Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Philadelphia Story

In addition to being lazy, there's another reason I haven't blogged lately. I took a trip to the old country. That's right, I spent some time in the good old US of A. (and Canada, but you get the point.)

There were a lot of weird things about the trip - some good, some less so. First, this was the first time I ever arrived in the United States that no one picked me up at the airport. This is partly because we arrived at 6am on a Sunday morning, but more because I just don't have family in the New York metropolitan area anymore. The only person who could have picked us up was my Aunt Vicki's friend Phil (Vicki decided to give up her car several years ago.), and he would have had to leave home around 4:30am, which seems like an awful lot of trouble to go through for your friend's niece.

Next thing, I've never arrived at JFK and not gone to visit my Saba (grandfather) in Queens. On the bus from the airport into Manhattan, we went fairly close to my Saba's old neighborhood. My whole mind started fighting and screaming about this. I know that my Saba passed away over 5 years ago, and more than that, I was there the day we took him from his house the last time, to help him make Aliya. He lived with my parents in our house for over a year after that, and I visited him in his nursing home when that became necessary, and I was there when he was buried. Still, it felt so wrong to land and not visit him.

We got to Grand Central Station, then switched shuttles to Penn Station ("and lead us not into Penn Station...") There we got on the train to Trenton, from which we got on the Septic (errr Septa - South Eastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority) system, and met my Aunt Vicki in Philadelphia.

We took a taxi to her place, dumped our baggage, showered, and then.... I got to meet Shlomo. Shlomo is Yaakov's son. He is a beautiful child.

We took him out to dinner that night, at a restaurant that serves a little bit of everything (really, everything.) I mean, they had Chinese and shawarma and fried chicken and Philly (cheeseless) steak. It's kinda bizarre. So we went in and got some food, and I started to get to know my stepson. He's a very attractive child, and he's bright. It did drive me a bit crazy that he continually talked about football, even when other subjects were brought up, but that's ten-year-olds for you. Anyway, we had dinner and then we took him for a walk. We went to Toys R' Us, which my mother's family claims was named after my maternal grandmother's family, the Toizers (although in my grandmother's case, the name was changed to Tizer, but still, coincidence? I think not!)

All the toys there were pretty scary. They all move around and yell and do all kinds of things that toys aren't meant to do, plus there are these nasty Bratz dolls everywhere who teach children how to dress like prostitutes. My friend AbbaGav has a better concept than Bratz. Anyway, Shlomo decided that what he really wanted for his birthday was a digital camera. I personally thought it wasn't a great idea, since 1. he's 10, 2. A camera isn't a toy 3. He doesn't have a computer to hook it up to. However, I let Yaakov make the decision. We decided that Toizer Us isn't the place to get a camera anyway, so we left the shopping until the next day and took Shlomo home.

To the left, you can see Shlomo making a political & health statement... Actually, you can see that I just don't pay enough attention to the background...

Anyway, there's much more to tell, but I thought this would be a good start for now.

t.c. Back from America!



Monday, November 27, 2006

Violins on Television...

Steven Spielberg called for a stop to violence on television. You can read about it here.

One interesting thing is that Spielberg squarely places the blame on the producers who make these shows. In the forums responding to his statements, you'll see the same point made over and over. Parents need to be responsible for what their children watch. So who's right?

Can I get away with saying everybody's right? Here's the thing. Today's audiences aren't satisfied watching "I love Lucy" and "The Brady Bunch." The wild success of crime shows like "CSI," "NCIS," "Bones," "Law and Order" (in all its various versions), is telling us something. People like watching twisted criminals. People enjoy watching the obscene. Ever wondered why Ricki Lake and the like are so popular? Heck, tune in any soap opera, and you'll see that within the "acceptable" boundaries, the sexual limits are being pushed, and you certainly wouldn't want your children to learn their morals from soap operas either.

In fact, for every talk show about best friends stealing each other's spouses, it probably happens twice on a soap opera. Sure, they're not showing nipples, but you don't have to be a genius to figure out what's going on under the covers either.

So - audiences want sex and violence, and audiences don't want their children to see sex and violence. Guess what? You really can't have it both ways - not all the way at least. Sure, you can make sure your kids aren't watching tv late at night (when the violence gets nastier) but you can't keep them from seeing every horrible thing that's on television without throwing the boob tube out of your house (and they'll still see some of that garbage at friends' houses).

So what do we do as a society? First, those of us who watch violent television shows need to think about what it's doing to us as people. Are we becoming less and less sensitive to violence? Does it take more and more to disgust us?

Next, we need to think about what we're teaching our children. Do our children sit watching television for hours a day without anyone checking what they're watching? Has the television joined our family with full status as a member, or do we remember where the off-switch is? Does it join us at the dinner table? If we don't live without television, our children won't either.

It's so easy to tune out to a television show - it's fun, undemanding, available. But the television is a piece of equipment. Just like you don't let the dishwasher decide what your family does, you shouldn't let the television. I wonder if it wasn't better in the days before the popularity of television. People went to a movie theater, sat down, settled in, and prepared for the onslaught of images and ideas. Nowadays, we just let it into our house without ever looking at what we get. We decide nothing - just let the network execs choose for us...

So Spielberg's half-right. The level of violence is disconcerting. But the producers are only giving us what we ask for. What does that say about us as a society?

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Oxford Comma

I love the Oxford comma. It disambiguates, conforms to speech patterns, and just makes me feel good.

I'm sure some of you are wondering what the #$@# an Oxford comma is. Well, I could leave you to click the link, or I could explain it to you:

Suppose you were going on a picnic with your brothers and sister and their twenty-two children. Suppose you were making the sandwiches, and you wanted your myriad nieces and nephews to choose their sandwiches from a list. Your list might look like this:
Tuna Salad
Cheese
Hummus
Lettuce and Tomato
Lox and Cream Cheese
Peanut Butter and Jelly
Cream Cheese

Now if you wrote it into a list without using the Oxford comma, you end up with this:
The sandwiches available for today's picnic are tuna salad, cheese, hummus, lettuce and tomato, lox and cream cheese, peanut butter and jelly and cream cheese.

So is that a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a jelly and cream cheese sandwich? (Trust me, my mom is fully capable of making either option, and many of my siblings will eat them both.)

Now if you use the Oxford comma, here's your sentence:
The sandwiches available for today's picnic are tuna salad, cheese, hummus, lettuce and tomato, lox and cream cheese, peanut butter and jelly, and cream cheese.

See? Now we're perfectly clear as to what's available for those last two sandwich types.

This is why I love the Oxford Comma.

Now I'm off to make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!

t.c.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Remembering...

You know how sometimes, absolutely everything gets on your nerves?

So Friday, I was going to bake challah (it's that braided Jew-bread).
So I went into the kitchen, and everything was a mess (partly my fault), and I was stressed, and I just got all angry and upset at everything and started yelling and being just obnoxious.
Yaakov eventually took the dog and went for a walk just to get away from me.

Tonight, I decided I needed to sit down and watch our wedding video again. It's important to remember how much in love we really are.

P.S. The challah was AMAZING!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Surprisingly Unbroken

Some people claim to be klutzy and aren't really. Some people really are.

For example, a college professor of mine broke her finger pulling on a sock. I mean, that's really talented. Funnier, she broke her middle finger, and it had to be immobilized, meaning that she walked around for a month flipping the bird to everyone she saw. Fortunately, when you're a college professor, the whole "absent-minded professor" is somewhat more good-natured than the "spazz" title that the rest of us get.

Anyway, I'm a real bonafide klutz. Using "Juggling for the Complete Klutz," it still took me three months of practicing daily to learn how to juggle. It took until I was 9 before I learned how to ride a bicycle, and I was never all that good at it. I've tripped over my own feet, and during my "sheva brachot," I managed to hurtle myself down three stairs and create a bruisey icky thing that took months to heal.

So what possessed me to try rollerblading? It's all Scott's fault. See. For his daughters' birthdays, he (or maybe his parents) got his girls rollerblades (well, something between skates and blades for the 4-year-old, and real blades for the 7-year-old).

Then he decided that if he was going to take the girls blading, he needed his own, as did N., who he spends a lot of time with lately. So they each bought blades, and then took the girls blading, and then they went blading sans girls later on.

Of course, Yaakov got rollerblading into his head, so he decided he had to go. No problem, we have a skating rink in the local park, and my nieces and nephew, who live between here and the park, all love to rollerblade.

So... we called, and they were on their way out to a birthday party. So I decided to do the next best thing. I borrowed my niece's rollerblades. They fit. I walked around the rink in them twice, holding on to the rail. Then Yaakov decided to take me out into the center of the rink. Using a hockey stick, he pulled me out. It was fun, really. Until I started to panic and broke into a sweat and almost started crying.

Later, I decided I was in a trying things mood, so I tried walking on stilts again. On the second try, I was able to walk about 5 meters, leaning on Yaakov, before my legs went weak and I had to stop.

The good news, though, is that there were no major falls, and despite my klutziness, I am surprisingly unbroken.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Better Days

Scott, you're right - it's about time I post something new!

So... last night, I had a birthday party for my mother at my house. After monumental efforts, I was able to get most of my siblings (one couldn't get a babysitter) and a few of my mom's friends to come to my house. I then fed them all kinds of unhealthy and delicious food (lasagne, fresh bread with cream cheese and lox, borekas) and healthy food (cut vegetables). My sister baked a yummy cake. She claims that it was nothing, because pillsbury always comes out good, but she made the frosting herself and it was great, and she decorated the cake and it was SOOOO pretty. Besides, I know plenty of people who can mess up cake from a mix too. (hey, I burned frozen borekas)

The cool thing is that it's the first time since she got married that my mother has had a surprise party. It's also nice, because I had the pleasure(?) of hosting. It is nice to be an adult who can host parties. I did have to work very hard to clean up the house, but in the end, it was really clean, and it was nice, and everyone thought I did a good job.

The other cool thing is that now, for the first time, my house is clean. I mean, not perfect, but clean enough that I could have a tupperware party or a chug or any of the other dozens of things that I'd like to do here.

Now we just have to KEEP it nice.

I bought a little unit with drawers for my desk - since my desk is really a dining table, I couldn't get a regular drawer unit, but I have a small set of drawers on my desk now, so I can hide all my papers out of site. I only have one piece of paper with important information and phone numbers out. My pens and stuff are all out of site, and there's really space for everything. I even put the webcam in a better place so that I can use it more easily.

I should take pictures, but I'm really tuckered out. I'm just exhausted - I worked soooo hard since Monday getting ready for this party, and I'm not finished with the cleanup, even though we used very few dishes (and they are dairy so they can go into the dishwasher) and mainly used disposables.

I seem to use up so much energy doing even the smallest things. I went to an endocrinologist about that and some other stuff, so I'm going to have a whole bunch of tests on Monday, and who knows, maybe there will be progress. I've been reading up on something called "insulin tolerance" and if I have that, it would account for several different problems I've been having, and maybe help me lose weight too, which would be nice.

My weight is such a struggle. I mean, most people say that, and I believe them, but really - on herbalife, you're supposed to lose a kilogram a week, and me? In three months, I've lost 4, of which I gained 1.5 back. It's not like I'm not serious about it either. I am. I might not be perfect on the plan, but back when I was in high school, I did a similar diet, with an equal degree of resolve, and lost about 12 kilograms in 4 months (not a very fast pace either, but much better than what I've been doing lately) I was doing less exercise then than I do now, too, so it's not that either. It's just that something's wrong with my metabolism.

Anyway, my weight is a boring subject... so I'll move on. Rosh Hashana is coming, and hopefully we'll get the first rain soon. Every year, when the first raid starts, I go outside and dance in it. It's silly, but I just love the rain. I love it when the air is clean, and the heat stops being so oppressive. I love rain and cold. I miss my sweaters and velvet skirts. I miss my jeans more, but that's another story...

My parents brought me pomegranites from their tree yesterday for the holiday! Today, Yaakov sent me information about buying a Sukkah. We need to measure our outdoor space and check what size will be good for us, and then we'll have a Sukkah. Pretty exciting - this will be my very first - I mean, one that's mine and not just my parents'.

I think that's just about all the news from here, except that I sort of have a job, working from home. It's an editing job, but it's my excuse for not writing as much here... :)

Anyway, wishing you and yours a Shana Tova Umetuka - A good and sweet New Year.

t.c. Goodman

Sunday, August 20, 2006

It's a Frazzle Razzle Day!

It's a Frazzle Razzle Day!

Well, the song is nicer - The song is called "It's a Brazzle Dazzle Day" and it's from Pete's Dragon - which is, by the way, a total must-see movie.

Anyway, it's been a frazzling day.

First, I have this huge aggravation with my bank & an insurance company...
If you're not interested in this story, scroll to the end of the green.

Four or five months ago, I cashed out an insurance policy that wasn't doing anything. I sent in a whole boatload of forms, and they said they had everything except the processing fee. I asked if the processing fee could be taken from the cash in the policy, and the secretary (or whoever) said that she'd check and get back to me. She didn't get back to me, so I assumed it was fine. Then, after about 6 weeks, they sent me a letter that I needed to pay the processing fee. So I sent them a check. Then they sent the check to the bank. On the day it expired.

The bank refused to honor the check. In fact, they bounced it and charged me 13 shekels ($3) . Fine. I asked them to send it back to the original issuer. They refused. I asked them to mail it to me. They refused. I asked them to send the check to the branch here in Modiin (for a variety of complex reasons, my bank account is located in the branch near where I went to college, not near where I live.) Okay. They can do that. It'll be there the next day.

Next day, I go in, get to the front of the line, realize I don't have my ID, go home, wait in line another 25 minutes, and they tell me "we don't have it."

Fine. I go back two days later. They still don't have it. They call my branch. The person from my branch says "I sent it to Modiin. It's there."

Yaakov and I go to Ireland. When we come back, I go to the bank AGAIN. They STILL don't have it (now 2 months later).

They tell me "call this number, and they'll take care of it for you, but the person who can take care of it is on vacation until next week."

Okay. Another week. I call the insurance company and ask them to reissue the check. Sure, no problem, just get the bank to fax us a letter saying that they couldn't cash the first one. Oh, and do it next week, because the company that we work with is on vacation this week!

Okay. It's Sunday. I call the number. No - we can't do that, only your branch can do that, and they're not open on Sundays.

Can you say AUGH?!

Next annoyance of the day. For reasons inexplicable even to myself, I let my New York Driver's License expire completely so it's not renewable, and never got an Israeli license. So now I need to get an Israeli license as if I've never driven before. (Which, in and of itself, is frazzling, but my bad, my problem.) So I go to the office where you're supposed to go to start the process and, after I wait in line 15 minutes, they tell me that that specific part of the office has moved - about 5 blocks away. Fortunately, my mom was with me - a real blessing, since I have no sense of direction. I literally don't know the difference between right and left without giving it serious thought - and I've spent time trying to teach myself.
So another five blocks, plus another 20 minutes in line, and I take the eye test, get my picture taken, and now for just US$600 (to pay for 28 lessons), I can get myself a license... well.. of course, I need the written test, the driving test, and a physical, but ok...

Next, my mom drops me at home so I can get ready to go to the gym. I decide I really want to swim. So I get all my swim gear ready, except I can't find my goggles. Yaakov cleaned the house on Friday, and I really appreciate it, but I have no idea where he put my goggles!!!!!! Okay. no swimming. I'll go walk on the treadmill. All is well. Unpack, repack with different stuff. Ready to go. My parents pick me up, and I get to the gym, and I've forgotten my earphones. The ONE reason I go walking EVER instead of swimming (and walking is better for me, I know) is because I can watch tv/listen to music. I'm dying for a Swimp3, so I won't be so bored underwater. Anyway, my dad made some remark about how I should go walking without headphones to punish myself, and instead of just ignoring it (because it doesn't fit with any reality I can relate to) I let myself get angry. I hate that he can say something like that - and if it came from anyone else, I could just shake it off like nothing - and it can set me off. And of course, he's now angry that I got angry. GRRR...

And after all that, my blender broke. Let's see if I can find the warranty slip for it. I know where I *should* have put it. Let's see if it's still there.

So... I think I'm going to watch some tv and escape the universe for a while. Here's wishing all my readers a brazzle dazzle day (as opposed to a day like mine...)

t.c.Goodman

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Don't Tell My Husband.

This is my new MAN.
Isn't he DREAMY??


(for those of you who don't know Yaakov - this is a picture of him during time when he's messing around after a no-shave part of the Jewish calendar. And no, I couldn't kiss him with the caterpillar.)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Some Blogging Thoughts.

Do real bloggers use Memes?
Do real bloggers take silly tests that tell the world which muppet they'd date?
Do real bloggers talk about their day?

What's a real blogger?
Is LittleGreenFootballs the kind of blog I should aspire to? Should I spend hours sifting through news to find things to interest my readers?

Should I make this a juggling blog where I can tell the world about my trials and tribulations with three clubs?

Should I take it back to its original state, where it was a diary? I'm soooooo lost.

and would someone freaking order from my amazon site already!

t.c.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Those who do not Learn from History are Doomed to Repeat it.

So today, we enter another armistice agreement. It is not a peace treaty. It is a temporary cessation of hostilities, at best. The two IDF soldiers who were kidnapped - the immediate cause of this war - have not been returned. The Hezbolla has not been disarmed, nor have they in any way intimated that the complete destruction of Israel and all Jews is off of the top of their priority list.

And now, Ehud Olmert will begin the appeasement process again, as soon as he possibly can. Appeasing a bloodthirsty enemy is always the best way. Looking at the most recent UN actions, we can easily tell who Kofi Annan looks up to.


Kofi Annan declares "Peace in Our Time"

Play Dead! (or More on Misreporting)

Some dogs just can't learn how to play dead.
Apparently some people have the same problem too.
See below:

Monday, August 07, 2006

War is Hell

I really meant to write more about the EJC. It was such an amazing experience that I can't imagine relegating it to memory without some more writing, but then...

The thing is that in the middle of my honeymoon, the news started to pour in. We heard that two soldiers had been snatched by Hizbolla, and we heard that missiles were falling in Nahariya.

By the time we got back from our trip, we were coming back into a war zone. And it's so strange. I'm glued to the news now, wondering what will happen, what can happen. It's very surreal. There are missiles falling in Haifa, a city where I've spent a good amount of time. Here, there's quiet.

The mood here is very subdued. We go about our daily lives, and we do what we can to help the refugees from the north. We don't call them refugees. We call them guests, but the fact remains - they are here because their lives would be in danger if they were home.

The world screams and shouts about the fifty reported dead. well, give or take 49 or so. It was a huge massacre, except for the part where only one person died. And in Qana, the sixty or so were also less than 30 when the final count came in. Plus you can't forget that whatever the news, Reuters, at least, isn't above distorting it.

Turns out, now that the cat's out of the bag, Mr. Hajj - a freelance photographer from Lebanon, is being found guilty of more and more fraud daily.

Power Line is showing two pictures taken at the same scene, of the same bombed buildings. That would be okay, except that Mr. Hajj claimed that they were taken over a week apart. Let's face it. Most of us don't remember which building was destroyed. We see two pictures of destruction on two different days, and we believe that two different things were destroyed.

This poor lady apparently had her house destroyed twice, two weeks apart.

Too bad Israel is forced to stick with facts, and we're a little too sensitive to parade our dead around.

At any rate, life in Israel continues, weirdly, but steadily.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Hat Trick (or What I did on my Summer Vacation)

It's been a while since I last posted, but I have a good excuse.
I spent most of the last two weeks on my honeymoon, in Ireland. (With the Leprechauns) There's so much to tell about my trip. We left Israel on a Sunday morning at 5:30am, which meant that we had to get to the airport at 2:30am. So we got there at 2:30, and then we waited in line, checked in, and did all that airport stuff. I checked out the airport, because this was my first time flying out of the country in 6 years, and this airport hadn't been built yet.

When we landed in Zurich (yes, Zurich, Switzerland!), we discovered two other people on our flight who we knew (sort of). They were a kid named Yaron and his father. Yaron and his father, like us, were on their way to Ireland, to the itty bitty town of Millstreet in County Cork.


Now you may wonder what would bring a whole bunch of Israelis to the scenic town of Millstreet at the same time. Probably the last time any Israelis got to Millstreet was the 1993 Eurovision.

But this time, there was no simple song contest bringing us to Millstreet. Fully 2000 people from around the world came to the tiny town of Millstreet (population 1500). And I still haven't told you why! EJC 2006 was held at the Green Glens Arena in Millstreet Town.

What is EJC? EJC is the European Juggling Convention. Each year, the EJA (European Juggling Association) holds the EJC in a different country in Europe. For example, in 2005, the convention was held in Slovenia.

So... back to Zurich... We got on the plane and headed for Ireland, landing in Dublin around 11am. We took a bus to Dublin's Heuston Station. At the station, we saw people juggling right away. We soon joined them, taking clubs out of Yaakov's bag. The security guard was unimpressed and told us that "for health and safety reasons" we could not juggle in the terminal.
Since the next train was at 3pm, and it was just after 12:30, we found ourselves terribly bored. I took a club from Yaakov, and rested on one of the suitcases, holding the club. We quickly found our group increasing in size. At 2:30pm, our group was close to a dozen strong, and we boarded the train, discovering that we would need to get off in Mallow. (I was looking for the marshes).

It was hard trying to find space for our luggage, because the train was filled with camping gear, unicycles, hula hoops, juggling clubs, and cigar boxes, as well as several hundred jugglers.

We finally got off the train at Mallow, quickly crossed a bridge, and moved on toward Millstreet. We walked from Millstreet Station to the Green Glens Arena, where the Convention was. We set up our tent with all the other tents.

The nice thing about the EJC, as opposed to the American IJA, is that it's a fairly inexpensive convention. While entrance fees were over 100 Euro per person this year, the vast majority of attendees opted to camp out at the venue, keeping accommodations inexpensive. There were B&Bs available in town for those inclined to sleep indoors, but Yaakov and I camped out. We borrowed Scott's tent, and he borrowed ours, because Scott's tent is quite a bit larger than Yaakov's, and it would have been impractical for us to camp in such a small tent together. As it was, the quarters were close, but, hey, this was our honeymoon!

So after we set up camp, we went to see the first show of the convention. The first evening, we saw the incredible Kris Kremo, as well as the amazing Jay Gilligan with his new partner Matias Salmenaho, with whom he performs these crazy tricks where they're each juggling three balls, but they do insane patterns with their hands so that their balls cross each other's. The two are an excellent team, very dynamic. Scott went to Jay Gilligan's workshop and started to learn the basics of these tricks. He seemed to indicate that they were overall mind-boggling. Kris Kremo, by comparison, does very few difficult tricks, but he does ever trick so neatly, and with such high performance quality that he makes every move look like gold. He does an impressive routine with hats, a few ball tricks, and incredible cigar box tricks, including the nearly impossible double-pirouette (Scott says it was a triple.), with three boxes in the air.

That was Sunday night. I'll be writing about the rest of the week later.

t.c. Goodman

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Continuing.

It's hard to write after a post like the last one. Anything I have to say seems trivial when I compare it to the loss of a really special person. On the other hand, this blog isn't intended to be a memorial to Dr. Rudoff (Z"L). And, if I did that, I would know that she was looking down on me from above and absolutely loathing me. She wasn't an attention-hungry person.

So I have to continue. This Shabbat, I finished a book called Round Robin. It's the second in a series. I highly recommend reading The Quilter's Apprentice first. The books talk about life in a small town, but concern a whole plethora of other issues.

The first book begins with Sarah, a young wife who gave up a well-paying but unsatisfying job to follow her husband's career path in a small town. Struggling to get a new job, she accepts a temporary position helping Sylvia, a difficult old lady, prepare her estate to be sold. In exchange, Sylvia helps Sarah learn how to quilt. Through quilting, Sarah and Sylvia start to heal their hurts, including a long-ago rift between Sylvia and the only family she has. Filled with gentle language, real problems, beautiful descriptions, and a few surprises along the way, The Quilter's Apprentice is a really special book.

t.c.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Baruch Dayan HaEmet

Blessed is the true judge - that's what Jews are supposed to say when someone dies.
I'm having a very hard time saying it today.

Dr. Shaindy Rudoff passed away yesterday, Saturday June 10th.

Shaindy was short and bubbly with curly blondish hair. She was in her thirties, and had a doctorate in literature. Her online CV says her research interests were Nineteenth-century American literature and culture, American popular culture, religion, and literature. She started Bar Ilan's Creative Writing Program a few years ago, and managed to make a success of it.

It's hard to imagine someone so alive not being alive anymore. I know she was sick for a long time, but I never saw a moment of weakness. I never saw her sad or down. I didn't know her very well. I'm sure her close friends saw her weakness, but what she showed the world... there was always a smile, always a bounce.

So today, although I say those words, Baruch Dayan HaEmet, in the Jewish tradition, I can't help but ask why? Why do you take away a person who does so much for so many people? Why?

And I know the answer.

Lev 10:1 And Nadav and Avihu, the sons of Aaron, took each of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the L-rd, which He commanded them not.
Lev 10:2 And there went out fire from the L-rd, and devoured them, and they died before the L-rd.
Lev 10:3 Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it which the L-rd said, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come near me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace.

There it is I will be sanctified in them that come near me. B'krovai Akadesh. G-d takes the best back to Himself.

Goodbye Shaindy. And thank you.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Some More on the Conference.

I seem to take absolutely forever to blog anything new about this conference.
Today, I'll tell you a bit about Sophie Judah, the latest thing on the writing scene. Her Jwalangar Stories will be coming out in spring of 2007. So, even before she becomes famous, I'll tell you that I knew her when....

Okay... I didn't know her when she was that young. When I met her, her daughters looked like that.

Sophie grew up in India, and is part of the Bnei Yisrael Jewish community. Sophie writes about life in India, and about the place of the Jewish community. Sophie's stories mix the triumphs of children, their failings, familial love, and familial infighting, all with the beautiful flavor of the rich Indian culture and the spirituality of the Bnei Yisrael community. While her stories are so richly tied to the atmosphere they describe, the messages apply to every one of us, regardless of our own roots.

I can't wait to read her book. I've heard a lot of her stories, and Sophie is an incredible story teller.

t.c. Goodman

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Editing Test Weirdness

I got an email from my friend, saying that I didn't pass her company's editing test.
I think that's really strange. The only thing I can guess is that there were some strange conventions that they followed through the entire piece, and since they were valid by some standard, I let them remain there. Either that or they expected more fact-checking. I don't know. It's very odd to me.

Anyway, that job really would have taken up too much of my time, so it's probably just as well.

(That isn't sour grapes, really. I was pondering whether or not I had the time and energy for it, and basically came to the conclusion that they'd have to offer me a mind-boggling amount of money for it to be worthwhile.)

The truth is, it's much more important for me to be writing, so I should probably get to that right now and stop pondering some annoying editing test.

t.c. Goodman

Monday, June 05, 2006

Give a dog a blog.

My sister and I decided that really my dog needs his own blog.
No, I'm serious. Here it is... Give a Dog a Blog
So that's one of my new projects.

In addition, I'm getting closer to having all the necessary materials for my NY driver's license, so that I can get that thing renewed. My parents lost my social security card. how much does that stink? harumph!

Plus, I was asked to take a test for an editing job. I'm reasonably confident that I'll pass the test. The question is whether they can offer me enough money for me to want to take the job.

In other news, I'm planning on launching a new website soon. It's still a secret, but I'll be announcing it soon enough!

Today's big news is that I managed to swim for the first time in...forever. yay! And, more importantly, I did the full kilometer.

Anyway, I'm going to go get myself something to eat... cya.

t.c. Goodman.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Yaakov-and-Leah.com has been updated

It's been completely revamped, but there isn't so much going on there yet... I hope to change that soon.

t.c. Goodman


* this post was sponsored by Two Left Feet LLC, Virginia's best dance school for couples.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

More on the Creative Writing/Literature Conference

So I wanted to report more about the Bar Ilan English Literature Department's Creative Writing conference.

But first, before I get all literary on you guys, I'll tell you what's happening in triLcatLand.

Today was Yaakov's Hebrew birthday (the one he celebrates), so I tried to make a sort of party for him, but nobody managed to make it except Scott the Juggler, who was in Modiin doing a show. I did, however, make Yaakov some kick-tush strawberry ice cream, with lots of real strawberry goodness.

I also made mint chocolate chip, which came out okay, but didn't quite freeze correctly, and... the container fell on the floor and shattered... Who knew plastic could shatter?!

I also watched Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. I enjoyed it quite a lot. It's very much a chick-flick, but hey, I'm a chick, ain't I?

Last night, Yaakov and I watched Crash, a movie about crime in Los Angeles. It's one of those sort of artsy suspense films, where you have no clue what anything means until the very end. Apparently, it won some Oscars. I really didn't like it, though I could see redeeming qualities.

Anyway, back to the Literature stuff.

I missed a session or many... The one I went to Wednesday afternoon had a panel of four writers; Allen Hoffman, Shirley Kaufman, Jonathan Wilson, and Rifka Miriam. The panel was headed by Linda Zisquit.

Allen Hoffman teaches at Bar Ilan's Creative Writing Program, and is the author of Kagan's Superfecta: And Other Stories, plus three books from the Small Worlds series; Small Worlds, Big League Dreams, and Two for the Devil. He's working on the fourth book now.

Professor Hoffman (that's how I address him, because he's taught me several classes over the years, both undergraduate and graduate) talked about the trials and tribulations of getting his first book published. It was interesting hearing him talk about how his first story, Kagan's Superfecta, was the wrong length, too long for a magazine, too short for a novel. And that's how it ended up being the primary story in a collection of short stories.

I should really talk about the others, but I'm pretty tired, so I'll cut out for now...

Good night all,

T.C. Goodman

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Bar Ilan's Conference.

This week was the Bar Ilan University annual conference of the Creative Writing Program.
As a student in this program, this was my fourth year in a row at the conference.

Being at the conference was really great. The first evening, we heard a reading by David Bezmozgis, the author of Natasha: And Other Stories. The book is a series of short stories about a Russian Jewish family living in Toronto. The stories are told from the point of view of a little boy. He read us the first story, called Tapka. It's a really interesting story about a little boy and a dog, but it's more about the earliest part of assimilation into a new society. I really want to get the book and read the rest of it.

There were a lot of authors there, and I'm really sorry I missed today's sessions. Unfortunately, I had a really bad day. I was really sick. I ran out of milk, and I haven't had the energy to go get more. I think I'm going to go back to lying down. It's amazing how much effort it takes to just be up.

so... more about the conference later.
t.c. Goodman

Monday, May 22, 2006

Yaakov's All Better.

Yaakov's feeling better, which means he's back at work. I miss him. It was nice having him home last week, even if he was asleep most of the time.

I'm trying desperately to accomplish things, and I'm just having a really rough time of it. I finally put up google ads on the blog, which is the first step towards putting up a real site and actually making a living. I really need to figure out what I'm doing...which domain to buy, what concept, and what the business plan is. I have so many ideas, but so little energy.

Today, I was up for about 4 hours before I crashed for 4 hours, and I'm already yawning again, just six hours later. I accomplished so little. I really wanted to at least make a batch of ice cream for my brother-in-law's birthday, which is tomorrow.

Oh, and a shout out to my Aunt Vicki - Happy Birthday!!!!

I did have a minor adventure today, though. I heard this sort of screaming/meowing sound outside. I opened my door to see what was going on, and a cat ran in. Poofy chased it around the apartment, and finally, I separated the two animals to get a look at the cat. I put the cat into a cat carrier (my sister left one in the storeroom downstairs, because it's a spare cat carrier and my whole family shares my storeroom), and tried to get Poofy to be nice. He didn't get the point, so I took the cat, in the carrier, and put it outside while I tried to figure out what to do. It was clearly a house cat, so I didn't want to leave it alone.

I tried to get the dog back into the house and I saw my neighbors peeking in and smiling at the cat. Apparently, my upstairs neighbors have a cat.

Well, Poofy somehow got filthy in this adventure, so he also got a bath tonight.

He smells wonderful, and feels sooo soft.

So I did accomplish SOMETHING today... now I can go to sleep. Good night all.

t.c. Goodman

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Getting Stuff Done.

Wow! We assembled the bookcases last night.

I was going to put up pictures, but I accidentally resized the whole batch all wrong and I don't feel like taking more pictures. I really have to learn to not delete things until I've checked that the resize worked right...oh well.

Anyway. so we have bookcases in our living room. The computer is in the living room, frequently doubling as a television. We rearranged our bedroom so that Yaakov now has a place to put his glasses when he goes to sleep. Really, he has a WHOLE nightstand, all to himself. I got bulbs for the lamps that my youngest brother and his wife got us as an engagement present, and we now each have our own lamp on a nightstand, like real people. It's so neat. We also have shelves in our bedroom, so that stuff should end up on the floor a little bit less.

It's starting to come together. Tomorrow, we juggle. Friday, we clean. And Shabbat, we have a nice house. Maybe this week, I'll actually cook the chicken...

(oh, you want to hear about the raw chicken????)

(do you?)

Okay... last Friday, I was pretty tired and out of it. I put the chicken in the oven, and I turned on the temperature knob, but I forgot the cook setting knob, meaning the chicken didn't get cooked.

It's a good thing Yaakov loves cold cuts, and an even better thing that I try to make sure we have all of his favorite things in the house!

Btw, the chicken was delicious. Saturday night.

Good News...

While I'm still moderating comments to keep people from telling you where to get your %#!$ enlarged or your free Ipod, Ipaq, Iquack, etc, I've changed settings to allow anonymous comments.

So comment away, friends!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

ups and downs.

Yaakov is sick, so he's been home, mostly sleeping, occasionally peeking into the kitchen to see what food may have materialized. The latest is vanilla caramel ice cream, although the caramel isn't in it yet.

Last week, I made strawberry, coffee, and vanilla choco-chip. The coffee was for my sister, who had a birthday. I made it with real espresso, and she and her husband (and a kid or two) said it came out good. :)

So little is happening. It's kind of strange. Today, we were supposed to go to an amusement park with Yaakov's company, but obviously, with him sick, it's impossible. It's too bad. I haven't been to an amusement park in years.

We didn't go to any bonfires last night.

and the good news:

Our bookshelves finally arrived! We ordered them right after we got married. We haven't gotten around to assembling them yet, because Yaakov's feeling sick, but they're HERE!

We booked our flights to Ireland. Hey! I'm going to IRELAND! AND - After that, we're going to spend a day in Zurich!

This summer, I'm going to see two new countries!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Twin Demons.

They've caught me, the twin demons; depression and insomnia.

I'd been doing pretty well staying away from both. Maybe today I pushed too hard. I've been exhausted lately, and today I decided I was going to get a bunch of things done, so first I called this shop where we'd ordered shelves, and yelled at them a bit about the fact that we ordered said shelves in MARCH.

Then, I took my sister's 1-yr-old to the park, so that my sister and her husband could do some heavy lifting and such without having to worry about the baby. After that, I went hunting in the storeroom for the missing piece of a table. I found it, in the workshop, pretending to be carpentry wood. Then I started assembling the table, discovered I was a screw short, and went to the hardware store. I got the screw, assembled the table, set it right-side-up, put it in the correct corner of the living room, etc.

Then I moved my computer into the living room, and hooked it up to the ADSL. Up until now, we'd been on cable, and I was a bit scared that the DSL wouldn't work, but it did.

Anyway, I'd been planning to do a few more things, but I was too tired. But I can't sleep.

And now, suddenly, my head is running through old memories. In my mind, I'm slipping on snow in Washington, DC and laughing. In my mind, I'm sitting in some unknown basement with girls from my class and singing and eating raw string beans. Somewhere there's a t.c. lying on the floor in a classmate's house, taking a Shabbat nap next to a whole group of friends. Somehow, in this time warp I'm experiencing my first weeks after aliya. I'm sitting on the steps in Givat Ram, singing to the moon and trying to juggle. I'm sharing a bottle of outcider with a guy from the boy's dorm, because I already feel tipsy just a few sips in, and I can't admit it to my roommate.

And then I'm so lost. the memories just flood and flood. There's no order. They come in chaotically. A day at the beach with my sister when I was ten or eleven, crying at the airport the summer my sister made aliya when I was seven. Playing laser tag in eleventh grade. At a kumsitz in a Holiday Inn in Pennsylvania.

It's amazing, the flood just goes on and on. I feel it like someone shouting into my mind. I can't turn off the memories. They go every which way. Happy, sad, nostalgic, the best and worst. I wonder if this is what they mean when they talk about your life flashing before your eyes.

If so, it's not the feeling you have when you jump out of a plane...

So now, I can sit here, and the demons are in me and with me. There are tears on my face, and I can't sleep. I remember I used to think that this would stop when I wasn't alone anymore, but I guess the truth is that alone comes from inside.

Still here? maybe.
t.c. Goodman

Monday, May 01, 2006

A Little Schizophrenia



It's almost Independence Day. But before we get there, we need to get through Yom Hazikaron, the day when we remember all the soldiers we've lost trying to keep our country.

I didn't realize how they did this so close together until my first year in Israel. Suffering from then undiagnosed pneumonia, I sat on my sister's couch, simply reading names off of the television screen. Channel one carries the names of soldiers killed in Israel's battles. The whole day, you just keep reading names. They keep going and going. If you move to channel two, you can find out who these names were. You can hear the songs they wrote, the poetry. You can meet the girlfriends, brothers, sisters, and parents they left behind. You can hear their last letters home, and you can almost get to know these mostly young boys who died so so early.

If you turn on the radio, you can hear every sad song ever written by an Israeli. You can hear about the children conceived after the Yom Kippur war. They say "you promised a dove with an olive branch." and they remind their parents "We've grown, we're now in the army...now we are men and women, now we dream babies. and that is why we aren't angry and we don't demand... you promised to keep your promises."

You'll hear Ehud Manor's song to his younger brother Yehuda. He remembers Yehuda's shining eyes solving a riddle, and he tells his brother, that his new son is beautiful as him, and he will be called Yehuda. Maybe you'll hear Shlomo Artzi talk about comforting a friend's wife. What I can tell you is that if you listen, you'll hear a plethora of songs of people crying for their friends.

For one day, you will be transported to a country where almost everyone has lost someone close to them in the battle for survival. And just as you sink into despair, you will remember why.

Because all at once, you'll hear the news, you'll hear that the Yom Haatzmaut ceremonies have begun, and then the news will end, and if you're watching television, you'll see Jewish children dancing. If you're listening to the radio, they'll suddenly play something happy, telling you that this is the holiday we've all waited for.

So how do we live with this schizophrenia? We have to. If we don't remember every soldier who died trying to give us safety, then what is this beautiful country worth?

This year, though, we commemorate another tragedy, one in which our own soldiers were used as tools to destroy what our brave citizens have built. This year, I understand why some Jews don't see the State of Israel as a miracle. This year, I see reason to mourn even on Yom Haatzmaut. This year, we commemorate the loss of homes and communities of Israeli Jews. And this year, even with all that's been lost, I still see the beauty of what is. I cry for those who lost their lives defending us. I cry for those who lost their homes from the governments stupidity and evil. Yet, still, in all the sadness, I see the children dancing, and they were born in Eretz Yisrael, and they've grown up in a Jewish country.

And I'm just a tiny bit envious of them.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Zionism.

For the first time since I moved to Israel, I will not be hanging a flag for Independence Day. It makes me very sad, but my husband feels very strongly about it, and his happiness is more important to me than a piece of cloth, no matter what it symbolizes to me.

He didn't, however, mention anything about blogging about it. (ah the beauty of loopholes).

Y's claim against Zionism is that the country of Israel was created for a specific kind of Jew. I'll buy that. There are a lot of dirty little secrets in the history of the country. There are stories of stolen Yemenite children, systematic removal of religion from newcomers, and more.

It's true that religious Jews were placed in non-religious kibbutzim to help them "get over all that backwards religion stuff." Last year, after our seder, one of our guests, an older man, said that he hadn't been at such a nice seder since he left Europe. He meant that he hadn't been at a religious seder since then, since he'd been placed on a kibbutz here in Israel.

So why am I still a Zionist? It's complicated. First, I have difficulty separating between the land and the country, because I know that the land I live on was fought for by secular Zionists and religious Jews alike. I know that the Zionists formed this country for some of the wrong reasons, but also for a lot of the right reasons. Since the country of Israel came into existence, any Jew can live in the land of Israel, for the first time in 2000 years.

Yesterday, I was at my niece's school for a Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony. My niece was one of the soloist singers, and she was excellent, but what really bowled me over was hearing a hundred or more children singing "Hatikva" - the hope.

"Hatikva bat shnot alpayim" - The hope is two thousand years old
"L'hiyot am hofshi b'artzenu" - to be a free nation in our land
"Eretz Zion V'Yerushalayim" - the land of Zion and Jerusalem.

These children are growing up in the land of Israel, they have never experienced this hope, yet they are learning about it. They are learning that we waited two thousand years to live here.

And they live here.

If that's not a miracle, I can't imagine what would be.



*This post was sponsored by DrSavta.com, who provided the ride to the ceremony, as well as some of the raw material which created the aforementioned niece.

sponsorships

Since people have repeatedly tried to spam my blog, I am now offering sponsorships of individual posts. All you have to do is 1. pay me, and 2. have a site that is honest and legal.

So, for example, if you want to promote your widget site, I'll write all about how your widgets are the cutest widgets around on my blog and then, with any luck, you'll get some clicks.

Monday, April 24, 2006

You Never Forget How to Ride a Bike...

Well, that's the theory, anyway.

I went biking today, and discovered that while I didn't lose that nifty balance thing that took me many many years to learn, (seriously, I couldn't ride a two-wheeler until I was NINE) I did forget how to feel comfortable on a bike.

I was so stressed that my fingers almost melted into the handlebars... It's only been 16 years since I last went biking... How much can you forget in 16 years? Apparently your confidence can easily be forgotten in that amount of time. I remember being comfortable on a bike. I wasn't comfortable today...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Honeymooners?

Some people take a wild honeymoon to Cancun, where they lie on sandy beaches, drink cocktails, and enjoy romantic oil massages...

Some go Alpine skiing....

And some go to juggling festivals.

Guess which group I fell into?

So this week was the 13th annual Israeli Juggling Convention, which afforded me some interesting opportunities.

For example, I was given the opportunity to live for three straight days on matza, gefilte fish, and tuna. I owe a great debt of gratitude to the Trachtmans who fed me grilled veggies and matza brie (or however you spell it).

I also enjoyed learning what it's like to be a duck by waddling through pouring rain, getting soaked, and trying desperately to protect my pillow from the rain.

In addition, I had the fantastic opportunity to sleep across several curved chairs in a gym full of noisy people.

After that, I had the good fortune to be able to sleep on rocks in a tent...

Oh... and the good stuff... I got to see a world-class juggling show. I got to spend time with great people. I got to go swimming with my husband in a natural stream in a beautiful park. And most importantly, I got to spend three days with my husband away from the hustle and bustle of the regular world...

now if I could just remember the air mattress and raincoat, maybe next time could be even better!

t.c. Goodman

Monday, April 10, 2006

an interesting note...

My dog started barking as if someone were at the door, so I went out to check who was there, and overheard my neighbor saying "this dog doesn't stop barking"

I was home most of the day. The dog only barks when someone's at the door or when she takes her dog out.

so yes, every time she's in earshot, he's barking.

amusing.

Cleanup.

Pesach cleaning is upon me, which means that I'd like to whine a lot.

However, my mom claims that whining makes a blog boring.

So I will spare y'all the details, and just say that I worked hard today, and it barely made a dent. Tomorrow will certainly be fun.
heheh.

In other news, Yaakov and I spent Shabbat alone for the first time. It was very nice being able to just be together with no real responsibilities. I made yummy food, and it was a nice Shabbat overall.

Sunday, I got back the pictures from the photographer, and they're really great. I will hopefully post pictures soon, but right now, it's low on the priority list.

The video isn't back yet. I'm looking forward to it. I hope it'll be done soon.

Over Pesach, Yaakov and I will be at the Israeli juggling convention, and after Pesach, I will, G-d willing, be starting a job working from home for a company where a lot of my friends currently work. It'll be nice to have a salary again. I'm looking forward to it, although it will cut into my sleep time... It's frustrating to need so much sleep. I'm practically living on cappucchino, and it's barely making a dent.

I got back blood work, and it's not telling me much. Other than finding out that one test tube got messed up... All the usual suspects are in order. If anything, I should be feeling much better than usual, not worse. My cholesterol is down, my triglycerides are down... even my thyroid seems to be behaving.

So, when can I have a caffeine drip put in???

Anyway, I've degenerated into whining, so I'm going to cut this short...Happy Pesach all!

t.c. Goodman

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

On macaroni and popsicle sticks

You always know who your best friends are. They're the ones who are at your side at your best and worst.

Yesterday, I was reminded again who one of my best friends is. I went down to my mailbox, and there it was, exactly what I'd asked for, a popsicle-stick picture frame, complete with a great picture of Yaakov, me, and a whole family full of friends.

It's true that Yaakov's never met those friends, and the paste job was more amusing than professional, but the accompanying letter which said that she was including a picture from that time we all went out together really touched me.

On the macaroni end of the spectrum... my neice said that if we return her gift, she'll replace the macaroni with something that isn't chametz! :)

We're so grateful for all the gifts, all the little notes, and all the words of wisdom and encouragement from all our friends.

And if you're still looking for the perfect gift for us, please, no challa boards...

t.c. Goodman

Sunday, April 02, 2006

more and more blessings...

Tomorrow is the last day of our first week of marriage. This week has been incredibly full with Sheva Brachot, the 7 blessings of marriage. Every day, we have had at least one meal with a minyan, a gathering of ten men.

After the meal, following the grace after meals, the blessings are recited. In addition, it is customary that the meals be provided by others as a gift for the newlyweds.

Which means we've done a lot of eating, I haven't cooked anything, and Yaakov and I haven't yet had an evening to ourselves.

That's okay, though. The nights have been wonderful... Everyone wants to know how we spent our wedding night... We pulled all the bobby pins out of my hair. After about three hours of that, we fell asleep. Yaakov made it as far as the bed, but I collapsed on the floor... no, not really... it only took about 25 minutes to get the majority of the pins out. I only found a few more when I washed my hair.

Other nights have been spent doing such exotic things as: calling Yaakov's relatives in Canada(5am is a great time for that); washing dishes; folding laundry; and discussing how to discipline the dog when he pees on the floor.

But really, we are blessed. This Shabbat, we had the great honor of sharing a real joy with my sister. Yaakov was called up to the Torah in honor of being a groom, and shortly thereafter, Ohad, my sister's husband, was called up to the Torah to name their baby girl, Naomi Hallel. (to be called Nomi.)

Almost as exciting is the fact that we were informed today that we will soon be grandparents... yes, that's right...

About a month ago, I hosted a dog named Barbie, who was in heat, at my house. Poofy seemed to be very cozy with her, and now, she is pregnant, expecting very soon. Yaakov and I are still in disagreement over whether or not we will have a grandchild live with us. Yaakov is apparently not up to the responsibility of handling two dogs, and he doesn't believe I am (or should be) either.

So we're very very blessed. Now if we could have a few less blessings and a little more quality time with the pillow...

t.c.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I got married!!!

Yaakov & I are married. Really! The wedding was incredible, and now, we're married.

There is so much to tell tht I hardly know where to begin.

The day of our wedding was a busy day, filled with last minute preparations, hair, makeup, the usual.

People came to the hall, and it was wonderful seeing all the people who really cared and came out to see us get married. I feel truly blessed to have so many wonderful friends.

My sister was at the bedekin and the chuppa, which was very very important to me. After that, she had to go back to the hospital to feed her baby, but the important thing is that I didn't have to get married without my sister.

The wedding was filled with juggling, fire-eating, great music, and great "Shtick."

Yaakov juggled for me, and my neices and nephews sang for us. Yaakov sang "Aishet Chayil" to me... The evening was filled with so many incredible little details that I can't describe them all. Over the next hours and days, I will be posting more pictures... For now, I can tell my loyal readers that we are very happy.

And pretty tired. This getting married business is stressful.

t.c. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Mazel Tov!

My sister had a beautiful baby girl today.

My dress is waiting for me at the hair/makeup person's house.

In 48 hours, I will be married.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Wishing I could write...

I have so much to say, and yet, I'm having trouble getting out a single sentence.

Everything is going according to plans, and nothing is.

My sister is spending this Shabbat in Jerusalem in the hospital, waiting to be induced so that she can deliver.

For my Shabbat Kalla, I find myself surrounded by friends, and yet more alone than I could have imagined. I had planned to have my sister's older daughters with me, because I knew that she couldn't make the walk now, in her 9th month, but they are with one of my brothers, away from here.

I should be happy. My sister, with G-d's help, will be having a baby soon. But right now, thinking about spending my last Shabbat as a single woman here without her, I can't stop crying.

Next week, with G-d's help, I will be with her on Shabbat, and either she will be naming a baby girl, or at the bris of her baby boy, and I will be spending my first Shabbat as a married woman, enjoying the seven blessings. Next week, things will be better, I pray.

But right now, I really miss her.

t.c.



t.c.

Monday, March 20, 2006

confusion.

some of my friends thought that Yaakov's stuff moving in meant that Yaakov had already moved in...

Alas... it was just his stuff.

I have to wait one more week (it's after midnight now) before I get the man...
for now, I only have all his stuff...

what a world :)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

8 days a week...

8 days until the wedding. Really. A week from tomorrow, I am getting married. Un be lievable!

How's it going?
O moved most of her stuff out last night. Yaakov's stuff is coming in today, so that when his friend arrives this evening, there will be enough room at Yaakov's place to allow said friend to sleep on a bed rather than on the treadmill.

I spent last evening at a birthday party for my nephew (turned 7), followed by some serious furniture moving when I got home. The house is closer to what it should be, although there is plenty more to do.

Then, on my new bed (since my old one is currently lying on its side in the living room waiting for O's room to be clear), I tried to get a decent night's sleep. Sadly, it was a complete failure, both because I'm filled with moving-day jitters (although I'm not moving), and because I got a lovely head cold.

In addition, I keep wondering who I should have invited who I didn't, who didn't get invitations yet, what I should do about ... oh I'm sooo lost. Should I have invited this one? Will she be upset because I invited that one who's in the same category as she is? How about the other one? They're friends! ARGH! it's very confusing!

I discovered that someone got very hurt about not being invited so I ended up inviting the injured party despite not having intended to.

I wonder how many of those will surface after the wedding. I just don't know... it's all too much... I'm beginning to think that Yaakov's original idea of eloping was a better plan...

But then again, there's another fitting today. I get to wear that beautiful princess dress and I get to be the center of attention for a whole evening... It's gonna be cool.

Plus, last night at the birthday party, they sang for me. That was nice.

I just can't believe all this is really happening. I really hope this cold clears soon.

t.c.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Purim

Each year since I've been in Israel, Purim has been a sort of time of crisis for me.
The first year I was in Israel, Dizengoff Center was bombed Purim eve (1996). The phone lines went down, and in those days before cellphones became ubiquitous, I remember feeling real fear, not knowing where friends were.

I remember going to a megilla reading where no one used noisemakers, where everyone in the entire synagogue banged on the walls, beating our anger into the floors, the benches, the walls. I remember crying that night, and then going to my brother's apartment where our Purim joy was turning off the radio for an hour and a half to watch The Neverending Story.

While no other Purim has been that traumatic since, I can't remember a "good" Purim since I made aliya either.

But this year, things are different. This year, G-d was reasonably kind to us, and there was no major trauma. This year, megilla reading in shul was packed and noisy, and I ended up standing outside near the door, but I was able to hear the reader, and he did a great job. I went home and got a great night's sleep. My costume came out pretty good, although nobody could figure out that the animal with the fur and floppy ears that wears a collar with a tag is a ....dog... go fig.

Anyway, Purim morning, we had our annual family reading. The costumes were great. My newest neice celebrated her first birthday by pulling a duck off of her cake - the cake was a bathtub with three cookie ducks floating in it.

People stopped over at my parents' house, then I went home and people stopped over at my house. I exchanged various types of junk food with several people. :)

Then I went to Jerusalem for the second round of Purim. Tonight, Yaakov was the juggler for the "Women in Green" Costume Ball or some such. This is the first time I've seen him perform his juggling routine. He's quite good. Although he didn't do many tricks that I haven't seen before, watching him perform it as a show was really special. Everyone kept telling us what a sweet couple we are, and I believed them. We are a sweet couple. Not because we're mushy, but because we know how to joke together and how to help each other, and because we genuinely like each other.

This year was an almost perfect Purim. Next year... next year Yaakov will come home with me after the party. and that will be a perfect Purim.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Munich (not the movie)

My mother and youngest brother (the one who is "only" six years older than I am) are in Munich now.

My mother took her laptop and her digital camera, so I've already seen pictures. Munich looks beautiful. The city is covered in snow, and it seems so peaceful and quiet. I haven't been outside in snow in six years now, and the pictures make me miss the snow even more.

I love snow. One of the hardest things about moving to Israel was saying goodbye to the snow. This winter, it hasn't even snowed in Jerusalem. I haven't had a chance to go up to the Hermon, but friends who've been there say that the snow is all mashed up and filthy so quickly that it's no great shakes.

I've never been skiing or snowboarding, but I'd give a lot to spend an hour outside sledding in the snow, having a snowball fight, building a snowman, and then come back in to a nice mug of hot cocoa. Some things from childhood never leave you.

But would I want to relive my beautiful American childhood in Munich? For me, the shadow of the holocaust hangs over all of Germany. Over Munich hangs the pain of the terrorism that took Israeli lives.

And yet, my connection to Germany is stronger. I was born in Germany. I lived there until I was about a year and a half old. In Germany, I took my first steps, and in Germany, I spoke my first words, many in Hebrew.

So maybe, a little step into nostalgia in Germany wouldn't be so far off the mark. But then again, what could be better than a snowball fight in the Holy City of Jerusalem?!

t.c.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Another Shabbat in Beitar Illit

I think I'm getting the hang of this thing. It's nicer now that I'm not just Yaakov's "friend" but his "Kalla."

People seem to think that Yaakov and I are a good match, which is always nice to hear. One of Yaakov's friends was very concerned about the whole zionism issue, because we fall out a little differently on the issue. On the other hand, we both left our comfortable lives in the old country to live here, so the biggest part of that issue is something we can agree on - we agree that Jews belong in the land of Israel. How we feel about the political entity of the State of Israel is another issue, and we'll probably manage well enough with that.

At any rate, I feel very positive about things, and I just hope I won't stress too much about the wedding...Thank G-d, I'm really not stressed about the marriage.

t.c.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Matters of Taste

Last night, we had our tasting, which was very difficult for me, because I felt very overwhelmed. On the other hand, I was overall pretty pleased with the food, so all is well.

The wedding is still 26 days away, and I'm like....argh... I just want it to be now, so I can keep my Yaakov!

I didn't end up with a china pattern, b/c the set I wanted was inexpensive, so everyone who's going to chip in already did. (they already got me service for 12). It's pumpkin-soup colored orange...

I hope Yaakov likes it. If not... well, that'd stink some.

I found a cool bonus on this site. They give you $25 to play with, and you can use it like totally regular money. If you're good at backgammon, you can get real money without putting up any cash of your own... How cool is that?!

I personally think it's a stupid idear, but they basically just want people to play for money to encourage other people to play for money or something...

anyway, that's the news for today
t.c.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

gift registry.

it must be nice to live someplace where there are normal gift registries!
I hate asking for gifts. It totally stinks! The whole point of gifts is that they're supposed to be thoughtful and loving and surprises!

But, in the interest of giving us a fighting chance of not having to return too much...


Someone already claimed the breadmaker.
which leaves:
on amazon:
some books (I added some more)
silverware
Sheets
a dog bone...???

outside in the real world:
I'm going on Tuesday to choose a china pattern. I'll let y'all know how that works
A popcorn popper
An ice cream machine
A Shabbat water urn

A Mayim Achronim thingy
A Havdala set
A Netilat Yadayim cup

and maybe a set of LED Poi. (If you don't know what that is, chances are, this comment isn't directed at you.)

Plus Yaakov likes hampers. I claim he needs a wife who doesn't spend 12 hours a day out of the house, and then two hampers and one basket (which we already have) is plenty, because I'll clean the laundry and put it back in the closet like a normal human being...

So... I think that's everything we can really use.

My apologies, because I personally find this post fairly rude... but I'm trying to be practical...
blergh!

t.c.

I get to call myself an expert...

I was reading JDates Gone Wrong and I realized, actually my first date with Yaakov was not exactly smooth as silk.

In fact, I showed up close to an hour late (by bus), couldn't find the place where we were supposed to meet, and ended up dragging him to another restaurant despite telling him that he could choose the place.

I ate while he didn't eat anything, and he stared uneasily at the mezuza necklace I was wearing and made strange comments on it.

For our second date, we went to a party with a huge bunch of people who neither of us knew, felt uncomfortable, and ducked out in favor of ordering pizza.

Sounds kinda like a JDate gone wrong (besides not being JDate related), and when you factor in that between our first phone call and our first date, he was in Switzerland for a week, and I narrowly avoided dating someone else that week... this could all have been a recipe for disaster.

So what went right?

There are rules to this dating thing.
For example, if you're going to be late, use the phone. Call. Before you're late. Apologize. If he'd been waiting cluelessly for over 30 minutes, I'm sure Yaakov would have been less than impressed by my tardiness. As it was, he may have been annoyed, but at least he wasn't waiting outside on a cold evening wondering if I was going to stand him up.

Next, the first date should be cheap. The first half of our date was at a cafe, where he ordered tea, and I ordered hot chocolate.

Next, the girl *must* offer to pay.

Then the guy *should* refuse to let the girl pay. This is why the first date should be inexpensive. Otherwise, you've got the poor guy shelling out big money every time he goes out.

So far, so good. I offered, Yaakov paid. I argued for a moment, then said "thank you" nicely, accepting his gift.

** this is important. when someone pays for you, regard it as a gift. It's not a power play, and it commits you to nothing. It is a gift. It really helps if the gift is a cup of coffee and not a 3-day trip to Disneyland. Girls, trust me, if you argue and then shove the money into the guy's hand, he will find it insulting. Save it for the third or fourth date, and say "no really, I feel uncomfortable with you spending so much money on me. I make a salary, and I'm happy to treat you sometimes too." Make it clear that you want to give to him, and not just to "be equal."

Next: we decided to go for a walk. Walks are good. There's none of that uncomfortable money thing involved in the walk. We talked about stuff.

We ended up at another restaurant, and I had a bowl of soup (actually, I had a roll of soup.. they put the soup inside a big, crusty, bread roll... it was seriously yum) and Yaakov had a hot drink.
I tried to pay for that part, but he was pretty convincing when he said that he would prefer to pay for me, so again, I said thank you.

So how did we end up at the end of the date caring about each other enough that getting on the bus home felt lousy? That's Hashem's part of the story. But I thank Yaakov for having the guts to say at the end of the evening "It was nice meeting you. I'd like to get together with you again soon." as opposed to leaving me wondering if he would ever call again.

And why did we ditch a party and order a pizza on the second date? Because we couldn't hear each other talk, and really, that was what we'd gotten together for.

So maybe it's time to open a blog for dates gone right.
I'd sure love to read about those.
t.c.

Been Tagged :(

AbbaGav tagged me. Hey AbbaGav. It's ok. I tagged you back.. Just wait til you see what your cute little wifey gets today...

So here goes:

1: Black and White or Color; how do you prefer your movies?

Usually color.

2: What is the one single subject that bores you to near-death?

anything that I can't understand,

3: MP3s, CDs, Tapes or Records: what is your favorite medium
for prerecorded music?

MP3s. Easier is better.

4: You are handed one first class trip plane ticket to anywhere in the world and ten million dollars cash. All of this is yours provided that you leave and not tell anyone where you are going … Ever. This includes family, friends, everyone. Would you take the money and ticket and run?

no. Now if I could take Yaakov... maybe.

5: Seriously, what do you consider the world’s most pressing issue now?

the fact that Israeli supermarkets seem to have run out of Ben & Jerry's Minter Wonderland

6: How would you rectify the world’s most pressing issue?

If I *knew* that, I wouldn't be sitting here without a spoon in my mouth, would I?

7: You are given the chance to go back and change one thing in your life; what would that be?

It's an interesting question. There are lots of things that I wouldn't advise someone else to do that I did, but changing things? It's complicated. What if I changed something and then I ended up someplace else, not with Yaakov?? Forget it, nothing's up for changing. really. Although if I were advising someone younger and not me, I would advise her to go to Sherut Leumi before university. I suspect it would have made my path a lot easier, if not better.

8: You are given the chance to go back and change one event in world history, what would that be?

I guess I gotta go with what everyone else says and prevent the holocaust.
Of course, that still wouldn't solve the mint chocolate chip ice cream problem...

9: A night at the opera, or a night at the Grand Ole’ Opry –Which do you choose?

Not so much for opera, not so much for country, I think I'd just stay home.

10: What is the one great unsolved crime of all time you’d like to solve?

Who framed Roger Rabbit?!
oh, wait, that was solved...
I guess um... I donno. who killed JFK? what the whole Rabin story is? Who killed Jean-Binet Ramsey? Um... who stole the cookie from the cookie jar...? I donno.

11: One famous author can come to dinner with you. Who would that be, and what would you serve for the meal?

Stephen King. I'd probably serve steak, cuz hey, it's yummy.

12: You discover that John Lennon was right, that there is no hell below us, and above us there is only sky -- what’s the first immoral thing you might do to celebrate this fact?

I'm a deeply moral person. So I'd be like... okay, let's bust loose and have some bacon...Or maybe I'd move in with Yaakov... Oh wait, we're moving in together in 29 days...why bother being immoral about it if you can be 'moral' about it and get a big party in the bargain?

I refuse to tag any more bloggers... I just... I can't. I won't! you can't make me!!!!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Scavenger Hunt.

I remember in 8th grade, my NCSY chapter had a scavenger hunt at the mall.
We had to find out how many brands of shoes Florsheim sells, how many stairs there were on the main staircase, and lots more useless stuff.

The group that came back first with all the correct answers got a free ice cream or something. The rest of us bought our own ice cream, I guess. The cool thing was, as part of a team with a mission, you got to really feel close to your team members. It was a little too short a hunt to have a real bonding experience, but I could see how acquaintances could become friends while counting the colors of socks at sock world or finding out which color was most popular at the Gap this season.

So now, Yaakov and I are on a scavenger hunt. We went to the rabbanut, and they said we needed to each bring them: 2 passport pictures, proof of identity, proof of Jewishness, and 2 witnesses. In addition, we also needed to provide a kashrut certificate from the hall, and a letter from our rabbi.

So we set out. Yaakov got his paperwork done, sent his witnesses in, etc. I got my paperwork done, borrowed my mom's ketuba, got a kashrut certificate from the hall, and went to the "rabbanit" to learn how to be a good Jewish wife.

On Tuesday, I went to the rabbanut, convinced I had completed the scavenger hunt. Turned out that our letter from the rabbi wasn't good enough because they didn't know him personally, the kashrut certificate from the hall was expired, and one of my witnesses had shown up on a day when no one could take his testimony.

So the scavenger hunt continues, and in this mission, Yaakov is my teammate, and we're growing closer every day.

t.c.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

What do a SmartPhone, Infertility, and Mental Health have in Common?

A while ago, Yaakov, in his efforts to find out about me, did a little online research about me, and found out that I like to write a lot about cell phones. Later, he was at my house, and was playing around with my computer, and saw that I spend a lot of time on a site called FertilityStories.com. He also found my blog and noticed that it linked to a mental health site, called DrSavta.com, and, strangely, Fertility Stories. He was, needless to say, a little confused as to why a single girl would be reading up on fertility, plugging the site, etc. When he looked at my cell phone, he was also pretty curious about the fact that I had written about a phone which was obviously far superior to my own…

So what do a SmartPhone, Infertility, and Mental Health have in common? And how are they related to Coverage-Driven random verification? I suppose you’d really have to work hard to come up with any relationship. Unless you’re in the family. See, if you’re in the family, you’d know that a company called Ace Verification also sells pregnancy tests on Poriut.com, the Hebrew sister site to Fertility Stories. Not only that, but you’d know that the only guest writer ever to appear on DrSavta.com is Rachel Inbar, the designer, operator, webmaster, etc, of FertilityStories.com. You might notice that DrSavta has posted comments on the FertilityStories blog. And you’d still have no idea what smartphones have to do with it. Or a Champion Acheiver.


So… it’s all pretty simple really… It’s all in the family. So don’t worry. I’m not reading the Fertility Blog because I’m concerned about getting pregnant. I’m just keeping in touch with my sister. And I really can’t help you with your pre-silicon verification. I can tell you all about the TREO 650 though. I used to work for YouNeverCall.


I even got the T-shirt

Monday, February 20, 2006

No macaroni, please.

Over the past few weeks, people have been asking us what we want as wedding gifts. Yaakov generally answers that G-d has given us all we need, and I generally answer that we have two of almost everything, and really, we don't need a Kosher-for-Passover sandwich toaster. Of course, on the one hand, it's true, we are very blessed. On the other hand, the poor unfortunate soul walks away with no idea what to give us.

Surely some few will give us hand-made popsicle-stick picture frames, which we will, of course, adore, hang on the fridge, and love forever. But for most of the over-12 set, they'll be looking for something that doesn't say "I made it myself" quite as loudly. I recently read a "Dear Prudie" (today's version of Dear Abby) asking whether it was appropriate to mention that the bride and groom prefer cash on the invitation, and while I was absolutely appalled at the idea, it set me thinking in some different directions.

On the one hand, we need almost nothing. On the other, the wedding gifts aren't about the "Loot" for me. Really. For my bat mitzvah, I got a lot of gifts, and some cash. I don't remember who gave me cash. I don't remember how much. To be sure, I wrote thank-you notes, but that was the last I thought of those people in terms of my bat mitzvah. On the other hand, my brother Ben bought me olive wood candlesticks. I knew at the time that they weren't expensive, certainly not "worth" as much as the checks I got. But every Shabbat, for years, I lit candles with them. And every Shabbat, for years, I thought of Ben, even when he was far away. I remember the "Bat Mitz-bear" my cousin Laurie gave me, and the "New Kids on the Block" tape that my friend Jennifer got for me.

To be sure, there are other gifts that meant something to me, and I certainly valued them, but those gifts, given more from the heart than from the wallet, meant more to me than the expensive statuette of a Bat Mitzva girl reading the Torah, which was given to me by someone who obviously didn't really know me, and didn't realize that I would find the image of a girl in tallit and kippa more offensive than spiritual.

So yeah, there are a few toys that Yaakov and I want. Yaakov wants a popcorn popper, and I'd like a bread maker and an ice cream maker. We could probably use a Shabbat water urn and in the Judaica, we could use a "mayim achronim" thing and a havdala set. But honestly, I'm really hoping that there'll be at least one popsicle-stick picture frame in there, but please, no macaroni necklaces. We're getting married two weeks before Pesach.

Friends and Strangers

So over on Scott’s blog, he had good news. His daughters are home. And on AbbaGav’s blog, there’s a whole carnival, albeit a Hamas carnival… DrSavta is celebrating the medium-sized twins’ birthdays, and me? I have loads of reasons to be happy and I’m blogging about my galdarned smoking boss.

What does this tell us? That oxygen is really important…

I really enjoy breathing. I mean really. It’s fun. If you have doubts, stop for a bit. Just 20 seconds. When you try it again, you’ll realize how much you missed it.

So I’m going to try to cheer up, write something positive…

Last night, I saw something really cute on tv. There’s this show call Kzarim. That means “shorts” and it’s a series of small short skits.

So the skit I saw last night, there was a guy at the airport with flowers and balloons, waiting to pick someone up, and the person never showed up. He keeps looking at all these happy reunited families, and then he sees a lonely guy getting off the plane. He approaches the guy and says “I noticed that no one came to meet you, and the person I came to meet… so would you?”


The other guy nods, the two exchange names, and then the “arriving” guy goes away for a moment… then he comes back.

“Monny!”

“Shlomi! How was your trip?” and they hug. Shlomi takes the balloons, says

“You shouldn’t have” Monny asks what Shlomi brought him…Shlomi says “I’ll show you in the car” and they walk out of the airport together

What made this scene specifically interesting to me is that the day after Yaakov and I got engaged, my friend Naomi took me out to dinner in celebration. She picked me up at the train station. I waited outside the train station for a while, and a car pulled up directly next to me. I felt this wild kind of desire to get in the car, give the lady a kiss on the cheek, and say “thanks for picking me up.”*

Because, after all, aren’t we all just friends waiting to meet?

t.c.


*Disclaimer: If you do this, you may find yourself on an extended vacation in a padded room.