Monday, May 31, 2004


The phone rang at 6:15 am. My sister-in-law was on the phone to tell me my dad had died overnight in Montreal. I'm sitting here journalling/blogging. It's so therapeutic. I've gone to work only to make phone calls and e-mails to friends and relatives. I'm not functioning and everything I do is in very slow motion but that's understandable. Funny how I had been thinking about him lately - even in past posts. He was almost 93 and had been depressed and in pain in an old age home in Montreal, where my sister took good care of him. He was born in Austria and left 3 months after Hitler raided the country. His escape was miraculous and he vowed if he ever got out of there alive, he'd become a servant of God, which he was. When I was in my teens, living with him was truly awful - we only got to really appreciate and respect each other when I was in my early 20s. He spoiled me as I was his youngest. His body is being flown to Israel tomorrow and the funeral will be then. Then I begin 7 days of mourning called "shiva," when a person in mourning doesn't go to work, but receives visitors for condolence calls. These 7 days will be very reflective, my siblings will be together, we will talk about dad, laugh about him, cry over him, etc.

My kids all rallied around me this morning. Even the Criminal one sat down like an adult and told me he was a righteous man because he died in his sleep and God takes righteous people while they're sleeping. Then she walked with me to the store to get the morning's groceries. I don't remember the last time she did that.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Interfaith Encounters

I missed my favorite dialogue session this past weekend with the Interfaith Encounter Association. This weekend's discussion was hashing it out about Moses and Muhammad. The first time I went on such a weekend was a bit over a year ago and I had no idea what to expect. I had no real contact with Palestinians, other than my Gypsy family, and I was curious. There were 30 Israelis and 30 Palestinians - mostly young kids from the Nablus Youth Federation, some from Ramallah and East Jerusalem - 18 - 25 years old, university students and prime terrorist age. There was an Orthodox Jewish woman there whose son was badly injured in one of the terrorist attacks. We weren't supposed to speak about politics at this weekend, at least not in the formal sessions, but the casual discussions always led to it. How could it not? They said they came to the weekend because they didn't believe that Israelis wanted peace and dialogue and had to see for themselves. During our Friday night social evening, after viewing each other's prayers (there were quite a number of Orthodox Jews attending), several of them showed me the bullet wounds they received somehow or another at the hands of the Israeli army. This was very difficult for me to take in. At first I thought, maybe they DID something to get shot at? They had a 6:30 pm curfew and some of them thought they'd dodge the curfew to get food for their family, some were caught in the line of fire, some wanted to step outside despite the curfew to visit friends and so on. I ended up crying alot that weekend feeling bad that WE (collective blame here) did this to others. It reminded me of the time when I visited Israel in 1989 and a Christian group joined us on a walking tour of Jerusalem. Several cried during the tour and their leader explained that they were sorry for what Christians had done to the Jews throughout the centuries. I felt the way those Christians felt and hoped that it won't be centuries of us tormenting one another.

That first weekend I befriended a very talented artist from Ramallah. His name is Bashar. He brought photos of his paintings which were hauntingly beautiful. Some were disturbing like the one of the Shaheed with virgins greeting him. I said to him half-jokingly - "There must be a catch. There must be a reason why they're virgins. Maybe they're 85 years old or something." Why did he paint it? It bothered me. It was after the army barged into his apartment and ruined much of his artwork. "It's hopeless for us" He told me. Which is probably many an excuse for a future terrorist. I told him - It seemed hopeless for us too many times throughout history. And never believe anything is hopeless. He grabbed a handfull of soil and looked at me and said "I love this land. I just love it so much." And I realized that he was as passionately in love with the land as I was. No less. And perhaps this just may be a war, a struggle, over love. If they love this land as much as I do, why can't we just love it together.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Goin' to Pot

I was shopping at the Mahane Yehuda shuk yesterday, as I always do on Fridays. The shuk is so lively and so crowded with vendors shouting, laughing, and some were singing, even dancing behind their stalls to the mid-eastern music on their radio. The smells of spices are strong (which once prompted my dad to remark "It smells like the shuk in here" when he opened up the kitchen cabinet in my NYC bachelorette apartment). I passed by a plant vendor selling something for tea called "Louisa", which I believe is lemon verbena, and commented that it looks like a marijuana plant. He laughed and showed me some Gat plants, whose effect is similar to that of marijuana when the leaves are chewed. Leaf chewers here are traditionally those from the Yemenite community, but it seems to be catching on to some of the younger, non-Yemenite crowd.

I once asked someone who voted for Israel's Green Leaf party why he would vote for a loser party that wouldn't get any seats in the Knesset (Israeli Parliament). He said that when you buy drugs, you support terrorist organizations like Hezbollah and was therefore in favor of people growing one or two of their personal pot plants, if they so wanted to.

I don't care too much for the drug itself, indulging perhaps one to four times a year, moreso for the ritual of the camaraderie involved than for the drug itself. For all I care, it could be filled with sage or cammomile, and I'd get the same buzz.

Friday night we sat down for our formal Sabbath meal. Hubby was completely out of whack. He smokes pot excessively. Too excessively and was goading some of the kids into a fight. They didn't take the bait and he walked out of the house for a nicotine puff. The kids all tattletaled on him at once - "I saw him with a bag with THIS much in it" "I smelled it on the steps outside" "He goes into his car at midnight and smokes up" "I caught him at two in the morning smoking that shit in the bathroom" "I pretended I was asleep when the computer guy came and asked him if he had some-and he said he ALWAYS has". Two kids decided right then and there that they were going to raid his briefcase to find his stash. I sat at the diningroom table frozen. All I could manage to say was "Well, when you find it, let's all sit around the table and smoke it and see the look on his face when he walks in." Everyone laughed, the search stopped, and I wondered why I never see any of these things. My blinders are too dark.

Friday, May 28, 2004

To be 18 again

My Good daughter is turning 18 today. I hate buying gifts because you know everything you do for kids isn't good enough - ever. I wanted to take her out for breakfast like we did last year at this wonderful cafe on Emek Refaim Street, a street which reminds me of Amsterdam Avenue in New York City. But she already warned me - "Don't take me where we went last year, it was disgusting". Really? What was disgusting about it? "There was nuts in the salad" she said, pronouncing the word "nuts" as if it were food brought up from the sewer. "And the digusting things they put in the salads..." I'm tired of thinking what to do for her. She loves lemon meringue pie. I found a great bakery that makes it and hopefully I'll get to the store before it closes. Stores close early on Fridays because of the Jewish Sabbath, so I've got to meet the 2:30 deadline. My idea of a day off is simply not rushing. This morning I thought of where I was at that age and brought out my photos of when I was 18 and spent the year in Israel. The Good daughter looks at the photos "Mum, why didn't you take off your glasses when they took your picture?" - Why should I? That's how it was then. I didn't get my contacts until I was 18 1/2 but my daughter was clearly embarrassed just looking at them. Too bad.

I had one of the best years of my life when I was 18 - glasses or no glasses. I had convinced my folks that the best thing for me would be to spend a year in Israel studying at a girl's seminary. This was an absolute miracle for me as my parents, especially dad, was extremely strict with me in all areas. He forbade me from wearing trousers because he had turned more religious as he got older and wanted to impress all the bigshots in the synagogue with his observant family. Except that I was ruining it for him. I used to sneak my pants beneath my skirts and steal out of the house that way. He caught me twice and I had to sit in the kitchen while he read to me from the Code of the Jewish Law. Man, was I ever a sinner. But in Israel, I could do what I want, without ruining the family reputation. What they didn't know wouldn't hurt, right?

I did anything but study that year. That was the year of the Yom Kippur war, the year that every soldier I saw in the street was dating fodder, the year I did lose someone I had just started dating in that war, the year I felt so free for the first time in my life, the year I first fell in love, so much in love with the country I now live in. I hitchhiked everywhere that year. It was safe to do so. We came across some oddballs, but nothing serious. Once we ran out of the car when we were picked up by a Russian man who kept on repeating "Russia Good, Amerika, Not Good". The family of the soldier I dated who was killed in the war wanted me to marry him. I was only 17 and he was 21, of Moroccan descent. I was blonde and American, which was a rarity in those parts of the country. His family lived on a moshav - not a village and not a communal kibbutz but something in-between. His sister spotted me immediately when I was on a 3 week kibbutz program - working in the turkey coop. I asked to work with animals because they put me in the jobs that no one else wanted, like cleaning fly shit off windows and ironing. So his sister took me home, introduced me to her mother who introduced me to her strappingly handsome son. We went off to the movies and I knew this was a "serious" date because he never laid hands on me, unlike the rest of the Israeli guys whose testosterone levels were always unusually high. I stayed over and was shocked at the sleeping arrangements. I thought it was awful the way I grew up in a one-bedroom apartment in the Bronx with 2 other siblings. I had to remain in my parents' bedroom until my brother moved out, and that wasn't until I was 12 years old. But this Israeli/Moroccan family with 10 children all slept in the livingroom. Beds came out of nowhere and everywhere - hidden behind couches, walls, etc. - and no one complained of no privacy. The parents slept in the kitchen. That morning the mother made me a nice breakfast of eggs and peas with tomato sauce on it. I thought it was strange to have peas for breakfast but no matter. I took one bite. Were they trying to kill me? I could hear the sisters smothering their laughter in the other room. They knew that Americans generally aren't used to the hot, spicy sauces accompanying nearly every Moroccan meal and I was trying to be polite while everything from my tongue to my intestines were on fire. I'll stick to the pita - thanks.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

One night in Jerusalem

I made it to the Blogs of Notice column!! For me that's like winning some kind of literary prize! I thought something was funny when I got all these e-mails from people who read this blog. I thought I was the only one reading - just me and a biker from Texas who saw it in the "most recently published blogs" listing when I first began.

Monday night was the opening of the Israel Festival. We get some international performers - musicians, dance, theatre, etc. - but none that I've ever heard of so I don't go. Except that I do love going to opening night because it's free, and because of the cotton candy, the fireworks, and the band is usually some band I really enjoy, plus there's the camaraderie of a Jerusalem in celebration of anything. This time the opening festivities took place at the Sherover/Haas Prominade - a promenade with a breathtaking view of east and west Jerusalem. The lights of Jordan flickered in the distance. The olive trees behind the stages were lit up beautifully. I thought I had entered a gorgeous still-life painting. I won't be getting a digital camera until August - it would have been great to be able to post photos, but you will have to visualize the scenery. So I usually go to these things alone. Hubby has a distaste for crowds. I don't mind going alone -I feel looser when he's not there anyways. When I got there the sun was setting and the weather was unseasonably cool. I saw my friend in the crowd while the Idan Raichel's Project played their cool ethnic stuff. Two of the Ethiopian band members sing alot of songs in Amharic (language of Ethiopia) My friend had a friend in from LA and we hung out afterwards copping a hilarious ride with another friend from the high-tech company I used to work for before all these companies went bankrupt. We were 4 women (in our 30s and 40s in the back seat), lots of wild hair everywhere and we were trying to dodge traffic cops who would have fined the driver for overstuffing the car. So some of us ducked every time we saw a police car. I felt 17 years old again - ducking and laughing. Two of the women in the car were visiting from New York and one especially reminded me of the Sex and the City star, Sarah Jessica Parker, with her cool job and clothing and hair. Had she lived here we probably would have been good buddies. But like most people she loved it here and is torn when she goes back home - but she would never live here. The standard of life here is not as high as it is in New York - monetarily that is. We seem to live on air here, not money. Oh, and miracles. Let's not forget the miracles.

The New York women opted for Israeli food and my friend and her LA friend and I went for something more "in". There's a whole new neighborhood in Jerusalem - with a very Soho feel to it - where the night life is being revived, with new bars and fancy restaurants (moderately priced) cropping up every month. I can't keep up with the pace! The LA guy said he went to the large and ancient Jewish cemetery at the Mt. of Olives to visit his father's grave - This is in a Palestinian neighborhood. The LA guy is an Orthodox Jew, wears a kippa, and said he felt the "hate" coming off some of the residents there, when he got out of his cab to walk around. I said to him - why don't you just say "Kiv halak" which means "How are you" in Arabic. Play "stump the natives". They'll see a Jewish Orthodox guy being pleasant and nice and you won't feel the hate, you'll feel the hospitality. I hoped I was right. After all, when I was Orthodox and had my hair covered accordingly, I was learning Arabic and practiced it on all the waiters. You wouldn't believe how much free baklava I got just from "trying".

The Jewish holiday of Shavuot was the following day and traditional people stay up all night studying the Torah, having religious discussions, etc. and at dawn prayers are held at the Western Wail. Some synagogues were also planning to pray at the Promenade with the beautiful view. I got up at 4:30 am not because I'm so holy schmoly but because my Criminal daughter and her friend came into the house at that hour and my son woke up and began to fight with her about their sleeping arrangements. I said - oh well, obviously God wants me to get up and pray. But I lounged around instead. I hate praying from a prayer book. I love God and all that, but praying from a book makes me feel like I'm just reading to Him. I do these short, simple prayers to God instead "God, please give me $2,000 extra this month; God, thanks for giving me great friends; God, why can't you send the Rolling Stones over to Israel for a concert", stuff like that. To compensate for the slightly guilty feelings at having been up and missing a cool prayer session at dawn, hubby took me and the dog out to the promenade at 7:30 am. People were coming home from prayers by the thousands. I'd have stopped to photograph all the Ultra-Orthodox in the streets because that was some photo, but didn't want to incur their wrath at doing something so blatantly prohibited in the Orthodox tradition. In the end God wanted me to go just when I did because I met up with some journalists from AP and Canadian newspapers who were also walking their dogs. We started to talk about what we do and they were interested in the fact that I did this matchmaking thing between a publicist in New York who got 30 Orthodox Jewish 12 year old girls (against their parents' wishes) writing to 30 Palestinian 12 year old girls from the Mt. of Olives, courtesy of yours truly who got her the connection. Maybe these journalists needed to know that.

Monday, May 24, 2004

What Intifada?

My 12 year old son and I went to the Jerusalem Circus today. The performers are Jewish and Arab youngsters and the audience was also a good mix. I met Jeremy there and he brought a busload of 5 and 6 year old Bedouin kids from the Jahalin tribe close to my town. It was great to see a group of kids who would otherwise never be able to afford such a performance - not that it was an exhorbitant price. It was a mere $6 but they wouldn't be able to afford even this. It may have been the only entertainment they have gone to ever in their lives. I told them I was their neighbor and their teachers immediately invited me on the bus back with them. My son was horrified. He'd rather take a city bus than go on with a busload of Arab children. I thought it best that we allay those fears immediately and vetoed the city bus thing. After the show, we hopped on and I understood that we wouldn't be able to sit together - boys with boys and women with women. He asked me why we couldn't sit with each other, I said it was like an Orthodox Jewish bus - the men with the men, etc. But I sat a row behind him. The women, who were covered from head to toe, passed around nuts and snacks. I was the only adult woman without a head covering. One thing Jews and Arabs have in common is heavy snacking on the bus. And forget about seatbelts -
because there wasn't even enough seats for everyone. However they told us to come on the bus anyways. Hospitality rules over safety here. It was funny getting off the bus and seeing the look of the soldiers at the checkpoint wondering what we are and why we were on that bus. It's so pre-1964 Deep South, isn't it? Jewish people riding around in Arab buses does not happen here. Except for one crazy mother.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Meet the Georgian (or "Gruzini") whore

First thing this morning,someone at the local "makolet" - which translates to your neighborhood small grocery store called me a "zonah gruzinit" - A gruzini whore. I wasn't so much insulted at the insult because at my age, maybe it's compliment to look like one? Even one from Gruzin, which is this in English! I was insulted at the reason why this bozo called me one. I hadn't been there in a couple of weeks, and got to see my one of my favorite people who works at the store. His name is Raed and he's a Palestinian from a nearby town. He's always as happy as shit. For no reason. He jokes with everyone, is incredibly loud and I've never seen him upset, sad, miserable, like the rest of us. He only smiles and dishes out compliments to everyone he speaks to. His happiness is contagious and I was in need of some happiness and looking at him being so happy in his simple job made me happy. We greeted each other warmly and held hands like long lost friends. He likes to practice his English on me, and the customers heard us talking and were surprised that he knew English. One man - the Bozo - said to me in English right in front of him - "watch out he's an Arab. He'll cause turmoil." I told him, the guy certainly is not a Hamas-nik. "Not all of "them" are you know." I bought some pastries from Raed and the Bozo waltzes over to Raed and asks him how he knows this "gruzini whore" - not realizing that I understood his Hebrew. Raed laughed and looked at me- "She lives here. She understood what you said." Bozo seemed embarrassed and apologized to me. I told Bozo - you know what a mensch is? Raed would never speak to me and about me like that. He's a mensch. You're not. Simple as that" I wondered with these kinds of attitudes towards Raed, how much longer would he continue to be so happy.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

The Criminal

...and my life has become unmanageable. There are days when they are, but today wasn't one of them. Sometime during the night, hubby wakes me up frantically asking "where is my cellphone?" What happened to "c'mere baaabbbyy"?? No. I get "where is this and where is that". "Where are my cigarettes, that fucking kid took my cigarettes!!" - I vowed in my next life Never Ever to marry one that smokes - because they panic at the earliest sign of no cigarette. I managed to mumble that that "fucking kid" was at her friend's for the night. A few minutes later after stuff is being thrown on the floor from his chair, I hear "found them". Lights out - finally. 6:30 am, my Nasty daughter told me that her Criminal sister stole her jeans and why wasn't I doing anything about it. Nasty is working two shifts today at the catering hall, instead of going to school. At least she landed a job. She asked me for some $ for food. My Good daughter tells her she can eat all the leftover food for FREE, why is she asking me for money? She said she just didn't want to. Ah Hah!! She's been found out. It's really not for food. It's for cigarettes!! She throws the money back at me and I pocketed it. Later on at work my Criminal daughter waltzes in and tells me there's a cab waiting outside for money. She took a cab to my place because she was afraid she'd be late for our appointment at the youth hostel. Knowing her, it wasn't that. She didn't want the hassle of taking two buses. She was 1 1/2 hours early. I ran to my office to get the last of the money I had on me (good thing I pocketed what I was about to give my Nasty one), and while the taxi is honking wildly outside, my boss calls to give me a list of stuff to do. I run outside and the taxi driver is telling me - "it's not enough" "Oh shove it then, this is all I have". I sat through the Youth Hostel interview which took 1 1/2 hours and they will get back to me Sunday to see whether she fits their criteria to get in. Do you have to be mildly bad, really bad, or psychotic to get into these places? I just dunno! I basically realize that the only peace I ever have in my life is when I'm sitting in the bathroom on the edge of the tub (which isn't THAT comfortable) soaking my feet for 15 minutes and reading a book. That's it. As the day is nearing an end, and it's the Jewish New Month of Sivan, someone told me today is the day to say a special prayer for the "upbringing of children" - and for those that don't feel like praying, don't believe in praying, feel there's no one to pray to - there's this.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004


On my way to work at the checkpoint (we usually whizz right through), we were told to go off to the side - in fact they were pulling people off the road at random. These people weren't army personnel, which I thought they were at first, but in fact they were the dreaded "hotza'a lapoel" - bailiffs, a debtor's nightmare. They were pulling over several cars a minute and checking to see if anyone had a debt to income tax. This way they would repossess the cars and we'd have to walk to work, or hitchhike or go back home or whatever. Fortunately, we were clear (there ARE miracles here) and we went on our way. Didn't see anyone's car being repossessed, and I'm glad. It would have been too depressing. It brought back the dreaded memory of bailiffs coming to our house in 1999 for non-payment of well - lots of debt, and taking all our furniture - even our washing machine (and we're a family of seven people) - did they really expect me to go find an old washboard at some flea market and do it all by hand??? This was while Hubby and I were both at work, while the children were coming home from school. They saw all this and were traumatized. We hired a loser lawyer at first, to get our washing machine back and our car that they repossessed. Then we hire a really excellent lawyer who talked to the judge about getting back our washing machine - and eventually our car. Things got so out of hand because we were spenders, new immigrants that came to the country with $2,000 in total, and the evil bank manager let us go haywire (without any collateral) in the bank. I thought it was something of an inside job in the bailiff's court, because as soon as we signed papers having all the debts consolidated in that court, they came to take our stuff. Once you have debts consolidated, you're protected from your stuff being taken, so long as you make monthly payments to the court. But it was the time in between filing and having the judge approve it that was the twilight zone. After having spoken to several people who had been in the same situation they also had the same thing happen to them after filing the claim and BEFORE the judge had signed the approval. Fishy, eh?

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

All about Abed

My hubby works with Abed. I say "works with" and not "works for" to show partnership here. Jews employ Arabs, for the most part, and very few form any partnerships with them. I'm talking workforce - not politics or the academic world, etc. Blue collar stuff. Hubby is a Bruce Springsteen, salt-of-the-earth type and found a brother in Abed who lives north of Jerusalem. He has an Israeli ID, but that doesn't stop him from being hassled as a potential terrorist. We took Abed to our bank in a suburb just outside Jerusalem. He passed the checkpoint to our community fine - because he was with us. (Hubby and I always laugh about the fact that even if Abed grew a beard and put on a skullcap, no one could ever mistake him for a Jew. He's a total Ishmaelite!) We then approached the mall and the guard looked at Abed and told him to get out of the car and frisked him. Hubby and I turned red as beets. We told the guard - "he works with hubby" - The guard asked - how long has he been working for you?" He inspected everything in our car. "Whose is this" pointing to hubby's briefcase. (The next day the guard asks us - where's Ahmed - I guess we have a "reputation" now). OK, now we had to pass through the mall entrance to the mall. The female guard there again asked for Abed's ID - which was an Israeli ID card (Arabs from the West Bank have different colored IDs). Then we told her "he's with us" and she smiled (with a surprised look) and he was let through. Abed goes through the same hassle each day because he lives beyond the checkpoint one has to pass in order to get into Jerusalem. Hubby has to go and retrieve him each day, otherwise, even with an Israeli ID - they may tell him he can't get into Jerusalem. Or he's questioned and frisked, etc. Abed understands and accepts this as part of the routine of his life. I just wish that there could be a magic wand, or a mind reading radar at these checkpoints - that can differentiate between who is "just plain folk" and who is a terrorist trying to get into the City to create havoc - and whisk through the innocent majority to where they need to go in Jerusalem and other parts of the country. There's no way of the guards and army knowing if one is "OK". So all are deemed suspect. And I'm thinking of this on the eve of Jerusalem Day, where celebrations are going on for the reunification of Jerusalem. Don't get me wrong. I'm happy that East and West Jerusalem are under one roof. But is the city really unified?

Monday, May 17, 2004


I'm grateful that God was a good babysitter and my 14 year old Criminal daughter came home from Eilat in one piece. She missed her date this afternoon with the probation officer. Oh well. She will have to suffer the consequences. On Thursday we're off to a group home for an interview with her. They're gonna ask her if she wants to be there. What the hell are they thinking. Sure! Every 14 year old wants to be in a place where you're automatically grounded for the first 2 weeks and they listen in to your phone conversations, etc. etc. I think she'll have a tough time getting in. I need another miracle - God. You listening?

Wonder why I feel a special affinity to Gypsies or the more politically correct Romany people? I haven't got a clue, other than we're both wandering people. Not everyone likes us - lots of people hate us, in fact. The idea of being a Gypsy - it's exotic isn't it? I'll tell about meeting Amoun, my authentic Gypsy friend who lives in the old city of Jerusalem, who refuses to adopt the more modern term "Romany". She says it's a cop out. People were ashamed of being Gypsies and thought it was a derogatory term. But she's not ashamed of it. I met her after reading an article about Gypsies in Jerusalem in the newspaper. I rang up the reporter who wrote it. She gave me her number straight away, which only goes to show you that things between people generally are safer than in other parts of the world. No reporter in the US would just hand out a number of someone. Who knows what crazies lurk. So we met at the Jerusalem YMCA - and had coffee together. After 5 minutes we decided we were long-lost sisters. Our dreams were the same, etc. She's being hounded by her mukhtar (religious leader) for being a female and having the audacity to head the Gypsy Foundation at the same time. He goes around lying about her to the community, which causes problems. So I feel bad that she has to live in that society, but she's a modern woman and is continuously fighting for her rights. It's probably just shameful for him to be one-upped by a female. Tsk tsk.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Day of Rest

Saturday is our day of rest. The Sabbath. Though I don't practice observing the Sabbath in the Orthodox manner, I don't do anything that would seem like work. Once I volunteered on the Sabbath and it tired me out - it seemed too much like work. Not having to drive anywhere (unless it's to do something chilled out), just chilling out around the house, watching tv, blogging, wrestling the computer away from my son (that too seems like work - so I let him have it for most of the day). I think God knew what He was doing in delegating one day a week for doing nothing. I'm planning for an already hectic week. Work will be hectic and I'll be working some 11 hour days. But time for myself. Let's see what's on the agenda for that. Nothing at all during the week. However - Friday there are choices. If we had money I'd be going on a weekend hike on the Hermon - but chances are with a birthday coming up and $ coming in so sparsely, I can go on a hike closer to home - about 1/2 hour away. This is a 7 hour thing. Or, on Saturday afternoon, Jeanne White Eagle has this Sweat Lodge thing going at this beautiful rural place just outside Jerusalem. I've never done that before. It's like a spiritual sauna - that probably smells better than one because they put all sorts of herbs like sage, lemongrass, etc. on the heated rocks. Women were asked to sweat in either dresses or bathingsuits with sarongs/skirts wrapped and men have to wear bathingsuits. It's more modest than being in a spa. I'm thinking about it. It sounds healthy. It sounds good for me. I think I need this.

Friday, May 14, 2004

My hubby, a general contractor, worked recently in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. He is proud of his work there, as it's a prestigious place and they make him feel important. Today was the opening of the new Sport and Art Exhibition in the Youth Wing, where he was working for the past two months. We took whatever kids we could find at home -even Miss Nasty - the 16 year old. I asked her "you wanna go"? "No, because you're fucked up parents". I asked - "Do you still want to go even if we're fucked up parents?" giving her a response, a bit more unusual than expected. I enjoy seeing their reactions when I don't react to their swearing. She actually did come with us - not even having to disguise herself even in the presence of her f***** up parents, and so did with my 18 year old with her boyfriend (who never swear at us incidentally). We scooted up to see the exhibits before the rest of the crowd poured in - and outside they served complimentary beer and nuts (stadium nash) - where were the hot dogs?? Oh, I forgot. I'm not in the US of A anymore.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

This morning my hubby tried to wake up my 16 year old daughter at 7:30 am. "Hello, are you in there?" Shouts rang out from the room - "I'm going to fucking kill you. Fuck off! Get out, I hate you!" How's that for morning horrors. Then she asked me for $5 later in the afternoon. I told her it was about time she looked for a job.
And my bosses wonder why I never rush home in the evening...

I am powerless over my debt and my life has become unmanageable. I recite this around once a week - though perhaps it should be every day. I seem to always not want to do the things that are good for me. Like not spending $ on a dinner I won't enjoy. Or like going to my debtors anonymous meeting in Jerusalem every Wednesday. And not staying solvent. And not listening to my inner voice. My sponsor told me that I don't believe that I'm powerless over my debts. I can't understand why she thinks that. It was highly insulting to hear that - but I have to take the hits from my sponsor, don't I. Maybe I think that winning a lottery will put an end to my chaotic situation. The BIG FIX. For me to write a post-dated check is like an alcoholic having a drink. But I did it. Twice this week. I took a tutor for my only daughter that gets the straight A's in her class - or A++. I hadn't bothered with tutors for my other loser-kids. It wouldn't have made too much of a difference. They're expensive. But her getting an 85 in math would spell only disaster for her and the only way to avoid this horrid situation was to get her a tutor. On the one hand, I felt good that I was able to do something for her and on the other, felt bad that I had to debt in order to do it.

Then when I got home and wanted to make dinner, looking in the fridge and seeing the fettucini alfredo sauce that I bought GONE. Absolute gonners. After threatening everyone in the family, they informed me that the darling hubby attacked the sauce and spread it all over his bread. I can't blame him entirely. He couldn't read the Hebrew writing on the package and thought it was cream cheese. Silly man. Tee hee.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

I should have really called this blog - "the Oy's of Life". My life is one big freakin' oy. I try to be really cool and laid back most of the time. I really do. But my 14 year old is giving me palpatation. I tried to not overreact when she told me yesterday morning - I'm going to Eilat. Just like that. No $, no warning, no nothing. She told me she is going with her friend's parents. A mother knows a lie when she hears one. Thinking what is the best route for this - I couldn't physically sit on her so she won't be able to go - Well I could have, but it would have been a waste of energy and time. I stayed calm and told her I would appreciate the truth because I'd be less worried. She told me - ok, we're hitchhiking there and sleeping on the beach. Hoping she wouldn't see the sweat pouring off me, I asked her if she wouldn't mind taking the bus and I'd give her the money for it. She was pleased as punch. I called the bus for her, told her what time it was leaving. I bought her shoes. I took out money from the cash machine that I allocated for stuff like food and gave her pocket money. Of course, we're keeping this secret from her 4 other siblings. The $ part of course. She told me she's coming back Saturday night and we kissed goodbye. Then I told God - YOU watch her, because I certainly can't. That's the extent of my praying these days.

Monday, May 10, 2004

This past Saturday night began the Lag B'omer holiday. It's a mystical holiday and people light bonfires all over empty lots, wadis, parks, etc. I of course didn't want to celebrate it like everyone else and went to a moshav just outside Jerusalem to hear and participate in some chanting/singing for peace that was a bit out of the ordinary. Jeanne White Eagle, and her entourage were just finishing up a tour of Israel and I found myself singing vowels spontaneously along with about 40 other young Israelis. It actually sounded quite good, and felt liberating somehow. Afterwards, we all went to the bonfire inside the open teepee (yes, teepees just outside Jerusalem!) and then danced to ethnic/blues and soul until I couldn't keep my eyes open - which was just around 11:00 pm - just to show you how old I've gotten.

Do you know that in preparation for this holiday, thousands of shopping carts are stolen from supermarkets across the country??? This was actually in the papers. I love articles like this one. I saw one of those said carts in front of my house, as the criminal kid was bringing wood to store on MY porch. My son was popular because he had volunteered our space for wood that will burn all night long.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

This past weekend I went camping up north in the Galilee to Jacobs Ladder Festival, and it felt more like I was in South Carolina or Tennessee or Alabama than the Galilee. The Israelis came for the Irish music and the English speaking crowd came for the country/bluegrass music. I volunteered at the information desk on Saturday and one performer came over to me and asked me to give this to one of the banjo players - supposedly a well-known banjo player - but I simply told her I haven't got a clue what he looks like. Really! She was aghast! Sorry, if he isn't Mick Jagger, I won't know any of these fiddle players from any of these banjo players. I really try to expand my horizons - really. Oh well. Missed the Sars Hong Kong concert special last night because I worked until 7:00 pm and my kids smugly told me the Stones were on for 2 songs, but couldn't tell me what songs they played other than Angie. Must raise them better.

It's been awhile. Funny thing about Israel Independence Day. I felt strangely good when during the eve of the celebrations, I was stopped by a soldier and asked for my ID. This normally doesn't happen much to Jewish Israelis like myself, but mostly to Arabs - and they, for the most part, avoid trips to most of west Jerusalem to avoid the hassle. But - hey- we were all being treated equal this time around. So I felt good.