Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Purim Timetables

Today’s the one day that we go off track,
We derail from our normal levush,
It began in a circuit of provinces,
On a mainline from Hodu to Kush.

Achashveirosh was the token leader,
And he set events in motion,
He threw a party for his local subjects,
To show his gratitude and devotion.

There were Jews who were all aboard,
Though they were out of line to attend,
Goyim and Yidden are not a good union,
Mordechai knew how the trip would end.

During the festivities Vashti caused the king’s patience to combust.
Pimples and a t(r)ail made her defy his express orders.
Without stopping to gauge the consequences,
Achashveirosh had her bahn-ed by his porters.

Immediately; without delay,
Messengers traveled on a ride,
A new queen was needed to bridge Vashti’s position,
Girls flocked from far and wide.

Hagai conducted the hopefuls,
In his cabin they primped and they shined,
The others thought Esther had some loco-motive,
Because she refused Hagai’s efforts each time.

Even when the king pulled out all the stops,
Esther would not reveal her birth nation,
Achashveirosh tried without success,
But still had her elevated to the queen’s station.

We take a detour here,
To a scene from the underground,
When two rookies tried to harm the king,
But Mordechai had Bigsan and Seresh terminally bound.

A man named Haman was given a platform,
(Yes, now we are back to our tale,)
He asked Achashveirosh to hack all the Jews
Over a shared tanker-d of ale.

Achashveirosh turned aside Haman’s container of gold,
The king didn’t give a flying junction,
Haman whistled all the way home,
And set wheels rolling to plan his function.

When the Jews were slugged with the news,
They took it freight-fully hard,
Fueled by desperation, they fasted and cried,
Smeared with coal, Mordechai sat outside the king’s yard.

Esther was afraid to visit the king,
Because his signal she hadn’t received.
After three days of fasting she shuttled herself over,
Hoping to get the Yidden a reprieve.

Achashveirosh shunted his surprise,
Without (pica)dilly-dallin’,
He gave his wife safe crossing to the throne,
Then joined her private party’s bandwagon.

All Esther wanted at this intersection,
Was another occasion to be their host,
She asked the king and Haman to a second event,
Just for the people of their exalted posts.

The king leaned back on his headboard that night,
By a lantern his aides read the royal scripts.
Achashveirosh remembered the debt he owed Mordechai,
He was being driven insane by it.

Haman showed up, pistons letting off steam,
He wanted Mordechai swiftly disabled.
But after giving Achashveirosh ideas for a reward,
The king laid his cards on the table.

The next morning Mordechai was Haman’s passenger,
He took a transit route ‘round and ‘round the city
The turntable of our mazal began to shift slowly,
Just rewards are not always pretty!

The highlight of the day was when,
Haman’s daughter trained some exhaust on his face.
Caught in the headlights, Haman felt tram-pled,
He wanted to speed right on out of that place.

Hauling himself to Esther’s party,
A smelly Haman was given wide berth,
Shaking off the garbage and all of his shame,
He couldn’t wait to spike his own worth.

But what a surprise when Esther railed against him,
She put a brake on his scheme so fine.
Achashveirosh, boiler-ing, choo’d him out,
And Haman got a metrocard to the end of the line!

That’s when the big switch of our story took place,
And Haman was transported with his kit and caboose.
Enjoying the mechanics of his downfall,
We watched him hanged from his very own noose!

The Yidden tooted with joy, and gave tanks to Hashem,
When He emerged as our story’s true engineer.
Out of a dark tunnel, and into the light,
Now we wait for Purim to arrive each year!

So that’s the train of thought behind the reason
We act so choo choo at this time,
And for the cutest coaches in the subways today,
Get a ticket and come along as we ride!

(Yes, I made the costumes. No, I won't make them for you if you paid me. And yes, my husband had a costume too but he declined to be in the photos.)

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hear me Roar

Weird thing happened today.

I was asked to be class mother for my son's nursery class and made a round of phone calls lasat night to mothers regarding chanukah tips for the teachers.

Each call took between 30 seconds to a minute except for one. One mother, whom I decided is my new best friend, spoke with me for a full 17.5 minutes.

Our entire conversation was basically about how we couldn't believe that we didn't know each other. We must have played Jewish geography for 15 out of the 17 minutes and yet though we were both of similar ages and had grown up close to each other and in some of the same schools we had nothing in common.

Today the same mother called me again to make sure I got the money she sent because her son claimed he threw it in the garbage bin at school. After I assured her it made it all the way to me, we said our goodbyes but at the last second she quickly blurted that she had something weird to ask.

She said, "I hung up the phone last night and couldn't sleep because I felt that I somehow knew you even though there is no possible way that can be. I was literally up at the oddest hour thinking about why I felt such deja vu talking to you and then it hit me! Please don't think I'm weird for asking, but has anyone ever told you that you sound exactly like Tzipi Caton?"

I laughed and told her I could see why she thought so.

So the the conversation went like this:

"Wait, you wrote that book? I READ that book! I LOVED that book! I can't believe I spent 20 minutes talking to Tzipi Caton last night! Oh wow! Wow! It's so funny!" And so forth.

Of course I called my mother and we both laughed at how random it was for someone to recognize me by my voice. Although she claimed it wasn't my voice as much as my manner of speaking- the way I'm excited and laughing all the time.

Then at a wedding earlier I went to the kallah to give my mazal tov wishes and even though we had only met once at her engagement, she knew me right away. I was impressed that she recognized me and she waved me off and said, "Nah, its not the face, its your voice! Everyone knows what Tzipi Caton sounds like!"

I'm doubly weirded out.

Regardless of the above, now that I spent the majority of my night screaming over bad acoustics, my signature voice is gone anyway and maybe I can be anonymous for a few days. :-)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

You Wanted a Post

To be very honest to everyone out there. I have no idea if I'm continuing this blog.

For a few different reasons.

The first one would be that technically, the blog is over. How much can I really write about being sick and miracles and all this inspiring stuff? It's not that my life experiences haven't changed me a lot, it's only that since I was 16 I have been through more life experiences and as I get older and these things become more personal, there are just things I don't feel like posting.

To bring out my main point. I don't know what individual readers took out of my blog, but I'll tell you what I took from it.

When I started this site it was because I truly enjoyed posting and putting my experiences into words and making them come alive for others.

I loved the interaction and responses I got from people and was blown away by how powerful my journal became. My blog was pure fun.

The book and the speaking arrangements and my next book were all amazing experiences and I do not regret a single one.

I do understand that fame comes at a cost. As this is such, my decision must be about if I'm willing to pay this price.

One of the biggest costs of my "fame" is that writing has stopped being fun. I came to this blog to unwind and make people laugh and cry and have a good read. At some point I began to realize that when I have to deal with people stepping into my personal space, writing this blog isn't enjoyable anymore.

Yes, Miracle Ride is a very personal story. It is also a story that took place almost ten years ago. Although it is a story that deals with heavy medical issues and extremely personal experiences, I would venture to say that making public that part of my life isn't half as personal as telling anonymous bloggers some of the things my kids say. Not because they're really private, but because I deserve for readers to respect my privacy in my every day life.

I love my readers and I love to talk to you on a personal level and for you to feel like you know me and I'm winking back at you through my work. In my perfect world, that's the way it should be. That's the way it used to be.

Recently though, I had a few disturbing incidents where my privacy and personal life have been seriously breached. I was harassed and stalked and I suffered the indignity of having personal information bandied about because certain fans felt they were entitled to know these things about me. They felt that if I could share my cancer story with the world, what was wrong with sharing some other smaller details of my life today.

Let me tell you what's wrong. Other than the fact that what I share is for me alone to decide, I'm not sixteen anymore. I'm not an irresponsible teenager who loves life and has no one to answer to.

These days I am a mother and a wife and can count a few other titles I respond to. These days when someone stalks or threatens or harasses me and wastes my precious time, there are other people hurting.

These days, every time I get another comment on this blog asking when I plan on posting next, I flinch thinking about it. This blog was never meant to be a chore. It was never meant to become something I had to think ten times about because of the arguing I sometimes have to moderate between commentors and because of the way it will encourage readers to pry into my life.

So writing this blog has ceased being fun. It has stopped being an enjoyable medium for me to talk to fans.

I miss writing here, but I also miss the old naive me who thought that decent people respect boundaries.

So here you go. You wanted a post. I can't imagine this is the one you thought you would get, but it's a post nonetheless.

Please don't ask how much longer it will take. It may take forever to make up my mind. If you're so concerned about the time you're wasting checking up on me each day, subscribe to my posts and you'll be notifed immediately when I post next.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

No Time to Post...

Really way too busy to be posting right now so I'm not really blogging, just putting up some pics of my kids for fun.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Inspired? Not.

I'm going to post this even though it may be controversial. I'm posting this for a very good reason. I promise. I don't mean to hurt or offend anyone, but if you're going to subject me to something this stupid by forwarding every idiotic email you get, this is what you can expect.

So if you're the type to get offended easily, stop reading. If not, read, like, dislike, whatever, but DON'T, I repeat DO NOT use my comment section to turn this post into a back and forth forum and discussion.

This is MY blog. MY opinions. NOT yours. You're welcome to them but if I have to referee I'm going to shut down all further comments for this site.

Now. *deep calming breath*

I received an email the other day:

I heard a beautiful story in a shiur given by Rabbi Avrohom M. Alter that is available online. He said the story in the name of Rebbetzin Kanievsky.

In March, someone packed a car with 100 kilos of explosives and parked it at the CineMall in Haifa. It was parked hear a supporting pillar. Had it exploded, not only would it have destroyed that pillar, but other cars in the lot would have caught fire causing the gas tanks to explode. In that very popular mall, the consequences would have been too horrendously tragic to contemplate.

The explosion did not happen. A passerby spotted some smoke coming from the car and alerted the police whose sappers were able to come and defuse the explosives.

Even Ehud Olmert recognized this was a miracle, although he attributed it to the alertness of civilians.

Here's what really happened:

Several weeks before this event, a girl in Haifa who had been sick and went for tests was told she had stomach cancer. The tumor was so big, and had metastasized, and there was nothing the doctors could do. They told her to go home for her final weeks.

This non-religious girl and her non-religious parents pleaded with the doctors to try. They begged them at least to make an effort. The doctors finally agreed and told her to come back the next day for surgery.

She was assigned a young, inexperienced surgeon. They felt it would be good practice for him, and since there was nothing that could help her, it didn't really matter.

The night before the surgery, this non-religious girl pleaded with Hashem. She said to him, "HaKadosh Boruch Hu, when we had the Bais HaMikdosh people could bring you korbanos to plead their case. Now we have no Kohanim, we have no Bais HaMikdosh. But I still want to bring you a korban."

She went to her closet and took out all her immodest clothing and took it out to the yard and burned them. As the her clothes went up in flames, she cried out, "This is my korban."

The next day this girl went to the hospital in her nightgown. She had burned her entire wardrobe and this was all she had left. She had the surgery. The giant tumor had not metastisized, as was previously believed. It was totally contained. It was easily removed. And it was benign.

She told all her non-religious friends about the miracle. When the girl had recovered enough to get out of bed, her friends brought over all their immodest clothing and made another fire.

Left with nothing to wear, the girls needed new clothes. When that bomb was supposed to explode at the CineMall, these girls were inside buying themselves new, modest clothing.

A miracle that a civilian saw some smoke? Or a reward for tznius?

Now instead of ranting at the idiocy of the above story, I'm only going to post some discrepancies a friend and I found and sent back and forth in email. There are more, but you can do the rest yourself.

Okay you know this was made up, right? Because of course Reb Kanievsky spoke to the girl and knew exactly why she was in the mall. Oh, and were all the friends there in their nightgowns too?

Yes, I know that email was made up. I mean, have you, or anyone you know been told, "I'm sorry, your cancer is too advanced, we'll give you the young, inexperienced surgeon to practice on you?" I haven't. And if this girl was takkeh left with no clothing bec they were all untznius, does she sound like the type to have a tznius nightgown??? Still puke-worthy. Just because you stick in the part about her cancer, all of a sudden, we're all supposed to tzitter.

It just makes me nauseous how people make up stuff like this and then go and repeat it and think that we're supposed to like do teshuva over it etc and then the worst part are those girls that actually forward it because they DO believe it and they get all inspired and emotional lol.

And lol about the part about her owning a tzniyus nightgown- I didn't even think about that but really duh- im FRUM and I didn't own a tzniyus nightgown until i got married. *rolls eyes*

Yuck, cant stop thinking about that story, its like a bad Yair Weinstock book.

Yeah, I thought of another problem in the story- SINCE WHEN can you find tzniyus clothing in ISRAELI MALLS??? They should have been in Geula. Plus a bomb scare in Geula would have been a much better story anyway.

The whole story makes me queasy so I won't dwell on it any longer. Also, I didn't verify that Reb. Kanievsky really said the above- I'm just reprinting it the way me, and the 600 other girls on this friend's contact list got it. I doubt any of them verified the origin of this story either so I'm not going to feel too bad. Also, I don't even believe Reb. Kanievsky said such a story. But I'll leave that for you to decide.

Let me tell you what the WORST part of this whole thing is.

THIS is why I grew up with such an attitude.

When a girl sits for fifteen years in a school system where stories like THIS are the bulk of the "inspiration" her teachers pump into her for life- what is she supposed to turn out like?

This is utter fantasy. Supersized garbage. Bombs, explosions, promises to G-d, hidden spyware and teenage heroes. Oh, and of course the requisite ba'al teshuva aspect.

Where's the real inspiration?

I grew up hearing this stuff in class thinking "This is all nice and well for the people G-d loves and shows such wonderful open miracles to. Maybe Hashem doesn't love me as much and that's why He doesn't send such inspiring incidents my way?"

I'm almost tempted to say that when I was diagnosed with cancer I jumped off the doctor's table and did a happy dance because I just KNEW this proved G-d loved me and that now I was finally going to see open nissim.

I would say that, but firstly it's not true and second, if I did say that I'd be just as bad as the teachers I couldn't stand.

Where are the real stories? Like the kid who was nice to the retarded girl in her class that smelled.

My favorite sample of real inspiration comes from the book "Dovid Meyer" that I read growing up. It's the part where Dovid Mayer, an au pair for a non-religious family, ties his gartel (belt) to the baby's bassinet and the baby falls asleep to his singing and rocks along with his shuckeling as he learns a blatt of gemara.

Where are the simple, real stories that people can identify with?

Stories like the one in that email are big mistakes. We're desensitizing our kids from recognizing the real inspiration in their own lives. I want my children to grow up feeling that Hashem is with them EACH DAY. Not just in Haifa at bomb sights while He's rewarding some girl for throwing away her clothing.

I'm too worked up to even write more rationally. I think everyone gets the point.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


This poem MUST remain a state secret for a while so don't tell anyone you saw it here- my niece is using it for a school assignment under her name but I was so excited with it that I just wanted to post it already. So just don't let anyone find out that she paid me to write it for her. :-)

Growing up I felt alone,
Had nowhere I felt right.
My friends were always noticed,
While I stood just out of sight.

They seemed to have it perfect
Knowing just what to do and say
Easy smiles, the right clothes,
They were accepted right away

So for a while I copied
Made sure to dress the same way too
Had the matching designer bags
And the perfect pair of shoes

The clothes didn’t seem to cut it
Even the compliments seemed fake
So I went back to my observing
And looked for another take

And then I cut my hair like they did
Laughed at the jokes I didn’t quite get
They laughed along and liked the hairstyle
But I didn’t fit just yet

And as much as I kept trying
To copy every expression on their faces
I never felt like I was me,
I was pieces in a thousand places

Then one day I woke up tired
Was so discouraged I could cry
I put my hair into a good old ponytail
And gave my own self a try.

That day at lunch I admitted
That those shoes pinched my toes
I laughed a real laugh then
When all I heard were a bunch of “I know’s!”

Slowly I stopped worrying
And stopped copying what they bought
Figured it was time to find out who I was
Without worrying what they thought

Funny thing happened then
As I started to make the shift
I became noticed more
Wasn’t lost now in the drift.

I guess when I was like them
I was just another face in the crowd
With those matching perfect shoes and bag
Nothing different to make me stand out

But now my hair is longer,
Pulled back into place
It’s not the raging style
But it looks good on my face

And my friends really accept me
For whom I am and what I have
They like me for what’s inside me
(Although I still love that designer bag!)

It was hard to make that realization
That I had to break away
Stop doing things just to be like them
And figure out my own way

But after all is said and done
It’s easy enough to see
That while it’s wonderful to feel accepted,
It feels better to feel like me.