Sunday, May 30, 2004
tugging at my heart
I've had a weekend of highs and lows and have yet more ahead of me tonight. As I have mentioned, I have my cousin and her husband in town this past week. Friday night we all went out to some snobby restaurant where they put the napkins in your lap for you, and I made like I belonged in a place like that. The food was amazing (it should be! the bill came to $400 for 5 of us!) and we had a really wonderful night. Afterwards I went and rented an X-Box and holed up in my apartment for the rest of the night trying to get acquainted with it.

Saturday my grandma came into town and we all drove back to our old hometown for an emotional memorial for my mom's sister (my cousin's mom) 5 years after her death. My poor's so hard on her (she's buried two daughters, my mom is all she has left). So that was a bit of a rough start to the morning, but it picked up as we met up with old family that I never see much and we had lunch at someone's house. It was nice to mingle and talk and laugh, and just touch base with family. Felt surprisingly good.

And after that my grandma came to stay with me for the night (always an interesting proposition). We ordered pizza and watched a movie, but grandma was pretty exhausted after the days events and went to bed at 11pm. Foolishly, I did not. I say foolishly because I went to bed later, but grandma gets up early. And when grandma gets up *everyone* knows about it coz she's loud. She got my bedroom and I slept on my pullout couch (very comfortable I might add!) so when she started banging around my apartment my sleep was over (and I tried not to freak when I woke up to find her eating my Shrek cereal. WHY the Shrek cereal, grandma?? there's about EIGHT boxes to choose from that would be FAR more appealing to an old lady!! gahhh!!). I got a miserable 5 hours of sleep and after dropping her off at my parents this morning came back home for more sleep.

Am I boring you guys yet?

So this morning was the last breakfast with us all together, and I brought a big box of old pics to share with my cousin. We ate, we laughed, we hugged....and then my parents took them off to the airport to go home. :'-( Makes me so sad. We tried to be all cool about it, but it was killing us. lol

So now I have rested and I am off to pick up a present for a friend of mine. Tonight there is a going-away party for him as we prepare to send him off to Turks and Caicos. He has landed a great job and he, like us, is filled with excitement and fear about it all. Only this morning did it occur to me that I'm really going to miss him. :-( Don't know what you have till it's gone, right? *sigh* I am really happy for him, it's a fantastic opportunity. I know he can do it. It's just going to be a tough adjustment for us all. And if I may be a bit selfish here, I am really sick and tired of putting my friends on a plane to move halfway around the world. *pout* Breaks my heart.

And that's it. I thought I had lots more to write about but I can't remember. My mind is all over the place today. I hope everyone had a great weekend and let's give a big round of applause as si has bowed to (positive) peer pressure and has put the comment feature back on her blog. Yeah SURE it's just for me and Jill. :-P YAY!!!
Oh! And I think I'm liking this X-Box...but MAN ALIVE, I just can't get the hang of one of the parts of the controller. It's friggin' driving me NUTS. If I can get the hang of it by the end of the week that I have rented it then I might just be sold...but I'm not too sure it's gonna happen for me. I'll report more on this little matter later.

Friday, May 28, 2004
stop! Thief!!
Alright folks, I need some advice/input from you. I need to resist spending money on something when I don't have the money to spend in the first place, and I need you guys to be the voice of reason. Ok? Ok, here's the situation..

Once upon a time I fell in love with a computer game called Thief (The Dark Project), and it was good. Then I fell in love with Thief 2 (The Metal Age), and it was good too. It was long love affair in which I spent hour after hour locked away playing it, rarely coming out to see the light of day except to go to work. It is and always has been my very favourite game.

Then sadly the company that made the game had dissolved and it looked like Thief 3 would never be made. I was a sad sad girl. But than yay! Somebody else stepped in and breathed new life back into it and began making Thief 3. That was about 5 years ago. And I have been waiting...and WAITING..ever since.

Yesterday I was talking to Oren online and he mentioned Thief 3 (Deadly Shadows) had finally been released. Eeeek! I squealed with delight, though inside I was quietly dying because I just *knew* it was going to be so high-end that my computer wouldn't be able to run it (and my computer ain't that bad, trust me). Off to the mall I went last night to check it out...and sure enough there it was...just calling to me. Buy me! Buy me! Play me! And sure enough the system requirements are *brutal*. I would need more RAM, a better video card, a better processor, oh and gee, the effing game doesn't support Windows ME so I'd have to install Win 2000 or XP. Wonderful. I coulda handled the RAM and even the new vid card...but a processor?!?! Come on...

*pout* Then my friend who was with me made a suggestion...why not by an X-Box system which would be cheaper than upgrading my computer? (at that point I said no coz I thought I only needed RAM and a vid card. still affordable..until I found out about the processor). So at first I was saying no because at least by upgrading my computer I'll be putting it into something I use all the time, unlike a game system. But now that I see that upgrading my computer will be WAY more money that I don't have....suddenly buying an X-Box doesn't seem like such a bad idea. But let me tell you...I am an OLD school girl. These new gaming systems/consoles are way tougher to use than my last system.....a Sega Genesis. LOL!!! Gone are the days where you couldn't save a game, at best you could pause it for a washroom break. Gone are the days of a mere three buttons (A, B and C!). Just looking at the X-Box controllers scares me...and makes me feel *really* old. So I'd have to learn a new game system and a new game all at the same time. That's not too appealing, let me tell ya.

Anyway, therein lies my conundrum. It was all I could do to not just buy the X-Box in a fit of utter stupidity last night, since I have a habit of making rash decisions. Remarkably, in writing this just now I have actually rekindled the desire to run out and buy one despite knowing it's a really dumb idea. Aaarrrghh!! Must...not...spend money.

Thursday, May 27, 2004
our neighbours to the south
I'll tell ya...there's nothing like a road trip to the USA to remind a Canadian of the vast differences between our two countries. To those living outside the two countries there likely seems to be very little difference, but I'm telling you there is. Sometimes subtle, sometimes not. (here's a funny list, though somewhat outdated now that we have a different Prime Minister. and just for si, who no longer has comments on her blog, here's a page that outlines the religious differences between the countries, though it doesn't do them justice. the differences are MUCH more apparent in person. and just for Rat, here's a very long essay outlining the differences between Canada, the US and Australia. get a coffee it's long. let me know what it says. :-P)

First of all, I get very stressed crossing the border even on a good day, but it's been that much harder since Sept 11th. I get border anxiety something fierce and I don't know why. I say lots of "yes, sir" "no, sir" when talking to the border guard. I used my passport this time (normally Canadians only need their birth certificates) and I noticed I got an extra glance or two when the guards (both sides) flipped through my passport and saw Israeli stamps in them. I just politely smiled.

There's also the small matter of the bridges from one side to the other (I think there were 3 or 4). Laugh if you will, but really really big bridges over water friggin' terrify me. I've had a lot of nightmares since I was a child, and for some reason I have this completely irrational fear that the bridge is going to crash into the water (too many disaster movies for this girl!). So that was a point of stress for me as I tried to keep cool while driving over them. My friend Marco was a total sweetheart at keeping me calm (as possible, that is. Which isn't saying much).

Once on the other side of the border we promptly got lost. I blame it on two things: (1) the fact that we were using a placemat map (which I have now called our "placemap"). You know the kind of maps you get at cheap restaurants or motels in tourist areas? (kinda like this) Not the most accurate of maps. This was a problem, particularly since it wasn't to scale. (2) Americans are crazy. This was our mantra for the few hours we spent in the Buffalo area. See, in *Canada* our road signs are well labelled and extremely easy to follow. It helps people, especially tourists, find their way around. It's just a good idea. I don't know WHO was in charge of the road signs in Buffalo, but they are awful and amazingly confusing.

Alright, so when I say our mantra was "Americans are crazy" I'm mostly joking so don't get upset. By crazy I mean...different. First of all, while I think it's wonderful you guys are patriotic and you really need to have your flags EVERYWHERE?? On *every* car at the dealership, little flags stuck into the ground around every garden and cemetery and there was even one was on a flag pole that was standing in the middle of a field with NOTHING else around (like a home or some other building). It's kind of over the top. Then again, maybe you guys need that when things are a little rough in Iraq, I have no idea. Canadians are patriotic, we got flags here and there, just not everywhere like you guys do. It's a *tad* much. (like this picture I took of a truck in all it's patriotic glory. trust me, you'd NEVER see something like that in Canada. and ignore the poor quality and the fact that it's cut off on one side; TextAmerica has taken to slaughtering my pics lately)

Marco and I also had another mantra...."blend in!". LOL. We are paranoid and try our best not to give away that we are Canadian....we like to make like we're one of the natives. First of all, be sure to NEVER say "Eh", that's a dead giveaway. Not much of a problem for us, we don't use the word much anyway. But there are other ways you can give it away, such as excitement over the small differences ($2 for gasoline!?!) or doing stereotypical Canadian things. For example, I was in a grocery store standing in an aisle (looking at cereal more on that later) when an old lady was trying to squeeze past myself and another lady; I said "sorry!", apologizing for being in her way and promptly moved. Now, I'm not saying Americans are rude, I'm saying Canadians are known for being overly polite. As the joke goes: "How do you make a Canadian apologize?" ..... "Step on his foot". har har.
So my cover was blown and I grabbed my cereal and ducked out of the aisle before I was found out and lynched. LOL. Ok, so I might be a little paranoid, but sometimes that's how I feel when I go across the border. It's weird. It feels like a very foreign land, and if I'm found out or discovered..well who knows what could happen. LOL! I know, it's insane, but it's funny too.

As Canadians, my friend and I see the habits and lifestyle of Americans in a completely different way. We notice the differences. For instance, I have no problem seeing why the USA is the most obese country (this'll start a feud, I'm sure). And I don't mean this offensively, I just notice big differences in things. Like the types of foods, how available it is and the *quantities* of the servings. Wow. However, it's because of the food differences that I love to go the the US ... I like to shop for the foods we don't get, as a treat to myself. Sure we have much the same stuff up here 95% of the time...but it's that 5% difference that makes it fun. I buy different packs of gum and different drinks and stuff. Might seem silly, but it's just a fun treat for me once in a while.

Allow me to illustrate with specific examples. Here's what I bought:

Cereal is *always* the first thing I look for because I am a self admitted cereal whore. I even brought back cereal from Israel. I love breakfast cereal. Love it love it love it. This trip I bought two, Strawberry and Banana Cheerios and Shrek cereal (check out that link, the guy reviews all kinds of Shrek food items including green popcorn!). The Cheerios will eventually make it up to Canada in the coming months, but I couldn't wait. Tried it this morning and it was ok, but not as good as the Triple Berry Cheerios. Those are quickly becoming my favourite. And the Shrek cereal I bought because it is made by Genereal Mills, one of the greatest cereal manufacturers ever. That and it looks a lot like Pac-Man cereal (made by the same guys) and though it was discontinued many years ago it was one of the best. Not for the marshmallow parts, but for the crunchy cereal part. SO good. (am I talking too much about cereal?). Anyway, I had some of that before bed last night and was quite happy with it. Mmmmm.

I also bought two chocolate bars that you can't find in Canada, PayDay and Reese's FastBreak (good lord, who makes up these names??). I have seen PayDay on prior trips to the States but never tried it before (and still haven't yet) and I am in the middle of eating this FastBreak. It's not doing much for me and I'm wondering how many different peanut butter/chocolate bars Reeses can make.

Bought some gum that I don't have in Canada, though I'm thinking it will be soon. Juicy Fruit in two flavours: Strappleberry and Grapermelon. Pretty tasty stuff, I liked it.

I also got two drinks. General Foods International Chai Latte and BerryClear Sprite. Don't get me wrong, you can get lots of Chai tea up here, but this stuff I picked up is more of the instant coffee variety...or something. I'm not sure, I'm gonna try it and see. I might end up sticking with my Israeli Chai. And the BerryClear Sprite was actually not bad...I kinda liked it, it was different and tasty.

Anyway, that's what I bought. Oh, and some pills that you either can't get in Canada at all or you have to get a prescription for; our regulations are a lot tougher up here. I also picked up a toy for my friend and some A&W Cream Soda for his wife (what the hell?? once upon a time you could get that cream soda up here! where did it go??). Marco got a Star Wars figure. All was right in our world.

At the border coming home we were just anxious to get home. As we waited to see if the border guard would search our car (the first one just asked us to open the trunk) the guard was busy talking to someone on the phone. And then we heard the border guard say that magical word when talking on the phone....he said "Eh". We turned to each other with a big smile and with glee we exclaimed that we were home!! LOL!! And after answering a few questions ("we were only visiting a few hours, sir" "we only spent about $100, sir") we were on our way home. Home to the land of smaller sized food portions and random Canadian flags.
Altogether the trip took us about 8 hours.

And I would like to congratulate anyone who actually read this entire post. If you did, you have the patience of a saint. Thanks for listening. For the rest of you.....well, your loss. :-P

Tuesday, May 25, 2004
slow and furious
I knew from the moment I woke up today that it wasn't going to be one of my best days. Although I went to bed in a timely fashion last night I was absolutely exhausted when I got up this morning, and it's a feeling I just haven't been able to shake. It has thus caused me to be extremely irritable and uncooperative at work, making me a real fan favourite with the boss. Maybe it's for this reason that I was chosen to drive to Buffalo, New York tomorrow for a little day trip for work. I believe my words were "You're kidding me, right?". The answer was no.

So I did what any girl would..I called up some friends to see who would be skipping out of work to join me. Only I'm not your clothes-and-shoes shopping kinda girl, I'm a toys-and-comics girl (note the pic for this Hellboy mini toys that sit on top of my work computer), so I called my geek friends to see if I could rally the nerd brigade. So far only one has made the commitment to call in sick tomorrow (not an easy task to do given the fact that we all just had a 3 day weekend) and another will be letting me know tonight. Hee. My guys are the best, we have so much fun. So in fact I have kinda turned lemons into lemonade coz I'm making it into more of an adventure... so we'll see how it goes, I'll regale you with stories upon my return.

I'd write about the fact that it's Shavuot, a lovely Jewish holiday, but I'm too grumpy. For links and info go here, here and here (I stole the links from Israellycool coz I'm lazy as all shit today).
Chag Sameach!

Monday, May 24, 2004
all this and chocolate too
Whew, I'm having a very busy weekend (it's not over yet, it's a long weekend here) with friends and family. Saturday I spent some time in the afternoon with one friend for lunch and then a different friend in the evening. I like to really stretch out my friend time (and both friends gave me cards and sweet!!). :-) Yesterday I met yet another group of friends for breakfast, which is nice but makes me feel old for some reason. Isn't that an old person's activity?? Meeting your friends for BREAKFAST? What happened to the good ole days when you'd be sleeping in because you're young and crazy and out partying the night before? When you're young you do dinner, not breakfast. Hmph. Guess I'm getting old.

Then last night I went out with my family for dinner because my cousin and her husband are here visiting from the west coast. I have a lot in common with this cousin and we get along *so* well; really makes me wish she didn't live so far away. We all had nice big steak dinner and talked the night away. Really a great time. After that I managed to break away from the family to go have coffee with yet *another* friend (eek, I feel so popular).

Today I spent some time with a friend of mine who is moving away in a week. It's really getting depressing, having all my friends move away *to another country*. First Israel, then England, and now Turks & Caicos. *pout* Makes me sad. So yeah, we were trying to get some quality time in before the big move. Sushi did the trick. :-)

And now I'm puppy sitting for Princess Blondie and taking the pup with me over to my parents place for dinner with the family. Should be most interesting to see how the cats react. bwah ha ha... }:-)

What else....... a few random things.
First, I'd like to call Madonna a big fat coward for backing out of her concert dates in Israel. Way to give in to threats, you shithead. Really peeves me for some reason, I'm not sure why. It's just that Israel could really use something like that, and it turns out Madonna can talk the talk but not walk the walk. Ptooey! I have lost respect. You just let terrorism score another win.

And speaking of terrorism I'm *quite* amazed by the surge in hits on my blog from people using (Canadian) search engines looking for the Nick Berg beheading video. I have no idea why this is only the case with Canadian search engines, but there you have it. I think I mentioned the guy all of twice. *shrug*
Speaking of search engines let's all say hi to the person who typed "wow I am not doing well" into the MSN search engine and wish him/her well; apparently s/he is not doing well, and even seems a little surprised by (wow!). I'd also like to say hi to whomever typed "totally free naked pics" into that same MSN search engine and got ME (I'm ranked 14th!?!). Hope you found what you were looking for...your momma would be proud.

And lastly, in case anyone is even mildly interested, the great Canadian election has been called. We are going to get a new Prime Minister. Gee, I'm so excited I can barely contain myself. I'd offer details if I knew any, but I am a complacent Canadian only familiar with American and Israeli politics since they are far more interesting. Should you somehow be interested I suggest you start reading Wayne's blog, he is the most informed Canadian guy I know when it comes to politics, and he discusses them on a regular basis and with a passion I can only dream of.

That's about it for me, see ya tomorrow as I try to slide back into the work routine.
Meanwhile check out this site for Hebrew National. I stood in total amazement when I saw these hot dogs advertised on an American channel today, and the commercial made it sound like kosher food is the most exciting thing ever. I laughed.

Friday, May 21, 2004
bad hair day
What you see before you is known as a "before and after". The first two pictures are of Princess Blondie's dog BEFORE her haircut, and then the other two are, of course, after.
It went a little like this: I was in a restaurant last night with a few of my girlfriends when I get a call on my cell phone. Why it's my bestest buddy and neighbour, Princess Blondie! "Hello?" says I. "Hi, where are you?" asks Blondie. "Uhhh..(thinking this is a strange call, since she had already hung out with me earlier in the day and never asks where I am)...I am out with some friends at Kelsey's". "Are you coming home soon?" she asks. (now I'm curious) "Yesss... why?" (curiouser and curiouser) "Just knock on our door when you get home" (now I'm worried) "Is everything ok?" I ask trying to sound casual. "We've had a bit of an accident" (now I'm really worried) "What kind of accident??" ... (pause) ... "With Carmella and a pair of clippers" (insert laughter from me) "YOU GAVE YOUR PUPPY A HAIRCUT?! I'll be home soon with the camera".

And there you have it. Carmella was left alone too long with her mommy and daddy and they got the idea in their head that they wanted to give her a haircut. And so they did. Somewhat upset that she "had ruined her puppy" Princess Blondie is taking her baby to the groomers this morning to get the haircut..."modified". Meanwhile, with this haircut came a *radical* personality change in this puppy the likes of which I have never seen. She has become a bit on the hyperactive side, apparently feeling free as a bird now that she is "naked". With all that fur removed she has found she can run MUCH faster than before... less wind resistance, afterall. And run she does...there is NO sitting still for this girl. This is a puppy in motion. Sure she looks a bit like a circus dog, but she's a HAPPY and free circus dog. It's really quite funny. She has been freed from her furry prison and is feeling frisky!! And that tail! WHERE did that tail come from?? She seems completely surprised to see it every few minutes or so and ends up chasing it around in circles. I'm thinking she didn't have much tail-awareness before because she just couldn't see it. (for more Carmella pics, including bathtime and younger pup pics, go to my photoblog Captured Dreams. many of the pics can be found under the "family, friends and me" category, though some are right on the front page)

So there you have it. I thought I'd end the week with a little warm hearted and cute story. Perhaps tomorrow I will post pictures of Carmella post-groomer to see how the cut really turns out. As for me, I am preparing for the first long weekend of the summer and am happy to have a three day weekend. On top of that I have my favourite cousin flying in from the west coast tomorrow night to visit for a week. Can't wait, I haven't seen her in two years. Hope the rest of you have a great weekend! Shabat Shalom.

Thursday, May 20, 2004
red lentils cause insanity
I keep saying I'm not going to write about the events going down in Israel, and I won't. But I must say it's getting harder and harder given how prominent it is becoming in the news. My frustration reached it's peak this morning when I was watching my usual morning breakfast television show and they held up the biggest Toronto newspaper, The Toronto Star and showed that Israel was splashed all over the front page including a *huge* picture of injured Palestinians. Hm. I don't recall seeing a huge picture depicting the injured Israeli soldiers from a week ago, the events that pretty much trigger the events now. Anyway, I'm not going to get into it because it will only cause me to rant and make very little sense because I will speak out of anger and bias. If you want to read more I highly suggest Israellycool, Meryl, Allison, Boker Tov, Boulder!, Smooth Stone or Command Post.

Meanwhile, I remain drunk on the love of my friends (lol!). Yesterday was just a fantastic day spent with two of my friends, eating, laughing our asses off, and just truly enjoying each others company. We stuffed our faces with lots of tasty dim sum and had a good chuckle over Buffy The Vampire Slayer. After that one friend headed back to work and the other went with me to see Shrek 2. SO funny!! We laughed so hard I thought we were gonna cry; good thing the theatre was nearly empty. It was just a great afternoon and afterwards I emailed both friends a picture from the day and thanked them for making my day. Coz that's what friends are for, damnit. :-)

When I got home I stopped at Princess Blondie's place across the hall and said hi as she was going out the door. She was off to a doctor's appointment, so I offered to babysit her puppy, Carmella. I love borrowing other people's dogs. lol. All the fun without the commitment! So I played with the puppy, took a million pictures and eventually we both collapsed on my couch and had a nap until mommy and daddy came home. And you wanna know how good a friend Princess Blondie is? At one my point I texted her cellphone and told her I needed a chocolate bar. She asked what kind, and I told her a Crunchie. And voila! When she knocked on my door to pick up her puppy she had the chocolate bar in hand. For me!! She's just the sweetest friend and neighbour ever. It's gonna be SOOOO sad here when she moves out of the building in July. :'-(

And in case all that wasn't good enough, my day today is already starting out right. I got a parcel delivered to my home and inside was a present from a very sweet and adorable Israeli fellow, Oren. He had sent me a mug from an awesome site called God Checker. How totally thoughtful was that??? *sigh* Why do the good ones have to live on the other side of the world?? ((hugs)) Toda raba, Oren. You made my day, sweetie.

As for the rest of the day, I'm gonna try and get some work done and I'm going to look into some schools and see if I can upgrade some skills for work. That should get my boss off my back with the ole "what direction do you want to take your job in?" and heck, I won't say no to free education. Sounds like a good deal for both of us!
Tonight I am hooking up with a group of my girlfriends and we're going to do dinner somewhere. We're still debating where that might be...always the hardest part in making these plans. lol.
*grin* I love my friends.

And before I go allow me to explain the title of this post; it was brought to you by the clown who entered "red lentils cause insanity" into Google and got this post of mine. I think this may rank as one of the most peculiar searches yet.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004
the friendship revolution
This is the second post I've written this morning. I decided the first one was just so utterly boring that if I really loved you guys I wouldn't make you read it. It started off talking about how I wouldn't talk about Iraq or Israel again today and then it launched into a story that, halfway through writing it, I realized would likely only interest me and the people involved. Do you really want to hear about a surprise bridal shower I went to yesterday? No matter how well I may have embellished the story, I'm betting it would still have been boring to the rest of you. Instead, having just cranked the tune "Teenage Wasteland" (by The Who) quite loud, I am feeling inspired to talk about something else. Friends. (why did that song inspire the topic? well, it just makes for a good song if played at the right volume...and the good feelings it inspired made me think...right on, this is going to be a great summer with great friends....)

Today I am not at the office, I have decided to work a bit from home and on the road (I do this from time to time). This allows me a bit of freedom, and I have made arrangements to do lunch with two of my friends today (mm! dim sum!). This makes me happy. And it makes me happy because I have really truly come to understand in the last 2 years, who my friends really are. Some have come and gone, but some have remained for 20 years (!!) or more. And I have come to deeply appreciate the friends I have now, and go out of my way (often in my weaker and cornier moments) to let them know. Why not? Who doesn't want to hear that they are appreciated?

And I am not alone...I have watched this transformation take place in my other friends; I have watched as they too began to realize the value of some friendships over others, and which ones were worth devoting time to, and which ones were not. I have had some very frank conversations with a few of my friends on the matter (one such conversation took place just this morning in fact), and we have all come to the same conclusion: you make the time for the people who make the time for you, and make the effort for those who make the effort for you. Sounds simple, right? Well, these things tend to slide if you don't pay attention. Are you the one always calling your friend? Remembering to ask how that job interview went, or how his/her sick (blank) is? Are you the one who does all the letter writing or e-mailing? Maybe they only bother to send mass e-mails with no personal content ("hey check out this joke!"), if they bother to e-mail at all.

So myself and a few other friends have suddenly woken up and said that it's not good enough. You want friends who love and respect you as much you do them, and who are willing to work to hold onto the friendship as much as you are. Am I blowing it out of proportion? WORK at it, you ask? What I mean by that is that people are busy....we all have a lot of things going on and are always running around. So when you finally have some free time who are YOU going to spend it with?

I dunno about you, but I want to spend it with someone who is involved in my life, who knows what's going on because they cared enough to ask. Who thinks of me when they hear about a concert coming up that they know I would want to see, and calls me up and invites me to go. Someone I can count on and in turn can count on me. And someone I can laugh with, and even cry with if I need to. Someone who doesn't tell me that they have only done "10% of the taking" in a friendship, when I have given all I had (and had that person happily take it).

Shit happens between friends, that's for sure. But the truest of friendships will endure because those are the ones who aren't afraid to say, hey, I'm sorry for my part in this mess, I was wrong. I have resurrected two of my greatest friendships from many years ago because I came together with the person and we both admitted to how shitty we were to each other, and made honest apologies. It can happen, but it's gotta come from both sides. It's not easy admitting you were wrong, but if your friendship is worth it, you will. Being able to say I'm wrong and I'm sorry has been one of the hardest but most valuable skills I have learned. I think everyone would do well to practice the same in their own lives.

And because of this sudden shift in awareness amongst my friends I am seeing some people get left by the wayside. Two people in particular now seem to be left wondering where everyone has gone, as many of their friends have pulled back and are now spending time with other friends. Two of these people are now scrambling to figure out why suddenly no one is calling them anymore or asking how they are. I'd feel bad, but it's a case of reaping what you sow. Those two are left standing outside of the circle of friends because of their own complacency. Let's face it, you can't drift in and out of people's lives for months at a time and then expect them to drop everything to be friends with you again just because you're bored and have time on your hands.

Anyway, I look for these traits in my friends because I will give it all back and then some. I am intensely loyal and fiercely protective of my friends. I will give all I have if it means saving them. I will give my word, and go to any lengths to try and keep it. I will try to cheer them up when they are down, and ground them if they fly too high. I will love my friends for as long as they will love me (and annoyingly, sometimes past the time they stop loving me).

Today I am going out to have lunch with two of my best friends and I will love every silly moment of it; I have made some time in my day for them, and they have made some time for me in their busy days. I will take pictures as I always do, and I will thank them for spending time with me. And I will kick off my summer with a smile and a laugh.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004
sometimes I'm embarrassed by my own Canadian press
I went on Google News this morning, and right at the top of the news section was an article from a Toronto paper, the headline reading: "Rafah residents now refugees in their own refugee camp". Refugees in their own refugee camp!?!? What the hell kind of journalist is this?! I could barely stand the article long enough to finish reading it because it was all so subjectively written with such dramatic sentences as "Piled on the back of a white Volvo trailer as it bumped and rumbled through the refugee camp were two aged refrigerators, piles of thin mattresses and a wildly coloured assortment of carpets.". My god those EVIL Israelis, how could they do this?? The entire article revolves around these poor Palestinians that are without a home because of the evil invading Israeli army coming along and demolishing their homes. Oh really? How about the fact that this particular town is known for it's weapons smuggling, often in underground tunnels, from Egypt? That *barely* gets mentioned in the article (ONE little sentence). I see quotes like "We're moving because the court signed our death certificates," said Ms. el-Aydee's brother-in-law Mohammed, 31.". Death certificates? You mean like the ones filled out by the Israelis for their 13 soldiers killed last week when they were systematically blown up, only to have Palestinians run around with their body parts, waving them in front of cameras? I think I'll have to write and thank Globe and Mail for such objective journalism.. it really helps me to understand and sympathize with the plight of those poor Palestinians. (while I'm at it, I'll thank them for this article too. front page!)
Well at least they managed to report about the sarin gas found in that artillery shell in Iraq yesterday. They're on the ball!

Monday, May 17, 2004
"it's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine..."
Well? Does it look like I was successful at forgetting the world's woes for at least one day? This was taken yesterday when I went downtown with a few of my girlfriends. We went to an area of Toronto known as the St. Lawrence Market where people set up tables and sell all kinds of weird stuff. It was a very interesting experience, I'll say that much. After that we went down to the beaches area (yes we have beaches here in Toronto, get an atlas people!! it's FRESH water!) and took a long and wonderful stroll down the boardwalk. I was amused by all the activities going on....beach volleyball, frisbee, bbqs, kite flying, rollerblading, soccer, what we Canadians would deem as hot weather, but much of the rest of the world would still consider cold (I think it reached 22C, or 71.6F). People were decked out in shorts and bathing suits and some were even sprawled out on the beach suntanning! We're a hardy bunch, what can I say.

Anyway, after that we sat and got a drink at one of the restaurants along the way and checked out a few little shops. It was immensely fun, and I'd love to show you more pictures but I have a hate on for Textamerica right now, the people who host my photoblog. It's a free service, so I guess I can't complain; you get what you pay for.

My outing yesterday allowed me to escape from the world for just one day. However, now that the week has started again, it's back to reality in all it's ugliness. Do I need to tell you what's going on or can I assume you kids follow the news? Well, just when I think it couldn't get any worse in Iraq I was wrong. I was very disappointed when I woke to news this morning that the leader of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council, Izzedine Salim, had been killed in a suicide attack. I'm not sure if these insurgents quite understand what a friggin' stupid idea that was on SO many levels. Do they not realize that this will only serve to force the U.S. to stay longer and longer?? Ucch. Don't even get me started. Anyway, a new leader has been sworn in...a brave soul ready to step up to bat. I wish him luck, he doesn't have an easy task before him.

And, I can't even get into that. Couldn't on the weekend, and I can't now either. Things are getting messy in the Gaza Strip. If you are interested and haven't already read about it, you can go here.

And before I go, let me say a big welcoming hi to a few search engine gems: first one is from someone who typed "skydome,washroom,mirror,gay" into Google. Disturbingly, I came in 4th in that search. For those who aren't in the know, the Skydome is the baseball venue here in Toronto (and for concerts and various other activities). I'd like to know just WHAT this person was looking for. Very odd.
And I'd like to wish the best of luck to the young lad who typed "i am a boy that is usually very shy and nervous with girls what should i do" into Yahoo's search engine and got ME as the very first hit. A big disappointment I'm sure, as my blog would have been of NO help on the matter. Good luck, I hope you get it figured out before you're 30.

Let me tell ya...when I first started this blog I never thought I would ever let it get too personal. I mean sure, I'd share some stuff, but I was planning to keep it obscure (like mentioning things about my friends, but never mentioning them by name in order protect them). Never did I think that one of the things I would end up sharing with the whole world was the fact that I am a recovering alcoholic. Yet there I was last month discussing my friend Shane, and out it came. It was hard to tell Shane's story and not share that, and I felt it was important because it allowed me to show how much he had helped others, myself included. Besides, it's nothing I am embarrassed or ashamed of...where's the shame in overcoming demons? I generally don't share it because it makes OTHER people more uncomfortable than it makes me. Suddenly they are terrified to have a beer in front of me or to talk about funny drinking stories. In fact I was out on a date once with a guy and when I said I didn't drink he actually said to me that he "didn't trust people who didn't drink". I laugh now at how shallow and insecure that statement really was.

Anyway, today I am very quietly celebrating my 5 year birthday. On May 17, 1999 I chose life over death and walked away from booze for good (maybe one day I'll bore you with the whole long story). In Alcoholics Anonymous this is usually a pretty big deal and your group usually throws a big party for you including a cake and a medallion. These medallions are given at different intervals in your recovery (1 year, 5 year, 10 year, etc...) to help mark the occasion and achievement, and it gives you something shiny to look at on the tough days (yes that's a picture of my actual 1 year medallion you see there). On the back you usually have the date and your first name engraved, and maybe a quote that you have chosen that means something to you. This year, however, I just haven't felt like making the acknowledgement for some reason. My parents don't even know it's my birthday today (they've been trying to guess for days when it is) and that's fine...they haven't been all that active in my recovery. Those that have been are either gone or have also forgotten. So really....would YOU want to plan your own birthday party?? Besides, I haven't always been comfortable with being applauded for doing something I shouldn't have been doing in the first place. lol.

So I am just going to make this my day to reflect on things. There's no need for fanfare or pats on the back...that's not why I'm writing this post. I just wanted to say that today I am grateful that I had great people to help me get through a rough time in my life, and that my achievement was not accomplished alone. There are two people in particular I'd like to acknowledge, Shane (thank you my friend, you are greatly missed) and Mysteron (if not for you there is no doubt in my mind I would not be here today). Toda raba, Mysteron. I love you very much for all that you did.

Some friends have remembered and are sweet in not letting me fly under the radar as I have been trying to do. My sponsee is taking me out to lunch in an hour, and I tonight I'm going to have dinner with an old friend who thinks this is a bigger deal than I do. lol. I'm pretty lucky to have them both around, it means a lot. Thanks, my friends. :-)

"I'm not a perfect person
There's many things I wish I didn't do
But I continue learning
I never meant to do those things to you
And so I have to say before I go
That I just want you to know

I've found a reason for me
To change who I used to be
A reason to start over new
and the reason is you

I'm sorry that I hurt you
It's something I must live with everyday
And all the pain I put you through
I wish that I could take it all away
And be the one who catches all your tears
that's why I need you to hear

I've found a reason for me
To change who I used to be
A reason to start over new
and the reason is You"

Sunday, May 16, 2004
white flag
Sorry about my lack of posting but I had just had enough of the world's bullshit and I needed to take time away from it. I finally had my fill of people talking about the craziness in Iraq and the craziness in Israel. I just didn't feel like talking about it for a while.

I think what finally drove me away from my computer was reading about how everyone was using the beheading of Nick Berg to serve their own purposes. The anti-war groups are using the beheading to further their argument as to why the U.S. should pull out, and the pro-war folks are using it as a vehicle to prove that they cannot give up on "the war on terror" or else atrocities like that will continue. Conspiracies are growing about the beheading and I have even been reading a blog that is carefully dissecting (pardon my choice of words) the video and developing a theory that Nick was dead before he was beheaded (I'm sorry, does it REALLY matter?? he was killed. either way, it's disgusting). Meanwhile Rumsfeld is running around Iraq and releasing prisoners in an effort to save his ass and win back the affections of the Iraqis (as IF he had it before) and yet STILL the scandal keeps on snowballing.
Things are a mess and I can't take anymore talk of it. No offense to my American counterparts but I couldn't be any happier that my country stayed out of it (not that Canada could have been much of a help. lol).

Meanwhile things are a complete mess in Israel again as Palestinians have staged several 'successful' attacks on Israeli soldiers. I don't even want to get into this discussion because it's the same old argument as always. I just wish Israel would pull it's settlers out of Gaza and cut their losses and get on with the business of building their still very young country. Gaza is a waste of time, money, energy and lives. It's not worth it. And you know what? Much of the Israeli population wants the same. Get on with it already, enough is enough.

As for me, I have been enjoying my weekend and doing all the things I don't have time for during the week. A little upkeep in my home, some homemade meals of my own and tons and tons of Hebrew homework. I can't even admit to how much time I spent on it yesterday, it's just embarrassing, but I am trying to catch up to the class above me. I am so close I can taste it, damnit!! Of course that many hours of homework lead to me dreaming all kinds of wacky things in Hebrew last's funny how our brains digest info from the day.

Today I am meeting my girlfriends for an early lunch and then we are going to decide what adventure to take up for the day. We might head into downtown Toronto and walk around the city (the weather is supposed to be a gorgeous day today) or we might go a little north and go for a walk in the woods. There's a particular flower (the Trillium) that blooms this time of year and only for a very short period of time; one of the girls really wants to go find them and take some pictures, so we might do that. Hey, this is Canada, what can I say? We like our plants and trees, which is good coz we got *plenty* of them. lol I'll put up some pics on my photoblog either way.

In parting I'd like to say something to the person who found my blog by typing "I am going to kill myself if things don't get better soon." into the AllWeb search engine: I know how you feel, I've been there and I hope you found whatever you were looking for. I won't belittle you with dumb comments like "don't worry it'll get better" or "chin up, it's not so bad". I know those are not the least bit comforting. Get help, you know deep down inside you need it and want it.

For everyone else, I hope you had a fantastic weekend.....see ya tomorrow.

Thursday, May 13, 2004
screw it
Alright, I'll be honest...I just don't have it in me to rewrite that post again. I've had a long and emotional day, and that post was hard enough to write the first time. I had talked about what was going on in Israel and I had talked about the beheading of Nicholas Berg, an American Jew. But I just don't have the heart to write it again.
Yes, I have seen the footage of the beheading, and let me just say this....I have seen lots of gore in my time, lots of horrifying pictures and footage....but never have I actually had to fight to keep my stomach under control as I did while watching that poor man lose his life. I wanted to see just what an extremist is capable when rage and hate dwells in his heart, and by God I did. And it scared me to death and brought tears to my eyes. I hope Nicholas' soul rests now and my heart goes out to his family. I cannot possibly imagine their grief. And mark my words folks.....this is just the start of bigger things. Call me a pessimist, but there are billions of Muslims in the word...and if just a small percentage of them subscribe to these same beliefs, we're in deep trouble.

I am now going to try and let go of the days events. Work was stressful for a bunch of reasons that I don't care to bore you with. And on a personal level I have had a ghost from my past come back to haunt me. I'm not sure what to make of it or do about it...I just don't know. Sometimes things seem like *such* a good idea at the time, and other things are best left behind. Which is this? Can friendships be resurrected? I doubt it...not this time.

Anyway, I am going over to Princess Blondie's in a few minutes to watch the last Survivor, and so help me, Rupert had better get the second million dollar prize.
see ya all tomorrow...

I hate you, Blogger!!!
Earlier today I had written a really long post and then I had a moment of what can only be classified as sheer stupidity and I lost the whole damn thing. I accept part of the blame, but some of the blame also rests with stupid Blogger and it's stupid set up.
When I am done pouting about it I will rewrite the post, I've just had an *intensely* stressful day (OH so stressful) and my brain is not up for writing it yet. Come back later.
Here, go visit Mr. Breakfast for something to keep you busy until I return.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004
What a wonderful world
I once again don't have a lot of time to write....I'm up early to take my grandma to her follow up appointment this morning. Her surgery went well, we just need to check in with the doctor today.

I just wanted to share my anger and disgust about the disturbing new trend in Arab terrorist groups. The trend being, videotaping their heinous acts and sharing them with the world.

Tuesday morning in Israel, 6 Israeli soldiers were killed when terrorists detonated a mine under their vehicle in an explosion so massive their body parts were spread over a 300 metre (984 foot) radius. Footage has been released of terrorists holding up a collection of body parts they found while dancing and shouting in glee. Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad are claiming responsibility for the incident, fighting for the "glory" of such a 'successful' attack. Israel is involved in heavy operations in Gaza now, in an effort to retrieve the body parts of it's fallen soldiers. Apparently even Egypt is pressuring the Palestinians to give back the body parts before this turns really ugly. I think it's a little late for that...

This was all quickly overshadowed when footage was released of Nicholas Berg, an American captured in Iraq and beheaded on videotape. Once again, the video was released in an effort to make an example of him. My heart goes out to his family, I hope they never see the videotape.

Frankly, I am so sick to my stomach over these matters I'm not sure what to say. I have kept my thoughts to myself about the war on Iraq, but I am finding that to be an increasingly difficult task. Part of the problem is that I can see the case for either side of the issue very well, and agree with points on both sides of the debate. But I think we can all agree that the damage caused by those American soldiers abusing the Iraqi soldiers will continue to be felt.....

Tuesday, May 11, 2004
up before the birds
*yAWn* I'll tell ya.....being up at 5am is NOT all it's cracked up to be. But since I love my grandma, I am happy to rise at this unGodly hour so that I may take her to the hospital for surgery at 7am. She is having her second cataract surgery today which will complete the job and allow her to see clearly from both eyes now. She's very excited (though very nervous as the time draws closer, naturally). So that's what I'll be up to today. I'm hoping to come home and catch a nap and maybe get some homework done before class tonight.

Last night I watched Survivor with Princess Blondie and her boyfriend Bruno (do I really need to remind you for the hundredth time that they are my neighbours across the hall? lol). Blondie and I were super pumped to watch it as we had both been militant about not reading, watching or listening to any news. We had successfully not heard anything about who won when we sat down to watch it, which made it great. We did a lot of yelling at the television, and had a great time. And I'm happy to hear we get one last hurrah this Thursday with a bonus episode. Yay!!

Anyway, I should grab some breakfast and get ready. Before I go, a few other blog items to note: go check out Bruno Bornsztein's post about an impending smoking ban. It's both hilarious and insightful, and I could not agree with him more. And over on si's page she has decided to remove her stats counter (*gasp!*) and her comments (*double gasp!*) which personally is breaking my heart more than she knows. Not being able to comment it SUCKING ASS, si!!!!!!!! Just so you know how I feel. And for one of the most well put together blogs I have ever seen check out Tales of the Aquarium; the fish theme runs through *every* aspect of this blog right down to the tagboard background. Beautifully made blog with a witty writer to boot. For something different go check it out.

I think that about does it for me....have a good day, folks!

Monday, May 10, 2004
Let me take you back in time to April 30th. You might recall me mentioning a terrorist attack in Israel in which a pregnant woman and her four daughters (ages 2 - 11) were killed. They were driving along a road when gunmen began shooting at the car. After losing control of the car and driving off the road the gunmen then proceeded to approach the car and shoot all five of them at point blank range to make sure they were good and dead. I have no words for how angry this disgusting attack makes me, for only the most soulless and heartless of bastards could possible commit such a horrifying crime. My heart, thoughts and prayers go to the father and husband of that family. I cannot imagine what kind of hell he must be going through.

But let me now point out that while most of us were celebrating our moms yesterday during Mother's Day, over in Israel a memorial was being held for the family that had been killed by those gunmen. And while family and friends gathered to mourn this terrible loss Palestinian terrorists disguised as women opened fire on those attending the memorial. I am happy to report that the gunmen were killed, but unfortunately the terror will not be forgotten. To see what I mean look at this picture and tell me that child will ever forget what she experienced. I think not. For more pictures look here and here (hat tip: Boker tov, Boulder! in fact, you should go read Yael's take on this while you're at it). Tell me, have you ever had to run for cover because you were being attacked at a funeral or memorial? Despicable.

While you're at it, please see Hasidic Gentile's post on Palestinian media tactics to illustrate how Israel is always painted as the bad guy and the full story is rarely told. A picture can be worth a thousand words, but two can make a whole story. Check it out.

Meanwhile, the fallout over these damn Iraqi abuse photos is reaching even into Israel, where Arabs are expressing their displeasure. There is the Commonwealth cemetery in Gaza City, where many soldiers killed in WW I from Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India are laid to rest. Dozens of graves were destroyed and vandalized, many with posters glued to the tombstones with swastikas painted over them. The posters show the now famous Iraqi prisoner photos.

And in case you think that the Palestinians ever let up, here's a report about Israeli Forces who foiled a suicide bomber, who planned an attack today. For added interest it has been noted that "The foiled attack featured one highly unusual twist: the would-be female suicide bomber, who commonly wears men's clothes and refers to herself as "Ahmed" is apparently hermaphroditic (a condition where both male and female reproductive organs and secondary sexual characteristics are present in the same individual)." Can't ever accuse Israel of boring news, now can ya?

I hate to post such a pessimistic post on a Monday morning...but it's days like this when I wonder...when will it ever end??

Sunday, May 09, 2004
Happy Mother's Day
Omg, Blogger changed the entire interface on their site. I friggin' hate it already. Hate it, hate it, hate it. Now I'm gonna have to write a firmly worded e-mail expressing my displeasure. *sigh*

Anyway, today is Mother's Day here in North America and I, like millions of others, dutifully made an effort to let my mother know I love her. This was done in much the same fashion most mom's let US know that they love us....I cooked. I also got her a card and a flower planter and seeds, but the dinner was the main gift. I made lemon pepper catfish, potatoes and leeks, corn, tomato and cucumber salad and broccoli (if you don't like broccoli, you're a fool coz it's good and good for you!). My brother was in charge of dessert and he brought over a really delicious fruit flan he had bought. BOUGHT. Not like me, I MADE the dinner. In the end it was all very good and my mom did all the polite cooing and hugging to let me know I did a good job. S'what mom's are for, afterall. :-)

Earlier today I met with a friend of mine to go see an AWESOME movie called "Super Size Me". It's a documentary about a guy who decided to eat *nothing* but McDonald's for 30 days. I mean nothing....3 meals a day, and any snacks had to come from McDonald's too, right down to drinks. It documented his incredible physical deterioration as he packed on 25 lbs (11 kg) in a mere 30 days. But that was the least of his concerns...during all this he was being medically supervised by three different doctors/specialists and a nutritionist...and by day 21 they were all strongly urging him to stop his experiment as tests were revealing he was doing serious damage to his liver. Unbelievable.
So I highly recommend checking it out...he gives some amazing if not nauseating facts about food and what a fast food nation the United States has become. Scary stuff.

As for me, I am not trying to keep myself busy while NOT watching the Survivor finale. My Survivor buddy, Princess Blondie, is locked into Mother's Day obligations and couldn't watch it I am being the best neighbour EVER and taping it and waiting to watch it with her. TOMORROW. Yeah, wish me luck not tripping across the news announcing who the winner is (and any jokers out there who think it's funny to spoil such things can just go fuck themselves and not bother ruining it for me. it's just SO not cool). This pretty much means I can't watch the news tomorrow because it will be all over my usual breakfast news show. Bugger. I'll have to stick to Israeli news sites tomorrow until I get home. Ugh, and no radio in the car...gah!!! or at work!!! ARRRRGGGHHHH!!!
It's ok....I can do this. I can, I swear. Boy....I must REALLY like Princess Blondie.... :-P

So let me end this post with a fan favourite.....the results of a recent search that brought some unlucky sod to my site. I'd like to give a big shout out to the man who typed "I am a man I want to buy a toy to make love by myself" into Yahoo's search engine. Buddy, THAT'S what you're thinking about on Mother's Day?!? Dirty dirty bird!!!! And how disturbing is it that I was ranked 6th in the results for that??? *shiver*

Saturday, May 08, 2004
two hours and ten dollars I will never get back
Let me tell you....Van Helsing was so bad I think it may very well make my top ten list for worst movies I have ever seen. Van Helshit had dialogue that made me groan and overacting that made me want to scratch my eyes out. In the first two minutes of the movie I turned to one of my friends and whispered "oh god...this movie is going to be awful". Yes, it was THAT clear from the start. Some of the special effects were quite good, but not enough to save this film. Not even close. Hugh Jackman was hot. Kate Beckinsale was hot. Still not enough to save the film. So bad were some of the lines in the movie that my friends and I would draw angry stares as we couldn't help but laugh outloud. And if the dialogue itself didn't make you laugh, perhaps the ridiculous accent with which they were delivered will (or Hugh Jackman's hair extensions). We nearly laughed until we cried....and then we DID cry, because the movie was just that bad. I must have checked my watch at least every 15 minutes pleading for my agony to soon be over. I began daydreaming about how I'd go home and have a nice hot bath and maybe watch Third Watch that I had taped because I was busy seeing a shitty movie. Maybe I could find a way to forget that I ever saw this film. After it was finally over my friends and I talked for a bit after the movie and laughed at what a train wreck of a movie that was. We even re-enacted some of the scenes for our own amusement (and I dare say, we did a better and more believable job). Did I mention the movie was bad? peeeee-yooo! More reviews here if you are interested.

But today is another day filled with new adventures! Today's adventure has been rooting through my stinky garbage to search for a missing knife. I had noticed earlier in the week that one of my most loved/used knives had suddenly gone missing, and given that I live alone in an apartment, there aren't a lot of places for the knife to go. And since I have a very short term memory, I am (by necessity) a creature of habit. That knife is only ever in the wood block with the rest of the knife set, or it is in the dishrack. It was nowhere to be found, and I had come to the grim conclusion that it must be in the garbage, tossed out by accident. Unfortunately I did not have any time this week to take up the task of going through the garbage and I couldn't very well toss out the garbage until I had gone through it, so it was *mighty* ripe by the time I got to it this morning. I crammed some Kleenex up each nostril, snapped on rubber gloves and began the inspection. Mercifully I found it somewhat near the top so I didn't have to rummage too much, and in the end I felt really quite triumphant. Huzzah!

This has lead to some general house cleaning, which is also good and much needed. My good mood has dwindled somewhat, however, since my brother called and we are trying to sort out Mother's Day plans. I suppose it's wrong but neither of us is at all interested in making an effort to do something. Neither wants to host a dinner at our home, so we elected to pay the price and split the cost to take her out to dinner. After making some calls it's looking expensive, around $45 a plate. For 5 people. No friggin' way man, I'm way too poor for that. So it's somehow been left up to me to find some place to eat, and thus the growing grumpiness. Lazy bastard, brother. I think I've concluded that I'll just make dinner for the family but I'll do it at my parents house. It's too hard to host it at my place, it would be a bit cramped. My parents have a big place, top of the line appliances and lots of dishes. And a dishwasher. :-) So I'll go pick up the ingredients tomorrow and make dinner. Here's hoping I don't poison the whole family. Bwah ha ha!

So I can't I have a nap now or do some Hebrew homework? ......... hmmmmmm......
Nap, then homework. I swear I'll do some homework...later.

Friday, May 07, 2004
Am I the only one that found the Friends finale to be severely anti-climatic?? I was totally expecting to be bawling my eyes out....but I didn't shed a single tear. In fact, by the end I was getting annoyed because it was going slightly overtime and cutting into my E.R. time.

Shortly after I got home last night I heard a knock on my apartment door; twas my beloved neighbour, Princess Blondie. She invited me over for Chinese food, and really, how can I say no to an offer like that? MMMMMM... So we ate some dinner, washed some dishes and hung out. Then we had some tea and ate some chocolate bars and hung out and talked some more. And then we gave her puppy Carmella a bath (be sure to check out the other pics here, here, here and here. so cute!!) and eventually we watched Survivor, like we always do. Awesome. Just before Survivor was over I said to her, "you ARE gonna watch the last Friends episode with me, aren't you??" To which she said she wouldn't coz she didn't feel like crying. I asked if she was REALLY going to let me cry all alone and she groaned said of course not. Ha, I win!! But in the end I wasn't too impressed with the last episode, and realized that I hadn't seen several of the shows leading up to the last one, coz I hadn't a clue what was going on. Why was Rachel going to Paris?? Hunh?? Paris is about the last place I'd go for any reason, so I guess I was lacking understanding, in large part, due to my own bias. LOL So in the end, Survivor GOOD. Friends, BAD.

Let's see...what else....
Lets talk about a few other blogs. HebrewLion has written an awesome post about Israeli rap music and how it differs from American rap. I love his insight...I highly recommend you read it; you'll be surprised.
I have added a few new blogs to my blogroll: Bright Lights and Impossible Dreams and My Empire of Dirt (you might be interested in this one, Sam).
And if you haven't checked out Rat's blog before (he's been on my blogroll for a while, why haven't you read his blog??), go for it, but I suggest that any non-Australian readers refer to this Dictionary of Australian Slang. He speaks in code, I swear to god (grot?? avro?? what?!?). Rat, I decided to mention you today because for some reason when I woke up this morning the FIRST thing that popped into my head was the term "stickybeak". I have no idea why I thought of it, but I never heard of it until you, and it amuses me to this day.

As for me, tonight I am meeting up with a couple of girlfriends for dinner and a meeting (such wild and crazy girls!) and then after that I'm meeting up with my gang of nerds to see Van Helsing. Eek! I can't wait....I sure hope it doesn't suck.

And my final parting gift to you, my faithful audience, is a Periodic Table of Condiments for those who can't determine how long mustard is good for.

shabat shalom

Thursday, May 06, 2004
mind your beeswax!!!
Why is that when I say I don't really wanna have kids, people insist on asking why? And then PRESS the issue. I mean....when people say they *want* to have kids, I don't gasp and ask why they want to have kids, now do I? So why is this not the case when the situation is reversed? Why am *I* made to justify and defend my position on not wanting to have children? Did it ever occur to the person asking that there might be a deep and perhaps very personal reason? I'm just wondering when it became okay to demand an explanation for a rather important decision in a person's life about something very private and personal (and really, I'm sure you can come up with a few reasons as to why a person might not want kids, it's not real hard) . Do I ask why you chose to marry your spouse? Nope...that's your decision. Do I ask how often you have sex? Nope, that's private stuff and really none of my business.

In case you can't tell, this is a topic that really pisses me off. I recently got swarmed by a couple of girls in the office when I said in casual conversation that I wasn't all that interested in having children. The three of them gasped in utter horror (all mothers, of course) and told me "but you have to have kids!!". EXCUSE ME?? I *have* to have kids?? Says who? Society? Other mothers? Coz let me tell ya, even my own mother doesn't pressure me...she understands that it's my choice, and would rather I didn't have them if that's not what I really want. If I do, great, she'd of course be thrilled. If I don't, that's my choice and she RESPECTS that. But these women berated me and demanded to know my reasons why. I eventually asked them if perhaps they couldn't think of a few people they have met that really shouldn't EVER have had kids. You know the bad parents you hear about in the news or through you think they should have had kids? It's just not for everybody, and so if I'm saying it might not be for me, why on earth would you try and talk me into it??

Some of my closer friends are a little perplexed because I am in fact quite good with kids, and adore my friends children. I am "auntie" to many of my friend's kids, and happily babysit when given the opportunity. But again, this doesn't mean I myself want any children. My reasons are my own, and I'm not going to launch into them here, but I'm sure you can all think of a few good reasons. Am I completely dead-set against the idea? No, of course not. Someone might come into my life and my feelings might shift wildly in the other's possible. Not likely, but it could happen.
Meantime, stop telling me I'm selfish for not having kids (an argument I have never understood). I think it's more selfish having kids when you do it for all the wrong reasons, and plenty of people do.

Anyway, that's the end of my rant. It's just something I was thinking about yesterday, and I'm tired today so I thought a rant would be good for me. I was out late last night with some friends at a concert for a band called Jurassic 5. It was pretty fun, but started way later than I would have liked so I didn't get to bed until 1:30am. Once upon a time I was able to do these late-to-bed-early-to-rise schedules, but in my old age I just can't manage it nearly so well. I like my sleep, and I want as much as I can get my paws on. 5.5 hours is clearly not enough, so I have become and avid coffee drinker today. I don't drink coffee all that often, so a few cups of this and I oughtta be a total twitch bag.

Tonight is a big tv night. The series finale for Friends, and the second last Survivor (I believe the finale is on Sunday). Eek!! So exciting. I'll have to have a nap after work so I'm fresh as a daisy for all the fun. I'll be heading over to Princess Blondie's tonight for Survivor, so that makes me happy (I couldn't last week, and I sure missed our Thursday ritual). Meanwhile, I gotta put in what will no doubt feel like the longest day of my life, at work. When you haven't had enough sleep, time has a way of crawling...

Tuesday, May 04, 2004
G.I. Joe
Ok, look......I'm only going to lightly touch on this issue, because it's already being discussed to death. I'm of course, referring to the photos of the Iraqi prisoners being abused by the US Army. Have you seen them? I mean really seen them, not just the one of the guy on the box? (click that link back there if you haven't. be warned, it's harsh stuff. link via Grasshoppa)
My thoughts on it are simple: I don't care how you cut it, it's wrong. Those may have been the worst Iraqis on the planet (ie: carried out Saddam's wishes) but that does not mean you strip them down and force them to give oral sex to each other while you stand there with a cigarette dangling from your mouth, and a big grin on your face (which also makes me wonder what kind of a dumbass you are that you'd take pictures of yourself doing such stupid things). The US is claiming to be coming in to serve justice to the people and help them create their own wonderful government and to rebuild the country, and the entire world is watching. The ARAB world is watching. It is up to that army to set the example and to rise above such wartime atrocities. This war was not a popular one to begin with, and this just lost what little world support there may have been. Those soldiers are a disgrace to not only the USA but to the civilized world. Nice job, ladies and gentlemen...nice job. You just made the task a million times harder. I wish the US Army the best of luck cleaning up the mess and winning back some support.

And with that, I move on to random (and much lighter) topics. First of all, I'd like to tell you all about my latest favourite cleaning product, Vim with bleach. Gets my tub and toilet clean like NO other product. Love it, can't get enough of it.

What else? ....... ah yes, Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby. I don't know why I've been thinking about this story lately, but I have been trying to track down a copy. I had it as a book-with-tape when I was a child (where you read along with the tape narrating the story) and I listened to it over and over and over again (I can still remember some of the lines in it, 20 years later). Little did I know how politically incorrect much of it was (it has subtle racial undertones towards African-Americans). I have found the story online, but it's now a watered down version (Brer Rabbit used to invite Brother Fox to smack him, for instance...but that has been removed). Anyway, I just thought I'd share that. Maybe I'll pick it up on eBay one day, I saw a couple of copies there.

And now I leave you with a cartoon. It's a take on the movie The Shining.... but this time it's done in 30 seconds, and re-enacted by bunnies. If you recall, I once gave the link for this, but for the bunny version of The Exorcist. Both can be found here. Enjoy!

in the basements of churches
Allow me to give you a glimpse into what goes on in a closed AA meeting (closed means that only alcoholics are allowed, open meetings are open to family and friends). Closed is where all the good stuff really happens.

Last night I arrived just as the meeting was starting, much to the annoyance of my friend/sponsee (we usually talk alone for a bit before the meeting). The group was quite large, and was eventually divided up into 3 smaller groups. The group I remained with had a strange cast of characters. Two people had odd little speech impediments, a woman and a man. The man I recognized, as I have seen him around for a few years. He's a cute though slightly eccentric old man; harmless enough in his own nutty way. The woman I was not immediately familiar with, but was mesmerized by the way she spoke; she was like a 15 year old trapped in a 30 year old body. Lots of "omg, can you believe it??" kind of talk, all in that same pitch that is like nails on a chalk board when enough teenage girls get together and talk like that. This coupled with her speech impediment made me have to resist giggling. I tried to keep my eyes on my lap, and not make too much eye contact.

As the meeting progressed we were all taking turns reading from a book. When it came time for me to read I got about a paragraph into it when a large smirk began crawling across my face. Sensing this was largely inappropriate I tried to stifle it, but it only made it worse. Finally, I couldn't read for the giggling and had to pass the book to my friend sitting beside me. I apologized to the group.

Anyway! After that we were going around the circle and everyone was sharing (thoughts on what we read, or whatever they needed to talk about). It rolled around to one of the guys I know fairly well, though he was acting strangely. Quieter than usual. He is a tall chap, with a clean shaven/bald head. He was wearing a black long sleeved turtle neck shirt, black jeans, black cowboy boots and black sunglasses (at 8:30pm in a basement of a church). When he finally spoke he talked about how he had just come from the hospital where his friend is dying. This friend was his best man at his wedding, and has known him for years...and he was dying of complications due to alcoholism (usually liver/kidney failure). This is a serious and sad matter, and a reminder as to why we are all there; alcoholism is a life and death struggle, folks.

So finally I was able to straighten myself from the giggly mood I was in, and listen to this poor man talk about how sad and angry he was. And I was SO good....up until he began to describe his friend. He said his friend was a small man with a big heart. In fact his words were "He is 4'10" with a 10' whore". He meant to say heart, not whore. Well that was it, I had to bury my face in my hands as casually as was NOT the time to laugh. But come on!?! All I could picture was a 10 foot whore!!! Can you IMAGINE what she would look like!?!? That would be one big ho.
To make matters worse, 30 going on 15 woman stands up and walks over to the guy to shake his hand (wha??) and then give him a hug. Now, I'm sure y'all on the outside see no problem with this, but it's kind of frowned upon in a meeting. Not that we are a bunch of insensitive bastards, but it tends to be very disruptive in the meeting (and it was as she stood in the middle of the circle asking if he was ok) and it has to be kept in mind that there are other people who have to speak yet, and they may have something equally as devastating going on in their lives. Hugs and consolations are saved for afterwards, when the person will generally get more than they can handle. So the meeting went downhill from there as this chick is now standing behind him rubbing his shoulders, pawing his ears and rubbing his head. It was distracting and kinda grody.

All in all, the meeting was a friggin' circus. Doesn't usually bother me, but I have a friend there who needs a serious meeting and needs to be heard too. So afterwards she and I went and had coffee and sat and talked for an hour or so.
And let me tell you a little something...I have a magic ability. If there is an Israeli within 30 feet of me, I WILL find him. Last night as I was talking to my friend, I noticed the two gentlemen at the table next to us were speaking Hebrew. Now I was being a bad friend, coz I had one ear cocked to their conversation and one to my friend. Wrong of me perhaps, but I can't help it. lol. I don't get to hear as much Hebrew as I'd like to.
They got up and went outside for a smoke and came back in at one point, and when they were sitting back down we kinda made eye contact so I smiled and said hi (my friend was wondering what the hell I was up to). Eventually my friend and I concluded our conversation, and when we got up and left I turned to the guys as I was walking away and said "Laila tov" (goodnight). They looked rather surprised and finally managed to say goodnight to me too. I was amused and quite pleased with myself. LOL

the end.

Monday, May 03, 2004
Behind Enemy Lines
I went to see the most fantastic film on Sunday, with That Redhead. It was called Behind Enemy Lines and is one of those films that will have you thinking for years to come....and for me it had me crying and laughing all at the same time. It took a heartbreaking look at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the eyes of two men (one from each side of the conflict) who, through friendship, struggle to get each to understand the other's side of things. Each man takes the other to his side of the world and shows what he feels are important areas or points of interest in an effort to open the other's eyes to what's going on. My words are sadly doing no justice to this was very moving. I cried. Lots. lol!

I was *thrilled* to see that the two men (Palestinian journalist Adnan Joulani and Israeli policeman Benny Herness) had actually come all the way to Toronto to screen the film. They took questions afterwards, and (as That Redhead puts it) I went all fan-girl and chased the men down so I could try and speak with them and get their pictures. Unfortunately I don't make a very good fan-girl because I don't have much to say to people like that and I end up being all shy, but I did get my picture taken with Benny (the super hot and sweet Israeli man. *swoon* Damn that wife and kid!). He was really nice....and really friggin' tall. I haven't had time to edit the pics today, I'll put them up tomorrow. Then I went and stood by Adnan, the Palestinian, so I could hear him talking to the hordes of Jews that were swarming him and forcing him to defend his position. I really felt bad for him, and thought he was damn brave to stand there and take his licks from an obviously biased crowd. What I wouldn't give to have coffee with that guy; I'd ask him a million questions, and many of them wouldn't even be that political. I am just curious about how he grew up, where he got his education (he speaks at least three languages fluently) and just generally get his take on things. He was a very interesting guy.

Both men were the sweetest, and clearly had great affection for each other. They don't see eye to eye on the nitty gritty issues, but they remain friends through the debate (and yes, the debates got heated from time to time). It's wonderful, and I only wish more of that was going on in Israel. *sigh*

Just seeing all the clips of Israel...seeing places I recognized from my trip...made me really sad about not being able to go again anytime soon. I'm entertaining the idea of a sugar daddy. Those interested, may apply within. *wink*

Anyway, it was a great day and I finally got to meet That Redhead. We have been talking online for a while now, but now we know each other in the REAL world. Oooooo....ahhhhhh. We had a great time (at least, that's what she's saying on her journal... lol).

And now I'm gettin' ready to hook up with my friend to do a meeting. Yup, I know how to have fun. :-)

Sunday, May 02, 2004
back in the saddle
Before I talk about me......

There was more anti-semitic vandalism in the Toronto area on Friday. I am much more disturbed by this one than any of the previous times because it shows more thought and more "education" than just a couple of punk-ass kids knocking over some headstones. This time phrases such as "Einsatztgruppen A" and "Son's Of Gestapo" were written on a synagogue with black marker. For more info including video footage, click the link.

Spartacus posted news of anti-semitic vandalism in France, complete with pictures. Check out his post, it's pretty horrifying as well. Frankly, I'm not impressed by either incident. As civilized as we may believe the world has become.....clearly it's not.

Meanwhile, a couple of Palestinians took it upon themselves to murder a pregnant woman and her 4 children, by shooting up a car they were travelling in. "The dead were identified as Tali Hatuel, 34, eight months pregnant and her daughters Hila, 11, Hadar, 9, Roni, 7, Merav, 2 all from the settlement of Katif.". Remind me again how it is that the world has more sympathy for the Palestinians than Israel?? Makes me sick.

As for me...well.... I'm done having my little pity party for myself. I'd like to thank everyone who was kind enough to show me some support and shared some reassuring words. A big hug goes out to Oren and the rest of you for making me feel loved. Thanks for all your comments, you guys are the very best! And hey, it was almost worth it just to get a comment out of Dinesh for the very first time!! (speaking of which, THERE'S a guy who has a cool job!) And shout out to Chris L., a regular reader and commentor on my blog, for engaging me in a delightful e-mail conversation and allowing me to get to know him that much better. I will get back to your e-mail, I promise (and let's all encourage him to get a blog of his own...the guy has lots of interesting things to share, lemme tell you!).

Basically, I had a bad day at work on Thursday and was clashing with the boss. It was a combination of the stress and worry about my friend, and not being all that happy with my job and the tasks being assigned to me that day. Friday my boss told me to not bother coming into work and to take the day to calm down, think about my actions (yes, I was a jerk, I admit) and to figure out just what it was I wanted out of this job, and what direction I wanted to go in. This is now the THIRD time my boss has asked me just what it was I wish to do in my job that will make me happy since I'm obviously not. This lead to me spending the day in an emotional haze since I really *don't* know what I want or why I'm not happy. And more importantly, I don't know how to find the answers. Can I save this job and find a way to make it my own and make it something I like (maybe even love)? Will I never find happiness in this job because it's not what I truly want to do? If so, what IS it that I truly want to do??

So all these questions rolling around my head lead to me just shutting down for the day. I'm not always the best at coping with stress, and I get very stressed when I think about what I want to do with my life when I'm on the verge of turning 30. I really *ought* to have some kind of idea by now, don't you think? So does this mean I go to a career counsellor and do one of them personality tests? do I stay in my job now or do I leave? gahhhhh!!! I don't know!!!!

Princess Blondie called me on Friday coz she knew something was up. I had me a little cry on the phone with her, and she came home at lunchtime and made me a nice cup of Chai tea and talked with me for a while. *sigh* She's just the bestest neighbour and friend a girl could ask for. I felt lots better after that.
Friday night I went to a meeting with my friend/sponsee, which was painfully boring. Luckily we make our own fun, but man, there's only so much fun we can invent out of nothing. lol. Then after the meeting I met up with another friend of mine ("Melra") and went and saw Kill Bill 2 again. Great movie, loved it the second time too.

Saturday I went out with Melra in the morning and we drove around and did all kinds of shopping. In the end I didn't buy anything for myself, but I did pick up a huge package of salmon for Princess Blondie (as per her request, I don't just pick up a whack of salmon for my neighbours. what kinda weirdo do you take me for, anyway??). After that I came home, tried to have a nap. Went out to dinner with my mom and then came home and hung out with Princess Blondie and Bruno (did I mention I have the nicest of neighbours?). I let Bruno use my super-awesome food sealer to divide up his salmon and vacuum seal it into smaller portions for freezing. Now he wants a food sealer of his own (and rightfully so, these things are awesome!!).

After that I decided I was still not in the mood to go out with a group of friends, so I holed up in my apartment and watched Brother Bear (great film!). Am I a crazy girl on a Saturday night, or what??? lol

Today I am going to meet up with That Redhead to go see a film in the Toronto Jewish Film Festival. Should be interesting, I'll report back on how that goes.

And that's about it. Thanks again for showing me that I have the best readers ever, and for offering such kind words. Hope you all had a great weekend.