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A web page fit for The King.



Updated: 2017-09-20T12:01:54.429-04:00

 



4 Comments

2011-09-18T18:17:41.551-04:00


Sometimes
The greatest distance
you can traverse
is from one side of a door
to the other.
(image)



An Ice Cream Dream

2011-09-06T12:07:54.673-04:00

Last night
you wandered through
my dream -
licking ice cream,
looking young.

I couldn't touch you
make you stay
but finally I knew
you weren't really
...gone...
(image)



Snacktime Musings

2011-05-02T19:59:29.410-04:00

Humanity is like a bag of pistachios.
Some are so open that all their insides just jump out at you.
Many are tough, but you can find a little crack, and if you work at it they'll open up.
Some are just too closed to even get a fingernail in.
A few are just empty shells.

But anyway, in the end they're all just a bunch of nuts.
(image)



Thawing

2011-02-13T15:11:13.578-05:00

The little girl of six or seven trotted jauntily alongside a stroller and a mom, proudly bearing aloft a small bouquet of purple flowers for Shabbos. She turned her sunny face toward mine for the briefest moment and lit up my day.

It's midday on Erev Shabbos and the streets are teeming with young ones coming home from school, people of all sizes running errands, so busy with much to do yet simultaneously beginning to relax because the week is ending and Shabbos is coming. The snow and ice are finally melting and I suddenly realize that Brooklyn is much more likeable on foot, in the sun, when people have faces and aren't just huddled projectiles dashing in front of my car.

The little girl's smile is still in my heart for the next few blocks and it seems like all is right with the world. As I near my destination I am nearly hit head-on by a young woman intent on her smartphone. Somehow it seems she is missing the point. I ascend into the subway as she exits into a vibrant world she will probably never see. Maybe someone will bring her purple flowers for Shabbos, too.
(image)



Just thought you should know...

2011-02-08T12:50:37.512-05:00

I have NOT disappeared from the blogosphere. I have my favorite regulars on Google Reader and still click links to my favorite occasional reads too. I have even had some comments in mind.

However, for some reason Blogger is being nasty to me and I run into problems every time I try to post a comment. Maybe one day I'll find the time and patience to figure it out, but meanwhile once I get a fail or two I just decide my comment wasn't that important anyway.

Just wanted to let the bloggers among my readers (you still there???) know that I haven't abandoned you. I am reading and appreciating your posts and just not saying anything.

But while I'm at it, I'll toss a link to two of my most promising new finds:
Soul Comfort
Inspire Yourself
Thanks for the reads! Sorry for the lack of comments, I've been following you both for a while!
(image)



My new excuse

2010-12-26T02:41:52.776-05:00

With apologies for the poor inexcusably awful image editing, I introduce you to the newest member of the Bas~Melech family:

(Just because she happens to be a girl doesn't mean she has to be associated with a sissy book instead of a perfectly awesome one.)

I was also going to honor her in this post with a poem, but of course I composed it on Shabbos and...sigh. So I'll leave you with a motherly muse instead.

To TLP:
In the past, you knew only comfort (I assume...): warmth, nurturing, safety. Now you cry in desperation - you've found a world of hunger, cold, loneliness. I could let you cry a little longer. You won't starve or freeze. Really, you're OK. That's life, you'll get used to it eventually.

But I don't. I couldn't. I run to answer your every whimper, to make sure your needs are met immediately, to comfort you however I can.

Why? I know I can't protect you forever...

Maybe it's to make sure you know the feeling of being cared for in this world, to make sure you know such a thing still exists, so one day when I'm not here for you anymore - or when, despite my efforts, the harshness of the world comes to bite - when you'll be called upon to just believe that Hashem is taking care of you and it's all OK, you'll already know what it means to trust. Remember somewhere deep inside how secure you feel right now; that's where you want to come back to in due time.

It's OK, I'm here, as soon as you start to cry I'm waiting to scoop you into my arms and give you what you want.

(Now that you know that, can you please calm down so I can go back to sleep?)

Love,
Your Mommy

P.S. You are the cutest thing I have ever seen. Ever.
(image)



Forever

2010-11-20T19:23:37.429-05:00

Promise me
you'll never die.
Promise
you'll stay young and strong.
Promise me
we'll be like this
together here
Forever.

And if you won't promise
then hold me tight
we'll close our eyes
imagine strong
and make this moment
last
Forever
instead.(image)



Roadblocked

2010-11-20T19:28:24.810-05:00

If I were the driver
I'd first beep
just to make sure those people up ahead are awake.
Then
I'd get out of the car
to see what's causing the delay.
By now
I'd probably
turn onto the shoulder
back up to the last exit
and take a different route.
If I were the driver.

But today...
I took the bus.
So I get to
sit back
close my eyes
relax for a while
and rely on the driver
to get me
There.(image)



The Greatest Poem

2010-09-15T14:39:27.056-04:00

I am the greatest poet
that you have ever met
because I'm writing this great poem
and it's so good, I bet
it'll wow all of its readers --
O! The prizes it'll get!
And if you don't agree with me
then you'll just have to wait and see
because it isn't finished...
yet.
(image)



Sing

2010-05-13T19:03:22.431-04:00

Sing for me again, Daddy –
Sing Aishes Chayil
while the candles glow warmly
and the challah still steams
though it's already dark by five.

Sing for me again, Daddy –
Sing Mizmor LeDavid
as I dish out the ice cream
and children flit in and out
letting the mosquitoes in, too.

Sing for me again, Daddy –
Sing Unesaneh Tokef
so I can feel safe again
because we've done teshuva, tefilah, tzedakah
and the chazzan is praying for me.

Sing for me again, Daddy –
Sing Chad Gadya
where G-d slaughters the Angel of Death
so you can sing for me again.(image)



Book Review: Invisible Me

2009-11-24T14:55:20.267-05:00

A hearty congrats is due to one of my favorite bloggers, JACP, on becoming a published novelist! While she's been (phenomenally) in print before, this is way different; her first book was a memoir so this is the first time we get to see her creativity and insight in fiction. And I am impressed.

Tzipi has chosen a meaningful, relevant theme, expressed it through a very original content choice, and written it in a style both original and pleasing. Add that to the humor in realism we have come to expect from her, and we have a real winner on our hands.

I don't want to spoil anything for those who haven't yet managed to get their hands on a copy (well, what other excuse would you have for not reading it yet?) so I'll just touch on a couple of points:

While the format (not your typical narrative!) took some getting used to and seemed potentially annoying at first, I ended up applauding that choice. Besides for lending an original character to the book, it keeps the reader moving along at a smooth clip. Between the dialogue, writings, and narrative, you never get that feeling of dragging through the print.

Telling a story through the thoughts of a person with selective mutism is an extremely original and quite ingenious way to examine greater themes of communication and relationships. Very, very clever. However, I'm a trifle concerned that it may be too clever. Not because Tzipi didn't weave her themes well enough, but because I don't trust the majority of the intended audience to appreciate the subtle messages. And although Tzipi has been very careful in her portrayal of selective mutism, the case in point is rather unusual, so I wonder if it mightn't inadvertently deepen misperceptions of the condition. Hopefully I'm just underestimating the depth of the average reader...

Of course, you can't really judge a book until you've reached the end; the entire journey hangs on the point of arrival. Fear not -- the final pages of Invisible Me are both satisfying and definitely un-cliché! The only problem is that it is liable to leave readers shouting "Encore!" So, Tzipi, thanks for the read but I hope your pen is still moving merrily along!(image)



Top Ten Tuesday: BOS To-Dos

2009-11-10T18:37:32.204-05:00

Given the recent spate of blogger engagements and my own wealth of experience, the time has come for me to leave a legacy for all those undergoing, considering, or observing the human-bridosapien species change. Now, if you'll excuse me, it seems I have several items left to complete and running out of time, so...

10. Practice signing with chosson's last name
9. Gaze dreamily into space (qualifies even if not due to preoccupation with wedding plans)
8. Introduce self to mirror as Mrs. Chosson
7. Examine engagement ring from every lighting angle (note: for those who do not wear rings until after the wedding, other jewelry items may be substituted)
6. Doodle monogram designs for wedding invitations
5. Cross off one day on calendar. Calculate how many hours left until chuppah. (computerized aids available for those BoSes too unfocused to perform these operations)
4. Update anyone who will listen (alt: anyone you see) on the nicest thing your chosson did today.
3. Post saccharine messages of love on chosson's facebook page, if applicable (thanks, Babysitter, never would have thought of that on my own ;-) ) For those without facebook, I suppose you will just have to compose sweet, handwritten love letters on flower-scented stationery?
2. Find out chosson's preferences in food, dish patterns, etc. Hire FBI agent if necessary.
1. For the teacher kallahs, life must go on, so don't forget to prepare your kallah classes! See next post for details.(image)



Book Review: 6 Diaries

2009-09-04T04:38:24.811-04:00

Congratulations to Targum on publishing a truly original, meaningful work for the frum audience! 6 Diaries shares the personal accounts of the members of an experimental workshop focusing on issues of modesty. The workshop seems to have been an overwhelmingly good idea; the book -- also monumental, though I felt it had just a bit of room for improvement.
The good news first: The thoughts shared in 6 Diaries are realistic, universal, and successfully touched me to think a little more myself. At the risk of sounding cliche, this book is deep, but in a real-world way. The diaries were fairly easy to read and stylistically quite OK -- I guess they would resonate better with the intended teenaged audience than a nitpicky old English teacher like me. You could call it authentic. I was pleased to note minimal typos.

As I read, I started off making mental notes of powerful lines to quote in this review. But I may as well have just re-typed the book. There is profundity on every page.


The diary entries are presented with the 6 writers in a predictable rotation, which helps the reader keep track of who's writing. The workshop consisted of monthly meetings with writing assignments in between, so the chapters are organized by month. With the exception of a brief introduction to each chapter, we don't really hear the group leader's voice, although her notes to the members are included in the appendix. I would have liked to see them included sequentially with the students' writings; it would improve the flow and help the reader to make the connection between what was going on in the group and the individual diary entries. It would also be nice to have just a bit more detail in the session notes of each meeting; although I understand that the focus of the book is the students' voices, I was left wondering what prompted the changes in their thoughts (brainwashing?!) Perhaps to the same end, future editions might include an appendix or companion booklet of inspirational/informational materials for those readers who might want to step further into the experience but might not know how or where to start.

One more cautionary note: Although the book is thin and easy to read straight through, I don't recommend it. It needs time to be digested. Due to intervening circumstances, I had to read it one half at a time, and I definitely enjoyed it more after the break. The changes in the writers' attitudes did not occur overnight and it's difficult to believe when reading them overnight.

Overall, this book is an excellent addition to the Jewish library and I hope it becomes something of a classic. I think many can gain from reading it, adults and youth alike. Whether or not the reader makes any immediate or lasting changes to their observance, I believe the strongest, most important message is bound to penetrate: Everyone struggles. And it's OK to grow anyway.
(image)



Sharing Simcha -- Part IX

2009-08-24T10:44:52.706-04:00

I took one last walk through the camp, reliving the moments, the friendships, the inspiration that the very ground bore witness to. My heart was stirred and my feet didn't want to leave, but deep inside I knew it was time to move on. I was ready.

And yet...

Regret and envy. The feelings that come forth now, looking back. Regret that there were moments I squandered when maybe I could have given more. Regret that there were still so many special people I hadn't gotten to know better. Envy of the youngsters just about to embark on their first Simcha experience with all the moments still theirs to grab. Envy of those who truly live up to their special reputation.

Next time I walk those hallowed grounds, iy"H, will be as an outsider. Someone else will have taken over my job, my bed, my rotation shift. I won't recognize three quarters of the staff and they will never know that I spent n years doing their job. It'll hit hard.

Don't know why I'm getting so maudlin about this. After all, I disinvited myself. See, they have this policy, "Ein me'arvin Simcha b'simcha." Which is what this whole post was going to be about. I guess the fact that my thoughts are still in camp is part of my answer to SD's dare (bet, whatever.) Though I wouldn't turn down any iced coffee, anyhow...(image)



Around the Corner

2009-08-23T00:57:00.153-04:00

Through the maze of life
if only we could see
What waits around the corner
an unknown mystery

"Mommy!" cries the child,
teary and alarmed
While just around the corner
she waits with open arms

Life is filled with fear
of what might lie ahead
But what's around the corner
might not warrant dread

Check your watch again
still no bus in sight
But just around the corner
it's waiting at a light

The path on which you walk
seems so grim and bleak
But just around the corner
lie answers that you seek

I wish that I could show you
what the future holds
But turning 'round the corner
is the only way to know

It may yet be a journey
or perhaps it's very near
But I'll walk you to that corner
to where the coast is clear!(image)



Coming Next!

2009-08-23T00:47:30.795-04:00

(image) I haven't posted about tznius in a while, but being a Bas~Melech, it's always close to my heart. In fact, it's an issue that weighs heavily in the lives of Jewish girls and women everywhere, yet much of the literature on the subject is preachy, patronizing, or just irrelevant. Today I'm holding a book that promises to be different.

6 Diaries is based on the journals kept by a group of actual Jewish teenage girls as they participated in what seems to have been a kind of tzniyus support group. Its aim appears to be simply to express and share what tzniyus means to real people.

The paperback weighs in at a respectable yet manageable 200 pages. Cover design is quite clean and contemporary, though a little crowded on the spine and back. Nothing a teen should be embarrassed to be seen with (Oz vehadar, anyone?) though that doesn't guarantee anything ;-). The six teen narrators are denoted by little icons -- I wouldn't have minded a change in font as well, but I can appreciate the uniformity too. Nothing particularly distinctive about the font choices overall, but very readable and enough white space all around. Not something I take for granted in frum publications. Though the diary entries vary in length, all are rather brief, so I anticipate a smooth, easy read (like a blog! One of the many things I love about Miracle Ride, too). Overall a very nice-looking book.

What's that? You don't judge a book by its cover? You just don't have any appreciation for the graphic designers in this world, do you. Oh well, then, give me a couple of days to read and then come back for the full review. Stay tuned!(image)



Breaking Free

2009-08-09T21:16:08.368-04:00

When I tried to lean on you
you let me fall
When I tried to follow you
you led me wrong
When I tried to talk to you
you closed your ears
When I tried to be with you
you disappeared

Now you wonder where I've gone
Why don't you understand
that you've taught me that I have to
hold my own hand
Maybe when I finish learning
to stand on my own feet
I'll come back to you and try again
And you can lean on me(image)



Mystery Pics

2009-06-23T01:33:58.832-04:00

You surely remember reading about my mysterious journey to the Undisclosed Location this Pesach. In fact, I'm sure you've been waiting ever since with bated breath for the promised pictures and your big chance at disclosing the location. Unfortunately, around that time I ran into blogger picture issues, and put the promised pictures on a back burner. Well, their time has come, so you can let out that breath you've been holding as you admire the breathtaking beauty of Undisclosed Location (and its environs). A mysterious door beckons the intrepid bloggers to enter a REALLY undisclosed location. Alas, it remains securely locked. An unnamed blogger descends into the innards of the Undisclosed Location.This is the only photo of the Undisclosed Location that has been at all digitally altered (not counting cropping.) Promise. I took this picture in the hopes that it would make people wonder hard about where we'd been. But the only ones wondering were the spectators. "What's she doing THERE? And why's she taking a picture of THAT?"OK, my captioning creativity is dwindling to critical levels. How about this: Post a fun caption for any of the photos in the comments on this post. Best one will receive an invaluable reward. (Do they make currency low enough to pay for a thumbs-up?) This is one of those things that seemed like a cool idea at the time... but later only serves to keep others asking, "What's THAT picture doing in your trip album?" Ace of spades? You are now leaving Undisclosed Location. Please check your surroundings for belongings and small children, as we cannot be responsible for items left behind you. Please leave comments as you exit, and have a nice day.[...]



Undisclosed Location, continued

2009-06-23T02:00:21.566-04:00

This is the "...and its environs" part; i.e. taken after leaving the Undisclosed Location.
(image)



Naaseh Venishma

2009-06-23T00:27:11.469-04:00

So I was learning a little in preparation for Shavuos, and of course the classical question arose about why "naaseh" (doing) comes before "nishma" (hearing).

My first thought was, "Hey! My kids do that!" You know, all the little guys with ADHD: Take action before listening to the instructions. Leap before you look. Naaseh before nishma. Gotta give those kids some credit.

I was going to inject some deeper meaning here, but I got busy, so I'm just posting this to get it out of drafts. Good for a grin, if not much else. Sorry. For deeper meaning on naaseh v'nishma, I think one of the Naaleh.com shiurim discussed it. Maybe this one. Speaking of which, I highly recommend Naaleh.com -- lots of free downloadable shiurim on all different topics, pretty well organized with tags and all.(image)



The Single's Field Guide to Professional Shadchanim (Part I)

2009-06-19T09:27:00.322-04:00

For the enterprising young woman wishing to hunt shadchanim for fun and profit, it is essential to familiarize oneself with the species' various breeds and the best environments for spotting them. This guide will just help you get started in your exciting new hobby; once you begin to explore the joys of shadchan-seeking you will find yourself making your own new discoveries all the time!


Habitat: While shadchan-sightings have been reported in such diverse locations as wedding halls and supermarkets, you are most likely to find them in their natural settings such as homes or offices. These tend to cluster around breeding grounds for singles such as large institutions of learning, which keep the P. Shadchantus supplied with materials vital for their survival in the wild.

Technique: Those wishing to observe P. Shadchantus relatively unnoticed should attempt to blend in with the surroundings as much as possible. This can be achieved by a straightening of the hair and purchase of a post-Bais-Yaakov uniform, combined with a standard schooling history and a career as a preschool assistant. However, in order to obtain personal benefit from taming the specimen, it is necessary to approach one's quarry at close range and attract its attention. While specific techniques may vary according to the subspecies and region, which will be noted later, certain measures of preparation are always wise before beginning a field maneuver: One should equip with copious quantities of green-tinged presidential portraits, slip gracefully into a size 2 skirt, acquire a letter of acceptance to a kiruv or special ed camp, and identify all scholarly and saintly ancestry.
(image)



Random Sighting

2009-06-18T21:50:42.171-04:00

Ok, ok, I confess. Last post's survey was merely an excuse to share this with you. Only the pictures didn't come out good enough to post, so this is basically from memory.

University restrooms seem to garner a classier grade of graffiti; the very walls can serve as one large, anonymous network. Where else can you get such food for thought in a less appropriate setting?

Take this sighting, which I tried to photograph for y'all but my phone just didn't do justice:
What would it take for you to see your dream as a reality?
Persistence
Self-confidence
A revolution
Endurance & $$$
Love
Courage
Psychosis ~or~ drugs(image)



Survey: A=?

2009-06-07T04:27:43.174-04:00

I've had the next post typed for a while already, but I think it would be more meaningful if I posed this question to you first:
What would it take for you to see a dream as a reality?*
Or, for the more visual among you:

P.S. Sorry about sporadic absences, for those of you actually following here. Blogger has not been kind to me lately. Also experiencing lapses of inspiration...
* Pardon the poor wording and bear with me, please.(image)



Twenty-One Forever

2009-05-24T08:15:00.874-04:00

I think I'll stay
21 forever...

"How old are you, Mommy?"
asked my little niece.
"Twenty-one plus"
said my sister
as my mother had said
to her and me
and my grandmother had said
before her.

Because you don't need years or numbers
to measure time
when you're a mother.
Instead your days pass
with upsherins and bar mitzvas
with the baby eating table food
and the little one's first day of school.

But me?
I think I'll just stay
21 forever.
So I don't need to count
the days of waiting
the months of hoping
the years of getting older
and nothing else.(image)



Every day is... Earth Day?

2009-04-23T23:46:43.274-04:00

So, did you plant a tree today? Take a shorter shower? Recycle?
My workplace spent a portion of the day in relative darkness, conserving electricity. Fortunately, it was a beautiful day so those of us endowed with good windows pulled up the shades and carried on as usual while the rest conducted lessons and other... er, educational activities in the yard. I then spent the remainder of the afternoon fumigating the world while all but parked on the highway. Sigh.

As Earth Day 2009 draws to a close, I leave you with a fitting passage that I stumbled upon right in time.  A green thumbs up to the first comment to name the author; two thumbs for the context as well:
The trouble with most forms of transport [he thought,] is basically that not one of them is worth all the bother. ...the problem [had been] with cars. The disadvantages involved in pulling lots of black sticky slime from out of the ground where it had been safely hidden out of harm's way, turning it into tar to cover the land with, smoke to fill the air with, and pouring the rest into the sea, all seemed to outweigh the advantages of being able to get more quickly (and even this is questionable -- B~M) from one place to another -- particularly when the place you arrived at had probably become, as a result of this, very similar to the place you had left, i.e., covered with tar, full of smoke, and short of fish.
(image)