Monday, October 31, 2005

I Am a Perv (not really)

I learned to drive a car when I was 15. Before that I helped my granddaddy drive his tractor. I also learned how to drive a golf cart at an early age. I lived in a rural NC country club community growing up which I think basically means that no black people lived within several miles of my house. Anyway, I am pretty familiar with a car and think that I am a good driver. However, driving in Israel is crazy. People don't drive here. Instead they just sort of sit behind the wheel, press the gas, and kind of steer the car toward their destination - lanes, signaling, driving courteously - out the window.

I have been building up my courage to face the not-so-open Israeli road. The other day I decided to drive to the mall to buy some sweatpants. (It's getting too chilly to do yoga in shorts.) Well, most of Jerusalem's 650,000 residents were at the mall. I didn't even try to find a parking place. I just circled back around the mall and drove home. This driving attempt was during Sukkot and nobody warned me that it was a huge shopping time.

The other day I finally made it back to the mall. I don't particularly enjoy mall shopping and even less so in Israel. I started on my mission.

I am a small person and men's sizes don't really fit me well. I am always on the lookout for extra small sizes. Israel is pretty good about having smaller sized clothing. People here are generally less fat than Americans and they wear their clothes much tighter. So, I have been reasonably successful clothing myself. (Yes, I did just mention ONE good thing about living in Israel!)

Since I am so small though, I am also able to wear boy's extra large sizes. Generally, I scope out the boy's section and see if there is anything that I would wear. 90% of the clothes have some sort of screen printing or wording on them that I wouldn't be caught dead in. Once in a while I am able to find something basic that might fit. Normally I take whatever I've found over to the men's side to try it on. Trying clothes on the the boy's dressing room is just weird. It makes me feel very Michael Jackson.

The other day at the mall I found some cute basic long sleeve t-shirts at a children's store. I felt so perverted asking to use the dressing room to try them on. Seriously, the store was full of half naked boys running around while their mothers chased after them trying to get a shirt over their head. I just knew that while I was in the dressing room (a curtain in the corner of the store) that some kid was going to come and pull the curtain open and I would be standing their like a half-naked Wizard of Oz. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!

Everything worked out. I wasn't exposed. It does feel uncomfortable though shopping in the boy's section. The clothes are cheaper though, so I guess it's an ok trade-off.

PS: Check in tomorrow for a post about tonight's Halloween adventures!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Stop Me...

...if I repeat myself! Blogging is a lot of fun for me. One of the coolest things about blogging is that I've actually met many of the authors of my daily blog dose in "real life". Since my blog is basically a collection of some of the more entertaining stories from daily life, I tend to tell the same stories when I am hanging out with friends. My "you won't believe what happened to me at the post office" story that I posted about on my blog is a lot funnier when I can act it out for you in person - I am a pretty entertaining guy. Yet, today I met with Lisa and I think that she was forced to listen to more than a couple of stories that I've written about here.

In short, if I am hanging out with you and begin to tell you a story you already heard or read before, stop me. I've got lots more that I haven't posted about. I promise!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Long Time...

So, I guess that I have been busy - and just not in the mood for writing. I have been having trouble sleeping lately and that just puts a big damper on my mood. No need to spread my grumpiness around on the internet. It is about 5:30 AM right now and I just woke up- pretty good considering what time I have been getting up lately.

Yaacov and I have spent a lot of time with his family of the past couple of weeks with the holidays and all.

We've painted the kitchen. The job sounds simple, but we had to take everything out, clean, tape up the room, and then paint- then clean again and put things back. It looks so much better. We chose a satin finish that will be easier to clean than the white flat paint that was there before. Pictures to follow soon.

I have been reading - I haven't made it to Invitation to Sociology yet though. I read a couple of books my friend Jenn gave me. One was Maggie Sweet. It's about a middle-aged woman from rural North Carolina "finding herself" - a little Steel Magnolia-ish. It was a fun, easy read. Then I read Angels by Marian Keyes. It was sort of a Sex in the City story about a woman that separates from her husband and moves from Dublin to LA. It was a well written and entertaining story.

Yaacov is back at work. I start ulpan again in November.

I am looking on the web for winter clothes. I have been watching the first season of The L Word on DVD.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

I Wonder

I want to know when this will be available for Hebrew?!
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1118338-5,00.html

Where Have I Been?

Ok - sorry that there hasn't been much bloggage going on here. Busy with holidays and eating.

When I have been online I have been obsessed with these sites:
Archie McPhee and American Apparel

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Flip...Out!

Before I moved to Israel, I was working on an exhibit produced by the NC Museum of Life and Science that was funded by the National Science Foundation. It's called Flip It, Fold It, Figure It Out! You can read more about the exhibit HERE. The pictures on the link are of the prototypes. Some actual exhibit photos are below (thanks, Carol!).

This area is all about volume measurement experimentation. There are different sizes of cylinders and other geometric objects placed in the red tubs. Visitors use small plastic pellets to fill the objects and make comparisons. One tub is for free exploration and is at a lower level for younger visitors. The two red tubs on the left and center are more structured experiments for older visitors.


At this station visitors illuminate an everyday household mystery object hidden inside the teal boxes behind the white circles. Visitors use a button to light three shadow projections (one at a time) on the white circles and try to guess what is inside.


Here visitors are presented with a variety of holes of interesting shapes. There's a circle, square, cross, and triangle. On the tray to the left are various "key" shapes. Of of the keys will fit easily through all of the holes. Visitors try to figure out which key works with all of the holes.


At this module, visitors play with mirrors to create patterns and experiment with symmetry.


The ideas of pattern and symmetry are reflected in many crafts. Here a quilt highlights patterns in everyday life. Visitors can make their own quilt using fabric tiles at a nearby table.




These two photos show the origami station. There is a computer that illustrates how to make various origami figures. There is also a tactile step-by-step model of how to make a simple origami cup. Paper is available for visitors to use.

Happy 1st Anniversary

Yes, I made it! 365 days living in Jerusalem. Yes, I escaped for about 3 weeks to Paris and North Carolina - but other than that, I've been right here. Yeah for me!

I just looked up traditional anniversary gifts. Apparently there is also a "modern" list as well. The traditional gift would be paper. I do like origami... The "modern" gift is, get this, clocks! Hmmm... Year 44 is groceries!

(Marilyn Monroe with her 30th Birthday Cake June 1, 1956)

Friday, October 14, 2005

Today

Here in Jerusalem on October 14, 2005 it's 28 degrees C or about 83 degrees F. It's a bright and sunny day. Yaacov and I are going to meet his parents at the Dead Sea this afternoon.

Yeah! Fall!

Update: We met up with Yaacov's parents at the Crowne Plaza hotel at the Dead Sea. The Crowne Plaza is a big, blah hotel but it has a really nice pool and beach right on the Dead Sea. We floated around in the water and chatted for a long time while we watched the sun set.

After getting cleaned up we ate dinner at the hotel's restaurant. The food wasn't all that great, but there was a lot of variety. Since we're in the middle of the holidays in Israel, the hotel was FULL of people - more than half of them children. It was funny to look around the restaurant and see all of the shiny, tanned people.

Yaacov's mom prefers the Hotel Royal at the Dead Sea. If you've got any recommendations for Dead Sea accommodations, please let me know about it. You can read about my first Dead Sea experience here.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

It Changed

Well, I updated the template. Now I have Blogger comments again. Haloscan has been acting funny lately. All old comments were lost - but they would have been eventually with Haloscan anyway. Sorry.

No more ads.

Same colors.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Yom Kippur Reading - Book Search

Does anyone have a copy of Invitation to Sociology by Peter L. Berger that I can borrow/buy?

Let me hear from you...

I Got Tagged

A couple of weeks ago Savtadotty tagged me. I've been working on my list of five personal idiosycrasies since. I've been thinking of some good ones that you probably wouldn't know unless I told you. Here they are:

1. I know how to make homemade glue and playdough.

2. I often forget what's in the pantry and buy the same thing over and over again at the market even though we have some already at home.

3. It's hard for me to remember your name unless I see it written down.

4. I wash my hair no more than every other day unless I go to the beach or pool.

5. I think that geology is cool and can get really fired up talking about rocks.

I tag Jenn, Sam, and S. Have fun!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Time Flips

So, I was in bed the other night and I was having trouble falling asleep. Our alarm clock is a small, yellow, travel alarm clock. Yaacov got it at the hardware store around the corner for free. It has an advertisement for Energizer batteries on it but it's pre-bunny. Anyway, its "tick" isn't really noticeable during the day, but when I was trying to fall asleep it sounded like someone tapping on a drum. Instead of counting sheep, I started thinking about all of the alarm clocks in my life.

My last alarm clock was bought in the pre-college shopping rush over ten years ago. I remember that I bought it in the old Wal-mart (the one that's now an abandoned big box and not the new one that needs its own ZIP code) in Shelby, NC. I couldn't decide which one to buy. They were all so ugly. I finally decided on a digital one with a red display. I remember thinking when I bought it that it wouldn't last long and I could replace it with a better looking one. Well, that clock survived four years of college, countless falls from the night stand, and four years of very early mornings as a teacher. I don't know what happened to it, but it didn't make it to Israel. Maybe I sold it in the big yard sale before I moved here. Maybe it ended up in the Goodwill pile.

My grandmother has an alarm clock from the dawn of time. It looks like this:

The numbers are two-part flaps and instead of ticking away the seconds, you just get one unsatisfying flap after 60 seconds. It's not even that loud. I remember sitting on the edge of my grandmother's bed staring at that clock for the moment when all of the flaps would move - like 9:59. Time well spent!

My mom used to have a wind-up alarm clock. I remember hearing her crank the key right before bed. Now she has a fancy Bose alarm clock/radio/CD thingy.

So, times change.

Just the other night Israel switched from the "summer clock" to the "winter clock". It always messes me up for a couple of days. I wake up too early. My friend Demetri had an unpleasant surprise when he went last week to Ramallah for his weekly teaching gig. He got there an hour early. Turns out the folks over in Palestine changed their clocks on a different day than Israel.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Dick Clark

It can't be New Year's! See, New Year's for me involves dropping a crystal ball, backwards counting, hoppin' john, champagne, and Dick Clark. None of that happened this week.

This week in Israel (and in Jewish communities all over the world) we're celebrating Rosh Hashana or "the head (beginning) of the year". According to the Jewish calendar, we've just begun year 5766.

There are differences in the specific ways that people celebrate various holidays around the world. But some customs seem to be universal like spending time with friends and family. On "New Year's Eve" Yaacov and I went to his parent's house. His mom cooked delicious, traditional Georgian food and we gave toasts full of good wishes for the new year. Yesterday for lunch we went back and had leftovers! Our friend Avi who is a great cook had friends over last night for dinner.

I came to Israel almost a year ago but this is my first time experiencing these holidays in Israel (Yom Kippur, Sukkot and other holidays are coming soon). For me, the pace of life is marked by seasonal changes and the holidays that I had growing up like Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter. I am just beginning to feel the rhythm of the year in Israel.

So for those of you reading this שנה טובה! (Shana Tova) or Happy New Year!

Reuven Rubin Still Life with Pomegranates

Greetings from Italy

This is a follow up to this post.

Yaacov's parents came back last week from Italy. They brought us limoncello, tasty Parmesan cheese, and exotic spaghetti.

No cologne.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Water

A couple of days ago I was in East Jerusalem (a 20+/- minute walk from my apartment) and I bought a bottle of water. This is the label from what I bought.

As far as I know this brand of water isn't available in "Israel". You can buy it in "Palestine". There's no Hebrew on the label at all - just Arabic and English.

It's made by the Arab Palestinian Investment Company.