Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Pride Parade Stabber Convicted

Remember last summer when a man did this?:

and this:


Well, the man that stabbed three people at the 2005 Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade was convicted just moments ago for attempted murder, sabotage, and injury. This story hasn't hit the major news outlets yet. You're getting it here first.

Sentencing will take place in the near future. However, my sources tell me that they expect a sentence of 10 to 15 years for these crimes.

Want to make a change? Get involved with Jerusalem WorldPride 2006.

Update: Read more about it here.

Rantette(s)

Rant 1:

I have downloaded (finally) Firefox onto my new machine. It works really well except for one tiny part - it won't play video in a pop up screen through Windows Media Player. I get an error screen that says that no Media Player is detected and prompts me to download it. Well, I already have it. If I try to download Media Player, the process stops and a error message say that the downloading can't continue because I already have an updated version. Well, tell that to Firefox. Everything works fine in IE - which grinds my shorts even more.

Rant 2:

The other day I had a favorite pair of pants repaired at my wonderful tailor on Aza St. (I'll write more about him soon.) There were two small holes that had formed at the top of the back pockets and he did a wonderful job patching them up. Well, last night I was making dinner and my friend Jonathan was over. Jonathan was chopping veggies for the salad and I squatted down to get a tomato out of a basket. Ripppppppp! Yes, folks, I ripped my pants. The ripping made a really loud farting sound and completely made a hole in my crotch area. Kids, I weight about 125lbs and I am skinny but it was still pretty embarrassing to rip a hole in my pants. And I was so angry - I just had these repaired. Well, I excused myself to change leaving Jonathan in charge of the salad. When I checked out the pants, I saw that they were beyond repair. The fabric (lovely charcoal corduroy - cut on the bias) was just shot even though I have only worn these pants a handful of times. UGH! These pants fit just right - UGH!

Monday, January 30, 2006

The View From Here

Well, I have finally gotten around to opening a flickr account. It takes forever to upload photos but I like the way the photostream is displayed on the blog. I am adding pictures little by little. It's also encouraging me to take more pictures. So, look for more shots from Israel in the future.

Have fun!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

What's the Big Deal

My friend Lisa is hosting a friend here in Israel. He was born in a trigger happy country led by religious fundamentalists that repress women and racial/sexual minorities. Yeah, me too.

Pass It On

I feel like these past few posts have been all about sharing neat things that I've found on the internet. Celestial Blue shares another one: Pandora. I love this!

My Kind of Fishing



Thanks to Sam (Hi Sam!) for this link.

Matt

My friend Matt has a blog. Read it. His blog has pictures. Check them out. (Sam, this is for you until I can get my act together with my photos.)

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Duh

You are a

Social Liberal
(85% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(6% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Socialist




Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Friday, January 27, 2006

Pulling a James Frey

Y and I have just finished breakfast. We had salad (tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers, cilantro, rashad (I don't know what this is in English!)), tehina, sour cream, cheese, olives, grapefruit juice, coffee, and scrambled/scribbled eggs.

Over breakfast I shared with Y about the whole James Frey scandal. Anyway, we joked about how people can now pull a "James Frey" or how calling someone a "James Frey" ain't such a good thing.

In his book (a "memoir" of addiction and "redemption") Frey has negative things to say about Alcoholics Anonymous. Part of AA is developing a practice of "rigorous honesty". I guess Frey has a lot to learn in this regard.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Yeah Me!

Those of you that read this blog frequently know that I don't get into a lot of negativity. There's enough of that in the world. But I just want to say (again) that I am fed up with blog awards.

But before I write them off completely, I'll give myself one. Let me know if you want one too. Copy the image or I'll send you one. But let's not waste our time voting, ok?


Let There Be Light (OMG! I Met Margaret Warner!!!)

Today is cleaning day. Why is it that cleaning day always has the most beautiful weather? One of my chores for the day was to replace the tubes in the kitchen light. They had been flickering for a couple of days and finally went dark yesterday.

I went to the hardware store (It's right beside the dry cleaner.). As I approached it, I saw a well made-up woman in a bright red suit standing in front of a cafe speaking to someone. She had a pad and pen in her hands and looked very familiar. I called Y and asked him the name of "that woman"on the NewsHour. He said, "You mean Gwen Ifill?" I replied, "No the other one." "Oh," he said, "that's Margaret Warner I think." I shouted, "Well, she's right here on Aza in front of the Coffee Shop!" Of course, I had to go and introduce myself.

Yes, folks, Margaret Warner was right here in my little Jerusalem neighborhood! I just think that the NewsHour is the best news program ever and was thrilled to shake her hand. Y and I think that it's interesting to consider that I would have probably not have ever met her on a street in the US, but the likelihood is greater here in Jerusalem. She's been here covering the Palestinian elections.

I called a couple of friends to share with them about my star sighting and when I said, "I just saw Margaret Warner!!!" They said, "Who?" Ok, I know that she's not as famous as Madonna, but she's someone that I respect and admire...so it was pretty special!

I returned home with the tubes and changed them. But still no light. Researched on the internet a bit and decided to change the "starters". Bought two new "starters" and now I can see what I am cooking. Now I just need to move away from the computer and do some other chores.

Sex Bomb

The other day I was walking to pick up my dry cleaning. As I walked down Aza St I saw the "hot guy" from the macolet (mini-supermarket) outside of the store talking to a police officer and pointing to the nearby bus stop. I couldn't hear what they were saying because I was on the other side of the street. I could tell what they were talking about though - the Zara bag left under a seat at the bus stop.

I kept walking toward the dry cleaner and in less than a minute two other police cars had blocked of that block of Aza St. and the officers were closing off the area to pedestrians. By the time I was finished at the dry cleaner the bomb squad van was there with their robot.

Not only is "hoy guy" from the macolet cute, he also saved the day.

I was hanging out with Laya and Dave of Jewlicious fame yesterday and shared this story with them. Laya and I had trouble figuring out which hot macolet guy I was talking about exactly.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Election Day

Today is election day in Palestine. It's an important day because these are the first parliamentary elections in a decade. It will also be interesting to see how the vote goes. Hamas, which the US labels a terrorist organization, may get up to one third of the seats.

I volunteer in east Jerusalem at the Rockefeller Museum. The museum is located near the "y" in "Old City" in this map: http://www.sunship.com/mideast/info/maps/greater-jerusalem-map.html. I got the following email from the lady I work for yesterday:
"I received an e-mail from the security office at Rockefeller explaining that tomorrow (Palestinian elections) it is best not to be near Rockefeller..."

So, today I'll stay on this side of town. I live in the light blue area on the map.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Brokeback Mountain (הר ברוקבק)

We went to see Brokeback Mountain on Saturday night and I loved it! I have nothing but good things to say about it - story, music, cinematography - wonderful!

The very next day in ulpan we read the song/poem below. It was shocking how appropriate it was. My rough translation follows my Hebrew typing exercise. I changed some of the pronouns and verb conjugations to suit my purpose here.

ברית לא מותרת
מילים: אסתר שמיר

לכאורה עוד פגישה מיותרת
שני זרים נתקלים זה בזה
הוא מזכיר נשכחות הוא נזכר
הן זו יד המקרה

לכאורה רק שיחה מנומסת
המילים הטפלות ביותר
הוא פותח אשנב הוא נכנס
הן זו יד המקרה

אך מתחת לפני השטה
כל גופם רועד מאד
לא יוכלו להפרד שוב לבטח
כי לבם יקום וימרוד ,הו
אל תוותר עליו
אל תוותר
גורל הוא לא סתם תרח עיוור

לכאורה האויר עוד רגוע
לכאורה שום דבר לא יקרה
מה טוה ביניהם געגוע
הן זו יד המקרה

לכאורה עוד אפשר גם אחרת
לכאורה בידיהם הגלגל
אך קשורים הם בברית לא מותרת
בנשיקת הגורל

(my translation)
Forbidden Union
by: Astar Shamir

It seems like another unnecessary meeting
Two strangers run into each other
He recalls forgotten things, He remembers
That is the hand of fate

It seems like just a polite conversation
The words are mundane
He opens the window, He enters
That is the hand of fate

Beneath the surface
Their bodies are trembling
Surely, they will not be able to separate
Because their hearts will rise and rebel
Don't give up on him
Don't give up
Fate is not just an old blind man

It seems that the air is still calm
It seems like nothing will happen
Longing is sewn between them
This is the hand of fate

It seems as though it is possible to do otherwise
It seems as though the wheel is in their hands
But they are tied in a forbidden union
By a kiss of fate

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Weekend Wrap-up

The weekend isn't over here (our weekend is Friday and Saturday) but I thought I'd just give you all the overview of what's been going on.

Thursday night Y and I went out to eat at a cafe that we like over on Derch Bethlehem and then went to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Going to a movie in Israel is not like going to one in the US. The screens here are much smaller, you get an assigned seat, and the experience is just different. I like the US movie-going experience much better. Overall, I liked the Harry Potter movie. I thought that the special effects were great but there wasn't much of a story. I was shocked at how much sexier this movie was compared to the other ones.

On Friday morning I woke up on the wrong side of the bed and that feeling lasted pretty much all day. Y went to the shuk or open air market and bought fruits and veggies. I headed to the supermarket and got some other groceries. Then we went to Tel Aviv. We checked out the new American Apparel store at Dizengoff Center and did a little shopping. I didn't buy anything at AA - they didn't have the bright pink undies in my size - next time. Y got a couple of sweaters at Castro on sale. Then we headed to meet up with Lisa. We had fun catching up with her. She helped me get out of my stinking mood. Lisa headed back to her apartment to work and Y and I were off to the soup salon at Savta Dotty's. Savta Dotty made some good soup which was enjoyed over good conversation and opera music in the background. Nothing like a good aria to lift your spirits.

Unfortunately we had to leave Savta Dotty's early and head back to Jerusalem for Shabbat dinner. We had plans with one of Yaacov's co-workers' family. I slept the whole way back to Jerusalem. As we got ready to leave for dinner the weather became worse. Jerusalem's winters can be harsh and last night was a good example. Cold. Rain. Hard wind. Not fun. Dinner was good and it's always fun to get to know new friends. The rain had stopped by the time we left.

I slept very late this morning. I woke up a couple of times to the sound of my upstairs neighbor cleaning her floors (on Shabbat!!!) and moving moving furniture around but I was able to go back to sleep. I finally got out of the bed at 11! I haven't slept in that late in a really long time! I was worried earlier in the weekend that I was getting sick, but today after a lot of sleep I feel much better. Wandering around in a haze I found Yaacov in front of his computer. Apparently he'd been up for two hours trying to figure out how to set up the new wireless router that we bought the day before. After about another hour of us both working on it, we finally got it to work. So now I can waste time in any room of the house!

We're going to go see Brokeback Mountain tonight. It just opened here on Thursday. I'm excited.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

To Succeed in Hebrew

Check out http://www.hebrew-verbs.co.il/. Fun!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

To the Cleaners

The other day I dropped off a sweater to be dry cleaned. Here's my ticket:
Posted by Picasa
(Click on the image a couple of times if you want to see a larger image.)

That's my name in Hebrew at the top of the form. You can also see where the guy circled "sweater" in blue. Yep, that's sweater in Hebrew. Welcome to my world. Hebrew is read right to left, btw.

I circled something in red. The first word reads "talit" and it's a shawl with ritually knotted fringe at each of the four corners - a prayer shawl. The second word is "tzitzit" and that's a garment worn by religious Jewish men under their clothes with a tassel at each corner.

It just knocked me out that they have a place for these on a printed form at the dry cleaners. These words would never be on a dry cleaning form in NC!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Liberty!

Recently I had a dialog with another blogger in the comments section of this archived post. It got me thinking.

In a democracy, which Israel tries to be, people have personal liberty. People can go where they want, do what they want, and even eat what they want. Personal liberty is balanced against harm (to others, the group, or ourselves). For example, the freedom to kill people is limited in a democracy because it hurts others. You could drive a 100 miles an hour all of the time, but it's against the law because you could hurt yourself or other people. Harm to others, yourself, or the group is the key in defining the scope of personal liberty in a democracy. It is important to always be vigilant to make sure our personal liberties are preserved and balanced.

I do not think that food (see the comments) is an important enough issue to limit any personal freedoms. Of course, if I were to roast a pig on a spit on my balcony, some of my neighbors might have a problem with that - the sight, the smoke, the smell. Since I am a nice, considerate neighbor (respectful of social norms and expectations), I don't barbecue pigs outside. But when I cook at home, in my own kitchen, that is no place for outside influence. (In the case with my hoppin' john, I let folks know that there was pork in the recipe. My kitchen is far from kosher so most of my friends wouldn't have much of an issue anyway - but I am sensitive to it.)

I think that when people try to put social pressures on private behavior it often comes from a place of intolerance and a world view where their dogma is more important than that of another person.

To many people Israel is a special place - a holy place. To others it's just a place.

By having a dialog about our expectations and approaching more important issues (abortion, civil rights, etc.) with the knowledge that "everyone doesn't think like me" we can help fulfill the promises of our democracies.

Check out www.tolerance.org.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Ducks, etc.

After Sharon's illness the Deputy Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, was appointed to be the acting Prime Minister. For some reason when I type that all I can hear in my head is, "If Miss American for any reason is unable to fulfill her duties then the...". Well, I used to walk by Olmert's house a couple of times a week. Now there is a lot of security there and it's a pain to have your bag checked etc. Olmert lives right beside a school with an interesting yard - it's a little farm. There are ducks, geese, and even a peacock. There was an article in Haaretz the other day saying that they are now the most secure ducks in the world. But with all this talk of avian flu, they might really pose a health risk!

I'm tired of my cute little head being squished and distorted on my blogger profile. In its place I've put up a picture of the Middle East at night from space. See all that light pollution in Israel? The wise men would get totally lost nowadays.

Coming up: A post all about Liberty! and the crane on my street.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Martin Luther King Jr.

I Have A Dream Speech by Martin Luther King Jr. delivered on August 28, 1963. Read it. Do something.

When I was teaching Kindergarten I once heard a 7 year old boy recite this speech - all of it. It was amazing.

________________________

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity. But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free.

One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land.

So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition. In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.

This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.

So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God's children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights.

The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges. But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring." And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado! Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California! But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee! Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Very Stupid

So this fall Phil Collins made a tour stop in Israel (after performing in Lebanon). Big success!

In August Depeche Mode will have a stop in Tel Aviv. Yaacov and I have a silly little joke about Depeche Mode - see, in Hebrew "Tipesh Meode" means very stupid. Sometimes we say things are Depeche Mode. Get it? It's one of those cute insider things.

Now Madonna needs to get her act together and get over here.

Friday, January 13, 2006

I Can't Read!

Ok - I can read, but my computer's CD/DVD RW drive can't read two CDs. I am trying to put them into iTunes, but my computer won't even play them. These two CDs are "copy controlled".

Any advice?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

It's Coming!


Yes, pink men's underwear is coming to Israel! I am so excited! In a few short weeks American Apparel will be opening the doors to their first Israeli store in Tel Aviv.

Right now they're hiring staff. If I were in TA, I would totally get myself a part time job. I know how to say pink underwear in Hebrew!

The tight, hipster American Apparel look is already popular in Israel. This is a country where a lot of men wear bikini underwear that makes the pink panel-fly ones seem tame. So, AA will probably do pretty well - although Israelis aren't used to paying so much for such basic clothes.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Voting for Myself

Every election day they show pictures of politicians coming out of the voting booth all smiles. You know they just voted for themselves. It's a little electoral masturbation. No wonder they're smiling!

Well, in the Israeli blogosphere it's voting time. Israellycool and the Jerusalem Post have teamed up this year to host the Jewish and Israeli Blog Awards. Click on those links to find out more about it. There are some really great Jewish and Israeli blogs out there - many of them I read every day. I am glad that the JIB Awards brings some attention to blogs I might not otherwise have read.

But, if you can believe it, I wasn't even nominated! Gasp! I know! It really is a shame.

So today, as I cry into my green tea with lemon, I am just going to say to myself, "I am a good enough blogger. I am a smart enough blogger. Doggone it, people read me."

Monday, January 09, 2006

Cleaning Out My Closet

I bought a bunch of clothes on my recent trip to the US. (Jeans are way less expensive in the US than they are here!) In order to make room for the new stuff, I had to clean out/up my closet a little bit. I went through everything and pulled out all of the clothes that I haven't worn in six months to a year. There is one thing in common with everything I pulled out. They are all too big.

Back in another life when I lived in the US and worked at a schoolhouse, I wore khakis and button up shirts every day. They were my little Mr. Rogers outfits. Nothing too flashy for the kids (or the parents). I looked nice but blah...boring. Part of this teacher garb was being comfortable and covering up. Plus, it's a real pain when playdough dries on your Dolce jeans and won't come out. Another reason I looked like Pat from SNL is that very few stores carry things in my size. Have you ever tried looking for size 27-28 jeans? Well, they are like the freakin' holy grail of clothes- good luck! So, I end up with a closet full of things that don't fit well.

The sizes in the US are just all messed up - small is not small. I am not a medium; I am extra small. Don't even get me started on this relaxed fit crap that swallows me like a flea caught in a 40 gallon trash bag. There are super-few places in the mall that carry extra small sizes. That's why the internet is such a wonderful thing. I can order clothes in my size! (Of course the shipping and returning can be a pain.)

But every once in a while I'll think that I am bigger than I am or something - or the mirrors in the shop make me look better (bigger) in the store than they do at home. Or all of those times my mom said, "You'll grow into it." have really altered my shopping psychology - but I find myself putting down the plastic knowing that the thing in the bag is too big. But what is a guy to do? It's a size small and they don't have a smaller one.

So in 2006 I am working this problem from both ends. One, I am only going to buy things that fit - really. Two, I am going to keep working on my beefcake plan. I'll keep you posted on how it goes. Hmm - maybe I should track my progress with some photos - maybe that'll drum up some traffic.

Friday, January 06, 2006

How Insensitive of Me!

The other day I said that Christmas was over. Well, it's not. This morning I woke up early again (but managed to fall back asleep) and heard the sound of bells ringing in the distance. I thought, "Why are the bells ringing at daybreak?" I don't know for sure (leave a comment if you know), but I think that it was probably related to some Christmas celebration.

Some of the Orthodox Christians here celebrate Christmas on January 7 because they follow the Julian Calendar. Folks in the Armenian Church observe Christmas on January 6 and celebrate both the birth and baptism of Jesus on the same day.

See, that's how Santa is able to do it all - it's not just one night. You have to subtract all of the bad kids and the Jewish kids too.

Open

I live near the Prime Minister's residence. I walk past there just about every day. There is a gated semi-public street (only residents can pass) that runs in front of the house. There are retractable metal pylons installed in the ground. Residents must have their cars checked before they can enter. Usually, as you would expect, the gate in front of the house is closed and protected by guards.

Today when I walked past the Prime Minister's house on my way home from the supermarket the gate was open. There weren't any guards out front.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Insomnia Wonderings

I've had a little jet lag since I got back from the US. I don't like it at all. I've been getting up early in the morning and haven't been able to go back to sleep. I thought that it was getting better, but this morning I got up at 3:30 or so. My eyes have that burning, gritty feeling that you got in high school cramming for exams. (I SO did not cram for exams in college.) I am hoping that I won't loose any friends while I am a grumpy bitch.

So, Israel's PM, Sharon, isn't doing so well. I read the headlines when I got up and it turns out that he's in the hospital in pretty serious condition. This is just what Israel needs, more instability.

I have to be quiet when I get up in the middle of the night so as to not wake up Yaacov. I have been goofing around on the internet and importing CDs into my computer. I bought myself an ipod nano for Christmas and I am just now getting around to putting all of my CDs on the computer. It's kind of a pain, but it will be fun to carry around mixes of the music I like. I am realizing that I have WAY too many Barbra Streisand CDs (if that's possible).

I'm craving potato chips right now. There is a 24 hour (but not on Shabbat) corner market right up the street. I have been debating for a couple of hours if I should go get some chips. That would require putting on a coat and some shoes. So, I haven't gone. In a couple of hours, I'll make toast and eggs. There's nothing worse than passing your jet lag around to everyone in the house if you know what I mean. Poor Yaacov. He's already been up once.

I have heard one newspaper delivery person run up the steps in our building already. I think that I heard the next one just park outside. They bound up the steps and make a lot of noise - or it seems like a lot of noise when everything is so quiet. Speaking of breaking the quiet, East Jerusalem is waking up. I can hear the muezzin in the distance.

I think that I am going to make Hoppin' John this weekend. I am off to the Russian market later to buy bacon and other pork stuff. I am a little late making it (you're supposed to make it for the New Year), but I was late making it last year too. This will be the third year in a row that I have made Hoppin John for myself. It makes me feel kind of cool keeping food traditions alive. Now I just need to figure out how to make corn bread, biscuits, and pound cake like my grandmother.

I have been thinking about my New Years resolutions. One of them is to become a beef cake. Another is to work harder on learning Hebrew. I don't drink (anymore) so I want to keep that up. I also want to learn to crochet.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

2005's Sunset


The other day my mom and I went to visit my cousin and her family - including her new baby! On our way there we got this fantastic skyshow. I made my mom stop on the side of the road for the second time in one day to take pictures. These pictures were taken on a hill outside of Kings Mountain looking west - yes, the direction that the sun sets. On a clear day you can see forever - along the horizon of the images you can see the mountains in the distance.

I need to clean my camera lens. Can you find the smudge? These pictures were taken on New Years Eve and I think that it was a pretty beautiful way to end 2005.


Monday, January 02, 2006

Over

It's official. The holidays are over. I hope that everyone had a good time - whatever you were celebrating.



This is a pile of Christmas trees on New Years Eve at a "convenience center" that my mom and I passed between Rock Hill and York, South Carolina. I made her turn around and pull over to take this shot!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Round Trip

I'll be leaving the US in a few short hours to return "home" to Israel. These trips are so hard. I love seeing all of my family and friends here in the US, but it really just rips my heart out having to leave.

One of my New Years resolutions is to stay in touch with folks more.

Of course, it's a two-way street. I'll keep writing this blog. You keep reading, commenting, and emailing. The world won't seem that big at all.