Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Treasure Hunting

I had to go through my storage closet to find some summer clothing. If you’re familiar with this business, looking for a single pair of short white pants actually means ripping through every unlabeled garbage bag, paging through old albums and letters, and trying on your not-so-fashionable school sweaters while trying to encrypt the mystery behind the need to wear these rather bizarre garment. Amidst all, I came upon a small duffel bag and dragged it down with me.

The duffel bag with its moth ball storage smell. In it, there are hundreds of threads of all colors, webbed around a folded picture of fruits. I opened the needlepoint. Only a fraction of the sewing was done. But goodness, a good portion of it was actually filled with hours of my threading it, in and out.

Yawn. ..


I actually spent my last few summers working on that piece, since the year that it occurred to me that sewing was just what I needed, especially whenever I was bored. My sister and I, pocket books hanging from our shoulders, visited a woman’s home on Hooper Street where she sold sewing material on her kitchen table. From then hours have been stitched together by sitting under a desk lamp and threading in and out. In and out. In. Then out.

Really, needlepoint? What was I thinking? That I was 82 and retired, living in a Miami facility? What occurred to me, spending fifteen minutes regularly licking the dark-green end of a thread, pushing it at the needle, and then dragging that needle itself around for the next few hours, then over to salivitizing the maroon thread for another walk of the clock? To sit immobile all that time and breath loudly? Did I require reading glasses too?

“Vell, childrin, my stomach didn’t vork so good enymore, [hiccup] I don’t heff deh young energy yaknow. The doctor said is gut for me to sit a little bit and make deh gublein.”

I was struck by old age prematurely.

It was a desperate attempt to find an artistic release, retired to what is available. Although this picture is living proof that I’m not a pro at sewing, I busied myself with what everyone did. Alright, so I can't be a professional boxer or sing at the opera, but heck, I could shneer a gublein!

Likewise, other basic chores were and still are turned into creative opportunities. Everyone retreated tornado-style under a table when I announced that I’m going to bake, because I refused to learn that you can’t mix flour, sugar and me and ever create something edible. Nonetheless, I baked three layer cheesecakes for shvuos and designed the whip on top in a lengthy process that involved strawberries, chocolate, consumption of said ingredients and cursing. Not just once did I end a whole day of baking by sending off a bag of charcoal balls, nebech - rugelech wannabees, to my mother’s house.

We are bored with ourselves. Although working is an opportunity to employ your strengths, for women a career means making copies for a male boss. And although parenting is the most rewarding activity of all, it’s not enough. We need a way to develop our community's treasure of natural resources, beyond the talent of memorizing who the entire shandenfreud database is for the Annual Yenta Festival.

It’s time for the exhausted rabbonim to stop putting hechsherim on clothing and start approving of recreation. They can go to a dance club, check it out and declare it assur. They can go to an art studio, check it out, declare it assur. They can go to the gublein lady, check it out, and declare it assur.

I’m going to frame my art, unfinished as it is. To commemorate talent in our community, an incomplete picture.




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36 comments:

Shpitzle Shtrimpkind said...

Visit my other blog, Shpitzle Shtible, for a fantastic book review by our fellow IA GN. I'm going to (hopefully) bring more of that blog to life in the future.

Unless lightning strikes and I lose my patience. Ya never make no promises, ya'know.

www.shpitzleshtible.blogspot.com

Chaim said...

(Typo: Meuseum of Hassidic Art; should be Museum.)

You have TOO much time on your hand!

Maybe bake a batch of cookies?

Shpitzle Shtrimpkind said...

Chaim, be nice.

Chaim said...

That WAS me in my nice mode.

Shpitzle Shtrimpkind said...

Oy vey. If that's nice, gut bahit not nice.

Watch out that mode, sir, or else you aint gettin' any of those cookies!

gevezener-illuy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shpitzle Shtrimpkind said...

Illuy - The days of chocolate chip cookies are over. Now all you get from moi are web-cookies.

And the latter is not so kosher... So watchout...

Chaim said...

Shpitz - I'm the one who stole the cookies from the cookie jar.

gevezener-illuy - What language are you writing in? Ebonics? Ich nur farshtay English.

Shpitzle Shtrimpkind said...

Well, it looks like my sitemeter is going to hit 20K today.

Cookies for everyone! (except Chaim, of course. He steals.) And lots of beer for the boys! Thank you for vising my blog!

10...

9...

8...

7...

6...

5...

(countdown continues...)

Chaim said...

Well as long as I can have the beer life is swell.

I just saw the magic 20,000 on my screen. So I am the winner. What is my prize my dear? (ahem... I've already finished my first 6-pack.)

gevezener-illuy said...

chaim for your sake i am rewriting it...

shpitzele,
it seems to me that chaim has read my blog, and HE is from the second type of bloggers mentioned there.

but he is from the real hard-core ones, the ones who are so obsessed with their way that the existance of a creed besides theirs is unimaginable...

and now to all the readers who dont know what the h... i am talking about,plz visit my blog...(just a trick to lure you all there)

well shpitzele now I taakeh deserve some cookies for cleaning up after my dog.

Chaim said...

gevezener-illuy - Just read your blog for the 1st time. Its almost as bad as your first comment here. And since your 2nd comment here was an improvement, I trust your blog will benefit from the same.

As far as the particularity of your comment, I've long been aware of your creed. I've even tolerated it.

Shpitzele, I've just finished my 3rd 6-pack. Where is the rest?

I won't be needing my car keys this fine evening. And since I was the BIG 20,000 number WINNER, I've already picked my prize. There can be no going back. YOU are the prize.

gevezener-illuy, please be moichel me, given the circumstances.

Shpitzele, I'll ask for your mechilah later.

der ewige Jude said...

Please understand that I want in no way to discourage you from writing your blog, but..um...it seems that you have merely exchanged sitting and stitching for sitting and typing. Maybe a laptop with wifi and rollerblades?

Chaim said...

I can't get home, being over the legal limit.

I'll just have to stay here for the evening.

Shpitzle Shtrimpkind said...

Chaim - You are so drunk, I'm gonna get a muscled guy to kick you outta here!

Reb Jude - Ahh, VERY good point. Well, here is the distinction, as small as the eye of a needle but as sharp as its edge. Writing I LOVE, sewing... not so much.

I have nothing against sitting an painting, sitting and sewing, or sitting and writing so long as it's one's passion.

Doing something we love, that's something this society doesn't give you the opportunity to.

While you can argue that I could've written all along, well, writing to yourself is not the same.

Although I'd like the roller-skates. Considering my headgear, I won't even need a helmet. Unfortunately, it's not 'oisgehalten' and can't be done in public. You don't want me to do it in the privacy in my home, lest I'll drive through my windows and walls.

Semgirl said...

You mean to say you cant indulge in the wonderful pastime of sittting together in the playground with a dozen cows, excuse me, vibelach, and discuss the intricacies of fruit-molds..

If that doesnt get you all excited, how about finding another lady to be your walking partner, and walk around the lake, or find a park near you and stroll at a very frantic pace while you converse about who is dating who, and who is getting engaged and what floral pattern to use for the Sheva Brochas your making for your cousin's friend....

sam said...

Would you have a place in your museum for 20 years of another hasidic veibels art, catalogued as follows:
10 handknitted floral cardigans of all shapes and sizes. Each colour and shape knitted in with seperate balls of wool.
5 fairisle multicolour shabbos tank tops for the boys.
1 mens black cardigan with one pocket bigger than the other.
2 oil paintings: one sea view and one country cottage with river.
No needlepoint thank G-d!
In ten years we should look back again and judge which years were more productive!

Anonymous said...

could't be more corny, I expected something better then this!

gevezener-illuy said...

chaim,(why dont you comm. with your blogger name?)
i admit to my comments being too fast paced & also,half ways cutoff in mid-sentence.
it happened by applying IM language to blogging,but bl"n uvli shvuah cherm konem ve'issur i will try doing my teshuva be'oisoi mokom ube'oisoi isha...(reffering of course to our beloved rebetzin shpitzele...).and from now on talk like a bazesene bashefenish.
that was reffering to my comments.but your comment about my blog is not so justified, being that i tried putting it up as a speech. yes,i know it should have been in italics, but i didnt chap then how to post in italic. but being a illuy i have it figured out by now.
both of these changes are evident on my new post.
so i hope that va'aneini solachty...
ubozeh yotzosi yedei choivosi...

Baal Devarim said...

Try sewing the Mona Lisa on a gublein with a monochrome background -- at least that would take talent. I've always wondered what the point of the colored gublein is; it already has the picture painted on -- no need to form it with colored thread!

"They can go to the gublein lady, check it out, and declare it assur."

I'm not sure the Mona Lisa will suffice for that. Maybe try selling pictures of Michelangelo's David?

Shpitzle Shtrimpkind said...

Chaim - Now that we're all sober, can we get back to the topic at hand?

Sem Girl - Oh, I can. All those activities you listed, with slight variations, are a major part of our lifestyle. I must assume that the whole YENTA mishigas is just weeds growing in an empty feild. If we'd plant our minds with more productive thoughts, with challenges that make us shine, we won't have to Yenta (or yent, for the males) all the time.

S A M - Very well hung!

(Painting sounds awefully messy. It never occured to me to paint. I shoulda gotten to know you sooner.)

I don't think ten years from now will really take us anywhere. I don't think we have many opportunities now either, even though we can sneak online and speak up. Where will all the beautiful voices be, the artistic hands, the brilliant minds, the expression of human diversity, in ten years from now? Still at home, sewing needlepoint. Or at B&H, selling cameras.

There are many recreations that are absolutely oisegehalten according to yiddish halacha. Why are they assur? Why don't we explore those things?

Imagine what/who some here could have been if they were given the opportunity. It's a waste.

Anon - Corny is the name of my blog. Where did you take those expectations from?

(I hope you'll be a man/woman of honor and still pay me the contracted fee of $2,500.99 that you regularly pay me for a post.)

Illuy - You're doing teshuva. This is so emotional. I need a tissue.

BD - Oy, watch those dangerous suggestions. Next thing you'll know all the men will be throwing the wives' gublein into Kiddush Hashem fire. Poor ladies will proudly hang synthetic mirrors in its place and reflect on their purity.

How do you manage to turn something 100% Kosher, naughty? It's what makes the Rabbinical world go round, y'know.

Chaim said...

Shpitzele - Was there a topic at hand, in fact?

And, how was it last night?

Also, are you moichel?

gevezener-illuy - I don't have a Blogger name. Ich hub nisht der tzat.

And yes, the improvement is commendable. But the "speech" is too short.

gevezener-illuy said...

gimme my kichelech,you will get your tissues....

i am just wondering if there is also a hasidic museam of the living art. if yes i have a song that can be sung there by the whole blogging community.

(well there will be a mechitza so we will sing seperately...)

bloogen blogt zich,
chatten chat zich,
vos zol men tin az sedavent zich nisht...
bloogen blogt zich,
chatten chat zich,
vos zol men tin az selerent zich nisht...
oy yoi yoi yoi...mamamamamaaa...oy yoi yoi mhmhmmmm...

now i am takeh having hirhurei teshuvah..and "I" need tissues...SNIFF...SNIFF.....

Anonymous said...

The mechitza must be strong enough to prevent the mener from hearing the veiber.

g said...

k

Anonymous said...

chaim's lunch break seems to be growing by the post.

Mrs. Jude said...

Shpitzle - I agree doing what you love is most important. Besides it is hard to get up speed on roller blades in the kitchen. lol
I also got a kick out of your cooking comment...
"...you can’t mix flour, sugar and me and ever create something edible.."
Sounds just like me! Except, I, on occasion, have set off the fire alarm.... Much like sewing...I like to attempt it every now and again..but somehow it just does not work out quite as I planned. lol

Chaim said...

Anon304 - I eat lunch at my work desk. And I'm always working. But I'm also always eating. So hence, I am always "at lunch."

Shira said...

Shpitzle, you didn't knit a gartel??

Shpitzle Shtrimpkind said...

Chaim - If I have to explain what the topic at hand is, it's about time you stop eating lunch and start chewing on your mind. If you're here for a spoon-feeding, I'm sorry old lad.

I'll make an exception. Topic at hand is the problem with oisgehalteneh recreation. How women could make use of themselves for other things than breastfeeding. Heck, how men can make use of themselves, their unique talents, while being a frum chassid.

God didn't give us talents to develop it. Not overcome it.

You can remove your bib now.

Illuy -
Ex –cell –enttt
Gramm-err-y
Vooz zull men teen az se-zingt tseech nisht!

Oyyy..

(nuchumool!)

Anon -

G - Is this an alphabet lesson?

Jude - I can perform that little trick too. I find that walking around with a towel draped over my shoulder helps. The moment the beeps start hundreds of towels get flunk in the air. Occasionally, the brush side of the broomstick helps. I've made it my rule to only bake challas for shabbos (won't ever give that up) and basic heimish cake. No more wafer cakes or meringues. If you're not happy with that, go live with the Weisses next door.

Shira - Ah, of course I did. Although it's still lying around somewhere waiting for me. I think I still remember. Knit & pearl instead of In & out. Not so much more exciting than needlepoint.

JewishBiFemme said...

Anon 10:12 am, Your comment is as corny as it gets. Hub nisht asoi fil expectations...

Move along stupid!!

You sure are a multi tasker shpitzle..Yup needlepoint is a form of art only women who got talent can achieve..

Ez is nisht far mina nerven...

Shpitzle Shtrimpkind said...

JBF - Oh, you're a sweety. Don't worry about it. He was right. I actually cut off a whole portion that was just off-topic rambling.

I respect your ability to do what you like. If you weren't so confident, you too might have had the choice to either talk on the phone with your friends for hours or knit.

Chaim said...

Shpitz - Your rubbing it in did me wonders.

Shpitzle Shtrimpkind said...

Hey, looks like my comment to anon shied away.

frumhouse said...

A job for women means making copies for a male boss? Not in my world. The men make my copies. And they better have a nice to tush to boot!

Chaim said...

frumhouse - You must live in another world. Shpitzele was referring to Planet Earth.