More Facts, Questions and Things I Will Never Understand or Have Answers To.

  1. Why Oh why do people insist on asking how you are doing, when they don’t plan on listening to the answer?  Just say “Hello” and keep walking!  But don’t ask people how they are, and then interrupt them mid-sentence to tell them how late you are and need to run!
  2. Why is it that THESE days before kids can go on any play-date, you have to do a background and criminal check on the parents first?
  3. Why do people waste money on Therapists when all you have to do to “De-Stress” yourself is sit, and pet your dog for an hour?
  4. Instead of calling someone back why do people E-MAIL instead?  If I wanted to e-mail you, I would have emailed you on the first place!  Yes, I know sometimes I’ve done it too, but only if its way too late to call and I always call back the next day.  If I call you, that means I want you to call me back, not e-mail, or text or Instant Message me!
  5. Why do people come up with excuses for not being able to do one’s job instead of just admitting that they are lazy?  It would save so much valuable time!
  6. While driving around, I always make a mental note and try to remember locations and names of random stores, restaurants and specialty shops!  For example, for years now I have been telling myself to remember this shop that sells all kinds of Uniforms, e.g. for Nurses, Doctors, vets, etc…  Why?  I have no idea.  Just in case one day I decide to become a Medical Nurse and need to know where to get the Uniform…
  7. What is the difference between verbal gossip, and spreading rumors in person versus what you read online?  How is one different from the other?  One is verbal gossip and the other is written gossip.  Is there a difference?
  8. Why is it when I order chicken with noodles at a restaurant, every once in a while I also get a few pieces of rice in there or some other food that I didn’t order, and which doesn’t belong?  Its almost like they were making my food along with someone else’s and I got a part of it!  What if they were making fish for the other guy, isn’t that cross-contamination?  If I order noodles, I want noodles.  I don’t want bits of rice in there too!
  9. Why do people always complement on the clothes you are wearing, instead of how you look?  I didn’t make the shirt, I just picked it out.  Don’t tell me you like it, tell me you like my taste or how I look in that shirt.  That makes more sense.  You like the shirt, go tell it to the manufacturer!
  10. And last but not least…  Why are people so inconsiderate when out in public?  If you have a cart full of groceries, but there is a person behind you that has two items, don’t be a jerk and let that person go in front of you!  Its not going to kill you, trust me.
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Obvious vs. the-Not-So-Obvious.

Lately I’ve been thinking about the many jobs I have had, all through my teenage years and adulthood.  The reason I started thinking about them is simple: every time my children talk about what they want to do when they grow up, and it changes daily, I usually have a funny anecdote about the many jobs I’ve done and why I’ve had so many.

Here is a list of all of them:

– Nanny – actually did this for a couple years, only God knows why… I hate kids, but the money was good and for some reason the kids loved me…  Go figure.

– Assistant/File Clerk – did this for about a year, was fun until one of the Managers started hitting on me.  Sexual harassment was an unknown behavior then, it was just something you put up with, kind of like a creepy old Uncle who your family insists you “have” to give a hug to, even though you know it’s lasting way too long and way too tight.  After professing his undying love for me, in the form of a three-page letter to a then-sixteen-year-old me, I quickly realized that this Manager wasn’t going to stop trying.  Having an on and off boyfriend didn’t help either, so I hired a senior football jock from my high school to pose as my boyfriend, which worked for a while.  After a couple months the jock kept showing up to my work, even though I had already let him go as my pretend boyfriend.  To make a long story short, I lost one 30-year-old stalker but gained a new one.  At least the jock was of decent age.  I had no choice but to quit this job for two reasons now…

– Dental Assistant – did that for one day, once I had to place my hand into a patient’s mouth, it was all over for me.  Does not require much explanation.

– Sales Associate at Lechter’s Housewares in the mall – remember that store?  I left due to heavy recruiting from my next job, see below. And a promise of a fifty cent raise!

– Sales Associate at Robinsons-May – was a fun job, loved talking to all the customers, not sure why I left…  Oh yes, I did more talking than selling.  I had the lowest sales of pots and pans in the whole department, but I gained many friends and various kitchen appliances.

– Front Desk Receptionist at YMCA – loved having this job, and letting people in that haven’t paid for a membership in years, great feeling until I realized that YMCA is a non-profit Christian organization…  But what non-profit Christian organization charges people $50 per month to work out in an old, mold infested basement without air conditioning?  I credit myself with the new electronic system that YMCA geeks installed after an old guy got hurt on my shift.  Turned out he lied about being a member of the YMCA, and didn’t really forget his card at home.  Really, I had no idea!

– Assistant Chef for a Catering company – worked there for three months, just because I love cooking and thought I can have a career in it.  The company went under due to Health Department finding out they consistently cross-contaminated work stations, left raw meat soaking in sinks overnight, used the same cutting boards for chicken, meat and vegetarian meals!!!  How do you think they found out?

– Various stints as a receptionist which I sucked at.  Who the hell can remember a name like: Kramer, Smetzel, Spaulding and Steinberg?  Not only remember it but be able to recite it every single time the phone rings?  So what if I a few times throughout the day instead I answered the phone like this: “Good Morning, thank you for calling Seinfeld, Sandler, Stiller and Kaufman.  How can I help you?”  When the President of the company came by to find out why he hasn’t had any calls, I was just as shocked as he was since all I kept getting were hang ups.  It probably didn’t help my case when I chatted up every person that called.  I just wanted to understand better why they were suing McDonald’s…  It must be frustrating to have an idiot for a child that drinks an accidentally left bottle of liquid bleach on the table.  Even more frustrating is to be that Mother who raised the idiot that doesn’t stop after one gulp and realize that it tastes like crap…

 

My point of listing all the mindless jobs that I’ve done over the years is this; do we ever truly know what we want to do for the rest of our lives?  I realize that there are some of us who, from the time they are five years old know what they want to do when they grow up, and sure enough end up doing it.  There are also those of us that have some kind of an inkling about what interests us, and in what direction we might go.  But what about those like myself who even at thirty-five-years-old still don’t have that “one thing” that we want to do?  Are we supposed to stick to just one thing and continue doing it, even if we are not that interested in it, however society telling us that we can’t jump from one thing to another, and need to pick just one job or field and concentrate on it…

What if I am interested in everything?

The one constant has always been writing for me.  I have always loved to write, and imagine will continue to do so until I am no longer able.  Then, I will recruit and pay some kid to do it for me.  Besides writing, I have tried so many different things and professions and feel better knowing that they are not for me after having done them.  I don’t understand how kids in their freshman year of college are supposed to pick their Major and stick to it having known absolutely nothing about it!  How can you know for sure that you want to be a Dentist when you’ve never stuck your hand into another person’s mouth and fixed a tooth?  How can anyone know for a fact what they want to do for the rest of their lives having never tried it?  Its only my opinion that parents throw away thousands of dollars on children’s college education before letting them “test-drive” their chosen profession.

Every high school graduate should take a couple months to go work in the field that they are interested in, before starting college in the fall.  I guarantee that half of those kids are going to change their minds, but better right then instead of four years down the road.  Maybe I got it all wrong, but somehow it makes a lot of sense to me…  Again, just my opinion…

A Russian Passover…

How do you prepare for Passover when the rest of the world doesn’t stop to observe it?  When the rest of the world takes a break for Christian holidays, and people have time to cook and prepare for a religious celebration, do they realize how much it sucks to be a Jew, a Muslim or anything other than a Christian?  We don’t get a day off for Passover or any other religious holiday for that matter!  Today is just like any other Monday to the rest of the world, and it doesn’t pause just for the Jews to celebrate Pesach.  We don’t get the luxury of having the day off school or work to enjoy the day preparing for out sacred event.  Instead, the Jews have to run around like chickens with their heads cut off for weeks prior to our holidays, making meals days in advance just so we can sit down for a couple hours after work, and squeeze in some Judaism into our children’s lives!

How is that fair?  Unless you are an Atheist or are of Christian faith, you pray that each year your religious holiday happens to fall on the same day as the Christian one, just so you don’t have to take the kids out of school and miss work.

For those of us that happen to be former Soviet Jews, this whole religious observance is even harder.  Not only do I not know what to do for Jewish holidays, but when I try to educate my children I am usually faced with questions that I have no answers to.  My husband doesn’t help either, since he slept through most of Hebrew school only to shrug his shoulders when I ask what in the world is a ‘Charoset’ and what I am supposed to do with it…  When you are raised in an environment like the former U.S.S.R., you don’t have many choices as a Jew.  You don’t tell anyone you are a Jew, you don’t go to the Synagogue, you have no Jewish education at all.  I remember wearing a tiny star of David pendant to school one day, under my uniform.  It must have come out of my shirt, because one of the kids noticed it and ran to tell the teacher.  Next thing I know, my Mother is called to come to the school, and given a long lecture on how “pendants like those” are not allowed on school grounds.  Later she told me that I was very lucky they didn’t take it away, and contact the Police.

The only thing I remember from those days is my Father carrying home a huge box of Matzah wrapped in newspaper, which he got from the only Synagogue in Riga.  You couldn’t even call it a Synagogue, it was a tiny hut hidden behind the old buildings.  Now that I think about it, hiding Matzah in newspaper wasn’t the smartest way to transport it since all the other Jews were doing the same, exact thing…

I don’t know a single Russian Jew that knows everything about the observance of religious holidays.  Sure we know some things, but they are bits and pieces here and there.  American Jews don’t know how lucky they are to be able to pray freely, and observe holidays without the Police following them home after the service.  But yet they still complain about everything.  No wonder that the Israelis don’t find Russian Jews to be so-called ‘real’ Jews.  They have such animosity towards the Russians, whether its here in the U.S. or in Israel.

Does lack of knowledge about your religion and customs make you less of a Jew?  That’s a question that has been asked for generations!  In my opinion, just because I don’t know the proper way of celebrating Pesach or other religious holidays does not mean I am not Jewish.  I am still a good person, who insists on teaching my kids the values of being Jewish, the right way to behave, and right from wrong.  I keep wanting to join a religious congregation, but we don’t fit in with any of them.  We don’t belong with the Conservatives, definitely out of our league, not to mention I would never be able to get  my husband in there.  We don’t quite fit in with the Reformed ones either.  To quote my son during one of our visits to the Temple, “Mom, why aren’t there any kids like me in here?”  I tried asking him what he meant by that, but he couldn’t seem to explain.  Only that he felt out of place…

Its true that Soviet Jewry are very different from all the others, and there is nothing we can do about it, but to give our kids a better opportunity to learn about their culture than the one we had.  However, our lack of knowledge doesn’t make us any different from the Israeli Jews or any less Jewish.  Maybe my Passover won’t have all the ingredients, I’m sure we will leave something out, and it will have more Vodka than Manischewitz, but it will still be an experience my kids won’t forget.  In the end that’s all that really matters.

To Be or Not to Be, Rich…

Please tell me how can anyone get ahead in this world, financially that is?  I should rephrase: how can an average person with children get ahead in this world? I sit here pondering that question while staring at the Orthodontic Invoice for my fifth-grader’s teeth!  Three Orthodontic consultations later, and I am left facing a very grim truth; having to pocket out $5,000 worth of braces.  Yes, I know I am not the only parent out there having to face this outrageous cost.  But here is my question to all of you out there: How the hell do you do it? Just when I think we are doing well, getting ahead, saving for our future, retirement, and our children’s college education, and when I say college education I am talking about Saddleback Junior College down the street… boom, something happens and I am writing checks…  Forget my son’s Bar-Mitzvah money in two years, I am about to start asking for donations for his braces!  Do I start pulling money out of their college funds just to pay for braces?  Do I send the 11-year-old to work, make him earn his braces?  That doesn’t sound like a bad idea to me… Problem with that is that I am the weak parent, I am a softy when I see their cute, sad little faces, guilt sets in and I  end up giving in.  Most likely I will be the one sitting at the drive-through in McDonald’s window asking if you want fries with that burger, because my kid was too tired to go to work…  Or maybe I could start selling their Bakugans, DSI’s, PSP’s, Ipods, and other mindless entertainment toys on Ebay…  Can you pawn children on Ebay, and come back for them when the braces are paid off?  No?  That’s too bad. In all seriousness, how do you parents do it?  Between all the usual expenses, extra-curricular activities, sports, various lessons, memberships to the Temple, Hebrew school, teacher gifts, donations to the school every other month, class trips and parties, not to mention putting food and clothes on their backs, how the hell are people supposed to just LIVE? Yes, I know America runs on Loans, but isn’t there something wrong with that?  Europeans know the true way to live, without all the tangible possessions, credit cards and loans that they can’t afford to pay back, but its virtually impossible to implement that thinking into our society.  How can an average parent strive to live on bare minimum, teach the kids that physical possessions are not important in life while the neighbor’s kid is getting showered with a boatload of unnecessary garbage called toys?  We all try, but usually are overcome with guilt, and I speak for myself here, give in and buy yet another Power Ranger or some other piece of crap… As I go looking for answers, which really means yelling at my insurance company for not covering more on the cost of braces, I would love to hear from my readers on how you balance it all out!