Monday, October 29, 2007

Sensory Overload

Work these days is an exercise in sensory overload.

We're renovating the Visitors Center, and I'm so thrilled that I don't want to say anything to jinx it, but.....between the cigerettes that the workers smoke, the fumes of the paint, the noise of the metal being soldered, (not to mention the sparks that fly), and the ever-present tractor that's hauling stuff up and down the street outside (for someone else's renovation) I'm being overwhelmed with stimuli.

I finally went looking for some music on an on-line radio station, and found some old '60s and '70s music, which is fun. So one more stimuli. It doesn't exactly block out all the rest, but it's helpful.

I just saw that my cousin applied for the winter Livnot program! I'm so excited! He'll have a wonderful time. (Maybe he can drag some of the others mishpocha....)

Hodesh Irgun continues unabated. Hagai is definitely NOT interested in participating, but Yochi and Margalit go up almost every night to paint and rehearse. The house is quiet. My biggest challenge these days is keeping the cats out as much as possible. All of a sudden, Bagheera has noticed that he has a home, but he pooped twice last week inside the house -- I thought that cats were supposed to have an intuition about that? And now, no matter what I do, he insists on trying to come back in.

Then, to complicate matters, Miranda has peed a couple of times in the house, something that she hasn't done in 3 years. Does she sense something? Or is it a bladder infection? Getting her out is even harder -- she's quite sneeky about slipping back into the house, and if I succeed in getting her out at night, she'll scratch at the door (MY bedroom door...she knows where I am) right around the time that I'm in them middle of my REM sleep. I DO NOT LIKE CATS!

Monday, October 22, 2007


rooms dug out -- buried under rubble for hundreds of years.

the arch of a door of a buried room -- when you see an arch like that, you know that there's a room buried under there!

A couple who visited from America came by Livnot today. They are in their 50s, and their daughter had done the program several years ago. Her boyfriend was doing his second program, as a counselor, and brought his girlfriend to have the experience...he proposed to her during the program, and they returned to the States to be married.

A few weeks before the wedding, the young woman suddenly died...she had some sort of undiagnosed heart problem (I think that that's what it was). Now her parents were here to see the places where she had enjoyed so much, and where she had been proposed to -- the most exciting time of her life.

I took them around a bit. It was so difficult to know what to say, when to talk and when to leave them to themselves. I can't even imagine such pain. I hope that it helped them a bit to feel close to their daughter in the place where she was so happy, but it brings up the fears that so many parents must feel, and I certainly do...the dread of something happening to a child. How does one go on?

What was really strange was, not an hour later, a guy came by with the SAME LAST NAME as the parents of the girl....and he was here because HIS GIRLFRIEND, who had also done the program, had died (she had had some sort of accident) and he wanted to come and see the place that she'd spoken of so often. Eerie.

Since my digital camera is still broken (the store keeps promising that it'll be back "this week") I've uploaded some pictures from work -- the crew is digging out the new campus area, and have already found 18 rooms buried beneath the rubble of successive earthquakes. I find it tremendously exciting, to see the process (I'm not big on actually doing physical work myself, ahem, but think that it's interesting to see it being done) and know that these are the rooms where Jews lived hundreds of years ago. This is the area where Hagai was digging this summer, and Avishai several years ago)

My little area of the world, the Tourist Center, is also being renovated. The guy who runs "KabbalahTour" is moving in with me, and it has been the imputus to renovate the space. Together with the Breslev "Kabbalah Center" that's moving in across the street, this should make our part of the street a happening place! At the very least, it means that the office where I work will look more professionals and organized...not longer like a B'nai Akiva headquarters.

Speaking of B'nai Akiva, that's where my children are whenever they're not sleeping or at school. It's Hodesh Irgun, Movement Month, and Margalit is in the play (Mulan -- she's the dragon, Mushu), Yochi is painting, and Hagai is trying, unsuccessfully, not to get roped into joining. He's not a joiner...he'd love to spend all his time at home, strumming on his guitar, playing chess against the computer, and reading. But life intrudes sometimes....Yochi made him promise to come and help them paint today, so we'll see if this is the start of something.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The little notes

I'm looking at my little white notes that I've been collecting all week.

Every night, I make a list of the things that need doing.

This is BEFORE and AFTER an 8-hour work day, in addition to the household chores.

From Sunday:
  • check out cell phone for Margalit
  • 30 shekels for B'nai Akiva for Margalit
  • Dentist appointments for all
  • call Pamela about extra curricular group for Margalit
  • 80 shekels for Hagai -- math book
  • 200 shekels for Avishai -- books
  • get Ariella's money to her -- Euros that she forgot in Tzfat, that she'll need in Italy
  • Iron tablets for Yochi
  • Kupat Cholim coverage for Avishai; to reapply after the army
  • get back matress that we loaned to Shula
  • check on digital camera, in shop
  • fruits and vegetables
  • Calgeron...Hagai's sore throat
  • get back house key from Lowenthals
  • Tuesday morning dentist appointment for Margalit. Panoramic X-Ray, then back to the dentist.
  • Monday evening teacher-parent meeting
  • Tuesday meeting at school with staff
  • Blistex for all of us
  • Pay bills at Post Office.
  • Photo album. Make copies of pictures to send to family
  • thank you letter to Aunt R.

It's now Thursday, and I have a whole new list.

I'm also thinking about how to make a new effort at marketing my t-shirts, which don't move much at the Visitors Center. E-Bay? I don't even know where to start.

The office where I work is being renovated. I'm so excited! There's another office moving in with me, KabbalahTour. The guy who runs it will be bringing touring groups to Tzfat to give them a "Jewish Experience" with a Kabbalah twist. The project sounds good, and I'm pleased that I'll be working in a more-professional-looking office.

A large part of my work day involves surfing the net to find where to put links for Livnot, and information about it. Problem is, once I start surfing, I jump from link to link and get involved in looking at the different sites -- never mind all the blogs. VERY hard to concentrate on what I'm supposed to be doing.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


After waffling all day yesterday, I finally got up at 5:30a.m. and caught a ride down to Jerusalem. I've been walking around all day, totally enjoying my freedom. It'll be hard to go back to routine.

It was also a lot of fun to go wherever I wanted to go, not have anyone insisting that we drive everywhere (I walked MILES today), and not have to cater my vacation time to anyone else's ideas of a vacation (reminder: when I came here with the kids in late August, we spent 2 out of 3 days of the vacation in the mall)

I also kept meeting people who I knew, which was funny. In 8 hours of walking around, I saw 6 different people who I know from Tzfat.

One of the reasons that I had wanted to come to Jerusalem was to see my friend, who I had originally run into when we were in Jerusalem in August. We had been eating supper in the mall, and she was walking around, collecting tzdekka. She told me at the time that they hadn't bought toilet paper in their house for 3 days, and she would be staying at the mall until closing, at 23:00, to take home leftovers from the Food Court.

I sent her a little money at Rosh Hashana, but the amount that I can send doesn't make much of a dent in her situation -- she told me today that she's thousands of dollars in debt (from special tutoring that she set up for two of her kids who are severly dysletic.) When she took out the loan, she had been receiving more money from the National Insurance, as a single parent, and had been able to make her payments, but when the cuts went into effect, she was, in effect, left penniless. She's been cleaning houses and babysitting for years, but it barely takes care of the household expenses, much less her debts.

I have been racking my brains for ways to fundraise for her. I can send her my own tzdekka money (instead of giving it to the local beggers, which I'd been doing up until now) but that won't help much. It's going to make sleeping difficult.

And Tzfat is no place to fundraise -- I can personally name several families that I know of who are in exactly the same boat there, and the resources to help them just aren't available. Don't know........

Monday, October 08, 2007


I've earned it.

6:30a.m. Wake up, wash living room/kitchen floor before kids wake up.
7:00a.m. Wake up Margalit and Yochi. Get Margalit's lunch ready for school. Prod.
7:15a.m. Wash floor in boys' room, since Hagai has left for school and Avishai isn't here
7:45a.m. Grab lunch (prepared last night) and go to work.
8:00a.m. On time -- for once.
16:00p.m. Done with work. Stop at Botzers and Glazers to pick up their Shabbat leftovers for cats and dog
16:10p.m. Fruit and vegetable store
16:25p.m. pharmacy -- Yochi wants iron tablets. She's always tired.
16:30p.m. Housewares shop -- need knives and spatula
16:35p.m. Stationary store. Hagai needs lead for his pencil
16:40p.m. Grocery store. Jello (for Hagai) and apple cider vinager (for my sushi -- it's good in the rice)
16:50p.m. Post Office to pick up a package.
17:00p.m. Home. Where's Margalit? Track her down to a birthday party that she went to. Start list of what needs to be done the next time I'm in town, that I didn't get to this time (or forgot) List now on the fridge. Kids adding to it.
17:15p.m. Wash floor in Margalit's room
17:30p.m. Show apt to possible renters for downstair's neighbor
17:45p.m. Make french toast for Avishai. Try not to react when Hagai brings home a piece of pizza and, after my french toast, Avishai gulps down the pizza.
18:00p.m. phone calls
18:15p.m. Wash downstairs floor
19:15p.m. Eat supper
20:00p.m. Get ready for trip to Jerusalem tomorrow. Prepare lunches. Give kids money for dinner (falaffel). Give out assignments.
22:00p.m. Bedtime!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

There will be no picture in this blog, or for the immediate future, anyway. The pink-taking digital camera (which, if you will notice from the Succa posting, has a bit of a problem) is now in the shop. Everyone is telling me that it's better to upgrade, but there's something about just fixing the old reliable camera that is comforting. Besides, I was just getting to the point that I could use a couple of the functions without having to ask my offspring for assistance.

THE HOLIDAYS ARE OVER! No more major cooking for 6 days! 5, if you consider that I usually start Thursday night for Shabbat, but still....a big improvement over the unending crush of cooking that enveloped the past month. For Simhat Torah, we had a big barbque which ended up going in shifts....the first group came about 14:00 and hung around for about an hour and a half, and just as they were leaving, the second group came. This worked out GREAT with the pace of the barbque, and in one fell swoop, I fulfilled quite a bit of hosting obligations. (and, Avishai and hagai did most of the cooking!)

So, back to normal. Avishai is now officially a civilian. He's thrilled....none of this "signing on for extra time" for him. He starts the local community college this morning to complete his high school matriculation exams, hopefully do the psychometric exam (for university) and just enjoy things. Of course, our food bill just doubled! I keep trying to encourage him to take a job where he'd be doing some renovation work (he could possibly get something at Livnot) just so that he can learn some skills along the way, but he is tired of the physical exertion that marked his 3 years in the army, and prefers something quieter. Up to him....

Have to get Margalit to the doctor this afternoon -- she's got a stomach ache that's now on its 4th day. Every time a glitch comes up, I twitch.