Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Ain't gonna work on Wednesday (well, not much...)

Diann asked about the prohibition I mentioned which is keeping my hands idle this week. It's not really a prohibition on crafts; it's part of a more general prohibition on work. Of course there are forms of work which cannot be ignored (you wouldn't want all the police or nurses walking off the job for a week, and most office-job bosses won't let you take off the whole time, either), but what work can be postponed should be (for example, my husband is not allowed by Jewish law to work this week, and my wheel and loom sit silently waiting). Work which cannot be ignored or postponed should be minimized (which is why I'm doing only the most necessary work in the yard, just enough to keep it running until next week, when I can get serious again).

Instead of working full-time, we are spending some time hiking as a family. Each holiday we do a section of the Israel National Trail, a trail that covers the country from north to south. We've started on the center of the country, close to home, and have done the section from Nachshonim to Tel Aviv.

We started the day out with a coincidence. Deciding that our usual method of park at the start and find a way back there when we're exhausted wan't the smartest, we parked at our proposed end point and decided to take buses back to the beginning. And where did we find parking in north Tel Aviv?

On R' Yisroel Ashkenazi Street, named after Rabbi Yisroel Ashkenazi, a leader of the Vilna Goan students who moved to Israel in the 1800s. What's so funny about this is that R' Yisroel was B's great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather. We looked at all the beautiful houses on the block and daydreamed telling the people living there that *they* ought to be the ones forcibly evacuated. After all, it's our street, isn't it?

This is where we started our segment of the walk. The Yarkon River looks beautiful, but in the not too distant past military divers were getting cancer from using it for training runs, so we didn't let the kids get too close.

We stopped for lunch under an overpass.

We gulped our food and left, because it's strange eating when you hear heavy trucks pounding the road just over your head. (Aren't my guys cute? Especially B in his hat from Goodwill Port St. Lucie.)

Another view from the walk:

You can sort of make out some of the garbage in the waterfall.

Tomorrow we're headed up north for the rest of the holiday. We'll hike up Mount Carmel in Haifa and then treat the kids to lots of red meat for dinner. We'll see if they'll honor the 10% off coupon on Passover. Then we'll go sleep at B's nephew, who lives in a small town in the southern Galillee. On Friday we'll do another section of the Trail (this time accompanied by the nephew's 9 year old daughter--I hope she can handle the hike). Then the sabbath/holiday. Monday is back to school, back to work, back to sanity, and back to packing in advance of my upcoming trip back to West Palm Beach.

Monday, April 25, 2005


Andrea not only gifted me with a button of my own, she's given my daughter S her first taste of blogging. You see, Andrea asked

what would you do if your teen got a crazy piercing? Or have they?

And I though that I could answer, but of course I would probably try to make myself look good. Instead, the real deal, from my 15 year old daughter:

As her teenaged daughter I will answer. The most outrageous piercing I tried
to do was a second hole in my ear -- and when I came home I was almost
murdered. (My parents really didn't like the idea.)


I would be very happy if you could make my parents change their minds.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Sox it to me

I finished one half of my Just for Me KAL

so of course I had to go buy more yarn (not like I don't have enough sock yarn for the next pair, but I didn't have any Regia, I could get Regia in Jerusalem, so I needed Regia. Call it knitter's logic):

I'm not sure what's so special about the Regia. It doesn't look much different, knitted up, than the Lion Brand Magic Stripes, but it's about twice the price. I have a similar colorway in the Lion Brand, so I'll probably knit them both and compare.
I did want to start A's orange socks in Trekking, but even though I went down to a 3 mm the fabric seemed to flimsy, and since I'll be on an enforced knitting vacation over Passover, I wanted instant results, not swatching. Anyone know the best needle size and number of stitches for a women's medium sock?

Despite two exhausting days of shopping, one in Tel Aviv and one in Jerusalem, S found nothing to wear for the holiday, so she designed herself a skirt. Only problem was that when she went to sew it together (nothing like last minute, is there?) the sewing machine wasn't working. The belt would turn, but the needle wasn't going up and down. B worked on it for about an hour, got it up and running, and then S cleaned the beast

This was my father's wedding present to my mom almost 56 years ago: the "EY" on the machine is all that's left of the transfer letters "Mickey," my mom's nickname. Wasn't he just the most romantic groom?

The size of my stash is beginning to concern me. B may have to move his office up to the house soon; the town has out a nursery school into his building, in the room next to his office, and he suspects that it's part one of implementing the town's long-dreamt-of plan to kick the scribes out of their own office building. Never mind that the building is unsuitable for use as a nursery: it's in the middle of a parking lot with no fence around the building, the roof and walls leak, the building has no piping for hot water, it has one toilet (which leaks sewage), the walls all sport black mold, and the scribes all use poisonous airborne chemicals in their work. Oh, yeah, and there are rats in the roof.

Anywho, B thinks he may need a new office soon, and the best available space is my office. I don't really need all the space I have; I could move into a corner of the dining room and convert that. But it does leave the problem of where to place the stash, currently in the corner of my office: two 58 liter storage boxes and a very large IKEA 6 section hanging organizer. I really shouldn't buy more yarn until I use soem of this up, but I make no pledges--I know I'm weak. Hopefully some of this will get used up quickly in weaving, but I've heard other new weavers say this, only to be mocked by the more experienced who know that with each new hobby, a new stash will grow.

Next up: Andrea asked a really good question about what I would do if my kids came home with crazy piercings, which deserves a better answer than I can give the day before Passover, so check this space next week, when there will be no knitting content in any case!

Monday, April 18, 2005

This explains a lot

Your Inner European is French!

Smart and sophisticated.

You have the best of everything - at least, *you* think so.

My Inner European hates everything else about me. No wonder I'm such a mess. (Maybe this also explains why all the French keep moving into my neighborhood.)

Friday, April 15, 2005

My name is Moze and I'm a KAL addict

So it's a week to Pessach, the house isn't ready, the kids are home on vacation and acting like typical teens, I'm overloaded at work, and the spouse is due home today. What does a good Moze do?

But of course--she joins 3 KALs. I think I'm addicted.

After I joined the Branch Out KAL I cast on with the singles I spun from the roving I got at Downtown Yarns last month. It's the first time I was careful to keep the colors separate as I spun, and I was afraid to ply it because I'd mess them up. (Also, I opnly ended up with 240 yards, so if I navaho plied, I'd end up with nothing to work with.) Here it is at 2.5 repeats along and totally unblocked:

Then I joined the Just for Me KAL. You see, I went into my sock drawer yesterday--not a single sock there aside from handknits. My girls had taken them all and left only single socks. I hope to recover a few pairs during Pessach cleaning, but since I see I have a very specific type of teen termite (eats only commercial socks) I'm going to knit myself at least 2 pair of socks. (I'll count the ones I started the other day.)

And last but not least there's the Not Yarn KAL. I'm still thinking about what to do with that one.

And check out the new button under the KALs. Yes, I'm Not Going To Maryland Sheep And Wool Festival But I Am NOT Bitter. It's kind of nice to be home once in a while, even if it does mean you have to read endlessly about the fun everyone else is hiding while you're stuck trying to hide your orange protest bracelet whenever you see a cop nearby.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Me, Me part 2

Andrea recommended

Book: Good Grief, by Lolly Winston

Oh, I've got to get this. I've always had a thing about young widow stories (which used to scare me, but now that I'm almost 40 I'm too old to be a young widow). The excerpt on Amazon seemed promising.

Now, her questions to me:

1. If you could live in any country/city - which would it be & why?
Well, I chose to live in Israel--moved here at 25, so I guess my answer should be Israel and my little town, but it's not. With all the crap going on here, I often forget why I wanted to move here in the first place. I sometimes regret moving here, but it was a great move for our kids--the way they've grown up here is something I cuoldn't pay for elsewhere.

In my heart of hearts, though, I'm still a New York City girl, and if I had the chance to move to Manhattan I'd be sorely tempted. Why? I don't think I can explain. Someone once said that you're either born a New Yorker or you're not, and I definitely was.

The other place I could easily move to is Las Vegas. The Jewish community there is friendly, there's always something to do, and one of my favorite spots on earth, Red Rock Canyon, is there. Of course, since there are no real Jewish schools there, I couldn't move at this point and I'm not in the market to move, but it's still in my top 3 cities to live in.

2. What's your favorite thing to do when you finally get some well-deserved alone time (besides knitting? ;)

Do weaving and crocheting count? [g] I'm a very hyper person, so I have a hard time just sitting still. Unless it's a Sabbath or holiday, I'll always have something in my hands during down time, unless I'm in the garden. On Sabbaths and holidays I read and sleep a lot. A lot--I mean something like 5-7 books within 24 hours and 12 hours of sleep or more.

3. What is the funniest thing you've ever witnessed?

There's a reason Orthodox Jewish men don't do mixed dancing. Don't let anyone fool you into thinking it's about modesty -- it's that they can't do it. One year the assistant prinicpal at B's school was retiring and they had a dinner dance, making sure to order us kosher food, so we felt we had to go. They sort of taunted B until he agreed to dance just one dance with me. Ever see a rabbi do the funky chicken? To "My Heart Will Go On"?

Michelle recommended:
A Book anything by Terry Pratchett

He's the guy who's got a character Cohen the Barbarian, doesn't he? I keep meaning to get one of these books for B. Which would you recommend as a first purchase?


1. Living in Israel, what's your number one tourist pet peeve?
Hands down, no question, the International Solidarity Movement. I dislike them so much I'm not even going to give the link to their website. These idiots come into the country on tourist visas, illegally enter war zones, face off with Israeli soldiers, and then sue when they get hurt. Um, hello? You lied your way into a country and knowingly put yuorself into the danger zone of a war that's not even yours, run home to complain to your own momma if you get hurt. They've got chutzpa only matched by the man who killed his parents and then threw himself on the mercy of the court because he was an orphan. And even lower than your garden variety ISM moonbats are the ones who lie their way into a free ticket through Birthright Israel. Not only do they do all the people above do, but they take advantage of the goodness of other people's hearts (and pocketbooks) to do so.

2. Do you have pets? Would you consider yourself a dog person or a cat person?
I have my cat, Princess (aka Dumb Cat -- she's a blonde at heart, and partially in fur). I love little dogs, but they don't fit into our lifestyle; most of the dogs I know are eternal 2 year olds, and cats are more like teens--sleep all day, surly, but boy do they love you when you feed them.

3. Of all your knitting projects, which one are you most proud of? Which one do you wish the sock gremlins would steal?
Idest of B's sweater and hat set. I spun 3 pounds of roving, plied it, knit it (first time doing cables), shopped in 2 countries for the buttons. If the sock gremlins want to stop by for my Oscar the Grouch socks that I'm trying to work up the courage to rip *again,* I'll even feed them some cookies as a thank you.

Now what I want to know, Michelle, is what's up with your school program. If you want to direct, why are you being forced to do history? What sort of job do you think (as opposed to wish) you'll get after you finish? And you're right, you can't beat a good riot on opening night, which is why the musical opening night and/or preview week I wish I'd seen has to be Carrie. Kill the pig!

The first weaving project is done!

It sure looks like a first project--bad beating, weft pulled too tightly in some spots not tight enough in others, floats, etc., but by gosh it is FABRIC! I put it on last night the way I plan to wear it (tied into another scarf) and my teens even liked it. Now that's high praise. I've just got to wash it (hence the picture--if it falls apart, I want proof I did actually make it) and I'll have at least one new thing for Passover.

Muse asks if I'm knitting again. Yep, I gave in to the pressure. Knowing that I wouldn't be allowed to knit for a week pushed me right into the arms of a project. I don't mind taking a knitting vacation, but being forced into it just makes me want to load up first--sort of like Mardi Gras, I guess, or how people are chowing down on bread this week.

B is coming home from the States tommorrow. I guess that means I should actually start cleaning, doesn't it?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The loveliest words to read

This just hit my mailbox:
You have submitted a proposal to the Electronic Proposal Submission System. Your proposal is now stored on the EPSS system with number XXXXXX for subsequent evaluation by the Commission.

Got it done in time!

Not that the boss made it easy on me. At 1:45 I get a phone call.

Boss: "You know that we need to get a hospital to sponsor us through the ethics board, right?"

Me: [suspicious already] "Right."

Boss: "Well, in exchange for sponsorship, they want us to do a sub-study."

Me: [after big sigh. There goes the proposal I've been working on since 9pm yesterday, with only 3 hours for sleep]: "Send it over and I'll incorporate it."

I wait for the email, get it, open it, and weep. What's unique in our study is that patients aren't the subjects, the practitioners are. The grant proposal makes a big deal of this, since the selling point has to be innovation. And, of course, the new sub-study is the same old same old bloodtests to see how the patients react.

I call the boss, nearly hysterical. I know we hardly have a chance in hell of getting any money, but adding in this sub-study will kill off even the little snowball of a chance which we do have. After arguing about it a half hour or so I finally hit on an excuse even he can't deny: this will cost extra money and there's no budget attached, so I can't ask for more money in the grant request. "I'm not saying not to do the sub-study," I whine and plead, "just not to include it in the grant proposal. Let the professional fundraiser get money for it."

Another half hour later he agrees. We work on the final tweak, and with overan hour to spare, the proposal was submitted.

In my sleep-deprived state this morning I made an impulse buy that I think I'm going to really enjoy. Cathy emailed ROAK that she wanted to sell off some ribbon yarn. The price was right, the timing was good, she's willing to wait to mail it out until my parents get back from doing Pesach in Miami, and I'm starting to think about my clothes for Rosh Hashana. It all came together; I bought the yarn and either I'll wear it as a tank-vest with a pink skirt, or my daughter will (she hates pink, but knows she looks good in it, so wears it on holidays).

While I waited for proposal pages to be converted and to upload I finally started a new knitting project: Lion brand Magic Stripes yarn socks. Pictures when there's more than a row or two...

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

*&^$#&*%*%^&(^ &@*(

For a year I've been working on a study proposal, and about 6 months ago I found a EU grant mechanism which sounded perfect for it. Worked on the proposal, begged my boss to hire a professional grant writer. Last month he finally agreed, so I stopped working on the proposal.

9 PM tonight: My boss casually mentions that he needs to get an update from the grant writer.

Me: You do remember that the deadline is tomorrow, right?

Boss: I thought tomorrow was our internal deadline, and the EU dealine was the 30th.

Me: No, it's 5 pm tomorrow.

Boss: Oh, I'll call the grant writer.

20 minutes later Boss lets me know that the grant writer doesn't think we'd get any money, so he hasn't started to work on the proposal, nor does he plan to.

Guess who has 23.5 hours to pull together a 2 million dollar grant proposal?

If you never see me again, I'm lost in the depths of EU paperwork--send help.

Me, me, me

from Andrea at Knit Butterflies. Read her answers to the questions I left her, and check out her beautiful wedding invites. And the answer to her second question, which explains why she'll be a great RAOKer.

Leave your recommendations/questions in the comments, and I'll come play along at your blog, too.

A. First, recommend to me:

1. A movie:
2. A book:
3. A musical artist, song, or album:

B. Ask me three questions, no more, no less. You may ask me anything you want, but I can decline to answer anything which makes me uncomfortable.

C. Copy and paste this in your blog.

P minus one week, 3 days

Next Saturday night Passover starts. Am I ready? Is that even a question?

Of course I'm not ready! I've worked on no menus, written no shopping lists, barely started cleaning my office (which is the Pesach kitchen). Thank G-d some people are beginning to realize that dust is not chametz, and that spring cleaning can wait until Shavuot-time. A lot of the load is off because my parents, instead of flying in for the holiday, are going to a hotel in Miami.

I understand why they're doing this--they are getting too old and infirm for a 17 hour flight. But I'm glad we never did this when I was younger; I used to love Pesach prep. I was the only one small enough to get into that really long corner cabinet under the stovetop, and I got to drag out all sorts of treasures we never saw during the year (don't ask why they were kept, since we never did anything with them but pack them up for Pesach and unpack them afterwards) and I had the job of getting into the empty boxes and stomping down the wrapping paper. My kids miss out on some of the lessons of Pesach since we don't pack up the kitchen, just tape it closed and move to the other kitchen, but we do still pack up the dining room cabinets. (These thoughts were prompted by Bat-Sheva Marcus's column on "going away for Pesach".)

On the other hand, we do have our plans for Pesach pretty well in hand. We'll do two sections of the Israel trail, one in the center of the country and one up north. We'll go to family for the last days. G-d willing and my son passes his road test today, we'll let him do a lot of supervised driving.

I love Pesach. It's just the matza I hate.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Advice and consent

I think I'm in a knitting slump.

My name is Moze and I haven't knitted in 9 days.

Part of it is still that deer-in-the-headlights feeling: I came back home with about 40 pounds of yarn.

Part of it is burn-out: in one month I knit a pair of socks, a Clapotis, then ripped the Clap and reknit it.

Part of it is new toy syndrome: In less than a week I've put together my rigid heddle loom, warped it, and woven about 2 feet of my headscarf.

Part of it is the time warp game: I don't think I'll be spending more than 3 months in any single place this year, so I'm a little leery about starting something big. I mean, I can't remember where I am when I wake up, how am I going to keep my place in the Mariah? And then when you add in the upcoming Passover, when I'm not supposed to knit -- how can you start a long term relationship when you're living out of suitcases? Is it possible for a married lady with 3 teenaged kids about to start spring vacation to have a commuter relationship with the knitting she loves?

But most of it, I think, is bachelor's syndrome. Oh, I know I may look all femme, but in my heart of hearts I'm just a single guy. I eat straight from the pots. I like cold pizza and warm beer. If I didn't have to set a good example for the kids, my dishes would have to wash themselves. In short, like most single guys my age, I've a terrible fear of commitment. Doing the Mariah or starting a cotton sweatshirt is a long term relationship. I'm afraid that if I start with my Trekking or Magic Stripes socks I'll cast on the wrong number of stitches with the wrong needles and then I'll be stuck in the infinite loop of ripping and redoing, as I am with the Oscar the Grouch socks. I can't even look at those puppies; one of these days I'll work up the energy to rip them and knit them once again (third time's the charm?)

So: here's the deal. I'm asking you, the ever-so-wise and drop-dead gorgeous readers of my blog, to tell me what to work on next.

The candidates are:

Mariah, already in progress (but only 4 lines of the first sleeve)

Cotton sweatshirt (and which colorway? I have enough of each for a sweatshirt)

socks (and again, which colorway?)

Oscar the grouch socks to rip and fix

Or should I just chicken out?

In other news: Go check out the answers Knits with Cats gave to my interview questions. I loved this meme; I got to know people so much better than I had before. Her answers are raising even more questions in my mind, especially the last one. Hop on over there and let her know what you think of her politics, her religion, her gardening, her knitting, and her cats.

Local Insanity time: So it's just a few months to the proposed expulsion. Israel has no clue where they're going to force all these people to move. What, us worry? According to this Hebrew article, minors are being set up and arrested, without their legal guardians being informed about the arrests. There are already 30 prisoners in the new "political crimes" section of Maasiyahu jail--what are they going to do for space when the real protests come? Meanwhile, the post office is on strike again today. I think they ought to just post notices when they're not on strike--it would be less often.

Pesaech tip of the day: Sell your chametz the quick and easy way on Last year they had all the Halachic justification of why one is allowed to sell this way, and I was convinced. No more searching around for the local deputized seller, who never seems to be where he should be when he should be. Quick and easy--if only the rest of my prep could be done on line!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Playing hooky

So I have a month's worth of work to catch up on. Your point? I mean, I had this waiting to be played with

not to mention all that yarn (let's not mention it--I have so much I brought home that I've got that deer-in-the-headlights feeling. Do I start with the sock yarn? The cotton for sweatshirts? The wool?) In the meantime, all I've done is spin up most of the Holoween roving I bought at Downtown Yarns in NY. I try to learn something new on each project, and this will be learning to keep colors in a roving relatively separate and I suppose Andean plying, since I want to keep from barberpoling the plied yarn, too.

I worked full days Tuesday and Wednesday, so today I took a half day off, claiming jet-lag. I started weaving a headscarf:

I also worked on gathering the lyrics to the songs from Betty Buckley's new show at the Carlyle. I went last Saturday night to see it with some friends (B's birthday present was *not* having to come with us!). I wish she'd do more songs by 60s and 70s singers--Jefferson whatever-their-airborne-mode-of-transportation-is, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell--she knocks those songs right out of the park. And I adore her humorous songs (I wish Lyle Lovett would write one just for her). I like the belt and torch songs less--she seems to me to still be that little girl with the large voice looking for approval from her parents and teachers; her whole persona changes when she's doing 1940s songs or tales of unrequited love.

Herself is at the Carlyle until the end of this week; I'd go again if I could. She's looking and sounding better than she has anytime this decade. Texas must agree with her.

The other reason I'm playing hooky? If I were working, I'd be paying attention to the Israeli news, and that's just wrist-slitting depressing. Read Biur Chametz if you want to know what I mean. Sheesh. My 13 year old, who's politically active, has tld me she doesn't want to go down to Gush Katif when [if] there's the eviction--she's scared the army will kill people, and, she said, "I don't want to die." What is this country coming to when a kid is more afraid of her country's own army than of the enemy?

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Lucy, I'm home!

A month away from home is really too long. I woke up this morning and couldn't remember where I was (you'd think the comfy bed would have clued me in, but I can't think before that first cup of coffee).

I just what to know what my kids were thinking. The fridge had UHT cream, milk, Bulgarian cheese, tomato paste, and almond butter in it. Do I want to know what they were eating while I was gone?

Questions for Knits with Cats:

1. You've posted about S.A.B.L.E. Come on. In your heart of hearts, do you really think you're at S.A.B.L.E. point? If so, do you really plan to do anything about it, or give up on S.E.X.?

2. What plant do you dream about putting in your garden but haven't yet, and why haven't you? What exactly would enough rose bushes be?

3. You have a "Knitters for Bush" button on your blog. From what I've seen, being for Bush was not a popular choice last year--why did you support him, and what made you decide to do it so publicly? Why do you still have the button up, several months post-election?

4. Do you really have 27 projects OTN, or is this more of a wish list? And if they are really OTN, how do you decide what to knit at any particular time?

5. Based on your quote of the day: So, what would you be willing to die for (Besides the usual "family" answer) and why?

Friday, April 01, 2005

The Clapotis, she is done

I'm beautiful, and I don't even do a thing to get that way. Pictures when I get home and dig it out of all my newly acquired stash--I'm full up to my 140 lbs, and 98% of it is stash (Israeli customs agents, you didn't read that).

Clappy will get her premier tomorrow night, going with me to the Carlyle to hear Betty Buckley. Oo la la!