Monday, January 31, 2005


Why is it taking one lousy blood test makes me feel out of it for hours? It was only one tube of blood, for crying out loud, certainly not enough blood to make a real physical difference to my body.

Must be the stress of taking the test in the first place.

See, I have small veins. Very small veins. Veins so small nurses and technicians are given to speculating on my obviously alien origins. Butterfly needles aren't even much help. In all my life I've found one person who can draw blood out of me the first time, but she's in the city and I didn't have time to go to town this morning, so I had to go to the local clinic.

The nurse here is great. She's a dear friend. At one point we were certain my A would marry her son. She can get blood out of any normal human being. Normal being the operative word. I put off this test for three weeks for fear of going to her; at one point in my past, when it was thought I had RA, I had to go for nearly-weekly blood tests. Ever have a coagulation test coagulate before it hits the test tube? We used to have contests--all the paramedics in town would try to draw blood from me in a timely enough fashion for the blood to actually be testable. All failed.

She's gotten better with the years, though. All it took was three sticks with the butterfly and holes in each arm. Now we just have to wait to see if the tube filled up fast enough to be testable. If it didn't, I'm going to get a little testy.

Pass the sugar, please.

The big demonstration seems to have done fine without me. Considering I was asleep by the time it started, I suppose that's a good thing. S's school cancelled classes for the day, so she's off to the tail end of the demonstration before her university final this afternoon, in her ever fashionable T'manoon orange shirt. I wonder just how many orange shirts that store sold this year...

In other news: Woke up this morning to an email that I got into the ROAK ring. Now I have to go surfing to see who's day needs a little cheer. I've got a few ideas bubbling around the brain, waiting for the sugar (and the cold water and lemon) to kick in.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Diet time

Me-ander (and thanks for linking to me!) suggests lemon in hot water. It's worth a shot, so I've sent a kidlet down to the grocery to get a lemon.

Kids? At home? But today's the big demonstration.

Yes, it is, and I'm demonstrating that I don't get sucked into useless nonsense by staying home, as are my girls. (P is staying home at his yeshiva. Imagine, my only boy is slowly beig turned into a haredi anarchist by this country.) On some laywer show I watched when I was a kid I learned timeless wisdom: Never ask a question to which you don't know the answer. Do the "settlement leaders" think they're going to get to write the referendum question? Of course not. I can think of a half a dozen different wordings that would have even me voting yes to Sharon's plan, simply because the alternative on the referendum is worse, not because I really back the plan.

I could go on at length, but won't (aren't you glad?) Besides, as usual, Batya's done it better. I really, really, really want to draft her as a settler leader, but the notion of a person who can think clearly on Moetzet Yesha is probably too radical for this country.

So I'm home today, finishing up things, getting ready for my trip to Houston next month. Tried on some clothes--disaster. Since October I seem to have gained a good inch or two. Diet time--and just in the middle of hot cocoa season. Poo.

And if I have to diet, so should my stash! I finished weighing and measuring all the fiber and yarn I have: 28 kilo of yarn and 18.5 kilo of fiber, for a grand total of 46.5 kilo to shed. Honestly, I thought I had more, at least my weight in wool (and I wouldn't even want to weigh 46.5 kilo). Place your bets--what'll lose more in a month, me or my stash?

I finished the baby gift:

Now S just has to finish up the hat and our friend may give birth.

Speaking of S, she is actually knitting up the fiber

I spun for her, so I'm spinning more.

What nachas!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Music, crochet, orange ribbons, and other necessities of life

Mordechai Fried has a new song out for download, written by his brother R. Manis Friedman, about Shalhevet Pas HYD.

For my cousin Shlomit (any going to Las Vegas, stop in to the closest shul to the Strip and say hello to her husband the rabbi--especially if you need a place to eat Shabbat) who cannot learn to crochet, two comments/doodles from Catharsis: Crochet is not for everyone and Crochet is serious business.

"We're on the map" department: Crafts 'n' Scraps has a listing of the various ribbon colors and what they represent, including [ta-dum!]
Orange = hunger, leukemia, cultural diversity, Multiple Sclerosis -wristband only, Support of the Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip and North Samaria (Israel)
Arutz Sheva has reported (in Hebrew only) that an American donor has given money to produce 100,000 orange bracelets with the motto "Jew's don't dispossess Jews." Remember--you read the idea here first.

Astute viewers may notice that the prograss bar on my almost finished megillah case went from 98% to 1%. It was twice as large as my megillah. I hated it. I ripped it out. It'll be my project for the February fix-a-knit-along.

Flu alert: Onions soaked overnight in honey isn't as bad as it's made out to be. All it needs is a little tomato, cucumber, sweet pepper, mustard, thyme, and basil and it'd make a great salad. Not so sure if it'll make a great flu cure, though.

Monday, January 24, 2005


I've been fighting something the last few days. Maybe a cold, maybe the flu.

Today I've lost the fight.

Next the rational minded Mozemen turns to the irrational: folk remedies. I've got my tea and honey. My daughter has prepared me onion and honey, which will be ready tomorrow. I've drunk so much water I'm going to float away. I'm sucking on Ricola like I own shares. I'm sitting in a warm room in a fleece sweater and knit cap (and the rest of my clothes, of course). Any other ideas?

I'd love to just go to sleep. If not that, sit and knit, or spin. Too bad I don't get any day off for illness at my job; I don't work, I don't eat. [sigh]

Pass the tissues, please.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Sunday is for movies

Internet movies, that is.

So you think the Europeans don't have ideas of their own about Arabs? Check out this Volkswagen ad.

Always wondered how to fold shirts like they do in stores? Here are step by step instructions and even a video (in Japanese). Took me a few tries, but it does work.

E-bay scores:

Deep purple wool

Lavender silk blend

Smoke silk blend

And they're all going to be sweaters for me, baby! 2005--the year of selfish knitting!

Friday, January 21, 2005

Thanks, guys!

A really great bunch of guys who once lived in Israel but went back to America come back every year to do their reserve duty. One of them has put up a photoessay of his last tour of duty.

On the needles: Finished the first baby sock, started the second. It's a race against time, since the Baby On Board is in his/her ninth month of incubation.

E-bay score:

1.75 ounces of llama fiber for 99 cents. Not sure what I'll do with this, but it sure is nice to pet.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

The human face of controversy

Ayelet Waldman wrote a very moving post about partial-birth and late in term abortions.

I don't think I could have an abortion; with my thrid pregnancy I chose nto to go for some of the tests because I felt that no matter what I couldn't see myself aborting, so why borrow trouble if there was any? But I do want the option to abort if my doctor, rabbi, husband, and I think it's the right thing to do.

But she raises a point which I think is more widely valid than the abortion debate:
To be relevant to the contemporary world, to be valid, the pro-choice movement must listen to pregnant women. We must listen to the woman and value her words.
In teh current political debate, is anyone listening to the people who will be affected? I think the most effective campaign run against Sharon's plan was that run before the Likud Central Committee vote, when settlers went door to door, talking to people, introducing themselves, putting a human face on the issue. It's one of the few battles Yesha has won lately. So why are we backing away from it to go back to ineefective mass protest rallys?

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

A good yahrzeit

Today was B's father's 12th yahrzeit. What can I say? I love this day. I wait for it every year. We go out to Jerusalem, where B's father was born back when it was under Turkish rule, and B goes to visit his father's old neighborhood. We have lunch, we talk about his dad, etc.

But how can I say that I love his father's yahrzeit? It sounds so callous.

But today was fun. First we stopped off along the way to pick up a totally cool woman I've been email for years who, it turns out, lived a few blocks away from me in NY and now lives down the road from me a piece. We went into town, parked, and separated. B went to the travel agent to plan our next trip (he wants me to be away for over a month? Is he nuts?) and Rachel Ann and I went fiber shopping. Unfortunately we didn't find anything unspun, but Rachel Ann bought some beautiful purple handspun and I got buttons for the BSJ I finished the other day. We both bought embroidery floss for our protest bracelets--mine was DMC #970. I gave some away over the course of the day--there are now at least 6 people wearing them. And if they each get 6 people tomorrow, and then they each get 6.... As of tomrrow, the bracelets will also start making an appearance in two of the local schools.

But the best part of the day was just talking. It's been a long time since I had a chance to just stand and gab about life, the universe and everything with a fellow metro-NYer, especially one who can introduce me to a bookstore I've not been in since I was a kid, visiting Israel, one so good I even broke my "buy no more books" by getting "Stevie Smith, a Critical Biography." You have to understand, I went through an intense Stevie Smith period one year, braving the whores on 8th Avenue in Manhattan to get to the theater playing the movie Stevie 8 times, seeing it another 5 at the Thalia on the Upper West (IIRC) side. How could I resist? But poor Rachel Ann had to keep listening to me saying "I have this book. I have that book." And now, thanks to her, I'll have to introduce my kids to the store. Hello, bankruptcy! Then we sat and spun until B and I had to go off to pick up P's laundry and have a talk with the rabbis at his school.

She'd clued me in that today's her birthday, so I prepared a little gift for her. Some brown cotton lint, white and green ginned cotton, white cotton seeds and fiber flax seeds, and a wrist distaff. She thinks she spins unevenly, but I can already see that one day she'll look back at what she's spinning now (thin and froghair designer yarn) and wish she couold reproduce it.

B did the mincha thing at the no-women-ever CBS shul and we ate in the food court. (are we so upscale we scare you? Me, too.) Looked at some building materials in a store behind the CBS, went to Har Nof to buy B pants in Bazaar Elitzur, and then back home.

Exhausted. Satisfied. Had "Zeide Isaac's poifect pea soup" for dinner and recalled one of the biggest mischief-makers ever to walk this earth.

All in all, a good yahrzeit.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Bad Israeli Fashions, part II

P. always has me bring him home Old Navy clothes. He prefers to look American, though Americans often get teased or worse by "real" Israelis. He refuses to wear Israeli clothes--says there is no reason for a straight teen to dress like the worst caricature
of a flaming queen. (Could someone explain to me why none of the homosexual men I know dress half as "gay" as straight Israeli men?)

Well, things here must have reached the boiling point. Walla Zone
(in Hebrew) has an article complaining about male Israeli fashion trends. The upshot of the article? If you don't have a perfect body, don't wear low-rise jeans. Do not wear shiny nylon shirts unless you've a club-hopping low life, and don't do fashion trend mix and match--Israeli men just don't have the requisite fashion sense required.

Maybe the pendulum is ready to swing back away from the "all Eurotrash, all the time" styles for men and women--and not a moment too soon.

Erev Kishlonot Zekeinim (Old Failures Night)

Or, as it is more commonly (if less accurately) known, erev kishronot tzeirim (young talents night). A has half her class over for red spaghetti and a movie (an Israeli golden oldie, "The Troupe"). Ever try to work with a mid-afternoon slumber party going on behind you?

So--as to yesterday's fibery goodness. The green Romney is now half an inch into being socks. The BSK is done except for the sewing up; tomorrow's mission is to buy buttons to match its acrylic-ness. I made myself 4 stitch markers following the instructions on the Glampyre site, then decided I needed better pliers, so that'll go on my list for tomorrow, too. Rachel Ann will never believe I'm as broke as I am with the list I'll have by morning, but I only go on shopping sprees once a year or so, and tomorrow is the day.

And my new spinning project has reached its next state. Here's the raw (and I do mean raw) material:

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Sunday is for politics

Since S didn't go to the three day march because she's missed enough school already, a few political links:

A modest proposal (in Hebrew): in the wake of the red and blue bracelets for and against Bush, Netzig Haam has proposed the wearing of orange bracelets for supporters of the settlements, and purple for those who'd like them gone. I think when I'm in town next I'll buy some orange crochet cotton and knot myself up a bracelet or three.

Support Yossi Filant from Yitzhar. Whatever you think of Sharon's unilateral plan, the army was wrong here. How can you take a topic that's so controversial and ask a boy to implement it in his own small town? Are there no other soldiers in the army? It reeks of the army just looking for trouble, and this young man only did what I think any young man in his situation would. Could you tear down a neighbor's house, legal, illegal, or somewhere in between?

People in Shederot expect the government to do something about the Palestinian rockets. Anyone else reminded of the old two positives joke?

But one bright note--the bank is no longer on strike. Got the check cancelled, had to pay 17 shekel. The Postal Bank said they'd cover the fee if I fill out a lot of paperwork, but frankly, it's probably not worth the time and effort.

And yes--there were fibery doings today. But more on that later, when I download the pictures and clear out the stench.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Shatnez alert!

No, not in my clothes, in my post.

Here's the green Romney destined to be socks for ME! (And a guest appearance by the BFL which is now on my Turkish spindle.)


And today I put the fiber flax up to ret.
I hope it doesn't stink too bad, since it's in the shed attached to the house. Then again, we have sinews in here to ret, too, so how much worse can it get?

I've gone through the stash looking for wonderful acrylic for the Fry-Up Knit Along. I don't want a yellow hat--not Purim-y enough. How does a fuschia hat with a fried egg, a waffle, and blueberries on it sound? Like a dog's breakfast?

And yes, the bank is still on strike.

What men are good for

After 10+ hours cleaning up Cold Fusion coding, I'm in no mood to cook, and since P is in Jerusalem at school, S is on a Bnei Akiva weekend in Netanya, and A still hasn't come home from the demonstration (lucky girl--she went for Pizza Shai), there's no burning need to. I was going to tell B to nuke himself some turkey wings and make myself a Tivol or something.

So what has B gone and done? Cracked open his home-made salted black olives, baked fresh onion rolls, and put up dough to rise for chocolate rugelach. Having him away from home for months at a time can be tough, but he makes up for it when he's home.

And he put up meat for a corned beef. My whole house smells like a deli, and will until next Shabbat, when it'll be done curing.

And in other news: Consumers are beginning to complain about the high-sex ads for clothing chains here in Israel. About time, I'd say. The TNT ads make even me blush.

Israeli Politics

A is at the demonstration in Jerusalem again. Third day in the past two weeks, fourth? And have you seen any coverage of it in the media? Ho-hum.

Batya Medad explains eloquently why demonstrations like this are a bad idea. Think we could draft her for a spot on Moetzet [Chasrat] Yesha?

In other news, Yossi Filant of Yitzar got his conviction overturned by the High Court of Justice. Not that he's out of hot water yet--the army can retry him, and undoubtedly will. Still, it's nice to see Bagatz for once live up to its name.

Good music for a good cause

Tsunami aid seems to be bringing out the creative in people, which is heartening -- it's not just Westerners with a "there but for the grace of G-d" attitude throwing money.

October Project has long been a favorite of mine, and I've infected many BonCers. Now OP is giving away a beautiful song as charityware.

Of course, if you're an Orthodox Jewish man, CYLOR about kol isha issues.

N.B. The bank, of course, is still on strike.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

If you like ST:TNG

Read this--Television Without Pity on Sub Rosa. Oh. My. G-d.

Do not read this if you are
(a) at work

(b) underage

(c) of deliccate (religious or otherwise) sensibilities

(d) my child. If you are my child and read this, tell me. We'll need to have The Talk.

Thinking about Purim

It's Shevat already, which would mean more than it does in this leap year, and if any of my kids still dressed up in anything but outrageous hair spray (and normal clothes--let's not get carried away).

But the women around here dress up for the Annual Women's Party, and if I weren't going to be in West Palm Beach (do I need to give the oldsters a heart attack) or in Houston (yeah, this would look professional....) I'd make myself these. Maybe I should start on them anway, get a head start on next year.

Now I have to start planning Shalach Manot so the girls can distribute them when we're not here. I have to ask around--can I give here though I'm in Houston, or do I have to give there? I don't even know anyone in Houston! (Well, no one Jewish.) Anyone have volunteers?

Sitting outside the parchment dealer last night (I will not go in there--the man's just [shudder] though his parchment's good) I finished spinning teh green Romney and did most of a ball of BFL. I hated the BFL first time I spun it, but now that I'm spinning it fatter and softer--buttah. Yum!

The bank's still on strike, the new government coalition is shredding at the seams. Gotta love Israel.

I was supposed to be in London today. Instead, I get Bnei Brak. Oh, joy.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Only in Israel

Half a year ago we put our new cellphones on our credit card. "36 Easy Payments, No Interest!" Great.... Only they never told us that until the 36 months were over, our credit limit would be charged for that amount every month, though in the end only 56 shekel would actually be taken out of our checking account. So other credit payments have been bouncing right and left, though we really do have enough credit to cover them--simply because of this phantom 2000 shekel charge on the limit.


S's university tuition fee wasn't honored by the credit card company. Yesterday she went to the Postal Bank to pay it, and forgot to check the receipt. When she got to the uni offices to give it in, they showed her it was for 747 shekel instead of the 1747 shekel the check (and tuition) had been. She rushed back to the post office, but it was closing and they wouldn't let her in. Ever see a 15 year old shed buckets of tears? She was up all night, worried that she'd lose her place in the course. She may be very adult for her age, but she's still a kid under all the bravado.

Today we called the post office. First B spoke to the woman who'd screwed up--and she hung up on him. Then he suggested I call the manager, who looked into things. Faxes were exchanged, mistakes were admitted, and I was told to stop payment on the check, the Postal Bank would cover the fees, and make the payment again.

Great? Great.

One problem (and this is Israel--you knew there had to be a problem, didn't you?).

My bank is on strike!

We'll make the payment again today so S can take the receipt with her when she goes to school tonight, but we can only hope the bank will reopen in time for us to stop payment on the check. Otherwise--well, sooner or later it will get straightened out. What a few thousand shekel more or less locked up in the Israel way-of-life: fashlot?

Fiber progress: You think with all this going on I had time to do anything? OK, OK, so I plied 2 balls of th green Romney into one. But that's just a baby-step, not progress.

Monday, January 10, 2005

I'm baaaaaaack!

OK, so I'm a lousy blogger. Didn't post at all the last year. I don't do resolutions, but I will try to do better this year.

The Beast sweater from my last post is finished (have to get B to model it for a picture) as is a matching hat. No scarf, but only because I used all three pounds of roving, and there's no more to be had. [sigh]

Currently on the needles: An EZ Baby Surprise Jacket (Knitters 62, IIRC):

and a cover for the megillah B wrote me way back when (it's upside down, being blocked on a glass)

I'm also spinning the cotton I grew last summer and some green Romney because I need socks!

The girls are off at the big demonstration in Jerusalem. I'm not sure how I feel about that--I agree with what they want to do, but I don't think a demonstration will do anything. What will, though--I just don't know.

And even though he'll never read this, in the spirit of firgun--Yossi from Bank Discount in Petach Tikvah rocks! The girls managed to get my ATM card swallowed not once, but twice this morning, and he got it back to them both times, though they were in a whole 'nuther city. Gotta love good customer service.

In other news, after 10 years in this house, we're finally getting a closet! Here in Israel one doesn't get built-in closets if one doesn't plan one's own house. Until now we've lived with this:

Horrible, no? The new closet is costing an arm and a leg, but it'll be our design. So I could have gone to England or bought an 8 harness loom for that. A closet is forever, isn't it?