The Best Motto

Gd, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannon change
Courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

You woke up this morning - Congratulations! You got another chance!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


In a strange fit of galactic irony, this year we had 2 Veterans' Days – one calendar one, which fell on Sunday, necessitating the second one on Monday – so that government employees were not deprived of one of their days off, and the good people of the United States of America were not deprived of their proper shopping experience.

Of course, if you cared to take a look at the general situation in the country, Veterans had absolutely nothing to celebrate: the re-election of Comrade Barack Hussein Obama, or Barry Soetoro, or whatever the hell his real name is, almost certainly guaranteed the complete gutting and demoralization of our current military; continued senseless slaughter of our troops in Afghanistan; and, last, but not least, the severe cuts in benefits to all the vets.

So, all I could say in my head on those two days was : I am sorry.

I am sorry for the election results.

I am sorry for the deplorable state of the country you risk your life and limb to defend.

I am sorry for the unending assault on you from the general media.

I am sorry I can't even send you care packages for Thanksgiving because I am unemployed and broke.

But please know this: there are a lot of us for whom your dedication to the United States and the Constitution is beyond appreciated. You are in our thoughts and prayers constantly – and that is never said as a tired cliché.

This grateful American, who survived communist hell, salutes you!

Sunday, December 09, 2012


One fine June Sunday yours truly was suffering from the typical New York June humidity and psyching herself (unsuccessfully) to do something more productive than suffer from humidity, drink cold tea, or play Farmville. So, while my computer was traveling from one farm to another, my eyes wandered to a pile of papers on my desk that I had a vague recollection I had to do something about. I quickly skimmed through them to make sure my gas would not be turned off for being a dodo bird and forgetting to pay the bill, and here it was: the Bar Mitzva invitation I had specifically stuck in this pile in order not to forget my promised attendance.

And hence I was presented with the usual dilemma: should I keep my word and attend (once I promised I would), or forget about the whole thing, make sure all my crops were harvested, and catch the latest episode of The Glades. After about five minutes of serious deliberations I remembered why I promised to attend to begin with: aside from the fact that the mother of the Bar Mitzva boy was a nice person (even if for whatever reason she annoyed me in high school), and I was supposed to represent the clan as Beloved Sibling is currently residing in The Holy Land; the main pro argument, though, was the proximity of the celebration hall (which is within walking distance from my humble abode). So, I reasoned, if somebody would royally annoy me, I could just slip away and walk home.

Thus decided, I duly applied the war paint to my face (with the end result resembling a fat and curly Morticia Adams), put on my Shabat clothes ( they were light, 100% cotton, and NOT black) – I don't care what the current fashion dictates – the need to breath outweighs almost everything else; and finished the ensemble with my 3 buck shiny flip-flops (which matched the flowers on my skirt perfectly). After that I dug out my Vera Bradley evening bag, which, while being cute, does not really match any outfit I have – but is roomy enough to pack a paperback; the said paperback was duly packed, and I trotted off the celebration hall.

Due to years coming on time to various celebrations and then feeling like an idiot for doing so, I ended up timing my arrival perfectly – it was pretty late, and everyone was taking their places by the tables. As expected, I was seated with a bunch of former classmates – but this particular bunch was not from “oh, joy” category, so, it was not so bad. Of course, aside from somewhat flamboyant mother of the Bar Mitzvah boy, I was the only one not in black. The general conversation went over my head, as usual, but, to be fair, “girls” tried to occasionally include me in it – and I did end up catching up on a lot of mundane news and even managed to have a half-decent conversation with the “girl” seated next to me. The food was also pretty edible, plus I was saved the necessity of standing in front of the stove during such wonderful day. Dancing I decided to skip, because a) it was pretty boring, and b) I value the health of my feet too much for that. Of course, to cap off a pretty normal, if somewhat mundane, evening, in the end I had to run into a friend's husband who wanted to know, in the best “Flatbush” tradition, “what I was doing there” - the said question always reminding me that not really belonging to this glorious community is not a figment of my loner's imagination – I really don't belong.

So, basically, the evening was not as painful as those things usually are for me, the paperback was not really needed, I got fed, and even caught up with all schoolmates without too much effort on my part. But it also made me realize, once again, that people lost (or never had) the art of truly celebrating, because something is always missing in those events – something that makes it not worth my while to get dressed and put the war paint on. Ah, well, maybe it's just me.

Friday, December 07, 2012


As is traditional on this blog for the past couple of years, I would like to wish all my brothers and sisters a Shana Tova somewhere around Rosh Chodesh Kislev – well, definitely before we celebrate Chanukah.

So, to all the members of our tribes, regardless of your religious affiliation, or the acknowledgment of belonging to our tribes, or even the realization that you actually do belong – I wish all of you a good, sweet, healthy, happy, prosperous, and blessed year.

I don't know if all of us prayed well enough these past High Holidays, or, if, using a non-kosher reference, we have been “very naughty” these past couple of years, but so far this year is shaping to be, well, challenging. To be truthful, we are in grave peril. Every single anti-Semitic force on Earth that ever existed is rearing its ugly head once again, but, most horrifying of all, our own so-caller leaders, both religious and secular, are, to paraphrase Caroline Glick, are like dogs. They are petty, cowardly, concerned with idiocy, and completely unable to lead. Aside from incompetent and ignorant leaders, we have way too many non-leaders in our midst that either forgot what being a Jew truly means – or, worse, are simply not happy to be one. I know that by this time it sounds like a well-worn platitude, but we really need to try our best to be the best Jews we could be – and pray; pray hard and from the heart.

On the light note: yours truly did her usual by making sure to come to services early on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, but slept through the ones on Succot.

And – drum roll please – here comes the fashion report:

Beau Brummel can rest peacefully – the good matrons of South Brooklyn and their daughters continue to favor black in all its ugly, ehr, elegant permutations. And, sadly, this year, neither the flowers nor the feathers of small birds were in vogue as hair ornaments – so, goth couture all around. Yours truly, being her usual stubborn Jewish self, broke the mold with green, yellow, and pink (not all at the same time, though). There were other iconoclasts in the congregation (about half a minyan worth), who showed up dressed in violet, peach, blue, and – gasp – light gray/lavender leather. What can I tell you – it was an interesting fashion show.

And last, but not least, as always, my friends shared their delicious holiday meals. And, sadly, but not unexpectedly, I got to listen to a ton of idiocy coming out of the mouths of other guests. Here, in no particular order, is a partial list of the more salient points.

The reason the eat fish on Rosh Hashona is because fish is the only one member of animal world who procreates completely without touching – since when did we acquire such Muslim or Catholic aversion to sex?

The judgment on Rosh Hashona happens before Musaf, so, a special Chassidish Rav takes 4 hours to say the morning Shemona Esre – how?

I am Russian,my roots are there, and I should be proud of this heritage – with all due respect and admiration, go to the warm basement.

Another time a guest gave the host exact instructions as how to make kiddish for his (guest's) progeny and how to serve them grape juicy – no comment.

Of course, the best was when another guest at my friend's house pointed at me and asked our hostess “who is this?”; then proceeded to discuss and debate diets and healthy foods with another couple present at the meal. And if that was not fun enough, the discussion proceeded with the visiting husband extolling the virtues of Moscow, mocking my beloved country, deriding me for my patriotism, and reacting with snide bewilderment to my profound hate for the step-mama country.

Basically, Holidays were great, but tainted with the ignorance that, unfortunately, is very prevalent in our circles, and is, in my humble opinion, one of the root causes of most of our problems.

So, here is to a, hopefully, good and sweet year filled with true Achavat Chinam and working Jewish brains.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Once again, I did not get a chance to acknowledge all the recent Holidays, so, here are my belated “Happy Holidays” and some random remarks.

As long as I celebrated Purim, I always loved that day – precisely for what it represents and what we are celebrating. Of course, in our illustrious neighbourhood, people usually tend to forget the forest for the trees – and the rush to outperform each other in the Misheloach Manot department usually overshadows everything else. Plus, this was the first Purim without munchkins – so, the celebratory spirit was slightly on the thin side. Also, due to slight monetary constrains, I decided to honour the spirit of the holiday by spending whatever money I could on the gifts for the poor and giving only one Misheloach Manot – to my mom. This year, I sort of wanted to get a costume, but by the time I figured out whom I wanted to be (a witch, of course), it was a bit late in the game. On the plus side, a good acquaintance from Riverdale invited me for the festive meal, and, as The Bronx community is much more chilled than ours, I ended up having a smashing time – even surrounded by liberals. Of course, Americans can not drink properly – as was demonstrated again by that particular feast. By the time I was ready to leave, the hostess observed that only 6 bottles of wine were consumed! Later that evening, while summarizing the whole thing on facebook, she came to the realization that the whole 10 bottles were empty – after 30 guests (at which point she thought that that was a sufficient alcohol consumption)! My American born and raised Jewish brothers and sisters – you have absolutely no knowledge of what true drinking entails!

Which brings me to Pesach, during which the absence of munchkins was present as well, but, all in all, I had a nice Holiday and enjoyed the overpriced poor bread – otherwise known as matza. Also remembered why and what we celebrate.

Which brings me to Shavuot, during which the absence of munchkins was felt too. Also, that is usually the time we start turning on the air conditioning – and this time there was no exceptions (sigh). I love Shavuot, but the three H weather is not usually conducive to deep thoughts and introspections. None the less, it was a time of great celebration.

On Purim I made the requisite visits to schul – and this time did not manage to avoid The Head Yenta. On Pesach and Shavuot the will was there – but the body was not willing, so, ended up missing Birkat Cohanim, for a change.

On the side note: people always claim that they get cold just by looking at my flip flops in October (and beyond); by the same token, I get hot just by looking at our esteemed matrons and maidens, dressed all (or mostly) in black garments, usually constructed from non-breathable materials.

And now – a little note from my grouchy side. I love my friends; I enjoy their company and I am always very grateful to all of them for their hospitality and delicious meals. But (a tiny fly in the ointment) there is usually at least one guest at every meal whose extreme intellectual abilities, wide and varied educational background, and solid political views give me indigestion and make my head pound and my blood boil. Having attained certain maturity, I came to the conclusion that arguing with idiots is a total waste of breath, time, and energy – but sometimes I simply can't listen to all the nonsense uttered and not roll my eyes.

This particular Holiday season was, unfortunately, not an exception. Below is a short list of brilliant things I have heard this time around (hopefully, I will write rebuttals to at least some of those):

As I learned American history in Russia, I am not qualified to offer my opinion on that particular subject.

We need affirmative actions today because we used to have slavery.

The high rate of anti-Semitism amongst the blacks is very surprising.

99.9% of Americans believe that Obama is a great orator.

Israel needs to be soft on Arabs since it is fighting the war of public opinion.

Obama is willing to give federal support to the Jewish schools; Romney would only give it to the Protestant ones.

Christians taught Muslims blood libels; our esteemed cousins could not possible arrive at those on their own.

England had no right to exist as a country.

Secular anti-Semites are baffled by our community: here is a collection of smart, educated, worldly people, so the presence of religious believes in not clear.

We (the current wave or Russian Jewish immigrants) are here due to the tireless efforts of Mikhail Gorbachev.

We needed the internet asifa.

There is no American exceptionalism.

I am sure there was much more, but my brain blessedly blocked it from my memory.

Aside from that (and the absence of munchkins), I had a wonderful and pretty meaningful Holiday season.

Monday, August 20, 2012


Previously, on Barb's World the following took place:

(Part 2)

Aside from becoming a part of the unemployment statistics, a few other things happened to me in that time gap of non-blogging, the most notable of which was my 2010 Birthday.

Drum roll please! Here comes a huge confession! OK, enough with the drum roll – I turned 40 in 2010.

Here is a little known fact about me: I was, of course, named in the Jewish tradition – after a relative; only usually the relatives we are named after are at least one generation removed – unless that name is a “special” case. Well, my name was. I was named after my father's younger sister - who died from hunger in infancy during WWII.

Now, when I was young(er), “old people”, especially women, always claimed that at a certain point birthdays cease being fun or something to look forward to – or to celebrate. I can definitely attest to this fact...Not that I don't enjoy birthdays once they come, but I definitely stopped looking forward to them. And on this one I kept thinking about a particular novel by Lisa Kleypas. Amanda from Suddenly You had a bit in common with your humble servant; not only this, but I was tempted to do something on the par with the crazy thing she did for her thirtieth birthday (which, in Victorian times, equaled 40 in ours, I guess)...alas, things that happen in novels we read to escape the real life rarely, if ever, happen in real life; that is why we read those books.

Not only was I not especially looking forward to that Birthday, but by the time it came, I was slightly approaching comatose state – due mostly to the happenings described in the previous chapter. I did not even get myself a customary “Happy Birthday To Me” present. Never the less, my family, as always, tried to make it as special as possible. My mom sort of took care of it on Shabat, and my sister and brother-in-law took me out for a fantastic meal at La Marais (which happens to be a smashing stake house). We were later joined by a dear friend of the family and his wife; my mom graciously baby set the munchkins (as traveling to Manhattan is not a lot of fun for her), and I got to break out my new evening bag from Vera Bradley (purchased, of course, on e-bay). My dad and Baby Bro, being stoic men, offered me heart-felt congratulations, and gave sweet, from the heart, gifts. All in all, it was a good birthday, even if without much bang (which, frankly, I did not want at all).

Now, when you reach a certain age, you are (hopefully), at that level of maturity when you feel you learned something from life – and where (sometimes) you feel the need to start dispensing unsolicited advice to young whipper-snappers.

I don't feel like dispensing any kind of advise – solicited or otherwise – but here are some things (in no particular order), which I think I realized with approaching years.

Your parents are always right. You still feel the need to make your own mistakes and listen only to your experiences and your gut, but something in them – love, intuition, prophetic knowledge, greater wisdom (who the heck knows) – will always see the best path for you.

Loving family is paramount to happiness – plain and simple.

Energy level does decrease; it creeps up pretty stealthily, and you don't notice it right away - but all of a sudden you feel more like staying at home in your pjs then getting dressed and doing something fun outside. On top of that comes realization that you can't sustain yourself on 4 hours of sleep anymore, the way you did in college and long after.

Body very slowly, but very surely, also begins to go south. The more you look in the mirror, the more lines you see on your face (and somehow breakouts still happen!). Every time you get a haircut, you notice more gray hairs. Joints begin to creak. All the small injuries that you forgot about in your twenties and thirties all of the sudden start reminding about themselves oh so quietly. And one day you realize that your vision may not be 20/20 anymore.

You begin to realize that when “old people” were talking about good health as a greatest of blessings, they weren't talking nonsense.

Friends are really important. Good acquaintances are nice and needed as well, but real friends – people who would be there for you no matter what – you really, really need them. And once you get one true, fantastic friend – fight tooth and nail in order to preserve that friendship.

I don't think anyone reached my age and did not experience at least one major disaster in their lives; for me those were my parents' break up, my mother's cancer, and 9/11 – and some less major, but not less painful things. Also, through no fault of my own, I lost some important components in my life – and even though I never loose hope of regaining those intangible components, in my darker moments I become afraid that I never will.

Men are not the enemy. They are annoying, exasperating, selfish, obtuse...believe me, the list of adjectives is long. But Mr. Darcy does exist – even today; you just have to wade through a lot of Whickams, Collinses, and even Bingleys before you find him. The results are not guaranteed – but without mutual love and respect there is no happy marriage.

Being a woman is a blessing and a curse. It is (and probably always will be) a man's world – despite the suffragettes, feminists, and the natural progression of the Western Civilization. We feel more – and much deeper; care more; take on way more responsibilities; and are way more vulnerable – both emotionally and physically. But we do have the ability and the power to bring love, kindness, and caring into the world – under any circumstances.

Children are the biggest blessing in life there is. Long time ago, in my salad days, I attended a lecture about different levels of happiness that a human being can attain in this world. Being able to imitate The Almighty – creating something – is one of the highest levels; but no other attempt at creation even begins to approach the creation of a child! And nothing on this Earth equals a moment when a child smiles at you, looks at you with an unreserved love, and hugs you with his or her tiny, pudgy arms. And every time you listen to them, you get to remember and partially re-experience the exuberance only they have for exploring the world – and the innocence with which they see it.

I am sure there are many more things I have learned – just can't remember them now. The important thing in life is to take whatever you have learned so far and build up on it towards the general fulfillment and happiness. But, in the best Jewish tradition, I can't just look forward – I have to constantly look behind and analyze everything again and again.

Everyone who knows me personally can vouch for the fact that I am a confirmed non-conformist – pun not intended. But very few, if any, know that that does not steam from my need to defy authority – I just want to lead my life according to my own logic, and not the norm accepted by the mediocrity at large. All the seemingly crazy things I do come from that – and sometimes from the desire to observe Burke's famous uttering.

Long time ago, in college, at one of the psych classes taught by the prof that I hated and everyone else loved, we had a discussion about compromises as opposed to staying true to one's conscience. My naive self claimed that by not compromising your principles you get to sleep at night – to which the esteemed educator responded that at that particular course a person usually ends up sleeping on the bench. And everyone in that particular group agreed!

Irony of ironies – I tried to lead my life opposite to that cynical remarks; but sometimes I think that if not for my family, Gd bless them, few times in my life I would have ended sleeping on the park bench. So, the introspection and the soul searching go on.

Back to the origin of my name. A few years ago, couple of well-meaning relatives who enjoy dabbling in Kabalah, told my mom that I should change my name or add to it – because my poor aunt, who never really had a chance at life, is jealous of me – and that explains the present (not completely satisfactory) state of my life.

Now, being a stubborn mule (see above), I categorically refused to play with my name – and not only because I personally believe that our parents don't just name us – it does come to them in a certain prophetic way. You see, knowing my father's family, I am firmly convinced that she is not jealous; but sometimes I am afraid that I don't really give that much luster to the name.

So, here I am – armed with my Jewish stiff neck and (hopefully) some acquired knowledge and wisdom, I am hopefull that I will yet make her proud of me. Happy UnBirthday!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Emma Shapplin - Spente le Stelle


My Dearest Eh,

Because of the circumstances beyond my control, this is the first of your birthdays (and hopefully last) that we are spending apart. But being apart from you only made me think once again of all the things that make me love you so much.

We met when you were about fifteen minutes old. The delivery room only allows so many extras inside, so, while you were born, I ended up in a little visitors lounge trying to calm down your grandfather - who was making valiant attempts at making huge holes in the cheep floors of that lounge.

Your mommy didn't want to know in advance if she was having a little boy or a little girl, so, while you were swimming inside of her, you were just “Baby” - that is, till the first sonogram; at which point my dear sister declared that “Baby” looked like a little alien – and the moniker stuck. So, you were “Alien”, and then, being a real American, your mommy shortened it to “Alie”; she also claimed that the sound of your heartbeat was her favorite techno music. Meanwhile, your aunt (I), who always enjoyed escaping into her daydreams, for some reason kept imagining that Alie would be a little girl, and that both of us would become wonderful friends.

So, after that tiny scare that you gave us upon your arrival, your Aba came into that room and told us “It's a girl”; you can't begin to imagine the joy and relief those simple words brought to us. We all crowded into your mommy's room to meet the newest member of our family. My sister looked exhausted – and transformed by happiness. In her arms she cradled a tiny bundle; my first words were “ Oh, my Gd! That's Alie?” You looked red and wrinkled – in the best traditions of all newborn. You were sucking your whole fist, and your smart, beautiful eyes kept looking at all the people around you. And all the people in the room were forever transformed.

We ended up spending a lot of time together. I was your first official babysitter – the most neurotic one you ever had (so far). I made sure you were always very clean – and did your laundry with almost fanatical precision. I made sure to circulate all your outfits – and took at least one picture in each one. I had the precise inventory of all your toys in my head. I cleaned and emptied your stroller after every excursion outside. Sometimes I took you to Dr. Sima – and believe me, all those shots hurt me as much as they did you. You officially became a New Yorker when you took your first subway ride – and your dear aunt discovered the exact percentage of jerks riding that subway. Also thanks to me, you had your first brush with jury duty (but that is a separate story).

Even after I got an “official” job, I made sure to spend as much time with your as possible. You were an ideal baby – good tempered and extremely friendly; you used to smile at anything remotely resembling a human shape. You were not an exceptionally fussy eater (although you refused to drink formula under any circumstances).

It was you who first called me “Papi”.

After you got a bit bigger, we began to explore the city. Your MacLaren Techno saw more subway cars than any tourist. We went everywhere – The Met, Central Park, FAO Schwartz, Times Square, Toys R Us in Times Square, Upper West Side, Upper East Side, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Columbus Circle, Borders, Banes and Noble - needless to say, the list is pretty extensive. Most notable among them was Dylan's Candy Shoppe – in whose subbasement you took your first unaided steps!! Those steps were duly witnessed by your mommy, your Papi, largish number of tourists, and half the floor of Dylan's overpriced, but fantastic merchandise.

It was on those trips when your presence literally saved me. You see, after surviving 9/11 and the year following it, Lower Manhattan was something that brought tears and an overwhelming desire to avoid it as much as possible. But when I started roaming with you, all of the sudden it was OK to go to Battery Park City. That park became our favorite destination. Your company in WFC, by the Famous Bull statue, in Whitehall – it just leached away pain. I saw you running in Winter Garden, dressed in your snappy pink outfit from Gymboree and waiving a piece of pastry – and the horrific picture of that place lying in did not bother me as much. Gd willing, when you get older, I hope you will understand just how incredibly special that was; how incredibly special you are, my Eh.

Because, you see, that is not all. When you were born, we didn't just get a beloved daughter, granddaughter, and niece – you were the first member of your mommy's family to be born on American soil; to be born free. Your ancestors survived it all – virulent anti-Semitism, Muslim and Christian persecutions, Communists, Nazis, Holocaust...When you started attending Jewish school – it was beyond triumph for our family. And when you excelled in your studies, especially Judaic Studies – we were beyond happy tears. That is how special you and your younger siblings are, Eh, – we triumphed over all that hatred and repeated attempts to wipe us out – and we were blessed by the Almighty with you!

You are beautiful inside and out. You clearly inherited your mommy's musical and artistic talents – with Gd help, you will grow to nurture these talents. You are smart and kind – and you clearly inherited our family's “love” for homework. You are a great older sister – although you don't always appreciate your siblings:).

May The Heavenly Father continue to protect you, your siblings, and your parents; and may He always bestow His blessings on us all!

Happy Birthday!

I love your curly, fluffy head,

Your Papi.

Monday, May 14, 2012


Previously, on Barb's World the following took place:
(Part 1)

I lost my job. I would love to say that my old company was a victim of current economic climate, and that would not be a lie – just not a complete truth. Our Upper Management, in the best traditions of Idiot Bosses, basically drove the company into the ground.

True, the work for architects was not lying on the ground (no pun intended), but we were an old, established firm with good reputation for doing what we were doing. Unfortunately, as it turned out, the majority of Upper Echelon were not architects, and as such did not, according to my Big Boss, understand the unique financial pitfalls facing architects. So, they were spending money hand over fist, claiming that the turbulence on Wall Street will not touch them in Columbus, Ohio – and I am not joking or making this one up. After embarking on this particularly brilliant course, they lost a huge project with a major client – namely, Ohio State University. Now, the prudent course would have been to cut your losses, collect whatever money you could, and try to move on, mentally cursing the cantankerous client (I was not privy to the details, and as such can not really offer an opinion on who was the real wronged party in this situation – not that it really matters). Apparently, prudence (never mind logic) were not in the vocabulary of our Big Cheeses. So, they decided to sue the above-mentioned major client, and, in the course of pretty lengthy law suit, they also managed to stage periodic coup d'etats, during one of which our corporation lost a CEO (and ended up without one for about nine months).

Now, imagine for a minute that you are a hospital, or a major laboratory. You need to do serious renovations on one or more of your buildings, or build a brand new building. You put out official advertisements and are going through a bunch of colorful proposals submitted by major firms specializing in this kind of thing. A particular proposal catches your interest, and you decide to further investigate the company and determine if they are as good as they look on paper. Low and behold, simple Google search will produce a multiple hits, the first of which will state that the firm is currently in the middle of the law suit with a former major client, and the second hit will tell you the they currently have no CEO, and did not have one for quite a while (the order might be reversed, and you see the CEO business first, and the law suit thing second). After imagining this particular scenario, would you honestly tell me that you would hire this company (despite their long history of solid work)? Yea, it was clear for simple folks like you and me, and my co-workers, but not clear for the Upper Echelons of Stupidity, who kept excitedly announcing that we were short-listed for a project, and then dejectedly add a week or so later that the other firm got the job.

Obviously, such state of affairs could not go on indefinitely, as much fun as it was to observe. So, one fine morning yours truly was called into a meeting with Big Boss and his Right Hand. During this memorable powwow I was informed that I would be getting a pink slip in a few weeks – on Erev Rosh Hashana, of all days. Understandably, these tidings did not cheer me up; but, as this job was beginning to get to me, and I could not find anything else (this time thanks to the current regime), I pacified myself with the idea of couple of months' worth of stay-cation. Ha, if only that would be the case!

To make a very long and pretty painful story shorter – I ended up working a few months beyond the original plan at the reduced hours; in the process, we had to deal for a month without the internet connection; move to the smaller office for a month and a half; clean our office out of 30+years worth of accumulated garbage (thank the Good Lord I was not an architect, so I did not have to do much); put up with short tempers and temper tantrums of our remaining bosses, share desks, a phone (singular), and computers, etc, etc, etc. Towards the end, our most popular refrain was “when are getting fired already?” On top of all other delights, on the last week of December we were hit with a respectable-sized snow storm, so we were closed on Monday and Tuesday.

Thursday morning started slow ( as usual); in the afternoon, the three remaining architects departed to job sites (and holiday parties), so the marketing coordinator and yours truly were left to guard our pathetic domain (with no clear plan of workday in site). We were in the middle of schmoozing and exchanging opinions on the burning topics of pop culture when I noticed a new e-mail popping up. It was from our Chief Council (who at that point was almost officially running the firm) with ccs to everyone of importance still left in the company. In it I was informed that my last day of employment, as anticipated, would be December 31; I was further commanded to co-ordinate the transfer of all projects and files I was responsible for, and was threatened with denial of severance payment in the event of non-cooperation.

Now, try to visualize this tableau for a second: it is 3:30 pm on December 30th; office is deserted aside from the two of us; and on December 31 we are officially closed; everyone knew that we would eventually get our pink slips, but nobody was aware of the time table...and now this luminary of jurisprudence was threatening me with the loss of severance payment that was promised to me only by the grace and persistence of our Big Boss and consisted of (are you ready?) of exactly one weekly paycheck. Of course I was tempted to use coarse language and tell her to go boil her head – and cc to everyone of importance still left in the company. But, as I lamented many times before, it is hard to live with my parents' upbringing; plus, “Miss Dickinson is a conscientious nurse”, and she likes to leave her desk tidy. Never the less, I got a bit of bile out of my system by pointing out to her (and to everyone of importance still left in the company) that I am a literal person and not a mind-reader, and would have appreciated at least a day, and not 2 hours of warning, especially in the face of snowstorm and the end of the year – with which I deliberately congratulated her (because she decided not to overburden her correspondence with such niceties).

Next week, I came into office for 4 more hours due to the above-mentioned reasons. The Right Hand, who, all in all, was a pretty decent dude, profusely apologized for the stupidity of the higher ups in Ohio and tried to get some kind of monetary compensation for those dratted 4 hours. I accepted his apology simply because it was not his fault; the compensation never materialized (which I am sure was not his fault either). I brought them donuts (because a cake would have been silly for 4 people); we hugged and promised to try and keep in touch (the usual promise that nobody usually intends to keep); and thusly that four-and-a half-year chapter of my life was closed; and I officially became a part of statistic.  

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Hello, Dear Readers!

Yes, I know, it has been quite a while since a new post graced those pages (or whatever phrase you want to use). I got a rather lengthy explanation for a very lengthy absence which, hopefully, will follow shortly, but for now I would like to continue the not such a great tradition of this blog and wish everyone a very, very belated, but most definitely sincere Shana Tova (hey, the year is only half over). I also hope that everyone had a fantastic and meaningful Yom Kipur, and that He was merciful and inscribed and sealed all of us in the Book of Life. Furthermore, I hope that Succot rocked for everyone, and that Tu'BeShevat was more than fruit munching (and I really hope nobody tried to eat boxer this year).

Jokes aside, it is my fervent hope and wish that all my Jewish brothers and sisters have a fantastic year filled with health, happiness, wonderful livelihood, protection from our enemies, and, most importantly, the realization that our petty, idiotic differences do not matter, that we are strong and prosperous only when we are united in love for each other.