Thursday, June 30, 2005
I laughed, I cried.... it was better with cats
As any of you who read and/or write blogs are aware.... you tend to get to know other bloggers well through their blogs. Depending on how much a blogger chooses to share you can really get a sense of who a person is and feel close to them because you often know a great deal of information about them. And often times you feel a real bond with another blogger, and can even develop a close friendship as you share stories.

It is because of one such fondness for another blogger that I was weeping uncontrollably yesterday morning while reading his blog. Laurence's blog often features the antics of his four wonderful cats, and his take and humour on it all has made me laugh on many occasions (you may recall one of his cats posing with the blue bracelet I am selling to raise funds for my trip). Yesterday, however, I was reduced to tears as news came that he had lost one of his beloved cats, Edloe. I felt a particular fondness for Edloe because she reminded me very much of my own cat, Abbey. And the pictures and clips of the kitties allow you to peek into this kitty world and get to know them and love them like Laurence does. As a cat owner I feel for Laurence's loss and understand the pain.... many people just don't. We will miss you, Edloe!! I am very sorry for your loss, Laurence.... my heart goes out to you. Thanks for making Edloe a part of my life too. :-)

In other news, my mood has been lifted again in terms of my trip to Israel, thanks to my good friend Deborah over at the Livnot offices. She very patiently reads my grumpy emails in which I vent my frustrations about how slowly answers are coming and I am gently reminded that things are on Israeli time now. I guess I had better get used to it, hunh?? I have heard many people grumble about how horrible Israeli bureaucracy is, but I guess I've never had to deal with it first hand until now. Thanks for your continued patience and help, Deborah!

This Saturday and Sunday I (in conjunction with my good friend and occasional commenter, Melra) will be having a garage sale in an effort to sell as much of my worldly possessions as possible for maximum profit; the money will all go into my funding for the trip. It's interesting how your views of what's important shift when you are desperate to make money to meet a greater goal.... suddenly trading a tea kettle or food processor/chopper for a step closer to a plane ticket seems perfectly reasonable, ya know? I'm also taking part in a 2 hour focus group tonight in order to make $100 cash, which will also go into the funding pot. I love focus groups... I have so many opinions and I just love to share them. Heh. One time I actually made the guy who was running the group so mad that he actually left! (the focus group was being held by my home ISP, a company I have a few choice words for) This focus group tonight is being put together by Microsoft and my work ISP..... bwah ha ha!! I'm gonna get paid $100 to tell them what I really think??? This will be the most enjoyable hundred bucks I've ever made. Israel, here I come!!

Anyway, before I go I want to give a shout out to my mom.... it's her birthday today. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! (not that you're reading this.... lord help me if you are!!) Just like last year I got her tickets to see her favourite band, Journey.

Also, I want to thank MBGD and Mulder for being there for me this week when I have been so incredibly stressed out. Thanks for your support guys, you really know how to help a girl through a tough time. I love you!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005
It pretty much took a stick of dynamite to get me out of bed this morning.... I just couldn't wake up. The reason I just couldn't get up was because I just couldn't get any sleep, and when I finally did it was time to get up. Life is cruel sometimes.

I haven't been sleeping well over the last 5 or 6 days, in fact. I am getting severely stressed about money again and am starting to get a sinking feeling that the answer I get from the financial aid offices about the funding for my trip isn't going to be as good as I had hoped. The more I look at the cost of this the more I wonder just how I figured this was going to work..... I will be spending hundreds of dollars before I even set foot on the plane (I need everything from luggage to supplies). Oy, I must be crazy. Or desperate.... because I actually agreed to be part of a 2 hour focus group on Thursday night because it pays $100. Yup, I'm doing it for the money, and it goes towards the fundraising efforts. Ten more focus groups and I can almost afford a plane ticket!! lol

Anyway, all this fussing about money and constant calculating and recalculating in my head has resulted in little sleep for me over the last week or so. I just can't seem to shut it off long enough to get some rest... hell, even when I do I'm dreaming about it! I guess it would help if I ACTUALLY GOT AN ANSWER about my aid application.
I'm just sayin'.

But I have a couple of heroes that remind me that hope springs eternal. One is Sarah over at "Life at Full Volume" who has posted a great story about receiving the bracelets I sent and even posted a picture of the kids wearing them. It's actually a great story so I encourage you to check it out.

The other hero is my new friend down under in Australia, Daniel, who ordered not one but TWO bracelets yesterday! I have really enjoyed our new found friendship (spawned when he wrote a bunch of Jewish bloggers and asked them to fill out a survey for a paper he's writing) and greatly appreciate his support on this. Thanks Daniel! That brings the count up to 96 bracelets sold.... so close to 100... so close!!

In completely unrelated topics:

1) the inbox of my Gmail account is completely empty. I finally cleared it all up, answered everyone I owed a reply to and filed the rest. This is the first it has been empty in at least 8 or 9 months. I'm feeling really quite pleased with myself. I simply can't stand it when my inbox gets cluttered.

2) at the Pride Parade on Sunday I got suckered into trying a sample of a beverage that I have always been curious to try, called SoBe. It's one of them there trendy "healthy energy drink" type of deals. I say that I was suckered because it wasn't until it was already in my hand and on it's way to my lips when I found out the flavour was "Cherry Courage". Being the polite Canadian I am I dutifully drank it despite the fact that I have a hate in my heart for cherry flavoured food products. No doubt my face indicated my inner hate; I never have been very good at hiding my displeasure.

3) I had a gas attendant at a station ask me yesterday if I "dyed my hair that way" (in order to make it as grey as it is. for those who have no idea what the deal is with my hair go here, though I have to say I think my hair is even more grey since I took that pic). This is not the first time someone has asked if I dye my hair like this... yeah, coz someone would choose WHITE highlights for their hair. And that same person would go to the trouble of pulling out individual at a time... to dye them. *sigh* Why must people be so dumb?

Monday, June 27, 2005
Pride and Fish
I had an *awesome* weekend, and I have the sunburn to prove it!

Friday morning I hopped in the car and drove 2 hours north to spend the weekend with my beloved grandma. It's funny how big a difference 2 hours distance makes... it's like entering a whole other world. It's so green and beautiful and lush.... something I will sorely miss if I go to Israel this fall. Within a 10 minute span I saw a groundhog right in front of me eating the flower tops off of weeds, a deer wading at the edge of the lake getting a drink and a great blue heron take off after a successful feeding near the shore. I stood out on the dock at sunset and I saw loons as they made their mournful cry, kingfishers chattering and plunging from the sky into the lake to grab a fish, and dragonflies as they swarmed over my head. For some reason the dragonfly population is particularly plentiful this year which is good news for me since they help keep down the mosquito population. They were swarming over my head because the mosquitoes (and other such biting/flying bugs) come out at dusk and I was attracting them, which in turn attracts the dragonflies who take care of business for me so I can go about fishing without swatting. Unlike previous years I did not see much in the way of bats, which generally like to come out and feed on the dragonflies that come out to feed on the mosquitoes. In the past I have enjoyed standing outside while hundreds of bats flutter right by my head scooping up bugs.

Of course there were also the token raccoons, ever disturbing things and making a mess. My grandmother has motion detect lights and at night they are constantly turning on and off as the raccoons skulk around the yard at night. One time when the lights came on *thousands* of flying insects swarmed the light (as these things tend to do) and I was awestruck by just how many there were. The spiders had a mighty hard time keeping up with the multitude of bugs they were catching, and in fact the webs were having difficulty withstanding such an onslaught. Nature is really bizarre sometimes, I tell ya.

Ok, so the big question is.... did we catch any fish? The answer, I am happy to report, is yes (two smallmouth bass, seen here). This was no easy feat considering we were in heavy competition with a giant snapping turtle which was fishing in the same bay we were. My grandmother and I both caught two smaller ones which were put back in the water to be caught in another year or two, and then we both caught bigger ones, which we kept. Personally I am all for letting the poor things go because I don't have the heart to kill them, but grandma is an old-school farmgirl who likes to eat what she catches, so into the frying pan they go. I feel a little guilty when I say that they truly are delicious when freshly caught. And it was Saturday when I got my sunburn because I somehow thought I was impervious the effects of UV rays. I'm an idiot sometimes, I recognize this. Clearly this is a behaviour that will have to be rectified if I am to spend time in Israeli sun. My delicate white (read: Irish) flesh was not meant for longterm exposure to such light, this much is obvious.

Sunday morning I was up at 6am, out for a few hours of fishing, back in the car driving 2 hours home, off to the Pride Parade in downtown Toronto, back home, and then off to a 9:50pm showing of Land of the Dead. Needless to say, I slept like a babe by the time I rolled into bed at 12:30am.

The Pride Parade was great as always (footage and info here); I befriended a couple of lovely gay boys on the subway on the way down and then a few more while roaming the streets. One drunken guy came up from behind me and threw his arm around me and began chatting me up. He introduced me to his boyfriend and offered me some kind of alcoholic beverage from a jar. Yikes! I took a pass on the offer but chatted them up for quite some time.... really funny guys. And that is why I go to this event... it is just one big happy celebration and I wouldn't miss it for the world. The dancing in the streets to live as well as DJ'd music, the colours, the sight, the sounds.... it's amazing. And since I was sporting a fresh sunburn I was offered sunscreen numerous times by kind folk at various booths and tents. It was just a great time, but would have been better if My Big Gay Daddy (Sam) had been with me. I missed you sweetie, and thought of you the whole time. Pictures of all the fun from Pride and my fishing weekend can be found over in my photoblog (for archiving sake look in the June 2005 archives).

As for Land of the Dead (scary trailer here), it was a good film but it didn't scare me much. A friend of mine was a zombie in it so I spent a good deal of time trying to pick him out, but there were just so damn many that I couldn't locate him. Dennis Hopper was hilarious and the effects were great (the film was shot here in Toronto, btw) but it just didn't scare me like 28 Days Later did. *shrug* Is there no film out there that can scare me??

I hope the rest of you had a great weekend...

Thursday, June 23, 2005
get the funk out
My mood is slowly (and I mean *slowly*) beginning to improve. In an effort to distract myself I spent a ridiculous amount of time throwing spears (and I mean an embarrassing amount of time. Occasional Bitch really needs to stop directing my attention to such games, as I can become really quite obsessive). Oh lord, I'm so hopeless that I even stopped in the middle of writing this post to play it again for another ten minutes. Short attention span? Who??

So I was writing an email to my buddy Deborah over in Livnot when the power in my office went out. In fact, the whole street went black. Personally, I was pulling for another big blackout like we had in 2003 but after a few calls I found that it was only in my area and lasted all of 25 mins. Drat. I love blackouts.

Oh, and in case you were wondering there is STILL no news with regards to my financial aid application. Yes, I was told June 15th. You can see where I am beginning to get a little anxious...... it's like waiting for test results. Stressful as all hell and my future hangs on it. However, Menachem in Brooklyn has raised my spirits by buying a bracelet to help me inch towards the money I need to realize my dream. Thank you so much!! It couldn't have come at a better time... I really appreciate it, and will ship it out today. Oh, and an special shout-out to Cassiopeia, si, and Occasional Bitch who have all put the "help celestial blue" button on their blogs to help get the word out. You ladies are too good to me.

Tomorrow I will be playing hooky from work and heading up north to spend time with my grandma. I have spent every last weekend in June with my grandma for the last 15+ years, as it is the opening of fishing season. Those who have been reading my blog for a while know that my grandma and I are very close and that she is an *avid* fisherman (pictures of my adorable grandma are here,and here). I always go up there during the summer and wake up at ungodly hours to head out on the lake with her to try and outsmart the fishies. I've already been having dreams about it this week. I think I'll stop by the Bass Pro shop on my way home tonight to stock up on gear that I need.

This will also give me an opportunity to tell her about my potential trip to Israel. I don't expect a particularly good response, and indeed I will be made to feel guilty for missing all the holidays between Sept and Feb. This may not seem like a big deal to most, but it's a *very* big deal to my grandma. It won't be pleasant informing her that I will not be present for family gatherings. She will just have to understand that this is a path I need to take.

I had my brother and his girlfriend over for dinner last night. I told them of my plans and they were very supportive. In fact my brother's girlfriend (I call her my sister-in-law... they've been dating for 16 years) said that if I decided to stay in Israel she would totally like to visit (I was amused to see such interest in Israel from a little Chinese girl. LOL!). I told her if I opted to move there she would be more than welcome to visit.

Anyway, after hanging out with my adorable grandma I will be racing back down to Toronto in order to catch the Pride Parade on Sunday. I love this parade!! So much fun to be had and such bright colours and happy people. Just truly a beautiful celebration of tolerance.... something a Jew can appreciate, no? It'll be a blast.... I'll post some pictures on Monday (I put a few pictures up last year).

Now if you'll excuse me I need to go swing from a vine.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005
who am I?? how did I get here?
I have had one of the worst days in recent memory, and it's not even over yet. Still plenty of time for it to get worse.

Like an incredibly bad dream I watched myself say and do some of the most bone-headed things I have ever said and done in my life, to some of my very closest of friends. All while feeling quite righteous about it, I might add! (and with a venom I have not spewed forth in *years*) When it was all said and done I had declared an end to two of my best friendships and told them not to bother me anymore and I wouldn't bother them.

What the hell got into me?? It's like some alien took over my body and systematically began ruining some of my most important friendships just to screw with me! I felt helpless as I watched myself morph into some kind of super-jerk and couldn't seem to stop the multitude of dumb things that spilled from my mouth (actually, my keyboard). And while I stand by the original reasoning of why I got upset I certainly can't condone my reaction and behaviour.

One friend has written to me and asked if I was really willing to throw away 15 years of friendship over something so silly to which I said no and apologized for my insane behaviour. The jury is still out on the other friend, though I'd have to say things don't look good. I don't think a plead of "I was suddenly posessed" will really work.

I think I need a vacation. Like... a 5 month one. Maybe to the Middle East.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005
a bag of sleep
I had this whacked dream last night. I dreamt that I was walkin' around all grumpy because I thought no one had remembered my birthday, all the while trying to act like I didn't care. Then suddenly some guy and a camera crew show up with two of my friends in tow. The guy had this "great plan" in which I would sing a catalogue of songs while he films me for what I can only suppose is a spot on a show or the news (how exactly is this a birthday present?). I was plunked down on a couch along with one of my friends as the guy explained how I would be singing many songs (like TWENTY) and how fabulous all this was going to look on film. This struck me as a bad idea on SO many levels, not the least of which was the fact that I am, by all accounts, a horrible singer. Oh, and did I mention the songs were in Hebrew?

It was clear that I was supposed to know these Hebrew songs like any good Jew, and so I was immediately beginning to panic since I in fact did NOT know these songs at all and was now about to be filmed trying to sing them. I elbowed my friend beside me to sing along when the time came, figuring he would know them better than I would (coz he's a better Jew?? I dunno. it's actually laughable because in real life my Hebrew is far better than his, and that's not saying much). As we began I tried to follow what my friend was singing, trailing behind him by a word each time, acting more like an echo to everything he sang. And when I couldn't follow him I just sort of randomly tossed out words I do know (glida, seret, dag, chai, mayim....anything goes!). The stress of trying to fake Hebrew in front of a camera and watching people finally woke me up in a pool of sweat. Whew!

What does all this mean, you may ask? Well it could have something to do with the fact that (all going well) I will be celebrating my birthday among strangers this fall. The program I want to go to in Israel starts a week or so before my birthday.... so I won't have my usual family and friends around me this year. Indeed, likely no one will even know, and I'm not one to advertise such things (especially since I will be far older than most of the other people in the program). I will be among my program peers for my birthday.
Or maybe the dream has something to do with my fear of being a "lesser" Jew than others. That's a whole other story, but it's safe to say it IS a complex I carry with me. It could also have to do with my deep seated fear of being in a country in which I can't speak the language. I know I know, most everyone in Israel speaks English to one degree or another, but it's a thing with me. I don't like feeling helpless because I can't communicate.

Or maybe I just fear singing Hebrew songs on camera. *shrug*

So this morning I received some devastating news..... I will have to pack a sleeping bag for my trip. Why is this so catastrophic? Well, I am a notorious over-packer so the idea of losing valuable luggage space to a sleeping bag is unthinkable. Ok, it's true I don't know if I'm actually going or not, and yes it's true I don't actually even own any luggage yet... but I have been "mentally packing" over the last week or two. You know, making mental notes of what I will have to pack and what supplies I will have to buy. Most airlines only allow two big suitcases so I gotta plan 5 months of packing carefully. Deborah over at Livnot (get used to the name, folks. you'll be hearing a lot about her) has suggested that I could mail the bag ahead of my arrival and she would pick it up, which is both brilliant and kind of her to offer. I may have to consider this option. Who knew a simple sleeping bag could put my neurosis into overload??
Oh great, now I have the ZZ Top song "Sleeping Bag" stuck in my head (a clip of the song can be heard in that band name link). Thanks for nothing, Deborah!!

Speaking of Deborah, I'd like to once again thank her for her charming emails and patience with me. I say patience because not only have I become a pest about news regarding my financial aid application, I have also had moments of snapping at her. One day at work I was in one of those moods that indicates that the end of the world may be near; I'm not sure what went so horribly wrong that day.... perhaps a printer jammed or I was asked to do a task I didn't have any interest in doing.... but Deborah had the misfortune of calling that day. The only thing that went in her favour was that I had not been able to answer my phone when she called, but that didn't deter me from writing a scathing email in response to her call. She had simply asked for my deposit for the program, which set me off like a rocket because, as I mentioned, the world was ending that day and in fact I had already paid the deposit months ago. And so with the moons aligning just right between my mood at work and being asked for a third time for my deposit which had long ago been paid, I snapped. Sorry about that Deborah! Timing is everything and clearly it wasn't working in your favour that day.

As a token of my appreciation I have added a picture in the post just for you. Unfortunately I had to resize the picture so the words at the bottom of the sign can't be read. It is as follows: Hi Deborah!! (and Susie and Laurie). Please pass my love along to the other two girls since it can't rightly be read. They'll just have to believe me.

Ok everybody? Let's be nice to Deborah.... she's helping me out. If YOU want to help me out you can bloody well click on the "help celestial blue" button and buy a bracelet. DO IT!!! Forget sending a kid to camp, send me to Israel!!

Blue and Orange ribbon
A fellow blogger over at "If You Will It..." has come up with a great idea that balances his feelings about the disengagement conflict going on in Israel. Like him, I am torn about which side I lean towards since I can see the argument for either side and empathize greatly with both sides. To express these conflicted feelings he has developed his own concept, melding together the blue and orange ribbon campaigns. Go have a look at what he has to say....

Monday, June 20, 2005
another week begins...
Well, my weekend was good and bad all at the same time. The bad? Got pretty sick and I think I am battling some real bad-ass cooties. I am on extremely strong antibiotics to ward off this infection, and the drugs are knocking me on my ass and making me feel green around the gills. I cannot afford to get sick right now, I have too much fundraising and planning to do.

However, the weekend was marked by the happiest of events.... Princess Blondie's wedding. I took pictures of course, so if you are interested here's a pic of the most gorgeous bride and groom I have ever laid eyes on, here's the bride just glowing, and here's the bride and I celebrating at her reception. It was a great day, I just wish I had been feeling better... I ended up bailing early at the reception to go to bed. I don't get sick for 8 months and then I get sick on the day of my best friend's wedding??? Cruel, I tells ya...... cruel.

Now, on to the news of my trip to Israel..... ok, well, if I had news I would tell you. I was promised a call on Sunday regarding my financial aid application but I never got it. I'm starting to get a little impatient, I must say. My whole future hinges on this so it would be nice to know what's going on. Meanwhile I would like to say a *huge* thank you to Larry in Virginia (his wife has a blog here) for his generous order for my snazzy fundraising bracelets. THANK YOU!! That brings the bracelet count up to 93. Can't we sell at least 100??

It seems that support has dwindled down to nearly nothing now as people have forgotten about me and moved on, and now I am scrambling to continue to raise funds. I am not anywhere near where I wanted to be in terms of money raised so I am going to have to come up with some new ideas to get this going again. Panic about money is beginning to settle in again and I need to get a gameplan together if I'm going to keep this dream alive.

Come on folks.... I need your help desperately. Click the "help celestial blue" button for details and a link to buy a bracelet. If not then please pass the link along to anyone you know who might be interested in helping out. There is great power in news spread by "word of mouth".

UPDATE: I just got a call from Deborah (of Livnot) to tell me that she's working her butt off to get me an answer with regard to financial aid for my trip. That was mighty nice of her to call to say she had no answer as of yet. lol She promised she'd call when she finds out... I'll hold you to that! Toda raba for working behind-the-scenes on my behalf, I appreciate it.
And now I am going home and back to bed. Feeling feverish and unwell. Have a good week everyone!

Saturday, June 18, 2005
In an hour and a half I will be witness to Princess Blondie and her fiance Bruno saying their vows. I am thrilled to be part of their very tiny and private wedding. Congratulations you two.... you deserve it. I love you!!

Thursday, June 16, 2005
Batman Begins

How do I love Batman Begins... let me count the ways...
Yes, it's safe to say I loved the movie a whole lot. I mean, look at that sexy logo right there! A vast improvement over the old one, wouldn't you say? Now don't get me wrong, I loved the cheesy old 60's tv show with Adam West, but if anyone is actually familiar with the comic book you will know that the character is actually meant to be a much darker hero who has many a demon haunting him and driving him to do the things he does. Part of the appeal for many people is the fact that he is indeed only a man, a mere mortal with toys, gizmos and fine training in martial arts. Unlike Superman and Spider-Man, he has no super powers.

My friends and I, (aka: The Geek Squad, or Geek Brigade) had been waiting in great anticipation for this film, with one friend in particular being a die-hard Batman fan. He knows his stuff and is one of those fans who is nitpicky about details and how true a movie is to the original medium.... the comic book. The sting of disappointment was still fresh after the big let down of the recent Star Wars movie. We were worried about getting our hopes that high again only to walk out of the theatre disappointed. And we knew we would be critical as we are all comic book readers.

It's rare that I actually bother to watch a film on a screen that's "5 houses high" but I must say the Imax experience was a golden way to see this fantastic film. The visual effects and cinematography were just that much more stunning on the giant screen as was the wall of sound effects from the dozen speakers all around. Well worth the hour+ we had to stand around in line to ensure we got the very back seats so we wouldn't be craning our necks.

Christian Bale impressed me, though I have to say I had no real expectations for him. He has an incredibly well sculpted body (a-prow!!) which certainly went a long way to sell me on the idea of him as Batman, but his mouth/chin looked funny in the mask. I'm supposing it had something to do with the mask more than his face (coz he's a handsome devil) but I didn't like the way it made his face look a little round. Ya can't go and give the Dark Knight a baby face like that! The overall costume was a great improvement over the last ones (this one didn't have nipples, thank god) and had much more movement and flexibility, something the last ones woefully lacked which took away from the believability.

The supporting cast was rich with stars; Liam Neeson, Gary Oldman, Rutger Hauer, Tom Wilkinson, Michael Caine, Cillian Murphy (you'll remember this actor from the spooky zombie flick, 28 Days Later), Morgan Freeman, and Katie Holmes. *sigh* Katie Holmes.....what can I say? I wanted to like her, I really did. I figured I had better just get used to seeing her face because now that she is one-half of the duo now known as TomKat, I'm going to be seeing a lot of her. But ya know what? I just didn't think she was at her acting best in this film. Look, here's Katie looking pensive. I think. And here's Katie looking like a tough district attorney (what her character is in this film). But for her very best acting in the movie just go here. Nuff said. Too bad, coz I really liked her in Pieces of April.

Michael Caine did very well as the butler and the character was given the usual clever and humorous lines, which he delivered very well and got the desired chuckles. Morgan Freeman played the same character he does in practically every film, but as usual he pulls it off because it's such a likeable character. Gary Oldman played the commissioner perfectly though he has now destroyed any notions I once had that he was sexy coz he looks... well.. not sexy in this film. Liam Neeson plays the teacher very well in this film, though he just finished playing such a teacher in the last few Star Wars movies, so how much of a reach was it really? Ya swing a sword, ya swing a light sabre...

I did like the villain in the film, known as Scarecrow. This bad guy was DAMN scary looking and used a hallucinogen as a weapon! He'd blow powder in people's faces and they see all kinds of scary shit! And of course it's filmed from the perspective of the person seeing these hallucinations so you get to see some pretty trippy nightmares. It was worth it just for those scenes.

Anyway, that's enough of my gushing over this film. When my friends and I left the theatre last night we were on cloud nine and talking about it at a million miles per hour we were so excited. And we asked ourselves... now why couldn't we have had this content feeling when we left the theatre after Star Wars last month? Too bad. But at least this one didn't let us down. I loved it, and I will probably go see it again.

Next up for the Geek Squad: Fantastic Four. (check out the trailers here)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Know who loves me? Dave, down in Australia. Not only did he buy a bracelet, he mentioned me on his blog too. And guess who else loves me? Andrea and Janet, who both mentioned me on their blog. Lovely gals, those girls... go pay them a visit and tell them I sent you. Incidentally, some Jews need to head over to Janet's blog to help her out with some questions about why Jews do the crazy things they do (specifically the whole G-d versus God thing).

I'm super excited about seeing Batman Begins tonight on the giant Imax screen. So help me god, if some obnoxious teenage hoodlums talk and heckle throughout this movie and ruin it for me I'm going to go postal on their asses. I am such a stickler for silence (except for appropriate moments, of course) that I have actually gotten into near fights with people (ie: the shove that often serves as the build up to a fight. I'm a mouthy girl, so this is no surprise). Anyway, I am really keeping my fingers crossed for a good movie... so far the reviews look good, but I'm trying not to let my hopes get too built up.

Anyone have and know how to use Adobe Writer? Wanna make some quick bucks and whip up some forms I can use here at work? I want to be able to send a form out to customers that they can fill in and send back but not be able to change it or otherwise muck it up. If you are interested let me know...

89 bracelets sold and still no word from Livnot about financial aid for my trip. I'm told it's coming "soon". Oh please oh please give me thousands of dollars, oh please!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005
blah blah blah ... Michael Jackson.... blah blah blah..
1) I thought for sure Michael Jackson was going to be guilty because right when they were expecting the verdicts to be read a downpour of rain started here, the likes of which I have not seen in ages. Damn you Michael Jackson, I got soaked!! Details over at my photoblog, here and here.

2) Speaking of weather, ENOUGH with the 40C/104F heat already! Are you trying to scare me away from going to Israel??

3) Speaking of Michael Jackson.. I watched this and laughed until I wept. If you love Triumph the Insult Dog you will howl at his interviews with the crazed Michael Jackson supporters outside the courthouse.

4) Holy wow, some 4 year old kid died on an Epcott ride and they don't know why. Poor kid.

5) Batman Begins opens tomorrow night and all my geek friends and I are heading the Imax to check it out. Fifty bucks says it's WAY better than that last Star Wars piece of crap. I can't wait!!!!

6) MatzahNacho loves me, I got CASH from her in the mail yesterday for a bracelet. Thank you! And John loves me because he mentioned me on his blog. Toda Raba!

7) Speaking of John's blog check out this link I found via his blog.... it's a gallery of pics showing all kinds of crazy graffiti from around the world. Really quite funny.

8) I got an email from someone in the Livnot offices to tell me that my financial aid application is taking a little longer to process because I'm Canadian (??). I'm going to pop if I have to wait much longer to find out about how much aid I'll get. This will make or break my trip!

9) This blog, Post Secret, is one of the funniest and one of the scariest blogs I have ever read. People send in postcards with one of their personal secrets written on it.

10) Anybody know which camera I should buy? I friggin' well have to give up the one I have now (company camera) and I need to buy a new one if I am to take pictures in Israel one day. The ones I am looking at are here, here, here, and here. Minolta? Olympus? Kodak? Help!

Monday, June 13, 2005
there are 2 people who love me
1) Occasional Bitch - see her post in which she poses with the blue 'send-celestial-blue-to-Israel' bracelet.

2) Lilly in St.Louis - she ended the dry spell of bracelet purchases and bought one last night. Nobody has bought any for days except for her. Thanks for showing your support, I deeply appreciate it. At least YOU love me! :-) I'll send your bracelet out today.

Only 86 bracelets sold.... am I going to be forced to beg?

Anyway, I have calmed down a bit since the weekend.... but only a bit. I simply can't let fear cause me to second guess this decision.... my brain is looking for a reason to back out. If people always backed out of things just because it would be hard or because they feared change we would never accomplish anything, right? Change is scary, but not nearly as scary as the idea of being stuck in the same rut for another 3 years.

So if YOU love'll click the Buy Now button.

UPDATE: As it turns out, Solomon loves me plenty too and bought a bracelet today (thank you!!!). That makes it three people who love me, and a bracelet count of 87. Can't we make it to at least 100??

Sunday, June 12, 2005
the internal turmoil is boiling over
The stress has culminated into a bit of a meltdown the last two days. I have learned that the likeliness that my job will be waiting for me upon my return to Israel is slim. Indeed, the position may be closed altogether (which makes me feel extra useful, let me tell ya!). I knew this was a possibility and was all part of the risk, but I guess I was just hoping it wouldn't come to that. The idea of coming home after a 5 month trip with a boatload of debt and having to live with my parents again.... well it takes a bit of the edge off the fun. I am trying to be all philosophical about this and remind myself that sacrifices have to be made if I am to follow this path, wherever that path may lead me. But I am a girl who likes her security and I am about to strip myself of my security blanket and take a dive into the unknown.

I see my whole world differently now, and I haven't even left for Israel yet. I haven't heard back from financial aid to see how much money I will get to make this happen, and everybody has stopped supporting me by buying bracelets. I look around my apartment and try to memorize everything about it in case I have to move out in 2 months. I love this apartment and the idea of leaving it makes me sad. As I drive along in my car with my windows down in the cool summer night air, tunes playing, and on my way to meet my friends for a night out on the patio for drinks and laughs.... I think, wow..... I am SO going to miss this. As I sit and talk with them, glasses clinking and laughs filling the air around us I find myself sometimes in this dream-like state. I just sit back and observe and again try to burn this moment into my mind and memory so I can recall it later. It's not a good way to be, I should be more present in the moment and just enjoy it, I know that.

I guess I have reached the point of no return and panic is setting in. Money is far from a settled issue, but I have told work I am leaving. The cat is out of the bag and everyone knows I'm going..... there's no turning back now. I am starting to question the wisdom of my decision and am trying to keep the faith that there is a reason for this journey even if it's not immediately clear to me. I am having trouble eating and sleeping..... this decision is weighing on my mind ALL the time. Where am I going to get the money? What am I going to do about a job when I come back? How will I pay off my debts?

One thing that *has* crossed my mind...... if I don't have to hurry back because my job is waiting.. what's to keep me from staying a little longer? }:-)

Friday, June 10, 2005
weight of...stress.....crushing.... me...
Well, I am beginning to learn first hand that stress really can make you physically sick. Several incidents have illustrated that fact to me this week, so I need to take a step back from my hardcore fundraising campaign and breathe a little.

No bracelets sold.... are you guys trying to tell me something? Was that it?

anyway, Shabat Shalom. Have a good weekend.

P.S. Who the hell ordered the temperature up to 40C/104F here in Toronto??? This is CANADA, not Israel (where, consequently, it was cooler today).

Thursday, June 09, 2005
the secret is out

Well, I didn't want to have to do this... but I guess I'll have to reveal a little secret. These bracelets I am selling aren't just ANY bracelets... they're WONDER bracelets!! They are bullet proof, and I think we all see the value in that now don't we??

So.. knowing THAT.. are you telling me you don't want a pair?? I didn't think so. Feel free to click the Buy Now button at the bottom of the post. If you're new here click here to get the lowdown.

Thanks to a darling named Yvonne buying 2 yesterday (along with two of my friends buying one each) I have now sold 85 bracelets. However, sales have clearly been on the decline despite the number of visitors staying steadily high. So what gives? How come you don't wanna help? You don't have $12? I think you do! Just think of it as sending me to camp like those kids you donate your change to at the local coffee shop, only I will be way WAY more thankful!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005
why have you people forsaken me??
*** is this your first time here? click here to get the lowdown on all this talk of bracelets and a dream to go to Israel ***

It seems that only Laurence over at Is Full Of Crap loves me enough to make *several* mentions of me on his blog. (actually, that's not entirely true, my good friend Dave of Israellycool has been generous enough to mention me twice, as has Meryl and Rahel) AND he loves me enough to buy a bracelet too (as can be seen pictured in those links, along with his cats who are giving their feedback on the bracelet). That brings the count to three bloggers who have put up pics of their newly acquired bracelets from moi (the others are Cassiopeia and si).

So what is it going to take to entice all you new visitors to chip in and help me realize my dream of a 5 month trip with the Livnot program in Israel? Should I start adding possible uses for your bracelet? Laurence was going for cat collar, but seems to be having difficulty wrestling it on to one of his cats. I suggest you slip it over your water bottle and then voila! Use #132: you now have a non-slip grip for your water bottle for when you get all sweaty when you're working out. Now you won't drop it!
Pretty lame? Ok, let's hear some alternatives, and where possible I will take a picture of it in that scenario and post it. Bring it on!
In the meantime... buy a bracelet! Have you hugged a Jew today???

P.S. Thanks for the nod on your blog, PJ!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005
where has all the love gone??
Not ONE order for a bracelet today?? What's going on? That was it... ya loved me for 6 days and then left me?? I know plenty of people have been stopping by here and only the tiniest fraction have bought one.... see that number I have sold? 80? Well 40 of those were bought by one person!!! (btw, buyer-of-40-bracelets, your order is coming, I promise!) Only 27 people have bought a bracelet in support of my dream..... 27 people out of the hundreds and hundreds that have been stopping by. Imagine if everyone had bought just one??? *sigh*

Come on folks... I need your help to make this happen. Don't make me beg!! (though it sounds suspiciously like I'm on the edge of begging right now, doesn't it?)

UPDATE: Jeffrey, thanks for your order yesterday, it was shipped out today. And thanks to my good friend Melra (occasional commentor and long time buddy) today wasn't a complete wash out. She bought a bracelet from me when I took my boxes of stuff over to her place for a garage sale at the end of the month (so I may sell as much of my worldly posessions as I can and put the money towards my trip). Tomorrow is a new day and I'm SURE more of you fine folks are going to step up to bat a drop a few bucks for a good cause. :-)

Monday, June 06, 2005
will she ever stop talking about these bracelets??
The simple answer is no. I can't afford to stop talking about them because the funds I raise from these bracelets are crucial to whether or not I get to go on this trip. So I am going to keep harassing... er... I mean... reminding you all that you too can help by chipping in $12 to help me get to Israel by clicking the Buy Now button at the end of this post. (again, if you are just joining us and don't know what I am referring to I strongly encourage you to read this)

That being said I don't want this blog to be non-stop talk about my trip. I'm not *quite* that egocentric, and I certainly don't want to bore you. So on with regular programming..

A few things:
(1) I don't recommend leaving chocolate in your pocket. It *will* melt. And if you are foolish enough to do so I recommend you do NOT put your cellphone in said pocket. What can I say? I have been stressing over this trip and money and such... my brain sort of checked out of my head for a bit.

(2) I have a new favourite product, and it is cinnamon flavoured toothpaste. At first I thought it sounded like a vile concept but when I tried it I actually really liked it. Some toothpaste, the minty stuff, leaves a bit of an icky aftertaste. Not so with this toothpaste! It leaves a nice clean feeling with just a hint o' cinnamon. Come on, try it... I know you want to.

(3) I know I'm really slow getting to this, but hurray for a Canadian winning the Miss Universe pageant, confirming for me that Toronto in fact IS the centre of the universe. :-P I was also rooting for Miss Israel, of course, but I gotta say... I didn't think she was all that pretty (though this picture makes me look like a liar).

(4) Thanks to Occasional Bitch I cannot stop playing this Squares game. The music is hypnotic and the game is addictive. Go ahead, try not to play it, I double-dawg dare ya!

(5) That is one seriously BIG catfish. It weighs more than I do!!!

(6) "Second Thoughts" is an amazing blog that tips you off to deals you can get online. Who doesn't love free stuff??

(7) Speaking of blogs, I'd like you all to check out chicagoG's new blog. Coz we love Israelis who blog!

(8) NOW do you believe in UFOs?

(9) It's supposed to reach a high of 36C/96.8F here today. What gives??? If I wanted it this hot I'd live in Israel!

(10) Ok, I have to bring things back around to the bracelets now (see how sly I am?). I need to thank the following people for helping me out by purchasing a bracelet: Patricia, Rinat, Michael F., Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler, Megan, Tzemach Atlas, Sandra, Rey, and the girl with the newly renovated blog, Tech Wench.

(11) No, I'm not done there! I need to also thank the following blogs who made mention of me on their blog and helped me promote this very important fundraising effort (if I have forgotten you please let me know!): Silent Running, Mental Blog, Willow Tree and a very special thank you to Cassiopeia who even went so far as to take a picture of the bracelet she had just received! Another good friend, si, also took a picture of the new bracelet she got. See? ALL the cool kids have them (and those two aren't even Jewish!).
Also, a big wet one goes out to Occasional Bitch who made the lovely "Help celestial blue" button you see at the top of my sidebar. Now if only I could get the words around it to look the way I want to..... (I've wasted more time than I care to admit trying to fine tune it. think maybe I should learn some html?)

(12) One last special thanks to my Australian friend Neil, and my best friend and Survivor buddy Princess Blondie who both made rather sizeable donations, skipping the bracelet order altogether. I am extremely moved by your generosity and selflessness. Thank you.

And that's it for now.... thanks again for the huge outpouring of support!! KEEP IT UP!!
Want to buy a bracelet and help me get to Israel? click the Buy Now button and show your support for me and for Israel!

Saturday, June 04, 2005
see blogger ask for help. see blogger receive help. see blogger cry.
**** once again, if you are new to my blog or haven't been here in a while, I suggest you read this post to catch up, otherwise you might not have a clue what I'm talking about. ****

I have been nothing but amazed by the generosity of those who have sought to help me on my journey to Israel. I have received yet more orders (from Oleh Girl who ordered several, and an order from an incredibly sweet and enthusiastic Suzi) but have been left speechless by a huge order that came in this morning from someone in San Francisco (can I use your name, Revels?). I... I just don't know what to say. My jaw dropped as I saw the quantity and I thought... holy cow, I'm gonna have to order more! You cleaned me out, and then some!

This couldn't have come at a better time as I was beginning to feel like I was never going to get anywhere near my goal. Some days I feel invincible and confident that this is going to happen, and on other days, like yesterday, I start to wonder if I have bitten off more than I can chew. It's 10 days until I find out how much (if any) financial assistance I will get from the folks at Livnot, which could make or break this trip for me. As June 15th draw nears I am getting more and more nervous about the answer I will get.

I don't know who you are Revels but you, along with the help of everyone else over the past week, have rekindled my belief that I can make this happen if I want it bad enough. It's funny how, just when I am starting to feel down, something or someone comes along and picks me back up. At the risk of sounding melodramatic (and I say this with tears in my eyes!) in a way this is even restoring my faith in humanity, which I thought was long gone.
I hope I don't let you all down.

A thousand thank yous..... I am humbled by your kindness, generosity and support. :'-)
Want to help out? Click the Buy Now button, purchase a bracelet and help me realize my dream.

Thursday, June 02, 2005
***if you are just visiting this blog for the first time or the first time in a long while I suggest you go to the post prior to catch up***

What can I say, this has been a whirlwind week as I have set up Paypal and bank accounts, created blog posts and emails promoting my fundraising efforts, and emailed everyone I know for help. All this while battling a migraine for most of the week!

The response to all my efforts has been amazing and I thank all those who have supported me. The hits on my blog have gone through the roof and I have been consistently listed in Blogdex's 100 sites that "are the most contagious information currently spreading in the weblog community". Whatever that means! (is it just me or is that bad english??)

What all this means is that I am getting lots of press thanks to word of mouth (or word of blog, in this case) and several kind souls have bought bracelets to help support my cause. At this point I have shipped out every single bracelet that has been ordered and that brings me to just above the break-even point (remember I had to make an initial investment to have these bracelets made!). So now I need your support more than ever! Come on folks, I know you love Israel (or at least love me!) so why not buy a snazzy blue bracelet and show me some of that lovin'?? And just imagine how cool my blog would be if I was writing from Israel and telling you all about my adventures there!

So don't give up on me now... and I'm going to keep pushing for more support, so please pass my blog URL along to everyone you know!

A special thanks goes out the following folks who have bought bracelets thusfar: Occasional Bitch, Dr_Funk, Treppenwitz, Ocean Guy, Mulder, Cassiopeia, Rat, Hokule'a, chicagoG, Johnny, Susana and Juan. I have sent bracelets as far as Spain and Australia!!! This has been amazing!

UPDATE: more thank yous! The ever-funny Laurence Simon (absolutely you can use it as a cat collar!) and Kimber, with an extremely generous purchase! THANK YOU!! Your orders have been shipped!

I also want to thank the blogs who have helped promote me by mentioning my cause on their blog (some I didn't even know about until I got visitors from their blogs!): Rishon-Rishon, Meryl, Occasional Bitch, Israellycool (go check out his Podcasts, they're awesome!), If You Will It.., If I Forget Thee..., Atlantic Blog, Solomonia, Ocean Guy, Dutchblog Israel, Desde Sefarad, Imshin, Smooth Stone, Elms in the Yard, Mulder, Destination Jerusalem, Laurence Simon and News For Members Of The Tribe. My heart has been filled with such a deep gratitude for the outpouring of support, I can't thank you all enough!

But as I said, now is when the REAL fundraising starts.... all I am asking is for the purchase of one little bracelet.. just one! You can afford one, right? :-D And if you can't, pass this blog URL around until you find someone who can.... I need all the help I can get. This trip will change my life if I can make it happen... so any help you can offer to get me that much closer to it is deeply appreciated.

Thanks again, everyone!!!!!