to say that I did a certain amount of damage to the family budget, but I'll be lookin' good for the High Holidays, and longer, with my new year-round skirts.

A trip is planned later for tops (of which we hope that modest ones are much easier to find than skirts), but therein lies a tale. We went over to my girlfriend's house, and she handed me a bunch of tops to try on, just to give me an idea of what I might be able to buy that might turn one of the skirts into an instant "simcha" (special-occasion) outfit. Sigh. I'm trying not to shoot the messenger, but there are disadvantages to shopping with a physician's assistant. She told me that the trouble I'm having getting tops that fit properly is not that my back is bent from front to back, but, rather, that it's bent in an s-curve from side to side. In official medical terminology, I have scoliosis. She further informed me that scoliosis is probably not amenable to correction by a chiropractor. My chiropractor had already told me that, but I guess I hadn't realized the implication. Looks like I'm likely to be a pretzel as an old lady after all. Bummer.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

I hate Haloscan!

I have, occasionally, been in a position in which it was necessary for me to comment, on another blog, under a pseudonym other than Shira Salamone, in order to maintain my anonymity.

Some time ago, on another blog, someone I know in real life, commenting under his/her real name, made some unnecessarily personal remarks about someone else whom we both know in real life. In order to protect my anonymity, I signed in using a pseudonym other than Shira Salamone and suggested that the commenter go easy on the lashon hara (malacious gossip).

I would not have been able to do that if the blogger had been using Haloscan for comments. Much to my dismay, I've found that commenting under another name is impossible with Haloscan. Once you sign in one time, you're "marked" for life. No matter how many times I delete my URL, invariably, it pops right back up in the preview. Therefore, there are some blogs on which I cannot comment under another name, and, therefore, cannot participate in certain discussions.

If a blog uses Blogger for commenting, on the other hand, a commenter has three choices: he/she may use her/his Blogger identity, another identity (a pseudonym, or, in the case of many of us, a different pseudonym than the usual one), or "anonymous," (unless, of course, that particular blogger chooses not to allow anonymous comments).

Please, do us bloggers blogging under pseudonyms a favor, and don't use Haloscan for comments!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Elie's son Aaron, gone, and missed

This made me cry.

"Net nannies" narrow access

First, the fine folks at my office blocked our access to both YouTube and MySpace.

Then, Elie's employer blocked his ability to comment, or to publish posts except via e-mail.

Now, they're upping the ante--according to a recent e-mail, Noam, the blogger formerly known as Dilbert, no longer has access to blogs at all at work, and can't even read them, much less comment or publish.

So it's possible that some of the bloggers who've pretty much vanished from the face of the earth recently are just having a hard time finding a free minute in their schedules to blog.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Close calls, sad and glad

Some of us were biting our nails about the wellbeing of Sheyna Galyan and her family until we saw this post of hers. What a tragedy for those who were not so fortunate, and for their loved ones.

In better news, Steg has decided to go for it. Best of luck!

"Foot & mouth disease" update: A "pearl" in the wrong place

See here for the mouth part (and here for the foot part--the podiatric surgeon says he won't know whether the lump in my foot is permanent until next January, a year after the surgery).

So I go in for a stroboscopy--the doctor sprays my mouth and throat to numb them a bit, then sticks a stick with a video camera on the end down my throat. (The doc's telling me, "Try not to fight with me--don't pull your tongue back while I'm pulling it forward." That's easy for you to say!) Lo and behold, there's a "pearl" on my vocal chords. I now have exciting videos of a polyp. Yippee! Not. :(

Now, to return to my return otolaryngologist and find out what the recommended treatment is. They don't like doing surgery for these, so my guess is that I'm in for a nice long round of speech therapy. Stay tuned.
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