Friday, December 30, 2011

It Was Up To Them

My mother sent me this poem to read awhile ago and I fell in love with it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Arlene Chernow said she wrote this poem to "remind us of the gifts the Jewish people have received throughout the generations from our non-Jewish moms."

REMEMBER MY NAME
By  Arlene Sarah Chernow
You remember my husband,
You tell his story,
He saved his family from famine,
They became the Jewish people.
He became a trusted advisor of Pharaoh.
He made his brothers jealous.
They sold him into slavery,
but he forgave them because he wanted to
see his father one more time.
His name was Joseph.You remember my sons,
Ephraim and Manesseh.
Every Shabbat you bless your sons
Asking God to make your sons like my sons.
You remember my father-in-law, Jacob.  He became Israel.
I was the daughter of a priest,
I was given to Joseph as his wife by Pharaoh.
My father was the priest of On, an Egyptian city.
Joseph told me stories about the Hebrew people.
For many years Joseph did not know if he would
ever see his family again.
He wanted his sons to know about his people,
He wanted his sons to be a part of his people.
Joseph loved his family and their traditions.
It was up to me.
I loved Joseph.
His children were the greatest gift I could give to his people.
All I ask is,
When you tell these stories,
Please remember my name.
My name is Aseneth.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Unflattering

Photographs can be a plain girl's nightmare. And sometimes you just have to tell yourself to get over it. But it's hard.

Photos can only really show physical looks. Other great attributes of a person can't come through. And if your looks are nothing special (which we all know looks aren't everything) then you can find yourself very blue over being tagged in pictures on Facebook.

You're looking at some very unflattering picture of yourself thinking, "If only they could see how imaginative I can be! Or that I can cook. That I can be fun and burst out singing and dancing like my life is full of single person flash-mobs performing Disney songs."

Alas, pictures only show your looks. Good, bad, ugly. That's what you get to be judged by. That's all there is to see.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Vegetarian January: Prep

I have been planning for awhile now to give up meat in the month of January. And after recently realizing I have a slight intolerance for milk, I have decided to also give up dairy products for February.

Anyway, I'm giving up anything that was or came from something with parents. I'm going Vegetarian in January and, hopefully, Vegan in February. But for now, we're going to focus on Vegetarian January.


This all came about from doing quite a bit of research into animal products. Finding that it's not as good for you as you would think.

I know this will be tough. I know I'll probably cry at some point. But I will at least try to do this.

While attempting to get a little more used to eating plant based foods, I made these delicious Roasted Spiced Chickpeas. Usually I don't like chickpeas, but these were an awesome filling snack. And super easy to make!


One farmer says to me, "You cannot live on vegetable food solely, for it furnishes nothing to make the bones with;" and so he religiously devotes a part of his day to supplying himself with the raw material of bones; walking all the while he talks behind his oxen, which, with vegetable-made bones, jerk him and his lumbering plow along in spite of every obstacle.  ~Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, December 25, 2011

What Are We Eating?

So last night I watched the wonderful and very well done documentary Forks Over Knives. I think everyone should see it. Or at least anyone who eats...


I will be posting again soon on how I have been planning to go meatless and dairy-less in January. Until then I still eat as usual... I just get freaked out as I eat. Oy.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Fail

I am failing at blogging in the month of December.

I will blame two things for this.

    1. My GoodReads reading challenge. I challenged myself to read 50 books for the year of 2011 and so far I have read 41. I refuse to fail so close to my goal. Therefore I'm reading like a mad woman to get in the last 9.
    2. It's December. Let's face it, regardless of whether or not you celebrate Christmas (I don't), it's just a hectic time of year where driving anywhere takes three times as long as it usually would. Lines are long and daylight hours are short.

Hopefully in January I'll be posting more. Until then....

Happy Chanukah!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Princess

Some people say I look like a Disney princess, and I would be lying if I said I didn't get immensely excited when one day a little girl asked me if I was one. My thoughts flashed to my childhood full of storylines centered around finding out I was, in fact, a princess from a far away land. A land that was in trouble and a people that needed me to save them with my quick wit, vast knowledge, and a cunning plot against the Evil oppressing them.

(Via Pinterest)
Sadly, I had to tell the little girl I wasn't a princess. Not even a Disney one.

Truth be told, I think the little girl deep inside of all females wish they were a princess of some sort. Some of us wish to be warrior princesses while the others prefer the locked-in-a-high-tower-waiting-to-be-rescued type.

I've gotten through a great many things that I didn't want to do by asking myself what I would do if I had been a princess. "Suck it up, Jaynie. Smile, act proper, and do what's right."

And there I am, over there, smiling with an invisible tiara perched atop my head. The little girl in me curtsies with the grace and solemnity of a royal doing what is expected of them.

Because who is to say I'm not?

  (Via missyfafa.blogspot.com)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ringgg... ringgg...

My generation is getting really bad with making phone calls, I know. I have never been particularly phone savvy and leaving voicemail messages gives me the feeling that I'm being timed and must make it quick. Slight panic sets in. And after I leave messages I find myself standing there unable to remember if I left my name with the message.


If you are one of the unfortunate souls that I have left voicemail with, then I apologize. I know it's not a pleasant experience.

While I think my generation does still make phone calls, we tend to text first to see if the other person is available. Kind of like paging someone. I have a fear of calling people when they're busy. Because if I call and they answer to tell me they're busy then I feel like I messed up. I'm one of those weirdly sensitive people who takes things personally that shouldn't be taken so.

And I know I'm over thinking the whole thing but that's just me since I just left a message with someone and can't remember what I said...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Doldrums

Fall and Winter are not my seasons. I'm much more a Spring/Summer girl and this cold weather has me down.

I'm trying to adjust to the short, sunless, cold, gray days. I suppose I have a case of the doldrums.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Oil Cleansing Method

I am a pale girl (think vampire with a blush) with very sensitive skin. Finding ways to cleanse my face has been difficult at best. Everything seems to irritate it one way or another. Especially anything with fragrance or Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, which is almost everything.

(Not me.)

Being into organic/natural DIY beauty products I have read a lot about the Oil Cleansing Method. After getting fed up with my skin being all upset with what I had been using, I finally tried the OCM about a month ago.

I love it!

Basically I read many, many blogs and articles on it to figure out the exact way to do it. I'll admit that it's a little bit trial and error the first few days. I think on the third day I got it down pat. 


Every night I massage my face with a mixture of one-part Caster Oil to three-parts Olive Oil with a couple of drops of Tea Tree Oil that I have premixed in a flip-top bottle. Then, using a moist warm washcloth I lay on my face and let it steam out the impurities until the washcloth turns cool, rinse it out and wipe the remaining oil off my face. Sometimes I stream it once more. No need for make-up remover because this does the trick.

Since doing this I have almost completely eliminated my need for moisturizer. If I am feeling like I need a bit more moisture I rub a little bit of Virgin Coconut Oil (yes, the kind you cook with) on my face.

Simple Organized Living has a great blog post about it. Check it out!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Noise

Have you ever noticed that when you're tired and/or agitated noise seems to be extra annoying? It just grates on your nerves.

As I sit here typing this I have earplugs in. (A little weird, I know.) I am tired and all the noise going on around me seems to be more then I can handle. Of course the ear plugs don't block out the major noise, just the small stuff. Like the sound of me typing. It's weird to type but not hear it.

They also amplify the sound of whatever is going on in my head. I can even hear my heartbeat. It's like being underwater. How I miss the days that I was short enough to lay submerged in the bathtub pretending to be a mermaid.

I have often lamented that we cannot close our ears with as much ease as we can our eyes.  ~Richard Steele

I crave silence. I want to be underwater.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Namesake

    I am named after my aunt. Of course she isn't really my aunt and I don't remember a thing about her except what I have been told. I only know what she looks like from the pictures my mother has of her. She was my mother's best friend before I was born. She was even the one who told my mom she was pregnant with me as my mother was complaining that she had gained some weight. My mother was so impressed with her best friend's style of mothering, along with her beautiful heart that she named me after her.

(I wasn't born in the 1940's so that isn't me.)

My aunt and her family moved away when I was just a little girl and other than holiday cards she sends faithfully every year, I have have no contact with her. If that even counts as contact.

My mother is friends with her on Facebook and they follow each other on Pinterest. Then yesterday I got an e-mail from Pinterest telling me that my aunt *enter name here* was following me.

I sat and stared at that e-mail for awhile a little amazed. I wondered what that would be like for her. Here I am named after her and she can see everything that I like put into pictures. As far as I am aware, she knows little about me.

At 21 she can see what kind of woman I have turned into. And I can finally see what this kind, giving lady that I was named after likes.




To me, she's a mystery. Yet I feel very connected to her. Now I can know a thing or two about her. And maybe, just maybe, fill the shoes I was so lovingly given.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pinterest

This is my story...

I had no idea what Pinterest was. Never even heard of it.

Then one day I saw a friend on Facebook make a reference to Pinterest. I shrugged it off not knowing what it was but making note of the name, it being an interesting word and all.



The next day another friend asked me if I knew how Pinterest worked since she had just gotten an account but wasn't sure what to do with it. I didn't and I told her so though this time making a mental note to Google it later and find out what it was.





The day after that my mom called me to where she sat at the computer. A friend of hers told her that I would like this site called Pinterest. Mom got an account and was trying to figure it out. I found it odd that I had never heard of it before the other day and now it had come up three days in a row. Weird.

I watched over her shoulder as she pinned and searched and looked at other peoples boards. She took to it instantly. It didn't take long till we were star struck and with great animation looking up any and everything imaginable. Amazed at so much creativity in one place. We were getting so many ideas!


 (No, this is not us.)

Immediately I set up an account and have been avidly pinning ever since!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

OCD

    I haven't been posting because I'm anal retentive. It's the sad truth. I can't just write when I feel like writing. Or for the sake of writing. It has to be perfect, or at least as close to it as I can get. I obsess over everything.
I had a friend in basic training last year that I would write and what he doesn't know about my letters to him is that there were several copies of each one. It went like this...
  1. Type out letter on computer.
  2. Edit letter.
  3. Write it out on notebook paper.
  4. Write it "For Real" on stationary.
  5. Then re-write the "For Real" due to minor errors.


I technically wear glasses though few people ever see me with them on because I find all three pairs to be crooked so they drive me nuts. And on more than one occasion they have been thrown across the room for not being straight.

My eye doctor gave me a speech about getting over my obsessive compulsive issues. It didn't work.

For the record though, I am working on it.
A man would do nothing if he waited until he could do it so well that no one could find fault.  ~John Henry Newman

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I Don't Know

"I don't know," are three words no one ever wants to hear. I don't understand why it's so bad to not know something. Why must we always have answers?

I get asked, "Do you believe in an afterlife?" I answer, "I don't know." For some reason this usually agitates the questioner. Apparently I need an answer. I need to know right then and there what I believe about where I'll go when I die.

"Doesn't it bother you not to know?"

"No. Whether I believe in an afterlife or not won't change how I'm going to live in the here and now."

I like answers too. But I like options with my answers. It's one of the reasons why I am so attracted to Judaism. There are so many answers to the same question and in the end no one answer is right or wrong.

"I don't know," is an admittance to being human. It's that sometimes the answers to the questions are bigger than me. Not that I don't have the right to come up with my own answers, but that I equally have the right to say that I don't know the answers.

When I was younger I was always asked what my favorite color was.

"I don't have one."

"Everyone has a favorite."

"Well I don't."

"Why not?"

"Because I like all colors."

"Yeah but you have to like one a little more than the others."

"Why?"

"That's just how it works."

"Well can I narrow it down then? To like three?"

"No, you can only pick one."

I would frown until struck with a brilliant idea. "Then I pick rainbow."

"That's not a color!"

That pretty accurately sums up my life. I ask too many questions and never offer up the correct answers. That's because I just don't know. And I'm okay with that.

Friday, October 7, 2011

I Cry, Therefore I'm Happy

Sometimes I just feel like crying over things I have no reason to cry over. Or maybe I don't even have a reason to be crying. Perhaps I'm borrowing reasons.

But it's therapeutic to cry, right? I am a big fan of it. I cry through virtually every movie I see.

It's odd because I would never have guessed I would be like this in life. A cryer. Yet I am. I cry at some of the weirdest stuff. Sometimes I have no idea why I'm crying through a particular part of a movie. I just do.

I think it's a balance thing though. Because I cry so often I get to also be very giddy and happy the rest of the time.

Those who do not know how to weep with their whole heart don't know how to laugh either. ~Golda Meir
Think about it. Children always seem quite happy, yet it also seems they are often briefly crying.
 
I am a girl of emotional extremes. I am either very angry (this doesn't last long,) crying (this also doesn't last long,) or quite peppy and happy.

Obviously this came to mind because I feel like crying right now. The reason is a bit fuzzy. But I do feel like it and I probably will. Then I will be giddy and productive and smile non-stop because I got it out of my system.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Rosh HaShanah

As I sat in the Rosh HaShanah service last week I couldn't get over how normal that felt, sitting there. I've never been to a Rosh HaShanah service before so you would think that it wouldn't feel all that normal.

But it does. Like something I was raised doing.

I was not, however, raised doing that. For the past few years I have loosely observed Jewish holidays, though I never went to a synagogue for services.

For over a year now I have been going to a synagogue regularly and over the past couple of months I have been studying to convert.

I still never expected a service I have never been to before feel like I have. But that's how I feel about Judaism. It all feels so natural. So right.


Shanah Tovah!!!



Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Peacemaker

When I'm sitting at my great-grandparents' house I find myself always entertaining the same thoughts. Who could be sitting next to me right now? I think of the empty spot beside me on the sofa where my non-existent significant other could be.

I don't know why but when I'm there it inevitably comes to mind. Part of it is I am always thinking about how they probably wouldn't approve of anyone I could bring for them to meet.

I love them dearly but they are very, very traditional Southerners. (They're also in their 90's) I know that if they knew my real thoughts and stances on things it would break their hearts and make them disown me. That's probably why I don't say anything upsetting or controversial. Then again, I am a middle-child so I am naturally a peacemaker. I don't like to upset anyone about anything. This is why I don't voice so many of my thoughts. I fear offending people.

I just want everyone to be happy and get along. I like to stay friends with everyone and (as far as I know) I don't have any enemies.
Like everyone else I have friendships that have fallen apart, but unlike most everyone else, I usually stay acquaintances with them. I wish them "happy birthday" and will always, weirdly, be available to talk to. I stay on good terms even if it turned bad for awhile. Because I can't stand to have someone unhappy over me.

But back to my great-grandparents; they can't hear and can hardly see so conversation is futile. Explanations impossible. In all likelihood, they will never meet my significant other anyway given their ages and my lack of relationships right now.

All-in-all, I think about possible significant others whilst sitting upon their sofa. And I will always wonder what they would make of "him."

Friday, September 23, 2011

Taste

One of my biggest accomplishments right now in my life is that I am cooking. Not just cooking, but I'm pretty decent at it. I used to fear that I would never be able to cook and up until a couple of months ago I couldn't really. Then I started to. Slowly at first. But now I cook regularly.

I enjoy cooking. Then I enjoy eating the food. And I really fancy sharing the food though I rarely, if ever, say so. I love seeing people eat what I made. (Well, as long as they like it.)

Not only am I cooking but I am cooking healthier meals than I grew up with. No, they're not perfectly healthy but they are getting closer step by step. And they are so different from what I grew up with. I made Moroccan food last week and loved it. I find that I crave foods I have never tasted. I keep taking pictures of just about everything I make because I find it so beautiful. I never thought I would come to the day that I found food beautiful. Or that I was the one to create the meal.

For once, I am really proud of myself.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Untold and Unknown

I was standing in the shower thinking about me. How people don't really know me. My thoughts wondered to my parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, how surprised they would be to know "the real me." Then, as if someone heard my conceded thoughts, slowly materialized in my mind a reply.

Do you know the real them?

My hands froze in the middle of lathering my hair. No, I don't know them apart from their relationship to me. All I know of their pasts are facts. Ones I could have picked up from legal documents.

I know a few random stories, told time and time again. As if those are all they can remember to pass on. Or perhaps those hold more significance than I have previously realized.

I see pictures. I am told what was going on in the picture. Why they were dressed that way or who they were laughing at. But I don't know what they were thinking. Hopes, dreams, emotions... they don't get told. There for I learn very little about them, either from my negligence or theirs. Maybe both.

I am very close to my mother. We talk about everything. But as I stood there in the shower I could feel the absence of what I know of her past. The woman before the mother. Once again, all I know are facts and unrelated stories.

I have always felt that there should be a novel for every person's life. A summery from their perspective. So they could at once be immortalized and understood by those around them. It is at this time that I so strongly wish to find the novels on my family's lives. I shall have to resort to questioning them. And hopefully they will tell me what makes them who they are.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Open Book

I’ve always thought of myself as an open-book. Easy to read and unable to keep my own secrets. But over the years I have been told numerous times that I am hard to figure out and constantly surprising.

Somehow, I didn’t notice until a couple of days ago that I don’t say half of the things I think.

Somehow, I am not an open-book.

This blog is my attempt to say the things that have gone unsaid for so long. The things that I didn't realize I wasn't saying.

Please fasten your seat-belts to reduce the risk of injury. Here. We. Go!