Gefilte Fish Out of Water


My hand is tingling.
January 10, 2010, 1:55 am
Filed under: Infrastructure, Pot Luck | Tags:

Damnit, like I have time for this.  My left hand is tingling.  Not just when I type, but almost all the time now.  It doesn’t hurt, but eff nonetheless.  I’ve already had carpal tunnel surgeries on both my wrists in 2004 and 2005.  Not again!  At least it’s not going numb, which is what it did before I needed the surgery.  Maybe this is something different?  I’m not afraid of doctors; I’ve got a healthy dose of hypochondria.  I’ll get it looked at if it becomes a problem.  But for now, I’m gonna ignore it.

Besides, I’m a rightie…



My favoritest Hebrew sentence ever.
July 21, 2009, 10:09 pm
Filed under: Cultural Differences, Funny Hebrew, Pot Luck

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Sometimes Hebrew words just sound real silly to my English ears.

The funniest sentence in all of Hebrew has to be: . תטוסי שנת שעבר  (Ta-toosee schnot sha-ah-var).

Ha !!  Ha!!  Ha!!  Tussy!  Snot!  LMFAO

[Technically, my Hebrew sentence is incorrect.  "Schnot" is only a word if it's part of a smichoot - a combo word made up of two other words, like "brother-in-law."  But that doesn't make it any less funny.]

BeavisButthead



The (Almost) Kesef Shot
July 17, 2009, 6:47 am
Filed under: Cultural Differences, Pop Culture, Pot Luck

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I thought it would be funny to get a shot, juxtaposing the racy & camp image of Bruno’s butt with a Hasidic Jew.

Only trouble is, this ain’t Jerusalem.  You have to park yourself on the street and wait for an Orthodox passerby, and….who has time for that?  My life is so crammed, that it was very hard for me to try and stay still long enough to get a really good shot.

I got so siked as I passed this guy on my bike, going towards the gym.  Ooh!  I’m gonna get my shot!  But even though I got  there ahead of him to get set up, it happened so quickly, and there were other peeps in the way, and I really didn’t have the ideal vantage point (I shouldda been in an apartment, looking down from the 2nd 1st floor).

Anyway, I got what I got, and you get the idea.

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Dirty, Dirty Feet.
June 13, 2009, 7:01 pm
Filed under: Identity, Pot Luck

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If you are someone I just had a first date with, then do not read this post.  Also, the foot in the pic above belongs to my neighbor.

But actually it’s my foot.  Ew, I know.  I’m taking real good care of my feet these days – pedicure once a month, exfoliate them in the shower.  They are really cute, I swear.  But at the end of a long day in flip flops or sandals, they are just black on the bottoms.  Ew!  And I really don’t want to put them on my ottoman, which is khaki colored. 

Anyway, just sayin.



Cracked Out JC Penney Dad
June 10, 2009, 5:06 pm
Filed under: Identity, Pot Luck, School

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WTF am I wearing in this photo ??

(Um, it’s called Monday’s outfit.)

I remember it was so hard deciding which clothes to take to Israel and which to leave behind.  With very little room in 3 suitcases, most stuff had to go into storage.  But I tried to get as much spring and summer dressy stuff (blazers, slacks, button-downs) in my bags as I could fit.  Honestly, my boss told me, all you’re ever wear is tank tops, shorts and flip flops anyway.  

shorts 1What about interviews?  Or, dinners in fancy restaurants?  And in the winter here, it’s about 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the daytime and 50 at night.  Hello, leather jackets?  Hoodies and cool sweaters, anybody?  Let’s not start on shoes.

Guess what?  Boss is totally right.  Now that it’s gotten hot (and Israelis still laugh at you when you think THIS is their summer), all I ever wear are tank tops, shorts and flip flops.  “Dressing up” is, like, a T-shirt.  Now, there are peeps walking around in more stylin’ outfits.  Mainly the chicks – lotta legging action going on, but also cute tops and even cropped jackets, yada yada.  The guys though…still nothing fancier than jeans.  But I’m in 5 hours of intensive language school at 8:15 a.m., and my work afterwards is for a nonprofit with a staff of three.  Style just isn’t mandatory right now.

Anyway.  I was already bored of my shorts rotation, so I started working in the JC Penney-cheesy-WASPy-slacks-ish-230R_KHAKIno-one-ever-wears-them-in-real life dress shorts.  You know what I’m talking about – the ones that only exist in the pages of the JC Penney or Sears catalogue, where three generations of handsome waspy men & boys (a 5-yr-old, a youngish hot dad, and a prematurely gray handsome gramps) are all posing and smiling at each other, outdoors on a lawn (maybe a picnic setting?)  [Sidenote: I tried to find examples of these cheesy staples online and couldn't find them anywhere!  Who knew one day I'd miss that crap?]

Anyway, my dress shorts are GAP.  And the only reason I even bought them was because they were totally on sale, and I was like, “Oh, right – these are perfect to wear once a year to the Father’s Day BBQ at my Aunt Paula & Uncle Ronnie’s house.”  Or, maybe if I got invited to a polo match.

342R_TAUPEThey’re not right with flips, so I paired them with beaten-up docksides; and I have been sometimes wearing them with the obligatory polo shirt.  But it’s too hot now, so I wore them with a free, souvenier New York Road Runners club tank top.

The result?  Why, clearly it’s that old archtype: Cracked Out JC Penney Dad.

Excuse me, can you tell me where the line for the Worst Dressed List begins?

Excuse me, can you tell me where the line for the Worst Dressed List begins?

This is what I wore to SCHOOL !!   What’s even sadder is that no one even blinked.  Half the olim had just rolled out of bed.  At least I showered.



Excuse me, do you speak English?
June 5, 2009, 10:06 pm
Filed under: Pot Luck

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Most times, it’s me asking, “At medeberet Anglit?” (transliterized Hebrew for “Do you speak English?”)

Sometimes, it’s somone asking me for directions in Hebrew, and me having to answer with “Slicha, ani medeber Anglit.” (Sorry, I speak English.)

This time, though, it was a young woman, waiting next to me for a traffic light to change by Dizengoff Center (before my whole day turned to shit), who asked, “Excuse me, do you speak English?”  Sure, I’m from New York.  “Do you know your way around here?”  Yeah, I live her now.  I made Aliyah 3 months ago.  “Which way is the fountain – is it this way (points)?”  Yeah, it’s just down there, 3 blocks.  “Thank you.”  You’re welcome.

She really lucked out, being next to me.  I love helping people.



The Old Guy Thing
May 30, 2009, 3:10 pm
Filed under: Pot Luck

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So it was nothing really.  But at the time it was odd:  two consecutive days where a random senior citizen guy took an extraordinary interest in me, for no reason at all.

Tuesday, it was outside my apartment building.  I had just rushed home to make myself a salad, after running a few errands after school.  I passed this big bellied guy on the phone as I headed out to my bike and thought nothing of it.  A minute later, as I’m futzing with the lock on my bike, he comes up to me, speaking in Hebrew and handing me the phone.

“אנ’ מדבר אנגל’ט” I said, and he changed over to English.  He thrusts me the phone and says, “Tell her I’m the fattest thing you ever saw, and she needs to have a healthy lunch with me,” he says.

WTF???

He continues: “Tell her!  Tell her!” he insists, and then says to me in an aside: “I’m trying to get her to say yes to a lunch date.  Tell her I look terrible and fat, so she will accept my offer to eat at a vegetarian place.”

(This is this guy’s technique?)

I grab the phone and am charming.  “Well, he’s not the thinnest I’ve ever seen him,” I say (not wanting to insult him.)  When he encourages me silently, I go for it: “Seriously, he’s so big that he took up the whole sidewalk, and I can’t ride around him,” I say.  He yanks the phone from me and asks her, “Did you hear that?  I am so big that he can’t ride his bike around me!” 

He shoves the phone back at me, and I improvise some more: “You should definitely come over here and go out with him.  He’ll take you to a nice place…”  He cuts me off with, “No, I will pick her up and take her to a beautiful place!” he says.  I backpedal, “I mean, you should let him pick you up and take you out.  It’s a beautiful day.  You two can sit outside, he’ll take you shopping afterwards and buy you some nice things…”  (His eyes open wide, but he’s into my performance and still encouraging me.)

Eventually I get myself out of this by saying I have to go to work (it was true).  He’s still on the phone with her, but he leaves her hanging and asks me how we can stay in touch.  I just give him my number, because I don’t expect to have this phone for much longer.

15 minutes later, I’m in the office when the phone rings.  It’s him.  “That was great,” he says.  “It didn’t work for this time, and she doesn’t love me yet, but I thnk I will get her next time.”  I tell him I’m glad.  He thanks me for helping him out on the spot like that and makes a comment like, “This could be the start of a beautiful friendship.”    Um, didn’t we just meet? (I’m thinking.)  He says, “I’m not gay or coming onto you like that or anything, not that there’s anything wrong with that…”  He senses that he’s putting his foot in his mouth and says, “Sorry, sometimes I make stupid jokes.”  I tell him, “No, it was clever,” but secretly I’m pushing the silent alarm under my desk for the authorities to come get this guy and haul him away.

Anyway, I don’t think he was a gay psychopath, just a jovial dude with a big personality.  But my plate is so full, I don’t have time to see and stay in touch with the great friends I already have here and abroad.  I don’t need to add Fyvush Finkel to the mix.

Then, the next day, as I entered the mall where the Maccabi eye doctor’s office was in Azorei Chen, I meet a securityn1138233430_30129402_8848 guard who I ask for directions.  His name is Moshe, and he tells me he likes my “I Love New York” shirt that my friend Jeffrey made for me.  He tells me he is also from New York and made Aliyah more than 30 years ago.  He yaks some more, but I get away from him.

On the way out, he asks me if I’ve signed up with the AACI (Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel) yet.  I tell him I haven’t, and he praises them and says he volunteers there.  Then, he asks for my number and tells me he wants to stay in touch.  Him, too?  I doubt this guy was gay or lascivious either, but two old guys wanting my number in just as many days – what, do I have “Pop Pops of the world, let’s be BFFs” tattooed on my forehead suddenly or something???



Sabotage???
May 25, 2009, 10:44 pm
Filed under: Cool Things, Pot Luck
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Goodbye speed.  Was reduced to walking my bike down long stretch of gorgeously smooth and manicured bike path.

Open road....too bad I had to walk.

Open road....too bad I had to walk.

Prayed for a gas station or bike shop.  It was approaching 6pm.  Fished my wish: there was a gas station and Bridgestone Tires (!!!) place on other side of road.  Crossed when lights were red.  Talked to Bridgestone guys.  English speakers rule !!!   Gave me directions to nearby “Rony’s Bike Shop.”

Uval (Rony is his daughter; he named shop after her) put my bike on a…bike holder thing…and fixed the tire in no time for 30 shekels (about $8).

Uval showed me two thorns he pulled out of my flat tire.  I explained to him how I crashed because I hadn’t been paying attention, and he told me that was just a coincidence and didn’t cause my flat.  The flat was caused by these thorns, which I rolled over after I got back on my bike after the crash.  Dayum !!!

While he worked, we had a cool conversation about Hebrew and English.  He said Hebrew has 1/10 the amount of words English has (70,000 vs. 7 million), but that it is definitely enough to express all your thoughts.  He said I need to keep speaking my Hebrew in public and not rely on Israelis’ ability to speak English.  I told him I had run into Israelis plenty of times who didn’t speak English, and how that sucks.  He explained that almost all Israelis know English, but they are embarassed to make mistakes, because they primarily learned their English not from the classes they had in high school but really from American TV, so they will only speak English in environments where they feel safe and they won’t be embarassed.

IMG_2055A-ha. 

Was happy to get ease and speed back and ride on home.  You see, everything in Israel is an adventure!  I had the frigging time of life riding a few miles out to the eye doctor, crashing, getting a flat, getting directions to a bike shop, getting my bike fixed and having meaningful conversation with a stranger new friend, then riding on home.  Israel’s the best!

Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end there.  Then, I went back to work for four hours, and now it’s quarter to 2:00 in the morning, and I’m still a’bloggin’…



Sleeping Beauty
May 9, 2009, 3:30 pm
Filed under: Pot Luck

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My bed was delivered on Wednesday of this week.  It was a crazy delivery time (6am), b/c my work + school routine prevented me from most normal delivery hours.  So, I woke up around 5:00 a.m. to get ready for school before walking over to my new apartment to meet the delivery guy.  The store said he would have to assemble the bed’s base (a futon-like wood thing; they don’t use box springs + frames here, but wood bases instead), so I planned on being there a while to allow him to construct this.  But he brought it fully assembled, so it took no time at all.

Time gift.  What should I do with it?  Go back home and get into bed again?  But I was already showered & dressed.  So, I love what I did instead: set the alarm on my neutered American BlackBerry and lay down on the mattress (with plastic coating still on it, since apartment was still very dusty) and took a delicious 45 minute nap.  Morning sun washing over me when I woke up, the first time waking up in my new place.  Already dressed and still looking neat, there was nothing to do but hop in a sherut and go to class, all happy from my refreshing first sleep in my new home.



Sunlight of the Spirit
May 2, 2009, 8:47 pm
Filed under: Pot Luck

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Today I rode with friends to Jerusalem to take part in the second day of the Israel Roundup.

A Roundup is a convention for people in recovery – AA, alanon, overeaters anonymous.  Any 12-step progam is welcome; it isn’t officially an AA thing.  There are meetings and workshops and fun and fellowship.

In America, they’re mostly LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) events and can be quite elaborate.  I like to go to the Florida Roundup in Miami each March.  It has a huge nighly meeting w/ 1,400 people, workshops all day long, plus tons of hot, sober queens in speedos by the pool, a dance, a play, drag bingo, etc.  And it’s at a resort in Miami Beach.  I usually go for a week and make a total vaca out of it.

This was a little different.  It wasn’t expressly LGBT.  It was just meetings and workshops – nary a bingo card waving drag queen in sight.  But I got to meet really nice sober people from other parts of Israel, including Jerusalem, Haifa, Raanana and more.

The ride from Tel Aviv takes only 40 minutes.  Israel is small, dude.  You blink and you’re there. 

img_1883One cool part was that I went to my first ever AA meeting in Hebrew.  It was a 3-speaker meaning, meaning three different people shared their experience, strength & hope for 15-20 minutes, or “what it was like, what happened, and what it’s like now.”  I sat in the section in the back for people who only spoke English.   A supercool young woman translated the whole meeting into English for us.  She was really good, too.  We weren’t missing a beat.  It was like watching a foreign leader on TV, where you still hear the speaker in their original language but also hear the translator in voiceover on top of it.  And of course, one or two Hebrew speakers nearby had to turn around and be like, “Shh, can you translate a little quieter?” and we’re all like, “Um, no, why don’t you move away from our section and sit in one of the other 50 empty chairs in another part of the room, Selfy McSelfish?”  Oops, Resentment Alert!

Anyway, had a great time.  Thanks, AA.




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