Monday, October 29, 2007

New Blog and other matters

Many things going on lately. Working on our Chanukah camp for kids with special needs and preparing the budget right now as we speak. It's tough as we don't really have any funds yet, other than the funds that we raised for the summer -which were for the summer - and now we need to see if we can make the program more specialized for our kids and train the staff the way we'd like, and of course, that all costs money. Fortunately, I'm working with 2 other people that I really enjoy - Miriam Avraham and Uri Lahav. They both speak the language of the special needs world - Uri from his work with adults and kids and Miriam because she's got a kid with DS (I think I've mentioned her before). We met last night to talk over the program that Ein Yael has presented us and to talk budget and as usual, to dream - to dream over the program that we'd like to build and make happen for our kids and the kids of Jerusalem and beyond. I guess I have to learn how to fundraise in addition to learn how to really make this thing happen. First, we'll work on Chanukah and then decide how to officially become an 'amuta' - charitable organization. We do need a name, though. How about 'Kaytana She'lanu' - Our camp. That is, camp for all of us.

Natan and I have started a new blog, Cooking without a Parachute, which is still under construction. Natan has long wanted to 'have a cooking show together', as he used to say when he was younger and we watched too much of the Food Network. In those days, we'd cook together and pretend to be hosting a show, Natan providing color commentary to whatever we were making, while I chopped and described the dish and its method of preparation. Our idea with the blog is cooking by the seat of your pants. Looking into your refrigerator, pulling out whatever seems interesting and just making something. Even if you consult a cookbook, you let your ingredients and your mood guide you to adjust as necessary. Everyone can do this even though most will so, 'oh no, I need to follow a recipe.' There's nothing wrong with recipes except that they often prevent you from making a dish. You don't have carrots, or are missing mushrooms. Ok, so don't make mushroom soup if you don't have mushrooms but you can still make something else with whatever you do have in stock. As well, most of us have an excellent choice of condiments on our refrigerator doors. Condiments are our friends. From those bits of chutney, aging mustards, mystery sauces that you picked up or were gifted once, and salad dressings, come marinades for tofu, meats and fishes as well as quick toppings for simple grain and veg meals.

We see the blog as a way of engaging the boys in cooking as well, which they already do but which I'd like to see happen more, especially during the week. As a matter of fact, Gabe made dinner last night and you can read about it right now...

Other big news is that we're all going to Budapest to meet up with our beloved, Erszi. You too, can meet us in Europe one day, especially if Ira continues to be the master of frequent flyer miles. He schemed and plotted and now we're all flying frequent flyer. Ok, we're not all flying together but that's another matter. We still have to find a place to stay but we're working at it. If you have any ideas - need a short-term rental for 5 days.

Lastly, The Honey will be sending out a survey next week - if you're a Honey reader, please click and fill it out as we need to know more about our readers so that we can learn how to best serve them...and make money.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

It's Raining

It's raining. Wait, IT'S RAINING. It's raining it's pouring (not exactly but it's coming down for a few minutes with nice, fat splotches of rain)'s tinkling outside my window as I sit and type these words to you. Now there's lightening and thunder. How exciting.

Meaning, it's raining (have I made that clear) and it's the first rain since last April, I guess, or early May - yes, I think there was a late drizzle in May. The air smells strange - kind of like every bit of dirt of the last many months is sort of being moved about before it gets tamped down by the dampness. We drove home carefully as when it rains here for the first time, people get into car accidents - they've literally forgotten how to drive in slipperly conditions. Crazy, huh?

Now it's a few hours later and it's positively autumnal feeling here - breezes blowing and I can even consider wearing warmer pj's tonight and using an extra blanket.

The first rain is called the 'yoreh' here and it's cause for celebration and I can see why as it's almost unbelievable that it finally rained again.

Natan, who just returned from Poland (more on that at another time) was less impressed, having experienced both rain and cold weather there but for the rest of us, waiting for that first drop of rain, it's just thrilling.

Let's hope for a rainy, rainy season.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Oh No

I've been found. Forget about Ira, I've been found. I should kill Jessica as part of it, is her fault although she claims that she wasn't the only one who thought of me.

Shul jobs are coming to call this fall. What to do?
Job Description: Working with someone else to coordinate hospital visits and 'what do you need' calls to families at Shira Hadasha.
Skills Needed: Hospital experiences (well, we all know I've done my share this year), ability not to get in people's faces (I always have to work on that one), desire to get to know people at Shira Hadasha (well it would be useful).
Who suggested me: Jess said it wasn't her. She said she was at a meeting with a few people with whom I dealt over the summer during Jess's hosptial incarceration. How much you want to bet she tipped her hand.

Job Description: 'Kef' Organizer. Within very small community, be involved to create fun activities together, from meals to picnics, to hikes to who knows what?
Skills Needed: People person (umm), good organizer (umm), desire to get involved (mum on this one as still sit on the fence alot of the time), good at planning things (sigh).
Who suggested me: Miriam Avraham, a Ma'yanot friend and mother of Adina, who has DS and has become a friend. She's taking on the role of Y"oR/Yoshev Rosh/Acting Head of the Kehillah/community, with her husband, Yehuda. I'm trying to talk her out of it as I think I'd much more enjoy community outreach and fundraising.

I have this idea of pairing Ma'yanot with an egalitarian community I know...
Great idea...doncha think?

Actually, went to the Ma'yanot meeting last night. Sat around in someone's living room, noshing and laughing and getting down the business of how to better organize ourselves, run ourselves, and perhaps build the community and find a semi-permanent home until the municipality deigns to finalize the plot of land that supposedly awaits us in this general neighborhood. Felt alot better about the community than normal as out of a very small group of members, almost everyone sent a representative, and in some cases, 2. That's cool.

Bathrooms and Baseball

Have I told you about bathrooms in Israel? Meaning, have I told you that you don't have to train your bladder to become camelike in it's capacity to hold for hours? That you don't have to have a working map in your head of your neighborhood, and others as well, and the friendly places that you can pee, or beg to pee or sneak in to pee. As a matter of fact, if you're somewhere in this country, all you have to do is say, 'where's the bathroom?' or even simpler, 'I have to pee' (yes, that's what people say, albeit in Hebrew) and someone will point the way. It may be clean or dirty, may have paper or not, but it will always be available to you, without having to show a small child grabbing between their legs so prove the need, so to speak.

So, imagine my pleasure the other night, after having driven an hour and a half (almost) in late day traffic, with a car full of boys eager to play baseball, to the one regulation baseball field in the country for a game against the K'far Saba team to arrive at Kfar Ha'baptist'im/Baptist Youth Village, one of the main places of play in the IBL and despite the simple setting, slightly rundown look of the buildings, the bathrooms were clean and pleasant to use.

Some info about the Baptist Youth Village (from jewishvirtual, in case you were wondering..."Three Protestant communal agricultural settlements have been established in different parts of Israel in recent years. Kfar Habaptistim, north of Petah Tikvah, was founded in 1955, and besides farming provides conference and summer-camp facilities for the Baptist and other Protestant communities in the country." So, for those who will understand the reference, it's the Koynonia of Israel.

Gas stations have nice bathrooms, coffee places all have nice bathrooms, and even the grocery store bathrooms are passable in this country. Just carry your own toilet paper to be sure!

Note on the game: Gabe's team loss but not after 2 solid innings of hitting (the other team also had 2 rallies) and one heavily disputed call that was worked out - I won't tell you how but the suffice to say, the umpire was allowed to save face and Gabe's coach apologized for losing his cool but as he said, 'I had to, for the was only fair' or something along those lines. It was a loss but a loss with style and verve and heart. Sister Sarah and Michael showed up with Noam, late in the game, to cheer Gabe as he swung and missed at the plate. That was kind of fun as we were right near their house and they enjoyed being able to pop on by, bringing me a much needed cup of tea, and stay to heckle the players for a while. The field is really beautiful and that made the evening even more enjoyable. Kind of like sitting at a single A game somewhere in the middle of nowhere - before they built stadiums for those games and started charging money. Not that this was anywhere near single A ball but that feeling...if you get what I mean.

Friday, October 05, 2007


It's shocking to think of all the things I've done today - woke up at 5:30ish (bathroom), then laid in bed listening for Akiva (5:50), then waited for Akiva to arrive in our bed (6:00), got up and dressed and biked to Ramat Rachel with Ira for 7:00am Spinning class(Gabe laid in bed and supervised Akiva) which was followed by some laps in the pool (me, not Ira), a bit of a shvitz and then back home. Cooked, tidied, read email, etc, and then off for errands locally with Akiva and Ira (after he had worked for a bit), met up with Natan who had babysat for Fayanne for a bit - ate pizza (Akiva and Ira), bought a paper, coffee (Ira and I), surprisingly tart sorbet (me) and then home with a stop for JPost and bread (pickings were slim because it was late), milk and eggs. Shabbat starts in 5 minutes or so.

So, what's the big deal, you ask? The big deal is that while I was doing all of that, you guys were sleeping and now you're getting up for your 2nd day of holidaying and dancing, praying and singing, eating and eating and eating....

It's shocking, really, but I have to say really quite wonderful and it's enough of a reason to live here - especially on the good days.

Gotta to run and light candles.
Shabbat Shalom y'all.