Yogini at Law

The perils of a 30-something Jewish yogini with a lawyer day job...

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Table for One

Well, I decided to take LBF's advice and experiment with cooking "when I was alone." This past Saturday and Sunday, in stark contrast to my previous "Orgy Weekend", I pretty much did nothing -nothing exciting anyway. Two whole consecutive days of hanging out with myself. LBF was working over the weekend, and I had a few invites to do things with some friends, but none of them sounded as appealing to me as just hanging out and being lazy.

Saturday, I did a few loads of laundry. My building has 2 laundry rooms on each floor, and they're pretty nice, but it's not the same as having the washer/dryer in your apt. So laundry is always a bit of a production for me. Then, later on in the evening, I got the idea in my head that I would cook something for dinner. I figured - aha, I'll cook something really spectacular, and then next week I'll surprise LBF by demonstrating my previously hidden culinary prowess.

Well, I didn't make it to the supermarket until around 9:30 PM. I decided to make chicken tenders, something very simple that I had watched my aunt make recently. You take chicken tenders, dip each one in a beaten egg, and then dip it in breadcrumbs, and then cook it in the frying pan until it's browned on each side. Easier said than done! I ended up putting either too much or too little cooking oil in the pan, or I had the heat up too high, and I burned the breadcrumb crust a bit. Now, I like my food well done (except sushi), especially crispy things - the crispier, the better. But with my chicken tender experiment it seemed to go from uncooked to black, with little to no "brown" phase.

Maybe one of my more culinarily inclined readers (that would be just about ALL of you) can help me out here...

Of course, I still enjoyed the finished product...and I made some tater tots to go along with it. Yes, it was a very Weight Watchers-friendly meal - NOT! It was the meal from the "Things Fried in Lots of Oil" Jeopardy category. And lest you think I got creative, when I say that I "made" tater tots, it means that I carefully selected the bag of tater tots in the freezer section of the supermarket, measured out the oil into a frying pan, dumped a bunch of frozen ones into the pain, and flipped them over a few times to ensure even cooking.

Did I mention that I used my blue frying pan, which I bought last year for the sole reason that it matched my kitchen? Only a cooking-challenged person such as me would buy a pan as an accessory! I leave it out on the stove (cleaned, of course) so that you can see the color theme - LOL. I used to have this really fugly puke brown 70s wallpaper in my kitchen, and I had it removed last year and painted with pale blue with royal blue accents. It is much cheerier and more inviting. I had a theory that the more "pretty" I made my kitchen, the more I would be likely to spend time in there. Of course, I still have these fugly dark brown cabinets, but the blue paint was a definite improvement.

So, I made it through my solo cooking experience with no ill effects. I will continue to experiment, in the hopes that one day I can out-cook LBF, or at least impress him with a nice meal.

So far, he's not buying it yet. He came over on Monday, and I offered several times to heat up some tater tots (what the hell, I sound like I'm cooking for a 4 year old - tater tots and chicken tenders?!) for him, but he said no, no, that's OK, please don't.

We ended up ordering a pizza ;-)

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Those goofy quizzes~

Where would we be without internet quizzes? I'm sure that some of you were up all night, losing sleep and wondering, "just what ice cream flavor is Jewgini?"

Your Icecream Flavour is...Neopolitan!
You aren't satisfied with just one flavor. They say variety is the spice of life and this shines through in your Ice cream of choice! Just don't eat all the chocolate and leave the strawberry and vanilla behind!
What is your Icecream Flavour?

Find out at Go Quiz

I am *such* a pollyanna - NOT!

Your Heart is Red

What Color is Your Heart?
brought to you by Quizilla

Yes, I am truly a child of the 80s...

what decade does your personality live in?

quiz brought to you by lady interference, ltd

OK, I promise a "real" post very soon :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

I knew I was in love when...

I'd known LBF for over a year before I began dating him. Let's just say I met him through my profession. And NO he is not a client! Anyway, I had a big crush on him for months before we got together, but I had another boyfriend (psycho, moocher, manipulative, scary, so much of a whole other story and in the past that I don't even want to blog about it) at the time, so my crush on LBF stayed a crush. Well, until I went to a close friend's wedding in March 2003 (the ones who just had a baby), and, fueled by excessive amounts of champagne, I had one of those lightbulb moments: I realized that I would never want to marry the psycho moocher dude, as I imagined it would be cruel to ever have a child with him - cruel to the future child, that is. Well, not to mention to me! I had not even seen the psycho moocher dude for several months, although he still called me on a near-daily basis. The "relationship" had turned into a weird junior high school-ish "phone relationship". Suffice it to say, that day after my friend's wedding, I vowed never to see the psycho dude again, realized it was over and I was MUCH better off, etc.

Two weeks later LBF called, and quite innocently, invited me to a small birthday dinner his friends and family were having for him. I accepted his invitation, not quite knowing whether this was meant to be a "date" or a "friend" thing. The party was out in Fairfax. I asked what metro stop it was closest to, figuring I'd metro and take a cab (I'm one of those WEIRD chicks without a driver's license:) He insisted on coming to pick me up, even though it was a half hour out of his way. I figured perhaps we were leaning into "date" territory. I decided to "work it" and got dressed up in sexy black lace skirt and low cut lacy top, ankle strap satin heels, and full makeup. I think my mother must have told me more than once, "It's always better to be a little over-dressed." Sounds OK by me - when in doubt, overdress! I bought him a gift - a few CDs and a card. He later told me that he didn't really listen to CDs and didn't even have a CD player - oh well!

At the birthday dinner, I realized quickly that I was one of the few people there who was not a relative of his, and I was definitely the only unattached female. After the dinner, he and I ended up driving to DC to go drinking and dancing at a Russian restaurant/bar named Maxim which is no longer in existence. We stayed out till 3 AM and he drove me back to my place, I invited him upstairs, and...ahem, yes, you know - that. We HOOKED UP, OK?! This was a little over 2 years ago.

About 6 months into our relationship, LBF was visiting my place, and we were having dinner and drinking a bottle of wine. I noticed at one point in the evening that the toilet paper roll in the bathroom was almost done. I took out another roll of TP and left it on top of the tank. About an hour later, I went into the bathroom again, and saw that LBF had used it in the interim. HE HAD CHANGED THE TOILET PAPER ROLL AND HE DID IT THE SAME WAY I DID IT - with the paper coming from above and over. In my drunken bliss, I was more than impressed with this feat. I get lazy about changing the TP roll, and here was this guy, yeah, OK, my boyfriend but he didn't even live with me, and HE CHANGED THE ROLL! THE RIGHT WAY! That was when I KNEW I was in love with him.

Oh, come on, you're being facetious, right? Trying to be cute, huh? Well, yes and no. I realize this is a minor thing to get excited about with a guy, but for some reason, it symbolized more important, big picture things to me: consideration, attention to detail, respect for my "space", etc.

The next morning, he was driving me into my office, and he shared with me his last piece of gum. OMG I was floating somewhere above the "restricted airspace" of the DC area! Again, it symbolized something much bigger than a piece of gum.

Yesterday, I was talking to him about getting together with him tonight. We decided I would come to his place. I asked if we could stop at the store and get some groceries so we could cook something together at his place (for some reason, I have in my mind that I can make this particular simple chicken dish). He just laughed, "Leave the cooking to me, we want to eat dinner before it's time to go to sleep!" (He has previously experienced my hours-long attempts to cook dinner.) "But how will I ever learn (to cook) if I don't practice?" I pressed him. "Yes, of course, practice," he replied, "practice when you're alone - when we're together, leave the cooking to me!"

Leave the cooking to me. How about that? Another one of those "I know I'm in love moments." And no, I could care less whether he cooks or I cook or we ordered takeout or ate cereal every night - it's his thoughtfulness that impresses me and continues to keep me under his effortless spell. Plus the fact that I can't cook :) I think we're a good match (for many other reasons, but I won't get into them right now). I'm looking forward to dinner tonight! And yes, I'll be bringing the wine. For some reason, I'm good with alcohol :)

Monday, May 23, 2005

My Orgy Weekend

Apologies in advance for the misleading title of this post - if you came here searching for tales of hot, freaky, partner-swapping sex, you'll be disappointed. Homie don't play that. I chose the term "orgy" to refer to a pleasurable excess of various things/sensations which I experienced over the past few days.

My weekend actually started, in a sense, on Thursday night, with...

Arak Orgy: Some of you might not be familiar with Arak....it is a type of alcohol, similar to Ouzo, which is licorice-flavored and very strong. I was introduced to it by my Lebanese boyfriend (hereinafter "LBF" - The term does not imply that I have more than one boyfriend, as I have only one, but it used in a strictly descriptive sense.) So, if it's an Arak Orgy, that means that LBF is involved, as I do not drink Arak without him. I don't know anyone else who likes to drink it! The proper way to drink Arak, LBF-style, is to pour a small amount of it in a glass (we use champagne glasses), add water and ice, and stir. The normally clear liquid will turn cloudy like milk. The first time I drank Arak, LBF warned me, "You have to eat something when you drink Arak, you can't just sit and drink it like beer or wine." He was right, it is very strong, and it can hit you unexpectedly with a very unique type of buzz. Anyway, on Thurs night LBF and I enjoyed some excellent Middle Eastern food and Arak together at Chez Jewgini.

One of the thoughtful things about LBF is that most times, when we get together at my place, he brings food with him. We're talking a full spread - appetizers, entrees with meat and rice, tabbouli and other salads. There are some very excellent middle eastern restaurants/take out places in Northern VA, and he just happens to have friends who work there, so he usually stops by one of them on the way to my place.

Why, you may ask, would LBF even think of bringing dinner to your house? Well, I'll tell you why. One evening, about a year and a half ago, I cooked dinner for him. Simply shopping in the supermarket for the ingredients was a traumatic experience for me. I knew I needed chicken breasts....holy shit, there are 20 different types of chicken breasts here, which ones do I need? Anyway, my dinner took me several hours to cook, and while it tasted OK, I think it demonstrated that I am clueless in the kitchen. It is easier for LBF to bring food or for us to order out. The next orgy I participated in this weekend was the....

Jewelry Orgy: On Saturday I went to the International Gem & Jewelry Show at the Dulles Expo Center. It was the first time I had ever been to something like this. I went with a friend who makes jewelry as a hobby and who is a seasoned veteran of these shows. Luckily I had a guide, or I would have been totally overwhelmed by the selection. What seemed like hundreds of vendors, many with loose beads and gems to buy, for those crafty types. Think Beadazzled multiplied 100 times. Then there were the vendors with precious stones, what I call "real jewelry" - gold and diamonds and pearls, etc. The vendors were from all over the country. I wasn't looking for any serious jewelry, just browsing for fun stuff. I was rewarded by several vendors who were selling beaded shawls, tops, and belts. I found a couple of things that will be great for my new hobby - belly dancing (more about this in a future post). I found this really cool beaded belt with a velcro closure, so you can move it down far on your hips, with silver dangly coins suspended all the way around. I tried it on and did a few shimmies - SOLD! I also found a great beaded evening bag with these little feathery type dangly things - in a really fun fuschia/purple color. The bag was zippered, actually had some room in it for stuff, and was only $20. I could easily see something similar selling in a store for $50 or $60 bucks. So, the jewelry orgy was a success...Later on Saturday evening, I was lucky enough to enjoy a-

Jazz Orgy: I snagged two of the few remaining tickets to the Tenth Annual Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival at the Kennedy Center. I went with my Jewelry Show friend, who also loves to do things at the Kennedy Center. The show was over three hours of jazz playing and singing. It was really wonderful. There were three separate acts. The first was a group of older women called the "Jazzberry Jam" who played and had a male vocalist, who was just fantastic. The second was a pianist named Geri Allen who played an original piece by Mary Lou Williams called the Zodiac Suite. This was amazing - jazz piano, accompanied by bass and drums, and it was a series of separated yet related pieces, each named for one of the Zodiac signs. Finally there was a tremendous and edgy vocalist, Rene Marie, who started out with an a capella version of a jazz standard (sorry, my mind if blanking on the title, but the song was all about love) which gave me chills (the good kind). She did a breathtaking version of Send in the Clowns, as well as a song she wrote as a tribute to Nina Simone. I really enjoyed her, and I plan to get one of her CDs from her website.

I almost forgot to tell you about the Mashed Potato Orgy. Before the jazz orgy, my friend and I had a quick dinner at the Kennedy Center Cafe on the rooftop. This is a cafeteria-style place, but the most elegant cafeteria you have ever been to. The food is fantastic and features "gourmet" selections, such as the prime rib my friend ordered. The dining room has dramatic views of the DC area. I have previously had the mashed potatoes at the KC Cafe, and they had made quite an impression on me. I ordered a pasta dish, but then got a side order of the delectable mashed potatoes with truffles. This very skinny older woman looked at my tray with utter disgust, as if to say, "You carb hussy!" I was not deterred. The side order" of mashed potatoes was an entire large soup bowl full of mashed potatoes. My friend shared them with me, but I ended up eating most of them. "These are so good they should be illegal!" I declared in a brief moment when I was not stuffing my face. Moral of the story. Go to the Kennedy Center. Get there early, before the even you are seeing. Eat in the rooftop cafe. Pray that they have the mashed potatoes on the menu that evening. Order the mashed potatoes. Experience the ecstasy :)

My final "orgy" of the weekend was a Yoga Orgy. I went to a 3-hour "shoulder workshop" at my yoga studio. I have a HUGE knot at the top of my left shoulder, so I thought that this class would help me with positions and tips to alleviate my "problem area". The teacher was very good, and gave me individual attention when I approached her after the class and showed her my knot. She felt it and actually seemed a bit frightened by it, "Oh MY!" she gasped. I'm sure she was wondering, how can someone who practices yoga be so tense? Well, I don't practice yoga every day, that's probably how....but anyway, she did show me a couple of good stretches and modifications that should help me. One was a variation of downward dog with your palms facing up and resting in a folded yoga mat on a folding chair. It helped to rotate my shoulders out in a good way and made it less difficult for me to maintain the pose.

One question I have for all you yogis and yoginis out there:

Why is it that inevitably I end up in a yoga class right next to an old dude who breathes like Darth Vader? For real, I am very sensitive to weird "people noises" like that, and I find them distracting and they gross me out. Yes, this happened yesterday. Even when the instructor tells us to "breathe normally" there is always at least one in the class who does the "special effect" breathing. Yes, I know, I know, it's not very yogic for me to be annoyed by someone's breathing in a yoga class. But, hey, welcome to my life :)

Friday, May 20, 2005

I got linked!

I am so excited! I just discovered that one of the bloggers I admire, and who I have linked to, Dating Hell Diarist, linked to my blog on her main page. I feel like I've been invited to sit at the cool kids' table in the cafeteria! Except, I went to a private religious school for 8 years, so we didn't have a cool table. But you all know what I mean :)

I have enjoyed reading Ms. Dating Hell's blog and her descriptions of DC single chick life. In fact, I have found myself nodding along knowingly and feeling her pain as I read some of her adventures. While I am not dating now, I spent many years suffering through similar dating disappointments. There were plenty of those moments when the dating situation is so ridiculous that you look around and think, "I wish one of my friends were here to witness this, because nobody is going to possibly believe when I tell them this story." And you feel like you're observing yourself from outside your body, thinking, "Is this really happening to me? It can't be really happening...not to ME! [pause while lightbulb goes on] Ohhhhhh, it IS really happening to me. [dumbfounded look on face] This sucks ass!" [Trying to hide feeling of righteous indignation while still attempting to maintain neutral look on face, so as not to further provoke offensive date.]

Having been there, and feeling at times that but for the graciousness of my steady guy, I could be there again (yes, even those of us in relationships have low self-esteem at times and wrestle with the twin demons of insecurity and "abandonment issues"), I am in complete solidarity with my blog sisters and my real life friends who brave the dating world.

I recently had dinner with two single girlfriends who are not in relationships. In theory, you could say they are dating, but in reality, they can't even find a man to go on a single date with! You might say, "Oh, they must be too picky!" But no, I can assure you that's not it! Chalk it up to the crappy dating selection of men in DC for 30-something women.

Anyway, I digress from my original topic - to thank Dating Hell Diarist for linking to me. Thank you! This inspires me to continue to post and be worthy of such linkage :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Shout Out to the 609!

You Know You're From South Jersey When...

You don't "go to the beach", you go "down the shore".

In your mind you hear "watch out for the tram car please" even in your sleep.

You've had arguments over cheesesteak quality.

When it snows more than an inch, you call it a blizzard.

You know someone named Siprasiut Xayapachan.

You've actually found the Echelon Mall.

Your uncle is in the mafia.

You or your friends have Lyme Disease.

You don't understand why there aren't more 24-hour diners elsewhere in the country.

You know what a Wawa is, and know the location of at least 15 of them.

You know what became of the 13th Leeds child, and claim to have seen him one time while peeing in the woods.

One time you were driving in the woods and got stuck in sand.

You have an EZ Pass, but you just hold it up.

Even though there's a new Wal-Mart in your town, you still go to the Berlin Farmers Market for cheap stuff.

Your neighborhood demonstrates co-existence of African-Americans and racist rednecks.

You know that you should get the hell out of Camden before dark.

Your car is covered with yellow-green dust in April and May.

You buy Shop-Rite brand food at Shop-Rite.

Honesty, sincerity, and courtesy are things you once saw happen in Ohio.

You know how to successfully handle a traffic circle.

You think the Olive Garden is a bunch of crap and should not open restaurants in South Jersey.

You worked at a blueberry farm when you were 13.

You played soccer from Kindergarten through high school.

You've counted the number of titty bars on the Black Horse Pike.

You always went to the Franklin Institute when you were a kid.

Your middle school hangout was the mall.

You have an unusable, piece-of-shit boat in your front yard.

You once skipped school and went to Wildwood.

You're Italian.

You know where to get the best bagel.

You've called someone an "asshole" to their face at the Philly airport.

You say "water" weird.

Even your school made good Italian subs, but you call them hoagies.

You've almost fallen asleep on the Expressway.

You've lived through hurricanes, nor'easters and fires, but have never seen a tornado, earthquake or volcano.

You can't believe MTV went to Seaside Heights.

You know that ACME is an actual store, not just a Warner Bros. creation.

You never had school on Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur.

You take day trips to New York City.

The mafia runs half the businesses in your town.

You have mandatory recycling. Enforced by law.

In the woods behind your house, you can find couches, washing machines, and shoes.

You don't have to go to Red Lobster to get fresh seafood.

You go to at least one parade at the boardwalk each year.

You've made a meal out of Tastycakes, Herr's BBQ potato chips, and Pennsylvania Dutch Birch Beer.

You know the Atlantic City High School marching band can lay down some phat beats.

You know New Years is all about the Mummers and the Polar Bear club.

You smoke Parliament Lights.

You go to the local Fire Department barbeque in June.

Down the road, in the middle of nowhere, is an Egyptian restaurant and a custard stand with a miniature golf course.

You know what custard is in South Jersey.

You can go bowling at 1:30 A.M. (with automatic scoring!)

In high school, you worked at a Friendly's.

Route 206 doesn't freak you out at night.

One time, a sea gull shit all over your head.

You once said, "It smells like Philadelphia in here."

You know that people from the 609 area code are "a little different".

Your mom still loves Bruce Springsteen.

You know it can be -10 degrees and 70 degrees in January in the same year.

There's a fruit and vegetable stand down the road.

You will always say "YO", and you'll say it often.

You scoff at tourists in Philadelphia.

Your town has an online community.

At least one person brings Big Fizz to a party.

You go to another state and sit at a gas station wondering when the people will come out to pump your gas.

You have your own bucket for caramel corn refills.

You know that no matter how much they put into the Camden waterfront Camden is still Camden.

You have to mail your relocated friends tastykakes.

You think North Jersey is a different state and South Jersey deserves its own secession.

Your high school prom was at the Camden Aquarium or The Mansion in Voorhees.

You have season passes to Great Adventure.

You refuse to call Hoagies "subs."

You know where Olga's Diner is on rt 70.

You are tired of people not believing you're from jersey because you don't have a New York accent.

You drive by a farm every time you get in the car.

You know what "jimmies" are and refuse to call them anything else.

Eastern Regional High School has a rip list every year!

Your neighbor is either a painter, a plumber, a builder, or an electrician with a work truck in the driveway.

You have crossed all 5 bridges into Philly at one point in your life.

You take day trips to philly to walk on South Street.

You have had a near or close call experiences hitting a deer with your car.

You run around in the nearest patch of woods and play paint ball with your buddies.

You've considered renaming "the Garden State" to "the Hoagie State"

You have a story about the "Hell Hole" ride in Wildwood.

You remember the ducks in the middle of Cherry Hill Mall.

You call the Berlin Farmer's Market the Berlin Auction or the Auction.

You took your report card to Clementon Park for free tickets.

You've had some of the best parties in a field.

Other people dont know what funnel cake and water ice is because everyone else calls it fried dough and slush.

You went "diner hopping" till the sun came up.

You don't acknowledge that it is tomorrow until either you go to sleep or the sun comes up.

You know where to buy a katana for less than $50.

You go on dates to diners and arcades.

You have empty Wawa half gallon iced tea bottles all over your car and room.

You've ever driven around aimlessly for hours with your friends saying "So, whatta we doin?"

You've ever said the phrase "look at fricken MacGyver over here!"

You know the difference between the train and the speedline.

The term "I think of you as a brother" turns into a whole family tree.

You ever drove all the way to the shore just to walk around for 5 minutes then drive back.

Your memories of places all consist of what you did there once when you were fucked up.

You ever went over someone's house to hang out with their mom.

You have a knife collection, a PS2, a cell phone, a pager, and a computer but you can't afford to get your car fixed.

One of your hangouts is a parking lot.

You say "'lanic city", instead of Atlantic City.

You can't get that sand out of your toes no matter how long it's been there.

You haven't been able to find a decent stromboli since moving out of South Jersey.

You've seen a shack with a satellite dish.
You know that a Jug Handle is both a feature of the highway and a bar that looks like someone's house in Maple Shade.

You know of at least 3 bars where you know they won't card you.

You lived near a "crick" not a creek.

You don't recognize any one at your family reunion.

You say "gimme" instead of give me, or "com' mer" instead of come here.

You know a Chrissy and we all know she's gotten around!

You think we should sell north "Joisey" to New York for $24.

Everyone eventually starred at the Latin Casino.

You never could figure out which was the Black Horse Pike or The White Horse Pike.

You're a female and have beaten the crap out of at least one guy who wasn't your brother.

You ever taken your parents car while they were asleep or away, before you were old enough to drive.

You ever cut your foot on a broken bottle in a local stream.

You have gotten bad poison ivy from hiding in a bush to make weird noises at the people passing by.

There is a dead body somewhere in or near the stream by your house.

You have to drive at least 30-60 minutes to get to work in order to make more than $10 an hour.

You know what "pulling a camper" means and do it publicly when it is necessary.

You know that a "Yield" sign is merely a suggestion.

You've considered going to your high school late at night to check for ghosts in the halls rumoured haunted.

You think pit bulls are harmless.

You don't think you have an accent.

Half your high school went to Camden County College.

You know what the song "V-town" is about.

Your front yard is made out of stones.

Everything is "twenty minutes away". If you ask how long it takes to get any place in South Jersey, the person always says, "about twenty minutes". To get to a mall, "Oh, about 20 minutes". To get to the airport, "Mmm, about 20 minutes." To get from Runnemede to Philly, "Only about 20 minutes". Try it. Only the shore areas take more than "twenty minutes". They're usually "an hour and twenty minutes."

Thrift shopping with friends is an event.

You've intentionally stood in front of the tram car, and you're upset that it no longer stutters.

You remember the old Morey's Pier before the fire.

Your parents gave in and bought you a hermit crab when you were down the shore.

You curse off three drivers in two minutes.

You went to StoryBook Land as a kid.

You haven't moved out of state soley for the reason you know the food is that bad everywhere else.


You know the one-day sale at JC Penny's really lasts three.

You live in a "dry town" and every road out of it has a liquor store at the town border.

Every time someone in Hollywood makes fun of Jersey, you're mad and proud at the same time.

Your big elementary school trip was to Springdale Farms.

You know what the conductor is going to say for every stop on the PATCO HighSpeedline.

Your neighborhood has a name that ties people together, as in "the kids"

Your shoes have turned black from being in Pennsauken.

You know at least 5 people who work at a prison.

You say "porta reeko" instead of puerto rico, as it should be pronounced.

You go to college and describe where you live in reference to how far you are from Cherry Hill.

You come home from college for christmas break and 75% of your HS graduating class is at the same diner you are at 3am.

You aren't scared of the speed line.

You don't even care when you leave your door unlocked.

More than one of your friends has spent more than a week at your house.

You've lived in a row home.

Making left turns just doesn't feel right anymore.

You have a super secret place to sled that in better than anywhere else in town!

You remember The Garden State Race Track and the day it burnt to the ground and all the tons of ashes that fell for miles.

You can spend the day at the Berlin Auction shopping at the outside flea market.

"Jeet?" makes sense when you hear it.

The only thing you can play on guitar is "Stairway to Heaven"

You were amazed Moorsetown was on MTV Cribs.

A member of your family does not have all of their teeth.

You know Voorhees used to be known as Kirkwood.

You had a birthday party at Xhilarama.

You've been to 2 or more festivals named after some kind of fruit (strawberry, apple, blueberry, lima bean).

You're astounded when a friend that moves tells you theres not a Wawa nor CVS withen a 10 mile radius of them.

Going to New York is a huge trip but Philly is someplace to go when you're bored.

You think Amish people are amazing.

Your whole school knows when each water ice place opens, and the line goes on forever!

You would drop everything you were doing and run to the voting polls right now if you heard we were voting to make North and South Jersey separate states.

Summer is a process, not a season.

You've ever been to Wheaton Village.

You know which places were built on indian burial grounds.

You've slept behind a Wawa.

You remember Caldor.

You've had a dinner with your friends for less than $3.

You don't know that in every other state, people get their liscenses when they're 16.

Everyone you know has had Confirmation but never goes to church.

After seeing a movie at the Ritz, you hang out at Tunes and then play Scrabble at Coffeeworks.

You know all of the "back roads" to get everywhere and prefer them to the expressway.

You think a mountain is any landform taller than your house.

You know what a "shoe-bie" is and can pick one out at the beach.

You go to Delaware to buy smokes.

You can name all the flavors of salt water taffy.

You can smell and know when it's low tide.

You remember the bad gypsy moth years.

You eat at restaurants that have locations I, II, III, IV, and V.

You know that you don't put ketchup on boardwalk fries.

You get three 50's in a row when you play skeeball.

Donald Trump is mentioned at least daily in your local paper.

You actually get these jokes and pass them on to other friends from south Jersey.

Some of my favorites on here are:

You know what a Wawa is, and know the location of at least 15 of them.

South Jerseyites just LOVE Wawa. If you are going to Wawa, you'll say, "I'm goin'a Wawaz. Even though you are only going to one Wawa, you make it plural. Don't even ask. Wawaz has great coffee. Once, when I was in high school, I was meeting my friend who worked there as a cashier after she got off work. We were going to go to Mento's for water ice. Anyways, I was waiting for her to finish her shift and this totally zoned out hippie-looking dude went up to buy something. He had a cup of Wawa coffee, and some small food item. My friend rang up his stuff, but he insisted that he had brought the coffee cup from elsewhere and that he didn't fill it up with coffee in the Wawa. Not wanting to argue with him and anxious to get the hell outta there, my friend didn't charge him from the coffee. In the middle of this, the guy babbles, "I put acid in all the coffee at Wawaz!" My friend was not really paying attention to him and just said, "OK sir, very good, that'll be a dollar nineteen." He finally left, and we left, and I said, "Did you hear what that guy said?!" She hadn't, and when I told her, we laughed our asses off.

You know what became of the 13th Leeds child, and claim to have seen him one time while peeing in the woods.

Everyone who is really FROM South Jersey grew up being terrified of
The Jersey Devil. Some of us, even as adults, still believe that he actually may exist!

You're Italian.

Actually, I'm half Italian (descended from immigrants from Calabria and Messina, Sicily), and half Jewish (descended from immigrants from the Eastern European Jewish ghetto). Woo hoo! Even if you are only "part Italian" you can still safely claim, "hey, yo, I'm Italian too!"

You know the Atlantic City High School marching band can lay down some phat beats.

My alma mater! Yo ACHS! The best thing about the football games was always the band! Our band also usually marched in the Miss America parade on the boardwalk.

"Jeet?" makes sense when you hear it.

Translation: Did ya eat? Usually it is "Jeet jet?" - Did ya eat yet?

I could comment on many more of these, but this is it for now. You can leave South Jersey, like I did, but it always stays with you! Yea for South Jersey pride!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

My 3 Words of Arabic

I recently realized that I can comfortably speak 3 words of Arabic. I may understand a few more words, but I don't feel comfortable speaking them yet. Just as a bit of background, I will present my "language resume" - AKA "how you can study many languages over a long period of time and end up not being able to speak any of them":

1. First language: English, obviously. More specifically, English with a South Jersey accent and colloquialisms. We're the ones who pronounce "water" as "wooder" and "dog" like "dawg". Some of us (NOT me) pronounce "beautiful" as "bee-yu-tee-full". We eat oxymoronisitc-sounding things such as "Water Ice" and we like to spend our summers "down the shore" as opposed to "at the beach". More on the wonders of South Jersey speech in a future post!

2. Second langauge: Hebrew. Oy vey! (Wait a minute, that's actually Yiddish) Yes, I went to a Jewish day school/yeshiva type school from first through 8th grade, and we studied Hebrew every day. I was able to read both "biblical Hebrew" and even some Aramaic, as well as modern Hebrew. Our Hebrew language classes were always taught by Israeli native-speakers. Despite learning this at an early age, I cannot speak conversational modern Hebrew, probably because I have not practiced in about 20 years! I can still read/understand some of the "prayer book Hebrew" and I am able to read the prayers fairly well, and I remember a lot of them. My pronounciation in Hebrew is strictly Israeli/Sephardic, with a touch of the South Jersey accent thrown in for good measure :) I am actually kind of annoyed by the Ashkenazic pronounciation of some of the words and sounds. It sounds a bit too "shetl-ish" and Old World to my ears.

3. Third language: French...my mother, being the progressive, education-conscious woman that she is, was not satisfied with my brother and I learning "only" one foreign language in elementary school. So she decided to hire a tutor to come to our home once a week to spend an hour with each of us to teach us French. This was maybe when I was in 6th/7th grades. Our teacher was named Rita, and she was Italian-American, but she spoke French. The first time she said something in French, during our first lesson, I involuntarily burst out laughing! The French accent sounded so funny to me, it sounded ridiculous! Thankfully, Rita was not put off by my behavior, and she continued to teach us. I recently found a notebook that I used for those French lessons, and it was funny to read it. I recall that our dialogues always involved a "Monsieur Chevalier" who was always getting into some sort of escapade. I can't speak French, but I do recognize some French words when I encounter French-speakers. A lot of my clients are French-speakers from Africa, so sometimes, if they are unsure of a word in English, I will ask them to say it in French. Inevitably, the French word is the same as the English word~

4. In high school, I studied Latin for 4 years. We all know that NOBODY SPEAKS LATIN anymore - except for maybe the Pope and his buddies. My Latin teacher was a lesbian woman named Miss Burke. Nobody actually ever said the word "lesbian" about her or gave her a hard time. We just kinda figured it out when she told us that she lived with her "friend" who was a female. Miss Burke was a cool teacher, even though she was nerdy as a Latin teacher must be. She could be very strict, and she ruled the classroom with a quiet authority. You did NOT want to get on her bad side, although she was usually very kind and patient with students. She once threw an eraser at me, because I was turned around in my chair, talking to the girl behind me for too long in the middle of class. The "smart" kids in my school ended up taking Latin, because there was some sort of collective wisdom out there that said, "Latin will help you on your SATs!" Well, I ended up getting in the 700s on my Verbal part of the SAT, so maybe that was true. The thing that Latin really helped me with was both vocabulary for other languages and grammar. The heavy duty declensions and conjugations really prepared me well for studying my next language:

5. Russian! It was 1988 and the Cold War was raging. We all LOVED to hate the "Evil Empire" - but I decided to study Russian in college (more on the reasons why in a future post), and I ended up being a dual major in International Relations and Russian. I spent a summer studying in Moscow in 1991 and was, at that time, the most proficient in speaking as I ever have been. In 1992, I was debating between going to grad school for Soviet studies or to law school. I knew that I would never get fluent enough in Russian without living for a lengthy time over there, and I just didn't want to live that far away from my family. So I chose law school, and never regretted that decision. I can still understand about every 3rd or 4th word in a Russian movie, but I need the English subtitles. Still, I love the Russian language and literature, and ironically, my native-Arabic speaking boyfriend speaks Russian as well. Sometimes, if he can't come up with a word in English, he'll say it in Russian, and I understand it - that's pretty cool :)

So, this brings us up till today - since law school, I took a few conversational language classes - Spanish and Italian - but not much really stuck. I am around a lot of Spanish speakers at work, so I think I understand a lot of Spanish, although I don't feel comfortble speaking it.

I have decided that if I study, I mean seriously study, another language, it will be Arabic. A few reasons for this:

1. While the alphabet is different, some of the words and sounds are similar to Hebrew. Plus I already have experience learning the Hebrew and Cyrillic alphabets, so another "foreign" one might not be too difficult.

2. Many of my clients speak Arabic, and I feel it would be useful for this reason. You see, I'm an immigration lawyer (how did I manage to bury my profession into the middle of a post like this?!) and often it helps to relate better to clients in their own language.

3. Third reason - my boyfriend is a native Arabic speaker, and I have an interest in the language because of him.

Which brings me to the original theme of this post - the 3 words of Arabic that I can actually speak:

1. Shukran - it means "thank you". I think you're supposed to roll the "r", but I have always had trouble with that. Obviously, this is probably one of the most important first words to learn in a language.

2. Habibi - it means sweetheart or honey, a term of endearment. I actually never use this word, but I know it from Arabic pop music that I am mildly obssessed with. It is in the title of many songs, and it seems to be one of the favorite song lyrics. Apparently, much of the Arabic-speaking world is preoccupied with love and romance, which, surprise surprise, is also the preoccupation of much of everyone else!

3. Yalla - I saved the best for last. This is my favorite word in Arabic. It means "let's go" or something to that effect. My boyfriend uses it all the time with me. For example, he is going to drive me to the office, and I am still futzing around in the bathroom with the hairdryer and makeup..."Yalla! Come on!" We saw the movie Kingdom of Heaven last week and there was some untranslated Arabic dialogue in the background. I recognized my favorite Arabic word in there!

Phew, I could write more on this topic, but I am totally blogged out for now. I hope someone besides me ends up reading this!