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Sweet Rose Ramblings (AKA The Call-Waiting Blog)

A place for my unformed thoughts. Help me sort them out!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Singin' in the Rain

Ok, I wasn't actually singing...

but I just discovered that I would rather walk through the rain, without umbrella or raincoat (those are safely at home, in New Jersey, not getting wet), than stay inside my office during lunch. (This may change when the weather gets cold - rain I can handle, ice and snow I can not.)

I decided that I take a shower deliberately every day - what is the matter with taking an extra one in the middle of my work day, outside, fully-clothed?

Costs of walking through the rain -
Very curly hair
$12 for a new, dry shirt

Benefits of walking through the rain -
New, dry shirt
Getting out of my office
Getting an errand taken care of

Looks like the benefits outweigh the costs on this one. Enjoy the rain.


My father surprised me by buying me an I-Pod, which I had started thinking about getting, but probably would not have actually gotten around to.

I have mixed feelings about it - on one hand, it cuts me off from the rest of the world. I listen to my music and shut out everyone around me. On the other hand, it does make the streets of New York a little bit nicer to walk on.

My final problem - listening to music while I am walking makes me want to dance in the streets but I feel it isn't so tznius. What to do?

New Year's Resolutions

So, I decided to make a New Year's Resolution, and I hope it doesn't go the way most of them seem to do. My resolution is to try to be less stubborn, especially with a particular person (though that person knows that they also tend to egg it on). But it doesn't matter whose fault it is, I am tired of arguing all the time. It's not that fun, it's just draining. Good luck to me!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


At my school, they check ID's as students walk through the door. Supposedly all non-students are supposed to show photo ID and check in. My rebellious nature has dictated that I test the system to see how many consecutive weeks I can pass by the security guard without being asked to show my ID. (I did manage to supress my rebellious nature enough to actually obtain a student ID - I wanted the movie discounts.) So far, we've been in class four weeks; four weeks have gone by without anyone asking me for any kind of ID.

What bothers me the most about this situation is not that I feel that I am in danger of suspicious people finding their way into my school and subsequently doing me harm. What does bother me is that the last two weeks, while I was slinking past the security guard without showing my ID, black students were actually stopped and asked to show ID before entering the building.

The security guard himself is black - is this racism? Racial profiling? A case of me being really good at being inconspicuous? (The security guard today actually looked at me as I walked past, but not one word from him.) Why do these black students get stopped and I don't? I am not sure, but I don't like it. In fact, I don't like it enough to continue my research into how many consecutive weeks will go by before I am asked for my ID (okay, I would have done it anyway).

Keeping Kosher

A few of the people I work with are Jewish, including my boss. There is one man in particular who is just so nice. He is not frum, but he must know quite a bit about it. He is really understanding of all my kashrut restrictions. One day when there was a cake ordered he reassured me that it didn't taste very good anyway, and I shouldn't feel bad that I couldn't eat it. He even offered to bring me a babka, which I told him wasn't necessary.

Today he brought some cookies in that his wife had made. He specifically came up to me and explained that all the ingredients that were used to make the cookies were kosher, he even specified that they all had an O-U on them. But he told me that they weren't cooked in a kosher kitchen, so he wasn't sure if I would eat them or not, but he didn't know how strict I am.

I explained to him that I don't eat foods out of a non-kosher kitchen. He seemed okay with it, but I still felt bad. It's nice to have some kind of connection with someone based on being Jewish (because I don't always feel it with other Jews). I hate that there is still a barrier present between us.

What's in a Name?

My new roommate and I share something - our first name. It it a little confusing sometimes. While walking through the streets on Manhattan this morning (it is so weird that I do that), I was thinking that I should come up with an alternate name for myself so we could differentiate between the two of us and make things a little easier.

What a great opportunity - I could pick any name that I want! It could be crazy or cool. It could be out there, or a made-up name, or simply my middle or last name.

But then I thought about being called by a name other than Shoshana, which I have been all my life. I never had an English name, my parents never thought about giving me one, I don't think. I didn't even realize growing up that people had both English and Hebrew names.

Growing up, I always thought my name was weird and different. I didn't like it much. I dreamed of changing it something else - and the names I came up with during those years! Everything from Linda to Rainbow, I couldn't wait to become 18 and have a new name that I got to choose.

And then 18 came around, and changing my name wasn't such a priority. I had other things going on and I had kind of forgotten how much I wanted to change it. I still got annoying comments on my name, and always felt way too pale for what everyone considered a "black-girl's name," but I just never found the motivation to make the change.

And then I became religious, and my name fit. I came to love it, and grow into it. And make it really a part of me.

And this morning, the thought of being called something else really bothered me. I don't want to change my name. I would rather deal with the confusion of two Shoshana's in one apartment. I am Shoshana now.

Mrs. W.

A Whispering Soul wrote a post about his grandmother and how much of an impact she had on his life. It was a beautiful tribute to someone who I am sure was a wonderful woman.

It made me think about my relationship with my grandparents, but the truth is, I am not terribly close with them.

It did bring to mind, however, a very special woman who I was friendly with in Atlanta. There was something about her, a kind of caring aura that she just radiated. We had a connection from the first time I met her, a special bond that was just there from the beginning. She was a widow, but had her grandchildren close to her in Atlanta, and the respect with which they treated her was absolutely inspiring.

I could sit and talk to her for hours, or just sit quietly in her presence. She had a very peaceful countenance, and there was something about being with her that was so comforting - it was a feeling I have rarely had around anyone else. She always managed to lend perspective to a situation, bring up something to consider that I hadn't thought of. She made me feel special.

All of a sudden, thinking about her this morning, I really missed her. I bought some Rosh Hashanah cards and am going to send one to her, just so she knows I haven't forgotten her, even though it has been a long time since we last spoke.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Not Being a Comfort

It's so hard when you don't know what to say. You are trying so hard to comfort the person sitting in front of you, crying, but everything you say falls flat. Because the truth is, you want to cry also. You don't really believe what you are saying. But you want to. And you want the other person to also.

I am used to being able to help people, to say the right thing, to help ease some of the pain. But I am at a loss. I don't have the answers, and I don't even have suggestions, nor comfort. Because I feel the pain also. And you would think that it is comforting, but it just makes things worse sometimes.

And you just want to cry also, but you want to be strong. At a loss. Completely. And totally.

And you want to lean on someone else, but no one is there. Which just completes the circle.

Monday, September 26, 2005

And in contrast, from J.D. Salinger:

In Franny and Zooey

Everything everybody does is so - I don't know - not wrong, or even mean, or even stupid necessarily. But just so tiny and meaningless and - sad-making. And the worst part is, if you go bohemian or something crazy like that, you're comforming just as much as everybody else, only in a different way.

I've often thought this same thing about the teenagers you see who go punk, trying so hard to be different, when they really all manage to look the same as each other. Each of them trying to be invididuals so hard, but only doing it in the way that their peers show them. I guess they do shock their parents, and there's lots to enjoy about that, but it certainly doesn't posit individuality.

Lots of stuff from Horeb:

Love of God
"To love" means to feel one's own being only through and in the being of another. "To love God," therefore, means to feel that one's own existence and activity are rendered possible and obtain value and significance only through God and in God.

I agree with this about love of God, but I think it would concern me if my love for another human was so incredibly all-encompassing that I couldn't even feel who I am without it being caught up in another person. On the other hand, maybe that would be an incredible relationship, that you wouldn't even know where you end and the other person begins...

Trust in God
He rewards them in the sphere of their desires - if their activity is selfish, if it consists in earthly, external wrongdoings, if it aims only at external, and therefore transitory, prosperity and joy, then their reward also is only in the transistory. Let hem enjoy their transistory wrong-doing, wealth and prosperity, and perish like what they have acquired. But for those who...pursue only the eternal, the reward is also eternal.

A good reason to not be jealous of those things that others have, the gizmos and gadgets and fancy cars and houses. They may enjoy those material comforts here, but eventually, the eternal is a much greater reward to desire and deserve.

History is just, for its Director is the perfectly just One.

Abraham was to become a people - and till he was 100 years old he did not have a son who was to be the first stone in the edifice of the people!

Dare to do it, and if you are the only one, dare to be the only son and the only daughter of Israel - in every age. Alone, you say; you by yourself against so many - what would be the use? Consider now: Abraham was also only one when God called him. And when the children of Israel fell to sin and they were all doomed to perish, God wished to continue the mission of His people through the one man, Moses.

I guess we have some amazing examples to learn from. I have a friend who used to liken my journey to become religious to that of Avraham's. I think she was giving me way too much credit, but it does give a person strength to know that there were those who went before us and succeeded in such incredible fashion, without any support, besides that of Hashem.

The entire section on suffering is absolutely amazing.

I think my fear of things is strangely structured. The scariest point in my mission to go skydiving was when I was looking up directions on the computer and for a split second, I thought I would have to drive through Manhattan to get there. Lincoln Tunnel - scary. George Washington Bridge - scary. Manhattan - terrifying. Skydiving - no big deal. (Maybe when I actually go skydiving, and am on the edge of plane, about to jump off, I will be scared, but so far, nope.)

Update - I've decided that my strange sense of fear was probably somewhat instilled in me by my parents, neither of whom seemed terribly alarmed at the thought of me skydiving (compared with my friend's parents, who completely freaked out). I decided that my parents have been much more upset about things I did that I deemed as positive moves on my part. You never know what you learn from your parents.

I was on the bus the other day, and there was a frum girl sitting across the aisle from me. She was talking on her cell phone, and it was very difficult to not overhear the conversation. She was dressed in long black skirt, black shoes, dark tights. Long-sleeved buttoned-down blouse. Her conversation was about the typical stuff - shabbos, Lakewood, friends. I categorized her in my head as the "typical Bais Yaakov-type," which wasn't really fair, I know.

But I realized that I resented the fact that I felt she was the "typical" type, because I knew that she probably fit in pretty easily. And while I don't aspire to be typical, or really fit in, I do acknowledge that in a lot of ways it is an easier existence, and I am jealous of it.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

I am going to Birmingham for Thanksgiving to be with my family - my parents, brothers, grandparents, great-aunts and uncles will all be there. I didn't want to go, but I felt really obligated to take part. It's really hard being there, with Shabbos and kashrut. And it is weird to be in the town that I used to call home, but I am a guest in my mother's home (literally, I stay in the guest room) and am not especially welcome in my father's home. There is very little left that is familiar about a city that I used to really love.

I realized today, when thinking about my lack of desire to visit, that I used to get very upset that my father didn't seem to feel the desire to see or visit me. And I realized that I now don't have the desire to visit or see my family. The thing that I used to get so hurt by is something that I am now engaging in. And that is hypocritical, which is something that I really hate, more than most other traits in people.

So I am going. I am not excited nor looking forward to it. I have to figure out what I will do for Shabbos while I am there, because it is not going to be easy. But I am going.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

I went to a family for Shabbos lunch today. They obviously didn't have a lot of money; they were fairly simple people. Even though they plainly didn't live extravagant lives, the wife told me several times how much they love having company and how there wasn't a time that was not good for me to come. I believed her, she had called me three times to try to have me as a guest for Shabbos. This focus on others was something I also saw in Israel. I saw families with ten children crowded into three bedrooms, because they wanted to have space that was exclusively for guests. I think they really have their priorities in order.

Friday, September 23, 2005

I have had several people recently attribute my friendliness and niceness to the fact that I am from Alaabama. Does that mean that if I were from another state I would not have been as nice? First of all, I grew up moving all over the place, my family just ended up in Alabama, and second, I feel that I formed my friendliness and niceness over the years partially from the example my parents showed me, partially from the person I am inherently, and partially from the experiences I had growing up, only a bit of which can be attributed to living some of my years in Alabama and other places south of the Mason-Dixon line (though this is the first time I have lived in real "Yankee" territory, as friends of mine would call it). I think you can attribute some of my lack of suspicion to the fact that I grew up in suburban, safe areas, but I don't know that my friendliness can have the same reasoning behind it. Honestly, I feel it is more a negative connotation to people growing up in the North - I hope that they can defy this stereotype and be friendly no matter where they happen to be from!

I was told last night that due to my personality type (which is a system I have a hard time with anyway, which is the topic for a whole post of its own), I am incredibly difficult to figure out and that people shouldn't even bother trying. I guess I keep a lot under wraps, but I never thought that I sent mixed messages. I hate the thought that I am so frustrating to others, because I do believe in being upfront and honest with others. But I guess it would be hard for others to figure out what I am thinking when I sometimes can't figure it out (hence this blog to begin with). How important is knowing what other people are thinking at all times?

Read on a blog comment recently -

"Lonliness is worse when felt in the presence of others."

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Fortune cookie fortune of the day:

Sincerity is the finest point of communication.

I think it is true.

Some of my favorites from the past (which grace my bedroom door):

A diversity of friends is a credit to your flexible nature.

A beautiful, smart and loving person will be coming into your life.

This one's not on my door, but it gave me much amusement:

Nothing in this world is accomplished without passion.

Why is it that kindness is what brings me to tears? When people do something nice for me, or give me a sincere compliment, I can't help the tears that well up in my eyes. It is the warmth, and the hospitality and feeling at home that makes me miss Baltimore so much. When I get an e-mail from a friend who says that I am good friend, and it is hard to find those, that's when I cry. Or when I think about someone going out of their way to help me is when I find myself sniffling. It is those little touches of kindness that get to me. I think it is love for those in my life, and for those around me that brings the tears, because I know that is what I feel when I think about those kindnesses. I think love really is about giving, even when it is just something small.

I was reading about humility last night in Horeb. One of the statements that Rav Hirsch makes is that everything we have is actually from Hashem. Due to this, the more that we have, the more talents and wonderful attributes we have been given by Hashem, then it is all the more that we can't take credit for and have to be grateful for. This should give us more humility and less pride, because those things are gifts rather than something we worked for.

It was an interesting perspective and something that makes humility make more sense to me now. It fits in with the feeling I have always had about not being so proud about the fact that I am intelligent. I always felt it was something that I appreciated and was very lucky to have, but not something I worked hard to get, and therefore, shouldn't necessarily be praised for. If I use my intelligence in order to accompish goals, then that is what I can accept praise for (not that I need it). I really love that book.

Yesterday I was walking down the street and I saw a guy wearing shorts and a T-shirt, with a long, curly, red ponytail of hair. He also had a kippah on his head. We kind of glanced at each other as we passed. After walking past him, I turned around to make sure I had really seen the kippah, because you don't usually see them accompanied by a ponytail. The funny thing was, he had turned around and was looking at me also. I had the impression that he was looking to see if I really was frum also. I have always wondered whether people think I am frum based on the way I dress; I know it isn't completely obvious like it would be if I covered my hair or wore seamed stockings. But I do the covered elbows, knees and collarbone thing, so I do dress somewhat differently than everyone else out there. Do I blend or stick out? Do I wear my frum-keit on my sleeve (literally)?


Welcome to my new blog, for all those unformed thoughts that I ponder, but don't have time to sort out into a full post. Any thoughts you can add are greatly appreciated!