Thursday, December 22, 2005

Everybody now: switch

Another bit of unfinished back post business: the greatest that was the Switch Marker Swap. Look at the beauties the mail brought me:

From Heatherly. Don't these look like licorice candies? I love garnet. This was Heatherly's first swap, and she did rad good.

And the stamps on the package--Chanukah and Dr. Seuss? So cute. The Youngest Teen loves them.

From Sherry, who was kind enough to remember the markers I sent her in an earlier swap. The bath soak? History. It's supposed to be anti-stress, but it did a good job at anti-jet-lag, too.
And the card? Don't tell anyone, but I'm a sucker for light. I love painting which are luminous, like this.

But the main thing is, of course, the markers, and these rule. Delicate spiral nautili with iridescent beads. I can just see using these on black lace--they'd sparkle and be exquisite.

Now, Teresa has things all set up. Look at the cool packaging of her markers:

The leafy markers are very pretty, but this is the first time I've seen anything like the black and pink beads.

And finally, from Michaele, who is, happily, off the rat-poison.

What I didn’t realize, when I took this picture, is that if you flip over the ladybug markers, you can see the underside of the bug--legs and the underside of the body. How amazing is that?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Off the table, Mabel

Or: celebrating your inner ho.

Last night The Youngest Teen and I went to PTA meetings. She generally got good reviews (taking her was an insidious plot: teachers don't usually talk trash about a girl to her face). What did suprise me was how little emphasis was placed on academics. With only one exception (The Middle Teen's math teacher) all the teachers gushed about how personable my girls are, how involved they are in class activities, and how many friends they have. Um, excuse me--isn't the main classroom activity supposed to be learning? So please, a word or two about their grades? No--they give you a run-down of test scores nearly printed out to take home and warn you that this is in no way indicative of the report card marks, since classroom participation is at least 50% of the grade. Very nice--so would you flippin' tell me what's going on with my kid academically, including how well she participates in class? No, but I'll tell you about the great banner she made for the upcoming Development Town Seminar...


Throughout the evening I had to talk The Youngest Teen out of sitting on the table, and I kept using the phrase my mother used on me. "Get off the table, Mabel, the two bucks are for the beer." Her best friend, whose parents are also Anglod, came up to us and said that her mother, born in Israel and raised in Atlanta, tells her the same thing. And I thought that we must both be terrible mothers, given what we're comparing our girls to.

But. It's time to embrace my inner ho. My inner Noro ho, that is.

When we were in Boston, The Spouse and I got together with JanJan and her Spouse for dinner. We took the T from Copley Square (I love public transportation. New Yorkers, I feel your pain.) We were coming from muchcloser in than they were, so we walked around, got a cup of coffee, passed the JFK birthplace and had a political discussion, visited a large indie bookseller, and then met up with them at Ta'am China on Harvard St. (The Spouse and I had eaten there the night before with other vendors from the convention, and were very happy to be going back.)

We talked politics and religion, fiber and food. And The Spouse and JanJan discovered that they grew up in the same neighborhood on Long Island. In the Jewish world, you always, but always, have some connection to the person you're speaking to. If the Spouse remembers to scan his kindergarten class picture and JanJan really is in it, well, I'll be the first knitblog with blackmail potential. ;-)

So where's the ho in all of this? JanJan wanted to bring me a gift, and after reading how I gushed when my SP sent me some Noro, look what she brought me!

Now I have to find the perfect use. I'm thinking, since my office is one of the unheated rooms in the house, that I should make myself some cold weather gear--a Panta, some fingerless gloves, a cowl for my neck. Then again, the lure of a felted bag...

Someone help me turn my inner Noro ho into a productive girl! I've got 2 skeins of one color way, and three of another--ideas, anyone?

And even better yet, look what JanJan made for me!

Aren't they just beautiful? Go on over to her blog and compliment her on them, I'll wait. They're too pretty not to be seen on a regular basis, so next time I'm in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem I'm getting some silver ear wires to slip the blues onto, and a nice catch and chin for the green. Because I deserve to be clothed in only the finest, right? Someone? Bueller? Anyone? Right?

Monday, December 19, 2005

Sometimes I do actually finish a project

I was going to make a 'splodey, Zib, but then the elections sarted. After March 28 I can always convert this guy with a cute little explosive vest and a kaffiyeh (he's talented that way).

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you--


Head of the Labor Party, striving hard to come off as further left than Ariel Sharon, the man and the mustache.

This juju doll is missing something right in the middle of its chest. That's right, the heart, because despite his platform, Peretz has no heart (during one strike, there had to be a special dispensation granted to allow the family of a terror victim to fly in, though the airport was closed). And only Xs instead of eyes, because his platform shows he can't see what's going on around him.

The empty loom? Given all the strikes he, as head of the labor union, has promoted over the past few years, do you even have to ask?

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Get well, Ariel Sharon

PM Sharon suffers light stroke, rushed to hospital

You're such an important man, Arik, to the whole fate of the universe. Don't you think you should take some time off--not much, just a decade or two--to make sure you fully recover?

Currently playing: Ding Dong, the Witch is in Hospital

Goodbye, road. Welcome to jet-lag city.

Home at last. I wouldn't mind jet-lag so much if I didn't have kids at home. I work freelance, so I could, technically, get up whenever I wanted to, work my 10-12 hours, goof off, and then go back to bed.

But the former rugrats, now the Teens, have a real life. This morning the Oldest Teen needed to get up at 5:30, the Middle Teen and 6:00, and the Youngest Teen and her guest at 6:15. Not very conducive to a Mama reducing her sleep debt, especially when all the females in the house stayed up late last night watching the new Israeli reality TV show from the production mega-house of Tzvika Hadar, Born to Dance. Thank the heavens above for Lush's Whoosh temple balm.

I was surprised at my daughters' reactions to the dance program (it's American Idol meets the dance world). I hadn't realized they knew the subtle distinctions between swing dancing and early rock n' roll, between hip-hop and pop. I didn;t know that their dance vocabulary had so many jargon-y English words. And I didn't realize what budding feminists they are: they were very upset that the men knew they could go out and do porfessional-level dancing to get to the next level while the women mainly chose to sell themselves. They were cheerin last night when the least talented, most T&A of the night's dancers was voted off by the audience.

Back posting will continue until I get caught up on RL.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Bad blogger alert

It happens every time. I say I'll work consistent hours while I'm touring the States -- and I don't. I say I'll blog faithfully, and even though I download my pictures to my laptop, I don't blog.

But my Secret Pal sent me such a box of goodies I had to break my silence.

I swear, my SP is reading my mind. Noro. Noro, I tell you. Bath fizzies, which are my current obsession. Mary Engelbreit post-its, which I contemplated in her store at the St. Louis Galleria but couldn't buy because we had to leave for the airport. Euclan concentrate! Now I'll get to see if it’s as good as its rep. A Clover yarn cutter, which will replace the one I lost somewhere between Houston and St. Louis. And did I mention the Noro? Yarn needles (a girl's best friend), a small pen for my passport case, a gorgeous Chinese embroidery box and 4 super-cool stitch markers, and are you sure I mentioned the Noro? I have, hands-down, the best SP. Don't argue with me, I do. So there.

Now to the back posts…

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Back post: Turkey, Pikachu, and the Spud Man

Thanksgiving. We flew in from Houston at 2 am and are headed down to Baltimore later on today. But first, something I have never done.

I lived the first 25 years of my life in New York, and had never gone to the Macy's Parade. There were people everywhere, but we finally found a quiet spot on 36th and 6th to watch the action. I realize that, bad blogger I'm being, I left my camera in Brooklyn and only had a nearly-out-of-batteries Palm to work with.

I read that Alison and the Things were there, too. Along with what seemed like half the population of the Eastern Seaboard. When we saw Santa pass us, we bailed and headed uptown to 42 St., figuring the crowds would have gotten on the trains before us, and we wouldn't be playing sardines on the way back to Brooklyn. Score one for the home team--it worked. And yay to the NYC Transit Authority for half priced weekend fares!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Backpost: Houston

After the convention, The Spouse had work to do for 2 congregations. I felt like such a good suburban housewife: I'd drive him to work in the morning, go to the mall to shop my little heart out (geez, all I bought was a Houston magnet for the sukkah and a 100% cotton brown/gold skirt that was on sale for $12. So how come our luggage was about 10 pounds heavier going out of Houston than in?) and then I'd pick him up from work.

We did go out to eat once. Since the Chinese vegetarian place on Westheimer no longer has HKA supervision, we got recommendations from locals and went to the dairy Indian place, Madras Pavillion. Good food, even for those who don't keep kosher.

Our last day in town we drove around town. Downtown was a ghost area, which is always a surprise to me after large East Coast cities. I suppose it's the lack of a mix--it's all offices or hotels, no small shops, residences, all the stuff that makes people want to walk around.

Getting there we got a little lost and passed a topiary nursery. Pretty, huh?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Can we talk about Israeli politics?

What's that you say? You don't speak gibberish?

Sharon says his new party, National Irresponsibility, is going to follow the Road Map and fight poverty. Um, so you mean it's going to be Labor? And Labor is going to be Am Echad, Shinnui is going to become Tzomet, and NRP is going to become h-i-s-t-o-r-y.

In the meantime the president and the Knesset are fighting over who gets to slay the dead duck of this government, Ehud Olmert is likely to get a few more portfolios (he currently has more than Eileen Ford). The government is worried about the hilltop settlers and how to control them--something they'll never do because they're defining normative middle-age beliefs and behaviors as youthful aberrations. (Aside from the killing and hiding weaponry in caves, I fit the definition. Watch--I won't be allowed back into Israel now…) The Left thinks that 25% of those who live on the "wrong" side of the fence would leave; I took part in that survey before I left for the States, as did many of my friends--we lied. (Teleseker, the polling firm, should have known I was playing them. I identified as a Charedi who voted for Shinnui last election, and said that I would vote Balad next time around.) Father Franz Schmidberger wants us all to convert. Hizbullah is shelling the north and people who planned a protest -- one which never actually happened -- were sentenced to 2 years in jail.

Who said life is boring?

Sunday, November 20, 2005

A short post

Still at the URJ Biennial in Houston; it's all over later today except for the following up on leads. (We're at booth 243 in the exhibition hall, if anyone wants to stop by and say hello. Stop at the booth next to us for amazing fair-trade coffee, chocolate, and tea while you're there.)

It's a bloggers' carnival here -- so far I know Random Meanderings and Velveteen Rabbi.

Thank the Lord above we've been doing a brisk business, so not much knitting -- divided the front from the back on the pink tank top and got about 8" done on the Cinxia sleeve. Tonight, it's back to work and my knitting -- I miss them both. (Work? Now I know I'm punch drunk.)

Friday, November 18, 2005

Back post: Grab 'em while they're hot

Amy has written a little about the URJ Biennial, and Velveteen Rabbi has written a lot.

We vendors don't get to see much of the conference. We don't go to sessions, we don't go to meals, and we don't even get to go to services. Many of the vendors are Orthodox, and they organized their own services, right behind our booth (and next to the concession stand). When I turned and saw them at prayer, I knew I had to capture this as future blackmail material.

The other side of the URJ convention:

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Struck by a muse

The one and only Muse struck me with the Mesorah bug. It took me a few days to answer her; I may have high speed wifi on the road, but time--now that's another matter.

The idea is to comment on the following which was published by Ha'aretz:
The Jewish public's pessimism can apparently be ascribed to the state of affairs today, which leads an overwhelming majority of 74 percent to expect that even if Israel withdraws from all the territories beyond the Green Line and the occupation ends, Palestinian violence will not stop and may even intensify.

Now I think that there are a lot more reasons for Israelis to be pessimistic. I mean, have you ever looked at Amir Peretz? Did you ever wonder how many biological agents could be hiding in that mustache? Have you ever thought that maybe, just maybe what's in the Sharons' bellies is that creature from Alien?

I would like to think that the reason the Jewish majority was pessimistic was that they'd finally woken from the Leftist opium of a New Middle East. I think those who do live some type of Jewish lives do realize that the Arabs are (and here I'll make a generalization) a very honest people. They say what they mean and mean what they say. They say they want the right of return; believe them. They say they want repatriation to their abandoned homes in Jerusalem, Haifa, Tel Aviv, and Jaffa; believe it. They say they want a Jew-free zone in the Middle East; you'd better believe them.

I think the 74% are showing stunning realism. What could make you pessimistic is that the other 26% of the Jewish population are all the politicians and policy makers.

Now, JanJan, what do you have to say?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Hello, Florida; Goodbye, Florida

I love free WiFi in airports. Have I already said that? Oh, yeah, every time I travel. Seriously, JFK airport needs to get on the ball. It's bad enough having to pay for WiFi (hello, Newark International) but not even to have it? Come on, even Terminal 3 in Israel has it, and so does Palm Beach International (International, this dinky little airport? Sure....) where I am sitting right now.

Yes, I did land in the US yesterday. Yes, I have already checked off one city on my Hurricane tour. Yes, I am crazy, flying down to see the 'rents for less than 24 hours. But hey, they were crazy enough to diaper me, weren't they? And to give me beer bottles to drink when I was very small, like under 3?

Besides, I love the view down here. Look at this beautiful picture I woke up to this am:

Isn't that nicer than waking up to an overcast Brooklyn day?

The Youngest Teen called this morning; she's dropping dance class and starting pre-med class. The idea of watching real surgeries is much hotter than the idea of a nice jazz step. But why does she always have to wait until we're out of the country to have a life-changing revelation?

Time to board the plane--2 hours and 40 minutes of quality sock knitting time. Yesterday I finished one cuff of the Six Socks Mosaic socks; on Friday, on the way to Houston, I'll do the heels and start the feet. At this rate, I won't even be racing to the deadline as usual. What heresy!

If you have a minute, spare a thought for David Lasser, a 19 year old from Elon Moreh, where my kids used to go to school. He was arrested for "cutting down olive trees" outside his settlement and held in the Secret Services basement (aka Torture Central) and not allowed to meet with a lawyer. Enough of a stink was finally made, a lawyer worked his case without benefit of meeting his client, and David was released--without charges being pressed against him. Does the fact that his father is an influentual member of the local community have anything to do with this false arrest?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Pre-trip preparations

Before we leave on the Hurricane Special (Florida and Houston) portion of our trip, we had a few loose ends to take care of. Like cutting the grass. Lots and lots of grass. This stuff grows like--well, like weeds.

So we borrowed our neighbor's lawnmower.

Isn't he cute? And look at him in action:

He did a great job--and our lawn is fertilized!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The rest of the story

OK, so 24 hours have past and my son is still free, so here's the story. (BTW, Rachel Ann, you're a real Israeli now. Everyone else wanted to know the stry, you wanted to know who the cast of characters was…)

The Oldest Teen studies Ju Jitsu. He's an orange belt, and in about a month will be tested for his green belt. Part of the test involves the use of a jo, which looks like a thicker broomstick.

He's forbidden to practice in the house, so he went down the block, in an open area which happens to border on the army base, to do his workout.

At the same time, a group of soldiers starting practicing their krav maga using wooden sticks instead of their guns (which they would use in real life). The commander started making fun of The Oldest Teen, telling him that he was just showing off, that he didn't know anything, that Ju Jitsu is a joke and only krav maga is worth anything.

Wrong thing to tell an 18 year old rooster.

The Oldest Teen challenges the commander to a quick two submission contest. The commander, of course, must agree or lose face in front of his soldiers, so off they go, grappling at each other.

A minute later the army commander is on his back, on the ground, The Oldest Teen's jo resting lightly at the commander's groin. "Submit or make me make you submit," Teen says, gently pushing at jo. Of course the commander submits, but as he gets up, he says, "I let you have that one."

And they're off again. Scuffle, scuffle, let's get the kid in trouble--and the commander is whirled around, his back pulled to the Teen's chest, and the jo resting a little less lightly against his throat. Again the commander chooses to submit, to the sound of his soldiers' laughter.

The Teen lowers his stick, gives his bow, and runs for home, locking the door. In a country where kids can sit in jail for mouthing off to a cop, who knows what an army commander might do to revenge a humiliation?

Monday, October 31, 2005

Good morning, sunshine

From a Haaretz article:

"For a while now this has not been a small group," an [Israeli army] officer said. "Now even 12-year-old students at ulpanot [religious girls schools] are attacking soldiers, just like the hilltop hooligans. This is the result of the Gush Katif 'summer camp.' It could well be that we've lost an entire generation here: a large group of youth from the settlements that instead of going to the elite units are labeling the IDF as the enemy."

Gee, ya think. Where has the army been the past 5 years? My girls' bus stop is a few hundred meters from a big army base. If any soldier ever had come out to talk to them, they would have figured this all out long ago. If any of the boys I know plan to enlist, it will be with a sense of "necessary evil" like dentist visits, finals, and the lancing of boils.

But enough doom and gloom. Look at what Renee sent me for the Stitch Marker Exchange! Don't they remind you of the lymon goodness of Sprite?

Late breaking news:
If you hear that The Oldest Teen was arrested for assaulting a soldier, it was all the soldier's fault! Details will be posted if anyone's interested in hearing them… (Yeah, that's a shameless plea for comments. So?)

Cotton count:
4 bolls brown
12 bolls white
11 bolls green

3 bolls brown
8 bolls green

Saturday, October 29, 2005


Suddenly, we're the hip, happenin' settlement. First is was Shai Gabso, now Dudu Fisher. His son lives across the street from me, so we got the same 24 hours of screaming fans. This time instead of eighth grade teeny-boppers, it was kindergarten kids, since he is known locally more for his series of kids' videos than for his Broadway performances. Me, I think I may have to hurt the man, because the whole Shabbat I've had the soundtrack of Les Miz running through my head. Isn't that against the Geneva Conventions or something? [sigh]

During the day the neighborhood sat outside and did the usual gossip run. (Mrs. Fisher doesn't cover her hair--what a scandal!) Boring and petty, but a nice change from the "Guess who's the Secret Services spy amongst us" game. Now it's after Shabbat and he's just driven off, to a chorus of baby-boppers chanting "Dudu! Dudu! Dudu!"

So which celebrity will visit my town next? Two in one week--we're going to get spoiled.

But the more significant happening this weekend was the Sheva Brachot the post-wedding celebration, of the son of the family where The Youngest Teen is a bat bayit.

The bride loves sushi almost as much as I do. On the first day of Rosh HaShana she mentioned it, and when we had the whole extended family over to our house for kiddush on the second day, The Spouse had made her some; she loved it. At the wedding, on Wednesday night, he promised the bride some for this weekend, and in the end made sushi rolls and rice balls for 72 people. The poor girls is taking me for a role model, even wearing her hair, under her hat, as I do (with the ends sticking out). I warned her she's looking for trouble, wanting to be anything like me.

During the course of Friday night dinner with the wedding party we realized that we were making plans with the Teens for their own eventual weddings -- and making those plans assuming we'd still be here at that point. Either we're regaining our optimism or we're developing political Alzheimer's.

Speaking of politics, check out Zib's newest blog ring.

And speaking of teens and politics, I got an email from a friend whose 14 year old spend some time in jail this summer for having typical teen fresh-mouth. This is about a local girl is a lot of trouble for sticking to her religious principles. I wonder what would be happening if she were a Muslim and demanded a trial by a Muslim court?

After more than two months of media censorship and silence, the shameful story of the Israeli government prosecution and persecution of a 16-year-girl for her political and religious beliefs has broken through the media ban. The story of Tziviya Sariel of Elon Moreh finally hit the papers and her uncle was about to be interviewed on Israeli Channel 2, when an Israeli court issued a gag order against any publicity concerning her case.

Tziviya has been languishing in an Israeli jail for women, without bail for more than 60 days charged with involvement in anti government protests following the expulsion of Jews from Northern Shomron. She has angered the Israeli authorities by refusing to recognize the secular Israeli legal system, demanding to be tried before a Rabbinic court. This new trend of Jews demanding trails according to Torah law has caused absolute hysteria among many Israeli judges. The judge presiding over Tziviya's trial actually ordered Tziviyah to be sent for psychiatric evaluation because of her insistence to be tried in a Torah court.

The fact that Tziviya's case has now broken through government censorship has embarrassed the prosecutor and the courts to bring forward her next trial date to this coming Monday October 31, 05. Tziviya's family is urging the public to attend a protest outside the Kfar Saba courthouse, Monday 8:00 AM. The family will be holding signs that read: "If it is crazy to be Jewish and to prefer Jewish law, then lock us all up in mental institutions."

"The use of psychological repression against political rivals with opposing ideological beliefs is a tactic used by repressive regimes and has no place in the land of Israel. We hope to deliver thousands of signed petitions to the President of Israel against this insanity," said Yekutiel Ben Yaakov of Mishalot Yisrael.

To sign the petition visit

Send contributions for campaign to Mishalot Yisrael - Jaffa Rd 210/14 Jerusalem, Israel.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Post holiday round-up

Look at the goodies I got from Sherry W.!

In an envelope made from gorgeous deep purple paper, these beauties:

I'm seriously thinking of attaching earring wire to two of them. I know my knitting deserves the very best, but so do I!

Reading: This year I hope to keep track of what I read. I devour books, but like Chinese food, after an hour I'm hungry for more and can't really recall what I just had. Over the holiday, hiding from Gabso mania, I read An Unfinished Woman by Lillian Hellman. Surprising--even though she comes at it from the left side of the equation, she speaks about so much that applies today from the other side--how all good people need to do is say nothing to allow evil to creep in while we sit quietly, knitting our socks. This one's a keeper; I'll pay the army to haul this out of my house.
I also read Fire and Fog by Dianne Day, which I gather is part of a series about Fremont Jones, a plucky young woman who leaves her prim and proper Boston home for independence in northern California (think Dr. Quinn, Typewriting Woman). Too much personal story, too little mystery for my tastes; if I wanted to read a book primarily about the Great Earthquake, I'd pick a non-fiction text. The romance was all too predictable, too. For the sale/trade-in pile.

No knitting was logged over the holiday, but since then I've been making up for lost time.
In honor of Socktoberfest, we have the Mosaic Socks from the Six Socks KAL:

Cinxia's first sleeve:

A first and last look at a super secret squirrel project (until at least mid-December):

And the cast-on for my newest project, an altered cookbook. This one will take a while…

And the only FO (Fos?) in recent memory -- a multi-directional scarf from Esmeralda "Naif," a cotton/rayon/ acrylic blend, with a mini-multi-directional scarf. The big scarf is for wearing when working out (it'll act as toweling) and the little one is for next year's sukkah. This is part of the stash I lucked into back in March, at the West Palm Beach Goodwill.

Cotton count:
4 bolls brown
12 bolls white
11 bolls green

3 bolls brown
5 bolls green

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Simchat what???

The big news in town this holiday wasn't the Torah (is it, after all, thousands of years old) but that we had an honest-to-Tzvika-Hadar celebrity in our midst. Shai Gabso, third place winner of the first Kochav Nolad contest (think "Israeli Idol") spend Simchat Torah here, staying across teh street from us.

One 8th grade girl screamed so loud when she heard that people came rushing over to her, thinking someone had died. When The Spouse and I came back from our after-dinner walk last night, our block was lined with teeny-boppers, hoping to get a glimpse of The Great Gelled One. As we appraoched our house the whole block fell silent, except for The Middle and The Youngest Teen, who were sitting outside with their friends. The dorr across the street opens. Shai Gel-so walks out. All the teeny-boppers sigh. The Youngest Teen breaks out with her donkey-laugh. We are wished a good holiday by The Gel and his entourage, we wish them all one back. He walks away, talking to his lady-friends very loudly, calling attention to himself.

During the hakafot today the teenaged girls and the young married women were wondering if the singer were here looking for a wife, and deciding who would suit him best. Um, hello? He came here with two women? I dout he's looking for another, not here.

Tonight, after the holiday, our street was once again a beehve of activity as teeny-boppers crowded 'round to have their pictures taken with the man. "He touched me," some of the girls shrieked after their snaps were shot. (Gee, and this town is so repressed they freak if a boy is seen talking with an age-appropriate female neighbor; I guess the rules are different is the boy in question is an outside celeb.)

The most sung song this holiday? Not "Ata Horayta La'daat." Not "Mi Pi Kel." No--it was "Yom V'od Yom." Complete with the asmatic pauses. Ever see a shul full of drunk guys trying to keep shuffling along to two cent pop songs? Sigh--I have seen teh future, and it was on syndicated TV.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Le Freak

Last night I had a freak-out. First there was a terror attack against a bus stop/hitchhiking stop, in which 3 were killed, while my kids were out taking buses and/or hitching. I even went so far as to call The Youngest Teen to check on where she was (I never do; I trust her to call if she needs me) and to ask The Oldest Teen to call me when he got to Jerusalem and again when he got on a bus/ride coming home.
At night, it began to rain. the teen girls were sitting at the table by candlelight (rain=no power). Said The Youngest Teen: "G-d's crying." Said The Middle Teen: "No, it's not that much rain. It's only the angels."

Then my sister called, wanting to know why I haven't been sending her my usual "Everything's OK here. How are you?" e-mails. I let her have an earful, because everything's not OK here, and I care too much about her to lie. The poor woman; all she wanted to do was wish me a happy Sukkot….

Cotton count:
4 bolls brown
10 bolls white
10 bolls green

3 bolls brown
5 bolls green

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Under the gun. Target date: May, 2007

Muse cited an article on Arutz 7 about more planned expulsions. She seems to think that
(a) the fact that most Israelis are against it should mean something
(b) it's being done to please the Americans.

She's missing the point of this latest round of expulsions. It's got nothing to do with security; even the Israeli government sees that we got nothing for what we gave this summer. Even Sharon isn't that stupid, particularly when a Kasam rocket is found near his wife's illegal grave.
It's got nothing to do with pleasing the Americans, either. Remember, the expulsions were Israel's idea, not America's. Enough with the typical Israeli ploy of using Uncle Sam as a bunching bag, blaming it for everything one doesn't like.

No, the reason is simple--money.

More expulsions scheduled for 2007? How shocking--I've been telling everyone who would listen that there would be massive expulsions by the first half of 2007. I've been telling people this since the second half of 1992. It was blindingly obvious.


Flashback to '92. The Ministry of Housing, under Ariel Sharon, had built massive amounts of houses in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. In late June, Rabin, with his left-leaning platform, was elected prime minister. The market for the housing dried up, as people feared making a large investment under the shadow of planned negotiation with Palestinian arabs. The pencil-pushers got into the deal and on top of generous grants for buying in these areas, buyers were promised a 50% grant which would be paid 15 years after their houses were bought. Houses went on sale in late June of 1992. (We bought ours, the first double-house sold by the Tel Aviv office on June 25, 1992.) Our 50% grant, worth some 53,500 NIS, is due to be paid to us by the government on June 25, 2007.

Multiply our 53,500 by the thousands of houses that were sold that year. Where is Israel, perpetually short of funds, going to get that money? Good old Uncle Sam, whom the country loves to hate? Don't be silly. But someone has to pay. Oh, yeah--let the settlers pay! We'll kick them out of their homes before the debt comes due, make them finish paying off their mortgages in full, without the grant (since residence in the houses, at least a majority of each year, was a condition of the grant), and get the Americans to pay because we're trying to "advance the peace"!

Who said the Jewish brain was a myth?

Cotton count:
4 bolls brown
10 bolls white
10 bolls green

3 bolls brown
4 bolls green

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

How hot does it have to be for plastic to melt?

Last night Channel 2 News had a story on expellees who have retrieved their belongings from the government. Wood was shattered, cloth was ripped, plastic melted in the heat of metal containers left out in the sun. TV were destroyed, furniture wrecked, object d'art shattered, computers killed by baking, appliances damaged. The piece ended with the newscaster saying "This is how the country takes care of those who have been turned out of their homes." And The Middle Teen, The Spouse, and I sat there wondering: what's the angle? Why is the TV news suddenly sympathetic?

The Middle Teen got a lift home the other day with a man expelled from Sanur. He took a look at the construction work at Tappuach Junction and said to her, "Yep, you're getting kicked out soon." Gee, thanks.

So I play ostrich, knitting up my stash, though that's one of the few things I'd let the army handle--they couldn't break it, and the heat? It might melt the acrylics, but it would certainly make sure there were no moths in my wool!

The SnB Alien Illusion scarf is a FO. The Youngest Teen grabbed it, still damp, off the blocking wires, but stopped long enough to let me get a quick shot:

In the dark it's amazingly cool. Almost makes the hassle of working with the &^^$%&**&*^*#&*^*(+&*$% glow-in-the-dark yarn worth it. This stuff is nasty, folks, but it does what it promises to do.

I got a surprise in the mail today, but from whom? The return address has a name and address; I don't find either in the RAOK database. If the person who sent this is reading, please let me know who you are! The Younger Teens keep passing my desk, looking at the skein, and arguing which one of them will get the socks. Ha--Mama's selfish. These babies are going to be for me. After all, it's my first Opals; I've never seen this brand in the wild before, either in Israel or in the yarn shops I've patronized in the US.

Speaking of the US, we're working on our fall tour itinerary. So far it looks like NY, Houston, Baltimore, St. Louis, and Boston. Any recommendations for fibery goodness (and non-fibery things to do with a spouse)?

Cotton count:
4 bolls brown
8 bolls white
9 bolls green

3 bolls brown
3 bolls green

Monday, October 10, 2005

No, my Secret Pal is the best!

Yesterday The Spouse and I went out to take care of some errands (including dealing with a typically Israeli optometrist) and then went for a walk on the beach. We sat on a jetty of rocks at the end of the Tel Aviv beach, where it melts into Yaffo, and watched the waves crash. On the way back to my car we passed a family having fun on the beach--a mother and her two bikini clad daughters. One daughter was busy writing "Free Palestine" in the sand. I wonder whether they realize that, if they get what they say they want, the beach they were on would become part of Palestine -- and they would no longer be allowed to walk around it in bikinis?

When we got home, this was waiting in my mail:

And inside?

This cute card (hey, it looks like I did when I was a kid) with the pattern for the poncho inside. Gotta find these--what a cool concept.

And under the wrappings, a package from my Secret Pal!

Fleece artist sock kit in two beautiful purple shades. I'm not knitting it up just yet; I'm too busy petting it. Soooooooooooooooooooooft……

Burt's Bees lip balm (in a tin!). I'm addicted to Burt's Bees for my lips. I have a tin in my purse, a tin in my dobb kit; the only place missing a tin was my desk, so I kept robbing my purse tin all day long. No more--now my desk gets its proper respect and I can BB as often as I want.

Small colorful post-its for the Great Wall of Mama

Knitting note cards (got a lot of bread-and-butter notes to write soon, as we start our fall travels)

a travel-size Neutrogena hand cream, which is already residing in my travel purse

stitch markers and a large stitch marker tin with a clear cover -- the markers are on Cinxia, the tin is full of all my larger stitch markers (you all know what a marker ho I am)

and a needle gauge in US, British, and mm sizes. Now I can shop at home and away! I spent my lunch hour today using it to start sorting through a huge (I do mean huge--about 30 lbs) bag of needles two retired ladies from Delray gave me over the summer.

I feel all Scarlett-ish: As G-d is my witness, I'll never need to rip a needle out of a WIP to start another project again!

Cotton count:
4 bolls brown
6 bolls white
7 bolls green

3 bolls brown
1 bolls green

Saturday, October 08, 2005

RAOK me gently

Maryellen must have thought Stinky wasn't so hot (so not true--look where he lives!)

so she RAOKed me with a seahorse, too!

Isn't she cute? This year we're putting up a magnetic board in the sukkah, so I'm going to temporarily install a magnet in her back and hang her there to greet all our guests.

And look at the card Maryellen sent her with. Isn't it just too cute? The Middle Teen is claiming this one.

Cinxia is progressing after a new yarn choice.

Old choice? Sand colored silk chenille. Lovely yarn, bad results. Doesn't this just scream cinnamon pie crust?

This is much better. You can actually see the stitch pattern.

Only problem? It's Cotton Ease. Split city. But it was stash shopping. Besides, I get the cool color goodness of Samus without the Kepler-like vibes.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Flash your socks!

Jane wants to see 'em lined up for roll call? Well, here they are!

The top row are my first experiments in sock knitting. Of course they're all knee socks. (Suicidal? Me? What makes you think so?)
From the left: Love Knot socks in a yarn which, 4 years later, still bleeds. Twisted Mary socks in 100% cotton (I know better now). Blue acrylic socks (again, I know better now) from a pattern gifted me by a member of the late, lamented Oasis Israel Knitting Guild. A single mosaic sock, meant to be especially ugly (I was knitting it to suit a song off a Betty Buckley album which spoke of "that ugly coat that you wore/Plaided black and white").
The second and third rows are my later efforts: basic blue worsted weight socks, Magic Stripes brand and Regia 4 ply on row 2, and on the third, Sockotta, homespun Chute N' Ladders, and Fortissima Ambles (the latter two from the Six Socks KAL).
The bottom two rows are socks knit for me by others--the two color socks (4 pairs) were knit by the mother of our German friends, and the Trekking socks were knit by my Sockapal2za partner.

Not shown: The Middle Teen's Trekking socks (do you think I'm stupid enough to try to find them in her room?), my older sister's Magic Stripes socks (because I'm not going to fly to Baltimore on a Friday to take a picture), the pair I made for my Sockpal2za partner (who has no blog), and 2 more pair of the two color socks which live in my NY wardrobe.

Local news: My neighbor got a great New Year's gift-- she gave birth to quadruplets. Wait--it gets better. She has a 10 year old son, a 7 year old son, and -- here it comes -- 5 year old triplets (two girls and a boy; the quads are 3 girls and a boy). She made it to the 36th week, and all the babies are a good weight and are breathing on their own. Now I know why she was sitting down for shofar blowing both days.
Twins run in her family, and there are some triplets, but I think this is the first quad. Even the doctor thought there were only 3; everyone was very surprised in the delivery room when there was a 4th one waiting in there.

She's 30 years old, and now has 9 kids. But you know what? I couldn't think of better parents to raise kids. They're smart, funny, self-supporting, attentive parents. It's unusual for me not to be able to say something catty about a neighbor, but this family? They're the best.

Cotton count:
3 bolls brown
4 bolls white
4 bolls green

3 bolls brown
1 boll green

(Ignore the mountain of boxed rovings and fleece in the background. But that couple in the old-timey picture on the bookcase? My in-laws on their wedding day. Aren’t they cute?)

Sunday, October 02, 2005

On the eve of 5766

Lily Sharon's still in her illegal, but permanent grave. The expellees from Gush Katif and North Shomron are not in permanent housing by a long shot. The government's talking about more expulsions, and Yonatan Basi is asking forgiveness while saying he regrets nothing that he's done. And speaking of forgiveness, Bentzi Lieberman has once again sent around desk calendars for the new year. Nice try, Bentzi. We still know exactly what you are, and won't forgive you for being it.

In more positive news, fall is here, and just in time, along came my sockpal2za socks. from Jackie (who's with me in the Cinxia along).

The usual poorly-taken on-feet shot:

And shots that show how much will actually be seen when I wear them:


Minimum (the usual amount of leg shown, and yes, thank you, I am a neo-Victorian):

These socks were made of Trekking XXL in color 100. I'm not quite sure what they look like to me in the ball (Jackie sent the left-overs to me, too), but knit up it's beautiful fall leaves.

Jackie also sent me some Chicken Poop. I am now of the firm belief that everyone needs some Chicken Poop in their lives.

Current cotton score:
Picked: 3 bolls white, 3 bolls brown, 1 boll green.
Spun: 3 bolls brown.