Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Dance Performance: A Review

First, welcome to a new link - some of you alert Loyal Readers may have noticed that you can now access JRNS directly from aliyahbyaccident! JRNS is, of course, the world-renowned Jonathan Rose News Service, your (only) source for all the latest and greatest updates about Jonathan Rose! (My brother-in-law, for those keeping tabs on the family tree.)

Some recent reviews of JRNS:
"If you want to know what Jonathan will be doing for Shabbat, this is the place to turn to!" (Me)
"I am number one in Google search for 'JRNS'!" (Jonathan)

So please hop on over to his site and take a look around. Those of you out there who always wanted to know what Jonathan Rose's friends think of his deli roll, you will find your answers here!

Tonight I had the privilege of attending a very unique performance. It took place in my living room, and I had a front row seat, ticket courtesy of the performers . What is truly amazing about this show was that the dancers had only one night to practice, and I must say, they pulled it off flawlessly.

The performance was a choreographed dance routine, set to the music of a Jewish holiday tape. (Sorry, CD. Can you believe I still say tape?) There was much spinning, twirling, rolling around on the floor, and high-flying leaps onto the couch. The dancers coordinated their moves in perfect unison. My personal favorite was the Yom Kippur forgiveness song, where the dancers shook hands and hugged each other. I also enjoyed the dreidel song, during which the dancers spun each other around, then fell gracefully onto the floor.

Occasionally, the Head Choreographer would pause to helpfully explain the symbolism of the dance moves to the audience. ("We're pretending to shake a lulav.") Also, there were some snack breaks in between, and sometimes during, the songs. ("I'm going to have a bite of my sandwich now.")

During the second half, however, the beauty and precision of the choreography fell a bit. The routine became a rather frantic, hectic jumble of running around, shrieking, and bumping into each other. The performers began pulling each other around in a laundry basket, then tipped each other over onto the floor. As a spectator, I was, of course, nervous they would harm themselves. Luckily, the dance ended with the performers intact.

Overall, I was wowed with the choreography and beauty of the performance, despite the laundry basket incident. If anyone happens to be in our apartment over the next few days, and is able to catch a few snatches of this one-of-a-kind dance routine, I am sure you will be similarly impressed.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Thank you to all readers and commenters for your b'shaah tovahs! Nothing like announcing a pregnancy to get people to comment! I highly recommend this tactic to all bloggers out there.

Some updates:

Yogurt, Yogurt, Everywhere and Not a Drop of Bread
Yaakov has been enjoying his "lechem-free" lunches. Now, of course, he's pushing for chocolate yogurt.....

In Which We Get a Visit From Tarjan!
Yaakov came home yesterday singing a lovely new song: "Mi hamelech hakofim? Tarjan! Tarjan! Mi hamelech hakofim? Tarjan! Tarjan!" He's never heard of "Tarzan," naturally, but he now knows allll about "Tarjan!" Well, actually, all he knows is that he's "melech hakofim" (king of the monkeys) and that he only wears tachtonim! How awesome is that! In fact, today, when we bought our own Melech HaKofim some new undies, he insisted on stripping the moment we got home, donning his new skivvies, and dancing around the house singing "Mi hamelech hakofim? Tarjan! Tarjan!" Sing along!

Who Wants Some Strawberry Shortcake? I Know I Do!
So Ariella has been in desperate need of some little elves. Her shoes (all of four months old) have massive holes in the bottoms. We laid out the shoes every night, for the little guys, but to no avail; come morning, the holes remained.

Probably the elves had spent hours trying to figure out which floor we're on (because, as you know, in Israel, we don't name our apartments something sensible, like "5A," thereby letting visitors know that it is on the FIFTH floor. Rather, they are simply assigned numbers - "18" - and visitors have to first figure out how many apartments are on each floor, and then divide the apartment number by that the number of apartments, and then possibly subtract one if there's a remainder. This is why Israel has yet to send someone to the moon. We only get as far as the lobby.) So anyway, elves, never the brightest dudes, probably they got all flummoxed and frustrated and just gave up.

In any case, she needed new shoes. So today, off we trooped to the shoe store. We were looking at all manner of pink and purple sneakers, when Ariella's eyes lighted upon two gobs of Pink Frosting. No, sorry, they were actually shoes, but in the pinkiest pink you can ever imagine. And there was little Strawberry Shortcake, in all her strawberry loveliness, on the velcro.
Now, normally I am very anti-character anything. Clothing, shoes, backpacks, pajamas, etc. I don't even like toy characters to have characters. But then I saw that the Strawberry shoes were NIS 60 cheaper than the other shoes.

And suddenly I was a HUGE fan of Strawberry Shortcake. I mean, come on, she's adorable! With that big old puffy hat and everything! I love that chick! Characters rock!

So Ariella was thrilled she got pinkedy pink pink Strawberry Shortcake shoes. Yaakov was happy he got Tarjan tachtonim. And I saved NIS 60 to put toward my Ice Cream Fund. A good deal all around.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Lunch; or, Mah Pitom???

All year I have been force-feeding my son sandwiches for aruchat eser. This is because I learned my lesson last year. At the beginning, when we were fresh off the boat, I tried to send Ariella to gan with rice cakes, or pasta, since she's not much of a sandwich kid. I was told, "Mah pitom?" Aruchat eser is to consist of a sandwich, a fruit/veggie and THAT'S IT. I think I even blogged about it at some point. It definitely made an impression on us.

This year I have tried to be a good gan parent. I know that Yaakov's class washes and does birkat hamazon, so I assumed (and there's where it alllll goes downhill) that the same rules applied. You MUST bring in bread for washing; you CAN'T bring in anything else.

Now, I should have been a little wiser, having been introduced to the Theory of Random Gan Rules. (In first grade, things seem to be pretty standard, across the board. Ariella, and her first grade Chashmonaim counterparts went on the same tiyul (Goose World) and had the same Letter Party.) However, the each gan is a kingdom unto itself, with the head ganenet reporting directly to the Prime Minister.

To wit:
"You must bring a lunchbox to school."
"Do NOT, under any circumstances, bring a lunchbox to school!"

"Only ONE parent may come to the party."
"Both parents MUST come to the party."
"Parents MAY NOT attend the party, under pain of death."

"The parent of the Shabbat Abba/Ima is expected to come in and talk about the parsha."
"Parents attending when your child is Shabbat Abba/Ima? MAH PITOM??!!!" [Insert Israeli "tsk tsk tsk" here.]

But I did not learn my lesson. So all year I've been trying to find something Yaakov will eat on, with, or next to bread. Jelly. Various cheese spreads. Plain sliced cheese. A hard boiled egg. (He already hates peanut butter and chummus.) I actually had to receive this note in my child's lunchbox, "Please stop sending cheese. Yaakov does not eat it." Which, of course, I read as, "You twit. Don't you know what your own kid likes????"

Finally, in desperation, I started giving him a piece of plain bread along with his fruit/veggie. And even that, he would only deign to eat one circle from the middle and no more. The only sandwich he gobbles up with gusto is his Friday chocolate sandwich, but though I have been known to let him eat cookies (on occasion) for breakfsat, I couldn't lower myself to a daily chocolate sandwich. At least with jelly I can pretend there's some nutritional value. So I relied on the old standby - if he was really starving, he'd eat the damn bread.

And that's how it came to be that on a clear, sunny Sunday morning (5 months into the school year), when I dropped off Yaakov, I innocently asked the teacher, "So they have to bring bread to aruchat eser, right? Because you all wash and bentch together?"

The reply?

"Mah pitom? Send him what he likes to eat! We all say the brachot together, but he doesn't have to bring bread. We've been meaning to tell you, in fact, that he doesn't like his plain bread."

So now, a whole new world of food is open to us. Today he brought a Gamadim to school. And, I believe, ate it.

Well, as the saying goes in our house right now, "At least we'll get it right for little Punja." (Don't worry, it's just a placeholder name, created by Yaakov. Check back in May - God willing - for both the real name and to see how, despite our best efforts, we continue to bumble our way through parenthood.)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sponga Bottoms

First, I thought I would share an excellent Random Bag experience today. At Rami Levi (where I met LISA and we shmoozed in the fruit aisle while simultaneously holding up shopper traffic), I was bagging my stuff, as usual, and the kupait was sitting there, watching me, as usual. (PS what happened to the baggers they had at RL? Haven't seen them in a while. Miss them I do.) So the last bag, the result of my frantic bagging efforts, had the usual eclectic assortment of goodies: Tu B'shvat fruits, garlic, pears. And a sponga bottom. And then I thought - to quote the inimitable (but whom I've made it my life's work to nimitate) Dave Barry - "Sponga Bottoms would be a great name for a rock band."

So Yaakov returned to gan today, baruch Hashem. It turns out he wasn't quite cured on Thursday, so spent another day at home on Friday. Shabbos he was feeling better and today he (read: I) was rearing to get back to gan. Actually, Yaakov would have liked nothing more than to stay in pjs at home, so getting him dressed in the morning required a feat worthy of She-Ra, Princess of Power. He was not happy to go to gan, but when we got there, the teacher told him that there were treats leftover from the birthday parties on Friday. Turns out everybody had the "shilshul" and a whopping 10 kids were out! Now, in a class of approximately 517, maybe that's a drop in the bucket, but still. He was mollified by the treats, thankfully, and forgot all about me as I said goodbye and slipped out the door.

This afternoon, Yaakov had an "activity" at tzaharon, to which parents were cordially invited (i.e. forced) to attend. The activity started at 3:30, even though tzaharon ends at 4:30. I was feeling very snippy about having to attend an activity during working hours, especially because Sunday is my Crazy Day. In addition to the dreaded Food Shopping, I tutor in Shoham, about 15 minutes away, and finish at 3:30, then rush out to get Ariella and pick up Yaakov. In order to attend this "activity" (note: the continued use of quotation marks is because I'm still feeling snippy) the following arrangements had to be made:

1. Rearrange my tutoring. I told the mom I would leave 30 minutes early, at 3:00, and add on the missing time to other days.

2. Ariella. I couldn't find a playdate for her, so another mom and I decided we'd bring the girls (who have brothers in the gan) and let them play at the park outside gan during this "activity." This involved the following:

2a. Ariella's pick-up. In order to avoid the 10-minute affair that is picking up Ariella (park, go in, drag her away from her coloring/homework/friends, have show and tell - "this is my new seat, this is what we did in science, this is a picture I drew," etc., then pack up, forget the sweatshirt, run back for the sweatshirt, get in the car...), I told Ariella I wanted her packed up and waiting for me. She wore her watch, and I wrote her a reminder note that said, "3:15, pack up - tik, sweatshirt. 3:20 Wait outside on the turtle."

2b. Prepare the Stranger Speech. I was more than fine with her playing at the park right outside with her friend, but we had never had the Stranger With Candy and a Car speech, so I prepared a very serious talk to have with her on the way to gan.

So we were ALL PREPARED for this blessed event. Tutoring, check. Ariella, check, check, check. At 2:00, I arrive in Shoham for tutoring. My phone rings. The Caller ID says Gan Almog. Never a good sign. I panic - oh god, is he sitting in a puddle of poop? (Sorry for the indelicate phrasing, but it does have nice alliteration). It's the morah. "What happened? Is he okay?" I bark.

"Yes, hakol b'seder," she replied tiredly. Clealry this was not the first time today she had answered this question. "The activity for today is cancelled. We wanted to let you know." (Imagine having to call 517 parents in the middle of the day, all of whom greet you with, "Ohmy god is my kid okay????")

So all our planning, fwoop, out the window, down the drain, in the toilet. Ariella was devastated that she lost her hour of playing at the park; Yaakov blithely carried on, never having totally understood what was flying in the first place.

The worst part is not that all my Carefully Laid Plans were for nothing. It's that they are going to reschedule this "activity." And then I will have to do all. This. Again.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Blogless Week

This post is dedicated to Cheryl, who went out of her way to reprimand me on Facebook for not blogging.

Well, other than the excitement of having Yaakov home with me for 2 days (on Wednesday he had a nasty bout of....well, I don't want to go into too much detail, but let's just say I cleaned his bathroom extra well today. Thursday was the let's-stay-home-and-make-sure-it's-all-gone day. Thankfully it was, so today Yaakov got to enjoy the benefits of staying home while feeling just peachy, and got to play with all the toys without the Dictator telling him how, what, when, and where to play.)

Digression: Yaakov asked me to put his train track together. It is a very simple, oval affair - none of these winding figure eights and bridges and such. You'd think I would be able to do it. Ariella has figured out how to do it and assembles in in two minutes flat. She has patiently explained to me (on more than one occasion) how to do it - something about having 5 straight pieces on each side. And yet, I remain completely inept, tracks-wise. I can never get them to meet; one end always meanders off in some random direction, luring trains and cars to a terrible death. "I can't connect it, Yaakov," I said helplessly. Luckily Yaakov shooed me away and figured something out on his own.

Otherwise, the week has been pretty much status quo. We had some rain and the weather finally got winterish-like, as in, you actually needed a sweatshirt to go outside. When we drove to school one morning in the rain, Yaakov excitedly exclaimed: "Mommy, I see the etzim growing!"

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Smadar, A Real Israeli Hero

Some important updates, because I'm sure all the Loyal Readers are on shpilkes and I would like to let you all know that you can, indeed, come down off your shpilkes.

1. Problem: The mysterious "may" that I needed to provide in order to receive pictures of Ariella.
Best Guess: From onetiredema, who ventured that perhaps "may" was "dmei" something - as in some sort of fee that I had to pay. Armed with my PINKAS checkim (wow, it has been a while since I used my favorite word!), I came to tzaharon, ready to shell out whatever funds necessary in order to receive these important pictures of my precious daughter.
Resolution: "May" was "mail" - i.e. if I send Smadar my email, she will send me pictures of the girls in dance class. (I had actually received these pictures Saturday night, but did not put "may" and "mail" together.)

2. Problem: Ariella lost her leotard.
Best Guess: I would have to shell out another NIS 60 to purchase a new one, this time with strict don't-lose-it-or-else instructions. (Since she actually searched the lost and found, to no avail - as opposed to her usual I-scanned-the-general-area-with-my-eyes-without-actually-moving-anything method of searching, I figured it was really and truly lost. By the way, she gets that method from her father.)
Resolution: Smadar to the rescue! She found the leotard last Thursday and safely stowed it away to return to Ariella on Sunday.

So not only did I save the NIS 60, but I saved the Unknown Amount I thought I was going to shell out for the pictures. I'm rich! Who wants to go out and celebrate with me?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Night of Cry-sis

Of course, it happened on Thursday night, when any patience I might have had for Mini-Crises was most definitely used up. (Truth is, it was probably used up by Tuesday, but let's pretend I had enough to get through Wednesday.) In either case, patience, forbearance, calmness, sanity - it is all GONE by Thursday.

1. The first part of my day consisted of subbing-food shopping-subbing-cleaning. (The subbing was in English; the cleaning was in the universal language of Hate and Loathing.)

2. Then I picked up Ariella and Yaakov. When I walked into Yaakov's gan, I could not find Yaakov. I did, however, see a crying boy in a chair. Oh wait, that is MY crying boy. Apparently, they had been playing "mischak hakisaot" - i.e. musical chairs - and he did not agree that the other child had, in fact, sat down before he did. He threw a fit, and the teachers offered to do a "redo" but Yaakov stalked off, put himself in a time out, and continued his fit.

[Digression: I think musical chairs, in general, is a horrible, mean-spirited game. ("Haha! Everyone has a seat but YOU!" Is that not your worst nightmare?) They could make it a much more companionable game by just having enough chairs for everyone.]

3. After mollifying Yaakov, taking the rock out of his shoe, and putting it (the shoe) back on his foot (don't ask), we headed to the car. Time to take everyone for Swine Flu Vaccine, The Sequel! (Even more crying than the original!) Well, you know what they say - "There's nothing worse than losing at musical chairs. Except for losing at musical chairs and then having to get stuck with a needle."

4. We got to the nurses' office, Yaakov refused to budge, and I had to pick him up and be his straitjacket for 15 minutes while we waited for our turn. He cried, bawled, and shrieked. Finally, it was our turn. More shrieking, refusing to let us take off his pants for the shot (adding insult to injury, in his eyes). Finally, it was over. He got a big stick of candy from the nurse as a reward. Ariella, by the way, was fabulous. Calmly watched the needle go in, accepted her candy, and not a tear to be shed. However, as we will soon see, she makes up for it.

5. We got ice cream, of course, as our reward. (Always a good chaser for candy.) No crisis there!

6. Upon arriving home, I presented each kid with a new puzzle. Yaakov cried. He didn't like his puzzle.

7. Ariella had homework to finish. She made a mistake and had to erase. She cried.

8. Ariella: "If you give 'may' to Smadar [the person in charge of tzaharon], you can get pictures of me." Huh? I didn't understand, Ariella didn't understand and was mad at me for not understanding. She cried.

9. After finishing her puzzle (brand-new, as you recall), there was a piece missing. Cry.

10. Open up tik, notice that leotard is missing since dance class today. Cry. Blame Mommy. Cry some more.

11. Yaakov comes wandering out of his room to complain about....something. I'm sure someone cried.

12. Everyone finally goes to sleep. YAY!!!!!

So, when I woke up this morning (or rather, woken up by Yaakov, who came to use our bathroom and then snuggle in bed with me), I was not only thinking TGIF, but also TGTIO (Thank God Thursday is Over.)

A pre-Shabbat thought on prayer. Courtesy of Ariella, of course.

[Kitah aleph is prepping for the mesibat siddur. As part of their homework, they needed to write about going to the kotel and how they felt. I will write it in Hebrew, followed by a translation, for those of you that are not yet graduates of Ulpan Level Daled.]

הייתי בכותל לבר מצוה
הרגשתי שזה היה ארוך לי
גם הרגשתי שהכותל היה גבוה
[When I was at the Kotel for a Bar Mitzvah, I felt it was very long for me. I also felt the Kotel was very tall.]

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Oh God

[On the drive back from Bet Shemesh.]

Some musings on the nature of the Almighty, from the always inquisitive mind of Ariella:

1. So when Hashem made Adam and Chava, She (Ariella, the post-feminist, always refers to God in the feminine) decided how people would look, right? Like they would have two arms and legs and a mouth and nose and eyes. And then when Adam and Chava had children, they all looked that way. [Pause.]

2. If Hashem messed up, She could just crumple it up and start again. [Pause.] I think maybe Hashem drew everything out on paper and then made the people.

3. Where is Hashem? Is Hashem air? [Well, in some ways you could compare Hashem to air, because Hashem is all over the place, just like air.]

4. [CLAP!] There, I just killed air, does that mean I just killed Hashem?

[Screech! Me, swerving the car, to avoid the gigantic lightning bolt heading straight toward us.] Well, you can't kill air just by clapping it in your hands. Air is always there, it changes, but you can't destroy it. The same way Hashem is always around, no matter what.

5. Well how can Hashem see everyone all at once? [That is just one of those special things about Hashem. Hashem (notice the studious avoidance of pronouns on my part) can be everywhere, all the time.]

6. Is Hashem a cloud? [Hashem is like nothing in the world. Hashem created all the things in the world, so Hashem cannot be any of those things. It's hard to understand. Mommy doesn't understand it, Daddy doesn't understand it. Maybe Yaakov gets it.]

7. But people made things like roads and streets, right? [Yes, Hashem made people smart enough to make all these things we need.]

8. Will I have time to do fuse beads when we get home?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Me Speakeded in Hebrew Today

Well, folks, the second graders at the school I subbed in today seem to have survived their experience with the immigrant teacher. Yes, my accent I'm sure sounded like nails on a blackboard to the poor kids, the Hebrew equivalent of, "Cheeeldren, plez to take you seats now," and I mixed up masculine and feminine with shocking abandon. (At least one child corrected my Hebrew.) But, the children, for the most part, did the assignments, so I assume they were able to understand at least a few words of what I said. I was substituting for my friend, who teaches English to the Hebrew-speakers, so I could handle the content. (What letter does "gorilla" start with?) Also, it was the same activity 3 times, which made it a little easier.

Also, you don't need to be fluent in any language to give students The Look.

Later, after picking up the kids from gan/school, they decided they wanted to play in the park outside of Yaakov's gan. Usually, I am able to convince them that what they really want to do is go home, let Mommy change into pajamas, and then play/read/finish homework/watch videos. Not that I have anything against the park, it's just I am very much pro-pajamas. After 4:00 - barring any late-evening playdates, birthday parties, or meetings - I am all jammied up.

But today, they won. Ariella's friend was at the park, and since she hadn't seen in her a whole fifteen minutes, it was imperative that they play together. Then Yaakov's friend (I know, you're shocked, so was I, but apparently he does have friends other than himself!) showed up also. They were running around pretending to be airplanes. The park becomes a gathering place post-gan, once all the moms come get their kids. So we were all hanging out, and I had yet more opportunities to speak in the holy tongue with the fellow gan mommies. Phew! Zat eez much of Hebrew today. I sink is time for to take a breaking of Hebrew.

Question for Discussion:

1. Do schools even have blackboards anymore?

2. Most people who meet Donny compliment his Hebrew within seconds of talking with him. ("You've only been here a year and a half? Wow - your Hebrew is amazing!" And by the way, Donny's thinking of telling people he's been here "a year and a half" for many years to come. They're much more impressed that way.) When I meet people, however, their reaction is, "You've only been here a year and a half? Wow - your kids' Hebrew is amazing!" Do you think this has something to do with my Hebrew? Or am I simply meeting the wrong people?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Gloved One

Now, I know you've all been dying to know: Did Yaakov wear anything strange today when he went to gan?
And the answer is: In fact he did! He insisted on wearing socks. On his hands. Luckily, he consented to wear another pair on his feet; just as luckily, there are no gloves to be found in our apartment (thanks to our 80-degree winter.)

He put them on this morning, and I let him wear them into the car, thinking he would take them off before gan. But no. As we marched into gan, other parents were giving him, then me, strange looks. He went in by himself (kol hakavod!), so I did not get a chance to explain to the ganenet that no, he is not, God forbid, diseased or badly damaged. Just strange. (I actually called gan after dropping him off, just to reassure them of this. He's b'seder. Just strange.)

I don't know how long he had them on for, but in the afternoon, the morah told me she was pleading with him to remove them, as it was, like we discussed earlier, rather balmy. In the end he did take them off, and they were in his tik when I picked him up. All ready for tomorrow.

In other Yaakov news, he informed Ariella that when she was a baby, Mommy let him hold her. Ariella patiently tried to explain how this event would have been impossible, but Yaakov is blessed with the ability to ignore incontrovertible evidence. He also insists that every baby picture of Ariella is, in fact, really of him. Because how can it be that the family - nay, the world! - existed before Yaakov Lev??????

From the title of my book on child-rearing ("Leave Me Alone so I Can Read the Paper,") you may have deduced that I firmly believe that the best kind of parenting is when you have to parent very little at all. So it was with great pride and happiness that I report to you the following events of Shabbat morning:

Kids got up. Ariella helped Yaakov with the bathroom. She got them both breakfast (my job is to take out the bowls and the Shabbat cereal the night before.) After breakfast, they sat on the couch and Ariella read (!) to Yaakov the book he brought home from gan.

Ahhhh.....Shabbat bliss. It lasted until after SEVEN O'CLOCK. (If I see a "7" on the clock on Shabbat morning instead of a "6," I'm a happy woman.) When, inevitably, one of the following occurred: someone's hair was pulled, someone was called stupid, someone didn't listen to someone else's rules, someone sat in someone else's spot, etc. etc. etc. One of the myriad reasons they proceed to beat the #$#$*& out of each other.

But, until 7:something, it was a beautiful thing.
כן ירבו

Stay tuned: Tomorrow I sub again - this time in Hebrew!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I Know What You're Thinking

A wise old person once said: "When there is no more room in your cup holders for your coffee, it's time to throw away the old coffee cups."

Question: Do you think I am traumatizing Yaakov for life by discussing his bed-wetting issue on Facebook? And now, apparently, on the blog? I'm hoping that by the time he's old enough to care, "Facebook" and "blogging" will be archaic relics of the past; instead we will all be zapping Mind Messages to each other. (It could be dangerous, so of course you'd have to check off in your brain which thoughts are "Private" which are for "Friends" which are for "Friends of Friends" and which are for "Everyone." You'd want to avoid broadcasting to the world, that while it looks like you're talking to your coworker about blabbedy blah, what's really on your mind is whether your husband mailed that thing, and if he didn't, how you are absolutely going to kill him because it has to be in this week, and you've reminded him over and over and as usual, he waited until the last minute, and then, wait, is the umbrella in the car? Or did I bring it in with me? Shoot.)

In other exciting news, this has been a week of two Loyal Readers, and one loyal reader. As you know, lower-case loyal reader "Rachel" has been in Israel this past week, gallivanting around Modi'in and Jerusalem. Then, on Monday, I got to have lunch with Loyal Reader "SaraK," also visiting the Holy Land during this holiday season. SaraK is one of those rare people who, instead of saying, "I'm going to be in Israel, maybe we can go out?" and then promptly forgetting all about it, actually did call me and we went to - don't you know this by now? - the MALL, where we had lunch at Roladin and then Frozen Yogurt with Stuff In It.

While at Roladin, we ran into my Cousin and Friend Ahava, also doing some Holy Land gallivanting this week. Tonight, Leezy, Ahava, and I had a Cousins and Friends dinner at Angelo's. (Which is - are you sitting? - not in the mall. Hey, you gotta have some variety in life.)

And then everyone returns to their respective places and jobs and families. Life goes back to its normal, every day normalness, with lots of wet laundry and no excuse to go out for lunch and dinner and Frozen Yogurt With Stuff In It. So if any local Loyal Readers would like to get together this week and make up some reason to celebrate (the groceries are finally put away!), let me know. Just send me a Mind Message.