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)
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...


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.

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.


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 He also found my blog and noticed that it linked to a mental health site, called, 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, the Hebrew sister site to Fertility Stories. Not only that, but you’d know that the only guest writer ever to appear on is Rachel Inbar, the designer, operator, webmaster, etc, of 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.


“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?


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

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Chicken Soup.

Over Shabbat, I had about 5 bowls of chicken soup, which really made me feel much better. This one was a combined effort of both of my parents, and it came out wonderful.

I like chicken soup.

The wedding is 36 days away, so I'm getting more and more tense. Last night, Yaakov and I spent some time going over the guest list. We need to start addressing invitations about a week ago :). Fortunately, I called the printer and they're ready! :)

One of my neighbors sent me into a minor tizzy last night by coming over to let me know that my dud shemesh (solar water boiler) was leaking. After Yaakov and I went up on the roof, searched for the dud, located the puddle, etc, I ran my fingers EVERYWHERE on the whole apparatus, and discovered that there was no point of leakage... This means... that it was probably a rain puddle. I went into a semi-panic over a RAIN PUDDLE?! HARUMPH!

And... we're on to the next crisis.
I started feeling really awful today at work. I was dizzy and feeling kinda sad and just blah. So I went up on the roof and called a friend to talk. I thought maybe it was a variant on a panic attack or something like that, but after maybe 5 minutes, I felt totally fine.

then I walked back into the office and was assaulted by the smell of smoke. My eyes started watering. My heart started thumping, and guess what? all the good feeling of being up on the roof was instantly gone.

So... I start looking stuff up... and guess what? My boss's doggone smoking is giving me MIGRAINES!

And more than that, the other boss 1. doesn't seem to care 2. thinks that any time I say something hurts me, I'm making it up. 3. feels free to yell at me for eating chocolate, but doesn't see any reason to be concerned about my health when my air is poisoned.

I wish I were quitting sooner.
At least that's the most logical explanation I can find.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


My ears hurt, and it makes me irritable.
Every noise seems like a personal assault.

Fortunately, I remember a story my dad told me.
Once, he was on a flight, and his ears were really bad during the landing, so he asked a flight attendant for help, and the flight attendant brought him two cups with hot-water-soaked cotton balls in them. When he cupped them over his ears, there was almost instant relief. Turns out, that's working pretty well for me.

See Abba? I do listen to you.

Actually, on another pro-parent note... When I was little, I used to complain all the time about how all my friends had cable, and I couldn't watch "Super Sloppy Double Dare" or "Fun House" at home because we didn't have Nickelodian. (It should be noted that I watched more than my fair share of "Super Sloppy Double Dare" at the after school program I was in.)

My father always insisted that really, there was plenty to watch without cable, and indeed, I watched entirely too much tv as it was.

So I had my cable disconnected last night, and when my roommate moves out, I will be without a television.

this makes me happy.



Monday, February 13, 2006

6 weeks left

Friday, we ordered invitations. The first draft of it isn't quite right. We'll have to see what we can do about it.

We also ordered my engagement ring on Friday, and we got it Sunday, which means I'm currently wearing it!!! :)

It's gorgeous, and I love it. Yaakov also got me a set of juggling balls (Actually two sets). That was really cool b/c I didn't expect that at all, and they're really funky ones. I'll need to borrow a digital camera so I can post pictures of all of the above (juggling balls, engagement ring, yaakov)...

I tried to take a picture of the ring with my cell phone but it didn't come out right. It's a lousy camera. oh well.

Over Shabbat, Yaakov and I were in Har Nof, and we stayed with a really lovely family, and had lunch and seuda shlishit with two more really nice families. Yaakov has such amazing friends!

They say you can tell a lot about a person from their friends. In this case, it's just more proof of how lucky I am, and how wonderful G-d is to me. I still have a lot to do before the wedding, but the big stuff is done.

I set up a wedding registry on Amazon, because everyone keeps asking what we want. We don't need much. We actually have almost everything on earth.

We have a crazy amount of stuff. I mean, we have 2 sandwich toasters, 2 microwaves, 2 blenders... just absolute tons of stuff...

So, 42 days left, and I'm feeling more and more stressed and more and more happy at the same tiem...
all is well.


Thursday, February 09, 2006

Now We're Getting Somewhere...

Yesterday, I took the day off of work to get some stuff done.

So in the morning, I went to the Iriya (city hall) to pay for the marriage license. I got 40% off cuz I'm a student! yay! 1/6 of this year's tuition just paid for itself... :)

After that I got some passport pictures taken, and they're horrible, so y'all don't get to see 'em.

Next I went to my parents' house, and my mom and I drove up to Jerusalem for a romantic lunch for three... Yaakov had us over for lunch at his work, and I got to meet some people, including AbbaGav's wife. Then, during lunch, he got a call that he was missing some big important meeting. So after we finished eating, he took me into the meeting (to show me off)... turned out that unbeknownst to him, it had actually been planned as a little engagement party for him. Of all things, it worked out SOOO cool, because I don't exactly go visit him at work every day... His co-workers seem really nice, and it seems like a really nice place to work. If I were willing to work full-time, I'd send in my cv, but I really want to move to part-time, because I feel like I just don't have enough energy to have a full-time job and still be a good wife.

I know that now my house isn't clean enough, I have piles of laundry to do, and it was only in a desperate act of self-defense (against the smell) that I finally washed my dog today. He's needed a bath for well over 2 months now.

I have so much to do - invitations to order and send out, thank-you notes to write for the engagement gifts, re-organizing to make room for Yaakov's stuff, a full wardrobe inventory, so I can 1. get rid of stuff I can't wear anymore, 2. Figure out what I need., so much stuff to do.

On the upside, yesterday I managed to find THE PERFECT DRESS. I absolutely love it, and it fits just right. It's gorgeous, and when I put it on, all of a sudden, I was a bride, and it hit me really hard... I almost started to cry, just from emotion. Then I started checking if I can dance in it, and I jumped around and twirled and pretended to juggle and jump rope to check that I have enough freedom of movement. My mom even took a little bit of video of me! :)

I'm waiting for her to send me pictures of the dress... I'm not posting them though. If you want pictures, you'll have to email me privately, because the groom isn't supposed to see the dress until the wedding day.

There's a lot more to do, but it looks like we're most of the way there...

So this is pretty cool.

Bride t.c.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

getting my feet wet.

In Israel, in order to get married legally, you have to go through your local religious authority. This means that if you're Jewish, you have to go to the rabbanut.

The rabbanut is a government-run agency, which means there's a fair amount of beaurocracy.

All the girls complain the most about having to take classes. I always assumed that it was a whole bunch of classes, at least 8 hours. Turns out, the basic class is actually 4 hours, divided into two sessions. Not bad, even with my schedule.

Last night, I went to my first class. It was amusing. There were three of us, two in jeans, and me, in a black velour skirt. - the black velour skirt is my latest decision on how to deal with skirts on a daily basis. It's wide, comfy, and long enough that i can hide my feet under it when I sit Indian-Style. I have another one in purple, but I'm going to need a few more, and I don't care that it's way too fancy for my tops. These skirts cost half as much as my jeans skirt, which isn't nearly as comfy either. - Anyway, we get to the class, and the teacher lady asks us if we know what we're there for, and I'm like, yeah,pretty much.

And she asks me, are you religious? so I say yeah, and she tries to convince me to take a different class with 10 sessions. I'm like... um... I don't have the time.

So she explained to us all about the mikva thing. The mikva is a ritual bath. It was pretty strange, because she gave us a lot of details about things that no one's really talked about with me in a public forum since 5th grade health class... was odd...

the rules are more complex and weirder than I'd realized, but this has kept Jewish families happy and whole for 2000 years, so who am I to argue?

I called Yaakov and asked him if maybe he'd rather be the girl and I could be the guy... but he declined. Oh well...

So I got home late, and then I woke up early this morning to go swimming. Swimming always feels great, so I feel pretty good, but very very tired.

And that's the news from around here...

Monday, February 06, 2006

I'll have a cheese danish, please.

I usually completely ignore the news and current events, in the hopes that they'll ignore me too.

I tried to pretend that the big news this week involved Pittsburgh and some people throwing a ball around. I mean, two of my brothers were born in Pittsburgh, so... that's cool. Right?

But this burning down Danish embassies and such... yes the Muslims are revolting... I thought a lot about responding to offensive materials in a newspaper...

An interesting point to note is that if there had been no protests, then none of us would have seen the stupid cartoons, most of which were not particularly offensive, well-drawn, or entertaining.

Another interesting point to note... I've seen some rude, nasty, offensive stuff in newspapers. If I were subscribed to a newspaper that published something disturbing, I'd probably cancel my subscription. I'd probably also write a letter to the editor about it. I probably wouldn't call for people to burn down embassies. Right now, I'm feeling pretty backwards.

So why is the whole world now subject to some mess that should have ended with a couple angry letters and cancelled subscriptions?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Being Engaged.

On Friday, Yaakov and I went to meet his relatives in Azure. That was really cool. His cousins are great. They really make every effort to connect despite linguistic and cultural barriers. Besides, they have chickens in the backyard! I was very excited about the chickens, and almost decided to give up my hi-tech life for a farm. Then I remembered that i know absolutely nothing about farming, but that it's probably harder than washing the floor, which is about as significant an effort as I'm willing to make.

Then we came back to Modiin, and we had a quiet Shabbat with O. and Poofy and a guest dog named Barbie.

Saturday night, we went to a great show. Scott performed juggling and awesome magic tricks. In addition, another juggler/magician appeared, and there was a cute stand-up comedian as well. There was some very nice stuff, and it was cool getting to see Scott perform.

I had a great time, but I got home late, which means I'm now plodding through the day... I wouldn't mind sleeping a few extra hours, but there' s so much to do, and so little time. I'm very overwhelmed...


Lost Comments.

I seem to be losing comments... For example, I was unable to put this one up:

From: Namdoogk
Glad to read about the engagement party; truly sorry that we could not join you in your happy time, but California is a long way away. You and "Y" are welcome to party again at our home (which is now your home) when you come to visit (soon we hope). Please send or e-mail pictures of the party. Love from Maty, David, Christina, Karina, Dillan, Gloria, Jason, Jerry, Nathalie, Isabella, Dave and Karla, and always my blessings to you both
Ken (Yaakov's Dad)

Friday, February 03, 2006

Engagement Party

Our engagement party was Wednesday night!

Loads of people came. I got to meet Yaakov's cousins, and see my parents' neighbors, and see all kinds of people.

There were a lot of great things about the party. My mom made hot apple cider, which made the house smell delicious. Yaakov made me a balloon flower. My mom got a special cake which had a picture of Yaakov & me on it. But pretty early on in the evening, there was screaming.

It was happy screaming, but anyone who had heard the screams and not seen the accompanying hugs, and heard the questions might have thought it wasn't such happy screaming...

"what are you doing here?"
"What are you doing here?"
"Have you made aliya?"
"REALLY?!!!! WOW!!!!"

after a good amount of screaming... it turned out that Yaakov's friend's wife and a friend of my parents had been college roommates, and they hadn't seen each other in twelve years.

So my upcoming marriage has brought more people together.