Sunday, April 29, 2012

Jesus Sent Me a Chain Letter

This came in the mail last week:

Naturally, I was wary of opening it. I considered tossing it out with the rest of the junk mail, but how could I resist opening such a dramatic envelope? Inside, I found all kinds of goodies:

A sign from the Lord about my future? Well, heck! I want to know what it is! This is like being mailed a fortune cookie, except probably junk mail doesn't taste very good. Then again, fortune cookies don't either.

I spent awhile trying to figure out exactly what the purpose of this mailing was, & as far as I could tell, it was about a prayer rug. Now, I don't know what a prayer rug is, but it sure seemed to helped Y.G. in Maryland in, like, 1973, based on this photo. Who needs Publishers Clearing House when you can just... have a prayer rug?!

I'm down for just about anything that promises to net me $46k, so I read on. The next page didn't explain much, but I started to put the pieces together. Basically, I got a chain letter from a church, but don't worry, it's not the "Death will befall you" kind. In fact, it's very upfront about the benefits: "SOMETHING GOOD IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN."
 

It reads, "Please do not open this prophecy until after you have placed your prayer page ... & the prayer rug back in the mail before sunset tomorrow or the next day." I wonder why the sunset part matters...? But more importantly, I now know that I am just one page away from my very own prayer rug!

Yeah, I didn't read the next page.

I'M SO CLOSE TO MY PRAYER RUG.


So I broke the seal, & there it was.

Well, this just got creepier. What exactly am I supposed to do with this? What was I expecting a prayer rug to look like? Of course it's creepy.

"Soaked with the power of prayer," huh? Yesterday I accidentally soaked a birthday card to a friend when I spilled a Pabst Blue Ribbon on it, & it was totally destroyed. Either prayer is not very wet or my prayer rug is indestructible.

I considered sending the prayer rug back, as Saint Matthew's Churches requests. I mean, why not?

And then I remembered why not: I don't want this church preying (praying? No pun intended!) on poor people who might actual fall for some chain mail "prayer rug." So, you know, I'm blogging about it instead. That's basically the same as mailing it back, right? I'm paying it forward!

*IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: You guys know I'm Jewish, but I sincerely hope this post doesn't in any way offend my Christian readers. I have nothing but respect for people of other faiths & of no faith. Please recognize that poking fun at this weird chain letter is not the same as poking fun at the things you believe in. I am not freaked out by or disdainful of your religion - just by this prayer rug.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

G-L-A-M-O-R... Eh, Forget It

(Disclaimer: This is not a beauty post, I swear. Bear with me - even you, dude readers.)

I get Birchbox & MyGlam every month, & I love them mostly because I'm a fariyl lazy individual. I'm lazy in that I don't like shopping for beauty products, & I've never gone to Sephora to ask for a makeover, & I prefer reading funny lifestyle blogs to ones about nail polish & moisturizers. I wore the same eyeliner (not the same pencil, just the same brand) from 8th grade through my sophomore year of college, & my overall beauty routine is still largely the same as it was during those formative years. Because I am lazy.

All that to say that I really like it when Birchbox & MyGlam send me stuff every month that I'd never find on my own. It's how I've discovered lots of great new products - but this post isn't about those great new products. This post is about how sometimes, beauty-by-mail companies get it wrong. Way wrong.

Like when Birchbox sent me these:


Yeah, that is stick-on eyeliner. The little bubble up in the corner says "Lasts up to 16 hours," which really slays me, because of course they do, they're stickers. That's like if, when you went to the pediatrician as a kid & the doc handed you a Power Rangers sticker at the end for being good, he also added, "This sticker will last up to 16 hours, little Johnny!" because, hey, that's how stickers work. They're sticky.

Bur that gal on the cover of the package looks pretty glamorous, & hey, I might like to look glamorous, too, so let's give these a go!

Uhhh, nevermind.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Greatest Invention You've Never Heard Of

I have a decent memory. 

Sometimes. Like, for some things. 

OK, in truth, my memory sucks. My friends & family often have to fill in the blanks for me or put events in chronological order for me. I have an uncanny ability to remember the specific, unimportant details of particular moments that have no real significance, but when it comes to the basics of my own life, I'm already 75. I cannot remember the last time I spoke to my dead ex-boyfriend or the bands I saw live in college or even what cities I visited while in Israel in February. 

A few years back, my friend Rachel & I invented something that will surely revolutionize the way the world works. Every once in awhile, I get really excited when I think about the fact that perhaps someday, this invention could actually, you know, be invented - by someone a lot smarter than me. That smart person can have all the credit, if he or she can really make it happen. I don't need the royalties; I just need my invention to actually exist someday.  

Bet you're intrigued, huh? Let me tell you more. Come closer! Too close, too close.

OK. You know how, if you don't know the answer to something, you can just Google it? And if you have a smartphone, how you can just Google it on the spot, while you stand there? You can be like, "Oh, that actresses face looks so familiar! Hey, IMDB, how do I know that actress's face?" & in just a few seconds, IMDB will tell you that actress's name is Riki Lindhome, & you know her face because she was on "Gilmore Girls" a really long time ago. Or whatever. That's just an example; you don't have to actually give a shit about Riki Lindhome to care about my invention.

You know what would be even more amazing than being able to comb the Internet's collective knowledge? Being able to comb your own brain for things you know or once knew to play upon your existing knowledge in those forgetful moments.

I know. You're totally blown away. I am, too. BUT THINK ABOUT IT. You see someone's face & know you've him somewhere, but you have no idea how. You scan his features & think about a few key search terms, like, "college?" or "friend hooked up with him?" & your brain does its thang, retrieving old info to let you know that you actually only know that guy because he used to be the regular barista at that coffee shop you stopped going to awhile back. 

It's for more than just facial recognition, though. Have a tune stuck in your head but no lyrics to go with it? Hum that tune to your own brain and it'll Shazaam your knowledge base, reminding you that it's a song you once sang at your high school Pops concert in 2001. Can't find your keys? Pull up a brain map back to the place you were when you last had them.

Rachel & I are geniuses, we know. We've named our invention Google BodyTop, a play on the existing Google Desktop, which scans your computer's desktop for documents & emails & such. Google BodyTop is the perfect computerized mental accessory for the forgetful among us, guaranteed to help you remember everything from historical dates to grammatical rules to the plot of "Pride & Prejudice" - and beyond.

Someday, guys. Someday. 

Wait, what were we talking about again...?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Reunited & it Feels So...

In every young adult's life, there is one highly dreaded-slash-anticipated moment. For me, the day has finally arrived: I've been invited to my 10-year high school reunion.

People seem to have really strong feelings about reunions. It's all "NO WAY AM I GOING TO THAT" or "I WOULDN'T MISS THAT FOR THE WORLD." I seem to be unusual in that I don't have particularly strong feelings either way, except to say that I think Facebook has, to a large extent, ruined high school reunions: When we can see with a few clicks exactly what our old classmates are up to, it diminishes that nosy urge to see them in person to find out for ourselves how they've fared since graduation. Because most people put their best faces forward on Facebook,it's likely that we're getting a seriously warped view of our former peers' adult lives, but we rarely take that into account when we playing the game of comparing their lives to our own. This means we may be scared off from attending, worried that our lives won't stack up against former friends' impressive achievements - when really, they may be feeling the same way about us.

You know what else ruins high school reunions? Movies about high school reunions. Romy & Michelle & Zack & Miri have set the bar too high in terms of reunion expectations. And have you seen "American Reunion"? They're all wearing suits & sporting nametags & drinking out of punchbowls, when I'm pretty sure my own reunion is going to be held at a townie bar, where I'd likely see 60% of my graduating class on a Saturday night in my hometown anyway. If I felt like my reunion was going to be an opportunity to look really good & essentially attend some adult prom, I might be more excited about going. Any excuse to make up for how I looked at my actual prom(s):
OK, that was just an excuse to show you funny prom photos. I'm so, so, so glad reunions are not adult proms because clearly girlfriend can't be trusted with ballgowns & updos. And what is that scarf?

What I'm trying to say is this: I liked high school. No, really, I did. I know a lot of people say high school was, like, the worst experience of their life & they never want to see any of those people ever again thankyouverymuch. I don't really feel that way. Was I sort of lame in high school? Yeah, sure, but I was 16 - & weren't we all kind of lame then? When it comes down to it, I was a happy kid who performed in show choir & school musicals, who spent four years on student council, who was elected to the class executive board because I was friendly & made an effort to get to know everyone, not because I was really popular & awesome. I edited our school paper. I spoke at my high school commencement ceremony. I never drank or did drugs or had sex or was friends with people who did. Teachers liked me, my classmates liked me, & in general, I was a pretty middle-of-the-road kid. I wasn't cool, & I wasn't a loser; I was just average, somewhere in between, with stringy hair & a prom dress that looked like it was made out of wrapping paper.

In so many ways, I'm still that middle-of-the-road girl. I'm not doing big, huge things, but neither am I living in a rat-ridden apartment & working at a gas station. I moved out of my hometown, sure, but it's not like I'm leading some glamorous, fancy life; I shop at BJ's & Target, & I spend about 50% of every day in leggings. I also haven't gone the uber-domestic route (yet): I'm not married, I haven't popped out any kids, & I don't own a house or a dog. I have a good job, a good boyfriend, a good life. I wouldn't be embarrassed to tell anyone about my last 10 years, except maybe for a year or two when I was sort of a basketcase, but, hey, no one's asking me to bring a timeline to this thing. I'm gonna cut those anecdotes out of my answers to the inevitable repeats of "So what have you been up to?" Overall, these 10 years have been good ones.

All this to say that I think I'm going to go to my high school reunion, as long as I can make the timing work for me (because, really, who holds a high school reunion in August?). I'm going to talk a few snarky old friends like @NankOfAmerica, @KyleARoss, & @MissMarisaLee into coming with me, & when it gets to be too small-town to bear,* we're going to get the hell out of there & drink our Yuenglings in peace while we discuss how relieved we are to be adults.

And just because I love you, here you go:

PS: To my knowledge, 70% of the people in this photo are now married, most with kids; I am apparently a late bloomer. Regardless, I'm rockin' quite the bird's nest in this photo. Also, HOT PINKKKK. 2001, I don't even know you. Except for those skinny arms, which I'd like back, please & thank you.

*God, someone I went to high school with is going to read this & decide I'm an asshole in advance of the reunion. I may be shooting myself in the foot here.I LIKE ALL OF YOU OR ELSE I WOULDN'T BE COMING. Seriously.

Friday, April 13, 2012

I Spy a Discrepancy

It seems we disagree on the meaning of "one way."

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Positively Ageless: A Tribute to my Grandmother

My grandma died on Tuesday after a brave go-round with a rare form of lung cancer. She was 82 years old & still full of spunk, even at the end.

I keep telling myself that for a woman as on-the-go as she was, it must've been agonizing to be confined to a hospital bed, at the mercy of others for everything from using the restroom to brushing her teeth to filling a glass of water. It's better, then, that she went out near the top of her game, only a few months into what could very well have become a long, drawn-out battle. We all expected her to pull through this challenge, so it still feels freshly shocking that she's truly gone - but if the options were death or a loss of her dignity, I know she would've chosen the former.

I flew home on Wednesday to be with my family at my grandma's home in Lima, Ohio. The funeral was held this morning, with a burial at the Jewish section of the local cemetery, where her husband & parents are all laid to rest. It was a moving, meaningful ceremony, conducted by her favorite rabbi & attended by more than 50 of her friends & family members, a tribute to the full & busy life she led.

I had the honor of delivering one of four eulogies for my grandmother, joined at the podium by my two younger cousins. Though it took me nearly 48 hours to figure out how to appropriately pay tribute to the most amazing woman I know, I found that once I discovered the words, the delivery was the easy part. The mourners in attendance laughed as much as they cried; together, we celebrated the beautiful, long life of a woman who loved nothing more than being alive.

The full text of my eulogy is below, & I hope it gives you a sense of the kind of woman my grandmother was. To say she will be missed is an understatement; to say she will continue to be loved is even more of one.

I spent the last 48 hours agonizing over what to say in a eulogy for my grandmother. What could I possibly say? How could I narrow it down? Last night, I found inspiration in an unexpected place. As I rummaged through my her vanity for a nail file, I came across a drawer full of moisturizer called "Positively Ageless." Simple as it was, I was struck by it because I realized that that was exactly the phrase I was looking for to describe my grandmother: "Positively ageless."

I distinctly remember being nine years old and at the Ohio State Fair with my grandparents, who let me stop to play one of those guessing games, where you get a prize if the fair employee guesses your age incorrectly. The guy guessed my grandma's age at 51; she was 64. But it wasn't just her youthful looks that made her ageless; it was also her outlook & her active lifestyle. My grandma wasn't one for naps or sleeping in; to her, life was worth waking up early for, & she always said, "I'll sleep when I'm dead." When other grandmas were baking comfort foods like chocolate chip cookies, mine was making things that were a little bit more unconventional, like soy chili and lemon sorbet. When other grandmas were curled up in front of fireplaces knitting, mine was walking miles a day, traveling all 50 states & across the world, to Japan & Greece & Israel & beyond. When other grandmas were slow-paced & laid-back, mine was living her life full steam ahead.

My grandma was a character in the very best kind of way. She was a fantastic, talented, creative painter, and her basement was filled with watercolors and supplies and dozens of works of art in progress. She was a bit of a neat freak, & whenever she came to visit my mom & me, she'd clean our home so well that we'd be unable to find anything for weeks after she left. She was thoughtful: For more than a decade, she sent me Milk ads torn out of all her magazines for my ever-growing collection, and she wrote me a check at every holiday, even Halloween. She went by her middle name, like me, but didn’t think it was a problem, like I do; when I was a teenager, she accompanied me to the DMV to argue with them when they refused to put my middle name on my driver’s license – and, of course, she convinced them to change their minds. A proud liberal, my grandma campaigned for John Kerry & Barack Obama, even in conservative little Lima, & she regularly sent letters of political protest to her Republican Congressman. She was on the board of the Friends of Lima Public Library & of Temple Israel Shaare Zedek, &between those & her other commitments, it sometimes seemed like she knew everyone in town. She was funny, too, whether intentionally or not, & one of my favorite memories is of the time I asked her for a plain bagel, & she told me, “Oh, I have something similar. It’s called an everything bagel. You just brush the stuff off," which I pointed out to her was the exact opposite of a plain bagel. Headstrong, whip-smart, & more than a little stubborn, my grandma was the matriarch of our little family - but she was also our peacekeeper, our cheerleader, & our friend.

Cliche though it may be, I will always remember my grandmother as someone who truly lived her life to the fullest. This is a common thing for people to say about their loved ones, but in this case, it couldn’t be more true: My grandma was one of the most incredible people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, much less of being related to, & we are all better off for having known her. She was an active participant in her own life, & she refused to let age or even illness affect her relentless optimism - something we could all take a lesson from. Instead of sitting back and letting time pass her by, she seized – and created – opportunities for learning and adventure.

Cancer may have caused my grandmother’s death, but it certainly didn’t take her life. She was, in a phrase, "positively ageless."

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Surprise, Surprise: I'm All Atwitter

My friend/colleague/former boss emailed me this infographic last week with the subject line "Because I love you."


NOT EMBARRASSING AT ALL.

Needless to say, I am less than twitterpated with these stats, which make it looks like all I ever do is troll Twitter the whole day long.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go tweet about this.

Monday, April 2, 2012

My Worst Shopping-Alone Nightmare Come True

We've already established that I like to do things alone: movies, dining, shopping. Ah, yes, shopping.

One of my favorite aspects of shopping alone is that I'm not beholden to anyone else's time, taste, or boredom level, so I can come & go from stores & departments as I please, at my own leisure. I (mostly) trust my opinion enough to buy clothes without second opinions, & if I'm really unsure, that's what return policies are for. In summary, I find shopping to be a relaxing solo activity.

BUT. I have a fear, a long-standing worry that I will someday get stuck in an article of clothing I can't get out of without assistance - assistance I won't have, by virtue of shopping alone.

You know where this is going. On Friday, my fear manifested itself into a real-life version of this hypothetical nightmare. I was at Kohl's trying on an Elle dress that I really loved. It zipped up easily but was ultimately too tight in the chest (story of my life); still, I liked it so much that I took a photo to send to my friend Sammi to lament the fact that I had to pass it up.

Almost immediately after taking this photo, I realized I was stuck in the dress. Like... STUCK. Really stuck - & feeling more claustrophobic by the second. What's more, I was clothed inappropriately for public appearance, as the dress was A) too tight, & B) half unzipped, which meant I couldn't go in search of a store employee to assist me. (The word "assist" is not typically synonymous with "disrobe," but it is here.)

It took three people to get me out of that dress. The first was a fellow female shopper who took pity on me (not before laughing at me) & tried her damnedest on that zipper before eventually giving up to return to browsing the sale rack. The second was a kind guy who was waiting outside the dressing room for his wife & offered to go in search of a store employee who could help me. And the third was a salesgirl he found, who entered the dressing room, took one look at me, & sighed, "Oh, THAT dress. Someone got stuck in it last week, too."

While I suppose I'm relieved that my dressing room disaster was the result of a faulty dress rather than a faulty body, I can't help but worry for all the other unsuspecting women who will try on this same frock, oblivious to the high potential for being held captive by its beauty. Literally.

Here's the best part: When the salesgirl finally got me unzipped, I asked if I needed to do anything with the broken dress - take it to the customer service desk or whatever. "Oh, no," she responded. "It's not broken. I'll go hang it back up now."

BUYER BEWARE. This dress really wants you to be in it.
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