Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cleaning up

I know you're going to think this is a religious or prudish thing, but really, it's not. It's about cursing.

I graduated from college when I was twenty years old, and in addition to my degree, I came home with a mouth like a truck driver. Or a sailor, take your pick. It was eff this and eff that and everything was effing whatever etc. You get the idea. I was twenty. I was an idiot. I never cursed in front of my parents, of course. It wasn't so much their disapproval that I feared; it was more that they are classy, religious people and I would be embarrassed to curse in front of them.

I was on the phone once with a girl who lived in my dorm and my Mom wasn't home, so I let it fly. Effing this, effing that, s-word, douchebag, etc. We spoke for about an hour. Well, um, my Mom was home. She was in the basement. But she heard. She came into the kitchen after I hung up and looked at me. Just a look. But that was enough.

So basically, I kicked the habit. Oh sure, if I dropped an anvil on my foot, believe me, I wouldn't say "goodness gracious." I do believe that swearing has its place, but only in extreme situations. Having it be a part of everyday speech is just coarse. Actually, if you never curse, when you do let one fly, it has even more of an impact.

I wonder if people who routinely swear realize how they sound to the rest of us. It downgrades the message behind the language. For example, I really like this blog, for the most part. She's a good writer and she's got something to say. But it would be a gazillion times better if she laid off all the foul language.

And now that I'm firmly on the other side of the big four-oh, I can say that it's also juvenile. Seriously. Grow up.

I remember when the Dennis Miller Show used to be on cable. I love Dennis Miller; he's witty and smart, but the show was just unwatchable after a while. Every third word was an f-bomb. I enjoy him so much more now that he's on the radio and needs to play it clean.

I have a friend who is an attorney who routinely posts in filthy language on Facebook all the time. I just don't get it.

I don't know, am I being a prude? I don't think so. I just find routine cursing detracting and sort of lame.

Seven Frum Dwarfs

This was really cute. Hat tip to SR.

Free Aveeno

Free Aveeno shampoo and conditioner samples

New Favorite Artist

My new favorite artist is Anders Holst. The more I hear of his music, the more I like it. He has a smooth, soulful voice that draws you in. Check him out.

Fantasy

Dress I would totally wear if I were thin (sigh) and never had to worry about tznius (sigh, sigh): here. So purty.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Free Bob Dylan mp3, March 30th only

Free download of Beyond Here Lies Nothin' from Bob Dylan's new album Together Through Life. This download is only available for free today, March 30th, only at BobDylan.com.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Back to the Rug

Getting married again to your ex-spouse poses lots of interesting halachic situations. For example, there are lots of leniencies in place in terms of when you get married, how you can get married, etc. We are jumping through lots of halachic hoops together with our wonderful out-of-town Rav, who researches, explains and discusses everything to us. Basically, most anything that is simply custom and not halacha, if it interferes with getting married, is set aside.

So after we told our Rav that we were engaged, he threw me an halachic curve ball. Here's the story: when we got divorced, I asked my Rav for a heter to uncover my hair. I said it would be hard to date again wearing a sheitel, and that, as natural as my sheitels looked, it would put some people off. The issue with uncovering your hair when you get divorced is that once you start doing a mitzvah, you need to keep doing it. If you stop it, you need a good reason. So my Rav gave me my heter, based on a teshuvah from Rav Moshe. My hair has been uncovered since the day I received my get.

Apparently, that heter has expired. Since the reason for the heter has gone away (I'm not dating anymore) I need to start covering my hair again. Even before I get married.

Gulp.

I was not happy with this at all. Very unhappy. In my book, married women cover their hair. Unmarried women do not. Even though I am engaged, my halachic status has not changed at all. Why do I need to cover it now, before the wedding?

I guess this is where we separate the men from the boys, so to speak. There comes a point in every frum person's life, I think, when you need to follow a halacha that feels wrong but is right. What my Rav said about the heter being rescinded makes perfect legal sense, but emotionally, I feel very strange about it.

But I'm doing it. Because this is Orthodox Judaism. That's why they call halacha Jewish Law. If it were all about the way we felt, they'd call it Feel-Good-Ritual-Meaningful-Stuff. I'm doing it, but I'm not liking it. But I understand it. And even if I hate the idea, I'm committed to the system that's behind it.

Sometimes doing the right thing sucks.

Freebies Abound

Hey, it's a tough economy. You may mock my cheapness, but you can't argue with free.

Foolproof way to save money on Pesach shopping and eat healthier

Every year, I wind up with some stupid KLP (Kosher La'Pesach) ingredients. For example, ginger. Given that I use ginger about, oh I don't know, maybe 3 times during the year, what possessed me to buy KLP ginger last year?

This year, money is a little scarce. While I've got enough consultant work to keep me from dipping into my savings, I don't have a regular gig, and not having a permanent job with a regular cash flow has made me tighten the purse strings a little. I will not buy stupid things for Pesach. I will not.

So I came up with a mostly foolproof system. When I go Pesach shopping and I reach for an item to put into my cart, I ask myself the following question:

Can I happily get through Pesach, feeding myself and my guests, without this?
If the answer is yes, the item goes back on the shelf. Putting every item to this test has had me putting back the KLP fake mustard, KLP wasabi sauce, KLP tomato paste, KLP black cherry soda, KLP mayonaisse, KLP egg noodles, KLP raisins, etc. I even decided to go without wearing lipstick for 8 days...what's the big deal?

At this point, I have a menu that I have used year after year (when I was home and married), with just a little occasional variation. The menu works really well. A few years ago, I decided that living on red meat, potatoes and eggs for a week was completely unhealthy, so I scoured some cookbooks and websites for healthy, adaptable KLP recipes. I made some simple changes. I serve a ton of fish, chicken and salad over Pesach. To avoid boredom, I rotate six different types of salad recipes. I think that unless you don't eat gebrukts on Pesach, cooking and baking with potato starch is icky and weird. I roast a ton of vegetables as side dishes for every meal. I use those KLP "egg beaters" whenever I can...they are composed mostly of egg whites and have almost no cholesterol. You get the idea.

If you celebrate Pesach at home every year, see if you can sit down and put together one of these menus for yourself before you go to the store and drop a few hundred. It will help you with your shopping and meal planning. And see if you can make at least a third of your meals free of any red meat. It's so bad for you. Serve salad at EVERY meal.

And don't buy KLP ginger.

Dilemma

So I'm having 25 people tops at my wedding. Tops. It is the world's smallest wedding in the history of frum weddings. Everyone, EVERYONE invited is frum. Probably about 60% family. The guest list includes at least two PDF (Pretty Darn Frum) Rabbis, including my Rav. And the dilemma is:

Do I invite my good friend Shmuel? Shmuel's gay, but that's not the problem. The problem will be if he insists on bringing his boyfriend. His non-Jewish, slightly annoying boyfriend. Hmm.

Not even sure if I want to open that can of worms, but it's looking unavoidable. Shmuel's been a great friend to me throughout my divorce. We've known each other for fifteen years. He is an anomaly. He wears his yarmulka everywhere, keeps kosher, Shabbos, etc. (though he's told me that since coming out, he's lowered his kashrut standards a bit). We have a fabulous relationship, but he's got this boyfriend. Not sure how this will all work. Will he insist on bringing him? Will I feel guilted into saying yes to the bf? Will I say no to the bf and he'll understand? Will I say no to the bf and alienate him?

Here's how I generally deal with Shmuel's gayness: I've just made up my mind that it has nothing to do with me. And it doesn't. I don't need to decide if Shmuel is going to be gay; I only need to decide if I want him in my life or not. And I do. I've gone out with Shmuel and his bf, and it's totally comfortable and fun. But do I want his bf at my tiny, religiously-infused wedding? I decidedly do not. But what do I do?

Let me just say right now that while I welcome thoughtful comments, do not call me a bigot or a homophobe. I'm not. If I were, Shmuel would not be in my life. Understand that I run my life according to Torah principles and my wedding is an important, meaningful spiritual event. I grapple with this because I care about Shmuel, not because I hate who he is. So none of that crap please.

Lubab No More, No More

Another great blog has bitten the dust. Lubab No More has quietly shut its doors. You can encourage the proprietor to guest-post here on TRT by writing him here. LNM is one of those atheist bloggers with whom I usually disagree, but I just can't help liking. God bless'm. ;)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

NJGs Calendar?

Absolutely none of these dudes is our Nice Jewish Guy (he's way cuter).

Swagbucks

Here's a pretty cool program that I just discovered: Swagbucks. It's free to join, and pretty easy (and actually a little fun) to earn points. The points are redeemable for lots of great things including gift cards and airline miles. And the points-to-rewards ratios are actually some of the best I've seen out there (and I do a whole bunch of these type of programs). For example, a mere 45 Swag Points earns you a $5 Amazon gift card. That a 9 to 1 points to dollar ratio...pretty cool.

You get three points for signing up and another two on your first search (they use the Google and Ask.com engines, so their search is good). If you sign up through this link, I'll earn three Swag Bucks as well (thanks). Another nice thing about this program is that they don't collect a lot of information from you.

Try it.

Ok

Thanks for all of your Mazel Tovs, congratulations and kudos. I'm thinking that I'll keep the TRT doors open for now and let Nice Jewish Guy pick up on writing about relationship stuff. His blog was great, and it's a shame it had to go private. In that same spirit, I've actually removed a few of my more personal posts.

Even though I won't be writing about the good stuff, I'll try to keep you entertained.

-WG

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Endgame

Getting engaged is weird.

The first time I got engaged to....

Wait, I can't call him The Ex anymore. Ok. Gonna try out a few aliases and see which one I like the best.

The first time I got engaged to Sam (so not his name), I was floating along on a cloud with my bejeweled hand in front of me. I was entirely focused on the wedding, as opposed to the marriage. That girl doesn't exist any more.

What surprises me most about our engagement is the big deal that people are making about it. When it was announced in shul, our friends whooped, screamed, yelled, started singing, formed circles, picked us up on chairs, etc. We did not expect this. We have had offers of Shabbos kallahs, sheva brachos, ufrufs, parties, bridal showers etc. We've declined them all. We had all these things in Version 1.0. We are now in our forties. We're a little exhausted by life. We totally look forward to spending our lives together, but we don't see what the big deal is. Really. Honestly, I'm flattered at all the attention, but I just want to return to being Neil's (so not his name) wife. No need for so much fuss.

We are now struggling to pull together a tiny wedding. Apparently we need a chuppah, a minyan including two witnesses who are not related to us or each other, and a seudah (meal) afterwards. We can even use the same ring, as long as I gift it back to Robbie (so not his name) before. Of course, we can't have 10 men at my wedding without also having their wives, so now we are looking at about 20-25 people. Apparently, there are people willing to fly in from out-of-town for this (which I'm finding hard to believe) and there are a few people, mostly cousins, who would be very insulted if they are not there, so it might actually stretch to 30. This is turning into A Production.

The good news is that because we are re-marrying, we can get married during sefirah if we want to, which opens up many more options. So right now we are trying to decide on a venue and really hoping to keep this under $2,000. Originally I had hoped for $500, but that was a pipedream. Still a major improvement over our first wedding, which cost more like $60,000.

Jason (so not his name) is being amazing. It's like marrying a mature, thoughtful, grown up, loving version of my first husband. And I do think it's real, because most times, I can see the effort behind his behavior.

The week before he proposed, I was a basket case of indecision. Was throwing up a lot, a nervous wreck, screwing up at work, crying some, not sleeping at all. Once Danny (so not his name) proposed and I said yes, it was like a huge cloud was lifted from me. It was the strangest feeling.

I was in Walmart the other day, buying Rick (so not his name) some groceries for Shabbos, and passing through the produce section, I felt a little funny. What was that weird feeling? A little fluttering in my stomach, a little adrenalin in my brain, a little heightened sense of the outside world. What was this unfamiliar feeling?

Then I figured it out. It was happiness. Yes, faithful readers, WebGirl is happy. Am I thrilled, ecstatic, over the moon? Nah. I'm too old for that. But I am really happy. And I love my fiancé like nobody's business. I am sure about what we are doing. I am marrying a good man. We know that there will be many, many bumps in the road, but we have our seat belts on and we are committed to making our second chance work. And Jonathan (so not his name) is definitely, squarely, firmly in the marriage this time. And we can't wait. And I'm not throwing up anymore.

And while I am ruminating on my Happy Ending, I want to say something to all of you singles and divorcés out there in blogland. I don't want to become one of those annoying people who get engaged and act like they've discovered America and are relationship and hashgacha pratis experts, blah blah blah, but I want to speak to you. You, my fellow frum singles. Never, ever give up. I don't care if you are in your twenties, forties, or sixties. You guys are heroic. HEROIC. Am I making myself clear? Your battles against depression, malaise, loneliness, social issues, economic struggles etc., are nothing short of bravery. Each of you is my hero. Being single sucks, really and truly sucks. But unless you stop trying, I believe in my heart of hearts that there is a Happy Ending waiting for every one of you. If I can leave you with any message, it would be this: 1) never stop thinking that God cares about you. He doesn't always show it. He's funny that way. 2) never let being alone drag you to the bottom of the abyss. If you do happen to take a little dip in the abyss, that's okay. You will find your way out of the abyss. 3) take responsibility for your life and for your choices, especially the bad ones. 4) social realities aren't really reality.

You know those invitations to Jewish weddings that start with this line: "With gratitude to Hashem, Mr. and Mrs. Whatever cordially invite you to..." I am living that line. You cannot imagine the extent of gratitude I feel towards God for bringing me to this place. I hate to get mushy and frummified on you, but honestly, I tear up thinking about where I was at this time last year.

So this is it. So. What do I do next about this blog? Any thoughts? I'm not going to blog about my marriage, because I think that's just wrong. I don't really want to tell Benjy (so not his name) about this blog, because it was something that I did just for me, and it belongs to a different part of my life. I can keep writing about life in general, but would anyone really want to read about that? Would you? I can also start fresh with another blog about other stuff. Or I can just close up shop. Not sure. Input welcome.

Thanks for sticking with me.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Monday, March 2, 2009

Mazel Tov to Come Running

MT to Come Running, proprietor of Dreams of Who, for getting engaged to the Man of her Dreams.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Thanks for the Pop

Here's a shoutout and a thank you to DarthVader, Paul from Chabad (civie not Lubie), JeffW, Aaron, ColdChanie, Lucas, Rena, RichochetRabbit, PeninaPearl, BZ, Rick, BBB, Raizy and Anonymous 1, 2 and 3 for sending me their Coke codes. I lift my free 20 oz. Diet Coke as a testament and toast to your generosity. Keep em coming. I appreciate the kind notes too.

-WG

Heat Wave

Free (legal) mp3 download: Heat Wave Goes right into Itunes.

Free Pantene

Here.