Tuesday, February 28, 2006

triple diamond extravaganza

"Are we there yet?" I was so excited to get there. My parents explained to me what it is and all the fun things you could do with it. Some things though you have to experience on your own.

I couldn't wait to park the car, I just wanted to get out there to experience "snow." The car finally came to a stop. I was so excited, I didn't know what to do first. Should I start to make a snowman? Throw a snowball at my brother? Make an angel imprint? Go sledding? Make a snow cone? Build an igloo? Make yellow snow???? It was a major overload experience!!

The door flew open, I go running out of the car with a big red circular slay in hand ready to take on the mountain. Now you have to understand a few things here. The best runs usually aren't next to the places where you park the car, you usually have to walk a bit to the proper sledding areas. Secondly, those circular disks don't have the best steering capabilities. Thirdly, the steeper the slope the faster you will go. Fourthly, if you are moving at a high speed on a disc that you can't control that well, on a steep slope, in an area next to where you parked the car, a large tree is the worst method of slowing down.

Before anyone else was even able to exit the car, in record time I miraculously managed to sprain my arm. Now I have a few questions here. How was I able to get out of the car with a disc two times bigger than me so quickly? Was I driving up there with it on my lap? I don't think so! Did I not see the Forest of billions of trees about 10 feet from the start of my chosen run that would inevitable be my finish line? Most ski areas have different runs marked by signs like: Blue circle=easy, red square=intermediate, blue diamond=advanced , black diamond=hairy, double black diamond=insane, triple black diamond=death. Did I feel I was up for a triple black diamond run on my first red disc experience?

My parents and brother got out of the car like normal people and were now faced with a crying ball of snow. I'm not sure if they even saw what happened. After all it did occur within one minute of parking the car. All I can remember is the pain. I don't remember the joy of those three seconds of ultra high speed. I was moving though! I don't think I ever got the chance to make a snowball that day or even make an angel imprint.

The rest of that day was spent at the hospital. It could have been much worse, I left with a semi-broken arm and a big sticker for being a good sport. I will never forget my first "snow" experienc though! I still dislike those round discs. No matter what you do, you always end up going down the hill backwards.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

If this horse had eyes!

Last night I had a bit of a deja vu. I knew I had been at that exact spot before, I felt all the same feelings. There was the butterflies, the anticipation, the 'what if's', the excitement of the unknown. There was one major difference though.

There's this big iron horse that sits at the top of Ben Yehudah Street. It's pretty hideous actually, I don't know why its still there. It's always a good point of reference for meeting. After you go through all the other points of meeting that you know and you don't succeed, there's always the horse. Meet you at the hideous iron horse at 8:00!!

I'll tell you, it was a little strange to sit under that horse again last night. As I waited to meet S I had a little re-acquaintance with that old horse. I told him all about the previous 8 years and what transpired since our first meeting. I told him about my two angels, about N and where it went from after meeting here, and why we got divorced. He gave me an iron neighhh of approval and now I was ready to start my search once again.

Yes it was a deja vu to be standing there again, but this time things were different. Or were they? How much did I change in those 8 years? Did I become a better person? Do I have more Torah knowledge? Do I have a better grasp on life? Have my long term goals changed?

I realized that in some of these areas I have changed tremendously, yet in others I remained very much the same. What I was looking for in a wife back than and what I am looking for today are very similar. Its something from within that knows exactly what it needs. It drives to find that which will perfect itself.

Call me a dreamer if you will but I am a firm believer. The Torah states, "30 days before you are brought into this world you meet your second half (basherit)." Your soul yearns to meet her in order to bring them both to perfection. There are those that argue with this! I have seen with my own eyes this joyful union. B"H I have seen it with close friends, I have seen it in my own parents, my brother, and a number of Rabbeum. Why is it so difficult for some to re-join and why do some have to try a few times?

I haven't met anyone yet who told me that life was easy. There was no form that I signed when coming into this world that everything would go my way. We are meant to work here! We are supposed to give our 100 percent. Generally the things that we acquire for little or no effort aren't our most precious things. It isn't any wonder that my most valued treasures in life are those I had I had to work extremely hard for.

Therefore I am ready to work hard for one of the biggest decisions in life. I am ready to climb any mountain, or cross any sea or desert to find my second half. I won't settle for anything less than the woman who will bring us both to perfection. I give myself and my many good friends out there who are single a blessing: May we find the right zivug before
Rosh Hashanah 5767!!!!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Hey, Why are we the only ones laughing here?

There's that moment of no return. It's that point where there is nothing you could possibly do to stop it. It's that look we get on our faces that lasts for about 5 seconds. After that, it's all over! The next and last step is usually my brother running first out of the situation. I don't know why, but I stay there for a minute or so looking like a fool laughing uncontrollably before my exit.

My parents for some reason bought front row tickets to go see this play at a fairly large auditorium. We're talking front row center! Right behind the orchestra. When everything went silent and the curtains opened we gave each other the look. Not intentional I might add! We tried to turn away and not look at each other, it didn't help. In dead silence before the first actor opened his mouth, the audience of a few thousand people witnessed my brother running at full speed up the aisle laughing hysterically trying to get to the lobby. I hunched down in my seat as low as I could. My mom gave me that look. I lasted for about a minute maximum before my dash to the lobby. We never returned to our seats. My parents never bought front row seats again.

My parents thought it was a good idea for some reason to bring over a priest from the Seven Day Adventist cult for dinner. They knew that the two of us didn't like the idea, but they never thought we would disrespect him or anything like that. We of course also had no intention of disrespecting him. The priest didn't realize that we don't really have free choice in these types of matters. We sat down at the table and got introduced. We didn't even start eating yet! The priest starts to give my brother some type of parve blessing. He looks over at me! We skipped the 5 second hold-out period and went straight into uncontrollable laughter. Again he runs from the table and I stay there for about half a minute to get the look from my mom. Upstairs are two young adults laughing historically. My parents had to eat the meal alone with the priest. You see, we couldn't go back down stairs. We knew from past experiences that any type of return to the scene would result in similar results. We never got the blessing from the priest that night.

A distant cousin of ours that we hardly ever see came to visit us at my grandparent's house. We had tons of family there at the time. They were all so excited about getting the distant cousins together. This one particular cousin is "retarded." He had a talent of remembering all types of baseball statistics. You could ask him anything. His latest kick was punk rock bands. My brother didn't really like punk rock bands. When he gave my brother the phone number as a gift (in front of about 20 family members) he made the mistake of looking over at my face. This was one of those cases where we tried as hard as we possibly could, honestly! But after the first "phif" out of my tightly closed lips, it was all over. In this case for some reason there was no where to run. We stood there like idiots laughing while 20 family members looked on with looks of complete disbelief. My mom had that look of course. We carried on, there was nothing we could do. I'm pretty sure that's the last time that side of the family ever came to visit us.

The longest one ever recorded was the time it takes to play 2 golf holes. An older fellow we were playing with decided to take a rather risky shot on an uphill slope away from the pond. The nicely dressed man proceeded to chunk the shot and ended up taking an unintentional dive into that merky pond. It was a cold day! He didn't think it was funny a bit. He also didn't think it was funny that we continued laughing continuously through the two remaining holes. There was that time when my grandmother introduced her new boyfriend to us. There was also that time my parents decided to take us to a very expensive restaurant. There are many more!

Unfortunately I don't get to see my brother all that often. But I have no doubt in my mind that if the opportunity arises we would be quick to dig ourselves back into the hole that we've found ourselves in so many times.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Happy T'B Shvaut to a very special 1000 trees.

"What do you mean I have no connection to Israel??? I planted a TREE there and have a little paper to prove it." Over 75 percent of the Jews in the world have never stepped foot on this holy land yet most have had a TREE planted in their name here. What's so special about a TREE?

My parents moved from one of the biggest armpits of America, Los Angeles, to the middle of nowhere. It was a decision based on where it would be best to raise two boys. Hell on earth, or on the top of this mountain on 42 acres surrounded by billions of TREES, streams, ponds, and even an occasional bear appearance. I commend them on one of the many good decisions they made in life.

One thing this particular piece of property was not lacking was TREES! There were lots of TREES. NO! You don't understand, were talking woodpecker heaven. When the box came in the mail from the forest service with 1000 saplings I don't think anybody understood what my father was thinking. "Dad, I think we have enough TREES already!!!"

I can't say those are the best memories I have growing up, me and my brother watering those trees a couple times a week. Some could be reached by attaching the 4 fifty yard hoses together, but a good number had to be watered by bucket. That means filling it up at the stream and hiking to each TREE!! My brother reminds my father of this every time he sees him. "Dad what's up with those TREE'S??? 2 billion TREES weren't enough???"

Sometimes it's hard for a parent to notice the physical growth of their children. Others who haven't seen them for a month or so well say "wow he grew so fast." Growing up amongst these TREES, I hardly noticed their growth. I didn't even pay attention that new TREE'S were even sprouting up from these TREES.

My father never explained himself. He is a very humble wise man, one of the wisest I have ever met. He knew one day we would learn on our own. Some things just can't be taught with words. If you were to go there today, it would be hard to differentiate between the ones we planted and the original ones that inhabited the land before. We changed the natural habitat of a mountain. We created new homes for millions of species of animals. We increased the oxygen supply on the planet. We made a difference!!!

Rav Orlowek in one of his lectures stated "a great man is one that plants a TREE in his lifetime with the intention of its fruits to be eaten by the generations that follow" There is a lot to be said about that, take from it what you may. These TREE'S that he planted make a long term positive change on this earth. Just because there are billions of TREES here doesn't mean that you don't have to plant one. If you don't, you missed one of the most important lessons of life. "YOU!!!!!!" have to do your efforts to make a long-term positive change in this world.

Unfortunately for many, their claim to a positive impact on this earth is in the form of a 3 by 3 card with JNF written on it. Others will plant their TREE themselves here and even have a picture to prove it. In extremely rare occasions you will find people like my father who will create a whole forest and change this world for the good in more ways than they will ever know.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

If you believe in Fairies... than clap your hands

Something is a little strange here. There comes a time in everyone's life where they realize that it was really their parents who put the money under the pillow, and not the tooth fairy. At some point we find out that the Bogey man doesn't really exist. At a certain age we find out the true facts about that fat guy with the red and white costume who keeps showing up all over the place with the flying deer and slay. Most people find out about these things at a very young age.

If you would find an adult who still believed in these things, probably you would have him committed. How about huge groups of people? Countries? Well... Ready for a whopper?

Now I'm not sure which is worse, so I will present both sides. Israel is very upset, hurt, and downright angry!! "We demand that you recognize us!!" She proclaims to the disbelievers out there. She may not have a slay, wand, or any flying deer, but she can bring lots of proof of her existence. She even has a flag. She can present all types of various food wrappers that say right on the package 'made in Israel.' She can present to you all types of maps that show all her roads and places of interest. There are even millions of people that will even stand up for her to state that they live there, they even have special cards that they carry with them at all times, with the name "Israel" written on them. It's just not fair! How can they not believe in me?

Now I've never been to the North Pole, but neither has Santa. Now maybe I'm a little naive but I do believe in the North Pole, but not in Santa. Israel??? Give me proff. If you look at all their maps and all their websites you will find that Israel really doesn't exist. With all the technology today who's to say that really Israel only exists in a Hollywood studio in California? OK it doesn't go that far you say, fine! Is it any worse than stating that you don't accept the scientific proofs that the world is round? How could such a large group of people and even countries still hold as part of their official charters that Israel does not exist?

Maybe if we beg hard enough, give them more land, release more prisoners with blood on their hands, give them more guns, more money, more training, than maybe, just maybe they will believe in us one day.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

I spent all that money on this!!!

Now you shouldn't anticipate something too special in this post because there is no way it could possibly meet your anticipation level. Come to think of it, anything that is finite by definition would fall short of the highest expectations.

The greatest part of any vacation is that moment from locking the house, to the walk to the car. "This trip is going to be awesome, I can't wait!!!" Once in the car a child starts to scream. The temperature is too hot. It's pretty uncomfortable with all this baggage. Than start the worries. "Did I forget anything," "Are we going to make it there on time," What if this.. what if that." Even a great trip where everything went perfect, you still can't wait to get home. That's till you get home.

The greatest part of going to the movies is either the previews or the first few seconds of the film before the introductions take place. In some cases even the purchase of the tickets can be the climax. Sequels hardly ever are a success because you already wrote and directed the film before stepping into the theatre. It's very rare that they ever follow your script, therefore the film fails.

The greatest part of going to a fancy restaurant is everything leading up to the food. The walk from the car to the restaurant is usually the climax. By the time the plate thumps down on the table thoughts are running through your head "maybe we should have went to....??" By the second bite you might has well went to a fast food joint.

The greatest part of going on a blind date is the time preparing yourself at home. During the drive to go meet her you are already preparing yourself for the worst. This is the most unfair one of all. There is no way anyone on the face of this earth could possibly measrure up to the person you built up in your mind at home.

The greatest part of a new item of clothing, is that moment you decide to buy it in the store. The high here can even last sometimes past the checkout counter and even sometimes till you get home. Thats the trick with the fancy bags they put it in. Once you try it on though, you are convinced that there was some type of mixup at the counter.

The greatest part of buying a new car is that walk from when they put the keys in your hands, till you use it for the first time to open the door. Once inside, out of the fancy lighted showcases, it goes downhill from there. The next day when you see another one in a different color, the sweating sets in. Shortly after when the XLS Turbo "II " comes out, you might as well donate this pile of junk to a scarp metal yard.

The greatest part of a job is that moment they inform you that you got the job. After day one, the boss and all the workers weren't quite as you expected. All the millions of little things that weren't discussed during the interview start to rear their ugly heads.

There all tons of examples of anticipation downers and I could go on and on but.... being that I already shot down your level of anticipation I will stop here. I will leave you with one exception to the rule that I have found. The greatest part of bringing a child into this world is now, tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. B"H my two boys have blown way beyond my highest expectations.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

May the Almighty grant them peace

I knew that this day would come some time. I dreaded it. I wasn't sure what I would do when the moment arises. They say time heals, but in some cases I'm not so sure. Some craters are just too deep to fill.

The neighbor across the street left for work that day like he always did. He said goodbye to his wife and baby (6 months), he sent two of his older boys (5 and 8) to gan, and headed out in the heavy rain. The weather already claimed two accidents that same week in our small community of 35 families. 5 days earlier I was very upset at my personal tragedy of totaling my car!!! . Today I am still so upset with myself for those feelings I had. I left that intersection on my feet without a scratch!!! My neighbor and his family lost everything.

I was at the car rental agency when I got the phone call. I, like everybody else who knew them went numb. What can one possible say to something like this. What do you tell the children? How could she possibly go on? I realized driving back home that the agency had given me the exact same car and color as the one that he had. I debated whether I should return it and exchange it for another make or color. Three days later I regretted not making the right decision.

I forgot something in the house that day, I don't remember what. I left my car on the street running. I got back in my car and for some reason looked in my rear-view window. The 8 year old was standing with a few other kids waiting for the bus. He took a few steps out of the bus stop towards my car with a wide curious look upon his face. He suddenly got this big smile on his face and started running towards my car. I didn't know what to do!!! I knew exactly what he was thinking. "I knew they were all wrong, I knew he would come home" My heart and stomach were on the floor, I was crying. I hit the gas and drove away like a coward. I wish I would have stayed and taken him in my arms and promised him everything would be ok, but I couldn't, I just couldn't!!

I had to drive around in that rental car for another month. Every time I would pass them on the street, or they would just see it parked there, would be a reminder. I hated that car!

I don't know how, but for 1 1/2 years I never ran into her on the street or at the Shul or in any situation where you would have to have some kind of response. What can you possibly say to someone in that situation? Yesterday I was walking on the street and that moment occurred. "mashlo mech?" How are you? spewed out of my mouth!!! How are you? Its times like these where you want to find the person, group, or country that established this as a way of greeting someone you don't know that well. She gave this smile that said it all!! "How do you think I am? A mother of three small children alone in the world and nobody can possibly understand how I feel"

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Young, Gifted, and Black

My first introduction to music came to me in the start of my 3rd grade, from a rare find in the garbage bins of the town dump area. Upon throwing our bags of goodies in, my parents noticed a rather large box of record albums. They were in perfect condition! Who would do such a thing? We of course took them, and I was thus introduced to the world of music.

There were The Doors, The Beetles, The Mama's and The Papa's, Steely Dan, Barbara Streisand, Barry Manilow, and much much more. My first go was on a Beetle's album. I still remember the green apple on the record going around and around. I was't too impressed though. I did like the song about an Octupus and his garden. I don't know if I liked the music per se, I just felt that it was such a cool idea to sing about an Octupus. I tried a few more albums, but none of them really did it for me.

Than I experienced the Doors 'Waiting For The Sun.' Hello I love you.... Love Street... Wow! I played it over and over again for weeks. I was moved! I felt what music was.

At school that week all the kids were talking about their favorite bands. Everyone of course said "Kiss." I agreed!! I mean who ever heard of The Doors. I had to find out who "Kiss" was though. I begged my parents. "Why do you need more albums, we have a whole chest full upstairs." I did finally get a Kiss album for my birthday. I listened to the whole thing, I wasn't too impressed. After all it wasn't The Doors!!!

Later in life most of my music influences came from my brother. He introduced me to Pink Floyd by convincing me the only way to listen to this one particular song was by laying on your back and placing two rather large speakers on both sides of your head. After that I was hooked!! That is until he introduced me to The Grateful Dead. All the other bands now fell by the wayside. Lets just say I saw a few shows, the best of course were with my brother.

I am trying to limit though my children's exposure to secular music somewhat. I do make mistakes though from time to time. On the way home from school yesterday I played this really groovy blues song called "to be young, gifted and black." They only heard it once. All day today Y1, my 6 year old was walking around the house singing "young, GRIFTY and black.. and thats a fact." Y2 my 3 year old was singing "young, GREASY and black.. thats a fact." Now there are so many reasons why thats just plain wrong.

I think the only reason why one would throw such a fine collection out is because of religious reasons. I myself don't see it. Music has only drawn me closer to Hashem. I love going into shabbat after listening to a nice piece of music. Music has helped my kavanah (spiritul intentions) before prair. I sure hope that person is a much better soul for what he did, I thank him all the same.