Friday, February 24, 2006

Pride goeth before a frog

Here's the front of my Holly. Isn't she beautiful?

Too bad she's also too small.

If you're going to do a swatch, make it a large one. I was perfectly on gauge for 4", but 1/2 stitch off when doing the whole thing, and stupid me didn't remeasure while knitting.

I've cast on again, this time doing front and back together circularly. I hate finishing.

At least I have my Glad Raggs to keep me happy:

I'm really not sure about this idea of a beaded sock. But that's what this whole 6 Sock thing is about, isn't it, trying new ideas which are outside your comfort zone?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

On the road again

Right after Purim (I mean right after--our flight leaves at 1:20 am on Shushan Purim) we're on the road again. And this time, I really could wait to be on the road again. Our detination?

Mexico City via Paris.

No freedom on this trip: the conference organizers have warned the vendors that we must stay in the hotel, stay with the group, and stay quiet, lest we be kidnapped and held for ransom. Gee, what fun. At least we signed up for a tour or three with the rest of the convention.

And Paris. Paris is beginning to scare me. I can read Spanish (though my spoken Spanish is pidgeon at best, and most people speak too fast for me to understand) but French--I can read it, but can't understand or speak a word. OK, so The Spouse can say "I don't speak French" with a great accent (he did study French for 7 years back in the Stone Age), but still. I'm hoping, since we will only leave the 9th district to go to sickeningly touristy places, that we can get by with his semi-French and our English, Hebrew, and Yiddish.

But our French firneds are really scaring us about how we act while there. We're used to living out loud as Jews, and, just for an example, our neighbor who's Parisian and who works in Israel for the French Embassy has told us that it is illegal for me to wear my headscarves and for The Spouse to wear his kippah in public. Say what? Hats are OK, but since we wear them for religious reasons...

So I went through my old hats and found an old beret I haven't worn for ages, still in decent shape. And I have enough of the pink ribbon yarn I used for my tank top to double up in an Odessa. But still. If it weren't that every flight to Europe from Mexico City goes through Paris, and that as is we land in Paris at 2:30 on a Friday afternoon--bleah. So not looking forward to this trip, despite all the knitting I'm getting to do in preparation.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Customer service, take 2

OK, Bezeq gets off the list of "blame it on the customer" enterprises. We have no phone lines in the house save our ADSL internet connection. Called Bezeq to complain and--suprise, surprise--they tell us they know and it'll be a day or two. Seems Arabs stole some of the cabling going into the main regional station at Beit El, and it will take a day or two to replace it.

Well, I guess I'll have time to finish off the back of Holly and start the front...

Acytually, not. I just found out that not only do I need a valid passport to get into Mexico, it has to be valid for 6 months after the date I enter. My US passport won't be, and I always feel safer having at least 2 valid passports with me, so I'm off to the Embassy tomorrow to renew. I'm cutting things close, but with a ticket, they'll get it back to you in 7 working days instead of 3 weeks. True, I only have the Israel/Paris/Israel section ticketed (the Mexico section won't be ready until tomorrow), but that should be good enough. I hope. But knitting needles? In the Embassy? Those folks are worse than TSA, even at Palm Beach International.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Oddly reassuring

There is something oddly reassuring about my newest Firefox extension, the Abe Vigoda status bar.

And something oddly reassuring that I wasn't the only Netvision customer who couldn't blog. From what I was told by the techie who helped me yesterday (may he have lots of love this year, bless his heart), the first tier "support" people have a script, which basically is 14 different ways of telling the customer, "It's not Netvision's fault, it's your fault." I mean, my router wasn't talking to Netvision, and they asked me if I had a screen saver running on one of the laptops wirelessly connected to the system! If you want anything done, you have to keep insisting on talking to a manager, then yell and scream, and then, maybe then, you'll be connected to a real techie. It seems to be an Israeli thing; we get the same run around from the electric company when the lights go out. "Maybe you blew a fuse?" And powered down the entire town? What do they think I have in my house -- the infamous 1965 New York State blow-dryer?

This message was brought to you by Abe Vigoda and customers who are sick of lousy customer service.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Honey, I'm home!

I thought Blogger was never going to let me in again...

Guess who's on-line with a brand-spanking new home wireless network? Yep. And no thanks to The Spouse, who told me a month ago that I couldn't handle it. OK, I probably would have had a difficult time putting the card into the single desktop which needed it, but with help from my ISP's tech support I would have managed. But I did set up the router, troubleshot the connection with my ISP (after a low level tech tried to help us with an email problem by having us screw up our system), and set the computers up as a network. Now I can take my computer into the living room to do a Pilates DVD and not lose my Bittorent downloads!

And why did the tech guy help us, even though it wasn't an ISP issue? Today's Valentine's Day, which in Israel is called the "Day of Love." My Hebrew name translates as "love," and he said it would be bad luck for him to not help me on this day of all days...

Now, why was I so anxious to blog? Look what my SP6 spoilee sent me!

This proves that Rainy is my soul-sister. Deep dark chocolate to bribe The Spouse with, the exact brand of tea that I scoured NYC looking for (the bags are built in such a way that there are no problems using them on the Sabbath) ultra-cool stitch markers (Evil Eye, begone from my knitting!) post-its (everyone knows I'm all about the post-its), the cutest magnet (Lives -- Get one), and Lorna's Laces -- in the flesh. I'm going to make me some anklets. Maybe while I'm off on my next trip?

And check out the postcard which she sent with the package. Because I am the good Katz gone bad.

Go check out Rainy's blog, if only for the funniest description of curling I've ever read.
And lest you think no knitting has been taking place, just because I'm not in the Knitting Olympics, My Debbie Bliss Cashmerino (get *her*, she's throwing around brand names like she always knits with the good stuff. Ha!) sweater -- Holly from the October 2005 Magknits.

Lesson for the day: read each section of the pattern before you try to knit that section. Frog, frog, frog.

Another blog rec: Overheard in New York. A daily must-read, but often NSFW.

Omri Sharon. 9 months in jail. Think this is the start of something? No, neither did I.

Monday, February 06, 2006

The wounded of Amona

From an SMS sent to The Youngest Teen by her friend in the army. I'm not sure how accurate this is, but word-of-mouth figures are all around this ballpark.

Here is a list of the wounded at Amona:

2 boys each blinded in one eye

1 cracked skull

40 suspected to have been rendered infertile

4 girls rendered infertile

3 boys rendered infertile

Pass this on!!

The fears of infertility stem from massive wounds inflicted either thrugh blows to the stomach and the internal organs (for the girls) and to the testicles (for the boys).

Today there was a meeting about the sexual violence employed by the police against female protesters. They were called whores, told to spread their legs, groped, beaten on their chests, stomachs, and between their legs, and told, according to one teenaged girl, "We'll keep on beating you there because you like it. You like having us touch you there." Other girls reported being threatened with rape. I'm no prophet; I hate that my prediction of increased sexual harassment as a police tool is coming true.

Knitting? Oh, yeah, I have knitting. Hopefully tomorrow will be calm so I can post pics.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Couldn't have said it better myself

Treppenwitz on Amona. Read it and weep.

And while the police were busy with other things, an Arab boards a minibus and stabs the passengers, murdering 53 year old Kineret Ben-Shalom. We see that terror issues from the Judenrein Gaza every day, including last Friday. Now we see it's coming out of the Judenrein North Shomron, too. Israel says it will hurt anyone who attaks Israel. Oh, yeah, sure. I'll bet those fliers can give a mean papercut when they land. When are the police going to start bombing outposts with fliers and call it a day?

Meanwhile Israel will continue to finance the Hamas.

And here's a story that doesn't seem to have made the mainstream press: before a local worker came out and brained today's terrorist, enabling his capture, he was shot at by Yeshurun Gavish, whose parents, grandfather, and older brother were murdered in their own home by an Arab terrorist. But, of course, because he's originally from Elon Moreh and moved, after the tragedy, to Kedumim (where his widowed sister-in-law and her mother, Daniella Weiss, took the family in), he must not be praised. Because, as we all know, settlers are "the Jewish Hamas" (at least according to our acting Prime Minister). They are the enemy, and nothing good, nor even anything human, may be said of them.

Friday, February 03, 2006

MIA (the national scene)

Someone put out an APB: After everything that's happened in Israel this week, there's one person who seems to have gone missing.

Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Bibi Netanyahu is requested to contact the nearest Likud branch, or at least issue a press release letting people know he's still involved in Israeli politics, despite his silence.

Run down of Amona stories:

The 15 year old boy who was in critical condition is getting better. He's off the respirator and even talking about his ordeal.

A neighbor of mine, mother to nine children (including a set of triplets and a set of quadruplets) was harassed/molested (you choose which) by the police for protesting. This isn't the first time I've written about the police's choice to use sexual violence as a tool against female settlers.

Here's survivor testimony and video of the police beatings. Watch the videos, and tell me this: a week after the Hamas won the PA elections, largely on the strength of their victory is cleansing Gaza of the infection of a Jewish presence, Israel is cleansing more areas. How much sense does this make?

A modest proposal: Given what seems to be a growing trend with the police, I would suggest someone start a new fund, buying helmets for the teens and bodysuits for all protesters. I'm not joking, either. What would happen to the balance of power if the police's main tools and strength were taken away?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Say a prayer

For the recovery of 15 year old Yechiam (the son of Rachel & Nachi) Ayal, who is in serious-to-critical condition at Haddash Ein Karem. He is unconscious and on a respirator, suffering from a cracked skull. A cracked skull given to him by the police today in Amona.

Oh, what a lovely democracy. In what other democracy would Parliament members be brutalized by the police? Effi Eitam was bloody, but is well enough to be talking to the press. Aryeh Eldad's arm was broken. As much as people complain about Bush's USA, has anyone seen pictures like this

of any US Congressperson?

The only good news of the day is that the 13 year old girl who's been in prison (not in the luxury wing, either--caged with the druggies) because she no longer recognizes the sovereignty of the Israeli system and went into the destroyed community of Sa-Nur after the government said not to, was released!

Some days it doesn't pay to chew through the straps

Another wasted day for the Middle Teen. She went to school, but most classes had been cancelled because the government was again going to be destroying people's homes, this time in Amona. She left school early, because she take aikido class in Jerusalem on Wednesday night, and I called to warn her that civilians are planning to block the main local junction at 4. "That's not the problem," she told me. "The road all the way up is blocked."

Yesterday, on the way home from the doctor (she needed to get a form signed so that she can start driving lessons) she got caught up in a road blocking and hid out in a bus stop to keep from getting arrested. She didn't want to chance it again today, so she called the dojo and they said that, under the circumstances, they wouldn't count this week as a class she needs to pay for. (The school gets a big thumbs up from me on that one!)

While hitch-hikig home she met a neighbor coming home from Amona. She was shuddering and shaking. "It was terrible," E told The Middle Teen. "The worse thing I've ever seen." Now E is no shrinking violet. She's a veteran of Yitzhar, Chevron, Gush Katif, North Shomron, been to jail a few times for road blockages -- and that's just the things *I* know about. If she was so unnerved by what happened today and how it was all carried out, just how bad was it?

When inmates like E take over the country (and it won't be long now, given demographics -- 10 years, maybe 20?) I wouldn't want to be today's "average Israeli." But will the country survive that long?

RIP Amona. We will rebuild you some day.