Thursday, December 28, 2006

Snow kidding

The country was on high weather alert yesterday. Big storm coming--batten down the hatches. Snow! For a country that gets snow maybe once a year, it was big news. Well, there were flakes here and there, and it started snowing again when I went to sleep, so I grabbed the camera first thing in the morning, opened the front door, and found this:

Who says Israel can't make a real big something out of nothing?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Shvil Yisrael--Herzliya, heading north

Amy, I owe you an apology. I begged off getting together at Gourmet Yarns to catch up on work, but at about 10 o'clock The Spouse came into my office and made me an offer I couldn't refuse: "It's beautiful out. It's supposed to be disgusting tomorrow and Wednesday. Want to go for a walk along Shvil Yisrael?"

As a family we've walked sections of the Israel National Trail before, and would have liked to walk it all with them, but as the kids get older and have busier lives, we're seeing that it's just not possible. So we sat down with the maps we own (2 of the dozen or so) and a book about the trail to find a short segment which was accessible by car and/or bus.

We decided to walk north from Apollonia and turn around when The Spouse's heel spurs were hurting too much. (He started complaining after 19 minutes of walking, but I got him to keep on going until we'd walked 48 minutes in one direction.) To get down to the trail you pass the top of the Shell House
You go down the stairway and look for the Shvil Yisrael signage (the orange, blue and white marking on the staircase which tells you whether to go straight or, as in this case, bear to a different direction).
You pass alongside the Shell House (I wonder if this guy owns his lot or is a squatter?)
The walk itself is on the beach under the Apollonia Nature Preserve. There are signs, here and there, warning about landslides, and they're not kidding. It's obvious that at one point the wall which is currently on the rocks of the beach was attached to the remnant up the cliff.
Where this granite column fell from is anyone's guess, but the beach for at least a half kilometer north is littered with marble.
At one point you have to walk through the fallen ruins to continue. In the summer, I suppose you could just wade in the ocean instead, but yesterday was a little too cool, and The Spouse was wearing his super-duper orthopedic shoes and I cloth sneakers, so we didn't chance it.
The trail is listed as easy walking, and it is for the most part, but there are some tricky areas where you have to negotiate the ruins.
Once you get through the rock-falls it's just a nice
stunning walk.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Confessions of a middle-aged housewife: The Other Man

I'm in love, and with someone other than my husband.

Yes, that's right. Go back and read it again if you were too shocked the first time to absorb it.

Who's the object of my affections? This handsome man.


Judge Steve Adler, who ordered the striking government employees back to work, at least for a week. Enough time for The Spouse to come home from his North American Tour of six weeks. Love you, Judge Adler! We'll make a toast to you around our full-family Shabbat table this week. Mwah!

Now, can anyone explain to me why anyone still works for regional councils? Every few years there's a strike because the council workers haven't been paid. You'd think these people would know that their employer has a lousy track record when it comes to handing over salaries. Why don't they just look for jobs with more reliable employers? There must be something in it for them, so why they have to make my life miserable every other year is beyond me.

A suggestion for the Histadrut: your strikes are so overwhelming that the judiciary has to intervene. Why not lower the intensity and make it much more disruptive? Don't strike 24 hours a day. Pick hours--say, from 10-11 am all government offices shut down and all people inside are kicked out. When they're allowed back in at 11, refuse to accept any previous numbers, and make people line up again. Then go on strike after lunch, and again make people line up from scratch. People can't complain that they aren't getting services--they'll just have to wait anywhere from 5 minutes to 5 days, depending on how often you play the 'empty out and start again' game. Roll the dice each morning and only deliver mail when it comes up even. Have the air traffic controller strike for 20 minutes on the hour, and the baggage handlers for 15 minutes on the half hour. You'll drive everyone insane, but since citizens can still, with enough time and patience, get on with our lives, we'll be more likely to pressure the government on your behalf.

Or here's a really novel idea: Don't strike against the public sector, strike against the Knesset and the government complex! Block the entrances. Don't prepare or serve food in the cafeteria. Shut off the power and phones to the building. Don't pick up or deliver mail (including bribes). It's easy to push against those who have no power to push back, but we're also the ones who have no power to help you, knuckle-heads. But speaking truth to power might get your little union knees cut out from under you, mightn't it? And so, since government employees are withholding the salaries of government employees, non-government employees suffer.

Love you, Judge Adler. Have I said that already?

In the spirit of love, yarn p0rn. Stephanie sent a huge, terrific package to make up for The Middle Teen taking all her sock yarn and Cotton Ease with her to Hadera. This blows to hell and back my "use up 5 kilo more yarn than I get in this year" plan, but it is worth it.
I count a pair of knee socks, a pair of socks for the Middle Teen (it's not as warm in Hadera as first she thought) and a hoodie for the Youngest Teen in there.And maybe something for the Oldest Teen, as well, but that will have to wait until he's back from basic training.

State of the art update (aka WIP p0rn, aka too much going on, wouldn't you say?):

Friday, November 17, 2006

Slowly I turn, step by step

On Nov. 2, the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Moze-Spouse house, we took the totally corny step of accompanying our Socktoberfest socks to Niagara Falls.
(Mine are the Mystery Socks from the Yahoo SAM group. The Spouse's are the long awaited Trek with Me socks. You can't see much of the sock-y goodness with Mr. "Almost ready for Century Village" rockin' the orthopedic arch supports in heavy support shoes)

Yes, Niagara Falls is a hokey choice for an anniversary. Yes, it is also as awesome as everyone here told me it would be. I wasn't prepared for the constant roar which could be heard all the way to our hotel room, not was I prepared for how immense the Horseshoe Falls are. The only way to get most of that fall into one picture is from across the street.

The American Falls are much, much smaller.

Doing the Falls in winter is much quieter and less crowded, but many of the attractions (like the Maid of the Mist) aren't open. No matter, we like walking. Next time we go, though (and we will be back), we want to do Goat Island and walk right up close to the American Falls.

Doesn't the Spouse make a great Cyberman? OK, maybe not so much a Doctor Who Cyberman (his antenna are upside down), but maybe another Torchwood era Cyberman? (OK, OK, so he doesn't have the Madonna framework and the high heels. Better this way, no?)

Coming back over the border was a pain. The US government can really be paranoid, can't they? So what if I have 3 suitcases for 1 week--yarn alone took up nearly a whole suitcase. Sheesh.

As soon as we crossed into the US, the snow began.

So we had fall and winter, and when I went to West Palm Beach, summer. (No pictures, though--short emotional visit. Mom's down to 2% kidney function, still won't consider dialysis. Wants me to come for a week next month, but I think the kiddos need their mommy home for Channukah. Damned if I do, damned if I don't.)

Then it was back to NY for a quick trip to a Yom Limud in Westchester featuring The Spouse, Philadelphia for a repair job, and then back home to work and laundry and waiting for the Spouse. And a fabbo box from Stephanie, about which more later, because now that I'm home, you think anyone else will do the Shabbat cooking?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Random notes from the road

I'm home, jet lagged and not even fighting it, trying to catch up on work and housework. I think The Oldest Teen did one load of laundry while I was gone. I know I found 10 days worth of his clothing in the wash, and I was only gone 16.


The drive up to Toronto? Beautiful.
We conked out at Binghamton (of course I did--I'd just flown in that morning and for me it was about 1 am) and then continued the next morning through mists and light rain. The border crossing was easier than we thought it would be (Hand over our driver's licenses, "That luggage all yours?" "yes." "OK, have a good time.") and two hours later were checking into our youth hostel room in Kensington Market.
(The view from our room)

The drawbacks to staying in a youth hostel is no private bathroom/toilet, but it's cheap, centrally located, and has a full kitchen. (Yes, you can live a whole week cooking food double wrapped in a microwave.)

Shabbat we davened and ate at the Minsker shul. From the outside the building doesn't look like much, but inside it's gorgeous -- stained glass, wall murals, woodwork. It was torched in 2002 and some areas haven't been repaired yet (including a big window in the women's section--brrr); when they have enough money to finish the job, it'll be spectacular. The community there is warm and hospitable, even though you may end up helping cook on Friday afternoon.

Some random Kensington Market photos:

(OK, that last one wasn't random, but finding the place was. I didn't have the address, just the street, and the first thing I see, at 66 1/2, is a Lettuce Knit store sign and an empty shop. No indication that they've moved a few doors down to 70. Good thing I decided to walk down the rest of the block.)

Aside from set-up and break-down days, we walked to our convention in Bloor-Yorkville, just opposite the ROM. I love me a construction site.
At night we'd pick up fruits and veggies at a Vietnamese green-grocer on Spadina and then wander around the neighborhood. Youth hostels will definitely feature in our future travel plans.

Our last day in town we went to the Bata Show Museum, where the Spouse completely freaked me by spotting a conservator working on a boot in a glassed-in office and holding a large note asking about acid deterioration up to the glass. She thought it was cute and came out to talk, but she was only an intern and the head honcho was unavailable. I swear, The Spouse never stops working...

Random thoughts about Toronto:

  • Lovely city, especially the downtown areas.

  • Why did the Jewish community move from Kensington Market to the north? Where they are now looks like middle-class projects. [shudder]

  • I was surprised to see a city so well built for bicycles and public transit, but with so few people doing shoe-leather commuting. It wasn't even that cold the days we were there, and as environmentally sound as street cars are, isn't walking even sounder?

  • Toronto residents seem very concerned about soldiers in Afghanistan, locals in Iraq, and the HIV+ in Africa. And a lot less concerned about the homeless in Toronto.

  • You lot really get into Halloween, don't you?

  • Being young and hip in Toronto seems so much work. Walk around Kensington Market on a Saturday morning and everyone's shopping for the same jacket, same hair dye, same tattoos as everyone else there has. Back in my day (when men were men and cattle was dinner and we had to walk 10 miles uphill through the snow each way to school, and "vintage" was just used clothes) off-beat wasn't a uniform to which one had to conform; it seemed so much freer and less fraught.

A perfect prelude to an anniversary at Niagara Falls.
(to be continued when I can keep my eyes open)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

In praise of younger men

While the Spouse has been working on the East Coast (of the US; if he was working on the East Coast of Israel, he'd be home), The Oldest Teen has been filling in, for good and bad.

Good: He went to the city and got the Youngest Teen's cell phone fixed.
Bad: He leaves his coffee cup on the table, just like dear old Dad.

Good: He went to the city to get the rice mixes my parents asked me to bring.
Bad: Since Dad's been away he's taken to wearing his tzitziyot like Dad -- one set of strings hanging straight down the center outside his waistband.

Good: He drove me to the airport.
Bad: He nearly gave me a heart attack doing it.

Good: He made me dinner every night.
Bad: It was either pasta with no sauce or frozen chicken schnitzel.

But all in all, it's been a joy having him home. No scrambling for who'll watch The Youngest Teen while I'm away. No having to run in to town to take care of errands. Almost like having The Spouse at home, but when I tell this man to clean his room, he sometimes (somewhat) listens.

I'm taking a newer, smaller hand luggage this trip. I'm such a yekke that I always worry they'll enforce the weight and item limits. Usually I take two pairs of socks to knit on the plane, but to free up weight, I quickly finished my pair. The Spouse's can wait; he's getting gifted them for our anniversary, a week away.

(Quick, bad picture, because the airport authorities don't like you taking pictures inside the terminal.)
Mystery socks from the Yahoo SAM group.

ETA: Free on-board innernets rulz!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

What a heel

(And I'm not talking Yair Lapid, either)

The week before Fall Travel Season is always busy, especially if The Spouse has gone on ahead and I'm left with all the last minute details. This year I'm lucky; the Oldest Teen is home, waiting for basic training to start, and he's out running errands for me. (Picking up my travel insurance, taking in the Youngest Teen's cellphone for repair--again, etc.) Every traveller should have a teen with time on his hands to help out.

The Spouse left with two suitcases which were together within a kilo of his total buggage allowance. What have I got?

One suitcase is packed inside the other, because I always have more coming back than going--yarn, goodies for the kids, stuff The Spouse doesn't need again until he comes home. That's three weeks worth of clothing, a coat, and, of course, knitting projects.

I admit I'm cheating here, since I have a Knitpick order waiting in New York, so all I've brought is cotton for the November Dishcloth KAL, yarn for kneesocks, and the Knitpicks stuff I have in stash which matches what's waiting for me. With any luck I'll come home with a dishcloth, a Skully sweater for the Youngest Teen, and a pair of knee socks in progress. In my hand luggage I'll take the current sock WIPs.

Now to see how much of the current WIPs can be finished before Wednesday night

Two Mason*Dixon logcabin blanets, a pinwheel blanket, a dishcloth, socks for The Spouse, and socks for me. The priority is The Spouse's socks, since our 20th secular anniversary is Nov. 2. (Today's the Jewish annoversary, but since he's in Boston and I'm in Israel, not a whole lot of celebrating giong on.) The plan is to spend our honeymoon in--ready?--Niagara Falls. Honestly--we're finsihed in Toronto on November 1 and don't have to be in NYC until November 3, and the Falls are right on our way home. I told American neighbors our plan, and they weren't quite sure how to react. Is it ridiculously corny, or so corny it's cool?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

That was the week that was

When last I blogged, I was about to go into knit withdrawal. Been there, done that, gained the extra holiday kilo. But the holiday's been over for nearly a week, so where have I been? Knitting, of course. Like those two or three cups of coffee you drink after Yom Kippur -- you know better intellectually, but you're jonesing and so indulge.

Sukkot was lovely. The Youngest Teen had to do all the decorating herself, since the Oldest Teen and The Spouse put up the contraption and The Middle Teen barely breezed in with enough time to shower before candle lighting. Youngest did a ton and a half of paper chains and used all our ornaments.

Instead of bringing back all sorts of useless garbage from our travels, we bring back useless souveniers as sukkah decorations. Works best when we travel in December, not so well when we're travelling in June.

First day we went to my aunt, who lives about 20 minutes away, not so much to see my aunt and my neohew (learning here fr the year and with my aunt for the holiday) as because The Middle Teen agreed to come home for the holiday only if she could be assured of seeing friends who live in my aunt's town. (Said friends are now in Poland doing the 'Let's give the Poles our tourism shekel as reward for everything they did to--oops, for-- us in WWII' tour. Oh, my, did I get political there?)

Last Monday we went to Jerusalem because the Teens wanted to go to the huge Birkat Cohanim at the Wall and I had a client meeting. Afterwards we all (including my nephew) went to lunch in Talpiot--which cost a fortune, because the only way to get a seat in the restaurant's sukkah was to take waiter service, and then to the second day of the Beit Shemesh Festival.

Middle Teen met more of her Poland-bound friends

and we got to see Shai Gabso for a second Sukkot in a row.

I was more impressed with Adi Ran and the Moshav Band, but was very disappointed with Shlock Rock. I guess when you've been following a band for 25 years (before they even were Schlock Rock) you build up unreasonable expectations.

Time to get back to my knitting--Socktoberfest (and my upcoming anniversary) call.

Friday, October 06, 2006

When Judaism interferes with knitting

Tonight the holiday of Sukkot starts, and so my knitting ends for a week. I'm still not sure I understand why I have to give up my craft Prozac -- sure, in the days when you *had* to knit/weave/spin/sew to clothe your family it was work, but now? [sigh]

And it comes at the worst time, right at the start of my quick-finish-everything-in-sight-before-I-fly panic.

Speaking of which, can anyone explain why accomodations in Toronto, Canada are so flippin' expensive? The Spouse and I may actually stay in a hostel, because everything else seems to be about the same price as the hotel we stayed in in Paris, without the convenience of a kosher breakfast or being walking distance from the Eiffel Tower. (And what, pray tell, is worth doing in Toronto, particularly after 5 pm, aside from Lettuce Knit?)

Here's a state of the WIPs, before religion forces them into hiding.

An FO--another MD baby kimono. Everything old is new again, only this time in stocking stitch. Gifted to a baby to be named later -- her parents were so sure she'd be a boy they hadn't even thought of any girl names, and then, when she was born, oops!

So now I have no girl baby gifts. A serious problem in a town where babies are the local industry. Lack of gifts + lots of oddballs of acrylic + MD knitting book = log cabin baby blanket! Too bad I started the blanket off thinking I'd have a run on boy baby gifts, but I can compensate: when I'm done I'll embroider a flower in the center square using some girly-girl color yarn. Since the picture was taken I've added two strips and four circular needles, because a blanket all bunched up looks like unblocked lace. What this might say about my tolerance for unblocked lace and the number of #6 circular needles I own will go unsaid.

But it's not all acrylics (me, knitting in acrylics--well, it's for a good cause, namely reducing my acrylic stash). Oh, no, of course it's not, because it's

I've even managed a half FO (does that make it an F or an O?)

Trekking XXL, color 66. This may hold the record for sock longest on the needles, since I cast it on at the beginning of June, while waiting for a flight to Las Vegas. (Here's the sock visiting Red Rock Canyon, back when I thought I could actually finish a sock over the summer with the Trek-Along)

and cast off Tuesday. With any luck sock #2 will go faster, because now that The Spouse has doctor-ordered custom insole and needs to wear old man shoes for the rest of his life, he's decided the only worthy compensation is hand-knit socks. (Are there any good cotton sock yarns with a decent amout of lycra content, too? The Spouse will spring for a whole new sock yarn stash if I can find a brand. If not, I'll probably try a pair or two out of Cascade Fixation.)

And if he gets, socks, I get socks. I hope these come out nicely, but who can tell? It's a mystery pattern from the SAM Yahoo group.

And in the Mason-Dixon spirit of "nothing is too crazy if you want it bad enough," a garterlac placemat. I think it may be a little small; I may buy another ball of this Coats & Clark yarn when I visit my parents in November.

Yeah, I know it's garish and tacky, yet for some reason, every time I look at it it makes me feel insanely happy. Go figure.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Not-so-random facts

1. The Oldest Teen has finally heard from the army about his placement. He's been accepted into the Atudah program (which is basically ROTC), to study aerospace engineering at the Technion. And to think that this is the child the regional council wanted to force into special ed...

2. Word to the wise: never be the first woman in my town to give birth in a new year. Last year the first birth was quadruplets, this year it was only twins.

3. Only in a small town department: Second day of Rosh Hashanah and I'm awake, but still in bed. The Teens have already gone to synagogue and The Spouse is putting on his shoes and socks, getting ready to leave. Our bedroom door is opened up by someone calling The Spouse's name. "What, this isn't TheNextDoorNeighbors' House?" she asks, a little angrily. "No, it's ours. TheNextDoorNeighbors live next door," The Spouse replies while I sink under the covers, trying to hide from TwoDoorsDownNeighbor's mother, who was supposed to go to NextDoorNeighbor and wake her grandson (who has the same first name as The Spouse) for prayers. Think this will stop my neighbors who are always telling me how far-too-American looking my house is, when their's (they claim) isn't?

4. I'm working my way through the Mason-Dixon book; I've already knitted more from this book than from any other knitting book I own. I've done many, many felted baskets and am now working on a crop of baby kimonos (babies are SmallTown's national product). This is done in garter stitch and only one tie (never did like the look of two) in Hibiscus Yarns hand-dyed:

5. To the person who got here by Googling Jewish men allowed to knit -- whyever not?

6. I'm not sure if I find this deeply cool or deeply disturbing. There's a new mixtape CD DJ Handler presents Y-Love, and one clip is on Y-Love's My Space site. So's a warning against listen to that clip, because some of the samples include female singers. (a)If it's forbidden to listen to them, why put them up on the site? (b)How many Charedi mean who'd obey the warning are actually trawling My Space?

7. G'mar Tov!