Gefilte Fish Out of Water


Birthday Footnote
January 24, 2010, 12:45 pm
Filed under: Feelings, Just Sayin' | Tags: ,


My birthday is so last week, I know – but one more thing about it.  The gym locker I like to use happens to be # 39.  Forty, of course, is right next to it, but the metal part where you put your lock is broken off.  So, I’m going to continue to use # 39, if that’s alright with you.

Also, on the night of my birthday, literally when it turned 12:00, I was out on the street, having just exited the gym.  I know I’ll be 40 all year, but there’s only one moment ever when you turn forty (now, technically I wasn’t 40 yet; as several friends pointed out, since I was born on the east coast of the USA in EST, this was a unique window where it was my birthday in Tel Aviv…yet I was actually still 39).  But anyway!  So, since there is only this one moment to mark when you’re actually turning 40, I decided to really mark it.

The street wasn’t packed around me (it was midnight), but there were some people.  I’m brave – but not that brave – so I waited until the light changed green and traffic started rushing by to yell

I’m 40 !!!

…really loud (yet, not at the top of my lungs, and kinda not very enunciated).

Still.  A cool moment.  My friend Marko tweeted right back after I tweeted about it this to wish me Happy Bday…and call me a Mess.  Love him!

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The Big 4-0
January 16, 2010, 5:13 pm
Filed under: Cool Things, Feelings, Friends, Identity | Tags:

I usually don’t throw parties for myself, but you only turn 40 once each lifetime.  So, this year I knew I must.

I went with my friend Phil last month to see this place my friends the Becker-Barkins recommended called Betty Ford.  By mistake, we went into the wrong place, but we liked it immediately.  Called Nachalat 52 (creative!, it’s the address), it had a Western-sort of vibe, with a lot of wood, which you typically don’t see in Israel.  The shister manager Ronen promised me the upstairs room to myself for the party.  They had a pool table up there and Guitar Hero hooked up to a big flat screen.  I told them I needed to take a look at some other places, and I did check out Betty Ford, but I got a slimy vibe from the BF manager, who wanted my guests to each pay a minimum charge, so I went with Nachalat 52.

T.I.I., baby. It’s an expression my friend Liron’s friend made up; stands for “This is Israel.”  It’s sort of a catch-phrase for whatever ridonkulous shiz goes on here or peeps try and pull.  Ronen, the Nachalat 52 manager wound up imposing the same minimum charge per guest bullshiz that the other guy wanted.  Basically, we had to spend 3000 ($790) shekels total or else I’d be responsible for paying the difference.  You know what?  I was inviting a lot of people, and I told everyone to bring their friends, so I wasn’t worried.

I mainly invited people through Facebook:

And I was so excited when the actual party came around.  Although, there was a speed bump and I was pretty peeved when Ronen called me last week to confirm.  At the end of the call, he tries to casually throw in – Oh, yeah, and there’s just this one little thing.  You won’t be able to use this one couch and table in the corner of the room.  You see, I, er, ah, booked another party of 15 for it.

WTF ??

T.I.I., baby. I had a choice – I could have flipped out and ripped him a new one over the phone.  But I didn’t feel like doing that.  And it was too late for me to find a new venue anyway.  So, I just said – Look, I know what you did.  When I booked the party, the place was only open two days and you jumped at my business.  Since them, you’ve become a big hit, and you just want to make more money.  Well, I just wanna say ‘I’m very disappointed about this.’ The vulture He promised me free drinks.

Anyway, last night was the big event.  And it was super.  It wasn’t just those 15 other people, though.  When I got there around 8:40 p.m., the upstairs was kinda close to filled up already with random peeps.  I put my shit down on two big tables (I had “just happened” to bring along a duffel bag and two big shopping bags “in case” people “happened” to bring me gifts.  Look – normally, I made a point to say – NO GIFTS!  Your being there is all I need or want. But this year, I’m 40,  bitch, so you better be packin’ present when you walk in that place, ‘mkay?  No, really – I didn’t expect everyone to give me something, but I knew my closer friends would, and that’s just how I wanted it.)

So, if I could plan it again, I would have picked a quieter place.  At it’s peak, it was loud and crowded – and smoky.  There is a anti-smoking indoors law in Tel Aviv just like in New York, but not every place enforces it, and this place didn’t.  But, you know what – it served its purpose.  I was so happy greeting each of my guests.  And it gave me great pleasure to watch my different groups of friends interact with each other.  There were my ulpan friends, my Tikva friends, my gay friends, friends from work, friends I made from the dog park, people I’ve schtupped and more – like some people I met on Atraf, the Israeli gay dating site and a new friend I met at a Nefesh b’Nefesh Olim welcome ceremony last month.   My friend Danny had his professional cake baker friend make my cake.  It was 100% from scratch – including homemade chocolate on top and homemade raspberry puree inside.  [Said in the over-the-top style of Oprah introducing a guest on her show:]

Delicious !!!

I also ordered a bunch of bar food for everyone to nosh.  I chose chicken fingers, calamari, little fajita-type things, and Israeli platters of humus/olives/tahina/pita.  But it took a long time for the stuff to get served (delaying the cake/Happy Birthday song), and it was a lot more salad-y type stuff than I realized.  Not really finger food.  I’m sure we wasted a lot.

But whatevs.  It was great, and I shined very brightly.  I knew I was going to hear from people – 40 !?!  You do NOT look 40, Scott! But I wanted to maximize that effect, and for the pictures from the night, so I shaved instead of sporting my usual stubble.  With my longer hair, baby butt smooth face, and Paul Smith textured/patterned shirt that I got at a sample sale I earned every compliment I attracted.  Peeps started to leave around10:30 p.m., but diehards stayed until almost midnight.  Here’s some pics from the night.

Me with Danny (left) and Phil.

The Becker-Barkins, Moosh and Rotem

Shabi, Nir, Me

Ilana and Chris

with Leah & Itay

It's actually my 5th decade (but who's counting?)

With my Honey, Liron

Jeannie, Phil, Alon

Abi & Me (Stan in back); That rose I'm holding from the cake is 100% homemade chocolate. It was soooooo good, you guys !!!

A rose by any other name...

Stephanye & Regev rOcK oUt !

David, Keren, Caitlin

Jeremy & Eric

Dancing on the Table (move, Eric! You're blocking my ass!)

Booty Haul




Spot of Tea
January 16, 2010, 3:38 pm
Filed under: Friends | Tags: ,

This week I turned 40.  [pause]  Yes, really.  My big party was planned for Friday night, but my actual birthday was on Thursday.  My friends Hayley & Ariel invited me over for tea that morning.  Yes, they are from the U.K.  Hayley is preggers, and I hadn’t seen them since their wedding.

Hayley served a plumb crumb cake with my favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor (that you can get in Israel) Crème Brûlée.  The world could be such a nice place if everybody ate cake & ice cream at 11:30 a.m. in the morning.

Anyway, it was a very nice visit, catching up with them.  Then, back to the salt mines.

Hayley is preggers