Karaoke was awesome. My friend Fun J organized it, and I invited Math Boy (remember him?) to join the fun. J., Math Boy, and a couple other friends of mine (and J.’s), including I. (who will come back into the story next paragraph) hung out — along with a LOT of other friends of J.’s, people I don’t know — and had a great time. I rocked, if I do say so myself. (And I do. Math Boy said it, too. And on a side note, I think he and G. in DC are the only two guys I’ve dated with whom I’ve stayed friends. Well, and rebound-J from college, who’s now married to my former (post-college) roommate A.) Anyway. It was a ton of fun. Yay for having a microphone.

Monday night was dinner with I. She’s someone I should have been friends with in college, since we ran in overlapping circles, but we didn’t really meet and get to know each other until a few years ago in LA. She’s pretty cool, and I enjoy spending time with her. Over dinner, she more-or-less said, “You should host a Shabbat dinner again soon. And you should invite me.” I laughed and agreed that she was right; both of those things ought to happen. So next week I will host dinner here. I am hoping for a table full of people who are not in relationships. So far I have 1 yes (Harvard Boy), 1 presumable yes (I.), two maybes, 2 nos, and one no-response-yet. I would like to have 6 or 8 total, though a coworker of mine suggested I should have an odd number, with the “extra” being a guy. That way, she says, the men will get competitive and fall all over themselves attempting to impress the womenfolk. Interesting thought.

I’d been e-mailing with a JDate guy who sounded promising; we’d e-mailed two or three times each when he disappeared. About a week and a half later (last Thursday or so) I sent him a follow-up e-mail: “Just figured I’d say hi once more, because you sound like someone worth meeting. Figured it was worth a shot before you get relegated to the ‘guys who disappeared’ folder…” And it worked! He apologized, explaining he’d been on vacation with his family in celebration of his 30th birthday, etc., whatever. And he sent me his phone number and asked for mine, which I gave him (after making him wait a few days – I’m not a complete pushover), and he just called this evening. We are meeting for coffee/tea Sunday evening. And he specifically said “after dinner,” so I don’t have to worry about going through that awkwardness again.

Work continues to rock. Moving to this company nearly 2 years (!) ago increased my quality of life by decreasing my commute and my hours. But switching to this new position has increased my quality of life even more qualitatively (oh, the redundancy) by making me a much happier person. Today I had lunch with the summer interns (along with a couple other fully-credentialed folk, one from my old department and one from a different area entirely), and one of the interns asked what was the most fun part of my new role. I started to smile and said, “Really, everything is so much fun.” I talked about how it was a much better fit and how I enjoyed doing this, that, and the next thing, and the girl who’d asked said, “Wow, I can see that you really are having fun. You just light up when you talk about it!”

This Friday night, the cool minyan (PE for short) is having a potluck dinner. I am making dessert…but I’m wimping out (shhhh, don’t tell) and making chocolate chip cookies from store-bought dough. In my defense, I’ve got rather a lot on my metaphorical plate at the moment:

1) reviewing High Holiday services (I’m leading about half the services at my synagogue), and learning 6 lines of Torah (with special High Holiday trope) for Yom Kippur. (RH is 13-14 Sept; YK is 22 Sept.)

2) studying (voluntarily!) for the first of a series of exams — before y’all try to throw me into one of those nice rooms with the soft walls, be aware that these exams are far, FAR easier than the ones I took for my profession. These are insurance-related exams, but the first one recommends about 30 hours of studying, at most, which is perhaps a tenth of the time I spent studying for those other tests. (Test is scheduled for 6 Sept; if I fail I have to wait two business days, then I can re-register for $150 and take it again. It will be humbling but not utterly defeating.)

3) writing a question for one of those other tests. I’ve made a decent start, but I don’t know if what I’ve written is too easy or not. (First draft is due 31 August.)

So it’ll be a busy month or so. But after that, things should be somewhat calmer…

Oh, and the brownie cheesecake recipe I promised (as noted, it’s my Mom’s recipe; my comments are at the end) —

Brownie cheesecake — 6-8 servings

* 8 ounces (1 Pkg) brownie mix + water, oil, & eggs as per package

* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 1 large egg (I use egg beaters)
* 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
* 1/4 cup maple syrup

Grease pan and dust with flour. Prepare brownie mix as directed on package; spread 1/2 of batter evenly into 8×8 pan. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes. (use reminder for brownies in another pan)

Combine cream cheese, sugar, egg, and maple syrup; mix at medium speed with electric handheld mixer until well blended.

Pour the mixture over brownie layer in the pan. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes. Chill. 

If you use pareve brownie mix and pareve cream cheese it’s pareve. Or use real cream cheese and it’s dairy.

I guess you could use a 9 x 13 pan and all the brownie mix and double the cheesecake part for a larger group.

my notes: I use a 9-inch round springform pan, and use the whole brownie package for the crust. I bake it for 20-25 minutes. I do not double the cream cheese recipe. I’ve made it twice; once I used half fat-free cream cheese and half whipped cream cheese; the second time I used 12 oz fat-free and 4 oz whipped. It has been a huge hit both times I’ve made it.


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