Sunday, September 26, 2004
the sound of silence
I'm sorry for the lack of posting, I am going through something right now.
When words return to me I'll post something.
(don't worry, everything is fine. it's just a personal matter)
I hope those that were fasting had an easy one.

Thursday, September 23, 2004
ta - DA!!!!!!!!!!
Ladies and gentlemen..... my vacation pictures of Israel are finally posted!

Dreaming of Israel is open and ready for viewing.

There is still some fine tuning to be done.... cleaning up spelling mistakes, adding links to more information about places, and other such things..... but it is certainly ready enough for people to start looking (there are over 200 pictures, so it will take time to look through them).

I hope you enjoy.

UPDATE: I have been reworking and refining the Israel photoblog ALL friggin' day...coz I'm obsessive, afterall. So if you just skimmed it before, you may wanna go back for such juicy updates as "the history of the Israeli payphone" Oh, yes!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Today I choose to be happy.
I will not let news of another suicide bomber in Israel ruin my day. Instead I will be happy. I am happy because the weather is warm and beautiful and I can smell autumn in the air. Soon the colours of the leaves will be a gorgeous palette of orange, yellow and red. I can't wait, I love the changing of the seasons.

And I'm in a good mood coz I'm mailing off something to a fellow blogger. First of all, I love mailing packages and letters to people. I love spoiling people I like, and who doesn't love getting mail?? It's such a rarity now, and that makes getting something that much more special. It's a simple gesture and yet it can mean so much. Second, I love mailing things to other bloggers! It's such an odd yet wonderful bond you create when you read each others blogs, and then to make actual friends... I dunno, I just think it's great. (yikes, I'm sounding like a total cornball, I know) I have sent packages to bloggers in Israel, Japan, California and now North Carolina. *grin*

I haven't had time at work to finish posting my vacation pics (I only posted about 75 out of 220), but now that I've started it I am really excited and anxious to finish it. I think if I knuckle down tonight I can finish it and unveil it. I have devoted a new photoblog to it instead of using my main one because there are SO many pictures; I thought I would just give it it's own space. I'll aim for tomorrow and let you know.
*fingers crossed*

again and again and again ....
The Palestinians have gone and done it again. A suicide bomber was stopped from getting on a bus (thank God) but still managed to detonate herself and take 2 Israelis with her.

I haven't the words for this anymore, and I will not give the terrorists the benefit of my rage. What they fail to understand is that with every attack they seal their fate. I hope they find new and true leadership. Soon.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Dear Yael,

I have been working for many hours on getting my pictures from my vacation in Israel organized so that I may post them for all to see. Sorting them and deciding which will go up and which will have to be cut took HOURS today, and only now, at 9:30pm after my day at work and evening at Hebrew class, am I finally able to start posting them. There are about 215 pictures (again, that was after I cut some out!) so you are just going to have to exercise a little more patience. I am working on it, and appreciate your enthusiasm. I will personally E-MAIL you when they are up, how's about that?
Keep your shorts on, I'm working on it. *wink*

much love,
celestial blue

drawing lines in the sand
There's a crazy big general strike going on in Israel right now. Makes me glad I'm not trying to fly to or from there now, coz flights are being diverted to Budapest and Vienna. Then again, that would be kinda cool..... hmmm...

I think today I am going to try and get my vacation pics from Israel up on my photoblog. It's going to take me *hours*, so I better be smooth about doing it here at work or I'll get in trouble. There are so many I might have to do it over a few days.. I'll let you now as I put them up.

I start my Hebrew class again tonight. YAY!!!!!!! I'm so excited to get back into my classes again, as I'm starting to get a bit rusty. And I adore my Hebrew teacher, she's the bestest.

I got my first spam in my Gmail account yesterday. 4 in total, which at first really annoyed me since I haven't had the account that long, but then I decided it wasn't so bad because at least the filter caught all 4 of them and dumped them in the spam folder. Nice filter catch, Google! I was impressed.
I still have tons of invites if someone wants a Gmail account, just drop me a line.

Sunday, September 19, 2004
when actors find God
I have a secret love.... Sunday morning tv. It used to be Saturday morning when I was a kid, but that was when there were cartoons on worth watching. I just can't get into "today's" cartoons. Makes me feel old, actually.
But now it's Sunday morning that I love, the exact day and time I used to find boring as all hell when I was kid. Only the reasons I love it now are the very reasons I hated it then; religious programming. I am absolutely fascinated watching all these big churches on tv, and I watch with glee as "The Word" is preached using various techniques for getting you to believe his or her particular brand of religion.

Remember when I talked about how I was glued to the tv when Kirk Cameron (of Growing Pains fame) was on a Christian program, discussing his website and video? Well, today it was a different celebrity. When I turned to the Christian channel I found a clip showing a whole bunch of kids on skateboards and BMX bikes doing stunts. The clip went on to show all their skills on ramps, sidewalks and rails. Then it showed a circle of kids holding hands and praying before they performed all these terrific skills. And then they cut back to scenes of all these kids doing all these crazy routines, and interlaced snippets of interviews with the kids talking about how they had their troubles lifted when they put their life and trust into God's hands. It was fascinating! But THEN it showed an actor hanging out with all these kids, partaking in the fun and hijinx, and pinching their cheeks, and just generally joking around. It was Stephen Baldwin.

Now, I enjoyed Stephen Baldwin in The Usual Suspects, but having seen him on the reality show, Celebrity Mole, I couldn't stand him "in real life". He was *obnoxious* in the biggest way, and it totally made me think he was a complete jerk. I believe he even talked opened about his religious convictions on the show, which in a way I kinda admired.

Anyway, after the clip showing these skateboarders and bike riders the show ("The Hour of Power") cut back to the giant church, with Stephen Baldwin and the minister Robert Schuller. Stephen said that these kids used their athletic talents to attract other kids to the word of God. He said that they were paid minimal amounts of money to travel the country, visiting churches nation-wide, and that after putting on a show for the kids they would then talk to them about their beliefs.


I don't quite know what to make of it. I mean, it was nice to see Stephen Baldwin not being obnoxious, something I wasn't sure was possible. But after that whole piece, it cut to a recording of the minister doing a little one-on-one kind of talk with the home viewers (away from the huge church was in a room somewhere). Basically he was asking for money. He talked about how the ministry needed money in order to cover the costs of the show (we'll ignore that they have sponsors and therefore commercials to help offset the costs) and that he relied on donations by "friends" like me to pay for the show to be on the air. This is where I always get suspicious... when religious shows start asking for money. While I understand that indeed high costs are incurred, I think we have all heard stories of the wealth and corruption of some ministries. (This also brings me to notice that you never see any Jewish programming like this...hmm..)

But hey, that's all part of what fascinates me with this kind of programming.... watching the unbending faith of people and watching the 'ministry machine' hard at work. Who knows, maybe one day a good ministry, like si's, will be on tv. Now that would be something to tune into..... :-)

Friday, September 17, 2004
remember when
I bought a book today called "The Holocaust Chronicle".
On the back it reads: "This book is a not-for-profit enterprise made available to the widest possible audience via a low price that will allow widespread distrubution to individuals, schools, universities, synagogues, public libraries, churches and retail outlets. Its goal is the truth, scrupulously researched and vividly expressed in words and pictures"

It includes 2,000 photgraphs, a 3,000-item timeline, and 250 sidebars detailing the significant people, places issues and events. Written and fact-checked by top scholars. 768 pages.

Cool, hunh? As it states, it's meant to be an economical way to educate people, and it is...I paid only $20 (Canadian!) for this large hardcover book! It's beautiful! Apparently the full contents of the book can be found here on their website, though the photographs are on rotation and updated often. Check it out, and if you can, buy the book (it's cheaper here).

Anyway, I am getting back into the fall tv viewing. I forgot how much fun new shows are! Princess Blondie and I began our Thursday night ritual of Survivor again, something I have dearly missed. It was great to curl up on the couch to watch it together again. And tonight Third Watch is on. *glee!!*
I'm heading out later to see the Manchurian Candidate with a friend....I'll give my review later (I have a critical eye, having enjoyed the original).

Shabat Shalom, everyone.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004
Happy New Year!!
Shana Tova to all my Jewish readers, and other kindred spirits. :-) Beginning at sundown tonight we will ring in a new year, and begin to reflect on our lives over the year leading up to this time.

I look forward to what the new year brings, as this past one has been very good to me, and it all started last September. I wish everyone a healthy, happy and most importantly, a peaceful new year.

If you wish to find out more about the holiday go see Dave's post over at Israellycool.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004
you know your vacation and birthday are over when.... wake up at 5:30am (wtf?? apparently my body is back in Canada, but my mind is still in Israel), read the morning news and find out about yet *another* suicide bombing in Israel, head out the door by 7:45am and drive 2 hours to work (out in the field today, not the office), work 10 gruelling hours (which is comprised of slugging around boxes, climbing up and down a huge ladder countless times, and doing general "grunt" work that comes with the job), and then getting back in the car and driving 2+ hours (now through construction...glee!) home.
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz I am exhausted beyond belief. I'm going to bed now, and I plan on going into work a bit late in the morning.

But before I go, a big FUCK YOU goes out to the sonofabitch who STOLE si's present/souvenir out of the envelope, leaving only the letter to arrive in California from Israel. I am so bitter I can barely speak. Bitter, I tell you, BITTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, September 13, 2004
the big Three-Oh
So what's all the fuss about turning 30, anyway?? I have yet to understand why people fuss because quite frankly, this has been the best birthday I have ever had. I got to go to Israel (thank you thank you! what an awesome gift!!), I got to spend last night stuffing my face and having the *best* time with all my closest and most amazing friends, and tonight I will spend yet more celebrations with my family and friends! How is any of this bad???

I know some people really freak out about the number itself. 30. oooh!! 30!! But personally it has yet to bother me. As far as I can tell people most often get freaked out about turning 30 if they are unhappy with their lives at that point. Perhaps they have not reached their goals that they figured they would by then, or maybe they are directionless and still trying to figure out what they are doing. I myself am looking over the last year and finding that it has been one of my absolute best. I have grown and matured and evolved so much that I am finding now, at this magical age of 30, that I am starting to finally really like myself. It has taken a long time, but I am in a very good place right now, and look forward to whatever may be in my future.

I am surrounded by a group of friends whom I adore and have stood by me over the years; these are the friends that I have little doubt will be with me for many more years to come. I have worked hard to refine my group of friends to include only people who influence me positively and who support me unconditionally (and I them) and let go of friendships that do not. We respect each other and most importantly we can laugh and cry together. They are my extended family.

I have a small but close family. Like any family we have our dysfunction, but in the end we always watch each other's back, and we love each other unconditionally. My family is another area that over the past year I have been putting some focus on to make better, and have seen some progress. Families, as we all know, can be very trying. But they ARE your family, and always worth the effort. My family, like myself, is a work in progress.

Anything beyond that is just gravy. I have a good job, a nice home and a nice new car. All those things that society says a successful person should have. And I live in a beautiful country that I love very deeply and am grateful everyday for all that I have here. But for me, it's still about the family and friends. And in that respect, I am one of the richest people alive. Life is good, and turning 30 only serves to remind me of that.

Sunday, September 12, 2004
birthday buildup
It is a *beautiful* day here in Toronto, with temperatures topping 34C (93.2F) and the Toronto Film Festival in full swing. I have been lucky enough to meet up with my friend/sponsee for our shared birthday lunch and usual hours spent talking. It was really great. And I will be heading out in a few hours for my birthday bash with about 12 of my closest friends; dinner and bowling! *woot woot!* Tomorrow night, the day of my actual birthday, will be spent with my parents, brother, grandmother and of course my beloved Princess Blondie and her beau Bruno.
What more could I ask for? This has been an amazing birthday and it's not even my birthday yet!!! *grin*

Hope everyone else is having a great weekend, too.....

Saturday, September 11, 2004
back in the saddle
Well, I think I am finally recovering from my jet lag, and have made the adjustment back to Toronto time from Israel time. I was still in bed way earlier than normal last night, but I managed to sleep in until my normal time this morning. Whew.

I got up bright and early, feeling well rested for once, and headed out to get groceries. I have not had a chance to restock my glaringly empty fridge since I returned (I have been out with friends every night this week to share tales of my trip). However, having an empty fridge has afforded me the opportunity to wipe it down, clean it out and to fill it up with all kinds of fresh fruits and veggies. I'm feeling really quite pleased with myself, actually. And of course I had to pick up some pita and hummus while at the grocery store today, though I was incredibly disappointed with the hummus selection. Only 2 varieties to choose from compared to the 50+ varieties I saw in the Israeli grocery store. *sigh* I think I'll head to the grocery store closer to the 'Jewish neighbourhood' that carries lots of imported Israeli products and see what kind of hummus I can get there. I figure if they have Milki they'll have good hummus.

And yes I realize it's September 11th, and no I don't intend to dwell on the horrible history of this date. In fact, I have two friends who are celebrating their birthdays today, and I intend to help them enjoy the day while others would rather make the day a black one. It's no fun having your birthday on this day, so I want them to be able to enjoy their birthdays guilt free. Tonight I am going to a big birthday bash (a co-worker/partner is turning 50) and tomorrow I am having lunch with another friend; we always have a birthday celebration on the 12th, since it is a day after her birthday and a day before mine. :-)

While I understand that today will be a difficult day for so very many people, I also challenge everyone to find a reason to celebrate. Celebrate the life of the person you loved and remember what was gained from knowing him/her, not what was lost. Celebrate the unity that was born of tragedy, bringing us all closer together. Celebrate life. Gone but not forgotten, it's time to heal and carry on.

when Israelis come to Toronto
I saw something interesting on the local news last night; 2 Israeli men came to Toronto in order to get married, since gay marriage is legal here in Toronto. These men are well known gay activists in Israel and though their marriage won't be recognized in Israel they are hoping this will be a step towards changing that.
My congratulations to Uzi and Amit for being able to make their 18 year relationship official.

Friday, September 10, 2004
the blogger meeting, revisited
I had a dream last night. And in that dream was another blogger named Dave. In the dream Dave had rigged some kind of raised platform that resembled a mini skateboarding circuit. Dave was explaining to me that I had to take my little toy (a lego version of Karl Malone on a skateboard. don't ask.) and successfully navigate it on the course without it falling over or off. And as Dave explained all this he was dipping his finger into a container of some kind of white goo (though at first I thought it was hummus, but realized later it had the consistency of a slightly runny version of Silly Putty) and placing this goop in random areas on the course. I seemed nervous about my ability to accomplish this task and glanced at Dave in that "I'm-not-so-sure-about-this" way. And then....... I woke up.

What's so weird about all that? The fact that I am dreaming about another blogger who in fact lives in Israel. The fact that I can accurately dream about what he looks like because just 8 days ago I met him in person along with almost 20 other bloggers who live and blog in Israel. Can you see how entirely amazing that concept is? These are people that for the last 2 years I have been reading, admiring and have been inspired by to start my own blog. And I MET them! I went halfway around the world and got to shake hands and say, "hey, I like what you do; thanks for writing so that I have a better understanding of Israel and what it's like to live there. And thanks for the many laughs too". We were all brought together because we have a common element, and that is our love of Israel. And we all have a great respect for each other and the perspective we each bring to the conversation on that topic. I can safely say that the night we all got together and were able to puts faces to names and blogs was one of *the* happiest nights I can remember.

For anyone who blogs you know there are certain levels of popularity in the blogosphere, let's face it. There are blogs that I have looked up to in part because they are so highly regarded (and the traffic to their blogs reflects this) and in part because their writing is just so damn good. They are the gurus of your particular blogging circle (in this case the Israeli blogging circle). When going to the Blogger Bash I was actually worried about meeting some of these people! I was worried I would become a bumbling fan that could only spit out "I really like your blog!" when I finally got to shake their hands. As it turns out we were all equals there, and everyone was warm and welcoming and open. And while I was worried about being an outsider because I was the only Canadian blogger at an Israeli blogger meeting, I was actually singled out and "awarded the prize" for being the blogger who came the farthest. Indeed, I had gone to great lengths to make this meeting coincide with my trip, as I was extremely eager to meet everyone. And I received a very warm welcome into the fold.

There were lots of people there and somehow I didn't get around to meeting everyone that attended. Perhaps I didn't work enough at mingling, or maybe just got too caught up in my conversations with others. And then there were those who were sorely missed because they could not attend (Wadiuwant, Dutchblog Israel and Adventures in Jerusalem). Your absence left a notable hole in the attendance!
But in the end it was an experience that left a huge impression on everyone. And I can't help but think...what would my great grandmother think of this if she were still around? The fact that some crazy invention called the internet had brought a group of strangers together from all over the world to one location in the Middle East. I think she would be amazed, just as I am. I never lose sight of the fact that it was a wonderful set of circumstances that brought us together.

An article was written about the Bash and has been published in the online edition of Ha'Aretz; yes we had a reporter covering the event! If you would like to read it, you may find it here.
Oh! And I had a second dream last night about Dave....I dreamt that I woke up from the dream, saw Dave when I was out and about in my day and told him that he should read my blog because I was going to write about him and a crazy dream I had! Talk about life imitating dreams....

Thursday, September 09, 2004
which is worse: garbage or jet lag?
Am I the only one having a helluva time with Blogger lately?? Damnit, if only I was smarter I would do something clever like move to a new host or something. Only I'm not all that handy with the html and the like, which is why I came to Blogger in the first place. I hate it when my own lack of knowledge forces me to deal with shitty service.

Anyway, I am still heavily embroiled in a battle with jet lag and the jet lag is winning. I can't believe how badly it's kicking my ass, it was SO not like this the last time I traveled to Israel. *shrug* Beats me, all I know is my bed calls me to all day while I am at work. Never one to drink much coffee or tea, I have done an about face and have been drinking copious amounts of tea in an effort to perk myself up enough to be at least mildly productive. I don't think I'm fooling anyone (I nodded off in the lunchroom in front of everyone).

The weather hasn't exactly been helping, as it has been the very *opposite* to what I have been used to for the last 12 days. Toronto has been dealing with the tail end of Hurricane Frances and so yesterday and this morning we had been pounded with rain and storms. I try not to complain coz we sure don't have it as hard as those in Granada, with 90% of the homes damaged by Hurricane Ivan. Poor bastards. For me, the dark rainy days aren't helping my adjustment any, it's only furthering my desire to crawl into bed and slide into a deep hibernation. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Last night I went to Princess Blondie's place for dinner and after eating she and her beau Bruno and I curled up and watched a nice wholesome movie together, "Deathwatch". When that concluded it was more or less a race to see which of us could get to bed first, we were so tired. She won coz it was her house and I still had to drive home. I was in bed before 10pm. Sweet, sweet jet lag, why must you beat me down so badly??

All over the news this morning was word that presidential candidate John Kerry is vowing, that if elected, he would stop allowing Toronto to dump it's trash in Detroit. See, Toronto ships about 150 trucks worth of it's garbage south of a border each day and pays very good money to a private landfill to dump it there. And while I was at first annoyed with Kerry's election promise, I had to agree...I one wants someone else's garbage, right? Then again, Ontario is one of the main dumping grounds for America's toxic waste, so he best be careful with his trash talking or he's gonna be swimming in toxic goo. More on the flipside of the debate here in this editorial piece.

1.5 hours until I can leave work. Time is crawling. Must focus on the idea that I am meeting a good friend after work for dinner. Mmmmm...suuuuushi.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004
It has taken nearly 10 hours for Blogger to get around to publishing my post from this morning (see below). I'm trying not to be bitter about it. Better late than never, I suppose. *grumble, grumble*

you sneaky jetlag, you!
Yeah I'm not recovering from jetlag nearly as quickly as I thought I was. My body has been rebelling against me in unspeakable ways for the last 36 hours (really, I'll spare you the grody details) and now I'm awake at 5:30am and unable to get back to sleep. I'm bagged and not looking forward to going to work today.

I have been getting back into my routine in terms of news reading, and I am dismayed by what I am seeing. More and more kidknappings, murders, suicide bombers, and various other forms of terrorism. The world is a mess and is showing no signs of getting any better. Pretty depressing stuff.
I was in Israel when the whole fiasco in Beslan, Russia was going on. I was horrified as I watched the news unfold and was angered both by the act in itself and of the Russian government's effort to cover up what was really going on. The entire event was an atrocity and my heart goes out to those affected. Here in my little Canadian bubble I can admit I have no real concept of what those people are going through, but I do sympathize.

On another topic, I was watching one of my favourite shows last night, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Unlike other makeover shows which are often shallow and superficial, this show makes a real effort to a make a difference for families in serious need. Last night's episode took place when a woman wrote in and nominated the person who had donated bone marrow to save her 6 month old daughter's life. So the bone marrow donor and her family got an *entirely* new home (they tore down the old one because it was rotting and falling apart and built a new one!) and was unaware that they won this new house because of one woman returning a favour to another. At the end of the show the two woman and the little girl (now 3 years old) were introduced for the first time and the donor was told she got the house because of the gratitude of the woman with the girl. I wept like a donkey when the two woman hugged and the grateful mom cried "Thank you for saving my daughter!". I swear to god, I am choking up now just thinking about it. It was a beautiful moment, it really was. Karma paid a visit, and in a wonderfully positive way.
Anyway! If you have a chance to watch it I suggest you give it a try. And I double dawg DARE ya not to cry! Go ahead. Try NOT to. If you succeed you have no soul. :-P

And the countdown to my 30th birthday is on. I know my friends are scheming and doing something because they have been SILENT about making plans with me. One friend even slipped up yesterday (without knowing, coz he's a goof) and said that so-and-so asked him for someone's e-mail address because they couldn't reach that person regarding the plans for my birthday. Ha! I laughed inside when he said this. Plans? There are plans? Funny.... I'm not aware of any plans......

Before I go, If you're from Toronto you may find this post from Andrea funny: you know you're from Toronto when.... (for those who met me in Israel and noticed this point, there is one on the list just for you: "For the last time, it's pronounced 'TRONNA'!")

And what the F*@k is wrong with Blogger that this post refused to publish?!?!

Tuesday, September 07, 2004
home sweet home!
Well, it was an emotional goodbye for me as I got in a taxi and headed to the airport in Israel Monday morning. I actually had to fight back tears as we drove, and I tried to take in everything I saw along the way. I wanted to etch it into my memory as best I could so I wouldn't forget what it all looked and felt like. I think I surprised myself with how attached I became to it all this trip... it was tough leaving.

Then again, it was wonderful coming home too; trips are such a double edged sword that way. Nearly 24 hours after I had woken up to head home I was flying over my city and I stared in awe at the beauty of the city lights at night, viewed from way up above. It was an emotional return to Toronto, just as it had been an emotional goodbye in Israel. My dad picked me up from the airport and drove me back to my place where my mom was waiting with flowers and a few groceries to tide me over until I could fill my fridge back up again. I gave them some of the presents I bought and we sat up and talked for a while. They didn't stay long as it was quite apparent that I was exhausted and ready for sleep. Thanks to arriving home at night I have been able to get right back into a daily routine without any jetlag. Less than 10 hours after my arrival I was back out the door and on my way to work.

As I drove to work I was blasting the music in my car and singing my heart out. I'm feeling damn good today, as I get re-acquainted with my home life again. Morning rush hour traffic? Doesn't bother me! I'm just happy to be back in my own car again and driving (plus, I've seen the driving in Israel. I'll take Canada's driving over that madness any day!). And the weather? I am thrilled to report it is cloudy and rainy today! No blazing sun beating down on me today, making me sweat off 5 lbs a minute! And rain!!! I have renewed appreciation for it. Work? Plenty to do as work has been piling up in my absence, which also suits me just fine coz I'd rather be busy.

One of my co-workers put up Welcome Back signs ALL OVER my office, making me feel warm and fuzzy about my return. I had been e-mailing everyone in the office while I was away and they felt like they had taken the trip with me, what with the pictures and all. Speaking of which, I have somewhere in the neighbourhood of about 300 pictures. Somehow I don't think I'll be putting those all up on my photoblog, so I'm going to have to get tough and pick and choose only the very best. Maybe I should have a separate photoblog just for the pictures of Israel? What do you think?

*sigh* I'll start uploading in a day or two, once I've settled in. For now I just wanna ride this amazing good feeling I have...bask in the afterglow from a wonderful vacation. Maybe one day I might even get around to unpacking.

Sunday, September 05, 2004
Well it's nearly 7am, and I am showered, packed and ready to go. *sigh*
Time to say goodbye to Israel again.

But how can I complain? This has been the best trip of my life, indeed, somes of the best times of my life. And certainly the best birthday present ever. *grin* Who says turning 30 is so bad?!!

So I will be hopping in a cab shortly to head to the airport to stand around and wait for many hours and have security rip apart my carefully packed luggage. Then I'm gonna fly for about 11 hours and land in Newark, New Jersey where I have to kill about 3 - 5 hours and then get on a plane for a short jaunt up to Toronto (about an hour). Sounds like FUN doesn't it??? lol

see you guys when I get back to the other side of the pond!

going, going.....
Well this is it. My last day in Israel. Couldn't you just cry!?
I spent Friday and Saturday up in the north, strolling around the Galilee region. So lush! So green! So unlike the rest of Israel!!! LOL I had an *amazing* time looking at the ruins at Banias. I went swimming in a river and I walked around under the blazing sun. And I broke new records in my picture taking....130!!! Oy, you have no idea how long it took me to upload them, edit and rename them. But it's all worth it...

Today I am going to do some shopping...gotta get some souvenirs for a few more people and buy an extra piece of luggage; seems I'm leaving with more than I came with (how did I not see this coming!? duh!). Here I thought I was so clever because I managed to (over)pack all I needed into one bag. Lesson learned! Leave room for goodies coming back.

Anyway, I know my posts have been brief, but I am trying to keep in vacation mode as much as I can. I will share more stories of my adventures when I daydream of them upon my return to work.
I leave tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn.

Friday, September 03, 2004
Alright folks, I'm gonna be disappearing off the radar for a couple of days; I'm heading up north and will not have a computer. I hear this sort of thing is good for a person.
Be good while I am gone.
Shabat Shalom.

Thursday, September 02, 2004
"Having an AWESOME time, wish you were here!"
I think I can safely say I am having one of the best times of my life here in Israel. *sigh* It all started with the best birthday present in my life (a plane ticket to Israel), followed by the sweetest most patient host (you're the bestest!!), excursions everyday to places I have always wanted to see and some I didn't know I wanted to see, and then "the cherry on top" of all this.... the Blogger Bash.

A surprisingly large group of bloggers gathered in Israel tonight and finally put faces to the words we have all been reading. Some of those I met I have been anxious to meet for years, and some were new to me. All were wonderful. I am going to names a few bloggers in particular, even at the risk of accidentally snubbing someone; if I don't mention you, take no offense! I've had a long day, I'm very tired, but most of all I am forgetful. That being said......

First of all, if someone doesn't marry Gil or Civax, I am going to. 'Nuff said about that. I was *thrilled* to meet Dave and Dave, definitely among my favourite blogs. I couldn't be happier that you came out tonight, and I hope to stalk mean READ your blogs for years to come. *wink* Harry and Jennifer were wonderful to talk to about life back on the other side of the pond (North America) versus life in Israel, and I was elated to meet another Torontonian (but I don't have your blog address!! what is it??). And Allison, one of the "Israeli blogging gurus" was very down to earth, shattering whatever snobby image I had built up in my head (I'm kidding!!! lol). And I was lucky enough to meet the ever elusive Imshin...truly a delightful person. And let's not forget the extremely adorable favourite Brasilian girl who made the journey to Israel 2 years ago and has shared her struggles and her triumphs in her blog.

If I have forgotten anyone, I'm sorry! Like I said, it's been a very long day, and I must head to bed soon. My day started early when I caught a train up to Haifa, and of course I took more pictures than a pervert at a nudist colony! Coz I'm a TOURIST!!!!!! That's what we do. Haifa was beautiful, I could have stared at the view forever...
However! I had me a Newton moment when I was 'ploinked' on the head by an olive falling from a tree. Never in all my days as a Canadian (and that would be my whole life, thus far) did I ever imagine I would be in a place where an olive would be given the opportunity to smack me in the head. Further argument for the phrase "Never Say Never", I suppose.

Anyway! I will post about the Blogger Bash in greater detail next week when I am home from my trip, and I will also be updating my blogroll to add some blogs from a few fine folks I have somehow been missing out on! It was great to meet everyone!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 01, 2004
somewhere beyond the sea
Yet another great day in the land of milk and honey! And by god, I might even get a hint of a tan on this pastey white Canadian flesh of mine, damnit!!!

Today was spent in one of my favourite cities here in Israel ( I say that everytime??), Yaffo (Jaffa). Love it, love it, love it. I beat my record for number of pictures taken so far this trip (65 or so in Jerusalem) and took a whopping 89 pictures in and around Yaffo! I am far too tired to begin editing them...there's so many it makes me exhausted just thinking about it. But hey, there are worse fates then taking pictures while on vacation. :-D

We went to the shuk in Yaffo since I am woefully addicted to Israeli markets. I picked up a few more items for some friends and ate the best couscous I have ever had (at a restaurant called Dr. Shakshuka). *dreamy!* We walked around and walked around....and I whined plenty about the heat. I can't help it! Before I even know it my mouth is open and the whining begins. LOL!

After that we went into Tel Aviv a bit and on the way back to Rehovot we stopped into a nice big mall in Rishon Letzion. Didn't buy anything, just walked around and enjoyed all the shops. I fell in love with a necklace there, but wasn't willing to drop the 340 shekels for it. Yow! Expensive!

And now I am dead tired. I didn't get a lot of sleep last night, and seemed to be plagued by nightmares. I think being in Israel is stirring up some old ghosts for me. Being exhausted from the day of wandering around I should have better luck tonight with sleep. *fingers crossed*
Tomorrow: Haifa.