Sunday, August 31, 2008

Not serious about poverty

I've been noticing lately that Jonathan Rosenblum seems to be a rational voice on Cross-Currents, and has started getting very direct about some of the problems in the Charedi world.

So I was really interested in reading today's article, "Can we talk seriously about poverty?"

He gives an extensive discussion of why poverty is horrible, especially for Torah life: shalom bayis problems, bad shidduchim based on money, children associating poverty with Torah, more likelihood of falling for con men or even falling into criminal business dealings oneself....really fantastic points. He even says that it's very bad to get used to taking charity from others, and that it is unrealistic to continue expecting wealthy Jews in America to support Charedim in Israel.

Then I get to the end, to the part where it is supposed to say that it's time for everyone to get jobs, right? I mean, that's the whole point of saying that we need to get out of poverty and stop relying on others.

Shockingly, he doesn't even say one sentence about getting jobs! His conclusion is "What the solutions might be I do not know. But it is clear that we cannot afford to hide our heads in the sand and not address the issue."

Um...How does not getting jobs address the issue????

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Random Wednesday - 8/27/08 (And Yes, I KNOW It's Thursday...)

We missed doing this yesterday. Tying into my previous post, we're doing 3 memories relating to elections, world events, politics, etc. But my lst is specifically about elections:

1. Voting for legal marijuana for medical reasons, President Clinton, and against proposition 187 (California ballot)- voted absentee in my college dorm room.

2. Anyone ever hear the Capitol Steps? They did parody songs about politics. I particularly remember a skit they did about Gary Hart where they switched the first letters of words, so they called him a "gorny huy". My brother and I may not have understood a lot of what they were talking about but they were really funny!

3. The ridiculous election for California governor. We had a porn star, Gary Coleman, Larry Flynt, and about 100 other candidates on the ballot. And the fact that Arnold Schwarzenegger won is also pretty crazy. (I'm not even talking about political views, just the idea that of all people he's the one who won.)

Here's DH's Random Wednesday.

Historic Events

What is the earliest historic event you were aware of? I was thinking about this last night when I called in my 6-year-old to see Hillary nominate Obama. The minute I saw her getting ready to speak for New York, I knew it was going to be an important moment so I made him leave his TV show to come watch. The whole election is probably the first world event that he is aware of.

The earliest I remember is getting our Weekly Readers in 2nd grade with info about the 1984 candidates. They were very benign, talking about things like the candidates hobbies. (I bet I still have it around my parents' house somewhere...) Although I don't remember any other specific "events" from that election, I know I was aware that Geraldine Ferraro was the first woman running for vice president.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Updating links - Jewish blogs

(I wrote this last week but never finished updating the links. In the spirit of “just jump right in where you are”, I’m going to put up this post even though it doesn’t exactly match what I have on the right side of the page.)

I'm starting to update the links on the side of this page. I haven't been to most of these in a while, and was sorry to see that the Kallah Magazine blog is gone (or appears to be). Anyone know what happened to that one? She had a lot of good insights about the frum world as well as some humor.

As I do this, I'll write a little about the links I've selected.

I'm seperating my links into a few categories, starting with blogs that (tend to) focus on the frum world. As I mentioned, I don't tend to read many of these blogs regularly anymore, and it looks like some of them are no longer regularly updated. (RenReb and Krum haven't posted in quite a while.) Ask Shifra has become more about her personal experiences, but I think of her as part of the "J-Blog" world so I am leaving her there.

I'm moving DovBear up and Rabbi Maryles down on the list order. One of the only blogs I still read regularly, DovBear always has some fascinating information, and he is always open to response and guest posting. My husband has been one of his guest posters on several occassions, and corresponds with him sometimes.

Rabbi Maryles' blog was one of the first I started reading, and at that time I was thrilled to read someone with an outlook similar to my own. Unfortunately, his comments are pretty much hujacked by a small but vocal group of people and I don't feel that there is any purpose to joining in the discussion. Also, he tends to focus on what he perceives as the problems (most of which I agree) but I've come to disagree with his perspective on what the solutions are. He feels strongly that the future of yiddishkeit is only with the Charedim, and that therefore any solution has to start with them changing. Well, they're not going to change just because he wants them to, and in the meantime I feel the solution is more in becoming part of a strong Centrist community that makes the changes and doesn't worry about what the Charedim are doing. But I do continue to read his blog periodically, as he does discuss some current events that I am not aware of.

Wolfish Musings and Rabbi Student have both had some great stuff. The Wolf tends to be mor elight-hearted even when pointing out things that are negative. Rabbi Student's blog is more like articles, but some of his topics are very interesting. Of course, he is also important for becoming the publisher for Rabbi Slifkin (whose link I will need to look up and add here!)

Don't worry, I havne't forgotten about Orthonomics, it will get its own post tomorrow!

P.S. Right now I am just rearranging links that I already had listed - I will definitely be adding quite a bit over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Random Wednesday - 8/20/08

Hi, everyone! DH and I have decided to have some fun. We're going to present a weekly random list of three things on our respective blogs. Visit DH for this week's list. Some of our items will overlap. Thanks to Cool Yiddishe Mama for the inspiration.

Subject of week: Three random places I've visited.

1. On our cross-country trip, we stopped at mall in West Des Moines, Iowa, which is basically the Beverly Hills of Iowa. The mall was huge, fancy, and it felt like we were at the Beverly Center in LA, except for one thing: Every person in the ENTIRE mall was blond and white. The most colorful it got was us.

2. I spent Shabbat in Neve Yaakov, Israel, from where one may CLOSELY observe Jordan right out the bedroom window. Right before I left to catch the bus to get there, my friend said, "Oh, don't worry if they throw rocks at the bus on your way up!"

3. On the spur of the moment, I went on a road trip from Boston, MA to New Haven, CT to help a friend find an apartment. What makes this interesting is it was literally a random road trip. My friend approached me and said, "Wanna go to New Haven?" and I said, "Sure!" and we got in the car and went!

Daily Plans

Here's what I would like to get done every day:
* Evening routine (eat dinner, shower, lay out clothes and lunch for next day)
* Tidy up the house, get a load of laundry ready for DH to do the next day, and declutter for 15 minutes
* Do at least one task with our paperwork on the desk
* Make some phone calls or send some e-mail messages
* Clear out some e-mail from my inbox because I have a backlog, and also read some of the daily comics that we get by e-mail
* Go through some of our photos to make online albums or send out pictures

Here's what really happens after work (especially in the summer when I dopn't get home until about 7:00):
* Spend time with the kids and eat dinner
* Tuck in son and take a shower (since both are upstairs)
* Kind of think about what I want to wear tomorrow
* Tidy up the bathroom and my bedroom (also upstairs)
* Think about how I want to clean up or send some e-mail
* Watch TV with DH until we're so tired that we head to bed

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Happy birthday to Mommy and baby

Well, he's not a baby anymore! My little boy is six - and going into first grade!

He loves that we have the same birthday. Of course, my little girl decided it was her birthday today too.

We got the class lists, and he's in a different class than his three best friends. So since he doesn't have anything positive to say about the kids who are in his class, we're skipping the birthday party. We're having a get-together with our best friends (whose daughter is one of the three kids he likes), and then maybe taking him and the other two kids somewhere at some point. (Can you tell we haven't put too much thought into this yet?)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Fun WIth The Kids

We work special summer hours (if we want) at my job, where we add an hour during the week and get to leave at 1:00 on Friday. I am also in a salary position, so if I work overtime I don't get any extra pay. I was in charge of a major project in the spring and beginning of the summer, where I was staying very late every day.

A few weeks ago my boss offered me an entire Friday off as a thank you for my work on the project. So on Friday our family went to this great place called Memphis Kiddie Park. It's set up like a carnival, with a merry go round, various rides where the kids go around in a circle (in boats, planes, rocket ships, etc.), ferris wheel, and train ride for the whole family around the park. It's a little bit of a drive, but it's a great value because there is no admission fee. You just buy tickets for the rides, and if you don't use them they are still good the next time you come. (We actually had an entire book of tickets from last year, so we didn't have to pay anything this time.)

The kids had a fantastic time, although after we mistakenly let them have the oversized popsicles my daughter got really cranky. The park does something smart - they keep a notebook with the labels form all their ice cream desserts, so people who have kashrut or dietary concerns can review what's available.

Cookies and Ice Cream

My husband ought those cookies with the chocolate dot in the middle. I ate these growing up, and it's too bad to see yet another product become poorly and cheaply made. They are smaller, the cookie part is dry, and there is almost no chocolate. My husband and I both remember how we used to eat around the outside, then bite off the cookie part on the bottom and then eat the chocolate. Now it's all just dry cookie.

On the other hand, we just discovered a fantastic ice cream flavor - Ben & Jerry's Cake Batter ice cream.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

My Job - Part One

As you may know, I started this blog while I was job-hunting in 2006-07. I started my current position in April of 2007. At the time, the positives of the job were:

1. Amazing and professional-acting boss.

2. Welcoming attitude (from my boss) about the weird schedule I would need for holidays and leaving early Fridays.

3. The possibility (stated by my boss) that she’d have me develop in the position over time.

4. The fact that someone was offering me a job with health insurance after I had been led on by my previous temp job for a year.

The negatives were:

1. The location – The quickest I can commute is about 35 minutes, and some days it has taken me an hour. The neighborhood is a bad one, we can’t take a walk at lunch, and the building itself is pretty gross.

2. At the time I was hired, my boss’s boss did not agree with her about developing my position. He forced her to take back the salary she had mentioned at the interview and offer $3K less. (One of the first things I knew about how amazing my boss was – she was honest with me about this when she made the job offer, and found an opportunity for me to make commissions on a small project to try to get back some of this amount.)

3. The job itself is primarily office assistant, AKA lowest person on the totem pole. Anything that no one else wants to do ends up being my responsibility. There had also been some people laid off very quickly in the past who did not have the chance to leave any sort of record about how we deal with certain issues or who our vendors are, so a lot of the things I was asked involved the extra step of figuring that out.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Back to Blogging

Whenever I’d tried keeping a diary or daily calendar, I always get stuck as soon as I miss a few days. I keep thinking that I’ll go back and fill in the missing days, and end up getting more and more behind and then give up. It’s kind of been the same with this blog. I have a ton of saved items that I meant to blog about, just waiting for me to write some thoughts and put them up. Instead, as FlyLady says, I’ll just jump in where I am and get started again.

The topics I’d mostly like to focus on for this blog are the things that are going on in my life: workplace and job search issues, getting out of debt, children's school situations, and handling issues with our parents. I have shifted a lot of my blog reading from the “what’s wrong with the frum world” blogs to primarily business and personal finance. Although I may want to discuss a few issues from an Orthodox perspective (especially as relate to finances), there are several high-quality blogs that I have included on the side panel that really cover anything I would say myself. (Note: I do need to do a major update of my blogroll, as I believe some of these are no longer active and I have found quite a number of new blogs that I’d like to share with everyone.)

Thanks for reading - I will try to post several times a week.