This is my attempt at blogging. I'm still learning about the blogging world, and this is my own personal study hall.

Thursday, January 27, 2005


I seriously don't uderstand how people do it.

I'm exhausted.

I get up in the morning at about 7, and that's because I'm in too much of a zombie state to get up when my alarm goes off at 6:30. Then I have to be out the door and in the car by 8 (which, of course, really means out the apartment door by 7:53-ish, because you have to wait for the elevator and walk through the parking lot to the car). Which is difficult, because some days, at least, I have to take a shower.

And I make sure to Daven Shaharis. But there is no Minyan in the area that starts after the time that I wake up and ends before the time that I have to leave to go to the Metro. There's the 6:15 Matzah Minyan (they finish in under 18 minutes); there's the 6:35 Minyan (which is, I believe, Sepharadi); there's the 6:45/55 Minyan (depending on the day of the week); and there is the lone post-Seth's-awakening Minyan at 7:30, which does not finish until about 8:05/15 (depending on the day of the week).

So I Daven in the other bedroom by myself. Generally, because of my slowness in waking-up matters, I end up throwing on my Talis and Tephillin, and saying Shema' and the 'Amidah, and saying a haphazard Tahanun whilst taking off my Tephillin. I keep myself motivated not to miss Shaharis the way that I used to keep myself motivated not to miss a day of Tephillin - I have not missed a day of Tephillin, Baruch HaShem, since the day before I went to Israel for the year (I'm not sure though, anymore, if that means that the day before I went to Israel was the first day of my current streak, or the last day before my current streak, but, with G-d's help, I'll keep my streak going for good). Baruch HaShem, since getting married, I have not missed a day of saying Shema' and the 'Amidah with my own Talis.

I believe I have had breakfast only twice since beginning my internship, and those were on days when Congress was not in session and I was coming in at 9:30 instead of 9. Now, though I have to be out the door before 8 in order to be in the door before 9, which generally means I rush out the door as soon as my Tephillin are wrapped, without even taking the time to properly fold my Talis. In other words, "Breakfast? What?" Oh, and of course you can't eat on the Metro here. You can get a hefty fine. It's not like New York's subway. In fact, there's a magazine here called "The Washingtonian" (I'm told it is similar to "New Yorker"), which had an article that Ali and I read about 3 months ago, which discussed how, when they were designing DC's Metro, they used New York's subway as their model for what NOT to do. Here they don't want any rats roaming through the system for some reason. Go figure.

So then I get to work at 9. I'm usually there until 5, often until closer to 5:30, occasionally until somewhere between 5:30 and 6, and rarely (like yesterday) until as late as 7. Now, if the actual Metro ride takes me 45 minutes to get to work, it takes a full hour to get back from work to the stop where we park the car in the morning. So, with all the little extra time-eaters (the walking to the Metro from the office, the waiting for the train, the transferring and usually missing the immediate transfer and having to wait 4 minutes for the next one, and the driving home from the Metro) I get home usually at about 7pm. So that means I am out of the house for 11 hours a day.

Then I have two blissful hours that I get to spend with my wonderful wife, followed by learning at 9, Ma'ariv at 10, and bed at 10:30 or 11, depending on how lenient Ali wants to be with me in allowing me to do things like, say, write a blog. So I'm almost always unconcious by 11. Not always by choice - some nights I would rather be doing something productive, like cleaning up from dinner or preparing food or cleaning for Shabbos. But the mere fact that I am awake right now at 11:00pm, is probably entirely attributable to the fact that I am sitting upright and engaging my mind, which will probably cease to function at all, no matter what, within the next 20-30 minutes.

So, all in all, Ali and I get to spend approximately 2 hours each evening together. Don't get me wrong, I have absolutely no intention of giving up my Havrusa. It is something I always wanted to have if I were ever to be stuck in a work environment (as opposed to having the luxury of being in a Yeshiva environment full-time), but it is NOT something that I anticipated actually succeeding in maintaining. B"H, I think the reason we have been successful is largely due to the fact that we started about two months before I got my internship, and it became part of my regular routine, so much so that I cannot now fathom giving it up. At this point I would sacrifice my career goals and cut out an hour or two early in order to have more time to spend at home with Ali, rather than cut out that one hour a day that I get to learn, BiQvi'us.

So I don't know how people manage. It blows my mind. I know there are other people out there with the same or very similar schedules to my own. There are people out there who work longer hours and still find time to learn and to be with their families. And I wonder. What happens when we have kids? I guess it becomes routine. That's life. You adapt. We're starting to develop our routine, finally, now that our six month honeymoon has ended. And really the week isn't so bad. The hard part now, is motivating myself to get up on Shabbos. That's the only time Ali and I have together now, and it is hard to give up any of that time, even the couple of hours in the morning, when we could be spending that time catching up on the week.

Seriously, to all of you who have done this before me, Kol HaKavod. We're working on it. It's just so weird. I've never had a schedule this full or this rigid before in my life. I guess I just have to get used to it.

Until next time,


Sunday, January 23, 2005

First Post

So this is my first post on a blog. Ever. And it's my own. I've posted on forums and things like that, but never a web log. I actually don't even know where to begin. I guess the reason I started this blog is so that I can practice blogging for future endeavors. I just feel like blogs are the wave of the future for communication and even education.

I guess I should first start out by thanking Shauli. You inspired me. I've thought about starting a blog for well over a year now, but I didn't think anyone would read it, not because they wouldn't care what I have to say, but because they wouldn't know that what I have to say can be interesting and even useful to them. I now realize that it's all about marketing. You put your blog address in your away message. I can do the same thing. If my blog is any good, and people who read my away messages like it, then I can rely on them to create a buzz about it, and get other people to read it. This all sounds really stupid, if I'm just blogging my own thoughts or random stories from my day, but I actually have been talking to someone lately about starting a blog related to a mutually shared political outlook, only I have wondered how we would get anyone to pay any attention to us. Even Howard Dean, the first person to successfully use a blog to promote his political ideal (and for the record I cannot stand the man, so this is in no way an endorsement of him or his ideals, just recognition that he started a phenomenon that can be used by others [read: Me] for their purposes), only managed to get a couple hundred thousand people to regularly read and contribute to his blog. That is a lot, I will grant that, but when you're talking about challenging and changing the future of the American political scene, and in particular get elected to the White House, those kinds of numbers fall well short of the kind of audience you need to succeed. (Another side point is in order: I am NOT trying to change the future of the American political scene with my blog, nor am I trying to get elected to the White House - I'm not even old enough to run - I just want to be able to share my ideas with more than the handful of people I've spoken to who have asked me to write them down and share them with others. That didn't really come out sounding so great. It sounds very conceited. I don't think I have the solution to the world's problems. I just think I have ideas that some people might find interesting and/or enlightening, and the only reason I think so is that I was recently forced to share some of them with one particular person, who then almost begged me to write out for him what I had just told him.)

In short, and it's not so short anymore, I know, this is my first post of my practice blog. On it I will share thoughts and stories, Beli Neder, and it is my hope that this will give me practice in organizing my thoughts and in presenting them in a coherent manner. Who knows, maybe some day the president will read one of my posts and give me a job!

With that, I'm signing off.

Until next time,