June 2005 Archives

Cutie Patootie


Yesterday evening Mark and I decided to go up the mountainside to the Merkaz, which literally means 'city center'. I needed to go to the pharmacy, Mark needed to take clothes to the dry cleaners and if we were going to do that we might as well grab some dinner, too.

So we headed out to the bus stop near our home. We waited a few minutes.

Now, we take public transportation here. Sometimes that means we take the bus (not crowded ones, though - and we've passed those up a couple of times), taxis and what are commonly known as 'sheruts'. A sherut is a van taxi that follows the bus route but lets you get on or off anywhere you like, not just the bus stops, and it can actually be the cheapest form of transportation at times.

When you take a sherut, you don't have to pay the driver as you get in. You can sit down, get your money out, pass it to the nearest person and they'll pass it forward so that it gets to the driver. The driver will then send you your change back via the same system. Usually it works. (and generally, the introvert that I am, I try to avoid sitting up front behind the driver because that means you have to communicate with him about where everyone is going - a time Hebrew would be a major advantage)

So, we were at the bus stop. Knowing that the bus we wanted wouldn't be along for a while, when a sherut bearing the same number came by, we took it. We got in and went all the way to the back, as that was the only place where two seats were available next to each other. I got NIS20* out and started it on its passageway forward.

By now you're wondering why on earth I chose the title I did, no?

Mark handed it to the lady in front of him, indicating it was for two people. This meant I should get NIS10 back. The lady was with a young girl, no more than 8 or 9 years old. She handed the young girl the NIS20 bill and told her to pay. At first she just handed it to the lady in front of her, but her mother/aunt/grandmother/babysitter told her to hand it to the driver directly, which she did.

She got the NIS10 coin back from the driver. And returned to her seat. Heeheehee. End of story - or so she thought. She was going to keep the change! So cute. The poor lady she was with was so embarrassed. Mark and I couldn't stop laughing. She told the girl to apologize to us, I think, but the sweet thing was so embarrassed herself at this point that we didn't see her face again until she was off the sherut.

I turned to Mark and said, "Oh this one is definitely going on the blog!"

*NIS stands for "new Israeli shekel" which seems to have been what it's been called for quite some time. There are about 4 1/2 shekels to the dollar.

Got Me Thinking


I was busy posting on a friend's blog (Sashwee), when I realized I had quite a bit to say about her discussion. So first things first, here is what she had to say about lessons she learned about enjoying where she is living:

One thing that I learned in Denmark about creating a home for yourself somewhere, is that you have to look for things that you like. You have to make a running mental list of things around you that make you happy, lift your spirits, give you pleasure. It was a turning point for me in Denmark when I started doing this. It’s a little like befriending someone, discovering things you share, remembering their jokes and opinions.
I thought of this recently and have started a little list.

Okay, if you want to see her list, you're going to have to check out her blog. I don't think it would be fair to just repost her blog on mine.

But it got me thinking, so here was my comment on her blog [which I had to recreate because I accidentally closed the window before publishing it, gah!], my list if you will:

I love going to my pharmacist because he gives me mini-Hebrew lessons and recaps the Baha'i lectures at Haifa University.

I like going to Fresco, well, because we go there often so they know us. And one of the young women who works there always says "Bone Appetite" when she serves us pizza. That makes me smile.

I like walking in the Merkaz/Ahuza area because it is clean and full of life.

I like looking out our front window at the ships in the bay. When my father was here he did the same and told me so much about them that it reminds me of him when I watch the ships.

I like watering my backyard. It gives a sense of calm control.

I like recycling our plastic bottles - physically putting them in the bin. It reminds me that I live here, that I am grounded, that I belong here and it lets me feel like I am contributing to it.

I love eating the labane and zaatar pizza at the little hole in the wall on Allenby. It's scrumptious, definitely Middle East specific and makes me feel like I know a great secret!

Thank you, Sashwee, for getting me thinking!

You Figure Out A Title


I don't want to be here.

I want to leave and I don't want to be around anyone I know.

Otherwise they'll just want to 'know what's wrong'. And I don't want to talk.

I just want it to all go away.

Is this what it was like, Maman, when you used to say "I've changed my name and I'm moving to Australia"?

Twist Ties


We all have people and things that we value.

Most of us also have some silly things we're attached to, for one reason or another.

We also have things that seem completely unimportant, but due to circumstances, became valuable.

Well, that's the way twist ties are for me.

Twist ties?, you ask.

Yes, well, as I said, due to circumstances they have become valuable to me.

As far as I can tell, Israel doesn't have twist ties. I kid you not. All the trash bags I've gotten don't include twist ties, and I haven't seen them anywhere else. And you don't miss them until you don't have any. Who'd have thought to pack twist ties? Except, all those half open bags of rice, pasta, raisins, etc. - what do you do with them? I used rubberbands mostly. We had some hard plastic twist ties from computer equipment, too, but there was definitely a shortage.

Then my parents came to visit in January. And my mother was horrorstruck that I couldn't find twist ties here. I'm sure she would have bought me some had she seen some to buy.

A few weeks after my parents left, I got a package.

Yup, you guessed it. It included a plentiful supply of twist ties - not to mention MSG-free boullion, colorful post-it notes for my office, and a silly comic strip about digging tar out of your shoes (let's just say Israel isn't exactly known for clean beaches).

Now, every time I reach for a twist tie it brings a smile to my face because they are part of such a loving, thoughtful gift from my mother.

Sometimes, it really is about the little things.

Thank you, Maman!

Yehudiya National Forest



Yeah, um, so, the insect discussion was sort of making me nervous, so I'm moving on.

Last weekend we took a long, difficult hike in the Yehudiya National Forest. We walked down into a ravine (as seen here), hiked along side it until we couldn't ignore it anymore, jumped in, swam across (yes, gear and all - that's why the pic isn't great & I don't have much more to share), hiked some more, swam some more, saw beautiful waterfalls, and then, when we were exhausted, sore, and some 'slightly damaged', we had to hike back up and out.

Wow was that hard. And at one point I walked - head first - into an overhang because I was so concentrated on my footing on the rocky terrain.

But we did it and we survived. It'll be a while before I think of doing something like that again.

Patience is a Virtue


I believe someone once said "revenge is a plate best eaten cold."

Well, I have bidden my time. In fact, I didn't think I'd get this chance.

But it has come. She has forgotten what she said.

*evil grin* heheheheh.....

For those of you who have been around my blog for a while remember my encounter with a tarantula in my bathroom.

Yes, a tarantula. In the bathroom. You can check my entry from 9 June 2004 for the full story.

And make sure to read the comment from my sister teasing me for freaking out over a tarantula.

Only, see, she has apparently found a few cockroaches in HER house and now that is a big deal.

Well, darlin', it seems what goes around comes around.

Happy killing!

p.s. if you don't know me as well as my sister does, I love her immensely and am fully aware that having cockroaches in your house is a major bummer.

The Fam



Great looking family, no? This, I assume was for Mark's father's birthday - it appears just about everyone but Mark and me were there.

Oh, and yes, that is Matthew...! Of course, he has at least one uncle that I know of who went through a similar 'skater dude' phase back when he was that age. In fact, Mark didn't stop with the long hair, noooo, he permed it too! [to his credit, he swears it was one of his brothers' idea.]



First of all, why do people actually say that? It's 'disoriented', okay? Sorry - pet peeve. (except that somehow it's become acceptable in British English - gah!)

Anyway, what this is really about is the fact that I'm clearly confused about the day of the week.... We do our laundry every Thursday. Yesterday was Tuesday. Before we went out for dinner, I sorted the laundry so that I wouldn't have to do it when we returned from dinner - except, we don't do laundry until tomorrow. Whoops.

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