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)