Friday, March 30, 2007

Ah, the morning ride

It's been a while since I was able to ride my motorcycle into work. Besides the nasty weather we had here mid-January through most of February, I also had tire problems. An air leak in an old, worn out tire, then I got the wrong size replacement tires (they fit the bike, but make it too tall for me). Yesterday I finally picked up my bike from the shop in rideable condition.

My drive into work normally takes about 20 minutes. I took a more leisurely route in, stretching it out to about 40 minutes. It was cold (of course I missed all the nice, warm days!), but I had a great big grin inside my helmet anyway. With gas prices once again on the rise, and the winter weather just about gone for good, I'll be taking the bike in to work much more often now. The one thing I need to be careful of though, is that my trips home tend to get longer and longer. I like to find different back roads and see where they head off to. But I have to remember the kids are back home, waiting for my return.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

What's that smell??

A few days ago I mentioned it was 6 months since I started keeping kosher full time. The afternoon after I sent that post, I went down to the small cafe in our office to get a bottle of water. When I opened the door, I was nauseated... what was that awful smell?

Then I looked over at the big stove they use. It was loaded up with bacon, getting ready for the next day's breakfast I guess. That's when I realized how far along I really was. Back when I was in high school, I used to work at Wendy's. (The stories I can tell from my days there... but maybe another time). Anyway, when I worked the morning shift during weekends and summer, part of my task was to make the bacon for the day. This involved cooking a LOT of bacon. I used to love the smell, and would sneak in a few piping hot BLTs.

Then after my college years, I decided I did not want to eat pork any more. I didn't really think I was becoming religious at the time, pork just didn't seem to appeal to me. This was a few years before I met my wife and started keeping a kosher home. But still I loved the smell of bacon and sausage, and occasionally looked for beef substitutes.

It wasn't until I walked in the cafe and got a good strong whiff of bacon and instantly felt sick that I realized how much my tastes have changed. Hopefully that means I'll soon stop looking at snow crab legs with envy.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Utilizing child labor

My parents-in-law will be spending all of Passover with us this year. At their last visit, dad-in-law said that the futon that he uses is no longer comfortable. It's pretty low to the floor, and the mattress is getting too soft and thin for sleeping comfort. So I finally got a new futon yesterday. It's a big wooden one that's sold at BJs.

I got everything inside our house, and since it was getting late, I told the girls that I would install it after they went to bed, and they'd see what it looks like when they come down for breakfast the next day. Tikvah would have none of it. "I want to see how it goes together!!" Ahava is at the echo stage, "Yeah, see how it go together daddy!" *sigh* All right.

So I start to put it together, and of course the girls want to help. "Here Daddy, I'll hold this!!" Ummm, no, you need to hold it lower, lower. You know what, it's easier if it's on the floor." "Thank you, but I don't really need this screw driver now." Etc. Then of course Ahava grabs a book (she loves to look at the pictures) and sits right in the middle of the futon frame where I'm trying to attach all the bolts. "Ummm, sweetie, can you sit down over there? Thank you so much."

But don't get the idea that they were of no help. Tikvah sometimes got me the right parts when I needed them, and together with mom, we all lifted the second part of the frame onto the first. (that's what the directions said to do anyway. And they were so eager to grab onto the mattress and help us to get it onto the frame.

At that point, it was almost an hour past their bed time. They went up with with very little protest.

Altogether I'd say having them help me out only set me back about 15-20 minutes. But they were well worth it.

Friday, March 23, 2007

No Riding on Passover??

According to this article, we can't use ethanol based gasoline during Passover because of its corn based contents. This is the second time ethanol gas wrecked a good motorcycle ride. Apparently it does a very good job of cleaning out the gunk in your gas tank. Only problem was, the gunk then goes into your carbs. More detail here. I had to take my bike to the shop to get the tank drained and the carbs cleaned before the bike would run again.

And yes, I know the article was a joke. Nice thought though. :-)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Kosher 6 months and counting

My rabbi likes to say "Hashem talks to people, you just have to know how to listen."

I think now I know what he means. Sometimes there are too many "coincidences" for things in life to be so random. For example, in 2006 after reading a story in the OU weekly newsletter about how tzitzits saved a man after the Holocaust (which came from, and led to my daily reading of Treppenwitz) I decided to start wearing tzitzits myself. But to cement this even more, after I got some tzitzits and started wearing them, the very next Shabbos was Parchah Shlach, which contains Numbers 15:38-39

38: Speak to the children of Israel and you shall say to them that they shall make for themselves fringes on the corners of their garments, throughout their generations, and they shall affix a thread of sky blue [wool] on the fringe of each corner. 39: This shall be fringes for you, and when you see it, you will remember all the commandments of the Lord to perform them, and you shall not wander after your hearts and after your eyes after which you are going astray.
Yikes, talk about timing. This happened again several months later when I was deciding if it was time to go completely kosher (I was already kosher at home, but was still on the fence about being kosher outside the home). I had pretty much decided that I would go completely kosher. But driving by Chili's, I thought to myself "I'm really going to miss the fajitas." (ordered without cheese or sour cream, but still...) The next day I had a meeting that was near a kosher restaurant, so I decided to have dinner there. When I read the specials of the day, you could have knocked me over with a feather. The item at the very top of the menu board was Chicken Fajitas! Okay, message received loud and clear! I started keeping completely kosher a few weeks later at Rosh Hashanah. Checking my calendar, that was September 22nd. So today (secularly anyway) is my 6 month anniversary. And next week I have another anniversary coming up as well, but I'll write about that soon.

My wife asked me a few times if there are things that I missed from my days of not keeping kosher. I'll be honest. Yes, there are several food items that I do miss. But the longer that I've gone without them, the less of a hold, or desire they seem to have over me. I think the thing I miss the most though, is the ability to just run out and grab a meal anywhere. There are only a few kosher restaurants in my area, and they are all at least a half hour drive away (over the state line). Still, this has been better for my diet. Bringing in lunch from home daily has been much healthier than a burger and fries at McDs several times a week!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Hello World!

I don't know if that's the standard opening line for a Blog, but as a former computer programmer, that's the standard opening line for me.

Anyway, I'm still trying to get this whole blogging thing figured out (e.g. how to get it all set up the way I want), so please excuse any construction mess you may see.

So, who am I and why the long name?

The name is Jewish Deaf Motorcycling Dad (JDMDad for short). I tried to think of the things that make up who I am and what I am. A lot of people define themselves by their jobs, or specific field. "Hi, I'm Joe, and I'm a mechanic." That's nice, but WHO are you, really? So I tried to think of who I really am, what makes up my core elements, at least as of March 21th, 2007.

The answers, in no specific order (well, the order that sounded best when I verbalized the 4 terms):

Jewish: Born and raised Jewish. Now becoming more and more observant of my religion. I don't know if I'd label myself as "Orthodox" or Baal Teshuva yet, but I'm heading in that direction. Keeping kosher, observing Shabbos, etc.

Deaf: Well, there are varying degrees of deafness. With hearing aids on, I can actually hear pretty well. Not that I would ever pass for a hearing person. But it definitely has made its mark on me. Especially when my company (and work will NOT be a focus of this blog) has problems with scheduling an interpreter.

Motorcycling: After I graduated from college, I finally went out and
learned how to ride, then got myself a bike. (note the order!) I'm
very active (sometimes too active) in several motorcycle groups, including a Deaf motorcycle group, and a Jewish motorcycle group. At first I was going to use the term "Biker" but that has too many negative connotations. Plus you'd probably imagine someone in leather, riding a chopper, no helmet, etc. Definitely an incorrect image.

Dad: The biggest and best change of my life came when my first daughter poked her head out and said "WWWAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!" I now have two daughters, and now fully understand why you never get between a mama bear and her cubs.

Why a blog? I've been reading some other blogs, mostly Jewish related, and posting some comments. But I started to have a little bit of blog envy and wanted to give it a whirl myself.

Why an anonymous blog? Really, I'm more than willing to be open about who I am. But my wife is concerned about the crazies out there. So I agreed to try to do this anonymously. With two little girls, I understand her feelings on this, and since I don't want to endanger my kids or my marriage, this is it. Thus the kids will be getting alternate names for the blog (and my wife picked one for herself as well). I'm sure within a month I'll be totally confused and calling them by the wrong name to the dinner table, earning strange looks from the kids and my wife. I'm also pretty confident that if anyone who knows me in "real life" looks at this blog, they'll peg me in a minute. That's fine. Just don't pop out and give the info to everyone else, m'kay?

The names of my girls (in chronological order) start with a T, then an A. So after my second one was given her name, for a few days, I used to refer to them as "T & A." Then I thought about that hard for a minute, and no longer use that term.

My oldest daughter (Currently 3 something) is Tikvah.
My youngest (currently 2) is Ahava.
My lovely wife (age is irrelevant if I want to survive) is Laya.

And I'm your host, JDMDad, Jewish Deaf Motorcycling Dad.

The things that I have in mind to write (some have already been written, and are just floating around my computer with no place to go yet) cover my 4 identity points, some separately, and some in combination with others. And of course some things will just be totally off the top of my head. How often will I post? Will this be one of those many deserted blogs? I don't know. I'm figuring this out as I go along. (Literally! I have a copy of Brad Hill's "Blogging for Dummies" next to me, and several "" help pages open as I type this).