Fun Fall Facts

Today, September 23, 2011, the first day of fall (or autumn as also commonly called), marks the beginning of my favorite time of year. I love the way the leaves change colors (not for me, since I live in south Florida). I love holidays that fall around now—beginning with the Jewish new year, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and then Hanukkah and Christmas. I love the flavors and scents of the warm apple cinnamon, the spices, pumpkin, ginger. I love the change in weather; that change in wearing shorts and tank tops to wearing jeans and boots.

Fun Facts About Fall

  1. Glucose trapped in the leaves gives them their red color. The brown coloring comes from the waste trapped there. Red and purple come from anthocyanin pigments formed in the dying leaves (the same pigment in purple grapes, red apples, and violets).
  2. About 500 years ago when Middle English was spoken, expressions like “fall of the leaf and “fall of the year” were commonly used. Thus, the name “Fall” stuck as the name of the season.
  3. Football season has started back up again.
  4. Orange and black are the Halloween colors because the orange symbolizes the colors of the Fall harvest and the black is associated with the darkness and death that come with Halloween.
  5. Pumpkins come in other colors besides orange—white, blue, and green.
  6. Plymouth Pilgrims were the first to celebrate Thanksgiving. Their celebration lasted 3 days.
  7. In the U.S., about 280 million turkeys are sold for family Thanksgiving celebrations.
  8. Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving in the U.S. begins the Christmas shopping season.
  9. The first day of fall is also the second equinox of the year and the Earth’s axis isn’t pointing toward or away from the sun.
  10. The first day of fall has approximately equal amounts of daytime and nighttime.

Blog Neglect

Hey blog followers!

Sorry I’ve been neglecting my blog the past few days. Trying to work out some health issues in my family, but I promise I’ll be back soon!

On That Day…

September 11, 2001. History was placed on our shoulders exactly ten years ago today (I was only 10 years old at the time, but definitely old enough to know and understand what had happened). We always read in textbooks about historical events such as Pearl Harbor, the Holocaust, etc. (just to name a couple examples), but who would’ve thought that we would’ve actually experienced, first-hand, our own historical event that is now found in textbooks everywhere? September 11th (just like I know my parents remember where they were when JFK was assassinated) is one of the those days in history that you will always remember where you were, what you were doing, who you were with.

On that day, I was in my fifth grade science class, taught by Ms. Heffron, at Donna Klein Jewish Academy.

On that day, in school, when I asked what was going on after seeing the horror on the faces of the entire faculty, I was told that there was a flood (instead of being told the truth).

On that day, I was picked up early from school by a sobbing, frantic mother.

On that day, I remember watching the planes crash into the World Trade Center on TV.

On that day, I remember how my dad was supposed to get on a plane to New York for a business trip.

A few years later, the summer before my senior year of high school, I went on a B’nai Brith Youth Organization (BBYO) trip to New York and saw Ground Zero for the first time. A large hole in the ground with metal fences surrounding. Enormous football-stadium-looking construction lights. A copper memorial wall with flowers surrounding to commemorate all of the firefighters who risked their own lives and saved tons of lives that day. These are the sights I saw. Since I was on Jewish group trip, I remember the whole group standing silently in a circle and then reciting a prayer. From that moment on, we were more unified as a group than ever. The hardship, horridness of the September 11th attacks brought us together as one. In times of need, we learn to come together, to support each other. If there’s one lesson that can be learned from September 11th, it is that—learning to stick together through good and bad times. Becoming one. Becoming united.

A member of the Boston College lacrosse team years ago, Welles R. Crowther, after finishing college, had gone on to work in the Twin Towers. He had a sentimental red bandana that his dad had given to him when he was a little boy. On September 11, 2001, he became a hero, helping people escape the building and then going back up to the top to save more lives. Unfortunately, he did not survive that day. So, to honor this hero, my school announced that everyone should wear a red bandana to our football game last night against Boston College. There was a tribute to him and 9/11 during halftime and the whole stadium was in tears, waving their red bandanas in the air, proud to show off their spirit and commemoration for this beloved man. I have been a part of many September 11th memorial services (including performing a song that my aunt wrote), and every single one of them have helped shape who I am today and made me realize how important it is to count my blessings every single day.

 

My Love for Maroon 5

About a month ago, Sydney proposed the idea of driving to Tampa for a Maroon 5 concert to Beth and me. At first, I was skeptical since it’s an hour and a half drive, it’s during the school/work week, and I have an early class the next morning (Thursday morning). But let me tell you, it was totally worth the drive!!!!!!!!! BEST CONCERT I’VE EVER BEEN TO!!! Matt Nathanson opened–I love his music, but am not too familiar with him. I only know a few of his songs. Maroon 5 and Train were the main attractions. Maroon 5 came out first. Honestly, that’s who I was there for (Adam Levine is beautiful. Enough said.)! I’m obsessed with their music–they have an absolutely fabulous sound and you can tell that they have real talent. I feel you can always tell what artists are truly talented by how they sound live compared to their albums–Maroon 5 sounded the same–absolutely marvelous! Train came out to perform next. Sydney, Beth, and I felt that we would probably leave halfway into their performance because we weren’t as familiar with their songs and we’re not their biggest fans, but boy were we wrong!!! We ended up staying until the very end. Their performance skills were off-the-charts-amazing! And they sounded great. We also realized that we knew more of their music than we thought we did. OBSESSED WITH THIS CONCERT AND THE WONDERFUL MEMORIES CREATED!

ACS Love

The American Cancer Society is the nationwide, community-based, voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy, and service (their mission statement). They are “the official sponsor of birthdays” and they dedicate countless hours, days, years to helping people live healthy lifestyles and to enriching the lives of people who need their support. They also fund groundbreaking research to help find a cure to the hideous disease. The American Cancer Society deserves tons of recognition and appreciation for all of their hard work.

I am honored to say that I started volunteering there this morning. I am studying speech language pathology and hope to focus on patients with head and neck cancers someday when I open my own private practice. This volunteer position is not only a great foundation for my career and future, but it is a great foundation to teach me so so much about how important it is to live everyday to the fullest. They devote their time to making sure everyone has that opportunity. As you can tell, I’m full of praise for this not-for-profit organization and I am ecstatic about being able to contribute to it. Can’t wait to continue volunteering this year! I’ll keep you all posted about my experience there.

 

 

 

Reflections on Back-to-School

With another semester beginning again, I find much to reflect on. There are so many new beginnings to think about and discuss: for us college students, it means new roommates, new classes, new opportunities, and just a new year (a year older, a year wiser)—a clean slate for a handful of life experiences.

Roommates can be your best friends, but they can also be your worst enemies. Lucky for me, I’ve gotten along with all of my roommates thus far—whether best friends or just considerate living-mates, I am thankful to say that I have not encountered the “naked roommate” or the “crazy overzealous achiever” (who drives you crazy bragging about grades, relationships, involvement on campus, you get the picture…) or any other crazy roommates you can think of for that matter. What’s so wonderful about roommates (at least, from my experience) is that you can all be so different (different religions, have different political views, different family lives, etc.), yet you can all be so alike. You find the things that you have in common and those are what mesh you together—I guess like in any friendship. You get along (or don’t get along) based off of things that you both enjoy (or don’t enjoy/agree upon)… just like with roommates.

The thought of new classes can be daunting, especially since you’ve most likely been on a break all summer. I think it’s exciting, however. Now that I am taking classes that pertain to my major (speech pathology), they’re not so tedious—actually lessons that I want to learn about! (I should restate… I am excited for classes, but definitely not for the amount of work that comes with them.) Summer, you will be missed, but I am excited to see what’s in store for me!

Take advantage of all the new opportunities that you possibly can. I am hoping to volunteer at the American Cancer Society this semester and I am ecstatic! I’m really looking forward to the experience, especially since I can relate it to my major (my goal is to specialize in speech patients that have had a head/neck cancer). New opportunities come in the form of a new job, a new volunteer position, a new internship, joining a new club, the list goes on and on… but, absolutely take advantage of all of your resources and of everything that is thrown your way. Don’t let anything slip past you because I promise all of these opportunities will be valuable today, tomorrow, the next day, and the next…

Good luck, everyone, with going back to school! I wish you all the best!

All Dogs Go to Heaven

“The more people I meet, the more I like my dog.” –Unknown

“He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.” –Unknown

“The reason dogs have so many friends is because they wag their tails instead of their tongues.” –Unknown

“The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.” –Andy Rooney

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” –Will Rogers

“We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It’s the best deal man has ever made.” –M. Acklam

“My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am.” –Unknown

“A dog will teach you unconditional love. If you can have that in your life, things won’t be too bad.” –Robert Wagner

Dogs are man’s best friend. I honestly and truly believe in this statement. They always show you unconditional love, even if you don’t necessarily deserve it. They always greet you warmly–wagging their tails when you come through the door, even if you were only gone for 2 seconds. I know that my dog is my best friend. I can always go to her when I just need a hug or someone to cuddle with. Or, if I need someone to talk to who can keep a secret, because I know for sure that she won’t tell a soul. Or, if I need to vent about something. Or to play a game. Or just to be the loving companion that I know she is. She provides me with so much comfort and contentedness… she is a total angel.

I Hope You Dance

Ever heard Lee Ann Womack’s song titled I Hope You Dance? Listen to it here:

It sends out a great message to everyone and it is both beautifully song and written. Hope you enjoy!

Every Girl’s Motto Should Be…

…because come on, what girl doesn’t feel better after getting a new pair of fabulous shoes?

Summer Excursions

The end of summer is near, fortunately and unfortunately. I am excited to get back into my routine, be on my own schedule, see my friends up in Orlando, and meet my new roommates. but I am sad leave my friends and family from back home. Looking back on my summer memories, there are a few in particular that stand out. I call them my “excursions” and I would like to elaborate:

Excursions

  1. Atlanta- Beth and I have a close, close friend who lives in Atlanta. We went to visit her and her mom for a long weekend and we had the most amazing time. It was so wonderful to spend time with people who seem like family. I have only been privileged to have friends like Shira and her mom, Debra for about 5 years, but it feel s as if I have known them a lifetime. To view more about my experience, click here
  2. Miami- Jill is one of those kind of friends who you know now will be in your bridal party—a true friend. We met in college, but she has since transferred to a different school, much to my dismay. She now lives and studies far away, but we are so lucky we had this time during the summer to spend together. We have discussed a day trip to Miami for at least a year and we finally had our day this summer! It was so much fun, enjoying a delicious meal at a café called Aroma, which made us all reminisce about trips that we’ve all taken to Israel (both together and separately). After a scrumptious meal, we walked around Lincoln Road and went into some of the shops. We all indulged in some freshly squeezed juices that were out of this world and visited a “Chabad on Wheels.” This experience was so meaningful to us because we originally met in our campus Chabad.
  3. Orlando/Gainesville- With Ashley, our confidante since Parkland Kids Camp when we were about 8 or 9, we went to visit our schools and apartments for about 5 days—mine and Beth’s being in Orlando, and Ashley’s being in Gainesville. In Orlando, we visited with some of our friends from school and spent time both shopping in the wonderful outlet malls and being big kids in Disney—Epcot, to be specific. We then drove up to Gainesville where we saw what Ashley’s school life is like. We met some of her dearest friends and devoured a home-cooked Shabbat meal at her school’s Hillel.
  4. Naples- This was my last “excursion” of the summer with my grandparents, parents, sister, cousin, aunt, and uncle. Every summer, we all drive over to the west coast of Florida for a few days. This year, our trip entailed yummy meals, shopping, tanning on a beautiful beach, swimming in a brand new pool, and being with loved ones.

These are all experiences that I will never forget with people I will never forget. Reflecting on this summer, seemed a tad disappointing (I think in comparison to last summer when I went to both New York and Israel, it looks kind of dinky) and not all that I had planned for it to be. BUT, I have accomplished so much this summer—growth as a person and growth in my knowledge and my abilities. So, how could I be disappointed in that? It turns out that I really enjoyed myself and my quality time with family and friends this summer and I have absolutely no regrets—wouldn’t have changed it for the world. Maybe it wasn’t as exciting as last summer, but fond experiences and memories will always be present.