Thursday, July 31, 2008

School's Out!

It's a miracle! I can't believe I'm actually done with school. Two years of classes, shlepping to Bar Ilan on the bus, enduring the oppressive Tel Aviv summer swealter - over. Finito!  Granted, I still have a final paper and my thesis to complete, but all coursework is done! I'm just so happy.  

Our last class with Professor Kramer was good, and afterwards I handed in my thesis extension form and Pidgeon took me to my old stomping grounds in Tel Aviv to meet up with our friend Lana. We parked in front of my old apartment on Arlozorov Street and met Lana at Cafe Cafe, the new kosher restaurant on the corner of Ben Yehuda and Arlozorov. I wish they had been around when I lived in Tel Aviv! The restaurant used to be a non-kosher La Cuchina and I always wanted a kosher coffee shop nearby the apartment. Well, Tuesday was our opportunity to enjoy it and we had a great time! It was nice catching up with Lana and, even though the food was pretty bad, it was just nice to be in my old familiar territory. Had the weather been cooler, we might have gone walking around. But, it was just so stinkin hot that we jumped into the car and drove back home.

I was so wiped when we got home, I passed out and when Pidgeon returned from working with his Uncle, decided was too tired to cook. So, we decided to order in dinner from Yoja.

Two things I learned about that experience:

1) I am LITERALLY eating through our savings. Seriously. We are dipping into Pidgeon's savings to pay for ordering out food. Plus, all this eating out is making me pack on the pounds quicker. I gained 4 pounds THIS WEEK! I'm praying it's just water retention from all the salty foods, cause my Dr. is going to have kittens when I get on the scale in September and I've surpassed the 2 pound per-month regiment he wants me to keep. Oy!

2) A pregnant woman should NEVER order in food when starving. Wow, did I order way too much for us. I ordered enough food to feed four people, and I know because that's the amount of cutlery and chopsticks they gave us. Granted, we still have leftovers in the fridge, but it would have been much more economical had I just ordered what we were going to consume.

Wednesday was a pretty relaxing day. I was hoping to sleep in but the doorbell rang and it was a registered letter from our insurance agency. I was declined - once again - from additional medical insurance coverage because of the Clexane shots. That was very disheartening because I had hoped to get some additional medical insurance leading up towards the delivery, but it just wasn't meant to be. I was pretty pissed that my insurance agent decided to send me the decision via registered mail and not let me know by just picking up the freaking phone.  Hmm, come to think about it, they never did call me back when we left a message yesterday. I think I'm going to give them a call and have some words with them ASAP.

I also had a check up appointment with the hematologist yesterday and that wasn't a fun meeting. Turns out, I've been doing the shots wrong. Basically, my stomach is too tight to adequately pinch the skin in order to place the needle. So, I've just been giving myself the shot without pinching. When I mentioned this to the Dr, he freaked out and told me that I MUST pinch a wad of fat otherwise the medication is being injected into the wrong place. Then, he told me that "since I'm such a big girl" there is plenty of fat around my midsection for me to use.  Ok, I said, thanks, I'll just figure it out. And then, to demonstrate, he came over and took hold of one of my ample love handles and squeezed, showing me that I had more than enough rolls of fat for the shot. 

Why does every Dr. I know have to tell me that "I'm a big girl"? I mean, I know I am, but c'mon. Some sensitivity people! 

Unfortunately, that wasn't the worst thing he told me. Basically, if I go into labor within 24 hours of a Clexane shot, I cannot have an epidural (should I choose). That sounds very, very painful and a little scary, and when I mentioned it to my Mother she was not pleased. So, I made an appointment with my primary care physician this morning to discuss my labor options. I might have no choice but to do an elective cesarian section, which is scary but also might be necessary given my situation.

I decided to get all this medical scariness out of my mind by cooking dinner for Pidgeon. I decided to surprised him and make bourekas! I've NEVER made potato bourekas before, but figured how hard could it be? So, I whipped up a batch of amazing mashed potatoes (from scratch, no artificial mixes for us) and defrosted the phylo dough. I didn't realized that there is an correlation between inside and shape and went with the good ol' triangles (see above picture). Sure enough, when they were done, Pidgeon told me they were beautiful but that usually triangles meant cheese filling, square was potato and half moon was hard cheese.

Sigh. I got to get with this whole bourekas etiquette thing. Anyway, he LOVED them, misshapen and all! I made so many though, enough for Shabbos first course, that I've looking for a mushroom sauce to serve with them for Friday night dinner. Hopefully, I'll be able to find one that's non-dairy.

It took me an hour to wash all the cooking and dinner dishes last night, and I was so tired that I slept like a rock last night. When the alarm went off this morning, it was so hard to get out of bed but we had the Dr. appointment so we had to get up.

Well, it looks like Pidgeon is finished watching today's episode of Stargate. I love my Sci-fi lovin' husband, even though he's a bit of a Sci-fi nerd. We're going to hit the gym so I can try to work off some of this excess poundage!

Hope everyone is staying cool on this last day of July!

Yom Tov from Baka!

Monday, July 28, 2008

86 Minutes

So, I've been sitting on the new Leopard software for my MacBook Pro since Pesach. When we were in the States, I picked up the software and had every intention of upgrading my system, but just forgot about it. Well, in yesterday's cleaning rampage, I found the box still shrink wrapped and decided it was time to bite the bullet. Last night, I spent 2 hours upgrading my system. At first, everything seemed fantastic. I had some cool new features like Photo Booth and Expose, but something funky was going on with my Mac mail. See, I use Mac Mail to filter all of my e-mail accounts. Yet, for some reason, I wasn't able to delete anything out of my inbox. And, my inboxes tend to fill up with crap and spam pretty quickly.

At first, I got in touch with an IT friend over on Facebook but he wasn't able to pinpoint my problem. Then, I went to the Apple website and looked around for some troubleshooting information about mail. There appears to be a lot of Mail issue with Leopard, but nothing I tried seemed to work. Finally, with Pidgeon's coaxing, I picked up the call and spoke to a Mac technician.

86 minutes people!

It took 86 minutes for him to basically tell me that I needed to input all of my outbox and inbox information from scratch. Fortunately, my mailboxes are all set up and working. Phew. My ears were sweating and my ass was stuck to the kitchen table chair by the time I was finished. Here's hoping there isn't anything else wrong with Leopard! I am really liking the new look and feel of Safari though, it's great.

So, the BIG news of the day is that Bar Ilan posted my grade from Professor Harvey's Philosophy class. I'm THRILLED to say that I got an 83 in the course! Woohoo! That means that I not only passed the final exam, but I will P"G never have to take another test again in my entire life. I feel such a tremendous weight lifted off of my shoulders, and all I want to do is toss my Philosophy papers and notes. I'll probably hang on to them for a little bit longer, in case I meet someone taking Professor Harvey's class who could use my notes. 

Today was really busy. In addition to my Mac issues, I had a huge fight with the folks over at My Grandmother, B"H, turned 85 on Friday! Sadly, all of her Grandchildren live out of States or Country. So, I spoke with my siblings, and we decided to send her a beautiful FTD bouquet for Shabbos and her birthday. Now, I placed the online order on Wednesday, received immediate confirmation that it would be delivered on Friday, and then didn't do anything like make a follow up call because I thought it was taken care of.

Ha! That will teach me NOT to follow up with an online order!

When I spoke to my Grandmother on Sunday, she told me nothing was delivered and I felt terrible. The woman LOVES flowers and I knew she would be so happy to receive the gift from us, so I felt terrible that they never delivered anything. I called FTD yesterday but the florist was closed and they couldn't tell me what happened. Then, I called again this morning and they told me the florist tried to deliver all weekend but no one was home.

Ummm, my Grandmother is practically homebound and she has an aid. How the hell is that even true?

So, I composed myself and didn't rip them a new one. Instead, I calmly explained the situation and told them I expected the bouquet to be delivered ASAP. By the time we got home tonight after a celebratory dinner at the new Italian restaurant on Emek, I was happy to hear from my Grandmother that she got the flowers. And they were gorgeous. And she was happy.

But I will never order from FTD again.

Well, I'm off to finish watching tonight's episode of Kochav Nolad! What can I say, I'm hooked to this Israeli rip off of American Idol, it's my guilty pleasure!

Layla Tov from Baka!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Three Hour Tour

Shavuah Tov!

I can't believe I haven't updated this blog in almost a week! I have a good excuse though, honest, been dealing with lots of drama!

The main reason I didn't write at the beginning of the week is because I was so angry about the new car. So, we were supposed to get the new car and give in the old car on the 23rd. We had been waiting all week to hear from the dealership and nothing. Finally, Pidgeon called our car dealer to find out what was going on and he said that Meches (taxes authority) had a problem with my paperwork and were sending back my passport, Pidgeon's passport and my driver's license to bring to the Meches myself. In the interim, we had to bring in our car because our contract stipulated that we would trade it in by the 23rd and then deal with the rest. Well, I was having NONE of that. There was no way I was giving away this car, leaving us without transportation with 2 weeks left of school, and not knowing what the problem was with Meches. So, we asked Pidgeon's Dad to get on the phone and deal with the dealership. We managed to retain the car until the situation is worked out and they messengered my documents back to me.  After school on Tuesday, we called the Jerusalem office of Meches and found out that they were located right outside of Har Nof and they were open until 1:30 p.m. Well, our documents were back yet, so we were at the mercy of the messenger service. Finally, at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, the messenger service called to say that they delivered everything to Pidgeon's parents house. So, we got dressed and made our way to Meches. Fortunately for us, we got there at 1:00 p.m., and the department was empty. The woman who took us was very efficient and explained that we had to come and officially register with them BEFORE we decided to buy the car. Who the heck knew that? No one told me - including the dealership! And so, now I'm officially in the computer, and I can buy a car and send a lift should I choose. Well, that was a relief, but we found out that we now had to return ALL of the these documents to the dealership in Rishon. That was annoying - we have been doing a lot of driving lately - and the thought of going back to the dealership was really annoying. Plus, we had to be there by 10:00 a.m. on Thursday morning since that's when the Meches messenger came to pick up paperwork. Oy, another early morning wake up call. So, we resolved ourselves to get this done, and decided to just get it over with and hope that this time everything will go smoothly.

3 Hour Tour
Now, while all this is going on, we got a call about my sister-in-law's 31st birthday. Coincidentally, it was on Thursday, and Pidgeon's parents decided to rent a yacht from Ashdod for a 3 hour excursion at sea. There would be a birthday lunch in her honor and then, after the trip, we were to travel on to Ashkelon for birthday cake. Well, I put a quick call into my Dr.'s office to see if I was allowed to get on a boat while pregnant. She told me that I should be VERY careful, and make sure to drink, drink, drink so I wouldn't get dehydrated and to avoid the sun if possible. Pidgeon, meanwhile, was telling his Uncle about the plans and he told us we were CRAZY to go on the boat trip. A former Navy man, he said that as a pregnant woman I really shouldn't go on the boat. So, Pidgeon and I discussed it and since the last time I was on a boat of any kind was for Mor's Bat Mitzvah in 1988 (coolest bat mitzvah EVER until we almost tipped the boat playing a rousing game of Coke and Pepsi) we thought it wise to pass. On Thursday morning, while in the car to Rishon to deal with the car issue, we called his parents to tell them we wouldn't be on the boat but would meet them in Ashkelon. 

Well, that was unacceptable for Pidgeon's parents. Both his Mom and then his Father got on the phone and said that we were to come. I was not happy, being strong armed into going on the trip, and bitched the entire way to Rishon about it. Pidgeon was happy because he wanted to go but I was nervous. I'm in my 6th month, I had no idea how this was going to affect me. I come from a family of sea legged people and my idea of a birthday party is bowling and pizza. Not a yacht and canapes! Well, so we get to Ashkelon and I decided I should probably eat something before getting on the boat. We ordered bread and hummus from the restaurant at the marina (it's not a kosher restaurant in that it serves meat and milk but they do not serve anything treif so we ate bread and hummus there) and then the rest of the birthday party party showed up. I thought my sister-in-law was insane for getting on the boat with a 6 week old but she was all for it. So, everyone assembles and we get on the boat. We had to take our shoes off and settle down before the boat started to go. My father-in-law insisted before we left the harbor to show me around down below. He said it was important for me to be acclimated to everything or else I would be nervous. I just wanted to sit my ass down with a big bottle of water and wait for the whole thing to be over, but I went with him. He taught me how to climb down the steps the right way (start going down then twist in the middle so you are backing down the steps) and showed me the bathroom (a very important place for me as I later discovered), the two "bedrooms" and the main area which consisted of a tiny kitchen, table with comfortable seats and two large cushioned seats. After the grand tour, we went back upstairs and the boat was off. 

I was FINE with the motion - fortunately, I don't get motion sickness - as long as I was "stable". This meant that each time we hit rough waters, I held onto the side of the boat so that I wasn't knocking around with the waves. This turned out to be a very good idea as too much shaking and tossing around is NOT good for the baby. I also had my huge bottle of ice water and I was chug-a-lugging like nobody's business. Unfortunately, not everyone else was doing as well with being on the water. Both my brother-in-law and sister-in-law were feeling nauseous. My mother-in-law had to hold the baby so my sister-in-law could breathe. Meanwhile, their 2 1/2 year old was FREAKING out the entire time. The waves were hurting her stomach and she was petrified. It was a mess but I was just thinking about myself and the Pidgeon, making sure he kept well hydrated. We went out pretty far and then my brother-in-law got so sick that he went into shock and we had to turn around and go back. It was interesting though, as my sister-in-law got a phone call from my brother-in-law's brother (following me there?) and she told him we were turning back because I wasn't feeling well as opposed to his wimpy BROTHER who was the sick one. (Peeps, I got pictures to prove how awful he looked in comparison to me).

But, I guess it's always convenient to blame the pregnant lady, so I let it go. If he needed to keep face that's his business, but I won't forget how she quickly threw me under the bus so her husband wouldn't feel like garbage. So, we went back to a little bay and we docked so that the kids could play in the water. I changed into my swimsuit and that's when it hit me. Heat exhaustion. I haven't been out in the Israel heat - for that long - in a very, very long time. Pidgeon started hosing me down with paper towels and I kept running to the bathroom because of all the water I had consumed. Well, no one TOLD me about the toilet on a boat. And how you can't throw paper towels/napkins (the boat owner forgot toilet paper) into the basin. Well, I also had no idea how to flush the damn thing, and Pidgeon had to come inside to help me. He told me that I had to fish the napkins out of the toilet. Which I did, and then discovered there was no place to put them as there was no garbage. We asked the boat owner what to do with garbage and he said to throw it into the sink. So, I did. I threw my urine soaked napkins into the sink. And then Pidgeon got horrified and told me that the guy EATS in that kitchen and that was gross. What the HELL was I supposed to do? So, I took my urine soaked napkins and placed them in one papercup and the covered it with another paper cup. 

Guess which bathroom didn't come with soap! 

I was feeling NASTY at this point. Just beyond dirty. I was hot, sweaty, had held my urine soaked napkins for far too long, put my hands into a toilet, etc. I was not pleased and all I wanted to do was go home. I also had no idea what I did with my Purelle and boy was I needing it at that very moment. It was also freaking hot downstairs, so Pidgeon told me to go back up to the deck. I did, and when I sat down again, my Mother-in-law was passing the baby to my Father-in-law who was holding onto his big beer can. He put it down in the cup holder in front of us and of course - since the cup holder is built to hold CUPS and not BEER CANS - the beer can fell to the ground and covered me in a river of beer. 

So, now I'm full of sweat, urine, dirty, and beer. 

I was not pleased. 

We had 1 1/2 hours left on this g-d forsaken boat and I just had it. I went downstairs and holed up in one of the bedrooms as they set up for lunch. The driver put on the AC but it wasn't that effective, and I was running back and forth to pee from the water I kept drinking, and I was just ready to go home. They managed to persuade me to eat something but I avoided the passion fruit birthday cake. Finally, it was time to go home. I disembarked awkwardly - with help from Pidgeon and BOTH of his brothers. 

We got to the car and they all decided to continue on to Ashkelon. I looked at Pidgeon and said dayenu. I'm done. I am so disgusting that I just want to go home.

It was a very, very good thing we went home. His parents were okay with our decision to go home and we got back to the apartment at 5:00 p.m. That's when I discovered I had a nasty sunburn on my back and shoulders. I had forgotten to put on sunscreen and didn't realize part of my body was in the sun. I was also suffering from a bad case of heat exhaustion. 

Pidgeon continued to coax more and more water into me and I took a long, much needed shower. After the shower, I got into bed and stayed there until 11:00 p.m. That's when I felt a little bit better and I finally got an appetite back. I ventured out to the living room, raided the fridge a bit, and then told Pidgeon there was no way I could do anything like cook or clean for Shabbos.

I managed to do my shot and then, while watching an episode of Law & Order, passed out. Pidgeon woke me to get me to bed and I slept until 10:00 a.m. the next morning. I spent Friday really, really out of it and in the kitchen. I had an entire Shabbos to cook and I was really, really slow doing everything. But, by the time I lit candles yesterday, I had managed to make a gefilta fish, broccoli kugel, coleslaw, string beans and red onion "casserole", bean vermichelli and asian chicken stir fry and skillet rice and chopped meat. I was too tired to attempt a first course for Friday night and it took me from 10 - 6:00 p.m. to do all of that and get the house ready for Shabbos. I had just enough time to call my Grandmother and Brother to wish them both happy birthdays and shower before the siren rang for Shabbos.

It was a wonderful 25 hours, I wish I could get it back again. We ate, slept, read and relaxed. The alarm went off for shul this morning and somehow, we both slept through it, so we davened at home before lunch. After shalosh seudot, we got dressed and went for a 45 minute walk. It was an absolutely beautiful evening in Jerusalem! The weather was incredible and, at first, I was cold. But then, after a bit of huffing and puffing on the walk, was feeling much hotter. We ended up checking out the Ramban shul in the German Colony and were really impressed with the building. We're hoping to try that shul next Shabbos. Who knows, maybe that will be the place for us! I should write a book about all this shul hopping we've been doing since our wedding. Its insane how many options there are in Jerusalem. Sometimes, too much variety is just not a good thing.

Well, Pidgeon is out working with his Uncle and I decided to stay at home and just relax. This week is my very last day of school! I can't believe that the two year Creative Writing program is almost at an end for me. I have one paper and my thesis left and then - P"G - I will have my Masters. These past two years have gone by so fast in some respects and my lord how much has changed for me!

I moved here knowing absolutely no one. And, in 2 years, fell in love, got engaged, finished the first year of the program, got married, moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, started the second year of the program, got pregnant (B"H) and am now preparing for the end of the program and the beginning of what will P"G be a new addition to our little family.

Sometimes, I just feel so blessed. Even with all of the aggravations. 

Its been so worth it!

Layla Tov from Baka!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Official Sponsor of the War

First official sponsor of Israel's next big war (g-d forbid) is.....Meal Mart! (Complete with logoed stickers that afix easily to soldiers helmets and armored personal carriers).

I sometimes love reading the Jerusalem Post online edition because they have some gem articles hidden on the bottom. This morning, as we woke to the fast of 17 Tammuz, I found this article about Meal Mart equipping IDF infantrymen with food packets in the event (g-d forbid) of another war.

Gotta love corporate sponsorship, already the IDF has lined up some contenders for the next (g-d forbid) war. Pidgeon and I couldn't stop laughing when we read about this for numerous reasons. First, because of all things they found wrong in the Second Lebanese War, it was that the infantry soldiers need to take with them boxes of food until supply lines could be open? Pidgeon's brother fought in the Second Lebanon War, and from what he's told us, hunger was certainly an issue but there were far greater things that needed fixing first and foremost. 

Next, we got a good chuckle because we LOVE Meal Mart foods. There is a Meal Mart on Main Street in Queens, where I'm from, and my Mom loves Meal Mart. In fact, she places a Shabbos order from them almost every single Wednesday night and my Dad picks up the food before Shabbos. Meal Mart makes some great Southern Fried Chicken, potato kugel, turkey legs (ask for those special, they're great!) and other yummy Ashkenazi traditional Shabbos fare. We're a big kugel family, and their sweet potato kugel is also yummy.

But then, Pidgeon and I got to thinking, about what all this yummy Ashkenazi food would do to Israel's soldier's intestines. And, we'd like to warn whatever future enemy might attack next (g-d forbid) that they should invest in some gas masks. Cause, if all those soldiers are gonna be chowing down on some Meal Mart chulent before battle, it's gonna get stanky! It seems like Israel's newest secret weapon is Meal Mart greasy chulent and their smelly side effects.  So beware, the flatulence a coming to get ya!

It was the Jewish fart heard round the world - that's what they'll write in History books. Just you wait!

Moving on. 

Shabbos was an affair to remember. In fact, it started with Friday afternoon's Simchat Bat that left me feeling a bit overwhelmed. I am not a big fan of big parties, never have been, never will be. I prefer small, intimate affairs. And, the Simchat Bat was just so huge and full of people who all seemed to know me even though I didn't know half of them, that I kept searching for a corner table to hid at. It didn't help that Pidgeon, g-d bless him, ditched me twice because he claims he was also scared of the guests and it was every man for himself so he found his corner first. He left me at the mercy of a table full of his first cousins. I coulda throttled him. Anyway, I finally managed to make it over to his table where there wasn't even a seat saved for me! 

As I write this, Pidgeon is protesting that he had in fact saved a seat on his left for me. Fine, he did. Granted, that seat was smack in the middle of the sun, and being 22 weeks preggo, that's not the best place for me to sit. Especially since I was wearing black, and sweating, and hungry and thirsty and needing to get off my fe fi fo fum feet. 

After Pidgeon's brother and girlfriend did some creative manuevering, I managed to sit down in a semi-shady spot and stayed there until we got up to leave. Then, I came home and cooked up a storm for first course, as we were eating both meals with Pidgeon's family. I made fettucine and  vegetables with creamy peanut sauce and steamed 3 bags of edemame. It was a big, big hit with the family! I was pleased everyone like it. The food Friday night was pretty good, the conversation however could have been better.

For some reason, Pidgeon's Mother and sister decided that the dinner table was the perfect time to talk about breast feeding. And, in particular, the state of my nipples. I prayed the floor would open and swallow me up, but it didn't. For about 15 minutes they went on and on and on about nipple erections as I tried to eat my noodles. I just nodded and smiled and looked around at Pidgeon and his brothers for help. FINALLY, Pidgeon's little brother couldn't take it anymore, and he begged for the topic to be changed. I could have kissed him, I appreciated it so much.

We decided not to sleep over at the house for Shabbos and so Pidgeon and I walked back to our apartment at Midnight. It was really nice weather and we enjoy the walk usually, but it was hard for the first time for me to walk. Once we crossed the train tracks into Baka, I was in some serious fatigue. My legs were shaking and I needed to just crawl into bed. And, the fact that I had to do this on Shabbos during the day - twice - was very scary. We managed to make it home without me collapsing and I think I passed out dressed on the bed.

When Pidgeon's alarm went off at 8:15 a.m. on Shabbos, I was in no mood to move. But, we had a 45 minute uphill climb ahead of us and Pidgeon wanted to get to the 9:30 a.m. Minyan at Chovevei so I peeled myself away from the sheets and got moving. It was hot, and not an easy walk. I packed with me a change of clothing and a big water bottle, which I finished right before I got to Pidgeon's parent's front door. The worst part was the Chovevei Hill from the Inbal hotel, as usual, but Pidgeon was kind and patient and took things at my pace. Bless him. I let him go inside the shul for Minyan and then sat for a few minutes on the bench outside drinking my water and trying to calm my heart beat down. I walked the rest of the way to his folks very, very slowly and then when I got inside the house I made a beeline for the kitchen. I was so hungry, I hadn't thought about eating anything before we left, and so I was famished! Fortunately, the kitchen was well stocked with some Kiddush food. I had some crackers and cottage cheese and then went down to Pidgeon's old bedroom and passed out.

We were finally down with Kiddush and lunch around 3:15 and, even though we were offered to stay over until after Shabbos, I wanted to get home. Our apartment has great air conditioning, and I love my bed. So, we filled the water bottle back up and began out journey. It was so, so hot outside! The streets were practically deserted until we got to Emek and we kept passing a couple of people who looked like they were in the middle of some torture walk. It was bad. We stopped a number of times under trees for some shade and so I could get some water into me. But, I hate hot water, so it was difficult to choke it down. Finally, around 4:00 p.m., we made it through the front door. 

I thought very hard about taking a shower, I was all red in the face and my body temperature was very high. Pidgeon told me to do what I needed to feel better, so I took a spray bottle and just spritzed myself good and collapsed in the AC coolness of the apartment. I woke up 3 1/2 hours later and just snoozed on and off until Shabbos ended. It was worth it. Difficult and probably not the smartest thing to do while pregnant. But definitely worth it.

Today, we're really staying around for most of the day. Pidgeon is fasting and I'm trying to at least hold out until mid- day even though the Rabbi told me that I don't have to fast. It's already 12:20 so I'm gonna eat something soon. We're hoping to go to the Kotel tonight too. I haven't been there in a while and, since it's the start of the 3 weeks, thought it couldn't hurt to head over for some praying. Meanwhile, our neighbors are hosting an Open House party tonight after the fast to celebrate their new apartment. We were invited but I declined. I don't go to parties during the 3 weeks, just not my minhag, but I'm sure we'll hear the cacaphony of noises down below.

Well, I think I'm off to break my fast. Here's wishing everyone who is fasting a very easy and meaningful one!

Shavuah Tov from Baka!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Today is a really sad day for the State of Israel. This morning, Pidgeon and I made sure to turn on the TV at 9:00 and have been glued in ever since. I had hoped that both Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev would be returned alive. In fact, last night, I had a dream that Eldad Regev was alive. It was very vivid and when I woke up and woke Pidgeon to tell him about the dream, I almost expected it to come true. I was absolutely shocked when the Hizbollah spokesman made his speech about the exchange and then, when asked if the soldiers were alive, waited for a preverbial drumroll and said "well, now we're going to find out". That's when they pulled out two coffins. It was very, very upsetting. Pidgeon asked me when I was going to turn off the TV today, I said not before I see the two Red Cross trucks with the coffins cross into Israel. I need to know that they're bodies are here, in this Country, before I can turn off the TV and try to process the terrible news.

It's difficult to write about the mundane happenings in my life on such a day, but I think that's the only way I know how to cope. 

Yesterday, Pidgeon drove me to class in my new sandals and with four bottles of water. I managed to drink them all before returning home to Jerusalem at 4:30 p.m. Class was interesting and I was really engaged in the subject material, even though in the back of my mind I was excited that there's only 2 weeks left of school. I can't believe that, in 2 weeks, I will be finished will all of my course requirements for my Masters. Two years of classes, writing, exams, papers, almost finished. It's just so surprising how much has happened in the past 2 years, how much my life has changed, and now the academic portion it coming to an end. Strange but exciting at the same time.

After class, I went to the cool library on campus and read some of the required readings needed for class next week. I was also waiting for Pidgeon, whose own class doesn't end until 2:00 p.m. I had 3 hours to kill, and at least my book was pretty interesting. All the water I had been drinking was starting to get to me though, so I decided to take a break and hit the ladies room. 

I got stuck in the stall.

Laugh if you must, my Mother did when I told her.

I got stuck in the stall because they make these toilet stalls so darn small. And, the door always opens in! So, when I was finished my business and tried to get out, I couldn't. Between my big belly, my backpack and the narrow space, I somehow got wedged in. I had to literally back up, straddle the toilet, and twist in order to free myself. It was not pleasant. The baby kicked the entire time, I think it was because of my adrenaline. 

I hope, after 2 weeks, I never have to use a public restroom while pregnant again. We'll see whether or not I can live up to that aspiration.

Plus, I have developed a set of Fe Fi Fo Fum Feet. Yup, my feet has gained weight and spread about as wide as my belly. Hence the new sandals as I managed to outgrow all of my current shoes. In two months, I went from a size 8 to a size 9. And, I have absolutely no idea how wide they've gotten. All I know, is that it was a miracle I was able to find a pair of Rockports to fit my new swollen feet. Pidgeon insists it's cute, I'm a little less enthusiastic about the latest change in my body. Hopefully, once the weather cools off a bit in a couple more months, my body will stop swelling.

Well, I'm off to finish washing dishes and to get to work on my stories. Wishing everyone a Yom Tov from Baka. And, may Hashem comfort all the mourners of Zion.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Drilled, Scraped and Polished

Today, I went to the dental hygienist in Jerusalem. It was my first time in this Country doing anything with my teeth, really, and I was a bit nervous. Since I take the Clexane shots, my body is prone to bleeding and it take a bit longer to clot. So, I was afraid that she was going to take a hacksaw to my gums and leave me all bloody. She didn't disappoint. After calling me in and chatting me up about my family (i.e. my new married into family) she got to work. At some point, I think there were 6 types of tools in my mouth at one time. She was really digging through my gums to get all the crap out. Fortunately, she used this numbing cream so that I wouldn't feel anything. Yeah, right. I still felt it. How can you not, when there's a hook digging down deep into your gums! I kept my eyes closed for most of the procedure and trying to sooth the fetus who was kicking the crap out of me the entire time! I'm thinking "Hot Dog" (more on this later) wasn't pleased with all this pain. And, the most disconcerting part of the whole appointment was when I finally looked at her and I saw bloody streaks on her white face mask. Yeah, that was my blood all over her mask. Gross. I was happy when it was all over, and I guess it was worth it because my teeth look much cleaner. I avoided eating for a few hours though, I was a bit nauseated by the entire experience. 

So, I know that I've been blog neglectful this week, but for good reason. We finally bought a new car! It was a tremendous ordeal, and we went back and forth with a number of dealerships. Since Pidgeon has himself a convertible, which barely fits even me at this point, we decided it was time to trade in and up. So, we visited Toyota, Mazda, Peugot, Chrystler and Chevrolet in and around Jerusalem. With a trade in, we got the best deal from Chevrolet. In fact, after Pidgeon's trade in and my rights as an Olah Chadasha, the car was extremely affordable. But, Pidgeon enlisted the help of his Dad, who decided to get us a better price in Rishon LeZiyon, which is a big City about 40 minutes away from Jerusalem. The Chevrolet dealership there managed to knock almost 3,000 more shekel off the price of the car, and it was a deal we couldn't refuse. So, on Thursday, we drove out there expecting to seal the deal. We brought all the information we thought we needed and after waiting for hours which the Rishon LeZiyon dealership argued with the Jerusalem dealership, the deal was done. And then, they told us that I needed a lot of documents I hadn't brought with me. Namely, my passport, American drivers license and Olah booklet. The car couldn't be ordered until all that was in their possession, and since I really didn't want to buy a new car during the 3 weeks, we decided to drive back there on Friday to finish everything.

It actually worked out well for us, as we went to Ashkelon for the weekend. We've been needing a beach weekend for a while, and we both were looking forward to cooling off at the pool in the neighborhood. Plus, we thought a change of scenery would do us good, so we coordinated with Pidgeon's parents and made plans to all go out there for Shabbos. Friday morning came, and we packed quickly and went to get the car checked before the deal could be made. Once the report came back clean, or at least as "clean" as a third hand car can be, we were off to Rishon. The dealership closes on Friday's at 1:00 p.m. and it was getting dangerously close to quitting time. We made it with 15 minutes to spare and the document passing began. But then Chaim, our dealer, told me that he had to take all my originals. I was under the impression that he was just going to make photocopies. Oh no, he was taking my passport, my Olah booklet, both my Israeli and American drivers license and that was enough to send me into a panic. I have NEVER been without my passport in my entire life. It's a Holocaust thing that I don't want to go into now, but after a few minutes to hyperventilating and the dealer promising me that he does this "all the time", I let the documents go. Good thing I'm not the driver in this family, how the heck was I supposed to get around now? The dealer promised me that I could just show a cop my photocopied drivers license and explain I was buying a new car in case I got pulled over. Whatever, I'm just counting down until we get the car, so I can get my documents back.

We got onto the road and headed to Ashkelon and straight to the Marina for some lunch. I needed some comfort food so I went with the fish and chips, excellent choice although the fish wasn't as fresh as I like it. Pidgeon had a pizza and his folks split a salad and eggplant drenched in garlicky techina. We went back to the apartment, unpacked, got into our swimsuits and went to the building next door to invade their pool. It was delicious to take a dip! Unfortunately, we were only there for 30 minutes before the pool closed for Shabbos. Bummer. I was really enjoying the water. Oh well, next time we'll just have to go out earlier so we can spend some more time. The pool in Pidgeon's parents building is almost done, with some water already being added to test the new pool. I'm praying that by the time we go out there in August, everything will be good to go! I'd love to spend some serious time in the pool.

I'm in end of the year countdown and it's really exciting! I can't believe I have 3 weeks left until the end of the program! In terms of work, that means 7 short stories to go! 6 of those are for my thesis and 1 is for my Assimilation in American Literature course. I already handed in my paper for my Holocaust Literature class at our last meeting last Tuesday. It felt great to get that off my plate. And, I continue to pray that I passed my philosophy exam so I can dump all my study materials and just move on. I will be pretty devastated if I failed the course. That would suck.

Pidgeon's brother and nephew are coming on Tuesday night for a few days and I can't wait! He's bringing me some American hot dogs that I've been craving! We've nicknamed the fetus "Hot Dog" because that's ALL I want to eat. I've explained this in an earlier post, but unfortunately my cravings haven't changed at all. I'm still all about tearing into flesh. Speaking of which, I think I'm going to defrost some chicken legs now. Hopefully, that will satisfy the teeny, tiny beast within. 

Happy Sunday from Baka!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th from Our Mongal to Yours!

This is our Mongal. Well, it's our one-time-only Mongal, and for 12 shekel (about $4) we were able to make a mini BBQ feast for dinner last night. Pidgeon surprised me cause I've been a bit down lately, and since Thursday night is HIS night to cook, we decided to pick up the Mongal at the Supermarket and some steakburgers and hotdogs, and have our own little Independence Day dinner. It was a lot of fun and these ready to use mini BBQ's are fantastic. All you have to do is light them up and then drop your meat onto the grate. It took about 5 minutes to cook my lamb hotdogs and a bit longer to cook the burgers since I like my meat well-done.

Meanwhile, I finally understand what people mean when they talk about pregnant women cravings. I have only been craving meat. Well, actually, I crave flesh. I just want to tear into a steak, a big turkey leg, an entire rotisserie chicken, and great, big juicy all beef hotdogs with ALL the trimmings. This baby is a carnivore - just like its parents - and only time will tell how the baby will eat their meat. Rare, like Pidgeon. Or very well done, like me. I can't wait to find out!

I  guess my cravings could be worse. I could be dying for some food that I absolutely cannot find in Israel and that would be pretty bad. I have been waking up though, in the middle of the night, absolutely starving. I woke up the other night at 3:00 a.m. and was really hungry, but since I'm trying not to do the whole middle of the night uncontrollable eating thing, I logged onto the computer and IMed with some of my friends in the States. Bless them. Had no one been online, I might have raided the fridge. 

Today, I'm doing my usual pre-Shabbos cooking thing. I leave everything to the last minute, so I had to cook two entire meals today. Fortunately, my menu was pretty simple, and I decided it was about time Pidgeon and I shelved the whole traditional Ashkenazi Shabbos meal and went with something a bit more, well, provincial. So, for dinner tonight, we're having meatballs and whole wheat spaghetti with roasted broccoli on the side. Dessert, if we're still awake, will probably be watermellon. As for Shabbos lunch, I wanted to go super simple, so I grilled some spiced chicken cutlets, sauteed fennel and onions, baked spicy sweet potato fries and will make a noodle salad with spicy peanut sauce out of the leftover spaghetti from dinner tonight. Super simple. Where does it say that a Shabbos meal needs to have gfilta fish and potato kugel? Although, I would love to figure out how to make a good potato kugel. Hmm, one day, maybe. But for now, I'm all about the meatballs and spaghetti.

We're planning on a very low key weekend, which will be nice. I'm hoping to get up in time tomorrow to make it to shul, since I've been really lazy lately. As for next week, who knows. I'm in final countdown until the end of school. I have four weeks left and believe me, with this heat, I'm looking forward to not having to shlep each week to Ramat Gan!

Shabbat Shalom from Baka!

Happy Fourth of July!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Bulldozer Rampage in Jerusalem

Another terror attack today in Jerusalem. We're in shock that it was a bulldozer. These vehicles are ubiquitous in Jerusalem! There's at least one on every block, you drive next to them in the streets and on the highway. And today, a bulldozer driver, decided to kill Israelis with the vehicle he was using to build the Jerusalem monorail.


He smashed cars and upturned buses! BUSES people! Actual buses were flipped like pancakes. We were at a bris when the carnage began and heard about it as we left and raced to our 1:00 p.m. Dr.'s appointment. In the short drive from Hechal Shlomo (we were at a lovely bris) to the Medical Center, we passed by 3 bulldozers. I wasn't thrilled to see so many, especially in light of this news.
This put Pidgeon in a really somber mood, and I was pretty down too. When we finished with the Dr., we raced home and turned on the TV to watch the footage. To say I will have nightmares is putting it mildly. The media kept replaying, over and over, the "neutralization" of the terrorist. The first time I saw the footage, I wasn't expecting to be able to see so clearly how the soldiers and police officers killed the terrorist. I actually flinched when it happened. I got numbed to it later on, after I saw it for the 100th time. There was no love lost though when I heard the reports about the dead.

Two of the women murdered were members of Pidgeon's parents shul. One of the women was a friend of Pidgeon's parents. Horrible. We were unable to go to the funeral because it was at 10:30 p.m. and I have to do my shot at 11:00 p.m. I wish we could have gone though, I felt it's important for us to pay our respects even though I personally never met her. We'll try to P"G pay a shiva visit.

And, as usual when terrorist attacks happen in Israel, I stayed glued to whatever media source I could find for additional information. A number of news stations showed a member of Magen David Adom who's in Pidgeon's family. We saw him take charge of the baby that was pulled out of the wreckage of a vehicle, alive B"H, although her Mother didn't make it. Awful.

My parents tracked us down at the Dr. when they heard the reports. Good thing they had Pidgeon's cell phone as my was on vibrate from the bris and I didn't hear it in my cavernous bag. Fortunately, Gaby was able to allay their fears and I promised to call them when I got home. I spent a lot of time fielding other calls and SMSes from loves ones who were concerned. I really appreciated that so many people - both in Tel Aviv and the States - tracked us down to make sure we were okay. B"H, we are both physically okay. Mentally,well, that's another story.

Here's hoping for a much better day tomorrow, with only news of Smachot.