Sunday, November 30, 2014

It isn't self-control, it's self-defense

That's what I told another guest at Thanksgiving dinner when she said she admired me for almost completely eliminating gluten and dairy products from my diet and radically reducing my sugar consumption.  It's really basic self-protection--if I eat gluten, I spend way too much time in the ladies' room, dairy makes me sick to my stomach, and too much sugar gives me leg cramps that don't go away until they jolly well want to (some lasting as long as seven or eight minutes).  My life is just so much more pleasant when I don't eat, or cut way back on, foods that can hurt me.

In other news, I'm developing a reputation for making a long story shorter, literally.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Parashat Vayetze, 5775/2014 edition

I have nothing new to say at the moment, so here's a link to my previous Vayetze posts.

~ Rav Shai Held reminds us that "you cannot 'spin' your way out of moral responsibility . . . "

~ Conservadox wonders where's the salvation that HaShem kept promising to our ancestors.

Stay tuned--I hope to post more links.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014 update:

~ Rav Shlomo Riskin, citing Yaakov (Jacob) and Rachel as models, writes about the important of love in marriage.

6:40 PM update:

~ I haven't even read the divrei Torah from YCT yet, but I thought I'd better add a link to them now, before I  forget--I've had yet another long day of correcting and reformatting the document that I thought I'd finished last week, and am just now getting ready to leave the office.

I wish my American readers a Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow.

The latest, standing on, er, no feet :)

Bury My Cane At Wounded Knee
The book I've been reading about arthritis emphasizes the important of exercise, so I figured that stopping off in Grand Central Terminal to take the minimum daily recommended 20-minute walk would be a good idea.  What I failed to take into account was that I was walking (a) on a stone floor (b) in boots (c) while wearing a backpack.  I ignored the discomfort, figuring that I just had sore muscles from lack of exercise, and stupidly went back for another 15-minute walk the next day.  By the following morning, it was clear even to dummy me that I'd injured my right knee.  So I compensated by switching my cane to my left hand--and promptly aggravated an old shoulder injury.  The good news is that I can still walk, and even climb stairs, albeit slowly.  The bad news is that I haven't even had time to schedule my first physical therapy appointment because I injured myself just as my office was preparing for . . .

A moving experience
Yep, what fun, sorting and packing over 30 years worth of files, etc.  That's most of what we've been doing for several weeks.  I managed to come down with a nasty cold from all the dust and stress, but soldiered into the office this past Friday anyway, because it wouldn't have been fair to let my other office-mates finish the job alone.  We knew we were officially outta there when the IT crew came and packed up our computers and phones, leaving us offline.  So the boss headed for one of our other offices, at which he frequently sees people on Friday mornings, and the three of us assistants hopped a subway to our new office.

The good news is that, because of our location in the "cubicle farm," all of us have windows.  The bad news is that we three assistants are now "planted" in a "cubicle farm."  In exchange for a nicer building, we gave up two separate rooms with three L-shaped desks for us assistants, a much larger office for the boss, tons of storage space, and a lockable door.  I'd already warned the boss that anything he gave us to keep on our desks would go straight to the scanner, because we'd no longer have room to keep piles of papers on our desks.  But I didn't realize that my now-cubicle-mate and I would be sharing one U-shaped desk--we'll have to stagger the location of our computers, lest we end up playing bumping-chairs every time one of us stands up.

Well, even our boss wasn't given a choice regarding whether to stay or move--circumstances beyond his control dictated that decision.  So we'll just have to make the best of our current location.  On the plus side, at least there are kosher restaurants within walking distance.  Yum!

Note:  This post, while "hidden" here to keep it from the top of my homepage, was actually published on Sunday, January 25, 2015.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Renovating the renovations

When last you saw "Gingi," the red-headed kitchen, she had a two-in-one faucet--the faucet could be pulled out of the "base" to become a sprayer.  Unfortunately, putting the thing back together was like assembling a jigsaw puzzle--the sprayer had to be placed in one exact position in the "base."  Worse yet, the whole assembly leaked at the point at which the sprayer and the base met.  We finally got fed up with having a permanent puddle on our countertop, and had the whole thing replaced with a separate faucet and sprayer.  Here's the new view, as of this afternoon:

[More good news (we hope)--last week, the granite countertop was finally sealed for the second time, and thus far, it appears that the water stains are gone.]

We're still working on replacing the shower head for the third time(!)--the first new version (see link above) was not removal, and the second (see here), allegedly adjustable for height as well as removable, has a height-adjustment knob so difficult to turn that it actually hurts my hands.  We hope that the third time will be the charm--scheduled for next week is the installation of a fixed shower head high enough for my husband, plus a removable shower head low enough not to clobber us if it falls off the hook.  Stay tuned.

Pick one:  countertop, counter-top, counter top.  I'm putting all three spellings here to make searches of my blog easier, as I'm sure I've used more than one spelling.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Parashat Chayyei Sarah 5775/Nov'14 edition, extremely belated

Just wanted to link to two good divrei Torah (words of Torah/Bible and/or rabbinic studies), lest I forget about them:

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Shacharit in my stocking feet

Really, what would have been the point in putting on my shoes when I would just have had to take them off again to put on my boots?  So there I was, davvening (praying) the morning service in office attire and bedroom slippers.

Yep, November has final arrived in New York for real.

Except that it's supposed to go back into the 60s next week.

The thermometer is makin' me dizzy.

Please pardon the paucity of posts:  I just finished--I hope!--a major project (yes, I'm still at the office), and two more are currently at the starting gate.

Friday, November 07, 2014

"Can we please stop talking about hasbara?" (Daniel Gordis)

Just spotted this in my e-mail, and thought it too important not to link to ASAP.

The standing-on-one-foot version:

"The problem is not with how Israel tells the story, but with how the Western world has grown tired of Israel.

. . . 

The initial AP headline, changed following an outcry, was “Israeli police shoot man in east Jerusalem.” Yes, you read that correctly. As far as the headline was concerned, the story was that Israeli police shot a guy. That he had tried to kill people, that he had intentionally run them over and wounded several of them grievously, that he was a known terrorist – all that was apparently irrelevant to the headline. All the initial AP headline chose to note was that “those Israelis” had shot another Palestinian.

Tell me – what good would hasbara [public relations] have done?

. . .

No one has explained this phenomenon better than award-winning Israeli journalist Matti Friedman.

“You don’t need to be a history professor, or a psychiatrist, to understand what’s going on. Having rehabilitated themselves against considerable odds in a minute corner of the earth, the descendants of powerless people who were pushed out of Europe and the Islamic Middle East have become what their grandparents were – the pool into which the world spits.”

Precisely. And would hasbara – even the best we might imagine – have any impact on that? Obviously not. So can we please not talk about hasbara anymore? Let’s stop asking why the Israeli government is so incompetent at telling its story, and focus on the question that matters.

Let’s start asking instead: Why has the international community’s moral compass become so utterly dysfunctional?"

Photo for Friday: An Urban Autumn

Shira's Shot
Oct. 31, 2014
Translation for the street-sign challenged:
No parking 8:30-10 AM Tuesdays due to street cleaning.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Parahat Vayera, 5775/Nov'14: the "yeled or na-ar?" edition

This'll be a standing-on-one-foot edition, because I'm so crazy busy at the office that I haven't left yet.

Link to my previous Vayera posts.

B'reshit/Genesis, Parashat Vayera, Genesis 21:

יד  וַיַּשְׁכֵּם אַבְרָהָם בַּבֹּקֶר וַיִּקַּח-לֶחֶם וְחֵמַת מַיִם וַיִּתֵּן אֶל-הָגָר שָׂם עַל-שִׁכְמָהּ, וְאֶת-הַיֶּלֶד--וַיְשַׁלְּחֶהָ; וַתֵּלֶךְ וַתֵּתַע, בְּמִדְבַּר בְּאֵר שָׁבַע. 14 And Abraham arose up early in the morning, and took bread and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away; and she departed, and strayed in the wilderness of Beer-sheba.
טו  וַיִּכְלוּ הַמַּיִם, מִן-הַחֵמֶת; וַתַּשְׁלֵךְ אֶת-הַיֶּלֶד, תַּחַת אַחַד הַשִּׂיחִם. 15 And the water in the bottle was spent, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs.
טז  וַתֵּלֶךְ וַתֵּשֶׁב לָהּ מִנֶּגֶד, הַרְחֵק כִּמְטַחֲוֵי קֶשֶׁת, כִּי אָמְרָה, אַל-אֶרְאֶה בְּמוֹת הַיָּלֶד; וַתֵּשֶׁב מִנֶּגֶד, וַתִּשָּׂא אֶת-קֹלָהּ וַתֵּבְךְּ. 16 And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bow-shot; for she said: 'Let me not look upon the death of the child.' And she sat over against him, and lifted up her voice, and wept. 

Notice that, in the above verses, Yishmael (Ishmael) is described as a yeled, a child (a boy, to be grammatically precise).  Yet, up to this point, and in the very next verse, the text has described/describes Yishmael as a youth (na-ar) in his mid-teens--just last week,we read about his circumcision at the age of thirteen.   Are we dealing with texts that have been spliced together from two different oral traditions?  I mean, seriously, folks, since when does one (a) place a 15-year-old under a shrub and (b) expect him/her to stay there?

If you ask me, 'tis a classic case of "visible seams."

Monday, November 03, 2014

Will "big money" stand in the way of our right to know?

Received via e-mail regarding Oregon ballot proposal 92 requiring labeling of foods containing genetically-modified organisms:

"You won’t believe this:

In two new television spots, the chemical companies behind the opposition to Measure 92 make the outrageous claim that the neon blue GMO corn seeds featured in the Yes on 92 commercials are merely dyed blue and are essentially no different from natural corn seeds.

Their claim is flat out false, and they know it. In fact, the genetically engineered frankenseeds are required by law to be brightly dyed because they’re actually toxic and direct contact with them should be avoided.

The worst part is, the Monsanto-backed No on 92 Coalition’s record-breaking spending numbers mean Oregon voters will be SURROUNDED by these outrageously false ads from now to Election Day."

You can read more here.

Bottom line:  Big corporations involved in the food industry are contributing millions of dollars to defeat this bill out of fear that GMO labeling, if passed in one state, may spread to other states.  I hardly think it's unreasonable for consumers to know what's in our food.
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