Thursday, September 28, 2006

10 days of sleepiness

Usually, between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, I try and stop drinking coffee in preparation for fasting and doing without 20 oz of caffeine each morning. There are a lot of us out there who do this, or so I've heard, and you would think that giving up coffee for a mere 10 days wouldn't be difficult.

And it's not, except that it's part of my daily routine, and it's the changing of the routine that's more difficult than giving up the actual coffee. I know, I could get decaf, but somehow I'm convinced that it won't taste as good.

This afternoon I decided to switch to Crystal Light Raspberry Ice. There is absolutely no danger of that becoming a routine. The water at work isn't really cold enough to make this taste anything better than something with just slightly more flavor than water (there's probably a good Navaho word for that).

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A Big Mexican Mess

This was my dinner tonight, not a reference to any border issues. Although it could easily refer to the severe water shortages faced by residents of Mexico City. But it doesn't. Really, I was just trying to get rid of some of the stuff in the cabinets. If that's the only criteria, I was fairly successful.

One box of instant black beans, one jar of diced tomatos, one can of green chilis, one can of fake meat from the Seventh Day Adventist store, an onion (not from the cabinet) and some cheese (also not from the cabinet). Layer it, leave it in the oven for a while. Eat. It was tastier than I expected, which is good, because there's a lot left.

I wonder how it would taste with a fried egg on top.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

sleep talking

Ronnie and I were in Chicago this past weekend, and at some point, Ronnie was exhausted and crawled into the back seat of our rental car and fell fast asleep. We couldn't get into the house where we were staying, so I just drove aimlessly around. And it was raining really, really hard -the kind of rain that is loud. Very, very loud.

So I'm driving along in the driving rain and at some point I hear Ronnie mumble something from the back seat. But the rain is loud, and he's got his face planted in the seat so I ask him to repeat himself. And I hear a bit more clearly "When did you realize I was a maverick?" But again, it's really, really loud, so I said, "What?" And he says, "When did you realize I was a maverick?" And at this point I realize he's talking in his sleep, and so I answer "tomorrow", because he's asleep, right?

10 minutes later, I hear a mumbling, and I ask, "what?" And Ronnie asks, "Who needs 24 hour guards?" But the rain is still loud, and his face is still planted in the seat so I ask again, "what?" And he replies "Who needs 24 hour guards?" And I reply, "like the president?", and he says, "yeah, like the president." and before I know it, he's snoring again.

I was laughing so hard I couldn't believe he didn't wake up. There were other musings of his that I caught about veal, and Russian rooms and I'm not even sure what else. Later, he claimed that when I answered "tomorrow", he thought it was a little obnoxious of me, but I'm not convinced that he even heard my answer....

Friday, September 22, 2006

Lunch Pt. Deux

Every few days, I bring a bag of sundry food items to eat over the course of a week for lunch. Among the mix are often Boca Burgers, yogurts, and hard-boiled eggs. And of course, there are always the TastyBites. A new order just arrived this week, which is pretty exciting in and of itself. But it's not relevant to my story today.

Today, being Friday, I figured I should eat the hard-boiled eggs that I brought earlier so they didn't continue to sit in the fridge over the weekend and until I get back on Tuesday. They were in a CVS bag, and since the bag also contained other foods that I'd brought from home, I did not worry that I was eating someone else's lunch.

The eggs were in a ziplock bag, which I just always think is better than having the eggs start cracking with other food around and who knows what will get in them. Well, it turns out my foresight in this matter, although misplaced, was a good idea.

I took the baggie out of the fridge and lightly knocked it into a wall, figuring I'd begin the "cracking of the eggs" process before I got to my desk. Really just more for amusement than any other functionality. If you saw the floor around my desk, you'd be able to tell that I usually wait until I get to my desk and then don't do a very good job of getting all the peels into the garbage. I figure it's like urban composting.

But I digress. So the bag knocks lightly into the wall, and I see a larger crack in the egg than I expected. And I realize the yolk looks more yellow (is yellower a word) than I expected. And I see nothing that resembles an egg white that has been previously boiled. And I realize that they eggs are raw.

Yes, RAW!

So now you're probably thinking that I took them from the wrong carton in the fridge, rather than the one that is carfully marked "HB" with a little smiley face drawn into the picture of the egg. But you'd be thinking incorrectly. I took eggs that had been sitting next to the butter dish in the door of the fridge, exactly where one might think hard-boiled eggs would be put if there was no room in the carton. And because WHY WOULD RAW EGGS NOT BE IN A CARTON?!

Needless to say, Ronaldo has some 'splaining to do!

Christine and Ann thought the whole thing was pretty funny. What would have made it better, is if they'd been someone elses....

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Chicken Soup

There was too much laughter at work today. My face hurts.

Ann told Christine that she could eat the chicken soup she brought that was in a Safeway bag in the fridge. So Christine went to the fridge, got out the Safeway bag, put the container in the microwave and ate the soup. She rinsed out the container and gave it back to Ann. While I wasn't present at this particular moment, I'm guessing that she also thanked her for the soup.

As it turns out, the next thing that Ann said was, "That's not my container." A very, very funny exchange then occured as Ann tried to explain that while Christine may have taken a container of soup out of a Safeway bag from the fridge, it was the wrong bag and definitely the wrong soup. Plus, as it turns out, Christine was wondering why there were lentils but no chicken in the soup, but she was too polite to ask Ann.

After it was determined that Ann's soup was still safely contained in a Safeway bag in the refrigerator, the question became: Whose soup was consumed by Christine. The thing is, all the rest of us heard was Ann and Christine laughing, and when we went to see what was happening, all we could see was Ann crying because she was laughing so hard. Which caused us to laugh, even though we had no idea yet what was happening. We just saw tears, a Safeway bag, and a clean soup container.

There were no takers for the container. Not everyone was in the office today, so we figured maybe it wasn't quite the mystery we thought, even though we still had no answers.

Which meant it was time for me to enter the picture. I went up to the 7th floor and got Wayne (our new President) to come down and ask if anyone had seen his soup. It was missing from the fridge....

He's not the greatest actor in the world, so Christine immediately smelled a plot against her. But since no one ever suspects me (I have NO idea why not), she thought it must be Aryeh, my boss. Ann was just glad she wasn't blamed (as she usually is for my hijinx).

In the end, the container belonged to Mimi and had been there for two weeks. It's now several hours later and Christine is not yet doubled over in pain, so we think she'll be ok....

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Do we think it's problematic that my new favorite thing to do at my desk is click the refresh button on my web browser? When I'm on the phone, waiting for whatever web search I'm doing to load or just avoiding things that I'd rather have on next week's to do list, I have become obsessive about clicking that damn button on our birthright stats page.

Really, it's classical conditioning gone mad, because either I am rewarded everytime by higher numbers (instant gratification), or I have to wait a few "refreshes" before I get a new, higher number (I don't exactly remember the official term for this, but basically, you click even more if you don't know if you're going to be rewarded or not). I feel like a lab rat.

And because I'm feeling ratty, I just ate a piece of cheese. We actually have a big hunk of swiss in the fridge (which somehow I think you always see at the end of the mazes), but I went for the handier mozzarella string cheese instead. Now if I could only find a maze.

Gotta go. I need to see if the numbers have gone up.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Shiritaki - it's not just another noodle in Tokyo

Have I written about these yet? If so, they're worth more blog-time. These things are great - low calorie, low carb, lots of fiber, and, once you get rid of the smell and add sauce, really tasty. I realize that mentioning that they have a smell doesn't sound so good, but you rinse them off, boil them for 2-3 minutes, and you're good to go. You can get them at Trader Joe's (in the refrigerated section), and probably at Whole foods and places like that. You can also get them at the good Asian groceries, but they you just sort of have to guess that you're actually buying the right thing.

And, they're really filling (that would go with the lots of fiber part, probably). And if you rinse them while the water is boiling, it takes a total of about 6 minutes to make a really good dinner, assuming you don't bother with salad.

To Ayala Karsh

I think that you can rent houses/apartments on Kibbutz Usha these days, but I wouldn't know who to recommend that you speak with there. The kibbutz is changing, and I also don't know if they are continuing to accept new members....

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Faux Rosh Hashanah

The new television season has begun! Survivor began last Thursday, and The Amazing Race (TAR) began tonight. The new year, it's not just about a new moon, it's also about new tv. Aaron Sorkin is back (tomorrow night), and I have to wait until October for Lost, but I think it will be worth it....

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Elul 23

I'm frustrated. I've known this for a while, but Elul 23, a date on the Hebrew calendar, this year falls on September 16th. This means, that in effect, I really have no Chol HaMoed birthday this year. My "solar" birthday was yesterday, and today is the "lunar". There's no time in between, and frankly, it's just not fair. Sometimes, there are three whole weeks in-between! Think of Sukkot - you don't have to work on the actually holidays (the first and last days), but in between, you have to work, but you still get to do a bit of the holiday in there too. Every 19 years the two dates fall on the same actual day, but I've got another few years before that happens again. Maybe I should put it in my calendar....

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Double Whammy

Two things happened today.

The first - I wore real (long) pants for the first time since early May. It was a bit of a shock to the system after so much time. My calves were a bit confused to be out of the fresh air but I think they'll survive. I actually brought a pair of pants with me to Israel this summer, but put them on once, decided I was crazy, and immediately changed back into capris. That presented a different problem because I hate having packed something I wasn't going to wear. I also wore dark socks today, which I also haven't done in many, many months. I'm not ready for fall.

The other was that it became official that we've been here in DC for five years. It's really been five years and 2.5 months, but it was getting my driver's license renewed that made it hit home. You would have thought it was all the 9/11 anniversary stuff, but it wasn't. And there hasn't been much about the 5th anniversary of the anthrax problem the Hurricane that cut out our power for a week or the sniper. So it was the license that made things real.

A few observations: First, my new license has a picture of a crab on it. I realize that we're living in Maryland, but it's not right for a nice Jewish girl to have a crab on her primary state identification. Or maybe they were commenting on my personality? But I digress....

Thankfully, Ronnie stopped by the eye doctor's office yesterday and got her to sign a form of some sort that allowed me to avoid the eye test at the DMV (actually the MVA, but whatever). I barely pass those tests as it is (but I do), and the eye doctor specifically told me to have her sign the form since if I didn't pass, glasses weren't going to improve my driving.

So I didn't have to take the eye test, but I was sitting in front of the little machine. And there's a small pad of paper, maybe 1" x 2" in between the two lenses. It's actually where your forehead rests when you take the test, and presumably when you're done, you take your little piece of paper and it's ready for the next person to put their forehead against. But how do you know if the last person took their piece of paper? And really, if I had to take the eye test, I'd rather have something protecting my eyes from whatever is in other people's eyes than worry about getting someone else's makeup on my forehead - although that is really gross too.

I'm going through the information the DMV guy, yes, the address is correct, yes, I'm an organ donor, yes, I'm registered to vote. And then he asks if my height and weight are correct or if they need to be changed. So I asked if he could add 2 or 3 inches to my height. He was not as amused as he should have been. Really, did he expect me to change my height? Does anyone? Seriously - do you think that anyone over the age of 25 has ever walked in and changed their height on their driver's license? Ridiculous!

There was a woman in front of me in line who had long blond (peroxided, and not well) hair and was wearing a baby blue track suit. She had purple eye shadow and purple mascara. I'm pretty sure that the pictures are too small to pick any of that up, but I give her credit for trying....

Monday, September 11, 2006


At 9:59pm last night, I was feeling fine. At 10:00pm, I could tell I was about to get a cold. It's as if a switch went off somewhere in the universal substation that said, "it's now time for Andrea to be sick".

A co-worker today suggested that it could be divine retribution for my last blog entry.

The security guard at work strongly suggested that I not make my regular coffee run in the morning (note: my coffee run does not include actual "running") and instead he thought I should just get some tea. I just didn't tell him that I was already planning to do that and let him think that I was taking his advice. I also mentioned that I was going to get some oatmeal, and he thought I said opium. Is that what he thinks of me?! We both laughed, but then I started hacking....

It's just not pretty.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Fall, 1978

Last weekend, I got a call from my mother (yes, mom, I know you're reading this). It went something like this:

"Andrea, you know how kids used to have separate kids parties for their bar/bat mitzvahs?"
"Yes, but they don't really do that anymore".
"Yes, I know, but I can't remember your party at all. Did you have one?"
"What kind of party did you have?"
"Ice skating."
"Where was it?"
"Probably at the Creve Coeur rink - that's where we used to go skating."
"Creve Coeur? Are you sure it wasn't at the Olivette Rink on Warson?"
"I'm pretty sure I've never been to the Olivette Rink."
"Well, do you remember what we served?"
"I don't know, probably pizza."
"The only time I remember having pizza for a party was at your sweet sixteen. Are you sure there was pizza?"
"Do you remember who was at the party?"
"Well, I remember Beth Ferrell because she was a ballet dancer and a pretty good skater."
"Do you remember anyone else?"
[unspoken -"I could list my sunday school class"]
[actually said] "No."
"Well, if you remember anything else, call me. I just can't remember anything about it".

At which point, I promptly decided that my mother can use all the gray matter she wants trying to remember this party, but I've got my brain scheduled for other tasks through 2010.

And later I received this email:
Andrea, Please give the subject of your Bat Mitzvah party for your friends a bit more thought. Your Dad doesn't remember ever having been inside the CC ice-skating rink and I don't remember your having a party there, sending invitations, buying refreshments, etc. This is DRIVING me CRAZY! (as only important things like this can....)

I'm pretty sure the party was the next weekend after your Bat Mitzvah. That's ALL - I keep drawing blanks - and even though you generally have an excellent memory - I 'think' it might be faulty here. If you come up with any other hints or clues, please let me know.

Thanks, Mom

I remember what kind of party I had, what kind of food (probably), where it was, and even an attendee but my mother thinks my memory may be faulty because she remembers only that it was probably the weekend after my Bat Mitzvah? What am I missing here?

But wait - the quest for details has not yet ended.

Nearly a week later, this Friday night, I was speaking with my parents when my mother says, "Andrea, have you given any more thought to your Bat Mitzvah party? I can't find the invitations, or pictures, or remember anything else. I found the invitations for your brother's party, but not yours." (Now at this point, I decided it was not appropriate to ask why she had saved the invitations from Benjamin's bar mitzvah but never got any of the pictures actually printed.)

Here's what I know, the details of these two conversations and the email are going to be seared on my memory far longer now than the fading images from my ice skating party at the Creve Coeur rink where we served pizza (maybe) and Beth Ferrell skated perfect pirouettes.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

It's official!

I'm done traveling this month! I have no more planned trips until October, and then it gets crazy again. How do people do it who travel all the time? Like flight attendants? Or train conductors? Or air marshals?

I looked for the air marshals on my last few flights (like the three I took in 36 hours of Tuesday/Wednesday). It's like an adult version of Where's Waldo. I couldn't find them. And on my flight last night, there were probably only 15 people on the whole flight. You'd think that they'd be sitting somewhere up front, and on the aisle. I still didn't see anyone who looked awake enough to care.

Yesterday morning, some guy got on the plane with a cup of coffee. I didn't say anything, but I wish I'd been able to take my coffee on. So he walked by security, he walked by the person taking the boarding passes, and he walked by the flight attendants who say hello as you get on the plane. And he sat down in the row behind me. Right before we pushed back, a flight attendant said to him "you're not supposed to bring drinks on the plane". He said, "really?" She said, "Where have you been the last three weeks?"

It could be because I've been on 6 flights in the last two weeks, or just because I watch the news, but who didn't know you couldn't bring drinks on a plane?! And why did it take a fourth set of eyes to see it (not including mine)? I did bring toothpaste in my carry-on the other day and no one noticed.

The whole security thing is ridiculous. What can you hid in flip flops? And the floors walking through the metal detectors are gross. But yesterday morning I got to walk through one of the machines that puffs air at you to detect drug residue. I had been having such a good hair day before that....

And just for the record, the Southwest Airlines magazine is excellent. The USAir magazine, not so much. And I like the XM radio that ATA has. It means you don't have to talk to the people next to you unless you really, really want to, which is not so often.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Pretty much every day, I wear sandals. For the past year, up until about 2 weeks ago, I wore a pair of Naot that I'd purchased the year before. I think I wore them every single day unless it was snowing or the dead of winter and just cold. They haven't quite died, but it's clear that they're on their last legs, so to speak. In case you're wondering if I'm not going barefoot. I'm now enjoying the other pair, identical to the first pair, that was purchased at the same time (ok, a day later, but it's basically the same).

And in the winter, I wear my clogs. Even when it's snowy. Which is sometimes a problem.

But tomorrow I have to go to New York for meetings. Meetings in which my sandals, as new and shiny as they are, are not appropriate. And lo and behold, I find that I really have no other appropriate shoeing. I own a really nice pair of boots, some elf shoes (they're not green with pointy toes, but they're sort of low boots that make me think of elves, I'm not sure why), and a lot of clogs. None of which are wooden, in case you were wondering.

So tonight I made a mad dash to the mall. I learned two things. One, I don't really like wearing "real" shoes. Two, shoes that are really inexpensive (think Payless and Target) aren't so comfortable. Three, it just doesn't make sense for me to buy expensive shoes since I'm just going to go back to wearing sandals and clogs. Four, "why?" (or "why not") is not the natural response to item three.

And in the end, I discovered a really old pair of shoes in my closet that haven't been worn in years that fit, are comfortable, and will be fine for tomorrow, before they are put away and forgotten for another few years.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Modge Podge is magic

Take one old coffee table, replete with stains and bubbling veneer, two pieces of beautiful hand-made paper, two paint brushes and one jar of Modge Podge and what do you get? Magic. Total transformation. And I learned a new rule - always experiment one someone else's furniture. This adventure happened to turn out for the best, but it could have easily been a bust. The other success factor - two people working on the project (hence the need for 2 brushes), and one person making dinner. Just to be clear, it would have worked just as well with three of us on the project, if there had been a fourth making dinner....

Saturday, September 02, 2006

it's been a century...

This is my 100th post. I'm not sure that anyone's written a ceremony for this type of milestone, but I think my cousin Steven ( also noted his 100th post, so maybe a simple notation is the tradition.

There's only a little new, and even it isn't so new...

Way back, I think I mentioned that the tenant in our Milwaukee house had stopped paying rent. She's out of there now (as of Aug. 1), and we put the whole matter to small claims court (for rent and damages). We're not done with court yet, but in the meantime, she got a letter when she moved out saying that she would owe us a sizable sum of money. She called the house manager and offered to set up a payment plan. Seems like a good sign (except that this didn't work with rent collection), but her terms were a little unreasonable. Why? She wanted to pay $10 a month. At that rate, we figure it will take her nearly 500 years, if not more, without including interest, to pay us.

Other random sightings: I saw a woman yesterday so tightly shoved into a pair of jeans that she could barely put one leg in front of the other. Literally, it was as if she was turning her whole body to the side in order to propel a leg forward. And then the same on the other side. Needless to say, it wasn't a good look for her. (and neither were the big tatoos on either arm, but that's for a different day.)