Disappointment

For many years now I have avoided facebook. Between their privacy violations, intrusiveness, and how damaging it can be to one’s career, let alone relationships with all the drama inherent in its design… I felt it was just easier to not. Then came Daniel. He expressed frustration at how difficult it was to share things with me, especially silly things his family have done.

As Daniel, right now, seems to be pretty awesome and might be a long term thing, I bit the bullet and signed up. I made sure to make things as generic or locked down as possible. Because of how he wanted to keep us being a couple quiet from his family, I initially signed up under my Hebrew name. I managed to screw up doing that, and eagerly waited out the 60 days to fix it. By the time that happened, I had a few connections, posted a wee bit, and decided to fuck it, we can do it under my real name.

Today is a friend’s bday. I’m seeing a TON of well wishes and facebook created videos and such. Recently, a family member of Daniel’s posted about how this was their first bday alone and how their friends stepped up making them not feel alone or lonely. Facebook, for whatever reason, did nothing to recognize my birthday. If it automatically creates things for others, why not mine? Why did my friends not do anything? (Daniel did something awesome, just not on facebook.)

All this then jumped into another thought. I’ve spent many birthdays – and holidays, and time in general – alone. It isn’t something that bothers me much when it is general, but it does for special days. I can’t imagine never having had spent holidays or birthdays alone. It really makes me wonder how much of that is culture, since I came to the Jewish thing late. Goodness knows that if I really wanted to, I wouldn’t have a moment alone again. But it is really hard for me to reach out, to ask.

There isn’t a neat conclusion to all this speculation. Just random thoughts that spin through my head.

Car Crash II

Woke today in LOTS of pain. Called my boss to tell her that after my test I needed to go to the doc. She said just take the whole day off. Because I was seeing the doc, I did not take any pain meds, wanting them to see me without any filters.

Next started a slew of calls accident related. Called body shop to give claim number. Body shop called back saying it was denied as claim was disputed – how did I want to pay? *facepalm* Turns out it wasn’t even reviewed yet by the claim adjuster – who was my next call. After she reviewed the case (she hadn’t even gotten to it yet) she called me back.

The test was hard – between the pain and trouble concentrating, as well as dizzy spells… I’m frankly surprised I passed it, and that I didn’t pass out when walking to/from my car. :disappointed: I had to reread questions a few times because I would space out half way through. (So not me.)

After the test many more calls and such. End result is that the insurance of the guy who hit me is covering everything. Car repair, my medical for 30 days up to $X, and a (very) small something for my pain and suffering. I’ll be calling a lawyer to check that this is legit and enough before I sign anything. Got the rental moved to the insurance, and canceled the rental company insurance coverage of the rental.

The nurse at my doc is so smart and better bedside, sometimes I wish I could just see her. :stuck_out_tongue: End result mild concussion (hence the extra fatigue, nausea, dizziness, and concentration issues), mild sprain of both wrists, common seat belt trauma (across abdomen and hips), and something with my back. We are waiting for the xrays to see if I need to go to an ortho AND PT or can just go to PT. The rad techs took a LOT of images of my lower back. I got fresh prescription for 500mg naproxen (as opposed to the 5 years past expiration date I was taking), muscle relaxers, and anti-nausea meds. I also have referrals for said ortho, physical therapists if I don’t need the ortho, and if the concussion symptoms don’t go away in a few days for a neurologist.
Since standing for more than a few minutes and walking more than a few feet has me tired and/or dizzy and tripping over my own feet, I felt cooking was not a good idea. I had to run a related errand anyway, so stopped on my way home at my local hole in the wall Mexican. \o/ Chimi-steak-fajita, amazing guac, fire roasted salsa, and of course a margarita on the rocks, no salt.

Tomorrow I hope to hear what looking at my slides result in and how long I will have the rental.

<<>>> I am liking this rental. Feeling very spoiled. Part of that feeling spoiled is due to how awesome D has been with all this. In sharing the update with my mom she even said, “He might be a keeper.” High praise from her. 😉

Car Crash

(Note, making life easier I am copy pasting from Slack where I shared this with friends.)

Ok, back home at at my computer (as opposed to on my phone.) I’m not ok but am. Physically I hurt all over (joints: fingers, elbows, wrists, shoulders, hips, knee, ankles; muscles up and down my back and across my abdomen (mostly lower, but also just under the boobs.) I’m tired. I am now extra hyper aware of things around me (even when Daniel was the one driving last night.) I’m nervous now to drive on the highway like I haven’t been since I first started driving. I’m worried about my car. Worried what if I should go to the doctor. Worried about my test tomorrow, because sitting for 2hours in a test center when I am not thinking clearly and am nauseated and sore doesn’t sound fun; never mind I don’t feel prepared for it and if I fail (it is pass/fail) I won’t be reimbursed the $1300 for the course from work. I’m worried why my car won’t start and what I can’t see that might be wrong with it. And that I couldn’t shut the driver window and it rained last night.

Long story short, I was in stop and go traffic (75south, getting ready to get onto 285) and was at a complete stop when shortly after I was hit from behind. Iwas very glad and lucky that a) while it bumped my car forward a few feet, I had left enough room that I didn’t hit the tractor trailer in front of me, and b) that I was able to safely and quickly get over to the shoulder.

Guy and I exchanged insurance. I took a bunch of pics of my car and his. My car only had some scratches on the bumper and the license plate is bent. His car the entire hood is accordioned and he was leaking fluid. His check engine light was on, he suspected his radiator was fuxored.

Huzzah for my car being a tank and living up to its really good safety rating. (Mazda 3, 2013) His car was a Chevy Cobalt. I didn’t have a good impression of GM vehicles before and certainly don’t now. :stuck_out_tongue

After all that and checking with Daniel and another friend I called 911 to get a police report filed. The cop showed up really quickly and was great to work with. The guy only got a warning for “following too close behind.”

Frankly, I was impressed with myself that I was able to remain calm, collected, polite, professional under this stress. I even befriended the guy talking about how he moved here from Bulgaria 18 years ago, his wife’s new car, his job…

Then as the cop was going to block traffic to let us safely get back in, my car wouldn’t start. Mind you, I had at that point the 4 ways on for 90 minutes, had been turning the car off and on, playing with windows (down to get breeze/air; up to reduce noise while on the phone with my insurance and his…)

The cop then helped me check to see if there was a release for the emergency fuel pump shut off. After lots of searching and googling we found my make/model doesn’t have a release. :neutral_face: This then left me with needing to be towed. And no body shop was open on a Saturday afternoon. And the tow truck was 90 minutes at the EARLIEST to me. I ended up waiting on the side of the highway with no ac and unable to charge my phone (that was at that point down to 26% battery) for 2.5 hours in 105 F. My insurance and the tow company urged me to abandon the vehicle and walk along the highway to the nearby exit and go somewhere for someone to pick me off. OH HELL NO. In Atlanta there are 1300+ roadside fatalities a year, mostly for that exact situation. That and I didn’t feel comfortable abandoning my car.

After the truck came, turns out the dealership doesn’t have a body shop and that is required when in an accident. But for them to tow me car to a body shop I had to get my insurance to approve the new location and update his dispatch. Luckily at that point I was hungry (having not eaten since 9 am, it was 330 pm),thirsty, and appreciating having the AC and way to charge my phone in his truck. After getting the approval, I tried calling the rental car agency that Daniel had reserved for me. They closed at 4. Luckily the tow truck guy said we could get there in time, he wasn’t going to leave me alone at the closed body shop, and the rental agency was nearby so he just drove me there. (No additional approval needed.) We got there at 3:58. :neutral_face: I had let Daniel know when the tow truck arrived (phone battery 1% left) but due to dealing with insurance and trying to call the agency I hadn’t reached back out to him. When I arrived at the car agency I let him know. Apparently my call wouldn’t go though because he had been calling asking about me and worried if they would stay open late until I got there. lol

I was given the actual LAST CAR on the lot.

So I made it home around 5 pm, because I took back roads home and was slower than normal both from nerves and driving an unfamiliar vehicle. I did lose my cool while waiting for the tow truck – crying, shaking. I was glad that I at least kept it together until I could safely breakdown.

Now I am waiting on the guy’s insurance claim agent to reach out to me about the tow and rental, as well as whatever repair I need done.

I have been taking left over 500 mg of naproxen (from a 2011 surgery) every 4 hours and it isn’t really enough for the pain. I figure if after my test tomorrow I’m not seeing improvement I will see my doc. (And make his insurance cover that too.)

Daniel was really sweet. After I got home I showered, took some time, and then turned around and went to meet up with him. We had plans for a group dinner, the first time I am meeting any of his friends (still haven’t met any family but that is in the works.)

On our way to dinner he was surprised I hadn’t called my parents, he insisted I call them. I called my mom and put her on speaker so she and Daniel could speak to each other too. lol That was amusing. Daniel was happy at how I talked him up to her. Then once we got back to his place after dinner (4 hours! It was fun, but I was dying by the end of it due to the pain) I asked him to give me a back massage to help with the pain.

A lot of folk have asked me that or if he was texting. Frankly, I didn’t ask him and don’t care. It doesn’t change the end result.

He said he tried to stop but wasn’t able to. But there was no screeching tires and no marks on the highway like when stopping quickly.

He also hadn’t honked his horn as a warning he wasn’t able to brake.

*shrugs* It is what it is. Accidents happen. It could have been worse. I’m just glad it wasn’t worse. I’m sure I will eventually feel better.

Some things just stick with you

I know everyone had a rough childhood. No family is perfect. Everything is relative.

I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD by a licensed therapist because of my childhood. And I had it under control, until recently.

You see, one of my family members used to harass me. It was mostly verbal, but there was the physical too of being forced to hug/kiss – or to have my face “smushed.” (The face smushing was worse after I got glasses – in the annoying factor, pain factor, and the “now I have to clean your greasy hand print from my glasses” factor.) Extra ick factor that this person smoked heavily.

For as long as I could remember – even before I started middle school – this family member would make jokes (repeatedly, over many years) about how I had to go to college in Guam. Why? Because it was so far away it wasn’t even in the same day. Bonus points for different hemisphere, country, and timezone. No one ever told him to shove it, or comforted me that they didn’t want me to be so far away. They never said it to anyone else that I recall, only me. To be fair, this person honestly thought it was funny and all in good fun. They did not have the intent to hurt/harm, and clearly no one who heard him thought they did either.

I know that the threat of nuclear attack is horrid and beyond scope of comprehension for those of use who came of age in the 90s. But all I can think about is Guam, how my family wanted to send so far that they didn’t want to be in the same DAY with me. How no one wanted me. That shit hurts, yo. Don’t tell me it was only kidding. If it was kidding it would have been a one time comment.

I hope nothing comes of all this rhetoric. At least nothing that many others, especially civilian and/or innocent have to pay for. I am sure I’ll get through this, I’ve developed a lot of coping mechanisms and have many “tools” to deal and heal.

Buckhead Diner

Recently I had the pleasure of dining at the Buckhead Diner with my boyfriend as part of the Summer Dine Around program.

We did make a “reservation” for preferred seating. Again, my boyfriend is true to his nature we arrived 15 minutes past our “reservation.” I am really curious how the ‘preferred seating’ works since, unless everyone had it, because several groups, even some that arrived after us, got seated before us. For a Monday night at 7:45 to wait a half hour says something; what I don’t know.

I enjoyed the classic, upscale diner vibe. One of the things I love about metro Atlanta is that all diners are “upscale” even though I do occasionally miss the trains and literal greasy spoons of New England. The chrome was shiny and leather seats soft. The rich, dark decor brightened by ALL THE CHROME.

I ordered a peartini, I don’t remember what the boyfriend drank. The peartini was perfunctory and uninspired. I should have tried the pomegranate martini as I was more in the mood for bold flavors.

We started with the meatball appetizers, to which the boyfriend listened to me wax poetic about how I judge meatballs and how they speak to the quality of establishment. I blame being brought up on good (Americanized) Italian outside Boston. 😛 I was not disappointed, the meatballs were the perfect density, flavor, and complexity. It was a cloud of beefy tomato goodness. That was heaven. I joked with the boyfriend that it was an A-. DAMN near perfect. I forget what my reasons for not giving it a straight A were.

We were served a basket of bread. The bread for all Buckhead Life restaurants is made “in house.” The Atlanta Bakery was designed just for these restaurants to save money, and happened to be across the street from the Diner. I love me some fresh bread. I LOVED that there were tiny corn muffins that were sweet (do you know how hard it is to find sweet corn bread?) with actual whole corn kernals in it! The breadsticks were also good, though when asked, I gave it all a B+. Good but not the kind of bread that the next day would be memorable. Good bread is tasty and fantastic density and perfect inner chewiness and outer snap for at least three days.

I had ordered the CBS burger (no tomato, no pickle, add provolone) with no fries. That was a very good decision, that was a DAMN good burger. The marriage of flavors, the level of juiciness (given it was cooked medium), on a brioche was amazing. Not the bet burger I’ve ever had (that goes to Flip Burger Boutique) but in the top five burgers of my life so far.

The boyfriend had a salmon dish that he said was really good. He let me taste the sauce, because it was curious looking and he said it tasted orange. Turns out it was lemon and grainy brown mustard and some other spices. Our server was going to get me the “approximate” recipe but never did. It was very tasty and would be better on poultry or a mild fish rather than competing with the salmon.

To finish off I had the key lime tart, he the banana cream pie. We learned how much we love these desserts that we chose, yet strongly dislike what the other ordered. It seems like the perfect thing, because it means neither of us had to share a single bite. He raved about his pie, which was a HUGE portion he couldn’t finish; it was about the size of a small cantaloupe! Finally, we had an A+ with this tart. The short bread crust was perfect in flavor and crunch. The key lime mouse was fluffy but hefty enough to feel filling. The flavor had the perfect tangy bite chased by sugary goodness. I opted to not get the strawberry sauce, but I never missed it. I loved having just the key lime flavor – with the whipped cream from heaven. The whipped cream was airy and the perfect touch of sweet.

Alas, the next location is Kyma. It is predominately a seafood restaurant, so with my “sensitivity” the boyfriend will need to take someone else. I am sure it will be as high class and amazing as Bistro Niko and the Buckhead Diner have been.

Relational Judaism part 1

I’ve started reading this book, as the ideology is what our Board of Trustees (whom I am not a member of) is using to hopefully revolutionize and revitalize our community. I’m barely started (<25 pages in) and it is so eye popping and jaw dropping. Why aren’t more people thinking like this? Is it really so hard to move beyond transactional – providing an event with food – to developing relationships?

Yes, building relationships is hard and takes time. And events (with the promise of food and/or booze) foster a way to get people out of their homes to encounter others…. The trick is getting them to interact. Connecting people who have a need with those who can help. Connecting people period.

Right now I am fired up by a paraphrase of Mordecai Kaplan, ‘religion is meant to serve the Jewish people, and not that the Jewish people should serve the religion.

How is that for a mic drop statement?

Bistro Niko

I am spoiled. The guy I’m seeing used his dinner club coupon thingie to take me to Bistro Niko this week.

We arrived past the time our reservation was for – by about 10 minutes. A table was not ready for us, so after a quick trip to the loo, we hung out at the bar. It was a lovely evening with little humidity and reasonable temperatures that like a true French cafe the doors/windows were open to the patio/sidewalk.

Bistro Niko is touted as such a good replica of a French cafe that you may forget where you are and think you are in Paris. That is a bit of a stretch. Having been to Paris, France I can see how it imitates one, but it still has a hard shellac of Americanization. There were too many references crammed into the art work, there was plenty of room to walk around tables which were decadently large. The things that were most authentic were the ceiling and bathroom.

The lighting and decorative ceiling tiles reminded me of many cafes I ate at – be it in Paris, near Versailles, or in Normandy. The art deco layered tiles with a patina belying age was something that added a subtle flair. The bathroom, while larger than most French bathrooms, had dim lighting, tried to be arty, and while it had upscale touches (with a waterfall faucet) still felt bare bones and making do with what was available. It was clean, and clearly cleaned regularly as it had the trash taken out between when we arrived and my pit stop before we left three hours later.

The bar was crowded and an interesting crowd – between couples in their 20s not appropriately dressed for such a classy joint, business folk waiting out traffic or after a conference, and a number of more mature couples like ourselves in their late 30s to mid 50s. Truthfully, there were more people than I was comfortable with, as it was SRO for many folk and not much personal space. Not that I minded being so close to my date. 😉

After 45 minutes our table was ready, so we carried our drinks with us. I had a glass of Syrah, he a slightly dirty martini with extra blue cheese stuffed olives. My date wanted to make this a leisurely experience and was treating it as if we were at a Michelin three star restaurant. To be fair, it does have a Zagat rating in the mid 4s (out of 5.)

One of the wonderful things about our relationship is how we talk. And talk. And talk. We have so many interesting experiences and nearly diametrically opposed past, yet so much in common for where we are now and where we wish to be in the future. We get involved with our chatting, and as is stereotypical I can multitask and peruse the menu, he cannot. (Another comparison is how I prefer Android, he Apple products.) As such it took him forever for us to pick an appetizer (which I was ok with skipping).

I felt for our waiter, he tried going long periods before checking in if we were ready to order. He tried coming in short bursts. He was so polite and tried to blend into the background. Half the time my date didn’t even realize he was there, so I would indicate either if we were ready or not to the waiter trying to save him some effort.

In case one is randomly stopping by, I have a fish allergy. It’s a weird one. But due to this it significantly narrowed our options for an appetizer and my options for entrees. I also have a nut allergy that significantly limited my options for dessert.

While we waited on our appetizers, we were served a dish of shrimp in error. My date signaled to a waiter that it was not ours and they took it away. I’m not sure if we got someone else’s appetizer or if there was a mix up with our order.

We started with a ravioli of ricotta, artichoke hearts, and spinach in a sage butter. It was a bite of heaven. The pasta was perfectly cooked. The cheese was so fluffy, the flavors of the vegetables subtle but recognizable. The sage butter was like tinsel on a Christmas tree – that little bit that takes it to the next level.

My date praised the bread highly. It was good, a nice toothsome crust and velvety, chewy interior. But I think he praised it too highly since it was clearly freshly baked within the past few hours. Being fresh covers a plethora of sins. I fully admit to being a carboholic; I know my bread. 😛

Kudos to our server and his timing for removing our bread and appetizer plates as well as the serving wear for those items. It felt awkward though, in the manner he moved things to the side of the table, then piled them together reconfiguring what was on top in what must have been 20 steps. It was just 4 plates, a serving dish, and small platter for the bread. It shouldn’t have taken that much effort, even if it was elegantly done.

I feel like our waiter took our pacing too seriously, as there was more of a lull between finishing the appetizer and delivering our mains. I can’t blame him though based on how my date was savoring every moment and experience.

I posted pictures of my veal and my date’s scallops to my Instagram as they were so pretty. I didn’t realize how dim the lighting was in the restaurant until I went to post that pic later and how yellow it was. To be fair I didn’t use flash.

My date praised the scallops highly. My veal was melt in your mouth tender. The green beans perfectly cooked yet crisp. The demi glace was a bit too salty. The puree potatoes were watery and tasted like it was rehydrated flakes from a box with a slightly cardboardy after taste.

During the meal my date asked for a second martini. The waiter came back with a martini that was not dirty at all and had an orange peel in it. First he asked for the olives he was hoping for. He tried to drink it, but just couldn’t. He ended up asking for a redo, he was very polite but firm about it. He also had the skill to make it not about anyone and to not get anyone in trouble. His replacement was exactly what he wanted, and ended up being on the house to boot.

Dessert. Ah, dessert. My date fell in love with the idea of the banana ice cream sundae. I’m not sure if he just loves bananas or there was something else. Considering the speed it took him to decide (way faster than for appetizers or mains) there was something about it. He savored every last bite of the huge sundae.

Against my better judgement, I went with my date’s suggestion of ordering the creme brulee for dessert. I personally was debating between the chocolate flourless cake or the lemon tartine. He thought I could not get a better creme brulee unless I was in France itself. I countered with the fact I have had many a tasty creme brulee, though I never had one during my time in France. It was… underwhelming. The top did not look as if it had received much love from the blow torch, yet it did have a crack when tapped with the bowl of the spoon – but not a satisfying level of crack. The layer of caramelized sugar was very thin and left an aftertaste as if it had been burnt with that slightly charcoal smokiness that you wouldn’t have guessed from looking at it. The custard was bland, watery, and not very flavorful. My date was disappointed that his suggestion did not work out well.

As we chatted while my date slowly finished his dessert he looked up and indicated for me to turn around. At the table nearby were crowds of waiters taking pictures and video of another doing something pretty awesome that involved fire. We learned later it was a specialty Thai coffee called the Flaming Dragon Tongue that was a specialty of the waiter performing. It started with pealing an orange so that it is one long peel which is then slicked with grand marnier. Then another alcohol was poured from a spoon up high down the orange peel and lit on fire! After that step some cream and what looked like chocolate sauce were added to the glass, finished off with the coffee and a napkin wrapped around the glass to make it bearable to hold. It was really awesome to watch.

My date was tired and well sated from the good food, so he had trouble determining the tip. I was slightly disappointed that he only wanted to leave 20% (I would have tipped closer to 30 for the service we received and what my date put them through. :P) AND he tipped on the final bill, not taking into account the free drink or bill before the coupon.

We admired the art installation by Michael Stipe while waiting on his vehicle from valet. It was still a perfect and romantic evening. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

Jewish Weddings

Several years ago a coworker/friend got married. He wanted me to attend, but, couldn’t afford to invite me. I totally get that. So he told me the day and where – but not when. I was essentially given permission to crash. As it ended up, I showed up late – missed the ceremony and frankly didn’t spend much time at the reception. I didn’t know anyone else there and felt bad eating since I wasn’t an accounted for/invited guest. So I didn’t see more than 30 minutes of the reception.

Recently a friend got married, but it would be out of state. Another couple who are acquaintances also got married recently.

All three of these weddings are Jewish. As a recent Jewish convert, and with the hope to get married again someday, I wanted to see in action a Jewish wedding to understand how it differs from the multitude of Catholic, or other Christian or non denominational weddings I have attended over the years.

Being the nerd I am, I’ve done my research so I know the differences regarding the ketubah (marriage contract), chuppah (canopy), and the Hora (chair dance done to Hava Nigla/Oseh Shalom/Siman Tov.)

To be fair, this wedding was interfaith. I expected it to be more involved due to that. The ceremony was MUCH shorter than any other I had been to. There simply was less ceremony to it. It was processional, vows/rings, the traditional 7 blessings and Numbers priestly blessing, they did a unity candle (as a nod to the groom’s nonJewish family), and breaking the glass. Then it was pictures, food, and partying.

The other big difference for me was that it started on time. I have been to dozens of weddings and none of them started on time – not even my own! (Though that was my being benevolent and due to my future MIL running late.)

I half hope to see others to get a better feel for them in general.

Starting Fresh

December 2016 this site was hacked. I’ve had this url and site for 14 years. There was a lot of data there. All wiped out in the name of security. To be fair, I have been lax the past several years, I didn’t even notice until April 2017. That was when I got permissions back.

Life being life. Adulting resulting in higher priorities sees work to rebuild it from scratch in June 2017.

I’ve made my peace with all that was lost. I embrace starting with a clean slate. One doesn’t get many chances to do that often in life.